Thursday, January 29, 2009

Recently Found Outside the House of Mookie

The above contains wonderful words of wisdom for all those thinking about showing up at the next Mookie home game.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Why We Play

at the online poker tables, that is.

Every once in a while, I manage to have one of those nights. You know of which I speak, the kind of night that follow months of enough junk-kickings that make you just about want to give up the ghost, but after which, you can't wait to dive right back into the fray.

Well, last week during my recovery, I had one of those nights. Well, almost. Yes and no, because I still did not make a major score. But for a hard luck loser like myself, it felt great.

I managed to cash in both of Full Tilt's daily doubles for the first time in ages.

Final tabled the Bodog $2.5k guarantee $5r (finished 3rd, when a river flush knocked out my top pair, but would have still be the smallest stack)

And best of all...

The Stars $3r at 6pm? Well, at one point, I was 2nd of 21 remaining (something like 4900 started), when AQs went down to 99 for half my chips. Unfortunately, I went out 14th when my AKo ran into AK sooted all in preflop....and the 3rd spade fell on the river. Ouch, what a fucking way to go out, 4-flushed on the river, only five spots from a major final table. So I got like $150 instead of $7,000. Yet again, another "almost".

But the upside of that is I still managed to outlast 99.5% of the field, picked up about 18x the buy-in (given my rebuy/addon), and it took an AK beating AK to deny me a four-figure cash. So maybe my game's starting to get somewhere, who knows. Or maybe the RNG's just starting to come back in my favor a wee bit. Either way, I'll take it. Even if the overall bankroll addition was fairly minimal, to the tune of a couple hundo, a night like this is a reminder that poker can be rewarding, and that sometimes, strong aggressive play isn't chased down by the donks every time.

Anyway, good luck to Lucko and LJ as they play Day 2 at the Borgata. You can follow the action live over at $mokkee's joint. Lucko, in particular, is primed for a really deep run. I'd be thrilled to see one of these two fine folk make a huge dent in the live tourney scene. Good luck, take it down!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Anatomy Of A Hand, Part Duh

Dadgummit, just bubbled the final table of Bodog's $20+2 $6k guarantee, when my UTG shove of 44 ran into TT, gg me just kill me now plz. Everyone else's bubble shoves got folded around, and I was like 8th or 9th in chips. That's online poker for ya.

Anyway, I just wanted to share the other end of a hand real quick before bedtime. Enjoy, I guess:

PokerStars Game #24207899237: Tournament #134682167, $3.00+$0.30 Hold'em No Limit - Level I (10/20) - 2009/01/23 20:05:53 ET
Table '134682167 253' 9-max Seat #2 is the button
Seat 1: goxoa (1860 in chips)
Seat 2: RAGFACE (1570 in chips)
Seat 3: Slangbone (2980 in chips)
Seat 4: Bautz83 (3170 in chips)
Seat 5: 7_fayva_ct (3050 in chips)
Seat 6: Baba Fats (2970 in chips)
Seat 7: Mondogarage (3900 in chips)
Seat 8: ralphie9531 (3000 in chips)
Slangbone: posts small blind 10
Bautz83: posts big blind 20
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Mondogarage [Ac Qd]
7_fayva_ct: folds
Baba Fats: folds
Mondogarage: raises 60 to 80 (standard raise)
ralphie9531: calls 80
goxoa: folds
RAGFACE: raises 1490 to 1570 and is all-in (D'oh!)
Slangbone: folds
Bautz83: folds
Mondogarage: raises 1490 to 3060 (it's early in the $3r, no way I fold here)
ralphie9531: calls 2920 and is all-in (I wouldn't expect him to fold here, either)
Uncalled bet (60) returned to Mondogarage
Mondogarage: shows [Ac Qd] (racing one hand, dominating the other)
ralphie9531: shows [9d Qc] (I take it back, stupid play, ralphie)
RAGFACE: shows [4s 4h]
*** FLOP *** [7h 7d 4d] (of course, it's JokerStars!)
*** TURN *** [7h 7d 4d] [9h]
*** RIVER *** [7h 7d 4d 9h] [9c] (and RAGFACE is looking for the cyanide about now)
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Mondogarage: shows [Ac Qd] (two pair, Nines and Sevens)
ralphie9531: shows [9d Qc] (a full house, Nines full of Sevens)
ralphie9531 collected 2860 from side pot
RAGFACE: shows [4s 4h] (a full house, Fours full of Nines)
Mondogarage said, "lol" (DOUBLE REBUY!!!)
ralphie9531 collected 4740 from main pot
RAGFACE re-buys and receives 1500 chips for $3.00
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 7600 Main pot 4740. Side pot 2860. | Rake 0
Board [7h 7d 4d 9h 9c]
Seat 2: RAGFACE (button) showed [4s 4h] and lost with a full house, Fours full of Nines
Seat 7: Mondogarage showed [Ac Qd] and lost with two pair, Nines and Sevens
Seat 8: ralphie9531 showed [9d Qc] and won (7600) with a full house, Nines full of Sevens

Oh, and to the donk who felt like calling off 1/4 of your chips preflop on the bubble of Bodog's $5r while holding 67o out of position, I reeeealy hope you think it was a good call. For what it's worth, I 3-bet shoved from the cutoff with KK with a below avg (but maybe 8-10 BBs left). 6 on the flop, 6 on the river, naturally.

Yeah, tonight was that kinda night on the virtual felt.

Anatomy Of A Hand

I haven't posted much this week because...well, because I've been sick as a dog. I don't know what came over me, but what started out as some general blahs on Tuesday afternoon turned into full blown fever and body chills by 9pm. I've spent the last couple of days in bed with tea, medicine, bottles and bottles of G2, and occasionally, my laptop. For the most part, I just haven't felt like writing, but just to float a signal that this here lil' online poker blog isn't dead yet, I thought I'd share a fun hand from a few days back.

PokerStars Game #24164226093: Tournament #134680841, $5.00+$0.50 Hold'em No Limit - Level VI (100/200)
Table '134680841 479' 9-max Seat #3 is the button
Seat 1: Mondogarage (6940 in chips)
Seat 2: netboydk (6690 in chips)
Seat 3: pancapb (19039 in chips)
Seat 4: wmfox01 (4695 in chips)
Seat 5: Skarb25 (4805 in chips)
Seat 6: obmobm (8270 in chips)
Seat 7: justfoldAA1 (6450 in chips)
Seat 8: dampje (17480 in chips)
Seat 9: jr perle (4425 in chips)
wmfox01: posts small blind 100
Skarb25: posts big blind 200
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Mondogarage [4s 4c]
obmobm: folds
justfoldAA1: folds
dampje: folds
jr perle: folds
Mondogarage: raises 360 to 560 (roughly standard raise to represent strength)
netboydk: calls 560
pancapb: folds
wmfox01: folds
Skarb25: calls 360
*** FLOP *** [7h 5c 4h] (a flop only a Mondo could love)
Skarb25: checks
Mondogarage: bets 580 (thinking most hands calling my pf bet have overpair or Ax)
netboydk: calls 580
Skarb25: calls 580
*** TURN *** [7h 5c 4h] [Qd] (I really hope one of these donks has AQ; QQ would suck)
Skarb25: checks
Mondogarage: bets 800 (JT starts singing bring it on in to valuetown)
netboydk: raises 800 to 1600 (really? QQ? no way, you've probably got me on A7 or AK)
Skarb25: folds
Mondogarage: raises 800 to 2400 (time to find out where I'm really at)
netboydk: raises 800 to 3200 (doh! a minraise 4-bet. Either he traps well, or he reeealy loves that AQ, but let's find out...)
Mondogarage: raises 2600 to 5800 and is all-in (nothing like 5-betting bottom set)
netboydk: calls 2350 and is all-in
Uncalled bet (250) returned to Mondogarage
*** RIVER *** [7h 5c 4h Qd] [Js]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Mondogarage: shows [4s 4c] (three of a kind, Fours)
netboydk: shows [Ad Qh] (a pair of Queens) (gotta love making a good read for once)
Mondogarage collected 14620 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 14620 | Rake 0
Board [7h 5c 4h Qd Js]
Seat 1: Mondogarage showed [4s 4c] and won (14620) with three of a kind, Fours
Seat 2: netboydk showed [Ad Qh] and lost with a pair of Queens
Seat 3: pancapb (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 4: wmfox01 (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 5: Skarb25 (big blind) folded on the Turn
Seat 6: obmobm folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 7: justfoldAA1 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 8: dampje folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 9: jr perle folded before Flop (didn't bet)

Anyway, I'd love to hear some thoughts. I'm thinking I could have shoved my 3-bet on fourth street, but I have a feeling he folds in that spot. The way this tourney played, I was pretty certain villian would have 3-bet shoved preflop if he held QQ. So much so, that I hardly considered it in his range, once he only flat-called my flop bet.

Enjoy. In the meantime, I gotta try to get well. The worst part of this nasty bug is that my favorite doctor, the Good Doctor Mondo, is in Boston this week not home to take care of my sick self.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Future, Yes It Is Here

What a speech, what a speech. Not too rah rah, firm enough, and certainly somber enough for our times. Definitely a candidate for the ten best speeches of all time, even if it didn't hang on a single catch sentence. Now, let's see if Congress can make the same hard choices that our new 44th President says we need.

I do think one specific moment during Barack Obama's speech was worth additional mention. Specifically, I believe it was the moment when he said, "But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions -- that time has surely passed." At that moment, the Fox cameras panned off to Bush 43 for a reaction, and were rewarded with something akin to a casual sneer. As if he still didn't get it.

The fundamental problem with our last president is not so much that the economy went to shit, or that bin Laden's still running around, or that No Child Left Behind has resulted in "A" students who can't do simple addition in their head. It's that he came into office in the first place with no actual agenda other than trying to get family vengeance on Saddam Hussein, and he walked into the White House eight years ago truly looking to do nothing more than to find an excuse to do just that.

But that is now in the past -- it is up to the new administration to lead America into a restoration of its place in the eyes of respect of the world for its actions. It is up to the new administration to show through action and deed that their word can be trusted, unlike the previous band of cronies. It is up to the new administration to govern for the benefit of all Americans, and not simply Halliburton and Blackwater board members. It is time, and time will tell.

I'm anxious to see all the video and photos the Good Doctor Mondo took from the National Mall today. Alas, she's now off to Boston for the next few days, but for now, I can only imagine how much more energy of the day will leap off the first person work than it did through the TV in our firm's training room.

Oh yeah, I got back to some online poker last night. Suffice it to say, my roll would have appreciated me not playing. Out of about a dozen events, all I had to show for it was a Tier One token (that I lost to some -65% ROI uberdonk in the $32k guarantee, when he overshoved from the big blind with AJo to my standard button raise with QQ. A on the river, naturally. He said he thought I was trying to steal, but could only muster "A-rag" I asked him "steal with what?". Well...that, and a mincash in the Bodog $5k guarantee, where I was never really in a strong position, chipwise.

Okay, here's a situation where maybe I could use some advice or analysis:

I bubbled the Bodog $5r when a couple hands previous, I'd gone from a final table stack to crippled when my 77 went down to TT on a very dangerous AKss flop. I made a standard late position raise, and called a three-bet from a somewhat aggressive button player. I can't believe how badly I played it post flop, where I called his small flop raise. I compounded the problem when I bet the turn (a 3rd spade), trying to represent a flush. On the river, I was already down to about 5k in chips (had started the hand at 31k, and I did the worst thing possible -- check. Of course, he checks and shows TT behind me. I have a feeling if I shove that river, he folds.

But that's what made the hand such a bad play for me, in that only an A, K, or flush possibly calls a river shove, and if I could put him on one of those hands, I don't make the stupid call on the flop and the needless pot-building bet on the turn. If I put him on an A or K, I fold to the flop raise (and have about 22k chips left). If I convince myself he has neither, then I shove the river to a possible fold. So basically, no matter which way my read is in that spot, it feels as if I bet it as if I had the opposite read. Honestly, I should have folded to the flop raise, and cost myself dearly, since my Bodog roll is down to about $250, and every one of the $5r costs me $15-20 to play. Five spots deeper, and I'm at least up instead of down, and before the hand, I was right at average chips, so I had a strong chance at reaching a final table.

Obviously, I was out a couple hands later when I called a cutoff raise in the big blind with J9 sooted and 1.5BB remaining (ran into KK, gg me). Once his raise went in, and I saw I had an M below 1, I simply said "well, I didn't come here to mincash" and called. Of course, in any rebuy, a mincash really isn't that bad if you're pretty much only in for the minimum.

There were certainly plenty more....I got wrecked in the Stars $3r and $10r, again getting run down from behind post-flop after having raises called by dominated or other non-racing hands. And then I bubbled the PLO tourney at Full Tilt when my flopped TTT lost to flopped AAA. I could have folded my BB on that hand, but he'd been really aggro preflop, and I was double-suited and single connected, and thought it worth seeing a flop with about 18BB remaining and six spots from the money. the ATx flop sealed my fate, gg me.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Another Proud Product of Wasilla, Alaska

I really hope at least some Wasilla, Alaska families can raise their kids better than this. If Wasilla represents the best in family values, I'd be thrilled if Sarah Palin just stays right on up there.

From the Rocky Mountain News:

GRAND JUNCTION — An Alaska woman accused in the death of her newborn has pleaded guilty to a reduced charge and is awaiting sentencing in the case.

Twenty-three-year-old Morgan Hite of Wasilla, Alaska cried as she appeared in a Grand Junction courtroom Monday and entered a guilty plea to a charge of child abuse resulting in death. In exchange for the plea, prosecutors dropped several other charges including first-degree murder.

Hite was accused of giving birth to a boy, now called Gabriel, at a friend's Grand Junction home in February 2008. Prosecutors say she then put the boy in a bag, walked to her parents' home and left the bag in a closet.

Hite's parents found the boy's decomposing body in April.

Hite faces 16 to 24 years in prison when she's sentenced March 19.

I suppose she couldn't see the maternity ward from her house.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

CD Review - The Parties - "Can't Come Down"

Before the events of the past week, I'd wanted to mention that I've started writing music review again, this time for Hybrid Magazine, an online music mag worth checking out.

Anyway, I got my first assignment from them a few weeks ago, and it finally got published today. Cool. Hopefully, I'll be doing this on a regular basis, which would ironically allow me to meet one of my 2008 goals, albeit a year late. Please check out Hybrid Magazine directly, but I've gotten the goahead to copy and paste any reviews I do for them here, after publication there. So with no further ado, I present my review of The Parties' album Can't Come Down:

At first glance, The Parties' album Can't Come Down might lend the impression the band comes from the path of garage rock revivalists that includes such bands as The Cynics, The Woggles, or even those Green Day members in disguise known as Foxboro Hot Tubs. Looks can certainly be deceiving, however, as a listen makes it clear quickly enough that The Parties have more in common with labelmates The Grip Weeds than they do any form of garage punk.

The album does begin promisingly enough, with an introductory guitar squall leading into starter track "Love For Sale", a track containing many of the hallmarks of sunshine pop, such as tight high harmonies, bouncy picked bass lines, guitar delay, and the like. There are other near semi-precious stones on the disc, namely, "Cold Life".

The above notwithstanding, Can't Come Down suffers from two significant flaws that cause the record to not stand up very well amongst its peers. First, the drums throughout the record sound really thin. Not quiet, just thin and pale. While that works in some places, must of the album could have used a heavier hand, either on the kit, or on the mixing board. Second, and more important, relates to the lyrics. In too many cases the lyrics are no more than a step or two removed from junior high English class, or even worse, the sort of schlock crap foisted on us by the likes of The Outfield. Phrases such as "Slide down the waterfall, I'm here to break your fall" are just too vacuous not to be a distraction.

"I'm going crazy
and I can't sleep
I'm going crazy
'cause I'm in too deep."

The above couplet pretty much speaks for itself, not to mention much of Can't Come Down.

Most of the best moments on this disc take place when the band employs 12-string guitar to good effect, and when the vocalists are harmonizing with one another. It is obvious The Parties do know how to construct a pleasant sound. The harmonies are uniformly spot-on and reminiscent of the best of varying forms of laid back pop rock. The playing is solid, and the tone is quite pleasing. If I didn't pay too much attention to the actual lyrics, I rather enjoyed the record.

As I wrote previously, looks can be deceiving. In reality, The Parties are a sometimes pleasant, yet rarely interesting, California lite psychedelic pop band who are adept at crafting a reasonably good sound, but less so at writing a memorable record. However, elements of this album are good enough musically to indicate potential at something more compelling down the road.

Hope you enjoyed.

Trying to Move Forward

It's been a tough week at work, but the team is slowly moving forward, and things are beginning to return to some level of normalcy. My boss' funeral is this coming Saturday morning, and I imagine there will be tears and reminiscing aplenty. A few of our clients are even flying in from out of town. Out of respect for the family, I avoid mentioning names, but suffice it to say that not only was he a real leader, he was one of only a handful of giants nationwide in the particular niche of his practice.

As time has gone by this week, I've learned more and more about his life, and I feel like in the 3.5 years I've worked for this firm, I've been fortunate to experience some of the best of his life. I admired him, I respected him, I am proud to have been on his team, and I shall miss him.

My own reactions this week have seemed odd to me, at times. Until now, my experience with death has been limited. I lost three of my grandparents within a very short span of time (1987-1988), but I was stationed overseas and wasn't even informed of their deaths until after funerals had taken place. And I hadn't seen much of them since my early childhood. Until now, I haven't had to deal with losing someone whom I was in constant and consistent contact with. I certainly didn't expect to find myself tearing up as much as I have. Usually, it's been when I've been around someone else who was getting misty or teary at the same time. He's the reason I'm at this firm, and I've looked up to him as someone I'd like to emulate.

The Good Doctor Mondo is actually a specialist in the subject of grief and loss, and has in fact taught undergraduate and graduate therapy courses on the subject. It's been really helpful to get to talk with her about my reactions. I love that woman.

Anyway, I do see us returning to being able to focus on the tasks at hand, but things will never quite be exactly the same.

Remember to find something to cherish in each moment and contact with those you know.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Unambiguous Loss

Before last night, I thought I would blog today about yesterday's online poker excursions, and the Mondo family's weekend trip to Breckenridge.

However, I learned late last night that my boss died suddenly and unexpectedly yesterday. He was more than a boss, he was our leader, the head of our practice group, and one of the firm's name partners. For those poker bloggers in the legal field (and there's quite a few of them), you can imagine the overwhelming raft of practical issues that need dealing with.

But right now, we're all just kind of overwhelmed otherwise.

I'm personally extremely distracted and stunned right now. I can only imagine what those who worked for him far longer than I am going through, and I can't even imagine his family's loss.

There's not much more I can say right now.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Caution: Weekend Warrior Video Ahead

So someone I don't know was at the New Ben Franklins recent show at the Larimer Lounge, and captured a couple of our performances on video. While she didn't get the actual drum into to Bad Days Good on video, and while my own performance on Kodiak Love Song managed to include a couple of gratuitously flubbed notes, this blog is meant to be representative of life, warts and all.

So I present to you --- New Ben Franklins, caught on tape:

Bad Days Good:

Kodiak Love Song:

Honestly, we do it because it's fun. I'm chuffed that someone would care enough about it to stand there and catch it on video. Thanks.

Oh yeah, we added a pedal steel player to the band last night, he's going to work out really cool, even more so when he starts adding echo and delay to the mix. As DeVoe calls it - "Country twang with sonic ferocity"

Thursday, January 08, 2009

A Wee Bit Of Momentary Miniscule Coolness

So my former band actually got played on FM radio here in Denver last night. I had one of those "gee, kinda cool!" moments. Of course, the DJ went on to describe how he thought we'd made a really good record, but then imploded as a band before the CD ever saw the light of day (and he was absolutely correct). So much for feeling kinda cool.

Still, it always feels gratifying having your music played on the air. It's been an extremely rare thing for me. In fact, it's probably only happened about 8-10 times, all told, not counting the 45 minute live performance on air at University of Maryland several years back.

Anyway, the DJ suggested to me again today that we find some way to press at least a small handle of copies...who knows, maybe we will.

Okay, the moment is over. And it was indeed miniscule.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Goals, They Are In High Fashion

Ah yes, a new year -- a time to look back at goals so old, and to set wildly delusional aspirations of accomplishments for the coming year.

Actually, I set the bar pretty damn low for myself in 2008. During 2007, I'd set out a ton of poker-related goals that I not only fell short of, but in many cases never even put myself in a position to make a run at. So last year, I took a different tack and simply set out some general guidelines for how I wanted to spend the year. So how did that turn out? Let's take a look.

a. Blog more. This is a blog. It is meant to be used. And abused. And used some more. Blog it. Just do it.

Well shoot, I managed to take that goal seriously, and achieved it in spades. Prior to 2008, the most blog entries I'd ever written over the course of a calendar year was 24. Yup, I was basically a non-blogging blogger until last year. But once I actually took an interest in it, my volume went up like a 10-table SNG grinder's. I wrote 281 blog entries in 2008.

Of course, not all blogs are created equal, and more a few of mine were simply video links to things I found of interest, with minimal comment. However, the 2008 elections provided great fodder, and I did memorialize a lot of my online poker experiences of last year. Nevertheless, I have no delusions of grandeur with regard to the level of interest in anything I write. So I have no qualms about keeping this more as a shared personal diary of life, be it local music, bad beats, MTT brags, or politics. It does feel good having become an actual active blogger, and I will endeavor to keep it up.

b. Play a few bloggerments. There was once I time when I was a fairly regular participant in the Mookie. I would really like to do so again. However, this will require a re-up at Full Tilt. Especially if I want to join these guys, too.

c. Play the $mokkee over at Bodog. I downloaded and deposited over there for the explicit purpose of it. I won't exactly plug his tourney yet, when there's others already gettin' paid to do it, but there's a real nice T$ overlay factor, and the fields are both talented and small.

These two kinda go hand in hand. I did end up playing at least half of the Bodog Blogger Tournaments from the first series, and a few of the series just ended. Thursdays were just a bad night for me to play, and once it was clear I wasn't going to qualify for the TOC on points, I decided to bag it and focus more on non-series MTTs. I did play a couple of NYRambler's events, and several editions of the Skillz game, and actually cashed a handful of times. My participation level dropped later in the year, as my FTP roll was kinda small to be spending $25+ in donkey-fueled bloggerments on that site. But overall, I think I did reasonably okay in this non-quantified goal.

My one bummer is I don't think I played the Mookie. Not one single time. Wednesdays were just not a poker night for me.

d. Write more reviews. This is actually a non-poker goal, as it involves writing more for these guys. Last year, I freelanced a bit of music writing for them, and enjoy it. I'd like to do more this year than I did last year, especially since I've had fuckall luck actually finding a new band to join myself.

Well, anyone who reads this blog knows I actually joined a band a few months ago, and in fact, have begun playing shows in local Denver dive bars. As for reviews, I never wrote for Westword, but I recently began writing some material for Hybrid Magazine. In retrospect, having a band has been more important to me, as the blog pretty much fills my miniscule writing jones.

And that was it for '08. No specific poker goals in terms of wins, profits, etc. Ironically, it was my best year overall. I scored my first ever MTTs wins, cashed in the Caesars Palace Mega Stack, and had a profitable year. I came into 2008 with a total of around $150 online all told, and never once had to reload. Most of that is thanks to my few sponsors, but nevertheless, 2008 was the only year since I started playing online that I never had to deposit. That feels so good. And while I may sweat about how I've recently lost about half my roll, the truth is, I managed to end the year with enough to at least allow me to keep playing $5 and $10 MTTs for a while.

So what about 2009? Do I make hard core goals, such as winning a WSOP seat, or cashing in an FTOPS event? Some of that may be setting myself up for failure, because I don't know how much I'm going to play this year. As long as New Ben Franklins keeps going, my online time is going to be cut at least in half, because once I take time out for rehearsals, gigs, and recording, I really do want to prioritize time with the Good Doctor Mondo. She's more important than any of this other stuff. So I don't see playing as much as I did last year. Less opportunity most likely means less of everything else. But here goes:

a. I will set a goal of winning a bloggerment. I'm not sure where I'll start playing them regularly, but it's a reasonable goal. I believe I had two 2nd place finishes in NY Rambler's series. So it can be done.

b. Win an Omaha MTT. I've had several final tables in various flavors of Omaha tournaments (most recently, a 4th of 190 a few days ago). I'd like to think I'm capable of winning one, if I can just find the final table rungood switch. Limit, pot limit, or no limit, Omaha or Hi-Lo, I'm okay with it, as I enjoy all the Omaha variants, and have about the same level of "not quite there but close" success in each.

c. Retain my current sponsors. This is going to be tough, in the current economy, but I'm hopeful. In fact, I've followed up with both, given that our current arrangements expired within the last few days or so. We'll see what happens. But a lot of my other goals are somewhat dependent on continued sponsorship.

d. Play a Sunday Major. I don't care which site. Last weekend, I came two spots from qualifying for Bodog's $100k Sunday, in one of their $4 satellites, when I open shoved A8o from 1st or 2nd position into a mid position's 99 and lost. I'd been card dead four about four orbits and short, and had about 3 BBs left. I also just missed out on a PokerStars Sunday Million seat a couple months ago, when I finished 3rd in one of their double shootouts awarding two seats -- I think it was a case of QQ going down to AK, or something similar. I can't afford to buy in to a Sunday major, but I can take some cheap shots at getting into one. On the other hand, if anyone wants to stake me into a couple, let's talk.... (yeah, right)

e. Finish 2009 with more $$$ online than I'm starting the year with. I've found my style of play works best in slightly higher buy-in MTTs. For instance, when I scored my few hits last year, I was able to play some $27.50s, and even satellited my way into a couple 50/50s. Once in those tourneys, I actually acquitted myself well. I believe I cashed in two of three entries into FTP's 50/50, and came up just short in my only attempt at PokerStars' version of the same. The deeper the stacks and better the levels, the better it seems to suit my game. But I have to build a roll to be able to play at that level responsibly, and I am certainly not there at the present. Anything about $15 is just bad bankroll management for my current position.

Okay, I suppose that's enough goalage. We'll see how the year goes. Good luck to you all, in all you do.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Pay Respect, Yo

This is a sad day in rock and roll, for Ron Asheton has passed to the great dive bar in the beyond. He had your Raw Power. Ron, we're going to miss you.

Ron Asheton with Iggy & the Stooges (2007, I believe) - "I Wanna Be Your Dog"

Iggy & the Stooges (2005) - "TV Eye"

Ron, you brought the rock, and you will be missed.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Weekend Poker Roundup

I really have no idea why I spent so much of Saturday donking around online, but I did just that. Played some games well, played a few less well. Made a couple of final tables, and yet lost out on my best opportunity...

PokerStars has recently updated to offer a wide variety of 90-man SNGs at all kinds of buy-in levels. Of course, I'm a small baller, so I played seven of them ranging from $3.25 to $8.80 buy-ins. What's interesting is that the offerings include regular stack, turbos, and deep stacks. By deep, it's only 3000 chips, but very slow moving levels. It was in one of these deep stack events where I felt like I played my best, and yet came up with nothing.

For over three hours in this event (and yeah, the 90 man deepstacks easily go 4+ hours, it seems), I was in the top two in chips. In fact, I was chipleader for most of the time, from about 88 players left, down to 18. Twelve spots paid. During the third hour, I recall having to fold about 98% preflop, just because the cards were that bad. Having a big stack was one thing, but given the levels and table stack sizes, and aggression of the two players to my left, I didn't really want to have to lay down weak hands to resteals at that time in the tournament.

At this point, still being 2nd in chips, and playing tight, I eventually woke up to KK on the button. Of course, it folded to me, and I went 3x the BB or so (a tad higher, I believe, because the stacks were high relative to the blinds). I was rather surprised when the midstack on my direct left repopped it to about 9x the BB. I had him easily covered, but he'd been somewhat aggressive. The pot was large enough to take down at that point, so I shoved. Duh. He had AA.

K on the flop. AWESOME!
A on the flop. NOT SO AWESOME!!

The next thing you know, I go from 1 of 18, to 18 of 18, with about 15 BB left. Still playable, but tons of work to do. Unfortunately, I was never able to really chip up again, and wouldn't you know it, I went out on the 13th place bubble. Very unsatisfying after playing really dominant poker for the first 2.5 hours. But truth be told, if the chips hadn't gone in preflop, I'm pretty sure they would have gone in on the flop in a set over set situation.

That was the only 90 man SNG I really came close to cashing in. However, what I took away from that event was, for a recreational player like myself, those 90 man deepstacks offer a shit-ton of play value. And, unlike some of those 1500 chip MTTs on Stars or Bodog, taking an early beat doesn't have to be the end of the world. If what you're hoping to do is slowly grind up a roll, with an equal priority of playing a relaxing evening, there are far worse tourney choices to make than to fire up three or four of these $8.80 90 man deepstacks.

On a more positive note, I finished 4th in a $5 Limit Omaha 8 MTT over on Full Tilt. 90 runners, and a $90 payout. Not totally awesome, but made the whole day a bit better than breakeven. More importantly, I was able to recover from being a total early donktard. 24 spots paid, and when we got to 24, I was in 24th. When we got to 18, I was in 18th. When the final table started, I came into it 9th. By rights, I probably shouldn't have cashed, and instead, came oh so damn close to the bigger money of Top 3 spots.

I went when blinds were 10k/20k, and I held about 33k chips. I didn't get a screenie of the hand, but I raised with something like AK53, with the A and K each suited with one of the wheel cards (two clubs, two hearts, I think). The small blind (with about 35k chips) re-raised, I popped again, and he shoved to put me all in. His hand was similar to mine, but he wasn't double suited, and he had a deuce. He had an AK in there possibly AKT2. Of course, A on the flop, with two clubs, so I'm looking good. But a T on the river (or whatever gave him a 2nd pair) ensured my exit, when no more clubs came. I'm not complaining, as it took a ton of work just to get that far. A ton of work, and a straight flush wheel that allowed me to scoop one very nice pot (both players called):

At any rate, it was a fun day of online poker, even if I still came up short in decent cashes (did final table a small tourney at Bodog, and cashed in the $3r at Stars). Not much better than break even on the day, but I felt that for the most part, I played really well, except for a couple of the 90 man turbo SNGs, when I was definitely overaggressive.

Hope the rest of you had a great weekend, on and off the tables.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Roosting Next Door

So now, Hoyazo is alleging Waffles dumped chips to Mookie during the New Years' Eve Mookie tournament (right after Waffles busted Hoy from the tourney), presumably in order to win some type of small prop bet.

The same Hoyazo who champions rampant cheat site Ultimate Fraud Bet as thee place to play online poker these days.

I wasn't there; I didn't play the Mookie. That said, Waffles has a long, well-documented history of playing shit cards in shit spots. He'll be the first or second to admit that. Hell, Hoy takes great pride in winning with the Hammer. So on that basis alone, he doesn't really have much of a basis to complain about someone playing 95o. (Of course, shoving with the Hammer, versus calling a shove with 95soooted are two far different plays). We all know Waffles is perfectly capable of calling off all his chips with crap cards under any circumstance -- possibly having prop bets has no more impact on that call than being drunk.

But the whole point of this post is simply this -- people who choose to play at Ultimate Bet don't really get to complain about the appearance of impropriety in the games they play on any site, because they've already decided that game integrity isn't very high on their priority list. This isn't an anti-Hoyazo rant by any stretch. However, getting righteously indignant because you think you've been had doesn't really hold a lot of water when you willingly spend so much time on a site known to have cheated their player base for so long, and a site that still has not been nearly transparent enough in their response to their own shenanigans. Not to mention a site that appears to continue to inappropriately give players' money to insiders whether by negligence or malfeasance taking place on their servers without adequate explanation.

Hoy is perfectly entitled to go on monkey tilt, however. So on that note, I'm hoping to find a Waffles-worthy rant on the Hammer Player blog, soon.

Starting the Year With A Whimper

$mokkee has a good post up today, on the benefits of being able to take beats philosophically. I'm reminded of the spot in yesterday's WSOP final table replay over at E$PN wherein Scott Montgomery's tournament ended on a river one outer. Even walking away with a couple of million dollars, I think there's a fair chance I'd be beside myself with tilt losing one or two payout levels to a one outer. I have to admire the ability of that crowd to take such a sick sick sick beat in such a quiet cool manner.

Anyway, yesterday being New Years Day, I managed to do a bit of the last thing I thought I would get to do. And by that, I of course mean donking around some online poker for a bit. The Good Doctor Mondo was hitting up a sale, so I decided to hit up some bankroll abusive $1/2 Limit Omaha Hi-Lo. Okay, it's probably not too far above my roll to play at that limit. But I'm a bit thin online these days, so it wasn't smart. And two-tabling a high-variance game was even less smart. And seeing 42% of flops was beyond less smart.

Actually, if the deck hadn't turned two scoops into chops on the river, I'd have ended up playing very nearly Waffles' style of breakeven poker. But those scoops did turn into chops, and I ended up leaving behind virtually half of what I brought to the table. I should know better.

I only played ring games because I didn't know how much time I was going to be able to play, so MTTs were definitely out. I suppose I could have played some 45-man SNGs, but those just don't appeal to me. The 180-man SNGs were out. Now if I'd have been paying attention, I would have picked up on on the new PokerStars 90-man SNGs. That would have been just about perfect. Next time, next time.

At any rate, it's the new year, and time to think of some possible goals. I was going back to see how I did in 2008 versus my goals, when I realized that my goals were far more writing-oriented than poker-oriented. The one thing I'm proud of is that for the first time, I've actually put time and effort into blogging on a regular basis. Not blogging well, mind you, but blogging often.

Nevertheless, 2008 was my best year in poker ever -- which is more a testament to my career mediocrity than anything else. But I made it through the year without having to reload on a single site, and I even managed to cash in the Caesar's Deep Stack series last summer. I managed to take down a few MTTs, but none of any real consequence. But that was another barrier broken. So I'll try to come up with a couple of targets for the coming year.

In the meantime, I need to get off my ass and write that CD review of The Parties that promised for Hybrid Magazine. So get to it, Mondo, and quit wasting time playing omatard above your roll.