Friday, February 25, 2005
One of the Financial Advisors in the office where I work always talks about having a Pop Shop, or he asks if I'm , "gonna hit the Pop Shop tonight." Basically what he means is he's gonna pop the tops off of plenty of beers tonight. It's great because many times I say that I am, when I'm clearly just going home to have a peaceful night with the family. Meanwhile, I can guarantee you, when he says he is Pop Shoppin', he's pounding some brews...specifically Budweiser. And this is no young, single bachelor. This guy is middle age and married with kids. On a regular basis - that being your typical weekday or weekend - he'll pop the tops off of a minimum of a six pack. He's always in a great mood and he notes he hasn't been sick in forever - stating that's due to the brew.
I bring all this up today because he asked me, as he always does, if I was gonna Pop Shop tonight, and I am happy to report that I gave him a truthfull thumbs up. I still have a jug of Red Oak - the local brew pubs signature beer - that I won during last weeks poker tournament. Having already pounded 2 jugs a few weeks back, I can safely say that beer won is twice as tasty as beer paid for.
Moving on to last night. I didn't fair so well in the NL tournament held at Red Oak...no more jugs of beer as of yet. I will only tell you about one hand...my last one...
About an hour into the tourney, and with the blinds aggressively raising every 20 minutes, I found myself with about half my starting stack. I was in serious need of chips as my fellow table mates (that sounds gay, huh?) were hiding behind some big chipstacks. I did successfully steal some blinds with timely raises in previous hands, but now was the time for all good men to come to the aid of...me...by gracefully losing their chips to...me. On this particular hand, in late position, I look down at A 10 offsuit. Clearly not a power hand, but one I can work with. I decided to limp and show weakness hoping to control the post flop play. It had folded around to me and the only other player was the big blind who checked. When he checked, I felt like my hand was superior...thinking he either had a weak hand, or at best, an Ace with weak kicker. The flop brought A 9 8 and the BB bet $250. I decided to show aggression and push in for my whole stack, only about $750 more. He immediately called and flipped over A K...a nice slow play on his part. I was hurting needing a 10 or some serious runner, runner action to take it down. When the dealer flipped the turn, a 10 of spades, the table gave a loud roar and I was happy as a lark, whatever the hell a lark is. But my excitement lasted about 5 seconds as the dealer flipped the river, a redemption king, causing an even louder roar. It would have been a bad beat if I had taken that hand, but amazingly as I stood up from the table, people consoled me as if I had been bad beat. What a crazy game.
Interestingly, when I saw the 10 of spades on the turn, I immediately thought I was receiving redemption from my previous tourney. Last Sunday, in a matter of 10 minutes, I lost 2 big hands when - in both situations - 2 outers hit on the river. The strange thing was both times it was the 10 of spades that did me in. So, as I mentioned, I really thought I was catching some poker redemption, albeit from a different joker, until that King dropped the ball. In general, I can't think of many activities like poker that can cause such up and down emotions, seconds apart from each other. To go from serious underdog, to leading in the hand, to losing on the river, is just draining. And I love it. Funny thing is, even when it's a free tournament, it still sucks to stand up and not play. No wonder there are so many railbirds at tournaments. I stuck around last night and watched, and every second I was wanting to be in the game. Good times, good beers.
One way or another I will hit the felt this weekend. It might be the online version, but it will happen. And when it does, I'll be here to report back on my action. And along the way, I'm gonna hit the pop shop. I suggest you do the same...
Thursday, February 24, 2005
Gonna give the NL tournament at the local brew pub another try tonight. This will be the 3rd week and I've faired well the last 2 so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Maybe I can win some more free beer as well as points towards the satellite for the WSOP. I'll report back tonight - if I'm home early and pissed - or tomorrow - if I'm home late and happy or pissed. In other words, as most tournaments work, if you're not there late, then you didn't win squat.
In my previous post I noted that I was going to watch Tron with the boy last night until I passed out from exhaustion and Nyquil. Turns out boy didn't even last 30 minutes, which is right around the point that things get good. I on the other hand, found my second wind and made it through all of Tron and then most of the new WPT Poker By The Book event. I think I passed out when 3 players remained. Let me get back to the movies, then I'll finish up this post with some thoughts about the WPT. With Red Dawn last week, and Tron last night, I've been on a nostalgic look back at some of my favorite movies of years past. Boy is only 4 so much of the Tron stuff was over his head, but eventually he'll dig it. He's a little young to handle Red Dawn, but someday I'll take him down that road. For him, it may be interesting to understand why we were breaking bad against Russia during the movie. As for Tron, I had not seen that movie in years and noticed something quite interesting. If I'm not mistaken, the main lady character who is with Flynn and Tron (can't think of her name) is the same temptress from one of my other favorite movies, Caddyshack. I had never recognized her in any other movies until I gave Tron another try last night. She definitely showed off her assets in Caddyshack, but was much more tame in Tron. This is assuming that I'm correct about it being the same person. I may have to search on IMDB to be sure.
O.K. back to the WPT event. Mike Sexton really showed us how slow playing can bite you in the ars. I think tonight I'll be playing real aggressive after seeing what happened to Mike. And how about Hellmuth and his, "I'm not one of the basic 4 types of players, I'm an eagle." I can't remember what the 4 types were, but I do remember Phil being his basic pompous self. Sometimes I just have to laugh...such a great player...such a dumbass at times...such a genius to have millions of people talking and writing about him. Whatever he's doing is working. When I fell asleep he was a big chip leader. I'll be interested to see how he faired in the end. Couple other notes to finish off this post. Did Mike Caro really say he would be the primary candidate to play poker against aliens should the need arise. That dudes off the hook crazy. And did anyone else notice how horrible T.J Cloutier's hair looked during the flashback piece to his Bicycle tournament wher Paul Phillips bad beat him. Wholly geez was that a fro or what. The wife must have gave him a perm or something. Looks much better now.
I'm late for the tourney so I gotta go. Laterz
Worst Episode Ever
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Avenge Me, Avenge Me!
Monday, February 21, 2005
It's funny how the time you decide to post can totally change what is written. As an example, I played some live poker last night and, when I got home a tad drunk, was ready to post about my tough times at the table. Instead, I decided to jump into bed and watch a DVD, thus pushing the post entry to today. Now I'm posting with a totally different mindset and think I'm better off for it. As for the DVD, it was a choice between Red Dawn or Donnie Darko. I ended up going with Red Dawn, a movie I loved as a kid, but had not seen in years. My wife bought it for me for Christmas which was cool. I was actually a little apprehensive to watch it fearing that - now being an adult - I would find way too many flaws that I would not have picked up as a child. I'm happy to report that - though it was not the same as when watching as a kid - I still enjoyed the movie for what it is...a good vs. bad war movie where your average teenagers are forced to make decisions they never thought possible.
The title of my post is from the movie and it just seemed to fit after getting spanked at the tables last night. The quote comes when the main characters of the movie, two brothers played by Patrick Swayze & Charlie Sheen, are visiting there dad who is being held by the russians in a camp. As the brothers are walking away from the gates, their dad yells to them, "Avenge Me, Aveeennngggee Meeeeeee!" As I lay in bed watching that part, I thought back to when I was leaving the restaurant a few hours earlier after being knocked out. I totally should have yelled that out to the remaining few players who knew me. That would have been good stuff.
I'll give a few details from the tournament that were interesting (to me). Starting with 5 full tables for a total of 50 players, our table got started promptly at 9pm. On the second hand at our table, I get pocket red eights. When the flop brought one over card - a king - I put a feeler bet out there and got one caller, the big blind (this was after he had checked it to me). On the turn - a card lower than 8 -my hole cards looked even better now having a straight draw and a flush draw to boot. I still didn't put the big blind on a king so I decided to put him to the test by pushing all in. I don't usually like to be that risky so early, but I just felt good about my chances...even if he called with a better hand at that point. He went into the think tank, making me count out my all-in bet, and then decided to make the call. Amazingly, he had called my bet with a pair of black fours in the hole. The river brought nothing for him and he was down to 1 chip...a $100 black chip...while I had doubled up and was probably the tournament leader at that point, though it was very early. Turns out, unlike the typical freeroll, this tournament was slow going with no one going out in the first 40 minutes. Even the guy that I nailed early on had doubled up a few times and was near $1000 in chips again (starting stack was $1200).
Over the next 30 minutes, I got into 2 big hands and had the same card bring my demise each time. On the first hand, I held KJ offsuit when the flop brought J high rainbow. I bet big and got one caller...the dude I had hurt earlier on the second hand. The turn brought a King spade giving me 2 pair. I pushed my remaining stack hoping to push him off his hand if he woke up with spades in the hole, thus opening up some outs for him, but making it a tough call for him. Unfortunately, this guy was the gambling type and pushed what he had left on a complete draw, flipping over two low spades...at that point I think he was 6 high. Magically, for him, the 10 of spades hit the river giving him the hand. That hand took about 3/4 of my stack and put him ahead of me...that stung knowing he had been down to 1 chip earlier. I asked him to keep one chip to the side to remind him where he was just a few minutes earlier. He laughed, but didn't oblige.
Just a few minutes later I got all-in with another guy when I hit top set on a rainbow flop. Again, I had a guy call with middle pair and two spades in the hole...I think he had 9 2 spades. The turn brought another spade putting 2 on the board and I started to think back to the previous hand where I got spanked by the 10 of spades. Just as I was dong this, the dealer flipped over the river bringing...yep...the 10 of spades. All I could do was smile as I stood up and wished everyone luck. Having some nice success in the 2 previous tourneys, I resolved that it was just part of this crazy game we call poker.
Having the day off for President's Day, I've had a little extra time to read some other blogs as well as work on my site. I've added some new links to my blogroll and, if you hadn't noticed, set up my links to show when they have an update within the last 24 hours. So I got that going for me. I think that'll do it for me for now. I gotta go look for some good deposit bonuses cause it's time to reload my Party, Empire, and Stars accounts. It's been a long time, but I've been playing on low rolls that were free from the sites, so I've had no motivation to work on growing my roll since it wasn't money I put into it. Now I'm ready to put some effort into my play. My live play has been much, much better than my online play, but I'm ready to narrow the gap. See you at the tables. Hopefully I won't have to be screaming out Avenge Me, Avenge Me! anytime soon...
Sunday, February 20, 2005
Decided not to go out with the boys tonight so the wife and I could watch a movie and spend quality time. Unfortunately, we both passed out on the couch with nary a dvd near the player. Oh well. But unlike me lady, I awoke around 11pm and couldn't find my way back into la la land so, of course, I decided to jump on the tables. Played a $5 SNG and finished 7th. Played a $20 SNG and finished 8th when my 10's in the hole went up against 9's in the hole and he spanked me with a 9 on the flop. Moving up to a $20 game was a stupid move, but I needed to test my game. I felt like I was not putting enough effort in the $5 games and I wanted to see what I have in me. Unfortunately what I have in me is a smaller roll now. Not ready to call it quits, I left my Party roll to heal and moved over to Stars. I still had some money from my deposit for the WPBT and decided it was time to use it. I've been trying to hold off and use the remainder for the next WPBT, but alas my game as gotten the best of me.
Again, I wish I had just left well enough alone. Instead I played some heads up games and gave myself high hopes when I won my first one. I then stepped it up a notch roll wise and promptly lost everything I had won. Now both my rolls are hurting for my actions tonight. Hell I could have lost $40 in a much more enjoyable fashion with my buddies at the bar. Again, oh well.
On a lighter note, I've been having some fun with this sitemeter thing (it's the little colorful icon at the bottom of this page). One of the neat tricks it can do is let me know the prior page someone was on when they came to my site. Some of my traffic comes from fellow bloggers who have been kind enough to link me (thanks Iggy, Mean Gene, Sound Of A Suckout, Greensboro Is Talking), but a lot of my traffic is from the Next Blog link at the top of most blogs. I feel compelled to share a few of my referrals that gave me a chuckle...
http://boobboob.blogspot.com I guess you might call this a bit naive, but I didn't realize there were folks out there using blogger to relay porn to the masses. When I saw this referral on my sitemeter list, I felt compelled to see what it was all about (wink wink). Turns out, there are truly some beautiful, beatiful women on this page. I didn't stick around that one long cause I don't need that problem with the wife. She'd laugh, but still, no need to push it. If you're looking for capital knockers though, give that blog a gander.
http://theicecreameater.blogspot.com At first glance you would think this blog is by someone with a foot fetish, but nope, it's just a french girl who likes shoes. Nothing too exciting on this one, but the first impression certainly got me thinking, especially after the whole boobboob thing above. Couldn't find the corrolation to ice cream, but I didn't give it enough time to figure it out.
http://herpes-virus-treatment.blogspot.com O.K. I think this has been my best referral so far. I mean, what the heck is going on here people? I wonder what that person was thinking when they went from a herpes blog to one that has an ass at the top with Poker In Arrears as the title. One thing that really threw me off was this blog uses the same template as the Quiet Lion. Hope that's the only similarity they share.
http://acesfullpoker.blogspot.com This referral I can't figure out. I can't find a link to me anywhere on his site so I guess it's just coincidence that someone was using the Next Blog feature and went from one poker blog to another. Unless there is some other obvious reason that I'm not thinking about, which I wouldn't put past me. Either way, I enjoyed reading this guys blog and I really like his tag line. FORGET ABOUT A CHIP AND A CHAIR, GIVE ME A HAND AND I'LL STAND. I don't know if he made that up or got it from someon else, but I like it. I think I'll link him up to my blogroll next time I update my list.
Allow me to end with a question...hopefully I will get an answer via comment from someone...
Does my picture at the top prevent some of you from visiting my site while at work? Just wanted to throw that one out there and see if I get a response. I'd hate to lose readers due to a little skin, but I understand if that is the case. And if someone saw you on my site at work, it probably doesn't help much if you say, "It's not a skin site, it's about poker." Yep, that's even better...reading about poker on the clock...that'll impress the boss (which I do). I think I just answered my own question.
It's almost 2:00 a.m. and I have no good reason to be awake, so I'm out of here. Gonna play another restaurant tournament tomorrow so I'll report back after that. I have Monday off so someway, somehow, I'll be at the tables...I'm guessing online style, but we'll see. If there is anyone reading who has me linked that I did not mention above, please let me know so I can give you props.
Trip And A Chair
Friday, February 18, 2005
As I mentioned in a post last week, over the next few months, when my schedule allows it, I'll be playing at a local brew pub each Thursday. The tournaments are free and there are prizes each night for the final 3 players as well as tournament points for the final 8 players. At the end of it all, a certain number of players with enough points will play a semi-final tournament to make it to the final tournament of champions. The winner of the tournament of champions will receive a seat to the WSOP Main Event. Last week was the first week and I came in 3rd place out of 75, collecting a load of beer to take home and 50 points towards the semi final tournament. Now for last night...
Maybe it was the beer, or the fact it's a freeroll, but damn I had a kick ass time last night. It doesn't hurt when your playing well and the cards are falling your way too. This is quite the opposite from my online play which - as of late - had been been poor to quite poor. I think a big part of my doing so well live is I'm not concerned with the outcome...though I'm definitely happy with the results so far. Last night I did the best I have ever done with a short stack. There were 50 people at the start and, with about 25 people left I lost almost all my stack against a guy who turned QQ into quads on the river against my straight on the turn. With three $100 chips left, I began the difficult task of getting back in the game. Luckily, I had just passed the blinds and had some time to try and catch a hand. Not long after, and on my big blind, I looked down at K9o. At that point I couldn't even meet the big blind, but I was very happy to see numerous callers. I knew my chances of winning the pot were slim, but if I could I would quadruple up. The flop brought me a K and the turn brought a 9 and I took down the hand. I felt bad when one of the guys flipped over AA and thought he had won the hand. At the time, we were both basically all-in (though he might have had $20 left) so it was a tough one to take for him. I on the other hand, was still alive though I was still barely treading water. The chip leader was at my table so I knew I would have to hopefully catch a halfway decent hand and push it all-in if I wanted to stay alive. We were down to 14 when - on my big blind of $800 - I could only post my final $600. The chip leader dealt the cards and I was extremely happy to look down at AJo. That was until it was realized she had not dealt herself into the hand. I jokingly gave everybody grief for my bad luck, then resolved to not let it get to me. Still it stung a little inside. When the cards were dealt again, I unhappily looked down at 9 2 of diamonds. I did laugh inside when I thought about a shirt I had seen with two cards - a 5 & 2 - with a caption that says "But They Were Suited!" There were 2 callers and the flop was beautifully showing all red...I had to look a little closer and then realized they were all diamonds. The guy to my left bet big and when the other person folded I was happy to see he had no diamonds in his hand. No miracle came for him and again I had yanked myself from the grip of defeat to play on.
From then on I played my shortstack like I wanted to go home with the few chips I had. At one point I asked everyone at the final table if any of them had a nipple I could put on my chips since I had been nursing them all night. That one caught a good chuckle from everyone, but alas, no one offered the goods. In the end, I nursed my chips to the point of no return and - in the small blind - looked down at J 5 of spades and pushed in. Having a ton of chips, he easily called and made my chances dwindle when he showed Q 6 of spades. Still, I knew I was in o.k. shape since we were not sharing any cards. Alas, the cards didn't save me again and I was out in 4th place. A good spot to pick up some tournament points, but one spot out of the restaurant prize. As I mentioned earlier, last week I took a good bit of beer home for 3rd place. Specifically, it was 2 "Growlers" which are huge jugs of their signature brew, Red Oak. After getting the boot in 4th, I went over to the restaurant manager who was watching and - in my clearly drunken voice - said, "if 3rd place got me 2 Growlers last week, it just makes sense that 4th place should get me 1 Growler." I gave her my sad puppy dog eyes and she couldn't resist, calling for the bartender to set me up. Life was good at that point.
I must say, I did not go into these tournaments striving for a seat to the WSOP. Rather, I did it because it was free, a chance to get out and have some beers with friends, and because it sounded like fun. At his been a ton of fun, but along the way I've actually accrued some unexpected points. Amazingly, the lady who won it last week was in the final 3 this week, though I left before I could see how she did. In fact - including myself - there were 4 people from last weeks final table that made it to last nights final table. All in all it has been a great experience and the people at last nights table were an absolute trip. I can't recall a table that was more fun to be at. I'm sure it was the beer talking, but it seemed like every time someone said something, the whole room was laughing. And I think I was everyone's sentimental favorite for the night since I had been the comeback kid so many times. Every time I was all-in it was as if people knew I was going to stay alive. At one point, people were singing the song "Ah Ah Ah Ah Stayin Alive, Stayin Alive" Good times. Good beer. Good gracious I have to get back to work.
With This Ring Game I Thee Bled
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
Oh the night started out with such potential. Around 9pm I successfully got boy to hit the sack, then promptly plopped my ars on the couch with the new laptop on my...uuuhhh...laptop (so that's why they call them that eh?!). I informed the wife I was headed towards PartyPoker land - population me - and about 50,000 other headcases. She wished me good luck, then plunged back into her Court TV show...she loves that stuff. I decided I'd give a $10 SNG a try and was surprisingly underwhelmed when my first hand was AA. Like most players, I've lost my fair share of hands with rockets, so I try to not get overly excited (inside) when I see them. The ho hum attitude paid off when I took the hand down extracting half of a players stack when he folded...I didn't show my hand. And then on the very next hand, the excitement level went up a notch when - as if the machine knew it was the right thing to do - I picked up AA again. Now I'm no odds man, and I couldn't tell you whether it's 500 to 1 or 5,000,000 to 1 that I'll have a winning session this year, but I'm pretty sure that the chances of me getting rockets on the first 2 hands of the night are pretty friggin large. I would love if anyone reading this who digs odds would figure it out and let me know the chances. On that hand I relieved a player of his chips and promptly took the next hand as well for a pretty good pot. I then played the role of bully horribly and - I won't go into details - but I was out way before I should have been. I must have looked like a donkey to rip into the players for a huge chip lead, then play like an ass clown the next 30 minutes to finish no where near the money.
Not having my fill of poker at that point, I decided I'd give another SNG a try. Except on the second try I played like an ass clown, but without the good hands to help. I don't think I lasted 20 minutes in that game. Feeling the need to change it up, post haste, I decided to give the ring games a twirl. It's been a while since I've bonus whored, so I have not felt the need to play limit while trying to focus on my NL and PL tourneys. Still, I figured the change in scenery would be nice. Plus, it was getting late and I didn't want to be chained to the couch all night due to a SNG.
Over that next hour, I don't recall getting better flops and still getting my ars handed to me. If I had a low pocket pair, I tripped up on the flop almost every time, but still got socked when someone was chasing and caught the goods on the end. If I had suited connectors, I'd get open ended and flush possibilities on the flop, but see nothing pan out on the streets. It goes on and on like this and I won't bore you with it...just know that I did not win once with trips and I had them at least 5 times. By the end of it all, I was hemorrhaging cash like an ATM. I bled away about 1/4 of my roll, which was just plain stupid on my part. It does help that I'm still playing on Party's dime from the credit they gave me last month, but it still smarts when my bad play costs me a good part of my roll. In the end, I was ready to seal the wounds and hit the sack. Today I feel fine about my situation and just have to chalk it up to stupid play and bad poker luck. It comes and goes and I just have to take my hits and keep on keepin on.
Tonight, I'll be dealing over at one of my buddies house. He played in the $50 tournament last night (the one I mentioned in the previous post) and ended up winning it, taking home $700. My plan is to deal for him tonight and next Wednesday in order to pay for the upcoming $100 tournament he has planned early next month. I'll just let him keep (up to $100) what he would normally pay me, then when the tournament comes I'm paid in full and ready to play. It almost feels like a freeroll for me when I do it this way which is nice. Time to get back to work. Again, if you can figure the odds noted above, please post a comment. Thanks!
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
Didn't get to play any poker last night, but I will definitely hit the felt tonight in one way or another. I have a few options so the toughest part will be deciding what to do. First option...one of my buddies is having a $50 buy-in 20 person max tournament which is always a good time. The downsides are the buy-in is a stretch for me, it's a 30 minute drive, and it's always past 1:00 am (if you're lucky) which is no fun for a working man. Second Option...I can play in a free tournament at a local restaurant with hopes of adding points towards a seat to the WSOP. Last week - the first for this restaurants tournament schedule - I came in 3rd out of 75 giving me a great start (as well as free beer to take home). The downside for this choice is there is no cash coming my way if I do well and it's a 15 - 20 week "regular season" so there is a lot of poker to be played in order to make it. I figure I'll give it a try in the first few weeks and if I can amass some points early I'll keep at it...otherwise I can definitely find better use with my time. Third and final option...with the new laptop I purchased on Sunday, I'm ready to jump on Party and cast my reel. It's been over a week since I played any online and I'm ready to go. It would be nice to just stay home with the fam and, before bed, play a couple of SNG's. I guess I'm leaning towards the online version tonight, but I'll just have to see. I've done well in the past at my buddies place, so I could be convinced to go there, but the laptop keeps calling my name...here's a pic of it...and no that's not me on the monitor...too much hair...
Grinning From Beer To Beer
Monday, February 14, 2005
Way too much beer consumption this weekend, but I'm feeling much better now. In fact, life just got a whole lot better around the TripJax household. I have broken many a chain this weekend and I feel ecstatic. Allow me to explain the series of events that lead to my loving life as I write these words. The wife is currently 7 month preggers. As a result we've recently decided to make some changes to the 3 bedroom house we live in. Prior to this weekend we had the master bedroom, boys bedroom, and an extra bedroom where I kept my clothes and the computer. In a pinch, since it had a futon in it, the extra bedroom made for a great passing out room for drunk buddies on the weekend. Well, over the weekend we turned the extra bedroom into our bedroom, moved boys room to our old room, and are working on finishing boys old room to be for the baby. Did you get all that? The main reason for doing this was the extra room is the largest of the house and also has 2 closets. In the end, it just made sense.
As a result of all this, I suddenly lost the space I had been using for my computer. My computer is a dinosaur and I was using 56k so it was almost always frustrating to say the least. So, I took a huge step and bought a laptop on Sunday. They were having an incredible deal and I just couldn't pass it up. Today I completed the deal by getting high speed internet service from our cable company here. I'm loving it being able to be online while sitting on the couch, watching 24 on Fox, and talking with the wife. So cool. Before, I had to leave everyone and go to the extra room to get online. I hated feeling like a recluse and giving up valuable family time. Now I can spend a little time on the computer each night while we hang out in the living room. And there is all kind of cool stuff for me and boy to do online. Of course, he wants to spend all his time on Blues Clues and Scooby-Doo websites...well, me too.
So, I leave you now so I can go download Empire, Party, and Pokerstars in order to play some poker. Oh yeah, that's another good reason for this new found kick ass computer...my poker game just got a whole lot better. Well, maybe not my play, but the speed is ssswwweeeeeettt.
I Heart You Holmes
Friday, February 11, 2005
Last night I played in a NL tournament held at a local brew pub here in Greensboro. The tourney was the first of what looks to be 20 tournaments culminating in a final tournament for those atop the leader board. The last man standing will either have a seat at the WSOP Main Event, or have a seat at a Satellite Tournament to get to the WSOP Main Event. Details are hazy, to say the least, but I'll explain more when I know more. Since poker is illegal in North Carolina, these tournaments are free to the players. However, the final 3 players each night are rewarded prizes from the establishment and the final 8 players are awarded points towards the final tournament.
As for last night, we were told only the first 50 to sign up would be able to play, however nearly 75 people were seated when it was time to play. Just before the tourney started, the owner came in and informed us that not only is the tournament free, but everyone could have the first beer on the house...provided it was one of the home brews. Interestingly, after the owner made this announcement, he promptly plopped his butt down at one of the tables and prepared to play. Guess I'd do the same thing if I were in his place. He's paying, so he should be playing. More on him later...
I will not bore you with a ton of hand explanations...except for one. This was the pivotal moment in the tourney for me. I had just been bad beated by a guy when the following hand came up. The guy who had bad beated me on the river raised it up in middle position. I looked down at A J of hearts and decided it was time to take action. The guy had committed about 60% of his stack on the raise, so I decided to put him all in. Of course he flips over rockets. Though the loss would not take me out, it would certainly put a dent in my above average chip stack. The flop brought 2 hearts and the 3rd heart came on the river. My buddy who had already been knocked out said, "somebody remembered it's almost Valentimes day baby!" In my head, when I was shaking the guys hand, I was saying, "I Heart You Holmes." That win put me in the top 5 in chips and I was able to coast to the final table. 9 people were at the final table, so 1 unlucky person would be on the bubble at that point. Over the next 45 minutes I watched as I did not get 1 playable hand, but moved up to at least 5th position as 4 other people got knocked out. I then started catching a few playable hands and or tried some steals and built my stack up quite a bit. It finally got down to the final 3 with myself, the restaurant owner, and this lady who had a massive chip stack, but barely knew what the hell she was doing. I ended up in 3rd place when, with a high open ended straight draw and a back door flush draw, I shoved 20k in the middle with over 20k out there already. I was hoping that the lady would bolt, but she had top pair and called my raise easily. I recall hearing "never try to bluff a bad player" on occasion and I guess "never try to semi-bluff a bad player" would be true too.
I must say I was pretty trashed by the end of it all, and I had a great time. By the time we were at the final table, the owner was giving free beers to anybody willing to drink them. I can't even recall how many pints I had. On top of that, he's interested in our weekly cash game and plans to bring a mini keg whenever he comes. In the honorable words of Cartman, from Southpark, "Sssswwwweeeeeetttt." When it was time to go, I asked what I won for coming in 3rd, and the event coordinator said 50 points towards the tournament final...whatever the hell that means. He then said I needed to ask the owner what my prize was from the restaurant. Clearly, they had not thought this through before hand because I asked him while he was still playing the tournament and he said, "how 'bout some beer?! I gladly obliged and ended up walking out the doors with 2 Growlers and a drunken smile on my face. A Growler is a jug that they fill up with their home brew. Each holds over 5 pints so I'll be getting fashizzle this weekend.
As I mentioned to a friend in an email earlier today, it's just like me to have one of my best live tournament showings when the stakes are $0 and the only thing I really walked out with is a hangover and more beer. Nice!
p.s. I recognize I mispelled Valentines as Valentimes, but it's cause my wife has said it that way all her life. Some of the things she says are a trip. In fact, in many ways she puts the Trip in TripJax. Can't wait to take her out this weekend for Valentimes Day.
Why Am I Here? **Unfunny Alert**
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
This post started with small expectations, but turned into a mini reflection on aspects of my life and how they follow up to where I am right now. Before this blog, I had not written in years...I don't recall ever having a journal. So I've suddenly found myself wanting to get things off my chest...funny/sad, good/bad. So read on, and I promise, there is poker content...you just have to give it some time. As mentioned above, this is an unfunny post, however that alert certainly does not qualify all my other posts as funny. I'm no comedian, nor am I a Rocket Surgeon. There I feel better now...
For as long as I can remember, I've had that extra something in my life that has made me happy. I don't mean God, family, friends, pets, or significant others...they are the most important things in my life...nuff said. I mean that addition to your life that changes things from the norm like a hobby, activity, or interesting job. Over time, as I've changed, that extra something has changed as well.
As a child, during the summer, my happiness revolved around the pool. I would wake up, go to the pool, and spend the entire day there. It was like a dream to me. Looking back, I'm amazed I didn't get hurt with all the crazy games we played. My parents were very trusting of me...not sure what they were thinking. But I was a good swimmer...not starting on the swim team good...just good. In the winter, my happiness was in video games. If I wasn't in school, I was playing a video game of some sorts. And I was good at them...not going to some national video gaming convention good...just good.
During middle school (6th - 8th grade) my happy place was on the basketball court or baseball field. As I made the move towards high school I - in what felt like a weekend - grew to over 6'1'. This made basketball a more viable option for me and certainly didn't hurt my game one bit. I was good at basketball...not starting on the high school team good...just starting on the church team good.
In college my happy place was at the University gym. I worked and played there. For work, I spent my time either supervising the weight room or the front desk. For play, I spent my time on the basketball or racquetball courts or lifted weights. I grew to love racquetball...and I was good...not professionnal good...but intramural champ good. During my senior year in college I landed an internship with the New York Yankees Single A affilliate, Greensboro Bats. As I progressed from student to alum, that internship blossomed into a full time job as the Operations Manager of the Bats. Suddenly, my happy place became my job. I loved baseball and couldn't believe I was getting paid - albeit small change at the time - to work at and spend time in a baseball stadium. And I was good at my job...yeah...I was good. The toughest thing that I had to deal with around this time was fully tearing both my ACL and MCL. I went from playing any and every sport I could, to feeling helpless.
As I fast track this post through that point to current day...approximately 7 years...I'm starting to realize a lot has happened to me. In that time, I met the most incredible girl and, to my amazement, married her in 1999. She is a dream to me and sometimes I have to remind myself (and her) how lucky I am. Around the same time of our marriage, I started a new career in the Financial Services industry. 2004 marked a 5 year anniversary for my marriage and job...both of which I'm very proud of (yes honey, I'm much more proud of our marriage). Along the way my wife and I managed to have and raise Jaxon (or as I call him, Boy) who is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. He is now 4 and is the friggin man. If you haven't noticed, my handle here and online when playing poker is TripJax...he's my boy so I had to represent. Now we are set to have baby #2, a girl, in April. She will no doubt be the next greatest thing to happen to me.
Somewhere along the way though - from my childhood to now - I found that something was missing. I was extremely happy with my family, friends, and life in general, but I was missing that extra thing that brought happiness to my life. I didn't know what it was or how it went missing, but I knew something wasn't 100% right. In reflection I now know what was missing...actively being a part of sports and games. Friends and family may beg to differ with all the sports I watch on T.V., but that's not what I'm talking about. Being in the game and having the rush is what I missed.
Which brings me to some poker content damnit!
In 2002 I saw the WSOP in which Robert Varkony, a 1st time tournament player who won a super satellite, won the main event. At that time in my life I had played numerous dealers choice home games, but never an organized tournament. The 2002 WSOP was what started it all for me. I remember thinking the first time I turned the channel to the show, that based on the poor production and horribly dressed players, it had to be a show from the late 80's or early 90's. I couldn't believe it when they flashed on the screen 2002 WSOP. Regardless, I was excited to watch the action of each hand and amazed at the real dollar stakes involved. Yeah...I was hooked. Unknowingly, this was the first time I got to experience the oddity that is Phil Hellmuth Jr. I remember thinking that no matter what was happening in the tourney, he found a way to make it about him. Even though he had already been knocked out. If you have not seen it keep a look out on ESPN Classic as they show it there on occasion.
Soon after my work buddies and I were playing tourneys about once a month...ususally $5 or $10 stakes. Then they became every couple of weeks...usually $20 stakes. Over the last couple of years they have progressed to cash games and tourneys almost any day of the week...stakes anywhere from $25NL cash games to $50 - $100 buy-in tourneys. Needless to say, I never have to worry about playing, even with it being illegal in N.C. I do however span my play out so I'm not playing too much, thus not missing out on the rest of life as we know it. In other words, it's rare that I will play live 2 times a week. Usually once during the week and then a little online whenever I have the time. Along the way - more than anyone I know - I feel I've worked the hardest to grow my game and become a better player. But I do it because I truly enjoy it. I'm sure I bug some of my close friends when talking poker, though I've tried as of late to keep my poker conversations to a minimum. Not everybody is as enthusiastic for the game as me...no doubt.
So now, after all this set up, I get to the question at hand...Why Am I Here? Right here, right now...writing this blog and doing what I do as it relates to poker. And now I know, it's because this is my happy place. I know that sounds cheesy, but it's true. This is where I come to write about something that interests me. And more importantly, I'm doing something I did not think I could do. I'm writing about my life. I'm writing about something that I enjoy. And I'm writing something that might just make it to someone elses monitor...and maybe...just maybe...they will agree. And if not, at least they had a chance to decide for themselves.
I've read a little bit recently - at a few of the poker blogs - about the growing number of poker blogs out there and the questionable reasons for their entry into the community. Though I did not write this post on that situation, I think my question Why Am I Here? inadvertently follows that path. I'm here because I want to be. I'm here because it's right for me, and if people choose to read my words, then it's right for them too. The first time I read HDouble, I was happy. And the day he wrote in his blog that the words on one of my posts made his day, he in return, made my day. And the day I found out Iggy had linked me on his site, I was happy. A few days ago, when I read his blog and found out one of his friends had passed away, I was profoundly sad. I think it may have been that post that prompted me to write this post. I guess I needed to understand why this whole thing is important to me and why other peoples words were having an affect on me. As I mentioned, my closest friends know that I love the game and that this is just another outlet for me to express my feelings on whatever I choose. I guess I just needed to write it out to understand it myself.
So here I am. I'm writing about and playing poker...I'm not a professional nor do I profess to be...I'm just good at being myself and playing my game. When it's good it's good, and when it's bad I deal with it. But more importantly I understand now, I needed that extra something, and it turns out poker is that extra something...and the words that hit this page....they are my happy place.
The Wife Is On To Me
Monday, February 07, 2005
My wife was jokingly giving me a hard time the other day due to the amount of poker content I either had recorded or have set to record on our cable DVR box. I think, at the time, I had 3 or 4 shows already recorded and close to 35 set to record. I am not actively seeking out every show, but rather letting the system find the content for me. Therefore, most times I immediately delete an item after realizing I have already seen it 48 times. Still, I must look like a freak in her eyes. She knows I dig the stuff though so it's all good. She's not afraid to have 4 or 5 Days Of Our Lives or Law & Orders on there so she can only talk so much.
As for some of the shows I have yet to see...I'm excited to see the finale of the Poker Superstars that was shown at 4pm Sunday on NBC. Might try and catch that one tonight if wifey passes out early. I should also have an Ultimate Poker Challenge on there as well as a Battle of the Sexes from the Game Channel. A few comments on both...UPC is horribly produced, but in the end it's poker so I watch it. I wish they did a better job of explaining what the people at the final table win. They just have not taken the time to really make the show better...hopefully next year. I shouldn't really expect much since it is on UPN. As for the Battle of the Sexes, I have to agree with Mean Gene that the commentary is absolutely atrocious. Why they hired Kennedy to be the voice of the women is beyond me. Much like UPC, it's still poker so I watch it, but I'm damn near turning the mute button on whenever they comment. As for the dress of all the players, they must be paying bonuses for any of the ladies who show some skin. Evy Baby and Gazes have been showing their assets every show. And Jett was not afraid to lower the shirt on the first installment as well. Hope this isn't where poker shows are headed, but we'll just have to see. This post was not meant to critique all the shows out there, so I'm gonna stop now. I get on a random thought run and have to catch myself. Time for dinner with the wife and boy. Then hopefully some poker on tv and then some SNG's. Oh, over the weekend I got knocked out on the bubble the 2 times I played. Bastardos!
Playing Stud Poker Does Not Make You A Stud
Friday, February 04, 2005
First of all...I'm an idiot...again.
The recent WPBT was my first experience with Pokerstars so I'm slowly but surely learning to navigate their system. As I mentioned in a previous post, after getting knocked out around 40th in the WPBT, I had not gotten my poker fix, so I started searching the tables and found the Heads Up section. Played a guy and ended up winning some cash. Last night I decided I would give that another try before I went to bed. It was around 11:00pm already so I figured I could finish a NL heads up match relatively quickly. Much like Party, I was easily frustrated when every time I tried to register for a table, someone would get there quicker. It's my own fault for having a dinosaur for a computer and a 56k modem, but damn I would like for them to figure something out to make it better. Anyway, I finally caught a break and hit a $10 NL Hold'em table. Uuuuuhhhh...scratch that...why am I all of a sudden getting 2 cards down and 1 card up? Like a dumbass, I thought I was clicking on the NL Hold'em game and clicked on a Limit Stud Hi/Lo game.
Immediately I went into recovery mode...can I leave the table....nope. Can I find a Pokerstars rep for help...nope. So instead, I jokingly entered into the chat box, "I'm an idiot, clicked on the wrong game. I've never played this game so go easy on me." Never heard a peep from the other guy. In hind sight, I'm sure he thought I was just BSing him by saying that. However, my showing confirmed my idiocy, so I hope he didn't walk away from that table thinking he was some high and mighty player. I on the other hand played like a bottom dwelling fishhead. I called so many freaking hands with ass cards, I deserved what I got. In the back of my head, I was justifying my bad play because it was not my strongest form of poker. But honestly, through home games and such I've probably played almost every brand of poker. So I knew what I was doing after about the first 3 minutes. My brain, however, decided it was time to look like a gorilla was playing in my spot. My wife came in to check on how I was doing, and when I said I had clicked on a stud game by accident, she gave me a pretty weird look. She knows as much about poker as I know about make-up...nadda...so I can imagine when her husband told her he was playing a stud game, she was a bit confused. In that moment, I certainly did not feel like a stud...
In the end, the action was so slow it felt like a doctor was sticking me with a needle, but taking 1 hour to take it back out. If you are looking for a quick game to play before you hit the sack...limit Stud Hi/Lo is not the place to be. I love Omaha Hi/Lo, but I always prepare myself before I go into a tournament cause I know it could be a while. So in the end it was $10 down the pipe, but I'm still at the level I was at after the WPBT so it's all good. Plus I now have added another aspect of poker playing to my game in case I want to play it again. For now I think I'll grind a few games out this weekend...maybe even hit some ring games instead of tourneys. And as always, there's a good chance there'll be a live game somewhere...
My Two Cents: Poker Nation
Thursday, February 03, 2005
If you've followed me on my journey you know that I try not to pimp any fellow bloggers until I have thoroughly read their blog from beginning to current. For some bloggers, this has required printing out and reading loads of content. This is beginning to to be tough for me, so I may have to lower my expectations, but still read as much as I can. I just find there are more bloggers I want to link and I have to step it up to do so. So far I have no complaints as each and every blog I have pimped and subsequently linked has been quite enjoyable to read. Hope the trend continues
If you read my previous post you know I was having trouble getting set up with Pokerstars. I was finally able to work it all out with a buddy of mine by getting him to transfer me money from his stars account...I then gave him the cash. The game started on time and...yeeesh...things happened so fast. I won the first pot, skipped the second hand, and then ended up all in vs. Predator from Poker Quest on the 3rd hand. I called his raise with K J and had a good flop with K J hitting the felt. Little did I know he had hit his straight. I hit another J on the turn to fill me up and seconds later I had doubled up at his expense. I felt real bad about how quickly he went out, but I had to move on...being a Party player I was lost in trying to figure out the Stars system and everything was happening so fast. Luckily, I was now the cheap leader and had some wiggle room to take it easy a bit. A quick moment to write about Poker Quest...
I had seen the Poker Quest site briefly before, but have not had a chance to read it as I've been caught up in trying to read backlogs of other poker blogs. I checked it out today and it looks like he has some good stuff going on over there. I'm gonna have to read some of his stuff and then link him. Hopefully he'll link me up as well. Either way, he's got a new reader.
So, with the elation out of the way, I settled in to a slower pace and remained cheap leader for most of the first 30 minutes. Then came the beginning of the frustration portion of this post. No longer having RoadRunner high speed online, I recently purchased a V92 modem that allows phone calls to come in...you can choose whether to take the call or not. I forgot about this service when I started the tournament and around 9:30 received a phone call from a friend. Unfortunately, when you are making your decision whether to answer or not, it temporarily disconnects you and then reconnects you. I had just gotten A Q clubs when I got disconnected and then it would not reconnect to the PokerStars network. For the next 25 minutes I worked to get logged back into the system and my table to no avail. Finally, after what felt like days, I was able to get back on. In that time, though my chip stack had only gone down a little from the blinds, I had relinquished the cheap lead and was down to around 15th. At that point I tried to reason with myself that it may have saved me some chips and bought me some precious time. I still felt like an idiot not having turned the modem on hold option off. Alas, I moved on.
Right off the bat I had trips go down against a fullhouse. Later on, and for the second time, I had a J on the turn help me out. I was all in with J J vs. Q Q and that J saved me. The strangest occurrence of the night for me was when someone had just lost with a strong hand and I commented in the chat box something to the tune of, "man strong hands like Q Q have been losing all night." Immediately after hitting the enter button to send that message I got Q Q. So what did I do...being well below the average chip stack, and with one raiser, I went all-in. It ends up being 3 of us in the hand....K K...Q Q...9 9. Kings held up and I thought I was out, but the other 2 actually had less chips than me so I still had about 1500 left. Nothing else of interest really happened for me and I ended up getting knocked out around 40th place with K Q spades against A 8 spades when nothing came to help me. Not having gotten my poker fill for the night - and posssibly day dreaming of the final table - I decided to try out the heads-up tables. I beat a guy for $10 so I at least got half my buy-in back.
Over all it was a good time. I'm so glad to have met some of the fellow poker bloggers and I'm glad I got to experience my first WPBT. I'll be back for more for sure. Now it's time to focus on my SNG game. Also, I'm due to pimp Poker Nation...it's been in my Draft box for a while. I just haven't had time to put the final touches on it. Congrats to whoever won and I'll see you all at the next one.
Last Night Good - Tonight Potentially Bad
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Let me start with tonight. I've been a Party player for over 2 years now, but this morning I downloaded PokerStars at home and began the arduous task of trying to add money quickly...all in hopes of being ready for my first WPBT. I know it's last minute, but I didn't think I was going to be able to play until recently. Seeing that Stars offerred NetTeller, I was happy as I thought I was good to go with them. Well, I have all my info screwed up. Over at Party, where I thought I was set up with NetTeller, I'm actually set up with IGM eCheck. It's a great service because it is instant and there is no charge...plus they verified my info quickly. As for NetTeller, way back when I first opened my Party account, I set up NetTeller, but was never able to use it. Regardless, they still have me on record with old info. Trying to update my info with them has been horrible today...and even if I get it done I think I'm still 2 days away from being able to deposit. So today, in a last ditch effort, I've been trying to call all my poker buddies to see if I can transfer $50 to them from my Party account to their Party account. In return, if they have $50 in their Stars account they could then transfer it to me. This would be instant and thus, I would be on my way. So far, none of my buddies has a Stars account funded...uuuggghhh...damnit they need to start winning.
In the past year I went through a string of 5 straight tournaments where I finished on the bubble. It was the same situation every time...a hefty stack until the final table where I go cold carded and watch as a desperate all in bet to stay alive is doused with lighter fluid and set ablaze. I was really starting to question my game at that point. Was I playing too safe just hoping to at least place in the last money spot? Was I being too picky with my starting hands? Or were the cold cold cards just happening too much for me to do anything about my situation. I finally decided it was a mix of all...but I also threw in the addition of an extremely aggressive blind structure in the later rounds that didn't help. Hard to call a big blind of 1200 when you've got 3000 in front of you and a K 9 unsuited. Right around the time I hit the wall of playing well, but seeing no results, I decided to take it easy for a while. Well, to be exact, my bank account decided for me. Over the next 4 months, as you know if you've read my posts, I played virtually no poker. Until now...segue back to last night.
Down to the final 5 and again I'm lowest in chips. However, I still had over 10,000 in chips with the big blind not even at 1000 yet. So, it was time to get rolling, but if I could pick up a few pots I would be alright. Which is exactly what I did, but usually to split with someone else when I had the low. This was o.k. with me though because most of the time 1 or 2 other players were calling down the the bets. Finally, after about 30 minutes of chip exchanging, the low stack went all in for his last 5000 and had 2 callers. Crazily enough, the other 2 players began a battle for the side pot with one of them eventually all in. This was real good for me since low stacks hand couldn't be that great against these guys who are pushing the action. As I had hoped, the chip leader had the best Hi and Lo hand and took the entire pot, thus knocking out 2 players at once. Just like that I was getting 3rd prize money no matter what. I played well for quite a while when we were down to 3, but I got into an aggressive hand with another guy when I had A A 4 4...by the time I blinked my eyes I was all in and he was calling. He ended up with a straight on the river to take the high and he had A 3 in his hand to take the low. Just like that I was out in 3rd....more than tripled my buy in which was nice. Wouldn't you know it, immediately after I went out the other 2 guys split the remainder. Wish I had tried to split it 3 ways, but I can't complain.
I'm Back Baby or Taxes Not So Taxing
Tuesday, February 01, 2005
A short post today. If you read my previous post you know I was happy to find Party had deposited $50 into my account with no strings attached. I've played 4 SNG's so far and won 2 of them so the good times keep a rolling. Hoping the trend continues tonight as I'm headed to one of my buddies house for a PL Omaha HiLo tournament. Looks like about 18 guys for this one. Also, I'm gonna open up a PokerStars account tonight in hopes that I can get the account funded in time for the WPBT tomorrow. However, I just had a fellow co-worker tell me I might not have given myself enough time to get a deposit in. I am set up with NetTeller, but he doesn't think PokerStars takes them. I'm really bummed if that's the case as I had finally worked out being able to play in the tournament...would have been my first WPBT...we'll see...
As for why taxes are not so taxing...though they suck all year long...for the first time in a number of years I'm actually getting a decent amount back. Guess marriage, babies, and houses are finally paying off. Now let's play some poker...
I'll write more about my chances of playing the WPBT when I know more. Cross your fingers for me...I've finally got the money to deposit, but not sure if I've given myself enough time. Damnit! I'll know more when I get home from work in just a little while.