Online Poker On TV
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
I have a strange idea, but I want to throw it out there to see what my readers think. It could have numerous positive ramifications for online poker, while at the same time, probably cause a bit of a stink. Usually anything that causes a stink on the news or television at least causes some publicity. So here it is...
I think a channel like The Game Show Network should start a weekly show about online poker. There are poker sites that seem willing to pony up advertising cash *cough* PokerStars and Full Tilt *cough*. While this show could have many facets, such as strategy and discussion, my original thought was to highlight, or even replay, certain portions of the large weekly and monthly guarantee tournaments.
For those that don't know, certain tournaments on PokerStars have replay and are shown at a later date on the site, with the hole cards showing. Maybe I'm just a poker dork, but how cool would it be to have a television show where strategy and other aspects of online tournaments and cash games are discussed on TV.
It may seem crazy, and I'm sure there are many things that would have to happen before it would fly, but I think it would be really cool to see a show like this. If you don't think there is a market for it, let me mention two things. First, there is a weekly show dedicated to Madden football on Playstation or XBox. That's right, a show where they basically show two people playing a video football game Second, there are channels that have shows completely dedicated to showing video games being played.
Now, I haven't been living in a hole for the last year, so I know the current landscape of online poker in the U.S. is rocky, to say the least. I realize that everything surrounding online poker seems to be a mess right now. However, things like this could be exactly what a poker site -and online poker in general - needs. People need to see that online poker is legit. They need to find out that it's not just bums, punks and corporations out to fleece America. They need to know that online poker is not the evil that must be stopped.
Do you think PokerStars wouldn't love to see their games on a TV show for all to see? And then show commercials to PokerStars.Net. And how about the network that produces the show. They would probably get a ton of press for tackling something that is a touchy subject out there. Like I said, in todays day and age, even bad press is usually good press. Just ask Keeley Hazell and the other 592 people who have a sex tape out there.
Here is something I can't answer myself, but maybe you, dear reader, can help with. I know you can't advertise the online poker dot com sites in commercials, but I wonder what the logistics are for showing online poker on television. You can show regular cash games and tournaments on TV, so why not online tournaments? It would not be an advertisement, so I'm not sure if there would be any grey area to work with. Let's keep in mind, as I'm to understand, the act of playing poker online is not illegal (depending on the state you live in), it is just the transfer of funds that is now in question.
Somebody slap me around if I'm totally missing it on that last point. I guess what I'm getting at is what are the rules for what can be shown on television. I see live poker on television 24 hours a day. I see horse racing periodically, including the betting involved. I see shows completely dedicated to the lottery or even Fantasy Football. Why not online poker?
Whatever the case, whether it is feasible or just a pipe dream, I at least think it is a topic that could stir the pot some.
Until next time, may the felt be with you.
The Asian Equation
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Yesterday morning I got a call on my work phone from one of my buddies, Eric "The Asian Equation" Ng. He is a former co-worker and someone I have played poker with for years. He was calling to let me know he played the Borgata WPT Event #8 and had made it to the final 18.
Play started on Tuesday and went into Wednesday morning, until they were down to 18. He said, after a long day of poker, he finally passed out around 4am and was already awake at 8:30am when he called me. Play was set to start back at 2pm on Wednesday and he was going to call me and let me know how things went. At around 4pm I got a call and I was expecting to be owed $1 after his bad beat story on how he missed out on the final table.
Instead, he was calling to let me know he made it to the final table and they were on a 10 minute break. Unfortunately, he was next to last in chips and would have to make a move pretty early when play started back. Around 5pm I got the final call to let me know he went out 8th out of 650+ players. He made a stand with A 9 in the BB and was called by the chip leader who had K J. The flop looked promising, but the turn was a King to send him packing.
The buy-in was $500 and he pocketed a little under 10k. Not bad. Not bad at all. He mentioned he was up 20k for the week (he's a blackjack whore) and was going to try and satellite into the main event, which starts on Friday. Hopefully I'll get another phone call about his making it into the main event.
I've been waiting for Cardplayer to update their results, so some of the numbers above will be incorrect or just an estimate until I can confirm exact details. I'll come back and update this post with the links once it is updated.
This has nothing to do with the above tourney or a tourney I've been in. It is just a type of hand I've been thinking about and wanted to get thoughts from my readers. You are in a tournament with a hefty guaranteed prize pool. You've made it into the money, but the candy doesn't really taste sweet until the final table. There are 27 players remaining and you are 5th in chips with about 300k. The top 5 in chips are as follows.
1st - 550k
2nd - 350k
3rd - 325k
4th - 310k
5th - 300k
After you, the chip stacks drop pretty dramatically to the low 200k and below. Strangely enough, of the 27 remaining, you are seated with the chip leader (Mr. 1st) and the player 3rd in chips (Mr. 3rd). Blinds are 3000/6000 with a 300 ante. It folds to you on the button and you make a standard 3 x the BB raise to 18,000 with A 7 spades. Mr. 3rd, in the SB, makes the call, as does Mr. 1st who is in the BB.
The flop comes 5s 6s 7c giving you top pair, top kicker, as well as the nut flush draw. It goes check, check to you and you make a close to pot size bet of 55,000. Surprisingly, Mr. 3rd announces all-in and Mr. 1st only takes a few seconds before announcing call.
If you call and win, you will be a monster chip leader with over 900k in chips, with the next closest at 350k. If you fold, you will still be in the top 5 in chips, and still above 200k. Blinds will be changing to 4000/8000 with 400 ante within 15 minutes of your decision.
What is your move and why?
TripJax, CineJax and ScriptJax
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
As the future of our little online poker world remains in limbo of late, I've decided to focus on a few other things in life. I haven't played poker in a couple of days and that has not bothered me at all. While I am very disappointed and concerned about the state of online poker, I'm trying not to let it destroy the enjoyment I get out of poker in general, as well as this blog. That said, I should be back at the online tables soon and am planning some live home game poker as well.
So other than poker, what have I been doing lately? Well, because I know the world needs one more blog, I've decided to start another one. Specifically, I started CineJax, a movie review blog. I can hear the crickets chirping already. Don't expect anything stellar out of this little project, but if you find yourself looking for something to watch (or possibly avoid), then drop by on occasion to see what I'm thinking. I will occasionally link to it from this blog as a reminder when I have a new review. This is not a review for money blog, just a side project for me to have a little fun with.
Strangely enough, my latest review is of High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story. So there's that.
At the tail end of last year, I also started another blog in an attempt to write a story. I originally named it Jax-tu-pose, but that was a little over the top, so I've renamed it ScriptJax. I think that name keeps with the "Jax" theme well. As for my first story, I finished Chapter One with no issues, but then I hit a big fat plot problem. I guess that's what I get for starting a story that was still incomplete in my head. I've been mulling the plot over for the last month and just recently started chapter two after working out some kinks. I hope to have it out by Monday.
For those of you who commented on Chapter One, thank you and I apologize for it taking so long to spit out Chapter Two.
If you look at the top of my blog header, you'll see a "Check It:" section. That's where I'm keeping any and all of my side projects. TripJax is still my main baby, but sometimes I need a break from poker.
On a side note, I have no visions of grandeur with these blog projects, but I have been thinking that I should put some type of copyright on my blog projects. I recall reading something a while back about creative commons, but I'm not sure what that is. Can anyone please comment and point me in the right direction for protecting the tripe that I write on this internet thing. Well, that is it for today. I have a few poker posts in draft form and should have them out later this week.
Until next time, may the felt be with you.
Monday, January 22, 2007
On January 16th, 2007, Blogorrhea was the Urban Word Of The Day over at Urban Dictionary. I got a chuckle out of it when I originally read it, and have been planning to post about it here, but decided to save it for a day when I was having my own case of blogorrhea.
Dear readers, this post is worthless and should be placed directly on the poker blog porcelain pooper. So lets just cut to the crap, shall we? And, yes, that pun was absolutely intended. Here are the definitions directly from their site.
To write a blog entry just for the sake of posting an entry, not because you have done anything interesting today.
"I couldn't really think of anthing good to blog about, so my last post was real blogorrhea."2. Blogorrhea
A blog characterized by excessive commenting on irrelevant facts. We say that the blogger suffers from uncontrollable verbal discharge or blogorrhea."This guy's blog is full of useless crap. It is like his brain just burst with projectile blogorrhea."
That's good stuff.
Until next time, may the felt be with you.
Damn The Man
Thursday, January 18, 2007
If you read my post from yesterday, then you know I'm having a bit of Blogger PMS. My company has blocked the Blogger web site from our internet access. As we all learned a while back, blogs are indeed gay. However, would you like to know what is the absolute gayest? People who block other people from reading and writing gay blogs. Their gayness knows no bounds.
The good news...the workaround (not to be confused with reacharound) I used yesterday did work, so I can still publish to my blog from Google Docs & Spreadsheets (GD&S) to Blogger. The bad news...as I predicted, there are still a few flaws. Mainly, even if the GD&S document has a title, it does not transfer to the post. This means there is no permalink and no URL for each blog post.
If I write and/or publish a post from work, what I now have to do is update the post with a title when I get home. This is a little bit annoying, but worth it if there are no other issues. The only other known issue I have write now that still chaps my ass is I can't comment on my own and most other blogs.
On a side note, thanks to the folks who commented yesterday to help me out. I think I'm now good to go, but I'll definitely let you all know if there are any further problems.
It seems my recent move from Blogger to Blogger Beta came with with a few consequences as well. Primarily, it looks as though I may have lost some readers who had me set on their RSS feeds. BigSlickNuts mentioned we should spread the word so folks will know to check and update their RSS Feeds. Good lookin' out BSN. For those interested, here is my feed.
Not to confuse *cough*, but Blogger became Blogger Beta, but is now no longer in Beta, so it is just Blogger. I think I'll probably go with Old Blogger and New Blogger in order to make things crystal clear. It's sort of like saying America and America Jr.
With Neteller gone, it looks like I'll be looking for a new e-wallet. Dragonystic mentioned Click2Pay, so methinks I'll give them a go. The reality of all this Neteller shit set in last night when I tried to deposit money from Neteller onto Mansion. I got the big middle finger from their software. I know this doesn't look good, but I certainly am hoping for something positive to happen soon. I keep wanting to see companies call the bluff, but instead I keep seeing fold, fold, fold.
Here's something I've been wondering about. Would it be feasible for a site like PokerStars to buyout (or create) an e-wallet/transfer agent and effectively use them as a sister company to handle all 3rd party transfers. This would assure that their processing would continue and they would have a say in the reactions the company makes toward the laws. I guess the issue would still become how you get the money to that e-wallet if the banks stop allowing transfers to and from that particular e-wallet. I know the powers that be will figure things out, but this will be interesting to watch as it unfolds.
Until next time, may the felt be with you.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Well, it finally happened. I was wondering when the day would finally come, and yesterday, it did. I strolled into work, got my morning items out of the way, then decided to submit a post I had drafted in blogger, but had yet to publish. I clicked on the Blogger tab under my favorites and there it was...a redirect to an internal web page with the following message...
The site you have attempted to access may be classified as unsuitable under the Firm's Internet and Electronic Communications policies, and accordingly, access has been denied.
The fuck noted above was not part of the warning, though that would be pretty funny. No, that's me noting fuck cause now I'm unhappy to quite unhappy (somewhere in the middle). I know why the firm is blocking me, but I don't have to be happy about it. I knew the day would come, but up until yesterday I was knee deep in brogger freedom. It's not like I'm posting Keeley Hazell slopping pole or notes on how to punch and/or fuck a donkey (not that there's anything wrong with that). Nope, I'm just shelling out lame drivel every few days that a few people choose to read at their leisure.
Mind you, this certainly isn't the end of TripJax and brogging. I just have to be a little more creative with my workarounds or, at the very least, wait until I get home to publish my posts. However, that's just fucking annoying and not exactly on my list of things to do. I should note, for the last few months, I've been writing up my posts either in Microsoft Word or in Google Docs & Spreadsheets (GD&S). I do this so I never stand the chance of Blogger eating my posts. Along the way, I've found a cool work around that might be my answer to being unable to log into Blogger.
Specifically, there is a function that allows you to write up your posts in GD&S and publish them directly from GD&S to Blogger. It's early in the game and they clearly have some kinks to work out, but I have my hopes set on high that it will work out. The kinks seem to be somewhat random. For instance, my post One Hundy K Wit Overlay was written in GD&S and published to Blogger with no problems. However, when I found out yesterday that I was blocked from Blogger, I attempted to post my One Hundy K Wit Overlay, Part 2 to no avail.
I did some research and found out that using the publish function to Blogger Beta, which I am now on, is currently hit and miss. I have no doubt Google will figure out the kinks posthaste. Apparently it can come down to having a certain symbol or character in a post that will not transfer from GD&S to Blogger. Also, I think there may be issues with the title of the post showing up if you use the publish function directly from GD&S. This can be an issue in that it won't create a permalink for each post. If you don't see any titles from my posts early on, you'll know why.
I think if I can get this workaround to, erm, work, then it might be a great option for other broggers out there who have similar issues. For instance, I believe GCox currently writes a post up in his email, forwards it to his home email, then posts it when he gets home. Well now he may be able to just use GD&S and publish it right from work. I've got to figure some things out, but I'll let you all know how things go.
One of the biggest things I'm disappointed in is I can no longer comment on my own or other blogs while at work. Whenever I needed a break from the grind of the day, I would fire up my Google Reader, run through some posts, and leave a comment as needed. That is effectively kiboshed.
I decided not to play in the 100k on Mansion last night. After two straight nights of grinding it out at that and other tourneys, I needed a break. Also, over the past weekend, not only had I played in numerous tournaments and SNG's, but I logged about 2500 hands at Poker.com. I signed up for them recently to do some bonus whoring. Specifically, I have my eye on an iPod Video at PokerSavvy.com. We'll see how my journey goes towards acquiring one of those puppies. Usually I set out to purchase something like an iPod, but end up just taking cash and putting it towards my bankroll or bills. This is something I really need to work on. If I set out to accomplish something, I should stick with it.
When bonus clearing I typically take the safest path. My cash game needs work, so I don't typically put myself in a situation to donk off all my deposit right off the bat. That said, I usually find the right limit and format that will allow me to clear the bonus in a decent time frame, but on my terms. I've been 4 tabling the 6-max limit tables since joining Poker.com and it has been a nice experience. The first day I played I was getting hammered by huge hands. It was not a good start. However, at the tail end of the weekend, I could do no wrong. We'll see if the trend continues.
Of all the hands I've played there so far, one truly stands out. I had 57s in the BB and it folded around to the SB who called. We saw a flop of 4 6 8 rainbow, giving me the flopped nut straight. I bet and he called. The turn was an Ace completing the rainbow board and assuring no flush would hit the river. This is where it got interesting. Maybe it is my lack of time at the cash game limit tables, but we ended up getting into a raising war that went on and on. I initially was thinking it would get capped, but apparently if you are heads up, you can just keep re-raising each other.
I believe we must have put in 10 or more re-raises until the pot was nice and juicy. Eventually, he decided to just call my raise. The river was harmless to me and we got into another raise and rereaise war, albeit smaller than the turn battle. Once the betting was over, I was expecting for us to flip over the same hand. Instead, I show my hand and the full pot came my way.
At this point, instead of mucking, he decides to show me his hand. Unbelievably, he had AJo. He got into an absolute raising war with me with a pair of Aces, Jack kicker. Prior to that hand, of the 4 tables I was playing, that was the only table I had been taking a beating. Once the hand was over, I had recouped my losses, plus a hefty amount more. What a genius. I had to laugh when he typed in the chat, "vnh." Man I loves me some idiots.
Well, that will have to do it for me today. A few notes before I go. If this post does not show up until after 5pm EST, you'll know I'm still having problems with my workaround and had to wait and publish it until I made it home. If it does show up this morning, but if the format looks strange, then you'll know I'm having problems with my title and permalinks. Either way I'll probably be fixing my posts when I get home each day.
Until next time, may the felt be with you.
One Hundy K Wit Overlay, Part 2
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
If you read my last post, then you are aware of my recent adventures into the 100k at Mansion. On Sunday night I ended up finishing 85th out of 517 entrants, 31 spots from the money. I felt I played well, lost one key hand, and was looking forward to giving it another go on Monday night.
I did end up playing last night and again, managed to go deep, but came just short of the money. This time I finished 81st out of 563 entrants, only 18 spots from the money. Frustrating, but not much else I could do. As I've mentioned before, I'm not playing these things to barely break into the money. The starting money spots were $200 payouts with the final table paying in the thousands ($24,000 for 1st place).
I will say it is tough getting so deep into a tournament, being on the cusp of ITM, then watching it all fade away with one hand. However, I know I'm playing a good game and will see the light of day if I keep at it. I played well last night, but there's always room for improvement. The buy-in and payouts are not causing me to play scared or a different game. The main adjustment I've had to make is my early game.
The players so far seem much more happy to raise very large early in the tournament, which makes it difficult to get into hands that I would normally like to limp and catch monsters with. This has kept me from chipping up early if I'm not getting rock steady cards. I definitely have to adjust my play some to combat this. It's just tough when you hold 89 suited with blinds at 10/20 or 15/30 and someone raises to 300. This is very tough to play against when you only start with 2500 in chips.
On my last hand of the tournament, we were close to the money, but I was still needing to pick up some chips or I would fade fast. I had about 7k in chips and the average was creeping towards 17k. With the blinds at 400/800, I raised to 2000 in middle position with 9 9 after it folded to me. The player to my immediate left called and we were the only players to see a flop of 8 8 8. At this point, there was 5560 in the pot and I was first to act. I pushed my remaining chips in and felt good about the situation. I figure if he had a higher pair than I, he would have pushed me out preflop since he had me out chipped. I also figured if he called with Ace Big he would let it go. If I could get him to call with a lower pair there, I would be back in the game.
At this point, he went into the tank. Keep in mind, at Mansion they don't have a time bank and you have to act rather quickly, but he took every bit of his time available. When he didn't make the immediate call I was starting to feel real good about my hand. I even typed in the chat to DNasty that I must be good. That is until he made the call with QQ. Goodnight, good game, and goodbye me. Alas, it was again not to be.
Last night we had numerous bloggers going for the prize, but they unfortunately didn't fair any better than I. I happened to see the way Chad went out pretty early, and it was ugly. He had QQ vs. A8 all-in pre-flop and the joker caught an Ace. I couldn't believe he called Chad's all-in there, but that is the norm in this tourney. You have to dodge bullets left and right. In the end, I was the last hope for the poker broggers and the above hand mentioned earlier sealed my fate. I'm looking forward to giving this one a go soon, assuming the overlay is still juicy.
Okay folks, that will have to do it for me for today.
Until next time, may the felt be with you.
One Hundy K Wit Overlay
Monday, January 15, 2007
On the heels of a certain poker blogger winning the Mansion 100k Guarantee on Saturday night, I was primed to make my run for the same nice payday. When I signed up last night with 3 hours before start time, there were only 97 entrants. I had a good feeling the overlay would be juicy, much like its been since they started these things. As it were, by the tourney start time, I was happy to see only 517 entrants leaving $48,300 for Mansion to pony up. Sweet Lincoln's Mullet that is some serious overlay. Of the 517 entrants, 54 would be paid, though the sweet spot was obviously not until the final table.
My starting table was very timid, save for one guy who was raising his fair share. I didn't plan to make any magical moves in the beginning unless it just made sense. Turns out nothing made much sense early. I wasn't getting any hands to play and when I got a hand I would normally want to get in with if in the right position, there would be a huge raise in front. I hovered around my starting stack for most of the first hour.
As the blinds were increasing, my stack was decreasing and I finally found myself down to 900 in chips, after a high of around 4000. In the BB, and down to 900 in chips, I had 7 4 offsuit and figured I was going to push if it was limped to me. A big stack raised and I had no fold equity so I decided to let it go. I'm glad I did. On the next hand, in the small blind, I wake up with QQ and double up through the BB.
From there I went on a mini heater and found myself at around 18k in chips 2 hours into the tourney. We were down to a little over 100+ players and the blinds were getting huge. This was the time for me to build my chips up for a nice run at the final table. Players with small or medium stacks were pushing with air, and big stacks were taking chances right and left. I had built a table image of someone who was unafraid to defend my blinds or get my chips in the middle if I felt I was ahead. In particular, the two players to my right seemed to be getting fed up with my aggression when they were trying to limp into my blinds. I knew if I could get a decent hand and overbet all-in, I would get a call from one of them with a weaker hand.
This is where my tournament came down to one hand. I still had about 18k in chips and raised it up with JJ. One of the players I mentioned above raised me about 2.5 X my original raise. I absolutely knew I was ahead and I figured him for 77 - TT. I pushed hoping to take the pot there or put myself in prime position to double up (he had a decent stack, but less than me). He called my all-in, had AKo, and rivered an Ace to take the hand. If my JJ held up there, I would have been 2nd in chips overall for the tournament and ready to make my run. As it were, my stack was decimated and I went out not long after in 85th place, 31 places from ITM.
I was not interested in letting my stack dwindle and creeping into the money with a tiny stack. The first money spots were only $250, and as I mentioned above, the real cash didn't start until the final table. I did exactly what I wanted to do in this tourney and just didn't win the key hand up to that point. I'm happy with my game and think I'll be playing this one a few more times before they either drop it because of the overlay, or it builds up enough steam to make it just a run of the mill 100k tourney with no overlay.
Well, if you've made it this far, thanks for reading a post about a tourney I did not cash in. It was nothing to write home about, but since it was one of the largest online buy-in, largest guarantee tournaments I've played, I thought I should chronicle it here.
Oh, I almost forgot. About an hour before the blogger Big Game, I managed to win a $75 tourney token, so I joined in the fun. I way overplayed AK way too early in the tourney and ended up finishing 19 out of 19. I pwn! I truly believe my head was not in that game and it showed. At least I was able to focus on the Mansion tourney at that point. Well, that's it for me today.
Until next time, may the felt be with you.
A Tale Of Two Donkeys
Friday, January 12, 2007
I played Al's Riverchasers tourney last night on Full Tilt and had a damn fine time in the process. It had been a while since GCox and I had spent some time on the girlie chat and the felt, so when we talked earlier in the day about playing, I was pumped up. Strangely enough, out of 119 runners, GCox and I ended up at the same starting table. 18 lucky mofo's would get a payday, though the nice money didn't begin until around 6th place.
I almost immediately chipped up when my AK hit the nut straight on a flop of Q T J. It was a beauty and would actually be the first of three flopped nut straights I saw last night (though that was the only one I was a part of).
Not sure if I could have extracted anymore chips based on my bets, but here is the hand for review. I love playing it weak early, thus keeping the 2nd guy in the hand. Thankfully, TRIXEY helped me by throwing out his/her own weak bets to slowly build the pot. With our small starting stacks, by the time the river had come, my all-in bet looked like I was trying to take the pot no matter what two cards I held.
Over the next hour I ended up building my stack and shared the chip lead for most of the tourney with a number of other players, including 23skidoo.
Eventually, we broke the payday bubble and I was feeling good about my chances to take down the tourney. I think I was 2nd in chips when this hand occurred. On the next I was the short stack and it folded to me in late position and I pushed with AT. I was called by the BB and he showed AJ. I did not improve and I was gone. From 2nd in chips to out in 16th in two hands. Oh well, I did what I could to put myself in a position to take down the tourney. It was just not to be.
Here is where things got interesting and why poker is such a wild game. Looking back, when we were on the bubble, I believe I was 2nd in chips and GCox was at or near the bottom of the pack. I was rooting for him to make it in the money. Once the bubble burst, it wasn't long before my KK was cracked and I was sent packing.
GCox, on the other hand, nursed his short stack something fierce. I have never seen someone take a small stack and ride it from 19th out of 20 players remaining all the way down to a 3rd place finish. That's right, he managed to bob and weave his way to the final table and down to 3rd. It wasn't until there were 3 remaining that he actually built up his chips and had a decent chance to take down the whole thing. Before that, he just played his rock style and won enough hands to stay afloat. Eventually, the lagtard chipleader woke up with a hand and took GCox out in 3rd. Nice job G...from near last in chips to a $150 payday. Well done, Sir.
So that is a tale of two donkeys. Yep, GCox and I both use the donkey avatars on Full Tilt.
Until next time, may the felt be with you.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
A few questions...
1) Anyone know if Google Reader offers an option to input code into your brog template such that your feeds are also your brogroll? I used to use Bloglines as my RSS reader, and they had this option, but I have not come across this capability with Google. Still, I like Google Reader much better than Bloglines, so I'm sticking with it. My reading list has grown since I made the move to Google a while back, but my brogroll has not since I haven't been using Bloglines. If anyone can help, please let me know.
2) Also, are there any other cool gadgets, software or technology going on in the brogosphere that I should be aware of? I'm always looking to enhance my experience with all things about my blogging, but am usually on the tail end of finding out about things. Again, any comments on cool shit would be the bomb.
3) For any poker broggers or readers out there loaded with extra Benjamins in their bankroll, why not back me in the $100 buy-in, 100k Nightly Guarantee at Mansion Poker? As you may have read elsewhere, there has been some serious overlay in these bad boys lately. They are averaging 500 entrants, so the overlay is at or near 50k each time. I expect the entrants will increase soon, but maybe not. They are supposedly running them every night through January.
The above paragraph was written partially in jest (72.6% in jest). I highly doubt anyone would offer to back me, but hell, who knows. It can't hurt to ask, especially since the overlay is so sweet and I'm feeling very good about my MTT game of late. If it helps, I won an MTT at Mansion last month for over 1k payday. That's obviously nothing compared to the larger guarantee tourneys, but it's something. "Sixty percent of the time, I win every time."
Serious inquiries please email me at the email listed above…Snide comments and good natured ribbing reserved for the comments section below.
Well, that will have to do it for me today. I'm taking tomorrow off from work to get an early start on MLK Day. You might find me at the tables.
Until next time, may the felt be with you.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Earlier this morning I wrote an email to a friend who is going through a tough time in her life. I won't go into details, but needless to say, she's got her plate full with marital and financial difficulties. She is a very strong person so I know she will pull herself through.
In the email I wrote a sentence that I kept re-reading. It's one of those lines you are proud of writing, but are sure it has been expressed in some form or fashion in the annals of time (queue the comments letting me know as such). It took about 3.2 seconds for my brain to question whether the sentence could have broad expanse – especially as it relates to poker. My thoughts tend to wander off into "pokerland" rather easily.
So here it is...
The true character of an individual is measured not by the number of times they fall down, but the number of times they rise up.
Poker is a game built on probabilities and percentages. Unless the percentrage is 100, then anything can happen. At times, our opponents are rewarded for their incorrect decisions, at our cost. If you are playing a strong game, the law of averages will inevitably iron out, but that doesn't make the road to "one long session" any easier. There will be road blocks throughout and you will be knocked down more than your fair share. What matters is that you stand back up, dust yourself off and get back in the game.
Until next time, may the felt be with you.
Samuel L. Jackson Chimes In...
Monday, January 08, 2007
A buddy of mine - knowing I'm an uberghey brogger - emailed a link this morning that sent me to the following t-shirt (just click the pic below for the large version of the shirt). My buddies caption for the email was, "Samuel L. Jackson chimes in." All I can say is I love it.
I've had some success on the felt since coming back from my extended break in December. On 01.01.07 I was starting the year with a $0 bankroll. I had withdrawn everything in December for Christmas and to make sure I would really take a break. On 01.02.07 the tables were calling my name, so I deposited $50 into my PokerStars account. At the time I didn't realize they had a deposit bonus, so hopefully I'll be able to release it in a timely manner.
On 01.02.07 I didn't do much and basically dropped about $10. Then, over the next few days, I managed to come in 2nd and 3rd in two 45 player SNG's. Each time, it was the last SNG I played before calling it a night. I pulled in $110 and $77 respectively.
Yesterday, I was having a horibble day at the tables and dropped over $50. That's nothing big in the grand scheme of things, but when you are starting from a small roll, it smarts just a little. I shut the computer down pretty disgusted as I was making horrible game choices and terrible decisions in those games. I decided I was done for the day. I was still very much up for my bankroll, but still bummed at my play for the day.
A few hours later I decided to give it one more chance (oops!). I entered into a $10, 180 player SNG and put all my focus on the game. A few hours later I was at the final table with 9 players remaining and in 4th chip position. At that point I made the ultimate mistake. I checked the money payouts and started thinking about how nice it would be to have 1st place, which was about $550. Stupid, stupid, stupid. It's like my pea brain was trying to think of ways to set myself up to fail. I was already in the money, but there was plenty of play left and I should not have been thinking like that.
Not long after, I ended up going out in 7th place for a $63 payout. I was sick to my stomach. I had played really well, but ultimately missed out on the bigger payday. I'm not disappointed in the way I went out, so it is all good, but it still stung a little. I was on the button and last in chips and pushed my remaining 23k in with Q 8 suited hoping to take down the pot or have a nice scenario if either blind called. The big blind called alright...with AA. I know he was agonizing on whether to call me or not...erm...NOT! In the end I'm happy with my play and glad I was able to salvage the overall day with that payout. For the day, after plenty of gaming, I managed to be up $11. I'm once again feeling great about my game and I'm ready for continued success. I won't have it any other way.
Until next time, may the felt be with you.
Friday, January 05, 2007
I have to admit something that may be a hole in my poker game. I'm just not an *exact numbers* kind of guy. This may seem odd considering I work in the financial services industry (high finance baby) and consistently have to be spot on with my calculations. As for my poker game, however, I'm always crunching the numbers when playing (pot odds, # of outs, etc.), but am more likely to "ballpark" it than try and be spot on.
AS the game of poker is played out, we are constantly up against incomplete information. That said, during a given hand, I believe you have to consider the basic odds of a particular situation occurring, and your read on the player(s), then let your gut tell you the direction to go. This sometimes creates spot on decisions, but other times makes you look ridonkulous.
AFTER the game of poker is played out, we are able to take most scenarios and crunch the numbers more precisely. This is where we can benefit the most from the mathematics of the game. In comparing what the math says we should have done vs. what our gut told us to do, then seeing if our read was spot on or way off. Of course there are times when we don't get full disclosure - for example if a player folds without showing their cards - but in general we are more likely to pin point our good decisions and our mistakes once the cards have hit the board, all bets are complete, and we have only the cold hard facts.
All the above was sort of a set up for the following.
I know I've read this in books numerous times, but I just want to throw it out here in the brog in hopes of sparking some discussion. I also want to get a refresher course on crunching the numbers to make sure, when I'm entering a pot, it makes sense. What the hell am I writing about you ask?
For NL Hold'em tournament play, I'm wondering about entering pots with small pairs in hopes of spiking a set on the flop. If my memory serves, over the long haul, you should expect to spike your cash card 1 out of every 7 times. I know there are so many different scenarios that must be considered (call or raise, size of the other players stacks, etc.) however I want to focus on one specific situation right now...The percentage of an expected outcome vs. the percentage of your stack at risk.
Assuming you believe you can limp into a pot or raise a pot up and not be re-raised, based on your stack size vs. the amount to raise or call, when does it NOT make sense to enter pots with a small pair? I'll offer a few examples for discussion.
Relatively early in an MTT, you have 1250 in chips with 5 5 in late position. One player in early position has called the BB of 50 and, based on the play so far, you are confident you will not be raised if you call. You make the call and see a flop. The basic numbers tell you that you'll flop a set 14% of the time in this situation. You've just put in 4% of your stack. Over the long run, this is a good situation to be in correct? Even if it is raised to 3 times the BB after you call, you are putting in 12% of your stack vs. a 14% expectation. Your thoughts?
Midway through an MTT you've built your starting stack up to 14500 from your original 1500 chips. With blinds at 200-400, you have 6 6 and are able to get into a pot for the minimum. Thus, you've risked 2.5 % of your stack on a 14% expectation. This one is a little easier to figure that it is a decent situation to be in. Even if you are raised to 1200, you are still risking less than 10% of your stack.
So what stack sizes and percentages put YOU, dear reader, in a position that you feel it does not make sense to get into the pot? I know there's plenty of "it depends" in this situation, but for the most part, as part of your MTT strategy, what is your typical thought process on the subject. This is a pretty basic concept to be discussing, but it is also one that comes up often and is tough to play. I think it is worth it to discuss and see how others think on the subject. The primary things I want to keep in this discussion are the stack size, the current size of the bet, and the % chance of hitting your hand. What makes sense to you?
Going Down In Limits (Weight Limits That Is)
Thursday, January 04, 2007
In a post from the not too distant past, I mentioned how I lost about 35 pounds in approximately 5 months. Since writing that post - and based on numerous requests - I've decided to write down the basics of what I did to accomplish the weight loss. I know there are a number of broggers out there looking to lose some weight, so maybe a couple of these ideas will fit in your mix.
If you read the above linked post you'll see, though I started the health kick for the right reasons, I didn't exactly start the right way. Drastically dropping your food and caloric intake is just a bad idea. However, along the way I figured out what wasn't working and what was working and found a medium that made me happy and healthy. I know that the plan worked well (and continues to work well) for me and it may work well for others in a similar situation.
First and foremost, know that when I use the word *diet* in this post, I am not referring to it in the "try this diet and lose weight" sense of the term, but more along the lines of "a sensible diet low (or high) in blah blah blah." As I noted in the earlier post, I did not make this change solely to lose weight or go on a diet. I did it to improve my health and physical condition. Now that I've got that out of the way, shall we begin?
One of the first things that bit the dust in my diet was sweet tea and sodas. I kid you not when I note this may have been the biggest part of my change. I basically eliminated any sugar intake from liquids (except for a few select drinks/smoothies that include juice, which I'll get to in a moment). And for those of you thinking, "That's cool, I'll just drink diet sodas," don't fool yourself. Remember, this can't totally be about the weight loss. It needs to be about improving your health as well. In that right, you have to ditch the diet sodas as well. Just because diet sodas don't have sugar does not make them good for you.
So what am I drinking these days? Well of course I've increased my water intake, but I'm not sitting around stuffing 8 glasses of water down my throat every single day. Instead I find other ways to get liquids that are good for me into my system. For starters, I have a smoothie every single day (usually in the morning, but sometimes for another meal during the day as needed). It is part of my morning routine and I thrive on how unbelievable those fuckers taste. I bought a Back To Basics Blender from Target, which is the shizzy. Using that mixer, I blend the following:
-1/2 of a medium sized banana
-1/2 cup of frozen blueberries, raspberries, blackberries (frozen or fresh, though I prefer frozen)
-3 or 4 medium strawberries (frozen or fresh, though I prefer frozen)
-Small spoonful of peanut butter (usually either this kind or a natural peanut butter that is just peanuts and salt)
-1 cup of skim milk
-1/4 cup of orange juice
-Small scoop of whey protein (I prefer vanilla for fruit smoothies)
-A few pieces of ice
Mix that puppy up and you've got some serious goodness for breakfast. If you have one of those in the morning, it should get you through until a mid-morning snack before lunch. Throughout the morning you should continue to take in fluids, but it doesn't have to be just water. For instance, in my office we have a Flavia machine that rocks. I don't drink coffee, but every morning, after I get settled in at work, I follow up my earlier smoothie with one of these drinks (usually the Green Tea).
I'm not saying you need to tell your boss that you need on of these machines, but at the very least I think it would be a good idea to go grab yourself some natural green tea bags from the grocery store. This is a great way to get some of your daily water intake, while having a drink that has been found to be good for the body. They are simple to make at work by just running hot water over the tea bags and letting it settle.
During lunch I'll usually either have water with lemon or unsweet tea with lemon. One trick I use to not over do it on the tea, is to have the waiter/waitress make every other refill water. It still tastes like tea, but I'm increasing my water intake and decreasing my caffeine intake. At work, when drinking my green tea, I'll do the same thing. Once the tea starts to get back to room temperature, I'll just go fill the mug back up with hot water. It still tastes like green tea, but I've really just added more water. This is just a simple little trick I use to add more water to my diet every day.
For dinner I do another little trick that makes me feel like I'm drinking a soda when I'm not. I usually have a Perrier or a S. Pellegrino mineral water. I can already hear some of my readers going, "pppfffttt, that is no soda," but to me, just having something that is carbonated does the trick. And the beauty of it is I'm still drinking water. I don't recommend drinking mineral water all day long, but having one ot two a day during meals is certainly an option. It works for me. You can get cases of the above waters pretty cheap at any grocery store, though at a restaurant you might pay a little extra. If anyone knows of a cheaper mineral water option that tastes as good as the above waters, please let me know.
The last thing I usually drink at night as an after dinner snack is a medium size glass of skim milk mixed with whey protein. This usually fills me up for the night and keeps me hydrated until the morning. I never wake up in the middle of the night craving food when I have this drink before bed.
So that's the basics of my liquids throughout the day...smoothies, water (mineral water occasionally), unsweet regular and green teas, and skim milk. Many people dread a change in their basic drinking habits for fear that they will have a downer from losing the sugar or caffeine. Take things in stride. At first I couldn't fathom drinking unsweet tea. It only took a couple of glasses with lemon before I started to enjoy the taste, and I don't even use sweeteners. I prefer the taste of green tea and regular (orange or black tea) plain or with lemon. Just give it time. After a while you won't miss sugary drinks and sodas because you will feel so much better without them. And don't forget the tricks I mentioned with making every other refill just plain water. This really heps increase your water, without feeling like your drinking water.
Though I really consider the smoothie I mentioned above a food, I listed it in the Liquids section because you do drink it. Still, I consider it a meal and I use it as such. The core of that shake came from a Mens Health article I read more than 10 years ago. I have tweaked it over time, but the basics are still there. Now for the guts of my core diet. A few years back I was reading another article in Mens Health that intrigued me. It was called the AbsDietPower and though it did have the flashy name and guarantee to flatten your stomach quick (initial signs of a fad diet), it also had what seemed to be a healthy and feasible dietary plan. I did some research on it and felt comfortable about the foods they were touting to be the shizzy.
Though I continued to eat items from their list over time after reading the article, I didn't really focus on it until I decided it was time to get serious about my health. Once I did this I saw a dramatic positive change.
Here are the basics of the AbsDietPower foods:
Almonds and other nuts
Beans and other legumes
Spinach and other green vegetables
Turkey and other lean meats
Whole Grain Breads and Cereals
Extra Protein-Whey Powder
Raspberries and other berries
From these core foods, I build meals and snacks throughout my day that are meant to condition my body to be a healthy and lean running machine. Do I stray from the core groups? Of course, but when I do, I try to keep my health in mind. These core groups of food are basically all good foods that taste great. Sure some folks won't like spinach or raspberries or whatever, but if you can find the core groups or similarly healthy items that make up the core group, then you are on your way to a healthier you.
Here is what a typical day of eating might be for me:
-Wake up and make smoothie so I can drink it while getting ready for work.
-At work, once I'm settled in, I'll start my day off with a Green Tea or water. I think one cup of coffee would be reasonable here. ONE!
-If I'm drinking Green Tea, I'll continually drink about half, then refill with hot/warm water.
-Around 10:30 or 11:00 I'll have a handful of Almonds or a couple of multi-grain crackers for a snack.
-At Lunch I'll usually eat a sub, sandwich, or salad from whatever restaurant is around. Sometimes I'll go to Moes or Qdoba and get a naked burrito (no rice, double the black beans, with grilled chicken and salsa). That shit is off the hook.
-Around 3pm I'll usually eat whatever snack I didn't eat earlier in the day. If I had almonds in the morning, I'll have crackers in the afternoon.
-For dinner (usually between 6-7pm), I will usually do some form of meat with vegetables. If I had a sub or salad for lunch, I probably don't do a lot of bread at dinner. But if I had a salad for lunch, I will usually make sure I have some type of meal that includes a whole wheat bread or wrap of some sort.
-Around 8pm I'll usually have a snack. Maybe a small bowl of Go Lean cereal (it's good stuff) with skim milk. Or maybe just the skim milk with whey protein like I mentioned earlier.
I'm always switching things up. I'll often having breakfast for dinner, just so i can get some of the other core foods into my diet. I might make a turkey and cheese omelet (use 2 whole eggs and 2 egg whites) with some whole wheat toast or maybe a Spicy Black Bean soup for dinner. The meal options are endless.
I'm not going to tell you to go to the gym every day or even every other day, cause it probably won't happen. However, when you can, get your lass (lard ass) off the couch and do some physical activity. I don't care if it is walking around the block with your spouse or kids or just taking a quick walk around the neighborhood alone. Just get your ass off the couch and do something. And if you so desire, head on to the gym and talk to someone about a work out regimen that fits your wants and needs.
-Sugary drinks (sodas, sports drinks, enegry drinks, etc).
-Fried foods (this is a tough one, but a must for the most part)
-Too much red meat
-Foods too high in saturated fat (don't be afraid of fat, just know the good and bad).
-Trans Fats (avoid at all costs).
Now I'm not saying don't ever eat these things, but when you can, opt for healthier items. Trust me, I eat a nice big burger when I get the urge. But it is not as often as I used to. And when I do have one I no longer have the large fries and a coke with it. Most fast foods are offering healthier fare, so when you can, opt for a side that is better for you, especially if you are having a burger.
-Try and eat 6 meals (3 smaller meals and 3 snacks) instead of 2 or 3 big honking meals a day.
-When given the option, go for grilled instead of fried.
-Every once in a while (say once a week), eat whatever the hell you want (for one of your meals in a particular day). Treat it like a free pass just for that one meal.
-Find what works for you. If you are allergic to peanuts, then maybe almonds work for you. If you hate spinach, but love Kale, well rock on.
-Read more about the 12 power foods and other cool shit regarding this meal plan by visiting here and here.
-Eat small portions of dark chocolate whenever you need a sugar or chocolate fix. I keep a stash of dark chocolate hersheys kisses in my desk at work and pop one or two every day in between meals. Just don't over do it.
-Keep all the snacks and drinks that fit in your diet readily available at work and home. Don't give yourself any reason to go to the snack machine when you have everything you need at your fingertips.
-When cooking, use extra virgin olive oil instead of butter/margarine. It tastes great and is good for you.
Honestly, most of the things I've mentioned above are common sense and it's really nothing new. Here is the thing though. You have to truly want to improve before it will happen. Believe me when I tell you this. You have to truly want to make a change. Over the last 3 years I always bitched about needing to "hit the gym more often" and "chill out on the fried foods," but at the time I was just kidding myself. I didn't truly want it and it showed. Then one day, something changed in me and I decided I wanted to change. My wife did not deserve the man I was becoming and I was truly disappointed in myself and the way I felt. I have changed and I don't plan on looking back.
I tend to ramble and lose focus when writing, so if you have questions or want clarification on anything, let me know. Like I mentioned, this works for me, but may not work for you.
Ubergay Before and After:
Before (About 205 lbs in May 2006).
Somewhere in the middle (probably around 180 lbs).
Somewhere in the mid to high 170's (and drunk).
I don't currently have a picture of me at 170, but I've stayed steady there for quite a while now and it is a weight I feel comfortable with. I don't want to lose anymore weight, but could stand to even gain some back with some muscle gain hopefully. So that's it...my ubergay offering for how I lost some weight. If I help one person...awesome. If not...well fuggoff!
Until next, may the felt be with you.
It took me a while to write this last night and as I awoke this morning I started thinking about some things I left out. Just generalities, but let me go a little bit further. I know some people have their vices. Some folks love their pasta, or pizza, or alcohol, or whatever. In no way am I saying you have to ditch everything you love to be happy and healthy. A key word I failed to mention earlier is moderation. I try to do everything in moderation. I don't always succeed, but I try.
On occasion I will go out with the family and rip apart some pizza. I don't do it often, but I do it because I enjoy it. Once every week or two I will have many more than the recommended 1 to 2 alcoholic drinks. MANY MORE. But when I do it, I'm enjoying myself and doing something with friends that makes me happy.
Take all these things into account when you are planning your healthier eating habits. If you absolutely love pasta, then eat it on occasion, but don't eat it at every meal. If you have pasta for dinner, try and make it a whole grain pasta. If you have a sub for lunch try and have it on whole wheat instead of white, and go for the leaner cuts of meat (and on occassion just skip the cheese or take off half of what they gave you).
Going to lunch at Wendys? Try a plain baked potato and small chili (pour some of the chili on the baked potato instead of using butter or sour cream). Having bread with dinner? Make it whole wheat and put olive oil on it instead of butter. It's the little changes over time that can go a long way towards being a healthier person. Eventually, you will begin to see where and why the weight was staying on just by seeing what you are no longer putting in your body.