Sloe Times

A journal of my adventures in learning and growing personally and professionally

Friday, July 30, 2004


General: Schizophrenic

I gone and tweaked my template once again. I had some complaints that the last one, while cool, was a bit hard to read. So here's something clean and hopefully more readable.


Poker: On to Empire

So last night was my last night on Absolute. I cashed out pretty much what I bought in with ($601 to be precise) which still leaves me down about $144 from my start of this month and down $410 from my peak earlier this month. Don't get me wrong, I'm not really obsessed with my bankroll, it really is there just for tracking purposes. On the other hand, It's hard to feel too proud when you have a setback. Any who, I'm headed on to Empire as soon as the withdrawal clears, for what it's worth, my account name there is 'teh_Mellow' since I can't use 'sloejack' like I do everywhere else. I'm not 100% sure why I picked that name, but it looks a bit stupid and maybe that will grant me a minor advantage.

At Absolute I played everything from $0.25/$0.50 up to $5/$10 because frankly, there just isn't much action there. Getting back into Party land I'm thinking I'll start back at $1/$2 since I definitely feel I have a strong game there and may move up after checking out the $2/$4 games and finding them sufficiently juicy. Like I said before, my goal is to get the bankroll up to $2000, be playing $3/$6 as my regular ring game level, and basically use the excess to work on my MTT efforts or toys for home.

For what it's worth, based on the reports regarding the software and such, I'm not anxious about the blogger tourney being hosted on Pacific. It doesn't mean I wouldn't play, just that by all accounts, it's not confidence building. Then again Absolute wasn't a real picnic regarding their client either so what do I know. Out of curiosity, why are the 'major' sites not looked at for this sort of thing? I'll probably have to go post on Iggy's blog to get an answer to that one.

Speaking of annoying aspects of the Absolute client, I joined a MTT last night before I realized how late it was, upon realizing I really should go to bed instead I tried to unjoin from the tourney. No go. I tried closing windows, logging out and back in, nothing. So now I'm registered to a tourney I can't get out of. I sat for a few rounds and tried to play it, but I think the only thing worse than playing on tilt is playing when you don't really want to.

Thursday, July 29, 2004


General: I did it all for the doobie

Thinking about the upcoming FFL season that some of the other bloggers are participating in, I recalled someone mention how the draft was mangled a bit by Ricky Williams sudden retirement. When I cam across this story on I had to wonder, what kind of message does this send to the young (and not so young) people out there who looked to him as a role model? I'd like to think that people still look at the successful and noteable people in society as icons of achievement, but when you see something like this, you've got to wonder just how over rated it all is.


General: Inspirational Messages

Why is it that most inspirational messages are surrounded with religious propaganda? That question right there should give you some idea on my feels regarding religion, but just in case it's not clear, I'm not a religious person, and do not believe any higher power or entity other than myself and my will to improve and succeed as an individual. I got a chain letter from my aunt today about a woman and her fork. The premise is that the woman is dieing and asks to be buried with her fork. The apparent reason for this is because while growing up, at dinners she was always told to keep her fork when the table is cleared and knew that meant that a nice treat was coming. The moral of the story is then to keep your fork because something better is always coming.
Granted a story like that can be more personal and moving than, "Keep your head up, it can only get better."

Wednesday, July 28, 2004


General: Loud and Proud

So back in the before time (well before I started blogging), I was fairly serious into collecting, mixing, and creating music. Primarily dance/club like stuff. My medium of choice was mp3. Primarily because it's hard to deal with a thousand or so CDs and I don't have the space for turn tables and a vinyl collection. I do have gigabytes and gigabytes of disk space so everything got ripped to mp3. This worked out well for a couple of years and then the first fatal HD crash occurred. Ok, this sucked huge. Fortunately I had actually backed up the majority of the stuff that was not easily replaceable and everything else was still on CD in a storage box. A few months later I've finally got things recovered (you'd be amazed how long it takes to re-rip everything) and have acquired 100 GB or so of new material and having a grand ol' time. Then the second fatal HD failure occurs. Now, we'll ignore the fact that as an IT person, I should know better and I'll plead lack of facilities. Even backing up to DVD is painful and I don't have a DLT or similar tape system that could handle the volume of data. Needless to say, that without proper backups and untold amounts of time and effort lost on my collection I stepped back away from my music.

Anyway, fast forward to last week. I'm cleaning up my office and come across the three failed HDs with all my data (old programs that I've written, music, digital photos, etc) that I've stored while I try to decide if I'm going to shell out the cash to have them professionally recovered. If you haven't looked into this personally, let me just say that it is not something that can be approached trivially. Just to recover 80GB of data, the cheapest quote I had was $500. I had 240 GB of data on those drives. Regardless, I kept the drives around while I tried to figure out just how much I missed the data so that I could make the decision to fork over the money to get it recovered or not. Oddly enough, the things I missed the most was my library of PERL code. I've written all kinds of things over the years and every once in awhile a project comes along where I think I've done something similar in the past and instead of being able to re-use my code I generally have to rebuild it from scratch.

So, I started browsing the web again last week and getting quotes for data recovery to see if the prices have come down any in the last 6 months since there are quite a few more vendors in the market. While I'm doing this searching I come across a site for do-it-yourself data recovery. The reason I found this is because they specifically mentioned the type of drives I have (Maxtor) and in some cases my specific models. Using their tips, and a Knoppix boot CD, I've been slowly recovering the majority of my data off of the disks. There are some corrupted files here and there, but it's gone from total loss to simply annoying and I've started playing with my music again now that I've gotten some of it back. I've been grooving for almost 5 hours now and wondering how it is I could have just walked away from it for so long.

The only really frustrating thing I've come across this evening is that one of the pieces of software I used in the past, Mixman, does not appear to work on Windows XP Pro (Media Edition). The funny thing is, that while the company still sells the product, they appear to have quit supporting it. All of my emails to try and identify any sort of a work around or solution to getting the software running have been completely ignored. One of my biggest pet peeves is shoddy support from vendors. This pisses me off even more so since I supported the company and their development through three different upgrades of the software that while discounted for being upgrades, still wasn't cheap. Hopefully they will get their act together, but I'm not too confident that this will happen any time soon. Time to start looking for new software.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004


Poker: Grind me up and spit me out

So I caught some time late this evening and continued prodding at the $2/$4 game on Absolute. Generally it's not what I would consider a tough game, but the players in general there are weird. For example, there is one fellow who never raises preflop regardless of what he has, and usually will check-call you all the way to the river with the best hand. I guess on one hand this is a blessing in disguise since you generally never get heavily invested in a pot. On the other hand, the only solution I've found (and I really don't like it) is just to get out of any hand he'll see the turn with. Anyway, it's quirky play but I can work past that.

On the other hand, tonight's game just couldn't go right if I had bribed someone. Another player on the first table I sat down at was in every hand with any two cards. This looked like a gold mine just waiting for me so I sit down and proceed to start looking for hands to begin the strip mining operation. Now, not only will this individual play any two cards, but they'll also pre-flop raise with them, raise on the flop, or anywhere else for that matter. I'm not sure yet if this was hidden genius or a real live maniac. The problem with playing against this guy was getting hands to stand up against literally anything. A classic example was KK against J4o. Flop had a 4 in it, the river added a J and I didn't improve beyond my KK which I was pushing and pumping the whole way. So $40 later, I recharge (generally something I never do) because I've decided that based on the cards he's playing, this absolutely must be luck. Unfortunately a few hands into my rebuy he bails... with my money. Bastard. Try as I might I can't seem to catch any cards so I eventually bail for a dinner break.

I come back for a few quick hands before bed and am soon joined by JD who I ended up paying off for his straight flush that I knew he had but just didn't want to believe. On an up note though, a few hands later I dropped the mortal nuts with quad aces on the river. That was fun. :) All in all a down night actually, but the aces really soften the blow.

Monday, July 26, 2004


Poker: Grinding back up

I'm finally getting back to the tables today, with the net result of being up, but with more swing than I'm used to. I wouldn't say the time away didn't keep things fresh in my mind on how to play or who I was playing against (The player pool on Absolute just isn't that big). I would say though that I'm still fighting the demon to try and recover what I lost. It just isn't going to happen like that. Funny how the psychology of playing has been a much tougher thing to beat lately than it used to be. I'm not sure if it counts as being on tilt, but I've noticed that I've been taking a few more long shot plays to try and scrape a big pot, only to lose a big portion of my stack. Of course after recognizing what I just did I tighten back up and play solidly until I'm back up and then when I'm least expecting it, I do it again. I must be out to sabotage myself.

My new book from arrived today, "Championship No-Limit & Pot-Limit Hold'em." I'm looking forward to getting into it, but I started gearing up for school which starts on Monday so I've got some more pressing reading to do right now.

Saturday, July 24, 2004


Poker: Friday Night Home Game

Before I forget too much of things in the excitement of the weekend, I wanted to get one more post out. I had the opportunity to play in a SNG type of tourney at a home game I found on Home Poker Games Friday evening. It was nice meeting some new folks in the area, and the game itself was a fun mix of almost no-experience up to experienced players. I personally busted out on the bubble trying to make a move that I had hoped would run off the opponent that was playing pretty conservatively but I picked the wrong time to make that move and busted out. Regardless, it was a great time, and I'm looking forward to doing it again next month. The only progress I made this week in poker was in a negative direction overall so I'm not sure if this is just the slump after almost a month of nothing but gains or if the various distractions have kept me from actually playing well. I suspect somewhere in there I'm still dealing with the psychological blow of hitting the $1k milestone and then blowing. I'll get past it and move forward again but for the time being I know where the tables are at and will probably finish out the weekend hanging with my boy and wife and get back on the horse on Monday.

For those of you who are on Poker Stars, or thinking about checking out Poker Stars, they are running a deposit bonus promotion until July 27. They'll add on 20% up to $120 max ($600 deposit). This promotion is gearing up for the WCOOP.

In completely unrelated news, school is starting up again on August 2nd. I'm not sure if I'm looking forward to it or not. We started looking at houses today since we've begun to outgrow the one we're in now. It's still mostly in the talking stages, but if I have to starting getting the financials in shape to deal with taking on a bigger house, school may have to sit on the back burner.

Friday, July 23, 2004


Poker: Driving myself insane

While catching up on blogs last night I must have drifted onto a new blog. The person had a nice write up on playing SNGs with the point of thinking of the game in terms of your stack size rather than phases (early, bubble, money). I wanted to read it again but I can't seem to find it. I'm fairly certain I didn't imagine it, but damned if I know who wrote it. If someone else finds it out there, could you be kind enough to point me in the right direction?

Wednesday, July 21, 2004


General: Yet another (final?) redesign

Hopefully this will be the last time I do this for a long time. I've re-worked the CSS template I was using and ended up completely trashing it in favor of this template that I found at Eris Free's site. She has a cool template generator that spit out the template pretty as you please. I had to make some slight modifications for personal look and feel but the design/layout is hers.

I think I went a little overboard with the buttons but once I started, I just couldn't stop myself. I went ahead and put up my IM info (hover over the appropriate button) on the off chance that a blogger game breaks out while I'm on, maybe someone will drop me a line.

Of course, catching up with email, with blogs, and redoing my template sucked up all my poker time tonight. I tried to explain to the wife how unfair it was that I was home all alone, ideal poker playing conditions, and haven't been able to log even one minute at the tables. Of course all I got back from her was some sass about how she's been busting her ass helping her friend paint her house, not to mention taking care of the boy. *shrug* I guess I'll have to find sympathy elsewhere, it's obvious she just doesn't understand.


General: For what it is worth

I've noticed some of the grumbling about the composer add on to the Blogger editor. The simple solution here is just to select the "Edit HTML" tab on the editor window and it works just like it did before. It took me a day or two to figure out what was going on, but life is back to normal now. Or as normal as it gets anyway.

In other news, I've started using an alternate browser while at the office and I noticed my CSS template looks horrible for my site in it. I'm figuring out how to resolve it, so pardon my dust over the next few days while I develop a new template that is more cross-browser friendly.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004


General: Blogification

I'm torn on the idea of making one giant uber post every day, or the "as I think of them" posts when things come to me. An uber post would probably make life a little easier in terms of organizing my thoughts and hiding some of the noise from the signal here, but as Boy Genius noted in his blog, this is mostly for me and while I may seem schizophrenic with some of my past and present posts it good for me to recognize that my ideas are not static and that I'm not as hard headed as family and friends may believe and am willing to actually change my mind on a subject. Anyway, I'll keep plugging at it and you gentle reader, have the same choice you always have. To read, or not to read.

With the preamble out of the way, I just wanted to say, I was pretty hyped to see that I've received the esteemed Most Days Poker Nerd "Degenerate Underachiever Seal of Approval." *sniff* *wipe* I'd like to thank my laptop and the letter S. Of course this spun off the idle thought of, do the Webby Awards recognize blogs? The short answer is yes. Oddly enough, the blogger alternative Live Journal was the last Peoples Voice winner. The only obvious blog like nominee that I saw was Suicide Girls (Not work friendly, and if you're not familiar with the site, probably not for the reason you're thinking). In examining the 'categories' for the Webby Awards, it occurs to me that in most cases, they are much to broad and I don't envy the judges trying to decide the better of two sites that are both great and only generally related.

See what a random thought causes? Back to my reading.


General: Fan or Freak? Poker and Britney Spears

Ok, so I'm sitting here catching up on my blog reading from the last couple of days and "Crossroads" happens to be on in the background because I'm too lazy to change the channel and it doesn't disturb me enough to care. Now normally movies that feature musical stars are generally not very good ("Crossroads" is no exception to this rule). I suspect some older Elvis diehard fans might disagree with me, but we'll let that sleeping dog lay for now.

Anyway, the point of all this is that I am a fan of Britney Spears. Not in the 30 year old lustful stalker way, but oddly enough there are some of her songs that I do like. Ok, she's not hard on the eyes either so that doesn't hurt. Back to the point of this whole missive. Being that "Crossroads" was basically a vehicle for the album "Britney" they were playing the song "I'm not a girl, Not yet a woman" during one of the scenes. My mind is churning on my poker game and I've been kicking around some of the ideas from the books I've been reading. The song triggers a thought about HDouble's post awhile back on the stages of development. These lyrics from the song were the trigger:
Feels like I'm caught in the middle
That's when I realize...
All I need is time
A moment that is mine
While I'm in between

It always amazes me the events, sounds, and sights that trigger memories.

In completely unrelated news, after being diagnosed by my doctor as having cholesterol for blood, I'm starting to adjust to the new diet and am shedding weight which is a pretty marked improvement over past self start attempts at a diet. Not being much of a fan of salt, I don't miss that at all. Sugar on the other hand is a completely different matter. I am sugars bitch. A diet is hard on a soul when your favorite food is Jelly Belly jelly beans. *sigh*


Poker: Too busy to play cards?

I didn't think it was possible. Here I am a bachelor for a week (wife and boy are at a friends help her paint and pack for a move) and a little procrastination on top of some unforeseen complications at work have kept me pretty busy. Too busy to play cards. This has got to stop, I've only got a few days left of this kind of freedom! I should be playing some serious cards darn it. Ah well, I should be freed up after tomorrow so I'll be back in the game tomorrow night.

I've started playing multi table tournaments again on Sunday. One of the things that's going to be the toughest to overcome is the differences in play between limit ring games and no limit multi-tables. I did ok in my last one and placed 13th but made the mistake of not pushing all in at the right time and got myself beat by trying to be fancy and slow play my top pair, top kicker that was obviously the best hand until the river when the last person in caught his set.

I think one of the hazards of reading all these books is that once in awhile you have an attack of Fancy Play Syndrome (FPS). The lesson here is to stay true to my game and not try and get cute just because I think I might get a few more bets when it's more likely I'll give my opponent a chance to catch up.

Sunday, July 18, 2004


Poker: Major Setback

Announcing your plans is a good way to hear god laugh. -- Al Swearengen, Deadwood
I went to the local B&M casino this evening and made two major mistakes.  The first mistake was not walking right the fuck out when I learned that the limit was higher than I really wanted to tolerate, and two assuming that in a $5/$10 game the level of play would be better than say the $0.02/$0.04 table on Party.  I'll chalk the first mistake up to peer pressure.  I was their with a friend and this was something that I did want to do, just not at $5/$10 (the lowest limit available).  The second mistake.... well, you would think that sort of thing would be self correcting in that those people would bust out rather quickly, but it just didn't work that way.  The worst hand I voluntarily put money in the pot on was KQo.  I got to play some crap as the BB a few times, but other than that it was premium hands the whole way.  I was even aggressive with them, raising pre-flop to try and ward off the folks who would limp in with any two cards.   About the worst thing that could have happened to me this evening was to get playable hands pre-flop.  Flops completely missed me no matter what I was holding.  I had AK 3 times in the span of an hour and the flops were complete rags.  The only winning hand I folded was 36 off (folded pre-flop) that made a house by the turn.  Again, I appreciate cold cards and all but the betting limits were too high to be missing so often, and when I did catch...  Well, here's a classic example.
The table is limping in and I look down to see KQs on the button.  I raise, the maniac to my left calls and the rest of the table folds.  The flop is Q-8-9 rainbow.  Maniac checks and I bet, which he calls.  The turn is a J completing the rainbow on the board.  Maniac checks and I bet, which he again calls.  The river brings a 3.  Complete junk really but the Manic bets.  Did he slow play a T on the turn for the straight?  or was he holding an 8 or a 9 and a 3 to give him two pair on the river?  I call because I can't believe that someone would call a preflop raise with anything like those combinations and figure that if he has something like KT he played me like a fiddle and I'll just have to deal with it.  So I call to see what he has and turn over my KQ.  He then turns over his 89 off.  :(  In case your wondering, this fellow got busted out later in the evening, along with a number of other people who were loose and, frankly, stupid.  I didn't fair too much better, after having my good hands shredded by rag flops but this last hand that I described pissed me off, and rather than tilt and play mad, so I got up and quit playing poker for the night.  Unfortunately the bankroll damage had already been done.  
I must not be a 'lucky' person.  After walking away from the poker room I decided to give craps a go.  I figure I'll take it easy and just bet the pass line.  Everyone around that table, including myself, had the nasty habit of rolling the point, and then rolling a seven.  I was a minor exception in thinking that maybe I was lucky after all because when I got the dice, the first roll was a seven, nice.  Second roll was a 10.  Two rolls later I hit the 10, nice another winner and the table is starting to perk up from the string of losses.  Next I roll an 8, ok that's usually a fairly easy number to hit, and so I pick up the dice for my next roll and hit a 7.  The curse continues.
All in all, my impression of B&M card rooms is that they fucking suck.  Now, that may be a bit extreme since I can't compare my local facility with anyone else, but just to give you an idea, the play is slower than a three toed sloth in the middle of it's afternoon nap.  Maybe 30 hands an hour?  On top of that, you've got a target rich environment, loose fish, that also happen to be extremely aggressive so getting tangled up with them and not being able to come out on top is extremely expensive.  The environment itself sucks starting with a multi-hour wait to get on a table, sub-arctic temperatures in the poker area, and the place stinks.  Literally, it stinks of cigarette and cigar smoke.  The worst part about that is, it's a non-smoking area.  Go figure.  The rake is atrocious by any standard but then again, since most pots are >$50 it's hard to miss the 10% or so that they scrape off when you win.  On top of that, don't forget to tip the dealer. :(
Needless to say, I won't be going back there again.  Of course I said the same thing the last time I went, but this time it will stick.  There is no reason for me to ever step into that casino again.  It's a shithole, and I've donated enough money there for a lifetime as far as I'm concerned.  I don't think I played poorly, in fact, I ended up folding the majority of the hands I played after the flop.  I was tight as a steel drum and aggressive, but apparently I need to work on that whole ESP thing.  This evenings fun inflicted a $400 hit to the bankroll.  So much for the $1k milestone.

Friday, July 16, 2004


Poker: A Milestone of My Own

So today my poker bank roll cracked $1000.  This is pretty significant considering that when I started this blog three months ago I had been riding pretty high on the SNG hog and then plummeted down to the verge of busting completely out in early June and quitting online poker.  Fortunately rather than blaming the game, I hit the books and actually learned how to play better.  I hit a nice streak with the limit games on Party.   Bonus whoring provided a nice boost to recover from the down times early last month so I can't knock that boost there.  This month a combination of chasing bonuses and solid play is keeping the stack moving in the right direction.
I've been trying to really settle on what my goal is.  Before my goal was simple.  Play and do well enough to keep playing without having to put more money back into it.  If I dropped to the point of having to recharge, I was done.  Now I think I've definitely achieved that goal and it's time to set a new one.  Looking back on my end of month review from a few weeks ago, I'm thinking that my new goal is to work up to the $3/$6 level and be able to play that regularly.  I'm envisioning a bank roll cap of $2000 and then drawing the surplus off weekly, if there is any.  That can be my hobby money for buying computer toys and games or whatever.
I've thought more about trying to take it farther, but being somewhat obsessive compulsive, I think that if I took my game beyond $3/$6 I may fill my head with delusions of trying to do this full time and make a living off of it.  Anyway, enough day dreaming, back to playing with the boy.


Poker: Poker Foo

It's actually been a pretty bland last couple of days.  Nothing too exciting to report on the personal poker front, I'm still hacking away at Absolute (primarily $2/$4) and if not getting the very best of it, at least finishing each session up.  I am anticipating an excursion to the local riverboat on Saturday for some live poker.  The tables are $2/$5 and were pretty loose the last time I went.  History should not repeat itself this time though since I actually have an idea of how to play a limit game and am not making the transition from NL like I was last time.
Since my play at limit has been relatively solid I'm going to stick my toes back into the water on the NL side by playing in the multi-table tournaments.  As I've gotten through more of Super System I'm gaining more confidence since many of the playing habits I've developed over the last few months are at least recognized, if not emphaticly promoted by Mr. Brunson.  After I get through the last 100 pages or so, I'll put it back on the shelf for awhile and start reading Sklansky's book on Tournament Poker
In a one off thought you got to wonder about the popularity of poker and its impact on the lower end of the gene pool when you read in the paper about some fool and his friends trying to spice up their poker play by adding Russian Roulette to the mix.  I think Steel_Rain put it best when he said, "Winning at that game has a negative EV."   I mean really, what kind of game are you playing where the winner gets the gun to their head, shouldn't it be the other way around?

Thursday, July 15, 2004


Poker: Fish with Phat Wallets

So I'm actually up working at the moment but there was a lull in activity so I couldn't go back to bed and I figured I'd play a bit until activity picked up again. So off I head for Absolute to try and clear more of my bonus there. I'm looking around and the best games with openings are at $2/$4.

The first game was an absolute (no pun intended) disaster. I'm playing tight and aggressive and catch KTo in the BB, it calls around so I check (mistake #1 maybe). The flop comes KxT, woohoo! It checks all the way around and I want some more bets, so I also check, the turn brings a 2. It checks around again and I figure well they have nothing I may as well take it down now so I bet, and it gets raised by the guy to my left and it folds around to me. Now, this is a pretty loose table so I'm thinking it is possible this guy is sitting on K2 and I can beat that. I thought about it a little more, and none of the previous actions lead me to believe any of the players were too sophisticated so I went with my gut and re-raised, he caps and I call. The river is a blank. He checks and I bet which he raises. Perhaps I missed something? I call and we show. I've got my two pair against his trip twos :( Apparently what I missed was betting on the flop and giving the win away. Shame on me. I start to bring myself back up to even and the table starts losing players like someone farted. Aw well, I'm -6 BB and start looking for a new table.

Fortunately there's another equally loose 2/4 table with 10 players so I get on the waiting list and am shortly presented a seat. I sit down and prepare to try and recover my previous losses. I'm met by the official tour guide for this little cruise down the suck out river. Beautiful cards like AKs, AQs, QQ, KK either having flops miss the suited stuff with rags of other suits, or even worse giving the second of the two bottom pair to the fish on the river. -15 BB later I'm busted out of the table and I'm beginning to think it just might not be my night.

Ok, I know I'm playing well, maybe if we trim down the number of fish a little things will hold up better. Oh look, there's a $2/$4 6 max table with a seat open, lets give it another go. I won't go into the details of the hands because some of the stuff I played is pretty embarrassing. Believe me though when I say that the players at this table were sufficiently weak and willing to reload so that I walked away +29 BB after 23 minutes of playing. I was sad to leave but the real work that pays the bills called again. :(

Wednesday, July 14, 2004


Poker: Book Review - Killer Poker Online

Killer Poker Online: Crushing the Internet Game / John Vorhaus
Kensington Publishing Corp., July 2003, 278 pages.
Gambling: Poker

This book covers topics related to adapting your poker playing skills for online play. The target audience is the intermediate level player, and possibly the advanced player who is new to online play. It would generally not be a good resource for advanced players with solid experience playing online.

John Vorhaus provides a guide for self examination relating to your poker game as well as information for navigating the online poker world. In the sections related to mind and mood he helps you understand some of the weaknesses that can make your online poker experience an unhappy one. The chapter on data management highlights one of the major strengths of playing on line and how it can be used to evaluate your opponents, evaluate yourself, as well as find and exploit the weaknesses of your opponents.

Little sprinkles of humor throughout the book helped break up some tough subjects. One of the toughest things to do is really look at yourself and your habits but it is absolutely critical if you want to be able to close the holes in your game. John Vorhaus helps guide you through this self evaluation right up front before he gets into actually playing online. I liked this approach because if after going through this effort you may find that as a player, you're not well suited for online play and you can either work to improve those weaknesses, or save yourself some money and frustration and stay away. The chapter and references throughout the later sections of the book regarding data management identified one of the major opportunities for leverage in online play. The method he identified would definitely take a lot of dedication to perform. Fortunately, there have been a number of programs come out since this book was published to help in that regard. Probably the most popular is Poker Tracker which works with most of the major poker sites.

I consider myself at least an intermediate level player with solid online experience. While the book did get me to take a deeper look at my motivations for playing as well as my style of play it primarily reinforced a lot of the thoughts that I already had about playing online as well as many of the strategies that I learned through the experience of trial and error. If I had owned this book when I first started playing online, I think I would have saved myself a lot of money and frustration. I would recommend this book to anyone who is new to playing online as well as anyone who is struggling with their online game.


Poker: Absolute Trolling

Absolute Poker is an interesting site. It's pretty small, few thousand players on at a time, and only has a few ring games at each level going. The popular one appears to be 6 max. On the other hand, I've got a decent bankroll there that I've decided to play any significantly loose game between $.25/$.50 and $3/$6. I've been keeping an eye on the $5/$10 which also appears pretty loose, but is usually short handed so it would take some actual time just sitting and watching the regulars to know for sure. My first attempt at $3/$6 was interesting. It wasn't a passive game by any stretch so I only got to play 1 hand before dinner, while watching all the others, but the one hand I did play was good enough to cover the ice cold river of cards I had recieved at the $.50/$1 table and put me up a little. My one complaint, other than a lack of action, is that either the client or the players on this site are slow. Maybe it's just a perception thing but it feels slower than other card rooms. My bonehead play of the day, chasing a two outer to the river against a family pot. I think everyone at the table except one person was in this pot preflop. There's one complete lunatic at the table, and of course he'll raise and cap the pot, and chase it all the way to the river with literally any two cards, sometimes he wins (Blind luck?) but most often he loses without even a pair. T3o was a real doozy to see after all the raises, of course the board is mostly a suit he doesn't even have and not even a paired card or odd straight possibility. So anyway, I'm the BB with 56h and it calls around to the known maniac who of course raises. I figure against him I'll agressively defend my blind and raise hoping to see everyone else folds out. No one did, it calls around again. The flop was 973h so I've got a flush and if the 4h or 8h comes I'll have the straight flush. at least two other people caught their flush and raised, and re-raised respectively and the maniac caps. I should have bailed but the pot was huge and it would have been awesome to take it down with the straight flush so I call. The turn is a blank and the cap fest continues, still throwing caution to the wind I'm in there to see the river also come up a blank. Boo. The maniac had Jc9s so I was right not to respect his raise, but one of the other two had the big flush and that's all she wrote. The only thing I can attribute to why I stayed is because I let myself think the money didn't mean anything ($.25/$.50 table) which of course is a bad state of mind to be in.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004


Poker: The Ultimate disappointment

Ok, so the icing on the cake for my experience with Ultimate Bet. I started my cashout with them to my NETeller account yesterday afternoon after looking on their site to determine how long it would take. As a matter of fact, their Help/FAQ has the following to say:

How soon will I get my money?
Withdrawals are quick and easy. On the main screen click on "My Account". This will take you to your account information. Click on 'withdraw' and complete the required information. We process all requests and submit them to the appropiate processor for crediting to your account.

If your deposit was made through NETeller: the entire withdrawl amount will be credited to your NETeller account. Please note that you MUST have the same email address with us as NETeller or we will be unable to process your request. Your money will be in your account as soon as we submit it.

The verification email recieved said:

Dear sloejack,

This is a confirmation that UltimateBet has received your request to withraw $623 in funds from your account. We will process your request within 2 business days.

What the hell is up with that? They're not going to process my cashout for up to 2 days? Outrageous! So I sent them an email inquiring to the long delay:

I was lead to believe from your withdrawal literature on your site/client that because I used NETeller, my withdrawl would be completed promptly. If 2 business days is your version of promptly, I don't think it maps up to what your customers believe prompt is.

And get this complete non-response back:

I verified your account and see that you have made a recent withdrawal request for $623.00 at 3:23 EST. We're sorry you feel this way about the length of time it takes to process withdrawals, again, as previously mentioned it is done within 24-48 hours of the request.

At this point I'm extremely disappointed. Fortunetly not all of my bankroll is tied up with them, and thank goodness I didn't do my withdrawl on a Friday. So, if you play on UltimateBet and are thinking about cashing out, keep in mind that it will take longer to get your money than you may expect.

Monday, July 12, 2004


Poker: Cashing out of Ultimate Bet

After giving it a solid go for a few weeks, I'm cashing out of UB. The games are good to fair but no where near as good as Party in terms of action, quantity, and speed. One of the nice things about the UB interface is the mini-view, but I guess that just makes it easier for folks to multi-table and that makes the games slower than they should be. Speaking of slower than it should be, clearing my bonus there has been a huge pain in the butt so I'm leaving $150 + whatever I have coming from my play on the table. I might go back for it another time, but at the moment, it just seems like more work than it's worth. The next move is to Absolute who has an amazing bonus (35%) and what appears to be an easier release schedule.

Sunday, July 11, 2004


General: News Flash

A pony just ran through the grocery store parking lot. If I were still living in west Texas, this wouldn't really be much of a thing but here I am in northern Illinois, it's something to behold. Now, just to illustrate the differences between how things would be handled down home, and how things are handled up here lets take a look at how it unfolded.

Back home if something like this had happened, you could count on at least a half dozen, if not more folks to pull some ropes out of their trucks, corral or rope the horse, and then figure out who's trailer or stall he busted out of. No worries, all in a days fun.

Here, let the goat rodeo begin. Goat rodeo is one of my managers favorite sayings at work. I'm not sure I completely understand why, but it applied here. First of all you have about four squad cars following and trying to cut the horse off, flashing lights, the occasional horn. Yes, this exudes a calm and relaxed approach to catching a spooked animal. NOT! After chasing him around the Jewel-Osco parking lot long enough for me to almost piss myself laughing, they finally manage to corner him, now what? Now, nothing. They basically wait while the local horse vet shows up with a bridal and rope and put him in a trailer and take him away.

So you might ask, Sloe where were you with your rope then if you're such an expert? Sadly, people look at you funny and laugh at you if you brandish such things around here so all but my hat (which I never wear anyway, but I might) lay in storage, most likely never to be used again. :(


Poker: New Books

So I went out last night to burn off a gift certificate that I got at Christmas for the local book store. I hadn't intended to pick up new poker books, but apparently the urge for more input was too strong. Because I wanted to understand why players play the way they do and better understand how I play I picked up The Psychology of Poker by Alan Schoonmaker. I also decided that after reading many of the 'fundamental' poker books that I would pick what looked like the best one regarding online play and see if it actually offered any worthwhile insight. To that end, I ended up getting Killer Poker Online by John Vorhaus because the authors name was familiar and frankly given the 5 minutes of browsing the table of contents and stuff it seemed to be organized better than the other popular book Internet Texas Hold'em by Matthew Hilger. Nothing truly against Matthew's book, but it just didn't seem to have any substance to it that appealed to me more than John's.

Anyway, I'm still reading and have gotten about half way through it. Oddly enough, at half way through the book, he's only covered the mechanics of getting online and the more psychological aspects of playing. In fact come to think of it, other than offering tips and strategies he doesn't talk about how to play at all, operating under the assumption that you already know how to play the game. Another plus for getting this book for the non-beginner. Anyway, the following excerpt is in line with my thinking on the practice of multi-tabling.

Some players think double-dipping is a great idea. They reckon that playing in two games gives them twice the opportunity to win, and it would if (a) they were winning players to begin with (most aren't), and (b) they could adequately contend in two games at once (most can't). But if concentration (read boredom -sloe) is a problem, playing two games at once can seem like a solution.
The question is, can it last? Are you really so good a player, so much better than your opponents, that you can afford to spread your skills and your attention over two games at once? Are you really so adept at following the action that you can pick up every little nuance in both games? Are you so arrogant as to believe you'll never miss something critical?

Then there's the rudeness factor. If you're stewing over a decision in one game, you may be holding up the action in the other. You do owe a debt of courtesy to the other players. It's not fair to slow them down just because playing one game at a time doesn't hold your focus.

I try real hard not to be a 'poker professor' while playing even though I see people do things that really shouldn't have happened, usually against me, but the thing that really gets my goat is slow play by multi-table players because they're not paying attention to the table I'm on.

Perhaps my friends take on it is more reasonable. He likes the multi-tablers, they can be pushed relatively easily off of their blinds, thus removing one or two hands per orbit that they would normally be able to play without paying attention. Then when they catch on to what is happening and get pissy about it, they just end up trying to 'out play' him and tilt. Me personally, I'll continue to play my cards and grumble quietly about those slow playing asses that seem content to slow down the game everywhere they are. Ah well, enough ranting. If you're a multi-tabler, more power to you. Just have some common courtesy and don't slow down the games you're involved in.

Saturday, July 10, 2004


Poker: Sometimes the deck really is stacked against you

Well, the winning streak had to end some time, I guess this morning was it. I don't feel that I played badly (well at least not until I was down the $1.75 and just threw it in the pot in disgust) but I was getting flopped and rivered to death the whole way. Normally I don't care that the fish have no respect for my raises and bets because it pays me off, however this morning they couldn't miss. Two classic hands come to mind, me with KK, raise pre-flop, get re-raised, and I cap. The flop is rainbow trash so I lead out and get called. Turn is more junk. Or rather, if you happened to have 53 you'd have a straight, but who would raise and cap pre-flop with 53? The river is more junk and I lead out, get raised, I re-raise, he caps. Hmm, did I just bet into Aces or did he catch a set on the river? No, it was 53s. A later hand I have QJs and I raise pre-flop and get one caller, flop comes with junk and it gets checked to me so I bet and get called. The turn brings a J and it gets checked to me so I bet and he calls. The river brings a 5 and he bets. Again, I couldn't believe that someone would call a preflop raise with J5 (you would think I would learn) and I raise, he re-raises, and I call because while I didn't believe it starting out the re-raise made the spidey senses tingle. We flip our cards over and what does he have? J5o, thank you very much. Like I said, I normally like guys like this, but plays like that just couldn't miss for these folks this morning. Oh well, I'll get em next time.

Friday, July 09, 2004


General: The Conspiracy to Keep You Poor and Stupid

So, I'm surfing the web because the baby is asleep and for some reason I don't feel like playing poker and I come across this site, The Conspiracy to Keep You Poor and Stupid. Apparently this is the author's blog for the book he wrote. Being a rabid supporter of capitalism I figured it was good for a read. I have to say that all in all, it's pretty interesting stuff. Almost reminds me of Keith Olberman in the tone of the writing. Maybe I'm reading too much into it. Ok bad pun, it won't happen again, I promise. Anyway, off to read some more, I may actually go buy this fellows book.


Poker: Table Selection

So lately I've given a lot of thought to my current streak of winnings and have determined that it's not just good play that's doing it. Granted, good solid play is the major component to winning, but when it comes to online poker, table selection is also important. Right now I'm looking at the $.50/$1 and $1/$2 level where the most choices for table selection appear to be for the level I'm comfortable playing at. However, the ideas expressed here should apply to any level and game type (Limit or No Limit) where you have a choice of tables to sit at. Additionally, this information should also help regardless of which site you play on. There are some important differences, but I'll cover those as well.

For my examples, I'm going to use Paradise and Party since they share the two most common types of table listings. On Paradise you generally have the table name, the number of seats taken and available, the average pot size, and the percentage of players who see the flop. On Party, you have almost all of the same information except for the percentage of players seeing the flop. Knowing the percentage of players seeing the flop is an easy way to determine how loose or tight a game is. Without that information, I tend to then look at the average pot size. With limit poker you can make some rough calculations to determine how many people have to be playing or how the people on the table have to be playing to be able to generate that pot size so you get more of a SWAG on how loose a game is. My personal play style lately has been tight aggressive so I tend to look for the looser games. If on the other hand your play-style is loose aggressive, you may want to find a tighter game that you can push around. Then again, I guess if you're a rock you can go join the rock garden but I doubt it will be any fun or very profitable.

Once you've identified a likely table for your play, you now want to scout out the players. On sites like Paradise that show the flop percentage one of the things to be aware of is that everyone else sees that same information and it tends to attract the multi-table players (read as tight-aggressive players) for obvious reasons. If you get enough tight-aggressive players on a loose table it will very quickly turn into a rock garden. I think that this is one of the reasons that Party seems to be a fishier playground, it's more work to determine the loose tables than on sites like Paradise. Anyway, this takes us to the first step of figuring out what kind of players you're up against. It's usually pretty easy to identify which players are playing on multiple tables. Just look at the other tables and take note of which players on your table are also on the other ones. You can generally classify these people as tight-aggressive so you want to be more aware of the hands they actually play. The reason for this is that their attention span is generally limited to keeping a lookout for the premium hands. This then leaves everyone else at your table. When I sit down I generally elect to wait for the BB to come to me before I play, this does two things. It allows me to observe the other players. Are they passive or aggressive? Do they play solid hands or do they play any suited cards or even rags? I use the time before the BB comes my way and the first orbit to take the temperature at the table. If you haven't identified who your fish are by the time the BB gets to you for the second orbit, I believe the saying goes, "You are the fish."

Assuming that the temperature of the table is good, not too many multi-tabler or rocks and a fair share of fish, it's time to play. If I sense that the table for some reason is too tight I generally play long enough to recover my blinds and leave. If by the end of the first orbit I've got my buy-in plus some change then I'll get up. You're selection standards may be different than mine, but as long as you have standards by which you can evaluate a table, you should be able to find your "good games" and have some fun.


Poker: Bonus Whoring

So last month I made a large part of my bankroll gains from bonus whoring and since it's something I tend to keep an eye on I figured I'd share what I know for those of you who have asked. Ok, those of you who didn't ask can listen too. Now, frankly Poker Grub gets the credit for pointing me in the right direction and based on things that I've read at sites like Bonus/Casino Whores I started doing my own research and tracking down the best deposit bonuses that I could find and then plotting out the best way to maximize acquiring them without locking my bankroll down to a single site for too long.

Here's the breakdown on the sites that I've looked at. The qualifier that I use when looking at sites is that they be big enough/populated enough that I have a reasonable chance of playing whenever I want. The site must be well established since I don't want to wonder if I'm ever going to see my money back, as opposed to an indefinitely delayed cash back or out-right stolen. The the client/server performance is good because I play for limited periods of time and don't want to have to deal with getting dropped from the games I'm in due to some failure on their part. For these reasons some of the other popular sites like the Belle Rock poker rooms (The Gaming Club, River Belle, etc) and Pacific are not in my review/play list. The Bonus Whores web site tracks these and more and for the most part seems reasonably up to date. So, here are my current favorite places to play.

Poker Stars: I don't believe I've ever seen a deposit bonus, first time or otherwise here. They do however have a frequent player bonus which gives you points for play to be used on tournament entries or trading for real items (Books, chips, clothing, etc). So if there are no deposit bonuses, why play here? Two reasons, the first is that their client is the best of the breed, and on top of that I get to use my lil' muerte avatar as my player picture when playing there and that's just plain cool.

Paradise Poker: They just had a purchase/reload bonus over the holiday weekend, but now only have a 25% first time deposit bonus with a max bonus of $50. To release the bonus money you have to play raked hands. Every 100 raked hands releases $10 of bonus money. The games here are not quite as fishy as Party/Empire or UB so I'm actually not playing here right now. I'll go back the next time they have a reload bonus that I can take advantage of.

Party Poker: Party's first time deposit bonuses are generally provided through their affiliate program. The affiliates get to choose the type of bonus they want to incent you with which can be a flat $25, 20% up to $100 max bonus, or a free entry into a Party Poker Millions qualifying tournament. Party also has a refer a friend program that is cumulative with the first time deposit bonus. If you are new to Party and a friend refers you, you can pick up $25 on a min $50 deposit and your friend gets $50. If you do the max deposit, you can basically pick up a $125 bonus for a $500 deposit. If you follow my Party link or use the signup code SLOEJACK you can pick up the 20% deposit bonus. If you want to get the extra $25 on top of that I'd obviously be happy to refer you. Going the tell-a-friend route requires a little coordination but is well worth it IMO drop me a line if you're interested. As on paradise, to release the bonus money you have to play raked hands. The release requirement for the tell-a-friend bonus is racked hands 5x the bonus ($25) or raked hands worth a total of $125. The release requirement for the 20% is 10x the bonus so for the max of $100, your looking at raked hands worth $1000. My friend Steel_Rain went through this process and was able to clear both bonuses within a week so it's not too daunting.

Party will occasionally promote a reload/purchase bonus for existing players but there is not one currently to the best of my knowledge.

If you already play on Empire and want to score the Party bonus, you may need to un-install the Empire client before you install the Party client since the install process does some basic checking to try and actually prevent you from having an account on both sites. The nerve.

Ultimate Bet: UB has a 20% first time deposit bonus up to $100 max. The bonus dollars are released based on the number of "Ultimate Points" you collect from raked hands. As you collect the points, bonus dollars are released, even in fractions of a dollar. For every 10 Ultimate Points you collect, you release $1. Like Poker Stars, the Ultimate Points can be used to enter tournaments or trade for schwag... I'm thinking of getting some UB playing cards myself just because. Heck, collect a few million UPs and you can trade it for $10,000 cash. The nice thing about the UPs you gain while releasing your bonus is that you get to keep them to spend on the stuff from their players club store. On top of that, this month they're doing a promotion called sit-n-go crazy which pays you back half your buy-in to SNGs in bonus dollars that you can then free up by playing. And if that's not enough, UB also gives you bonus dollars at the end of the month for the amount of time you play on UB. Obviously it's a bit of a vicious circle because there's always bonus dollars to be freed up, so they win :) Last, but certainly not least, UB also has a refer a friend program which is NOT cumulative with the first time deposit bonus. The refer a friend IMO is actually a little bit better, at least for those folks who don't have a $500+ bankroll. The RAF program at UB gives you a 50% deposit bonus up to $50, so a max deposit of $100. Like Party's program, this is a nice boost to the referrer who picks up $50 or $100 bonus dollars (note that it is bonus dollars to both the referrer and referee) depending on the deposit. If you're interested in going this route, I again would be more than happy to help out :)

UB had a reload bonus up till the beginning of this month. I'm sure there will be more in the future, but nothing today for existing players.

Empire Poker: Empire is like Party in pretty much every respect, this is because it's a Party skin, the same ring tables are available via both sites, so the same fish are available :) This also means that the bonus system works similarly. Empire is offering a 20% signup bonus which you can get by following my link, or using the bonus code BONUS589. Empire is also running the same tell-a-friend program as party so you can pick up the same $25 bonus there as well. Again, if you're not on empire and want to take advantage of this, I'll offer my assistance in this as well.

One difference between Party and Empire is that Empire also has a VIP program similar to Poker Stars and UltimateBet that gives you points for play. You can then use those Epoints to enter special tournaments or get Empire gear. The gotcha to this is that to get into the VIP club you have to earn 5000 Epoints first. Once you're in you actually start earning Epoints at double the normal rate.

Empire will occasionally promote a reload/purchase bonus for existing players but there is not one currently to the best of my knowledge.

If you already play on Party and want to score the Empire bonus, you may need to un-install the Party client before you install the Empire client since the install process does some basic checking to try and actually prevent you from having an account on both sites. The nerve.

Absolute Poker: Is currently offering the best first time deposit bonus that I'm aware of at 35% for a max bonus of $210 ($600 deposit). This is good through July. The bonus is cleared like on Paradise, for every 100 points you collect $10 is freed. You get 1 point for each raked hand ($.25 or more rake). Absolute also has a refer a friend program that's will get you $15 on top of your deposit bonus. It requires some extra hoops for the referrer to jump through, but can be worth it if you want the extra money. Like Stars and UB, Absolute also has a rewards program that you can use to enter special tournaments and pick up Absolute schwag.

Absolute will periodically have a reload/deposit bonus for existing players, but there currently is not one that I am aware of.

Check n Raise Poker: is a new site that is opening in September. I stumbled across them because someone followed a link from their site to my blog. This site is the only exception to my 'established' rule only because they're offering a 50% deposit bonus if you pre-register (no deposit required up front, just the intention to do so) up to a $250 max bonus. Their story seems compelling in that they claim to have interviewed players (quantity unknown) to identify the things they like and dislike about online poker play and have/are building a product that gives the players the things they want. So we'll see. It's a ways off but, the 50% deposit bonus just for pre-registering is appealing. They have a referral program that offers $25 to the referee. It's not clear yet if this is cumulative with the deposit bonus or not, but if you're interested in pursuing this, let me know.

Thursday, July 08, 2004


General: An Office Space moment

So here I sit this morning on pseudo-vacation and I'm catching up with email, tweaking my blog template, catching up on my blog reading and an email pops up on my work system from the customer who needs something fairly trivial done on their systems. In my hyper efficient fashion (ok, so there was nothing else going on may as well help someone) I bang out the requests real quick and go back to my otherwise low-key day. I then get an instant message from the project manager asking if I saw the email from the customer. No problem, I fill him in that it's all squared away and try to go back to my time wasting activities. I then get an instant message from the PMs manager asking if I saw the email. *sigh* The icing on the cake was my manager sending me an instant message just a little while ago asking if I had seen the email. I feel a TPS report nightmare coming.

Maybe I need a blog at work that I can post my status to and then I can just set my IM auto-responder to something pithy like: I'm not taking messages right now, if you're looking for status on something see my status-blog, if you don't find the answer to your question there, consider revising your question.


General: Golf and a movie

So I took a break from work, poker, and generally just everything and went and played some golf this afternoon. I had played the same course earlier in the week and didn't do as well as I would have liked. Don't get me wrong, I have no illusions about being a 'good' golfer, I do however have those inconsistent moments where I remember all the fundamentals and actually implement them properly to make some truly great shots. So the killer for me is that I could be great, if only golf wasn't such an expensive habit to maintain. I wonder if Nike would sponsor a 'Future Pro in Training'? I'm not asking for much, cover the mortgage and food, supply me with some gear and a place to play and I promise to quit my job and play/practice every day and be on the pro tour in a year. I could see how it could work if that Tiger character didn't have Nike wrapped around his putter. Anyway, I shaved 5 strokes off of my previous performance and was pretty happy with that. The weather started turning foul but I wasn't ready to go home yet (I'm a bachelor for a few days while the wife and baby are off at the mother-in-laws) so I went to the movies.

I saw "The Terminal" with Tom Hanks and thought it was a great show, I highly recommend it. The only part of the movie I didn't really agree with was Stanley Tucci's character as the customs director. At the beginning of the movie as he's introduced, he seems to have his eye on the ball and a "do the right thing" approach. However, as the movie goes on he basically turns Tom Hanks character into some sort of nemesis and becomes obsessed with him. The total time span appeared to be about 9 - 10 months. I guess what I don't agree with is such a personality/character shift without more motive. The movie in general was funnier than expected and I'll probably try to figure out a way to see it again with the wife once she gets home.


Poker: My worst kind of poker

So after re-watching the 7 card stud WSOP tournament on ESPN I thought, "What the heck, it looks like fun." So I go and sit down at a $.50/$1 7 card stud game on Party. The game had all the characteristics of a great casino game... I won the first hand huge with an ace high flush and then proceeded to lose any other hand I was in after that. I think this most clearly shows how 7 card stud has got to be my worst type of poker. About the only decent thing I was able to do was figure out that the guy who was representing a flush (4 spades up) didn't have it because I recalled counting earlier from the folded hands that all the spades were out. Of course, that didn't matter too much because my two pair (Qs and ?s) was smaller than his As and Ts. :( Ok, back to $.50/$1 Hold'em which I just wrapped up a +30 BB session which recovers my -20 BB from stud.

Funny, it wasn't even a week ago I was griping how I didn't feel that I was beating the $.50/$1 regularly enough to feel confident about moving up to $1/$2. Granted, this could be just one of those streaky times, but better that than a stick in the eye. I think I'll go back and read those other sections in Super System and beef up my non-hold'em skills since our home games seem to be made up of stud (5/7) and draw lately.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004


Poker: All that and a bag of shit

So I'm continuing to work my bonus off at UB and took another stab at $1/$2. Can you say lawn dart? I thought I played well, but it's hard to win against hands where I had AKo, raise and re-raise pre-flop, flop the straight so I raise, re-raise, and bet the turn only to get rivered by the fellow who stuck it out with K5s I figured him for chasing the straight but when the 3rd heart hit the river and he bet out instead of checking I knew I was proper fucked and did my crying call to see what shit I had been screwed with. So I busted out of that table shortly after the few hands I played completely missed by the flop and figured I'd give it a go at $1/$2 six max figuring that I might have a better time where my hands could stand up better. I only thought the 10 handed games were loose and fishy, I think six max games define it. I didn't catch many cards but was able to recover 13 BB so I figured I'd go flex my $.50/$1 muscle and see how it faired. Now I'm catching cards and can do no wrong. The sad part is that to recover the losses at $1/$2 I have to play twice as hard at $.50/$1.... go figure. Well, I'm recovered... cleared some more bonus from UB and now I think I'm gonna go play a round of golf if I can get on at the course.


Poker: ESPN WSOP Coverage Review

So I've read quite a few takes on this and commented some my self on this that I finally decided to just write my own review of the July 6th broadcast of the $2,000 NLHE and $1,500 Stud events on ESPN. If you missed the original airing, ESPN will be re-airing them, for example the replay today is on ESPN2 at 4pm and 5pm CST respectively. Each segment is one hour covering 12 other tournaments leading up to the main event. I think it would be cool to play in the WSOP, but because I don't really have any dream or aspiration of doing so I honestly didn't know much about the event(s). I still don't claim to know much about them other than at least have a better understanding that the WSOP is really multiple tournaments and that explains how there are so many WSOP bracelets floating around.

Keeping in mind that the play was probably heavily edited to fit within the one hour block of air time I have to take back some of my previous comments regarding individual play. There were some real head scratcher moments in both events that just didn't make sense but I'm now leaning more towards a lack of context than I am at just plain bizarre behavior. The second general comment I have is that while it's certainly not Vince and Mike commenting, you would think that someone would prep these guys. My biggest beef with the commentary was the way they would mis-call the outs, presumably to make the situation seem more dire than it was. I mean come on people. I think this is an area that I'm still fairly weak in and even I was doing out and odds calculations on the fly better. I think the reason this is so disappointing is that because it's tape delayed you would think they would have taken the time to at least make sure their commentary was accurate, if they were trying to cover this live I might forgive them. Then again, probably not.

The first event was the $2,000 NLHE with the top prize of $400,000 and a bracelet. I only visually recognized Charlie Shoten and Shawn Rice, probably from WPT events aired on the Travel channel. From my perspective, the event as aired wasn't that interesting. There were some real questionable plays by James Vogl but I've given it some deep thought and decided that real play analysis just isn't going to work since the whole show is basically a highlight reel. So the reason someone like myself would watch, to see how the pros play and maybe learn something, is going to be dodgy at best. As a Texan, I have to say I was rooting for Rice to win it, especially after they did the segment contrasting the views of Vogl and Rice towards the game and their approach. I had to wonder what Vogl was even doing there with the attitude that was portrayed. Rice obviously presented a real reverence and love of the game. After that segment I was really hoping for a different outcome. The only other event of note during the show came towards the end when Rice and Vogl were heads up. At the end of that hand, you could have knocked Shawn Rice over with a feather. He wore the pain of that beat on his whole body, I honestly felt for the guy.

Event two was the $1,500 7-Card Stud tournament which seemed to consist of Men the Master, Chad Brown, and Ted Forrest despite the other players at the table. This episode was more entertaining than the NLHE event probably thanks to Men. In terms of play, I think Men's lack of respect for Chad Brown was his undoing. Men needling Chad seemed to make up more than half the show and ended when Men got busted out by Chad. The WTF? play of the game was Ted Forrest with his pair of twos. Again, I can only presume that through the marvels of video editing there was some context missing there that would allow the play to make sense but for me it looked like a pure "balls of steel" play.

In general, after watching this the thought I had was that this is ok entertainment but highly over rated. The other thought I had was that if the average Joe at home watching this decides that the game doesn't look so tough if these are the pros. It is no wonder that the major online sites and B&M casinos have seen a large influx of fish after watching events on ESPN and Travel. So while I don't appreciate the shows from a technical perspective, I suppose as long as they keep moving cash into the poker universe I'm glad they're there.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004


Poker: A confidence builder

So today was an interesting day. Most importantly, it was an up day but it did have an interesting roller coaster style plunge in the early evening. So this morning was a nice go at $1/$2 on UB. After getting some work and chores out of the way I let Steel_Rain talk me into playing $1/$2 on Party. The game looked amazing but I didn't have much luck or confidence mostly because my bankroll isn't as large on party to really play $1/$2 as aggressively as I would have liked. So, while Steel_Rain had a great run at the table, I flushed $40 away in 33 hands. Fortunately 146 hands of $.50/$1 allowed me to recover plus $10. Mostly today was a confidence builder at $.50/$1. I felt good about the sessions I was in when I played, and played as well as I could allowing me to generate some great results of +50 BB at that level on Party. My net for $1/$2 on Party and UB is +1 BB so I can't complain too much about that so I'll stop.


Poker: Raising the roof

So I took the plunge today and sat down at $1/$2 and ended up +21/BB. I didn't find the game too much tougher than $.50/$1 but with only one 45 minute session under my belt I'm not going to make too many assumptions right now. I found a good game and was sad to leave it but duty called.

I'm still struggling with $.50/$1. Last night was a bad night finishing -20/BB for the session on UB. The game was tough and while at one point I was +15/BB, there were a few hands where I suspected I was beat on the turn but couldn't let go. The lesson learned here is to tighten up just a little because in review of my play, I had played some pretty questionable hands and to pay a little more attention to how others are playing/betting because I missed some pretty obvious signals to get out based on the things I had seen those players play in the past.

So last night I was the fish, and this morning I was shark :)

Sunday, July 04, 2004


General: Blog Weirdness

I've been at this for a few months now and recently a couple of bugs have made posting annoying. The first is that periodically my template gets chopped up and I have to reload it. Fortunetly I keep a backup copy of it. The second thing is that there appear to be ghost posts since the month roll over. *shrug* just annoying.

Saturday, July 03, 2004


Poker: Play review

Played on Party and Ultimate Bet the last couple of days. Party has been it's standard fair but I've only managed to stay even which in the face of some of the tough beats that almost took me out is pretty good. Unfortunately my amazing comebacks are only bringing me back even with where I started. On UB it's been a slightly different story. In one session I ended up reloading 3 times and got pummeled in the most fish infested game I've ever played. I mean we're talking an average of 7 or 8 people seeing the flop and 4 or 5 seeing the river. What pummeled me here is that because so many people were with basically anything goes I was having a hard time placing anyone on a hand and my good hands (second best) hands were costing me a lot to play.

Played a friendly low stakes home game this evening and had a lot of fun. The best hand of the night for me was quad 8s that I was able to get fairly cheaply in a game of auction. I'm pretty happy all in all with the way I've been playing lately. I'll continue to try and recover the beating I took on UB to get back to at least even there which will net a $100 gain to the bankroll and then I plan to move over to absolute and clean up on the 35% bonus they're offering this month (max $210 bonus on $600 deposit). Obviously my goal here is to continue building my bankroll and improve my game as I move into 1/2 and work towards 2/4.

One of the things I've noticed at least in the blogging population is that many people are suggesting that there isn't much difference in the level of the game. Maybe it's worth taking a shot now, then again I'm just starting to feel solid about $.50/$1 but I'm not consistently beating that game as much as I would hope. Aw well, I'll keep chewing on that thought for awhile and continue on the current path to $3/$6.

Friday, July 02, 2004


Poker: Good resources for the newb

In the "For What It's Worth" category, the following references have been a great help in learning and improving the game:

  1. www:
  2. book: The Theory of Poker by David Sklansky
  3. book: Doyle Brunson's Super System
  4. book: Tournament Poker for Advanced Players by David Sklansky

The list is presented in the order in which I read them. Curiously many of the blogs and forum resources are not in this list although I have acquired some useful tips and thoughts from them over time. The sites I found most useful can be found in my blogroll.


General: Nonsense

So I was reading ACH this morning and his post reminded me to check up on my visitor log and see if anyone was actually reading this thing. For those of you who are regular viewers, I'm surprised I have not bored you to tears and that you keep coming back for more. Gluttons for punishment I'm sure. Anyway, in looking at where folks are coming from and how they get here, I thought this one was a bit odd.

How to beat someone up that is stronger than you

Funny, I come in as the top link. Leave no question unanswered I say. If you want to beat someone up who is stronger than you, all you have to do is.... wait a minute. Are you kidding me? Lets think about this for a minute here. This person is stronger than you. Presumably you think you're a relatively intelligent person because you're going to 'learn' how to beat this person up by reading some tips on a web site, something we'll equate to browsing Black Belt or Kung Fu at the news stand.

Well, if you're so smart, lets think past this fantasy smack down you're about to bring and see what happens after that. If you're under the age of 18 and in school, chances are you're cruising for a bruising. Ego and machismo will call for revenge and the problem with that is, you're probably going to end up getting pummeled yourself, usually by your victim and his friends. Laying behind the school bleachers bleeding in the fetal position is probably not the vision you want, it will of course be compounded by the girl of your dreams walking by and laughing at you as she goes off with your nemesis to hunt snipe.

Hmm, that last link might not be work friendly.

Assuming you're over the age of 18, you may expect a similar result compounded by possible issues with the law. I say similar result because frankly when it comes to issues of pride and beating down puny little punk-assed bitches who sucker punch you while you're not looking.... umm where was I? Oh yes, most men really don't mature out of the 'must fight' caveman way of confrontation resolution until about the time they're going to graduate from college. Funny how looking cool to your friends and tough to the girls becomes a lower priority than graduating and getting a job.

If you really want to resolve your conflict with someone, and you're thinking that if you can just figure out how to beat them into submission you're problem will be solved, can I suggest an alternative?


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