Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A is for Arrrrrrrggggghhhhhhh

A recent hour session at Pokerroom.com:

K,K - raise 3xs, someone goes all in, I call.
A flops on the river.

K,K - raise 3xs, someone goes all in, I call.
A flops on the turn

K,K - barely raise at all, someone goes all in, I call
A flops on the river.

Q,Q - raise 3xs, someone goes all in, I call.
A flops on the turn. BUT a Q flops on the river.
OK, so one out of 4 is pretty bad.

Thank GOD this was play money, even if I was playing at the highest tables.

Why is it that every time I need an A lately I don't get one, but when I don't need one, it appears like a little elf? No, I'm not whining, and I know you aren't guarenteed a win just because you have pocket pairs, but really, who goes all in with any of those hands? Even A,J is marginal, and they get rewarded for it because of the stupid A.
I hate aces.

Monday, October 24, 2005

How do you play bad players?

OK, so this guy is on an obvious flush draw in a $5 sit n go shorthanded at pokerroom.com, and I've got A,Q with a big, fat A on the board. He needs one more spade. He doesn't deserve the spade, so I make him pay for it. I bet the pot, about $275. He calls.
A junk card falls. He still doesn't deserve the spade, so I make him pay yet again. I bet $500.
Now, his odds aren't great here, 2 to 1 at the most, so he'll surely fold here, right?
He calls.
And the third spade falls.
When he checks, I check, knowing I've been beaten, and he shows the King high spade. Oh, and he had K,3. Did I mention I raised the pot 4xs when I began the hand? I guess I didn't mention that.
Of course I"m on tilt, but I recover and try to make a move when the guys just to my left raises my blind AGAIN, so I re-raise him with 10,6.
On a medium stack, he calls with K,3.
Two threes flop, a 10 falls so I bet hard, and he calls.
End of game.
You know, I've found more and more that you have to either be bad and play ultra-conservative, or you have to play extremely well, better than me, I guess, to beat all these donkeys. The stragety of "just hang around until they knock each other out" works, except that it leaves you with a pretty short stack at the end, and that, my friends, not only sucks but just isn't much fun.
You really just have no idea what these people have. And while that is good for you, in a way, it also makes it pretty tough out there.
Maybe I should play some $1 sngs at pokerroom over Halloween weekend and let the party start!!!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

When women play poker, it isn't a cat fight

I always hesitate to write the stories like I did today in the Outdoors section of the Tribune.
I call these the Look! FILL IN THE BLANK can FILL IN THE BLANK stories.
As in, "Look! Men can shop for clothes too!" (A whole reality show was built around this, and you know the name. Hint: It rhymes).
My story was, "Look! Women can do outdoor activites too!"
Now, I tried my best to show the struggles women face in getting involved in the outdoors, struggles that have nothing to do with the fact that they don't like to get their nails dirty or other nonsense like that.
If those stories are done well, they can, indeed, be great ones, like "Murderball," the movie about wheelchair rugby. Other times, by playing up a person who has beaten the sterotypes, they actually play up the stereotype and give them even more validity.
One reason I'm writing this is last night I watched the World Poker Tour and its repeat performance of Ladies Night.
As I was falling in love with the winner, a French Canadian (ha ha, honey, not really...hmmmm), I was enjoying the good poker being played, and I forgot they were all women (except for the French one) and just respected them as poker players.
One of the announcers, however, Vince Van Patten, who reminds me of a cross between a fraternity president, a 40-year-old with a mid-life crisis, and a pack mule (or another word for it), made it hard to forget there were women out there.
"Ooooo, we've got a catfight out here!"
"Oooo, what a play, hairspray right between the eyes."
I don't need to go on, do I?
The show tried so hard to present women as real poker players, even interviewing many of the pioneers, and yet, by offering a pittance of a payout ($25,000 went to the winner, while first place usually approaches $650,000 or more) and by allowing Van Patten to go off, it played up to the stereotypes more than shattered them.
Episode III premieres Saturday. Let's try harder this time.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Ain't nothing like the real thing

I played my first live game since my son was born June 25, and it made me realize how much I missed it. I love Internet poker, but playing with friends, reading players and seeing the real cards come down is a blast.
I learned a few things too:
• No, poker Web sites are not rigged for action. I was playing heads-up with a friend after I busted everyone else out, and took the following two bad beats in a row:
Had 10,3 os. Flop 10,3,2. Bet hard the whole way. 6 on the turn. Friend keeps calling. Q comes on the river, He bets hard.
He shows Q,6.

Had A,9 suited. Flopped an A. Bet hard. 9 falls. Bet even harder. 10 on the river.
He shows A,10.

Now, fairly rough anyway, but heads up? Ouch.
I eventually won my money back when I had A,A and he had a flush draw and gambled. The lesson here is bad beats happen all the time, in life as in the Internet. Deal with it.
• It's good to practice a good poker face, even when you are playing online. My friend said he couldn't pick up a tell from me, and he's played with me for months and could "read' me in the past. Sweet.
Or maybe I'm just tired from the baby.
• Real poker can make you better, or it can make you worse. You tend to call everything in a tiny ring game, making it much more difficult to read players and also you tend to just play cards instead of call crap. While this can sharpen your reading skills and make you look for tells more, it can also make you softer.
I need to get out to the bars and play some tournament poker.

I'm also reading lots of books right now. Sklansky, Harrington, etc. They are really helping.

My name

I need to explain my name, I think, lest you think I'm a pervert. I climb mountains. I've just climbed all 54 14ers in Colorado, which is a pretty big deal, if you live in Colorado (if you live anywhere else, you probably don't give a shit). And my friends call playing poker "poking." I'm not sure why.
So...I'm not a pervert.
That is all.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Am I the only one who enjoys play money?

OK, I am not rich, I have a newborn, and I'm still trying to learn how to play at an advanced level, so despite winning or cashing many $5 + .50 SnG shorthandeds, I have to take a month off so I can put another $25 in next month.
In the meantime, I'm working on building my play money bankroll on Pokerroom.com.
So am I just lame for playing play money and taking it seriously, or as seriously as I can? The only difference between my play is I call more all-ins, and with weaker hands, than I would in a real-money tournament.
I believe, for the most part, play money play is fairly strong, especially at the highest level table, where I play. But here are some questions:
• Does playing for play money actually hurt your game, given that others may not take it seriously and are willing to call huge bets with much weaker hands?
• Are there almost as many idiots playing for low level real money than there are people playing for playing at the highest tables? (I would say yes to this question, but I'm curious what others say).
• Can you learn playing play money, and what can you learn? You can't learn how to bluff, for instance, because most people won't fold with play money. And you can't learn how to bet someone off, for the same problem. But aren't these problems with inexperienced players and not necessarily play money? I seem to have the same problems in my weekly ring game with friends of all different levels.
Anyway, regardless of what people say, I love my play money bankroll and I'm looking forward to the day I hit $1 million. I'm at $750,000 right now and have been a member since late April. And see you at the suckouts.