Friday, October 27, 2006

Sit and think

The world can take a collective deep breath now that I've completed the second leg of the Poker Jones SNG challenge -- 100 $6.50 turbos on Stars.

The results are decidedly mixed:
ROI -- 20%
ITM -- 42%
Profit -- $133.20
1st place -- 17
2nd place -- 10
3rd place -- 15
4th place -- 7
5th place -- 21
6th place -- 11
7th place -- 8
8th place -- 8
9th place -- 3

It's time for me to step back and figure what all these numbers mean (such as the glut of 5th-place finishes). My first instinct is that I'm not very good at this point. I'll do some lurking at 2+2 to see if there are any threads descriptive of my plight.

I realize that $6.50 is still a micro-limit, but the play has been decidedly better at this level than at the $3.40s. There are far more people playing what experts say is the optimum style: tight early and push/fold poker when the blind levels demand it.

I'm not discouraged despite the lackluster numbers. Progress has been made, such as my increased comfort level two-tabling and my willingness to push with any two cards when position and stack size demands it. I rarely try to just get ITM. And I believe I've refined my heads-up skills, staying patient with big leads (conceding blinds) while waiting for a hand or mistake. Only four times did I lose big leads HU, and in each instance my opponents got lucky.

Perhaps it was a fantasy to think I could run over this level after 100 games and then move directly to the $16 turbos. I'm afraid the grind at $6.50 will have to continue for at least another 50 games. Probably longer. Figuring out what I'm doing right is easy. Determining what I'm doing wrong will take further analysis.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


An obligatory, geez-you-need-to-post post. (It does, however, contain a modicum of useful poker information.)I've just discovered the tremendous overlay Mansion offers in some of its tournaments.

For example, they run a daily $1,000-added $20 rebuy and a $1,000-added $20 freezeout that feature smallish fields and nice final-table payouts. Played one of each, bubbling in the first and bubbling+1 in the second. (There were 59 and 88 runners, respectively.)

There's the typical low-limit tournament mix of donktards and better players who, I suspect, are also whoring for expected value. The stucture is fine, too, with T1500 to start, 12-minute rounds the first hour and 15-minute rounds thereafter. The overlay more than makes up for Mansion's crappy interface.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Dark Side of the Not

Weirdness afoot.

I've won this tournament two weeks in a row while listening to Dark Side of the Moon. Some powerful Floyd mojo, I guess. The new iPod has been a good investment.

Key hand was A-K vs. LOK1's pocket 8s while three-handed. I opened, he reraised and I pondered. LOK's agg factor hovered around 400,000. Is he making a play? Certainly capable. But I don't think so. I sigh heavily, hold my nose and get ready to race. An ace flops and I have most of the chips.

Surflexus took out LOK two hands later, leaving me with a 4.5-1 chip lead. I flop two pair a couple of hands into heads-up play and it's over.

The biggest hand of the night pitted Surf vs. LOK while on the bubble. Surf made the best laydown I can remember, tossing pocket aces on the river with a board of 6c Kh Kd 5s Ks. LOK said he had it. I believe him.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Hammer date

In a fit of wimpishness, I decided weeks ago to eliminate the hammer from my poker repertoire. When I first got involved in all of this bloggerly tournament foolishness, peer pressure and the lunatic spirit that surrounds these competitions prompted me to drop the hammer with elan. While there were memorable hammer drops (can you say quad 7s, beatches?), I'm guessing it proved to be a -EV play in the long run. How could it not? Alas, like an ugly girlfriend whose oral skills no longer make up for her other deficiencies, I retired that butta face to the scrap heap of unsound poker strategy.

But today, like a desperate horndog home alone on a Saturday night, I dug deep in the phone book and called her up. And by golly, not only did she willingly agree to see me, she wore the brightest shade of red lipstick known to man.

We met at a $10 rebuy at the Mansion. That's right. I still have an account there and will continue to as long as they hold my money hostage. Their latest ransom demand was a set of Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders game-day panties. I countered with a vintage Leon Lett jockstrap, an offer that was quickly rebuffed.

By the time Hammer Baby and I became reacquainted, the action had gotten a little steamy in the wake of my pocket queens succumbing to an A-9 shove. I found her on the button with blinds at 50/100. Three people limped and I pushed my last T1275 with 7h-2c. All folds and a limp-call from Ah-Jd. Two clubs on the flop, one on the turn and one on the river delivered the wickedest beat I've laid in recent memory.

I wish I could say these shenanigans propelled me to great riches. Instead I busted 25th (38 runners) in a blind vs. blind battle shortly after the break. Small blind flopped trip 2s against my top pair, king kicker. I'm guessing that was karma doing some well-deserved ass kicking. It was fun while it lasted.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The sky apparently has not fallen

Nice gut check by Poker Stars. There is hope after all.

And for what it's worth, I've now got three legs of the Blogger Slam under my belt. Only the WWdN remains. When I win that one, I'll follow the lead of Bobby Jones and retire to my law practice in Atlanta. If only I were a lawyer and lived in Georgia. A ticker-tape parade down Fifth Avenue would be nice nonetheless.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Reality check

My 2 cents: If online poker dies, I'll live. A bummer, yes. But hardly the end of the world. It's been covenient to have laptop access to a multitude of poker games. And it has served as an invaluable learning tool while earning an hourly rate approaching that of a Wal-Mart greeter.

But I like live poker much better anyway.