Poker Through the Eyes of an Amateur

November 25, 2005


I took the past week off of work for vacation to visit my family during the Thanksgiving holiday. There's been a lot of down time here and there, so I've been spending some of it playing Sit-and-Go tournaments. I had busted out at the beginning of the week, but the $75 credit from PokerStars went through, so I'm back in action. I tried playing on some of the limit tables and immediately lost a bit of money, so I went to the Sit-and-Gos to try and earn it back. I've placed in the money in all but one that I've played.

I've got one fourth place finish (in a field of 45), two third place finishes from one-table fields, two second place finishes from one-table fields, and a first place finish from a one-table field. I have to admit that over the past couple of weeks I had started to wonder if I really was any good, but now I realize that I was being results oriented instead of decision oriented. I was making the right decisions, but I just hit a bad streak, as everyone does. I'm still making the right decisions, but now they are paying off like they should. I've made up for my losses, and I'm up a little bit. Hopefully I can keep it up.

November 21, 2005

PokerStars = Respect

PokerStars is by far the best online poker site that I've dealt with. If you've been keeping up with this blog, then you know that I won an iPod Nano in the inaugural blogger tournament. I recently received my iPod this past Friday, only it wasn't the 4GB Nano that was promised; it was a 20GB regular sized iPod photo. Now, I believe that this model costs $50 more than the Nano. However, PokerStars has offered two choices to resolve this:

1) Keep the iPod we receive and receive a $75 credit to our account for getting the wrong item.

2) Ask to get an iPod Nano instead; they will send a prepaid shipping box for you to return the regular iPod, and they will credit your account $75 for the hassle.

Seriously, what other site would do this? This is by far the best customer service I've ever had, online or otherwise. After this experience I can tell you that PokerStars has my business for life. These people are great!

November 19, 2005


They got to him! The Germans finally got to him. We knew this would happen one day, but not this soon. I guess you can never really prepare yourself for something like this, though. Wil, in his infinite generosity, decided to host this week's tourney earlier in the day so that more Europeans can play. I thought that was very nice of him.

Except, I didn't find out until it was almost over. D'OH!

I looked, but I couldn't find any place that he mentioned the new start time. Oh well, I guess I will have to wait until next week to get my fix. He's apparently escaped the clutches of the Germans and vows to hold the tourneys at 7:00 EST now and forever more, amen.

PS - If you're a fan of old school TV, you'll probably enjoy how the title and post really mesh together.

November 15, 2005

The Slump

Well, I've hit the slump again. This is the time in every poker player's life where you just can't hit ANYTHING. The traps I set end up getting beaten by draws, and my bluffs end up getting me nothing. It's the time where poker stops being fun and starts to get a little frustrating. Ok, very frustrating. Don't get me wrong, I still love the game, but it's annoying to know you're making good plays and to still end up having nothing to show for it. Currently, my bankroll is less than $30.

Wil Wheaton has a terrific two part write-up over on CardSquad about his similar experiences, and it's almost as if I had written the article myself. Everyone hits the slump once in a while, but the reason we play the game is because we love it, and we enjoy the company of the people we play with. I can honestly say that I don't mind losing $11 in the WWdN Friday night games. The fun time I have in these games with online acquaintances can only be matched by the real life games I play at home with close friends. If I happen to come in the money (which I haven't yet in these WWdN tourneys), then it's just an added bonus.

So, what does the future hold for me now? Well, that would be $5+$.50 one-table sit-and-go tournaments until I've built a decent bank roll back up. I've been down this low before and made a come back. In fact, when I was over on PartyPoker, I built myself up to $400+ from $6 before eventually losing it all again over the course of several months. Does the money matter to me? Sure, a little, but mostly because it's my ticket to more fun, not because I'm trying to buy a huge flat panel TV or a new car. Will I bust out? Definitely... eventually. But when I bust out this time, I plan on doing it with my last $11 in the company of the wonderful poker blogger community that shows up for the WWdN Friday night tournaments.

And I'll tell you one thing: I'll never be so happy to go broke as I will then.

November 12, 2005

$11+One Rebuy+One Addon

Well, when I got busted out of Wil's tournament, I decided to play in another one. 750 people entered this tournament with a prize pool totaling over $16,000. I started off very well early in the game, and made it to the first break without having to rebuy. I added on, and the play continued. I played in this tournament for almost four hours, slowly making my way up the field and into the prize pool. I ended up going out in 38th and winning $59 and change, which is about three times what I paid to go in. It's too bad that I didn't make it to the final table. I would have loved to have been up there competing for the big money. Maybe it will happen tomorrow. I plan on playing in another online tournament since my VT alumni tournament was cancelled. Maybe tomorrow I will make a final table!

November 11, 2005

WWdN: Toby039 Invitational

I had been waiting for this game all week. While I'm a little disappointed with the way it turned out, I'm happy with the way I played. I only made one really bad play the whole game, about 3/4 of the way through. Below is a summary of my play by play.

7:00 Cards go live. 109 people playing, including my friend Ryan, whose entry fee I kindly paid. Willythewise drops the hammer on the first hand for a full house!! This is going to be an interesting one...

7:05 Took in about 200 with an A7 with only a 7 on the table.

7:07 Had K9 in small blind. K came on flop, and I got about 150 more. Off to a good start this game!

7:09 Got dealt presto (55), and bought the hand on the turn with two over cards on the table.

7:11 Wow, Wil is in first with 3940. That's over double my current stack of 1890!

7:15 Bought the flop with low pair (8s). Must be getting some table respect or something.

7:20 Crap, I folded A3 in late position after a raise, and I would have hit the nut straight on the flop!

7:29 Where have all the good cards gone?

7:34 Bought the pot on the turn with 6s and 3s (which was also top two pair; sad)

7:40 Up4Poker's AK busts out Alexe55's pocket 8s when he hits two pair. Ouch!

7:40 Someone else just got busted out, but I didn't have time to see who because I was typing the other one!

7:49 Just doubled up through LucyFlawless when my AJ came two pair. LucyFlawless tried to bluff it with K6.

7:58 Hit AQ in first position. Called the blind and ended up four handed. Flop came with an A, and the big blind bet it. I raised him, and he folded.

7:59 Euclides' KQo was busted out by redtrek5's A3c when he hit the flush.

8:00 Well, I've made it to the first break. I'm sitting nicely with 2805 in 25th place. Wil has dropped to 17th, and PantsOnFire, who busted out Ryan, is currently chip leader and just got moved to my table. S. Nickerson went out first in 110th, and willythewise followed pretty shortly after in 105th when Up4Poker busted him out. Joanne has gone out in 76th place as well. A lot of the names I know are gone, so I'm not sure what to expect from some of my current opponents. I'm currently third in chips at my table.

8:06 Bought the blinds with KQd

8:07 Hit KQ again, this time offsuit. Nothing came for me on the flop or turn, so I had to let it go.

8:07 Got a9h and called an all in bet from Walstib. He had KK and I didn't improve. down to 1105. Stupid call, but I thought he was making a move with a small pair.

8:11 Of course, now that I lost a ton of chips, I'm not catching any cards. Might have to try and steal soon.

8:13 Bought out the SB and one caller from BB position with an all in with A6. Bought myself some time anyway...

8:15 Bought out both blinds and a caller with A9. Up to 1555 now. Ryan tells me Wil just took a big hit too and is down to the 1700s.

8:19 Lost 600 from first position with A10. Grr!! Should have gone all in pre-flop, probably.

8:20 Bought the BB with K9h. Only up to 955 though. I need me some cards! Wil is down to 1120.

8:22 Noooooooooooooo!! ARGH!! I had AQ and went all in. I caught my two pair, but one of the callers had KK and hit a set! That's the second time KK has hit me bad tonight. I'm out in 45th.

Well, that's the end of that. The only really bad play I think I made was when I called the one all-in with my A9h. I was riding a rush and not thinking properly. Yet another lesson learned. I'm looking forward to next weekend!

November 08, 2005

WPT Finals: No Go

Well, on Sunday I had my last chance to qualify for the World Poker Tour finals at Foxwoods, but it just didn't work out. I decided I didn't feel like buying into the $30+$3 rebuy tournament directly this time, so I played the $2 turbo rebuy tournament to qualify for the $30+$3. I did well in the turbo tourney, easily making it into the top 150. However, only the top 108 got seats. It was a fairly gut wrenching experience watching the blinds shoot up and my chip stack slowly shrink as I got very little playable cards. It came down to me in the small blind and all in; what's worse is that I was in bubble position. If I lost, I would not get the seat (though $22 would have been ok too). I ended up getting dealt A10. The table folded around because everyone wanted to play it safe, and I ended up having the big blind dominated. I caught my ace and survived to the qualifying seats. Close one! I only had to rebuy once that tournament, and I added on at the break. Not a bad turn of events for $6.

The actual qualifier for the WPT did not go nearly as well. I ended up dropping 1/3 of my chips early on with AK. Either I made a smart fold to the guy I was up against and he's a good player, or I'm a pansy and he's a lunatic. Either way, I had to slow down for the next half hour or so. I managed to get back to starting position in chips eventually, but by that time the idiots had played their I'll-go-all-in-with-crap-lose-and-rebuy Why-not-I've-got-money-coming-out-my-ass game, and my stack was dominated. I ended up making a stand with 99 against AK; the A came on the turn, and that was it. I didn't feel like wasting $30 more that late in the game, so I let it go at that. The cards just didn't fall my way.

I'd rather play in the World Series of Poker anyway. Now if only they'd start their qualifiers...

November 04, 2005

WWdN: Donegal Invitational

Well, I did well until my last hand, which I played like an idiot. But, hey, it happens sometimes. Here's a recap of the game tonight.

7:00 127 people playing. Top 18 places pay. Cards go live and I get K10 in small blind. I raise the BB, and he calls. Flop is 78J, and I bet out. He folds. Good start.

7:04 Uh oh. I've just been moved to Wil's table. Let the games begin!

7:10 So far not getting any cards at Wil's table. Nothing big's happened yet. Just people trading small pots and feeling each other out.

7:15 I've been buying the blinds for a couple of hands. No one will call me!

7:18 Just got moved off Wil's table.

7:23 Got a pair of 6s in the hole, but the flop wasn't pretty, and people were betting all over the place, so I had to let 'em go.

7:31 Caught JJ in the hole and hit a set on the flop! Took in about $700.

7:35 S. Nickerson went all in pre-flop with 118. Three of us called. I had A9. He ended up taking it.

7:36 Shane can't hold out when his pocket Qs get busted by KJ.

7:39 Caught Q6d in BB and hit the flush on the flop! Strung one player along to the river and took a nice pot. Up to 1972.

7:42 Frankl66's K10 takes a 3000 pot with two pair over rachelkat's KQ

7:50 Had an A10 against KJ. A low straight hit the board and we split. How boring.

7:53 Just went heads up with Wil. I had J9s. We checked it all the way around. Two pair was on the board. Turns out he had 96, and I out-kicked him.

8:00 We're at the first break. I'm sitting ok with 1922. Average is 2801 right now. The chip leader has 9006, and Wil is now at my table and has 2480. Hopefully the next hour goes better for me.

8:12 I just busted out Joanne of Cardsquad with pocket 4s when she went all in with A10. I'm up to 2704.

8:15 got a couple of mid-level suited connectors the past two hands, but the flops have not been kind.

8:20 GoodRev42 just tried to drop the hammer, but siona called the bluff with AK and almost busted him out.

8:21 heffmike finished the job with pocket 6s against the Rev's A3. He got the 3, but the A never came.

8:24 The blinds are 100/200 now. I need to catch some cards fast.

8:27 This table just got infinitely harder. The chip leader and HermWarfare have shown up.

8:29 Caught 77 in the SB. Went all in and bought out some limpers.

8:30 KJs in the pocket and bought the blinds.

8:31 siona just knocked out Herm and the chip leader was moved to another table. I'm holding out ok at 2304.

8:37 Bought the blinds with A7d going all in. I'm gonna get eaten up pretty soon if I don't hit some really good cards.

8:39 heffmike's 23 busts out ackbleh's AK. Wha???

8:43 I'm a freaking moron. I caught the A on the flop. Slow played it, and let a guy hit a set of 6s. I'm out in 37th. ARGH!!!!

In retrospect, I really should have gone all in on the flop. I was short stacked as it was and giving someone a chance to hit a set (or a flush for that matter; two of the cards were hearts) was just plain idiotic. Oh well, live and learn I guess. I'll definitely be back next weekend.

November 02, 2005

Late Post

I played in a $30+$3 rebuy tournament on Sunday to qualify for the Foxwoods WPT finals, but I didn't feel like writing about it then. I was kind of fed up with 1) how I played a few hands and 2) how I was eliminated. I ended up rebuying one time, which is normally something I don't do. My typical thoughts on rebuy tournaments are that if I can't make it through the first hour without busting out, I don't really deserve to continue playing. However, I made an exception this one time since it was for the WPT.

I did alright for the first half hour or so, gaining a little bit of chips and watching everyone else go all in with J7o and other such stupidity. I gotta tell you, rebuy tourneys definitely bring out the geniuses. The unfortunate part about this is that it is tough to avoid sinking to their level of betting, because it gets old folding to all-ins pre-flop when you have a good hand. Eventually you just get so pissed off you have to call, and that's usually when the bad beat comes along.

The first time I busted out was when I had 10s in the hole. I should have gone all in from the get-go, as it had been called around to me on the button, but I didn't. I just raised it a standard amount, and it ended up costing me when someone caught a straight (I think; maybe it was a flush?). I decided to rebuy since there was still a half hour to do so, and also because it's a chance to get on the WPT. I mean, come on.

The second time I busted out was just before the first hour was up, and I just gave up after this. I had KK in the hole. It was called around to me, and I made a hefty raise. It folded around to another guy who went all in, which would force me all in if I called. I did, of course, and he showed his dominated 8s. Before the flop even showed up, I knew I would get bad beat out of the hand. I could feel it; I knew it was going to happen. I was safe until the river, when, sure enough, another 8 showed up. That kind of thing just infuriates me.

Anyway, I'm still waiting on my iPod, which should arrive sometime next week. It took them a while to get back to me, but that's understandable since they had to personally contact almost a hundred players. My little bankroll is around $125 as of this morning, mostly due to blowing $60+ on that tourney. But that's the main reason I'm playing on PokerStars right now: I'd like to qualify for one of the big money tourneys. I'll just have to keep on grinding to get the entry fees to the satellites. So far it's been working out.