Poker Through the Eyes of an Amateur

May 30, 2006

Back And True To Form

We got back from SC today, and I had time to register for the WWdN. I made it past the first break. Then, true to form, I am dealt QQ. There's a raise in front of me, and I push. A dominated JJ calls me and, of course, a J comes on the turn. Looks like everything is still the way it was when I left it. PokerStars sucks ass.

May 26, 2006


Not much for me to post today. I've been doing pretty well in the cash game on Party to make up for my bad beats in tourneys at Stars. I've also started the step SNGs at Party. Currently, I'm on step two. We'll see if I can't turn this into something.

For now, go and read about Hoyazo's amazing win in the Party 40k Guaranteed tourney. Congratulations, man!

I'm out of town from Saturday to Tuesday visiting my family in SC. I may be on once or twice, but don't expect to see me around. Hope the weekend tables treat you well!

May 24, 2006

Matt's Musings #1

On Coin Flips

If I would win the damn hands when I'm ahead, I wouldn't be forced to push when I am behind.

Now that I think about it, that's a pretty awesome quote. Feel free to cite me.

FYI: AT suited or unsuited = The Lamer

May 23, 2006

Second Annual PokerStars Blogger Championship

I took 31st of 1473 entries last year to win an iPod. This year, I'm ready to go all the way. Bring it on!

Texas Holdem Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger
Championship of Online Poker

This Online Poker Tournament is a No Limit Texas Holdem event
exclusive to Bloggers.

Registration code: 7330476

May 21, 2006

Bloggers Rule

Last night I played in the PSO Blogger Freeroll with some of my good blogger friends, including Jordan, GCox, Kat, Drewspop, Ingoal, Duggle, Drizz, Mookie, Biggestron, and Kipper. It being the weekend, I'm way too lazy to link all of these people up in this post. I'm sure you can find them on your own if you're interested.

I knew it was going to be a good game when Jordan began pushing every hand, intending to go out early, as he had other plans. However, after doing this about eight times and busting about four or five people, he decided to stay and play as he was now the chip leader. I ended up at a table with him late in the tourney after we'd made the money, and he ended up busting me out when his steal attempt materialized into a flopped flush. It was sick, but it's just how his luck was rolling last night. He ended up finishing in second place. Nice job, Jordan!

I'm also proud to report that out of our group of eleven bloggers that played, eight of us made the money. We rock hardcore, even if our blogs are gay and we talked the whole time on the girly chat thingy. I think that's the best finish of bloggers in our corner of the internet that I've seen that wasn't a WPBT or WWDN tourney. Well done everyone, and congratulations!

Even though Jordan sent me packing a little earlier than I had planned, I managed to get a little more cash by dropping my $45 in winnings into a buy-in at the $.50 NL tables on Absolute. I managed to almost double it before the night was out. I would have had more than double my buy-in, but I got a little frisky with AK one hand when I was pretty sure I was ahead, but by the time the hand reached the river, I was sure I was behind. I'm pretty sure the guy was chasing with lower high cards and hit his hand on the river. Oh well, at least I was able to let it go and not lose another $33. So, overall, last night was a very successful night, ending with me up about $80. Let's see if I can keep it up this week.

May 18, 2006

Winning Is +EV

I know it's hard to believe, but it's true. Apparently the more hands you win, the more money you can expect to make. Genius!

Last night was a very good night for me. I got home and cleaned up the house for the wife (she's had a pretty tiring week thus far), and then I logged on to Party for some $100 NL action. I had just sat down at a juicy looking table when Chris messages me and asks if I'd like to join a 18-player SNG with some bloggers on Stars. Never one to turn down poker blogger action if I can help it, I jumped right in. Also present were Kat, GCox, and Surf.

As luck would have it, when the tourney started, there were no bloggers at my table. Boo to that. I wonder what the odds of that are? Anyway, I continued to multi-table the cash game and the SNG, mostly paying more attention to the SNG. I wasn't getting any cards in the cash game, so it didn't matter too much. I managed to stay alive to the final table with about 1k in chips, but by the time I got there, Kat was the only other blogger remaining. She was forced to push fairly soon with a medium ace and got knocked out by a higher ace.

I stayed alive by stealing, stealing, stealing. I pushed all in at least six times, as the blinds were getting crazy high. Other people started going out, and we were soon on the bubble. More stealing commenced, and I ended up knocking out some guy with KK when he called with a medium ace, probably thinking I was stealing again. That put me in the chip lead, but a series of beats (not all bad) whittled me down to a slightly below average stack. I then found QQ. It was raised and called, and I pushed. I get called by medium ace yet again, but this time an ace flops and I go home. Three outers suck. I still made $3.50, though. I'm going to Disney World!

After the SNG finished, I turned my attention back to the cash game. I had been fluctuating around my starting buy-in of $100 the entire time I was in the SNG, and I was currently up about $15 or so. I found 44 in early position, and I limped in. I love playing pocket pairs for set value in a cash game. There were a couple of other limpers, and the BB checked it.

The flop came 432 rainbow. Nice! Top set with fours. The big blind bets out, and I raise him about 3x his bet. I put him on one, maybe two pair at this point. Everyone else folded, and the BB called. The turn was a J, and he checks to me. I bet out hard, about pot sized again. He then pushes all in. Part of me feared the straight here, but I just couldn't place him on that hand. I was sure he had two pair, and I called. He flipped over 32o, and I collected a huge pot, as he had me covered.

A few hands later I get 78s in late position. A bunch of people limp, and I decide to limp as well. The flop was 56Q rainbow. It checks around, so I decide to look at a free card. The turn comes a 4. I overbet the pot in the hopes that someone will put me on a steal. I get one call, and the river comes a K. I overbet again, and the guy flat calls. I take it down with the nut straight.

In all, I ended up about $200 last night in the cash game, putting my bankroll back over $700 and well on my way back toward my year end goal. As long as I can keep the downswings like I had last week to a minimum, I should be able to make my $1k easily. I hope the tables are treating you all well this week. See you on the felt.

May 16, 2006

Back In Action!

Blogger Bounty Tournament

Well, today turned out to be a really nice day for me. It started with the $11+$1 blogger bounty tournament at 7PM with me, Wil, Surflexus, and DNasty. As luck would have it, my first match end up being against Wil.

The first words out of each of our mouths: "We meet again for the first time for the last time." We're kindred spirits. How gay. But, as Wil was quick to point out, "Gay kindred spirits are the new heterosexual kindred spirits."

Our match started out with me taking a decent lead, building up to 1700 and dropping Wil down to 1300. There was a lot of back and forth, but I managed to get him down to 1000 when I did some "serious level 3 thinking." Wil raised, and I called on the button with the Doyle Brunson, T2o. The flop came KQ6. He bet out, and I called. The turn was another 6. He bet again, and I called. The river was a blank. He bet, and I raised him about 4x. He thought for a good bit, placed me on the six I wanted him to place me on, and folded. I showed him my bluff, and he complimented me on my "serious Jedi poker skills." Of course, it was his own fault. Ever since he posted that article about convincing yourself you have a hand when you're bluffing, it's made it easier for me to make moves. You should have kept your secret Wil!

I thought for sure that I was going to finish him off pretty soon after this, but he battled back in true Former Star Trek Actor fashion, and we were dead even with the blinds at 25/50. At this point he hit some cards, and I went dead. After a few hands I was the one down to 1000 chips. Of course, I had the Easy Button from Staples to counteract the Big Red Button he had Otis pushing, I was able to fight my way back, and we were once again dead even with blinds at 75/150. From here I was able to chip up slowly but surely. Wil's push hand came when he was dealt 66, but unfortunately for him I was dealt 99. No improvement for him, and I win the first round. Well played, Wil!

My second match was against, Surflexus, who had defeated DNasty relatively quickly in comparison to the give and take that Wil and I experienced in our game. He took a big lead early on when I folded middle pair to his all in, and it turns out he had middle pair as well with a worse kicker. I was able to fight my way back, though, when I hit my straight on the river of one hand; I'm pretty sure I was channeling Veneno or CJ at this point. I don't remember the hand I eventually won on, but it wasn't too much longer after my suckout. I don't really play a lot of heads up matches, so it was a nice confidence booster to take down these two games this evening.

WWdN: Ingoal Invitational

The last game of the evening for me was the weekly WWdN game. I was off to a great start right from the get go when I knocked out another player with the nut flush over a smaller flush. From that point, I stayed in the top ten until about the final 20 players. I didn't suck out at all in the first hour, but I had a few in the second and third hours to get to the final table. However, I also suffered some pretty horrific beats.

The worst was from DNasty himself, who was upset that he had lost in the heads up match this evening. To retaliate, he runner runnered queens to make a higher full house on me when I had flopped Tripjax[1]. That one was on the final table, and it hurt. However, I was still alive, and a couple of people went out pretty fast at that point. I was able to double up a couple of times, and eventually made it to the final five.

My final hand came when I had QJs in the SB. It folded to me, and I raised. BB called. Flop was AQx, and i bet out hard. He pushed all in. I felt I was pot committed (I would have been left with an M of 4), and I wasn't positive he had an A, so I called. He had A3, and I finished up in 5th place.

In addition to the 5th place finish, I also won the last longer bet between myself and several other bloggers to the tune of about $35. Sweet! Overall, I was very happy with my play this evening, and I'm also happy with the results. It's definitely good to be coming out of the slump I've been in the past week or so. Hopefully I can ride these finishes to more wins.

[1] Man, was that a smooth pimp for a fellow blogger or what? Yes, I really am that awesome.

Rebuy Madness And A Not-Quite-As-Bad-Loss

Last night I jumped into the $3 rebuy madness game on PokerStars with Weak since my wife was at the Orioles game with her lab. (Man do the Orioles suck.) Anyway, I started off very well, doubling up with JJ and again with QJ when I hit a straight on the flop. After that, though, I went card dead and didn't play very many other hands with the pushmonkeys. I made it to the break with around 12k after an add on.

In round two, I remained card dead and also got caught trying to make some moves in an attempt to stay alive. My stack dwindled pretty quickly, but I was able to double up again with 55 against AK. I was back to around 10k. Blinds whittled me down to about 7k when I found pocket 6s in the small blind. One guy raises in front of me, and I call it. The flop comes TT8, and I bet out pretty hard. He calls me. The turn comes a 9, and I push. The guy thought for almost his entire timebank, and I was pretty sure he was going to fold, but he ended up calling me with QQ. No 7 or 6 for me, and I bust out. He definitely didn't play that like an overpair, so my read of AJ, AQ, AK was off. It was only a $9 investment, though, which is pretty small for those rebuys, so I'm not too disappointed about it.

After that I went to play some $.25/$.50 NL on Full Tilt to grind away at my bonus. Those bonuses are freaking insanely hard to clear. It's ridiculous. Since signing up, I cleared $20, but I'm only about $7 toward my next $20. There will still be $160 after that. I will definitely need until the August expiration date to have any hope of clearing all of it. Anyway, I dropped a $50 buy-in at one table when my top pair, second best kicker ran into TPTK twice in a row after I had already been down a bit. That sucked. So I left that particular table and ended up winning almost all of it back at another table.

In one hand, I accidentally called a raise with 45s when the window popped up while I was doing something in another window. Luckily, the flop came K45 rainbow, and I was able to get all the money in against AK. Unfortunately the other guy was short stacked, so it wasn't a double up. I stacked someone else later on with either QJ or TJ when I flopped the nut straight, but they were also a short stack. So I ended up being down about $15 or so, which is a lot better than last week. Hopefully I can pull out of this small rut and start making some money again.

One final hand I thought was funny: I accidentally clicked the raise button in the BB with 92o when three people (including the SB) had limped in. I would have checked of course, but the window popped up while I was using another window (multi-tabling on a small screen laptop is fun!), and I accidentally min raised. Everyone calls of course, and the flop comes AKx. I figured, what the hell, I raised already so I bet the pot, and everyone folded. I definitely got lucky there.

Good luck to everyone this week, and I hope to see you at the WWdN tonight. Also, if you're bored in the early evening, the heads up tournament between dNasty, Surflexus, Wheaton, and myself is at 7 EST. Come by and tell us how we're a bunch of donkeys (especially Wil).

May 12, 2006

The Drop Continues

Ugh, another not so great night at the tables last night, and another small loss. Not fun at all. I've come to the decision that I'm going to take some of my money out before I lose the chance to enjoy it. I'm going to bring my online bankroll down to $500. I think that this makes sense: since we're halfway through the year, I'll be at half of my year end goal. I'm hoping that removing a bit of the cushion will slap me back into shape and keep me from making donkish plays. I'm going to be out of town from today until Sunday, so no poker for me for a couple of days. Hopefully by Sunday I will be rested up, fresh of mind, and ready to play my A game. Good luck to the rest of you this weekend.

May 10, 2006

A Little Downswing

Well, I knew I'd be cockpunched back into reality at some point. I really had been running too hot for my own good. My bankroll isn't really hurting, but I've taken a few losses. There are a couple of places where I should have been stacked, but I made good reads and have thus kept the losses to a minimum. I think I'm down about $100 over the past few days, which isn't too terrible. That's easy enough to make up once I find a donator on Party.

I've still been playing mostly cash games, but I've been getting cold decked more often than usual. It's not fun. I played in the WWdN last night and got dropped to 40 chips in my second hand. QQ vs AA on a J high flop. Ouch. I hope Jaxia put my chips to good use. I actually doubled up twice from there, but then I busted in a hand with four other players when my straight didn't hit. Not that I was expecting much, but I think I disappointed CJ when I didn't make "the biggest comeback in history."

I'm probably going to give the cards a rest tonight and watch some real players play in the WPT. Maybe continue reading some Harrington Volume 2. This book is definitely giving me a lot of useful information. I'm definitely being way too tight when I hit the Orange and Yellow zones in tournaments, and I think that's what ends up killing me. Hmm, the Mookie is tonight, and I missed last week, so I should probably make a showing tonight. If I do play any tonight, that's going to be the only game, but I can't promise anything. Hopefully the cards are treating the rest of you well!

May 08, 2006

Good Poker Blogger Posts: An Example

Have a nice day!

May 06, 2006

OK, For Reals: How To Be A Good (Poker) Blogger

There's been a lot of bad vibes floating around the poker blogger corner of the blogosphere (I hate that word; someone please come up with something better), mostly centered around people throwing jabs at each other for no other reason than their own amusement. I don't get it.

Now I can see how all of the conflicting "how to be a good blogger" lists out there can be confusing, so I have compiled and condensed everything you will ever need to know about how to be a good (poker) blogger into two easy steps:

1. Write what you want, when you want, as long as you're happy with it.

It's your blog. Do whatever you feel like. Put flashing hearts and dancing unicorns on there if you feel like it. It's your creative outlet. Use it.

2. Don't give a damn what other people think.

This step is somewhat optional, depending on what your goals are. If you want to be the super-ultra-mega-popular-awesome-poker-blogger with the most traffic and linkbacks, then, yeah, you're going to want to find out what people like and cater to their interests so that they will keep coming back and you'll get your traffic. (Of course, how this matters in any way whatsoever is beyond me.)

As for me, I do this 90% for myself. If I happen to make a few friends along the way that want to keep coming back, so be it. But I don't change for anyone. If you don't like it here, well, I'm sorry.*

*I'm not really sorry

May 04, 2006

They Got Me Pegged!

Be careful or I'll give you all of my money.

Super tilt.


The Streak Continues

I had a pretty good night tonight. I finished grinding out enough points on Full Tilt to get my PSO promotion, so it's good to have that done with. I'm going to do one more promotion and then cash in my points for a $100 Target gift card for my wife. She deserves it for putting up with the times that I play. I bought in at Tilt for $200 earlier this week, and I'm up $110 since then. The only thing that I don't like about Full Tilt is that it's ridiculously difficult to clear the bonus money they give you for depositing. I've earned over 250 Full Tilt points, and I have yet to clear the first $20. That's just insane. The good thing is the bonus money is valid until August. I'm not going to kill myself to clear it, but if I happen to clear a good bit along the way, that will be fine with me.

So with this recent finish tonight, my bankroll has hit $725, my highest ever, and I'm well on my way to having the $1k by year's end. If I make the $1k before the end of June (which is quite possible at this rate), then I'm going to make my year's end goal to be $2k. If I hit that, then I may just blow a huge chunk of it on a WSOP circuit event in Atlantic City. I mean, that's the whole reason I got into poker in the first place. Of course, if I can win a qualifier, that would be even better. I'll have the bankroll to play in some of the more expensive qualifying tourneys, thus narrowing the amount of variance I have to overcome before placing.

I'm way ahead of myself, but I just thought I would share my dream. I need to keep building the way I have been building for any of this to happen. Hopefully I don't make any stupid mistakes...

May 03, 2006

Booo! I Mean, Yaaay!

I played in the WWdN last night and was doing pretty well in the first hour. Then I tried to get cute with A7 when Wonka raised my BB on the button. I thought he was trying to take the blinds, but holding KK doesn't really count as a steal, does it? I ended up being a little short stacked when I missed my flop. I got 88 a couple of hands later, but for some reason I didn't push. I just called. Apparently my brain was taking a bathroom break or something. The flop came nine high, and it checked to me. I pushed, and SB calls with two pair, nines and sixes. Booo.

So since I was out of the WWdN much earlier than I planned, I loaded up the Party cash game. I bought in to a $100 NL table, and three hands in I get QJs. I limp in MP, and one other person limps as well. The SB raises, and I call just for fun. The flop is ATx. I check, other player checks, and SB bets fairly small. I call, planning to take the pot later.

The turn is the deuce of spades, giving me a flush draw in addition to my straight draw. Sweet. I check, and small blind bets small again. I don't know why these people don't protect their hands and try to price me out. Not that I'm complaining.

I call, and the river gives me the K. Sweet, I have a nut straight. I bet out for about a third of the pot, hoping to at least get a little money out of this. He then raises me 3x. My first reaction is confusion, and I double check to make sure I have the nuts. Yep... no flush on the board. No pair on the board. I have broadway. What is this guy doing?

At this point, about a third of both of our $100 stacks is in the pot. I wonder if I can somehow get all of it in there. I reraise to $60, and he insta-pushes back at me. I gleefully call to show my rivered straight over his rivered two pair of aces and kings, doubling me up. Good thing I got knocked out of the WWdN when I did, or I would have missed out on a very nice score. Thanks for crippling me, Wonka!

May 02, 2006

Blogger Freeroll

Bloggers Championship I am registered to play in the
Online Poker Blogger Freeroll
Win your share of $25,000 and a set
of Nevada Jacks poker chips.
Hosted By: Absolute Poker
Sponsored By: Poker Source Online
Registration Code: 63718858

Do it. Don't be a lamer.

May 01, 2006

A Good Beat

Have you ever gotten beat by a ridiculous hand like 92o and realized that before you left the table, you were going to have your opponent's entire stack?

That happened to me twice this weekend.

It's a good feeling.

Edit: The Details

I apparently peaked the curiosity of at least a couple of people, so I will lay out what details I remember, which is only from the first time this happened. I don't remember the specifics of the second time, other than the fact I ended up with all of their money.

The first time I sat down at a $1/$2 NL table on Party. My seat was immediately in the big blind, so I posted. I didn't get my usual few hands of observation in, so I had no info on the players. It folded around to the cutoff, who limped, and then folded to me. I had AQo, so I raised it up 3x-4x, and he calls. The flop was K2x, and I continuation bet. He called. The turn was a blank. I check, he bets small, and I call. Same thing happens on the river, so I call just to get some player info on the cheap. He flips over 92o for a pair of deuces.

I knew almost immediately that I would have that guy's entire stack before either of us left the table, which actually happened only a few hands later. A couple of people limped in, and I was on the button with QTo. I limp as well, and about four of us see the pot. The flop is a beautiful rainbow Q5T. It checks around to the e-tard, who bets the pot. I smooth call, and the rest of the table folds. Turn is a blank. He bets hard again, about half of his remaining stack. I put him all in, and he flips over a 56o, drawing almost dead to a 5. It doesn't come, and I stack him. Unfortunately, he left the table after that.

Have I mentioned how much I love the Party cash game?