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Monday, March 20, 2006

Trainwreck

At my first table, I was seated between JoeSpeaker and BadBlood. Even when you consider that the average skill level of the people in this tourney was unusually high, this was still a terrible draw. Does it matter which one was on my left? As it happens, it was BadBlood.

From BadBlood's recap: "During the first hour or so at my first table, I was fortunate enough to have that poker experience that can only be described as great timing. The combination of good cards against ones that are slightly worse and aggressive play against hands that had missed the flop let me take an early chip lead. Because I was showing down the hands that had hit, my table image was that of a card rack. This was true, but not as much as the table believed."

It seemed to me that BadBlood was all over every move I made, and it looks like he thought so, too. From my notes, which are brief due to a lack of notable play on my part: "Every time I have a decent pre-flop hand and bet out, BadBlood44 is there, and when the flop misses me he is able to turn the screws, having amassed a huge stack by the first break. 58 remaining out of 69 and I'm getting into push mode."

And there you have it. I could have played much better, but after missing a couple of flops and having BadBlood punish me, I got gunshy, and that's no way to play poker. In the end, I pushed with KJ and was knocked out by Derek's AK. Congratulations to Gracie, who took down the grand prize.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Indomitable

Willpower of forged steel. When I decide something, that's that. When I finally decided to quit smoking, I quit smoking. When I finally decided to stop biting my fingernails, I stopped biting my fingernails. When I decided to centralize my poker play one one site, I lasted almost an entire week before opening another online poker account. Oops.

I am enrolled in the WPBT WSOP Satellite organized by Iggy. We need 55 players to make it happen, so sign up if you haven't. The only requirement is that you're a blogger, and the definition of "blogger" is likely to be pretty loose.

WPBT WSOP Satellite Tournament
March 19th - Sunday
9pm EST
Paradise Poker
$30 NL
Email allimcbeal_69 - yahoo dot com for the password

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Odds & Ends

I had a great time in Vegas, and made back almost the entire cost of the trip. If I hadn't donked away $160 playing the horses on Saturday, I would have been close to dead even. Most of the time was spent wiling away the hours in the poker room at Caesar's Palace, which has bumped Bellagio as my favorite room. There was also a night of casino-hopping for craps and blackjack, and we hit enough hot tables to provide a nice return, although the bulk of my winnings came from the 1/2 NL game at Caesar's.

I was hoping to try and win a World Series entry at Full Tilt. However, I took a look at their info page, and they're only giving away Main Event seats. Unfortunately for me, I'll be traveling during that week, and couldn't play the Main Event even if I won a seat. I'm not playing any other sites, either. Trying to keep money in a bunch of online sites in order to play various WPBT tourneys or WSOP satellites is ridiculous. I made the decision to concentrate my play on one site, and since Poker Stars continues to ignore Mac users, Full Tilt won by default.

Did I mention that I donked away $160 playing the horses on Saturday? I can't remember the last time I picked a winner, and it's eating away at me. I think I'll have to step away from the ponies for a while, as they are very unprofitable. I'll fill the void with more poker, and may even venture down to the local bingo hall for some live 3/5 NL. I think I convinced myself with this last trip to Vegas that I can play well enough to win consistently in a live game, and it's time to find out.

This has been a lot of rambling, but I needed to let some air out. When you haven't written for a while, the pressure builds up slowly and you feel more and more like you need to break the silence with something momentous, and the more the pressure builds, the less you feel up to the task. I'm hoping this random spewing relieves the pressure enough that I can tell some of the notable stories from this trip.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Back to Happyland

Is anyone still out there?

There are only so many hours in the day. As I've mentioned before, I'm married to a wonderful and patient lady, and we have two children. Our son is going to be 2 years old next week, and our daughter will hit 4 months in a couple weeks. I think it's safe to speak for all parents when I say that the amount of time and work involved in raising children does not double with the second one...it's an exponential increase. Fortunately for me, our kids are happy, healthy and well-behaved, so we have it easier than some.

The time for poker and horse racing is severely limited, and so there are long stretches (like the last couple weeks) where there have been no blog updates. This has been a shared function of not much to write, and nothing to write about. I'm pretty sure I left 9 racing forms on the table last month because I didn't find any time to handicap races. BG has been going crazy at the track, and even spun off a dedicated horse racing blog. I hope to pick up some more knowledge from him, and soon. My picks the last few times out have been horrendous.

I played a live tournament last weekend at the home of a co-worker. Out of 26 people, I finished 11th, which made me bubble boy for the final table. I played a tight-aggressive game, and the blinds were starting to wear me down when I found pocket jacks. It folded around to the big stack on my right, appropriately nicknamed "the Enforcer." He called with 7s and hit another one on the turn to knock me out. I played well and had a good time, and managed to earn back $40 in a cash game to follow, so I'm not bitter about the $60 I left there. Many of the players are involved in a weekly tournament, and most of them that I played against were pretty good, so I feel pretty good about my live game. One of the nice things about poker is that the more you play, the better you get, but once you reach a certain level of competency you can at least make a good showing for yourself during long stretches of not playing.

And I'm going to need a good showing. Many of the players from last weekend are Vegas-bound and have been needling Troy to go along. Have I ever mentioned that Troy is my boss, as well as a good friend? Anyway, he was feeling the temptation today, and leaned on me a little bit. I know that it's not at all the role of the responsible husband and father to jet off to Vegas at the least suggestion, and so I called my Dear and Patient Wife to hear how it just wouldn't be feasible. Dear and Patient Wife said, "Make it happen." I am the luckiest man in the world.

So, I'm returning to the Happiest Place on Earth for a return engagement next Wednesday through Saturday. The crappy flight (Milwaukee to Houston to Vegas) is compensated for by the nice suite at THEHotel at Mandalay Bay. All for $600. That's pretty sweet, considering it's NCAA Tournament and NASCAR week. I fully intend to spend all of my gambling time at the poker table and sports book, and avoid the severely -EV games that killed me last time.

With any luck, I'll be updating the blog more regularly. Thanks to anyone that's still hanging around and reading.