Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Hey Ladies -

Is anyone planning on playing in the LIPS satellites on Friday night at Gold Coast (July 7th)? (Ladies WSOP event is on Sunday). $100 satellite with one seat per 10 players, 200 players max.

I'm debating.... drunken storming of the castle, or a chance to play in the WSOP cheap.

I'm not a big fan of ladies-only events, though... and that's part of what makes me want to get drunk with bloggers instead :)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Just when I get all famous around town, I head out to lovely Springfield, IL (*cough*ahem* sarcasm) for a week. I hear that in my absence, Empress Casino's poker room has ceased to exist! I knew they would miss me, but damn! :) Actually, there's nothing smiley about it, because it's rather inconvenient for me to get out to Indiana to play, with I-80 the construction-demolished mess that it is. Losing Empress will definitely put a cramp in my style.

Not this week, though - I'll be down here in the land of Lincoln, where the sidewalks roll up at 7pm every night and there is absolutely nothing to do but drink. I'll catch up with ya's by this time next week :)

I've got some free Party bonus money to clear, which I may or may not have comments on. I'll keep ya's posted. Until then... 15 days till I touchdown in Vegas!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Poker Gnome made a good point in his comment to yesterday's post. Playing poker with a cold probably isn't the smartest thing to do. I don't think the cold affected my play really, but I sure was miserable.

Resorts is a nice place to play at. I forgot how nice it is to have automatic card shufflers and professional poker dealers. Not that the dealers at Empress aren't professional dealers, but they do not specialize in poker; they're dealers from other table games cross-trained to deal poker, and since they don't do it day in and day out on a full time basis, the average skill level (as compared to Resorts) is glaringly low. It's not their fault, of course. That's just how Empress does things. I must say, though, that after playing for months at Empress, the hands were coming at me so fast at Resorts that I almost felt rushed!

Felicia has recently posted about looking at the weaknesses in our own poker games. I was thinking last night that one of my biggest leaks is paying off hands when I know I am beat. In loose donkey limit games, sometimes this just has to be done, but I'm talking more about paying off a hand when I think I'm beat on the turn or even the flop - not those hands where you think you just got rivered and have one bet to pay off to see it.

Case in point: I was in a hand last night with a very tight and predictable older woman. I flopped top pair, good kicker (KQ in my hand, K on board, no preflop raise). The flop had 2 clubs, and I had none. I bet out, and the tight player called. The turn brought a third club. I bet out, and she raised me. I knew with certainty that I was beat; this woman almost NEVER raised, and when she did, she held the nuts. I'd seen her raise twice that night; once was when she hit a Broadway straight, and again when she flopped a set. She didn't slow-play, either. Very predictable that way. I was beat.

So, what did I do? I called her raise, and check-called the river, just to see it.

Why? I didn't need the information. There are occasions where it can be beneficial later to pay someone off to see their hand - to pay for information. I didn't need the info. I was beat. She had the flush. Of course she did! The nut flush, even.

I think this leak is probably aggravated by the fact that sometimes I rush my plays, making gut-reaction-decisions instead of thinking them through. That's not the whole solution though, because I know there are times when I'm consciously deciding to pay people off when I shouldn't. It's that "need to know." I need to find a way to squelch it.

I saw a lot of flops last night. I had a ridiculous number of small pocket pairs, but wasn't hitting flops. It was one of those nights where my 20BB was felted pretty quickly, and my 10BB rebuy enabled me to get myself back up to 20BB. In the end, I lost 10BB - $96. Had I not felt so crappy, I probably could have ground my way back to even, but after 4 hours I just couldn't keep my eyes open anymore, especially knowing I still had an hour drive home ahead of me.

The games at Resorts are different than Empress. My instinct would be to say that the play is "better," but that is not the right word. Play preflop is equally loose, compared to Empress. Six or more people see every flop (at a 10 handed table). However, there are fewer calling stations post-flop. Monsters don't get paid off multi-way. The pots are much smaller. More players at Resorts are capable of folding marginal hands. Play is also generally more aggressive, which tends to thin the fields. The average cost to see a flop is likely higher at Resorts; players are much more willing to raise.

I haven't yet decided if I like the games there or not. On one hand, you more often are told where you are in a hand by the more aggressive players. (Listening is a whole nother story!) On the other hand, it does cost more to see flops, and if your cards aren't hitting, that's a ding to the stack. Also, with the starting hand selection criteria being so loose (generally any suited ace or face card, any pair, any connected cards - suited or not, and any face card with a kicker higher than 6), it's hard to know what you're up against, as opposed to a solid game, where you can more easily deduce what your opponents' holdings are.

I think the players at Empress are more fishy, on average, than Resorts. Empress is a much more loose-passive game.

I'm thinking I might head to Empress this evening. Yes, I still have a cold, but am feeling much better today than I was yesterday. The Day-Quil is actually working today, whereas it really wasn't yesterday. I slept like a rock for 10 hours last night, too, which helped. We'll see.

I played a $20 SnG on Full Tilt this afternoon. Finished 2nd. I made a great battle heads-up, but couldn't seal the deal and got beat fair and square. I have a great desire to play ring games online, but over time, I am just not profitable at them. I'm break-even at best. At the low limits, I just think that there are SO many bad players that it is nearly impossible to outrun their luck. I've had this experience as high as 3/6. I prefer live play so much to online play that I can't bring myself to invest any significant portion of my bankroll online. However, I have a good success rate with tourneys and SnG's online. So, I've decided that I will only play SnG's and tourneys online, and keep my ring games in the casinos. Sometimes though the urge is overwhelming. Ahhh well. I'm going to try to stick to this decision, anyway.

That's all my news... I'm off to decide whether to head to Empress...

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Interesting - I see that the actual posting screen for Blogger now has word verification. I guess that's good - anything to combat spam is A-OK in my book. I've been fighting the spam wars on ForPeyton.com, and beating those spam-posting bots is a never-ending challenge it seems.

I headed out to Empress on Thursday night. It was a strange night, to say the least. I got moved to the main game before I'd even played a hand at the feeder table, and when I was seated, I found to my right a girl I'd seen there before. Looking at her, I'd say she reminds me of me, but her demeanor at the table is nothing like mine, and we aren't too similar in personality as far as I could tell. I played at her table once before, and she's got an edge to her. Whereas I try to blend in and not bring attention to myself (anymore than is already drawn by the fact that I'm a woman in a room of mostly men), she's outwardly aggressive. She throws her chips into the pot with authority. She is very "audible" - chatty in a typically sarcastic way. Even her compliments come across as critical. It would be too harsh to say that I don't "like" her, because this act could very well be her schtick. I would however say that she isn't the most fun or pleasant person to sit next to. While she was never rude to me, she was far from friendly.

That left me with the grandpa on my left to talk to. I'd sat next to him earlier in the week, and he's a nice old man. I've played with him a handful of times. He's friendly, and is very encouraging - pulling out the ol' "you'll get 'em next time!" speeches when I fold or lose a hand, and cheering me on when I win. I hope that when I'm his age, I still see life from a positive perspective. The girl to my right could take some lessons from gramps.

As for the poker... that's where things got weird. I spent the better part of 3 hours folding my hands, with the exception of 2 hands very early on, where I lost a flopped straight to a runner-runner flush (gramps beat me out! He was calling me down with bottom pair, K3 of diamonds. I forgive him though - I got my money back later), and another where my AJ lost to AK. (My own fault... AJs is a hand to be mighty careful with from early position. The small blind had raised after I'd limped UTG, and we both flopped the Ace). Damn my nemesis hand!

As I spent the next few hours folding, I started counting how many times I saw the hand 9-7. Ya know how everybody has a favorite "junk" hand? Once upon a time, I tried to make T-8 my favorite hand, but it was a ridiculous attempt. You can't "make" a hand your favorite. It just has to become your favorite, through some incident or streak of luck. So, I don't really have a favorite hand. (Just a nemesis - that damn Ace Jack!) I was folding a lot of 9-7's, that's for sure.

Most of the game, I was down somewhere between $50-100. I'd win a small pot here and there to keep me from blinding lower, but after 3 hours, gramps was saying that he was tired of folding, and I told him that I was just hoping to pull back to even so I could go home. The cards just weren't there for me.

Around that time, my brother called me to ask if I could babysit my 3-month-old niece. I said, sure... I mentioned I was playing cards, and when he asked how I was doing, I said, "Not so good - cards are cold." He said, "Well, here's a little mojo for ya! Go get 'em!" As I put away my cell phone and returned to the table, I thought to myself, "I'm gonna see if those 9-7's have any mojo for me. They sure are coming around enough..." I figured I'd seek out my next 9-7 suited and play 'em like Aces. Why not, right?

Sure enough, a couple hands later, I found the 9-7 of clubs in middle position. Early position had raised, and my instinct was to throw the hand away - especially for 2 bets cold! I couldn't get my brother's mojo donation out of my head though, and I shook my head and called. I looked at the guy who had raised and said, "I'm only playing this because my brother said so!" He laughed, but seemed more concerned about the girl to my right, who had also called.

Six people saw a flop of J-9-x. The raiser (sitting 4 to my right) bet out and I called (along with a few others). The turn was an Ace. Action checked all the way around. I had no flush draw, and was ready to throw the hand away if a bet came out. The free river card was a 7 - hallelujah! The raiser bet out, and I raised him. Sure, there was a goofy straight out there (with my now-non-favorite 10-8), but I didn't fear it from the raiser. A couple people paid me off, including the raiser. My two pair held up. The raiser had Kings. Very juicy pot. I was back to even.

The raiser, having heard me say earlier that if I got back to even, I was leaving, poked fun at me and asked when I was going. I had 3 hands until the big blind got to me, and I said to him, "3 more hands and I'll be on my way!" He was surprised, saying that he thought I was kidding.

The very next hand, I saw AQo. It was raised in front of me, and I decided to see a flop. The flop came A-x-x, and the raiser (the guy two to my right) sighed. He's either got AK and is acting it up, I figured, or he had an underpair. He bet out the flop, and did so a bit dramatically with his chips, giving them that extra flick forward into the pot. That's it; I pegged him for an underpair. I raised his bet, and of course being the "cheap" flop bet, got a few callers. The turn came a Q, giving me 2 pair but putting 2 to the flush onboard. He checked, I bet, and some people called (including him). The river came a blank, and he checked again. I bet, and everybody folded. Again, I was reluctantly paid off, and as he flipped his cards, he said, "Your Ace is good." I turned up my 2 pair and he said dejectedly, "Shit, even better... nice hand." /EDIT - He had pocket Kings. I've just learned that this guy was Sloejack!!! No kidding... ya shoulda said HEY! :) Sorry for the outflop... /end edit

In two hands, I'd made a $250 swing. I was up $170 on top of my buy in. I played my last hand before the blinds reached me, and threw away 10-3. Of course, the flop came 10-3-3, and I thought to myself, "Hey, maybe this is the beginning of a rush? Maybe I should stick around?"

Nope! I've had 3 winning sessions in a row since taking that few weeks off from playing, and I'm happy with that. Winning 17 big bets in 3 hours is a nice win rate, even though it was more realistically like winning 17 big bets in 7 minutes! I racked up my chips and headed on my way, after apologizing to the two guys I had busted for hitting-and-running on them. They were cool about it, but that may have been in part due to the unintentional cleavage I'd been showing all night. I'd worn a tank top with a hoodie on over it, but since I like to lean forward on the rail of the table, the end result was... cleavage. Honestly, I was uncomfortable about it all night, and will be sure to avoid wearing summer tops to the poker room in the future. But - whatever works, right? I don't often use femininity as a weapon at the poker table (since my typical outfit consists of hockey jerseys or hoodies, jeans, and my Chuck Taylors), but I guess I'm not completely above that tactic, either.

My bankroll is now officially higher than it has ever been. I'm still technically under-rolled for playing 5/10, but not by much. I'm considering sticking to 5/10 in Vegas this July. I'm pretty excited :)

In other news (to cap off the weirdness of the week) - one of my cats jumped on my head the other night, resulting in a bloody horror-story-like mess that left me with a black eye. That was fun - but it's kinda cool to have a black eye :) And, my 3-month-old niece came home from the hospital today, after a brief scare. The doctor thought she might have pneumonia, but her lungs look clear and her fever broke. So - all is looking better on that front. Spending yesterday in the children's hospital, though, seems to have given me the sniffles, and I'm working on fighting off a cold.

I'm thinking about breaking my "no poker on Saturdays" rule and heading to Resorts (since Empress doesn't spread poker on Saturdays). I'm pretty badly tied to my Kleenex box, but they do allow iPods... and I am really in the mood to play some cards. I'm rolling pretty good right now, and I'd like to ride it out. Whaddya think? Should I go, sniffles and all?

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

I'm booked.

I'm flying Southwest out of Midway/Chicago (ewww but it was like $40 cheaper than any of the O'Hare options and I'm all for saving forty bucks).

July 6-11 (Thurs thru Tues)

I'm rooming with April at Excalibur.

Bring it on!!!!!!!!


Testing, testing.

Is this thing on?

Hey, guys! It's been a while, eh? Seems like it to me. I haven't played poker in 3 weeks. First, I had final exams week at work, followed by the annual graduation ceremony. Then came my niece's baptism. Then, I went to lovely Champaign-Urbana, IL to U of I for a conference on instructional technology. Next up, I headed down to the Indianapolis area to see Dave Matthews Band do a two-night stand at Deer Creek. (The second night included front row tickets, which - if I start blogging about - will take up the entire content of this post, as it was so effing amazing).

Now, I'm back! Yay! 3 weeks without poker. Has anything changed?

Monday afternoon I headed up to Empress. It felt strange. I was definitely out of my routine and almost felt conspicuous walking into the casino. I was put quickly at ease when I walked up to the poker room, and Mary, the floor person, said, "Hey, Shelly - go get some chips!" I admit it. I'm a sucker for the whole Cheers thing. I just want to play where everybody knows my name. :)
Many of the regulars I'd become used to seeing weren't around, which I found odd for a Monday. Where was everybody? The poker room practically had crickets chirping, and for most of the time I was there, they only had one 5/10 limit holdem game going. I don't think I've ever seen it so slow. I did see, though, that starting Tuesday night, there were 2 weekly "special" games going. Tuesdays would be a $500 max NL holdem game with 5/10 blinds, and Wednesdays would have a 20/40 limit holdem game. Interesting.

The action on Monday night was passive and uneventful. It took about 4 hours to double my buy-in, and upon doing so, I decided to cash out and head home (mostly because I was bored out of my skull).

Tuesday, I read that Baz was heading out to Empress for a final send-off to Vegas, so of course I had to join him! I got there around5:30pm, and Baz had not yet arrived. However, who should I find sitting at the 5/10 feeder table but Derek, a regular at the Diamond game (the local home game I play in). No kidding! Derek got moved to the main game just as I sat down to the feeder table, but it was still cool to run into him. Then, one of the regulars started talking to me at the feeder game, and much like running into a brick wall, I put 2+2 together and realized the guy was Derek's dad. I've probably played with him a hundred times at Empress, and a bunch of times at the Diamond game, but I never made the connection between the two events. Yup, I'd been playing with Derek's dad Dick for months and didn't realize it. He made the same connection after he saw me talking to Derek, and we had a good laugh over it.

Tuesday went really well. It's hard to have a bad day when you start your first orbit with pocket 4's and end up making quads on the turn. I got paid off by 2 or 3 different people, to boot. Crazy. I was outkicking people with my top pair hands, and taking those down as well. Within an hour and a half, I doubled my buy-in (I sit down with $200 for the 5/10 game).

Not long after, Baz showed up. He was called to the table just as I was moving to the main game. I told him the seat was good, and wished him luck as I moved to the next table over. I got seated next to Dick again. His chip stack was up and down like a yo-yo, but like he said - he "plays a lot more hands" than I do. Very observant :)

I was able to add another $100 to my stack over the next hour or two, thanks to 2 consecutive hands. My big blind special was an 8-3 offsuit. I flopped a full house with a board of 8-3-3, and a loose-aggressive guy at the other end of the table raised me all the way. (He flopped his trip 3's). At showdown, he goes, "Wow, you outflopped me!" (as if betting into someone who outflopped you is as brilliant as betting into someone you've got beat the whole way only to get rivered). I said, "Yup. Big blind special." He said, "Well, that King on the river almost gave ME a full house!" I stared quizzically in his direction. If you've got Q3 in your hand, how does a King almost give you a full house? Ladies and gents, send a Scooby Snack down to the guy in seat 4!

The small blind then brought me 7-5 suited. With 6 limpers ahead of me, I completed the bet to see a flop. Sure enough, I flopped 2 pair. I bet it all the way, and it held up. Wheee! Paid off again. I went on a mini-rush of sorts, scooping small pots and causing Scooby at the other end of the table to mumble to his friend, "Uh oh, what does she have this time?" every time I entered a pot. I don't think he realized that those two big hands were in the blinds. It's not like I make a habit of playing 8-3o. He wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer.

Next thing you know, Scooby requested a seat change to come sit next to me! UGH. Ya know, I'm friendly at the poker table if there are friendly people around me, but I am not the kind of person who really enjoys talking a lot while playing. I like to sit quietly, observe the table and the hands, and maybe have the occasional conversation with my tablemates. Scooby, on the other hand, constantly jabbered on and on, criticizing everybody's play and trying to give me info on everyone else's "tells." Whatever. "Check this out, sometimes that guy sniffles when he bets! I think he's got it!" Yeah... I sniffle too. It's called SEASONAL ALLERGIES. To make things worse, this guy was all touchy feely - for example, smacking me on the shoulder when he accurately called out the next card on the board. Dude... I don't know you. DON'T TOUCH ME! I'm a freak about maintaining my personal space with strangers. It's hard to do at an 11-handed table, but I manage.

Scooby started driving me nuts, and as the 4 hour marked rolled around, the table had become quite weak-tight. Nobody was leaving, and we hadn't seen any new blood in ages. There was no way Baz was going to move to the main game anytime soon, as he was way down the list and there was just no turnover on my table. We all started trading back and forth the same 20-dollar pots, so I decided to head on out. I was up $307 and was plenty happy with that. I bid farewell to Baz and wished him luck, and headed to the cage.

Good times! Two profitable sessions in a row was a nice welcome back to the felt. Today, unfortunately, I have to go in to work to deal with the aftermath of a catastrophic data loss to our course management system server. It's going to put me in a highly irritable mood, which will either make for great poker tonight, or will require that I avoid the poker table like the plague. (Yesterday's horrible mood made for some nice aggressive play on my part!) I hope to deal with this mess this week and then put it out of my mind so that I can enjoy my summer vacation!

I promise it won't be another 3 weeks before I write again :) Thanks for sticking with me!

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