Monday, May 30, 2005

Donkey dump ('dä[ng]-kE 'd&mp) - an unnecessary shipment of a significant quantity of chips from your stack to your opponent's stack resulting from a gross misplay of a hand such as a bluff, an overplay of an inferior hand, or just plain stupidity on your part often caused by a poker disease called temporary obstinatia.

Yup. My dufus plays of late - complete donkey dumps. Pronunciation above provided by Merriam-Webster Online (my favorite dictionary site ever!) (Only true geeks actually HAVE a favorite dictionary site). Definition and the word "obstinatia" courtesy of ME!

I have about 84 different things in my head to post about today. I just woke up a few minutes ago, and all of this was swimming in my brain, so I immediately headed to the computer. Not that I don't immediately head to the computer on every other day of my life...

First, I woke from my slumber because of a Vegas dream. It was rather nonsensical, so if anybody would like to analyze my dream, you are welcome to. Here's what I remember:

I arrived in Vegas with my Flyers duffel bag over my shoulder. No recollection of the flight - though people keep saying to make sure to sit on the LEFT side of the plane. I'm guessing they mean, the left side as you're walking down the aisle to sit down? I'm walking around a hotel that ends up being Caesar's. (I'm not staying at Caesar's, but I have been TiVo'ing the "Caesars 24/7" show that runs on TV, so I think that's where the setting came from). I can't find the check-in desk. I stop and ask an older woman who is sitting nearby some empty blackjack tables, and she goes on to explain what each floor of the hotel offers (as the elevators were nearby). Eventually I get her to direct me to the check-in desks. On my way to finding them, I run into a guy that tells me to be sure to tell the clerk that I have a large instrument with me, and that I will need a room with a larger bathtub, because those rooms have easier access to the outside doors of the hotel. OK... I find them and walk up. All lines are vacant. I choose the one clerk who is standing ready to help me - he looked a bit like a young Don Johnson. As I'm walking up to the desk, a flashing sign to my right is listing all of the "Race for Bracelets" winners from Full Tilt, and my name is on there. Then I remember - despite losing the one bracelet race tourney I attempted, I had won a free bracelet race entry somehow! (Obviously a dream). Shooot! I forgot to book my flight earlier, so I missed the $1500NL WSOP game! I figure, oh well... I fumble through my wallet looking for something to show the clerk to prove my reservation, and he says, "Just give me your driver's license." OK... I tell him I've got a large guitar with me so I need a room with a large bathtub. He obliges. (I don't play guitar, though I used to play bass when I was 19... sold it when I couldn't afford the rent on my apartment one month). Then the dream got all whacky. I'm riding a four-wheeler through a subdivision construction site with an old high school friend (Brooke) in the back seat (I know, four wheelers don't have back seats). We get through all the dirt and mud and back on to pavement, and there are pipes coming out of the road, kind of like submarine eyes out of water. I couldn't figure out if they were spies, or ventilation for the people that lived under the street. Then I decided to go play poker (back in Vegas). And I woke up thinking about donkey dumps (as described above - not as in, feces of a jackass).

As I laid in bed after waking up from that dream, I was thinking about April's post of miscellany. I couldn't think of a single thing to post about myself, though it's a great idea to list a bunch of things like that to serve as conversation pieces. I'm going to try to come up with some random tidbits right now. Forgive me if I borrow inspiration from April.

For conversation starters:

  • I play the flute, and was in band (marching and symphonic) from 4th grade through 12th. (Yes, I have band camp stories).

  • I have 4 tattoos and 7 piercings (6 in my ears, one in my nose).

  • I hate my current haircut and really need to get it fixed.

  • I spent 8 years in the Catholic school system. (Yes, we had uniforms).

  • I've never puked from drinking... ever. I hate throwing up.

  • I have an unexplained fear of getting my nose broken. Terrified of it, really.

  • I'm afraid of fire.

  • I'm an awful automobile passenger. I try not to be a backseat driver, but am deathly afraid of being in a car wreck when other people are driving. I think I died in a fiery car wreck in a past life.

  • I read tarot cards and am into astrology, particularly natal charts (birth charts) and compatibility.

  • My cats are named Maverick, Goose, and Merlin (name that movie).

  • My parents never divorced - they were happily married for over 25 years before my dad died in 2000 after a 2 year fight with leukemia. He was 46. (I was 25).

  • I have a little brother, Eric, who is 27. He plays poker too.

  • My first poker book was Hellmuth's "Play Poker Like the Pros."

  • I got my first computer when I was 9 years old. It was a Commodore Vic 20. Then, I got a Commodore 64. I bought my first IBM-compatible box when I was 16 - it was Packard Bell 386, 25MHz CPU.

  • I teach web programming and computer repair at a local community college as my "day job," and do contract web development work on the side.

  • I have no artistic skills whatsoever - I can't draw, can't paint, can't even make cool computer art.I hire my graphic designer friend Dusty to do that stuff for me.

  • I've been building my own computers for the last 9 years.

  • I have a tendency to root for the underdog.

  • I'm a Libra.

  • AMD CPU's rule the world, in my humble opinion.

  • I absolutely love the sport of ice hockey, and am passionately in love with the Philadelphia Flyers. I adopted them during the 4 years I lived in Philly after college.

  • I now live in the burbs of Chicago, near where I grew up.

  • My favorite band is Dave Matthews Band, though I'm a newbie to them. This is the third summer I will spend following them to all of their local shows with Randy. We've got 5 shows set up this summer (Noblesville, IN, Alpine Valley, WI, and Chicago). I've seen DMB ten times so far (eleven by the time I get to Vegas - the Chicago show is coming up this Thursday, the night before I take flight for Sin City).

  • Former musical loves include Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer, Skid Row, Poison, Guns n' Roses, Bon Jovi, Faith No More, R.E.M., Nirvana, Tori Amos, the Pixies, Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson.... etc.

  • Kevin Smith is my overlord.

OK, that's all I can think of. Should be plenty of fodder there for conversational use, or for supplementing the tabloids when I upset the WPBT Aladdin Classic and take it down!

I suppose I should write a little bit about poker, since this IS a poker blog, eh? Last night, down to my last $32 in Full Tilt Poker, I dropped down from my usual $20+2 SnG's to try and grind out a slow bankroll build. Managed to increase my bankroll by over 30% - yup, I made ten bucks last night. Busted out of a $5+.50 SnG, placed 2nd in another, and made up the rest of the profit with a small win on a $25NL table (though I bought in as a small stack, something I'm not accustomed to doing).

That's it for me! I'm off work today and tomorrow, and have no real agenda for the two days. I need to do some shopping for Vegas, though I really dislike shopping. (Yes, I'm a woman who just said she doesn't like to shop). Randy is way more into shopping than I am - too bad I can't just have him go try on clothes for me and bring me back some. Though considering my wardrobe is similar to his, he almost could....

Alrighty, I'm starving. Time to get this day started!

Saturday, May 28, 2005

This afternoon, I will begin my one session of liver practice before Vegas. See, I don't drink all that much. Maybe one night every 4-6 weeks, getting actually "drunk" maybe once every 3-4 months. My philosophy is, if I don't have the time to invest a couple days into the process of getting drunk and uninterruptedly suffering the hangover, it's not worth it. My body doesn't take well to things like having to go to work and be functional with a hangover (not anymore, anyway). So I use all of the anti-hangover measures I know, and plan my drinking accordingly.

Today is our annual Memorial Day celebration. My family has a camper at a camping resort (don't think "camping" in the traditional sense - it's camping for pussies, basically - running water, electricity, DirecTV, heat, screened in porch for playing poker without bugs, beach, lake, fishing... the only thing resembling "camping" is the campfire and the s'mores). At any rate, it's enough "away from modern conveniences" like the internet that I feel disconnected while I'm there, and refreshingly so. This weekend, every year, generally turns into a giant party, with random friends dropping by throughout Saturday and Sunday. This year should be no exception.

I'm all ready to get "high fivin' drunk," as they say. Who's "they?" My friends and relatives that are aware that when I start randomly high-fiving people, I've crossed the line from buzzed to silly ass drunk. See, I'm a happy drunk. Happy, silly, loving life and everyone in it. Good times.

So tonight will hopefully be one of those nights. I will take all necessary precautions, hydrating pre-consumption and downing a couple Aleve or ibuprofen or something beforehand. I will eat my share of the carnivorous goodness that will be steadily in transit from the grill to the mouths of the savages of the group. Burgers, cheddar brats, dogs and the like. There's even been seen random steaks hitting the BBQ. The men stoke their flames, cooking our fare as if they'd killed it with their bare hands to provide for their women. That's alright with me. A good hot dog tastes even better with a good man's grilling ego cooked into it. I'll never grill as good as the men in my life do. They are the masters.

On the poker front... I managed to drop $30 yesterday, bubbling in a $20+2 SnG and busting out 5th in a $10+1 SnG. That brings my online bankroll to under $100. I've been wickedly cursed since pulling out that $800 for Vegas. I've heard of the cash-out curse, but did not believe in its existance. OK - fine, it's just random variance, I'm sure. That and my recent smacked ass plays. But it's beginning to look like if I don't come home from Vegas with some money, online poker is going to have to take a backseat until I find some way to squeeze another $100 out of my monthly budget to deposit. Yikes.

I'm gonna go play me a little poker right now, then go get ready to head out to the camper. Good times, coming up!

Happy Memorial Day, everybody!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Well, after getting spanked this evening in a $20+2 SnG and at a $25NL table, I got the urge to sit down in one of these Full Tilt "Race for the Bracelets" tournaments. Winner gets an entry into any of the $1500 WSOP games plus $500 cash. I know, it's a long shot, but we've got a bunch of bloggers representing us in the WSOP so - it can't be THAT far of a long shot!

There were 147 entrants into this Pot Limit Hold'em game. It's currently the first break, and I'm 8th in chips out of 69 remaining players...

To be continued....


Well, I had myself up to 3rd in chips out of 36, when I had myself another one of those donkey meltdowns. WTF is going on with me? One monstrously awful play per day - seems to be my schtick.

Anyway, I'm now 22nd out of 34 in chips, trying to bully around this guy/girl that has been CONSTANTLY raising preflop with junk and stealing blinds. I had the best hand until the river, when he/she caught the flush with the 4-5 sooooooooooted....

More to come....


15th out of 21 left. Final table (9 places) pay....


OUT in 20th place... KK busted by Q9s when two 9's flopped. Damn pot limit. Couldn't raise it up any more than I did pre-flop.

Oh well, I guess.... no WSOP for me. And not much FTP bankroll left, after losing $200 in the last few weeks and sucking the rest out for the Vegas trip. Down to $121... ouch. Damn variance and lapses of moronic monkey play.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Errr I mean, freerollin'....

Thanks to Pauly for hosting the freeroll over at Noble Poker. Much fun was had by all, even though I finished 26h and out of the money... or was it 27th? One of the two. Unfortunately, I really don't like Noble's software at all. It's almost painful.

Sat down in a $20 SnG tonight. Had a monstrous chip lead with 5 people left, and managed to royally eff it all up by making a dumb semi-bluff play with an open ended straight draw. I was getting called down, and felt the need to keep betting BIGGER. Hello? McFly? It's the poker ego thing. On my bad days, I just can't swallow my pride and lay the hand down. It's like - I'm going to win the pot BECAUSE I'm throwing chips at it, against all logic that says I'm beat. It's embarrassing, really. I notice that it tends to happen when I'm off my game. Like tonight, I have an awful headache. I should really learn not to play under sub-optimal conditions. That would probably lead to many fewer dufus plays on my part. It's definitely a leak of mine. I ended up going out 5th in that SnG. I'm having an awful streak with them lately. Of course, yesterday's two don't count because of effing Comcast. Bastards.

On the upside, though, I was up $6 on my 25NL ring game LOL! So it wasn't a total loss.

I found out tonight that my brother Eric signed up for Full Tilt. SWEET! Slowly, one by one, the minions are following.... I just love the heck outta FTP. The software is great, and the games are generally beatable without the brutality of the oober-fishy-suckouts. I mean, they happen, but with shockingly less frequency than I find over at Party Poker. And did I mention that the software just rules? When they finally get hand histories, they will be perfect.

So, welcome, Eric, to FTP! I'll keep his screen name private for now.... :)

Oh, man, this head of mine is killing me. At least it's not so huge that a couple ibuprofen can't fix it. G'nite all....

Monday, May 23, 2005

Sorry 'bout that little outburst earlier. That was just the beginning of one of those days where everything that could go wrong, did. You know... first the 'net problems, then I did a load of laundry and forgot to add detergent - only realizing it after the load was done, then the pizza guy brought me the wrong order, then the light bulb blew in the ceiling lamp in the living room (of course I'm out of light bulbs).....

But, my internet connection seems to have stablized, so I thought I'd get in a SnG before bed. Nice - a $20+2 was almost full. I registered and waited.

A few hands in, I run into this:

Dealer: phlyersphan posts the small blind of 25
Dealer: a posts the big blind of 50
Dealer: You have been dealt [Qc Jd]
Dealer: b folds
Dealer: c folds
Dealer: JayBizzle raises to 100
Dealer: e folds
Dealer: f folds
Dealer: g folds
Dealer: h folds
Dealer: phlyersphan calls 75
Dealer: a calls 50
Dealer: The flop is [7s Js 2h]
Dealer: phlyersphan checks
Dealer: a checks
Dealer: JayBizzle bets 300
Dealer: phlyersphan calls 300
Dealer: a folds
Dealer: The turn is [2d]
Dealer: phlyersphan checks
Dealer: JayBizzle bets 900
Dealer: phlyersphan calls 805, and is all in
Dealer: JayBizzle shows [2c 7h]
Dealer: phlyersphan shows [Qc Jd]
Dealer: Uncalled bet of 95 returned to JayBizzle
Dealer: The river is [Qd]
Dealer: JayBizzle shows a full house, Twos full of
Dealer: phlyersphan shows two pair, Queens and
Dealer: JayBizzle wins the pot (2,510) with a full
house, Twos full of Sevens
Dealer: phlyersphan stands up
I deserve it for the lame-ass weak check-call play, but if that's not a sign that I should log off RIGHT NOW, I don't know what is! I asked the guy if he was a blogger/reader perchance, and he said "naw, I just stayed in for fun." I said, "but, you raised pre-flop?" No response....

Ahhhh gotta love it. Time for anything but poker.... g'nite!

I am so fuming angry at Comcast right now, I could puke.

Comcast cable internet's DNS servers suck ass - they always have - or at least since I've been a customer of theirs at one point of the country or another, since 1997. They sucked on the east coast, and they suck in Chicago.

I sat down today to play a couple SnG's on Full Tilt. It's my first weekday off work for summer vacation (even though I have to go into work Tues and Wed this week... but still. I was enjoying the day off). Washed my car, swept out my patio of all the dead leaves from winter... then sat down for some poker. I pulled up two $20 SnG's and got to it.

Then, the DNS servers cut out. That means, I can't DO anything on the net. The cable connection was fine - I could ping any other IP address that wasn't the DNS servers, but couldn't access anything that required resolving of a domain name. The outage would last a minute or so - just enough to lose whatever hand I was in - and then it would cut back in and begin working. So I kept playing for a few hands. Five minutes later, it's out again. This continued throughout the entire tournament. I ended up out 5th and 7th, respectively, because I couldn't play any fucking hands without losing the connection halfway through. Lost half my stack with the nut flush on one game because the DNS cut out on the river, and as I was last to act and my opponent bet into me, the hand timed out.

I'm learning a little more every day to take bad beats in stride, and look at poker as one big session, but mother fucker. I cannot STAND when technology fails me - technology that I pay SIXTY DOLLARS A MONTH for. It's not rocket science to keep a server running.

I'm so ridiculously pissed off right now that I seriously need to walk away from anything valuable, as I just might break it.

Fifty bucks, gone like that. And I didn't even get the chance to lose it by making jackass plays.


Comcast can kiss my ass. If it wasn't so fast when it DOES work, I'd dump their service. Unfortunately DSL is slow as hell in this area.

I bet the connection is loused up right now and I lose this post - just watch....

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Ever made one of those plays where you know it's wrong as you're making it, and you even say to yourself while the action timer counts down, "you dumbass, FOLD!" but you keep calling off your chips anyway in hopes of hitting that miracle gutshot draw? (Of course, with absolutely no semblance of suitable odds to chase the draw).

Why does that happen? I consider myself a fairly disciplined player. I laid down pocket Aces tonight on board of 3 clubs with one card to come, to a raise of my pot-sized bet. I took most of my 15 seconds to think about it, and having notes to the effect that my opponent is a solid player, I managed the laydown. (I told her it was only because she's Al's girl, but... I was beat).

So how is it that our actions can sometimes completely bypass any logic or programmed patterns of play - even when we consciously know we're being idiots? Or is that just me? I'm not even a chaser by nature, for goodness sake. WTF?

That moronic play on my part most certainly foreshadowed my exit from that $20 SnG on the bubble. I was sure of it. The call-off of half my stack on a gutshot left me with 6 big bets or so. MrsCan'tHang (who was at my $25NL table) asked how the tourney was going. "Life support" was my reply. It was looking grim.

And then, I won the thing.

Huh? Yeah, I don't know what happened - my all-in QQ held up against my opponent's 88 for a double-up, and I bullied a big pot with K8 when the flop came 844. I bet the pot on the flop and was called, and pushed all in when a rag hit the turn, hoping my opponent had no four. He laid it down, and I just waited patiently at that point for the bubble to go out. Then began my rampage. Actually, it was a rampage of deception, as my opponent was an oober-aggro, so I let him do all the betting and trapped him when I finally hit hands. It worked out well. I even got a "nice slowplay - gg" when I took the game down. I know my rule is "no slowplaying allowed" - but that doesn't apply to heads-up play!


I had two ring games up while I played the tourneys (I went out 5th in the first $20 SnG I tried). Ended up even on the ring games - up a buck on one and down a buck on the other. No big scores tonight. So - essentially, up $50 or so on the night.

I am happy with that!

Is it time for Vegas yet??? I just learned today that I will miss my third Diamond Game in a row. It's the same night as the WPBT Aladdin Classic. As much as I hate to miss that game, Vegas calls!

Tomorrow I'm serving as a faculty marshal in the graduation ceremony at the college I teach at. Hopefully I will not get my batch of students lost. When it comes to walking in lines, I do much better as a follower than a leader! Watch me trip and fall and cause a 12-person pileup in front of the whole place. Heh. I hope not :)

Time for bed...

Friday, May 20, 2005

I'm up $40 for the day... I shall call it a night.

Whew! Long week. The last week of the semester at work is ALWAYS the longest week, and with graduation and associated travel-induced sleep deprivation last weekend, the week took forever! Well... it's not over yet - I still have to go into work Friday and Saturday, but I'm done with my classes, and only have one more class worth of final projects to grade... wheeeee!

AND, with my Vegas departure in 14 days and counting... holy crap! Excited glee has my head all over the place tonight.

So, I played a $20 SnG on my favorite site of all times, Full Tilt Poker. Had a $25NL ring game pulled up as well. I hit some big hands right off the bat on the ring table and was up a buy-in, but lost half of it back just as quickly on a hand where 5 people went to the flop. With the nut flush draw, a pot-sized bet in front of me, and three previous callers, I couldn't pass up the odds. Unfortunately I didn't hit and had to dump the hand - ten bucks, bye bye.

But the sit-n-go... MAN, were there two of the rudest people I've ever encountered online. Just taking cheap shots at everyone at the table, back and forth. Completely unprovoked even. I was dumbfounded. It's in my nature to be a peacemaker (the Libra that I am), and I threw out one of those, "gee, that wasn't very nice" comments, which got some support, but these a-holes couldn't care less. Ya know, sometimes someone will make a comment that's out of line and then realize it and apologize, which I totally understand and respect. Can't say I've never done it - though Shellmuth tends to come out more easily in person than online.

The funny thing is that the one guy that was getting all belligerent - I hadn't noticed, but I had some notes on him. So I hovered over the notes and the first line was "ignorant prick." LOL. Apparently I'd seen him before, and apparently he wasn't any nicer.

Are some people just constantly miserable? How sad for them. I tend to try to be "happy" or at least "content" by default, but that's just me.

I ended up knocking out the Ignorant Prick on the bubble, and he spent the next ten minutes verbally abusing me. He was fairly dumb, so I managed to crack the remaining money-makers up with some pseudo-witty replies that the Ignorant Prick rarely grasped. My favorite part was when he started trying to tell me that I'd have called his bet with my open-ended straight draw even if he went all in. I said, no - I had odds to call your minimum bet (because we all know that minimum bets make Baby Jebus cry), but had you gone all in, I wouldn't have had odds to chase the draw and would have laid it down. (Hello, sir, have you watched a single hand I've played tonight? Do I strike you as a loose gambooooler?) Then he goes into, "you're full of shit, buddy." That's it. Nobody calls me "buddy" - I have no penis and I won't stand for it. So I said, "Get over it, bubble boy - you got beat by a GIRL!"

WELL! Did that get the table in an uproar! See, I generally don't advertise my gender online, and with an ambiguous screen name (phlyersphan) and a non-gender-specific Goldfish as my avatar, most players tend to assume I'm a guy, unless conversation leads otherwise. Ignorant Prick didn't take too well to being beat by a girl, and then had to try to rub in that he makes more money than me. (I'd be willing to bet that he doesn't).

Stereotypical man with a tiny little wee wee and Big Man's Syndrome.

Eventually the whole thing got distracting and I turned off the observer chat and went back to focusing on the game. It sure did bond the remaining 3 of us at the table, though, and made for some good chat and good times.

Shout-out to QMan and Bigpaps for being cool as the other side of the pillow. Good game, guys. No love to Ignorant Prick, whose name I can't even remember, but whose notes will certainly tip me off next time I see him.

Anyhooo I finished 2nd in that game when my cards got just hot enough to go to showdown, and just cold enough to lose to my opponent's two pairs and flopped straights. Ouch. I deserved it though - I had a hot run of cards early and actually took a big pot off of QMan early on when I turned a boat against his nut flush. He got me back though and won the thing. Nice for him.

Nice for me too - I'll take 2nd place. That's fine!

Ended the night up ten bucks on my ring game too, so profits all around.

Anyway, I'm just babbling here at this point. I cannot wait for Vegas! I should arrive just in time to Storm the Castle on Friday night. Unfortunately I won't be there early enough to railbird the blogger posse in the WSOP, but how sweet would it be for "one of us" to take down some cash in the WSOP?

Randy's off playing in his regular workplace home game right now. I haven't heard from him yet, which I'm hoping is indicative of final table success. Maybe we will be lucky enough that he'll post tales of his game. Maybe I'll be lucky enough that he has won a large sum of money! Err, I mean, he'll be lucky enough. Right. (What's mine is yours, and all that... right, dear?)

Is anyone else having trouble with Blogger's spell check? It hasn't worked for me for weeks. Bah.

Oh well, I guess I should go to bed, as this post has been quite disorganized, rambly, and generally pointless. If you made it this far, you are near-worthy of sainthood.

VEGAS, BABY! Soooo close!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Chad had a grand idea of soliciting contact info from fellow bloggers, for purposes of meeting up whilst in Las Vegas. I make the same request - drop me an email if you'd like to swap cell numbers for Vegas! phlyersphan97 [at] comcast [dot] net

SirWiffleBallBat brought up an interesting topic in a recent post of his, regarding poker and kids. Could online poker suffer the "Joe Camel" syndrome? You know... the cute camel that represents Camel cigarettes, and how the mass public accused Camel of marketing to children. Look at Full Tilt Poker - how many boys see the growling shark or the babbling babboon avatars and want to be them? How many girls (or boys...) would love to be the nurse? How many 13 year old "soon to be men" would love to be that Caribbean looking busty bronze beauty in the bikini (or would just love to stare at her while playing)?

Here's what I posted in SirF's comments:

I've never gotten the impression that FTP was gunning for children - all of their TV ads are aimed at poker players, to "learn from the pro's." Just because they have non-human avatars... all of the poker sites use cartoons to represent players. But, I'm sure there are kids playing, simply because kids are computer savvy, and all of the sites offer "free" play. I've even read in the paper about parents allowing their kids to use their credit cards to play online, with a weekly "allowance." Now, THAT, I think, is crossing the line. I'm all for the pro's of teaching kids poker skills (money management, math and statistics, the art of human observation), but online poker - in the absence of observable feedback from your opponents (aside from pure pattern recognition) - is much more like gambling than live poker. I don't think I'd encourage my kids to play online poker at all... until they're out from under my roof!! LOL

While it's true that the cute avatars on FTP could be "appealing" to kids, I don't think that FTP does anything to promote those avatars. You don't even see the avatars unless you download the software and run it. I couldn't even find pictures of the avatars anywhere on their web site. If an underage child is able to download, run, and play online poker without the parents finding out, there's something wrong there - and it's not the kid.

What about a kid that happens to see his or her parent playing poker online? Well - then it's time for kid and parent to have a sit-down chat about online poker. Like SirF says - "This is not a game!" I'd handle it the same way I'd handle the topic of drinking beer. Sure, mommy likes to drink beer, but it's a grown up thing and when you're a grown up, you can decide if you want to drink beer. Explain its dangers and why it is not made for little boys and little girls...

I can't remember which blogger wrote about this, but a few months back, I remember someone posting about how they were teaching their kids poker, and how it was actually a family activity. Whoever wrote the story was shocked beyond believe the first time he saw his son or daughter check-raise mommy. I found that to be not only absolutely hysterical, but a really good way to teach kids some concepts that are rather difficult to grasp, but definitely more tangible when explained through poker. Plus, you can never get kids to love math at too young an age. A frightening majority of kids today can't even add in their heads - something that makes me ill to imagine them running the world and caring for me in my old age.

It's not poker itself that is potentially hazardous to children - but online poker, in my humble opinion, could be. It's just so easy to lose mass quantities of cash very quickly. Re-loading chips is a matter of clicking a button. How many of you have never lost more than you should have in a night, because you just couldn't log off and walk away? Sure, the same risks apply in a casino, BUT in a casino, you've got someone at the door making sure that each entrant is 21 years old. Online, there's no such filter aside from the little checkbox you click upon registering to swear on your life that you're old enough to play. Kids generally don't have the discipline or concept of the value of money to walk away when losing, and with all of the cartoon avatars, it really does appear to be just a game. I don't think I would ever encourage my kids to play poker online - not until they're of legal gambling age. There are just too many "adult" emotions that come into play when bad luck strikes that I don't think a 15 year old could have a grasp of.

Then again, I don't have kids yet, so I may be entirely too idealistic here. Food for thought. Thanks for the inspiration, SirF!

Sunday, May 15, 2005

I'm home in time from graduation for THIS:

WPBT WSOP Satellite - the last one!!!
Poker Stars
$30+3 NL
TONIGHT - May 15th
8PM Central Time (9PM Eastern)
Password: tequila

Open to bloggers AND readers.

45 people registered as I type this - one WSOP $1500 seat per 50 entrants. C'mon, people! Where are ya??

Last night I was able to get on Full Tilt for a bit, and in my hour or so of playing from the hotel room down by U of I (where I graduated from - I live a couple hours north of there) I was able to wipe out my losses of the last few days.

With my brother Eric looking over my shoulder, I had the most fun final hand in a SnG I've ever had (fun for ME, anyway). Probably the funnest hand I've ever had in a tourney, period. To preface: I had about a 3:2 chip lead on my opponent. Eric has never played poker online (though he plays at our home games), and was encouraging me to "take that guy down! Just go all in!" I told him, "Be patient, young grasshopper. I just have to wait until he has a decent hand, but I've got a better one. Then we go in for the kill...."

Little did I know....

The hand: I had 10-5 offsuit on the button. Called the blind, and my opponent min-raised. VERY rarely were the blinds raised heads-up, though we were only a few minutes into it. I called the raise, and the flop came: 10-10-10. Wait a minute... there are only 4 ten's in the deck, right? Jeeebus! Now, I know my new rule is NEVER slowplay, but...

To make a fun story short, my opponent had pocket 6's for the flopped boat, and on the turn he had gotten himself all in, which I of course called. My four-of-a-kind ten's won the hand and the match.

To my opponent's credit, he was very gracious about the hand - not much you can do when a flopped boat hits a brick wall 4oak. Actually, I wish I could remember the names of the last two guys in the game - it was an EXCELLENT match. Challenging - which equals FUN in my book. It was a $20+2 SnG. So - if you played a $20+2 SnG with me on FTP last night (Saturday) around 10pm central time or so.... damn good game, guys.

[Update: 47 people now registered for the WPBT game. Do it, do it NOW! These points DO count towards the WPBT leaderboard!]

Friday, May 13, 2005

Recouped some of last night's losses. Won a $20 SnG on Full Tilt this afternoon - sweeeet! $90 prize for a profit of +68. Lost 20 of that at the $1/2 limit table, but I was just catching no cards. I'd have been about even if I hadn't been rivered boat-over-boat on one hand. The guy had a right to be in it though, with his top pair Jacks and Ace kicker. I'd flopped a set of tens with my pocket tens, and the turn gave me tens full of fours. River came a second Jack, giving Jacks over fours to my opponent. Oh well!

I should just stick to NL, eh?

OK off to shower....

Well, Randy placed better in the WPBT WSOP Satellite than I've done in my first two attempts, coming in 26th in Wednesday's WPBT game at Noble. Nice job, baby! I don't have any stories though - maybe he'll be kind enough to post a few. I, unfortunately, had to work Wednesday night. Congrats to the Pirate on what I hear was a great win!

Tonight has been kind of harsh on the tables at Full Tilt. I've been picking off bluffers and idiots left and right on the flop or turn, and then watching in horror as they catch miracle two and three outers on the river. Dumbfounding, really. I think someone shook up the Party Poker fish tank and dumped the sea creatures into Full Tilt for the soon-to-be weekend. To put a positive spin on things, though, I feel really good about my play tonight. I was able to sense weakness and take pots from those who were drawing and missed (even though I had nothing myself), made some good (though heartbreaking when you're in love with your hand) laydowns, and picked off some bluffers with the best hand at the time (even though I got rivered on most of them).

My results for the evening:

$25NL table: +5
2 $20+2 SnG's: busted out in 6th, -44
2-table $20_2 SnG: 4th place, +37
1/2 limit table: -12
Net: -14

Considering the severity of some of the suckouts I saw, the net could have been much worse. I'll take these results as a very good night, considering that my opponents held all of the lucky horseshoes around town!

My Noble winnings cashout finally cleared - it took FOUR DAYS! Is that long? Seemed long to me - though the only site I've ever cashed out on before is Full Tilt, and they're always within 24 hours. At any rate, my Vegas fund is looking healthy for June's WPBT Aladdin Classic, and I'm hoping to hit the $1,000 mark by the time we leave. It'll be tough but I think I can do it. $176 to go, I think. Something like that. So that's my goal.

I didn't do Tuesday's Empire reload bonus, after hearing the murmers around the web that Empire is trying to identify bonus chasers and close their accounts. I don't think I qualify as a bonus chaser, though - I actually played Empire as my main site for a while. I'd go back and forth between Party and Empire - until I found Full Tilt. Now I call Full Tilt my home. But it's only been a month and a half or so since I played on Empire regularly. I avoided that bonus, anyway, just in case. FTP is doing a reload bonus, which is tempting. I'm playing there anyway, right? Might as well make some money! We'll see...

That's about it for me. I probably won't play much poker this weekend. Maybe Friday. Saturday, I'm heading down to Champaign, IL for graduation - getting my masters degree. It's kind of weird, though, because I still have one class to finish, which is now in progress. (It'll be done the first week of August). So I feel like I'm not really graduating... it's odd. But, if we don't walk in this ceremony, we have to wait till June 2006, which is ridiculous. So, might as well walk! Saturday we're heading down to the campus (it's 2 hours away from here), and Sunday is the ceremony. Next week is final exam week at work, and after May 20th... SUMMER VACATION! Wheeee! Can't wait.

Aww well, time for bed. Good cards, everybody!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Played on Full Tilt a bit tonight. Placed 2nd and 3rd in the two $20 SnG's I played, but managed to lose the profit from that at a $50NL table on two hands - one of which was a dumb play on my part, and one of which was just bad luck.

First hand, I fell in love with my pocket Jacks. Raised 5xBB preflop, one caller. Flop comes a rainbow of rags. I bet out the pot. My opponent min-raises, and I re-raise double what he'd raised me. He min-re-raises again, and I almost just called. Then I thought, "I think I have the best hand, so why am I screwing around here??" I put him all in. He called, and flipped over his low pocket pair for the flopped set. Ouch.

Had I actually analyzed his behavior on each move, I'd have picked up that I was beat. Instead, I just drooled over my Jacks and was oblivious. The nature of online poker encourages NOT thinking between actions, with the timers and the ease of the clicking motion. Sometimes I really need to just slow down and THINK before going with a gut reaction. Though - at the same time, sometimes those gut instincts are magic. I think I need to find the balance between simply reacting to an instinct and CHOOSING to react to the instinct.

My unlucky hand saw me flop two pair, Queen-Ten, in the big blind. I had the pleasure of limping into that pot. True to my "no slowplaying allowed!!" rule, I threw out a pot sized bet on the flop. One caller. Turn came a blank - no straight or flush possibilities. I decide to put my opponent all in, which was only $4 more than the pot size anyway. He calls and turns over pocket kings for the overpair. Then, the river paired the board, and my opponent's two pair Kings and x's beat my queens and tens. Oh well.

I made some good laydowns tonight - and even got a few "nice laydown" comments from the players who were unhappy that I hadn't called their bets. One hand I had AJ and flopped an ace, but my opponent was suspiciously calling me down. There was no preflop raising going on, so I didn't really suspect AK or AQ. On the turn, I just had a sense that the hand wasn't in my favor, and sure enough, my opponent was open-ended for a straight draw and caught it on the river. That laydown on the river wasn't rocket science, but I felt good that I made it. It was a jagged straight draw, and my opponent commented that he'd hoped I didn't see the straight possibility, as it was an odd one.

Layed down jacks once as well, to a board with no overcards, but again just had a weird sense about the hand. My opponent showed two pair when I folded, and after I patted myself on the back for the laydown, I thought "wtf was he playing 9-4o from middle position for??"

I don't remember the other laydowns, but there were several more, and oddly enough, my opponents were showing their monster hands to my folds. Made me feel good about laying them down.

Observation time:

The $50NL tables on Full Tilt are just as fishy as the $25NL tables. Problem is, when the fish outdraw you, it usually stings for twice as much money. I have yet to experience the "win twice as much money" part of that equation on the $50NL tables, but I have to believe that I should continue to play at that level. I don't feel out of place, and now that I'm more comfortable with the bet amounts on each round, I'm not intimidated in the slightest. Just gotta hang in there for the luck to swing back my way.

So, I ended tonight down $20. I don't feel bad about that. A couple bad hands.... and a couple decent tournaments. Better luck tomorrow!

Monday, May 09, 2005

Wow - Full Tilt is none too happy that I was moonlighting with Noble Poker, as it spanked my ass like a monkey tonight! Holy crap. No bad beats, no bad suckouts - my opponents didn't even play poorly! It was just me running into hands that one-upped me all night. JJ runs into QQ, AJ runs into AQ, trip 7's run into trip 8's - it was literally just ONE card higher or one hand higher each time.

The damage did me for a buy-in on both the $50NL and $25NL tables I was on, and snagged another $20 off of my other $50NL table. Owie! Thank goodness FTP has been good to me this month.

One near-buy-in was my own fault for choosing to make a move and it being a poor one. I had an overpair of nines in the pocket on a raggedy board that happened to contain a pair of eights. I was against one of those any-ace-or-face types, and I put him all in on the river, betting against him holding an eight. Unfortunately, he held K8 offsuit. So, bad play on my part. It should have made perfect sense that he held A8 or K8 or Q8 or J8 - all of those were reasonable compared to the hand history I'd noted on him.

Sometimes, I just believe so truly that I deserve to win a particular pot. Those nines - I'd played them strongly, the board cooperated with low cards, and damn it - I wanted that pot! Where has my zen gone, you ask? Out the window on that hand - you just can't win at poker by brute force. Not consistantly, anyway.

I've got some sweet talking to do with FTP, I think! :)

In other news... since I can't play in Wednesday night's WPBT WSOP satellite on Noble, I'm sending Randy in to play for me. There were only 25 or so people signed up when I registered today - come on, peeps! Go sign up!

Well, exhaustion is upon me. To sleep I go...

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Who says booze and poker don't mix? Aye - not if I plan to be profitable, anyway! Now I'm hungover with a bad hair cut.

When last we spoke, I was debating how to spend the final two hours of my afternoon prior to the JackHammer game at Armando and Kathie's house. I contemplated reloading Empire to play through that bonus. Well, I decided not to - instead, I would go get a much needed hair cut. I was getting sick of the length, and with summer approaching, I wanted to get it up off my neck a bit.

Once upon a time, I used to go to a salon and pay a ton of money every few months for a hair cut. Then I realized that I could not afford to eat because of the money I was spending on haircuts, highlights, product, etc. (I'm one of those suckers that can't walk away without buying all the add-on sales at the end of any service-related experience). So, I starting getting cheap haircuts. You know, the $12 "super" or "great" or "fantastic" cuts. Works well for a trim, but....

Right now, my hair looks like I tried to cut it myself.

I was going for a Jennifer Harman sort of 'do, and instead look like I got into a bar fight with a flowbee. I even brought the cover of CardPlayer magazine featuring Jennifer to the "great" clippery. Wow. My hair looks nothing like Jennifer's right now - and it's not just the red vs. blonde thing...

Thank goodness Kathie is a hair stylist (the kind I can't afford) and offered to fix my furs. Until then, I'll suffer knowing that when it comes to looking good, you get what you pay for...

Upon leaving the sad excuse for a hair salon, I headed over the the JackHammer game. I drove past a liquor store on the way and decided it might be a good idea to buy some beverages. Sure, I'd already picked up a stash of Diet Dr Pepper (my fave), but - aww what the hell, I'll have a few drinks. I haven't drank and played poker in a while - and I am now reminded that there is a reason for that! Though I tend to take bad beats much better when drinking... hmmm... I'm a happy sort of drunk!

The lineup:

1. Manda
2. Ed
3. Eric
4. Shelly
5. Kathie
6. Val
7. Ray
8. Armando
9. Randy

Randy didn't make it for the first game but arrived for the second.

First, we played a cheap $5 game, paying 1st and 2nd places. The game - no limit hold'em, 500 chips to start. Turbo-hold'em, if you will.

I saw 4 playable hands all night, the first of which went like so:

I've got KK in late position. I raise Armando's big blind. On the short stack, he's pot committed, and goes all in. I think Ed was the third person in the hand. He didn't make it to showdown. The flop brought a third king for me, and I bet at it - I believe that's what knocked out player #3. My set of kings was good, and Armando was no longer with us.

As an aside, there were many hands last night that resembled online hands. You know - the any-two-cards-can-win types of hands. I'd never paid much attention to the fact that I really do play a different game online vs. face to face. I'll have to think about that sometime in more depth.

We had a little fun with my brother Eric last night - someone brought up collusion and Eric didn't know what that meant, so I told him it was swahili for "good hand." Imagine the word "collusion" being thrown around in the context of its "new" definition - it made for some funny mad-lib type conversation.

For the record, E - here's the definition of "collusion":

Pronunciation: k&-'lü-zh&n
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin collusion-, collusio, from colludere
: secret agreement or cooperation especially for an illegal or deceitful purpose
Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online
Good times...

My second playable hand of the night was only marginally playable, but after so much folding, I was bored out of my choppy-coifed skull. Alcoholic beverages do not bode well for my sense of zen-like patience. I held QJ offsuit, out of position - I may have been in one of the blinds. Can't recall. Ed raised me, and I decided it might be fun to try and outdraw him (seeing as I held a drawing hand, at best). I called his raise for 2/3 of my stack or so, and the flop brought a 9 - not so good towards the whole drawing idea. Ed put me all in, and figuring that I'd rather call my cousin Laura to catch up on gossip (her boyfriend stole her away for a surprise afternoon the day before, and I wanted to know what the surprise was!!), I called off the rest of my stack against Ed's pocket aces, and then called Laura! The previous hand, Ed had pulled off a bluff of some sort (again, memory failure here), but I figured I was up against a pair of some sort in this hand. A sober and non-bored me would have let the QJ go :) Damn booze! No worries though... this was the cheapo $5 game. The "real" game was still to come.

Ironically, after Ed's bluff followed by pocket aces, he managed to pull pocket aces AGAIN to take Manda out of the game. All in a row. Hella good card placement there. Just what you want to see after a good bluff! (Hey Ed - what was the bluff hand that I can't remember???)

If I'm not mistaken, Ed took first place in the $5 game and Ray took second. Good job guys!

We took a break between games and waited a bit for Randy. Time for the real game! $20 buy in, no limit hold'em. 1500 chips to start.

The last two of my playable hands of the night occurred in this game. The first was the very first hand of the game. I look down and see pocket fours. I limp, and the flop comes 8-4-10. Wheee! It took all the power and will in my soul not to kick Kathie under the table (as sailboats are her holy grail of a hand). Should anyone have seen me kick Kathie, they'd know immediately that I was sailing, and that I did not want. I couldn't wait to show down this hand!! I ended up heads up against Eric, and we bet big back and forth. Turn was a blank, and the river came another 10 - full house for me! I'm singing sailboat praises in my head, and I re-raise him on the river. He calls. Showdown: Eric had pocket 8's for the higher boat. We'd both flopped sets.

Fucking sailboats.

That took a bit of the wind out of my sails (and some heft out of my chip stack). How I didn't manage to get myself all-in there, I have no idea. The sailboat debacle cost about half my stack maybe - pretty hysterical considering the blinds were 5/10. I managed to win some chips back, but the poker gods had stung me, and I didn't care much about the rest of that game.

I folded a bit more (which was funny, considering each drink I consumed widened my range of playable hands, and I still wasn't getting any cards to play!) Then: Armando's chance to exact some revenge on me. Again I held KK. I limped. (What's the rule? NEVER SLOWPLAY! Damn, I'm dumb. Dumb dumb dumb). Flop came A-x-x. Armando moved all in, and I called. Of course, he had an ace. Big slick, if I'm not mistaken. Chip stack: critical condition. Pride: bruised.

I actually managed to stay alive for a while - I just remembered my 5th playable hand. After posting the big blind, I had one BB left in my stack. I find QQ in the pocket and move all in. The details escape me as to who was in the hand, but the flop crucified my Hilton Sisters, and the glorious turn made them a set of three. That was nice.

I pulled a couple other miracle saves that confirmed my notion that I've been on a bit of a lucky streak this past month. Not insane luck, but +EV luck at the very least. I've seen some outdraws that without luck, I had no business winning lately. Winning is definitely a confidence booster, and I think that it plays into our poker sensibility. For example, without my recent luck and positive bankroll flow, I'd have never had the confidence to sit at the $1/2 games this weekend on Noble Poker. Winning gives us the confidence to take those leaps of faith in our abilities, and from that progress is born.

Ahem... sorry. Tangent. I digress...

I went out of the JackHammer game with Ace-baby. Flop came an ace, and I tried to represent a better ace than I had. There was no bullying Val, though, as she called my flop bet, and my even larger turn bet. Great... chip stack has dwindled to nothing, and my options were to go into check-fold mode with my stack once again on life support, or push and hope my ace held up. I pushed, and she called. I turned over my hand saying, "you've definitely got me outkicked." No - she didn't. She had the straight with 6-7 clubs!! You go girl - kicked my ass! I didn't even see the straight out there. Damn booze.

And that is how I went broke!

Val went out third when Randy's Ax suited flopped a flush. Ace-baby is such a damn hard hand to play, except when it flops a flush. Then it's pretty easy!

Randy and Ray had a wicked good heads up match - the kind I like to see! They skillfully avoided the "push all-in on every other hand" brute-force approach, and played each other back and forth for a good hour or so. I liken Ray's style of play to my own - he's a tight/aggressive. Randy, to me, is an unpredictable player. He's aggressive, for sure, but he can mix up tight and loose like nobody's business, and I rarely know what the hell is in his hands. That's one thing I need to learn how to do is mix up my game when appropriate. Randy does that very well. With that combination of playstyles, their battle was a good one.

It ended disastrously for Randy, though, when he pushed all in with 6-3 of hearts, expecting a fold and the blinds to be shipped his way. He ran smack dab into Ray's Big Slick. Ouch. Nothing you can do when the cards show complete disregard for your timing. It had to be music to Ray's ears to hear Randy's all-in! Just what you want heads-up with a monster in your hand.

Good game, guys!

Final standings:

1st - Ray
2nd - Randy
3rd - Val

Great night for Ray, placing in the money in both games. Round of applause... and some props to Val as well, placing in the money in only her third poker game with us. Husband Ray is obviously teaching her well!

Since I was sans-notebook last night, I don't have precise notes on who went out when. I believe Ed bubbled in the 2nd game, finishing 4th. Beyond that, I have no idea!

Thanks to Armando and Kathie for having us out, and kudos to all for a good game. Much fun was had by all :) I'll have to redeem myself next time and leave the booze behind...

Well, it is time for me to go prepare for the Mother's Day festivities that are upon us. Have a great one, to all you mothers out there!

Saturday, May 07, 2005

After spending 3 hours on Noble Poker today, I've decided it's not so bad. The software is tolerable. It won't be my home site, but once you get used to it, it's not so bad.

I finished earning "crowns" towards my deposit bonus there. Now I just have to wait for the bonus money to hit my account. They say they disperse it daily, but nothing hit my account today, so I'd better just get the lump $90 they owe me tomorrow. (I've already been cut $10 of it, from my first night).

End result: + $72. Add in the bonus money, and it's + $162.

Not bad for a couple days' play. At one point I was up another $50 or so, but the play on that site is so atrocious that it got bad-beated away. Lost $50 in my last half hour - and you can imagine that I was playing tight as hell at that point, just trying to clear my last few hands! The players on Noble suck worse than I've ever seen in my life. It's good when the cards are hot but absolutely miserable when the fish are catching you!! Suckouts galore.

But I am pleased with the results! Hopefully those results will hurry up and hit my account!!

Now - if anyone else plays there, answer me this: does it seem like there are WAY too many four-flushes onboard? At least count I saw 18 4-flushes onboard today across three tables - within 3 hours' time. (And I stopped counting probably 2/3 of the way through). Doesn't that seem a bit odd? And big hands are the norm - rarely does one or two pair take a pot. I myself had five full houses today, two flopped flushes, two turn/river flushes, and 4 different straights. That's a LOT of big hands. And my opponents seemed to show similar hands. Maybe it's just me. Seemed weird. Like they're trying to build excitement into the game or something... but I could be imagining things.

Glad to be done with that bonus... I've got a couple hours before I leave for the JackHammer game. Debating if I should go reload Empire Poker to take advantage of their big reload bonus - 50% up to $100. Maybe....

The Noble Poker bonus chase continues....

It has been profitable so far; I've almost doubled my $100 deposit as of tonight, and have about 400 more crowns to earn. At .50/1.00, that's 200 more raked hands, and at 1/2, it's 140 or so hands. Not bad for a 100% matching bonus. Definitely a great deal - go get you some easy bonus money!!

One note though - the players on this site aren't just fishy. I swear that half of them have no idea how to play poker. Literally. I mean, I've seen bad play, and we all know the "any ace or face" type players. But I can understand why the AAoF players play that way - they haven't learned the importance of the kicker. Fine. Or, the player who gets Ace-King and bets/calls all the way down to the river with nothing, because they can't believe they can lose with AK. Those are rookie mistakes. But some of the plays I've seen on Noble are beyond dumbfounding. There are more "any two cards" players than I've ever seen in my life! And even more are loose-aggressives - but not just "loose" aggressives; any-two-cards aggressives! They'll re-raise you down to the river with absolutely nothing! No pair, no draw, no high card (unless ten counts as a high card). I just can't figure out where these people learned to play, because it's not even WPT TV quality play. Who thought it could get worse than that?? Not me! The suckouts are brutal, but the winners can be huge.

An example: I saw pocket Aces four times tonight (yeah, weird - in two hours' time, no less). Three times, they got cracked; one time, they held up - for a THIRTY DOLLAR pot on a .50/1.00 LIMIT table!!! I would have ditched the aces with all the action and the multi-way pot, but I'd already seen these people play all aggro with nothing, so I gritted my teeth and plowed through - and won a pot that made up for the previous suckouts. It was sick.

Some more observations about the Noble software...

It's not friendly for multi-tabling. It could be, but it needs some tweaking. All talbes load into the same window. (I can't find a way to change that, so I assume that's just how it is). At first, I thought I liked that setup, but quickly became annoyed that I could only watch one table at a time. I usually spread my two or three tables out around my screen, so I can see most of each table, all at once (with only their corners overlapping). Being unable to watch all of the tables really decreases the information I can pick up watching my opponents, and also makes it very hard to follow the action and my turn to act at each table.

When it is your turn to act on a table, the software automatically pulls that table to the foreground. At first, I thought that too was a good thing. But, it pulls the table to the front (thereby covering the table you were on) immediately, regardless of what you were doing on the other table. So, if you were getting ready to click your move on one table, and the time-to-act table pops into place at just the right moment, you end up clicking the wrong action for the wrong table. My first night, I accidentally folded several hands by making that "mistake." I figured with some practice, I could avoid it (ie. wait a moment before clicking). But, that doesn't help - because that moment can just as easily be the one that causes another table to pop up in front of you!! I only made 2 such mistakes tonight, but one was calling a pre-flop re-raise with 10-4 offsuit. What a waste of money - not because I misplayed a hand, but because the software got in my way. This issue is so frustrating to me that it really could prevent me from playing there very much (except to chase bonuses!)

I was able to find the player notes feature - you left-click on your opponent's name to access the notes about them. Most sites use right-click. I'm not sure I understand the departure from convention, but I guess if I got used to it, it wouldn't bother me. But, every time I tried to take notes on a player, another table would pop up in my way, closing my notes and leaving them unfinished!! Frustrating. I gave up trying to take notes.

When I mentioned the other day that I like the speedy interface - that too has its downfalls. Showdowns are so fast that you don't really get to see your opponent's cards - or, if another table happens to pop into place in front of you right at showdown, you miss the end result of the hand. The sidebar, where the dealer-spoken hand history resides, is frustrating to read because it rarely shows you the players' hole cards at showdown; instead, it shows the best five cards for the winning hand. So you have to go back and compare it to the flop/turn/river to see what your opponent had. Doing that is no piece of cake, either, because when you scroll the sidebar up, it doesn't STAY up - it auto-jumps back to the bottom of the text as each new line of action is added to the history. I gave up trying to see the end results of hands, too, in the instances that the table pop-ups got in my way (which was frequently).

If you only play one table at a time, these issues are a moot point. But for multi-tabling, they are very frustrating. Gaming software should be transparent; it should facilitate ease of use and gameplay - not be a distraction or hindrance to play. When multi-tabling, Noble's software is really hard to work with.

But with such a lucrative bonus and such fishy players, it has definitely been a profitable site for me thus far. With any luck, I'll clear the rest of my bonus tomorrow.

The Noble online support continues to be top-notch. They're very quick to respond. At the end of each session, I stop to ask how many crowns I've earned. (Unfortunately, that's the only way to find out). Without fail, they answer within two or three minutes and have been quick and polite. I do wish I could get a crown count via the software or their web site, though.

All in all... the software is OK, but I really don't like it for multi-tabling. Their bonus program seems really good though, and if you can dodge the suckouts, the fish are like ATM machines. Part of me wishes I'd put more money in for the bonus, and another part of me can't wait to get back to Full Tilt's software!! :)

In other poker-related observations.... MAN do I disklike limit!! Who'da thunkit? Well - maybe that statement is a bit strong. I dislike it at these low levels. Or, I dislike it when I'm playing with a sea of fishes who disregard pre-flop raises and call down with anything. I suppose those are the players I should LOVE, but suckouts are gut-wrenchingly frustrating. I think I'd rather play my tight aggressive self on a no-limit table, where you rarely get 5 people calling pot-sized bets to the river. I feel like the ability to manipulate the pot might just be THE most important aspect of no-limit hold'em.

I've been playing two $.50/1.00 6-max limit tables and one full $1/2 table on my Noble bonus quest. The combo seems to work well, though I almost want to kick it to two 1/2 tables and one .50/1.00 table. But, this is my very first foray into the 1/2 zone, so I'm trying to properly acclimate myself. The larger bet sizes always jump out at me as DOLLARS instead of units - which results in me playing a little scared for a while. But, since I plan to go back to NL anyway once I finish this bonus chase, I suppose it doesn't really matter!

Finally... in my last tidbit of poker news for the night... Armando and Kathie are hosting a JackHammer game Saturday night. Sweet! The plan is to start out with a cheapo tourney, then run the $20 buy in tourney a bit later. Looks like we should have one full table of participants. I am looking forward to it - there hasn't been nearly enough live poker in my life lately. Randy and I have yet to check out the local Indiana poker rooms. One of these days.... I can't believe the WPBT Vegas trip is three weeks away. I don't think the reality of it will hit me until I start my summer vacation from work (May 20th). Then it's party time!

Ahh well. Time to hit the hay. 'Nite!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Doggone it!

I'll never make the WPBT leaderboard, 'cuz I once again can't make the latest WPBT online tournament - yet another WSOP satellite game. Bah!!

Open to bloggers AND readers - thanks to Iggy for setting it up!

WPBT WSOP Satellite Tournament
Noble Poker
Wednesday, May 11th, 9PM EST
$30 +3
Password: dahammer

A WSOP seat will be awarded for every 50 players - limit 150 players.

Since I can't play in the game myself, I figured I'd give Iggy some love anyway and go for that sweet 100% new player deposit bonus. So, I downloaded Noble Poker through the Iggmeister's site, and secured my screen name. I also signed up as an affiliate with Iggy's link. I hope that makes up for me not being able to play in this tourney!

Within moments of logging in, an online support rep pinged me and asked if I'd like to earn an instant extra $10 bonus. I said, "Sure! How?" I had to deposit real money within.. a half hour, hour, something like that, and I'd get ten bucks. Well, sure! Free ten bucks sounds good to me.

Now, I'd have loved to use Iggy's extra-sweet $500-max 100% matching deposit bonus, but.... I'm really particular about where I play, and really don't like to play on sites that I don't like. I know, I'm lame. So I didn't want to get myself stuck at Noble for the rest of my life, in case I didn't like it. So, I put in a hundred bucks. Sure enough, within moments, I was credited with $10. Excellent!

I couldn't find a no-limit table that suited my fancy, so I decided to play off this bonus at limit. I chose a $.50/1.00 game and sat down to learn the interface.

Not bad... though I immediately turned off the player sounds, as they each say "check!" or "bet!" or whatever action they're doing. It got old REAL fast. The down side of turning off those sounds is that the default non-speaking sounds are not varied enough. Bet and raise sound the same, for example. And there's no sound for "fold." So you've really got to watch what's going on. I've gotten used to the luxury of those little audio clues on other sites; I wish Noble had more sounds.

The gameplay is quick (aside from slow players - nothing you can do about that). Noble seems to have pared down some of the animations that slow things up. You still get the card dealing visual, but the card flipping at showdown seems quicker, and pot dragging is fast. This is much appreciated (particularly for those of us trying to squeeze in as many bonus-clearing hands per session as possible!)

[I'm so pissed right now... Blogger just ate the entire rest of my post... I'll try to recreate it, but the pounding headache I have may prevent me from recreating the length and depth of the Noble review I'd just written up. DAMN BLOGGER!] Recover post, my ass - it recovered a whole 3 paragraphs. Grrrrr.


The statistics on Noble are excellent - lots of numbers for the statistically inclined to review while playing. You can view your stats on each table, but I couldn't find a way to view combined stats on all tables you're playing - though I didn't look very hard. The hand histories are nice too - there's a graphical interface to view them in, and it's much easier to read that a text-based history. Very useful to refer to during gameplay. I didn't play around to see if there was a way to save them locally or print them out.

The sidebar chat is cool - and the play by play includes graphical icons of the cards. Much easier to read at-a-glance than the usual "Kh7d6c" etc. The only thing I didn't like about the hand display was that the winner's hole cards aren't displayed at showdown - they're shown as part of the 5 winning cards. So, to see what your opponent beat you with, you have to look at the display of the board a few lines up, and compare it to the 5 winning cards to see which card or two your opponent had that made the winning hand. Also, the winning hands are not described in detail - it'll say, for example, that phlyersphan won with two pair, or phlyersphan won with a straight (lots of straights tonight, oddly enough). But it doesn't say, "straight, ten to ace" or "two pair, kings and sevens" or whatever. I'd like it to be more descriptive - especially since the action moves so fast.

I thought the customer support was very quick and responsive - they answered my few questions when I first logged in, and upon ending my session, I wanted to find out how many bonus crowns I'd earned, and even at 2am, the were quick to answer and polite. I hear that cashouts are super-fast there too. So thumbs up on Noble's live online support.

One downside of bonus chasing there is that you can't get a running total of your bonus crowns (that's how they count your progress - you get a certain number of crowns per raked hand, and for every 125 crowns, you earn $10 of your bonus money). You have to ask a live support person every time you want a crown count. Easy enough, but I'm one of those freaks that constantly refreshes my bonus page to see how many hands I have left to play - even if it's hundreds of hands...

It looks like I'll have to play 625 raked hands at $.50/1.00 to clear my $100 bonus, if I'm reading their policy correctly. That seems reasonable to me - it's got to be less than FTP. That chase took FOREVER! I had to play 400-something to earn $60 on Party, so 625 seems to be right in the ballpark of reasonable. I'm no bonus chasing expert, though, so I could be wrong!

Noble could use a few more avatars - there were only two female avatars to choose from, and neither looked even remotely like me! I must be spoiled with all the FTP avatars... though I'll take detailed hand histories over avatars any day of the week!

At any rate, I cleared 154 crowns in a little over and hour 3-tabling (I figure I have 1,250 crowns total to earn), and made $43 profit. Add in the free ten bucks, and I'm up $53 for the night. Cool!

Thanks, Iggy!

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Busted out of the WPBT WSOP Satellite 49th out of 63. No cards - what can ya do?

But, I again managed to make it pretty much a freeroll for me. I took the $27 in my Stars account (after depositing the $50 minimum and putting $33 towards the satellite), and turned it into $53 so I can suck it back out of Stars and back into my Vegas fund. :)

Placed 2nd in a $15 turbo NL SnG, and then made up the remaining ten bucks at a shorthanded $25NL ring game. Chaching!

Now I just have to wait the required couple days before I can suck the money back out again...

Good luck to all remaining bloggers! I'm rooting for Human Head!

Two and a half hours and counting!

There are 46 people signed up as I write this... c'mon, Bloggers, we need 4 more!!!

7PM Eastern time, PokerStars - $30+3 satellite to the WSOP June 3rd $1500 game!


Go! Sign! Up! Now! And! Thank! Iggy! While! Yer! At! It!

To counter all of the bad beat stories...

MAN did I get lucky on this one!

Decided to play one $20 SnG before bed tonight, and had a $25NL table pulled up alongside. Busted out 9th in the SnG when I fell in love with my AKs turned top-pair-top-kicker, and lost to 9-7 offsuit in the big blind, who flopped two pair. I was in the small blind and my DUMB ass limped in to play cutsie. How many times have you seen me write, "NO SLOWPLAYING ALLOWED??" Yeah, I can be stubborn sometimes.

Anyway.... So I closed the SnG and figured I'd cut my losses (since I obviously wasn't in a very focused or alert frame of mind for poker). I set out to finish my last orbit in the ring game.

Hand-before-last, I'm holding KK in late position (one off the button, I believe). Four limpers in front of me. I raise to $1.10 (just over 4x the big blind). Three limpers fell out, and two called my raise (including the big blind). Flop came A-10-x rainbow. Damn ace. Of course there's an ace! First to act checked, and the big blind bet the pot, $4-ish. I raised to $8, and BB re-raised all-in (which was another $3). I figured, at this point I'm getting almost 8:1 on my money to call the additional $3, though the re-raise told me this chick had an ace, for sure. I'd still have $15 left in front of me to sulk away from the table with after my loss, and considering my pot investment, I called.

She had A-10 for two pair. Yikes! My cowboys shriveled up into pansies.

Then, the first-to-act fellow exclaimed in the chat, "Whew! I'm glad I folded my K-J!"

Awww, hell. That means there's only one king left in the deck. A 5% chance to win the pot, if that.

Well, that one king fell on the turn. My three kings held up and I took down the pot.

It was a suckout of huge proportions. Not quite as big as if I'd have sucked out a runner-runner (those ALWAYS amaze me as feats of nature), but pretty damn big.

That bit of luck allowed me to finish the night even, and get away from poker when I shouldn't have even fired it up in the first place (tired, having a bad day, etc).

Thank you, Lady Luck!

... as I transferred money around so I could put $$ in PokerStars for the WPBT WSOP satellite on Sunday...

My flight to Vegas in June arrives in the evening July 3rd.

ie. I'd have to get a different flight - earlier or the night before - in order to play in the WSOP $1500NL game on the 3rd, should I happen to win my seat into that game.

Well, hell. That sucks! Well, I guess it wouldn't suck... it would be awesome!

I haven't signed up yet for the satellite, but plan to play. Might as well give it a shot, right? (Flight change fees and all....)