somewhere a clock is ticking
yes, yes, i have returned!

in all actuality, i came back on Friday night after busting out of the $500 + $50 tournament. for the record, i was able to play in two tournaments, the $300 + $30 and the $500 + $50 tournament. so you ask, why didn't you play in the $200 + $20 tournament on Wednesday morning? hold your damn horses, we'll get to that....

more after the jump!
posted on Wed, 05.25.05 @ 02:18 PM CST [more..]

Brother's Gonna Work It Out
i am leaving early in the AM to go to New Orleans to play in the WSOP Circuit Event. yeah, i am going. i realize that i was on the fence, but with the cancellation of the Hellmuth event this sat, i see this as just too close to pass up. at worst i will be back on friday, at best, give me 10 days!

i am not taking my laptop, only my iPod and PSP. so i will be out-of-pocket for a bit.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!
posted @ 10:57 PM CST [link]

I Predict a Riot
and now a word from our sponsor...

when i started this blog, it was mostly rants and daily musings, with occasional mixings of the happenings from la vida agujerear. then came layoffs, other jobs, and an eventual retreat from the corporate world (for some reason i wanted to type 'corporeal world' and i think as a freudian slip, it still works.) for rougly the past 18 months or so i have slaved away under the auspicious luck of working for and with my wife, not having to endure any bullshiet mission statements, petty office political battles, craptacular technology decisions, etc.; in that vein, i am living in The Promised Land and i don't mean to pee on the burning bush...but folks, i am sure if you are old enough to read this blog, you are old enough to know, nothing is perfect.

more after the jump!
posted on Tue, 05.17.05 @ 03:40 PM CST [more..]

i didn't get a harrumph outta you
hmmm. this appears to suck. it is in reference to this.

i was told by one of my clients, who happens to rep. Reliant Park, that the event was cancelled due to the stance from the Houston D.A.'s office. i have also read that it is TABC that is clamping down on it. i have an email into the local contact to see what's what, but it appears that at the least, no tourney this saturday. harrumph.

in other news, Dave has surfaced. now can he please come home and finish the show? i am in serious withdrawal.
posted @ 05:22 PM CST [link]Perfect Situation
here is a sampling of the poker theory/strategy books & DVDs that i own and have read:
~~ Super System by Doyle Brunson
~~ The Theory of Poker by David Sklansky
~~ Hold 'em Poker for Advanced Players by David Sklansky & Mason Malmuth
~~ Tournament Poker for Advanced Players by David Sklansky
~~ Play Poker Like the Pros by Phil Hellmuth, Jr.
~~ 52 Tips for Texas Hold 'em Poker by Barry Schulman
~~ Championship No-Limit & Pot-Limit Hold 'em by T.J. Cloutier & Tom McEvoy
~~ Secrets of No-limit Hold 'em by Howard Lederer
~~ More Secrets of No-limit Hold 'em by Howard Lederer
~~ Winning Guide to On-line Poker by Howard Lederer

quite a list. of all those, Harrington on Hold 'em is quite possibly the best. i realize i am only about 2/3rds the way through, but it is the clearest, more simple yet intelligent explanation of Hold 'em tournament poker that i have laid hands on. of course, i could be partial b/c it seems to really mesh with where i see my game going these days. either way, if you haven't read it: beg, borrow, or steal it tomorrow.

ok, that's it: the end of my week w/o poker. i am assuming that at the least, i am going to play in Hellmuth's charity event here next week. why? well, my mom is a 15 year survivor of breast cancer - so at the very least, the money is going to a great cause. beyond that, i don't really need a reason!

back to my couch....
posted @ 08:23 PM CST [link]

I sought to lose that cloud that’s blacking out the sun
check it my house it's outplaying the new Weezer by about 4-1.

well, it's friday and i have yet to play a single hand of poker this week. the bad news is that i have not made much headway into my poker books. so what have i been doing?

well, we went to Heather's Senior Show last night; had some dinner with friends and then drinks afterwards. it made for a long evening and an early morning, but sometimes you gotta act young again. positive side: Heather's artwork is fantastic. here's wishing her the gainful and fulfilling employment she deserves!

i've done a ton of reading, although in truth much of it has been periodicals. dug up these links which discuss why the generation of gamers is going to be the generation of business elite. interesting reads.

inside the June '05 issue of Vanity Fair is an article on Steve Wynn and his new hotel/resort/experience. i had completely forgotten these small facts:

(a) he paid himself $1.25mil in bonuses for 1998 & 1999, a period during which Mirage Resorts' stock waaaaay underperformed the S&P 500

(b) the Bellagio was over budget by $400mil

(c) by early 2000, Mirage Resorts' stock was down from $26 to $11.50

(d) during this same time period, Wynn's $4mil Fifth Avenue apartment was paid for by Mirage Resorts

(e) when the MGM Grand bought Mirage Resorts, Wynn walked with $500mil plus $11.3 golden parachute

hey Steve Wynn - you are one lucky batard!

today there was a small story about luck in action. guess i should play my fortune cookie numbers more often!

i also caught up on both May issues of Cardplayer. the Stu Unger two-part piece is pretty doggone good. read it here and here.

lastly, i hope tonight to get to read a little more Harrington on Hold 'em. still up in the air about playing on Sunday...might just wait for the proper new week to start.

oh yeah, i think K-Dub and I are going to play in the Phil Hellmuth Poker Challenge. so that might keep me from going to the WSOP Circuit event in New Orleans. again, still on the fence, but we'll see.

well, hour left of work...time to tidy up and get ready to close.


ooops - a few more items, after the jump....
posted on Fri, 05.13.05 @ 05:58 PM CST [more..]

feel good, inc.
"So if your goal is to become a top no-limit hold 'em player, be glad that it's tough, rather than an easy thing to do. That just means your hard work will be well rewarded." -- Harrington on Hold 'em, pg. 19

in business this is called a barrier-to-entry. generally, once you are an established business, you like barriers b/c they limit competition and increase the chances for long-term profit. i guess the same could be said for poker too. the problems with barriers are that, if you are not already established in the industry, you gotta overcome them first.

just putting in a little time overcoming some barriers....

after the jump: Barry Greenstein's lists the top five poker players in da' world!
posted on Tue, 05.10.05 @ 02:08 PM CST [more..]

that's it, i quit, i don't give a shit
image courtesy of; rage courtesy of me.

yes, you are seeing it correctly - he chased the flush to the river without a made hand and didn't even have the nut flush draw. plus he was acting before me - so the bets were his, not mine. i actually called the whole way (after opening post-flop with a pot-sized raise of $50) thinking i might be beat with trip kings (although truly i put him on two pair, limping with king-little.) at least everyone else at the table was as equally flabbergasted as i was.

thusly, i have decided to take off at least of week from playing poker: to think, to read, and to focus on a new playing style. the donkey fests are just becoming too draining, and while this beat didn't do anything more than make a small dink in my poker roll, mentally it made me tired, oh so tired. plus, this is a good time to take a break b/c i just bought Super System II, Harrington on Hold 'em, and Chuck Palahniuk's new one, Haunted.

still up in the air is a trip to New Orleans for the final WSOP Circuit event. while this would mesh pretty well with my schedule, i am just not sure i am ready to play in a tourney this size - i.e. since tinkering with my playing style i feel less sure of a lot of my methods; everything is in such a state of flux. the flip side, it is a reasonably-priced trip and the tourney buy-in for the first two days is pretty cheap, so i dunno. we'll see how i feel Sunday after my week sabbatical from playing poker.

in other news, i began to build an ark yesterday afternoon, but the rain finally abated. arriving home from Northside, i found wifey reading via my petzel light - the power had been out since 5PM; it wasn't restored until after 11PM. to tell truth, it was kinda nice to sit on the couch with the wife and read in "true" silence. no TV, no TiVo, no CDs, nothing. windows open, clean rain breeze and silence. was actually a good decompression from the night's poker fatality and the impetus to take some time off. yea heavy rain storms!

off to work the dogs!
posted on Mon, 05.09.05 @ 10:34 AM CST [more..]

i just called to say i love you
happy mother's day!

ah sunday - my truly only day off!

found an interesting link about Daniel Negreanu's project Stacked. appears that besides being for PC, PS and Xbox, the PSP will get an addition. all versions will feature robust online play. Josh Arieh, Jennifer Harman, Erick Lindgren, Carlos Mortensen, Evelyn Ng, David Williams, the who's who of the "new generation" of players, are signed on. i hope this turns out to be the first video games that captures the poker experience.

in other gaming news, EB Games and GameStop are merging - although in business terms, GameStop is acquiring EB and will fold their operations into the existing GameStop stores. i know in my neck of the woods, every area has one of each, so this means less competition and less opportunities for consumers. hate to say it, but with the rise of big box retailers like Best Buy, Circuit City, Target and The Great Satan moving into gaming, it was only a matter of time before some consolidation took place. should be interesting to see if this helps or hinders GameStop's financials.

i am such a relentless consumer - no fiscal control, just a lemming running towards the cliffs of commercialism: bought the new Doves release yesterday and couldn't help picking up an offering by the Stars, a band i have never heard of before. both are pretty good, so it's not like i am unhappy, but damn iTunes and the ability to sample songs before you buy! in all truth, tongue removed from cheek, i can't think of a better system than paying $9.99 per album, never having to leave my house, and having the freedom to put the tracks on CD and my iPod. who said micro-payments wouldn't work?

well, about time to slip off for a little B&M NLHE.

if you haven't already, call your mom and tell her you love her!
posted @ 02:41 PM CST [link]

is someone getting the best of you

well, should we not reach 60 entrants, Full Tilt cancels the tourney and refunds the buy-ins. i am disappointed by this for a couple of facts:
(a) New Orleans is the last circuit event
(b) New Orleans is a mere drive from Houston. now should i go, i am going to have to *truly* justify it to the wifey. winning entry would have been so easier.
(c) i was hoping for a smaller field - one that maybe i would have a chance in!

well, now i am going to have to think through the opportunity - do i goto New Orleans to try the circuit? i have read some posts saying the events are juicy fishfests. it is like a 45 min flight for less than $100. hmmmm. we'll see. i am so drawn to damn tourneys....

besides this tournament tommorrow, i have the Cardplayer freeroll too. so at least my hard bargained day off won't be fully wasted.

i shall leave you this evening with Tony Sinclair. this man maybe my hero (and i love the new Ten gin!)

posted on Fri, 05.06.05 @ 09:05 PM CST [more..]

50 million fables
this sums up the way today has gone, pokerwise:

currently i am mired in the Poker Stars $5.50+Rebuys tourney. we are post-first break and i am in 26th place out of 300 remaining; trying to keep my head above water....

all for now!
posted on Wed, 05.04.05 @ 07:07 PM CST [more..]

i tried to find the key
before i begin to work on my treatise of "new poker theory", i wanted to take a moment to post about an email i recently received. i play a fair bit on Full Tilt, and as such i receive their promotional emails to keep me informed of upcoming events and specials. Full Tilt recently began running an email campaign that offers "Pro Lessons" from their team of esteemed players. belows is last week's email in its entirity:

Howard Lederer Presents: "Why Sunglasses and Headphones Aren't For Me"

I know this newsletter is being written for an online poker site, but I hope that
most of you still find time to play live poker. As much as I love online poker, I
would never completely give up sitting at a table and getting the chance to size up
an opponent. This week's lesson will examine why I think it is a mistake to wear
headphones or sunglasses during live play.

Poker is a game of information. You give information to your opponents, and they
give information to you. Most of that information is in the form of betting
patterns, which is why online poker is such a great form of the game. All of the
betting information is right there for you to use while playing a hand. But when you
play live, there is a small amount of additional information that is given off
through physical tells and audio cues. I am a very visual player, and am blessed
with good eyesight. I wear contacts, and with them, my vision is 20/15. I constantly
use my eyes to take in every nuance of what's going on around me at the table. If I
wore sunglasses, much of that information would be lost to me. I am confident that
the information I take in with my eyes far exceeds what I give away.

If you currently employ sunglasses when you play, I would encourage you to try
playing without them. Yeah, you look cool in them. Maybe. But, if you try playing
without them while staying committed to taking in as much visual information as
possible, you might find that not only are you doing better, the game is suddenly
more interesting as well.

I reserve special scorn for the rampant use of headphones in poker tournaments. They
slow down the action and, on the whole, I believe they hurt the people who use them.
When a player throws a single, large chip into the pot, he usually announces 'raise'
or 'call'. But all the guys at the table wearing headphones can't hear the call.
Invariably, they have to take off their headphones and ask the dealer what the bet
is. It is annoying when the action comes to a grinding halt to clarify something
that anyone without headphones already knows. Also, poker is a social game. It would
make me sad if poker someday becomes a game where nine people are sitting at a table
listening to music, and no one is talking to one another.

Also, there are some valuable things you can pick up on simply by paying attention
to the conversation around the table. You can sometimes tell when someone is over
his head just by listening to him talk. In a recent tournament, I won a very large
pot as we were nearing the last few tables because I heard someone speaking a few
minutes earlier.

It was the Bellagio $15K WPT poker tournament. The blinds were $4K-$8K and I was in
the big blind. A player who'd been playing very tight so far opened the pot from an
early position for $25K. The small blind called and I looked down at 9-9. I often
re-raise with this hand, but this seemed like a good time to just call. The flop was
8s 5s 3c. The small blind checked and with about $275K in front of me and $100K in
the pot, I continued playing cautiously and checked. The opener checked, too. The
turn was (8s 5s 3c) 6c and the small blind checked. I felt like I must have the best
hand, so I bet $50K. I was very surprised when the original opener raised all-in for
a total of $175K. The small blind folded and now I had a big $125K decision to make.
If I call and win, I have $550K and am in great shape. If I call and lose I'm in
real trouble. I didn't think he had a big hand, but it didn't seem like a very good
bluffing situation either. The board looked really dangerous. Plus, I hadn't seen
this player get out of line at all. But then I remembered a comment he had made to
his neighbor about ten minutes earlier. He had hardly played a hand for about an
hour, and said to the guy next him that his cards had been so bad, it would have
been just as well if he had stayed in his room after the last break. Remembering
that comment, I felt there was a good chance that he was frustrated. With that
factored in, I made the call. He turned over the Kd-Qd, and with a 2 on the river I
won a key hand that put me in great shape in a big tournament. If I had been
listening to music, I don't think I could have made the call.

Poker is a game of information. Sunglasses might keep some information from getting
out, but they stop more from coming in. Headphones simply give you fewer
opportunities to gain valuable information about other players. These are handicaps
I am not willing to spot my opponents.

i can understand Howard's disdain for anything that slows the game down, esp. when you are playing in a tournament and rising blinds are a major concern; despite his reasonings, i think music and sunglasses, when employed with a little thought, are actually a help, not a hinderance.

firstly, sunglasses do not have to be a stumbling block to gathering information while at the able; they can actually aid you! i wear sunglasses everytime i play, not because i think i look cool - i know i do, but that is besides the point ;-) - but because they allow me to gather information on my opponents unnoticed. when the loose/aggressive player in seat five thinks i am staring at the little hottie in seat eight, i am actually recording his every move, picking up on his mannerisms and patterns. deception adds value not subtracts. the ability to watch the action at the table without your opponents being able to gauge your attentiveness is a great tool, one that without sunglasses is impossible. sure sure, Hellmuth might want to stare into your soul, but i just want to be able to gauge people's reactions to hole cards, flops, turns, and rivers without them knowing who i am looking at.

onto the headphones issue: i agree there are a vast amount of players who are largely unware of the happenings at the table; they don't know the blinds, the bets, the place of action, etc and there are times when these people are engrossed in their own little world, listening to Styx or The Phamtom of the Opera. but, if employed with a little care and consideration, headphones, like sunglasses, can be a tool to help you gather information, deceive your opponents, and protect your tells. i began several months ago of always keeping my iPod with me at the table. i also use inner-ear headphones, which allow me to keep one out at all times. this allows me to always have a ear for the table and keeps me abreast of the dealer information i need to know. besides using headphones in such a manner, i also use the iPod mini-remote, usually clipping it to my shirt tail or belt loop, out of sight and mind under the table. the mini-remote allows me to stop and start the music at will, unbeknownst to my competitors. the headphones also keep me from being dragged into the cacophony of bad beat stories, sad tells of woe, advice on chips, cards, card protectors, etc. it is certainly more polite to seem enthralled in your music than to have to shun or ignore chatty tablemates.

while i can understand Howard's advice, i would contend that astute players could employ these items to their advantage. while it may not work for all, it certainly will work for some. plus, nothing's better than listening to some good tunes while practicing folding hundreds of hands....

good luck!
posted on Tue, 05.03.05 @ 09:40 AM CST [more..]

the seeker
i have been ruminating on a new way that i should approach my NLHE tournament play; i am hoping that tomorrow i will have a chance to flesh it out fully and put it into a readable format.

while waiting for my lazy arse to do that, here are some results from recent Full Tilt play where i put these theories/methods into practice:

this was my first attempt at changing my tactics: 10th out of 129. while it didn't earn me a payout (this freeroll paid a single token for first), it did give me an impetus to try for real money.

so next i entered a token satellite. 3rd place got me some money, but not the token.

emboldend by two good placings, i went ahead and tried my hand at getting into the $200+$16 satellite for the WSOP circuit; as you can see, i am playing this sat!

lastly, after a poor play in the 2nd WPBT WSOP satellite (where i over played pocket jacks preflop and found myself staring into the abyss that are pocket aces), i went straight to FTP and pulled this out. i felt in control the entire SnG.

more to come!
posted @ 05:45 PM CST [link]

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