Monday, February 28, 2005

Go big or go home?

While sweating Chris H. in a SnG on Sunday he said something I've been pondering about a lot lately. "Time to get out of the kiddie pool" he said. I've got the bankroll to move up in limits again but I still have that red ink dripping on PokerTracker from my limit hold em' play. Even at $1/$2 I'm still a break-even player. No-limit is a horse of a different color, I'm tracking a nice win rate there. Funny thing is that I won't play above $25NL at PartyPoker, but I have no reservations about playing in 2-3 of the $100 buy-in NL tables at Crypto sites or any other sites. Playing with scared money again? I'm not really sure what the hangup is about Party, but I prefer taking the small fishies for a decent gain, rather then move up to at least the $50NL game. Perhaps after clearing the latest bonus offering from PartyPoker, I'll try out the $50NL maybe even adventure into a $100 NL table. You can stop your laughing now :P

Ok, my bonus whoring muscles were fully flexed last week.

Multipoker's signup bonus got finished and made $45 through playing the $25NL tables. Nothing exciting, just grinding away and picking off the occasional over-zealous player with a set or more.

Intertops was next and finished up with the reload bonus plus $85 playing the $25NL tables (I kept $30 at their casino for the fun penny slots with bonus games, hopefully to get my slot habit kicked by the time I go to Vegas in 3 weeks).

I cleared another 300 hands at Paradise on Sunday morning. This bonus has been difficult to clear since I was trying to play NL most of the time but found the clearing rate to be much faster on the limit tables. Another drawback is that you are only allowed to play three tables (but you can enter a tournament for a fourth table). Which is what I did after seeing a PL Omaha Hi $5 tourney (keep all kiddie pool referrences to yourself Chris :D ). There were re-buys and add-ons allowed but I figured I wouldn't re-buy, but would add-on should I make it to the break. I doubled up on the second hand going all-in on a wrap straight draw with a nut flush re-draw. The straight hit and I was comfortable until I noticed a player stalling after just four hands. He would use his time bank every decision, he would re-buy every time he would go all-in or betting the pot. Worst five bucks I've ever spent aside from maybe getting that undercooked Cordon Bleu sammich from Arby's. I was in a good mood from my cash game play but damn this guy sucked all the fun out of play this tournament (and tournament play is rare for me since I spent the majority of my time chasing bonuses). I couldn't catch any good starting hands (he would go all-in off of low two pair or even just top pair) against him. So, I decided to treat Little Drizz to some Papa John's pizza (sausage and mushroom for him, pepperoni and bacon for me) and get him down for his nap. Lunch and getting the little one down for a nap took 45 minutes and to my surprise I hadn't blinded out yet, but the T15K+ stacks made my little T2K stack look pretty meager. So, I pushed with the first semi-decent hand I saw AK77 double suited and pushed for the pot. All spades on the flop. I didn't have any. Time for my nap. At least I didn't spend $60+ on a $5 tourney like the re-buy/stalling yokel did.

Night-time was a little more serene as my wife made a delicious pot roast with taters and my parents dropped by with an ice cream/fudge/carmel cake. Yum-yum. My mom hit a "jackpot" of $20 on the penny slots at Intertops, so I hope I'm not hooking her onto internet casinos since she's already making 3 trips a week to Mistake Lake.

WPBT - I R In, but I'm waiting to see if there's going to be a room rate at Aladdin before I finalize my plans as the wife will most likely be coming with and we'll be staying at Imperial Palace since money is tight (unless I win some MTT between now and June :D ).

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Its like waving a box of twinkies in front of a fat kid on a diet

ENOUGH ALREADY! Good god people. I was a happy, little bonus whore at the beginning of the week. Gleefully chipping away at bonuses from Paradise and Pokerroom. Then Grubby comes out with a Multipoker reload bonus. I say to myself "Party skin bonuses are easy enough to clear, why not hit this one quick?". So, I load up $375 drop it down on Multipoker and cash out the next night with the bonus, plus $45. Not bad. Then, I get to work on Wednesday morning and Sound of a Suckout reports a rare Interpoker reload bonus. Ok, I don't have my money back from Multipoker yet, but I have enough for the max 25% up to $100 with bonus code Feb25. So, when I get home I check back on his site to make sure I had the proper code and instead of the Interpoker post, I see a post about PartyPoker offering a reload bonus starting tomorrow. And Pokerroom is offering 30% up to $300 with bonus code Monaco (double check Sound of a Suckout for details).

[Insert sound effects of head exploding]

After picking up pieces of brain matter on the floor, I check my Netteller account once again to see that I'm down to ~$500. Not enough for the max bonus on Party at the moment %20 up to $200 starting tomorrow... I didn't pick up the piece of my brain that contained the bonus code so check Scurvy's stie for details. All this plus the monthly Crypto bonuses I still need to hit up. Can I get that twinkie yet? Sheesh.

I saw America's Favorite Wingman on Yahoo messager and found out some esteemed bloggers were engaged in a H.O.R.S.E tournament on Full Tilt (which I signed up thru HDouble's site). And watched Felicia and Badblood playing Razz (wheel Ace - Five is the best hand, as I found out last night) and some limit Omaha hi/low. Wish Party would have tourneys like this, playing NLHE all the time for tourneys gets boring. While sweating BB, G-Rob from some site called Up For Poker asked if I'd like to take his money at a NLHE table. I would have happily obliged but alas my poker funds have been stretched further then that dude from the Fantasic Four. So, I just joined the conversation while still 3-tabling Intertops (cleared 1/2 the bonus last night whoo whoo!).

I did get to catch a little bit of the WPTs "Poker By the Books" tourney before resigning to bonus whore hell in my basement. Seeing Mike Caro, David Sklansky, and WPTs Mike Sexton play was definitely a treat. I wish I could remember some hands but with the thoughts of "raked hand requirements" took most of what's left of my memory bank.

Today involves some more moving of furniture so hopefully I won't be too tired tonight to finish off Intertop's bonus and scrape together enough for the PartyPoker bonus tomorrow (no work means all-day bonus whoring YEAH!). Yes the thoughts of more poker bonuses makes me drool like a teenage boy who just got the latest Victoria Secret's catalog. Now go read something worth while, have a good day folks :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Knowing when to walk away, knowing when to go to bed

This gambler didn't know when to fold em' last night. I did manage to clear the Multipoker bonus and make $40 at the $25 NLHE tables for my troubles. A bubble finish at a 2 table PLO8 tourney sucked when I tried to bluff raise all-in, and the silly guy called with just quads to beat my king high. Some people, sheesh :P

Then I decided to take another chip at the Pokerroom bonus. Bad idea. For an hour I played limit since it seems to get more "point" hands then NL does, and generally the games go faster. Well the only thing going faster last night was my chips into someone else's stack. I was the consumate calling station, calling down second pairs gleefully like I'd just hit the lottery and money was something I used for coasters and toilet paper. Thankfully my PLO8 tourney on Multipoker finally finished so I had a reason to log off. With 200 "points" to go, I'm hoping to make a strong push tonight to finishing off this bonus so I can pay for the missus spa treatment at Treasure Island next month (note to self: call for reservations). Right now tiredness has set in so I might just pass out on the couch while watching the latest WPT re-run on the Travel Channel.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Bonus whoring once again

Sigh. Is it a sign of addiction when you have 5 bonuses pending at the same time and you pick up another one? I have bonuses pending at Absolute, UB, Pokerroom, Paradise, and now because of Grubby's report two bonuses at Multipoker.

The Absolute bonus is on ice at the moment since I need money for the Vegas trip coming up in 26 days (yes I'm counting because once again its freckin cold here). UB takes a round-trip to Saturn to clear so that's on the back-burner as well. Paradise, I've been chipping away at since I finally found the tables that clear the bonuses there faster (I'll have a little "guide" coming out once I have some time at home to write). As for Pokerroom, I still haven't quite figured out how to optimize my bonus clearing there but with only 280 points left to clear for a $200 payday, I'm almost ready to try 7 tabling (I believe this is the maximum amount you can have open) to speed it along.

This leaves the unexpected tangent of the Multipoker bonus. As you've may have noticed, Party-skin's bonuses are some of the easiest to clear since its not a pre-determined amount of rake to count. Therefore, 90% of the hands in a NL or PL game are raked and count towards clearing the bonus. To put this in perspective, I 4 tabled $25NL games on Multipoker for 1.5 hours last night and cleared 250 hands. The same amount of time on Pokerroom would have cleared 100 hands or "points" at a similar level (actually less since you need to have .50 raked and need to play $1/$2 NL or $1/$2 limit to consistantly get that rake). So, if you're out there trying to build a bankroll, Party-skins are where you should be.

One minor/major rant from some assy play last night (besides my usual assy play of course). While in MP, I limped in with KQo in a $25NLHE game, button limped and both blinds called. Flop: A K J with the A and J of diamonds. The blinds checked, and I threw out a $3 bet to see where I was at. Folded around to the BB who was a bit of a pre-flop all-in artist and has shown down some rather weird/weak hands. He check-raised me the minimum, had this been a tighter player I'd laid down my second pair without further thought, but instead I flat called. The turn was a glorious T of hearts, he checked and I pushed him all-in with a pot size bet of around $15. The clock started ticking on him and suddenly the last card (a blank) came out without him folding/calling and he still had cards in front of him. The pot got pushed to me, but this little angle-shooter just disconnect/reconnected on purpose in the middle of the hand to get a free showdown.

Not. Happy.

I'm aware this may be a semi-common occurance but this sort of angle-shooting only hurts the internet poker realm. Since I was new to that site last night I didn't report anything but rather fired off some childish flames just because I can be an internet thug. Gotta represent yo! Sigh. I hope that fucker gets attacked by a rabid rabbit on the way to middle-school this morning.

Monday, February 21, 2005

The AlCantHang Wedding Service!

Hosted by

Best. Cake. Ever.

All work and no play.... well maybe a little play

Calling out to bloggers... how do I get the old "comments" section off my template so I can use Haloscan only? I suck at the internet :(

The new house is looking fab-tab-ulous. It still feels like we're staying overnight at a nice hotel but because of all my friends and family hard work we're completely moved in!

Friday - we started out in Edina signing off the papers for our old house and managed to sit the office for two hours. There was some bickering about how we offered to pay so much in closing cost and the closing cost were under that amount but they still wanted us to pay the full amount offered (following me so far?). I didn't really care since we did offer to pay the full in the first place so after drafting a personal check everyone was happy. I was getting a little edgy since my parents had some Leeann Chin's sesame chicken and cream cheese puffs waiting. Because of our unexpected length of time at the Edina office we only had 5 minutes to enjoy the wonderful goodness of Leeann Chin's.

After inhaling lunch it was time to buy the new house. The previous owner was a petite blonde single mother who was moving to Ooooooooklahoma (do people still live there? Just kidding Maudie) due to a job transfer. This time things went smoothly except for the fact that I had writers block mid-way through signing the papers and forgot how to use my signature. Sigh. After some rather interesting self-forgeries of my own signature we received the keys to our new home (I'll take some pictures this week)! With the help of my friends and family we managed to get all the furniture and unload a 24 foot truck in an hour and a half (must have been the promises of warm beer and leftover hot dish). Because of all the hard work we were able to make it up to Alleygator's/Spectrum lanes for 2 for 1's!!! A couple of my friends branched off to go up to Grand Casino in Hinckley (I'll be asking them about the new poker room up there) but the rest were welcome to hit up my tab for some drinks. One of them got shots of Rumple Minze (this is after drinking warm beer during the move), least to say it didn't go down as smoothly as it did during AlCantHang's Minnesota appearance. Add on four Cap'n Cokes and I was ready to bowl. I don't remember much except for being very loud and everyone seemed to be having a good time too. I bowled the best series and single game ever for myself! 178 - 246 - 266 = 690 series. And in the last game I threw 11 out of 12 strikes including 10 in a row. I gave a roar with the fist pump after each strike. I was a drunken mess but hey, I needed to let loose after a long week. Thankfully I invested $8 in the high game pot and won the last 2 games and series for a $72 take. It covered the tab plus a little extra. +EV indeed!

Saturday - We spent the whole day unpacking, I spent most of the day avoiding the wife since my head felt like mush and I don't think I could take any confrontations. Luckily she felt the same and kept to her own projects and organized things while I just moved the heavy stuff. Comcast booted up my internet connection in the morning but there's no time to bonus whore when there's dishes to put away! Sigh.

Around five we set off for a friend's wedding that looked to my catered by Al (pictures coming soon). I couldn't help but praise the couple's originally. It sucked that we knew all of 5 people and I couldn't even look at a beer, so we stayed for the toast and hightailed it home to do some more unpacking around nine at night.

Sunday - I'm sure Chris H. was up at 5 am drooling over the pre-race shows on ESPN and The Speed Channel for the Daytona 500 but I had to be woken up by a screaming Little Drizz who needed someone to make breakfast for him around 9 ish. After some eggs and sausage I decided to play a little poker before people came over to help finish off the move. One word: yuck. I played like a calling station on tilt after just one bad beat. Calling down middle pairs, two pairs on a 4 flush/straight board, even trying to bluff out 5 people on the river on a scary board with jack high (cue Elix Powers). Just udder and complete no-brain play that probably got me listed as a fish on Paradise and Pokerroom (if that's possible). Down $100 at Pokerroom after a stupid stint of Baccarat tilt I resigned from playing... for at least a couple hours :P After making a few decorating suggestions to my wife and getting a dirty look I plopped down to watch the last 30 laps of the Daytona 500 with my dad who used to race cars. Damn those guys have no fear! 188 MPH and driving like they going to miss the PTA meeting and junior's soccer game if they don't pass Tony Stewart. Jeff Gordon prevailed as you've probably read in the papers, and gotta say the rule with not finishing under a yellow flag... very cool. Finishing under a yellow flag would be like giving an intentional walk in the bottom of the ninth with a game tied and bases loaded. Awesome finish.

After everyone left and the boxes have all been put away, I sat down for a nice two session hoping to learn from this morning's tilt-a-whirl play. And the deck hit me in the face. At Pokerroom: +10BB $.50/$1 NLHE, +17BB $.50/$1 NLHE, +5BB $1/$2 LHE, and the best one +44BB $2/$4 LHE. That $2/$4 table was just giving away money, a lot of it was blind steals, but 2 nut flushes in a row plus a nut straight made me a very happy man. All the players were very passive and wiggled out of my comfort zone to apply the pressure. I made back all that was lost in the afternoon plus $70. I wish I'd have more gas in the tank to continue playing that $2/$4 table but I felt the tiredness come on, and resigned to bed before I started becoming a calling station again.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

My wife had different plans

Get your mind out of the gutter. No, instead of posting my tourney review, I was set immediately into manual labor in anticipation of tomorrow's move. The wife sounded much like the drill sergeant from Full Metal Jacket last night. WHAT IS YOUR MAJOR MALFUNCTION PRIVATE??? Sheesh. I was tired enough from getting only three hours of sleep while listening to my son cry for most of the night because he's still got a cold and can't sleep. That and playing in a MTT for most of the previous night as well. Everything did get done to my superior's satisfaction at around nine o'clock so she returned to her quarters for lights out.

I stayed up for a little bit but couldn't focus on writing my tourney summary so I dabbled with Pokerroom's casino. Since I couldn't write, I couldn't play poker in this state so games of Baccarat (my favorite -EV game beside bonus game slots), Caribbean Stud, Let It Ride, and Blackjack kept me entertain for the extra half-hour I stayed up. I didn't win much but I did earn some more points towards clearing the deposit bonus (money wagered in the casino does apply towards the poker deposit bonus). Granted you need to wager $10 for every point, it adds up while playing a quick game like heads-up Baccarat.

Tonight is the big move and I won't have an internet connection until Saturday morning if Comcast is so kind to actually show up as scheduled. The new house looked VERY vacant without any furniture in it and with our merger holdings it won't get filled in much more once we move in. I'm already anticipating the words "can we go shopping for furniture honey?". Maybe after we come back from Vegas with the Megabucks jackpot safely deposited into our checking account. 31 days away and can't get here soon enough.

I read in the paper yesterday about a proposed casino as part of the Mall of America's expansion across the street where the old Met Center once stood. "There will be a sharp increase in drugs and prostitution should this plan go through" (see Star Tribune, yesterday's issue for the story)bellowed a city councilman.

What.... the.... fuck....

Out at Mystic Lake I don't see strippers lined up at the penny slots offering tricks and smack. Nor have I heard of the crime rate in that area skyrocket because they added more blackjack tables. People's misconception of crime and casinos maybe enough to get the vote shot down but you can't deny all that potential revenue for the city of Bloomington and state of Minnesota. Personally it wouldn't be any closer for me to go to the MOA then to Mistake Lake. But being coupled with the MOA you could always drown your losses in a tall draft beer and the bosoms of Hooter's employees uniforms after dropping $150 in the Kenny Roger Gambler machines because it WON'T GIVE YOU THE FRECKIN BONUS GAME!!!11

I'll fire off a post this weekend after we get semi-unpacked should I acquire enough rack time and if the sarge is in a better mood. Over and out.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

I'd play in more tournaments but...

... going to work the next morning with three hours asleep just doesn't appeal to me anymore. Down 5-6 Cap'n Cokes, play 3 games of Golden Tee, and dance for 2 hours then get up to work the next morning used to be a snap. Well this old man can't even give a dog a bone with less then six hours of sleep anymore. Add in a very cranky Little Drizz, moving to a new house in two days and you've got the receipe for collapsing at work. I'm going to try one of those "energy" drinks today and see if that can carry me through the workday since I don't drink coffee or Mountain Dew. This poker martyr is putting himself through the rack for his readers just to bring a small, ill-written snippet of poker lore.

Are you almost excited yet? Well, wipe that damn smirk off your face first and plunge ahead with me.

First stop was Paradise Poker and tackling more of their unsurpassed (at least for this site) $200 re-load bonus. I whipped up tables of limit hold em (since NL doesn't seem to clear the bonus as quickly) and proceeded to play two - $1/$2 tables and one - $2/$4 table. All three tables seemed fairly soft with a couple of LAGs at the $2/$4 and a decent player that skinned me a couple of times when I wasn't paying attention. One such hand... I decided to break my rock mode at this table and play T9s 3 off the button. With six callers we saw a flop of 7 8 3 with the 7 and 8 being my suit. BB bets, UTG raises, decent player calls, I call (should have raised here), button calls, SB folds, BB calls. Now the 4 of hearts drops completing my straight, but with all those cold-callers I couldn't help but think I was drawing dead to a straight flush. SB checked, UTG bet, decent player called, I raised, the button re-raised!, SB folded, UTG called, decent player caps it!!!, and for some idiot reason couldn't let go of my flush. A blank fell on the river, I typed "I'll pay off your Ace high flush", sure enough AJh for the decent player and Q6h for the button. Third best, bleh. That didn't bother me too much for losing but rather for getting out-played and not tossing my hand away when I knew I was beat.

The next three hands in a row on another table sent me into a tilt-induced frenzy. 66 with three callers and a flop of 9 6 3 rainbow. I bet out and get raised, someone folded, I flat call. Turn brings another 9 (full house whoo whoo!!), I bet out and get raised, I re-raise, both called 3 bets to see.... another 9. Seeing that my boat was now counterfeited I still bet out and sure enough some yidiot playing 98o UTG raises me and takes home the pot. Next hand KK to see a K 5 4 flop with two spades, turn 8 of spades, river J of spades... Qs2h takes home the pot. Called me down with only one spade and nothing on the flop and no I didn't slowplay, sigh. I know I know cry me a fuckin river. If that wasn't enough next hand I get 44 in the BB and see a ragged 8 high flop so I bet out and get one caller, turn gives me an inside straight draw so I fire again and get called, the river is a king so I checked and the other guy wakes up to bet with.... AK (no raise pre-flop). Not.... very.... happy... refrain... from... kicking... the.... cat.... I closed out all of the tables and slammed down a tall glass of cranberry juice since that's the only thing that wasn't boxed up (animal aren't I?). Fired up a $50 NL table and luckily caught AA on my third hand a board of K Q 2 brought some concern (especially considering my cards to this point), I fired off a 1/2 pot size bet and got one caller, a Q on the turn made me happy that the wife and Little Drizz were not in the room as I said some rather choice words to the poker gods. I checked and the callers checked behind me. I'm getting slow-played but I'll call his river bet because I'm stupid and on tilt. A blank comes on the river, I check, he bets out $10 into a $25 pot, it looked like a value bet from a boat but like I said I was beyond rational thought at this point and I called to see him turn over.... KTo. Wheeeeeeeeee, happy again. Satisified with my pull of the slot machine I stayed on for an orbit and folded away to leave with a $30 profit, at making a dent into my limit disaster (and cleared another $20 off the bonus).

I looked at the clock at it was 8:30pm and I promised myself I'd stay up a little later so I fired up Pokerroom to play off some more hands over there. Server problems all night with the cash ring games made it [use Teddy KGB's voice here] "sooooooooo unsatisifying". Remembering another little promise to myself (play more tourneys) I fired up a $10+$1 NLHE that was starting in 5 minutes. Since there was only 50 entries I figured it wouldn't take very long.... until 106 more little brats decided to join at the last minute. Sigh....

Tourney re-cap will have to wait till I get home and check my hand histories, but I can say it was worth staying up for.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Something old, something new

I'm back at my old/new job. Nothing much to report yet since I have no phone and wasn't able to log on to my computer all morning. Its comfortable to back in my old department, I hope that my interest for the job doesn't wane as I did find audit to be a challenge for me prior to leaving.

Spent yesterday pouting like a 3 year old who got his cookie taken away for not finishing his supper. Why you may ask? Frankly I have no clue, I just felt pissy all day yesterday. It wasn't because of a bad run at poker. It could be that my son is still cranky from fighting a cold all week and not getting to view his Elmo's World DVD for the 23rd time. My sister-in-law and best friend dropped by, but I didn't want to see them yesterday. We played Mexican Train dominios which can be fun but very frusterating since there's only a few strategies you can apply besides selecting the right dominios (I finished dead last and got even more into a funk).

But today is a new day and a new job. This time I hope to do things right and instead of just coming to work to enjoy it! What's the sense of working if you can't enjoy even one thing that you do? I suppose I could 5 table $1/$2 limit hold em for 10 hours a day 7 days a week and grind out enough for "full time job". But would that be fun? Nyet. Attitude adjustment is definitely something I've been needing for a while now. Granted some stressful things have been happening in my world lately (brother in the hospital, wife's grandpa's death, moving into a new house, moving back to my old job, getting AA all-in vs. TT and getting rivered) Strike the last one, but it still hurt.

I promise some poker content this week if my re-training doesn't take all day. I've been doing my whining then publishing solid content lately and for that I apologize. I'm sure my semi-wittyness (good made-up word?) will return once we unpack the boxes in the new Casa De Drizz.

Its Valentine's Day! Make sure you hug your significant other and kiss some fishes on PartyPoker for donating enough to you to take your wife out for dinner tonight.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

A little side trip and a lesson

Friday night after bowling my mom suggested a quick trip to Canterbury (Mystic Lake for her and the slots). Seeing that the funeral for my wife's grandfather was in the morning I could use something fun to do. I don't remember it ever being so freckin busy! I walked up to the board and the lines for 2/4 and 3/6 hold em were from here to the Canadian boarder. Sigh, I only had 3 hours to play and the lines would take at least 1-2 hours to get a table. But I looked down the board at what would be my $200 lesson. 4/8 Omaha hi-low with 1/2 kill. I've always wanted to try it so here's my chance!

I kept up fine for the first two hours, not playing tight, but getting crappy cards and/or flops. After being even I started watching the clock to see when my mom would be picking me up, that's when I turned my Eagle symbol into a Fish symbol. Calling station, loose pre-flop calls, calling down with 2nd best, made my rack disappear faster then the NHL's season. I wasn't outplayed just lost my patience (but I could tell that 4-5 of the people at the table WERE better players). Its funny since online I play fairly tight especially at O8, and wait for the semi-nuts/nuts but while the stakes were way over what I'm used to and I played loose, almost as if I wanted to lose (must focus Daniel-san).

Despite losing a rack while playing stupid, I'm encouraged that I have finally started to play poker with chips and not money. Chips are money you may inquire... well yes they are, but if you keep viewing your checks as cash you might not be inclined to call that bluff or cap pre-flop against loose opponent to value bet that KK. In other words, I've stop playing with scared money and started playing poker.

Lesson learned and hope it turns to into earning in the future.

The funeral went off great. My wife and sister-in-law both had some rather interesting stories about their grandpa during the service yesterday. The way they spent an hour in a smelly port-a-potty in the middle of a golf course because a storm turned bad, or how my wife when she was six caught 20 fish to his zero and enjoying every moment of it. At 82 he lived a full life and will be remembered as a vet, a father, and a friend. Hope heaven is treating you well Denver Hartung. God Bless.

Thursday, February 10, 2005


I was going to write about playing at Empire last night, but my wife just called and informed me that her grandfather just passed away this morning.

I concur with Iggy, February does indeed suck.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Sometimes the best laid plans don't work out

Life happens. After a filling homemade chili meal over at my parent's place we settled down to watch The Amazing Race, then I was going to start up on clearing my newly minted Empire bonus. I got into watching this show after my sister-in-law mentioned how good it was. Sadly half way through the show my wife got a call. Since no one but the people at the house knew where we were, warning bells went up. It was my mother-in-law calling from the North Memorial hospice. My wife's grandfather, who we thought was getting better, had his lung collapse while they were draining from fluid from it. If you've never been to a hospice before, it is probably the most depressing place in a hospital. All hope is lost, no more treatments, no more "this could cure it" statements, just death. But, one can look at this place as a place to die, I choose to look at it as a place to let go. Most of the rooms I passed by had people in the bed who could barely blink, let alone move. But 95% of them had the chatter of relatives and children to watch them as they took the final step before passing on. I could only wish the same will happen to me. Little Drizz, his wife, and three kids asking grandpa to play one more hand of poker before they fly back to Vegas to compete in the WSOP. My wife's grandfather has suffered through multiple surgeries due to cancer and other health problems in the past 5 years. I think this is an ending to a wonderful life that he had. My wife says she's ok with it, but I know from experience that she'll need someone to hold for the next week at least as she's never had to deal with the loss of someone close.

Moving to my new house, another wedding to attend, a funeral to plan, plus moving back to my old job all wrapped up into one week. Anyone got a beer or four? I think I'm going to try to sneak in some poker if there's any free time. Its a way to step back from reality much like playing the MMORPG Dark Age of Camelot was. Instead of racking up realm points and gold pieces on my Blademaster, I'll be trading chips with floating names and avatars while listening to 80s Metal/Rock/Pop/Love Songs. Good luck everyone :)

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Mission Impossible

Your mission if you choose to accept it is to clear bonuses over five different web sites in the next 30 days. This is a solo mission that only you and you alone must finish. You will face dangerous characters like Fishy Fred who will call down his bottom pair to hit trips on the river. Whiny Wilma will test your nerves when you spike that inside straight draw and whines about it in chat over the next half hour. Gambooling Greg will raise every pot you enter testing your patience and hand selection.

Here are your targets:
Absolute Poker: 2200 raked hands at .25 or more raked per hand
Paradise Poker: 1600 raked hands at .25 or more raked per hand
Empire Poker: 1050 raked hands
Pokerroom: 700 raked hands at $1 or 1400 hands at .50 raked per hand
UltimateBet: Play until your fingers fall off or you finally earn that Harley for 3 million UB points

Good luck, and this tape will self-destruct in 5 seconds.

Think I bonus whore too much? Naw. But this month with moving, two weddings, and family illness its going to be a challenge to clear all these bonuses, plus the monthly ones from Crypto. The easiest one is Empire of course since nearly every $25NL hand is raked at least for a dime. The Pokerroom one is tough since four-tabling only yields about 100 total points per hour. Paradise was suprising when I played 500 hands this weekend and only 200 counted towards the bonus. Absolute isn't horrible to clear bonuses at since the 6-max games usually contain 1-2 maniacs that make sure the rake is done on almost every hand. The NL games are tougher there, usually 3-4 good players at the $50 level rather then 1 or 2 at other sites.

I didn't play last night due to fatigue from this weekend, just sweated the blogger table for a little bit. I've gotten much better about not playing tired/sick which was a big money leak for me in the past. Thinking you can just play ABC poker while sick/tired and still be productive at the tables is a sure-fire way to piss away your bankroll.

Fear Factor couples competition was interesting last night when the strongest couple left out of the four choked on the elimination challenge and only grabbed 3 flags out of 5 on a moving train. But, the very next couple went up and stumbled right at the start and got DQ'd for the same rules violation as the strong couple did and got eliminated only 11 seconds after starting the stunt. You'd think with no clock to worry about they'd be extra careful and just finish the stunt at their own pace. Bye-bye one million bucks for impatience.

Got a little good update from my wife's grandpa, he's feeling a little better then this weekend. The docs say it was a bad cold causing the extra difficulty in breathing that caused him to think he was going to go this weekend.

Barring any family emergencies or new house problems, I'll be bonus whoring it up at Empire and Paradise for the rest of the week. Gotta earn enough to pay for my wife's spa treatment at Treasure Island in Vegas next month. But more importantly, earn enough to battle the fishes at Excal and Aladdin per the bloggers advice. That and I'd like to splurge on a nice cigar should I actually have my first profitable Vegas trip (I've never gone home a winner in 7 years, damn bonus game slots!).

Monday, February 07, 2005

Someone please take this black cloud away!

Sheesh. Well, my wife's grandfather is now on his death bed as he called us over yesterday to visit with him because he thought he had a day or two left before he passed on. Since I didn't actually see my mother's parents pass on this was a new experience for me. I can't describe the sadness in the house, my wife may come off as "cold" or "uncaring" because she didn't cry yesterday like her sister did, but that's the way she deals with unfavorable things. It didn't help that her boss called yesterday and told my wife that she'd be running the kitchen today. Then Little Drizz slipped and split open his forehead wihle over at my wife's grandpa's place. His screaming probably actually broke the somber mood as we all watched the PBA on ESPN and laughed when the pros were throwing 4 balls down the lanes as a skills competition. The good thing is that my mother-in-law is living with her parents and is a nurse so she'll be to keep him as comfortable as possible till he dies.

To take my mind off all the real life crap, I did play a little poker over the weekend trying to clear out all these bonuses when more of them pop up! Luckily I had enough in my Party account to switch it over to Empire to start up the (Feb150, 25% max of $150) bonus. 1050 hands there isn't that tough since its each raked hand not $.25 or $.50 or $1 raked like Paradise, Pokerroom, or Absolute. Pokerroom seems to clear at a rate of 4 tables/1 hour = 100 "Points" while playing .50-1 and 1-2 NL. Not sure if it would clear quicker on the limit tables or not since the pots need to be $10 for .5 "points" and $20 for 1 "point". As for Paradise, I played 500 hands at $25 and $50 max NLHE and only 200 hands received "points". I don't remember it being this tough to clear the bonus there, so if there's time this week I'll try the $1/$2 limit tables and see if that helps to speed things along. I did manage to win a couple of buy-ins at Pokerrooom, hitting a nut straight with Q9s on the button vs AQ. I chased the straight down when I flopped a flush draw and inside straight draw. I called $2 on the flop and $5 on the turn with a $15 pot. I felt the 3 - 1 odds were close enough to chase 12 outs to the river. Had my opponent pushed anything over $10 I probably would have folded. I even picked off a bluff this weekend! A board of 7 - 8 - 8 - 2 - 9 two clubs and I had 44 in the SB. Three players into the turn and I flat called a $2 turn bet, and check around the river and the BB fired off a $10 bet into a $7.50 pot. Hmmmm... smelled like a steal to me and this guy had been playing a very good tight-aggressive game, I called, and he turns over AQs of clubs. Was this a correct call? Fishy call by me? There wasn't much I could beat but something about him smelled like overcards with a flush draw which is what I put him on. I'm liking the bigger stack NL games, you can push people off a TP no kicker hands with a scary board, you can bet without making it into a push all-in-bingo-game.

I did lose my $20 I won during a trivia contest at The Gaming Club, caught TPTK with AQ and a yidiot (no typo) called down with an inside straight draw taking half of my buy-in, then 3 hands later I get AA bet 6XBB the yidiot cold calls, a ragged queen high flop, I push, another queen on the turn and a blank of the river, of course the yidiot turns over Q7o for the trip ladies. Glad it was a freeroll.

Superbowl bets were not looking good early when Brady completed his first pass (I bet for an incompletion), the coin flip was tails (that snot nosed punk of a kid rigged it, the coin never turned over!!!), and Brady didn't even try to run (he needed only 2.5 yards for me to win the bet). But I got the game right (Eagles +7.5), Dirk Nowitski's points beat out LJ Smith's receiving yards, Dillion's Receiving yards over 11.5 with McNabb's under 6.5 yards on his first rush, and the 4th quarter was the highest scoring. Not sure how much I made but it makes the game even more fun to watch. My friend B put on a spread of food and booze that under any other circumstances I would have gone to town with wreckless abandon. Even thought the booze was mostly high-end stuff I settled for my old friend the Cap'n for one light drink to quell the black cloud that's been following me lately. Things will turn for the better next week I'm sure, as we pack up to move to our new house on Friday.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Am I evil?

I went my brother-in-law's brother's wedding tonight. It was your basic Catholic wedding, the church was huge and hearing Enya instead of Bach was a nice change of pace. Pardon if there are missing words or grammatical errors, I had to hurry to slurp as much free beer as possible since we didn't stay very long. There were some rather attractive females in various stages of undress due to the warm weather in Minnesota for last the three days. Ok, the ladies were dressed but they weren't wearing parkas indoors for once! My moral dilema came when we went to the Monte Club (A dinner club not strip bar) for the reception. As we sat down there was sort of a levels deal to all the tables. There would be a group of tables, then some steps going to a level 2-3 feet down and another group of tables. My table was faced toward the head table, and was only down "one level". Looking straight ahead there was a table with two attractive females in skirts. One was a strawberry blond with breasts like whoa, but her real assets I couldn't stop looking at under the table. Legs and lots of them (I'm a legs man). So, I'm trying to hold a conversation with my wife and these lovely steams with a cut up to her hip is sitting right there. Am I evil for looking? Thank god she crossed her legs most of the time or I wouldn't have been able to get up to walk to the bar for another beer.

Poker isn't starting off very nicely. Ran into someone playing AXs vs. my KQs and him calling a 5XBB raise, hit the flush and bye bye stack. Hopefully things look up later on. Will write more tomorrow if I get the chance before the game.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

WPBT: Feburary 2005 PokerStars Event

I was feeling fairly confident that I'd win Maudie's T-shirt for first out but AlCantFold seemed to be on a bender to win that shirt on the first hand. The WPBT tournament was a good experience once again for me as I finished 28th (I think...).

Some hands I remember:

KK in middle position I rattle off a $172 raise (as opposed to the $127 raise with the hammer the previous hand). All folded to the BB who flat called. 2 - 3 - 5 rainbow flop and I bet out $300, the BB flat calls again. Hmmmm... the next card was a 4 and the BB insta-pushed. I knew he had an ace, he knew he had an ace, yet my finger clicked the call button anyway. He turns over A2o, an odd call with an inside straight draw and bottom pair, but I did bet representing the hammer I guess :D A nice little 6 on the river saved my ass and chopped the pot. Wheeeeeeeee.

KQo in middle position and the blinds were sitting at 75/150 with my original stack of T1500 plus 5 I decided to push and try to steal the blinds, but the man from the planet Vulcan (Signor) saw right through my logic in the BB and called with 77. No help on the flop, but a K on the turn and overkill Q on the river doubled me up. I was getting blinded down again to the 100/200 level with 66 in middle position and pushed getting called once again by the BB (sheesh, am I that transparent?) by AJo and once again I won the race when no A or J came up.

Then my three AQo hands that killed my tournament and a stack at the cash tables...
AQ in Middle position I raise for T1200 with stack of ~T5300, all fold to the BB who... pushes. Sigh. Because he had me covered and I figured he either had me dominated with AK, AA, or KK, or it was a coin flip I folded. Looking back, I should have just gambled in that spot since the blinds were escalating to the point where it made sense to take a gamble. Then AQo in early position with the blinds at 300/600 I pushed again only to get called by.... the big blind with 55. After the flopped set, I was crippled with ~1000 left and had to eat the blinds the next hand. Throwing away K7o (which would have tripled me up) I got set all-in by AQo while holding... 82o. Not good. But WAIT! An eight on the flop of K - 8 - 3 all spades and he held the Q of spades, I was looking good but not golden. Two more blanks came off and I was back to ~T2600. I folded my small blind and next hand I get KJo on the button and push to steal but THE MOTHERFU***** BIG BLIND CALLED AGAIN. Good god, I guess I need to play a little tighter next time? :P This time it was ATs and a K hit the flop.... along with 2 others of the same suit that matched his hand. Sigh. Out 28th and got a same money Al did 2.5 hours ago. The chat at the tourney rocked as the jokes poured out in usual manners. Great tournament once again.... even if it did cost me $100.

AQo in the NL cash game I raise it to 4XBB and get called by you guessed it the BIG BLIND. A flop of Q - 3 - 2 rainbow looks pretty peachy to me and I fire out a $6 bet, the big blind flat calls, my warning bells went off but did I listen to them? Noooooooooooooooooo. Turn card a 3, I fire $10 and he pushes, sure enough, he has 22 for the boat and I'm left to type one-handed to relieve the pain. I'm making the right call but, too lazy/stupid/thinking about Lindsay Lohan naked licking ice cream a dripping ice cream cone (mint chocolate chip of course), to fold when I know I'm beat. Yes, Allen Iverson we're talking about practice, and I need some more before I whittle away my bankroll. Practice and I'm never going to play AQo again, unless I'm in the BB and A - A - Q rainbow flops.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

I feel like a Jenga tower after 30 minutes of playing

Just one more block moved the wrong way and I'm going to snap. I found out its my old job I am going back to. I liked my old job with the only exception being the "goal" structure. Basically its a crap shoot as to whether or not you reach your goal, you could be the hardest working, most detailed person, and not get the big juicy claims to reach your goal. Sigh.

Then I get a phone call that my brother is in the hospital because he was pissing a lot of blood. Today he's undergoing a colonoscopy to find out if anything is wrong. He wasn't in the most jovial mood yesterday when we tried to cheer him up but who would be if you don't like random objects shoved up your ass. In the same hospital my wife's grandfather is getting raditation treatment to reduce some cancerous cells on his lungs so he can breathe easier. Unfortunately, this is only for comfort not eradication of the cancer as he's stated he won't go through anymore surgery. And a good friend of mine decided over the weekend to fall sleep behind the wheel and did a General Lee impersonation into a telephone poll about 10-15 feet off the ground. He broke his back but from the last update he wasn't paralized. What a crappy week!

At least the weekend is looking to be fun... a wedding of my best friend's brother, and of course a SuperBowl party complete with poker games!! Anything to get my mind off the shitty run of luck health and poker-wise lately. No Irish Car Bombs, but me and the Cap'n will be sailing together plenty this weekend.

Pokerroom was having connectivity problems last night as everyone was complaining about the slow times. Aces cracked twice and only taking a couple of short stacks when I hit the nuts made for a small loss overall. The "points" sure are tough to rack up, I was 4 tabling for almost 2 hours and only got 150 points. You need 1400 points to clear the bonus, which luckily doesn't expire until the end of March. I may need that long to clear it at this point.

I've been putting off making my SuperBowl picks until I get a clear head but with the "air quality alert" in Minnesota (What... the... fuck...) I won't be breathing easily for the next few days. When did the Cities turn into LA? Is polution really a problem in the land of 10,000 lakes and 4 million Andersons/Andersens? Should Sven and Ole be worried about getting black lung while ice fishing?

Enough negativity, I'm going to go take a chill pill and get to work, later :)

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Not all players are idiots

Give credit where credit is due, don't understimate your opponent, (add a well-meaning cliche here)

Even though it was only one hand (that did cost me half of a stack) I got out-played. With T8o in the BB I checked with 5 callers to see a flop of 8 - 6 - 2 rainbow. Betting $4 lost all of the limpers except the button who min-raised to $8. I called to see another 8 fall on the turn. I checked, button checked. The river was a blank and I bet $10, the button immediately goes all-in. Since I was in semi-tilt mode steaming from getting bounced in the WSOP freeroll (KK vs. AQ and an ace spiked on the river), I didn't even think about the flop raise, or the possiblity of a set. Sure enough he turns over 66 for the boat. I was playing fairly well for the remainder of the night despite two bad beats (flush hit by runner-runner boat and AA cracked by runner-runner straight) . Eh, that's poker and I'll be back for another round tonight. Probably play more at Pokerroom tonight and try to clear that bonus by the end of the week before going back to Absolute to tackle the large deposit bonus I have waiting for me there.

Random thoughts:

To become more successful at internet poker (especially if you hop around different websites), you need the ability to change your game fast and adapt to different table textures "on the fly". Even if you're only play at one site and three tables those three tables can have grossly different games going on. For example, last night one table's normal raise was $9 and get 3 callers, another table it was ok to min-raise pre-flop (which I never did) and get 6 callers, and third table it wasn't uncommon for one small raise to take the blinds every hand. Its good money maker/saver if you adjust your play to the table rather then expect everyone to adjust to your style (or they could be so kind to throw away that K5o when you throw out a raise of 6XBB with QQ in your hand and they hit trips on the flop). It is my belief that the ability to change to table textures quickly is why the "internet" players have been successful at the WSOP lately. The only problem I could see is patience for these players. When you're used to seeing 3 flops at the same time 3 times as quickly I'm sure most "internet" players would prefer to be busting out a game of Super Mario Bros. on their phones in between hands rather then studying their opponents.

Time for the 9 to 5 (or for me the 6:00am to 4:30) grind. Good luck to everyone :)