Thursday, March 31, 2005

Vegas Day 2: A Lesson Learned

No, I didn't learn the lesson of not playing those penny and nickle slots as I got up to walk from Treasure Island to the Aladdin for their morning tournament. After grabbing a quick OJ at the gift shop I started the trek to the other end of the strip to playing the Aladdin's breakfast tourney. $25 buy-in, $5 dealer toke for added starting chips. Of course before arriving I'd passing through a couple other casinos and would "have to" play a couple slots on the way. I hit up a Monopoly slot which was looking bad for my $20 but after hitting the bonus game on my second to last spin, I made it all back.

I arrived at the Aladdin approximately an hour and a half prior to the start and only one cash game was going on $1/$2NL. Since I'd never played live no limit, I decided to just watch till the tourney started. Thanks to a loose-aggressive gentleman in the 4 seat this game was action, action, action! But, for the most part it looked like a bunch of regulars since half the table would get up every 15 minutes or so for a quick smoke in the adjacent high limit slot room. One Swedish dude nailed four fours and got a quick $200+ for a high hand. Any quads and up got a high hand bonus, anywhere from $50 to $599. Since there was a possible straight flush on the board I thought I'd see a bad beat as well. The room was very nicely laid out and clean. A big screen TV showing the sit-down-last-second shot to tie the Minnesota HS Basketball Championship game was pretty cool to watch. A couple of plush chairs in another corner for relaxation. The best part... FREE DONUTS. Not Krispy Kremes but damn tasty. There was also coffee on hand for those of you who like that sort of thing. I forget the beautiful waitress' name but she was very accomodating in getting a rum and coke for me at 8:30 am (as well as every 15 minutes or so during the tourney. Since I had time to kill, I played a little Pai Gow with a "dragon bonus". You can bet $1 - $100 on this side bonus for a straight or above to win. Sucker bet, but I saw a lady playing $20 on the side bet hit a full house for a nice chunk of change. After winning $10 there I wandered around the casino looking for another slot to call out to me, and got beckoned by Bluto and Otter. The Animal House slots were a cool combination of video slot with a reel slot for the bonus portion. I got the bonus once after about 15 minutes of play and decided to head back to the poker room since it was almost time to start.

We started with T1500 and 25/50 blinds and 127 players. I drew the seat right next to the dealer in the middle of the room with the big winner of the NL cash game directly to my left. He play a lot of hands and raised consistantly. In a cash game he'd scare the hell out of me, but I'm a little more aggressive in tourneys. I promptly started off with AQ, taking down a nice T300 pot with a second queen hitting the flop. I chipped up gradually to T2500 but then went card dead as people started throwing out all-in bets left and right that I couldn't do anything but post my blinds and move on. Our table busted 3 people before any other table even lost one, and the dude next to me was responsible for two of them after hitting rivered flushes. Wittled down to T1800 our table broke during level 3 and I got moved to a new table and the first break was announced.

After a quick hit and run on an Aliens nickle machine and getting lost while trying to find the bathroom I made it back barely in time for the next level. Chips were getting rather tight but the far end of my table was rolling in it with T5000+ stacks. I figured all-in or nothing would be my play. And it finally happened during the second orbit. The person next to me pushed his T1300 stack in and I looked down to see Nicky and Paris. Knowing I was up against Ace + Rag mostly likely I pushed my little T1600 stack in. Luckly the big stacks all folded and we're heads-up. A8o vs QQ and the doorcard of the flop was.... an ace. Sigh. Well at least I had fun in my first live tourney in three years but WAIT! I see paint. YES! ITS A QUEEN! A Q 6 on the board and he's drawing to runner-runner. A 6 on the turn gave him two outs but I prevailed and doubled up after taking the blinds as well.

Went card dead again for awhile but managed to steal some blinds with 78s and KJo to stay around T3000. Picked up 88 on the button during level 5 and pushed in again to steal the blinds but got called by AQ in the SB. I won the race and now I was sitting more then T5000 as we went to the second break. The busty waitress was on time with my rum and cokes (I just hope I wasn't tipping her with tournament chips) throughout the tourney. I know, don't drink while playing, but hey I was having fun and needed this relaxation for once. After the break we were down to 20 or so people and with blinds at 1000/2000 now the tourney really tighten up.

The lesson: Protect your cards at all times until the dealer is done dealing the board. With nearly T7500 in chips I was second at our 6 man table and looked down to see my favorite hand 99. It was unsuited but that didn't prevent me from pushing all-in from the cutoff to steal the blinds... but the chip leader happened to be on the button, oops. He starts playing with his chips for a couple of minutes as he'd been on a card rush the entire time and this was busting people left and right. He calls my all-in with TT. Yuck! The dealer asked for my cards but something bad happened on the way to Oz. One of the cards hits her arm as she reached across the table to collect the blinds, flips upside down and lands in the muck. Ruh-roh Shaggy. Everyone saw my cards, but the two tournament directors came over and declared my hand dead and I wouldn't even get a fair shake. Not. Fuckin. Happy. The dealer managed a sheepish "I'm sorry". Which was 100X more sympathy then I received from the tourney directors who asked a couple of questions, turned and left without saying anything to me. Looking back on it I don't know if I can "blame the dealer", but it hurt to lose out on a tourney after playing for 2-3 hours and lose on a technicality rather then how the cards fell. But I managed to walk out only uttering one expletive after leaving the room. I wasn't used to the proverbal punch to the stomach in live poker. I was seeing red for sure but I managed to walk out with my head up and a lesson learned.... always protect your cards.

With that behind me I made my way back to TI to see how the wife's spa treatment went, but managed to drop $100 playing craps and a couple of slots on the way. I can't believe it wasn't more considering the tilt I was in from the tourney. The wife glowed about the manicure and pedicure she received as well as the deep massage. The spa was a little pricey at $300 (after tip) but it was my treat to her for putting up with this degenerate gambler.

Next up: Vegas Part 3: The Quest to find Imperial Palace's Poker Room

WPBT PokerStars Tourney (March 30th):

I stole, I scraped for an hour and a half but it wasn't meant to be last night. The first showdown I got involved with was my last. I got AKo UTG with T1000 left and pushed. The chip leader in the BB called. I figured a race but he flips up ATo, sweet! Flop A 7 4. Sweet! Turn T. Not so sweet. And buh-bye Drizz in 45th or 46th place. It was nicer to chat it up with the bloggers and to see Felicia in good spirits despite a lack of sleep. I hit up a couple of SnGs which I shouldn't have on Stars as well getting busted by a two-outer, a runner-runner, and a stupid call by myself (TILT!). I did managed to double my stack in a $50PLO8 game on Party when someone called my river check-raise while I was holding the nut straight and no low possible. I joined Al, Iggy, Glyphic, and Doubleas for relaxing game of Razz over at Full Tilt (BONUS CODE: Drizz99). Razz is relaxing for unknown reason since it should be irritating when you flop a wheel draw and end up with a full house but it wasn't. Especially with Doubleas flexing his $4K at the .25/.50 table :P

I'll be writing a little from home tomorrow pending on what Little Drizz wants to do, I think we'll go for a long walk tomorrow if the crappy Minnesota weather clears up. This weekend BLACK BEAR CASINO! Yeah, I'll take yet another shot at catching some Nordic fish in Cloquet at the tables after the morning bowling tourney which I never win anything except the start of a good buzz from the cheap drinks at the bowling alley. Please keep me away from the Kenny Rogers slots this time.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Vegas Trip Day 1: Are We Drinking Yet?

Ah, the freedom from reality. No deadlines at work. No worrying whether or not your drooling on yourself from too much to drink. All the hot women love you for your sparkling personality. The excitement that your $1 bet could make you a millionare. Watching people bet your annual income on the roll of the dice or the turn of a card. Yes its VEGAS BABY!

The flight over to the adult Disneyworld was rather pleasant as me and the wife watched The Incrediables on the mini DVD player. Excellent film once again by the Pixar people. Champion Air still gives out snacks unlike tight-wad airlines like Northwest so we dined on goldfish pretzels and 7up. From my window seat I got a breath-taking view of the desert below since there was still daylight as we passed through Nevada (wish I had the camera to take a picture). We touched down around 5pm and was immediately met by a rush-hour like mob. Most of the people were heading back home after their weekend of debasement while my week was just starting! Getting the luggage was much easier as the construction of the luggage ports finally seemed to be done. After retrieving the luggage we decided to hail a cab for the most direct route to the hotel. Wrong. It seemed that 500 other people had the same idea and we waited in a Space Mountain snaked line for 30 minutes to finally get a cab. We told the nice middle-eastern gentleman to drive us to Treasure Island. Unfortunately for the first time in seven years of going to Vegas he took us through the tunnel and onto the highway just in time for rush hour (say bye bye tip). After the usual near meet-your-maker cab ride we arrived at TI groggy but ready for some Vegas fun!

Check-in was a breeze and the clerk confirmed my wife's spa appointment for the morning (which I was worried that they may have lost the appointment since I made it nearly a month ago). After not eating all day we unpacked our things into the room to head down to the Terrance Cafe for a quick bite. I had the Sirlion burger with BBQ sauce while she ate one of the biggest Reubens I'd ever seen. Now its been four hours in Vegas and I hadn't even had a drop of alcohol, this would need to be taken care of quickly. "Lets go play some slots" said my wife. So, after hitting up some penny slots for two minutes a very attractive waitress (are those uniforms a test or something? sheesh) came over to take our order. I started with Coronas while the wife got her usual Vodka Collins. After losing $10 and me getting three more beers we headed to the other side of the casino to check out their nightclub Tangerine (which hotel stayers get free admission to). But unfortunately it was closed so we played some Sherwood Forest penny slots and I was greeted with 2 more drinks (I switched to my usual rum and coke at this time). And the wife being not quite the degenerate gambler as her husband headed up to bed while I declared its time for some poker!

Since Treasure Island doesn't have a poker room, I've heard rumors that The Mirage does... so I took the tram connecting the two hotels and took in the action. I watched a $40/$80 game for about 10 minutes. Action you want? Action you get! Good god, I watched two hands capped by three people with a lowly pair a sevens winning one of them. Another hand, the mighty 32s defeated 62s calling all the way.... with a pair of threes and three paint cards on the board with no flush draws. Am I ready to call someone down with a pair of threes for $240? Nay. So, I went up to put my name down for $3/$6 and quickly a new table came together. Nice! No three hour wait like at Canterbury for low stakes. Even better is that once I sat down a waitress was waiting to bring me another rum and coke.

The table makeup was four locals all sitting in seats 1-4, one of them even check-raised on a hand! The horror! A petite good-looking asian girl in the 5 with me in the 6 (she played very tightly I even dropped top two on a hand to see her showdown a flopped broadway straight vs. 4 people betting into her with just a pair). A very nervous old guy in the seven seat, and a clueless tourist in a the eight seat made the entire table worth sitting at. I lost 7BBs that first night but I had a blast. Playing live poker rocks my socks. Its so much more enjoyable to chat with people and see the laughter after you tell a joke, or the expression on their faces after taking a beat.

There's only one hand I really remember from the night since I didn't play in many pots. I found TT one off the button with 2 limpers behind me and raised it up. Button dropped, Clueless defended, local #1 defended, one limper dropped, and the other called. Four handed to see a flop of A 9 4 rainbow. Stupid ace! The blinds checked, limper checked, I bet, Clueless calls, local calls (didn't like him calling), and the limper folded. The turn was a 7 completing the rainbow. Check, check, I bet almost expecting the check-raise from the local, Clueless calls again (I put him on Ace-rag at this point), the local looked down and apparently didn't like what he saw because he folded. Two players to showdown. The river was a 6 putting a possible, yet weird straight on the board. Since Clueless was rebuying several times and showing down almost any two cards I checked to get a free showdown, especially if he had the Ace-rag. He did check, and I checked behind to get the free showdown. I show my tens (the local wasn't too happy, maybe he thought he was outkicked?) and Clueless with a smile on his face says "You got me" as he turned over K2o. Wow. I wasn't sure how to react seeing he called me down with nothing but an undercard to the board, but hey I'll take it.

After playing for 4 hours, I limped back to TI with a belly full of rum to watch the games going on. What sucked was I wanted to gamble but the minimum on the tables was $15. Sigh. I had enough sense not to try throwing dice or playing Pai Gow for my stash while shitfaced (this won't be the same state-of-mind come June for the WPBT event). It was just as enjoyable watching the beautiful ladies cheer on their husband/boyfriends as they hoped for that point to be made or the dealer's bust card to come. Ah, it was nice to surrounded by the action and not snow.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Weekend Update

I wanted to get my Vegas trip on paper before starting the trip review and since I was busy this weekend (a.k.a. playing too much online poker plus yard work) I didn't get the chance to write down a skeleton of my Vegas trip.

Back to work, sigh. Yeah, we all hate that first day back to normallacy especially after a week in Vegas. Rum and coke at 7:30am or 4:00am? Ubetcha! Four women walking past you with breasts the size of Lake Mead in dresses that could fit a Cabbage Patch Doll? Commonplace. It was a fun trip, hopefully I can still remember the parts worth writing about.

The weekend was spent doing yard work at the new house. Yes, a great way to sweat out the 15 gallons of rum and coke I consumed in Vegas. Since the backyard was covered with snow we never knew exactly how much work was needed to be done. Half-acre almost completely filled with Maple and Pine trees and the previous owner hadn't rake/cut/trimmed anything for three years. Fun! Me, the wife, and my in-laws started to chip away at this Mount Everest pile of compost. We have filled over forty 39-gallon bags with leaves and pine needles and we're MAYBE half-way done. Sigh. At least there will be plenty of firewood for the cabin this summer as we're trimming down the smaller trees to make a wider play area for Little Drizz.

Easter Sunday was spent mostly at my parents house minus my dad who has been in New York for the past two weeks because the elevator union is striking leaving him to work 14 hour days. He was not happy about not being home with his grandson last week since this is the way he worked while I grew up and doesn't feel like missing out on Little Drizz growing up. Anyway.... mom put out a spread of Quiche, egg bakes with hash browns, mammoth muffins, and my sister's in-laws made everyone mimosas (think I drank enough this week???). Little Drizz still didn't understand the whole egg hunt deal as we'd point him towards the egg only to have him run in the opposite direction to play with the basketballs. Maybe next year he'll understand the value of chocolate covered bunnies.

As stated, I played a little poker this weekend at several sites, but mostly at Full Tilt (Bonus code: Drizz99) playing Razz with BadBlood and Glyphic and a little NLHE at Party with Pokeramarama. At one point I was playing Stud8, Pot Limit Omaha8, NL Hold Em', and Razz all at once. It was a test to see if I could play different variations of poker and not lose my concentration. NLHE - about even after being down a stack with the help of someone pushing all-in pre-flop with 22 vs. my AA (people still do this, no idea why). Razz - not so good, minus $15, I blame BB and Glyphic for throwing bricks at me like a condemned sinner. Stud8 - rather not say, but it wasn't good (that's poker-speak for I lost a lot). PLO8 - YES! Made up for my terrible Stud8 game since people with 3rd nut flushes and 4th nut lows will play for their whole stacks. God bless you PartyPoker. I didn't come near recouping my Vegas losses (numbers to come later) but I did save 15% or more on my car insurance by switching to Geico.

NCAA pool, I told Pauly I was dead money in those things. Every year I always pick the wrong region for the gaggle of upsets. But, I did manage to pick Illinois, UNC, and Louisville for the final four in a different pool. Despite my horrible start, if UNC wins it all I just might take home some cash there. Much like my quick parlay bet of Big Ten teams yesterday to cover netted me a free happy meal or twenty :)

Coming tomorrow (I hope)... Vegas Trip Part I: Are We Drinking Yet?

Friday, March 25, 2005

Back From Vegas

Yes, I'm still alive. I'll do a write up later in the week, for now I'm trying to get my bearings straight again after using up all the rum in Vegas.

Don't worry Pauly I left all other alcohols for your disposal.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

I Do It In The Name Of Bonus Whoring!

Yes I'm still up (awake not the money kind of "up"). I needed 1,000 raked hands to clear the Party reload bonus and.... after 5 hours of four tabling I'm 200 hands away!!!

I'm begging my wife will let me sleep in tomorrow before the flight. I R N bonus whoring addict!

Saturday, March 19, 2005

No Eights Do Not Look Like Nines

I mistook my made set of 9s last night.... when I had pocket 8s. Good one Drizz. Yeah, I was slightly tipsy from bowling night since delicious Guniness beer was on special so I took full advantage of the generosity.

Drunken 4-tabling for 2 hours netted me.... sixteen cents. It should have been much much worse but damn the fishies were out in full force yesterday at Party.

Unlike my current four tables which if you stuck a lump of coal up their collective asses and twist you'd have a diamond (Thank you Ferris). Everyone just folds pre-flop. No, I didn't go on tilt to play $15/$30.... this is at the $25NL tables. Who the hell hit the Slansky on the usually wild and wacky low-limit tables? Even back to back hammer bluffs can't crack the marble facade of these tables at the moment. Maybe later tonight after bar rush, all will be right with the universe and people will start going all in off bottom pair no kicker again.

Vegas in about 16 more hours, guess how much sleep I'm going to get until then. Yes, exactly the same amount of times you'll hear "Cabin Boy" nominated for the top 100 movies of all time. Zero, nada, zilch. It took some private time with my wife to finally get some shut-eye.

NCAA bracket. Not looking so good. I'm 3rd from the bottom in Pauly's pool, and dead last on the bracket at work. I called it, I suck at picking brackets. Sigh. I try to choose upsets and pick them in the wrong goddamn region EVERY YEAR. At least thanks to PokerNerd's prediction of Vermont beating Da Cuuuuuuuuse, I made back the money I put towards all the brackets (much love to the Nerd, I heart you!).

I picked up "Championship Pot Limit and No-Limit Hold Em'" by Cloutier and McEvoy today at Barnes and Noble for the plane ride. I fully expect to be playing the $10/$20 NLHE game at the Belliago when I've finished reading this book. Not out of the question once I down a 12 pack or so of Miller High Lifes and a couple of those collector glass with the 40oz. margaritas in them. Maybe I'll make a certain Belliago dealer's blog with my actions. Just kidding Linda.

Winning the $.35 blinds is getting to be a little boring. Someone send a manaic or some cowbell, stat.

I'm out for the week, so go to Full Tilt (BONUS CODE: DRIZZ99), and read up on these folks I've linked, they are 100X more interesting then this surburban dad's tales from the minivan. Peace.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

KK always seems to find AA

Playing on Full Tilt (Shameless shilling.... use bonus code: Drizz99 when signing up) I ran KK right smack dab into the twin peaks of AA. Hellooooooooooo nurse! Cool new avatars out there if you are a recent player at Full Tilt, definitely go check it out! I lost a half half stack while playing .25/.50 NL but made a decent read in a three-way all-in pot. A - J - T rainbow board and knowing the initial pusher had the nut straightbut a short stack, I figured I could beat out the second pusher with my ATo who had more money to win a sizable side pot. Sure enough the raiser turned over the straight and the second pusher had JTs. The jack doesn't come and I won the side pot for a profit. A thing that I thought about is... is this an -EV play? Calling all-in knowing you're a big dog to one hand but a favorite vs. another to win a bigger side pot? I'll leave that question to those bloggers who are actually profitable playing this game.

Party had some interesting characters last night as I turned in another barely profitable night on the $50NL tables. AA got cracked by JJ, and top pair with an OESD got rivered by J2 when four to a straight hit the river. My usual start in the hole. But some lucky hits on AK vs. AQ and a small flush turned my short one hour session into a winner. Not to mention someone who ALWAYS check-raised a flop bet regardless of the cards he held. Might be a good tactic vs. softer tight-weak players but getting called down made his stack go from $100+ to $0 in less then 15 minutes.

Felicia IMd me before heading out to a live poker tourney. Let me know how you did!

I checked the weather for Vegas again... now its rain for almost the entire week we're done there. Grrrrrrrrrrrr. Plus 6-12 inches of snow is in the forcast for the next two days here. Grrrrrrrrrr. At least there will be plenty of March Madness to keep me glued to a TV set or 30 inside a sportsbook. I hope the sun does come out while we're in Vegas though, I need a sunburn while sipping on $14 drinks at the pool badly. That and play an obscene amount of poker. Mirage will be the most likely place since its right next to Treasure Island, but I figure I'll run into the sharks there. I think Imperial Palace might be right across the street which has low stakes poker there, including some tourneys.

Ok enough babbling, I can't think straight at the moment since my mind is already set in front of the M and M store, The Fountains at Belliago, and Cheetah's! Well, I've been to Vegas every year for 7 seven years and never been to a strip club while there... am I freak of nature for that distinction? Probably. Maybe some evil minded bloggers will break my Vegas strip club cherry in June.

T-minus 9 hours of work, in my mind I am already on the plane. Now go turn on your real time NCAA scoring websites and cry when your bracket isn't worth the paper its printed on. Go Oakland!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Toddler + Confined Area = Headache

Yes, he's cute to look at and talk to. He'll amaze you with his ability to ask for more in sign language (but doesn't specify what he wants more of). He'll even turn on the water fountain... and cry when you don't want any more. Sigh. The visit to my mother-in-law went about as good as you could ask. She's in good spirits after getting some plates and screws inserted in her ankle this morning. Little Drizz decided after 2 minutes of visiting he wanted to make the hallway his personal racetrack. Of course the nurses and visitors didn't help by encouraging him to run towards them. Trying to snarf down a double cheeseburger and fries from McD's and holding a 35 pound kicking toddler at the same time wasn't the easiest of feats.

After the visit to the hospital, we got home in time to watch the Rob and Amber show or as CBS calls it "The Amazing Race". Week after week they incorporate their "Survivor" scheming into victory after victory on this show. The first bullet fired was when Rob went outside the hotel and bribed the cab waiting for the girl's team to take him, after he offered more money then the ladies. The plan didn't hold much weight as the ladies got to the checkpoint in time for the start of tonight's leg of the race. The second bullet fired was at a Road Block where the contestants have to finish a stunt before moving on. Tonight's stunt was eating FOUR POUNDS of different meats and well, stuff... like brains. Yuck. After an hour or so of trying to eat all the meat Rob decides he can't do it and takes a 4 hour penalty from the time the next team reaches the stunt. The real kicker is how he gets two other teams that arrive AFTER them to also sit out and take the penalty, thereby assuring that they would not finish last. Brilliant! Need a new CEO to make cuts and improvement to your company? Boston Rob to the rescue!

I was itching to play a little poker, trying to get in some more NLHE play before I take on the sharks in Vegas on Sunday. Fired up an NLHE SnG on Stars and decided to play a ring game on Party as long as the SnG went. Being tired already I was hoping the SnG would take 30 minutes or so... it took 1.5 hours. Sigh. But... that wasn't a bad thing, since the ring game started off horribly when an uberfish chased down trips vs. my TPTK, and cracked my AA with JTo with a rivered four card flush vs. my set (he checked the river for a free showdown). But, PRESTO magic hit while I was heads-up on Stars, and I doubled up off a flopped set of 3s. There was a horrible amount of set over sets on that table including set of Kings vs. a rivered set of Aces. Ouch.

My bust out hand on Stars was interesting, not sure if I played it correctly....

73s in the BB, SB calls, I check: Flop is 8 5 4 and the 5 4 are of my suit. I have an inside straight flush draw. The SB and I have the same stacks @ T6000 chips. He fires out a T1200 bet. My opponent had been fairly loose aggressive throughout the match, but able to lay down a hand when I went over the top of him. I figured a big semi-bluff of going all-in would do the trick... nope. He called with JTs not of any suits on the board. I can understand the bet, but not the call by my opponent with only two overcards. My suit nor a 6 fell and my opponent took the cash home. Another cash in a SnG though which is nice to see after my horrible experiences with them in previous months.

I opened up my Pokertracker guide last night and thumbed thru a couple of pages. Not enough to write about a review yet but I can already see some features that I never used in there and should increase my usage of Pokertracker ten fold. Hope to write something more concrete before Sunday.

Yet another weather report from Vegas on, now its average of 10 degrees warmer but with more cloud cover then before next week. Perhaps Little Drizz could help them out with their next report by mashing the keys on their keyboards and coming up with the new weather outlook for next week.

Hope there's no snow in your area, god forbid we ever get through a freckin day without snow here in Minnesota. Later.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

O8 streak continues

Three 1st in a row for Omaha hi/low SnG tourneys. I played one on Stars last night, granted it was PL instead of limit like on Party (unless you play $30 or higher and can play the PL games there), but I won again. The money was minimal but it felt good to be on a winning track again after last week's suckout fest in tourney and especially hold em' ring games.

I played at Party as well last night, racking up an impressive (heavy on the sarcasm) $5.32 win on a $50NLHE table. Only the Hiltons visited me once in nearly 2 hours (chopped the pot when someone else also held QQ), all the rest were blind steals and pot steals on flop bets. Crap cards all night, but thankfully no second best hands. I did get to watch someone slowplay KK on a board of 2 8 8 8 K right into the case 8. Not sure how to get away from that one.

Stars provided a little side cash besides the SnG win, I tried playing O8 side games instead of Hold Em'. The good... nearly every hand is worth a FPP. The bad... it takes 5 times as long to complete a hand. I think I got 50 FPP points playing two tables for 2 hours last night. Not bonus whoring productive, but chalking up a modest win is better then the losses I put up this weekend.

I signed up for Pauly's NCAA tournament pool. Usually I'm a fairly good sports handicapper having made money betting on NFL games for the past four years. But my bracket usually ends up in the trash by the time I'm on the plane for our yearly spring break trip to Vegas. I've never picked more then one final four participant and if I get 50% of the first round picks correct, look for 90% of my second round picks to take a return trip to their dorms. Root on my "Alex P Keaton's Trust Fund" as the cinderella bracket at or just take a note on who not to pick. Yo Mallory! Yes, I watch 80s sitcoms whenever possible.

My wife likes to check the weather for Vegas (since she goes for the shows and laying out by the pools) and yesterday got two very different forcasts from in a matter of 8 hours. How are people supposed to plan ahead if your giving weather reports like that dude from Anchorman? Aren't those $50 million weather satellites good for something besides filling up 5 minutes of air time during the nightly news? Ok, maybe I'm a bit bitchy that there's a raincloud on the first day we get to Vegas. But still, if you're gonna give a forecast at least stick to your guns instead of waffling from "nice and sunny" to "bring your parka".

I purchased the Pokertracker guide last night. I haven't opened it nor gotten the codes yet, but I'll do a short review of it if I have time tonight after visiting my mother-in-law in the hospital (nothing too serious, just slipped on some ice and broke her ankle ).

Have a good Tuesday everyone :)

Monday, March 14, 2005

That was not nice and easy...

The good:

Playing H.O.R.S.E at Full Tilt it was a great time to get away from always playing hold em' for a tourney, especially after wasted time I put in this weekend and getting no cashes.

The chatroom with some other well-known bloggers was filled with suckout stories and victories. Everyone raved about playing Razz! Ok, maybe not, but it was fun except the shooting bricks when you start with a wheel draw.

Seeing America's Favorite Wingman get deep into the tourney instead of going out first like someone who is going on a cruise soon :D

Winning another O8 SnG at Party while chatting with the other blogger railbirds.

The bad:

Going out 76th and never really having a chance with the steep escalating blinds. (This was a discussion in the chatroom, the blinds felt very steep last night). I hope Full Tilt does take a look at the blind structure which caused me and probably other players to make plays they normally would not.

Knowing that the other two Minnesota bloggers finished ahead of me.

Seeing Iowa in the NCAA tourney. Rigged.

Seeing Dick Vitale not giving a second thought to the Gophers/Iowa State match up and making it sound like a prelude to UNC dominance in the second round baby! Sigh. Even though I like the Tar Heels, now I hope either Minnesota or Iowa State kicks their ass just for Dicky V's comments on Sportscenter this morning.

As I'm sure everyone is talking about the NCAA tourney now, I will be entering as many brackets as possible and throwing them all away after this weekend. Why you may ask? Because I've never picked more then 2 Final Four teams, nor have I pick the champion before. But its soooooooo much fun to root on those unknown 12th-16th seeds, or hoping the 8th seed will knock off a #1 seed in the second round (GO GOPHERS!!!). If the bloggers have a bracket contest going, let me know who I can donate my money to.

Saturday brought my friends and their kids over to my place as a housewarming/let-the-kids-run-all-over-and-have-fun night. Of course with a rare night for the guys getting together we played a couple of quick poker tourneys! $2 was the stakes, winner-take-all (there's a reason why my blog is called Nickleanddimes...). We had a blast! My brother took home the first tourney with 42o vs. A4 and getting the duck on the river. I busted out vs. my brother on a K6o vs. Presto hand when a King came on the turn for him. I don't remember too much of the second tourney since a deadly mix of Smithwick beers and tiredness seeped most of the tournament memory from my head. I do remember my friend E taking down the second tourney after several all-in heads up hands vs. my brother. Minus $4 for the tourneys, but it was much better then the $100 I lost playing at Stars for the remainder of the night. What compelled me to fire up 4 tables while four-thirds drunk? I can only blame having my friends over to play poker to stoke the fire to play. TT with an 8 high board? Sure call that all-in knowing full well he's going to turn over a baby set (and the villian did). Think McFly Think! Still gotta plug those leaks in my game if I ever want to continue to move up in limits.

Vegas 6 days away and I'm pleading with the time clock to move extra quickly this week, but I'm 39 hours of work away still :(

Friday, March 11, 2005

90th place sucks

90th out of 1079 at a freeroll on = nothing

90th out of 496 at a $12K $20+2 tourney at Absolute = nothing

5 hours of work for no pay really set me on tilt, since my knockout hand at Absolute was someone overplaying AK after I hit TPTK on the flop. Not happy.

I promised to play some tourneys and at least I got some experience out of the deal. Although I'd rather have that $2.5K first prize at Absolute.

I got the hell out of dodge at Interpoker this morning after my aggressive/stupid ways got me into a $400 hole there. Luckily I cleared the rest of the monthly bonus and escaped only $200 down.

Going to continue to bone up on the HORSE events at Full Tilt. I'm set for the Hold Em, Omaha, and stud portions. Razz and Stud 8 I'll need to play a bit more of.

Everyone should check their Pacific Poker accounts for a free $10, I got mine (after checking the advice of some fellow bloggers , and gonna play a little limit with it and see where it goes. Probably into the pockets of other players since my limit game sucks.

Vegas in T-minus 9 days. Wish it would hurry up, I need a drink.

Edit: Quick shout out to Hank for fixing the Full Tilt banner so quickly! Thanks again!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Quick Office Etiquette Question

You're using a copier and have 300+ copies going through and have em all neatly piled on top of the copier in a certain order which is helpful for re-filing them after you've copied the paper.

A co-worker comes up and waits impatiently with one piece of paper to copy and there's another copier that is the same make and model that is not currently being used about 10 to 12 feet away.

Do you:

a) Pause your print run to allow the person to use the copier they are obviously itching to use.

b) Glance at the vacant copier in hopes that the person would kindly bring their document over there

c) Enagage in a conversation about how Rob and Amber are so going to win The Amazing Race because of their Survivor fame.

d) Make a sarcastic comment about how certain copiers don't seem to get used very much

e) (come up with your own solution)

Single table play

Yes, for awhile last night I only played one table. This is in stark contrast to the normal 3-4 tables plus IM that I have open while bonus whoring. I decided to try it based on Matt's suggestion at The Poker Chronicles to try to actually play a table with regards to pegging an opponent's style, using position, and betting according to an opponent's actions rather then my own cards. Hell, it was fun since I was playing probably the tightest $2/$4 BBJ Party table I've ever been on. In 6 orbits my blinds were never raised, but there were 4-6 to see a flop each time. I was able to peg the rock (he had pocket queens and never raised and my AKo caught an A on the turn), the calling station (we'll come to him during my big hand of the night), the super-cool-sneaky-fancy-play artist (limp-reraised Aces, and slowplayed the set on the flop only to get chased down by a four straight on the river). Normally I can note a couple of people and pay attention to position even while multi-tabling but last night I was able to make decisions that probably would have cost me a few extra bets had I not been paying full attention.

JJ in the BB, 4 people limp, button raises, SB calls, I call (value bet didn't make sense here, any comments?), super-cool-sneaky guy re-raises (A-C-E-S), all call. I knew what he had but for the price of one more bet why not try to hit a set? A - 3 - 5 rainbow flops, sneaky guy checked, MP bet, button calls, SB and I fold, sneaky guy smooth called, 2 players. 9 on the turn, sneaky guy checks, MP bet, sneaky guy check-raises, MP calls. Deuce on the river, sneaky guy bets, MP raises, flips over like Q4s or something, sneaky guy had the set of Aces. Eh, I've been there but I would have lost a flop bet too.

My big hand I played so straight-forward I have no idea why no one would give me credit for it. I get KJo on the button. 3 limpers, I limp, SB completes, and BB checks to see a Q A T with two clubs flop. I have the King of clubs but hey this is the BBJ tables, if they're sOOOOOOOted they're good! SB bets, BB drops, sneaky guy calls, rock calls (didn't check yet, but I figured he had AK or AT), I raise (I don't see a reason to slowplay since two to a flush is out there), turn is a 9 of diamonds, SB/Calling Station leads out again! Ok, now either A) he has two pair and is hoping I'm betting out with a big Ace or B) his finger is stuck and he can only hit the bet button. Sneaky guy raises (a set or big flush draw perhaps? again I'll have to look at the history), rock calls (I thought I'd be going for a chop at that point), I re-raise, all smooth call. A lovely offsuit 3 falls and the SB lead out again! God bless PartyPoker. Sneaky guy calls this time, rock calls since there's too much money in the pot, I of course raise, all call, everyone mucked! $108 pot for me whoo whoo!! I finished up 31BBs in about in hour of play. It was very refreshing to "play poker" instead of going to zombie multi-tabling mode and just play the cards. Granted no one's draws hit on me when I held TPTK so I got the good side of variance at these tables tonight.

The other hour of play, I went to Full Tilt (a site that I will be promoting with bonus code: Drizz99). When the bloggers aren't on Party, I always head over to Full Tilt to check out the pros playing. Last night it was Paul Wolfe and Richard "Quiet Lion" Brodie playing $15/$30 limit hold em. What a cool couple of guys. The Quiet Lion showed he was hurting for money after re-loading from $1,000 to $10,000 :P Chatting with the pros is just one of the many features this site has. Last night I was more interested in trying out a Razz cash game hoping some other bloggers had the same idea. Scurvydog was there so I decided to stick around and play a few orbits. Man, Razz can be a trying game, but its a game that rewards aggressiveness if you catch a few good doorcards and your opponents catch bad. There's a lot of room for bluffing and stealing antes in this game. I think the person who adapts their play to this at the next WPBT event will have a good shot at winning it (should Felicia have massive computer problems and can't log on). $5 profit for an hour's work at the Razz tables, and only took one hand to the river. Profitable: yes, exciting: probably not, educational and thought provoking: definitely. If you like chess, I think Razz would be a good game for you.

WPT at the Bike was on and I didn't watch long enough to see Paul whip out Super System for Lee when the match was heads-up so if you have a comment about it, leave it here. I'd like to know the reactions that people had.

Last day of work this week!!! Vegas in T-minus 10 days!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

No poker, no cry

Had to take the night off last night due to Little Drizz's insistance that I got up twice in the middle of the night last night and got a millisecond of sleep. Ah, the joys of being a parent. He's feeling much better today and his room didn't smell like a county fair port-a-potty when I changed him this morning which was a plus.

I did play some slots online at Lucky Nugget. Ok, don't call me Grubby Jr. yet, but I like slots. Especially the penny slots, but last night I did battle with Lara Croft on the Tomb Raider nickle slots. Immediately I get the bonus game by attaching three "idols" in a row and take in a ten dollar win. After I few more spins and losing back what I won, I tried the Big Kahuna nickle slot. The object is to get three tikis or volcanos on a payline for the bonus game. After matching three tikis I immediately called down for Little Drizz to help select the best tikis for prizes. There are seven winners and three "collects", he picked six winners for a nice twelve dollar win. I know we're playing for the big bucks here folks, but its good mindless fun when your brain is fried (not by means of inhaling or consuming something...).

Tonight I'm going to play another Razz SnG at Full Tilt to prepare for the H.O.R.S.E. WPBT Tourney on Sunday. After watching the WPT on the Travel Channel of course. If you read Paul Phillips journal he's got a surprise about the telecast (and don't read it if you don't want to know who the final two are). Should be interesting to read about the reactions tomorrow. Frankly I thought it was funny as hell, but there will be some nay-sayers out there of course.

Short and sweet today. Have a good one.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

12 days till Vegas

Please, please, please get here soon! I was hoping to coast through the next 12 days like Ferris Bueller in High School, but after the last few days I don't see that happening. My son was up all night sick so my head this morning feels like a orange mocha frappuccino (Zoolander = funny finally saw it for the first time this weekend).

I played a little poker on Party last night with 1/3 of the Minnesota WPBT blogger team (I tried chatting with the other third but he was busy drinking out on his porch) that will be showing up in Vegas to take down the team from SC. I managed to take down a little cash on the BBJ tables when I caught Paris and Nicky in a threesome with the board paired and two maniacs capped the last two streets with a pair of Aces. On Halverson's table the sisters weren't so hot as they ran into a A A T flop and had to bail when I got bet into. I did however earn a pot playing big lick. In fact, the only pots I won on that table I didn't have a made hand, Chris was moping up the calling stations that forgot to check his VPIP :D

Poker Wisdom (from my super-cool poker calendar) :

"Fold a doubtful hand at the start rather than in the middle or at the end".

Great, maybe I should do that more often and I wouldn't whine about losing to runner-runner straights or what have you.

I made an uneventful return to Absolute poker where my luck continues to be horrid. Flop a straight, 4th hits on the turn, other person gets a higher straight. Flop a set, cap, cap, other person hit their set on the river. Flop two pair.... beat the overpair until.... he hits a set. That's variance but it always seems to be that site. The pots I did win I had to earn, cards were very cold again last night. Grind, grind, grind, gotta get that cash ready for Vegas in two weeks AND in June.

And if you haven't heard H.O.R.S.E. in the name of the game for the next online WPBT event. Bust out those Ray-Zee books on split games and pester Felicia for advice on how to play a three flush Stud :D

I'm off to purchase one of those trendy "energy" drinks since I'd never put an orange mocha frappucino in my mouth.

Monday, March 07, 2005


This weekend you could have viewed some classic rivals... Duke vs. UNC in Mens Basketball, Phil vs. Tiger in Golf, Drizztdj vs. Grandma...

Well, the last one wasn't exactly a nationally known rivalry, nor were we playing for millions of dollars in front of millions of people on TV. But, it was the biggest part of the 3 table family tournament over at my parent's house on Saturday night. $5 was the buy-in for this event, BYOB, but mom put out a spread of chicken wings, BBQ beef, 5 kinds of chip dip, cake.... and well you get the idea. The tourney started with 21 hopefuls, dreaming of that $50 payday for first. Everyone started with T5000 in chips, and I started off nicely hitting an inside straight draw with QTo and busting my neighbor out who held a flopped two pair. Limping was the name of the game and since I didn't want to kill the buzz I didn't go all Brunson at the table with relentless raises and re-raises. It was a good time, and a quick study to see how people reacted to their cards in a live tourney.

Soon it was down to 14 people and I held JTo UTG with 7 people at my table and decided to limp in. Sitting with T7000 in chips (I'd lost a couple of chips when 93o busted my KK earlier) the rest of the table also limped in to see a J T 3 rainbow flop. With top two, I fired off a min bet with the intention off re-raising should it happen. Another neighbor went all-in with his remaining T500, my brother's mother-in-law called with a similar stack to mine so I just smooth called instead of the raise hoping she was calling with a J or T. The turn was a beautiful T, so I bumped it up to T2000 and after consulting with her husband (it was her first time playing poker) she happily went all-in. No brainer for me as she flipped up QT for trips, my neighbor flipped up 33 for the flopped set (nice suckout Drizz), and I showed my higher boat. The river was a blank and we were down to 12.

Grandma was busting people left and right with an array of hands, everything from the Hilton sisters to the Hammer she'd win with. I mostly stayed out of her way on the sheer luck factor alone, except when I hit two pair to beat her pair of aces for a couple thousand in chips.

After two hours of play we were down to the final table of 8 people, my table of four came in as a cash cow with three of us near 20K in chips, and the other table only had one person over 20K.

The second hand is where I . Staring down at AA in MP I shoved out a T4000 raise after Grandma limped in with T600 UTG and the blinds at 300/600. Both blinds folded and she called. I put her on Ace - rag, and we saw a flop of 7 8 9 rainbow. Sigh. Knowing full well that under that 5' 1" frame and 80 year old smile there was a devious little card player (she's the one who taught me to play cribbage, euchre, pinoche (sp?), 500) she fired off a T1000 bet, I went all-in and she called immediately with.... A6 (do I need to tell you what the next card was?). After seeing the Ten come up I was dead to a split pot but no six nor Jack came and it was Grandma taking down the .25/.50 no limit internet wannabe pro. And I couldn't have been happier. If there was anyone I wanted to win, it was my grandma. Her health has been failing lately and she doesn't have much longer to live, but her smile after she won was worth more then a WSOP bracelet (I know I'm crazy for saying that).

Grandma went on to take 4th and take home $10, my brother-in-law JAYSTONE! took 3rd for $20, my good friend E took 2nd for $30, and some kid that my cousin brought along who defined the word R-O-C-K took 1st. He'd only bet with an Ace or a PP, eh, it worked for him since he won.

Afterwards came a little cash .10/.20 NL $5 buy-in cash game with 6 people that involved JAYSTONE! My brother-in-law tends to get a little wild while drinking.... during a halloween party 3 years ago he literaly butted heads with my biggest friend who's 6'5" 300+ lbs. until they both ended up in the emergency room getting matching stiches on their foreheads. So, JAYSTONE! decides he's gonna play CAUSE THAT'S THE BOTTOM LINE! (as he stated many many times). He played everything, drank some more, and donated $10 of his winnings to my friend B who was cleaning up the table with his usual loose-aggressive play that I have a tough time figuring out. JAYSTONE! busted out with some new bruises on his arms (after playing flinch with B during the poker game) and in his wallet but went home with a smile on his face. The cash game wasn't a total loss for me as I doubled up my initial stake which paid for the tourney. Full of beer, a Jag shot (bleech!), and chicken wings I high-tailed it home to get some sleep at around 1:30am.

Sunday would bring some lessons on poker play.

While clearing my monthly Crypto bonus at Interpoker I learned that NL is something you don't want to play bored or on tilt. I lost the fun of playing after two hours while my second best hands kept getting smashed and watching others win $100+ pots with a pair of sixes. Jack high flush, downed by a Queen high flush. Overpair winning will the river pairs the top card on the board. Aces cracked by JTo when a runner-runner straight comes in and the player called a pre-flop raise and a $15 pot size bet with nothing. Then I made one questionable call, and one stOOpid call. AJo, flop comes out 9 high, I check to the player UTG, he bets $2, I raise to $10 hoping to take down the pot, he flat calls, an ace on the turn, I push hoping he was playing junk and hit a pair on the flop (like I said, bored and tilt are not good things), he calls with AKo (was his call of my check-raise horrible or worth it?). Of course I lost my stack there. Then, on another table I pickup AQo (I hate this hand with a passion) and see a flop with 6 others of A Q J rainbow, I fire off a $5 bet and get two callers (don't mind the warning bells, they don't mean anything), a blank on the turn and I fire off a $25 bet, another flat call, but the second caller re-raises all-in. Knowing he has KT, I of course call and no help on the river for me. Minus $250. Ouch. Good thing I walked away and didn't look back because that was some ugly bad play plus suckouts that looked like Phil Mickleson's putt on the 16th green on Sunday.

Since my wife was working her scrapbooking, I decided to hit up the slots on Lucky Nugget since I needed some relaxation and since Little Drizz was kind enough to take an extended nap. Right away I hit 5 scatter pays resulting in a $90 win on a $.02 machine (yes I play for the big bucks, stop laughing). And cashing a total of $120 after the 15 free spins got done. Ah, the spoon full of slot sugar made my bad beat poker medicine go down in the most delightful way (damnit now that song is in my head).

We took little walk to my parent's house with Little Drizz since the weather was beautiful out. Even though my socks got wet from wearing flip-flops with the sidewalks full of melted snow, it felt like cabin fever was done for the season and we could finally enjoy the outdoors again.

After coming home I decided to unwind with a little more poker, but this time for fun. I deposited $250 on Full Tilt to play tourneys and some cash games to pay for the tourneys. First up, my first Razz SnG! I was rolling along fairly well and got to the final four, but busted out when I caught 3 bricks in a row (K - 7 - Q) with a 7 - 4 - 3 - A start vs. someone who over played his Ace showing and had K - 8 underneath and he made a 9 low. Money in with the best of it right? It was a different game, that's for sure, having to remember what gets folded to know how many outs you have really makes for challenging game. I'll be trying again tonight of course :) I made a little bit on a side game while I waited for the SnG to fill up, nothing exciting just hit AA vs. JJ and took down a $20 pot to more then cover the $5 SnG charge.

13 days till Vegas, gotta make some reservations at a Treasure Island restaurant (any suggestions on which one???). Thanks for reading and hope your Monday isn't, well, a Monday.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Everyone's coming to vegas

Tonight my parents announced they're coming to Vegas to watch their son humiliate himself at a live poker tournament. For some reason they gave up going to Niagara Falls to watch some degenerate gambOOlers fling some cards at the WPBT Aladdin event. Maybe I can mooch $1,500 off them to enter the WSOP tourney? Now I've got the wife and the parents on the rail watching me, no pressure. Sigh.

Bowling sucked ass tonight, as I was mostly sober and in a bad mood. Even an extra Cap'n Coke couldn't cure the bad funk I was in. No idea what brought on the grumpiness, I had a decent day at the tables clearing the Will Hill monthly bonus plus earning $60 thru playing. I finished up the Paradise Poker bonus as well for an extra $300 despite some unlubercated beats on the way out.

Tomorrow I'll get a little live tourney experience with my parents holding a 3 table tournament with my family and friends attending. Its more fun then serious tourney play but its nice to fling some chips while making some bets and jokes. Not to mention plenty of good food that is sure to be served.

16 more days to Vegas, please hurry it up.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Clearing a Party

TEDDY: Mr. Son Of A Bitch, let's play some cards.

- Teddy KGB "Rounders"

I was down most of the night while polishing off the $200 reload bonus ending a nice run at the PartyPoker $25NLHE tables this week. As luck has it I finished up for the night thanks to a visit from pocket Hellmuths twice in 4 hands (but not as much as I thought thanks to a calling station with Q4s). I even got visits from a certain NY doctor, a fellow Minnesooooootan, and a strip club connoisseur. They came in while I was ready to go to bed costing me a couple of bets (worth the price of conversation as always) to stay up and chat (pay back from Mr. Halverson mayhaps)? We got to chat about the upcoming WPBT event in Vegas. I gave a little information about my lack of live tournament play, 8th place in a Canterbury Downs 7 card Stud (yes Felicia you read that right) 3 years ago. I plan on wearing full hockey gear to displace any body tells that I'm sure to give off. Betting chips with hockey gloves on may prove to be difficult however. I do plan on hitting up the Aladdin morning tourney (free breakfast whoo whoo!), and probably Mandalay Bay's while in Vegas in 17 days to get a feel for live tourney play. And if I hit it big (I haven't won in 6 yearly trips to Vegas) I'll try out the Mirage's weekly tourney as well (thanks to Poker Prof for all the Vegas tourney info).

Me and the wife secured our flight and hotel through Worryfreevacations, non-stop flight plus room at the luxrious Plaza hotel in downtown Las Vegas for only $600. Ok, I know the Plaza isn't the Belliago or even the Stardust, but its a bed and a room with a McDonald's inside to feed me my morning McGriddles. Plus I've heard some more esteemed bloggers will be hitting up the .99 cent shrimp cocktails downtown as well. The wife asked if I would be paying for her ticket, calmly I told her "you can find ways to pay me back". Very cheesy I know, but that's what keeps our marriage alive and fun.

WPT @ The Mirage was definitely an eye-opener for the destructful results of bad timing in a tournament and tutorial on good laydowns by John Juanda. Poor Scotty couldn't get anything going with that massive chip lead and busted out before Welcome Back Kotter teacher Gabe Kaplan. Gabe seemed to be a little on the weak-tight side in the few hands shown, but I know those shows are heavily edited so he must have been doing something right to take home 3rd place out of 284 entries.

I still need to write up my mini-bonus "guide" as I've cleared them on 15 different sites now and would like to share a little info to those who see the re-load bonuses pop up. Yes, I am a bonus whore, and proud of it!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

The new Party

If you haven't heard all the buzz, PartyPoker has expanded its tables in size and amounts. They are now offering $400 and $1000 NL/PL Hold Em' and Omaha tables, as well as a greater amount of high stakes tables. Another nice edition is the 100XBB buy-ins now. I was hoping to see a $10K stack at the $1000 tables but I was too busy knocking down the recent re-load bonus on four tables.

More on the poker night in a bit...

After getting home from work I was ready to collapse on the couch due to a long day but the wife exclaimed "we're going out to eat!". What perked me up is we were going out with my sis-in-law, and my good friends B and E (no actual homes were broken into). Off to Claddagh, a friendly Irish pub with authentic Irish dishes and a decent beer selection to boot. The little ones were restless during the meal but its always good to catch up with friends. Cheers to the wait staff for giving us a little side room in which the little ones couldn't get into too much trouble but tried to anyway. I had the Traditional Pub Burger and some sour cream dip for the fries (which is usually good but tonight tasted skunky) with a red Irish beer (the name eludes me at the moment).

After the meal it was time to hit the hot tub, which really hit the spot because this chair at work isn't made for a 6'4" guy and it kills my back. We chatted with the sis-in-law and B for awhile and made some plans for hooking up to go to the Mall of America on Friday (instead of playing poker all day, sigh). Hmmmmm wingies at Hooter's!! Boobs or virtual cards you make the call.

After they left, me and wife checked out start of The Amazing Race. I'm rooting for Rob and Amber despite their sneaky ways of getting help last night in Lima and going from worst to first in the process after taking what seemed like 30 minutes to open the trunk of their car at the start. I went to go fire up PartyPoker after the first hour and my wife came down to inform me that the hillbillies from SC lost. Major disappointment, the guys with the best personalities lost before the show barely started.

Ah yes, poker content.

I immediately fired up 4 tables (2 $25NLHE and 2 $50NLHE). I wanted to get a feel for the level of competition at the $50 level. Basically it was one or two more decent players at the $50 rather then the $25 and people didn't push as much (not to say they didn't try to bluff though). After playing for 15 minutes I finally took note that I was sitting with Helixx. This made the bonus grinding go by MUCH quicker. We chatted about the up coming WPBT event in Vegas and he's still in limbo as to were to stay as I am. I'm still leaning towards staying at Imperial Palace but downtown sounds like fun too. I watched him take down a nice size pot with Q7 hitting a boat on the turn and waiting out for someone to catch his Ace high flush, nice job! Then the blogfather himself took a seat, and I'm fairly sure he dropped the hammer on a few unsuspecting fishies but resisted to show. FTrain dropped by to sweat Iggy about the new book (which I will be reviewing once I get myself untangled from this bonus whoring mess). I resisted the urge to sweat the Minnesota TiVo expert as I'm sure he didn't need any more of my bad luck that I seem to give him. All and all a fun night thanks to Iggy and Helixx, thanks guys and I can't wait to meet you in Vegas!

Since poker is mostly a result-orientated game.... I did make 30BBs but it should have been more had I not made some bone-headed calls when I made the right read. Case in point... dealt KK raise it up to 6XBB and get one caller, flop is Q 6 4 rainbow, caller bets $1 (I put him on AQs or AQo at this point) and raise to $4, he flat calls, next card is an Ace (sigh), he bets $2, I flat call, river is a blank and he bets $10, why I hit the call button on the river is beyond me because he flipped over... AQo. Poorly played on all streets as a famous sage would advise. Its a leak in my game still. Perhaps more Irish beer would plug the leak :P

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

A twist to bonus whoring

Grinding away bonuses at the $25NLHE tables can get a little stale and frusterating (especially if some yahoo calls your all-in after the flop with an inside straight draw and hits on the river). But, another +30BB night at the tables after a bad beat is a sign that I'm becoming more immune to the occassional variance blip on the poker radar. One table contained a gold mine of a player, and a lesson in note-taking. He would raise every flop no matter his cards were and would make a play at the pot if he was the first to bet. After a $15 loss to him when he caught a runner-runner straight, I quickly re-loaded to get this hand... UTG with AKs I raised to 6XBB, folded around to the yahoo who cold calls in the SB, BB also folds. The flop is 4 5 6 rainbow, he quickly fires out a $10 bet. Had I not tagged a note on this character I would have respected his bet for an overpair/set/straight, I re-raised all-in, he called (doh!)... two blanks fire off and he flips over A3o for the straight that didn't make it. This hand is a reminder to the power of writing notes on your opponents both good and bad. Noting if the player is capable of a laydown, calling station, total manaic, likes to talk to himself while watching Dazed and Confused and eating Ben and Jerry's Chunky Monkey pints. You get the picture. Notes are extremely helpful in making decisions at any level of poker play.

For the twist last night I tried out a "Steps" SnG. Yeah, yeah, the juice is high, but like I said you need to mix it up a little or you get bored/tired of playing. I boot up a $11 table which immediately fills up with 9 other players and off we go! First hand (does this only happen at PartyPoker?) 3 all-ins, I'm expecting QQ vs. KK vs. AA so I chuck my little 52o. Nope. Its Q8o vs. JJ vs. 44 LETS GAMBOOOOOOL! Q8 flops the Q and says "you guys suck" into the little chat box. This starts a flame war of course which was very annoying since my late tourney I played in wasn't much fun either. Level I was uneventful, but Level II I catch 24s in the BB and call a min raise (yes baby kitties were screaming after this) and we were heads-up to see a 3 3 5 flop. The raiser fired off a pot size bet, which I called. The turn... A wonderful Ace. Again the raiser threw out a pot size bet, being careful of a possible (but not probable) boat I min raised back (sorry PETA). He flat called, the river was a blank so I threw in T200 as a milk me bet but he pulled back his udders and folded. Sigh.

Fold, fold, fold, fold, steal, fold, fold, steal, fold, whoo whoo K4s, fold, fold. I got to (150/300) with T840 with 4 left (top two get a ticket to the $55 level) and see AA unsuited and when the aggressive SB decided to push, I knew I'd be 7% more of a favorite if they were suited but I called anyway and beat out J7o. Now I had me some chips to play with! Stole from the SB, then the SB and BB on the next hand flipped 44 vs AQo with 44 winning and we're down to three. One guy at ~T4500, me and the other guy ~T1500 and with the (200/400) blinds I look down to see 33 in the BB. The tall stack folded, so I decided to push regardless of what the SB did since I had him covered barely. He flat-called, I pushed, he calls (ewww) but flips over J9s... which doesn't improve and I get to do a happy dance and accidently wake up my wife (at least I didn't wake up Little Drizz, then she would be really pissed).

Yeah I know its three more SnGs to the $1000 game but hey I had fun and got good results, can't ask for more then that!

Looked on-line for some flights/room rates for June's WPBT event (~$300 w/o hotel), I'm leaning towards Imperial Palace but might be staying downtown after an IM last night.

Plus I got my annual trip to Vegas in 19 days. It can't get here soon enough, this freckin butt-hair freezing weather is starting to get to me.