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.