Poker

May 2008 Poker

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Same old, same old, with some new stuff thrown in, to throw me/you off. 😉

Right after I reported on April’s results, I transferred some money from my one poker site to another site. The two sites have an agreement between them (perhaps there is joint ownership, but I have no idea) whereby you can transfer money between them with no cost, an unlimited amount of times.

I decided to do that because my beloved Omaha Hi-Lo tourneys have virtually disappeared from my primary site, and even the Hold’Em tourneys have become more of a circus side-show (IMHO). I actually prefer the software from my primary site, but I do enjoy playing Omaha Hi-Lo on the new site, so the blend is working for the moment.

That’s the new part. Now for the old…

Nothing has changed. I still played an extremely light schedule in May, so I often go days without launching the poker software. I also play mostly in actual tournaments rather than qualifiers (there are some exceptions, notably on weekends), so I’m spending more on the entry fees (this has been consistent for a couple of months now), which makes the volatility higher.

I started the month off with a bang, entering the Sunday big one by ponying up the full $215. I finished 54th and got back $600. In fact, I got rivered on that last hand (no, I don’t cry about losses) or I might have gone much further. At the other extreme, last weekend, I paid full freight again, and busted out on the first hand! That was a first for me. I flopped a set when my opponent flopped a straight. He played in a raised pot on the first hand with 79c, so he earned that pot by playing loosely.

I had a small roller coaster on the new site, starting off poorly, then cashing a few times to go ahead for the month, finally giving it all back and more. In the future, I won’t break out the results between the sites, but this one time, I will.

New site = -$164.00 for the month, old site = -$68.20 for the month. Grand total = -$232.20. Disappointing, but there were some real opportunities for big wins, so I’m really not complaining.

Yesterday I won an entry into today’s big one, so the loss counts in May, but I get to start off June with a free entry to the big one, so we’ll see what I make of the opportunity later today.

April 2008 Poker

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Well, it’s a few days early, but I honestly don’t think I’ll be playing any (or much) poker before the end of the month. If there is a material update, I’ll post again.

In keeping with my new schedule, even though I had a ton of time to play this month, I still played a pretty light schedule. Because of that, I paid the full freight to enter one of the Sunday big tourneys. In that one, I came in 66th out of 907. That was my one nice hit for the month ($500 returned for $215 invested).

In addition to that, I won qualifiers for the big tourney twice, but bombed out in both of those tries in the actual tourney. One of those was frustrating, as I came 140th and they only paid to 100th. I also won another nice qualifier for a big Omaha Hi-Lo tourney, but bombed out in that as well.

I played in a number of my normal 7pm Omaha Hi-Lo tourneys, and cashed once or twice (minor prizes), but also bubbled (finished one out of the money!) at least once, and 3rd or 4th out of the money a few other times.

In general, my play this month was as good as it’s ever been. I had some great luck in at least one of the qualifiers where I won an entry to the big tourney (still turned into no cash), but in the actual tournaments (more so in the Omaha ones, but a little in the Hold’Em ones too), I had one of the worst runs of bad luck one can imagine.

It’s one of the main reasons I bubbled so many times. For a change, rather than easily drifting into a minor prize, I risked all of my chips (repeatedly!) with much the best hand. In general, I was an 80-90% favorite when I got all my chips in. In nearly every case (this month), the river (or occasionally the turn) brought a miracle card to my numskull opponent, and I was out with no money. The frustration was enormous, but I also felt vindicated at my bet when the other person flipped over their cards.

Oh well, that didn’t help the account value, just the ego… Total for the month was a very disappointing -$316. Nothing material (given my account size), but not a happy situation either.

As for why I won’t be playing, as of today, my site has radically changed their tournament structure. There are almost no Omaha Hi-Lo tourneys left, including their removal of the nightly 7pm that I love so much. They’ve even revamped their normal Hold’Em schedule, blowing away the more interesting (given my risk appetite) ones in the times that work best for me.

I am now seriously considering just emptying my account and giving up online poker for a while. Of course, I could search for another site (many of them still likely have tons of tourneys that would fit my profile perfectly), but it’s a lot of work to pick one, and to get the money in there now is a hassle, so I’ll mull it over and decide.

Of course, I could just keep my money here and play in the big one any Sunday that works for me, and just ignore them the rest of the week. At least that would give them a chance to realize what a boneheaded move this new tournament schedule is (the 7pm filled up every single night, so it was popular and profitable for them!). I suspect that’s my most likely (short-term) course of action!

March 2008 Poker

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March saw a radical change in my online poker playing. Heretofore, I was playing in a ton of tournaments, most of them qualifiers, many of the $1 qualifiers. When I would win a seat to move on to the bigger tournament, I would play that. When I wouldn’t, I would skip the bigger tournament.

While it greatly reduced the amount I was risking, and greatly increased the amount of time played, ultimately, as I reported already, it was simply soaking up too much time (even though I loved every single second of it, even the losses!).

This month, I played in extremely few qualifiers (five or six, I have to squint too hard to be sure at the moment). Instead, on a few occasions (very few), I simply paid the full entry fee for the big tournament, when I was in the mood, and had the time. That included paying the full $215 entry fee for the big Sunday tournament, three times this month. Previously, I had only done it once, when I had the snafu with my Tournament Dollars.

I lost the first two, so I was down a healthy amount. On the third try this month, I came in 47th out of 890 entrants (top 90 got paid). That returned $700 for my $215 entry fee. Coupled with two other smaller cashes in Omaha Hi-Lo tourneys, and I ended the month…

Yes, I had to break the paragraph purely for dramatic effect…

+$1.10 (yes, more than a whole dollar, in fact, 10% more than a dollar!)

Clearly, this new strategy rocks! 😉

February 2008 Poker

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I won’t be playing today, so I can summarize the month now. It was a terrible month both economically, as well as from a frustration point of view.

Let’s get the bad news out of the way up front: I lost $414.94 this month. That wipes out January’s gain and a little more, leaving me down for 2008. Account is still extremely healthy, but nothing else regarding poker is at the moment.

I had a streak of incredibly bad luck this month. I am convinced that I played better this month than I have in a while. I’m proud of that, and I know that playing well doesn’t correlate into making money in any short-term. It has to always correlate in the long run, but two weeks does not a long run make… 🙁

I have altered my typical poker schedule, only slightly fueled by one horrible beat after another, by completely clueless players (it’s one thing to get beaten by a good player who was making a move, or simply had the stack to take a shot, but entirely another matter when the other person thought they had a good chance of winning the hand, and yes, you can tell the difference!).

In this post, I discussed the fact that I was rethinking my obsession with online poker. That was written on January 14th, 2008. While I definitely slowed down a bit, after my problem was resolved, I was still playing a fair amount.

Independent of the February bad streak, I decided that poker was interfering with my life more than I cared to admit to myself. There was nothing important (business or personal) that I wasn’t taking care of, but there were many things that I would have enjoyed, that I was simply deferring, over and over.

The main reason is scheduling. Once a poker tournament starts, it can take anywhere from one to five hours to complete. That’s a big time commitment. Of course, since it’s online, I’m interruptible for emergencies. I also keep up with IM and email (which doesn’t help my poker results, but that’s a trade-off I firmly committed to a long time ago!). Phone calls can be painful, but I take them too, so I don’t block out life for poker.

That said, I don’t start other projects for myself that I otherwise would. Anything that involves using the computer becomes really distracting during a poker tournament. It’s a tough problem to resolve, because I love playing poker, even when I’m losing. Still, I love many things, including tinkering with computer projects, and I was doing decidedly very little of that for too long.

So, 11 days ago, I decided to dramatically reduce the number of tournaments that I played in, at least for an experimental period. The last time I played online poker was February 18th, 2008. I only launched the poker software once since then, this morning, just to pull out my statistics for the month, to report them here, and then I quit immediately.

I had plenty of time to play last week, including being home and logged on all day last Saturday. This was the first Sunday that we were in the hotel here in VA that I didn’t launch the poker software, even though I was logged on for over six hours.

I’m not saying that I don’t intend to play any poker. I am just saying that I will actively choose to do other things at least for a while, and on occasion, I’ll play some poker.

So, what have I been doing with my new spare time? I’ve written about at least one project, namely the sprucing up of my WordPress theme, including setting up a sandbox on my laptop to experiment. In fact, I’ve written about it twice, here and here. I’ve also spent some time writing posts on politics, something I was avoiding for other reasons.

Anyway, I won’t be playing poker today or tomorrow for sure (plans are already set), but it’s possible that I will play a bit on Sunday in the hotel. Even if I do, it’s likely to be the only day that I will play in the next week!

Disappointing Poker Today

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So, we’re back in the hotel in Fredericksburg after spending the week in Florida. We were both exhausted, so other than a quick shopping trip this morning, we spent the day in the room.

I spent a fair amount of time playing poker during the day, all in qualifiers. I won a seat to the big tourney at 5pm today, and won two entries to the 7pm Omaha Hi-Lo (so, I have a spare one to use in the future).

I didn’t take notes, so I’ll be somewhat brief. There were 989 entrants in the 5pm, with top 100 paid. It was a crazy tournament for me. When there were roughly 800 left, I was probably in 750th (in other words, not doing well).

I then had 55 and went all-in. I got called by AKo, and the 55 held up. The very next hand, UTG raises, I go all-in again with QQ. He thinks for a while, then calls with JJ. QQ held up, and now I’m in reasonable shape. Very next hand, I raise with ATd, he’s the only caller (he’s now crippled, so I’m not worried). An A comes on the flop, and he pushes his last 140 chips. I call. He has A9. A ten comes on the turn, to seal it for me.

I then hang with the same number of chips forever. Then, with JJ in the small blind, I call a raise for 1/4 of my chips. Flop comes 79Q. I check, he goes all-in and has me covered. It was a smelly bet, and I had a very long way to the money anyway, so I called. He had Q8s (which made his pre-flop raise a little stupid). Still, I was reasonably dead. River brought the wonderful J and I doubled up. I was now in 185th place with roughly 500 left.

Cutting to the chase, when my chips were again cut in half, and the blinds high, I pushed all-in with AK. Got called by a big stack with 99, and by a smaller stack with 46. A nine came on the turn (not that he needed it, since I never paired my K or A), and I was out. I finished 163rd. Another close to the money, but not quite there.

Similar (not as close) result in the 7pm. 125 entrants, top 20 paid, and I finished in 52nd (my AA37 got busted when the caller flopped two pair, J7).

So, good results in the qualifiers, bad results in the actual tourneys, where it counts more. 🙁

Even though I haven’t played too much this month, it’s reasonably bad so far…

Finally, A Superbowl Fan Again

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I’ve loved football (playing and watching) since I’m six years old. Independent of that love, I have loved gambling (on a variety of things) since I’m 16 years old.

In my early 20’s, I briefly combined the two, and made my first series of football bets. It was a disaster, as I won early, raised my bets beyond my means, and crashed and burned.

I learned my lesson at that time (at least temporarily) and gave up football betting for roughly 10 years.

During that 10 year hiatus, I continued to gamble (small amounts) on both horse racing and casinos (mainly craps). I still watched football and still enjoyed it thoroughly. At the time, I was working on Wall Street, and my job consumed me. I was on call 24/7/365, and it wasn”t just a theoretical on call, as I was often woken in the middle of the night, and I worked most weekends (by choice, as much as by necessity).

So, in 1990, when my income was rising reasonably, and I felt that I needed a real hard break from work (at least on occasion), I wandered back into betting on football. I bet on both college and pros, so I was in action every Saturday and Sunday (and many Thursdays and every Monday night, etc.) during the 20+ week season.

There were years when I lost stupid amounts of money. Yes, I could afford it, but it was stupid nonetheless. In 18 years of betting on football, I only made a profit in two of those years. Probably another 10 years, I beat the vig, which is emotionally satisfying, but still an economic problem, sometimes a very large one!

In 2003, Lois and I voluntarily decided to stop charging management fees to the LP’s in our fund. That meant that we had zero income going forward. We have been living off of savings and interest and dividend income since. We continue to work full time, mostly due to our commitment to our investors, but also because we too are large investors in our fund, and if we can continue to sell companies successfully, we’ll at least get a return on our original investment.

What does all of this mean? In 2003, I dramatically cut back on the size of my bets. I found that I enjoyed the thrill or winning and losing just as much. In fact, possibly more, because the losses didn’t really sting, and wins were gratifying on an emotional level. That made me want to cut my bets even further, but I had been betting with the same bookie for all of those years, and they don’t really want teeny tiny action.

So, both for reasons of wanting to cut my bets further, and, to want the ultra-convenience of being able to bet whenever I wanted, in 2005, I switched my betting to the Internet. I loved it! I cut my bets dramatically, and increased my enjoyment and flexibility at the same time. I even turned a profit that year, which added to the enjoyment. I didn’t delude myself that I should now raise the size of my bets, just because I won.

The next year (2006), I lost, but a small amount. However, that was also the year that Congress passed the knucklehead banking laws which made it difficult to move money into these types of sites (including Poker sites, which are not illegal under Federal law!). Right before the 2007 Superbowl, the site I was using (which I really liked, a ton), decided to stop accepting bets from US citizens.

I scrambled to move the remaining balance into another online site. I did, and was able to bet the Superbowl. I lost, but had lots of chances to pull it out until the last drive, so it was exciting.

At the beginning of this season, I decided not to add any money into my account (it was pretty low to begin with). I bet for the first seven weeks. At one point, I doubled the value of my account. Then I hit a bad streak, and lost it all. I never put in any more money, so I haven’t made a single bet on football since October 2007.

Remarkably, I’ve been pretty happy about it. Looking back, I really needed the release from my Wall Street job. If I had money (in particular big money) on a game on the weekend, unless there was a work emergency, I really didn’t care what else was happening in the world, I was glued to the TV (DirecTV that is, where I got every single game, every single weekend!).

While I take my VC responsibilities very seriously, the truth is that at this point in our lives, Lois works much harder than I do (it’s not even close), and I don’t need any artificial distractions to pull me away from work.

I haven’t been to a casino in years. I would enjoy it, but I don’t feel the pull at all. I still play Poker (quite a bit), but I’m actively participating, and I also consistently make money at it, so it doesn’t feel like gambling at all. It’s more like getting paid to play a game you really enjoy.

So, bringing us back full circle to the title of this post, this is the first time in 18 years that I will be watching and enjoying the Superbowl purely as a fan! I won’t be worrying about the point spread, or who won this particular quarter. I won’t worry about the over under (which often made me root against the team that I was betting on, because I didn’t want the score to keep going up).

Who will I be rooting for? 51% of me wants the Patriots to win, for historic reasons as well as that I like their style (in many ways they are one of the few true teams in the NFL, as opposed to a collection of individual stars). 49% of me wants the Giants to win, since they’re a home team, a true underdog with a beleaguered coach, etc.

In other words, I promise to enjoy the game no matter who wins, and even to be happy about it, no matter who wins, though secretly, I’m marginally pulling for the Pats. 😉

January 2008 Poker

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In my last two poker updates (here and here) I discussed my frustration with the one site I play on. I used to like pretty much everything about the site and the service, and now only the playing is fun, everything else stinks.

As a new example, I mentioned in the recent posts that they now were regularly giving out free entries into the Sunday big tourney to everyone who made the final table in 16 different tournaments on Saturday. I made the idiotic mistake of rhetorically asking whether that change was permanent or not. Of course, this week, it changed to only the top three in each of those tournaments. Do you think they announced that change is some prominent manner? Not that I saw…

Anyway, before I summarize the results, let me state two facts about my poker playing:

  1. I am a horrible player. Seriously, I’m really awful, and I know many (hopefully most) of my flaws, and yet, I can’t seem to consistently avoid them.
  2. I consistently make money!

How do I reconcile the above two facts? Easy! The vast majority of players on most sites (certainly the one I am currently playing on) are much worse than me. The good players (and there are many of them), can make a living on this site (and most others) with their eyes closed, and without risking much money in the process.

OK, that last statement is an exaggeration, only because to not risk much money, you have to play relatively low stakes (which is what I do), and while you can make a reasonable amount of money, ultra-consistently, you can’t really make a living.

I have known how bad I really am for quite a while now. What makes me say it so definitively now? Nothing other than a typically frustrating weekend. On Saturday, I played in a number of tournaments (and one out-right qualifier) all with the notion of winning a seat for Sunday’s big one. In one of them, the top 15 players would win the seat. Where did I finish? 16th, of course. I’ll spare you the stupid (rather than bad) beat stories about how that happened.

In another tournament, I was in third place with 80 people left, top 20 paid, and I melted down and finished 46th. Last night, top twenty paid, I finished 24th. On and on, so close, yet, so far, yet, profitable, ugh…

So, since we’re in VA this week, I am unlikely to play again in January, so I’ll summarize my results for the month now. If something changes materially, I’ll report again, but I doubt it will happen.

This month started out with the frustrating ordeal with my site, causing me to spend the $215 entry fee into the big weekly tourney, putting me in a hole to begin with. I climbed out nicely. I ended up with a profit of $365.08 for the month, nicely eclipsing last month’s loss as well. In fact, I was up over $100 more going into Saturday, when I lost money (spread out over many tourneys) trying to win a seat into the Sunday big one. I mentioned some of those heartbreaks immediately above.

So, a nice start to 2008. My account is near an all-time high (and probably hit or just missed it before Saturday’s losses). I’m still annoyed at my site, but I’m learning to manage my frustration and plan accordingly.

Poker Update

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Interesting few days of poker… In my last post on poker, I mentioned that I felt ripped off by my site for not allowing me to use my Tournament Dollars (TDs) to register in last Sunday’s big tourney. This was the first time ever that TDs weren’t an option.

I also mentioned that I wasn’t going to log on again until they responded to my two complaints, one of which was the highest severity. They finally responded on Wednesday late afternoon (from two messages sent to them on Sunday!).

Their answer was completely unsatisfactory. Essentially, they changed their policy, and the Sunday tournament is now cash only, no TDs. The annoying part is that I earned the 215 TDs by winning an entry into the Sunday tourney, and then unregistering. That had always worked before. Now it didn’t…

So, it caused me to change my strategy. I had 215 TDs, that could be used in almost every other tourney, just not this one. I played on Thursday, and used the TDs to enter the nightly Omaha Hi-Lo tourney that I like so much.

I ended up third, getting back $257.60. The next day I played in some cheap qualifiers using TDs only (even when I have TDs, I always used cash in the past). I just missed winning a seat, but converted the TDs into $6 more in cash (woo hoo). 😉

Then yesterday, they had the same deal (perhaps it’s permanent now) whereby you can play in any or all of 16 tournaments, and if you make the final table, in addition to any cash prizes that you might earn, you also get a free entry into the Sunday tourney.

I used TDs only, all day. I played in four of the 16 tourneys, and also in a normal qualifier for the nightly Omaha Hi-Lo, which was another of the 16 tourneys. In addition to winning an entry into the Omaha tourney, I cashed in two of the earlier ones, including finishing seventh (out of 515 entrants!) in one. For that, I got back $90.12 in cash, and the free entry into the Sunday tourney.

I then played in the Omaha one. I ended up finishing 13th. That was in the money (only $31.20), but three away from winning another entry in the Sunday one, as I missed the final table. So, I cashed in three of the five tourneys that I played in, including one final table!

So, I haven’t spent any cash since the “event” last week. But, my account has gone up by over $400 in the same period and I still have 71 TDs left. Can’t complain about that, though I can complain about how I handled myself in the big one tonight…

After my disaster in the big one (see, now you don’t have to read the notes below) 😉 I just finished 16th in the Omaha, and added another $28.80 (woo hoo) to the cash hoard. Crazy tournament, with tons of roller coaster ups and downs. I lost some giant hands to complete idiots who got lucky. I’m looking forward to playing with them again. 😉

Here are my notes from that event…

********************************************************

1020 entrants, top 110 paid

I was playing in another tourney when this one began, so I
played extra conservative in this one, until a few minutes
ago, when I won my entry into the Omaha Hi-Lo nightly
tourney.

At one point, I had AA, and someone limped in front of me,
but when I raised, everyone folded.

Then I had a very nice hand, with some nice luck as well. I
had 88 in the small blind. One limper, and I raised, the big
blind called and the limper folded.

Flop came 567, which was (obviously) very nice for me. I bet
the pot and he called. The turn brought the lovely 9 for the
straight, but it put two spades on the board. I bet the pot,
and he called. The river brought a 2 of spades, so the flush
could have killed me. I plowed on bravely, and went all-in
(he had me covered). He hesitated, and called. Turns out he
had 66 and flopped a set, but didn’t raise on the flop.

I’m in good shape now.

866 left, in 69th

Made it to the first break, though I just gave back a
non-trivial number of chips on the last hand before the
break. Oh well…

821 left, in 126th

Man. I raise with AJ. Two callers. Flop comes 7AJ. I bet the
pot, and get called by one. Turn is a 9. I bet the pot,
which puts the other guy all-in. He calls. He had 77 and
flopped a set. Back to the same number of chips I started
with. Oy…

761 left, in 488th

Just pushed with AK. Other guy had KK. I’m out in 736th.

Rethinking Online Poker

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I started playing online poker in September 2004. It instantly became an obsession. For the first 10 months, I believe that I missed only one single day where I didn’t play.

I still play a ton, but it’s definitely well beyond the obsession stage. In the past year, I have gone two weeks in a row without playing a single game, at least a few times. That would have been unthinkable in the first year.

I enjoy it immensely. It’s great entertainment, distraction, escape, etc. I have come to accept the incredibly bad beats that I regularly experience with a clamness that I could never have predicted earlier, which I’m hoping is a sign of maturity with regard to the nature of the game.

It satisfies my inherent nature to gamble, without really being a gamble. First, I consistently make money (albeit a very tiny amount). But, even if I were to lose, that too would be a tiny amount, certainly less than I pay for our more regular entertainment (concerts, new TV’s, restaurants, etc.).

So, why am I rethinking online poker? For the first three years, the only real glitches that I had were connectivity problems, and on rare occasions, server overload problems. They were certainly frustrating, especially when it happened in the midst of a tournament that was otherwise going well, but they were understandable.

When the US passed the idiotic banking laws to try and thwart online gambling, most of the online poker sites that I had an account with turned away all US citizens. That included the site that I played on 95% of the time. I shifted 100% of my play to one site that was my second favorite anyway. For 14 months, I had virtually zero problems with them.

Now, for the past month, it has been one problem after another, all administrative, not table related. I have reported on a few of them. While they have made it right each and every time, I don’t feel like being ever vigilant about my account, and then chasing them down when I spot a problem, and waiting too patiently to hear back and eventually get it fixed.

There is enough mystery about the online experience, that trust has to be a big part of the proposition. This particular site is quickly losing my trust. In the past, reporting a problem typically yielded some sort of response within a few hours. Now, it can take days. Something is wrong.

As I reported recently, I had a credit (called Tournament Dollars or TDs) for an entry into the big Sunday tournament. Last night, I settled in and was ready to use that credit. At roughly 3:20pm, I tried to register for the 5pm start time, using the credit. The menu only allowed a cash entry fee. I double-checked my account, and indeed, the credit was there, just not available during the registration process. This had never happened before.

At 3:30pm, I used their highest level of customer support, a form which reports live play problems (presumably bringing much quicker help). It is now nearly 19 hours later, and I haven’t heard a peep from them.

I had promised myself that I would not pay the $215 entry to the weekly tourney. But, since I was settled in, and geared up to play, and believed that the site would eventually do the right thing (take away my credit, and put back the cash), I decided to pay the full freight entry fee last night for the first time.

1069 entrants, top 110 paid. I’ll spare you the details of the incredibly bad luck I had on my last hand, but I finished 471. I don’t care about the lost money (though the lost credit would have been nicer). I do care about the problems, and the lack of swift service.

So, what are my choices?

  1. Suck it up, ignore the problems (perhaps, even expect them), and continue on with this site.
  2. Move my money from this site to a new one (there are still a number of top sites that welcome US players).
  3. Take a break for a while (leaving the money in my account, so I can take it up again).
  4. Withdraw my money, and not think about online poker for a while.

I honestly have no idea what I’ll end up doing, but I’m seriously considering all of the above, for the first time in three years of nearly non-stop playing. If you have any insightful suggestions, feel free to leave them as comments here.

Weekend Poker Update

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We spent the day with our friends in Leesburg yesterday, and had a very nice time.

Got back to the hotel to relax for the evening. After dinner, I decided to enter the nightly Omaha Hi-Lo. I didn’t have a free entry queued up, so I ponied up the $22 to get in.

170 entrants, top 20 paid. Some crazy hands along the way, including having my very nice stack cut in half by someone who got extremely lucky on me after being way behind. But, all’s well that ends well. I finished fourth, and got back $289 for my $22 entry fee. In the last hand, I had such a fantastic draw for scooping the pot, which would have put me in first place, but it didn’t happen, and I was out.

I was already entered into tonight’s big one. Here are my detailed notes. For those who don’t want to read all the way, I missed the money, but just barely. 🙁

*****************************************************

I had an entry already banked, but when I won another entry
on New Year’s Eve, they automatically entered me into this
one, and I didn’t “unregister”, so I am playing tonight, and
still have one entry in the bank for a future tourney.

20 minutes in, and I’m down a drop. Never been above my
original chip count, so it’s a slow start.

A little patience paid off in back-to-back hands against the
same person. In one, I had a read that he was bluffing, and
I called his raise pre-flop, then his bet on the flop and
his bet on the turn (where I paired my K). He checked on the
river and folded to a large bet on my part.

The next hand, I limped with A9s. The flop came A49
rainbow. I checked, he bet, I raised, he re-raised, I
re-raised all-in. He had A7, and he’s out, and I am
breathing a little better now.

1063 entrants, top 110 paid.

980 left, in 41st

Made it to the first break. 🙂

862 left, in 104th
796 left, in 149th
591 left, in 145th

Made it to the second break. 🙂

498 left, in 200th

Lost a number of hands where folding was likely correct, but
who knows. Then I got very lucky. I had 99 and I raised. The
big stack at the table called. Flop came JT8 with two
diamonds. I had the 9 of diamonds, but it’s the straight
that emboldened me to bet with two overs. He called. The
turn was a J. I went all-in, he called. He had KJ, so he was
crushing me. River was a 9, so I caught a full house and
doubled up. Since then, I lost with AQ to AK, and with 77 to
KT when he flopped a straight.

So, while I’m ahead of my double up, I gave back a ton of
chips on those two hands…

393 left, in 208th

After losing the blinds for a few rounds, I had AA on the
button, and the same big stack raised. I went all-in and he
called with TT. AA held up, and I’m back to nearly where I
was when I last doubled up. Whew.

325 left, in 128th

I folded JJ in the small blind to a raise and a large
re-raise, both of him had me covered. One had AK, the other
KQ. JJ would have held up. Oh well, no guts, no glory…

Was getting low on chips. Got AK in the small blind. UTG
raised, everyone folded, I re-raised all-in, and he had
AT. AK held up and I’m in better shape now.

208 left, in 119th

Made it to the third break. 🙂 Crunch time is coming.

184 left, in 125th
168 left, in 144th

Got AA in the big blind, with the same guy raising when I
last doubled up with AK. Everyone folded, I re-raised
all-in, and he called with KQo. AA held up, and I’m now in
much better shape than even before. I can easily make the
money if I “shut down”. So, we’ll see how it goes…

144 left, in 87th
130 left, in 97th
126 left, in 101st

Might be tighter than I thought. Oh well, some things never
change…

Went all-in with AK. Got called by someone with JJ. I
flopped a K, so I was in great shape, he had two outs. The
turn was a J, so I was toast. I finished in 120th, 10 out of
the money. Like I said, I could almost definitely have
folded my way into the money, but I’m a drop tired of doing
that (though the “money” is nice), so I’m not upset with
myself for “going for it”. Also, considering that I was
ahead, I had a real shot to move way up in the standings if
I had more than doubled up there.

So, can’t really complain, even though it didn’t happen this
time…