July Poker Interim Update

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Well, as expected, I’ve given back a bit of money so far (nothing too material). That said, I’ve played in a number of qualifiers, and I’m doing reasonably well. Not always making the next round, but mostly yes.

For example, a month or two ago, I reported on playing in a free qualifier to get into the semi-final qualifier to win a full package to a big tournament in Aruba. There were 3500 entrants, top 50 get in, and I came in 34th. Yesterday, I played in the same qualifier, with 3500 entrants, top 50 get in. This time, I came 151. So, I didn’t make it, but was pretty close. I got rivered, or I would have doubled, and had a good shot of making it.

I won an entry yesterday to a tourney that normally costs $109. It cost me $31. I didn’t make the money, but in the past, I wasn’t even trying to get into these bigger tournaments, but my confidence level is rising, so I’m taking the shots.

Today, I played in a qualifier for this Sunday’s big one, given my great result this past Sunday. Last week, I played in a qualifier that cost $11 to get in, had rebuys and add-ons, and the top 15 made the big tourney. I put in a total of $31. Today, the tourney was $5.50, had rebuys and add-ons, and only the top 2 made it to Sunday. I put in a total of $25.50. 3rd place paid $45, 4th paid $27, and 5th paid $18. So, if I came 4th, I’d at least get my money back.

There were 31 entrants. When there were roughly 16 left, I was a very small stack. I limped with 88 and the giant stack raised me from the small blind. I went all-in and he called, and had 45o. Obviously, I had been playing weak enough that he felt that I would fold. My 8’s held up and I doubled up. Somehow, that put him on tilt, as roughly 10 hands later, he went from #1 in chip position to out of the tourney, nowhere near the money!

Anyway, I had one guy who folded nearly every hand, except when I had the big blind, when he went all-in, 80% of the time. While it’s possible that he had a big hand each time, I doubt it. What made it dangerous was that there were at least 2 very large stacks between him and me, who could have called him too, so perhaps he had great hands, but I folded every time.

At some point, we got down to the final table, and I was in 9th. The guy to my right raised, it was nearly all of my stack, so I reraised, everyone folded and he called the remaining few chips. I had KK and he had AJo. My kings held up, and I was in decent shape (7th). A few hands later, he raised again, and I reraised all-in, and only he called. He had A8o, and I had AKo, which held up again, and now I was in 3rd and he was out.

It then took forever, but we finally got to 5, so at least $18 was guaranteed. When we got down to 3, I was in 3rd, but at least guaranteed to get back $45 and make a profit. One of the three was the guy who was clearly picking on me earlier. At one point, he won a big pot against the chip leader and became the chip leader.

Finally, cutting to the chase. He raised me all-in when I was the short stack, and I had A8s. He had A7o. An A hit the board, and it looked like we might split, until the T on the board paired on the river, and my 8 kicker beat him. He was crippled. The next hand I had 22 in the small blind, and raised him all in. He had K7o and called, and not only did my 2’s hold up, but I hit a set to cement it. He got the $45, and I will be playing for free this coming Sunday. Woo hoo! 🙂

At the same time, I was in an Omaha Hi-Lo tourney that cost me $5.50. 95 entrants, top 10 paid. I got extremely unlucky on my last hand and finished 10th, getting $11.87 for my $5.50. Oh well, a cash is a cash is a cash.

Anyway, while I’ve given back some cash, if you include the theoretical winnings from the free entry fees (a few of the nightly ones, plus the $109 and $215 bigger ones), I’d be ahead even more. But, like last month, I’ll happily count those as losses, and count any profit I make in a tourney that I get into for free as pure profit.

Here’s hoping I have something nice to write about this coming Sunday! 🙂

July Poker begins with a Bang!

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Pretty good day at the poker machine today. 🙂

Started at noon. I entered a qualifier for $21.50 to win a seat for today’s $200k tourney. But, you ask, didn’t you already win a seat for that? Yes. If you already have a free seat, and earn another one, they simply give you the $215 in cash. Why is this good? In fact, it’s a great deal. As I’ve mentioned before, in these qualifiers, first place is as good as whatever number of places they pay the free seats for. In this case, there were 69 players, and the first 6 all got the free seat. That means that you can come in 6th, which is way easier than 1st, and still get the full $215 in cash for the $21.50.

Anyway, I bombed out quickly, so $21.50 down the toilet to start the month.

Then I entered the normal $1.10 qualifier for my normal $22 nightly Omaha Hi-Lo. I spent a total of $4.10, and came reasonably close, but bombed out with no return.

At 2:45pm, I entered an $11 Omaha Hi-Lo tourney. 89 players, paying top 10. I had some serious ups and downs in this one. At one point, the overwhelming chip leader was moved to our table. He had 13k in chips, the second place person had something like 7k, and I had 4050 (to put it into perspective). I was in the big blind, and the chip leader limped in, everyone else folded.

Flop came 5c 4c 5d. I had 3s 5h Jh Kd. So, I flopped 3 of a kind, which is OK, but not awesome. Of course, there were only two of us, so it was a little better than just OK. He bet the pot, 750 chips. I raised the pot, which was 3000 (leaving me with 750). He thought for a second, and called. He had AA6T, three of them spades. This was bad call. Even if he didn’t think I had the 5, he had no clubs, and a bad low draw as well. He was likely to be facing the nut low (making a split the best he could get), and possibly a straight and flush draw as well.

Anyway, on the river, he luckily caught a low, and we split. He made many such horrible plays, but remained the chip leader for a very long time!

Cutting to the chase, we finally got down to 11 players (the infamous bubble). He had 2750 chips left (oh, what a surprise that he frittered away his chips!). I was in the big blind, with 800 chips in the pot. He went all-in, the small blind folded, and I called the remaining 1950 chips. He had a slightly better hand. The flop came 662. I had A448, double-suited, which is why I called in the first place. He had A23K. He was looking good on the low, at least. A J came on the turn (no low so far). Then the river brought the lovely 6. Not only no low, but I had a full house with my measly pair of 4’s. It was very satisfying to knock out such a knucklehead…

Now I was in the money, and he bubbled out. Truly cutting to the chase now, it was a fast and furious final table, and the cards really rolled my way. I was the chip leader from like 8 left down to 3 left, then I flipped into 3rd. But, quickly got some good cards again, and I won the tourney!

Got back $156 for my $11 entry. Woo hoo!

The tourney ended at about 5:20-5:30, which was 20-30 minutes after the big one started at 5pm. I played slowly and carefully in the big one, since I was already at the final table of this one, and I was feeling bird-in-the-hand phenomenon. 🙂 I’m glad I concentrated here first, because the $156 was a very satisfying win.

Once it was over, I turned my full attention to the big one. 901 entrants. They paid the top 100.

Lots of interesting hands, but I basically played most of them overly cautiously. A few notable exceptions, where people folded to my aggression. Here is a verbatim copy/paste of an emacs buffer where I was keeping statistics on where I was as the tournament progressed.

620 left, I am in 235th.
535 left, I am in 320th.
475 left, I am in 192nd.
395 left, I am in 246th.
280 left, I am in 257th.
251 left, I am in 178th.
197 left, I am in 183rd.
180 left, I am in 109th.
160 left, I am in 128th.
146 left, I am in 135th.
138 left, I am in 91st.
137 left, I am in 65th.
130 left, I am in 70th.
121 left, I am in 67th.
117 left, I am in 60th.
110 left, I am in 70th.
106 left, I am in 80th.
103 left, I am in 78th.
102 left, I am in 77th.
101 left, I am in 75th.


Finally made it, with 99 left, I am in 77th, now the “real”
play begins!!!

90 left, I am in 75th.
84 left, I am in 75th.
80 left, I am in 74th.

This was the next step up in money! 🙂

76 left, I am in 41st.
73 left, I am in 71st.
72 left, I am in 69th.
69 left, I am in 64th.

This was the next step up in money! 🙂

64 left, I am in 41st.
59 left, I am in 46th.

This was the next step up in money! 🙂

56 left, I am in 43rd.
53 left, I am in 45th.
49 left, I am in 43rd.

This was the next step up in money! 🙂

44 left, I am in 41st.
41 left, I am in 39th.
40 left, I am in 38th.

This was the next step up in money! 🙂

Finished 39th!

81-100 paid $300.

71-80 paid $400.

61-70 paid $500.

51-60 paid $600.

41-50 paid $700.

31-40 paid $900, which is what I got, for finishing 39th. Notice the nice extra jump of an additional $100 for this next level from the previous levels. Sweet! 🙂

So, like I said in the title, July starts off with a bang. Total profit for July, all earned today: +$1,017.90! It will be hard to give it all back in July, but I’ll do my best. 😉

June 2007 Poker Summary

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Well, there have been quite a number of poker updates in June, so I’m thinking of not doing exactly the same type of statistical update I normally do at the end of a month. Since I doubt any of my readers really care (I usually do it for myself, to have an easy place to refer to the history). If I’m wrong, drop me a comment, and I’ll go through the effort of categorizing number of tourneys, types, wins/losses, etc…

So, since I will meander a bit with some tales of this month’s playing, I’ll start with the bottom line, usually reserved for the end of the post. This way, people who are only checking in to see whether I’m a winner or loser for the month, can skip the rest of the post.

Two of my previous posts recorded the highs (profit-wise) of the month. The first articulated the peak of $493 for the month, and the second just mentioned that I was up $10 more (without specifically mentioning the figure $503!).

When I got back to NY on June 24th, I got to play a lot more poker in the last week. On some levels, it was great. On a purely economic level, it would have been nice to simply not have played. I gave back $177 during the week, which left June at +$325.79. That’s by far my best month since starting to report here on my blog, but hardly my best month ever.

Those not interested in stories or feelings about my play this month, should click away now. 🙂

First, a meaningless side-story. One of the most famous online poker players in the world is Mark Kroon, a bar owner from Madison, Wisconsin. He goes by the moniker P0ker H0 (those are zeros not the letter O). The site PocketFives.com used to have a nice profile on him, but the pages are now invalid. Here is a link to Google’s Cache of the page, but this will eventually go away as well…

I watch him play a fair amount, and he’s clearly amazing. He finishes in the money so often it’s mind-boggling. He also makes plays that appear to be insane much of the time, whether they work or not, but that’s part of his genius. Since people know that about him, he often gets called with the nuts, because people just assume he’s bluffing. He also often blows up, but who cares. When he makes the money, it’s more often a win than a minor cash. From what I can tell, he mints money online.

He also plays in some live tourneys, and I think he holds his own, though I don’t follow him enough, and he doesn’t make lots of televised final tables, so I’m not as familiar with his play in the real world.

So, why am I mentioning him? I have been playing on the same site with him for quite a while, and I’ve never been in a tourney with him. I watch him, but never run into him. Then, all of a sudden, one day in June, I’m playing in a $1.10 qualifier for my nightly $22 Omaha Hi-Lo tourney. Top 5 players get the free entry into the nightly tourney, 3 additional places pay small cash prizes.

When there were roughly 15 players left, I look at the leader board, and can’t believe it when I see that P0ker H0 is in first place. I had never seen him play in any Omaha tourney, let alone a $1 qualifier. Even the $22 nightly tourney would normally be below his typical limits, though I have seen him play in a number of $33 SnG tourneys (but Hold’Em ones).

We were playing at different tables, and his chip lead was big, but not dramatically bigger than the 2nd and 3rd place players. When we got down to 10 players, he and I were at the final table together, and I was one to his left (which is the best seat to be in against a player like him). At this point, he employed a strategy that makes sense in a normal tourney (meaning one with cash prizes that escalate for first place), but made no sense (to me!) in a tourney where 5th and 1st were identical payoffs. He was already practically guaranteed the free seat if he just folded every hand (which isn’t what I am advocating).

Instead, he raised every single hand the maximum amount, on every single betting opportunity! In a cash tourney, this can work well, as most people keep folding hoping he’ll knock others out. In this case, it’s remotely possible that he wouldn’t have made the money, and he had no advantage to accumulate more chips (which is the real point!).

Now, here’s the amazing thing. He won practically every hand. No, he didn’t have the best starting cards each time, it was just an amazing streak. By the time we got down to 6 players left (the “bubble”, where only one player doesn’t get the big prize), he had over 200,000 chips, and the second place player had around 30,000. Wow! When there were 8 players left, I was in 4th. But, when there were 6 players, I was in 5th. Sounds good since they pay top 5, but I was the next to be the big blind and then small blind, so unless I won one of those hands, and had the small stack lose his blinds, I would be out before him.

So, I ended up with a very good starting hand UTG, with P0ker H0 in the big blind to my right. Of course he was going to call any raise, but my raise wasn’t even 20% of the big blind, so even an idiot would have called me. He called, and my hand was way better than his. Of course, like with every other hand, the flop fit him perfectly, and missed me, and I was out in 6th. I got back $9 for my $3, so I tripled my money, but didn’t get the free seat. Of course, I won the right to forever tell a story about how P0ker H0 knocked me out on the bubble of a tournament. 😉

At night, I paid my $22 and busted out. The only interesting fact about that is that I lasted a lot longer than Mark did. He played as wildly as he did in the morning, and was one of the first ones out. Since I know for a fact that he’s an amazing player (even if he was also lucky in the one I played against him), I realized that he didn’t lose his mind in this one where he bombed out. One of his strategies is to either build up a big chip lead early (in which case he is a master at pounding people), or just bust out early and not waste time in the tourney. Not a terrible strategy at all!

Even though I gave back a meaningful proportion of my June winnings in the last week, I have no regrets. For sure, I played looser than I normally do. I really wanted to get a better sense of what a style change would feel like, and when better to do that than when you are up a nice amount for the month. I feel that I learned a lot, even though my typically more conservative style would have likely yielded a few more in-the-money finishes.

I feel that I have moved my game forward an inch. For those of you who are experienced poker players, don’t worry, I realize that this isn’t necessarily a permanent move forward, and I fully expect to regress many times for many reasons. 😉

Let’s end on a positive note. Every week, my site runs their big tournament at 5pm EST on Sunday. It’s a $200,000 guaranteed prize pool, with a guarantee of $45,000 for first place. I have never played in it, because it’s $215 to enter, and that’s just too big an amount for me to risk given my skill level and the size of the field. In other words, both skill and luck conspire against me in this one.

Only once have I entered a qualifier for this tourney, but that was a qualifier to get a free entry into another qualifier. It only cost me $1.10, and I bombed out.

Yesterday, for some inexplicable reason, I entered a direct qualifier (meaning, winning a prize in this one got you directly in to the big one). It costs $11 to enter, had unlimited rebuys in the first 30 minutes, and one add-on (which could be a double). I didn’t rebuy at all, and did the one double add-on. So, I invested a total of $31.

There were 81 entrants, with tons of rebuys and tons of add-ons, so it’s like playing against 150+ players. Top 15 got the free entry into tonight’s weekly big one. I finished 5th, so I’m playing today at 5pm. I have zero expectations of winning, and extremely low expectations of even finishing in the money (given that roughly 1000+ players enter every week), but I’m really looking forward to it anyway. P0ker H0 plays nearly every week too, but lots of the top players are currently in Las Vegas for the WSOP, so there might be fewer pros in the tourney tonight.

I could have beefed up my June results by counting that win. In other words, I put in $31, and technically, I won $215 (which I was forced to reinvest in the tourney tonight). So, I won $184. That would have brought my monthly total to over $500! That said, to be accurate, I would then have had to start July with a $215 loss if I didn’t cash tonight. That kind of accounting seemed cheesy to me, so I chose to record the $31 loss for yesterday’s qualifier and keep it all in June. If I win even a penny tonight, it will be recorded as a win in July, with no cost associated with it.

Here’s hoping I start the month off with a $45,000 win, which will likely guarantee me a profit in July. 😉

Short June Poker Update

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Didn’t get to play for a week, because we were down at Zope, and then had a wedding over the weekend. Got back to NY yesterday, and got to play a little last night. Played in my usual $22 Omaha Hi-Lo tourney. 104 entrants, paid to 20th. I finished 21st. Bummer…

This afternoon, I got to play in a qualifier for tonight’s tournament. Top 3 people won the entry. I put in a total of $3, and finished 3rd, so I got the free entry into tonight’s tournament.

I was up and down a bunch tonight. At one point, I was a big chip leader, with 17 to go (they paid top 10). Then I went card dead. Cutting to the chase, I finished 4th. I got rivered on my last hand, or I might still be playing. Anyway, got back $172 for 4th (for my original $3 this afternoon), so no complaints!

I am now up $10 more than I was when I last reported on the month, so I had some close calls that I didn’t report on, but was giving back some money until tonight. My nemesis came in 20th, so that was good too. 😉

A Great Father, for sure, but also a Great Man!

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Many people think their father is a great father, and for the most part, that’s a good enough definition for me. Meaning, if you think your father is a great father, it doesn’t matter how you measure that, and whether there is a relative difference in my definition or yours. In other words, it’s a very personal determination.

On that scale, no one can argue with me when I say that my father is a great father. He is, by definition. Of course, I can give you specific points and examples of why I feel this way, but it’s totally unnecessary.

Instead, I’d like to take the time to discuss something that is a tad more objective, namely the fact that my father is also a great man. Many people may believe that their father is a great man as well, but in most cases, it will be laughable when looked at relative to others’ definition of great men. Here’s my attempt to hold my father up to that light.

My father’s life was shaped at the young age of 14. That might be true for a lot of people, but typically, their lives are shaped by something meaningful to them, but subtle to others. My father was shaped by events known to the world. He was raised in an orthodox religious family, and was destined to spend his life studying the bible and living in a very closed community. At the same time, Great Britain was tightening its grip on Israel (where my father was born and raised), Arabs were attacking Jews, and an underground movement sprang up to fight back and try to gain independence for a new State of Israel.

Given my father’s upbringing, most kids in his position would have ignored the turmoil, and continued to obey their father, and study the bible, ignoring worldly conflicts. Instead, my father felt an overwhelming need to help his fellow citizens to free themselves from foreign rule. He left his parents’ house at 14-years-old for good, and joined the underground movement called the Irgun. While spelled slightly differently from the way we spell our name today, he is listed on this page, he is the second of the two people listed with the nickname “Gad”.

Over the next few years, he lived an unimaginably difficult life, in constant danger, with no stability of any kind. This would be difficult enough for an adult, but he was still a sheltered teenager. I guess the word sheltered isn’t really accurate, as he obviously had to grow up instantly. My father can’t bend one of his thumbs, since a bullet went through the knuckle. He has a deep gash on one of his legs where the shrapnel from an explosion ripped off chunks of his leg. High School isn’t that tough for most of us…

At one point, he was the most wanted criminal by the British. While he was still number one or very high on that list, he was captured by the British and put in jail. He was sure that he would be executed. The next morning, they let him out without ever realizing who they had rounded up the night before. I guess having a baby face came in handy that time. 🙂

My father has many such stories from the 1940’s, and has actually written a number of short stories (back then) about his experiences. One of them was titled “Seventeen on a Jeep”, about an escape from an Arab stronghold with literally 17 people crammed into and on top of a single Jeep.

My father met my mother in the underground and when Israel finally won Independence in 1948, both served in the first official Army.

In 1955 they were sent to Australia to head the Zionist summer youth camps as part of the Betar movement. They spent two years there, and I was conceived and born there. Here is a picture of my father and my sister, in 1955, in Australia:

Elazar and Liora Pedhazur

We returned to Israel when I was one year old (I have no memories of Australia, but my parents and sister loved it!). 18 months later, they were assigned to head the Betar summer camp in New York and we moved to NYC when I was 2.5 years old.

At the time, my father was 31 and had two children. He didn’t even have a formal High School education, but he loved to read and study and had a deep appreciation for education. Since his official duties only occurred during the summer, he taught Hebrew the rest of the year in order to pay the rent. At the same time, he enrolled in New York University Undergraduate, and took all of his classes at night and on weekends. While working full-time and raising two children, he graduated with honors.

He immediately enrolled in night school at NYU and completed a Masters in Psychology. After graduating with honors, he immediately enrolled in the PhD program, and received his PhD in Psychology from NYU as well. Immediately upon finishing that degree, he was offered a professorship at NYU in the graduate Psychology department.

In 1976 he won The Alumni Great Teacher Award (page 19 of the PDF, or search for Pedhazur). This is an award normally given to soon-to-be-retired professors, in recognition of a lifetime of achievement. It is relatively rare for someone as young as my father (he was 48) to win the award. He won it again shortly before he retired, making him a rare two-time winner.

Along the way, he wrote a number of seminal textbooks in his field of Research and Design. Here is an Amazon page of three of them. Students of his still contact him to this day. He touched many of them deeply, in many ways.

A quick side-story. When he was teaching Hebrew, all of the teachers were called in to take an exam one day. Ten minutes after the exam booklets were handed out, my father turned his in and left. All of the other teachers stared at him in disbelief, as there was no way he could have completed the exam that quickly. They toiled for another hour or more, and then found out what my father found out earlier. The last page of the exam booklet said “It’s not necessary to complete the exam, feel free to turn in your booklet at any time!”. My father was the only teacher who bothered to look through the entire exam instructions and booklet before beginning to work on the “problems”.

He was (and is) an extremely moral and ethical person. Given his reputation in his field, he was sought out frequently to lead research studies. The people attempting to hire him knew that if a study was published with his name on it, it would be instantly trusted. 99% of the time he rejected these offers, even when they were lucrative, because the premise behind the study was often flawed. He would explain that, and when they would respond “It doesn’t matter, we’ll pay you anyway”, he would run for the hills. Given how modestly we lived, I often had trouble understanding “running away from money”, but I understand it completely now!

I could go on and on telling stories about my father, and continuing to praise his amazing achievements. None of that would change the points made above. He is a man who has sacrificed of himself in nearly every interaction he has ever had with others. First, for his country (which wasn’t even officially a “Country” at the time). Then for his fellow Zionists. Then for his family. Then for his students. Now for the people who live in his apartment building (no, I’m not kidding). He is a giver. All he asks for in return is respect and civility.

A warrior by necessity, a scholar by choice.

Happy Father’s Day Dad!

June Poker Roll Continues, with a Twist :-)

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So, I last posted on June 4th, and things were going swimmingly. I played a bit on the 5th, 6th, 8th, 9th and 10th as well. On all but the 10th, I lost. This was predicted. I lost every single Omaha Hi-Lo game I entered on those days (not including the 10th). I came 3rd two times in Hold’Em SnG’s, which were my only 2 cashes in those 4 days of playing.

I was actually quite pleased with my play in the Omaha games, even though none of them worked out. In one, I was knocked out in 11th place, and they paid top 10, so that was frustratingly close, but still a good statistical result…

I was making some tough decisions, that ended up (mostly) being correct (decisions), even though the results weren’t always the ones I would have hoped for. When you get outdrawn as a big favorite, most often, you made the right decision to get your chips in. Not always, but most often.

Total for the 4-day down period: -$126.55 🙁

Then we come to yesterday. I played in 4 tournaments in total. First one was an $11 Hold’Em multi-table with 68 entrants, paying top 8. I rarely play in these types of tourneys. I ran into possibly the biggest maniac I have ever played against, and he was two to my left (which isn’t a bad place to have a maniac playing, as you can be sure they’ll raise you with crap, and call your raises with crap).

He was hitting the craziest hands. On one, he went all-in with 23 off suit (yes, that’s a 2 and a 3, not suited). He was called, and on the flop there was a 3, and the river was another 3, giving him three of a kind, and the win. Just one example of many. So, when I got AA, I didn’t hesitate to raise. Very astute players would have noticed that this was the first hand I raised all tournament, and might have folded. All the other players at the table folded, but the maniac called.

Flop came 689 rainbow. A touch scary for me, given the kind of hands he’s called with already. But, I was committed, knowing he was an idiot, that if he got lucky, that was my bad luck. I bet, he raised, I re-raised all-in, he called. He had Q6 off suit. So, he raised me with bottom pair. Of course, a Q or a 6 on the turn or river, and I was toast. Neither came, and I doubled up.

He continued his wild play, and continued to mow people down with insanely bad hands. At one point he was up to 15000 chips, when the second place player had 7000. In other words, he had a monster chip lead. Unfortunately, before I could double through him again, he was moved to another table. I had one opportunity to double through him (and even wipe another player out, nearly tripling) but I chickened out when an A came on the flop to my pair of 10’s in the hole, he had 5’s and overplayed them, surprise!

I had a strong suspicion that he wouldn’t finish in the money, but it seemed inconceivable, given his massive chip lead. I’ve already spent way too much time on this story, since it isn’t the great one of the day, so I’ll cut to the chase. He finished 11th. That was 3 out of the money, but 1 away from the final table. Poor guy…

I finished 7th, one better than last in the money. I got back $40 for my $11. Not too shabby, and very happy to get a cash in a multi-table Hold’Em against strong competition. It had been a while!

Simultaneous to this, I played in a $1.10 tourney which was a qualifier for the nightly $22 Omaha Hi-Lo tourney. In other words, the top prizes in this tourney paid the entry fee for you into the nightly tournament. I rarely get to play in these qualifiers, since they are during the day (when I am often pretending to work) 😉 but this being a weekend, I gave it a shot.

I rarely win these qualifiers, because they are unlimited rebuy and add-on tourneys. I refuse to rebuy too many times because that defeats the purpose of trying to win a cheap entry fee, and others don’t mind rebuying many times, so they can play ultra aggressive poker, since they have no fear of busting out. Eventually, they get lucky, apparently usually against me. 😉

This time, I didn’t rebuy at all, but did a double add-on, so I invested a total of $3.10 in the tourney. I came in 3rd, and the top 7 all got free entries into the nightly tourney.

Before the nightly tourney, I played in a $5.50 Omaha Hi-Lo with 82 entrants, paying top 10. I played well, but fizzled in the end. I finished 10th, and got back $10.25. No complaints, a cash is a cash. 🙂

Now the biggie, my free $22 Omaha Hi-Lo, my regular tourney, in which my nemesis was also playing. 🙂

In the second hand of the tourney, I was faced with a decision for all of my chips! Two guys before me were all-in after the turn. The board was 3-4-J-Q with 2 diamonds. I had the A and 8 of diamonds, so I had the nut flush draw. I also had a 2 in my hands, so I had the nut low draw as well. Also, if a 5 came, not only would I have the nut low, but I’d have a straight and would likely have the high as well. Finally, my fourth card was a K, so a 10 would give me the nut straight for a high as well. In other words, I had a monster draw.

Typically, this early in a tournament, especially a big one, with big prizes, I would fold like a little girl (no offense to little girls). 😉 Given the decisions I have been making lately (even though most haven’t worked out), I thought for a while, and I called the all-in. The river card was the 6 of diamonds, giving me the nut low and the nut high. One of the guys was out, and the other was left with 485 chips. I had 3795 chips and was in second place.

Needless to say, the guy with 485 chips berated me for being an idiot, and that this had to be my first tourney ever, etc. He had a few people chime in sympathetically agreeing with him that I didn’t know what I was doing, etc. Unfortunately for him, two hands later, he was out of the tourney, and he bitched a little more as an observer before shutting up and packing it in.

I stayed in the 3200-3800 range forever, drifting from 2nd to 10th along the way as others accumulated chips and passed me. Eventually, we got down from 82 players (top 10 get paid) to 30. This is where it gets really serious. Low stacks either play scared, hoping for 10th, or ultra-aggressive, realizing that this is their only serious chance. It’s important to notice which type each player is. Until pretty recently, I was the former, always trying to squeak in to the money rather than playing boldly.

This time, I wasn’t a short stack. In fact, when there were 20 players left, I had roughly 9000 chips, and was in 8th place. I certainly couldn’t guarantee getting into the money, but if I didn’t take stupid chances, it was more than likely I’d make it.

The guy two to my right for quite a while was the chip leader for a good portion of the tourney, and was reasonably aggressive. He was making a classic mistake of some chip leaders, and that is playing nearly every hand. They figure that if no one is raising pre-flop, they may as well see as many flops as they can, since they have the chips to do so, and if they get lucky, they have the chips to push people around.

Unfortunately, in Omaha Hi-Lo, it’s really easy to get second best hands which look good, and when you’ve got the chips, it’s a lot harder to lay them down, since you want people to know you can’t be bullied. So, his chips started to slide. In a 10 minute period, he went for over 12000 chips, to roughly 6200. At that time, I had 7500 chips.

We ended up in a hand heads up. I had A28T. At the turn the board was 34QK. He raised the max, which left him with 385 chips. I had him covered, so that if I lost, after his final bet on the river, I’d have only 1300 chips left (not a great amount at this point in the tourney). There were 17 of us left. I was still in a good spot to get into the money, but if I folded here, I would have had about 5200 chips left (in other words, I already had about 2300 chips in this pot). I thought for a while, and figured that he had to have a high hand already. Given his previous betting patterns, I didn’t think he even had a low draw.

It was a tough position to be in, given that if I didn’t hit my low, or a J for a straight, I would need extraordinary luck to make the money. On the other hand, if I won, I would have a shot at winning the tourney, and we all know that I rarely make those decisions in favor of going for it. This time, I decided to call. The miracle river card of a 5 gave me the nut low and a straight, so I scooped the pot, and I had over 13500 chips, and he was out in 17th. I read him correctly, as he had QQJ9, for a set of Q’s with no low draw.

While people at the table chuckled at his misfortune, at this stage of the tournament, people understand the type of call I made a little better, and I didn’t get any personal grief. The point of reporting it here is that I am never unaware of all of the good luck I get when I get it. I don’t attribute those two rivers in this tournament (the early 6 of diamonds, and the 5 in this hand) to my brilliancy, but rather to great luck. I am just pleased that I had the guts to risk my tournament life (for a change) in both those situations.

I was now in 4th place with 16 left. The rest of the tourney was interesting as well, and a real battle of ups and downs. In the end, I came 3rd, and got pretty darn unlucky (with no complaints about luck in this tourney!) to lose my last hand. 3rd was worth $245! That meant that I was 4 for 4 in tourneys yesterday in terms of cashing. Also, I ended up only paying $3 to win that $245, since I got in to this one from the earlier qualifier.

Revised total for June is now: +$493.07

Once again, I don’t have any illusions that this can’t be lost back, but, now that we’re down at Zope for 2 weeks, I won’t have quite as much time on my hands to shovel it back in as quickly as if I was home. 🙂

Change of plans today…

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On a nice day today, our power up at the house went out about at about 11:50am. If it was going to happen, the timing turned out to be not so bad.

I was playing a little poker a little earlier, and was the short stack with 7 people left in a 1-table SnG. I was dealt a pair of 7’s and pushed all 415 of my chips in the middle. The button called, and the blinds both folded. The button had K8 of spades. Basically, a really stupid call on his part, but he definitely had the chips to afford it, so he did it.

He caught an 8 on the river, of course, and I was out. The power went out 2 minutes later. So, had I hit the hand, and had 920 chips, I would have been much more annoyed at losing by being cut off, than by losing to bad luck, seriously.

After checking with a neighbor, whose power was out too, I called ConEd. After reporting the problem, I received an automated call that the power would be back on by 4pm. What to do without any Internet connectivity? 😉

We both started reading for a while (how quaint). But, given that we’re both always exhausted, we both ended up napping for a while. I never do that (even when I know I will enjoy it), but Lois often can’t keep her head up on weekends, since she sleeps even more poorly than I do.

The power came on at 3:50pm, 10 minutes before predicted, and exactly 4 hours after it went off…

I have two 18-year-old APC UPS devices. They each weigh something like 3 tons (OK, not quite that much, but you wouldn’t want to lift either one). One of them barely holds a charge when the power goes out, but nothing critical is connected to it. The other one still works well, this many years later. I have my Asterisk machine connected to it. Basically, most of our power outages last a few minutes at most, and I don’t want the machine to reboot unnecessarily.

Here’s the part that I can’t explain. The machine stayed up the entire 4 hours. However, after the power came back up, and I was able to make a call (so the machine was in a good state!), it somehow lost it’s mind. It was still up, but no longer serving up anything (not even pingable). It rebooted cleanly, and is working perfectly again, but I can’t explain the behavior. I run it headless, so I couldn’t easily see any error messages, and didn’t care enough to connect a monitor, etc.

Anyway, we’re back to normal, and thankful for the little things, like a fan and a microwave. 🙂

June Poker Roll Continues :-)

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OK, like I said, I can’t resist sharing while the good times are rolling.

I started the day with a $1 (OK, those are really $1.10, but I’ve been rounding in my previous reports) 😉 Omaha Hi-Lo. I play those for fun, since even first place is under $100. Prizes are just as good percentage-wise, just not in absolute value.

What I like about these is that it’s a good time to hone skills against bad players. What I mean is that most people are playing like it’s a freeroll, so they play much more loosely. After all, who is afraid to lose $1. I try hard to treat it as a very expensive tourney, and see if I can adjust my style to work against that loose play. It rarely works, but it’s fun. I have come in the money at least once, but like I said, it’s rare…

Then I played in the $11 Omaha Hi-Lo that I won on Saturday. I finished 30th out of 80. Not that good in other words…

Then I played in another $1.10 Omaha Hi-Lo, which was a qualifier for the nightly $22 one. I rarely play in that one, but I had a chance to today. I was doing fine, then I got unlucky and it was all over. No complaints.

Then I entered a $5.50 Omaha Hi-Lo. I was doing really well. There were 20 players left, and I was in 7th. I ended up in a hand where I flopped a set, the other guy bet, and I called. On the turn, I improved to a full house. He bet, and I called. River looked like it might end up giving us a split, making a possible low for him. He went all-in, I called. The river gave him a higher full house, so I lost. A few hands later, I was out in 20th. They only paid the top 10. Oh well…

Then I entered the regular $22 Omaha Hi-Lo evening tourney. Ironically, my nemesis didn’t enter tonight, which is pretty rare, and he did log on later on, so he was likely just running a little late.

79 players, top 10 got paid. I had solid cards and played them reasonably well tonight. When I built a nice stack I got a little too conservative. It didn’t hurt me tonight, but it could easily have done so. On one hand, I chose not to risk my stack after I limped and someone with a much smaller stack raised big, and another one called. I would have flopped a set of J’s, and improved to 4 Jacks, and knocked them both out and had a monster stack. Like I said, tonight it didn’t hurt me.

Long story short, I finished 4th. Since there were fewer players than yesterday, I didn’t make substantially more than I did for my 6th yesterday, but I’m not complaining. I got back $158 for my $22. Woo hoo.

Winnings for the day: +$116.04. Winnings for the month: +$342.15

If the roll ends, or I don’t get to play for any reason, I likely won’t write about it. Not because of any shame, but rather I’ve learned that no one likes bad beat stories, and certainly no one wants to hear didn’t get to play stories either. 😉

More Early June Poker Success :-)

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This one is very long, so if Poker stories aren’t of interest to you, quit now! 🙂

I can feel myself getting sucked in to more “frequent” poker updates, oh oh… I think it’s only because I’m in NY for a decent stretch, and finding a little more playing time than when we’re at Zope. One more week to go on this home stretch.

OK, so after I reported my nice win on Saturday night, I played in two additional tourneys that night. The first was my regular $22 Omaha Hi-Lo tourney, and I didn’t make the money there. Then I played in one Hold’Em SnG (Sit ‘N Go, which are the one-table tourneys) and lost $11. So, I gave back $32.40 of my previous winnings, as predicted. 😉

Yesterday, I started off playing in an Omaha Hi-Lo one-table tourney (they just introduced them on this site, and they were my favorite on my old site which stopped permitting US players). I bombed out there as well. Then I played in a $5.50 Omaha Hi-Lo. 81 entrants, paying top 10, and I bombed out in 14th. I honestly thought I’d make the money in that one, oh well…

Then I entered the regular $22 Omaha Hi-Lo tourney. 104 entrants, paying top 20. Before going into this specific tourney, permit me a little meandering on a side topic. There is a guy who regularly plays in this tournament (in fact, there are a lot of regulars). I consider him my nemesis. He has busted me out of three tournaments on or close to the bubble (very close to the money, in my case, missing by 1-3 places…).

I consider him to be a terrible player, and worse, he’s so slow as to be maddening. That said, I’ve learned that many players who I consider to be terrible, and often lucky, are actually not that bad, and maybe even good, they just have a style that doesn’t work for me personally. To be specific, some players are more than willing to bomb out frequently, as long as the same strategy produces top three finishes with some regularity. On that score, he can’t be a bad player, because he finishes in the money more often than any random measure would predict.

OK, back to our tourney from last night. Since we play in the same one together often, I usually keep his table open at the same time that I’m playing mine, so I can get a feel for how he’s playing and doing at the moment. Last night, he doubled up on the first or second hand, and remained strong for quite a while.

I started off a little slowly, because there were two maniacs at my table. They can be a great source of chips, but can also easily be the source of a very early exit. After settling in, I caught a few good hands, and was able to triple my chips from the original 1500 to 4700. What some people call all-in bets with is just incredible.

I then did something that is completely uncharacteristic for me. I limped in with A25J off suit. The maniac to my immediate left raised to 225. Given my chip stack, I fully intended to call that. The guy to his left went all-in for a total of 545. I intended to call that too. The second maniac called the 545, and so did I. The maniac to my left raised all-in, to 1445, instead of just calling. The second maniac went all-in for a total of 2140. Previous to Saturday’s win, and if I didn’t have a nice big chip stack, I definitely would have folded. Instead, I called. I figured that unless I got really lucky, I would perhaps get a quarter of the pot by splitting the low. Unfortunately, there was no low, and the second maniac scooped the entire pot, and ended up with over 6000 chips. I ended up at 2800 (still a nice stack, but nothing like the 9000 I would have had if I had been the scooper of the pot).

The first maniac who started it all was out. The guy who won the pot (with a very lucky hand, since he had no shot at a low if it materialized!) ended up winning a bunch more pots and was the overwhelming chip leader for much of the tournament. He made the money (which surprised me a drop), but ended up 18th or 19th, which basically got him his money back.

I ended up drifting in the 2400-2800 range for a very long time. Meanwhile, at the other table, my nemesis was drifting between 4000-5000, so he was doing better than me.

We finally got down to 30 players, and were 10 away from the money. The prize structure in most tournaments is highly skewed toward the top three payoffs (as it should be), and when they pay more than 10 places, payoffs above 10 are often barely more than you put in to begin with. This one was no different. Prizes for 11-20 were $24.20, for an original investment of $22. Better than losing, but nothing to crow about.

I was in a position where making the money was not guaranteed, but I had a good shot. I think I was in 14th when there were 30 of us. Not safe enough to be aggressive, or, ironically, too passive, but enough to be able to play cautiously and wait for some good hands. I ended up making the money reasonably easily. My nemesis did too, but he had some scares along the way, and was no longer in a strong chip position.

When we were down to 14 players, I was in 12th, and was pretty darn weak (in terms of chips). I really didn’t think I would make the next cut. 10th paid $48, so nearly twice what 11th paid. Lucky for me, the two times that I had hands that might have held up with my all-in bets, everyone folded, and that gave me enough chips to survive another couple of rounds of blinds.

Finally, someone bombed out in 11th, and I was at the final table. I think I was in 9th at the time. If I could survive one position, I would get $73 instead of $48. A few hands later, that happened. Then one other guy bombed out and I was in 7th (second to last) chip position, but now I was guaranteed at least $97. Then I got a very nice hand. My nemesis was in last position (his luck in making the final table was exceptional, again, but at least not against me this time!). He was in the big blind. I decided to limp in, under the gun (UTG).

Everyone folded, which was surprising given how few chips I had (I couldn’t have busted any of them), but I guess that I had played so tight for a while that it was a suspicious limp. My nemesis called. Flop wasn’t great for me, but it wasn’t awful either. The turn card appeared to be good for me. He went all-in, and I thought that I had him for sure. I called. It turned out that my good card was his great card, in that it gave him a straight. There was no low (I ended up with three Aces, not bad either), but I lost. Now he was “healthy”, and I had $2115 left, and the big blind was $2000. Oops.

Anyway, when I was the big blind, only the small blind raised, and I called, and won. Then I won two more in a row (in all three cases, I had the best hand before the flop, and after, so I was lucky in that I was dealt good cards, but not lucky that I won hands where I was an underdog). A few hands later, I won one more, and I was in 4th place with 8 still left!

Now I’ll cut to the chase, I got a little unlucky, but I can’t complain whatsoever (obviously), and I finished in 6th, and got $146.40 back. The guy who was in 8th with 8 left ended up winning the tourney, as he won something like 8 hands in a row to climb into third. He won $652, to put the skew into perspective!

Again, I am not complaining. It was a very satisfying tournament, and I think elevated my game a drop. Oh yeah, and I also finished 2 places ahead of my nemesis, so no complaints there either. 😉

New total for June is: +$226.11. Again, no illusions that this will last, but enjoying it while I can. 🙂

Early June Poker Success :-)

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OK, I really can’t wait until the end of the month to write this report. Not so much because I want to brag, but more because I have every expectation that I will lose it back, and the drama won’t be there when all is said and done. 😉

So, June has only had two days so far, but I’ve had a lot of play already. I was up late last night, and I have played a number of tourneys today as well. Here’s the rundown.

Started off with a $1 Omaha Hi Lo and lost. Darn. Played an $11 Omaha Hi Lo and lost. $11 Hold’Em tourney and lost. Great start to the month, as I was now down $22.68. Then I entered a $6.50 Omaha Hi Lo last night with 303 people in it. I finished 21st, and got back $12.19 for it. Not a big return, but an excellent finish percentage-wise. End of “first day” total: -$16.99.

First tourney this morning was a $5.50 Hold’Em that I lost. Second was a $5.50 tourney that was a qualifier for a $200K tourney tomorrow. Only top spot paid the entry fee, but they also paid prizes for the next seven places. There were 25 players, but it was a “rebuy” and “add-on” tourney, so when people bust out, they can buy more chips and stay in. So, it’s like playing against a lot more people. I didn’t rebuy (meaning, I played just with my original chips, then I did the one add-on). So, my total investment was $10.50. Most other players put in more, some much more. I finished 4th, and got back $31.50. Not too shabby.

Then I noticed an Omaha tourney starting in two minutes, which had an $11 buy-in. I quickly registered. On the second hand, I had the nut low, and ended up all in. Oops, it turned out to be an Omaha High Only tournament, so my low was worthless! So much for rushing to register. I was out in 3 minutes, and lost my $11, all due to my own stupidity…

Now the good one. 🙂

Entered an Omaha Hi Lo (yes, I verified the “Lo” part this time). 54 entrants, each paying $11. Prize money to top 8. Long story, but it was a little bit of a struggle, because one guy hit practically every single river, one with a miracle card, and I ended up staying out of his way, even when I had hands that likely would have beaten him. It was hard to lay some of those hands down, but he was a real luck box.

Long story short, he was an overwhelming chip leader, but eventually busted out in 4th. I ended up winning the tourney! It’s been a very long time since I’ve had this kind of result. I’ve won this much money recently (twice in fact), but in higher entry fee tourneys, where I came 3rd and 4th respectively. Today, I came first, and got back $162.00 for my $11. 🙂

I am now up $149.91 for the month. As you might recall from my most recent entry, I was up $140 last month as well, so I am not bragging that this will be a good month, simply sharing that I had some good results yesterday and today (even though I lost money yesterday!).