Poker

Bad Result in Sunday Tourney

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I shouldn’t even bother posting. The only good news is that it didn’t drag on that long, and torture me with a “near the money” finish, like last time… Here are my notes:

871 entrants, top 90 get paid

820 left, in 232nd
815 left, in 135th
774 left, in 143rd
683 left, in 243rd
579 left, in 385th

Lost two hands with JJ, which in one, I flopped a set. So
far, not really going my way… I folded both to very large
bets, the second one with both a flush and straight
possibilities on the board. So, I’m still alive, but far
from healthy. I will need to take some chances to survive…

542 left, in 455th

Finished in 476th. Lost a “race”. I had 55, was called by
someone with AJo, A came on flop, game over…

Bad result in Sunday Big Tourney on 9/2/2007

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No narrative necessary. Here is the log from my notes from today’s tourney, the first one in over a month that I got to play in…

846 entrants, top 90 paid

800 left in 11th
723 left in 35th
677 left in 56th
631 left in 26th
523 left in 13th
399 left in 283rd (I played one hand really badly!!!)
326 left in 269th
255 left in 114th (I got wildly lucky, thankfully!)
216 left in 110th
163 left in 138th (folded one hand I should have played!)
142 left in 133rd (folded another winner…)
134 left in 107th (won an all-in)
128 left in 117th

38 to go to the money, it’s going to be really tight!

118 left in 100th
103 left in 99th

13 left to the money, not looking great…

Had a tough choice, and I asked Lois what do. There were 97
people left (7 to go), and I was extremely low on chips.
Someone went all-in. I had JJ. I knew that I was likely a
slight favorite, but if I lost, I was out of the money. If I
won, I would definitely be able to make the money.

Lois said “Go for it”. I did. He had AQ. An A came on the
flop, and I was out in 96th. Oh well. So close, and yet, so
far!

I misplayed one hand very badly, and then got a little
tentative in two hands that would have won as well. In other
words, I truly didn’t deserve to make the money, even though
I came really close…

Independently, I came third in an Omaha Hi-Lo last night, and third again in the same tourney today, so I’m up for the month (since I won the entry into the big one in August, so there was zero cost to play it in September).

So, in truth, I can’t really complain. 🙂

August 2007 Poker Update

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Another month, a ton more poker played. 🙂

The month started off OK with 5 days of poker generating $70 of profit. Then a trip to Zope made for zero poker played for the next 5 days (until the weekend). For the next few weeks, I was really busy on weekends, and while at Zope, had no time to play during the week either.

When I got back to NY mid-month, I got to play during the week, but weekends were still busy until the end of the month.

I started losing in dramatic fashion for a few weeks in a row. I made a few bone-headed moves, that I knew were bone-headed moves when I made them (a little out of frustration, and a little out of feeling that my luck just had to change, which is a different form of frustration). That said, for the most part, I believe I was playing as well if not better than I did in July (when I was winning a ton), and I was just wildly unlucky on more rivers than I can remember in recent history. As they say, if you get all of your money in with much the best of it (meaning, not 50/50 races), then you’re playing well and doing your job.

So, with the exception of the few bone-headed moves, I really shook off the bad beats (better than I ever have before), and I plowed on, playing the same way. I was surprised that I was able to handle the slide as well as I did (psychologically), but I have to admit that a huge part of it is that my account is so healthy, that I knew that even if the slide continued for months, I still wouldn’t have to put any new money in my account, and I could continue to play with confidence. There’s nothing like a healthy account (bank, brokerage, poker, etc.) to keep your decisions on track.

At the peak of the bad streak, I was down $354! Not a good thing, but truly nothing compared to my July win.

Then, with nothing changed on my part, but with fewer river beats, my results started changing, and dramatically at that. In addition, on at least 3 occasions, I was the one with the lucky river, handing someone else a bad beat. 😉

I started cashing frequently in Omaha Hi-Lo tourneys. There were many (some pretty small), but the highlights were a second that returned $343 (I won my entry into that tourney for $3). I was the chip leader when there were only 2 of us left, but I can’t complain. The day before, I finished fifth in the same tourney (also won my entry), and got back $131 for my $3.

Bottom line, I ended up $74 for the month (after hitting up $119 mid-week). I’m pretty happy with the turnaround, and with the fact that I didn’t get frustrated and start playing too stupidly.

Sounds like a reasonable month, given how badly it went in the middle. Well, it was actually a much better month than the “bottom line” implies. As I noted in a non-poker post, I was unable to play in any of the big Sunday tourneys in August. I was busy at 5pm (booked in advance) on every single Sunday. While I played a few qualifiers this month (because you can unregister and use the Tournament Dollars [TDs] for a future entry). I lost them all.

This week, I am available to play (tomorrow). It won’t be August, but the qualifiers played this past week are part of my August results. I played in two qualifiers this week. I won a seat in both! That means that in addition to playing in the big one tomorrow, I had enough TDs to play in a future Sunday big one of my choice, without having to play in another qualifier. Each was worth $215, and they are not included in my results for August. In fact, they both show up as losses, so I’m negative $46 for those two entry fees. To be consistent with previous accounting (and I’m comfy with that decision), any winnings in future tourneys with these TDs will be free money.

In addition to that, I’ve won quite a number of qualifiers to my nightly 7pm Omaha Hi-Lo (I had a really good streak), and used one of them on Monday night (that I had won on Saturday!) to win the afore-mentioned $343!

The point is, that this month turned around a lot more than just -$354 to +$74.

So, another month with a positive cash-flow in poker, therefore another happy month. 🙂

A very Wicked Sunday :-)

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If you read my last post, you know that the highlight of yesterday was going to see Wicked for our fifth time. In addition to that specific highlight, the day turned out to be spectacular in a number of other ways. Therefore, this post will likely be very long, and I apologize if you’re only tuning in to hear what we thought of the two leads in Wicked. You can either search or skim to find out the $64k answer to that question. 😉

Amazingly enough, I have checked off every single category that I have previously used in this one post. Well, it’s only amazing because there is something about each category in this post. Clearly, I could just check them all off every time if I felt like it. 😉

We debated going in on Saturday night, but that decision ended up being made for us when I won a free entry into the nightly 7pm Omaha Hi-Lo tourney, which I played in the house. Since we’re less than a week away from the monthly poker update, I’ll just say that I came 10th (they paid the top 10 only), so it was a “good” result, but economically, far from first place (first was 15 times larger than the prize I won!). Also, because of Wicked on Sunday, this was going to be the fourth straight week that I would not be around to even try and play in the big Sunday weekly tourney. OK, that accounts for the Poker and Gambling categories being in this one.

When we woke up on Sunday, we both checked email on our Treos, and neither of us turned on our laptops. When we got home, we didn’t turn them on either. That made yesterday one of the only days in recent memory when we were in NY, didn’t have company, and both of use chose not to log on the entire day. Not sure it ever happened before, but if so, it’s a rarity. That also meant that there was no poker played yesterday, which is also unusual for a day in NY without company, but not as rare as not logging on. So, this qualifies as being in the Computers, Poker and Gambling categories.

We drove in on the early side, straight to the apartment. On the way, we listened to the latest CD from Girlyman (previously reviewed here) Joyful Sign, and loved it the entire way in. Shortly after arriving at the apartment, I went on my 8+ mile walk around the city. The weather was nearly perfect. 100% cloud cover (the sun didn’t even peek out for a second), and not too hot or too humid. Ten degrees cooler and it would have been perfect. My typical time (average would be a misnomer here) is 2 hours and 15 minutes. Yesterday it took me only 2 hours and 5 minutes, so the cool weather helped. Of course, I listened to my iPod the entire way, and it didn’t freeze this time, adding to the nice day. This qualifies for adding Music as a category, and of course, the entire post qualifies for Personal.

After a shower, we relaxed and watch Friday night’s episode of Monk (on the DVR). We always love Monk, but this episode was weak in comparison to most. We still enjoyed it, but aside from sharing with you what we did the entire day, it also qualified as one of only two things during the day that also correctly put this post into the Frustration category.

We debated what to do about lunch. Both of us were hungry enough to do a big meal, but after the gorging that we did last weekend, we were both glad to have slowed down this week (amazingly, I lost all of the weight I gained last weekend!). So, we also didn’t want to go too crazy. We finally decided to go to the Palm, across from the theater, but not over do it. Yeah, right. 😉

We got to the theater, picked up our tickets at the Will Call, and crossed the street, only to find out that the Palm doesn’t open for lunch on Sundays. Perhaps they don’t open for dinner either, but a passerby told us they did, so they might. Marginally disappointed, we decided to find another restaurant. I spotted an Applebees 1/2 a block away on Broadway and 50th. We decided to head there. Serendipitously, when we got to the corner, I spotted the other Ruby Foos on the corner of Broadway and 49th. I previously blogged about how great Ruby Foos is, though I’ve only eaten at the uptown one before. Clearly, we both felt that we were meant to eat there. 🙂

The menu is identical to the uptown location, and the decor is as well. The building itself uptown is two floors, so the layout inside is much more opulent, but there’s nothing wrong with this location. We both thoroughly enjoyed our meals. That’s not entirely true. Lois actually didn’t like the filler and sauce for her main dish, but we so enjoyed the calamari appetizer, that eating just the grilled shrimp and scallops off of the top of her dish was good enough. This paragraph qualifies for the Food and Dining categories.

At the end of the meal, our waitress asked us if we were going to see a show. When we told her it was Wicked, she said that she was really interested in seeing it, because whenever her sister comes to visit her in NYC, she goes. Her sister has seen it five times, but our waitress was working each time, and hasn’t gotten to go yet. Omens anyone? I mentioned to the waitress that we were about to catch up to her sister. 🙂

We strolled over to the theater, and were blown away by how good our seats were. It turns out that EE is actually the 4th row, not the 5th, as the AA row is only right and left orchestra. Essentially, the real orchestra is in row AA. 😉

Of course, the omen of EE (5-5) for our fifth time, wasn’t lost on me. 😉

We knew we would love the seats, and the performance, but we were both nervous about the abilities of the stars. I don’t want to turn this into a mystery novel, so I’ll dispense with the suspense. We knew within the first few notes that Glinda (played by Kendra Kassebaum) sang, that she was not going to cut it, by our standards. She has an excellent voice, but she doesn’t put it together for this role. Not even all that close. She’s by no means awful (like the understudy I wrote about), but it was passable, at best. OK, we still had anticipation of how Elphaba would sound.

She comes on in the second song, but doesn’t sing until the third. In the second song, it was obvious that Elphaba (played by Julia Murney) was an excellent actress. We were not disappointed in the acting of any of the previous leads (other than the understudy), but we typically sat much further back, so you don’t really appreciate facial expressions, etc. In fact, everything was far more interesting this close up, and I was painfully aware that it would be easy to get trapped into only wanting to see shows where the seats were this good. Given how much we’ve enjoyed so many other shows, and Wicked in particular, from much worse seats, that would be a real mistake!

Then we got to song #3, the first of many that showcase (or can) Elphaba’s talent and range, “The Wizard and I”. As with Glinda, it was obvious in the first few notes that Julia didn’t have it. She’s not bad either (though I believe that the raw vocal talent between the two lies in Kendra, not Julia). There are two problems with Julia’s voice:

  1. She can’t transition ranges smoothly. She might be able to sing in a particular range (high or low) reasonably well, but when she switches (which this role does frequently), her voice often cracks, or does something else that is less than stellar.
  2. She has no power, and when she pushed the notes that require it, I felt badly for her. Also, she couldn’t hit the highest of notes required by the role.

The last problem, though it was relatively minor, is that each of them brought their own special little styling or phrasing to their solos. None was over the top (as was the case with the oft-mentioned understudy), but it’s annoying nonetheless (I’ll expound momentarily on that theme). That said, one surprising positive note was that there was little fooling around when they sang harmonies together, and for the most part, it was pleasant and reasonably done, but most certainly not spine chilling!

The closest I’ve ever sat before yesterday was 22 rows back (so 18 rows further than yesterday). Lois had a single seat in row L once, when we bought an extra ticket for a surprise visitor from England. I sat with our other two friends in the balcony that day. Even in row L, which was only 12 rows further than yesterday, Lois says she saw so many new things from the close-up seats. That’s not a major statement though, since those of you who know Lois, know she’s essentially legally blind (no, for those of who don’t know Lois, that’s not a joke, or a crack at my wife). So, she was particularly thrilled to see things that I had easily seen before, even from far away. I think it made the performance magical for her, even though she felt the same way (if not even more critical) about the singing of the leads.

Now my exposition on styling and phrasing. Feel free to skip this rant, or the rest of the post, if all you came for was a review on this performance of Wicked. You’ve gotten that already. 😉

I completely understand (but don’t like!) when a musical group that has been around for ages gets tired of playing the hits in exactly the same way each and every day. From my perspective, it’s still incumbent upon them to deliver what their paying audiences expect, but at least I understand it.

In some cases, they have good reasons/excuses. Bruce Hornsby is now teamed with Ricky Skaggs. When they perform, it’s mostly a Bluegrass theme, and it gave Bruce the opportunity to update some of his big hits in a radical way, but perhaps still appreciated by the fans who came to hear Bluegrass!

For a different perspective, I always love to listen to the live version of Mr. Bojangles by David Bromberg. The song was written by Jerry Jeff Walker. As an aside, Lois and I attended a benefit in Austin, TX in May 2006, with a lot of famous people presenting and/or performing. One was Jerry Jeff, who sang Mr. Bojangles (wonderfully!), and we were about 15 feet away from him! David tells (in the middle of the song) how he and Jerry Jeff used to play the song together live every night (forever), and how he (David) never tired of it. On the other hand, Jerry Jeff did, and after they would perform it for the audience, they’d play it for themselves, and “do horrible things to it“, so I really do understand.

The other excuse/reason to muck with a song would be if you were playing it to the same audience frequently, and you might expect that they would appreciate hearing it differently.

Unfortunately, none of those situations applies to a Broadway play. The overwhelming majority of theater goers are seeing any given show for the first time (and likely only time for that show). Second, the cast didn’t write the songs, and rarely have been in a given role for that long, and shouldn’t have the need for artistic freedom with the piece. Not to mention that there is (or should be!) a director involved, ensuring the quality.

Theater goers should easily fall into one of three categories:

  1. Never seen or heard the show/music before. While you can argue that they might like the stylized version, or least not know or care about the difference, I doubt you could argue that they would like the original (often Tony-winning!) version any less.
  2. Been to the show. Well, they’re coming back for more. 😉 Unless they saw this specific cast, doing this specific stylized version, odds are that this group will be at least somewhat disappointed.
  3. Never been to the show, but listen to the CD. This might be the largest group, but certainly is second behind #1 if not. This group only knows the gold standard for how the music is meant to be sung. If they’ve listened to the CD more than once (or, in my case, over 1000 times, no exaggeration), they have no choice but to be disappointed. The correct version is imprinted on their brains. 😉

There must be thousands, if not 10’s of thousands of ultra-talented actors/singers out there who would kill for an opportunity to star in Wicked. Here’s why I simply can’t comprehend the way the show is being performed (and I’m sure there has to be something wrong with me, or my thought process):

For the auditions, tell people that they have to listen to the Original Cast CD 1000 times, and come back when they can sing it note for note. Only then, do you audition for the acting part of the role.

What could be simpler? No styling, no phrasing, no ad-libing of any kind. You can either nail the songs or you can’t. If not, then Next!

But, for some reason, perhaps that the Director is bored hearing the same show every day, they allow the improvisations to continue, and they continue to recruit sub-par singers…

OK, it’s finally off my chest (sort of). Both Lois and I are decidedly against seeing it again with these two ladies in the lead. Here’s hoping they get swapped out sooner rather than later. That said, both of us thoroughly enjoyed the experience yesterday, and got to concentrate on other aspects of the show, which were delightful from our up-front perspective. I’m still laughing at the woman who reviewed the story as weak, the sets as weak, and the singing as fantastic. Oh well, that’s what makes the world interesting. 🙂

So, is there a lesson learned here? Yes, trust YouTube! Seriously, it was obvious even from the really poor quality of the cell-phone made YouTube videos of both leads that this was not a role they could handle. The seats were too good, and everything else about the opportunity as it unfolded was awesome, that we really couldn’t pass it up. But, I know to trust my instincts in the future, and go with the force, Luke…

Both Fiyero and The Wizard were played by actors new to us in their respective roles. The Wizard is a character actor whom we’ve seen on TV hundreds of times! Both were outstanding, and added thoroughly to our enjoyment of the show.

The above obviously qualifies for both the Broadway and Music categories, thus rounding out all of my previous categories (with one exception, which I’ll get to next). Hopefully, it was obvious to you that the performances of the two leads was the second reason that this post qualified for the Frustration category…

If you needed any proof of why Lois and I are together after so many years, I’ll share an honest-to-goodness story from yesterday, which is not as uncommon as you might think. During the performance, I was thinking that if I were Bill Gates, I would rent out the theater on a Monday when it was dark, pay Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel (the two original leads, and both are on the Original Cast CD) to join the remainder of the current cast and chorus (or, if I really was Bill Gates, probably bring back the entire original cast for the night), and invite 2000 of my closest friends, to enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime good time.

At intermission, Lois turns to me and says: “Wouldn’t it be great if we were rich, and we could pay Stephen Schwartz (the creator of the Wicked Musical) to get Kristin and/or Katie Kate Reinders back together with Idina or Eden Mendoza Espinosa (thanks very much to Steph for correcting my hurried mistakes in the comment below!), for just one night, and invite all of our friends?”

Folks, I’m not kidding. We’re too alike for our own good. The difference between us is that Lois only wished to be rich enough to pull it off. I wished to have the kind of money Bill Gates has, so that pulling it off wouldn’t make a dent, or seem even a little unusual for me to do. 😉

I’m telling this next part out of order, because it is 100% inconsequential, other than it is a perfectly valid reason to tag this post with the final category, VoIP. 🙂 While I was out walking, Lois called my cell phone, something she rarely does. She let me know that she couldn’t dial out normally from the apartment, but had to add a prefix of “9”, which routes through our external VoIP provider (see, a legitimate use of the VoIP category). Turns out that calls routed through our house line (which is our default) were failing because the house router got a new dynamic address from Verizon FIOS that was not in the previous ranges, and the firewall at the apartment didn’t like the new address. Problem solved easily this morning…

So, you think you’re done reading? I beg to differ. Our day was not over yet, as this was about Sunday, not just Wicked. 😉

We went back to the apartment, packed up, and headed back to the house. On the way home, we listened to another Girlyman CD (Remember Who I am), and it too is excellent! Just as we were pulling in to our cul-de-sac, a car pulled in behind us. Our neighbors two doors down were coming home from the movies. We’re nuts about both of them (and their daughter), and even though we live 200 feet apart, we rarely get to spend quality time with them given each of our schedules.

So, after 10 seconds of schmoozing in the cul-de-sac, we unpacked our car and walked over to their house. We hung out for nearly 2 hours, and then got home and collapsed, watching two 1/2 hour comedies to unwind (both were hysterical), and then dropped off on the early side.

Finally, something not really related to Sunday. Aside from Wicked yesterday, which was a last minute thought, I have been unable to play in any of the weekly Sunday big tourneys in August so far. This has been marginally disappointing, given my excellent (if lucky) results in July. I did play in a number of qualifiers during the month, even knowing I couldn’t play that week, because you are permitted to unregister a seat, and get Tournament Dollars (TDs) which you can use to register into a future tournament. That said, since I knew I couldn’t play, I didn’t enter many qualifiers. I didn’t win the seat in any of them…

Today, while writing this blog, I decided to try my hand at a qualifier, given that I’m likely to be free (for the first time in a month!) this coming Sunday. I put up $15.50, and top three players out of 40 would win an entry. I came third, and won the seat! So, in the first try to win a seat in the first tournament that I can actually play in, for the least amount I could realistically spend to get in, I got the seat. Woo Hoo. Happy endings all around. 🙂

P.S. Even though this post is incredibly long, somehow, I feel that I’ve left out something important from yesterday. Oh well, I should have logged on last night after all. 😉

July 2007 Poker Summary

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So, I just finished the month on a reasonable high note, coming 3rd out of 108 players in an Omaha Hi-Lo tourney. I was the leader going in to the final table, and when there were 7 left, I was in last (one really bad hand, very poorly played on my part!). So, coming in 3rd was satisfying, even though I lost on the river on the last hand, or I could have gone further.

Last month, I abandoned (perhaps not forever) the summary by tournament type, etc. I’ll skip that this month too. In fact, this is going to be a really short update, since I’ve covered the highlights already. To repeat the biggest highlight: I won qualifiers for 4 of the big Sunday tournaments in this month. I cashed in 3 of the 4 tournaments, to the tune of $900, $900 and $419.

I peaked at up $1983 (as reported earlier). After the third in my last tourney of the month, I’m up $1980 for the month (I rounded up $.03). 😉 So, I hung on to all but $3 from my peak, over the past 2 weeks. Not too shabby!

As reported earlier, I gave back roughly $300 in a one week period after I peaked (so obviously, I won it back). At the time, I said that I would comment on my style changes, etc. That’s what I’ll close with this month.

After the second $900 cash, my account was flush, and I felt that I could do two things: take some more chances and play in some slightly bigger buy-in tournaments.

I did both. Ironically, while I splashed around a few more dollars in buy-ins (the largest was $38, so don’t think I went crazy), I lost most of them on truly bad beats. I’m not complaining, just saying that I was (generally speaking) holding my own in the larger tourneys, which I’d avoided before, simply because a losing streak could have crippled my account. Now it would barely make a dent. Well, it definitely dented the account, but I won it back. Whew.

Second was style. I decided to play a little looser. In fact, I played a little too loosely on occasion, and that cost me money as well. That said, it was a fantastic learning experience, as I definitely hit a couple of big hands that I never would have even been in, and I got to understand a little better the range of hands that other people raise with (given that often before, everyone, including me, folded to them, and playing looser, I sometimes got to see their hands).

While I don’t intend to become a loose player in general, or even as a rule, I see value in being able to do it on occasion, situationally, and it’s an addition to my game that has already served me reasonably well, and I expect it to continue to serve me.

Anyway, looking forward to continue learning. Alternatively, if I can’t learn (because of having a thick head), then I’ll gladly take some better luck, so that the account can keep growing. 🙂

Final Sunday July 2007 Poker Update

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Well, got to play a bit of poker this week, but it didn’t go so well. I will still wait until the end of the month (just two more days) to report more generally.

Yesterday, I played in a qualifier to get into the big one tonight. Ironically, we were supposed to have company with us in the city this weekend (as we were supposed to last weekend), and they got rained in at the Durham airport, so we came to the house yesterday morning. For $31, I won an entry into the big one tonight.

Here is my log from while I was playing:

1048 entrants top 110 paid

Only played one hand so far, and won.

1000 left, in 129th
966 left, in 205th
934 left, in 57th
889 left, in 92nd
796 left, in 21st
684 left, in 34th
585 left, in 66th
468 left, in 15th
378 left, in 25th
277 left, in 55th
268 left, in 2nd
220 left, in 10th
194 left, in 19th
153 left, in 35th
144 left, in 47th
135 left, in 53rd
124 left, in 67th
122 left, in 48th
118 left, in 42nd
112 left, in 48th
111 left, in 50th

ONE LEFT TO THE MONEY!

MADE THE MONEY!

109 left, I’m in 52nd

I played way too tight from the moment I was in 2nd. Obviously, this was one of the shots to get a major prize, not a minor one, but I admit that cashing at all was more important to me. Oh well. At least the game is officially on now, and I still have enough chips to try and get lucky with…

98 left, I’m in 50th

That was a step up in the money!

94 left, I’m in 53rd
84 left, I’m in 50th

That was a step up in the money!

80 left, I’m in 58th

That was a step up in the money!

Oh well. Lost a “race” hand, and I’m out in 79th, and got back $419. Not too shabby, cashing 3 out of 4 times in the big one. 🙂

Ironically, that wiped out most of my losses in the last two weeks. I’m near my peak for the month, but not quite there. That said, I am above where I was when I cashed in the big one 2 weeks ago, so that’s good enough for now. 🙂

July 2007 Poker Streak Finally Ends

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Oh well, it had to happen. I went a week without playing any poker while we were down at Zope. Then we had an unscheduled business meeting in NYC that was too important to miss, so we cut our trip to Zope short by a week. The side benefit was that I got to play poker this past week when I didn’t expect to.

In any event, I still didn’t expect to play in the big one yesterday, because our friends were going to stay with us over the weekend. In case you haven’t been paying attention to the news, there was a big steam pipe explosion in NYC last week, right near our apartment, so our friends wisely canceled their trip to NYC. That put us up at the house for the weekend, with poker on the agenda.

The day we found out that our friends weren’t coming, I played in a qualifier for the big one, and won a seat! It seemed like destiny that I would extend my 2 for 2 streak of cashing to 3 for 3.

I’ll just paste my notes in from the tourney and summarize at the bottom…

965 entrants, top 100 paid.

I was in 3rd after the first hand.

Had some extremely tough laydowns after that, which cost me some significant chips. In one hand, I know for sure I would have won. In the others, I don’t know, but I suspect that in at least one, I would have won.

So, in the meantime, I’m now not doing so hot, but it’s early.

Before this one started, I entered a $15 tourney at 3:30 that had 364 entrants, top 40 paid.

I had some horrid luck and with 290 left, I was something like 280th (or worse). I fought back tooth and nail, and just lost (at 6pm, an hour into the big tourney!), and came in 27th. It was only worth $30 back for my $15, but was very satisfying!

Now I can concentrate fully on the big one…

726 left I am in 624th
690 left I am in 598th
676 left I am in 646th (oops!)
670 left I am in 468th (better!) 🙂

Just went out in 589th, so finally, no money in the big one… There had to be a first one.

I was a very short stack. I had JcQs in the small blind. There were two limpers and I limped, and the big blind checked, so there were 4 of us. The flop came Qc8c4c. I had top pair and a decent flush draw, and I had only 900 chips left. I went all-in. I got called by a guy with Ac4c, so he flopped the nut flush. Oops for me. The next card was a club, so if someone else had called, with anything other than the Kc, I would have won, so it was a good calculated play, but it didn’t work this time. Oh well.

So here’s the bottom line on July. After the cash in the big one two weeks ago, I was ahead $1907. I had some interim successes during the past week, and while dipping below that number a few times, at one point I peaked at up $1983. After the disaster this weekend (meaning, not just losing the big one, but a number of other heart breakers), I am now only up $1685 for the month. Boo hoo. 🙂

Obviously, still a fantastic month. Of course, since I won my entry into the big one (value: $215), and won a number of other qualifiers as well (which I’ve since lost as well), the real value of my winnings is higher, it’s just that I’ve already lost back some of those winnings in the tournaments that I qualified for.

I’ll report again at the end of the month, with an analysis of my play, which is definitely changing in a material way (we’ll see whether for the better or not!).

July Poker Roll Continues :-)

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So, we drove from NY to VA today. Most of the ride was good and uneventful, until we hit Springfield, which was at a dead stop, as it often is… Took an extra 30 minutes to get to the hotel. All in all, I guess we can’t complain.

Spent a number of hours shopping and running errands. By the time we got back to the hotel, I was pooped. I had one hour left before the big weekly tournament. I nearly nodded off waiting for it to start, which didn’t bode well for the necessary concentration.

I guess I caught a second wind. 😉

813 entrants today, top 90 paid. I won my entry on July 4th, for a total of $15.50. I also played in two other qualifiers trying just to win the cash, which I came very close to doing in one (I may or may not report on that at month end). So, I really had a bit more invested in than just the $15.50.

There were really only 6 particularly interesting hands, though obviously a number of additional hands where I had to make some serious decisions. Here are the notes that I took in the order that they occurred:

  1. I had AA in early position, and I raised. The small blind thought for quite a while, then re-raised me all-in. I called (obviously). He had QQ. Flop came 3 spades. Neither of us had a spade. I knew, with 100% certainty, that the next two cards would both be spades. They were. We split the pot. Ouch!
  2. I had QQ in the small blind (200 invested). UTG raised. Another guy re-raised a lot. A third guy called the re-raise. I folded. It wasn’t that tough a decision, but it stunk to have that many people represent a hand when I had a real one, that was likely beat.
  3. Had TT in middle position. Someone in early position went all-in. I had him easily covered, but it would have cost me nearly 40% of my stack, and because I was in middle position, someone behind me could have forced me all in, so I folded. So did everyone else, so I have no idea whether I would have won or not.
  4. I had 88 on the button. At this point, I also had a nice stack. A short stack went all-in. I called. The small blind re-raised all-in which would have been for most, if not all of my chips. I folded. The original guy had AKo. The small blind had JJ. A K hit the flop, so the original guy tripled up. I would have lost my original call, and would have lost the rest of my chips to the J’s, so I’m glad he re-raised, and that I folded.
  5. There were roughly 150 players left (60 to go to the money), and I was in 88th. Technically, I was still “in the money”, but practically, I knew from experience that if I wasn’t willing to gamble a bit, I could easily bubble. I got AKh and raised. The same guy who re-raised all-in with J’s from the hand above (this was perhaps 15-20 hands later) raised all-in again, and this time had me well covered. Everyone folded. I called. He had 22 (a horrible play on his part!). That said, I was in trouble, as I still had to hit. A K came on the flop, and held up, and I doubled up. He still had a marginal stack, and played on tilt from then on. He hit some hands and built his stack way back up, and still blew up way out of the money.
  6. This was the critical hand. I had enough chips to definitely drift into the money. There were 92 players left (two to go to the money), and I had 11,000 chips, which probably put me at around 70. I had KK. I decided to risk it all, really hoping for no callers, and to just pick up the blinds. I went all-in and got called by a big stack. Three hands earlier, he called another all-in, and had AA. I was nervous that he had it again! He had AKo, and my K’s held up, and I doubled to 23,000 chips, which put me in 32nd place. Whew!

After that, I was somewhere between truly card dead, and having cards that were likely 2nd or 3rd best hands, but facing very big raises. So, I ended up folding practically every hand, and kept drifting higher and higher in position. At the same time, once people make the money, all small stacks typically go crazy, so they start dropping like flies.

Cutting to the chase, I finished in 40th, and got the same exact prize that I received for 38th last week, $900. Not too bad! Here is the “log” of my positions along the way.

Remain My Position
====== ===========
719 384
687 358
586 313
532 222
489 251
344 44
335 40
319 6
281 15
239 23
191 37
180 64
143 23
125 40
117 48
104 60
98 64
91 32

ONE FROM THE MONEY!

MADE THE MONEY! 🙂

78 38

Next step up in the money!

70 48

Next step up in the money!

58 54

Next step up in the money!

50 47

Next step up in the money!

40 40

Next step up in the money!

I have nearly zero chips, and I am now out in 40th, and got
the same prize again this week that I did last week! Woo
Hoo!

Here’s hoping to repeat this again (and again). That said, being at Zope this week will mean little chance to win an entry into next week’s tourney until the weekend, and I have to be back in NY for an important meeting over the weekend. I might need to skip this tourney next week. Bummer!

Just another July Poker update ;-)

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I had an all-day out-of-the-office meeting yesterday. When I got home, after catching up on emails, etc., I finally got to enter my nightly $22 Omaha Hi-Lo tourney. 95 entrants, top 10 paid.

I was holding my own for a while, and then when there were 40 players left, ran into some bad luck and became a very low stack. So, while I continued to play, I entered an $11 Hold’Em tourney with 160 entrants, paying top 20. I played in both for a while, and caught a nice break in the Omaha tourney and quadrupled my stack and became a medium stack (quite unexpectedly).

Cutting to the chase on that one, I finished 13th, and missed the money by 3. I likely could have squeaked in to 10th if I would have played overly-cautiously (not definitely though), but I am very glad that I played aggressively, and even though it didn’t work out, I believe I played correctly.

I have played in the $11 Hold’Em tourney at 8:15pm once before, same number of entrants, and I came 13th the first time (got back $16 for my $11). I got unlucky on the river in that one. Last night, reasonably early on, I caught a straight flush on the turn, and thankfully, someone else caught an A-high flush on that card as well. I won a big pot and was in 4th with roughly 120 players left.

Then a few new players were moved to our table, including perhaps the biggest maniac I’ve ever played with, who was two seats to my left (generally speaking, you’d like a maniac one or two seats to your left). A while ago, I wrote about another maniac (who ended up missing the money by one after being a giant chip leader), so I’m not 100% sure this guy was the biggest, but he was in the top two.

He was also wildly lucky (as was the other maniac, until he flamed out without making the money!). So, he quickly became the chip leader. Others at the table started verbally abusing how badly he was playing, and he was arrogant and defiant, pointing to his chip stack and telling them that they didn’t know how to play. He was awful. He was willing to go all-in on every hand, as long as he had an A (any A!). He would call other people’s all-in bets if he hit bottom pair with a hand like J3o!

Anyway, this meant having to have patience, which I was able to do, given that I had already built a nice chip stack before he showed up.

If I concentrate on his play, I could go on and on, so I’ll summarize. I raised with 77 in reasonably early position. He re-raised me and everyone else folded. If I called, I’d be pot committed, so the decision for me was fold or go all-in. Our goddaughter was hanging out with us, and I explained the situation (I had commented on the maniac a bunch already, so she and Lois both were aware of the background), and she said “Go for it!”. I would have missed the money if he called and I lost, as he was the chip leader.

I went all-in, and he called. He had one of his “better” hands, ATo. That is not a strong hand to call someone else’s all-in bet, but he was in second chip position at the time (he had 20,000 chips, and I had 7,500), so this particular call wasn’t that bad. My 7’s held up (one of the very rare times he didn’t hit the board!). I had 15,000 chips, and he had 12,500! After the hand, I was in second place (there were roughly 60 players left at the time).

Then a few hands later, I had JJ and raised. He called. The flop came A66. I checked, he checked. The turn was an A. I checked, he bet a fair amount and I called. The turn was an 8. I checked, and amazingly, he checked (I’m not sure I would have called, as he had hit a few more incredible hands and was again chip leader by this hand!). Anyway, he called my original raise with QJo, and my J’s won, and I now had 17,000 chips.

A few hands later, I had TT in the small blind and he was in the big blind. Everyone folded to me. I limped in and he called. Flop was 963. I bet, he raised, and I re-raised all-in. He called instantly. He had 95o, so he flopped top pair and was willing to call an all-in bet. Amazing! My 10’s held up and I had 33,000 chips after that.

Anyway, cutting to the chase, he yo-yo’ed up and down, but went into the final table with 84,000 chips, and second place was 55,000 chips, and I was in third with 36,000 chips. He finished 5th, blowing up with an A6o, against AA. Again, a mind-boggling call of an all-in from the chip leader at the time.

I finished 3rd, and got back $184 for my $11. My account is now bigger (by $62) than it was after Sunday’s win, and that includes all of the qualifier “losses” that I’ve wracked up.

Very nice 🙂

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! 🙂