Friday, February 20, 2004

This Week in Poker

I’m happy to report my first good week in my short poker carrer. Further details follow.

Monday and Tuesday: Storming Barad-Dur

Since my hours have been cut at work, I had Monday and Tuesday off, so Dan and I decided to head down to the Trump Casino in Mordor. In what should have been taken as ominous foreboding, we witnessed a car accident at the gas station while provisioning for our journey. Nevertheless, we pressed on. Arriving at the casino about 8 PM local time, we immediately headed to the poker room, which is quite nice, with four or five tables going, and probably twice the number of floor people. I bought $100 worth of chips and sat down at a $3/$6 table. Naturally I sat down between what were probably the best two players at the table. Both of the ladies were nice, and probably happy to have a newbie such as myself sitting between them. I hoped to give a good account of myself. I proceeded to win a pot within a few hands, and was slid the “leg up” button, which the lady to the left of me tried to convince me I meant that I had to stand on my chair with one leg up. Had she realized how large and clumsy I am, she would have known how dangerous that could be for her, especially as I was half tempted to do it for shits and giggles.

A few hands later someone had won two hands in a row, causing a “kill pot” in which the stakes of the hand double until that person loses a hand, therefore my $3/$6 table was now a $6/$12 table. This was worrisome to me considering my lack of experience and limited bankroll. Yet I was dealt pocket aces, and even I am not dense enough not to play those. I raised $6, and a good number of people called. When the flop came, there was an ace, which made me quite happy. Naturally I played as hard as I could, and I ended up in a showdown with a man at the other end of the table. The turn came with a low card, and I bet again, and he folded. One man, whom I shall, in Dan’s style, dub “Loudie” wanted me to show my hand, thinking that I had a pair of eights. I did so, not wanting to give information away, but also wanting to make people respect my raises, as I was playing very tight.

I might have even been playing too tight: I was winning a hand about every three dealers. I think I won a total of five hands that night, which put me up about $150. I wanted to leave at this point, since I hadn’t slept more than about 15 minutes in the last 25 hours but Dan was playing at the $10/$20 and wanted to keep going, and since we didn’t have a room yet, I didn’t feel like hanging out in the car reading for a long time, so I continued playing. This was a big mistake. I don’t think my fatigue affected my play a lot, but some new people came in and the table got quite a bit harder, and the cards refused to hit me; I got some good starting hands, but the flop seemed destined to miss me at all costs. Anyway, at about 3 AM local time, I decided to call it quits, $40 up, a moral victory at least. I went to the car and napped, and Dan joined me an hour or so later, and we got a room. Breakfast was at 6-11 am the next morning, and we had the alarm set, but we had a slumber party-like gigglefest about Howard Dean and my new friend Banana-In-A-Jar (Who will hopefully have his own website in the near future) for about three hours, so only I went to breakfast, which was tolerable.

The second day at the table didn’t go any better than the last half of the first night, after waiting more than an hour for then to open a third $3/$6 table. Mostly I just wasn’t getting cards, but I made two mistakes that, and I not made them, would have let me break even at least. Both involved a problem I have: spotting flushes. Once hand I chased too far, to the turn, with my over pair, which cost me about $9, and the other was when I had JTs spades, and the flop hit with a spade. I had top pair, and a spade came on the turn. And I folded, not even realizing the suit of the turn card. Had I stayed in, I would have won the hand. It was a good way to learn to pay attention to that. Anyway, at on point, when I announce that I was going to fold, Loudie, who had joined the table after an hour or so said he wasn’t surprised, that I’d only played about three hands. That wasn’t quite true, but I did only win small pot in the five hours I played.

I left not feeling too bad; in two days of poker, my second and third times playing live, and counting the $10 I spent on a hamburger, I was $12 down. Dan lost around $1200 as I recall, so I couldn’t feel too bad, especially since it was his money I was gambling with. I look forward to returning to this casino in the future.

Wednesday: The Battle of Hal’s Common Room

Fresh from my down day the day before, I was ready to cough up $20 to play in my first no-limit tournament. We arrived around 6:30 or so, with me lugging in the fifty pounds of new poker chips. We were hoping for at least 10 people, we ended up with four: Hal, Gil, Dan and myself.

After waiting a half hour for others to show up, while sitting in the very comfy sofas and chairs, discussing the possibility of a Kucinich-brokered convention in Boston, we decided to get started with the four of us.

It wasn’t long after the action started that Hal was eliminated by Dan. Dan was in turn eliminated by Gil, which left the two of us, with me at a distinct disadvantage, since I had far fewer chips, and Gil has played much longer than I. After a few hands I doubled up when we went to the river, with three clubs on the board, and a number of high cards. I had a feeling that Gil didn’t have the flush, and I was right. He had a straight. Thankfully it couldn’t beat my ace-high straight. Back-and-forth it went, until I was low on chips, and I had A2o as a hand. I raised, Gil went all in, and seeing as I would have only 4 black chips left if I folded, I made my stand and went all-in. I put down my A2 and Gil put down his AJ, which he pointed out was a dominating hand. The flop came AXX, and Gil was heavily favored, with his much higher kicker. The turn was no help to either of us. The flop came with a 2, giving me two pair and the hand. After that there were a few more hands, and I put Gil out, winning the $80 prize, for my first tournament victory.

Seeing as the first game was fairly short – the heads-up portion was almost as long as the rest of the game – Gil, Dan, and I decided to play another game. Dan knocked Gil out fairly early, and we were heads-up. I got a chip lead after a few hands, due to some great hands. Eventually I called Dan’s all-in with my Jx The flop having come JJX. I don’t recall the turn, but it paired with another card, giving me a full house. I called Dan’s all-in, only to have him lay down Jx, splitting the pot. We again split the pot on pairs of queens a few hands later, and finally I knocked him out when his A3(I think) matched up my A9o. An ace came on the flop, and I won. I was up $100 for the night, my first big night, and let me tell you it felt good.


Saturday, February 14, 2004


Since I think that only Dan reads this, I have no qualms about using inside jokes frequently. If more people read this, I would have no qualms about using inside jokes frequently.

Thanks to the help of Dan and Abdul, I’m up a little more than $40 the last few days at the $.5/$1 tables on PP. I feel that I’m getting the hang of the game a little more, though I’m not confident enough to play at the higher stakes tables as of yet. I might be in the upcoming tournament in at Hal’s place next week, and as I’ve never played a NL game for real, I will bring along plenty of fish food to snack on when I go out early.

Also, at some point, I should learn enough about HTML to use it on this site. I’m told that it’s quite different from Linux.


Tuesday, February 10, 2004

I take some of the previous post back; I just lost four bucks chasing a straight. I didnt get it. The world will burn.
Stopping the hemmoraging

After a short session of $.5/$1 this morning, I'm down about a dollar and a half, after being up five dollars. Although I'm not yet making money, I do feel that I have a slightly better grasp of this whole pot odds thingie. Last night I played Turbo Texas Hold'Em, which I found to be an enligthing program, even if (mostly) following the advisor did leave me more than five hundred dollars in the hole. Thankfully it was all illusiary. PP was not working last night, which left me slighly bothered.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Greetings! This is an attempt to document my attempt to learn the game of poker. I have played in a card room once in my life, a week or so ago. Right now I play online at Partypoker.com, hereafter referred to as "PP."

Unfortunatly, I'm not particularly good. After having a big loss day yesterday, I'm down about $10 at the $.5/$1 tables on PP. About half of that is due to losing a showdown. I sill have a bad tendency to keep in hands even when I feel that i might be beaten. I'm working on it. I think that since I don't play a lot of hands, I try to hard to win on the ones that I do play. I made the remark earlier today to a friend that my games feels like a hemphiliac with a paper-cut; a slow bleed to oblivion. Aside from the occasional hand that goes to far, the blinds slowly attrit my bankroll. Perhaps as Dan says, I still play to tight.

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