Friday, December 30, 2005

Near the dang bubble

Big local live poker tournament yesterday. 46 participants, all male. One rebuy and an add-on possible (I did those).

I got AA three times, and won all of them. Botched a QQ against a flopped straight. Won two or three hairy all-in situations that could've gone either way.

Knocked out a guy from our own homegame, I raised with 55, he went all-in in the Big Blind (I think) and we were evenly stacked. Call, and he turns over KA but no help for him.

There were 29 rebuys and 36 add-ons making for a nice prize pool (and the recently started poker club also got sponsorship; logo chipsets for the club and bonus money deopsited at the poker site for the top three finishers, also monthly freerolls for the members). New for today was the introduction of antes at the thirteenth blinds level.

Shortstacked but doubling up sometimes but I'm hanging on the ropes. Out at 11th place in the fifteenth blinds level with prize money for the top nine... At least I had a shot. Ooh, I wanted that money, I want a laptop so I can play poker in the living room couch. I could probably wrangle anything cheap from second hand or discarded equipment from work, but when you start to look into it, you want a big screen (15 inch), integrated network, reasonable prestanda and weight and then you're up a range or two.

I helped out with the tournament, provided a laptop with The Tournament Director and did the counting out of the prizes. Munn-ey! I luv handlin' munn-ey! Those of us involved in the running of the tournament had to wear santa hats while playing. I also wore the Las Vegas hooded sweatshirt I got for Christmas. With 47 people (one girlfriend spectator) in the room, it was hot. By the way, the spectator was the grillfiend of the tournament winner. Buy her something very nice, since she had to hang out there for the approximately six hours it lasted.

Another $50,000 freeroll at Partypoker tonight Friday, for Swedish players only. I'm so there.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Poker Christmas

I got a lot of poker related Christmas gifts this year, I wonder why? Just because I'm going to the WSOP in seven months, maybe?

  • A hooded sweatshirt with Las Vegas and generic casino-ish neon signs printed on it
  • A map over Las Vegas
  • Hellmuth's "Play poker like the pros"
  • Shot glasses with the card suits on them
  • A poker magazine

And when shopping the days after christmas I got for myself some tumblers with Jack, Queen, King and Ace cards and the card suits on them. And some lighters that look like a stack of three chips.

The only poker related gift I gave was to my dad, I'm treating him to a "Poker Night" at a casino. A package deal where you get a three-course dinner, Hold'em introduction and a tournament without prize money, just a tin cup. Just so he can try it "for real".

Monday, December 19, 2005

In no position to talk

Played at PokerBlue again last week and yesterday after a hiatus. Not many players, and if you play for four hours at any cashgame table there you qualify for the Sunday freeroll. That's how and where I won a seat at WSOP 2006. The $12K freerolls are over, now they have a freeroll each Sunday with $6K to the final two tables. $2500 in first prize.

So I played, qualified, and entered the freeroll, having a shot at getting some spending money for my Vegas trip. 160 players had qualified (Overlay! 20 out of 160 paid).

My stack remains around par for the first fifteen minutes, make some plays the next fifteen but don't get much response. Next fifteen minutes, well... to the left of me is Sh****, a previous $12K freeroll winner. He is very aggressive, often raising, never letting me get a free or cheap card to fill out a draw. Stack getting shorter and shorter, twice I go all-in with paint but get no callers. Finally all-in in early position with the around 300 I have left (started with 1500) with QKo. Called by JJ and I'm out at 69th place.

Interesting note: I saw in the player list three players with location = the city nearest my home town. One of them was placed at my table and I chatted briefly with him. Maybe they had read about me? A pity they didn't sign up under my affiliate code, but you can. Use this link or signup code "Marthyn" at PokerBlue.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Marginal calls

Tuesday means homegame night. This time we were seven players, nice with a larger number than usual and new blood.

As usual there's a lot of theoretical poker discussions. I, for example, think I've foundd a weakness in my live game, at least at this homegame. We bet carefully, when there's a raise it's usually just 2*BB. The more aggressive betting style of our guest the last time was different and seemingly more correct. My weakness? Well, when I've gotten a good hand on the flop or have lots of outs, I tend to want to play it to a showdown, wanting to show my good hand to the admiration and praise of the others. However, "poker isn't a game of cards, it's a game of money played with cards". You don't score points for playing well but losing or get a bonus for good-but-second-best. At least not in Hold'em, but there are table games where you kinda sorta can.

So, the weakness is that by not bringing the hand to an early close, I leave myself open to being outdrawn. Stop it when you have a winning hand, don't let the bastards grind you down, Illegitimi Non Carborundum. Outbet the opposition.

Situation: I'm in the unraised BB with K6 of clubs and the flop comes K6 + something, all diamonds. Small blind to the right of me goes all-in shorter stacked. Hmm, two pair but a flush draw. There are two or three players to the left of me still in the hand. I go all-in with my big stack because that's probably the only thing that can scare them off, a raise or "just" calling SBs all-in could leave them open for hanging in there, and have any diamond or two. I have outs for a full house, which beats a flush if SB should have it which I don't think. The others fold and SB has nothing, at least not anything better than my two pair.

Or the time when I gambled and played 23 suited and the flop comes 23K. Knocked a pair of kings out calling his all-in.

Chip lead for long, but I lost a biiig chunk of it with a marginal call, after agonizing for a while. I have AQo, raise it to 1200 (blinds 200/400 I think) and a player goes all-in with about 7000. Think, think, think, groan. He's a bluffer and loose. Call. I have AQo, he has JKs. Coin toss, but he pairs on the flop and gets a straight on the turn.

Knocked out by him later with A7s against... JKs again! This time flopping trip kings.

Winner tonight, with seven players and four rebuys is... same as last time, our regular female player. She's on fire!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Go Sweden!

PartyPoker had a freeroll (NL THE) this Sunday for Swedish players only. A sweet deal, only players playing from Sweden and it was a... $50,000 freeroll. Holy schmoly, and apparently they had run ads in two large newspapers

2800 registered, 220 paid. From $10,500 for first place to $35 for 220th. Ten thousand five hundred! $1000 for eighth and so on.

After the usual few hundred had fallen out in the first fifteen minutes (a standard freeroll behavior, all-ins aplenty, double up or bust) it was very tight poker for everyone. Blinds stealing, check-raising and premium hand against premium hand. I managed to pull off a real doozy, had QJs and it became a three-way all-in against AA and KQ, I think. A queen on the flop and a jack on the river and I'm table captain.

Stack dwindling and finally when the big blind comes to me it takes a third or quarter of my stack. Ace Three of spades, all-in. Nope, I'm up against AA. I manage to hit a three and an ace but as you can see this was no good.

Out at 369th place. Not in the money, but we verified in a poker forum that in addition to the $50K prize pool there was a gift (most probably a chipset) to the top 500. So now I'll have three :-).

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Media attention

A reporter for a regional newspaper, the partner of the sister of the wife of a friend of mine (are you with me so far?) heard at a party this weekend (couldn't attend the party, had previous arrangements, a pre-christmas dinner with the (extended) family) that I'd won a seat in the WSOP 2006. He needed material, so we did a little interview where I explained the usual stuff about Holdem and WSOP. And Rounders. So there I was in Tuesday's paper over half a page and with a picture of me looking dorky, some poker chips and a deck of cards.

But that's not all! A regional radio station had seen the article and they also seemed to need material. Any news is news. So they called and we did a short bit over the phone to be broadcast later that day.

So, have I used up my fifteen minutes of fame? Or is there some algorithm to recalculate depending on people reached? Is the fifteen minutes quota for a specific event, for a person or for a year or other amount of time?

Tuesday means homegame night. We gathered at the usual place and when we went inside we turned on the radio and just heard the radio hosts wrapping up "So, how do you think Martin will do?". Dang!

The usual people and a new guest, J. Who happens to be a local reporter for the other regional newspaper. He also wants to do an interview, but later, when WSOP comes nearer. He has arranged some other tournaments that I've played in, for example the one I won. A change in style, because he had another betting pattern than we usually have, more aggressive. We were few, I pulled in some good pots but didn't place well. It was him and a regular heads-up and in the final hand the player had minimized his chip lead to having only 300 more, very even. Regular won and it was none other than our female player. Congratulations to her! She has been grumpy ever since I was heads-up against her and won with 2-6 straight against A-5 straight with 2345 on the board.

Monday, November 21, 2005

No local hero

There has been a local series system, where the winner in each "satellite" and those who have scored enough points based on placement are qualified for a grand finale. No Limit Texas Hold'em poker of course.

Winner of that one, the final, (prize pool is from percentage taken from the satellites) is the town champion. I played in the last one of the satellites yesterday. Three tables, twenty players. My first table was ultra tight, there wasn't a showdown until a bit into the second blinds level, I think. I survived until we were down to two tables, having been saved on the river twice.

My knockout hand: Down to 1100 in chips. Big blind comes to me and there goes 800. Look down and see J9o, this I will play. Player on the button goes all-in, I call and UTG is also all-in. Cards are turned up, they have an Ace each. No hit on the flop for anyone but the turn is a Jack. Yay, I've tripled up! No, river is an Ace and I'm out at thirteenth place.

All kinds of players. Nervous beginners, pros or semi-pros, hobby players like me, one confirmed maniac, any combination of loose/tight passive/aggressive.

Got to get a lot of live practice in before I go to the WSOP, ya know?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Back to normality

Winning a seat in the WSOP doesn't matter, the biweekly homegame No Limit Texas Hold'em tournament still has to be played. Six players, I made one rebuy, there were four other rebuys.

Some fun hands:
  • My rebuy was necessitated by an all-in situation pre-flop. It turns out he was trying to bully with pocket threes against my pocket Jacks. The board? x3x77. Full house for him.
  • I have pocket Tens, on the flop I get three of a kind. On the turn it's a full house tens full of aces and lo and behold, it's a three-way all-in. Cards revealed, I have the best hand (as I suspected). On the river another ten, four of a kind, thank you.
  • Or the panicking player who goes all-in with K7o and is met by pocket Aces. A King on the flop and another on the river and he's saved. For a while.

Since my big win, I'm more or less forced to win or place in the money in our homegames and other local tournaments from now on. Well, the rules (of poker and probability) are the same, but it's a real confidence booster. And I have to scrape together spending money. Grind grind grind.

Planning has already started. I don't get it, a one way flight ticket costs twice as much as a round trip. I will do like so that I book a flight (there and back) and hotel for a nine day stay. If I need to stay longer, it means I'm in the money and can afford to reschedule and extend my stay. If I need to stay the whole two weeks the main events lasts I can buy my own damn hotel and airplane.

Saturday, November 12, 2005


"'Multiple exclamation marks,' he went on, shaking his head, 'are a sure sign of a diseased mind.'"
(Terry Pratchett in "Eric")

"Five exclamation marks, the sure sign of an insane mind."
(Terry Pratchett in "Reaper Man")

"'And all those exclamation marks, you notice? Five? A sure sign of
someone who wears his underpants on his head.'"
(Terry Pratchett in "Maskerade")

I don't know much about the mental health of these people, but in a comment to my posting about winning an entry into the WSOP 2006 Main Event, the blogfather used nine exclamation marks. So did another person in a congratulatory email; "THAT IS THE MOST AWESOME NEWS I HAVE HEARD IN WEEKS!!!!!!!!!". Others have used two or three (thus not reaching the insanity level of five).

At the moment I'm grinding away at the $1-$2 FL tables on
PokerBlue. Play for four hours on that level or above and you qualify for the weekly freeroll. This week first prize is entry into WPT World Poker Challenge at the Reno Hilton, Nevada, on March 27. Could be nice for a warm-up...

My playing in the WSOP Main Event (No Limit Texas Hold'em, buy-in $10,000) is many months away, but since (looking at the schedule) they're aiming for 8000 players (in 2005 there was more than 5600) it would be prudent to make arrangements early on. I've looked at travel guides and websites and will try to stay at the Rio where the tournament is held or across the street at the Gold Coast.

Hey. Whoa. Reality check. I'm making plans for going to Las Vegas and playing in the World Series of Poker? Yes. For "free"?. Yes.


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Big One at PokerBlue

The day before yesterday, I just made a quick post; "Stand by for an important announcement", waiting for a certain thing to be finalized.

Are you ready? What could it possibly be? It has something to do with No Limit Texas Holdem.

Well, the fine folks at PokerBlue have had a series of freerolls where first prize is a $10,000 seat at your choice of some WPT tournaments and the 2006 WSOP. Also prize money to the final table. This Sunday was the last one in this series but they will continue to have Big Fat Weekly Freerolls. I had qualified three times before and been able to participate twice, placing around 70th and 30th of around 170 qualified.

So, this Sunday, I and 177 others had qualified. The playing field gets thinner and thinner. Looking at my scribbled notes, I see I don't have many hand histories, just noted my position. But here's for example one very important hand. I have AQ, the flop is Ace-Ace-something. Betting this three-of-a-kind with good kicker and getting called by one. The turn is a 4. I have more than the opponent and put him all-in. The cards are revealed. Big oops! He has A4, a full house. Oh noes! Buh-bye stack! ... The river is a Queen, I'm saved. After the first hour I'm 22nd of 82 remaining. 26 of 63, folding for a long while. 20 of 45. 11 of 37. 25 of 31. 22 of 30. 11 of 30.

At the first break after two hours I'm at 9th of 28. More positions, you say? OK, 10 of 26, 12 of 19, slipping down to 18 of 19, 15 of 18, not looking good.

Whammo! Second of 16. Oh my, now I can wait for the short stacks to die off.

I'm in the money... 4 of 8, 2 of 7, 2 of 6...

I turn a set of Jacks and I'm FIRST of 5. Chip leader when we are three remaining.

Then two.

I'm heads up in a tournament where second prize is $1000 and first prize is a $10,000 WPT/WSOP seat + $2,000 Cash.

The final hand: I have Queen Ten off-suit. The weak and shorter opponent calls my raise. I hit a pair of Queens on the flop and automatically go all-in.

He calls. When the river is dealt, I have two pair, Queens and fours. His hole cards: Deuces.






I won.

I'm going to the World Series of Poker 2006 Main Event, thanks to PokerBlue.

The day after, I get in touch with a previous winner who was railbirding this tournament, and also sent a Huge Thank You to the woman who invited me to PokerBlue.

Wow. I'm going to the WSOP.

Use the banner, this link or the signup code Marthyn if you want to join me.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Maybe in my wildest dreams

Stand by for an important announcement.

Why bother, when the daily hits on this humble poker blog are measured by the handful? Oh well, just waiting for a certain thing to be finalized, then there'll be a huge or important post.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Triple AA

Our regular homegame tournament...

This evening I had AA, pocket rockets, American Airlines three times, winning with them each time. The last time I apologized insincerely for it, the opponent had QQ and had indeed made a comment about "uh, he doesn't have it again". And one time when I won a pot with "only" one ace on hand I first only showed that one and then the deuce underneath. And hilarity ensued.

Nevertheless, I finished third of four because of tremendous outdraws by the final winner. Flop a set and he rivers a flush. Flop a flush and he rivers a full house, kings full of aces to really rub it in. Well, the winner and host was kind enough to give us each a tumbler with Islay whisky.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Drinking, gambling and chasing girls

What about that for a headline, eh? Drinking, gambling and chasing girls.

Well, this weekend I, my brother-in-law and some of his friends went on an organized bus tour to a whisky tasting exhibition where you had a selection of hundreds of whisk(e)ys to choose from. Me, I deviated from the single malt scotch purists and sampled the Jack Daniels, Four Roses and Jim Beam Single Barrel Bourbons in addition to some fine Bowmore and Caol Ila, confirming my opinion that I prefer Bourbon and/or Islay.

From there, the tour went on to the casino for a three-course meal and then gambling. I've never played Hold'em at a real casino before but I know how to behave, so I went to the poker room and politely asked the brush if there was room for me at a low-limit table. I was put on the waiting list and sat with the guys at the low stakes Black Jack table for a while (a slight profit there), then went and asked again. And again. Then a spot opened up and I could sit down, provided that noone above me on the waiting list arrived within fifteen minutes.

How nice and cool it was to sit at a Real Poker Table with a Real Dealer! In a black suit and plaid tie. I couldn't do it for long and grind all night since the bus tour leaves at eleven thirty sharp. Pity, because I took a hit on my stack with my King-high flush against Guy With Diamond Earstud to my right who had the Ace flush. Oh well, we must do it again some time.

Now, what about the "chasing girls" part of the headline? My nice little niece celebrated her first birthday this weekend and although she doesn't walk unsupported yet, she can achieve high speed crawling. I helped out with the party with approximately ten other kids from four months to five years. I was in charge of the fish pond, translating video games and general herding.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

More overlay

In yesterday's post, I told you about PokerBlue and the overlay.

They day after, participated in a similar tournament, i.e. a $10 tournament with $100 added and this time as well there were only thirty participants. Finished fifth then (in the money) and this time I did even better. Third place.

Whooped up some real doozies (I have only a vague idea what that means). For example, had AA, the flop comes KKA and I could milk the others until the river where my bigger bets were called. Ka-pow, up to first place on the leaderboard and on it (shows 1st to 6th largest stacks) I stayed the whole tournament. Fold, fold, fold, steal blinds, fold, fold, fold, bully, fold, fold, draws and outs hit, fold, fold, fold, bluff, fold, wait for shortstacks to knock or blind themselves out, fold, fold, and win.

With only three evenings played, I've already more than doubled up my initial deposit (fresh fish daily indeed) and I've got a seat at this Sunday's freeroll where a $10000 WPT or WSOP seat is up for grabs.

If signing up at Pokerblue, use my bonus code Marthynor this PokerBlue link.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


I started playing at a fairly new site, PokerBlue. Since it's new, there aren't many players, on a typical day maybe 700-800 logged on (as compared to the bigger sites with (tens of) thousands. And this is good how? Well, not much competition in tournaments. The key word here is overlay. I participated in a multitable tournament with $10 buyin with $100 added by the site and there were only thirty participants meaning the prize pool was $400 instead of $300, that's a big difference. Yes, I finished in the money.

Also (as the banner above says) fish. At a fixed limit table I saw one player capping the pot a few betting rounds and at the river there were four hearts on the table. Showdown and the opponent shows a heart face card, winning. The capper/loser? King and Ace of spades. "Gee golly gosh, they say you should raise with Big Slick, huh?" Yeah, preflop... And look at the board will you?

Some facts:

  • A 100% up to $600 signup bonus which you fulfill by playing raked hands (Frequent Player Points).
  • Big Fat Weekly Freerolls. To be eligible, simply open an account with $100 or more, then play four hours on at $1/$2 limit or higher or any no-limit game. Then you get invited to a freeroll in which you can win a $10000 seat at a WPT or WSOP live tournament. This offer is open until October 16 2005.

To get this, use my bonus code Marthyn or use this PokerBlue link.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Don't get cocky... Our regular homegame and we were only four. One by one I made all the other three make a rebuy and thus had a massive chip lead. When the blinds were higher I got a lot of draw hands (suited connectors, pairs, ace+face and so on) that didn't hit anything and my stacks were munched up. Final hand I had 99, there are two sixes on the table and the river is an Ace. Opponent makes me go all in (shortstacked) and I have two pair, so I call, thinking he is bullying me out. Nope, he had the ace and I finish second, but still gaining money since I was the only one without rebuy. Humph!

Sunday, September 25, 2005


Live poker tournament (NL Texas Holdem) today, with rebuys and addons.

Not much to say, same procedure as last live tournament, I made rebuy and addon, did well (My KA-allin stood up against pair, my calling a KA-allin with pair (nines) worked (flopped a set). Then a large portion was eaten up by chasing a nut flush draw and I get rags for a few blinds and get very short and the last all-in didn't work, as per usual.

I helped out by providing and running a laptop with Tournament Director on, and counting out the prize money. (I love handling MONEY.) For that I got "comped" the table fee and intermission meal.

But TANSTAAFL means "There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch". I made the buy-in, rebuy and addon and ended up in 17th place of 29 players. Oh well, 16th place went to the winner from last time. Variance, you know.

Played a quick S'n'G online when I got home. 4th place of ten, not in the money. Pocket aces, all-in preflop and the b'strd who calls with 9T rivers a straight.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Regal colors

Tadaa! Today I got a Royal Straight Flush (Ten to Ace straight in the same suit) online. My first, on- or offline.

But... As I exclaimed in the chat window; "Why NOW?!"

You see, it was in a multitable tournament, only one player against me after the turn comes (where I get the nut flush) and when I river the Royal he (as you can see in the transcript below) doesn't even have a flush with four Clubs on the table, just two pair. So I only rake in a mediocre pot (300 with blinds 15/30).

Why couldn't it have come sometime somewhere where it mattered? At the final table of a televised event. At the final table of a huge multitable online tournament. In a position where several players have flopped, turned and rivered good hands and go all-in in an orderly fashion. Somewhere at a table with a High Hand bonus/jackpot.

Later, I was knocked out in fourth place when I stood up against a player who went all-in on almost every hand when the blinds hade gone up to something substantial. I have KAo, he has pair of fives and I'm not helped. Dang! That is my nemesis hand. At a live tournament a while ago I got a caller with K5o against my KA and he flopped a pair of fives and I was out at 42nd of 48.

I see in the Hand History from this tournbament that the last hand was a pair of aces (player dealt Ac, 7c) against a pocket pair of fives and the Aces won. Oh, NOW it works the other way! Because the ace-winner was the all-in maniac from before who knocked me out with fives.

I'm Marthyn.

***** Hand History for Game 2767115362 *****
30/60 Tourney Texas Hold'em Game Table (NL) (Tournament 16024575)
Sat Sep 24 12:19:31 EDT 2005
Table Table 11623 (Real Money) -- Seat 9 is the button
Total number of players : 8
Seat 1: arl39c (380)
Seat 3: listendick (760)
Seat 4: jjjed6 (560)
Seat 6: genoa2005 (3005)
Seat 7: flajetq (310)
Seat 8: Marthyn (615)
Seat 9: Boomern (735)
Seat 10: No1Auzzie (1635)
No1Auzzie posts small blind (15)
arl39c posts big blind (30)
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to Marthyn [ Kc, Tc ]
listendick folds.
jjjed6 calls (30)
genoa2005 calls (30)
flajetq folds.
Marthyn calls (30)
Boomern calls (30)
No1Auzzie calls (15)
arl39c checks.
** Dealing Flop ** : [ Jc, 4h, Ac ]
No1Auzzie checks.
arl39c checks.
jjjed6 checks.
genoa2005 checks.
Marthyn bets (30)
Boomern folds.
No1Auzzie calls (30)
arl39c folds.
jjjed6 folds.
genoa2005 folds.
** Dealing Turn ** : [ 3c ]
No1Auzzie checks.
Marthyn checks.
** Dealing River ** : [ Qc ]
No1Auzzie checks.
Marthyn bets (30)
No1Auzzie calls (30)
** Summary **
Main Pot: 300
Board: [ Jc 4h Ac 3c Qc ]
arl39c balance 350, lost 30 (folded)
listendick balance 760, didn't bet (folded)
jjjed6 balance 530, lost 30 (folded)
genoa2005 balance 2975, lost 30 (folded)
flajetq balance 310, didn't bet (folded)
Marthyn balance 825, bet 90, collected 300, net +210
[ Kc Tc ] [ Royal Flush -- Ac,Kc,Qc,Jc,Tc ]
Boomern balance 705, lost 30 (folded)
No1Auzzie balance 1545, lost 90
[ Qs Jh ] [ two pairs, queens and jacks -- Ac,Qs,Qc,Jh,Jc ]

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Another win

Yes! Regular biweekly homegame (NL THE), five participants and I won.

Made good calls on the hands that mattered, set traps and often won with ace kicker or overcards.

The final hand was great. Had A6 of spades and at the river there was 2345x on the table, although the last three cards were diamonds. Do you see it coming? Our regular female player (also the hostess) whom I was heads-up against also went all-in with the remaining 4050 she had (about 30000 in chips in circulation, and we have rebuys) and I promptly called. As I thought, no flush, she had an Ace and had hit the Wheel (A2345 straight). I first showed my Ace "Oh, split pot?!" and then my 6, 23456 straight "Daaamn!".

I deserved that win, having played our homegame twentytwo times now and with this only won twice and lots of second places. But she deserves a win too, not just this time. :-)

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Twice the fun

Our biweekly homegame tournament, NL Texas Holdem, was very popular this time. Eleven players, so we had two tables.

One female player (not our regular, but a new player), one other completely new and a few who have played with us occasionally and many of the regulars.

New Guy finished last. New Female came in sixth after conservative good (tight-passive?) play, yours truly fourth and Occasional Player Who Has Won Once Before won.

And much fun was had by all. Table talk, interesting hands, cake provided during a break by one player with birthday coming up.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Show me the money

So, yesterday I was at the big local tournament, No Limit Texas Holdem with rebuys and addon.

We were 38 players and I brought a laptop with the excellent poker tournament management software The Tournament Director. This makes it easy for all to participate, otherwise you'd almost need one person not playing, just coordinating players.

There are quite a lot of rebuys and many of the players make addons, more than half the prize pool is made up of rebuys and addons. I also make rebuy and addon.

I hit almost nothing, cardwize. Low pairs, face card plus nothing, low suited connectors mostly. When I do hit something everybody folds to my bet or allin. So my stack is eaten up by blinds and I'm out at 26th place.

Well, now I can help out running the tournament. Picking up trash, chip racing, and the most fun part, handling money. All seats at the final table (we had 8 player tables) get paid, albeit that 8th place got 1% of the prize pool. "Feel free to visit your money any time" is an old casino/gambling saying. So I visited the money and counted out the various prizes. Hmm, large sums and in those denominations, money isn't that bulky. You could fit a million in a briefcase. Or in this case, 25000 SEK in a cookie jar.

At the heads up, I saw one (small) pot go to Two Seven off suit (The Hammer) that had hit a pair of sevens.

I recognized most of the faces at the tournament and as always everybody were polite and there to play poker and have fun. Food and beverage was provided during a break.

Finally it's over and I drive home and play online and win two small shorthanded (6 players) Sit-n-Gos out of sheer momentum while also filling a reload bonus requirement at fixed limit tables.

This Wednesday it's our usual biweekly homegame and we'll be quite a lot of people this time. Maybe two tables? And then there's a freezeout tournament this Sunday, booked full with fifty participants. Then it's almost time for a hiatus from poker for me for a week or two.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

A long time in the making

Time for our 19th biweekly homegame, tournament with progressive rebuys in poker, No Limit Texas Holdem.

We were "only" five participants. Three rebuys were made, none by me.

And for the first time (I've had quite a few second places) I WON!

Everybody were very tight this time, and I also. But I plucked them one by one.

A good omen for the big tournament this Sunday, which will have 35-40 participants, rebuys and addons.

Niiice hobby.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Good but small

Played in a multitable tournament at PartyPoker, No Limit Texas Holdem and it went be-a-utifully.

In one of the early hands, could be the third or fourth dealt, I got KK as hole cards. In the very next, AA. And in the very next, QQ. All were played to an all-in situation with me making the allin and someone calling or vice versa and I won all. I won all of them! Three consecutive monsters. I can't recall what hands I made, if I maybe cracked Aces with three of a kind, Queens or something, I just won and that's what matters.

A few deals later, JJ, same story. So, after just about ten, fifteen minutes of play I'm up to 4800 in chips, starting with 1000. One minor setback, down to 3100 with KAo when someone shorter than me goes all-in pre-flop and I call, flop a pair of Aces against his pair of nines as hole cards, and he rivers a Three of a kind, nines. That is recovered soon when I flop a Ten-to-Ace straight.

It's very nice to have the muscle to really play poker; stealing blinds, slowplaying, trapping, semibluffing in addition to the grinding. I have no statistics, but I really haven't played many hands but when I do, I win or know when I'm beat. Had a good run at a Sit'n'Go or two the other day. The statistics in the client said "Showdowns won: 100%". That's good playin' dontcher think?

I take out two players with well not short but vertically sub-par stacks, in one deal when I with JQ call two all-ins pre-flop and get a 9-to-King straight against low pairs as hole cards for both opponents. I cannot be stopped! If only they had a count of scalps, how many players one has knocked out.

After nearly three hours, with 2421 players registered and 220 paid, I'm out, in the money, at 188th place.

Too effing bad that it was a "$2+0 with $500 added to the prizepool" tournament and my prize was $3.73. But I was a contender, and 1st prize was $1122 which isn't bad, considering the buyin of $2.

Oh well, next weekend there'll be a live tournament with the local poker crowd, stakes a bit higher than usual and with rebuys and addon. Last time I played with them, I just made a/one rebuy and finished 8th with six places paid and the prizepool was quite high. This could be a big one and also with more participants than usual, they're aiming for 40 when we're usually around 20. Many participants, rebuys and addons... With this crowd, I've always (except once, but I made up the loss at a cashgame) been at the final table and once in the money (1st place).

The weekend after that, it's a freezeout at the "regional" poker club. Usually a packed event, 40-50 participants.

Oh, this Wednesday, the usual biweekly homegame that was postponed a week.

I feel confident and have a good feeling about this. These could be big ones. Shuffle up and deal.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Texas Neverwinem

Yet again our biweekly homegame tournament of NL Texas Holdem.

As I've repeatedly written here, I've never won and this time was no exception, it even went worse than usual, finishing last out of five players.

Turned a Queen-high flush of diamonds, bet and got an all-in that I called. There was a straight draw and a flush draw on the board and this player often uses bully tactics. Nope, he had the Ace of diamonds. Bye bye.

Some dramatic hands:

  • Player M, chip leader, versus player P. Player P goes all-in preflop, M calls. P has a pair of tens, M 45 suited. The first two cards of the flop are turned over and they're 4 and 5. Two pair for M! The third card is a ten! Trips, set, three-of-a-kind. No further help for M.
  • Final hand. P and M remaining, it's gone back and forth, M sometimes losing his big chip lead. The flop comes T, 7, 6 and P is all-in. M quickly calls. The cards are turned over and P had flopped a 6-T straight. M two pair, tens and sixes. Looks like P is going to win this, eh? Then M's tournament win is seriously in jeopardy.

    Nope. The turn is another six, giving M a full house and P is drawing dead. To add insult to injury, the river is the last six, giving M four of a kind. What are the odds?

Well, well, all in good fun but DANG!

I'm on a semi-hiatus from online poker, waiting for a reload bonus. I've "consumed" all my bonus money and winnings, the only thing I've gained is a poker table, a cap and a visor in merchandise. But as Mike says in that poker flick "You can't lose what you don't put in the middle. Can't win much either.". I've had a shot, at least, at bigger money since my strategy has been to grind out enough to go on to a Sit-and-Go, Steps/ladder games or multitable tournaments for bigger prize money. So for now I'm keeping my bankroll stashed. As I said, waiting for a reload or a really good deal, but I'm reluctant to start playing at yet another site so it'll have to be an excellent bonus wh*ring proposition.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Not bad, not good

Went to a live tournament (NL Texas Holdem) arranged by the same crowd that has done so before.

Eighteen players, three tables. Unlimited rebuys the first hour followed by a possible addon.

I did really well after I had made a rebuy. Had 45 spades in the big blind and the flop comes 236 and I get an all-in against me. Bingo! A while later I get AA with blinds 100/200, raise it to 500 and another goes allin and I quickly call. He has 99 and my aces hold up. We started with 1000 in chips and I now have 8-9000.

When the rebuy period ended I therefore wouldn't gain much with an addon. Some players made up to eight (!) rebuys. Quite a substantial prize pot, five places (out of eighteen) paid.

The play changed drastically, the boisterous shouts "rebuy!" and "all in!" disappeared. Knocked one guy out with 55 in the big blind, calling his shortstacked allin and flopping trips.

I make it to the final table which will have eight players. Now I'm a shortstacked player with 5200 in chips. They're consumed by blinds and calling unraised that aren't helped by the flop. With 8T in the big blind and the flop 567 this could be it... The turn is an eight (now I have pair of eights) other player goes all in and I call with what little I have left. Nope, he has a nine (a 5-9 straight made for him) so my only hope is a nine on the river giving me a better straight. As one other player commented: "Well, you're not drawing dead". It doesn't come and I'm out at eighth place.

Analysis: I don't think I could've done anything differently during the whole tournament. It was just that little bit of edge and/or luck that wasn't there for me.

Oh well, there'll be more tournaments.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Cursing cursed curses

I must be cursed.

Yesterday was the seventeenth installment of our biweekly little homegame tournament of NL Texas Holdem. I've been at every one of them (since I'm the one who has a chip case and tabletop). I've never won and often finish second.

This time was no exception. Played loose in the beginning when blinds are 25/50 and 50/100 and we start with 3000. Was never below 2000 and steadily built my stack. Later I slowplayed a flopped three of a kind, queens, and managed to knock one player out (but she made a rebuy).

Hoopla, I'm massive chip leader. With some variance, I have 10-15000 out of the approximately 23000 in circulation and lose quite a lot of it when I get pocket rockets, AA, and opponent Mr J follows me all the way to the river where he nails a diamond flush, the board was mostly rags. I shoulda coulda woulda gone all-in after the turn... Later he gets a seven-card straight! I flopped a pair of jacks, final board is K-high straight but he has A8.

Out of five players I yet again came in second and I'll never hear the end of it.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Super nice

Ah, the biweekly homegame, NL Texas Holdem. The couple at whose home we play have moved, from part of a house to renting a house of their own with a view of a lake and a huuuge garden with many diverse fruits and berries.

Also a humongous sundeck or whatchamacallit, going round the whole front of the house, probably as large in area as their whole previous domicile. That's where we sat and played, the five of us. Super nice, in the sun, with beer.

Nothing special happened in the poker playing, I managed to hit some sets with low pairs and finished second (as usual). Hopefully we'll be a full (8 seats) table the next time, what with people's availability and inviting grillfiends girlfriends. More beer!

I'm on vacation and have vowed to drink at least a liter of beer (about a quart for you Imperial types) daily, preferably lager.

Oh, played some poker when I was down south to visit the family. Five card draw with my mother when we babysat my niece. It was close, I just barely won.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Cracked cards cause commotion

Nope. Dagnammit. I did not qualify in the monthly satellite for the Swedish online poker championship (No Limit Texas Holdem) that I got a place in via a subsatellite.

310 others had also qualified in the previous weekly subsats of June, and a hundred more had bought a place in the monthly final. This time, everybody was very careful in the early stages. I'm at average stacks size the whole time until after 45 minutes. Earlier I had seen players being knocked out in the "usual" situations. KK beaten by AA. AA beaten by QQ with a Queen coming on the turn after all-in.

Now, I get AA as hole cards, blinds are 25/50 and I bet heavy preflop. One or two callers. The turn is TQ4, bet heavy again and one player calls. Turn is a Queen and I bet heavy and one player goes all-in with what he has left, a few hundred more for me. Call, and river was a five.

I was thinking (but not knowing) that he had a straight draw or a low pair. I had two pair, AAQQ. Nopes. He had TT on hand, meaning full house, Tens full of Queens and that left me severely crippled. Never recovered from it, went out on an all-in with a low pocket pair, sevens or eights.

322nd place of 411.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Oh? Maha!

Yesterday was the biweekly homegame tournament again. Instead of Texas Holdem we tried Omaha Holdem. OK, so now we've tried it but it won't happen again. It seemed much more random than Texas, an excellent Texas hand could easily be dead after the flop, turn and/or river (straights and flushes are much more common in Omaha Holdem, so your little AA or KK could be worthless). And sometimes we had to think hard about who won. "Oh, you won. No, by the way, it's a split pot. Never mind, you have the flush." Play was wild, saw a few multi-way all-ins.

Doc won again, he's on an incredible streak. I came in third (out of six). One of these days, Alice...

As I wrote earlier, I found a really chip poker set, 200 chips, 2 decks and a mat, in a tin box. This I brought to the game as a secret bonus prize the others could by in to, which they all did making me break even on the cost. P, our female player, won it on Best Hand, and she also finished second. Not necessarily highest, best, decided by the remaining players. Hers was a full house, kings over tens with two kings in the hole cards and a king on the river, beating other player's tens over queens (three tens on the board). If I recall correctly. I regret one thing, and that is that I should have bought more of those sets at that price. Excellent little gift, better than flowers or wine.

Hit a slump in my online playing after an initial good streak, but I'm still up a few hundred. Prepping for the monthly final in a week where one in five go on to the big final in November, Swedish Championship in online poker.

Friday, June 10, 2005

That's why they call him the streak

Boogie-dy, boogie-dy

What a week! Tuesday: Up $75 at PartyPoker at the frigging $0.5/$1 fixed limit in three hours (plus $20 from a second place in a Sit'n'Go as well). Thursday: Up $25 at $0.5/$1 fixed limit in forty minutes. I also entered the Steps Challenge there. I tried Mini Steps, you enter at Step 1 for $5 + $1 or buy in directly at higher levels, in a ten-seat Sit'n'Go. The winner or top ranks go on to the next step and so on, up to Step 5 where the payoff is. $2000 to 1st place (down to 5th place), which you can reach with a measly $6. And the good thing is that you have to be very bad to drop out. Once you've entered in the steps, depending on your placement you're not completely knocked out, you loop back down to Step 1 or the previous level. Seriously, check the desciption at the link.

So, I entered at Step 1. Won it! That meant I got a freeroll into Step 2, where I'm sad to report that I didn't do too well and finished 8th. But not out, I'm back to Step 1. Played another one, finished 4th and could then "Try again Step 1". Today Friday I did try again, yet again finishing 4th and still can try again at Step 1. For just $6 you can have a shot at $2000 to $200. And that's just the Mini Steps. At Step Higher you can go for $25000 for an initial buy-in of $30 + $3. So if you're a reasonable Sit'n'Go player, give it a try.

But that's not all I have to tell you today... Expekt, a Prima Poker Network skin, will be holding the online poker Swedish Championship final in November. They will be having monthly satellites where one in five entrants go on to the final. And also weekly subsatellites where one in five go on to the monthly satellite. And I entered the very first subsatellite today, for $10.

I won't retell hand histories, but there were a few iffy situations. OK, 791 entrants. One in five go on, remember? Soo, the first 158 get a place in the monhly final and 159th gets his $10 back.

Ahum, ahem, ahaw. Twentyseventh place! I'm going to Disneyland the monthly final! And from there to the final with a $500000 prize pool guaranteed (could be more) with at least $125000 for the winner. Yeah baby, big time booyah!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Why oh why

Yesterday was the XIVth biweekly homegame, this time with my new tabletop.

Five participants. As I've written before, we've adjusted the parameters to maximize play. Start with 25/50 blinds and 3000 in chips. Progressive rebuy so if you make a rebuy you don't get 3000, you get a few hundred more, depending on what round it is. This to give the rebuyer a fighting chance since the others have more. It's supposed to be an enjoyable little homegame, not cutthroat knockout freezeout highrolling yadda yadda.

It seems like everyone was chip leader and/or raked in a monster pot at one time or another.

Some fun hands I was involved in:

  • I have 2, 6 clubs in an unraised Big Blind. Two clubs on the flop and another on the turn, giving me a flush. Bet heavy, called, bet heavy, called. Opponent turns over three of a kind, tens (and he had one (1) club). A few thousand to me, thank you.
  • Heavy betting all around, but no all-ins. Finally there are four clubs on the board, the highest of which is a ten. At the showdown, I'm first and I show a flush, Jack high. Player after me smirks and turns over flush, Queen high. Last player grins and turns over flush, Ace high. Hilarity, congratulation and applause ensues. Even more so when yet another (who folded after the flop) says she folded the King... of clubs. Stupid Royal Flush for being fragmented among all the players and board cards.
  • I don't even recall what I had. Nothing good at least, maybe a flush draw or an Ace. Anyhoo, the flop has a seven in it. Turn is a two. River is another two. XX722 on the board. You know what the opponent had. Yes, he had 2, 7 off-suit. Full house deuces and sevens. The Hammer!

I was out at fourth place. Had a massive chip lead for a while but I wasted it on medium starting hands folded after the flop. A little bit too much chasing.

Doc won again, against Mr Ace-flush + 27-house (who really earned his spot today, he was worth it).

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Shindig poquer

Wow. I resumed playing at PartyPoker. Maybe the Cashout Curse has an antonym in a Deposit Blessing?

You see, I transferred a $65 bonus to the account and also made a deposit and got a $50 reload bonus. I then sat down at a 0.5/1 fixed limit table with $25 and played wonderfully. I left the table two hours later with $101! "They" say you should/could make a 3 times the BB profit per hour easily but what about 30 times, eh? Howzat?

I then went to a $10 ten-seat Sit'n'Go. Second place, $20 profit.

So, by clicking buttons for three hours, I'm 65+50+75+20 = $210 "up" in a single sitting. Not bad for a low-limit hobbyist.

Come join me at the party:

Or use signup code MARTYPARTY for a 20% bonus up to $100 on your first deposit.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Home game family pot

Well, now I've played poker (tournament Texas Hold'em) with the family and I turned a profit, although I didn't win all the times we played. Won the first tournament, then we played two more. Another day, I won the first but not the two subsequent.

My father only had two or three modes, inspired by an amateur in a Swedish televised poker tournament; fold, limp or all-in. Risky business. But when I had J9 on hand and the flop came AJ9 I had two pair and immediately called his all-in. Of course, then he had AA on hand.

The very last time we played, it was me and my sister heads-up. I get AA! The flop comes 4, 4, something. The nut two pair. All-in! Nope, sis had Q4 and no more help for me.

Oh yeah, I brought the octagonal tabletop, it was greatly appreciated. Even by my eight month old niece who in a baby seat by the table vigourosly thumped and tapped the table, mimicking our actions. "Hey kiddo: A) You're acting out of turn, B) You're not even in this game."

We went shopping the day I went home. Some clothes for me and I found some more poker equipment, a metal box with two decks, a poker mat and 200 chips. For travel? Only $10. I used the poker winnings to buy the niece a denim jacket and trousers, to compensate for all the fluffy frilly pink stuff she usually gets.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Not playing poker for a living

Played in some large multitable online Texas Hold'em tournaments.

  • 69th of 229, 30 places paid
  • 41st of 6514, 30 places paid (freeroll)
  • 47th of 383, 40 places paid

Close but no cigar.

It was a welcome break from the grinding at fixed limit tables, where I've experienced a minor losing streak. Cashout curse, perhaps? ;-P Finally proper poker, with only three or four players tops at the flop. The strategy of Raise-or-fold plus only playing if the hand is made on the flop or has several outs (and draws to straight or better) worked very well. What knocked me out was (as often) situations where I had the best hand at the all-in situation but was outdrawn, or the winning hand was just one step better. For example turning a Jack high straight with a flush draw and meeting a Queen high straight. Pocket rockets against trip deuces. KA suited flopping pair of aces, meeting trip Queens. Nines full of Jacks versus Kings full of nines. But to be fair, that was often the situation early in the tournaments when I was the winning player. It's very nice to flop two pair, deuces and threes, in the big blind and pulverizing a KA going all-in with nothing (well, Ace high obviously).

I totally agree with this Cardplayer Magazine article.

I also found some fun forms of NL THE to stave off the boredom of folding folding folding in fixed limit. Fast Play, which is different from Turbo (where the blinds increase faster). In Fast Play, in addition to faster increasing blinds, you also have less time to make a decision (ten seconds or so, instead of twenty to thirty). It's either Check!, Fold! or Raise! and you mostly only have time for raising with the default choices 1*, 2*, 3* or 4* the big blind or all-in. Also, heads-up tournaments. Instead of entering a one-on-one with $X plus the table fee and just doubling up minus your table fee, for example eight players enter with $X and the table fee and the winner from a heads-up goes on to meet another winner. Winner takes all, so if eight players enter, if you just can win three heads-up in a row, you octuple up (minus your table fee).

My octagonal tabletop, a bonus from an affiliate, finally arrived. It will be put to use this weekend, at the first *mumble* family poker tournament and on Wednesday at the biweekly homegame.

I ordered cheap ADSL (0.5 Mbit/s), so in a while I can play from home, I only have modem (56 kbps) now.

My poker plan for the summer is to:

  • Keep grinding with the bonus money I got at two sites (and maybe use a reload bonus if offered).
  • Take the surplus from a mutual fund I sold to finance buying in on an IPO (sounds advanced, eh, but I'm only buying the minumum amount of shares) and adding it to my "poker money" (cash is kept in the wooden box with the four suits painted on the lid) and going for bonuses, this time maximizing them. Usually it's "20-25% up to $100" so you'd need around $400 to deposit and cash out. If you can get merchandize as well (equipment, clothing, vouchers) that's a plus.
  • Going back to a certain site and starting up again since I got a signup and free money.
  • Maybe more affiliate stuff. Next to no work at all, possible payoff.
  • Live poker; The local scene and maybe also a few clubs in the nearby region. What would be really sweet would be to go to the real casino for a tournament, but it's logistically challenging. Only a few seats (30 usually?) and you have to register in person. You can preregister a week in advance but it still has to be done in person. So the situation could be that I'd travel 130 miles at the day of the tournament, walking up to the counter and "sorry, sir, we're full". I've played quite a lot of poker but I still haven't played at an oval table with a real dealer.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Getting even

Time for the poker tournament at the location where I won last time.

Nice weather, and I arrive in shorts, Hawaii shirt, bucket hat and sunglasses. We're 24 players and there's one rebuy+addon available.

I'm seated on the "veranda" table along with the host, co-host and two other players I know are good. And three more I know nothing about. At this stage in a tournament you'll have to be strict. I do well and build a nice stack, the draws come. Lose some of it, make the addon. Coffee and cookies and sausage-in-a-bun is provided in the first break.

I accidentally tear down a curtain and spill coffee all over myself when pushing the curtain aside to enter the house. Sorry about that, J.

The stack dwindles and I'm in one of the blinds when the host raises the minimum and calling puts me all-in. I have Jack, King off-suit and this is it. Nope, he has Ace Queen and makes a pair and I'm out at 15th or 16th place. Five places paid of 24.

I lounge about a bit and then enter the cashgame with knocked out players that has started, I buy in for the same amount as the tournament buy-in (200 SEK) with blinds 5/10, No Limit.

That was a whole other game, they were wild and crazy and I just folded and folded until really good hands and positions came up. After a while I loosened up a bit, when I was up in stacksize. I really prefer tournaments because there you know what amount you "risk", but here at this table, a 50-chip was 50 currency units. But I overcame this mental block, so to speak, and also started flinging 50, 75 and 100 in chips around. The trick is to ignore the money and consider it ammunition. I don't recall who said it, but the proverb is "Poker is a game of money played with cards". At one time, I'm down to 50 in stack and get a pair of nines as hole cards in the small blind. All-in, and they hold up with three other players in and I'm back where I started. The hours dwindle on, players come and go and I'm up to 700-800 at one time and when we break up my stack is 600, meaning I'm break-even for today, having made up my tournament buy-in and addon.

Notable hands: One where I made a weak flush (two diamonds on hand) but the opponent also had two diamonds and one of them was a Queen. Another one where I didn't make anything with the strong whole cards calling another player's all-in. He has a deuce on hand and makes three of a kind on the flop, but the board ends up AAA22 so we split the pot. Something like that at least... Pity, he almost deserved that pot but, hey, it's poker. (should've had a special house rule, he had two Three of a Kinds).

The tournament ends with the host and co-host making a deal splitting the 1st and 2nd place prize pool evenly.

Afterwards I meet up with some of the players at a pub (after stopping by at home to change out of my coffee-stained shorts) where I blow the amount of a tournament buy-in on Fast Poker, a form of Caribbean Stud. You place a bet in a Bet square to get cards (three (3) cards) and place the same amount in the Play square if you want to play them. You have to beat the dealer's poker hand to get Play and Bet times two back and also get something extra if you have better than pair. Straight beats flush. Dealer has to get Queen high or better to play, otherwise it's No Game and payback.

Last hand was me getting AAK, and then the dealer gets Three of a Kind, 666, of course.

And I learned that you should check the house rules. Usually at Black Jack tables at pubs in Sweden the normal rules apply. Dealer has to draw to seventeen, equal value is a Push. Double and Split possible. I had seventeen, dealer draws to seventeen and then scoops up my last chip. "Hey, I had seventeen as well, you can't do that!". "Sorry, that's the way we play it here." Well, you do that, but I won't be coming back.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Stable variance

What is it with our biweekly homegames? I'd like to think of myself as the most "experienced" player of the bunch but I've never won one of our little poker evenings. Second or third place usually. Yesterday was no exception. Six players, I finished third. The newest addition to our group won, Doc came second.

At least we saw a Four of a kind, Aces played to a showdown. A little Rat Pack on the stereo and some Coronas.

I get a good read on the others (he bluffs, he is curious and will call, he plays board pairs and can be beat with a kicker, he bets like that when he's trying to bully) but it's that leeetle percentage of a coin toss that doesn't go my way when it matters.

My tabletop still hasn't come, pity, it would've been nice to have. Maybe it will arrive before the family homegame in June. Oh well, live tournament this Saturday at least where I'm the title defender. At that location, because I finished on the bubble (6th place, 5 paid) at the last tournament with that crew.

Friday, May 20, 2005


Pokerwize just playing around on low limit FL Texas Hold'em and when I've got enough for the entry fee taking it to a multitable NL tournament for a shot at bigger bucks.

I've fulfilled the requirements and got the message that my bonus, the octagonal tabletop, has now been ordered and I should get it next week. Hopefully before Wednesday because that's our regular biweekly poker night. And if I don't win one of those soon, I'll start raking...

I've written earlier that I've become quite active in the "local poker circuit". I was also asked if I wanted to be a moderator and writer at a Swedish poker forum/site starting up (non-profit of course, but that was where I found the "get a tabletop as a bonus" thing). Via this blog I've also gotten some emails about bonuses, link exchanges and what smells like pyramid games of sorts but those I stay away from (never heard of them). But I got an email about linking to each other from another poker blogger, so I might add a panel here with links to other blogs. Some time. But here he is, CheckRaise Trav:

I've cancelled my entry into the almost-monthly poker club tournament in June. This because I got an invitation to a more interesting game down south. Yup, that weekend I'll go and visit relatives. Dad and his wife, my sister and her husband, and me, will play poker. Both dad and brother-in-law have bought chip sets and other equipment and hopefully I'll clean up. Maybe my niece will participate as well. She's only eight months, but ya gotta start'em early.

Never played at PartyPoker? Then use my affiliate bonus program and get 20% extra on your first deposit up to $100:

(Meaning that if you deposit $500 you get a $100 bonus. $600, still $100. $200, $40 bonus. And so on.)

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Negative, Ghostrider, the pattern is full

Wow, our busiest biweekly homegame (No Limit Texas Hold'em tournament) so far.

Nine players, and there were five rebuys, making for a nice prize pool. With that many players I really should've made it "three places paid" but two were late entrants and I couldn't be bothered to change the settings in The Tournament Director. I really should've, because I came in third. Second place to Doc, the winner of the last three tournaments and first place to J who has won three tournaments before. This was our twelfth homegame. Soon we'll have to start vetting or requiring registration because A) The tabletop I'll be getting only has eight places and B) More than ten would require two tables and more organization than "bring the laptop, chips and three beers", it's supposed to be an entertaining homegame, not a big affair.

In other news, I've been grinding away at the bonus requirements at my latest online poker parlor with the strategy to play low limit (0.5/1) until I have enough for a multitable tournament entry, then make a try there. So-so, but at least I'm a contender.

Two more live tournaments with around 30-40 players coming up at the end of May and beginning of June. Really feels like I'm part of the local poker circuit now.

Also a stag party this Saturday and a dentist's appointment Wednesday. And a new album from The Epoxies next week.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Come to a grinding start

I've done some serious bonus whoring these last days.

First I took what I had left of the winnings from a live tournament and padded it out so I had an even $200. I took that to a site where I've only played freerolls so far and deposited it for the maximum possible 25% bonus. The cashout criterion was 100 raked hands (have to be dealt cards in a hand raked at least 25 cents) and I grrrinded it out in a day or two of low-limit fixed-limit Texas Hold'em and finished break-even after taking the small winnings and playing Sit'n'Gos and multitable tournaments.

That done, I cashed out the $200 and left the bonus there for now, for playing. Now, on to the real bonus grinding. Via an affiliate or such, I created an account at a site renowned for being soft but you can't multitable. Put the $200 there and got another 25% bonus. To cash that bonus out you have to "wager" twenty times the bonus, meaning I have to move $1000 around. However, the big perk is that by signing up through the affiliate and playing 300 raked hands (requisite: player has to enter money into the pot, not just be dealt cards, has to be at least a flop) I'll get to choose a prize from the affiliate. A 300-chip set or, YES, one of those octagonal tabletops with chip and drink trays. I already have a 500-chip set so tabletop it is. Finally!

At the latter site I took some of the ground out earnings so far and entered a $10000 Guranteed multitable tournament. 535 entrants, 50 places paid, 1st prise $2500, 50th $50. And I did oh so well in the first hour and a half, was up to around 20th place stackwize. Took one big hit when opponent hit a river flush, managed to claw my way back upwards and then went out at 97th place when my all-in at the turn with a 9-K straight was called by a 10-A straight.

Well, I'll just play limit Hold'em by the book all weekend until I've fulfilled the requirements, then I won't play online for a week or more. I'm seeing green ovals before my eyes everywhere, doctor, is that bad?

But the fishing's goood.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Bubble boy

Went to yet another little poker (THE) tournament locally. Roughly the same faces as at the local tournament I won and as at the regular tournaments in the nearby city.

We're twentyfour players and it's a one rebuy+one addon tournament.

Well, not much to say about the playing. Play solid, don't get impatient and hoopla; I have a nice stack. I make the addon. We're down to two tables and now I switch gears and don't only play solid hands, time for ye olde position raises, reraises, all-ins and also maybe some minor acting to get small stacks before you to play even though you're going to fold. Make them risk being knocked out.

Final table! Eight players, fairly evenly stacked for the current blinds but with one big and two smaller.

I'm saved by the river once or twice, and we're six players left. And it's five places paid.

I lose a fair portion of my stack with a flopped two-pair with low cards against a flopped three-of-a-kind that became a full house on the river.

Shortstacked in the small blind and all before me have folded I look at 55 in the hole cards. All in! Big blind calls with AQo, flop has an ace and no more help for me.

Dang! As I said, five places paid and I'm out at sixth. THE BUBBLE.

Went home and logged on to teh Intarweb to write this up and to check if there's any freeroll tournaments coming up. Nope. Thinking about changing the code of this blog a little, I've been contacted by some people about affiliates, linking and ads. But, yawn, not today.

I play and win a play money Sit'n'go out of sheer frustration.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

They won't let me win

Yesterday was yet another of our biweekly friendly homegames, NLTHE.

Nope, didn't work out at all. We were seven this time, and I ended up on sixth place, being knocked out after the rebuy period was over. To make the game lively, we all start with 3000 in chips and 25/50 blinds and have rebuy possible for the first four rounds. Over time we've fine tuned the tournament parameters to maximize the fun factor and we're nearing an optimal setting.

Same guy won, third time in a row. There is a proverb "Never play poker with a man named Doc". In this particular case it can be tricky, because he is a doc. Yup, got his Ph.D. last year. And some of the other regulars have master's degrees or are on the way to getting them. However, all in Computer Science, not statistics, probabilistic analysis, game theory or such. Me? Just a diploma, but kinda sorta vaguely working towards a bachelor's degree.

And they're getting good too. Damn! They've grasped all the concepts, and my moves and plays don't work well anymore. When I do make a gamble, it's river suckout and goodbye Martin.

You know the worst starting hand in Hold'em? 2-7 off-suit? And how it's a special occasion when you still make it work? I did even better than that, didn't even have The Hammer (2-7 off-suit). I had J2o in an unraised Big Blind and the flop comes 2-7-7. Bet a thousand with blinds 100/200 and the remaining player folded. Ha! I don't even have to have 2-7, I only have to make people believe that. Bwahaha!

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Eight in the afternoon

Time for another live poker (NLTHE) tournament in the nearby city.

In the words of The Iggmeister, an ├╝berpost:

I leave around lunchtime by train and get there an hour and a half before the tournament starts, so I wander around. At a square there are some market stalls, and one of them sells jewelry. I'd kinda like a poker or gambling themed ring or ear-thingy (I have a piercing there that hasnt closed) but don't find any there. What I do find is a copy of The One Ring, to be worn on a leather cord around the neck. Gold plated bronze. I get one. A lucky charm to go with my lucky HappyPants that I wore two weeks ago when I won that tournament.

In my pocket I also have (for luck?) a coin I found in a little "collection" I have. A 1968 Kennedy half dollar. A large coin I might do knuckle rolls with instead of with a poker chip. Everybody has chips, many can do tricks, but not everybody have a big piece of silver to play with.

And speaking of rings, and of poker: How to make a coin ring

After a McDonalds meal, off to the place where the tournament will be held. On to the poker!

This time, it's a rebuy+addon tournament, instead of freezeout as earlier. There are twentysix entrants, six places paid. Some faces I recognize, and there's even one female player.

The playing starts. I'm careful and don't do much, only minor ups and downs in my stack. Getting a bit low. I flop an open-ended straight draw and go all-in, and get one caller who commits his whole stack. He has a (low) pair. Oops, maybe this wasn't such a good play after all... But it's my time to be a river rat, the eight I needed comes on the river and I get a lot of chips, he has to make a rebuy.

After the three first rounds, where you can make a rebuy, there is one addon opportunity. All started off with 1000 in chips. I have 1800 now so I'll make the addon to get 2800.

More play. If I remember it correctly, here's what happens. I get AA, American Airlines, pocket rockets. Only raise (substantially but not heavily), gets called by one (same guy that I river-straighted), the flop comes with low cards. He checks, I say "all-in". He ponders and ponders and then calls. He turns over a pocket pair of sixes and it's oh so sweet to turn over the Aces. No help from the turn or the river and he's OUT.

It's now after the rebuys and addons that the playing really starts. Only two out of the twentysix have opted not to continue after losing all their chips.

One minor move I made was to raise under the gun pre-flop when it seems like noone is going to make a big play, managed to steal quite some blinds with that. Hey, I'm getting the hang of all this poker terminology!

I have quite a stack now, 4-5000 sometimes, and according to the projection on the wall from The Tournament Director (a good piece of software for managing a poker tournament with four to many-many-lots players) there is 64000 in circulation. I pull of a bigger intimidation move: I very visibly look at another player's (across the table from me) stack, one of the shortstacked guys, and make as if I'm counting it (which I am). He notices it, and mentions it! "So, do you have intentions of getting my chips," he asks. (Well, duh!?) "Yup." Smile confidently, turn to look at the rests of the players and their chips. "And those, and those, and those." Talk about table image.

I'm moved to another table to keep them balanced. When doing that, I inadvertently make another sweet move that carries my table image over to the new table immediately. You see, when moving my stack(s), I have to make two trips! I don't fail to mention that. "Sorry for the minor delay, fellas, hadda make two trips to move all my chips."

What's all this talk about "moves" then? Well, I know how to play poker - the rules of the game - and so does the other players. A full house, threes full of sevens, beats three big aces. Four deuces beats five spades.

So you can't just play the cards, you have to play the stacks and the players too.

As when I showed my flopped king-high straight even after noone called. Then they'll associate me with strong hands ("Ooh, that guy gets good cards." or "He only plays great hands.") So when I play aggressively with second-rate hands, they'll be less inclined to stand up to me.

I also try to alternate my appearance so that I hopefully don't give away any tells. Mix it up a lot, so I don't for example subconsciously protect my cards with a chip only at those times when I'm going to play. If I'm going to fold, why not count my chips as if I'm going to bet them? Or doing just so when I really am going to call/raise? Depending on what the situation requires. Do I want the opponents to waste their chips, do I want a bet?

And being meek when raising or going all-in with The Nuts. But I don't go for the "acting like a beginner" style. You know, asking lots of questions and being uncertain about how and when to act.

It's nice to be the chip leader :-D

Now let me tell you about how I got knocked out.

As always in no-limit games, there are one or two hands that make or break you.
First one. I have King-8 on hand and flop a pair of eights. There are two diamonds on the table. A guy goes all-in and I call (I have more chips than him). For now I have him beat, because he has "just" a flush draw, with two diamonds on hand. Turn is no help, but a diamond comes on the river. But it was only half my stack...

Second one. I get snowmen, 88, pocket pair of eights. I raise, same guy as before goes all-in, I call. As I suspected, he has nothing, JQ on hand. The flop, no help for him. The turn, no help for him. The river... A Queen.

And I'm out at thirteenth place out of twentysix. Being sucked out on the river makes it easier to bear.

This was an afternoon and early evening of eight. The eight-high straight that boosted me up. The pairs of eights where I lost. It's karma coming back to bite me in the ***, see! An Ace can be worth 1, and there's seven cards in Texas Hold-em (seven plus one = eight, see!?) out of which you make a five-card hand. Cut an eight in half and you get a 3 (five plus three = eight, see?!). Divide eight and you get four (four plus four = eight see!?!?). It all adds up! It all comes together!

With conspiracy theorist greetings, this is Martin signing off.

Wookies don't live on Endor

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Getting busy

Well, yesterday's little homegame (of our biweekly kind) didn't go well. We were only four; me, last time's winner, P (the female player from last time) and J. But, we played at the home of J and P instead of an unused room at work. Much more cosy. I finished last, maybe I played to aggressively. Last winner won again. He, J and me made one rebuy each, P who finished second did not. I made my rebuy after my all-in shortstacked with a flopped pair of nines didn't work, I thought the caller had nothing. But... He had three aces and the river gives him four of a kind, aces! P's success will maybe entice the other grillfiends girlfriends to play.

In other news: The live poker scen in my region seems to be on the rise.

I got an invitation from the same bunch that arranged the one I won last Sunday to another tournament on May 1.

And the folks who have arranged a few other tournaments and a poker club (but it's been on hold for a while) in the neighbouring city have started up again and will have a tournament April 23.

Both will be rebuy+addon.

And I'll participate, and aim to win. Time to make the rounds. Grind it out. Raise the stakes. Flop the nuts. Shoot the angles. Infuse alligator blood.

Poker is booming here in Sweden, a while after the U.S. Internet poker is large, but for legal reasons no casino can be run from Sweden other than the state-run Svenska Spel, who's planning Internet poker. But there are lots of entrepreneurs who sell equipment; chips, tables, decks, paraphernalia (the guy who's involved in my home town sells T-shirts with poker themes, like with the print I'M ALL IN (with 2-7 off-suit)), especially chip sets where they either try to underbid each other or go for luxury chips.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Rounders or ovalers

To continue on an earlier theme, the theme music for today is No Doubt's "Sunday Morning".

Because it was a Sunday Morning when I had had breakfast and by phone approved my self assessment tax for 2004 and around ten-elevenish decided to connect to teh Intarweb and surf a little. At a Swedish poker forum I checked out some postings and then noticed I had a Personal Message. Hm?

It was a guy I had met at other live tournaments, wondering if I was interested in a freezeout tournament this afternoon. No-Limit Texas Hold'em poker of course. Oh, yes, I was. Called him and told him I was interested and got directions for where it was to be held, at approximately one o'clock.

Went by bicycle there, in my new jeans. It was in a house just outside or adjacent to my home town. Fourteen other players, including the host who apparently had wrangled chairs from the neighbours and sent wife and kid away :-). And made coffee.

The playing starts. Starting stack 2500, blinds 25/50 increasing every twenty minutes. We have two tables, seven and eight players and they will be balanced when people are knocked out. So, it's

Phase 1: Stay alive, don't get knocked out. (Only play strong hole cards)

I do marginally well, stack going up and down but mostly down and I'm down to 1500 when I'm moved to the other table. Suddenly I'm back where I started, at 2500 in chips. And here's the thing, I think I'm in a good position. After a while we're seven players left and all are moved to my table, meaning I'm at the final table but shortstacked. Immediately to my left is a lucky rookie. He has a large stack, from what I hear from getting lucky when calling all-ins but he is unsure of playing, constantly asking how to do what he wants to do ("so if I want to call, I have to...?" and such). Immediately to my right is a good player but he seems to be buying pots.

This is

Phase 2: Build a stack.

I have luck in making or calling all-ins and start to get a decent stack. One or two have been knocked out (hey, I'm on a rush and it's all blurry, can't recall the exact sequence of events). I flop a seven-high straight as Big Blind and manage to milk the guy to my right for quite a lot. There was three spades on the board but not until the river, that was the only hand that could beat it. I get a good read on another big tattooed guy, who was the one who arranged the very first live tournament I went to. He is tight-aggressive and somewhat verbal about it. Another seems to still be in "Sklansky" mode, or Phase 1, or only play strong hole cards, but here you have to play the players and the flops and the draws and the outs.

Fun comment: I don't know if it was intentional, but one player was asked "what were you thinking?" after pulling off a check-raise where I and others folded. His answer: "I was thinking about fishing season which starts soon."

Time to enter

Phase 3: Win this sucker. (Coin tosses, all-in with any high cards in a good poistion, play any strong made hands)

What. The. F?

All of a sudden I'm a massive chip leader and I'm "in the money", we're three players left and the payout structure is 50%/30%/20%. First one to go is Big Guy, I don't remember how.

What. The. F?

I have a massive, hella massive stack, my one little stack of yellow 500-chips next to the dozen other lesser denominations that I hardly have room for is worth more than the other guy's three little stacks. I can wrangle and muscle him like a tai chi/jiujutsu/aikido master, and I should and I will.

Pulse? High. Wry smile? Under control. I am gonna win this.

Finally the other guy only has about 2500 left. He goes all-in with that without even looking at his cards. I look at mine and see a ten and a three off-suit. What the hey, I call.

He turns the cards over, a king and a ten (I think it was a ten).

I deal the flop. There are two threes there... No help from turn and river and...


I've actually won a live tournament for the first time. Handshakes all around. Grunts from the adjoining room where a cashgame is going. I get a WAD of cash. Actually not that thick, but it seems so to me at the time. And they'll let me know when the next game is on, then maybe with even more (24 or 32) players hopefully.

I bicycle home in the sun, about four hours after I arrived. Occasionally erupting in smiles but not in song, wearing my new Lucky HappyPants™.

I celebrate with a pizza, Guinness and watching Rounders on DVD, still smiling and emitting small "Whoohoo"s. You know the very beginning when Mike rummages around his apartment collecting his stash for the "three stacks of High Society"? I do that, but for now I only have enough bills for one wad to put in a hiding place. Oops, I'm now out of Guinness but I have some Kilkenny (medium brown instead of Guinness black). Wheee, happy happy.

And on Wednesday it's back to my regular biweekly low-stakes homegame. Rumors have it that maybe even more grillfiends girlfriends will attend plus I will have a good poker story to tell. Of course I'll embellish and make things up, in reality I was quite nervous until I had that massive stack at the final table.

How very fortunate that I checked teh Intarweb this morning!

But I've made that "Big Win". And I mostly play tournament play, not cashgames, so there's not that big risk of that Big Loss, at most you lose the entry fee and can't chase. I don't play much cashgames and I'm not particularly fond of limit games. Straight to no-limit for me, baby! (But with moderation.)

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Another find

Busy day, checking off items on my todo-list.

  • Get a haircut (oh sweet relief).
  • Buy wine and beer to restock.
  • Was looking for a new pair of jeans. Found exactly what I was looking for: Button fly, boot cut, looking a little worn (but not frayed, ripped or torn). On sale of course. Mine! And a V-neck tight t-shirt.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Hyped to the gills


and heavy doses of Gwen Stefani, primarily the blippettyblopp of her solo album but also the No Doubt compilation The Singles 1992-2003 and the perfect and epic Beacon Street Collection

makes Martin a very twitchy boy.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Oh no, not again!

Once again it's our biweekly NL Texas Hold'em homegame. Two news this time:

  • We started with 3000 in chips instead of 2000 as earlier, but with the same blinds structure. Starting at 25/50 and then incrementing with 50 on the big blind. This made a significant change in play style, when players can afford to play the stack, not just the cards. Earlier it was mostly calling or just raising the minimum (the amount of the big blind). More "proper" play, room for re-raises and large raises. Also, earlier, when someone had more chips and could do that, well, then the blinds had gone up so you were still gambling a large portion of your stack.
  • A female player! The girlfriend of one of the regulars partook. She finished last but played well, no insecurity, no mistakes, just not good cards. Other girlfriends are also welcome.

I came in third (out of six). Had a large stack but took a huge blow when I had pair of aces (A3 clubs on hand) and fought it out with one other player who had AQ on hand. Only room for one or two mistakes in No Limit, remember that. He later finished first (for the first time). Next time it has to be my turn to win, I've never won one of these homegames, mostly second or third place. I made a very unscientific summation of our homegames, awarding three points for first place, two for second and one for third and disregarding how many times you had played. Then I was third total with nine points, leader had eleven and second total ten.

Oh well, I can console myself with my performance in yesterday's $1000 freeroll. 136th place out of 11192 entrants which gave me a whopping two dollars. These I can then take to a cheap Sit-n-go table and hopefully increase more and more and more.

Or finish fourth.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Defensive mechanisms

Went south to visit the kinfolk over Easter.

I made an interesting biological observation. In what other people would you tolerate screaming, drooling/spitting, nose-pinching, stinking, headbutting

than five-months-old nieces and such?

Just one toothless smile and it's all OK.

Some minor techwork: Installing broadband for dad and setting lots of clocks to daylight savings time for mom (there was a reason I gave her a few radio controlled clocks last Christmas).

Friday, March 18, 2005

Black Beauty

For/from/at work I today arranged to get a cellphone. And what a beaut it is. A Samsung D500. Really cool, with MP3 player, camera, Java, Bluetooth, WAP/GPRS, infrared, all in a slick black package with configurable doodads and gewgaws. And you can use it for voice communication too!

An amusing thing, sort of. You can tell it's Korean from the software I installed on my computer to communicate with the phone (transfer files, synchronize phonebook &c.). I installed it and then used a built-in menu choice to check for software updates. The message:

There is a no more lastest file in server

Especially asians have a very enthusiastic approach to English.

Sometimes a
e.e. cummings


Thursday, March 17, 2005

Tighter than a tight thing

Yes, yes, yet another of our biweekly homegames of No Limit Texas Hold'em.

There's always something. This time we had two new players and this was our most populated tournament. Seven players, lots of action.

They've really tightened up, aren't calling just to satisfy their curiosity. As always, there's something special at every event. This time it was the twos. The deuces. The ducks. One hand was won by a pair of deuces on the river and there were one or two full houses with deuces in them and probably some trips too.

I came in fourth (out of seven) and as all the others had substantial swings. Some all-ins worked but my final one (All-in works all the time except for the last time. Funny that.) with a short-stacked JA off-suit was beat by a pair of sixes. No rebuys for me this time.

I've never won one of these homegames. Quite a few second places but never paid substantially. I'd like to win once or twice and then use the winnings to supplement my equipment. I've got a nice chipset, proper decks, a green felt but would really really like one of those foldable octagonal thingumajigs with trays.

Sunday, March 13, 2005


Nope, the Jeopardy tryout didn't go as planned. There were quite a few there, and only fifty would go on to subsequent questionnaires. I didn't get enough points in the first round of questions to qualify, so it was back to home for me. No poker questions, quite a few food and cooking questions.

Oh well, time for another poker homegame on Tuesday, as usual.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005


Time for another installment of our regular biweekly Tuesday homegame, no-limit Texas Hold'em. The guys (we were only five today, I'll address that later) are getting tougher, everybody lasted long and there was only one rebuy. Tight play by everyone but playing top pair usually brought in the pot, unless there were straight or flush draws.

There's always one or more "legendary" hands, ones that are brought up in subsequent games "Do you remember when...". Today's was when MA went all-in after the flop and TS called, with more chips. The cards are turned over, MA has flopped a pair of Aces, TS trips Jacks. Turn gives nothing and I point out that the only thing that can save MA now is an Ace on the river. Of course it comes. Ph34r my v00d00 skillz!

I'm in the final, heads-up against TS who has never won at our homegames before and often finished last (sometimes blaming that he has to catch a bus home). We're about equal in stack size, but that's eaten up with heavy betting on top pair (Jacks) by me and he calls and rivers a higher pair. The last hand: I only have a few hundred left in chips and BB is 300. So to end the pain I go all-in since it's all or nothing, not worth waiting one more hand. "With what?!", you ask, dear reader. Why, Two Seven off-suit of course. The mother of all hands! The Hammer! I actually make a pair of deuces but no help against his Kings. We have a new winner, and I'm back at my customary second place after a short slump.

Now, one of the regulars didn't play today. Some mutterings were heard about this being because he'd never won and girlfriend didn't like that.

So I've tossed an idea out to some and will try to make it happen:

Girlfriends are allowed at Biweekly Poker Night. If they play.

Not impossible. One I've heard has mentioned an interest in being dealer. Another has mentioned finding WPT Hollywood Home Game fun to watch. And we're very civil, the only Guy Thing we do is drink beer, there's almost no farting and very little bad language.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Rare occurences

Yet another installment of our biweekly homegame.

The boyos make me proud, they've grown up so fast... *sniffle* They're checkraising, exchanging chip denominations, bluffing, maximizing "the nuts" et cetera like they've done this a lot before (an by now they kinda have).

Each poker night, there's always one or two legendary hands. Tonight there were two:

  1. Which one is biggest? The board is two eights, two sixes and an ace. Player A who has won a few of our tournaments before goes all-in. Player B calls. Player A has full house, sixes full of eights. Player B (who plays a little online) has eights full of sixes.
  2. A worthy finish. Player B and Player C (who both have finished last in almost all our other games they've participated in) are the only ones remaining (I came in third). After some betting, the board is mostly low cards, but three clubs and an ace. Player B goes all-in and Player C calls with what he has left. The cards are turned over. At first glance, B has a straight. C shows his hole cards, a king and queen of clubs (=a flush). Yay for him! But wait... B implores us to look closer. We-ell, whaddyaknow, his straight is all clubs. What the conneiseurs call a Straight Flush, a rare occurence. A worthy finish for both players. Good hands, and their grinding paid off in the end.

I'll take Potent Potables for 200, Alex

When I come home, I find a letter from Jeopardy (the Swedish version) in the mail. I've qualified for the tryouts! Put me in coach, I know I can do it! (cue theme and soundtrack from Rocky and a montage of me running up the steps of the library, punching Google staff hanging in a meat locker and other carryings on)

I've actually been to one before. There are four stages, or qualifying rounds. You start out with a lot of people, answering more trivia questions (on paper). Those who pass go on to the next stage with harder questions. Those who pass that then go on to a "screen test", so to speak, where you play with buttons and "phrase your response in the form of a question". Then another round of questions and those who pass that are almost guaranteed to go on to the real thing on TV. That's where I failed last time, we were about ten left (out of more than fifty to start with) and four passed. I wasn't among them, but I think I was just a few points short.

Now to ponder what my dream categories would be...

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Cry me a river

Soo, went to the big live No Limit Texas Hold'em tournament yesterday.

I was feeling confident, having played in some of these live tournaments and quite a few homegames now. I no longer feel nervous handling chips or the "procedures" of a game (keeping track of blinds, ruling hands, shuffling'n'dealing). Also, I was hoping for Good Karma, since I helped an elderly woman with a walking stick off with her luggage on the train I took.

We start, 45 players, with 1500 in chips each. I soon manage to double that to more than 3000, even being the one who knocked out the second player to be knocked out. I think... Have to focus on my game, not the other tables.

Then the crippling hand. I get QQ on hand. The flop comes JJJ! Full house! But a player before me bets two times the big blind, so I have to be careful. He might have a pair on hand too, I think, or maybe an ace kicker, or bluffing. The turn and river aren't spectacular but we both bet much, however not nearing all-in. Showdown: He has the fourth Jack, played nicely. Now I'm down to 1000.

I was moved to another table to keep them balanced. I have 775 in chips, big blind is 300 and when I'm under the gun I get JTo. I call and nobody raises. The flop gives me a pair of Jacks and I go all-in with the remaining 475. Two callers, the guy immediately to the left of me (who by the way won the last tournament) and the guy immediately to my right. The turn is checked and at the river (a three) the guy to my right bets, the guy to my left folds. Showdown: He had 35 on hand, had flopped a pair of fives, and gotten two pair on the river, beating my one pair. I had him beat 'til the river! That is a recurring lament among Hold'em players that are all-in...

So, two significant hands sunk me. 29th place of 45, 8 places paid. But it was, as always, fun. Everybody there knew how to play and everybody tagged along on our "tradition" of everybody applauding when someone is knocked out. By the way, that's a good way of making sure the tournament directors, so to speak, know that someone is knocked out. The two guys who started this whole regional poker tournament didn't play this time, just ran the tournament. We even have a proper poker club now.

At least I have a story to tell this Tuesday at our regular biweekly homegame.