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.