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.