Thursday, December 07, 2006


Mixed emotions, buddy. Like Larry Wildman going off a cliff in my new Maserati. - Gordon Gekko in Wall Street

I got my third Royal Straight Flush in Texas Holdem (online) recently. Woohoo, yay, whee, uhm...

The ultimate nut! I got it on a draw. On the turn I put my opponent all in when I needed a Jack for a nut straight or a Heart for a nut flush and both my wishes came true when a Jack of Hearts fell on the river for a Royal.


I'm not terribly excited about it. My first Royal came early in a multitable tournament with blinds 15/30 and the opponent had only hit two pair, so I just scooped 300 (ten big blinds). My second came in a Sit'n'Go where I ultimately didn't even finish in the money (I think). I wrote about it before and complained about it not coming in a cash game where the opponent also had hit something good or at a jackpot table. Now it finally happened in a cash game and the opponent hit an Ace high straight on the turn. Very good conditions. If not for one little fact. He was very, extremely, laughably shortstacked. It was a 2.5/5 table and he had only 20 left. Boo fricking hoo. And no jackpot.

Oh well, I'm on a winning streak anyway. Not least thanks to "fish" like these:
I get AA in early position on a 2.5/5 table, raise it to 20 to get a feel. Middle position raises minimum to 35. Late position raises minimum to 50. OK, put a stop to this right now, there´s enough/a lot in the pot, with a raise to 250 (thats fifty (50) times the big blind) to get a call or all in from another AA for a split or possibly a KK. Or lure fish. MP goes all in with 550! LP folds of course. I call.

He has AK. Off suit. The way I see it, I´m holding up a big neon sign saying "AA". Not a handwritten PostIt note with QQ or a wooden plaque with KK. So he would need the board to hit kings, TJQ or four to a flush in the suit where I don´t have the Ace. A third Ace comes on the board, even, and he leaves after some muttering. It would have been different in a tournament setting, there he could have called the preflop bet and seeing that there was no miracle or dubious flop folded.

The day after I get in a similar situation; AA, raise, reraise, I bet 250, another goes all in and I call. Yes, he has AA and we split the pot from the other bettors, gaining very little because of the rake, but anyway...

Monday, November 20, 2006

The tilted fish

I had a good run at the poker tables this weekend, following a crash&burn during the week where I squandered my winnings from the weekend before but now I'm back on track. Bankroll increase: 30%.

My strategy is to play either Sit´n´Gos (two or three at the same time) or three to four cash games but not mix them up (too much). Sometimes you hit a good streak and just pocket away the winnings (if my stack has increased by 25% or so at NL, leave the table to "secure" the profit and pick a new one).

I´m halfway to a Ferrari! Explanation: My goal is to win enough to buy an Acer Ferrari high performance laptop computer.

This weekend I poured and drank a Guinness Canned Draught for the poker blog of poker blogs, which is going into hiatus. No, I did NOT pour out some on the ground (or floor) for our dead homie. This is Guinness, my good man, I´ll have you know, and It Is Simply Not Done.

As I wrote in an earlier post from my stay in Las Vegas, one fine thing about playing there against "real people" was when you got praise, respect or a nod of approval. When someone said "nice hand" or "well played" and you were 85-95% certain they were sincere. It´s different from "nh wp KTHXBYE" online.

Another thing happened yesterday (online) along those lines but completely different. I played a cash game (one of four) where I spiked a (gutshot, I prefer open-ended) straight on... Was it the turn or the river? Don´t remember. However, the turn was a third Heart and that was what I was fearing, a flush. Nope, my remaining opponent had flopped a set. Of fours. I scoop the pot, not huge but not minimal either.

He went ballistic and simian feces (that´s a finer word for apeshit) in the chat window, bellyaching for a few hands about fishiness, OF COURSE IN ALL CAPS. And here´s the good part: He wrote "I already had five notes on him as someone who chases straights."

That fills me with such pride and joy. Firstly; I have been noticed! Someone deemed me important enough to take notes about me earlier. Maybe even fear me? Secondly; Now I know that he knows. If I´m ever at the same table as him and hopefully in the same pot I can bully and goad him. Hey, buddy, I won the pot at the showdown, you only had the best hand for a while. What should I do, give you a percentage?

I´m someone who can fold even if I´ve put money in the pot if things look suspicious, when the cards fall as such that you can be outdrawn. It´s not only the cards you have, it´s what the opponents have or might have. "If he has a Jack, he has a straight but he didn´t bet much and now the river came eight of hearts which gives me the flush but ooops, it paired and if that guy over there has 99 pocket he has a full house but he checked and doesn´t seem like the slowplaying type." The constant inner monologue.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Back to school

I mentioned in the beginning of my überpost about my week in Vegas that I'm taking a university course - Applied English. It's nearing its end and after that there's the following course. Way back when I was a full time student I took the two first courses in that series. When I'm done (and have passed) these two I'm taking this semester I will have the equivalent of a whole semester of only university English.

Just some self-improvement. My thinking was the same as some years ago when I took a law course, two computer science courses and an economics course - since I work at a university (but not in an academic role, I'm a systems administrator), why not benefit from the opportunity and add to your competencies?

So the other day I sent in the application for two more courses next semester. "Web 2.0 in theory and practice" and a short law course "IT law".

As I'm writing this, I'm also playing poker at the Swedish state-run poker site. lol :) nh ty. Whereas the USian online poker players are in trouble from puritan political trickery.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Crush. Kill. Destroy.

The curse is repelled. I've written before about our little biweekly homegame, a tournament (No Limit Texas Hold'em) with (progressive) rebuys with a handful of regulars and some sporadic guests. I, the most active player when it comes to hours played online and live, played nineteen (19) times with six second place and five third place finishes before finally winning.

Now I'm on a roll. Today was my third straight win in a row. Feels good. Anyway, I've always been in the lead or top two-three "scorewize" with 44 tournaments played if you use our quick'n'dirty scorekeeping with 5 points to first place and 1 point to fifth place if we're five players in the tournament. Six points to first if we're six players and so on. You see the correlation? I knew you would.

But who's counting?

Me, that's who! *mumble* *grumble*, dang young whippersnappers...

It can be done

Just some shameless self-promoting bragging to show that any two cards can win. The infamous Hammer for example.

PokerStars Game #6143398561: Hold'em No Limit ($0.10/$0.25)
2006/09/02 - 14:44:23 (ET)
Table 'Ianthe' 9-max Seat #2 is the button
Seat 1: YumchipsYum ($4.65 in chips)
Seat 2: lbcpa ($15.45 in chips)
Seat 3: Marthyn ($4.85 in chips)
Seat 4: MrPristine ($25 in chips)
Seat 5: inecita2004 ($21.15 in chips)
Seat 6: Mad Ukie ($9.70 in chips)
Seat 7: uneedaspankn ($17.90 in chips)
Seat 8: kahnman849 ($22.25 in chips)
Seat 9: SamyLony ($28.95 in chips)
Marthyn: posts small blind $0.10
MrPristine: posts big blind $0.25
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Marthyn [2c 7d]
inecita2004: folds
Mad Ukie: folds
uneedaspankn: calls $0.25
kahnman849: folds
SamyLony: folds
YumchipsYum: folds
lbcpa: folds
Marthyn: raises $0.75 to $1
MrPristine: calls $0.75
uneedaspankn: calls $0.75
*** FLOP *** [2s Ts Qs]
Marthyn: bets $3.85 and is all-in
MrPristine: calls $3.85
uneedaspankn: folds
*** TURN *** [2s Ts Qs] [7h]
*** RIVER *** [2s Ts Qs 7h] [Ac]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Marthyn: shows [2c 7d] (two pair, Sevens and Deuces)
MrPristine: mucks hand
Marthyn collected $10.20 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $10.70 | Rake $0.50
Board [2s Ts Qs 7h Ac]
Seat 1: YumchipsYum folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 2: lbcpa (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 3: Marthyn (small blind) showed [2c 7d] and won ($10.20)
with two pair, Sevens and Deuces
Seat 4: MrPristine (big blind) mucked [Kc Qc]
Seat 5: inecita2004 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 6: Mad Ukie folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 7: uneedaspankn folded on the Flop
Seat 8: kahnman849 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 9: SamyLony folded before Flop (didn't bet)

Twice. (In one day).

PokerStars Game #6144258990: Tournament #31144954,
$5.00+$0.50 Hold'em No Limit - Level V (75/150) -
2006/09/02 - 16:05:25 (ET)
Table '31144954 1' 9-max Seat #6 is the button
Seat 1: joshuae411 (3375 in chips)
Seat 4: eldixio (1715 in chips)
Seat 5: lemieux66 (1845 in chips)
Seat 6: M1964S (1845 in chips)
Seat 7: MoButta (2240 in chips)
Seat 8: Marthyn (1380 in chips)
Seat 9: Twisten (1100 in chips)
MoButta: posts small blind 75
Marthyn: posts big blind 150
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Marthyn [7h 2d]
Twisten: folds
joshuae411: folds
eldixio: folds
lemieux66: calls 150
M1964S: folds
MoButta: calls 75
Marthyn: checks
*** FLOP *** [Kh 6c 4d]
MoButta: checks
Marthyn: checks
lemieux66: checks
*** TURN *** [Kh 6c 4d] [5c]
MoButta: checks
Marthyn: bets 150
lemieux66: calls 150
MoButta: folds
*** RIVER *** [Kh 6c 4d 5c] [3d]
Marthyn: bets 300
lemieux66: folds
Marthyn collected 750 from pot
Marthyn: shows [7h 2d] (a straight, Three to Seven)
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 750 | Rake 0
Board [Kh 6c 4d 5c 3d]
Seat 1: joshuae411 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 4: eldixio folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 5: lemieux66 folded on the River
Seat 6: M1964S (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 7: MoButta (small blind) folded on the Turn
Seat 8: Marthyn (big blind) collected (750)
Seat 9: Twisten folded before Flop (didn't bet)

They (the opponents) didn't really make mistakes, per se. I'm all in with a pair of twos against a pair of Queens and catch the turn in the cash game and catch the gutshot straight on the dang river in the Sit'n'Go. But ain't it extra special fun to win with 27o?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Bubble Boy returns with his brother

I've written earlier about not giving up in a poker tournament just because conditions look bleak at the moment.

This weekend I played in two multitable tournaments where this was proven once (or twice) again.

First one, 500 participants and 50 paid. When we were 51 left, I was at 51st place stackwise, but in a good position to wait a few hands more and to hope that someone else was knocked out on the bubble, there was no ante. But no, and finally I'm the Big Blind and I just about have enough to cover it and get some change, so I go all in no matter what the others do. And whaddya know, my JT hold up against J9 and I survive.

The very next hand I get KA and all in again. And they hold up against JJ when I flop another A. In the end, I finished 17th.

Second one, 233 participants and 30 paid. One of the very short-stacked ones with 31 left (and the two tournament chip leaders at my table).

But just wait and someone is knocked out at another table so I'm in the money. Finished 27th.

It didn't pay much, just about three times and twice the buy-in respectively. But if you've played for 2-3 hours, why not hang in there by the teeth and nails so you've at least not wasted the buy-in. In another MTT this weekend, I finished 89th of 533 participants with 60 paid, that's just how it is.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

My week in Vegas

Oops, somewhat belatedly I remember to make a writeup of my Vegas experience. It will be more of a diary than a journalistic masterpiece of never before seen eloquence. (Can you tell I'm taking a university course in Applied English? Me can talk English good.)


This is July 26. An early flight from Copenhagen airport. I had some leftover Danish cash, I spent it on breakfast and the rest of it on the combined muscle relaxant, tranquilizer and fluid replacement known as Gammel Dansk bitter and Carlsberg beer.

The trans-Atlantic flight was uneventful. Movies and recorded TV shows interrupted by food and snacks.

Arrive at Atlanta and stand in line a lot. Immigration, baggage claim and reloading, security. I see a vending machine for iPods, I might get one of those on my return trip. I ride in the driverless subway train for quite a while to get to the right concourse.

The flight to Las Vegas showed better what Economy/Coach is about. I've ridden on old buses with better comfort, but who cares? I'm going to Vegas!

Finally arrive after getting a small freebie. I ordered a beer on the plane and they're supposed to cost $5 but the flight attendant forgot to get my money.

It's what I heard it would be like. Get off the plane, go through the corridor and the first thing you see is a cluster of slot machines. Then you get to the facilities they have at all airports. I get my checked-in baggage, eyes still wide open and mouth agape. Only a few steps to the doors and the taxi line and *FLOMP*. The heat strikes me like a wall. Like standing in front of an open oven, or a hair dryer. I get assigned a cab and the driver says "Sit up front, it's cooler."

We drive to my hotel, the Gold Coast. I check in, unpack some stuff, freshen up, and go on a reconnaissance mission just to get a feel for the place.

I'm happy to report that I won some money gambling the very first time I gambled in Las Vegas. It was on a slot machine. A Kenny Rogers-themed slot machine. A penny (1 cent) Kenny Rogers-themed slot machine... But a win nonetheless. I then lost the winnings on an Elvis Presley-themed one.


At breakfast (the Deuces Wild menu; two sausages, two pieces of bacon, two eggs and two flapjacks) I run into two other Swedes at a nearby table. One of them says that they have a morning poker tournament here, so I decide to enter it.

A bit of a weird structure. Fixed Limit the first hour, then No Limit. I finished 11th of 60+ participants.

I head over to Rio to get my player registration sorted out, and to get in touch with Pokerblue, the site where I won my Main Event seat. Papers retrieved, I head to the room of the representative. After passing through the poker exhibition and loading up on free stuff.

On my way there, I pass by an Italian restaurant which also has tables along a wall of the corridor, taverna style.

At one of those tables sits... Joe Hachem, talking to someone. I wave and smile at him. He smiles and waves back. You and me, Joe.

I get told that all the Pokerblue-qualified players will meet in a Rio suite later this afternoon, so I head back to my room to freshen up and rest.

The suite is nice. Floor-to-ceiling windows with a full view of all of central Las Vegas. I feel somewhat left out at the get-together, because I won my seat so early. Later they had it like so that a tournament winner got on Team Pokerblue, where all the players in the team will share winnings. I got asked to consider joining, but opted not to. Either I win, and then I want all of it myself, or I don't win and maybe only get a small sum or nothing at all. Either way, there would have been a lot of hassle over taxes. And either way, I'll have played in the WSOP ME. But right now at least I get free food and drinks.


I take the free shuttle bus to the Orleans, thinking about playing in a tournament there. However, this day the noon tournament was Omaha Holdem, so I play 1/2 NL cash game instead. I got out exactly break-even (after tipping) but still benefited. I've never played poker at a real casino with a professional dealer before (well, once, but only for a short while at a Swedish casino), just online and homegames. I learnt how to act and how to "communicate" with the dealer.

I head home and then head over to Rio to check out the Main Event now started. Wow. The room is huge. But not much room for spectators, and it's full (and will continue to be for these the first four Day 1). I find the table I'll be playing at tomorrow and get my bearings.

At the exhibition I get more free stuff. Some have it set up like so that you have to sign up on a list with name and/or addresses to get stuff. I didn't want to do that yesterday since I didn't want to get spammed later. But, doh! It's not like they check ID. Say hello to Bob Smith from Topeka, Kansas.

Dinner is a Texas T-Bone Steak Special. I usually clean the plate but this was too much for me. Had to leave about a kiddy portion.


The big day. Today at noon my long wait will reach fruition.

I hang the Do Not Disturb sign and get ready.

I get to the room with plenty of time to spare, but they don't let people in until half an hour before the start. I'm the first one at my table, getting my gear in order. Each player gets a practical seat cushion (sponsored by PartyPoker) with a pocket.

I knew beforehand, and verify with a floor manager its appropriateness, that you couldn't have .com poker advertising on your clothing or apparel. .net is allowed however. I had crossed out .com on my T-shirt.

People fill up rapidly and we start, after commemorating the 30th anniversary of Doyle Brunson's first Main Event win.

And now: How not to do when playing early in the World Series of Poker Main Event, with a stack of 10000 and blinds at 25/50.

The very first hand is dealt. I'm in seat 5 and fold some trash hand. Seat 7 raises, nothing wrong with that. But he raises to 2000. Seat 8 reraises to 4000. Of course everyone folds all around back to seat 7.

Seat 7 ponders. Seat 7 goes all in!

Seat 8 ponders. Seat 8 calls!

There's only two hands possible for that kind of play, and even then it's not proper play at the very first hand in a tournament.

Yes, seat 7 has KK and seat 8 has AA. No help from the board and some guy has played only one hand and it will be mentioned in some asides or footnotes in WSOP reporting. The only hands that would call a 40 times Big Blind bet at this stage is KK or AA and the only that would raise is AA. We (the table) didn't even have time to get a camera crew over to witness this.

How do I fare? My stack is between 9000 and 14000 most of the time. I'm not the kind of guy with photographic memory recalling every hand I played. But two stand out:

  • A short-stacked guy before me goes all in preflop with about 4000. I have AA and call (or raise to get those behind me out, I don't remember. Standard play.). He has QQ and catches another Q on the flop. I'm then down to 9500. Had I won it I would have had a niiice(r) stack and one player would've been eliminated. Only 8700+ more to go. But that's poker.
  • A tricky hand, probably what cripples me. One of those "almost any card will help" that don't go all the way. Open-ended straight draw, a face pair, and a flush draw. But there was heavy betting from my opponent and at the end I hadn't hit the good stuff and he outkickered my pair.

Phil Hellmuth was knocked out at around five o'clock. At ten to ten Doyle Brunson was knocked out. I read later that Ron Jeremy (at a table across the aisle from me) was only knocked out before me. But just before ten our table is broken up and I get assigned a new table across the room. I don't even need a rack to move my chips, I can carry them in my hand IN FULL VIEW AND PLAIN SIGHT! (Don't make that mistake, a Swedish player put his chips in his pocket when switching tables and they were thus eliminated).

I can only survive about two more orbits of antes and blinds. I have K5 in an unraised Big Blind and there's a 5 on the flop. Any hit must be played and I go all in with my pittance of a stack. Two or three callers but lots of play on turn and river and they had hit much better hands.

I'm out after about ten hours. If I read the wall screens right, there were more than 2200 players starting this day and now there's over 1400 still left.

And that's it.

But I'm not bitter. Really. I can forever say "I've played in the WSOP, have you?" and I have a week in Vegas already paid for (site gave me travel money that about covers both flight and hotel).


Early poker at the Gold Coast. KK and Ace High flushes give me mo' money. I head over to the central Strip and play at Ballys. Lose some of my winnings from Gold Coast and head over to Flamingo. There's a long wait list for cash games there, so I take a daily tournament instead. $60 buy-in with 40 players. Only 1000 in starting chips with blinds 25/50. Two are out early, in the very first hands, then it's my turn at 37th. I did have the best hand when all in, but he outdrew me with bad starting hand.

Back at the Gold Coast, I sit quiet at the 1/2 NL cash game. Why? Because there are four other Swedes at my end of the table and they're very inebriated, loose and chatty, talking among themselves. Maybe I can get an advantage if I'm in a hand with them. But after a while that gets old and tedious (and I never get an advantage) so when I scoop in a large-ish pot I say "Tack, det var en fin pott och en fin hand." which is Swedish for "Thank you, it was a nice pot and a nice hand.".

One of them still doesn't get that I'm Swedish as well until a while later.

I learnt a new concept, which I hadn't experienced before. The "live straddle". Look it up. It's fun.


Play at the Flamingo again, cash game this time. I buy a really vulgar novelty tie with cards, fake gems and the text "Texas Holdem" on it. And a CSI Las Vegas cap.

Then I head over to Caesars Palace. Now, that is a nice poker room. Huge hall with maybe 30-40 tables. And an almost as large room just for tournaments. I lose my whole buyin in a bad-ish beat. I have 44 in an unraised Small Blind and call. Big Blind checks. I flop a set of fours and bet out, get called by BB, similar on turn and river and it doesn't look dangerous. However, there was one hole card combination that could beat me, and he had it. A5 for a wheel (Ace-to-Five straight). I didn't think of that the Big Blind was unraised before the flop, so he played that for free.

I look at, just look at Bellagio and The Venetian. Lu-xu-ry.

Back to Gold Coast and cash game. I'm exactly break-even at the poker table when the night is over, but have gotten "free" drinks and lots of entertainment. Nice people at the table. Big tattooed colored guy with gold front teeth. A big friendly Texan with a mustache. The two Swedes from Thursday. A Canadian whom I've been in contact with since he was a spectator at the final table where I won my WSOP seat. He also won a WSOP seat a few weeks before me. And he's also knocked out of the Main Event on the first day.

After that, I and one of the Swedes head to a Pai Gow table for slow play and as many drinks as possible. It's very hard to lose at Pai Gow, and the game is slow (if the table is full) so you can get in many drink orders.


I check out the Rio and WSOP again. I buy a bagful of WSOP merchandise; card guard, T-shirt, cap, pins, fridge magnets, small LCD games with Holdem. For me, and as gifts to poker players back home.

Ooh yeah, I hit a High Hand Jackpot at the 1/2 NL at Gold Coast. Four Kings! On the flop! But... It had hit recently and been reset to its starting value, so I just get $50. Boo hoo. But! I'm on a plus otherwise as well.

Back to Rio to look at WSOP again, in the evening. First I look at Show in the Sky and get some beads thrown at me.

Mark, the guy from Saturday who knocked out a guy in the very first hand with AA vs KK is still in. Playing Day 1A and he's at about 80000 at the dinner break. Go him.

More walking, and I head over to Palms. Ehm, a sort of embarrassing mistake. The NL was very full and long waiting list, but there were many openings at the Fixed Limit tables. My standard so far had been to buy in for $200 at a 1/2 NL table. Now I buy in for $300 at a 2/4 FL, three racks of ones. Then when I sit down I see just a few recreational players with only one rack, or less. But the two girlfriends sitting next to each other and chatting had nice racks. Eh, eh? Double entendre, do you see it? I don't play for long, just run them over with aggressive NL-style play and leave up $50.

Back to GC for some Pai Gow and drinks. I swear, it must have been Walter Matthau's younger brother or a relative sitting two chairs to my right. Looked like him, sounded like him, acted like him. He had a thin mustache though.

Ooh, very stuck at the poker table later. Flop a set, turn a boat, get riverred by a bigger boat. Get Aces cracked by J9. Just a day at the office, m'dear.

I love the atmosphere at the poker tables though. All I thought it would be. But off the table? I'm already sick and tired of hearing all the fragments of conversation in the corridors at Rio and outside of poker rooms. One half of cellphone conversations and frustrated storytellers. You know, "So I had kingqueen and he flat calls with pocket eights. Checkraise a flop of rag rag Jack and he catches a runner runner". Yada yada.


Not much gambling today. I go to Fashion Show Mall for shopping. I wish I had found a credit card (AmEx Gold or Platinum maybe?) and picture ID looking like me and a note attached "Have Fun!".

Dressed neatly I go to Palms in the evening to lounge around. Yuck. I lose at Fixed Limit. Against old ladies! They hit their Aces.

There's a boutique there that just sells Breitling watches. A small place with a few display cases. I see noone and just look in shortly. Then a woman steps out "Can I help you, Sir?" "Uhm, no, just browsing." "Bright and shiny, eh?" "Yes, very bling-blingy." No price tags, of course. Say it loud and say it proud: "If you have to ask what it costs you can't afford it".


Has it been a week already? But there's so much to do!

I play the Gold Coast morning tournament again. Exactly the same result, 11th of about 60 players.

After that, I was going to lie by the pool for a while. What are the odds? After lying there for half an hour it starts to rain. In Las Vegas in August. Just my luck, when I voluntarily will be outside in the heat. Back to my room and it goes over and dries up in just about a quarter of an hour.

In the evening, it's time for a bowling tournament, Swedes only, at the Gold Coast bowling center (just seventy lanes there...). I'm absolutely definitively the worst roller among us. I haven't bowled in a year or more. When I finally gets the right wrist twitch in, it's over.

I get an email (WSOP) update from Pokerblue and I'm not mentioned, just the ones in the Team. Hello? You put up $10000 from me and that's it? Well, I'm dropping them later, and will aim for WSOP 2007 or some other major tournament at another site that takes care of "their" players better. We're even now.


I play at The Venetian. Now, that's a classy joint. I'm getting stuck. Preflop raises or calling raises preflop, without hitting, too often. But it was fun nonetheless. It seems like that at any table I've played at there has been one or more players who've been (note the tense) playing in the WSOP, or a WSOP dealer off the clock.

"Hey, I got the rock to straddle", was the comment from a guy in a Seattle Mariners cap when I make a live straddle. Huh, I'm a rock. All in all, I think it's nice with the praise and encouragement I've gotten during this week. "Good call", "Nice hand, sir", "Nice bet", "Well played". It carries more weight than NH, WP, GL, TY in a chat window online. And nearly everybody is polite in Vegas. Players, dealers, brushes and other "support staff". The only rude person I've met was a drunk Swede (sorry) the other day. Spilled on the table, swearing, insulting, bullying, getting warned by several dealers and finally a Security guy. Massive overbets that he sadly won or scared people off with. And then he donks away more than $500 in ten-fifteen minutes. Everybody at the table was salivating, waiting for that AA, KK or flopping a straight or better.

I proceed north, so far I've only seen the central Strip and around my home quarters. Now it's time for the north parts. That was more run down and B-list. Circus Circus, Riviera, nearly nameless hole-in-the-walls. I buy some sunglasses for 99 cents each. And a bumper sticker "I experienced Las Vegas. One dollar at a time.". It will go nicely on a souvenir plaque I'm going to make. I've saved a $1 chip from every place I've played at and I'm going to mount them together with other memorabilia.

I go up in Stratosphere Tower. I had bought a ticket for the X Scream ride, but when I get a closer look of it in action (it propels you head-first over the edge of the tower) I change my mind and change to the meeker Big Shot with just catapults you to 1081 feet. After the ride I lunch at the Starbucks up there.

The Deuce gets me to Mirage just in time to see the volcanic eruption. Didn't want to wait for pirates at Treasure Island.

Home and freshen up, then more spectating at WSOP. I run in to Tammy, the marketing manager at Pokerblue. Nice gal. Go 'Bama! Pokerblue still has four players in the tournament, five came in the money.

The stuff around tournament could be done better. Spectators aren't let in freely, only a few at a time. But there have been thousands playing and then there's the hangarounds. I think many are interested in how it's going, but outside of the Amazon Room there's no way of knowing what happens inside. If only they had had a few big screens or something, with Players Left and some quick stats.

It almost feels like Harrah's just want these pesky poker players to finish up and leave so they can start setting up for the South Dakota Plumbers' Convention. Unless they can squeeze more dollars out of the WSOP franchise.


Last day in Vegas! Hepl! Hepl!

It's time to cover the last part, the southern parts. I'm skipping Downtown entirely, from what I've heard it's the worst part of the touristy Vegas.

I play some at the small and empty poker room at Tropicana, just enough to sneak away a souvenir chip and get lunch money.

And then... Hooters! Nice view... Another souvenir chip, then I lose my small buyin when I with AJ hit an A on the flop. I was going after a drunk maniac who was donking away his huge stack, not the strong silent type who happened to have hit a set of Deuces. Argh! Well, the waitress (Michelle) called me Sweetie, instead of the usual Honey.

Luxor. You need a room key to ride up in the elevators, but I sneak in with a group and get a good view and photos of the inside. When I pass by their poker room, at that very moment someone has hit a Royal Flush. The pot is his of course, and a $1000 bonus (I think).

On my way back home I finally find him, been looking all week. Elvis! In a white jumpsuit.

My last Texas T-Bone Steak Special at the Monterey Room at Gold Coast. And, get this. There's a beer included. The waiter asked for ID! I'm 35... I told him I was very flattered.

I get my baggage in order and double check the packing. Everything done? Ready for takeoff? Now I'll just play, my flight leaves in the morning Sunday.

It goes unexpectedly well. After midnight I'm a little more than doubled up and I comment to my neighbor (who knows I'm leaving) that now it's really just time to play until time to leave. That was my plan, bust the remaining cash, get "rich" or get too tired to play. Going to bed would be risky, what if I oversleep?

During the evening and night (I play until about 5.30 AM) I experience all the phases of a poker room. From crowded to lively to a lull. Dealer shift changes, player rotation. Twice a High Hand Jackpot hits. Once a Royal in diamonds, for more than $3000 and at my table (against me) a quad Tens for $800. Of course everybody start chasing jackpot hands.

For the first time in a while I'm successful with AK. Except once, and it was a good laydown. I have AK. The flop is AJ9, I bet heavy. Turn is another 9, I bet my two pair appropriately. An Englishman goes all in. It looks dangerous and I fold. Discretely I later comment that I folded AK, and it's revealed that he discretely showed a neighbor his JJ. We get to know this and he's impressed and later at a break he once more lauds me, shakes my hand and says "Not many players would lay down Ace King like that." My comment: "Well, I've learnt the hard way not to get greedy with AK."


So I've been up more than 24 hours straight when my plane leaves at 9 AM.

Strange thing at the security check. Boarding Card Guy at desk at the lane I took points out "You've got four S-es on you boarding card, you should go to Lane 19". I start looking around for Lane 19 but obviously not quick enough. "DO! YOU! SPEAK! ENGLISH?". Why, yes, but this is my first time in the U.S. and first time going out from McCarran, I don't know all the details whereas he works there every day. I go there and it's nothing much, they just check my carry-on, no rubber glove and lubricant. The SSSS on the boarding card stands for Secondary Security Screening Something, I think. Maybe I got it automatically since I changed seats.

A little bit of moisture in my eyes (chucks, I must have gotten some desert grit in them or something) when we take off and I in a window seat on the left side of the plane get a perfect view of all of Las Vegas as the plane gets to an eastern heading over the south parts of Vegas. I don't wanna leave!

At Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson I don't find any of the iPod vending machines I saw on my way in. Maybe just as well, because later I find other brands and models that look better, and cheaper. For example the Creative Zen Vision:M.

The Atlantic crossing is a mishmash of movies, slumbering and eating.

Back where I started nine days ago, at my sister's. I stay there for two days and then go home. One of the days, we were at the zoo with my niece. Nice and all, but they've got lions at MGM Grand...

Still jet lagged, it show when I get home. I start unpacking, then just a short nap on the TV couch browsing through channels. I wake up and continue clicking. "Oh, CNN, I've got that at home too. Well, my bags are nearly packed but I've got cash left, I can still go down to the oval tables and play some more. Oh. Fuck. I'm home."


This was my budget version of a Vegas trip. I'm not the type to schmooze around Las Vegas in a limo betting thousands of dollars. I take a taxi or bus and gamble in the hundreds.

I never played without a drink or beverage in front of me. Alcohol, water or coffee or Red Bull. I always tipped.

If you are a serious poker player you simply have to make a pilgrimage to Las Vegas.

I heartily recommend the Venetian and Caesars Palace poker rooms. Flamingo, Ballys and Gold Coast are also OK. You can do without the rest, unless you happen to pass by or stay at that hotel.

C-notes ($100) in one pocket and singles ($1) in another pocket. 100s for gambling and 1s for tipping. Don't mix them up. You can't gamble much for a dollar (but you can get a lot of play out of a penny slot) and $100 is overtipping.

I didn't experience any "Sin City" stuff. The closest of that was the guys handing out stripper cards. You know, the color printed cards with a semi-nude and a phone number and a price. Yeah, right, the $199 Special is just stripping.

Just a little mild flirtation or ogling.

Check out what you can get "for free", register for comps, I didn't think of that until it was too late. But/And I played at lots of places, not just one place where I might've earned a free meal or something with accumulated time. At least I could've gotten something at Gold Coast, because the brush started recognizing me after a while. I didn't even have to speak, just walk up to the desk and look and he goes "Hey Martin. Two hundred?". I'm a regular :-).

So. I'm definitely going back, one way or the other. I'll look for tournaments where the prize is a Vegas live tournament, or other major tournament.European Poker Tour for example, and then my goal would be to win money that I can use to go to Vegas for.

Friday, August 04, 2006

I would rather be playing

Instead of day-by-day updates of my stay in Las Vegas, I'll make an überpost with a complete summary after I return home. I'd rather be out on the town than typing in the hotel room.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Not this time

WSOP update:

Waited nine months and I'm out after nine hours.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Simply Vegas

Been in Vegas for two days and nights now. Lovin' it, but too zonked out to write anything lengthy right now. More on Sunday, the day of rest. My WSOP play starts tomorrow Saturday. Been getting up to speed with a $22 morning tournament at the Gold Coast where I'm staying. Placed 11th of 62. And the $1/$2 NL cash game at the Orleans.

Joe Hachem smiled and waved back when I smiled and waved at him. I've seen Greg and Doyle. Rawk.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

All systems gogogo

This is Sunday. Wednesday I leave for Las Vegas and playing in the World Series of Poker Main Event. Did I just say that?

Found out my starting day, I'll start playing Saturday, day 1B. There will be four Day 1 since there are so many participants. They're expecting 8000 or more, and I read something somewhere a few days ago that there are already more than 5000 registered.

So, play Saturday. Then day 1A and 1B are combined on Tuesday and then the next day of play is Friday where some time during the day the players will be In The Money. What will it be for me? Ones or zeroes? 0, 10000, 100000, 1000000 or 10000000 dollars?

Finished packing today, now I just have to leave. Will be flying for fourteen hours plus some hours waiting at airports. Who cares, I'm going to Vegas. Vegas, baby, Veeegaaas!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Seat unglued

Silly me. Airplane seating crisis averted. No longer relegated to the worst seats in the back.

You see, they (Delta) have this neat thing called Internet and a website. In color! There you can log in with your confirmation number to check your itinerary and choose your seat. Silly silly me. Available seats shown, just click and select, with a SeatGuru browser window open beside it to get the best pick.

So now I've got window seats instead, I'd like that so I can see the U.S. (first time over there, ya know), gaze across the Atlantic Ocean, and see Las Vegas from above when we arrive, and so on. Except on the return flight across the Atlantic, instead of the large-ish economy section with hundreds of seats there were some Economy seats in a sort of mini-cabin with a dozen seats or so near the front, just behind the Elite and Business sections. So I might sneak in there and gather up the leftovers, some pate de foie gras , Bollinger and marinated lark's tongue.

Or I could simply get lucky and be upgraded. Just because I'm so nice.

Playing position

In some games of poker, your position on the table in relation to the dealer matters. But that's not what I'm writing about right now. Oh, come to think of it, what's the name of this blog? "Glued to the seat".

I just got an updated and detailed itinerary for my flight(s) to and from Las Vegas. I'll be flying from Copenhagen airport with Delta, who started flying from there in... May 2006 , I think.

Over at SeatGuru, "The ultimate source for airplane seating, in-flight amenities and airline information", you can find information about good and bad seats on many, if not all (major) airlines and their different aircraft.

Looks like I drew the short straw in seating assignment, the itinerary I got had seat numbers on it. On all flights (two legs, Copenhagen-Atlanta and Atlanta-Las Vegas, return ticket) except one, I got a seat farthest back. The Atlanta-LV one is the worst, marked in red at SeatGuru. And all except one are aisle seats. Hope I make it to the money at the WSOP so I can get another classier flight home.

Not good... Farthest back will probably mean last one off, having to go through the whole plane when boarding with everybody and their grandma, farthest from everything (amenities) et cetera. Worst of everything.

How could this be? I booked early (in March, for travelling July-August), but maybe that's it? "They" start filling from the back.

My hope will be that they're not booked 100% full and that my timing is right at the check-in desk. Just point out to them that I got poor seats all over and could they possibly put me anywhere else?

Any hints on how to play that? I'm not looking for a free upgrade to business or first class, just out of the back. Found some, the number one tip is to be at check-in early when they can still juggle around. Number two seems to be to get "tagged", so to speak, as someone who can be moved around. Easier to shift one person/seat around when filling out the plane than to accomodate a group (a family or other group who want to be seated together). But arrive early.

Or maybe I just misinterpret the Seat: field in the itinerary, and they're not assigned until check-in.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Best of

A little collection of my best posts in this little poker blog, maybe showing my progress from "working" for three-four hours in a $1-$5 tournament and being proud of a small winning that I nowadays would consider "loose change", to going to the World Series of Poker.

  • Not going to Vegas anytime soon - Little did I know, then. April 2004.
  • I won at WSOP 2004 - I placed a bet on who would win the WSOP 2004 Main Event, and I picked right (Greg Raymer, he was chip leader when the final table started). May 2004.
  • Showdown - My first live tournament. September 2004.
  • Rounders - First time I win (1st place) a live poker tournament. April 2005.
  • Bubble boy - I do well, but don't finish In The Money. May 2005.
  • Getting Even - I don't finish In The Money, but I make it up in a cash game. May 2005.
  • Home game family pot - I play poker with the family. June 2005.
  • Regal colors - I get my first Royal Flush. September 2005.
  • The Big One - I win a seat in the 2006 World Series of Poker Main Event. November 2005.
  • Exclamation marks - I get congratulated!!!!! November 2005.
  • Passive - I finish In The Money in yet another live tournament. January 2006.
  • Never give up - The importance of not quitting. February 2006.
  • My first comp - I get my first "freebie" at a real casino. March 2006.
  • Morale booster - Doing well. April 2006.
  • Three times - You have to look good while playing. Options: White tie or Black tie. May 2006.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Some promises before my going to Las Vegas and playing in the WSOP Main Event:

  • As usual, a continuous "inner monologue" when I'm involved in a hand. "This player did that and that player did this. I flopped a set but if either one has J9 he has a straight, and if another spade comes there could be a flush, but do they have it? What do they think I have?"
  • I will play as if I had several commentators watching my every play. "Whoa! Martin, this promising player from Sweden flopped a straight but Bob Smith from Alaska got a flush on the turn and the 2 of Spades on the river filled an ace-high flush for Martin. Little does he know that Bob got a straight flush from that card."
  • Check-raise, re-reaise, get "Time!" called.
  • I will truly enjoy myself. I will see in person all the sights I've so far only seen on TV and in movies (Las Vegas, CSI:Las Vegas, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Casino, Ocean's Eleven, National Lampoon's Vegas Vacation, uhm, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas). I will be walking around in a daze with my mouth open and just gawk at all the pretty lights. Swimming in the Bellagio fountain, climbing the Luxor pyramid, engaging a Caesars Palace staff member in gladiatorial combat...
  • Drink. Not get staggeringly drunk or intoxicated. Just want to get that feeling, a warm buzz, of having had a shot or three at two in the afternoon on a Sunday, or a few beers in the evening while playing poker. Or a post-dinner cocktail after being comped a meal.
  • On that note, I also have to buy someone or several people one or several drinks.
  • I will blog as often as I can. Here, and in a Swedish (poker) discussion forum I participate in. The posts may be terse, I won't have the whole afternoon or evening to compose, and I'm not a journalist. No essays going into detail, just recounting some of what happened since the last post.
  • Do something "crazy". Not necessarily gambling related, definitely not the classic and bland "Everything on Red!". I dunno, maybe a pie eating contest or karaoke or a dare. Any suggestions?
  • Schmooze. As I said before, I'll see all the sights I've only seen on TV. Now I can meet the people I've read about and seen. Bloggers, celebrities, pros. Blogging celebrity pros.
  • Make bad jokes. I simply have to arrive at the hotel desk and do the "I just flew in from Sweden and boy are my arms tired" routine.
  • I will NOT wear sunglasses and a hat at the 1-2, 2-4 or 3-6 table.
  • I WILL wear sunglasses at the WSOP tables. In fact, I'll bring several pairs. Wraparounds, Ray-Bans, novelty. I WILL do the "sunglasses upside down" thing.
  • At least once I'll have to use some really stupid deal, like "free coupon" or "players club". You know, the kind where if you "bring this voucher to the Blinga Blanga Hotel Casino and Laundromat or other venues in the Hoobadahonga chain before 2PM on Tuesdays to Thursdays and get $25 in tokens and wait an hour" you get a free meal, 10% off in the gift shop and a T-shirt.
  • Maybe I'll go to a really old, run-down place in downtown Las Vegas. Or some shady joint off-off-Strip.
  • If out from the Main Event early, either try to get sponsored into another WSOP event (or sell percents) or just enter some cheap-ish ($50-$100) tournament at some other casino, or a side game.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

I love this game

Played a live tournament Saturday. It was a rebuy+addon tournament and I had "budgeted" three or four buy-ins.

Play was wild during the rebuy blinds levels, I think there was more than thirty rebuys+addons. With only twelve players! I didn't make an addon (but I made one (1) rebuy) since it wouldn't have increased my stack much. Four kings helps build a nice stack.

I got praise from some players, I made some nice calls on the river with a large-ish bet against me. I had hit something, or even only had Ace High but there were possibilities on the table, obvious draws for flush, straight or higher pairs/trips. But I sensed that the opponent didn't hit his draw. I wouldn't have called a very big bet or all in, but the situations were such that I could gamble and call.

With seven players left I had had cold cards for a long while and my stack shrinks. I have about 4100 in chips and blinds are 800/1600. Something playable comes along, JQo and I go all in, on the button. The big blind squirms and calls, wondering "I have two overcards at least, huh?". He thinks I have a pocket pair. Well, he does have overcards, AKo vs my JQo. I'm the dealer and I lay out the flop one card at a time.

First card: K. Dang, not good. Second card: J! Ah, I have a shot. Third card: J!!!11!!one! Trip Jacks vs pair o' Kings.

The turn: K... so I have a JJJKK Full House vs KKKJJ Full House. But I'm not dead yet, the river could be a Jack, that would have been be-e-a-ootiful. But no, and I'm out in 7th place.

The next player is out in another hand that shows the beauty of Holdem (that a hand could swing back and forth). Another short stack goes all in with JJ and gets called by AK. The flop is laid out one card at a time.

First card: Q. Second card: J, trip jacks vs nothing. And then I don't remember if it was the third card or the turn, but a Ten came, nut straight vs trip Jacks, but he's not dead yet. But no quad or boat for JJ.

I don't think I ever would've done differently in either of those two situations, before or after the flop. Short stacked and hitting a good flop, go for it.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Three times

Three times these past few days, or should I say thrice, I've played live Texas Hold'em in white tie. No, not a white tie. "White tie". Full dress tailcoat. Full evening dress. Tails.

  1. Saturday, before a full dress dinner, an annual Guys Only thing I've been inducted to. We had a little 5-seat Sit'n'Go and a few beers at my place before the dinner. Very loose play of the "any two" variety. Second place.
  2. After the dinner some time during the night (not allowed to leave until at least sunrise). Of course I brought a chip set, especially since I'd heard that the year before they'd also played poker but didn't have any proper equipment and used crackers, olives and pieces of sausage for betting. Very very loose play of the "any one, two or zero cards can win" variety. In honor of Joe Hachem's winning hand in the WSOP 2005 Main Event, I played 37o. The flop: x37 = two pair. The turn: 3 and Full House. All in! A caller! He "only" has pocket Queens = two pair against my Boat. River: Q, better Full House for him. Don't know which place I went out in. We had a very wet bar...
  3. Tuesday, before another little affair where white tie was required. Just a little Heads Up of the "we'll at least have to see a flop every time" variety. Won!

And a last one that doesn't really count. After coming home after midnight from the Tuesday affair I played two 0.5/1 NL THE tables while gradually getting out of the clothes, slightly inebriated. Poker had been a topic of conversation, so I simply had to top off the evening with some quick'n'dirty power poker. After ten-fifteen minutes I was wearing only pants and up 60 and that's a good time to stop playing unless it's strip poker.

Countdown until takeoff towards Las Vegas, Nevada and the WSOP Main Event: 77 days

Monday, April 24, 2006

Morale booster

I'm feeling quite confident in my Texas Holdem playing. I'm somewhat winning but one also has to remember why I play. I'd like to point you toward G-Rob's ponderings on the subject. He writes "I think the solution is to remember WHY I play. I'm not in it for the money. I mean, we keep score with money so I want as much as possible. But I'm not a poker pro... and I don't use the income for my everyday life. Really, the poker bankroll is just that. I use my poker winnings to play poker. That way I don't have to use the family's actual money to play... and I can keep playing bigger games."

That's how I play. I play at the cash games, and when I'm up enough for a buy-in, I go to a Sit'n'Go or a multitable tournament or sometimes a higher level of NL cash game. I had a good run and was up 200, so I entered a tournament that cost 100. Finished 17th of 114! Too bad it was 15 paid. But I knocked out the "celebrity guest", in that particular weekly tournament they have a guest from the world of sports or poker. My AJs vs his AK preflop and I hit a J and he nothing. He's out in 32nd place but it was a pity that they didn't have a bounty on him. And I wasn't even mentioned by name in the post-game "article" on the poker site's webpage about the tournament. Just "the opponent". *pout* *sulk* I then entered a 100 SnG and finished 4th (with three paid).

So, I'm feeling confident. I feel that I can do well in cash games and go far in tournaments. When you reach a certain level of winning play, it is a near coin toss. All in with the best hand and maybe just maybe you get sucked out. But if not, you're doing great. Win big pots, lose (or fold) small pots. In Holdem in particular, sometimes you do have to gamble to win really big, but make sure you're the favorite when you do so.

I've been playing a lot lately at the government-run Swedish (Swedish citizens only) site Svenska Spel. First I had an initial semi-bad run but then I adapted. Lots of In The Money in SnG, or 4th place (see previous comment about having to gamble but you're the favorite) and I've never left the site for the day on a minus. Sometimes up a 100, sometimes up 10 but that's a good goal to have. The NL low-limit cash games are "easy". 6-8 limpers before the flop is not rare. So, bet 4*BB with top starting hands to isolate and then play good flop hits hard and possible draw hands soft. Also, limp with any pair or connectors. Flop a set or better or a good draw and cash in. Be wary of reraises and checkraises but pounce on them with nuts. Hmm, I'm starting to get a hang of this poker lingo now.

The biweekly homegame is getting tough! We're usually 4-7 players and have a rebuy tournament (if you're empty you can rebuy for the first four blinds levels) with a three beer minimum. Nowadays the first player is knocked out first in the 6th or 7th level and always on coin tosses or very close calls. Obi-Wan has taught you well.

Tournament at the local poker club yesterday. Nineteen participants, five paid. Rebuy tournament and I made two (pair of Aces vs four Kings hurts! And it was the husband of the lady who hurt me with four Tens in a previous tournament). But I'm prud to report that I played The Hammer (27o) and won. A proper Hammer, raised UTG before the flop which had two Sevens. Niiice.

I'm out at 5th place (ITM) and it was A Hand of Justice. Pocket Aces! Isolated one player, Mr. B, whom I've knocked out of these tournaments twice with AA so I have to make this an all-in situation (although he has me covered). And on the turn it happens, I go all in and he thinks, squirms and calls. I say "You know what I have, we simply have to do this.". I show my AA and he shows an open-ended straight draw. He needs an 8 or a King. A King comes on the flop but smiles, applauses and handshakes occur. Couldn't have done anything differently. There were about 36 cards left that would not help him. 52 minus our 4 hole cards minus the 4 on the table minus the 4 Eights and 4 Kings. 36 for me, 8 for him. That's how I'm thinking at least. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

So, 5th place which pays 650 but I made two rebuys in a 200 tournament so I'm up 50. But up! And had a shot at even bigger winnings. And more points in the leaderboard for the "freeroll" we'll have at the end of the year for the ten with the most points with the prize money taken (5%) from all tournaments during the year. As of now, I'm at a split 10th place.

Oh, and all amounts in this post are in Swedish crowns. $1 = 7.5 crowns.

I hit an important threshold last week. Monday April 17 it was 100 (one hundred) days until my flight leaves for Las Vegas and the WSOP Main Event.

And this weekend Vegas Vacation was on TV. No poker but lots of Vegas lights and images.

"Cousin Eddie: I haven't seen a beatin' like that since somebody stuck a banana in my pants and turned a monkey loose."

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Presidents and small winnings

When I went south to go to the casino as mentioned in the last post, I thought "what the heck" and passed through a currency exchange and got US$1000 in cash. Way ahead of time but I want to get my travel kit in order. Already I have a bag where I gather all things needed for my trip to the WSOP Main Event. Passport, papers (reservations, contracts, info, numbers, plans), power adapter, diverse security/safety items, and now a wad of pieces of paper with dead presidents on them. I particularly like the Franklins. It's all about the Benjamins, baby.

So now I have $1001.26 at home. The bills plus two halfdollars, a quarter and a penny from a coin collection. The halfdollars are one JFK and one Liberty Bell, the JFK one is my lucky coin for use in poker games as a token in my pocket or as card protector.

I had hit a downward slump at Partypoker, never making it big and seeing my bankroll slowly dwindle. Finally won (1st place) a SnG the day before yesterday and hope to turn upwards now.

Got a bit stressful yesterday. It seemed like our regular biweekly homegame wouldn't happen since people were busy and we would be only three then, so I got in a cheap SnG at Partypoker. When we were four left J called and said the homegame was on, so I got super aggressive in the SnG (but didn't want to pish it away either) and whaddya know, I knock one player out, so I won't leave empty handed at least. All in with any hit and actually win some but out at third place.

The homegame: Four players, four rebuys (one each). We're getting really evenly matched now. Second place, almost gave it away because we had been grinding heads up for nearly half an hour, it was nearing midnight (started late) and those of us who weren't at home already wanted to go home.

I've got such a yearning to go to Las Vegas! And I will, it's all been arranged now, but it's three point nine months left. Whoa, it is getting close. Almost within my reach. But I'm getting paranoid; I keep imagining situations where I walk up to the airline counter and get "Oh, that flight has been postponed two days." or "Certainly sir, one return trip to Kuala Lumpur coming rrright up!". Or at the hotel desk "There is no reservation under the name Huykenschmitt.". Or at the WSOP registration at the Rio "As per regulation C, paragraph 15, since you entered the country less than 72 hours ago and are a pre-registered European player in casual clothes, you are not eligible for play.".

Almost daily I browse the web, reading travelogues, reviews, tips. Look at Vegas in Google Earth. I even look at traffic cams! What's with all the (white) Ford F150s? And it warms my heart to see all the lights on and limos passing by. At 5-6AM Vegas Time on a weekday.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

My first comp

Got my first "comp", sort of, at a brick&mortar casino yesterday.

I play a lot of poker, online and live. My father only plays around a little online with play money and the occasional (but rare) family homegame, so as a birtday gift I gave him a "Poker Night" at the regional state-run casino. It's a package deal where you get dinner and a poker tournament for the dinner guests. I arranged it well in advance and this Monday we went. The in-law that also was supposed to be coming along was ill, so we were only two. When I called to notify them of the change they said there were no other people booked for Poker Night. We decided to go anyway, now that I had travelled to attend.

When there, I let dad do the talking. We had the dinner, the casino apologized for not notifying us of the cancellation and we got a free dessert (panna cotta, yum). Got a quick runthrough of how poker cash games and tournaments work at the casino by a cute brush and got more freebies. Sunglasses, lighter-that-looks-like-poker-chips and a deck of cards. Each.

As part of the package you also got three 20-crown chips (20 crowns = $2.50). Dad put one down on the roulette, at 14/17. Clickettyrattle, fourteen red.

We played around on slot machines and video poker and then at Casino Holdem, which is a bastardization of Texas Holdem where you play against the dealer. Put one chip down to get cards, if you want to play them after you see "the flop" you put two more chips down. Then the turn and river comes and the dealer has to have a pair of fours or better to "qualify". If the dealer doesn't qualify you win one chip regardless. If he does qualify, your hand has to beat the dealer's hand and if you do, you win all that you've bet. Also some extra payouts if you have better than... straight (I think).

All in all, I think we were break-even on table games and machines, got some father-son time, drinks and dinner and some stories to tell.

The standard of the casino (Cosmopol) was... questionable. Never having been there (yet!), I would think that if it was in Las Vegas, it would be a run-down backstreet joint in downtown LV. But good staff.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Yet again

Another homegame tournament No Limit Texas Holdem, wild and crazy. We were six players and there were seven rebuys. I made one, one guy made three.

Same procedure as always, I do well in the middle of the game, I was in a massive chip lead in the middle phases, helped by for example a flopped Aces full (had AA, flop comes QQA, bingo, yatzee). Then much of it goes away when I with A3 in an unraised big blind flop two pair and the guy with a straight draw and a flush draw tags along and after all in hits the case flush on the river.

One hand can make you and one hand can break you. Third place, on the bubble.

My participation in WSOP 2006 Main Event draws ever nearer. Only four months to go now! I made the hotel reservation two weeks ago and last week I arranged the flight, finally. Now it's just waiting, waiting, waiting annnd lift-off!

Next Monday I'm treating my father and brother-in-law to a Poker Night at the regional casino. A package deal where you get dinner, gaming introduction and a Holdem tournament with some tin cup as first prize. Just so dad can try it "for real", he plays around a little online but only with Play Money.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Another Royal

I got my second Royal Straight Flush yesterday!

Too bad it was once again in a tournament setting. It was in a Sit'n'Go.

Dagnammit, I don't want it then and there. I want to get it when it really matters, on a High Hand Jackpot table, in a multi-way all in in a cash game or at the final table of a large prize pool tournament with lots of callers and audience.

Well, it's probably karmic payback for my miracle river straight on the bubble this weekend.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Two seven

Homegame, six participants.

Blech, it didn't go well at all. Cold cards, chasing didn't hit anything on the flop. Made two rebuys.

And I ran into The Hammer, the infamous 2 7 off suit (although one time it was suited, Spades) twice. First time it filled a 5-9 straight against my pair of Queens with Ace kicker, second time it was a stone cold bluff, he put me all-in when I was shortstacked.

Just one of those days.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Never give up

In tournament play especially, in Sit'n'Gos and multitable tournaments, all you need is a chip and a chair. Never give up, you can make it. Some stories of my recent tournament experiences:

In a SnG, in the second deal, I get KAo, raise and get one caller. I hit an Ace on the flop and go all in although there are two Diamonds there. He calls! Oopsie, he has AT Diamonds and he hits the fifth diamond. But! He had called (blinds 15/30) in the first deal and I hadn't, so I have 30 T$ left. When I at last play them (with K9), I succeed and afterwards my stack goes to 60, 200, 270, 700, over 1000. I make it all the way to fourth place and could've maybe made it to the money if someone had made a mistake. But not bad, from 30 left to fourth place.

But sometimes you get impatient. Was in a tournament with only eight participants and three places paid. We were in the money after an hour. After yet another half hour I lost patience and went all in with a flopped pair of nines. Couldn't be bothered to fight for a few dollars. Third place.

And now a big payoff: Was in a $50 tournament with 43 participants, $3000 Guaranteed. 43*50=2150 so there was overvalue. I did well in the beginning but went down to 465 in chips (starting with 1500) with a flush against a weird full house. The flop was K99 with two Clubs and I get my Ace-high flush on the turn. From the opponent's betting, I get the feeling that he doesn't have a King or KK. Maybe he got trip nines and is happy? The river was a five. He had 55 and got a backwards full house. I fight my way back up to 900 with KA diamonds that hit an ace on... the river. It really does flow both ways! Around the second hourly break I'm at eleventh place of eleven, having had my JJ all in busted by A5 that hit two pair.

Final table! But only five places paid. Some more drop off and stackwize I'm at fifth of seven. Two others are also relatively short, I'm hoping that some of those screw up, or that two big stacks start butting heads.

Oh dear, oh dear, I only have 575 left. The blinds are 300/600 now. Six players left, five paid.

Then it happens. The poker gods smile upon me. The Big Blind comes to me and I'm all in from that. I have Q8o. Crap crappity crap.

I hit a Queen-high straight.

On the river.

And the one raiser-caller had AA.

I survive. Win an all in later with AA against AT. Have Q3 in an unraised Big Blind and flop two pair, I win that all in. Up to around 5000, getting back in the game seriously. AJo, all in. The board comes 49382 and will I get this from Ace high? (the cards aren't shown until the river at all ins here). Nope, he had pocket fours and I'm out at fourth place. $360 to me!

So never give up, you can make it even if it looks troublesome. Have confidence and don't throw the chips away.

I've made the Vegas hotel reservations. This week I'll have to take care of the flight too and then I'm set, just wait a few more months... Still watching prices and sites to make a call on the best deal, I want it as cheap as possible. The very cheapest one has a bad return leg though, I'd then leave Monday night, have to wait twelve hours or more in Atlanta and land in Copenhagen Wednesday. Now that's jet lag. I live in Sweden and Copenhagen is the nearest airport with flights over the Atlantic.

This because I don't want to have to stay for the full two weeks if I don't make it in the tournament (WSOP Main Event). It ain't free to stay in Vegas. If I make it to the money I can afford another flight home. But, anyway, I want to have the arrangements finished this week. Then all that's left to do is the packing and starting stashing away cash. I want to have a HUGE gangster roll for tipping and table games. I've already got a money clip with a large $ symbol on it, very low-key bling-bling.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Greed kills

Last week's poker results. During the week I had a good run at Pokerblue. I had had a hiatus a few months ago, then made a deposit (nibbling at the $2000 "travel money" I got in connection with winning my seat at the WSOP Main Event 2006) from the cashout I had made to Neteller and started playing again, then cashed out the deposit amount again when I had built up a bankroll, for example with winning a $5 Limit tournament and grinding at low ($0.25/$0.50 and $0.50/$1) tables. Now, during the week I had a good run and made a good plus. Enough to cover the big Sunday tournament.

Pokerblue changes their "flagship" tournament once in a while. For a while it was "Play four hours and you get a seat in the Sunday $12000 freeroll with a WPT/WSOP seat at stake", then "Play four hours, WPT/WSOP seat and added prize money to the top 20" (been there, done that, won it), then "Play four hours and you get a seat in the Sunday freeroll with $6000 prize money to the top 20" (got a 17th place in one of those). Now it's no "Play four hours" anymore, it's a $50 tournament (usually they only have $5-$20 hourly tournaments) with $2000 added. I got a promotional email saying that last time there were only 31 participants, so it's a good overlay.

So I entered. It starts with 39 participants, top 5 paid ($1500 to the winner).

The headline for this post is "Greed kills". I got into a situation with a guy with a shorter stack than me (two thirds?) where I flopped a gutshot straight draw (lacked the king) and a flush draw (lacked a club), but I don't have a hand yet. Bet 300, half his stack, to push him out but he goes all-in on me. I ponder, and I call. But, no, no king or club on turn or river and now I'm shortstacked. But ya gotta dare to win.

How would've been better? Just a low bet to test the waters and if nothing comes up there's always the next deal, and the next. Or putting him all-in on the flop? It's a case of "If I had hit the straight or flush", then it would have been a good play, "I had at least twelve outs".

Next hand, KA off suit. All-in with the 150 I have left but no hit and I'm out at 28th.

But at least I played. Who dares wins.

In other news: Dicked around at Full Tilt. I entered a multitable tournament and did well in the first blinds level. Then I was surprised when I got four hole cards and looked closer at the Tournament Info. Oops. I entered a HORSE tournament. That's where you play Texas Hold'em, then Omaha Hi/Lo, then Razz, then Seven Card Stud, then Omaha Eight or Better. Then start over again. Oops indeed. Haven't played much Omaha, and definitely not the other three "for real". I once entered an Omaha Sit'n'Go by mistake, quickly browsed around for rules and tips and played so carefully I finished third and in the money. So, I did well in Hold'em, survived Omaha Hi/Lo (actually picked up one Lo pot) and then I was out in Stud.

Played a tournament at Full Tilt with 440 participants, 45 paid. After three hours, I was at the final table! Finished 7th, of 440. Good! Too bad it was a... wait for it... $1 tournament. Won $14.30. A good return on investment. But not good hourly wages. Had it been a $100 tournament I could've gotten $1430 (or 1st place and $10000) and that would've been gooood.

But I'm not in it for the money...

Eh, well, only kidding. I'm not in it only because you can win money. I don't want to gamble hundreds of dollars even if I could because you can lose it and then what do you do? Never play with money you can't afford to lose. And if I liquidated my assets and plopped down in a seat at the $50/$100 tables or thereabouts I would be playing with scared money. However, if I won or placed well in a huge multitable tournament and got a few hundred or thousand, then I'd go up a level. What I'm saying is that I also find it rewarding when you win at low levels, the moment of triumph when you rake in a big pot in a cash game because you did everything right and read your opponent(s) correctly or place in a tournament because your overall strategy and tactics worked. The important thing is that you should enjoy playing poker. Not much fun to just sit there and click click click if you'd rather be doing something else. Consider it a hobby.

So it's a good thing I haven't paid $10,000 (lets give that amount the respect it deserves and spell it out: TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS) of my own money to be in the WSOP because then I would just sit there frozen and not dare to play anything other than a flopped Aces over Kings or four of a kind. In an unraised big blind. "I don't wanna lose my money! Mommyyy!".

It is drawing closer, day by day. "Wow, did you figure that out all by yourself, professor?" Shuttup shuttup. Anyway, when I won my seat, WSOP was about nine months away. Now it's only five months before I board a westbound flight in Copenhagen and cross the Atlantic Ocean. Quite a few biweekly homegames and also some local poker club tournaments available in the meantime to get practice in. I've transferred the travel money to my bank account and soon, maybe even this week, I'll make the reservations. Hotel and flight. I've done some scouting with Google Earth. Message to the guy with the red car who parked at the southwest upper parking deck at the Rio when the aerial photo was taken: Leave your car there, so I'll know where to cross the road.

Will be staying at The Gold Coast. A small hotel, just 700+ rooms. The local hotel here, "one of Sweden's larger conference hotels", which I can see from work, only has 200+ rooms. Gold Coast also has 70 bowling lanes. We only have 10 (or less) here

I'm ready. Bring it on! I've got plenty of sunglasses!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Bubble again

Just a quick post, soon the $50,000 freeroll "for Swedish players only" starts at Partypoker.

Was at a freezeout tournament at our local poker club today. Twenty players, four players paid.

The pivotal point (last time it was when I flopped a set of Aces) was probably when I with K9 turned a King-high straight and called an all-in. Made it to the final table where:

  • My raise with AA under the gun wasn't called.
  • My all-in shortstacked with A9o was called after some goading (against the guy I've knocked out of tournaments twice before with AA), he had ten-something and wasn't helped.
  • My all-in with pocket nines was called. By pocket threes.

Getting short, the blinds are high, antes are in effect. Play KQo, no help on the flop, call a high bet (five times big blind?) on the turn, no paint (Jacks, Queens, Kings and Aces). Yes, a King on the river! I call the all-in (I'll beat almost any pocket pair, Ace-anything/Ace high). Nope, he has KAo and I'm out.

At the effing bubble. Fifth place with four paid.

I hope I do really well in the freeroll. How sweet it would be to finally strike gold and win a big one or be at the final table. Says the guy who won a seat in the WSOP 2006 Main Event on a freeroll... But I'm not there yet, hearing "Shuffle up and deal". And my Internet poker play is low-limit ring games, preferrably $0.25/$0.50 fixed limit or $0.05/$0.10 no limit, cheap ($5-$20) Sit'n'Gos and cheap ($10) multitable tournaments. I do OK, but no "holy sh*t that's a lot of money!" moments. I'm tight when it comes to money management, I never go "OK, I won $100, now I'll play a $100 tournament tomorrow". Instead I finish fourth or once or twice third in five $10 Sit'n'Gos and tilt in a $20 multitable plus I hit a bad streak in the ring games and it's back to square one. Or win a $2 or $5 Sit'n'Go. Woohoo... Uhm.

As I've said before, I play a lot of poker with my bankroll but there's never been that Big Moment yet. But maybe I'm downplaying the wins I've had, after all I've won or been in the money in live tournaments. But there's never been the Quadrupled Bankroll, merely the Octupled Entry Fee or so.

Who dares wins.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Catching up

Oops, I've neglected my poker blog for a while.

In the words of Iggy, an überpost. I might not ramble as much or paste in outside content, so let's call it eine mittelpost. Unterpost? Ganz klar?

Let's see. Biweekly homegame tournament: Second place with seven players and no less than seven rebuys, total (I made one). Two newcomers and one of them won.

Played a little at Full Tilt Poker (use signup code MARTILT for a 100% bonus up to $600) and also watched the pros. They have quite a few; Chris Ferguson, Eric Seidel, Jennifer Harman, Phil Ivey and others, who have to play a while each week. The tables they're at are highlighted in red in the lobby. Seen Phil Ivey sitting lonely and forlorn at a $500/$1000 table one time, but a while ago I saw a lot of action at the table, $50/$100 NL THE, where he was sitting. Looots of railbirds wondering "Hey Phil can you stake me?", "Hey Phil, that hand at WPT Thingy Mastership in North Southwood, why did you raise with A8 hearts?". Luckily you can turn off Observer chat. Saw him take a heavy blow for a few thou (I say with a casual voice) but definitely not fatal when he had TT and the flop came ATx. Opponent had AA, so he was happy. Phil made it back quickly. Btw, saw him in a WPT event on TV this Saturday. He looks ANGRY! Arr, arr, rawr!

The site I mentioned in the last post, where I got $12, well, I'm up to $130 now. Heeere fishy fishy fish. And if I should be outdrawn at the microlimit NL THE tables, just go to the Limit 5 Card Draw for a while and grind a buyin back.

Tournament in our local poker club Sunday. Blergh, not good. Buyin, one rebuy (when I had two pair or a set and was all in. Opponent didn't have many outs, the most prominent one being a six to fill his gutshot straight. The river is... a six. I felt like kicking and punching the dealer, but in that hand it was... me.) and the addon. And I'm out at 12th place of 13. Had A7s, the board is K7xKx. Two pair K7 with Ace kicker. I thought and gambled at that the opponent who put me all in maybe tried to bully me out with a bare Ace or scaring me off/making a continuation bet for an unfulfilled draw, but nope, he had a King.

Home, James.

Played a cheap Sit'n'Go at Full Tilt. When we were three left, in the money, I pulled a fast one. Quite even in stacks. I get 27o (The Hammer) in the small blind. Minimum raise. Big Blind thinks a little and then says "27o" and folds. I show my 27o, and hilarity ensues. Uhm, OK, I got a "lol" in the chat window. But it was fun and appreciated. KJo, hit a K on the flop and all in. Nope, he had AA. Third place.

On to the freeroll at PokerBlue (Signup code: Marthyn). Play for four hours and you get entry into the Sunday freeroll, which nowadays is a $6000 prize pool to the top 20. It was in one of PokerBlue's freerolls I won a seat in WSOP Main Event 2006. The four hours are easily done, it isn't four hours played, sorta, it's total. So play two tables at the lowest fixed limits ($0.25/$0.50) for two hours, or four for an hour and you're ready.

After some technical difficulties, it starts. Good or bad thing, but they remove inactive (not logged in) players after the first fifteen minutes, and then we were only 84 (eightyfour) left. Btw, I placed 697 of 2480 in a $25,000 freeroll at another site without even playing (got called away). 220 paid but I placed better than people who actually played actively.

I see one player make a fantastic recovery, he hit a semi-bad beat and was down to 10 (ten!) in chips, with blinds 10/20, we start with 1500. At that level, many just call call call so it mounts up. And he wins, wins, wins the all ins he's involved in and fifteen minutes later he's up to 900 (and later 1900).

I'm far down on the leaderboard. When I raise I get no callers. When I get playable starting hands I get a large raise or all in before me and I chicken out, or a reraise. Lost count of the number of K8o I got. Obviously I won some hands since I'm still alive but nothing remarkable. Hey, players are dropping off. Im 30 of 33. 25 of 30. I'm 22 of 24 with blinds 200/400 and I have T$1325. Up a bit to over $2000 with semi-bluffstealing the blinds once, twice or thrice. Play it cool and nearly max out the timer to allow other tables to knock someone out, we're now 23 left (I'm in 22nd place) and it's 20 players paid. And I'd rather be blinded off than taking a wild chance and going out on the bubble with Fancy Play Syndrome.

Oooh, hey. In the money! 19 of 21, 17 of 18. I have to make a move. A3 clubs, all in with not even 2 times the big blind. One caller. I hit the Ace on the flop! But nope, so did the opponent and he had a Q kicker. Why couldn't he have had QQ, KK, QK, or some measly pocket pair without hitting anything?

16th place, $75 to me. 1st place $2500, 2nd $1000. Not a huge win but good for my level of play and bankroll. Never play with money you can't afford to lose, so I'm not taking any wild chances "Hey, I'll take a shot at this $500 tournament, I know I can play well". Not sure if I mentioned my $100 win (1st place) in a $5 Fixed Limit Tournament.

Heard of a horrible bad beat from the poker club forum. X was playing online, cash game, with $5000 at the table and so had the other players. He loses a small pot (I think) and then in the next hand, in the small blind, he gets AA. And four other players before him go all-in. So does he. The pot is approximately $25,000... Cards flipped over. Think it was 88, 99, JJ, his AA and 23. 23? We'll get back to that.

Flop is A23. Yay, a set (three of a kind) for him. The turn, a 3. Full house, all the others are now drawing dead, almost. There's Mr. 23 with threes full of deuces, beat. If you have any experience in reading poker hands and thinking of outs you see what's coming next. So, he's got AA. Set. Full house. The river is... 3... Four of a kind 3 (beats Aces full) to the IDIOT who goes all in with about $5000 holding 23. Maybe they were suited.

Someone crunched numbers with PokerStove and mentioned that "yada yada, with that kind of action AA only wins 48% of the time" and so on but I and many others would have done the same with that huge a pot and AA preflop, unless huge buyin tournament life, all your and your family and friend's money or your actual physical life was on the line. And then seeing it just getting stronger and stronger and finally getting sucked out like that on a ONE-outer. On the river. So he writes about it on the club's Internet forum and "and that's why I won't play poker anymore".

Sure, it can happen, has happened, will happen and could happen. But man what a bad beat.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Passive in the moh-nayh

Played a live tournament, the second one in our recently started poker club.

Twenty participants in a freezeout, quite high buy-in (for me at least). Three tables, seven max, and when down to ten players it will be one table. Five paid and extra bonus from our sponsor to the winner: travel, accomodation and buy-in to a tournament in Estonia.

Quite passive (I read some comments about me in a poker blog written by a regular that I "say eight words in six hours" and "solid player") but I double up quite early. How? By hitting the 99% nuts, raising, getting reraised and getting my all-in called.

I had AA... Flop is A, 4, something. The above betting takes place and opponent turns over A4 = two pair whereas I have three of a kind, Aces. Another four would only give me a better full house against his full house. A bit hazy on the details, the all-in could be on the turn.

To add insult to injury, it was the same player I knocked out with AA vs JJ last time.

Patience, Grasshopper. My stack gives me opportunity to just wait and wait, and since it's a freezeout (no rebuys), if you're out you're out and can't make a comeback and I have to massacre you once more. Suits me well.

Before you know it (actually, quite a while), it's the final table, and I'm on it. I really should start taking notes to give better recounts. It's my rock-style, machine-like play that does it. As usual, some good laydowns, working semi-bluffs and taking advantage of player curiosity or getting them pot committed or low stacks keeps me in the game (QQ vs 66 for example, he even said "I shouldn't, I know you have a pocket pair").

Finally down to five players, In The Money. I'm to the left of a player similar to me (not wild, no bully, quiet rock), and we're both shortstacked, but he's shorter than me and we get to a three-way all-in situation pre-flop where I simply had to do so because if I don't do it, I'll barely have the big blind which comes to me next deal. 8T suited... Flop comes up and I have a gutshot straight draw but no help to either of us two, we're out. But since he had less than me he's out at fifth place, getting the buy-in back and I'm out at fourth, getting buy-in times two.

And since we're a club now and well organized, they'll have a longer term ranking list for 2006 and a prize place in the first tournament this year ain't bad.

In other news, I got an email from yet another poker site that had some sort of "evaluation promotion" going. Register, download and try out our poker client, no deposit necessary, and we'll give you 100 SEK = $12 to play for and you are also eligible for the $100 Raked Hands bonus.

I quintupled (fancy word, eh?) the $12 in two short weekday evenings at the $0.05/0.10 NL THE tables and two second places in $3 Sit'n'Gos, up to $60 and then getting the first payoff from the Raked Hands Bonus. Blew some at Multitable tournaments but I'm still up and rising. One could almost say that there's no fish there... It's a barrel full of caviar and you've got your own spoon.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

A knack

I hadn't played a tournament at Pokerblue for a while, and after watching the TV show "Las Vegas" (the one with James Caan), I entered one. $5 Fixed Limit, 59 entrants, 9 paid.

Grind grind grind (this is Fixed Limit, no fancy play) and three hours later... I'm number one! Switched gears at the right moments (in hindsight) and met good resistance from the final five or six. $103 to me, from an entry fee of $5. Feels good. As I commented in the chat "Hmm, maybe I have a knack for this poker thingy.". I had a good feel for the cards, knowing/feeling when the opposition was on a draw and didn't hit it, having a good draw myself and hitting it on the turn or river, knowing when to hold and to fold. That little "edge" that makes it proper poker, not just lottery.

In my mentality, that win gives me a good bankroll to give twenty more $5 tournaments a try, or ten $10 tournaments, or keeping it and do as I use to, grind at fixed limit until I have enough plus to enter a multitable tournament and maybe get a good ROI (Return on Investment) again.

"Our" poker club has a freezeout tournament the weekend a week from now. Extra bonus from the sponsor, first place gets a weekend trip to a tournament in Tallinn, Estonia. Could be nice for a warmup, I'll certainly give it a shot.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

They are learning

Our regular loose homegame tournament is getting routine now, but there's always some little quirk to make it interesting. We're really getting to now each others' styles and can add a little finnesse. Hehe, there were two plays of the special hand "The Hammer", which is 2, 7 off suit, raised before the flop. I had one, no more betting until showdown where I lost, and one other player who did get trip sevens with it.

Other hands: Four of a kind, Kings. Short 77 all-in vs AA, flop Axx, turn 7, river not a 7. Me knocked out with a flopped trip Queens, which the opponent also had, with better kicker.

If it weren't for the fact that we have rebuys for the first four blinds levels, I think I would place better. The same scenario often occurs: I don't have to make a rebuy, when the rebuy period is over I have three, four or more times the starting stack. No other player is very short stacked and I cant push them out of a pot. Players get knocked out so the blinds that have risen come around often and nibble away 5-10% at a time.

Six players, I came in third. Winner: Miss P, our female regular player. She has placed first three times now, whereas I've only placed first twice. This cannot be! But I've got lots of second places, and in the long run scoring, unweighted, with 3 points to place 1, 2 to place 2 and 1 to place 3, I'm in second place.

I really would be more comfortable with more players, we're short handed, I'd like 8-10 around the table. It's so marginal. Lately there has been more close calls all around; Pair of 10 vs pair of 9. Jack-high straight vs Queen-high straight. Flopped straight vs turned flush. When we started it could be highest card King that scooped the pot at showdown, but we don't get to those situations anymore. All have enough sense now to not just play made hands, but also outs and not necessarily going to a showdown. They know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em. But why do I have to be the Obi-Wan?