Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A first for everything

Did the earth move for you too, honey?

I woke up half an hour early this morning hearing rattling and rumbling, and feeling some shaking. I didn't think much of it then, thinking it was a passing heavy truck, or a flyby from the nearby airbase (fighters or helicopters). It can't be, not in Sweden, right?

Wrong, it was a real earthquake, the first one I've felt.

Initially reported to be between 4.5 and 5.0 on the Richter scale (USGS first said 4.7), those bastards at USGS now seem to have downgraded it to a 4.2.

We want bragging rights, damnit! And T-shirts!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

U.S. Presidential Election 08

So Tina Fey didn't get enough electoral votes but Keegan-Michael Key will get an auger rated in January.

What will The Daily Show do now?

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures
see Sarah Palin pictures

Friday, August 08, 2008

US and A

I'm becoming Americanized... When I was in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2006 there were times when people thought I was a local. Not surprising, since I'm white, didn't wear the traditional national costume of Krepplachistan (I wore Hawaiian shirts, mostly), and my English language skills are very good according to TOEIC and university courses.

At that time, I didn't pay much attention to the TV screens lining many poker rooms. They showed sports, much baseball.

A while ago, I was channel surfing and saw that a sports channel included in my package showed at least one Major League Baseball game from NASN daily and I watched for a while and then decided to learn more about baseball. Much as I did with cricket, satisfy my curiosity about what the big deal was.

Now I'm hooked.

I'll probably start following it even more next season, from the start, and probably also partake in fantasy baseball. I'll learn more about the trickier rules and what numbers are considered good.

Part of the appeal I think lies in that it, like poker, is much a game about percentages and a little gambling. Should they give an intentional walk with runners on first and second with two outs at the bottom of the eighth with a weak hitter next in the lineup? I dunno.

It would be fun to try playing (or just pitching, batting and fielding) but baseball isn't a big sport here in Sweden and the nearest field and club that I know of is 40 miles (60 kilometers) away and that's a bit far to do anything serious.

A certain festive betting and gaming site gave me $10 again (they do that from time to time to lure me back) and I blew it all on what I thought would be a sure bet. But nooo, the D-Backs choked against the Pirates and lost 2-0.

Geez. The next time I'm in Las Vegas I'm going to be a total degenerate. I'll be at a poker table, drunk as a skunk on fine American products like bourbon and canoe lovemaking beer with half of my attention going to the TVs and ballgames "No, no, nooo, don't put in a rookie pinch hitter now, I've got three Benjamins on the over/under. Awfuhgeddaboudit, get me some racing forms..." Yup, it's the ponies next, I'm afraid.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

We'll do it live!

On an almost spontaneous whim, I quickly decided I wanted to play live poker at a real casino and made reservations at a hostel close to the nearest casino (which isn't so near, far enough that it isn't a one day affair) in Malmö, Sweden.

Took the train there, went shopping, and then checked in to the hostel. Exactly what I was looking for. I just need a bed, access to bathroom and shower and a door you can lock. Not a fancy hotel with oak furniture, carpets, trouser press, minibar, conference rooms and starred restaurant.

I get to the casino, have a burger and a beer, and soon get a seat at 20/20 (crowns, about $3). Yes, 20/20, not 10/20. No flop, no drop - meaning that if you just check or limp, there will be a flop and rake, and if you raise, there will be a larger pot and more rake.

I buy in max, 100 Big Blinds. I recognize a regular two seats to my right, I've seen him when the poker room was elsewhere in the casino (and I lost a good-sized pot at Fixed Limit with King-high vs Ace-high flush to him), saw him outside another time when I didn't play poker there, saw him in the poker room at another table when I played with dad. To the immediate left of me was an Englishman (?) who lost two big pots against Regular, reloading inbetween, and finally went all in in the dark with his last 2-300. I have QJo in the Big Blind, no other callers. Should I? Yes, I call. He turns up his cards, Ace-rag. And hey-o, a Jack on the flop. Dominating, but the turn causes me to mutter "hmmph, gutshot". And he gets the four-outer 4 for a wheel (Ace-to-Five straight) on the river.

Later, there are new players. I'm wedged in between three Danish semi-pros. I'm nearing the felt and reload with another 1000. That was necessary, to have ammo, and I fight my way up somewhat.

Hand of the night: I get KK, ye ole cowboys, of which one is a Spade. Bet hard, a Dane calls. Three Spades on the flop, one is an Ace, more betting. Bingo! Turn is the Queen of Spades, giving me the nut flush, there could be a straight now, a worse flush, he could try to represent a straight flush or even Royal Straight Flush but I'm blocking that with my King of Spades. I don't remember if the river paired (possible full house) but I don't think so, and the Dane is squirming, he has something halfway decent. I have about 1000 left and bet half of it, 500. If he calls, I have him and get a good pot. If he raises, I have him and get a better pot. I don't think he will fold, because he's got so much in the pot already and I think that he thinks that I think I can maybe buy the pot. Texas Hold'em and poker at its finest.

And I get confirmation that I've got him, he says "If you have the King, well played, otherwise not" and reluctantly calls. I flip my cards over and he mucks. He must've had a straight or Ten of Spades for a (non-nut) flus and straight flush draw.

After about five or six hours of play, I cash out about 50 Big Blinds down. Better luck tomorrow, you can easily double up with one good hand and also milk shortstacks.

Oh, I got a membership card, giving you free entry for a year at all the four state-run casinos in Sweden. They aren't allowed to give comps, meaning no free drinks, no bonuses, no enticements. They got into some trouble when they opened and they tried to act like a Real Vegas Casino giving out free alcoholic drinks and giving some high rollers free or discounted hotel rooms. As a welcome gift I got a pen and a 20-crown marker (you also get those if you get a dinner package) which you can use at any table game. However, you can only bet it on numbers at the roulette, not black/red, odd/even, so they will almost certainly get it back.

I never had reason to flash my WSOP T-shirt (Main Event started that day).

Straddle is allowed, but isn't live. Just as I had read on a Swedish poker forum, the poker room was populated with regulars, tight nits, "tourists" trying out something other than online poker for the first time with a minimum or half buy-in and the worst of all: The trashtalking hollaballa online pro, getting all Hollywood and getting seconds from getting Time called, folding their 78 on a AKJ flop saying "I put you on Tens or Jack Ten". After playing five hands: "Geez, you're tight at this table". And the pièce de résistance: Actually saying "LOL".

Day 2:

In total, I played for six hours. I cashed in for the max amount and took good care of my stack and took a break about once an hour, during which the button orbited approximately three times, meaning 30 hands/hour. Some times I was up about a 1000 and some change and thus break-even for the visit.

I'm not here for a Great Big Win, I'm "happy" breaking even, having had a mini-vacation with shopping, good eating and drinking and a lot of poker.

What caused me to go home was: 37 in an unraised small blind. Remember that it's 20/20, small and big blind are the same? Lo and behold, the flop is the perfect 456. Flopped a good straight! Pocket 78 could be better but after some moderate betting the turn comes 8. Don't think there's a 79 out there.

Hmm, the river pairs with a 6, the pot is about 1000. I beat most hands; all slowplayed big pocket pairs, flush draws (rainbow board), rag draws. What the heck, all in first to act. Last to act is Tanned Older Guy, who earlier got four of a kind in deuces with A2o. I saw him buy in with a Big Red Square 10.000 chip (what are they called?). 2000 is the max buyin at 20/20, so you pocket the 8000 and can refill up to 2000 if you're down.

Aw heck! Dang! Fork! Of course he was happy flopping two pair with 56 and riverring a full house. Why couldn't he have had a 7 for split, 23 for sucker straight or a big pair?

I shake his hand, no hard feelings, and leave, making a joke that doesn't translate well but is in the style of "well, I'll go home and continue folding, but sheets this time".

Online play, the days after that, things I've seen playing online.

At 1/2 tables, max buyin 400. One player with 1248 on one table and 160 at another. Variance!

Calling an all in with AA in a Speed tournament (3 minute blinds), he went all in with 99 and of course flops a 9.

AK, flop KKx, pot-sized bets on flop and river and he won't fold. river J and of course he has JJ.

AA. Flop AAx and several players in. Checked all around. Minimum bet on the turn, no callers. WTF?

Fold 78s against bet 5*BB, flop 569 rainbow. Fun.

Online and live poker is rigged...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Well, at least it's winning

I played a LOT at Full Tilt in May, earning me a seat in the Iron Man freeroll at the Silver level. Also, I played every day in May and got a seat in the One-A-Day Freeroll

The one-a-day started one hour before the Silver freeroll and had a $2000 prize pool. After more than two hours, I finished in the money, there was 927 participants and 360 places paid. A bit much, a third "getting paid" instead of the usual 10%. A whopping $4 was my prize for 87th place there!

In the Iron Man $15000 freeroll (Silver), there were 809 participants and 180 places paid. I finished in the money there as well. 25th and $60.

The trick is: Don't bust!

But here's my peeve: The payoff is so little. You could play for hours in a tournament and finish in the money, but in the lower parts of the payout structure, and you get 2 to 5 times the buyin when the winner or last three get 100 to 200 times the buyin. It almost doesn't seem "worth it". I put in a lot of effort to get to these freerolls. Well, at least in the Iron Man, there's more put into it by Full Tilt, since the winner of each of the four Iron Man freerolls plays for $5000 more, and the winner there plays for up to $100.000 more but couldn't they add more? A lottery for T-shirts, or random bonuses if you really play the freeroll. Bubble prizes?

On unique thing (I think) for Full Tilt that I've tried is the CAP cash games. I'm mainly a Texas No Limit player, but I'm a bit apprehensive about playing the higher levels. No fear, at the CAP games, which are still No Limit, the maximum you can put in the pot is thirty (30) Big Blinds, so you might not go busto to a suckout or a miracle flop (AK vs 88 on a AK8 flop for example). You can still wield the weapon of a big raise or trying the waters with check-calling/raising and sometimes get paid off, which is trickier to do in Fixed Limit. I railbirded a rare $500/$1000 6-seat CAP game. That was just sick. $30.000 is the maximum bet and there were preflop shoves and stacks of $60.000 shuffling back and forth.

Another somewhat lucrative type is the Token tournaments. $8 for a 18-seat Turbo Sit'n'Go, where five players win a $26 tournament token which can get you into any $24+2 tournament or Sit'n'Go and 6th place get $14. One third of the players get paid, not too hard to reach.

Some time this summer, I'll try the Sunday Brawl. I crave a Big Win.

Monday, June 16, 2008

I wanna go too

Apparently, Iggy finally stopped writing about politics and started playing poker again.

The result? WSOP Main Event, baby!

I played the best weak-tight poker of my life.

Nine drunken hours later.

On a whim, I'm in the WSOP Main Event.


Friday, June 13, 2008


I recently came across a new site that is interesting both for poker bloggers and card players, It is a recently launched social voting website just for poker content. If you are a publisher looking to drive traffic to your site, you can submit poker articles, stories or news at RoundersBuzz. If you are a poker player looking to improve your game, you can quickly sift through the best poker content voted up to the main page by the community.

Besides the main page, there are five Category pages for specific stories. The most popular categories are the two strategy categories; Tournament Strategy and Ring Game Strategy. They also have categories on General Poker, Online Poker Tools and Poker News.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Mushy Shorts

Wil Wheaton, in addition to being a writer, a blogger and for a while having been on Team Pokerstars is also an actor.

He's the one with the beard.

Feel the pretty.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Thunk different

I haven't SWITCH.ed, I just got another computer. Now I have one in the kitchen (a laptop), one in the bedroom and two disused ones in the closet. I still lack a tablet PC and/or something like an UMPC.

My cutesy little Mac Mini arrived yesterday. It's got wireless keyboard and mouse and my flatscreen TV (bought with "poker money") has a VGA port.

Also, Full Tilt Poker has a client for Macs, so I rearranged the sofa and cushions and played lying down all evening and morning.

Play Online Poker
Play Online Poker

Two final tables out of two MTTs played and two SnG wins and one second place out of five SnGs.

I think I can attribute that to the relaxed playing style stemming from the ease of use and that I'm not rushed. Instead of multitabling and using the pre-select buttons - Fold! Check/Fold! Raise! - I seem to be more prone (didyer catch the pun?) to ponder the situation, not just playing the cards.

The fact that I'm streaming dubstep from iTunes radio also helps.

It kind of matches my Neil Poulton designed external hard drive (500 gigabytes, althought I'd like to say "half a terabyte!").

It just works.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A drim comm troo

For a while, I've been addicted to the sites I Can Has Cheezburger? and I has a hotdog!, where there are funny pictures of cats and dogs and a witty caption or dialogue, most often it and the comments are written in LOLspeak. The Bible is available in LOLspeak...

In some earlier posts in this blog, I've found and linked some poker related lolcats and loldogs, as you can see.

Now they're having a poker cats contest. I can't wait to see what madness ensues. "We r sending a lucky winnar (+ friend) to Vegas baby!"

kthxbai, nom nom nom. moar plz, mai hed splort.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A family pot

After one or two missed attempts, my and my dad finally went to the nearest (legal) brick&mortar casino together, to play poker.

One time before, we had booked a "Poker Night" package, where you get a dinner and then the dinner guests with the weekly Poker Night package play a tournament with a trophy prize. That night, us two were the only ones booked, we found out... We got "comped" some branded gifts.

Another night we went there just for dinner and some light lottery (slots and low-stakes table games) with a friend of dad. We didn't rule out the possibility of poker as well, but first they had a poker tournament filling up all the tables and dealers, then when tables opened up it was only high stakes.

But now, finally. I was going south (literally) anyway, to welcome my sister and her family back from a three week vacation in Thailand, and dad suggested we make another attempt. At the casino, they've relocated the poker room (more and better tables) and have more (and lower) blinds and buy-ins. Earlier the lowest was usually the rough equivalent of $6/12. 50/100 crowns. Now they have kinda-sorta $4/4. 20/20 crowns. Yes, small and big blind are the same. No flop, no drop, eh?

I get there, he's already waiting and has put us on the waiting list. The poker room doesn't open in an hour. We get dinner. Fish&chips!

I coach him a little, he has never played (that I know of, hmmm) poker at a casino. "The dealer is there to help you, don't make any rookie mistakes as acting out of turn, tabling your cards too early or misbetting" and such. On our way up to the poker room I also suggest that if there's few or no other players, we should hang back a while. It's no good idea to just shuffle the pot back and forth between us, taking money from each other.

No problem, when we get there, it's already full or filling up. We get seats at each end of the table, seat 3 and 8. I buy in for half the maximum buy-in, dad for a quarter of it (he later fills up to the same as me, when he understands that you have to have a buffer to absorb the normal swings in the stack).

My classification of the other players: To the right of me a good deep-stack, who plays the player and the flop. One-or two rocks, one or two maniacs, one or two willing to slug it out with huge bets and reloading. A good mix.

I hit nearly nothing. But daddy needs a new pair of shoes! Is that how the expression goes? *Google* *Google*. Uhm, no, "baby needs a new pair of shoes. He runs good, and has more than doubled up, with at least a nine for the straight (must be so, even if it didn't go to a showdown after the river) and big bets on all streets with two queens and two kings on the table. His opponent mutters something about "No, not this time, sir" and folds. So he didn't have a king. Aces maybe? Dad must've had the boat.

My hit finally comes. AQ and I raise somewhat substantially, get one caller and... nooo, dad also calls. We aren't going to softplay each other, so butt out.

An ace on the flop, good. I bet and they call again. Another ace on the turn, I bet even more and the other player calls, dad raises.

I go all in. With this board, the other player could be on a straight or flush draw, but probably not holding AK/anything better than AQ. What dad has, I don't know, but it's second best.

He calls?! The river is inconsequential, I show my trip aces and he has... two jacks?

So the only big pot I won, was from my own father. I hope he doesn't change his will. :-)

A while later, he's had enough, and I wait for the button to pass me. I'm up about 375 crowns, he's up 450. $1 is about 6.5 crowns. Good for two amateurs and an hour and a half of play. We have to do it again some time. I think we matched each other well. He had a beige suit and tan shirt on, I had black pants, black jacket and black shirt on. Sunglasses and headwear (also hoodies) are not allowed.

A pity that the only really big pot I won was against him. But he can blame noone but himself. At least there's no reason to suspect collusion or softplaying (and the brush knew that we are family).

We go downstairs to the main casino for some slots before we go home. I get a drink (Rusty Nail) and put a hundred in some machine, baffled by the several people I see playing two machines simultaneously. I semi-randomly select a play. 5 Lines, Bet 1, Spin. It bleeps and beeps and then the screen says something about "11 free games", meaning that it will repeat my first play (5 lines) eleven times. I hit some kind of bonus round, it seems. And there I hit some more wins, and more free games. I let it run its course until it finishes, and by then I'm up 150. And now the big question, where the house wins it back: "Do you want do Gamble?" This I've seen before. Double or Nothing on a coin toss, black or red. Heck no! I press Cash Out, after only one play and the coins start rattling out. Dang, another time I won some at a machine here, an attendant came with the winnings, and some machines give you a ticket, but not this one. I jump up and get a cup and gather it up. Maybe I sneer, smirk and scoff at the full-time slot zombies a little. I go back to where dad is, half a Rusty Nail in one hand, a cup full of coins in the other and a shit-eating grin inbetween them.

And I found another coin left in the coin changing machine. Can't lose, baby!

Thursday, January 17, 2008