Saturday, December 30, 2006

How long will it take to clear this bonus?

The following is a paid advertisement

With the number of sites that accept American players diminished, the bonus offers seem to be going away as well. PokerStars just offered an end of the year bonus of 25%. I moved some money over to take advantage of it. I also began to wonder how long it might take me to clear it.

Well, the people at Compatible Poker have a a tool that will help. Compatible Poker is a site targeting Mac and Linus systems. They have a comprehensive list of all sites that are currently offering games for the non-Windows player. They even have a Java listing for those who don't want to download software.

But it is their bonus calculator that I liked. It will tell you how many hours you can expect it to take to clear the bonus. If I 2 table the 3/6 at PStars, it will take me about 10 hours. If I switch to no limit- which I have been dabbling in lately to little success- it will take just a tad longer. You can enter any poker room, the stakes and how many tables you will be playing to determine how many hours of play you will need to clear that bonus.

With pages showing which sites are still accepting U.S. players and payment methods, Compatible Poker is more than just info on where to play with a Mac.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Tilted by the river

Things were going well in the Riverchasers tournament last night. I was either 1st or 2nd at the break and felt like I was in control of the table. The cocktails were going down well (Captain and Coke was the potent potable of choice last night) and I was enjoying myself.

Then the break ended, Omaha began, and I got nailed on the river twice in a short span to lost 60% of my chips. From there I lost it. Started playing hands I shouldn't, trying to draw out, and bluffing it all away. Of course I would brick up in Razz to send my butt to the rail.


I had played pretty well too. I dominated the Stud rounds (both regular and hi/lo) at the table. Got cards up the wazoo and made people pay for their draws. I did play some of those hands poorly though. Could have collected bigger pots by taking the chance to let some catch up but I wanted to just win pots and get chips, no matter how small those pots were.

In retrospect I don't think there was much I could have done in the end. Beside not tilting of course. The river beats happen. I should have tightened up when I was moved to the low part of the pack instead of trying to push myself back into contention. Live and learn.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

WWdN night

Only 40 people were playing on Tuesday night. Guess some late holiday shopping was more important to them.

Cruised through the first hour of the tournament. Chipped up early with A Q when on-thg called out of the BB. On a Q high flop, I made a continuation bet. And was raised. Huh? I called. Turn was a 5. on_thg bet it out this time. Something seemed funny to me so I raised. He folded.

I would soon double up when I hit a set with Q Q. From there I got a bit lucky. 4 2 in the BB hits trip 4s. K 8o flops two pair. Before I knew it, I had moved above 5000.

But then I gave it back against a tight player who didn't believe in using the bet button. I watched as they had some monster hands but never raised preflop. When they rivered quad Queens, I should have known better than to try to run them over. It wasn't until they called down a hand with bottom pair that I learned my lesson.

At the first break, I was at a respectable 6th position with just over 4300.

I chipped up a bit in the beginning of the second session only after moving down. With 6 6 I missed the flop but wanted to see the turn. The turn made the flush possible so I folded to the bet. Next hand against the same tough opponent, I have 4 4 in the BB. I call his button raise to see a K high flop. Sensing he was making a move again, I raised his bet to 1500 and was happy when he folded. Bluffs always feel good.

From there out, I never did see a flop. My raises were getting some respect. Of course it doesn't hurt that the table tightened up a bit. So I picked my spots and continued to steal where it felt appropriate. I wasn't gaining any ground, but I wasn't losing any either.

That was until I let someone hit a runner runner flush and paid them off. Suddenly, my wind was gone and I was sitting with 8 BBs. Not good.

So I needed a chance to double up somewhere. Blinds had moved up to 100/200/25. So I made a move with the best hand I saw- A J. Wil raised it up to 700. I tossed in my last 890. What I don't believe either of us expected was the chip leader to push as well. When he did and Wheaton went into the tank, I thought I was done for sure. Wheaton would make a great call with 10 10 as the chip leader showed A Ko. A beautiful J hit the turn and I tripled up.

Life. I have life.

That made it easy to steal the blinds and antes with 6 6. Then again with 10 10. But then I lost a race and was knocked down again. A 10 lost to Q J. I knew I was ahead when I made the call. But reading doesn't win the hand.

I get lucky one more time. With A 4o, I tried to steal and went all in with my remaining 2300. Chip leader auto called and I knew I was in trouble. Yep. A 10. But the board paired up and we split the pot. 5 5 A K J. Nice.

But I still needed a double to make my tournament matter. With just 10 people left and 5 at a table, it wasn't easy. Blinds are whipping around and I am getting crap. 10 4 is nice when you get a free flop. But an A high flop sucks.

I did make it to the final table. As the bottom rung. Plus I was sandwiched between the two leaders. Ugh! I was happy to get a hand to double with, 10 10. But the chip leader made a quick re-raise on my push. Uh oh, that is not a good sign. J J. IGHN.

I played a good game tonight. If I don't lose the one race, I would have had a lot more room to work with. But I guess it just wasn't to be.


For whatever reason, I felt the need to comment on the PokerTek "party" after the Holiday Classic this past trip. After all, they gave us free beer and swag. But they also gave me an opportunity to take a look at what the buzz was on these machines. Falstaff and Change 100 had seen these in action and I must admit, it did pique my curiosity.

The first thing that caught my attention was the layout. There were 9 of us at the table and we each had plenty of room. The view of the action was much better in the middle than if you were on a corner. The screen you had in front of you was easy to use, once you got down the concept of confirming your action. Checking the cards by "cupping" or touching the top of the video screen is cute. It appeared to me people were overdoing it because I don't think anyone was going to see your cards unless they leaned over to take a look as you touched them.

The play was smooth, like any real card game or online poker. It clearly told you the amount of the bet and how much it was to you to call. It announced all in bets. It even did chip races to when levels had pushed up. That annoyed some people but if the point is to make it as close to a physical card game, then I think it is good.

My opinion on the tables is simple. They were fun. It was like playing online but with a different twist. Having an opportunity to watch people as they played was interesting. I think most people were playing like they were online and were not observing others at the table. But that also could have been because people were drinking all day as well.

Would I play one of these machines in the future? Yes, but it depends on the circumstances. If I had the choice between this and a live game, I would take the live game. There is more going on in the live game than what you would see on the machines.

The flip side though is I think these machines would be great for SnGs or satellites to a live game. The thought of walking up and putting the card in the machine to get the game going is nice and easy.

I could see these machines doing great business in a bar, especially the heads up machine. It could get as much action as the pool table or dart machines.

The PokerTek tables were fun to play. If you come across them in your journeys, I would suggest you take the time to play them.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Want to see what else happened in Vegas? Like how someone got a free wheelchair ride? Or how Joe Speaker was hit on by Mark Slaughter at the craps table?

Check out my other blog- While Drinking, I...

Later I will have some thoughts on the PokerTek tables and how the rest of my Holiday Classic tournament went.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

It wasn't the beat that had me mad...

...but the comment that was made.

"Great call!"

Great call? No, it wasn't. I say it was a really stupid call. Because you won the hand doesn't mean it was a great call.

That is not how my WPBT Holiday Classic ended. That is how I got crippled.

Let's join the action after my table was broken up. I am put right back into the blinds. Yes, I just paid the blinds and was on the button when I was moved right back into the big blind. Thanks TD!

I was getting short with blinds of 400/800 (I believe that is accurate). When I sit down, I notice 3 stacks much bigger than mine. F-Train has a good stack and has been aggressive. Another guy, Vinnie, was slightly higher than F-Trains. I believe -EV was the third person that I had to worry about.

Enough about that. Let's cut to the chase. I need to make a move somewhere. I think I took down maybe two pots in 4 orbits at this table. In MP, I get 8 8. F-Train raises to 2400. Karol is next to act and thinks for a while. She mucks. Fold and it is to me. I waste little time and push in for around 5100. It goes around the bend to someone I don't know. The girl was in her late 20s, early 30s maybe? Anyway, she goes into the tank. A count is done and apparently she had around 3500. She thinks and thinks and finally calls.

I wasn't expecting that. The way the table had been going there weren't many multi player confrontations going on. People were willing to take a stab at the pot and duke it out against one player. So that surprised me a bit. I mean, I was confident I had F-Train beat preflop and made the move to isolate him.

F-Train now goes into the tank. I like that. I know that I have read him right. A something, probably not even a face card. He goes through the odds and talks himself out of making the call. He showed A 10 when he mucked.

My opponent turned over 6 6.


You called a raise and re-raise with 6 6? Of course a 6 hit the flop and I was crippled. As it turns out, Karol had folded 8 8 and I had no outs to come back with.

It wasn't the beat that bothered me. It was the person who said "Great call!" I wondered why would anyone make the call there? Sure, she was on the short end. But do you want to jam your money in when you most likely have the worst hand? Get in for any chance to be lucky and triple up? I simply would not put my tournament life on the line in that situation.

The logic isn't there for my little brain I guess.

Yet, someone said "Great call!" I don't want that person in my corner coaching me. "Hey you got your money with just an 18% chance to win. Great call!"

How about "Man, did you get lucky!" or "Nice suckout!"

If Derek would have been around, I could have made a scene just so he could enjoy it.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Are we there yet?

Lots of people doing the happy dance in anticipation of the weekend. Go ahead and move it. Just don't look as gay as Elvis does and you are ok.

Monday, December 04, 2006

HORSE of a different color

Iggy had a interesting link in his latest post. Some guy wanted to know what kind of drugs some player do because he heard that these players believe they play better when high or drunk. Though I think the poster may be one of the biggest goofballs for asking such a stupid question, I think there is a point to it.

I believe I usually play better after I have been drinking. But only in tournament poker. That is one reason why you will see me drinking early and often this weekend at the WPBT event.

It helped this past weekend. I won myself to HORSE SnGs. That is after spending a night at the bars. Ok, it doesn't hurt to get quad Qs twice within 4 hands of Omaha Hi Lo to chip up. But it is lucky to get K K, J J, K K all in row to move from 177 to over 2k and into a spot controlling the table.

There is a certain amount of comfort you get after drinking for a while that lets you be a bit more aggressive and not suffer a serious tilt spell when something goes wrong. It helps to get through the bricks you are sure to receive in Razz. And you make a couple of "Aw, what the hell! All in!" moves that you get lucky and draw out on ( J 10s to be A Ko). Its part of the game.

I also place won a token and got deep in an Omaha Hi Lo tourney but got knocked out when my Jacks over Aces was beat by Aces over Jacks. But overall I had good success playing this weekend.

Which leads me to believe I may not play any ring games this week until I get out to Sin City. In the past, I would have played ring games to hone what little skill I have. This time around, I say screw it. I will play but I don't think there will be much good to suddenly ring it up in anticipation of playing less tournaments. Yes, it may backfire, then again, it could help.

Only 3 days for me now. Not quite sure what I will do upon my arrival, but I think I may head over to the Bellagio and get some play in before Pauly has his shindig.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Take me to the river

Al's Riverchasers tournament had 98 players signed up when the cards hit the felt. I was hoping to capitalize on my strong finish in the WWdN the other night. I felt my chances were pretty good.

My opening table was interesting. By that I mean, not easy. Drizz, SoxLover, and Garth are all there. And I think Big Mike may have been the wild guy raising a lot.

See, there was one guy raising every hand 5xs the blinds early. He was setting the tone for the table. That is until Sox layed the hurt on when his AA slapped the AKs.

I was looking forward to playing tight, but also aggressive at the right times. I though I had one of those "right times" early on. I tried to make a move on Drizz. He raised on the button while I was in the BB. Steal? I made the call with A J. Flop comes Q 10 x. He puts out a pot sized bet. I don't think this flop could have really helped him. Hmm...let's get this back. I raise to 600. I feel good until he goes all in and I spit up some beer in my mouth. I put my tail between my legs and fold. Drizz showed A Q. Wow, was my read wrong. It is early so I don't feel bad attempting a move like that.

I get some of those chips back when I play 8 3 hard. Snowman taterlegs brings in a decent pot. I showed the semi-bluff (there was a 3 on the flop). But the Hiltons give it away to that same person a couple of hands later. Maybe I shouldn't have shown that bluff. I get the feeling the guy I bluffed out called my pot size bet with a ragged ace and hit it on the flop. He may not give my raises any respect. I will have to remember this hand.

I am now short stacked at just over 400. Can't make a move with the hammer. Drizz raised and I know he is running too strong for me to make a play back. Though it is the hammer, I am going to bide my time. Plus I have more beer to drink.

I get lucky in the SB when I just call with Q 9. Flop is Q high and I bet the pot. BB decides to go in with second pair. My queens hold up. Same guy I bluffed with SMTL. Maybe showing the early bluff will pay off?

I then fold crap hands for two orbits. Thankfully I have some New Glarus Brewing Fat Squirrel to keep my spirits up. The Fat Squirrel is a nice nut brown ale. Full body that goes down smooth. Try some today. No, this is not a paid advertisement. But if the good people at the New Glarus Brewing Company would like to drop some six packs off at my house, I would appreciate it. They make damn good beer out there.

My stack- if you can even call it that- is looking pretty sad. So when I get A Q diamonds, I know I need to push. With 535 and blinds at 50/100, I really have no choice. But the player on my right raises to 400. What the hell! Push! He instacalls with...Q Q. Doh! But I flop two diamonds. Looks good. Turn is a diamond and I have drawn out and doubled up!

A couple hands later, I get A A and get no action. Crap! I may have missed an opportunity to get back in the game. Instead of moving up I limp into the first break with just 1220. But I am alive. I think that counts for something.

I fold a pair of 6s after the break to an early raise. Don't like my spot there. It looks like a good move when I re-raise the same guy with 10 10. He calls with 9 9 and I smile. I smile a bit more when a 10 hits the turn. I have doubled through to 2500, above the Mendoza line.

It is also at this point that I notice Drizz is kicking ass and taking names. Hmm...that Viking fan is going to be a problem. If I am going to get somewhere, I need to get chips. And fast.

But instead I give a chunk back when I raise with A 10 out of the SB. There was one limper and he called. On a flop of 8 6 5, two hearts, I bet out a third of the pot. My opponent goes all in. WTF? No way I can call here. I muck and he shows 8 7 hearts. Calling a pot size bet after a limp with connected suiters. Not something I would do but I won't say it is a bad play. If that flop doesn't hit, you are folding.

Now I am just over 1600. Got to make a big move again. Maybe a fresh beer will help. Let's see how this works out. Blinds have moved up to 100/200. I have 1300. The blinds are coming to me. I can fold them and wait only one more round.

But I don't have to. In the BB, I get 10 10 again. I push. The limper UTG thinks and calls with 4 4. Thank you Gods of Poker! My tens hold up and I have breathing room again. Hopefully this time I will not blow it. Once again, my showing of the 8 3 earlier is paying dividends now as it is the second time this guy thought I had total crap.

I give some back when I am in the BB and my UTG buddy has pushed. It is 420 more to me and the odds are better than two to one. I should have live cards. Yes, I am not happy it has folded around to me. With some goading by the peanut gallery, I call and am up against A K. So much for two live cards.

As I watch Drizz bludgeon the table, I find it amusing how my buddy to my left that I had bluffed way earlier in the tournament is beginning to call me names. Hey, I owned your ass after the bluff. Don't hate the player. Hate the game.

Did I just type that?

Anyways, I am now moved away from Drizz- thank God- and have a new table. Only names I recognize is surflexus and Gcox. Ok, this table is not any easier. I get A 8 and push right away and capture the blinds. Next hand is A J and I do it again. Then I have the BB and get 5 4. Fold. I will put that in the book as a rush.

With 6 6, I make a move with a pot size raise. Unfortunately the SB pushes all in. It is 400 more to me and I have to call. He has Q Q. Damn. Though I flop a four flush, I don't hit and I am hurting.

With K 9 hearts, I push my last chips in in pure desperation. I am called by surflex and A Q. I have live cards but do not hit. Oh well. Gone at 25.

Drizz and Gcox went on to chop it up. Good job boys!

I never got any real traction in this tournament. I think the high point for my chip count was 2500. At that point, the leaders had 15,000. Honestly, I am surprised I made it that far. The only play I didn't like was making a move with the 6s. I was in EP. That hand is not strong enough to survive. Next time, I think I will fold it unless the table is extremely tight.