Thursday, March 27, 2008

the Circles of Poker Blogging Hell- 3

The 3 circle of Poker Blogging Hell looked to be a fountain of information for other bloggers. It consisted of the serious player who wanted to discuss strategy. Whether it be cash games or tournaments, this person was serious about their game. They wanted to improve their skills. They wanted to discuss poker. They also would do whatever was necessary to win.

That would be their downfall.

Some of these serious players fit right in. They didn't mind answering the questions others had. They got great enjoyment out of posting how a tournament unfolded, or how they made a tough decision. They admitted defeat and bad plays of their own. But they showed you it was a learning process that they were committed to. They put a lot of time into the game and strive to be a better player. They weren't afraid to admit making a bad play. If it cost them a tournament, they admitted it.

The cash players added a new dimension as well. They helped point out differences between cash games and tournament decisions. To me, it appeared the blogger community was mostly a tournament world. Everyone plays side games but for the most part you would read about tournament success. The thing was the cash player was mainly a live player. The cash player helped others cross over, especially when a trip to Vegas was looming. They others some great tips on where the best games were and when to hit them. They also pointed out some simple tells to help the net based player make the transition.

As I said, the influx of new players helped the community. But it would also begin the division. These players focused on winning. Problem was, it appeared they couldn't handle losing. Especially to players they deemed inferior. They didn't understand the sense of community the others did. It began to show as they started getting very judgemental. They had no problem calling people out on their blogs, blasting them for making a bad play, for getting lucky, for all of things playing the Hammer! They went over the line at times. In some cases it became personal.

Losing was not an option. They had to win. They had to prove to everyone they were the best. This caused a bit of a backlash among the others. For every blogger than provided useful information, there was one who couldn't handle losing and had to blame someone who they perceived had less skill. To point out they had less skill made them feel better. They could care less how others perceived them.

Thus it seemed like there were more bad beat stories than ever before. Hell, some people thought that was what a poker blog was. A place to post your bad beat stories.

The third ring is not filled with bad people. They are quite a mix. Not everyone acted this way. Finding out the truth among them is the hard part. Dealing with them isn't the easiest. It is a toss up. Very good advice versus people thinking it is acceptable to act like an ass. If you could get them away from the poker table and by the bar, you discovered they cool to hang with. They had lives as long as they weren't inhaling the dust from the felt.

This may be the reason why some have left the game or lost their zeal to play. They got sick of being blasted or reading about how others were blasted on blogs. A community that was always open to new people and very encouraging was becoming something different.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Clique Clique Boom

It appears some people may be reading a bit too much into the Circles of Poker Blogging Hell. As I mentioned to Peaker in the comments, no one should read too much into this. It is my observation. My thoughts. If you think you fall into a particular circle, that is your demon to deal with.

This isn't about the first time you got together with bloggers in Vegas. It isn't about when you started your blog. It isn't about what circle you may be in. I see it as how people interact with each other. Whether they encourage or ridicule. Whether you offer positive or negative. Whether you can introduce yourself to others or find someone who you have enjoyed reading. It is working with each other to everything better.

The funny reaction has been the comments about cliques and the "inner circle". How do we say this...there is no inner circle. The term was used in reference to Dante's Circles of Hell. Nothing more nothing less. In order to have Circles of Hell, you need a starting point. An inner circle. Even that circle has its vices. They are not perfect.

You may think it means more. It doesn't. There are a lot of cliques in this community. You have the New York players, the G-Vegas players, the Vegas crowd, the Texas/Oklahoma people, Canada, the Upper Midwest, etc. You have the drinkers, the smokers, the gamblers, the tea-totallers, the poker players, the slot players, the baseball fans, football fans, soccer fans, MMA, etc. Metal, country, alt, whatever it is exactly Pauly listens to, etc. You have lawyers, software technicians, hardware techs, engineers, HR, investment professionals, doctors, writers, and on air television personalities.

You have one very diverse group of people. Just because some get together with others during other times of the year in places that just so happen to not be Vegas doesn't mean there is some "inner circle" that wields power. Sure, some people have some influence. But it doesn't mean there is a secret meeting held to determine who to invite to what and where. Sorry Bobby. If someone wants to invite friends- yes friends who happen to blog- to a special event that is their prerogative. Ever think that space may be limited? That in the interest of having a good time they realize that posting an event in a public space would mean too many people that they could not accommodate everyone that shows up?

You get what you give with this group. If that doesn't make sense, they you just don't get it.

Disagree still? Hey, you can do that. I will be in Vegas June 5-9. We can go over to the UFC facilities and settle it in the cage. Or to the closest bar and discuss over beers.

Monday, March 24, 2008

the Circles of Poker Blogging Hell- 2

There is an interesting sort of blogger that resides in the second circle of Poker Blogging Hell. It is one that feels some entitlement and holds some resentment. Sure they may have not been at the first gathering in Vegas, but they were always around with encouragement and have been to a number of gatherings.

The second circle had their reasons for not being in Vegas that first December. But they read the stories. Along with other readers, they lived the drunken debauchery through the words of others and either regretted not being there or vowed to be show up when the next announcement was made.

The second circle is not about when you join the group. It is how well you adapt and interact. It is the showing of respect to each other. It isn't about who is continually crushing the tables. It is about offering up some advice when asked and helping a player with their game. It is sitting down at a 2/4 game just to spend time with friends, donking it up not to win pots but to see the look of amazement and anger on the face of a tourist when you play the entire hand blind. From the rail. Smoking a cigarette. It is more about spending some time finding out about each other at the bar than arguing over when you should have 3 bet with Q Q.

The second circle is the bloodstream. People who fostered friendships when playing in the blogger tournaments online. These tournaments may pop up every couple of months but would be well attended. They also were for a good cause. Bragging rights were nice but the respect of fellow players was worth more. Because they weren't held every day of the week, they were special.

Then another good idea was hatched. Let's get our players into the WSOP. Hard work went into arranging these tournaments but a couple bloggers won their way into some preliminary events.

The feeling of community is strong among these inhabitants. So strong that some have moved away from poker but keep their ties with those they know. Other interests have taken over their lives but they remain in constant contact one way or another. That is part of the entitlement they feel. They have blogged for years about an activity they enjoyed and now feel it has been ruined by those who rather throw insults than poker chips. They show up to sling chips with the other still but not as often. They rather get a group together and invade an SnG that play a tournament.

Hence the resentment. Whereas the blogs had been about news, trip reports, encouragement, and success, they were slowly morphing into the opposite. Something they had helped to grow was now becoming something bigger than expected. And they didn't like what the new kids were bringing to the game.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

the Circles of Poker Blogging Hell- 1

In the beginning
Good always overpowered the evils
Of all man's sins
But in time
The nations grew weak
And our cities fell to slums
While evil stood strong
In the dusts of hell
Lurked the blackest of hates
For he whom they feared
Awaited them...
Now, many many lifetimes later
Lay destroyed, beaten, beaten down
Only the corpses of rebels
Ashes of dreams
And blood-stained streets
It has been written
"Those who have the youth
Have the future"
So come now, children of the beast
Be strong
And Shout at the Devil

Much has changed over the last couple of years. Some for better, some for worse. What started as a group of people coming together to enjoy poker evolved into trips to Vegas and other places that had large amounts of alcohol.

But things have changed. The amount of jackassery has increased taking away the enjoyment of the game and the people involved. I mentioned to DonkeyPuncher a month or so ago how there were certain cliques of bloggers. It was like Dante's Circles of Hell. As each circle builds on, it seems the more asshats get involved and the bullshit gets spewed in the chat boxes just to piss people off.

This is my perspective of how things are. I don't apologize if I offend you or get some parts wrong. It is my view. Deal with it. I won't be naming names. You know who you are. If you get irritated, too bad.

In the beginning...there was a group of people playing poker and telling their stories on blogs. About thirty of them congregated in Vegas to actually meet each other in person. The WPBT was born.

These people make the inner circle. They made some shit happen. You know who they are. They are treated like rock stars by this community. They are the ones that put a lot of work into their blogs and have been quite successful. A link or a comment from one of these rockstars was pretty cool.

The best part is the rockstars are great people. They don't let their egos get in the way. They are quite humble. They are sought out at gathering and they do their best to meet new people and make them feel comfortable. They take most everything in stride and get back to the basics of just having a good time. They didn't ask to be rockstars. They may try to avoid being so but will play the part just to placate others.

Best of all this circle still gets it. It isn't necessarily about dominating at the tables. It isn't about who can drink the most. It isn't about who gets the most page hits, sells the most ads, or is the best at anything. It is about seeing your friends and having a great time.

I won't put words in their mouths. I will say I wouldn't be shocked if they think blogger gatherings are all watered down with people who just don't get it.

Yes. A lot of you just don't get it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Mad at myself

It was a rough weekend at the tables. It began on Friday night when I came home pissed up and lost a quarter of my bankroll. Playing drunk is not a good idea. I should know better.

But I did it anyways. Just plain dumb.

Saturday saw me slogging away again just to see my profit slide across to an opponent when he flopped quad jacks making my boat insignificant. Nothing you can do there. That didn't piss me off.

This did though. Some clown chasing his low catches runner runner flush to beat my flopped set. It wasn't even a nut flush or nut low and he kept callng my pot bets. Yeah, that one pissed me off.

Sunday and last night were better. Small profit. I will take it.

Ever wonder why poker bloggers end up gathering around bars? It is all to stay healthy. From the New York Times:

Prevention: At Middle Age, Add Alcohol to the Diet?
Several recent studies have found that moderate drinking is associated with a lower risk for cardiovascular disease. Now a new study, published in the March
issue of The American Journal of Medicine, suggests that teetotalers who begin
having a drink or two a day in middle age may also get significant benefit.

Adopting Moderate Alcohol Consumption in Middle Age: Subsequent
Cardiovascular Events (The American Journal of Medicine)The researchers followed
7,697 healthy men and women ages 45 to 64 enrolled in a large study of
atherosclerotic illness, focusing on 442 who were nondrinkers at the start of
the study but moderate drinkers at the six-year point. Then they tracked this
group for cardiovascular disease over the next four years and compared them with
people who continued to abstain.

After controlling for age, physical activity, smoking and other cardiovascular risks, they found that new moderate drinkers were 38 percent less likely than abstainers to suffer a cardiovascular event during the four-year period. On average, they also had lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure, and there was no increase in mortality.

So, should middle-aged nondrinkers start imbibing?

“If there’s a benefit to it, I’m not sure it should be restricted to people who just didn’t happen to start yet,” said the lead author, Dr. Dana E. King, professor of family medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina. “Exercise is good for you, but you have to be cautious if you start in middle age. In the same way, moderate
alcohol consumption can be part of a healthy lifestyle if you don’t have
contraindications to it.”

All in the name of preventive medicine. Yeah, that's it.

Friday, March 14, 2008


I had another rough couple of days playing PLO8. It was a combination of getting sucked out on and tilting. Made some loose calls, chased, and then burned out in flames. Not the way to win.

I did notice some patterns taking place from some other players. A couple of them would always raise from the button if there were 2 or 3 limpers ahead of them. The prospect of calling another 5 or 6 to see a flop forced most of them to fold. It looked like easy money. On the flop, they would bet accordingly. If they were all high cards, they potted it. If there were low cards, they would check and draw cards. If an EP bet out, they would fold if they had nothing. It appeared to be a very disciplined strategy.

Raising preflop is a necessity in this game. After getting some tips from Drizz, I realized what I needed to do. Ramp up my game, but not too fast. I decided to drop to .25/.50 so I could begin to be a bit more aggressive with Hi only hands. It would allow me to play with raising more preflop and if I missed, it wouldn't kill my bankroll. I figure the experience I can gain would be worthwhile but it wouldn't be without some frustration. Too many stupid plays happen at one level lower that you don't see at .50/1.00. It takes adjustment. And sadly, the money made is lower.

Still enjoying Omaha though. Hell, I am enjoying more non holdem games at this time.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Rough one

It wasn't a good night. I dropped a buyin at PLO8. Finished 20th in the Skillz series, watching a lot of garbage PLO being played. And finished 16th in the Bodog.

That got me a whole lot of nothing.

The Omaha games were the most frustrating. In the cash games, people kept chasing their lows and catching them on the river to prevent me from scooping monster pots. Worse, they would sometimes catch their gutshot straight and scoop me. That happened 3 times against me last night.

I believe Miami Don said it correctly:
"...maybe four people who really know how to play, ten people who have a slight
clue how to play, and 100 others (myself included) who have no fucking idea how
to play....they will get snapped off by some donk, hey might even be me, who
plays a shit hand and gets lucky or goes runner runner perfect. "

I don't confess to be an expert at Omaha, but believe I have a decent grasp on the game. There is always some luck involved. But I do understand that the game isn't to be played like a slot machine where you hope that the reels give you enough bars to spit out a jackpot. That playing a 10 high hand to a pot size raise just to hope to snap a high pocket pair is good strategy. Where people believe playing shit is ok because "it is Omaha" is a smart thought.

There wasn't enough Captain Morgan's rum in my house to get me through this rough night. I emptied the bottle. Must hit up the liquor store for the next hit on Thursday.

Monday, March 10, 2008

If only I had cowboyed up

Saturday with Change was not as kind to me as an afternoon with Pauly. I wasn't Gigli but was the third one shown the door. I flopped a set with a redraw to a straight. But Riggstad goes for the big gamble and hits his flush on the river and I was done. Sure he had a ton of outs there so I can't berate him. Too much that is. Bastard.

I kind of set myself up for that clusterfuck though. When the PLO game started, I was in the middle of the Full Tilt Silver freeroll (got me $30 there when I made an impatient push of A Qo to a re-raise, a move I laughed at another player for making earlier), had a Stud Hi/Lo Sng up and was sitting at a PLO8 table. The 4 games were to much for me to follow at the time. My pc sounded like a slot machine with all the chimes and beeps coming from it. Half the time I didn't know which game it was. Next time I go back to starting to drink when the tournaments are halfway over.

Overall the weekend was slightly profitable. It could have been hugely profitable if I hadn't pussied out of a hand. After the river card hit, I was even more pissed off that when I had folded. Here is the scenario: .50/1.00 PLO8. I am in the BB with A J 10 4, with the A and 10 being clubs. It is raised in EP to 3.5. SB calls and I take a flop hoping to hit and go to battle. Flop is A K 3, two clubs. SB checks. I bet pot, $14. EP- the initial raiser pots it to $56. My initial thought is I will probably call that bet. I don't think they raised with A A or K K. But then the SB pushes all in for a total of over $100. Suddenly my entire stack is on the line. I have $88 behind and it would all go in.

I froze. My initial thought was calling the first raise, feeling I was ahead with top pair, a gutshot straight and nut flush draw. But when the check raise was made, I didn't know what to do. My plan was to bet out and get one to fold. But they both fired away. Suddenly I felt I was behind to the SB. Someone had to flop a set there. Sure I take a chance on the draws, but I was probably behind and had to catch.

I wussed out and folded.

EP showed a draw to a nut low, with only a pair of aces. SB showed a K high flush draw with a low draw. I was ahead of both. When the 4 of clubs hit the river, I was ticked. I slammed the table, sending a bottle of beer flying. My initial feelings were right after all. I would have taken down a huge pot. Instead I was in fear of losing the whole buyin. Even worse, the pair of aces with a J kicked would have taken the pot.

Even now I am not sure the laydown was necessarily a good or bad one. It isn't as much the result as it was the inaction. I called hoping to hit and I did. But I failed when it came time to cowboy up and go to battle. That is what ticked me off. It was like throwing a rock at the big kids and then running away instead of fighting. Especially when some of the players like to bully people at the PLO tables.

I believe I learned a lesson there. When the time is right, I will stand and fight. Hopefully the river will be kind to me then as well.

Friday, March 07, 2008

PLO dreaming

Ok. Play it smart. There are 5 left. Don't do anything stupid. You are in first and can stay there. Don't overplay your cards.

Hmm...I will raise it here, lotta, paint, I can get the blinds at least. Shit, a re-raise, all in for only 10k more. Gotta go for the knockout...... Damn, he is going to outkick me with these aces. So much for being in first.

Ok, get it together. Let's try it again. I think I can steal with this hand. Shit, again, being forced all in. Boone! Bigger pair, no help. That was stupid!


So much for playing it smart. Damn!

I went from being first to busting in 5th in two hands last night. The Riverchasers PLO tournament was working very well for me too. I was being patient and getting some good value out of my big hands.

But then the pushfest started. At the final table, no one had a super stack. When it got down to 5, no one had an M of more than 15. Practically any hand seeing flop was going to dump half of their chips or be all in. I pumped up the aggression because of it. Not the best move I guess. That is probably the closest I will get to the TOC. Though I played well, I feel like I didn't.

Congrats to Tuscaloosa Johnny on the win. He overpowered the last 5 is a dominant fashion.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

The Big Game ends a good weekend

I scrapped the notes I had for the Big Game. It was an uninspired performance. Ran thin on paitence and forced some action when I got low on chips. Cards weren't that great and I wanted some action. Congrats to the winner, whoever that ended up being. Who is this Fischman dude anyways?

Overall my weekend was pretty good. A combination of doing very well at the PLO8 tables and getting deep in some tournaments made me quite happy. I have gotten myself close to being unburied in that 4 card game. One bad night hurt but this weekend helped clear it away. It was a mix of watching some real donks play and grabbing a chunk of their cash when given the opportunity. When you know they will push hard on two pair or low draws, the flopped sets pay off.

Plus it helps when you make someone your personal bitch at the table. I took a lot of one guy in particular when I caught full houses on the turn and river, beating his slow played flushes. This happened twice within 4 hands and just pissed him off.

Now if only I hadn't split 3 pots with another jackass, I would have had a great weekend.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Feel cold out?

If you think it does, it is because I finally won a tournament again. Hell hath frozen over!!!

Man it has been such a long time since I won a tournament. I must congratulate TanOrpheus for second place. I had a nice chip lead when we got heads up and they gave me a battle. Tan has got to be a better PLO player than I am. The preflop raises were driving me nuts. I am so glad I didn't screw it up by getting crazy with reraises just to get them to stop. Playing PLO8 throughout February really helped me out.

Big thanks to Pauly for hosting the tournament. Winning one of these feels pretty special. No slight to the BBT guys, but winning an old school style tournament that Pauly and Iggy used to run just feels better. I kinda miss those days.

Small 3 for 3 on a Friday

Being sick sucks. Especially when the weekend is upon us. I rather be out at a bar, drinking and socializing instead of being at home, sneezing and coughing.

Rather than continue my quest for PLO8 ring game mastery, I went to PokerStars and Full Tilt to see what tournaments were about to start. I found an $8 PLO8 game about to go on PStars with 220 runners and a $5 HORSE on Full Tilt with 55. About my speed considering how poorly I have played tournaments lately. Plus with feeling I may hack up a lung at any point, I didn't want to lose a good buy in if I keeled over and died.

I think the patience of waiting for a good hand in the ring games has paid off as I slugged my way into the money in the PLO8 game, finishing 32. I made a bad move to go out when I was short stacked and tried to steal with a high only hand. I was called by a big stack who flopped an A to easily knock me and my K K Q J out. The situation seemed right, but unfortunately the BB caught a hand to call with.

In the HORSE game, I got lucky with 20 left and hit a full house in the Stud portion to propel me to a 10th place finish. Talk about ugly. I had a pair of 9s underneath with a A showing. I completed to collect the bring in and antes but a big stack on my right raised. I was committed to putting my last chips into the pot. He had K K underneath and hit a K as I hit my second A. Next card for me would be another A to give me a boat just as he filled up as well. Very strange hand. But my luck would be used up there as in the Razz portion, I would be 2 3 4 5 and brick, brick, brick and lose to a 9.

To top off the night, I did survive the $75 token frenzy so I should be around for the Big Game tomorrow.

Let's see if I can make some money in the PLO game sponsored by Pauly. Going into the first break I am sitting at 1470, well below the leaders who have over 4k.

Update: Made the second break and the money. Tournaments are running goot this weekend.