Thursday, September 29, 2005

Crossroads (cont)

I am what I am - Popeye the Sailor Man.

First off, I would like to think everybody for their comments. Every little bit helps.

Previously seen on Poker with WillWonka: I am a donkey (Hi Will)....

Now for my second step in my twelve step program. I have to admit (with deep chagrin) that poker has become more than merely a hobby. I mean, who I am kidding. I'm hooked, addicted, obsessed, etc... with poker. It is what it is. I guess you can say that there are good addictions and bad addictions. Right now, it is a good addiction meaning that is something I do a lot; but it is not replacing the more important things in life (family, work, finances.. etc). I'm not saying that poker is a good thing to be addicted to. Contrare, Contrare. Poker can be a very bad thing to be addicted to. It hasn't (and of course never will) gotten to that point.

I've always been a gambler. It all comes from my dad. My dad gambled on most everything (in a non-degenerate type way). What I mean is that he played golf a lot and had money on it. Played the football games... Horses... you bet... so it's always been a part of my life. It is just when you couple sports with competitevness, gambling usually happens.

Anyway, moving on. I had mentioned that I had come to an important crossroads this week. Survey says... I'm OK now. It has been a terrible month and a half and I am going to ease myself back into it. One of my recurring thoughts that if you are going to be successful in poker, you need to master the ring game. That has been my achilles heel as I haven't been able to do that once I started moving up in limits. I'm not giving up on that quest as I will return to this venture in the future... but for now.... I am who I am. My success has been in tournaments so I am now officially announcing the return of the SNG Fest (part deaux).

Yes, you heard it here first.. starting in October, I will return to primarily playing SNGs. Primarily, you say? Yep, this time around, if I feel like playing a MTT, then I will. If Ring play is my fancy for the day.. go for it... I'm not going to set a goal amount to play such as I did last time with the 200 (which I easely attained playing 282).

I came to my decision after reading comments from others and.. after I had fired up 11 $55 SNGs this month with a 54.55% ITM rate and 57.02% ROI. It just felt like home.

So hopefully this next chapter in my poker life will help me grow in my poker maturation process. Time will tell.


My football picks have been dreadful these past two weeks; but I did put a disclaimer on them saying that my first 4 weeks picks are inconsistent. Hopefully, starting this week, things will get better. I will try and post them here later this afternoon; but as always, you can find mine and others over at Scurvy's Bonus Bug site.

Monday, September 26, 2005


Bless me bloggers for it has been 12 days since I last blogged. As I'm sure that it is with many players, when you are on a prolonged downswing (especially if it is your first prolonged downswing). Yes, I know all about variance.... blah... blah... blah... After it kicks you in the junk for over 30 days now, it makes you start to think. I had written about how this year wasn't going very good anyway... at least compared to my first year... I was up arond $4200 for the year on August 6th. This was a high water mark all time for me and I seemed to be turning it around from a slight slump that I was having.... then the fit hit the shan. I have proceeded to give back $3300 since. OK.. that is the big picture... Again, my bankroll is in no danger as this downswing has accounted for about 25% of it so while it is material in my estimation, it is not a deal breaker.

Before last night, again I thought I had turned it around with 5 good sessions. I won't go into details as I don't want to ramble as I want to fast forward to last night. I had more or less not played any online poker for almost a week... and just a couple of times in the last 2 weeks. The only exception was while I was in Texas to see the Cowboys game (don't get me started there.. that is whole other story... needless to say it was a long drive back to St Louis from Dallas after they blew their shutout in the last 4 minutes). Anyway, I played a few SNGs in the hotel and did well.. 4 SNGs, 1 1st, 1 2nd, 1 3rd, and 1 5th. Also, I had just played in a home tournament with a 2nd place out of 20 and a 1st out of 10. So things were seeming to turn around.

Now to last nights action which has brought me to an important crossroads. Again, I was fairly refreshed and ready to play ball. I sat down and open 2 5/10 tables at PokerRoom. I needed just about 200 pts to get my $200 bonus which I know will only take a couple of hours. The first 45 minutes was up and down and was probably up just a little bit and then.... BAM!!!!! I am going to briefly describe what happened:

KJ with a K7J flop loses to Q7..... 7BBs
QQ loses to AK on river.... 4BB
Q9 in BB with Q79 flop loses to 77.... 5.5BB
AQ loses to AJ on JJ4 flop.... 2.5BB
QQ loses to 77 on flop.... 3.5BB
88 on button raises blinds and loses to K3 BB with KK7 flop... 2.5BB
88 on 869 flop loses to 75... 3 BB and
J9s in BB on 499 flop loses to TT on river... 5.5BB

Ok.. seems normal type beats.. the problem was those 8 hands all happened within about 10 mintues (again I was 2 tabling). Not once did I really go on tilt... ha.. didn't really have time to do that. Needless to say, I wasn't happy about it... A little while later I lost the little I had left from my original 300 buyin... no big deal. I still needed a few more points to get the $200. I have about 280 left in PokerRoom... so what do I do? Do I quit? Do I re-up on the 5/10s... No... I go straight to the 10/20 tables... What???!?!?! He is obviously not thinking straight... and I might not have been. I can say, however, that I was not steaming... As I've told some friends, that I have been sitting down with the attitude of how much am I going to give back tonight. Last night was not like this as I was indeed refreshed... but it didn't take long to revert back to the bad attitude...

As I suspected, the play on 10/20 is no better than that of 5/10.. and things actually were going good as I made up for $300 and got the $200 bonus... I was 2 hands from the big blind so as I typically do, I turn off the auto post and will call it quits unless I get AA, KK or AKs... 1st hand nothing... next hand UTG.. AKs.. Doh... Raise... here we go... 2 callers... QT8... continuation bit and only 1 caller... K on turn... cool.. Bet.. Raise.. huh? oh wait.. this guy is a maniac.. playes 54% of hands and preflop raises 10% etc, etc... Poker Trackers rates him a fish... I just call.. and I check call the River.. yep he had AJ for the str8 (down $90).... very next hand... Q3 in BB with Q87 flop... and 3 comes on River... and I lose to Q8 from SB.. Down $120... Dang!!! Now I can't quit... btw, it is about 10:30 Central time... I decide to keep playing and make up ground and then:

AK in MP... UTG raises and I just call (mistake #1) 2 more callers... flop comes 3AA.. UTG leads out and again I just call (mistake #2).. lose other 2... Q on Turn... UTG leads out and I raise.. re-raise.. uhoh.. I cap (don't think this is mistake)... River is Q.. UTG leads out and I call (thinking we are splitting)... nope he had QQ to make his quads over my aces full... I just typed in ... "that hurt... nh"... I didn't lose my temper or should I say I didn't yell or throw anything... but something must have happened... because next thing I know it is 3AM and I had given back all $800 that I was at when I was at the peek. I remember sitting and playing but that is about it... My wife woke up to go to the bathroom (I had forgotten how much pregnant women have to pee in the middle of the night).. and that kind of broke the transe or whatever that I was in and I called it a night. I looked back at Poker Tracker and saw that later that night:

My A8 on 786 lost to A9 when T came on Turn (the was the very next hand after the above).
My K5 from BB that hit trips lost to flush on river
My 87 in BB with 78T flop lost to T9 on Turn
My A5s in BB with A34 flop lost KQs on River when he got runner, runner for str8.
My T8s steal attempt backfired
My AQ on 85A flop lost to runner, runner clubs to lose to flush on river...

I was looking back at those and didn't remember them... other than I remember that I had some bad beats. Meanwhile, it was so bad, that I was even playing craps online (which I hardly ever play even at the casinos). When I do play, I always play the consevative no pass... but I was playing the pass line... I ended up winning about $150.. but not before I had lost about $150 and had increased bets to make it back.

Anway, back to my crossroads. As I have stated numerous times.. I play for the enjoyment of playing.. and again, that has not changed.. I have never withdrawn other than to Neteller. I was working on withdrawing to at least put in some interest bearing account or invest in stocks; but didn't due to the recent downturn. So, I need to figure where I go from here because I don't know. A good buddy and even a blogger buddy has suggested going down in limits and try to get back to the "enjoyment" level... and of course that is the right answer guaranteed... It's the evil side of me or should I say the very competetive side of me that can not handle being beat at this level. Of course everybody who loses thinks that they are better and are just "unlucky" or whatever. I'm trying to be a little more level headed about it and know that it is me and my inconsistent play (plus a little bad luck) that is costing me. To that end, I am doing some reading and striving to get better.

To tell you the truth... last night kind of scared me. Part of me wants to fold up ship right here before this gets worse. If I was on the outside looking in and after reading this, I would probably say that this guy has a gambling problem. Of course my wife calls it an addiction. I truly don't believe I have a gambling addiction. I am still calling it a hobby and I am doing something that I really enjoy doing... I just don't know. I'm probably being a little too honest here and hopefully making a mountain out of a mole hill; but again, last night kind of scared me. When you lose track of about 3 hours... yikes... For now, I'm going to chalk it up to being tired.

So, which direction am I going at this important crossroads at this poker intersection? To be continued.......

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

I want my Two Hours

You ever seen that movie with the little kid on the bike that keeps going after John Cusack for his 2 dollars for his newspaper route (Better of Dead, I believe). It is just one of the classic lines from a movie that I will always remember. I also liked the movie, but that is besides the point. Mrs Wonka and myself sat down to watch the highly heralded Napoleon Dynamite last night. What I mean by highly heralded is that had high ratings (7.1) and I've known some people that liked it so needless to say, we went in with somewhat high expectations. Anyway, after about 2 hours, I am very, very mad. To me, that was the biggest waste of 2 hours that I have ever had. I want those 2 hours back. Did I laugh out loud? OK, a few times... but a few laughs does not make a movie. I usually don't get so ticked about bad movies because as we know they are a dime a dozen... but to me, this was that bad. I just keep thinking to myself.. first off, someone had to come up with this idea and put it down on paper. He then probably ran it by a few friends that encouraged him to take it the next step.. they then had to find a studio, actors, distributors... etc, etc... and finally, they had to run it by a test audience. I just don't get it. I'm obviously not in the majority here.. but come on... this is the WORST movie (I don't even know if I can call it a movie) of all time.

Ok, enough of that.. you probably got the gist of my point. It is Wednesday, so that means football picks. After a good week last week, it's hard to put more picks out there... So with a slight bit of hesitation, here are my top 6 picks for the week (with a bonus 7th since my spreadsheet had a tie for the 6th pick).

  1. Wisconsin -3.5 at NC
  2. SMU +28 at Texas A&M
  3. Purdue -7.5 vs Arizona
  4. Idaho +14 at Washington
  5. New Mexico -22.5 vs New Mexico St
  6. North Texas -5.5 vs Tulsa
  7. UTEP -12 vs Houston

Just looking at them, I don't have the same level of confidence as in previous weeks; but we will see how it goes.

I am continuing my poker hiatus for now. I will start up again this weekend probably.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Up and Down Weekend

While I am still in my quasi-poker hiatus, I did play a little this weekend. It started off with our monthly home game on Friday where I was knocked out early. I think this makes something like my 15th straight tourney without a win. I then proceeded to almost make back the buyin in just our normal home game poker games. As usual, it was fun.

I also played in a tournament on Poker World last night. It was the monthly 3K guarantee freeroll for the 50 people that finish in the top 50 of their tournament leaderboard. I had made $842 for the month and still finished something like 15th so that kind of tells of how much traffic is on that site. Anyway, I ended up 5th for a $225 payday so that officially ended my 5 day losing streak in poker. I will continue on my quasi-poker hiatus... at least through tonight.

This weekend was really all about FOOTBALL!!!! It started off great on Saturday as my 3 favorite teams that I follow all won. It started off with a big win for Notre Dame in the big house... Georgia hung on against South Carolina and then in the biggest game... My Longhorns came back in beat Ohio State in front of nearly 106,000 people at the horseshoe... What a game!!!!

My Cowboys then had a good Sunday "picking off" the Chargers in San Diego. The offense looked great... Still need some work on defense... specifically the defensive backfield.... Newman continues to worry me.... Now, the Rams, on the other hand... UGH!!! Could there have been a more ugly loss. I have said this and it bears repeating here... Mike Martz may be the worst coach in the NFL. I don't know if anybody saw the opening kickoff; but our guy caught the kickoff at the one yard line while stepping out of bounds. That would be bad enough by itself; but Mike Martz, in his inffinate wisdom, decided to challenge the play. WHAT???!???. My 20 month old could have told you that he was out of bounds. The special teams continued to kill us (giving up a punt return for a TD and giving up an onsides kick).. .UGH!!!!!!!

My buddies are now calling Mr Bad Beat. After them hearing all my stories about poker.. that is.. Anyway, I am the defending champion in our fantasy football team.. I had one of the best years of all time in our league. Anyway, the good news is that I scored the 3rd most points this week in our league. Unfortunately, I played the two people that scored the most.. so I am now 0-2. One of the losses coming on virtually the last play of the Sunday night game in which I had the Colts defense. They gave up a touchdown at the end that cost me 2 pts and I lost by 1 point... Ouch.. Oh well, if I didn't have bad luck, I wouldn't have any at all.

Back to college... I had published my six top picks... Here they are for review

1) Ga Tech -12.5 vs NC LOSS
2) Minnesota -13 vs Colorodo St WIN
3) Va Tech -20 at Duke WIN
4) Florida - 29.5 vs La Tech WIN
5) Air Force -7.5 vs San Diego St WIN
6) Boston College -27.5 vs Army WIN

I went 5-1 with them only losing the Georgia Tech game. Overall, my spreadsheet was 25-17-3.
So far so good. I will put 6 more out there around Wednesday.
That puts my top picks at 8-4 (66.67%) and overall 52-36 (59.09%). I will definitely take that for the start of the year.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

I am a Donkey

As part of my 12 step program of being in Donkey's anonymous, my first step is admission.
Hello, My name is WillWonka and I am a Donkey... (Hi... Will!!).
After the last 30 days or so, I must be a donkey as I continue to donate to the masses.

As my last message explained, I have not been doing very well at the tables so I decided to take a little break... well, it looks like the break will be extended as I did go back to the tables on Wednesday. I started up 5/10 sessions on PokerRoom and Ultimate Bet. Poker Room started off bad; but then turned around as I finished up a little over $200. I then closed out of Poker Room and went exclusively on UB. Things went bad there to begin with also... then things turned... to the worst... It is always fun when you get AA on one of your first hands... not fun when they get cracked. I have to admit that my losing hands were not all due to bad plays from others.. they were just catching the cards... The aforementioned cracked Aces were from a T9 that happened to flop a straight. It was from a known bad player so I stayed in... even though he never re-raised me... so I should thank my lucky stars that I didn't lose more. Having 99 beat by 28 just plain hurts... even if it was a big blind special. Anyway, I ended up down almost $500 on UB.

We'll get back to poker in a minute; but let me talk about something a little more exciting.. at least at the moment. FOOTBALL!!!!!!

I am doing my picks. Usually, I don't post any picks until about week 4 or week 5; but Scurvy Dog's BonusBug has a section for sports picking and I put my week 1 picks there. The bad news is that I only went 3-3; but was very close to going 5-0-1. A few last minute scores from the bad guys did me in. Poker Nerd is also making some picks on his site. Anyway, I will start putting my college football picks on this site as well. For week 2, my top 6 picks are:

1) Ga Tech -12.5 vs NC
2) Minnesota -13 vs Colorodo St
3) Va Tech -20 at Duke
4) Florida - 29.5 vs La Tech
5) Air Force -7.5 vs San Diego St
6) Boston College -27.5 vs Army

Overall last week, my picks went 27-19. I have never have had any luck on Pro Games so I shy away from those. Just a note... I rank all 119 Division 1A football teams via a spreadsheet that I created. I then take those rankings with my associated power ranksing and come up with a spread for the game. I then compare that spread to the actual spread to come up with my picks. So for the most parts, the picks above are solely computer based picks based off of my computer spreadsheet. My top 6 picks are typically around 60% for the year. We'll see how it goes this year... since I am publishing them.. they probably won't do squat... lol.

As a Texas Longhorns fan, the UT / Ohio State game could be the game of the year. Ohio State is a slight favorite; but I don't see them staying up with the Horns. I may be a little biased.. lol... and of course I look forward to the Oklahoma game every year...

Now, back to our orignally scheduled program... poker. I have now had 5 straight losing sessions and since I hit my all time high water mark on August 6th, I have bled away $2,739 which comes out to nearly 20% of my bankroll. We all read of the variance swings and bad cards and whatever you want to call it; but this is as bad as it has ever been. I did have one 5 session losing streak early on in my poker playing that accounted for a 37% loss in bankroll; but the bankroll was pretty small back then and it didn't take too much to swing the percentages one way or another. So, now, the recurring question remains on what I am going to do going forward?? I don't know. It's pretty frustating right now; so for sure, I am going to take a little more time and mull things over. With football starting tonight and going through the weekend, that should help divert my attention.

One thing I would like to do in the interim is post some of the big hands from the last 5 days. One of the things that I serverly lack is the opportunity to talk poker with other poker players.... at least online poker players. I do have a couple of guys at work that are poker enthusiasts and it helps to talk to them; but it is not the same as chatting with people that are out there online playing and are experiencing some of the same things that I am (whether good or bad). So I would like to start posting some hands (aka Scurvy Dog) with some of my thoughts during the hand and get some feedback on them (although they won't be as entertaining as his). I think this will help two-fold. One, I won't be out there playing right now when I shouldn't be playing. I honestly sit down to the table now and say to myself "I wonder how much I'm going to give back today?". Obviously not a good attitude to take. Secondly, it will help me review my play.

Thanks for listen to me ramble. I will start posting some hands either today or tomorrow.

Oh, btw, a second baby Wonka will be entering this world next March/April. We are both excited and afraid of the times to come.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Stick a Fork in Me

Another beauty of a night... I only ended up $76 down for the night; but it was a struggle the whole way. I will say that most of it was lost while our table got shorthanded. I may be the worst shorthanded player on this earth. Anyway, I caught second-best-hand-itus during that stretch (sometimes even third best after flopping 2 pair to lose out to str8 and trips). I did play in the Poker Room freeroll last night. For some reason it was a limit tournament. You could tell it was a freeroll.. almost every hand was getting capped preflop. There were over 800 people and it got to the point where I just pushed with my good hands. I was either going home early or building up the stack. The former won out was I went out in 500th place out of 880. I don't know how long that was; but I know I didn't make the first break.

So for the month, it put me down $944... obviously, my worst month ever. It reiterates my thoughts that I must not be worthy of a 5/10 player. What is more frustrating is that I was up $1000 after a week in August and whittled it all away. My total for the year is a gargantiuan (sp) $2,393. Call it the sophomore year jinx or whatever; but I believe that you can officially stick a fork in me, I'm done.

Any thoughts of actually making a steady income playing poker are being thrown out the window. So what does that mean? It means that I won't be playing nearly as much. The good news is that maybe it will get back to the "hobby" status where I was playing just because I enjoyed playing at the money didn't mean anything. Not that it means anything now as again I have never withdrawn anything. With the fall TV show and football and hockey coming up, my attention will be diverted elsewhere and maybe the break will be good for me. The shame of it is that I really, really enjoy playing poker.

We've all read posts about us poker players balancing our real life. I feel have done that for the most part; but that will become even more of a focus now. I'm sure Mrs Wonka will enjoy more... or maybe she won't.. we'll just have to play it by ear.

So I'll probably take a few days off to figure out what my September goals will be. I have my fantasy football draft tonight.

By the way, it goes without saying that my thoughts and prayers are with the folks down in the Gulf region as they are dealing with the aftermath of the storm. And while on the subject, as we approach 9/11, my thoughts also go out to the people that lost loved ones as I'm sure that they will be reminded of that day as the 4 year anniversary draws closer. I did watch a show on the National Geographic channel called Inside 9/11 that was ver interesting which kind of detailed out the planning of the attack.

That shold do it for now. Peace.. Out.
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