Friday, December 30, 2005


I've really enjoyed reading about everbody's DADI experience. It was a great time and a great success. I would also like to think 3Jacks and the Devil's Advocate for putting this together. I can't wait for the next one... even it will be Omahaish.

Nothing too exciting to write about. My very first hand was AA and of course I raised it up and what do I see.. DoubleAs is raising it up... wow... what to do... I pushed and he folded and replied with "the hammer".. Boy, two hands that bloggers are looking for and it happened on the first hand. Speaking of the hammer... in Round2 I am sitting with the hammer in the BB.. phluxer (I apologize for not knowing the link) just calls in middle position and I check. For the record, I am not a big overplayer of the hammer as I have mentioned in other posts. This turns out to be a good thing... Low and behold the flop comes 752... I check and call phluxers 225 bet. What!!! the turn is card is a what... that's right.. a deuce... Again I check and call phluxers 225 bet... River card is a 4 of clubs which puts 3 clubs out there... This time I lead out 565 to put phluxer all in. He goes into the tank and finally calls with QQ. Had I raised with it from the BB, I'm sure I would have gotten re-raised and probably would have folded... so it worked out nicely.

From there in the first few rounds.. things were clicking on all cylindars... and then it happened... a few missplaced bully moves and cold cards and IGHM.. Out in 22nd out of 62; but again, I had a great time chatting it up. Congrats to change100 impressive victory.

A couple of miscellaneous things.

I have finally updated my month to date stats. My intentions are to do that on a weekly basis; but sometimes I just forget about it. I also hope to redo my links section (including a St Louis bloggers section) real soon.

I've also broken down and added a link to Absolute poker. They were good enough to give me many things and on top of that they are offering a 200% first time bonus (although I believe it expires on Dec 31st). That is hard to beat. Oh and there is the part of where I deposited $1,000 and have turned it into $4,073 since December 1st. That's always nice. That kind of tells you the caliber of players there. This has been mostly short handed tables and one nice tournament. So please click on the link and give it a try and let me know how it goes. Again, the 200% match ends the 31st so hurry... I'm not sure what the deposit bonus will be after that; but hands down, Absolute is the best site for bonuses.. They offer new deposit/reload bonuses practically every week.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Happy Belated Holidays

I never did wish everybody Happy Holidays so I hope you will accept my belated Happy Holidays. I will say, however, that these holidays can be quite tiring. We will be going on our 4th straight day of "family" get togethers.

Day 1 (23rd)... Baby Wonka's 2nd Bday Party
Day 2... Mrs Wonka's Dad's Side Christmas
Day3... Will Wonka's Family Christmas
Day4... Mrs Wonka's Mom's Side Christmas

Now, I realize that I'm not the only one with this full schedule... but wow... what a long weekend. Luckily, I will be able to take a couple of days off before I get back to work. Unfortunately, not the whole week; but a couple of days should help us recover.... As much as you can recover with a 2 year old running around. Of course, baby Wonka didn't really get the gist of Christmas and everything; but it was a true joy to watch her. The highlight of the night was watching her play with the big pile of unwrapped paper. She would just toss the presents aside and play with the paper and ribbons and bows. Everybody got a kick out of it.

OK.. on to poker...

No big surprise that I haven't played a whole lot of poker lately. The bad news is that the "streak" ended at 12 straight days. Not much to say.... Just one of those days... I got way down early and just couldn't make it up.. I ended up the night down about $337. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. The good news is that my new "streak" is at 3. I really am enjoying shorthanded play for many reasons. Maybe first and foremost is that you get to play more hands. This can be a double edged sword as you can easily play too many hands. Second is the players don't seem to be as good... They are definitely a little more impatient. I still have much to learn here.

OK... not much to say here... just wanted to drop in and update everybody on the "streak" as I know everybody was on the edge of their seat.... lol. More to come in the upcoming days.... including the year in review post. We'll see how it goes.

Again, happy belated holidays.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Jinxed... indeed

Well, in my last post, I said that I was probably jinxed for mentioning a winning streak whether it be positive variance or newly found aggressiveness. Nonetheless, I started playing Monday and quickly found that things were not going to be easy. Playing 2 3/6 tables, I quickly got down over $100.... then $200.... then $250... closed one 3/6 table and opened a 5/10 table... you probably can write what comes next... no, not really... actually got it back to $150.... closed down 5/10 after doubleing up (and further down in 3/6) and opened up a new 3/6...

OK.. a little interjection here.... Up to this point, I have a 10 day winning streak going. 11 in a row is my record so I vowed to keep playing until I got positive...

OK.. back to our regularly scheduled program... I can't believe the river beatings that I am taking and get down almost $400... OK, no more messing around.... 2 5/10 tables... By the way, I started playing a little bit after I put baby Wonka to bed which would have been around 8PM. OK.. it is now starting to get late (past midnight). I finish the 3/6 portion of the evening down $458 which is not easy to do. Suffice it to say that nothing went right there. At this point, I'm about $130 up on 5/10... To the grind stone....

Staying with the original game plan of aggressiveness, I dive in. Things go good and bad (as usual). It turns out that the tables that I were on were very loose so not a lot of bullying to do. Everybody was putting in their votes to be table captain. Anyway, to make a longer story shorter... At 3:30 AM and after 1,303 hands I finally was only $9.90 down..... but I had amassed $90 in bonus for the night. That was good enough for me and I called it a night up $79.78. I'm counting it. So I now I have tied my record for most positive sessions in a row... Cool...

Now fast forward to Tuesday... It is actually my birthday (the big 4-1)... Perhaps the poker variance folks will be good to me. I really don't want to put in another marathon session. First hand... AJo in BB.. I raise it up.. I caller and they fold to flop (K36) bet. So far so good. 5th hand. QQ in SB.. betting capped (including a 11% so I am a little worried). Turns out that the 11%er had JJ and I take down a $81 ($55 net) pot. 6th hand. 66 UTG+1. I raise it up.. Beautiful AQ6 flop... I take down a $63 ($33 net) pot. 12th hand.. T9 on the button.. I raise it up and both blinds call... 78J flop (2 hearts.. I have none).. they both call... Turn 8c.. they both check call.. River As.. BB check calls with Ah5h so I take down a $57 (net $33.50) pot... and that is it.. color me up... No need to get greedy... I wanted the record and $100 was the goal for the night so I finished up the night up $118. Nice... A new winning streak record for WillWonka (12 straight days)... a nice birthday present. And I thought I was jinxed... indeed. (Although, I'm probably really jinxed now).

It obviously has been nice to be back on the winning side of things; but more importantly, it feels a lot better playing down at these levels as those painful river losses just don't hurt as much and definitely don't make me change my style.

Switching Gears.....

I want to catch you up a little tourney action from the past week. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Absolute gave me free entries into a few tournaments. Well, last Tuesday, I decided to play the 15K guarantee. To keep in short, there were 216 people along for the ride. As usual, things neither go great or bad and by the first break I'm above average. It was a rebuy/addon tournament so I did do the double add-on ($40). Things are going good and I find myself at the final table. Now, 1st place gets $2,100 so I'm starting to get psyched. I'm in about 4th position... Well, unfortunately, things don't go so well as the small stacks all hit their desparate all in attempts and we are down to 7 and I find myself to be the short stack. I have about 4x the blinds. UPG raises me all in... now this guy is a good player but has been using his stack to his advantage. I know he has something to raise UTG; but I turn over KTs and knowing that I will be in the blinds in 2 hands, I call it. He turns over QQ and takes me out in 7th for a $525 payday. Part of me just wanted to blind myself away and try to raise a couple of positions (675, 900, 1200 for 6th, 5th and 4th); but instinct took over and I called. Truthfully, winning is all that matters. Oh well, it could have been a great day.

Saturday, I played in the Empire Poker 10K freeroll invitational with about 1,100 people. I got good hands to start it off; but never really caught a flop and if I did, it was second best; so I didn't last too long in this one... maybe to level 4 (946th). That's kind of how you have to do it in these big freerolls.. Take your chances early in hopes that you can build a stack to compete later.

Also on Saturday, I did something that I have never done before. I bought into the AP 100K guarantee. Now, I have always wanted to play in a big online tournament. The entry fee was $162. I told myself that if I can make the entry fee via ring play, that I will buck up and play with 476 players. Well, I made $170 that day in ring play so I bucked up and entered. Things were going OK.. I started with 1500 and had it a little over 2000 when they swithed tables on me... From here, I saw something that maybe I have never seen before. When I got there, the chip leader was there. OK, no big deal... but here is the deal. The average chip count at this point was about 1800-2000. This guy had over 10,000. Wow... I proceeded to watch him build that to over 25,000 by either bullying people with over the top huge raises and calling others all in and hitting whatever he needed to win... including one time calling with 42o and hitting his 2nd pair on the river. It was truly a site to behold. He ended up 3rd. I unfortunately was one of his recipients of being bullied. I raised 3x in LP with KJ and he raised me all in. I layed it down. A few orbits later I pushed with 88 only to get called by A3o and of course the flop was Ace high. I didn't hit my 2 outer and I finished a disappointing 308th. I may try some of these later.

I also played at Full Tilt qualifier to a WPT tourney in Tunica. No luck there either when my Top pair lost to a flopped straight. You ever get that feeling that you know you are beat for some reason you call anyway. Dang... I was in 5th place with about 18 remaining when this happened and he just happened to be one of the people that had me outchipped. Oh well.. I will definitely give these a try again.

OK, that should do it.. I'm off to finish watching Spanglish... So far... just so so..

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Showdowns? I Don't need no Stinking Showdowns.

As many of you know, I have suffered a huge blow to my bankroll since August (over 50%) which is a pretty big deal when my bankroll was at an all time high on Aug 6th at almost 14K. As you can guess, many things go through your mind when you go through an extended losing streak. It's really painful just typing it.

So what do you do when this happens?

Well, here are a couple of things that I did.

First off, I dropped levels. This is an easy and obvious decision. There are bankroll rules out there for a reason. So, I was playing at the 15/30 level and now have dropped down to playing 3/6 and 5/10. Nothing too mind shattering here. This not only lessens the risk to your bankroll; but also lessens the pressure that might come with it. So now you can enjoy it more and focus more on the task at hand.

Second, I did some analysis of my play to find my leaks. You can look at two of my prior posts to get the gist of what I was looking at (Leaks - Pt One and Leaks - Pt Two).

Third, I did some reading. I have never been much of a book reader and I'm still not; but what I do read are things from the internet such as poker blogs and poker forums. A common thread these days are posts on short handed play. So I was off. I found plenty of things out there as I posted prevously. While I was doing my reading, a light bulb went off. Now, let me preface this by saying that probably 90% of the poker community knows about this; but knowing and doing are two completely different things.

Plain and simple... Aggressiveness. I told you this was an obvious one.

Before I go on, I want to say that I have been testing this theory for the last 10 days of playing. Now, I know this is not a concrete representative sample due to randomness and variance; but here is the thing. Aggressiveness wins pots and that of course is the goal. Let's drill down just a little bit more.... winning pots.

What kind of pots do we set out to win? Monsters, of course; but should that really be the goal? Don't answer that (more on this later). It is not really a fair question; but let's look at it anyway. Just for discussion purposes, we'll call a monster pot as a pot that has over 16BBs in it. A wise blogger once wrote that the best hands post flop are the drawing hands (that is paraphrased of course). That really hit me hard... especially since this comment was made right in the middle of my losing streak and I of course was losing with the best hands after the flop AND the drawing hands (which of course can leave you drawing... dead). So what do you do and what does this have to do with aggressiveness? Stay with me and hopefully we will find out.

Prior to December 6th, you would find my sessions in the 15 VPIP to 22VPIP range with most of them being in the 15-20 range. My goal was to be tight aggressive... meaning, I'm waiting for those good hands and then I'm going to play them pretty hard. What that means is that my preflop aggression was right about 7-8% with my total aggressiveness around the 1.5-1.75 range.... which is right on the borderline of being an aggressive player.

You would also only find me on the 10 max games... which to a certain degree requires that you narrow down your hands that you play with. I historically had been a bad short handed player so I avoided it like the plague.

So Let's backup to Dec 8th which is where the worm turned. After doing my studying, I was ready to dive in. First, I want to shoot off the stats. Try and find out what sticks out.

Hands - 2,576
VPIP (Flop % - BB) - 26.76%
W $ WSF (when seeing flop) - 46.05%
Went to SD (showdown) - 34.58%
W $ at SD - 52.28%
PF Raise - 16.01%
Total Aggression - 3.29 (2.10 w/ flop)
BB/100 - 5.91

What sticks out? VPIP to high? Nah... Remember that a lot of these hands were short handed. It's the preflop raising (aka preflop aggression). We'll even throw in the aggression factor of 3.29 (aka post flop aggression). All of the other numbers seem to be right in line with what they should be. So what does it all mean?

Well, it could mean a couple of things. First, it could just mean that I am now on the positive end of variance because as we know... variance taketh away and it also gives. That may well have been part of it. What I think it means is that you had good cards in the eye of your opponents. Have you heard the old saying the possession is nine tenths of the law.... Well, I would like to adjust that for poker where.... perception is nine tenths of the law. Whether you have good cards or not is not the most important factor. Making people believe that you have good cards is the vital compenent. So, how do you do that? Hold that thought.

Let's return to the question of what kind of pots do we set out to win. My answer to this has almost done a complete 180 on this one. I used to be in the camp of waiting to hit that monster and make everybody pay. There are two major flaws with this. First and probably most obvious is that those monsters don't come along too often so waiting can be majorly -EV. Secondly, if you don't play a lot of hands, even online people are going to pick up on that and they will not play with you and pay you off on all of those monsters. Of course, sometimes they will when they also hit the flop hard; but that is really more the exception than the rule.

My answer to that question is now all pots that I play. Before you say... Dah... Let me explain. Many hands I would play and fold to a bet after the flop if it didn't hit me. The question I started asking myself is did it really hit the other person? Just because he raised preflop doesn't mean that the flop hit him or that he has the best hand. Now, I'm not saying that you necessarily should be aggressive with any two cards; but selective aggressiveness is very important. Factors like what kind of player is the preflop raiser (i.e. Tight, loose, history of folding to aggressivenese, etc..), the flop (scary or non scary), and how you think the table perceives you. Something that alot of people do that can help here is note taking. Jot down that he was a preflop raiser that folded to a flop raise. I, myself, do not take notes and this is something that I do have to work on. I more or less just rely on my Poker Tracker / Poker Ace stats.

I'm not going too give many hand examples in this post; but this one seemed to illustrate my point and had the table talking a bit. In a 4 handed game, I am under the gun with QdTd. I raise... The button and SB both fold and the BB (who has AhAc) raises. Now in the old days.. not only may I not have raised with this; but I would have definitely just called here. Well, I re-raised. AA guy just called. The flop was 9d5hTc giving me an open ender. AA of course leads out and I again raise and this time he 3 bets (warning signals). Now this guy sees 48% of the flops; but is passive after the flop so I know he has a hand now. I just call. The turn is 8h giving me my nut straight. AA leads out again and this time the betting gets capped. The river is 7h and this time Mr AA just check calls and I take down a pretty big pot (16.1 BB). To tell you the truth, I thought that QJs was a little bit stronger heads up than what I worked with. QJs, according to my spreadseet, is the 42nd ranked hand heads up. Oh well, fortunely, it worked out. Any thoughts here? To tell you the truth, I don't mind be labelled a fishy, maniacal player when playing short handed.

Now, where were we? Oh yeah, pots that I want to win. I now view every pot as a possible winner. The key here to this "selective aggressiveness" is to lay down the hand when you know that you are beat. I'm not just interested in the monster pots alone. I would much rather win the small to medium uncontested pots that don't even make it to the showdown. Showdown??? I don't need to no stinking showdown. In the days during my downswing, I took down 6% of my winning pots without going down to showdown. Now, with my new philosophy, I would expect that number to be much higher. I'm going to go check... Please talk amongst yourselves.. I will be right back... .... .... .... ..... ..... .......... ....... OK, I'm back... Any predictions? As predicted, I have taken down 13% of my hands without showdown since December 8th. Wow.. over double. That is a good chunk of change and I was more or less giving up on these pots before. This becomes even more important when playing short handed.

So, how again do you make people believe that you have the best hand? Unfortunately, there may be no hard and fast rules. One thing to try is to raise when you would normally call. Bet when you would normally check. Three bet instead of cold calling. You will be amazed out how quickly some people will back down to pressure. Again, it is important to realize when you are definitely beat and they are going to call you down. This is where sessions are usually won and lost. Making those extra bets when you are ahead (or they are weak) and not losing those extra bets when you are behind and they aren't going to fold.

So what do we take away from this fairly long winded post. Every table normally has a table captain. It is my contention, that you want to be that guy. I have to admit that is was not an easy step for me to take; but in the short term, it has helped as I have won 11 of 12 sessions including 10 in a row for just over 2K (which also includes some tourneys and bonus). I probably just jinxed myself.. hopefully not. 11 in a row is my all time record and we will see if I reach that this week. Of course, I'm going to continue my studying on shorthanded play as I still have lots to learn.

Good luck at the tables!!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

What's the deal with this shorthanded thing

There certainly seems to be an influx of interest in shorthanded play... willwonka included. As I've mentioned before, shorthanded play has been very -EV for me... even more so than my 10max ring play. This is really intriguing me. What I'm not going to do that I normally do is to jump right in and start playing and learn through experience. I'm actually going to study it. To that point, there are many resources out there. A few bloggers have written about it lately and Poker Sweet Home has also put a bunch of other resources. I wanted to reaffirm his links to Jason Pohl of Poker Pages as he has a dozen or so articles on short handed play. I have read 4 or 5 of these so far and they are outstanding. I probably won't dive to the tables until next month; but will continue to study up on it.

Another way that I have been studying up on it (as I have mentioned before) is through the site . I have now watched 2 or 3 videos. The really nice thing about the site is that after you watch them, you can comment on them via their forum. I have started messages in two forums, Wynton 5/10 SH and Digs 10/20 SH. I encourage you to go and watch these as they are only around 30 minutes and make comments on your thoughts. I hope to watch more.

I only got to play for about 20 minutes last night as Mrs Wonka needed the PC last night. It was really strange as I played in 2 ultra conservative 3/6 tables. That's almost like an oxymoron. Conservative and 3/6 usually don't go together. Here is the key stat from last night. I won 72% of the time that I saw the flop and only went to showdown 18% of the time. Wow!!!! Of course, it only equated to $55 ($65 with bonus) as you can guess, there were not any big pots; but that is not a bad bb/100 hands. My aggression factor was 16.00 (4.6 w/ preflop); so as I say, I was sad to leave the table.

I've kind of been looking around for online satellites to the WPT event in Tunica coming up in January. Does anybody know of any sites offering them? I believe BoDog did it last year; but Tunica is not one of their tournaments this year.

That should do it for today.

Monday, December 12, 2005

More of the Same

Yep... call me Mr Predictable... more of the same last night.. The game of choice tonight was two tabling 3/6. It was definitely a tale of two tables... The best of tables, the worst of tables... The first table, I lost almost 2 buyins... The funny thing... yes, funny peculiar... was that everytime that I hit my money card, it was a bigger money card for somebody else.. or at least they had already had the nuts... For example, I hit my flush card on the river which is cool... except when it gives the villian a full house. I hit my straight on the turn... oops.. The villiam flopped a boat. There was another time where I hit my card; but it was a chop as the villian had the same card. I flopped 3 straights and came out with blinds only. That's poker. It was kind of funny as this was happening, I caught myself saying... he who angers me, conquers me.

The other table, on the other hand, just couldn't miss.. and if I made any kind of moves; people were folding. I couldn't have written a better script. I doubled my buy-in (30 SB) there plus a little and closed it down as I was ready to switch gears. I was doing my last lap on the other table and I get 99. This isn't really a "victory lap" as I have been getting hammered so sure, I'll play... Even flopped my set.. but on a scary board... 89J... and sure enough a Q comes on the turn and sure enough I'm getting raised... The board didn't pair on the river and of course our villian held TT to get his straight... A little over kill though as he really only needed one of them.

So instead of me being ahead before I move on, I am now down about $50.. I open another table and continue to play with the goal of getting back over even. Eventually I got there and closed down the 3/6 tables with a small $14 profit. Being on the plus just feels so much better than being down... even if it is $1... it still goes down as "losing" session.

Now, I'm in the mood for some SNGs... Back to Party and open up 3 $55 SNGs... 2 tables are doing pretty good and one table is just not getting it done... One of the good tables, I get AK on the button... 2 limpers so I raise it up and get one caller... Q high flop and I put out a near pot sized bet... MP limper goes all in.. hmmm... after a little thought, I called and he turned over AQ... I certainly didn't put him on that as he didn't raise preflop. I thought it was possible that he had a Q or other pair; but it just felt like a steal... oops bad read.. it happens. No help and I'm more or less out.. I actually go out on the next hand with KT with a K high flop only to lose to AQ again when the Ace comes on the river. A sense of deja vu with the AQs comes back to haunt me (from my 1st SNG challenge).

Things turned around on the bad table and actually ended up winning that one while I came in 2nd on the other one. My KJ lost to a race to 44 to send me packing. So 2 out of 3 ain't bad with a $235 profit.

I was pretty sure that I was done; but after checking my spreadsheet, I only need $13 to put my bankroll over a nice round number... So do I get greedy and play on or just call it a night. Yeah right... back to AP I go... this time 5/10 was the table of choice. Win a few blinds and I can call it a night and the first hand.. that is exactly what I did with 94o.. I called preflop and bet out on a 2JJ board and won $5... OK.. just $8 to go... 98 in the SB.. I MP caller so I'm in a hurry so let's raise it up.. BB calls and so does limper... 69T flop... Of course I lead out and BB calls and limper raises.. Uh oh.. I call.. Q on turn and I check call.. 6 on river and I check fold... KK in BB wins over QT.. boy should have gotten out of that hand earlier... OK, not hurt too bad.. QTo on button same limper as before and I also call... T high flop and I lose again to ATo.. OK, OK.. so I am not going to be gifted this $13... so now I dig in and get ready to grind it out..

Get some of it back 9 hands later when AK flops 2 pair and rivers the boat... no real action though; but did get some of it back... Things went back and forth and finally, I get the rockets... This is either going to be another gut wretching bad beat or a happy ending.. UTG+1 raiser.. nice.. I raise and there are no other callers... and raiser caps it... flop comes 6AK... nice... he check and calls my bet... T on turn and he leads out.. uh oh.. I raise it up and he calls and check calls the river card of 5.. he turned over AK and I take a nice pot. That puts me up $38 for the session and I call it a night... so all in all it was a $297 night as I also got $10 in AP bonus. So again, things went well.

I have been reading a lot about short handed play. It really does seem like the sensible way to go. I, of course, suck at it; but when has that ever stopped me. So a new goal of mine is to study up on this and give it a whirl. My confidence isn't really high that things will work out; but I will give it a shot some time down the road.

Got a new monitor on Sunday. The US Post office actually delievred it on Sunday. She said this time of year, things are really backed up so that they some times deliver "bigger" items on Sunday. My old 21" monitor finally went caput.. I think the lightning strike put the finishing touches on it. I absoultely love this monitor... especially, the wide screen part of it. It is definitely highly recommended. I got a pretty good deal at EBay for this so I'm not complaining too much.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Return to the scene of the crime

I had an enjoyable weekend... I got crushed in my 2 fantasy games, I was eliminated from Pigskin challenge (pick one game a week) which we were down to about 11 people from almost 150; but at least the Cowboys won so that makes the whole thing tolerable.

I continued to play at AP at the 3/6 and 5/10 level. The good news is that no one angered me so therefore I was not conquered. Actually, it was a good weekend as I believe that I was up almost $700 so I can never complain about that. I did try a few different things; but it is probably just the plus side of variance that hit. It is truly amazing that when you are playing at a level that most likely can't materially effect your bankroll, you can focus more on making the right decisions and not getting heartburn when things don't go right. Out of the 11 sessions for the weekend, I had 8 positive ones. I know, I know, you should never write about good weekends as you are probably destined for some bad ones.

One thing that I just got wind of was a site called For those of you who don't know what this site is, it is a site of people that have recorded their poker sessions on their PC and have made them available to the general public for free. I have downloaded a few of them over the last week and I think it has really helped my game. I can't recommend it enough. They have all levels and the list is growing everyday. I may even give it a go soon. They have forums to discuss the hands which is pretty cool.

Part of the deal of going to AP was that I would get an AP T-shirt. Well, that arrived on Friday or Saturday along with a hat, Polo shirt and boxer shorts and stickers. Thanks AP. So far, I have obviously enjoyed playing there. Again, the traffic hasn't picked up very much from the last time that I played there; but there are always plenty of holdem tables to be found... you may have to play a little short handed for a while; but they usually fill up pretty quickly. They are certainly the king of giving out bonuses as I continually get emails from them every week.

I also got some mail this weekend from Empire Poker invited me to their $10,000 "Special" Freeroll. Obviously, I don't feel too special as I'm sure that plenty if not all of the Empire players received this letter. The funny or ironic thing about it is that I received an email from them way back inviting me to a $10,000 Freeroll. To keep the story short for those of you that haven't read my older blogs, I actually ended up winning the thing. I was 1st out of 983 people for an especially nice $2,100 payday which almost tripled my bankroll at the time. This was my first big win and catapulted me into bigger and better things. So hopefully, I will be able to play this tourney and I'm sure that it will feel like I am returning to the scene of the crime.

So.. the plan is to continue to play at AP and also mix in some tournaments (either SNG or MTT).

Friday, December 09, 2005

He who angers me Conquers Me

This is now my theme for life and poker (especailly poker).

I was talking to a work buddy who was just at a conference and heard this slogan. Of course, this wasn't geared towards poker players; but now it is geared toward this poker player anyway.

How often do we go crazy when Mr Maniac hits his 2 or 3 outer with Q6o that beats your pocket aces. Even to this day, I continually struggle with tilt. This is not going to be another long winded gripe session about how these "tilt-ers" are playing horribly.. blah blah. As far as I'm concerned, they can play anyway they want. They may or may not realize the risk of the way they play. So be it. From here on out:

He who angers me conquers me

I know, I know.. more easily said than done. I'm a pretty laid back guy to begin with and can let most things go by me without even a wimper. Mostly, I just say to myself to consider the source. Again, this really adapts well to poker playing. Consider the source of the 75% flop guy and move on.

Ok.. Moving On

I have dropped back down to playing 3/6 and 5/10. 5/10 was the limit of choice last night. Isn't it amazing that when you drop your level of play by 1/3, how much calmer you take those "bad" beats. I have had my shares of ups and downs the last couple of days; but hasn't caused the enourmous raise in my blood pressure that I had been getting the last month or so. I did end the session last night up about $210 so that is always good. The plan for the month is to continue to play at these levels to get back into the "enjoyment" factor of playing poker. I could say that I'm playing down here to get my confidence back; but that wouldn't really help. I say that because to me, the 5/10 game and 15/30 game are so different that you can't really play them the same... so confidence in your game can become instantly shattered once you move back up and don't adjust to those conditions. Don't get me wrong, you still have the crazy maniac types; but it is just different.

We'll see how it goes.... but just remember that the next time that Mr Uber Donk continually hits his outs against you....


Here's to not getting conquered... Have a great Weekend!!!!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Winning the War, not the Battles

Poker, of course, is about wining the long time war and not the individual battles. Those individual battles can be pretty painful. I was hoping to post that after my 4 session winning streak, that things were finally turning around. Not the case. As quickly as I built up over the 4 sessions, I lost it in 3. I won't bore you with all the details; but here is a glimpse

Friday.. Started my bonus chase on Absolute and did OK with a positive session.

Saturday.. for whatever reason (insanity I believe), I returned to the Party 15/30 tables. I will chalk this day up to variance as it happens sometimes... you don't hit your draws and others do.. It was painful day; but I never lost focus.

Sunday... This is one of those days that you wish that you could just have back. First off, I went into the session know that I could only play between 30 minutes to an hour. One of the first few hands I get JJ... plenty of action preflop and flop and I stay in after the flop as it was only 9 high. The turn brings another small card and with a bet and raise in front of me, I lay it down. What does the river... yep.. a Jack which would have beat the set of 9s guy. A couple hands later, I hit TPTK with AK only to lost to Q8.. when a second 8 came on the turn. This turned out to be the trend. I would hit top pair, and somebody else would hit trips with their 2nd pair. After this happened for the 3rd time, I went into maniac mode and I don't have to tell you how that ended up.

Monday... Got beautiful cards... AK on very first hand.... lost... I only played around 50 hands and lost my buy in... I lost with JJ twice, AK and AKs, QQ and the straw that broke the camel's back and put me broke was AA losing to AQ. I did win the blinds with KK... whoopee!!!!!

Tuesday.. I played in the Absolute 19K guarantee... or was it 17K? I can't remember. Anyway, these are now rebuy and addon tournaments. Oh well.. It was a freeroll for me due to AP giving me a free entry. The very first hand I get my nemisis... KQ on the button. I few limpers and raise it up. 3 callers.. Flop comes K high. I don't remember the exact details; but there are about 3 people left after them calling my bet... Turn comes another K... cool... First guys goes all in... huh??? I have to call.. Turns out he did this with 65o.. yikes.. no draw no pair... just a pure bluff... you gotta love it though. I don't know who the bigger moron was.. that guy or me actually calling. Anyway I doubled up on the first hand and things went average for a while. Right before the first break, I pick up 96 in the BB... EP min and I called. Flop comes 994... we both check and I bet and he goes all in on turn... He had T9.. ouch.. that cut me in half. At the break, I did the addon and was doing good... picking up small pots... right before the second break, I get KK. I raise it up and get called... flop comes something KJx... the caller goes all in.. Of course I call and he turns over AQ.... turn x.. although it gives him flush draw... river... T.. IGHN.

So for now, I have conceded the battle on 15/30 and will continue to play on AP at the 3/6 to 5/10 level for now. I am not, however, giving up on the war. I just need to build the bankroll to justify playing at that level again.

I was reading Bill Rinis review of Poker Coaching the other day. I'm giving thoughts to giving this a whirl. There is something that I am obviously missing with my ring play. Has anybody ever used a poker coach? What kind of experiences should I expect. Does anybody know of any others?

That is it for now.. It is obviously hard to motivate yourself to write when you are in the midst of huge downswing. Hopefully, things will turn around and I will get back to writing more.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Absolute-ly Tempting

Well, the month of November (to say the least) was pretty depressing. To tell you the truth, the last 4 months almost make me want to quit playing this game we call poker. On August 6th, I reached an all time high in bankroll and things seemed to have turned around.. but as with a lot of people... variance hit (or whatever you want to call it) and it hit hard. Between bad breaks and my decision to bump things up to 15/30 (which was around the end of October I think), my bankroll had lost nearly 50%. Ouch!!!!! I know everybody runs bad at some point; but I wasn't about to back down as I was (and still am) confident in my abilities. Most of the slide came in a two week period from Oct 29th thru Nov 18th where I lost nearly 5K. I've shown some of the hand histories from them and won't bore you with any more details from them.

The good news is that things seem to be turning around a bit as I have made around 1.5K in the last 4 sessions. For the month of December, I am going to slow things down as far as the stakes I am playing and here is the reason.

I got a call from Absolute Poker the other night. Now, I don't necessarily like getting these kind of calls at home and I actually couldn't talk very long or effectively due to baby Wonka being her wild, normal self. Mrs Wonka wasn't home at the time. Anyway, he tried to persuade me to come back to AP and offered me a few things (which I am sure is there standard offer). Here is what they offered me:

- $10 CASH!
- 20% added to your pending bonus account!
- VIP seat in any one of Sunday's $1k AP Challenge Main events!
- $20 rebate for playing in any one Thursday $15k Guaranteed Tourney!
- Entry to the EXCLUSIVE end of month VIP Invitational!
- $30 rebate for playing in any one Tuesday $16k Guaranteed Tourney!
- AP baseball cap or T-shirt!

One thing that I always hated about AP was that you had to email request hand histories. They have now corrected that problem and the hand histories are put on your hard drive which of course makes importing into Poker Tracker a slam dunk. Poker Ace HUD also supports AP.

I replied back that I would need a 30% bonus and they agreed. The other problem with AP was the traffic or lack thereof and that still hasn't really been resolved. There were very few tables of 5/10 or greater going last night... so what this means (and this is not necessarily a bad thing) is that I will lower my limits to chase the bonus and hopefully make a splash in one or more of the above tournaments. We'll see how it goes. Hopefully, the interface or should I say CPU usage had been cleaned up a bit as well.

I would also like to get back to playing some SNGs so I will probably mix some of those in as well.

In other news, The Cowboys have a huge game this weekend with the Geee-men. If they can somehow find a way to win that game, they will be looking pretty for the post season. It is hard to believe that there are only 5 more games this year in the regular season.
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