Aug 282008
 

Some things I’ve missed while AWOL:

  • A blogger I enjoy reading, TheTrooper97, finally catches a break. Good luck man!
  • The “November Nine” were decided at the WSOP and I’m not sure if I care
  • One of my favourite bloggers to read, Short Stacked Shamus, started a podcast (actually he started it a while back but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go listen to it!)
  • Countless e-mails, if you e-mailed me and I haven’t replied I’m getting to it. Honest!
  • Scandals on 2+2 regarding the hiding of useful content.
  • And more… I think I’ll use these posts as a kind of dumping ground for links to the good stuff I find in the future. For now, it’s bed time.
 Posted by at 1:07 am
Jul 122007
 

… It was a freeroll.

Still reading? Good! I live in Adelaide, Australia and legal live games are nearly impossible outside of the casino and the home game scene and I doubt I’m being invited to the right home game as the best I’ve found so far is a 50c/$1 game that grandma usually cleans up in.

ANYWAY.

Tonight I played in the “National Poker League” (NPL – www.npl.com.au) at my local pub, the Bridgeway hotel in Pooraka. The NPL is one of at least three poker leagues that are running free rolls in pubs around Australia. I haven’t really done my research but as far as I can tell this is a recent phenomena in my home state of South Australia and for the past month or so the NPL has been running games at pubs across my local map. Tonight was a Wednesday and as my luck would have it my local (the afore mentioned Bridgeway Hotel on Bridge Rd in Pooraka – No sponsorship though if they read this I do love free beer) was running the next NPL game starting at 7:30pm. Having nothing else on I decide to do the old pop-in and see what the go was.

Registration was easy, rock up from an hour before the game and sign up (alternatively you can sign up on-line before your first event and save the hassle of filling out a form). It’s free and for your name and contact details you receive an NPL membership card (plastic – good quality – to be used for registration at other NPL events) and two “drink cards” each of which you can get stamped whenever you buy a drink or meal at the bar. Four stamps before the first tournament break and you earn yourself an extra $500 in chips. If you want my advice, come in early and grab a meal… that will net you at least 3 or 4 stamps and the next card can be filled up with a couple of pints. Most others will have the extra $1000 so it’s worth grabbing from the first hand if you want to have the average chip stack.

So enough of the free plug… if anyone is still reading this blog you’re probably wondering how I did? The answer is surprisingly well, I entered expecting a quick game with a steep structure and I was right… $1500 in starting chips before the drink card add-ons and blinds starting at $25/$50 and pretty much doubling every 15 minutes. It’s a fast structure but it’s free. Not what I’d call ideal but for the price you can’t complain.

First hand of the night after seats have been “assigned” on a first come first served basis and the button decided on a high card deal UTG I’m dealt:

: :

First hand, first to act and not knowing what to expect I consider my options. I decide it’s the perfect chance to see what I’m up against and I make the standard play by raising it up 3XBB to $75 and get a couple of callers. The flop comes:

: : : (or something to that effect)

TPTK And I bet pot. A player (Mick) who I’ve made friends with earlier over a pint at the bar calls and we’re heads up after the only other opposition folds.

The turn is a blank and I check. I’m conflicted here however as half of me is expecting my new friend to my left to put me to the test and bet regardless of his hand but at the same time I’m considering that really he could just be a guy in the bar who usually drinks on a Wednesday but now wants to play poker. No reads, first hand, he could have anything. I’m being cautious….

He checks behind me.

This is no tricky play, at this moment I have no doubt I am ahead. Then reality sets in, I just gave the guy a free card. I have got to stop doing that (not talking specifically about this hand or this tournament… it’s been bugging me generally that I’ve recently gotten into the habit of either not putting my opponents on a hand or giving them too much credit for a trap and checking to them to give them a freebie… it’s gotta stop!) On this occasion though I was saved the the turn brought the:

:

I bet out about half the pot in with the intention of value and took down the first pot of the night with my AQ vs his AJ. Closer than I thought but I was happy to win the first one… I don’t care who you are this always has to put a smile on your face!

From there the first round was all about learning and what I learnt quickly was that my opponents were all generally weak passive. In the whole first round I was the only one to raise pre-flop and that was on the hand I just described! I mean players had aces in the hole twice in that first round and both failed to raise… both lost. Both whinged. Me, I just shut my mouth, ordered another beer from Rachel the cute bartender who I claimed to my table had been serving me lucky pints all night and proceeded to try and blend in with the crowd. This was a freeroll at a pub within walking distance of my house… I’m going to have fun goddamit!

The fun philosophy was certainly working when at the end of the first round I was dealt KK in what ended up being a four way pot on a board of:

: : :

With one player all-in, a dry side pot and two other live players I briefly considered trying to start something on the side but decided tournament wise I was already in a good position (at this point I had all of my table well covered in chips) and ended up checking it down. I won, TT vs 55 vs JT after a turn and river that didn’t help anyone I’d claimed my first scalp and the first person to be knocked out from our table.

After sharing a piss in the break with a guy called Phil who claimed that he “knew I had KK in that final hand when I reached for chips but didn’t bet after the two aces fell” I decided two things… one no more urinating next to players at my table and two, given the fact this was a freeroll and that I was now the big stack at the table no more giving off tells that even Phil could pick up.

I played one hand between the first break and the second break. I lost. I had 33 and bet pot on the river against 2 others. The board had been paired since the flop with jacks and I folded instantly after a raise from a late position player who had been passive up until that point. The size of the raise was irrelevant, no doubt in my mind he had the jack… I only wish a three had come on the river :)

After the third break I had dropped back to average stack for the tournament and a few new players had joined my table. Realistically I had one hand left before where my chips might actually be taken seriously. I was the big blind and it had been folded around to the small blind who called. I checked with:

: :

Doyles hand! The flop came:

: : :

The SB bet out a little less than the pot. He was a new player at the table and for some reason I decided to be stubborn and refuse to put him on the ace. I raised all-in for $1500 more than his stack (and less than the current pot) and he called. I knew I was in trouble and he turned over:

: :

To leave me drawing as good as dead. He won the pot and I was left with $1500 with the blinds at $500/$1000. Needless to say the very next hand I ended up all-in against the big blind with 89s vs JTo. I won and doubled up. I doubled up once more and was average again (repeat: steep structure) and ended up playing the short stack well enough (with the assistance of some good short stack starting hands) to take down my table and head into the final table as near enough joint chip leader) over around $25000 in chips (apologies for the lack of detail in that little run but a combination of no breaks and much beer rendered my note taking ability near useless). Being the final table things changed from the previous table deals themselves structure to the tournament director dealing… I asked him how many chips were in play at the final table and he answered “about $60000, give or take”. I was chip leader! Though the blinds were $3000/$6000 and about to jump tp $5000/$10000. Can’t complain though ‘cos another guy at the final table had Around $15000 and the rest was shared amongst 7 short stacks. I liked my odds even though it was a gamble.

Things happened fast.

Very fast.

Couldn’t even tell you too many hands, short stacks were all-in on their blinds and being busted out all over the place. Before I knew it we were 3 handed.

Let me set the picture, blinds $5000/$10000… 3 handed. I’m chip leader but there’s only $60000 in play. If we see a show down at this point we’re all-in. Blinds go back and forth and we’re as good as even. Heads up starts after a hand I wasn’t involved in… not much vs not much else… I think middle pair won. Heads up finishes a hand later when in the big blind I check Q7o after my opponent calls, the flop comes:

: : :

I push, for what has to be about the pot. My oppenent calls with the diamond flush draw that makes it on the turn. I take second place out of over 50 entries and win a $25 voucher for the pub and a deck of cards for my troubles… Guess what though? It’s not about the prize… this was a freeroll. This was about having fun playing poker! I’ve not smiled so much after a poker game in a long time… great bunch of players, a well run tournament, within walking distance of my house… I’m there next week! I had a great time and was inspired to post to the blog for the first time in a few months.

Tonight was about what I really love about poker, the social aspect. No one cared tonight about bad beats, pot odds or the like. I shook the hand of everyone at my table that got knocked out whether I was in the pot or not and each one of them smiled and shook my hand back. Tonight was about playing for the fun of it, getting new players into the game and it was fun! In my books fun beats money any day of the week… especially Wednesdays. See you there next week!

 Posted by at 2:19 am
Aug 132006
 

In case anyone is interested, I’ve patched v1.47 of GameTime+ to fix a couple of bugs that were, um, “bugging” me ;). Available here, this patch fixes the following:

  • PostgreSQL Detection
  • Asks user for size of Part Poker tables (e.g. 10 or 6 handed or heads up). Auto-detection was broken by either Poker Tracker or Party Poker somewhere along the line

Hope someone finds this useful!

 Posted by at 3:53 pm
Jul 162006
 

Last night myself and a few mates got together to play a few hands, down a few beers (or bourbouns, or vodkas – we’ve never been too fussy when it comes to alcohol ;)) and generally just have a bit of fun.

In my opinion a low stakes home game is some of the most entertaining poker you can play. I think I’ve said this before but when I play against strangers it’s all about taking their money, when I play with friends it’s about having fun. That’s not to say the poker isn’t played to a reasonable standard, our group of players have been playing against each other on a semi-regular basis for I’d estimate over a year now and it’s starting to lead to some interesting play.

Anyhow, last night there were four of us playing SNG style no-limit hold’em “tournaments”, over about a 6 hour period we managed to finish four of these. Congrats go to Vaughano who, through a combination of good play, good cards and a bit of good luck managed to take the first place in three of the four and was not beaten heads-up all night.

How did I do? Well, poker wise it’s a night to forget really. I did manage second place in two out of the four but card wise I was pretty unlucky. I won’t complain too much but I couldn’t win a race all night, whether a coin flip, way ahead or way behind nothing went right (Did you know I was nearly a 90% favourite to win that all-in with the queens???? OK, OK – I’ll drop it :D). It wasn’t only bad luck though, I did play a few hands quite badly. I’ll blame the beer!

Good times, if you don’t play in any home games I recommend getting one organised – remember the aim is fun, leave your serious game at the casino or on-line and you’ll have a great time. Guaranteed. Certainly the most entertainment I’ve had while losing at poker!

Thanks for the game guys, I’ll catch you at the next one.

 Posted by at 3:01 pm
Apr 022006
 

Interesting read:

Zee Justin – “I Screwed Up”

In my opinion he deserves everything that he gets and it is questionable whether he deserves to return to poker at all. Ever. Taking sport as an example, in some competitions cheating is punishable by a life ban.

Unfortunately this isn’t possible in poker, but if it was he and any other confirmed cheaters, would (in my humble opinion) deserve it.

 Posted by at 1:21 pm
Mar 132006
 

Just wanted to wish good luck to all those playing in the Poker Diagram listener tournament tonight on Poker Room.

Unfortunately I won’t be making it due to the need to actually be awake tomorrow (the tournament is scheduled to run at 4:30am Monday morning local time) and I’m already up too late playing poker! It’s a shame really because I had a great time playing last unofficial one.

Anyway, I’ll stop my whining. I guess I can’t help it if you northern hemispherians are living in the past ;)

There is some conciliation I guess, I can look forward to “watching” from the sidelines via the Henry and Zog’s excellent podcast. No one tell me how it ends :)

 Posted by at 1:45 am
Mar 082006
 

While I was on my unscheduled break from on-line poker I received an e-mail from Peter S in London, UK who’s interested in getting started playing on-line poker for real money. Like most players entering the world of real money on-line poker he’s a little worried about the integrity of the on-line game. Hi concernt are not about the integrity of on-line poker rooms themselves, but more about the other players playing at these rooms. Some experienced friends of his claim they see a lot of collusion in high stakes games on-line and he was interested to hear whether I’d seen any of this happening myself.

Although I know about the possibility of other players colluding in on-line games, I’ve never really been that overly concerned with it. I have never had any reason to suspect that it has been occurring on the tables that I’ve played and have always believed that if I ever saw anything suspicious that I could just report it to my poker room, get up and move tables as one of the major advantages of playing on-line is the sheer number of different sites and tables to choose from.

My advice to Peter was just to be vigilant, not to play if things didn’t feel right and that it’s probably not that big a problem at the micro limits anyhow. I left it at that and didn’t really give it another thought until today when I listened to episode 64 of Card Club where the guys were talking about a player “ZeeJustin” who was allegedly caught entering multiple accounts into tournaments on Party Poker. These were high stakes games and his accounts would, according the the 2+2 thread here, often end up playing at the same table. The story is a long one and I recommend if you’re interested you go read it yourself, but to cut it short his accounts have been suspended and his funds (rumoured to be in the 6 figure mark) have been seized as per Party Poker terms and conditions).

In my opinion the thing that is so scary about this case is that the alleged cheater was a respected member of the on-line poker community and widely regarded as being a skilled player. Prior to this case I’d always thought of potential cheaters as players who just couldn’t master the game, losing players trying to win anyway they could. I was of the opinion that even when cheating, these players would still have trouble turning a profit against anyone with any experience. In this case we have an experienced, profitable player getting greedy and trying to cheat honest players out of their hard earned bank rolls.

So where does this leave the average player trying to learn the game? It’s hard enough learning how to become a profitable poker player without the risk of greedy, immoral, cheats trying to eat into our profits with these kinds of scams.

Well, the positive thing here is that Party Poker has detected and taken action against the cheating player. This is a good thing, but how many poker sites out there aren’t as proactive in detecting the cheats? Also, how many cheaters are out there avoiding detection? Unfortunately it’s unlikely anyone can come up with an accurate answer to these questions which is why as a poker community we need to be aware that these people are out there and educate ourselves in the methods they are using and how we can detect them.

I recommend all on-line poker players, whether new to the game or more experienced set aside sometime in their poker studies to look into ways players attempt to cheat at on-line poker. The best way to avoid the cheats is to be smarter than them, so educate yourself! Here’s some links to get you started:

Top 10 Ways to Avoid Poker Cheats – This is an excellent resource, I’ll be spending a bit of time trawling through all this information myself.

Player Cheating on www.onlinepokerfaq.com – Contains links to responses from some popular on-line poker rooms.

Also, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the state of cheating on-line. Have you had any experience with it directly? What do you look out for when playing? Leave a comment or drop me an e-mail!

 Posted by at 6:22 pm
Mar 062006
 

Just a quick note to say: 

The laptop is back and it’s working and that means I’m back at the on-line poker tables!

It’s going to take me a little while to get back in the groove and find some interesting stories to share with you all, in the meantime I also have to catch up on all the on-line poker community stuff I’ve missed out on in the past couple of weeks. Especially important is catching up on missed episodes of the excellent Poker Diagram and Card Club podcasts… if you need me I’ll be in my iPod :)

 

 Posted by at 11:30 pm
Feb 052006
 

This morning I dragged myself out of bed around 2am to play in the latest unofficial poker diagram listener tourney (unofficial as it’s not going to be part of the podcast).

Red Bull in hand I logged into Poker Room and registered for the 2:30am start.

First thing that struck was the fun atmosphere of the tournament, lots of friendly chat going on and it was really great to see people from all over the world getting together to have fun playing the game we love.

2:30am rolls around and the tournament starts with 16 entrants (I should have mentioned by now this was a $10+$1 NL Hold’em tournament, top 3 places pay).

The two tables near the start of the tourney...

My first hand of the night is KQo and I win without a showdown after I get a king on the turn.

There was a player on the other table “z bamse” who was ruffling a few feathers with some very dubious all-in plays. I don’t believe he was a Poker Diagram listener, though someone might correct me on that if I’m wrong. Anyway, “MacAnthony” was the first player to fall prey to him with JJ vs ATo, an ace came on the flop and Mac didn’t improve to finish in 16th place. Unlucky mate!

Meanwhile at my table I was playing extremely tight at this point, survival was the key. I actually wanted to try and give myself a chance to play with Zog who had a seat at the other table.

Second hand I played for the night was AJs, raised up 3XBB and ended up heads up with “Lorenrf” who folded to my continuation bet on the flop when I missed everything (guessing, correctly that he’d also missed).

I’ve got to tell you it was a strange feeling to be getting respect for preflop raises, the opponents in many tournaments I play in render the continuation bet quite useless by calling “for the hell of it” – but that’s a topic for another day.

Next hand I played I folded my ATo on an unfriendly flop to a very weak, but very suspicious min bet from “Karlrado”. I was being quite cautious at this point.

I’d been concentrating more on my own game and table rather than watching every little detail of the tournament and had missed a couple of exits by now, I believe at this point “z bamse” had frustrated a couple more players by winning more races he shouldn’t have been in and by doing so he had moved into the chip lead.

My plans of playing against Zog at the final table were ruined when he made an untimely exit in 12th place trying to double up against “z bamse” in a three way pot, he moved all in with his two pair (aces and eights) only to be beaten by the third player in the pot (“pandrus2″) who’d hit a set of tens.

It was about now I started getting some interesting hands to play, first I was dealt AQo on the BB and called a 3 X BB bet from “DJQuad” who was our tables current chip leader. I hit a queen on the flop and bet out half the pot to take it. I don’t like the fact that I just called here preflop, really played too timidly against the big stack, the call in some ways says “I think you’re beating me, but I’m going to see a flop anyway”… better to raise here.

Action went around the table again and in the BB I’m dealt A8o, not the best of hands but “z bamse” had min-raised to my left and the action had been folded around to me. I decided to take him on and saw a flop, an 8 hit for middle pair on the flop and I made an aggressive pot sized bet that I was glad he folded to.

Next hand I played was pocket 3′s on the button, there had been one limper to me and I raised it up hoping to get heads up. “z bamse” in the BB ruined that plan by pushing all-in, the limper “ngmcs8203″ folded (but later said he would have called if I wasn’t still to act, not sure what he had though) and I considered my options. I was actually reasonably sure I was ahead at this point, but pretty much regardless of what cards he had (unless it was something completely crazy like 22, A3, K3 etc) we were in a coin flip. I decided I didn’t want to go out with 33 and, reluctantly, folded.

Then, just before the break I was dealt QQ, raised it up the usual 3 X BB and got a call from (I think) “Lorenrf”, I hit a set on the flop which I slow played, bet big on the turn (got called) and all-in on the river for my last little pile of chips, Loren folded and I took down my biggest pot for the night.

I made it to the break! Which is about 59 minutes and 50 seconds further than I thought I’d make it, by now we were about 8 handed and apart from one or two above average stacks it was looking pretty even.

Shortly after the break I was dealt AQo in late position and raised, got called by a limper (I don’t remember who, possibly “pandrus2″) and folded on the flop to an all-in bet after a king came down.

Then I went card dead.

Several rounds went by where I didn’t even get to play my blinds, “zerbert” the away player for the entire tournament had gone out and I was the new short stack (though not critical just yet). Then this:

Six handed, in the BB I am dealt:

::

For about the fourth time in a row I am raised, this time by “pandrus2″ who (I believe) has been stealing more than his fair share of blinds. I consider folding but decide to make a stand and re-raise. He flat calls and we see a flop:

::: (or something to that effect)

Out of position, I think about his possible holdings, there are a few options:

  • Small pocket pair (99 or less)
  • Any ace would have warranted the preflop raise, what’s the chances his kicker has hit and it’s a jack or a ten?
  • Large pocket pair (AA, KK, QQ), I’d pretty much written this off completely. I would have expected him to put me all-in preflop with these holdings.
  • Two rags, it’s possible he was just trying to steal the blinds and hadn’t really planned on getting this far in the first place (I had been folding the BB a lot by now, it would have been a fair play).

Out of all these options, I decide that it’s more likely that’ he’s missed this flop than hit it and I figure that my tens are good. I push, all-in (this is by now about a half pot sized bet) and he turns over:

:: (give or take a couple of suits)

We both have the tens, he has the ace kicker and I don’t improve. I guess that’s what I get for defending my turf with KTo.

After this the tourney doesn’t last that much longer, “z bamse” thankfully exists on the bubble in 4th after sitting out since not long after the break, we have a final three who finish in the following order:

  1. pandrus2
  2. enduro8
  3. DJQuads

Final hand to give it to “pandrus2″, A3o, vs 88… “pandrus2″ hit his ace and that was all she wrote.

Congratulations guys and thanks everyone for a great game!

P.S. Didn’t realise how long this post was getting, if you got this far… thanks for reading!

 Posted by at 2:06 pm