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Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Of course, as soon as I decree the Pacific tables as "soft," I get crushed there because of over-aggressive play--three big pots at 2/4 an 3/6 added up to a $100 loss there in about an hour--ouchie, for me.

I was so used to players calling and raising with inferior hands that my ramming and jamming bit me square on the ass. My top two pair got beat by trips, my top pair/top kicker got beat by trips, and so. Unlucky? Sure, but more importantly, I overvalued my hands and didn't respect my opponents' raises, mainly because I assumed I was sitting with the same passive fish I had seen there before. The problem, of course, is that passive fish don't re-raise you; they check and call. And, to add insult to injury, two of these hands were mediocre overcards that I shouldn't have called with in early position in the first place. I loosened up TOO much trying to get action at these tables, and paid the price. But, I learned the lesson too, so that's all I can ask as I try to improve my play.

I'll be in Vegas this weekend (have I mentioned I'm excited?!) and I'll get to check out the Festo al Lago tourney at the Bellagio. Richard Brodie, of Lion Tales, informs us "Festa al Lago" means, literally, "suckout on the river." Absolutely hysterical. Maybe I'll see him there (from the rail) if he's in the final event. (10K is a bit outside my price range now--by about $9900.)

Thanks by the way to the Professor for linking me in your "New Additions" column--I've been enjoying your blog for months.
Best to all,
Ed

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Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Quickly--

Exuberant thanks to the indefatigable Felicia Lee for her advice for my upcoming Vegas trip. The list of casinos was a BIG help, as was Lord G's trip report. I am unhealthily excited for the trip. My first big loss at the table should rein that in, I'd guess.

And thanks also to the inimitable Poker Grub for his BJ advice--even if I stop now, I'm up enough to comfortably bankroll my poker play in Vegas, letting me be a little more aggressive at the tables. To answer the Grub's very good question:

Hey Ed -- whatcha doin' playing limit when you're so much better in tournaments? You should be blowing all of your Pacific bonus on their 15+1.50 $10K guaranteed tourneys (10 p.m. nightly). Then you won't have to worry about the wage requirements.

Well, the 2/4 and 3/6 limit games are pretty soft (though it will admittedly take months to play through the requirements--but the fact that I'm freerolling all the way makes it easier), and the problem with the 10K tourney is that it starts so dang late. Sadly, by 10 PM I'm usually winding down, not gearing up--I'll give them a shot sometime on the weekend.

I've also updated my links, after a long wait: to the right are my favorite blogs, though I'm sure I'm missing some. 3 days to Vegas. I shudder, literally, with anticipation.

PS. Hate to throw politics in the mix here, but I saw Fahrenheit 911 and would certainly recommend it on several counts. If you're a diehard Democrat (which I'm not), it will energize you. If you're on the fence, it will give you some things to talk and think about. If you're a diehard Republican, it will at least show you the perception of conservative Republicans that many liberals have now (essentially, that Republicans--more than Democrats--are dedicated to advancing the causes of big business over everything else, while big business is dedicated to profit over anything else); and why so many people are are so afriad of what Bush, Cheney, and their greedy ilk will do with 4 more years. If you're a Republican and you see your party differently, at least see the film to acknowledge some disturbing issues--maybe you can explain to me why I shouldn't see the Republican party just this way.

But mainly, I recommend it to anyone who thinks war is fought for any reason more than maintaining and protecting power and wealth. Poker is a cuthroat game in which all parties agree to the rules beforehand, but you can't apply the same ethos to real life and war. Saddam was bad guy, as bad as they come, but there are any number of equally bad guys whose regimes we actively support or have supported in Latin America because they play ball with US interests, and people be damned.
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Friday, June 25, 2004

I am a lucky guy--lucky in love anyway, which is better (I'd argue) than lucky in cards. This is an odd thing for a poker blogger to write, perhaps, but perspective is a valuable thing, eh?
Anyway, my profession of luck is inspired by the joyous fact that my wife has favored me with a trip to Vegas for our fourth anniversary: July 2 am to July 5 pm. Almost four solid days in mecca. I've only been to Vegas once, nearly 10 years ago, so this will be my first time playing poker there. And my better half plays too, so plenty of poker will be on tap for the both of us.
Thought I'd send out a quick call for any suggestions for low-limit play (up to 5/10) and reasonable tourneys (up to $100). We're staying at the Luxor. Any ideas?
Damn, I can't wait....
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Thursday, June 24, 2004

People actually used to read this blog (not many, but a few), but I got lazy and busy and lost my few loyal readers. You don't know what you have until it's gone, I know. But I started this to record my own progress as a poker player, and as I make periodic entries, I'll just continue in the same vein. Recognizing the difficulty of continuing to post, I wish Iggy well in his needed respite.

Blackjack first: I didn't jump quickly enough on the now mostly defunct gravy train for maximum profit, but having cleared Platinum Play (+210), Lucky Nugget (+20 - I blew $50 in profit on gambooling), Captain Cook's (-20--they pulled their bonus), and Casino On Net (+325--very nice), I'm up more than $500, and I still have a few more to do. A nice chunk of change, and I learned basic blackjack (a valuable survival skill!). Damned fun, but I have to stop myself from taking my profits and applying them to progressive slots, in hopes of hitting the big time. And I'm not quite brave enough yet to make the big wagers (like $300 on one spin) to take advantage of the sticky bonuses.

Poker second: I've had more time to play of late, and my limit play has been going pretty well. I'm generaly up, though I've made some big hands to get me there. I also haven't gotten involved with too many trouble hands, with a few exceptions. I've gotta say that Pacific Poker rocks--I'm just playing with my bonus funds ($150) and have more than doubled up on the $2/4 and 3/6. Granted, it will be a while before I've wagered the requisite $3000 to cash out my $150 in bonus, but it's fun along the way. I tried Pacific's $50 short handed tourney that Chicago Phil recommended, but I blew myself out of the water pretty quickly--too agressive. I have trouble walking the line on short-handed play--I'm better at laying back at a full table, at least right now.
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Tuesday, June 08, 2004

On Poker:

I have been more interested in playing tourneys of late, plus completing hand reqs for bonuses. Not playing badly, but not hitting great hands either, and I’m slowly losing money, but usually wind up in the black with the bonuses. I need to step down to $1/2 because I can’t be aggressive enough at $2/4. Those bluff bets/ram and jams on the turn and river are too hard for me at $4 a pop (plus I got my boat beat last night by quad aces and lost $40 that one hand—ouch).

And the big payouts at tourneys and too tempting, plus they’re more fun. I’ve been focusing on the overlay tourneys at Royal Vegas, but have had little luck so far. No money finishes in three NL tourneys (best place was 30th of 200), but they’re good learning opportunities.

I’ve done well at not giving up when I am down (a key skill), but my main objective needs to be more forethought in my big moves, especially at NL—instinct can be bad to follow, because it often is inextricably mixed with desperation (emotion over logic) when you are down. I need to plan ahead a little more, and ask myself: What does my opponent think I have? One helpful move I’ve found is to check the flop when everyone else does, especially when I have no hand; it gives you the edge several ways:

1. You’re not throwing chips out there without a plan.
2. You’re setting yourself up to make a big bluff (or not) re-raise if you think someone’s trying to steal.

Of course, what to do on the turn depends on any number of factors: scare cards, draws, position, but I think it’s a great bluffing move. Of course, maybe one of the reasons I’m fighting to build my stack so often is that do make these bluff moves too much, so consider this advice with a grain of salt.

Last remark is Pacific Poker—what a crazy site, and the pre-play bonus is amazing. Per PokerGrub’s advice, I’ve cashed out my deposits and now I’m using my bonus to try to score big. This actually would the site to play on without bonus money too, if you don’t mind the variance, because people will call (and sometimes raise) with anything. Of course, I do mind the variance, so I’m staying with bonus money for now.

On Blackjack:

Like a number of my brethren, I too have jumped on the online blackjack train. I don’t think there’s much time to take advantage of this low-risk gambling money wagon because most of the sites are limiting the amount of BJ you can play. However, I did get my bonus on Platinum Play before they changed their requirements to limit BJ, and I also did the playthrough on Lucky Nugget. How did I do?

Surprisingly well on Platinum, actually up $10 for $5000 in wagers. I cashed out half, played a bit more, broke even, then cashed out the second half (still waiting on these funds to arrive, though). Up $200 in total.

No so well at Lucky Nugget: down $130 for $5000 in wagers (talk about variance!). Then I blew $50 of that at progressive Video Poker (d’oh—weakness got me!). Cashed out the last $70, ending up $20. Not impressive.

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