Monday, November 20, 2006

I Play So Bad...

The job sent me out to Cincinnati. When I found out, the first thing I did was jump online and find the closest card room.

Argosy Casino in beautiful Lawrenceburg, Indiana.

When I left the place I had other ideas about it.

First, I want to talk about the casino. It's actually a riverboat, which is pretty interesting. But after playing in a "casino" on a cruise ship, it doesn't really beat having your craps dice jump to another side because of a wave in the water. The decks were very long, but not wide. And there was a cloud of smoke hovering above my head as I found my way to the poker room.

I need to get my jacket dry-cleaned to get the smell out.

When I got to the poker room, I had a massive wait. They gave me those vibrating sticks (this doesn't sound as good as I would like) that you get at Outback. When it was my turn -- two hours later -- it shook while I was sitting at a .02 cent poker machine.

I got to my $1-$3 No Limit table. There was a lot of money on this table and I was ready to win. However, too ready. I was over anxious from the wait and just wanted to play that I made two of the worst moves in my "professional" poker career.

Even barely recounting it now makes me angry. I knew I was beat both times and for some reason just enjoyed throwing my money into the pot. Apparently, I hate money. That's the only reason I could come up with.

I don't even want to go over either hand. I made stupid, STUPID plays. I looked like the people I usually take money from in Atlantic City. This time I was the tourist looking to ship money.

My one itty, bitty piece of good information I can take from this is that my reads are getting better. I don't really think that makes me feel much better. But the fact that I knew I was beat both times, the reasons I knew I was beat, were pretty stellar. But I didn't act on either read, which was terrible by me.

I will leave this piece of advice though that I have heard from others before: Beware of the Speech.

If you're in a hand and the person you are facing is talking about how they are beat and it's time for them to go home, it's usually you that is going home. Players like to act the opposite of the strength of their cards. (Thanks Mike Caro)

I may go play tonight. I may tomorrow. And Wednesday.

I need to get back to a table and fix my donkey mistakes.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Back in Action

Now, I am back to playing REAL poker. It felt good to get back around the table, but I was a bit nervous.

As an example, a super tight player to my right re-raised someone who made it $12 to $62. I looked down and I have pocket-K. Now, I am thinking what the hell, does this guy have pocket Aces or what?

So, I just call, which was my mistake. I needed to raise then and move all in (I didn't have THAT much money in front of me, but enough to make a move). Cause the only thing the flop would make me do is fold my hand.

The flop goes down with all low cards and the guy bets, still I am unsure, trying to figure if he has aces or not. I figured this was it, So I move all-in and he thinks about it. That's when I calmed down because aces insta-calls me there.

He does call and he shows pocket-Q. I double up through the guy, which was GREAT for me. I did alright the rest of the night, not making many more mistakes. I only played for three hours, but have a good record to show for it. I got money for some yardsailing!

Friday, October 27, 2006

A Little Stud Action

I've been on punishment for a month and a half and I'm not allowed to play No-Limit until Nov. 1. For the most part I have been able to do it, but when I am watching MT play against these terrible people, I need to get into these games. But, alas, I've reduced to sitting in the girlfriend seat and watching from corner.

So, I thought of a way around it. I'll play 7-card stud.

For those of you who have never gone into a casino, it's usually dominated by the senior citizen crowd playing stud. They LOVE stud. Stud used to be the game of choice, but the popularity of Hold 'Em Poker changed that and the only people left at the stud games are the old cronies.

$1-$5 is relaxing. There is a lot less pressure and the most you are going to end up losing on a hand could be around $25. Compare this to No Limit where your whole stack is up for grabs at any time.

Last night MT and I played 7-card Stud and I sat down to rolled up Jacks (three jacks on the first three cards). Ridiculous. This was the second time I was ever playing stud. I won a hefty pot (stud-size) on this hand. The guy I was going up against ended up with aces up (two of a kind) on his first four cards and he and I were just raising each other until he was all in. Seventh street paired one of my open cards, and not that I needed it, but I won with a full house.

It's an easy game when that happens.

Not so much an hour later, I look down to rolled-up sevens. MT was floored when this happens because apparently the odds are pretty ridiculous to get rolled up hands. He said it's like 1 in every 660 hands are something along those lines. I should have looked up. Again, I made maximum money because someone had two pair by fifth street. I won again.

An hour later, you guessed it, rolled up jacks again. Unreal.

Unfortunately, there was no one single person in the pot. The only time I didn't raise was pre-fourth street with rolled up cards, I get no action. Oh well.

It was a nice lesson in stud and MT thinks it's a better suited game for me than Hold 'Em. I don't think it will be the last time I will play Stud. I might have to go to Harrah's and hit up the dealers with a few tips to make their night worth while.

Friday, October 20, 2006

This is Where the Poker Starts

At the advice of MT he told me to check out this entry on Full Tilt Poker's Poker Pro's Tips. It was an interesting read as Clonie McGowan talked about how life and relationships mix with poker.

Here's here excerpt and link:

Lesson: 82
Balancing Poker and Life
Clonie Gowen Oct 16, 2006

I am always trying to find the balance between family and poker, and I know a lot of you struggle with the same issue. For the serious player with a significant other, the poker lifestyle can be a real challenge. Here's a little advice for making poker work with the rest of your life.

I've included five tidbits of advice for both the player and his or her partner.

Advice for the Poker Player

1. Don't punish your partner over your bad play or bad luck. Let it go when you walk away from the table. If you can't release that bad energy quickly, then let your partner know that you need a little while to cool off. Snapping at your partner isn't good for anyone.

2. Don't lie about wins or losses. Remember, you're incredibly lucky if you found someone who supports your dreams. If the money in play makes your partner nervous, sit down and discuss a business plan that works for both of you. Talk honestly about the pros and cons of serious poker. Don't even consider going pro until you can cover all of your bills for at least six months in advance.

3. If you make plans with your partner, don't play that day. If you get stuck or if a sucker sits at your table, you aren't going to want to leave, and feelings are going to get hurt. Believe me.

4. If you're traveling the circuit, be courteous and answer your phone. It's hard enough on a partner when you're out of town. There's no need to make them wonder who you're with or what you're doing.

5. Remember, there's life outside of poker. If you can remember a hand you played five years ago, then it's not too much to ask to remember your partner's birthday.

Advice for the Player's Partner

1. If your future champion walks through the door looking a little grey, don't ask, "Did you win?" Just back off and give them some space. I promise they just need to analyze what happened and, maybe, replay a few hands in their mind. The last thing they want to do is disappoint you by talking about a big loss.

2. Poker players don't change. If you don't try to understand a player's fascination with the game, your relationship is going to see some very tough times. Andy Bloch, for example, has an incredibly supportive girlfriend (soon to be wife). She's smart and ambitious. Once she started dating Andy, she realized that if the relationship was going to work, she'd have to adapt to his travel schedule. You know what she did? She started a website called PokerWire. For a time, she traveled everywhere with Andy, reported on chip counts, and interviewed players. Now, Jennifer is back in school and Andy has moved to be with her, supporting her choice.

3. Don't be quick to assume the worst. If your poker pro doesn't come home until 5AM, you can bet that they were stuck in some game or that a favorite fish walked in the door right as they were about to leave. Most poker players are honorable people. They might bluff an opponent, but they don't bluff in life. We are weird that way. So, unless they give you a reason to think they were up to no good, give them the benefit of a doubt.

4. A player can't choose the day or time that a sucker will be at the table. Sometimes, they'll need to play on Thanksgiving or Christmas - or even on your birthday. If we get a phone call that "Ramin' Jamin' John" is in town, there's nothing that's gonna stop us... except a car wreck because we were speeding to get to the game.

5. If you want to learn how to play the game, your partner may not be the best teacher. They will have less patience with you than anyone else. Get some books on poker, and start with them. It's hard to teach someone that has never played, and it's going to get frustrating for both of you. Play online at the lower limits to practice what you've learned.

I hope y'all enjoyed this one and, remember, bad beats make for lousy pillow talk.

Clonie Gowen
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