Monday, January 28, 2008


I know, I know, I owe many a blogs.

So much to discuss including the Gabrielle300 Donk of the Week, my biggest MTT cash ever, and bankroll updates.

Unfortunately, that is not going to be done this post. I am not making excuses, but I have been vastly under the weather this past week and the doctor still isn't sure exactly what is wrong with me. I should have more info Thursday, but in the meantime, I need to focus on the learninating so I don't fail out of school.

Sorry my few faithful fans, I will be back to normal soon.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Progress (I hope you are knocking on wood, cause I sure am)

See that? That tiny upswing? Maybe, just maybe, I can get this back under control sooner rather than later. The $6 single tables have been especially kind, though I am getting more 3rd places than 2nds and 1sts than I would prefer. But, I am of the mindset that a cash is a cash, so I will take it, especially at this point.

Sorry the blog hasn't been up to snuff the past few days. I have felt pretty crappy as of late so not only do I not want to write about poker, but I honestly have not been playing much either.

I guess something worth mentioning is that I am beginning to debate whether or not I want to invest in Cardrunners. For research purposes, I know at some point I need to get a feel for the site and the content it has to offer. However, as I have mentioned previously, I just have difficulty believing advanced strategy really works at the microstakes. I really just think it is a repeated cycle of shove with the best hand and pray.

Monday, January 21, 2008

What is a measley 5%?

I put more money on Stars last night, hoping it might make a difference. I got 2nd in a single table $6 sng and called it a night. This morning, I have played in 3 tournaments and here is how I went out in each:

$6 Single Table:
Me: AQ
Villain: A10

10 on flop. This one didn't hurt so much. I was fairly short, he had already raised, he had to call. I understand, just unfortunate.

$2 MTT 6-max

Me: AhKh
Villain: QK off suit

In this scenario the villain made a huge over shove (which they had been doing a lot) and I called. Flop came 10 high with two hearts. Villain doesn't have the Q of hearts, but manages to hit the Qd on the river to knock me out. They apologize and I even typed to them, "no worries, you pushed, I called. If it were the other way around I would be annoyed."

$3 45 person Turbo SNG

It is the final table, I am 3rd in chips with 5 players left. However, blinds are at 600/1200 and I only have 10k. With AhKh utg, I decide to shove in order to isolate the short stack, who was in the big blind. The small blind is 2nd in chips with just under 15k and pauses a long time before calling with KJ off suit

Flop is K high, he rivers a J and actually types "sorry". I can't hold my temper in and even though I know I should not be tapping the glass, I respond, "you should be. That was pretty dumb." He responds with: "thought you had a small pocket pair". Keep this in mind: I have shown nothing but QQ AA AK and AQ the entire final 2 tables, most of which was spent with him. Moreover, while I completely understand the need to win races late in the tournament, I have NO idea why someone is going to 1) think they are in a race in this given scenario and 2) voluntarily put their own tournament on the line with a marginal hand that is AT BEST a race against one of the two people left in the field who could cripple them.

I conclude by noting, "I don't exactly make it a habit of shoving under the gun without a monster, but anyways, have fun all".

The really sick part? I am up a dollar for the day, so, for some reason, I feel as though things are getting better.

Sunday, January 20, 2008 are going to regret that

This is Gabrielle300. If you play on PokerStars, you may have met her. She is the one at your table doing the stupidest things imaginable. Why would I categorize Gabrielle this way, you ask? Well, let me provide you with a couple of hands from today's Stud Hi/Lo tournament. I did something dumb and decided to play the tourney even though it was $10, because it is my best game and there are so rarely any large tournaments that offer it. The following two hands are from the late stages of the tournament, close to the money bubble bursting, where most everyone, us included, had less than 10 big bets. During the first hand, we were pretty much even. The second hand busted me out on the bubble. They follow below:

*********** # 4 **************

PokerStars Game #14706953488: Tournament #73423480, $10+$1 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo Limit - Level XIII (1000/2000) - 2008/01/20 - 21:16:20 (ET)Table '73423480 3' 8-max

Seat 1:(11774 in chips)

Seat 2:(15733 in chips)

Seat 3:(12003 in chips)

Seat 4: Gabrielle300 (11417 in chips)

Seat 7: (2237 in chips)

Seat 8: uscjess (10342 in chips)

*** 3rd STREET ***

Dealt to Meesy [Th]

Dealt to Malc [9s]

Dealt to lolisa [Ad]

Dealt to Gabrielle300 [4d]

Dealt to woodburst [Js]

Dealt to uscjess [Kc 4c Kh]

Gabrielle300: brings in for 300

Seat 7: folds

uscjess: raises 700 to 1000

Seat 1: folds

Seat 2: folds

Seat 3: folds

Gabrielle300: calls 700

*** 4th STREET ***

Dealt to Gabrielle300 [4d] [7c]

Dealt to uscjess [Kc 4c Kh] [6c]

uscjess: bets 1000

Gabrielle300: calls 1000

*** 5th STREET ***

Dealt to Gabrielle300 [4d 7c] [5d]

Dealt to uscjess [Kc 4c Kh 6c] [7s]

uscjess: checks Gabrielle300: checks

*** 6th STREET ***

Dealt to Gabrielle300 [4d 7c 5d] [3c]

Dealt to uscjess [Kc 4c Kh 6c 7s] [5s]

uscjess: checks

Gabrielle300: checks

*** RIVER ***Dealt to uscjess [Kc 4c Kh 6c 7s 5s] [9d]

uscjess: checks

Gabrielle300: checks

*** SHOW DOWN ***

Gabrielle300: shows [3s 4s 4d 7c 5d 3c Qs] (HI: two pair, Fours and Threes)

uscjess: mucks hand

Gabrielle300 collected 5200 from pot

Now, I can admit that I played this hand relatively passively, but let me explain my thinking. I have been playing virtually no hands. When I am raising in MP with a K up, to me, it is a given I have split kings. When Gabrielle calls, I put her on some sort of three card low/straight draw. The 7 gives her, in my mind, 4 to a low with a possible straight draw. The five pretty much kills my action because I am guessing she has a made low and I don't see the point in juicing the pot with a single large pair when her hand could potentially improve (or already be a straight).

It wasn't the worst play I had seen all day, but I still don't like calling a raise there when you only have five big bets. If I was in later position and it looks like a steal, maybe. Moreover, the call on 4th street isn't one I am particularly fond of either. Not to mention, she had been chastising other players for being big calling stations, so the split fours didn't ever cross my mind as a possibility.

After the hand, all I say was "interesting call" and leave it at that. Later, I get involved in a hand where a player has Aces showing on 4th st, but with 5 big bets, a 3 flush, 3 straight, 4 to a low and dead money from two other players who had called a raise, I felt like I needed to take off a couple of cards. She then begins to ridicule me for no particular reason talking about how stupid I am for not seeing aces. I am a lil peeved now and I type, "yeah, that must be it, I'm effing blind".

We are down to hand for hand and I have the bring in with 1600 or so left and here is what goes down:

PokerStars Game #14707054678: Tournament #73423480, $10+$1 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo Limit - Level XIV (1500/3000) - 2008/01/20 - 21:21:23 (ET)Table '73423480 3' 8-max

Seat 1: (19574 in chips)

Seat 2: (20020 in chips)

Seat 3: (10303 in chips)

Seat 4: Gabrielle300 (11967 in chips)

Seat 8: (1642 in chips)

*** 3rd STREET ***

Dealt to Seat 1 [Jh]

Dealt to Seat 2 [7c]

Dealt to Seat 3 [4d]

Dealt to Gabrielle300 [Qh]

Dealt to uscjess [Ad 9c 2c]

uscjess: bets 1342 and is all-in

Seat 1: folds

Seat 2: folds

Seat 3: folds

Gabrielle300: calls 1342

*** 4th STREET ***

Dealt to Gabrielle300 [Qh] [8s]

Dealt to uscjess [Ad 9c 2c] [Kd]

*** 5th STREET ***

Dealt to Gabrielle300 [Qh 8s] [6h]

Dealt to uscjess [Ad 9c 2c Kd] [7d]

*** 6th STREET ***

Dealt to Gabrielle300 [Qh 8s 6h] [7h]

Dealt to uscjess [Ad 9c 2c Kd 7d] [2s]

*** RIVER ***

Dealt to uscjess [Ad 9c 2c Kd 7d 2s] [3d]

Gabrielle300 said, "bye bubble boy"

*** SHOW DOWN ***

Gabrielle300: shows [7s Tc Qh 8s 6h 7h 8c] (HI: two pair, Eights and Sevens)

uscjess: shows [Ad 9c 2c Kd 7d 2s 3d] (HI: a pair of Deuces)

Gabrielle300 collected 4184 from pot

No low hand qualified

7Q10 is just about the ugliest stud hi/lo hand I have ever seen. It is BEYOND me why you would invest 10% of your stack into knocking a player out with a hand that doesn't play EITHER way. You have no good high card, no good low card and I genuinely, sincerely doubt that I am going to stick it in there against a hand that you have beat. She just called to be a vengeful spiteful whore or she has absolutely no concept of how stud hi/lo works.

I know, I know, don't tap the glass. But, considering how badly I have been running, and considering I was ONE spot away from a $30 cash (which is unfortunately a huge amount for me) I have to rant. Because this person is not a skilled poker player, as her SharkScope stats may indicate. She has managed to donk off $100 bucks in a mere 18 sngs. I know these are unfair stats because of the small sample size, but she, herself, pointed out her "AMAZING" stats on poker db, when, in reality she has a few cashes in a very small sample side in very small buy ins.
So, in honor of my neverending frustration with bad play, I am not only going to make darling Gabrielle300 my inaugural donk of the week, I am going to name the award after her. Congrats Gabrielle for being both a bad player and a luckbox, earning such a fantastic honor. May all your suckouts be brutal and your learning curve steep, because you are in a world of hurt if you don't get better.

I have got nothing.

Things have gotten very bad, very quickly. My bankroll is in freefall. It is almost as if it is trying to commit suicide. I take it to rehab, I try to get it to calm down, I give it naps, breaks, love, and affection and it continues to behave like the Britney Spears of bankrolls: intent on self-destruction. I moved down. I haven't been doing anything crazy. I play $3 and $6 sngs, when I dropped below $300, I put myself on $3 or less exclusively. Yet, I still can't stop it. I don't even feel like I am playing badly or doing anything wrong. But, don't they say that if you can't spot the donkey at the table it must be you? Everyone at these tables seems like morons to me, but I have to wonder:

Do I suck??

In the spirit of full disclosure, let's document this descent into donkness via my SharkScope stats:

What's that noise you ask? Oh that is just me: throwing up in my mouth a little. From the graph, you can tell that I do have a tendency to dip. I run bad. About once a month, I have a spell where I run really really bad for a couple of days. Except this time, I have run really really bad for two weeks. There was a day this week where I was 90/10 with one card to come and lost 13 times. I don't win races, I don't win 80/20s...come to think of it, I just don't win.

I have been so frustrated I couldn't bring myself to blog because my bankroll (which is sitting around $220) is lower than it has been in a couple of months. In a matter of 10 days, I have seen all my work over 2 months completely erased. While there were some instances where I may not have made an optimal play, I really do believe I am not playing badly. But, a recent thread on 2plus2 has me wondering if I even think of good/optimal play in the same way as others. Essentially, the thread deals with how tough online poker is going to get. The title of the thread prompted a resounding, "Zuh?!" from me. I don't find online poker to be "tough" in the sense that, "oh gosh, that guy who just reraised me with QJ off suit out of the small blind is so smart and so good, I can't fathom how I am ever going to beat him". Rather, it is tough the same way being locked in a room with a child infected with rabies is tough. In other words, I don't play well against abosloute nutjobs. It is not that rabiesbaby is smarter than me: it is that I can't really think of a way to use logic and intelligence to reason with him not to bite and maul me until I am dead.

During the thread, one guy gets ragged on for being frustrated by a guy calling a raise and a reraise out of position wiht 35 suited in a tournament. Here are my issues:

1) This tourney is assumed to be deep stack, when I don't think it is explicitly said.
2) 35 is made out to be a genius for getting it all in on a 3j5 flop as if it is not entirely in the realm of possibility that someone has a set of jacks here.
3) Two pair, especially a small 2 pair like that facing what is more than likely at least one overpair is not a hand I am going to be labeling as the second coming of Christmas.
4) Finally, someone brands the play as a "well-disguised smart play" and compares it to the game of Negreanu and Ivey. I sincerely doubt that either of those players are going to, in the early stages of a tournament, put in 30% of their stack out of position in the hopes of flopping a marginally good hand. Just this week on Pokerroad, Gavin Smith, whose game is often compared to those guys, balked at someone calling a raise out of position with gap suited connectors, so I just can't buy this reasoning.

This is why I want to focus my graduate research and dissertation on online poker and new media. Because live players and online players can look at the exact same hand or player and come to very different conclusions. I think that is the case with any poker players, as there are obviously a variety of ways to play any given hand, but the divide between online and live opinions just strikes me as so divergent.

I played a little 4/8 limit hold em at the boat this weekend, and I was just so happy to be sitting at a table with actual people. I could look them in the eye when they did something dumb and make them feel bad about it. The play was much more solid than the limit games I have played online and, more importantly it was a lot of FUN. I would be lying if I said that I was going to stop playing online, but it definitely will never compare to live play for me.

I think I need to start anew on Stars. I may put a little more money on there so I can comfortably play SNGs at the $6 and $10 levels. Take a couple of days off. And then start again, hoping and praying that things will get better.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Starting Balance: $314.05

Gross, huh? However, it is now the end of the day and I am sitting right aroudn $370. I am listening to the advice of my kind commenter and holding myself to a set of rules and guidelines, but trying to transition from 50 cent/$1 to $1/$2 stud. The 1/2 game has been overwhelmingly more profitable for me than the limit below it. A lot of the players are like me and drift between the two levels, so I am familiar with how several of them play. The rest appear to play a bit more conventionally, which is really helpful. I know everyone always says the donk is a good player's best customer, but I genuinely believe that my game works best on people who are more familiar with game strategy and math, who lay down things when they are supposed to (in other words, not the guy who reraised me and then called a third bet with Q2 out of position in my hold em sit and go earlier).

So, I want to write more, but it has been a busy day with a smaller amount of card playing than usual. However, tomorrow I am going to introduce my "Donk of the Week" feature and tell a little bit more about my research project/interests.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Starting Balance: 335.65

This is getting ridiculous. Now it is not so much an issue of getting cold decked or sucked out on. I am just getting NOTHING to work with. Except there was a hand of stud in which I had trip Qs on 4th street, 3 bet it, got called by trip 2s and he filled up on me. Such is life.

I have realized that playing 1/2 Stud Hi/Lo around midnight is generally profitable for me. The afternoon I don't run as well, but late at night, it seems to be a good move. My Sit and Gos aren't going particularly well, so I feel like I have to play for cash in order to make any money. Mitch and I were talking and I almost feel like I should put more money on Stars in order to induce them to turn the doom switch off. I don't even need them to turn the boom switch on. I just need to not lose EVERY big hand I am involved in.

Pokerroad Radio has a show up with an interview with JJ Prodigy AKA Josh Field. I don't know the full story, but Field was a 16 year old (He just turned 18) who was not only illegally playing online under the age of 18, but also playing multiple accounts. There are other players ::cough cough wink wink Justin Bonomo:: who are documented cheaters, but this guy is especially hated. It is my understanding that is because he is completely unapologetic about cheating and acknowledges that he continues to multi-account. For the laypeople (aka my friends), multi-accounting is playing under multiple screennames in the same tournament/cash table/etc. A similar mode of cheating would be to play with friends and IM each other what your hole cards are. I deplore the cheating, but I also have to wonder where you draw the line. If Mitch is watching my table and I tell him I have aces, is that cheating? Is it not if he doesn't give me advice, but it strays into cheating when he suggests how to play the hand? In the interview, Gavin makes the valid point that most online players have participated in some form of "cheating", albeit not necessarily to the extreme Field took it to, yet they are still outraged by his actions.

On an unrelated note, I have to say that this guy Field, who clearly is a skilled poker player, is really lacking in the communication department. This is a kid who clearly spends too much time on the computer and not enough time developing interpersonal communication skills. I am not kidding that this kid rarely uses a word with more than three syllables in it. The biggest word I have heard from him is "marginal". My personal favorite part of this interview is when they bring up that WSOP champion Greg Raymer had posted on the internet forums that if Josh Field was at his table he would out him to the table as a cheater. Field is aghast at the comment and complains that Raymer is judging him without even knowing him. Um, dude, you cheated. You are the one who posted that you don't care that you have cheated. If I were Greg Raymer, I would do the exact same thing. You know why? Cause you're a cheater! It isn't judging you. He is merely stating fact. He is not making slanderous comments about you at the table. He is simply making people aware of public knowledge. If he waltzed in and said, "Josh Field drowns kittens for fun and profit", I would understand the validity of your complaint. But you cheated, you copped to cheating, so why are you getting upset that someone said you cheated?

I have always been surprised at the acceptance of Justin Bonomo. After hearing him in interviews, I will concede he is apologetic and seemingly sincere, but I still have trouble being completely okay with him playing live. They make a good point that cheating and poker have a long and torrid history, so I realize I am being a bit naive, I just, in all honesty, would remain skeptical if Field or Bonomo were ever at the same table as me.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Starting Balance 363.80

I didn't play too much, but I won a sit and go tournament and made a little money playing $1/$2 stud hi/lo. I am not necesarrily sure it is the best idea to play at that level (I normally play $.50/$1), but I am so tired of the regulars at the fitty cent level that I needed to see what the next level was like. It was a good night, but I am going to remain skeptical about whether or not it is something I should be doing on a regular basis until my bankroll gets a smidgen bigger.

Obviously, I am not working with a ton of funds here. I read a lot of sites, like Pokerroad, Two Plus Two, etc, but advice from notable sources always seems to be geared for bigger stakes than I am comfortable playing. I need to read more of the microstakes forums I suppose, but I have a hard time believing that someone has come up with some great strategy to deal with the hordes of people who either a) have no idea how to play the game or b) don't care because, "it is only five dollars". I hate the way I have to play at this level. Reraising ridiculous amounts of money, knowing there is no pricing out, overvaluing marginal hands like AJ or KQ, but it seems like the only way to play at this level. Unless people know something I don't......

Sunday, January 13, 2008

I Can't Win Cock Bro

Today's Starting Balance: 338.83

Mitch and I are beginning to think my room is cursed. Neither of us can get anything going online. For me, it is run of the mill, but I don't think Mitch has run this bad for this long in a while. I should probably get this out of the way: I would say I don't complain a lot, but that would be a lie. I like to complain. I think it is fun. Moreover, when it comes to my luck at poker, a lot of my discussion is not what I would construe as "complaining". Rather, it is a frank discussion of fact. I run bad. Most of my friends, poker players and the laity alike, concede that I am one of the unluckiest people they have ever encountered.

I am trying not to play much today. I have a lot of reading to do for class and I just feel so defeated by Stars that I can't muster up the strength. I am, however, watching Season 2 of High Stakes Poker on YouTube. One of my favorite pro players, Daniel Negreanu, loses in so many ridiculously unlucky situations. If you are a poker fan at all, I recommend watching. Plus, two words for you: Gabe Kaplan. Two more: AJ Benza. In my youth, I never conceived of a project these two could work together on, but Game Show Network has made my wildest dreams come true.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Silver Star

Let me start by briefly explaining my little experiment. I have been playing on Poker Stars for coming up on two years now. When I started, well, I sucked. I played AQ+ and 88+. And that was it. I was tighter than Alan Kessler, but at the free play level, this extraordinarily tight style worked remarkably well and I racked up a million useless free dollars and decided to put some actual money on there. 225 bucks later, I am still going, but not strong. Back in July or so, I was down to my last $13 dollars. I took down second in a $1 PL Hold Em tourney, won $55 dollars, and slowly began to grind my way up. Now, I sit at $350, have got as high as $460, and all I have to show for it is that I made Silver Star VIP status for the first time. Which is nice, don't get me wrong, but it is not like Stars is treating me any better.

The doomswitch is on big time. Has been for a week. For those of you who don't believe it, I am 100% convinced that these poker sites have boom and doom switches, where they intentionally make people run bad and run well based on how much money they put on the site. We'll see if things change in the future.