The Poker Game of Life

Poker and scotch on the rocks. Below are my reflections on life and poker. My journey from $4-8 as a past time to $30-60 for serious money and my life experiences in between.

Location: seattle, Washington, United States

Monday, April 03, 2006

One more month to go

One more month to go before my rookie year is over. If we assume that I breakeven for the rest of the year I'd say that my first year has been very interesting.

First off I must say that this job is very stressful. However overall I've made more money in less total hours (let's not count the hours that I spend dreaming about cards) so I'd say the move from Microsoft has been a good one.

Hopefully my second year goes even better than my first. I would say that the single most important factor in my success thus far has been to listen to everything everybody has to say. Even the bad players can be helpful in your approach to the game. Loose aggressive players give players problems for a reason. They might not win longterm but the problems they present are one of the best parts of the game that I've been trying to add into my own.

Anyhow, if any of you would be willing to link to my High Stakes Poker page I'd really appreciate it and link back.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

A link to a nice guy's page

A nice guy setup a link to a few of my site so here's one in return. If you're interested in his site here is the location:

Online poker rules

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

For the love of the game

Everyday I sit in 4 to 6 games of the Party $30/60 limit variety and occassionally make my jump into $50/100. I grind out a decent living and aspire of course to continue to progress up the "limit ladder" so that eventually I'll be playing even higher and making more money.

I won't deny that if you were to sit here and watch me play you'd still see a glimmer in my eye when I get a good player out of a few extra bets that I would've avoided losing in his situation. However for the most part poker has lost much of it's original luster and is now more of a complex analytical job.

Fortunately there are still times when my love of the game still comes back into play. One of my favorite things to do is play $1/2 mixed game with my college buddies from the fraternity. Last Saturday was one of those days. It's funny that if I were to lose $80 in that game the feeling is close to as devastating as if I go off for $4k in the $30/60.

I've played 65k hands in 2006 but the 2 most memorable hands this year have got to be the consecutive hands that I took this young kid off in the home game. I'll spare you the details but I bluff checkraised the river and got him to fold then showed him to a round of applause and laughs from the crew. The very next hand I rivered a straight on a board on a flop that was 3 spades. I checkraised the river and when everybody started laughing he decided to 3 bet and I of course automatically capped and my hand was of couse good.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

new forum hand posts

A couple new hands are up on the forum. Would love to know comments.

partypoker updates

Well I'm not really happy with the Party Poker updates. Here's a list of why I'm not happy

1. Pokerace HUD works slow now. Why do my stats keep on disappearing? is party in the magic business now? "And boom your stats disappear before your eyes.

2. The fucking buttons dont' work. Perhaps party is in business with doctors who will make tons of money off my newly developing carpo tunnel syndrome. What do they think I'm working at Microsoft still?

3. The sidebet buttons are back up. I'm sure i'll find out how to delete these again but come on. Party makes like $70k a yr off my rake already do they really need to induce me to gamble on something so dumb as if the card will be red or black? Do they really want the fish to go broke so I can find another game?

Anyhow there is one positive development from party. They're going to allow us to use our partypoints to buy cool things. I wouldn't mind an ipod or TV instead of a stupid partypoker hat.

Friday, February 10, 2006

The comeback

At the end of November I was on a roll. I had made tons of money in the party $30 and $50 games and had decised to focus entirely on the $50/100 game.

Then it happened. I ran bad. I went on a $23.4k downswing in the $50/100 game and my bankroll was beginning to hit dangerous levels for that limit. I had still the game beat for a ton but could no longer afford to play at that level.

So I swallowed my ego (which is huge BTW) and stepped back into the party $30/60 games. Then it happened again. I ran bad or on tilt. In retrospect it was probably a combination of both. Irregardless of the reasons I lost another $12.4k which really isn't the worst slide I've had but was at the absolute worst time.

I was a wreck. I had emotional breakdowns and serious doubts about my career and game. I spent a day drinking with my friends and contemplated a serious decision. I could cash everything out and go get a job. I had still made more money than my old Microsoft job and I did have a nice little run.

Or I could man the fuck up and start all over. My girlfriend was/is very supportive and totally had me feeling that I could comeback. I took my bankroll and spent a day studying and watching my friend Ian (pro player) and began to put my game back together from day 1. Everyday I played I thought about just putting my resume' back together and job searching.

In January I saw 40k hands and got almost all of the money that I had lost in both the $50 and the $30 games. I was stoked, not only had I gotten the money back quickly but I had gotten it back in the $30 game which I thought would take forever (since obviously $50/100 is much bigger than $30/60). I was and am totally focused.

Yesterday, February 9, 2006 I broke my all time high and the 2 month ride of essentially breakeven play.

I had only won $3,102 but it felt better than my $16k week or my $9k day.

I'm back

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I'm all heart and I think he needs another

Just posted a hand that makes me look like a maniac. Check it out on the forum I'd love to hear some comments.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Hand analysis

At the request of some of my friends and blog readers I'm going to begin posting hands in the forum for the Checkraise website located here.
Poker Forum

Hopefully people will comment and we can have healthy discussions on how to play certain hands.

Monday, January 23, 2006

I'm like Fidelity baby

"So Trav have you been investing much in stocks lately?" - My uncle with my cousin

"Ah, not really. I've got plans in the future but right now most of my money is invested in Aces and Kings. hehe" - Me

"Haha, that sounds dangerous" - My cousin

"Ah, maybe with Kings. Not aces though" - Me.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Need inbound links

Hey guys,

I need to get new inbound links to my in a few of the back pages. In exchange I'm willing to give a free hour of lessons in the game of the user's choice. So if you have a poker blog or website and are willing to setup a link for me please send me an email and we'll arrange a time for the lessons.

Pretty great deal I'd say.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

High Stakes poker on TV

Yesterday I saw the new TV show "High Stakes Poker". If you haven't seen this show yet you're definitely missing out. It was simply amazing to see a $100k minnimum buyin no limit cash game.

One of the most interesting hands I saw was a set of 5's over a set of 2's on a 542 board. Some rich doctor got Ted Forrest all in for like $100k pot. Sick I tell you, just sick.

At any rate I'm going to post more often. See you guys soon. Also if you're interested in High Stakes Poker online check out the site for more info.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

20/20 vision

"I spent a G on these glasses but my vision is priceless, seein' thru u niggaz like a fuckin psychic" - Lil Wayne

I'd say about once everytime I go out I see an acquaintance (note acquaintance is very different from friend) and they ask if I'm still at Microsoft. I then tell them "nope I'm pretty much playing poker for a living right now." Then they either go 2 routes, one route is when they ask me hella questions which is ok I guess.

Or they give me a very strange look. It's kind of a "you used to be smart or cool back in college but now you're just a loser" look. Then they say something like "well if that makes you happy I guess you can do it while you're young." I'm never really sure what that means, like are they saying go ahead and waste your life away gambling for awhile but eventually you'll have to get a job?

Sometimes I see this look and hear this statement and get hella pissed off. Lately though it's more of an eye opener and a reminder of why my friends are who they are.

It also makes me sad because it's kind of sad that college graduates working in great companies are so ignorant (IGNANT naggaz) that they are too close minded to entertain the possibility that maybe I can make more money in less time doing something I love than I ever would at the peak of my corporate career.

But I guess that's why they're acquaintances and not friends.

Monday, January 09, 2006

In retrospect

2005 was a pretty good year for me. I quit my job at Microsoft and made more money playing poker. Unfortunately Dec. was a really bad month and I actually had a $37k downslide. At the very end I luckily made a triumphant comeback and now I'm about $15k off my high.

I know I know funny to be happy about losing and off of my high. But you see I was starting to doubt myself and had to spend a significant more time studying. Anyhow everything worked out and now I think 06 can be amazing.

At any rate does anybody still read this? If you do it'd be nice to hear from you sometime. checkraisetrav at gmail dot com.

Good luck

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Goals for 06

Well I hope everyone had a happy new year. Now that my girlfriend went back to Houston I'll be back to focusing on my game. Despite a few rocky months I'm confident and ready for 06 with a $150k goal and a drive to improve in tournaments. Wish me luck.

On our Texas Holdem online website there's also a new page on Money Management. Please let me know what you think.

Also, lessons are back on due to continued interest. I took awhile off because I was focusing on my game but now I'm ready to break to teach part time. Please send email to if you're interested. Details are also on the website.

Monday, November 07, 2005

On Fire

Well after a shitty Sept I bounced back in October and had a good month. Now in Nov I'm on fire again. You know you're runnin' good when you're at 2.78BB/100 in the $50/100.

Got about 70k hands loaded from the $30/60 and it looks like I'm shaping up to about 1BB/100. Blah blah blah, yeah I know 100k hands at the minnimum and even then it's hard to tell. Regardless I gotta focus. 1.5BB/100 would be pretty nice.

Hope everybody is running well.

Monday, October 10, 2005

No more comments

Unfortunately people are utilizing my blog for bad marketing and SEO schemes. So I've disabled the ability for people to leave comments. However if you've got somehting to say please send it over to me thru email. Always great to hear from other poker players.

On a good note I just won a qualifier to the $750k guaranteed Party Poker tournament at the end of the month. Not to be cheap but paying $30 sounds nice compared to a few hundred to enter. Plus I sure could use a little tourney win in an easier tourney to boost how I feel about my tourney game.

Hopefully I'll see you guys there.

Friday, October 07, 2005

I'm still alive

I heard there's been some discussion about if I'm still alive in my buddy MJ's forum. Well I am. =) Truth is I had that after a stellar August I had an awful September that drove serious doubts into my mind about poker. So I've been spending most of my waking life studying and trying to improve. Hopefully October shows an improvement in my progress.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Hey Bob!

Thanks for the note Bob. Actually since starting in the $30/60 4 months ago I've gotten a better grip on the bankroll needed and winning expectations. In fact I actually started with a bankroll way too small for the game. I guess my experience in the actual playing part of the game and running good helped me do well and got my bankroll up to where it should be (was at about 750 BB now it's at 500 a bit scary). It'd be really nice to chat with another pro online sometime. If you're open let me know.

Definitely got more to learn

Thursday, September 08, 2005

When does the doubt stop?

Thanks for all the comments asking me to post. I've always thought of myself as an average or below average writer but I guess the subject matter more than compensates for that.

I think someone asked what a good win was? I'd say anything less than a grand is hard to even consider a win or loss. That being said if I could make a grand a day I'd have a few yachts and I'd still be saving money, buying strangers groceries and my friend's prostitutes. hehe. Just kidding, I probably wouldn't save that much money. ;)

Anyhow due to normal swings in the gameI would have to say that a $3k swing either direction occurs quite frequently.

So what I'm really curious about is when do the doubts stop? If there are any other pro players out there that read this please let me know. I've beat this game for a pretty sweet amount of sugar (pun intended) but now that I'm on a bit of a downswing I'm constantly doubting every aspect of my game. When does that stop?

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

What's a bad day?

To answer a couple of questions:
1.) I play 2-4 tables a day. I'd rather play 2 unless I'm in the groove real good.
2.) I'd like to make 1.5 BB per hour. I'm at that right now for 2 tables but I think I'm just running good. I'd say 1 BB/hour or 1BB/100 hands would be fine

So a fuckin' bad day is losing 3k yesterday with no more than $500 in mistakes and losing $3k today. So here's a few things that show you're running bad:

1.) Losing AA vs. AKs two times in a day
2.) Losing AA vs. A8 in a critical moment in a tournament where there's 54 players left out of 240.
3.) Doing nothing but stealing the blinds 4x in a day with AA and KK.

Considering all that I guess it's not that bad. I'll be back tomorrow!

Friday, August 26, 2005

Step it up

Step it up, step up your game,
fuck the fame, just send the chips,
Fifty, one hundred here we go...players better get a grip
Cuz here I come.

So I'm slowly making ventures into $50/100 and it's going great. All I have to remember is to not make too many moves. I make way way too many moves sometimes. hehe. I can't help it, nothing is better than stealing pots you don't rightfully deserve.

I love this job. Good luck out there guys and thanks for all the notes about those of you who like my posts. =)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Don't wake me up

"Was it all a dream, I used to read word up magazine, Salt N' Pepa and Heavy D up in the magazine" - Biggie Smalls

Is this a dream? I'm in the middle of the best winning poker week in my life and I leave for Houston tomorrow. On Monday I had a day that was so sick (in a good way) I almost cried. When I get back I gotta talk to a tax accountant but for now I'm looking forward to a nice big steak courtesy of a the donks in the $30/60 limit holdem game. God bless you guys.

Thursday, August 11, 2005


I placed 10th out of 229 people. I think I got $229 or so minus my $100 buyin and i win $129. Sheesh...I'm better off in the $30/60. I guess my winnings buy me like 3 rounds of blinds in my limit game. hehe

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Nothing against gays

I got nothing against gays as I know a couple and they're ok in my book. Long as they don't hit on me and know that I got a girl it's cool homie. :)

So today I'm in a tournnament, there's about 27 players left out of 229 with a $100 buyin so I'm feeling pretty good about it. Wish me luck (it's not over yet and it'd be nice to get the $6,000 first place.)

I send in a raise of 999 chips and a guy talks shit to me and says I'm cursed for such a flagrant raise. I mean come on can't a guy have a little fun in our profession?

Anyhow so then a guy who's not even in the tournament says, "That raise was the gayest thing since gay town." First off is that funny to anybody? I think it's like the dumbest thing I've ever heard. So I reply and say, "Almost as gay as watching an online poker tournament."


Monday, August 08, 2005

Life is full of questions

How long will the game be good? The $30/60 is going really well for me and I continue to do way way better here than at my last job. Being a worrying geek I do have a few concerns which I'm sure some of you other players making lunch money off the donks have as well.

1.) How long will the game be good? Will it dry up and then all the money be gone? That would make me very sad. My Dad was telling me about how he crushed a lowball Razz 2-7 game for months making so much money it was incredible. Then the game dried up and everyone owed him money. He used to sit down and say, "Why don't you guys all give me $50 and I'll leave right now. Save everybody time". I've heard so many legendary stories about him sitting down and then everybody puts their name up for a seat change and these come from other people.

Then the game dried up. Will the internet dry up? So I'm building my bankroll for my next move. I'll be damned if I'm not retired at an early age.

2.) Where and when will I hit my limits? I'm at $30/60 now and making a good wage. If I can win at the same hourly rate when I step to $50/100 I'll make more money than I'd ever make at the pinnacle of my career in the corporate world. Will I hit that limit and all of a sudden have more money than I know what to do with? Or will I instead hit the limit and get frustrated and learn that I'm not as good as I think I am?

It gets trickier. Assume I can't really beat it. Will I be able to beat it after continuous study in 6 months? A yr?

How shitty would it be to reach the pinnacle of your career at 26 years and 11 months? :)

Funny because I face the same questions now that I did last year at Microsoft. Am I progressing in my career climb at the optimal rate? Am I happy with my quality of life. will I get stuck as a financial analyst? Will my poker site make me happy?

I always found that the answer was that I'll never know until I try.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

i don't mean to complain

Today I played at a smokey casino for 3 hours in a tournament. They took the top 8 out of about 45 to the next round where first place is $10k. The buy in was $275. I placed 11th. Doesn't that suck? I'd rather place 45th than 11th. At least that way I would've gone about my merry way much earlier.

That's why I like ring game poker better. But...

I doubt I'll ever be on TV for limit holdem.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Let's put it all in perspective

Chattin' it up w/ Pops over dinner yesterday and I suddenly came to an amazing revelation. Back in the day you saw about 30-35 hands an hour vs. about 60 hands per hour now. That's about twice as many hands per hour. Plus you can play in multiple games simultaneously.

So if I play in 4 games for a year full time I'll have seen as many hands as a guy playing for 8 years full time. Let's call it 6.5 to 7 years since I won't always be in 4 games, etc.

Doesn't that blow you away?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Point of view

"When your father turned to the dark side the good man inside him died. He ceased being Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. So you see Luke, what I told you was true from a certain point of view" - Obi Wan Kenobi

"From a certain point of view??!!" - Luke Skywalker

Today I took 3 straight pots off a guy for a total of about $2,800. He then proceeds to tell me, "I have to go now but I'm sticking around anyway because I like your action. You know what I just called your raise with? 92o"

I guess from a certain point of view I'm not a good player. =)

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Strategy email

So our Poker Strategy site has a brand new service that we're providing to those that are interested. It's a free email subscription with tips to improve your game.

Check it out here:

Monday, July 18, 2005

I'm a make it do what it do

"Ray this is on you. You gotta make it work" - some guy to Ray Charles
"I'm a make it do what it do baby. yeeaaah" - Ray Charles

What's next for me in poker? Things continue to go well and life is much better now than how it was back at Microsoft. Life's amazing sometimes. Anyhow I'm just gonna make my poker game do what it do baby.


Friday, July 15, 2005

Apparently I'm a fish

So I've recently learned that I'm a fish. Imagine that, a winning player at high stakes limit poker and I'm a fish. Here's the story...

I raise w/ AQ from the cutoff and the small blind calls.

The flop is 234 rainbow and she checks I bet of course.
The turn is a 8 and she checks I bet. This bet doesn't happen all the time but it sure happens a lot I'm a bully man and that's the way it goes.
The river is a 5. She checks and I bet. She calls.

I got 3rd nut straight and she turns over K2. She then proceeds to call me a fish. It's amazing what some people believe is good play and what they believe is bad.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

New updates to

My webmaster has helped develop a couple of new pages for the Online poker strategy guide. If you're interested check them out.

Poker Lessons - Details on the lessons I'm giving. I'm also actively recruiting new teachers now since things are getting a little hectic with lessons. Let me know if you're interested.

Bonus Hunting Guide - A guide on how to make free money by taking advantage of the free money given out by poker sites.

They're alive

I was chillin' at a cool lounge on Saturday night (not drinking b/c I was recovering from food poisoning). The music was amazing, mostly breakbeats and that cool lounge music which I never know the name of. At any rate I was telling my buddy that I wish I had a CD of similar music so I can zone out when I play cards online.

I told him that I basically just turn up the music and "zone out" and then at the end of the session usually the chips just stack up. Or in this case the virtual chips. When I play hard I focus too much, push too hard and end up burning chips in the process. Strange how when I just sit there and play my game the chips just stack themselves like they're alive.

Poker lessons are going well and I actually am enjoying seeing the players grow. A nice, unanticipated benefit.

Good luck, burn them chips guys.

Friday, July 01, 2005


So I'm getting over food poisoning which has to be about the worst thing that can happen to a person. I was sick literally the whole day yesterday. What luck.

I've had a lot of comments about my first royal flush. That's pretty amazing that some of you have had so many already. Since I started playing fulltime 3 months ago I rarely see them and have only hit one in my life. I wonder if I'm just not that lucky in that regard.

Anyhow came across an offer with Noble Poker. If you sign up thru this link Noble will match your first deposit up to $700. Quite a bit of free money.

Happy 4th of July weekend all.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

My first royal flush

The first royal flush of my poker career. My father who played for a living for 30 plus years has hit 7 royals. Isn't that amazing, only 7 in a career where you play everyday.

And yes that's my screen name and yes I wish I was in a $30/60 game. hehe, $20/40 was softer than $30/60 yesterday.

Oh and to answer a few questions in advance.

1.) Yup, if I see your stats and you're a pigeon limping in with weak hands I'm raising from late position with very marginal hands to isolate you. :)

2.) Yup I'm putting in as many bets as I can with 2nd nut straight and a flush draw. If you're not I think you should sign up for my poker lessons.

Send the chips!

***** Hand History for Game 2280016655 *****
$20/$40 Hold'em - Tuesday, June 28, 23:53:17 EDT 2005
Table Table 52085 (Real Money)
Seat 5 is the button
Total number of players : 10
Seat 1: GrouchoMarx ( $480 )
Seat 2: RedWolf83 ( $1047 )
Seat 3: RanPhen ( $1449 )
Seat 4: alo10b3 ( $1097 )
Seat 5: Kayber2 ( $1454 )
Seat 6: CWALDOB ( $716 )
Seat 7: JOVENUTO ( $397 )
Seat 8: LmRLmR ( $793 )
Seat 9: betumup ( $1881.5 )
Seat 10: fishieface ( $3183.61 )
CWALDOB posts small blind [$10].
JOVENUTO posts big blind [$20].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to Kayber2 [ Qd Td ]
>You have options at Table 48771 Table!.
LmRLmR folds.
betumup calls [$20].
fishieface folds.
GrouchoMarx folds.
RedWolf83 folds.
RanPhen folds.
alo10b3 folds.
Kayber2 raises [$40].
CWALDOB calls [$30].
betumup calls [$20].
** Dealing Flop ** [ Jd, Qc, 9c ]
CWALDOB checks.
betumup checks.
Kayber2 bets [$20].
CWALDOB calls [$20].
betumup calls [$20].
** Dealing Turn ** [ Kd ]
CWALDOB checks.
betumup checks.
Kayber2 bets [$40].
>You have options at Table 48771 Table!.
CWALDOB calls [$40].
betumup raises [$80].
>You have options at Table 48771 Table!.
Kayber2 raises [$80].
CWALDOB calls [$80].
betumup calls [$40].
>You have options at Table 48751 Table!.
** Dealing River ** [ Ad ]
>You have options at Table 48771 Table!.
CWALDOB checks.
betumup checks.
Kayber2 bets [$40].
CWALDOB folds.
betumup calls [$40].
Kayber2 shows [ Qd, Td ] Royal Flush.
betumup doesn't show [ Qs, Th ] a straight, ten to ace.
Kayber2 wins $637 from the main pot with Royal Flush.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

You're not a real poker player..

Until you've called a player down with Ace something high and the person you called beat you with Ace something higher.

It happens to me on occassion and I just smile and say, "Oh you got Ace queen high that's way way the best hand" as I quietly muck my Ace Jack. The other players at the table look at you in amazement like "How can he have all my chips and make that ace high call."

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Your commitment to your hand...

Ever notice that some player's are ridiculously in love with their poker hands even when they shouldn't be? Do you also notice that some people are ridiculously in love with their significant others when once again they shouldn't be? Today I was playing too many hours of poker (like always) and the thought came to mind that loving your hand and loving your wife/husband/girl/whatever are highly related.

For example, say player Mike raises with AA and the flop is JT9 all diamond and Mike doesn't have the A of diamond. There's 4 way action and everyone raises like crazy on the flop. Mike should get out the hand obviously but he's in love with AA and stays in there like a fool and wastes his time, money, and life.

It's the same with love. Don't you know plenty of people who are so in love with somebody who treats them badly. Yet they still continue to stay in this bizarro relationship because there was a point in time when everything was great. When they used to hangout all the time, walk around the park, go out to eat. You know that time....before the flop.

There's also those players who are too quick to give up on their hand. Say player Phil has AK and the flop comes JT2, he bets immediately gets raised and there are a few callers making it a big pot. Some players mistakenly give this pot up when they actually have four queens for the nuts and if they're getting 11 to 1 they should absolutely call. Whether or not the A or K are real outs is debatable and not the point of my thought.

At any rate this player is comparable to the guy or gal who gives up on their relationships way too easily. They had something great at the beginning and even though they have a shot at something beautiful they give it up because everything isn't perfect. (By the way if you don't think the stone cold nut hand in poker is one of the most beautiful things you've ever seen you need to stop reading and jump in the game RIGHT NOW!) :) So they break up with the other person when in fact if they were smart and really sat down and thought about it they should give it a shot and try and reconcile.

Gimme that queeeeeen on the turn. (By the way the turn is when I turn 27 in Sept)

Side the biggest pot in awhile today, $1,737 but still lost for the day.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Absolutely Beautiful

If my poker prowess ever excels to the level that Robert Horry (aka Big Shot Bob) plays basketball I will be a happy man. His game tonight was absolutely amazing.

Now don't get me wrong, I want to be the Michael Jordan of poker. But if that doesn't ever happen I hope I can excel under pressure, that's the most beautiful part of any game. Stepping it up under extreme pressure.

Horry does all the little things to win. Dives for that loose ball, rebounds hard, scrambles, sits the bench with no complaints and it works.

It's the same in poker. Understanding the basic math principles, studying your opponents, reading books to understand other opinions, and putting in the dirty work to become successful.

Friday, June 17, 2005

poker lessons / passion

Just got done with George's poker lessons. I actually had a great time teaching the class. Sometimes I forget how much love I actually have for the game. I've really noticed that in order to be successful at anything you have to have a real passion for it. When I was working at Xbox the vice presidents there were so passionate about their product it actually made you excited and happy to work. That's probably why they got where they are.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

What a rush

Lately I've been playing in a few tournaments each day in both limit and no limit since tournaments are definitely a weaker part of my game. Today I won a limit tourney for the first time (The 2nd one I played in). There were 50 people total and first was worth $1,500 and 2nd worth $1,000. Pretty significant difference in money between first and second.

So it's heads up with about 30k each in chips and 400-800 blinds. Pretty small blinds (chip stacks were about 37x the big bet if I remember correctly) so we got to play heads up for a really really long time. He got me down to 10k in chips and my buddy Ian was watching and says, "Beat this fucker". I just gritted my teeth and played my best poker, caught a few hands and hey I won first!

What a rush. I mean the difference was only $500 but man that felt great. It was way better than winning a thousand dollar hand in $30-60. Ok, ok, not waaaaay better but at least a little better. I think it's something just about winning that makes you feel this crazy rush. Way better than any drug or alcoholic beverage (even scotch). :)

In the matrix

I call the world of online poker "The Matrix" because nothing is exactly real. I see roughly twice as many hands per hour and I have no clue who I'm really playing against. The funniest thing about playing online poker is that people are ridiculously rude. I had some guy call me a "f**kin' idiot" because I sucked out on him. Besides one "almost fight" that happened to me at a casino I've never experienced so many rude people in "the real world". I'd bet my bankroll 95% of the rude crowd is skinny little geeks who wouldn't have the nerve to even look at me wrong in public.

What can you do though? The online game is huge and I need the money. Besides I can fly and dodge bullets in the Matrix nowadays anyway.

Bring it on Agent Smith.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Value betting on the river

Lately I've been thinking a lot about value betting on the river. Conventional old school wisdom says that you should only bet the river when you are likely to get called by a hand that is worse. That means if you think your opponent is going to call you down with mid pair no kicker that you should bet mid pair with a strong kicker. Sounds funny but those extra bets add up.

The problem that I've been debating is whether or not the fact that your opponent knows you only bet the river for value negates the value that you gain from this bet. For example, if your opponent knows that you only bet the end with a strong hand but that you'll bet the flop and turn on bluffs does he become correct to call you on the flop and turn with a weak hand and fold if you bet the river?

Therefore I'm a proponent that on occassion you should bet the river on a pure bluff as well. Not that I haven't been doing this but I just started really formalizing my thought process on this topic recently.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Part 2

Well we'll never know since he mucked it. I can't see him playing any hand that strongly except QQ or JJ (that's a bit much for JJ I think). My stats are somewhere along the 15% playing hands, raising about 11% so you can't really put me on anything too weirdo except if you think i'm on tilt.

Which I wasn't. :)

Thursday, June 09, 2005

What a move

These weirdos on Party Poker continue to try funny things w/ obviously bullshit hands in the $30-60 game. Listen to this hand and see if you can guess what the guy was doing.

Preflop: I raise Mid position with KK, immediate left reraises and everyone else folds. I 3 bet and my immediate left caps.

Flop is small and we cap again.

Turn is an A, I bet and she raises. In my mind the A is irrelevant, would she really cap the flop with AK high? Not this chick, she's not that weird. :) At any rate either she's got KK, AA or QQ and I'm going to pay off.

River is a K and here's where I make my mistake. I check raise the river and she folds.

What the hell was I thinking. Either she had me beat or she didn't. If she had AA she's going to reraise and I lose another $60 for a total of $120 mistake. If she had QQ she folds and it's so unlikely she has anything else then Mars would be the size of the moon seen from earth. (Oh wait that's happening but anyway).

What do you guys think?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

A new blog

One of my closest buddies and a really strong player has a new blog called Solving the Poker Puzzle. I highly recommend it. The quote about the girl is particularly funny. :) A strong woman player is a dangerous thing.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Running good

Well it's been 3 weeks since I graudated to $30-60 and things are going swimmingly for me (but not so well for the fish!). :) I'm now playing in 2 tables at once, my friend is recommending 4 but I want to take that one step at a time. At any rate I'm actually finding it a great game. There's about 2 pigeons per table (sometimes just a few mediocre players and no one awful) but that seems to be all I need. It's a simple "isolate and pound it to them" with tricks needed only for extra bets.

My friend MJ the owner of the Party Poker Strategy Guide has a great idea that I'm going to promote. If you sign up to play poker at one of the sites which we promote I'm willing to help teach you how I play poker. I know I know...what a shameless sell job. It is what it is though an extra way to make money on the side. If you want personalized lessons please let me know and we'll arrange something. I'll share hand histories, etc so you can see the results for yourself.

Good luck!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

A professional laydown

While playing at Party Poker today in the $30-60 I ended up in the same game as a really tough player, my buddy Ian. Ian's tough to the point where I ask him advice on my own game. Anyhow, he made a very impressive laydown today, here it is as well as our thoughts behind the play.

Ian raises from early position w/ QQ
I reraise from late position with KK
Ian caps and it's heads up. I'm pretty sure he's got anywhere from JJ-AA to AK.

Flop: 10, 4, 2 rainbow
The flow is just what both of us hoped for. Whoever had the better hand preflop still probably has the better hand. Although a set of tens is a potential hand.
Ian bets and I smooth call. I smooth call hoping to get more action from his hand on the turn where I intend to raise him. Maybe I can get him to think I'm making a move on him with AK suited or something.

Turn is a 7
He bets and I raise. He smooth calls.

River is a 4.
Ian checks, I bet and he hesitates for a long time and finally mucks his hand. After we chat and discuss the hand. He felt that it was possible for me to make a move w/ a weaker hand than QQ, and that it was possible I had JJ. However he felt that if I had JJ I wouldn't bet the end because he called my turn raise and clearly anyhand that calls a raise on the turn beats JJ. We both know each other to be really tough. He said that it was possible for me to raise the turn and try to get him to fold but then I would check the river. The river is clearly just a value bet. He was dead on with this read. What was interesting about the hand is that if he came back over the top of me on the turn I would have to put him on either a set of 10s, AA or maaaaaybe KK. No other hand really gets played that strongly on the turn.

So he made a great laydown with QQ. What is really funny is that I would've laid down KK if he popped me again. But I will admit that would take some serious nuts.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

recommended books

I had someone ask me what books I recommend. I really based my initial game on David Sklansky's "Texas Holdem" and "Texas Holdem for advanced players". It's really good for limit holdem...the super system from doyle brunson is also worth a read.

That'll give you the basics but after that it's all about experience. Learn and then unlearn the books.

What lucky timing

I had some ridiculously lucky timing in this hand playing $30-60 today. Here's the story:

I'm under the gun w/ Aces and I limp in (not recommended by the way but I wanted to mix things up a bit) and the guy to my right raises. Big blind calls and I reraise.

Flop comes, A, 9 2.
I bet and get called in both spots. Kind of a weird call I think but I'm happy to keep them tagging along.

Turn is a 9
So now I've got the nuts and if I don't got the nuts well shit....nice hand buddy. hehe. I decide to get a little tricky and see if I can get a check raise here. It works as the guy right behind me bets, the big blind folds and I get my raise in.

River is a king:
I bet and get called. I was really hoping he had pocket kings and just played them terribly stubborn. Unfortunately for him he had ace/king which is pretty legit at that spot. I could have easily played ace/king in the same way. If he made that laydown he'd be amazingly tough especially since I'm reasonably unknown to him.

Just nice lucky timing. Huge pot. $660 total I think.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The jump

I've jumped to a consistent $30-60 player now and the main difference is aggression and control. I've definitely had to make refinements in my overall thinking in order to be successful at this limit. Time will tell.

There's a reason

"There's a reason they call it the dummy end of the straight" - My Dad

Please checkout my new article Poker Draws for more details.

I'd love some feedback on it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

To receive you must give

My friends and I have added several new strategy articles to my
Texas Holdem Online strategy guide including a few on no limit topics. I hope you guys like them. I'll be frequently updating there so please check back often.

Lately I've been thinking about how I receive a lot more action from players when I give a little action. When I sit around and play tight and solid I get paid off very seldom. However, when I show a bluff or two here and there whether successful or not I get a lot more action thereby allowing me to net out with more chips.

For example, the other day I tried to bully thru a player. I raised preflop, went 3 bets on the flop after he check raised, and I bet the turn as well. I checked the end and he turned over a weak ace and won the pot. My bully strategy didn't work so I decided in my head that next hand I get I'm going to ram it to him all the way but I've got to have a strong hand. He's going to call for sure.

A few hands later I flop a set and check raise him on the flop. He immediately goes 3 bets and says, "Trying to steal the pot again eh?". I say, "Are you?", and smooth call. I check raise the turn, he immediately goes 3 bets. At this point I'm a little concerned about my hand so I call. I call the end and he turns over top pair with a weak kicker. All that action because I gave a little action on a prior hand. Note only that but I had a pretty good shot of winning the hand I gave him a little action on.

Don't get carried away with this idea, but sometimes giving a little action isn't such a bad thing.

Try it out sometime.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Big deal

Been playing online at Poker Stars lately. Not a bad game there at all.

Yesterday I played at the casino up north and ran into a really young kid who has own over $200k this year playing in tournaments and online limit and no limit. It was my first time sitting int he game with him and so I was particularly interested in seeing him play. Seattle's a small town so I won't put his name in this blog out of respect. At any rate I thought I actually might be able to learn something. He was a tight solid player but I didn't see anything remarkable about his play. In fact I saw a more holes than I thought I would see. He paid off when beat against players who I was certain had strong holdings and I put a move on him when it went short handed w/ a marginal hand.

Makes me feel like i should be playing even bigger limits. Sky's the limit when your arrogant. hehe.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Sometimes you lose even when you win

Been taking a break from playing Full Tilt and Poker Room to play at my local casino's $8-16. Definitely feels like too small of a game now but I need the break from looking at a computer screen. I don't really want to drive an hour to play in anything bigger either.

So, 6 wins in a row makes a guy feel like a champion. Like I've got the Sharingan (Naruto anime joke). check that link out and you'll know what I mean. Naruto is amazing.

Anyhow, last night I only won $80 when I should've won $300. In fact that's what I need to win everday minnimum. I'm mostly disappointed because I let a strong player slightly put me on tilt. It's rare that I find a young player who I think is better than me but yesterday I did. Add on the fact that he acted right after me and it took me out of my game just enough to make a difference.

So, what did I do? I got up and left. Never sit in a game where you feel uncomfortable, in fact I should've left earlier.

Monday, May 09, 2005

A hand played poorly

Time to be a little humble for once since my good homegirl says I have an "understated arrogance" about me. Here is a hand I played poorly.

The Players:

Big blind - A pretty decently strong, tight aggressive player

Seat 3 - weak tight player. I actually like having him in the game since I know where he's at and I can steal from him.

Seat 5 - Yours truly

Seat 8 - Loose aggressive

Seat 9 - Tougher than me but a little looser. If the pot odds are right he's likely to call with a marginal hand and take a look at a flop.

Seat 3 limps in, I raise w/ queens. Everyone else cold calls.

Flop:10, 7, 2 with 2 diamonds:
Seat 3 checks to me
I bet
Seat 8 raises
Seat 9 calls
big blind calls
Seat 3 pushes it to three bets
Everyone calls

Turn: 4
Big blind: checks
Seat 3: bets
everyone else calls

River: J
Big blind bets
Seat 3 calls
I fold as does everyone else.

When the jack hit I mucked my hand as that was surely 8,9 who completed his open ended straight draw. However I think I could've mucked my hand on the turn. When the weak tight player went 3 bets I'm surely beat by a set (which he later said he had). The other 2 players probably had flush draws. In fact I might've been able to get away from my hand when it went 3 bets on the flop.

2 small bets and 1 big bet donated to the competition.