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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Oh Happy Day!


I received the following notice via e-mail yesterday.

What has it been, almost four years?

Dear Lucki Duck,

The purpose of this email is to inform you that your Petition for Remission has been approved and you are entitled to receive a distribution from the assets forfeited in connection with United States v. PokerStars, et al., pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. 

A payment in the amount of $---- will be paid electronically via ACH to the bank account that you specified in your Petition.  This payment represents the full amount of your Full Tilt Poker Account Balance, which you confirmed on the Full Tilt Poker administration online filing site.  Payment will be made within the next seven business days.  

If you have any questions, you can call us toll-free at (866) 250-2640, email us at info@FullTiltPokerClaims.com, or write to us at Full Tilt Poker Claims Administration, c/o GCG, P.O. Box 9965, Dublin, Ohio 43017-5965.  For additional information you may also visit the administration website at www.FullTiltPokerClaims.com.
I wasn't smart enough to heed the warning signs that the end could be near for online poker. I let my poker roll build on Full Tilt, treating it as a "savings account," earmarked for a rainy day or perhaps a future vacation.

Once the hammer dropped, I soon learned (as we all did), that Full Tilt was nothing more than a ponzi scheme and the money was long gone. It was not a fun time. I got pretty good at sit-n-gos and built a nice bankroll. To see it vanish was traumatic and I am thrilled to recover it. Heck, I would have been happy to get half of it back.

So, today is a good day!

If and when online poker is legalized, I'll not make the same mistake. I don't know exactly where my cut-off will be before I cash out part of my roll, but be assured it'll be well below what my Full Tilt balance was.

Till next time, win the flips.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Poker is Easy


I attended a local poker game last week, one I hadn't been to in several months. The last time I played, I walked away with a $400 profit in their $1-2 NLHE game.

I had heard that the game had gotten quite wild since I had been.

"One, two, forty," is how one of my friends described the game. Some of the new players were well financed, and I've learned that it's hard to win when your opponents don't care about the money.

But, it had been a while and I had an open evening, so I made the half hour drive and hoped for good cards.

I bought in for $200 and peeked down at the "dreaded pocket kings" on my first hand. We were six-handed and I was in middle position. There was one limper in front of me and I raised to $10. The big blind and limper both called. The queen high flop was dry, with the BB betting almost full pot. The limper folded and I smooth called. The turn card looked harmless, but the BB shoved.

Well, hell.

Recalling my buddies description of how wild the game had gotten, I thought it was possible the BB only had top pair. After a moment I made the call and was shown A-Q. The river didn't help him and I doubled-up on my first hand.

Nice!

The very next hand I was dealt pocket aces.

"You've got to kidding me!" I thought.

There was a raise to $8 in front of me and I three-bet to $24 from the cut-off. The button called, as did the original raiser and we saw the flop three handed. Unlike the previous hand, this A-Q-T flop had a lot of chemistry. I had top set, but there was an obvious straight possibility and also two clubs. The original raiser checked and I tossed 12 redbirds out. Both villains called.

The turn was another Q and also hit any flush draws. The original raiser pushed for his last $160. I just called with my full house, hoping the button would come along for the ride. Even better, he shoved and I insta-called and flipped my aces-full. The original raiser had the nut flush and the button showed Q-T for queens full.

Why would you call a three bet with Q-T? This was a wild game indeed!

Two hands in and I'm up $520.

Sah-weet!


Definitely the fastest start I've had at a poker table.

I played for a few more hours, missed a few draws, and occasionally hitting a hand before racking my chips and cashing out with a $450 profit.

Easy-peasy!

Till next time, win the flips.

Monday, March 23, 2015

One to Go


Yeah, I know its been a while since we've visited on the corner of Poker St, and Sports Betting Av, but as we say in the south, "ya git whacha pay fer."

Our Vegas or Bust Poker League met on Friday the 13th for the eleventh of twelve league tournaments. I have a slight lead over Tin Man and a little bigger one over Stamps and Ranger Rick, and my goal for this night was to finish ahead the three players who could knock me out of my WSOP seat.

Alas, it was not to be.

For those of you just now boarding this train, our league is vying for two seats to the World Series in Las Vegas this summer. Second place is as good as first, so the goal is to either win or place (that's a little horse racing lingo for ya!).

Our starting ten was whittled down to five quickly, but none of the villains mentioned above fell on his sword.

We stayed at five for a loooong time. This is the third year we've played the league and I think some of the other players have figured out that this league is about survival. That means a lot of nitty play.

Finally, Tin Man found a hand he liked and pushed with K-J but ran into Stamps pocket aces. A king on the flop and jack on the turn kept him in the game. It was the start of half a dozen hands where the underdog pulled out a win and avoided the dreaded toe tag.

Unfortunately, Stamps knocked me out in fifth. I open pushed from the small blind with pocket nines and found myself flipping against A-J. The Samurai jack appeared on the flop and I felt the pain of the steel blade as my chips were dragged away.

Tin Man was next to go, followed by Stamps and Ranger Rick, leaving Big Daddy was the last man standing.

Although I didn't accomplish my goal, at least I didn't lose too much ground. After putting a pencil to it, I determined that a sixth place finish in our final tournament next month will seal the deal for me. With that in mind, I'll do my best to avoid mixing it up in any big pots early. I'm figuring that Tin Man and I will have targets on our backs.

CLICK HERE for the latest standings.

Till next time, win the flips.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Hockey Picks, March 12th

One game looks like a winner on tonight's NHL docket.

$18 on St. Louis (-175) over Philadelphia

The Blues have won their last 2 games and 4 of 6. The Flyers have dropped 3 straight. St. Louis is 23-10 on home ice this season. Philly is 9-25 on the highway.

Starting Bankroll                           $1,500.00
Profit/Loss                                       $39.75
Current Bankroll                           $1,539.75

All picks are for entertainment purposes only with no guarantees implied. Any money wagered is at your own risk.

Good luck!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Texas Lottery Chronicles- "All or Nothing"

What up my little gamblin' degens? Today we try to siphon a lil' cashola from da' man with another Texas Lottery scratch off ticket. A few extra greenbacks will come in handy when the Zombie Apocalypse is upon us.

 
We're a 3-1 dog on "All or Nothing," but we'll consider the glass half-full until we learn otherwise.


To turn a profit on our $5 investment we must first scratch off our 12 numbers at the bottom of the ticket. Next, we scratch off the numbers that match ours on the Game Board section. The numbers surrounded in black are the money numbers. We count the number of matches and look at the Prize Legend to determine how much ammo we can afford to take out a few of the undead.

Let's pull out our lucky quarter and get this party started!

After scratching off the first six numbers we only have one match. I guess our best hope is to whiff the last six and collect 500 big 'uns.


On our second line we matched four more numbers, giving us five total. If we look at the Prize Legend, we see that we won...nothing.


Well that sucks. 

Looks like we're forced to go toe-to-toe with the Zombies. 

 
 She's with me. I like our chances.

Tickets                      12
Winners                     3
Investment             $65.00
Winnings                $20.00
Net                        ($45.00)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Cash Game at WinStar


As I mentioned in my previous post, Bobby Dee and I drove north to Oklahoma to compete in a $175 no-limit, freeze-out tournament at the WinStar Casino. Both of us fell a little short of cashing, so after a bite at one of the restaurants in the casino, we decided to try our luck at the cash games.

Our game of preference was $1-2 NLHE, but there were around 60 people on the waiting list. We only had a couple hours left before heading home, so that wasn't an option. The $1-3 NLHE only had 20-something on the list, so we signed up and waited. It took about half an hour before we were seated (at separate tables), and started pitching cards.

I bought in for $200 and limped from UTG with T-8 soooted, only to be raised and then 3-bet. For some reason, which I find hard to explain as I write this, I decided to call. A swing and a miss on the flop, and I was down $18 on the first hand.

The second hand I peeked down at A-J and open raised to $10, only to get re-popped to $24 pre-flop. Once again I didn't connect on the flop and had to fold to a continuation bet and found myself down another $24.

Damn.

My third hand was pocket nines. Since the action had been so wild in the first two hands, I decided to open limp from middle position, assuming someone would raise anyway. It folded to the button, who bumped it to $10. Both blinds mucked and I called the additional seven bucks. A ten high flop looked pretty good for my hand, so I tossed three redbirds and got called. The flop was another low, unconnected card, but I slowed down and checked. The villain bet $35 and then stared me down as I considered a call. I read this as weakness and made the call. The river was a queen, which was certainly in his range, but I still thought I could very well be ahead. Once again I checked and my nemesis slammed down a $80 bet along with the "I dare you to call" stare again. I still read weakness. A-K? Middle pair?

I made the tough call and was shown A-A.

Bad read.

Crap. Down $180 in three hands.

Ain't poker fun!

I pulled another $150 from my roll, thinking that I would call it a day if I lost it.

Things settled down for a lap or two as I didn't receive any playable hands. This was probably a good thing, giving me time to regain my composure and getting a better feel for the other players.

My next big hand came from the big blind. A middle position player raised to $10 and was called by "Mr. Stare Down." This time however, I was the one with pocket aces! I re-popped it to $25 and received calls from both players.

The flop hit me so hard it knocked me out of my chair. I got up, looked again, and almost fainted!


What's better than an A-A-K flop when you are holding A-A? Holding it with two players betting into you, that's what!

As first to act I checked and was pleased as villain #1 bet $25. Mr. Stare Down and I both called.

The turn was a repeat, with #1 pushing his last $25 in and MSD and I calling.

I pushed for my final $65 on the river and waited for the stare down from you know who. He hem-hawed before grudgingly making the call. After the hand of which I had gotten full value, I found myself sitting on $320, which was pretty good after such a horrible start.

A few hands later I held 3-5 of diamonds in the BB. With a raise to $10 and two callers, I decided to buy a ticket for this ride and tossed in $7. The flop was T-Q-6 with one diamond. I checked and was prepared to toss my hand, but it checked around. Another diamond hit on the turn and we checked around again. All I could figure is that I was up against a mid pair and/or A-K. The river was the jack of diamonds, giving me my flush. I bet $15, hoping someone may have completed a straight. One player folded, but the other raised to $50. I called and was shown a straight, so I scooped another nice pot.

When Bobby and I cashed out and headed for his truck, I was up $80 for the session. That's not a big win by any stretch, but after being down so much, I was pleased to walk away with a few extra shekels in my pocket.

We had a good time last Saturday and I'm sure there will be another trip in the near future. We'll probably take a few more players from our home game on the next trip.

Till next time, win the flips!


Monday, February 23, 2015

TJ and Me


 Bobby Dee and I decided to take a road trip to the WinStar Casino just across the state line in Oklahoma. There was a $175 buy-in, no-limit freeze-out tournament we wanted to give a go.

We left Waco at 7am, with a temperature a balmy (for February) 66 degrees. When we stepped out of Bobby's truck three hours later the temp had dropped 20 degrees and was continuing to sink. Brrrr!

I had never been to this property before, and let me tell you, it was impressive. A huge casino, similar in size to the MGM in Vegas. The poker room was top flight, and was buzzing Saturday night.


The first thing I did when we arrived was sign up for a player's card in hopes I might get some special room rate offers in the future. Next, we made the long walk to the poker room to register for the 11am tourney.

There were 175 players at the start, with 18 getting paid. First place paid a little north of $6,500, which is a nice roll-builder. The deep-stack structure was great! Blinds started at $50-100 and lasted 30 minutes. Combined with a $20,000 starting stack and you had the recipe for a fun tournament.

Running into well known poker players in Vegas is not that unusual, especially at WSOP events. The only player of note I have had the pleasure of actually playing against was Phil Ivey in last year's World Series, and that was only for a hand or two before he busted out. Getting an opportunity to play against a Poker Hall of Famer in a casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma had not crossed my mind, but after taking seat seven at my table, I looked to my left and saw TJ Cloutier seated in seat nine. Getting the chance to pitch cards with TJ certainly made my $175 investment worthwhile! And who knows, I might even cash.


TJ was very friendly to all of us, keeping the table entertained with his stories from both the poker world and his childhood. A couple stories stuck in my mind, the first about some business cards he received from the Poker Hall of Fame. He was supposed to give them out at the WSOP this summer. His title on the card read "Poker Hall of Fame Inductee."

"Hell, I was inducted in 2006" he said, "Shouldn't it read, 'Poker Hall of Fame Member?' I just threw 'em away!"

He also spoke about walking to Seals Stadium to sell soda pop at their baseball games when he was a kid.

"It wasn't an easy sale, because it was always so cold in Frisco." "One of the older guys was trying to push cold beer, but couldn't peddle even one because it was chilly."

"Well, the heck with YOU people," the vendor said, "Then I'll have one," sat down and popped one open!"

The whole table got a kick out of the story :)

I started quickly in the tourney, including two hands with TJ. Both times I held A-Q diamonds. In the first hand I turned the nut flush and he folded his A-Q hearts. I pulled a nice pot when my turn and river bets were called by another player with the K high flush. My second hand with TJ was once again A-Q diamonds. This time he got the best of me, hitting a straight on the the river and getting paid off with my TPTK.

I also picked off a big bluff on a 4-4-3-2-2 board with pocket queens. My biggest pot however, was won with what Rob refers to as the "dreaded pocket kings." I was in middle position and open raised 3X the BB, which seemed to be standard in the early portion of the tournament. I was three-bet by the button, who had been fairly active thus far, so I was confident it was likely I was ahead in the hand. I hit my set on a dry flop and just check-called. I rinsed and repeated the turn, but missed a bet when my opponent checked behind me on the river and tabled his pocket aces. At the first break (two hours in), I had built my stack up to a healthy $46K and was liking my chances.

I won a few small pots in the next couple hours, but lost almost half my stack on a bad beat. I raised 3X from UTG with pocket jacks and got three-bet by the button when he pushed all-in for $23K.

Crap.

My opponent hadn't gotten out of line thus far, so I knew he had something, so it was a tough decision. I made the call and was please to see my opponent table T-T. The flop was harmless, but the turn was another T and just like that, I was below $25K.

I didn't get many hands worth playing in the next hour, and when I did, I was whiffing the flop. And I mean whiffing, as in no hand and no draws. At the second break I was sitting at $29K, but the blinds and antes were getting serious. There were 74 players left.

We had a table change when we returned from our break and after four hours, my poker playing with TJ was over. I open pushed two hands, A-T and Q-Q, picking up the antes and blinds, and a limper or two. I also pulled in a decent pot when the UTG player open raised 3.5X the BB and was called by one player. I pushed my K-K and both villains folded.

I open-pushed my final hand from the cutoff with 9-9 and got called by the big stack at the table with his J-J. Unlike my pocket jacks, his held up and I went busto in 67th place.

Bobby Dee didn't last much longer, finishing 58th.

We then walked over to a New York themed burger joint and swapped stories over a couple of cheeseburgers and greasy fries. Good stuff!

We headed back down to the poker room and got on the waiting list for both the $1-2 (61 ahead of us on the list) and the $1-3 (22nd on the list). After a 30 minute wait, we were both seated at different $1-3 tables.

I'll write a separate post on the cash game. I don't want this go on so long that it rivals one of Rob's missives :)

Till next time, win the flips.