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Sunday, January 30, 2011

And The Beat(ing) Goes On

My online downswing continued yesterday, booking my fourth consecutive losing session. I don't know how many times I got it in with the villain drawing to three outs, and hitting every time. The highlight of my session was a hand I raised from middle position with A-Q offsuit. One caller and I saw a flop of A-Q-T. All three cards were popcorn, so I bet the pot +10%, making the villian pay for any flush draws. I got a call. The turn and river were both blanks. I bet both streets, getting it all-in on the river. The villain tabled K-J of popcorn, FLOPPING the royal flush!

It's not often you flop top two pair and are drawing dead.

OK, enough whining.
  
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Live poker has gone a little better. I made a $3 profit at J-Dawg's Poker Extravaganza last Thursday. It doesn't sound like much, but my $20 starting stack had dwindled to $5. I won a couple large pots near the end of the evening to pull ahead. It wasn't much, but at least I didn't lose :o)

The highlight of the evening was when Woody flopped a royal flush in a game of Omaha, winning the high hand jackpot for the night. Add that to the previously mentioned royal online, and that's two FLOPPED royal flushes in three nights. Wow.

Tin Man's $5 NLHE Tourney on Friday was rough. I got into a big pot with Bluffin' Bev when I raised from early position with A-Q and Bev pushed for 5 BB with pocket nines. The flop brought a Q, leaving Bev drawing to two outs. The turn was a blank, but the river was the dreaded nine.

The hand crippled me, and I was down to 5 BB myself when I was dealt pocket kings in the BB. Wheee! There were several limpers and I pushed my final $50T. Bev called with K-5 offsuit. The flop was dry, but the turn was a five, as was the river and I was done.

Ugh.

The $2 cash game went well. I won a big $10 pot off of Ron. I raised 3.5X the BB from UTG with A-K soooted. Ron pushed for $5 with pocket twos. Ron is a laggy player that tries to run over the table, often with success. I knew he could be pushing a wide range, most of which I was beating, soI called and spiked my king on the flop. Unlike the tournament, the kings held! Yea!

I cashed out with a $16 profit. Best night I've had in a while!

Till next time, win the flips.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Super Bowl XXX

I first became a fan of the Dallas Cowboys as a youngster watching the "Ice Bowl" on TV. I was amazed that anyone could play football under such brutal conditions.

My father had a friend, Ray Renfro, who became an assistant coach in the 1970's under Tom Landry. Texas Stadium had just opened and Ray invited us to come to Dallas and stay in the same hotel as the Cowboys, then attend the game. At that time the team stayed in a hotel, even for home games. Coach Landry felt that the team would be better prepared on game day if they were together the day before to go over game plans and any last minute changes.

We jumped at the chance and headed to big 'D' to see the Pokes take on the Los Angeles Rams in only the third game ever played at Texas Stadium. We met several of the Cowboys at the hotel (I even caught the same elevator as Coach Landry, but was too scared to say anything), and got to join the team Sunday morning for the team breakfast. I bet that would never happen these days!

We had several players at our table, including Mike Ditka and Walt Garrison. Pretty heady stuff for a 14 year old boy.

Later that morning we caught a bus to the stadium. Wow, it was something to see! I had attended several games at the Cotton Bowl, so this was quite an upgrade for the Cowboys. Our seats were on the 40 yard line, lower deck, behind the Cowboys bench. It was a great game, with Dallas beating the Rams 21-7.

After the game, we got to ride the TEAM bus back to the hotel. Talk about fun! Sitting to my right was Roger Staubach and Bob Hayes with Leroy Jordan and Dan Reeves front of me. Needless to say, it was a memorable weekend.

After that experience, I was a huge fan of the team. My father had followed them since their inception, and we always watched the games together on Sunday afternoons. It was a time of bonding as rooted for our favorite players.

Fast forward 20 years. The Cowboys were hosting the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game. Before the game, I gave Dad a call.

"I've always wanted to go to a Super Bowl" I said. "If the Cowboys win, lets go!"

My father answered as he did quite often.

"I'll have to ask your mother."

Fortunately, two things happened. The Cowboys won and Mom gave him her blessing to go to Arizona for Super Bowl XXX.

Our seats were upper deck, end zone, but I didn't care. We were at the Super Bowl! Dad's health had begun to deteriorate due to congestive heart failure and we had to stop a couple times on the way to our seats so he could catch his breath. When we got there, we were surrounded by fans of both the Cowboys and Steelers, plus a few who didn't care either way.

The game was close and exciting, with the Cowboys prevailing. We had taken a shuttle from our hotel to the stadium, with the driver telling us that the shuttle would leave 30 minutes after the game was over. When the game ended, we decided to stick around for the trophy presentation, which was happening right in front of us. Needless to say, we missed our shuttle.

It was late and we were hungry. We caught a city bus to a local cafe and had dinner while figuring out how to make the 20 mile trip back to our hotel.. Dad and I discussed the game we had just witnessed, and also some other games we had attended together over the years.

I still remember the special feeling of having shared this day with him. It's a memory I wouldn't trade for anything in the world!

And it happened 15 years ago today.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Streets of Pain

Streets of pain sinkin' like a rock in a river
Streets of pain never felt so cold
Streets of pain lower than a snake can slither
Not to mention all the stories never told
                              -Richard Marx

Runnin' bad, variance, downswing, whatever you call it, it ain't no fun. If you've been following my goal chart on the right side of the screen, you've noticed I topped out at 10% last week. Since then, it's gone 9%, 8%, and now 6%.

Last night was no exception. At the WBCOOP, my first three starting hands were A-T, A-A, and A-K. Because of my awesome poker skills, I turned my $3000T starting stack into... $2900T.

Woot!

The A-T and A-K both wiffed on the flop. I c-bet and was called on one and raised on the other. The A-A was a winner, but just a minimum amount. My final hand was running A-K into A-A. The villain was raising light from late position and I thought I finally had a chance to step on his toes. He raised 4X from the cutoff and I pushed for 14BB from the SB. Of course, he insta-calls with the nuts, but that's the way it goes when you're runnin' bad.

Later last night, the 18 man tourney I was playing was down to three players. I pushed my K-Q soooted into A-K for 5BB. What are the odds of running into that big of a hand at a three player table? Pretty high when the poker gods turn on ya'!

OK, I've vented and feel better now. Time to take a look at some hand histories to be sure it's truly variance and not a leak that is causing this blood letting.

Till next time, win the flips.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

And The Winner Is...

Did you see the list of Bluff Magazine 2010 People's Choice Awards?

Favorite Poker Moment was Phil Ivey winning his eighth gold bracelet at the WSOP. For me, it was Mizrachi's WSOP, culminating in final-tabling the Main Event.

Other winners included Favorite Online Poker Site- PokerStars, Favorite Poker Blog- Wicked Chops Poker (barely edging Small Potatoes Poker),  Favorite Vegas Poker Room- Bellagio, and Favorite Poker Forum- 2+2. My votes are Full Tilt, Tao of Poker, Venitian, and 2+2.

Joe Stapleton of the "Big Game" won the Favorite Announcer Award, edging Gabe Kaplan (High Stakes Poker) by only one percent. I'm not familiar with his work, but he must be pretty good to beat Kaplan and Norman Chad, who would split my vote.

"High Stakes Poker" was voted Favorite Poker TV Show, dominating the field. I certainly would agree with this pick. I really enjoy watching Dwan play cards on the show.

So, what were your picks?

Till next time, win the flips.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

One Of Those Days

I got back from Dallas last night, but it was too late to play any poker. So after three nights of no virtual felt, it was back on the horse.

It was one of those days.

Got it in good. Lost. Got it in bad. Lost. Flips? Lost.

I did finally ship one tournament which kept it from being a disastrous day. My final tally for the day was minus $23, not too bad, all things considered.

Tomorrow starts our bowling league, so no poker until at least Tuesday.

Till next time, win the flips (unlike me).

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Road Trip

Ms. Lucki Duck and I will be spending our weekend at the Dallas Market Center. If you've never been, it's an incredible market for retailers. All 50 states and 78 countries are represented at the show, descending on Dallas to display their products. Jewelry, furniture, floral arrangements, glassware, electronics, etc. There's not much they don't have. And at wholesale prices!

The Dallas Market is housed in two buildings. Market Hall is a five story building and is where JFK's motorcade was heading on that fateful day in 1963. The larger building, the World Trade Center is 15 stories (I think), and you need the better part of a week to see the entire show. Planning is essential when you only have a couple days to spend.

Our slogan is "Gifts And Collectibles From Around The World," so we will be looking for new items for our gift store and website. It will also be fun to visit old friends and place orders with some of our current vendors. Plus, Ms. Lucki Duck is in her element and it will be fun to watch her work. She has a Third Degree Black Belt in shopping!

Till next time, win the flips.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Online Poker Funds Seized

So, what do we think of this?

Over $8 million has been seized by authorities in the state of Washington since last October. Coupled with the feds in New York seizing $34 million last June, that's a lot of lost money for online poker players in those states.

Read the details here.

Should we be worried that our online bankrolls might not be safe?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Seven From Heaven

We had eight runners plunk down $5 each for Tin Man's NLHE Tourney last Friday. Jaime and Chas missed again this week and we figured it was because they probably lost their bankroll at the casino last week. I hope we're wrong.

I was unusually active early in the tournament, but I kept picking up good starting hands. I won a nice pot off of Bluffin' Bev early, but lost most of it to Philly Fanatic a few hands later. I busted in fifth when I  missed the flop and tried a stop and go against Bev with 6BB left. Unfortunately, she hit top pair and called.

Dead Duck!

Bev and Philly Fanatic chopped first with Lil' Annie Okie taking third.

The $2 cash game was pretty wild. I couldn't get any traction and had to re-buy three times. I finally won a few hands, buiding my stack above the $8 level when I was dealt pocket eights. The flop brought another snowman and I bet 1/2 pot. Bluffin' Bev was my only caller. The turn paired the board, giving me a full house. I bet out again and Bev stayed with me. The river was harmless and I pushed for my last $4. Bev hemmed and hawed, but finally called with her two pair and I pulled a nice pot.

I stayed around the $15 level when I got into another large pot, this time with Tin Man. I limped from UTG with T-9 offsuit. Philly and Tin Man both called. The flop of T-9-7 hit me hard and I bet 2/3 pot. I figured I would either get called by a straight draw or maybe top pair, but I had to re-think the hand when Tin Man pushed for his last $3.

Could he have a set? Tin Man usually plays his middle pairs strong, raising 4-5X the BB. He had limped, so I didn't really think he had a pocket pair. That left the J-8 and 8-6 for the flopped straight as the only hands that I was behind. Hitting the perfect flop for your hand doesn't happen too often, so I made the call and was thrilled to see him table T-7 for top and bottom pair, leaving him a two outer. WHEEE! Big pot coming my way!

The turn?

Seven.

Sometimes poker sucks.

Till next time, win the flips!

Friday, January 14, 2011

You Can't Stop Him, You Can Only Hope To Contain Him

J-Dawg was en fuego last night at his Poker Extravaganza.

Starting with a $20 buy-in in our dealer's choice limit game, he cashed in for a record $90! Not only did he pull pot after pot, he also won the High Hand Jackpot with quad Kings.

Unbelievable!

Glass Man had a grip on the HHJ most of the night when he flopped a double full house at Coconut (play all three hole cards). The flop was 9-9-6 and Glass Man had 6-6-9 in his hand. The river brought the fourth 9 and also won him a nice pot. However, his hold on the HHJ was crushed by the J-Dawg Express.

We couldn't stop him and couldn't even contain him as he ran over the table. Pretty lousy host in my opinion!

Ray Ray and I were the only other winners last night, cashing out for $33 and $30 respectively. Ollie the Accountant, Bobby Dee, and Stamps were the big losers, with Jimbo also taking a bit of a hit.

The food was good as was the company, plus I took home a little coin. Not a bad way to spend a cold January evening.

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I mentioned Chris Moneymaker's run a couple days ago at the  Pokerstars Caribbean Adventure Main Event. Unfortunately, he busted in 11th place, just missing the final table, which will be televised. A nice run though. Better luck next time Chris.

Until next time, win the flips.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tin Man's Home Game

We had a light turn out for the tournament at Tin Man's last Friday, with only seven showing up. Jaime and Chas were in Shreveport donating big bucks to the Louisiana casino gods, so that thinned the crowd.

Bluffin' Bev busted me in third (bubble). The blinds were high and even the chip leader Random Order had less than 10BB, so it was really a bingo game at this point.

I was down to 6BB when I looked down at pocket tens. Bev limped, RO folded and I raised 2.5X, looking for action with a strong hand. Bev called and the flop came A-J-10 rainbow. Bev min bet and I put her on an ace, maybe even two pair. I shoved my set and she insta-called. I was confident I was good here, until Bev flips over K-Q for the flopped straight.

Wimmens!

The board didn't pair, so I was out and headed over to the $2 cash game.

I had more success there, leaving with a $17 profit. I know that doesn't sound like much, but that's over 8 buy-ins. Not bad.

There were a couple of interesting hands played. In one, I raised three limpers pre-flop with 2-3 offsuit and took it down. Of course, I HAD to show that one!

"Okay, we're at war now!" said Tin Man. LOL.

I tried to buy an orphan pot on the river a little later, but learned it's hard to push someone of their hand when they've slow-played quad jacks.

"I told you we're at war!" hollered Tin Man as he stacked chips, most of them mine.

We cashed out at midnight and Bluffin' Bev asked if I would give her a ride home. "Give a ride to the lady that busted me out of the tournament?" I asked.

"That's right...loser."

So, after dropping Bev off, I headed back to the Duck blind.

Sometimes, I think I'm just too nice :o)

Till next time, win the flips!

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Moneymaker Effect (Updated)

Update: Through day 2, Moneymaker is fifth in chips, with ~650K. There are 173 players left.

Did you see where Chris Moneymaker is in the top ten after day 1B of the Pokerstars Caribbean Adventure Main Event in the Bahamas?

The $10K buy-in event began with over 1,500 runners, creating a top prize of $2.3 million. Going into day 2 today there were 645 players left, including Moneymaker, who was sitting in sixth with over 217K chips.

As you probably know, Moneymaker won the WSOP Main Event a few years ago, but has pretty much disappeared since. He is credited with creating the poker boom of the '90s with his win over Sam Farha, but I think his victory is only part of the reason for the rapid expansion of poker.

The "pocket cam," created for the World Poker Tour is just as important (if not more so) for the popularity of the game we love to play. Have you tried to watch some of the ESPN replays of the WSOP Main Event from the late '80s and early 90's? Without the pocket cam, it is B-O-R-I-N-G! Almost as exciting as watching paint dry.

Unwatchable.

If the ability to see the player's hole cards had not come along, no one would have seen Moneymaker's run to the championship. And poker would not be nearly as popular as it is today.

That being said, I hope Chris Moneymaker makes a deep run in this tourney, maybe even a final table. He seems to be a good guy and it would be nice to see him get the monkey off his back.

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I played three sets of four games on Full Tilt tonight. I bricked the first two sets at the $6 level (18 man) for a $52 loss. I had been dabbling at the $11 level the last few weeks, so I decided to play my last set of 18 man tourneys at that level. I managed two firsts and a third in the four tournaments, which turned an ugly night into a big winner.

Gotta love that!

Till next time, win the flips.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

J-Dawgs Poker Extravaganza!

We had 11 runners show up at J-Dawgs last night. Farmer Harry brought pizza (double topping, YUM!) and J-Dawg was trying to get rid of the last of his Christmas candy. He hired the right bunch for that job!

Left to right on your radio dial we had J-Dawg, Cell, Bobby Dee, Ollie the Accountant, Jimbo, Farmer Harry, Stamps, Ray-Ray, Woody, Riverboat J, and yours truly.

We all started this dealer's choice limit game with $20. Stamps was the big winner, cashing in a little north of $60. Riverboat J doubled his buy-in, cashing a little over $40. My evening ended with a $1.50 profit.

WOOT!

A buck and a half doesn't sound like much, but considering I only won one hand in three hours of play, I was pretty happy. The hand I won was Omaha. I rivered quad 8's and Farmer Harry had a full house, so we had built a large pot. My quads held up all night as the best hand and I won the High Hand Jackpot, which was almost $13.

That's how you show a profit for the night when winning just one pot boys and girls!

We hadn't been able to get together in quite a while because of the holidays and I think everyone had a lot of fun. Hopefully, we can get back to playing weekly again now that things have settled down.

Till next time, win the flips!

Happy trails.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Good Start

I just finished a nice set of SNGs on Full Tilt.

I played four $6-18 man tourneys and finished with two firsts and a third. Cha-ching!

Off to a good start in 2011!

Till next time, win the flips!

Happy trails.

Monday, January 3, 2011

2010, A Look Back

I guess I'm a few days late on reviewing the past year, but promptness (is that a word?) has never been my strong suit.

I was pleased with my 2010 online results. My big score was definitely winning a seat to the WSOP last summer. (Click here for the details). While there, I had the opportunity to have lunch with Jonathan Little, who has won a couple WPT tournaments and a WPT Player of the Year title. Part of the package was also three nights at the Rio in Vegas. Nice!

Full Tilt is where I played the majority of my online poker. I purchased the NinjaFT software in the summer, which enabled me to multi-table and still turn a profit. I ended 2010 up a little over $1,100 for the year on Full Tilt.

Although on a much smaller scale (small potatoes), I like to do the same thing that Barry Greenstein does and donate my online tournament winnings to charity. I require two things of the charities I support. First, the charity must benefit children. Second, at least 75% of the donations must go to the kids that the charity benefits. I've seen too many 501-C-3 designated charities that keep way too much of the donated money to pay for their overhead. Not on my dime.

Here's the list of charities that will receive a check from Lucki Duck.

Make A Wish Foundation
St Jude Children's Research Hospital
HOT Sertoma Club
Special Olympics

My live poker winnings? Sorry, I keep those. Gotta keep building that bankroll!

Till next time, win the flips!

Happy trails.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Time To Cash Your $25,000 Bellagio Chips

Remember the robbery at the Bellagio last month? A man wearing a riding suit with his face hidden by a motorcycle helmet walked in and pulled a gun, escaping with around one and a half million dollars in Bellagio chips valued up to $25,000 each.  The suspect fled the casino on his motorcycle and remains at large.

The Bellagio has announced that it is discontinuing use of its $25,000 chip. The chips must be redeemed by April or will be worthless. Of course, if you walk in and cash a pocketful of them, unless you're Doyle Brunson, Sam Farha, Tom Dwan, or one of the other regulars at the "Big Game," security might want to have a discussion with you.

As Josie likes to say, "Play smart." I think MGM Resorts (owners of the Bellagio), played this one very smart!

Because I'm a small potatoes player, I don't have any $25K chips that I need to cash, but you "Whales" like Memphis MOJO and Wolfman, might want to get to Vegas right away and cash in!

Till next time, win the flips!

Happy trails.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Champagne & A Kiss. Hello 2011!

I brought in 2011 at Tin Man's $5 NLHE Tournament last night. We had a nice spread of munchies. I brought a couple of pizzas, Debbie came with sandwiches, Big Daddy showed up with chips and dips, Philly Phanatic made brownies and also brought drinks and hosts Tin Man and Lil' Annie Okie provided snackfood and a bottle of champange.

Music Man arrived with a cake that read "Happy New Year Donkeys!"

LOL.

The tourney went well. We had 12 runners, with the top three getting paid. We were on the bubble with two big stacks (Rudy and Music Man) and two shorties (Chas and me). Chas had been the chip leader for most of the final table, but lost most of her stack on an interesting hand.

Tin Man pushed from UTG for five BB, Debbie called, Music Man reraised all-in, Chas called, and Debbie called, putting her all-in. Chas had everyone covered. I couldn't wait to see what everyone turned over, there had to be some huge hands for this much action!

Here's what was tabled;

Tin Man, J-J
Debbie, K-K
Music Man, A-A
Chas, K-2 soooted!

Yep, Chas called an all-in, a call, and a reraise all-in with K-2 soooted!

Guess which hand won?

Wrong, the aces held! Tin Man and Deb were felted, and Chas was now the short stack.

She didn't die easily, winning three consecutive all-in bets, but I finally knocked her out when I rivered three of a kind. After that, I went on a rush and ended up chopping first place with Music Man.

I also picked up another $5 in the cash game, winning a nice pot on the final hand of the night and of the year. Gotta love going out a winner!

As midnight approached, we opened the bubbly and I poured glasses for everyone. When the clock struck twelve, we toasted the new year. Tin Man and wife Lil' Annie Okie kissed and then Tin Man laid one on me!

Luckily it was on the cheek!

With a start like that, it's gonna be an interesting year.

Till next time, win the flips!

Happy New Year everyone!