Tuesday, March 27, 2007 

Quote of the Day...

"To know the man is to know his poker"

I spat this out yesterday in the middle of a conversation involving some self analysis. I probably morphed the term from the many books I've read, but it was relevant to the conversation.

While it's easy to evaluate ones technical play, it's an entirely different matter to take into account everything else that makes that individual who he is. To understand these inner questions and self observations involving so much more than just poker eventually leads to very interesting answers specific to poker.

Without getting too damn deep here...point I'm making is that there is so much more to a persons poker game than statistics, odds, this session or that. If you truly want to understand your game or your opponents, learning about the man (or woman) away from the table is extremely important. Self awareness of your surroundings and circumstance can absolutely be the difference between a winning poker player and a losing poker player.

Labels: , ,

Monday, March 26, 2007 

Sunday's WSOP $650 on Stars

So I spent a good solid week anticipating last nights $650 WSOP satellite at pokerstars. The build up was considerable. I had a decent week in the poker trenches. I was having tremendously beneficial dialog with a great poker friend. I had peace and calm on the home front. I was ready for a great showing. However, 3 hours into the tournament, I found myself low on chips, blinds were building, it was time to make a move. I pushed with 99 and lost to 1010. Next!

Before I go into the think tank and analyze, I want to give a special thanks to Crazyman22 for the rail last night. Crazyman22 has been a great friend since we first met in Aruba for the UltimateBet WPT event back in 2002. Crazyman22 is one helluva poker player and I value and respect his feedback a great deal. Again, my thanks!

I would also like to thank everyone else who checked in last night on my progress. Having that support means the world.

Okay...now for the analysis.
I played a good tournament. I really believe I did. After I busted, Crazyman22 provided many words of wisdom, but one thought hit home. While I was still coming down off the adrenaline rush, he asks me, "what could you have done differently to still be in the tournament?". He posed this question not to take a shot, but to promote healthy review of my play. I've been working this question ever since.

Here's the deal. Blinds just went up to 75-150 with an ante. Average stack was hovering around 5000. I was sitting just under 2000 with blinds coming my way. I wasn't necessarily in a hurry at this point, but I did want to make a move during this level to get my stack near 6000. That was my goal. Out of nearly 700 entrants, we were down to around 250ish I believe. I had just moved tables several times in the last 30 minutes and was adjusting as well as I could. At this point though, I had several smaller stacks on this table and I felt really good about the 99 with position. One limper. I pushed, he calls. Turns over the 10 10. No help. So, the simple answer to the original question...had I not played this hand, I would have still been in the tournament. I do not regret this play though. So...deeper I shall go.

While it is not an excuse, I firmly believe I would have been in better position had I not moved from my first table. I had executed a great table image and was chipping away making great progress. My bets were very well respected. Only regret I had on this table was my KK out of position. I made it 600 with blinds at 50-100. One smooth caller who hits a flush on the turn with his A7. While I'm not sure his motivation at playing the A7 against my 5x bet...such as life. That hurt but I quickly rebounded. After moving tables though, I ended up on a very loose table. While my chips were dwindling and I felt the pressure to make a move, the end analysis I have laid out for myself was to wait another satellite or two before making any moves. The short stacks on this table were moving a lot of chips. While I wanted to take advantage of that, I feel I could have picked a better spot. I think there was a level of desperation among the short stacks and the potential for pushing and calling was high.

So, the lesson here? Still need a little luck. But in the end, be patient. Next hand after that 99 could have doubled me up. Next hand after that could have tripled me up.

I begin the battle again tonight. We'll get there!

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, March 23, 2007 

PokerStars on a Mac. Crossover vs. Parallels

Several months ago I purchased a MacBook Pro as I was fed up with the world of windows. Spyware this, adware that. It was just getting old. I've followed along with the fanboys on digg.com, ejoyed the marketing on television. It was time to switch. The only thing causing apprehension though as an online poker player, was my concern over the limitations involving software compatibility (PC vs. Mac). After a little research my mind was put at ease when I determined Bootcamp would allow me to run Windows on a separate partition. While I really wanted nothing more to do with windows, I was not willing to forgo my presence on PokerStars.com.

I made the purchase.

First and foremost. I am completely and thoroughly happy with my Mac purchase. After a slight learning curve, it was like the expansion of a whole new world. Everything just worked. And it worked well. No buyers remorse. No guilt. Probably the best purchase I've made in the last 5 years. My only regret is not having the balls to make the transition sooner.

So, now the true test. With poker being a serious source of income and enjoyment, it was now time to put Bootcamp to work. After a little fumbling around, I had it up and running and was quite pleased at the result. In essence, I could either boot into OS X or Windows. Pokerstars worked flawlessly in Bootcamp. However, a problem quickly emerged. I think an hour passed by as I sat there in a tournament and realized...with the amount of time I spend playing poker...what's the point of having a mac if I'm not able to utilize the Mac OS? I'm a multi-tasking fool and while I could tinker around in Windows, it just wasn't right. I was feeling like I was just given a great new gift on Christmas morning but I was grounded for a week and wasn't allowed to use it. There had to be another way.

Did some more research and was pleasently surprised to find Parallels; a program allowing Windows to run inside of OS X. The concept was great. Did a little reading and heard nothing but good things. Didn't bother testing it. Went straight to the Apple store up the street and purchased it.

$70 later, it worked exactly as it was touted. Boots right up in it's own little world directly inside of the Mac OS. Great. I now have the best of both worlds. At the time, Parallels was still in Beta and could only be run in it's own window. This was fine though. It was stable, I could multi table and still use all of my mac programs. Life was good.

Parallels continued to evolve. Mostly for the better. I was extremely excited when they released the coherence mode which allowed the programs running in Parallels to be their own windows which would appear seamless in the Mac OS. Long story short, made everything appear as one operating system. mmmmmm

Unfortunetly, the joy that was parallels soon turned into a very frustrating user experience.

It seemed that after the inception of coherence, Paralles would crash when playing PokerStars. Sometimes this would happen every few hours, sometimes several times an hour. Sometimes not at all during a session. But it was like it's own little side game of Russian Roulette. Irritation would quickly turn into outright anger when you're sitting there in a $500 buy in tournament, you look down and see AA, action comes to you and the whole damn Parallels system crashes. You are left helpless as your money sits there. While the poker software gives you a little bit of a buffer in the event of unforeseen disconnects, it often times took me in excess of 4 minutes to log back into Parallels and get into the poker client. By this time, my hand would be folded. Granted, the crashing was random and didn't just happen when I had premium hands...but it only took my AA crashing one time to know that this issue HAD to be addressed. I put up with this for several months hoping a fix would be implemented with new release of the software. No luck. Changed various settings, increased memory allocations, etc.

Back to my research.

I found several similar instances with people running PokerStars in Parallels and experiencing the same random crash bullshit. Questions were posed directly to Parallels in their forums with no response. People were mad.

With absolutely no fix in sight, I changed my search criteria in google. Instead of searching for a fix, I looked for an alternative. I instantly found reference to a program called Crossover produced by CodeWeavers.

Crossover works and it works well. I installed the trial version yesterday and did not look back. Crossover allows you to install Windows programs directly into your OS X. Granted, there's a lot of hocus pocus working in the background...but it works like a charm. Plus, you do NOT need a Windows license or OS install to utilize Crossover. Ahhhhhh.

After everything was said and done, I ran 6 windows last night in PokerStars and let them run for nearly 8 hours. I did not experience the slightest slowdown in performance. My Mac OS did not suffer any type of memory hit. Pokerstars windows acted as their own Mac windows. It was truly glorious. The only issue I had was the sound produced by PokerStars. I believe it has something to do with the way Crossover allows the compatibility to function being based off of earlier versions of Windows. I still have more research to do on this front. But at the end of the day, I did not have one issue relating to the loss of potential profit due to software. Crossover may very well be my long term solution.

While I'm a little bitter having spent $70 on Parallels and will need to plop down another $60 for Crossover, it will be well worth it. I thank Crossover for allowing a thorough, true trial version. Job well done.

So, Crossover Vs. Parallels? If I'm basing this questions solely on the use of poker software, then Crossover is the clear winner thus far. I will continue to monitor the situation but all signs are pointing to a long term relationship with Crossover. I hope this article proves useful to those exploring a similar path.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, March 20, 2007 

Am I a Donk?

I pose the following question:
Why is it every damn time you outplay your opponent, he calls you a Donk?

Granted, this doesn't happen every time. And I generally ignore chat while playing. But usually, after a decent match...I'll quickly converse and say, "GG" (good game). Hell, even after a bad match, I try to be polite and type "GG". Just seems to be the right thing to do. Lately, more and more people just go off the deep end and start yapping about how they can't believe my donk play, or what a donk move. They resort to the Donk reference before they evaluate the situation and ask themselves, "why did he make that play to begin with?".

So, I guess the message here...before you go abusing the Donk reference...ask your subconscious, was it really a Donk move? Were you out played? Were you out chipped 3-1? etc. etc. Ask yourself the tough questions and I promise to ask myself if I really did make a donk move. heh.

I suppose this post serves as a semi rant. Out of all this, I did manage to win a double shootout last night which affords me an entry into this coming Sunday's $650 Satellite to the WSOP. I'll try not to donk my way through the field come Sunday.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, March 19, 2007 

Getting Caught Up!

I feel like I say this every time I run bad, but I've been a horrible blogger these past few months. And yes, I've been running bad. To the point where I decided to take a few weeks off altogether. The break was two fold. One, to clear my head. And two, my bankroll took a considerable hit therefore the choice to break was easy. Whatever the reason though, I think the break was necessary.

And now for some bloggidy goodness...

Current Status...
Decided to get back in the mix this past Saturday. Enjoyed a relatively peaceful day and got some funds into Stars. What a pain in the ass this has turned into. While I won't go into great detail on the legalities and hindrances with funding your poker account these days, I will offer a gleam of hope...

Paytrucard.com is a godsend to the poker player. PokerStars.com actually suggested I give this company a try. Long story short, you sign up, you instantly receive a Visa debit account. You can associate it with your own credit card and be on your way. Full card number and expiration were provided immediately. I was able to get money onto stars in a matter of 5 minutes. I was very impressed.

I went to use them again this Saturday and was a bit paranoid when their site was down. However, this was a temporary issue and was resolved very quickly.

I also signed up for ePassporte.com and netspend.com but have decided not to utilize. The fee's and hoops with epassporte are just ridiculous. And netspend, while the option to fund via paypal was intriguing, it was not an instantaneous transaction. In the end, Paytrucard.com worked like a charm and they have me as a long term customer if they stay in the game!

With a little ammunition in my account, i was finally able to play some poker. Getting the money in to the account was like a warm, soothing effect. A calm came over me. It was actually kinda weird.

I took it easy Saturday night and played in 3 MTT's. Placed 29th in a $10 event. Put me plus $8 for the day. Cough. Hey, a profit is a profit, shut up!

Didn't have any great game plan for Sunday other than taking a stab at the Sunday Million on PokerStars.com. This tournament has been a thorn in my side for a long time. When my bankroll was healthy a while back, I opted to buy straight in to this tourney rather than hitting satellites. Just plain stupid. This ate through a good chunk of my roll without any significant wins.

I deiced to hit a 1 table satellite. Didn't really have any great run of cards but managed to survive. When the bubble came around, I was fortunate to hit a few key hands which put me in a great position to win outright. After a short battle, I took it down. At this point, it was early in the morning and decided to just relax and not play before the big tournament.

Finally came time to play and I pretty much went in my think tank (headphones and iTunes). Things started out slow but toward the end of the first hour, I made a few moves which backfired completely. I found myself with just over 4k in chips (players start with 10k). I was kicking myself in the ass but remained focused.

Over the next two hours I managed to battle back and found myself on a great run bringing me up to 28k in chips. I managed to sustain in this ballpark for quite a while. I took a little hit down to 19k but managed to double up with a bit extra which brought me up to 48k.

Long story short, I made it into the money. I was running cold at this point though and had to make a move shortly after the bubble burst. When I finally decided to stand my ground, this prompted a good 3 hand run which put me at 98k. I was in a great spot at this stage. I was entirely content with opening my play at this point and directing traffic as I found myself second in chips at my table.

Here comes my regrettable hand of the tournament. Sigh.
2000/4000 blinds w/ an ante.
Under the gun comes out with a raise, double the blind which makes it 8k. At this point, people were shoving good chunks and doing a lot of stealing. The raise in hindsight was fishy. Everyone folded to me in late position. I just call with KQd hoping to hit the flop obviously. Everyone else folds. Flop comes something like 742 rainbow.

At this stage I was actually pleased with the flop thinking it was relatively non threatening. He comes out betting the minimum 4k.

So, I'm going through my normal routine as to what he's holding. Early position, raises minimum, wants to get some value in there but probably doesn't have a high pocket pair. First to act, he probably would have just called. AK maybe? AQ? Maybe middle pair.

I ended up convincing myself I could get him off this hand. Going into the hand, he was at 48k, I was at 98k. After he put his 4k in, I pushed enough in to put him all in. I wanted the pressure back on him and take the pot right here.

He immediately calls and turns over AA. Yeah, I fell for it. Turn, no help. River, K. Naturally.

So, that severely crippled me. I should not have gotten into this situation to begin with. I should have been far more suspect of the raise before hand. I made a bad read at the end of the day. I really did not figure him for AA. However, shame on me for getting this much of my stack involved. If I could replay this hand, I probably should have raised my KQ pre-flop to determine where I really was.

Even though short stacked, I managed to survive two more levels into the payout. I finished 527th out of 6964. Overall, I played a good tournament and it was very nice getting into the money. That AA was really bugging me last night, but it was what it was.

To Sum It All Up...
Was a pretty good weekend of poker. Didn't over due it. Didn't stress myself out. Made a nice little addition to the newly revised bankroll. Certainly plan on continuing that trend.

Job Well Done...
I wanted to say Great Job to my buddy Matt Waldron who had a great run at the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star. Matt is a regular at Lifesabluff.com and represented the site with style. Matt did extremely well in day 1 and went in to day 2 with a decent stack. Unfortunately, the stars were not properly aligned and Matt finished a mere 30 or so spots from the money. What a horrible beat. You can read how it all went down by checking out the following thread.

Sick Bay...
I also wanted to shoot Frank Frisina well wishes. Frank is the creator/writer at Lifesabluff.com. Frank has been severely under the weather and I just wanted him to know my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. Damn collapsing lungs. Might think those things would stay inflated. If you're a fan of lifesabluff.com, you can read more about Frank's situation here.

What's Next?
As for next steps. The original intent this weekend was to actually start giving a hard look at the WSOP satellites. They are officially on my radar.

That's it for now. I'll be returning with a few new articles that can be viewed at www.lifesabluff.com and www.pokerxtreme.com.

Stay tuned!

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

About me