Thursday, January 31, 2008

Buster The Dragon

After I finished my blog this morning, I hung out around the house for a little while. I watched my shows, including a new live set that was on MHD, the hi-def music channel, featuring Keith Urban.

I played a little heads up and a $60 45 player sit-n-go. I basically didn't play a hand until the blinds hit 75-150. It folded to me in the small blind, and with 1100ish stack, and someone with the same amount of chips in the big, I pushed 5 6 off suit, and he made the call with 77. Oops, gg me. Altogether on the day I lost about $50.

After poker I went home for dinner. Jeff Corwin was on Conan last night, which inspired me to get a pet. Not a dog or a cat though, because you have to take care of those and walk/feed them. So after some discussion with my brother, we made our way down to Animal City. I was originally planning on getting a turtle. Also, I considered an iguana, but they were kind of mean and bite. So after some consideration, we decided with a bearded dragon.

That is what he looks like. His name is Buster. He is not a fire-breathing dragon, just a medium dragon. I like him because he requires almost no work. All I have to do is feed him every other day or so, and sift out his sand so it doesn't harden. Also he has these lights on top of his cage that he can sun bake in. I have to turn those on and off once a day.

I think we are going to be good friends because Buster is incredibly lazy, just like me. He literally does not move for several minutes to maybe an hour on end. If you were to sit and watch him, you would be so bored after like three minutes, because you're lucky if you get a blink out of him in that period of time. He really is completely motionless. That works out though, because if you want him to sit on your lap, or on my desk while I'm doing things, he will behave and not run away. He is completely harmless. I was getting a little irritated though at one point. He eats live crickets. So there is nine or ten crickets in his cage right now, and while we were at the house, he was sitting there doing nothing as usual when the crickets decided to have a little fun. They were literally walking all over him. They climbed up his legs and tail and were just hanging out on his head, and Buster wasn't doing a damned thing about it! This is supposed to be his prey, and they were literally walking on his face with their legs on his mouth and he was just allowing this. Very embarrassing if you ask me.

So I brought Buster back to the house, and showed him to the family. My mom was a little scared of him, but he is fine. I ate dinner and watched a little TV with the family. This 11 year old kid was on Don't Forget the Lyrics. He got the easiest songs in the world, like "Root root root for the home team, __ __ __ __ __ __ __ " and "ABC, its easy as __ __ __" Hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line for these no brainers, give me a break.

When I left my brother came with me to help me bring Buster's cage in because it was really heavy.

Tomorrow I'm going to UHart. I'm not sure where I'll stay, so I might not check in until Saturday.

Until then,

SAKE and Basketball

I didn't get this up last night because I was really tired, but I didn't want to miss another entry, so I figured I would just do it first thing in the morning.

Yesterday was basketball day, so I didn't play (much) poker. I had plans to go to this restaurant on the Silas Deane with Ryan and some of his family. It's called Sake Hibachi or something like that. It's one of those Japanese places where the grill is on the table right in front of you and the cooks come out and make the food and entertain you. Our guy was funny, he was doing all these cool tricks spinning his cooking utensils around his fingers and such. The food was really good as well. It was a lot of fun and I'd like to go back sometime with a big group of people.

After that we went back to Ryan's and played a little Rock Band. He came back to my house because he wanted to come along to basketball practice. He brought along his 100,000+ song iTunes library, so I could get some of the songs I wanted. The one thing that sucked was the fact that my C Drive is now full, so I could only upload about 100 of the 500 songs I was going to get. I don't know what I'm going to do about that, but I'll take care of it later.

Next we went to basketball. I was kind of disappointed we only had five kids show up. We did some defense work, we went over the plays, and did another drill where I had them practice taking it in and running people over while trying to take the lay up, and draw the foul. Some kids weren't there who I wanted to participate in the drill, but maybe we will do it again next week. Not sure yet. Next week I think I am going to call everyone a few days before practice to make sure that they will be there. It's playoff time, and they need to know that it's one and done. If we lose it's over, so I think it's crucial to have everyone at practice so we can have the necessary chemistry in the post season.

After basketball, we came back and both played a little online. Ryan won a 45 player SNG, and I won a $10 omaha hi-lo 9 player SNG as well. In addition I played a $12 180 player SNG and busted 20 minutes in when QJ limp/called a 12+ BB push when I had KQ. Obviously I never had a chance. My heads up was a little volatile on the night. I started off losing three $55 matches in a row. So I did the responsible thing and moved up to try and quickly regain my losses. I won a $110 match, coming back from a 9 to 1 chip deficit. Altogether on the night I had a small loss, but it was pretty much an uneventful night.

Tonight I'm going home for dinner, so I'll check in after that.

Until then,

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Two Day Re Cap

So last night I didn't post because I was really tired. I had woken up at 2:30 AM the previous day, so I should have slept later yesterday, but instead I woke up a little before 2 AM because someone called me and woke me up, and I couldn't fall back asleep. So I was really tired all day. I didn't play any MTTs because I didn't really feel like committing that much time. Instead I played a couple of satellites and won two seats. One was into the Sunday Million, but I don't think I will play this week because of the SuperBowl. The other was a 250 FPP rebuy which got me into the 10k FPP direct qualifier to San Remo, Italy. The buy in for that is 5,000 Euros, and takes place on April 1st. Other than that I just pretty much lazed around all day.

Today was a little better. I woke up around 6 AM. I started playing at noon, bubbling the 20k. In better news I finished 11th in an $8 tournament for about $75 and 8th of 2500 in the $5 rebuy for over $1,000.

Tomorrow I will add more music to iTunes, let you know about that, and give some hand analysis. But its after 2 AM right now, so I'm pretty tired and going to bed.

Until then,

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Solid Score, Getting Back to Normal

So today started around 2:30 AM. I got up, lounged around for awhile, watched Price is Right, and started to play some poker. I played heads up matches for awhile, winning 4/5 on the day. At 5 AM I started MTTs.

The brief schedule for today looked like this

1 $20 180 player SNG
5:00AM - $33 10k guarantee
5:15 AM - $5 rebuy
6:00 AM - $33
7:00 AM - $11
8:00 AM - $11 rebuy
10:00 AM - $8 rebuy
12:00 noon - $20 20k guarantee

I was chip leader in the $20 SNG with about thirty players left, and somehow managed to bubble. I had 22,000 in chips in the big blind and had 10 10. It folded to the button who raised 4x the blind to 1600. He had about 13,000 in chips. The 4x raise tells me that he has a hand, but doesn't want to get played back at. Still though 10 10 is too strong of a hand to fold or flat call a button raise, so I put him all in, knowing he would call, but also knowing that I had his range beat. He called with AK and won the flip. Now I was down below average at 9,000, which is how I managed to finish one out of the money in 19th.

The $5 rebuy went much better. There was about 500 players to start. I was in for like $45, but ended the rebuy period with over 10k. I wound up finishing in second place for $1320. This has been my first considerable score since starting the blog. There were two key hands which allowed me to coast to a massive chip lead at the start of the final table. With blinds at 1000-2000, I had an average stack of over 40,000. We were already well into the money, and there was only three or four tables left. One player limped from middle position, and to his immediate left, I decided to raise more than 3x with A 9 offsuit. I was in position, and likely had the best hand. Only the limper called my raise.

The flop was good for me, 8 9 3 rainbow, giving me top pair top kicker. He checked, and I bet 7500, and he made the call. The turn was a 7, and he quickly checked. I bet 20,000, leaving only 16,000 behind. He again made the call, and quickly checked the 5 river. I was very confident I had the best hand, figuring his most likely holdings were J9 - K9. I pushed in my last 16,000, and he called with A 8, leaving him crippled. I raked in the 100k+ pot, putting me in the top 10 in chips.

The next key hand was on the final table bubble. We were five handed at my table. Three of us had over 400k, and the other two were shortstacked with 80-100k. The blinds were 5k-10k. I raised UTG(first position) with Q 10 off suit. It folded to the big blind, another 400k+ stack, who made the bone headed play of minraising. So obviously I call gettingover 4 to1.

The flop came 89 J, giving me the niggedy nuts. The big blind checked. I knew he had a monster hand that he was so noobishly slowplaying, so I bet out about 65k, knowing the check-raise was coming. Sure enough, he moved all-in, and I called instantly. He showed AA, and was drawing almost completely dead.

I came into the final table with over 900k, more than double second place. The first hand of the final table I picked up pocket aces, and busted a shortstack, giving me over 1 million in chips with 8 players left.

Later on, with 5 players left, I raised as the big stack with J 9. The small blind make the call, with about 350k in his stack. I had over 900k, still the chip leader. The flop came down J 9 3 and he checked. I bet right out for 50k. The small blind minraised to 100k. Sweet. I moved all in and he called with AJ. Turn, A. D'oh. So that about evened out all of our stacks. Four handed it was pretty close, but I managed to get down to heads up with about even stacks.

A few minutes into heads up play, I was trailing 1.5million to 1.1 million. With blinds at 20-40k, I raised on the button to 100k with AK. He reraised to 280k. I reraised all in, and he called with AQ. "Holdddddd!" I shouted. I was delighted to see the flop of KQ8. However the turn brought another Q, and I was eliminated in second place. How much more obviously rigged can one site get. ; )

I was very happy with the way I handled this tournament. I played the shortstack patiently at the final two tables, being lucky to pick up a few hands, but not pushing anything I shouldn't have out of frustration before that. I was down to about 60k with 8000-16,000 blinds. Before the blinds hit 10-20k, I was over 400k, and well back in the game.

I also made kind of a good fold at the final table, 4 or 5 handed. I had A 6 on the button and raised. I was faced with a reraise, where it looked like I still had fold equity. I considered pushing, since the big blind paused for a few moments before raising. I was thinking he might have two face cards, but I decided to let it go. I was right about him having two face cards. Unfortunately they matched. He showed KK.

I also cashed in the $11 rebuy for $50 or so. On the day altogether, I was up over $1200.

While playing the $5 rebuy, I began chatting with a guy who was from France, who spoke English quite fluently. We started talking on AIM. He had a microphone, so I could hear him talk through my speakers. It was pretty cool, though I would just type back to him on AIM since I don't have a microphone. He helped me with French a little, and I gave him some pointers on poker. He was excited to be playing they Sunday Hundred Grand, an $11 tournament on Sundays with a massive 20,000 player field. I hope to keep communicating with him in the future so I can practice French. When I was in Europe this past October, I felt like I was ignorant being in a culture that speaks no English, and I don't know any of their language, like in Barcelona and Rome. I did OK in Paris, because I took French in high school, but since then I've wanted to get good at it. It's almost impossible to do though because in order to be fluent in any language, I believe you have to be either truly gifted, or live in a culture where the language is spoken. So hopefully this will at least keep me practicing my French on a more consistent basis.

I stopped playing poker around 2 PM, not registering for anymore tournaments because I was tired and had to get to the bank. A friend of mine came up to give me some cash so that I could send money to his account. It wasn't until he got home that we realized there is a problem with his account that he needs to sort out before he is allowed to make real money transactions. So he is taking care of that and I'll probably send the money again later tonight or tomorrow, since it showed back up in my account, and not in his. He was here for maybe 20 minutes, after that I went to the bank and got lunch.

I called my friend Josh to make plans for next weekend, which I will have off from basketball. He was actually on his way back from his girlfriend's college in Massachusetts, to Marist in New York, while I was getting lunch at 99. He stopped in and we ate together. It was pretty fun. While we were eating out other friend Jake called him. Jake is on some Naval boat for school in Panama, which I didn't even know until he called. Josh looked at the number and was confused by the 011 area code. "What planet is that from?" I pondered. Planet Panama apparently.

So next weekend is our other friend's birthday, so he will be back in town, and we will probably all get together then.

After that meal, I came home and tried to help my friend sort out his issue with JokerStars. Then I started my blog, and now I'm going to bed. I'm getting pretty tired. I'll check in tomorrow.

Until then,

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Crank Dat First Place

As I write this, It's almost 2:00 PM on Saturday afternoon. I've lived Friday and Saturday as one day, which is why there was no Friday post.

My day started around 6 PM Friday night. I got up and showered, and Ryan came over around 8:30. I still hadn't eaten, so we decided to get dinner or breakfast or whatever you want to call it. I convinced him to come along to all you can eat China buffet, next to KMart on Route 30. Afterwards we came back and just bro'ed out at my apartment for awhile. He played a little on his account while I watched Dr. Phil, and my favorite episode of Crossroads from the MHD channel. It features Little Big Town and Lindsey Buckingham from Fleetwood Mac. Ryan scored second in a 45 player SNG, which is always good.

I hopped on when he was done and played a little $55 heads up. My first match was pretty disappointing. The guy had a slight chip lead after a few hands, when we got it all in on the turn, on a board of 10 3 4 3. I had 10 10, he had 43. I totally outplayed him there ; ). JK obv. So after that hand, I had him 2600-400 in chips. He then proceeded to win like every key pot for the rest of the match, and I wound up losing. I don't even remember how it happened. No worries though I won the next match in level one. My 22 vs AK all in preflop. I managed to pull what's known as a "sick hold" and was back to even. Overall I won 3 or 5 matches heads up I think.

I also played a $22 6 handed double shootout to the $530 Sunday Million this week. The way that works is 36 players start the tournament, six players on each table. Instead of consolidating tables as players get eliminated, like a standard tournament, each table plays until there is a winner, and the six winners play the final table. The winner of the second table gets the seat in the Sunday Million, and everyone else at the final table wins $38.

So I started off playing tight, as usual when this hand came up.
Here is a URL address where you should be able to see the hand actually play out. I couldn't get the link to work for some reason, so just copy paste that into the URL. You may need to create a free account with the site in order to see it. Or just keep reading, whatever.

The player in first position four handed paused for awhile before limping in for 100. We both had a little more than our starting stacks of 1500 chips, he had only 15 more chips than I did. Now when a player pauses before deciding what to do, it usually means he is weak. During that pause, he is thinking "Man, this hand is just alright, I don't want to fold it, but I know I probably should. Hmmm, I think I'll ...(insert weak play, only call/minraise/fold)." So just to make sure he wasn't getting tricky with aces, I raised to 325 with AJ, thinking that I was probably ahead. If it folded back to him, and he reraised, I would fold, but when he only called, I was pretty sure I had the best hand at this point.

So the flop comes a total whiff for me, 5 6 7 rainbow. My opponent checked. I also checked because I did not want to be check-raised off what could be the best hand if my opponent was planning on making a semi-bluff with a hand like A 8. He could easily have a hand like A 8 too, since I read him as having a mediocre hand preflop. Check raising on draws is very popular these days, so I often check behind on flops I don't want to get check-raised off of.

Now the turn came a 7, and my opponent made a small bet of 300. At this point, it's fairly obvious to me my opponent has nothing. Let's add up all the pieces. I read him as weak preflop, then when I show weakness by checking the flop, he makes a bet less than the amount bet on the previous street. This is almost always a sign of weakness. Also, there is a pair of sevens on the board, making it less likely that he has top pair. However I don't want to push at this point, because he could wind up making some hero call with A 5 or A 6. I still think it's possible he has A 8. So I'm trying to get to showdown as cheaply as possible with what could easily be the best hand.

Now the river is a 2, a complete blank. He pushes all in. Now let's see what had we narrowed his range down to. The only hands that had us beat were A 5 and A 6. If he had either of these hands, he would not move all in on the river hoping to get called by ace high, or a lower pair. He would probably suspect his hand was good, but he would know that he would not get called by worse, so the obvious play with these holdings would be to check, trying to induce me to bluff with a missed draw or whatever, and then call. It's possible he could have a 7, but not likely since there are two of them out there, and he didn't bet the flop.

He is not putting me on a strong hand obviously since I have been so passive post flop. Clearly if I had a high pocket pair I would be obliged to bet the draw heavy flop. So I think he is putting me on a missed draw, or some sort of weak hand that he thinks I will fold to an all in. He obviously doesn't know who I am.

So to conclude, I think it is extremely likely he has absolutely nothing in this spot. He couldn't even be bluffing with a better ace high, because with A Q or AK he would have raised preflop, not limped in, then only called a raise. So I put all this together and made the call with AJ high, and he showed QJ. nh, gg, etc. etc. Ship it.

So now we are down to three handed. I haven't got any good hands since the last player had been eliminated, and was playing tight, often open folding the button and small blind. Then this hand came up. No link this time sorry.

I was in the small blind with K 2. I raised the 150 blind to 450 for two reasons. One, king high is likely to be the best hand over a random hand. Second, I thought there was a good chance he would respect my raise and fold, since I had been so tight up to this point. He made the call however, having my 3025 stack outchipped.

The flop came J 4 2. I had flopped bottom pair, another hand that is favored over random holdings in a heads up pot. I decided to check however, since I didn't have many chips, and wanted to play a small pot with my mediocre hand. He checked behind. The turn was an ace, putting two clubs and two diamonds on board. Now I decided to bet 525, since I raised preflop, he would have to at least consider the fact that I had an ace, given my betting patterns and tight image. He made the call, so I now had 2100 left in my stack going to the river.

Gin! The 2h. Now if he had a weak ace, or a jack, I had just outdrawn him, and he certainly wouldn't fold either of those hands on an apparent river blank if he called the turn. So I bet 1000, leaving 1100 behind. This could send the message that I am leaving myself room to fold my nothing hand, since I bet less than half my stack and left myself 11 big blinds. To my delight, he pushed all in and I called instantly. He showed 44 for a full house. GG Me. If that isn't the most obviously rigged hand, then I don't know what is.

He played his monster hand extremely poorly. Even though I had been playing tight, a pair of fours still has my raising range beat in that spot preflop. He should have reraised an amount committing my stack to the hand. It's the same concept of not fearing coinflips I discussed yesterday. He should have gambled as a slight favorite over my range, which would have established a chip lead heads up, so that he could win. This play is even more clear in a structure where only the winner is rewarded, and second is the same as last.

On the flop, his check is OK if he thinks I've missed with two high cards. When the turn comes an ace though, and I lead out, he HAS to put me on top pair. Clearly the better play is to raise here and get all my money in. The turn put two flush draws and several straight draws on the board. If that's what I believed he had, and I actually had an ace, which he has to assume I do, that makes over half the deck that could come on the river to kill his action! There are just too many scare cards that would force me into check/call or even check/fold mode. In fact, if he raised the turn, I would probably have been more likely to put him on a draw, since he didn't reraise preflop, making an ace less likely, combined with the fact that so many people love to semibluff with straight and flush draws. When he slowplays all the way, waiting until the river to raise, it sends up red flags, and kills his action even more.

These people make it so obvious what they have, it's almost as if they don't want money. I swear sometimes they think that it would be better off if I just always lost the minimum with my losing hands and won the maximum with my winners. Do they hate money?

After that, I played a $30 tournament which started around 3 or 3:30 AM. There was about 190 players, so I knew it would be over in time for me to get to the gym sometime between 8 and 11 AM. There were only 1500 starting chips. Usually, I am happy to end the first hour, going into the 75-150 level with 3000, regardless of the starting stack in a standard freezeout. However this tournament I ended the first hour with over 7,000. That was good for almost top ten in chips.

Obviously I was out in ten minutes.

The first hand of my downfall was when someone pushed for 2,000 in first position. This is a pretty big overshove, meaning you can safely eliminate QQ-AA from their range. If they had that strong of a hand, they would certainly make a standard raise in an attempt to extract value. The most common holdings for this play are like 66-TT, sometimes JJ, AK and AQ. So when I saw 99, I knew I had his range beat pretty badly. I made the call, instead of shoving over the top, because there was still the whole table to act, and some other pretty big stacks. If any of them pushed, I would be forced to fold. Everyone else folded and he showed AK. The turn was a K and the river gave him the nut flush. No worries, though, I still had over 5,000 in chips with 75-150 blinds, a comfortable stack.

The next big hand occurred when a player who was fairly shortstacked pushed all in for 1300 from middle position. The player to his left called, leaving 3000 chips behind. I had a premium hand, AK suited. I made the no-brainer push when it got to me, and the caller called again for the rest of his stack, showing QQ. A three way all-in for a top three stack with 100 people left is always exciting. The flop was 4 9 K. Turn 10. River J. QQ hit the straight, and my once proud stack was now on life support at only 800, and I was out shortly thereafter.

I still like my plays though, because if I won both of those hands, I would have been the chipleader in the tournament. Oh well, though, you win some you lose some.

After that I made a little breakfast as it was now almost 7 AM. After I ate that, I got ready and headed over to VCMS for the final game of the regular season.

We were in a three way tie for first place going into the last week, with a 4-2 record. We had beat both of the other two teams previously, meaning that if we won, we would clinch first place for the regular season.

To start the first quarter, the other team jumped out to a quick 9 point lead. One of the two fast guards I told you about previously scored on several fast breaks. I think it hit the guys quickly that I wasn't kidding when I warned them about him at practice. They managed to buckle down and play some good defense. They also rebounded well, and did a good job of driving inside and drawing fouls on offense. One of the guys drew a charge as well, which I always love to see. We held them to only one more point for the rest of the quarter, and we ended down 10-6.

Our A team came out for the second quarter, and we controlled the tempo. Our full court press sends many teams into panic mode. We scored six unanswered points within about 90 seconds, and gained the lead. From there we never looked back. Our A team controlled the game very well. Our main three point shooter was on fire, hitting three in the second quarter. Our B team did well too, maintaining the lead we had going into the fourth quarter.

Overall the whole team played well. Several guys were taking it inside and getting to the line like I have been trying to tell them all season. The only thing I want to go over again at practice is the delaying play we drew up this past Wednesday. We had two guys on the court and the end of the fourth quarter who weren't there for practice, so they were doing their best to figure it out as they went along. They got the idea though, slowed the pace of game, limited possessions and we held on for the win.

Another good thing is that one of the B players, who had been the only player in the league not to score got not one but TWO baskets today! Four points in the books baby, count it. Everyone was cheering when he scored, it was pretty cool.

We don't have a game until the 9th of February. We are theoretically rewarded by playing the 8th ranked team. However for almost half the games, including the one we played against them, their best player, who played for RHS last year, was out with a serious concussion. He returned this week. Last time we killed them though, so we are still the favorites to win. Especially since we have two practices between now and our next game, we'll have all the little things worked out, all the plays perfected, and ready to win. I can't wait for the excitement of the play offs.

After the game, I saw my friend's dad and older brother, who coach one of the middle school travel teams. They are a really nice family and I always enjoy chatting with them when we run into each other. Her dad has been coaching basketball for a long time, since we were in middle school, at least, and probably longer. He doesn't even have kids that young anymore, and he is still helping out, which I think is great. One of my old coaches, Mr. Aheart, continued to coach for a few years after his son graduated, when I played for him. I plan on doing that as well, just because I love the league so much.

Anyways, the Vernon boys, who are probably in sixth or seventh grade I'm guessing, were playing Bloomfield. Bloomfield is hardly a slouch on the court. I laughed because it looked like the "kids" on Bloomfield didn't really look like they were in middle school, rather that their sons were old enough to be in middle school. It made me remember the good ol' days of Vernon Travel Basketball. The 2-22 seasons, and consistent 60 point losses to powerhouses such as Wethersfield and Glastonbury.

After we left the gym, we all went back to the house as a family like we do every week. Usually we get donuts, but Dad's donut cutoff is noon obviously, since he has twice refused to stop at Dunkin' Donuts after the 11:00 game, because "it's afternoon, it's not time for donuts." Seems logical. Anyways, we had sandwiches instead, clearly a more appropriate choice given the time of day. I had to give those empty bottles to my mom, since she is collecting them and they were still on my back porch. She had stuff to do today I guess so we left shortly thereafter and I gave them to her.

I'm going to bed soon, should be around 4 PM by the time I do. So I'll wake up very early tomorrow. I might play basketball at 10:30. We'll see. In a few days, my sleep cycle should be back to normal.

Until then,

Friday, January 25, 2008

Bouncing Back

Today was pretty standard. I didn't get to the gym, because I frankly didn't feel like going. I'll try and get their tomorrow though, since I didn't do anything active today. I got out of bed around 5 PM, after going to bed a little before 6 AM this morning. I jumped right into poker, although I felt alright because I had showered and eaten. As long as I don't feel groggy like I just rolled out of bed, then I'm fine. Nothing sucks more than having a few hundred dollars committed to various tournaments, and all you want to do is go back to bed.

So I started my MTT schedule at 7 after dinner and a shower. This is what it looked like:
2 $20+ $2 180 player Sit N Go's
7:00 - $100+ $9 25k guarantee, and $10+ $1 20k guarantee
7:15 - $7+ $.70 PLHE (360 max entrants) and $10+ $1 one rebuy, one add-on
8:00 - $25+$2.50 25k guarantee and $3+ $.30 rebuy 35k guarantee
8:15 - $50+ $5 shorthanded
9:15 - $9+ $.90 (360 max entrants)
9:30 - $50+ $5 50k guarantee
10:00 - $15+ $1.50
11:00 - $30+ $3

So that makes for a total of 13 total played. If you noticed, I did not play the $22 rebuy tonight. I thought I registered, but when 9:15 rolled around, I noticed the table hadn't popped up yet. I just forgot to register! That was pretty irritating. I had a small cash, which I'm not even sure if I made a profit from, in the $3 rebuy. My two biggest cashes were in the $55 shorthanded (16th of 174, $131) and the $109 (18th of 500ish, $588). Altogether on the night I was up about $300, which lightens the load a little from Tuesday's downswing.

There wasn't too many interesting hands, as far as strategical analysis goes, but I did flop quads twice!! In the 150-300 level, a shortstack moved in from the cutoff for about 900, with over 11,000 in chips, and A 3 ( any two would have done given the pot odds) I had a no brainer call. The guy showed J 10, but his hopes of a comeback were quickly vanquished when the flop came AAA. I forget which tournament that was in.

The second time was in the $109. Already in the money, the blinds were 2000-4000. The player under the gun pushed all in for 29,000. I had 22, and felt that I had his range beat. A lot of people would pass up a coin flip here, even though it is more likely that he has high cards (where you are a slight favorite) than a pocket pair (where you are a huge underdog). However I am a firm believer that if you have even the slightest edge in a hand, you can't pass it up. Especially with only 7 times the big blind, I feel that he is much more likely to have high cards, since there are simply more combinations of cards that make two high cards than there are combinations that make pocket pairs. So he pushed, I pushed over the top, and everyone else folded. He showed 88, making me a 4 1/2 to 1 underdog. No problem though, just watch the flop come 2 2 5.

I busted from that tournament when I pushed 40k at 2k-4k blinds with 77 from middle position. I was called by A J and 88. No quads for me this time, not even a set. So that was the end of that and I cashed for $588.

The $55 shorthanded was slightly disappointing. 24 players made the money in that tournament. I was able to abuse the bubble pretty well when there were 27-25 players remaining. This means simply raising a lot of hands and applying pressure to gain a lot of chips so you can make the final table or win. The idea is that the other players will be more likely to fold, trying to make the money, and you can chip up nicely. Sometimes this has come back to bite me, when people finally make their stand, and I wind up playing a massive pot with Q 6 or J 8 or something like that. Today it worked out well, and I'll give you a specific example.

I was on the button with J 7 off suit. There were exactly 25 players left, meaning the next person out would get nothing, and the one after that would get $84. I had over 16,000 in chips. The blinds were 300-600. The player in the small blind had about 3200, and the player in the big blind was on life support with only 1,000 after posting his 600 blind. The player in the big blind was certainly pot committed to call with any two cards, given that fact that he would be getting about 2.7 to 1. Even if I have AK and he has 23, he is only a 2 to 1 underdog, and calling there is correct. My thinking was that J 7 is approaching an average hand, and there is a chance I could have the big blind beat, since he is no doubt calling. I decided to gamble, and raised. Any raise I make would pot commit me should the small blind decide to shove in his 3200, So I just put them both all in. The small blind thought for a long time and finally folded. Shockingly, the big blind folded as well! The player in the small blind then told me he had A 10. If we were in the money, or a long way from it, A 10 is a no brainer call there. But since he was only one out of the money, he didn't want to risk going broke. Folding A 10 there is certainly a mistake in an MTT, even though we are one spot from the money. You don't get rich by finishing last in the money. You get rich by winning tournaments. I certainly would have made the call in either of their situations.

So heading into the money, I had about 18,000 in chips, which was good for 6th overall. I was disappointed to lose a few hands in a row, and after the blinds went up, I was now shortstacked. I wound up getting it all with AK suited vs A J and 10 10. 10 10 held and I was out in 16th. Certainly not the ideal finish when you're in 6th with 24 left, but I was glad to have a winning day, and felt like I played well overall.

I'm proud to say that I don't think I was eliminated from any tournaments getting the money in worse than a coin flip. Contrary to Tuesday when I was overplaying mediocre hands and getting it all in as a 3 to1 dog on several occasions. Not sure if I'll play tomorrow yet.

After I finished, around 12:30, I watched my shows with some food. Then I worked on my iTunes for a few hours. Read about the new artists below. I added at least 200 songs. I almost have 5,000 songs in my library now. So now it's around 6:30 AM. I may stay up for a little while longer even though I'm getting pretty tired. My goal is to sleep as late tomorrow as possible, so that I can stay up all night and into the next day. I could get to VCMS for basketball on Saturday morning at 8 am, watch all of the games, and then we have ours at 11. That would take me to probably 1PM on Saturday. If I just stayed up for a few more hours then, I could be waking up early Sunday morning, hopefully a few hours after midnight, and then I would be almost regular again. We'll see how it goes.

Until then,

Today's Artists added to iTunes:
A Tribe Called Quest
Baha Men
Black Rob
Christina Milian
DJ Kool (Let Me Clear My Throat)
Franz Ferdinand
G-Unit (as a group)
Grateful Dead
Guerilla Black
Kellie Pickler
New Found Glory
Phil Lesh & Friends
Reba McEntire
Rodney Atkins
Talib Kweli
They Might Be Giants
Tony Yayo

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Down Day Debating Deal or No Deal Decisions

So today was pretty uneventful. I woke up around 3:40 PM, and in a few days I think I'll be in the 100% nocturnal mode of the sleep cycle. Last time this happened was two Sundays ago. The way things were going, I would have been sleeping all during the day on that Sunday. I couldn't let that happen though because I had won Sunday Warm-up and Sunday Million seats. I also had a TLB (Tournament Leader Board) free roll to play, all between 12:30 and 4PM. So I pushed myself to stay up as late into the following day as I could in the days leading up to the weekend. It wound up working out alright, and I was up around 7 AM that morning. So I think I'm going to try to do that more consistently. Instead of sleeping for shorter periods of time, I'll just try to sort of hurry through the days where I'm nocturnal, because it really makes me feel like a freak.

So I got up with no intention of playing poker, like I never do on Wednesdays, because of basketball. I spent a few hours working on my iTunes, which you can check out below. I added exactly 100 songs if I counted correctly.

When I got done with that, I headed over to the house for dinner before practice. It was just me and my parents though because my brother and sister were both working. It's pretty crazy how we're all old enough to be doing that now. I can remember the days where, Bryan was the last one at Lake Street, our elementary school, and Julie and I were already the "big shots" in middle school. Then Bryan was the only one in middle school, and Julie and I were both in high school, and our parents thought we were so old. Nowadays we're all almost grown. Bryan is now the only one in high school, Julie is in college, and I'm already retired! How old my parents must feel ; ) . I'm not going to sit here and say life is short though, because life is the longest thing anyone will ever do.

Well enough with the sappy crap. The way it wound up working out tonight was that my mom and I were both able to be there at the beginning of practice. Bryan wound up closing at 9, when practice ended, and worked even later, so he didn't make it, like I thought he wouldn't. A few others didn't make it either, but one of the guys brought along his brother who plays on the school team at Rockville. So altogether we had seven guys. We got to go over everything I wanted including defense, inbounding plays and another drill we came up with that stresses the importance of the guards staying close and supporting one another. It's going to be key that we execute this on Saturday, because the team we're playing has two very fast guards that will strip the ball every time if we get lazy, sloppy, and lackadaisical.

Another thing we worked on is a play to possess the ball as long as possible. This is going to be important when we have decently sized, yet still vulnerable leads at the end of the fourth quarter. I explained to them that if you can reduce the number of possessions for the other team, by drawing out the length of time we hold the ball, they literally won't have enough opportunities to catch up. It's alright to take a shot, but I stressed that it better be a lay-up, it better be wide open, and it better go in. If you do make the shot, great, that's one more successful possession that they need. If we miss that shot though, that's a free opportunity for them to gain ground in crunch time.

When practice ended, I gave one of the guys a ride home, and headed back to the house. Julie and Bryan were both out of work, so we all enjoyed my favorite dessert, peanut butter squares. I couldn't stay long though because Ryan was on his way over to watch the episodes of American Idol and Deal or No Deal I had DVR'ed.

Theres a quick thing about Deal or No Deal I need to get off my chest. I think the show is so crazy because these people can't figure out a simple + or - EV (expected value) decision. There was an article on about this by one of their main contributing writers, grapsfan. Basically, he explained how to figure out the best long term decision for the contestants on the show, but also argued how it would not be a bad decision to take a -EV deal, since it's only a once in a lifetime chance. He compared this to deal-making at huge final tables. If an average guy made the final table of the Sunday Million, grapsfan is an advocate of making deals, even if you think you aren't getting quite the best of it, because luck is such a big factor in any one hand, tournament, final table, or whatever other short term aspects you can think of. (Conversely, as we all know, luck in poker, or any form of gambling or investing is completely non-existent in the long term.)

Back to Deal or No Deal though. It's so sick the morons they put on this show, and their hair-brained comrades they bring along for support. The girl on tonight's show said she had made like $13,000 in 2007. She comes on, first offer, $192,000!! Are you kidding me?! She had NINE one million dollar cases. I'm starting to lose interest in the show though. It's getting to be so predictable. Everyone's strategy is the same. No deal until you get down to one huge amount, then take the deal regardless. They figure, "Screw it, I got a 'safety net' NO DEAL HOWIE!"

What shocked me the most was this girl's father. She gets down to having 8 cases left. Four have one million dollars, and four have some nominal amounts. The highest of the four small cases was $10,000, one was for $400, but compared to $1,000,000 they are essentially worthless. So common sense would tell us that with four million dollar cases, and four worthless ones, our case is worth $500,000 in the long run. The banker offered a pathetic $368,000. No brainer, no deal. Her father is up there talking about how that's a lot of money and she should take the deal. She was true to the form of all of her precedants, and said no deal. So now she has to choose two cases. Her first choice is the $750 case, or one of the worthless ones. The second case is a million. So she's right back where she was on the last round right? Right. She still half millions, half worthless. A break even offer would be $500,000. So this time the offer comes in at $393,000. Now this lame-o excuse for a father tells her that not last time, but THIS time she is getting shortchanged!! Can you believe that? Obviously she is getting screwed both times, but by $25,000 less on the second offer. Great advice, pops. Somebody get this guy a PokerStars account and some extra money. So she wound up getting down to two one million dollar cases, and a $400 case. The offer was $625,000 (should have been $666,866.67). So she no deals it AGAIN. She's getting screwed out of $41,000 but I mean come on, they're obviously not going to give you an offer in your best interest, so you might as well take the biggest offer, which is also closest to the actual value of her case, relative to the size of the total offer. Especially because odds are you're going to pick a million case on the next time, causing the offer to drop, and then you're going to forced into the mercy of the heartless banker, because no way would anyone flip a coin for that kind of money.

Herein lies the flaw in the "safety net" theory, which that tool-to-the-man Howie Mandel so readily advocates. Other key characteristics Howie praises are guts, luck, and timing. Common sense didn't make the list. In her situation, she only had to pick one case, with two one million dollar cases on the board. So she's got nothing to lose, right? Guess again. She wound up getting down to $400 and $1,000,000. The offer was $473,000, and she took the deal. So no, she can't lose everything, but has a 2/3 chance of losing $152,000. God, so obvious. What a life donk.

EV is how I look at anything that involves taking risks in life, after playing poker for awhile now, and reading up in online articles, forums, books, etc. It just seems like common sense to me. That's why I always say there really is no such thing as gambling. Only +EV and -EV decisions. After over 1,000 MTTs played on PokerStars, my ROI (Return On Investment) is somewhere around 85%. Thus, if I enter a $50 tournament, I'm not gambling $50. I'm making a decision which equates to a $42.50 gain, every single time. So anyone who thinks I need more of a guaranteed income, guess what, it is guaranteed.

If you play table games, you can figure out how much you're losing each hand quite easily. I'll use Pai Gow poker as an example, because I know how that works off hand. If two friends sat down and played Pai Gow against one another, both of them always setting their hands perfectly, they could expect to break even over several hands. When you play against the house in a casino however, they withhold 2.5% of each hand that you win. (I'm pretty sure this is accurate, but I could be off.) Thus, each hand you play, you're losing 1.25% of your bet. Whether you win or lose any given hand is irrelevant. If you make 100 $100 bets, you'll lose $1.25 each time, for a total loss of $125.

This is why I don't understand why anyone would ever go to a casino for entertainment, unless it was to play poker, where you're not playing against the house. You might as well go down to Canal Street and see who can pitch quarters into the homeless guy's cup best with your friends. In both cases, you're throwing away money, and at least in my suggestion, a needy person is getting the money, instead of those damned Pequot executives. So that ends my rant on EV and "gambling." Just remember all that next time you get to be on Deal or No Deal. I hope that's a good explanation of why gambling doesn't really exist.

Anyways, back to my day. After those two shows I watched Dr. Phil and Price is Right, also DVR'ed, then a little poker on TV.

I decided to take a down day today, both because of basketball and to shake off yesterday's horrible performance. So not one hand of poker today, a rare occurence. So after I finish this up, I think I'll pick up the kitchen, so I don't have to do that tomorrow. Tomorrow hopefully I'll just go to the gym, come home, eat dinner and start playing.

Until then,

Today's artists added to iTunes:
American Hi-Fi
Ben Harper
Bobby Valentino
Living Colour
Proclaimers, The
Sister Hazel
Strokes, The
Van Halen
Velvet Revolver
Vitamin C
Wallflowers, The
White Stripes, The
Will Smith

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Talk About Downswings

So I'm glad to say that today went pretty much as planned. I woke up around 2:00. Here we go again cycling through the day. When you have no obligations, and never have anywhere to be, you tend to (or at least I do) stay up until you're tired, and wake up when you're not tired anymore. For me, that total time adds up to more than 24 hours. Thus, I live longer, but fewer days than the rest of you. So tomorrow I'll sleep later, and later the next day, until I'm literally going to bed in the morning, when most of you have been up for a few hours already, and waking up in time to catch Leno. It's pretty sick.

So I got up, watched my Dr. Phil, then headed out. I had to buy more Solo cups because I forgot to on Sunday when I went shopping, and more bread because mine was getting moldy, so I had to throw it out. After that I went to the gym.

I kind of slacked it I guess, because I wanted to be home by 4:00 so I could play the $11 rebuy. Usually I run 1.5-2 miles at the "5" or "5.5" speed. Today I ran a little less than a mile for about fifteen minutes, but I pushed it up to a 7. I still managed to break a good sweat, which like I said, is all I'm going for. I came home and started playing feeling like I had done something, and not like I had just rolled out of bed.

Tomorrow night I have basketball practice at 8. This is my second season coaching my brother's rec team with my mom. I used to play in the league when I was in high school, and it was a lot of fun. Even though it's rec, it is still a pretty competitive league. The guy that runs our age group keeps stats on points, 3-pointers made, team free throw percentage, and league standings. There is playoffs and a championship at the end of the season. It's good that they have somewhat gotten rid of the "everyone just have fun mentality" and made it more competitive for the high school boys. At that age, they want to know who is the best, and it's more fun for them with the playoff structure and stat sheets the league director passes out each week. Last year we got to the championship of the double elimination playoffs. The team we were playing was undefeated, and we had already lost one game in the post season. We won the first game, and lost the second one by three. I can't wait to get there again this year, and this time win it.

We have a good team this year. I was able to go to the coaches meeting at the beginning of the year, since my mom couldn't make it. This year they made a change for the better and decided to go with one more team so each team has 9 or 10 kids, instead of 11 or 12. We volunteered to be one of the teams with nine. It's better because the kids get more playing time. So far we are in a two or three way tie for first with a 4-2 record. We really should be undefeated. One game we lost by one point, and the other we only had five kids show up for the game. That game, the first quarter was a one point differential, we slipped to being down by nine at the half, and by the second half, our guys were just too exhausted. Furthermore, we had some of our "B" guys on the court at the same time as their best "A" players. In this league, they designate the freshman and sophomores as the "B" squad, and the juniors and seniors as the "A" squad. This keeps players the same size and ability playing with one another, and keeps the game fair. The B squad plays the first and third quarters, and the A squad plays the second and fourth quarters.

Tomorrow night at practice, I'm going to be running the show exclusively for a little while, since my brother has to close at his new job, which is at 8. My mom is picking him up and bringing him over after. I think he's going to miss most of practice. We'll see. I want to go over a few things with the guys. Two of them were not at last weeks practice when we learned two new inbound plays. They were both a little clueless as to what was going on when we tried to run the plays in game. I drew the plays out on paper when they came out of the game, but I want them to practice running the plays so it will be second nature to them for the rest of the season.

Last week we practiced good defense. I tried to show them how to slow and contain their man by just staying in front of him with their hands up. When the shot goes up at the end, I stressed the importance of putting your arms straight up tall and altering their opponent's shot, as opposed to swinging and trying to stuff the ball right back in the guy's face. As long as they make him miss, that's all that matters. We get too many stupid fouls going for the emphatic swat. We did alright this week with that, but I want to go over that again. I'm also going to draw up and practice running a "keep away play." I think we could do a better job of controlling the pace of the game when it gets down to crunch time and we have a bit of a lead. I want to show them how to just pass it around and keep the number of possessions low, so we can maintain our leads late in the game. Saturday we're playing a team with two very good guards who play both A and B. Other than that I think we can handle them, but we will have to contain both of them and not have too many turnovers when they pressure us on offense.

So now for my least favorite part of today's entry, poker. Blah blah blah. What else can I say? 20 MTTs played today, and not one in the money finish. Not one. Pathetic. I got close in a couple of them but it was still one of my worst days ever. Lost about $600.

The MTTs played today include: 2 $20 180 player SNGs,
4:00 $8 and $11 rebuy
5:00 $50 25k guarantee
5:15 $16.50 360 max entrants
6:00 $5 rebuy
6:15 $5 shorthanded
7:00 $109 25k guarantee, $11 20k guarantee, and some freeroll
7:15 $7 PLHE (360 max entrants) $11 1 rebuy 1 add-on
8:00 $27.50 $25k guarantee and $3 rebuy
8:15 $55 shorthanded
9:00 $5, $22 rebuy
9:15 $9 360 max
9:30 $55 50k guarantee
10:00 $16.50

I did get some interesting hands. The first one is my bust out hand from the $8 4:00 EST freezeout. We were ending the first hour, and I had almost tripled my starting stack. I was up to about 4200. With blinds at 50-100, I was sitting in the big blind with AsJd. One early and middle position player limped. The button made an outrageously large raise to 1100. Now maybe a few orbits earlier, the same guy shoved all in for over 4,000 with the same blinds, and showed down A 9 off suit. So I thought I had a tough decision. If this guy is willing to put in over 40 big blinds with A 9 off, AJ could easily have his range beat. He clearly isn't going to fold, so I didn't know whether to shove this guy or not. I almost folded but then decided that he was too much of a donk, so I shoved in and he called instantly with JJ. Oops. GG Me. I suppose folding there would probably be better and most would consider it a no-brainer, but I thought against that donk it was pretty close.

I don't hate the way I got eliminated from the $55 25k guarantee at 5 PM EST. One guy two to my right limps in middle position for I think 150. I assume I am ahead with A 8, and make it 550. I got one caller behind, and the limper called. The flop was about as good as it gets for A 8 o/s, 8 2 3 rainbow. The limper checked, I bet about 3/4 pot, the other guy folded, and the limper instantly shoved. I called almost just as fast. He flipped 99, gg me again. I was surprised he didn't raise 99 in middle position, in which case I would have folded. I still like my call there because I think he is definitely raising TT+ preflop. I think I'm more likely to see worse 8s (89, T8 suited) and smaller pairs, 44-77 there a lot more often than I will see an overpair. So whatever, shrug that one off.

The $20 rebuy is the one I was most disappointed with. I ended the rebuy period with over 20,000 in chips. I was easily the chip leader at my table, and 6th overall in the tournament. I didn't even take the add-on, I was so huge, and I ALWAYS take the add-on. So a hand came up during the first level after re-buys ended. One player UTG limped, and a player to my right with about 13,000 made it 600. I called with 9dTd hoping to flop big and snap him off. Two others called, and we took the flop 4 ways. The flop was great for me, 4d7d8c. I had flopped two over cards to the board, an openended straight draw, and a flush draw. The preflop raiser bet over 1500, and it was obvious to me he liked his hand. My draw was too powerful not to play aggressively. I raised to 6200, committing his whole stack to the hand if he wanted to continue. He used his entire time bank before pushing in with QQ. I obviously bricked and my once proud stack was down to about 5,000 and below average. I would up making a hero call a few hands later with 23 on a 2 QQ 10 5 board against The_D_Ry, who is a well known successful player. He had 22 for a flopped full house. It was a bad call I guess but I was so frustrated that I had lost such a big stack. I think that's a leak in my game that I need to fix. Even when you get down, stay focused on the situation at hand and don't give up.

I busted out of a few others pushing weak-middle aces against minraises. Some will tell you never to push bad aces, but I just never give minraisers credit. I think most aces are ahead of a minraisers range, especially from middle-late position. Two broadway cards make up most of that range in my experiences. So I usually reshove 10-20ish BB stacks, because I think it's a good way to chip up.

So overall this day hurt on the poker front, but I have been keeping a bigger bankroll lately so I can absorb blows like this one and come back in the following days and recover without having to move down. Tomorrow I won't play because of basketball, but I think I will spend some time watching the videos on PokerXFactor, which I haven't been doing as much of lately. They have been bringing in all new guest pros, which is cool. I just finished watching the $100 rebuy win by AJKHoosier1. Tomorrow I will probably watch the $100 rebuy win by uclabruinz.

Until Then,

Today's artists added to iTunes:
3 Doors Down
98 Degrees
Dire Straits
Marc Anthony
Smash Mouth
Smashing Pumpkins

Monday, January 21, 2008

First Entry Ever

So I decided to try to start keeping a consistent blog. I can't decide if that's cool or mildly retarded. Partially with regular life stuff, and partially a poker journal as well. A bunch of well-known guys like Eric "Rizen" Lynch, Kevin "Bel0wab0ve" Saul, and Daniel Negreanu do it. I've read their blogs on and off sometimes, so I guess I'm just trying to be cool like them.

Even though most people who will be reading this already know me pretty well, I'll put up a brief background of my life if anyone new starts to follow the page. Who knows, you might learn something new about me too.

I've lived in Vernon since as long as I can remember and attended public schools until I was in eighth grade, when we decided that East Catholic High School in Manchester would be best for me. I was reluctant at first, but I didn't have much say in the matter, so ECHS it was. It turned out alright though. Throughout high school and into college for a bit, I worked at a home goods store not far from my house. I worked there for about two and a half years.

East was a college preparatory high school. Thus there was an emphasis on further education. The students who didn't continue on to at least community college were few and far between, and the ones who didn't were sort of looked down upon. I don't mean to give the impression that at the time, I didn't want to go to college, because I did. However the environment I went to high school in certainly didn't hurt in my decision to continue with my education.

I went on to Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, moving into my dorm room in September of 2005. Some aspects of campus life were cool, such as having all of your friends close by, and the fact that there was always a party in walking distance on the weekends. But I quickly grew sick of the community bathrooms, cafeteria food, and the fact that I still didn't have a car, since I totaled my old one junior year of high school. So after freshman year, I decided to take out a loan, buy my mom's 2003 Accord, live at home, and commute three days a week to Southern. My dad hooked me up with a job at his office to help pay all of my newly acquired bills.

This plan didn't work out so well. I had a horrible semester at Southern, working part time and going to school full time, miles from where I lived. It made for a lot of driving and a lot of stress. On top of this I was having trouble dealing with a friend who I had stopped seeing since moving off campus. All of this added up to pretty much the most disastrous semester possible. I technically was not allowed to return as a full time student, but I decided that there was no point in going to Southern at all anymore anyways. I was going to attend Manchester Community College part time, and actually went to a few classes. But after some thought my parents and I decided that we shouldn't pay for school if I didn't want to be there and wasn't going to give it my best, which I honestly hadn't done since I was ten. So I continued to work at Discover Re Insurance in Farmington with my dad every day, not really knowing where my life was going to go next. Money was tight for me, and I wasn't sure if there was room for advancement at the job I was working at, or if that was even what I wanted to do. I had no idea if and when I would return to school. That's a pretty bad feeling, when you see your life going nowhere.

All along I had been playing poker online. Sometimes just for play money, and other times, freerolls and micro stakes. They have this deal on some sites where if you run your 1,000 starting play chips up to over 1 million, you can actually sell 1 million chips for $10 in real money! So I did that a few times, and other times I received small transfers from a friend who would occasionally put money on. Each time I went broke. One night I got $5 from my friend Matt. I played a $4.40 180 player tournament, and came in sixth, winning $36. From there I was able to work my way up to about $60 or so. But low and behold, I was again on the brink of busting again, being down to my last $2. I signed up for a $2 tournament with over 1,000 players. I came in first place, winning over $450. That was such a great feeling, and I haven't looked back since. My bankroll management skills are much more conservative now, which is the sole reason I have avoided busting again.

Finally one Thursday night, in the middle of June, I played six of my regular tournaments and had my best night ever. I made it in the money in all six tournaments, and won not one but two of them! One of my wins was a $20 180 player tournament, where I won $1080. The second was the 8:00 25k guarantee. It's a $27.50 ($25 buy-in, $2.50 entry fee). That tournament had 1136 entrants, and I scored about $6200 for that. Overall on the night, I won about $7500. Prior to that, I had never had more than maybe $1500 to my name and my biggest win was for about $750, so you can imagine my excitement. It seriously felt like I was a millionaire. To this day, that night is the best one I've ever had. My dad came downstairs at about 3 A.M. after I had finished up the second win, and told me I needed to go to bed, since I had work in about four hours. I told him I had just won $8,000 and wasn't going to work the next day. He seemed disappointed in me, since he knew that the thought of playing poker for a living had crossed my mind, and he didn't approve. He didn't consider gambling a good enough form of consistent income. I can't really blame him, since I had only been playing online for two months.

I didn't go into Discover Re that Friday, or any day thereafter. I called one of my bosses at the time, to tell him the news. He was excited for me, since he had been a family friend for years before I had started to work at Discover Re, and is a poker player himself. Since then, I have made my living playing poker on PokerStars. I've made over $35,000 so far. I got my own apartment in August of 2007, and still live there now. My dad has been accepting of my decision not to work or go to school since then. I've been consistent for several months now, and since I'm doing it on my own, not under his roof, he has been supportive.

So that's my story. I rambled on there a bit more than I had planned. Oh well. So from here on out, I think I'm going to give a life update, and a poker update. I'll include my key cashes on the day, and also some analysis on some interesting hands. Also, since I've been working on building an enormous iTunes library, I'll keep you updated on what artists I've added.

So today I woke up around noon. I watched my Dr. Phil and Price Is Right recordings like I do every day. DVR is easily the greatest invention ever. It's only an extra $10 a month, and you get HDTV, pause and rewind live TV, and you can record any show you want. I love it. I get made fun of a lot for watching Dr. Phil religiously, but I don't care. He's extremely intelligent and gives good marriage and parenting advice, which at some point, will be the next step in my life. Not any time soon though, don't worry. ; )

After that I did some hard core cleaning. I did the dishes and laundry, which reminds me I have to get stuff out of the dryer before I go to bed. It always takes me all day to do laundry because I have to travel all the way across the complex to the laundry room, and I'm a bit lazy. Also, there was bottles and cans all over my kitchen from Friday night. Normally when I have a party, I clean up the place promptly the next day, because I can't stand living in filth. But Friday was more of a get-together, only about seven people. I didn't throw out the bottles because my mom wants to save them for some fund raiser. I can't really see how it would be worth it at five cents a bottle, but whatever, I'll keep her dream alive. So I bagged those up and left them on the back porch behind the garbage can.

I did some grocery shopping as well, where I ran into my Aunt Lori, Uncle Dan, and my two cousins Sam and Rachel, who informed me that they were and 3rd and 5th grade respectively. News to me. After I put the groceries away, I went home for dinner with my dad and brother. My sister was called into work so they needed help eating all the pot roast. No problem, since I was taking the day off from poker.

Afterwards, my dad came over so we could make a trade. I wanted to borrow the carpet cleaner, since the rug is getting kind of stained from some of the parties. He wanted to use my poker chips for the game he plays with some of his new friends, which he tells me is pretty soft. :D He crushed his first time, and decided to go easy on them the next time because he felt bad I guess. Lacks the killer instinct, but I'm proud of the pwnage. Anyways, I learned you have to hook up the carpet cleaner to the sink faucet. Since my faucet is different than his, we didn't have the necessary screw or whatever to hook it up. So I didn't get to clean my carpet like I wanted. He is going to try and find more and we'll try it again another time.

Tomorrow should hopefully be a standard day. My goals will be to get up, watch my shows, get some time in at the gym, and then come home and play some poker. I didn't get to the gym today. I didn't feel bad because I feel like I had a pretty productive day, with all the chores I did, and getting this thing started. I only go to the gym to sweat a little and to avoid feeling lazy and useless. Also American Idol is on tomorrow night, which I will watch every episode of. Wednesday my basketball team has practice, so I won't be playing a tournament schedule. I'll tell you more about that whole thing later on.

I didn't do too much on the poker scene today. I played a little heads up after my dad left. I think I played five matches. Either way, it was on odd number, and I won one more than I lost. I was happy to win the last match because it means I had a winning day, which even though it wasn't much, makes me feel better. Plus the guy was a total donk. He was raising way too many hands on his button once the blinds hit 50-100, and I was just waiting for a better than average to shove with. So with 950 in chips, he makes it 300, and I had Kh8h. I shoved, and he called instantly with 9c7c. The flop was 10 8 5 and the turn was a J, clinching the hand for him. I was now down about 2 to 1. I managed to double with QQ vs K 10, won a few more hands, and then finally put him away with K 10 vs A 6 on a 10 6 5 flop. Pretty uneventful day, but it's hard for me to go a full day without at least playing a little. Partially because it's my livelihood, partially because I'm a degen, partially because there's not much better to do. So that wrapped it up for the day, and now I'm going to go get my laundry, and watch my friend in the 50k until he busts (or hopefully wins). Tomorrow I want to get in a high volume MTT (Multi-table tournament) schedule, so hopefully I'll have some good scores/interesting hands to share with you all.

Until then,