Monday, September 29, 2008

I <3 Wicked Chops

They always have a unique perspective on stuff and they never seem to hold back. Ya gotta love it. Check out their piece on the recent findings involving the UB Scandal and 1994 WSOP Champ, Russ Hamilton:

Wicked Chops Poker - It Was Russ Hamilton

Friday, September 26, 2008

Stick's Random Update

Well. Poker has been OK lately. I have been doing fine at 25NL, but still doing somewhat poorly at 50NL. I didn't know what the problem was until I was on Skype with a buddy last night. We were using the Mikogo screen sharer to look at my PT2 stats and he noticed something. My flop aggression factor at 50NL was double what it was at 25NL. I interpret this to mean that I have been C-betting too much at 50NL and my opponents have been picking them off. I'm not sure exactly how to fix this. I just can't fathom not betting a flop after I have raised PF. A flop check after a PF raise to me seems wimpy, but it is a leak I have to fix. Maybe I'll try raising less often PF or just a few flop check-raises to set up flop checks later. I'll see how it goes.

I'm also getting stoked about the NHL season starting soon. I'm in 2 Yahoo fantasy leagues and I'm a huge San Jose Sharks fan. Jeez, I might even try to make it to a game this year. I think Boyle and Blake will help us tremendously and I think Milan and Clowe-y are ready to bust out this year. I just hope this new rookie coach who came over from the Red Wings knows what he is doing.

The NASCAR season is winding down and my favorite driver, Robby Gordon, is having his struggles on and off the track. It seems like he is not sure how his car will be or where his company is going from week to week. But he's a smart dude. I think he'll figure it out.

The annual/semi-annual/whenever Cardschat Team event is starting soon. While I like being part of a team with all the cool folks I know at Cardschat, I didn't sign up this time because of the poor showing I had last time. I'm not sure if I put too much pressure on myself in those events or what. Besides, I am enjoying the dedication I am putting towards my cash game and I want to keep the flow going. But still, GO ex-Team Sausage !! LOL

End of the month is coming soon and it looks like my profit will be in the red, but I'm gonna try to make it a good run to the end. Wish me luck. Cheers.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Book Review: "52 Tips for No-Limit Texas Hold'em Poker" by Barry Shulman

Here's another book review to add to the good ol' blog archive and I wish it was a good one. Unfortunately, it isn't.

The 135-page "52 Tips for No-Limit Texas Hold'em Poker" book, written by Barry Shulman with Roy Rounder in 2006, touts itself on the back cover as a book for "poker players of any skill level." That statement couldn't be farther from the truth. The only players who might get full use out of this book are brand new players with less than a few months poker experience. Having played for over 3 years, I think I found only about 5 or 6 tips of much use to me. Everything else was very, very basic. From my experience, most of the books I've read or skimmed that spell out the entire name of the game in their title like this one turn out to be beginner books (very few exceptions). The next warning sign that this book wasn't going to be all it was cracked up to be for me was the 2 endorsements on the back cover. They are from Daniel Negreanu and Phil Helmuth. Each contain exactly 3 sentences and the 2nd one in both endorsements are nearly identical sentences. Not a good reflection on the book at all, especially knowing the fact that the main author is the publisher of Card Player magazine.

So as I was reading through the book, I noticed the 52 tips plus 1 "bonus" tip were presented as small chapters with interesting names like "Position Is Crucial" & "Learning Odds The Easy Way" and each presented hope that I'd read something I could really use. But alas, 90% of them were a disappointment in that they were mostly just outlines of basic poker steps. Some even were so short that they wouldn't even take up a page without having a table graphic or chapter separator tossed in.

Though most of the tips in the book can be used in both types of no-limit hold'em games, the author mentions how the tips apply to tournaments quite a bit and barely mentions cash games. I think this actually could give a beginning player the wrong impression. Then to top it off, the book has quite a few typesetting errors in some of the paragraph headings. A bit of a surprise to me coming from a magazine company.

So though this book isn't horrible and I might mildly recommend it to a greenhorn poker beginner, I'll have to NOT recommend it at all to anyone with more than a few months of poker experience under their belt. There are too many other 2nd-level/intermediate poker books out there that a newish player would get more out of reading.

There is actually a similarly written book that is better than this one that I do recommend.

** For more poker book reviews from Stick, check out the right side margin of the blog.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Video Find: Depeche Mode Atop WTC 1990

I was browsing YouTube and stumbled across this video featuring one of my all-time favorite bands, Depeche Mode. It seems to have been shot around the time that "Enjoy the Silence" came out in 1990. Not the best quality, but still amazing. I really liked seeing the World Trade Center up close in the video. So since I haven't posted a tribute to 9/11 yet, let this be mine belatedly.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Answer to the "Robby's Uprising" Question

Welp. I finally found out the answer to my posted question in regards to what happened to off-road legend and NASCAR driver, Robby Gordon's online forum called "Robby's Uprising". Rumor has it that Robby or someone from his company could have been getting weary of all the negative postings on the forum and possibly feared that the postings could jeopardize future deals with sponsors. So since the forum was run by Robby's company, rumor has it that they were the ones who pulled the plug. I think it is all completely understandable. It just would have been nice to have some notice of the site going offline. I wasn't much of a poster there, but I did read the site quite frequently.

But never fear! There is a new forum that many of the old Uprising members have migrated to. It's called Planet Robby and seems to have much of the same flavor as the old site. But this time, it is run by some of Robby's fans who seem to be committed to sticking it out through thick and thin. Go Robby! GAS ON!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Well, It Was Fun While It Lasted

Over the past 5 days, I hit one wicked downswing. I mean WICKED. So wicked that I don't even want to mention any numbers right now since they are so depressing. The only thing I knew I could really do to stop it (besides taking a break, which doesn't sit well with me) was to drop back down to 25NL for a while. Then wouldn't you know, I turned it around today.

I really didn't know what happened until I looked at my PokerTracker position stats. Seems I was hemorrhaging from my blinds. I have been trying to be more aggressive and I guess calling from the blinds has been how I was doing it. Then I'd get in trouble out of position and usually showdown a bad hand or fold out after drawing for a bit. So I think I'll stay at 25NL for a week or 2 and move back up when I get some more practice on my blinds play.

Also, I really noticed some key differences between 50NL and 25NL (at least on Stars). There are far more multi-way pots at 50NL. Seems people love to stick around with mediocre hands and call down 2nd pair. C-betting is much tougher when people won't fold enough to make it worthwhile. At 25NL, it seems like there are more HU or 3-way pots and C-betting works better. There are tons of similarities between the 2 stakes, but I think the points I just mentioned are the 2 biggest differences. I guess I'm a C-bettor and I figured out that I was spewing chips at 50NL by having to fold the turn or river after being called OOP. I don't know if the 50NL players caught on to me or if they just liked chasing mediocre hands. I'll have to change my strategy in that department before I jump back up there.

In a way, I feel kinda stupid for getting all excited about my big milestone I hit last month. But then again, I'm pretty sure I can snap out of it and get back up to where I was. Confidence is key.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Great August Results, But Tough September Start

I had the best month of my career in August. I made $562 profit as I moved up to 50NL ring games. The move seems great so far. It's still pretty swingy, but I seem to keep charging forward. My stats for the month were still a bit concerning, though. 14.9% VP$IP and 5.75% PFR are kinda sad looking stats, but I still made profit. Dunno how that happened. My Postflop Agg. Factor was good at 2.29, so maybe that helped. I have increased those 2 lower figures this month so far, but I've had a bad run. So maybe I have the wrong idea of what ideal stats are.

Speaking of this month, I had a rough couple of days already in September. I lost $275 in 2 days and it seems to be mostly bad luck. I revisited some hands and only found a couple that I thought were poorly played by me. While I don't think I believe in "jinxing" something, I may have gotten a little too excited about going above "career even" last month. Though I am back in career negative, I'm pretty sure I have the confidence to weather the storm and end with another positive month. After having such a stellar month last month and a good past 6 months or so, I know what I'm capable of and I can draw from those triumphs.

Here's a couple of the hands I ran into the last 2 days. Feel free to post any critiques of them in the "comments" section at the bottom of the post.

My unlucky river straight versus his made boat. His turn check really got me.

My KK versus her flopped set of 8's. She was pretty loose, so I wasn't too concerned with Aces or a set. Plus, I had position and a spade draw on the flop.

Typical Aces cracked and crappy position helped me double this guy up all the way down.

I could be wrong, but I don't think I played any of these too badly. Just seems like luck. Oh well. I'll keep pluggin'. No worries.