Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Winning Team Member and Stick's Update

The Cardschat Team Event has concluded and our team won. It makes me especially proud since this is my 4th try at this event over the years and my team has always been in the bottom 2 or 3 out of 8 teams. But not this time. I also feel good in the fact that I contributed about 20% of my team's total points. In the past, I haven't been nearly as good. Plus out of 51 total players in the event, I had the 6th highest individual total points with 131. My teammate, "Alon Ipser" had the most individual points with 154, which means I wasn't far off. I've never had much success in Cardschat events overall and this latest result feels good for a change. Maybe I'll get a little more respect around the forum now. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that our team won a $100 freeroll for our 6 members. But to me, the bragging rights actually mean more.

I still think the team competition got a little out of hand with some overaggressive trash talking and some resulting hard feelings. Heck, I did a little bit too. I've done some trash talking in my life in the past. Once I even had my best friend tell me to tone it down at the pool table while playing him. But I think this event is different. I was called a bit too sensitive during some of the team discussions, but I just think that an event like this should be handled with a bit more respect than I saw. Ribbing is fine, but borderline-ugly trash talking is too much in this situation imo. We are supposed to be friends, albeit online ones.

STICK'S UPDATE: Still working hard on my cash game. Identifying leaks and tuning my aggression. I have run into some tough beats over the last few days, but I think I've played decently. It's tough to increase aggression without spewing and tough to pick your spot without being too nitty/passive. But I'm getting better at it, I think. I've gotten my VPIP/PFR ration up from around 43 to near 50. I've been told I should be around 75, but I'm not sure that suits my style. I went back and looked at my successful month of August and saw that I was somewhat passive. Getting in multiway pots with hands with huge potential or playing passive preflop and aggro postflop. I guess I'm still tinkering a bit. I'm nearing even for the month with 4 days left, but I'm pretty confident at this point that I'll end in the green.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Thunder Valley Gets Poker; Stick's Updates

I had taken my mom to Thunder Valley Casino for her birthday in September. It's an Indian casino about 5 miles from us. It opened in 2000, but we had never gone since we like Reno much, much better. So we tried the buffet (good price, great selection, mediocre food), did a little gambling (smoky, tight machines, not very inviting atmosphere), and tried the neat looking bar in the center (cool atmosphere, somewhat enclosed from the games, expensive drinks). Then I spotted an area under construction. Upon closer inspection, it was POKER! But it was those damned automated poker tables. That sucked, but at least it was poker. I found an article about Thunder Valley's new poker room in the SF Gate. (NOTE: The article refers to Thunder Valley as a "Bay Area establishment", but it is 100 miles from there and some residents of both the Bay and the Sac Valley might even get offended at the incorrect reference.) Being mainly an online player, I thoroughly enjoy handling real cards and playing the game in a traditional way when I play live. But the advantage of automation is lower rake and no tips, so I guess this will have to do for now. They are advertising on my local sports radio station, KHTK, and I thought it was hilarious that the ad never mentioned that the tables were computers and there were no dealers. I guess TVC wants to hide that fact and spring it on all the old timers who get excited and drive out there to play while assuming they will be playing traditional poker with live dealers. Bad move, Thunder Valley!

As far as my poker is concerned, I've been really studying and trying to tweak my game. I just bought Holdem Manager and I'm loving it. The stats reports available with this thing are seemingly endless and it really helps me get down to the nitty gritty. I recently posted some cash game stats and graphs on Cardschat and got some great feedback based on the info that I was able to produce with HEM. With help from my CC buddies, I figured out that my VPIP-to-PFR ratio is too wide and my won money when saw flop is a bit low. I'm hoping that a few tweaks to my aggression will help these areas. With about a week left in the month, I'm running about -$100 profit. So we'll see if some tweaks to my game will help me get even in time.

The Cardschat team competition is heating up and the last 2 events are this weekend. The top 3 teams are within 5 points of each other and the pressure is on. I'm in the Heads-Up event on Saturday, but I'm not feeling the pressure yet. I completely sucked last time, but I think that was due to pressure. I hope being more relaxed will help my result this time. Anyway. The games seem fun and the standings are close, but it just seems a bit too serious this time. I get accused of being too sensitive with these kinds of things and I guess everyone's perception is different, but I just see some things being said that sort of take the joy out of it for me (and I'll bet for some others, also). I agree that some good natured ribbing makes things a bit more fun. But lately losing team members seem to like to hurl around phrases like "chip dumping", "soft playing", and "you're just lucky" like they are just so casual. But little do they realize how bad it makes them look even though they say "I was just kidding". When someone goes at it like "I'll throw out an excuse why we lost and then say I'm kidding", they just end up looking like a poor sport. During one of Tiger's many successful seasons, PGA Tour golfer Rory Sabbatini once said "Tiger Woods seems beatable now", even though Tiger had already won a few events that year. Well not only did that make Rory look foolish and motivate Tiger even more, but that comment has been attached to Rory ever since he made it even though he retracted it later by saying "I wasn't serious". But I guess some people just feel the overwhelming need to spout off before they think.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Team Event Chaos and Mid-month Update

Even though I had previously decided I wouldn't since I didn't have a good time in the last one, I was talked into participating in the Cardschat Team Event at the last minute. I guess a bunch of people dropped out right before it started and they were starved for replacements. I felt like I was doing a good deed while also having a chance to play with some CC buddies. My team seems to have pretty good spirit overall, good skill, and they're good folks, too. But as far as the event itself is concerned, I'm not sure what it is all turning out to be. I thought the purpose of the thing was to get some folks together to play in a slightly different format, get the team spirit going, and have a bit of good natured ribbing between teams. But what I've seen so far is extended in-game trash talk resulting in hard feelings, continuous accusations of soft play and chip dumping to teammates, a crushing team penalty already handed out to one team, and just an overall sense of seriousness and tension. The light-hearted environment seems to have gone away (at least for me and a few others I've heard from), but I guess we'll tough it out. Then to top it off, I have been neglecting my cash game progress a bit more than I should because of the team thing and I'm starting to wonder if it is really worth it.

I've have been working with Bob_Tiger on improving my tourney skills and it seems to be helping. I've played a few 18-, 27-, and 45-man games and cashed in a couple. I still like STT's, but I think I'll be more willing to try more MTT's now (when I have time).

I'm near even for the month profit-wise. Started out badly and came back from it. I still don't feel fully comfortable at 50NL for some reason. I've been switching between 25NL & 50NL for a little while and it seems to help. I'm hoping that the comfort I need will come when I grow a little more cushion in my BR. IceMonkey and I did some ring videos and he posted them on CC. I got some good feedback from the one I played in and I think I can make some tweaks in my game to incorporate those tips. Always learning, it seems.

I've been reading a book called "Mastering No-limit Hold'em" by Fox & Harker. It is geared towards cash games and seems like a good one so far. I'll be posting a review when I finish it. Problem is that I only seem to be reading a few pages a week since I play so much. I'll have to figure out how to read more often.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

In Kentucky, GoDaddy Does a "RollDaddy" With Domains

The fight in Kentucky over seizure of gambling-related domain names rages on. GoDaddy.com quickly handed over domains such as Doylesroom.com, Ultimatebet.com, and CakePoker.com. But Network Solutions has stood tall and has gone to Kentucky to defend the domains they hold. Looks like GoDaddy.com is gonna lose a bunch more business than they originally thought. I'll bet more than just poker enthusiasts will be steering clear of GoDaddy.com for fear that they will give up the goods to any little group that threatens them. Read more here:

http://www.gambling911.com/gambling-news/kudos-network-solutions-standing-online-gambling-sites-100708.html

I had my first golf domain through Network Solutions. While they aren't the cheapest registrar, I think they certainly are the best and this story goes toward proving it.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

September Results: Reality Bites!

Well. After having such a great August and getting all giddy about breaking even for my poker career, September sucked and I ended the month -$370. In the first 7 days of the month, I put myself in a $560 hole mostly playing 50NL. So I alertly dropped back down to 25NL until I could figure out what the heck was going on. During my 2-week stay at 25NL, I learned that I wasn't as much of a hotshot as I thought I was in August due to the fact that I found several leaks in my game that I am still trying to fully understand. I am learning that...

  • AK should be 3-bet preflop in many cash game situations, even though it isn't a pair and might be up against one.
  • Raising preflop doesn't always mean one must always C-bet since opponents DO pick up on that and can snap those off.
  • "Fold Equity" is more than just the likelihood someone will fold.
  • The winners of the Cardschat games are rarely the most skilled players, so one should avoid them unless they can commit to most of them.

The first 3 of those are part of the technical side of poker that I knew I would have to engage sooner or later. I was kidding myself to think I could ignore that part of the game as the words of Mike Matusow would constantly ring in my head. In a reader question article in Poker Pro mag, he once told a reader to "stop reading Sklansky", meaning that he doesn't think a player should over-analyze his game. For a mostly-live player who has been playing for many years like Mike has, I would agree. But for online players who go up against math geeks of all sorts, I think the only way to be successful is to embrace the technical side of poker.

I finally came to realize that 4th leak the other day. There are Cardschat players who have good or even great results in the CC tourneys and are considered good players within the forum. But if one examines the plays that those good players win with and also considers the fact that many of the so-called "good" CC tourney players either rarely win or even play any non-CC tourneys, then that would create a decision for a prospective player considering these CC games. Either commit to most or all of the games and hope that long-term skill will outlast the rampant short-term luck in these OR avoid those games entirely. Doing like I have been doing by just playing a few here and there is not a way to profit with much consistency. Sure, it's fun to play against folks I know. But I need to make money, also. Continuously losing my buy-ins while playing correctly versus the donk luck in these games is a leak I must plug and I can't commit to most of the games while still maintaining my cash game routine.

So I have already begun to plug those first 2 leaks, I'm studying more about the 3rd, and the 4th is easily handled. I still have my confidence because I know what I'm capable of and I know I can handle any problems that can arise. So I'm actually looking forward to a great October!!

It's almost time to dye my hair black like I do nearly every year about this time for the spooky season. LOL