Sunday, December 30, 2007

A TuckFard Experience

Last night Banky, Kat and I had our first, official, TuckFard experience.

The drive up north took a lot less longer than I anticipated – so when we were almost there 45 minutes early, we took a quick side trip to Starbucks for a latte (for Banky) and a Strawberry Fappuccino (for me). I’ve been craving a strawberry milkshake for weeks – and this finally satisfied it. Somehow I knew this was a good omen for the night.

We arrive just on time, braved the icebergs on Carson’s street, were greeted at the door by Carson himself, and we were whisked into the Carsino. I’ve played poker in quite a few home games, but I think the Carsino has the sweetest set-up I’ve seen…let’s just say he and his lovely wife know how to host a game!

I spotted Bam-Bam right away. He came over to shake my hand, and I was having none of it! It was a hug or nothing! Lucky for him, he obliged ;) Pebbles insisted on her hug too, and then the introductions began. I was worried about my piss-poor short term memory and forgetting everyone’s name…but because I knew them all by their online names, it was surprisingly easy.

Everyone was smiling, laughing, chatting away. In ‘real life’ I find it quite difficult to socialize with new people, but the TuckFards were so welcoming that within minutes I felt like I was one of the gang. I don’t know if all poker blogger gatherings are like this, but if they are, I can’t wait to meet more of you!

Kat arrived shortly after we did, and the poker started soon after.

And the poker was awesome. The structure was so good – it was definitely designed for play. We didn’t lose a player for over and hour and a half! Unfortunately, that player was Banky – but I’ll let him tell his own stories. I was seated with Carson on my right, SuzyQ on my left, and Pebbles, Mike, and Kathy. After about 10 minutes, Carson joked that the random seat generator put all the chatty-kathy’s on one table (not ours) – but between listening to the stories from the other table, and doing a little chatting ourselves, we held our own.

The TuckFard poker play was exactly the kind of play I like – they take the poker, but not themselves, seriously. So it’s a solid game of poker, but fun and lively. A real joy to play.

I didn’t get many hands early on – but at a crucial time I was able to take some big pots, and went into the final table as chipleader. However, the final table was not kind to me at first, and I folded away half my stack. I was extremely lucky in two major hands – I won a race against Bam-Bam with AQd when he held Jacks. Then came the hand of my night.

I had been folding A LOT, and I picked up KQo in middle position. Not a stellar hand, but the table wasn’t overly aggressive and I figured I could go in for a steal.

The blinds were 400/800 with a 200 ante. So I raised to 2400. To my surprise, Carson reraised all-in for 5900 more. CRAP.

Bam-Bam tanked. Double Crap. Then he folded. NutzFirth also painfully folded. It was them my turn to tank. I rarely take a long time to make decisions, but this one required some thought. I didn’t want to call – but I thought I probably had the odds…I knew I needed to do some math. And like Barbie says…”Math is Hard” – but I did my best…

We were 7 handed, so there was 1400 in antes, plus the 1200 from the blinds, plus my bet of 2400, and Carson’s stack of 2400+5900 = a total pot of 13300 (and if I’m honest, I didn’t know the exact amount…I just knew it was over 1200 when I did my count). At 2:1, I reluctantly called.

I was relieved when Carson turned over Tens since neither of my cards were in his hand. But I nearly jumped out of my seat when NutzFirth showed his fold… pocket kings!

I guess my tight play really had been noticed, because he put me on Aces. There’s no way I could have folded Kings there, but I understand NF’s play based on his read of me. Bam-Bam told us he folded Queens – and fortunately for me, and unfortunately for Carson and Bam-Bam, a Queen came for me. I was lucky that not only did I win my race, but the TWO players that would have beaten me had either called, both folded.

Between that hand and the previous hand with Bam-Bam, I had a very large stack, and through some careful play made it heads-up against NutzFirth.

He had his revenge for the folded Kings, however, and pretty much schooled me heads-up. I had the lead going in, and lost pot after pot. Amazingly enough, though, I had a blast doing it.

Banky likes to say “First or Worst” – but I’ll happily take a cash any day – and I was very pleased with my second place finish.

Banky managed both First AND Worst, as he won the side game once it got heads-up between he and Kat.

By this time it was way past my bedtime, and after more hugs and handshakes, we were on our way home.

Thus ended our inaugural TuckFard experience. Great people, great poker – what more can a PokerTart ask for?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Am I better because of poker? Part 2: Career

In this look at how poker has impacted my life, I’ll be covering the following topics:

- Finances
- Career
- Health
- Marriage
- Friendship

Welcome to Part 2: Career

I’m typing this at work at 2:00 in the afternoon. I guess that gives a little indication as to my priorities. I kid, I kid. I’m usually pretty busy during working hours – but the week between Christmas and New Years Eve is notoriously slow.

Truth be told, while I wholeheartedly acknowledge my corporate drone-ism – I actually like my job. On some days, I even love it. I work in marketing and I lead a team of smart, funny, and hard-working people. Venture outside my little fiefdom, however, and the office if filled with every The Office stereotype you can think of. It’s when I have to deal with people not on my team that I want to either punch them in the throat or drink myself into oblivion under my desk. But I digress….back to my career….

I’ve traveled a pretty golden road on my career path to date (barring a few potholes that I fell right into). The path to my current situation started out when I volunteered with Microsoft to get free hours of Internet access (this was back in the days when you paid for Internet access by the hour). The volunteer gig led to a part-time gig, which led to multiple full-time gigs where I got to do interesting things and meet interesting people. The good times, however, did not last and after a couple years of very fruitful freelance contracting, I was without a source of income.

A few months of unemployed self-loathing and afternoon matinees led to a job in my industry, and after 6 months there, contacts there led me to my current employer.

I’ve held 6 different jobs here, each more interesting than the one before. At one point, I was a golden child here. I was encouraged to get my M.B.A. so I could take on more senior level positions. Unfortunately, I didn’t have an undergrad degree. I dropped out of college a few months in, and started working full-time (the Microsoft money was too appealing). However, the program I wanted to attend said they would potentially accept students without undergrads as long as they had 7 years work experience, scored high on the GMATs and had good reference letters – luckily for me, I was able to pull off all 3 (even luckier that my 98th percentile in the Verbal section made up for a piss-poor Quantitative section. Thank God poker isn’t ALL math, or I’d be screwed). I was accepted and began my 18-month quest to get an M.B.A.

I wish I could say I was proud of my accomplishment – and in many ways I am. I know I worked hard, and learned a lot. But this was an “Executive M.B.A.” program – and some of the people in my class were complete and utter idiots. Knowing they ended up with the same degree that I have kind of tarnishes the whole deal. I’ve never held higher education in the same esteem that other people have. But at the end of the day, if a piece of paper reassures other people that I have the knowledge that I know I have, than so be it. The best part of the whole experience was seeing how proud my Dad was on graduation day. That pretty much made up for the 18 months of torture.

While I was in the M.B.A. program I was playing poker online. It was for small stakes, and not all that often (working full-time, plus school every other Fri-Sun didn’t leave a lot of free time). I graduated in 2005, and it was after that that Banky and I started playing more frequently, both online and live.

It wasn’t until early 2006 that poker became an everyday topic of conversation in our house. And it’s really been over the last year that I think it’s impacted my working life – and the impact is thus:

I’ve become apathetic.

And I don’t mean that in a bad way. In many ways, the apathy has been good. In the past, I was extremely emotionally invested in my work. I carried everything home. If work went well, I was happy, chipper, and fun to be around. If I dealt with an asshole, or my boss stole my idea, or if results weren’t as good as I hoped, I’d be devastated. Tears were not uncommon. I would spend evenings ranting to Banky, and being frustrated that he couldn’t understand. I’m sure I was not the most pleasant person to be around. Now, things just don’t bother me the way they used to.

However, apathy can also be bad. I still care about what I do, so perhaps apathy isn’t the right word – but I just don’t care as much as I used to. I feel like I’ve put work in it’s proper place….as a means to an end (the end being a lifestyle that I want). I no longer aspire to a bigger, better, career. I just want to be intellectually stimulated and work with fun, interesting people. I could care less about promotions, and hierarchy, and office politics.

I’m sure my attitude change has been noticed, because I’m not longer on the fast-track that I once was. But I’m not willing to sacrifice my time the way I was before. I leave work at work. Some other chumps can take their Blackberry’s with them on vacation. I don’t even check mine after office hours.

It’s hard to pinpoint that yes, this change in attitude is entirely because of poker – but I have to think that playing, thinking, and talking about poker so much has to have had an effect.

Playing poker has taught me how to deal with bad beats. I don’t get fazed by them any more. Work is full of bad beats! Dealing with an douche, having your boss take your name off a presentation and present it as her own, losing a great employee to another dept. The old me would spent days steaming – but now I’m mad for a few minutes (or a couple hours, if it’s something really bad) but then I shake it off. Just like at the poker table.

Sometimes, in poker, you do your best and you still lose. It’s the same at work. Sometimes you are smarter, better, more qualified than your co-worker, but they still get promoted. It’s like watching a fish catch hand after hand. There’s nothing you can do but play your best game – in poker, and in life.

When I reflect on where my career is now – I have to say that as far as progression, I’m no better off than I was before poker since I've been in the same role since 2004. But because of poker, I’m happier where I am than I would have been without it.

I’m not sure where that nets me out. I still have some thinking to do on this one.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Am I better because of poker? Part 1: Finances

Back when CC was over at Pokerworks, he wrote an excellent series of articles about the impact poker had on his life. It was an introspective and well written series, and I felt compelled to write something similar. I emailed him asking for permission to copy his format, and he graciously agreed. I, however, let time pass and never sat down to write my own series.

Now that months have passed, and I think I’m finally ready for the introspection.

So, in homage to CC’s original series, here is my look at this wonderful, crazy, frustrating and rewarding game and the impact it’s had on my life.

I’ll cover the following topics:

- Finances
- Career
- Health
- Marriage
- Friendship


I decided to start with this topic, because it’s the easiest one to quantify. I’ve tracked my play since the beginning of 2006, so the financial impact poker has made on my life is easily measurable and, luckily, positive.

The first time I ever played poker was in the Flamingo poker room in April of 2003. I had been watching the WPT with Banky on Sunday afternoons for a little while, and was intrigued. On a previous Vegas trip, Banky played 7 Card Stud, but I was too shy to approach the poker tables. This time, I mustered up the courage to give Limit Hold’em a try. I really only remember two things from that time at the tables: calling out that I had a straight at showdown, only to realize that I didn’t, in fact, have a straight and chatting with a tablemate who told me about a place on the web where you could play poker. He seemed shy when I asked him for the name of the site, but eventually he told me it was called ‘PartyPoker’. When Banky and I made it home, it wasn’t long before I signed up for an account.

I played on Party for a long time. I have no idea how much I won or lost. Only that I probably lost more than I won. But I had an amazing time. I then switched to Pokerstars (I can’t remember why). Banky and I started playing in some local home games, and were active on a poker forum. At the end of 2005, we decided that to truly get better at poker, we needed to track our results. Being a corporate drone, I’m an Excel wiz so I whipped up a spreadsheet and we tracked every cent.

Sometime in 2006, Banky discovered PokerSourceOnline where you got “free” stuff for completing bonus at various poker sites, and I became his guinea pig. I played on Pokerstars,, absolute, and Ultimate Bet. We got poker books, a folding poker table and other various ‘rewards’. But the real reward came on one random day in the middle of ’06. I can’t recall why, but I was at home for the day. At the time I was playing on Absolute, and I started off playing 1/2LHE. I had an incredible run that day, and rampaged my way up in levels. Every time I got enough to play at a higher level, I moved up. Soon I was playing 25/50 (or a limit close to that…the memory is fuzzy), and I Could. Not. Lose.

I hit every draw. Every high pocket pair held up. Every call I made was right. It was insanity. When Banky arrived home from work, I showed him my balance. I had made over $7,000. In one day.

Now this amount might be pitiful for some ballers out there. But the highest buy-in games we had ever played were $50 freezeout sng homegames. Online, $20 sngs were on the high side for us. This amount of money was more than I imagined making in poker in a year, nevermind one day.

After a few days, I decided to cash most of it out. In retrospect, it might have been wiser to try and continue to build a bankroll. But I had no delusions of grandeur. I knew that I had been incredibly lucky on one day, I didn’t expect that the luck would continue. I thought that cashing out would be my best bet. However, I didn’t just want to roll that money into our regular bank account. It was, afterall, poker money! So Banky and I opened a separate account for our poker winnings. We dubbed this our ‘poker fund’. At one point, the fund was up to 12,000. In the last year, it’s dwindled down to $4,000 – but not because of poker losses….instead we went to Mexico, remodeled our bathroom and installed some new windows.

I do still take the occasional shot at the higher levels – with various degrees of success and failure. I know it takes big money to make big money. Sometimes I crave the thrill of the higher limits, and sometimes I just want to play for the sake of playing.

As for 2007 – it’s been a good year. We’re both ‘up’ – but not by nearly as much in 2006. The thing is, as much as poker has had a positive financial impact in the sense that I have more money because of it – I’m not as interested in the money as I used to be. I’m less concerned about the financial cost (or benefit) of the poker session, than I am in how I played it and how much fun I had. Having a hobby that pays for itself is a joy.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Soooo close

Every other Monday, Banky and I play a game at Woody’s. It’s probably the most fun poker game I play. It’s a bunch of beer-drinking, trash-talking men, and me ;) At first they would censor themselves around me. Not any more. Last night I was privy to discussions about crapping at work, and masturbating while using a bidet – and that was all before the break.

Woody runs the games as a year-long series. At the end of the year, the person who has won the most money is declared the champ – and gets a super-cheesy bracelet, a trophy, and their picture up on the wall. He’s got champs from 2004-2006…and a spot all picked out for the 2007 champ. Up until last night, I held the lead. Now, with one game left in the year, I’m in second place, $415 behind none other than Banky. Mofo!

I’m the only woman that has ever played at Woody’s, and I so want my picture up on that wall. The thing is, I’ll need to win the next game, and Banky has to not place in the money at all. It could happen…

Otherwise, I’m not playing much poker. I haven’t played online in weeks. The online poker bug I get just hasn’t been there. Between the Christmas festivities, a busy work schedule, and not feeling up to snuff, the TV has been calling my name most nights (especially when Christmas movies & specials are on…I am a complete and utter sucker for Christmas specials). I’m hoping to play some more live poker in the new year – Kat and I are hoping to get together a trip to Rama or Fallsview (maybe a Tuckfard get together at Rama is in order…hmmmmmmmmmm?). A few friends and I are hoping to play in some tourneys at Seneca, and Banky and I really should get to the casino more….


I was disappointed not to win the Write Your Way to the Aussie Millions contest – but I gotta give Julius Goat props…his entry was fantastic. A Christmas Carol is one of my fave stories – twisting it poker-style was genius. I did get mentioned in a note from the FullTilt gang, so that was nice. I had fun writing my entry. I'm sure I made myself laugh more than those who read the entry, but that's pretty common in my life. If I can make myself & Banky laugh, I'm all good.

Huge thanks to Al for organizing this amazing event, and good luck to all those playing in the TOC. I’d love to see a blogger take the Aussie Millions down!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

No respect for Annette

I’m soaking up the WPBT trip reports – wishing I could have been there with you all. Please keep ‘em coming!

I haven’t felt very ‘pokery’ lately. Work has been both busy and full of holiday activities that it’s all a bit overwhelming. Most days I just want to go home and fall into a TV-induced coma.

I did get the urge to write here last though, when I collected the latest issue of Bluff from my mailbox. I’d been waiting for this issue to arrive, because I assumed there would be great coverage of Annette_15’s WSOP-Europe Main Event win. What I saw, however, was Joe Sebok & Barry Greenstein on the cover. Huh? Annette Obrestad, a woman*, won the main event being both the youngest to ever win a bracelet, and the only woman to win a Main Event – and all she gets is a couple pages in the middle of the magazine? Wha?

Don’t get me wrong – I have tons of respect for Barry Greenstein. I think he’s an incredibly talented player, and I love his demeanor at the poker table. I’m sure the dynamic between a father and a son who both play poker is very interesting. But would this not have been an ideal opportunity to put the record-smashing Annette on the cover?

Banky and I got into a heated discussion over breakfast. I was ranting at how it was sexist – and he said it was because it was the WSOP Europe and the average Bluff reader is a white American male and isn’t interested in a European event they can’t watch on T.V.

I disagree – I think it has way more to do with not wanting to put a normal looking girl on the cover. I’m sure if Annette looked more like Pamela Anderson she’d be splayed all over that cover in a heartbeat. Instead, she’s a normal (if not super-young looking) girl, who is crushing games online and live, and was pushed off the cover by an editorial piece on father/son relationships. Just doesn’t sit right with me.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been disappointed with Bluff. I still cringe every time I come across ZeeJustin’s monthly column. It’s pretty hypocritical of Bluff to fire one of their editors who recently got caught cheating online (which I think was the right move), while contracting with Justin (another self-confessed online cheater). So which is it? Cheaters are allowed to write for Bluff, or they aren't? The Bluff moral compass is out of whack.

I guess my problem is I’m so starved for quality poker content that I can’t bear to cancel my subscription.

* homage to Wicked Chops Poker

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Office vultures and loving Doyle

Tis the season...

Gifts from vendors have started to arrive in the office. When a big box gets delivered, everyone gathers to see what treasures it contains. Wine (the favourite, but difficult to share), chocolate, cookies, fruit…it all gets ooooohed and ahhhhed over before it gets ripped open and devoured.

Clearly we need more excitement in our days.

I’m going to try not to gain 48765803876lbs this season.


I started writing some commentary about Monday’s High Stakes Poker episode, but it got boring so I deleted it al, because really, all I want to say is I heart Doyle Brunson.

My favourite Doyleism was actually from last week’s episode. After Jamie Gold and Farha made fools out of themselves over the AA v KK hand, Doyle (after referring to them as Dumb and Dumber) turned to Barry Greenstien and muttered:

“If my Daddy knew I was a loser in this game he’d roll over in his grave”

Oh Doyle, you had me at Dumb and Dumber.

This week I loved how he handled Guy Laliberte not wanting to turn over his hand when Doyle called his huge check-raise on the turn. The pot was over $800,000. Doyle said:

“You don’t want to turn over your cards after you asked to see mine? Ok” and shrugged.

He totally called Guy out, without being a jerk about it. Guy turned over his cards.

Class and a quick wit – not much more you can ask for in a man. Oh, and he has nice, warm hands too ;)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Easy come, easy go

Working from home on Thursday brought a lovely side effect – lunchtime poker. I convinced Banky to play a $5 HORSE sng with me. Big mistake – he busted me on (or near) the bubble. At least he took second place ;)

When my ‘work day’ was done, I decided to play way above my roll (as I am occasionally known to do), and crushed the 15/30 OHL game. I quadrupled my buy-in (which, incidentally, more than doubled my roll on FullTilt). Wheeeeee

I know one shouldn’t risk so much of their bankroll on one game. But my offline bankroll is more than sufficient. And sometimes I just get sick of the small stakes. I’m a gambler at heart.

The league game that night was disappointing as usual. When the blinds were 150/300, we had 6 players left and we were all shortstacked. I was the chipleader at one point, with less than 10 times the Big Blind. There’s so much wrong with the structure of the game, and I really don’t have fun there anymore. The people I really liked have stopped coming, and last week the ONLY person talking it up and trying to have a good time was Banky. Everyone else was sitting there stonefaced. BO-ring. Anyhoo…

That lead to Friday and what is quickly becoming the most therapeutic game I play…Kat’s Donkament. I like being able to act silly and not care about the results. Last week I think I was in for $15 bucks. This week, I didn’t have to rebuy once. The poker gods were on my side. I ended up losing to Carson when my hammer lost to AceJack. I think that was hammer karma hitting me because I told Astin that his hammer was no goot. Ooops!

Saturday I thought I was the shiznit and tried to repeat my OHL crushing, and was crushed instead. I lost 2 buyins…gross. But I was still up for the weekend, so I was able to keep it in perspective. The only bad part is, after riding the variance train on Thursday, I cashed out a bug chunk of change, so with the loss on Saturday,my FT balance is back on the paltry side. Ah well, time to rebuild...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I'd rather be eating turkey

While many of my poker blogging brethern are enjoying a day filled with family, turkey and football – I’m working at home due to some terrifically crap-tastic driving conditions.

I’m pretty lucky that I have the kind of job where the occasional work-from-home day is acceptable, because 2+ hours each way = my personal hell.

Pokering has been ok lately. Banky and I went to a game on Saturday night that did not end well. I busted just before the bubble, and Banky on the bubble. I really didn’t care, but Banky was really ticked off about how card dead he was – and it showed. It was kind of uncomfortable, especially since I started dealing after I busted out. I know I’m not personally responsible for the cards I dealt out, but somehow I felt like I was pouring salt in the wounds. Not pretty. I think his reaction was less about this game in particular, and more about how bad he’s been running lately. Bubble after bubble can wear you down.

Good news is, the bubble streak was broken when he won Woody’s on Monday. Of course, he took me out along the way. Punk.

Now for the bad news. Banky and I are out for Vegas. There are a bunch of reasons….but ultimately it’s just not the right time for us.

Hopefully we can organize some sort of GTA-Vegas get-together in the near future...we have a swank poker room. Ok, it’s a folding poker table in our basement, but still, the invite is open…

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Blogroll updates + pimpage

I've been catching up on my blog reading, and realized that I've been remiss in updating my blogroll with some bloggers I've started (and restarted) reading...

Bam-Bam in Bedrock. My favourite TuckFard has a cave of his own.

Jusdealem. Been reading this gal for awhile now.

Kajagugu. I started reading Kaja after we played in Kat's donkament.

And to my complete delight - I've redicovered Grubby. I've been checking his pokerworks blog daily and haven't seen an update since September. I decided to check his old blog, and discovered that he and Grubette have been blogging faithfully there. Grubby was the first poker blog I ever read. It's been great catching up on his posts.


The new issue of Truckin' is out.

November 2007, Vol. 6, Issue 11And we're back...

Existentialist Conversations with Strippers: The Afternoon Shift by Paul McGuireThe club was just the type of seedy place where you might find William Kennedy Smith or any other soused heirs to the Kennedy name, knocking back cheap scotch at 3 pm while aggressively fondling the sketchy girls with visible c-section scars and multiple fresh bruises all over their cracked-out bodies.... More

Lonesome Cowboy Bill by AlCantHangMy comfort zone is a dive rock club where I can chain smoke, power drink, and have my head assaulted with decibels equivalent to a jumbo jet taking off. The next step down the ladder would be the pubs and bars the exist for sole purpose of its patrons getting blitzed on various hardcore drinks. Then comes the sports bars, strip clubs, snooty yuppie bars, and hotel watering holes. Near the very bottom would generally be any place that plays country music... More

Seven Minutes with Olga by Change100Olga led me all the way to the back and sat me down. She took her top off and grabbed my hands, placing them on her very soft, very real breasts... More

The Sleep Deprived Memoirs of I by Sigge S. AmdalI might as well go to sleep, I thought. And I thought about sleeping forever, the eternal sleep, and how it could feel – was it cold or was it cozy – had it not been for facts contesting life after death in terms of subjectively sensory experience... More

Their Father's Love by Sean A. DonahueTying to explain the differences and the complaints of a failed marriage is too complicated for a four-year old to understand. I think I heard the phrase, "But why daddy?" more than I ever thought I could. But it wasn't my kids' fault... More

Monday, November 12, 2007

My Aussie Millions Adventure

My Aussie Millions adventure happened so serendipitously, it’s like it was meant to be. Like Sonny and Cher. Only without the divorce part. Or the skiing into trees. That wouldn’t really be serendipitous. Anyhoo…

*insert flashback waves here*

I’ve never been the greatest poker player. But I love the game. The competition, the camaraderie, the challenge.

When Al teamed up with FullTilt Poker to give bloggers a chance to win their way into the Aussie Millions, I knew it was probably my only chance at a major tourney. My biggest problem was trying to play the BBToo events. My early morning starts at my corporate job (and my general love of sleep) coupled with a killer cold in early November put me out of commission for many of the tournaments. But buoyed by the idea that even a blind squirrel can occasionally find a nut, I entered a few, and by the luck of Jebus, I finally won one!

The hand that won me the game went something like this:

Limp with 45o, get quads, get paid off.

Many people have questioned the pre-flop limp with 45 offsuit UTG. But what can I say? Women’s intuition, suckahs, women’s intuition.

Of course, that only won me into the big game. I was worried. How could I beat the field full of poker blogging elite? I figured my only way to win was to lucksack it, so lucksack it I did.

When, late in the game, I was dealt 45o UTG. I knew it was my time. We were 3 handed, and I had my opponents both slightly out-chipped. I raised and they both called. The flop came 2,3,6 rainbow. All the money went in, and my opponents showed KK and AA.

It’s good to be lucky.

The 45o was officially renamed “the tart”. Well, my opponents tried to call it “that f’ing b--ch”, but I’m calling it “the tart”.

So with my lucksack packed, Banky and I boarded the plane to Australia.

Banky had 3 big agenda items for Australia:
1. Eat some kangaroo
2. Climb into a eucalyptus tree and hang with koalas
3. Dress in drag and lip synch to Abba in the outback.

Banky's kind of weird that way. Makes me love him more.

I only had one agenda item – take the fooker down!

I was extremely intimidated playing the event.

At my first table I had one pro I knew (Gus Hansen – hubba hubba), and a bunch of internet people that I had never heard of. They don’t typically play the $2 +$0.15 heads-up SNGs on FullTilt like I do. But apparently they are pretty big in teh interweb poker. I nursed my stack for awhile until I pushed in with, AKc, got called by AA and KK, and caught a flush. Wheeeeeeeee! I never heard a Dane swear so much in my life.

Honestly, I can’t remember much from the rest of the hands that lead up to the final table. I do, however, remember seeing a lot of head shaking and hearing the phrases “on the f-ing river” and “caught a 2 outer!” over and over. *shrug*

By the time I made it to the final table, I was ready for a nap. Poker is hard!

My final table featured hometown favourite Joe Hachem, Phil Ivey, Allen Cunningham and some other dudes. I was surprised when they all showed up decked in hats and shirts from various poker sites. I tracked down a FullTilt rep and asked what was up…

Tart: Um. Hi. So. No one approached me to wear a FullTilt hat or anything.
FullTilt Marketing Lackey: Ahhhh…yeah. About that. *looks around skittishly* We’ve, uh, watched your play, Tart. And uh, we at FullTilt want to promote poker as a game of skill.
Tart: Yeah?
FTML: Um. Right. And we think it’s best if we associate ourselves with skillful players.
Tart: Sweet! I’m a 2XL. Can I get a hockey jersey with “TART” on the back?
FTML: *cough*

Needless to say, the hockey jersey didn’t arrive before filming started. I guess it takes awhile to get them personalized.

When final table play started, I was pretty nervous. I had Cunningham on my left, Ivey on my right, and Joe right across the table from me. For the first hour, I couldn’t play to save my life. My hands were constantly shaking, every time I raised I got re-raised and folded. It was brutal. And that’s when I realized that I was actually trying to outplay these guys. How stupid! That’s not how I won my way here, that’s not how I survived the days leading up to the final table…I made my way here by relying on my natural gift – lucksackery!

But I was so intimidated. Could I really donk-it-up here, on TV, against Ivey, Cunningham, Hachem and the dudes? The only way to find that answer was through alcohol, and lots of it. So I ordered up a round of tequila shots. For reasons unbeknownst to me no one else partook. In my neck of the woods, we call those people wusses.

Now that I was feeling libatious, I loosened up. I don’t think Cunningham liked it when I called him Doogie Howser. I guess that’s what made him call my all-in. How was he to know I flopped a full house with J6? Anway, who goes all in with a straight and expects it to hold up, Doogie?

Some other dudes went out, and it was down to me, Phil, and Joe. Now Joe, I wasn’t worried about. I’ve watched him on TV many times and no one, and I mean no one, gets sucked out on more than Joe Hachem. If it got down to me and Joe heads-up, I was sure I could squeeze out at least a 6 outer in him. But Phil was trickier, he kept avoiding me. And no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t tilt him. I tried calling him Tiger. I tried asking him for golf tips. I even tried imitating him at the table. All I got were sore eyeballs, and a dwindling stack.

Here’s where my uber-luck kicked in. Joe and Phil got into a big pot with A 8 8 on the flop. When the dust cleared, Joe with his quads 8s had knocked out Phil with his Aces full.

I congratulated Joe

Tart: Whoa nice suckout, Joe!
Joe: Roight.

I offered to chop the money with him, and shockingly, he declined. So we went into battle. I knew I needed to reach into my reserves – so I ordered another round of tequila shots. Joe declined. I advised him that the buggery might not be so painful if he imbibed, but he chose not to take my advice.

Heads-up lasted 2 hours, and it was the most painful 2 hours of Joe’s life. He would whittle me down and I’d suck-out to double up. He spent a lot of time pacing back and forth, hiding his eyes from the flops, and wincing as my cards magically turned into boats, flushes, and straights before his eyes.

The crowd was growing hostile. Banky took off his “I’m with Tart” t-shirt and started waving an Australian flag, lest he be mauled by frenzied Australians.

Finally, it came down to the last hand. Joe, sick of trying to outplay me post flop (because really, how can you outplay a lucksack?), pushed all-in. I looked down at two black Aces. The poker player in me leaped with joy. But then the lucksack in me filled with dread.

I’d made it this far by coming from behind. I’d sucked out my way to this, the pinnacle of my poker career. I’d be going against everything that had worked for me thusfar. But I had the best hand in poker. Pocket Rockets…the hand you wish for every time you peel back the corners of your hole cards, the hand that makes your heart do a little jig when there’s been a raise before you, the hand that you can legitimately say was the favourite pre-flop. I couldn’t NOT play these cards, could I?

I can only blame the tequila.

I called Joe’s all-in.

He showed KingJack.

Flop – Jack, Jack, Jack.

The crowd goes wild.

Ace on the turn.

The crowd groaned. Joe began to sweat through his dress shirt and khakis. Banky started to giggle. Could this be it? Could this be the suck-out of all suck-outs?

2 on the river.

Joe Hachem wins the Aussie Millions, and I take second. No sponsorship. No title. But I do console myself with a whole chunk of second place dough.

Banky comes over and gives me a hug. Joe, being the consummate gentleman, shakes my hand. The Aussies in the audience quietly put away the Tart effigy they were about to light afire. I’m actually a little relieved I didn’t win – had an Ace fallen on that river, I’m not sure I would have made it out of the casino alive.

After getting my cheque, Banky and I quickly exit the Crown Casino, put on our high heels and head for the outback.

*end flashback waves*

And so ends my Aussie Millions adventure. I didn’t win enough to quit my day job. But I did win enough to fix up the house, get Banky a sweet Jacuzzi, and take a trip to Europe.

Life is pretty sweet these days.

Although I’m still waiting for my FullTilt hockey jersey.

Friday, November 09, 2007


What I’ve been up to for the past two weeks:

Coughing, sniffling, sneezing
Week 3 of being sick. I called in sick today, because my head felt as if my brain had been removed, and then placed inside a skull two sizes two small. I just want to feel normal again. My desire to play the BBToo events has been surpassed by my desire to sleep.

Turning into a domestic goddess
I was feeling pretty bored with our standard dinner routine, so I picked up Jamie Oliver’s newest cookbook (Cook with Jamie) and I got pretty inspired. I made gnocchi with meat sauce one night. How I lived this long without discovering the yummy, potatoey goodness of gnocchi is beyond me. I also made coleslaw another day, and it was freakishly good.

Reading up a storm
I finished Neil Gaiman’s American Gods (on audio), and started Neverwhere…I love discovering a new author and going through their backlist. I’m also reading (in print) Ken Follett’s World Without End. It’s a quasi-sequel to Pillars of the Earth, which is one of my all-time favourite books. It was the first book I ever read where as I was coming to the end, I was happy that the story was coming to a conclusion, but sad that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it longer. I didn’t even know the sequel was coming until Banky pointed it out in a flyer we got at the house one night. I was so excited…and the next day, I came home from work and Banky had picked it up for me.

Eating far too much Halloween candy
Damn you snack-size Kit-Kats and your tempting chocolate waferness!

Playing poker (of course)
I came in second at Woody’s on Monday…which puts me in the lead for the year. Woody tracks all the money finishes for the year, and the person who wins the most money is crowned the champ and gets all the rights and priviledges associated with champitude…picture on the wall in his basement, cheesy trophy, and of course bragging rights. As the only woman who plays in the very testosterone-charged game…I’m salivating to be the champ. I also won the Thursday league last night for the first time in a long time. I was so happy at the end of the game, because I went into heads-up at a huge chip disadvantage, and I absolutely schooled my opponent. I felt so in control of the game. It was awesome.

Banky and I have a busy weekend coming up. It’s his 32nd birthday tomorrow, and we’re celebrating with our families on Sunday, because it’s my uncle’s 60th birthday on Sunday, and my aunt is having a party for him on Saturday. Very convoluted.

I still have to figure out what to get Banky for his birthday, and what to cook for the family on Sunday. If I still feel as sick as I feel now, I sense a nice big order of Thai food in my future…

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tuesday evening blues

I’ve been in a rut lately.

I haven’t been getting a lot of joy out of things.

Poker wise – things have been up and down. Busted out of a blogger game last week to a total asshole. I HATE players who berate their opponents. To keep my sanity, I have to remind myself about the inverse penis:asshole ratio.

The bigger the dick the guy IS, the smaller the dick the guy HAS.

And yes Fluxer, I mean you.

I placed third in Kat’s donkathon – which was fun. But boy did it last a lot longer than I thought it would. I played like crap near the end…way too weak/passive.

I dunno. I just feel…..blah.

Apathy is a dangerous beast.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Early exit from the Big Game

Three easy steps to busting out of a deep stack tourney in 8 minutes.

1. Get AKh, raise 3xBB and win the blinds.
2. Get AKo, raise 3xBB, get called and fold to a post flop bet when you miss the board.
3. Get QQ, call a pre-flop reraise and then go all in on a flop of 3 baby cards. Get called by AA.

And there you have it!

I thought a lot about the QQ hand. And there are only two ways I don’t lose my stack there. I can fold pre-flop when Al re-re-raised me. I know that the 3rd raise is supposed to mean Aces…but I just don’t think I’m good enough to fold there. And an Ace or King on the flop would have stopped me.

Ah well – the better hand held up, as it should. I don’t know who won yet, but I hope Al put my stack to good use & took the fooker down!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Ignorance is bliss

Getting rivered sucks. Having someone catch a 2-outer stings. But what hurts worse is playing like an idiot, and knowing it. Sometimes I long for my early poker-playing days when I didn't know what a donkey I was.

Last night I played like a complete donk. I went out 5th or 6th….I don’t even remember. All I know is I willingly put my money in twice, with hands that had I thought about it, I would have played differently. But I didn’t think. Ugh.

I know what the problem was….I was tilting. Not from anything that happened that night, I was tilting from a brutal suckout the week before. It was like stealth subconscious tilt, and I let it get the better of me.

Live and learn.

On the flipside – I’m stocking up on tokens for BBToo!

I don’t play many of the blogger tourneys because, well, I am lame and am usually in bed by 10:30. But I had so much fun in the couple that I’ve played, that when Al mentioned that BBToo was coming, I decided to try and make as many as I could….and then he announced the amazing prize for the Tournament of Champs. Al can definitely hang.


In case you haven’t seen it….the new issue of Truckin’ is out.

1. AlCantHang and I Walk Into a Bar... by Paul McGuireWhenever you walk into a bar with AlCantHang, you're immediately assuming full responsibility for your actions. You always know what you are getting yourself into. There's no false pretense. You will drink and drink and drink and drink as life unfolds around you. You surrender to the flow of the liquor... More

2. Morrissey by Betty UndergroundI did my usual, obvious, snooping about, inviting myself in to use the powder room after the long drive. I knew my way around. I knew what it looked like the last time I was there. I was looking for signs. Girl things. Grown up girl things. A woman's touch in the decor. Pictures of the happy couple. Anything. Nothing... More

3. Driving to See Mama by John "Falstaff" HartnessWell, there was six of us in that car, and we'd been drinking and smoking cigarettes since we left base, so when Briggs rolled down that window, all that smoke just chimneyed up out of that window and that policeman had to jump back... More

4. A Mawmag's Dream by Sigge S. AmdalI was flirting, no, I was dancing with my own future's certain death. And why? There was no love to speak of. Love can come later in some cases, I know, but if there's nothing, no great emotion to ride on – why on earth was I still dancing? ... More

5. What Might Have Been by Sean A. DonahueThe struggles of life are few and far between. We walk through life looking for the elusive, looking for the elite, or looking to be the elite. Sometimes in our search for what we want, we find what we really need. But we are too self absorbed or blind to see it... More

Have a good weekend kids!

Saturday, October 06, 2007


October is off to a good start…

Banky posted about the league game on Thursday – I placed 3rd, after getting suuuuper short-stacked when we were five handed (my stack 300 when the blinds were 75/150) yet I managed to stay in, double up a couple times, and make it into the money. The game had 13 players with some newbies, so there was a good sense of energy and fun that we had been missing. I also was happy that I was able to pick up some tells – specifically against one of the new players.

I had KQ on the button and raised 3xBB. SB folded, new girl in the BB calls. The flop comes QJ4 rainbow. She checks, I bet about half the pot and she calls, and when putting her chips into the pot I notice that he hands are shaking like crazy. There have been times where I *think* I notice a shaky-hand tell, but this time I knew it. She checked the turn and I checked behind, and when she bet out on the river I folded right away, and she flipped over pocket Jacks (for trips). I felt so good about my fold because I paid attention, and listed to the information that was given to me.

Banky went out early, but he had a great attitude about it. I think the RC4 win (specifically that he came in first in his Limit table) really gave him some confidence and some perspective on the game.

Today was another good result:

I love the token SNGs on FullTilt…and two weeks ago I won a $75 token (I played the $8 two-table turbo, then the $24 two table). The last time I had one, I played a SNG and won, so I decided to give it another try…and I won again!

I got some nice hands early on, and on back-to-back hands took people out with pocket jacks. I was a monster chip leader, but then went card dead. I played pretty tight for awhile, and then it was 4 handed. By this time, my chip lead had eroded, and there was only one short stack. She stole pot after pot off of the other two players, and then they took each other out on AA vs A9. AA held up, and we were in the money, with equal-ish stacks.

I was able to relax then, and got my aggression back.

The hand that pretty much gave me the game was when the SB min-raised, and I pushed with 55. He insta-called and turned over AJo, and I caught a 5 on the flop. He was left with 210 chips….but battled back to over 2000, but eventually went out to the other player (the previous short stack who played the bubble perfectly) when he went all-in with K2 and got called by AQ. Q on the flop, A on the turn and we’re heads up.

Heads-up was pretty easy….a few hands back and forth. One hand that I debated about was Ac5c in the BB. She went all-in and I considered calling, but I had a big chiplead (9000 to 3000) so calling would have put us even. Banky was looking over my shoulder and said “what hand do you hope she has, A4?” and “do you think you can outplay her – if yes, don’t give her more chips”. I was pretty sure I could chip away at her stack legitimately, so I folded.

The very next hand, I pick up Ac9c and I raised 3xBB from the SB. I already knew I would call her all-in, and when I did, she showed As5s….exactly the same hand I had folded to her push the hand before. And this is the exact reason I folded….if she pushed with a better Ace, I would have been in big trouble, just like she was in now.

The flop was 8c 5d 4c, giving her a pair, and me a flush draw. The turn was the 6d, giving me a gutshot draw to go with my flush draw, and the river was the Tc giving me the flush, and the win.

I’ve felt really positively about my game lately. Decisions seem clearer and easier, and I’ve been lucky to have the results to go along with my play. Sometimes it feels like you play an excellent game, but things don’t go your way. It’s times like this, when the discipline of playing well really pays off.

Monday, October 01, 2007

RC4 victory!

Sometimes poker can be really fun.

On Saturday, Banky and I participated in RC4 (the 4th iteration of a team based poker event called the Royal Cup). The name sounds more official than it really is…it’s essentially a bunch of poker enthusiasts getting together for a crazy day of poker.

Each team has 8 players, who each play in 4 rounds:

Stud/Omaha (half the team plays Stud, the other half Omaha)
Limit Hold’em
No Limit Hold’em

Our team rocked the house (ok, we rocked the community hall), and took 1st place!

Because you got more points the higher you placed in the sit-n-gos, I knew it was going to be a good day when half of our players finished first or second in the Stud & Omaha games. We remained strong throughout the day, but lost some steam during the heads-up matches where we only won 2 of 8 (last time, we won 6 of 8 HU matches). But despite our lackluster HU performance, we still pulled in a win. It felt so good to win as a team. Especially since poker is both a social and solitary pursuit – week in and week out, these people were my opponents….but they’ve also become my friends. It was a really good feeling to have someone to cheer for, and someone to cheer for you.

My results were not the best of the team, but were still very respectable. I played Stud and finished 3rd, I finished 2nd in Limit, 5th in No Limit, and lost my heads-up match. The Limit game was the most frustrating loss for me, as I really outplayed my opponent – three times I got him all-in with the worst of it only to have him suck-out to double up and stay alive. He was a strong opponent though, and we played heads-up for well over an hour. I was most disappointed in my HU game. I think I was a better player than my opponent, but I didn’t play my best. C’est la vie.

All in all, it was an awesome day…and it’s always fun when you come home with some cash in your pocket.

Friday, September 28, 2007

5 years and 3 things

First things first….

Happy Anniversary babe.

I can’t believe we’ve been married for 5 years already. When did we get so damn old?


I’m a week late on my 10 (minus the previous 7) things no one knows about me. So here they are:

8. I spent the majority of my senior year in high school playing Euchre in the cafeteria. I had almost all my required credits, and a lot of free periods. I am a wicked Euchure player....although Banky thinks he's better.

9. I’m addicted to audio books. I commute an hour to work each way, and just last year discovered downloadable audio books. I can’t believe I suffered this commute for 8 years without them. Right now I'm listening to The Reincarnationist

10. I’m a contributing author to an HTML instructional book written in 1999. An old MSN colleague was on a deadline and in a bind, so I wrote 2 chapters for her. Now in it's 6th edition, my name no longer appears on the chapters....but I still remember how cool it felt to get my copy of the 1st edition with my name in black and white on chapters 44 and 46.


I feel discombobulated today. With some changes at work I have a new boss, a new desk, and arrived at work today to see a brand spanking new laptop where my old dinosoar used to sit. I knew it was coming “soon” – but was surprised to see it today.

I’ve spent half my morning readjusting all my settings. If that’s not a good use of my time, I don’t know what is.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Lame catch-up post

It’s 5:30 on Friday night and I’m still at the office. The only other noise I hear is the cleaning lady emptying recycling bins. Work has been chaotic for the past few days while half the department moved cubicles. Oh the joy of packing up all your crap just to haul it 20 feet down the hall.

I wish I could get excited about my new, bigger, cubicle. But a cubicle is a cubicle is a cubicle.


I played a lot of poker this week. Sitting at home on Tuesday while Banky and I got our windows replaced allowed for a lot of online poker. I decided to play some micro-limit NL on FullTilt, and I actually had fun. I also played some O8 and Stud H/L. Again, low limit, but lots of fun. The biggest difference in these sessions... I turned off chat.

I’m a pretty social person. I’m not the best ‘mingler’ there is, but I enjoy (most) people, and I love a good laugh. But after my recent post about feeling so ‘blah’ at all the degrading and rude things people say at the tables online, a few people suggested I turn off the chat…and it made a huge difference. I didn’t feel like I had to justify myself to the rude people, I didn’t get titlty because someone was acting like an ass…it really helped me focus on the game.


BamBam over at TuckFard Poker tagged me in a “10 things you don’t know about me” thingy…..since I already wrote 7…I figure I’m only on the hook for 3 more…but now it’s 5:42, and I want to get home to Banky, so those will have to wait!

Friday, September 14, 2007

You cannot hide your inner geek!

I received an email today from Amazon promoting products that are “Recommended for You”. The products featured were 3 boxed sets of various seasons of Stargate SG1, the latest Harry Potter book, Stargate Atlantis the complete 1st season, and the Planet Earth DVD series.

Cleary, Amazon knows that I am a nerd.

I’m a tired tart this morning. Banky and I stayed up a little late last night watching Big Brother and celebrating my 2nd place finish in the season ending tourney for the Thursday league.

It took me awhile to get into the celebratory mode, because I was really disappointed not to win. I was On. My. Game. last night. It was one of those games where you're totally in the flow. I was making correct decisions, and things were flowing my way. Despite not making any ‘huge’ hands (trips, straights, flushes), I was the chip leader (by a large margin) after the break. I was making good bets, raises and reraises, and I felt like I was in control of the table.

Unfortunately I had to call Banky’s all-in when I held AK (he was short stacked and went all-in with A9). It's never fun busting your husband, but sometimes it has to be done.

My downfall came when we were 4 handed, and the blinds were incredibly high. I got two back-to-back good starting hands (AKs, and AJo). In both cases, I raised preflop and was called (by the same player), and made continuation bets when I missed, only to get raised both times. I gave up on the flop…but those bets both cost me a good percentage of my stack. The player I bet into is a very good player and giving him so many chips was a mistake. I couldn’t not play those hands – but the second time around, I think I could have forgone the continuation bet.

I ended up heads-up with that same player, and he had me at about a 6:1 chip disadvantage. We only played 5 hands heads-up. I won the blinds twice (once with KJ, once with AQ), folded twice, and lost when my pre-flop all-in with 88 lost to J10 when a 10 hit on the flop, followed by a J on the turn. Had my 88 held up, it would have been a very good heads-up match. But it wasn’t meant to be.

I’m pleased with my second place finish – but at the time I was disappointed to have come so close to a win.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Ding Ding Ding...followed closely by Wah Wah Wah

Saturday afternoon I decided that instead of using my $75 token on a satellite into a bigger game, I’d use it for a 9 person SNG. My decision proved to be a good one…since I took the sucker down! Woot!

I’ve won and lost bigger amounts in live games....but this was my biggest online tourney win to date….and let me tell you, it felt great.

I decided to try my hand at the token tourneys again on Sunday. And I lost every one I played. 4 for 4. Bah.

Then at Woody’s last night, I rebought twice before going out in 6th place. The hand that lost me the tourney was when a shortstack went all-in before me, and I pushed in over the top with AK. The shortie had pocket sixes, I caught my ace on the flop, but he caught runner, runner flush cards. Ouch.

I went all-in shortly after with 1.5 BB. I had A5s, got called by QQ and KK. Q on the river knocks out two of us.

Banky hasn’t written about the night yet….but I’m sure he will – he had a worse run than me. Some games at Woody’s, you can just feel that you’re going to get fucked. Last night was one of those nights.


The new issue of Truckin' is out. If you haven't read Truckin' before, you're missing out. Reading it inspired me to write again.

1. Monk's Siberian Dream by Paul McGuire
Brain dead. Deep into the sixth day of a foggy bender, I had forgotten the day of the week. Frisatursunday? I’d successfully lost time. The demoralizing result was that my conversational skills had dwindled down to a few muttering sentences... More

2. The Rubber-less Traveler by Brad "Otis" Willis
Breathless, confused, and sick to my stomach, I arrived at the British Airways gate and looked at the departure board. The flight was delayed for an hour. This is how I travel. I run to nowhere to fly to somewhere where I see little, do much, and find myself asking questions like, "Why do they sell condoms in airport bathrooms?" ... More

3. It's Not Like I'm Dishonest; Honest by May B. Yesno
I'm a private investigator. A damn good private investigator. I have a wife, a very expensive wife. She likes the good things in life. We're matched. I like good things too... More

4. Coming Home by B Kemp
Some of my former friends think that she is using me for my money. It doesn't seem right to them that a man my age would "throw it all away," leaving my career for a life of unpredictability and adventure. My old friends are naturally suspicious of younger women wanting to spend their money, rightfully so I suppose... More

5. The Confetti of Life by Sean A. Donahue
I read the love letters that my grandfather sent to his wife. I could see the tears in my grandmother's eyes as she read them, touched them for one last link to him. I shed many a tear today, ones that no one saw, because I left the room before they fell... More

Friday, September 07, 2007

Diamonds are a tart's best friend.

Is it wrong to be happy when you suckout a flush to a made straight?

I came in second in the final league game of the season last night – but I should have been out in the second level. I was on the button with Ad9d and called along with several limpers. The flop was 9c, Qd, 10d. Checked to me so I bet with my pair & nut flush draw. The BB check raises me.

As Banky discussed before, there’s not a lot of play in the league structure. If we were deeper stacked, I probably would have just smooth called with position. But a call here was more than a 3rd of my stack. If the diamond doesn’t come on the turn, I have to fold to another bet. My opponent is a smart, sometimes tricky, player – and I thought he could be doing this move with a straight draw, as well as with 2 pair or trips. I’m losing to the stronger hands – but with the exception of the made straight, I could see him folder.

As I thought more about it, I really felt that I’d rather bust here, than call and be crippled, or fold what is a strong(ish?) hand. So I pushed. He insta-called with the J8, and my diamond came on the turn.

There was a lot of talk about what a suckout it was – but I feel like it was the right move at the time.

I maintained this big stack for quite a few more levels. I was determined not to lose my early lead like I usually do. When it was down to 5 handed, my big stack was now average, and I lost a chunk of chips with AK (preflop bet, missed flop, continuation bet got called by tight player – had to fold when he bet out on turn). I was shortish – but doubled up when I went all-in with Jh10h, got called by AJo (yikes) but flopped a flush.

Unfortunately, I ended up heads-up with a strong player who had a major lead on me. I doubled up once, and then a few hands later, had an open-ended straight flush draw on the turn when he pushed all-in. I called. He had two-pair, and my gazillion outs didn’t come through. I don’t regret the call.

I really enjoy the league and the people I’ve met there. But I’m not sure if I can continue going. The games have gotten really small – we’re lucky to get 9. And with the prize pool being split 3 ways, it’s very hard to break even. Before last night’s game – Banky had 2 wins, a 2nd, and a 3rd out of 12 games – cashing a third of the time – and he’s barely breaking even. I’ve cashed 3 times a 1st, a 2nd and a 3rd, and I haven’t broken even. We still have a chance to make some money next week with the “free roll” ($10 per player, per game comes out of the prize pool each week…at the end of the season, we play for that money). But without a cash there, this season will be a bust.

It was different when the games were bigger, and we had a lot of new people coming in and out of the game. But now the game has gotten stale. I know Banky and I aren’t the only people who feel this way…I’m not sure what the prospects are for the future of the league.

At least the friendships will live on. That's gotta be +EV ;)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The curtain of anonymity

I’ve been dabbling again in online poker at FullTilt. Mostly playing OHL, but also the occasional tournament. On Friday afternoon I played a token frenzy tourney and won a $26 token – on Monday afternoon I played a 2-table $26 tourney to win a $75 token. I ended up winning the token…so now I have to find a good $75 game.

Despite having two successful games though, I left the game feeling…I don’t know what the right word is…not unhappy…but disappointed? It feels like every time I play online, I get heckled by at least one other player at the table. I’m sick of the venom that is so easily spewed by other players.

The heckling in question on Monday came after I made a marginal call on the turn when I had the second nut flush draw, and a gutshot straight draw. The 9 of hearts on the river made the straight and the flush for me. My opponent bet out into me – which gave me pause. I thought my call on the turn gave away the fact that I was drawing, so when she bet into me, I was concerned she may also have a flush – but I couldn’t fold the second nut flush, so I just called. I won the pot (she was betting a made straight – a move I still don’t understand). She called me “%^$#%ing donkey”.

Then later, I made a pre-flop raise with a mid-pair, got called by the blinds. The flop brought 1 over card, they checked so I made a continuation bet, only to have the BB go all-in. When I folded (remember, the point of a token tourney is not to win, it’s just to get into the ‘money’), she wrote “hahahahaha %&%^ing idiot”.

It’s not that I care about what this particular person thinks of me. It just bothers me that people have no sense of decorum at the table. They think nothing of saying something so rude to another human being – all over a game of poker that costs less than a trip to the movies.

I’ve been called worse than a donkey. I’ve seen things typed into chatrooms that are truly horrific. It really makes me sad that people can debase other human beings so easily.

I remember when I first started playing online on PartyPoker, when people would say “nh”, and the person who busted on the bubble in a SNG would say “gg” and “gl” to the players remaining. I guess those days are long gone.

Revenge can still be sweet though. My friend, who was so quick to criticize me, went out 8th (when 6th people got paid), when she raised from EP and got called by the BB. The flop came King high and she went all in with AQ. The button had AK. She got no help, and went out without a word.

Friday, August 31, 2007

When getting busted has a whole new meaning

It was a good poker week for Banky and the tart. I moneyed at Woody’s (3rd) and Banky won the Thursday league game last night. I fucking bubbled last night, which is worse than chumping. I hate the effing bubble. But c’est la vie! At least one of us brought home the bacon last night.

The big buzz around my little poker world, however, has to be the recent string of underground cardroom busts.

The part that bothers me about the busts is that in another article, a police officer was quoted saying something about the players being there “for their fix”. This is just such an inflammatory and ignorant thing to say. Not everyone who plays poker is a gambling addict. I have several friends who play in the clubs, and I certainly wouldn’t categorize them as going there to get a ‘fix’. They go because it’s a fun night out, and they are tired of taking money off each other at the same weekly homegames.

I wish my favourite hobby didn’t have such a seedy image.

I’m an enthusiast, dammit, not an addict.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Master of my own demise

hu•bris 'hyu brIs, 'hu- - [hyoo-bris, hoo-]
excessive pride or self-confidence; arrogance.

See example: Pokertart pulling off an incredible bluff when shortstacked, and then showing said bluff, only to realize that this cripples her ability to pull same such bluff anytime soon in same game.


Out 8th with Kh10h. I was first to push, got called by two better hands. Hit my 10, but still lost to QQ.

Banky was pissed last night after her got slow rolled when he went all-in. Banky announced “I have a pair” and flipped over his 77. Caller said ‘me too’, but didn’t flip his Aces over right away.

It was a dink move for sure, and Banky was not impressed. It’s been tough lately, because Banky has been getting mad after every league game lately….I understand his frustration, but it’s taking the fun out of the game for me.

Being a couple who plays poker together has some incredible advantages. There are times, however, when it’s very difficult – especially when you have very different emotional reactions to the game. I try to be supportive, but the peacemaker in me wants to make him feel better right then and there, when I know all he really needs is to be pissed off for awhile and then he’ll be fine.

Men really are from Mars.


It’s time for a bit of a blogroll update…welcome to the tuckfards over at TuckFard Poker, and RaisingCayne, that Talkin’ Donkey.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Sleepy Tart

Sing me to sleep. Sing me to sleep. I'm tired and I.
I want to go to bed.
ASLEEP by The Smiths from 'Louder Than Bombs'

Despite playing a ton of poker over the past several weeks I haven’t felt much like writing. Work is pretty busy right now, and when I can sneak a few minutes to myself, I usually try to catch up on poker blogs and Big Brother live feed recaps (I can’t help myself!)

Truth be told, I feel tired. I don’t think I’ve fully caught up on sleep since I got insomnia in Vegas. Banky and I keep saying we need to go to bed earlier and sleep later, but we don’t and it’s catching up on me.

I need to sleep more, eat & drink less, and spend some time with a book on the deck in my backyard.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Las Vegas has become like an old lover to me. Long gone are the heady days of new love. The surprise, awe, and delight are gone – replaced by familiarity, comfort, and expectation.

There are no certain things that mean Vegas to me….happy hour at the Pink Taco is one of those things. Nothing gets my Vegas trips off to a better start than excellent half-price margaritas, bowls and bowls of free chips with 3 types of salsa, and half price, and very tasty, appetizers.

Banky and I were set to arrive just after 10am on Friday. But due to a full-on cluster-fuck by American Airlines, our connecting flight in Chicago was cancelled and we ended up routing through Dallas and not arriving until well after 4:30 in the afternoon. For some reason, the usually extremely impatient Banky was very zen about the whole thing, while I was on cancelled-flight-tilt.

While waiting in line to check-in at the Golden Nugget, the prospects of Pink Taco Happy Hour looked dim, as the clock ticked closer and closer to 5:30, I thought there was no way we’d check-in and make it back to the Hard Rock in time. But miraculously, the line started to move quickly (after being standstill for 15 minutes), and we were in our room by 5:40. We put down our bags headed back downstairs, hailed a cab and asses were on barstools by 5:55. We had 1 hour and 5 minutes left – and what a happy hour we made it….

In 65 minutes, we downed 5 margaritas and shared an appetizer platter, all for $15 including a generous tip. Even though it was happy hour, our barkeep BJ (a name I found incessantly amusing) comped us all the drinks, and we even got an extra freebie when a rep from Terzon (I think) came in shilling his new tequila.

Nicely lubed, we donked off money at the pai-gow & black jack tables but the dealers at the Hard Rock were jerks, so before long headed back downtown for an evening of more drinking, donking, and general tomfoolery.

By the time we went to bed, I had been up for 27 hours. Nothing like an old lover to keep you up all night…

Monday, July 30, 2007

A weekend of variance

I never did make it to Fallsview on Friday – hopefully Kat and I will be able to arrange another Vegas North meet before the summer (and my half-day Fridays) come to an end.

Nevertheless, much poker was played this weekend.

I started my weekend early with a win at the Thursday night league. Holy hell it’s been a long time since I won a game there. The first three seasons I was the top of the leaderboard, but this was only my third cash since November – and my first win since even earlier.

The best part of the win was that I was extremely short-stacked before the break – I had 275 chips and the blinds were 30/60. I battled back and had built an average stack with some good steals and a nice double up from the SB when I had Jacks and the BB had Nines. (Normally, the flop would bring a 9 here, and I would go home. I was shocked when my hand held up). But my stack was now in contention, but it was another hand that gave me the win.

The blinds were 75/150 and I was in the BB with 8s9s. UTG limped in, everyone else folded to the SB who completed. I checked after briefly considering pushing. The flop was Qs 2s 5x. SB checked and I pushed – hoping just to take the pot. UTG called, and SB called. Oooops.

Now UTG had been drinking heavily, so I put him on a flush draw…but SB isn’t dumb enough to call an all-in and a call with nothing…so he had to have at least 2 pair.

The turn was a Ks, making my flush. UTG goes all-in for the remainder of his chips, and SB calls with less. The cards get flipped and UTG has KxQx for two pair, SB has trip deuces and my flush is leading. No pair on the board means my flush holds up, and I scoop a pot worth over 3500 chips and after that, nothing was going to hold me back.

Once it got to heads-up, I had a 7:1 chip lead, and got AA on the second hand. I completed the SB, knowing that if the other player had any face he’d push, and if not, if he hit any part of the flop he’d push. True to form, he had 8 10, hit an 8 on the flop and pushed. I called and my Aces held up.

It felt so bizarre to have my hands hold up. I’ve been so accustomed to losing as the favourite.

The only downside to my win…it was a small game, so my top prize didn’t make much of a dent in my current deficit. As my mother would say "Beggars can't be choosers". She'd also tell me to wear a skirt to work, but that's another topic altogether.

Friday afternoon I decided to use the $100 I got from FullTilt on a refer-a-friend bonus to play some 5/10 OHL – which I killed. I built it up to almost $400, then lost a bunch, then built some back and cashed out +$200. That was fun – but my love affair with online poker has definitely cooled. I’m going to cash out my little profit and play with the remainder…I’m just not a good enough online player to keep donating. It still kills me when I look at my results this year and see what a gaping hole has been left by my attempts to play online.

Friday night was the Georgetown game again – and that was a lot of fun. I didn’t cash – didn’t even get close this time. But I busted out just in time to see Banky scoop a monster pot in the cash game when he went all-in against two players on the river when the board was 4,5,6,7,8. Only one player called, and Banky tabled the 9,10 for the nuts. It was killer.

Another gaping hole was ripped on Saturday when Banky and I went to Rama. I got completely brutalized in the 5/10 LHE game when every draw got made against me, and every draw I had failed to materialize. It just wasn’t my day. All the profit I made on FullTilt was gone. The worst part was, the game was a bore. No one was there to have a good time. I left and played Pai Gow for an hour. Total Pai Gow profit: $5

It’s 4 sleeps ‘till Vegas. Yehaw.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

There's nothing an Oreo Cheesecake Blizzard can't cure

The best part of the game I played last Friday night was that when Banky and I busted out and headed home, I saw the bright shining light of Dairy Queen and made it in for a Blizzard with 1 minute to spare. 10:59 baby!

It was one excellent Blizzard, let me tell you.

Truth be told, I didn’t feel all that bad about the game. It was just kind of uneventful. There were no blunderous mistakes or gut-twisting suckouts. It was just kind of…meh.

For the past few weeks I’ve played a lot of poker, and I feel like I’ve been playing very well – but I haven’t seen good results. I know there are ebbs and flows in the game, but I’d really like a little boost to the old bankroll.

I’m heading out to Fallsview on Friday – wish me quads!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Pokerless Friday

You know it’s a good party when some guy starts playing a didgeridoo in the corner.

Banky and I ditched the Georgetown game this Friday for a party at friend’s place, and I’m so glad we did. We had already played poker on Wednesday and Thursday, and were planning on playing Friday night – but we frequently talk about putting friends & family before poker, so it was a no-brainer to accept the invitation.

Our friend Derek lives downtown – and it’s quite a different life than what we live in the ‘burbs. When we have parties I break out my homemade guacamole & chips. When we got to Derek’s place he was shucking oysters while his girlfriend was stuffing freshly roasted peppers with goat cheese – they made the whole night seem effortless. Martha would be proud.

We actually met Derek through poker – another example of how poker has impacted our lives. We never would have socialized with this particular group of people if we hadn’t been trying to win Derek’s chips every week for the past couple of years.

I’m not the most social person and I find it really hard to make small talk – especially when I’m sober – so there were some uncomfortable moments. But all-in-all it was a fun night. At one point I was laughing so hard I was crying, and that’s one of the best feelings in the world. After a stressful week at work, and some frustrating poker sessions, that feeling was exactly what I needed.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Drinking the blues - but not feeling them!

I was feeling celebratory on Saturday because I cashed in the Georgetown tourney on Friday night (more on that below). Banky and I decided that a night of cocktails was in order. I got inspiration from the Ralph Burch pin-up calendar that Banky got me for Christmas, so a quick trip to the liquor store and we had all the fixings for Indigo Blues.

With tequila and sour mix as two of the ingredients, it was strong & tart…just like I like a drink. After a couple of them I added some Fresca to the mix and they went down even easier. Getting up this morning, however, wasn’t so easy.

Nevertheless, it’s been a good weekend. The Georgetown game was great – just like Thursday, I felt like I was ‘on’, and I was making the right decisions. But unlike Thursday, the decisions also ended with good results.

There were a few really memorable hands:

I had KcQc on the button with 1 limper. I raise, only the BB calls. The flop comes 8h, 9h, 4s. The BB bets out, and I raise, he calls. The turn brings a low heart (maybe a 3?). The BB checks, and I bet out about half of my remaining stack….with my heart about to jump out of my throat – but he quickly mucks.

Sometimes a successful bluff is more exhilarating than flopping the nuts.

In another hand about half the table limped and I had 33 on the button. A ‘poker god’ (who had a huge stack after sucking out a flush with Kh2h in an early hand) was also in the hand, and I was drooling. He had a really arrogant air about him, and commented on how other people played their hands. It was easy to predict his plays, and I was just waiting for a hand to double through him. My dream came true when a sweet, sweet 3 came on the rainbow flop along with an 8 and Queen, and to my amazement the SB bet 5,000 (just over half his stack). Then, in another minor miracle, the poker god came over the top for 10,000. I only had 9,000 chips…and they were all-in the pot in a heartbeat. The SB called as well, and then I got slightly worried that maybe one of my opponents had a better set. But no, the SB had 8-rag, and the poker god had 8 J. So…..yeah, that sums up the competition. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough chips to take out the poker god on that hand – but I took enough of his chips to take some of the wind out of his sails, and he busted out not long after.

One hand I was in caused a brief controversy at the table because the other player attempted to angle-shoot me.

I was in the SB and it got folded to me. I completed with 9 3 off. The BB – new to the table and friendly with another new-to-the-table player who was VERY loud and obnoxious, just checked. The flop was 3d, Xd, As. I bet my 3 and the BB called. I figured he had either a flush draw or a weak ace and I decided I’d let go of this hand unless a 9 came on the turn – but then a 9 came on the turn. Ding!

I bet again, he called again. I was positive he was on the flush draw now. The river brought no diamond, so I pushed the remainder of my chips into the pot. He hemmed and hawed and counted out the chips and placed them next to the rest of his chips (off to the side, not out in front). And then he said “I know I’m beat” and flipped over his cards (Ad, 7d). To me, that was a fold, and I pushed my cards forward and started to scoop the pot. He said “Thank you. I win, she mucked”. The dealer said he didn’t hear a call (and neither did I) but the guy’s obnoxious friend insisted that his friend said “I know I’m beat, but I call”, and that since I mucked my cards, my hand was dead. Luckily for me, I pushed my cards forward, but didn’t throw them into the muck, because the dealer said that since my cards had not touched any part of the muck (and were actually still right in front of me) my cards we live. I turned them over and won with my two pair.

It’s hard to describe exactly how he said “thank you” and “she mucked” – but it was an obvious angle-shoot. But lesson learned – I’ll wait until the dealer declares a winner before I release my cards in any fashion.

I got a little revenge later on the obnoxious loud guy when I took a huge pot away from him with a flush to his two pair. He self-destructed and busted out just out of the money – despite having an enormous stack when we were down to 2 tables.

Ultimately I finished 5th out of 61 and took home $250 for my troubles. I was happy with the finish, but wish I could have lasted a little longer since first place was worth $1100. But a cash is a cash, and I happily recorded my stats – very nice to see a result without a negative in front of it!

Banky was card dead and busted early, but more than doubled up in the wild & crazy cash game. So our combined efforts gave our bankroll a little boost.

Not too bad for a Friday night.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Thinking makes my brain hurt

If you haven’t been reading Tao of Poker for Pauly’s take on the World Series of Poker, you are missing out. His Main Event coverage starts today. Go. Read. Enjoy.


I was touched to see the comments to my post the other day. I knew that the poker-bloggers were a supportive bunch…it felt really good to have it come my way. Also got a bit of a “wow” moment when I saw Larry’s comment…I’ve read his book, he’s read my blog. Wicked!


Last night was our Thursday Night League game. We missed a game when we were out in New Brunswick, and it was the first game we’ve missed in the two years that the league has been running. Banky and I have attended more league games than anyone else, including the host! He went on vacation for 3 weeks last year and we hosted the games at our place when he was away. We missed the game, but got to be around this instead…

It was good to be back at the league game, and I decided to experiment with some of the concepts I read in the FullTilt Strategy Guide. I felt like I was playing really well, making some great decisions – but the night never really came together for me. I lost two key hands to Max….one I folded on the river because I knew I was beat, and the second I should have folded on the river because I knew I was beat. Max is so tough to play against because he’ll play with any two. I love to have him in a pot with me (he’s come to the league games for a year now and never cashed until last night), but he also catches some brutal, eyeball squeezing, suckouts.

I got a nice healthy stack early on only to bleed it out for the remainder of the game. This has been a recurring theme for me…something I have to think more deeply about.

I made two very tough calls that were ‘correct’, but would have been winners. I find it hard to shake off those ‘hands that could have been’. Another thing to work on. I thought about one hand for a long time (probably longer than I’ve ever thought about a hand).

There were 7 players (including me) and I was on the button. The blinds were 30/60 and I had around 700 chips (having recently lost 2 big pots). The entire table limped and I had 6h 7h. I knew this type of hand would play well in a multiway pot so I happily limped along. The flop came out 10h, 3h, 2s. It got checked to the cut-off (a tight player on a short stack) who bet 120, I called (which in retrospect I think was a mistake) and the BB called.

The turn brought the 4s. The BB checked and the cut-off went all-on for 460. At this point I knew the tight player had either a set of 3’s or 2’s or the wheel. And I figured I had either 11 or 12 outs to beat him (the 5s for the straight and the flush cards) – I wanted to call, but didn’t have the odds. Even if the BB called – he’s a bit of a table sherrif and likes to call All-Ins – I still wouldn’t be getting the right price. I also got the sense that he would fold if I called. It’s easy to see that all now, but at the time it was a tough fold.

The BB did call with A 4 for a crappy pair and a straight draw. The cut-off did have a set of 2’s, and the flush came on the river. Making me the winner who didn’t call. Ugh.

But for me, it was probably the most I’ve ever analyzed a hand from the beginning – deciding to play because it’s a good multiway hand, putting my opponents on hands, and figuring out the odds when the decision wasn’t easy. So it was good from that perspective.

Unfortunately the game didn’t get much better and I was out 7th of 9. Bah.

Banky busted out a while later and we went home and fired up the PVR to watch the debut of Big Brother 8. Oh let the summer of trash TV begin!


Tonight we’re heading out to the Georgetown game again. Hopefully my results will be a little better now that I have a sense of the type of game it is.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Not the news I thought I'd be sharing

I write this blog anonymously – mostly so that I can write freely without worry that the bigwigs at my corporate job will find out about my poker deviancy, but also to give me the ability to write freely without worry of self-incrimination (especially when talking about other players I play with, or about my craptastic play). Despite this, I’ve hesitated to write anything really personal. The closest I got was my “7 things” post which was incredibly fun to write. I’m not sure why I haven’t shared more of myself here – especially considering that some of my favourite bloggers (Pauly, Amy, Change, CC) are very open and weave their life into their poker blogs. I guess much of it has to do with fear. Fear of not writing well enough to interest anyone. Fear that I’d pour my heart out and no one would read it (or care) – except for dear Banky who reads everything (and when he doesn’t I bug him until he does). Fear that my life isn’t interesting enough to write about. Maybe all that is true - but even if it is, if I wrote more about ME, maybe I’d get more out of the experience of writing, and of life.

So dear readers reader, I’m jumping into the deep end.

I hinted in my last post about dealing with life in a good way, and I had hoped to be able to share some good news with everyone (ok, anyone?) reading my blog, but life takes some funny turns. A few months ago Banky and I found out we were going to be parents – the Tart was with tartlet. Unfortunately 13 days ago, during my first ultrasound, I found out that the baby I was carrying was no longer alive, and 4 days later I miscarried. It’s been an incredibly difficult time for both of us – but we’re dealing. What on earth does this have to do with poker? Well nothing, really, but poker has everything to do with how I’ve been dealing with the loss.

Between the ultrasound and the miscarriage I left for a family vacation and with me I brought the Full Tilt Strategy Guide to Tournament Poker by Michael Craig. I’m more than halfway through and it’s awesome….I know I’ll have to reread quite a bit of it. The book, and the concepts shared in it, brought me lots of needed distraction during a difficult time. After the miscarriage, and after talking and tears, I knew Banky and I were going to be ok when we started talking poker again. It was like a sign that our life was not over because of this one situation. We are still the same two poker dorks who relive the best (and worst) hands we’ve played, who look forward to our weekly games with childish anticipation, and who PVR Poker After Dark so we can make fun of Annie Duke.

I just got back to work from vacation and it was weird coming into the office where only a handful of people knew I was pregnant (and who consequently now know that I am no longer pregnant). I used to have this big happy secret, and now I have another, sadder one. I found it really hard to concentrate so I turned to catching up on my poker blogs. Tao of Poker was my first stop, naturally, and I’ve been engaged in tales of CK Hua’s man-purse, Sartre’s lobster, and of course, reading about Pauly’s WSOP cash. Even though I’m not part of the poker-blogger circle who all know each other – it’s felt good to get immersed back into their world.

After I spent some time reading, it occurred to me just how much poker is a part of my life. Even though I haven’t played a game since I found out our sad news – reading about it, talking about it, watching it – it has all helped me get back to feeling normal. Well – as normal as I ever was.

So that’s the scoop on me and where I am in my life right now. I was almost a mother. Now I’m back to the 30-something poker player trying to find her way.