Friday, March 28, 2008

Random updates

It’s Friday and I’m cheerful.

After a day and a half of no kicks, the baby gave me a series of good whallops when I got out of the shower this morning. I guess s/he likes Fridays as much as me.

It’s been a strange few weeks. Someone I work with died on the 14th and his funeral was last Tuesday. He had been sick and out of the office for several months, so it wasn’t a shock. But it’s still jarring to know that cancer doesn’t care if you’re only in your 40s and have 4 kids.

Life sure is funny. A death really makes you appreciate what you've got. This morning Banky had a hot cup of chai latte waiting for me when I came downstairs. It's the little things that keep you in love.

I’ve been ambivalent about keeping up with my blogs (reading and writing), and I’ve been equally ambivalent about playing. My attitude has shown in my results, too. I’ve had a couple of good sessions this week – a good variance day online plus a second place in last night’s league game. I feel like maybe I’m getting some of my confidence back. I think my lack of confidence has lead to people running me over at the tables. perhaps I need to borrow a little of Kat’s biker-chick shit-kicking persona, although methinks I don’t have quite the cojones to pull it off like she does.

With work + baby stress mounting, Banky and I decided we needed a vacation. We both immediately thought of Vegas, but frankly….the thought of Vegas without our mandatory margarita stop at the Pink Taco, and our drunken Pai Gow Mania sessions….well, it just wouldn’t seem like Vegas to me. So instead, we’re heading for a week of fun in the sun with my best friend and her wife in Key West.

I definitely need the time away.

I’d love any advice, tips, recommendations from people who’ve been to Key West…

Monday, March 17, 2008

Poker binge

Friday, poker. Saturday, poker. Sunday, poker.

Thus was my weekend.

I decided to fire up the laptop for the Donk-a-thon on Friday night, only to find a small group, with none of the regulars I recognized. There were just 13 players...and I gotta say, for the first time ever, I hated this game. It was so UN-fun. No one was chatting and it was all-in every hand. I expect frequent all-ins, but at least give me a little witty banter along the way. Not to mention a total grump at my table who complained the whole time. I rebought 4 or 5 times before I realized I wasn’t getting any enjoyment out of it, and left the last time I busted out (with still 30 min to go in the rebuy period).

I guess when the Kat’s away, the mice don’t play (nice).

Saturday was a rebuy game at Woody’s. It was a deeper stack than we normally play there, and the buy-in was a little higher than normal. There were some new players, and quite honestly – it was a tough field. The guy sitting to my left when the game started made the final table of a WSOP tourney in 2005.

It was a 16 man (well, 14 man and two ladies *natch*) game, and I made the final table, but couldn’t pull out a cash. I made a questionable call with pocket 10s...

I was actually second chip leader at that point, with just over 24,000 in chips. WSOP-guy was a monster chipleader….so even though I was second in chips, blinds were 1,000-2,000…..if I was second chip leader, you can imagine the rest of the field. I think at this point there were 7 players left.

Anyhoo….in mid-position I get pocket 10s. I raise 3xBB to 6,000. It folds to the BB who pushes in for another 5,500 chips. I pretty much immediately called – she had Jacks, they held up, and I was down to approx 10,000 chips. Bah.

I question my call because not too long earlier, this player had raised 3xBB and then folded to my all-in, and she said she had pocket 10s. Knowing that, I should have out her range on better than 10s...she’s going all-in against my raise, and her all-in is less than double my raise...she pretty much is expecting me to call...she’s got to have ‘something’. Sure, she could have had AK there...and I can convince myself that I was ok with a race – but knowing my relative chip stack, I think a fold should have been possible.

Anyone play 10s differently in that spot?

Needless to say, I went out not all that long after with Kd10d to get called my AK. By the turn I had two diamonds, but the river didn’t bring a 3rd. I went out 6th (I think) and got a lovely parting gift. It was a rebuy game, and I rebought once, plus did the add-on, so for the low-low price of $250, I got a stunning golf shirt and baseball hat.

I didn’t bother with the cash game that was going on afterwards...I just didn’t feel up to it.

On Sunday, Banky and I went to Seneca Casino in Buffalo for a deepstack tourney. At over 150 entrants, it was the largest live field we’ve ever played.

I was extremely card dead. I had no pairs above 10s (and I had to fold 10s in the BB to a raise and a re-raise all-in in front of me). I had AK once (that’s the hand I went out on), and the only other Aces I had were with baby cards. The thing is, I was so patient and focused. I doubled up in the 3rd level when I called from a blind with Ac2c...I hit 2 clubs on the flop, led out & got called – hit a 2 on the turn, checked and called a bet, and then hit the flush on the river. I checked (my opponent was aggressive) – he bet and I went all-in for about 1,500 more and he folded. So it was an ‘almost’ double up.

That was my only big hand of the night. The rest of the time I stole small pots here and there to stay alive.

My final hand came when we were down to approx 50 players. I had recently moved to a new table, so I didn’t really have reads on anyone. I stole a pot from late position, but otherwise had been pretty quiet. There was a 3xBB raise from late position, from a player with a large stack. I put him on a bit of a steal. I’m in the blinds (I can’t remember if it was SB or BB) and I have AKo. I re-raise just over double his original raise (expecting him to fold or push me all in, in which case I call – as the pot would be slightly more than what I have in my stack). Instead, he smooth calls. The flop brings As, Js, 3h. I push all-in and he immediately calls, I table my AK, he tables his JJ.

I was extremely bummed – because I felt like I’d played solid, patient poker all day long (this was about 5 hours in), and to go out like that felt awful. Why couldn’t he have QQ or 1010 there?

Banky and I went with a group of friends, and it was good to have them there right after the bustout, because they wouldn’t let me take it too badly. I was pretty quiet for most of the car ride home though – just processing everything through my head. But by the time I got home it was ok. Usually it’s me that has to cheer Banky up after a tough game – but this time he was the cheerleader. It felt good to have him tell me all the good things about the day, and really, there were lots...but the top two were:

I spent the day with 4 friends I made through poker (plus Bankwell, of course) – they are all really good guys, and I’m glad to know them.

I made it to the top 3rd of a BIG live field.

Not too shabby. Maybe next time I’ll make the final table ;)

Oh, and Bam-Bam...I need your Let-it-Ride secrets. I dropped $80 at a table before the tourney. Ouch!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Coming up for air

I’m so out of the poker blog loop these days – I haven’t even been keeping up with Banky’s blog.

Work has been kicking my ass, as has the weather. When I’m not working, driving, or sleeping, I’m trying to figure out what the hell a breast pump is, and why on earth I might need one.

I am completely and utterly unprepared for motherhood. These days I’m not even sure I could handle the rigors of pet goldfish ownership.

When I’ve had a few moments of downtime – I’ve been getting killed at online poker. I took the day off on big events for the day were getting my hair cut and avoiding the impending storm. As I had an afternoon and my glorious new hairdo sat down for some FullTilt quality time. And I lost every game I played. With the exception of free points tourneys, I just lost and lost and lost. It was soul crushing.

The bad beats continued when Banky and I went to the UB Cross Canada Tour thing on Saturday. I’m extremely glad that we got free tickets, because had I paid $300, I would have been mighty pissed. It was interesting enough, I guess, but wasn’t worth $40, much less $300.

Sunday I played some more on FT during the day, and lost again and again. When I finally busted out of a 90-man knockout in 15th place tears actually welled up in my eyes. Banky looked at me like I was losing my mind. Crying over a poker game? I was mortified. I can assure you, losing $26 on teh interweb is not tear inducing to my finances. It was the complete and utter frustration of losing YET again. And of course, since I religiously track my play, I had to enter another ‘minus’ into my results spreadsheet. I shut the computer off, and then went and had a long, hot shower.

I’m not sure I have all the answers as to why I’ve been such a consistent loser this year (and yes, so far in 2008 I am a losing player)...but I do know this. It’s not just bad beats. Sure, there have been more than a few ovary-crunching beats – but I’ve also been playing less than stellar poker. Poorly timed bluffs, calls instead of raises, playing passive when I should be aggressive (or vice versa). I’m not sure when I started to suck so badly, but I do know that I’ve been ultra-stressed at work (and somewhat at home), and that is never good for my game. I think that when I get stressed out, I gamble more. It’s like I’m looking for that rush of a win, as opposed to really enjoying the game for the game.