Thursday, May 29, 2008

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Expose on the UltimateBet and Absolute Poker scandals

Through Pauly's blog, I found this article. I was already well aware of the Absolute scandal, but was only marginally aware of the situation with UltimateBet.

I post this excerpt from the "Intro" to the article, as well as the link to the entire thing, because I believe that we, as poker players and enthusiasts are responsible for protecting the integrity of the game. Only by shining the light into the dark corners of the world we inhabit, can we claim the game we love is a healthy pursuit. By chosing apathy, we're as bad as the cheaters and theives.

Please read and pass along to your poker playing friends.

I believe that it is important for online poker players to know about the unethical business practices of UltimateBet and Absolute Poker. It is also imperative to understand that these unscrupulous activities are not an indictment on the entire online poker industry. As you read this thread please keep in mind that UltimateBet and Absolute Poker are owned by the same company. They are also regulated by the same puppet regulatory commission. Most poker sites are run with the utmost integrity and security. UltimateBet and Absolute Poker are the exception and not the rule.

I urge the concerned reader to pass word of this summary on to other interested parties. The spread of this information will ultimately protect poker players from unknowingly exposing themselves to the corruption detailed below.

The full summary of the cheating scandals can be found here:

Superusers and Silence: How UltimateBet let players get cheated for millions

Monday, May 26, 2008

Poker + BBQ + Ice Cream cake = Pokertart heaven

I’m feeling like utter crap right now, due to a life circumstance that I won’t bore you with the details on; suffice it to say that I’ve learned a very valuable and expensive life lesson about trust.

Now onto some pokery goodness that will, hopefully, bring me out of my bad mood.

Saturday night Banky and I hosted a “season ending party” for the Thursday Night league. It was a tradition started after Season 2 (I think) where the season champ would host a little get together. Early on in the league, it was often either Banky or I who won the season, so we hosted our fair share of parties. A few others have also hosted, but for the past few seasons, there’s been no party. (Some recent season champs have not been or gracious about their wins. But that’s another story!)

This season’s champ has shown no interest in socializing with anyone outside of the game – so it wasn’t looking likely that there would be a party. Since I likely won’t be returning to the league for a while due to impeding baby arrival, I thought it was appropriate that Banky and I share some BBQ, Beer, and Bad Beats with our fellow leaguers.

Most of the regulars were able to make it, along with some wives & babies! It was a real ‘family affair’ (at least until the poker started). We had SO much food...I had the basics covered (burgers, dogs, salads), and almost everyone brought something...including a delish ice cream cake & of course, beer.

Since the league also invented a game we call “Polish Poker” (after one of the league members who is polish) we also had some interesting Polish beer, vodka and a cabbage & kielbasa stew!

We socialized & ate for quite awhile before the game started. It was awesome to be on the deck in our backyard. It was the perfect temperature, and everyone seemed really relaxed. At one point, I was laughing so hard (the topic was ‘at home vasectomy kits’ – with Banky acting out the scenario) that I thought ‘life doesn’t get better than this”.

After a couple hours, we descended into our rec room for the tournament. I busted out first after about an hour and a half. All in on the flop, I had top pair (Queens), opponent had Jack-high flush draw. He gets there. I play on FullTilt, so I wasn’t surprised.

Once about half of the players were out of the tourney, we started a cash game – I was up and down the whole night, and ended up down $30, but it was all good. Banky was up overall (I think).

It was just a good time overall, and exactly what I was hoping for. It’s nice to share a good meal, a good game, and some good laughs with people. You know?

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Ok. Who did I piss off, that out of the last dozen online tournaments I've played, I've lost critical pots when my opponent catches a miracle card on the river?

I'm about to lose my mind.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Um. Yeah.

I have a crapload of work to do, and yet can't get motivated to do anything.

That's bad, right?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Just a little poker...

I had a couple days off last week due to doctor’s appointments, but was able to squeeze in some poker.

I won a single-table satellite into the super-sat for the SHL FTOPS game on Friday night, but couldn’t close the deal. I would have liked to play that FTOPS event…SHL is one of my favourite games right now. But alas, it was not meant to be. I was pretty proud of my performance in the single-table sat though. I was short stack when we were down to 3 (only 1st got into the super-satellite), and I crushed my opponents. I think they were each sitting back to let the other player take me out, so I was able to steal a few pots, and once I got enough chips, I was able to play again.

It felt great to take it down.

In the afternoon on Friday I talked Banky into playing the $20 lunch time HORSE game on FullTilt. I had signed up from home, and he was having a quiet day at work. He said that if it was a ‘small game’ he’d sign up. He signed up with 18 seconds to spare, and took it down. It was really fun railing him from a distance.

At one point he was VERY short stacked – and I told him that he could still win it. I don’t think he believed me, but soon enough, he was rebuilding, and then when it got 3 handed, I knew he would win.

We don’t have any ‘live’ games on tap for this week….and that’s kind of weird. We usually have at least 1 game to look forward to. I think this week is going to feel a little extra long!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Feelin' good

I like playing poker for many reasons, most of them selfish. I like the feeling of winning, I like that there’s something ‘competitive’ that I’m good at (sometimes), I like the camaraderie that (hopefully) exists at the table, I like watching my poker fund grow. But sometimes, there are better reasons to play.

On Saturday night, Banky and I played at Woody’s house, in a game he organized to raise money for mitochondrial disease research. Unfortunately, one of the regulars we play with every other Monday has a very close connection to Mitochondrial disease; his nephew lived with the disease since shortly after birth until he passed away this winter at age 6. Every game we play at Woody’s we donate $10/player to the Mito March (the big annual fundraiser), but this game was a bit was a rebuy game where 20% of the prize pool would go to the Mito March.

Woody designed a great structure – very player friendly. And between the tournament and the “Mito Tip Jar” that we used in the cash game afterwards, we raised $700.

That makes going out on the bubble a little easier for me ;)

It’s safe to say that Banky had more fun than I did (if that’s possible). I think when he relaxes and doesn’t care about the result so much, he gets much better results.

I did make my buy-in back in the cash game, and had a HUGE amount of fun, so it was definitely a good night. The only drawback:

Playing from 8pm–3am + 7 months pregnant = swollen ankles of hilariously disgusting proportions.

For more info on what we raised money for, visit:

Friday, May 02, 2008

Escape from working and pseudo-philosophy

I’ve been writing a design document on a big project for pretty much the entire day. It’s safe to say my brain is fried. What better way to ease a sizzled melon than with a blog post?!

Last night was the Thursday League’s season-ending game (each season is 12 weeks long). I went out 15th out of 16th. Boooo. Is there any solace in not being the chump? Not really!

Just like my play there for most of the season, I just couldn’t make things happen. It’s funny, I actually almost broke even this season due to a few money finishes, but overall – it just hasn’t been a good run. I never went on a tear – every money finish was a real scraping battle.

Due to the impending arrival of the Spawn (tm Cayne) I won’t participate in the next season, and I’m glad for the break. I nearly stopped going last season as I was so dissatisfied with the structure – but changes were made, and the game improved tremendously…but the truth is, I still need a break. I’m just not ‘feeling it’ right now.

Truth be told, I haven’t felt on my game for awhile now – and while I hadn’t seriously considered it before, a couple comments to my last entry made me realize that being pregnant probably does have something to do with it! Being tired, nauseous, worried, tired, excited, tired, achy, tired and tired surely doesn’t help my poker game.

I’m still going to play until the baby is born (well, maybe not right up to the minute!) but I think I’m going to give myself a little break on the results part, and just enjoy the game for the sake of playing.


Banky didn’t have a great game either last night – and if you’ve read Banky's blog or played with him, you know he’s an emotional player. He takes losing very hard. Over time we’ve come to a bit of an understanding…he vents, I listen, and then it’s over.

I’ve recently been reading Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth – and while it has absolutely nothing to do with poker, I had a lightbulb moment last night with Banky as we were rehashing the game.

I won’t even try to summarize Tolle’s theories as they are complex and not easy to explain (at least by this Tart) But he talks a lot about how the ego in us (i.e. the voice in our head) is different from who we really are (the ‘being’ who is aware of the voice in our head), and how the ego is always trying to identify with thoughts and things, to distract us from truly living in the present moment. One of the ways that the ego does this is through complaining,and as Banky vented last night, I realized that he was totally identifying with the results of his poker game. It was as if the bad beats, or bad cards, or bad luck were somehow a reflection of him…when the reality of the situation was NONE OF IT MATTERED.

Right there, in that moment, as we were sitting side by side with each other – did it matter who won, or who lost? Did the turn of a card have any impact on who he was? Even if he had won, did it change who he was as a being?

Clearly the answer was no. I think it was an interesting discussion, and I know Banky came out of 'venting' mode a lot sooner than usual!

Any book that can do that, has got to be a keeper. Hopefully Banky will read my copy when I'm done.