Friday, July 22, 2005

Rant on Ultimatebet

First let me say that I have been a loyal UB patron for almost 3 years. I love their graphics, customer service, and atmosphere. If fact, no other site comes close.

However if UB doesn't implement Heads Up NL cash game tables above .25/.50 soon, or at least give me a knowledgable explanation why they don't exist, I am walking away. Even after numerous emails demanding these tables, UB has done nothing. In fact they almost play dumb. Here is a recent reply I got back from Antonio.

"Dear Mr. McGuire,
Thank you for contacting us. When looking at our games, I have seen several NLheads up that are higher than .25-/.50. We have SitnGos' with NL heads up of 20+1,10+0.50., 200+8. In the games sectionour no limits do appear to be of 0.25+.50. If you would like, I can forward your e-mail and suggest that the NL heads up atGames, not only the SNG's, should go beyond .50+.25. Please do confirm and Iwill gladly go ahead.
Best Regards,"
-AntonioCustomer Service

No offense Antonio but WTF is that? Am I supposed to be satisfied? Its gonna take more than a little magic to get me off your ass(only applies if you are Antonio the magician).

I can't tell you how much time I spend a week playing heads up at the Ten & Six seat NL cash game tables pleading with a 3rd player to leave after his interuption. There is no worse feeling in poker than getting stuck playing some terrible player heads up only to have 4 more people sit down in 5 seconds thus ending any chance to get it back.

If anyone out there can shed any light on this subject please post a comment. Also, if anyone knows of another site that does have these tables, please post a comment. Finally if anyone else is tired of this same shit, please post a comment.

As far as the tilt series, probably not gonna be too insightful in that area right now but stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Book Review: Tales from the Tiltboys

So, in the past I haven't been particularly kind towards Phil Gordon. I gave his book (Poker: The Real Deal) a terrible review. Then, I told about how he cried like a little bitch when we played together at a preliminary event during the WSOP. Well, I'm going to make up for it a little bit by giving his newest book, Tales from the Tiltboys, a glowing review. The book is actually credited as being written by all of the 'tiltboys', which includes Phil and 12 others. This is an extremely funny book which tells about the tiltboys' trips to Vegas, betting on roshambo, and setting each other on tilt playing the circle game. Oh yeah, there is a little bit of poker in the book also. If you've never read a trip report from the tiltboys I would recommend looking that up first. If you don't find that funny don't spend your money on the book. If you were crying out loud laughing like I was than you will find this book equally hilarious. Phil, your other book sucked and you were a big crybaby when we played together. All is forgiven.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Poker: A Game of Controlling the Mind (Setting Your Gameplan)

This post will officially start my second serious poker writing undertaking; the journey to control the angry ghost that is tilt. Before you read on, please make sure you have read my last post entitled “Your Next Great Poker Education,” as it explains what I want this series to be and why.

“Your Next Great Poker Education” will be composed of 4 parts: 1) Setting Your Gameplan 2) Getting in the Zone, 3) Dealing with Traumatic Hands & 4) Knowing When to Quit. I believe that each of these parts demands certain skills. I also believe that anyone can master them and that once they do, world-class poker is within reach. While different, all four parts do require one similar mentality: a cool, detached, analytical stream of thought (see Zen and the Art of Poker by Larry Phillips). This Zen-like state is the base of your mental house; which if missing, crumbles like the Yankees in the ALCS. There is NO reason to bring emotion into poker; this is not college football, college tennis, or even sex. Now, hopefully you are mentally ready, so let’s talk about your gameplan!

When people ask me if poker is gambling, I say not for me. Now hear me out before you call me a cocky asshole. The reason I say this is that my definition of gambling is playing casino games where you know you SHOULD lose but you COULD win huge! Gambling is earmarked by this invincible, Christmas-time feeling. Unfortunately, for many poker players, they play cards with this same feeling. They might even think they SHOULD win as they carry this lottery type mentality with them to every table they encounter. Setting a gameplan can keep you from this unenviable fate. Everything from your bankroll to the games you choose should be thought out ahead of time. Don’t let yourself play under-funded because you decide to move up limits while you are in the middle of a session. Decide ahead of time what games you will be playing as well as what happens if you get up or down. Be practical about what limits you play, realistic about how much you expect to win, and analytical about reviewing your hands. Poker should not be treated like blackjack.

Make yourself answer these questions before every session, review your answers afterwards, and be ready to adjust.

1) What games will you play?
-Keeps you from playing under-funded and going broke
2) How much do you expect to win?
-Keeps you from getting down on yourself for not meeting unrealistic expectations
3) When will you stop playing?
-Prepares you to recognize warning signs as well as to always put your “A game” forward
4) What is your long-term poker goal and how does this session fit in?
-Prevents frustration and promotes purpose and accountability within every session

You wouldn’t go to war without a strategy, the same goes for poker. A winning poker player approaches the game with the preparation of a trial lawyer: hungry to win but ready for anything. Know yourself, your game, and your limits. When the shit hits the fan, walk out of the room instead of opening your mouth. Finally, the next time some girl says that she doesn’t agree with gambling, tell her that you don’t either which is why you play poker. Don’t forget to say ‘Ship It’ later that night when she.....

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

I busted out but Drew is still alive!

I had a hell of a run and in some ways it was more satisfying than last year's. The money just wasn't quite as good. I started day 3 with 57,000 in chips and I really felt that I had put myself in a great position if I could start to get some cards. But, right away things went dramatically wrong. On the third hand of the day I was on the button with AK off. Everyone folded to a player 2 off the button who moved all in for 15,200. I called on the button and then Garry Bush, former Euro player of the year, moved in from the SB. He had me covered and I folded without hesitation. I've played with Garry before and I was surprised that he only had KK. Of course, an ace hit on the river and I would have won a monster pot against KK and JJ. I played it right though and I don't think there is any other play I can make there. You could make a case that I could fold AK but I don't think I can with blinds at 1000 and 2000 and 2700 in the pot from the antes. I am getting pot odds against any hand but KK or AA. I called 15,200 into a 36,100 pot. I only have to be 42% to make this call. It was unfortunate that Garry picked up KK but I only had to risk about 25% of my stack to try to take a player out. I flat-called incase Garry or the BB picked up a big hand. After I made the money I raised to 7000 in the cut-off with 99. The SB moved all-in for 55,000. I mucked my 9's feeling that there was just no way he could do that without a monster hand. He showed me KK and I again felt like I was making good plays that were costing me money. Finally, a round later, I raised to 10,000 on the button with AJ. The SB called and I only had 12,000 left. The SB moved in on a flop of 6 7 8 rainbow and I automatically called. I wasn't about to fold for 12,000 into a pot of around 47,000. As it turned out I had the best hand anyways when he showed me AT. Of course, a ten hit the turn and I was out in 501st place. I missed making another $1,635 but a measly 10 seconds by finishing 501 instead of 500. But, 5 minutes later they called me over the loud speaker to tell me someone got knocked out before me but left the Rio. So, they gave him 501 and switched me to 476. I wasn't complaining and I got an extra $1,635! I really am proud of how I played. I hung in there and gave myself a chance. I just couldn't get the cards to absorb a bad beat. But, the most exciting part of the trip is that my younger brother is still alive in the $1,000 no-limit hold 'em event #44 at the WSOP. This is his first WSOP event ever and he is in around 14th place out of 27 with an average chip stack. 971 people started so he has outlasted about 97% of the field already. He's guarenteed $4,300 or something like that so he's already making some nice dough for a kid without a paying job. I'll be there watching him kick some ass tomorrow (today - damn I'm tired).

Monday, July 11, 2005

Still alive

I made it past day 2. It's time to get some rest so I'm not going to write too much but maybe I'll come back later and finish. I started the day with 26,775 and almost immediately got involved in a hand with Clonie Gowan. I played it about as bad as possible and I'm not going to go over it right now. I was down to 10,000 after that hand though. I doubled up about an hour later when everyone folded to the SB and he raised with 99 - I pushed with QQ and he called. I then proceeded to move my stack up to 44,000 before going card dead. How card dead? I haven't had aces all tournament and only got kings once but this was unreal. I couldn't find anything playable and moved under 25,000. After my table broke I had abou 22,000 with 45 minutes left in the day. I raised with 99 and the button moved me all in. I called and won a coin flip when I turned a flush vs. his AK. I then knocked out a short stack and stole some blinds to end the day with 57,000. The average is 98,750 and there are 569 players left. 560 make the money. I'll post more another day.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Through Day 1 - Ship It!

Well, if I am only going to make one freaking dinner break the whole WSOP I guess the Main Event is the one to do it in. I'm through to day 2 with 26,775 in chips. This will be about average on Sunday when play resumes for me. I want to get some sleep so I'll get to some key hands. My first table was pretty tight. Nobody busted out for 5 hours. I didn't recognize anyone but then about 3 hours in Layne Flack showed up and he looked sick as a dog. Immediately he went from 9,000 down to 3,000 and just as quickly moved up to 28,000. He then left to take a nap and didn't return for 3 hours! Apparently he is doing very well still. I stole lots of hands early and took advantage of the fact that my opponents were playing very tight. I had my stack up to 11,500 early in level 3 when I looked down at 99. One player in middle position raised, another called in the cut-off, and I called on the button. The BB called and we had 4-way action. The flop came T 8 2, all clubs. All checked to me and I bet 1200 into a 2100 pot. The BB called and the other 2 folded. I was pretty sure he was on a flush draw but he only had 2500 left. The turn came jack of hearts and he checked. I could have moved him all-in but I checked behind him. The river came 3 of clubs and he led out for 3oo! I had to call 300 into a 5100 pot and he showed me the ace of clubs for the nuts. Oh well. Later that same player was down to 3500. I raised in early position to 900 with JJ and he moved in for his last 3500. I of course called because I never lay down JJ in the main event (kidding). He showed me QQ and I got incredibly lucky when a J hit the flop. Instead of being down to 7000, I was slightly above the average at 14300. One interesting hand came about 7 hours into the tournament at my first table. I raised in middle position to 1100 with J T suited. Blinds were 200 and 400 with a 25 ante. The player on the button tossed in 700 in chips. When told that I made it 1100 he tried to take back his money. The ruling was pretty obvious; he could either call the extra 400 or fold but leave in the 700. He then proceeded to fold! I love this guy. Everyone else folded and I was at my all-time high for the day at 18,000. Just before our table broke a short stack moved all-in for 1500. I called with QQ in late position and he had A T. A ten hit the flop and a ten hit on the river and just like that I lost all the momentum I had. I went card dead for about 30 minutes waiting for our table to break and lost a couple hands when Layne Flack re-raised me. Each time I had no better than KJ so they were easy folds. Still, I was at only 12,000 when our table finally broke. At my next table I was seated 2 to the left of David Grey who finished 8th in the WSOP main event in 2003. For about two hours I did nothing but fold as there were two aggressive players dominating the action. One of them was directly on my right and the other was 2 to my left. Finally, I got to play a hand when the aggressive player on my right just limped in from the SB. I checked in the BB with A 5 off and just the 2 of us saw a flop of A 4 7 rainbow. I checked behind him looking to trap. I know I had a weak kicker but I had a gut feeling he would fire on the turn. A jack hit the turn and he fired 1500 out and I just called. He checked when a 4 hit the river and I bet out 4000. The 4 was a great card for me because it gave me two pair and a jack kicker. He folded quickly and after falling below 10,000 for the first time in a while I was now at 12,000. 2 hands later everyone folded to David Grey who made it 2500 to go. Blinds at that point were 250 and 500 with a 50 ante I think. I just called on the button with my favorite main event hand, JJ. David only had 7000 left and had been playing very aggressive. He was up and down a lot and I just knew I had the best hand. I didn’t raise because I could fold if the SB or BB raised. To my surprise the SB called. He was an inexperienced player I think. The flop came down T 5 3 with two spades and the SB checked. David moved all in and I moved in behind him fairly quickly. I was pretty sure I had the best hand and when the SB folded I immediately showed JJ. David said, “I have that crushed….when I hit my hand”, and showed 7 5 of spades. Not exactly what I wanted to see, but I was ahead in the hand for a monster pot. The turn came 8 of clubs and the river came 9 of clubs. All of the sudden I had 23,000 in chips and I knocked out David Grey. I felt pretty good. The table really tightened up as we got close to our goal of 650 players left. I used that to my advantage and built up my stack by playing aggressively. I seemed to be winning about 1 out of every 7 hands and we were 10-handed. Every trip around the table I seemed to have more than the trip before. I was pretty happy with where I ended up with 26,775. I played for about 12 hours, got KK once and never got AA but I managed to stay alive and keep my stack near the average. Can’t wait for Sunday. Ship it.