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Saturday, May 28, 2011

the grind keeps on and on

and on.

Decided to piddle around in a couple of Lock Poker MTTs tonight.

$11 freezeout with over 300 runners. Finish 4th. Win only 20 buy-ins and feel completely hosed.

At 300/1500/3000 seven-handed, someone opens for 7800, donk threeballs to 18.9K, I flat AA in the cutoff. Folds around, opener jams for 45K total, donk folds, I snap call. Naturally KK hits a King in the door, I could've had a third of the chips in play. Booooooooo.

Other tourney, I crush a $22 FO with 180 runners for a couple of hours and finally stall out near the bubble - and run TT into JJ after it breaks and mincash 15/180 for $40.

So, I should be up +$1K or something, and instead it's just plus $200 or so. PFFFFFTTTT.

People play MTTs weird on Merge. So many insane resteals for 25-40BB effective where the risk/reward just isn't there. Overbet jam flops with one pair. Strange play, but it can be dealt with.

At least I've doubled my deposit. But will I ever see it?

It's a lot easier to play when you don't think you're playing with real mobney.. ;-)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

so what about Delaware Park anyway?

Let me preface this by saying I haven't had the chance to visit a live room in over two years - having a baby will do that to you. So I don't really have an updated frame of reference for this - but here goes.

Delaware Park is closer to NoVa/DC than any other card room except for Charles Town. That is its main good point. Because every good thing that the cardroom management accomplishes is undercut by the fact that this is an old facility with a meh environment and player base.

Now, I'm sure I could go to any of the Hollywood venues in the mid-Atlantic like Charles Town and really go ewww - and to Delaware Park's credit, it's not that blah - but it's still a converted track. It's not AC or Biloxi. It's like Florida and Pennsylvania with animal racing around an oval.

Anyway, right now there's two card rooms at DP, as they just switched out the tournament and cash rooms on the second floor. Supposedly the room in the middle of the casino will be the tournament room, and the one all the way at the west end of the facility will be the cash room.

I played the 11am in the west room, which has older tables with cupholders, quite a few bigscreen TVs, and a decent bar and rail just outside of it that's shared with the horse bettors. The West end wall is actually a large window that was screened off for more of day, which lends a light, open feel to the room (though not a gigantic cavern like the main Borgata room)

and the 7pm in the middle room, which is a darker, more upscale looking area with a lot of wood and newer tables ringed with that marble racetrack everyone hates, but without any bar or rail near it. (although a badly working beverage station is a few feet away if you want to pour yourself a Pepsi with no ice...)

Now, I'm not sure why you'd move the cash tables away from all the foot traffic - because not only do you miss out on the casual dropins from other games - but when there isn't a tournament running, there's this giant empty space in the middle of the building that isn't generating any money. Someone said that eventually both rooms would be consolidated at the west end of the building, but I'll believe that when I see it.

So, the good of playing at Delaware Park as they hit one year of table games in June.

-Autoshufflers and that check-in card system at all tables, no glitches

-Dealers reasonably good, although they struggled with dealing Omaha and chopping the split pots.

-Support staff - floor, cage, brush, people behind the desk - were all efficient and professional. You didn't even notice them doing their jobs, as it should be.

-They pay out tourney winnings in chips. less paperwork.

-Player base was generally well behaved and knew how to conduct themselves at the tables. Very little grumpy bullshit, petty angleshooting, etc. Of course, maybe I just caught a good day.


They spread an 8/16 LHE game with reduced $2 rake that ran pretty well, until the 4/8 Omaha8 table kind of cannibalized it. I know they will run mix games on occasion. They actually run Omaha tournaments twice a week.

In general, it's an extremely player-friendly room. Much kudos for that.

And the down side...

- It costs extra money to go there. Thanks to silly Maryland and Delaware, tolls from NoVa to Del Park run about $15-20 round trip, and you've got the gas for a 250mi trip as well. Drinks cost $$ as well. It all adds up. Of course, this was always true of AC as well for me.

-Drink service was pretty sketchy. Wait staff was pleasant enough, but there just wasn't enough of them. With Delaware gaming law preventing comped alcohol, you're basically in for a five spot for every beer or drink including tip. Coffee was uh, a coffee-like substance. I already pointed out the sort-of-working beverage station, which was sad and depressing.

-Tournament chips were sticky. Not Taj-level sticky, but damn, they needed a wash. It got to the point that I'd announce a bet, and by the time I could cut the chips and push them forward, the pot was already coming my way.

-There's nothing else there - for me, anyway. Meaning it's a racino and nothing else. There's a couple of restaurants, but if the deli is any indication, God help who ever eats there and pays those prices. Of course, there's no hotel or entertainment of note, and although they have a golf course and occasional live horse racing, I don't play or bet horses, and I avoid slots and the pit like the plague.

-There are few small things about Delaware Park tournaments that raise a eyebrow.

* They didn't quite make their Friday guarantees for either tourney I played, so there were slight overlays both times. They do try to give away 10 tourney seats to players at the cash game tables - not sure how many got used, but even with that, the two tourneys I played barely hit 80 players, and the PLO 3pm tourney only had 30 or so.
* Even with the $5 staff/chip bonus tacked onto every tourney, and the fact they do takeout 3-5% of the prize pool for staff - which they don't hide - I'm still wondering if they make any money hosting these tourneys. In June they will run four tourneys at day (Noon/4pm/7pm/10pm) - and while I'm hoping Del Park will remain a great low-buyin tournament room, I'm not so sure it's a viable business model in the long run.
* Yeah, the structure is what you deserve for $100. However, the end game moves too quick - blinds doubling every other level just makes for too much allin-or-fold poker. Those intermediate levels (500/1000, 1200/2400, 2500/5000, 5k/10k, etc) should get tossed back in at some point, especially once you hit the last two tables. You're only burning up one or two dealers, and that stage is where all the money's actually decided. Then again, I'm actually good maneuvering around a 10-15BB stack, so maybe this isn't such a good idea for me.

- It's just a blah buzzless, downer place - atmosphere just doesn't feel upbeat or happy. That's probably because I ended up walking around a bunch of oldster slot players and wasn't around the table games - and also because people can't get as sloshed for free. The poker areas themselves are fine, but they are attached to the rest of the building, unfortunately :-)

Of course, I'm a critical dude at heart - but despite all of that, I still liked playing at Delaware Park, and it's an acceptable substitute for AC since it's 90 minutes closer. I just wish it was another hour closer and not located off a toll road so I could run a tourney on a whim instead of doing it as a special day trip.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

From morning to night at Delaware Park... more $$$

So after the 6th place cash, I checked emails/made phone calls and decided to wait in the looonnnnggggest deli line ever for a $4 hot dog which was - well, it was grilled, hot, and on a bun with sauerkraut, so at least it was as ordered. By the time I wandered back to the main room, it was almost 6, and the only game without a list was... 8/16 limit?

Well, what the hell, why not, give me two racks of yellow and let's spew chips...

On the good side, they were running the game with reduced $2 rake, and the two chip/four chip structure should have made it a fun action game. What it actually turned out to be was a bunch of older momos limp/calling everything, so you ended up with fourway raised pots on the flop and turn needing to show down a pretty good hand to scoop the pot - and that wasn't really what I had in mind. Then again, it was live limit poker - so I was expecting that and adjusted - but I never made anything except a running straight to bink someone's flopped set, and ended up down 5-6 bets after 30-40 minutes. Then the floor finally announced that the 4/8 Omaha H/L game was starting - a game I put my name on the list for like five hours earlier.

So I figured I should get over there and at least make sure the game started - see how it was for 30 minutes, and then decide if I was going to play the 7pm tourney or just donk around at a cash game until midnight, when I'd have to leave and drive back home. We got a full table and started the game - but after watching the first half orbit, with people limping behind preflop with A23x and the dealer almost biffing quartered pots twice - I got up and bought into the 7pm tourney before I really went on tilt.

That's the bad side about no online poker - you just can't run a split pot game with any kind of speed or pep to make it worth playing. Live PLO or PLO8 might be worthwhile - but limit Omaha live is pure agony, and this is coming from someone who actually likes four card bingo.

The 7pm tourney crowd was an older mix of players - the morning tourney had quite a few guys I could tell were slumming b/c they couldn't play on Stars or Tilt - not so much on a Friday night. I don't remember as much from this run b/c I didn't take as many notes - but I was on another heater of chip accumulation throughout the tourney. From 10K starting chips to 52K at the second break to 130K as we got to two tables left (which was 2X average stack, but only 20 big blinds.)

I was always well ahead of the average stack, was able to win a lot of pots without showdowns, and then took those extra chips to gamble with small stacks for the knockout. I remember having to ask for a count from the dealer a lot, b/c I was always having to call someone's shove or big turn bet. In fact the only time all day I was allin and covered was when I jammed into the aces during the morning tourney - and that's always a good thing.

*I boned one player early in a couple of smallish pots (Ax over KK on a AAx pot, Aces full over Kings full on a AAKKx board) , and he tilt-went out of his way to try and win a hand against me, calling every hand I opened. I ended up taking his original stack and his re-entry as well.

*Got all in with someone preflop on a coin flip, they hit a set on the flop and I runner runnered a flush on them.

*Heffed Hand #onebillion - With two tables left, I open in MP with 98s for a standard raise, big blind defends. Flop J67r and villain instantly shoves for a little over pot, about 40K, which is about 1/3rd of my stack. I think for a minute, count it out, feel like GAMBOOL and say "hey, it's only chips" and toss in the call. I'm up against JT.

Turn T. Half the table goes "whoa." Villain doesn't fill up. My only reaction is a barely audible "boom" on the river. I don't think he was very amused.

By this point all the old nits start talking about chops and bubble saves - which I'm really trying to ignore. I mean, I didn't buy in to play 4-5 hours and end up with a 14-way chop. I finally say I'll listen with 12 players left just to get a couple of the more insistent ones to shut up, hoping they just go busto soon - which they do, thankfully enough.

In the meantime, I actually start hitting some rough waters.

I open AKo, a short stacked big blind decides to properly call off with T8o and hits.

That player then jams into my blind and I call with 33. He shows 88. I call for a three ball which hits the flop. I didn't call for the eight on the turn.

When we get to 10 players, we consolidate to one table, agree to a $100 bubble save for 10th out of our pockets - and then I get to jam aces into the same player's open raise. He calls, I show, he says, "I need Broadway" as he flips over AKo. Flop is QJT. Ahem.

I turn a flush draw, but I ended up under 70K and a below-average stack for the first time in forever. But, I did just let it all go after the hand was over. It's poker. It happens. I cracked aces to cash in the morning, it's all karma, blah blah.

Luckily, there were still shorter stacks to pick on and I can play a 10-15BB stack better than most people. Soon enough the bubble burst and I had scrounged just enough chips to where I could start raise/jamming/winning pots for free like it was my job or something, I was up over 200k seven-handed and 300K six handed, which was over 1/3 of the chips in play. Got to admit, it was fun to play like that.

It was past 1am, though, I still had that drive in front of me, and I started to run out of gas at the table. My opens started getting flatted a lot more, and I couldn't hit a flop. Basically, I kept maintaining my stack and let everyone else knock each other out.

When we finally got heads up, I was probably down in chips 2-1 or so with that same 250-300K stack, but we were at 3K/10K/20K blinds. First was 2400, second was 1500, it was after 1:30am by now, there wasn't any postflop play left for us - and so I figured I had nothing to lose by offering a chop to the 40ish woman across the table who looked like she knew enough to do some business.

"You really feel like flipping for $900? I'll play it either way, but hey, one double up and I'm back in front. How about we chop?"
"What's the chop number?"
TD runs it - $1950 for an even chop.
"Give me $2000 and it's a deal."

Hell yeah it's a deal. $400 free mobneys. Yeah, I would have loved to play it out and see, but that was too good of spot to pass up. We signed for the adjusted payout, I got my chips, left about $100 for tip (with a 3-5% takeout already, that's perfectly fair) cashed out the rest, and I was in my car 10 minutes later on the way home. Not that I got home before 5am thanks to overnight construction and a couple of accidents that blocked traffic on the interstate.

But, it was a fun drive back with a roll of C-notes in my pocket. That's actually my biggest win in a single tournament ever. While I've final tabled some 50-50s before, I never cashed for the big bucks - well, except for the Main Event satellite I won once, but that's not the same thing.

This is obviously sustainable and real and means I should expect to final table a live MTT oh, every other time I play one..... Not.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Delaware Park trip report... $$$

So, I finally got the chance to go out an hit a live session of poker Friday. I took some of the Stars cashout and headed up I-95 to Delaware Park. It's funny, I had no idea I hadn't played a real live tournament since this over two years ago.

Long story short:

I final tabled the $65 11am tourney - about 90 runners - in 6th for $275.
I final tabled the $100 7pm tourney - about 80 runners - and chop it HU for $1900.

So that was nice. Live poker can be fun.

Long story long:

Since it had been awhile between live sessions, I didn't really want to jump right in and play cash - so even though Charles Town is a lot closer to me, they don't run anywhere near the amount of tournaments that Delaware Park does and I ended up driving there.

Took me about 2 hours and change to drive Friday morning, I pull up and valet park at the main entrance on the East end of the building - and realize that the poker room is at the complete opposite West end of the building.

LOL walking through all the slots, but since I'd only been there once before to check out the place pre-table games, it wasn't bad to get up to speed on what it all looked like now.

Get to the room, get a player card, buy into the 11am tourney, find my seat, and we let it rip. 7500 starting stacks, 20 min levels, standard fast AC/East Coast daily tourney structure.

At first it takes a little while to get back into the feel and flow of things. I'm used to handling chips and whatnot - but at a bar, not on green felt with padded rails. I don't have a hat on, but I've got my prescription sunglasses and my little Eeyore, so I'm trying to look a little noobish.

Anyway, I start making hands quickly. I stack a poorly played AA when I flop a set on a monotone board and villain jams 60BB, extract value from KQ with AQ in a limped multiway pot after a QQx flop - and then I pull off the first of many Heffed Hands on the day.

I get frisky at 100/200 and open 86o in EP for 600 and get flatted in LP and by the big blind.
Flop 873r, I decide to lead 1200, LP flats, blind folds.
Turn 4, I check, LP jams for a little over pot. Again, I'm thinking online (hey, people try to take pots away from you all the time in these kind of spots) instead of live (people don't bluff spots like this), decide I can bink a 5, 6 or 8 if I need to, and I've got enough of a stack built up to take a shot like this.

I call, see I'm up against 99, say, "Ooh, I've got some outs" - and watch a 5 hit the river.

This is how the AM tourney ran - I just kept building up a stack. 20K at 100/200, 28K when the antes kick in, 45K (3x average stack) by the second break. I kept picking my spots and decided to station people when appropriate..

Another table, I think this was at 75/300/600. EP opens to 1500, I flat behind him in MP with KJs.
Flop Jack high rainbow, he donks like 2500, I call.
Turn blank without any realistic draws, he donks 4K, I call.
River blank, he donks 5500... and I don't get an overpair/JackAce read.
I call and win vs. ATo.

I get moved around a lot, end up next to a local dude who 1) could play 2) was funny and 3) was on a stupid sick heater. I get moved to his right with a nice 50K stack and proceed to tread water while I watch him go from 30K to like 170K in two orbits.

But, at least I was amused with some decent live poker banter while I turtled up in massive card death as we neared the final table bubble for payouts. That nice, 2x, 3x average stack was rapidly becoming a shortie as we got through hour four. I wanted to play the 3pm PLO tourney, but I'm not going to punt a stack. Not really.

13 players left, I'm down to like 45K at 400/2k/4k. I look down at QTs UTG and figure why not, it's a suited one-gapper and likely live vs. Ax hands that will call. I ship, folds around to some Asian kid in the small blind who instantly reships. Oops.

Now earlier, he opened 3K from MP, I repopped the button to 11K with air, and he jammed 30K more with AJo (he showed after I tank folded and asked to see a card) But of course he has Aces this time.

Flop JJ7. That's not good.
Turn 9. Hey I have a chance.
River 8. So, so silly.

Kid only had 10K more than me. Naturally he was next out. He came back to the final table later and said he ran a boat into quads for stacks at a 1/2 NL table. So yeah, I basically cost him at least $400 or so.

After that doubleup, a few hands later the local grinder busts two short stacks in one hand - and we pop the final table bubble without anyone even realizing it. Yay cash and no bitching about chops or bubble saves...

Final table was pretty nondescript. I actually got up to about 140, 150K, which was above average six handed - but we were playing 2K/6k/12k blinds, so like that actually matters. Last hand, it folds around to me and I ship about 130K with A9s from the small blind. Big blind who covers me tanks and says, "I know I have the best hand here." and I think, well hurry up and call me then. He calls with 55 and I don't hit.

I was a little surprised to see a pair that small, because he's essentially flipping 2/3rd of his stack if he's right and crushed if I actually have it. But hey, it's a short stacked low buyin live tourney final table, like there's time to wait around for a bigger hand.

So I go to the cage, sign for sixth, pick up my chips, and have a little under two hours to kill until the 7pm starts.

More TK, including a mini-review of Delaware Park....

Monday, May 16, 2011

BBT Exile #2, and more silliness

I was pleased and surprised we had almost three full tables for a blogger mixed game Sunday night. It was nice - and I ran like I usually do for a couple of hours - until I ran out of gas at the final table. I open jammed TT fourhanded BvB in unlimited hold them for about 16BB and wolfshead called with A9o.

Flop QQ9. I might actually have this one.

Turn 9.
River Ace.

Pfft. 4/16. Thanks to everyone who came out, though. It's fun to do this.

Next game is June 5th - standard NLHE with deeper stacks (3K) and shorter levels (3 minutes) - reminders will go out as the date gets closer, but I'm planning on doing this the first Sunday of every month until no one shows up...

1- sportingimag
2- wolfshead
3- yestbay1
4- heffmike
5- xkm1245
6- PinkyStin771
7- PokerBrian22
8- SmBoatDrinks
9- lightning36
10-the mortal 1

In other news, Full Tilt continues to a be a textbook example of how NOT to communicate with your best customers in the 21st century. While I still believe that U.S players will get cashed out at some point in 2011, with the rapid PokerStars cashouts and the WSOP starting next month - players want some transparency and legitimate answers.

You give the people Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, they get pissed.

Regardless of the situation, the communication, to not only the frequent players at 2+2, but the rest of the U.S. market that doesn't visit an internet poker board, has been dreadful.

it will shake down in a simple fashion, but I'm not so sure anymore.

Declaring that FTP points will be redeemed in merchandise, not straight cash bonuses like Stars declared, is a huge red flag IMO. Smarter people than me say that things should still be fine, but we shall see.

Friday, May 13, 2011

phoenix time...

News and notes:

**LOL Blogger for being down for half day and eating posts since some Wednesday maintenance. Oopsie.

**Ron Swanson fucking rocks:

**Yeah, I'm trying play money MTTs again for the blogger nation.
This time an 8-game on Stars Sunday night. Details here....

As it's 8-game and I'm sure a lot of people came out to game #1 for Last Call, as it were, I'd be surprised if there was more than one table for this. But you tell me where else you can play a mixed game MTT right now for less than four figures?

**It's annoying that FTP still can't puzzle out where all their player vs. operational funds are - I would figure cashouts should happen by the WSOP next month, if only to quell all the griping and chatter that would happen if they end up weeks behind Stars in getting moneys back to players. I still believe funds are coming, so I'm not that worried yet... at least I haven't had money on UB since 2007, so I really don't care about the angleshooting scum that run that company.

**In the meantime, I've managed to get a small amount of funds onto Merge - nothing I won't miss if it vanishes tomorrow - and have started playing again, mostly $5-10 tourneys, SnGs and some $25NL and PLO8 tables.

Won a SnG last night, final tabled a $3 turbo - 4th of 100 - for $24 (payout structures are too flat and blow) and am basically just screwing around for enjoyment's sake more than anything else, and to keep the rust off my game.

It's a refreshing change of pace - no notes or history with anyone, everyone's a random, I've even got a different screenname - so it's like being born again, now I'm just another anonymous momo....

Software's OK, game selection sucks, players seem fairly straightforward - and are probably better than your average online donk at this point - but it's not what it used to be by a long shot. I haven't run into anything I can't handle at the low buyin levels I'm playing - but I'd shoot myself if I had to play higher there for a living.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

more free play if you want it...

Ok, we'll try this a couple more times and see what happens...

BBT in Exile Tourneys

Next Sunday, the 15th - #2 will be a silly 8-game tourney, 2K in chips, 5-minute levels.

And the first Sunday of June, the 5th - let's run #3 - back to a straight NLHE tourney, but this time with more starting chips (3K) and much shorter levels (3min) to speed up the endgame once the final table gets shorthanded...

Full details to register here:

In the meantime, I'm still a little disappointed and frosted over how meekly the Caps got pwned by the Lightning last week. Something must change with the team - but I think we're talking more of a GM issue with George McPhee and the construction of the team than the players or coach.

While the team is talented, I don't think it's as good or deep as the locals think once you get past their top lines - and while Bruce Boudreau hasn't come off well in the playoffs or in the HBO 24/7 series, there's no denying that he's developed a lot of young talent the last few seasons. However, the team's made a pretty paltry effort at upgrades through free agency or the trade deadline over the years - and if the Caps are viewed as soft and lacking enough grit - well, if you don't have those type of players, you've got to try harder to go get them, right?

I would like to believe that Ovie = Steve Yzerman, who struggled early on in his Red Wings career in the postseason and didn't win a Cup until year 12... but that's pretty much wishcasting at this point.

When you look at the D.C. sports landscape - it's pretty damn bleak - to have this one bit of actual competence flame out so badly in the spring every year...

Gee, it's almost as annoying as Black Friday or something...

Monday, May 2, 2011

BBT in Exile, Game 1 of ???

We had 30 runners for the first BBT in Exile game.
So that was super great.

However, the freaking Caps lost in OT to go down to the Lightning 0-2, which took up most of my interest for the first half hour - and I did not play very well overall.

Never really had a stack, and when Jamyhawk opened the button with a big stack, I three-balled with fives from the SB - and when Lana reshoved from the big blind - well it's a great spot to make a move light - so I got dopey and called off over 40BB - and ran right into sixes for the super notch.

Board ran out low too, so I'm good v AK/AQ/random trash.
GG me, 23/30, I get pwned.

Anyway thanks to everyone that came out. Seemed like structure was about right - about three hours for 30 players, good without being too long

1 jamyhawk
2 NYRambler
3 SmBoatDrinks
4 yestbay1
5 PokerBrian22
6 HighOnPokr
7 NumbBono
8 mooninjune
9 CKBwop
10 princeharibo
11 md_joel
12 MiamiDon
13 on_thg
14 bayne_s
15 Katitude
16 FullHouse538
17 IAHawx985
18 texar
19 LunaPiena
20 BuddyDank
21 veryjosie
22 lightning36
23 heffmike
24 joanne1111
25 nonSensible
26 Mike_Maloney
27 Bone_Daddy84
28 xkm1245
29 the mortal 1
30 Julius_Goat

(let me know if I need to add/edit/take off a blog link as needed...)

If there's moderate interest, I will try and do this twice a month/every other week, and maybe play around with some odd structures and different games just to keep things interesting and sustain a little bit of blogger community through what looks to be a looooooong Dark Age of online poker.

I know NumbBono's working on some things, Grump's still got a private game, so does the PokerSlut series... there are ways to make this happen for the long term...

Oh, and yeah, the last part of the game got overshadowed by events.

It's important. I hate to soft pedal it, because I know it's so meaningful to a lot of people - but it would have been so much more important 7-8 years ago.

But there still are plenty of evildoers out there.
Smoking Osama doesn't make them all go away.
Channel Winston Wolfe - let's not go celebrating too soon yet.

But it is a good thing.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Come play tonight! - Home game on Stars...

Well, today's the day - log in and join the home game club, and don't forget to actually register for the tourney once you join - it's a two step process.

Hope to see a bunch of you there... Hopefully I will have a lovely Caps victory to finish watching so I can change the counter in the right rail of the blog...


The long story is here:

- Open the Stars main poker lobby, then click on the Home Games tab
- Click the 'Join a Poker Club' button
- Enter my Club ID number: 415619
- Enter my Invitation Code: wolverines