Fluck Of The Irish - The Bad Beat Blog

2006-10-12

Well That Was Annoying

First the good news ... I finaly won a tourny. Granted it was only a 10 dollar single table, but right now I'll take what I can get. Seriously, lately my tournies have all been tremendous successes right up until some craptacular hand knocks me out at the bubble. Maybe not craptacular... its not like the other guy is calling with bad hands that turn good, its more often that the pokergods set me up in a spectacular fashion so that I have the 2nd best hand possible at the table. It didn't happen in this tourny, and consequently I won the whole thing. However, the Mookie would set the universe back in order.

I don't even know what to say about this. I played really well. I got lucky a few times, but I think anytime you "see" 49 flops and you win 39 of them, you're not just playing for 1 and 2 outers. Really, I folded some monsters during that game. Dropped AJo 3 different times against multiple all-ins and was right to do so. It was weird last night. I swear I could see everyone's cards. I don't think I'm actually getting a "read" on anyone... it was way more specific than that. I could see value and even suit in thier hand. On those acejacks I laid down, it was because I saw pocket pairs and or AK or AQ that they were holding and sure enough I was 100% right. Of course, often you can't walk away from a hand even when you KNOW the other guys cards.

And thus, my cowboys went brokeback mountain on me. There is about 12 people left in the tourny, and I am in solid 3rd place with around 12000 in chips. I'm on the button and get dealt KK. the folding begins, and I look to my left. BB and SB are the two smallest stacks at the table... 4100 for BB and about 4500 for SB. I look to my left and my pokervision goggles allow me to see that the SB has A-rag (I think I "saw A-7" in reality... I think it was an A-8)... so I KNOW that he's going to try to push. He has to. Everyone folds to me and I simply call, I want that SB all-in here, and I want him to think I'm playing my usual crap. Sure enough, he pushes to all in, and I start to do my evil laugh. Then all of a sudden the BB goes all in. I hear brakes screeching to a halt... I forgot to "look" at his cards. The second I do, I see AA. I even have to type in the chat "ah damn". Its 1/3 of my stack. I KNOW the Ks are bust going into it. I consider folding them. Seriously, I wonder if anyone would believe me if I folded them and then said I have pocket Ks but I KNEW he had pocket As. Of course not. I can't bring myself to hit that call button, because I've seen fulltilt do this to me every tourny for like the last 7 tournies I've been in. Finally, I HAVE to convince myself that 1)its 1/3 of my stack risked, but the payout gurantees me a high money spot. 2)I KNOW that the SB has an A with a weak to mid kicker so at least there is a little less chance for trips for that guy 3) if I lose it, I'm hardly out of the game, but I'm more likely to bubble or get min money. I hated doing it, but I called. The hands were EXACTLY what I saw and I'm knocked down to almost the shortstack on the final table.

Unfortunately for me, the slight tilt which that put me on clouded up my card radar. I was back to just getting a sort of "read", but not knowing the exact hands. So I fold like 5 hands into the final table, steal one blind with total horseshit (sorry smokkee... you raised and I reraised with 4 7 off just to prove I could) until I got AQ suited in the BB. Midposition guy min raises it. My radar, which is a little cloudy right now, tells me he has a pocket pair... however, the best I can tell you is that its not AA-JJ... How do I know. I just do. I'm reading 6s or 7s. I'm hoping that he's too scared of being against overs or overpair that he won't screw with a push. Although, I know that if my re-raise doesn't work, I'll basically HAVE to go all in from the chip position I'll be in. I re-raise to a healthy amount (I think the initial was 1200... I bump it to 3500). He pauses for a little bit then goes all-in. I type in the chat..."I think he has me with his pocket pair", but this is do or die time. Blinds are at 600 about to move up... because I bet so much previously, I only have like 3000 in chips left. I KNOW i have overs and a nut flush draw. I have to do it. I call, and he rolls over the pocket 10s... damn. Had I seen 10s, I wouldn't have tried the over bet. I know from experience that people will fold 5s,6s, even 7s on occasion, but no one at the final table against a shorterstack folds 10s. I pray really hard for an Ace or Queen to spike, and my prayers are answered by a 10 on the turn.[shakes fist at sky]THERE IS NO GOD!!!![/shakes fist]. Out 10th.

Oh well... at least the cash tables are still treating me well... but I'm starting to look forward to online poker becomming illegal. It will add 10 years to my life.

___ADDENDUM____

The more I think about it, the more I think those Ks were just a bad call. I know people are going to say "but he could have been pushing with anything". and normaly I'd say that was true, but last night, in that hand, at that moment... I KNEW they were aces. It was Time/Life Mysteries of The Universe wacky premonition shit going on. Hell, I know the odds of Ks v As... I'm like 20% tops... I don't think it improves any, even with the 3rd person in the hand holding an ace. In fact, I think it makes my hand worse and the AA a little worse to give the other ace a few percentage points. The whole night, I was having 2nd sight into the hands around me... I should have trusted that. I don't really know how to figure pot odds... however, I'll say that I stood to make 9000 by investing 4500, roughly... thats just 2 to 1... if I'm thinking about it in the correct way. The funny thing is had we all limped with regular hands and I found myself 4 to the flush with only the river left... I wouldn't have called that bet... and thats at about the same odds. I don't know, all of this is probably a hindsight 20/20 thing. There is a clock counting down that keeps you from doing this type of analysis at the table... however, my instinct STRONGLY favored folding... I should have went with that.

2006-10-10

Where The Hell Are You

I doubt anyone missed me. But just in case, I thought I might "check in" as it were. Sorry I haven't posted in weeks. I was overwhelmed by my 2 readers and decided to give the blogspot servers a little break fromt he massive amount of traffic yours truly generates. Seriously, I have been swamped. My parents were in town, my birthday happened, and I had 2 of the most hectic work weeks I've had in about 2 years of working here. Needless to say (but I'll say it anyway) I haven't had a whole lot of free time to keep my blog up to date. I don't really even have the time to be writing this now, but I want to make sure I don't fall completely off of anybody's radar. So:

PERSONAL UPDATE:

-33rd birthday... don't feel a day over 48.
-Enjoyed my parents in town... glad they are gone
-Broke my foot playing tennis... actully broke my foot when I stopped playing tennis long enough to kick the wall behind me. Stupid racket... I'm sure it was the racket's fault.
-I speak one language... English... and I don't do that very well... why the hell am I translating this product at work in to Russian? Any one else think this is a bad BAD idea?

POKER UPDATE

-not playing very much
-busted out of the last mookie and mookie 2nd chance on good cards turned bad... I guess I need to remember that anytime fulltilt gives me pocket faces... the next person to act will have the higher pocket pair... every ... single... damn... time... hiccup, killme
-Still doing very well on cash tables. I've basically just been covering my tournament losses at the cash tables. Its so annoying though. I don't "enjoy" the cash games even though I win. I started this addiction playing tournaments and for whatever reason, I still prefer playing tournies, but I don't think I've won one in ages. Its frustrating, because one of two things ALWAYS happens... either I get my money in when I'm 80% plus and get sucked out on.... or I have Qs and the next guy has Ks... yesterday I played 3 times and all three times I lost on Qs. first one Qs v 8s, 8 spikes on the flop... 2nd one, Qs v A3off, flop comes KAA... third one Qs v Ks board helps no one. I may be wrong, but I think the A3offs and 8s are folding to me on the cash tables... thats why I don't lose those there and the Ks are easier to read allowing me to get the hell out of the hand earlier. Need to keep working on it. I guess as long as I'm breaking even again through cash tables, its not that big a problem.

Oh well... back to the grind. I'll try to get back to my regular posting schedule as soon as I can.

Good poker, kiddies

2006-09-22

Is That A Cauldron Of Feces?

You mind if I get a stir in?

Sometimes (well, actually more often than not) my mouth writes checks my ass can't cash. Seriously, I just want to put this out for anyone who may have saw a smartass comment I left on another site, and then stumbled over here to see what I'm all about. I love to piss people off. I think its a good release... seriously... I love to get pissed off myself... and really the rightoeous the better. Anywaus, I have been feeling a little guilty because I know I've ticked off a few people lately. I just want to apologize to you and let you know that I was only doing it for giggles... And I love to be responded to in kind. I just feel a little bad when I think that someone took me too personally, and I hope that is never the case.

On that note, if you guys haven't found Joanne's blog... go check it out. I might pu her into my "reads" list... but I'll wait to make sure she's the right kind of chicagoan first.

2006-09-21

2 Hours to Break Even

Here's a Mookie recap: I suck. Everyone is on to me. They know that I play mid connectors and wide cards on anything up to a min raise... and they know I'm timid as shit after a flop. So, the few hands I was in were... Min raise... call... miss the flop (or hit mid pair)... Huge bet... I fold. Really, this isn't usually a problem for me since eventually I'll hit a hand in a big way and be able to come back at them, but last night, the only good hand I saw was pocket 8s... and someone (trkfix?) called my preflop 4x with A J and then when he whiffed the flop, called another 4x with their overs and hit a J on the turn. I'm not sure I really understand playing the AJ in the first place, but when you missed the flop, how did you call the following bet? I'm not criticizing... I really have a hole in my game where I don't know how, when to play overs on a whiffed flop. I'd love to learn this little trick that these people seem to have. In my experience... my over cards NEVER hit. Oh well, I'll stop there before Waffles starts accusing me of stealing his gig again. Really though, after that one I just lost interest in the mook and decided to play a different tourny and sign up for the Mookie second chance.

Speaking of the 2nd chance Mookie... I LOVE this idea. Good thinking, mook. I know that after losing 11 dollars in short order, I really need to piss another 5 down the drain. Kidding. Seriously, I think its a great idea, although I wonder if you would get more sign up for it if it started an hour and a half after the Mookie. That way, you might get a few more people who are trying to "play off" a typical Mookie suckout. 2 cents worth...

As I said before, my tournament play seems to be broke lately. However, I did join a 10 dollar single table and placed 2nd. Those winnings I think broke me even for the night (11 Mookie... 5.50 2nd Mookie... 11 NL 9 person.. -27.50... winnings 27.00). It still pissed me off though. I really REALLY should have had first place on that one tourny. When we went to heads up, I had less chips, but it was pretty even (6000 vs 7500?) The other guy really had all his chips from unbelieveable suckouts. Starting with the very first hand where he played A 4 into a good sized raise... K Q J on the flop (initiator bets big... he calls) 8 on the turn (initiator bets big... he calls) 4 on the river (initiator goes all in... he calls). Turned out the guy was on a TOTAL BLUFF. But, really WTF? Are you guys working together? Seriously... Who keeps bluffing after the preflop is called and the board shows all face cards? Then, who looks at KQJ 8 4... a preflop raise... another raise... an All in and thinks... my 4 with and ace kicker is good? I mean, holy fugtards, batman! He didn't do anything really screwy after that... but he did play some pocket 5s like they were aces and lucked out and also hit a few with some really piss poor start cards. I don't know... pretty fishy. Anyways, in the meantime, I go through the trouble of knocking out about 5 of the "real" players... then when we are heads up, I quickly turn the chips to around 9500 v 4000 in my advantage... but alas... after 20-30 minutes of beating up on the guy, the guy's "I won't fold till I'm dead" playing style hit and he rivered me huge like 3 times in a row to take back the advantage (3500 v 10,000) and then on the last hand I bet into him when my A5(A on the flop) made the sucker end of a straight on the river (board: A 8 6.. 4.. 7), and his 9 5 made for the top end. Oh well... I should never complain when I break even. Especially, since technically, I was almost 100 dollars up from the cash table success earlier in the day.

2006-09-20

I See Now... It's A Numbers Game....

First off... play the damn Mookie. I guarantee that you won't have a more interesting and enjoyable challenge in the online pokerverse. Its stupid fun... and even if you can't afford the 10 dollars... rail bird it, lots of people do and the chat is usually 4 star.

Secondly... My tournament play is still a little broken. Now, its mostly suckouts that are getting me, but I had cured this problem before, so I must have just forgotten how I did it. Luckily, cash tables are still treating me oh so kind. Turned 50 dollars into 154 dollars in under 30 minutes and FINALLY had the brains to leave the table early instead of sitting there to donk away all my winnings.

Thirdly... What, no jokes? C'mon guys. I realize that there are only 3 of you who read this blog, but can't you ask a friend. Seriously, there's been a lot of posts lately about how "poker blogs are dying". Part of the reason is certainly the lack luster responses of people. I rarely read blogs for the actual post, the "nutmeat" is really in the comments left. That's usually where I end up spitting soda all over my keyboard. I will be hoping upon hope that I can crack slb159 with some really shitty cards tonight at the mookie. I don't mean to piss him off, but at least a little blog war usually gets this group going a bit.

How about some corny for you:
2 penguins are sitting on an iceberg and the first penguin chuckles and says,"huh, it looks like you're wearing a tuxedo". The second penguin looks at him and says, "What makes you think I'm not".

2006-09-14

OOps

So the Mookie went a little like this... the tourny starts, then security is asking me to please leave the table. That's it. I tried a sucker's gammut on one of the best players I know in the mookiverse and took it like a 2 cigarette prison fish on his first day of group shower. Basically, I've just been doing so well on the cash tables, that I thought I had "second sight". I put the guy (MiamiDon... I'll find his link later) on a small/mid pocket pair from his preflop raise and I tried to channel my best donkey with a J 5 or J 4 suited or something like that ... when the J hit on the flop and he pushed with a fair sized bet... I convinced myself that I was right about the small pocket pair and that he was merely trying to waive me off the hand. I pushed back all in and he showed pocket Qs. For the record they were really small pocket Qs... barely 30 pixels tall on my screen... that MUST have been what threw off my radar.

So, I decide to go back to the cash tables and make my money back. This was almost a horrible night... but at the end of it I guess I made money (a whopping 4 dollars) so I won't complain. However, I jumped on a .25/.50 and bought in for the 50 dollar max. The 3rd hand in, I get pocket aces in the dealer button. I limp and the BB raises to 3 dollars. My radar goes APE... I KNOW the guy has Ks... its like I can see the damn cards even though the backs are to me. I re-raise to 10 dollars... he immediately goes all in... I have him! I call, and sure enough there are the two Ks looking pathetic as shit sitting next to a 100 dollar pot. Until the FLIPPIN river card comes a K. I had to laugh. because of the mookie, I only had like 70 dollars in my fulltilt account (Like an idiot I transferred most of my winnings to pokerstars so I could lose it in tourny after tourny). But, really, I know I can get that money back and then some from a guy who played Ks in that fashion. I reload for 20 dollars (the only 20 bucks I had) and start playin som mutherfuqn snakes on a mutherfuqn flop. It takes me about 2 hours to recoup to 70 dollars. I played for another hour or so, but I just hit a ceiling of 85 dollars and the game would NOT let me go any higher. So I finally walked away 15 bucks up on a table that obviously I could have been 130 dollars up on. Oh well. Got my poker in and had a lot of good fun chat on the table since I took the loss in stride and made jokes about it the whole time I was playing. Plus, near the end, I had such a chip lead on these bottom dwellers who kept joining in with their 10 dollars hoping to get some of mine, I was 4x raising 9 4 off and then pot betting the Ace on the flop and they just folded. The only thing that kept me from really raking in the cash was this guy who insisted on following every single flop with a 10 dollar bet... no matter what the flop was. It was so annoying... I'm holding AK and the flop is J 8 4 , pot is about 1.50 and he's betting 10 dollars. What the hell do I do here? He could be playing anything. So, I kept winning 10 dollars then folding 9.99 cents to this guy (cause if you called that 10... next bet was 20). It just seemed like everytime I was in the hand with him, I was mid pair top kick... or 2 overs and I just didn't want to risk it.

NON-POKER WORLD: My parents are coming to visit next week. My dad (actually stepfather) and I drive everyone around us insane by our uncanny knowledge of bad vaudeville routine comedies. Everytime we visit its like "who's on first" for at least 2 hours at dinner... Mom and my wife could just about kill us... I can't help it, I learned a healthy respect for the "veterans" of comedy from my dad. Shecky Green, George Burns, Red Foxx... etc etc... I love that stuff. Really, if I had to analyze my own sense of humor, I'd say I pretty much just take these old routines and then try to imagine them with Lenny Bruce performing them. Instead of "take my wife, please" I do... "fuck my wife, please". So, to bone up for his visit, I'd like any and all of your corniest of corny jokes. I want the duck walks into a bar... I want dumb blonds... bad lawyers... embarassed nuns. I doubt you'll have one that my father and I don't already know, but I still love reading them... So fill the comments, or email me your favorites. I'll start you off with my favorite one-liners of all time:

Did you hear the one about the homosexual midget who came out of the cabinet?

Enjoy,

Good luck at the tables.

2006-09-12

Hee Haw Ha Ha Ho Ho Hee Haw

I like to joke about playing like a donkey. I certainly do go "fishing" from time to time when it is ill-advised. But mostly, I just play any two cards infront of me and if I hit the flop... great... If I don't, I fold. People talk trash all the time... like "How the hell could you call a 4x preflop raise with 10 7 off?" Well, because the blinds were still 20 dollars and since I caught that last guy with my 10 7 off I have enough to try 80 bucks on this hand. That's the long and short of it. Honestly, I don't even play 10 7 offs... But I will call 3x/4x if I can afford it with just about any suited connectors and any face connectors (J10+). Frankly, I feel my post flop play is generally good enough to keep me from getting in trouble with these type hands. I guess the point being, you just have to be willing to invest and walk away. Also, you have to be excellent at reading the other player(s).

That being said... what I'm about to describe is the first time I feel I truly "donkeyed" someone in a long damn time. Now, first of all you have to realize that I've been only playing in the micros and penny tables lately, because I want to play, but I don't really have the bankroll for it, and I'm pretty much on mad tilt already. Playing on the micro tables, doesn't help your tilt any. When you are holding pocket Aces and the flop is A 7 5... and you go all in, only to be called by pocket 4s... then watch the 6 3 show up on the turn and river, you go from bad to worse real quick. When it happens to you 5 times in one tourny, you start reaching a boiling point that will just about drive you insane. This is usually the time I'll switch to the cash tables to mix the game up a little. Lately, I've found that if you are going to play cash tables... you should be doing it on FullTilt instead of Poker&#$#@$**!!! Stars. I don't know why, but the play seems more "likely". I mean, I just don't see the shear number of bad beats on the FullTilt cash tables that I see on Poker&#$#@$**!!! Stars. Maybe because I don't play them as much. Still, on the .5/.10 tables full tilt is pretty much my personal ATM right now. I'll join for about $10 and after 30 minutes or about an hour I'll have $15-20 and then leave. After doing this 2 or 3 times throughout the day, I guess I got a little emboldened and thought my past bad luck was behind me. I decided to get back on the .25/.50 tables and see if I was holding up.

Sure enough, I turned my initial 50 dollar buyin into about 70 dollars, and then it all went to hell. The first one that sent me into a tailspin was raising a 10 8 suited in position 3x preflop and getting called... flop came 10 10 7... I of course road that donkey all the way to bethleham against the A 10 who called me. then for nearly 2 hours of fighting back and forth I kept bouncing between about 20 dollars and 40 dollars. It was driving me insane, and more often than not, it was situations where I flopped TPTK and bet, only to get someone going WUHAYY over the top of my bet forcing me to fold. Had I any brains... I should have just reloaded, but part of me wanted to ride this out and see if I could get back my stack on my own. So, I had worked my way back up to about 50 dollars, but I was puhissed off by this time. One guy in particular just kept punishing my 3 and 4x continuation bets... he did it to me like 3 times when I had the only really decent cards I had seen this session. So, I'm in late position, and this guy raises to $1.50... I look at 8c 8d and reraise him to 4 dollars. He calls. At about this point I start growing grey fur and long ears and just decide before the flop even comes out, I'm going to put my whole stack up against this guy... regardless of where I stand. Flop comes up 9c 10d Ac... he checks, and I throw 15 dollars at the center with my free hoof. He insta calls, and I take it as a sign from God that my 8s are good and he's going to try and buy the pot from me on the next card... turn is a Qc. So let's review... I went 8 x preflop on this guy... and bet 1/3 of our stacks on the 9c 10d Ac... now the Qc could esily complete someones flush... straight flush... etc, but sure enough the guy bets the rest of his stack.... I sit there for a moment... bat some flies off my lower flanks with my tail and hee haw hee haw call. If you asked me to explain this move a million times I couldn't. Hell, if I played this hand a million times I fold it 999,999 of those times. But, I was sick of being kicked around, and I just KNEW the guy had called my preflop with crappy cards... and for some reason, I felt that would be enough. Even if I lost, to see his Ace rag or whatever would allow me the proper amount rightous disgust that it would be worth the 50 dollars. He shows Kd and Js... For the straight. I start reaching for the close button so I can slide away from the table in disgust... and BOOM! J of clubs on the river to give me the flush!

Now, I don't know if any of you know the man "1gameface" (or something like that) but, I'm sure he's an excellent player. If he has a blog, him and slb159 are probably going out for beers later to talk about me. Really, I wish you luck... and I'm sorry. You got caught by the old "I'm playing this into the ground" attitude that kills me at the tables on a daily basis. Still, you did play "the bachelor"(J Ko) into a considerable raise and you also called 1/3 of your stack off on a gutshot... perhaps I'm not the only donkey you should be pissed at. All I can really say is that I am sorry for the donkey kick to your nuts... I hope it doesn't cause you to quit the game every 15 minutes and start blogging about your pathetic luck.

Good poker kids and hopefully I'll see you at the Mookie.

2006-09-08

Man I'm Tired

Sorry I didn't post right away baout the mookie. It was a real success, but I was extremely upset at my play and "didn't want to talk about it." Basically, I tried to play it tight... Then, while holding AQ with A J 10 10 showing on the board, I decided to ignore all the odds that I had the losing hand and push into someone who had called my PF raise "just because" with a 10 4 off suit. I wish I could blame the guy on this move... but it was all my mistakes. I did a min raise, because I wanted at least a person or two to get in the hand... I only got this guy... when the flop came up with my Ace and gutshot draw I decided to let him see another card... for the record, I KNEW the whole time he didn't have an Ace in his hand... but I didn't seriously consider what else he might have.... when the next 10 showed up I think I potsized the bet and when he simply called, I mistook it, and convinced myself that it was either a missed straight or a weak Ace in his hand... then I totally fell for the sucker bet on the river telling myself that it was his attempt to steal. What followed next was cold deck... except for KK which I 3x'd preflop only to have everyone fold to me... I think I finally put myself in a spot where I felt I HAD to call with a KQ or a QJ suited (I don't remember now) and I was up against AK. I was owned last night.

Unfortunately, I STILL can't seem to break my curse. It seems the new pattern for me is to get ahead early.... stay on top for 2/3rds the game then run into something ridiculous and end up busting out just at the final table or bubble. I'm trying to keep the faith, but the last one I played, two times I had mid pockets, flopped the trips... bet the snot out of them and then had the caller with TPTK or MPTK call me and get runner runner for a straight or better to beat me. I wasn't too upset about it, figuring that as long as I only lost to suckouts, I'd eventually build back my stack and take these guys out... of course, luck only looked like a lady... I reached down her skirt and found a NASTY suprise:

Seat 1: sammyben (990 in chips)
Seat 2: Marxst1 (890 in chips)
Seat 7: BillHamm (3105 in chips)
Inadequate-1: posts small blind 25
GangstaBzH: posts big blind 50
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Marxst1 [7d 8d]
BillHamm: raises 50 to 100 -love this play... min raise just to sucker me in
sammyben: calls 100
Marxst1: calls 100
Inadequate-1: folds
GangstaBzH: folds
*** FLOP *** [9d 6d 5c] -booya... I own them
BillHamm: bets 50
sammyben: raises 150 to 200
Marxst1: raises 250 to 450
BillHamm: raises 550 to 1000 -DUMBASS with what he was holdingsammyben: calls 690 and is all-in - EVEN DUMBER with what he is holding
Marxst1: calls 340 and is all-in

*** TURN *** [9d 6d 5c] [5h] -Wait aminute... what's this bulge in her panties?


*** RIVER *** [9d 6d 5c 5h] [5s] -OH MY GOD... Vommit vommit vommit

*** SHOW DOWN ***
BillHamm: shows [Ad Ac] (a full house, Fives full of Aces)
sammyben: shows [Th 9s] (a full house, Fives full of Nines) -Proof that all you have to do to beat me is call me
BillHamm collected 200 from side pot
Marxst1: shows [7d 8d] (a straight, Five to Nine)
BillHamm collected 2745 from main pot


So lets put every 5 on the board except the one 5 that makes my hand unbeatable.

I'm going to take a break from online play for awhile... I just think my "mojo" has been completely drained from me. I'm not a big odds player, but I would think that even 3 handed, with what I was holding and the flop, I should be winning that 85% of the time regardless of what cards the other two players are holding. Oh well... I have loser written all over me lately, so I'll try to keep up with some life posts, but this game has definitely beat me for the time being.

2006-09-06

Don't Forget The Mookie Tonight

Just a reminder that the Mookie has moved to Full Tilt this week. Aparently Poker&#$#@$**!!! Stars couldn't be bothered with helping out charity. Go figure... their only charity is giving the giant fish his 1 outer whenever I'm all in.

On a side note, my good friend at work just got let go (or basically told that in 2 weeks he was resigning whether he wanted to or not). I don't know how to really deal with this. Morale at work has been pretty low for a long time... Myself, and my buddy were probably the last 2 real cheerleaders at work trying to make people enjoy their job. His firing (at least for the reasons given) was a slap in the face and really what might end up being the last straw for myself. He's taking it in stride, and seems to be fairly optimistic about his future. I'm not so optimistic about my future. It just seems that if you tick off the wrong person here... your days are numbered whatever you do, or whatever you bring to the table. Now, personally, I'm a corporate whore. I really try to look at any decision made higher than my pay grade as something well conceived. Even when I don't agree with the decision, I usually err on the side of "well, I probably don't have all the info that those guys have." In this case, although, its hard for me to see this as a wise decision. On the surface, it really seems to be a fall guy/kill the messenger situation. Of course, I still got my job... so screw him. (if he reads that he'll appreciate it).

Don't have any real poker news right now. I'm pretty happy with my game, but seem to be getting stuck on the final table or bubbling all the time. It seems my biggest problem comes right before getting to the final table. I'll be in good position and I'll hit a damn good flop against someone who decided before the hand that they were going all in no matter what. For instance, I'll have KQ... the short stack (and first position)...who is little over 1/3rd of my stack... will 1x-2x preflop... flop hits K Q 7... SS will go all in... In this case I feel I HAVE to call this... worst case scenario they are probably playing AK or AQ in which case, they really only have about a 16% chance of beating me... I call... and they roll over A mutherpussinsuckwadhavingwhatthehellareyoudoing 10 offsuit... turn or the river is a J and all of a sudden I'm the shortest stack at the final table. If anyone has some advice about whether I'm playing this completely wrong or any tips on it... I'd love to hear them. Now, i know there is a contingent out there who say don't play that KQ in a raise in the first place... but looking at chip stack size and the fact that its usually a min raise or a limp... I think that has to be wrong. Also, I don't think you can re-raise that KQ... SS is definitely representing the Ace with the min bet... I don't know, I just think ifI reraise pf here... the guy goes all-in, and I have to fold it before I see a flop.

Again, just something that's been catching me a lot lately... the old flop top two pair and get called by the wheel or MPTK and lose to the turn or river helping them out. I think statistically I'm on the right side of this hand... but perhaps I'm wrong.

2006-09-05

A Word From Our Sponsor

"Don't give Michael anything to drink"....

oops... wrong sponsor.

I recently added my first "ad" ever. Its for a little company who likes to call itself Pokerbility. Honestly, I have just downloaded the software and have tried it on a whole 3 games, so I don't have a quallified review... yet. I'll be toying around with it for a couple weeks and try to do a real review in the next week or so. Here's my general impressions, albeit short (and probably not too accurate yet):

Description:
A fairly robust, automatic odds calculator that can "attach" itself to the current table you are playing and give you both hand odds and recommended actions to take.

PROS:

  • Fairly intuitive

  • Breaks down every possible combination in its own odds, the overall odds of winning, and number of "outs" you would have to beat the possible nutz with what is showing on the board.

  • Stays seperate from the table and moveable so that you can keep it out of your way



CONS:

  • Has settings where you can tweak it to your personal playing style (loose /tight) However, these settings aren't well explained that I can find, so I'm having a little trouble telling what does what

  • It is very quick preflop, but I've had some trouble with it taking too long to recommend an action post flop. This may be because of the screwy hands that I limp in with... but sometimes it seems like I decide to fold or raise and then after I've already hit the button, it comes back with its suggestion (again, need to use it a little more to really see if this is the case)



OVERALL: You know I don't really play a "math-based" game, so it might take me a little while to discover how an odds calculator will help my game. Frankly, I think I'm just using it in the wrong fashion, so far. I'll give a full review in about a week when I've tried it in a few ring games and others, but as far as I can see its as good or better than any of the other programs like it that are available. In the meantime you might want to click on the link and check it out yourself and see if its something for you.

2006-09-01

Thank God Its Friday *HICCUP*

Well, I made it, kids. One full month... no alchohol. I was tempted to crack a beer at midnight this morning... especially when my buddy, who may be having some personal issues at home, rang me up while he was 9 sheets to the wind to remind me that my drinking hiatus was officially over. Somehow, he didn't make it sound too appealing. Really, I think I have just about reset my body back to a normal level of alchohol consumption. While I'm looking forward to having a couple of glasses of wine at dinner again, I'm not really jonesing for a beer like I used to. Am I the only one who has always wondered just how f'd up "jones" was?... I mean the guy's name became synonmous with addiction... Wouldn't it be cool to trace your family history back to the original "jones"?...

Well in honor of Friday, I thought I'd put some funnies down for you:

1)From SuckedLargeBalls159times comes a rather low level blog war with yours truly. Regardless of the argument or what side I'm on... the guy knows how to rant (angrily, self-righteous and usually without a leg to stand on... I salute you)... His blog, in general, is a guilty pleasure that I enjoy as often as possible.

2)Gcox25 had this gem a few days ago.... I'm still cracking up. I can't tell you how often I was losing until I started to follow his simple playbook

3)Not sure why, but my office mate and I just think this image is one of the funniest things we've seen in a long damn time. Seriously, Ernesto... no means no.


4)Here's why you never let your child become a music major.

5)Philosophical joke of the week (Submitted by my dad):
Q. How many solipsists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A. Who's asking?

my retort:
Rene Descartes is sitting in a bar. The bartender asks, "Do you want another beer?" Decartes says, "I don't think so"... and vanishes

2006-08-31

Requiem For Unforced Errors

So, kids, I was going to not play the mook last night. I was all set to play a little tennis and take a break from poker which has been driving me nuts lately. Well, tennis was an exercise in frustration. I have a friend who is just a bright-eyed little sprite of a girl, but she can run dwon just about any ball you hit, and she rarely (if ever) makes a mistake. She's not hitting giant winners (well, she does from time to time) she's just constantly and consistently putting the ball back over the net in your court. My frustration is a little like that Roddick vs. Pong commercial. I'm trying to put everything I can on the ball to trip her up and 99 times out of 100 I end up flubbing the shot. Like my poker playing, nothing is more frustrating than losing because of "unforced errors". Just like poker, I really need to stop beating myself. So, I got home early enough to join the mookie.

I swear, right when I think I'm "on" to something with my playing, I start walking in to pocket Aces every other hand. It wouldn't be so bad, but it seems to ALWAYS happen when I have AK or AQ and the flop rolls out either the Ace or the other face I'm holding. This is the kind of "unforced errors" I do in poker. I have a tattoo that says TPTK SUCKS 4 LIFE... unfortunately, I got it on my shoulder blade so I never see it when I need to be reminded of it. Another great "unforced error" I'm getting into lately is staying too damn long on a cash table. Somewhere around 1 hour I've usually doubled my initial investment. Do I walk away... ah hell no! I play for another hour and walk away from the table 3 dollars down. Schmuck... that's all I can say.

The other bad play that is catching me a lot lately is these guys who "raise" into their flush draw. I always get fooled into thinking that they too are trying to get people with the flush out of the hand. What I'm talking about is a "new" play that I haven't seen before. It goes something like this: I have A Q (some suit other than the flush draw) flop comes up Qd 7c 4d... I bet out mid size... and get raised. I call and next card is a 9h... I bet larger and the guy goes over the top again.... I figure he has Q K or possibly a straight draw (played J 10) and is trying to waive me off the flush (which I'm not playing)... the last card comes up a 2d or whatever and I think I got them only to find out they were playing the flush draw the whole time. The reason I say this is a "new" play is because I never saw it before recently. In the past, the common sense says that you "call" a flush draw... and on the flip side, if you have TPTK ot TTP and a flush draw is showing you try to "bet" the guy off the flush draw. I have to wonder how much money these people lose constantly raising flush draws. It seems like a cash table thing to do. You push back on a flush draw since you know the other guy is on TPTK - straight and perhaps he'll fold his better hand to you if you bet enough or you'll luck out and hit that flush. I don't know, but I never saw flush draws played in this manner until within the last month and now I see it all the time. It may be a really good play. God knows it has hit me in the jimmy more than once in the last month... but personally, I don't see the wisdom of betting out 3/4 of your stack on a 1 in 4 chance of hitting that flush. Its my same theory about calling all-ins with a flush draw. Nothing wrong with it if you are totally shortstacked and looking for the hail mary pass... or if you are a giant chip advantage and trying to knock out a chump stack... but, in a case where you are 1)about equal in chips to the other player AND 2)you KNOW you are going to lose the hand if you miss the flush... why wouldn't you just politely fold and wait for better hand to take them out on?

Anyways, back to the mookie... I made the final table, but then about 3 hands into it I just pulled a bone-headed maneuver. I saw the same guy raise preflop to basically all-in 2 times in a row and the 3rd time he did it, I figured he was getting greedy and I had AQ so I called... he had KK... oops. In the future, I'm going to try and remember that the first two times in a row a person goes all in, that's when they are most likely bluffing... The 3rd time, they almost ALWAYS have monsters. Better to fold cards you should have played then to play cards you should have folded. Took a giant hit to my stack and couldn't climb out of it. However, I do feel quite good about the final table showing. I'm definitely palying a better game than I was even 3 months ago... That's really a testament to the helpful folks in the blogverse and the players at the mook. Watching how they play certain cards, and reading their recaps as to exactly what they were thinking from play to play has really kept my passion going for this game even while I was on some pretty bad death-spirals money wise.

Now, I was going to actually spend this entire post talking about SLB159 and about what a whiny little punk loser he is, but really I couldn't care less about the boy. He reads a lot of blogs, misunderstands their points and then thinks himself the arbitrator of naming donkey. I guess its a personallity thing. I think he sees the poker game as some sort of giant proof of his superior intelligence. For guys like that, its hardly about the money... they want that thrill of "crushing" you. I don't know how pathetic his life is, but I get the feeling that he can only feel superior to someone when he beats them at poker. It's kind of sad really. I mean I have a good paying job, a beautiful wife, a lovely home, good friends and a self worth that doesn't force me to judge myself against "beating" others. Don't get me wrong, I work on winning all the time, but when I get beat I try to look for that which I could have done differently... I don't try to cling to a fantasy about where I stood in a particular hand. Woulda Coulda Should.... Didn't... learn from your mistakes and get on with your life.

2006-08-30

Damn You Waffles!!!

I think my friend Waffles has spread his curse to me. I went on a losing streak that could only be described as reDICKyouluss. Hence, I'm taking a vacation from poker for a week or two. I'd love to claim that it was all 2-outers that got me, but really for the most part it was just bad play on my part and then bad luck when I needed it to get back in the game. Nothing is more frustrating than when you get the "big" hand only to walk into the bigger hand... if I had a flush to the K, someone else caught the flush to the ace... if I got trips, someone else had a the boat... if I had a boat someone else had the higher boat. It was almost humorous. Granted, in every case I got my money in while I was ahead, but pokarma(tm) is a beotch. Its no fun losing... and when you're sober while you are losing its even worse... So while I encourage everyone (all 2 of my readers) to play the Mookietonight, I think I'm going to try some tennis (my old addiction) tonight instead.

2006-08-24

Day Job Got Me Down

I've been pretty lax in my potings lately. For one, this not drinking thing and work have formed a perfect storm where I've pretty much been in a sour mood for about three weeks. I also went on a mini-losing streak in poker that was so un-fun that I didn't even want to complain about it. Yesterday started out as horrible as all the other days I've tried to play poker in the last week. (See the post before for example). Anyways, I half-heartedly joined the mookie last night. Usually, the mookie is one that reinvigorates my love for this game. A lot of trash talking, some very creative play, and a chance to go up against some really good players in a fairly low stakes environment. However, last night my heart wasn't in it. My luck as of late, being what it has been, just put me on giant tilt. I ended up donking out about 30th palce out of the 38 entrants.

I looked at my now decimated bankroll. I haven't dipped below 100 dollars in bankroll in a long LONG time, and the sick number read about 98 dollars. I decided to do something that may be the ultimate tilt move, but I'll get to that in a moment. In the past, I have always moved up a level in buy-ins whenever I've lost, but usually I've done it sort of out of anger. Lose three 5 dollar buy-ins then do a 20 dollar buy-in... Not good, and not smart. This is probably the reason that when I go on losing streaks I burn so much of the bankroll because I'm playing from an "angry" place. Last night, I looked long and hard at the games I had lost that whole week. There were some spectacular bad beats, but really those are coffin nails. I built the coffin out of bad play. I poured over some hand histories, I replayed some tables in my head, and I worked up aome strategies that would have saved my butt had I noticed what was going on at the table around me.

Once I felt like I had a real list of reasons for why I lost... note: real reasons instead of "damn two-outers" and such. Seriously, I watch the WSOP and PPT and even celebrity poker (guilty pleasure) and there is ALWAYS going to be loses on two outers. Especially on-line when you are playing people who don't neccessarily know just how behind they are. My biggest problem that I found, was trying to win all my money at one time. In other words, stop limping pocket Aces and top 10 hands hoping to sucker a guy into the "all-in"... Top 10 hands should equal a 4x or 6x raise every time. If you end up only stealing the blinds... so be it. Take your opponents' money incrementally and lose your money sparingly. My usual stats reveal that I win 10x+ the number of hands without showdown than I do when they went to showdown. More importantly, when the hands went to showdown, I was only winning 1 of 3 or 1 of 4 of those. [typical stats would look like: Saw: 50 hands / 24 hands won without showdown / 3 of 8 hands won with showdown] There lies the coffin I keep building. Instead of making sure that I get out of those "going to showdown" hands that I'm going to lose.. or not being in those hands in the first place (also, note that the hands that "went to showdown were almost always top 10 hands that I just wouldn't walk away from)... I was trying to increase the aggression to make even less hands go to showdown. All of this translates to "win a little bit on a lot of hands, but lose a HUGE amount on a few hands".

I've said it before, in the online pokerverse, you HAVE to let players see you win hands. You cannot create a table image that will earn you any respect if you are constantly stealing the blinds. Sooner or later (and usually when you have a monster hand) people are going to call you out of spite and hit their two outer. Even worse, as was my case, if you are losing the hands that go to showdown (even in the cases where the other person got stupid lucky on a river or turn) players are only going to remember the hands they saw that you lost. Now, try to steal a blind when you need to in the later part of the game... go ahead see how fun it is.

Looking at all of this I decided that if any of my theories about my game were right, the actual best place to test them where on the high dollar tables. For once I didn't join a higher buy-in simply hoping to recoup losses. I actually joined it because the tighter and more solid play you find on the higher dollar tables will give you a more accurate picture of your game. If you are trying to guage if a new change in strategy of your game works, you just can't do that on a 5 dollar table. The play is way to erradic and the luck bounces between the newbies at the table so much, that you'll only see judge your game over a long period of time. I wanted to know if these theories I had about my game were solid and I knew that the 50 dollar buy-in level is the place to do it.

Long and short, I joined a 50 dollar single table and took first. Then, I joined a 50 dollar single and took 3rd (really, I probably should have taken 2nd on this one, but I was fatigued and once I was in the money, I started "expirementing" with some wackier play). More importantly, and just as I planned, my typical stats on those two games looked more like: Saw: 50 hands / 18 hands won without showdown / 12 of 14 hands won with showdown. Better card choice, less bluffing pots, and paying more attention to what I think the player thinks I think about what the player is thinking.... The last one I'm having trouble putting into words, but I'd say its basically boils down to not bluffing someone who you know has no respect for you... also on marginal hands (even if you know you're ahead right at that moment) don't bet the farm against a calling station. Any ways, after a solid 2 weeks of losing my ass off, I managed to put my bankroll right back to where I started from 2 weeks ago. A fairly good accomplishment for me. Hopefully I can retain the things I learned and not slip back into donky mode when I get back to the 5 dollar tables. We'll see.

2006-08-23

Play the Mookie Tonight, Dammit

I think part of the proceeds are going to a worthy cause... but any ways, I may never play poker ever again. I busted out of 3 tournies all on hands where I was 80%+ to win (KK flop 5 J 9 called and cracked by A5off; J 8 3x preflop flop is J 2 8 called and cracked by A2; AK 4x preflop flop A 3 5 bet half the guys stack hecalls with 7 4off turn is a 6... So, since I know I'm good (heehee)... I join a 30 dollar tourny to recoup my loses. I'm in solid 2nd place... SB... shortstack raises min bet. I have Q J so I call.... Flop is Q Q 6... shortstack tries to bluff at it, and bets 1/3 of his stack. I push all in. He mutherfuqn calls with A 10... guess what the last 2 cards are... here's a pic since you guys never believe my stories:



I quit... you win.

2006-08-17

I WIn The Mookie Again!!!!

No... not really. Played the Mookie last night and while I didn't come in first, or make it to the money... or even make it to the final table... I did something that I didn't think I'd pull off. I played solid and strong. I didn't let the other players get to me and, more importantly, I didn't let myself get to me... and, I finished 10th out of 42 entrants. Unfortunately, I spent the night to the left of Xanthius who was just on fire (a Myspace page, Xan? Really? What are you a 13 year-old girl?). Now I know how Slb159 must have felt last week. The guy could call all-ins blind and hit what he needed to. Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to go the "nice play donkey ass luck box donkey" route that some people do... It just doesn't work that way. Did he get lucky? Sometimes, yes. As lucky, and as often as we all do. He played aggressive, and had the chip stack to call off on some questionable cards that worked out for him. Let's face it, chip lead makes his own luck. Once he got out ahead, I think he played it brilliantly. I'm a little upset that he wouldn't fold those pocket Qs to me when there was a K on the flop... but I won't accuse him of being an idiot, I'll just question my own play for not being able to convince him that I had the K. Next time, I will, Xanthius... Till then, congratulations on taking first place. There was a fleeting moment where I thought I had the chip stack to do it myself, and I'm glad at least my chips gave you the cushion to battle out Smokkee(who I was rooting for) and Dnasty13 who are damn fine players.

Any ways, a heck of a lot of fun. What wasn't fun is blowing about 130 dollars on tournies after the mookie that just sucked ass. two of them was my own damn donkey self playing like a moron... But, the other two were the work of the poker gods trying to get me to quit this game forever. The first game was tarded and the second retarded. In both games I hung around for almost 50 hands... in both games I'd say there were two times out of that 50 where I had hands that were remotely playable. In the first one I tried to force it. Play some bluffs, make unsuited, low, gapped connectors work for me... nothing. In the second one, I tried to "wait" for it... blinded down to about 400 in chips, then all-in on an AK suited only to be called by a KQ unsuited... only to see a Q on the flop and no love for my Ace. I was pissed. I can handle losing when its my own bad play. There's a part of me that is always angry to lose, but when I can trace it down, at least I feel I can learn something from it. Those two tournies in a row, there was nothing to learn from it except "get luckier". I guess I'll work on that.

I have been told 100 times before that I need to be playing the cash tables. I've always been an adequate tournament player, but cash tables for the longest time have just raked me over the coals. Yesterday was the first time I had ever made any money at a cash table. I had tried 100 times before and just thrown good money after bad. I don't want to say that its a different game than tournament play... I used to think it was, but I also used to think that poker was all luck. Honestly, I don't think I'm at a level of play to really make that determination. However, I'm starting to really appreciate how a solid cash game can compliment your tournament play and vice versa. After yesterday's success at the cash tables, I decided to expirement again. I was a little gunshy because of my performance in the tournies that I just talked about, so I went down a level to .10/.25. Now, I may have just "gotten lucky", but wow did I kick some serious ass. I buy in for the 25 dollars, and its almost a full table. There are two .25 cent pros at the table with 40 dollars each and then like 4 guys who jump on for the min buy-in. I love those guys. If you can't afford to buy in 25.00 (the max initial buy in)... seriously go down to the .01/.02 tables... or just hand your 10 dollars to me right now and leave. You may have been better off to pool your money together, at least then you might have gotten to play another hand of K 4off against me. Again, I'm not saying I can reproduce this ever again... but I owned that table. I was so far up in everyone's head... I didn't even need cards in front of me. I knew what every player there was going to do before the flop even came out. The "pros" caught me a few times and I lent them my chips to hold for a hand or two... but then took it right back with interest. I never once dipped below my initial 25 dollar buy in... and after an hour I had 100.00 dollars. I really felt I could go on all night like that (it probably would have turned on me since new donks kept rotating in as old donks handed me their cash) but then Poker&#$#@$**!!! Stars decides to reboot their servers or something like that and all the games freeze up for a time. Someone in the main office must have noticed I was winning and thought there must be something wrong with the code again. I waited for about 5 minutes for the games to start again, and then noticed it was 1:00am and decided to call it a night.

So, I still ended up pretty down for the night, but overall I'm very happy with my playing. Took a pretty big hit to my bankroll... but perhaps I'll lay off the tournies for awhile and see if the cash game continues to improve.

2006-08-16

Why I Will Lose The Mookie Tonight

Another Wednesday. And another Mookie! I'm defending champ... Which anyone who reads this already knows, but I still like to say it over and over and over again. I've had Tshits made and even a coffee mug that says "World's Greatest Mookie Player" on it. What I haven't done, unfortunately, was improve my game any.

Yesterday, I tried a 20 dollar / 180 person, and it was ridiculous. I couldn't get any cards, then when I did, I'd end up with 5 callers and a missed flop. Everyone was shooting for the stars and trying desperately to either double up or go out. I think I ended up going out 84th when my AJ suited was called and beat by pocket 5s. (-22.00... this number at the end will be the running total).

Since I was a little cheezed off, I jumped on a cash table (.25/.50) Bought in for the 50 dollar max and sat down sandwiched between two bonafide sharks. I was playing tight as a drum and still managed to donk off 30 dollars before I realized that the sharks had sniffed my pattern out and where just out playing me. I bought another 30 in chips. Generally, this would have been a bad idea for me, but I just knew that I could use the table image these guys had on me against them, and flipped my game on its head. So, I walked away from the table with 130 dollars and some change.(+28.00).

Later, my wife went out for some dinner and I thought I'd get a little practice in. What I practiced was going on mad tilt. I join a 20 dollar multi and proceed to get the following hands in order from the start: AK, JJ, AQ, K10, KJ, A9, 88, 83, AQ, 1010, KQ.... and I'm knocked out of the tourny. My head almost exploded. Not a single one of those hands held up past the turn and, of course, half the time I was already 4x or more preflop. All of them were called and beat by complete donk. Really, I can't blame the guys playing donk. Because of the hands, I was in the first 10 of 11 hands... They probably thought I was just playing anything. I wasn't, but there was a few hands that I limped that I should have just folded to keep up appearances if for no other reason. (+6.00).

I join another 20 dollar single hoping to erase the memory. Out 2nd when my AJ suited couldn't escape the pocket 5s... Pocket 5s became Kirk to my Khan this night (-16.00)

I join ANOTHER 20 dollar single hoping to shake it off. I make it to 5 handed and I'm chip lead... Then go out in 4 hands in a row. 2 of the hands are AK and two are pockets (99 and JJ)... I start actually crying. (-38.00).

I decide that the real problem couldn't possibly be me. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA... I'm an idiot. I join a 30 dollar single thinking no problem, the donks won't be up here. I'm playing well until this A$$WIPE calls 1/3 his stack on the flop when I have top 2 pair and he has a flush draw... Turn doesn't help him and he calls off 80% of his remaining chips... Then RIVERS A F'N STRAIGHT... I shake that one off no problem. Until the very NEXT hand. I have Q 9 flop comes 9 8 Q... 2 handed but with a new jackass... I bet pot... he calls... turn is a 5 I bet 4/5 his remaining stack... he CALLS... river is an Ace... he checks... I check... He shows Ace 8... Mother scumsucking piece of donkey crudded monkey feces flinging nut monger. I'm mad shortstacked, and I can't get cards... I blind out after about 4 hands. (-71.00)

I have about a half hour before my wife gets home so, I decide to put my eggs in one basket and either go out a winner or a wiener... I jump on a 50 dollar single. Play it solid. I go back to my fundamental game. Cards don't really matter too much, I'm trying to create a "mood" at the table. Finally, my good cards hold AND my table image allows me to steal even large pots away from better hands. I take first place... Whew. Thank god. (+154.00)

If I were a betting man... and really I'm not. I'm just a compulsive degenerate with a tendency towards addictive behavior... I'd say my odds for repeating at the Mookie are probably 50 to 1 against.... I'll give my self 15 to 1 against making the final table... and even money going out in the first 5. Assuming that we get a full game (46+players) I would say that over half (60%...28-30) are better poker players than me on any given day. Not that I'm better than the other 40%, either... I'd just say I'm about par with them. Last week I benefited from some of the better players getting donked out early by other people who were less of a threat. Although, I HAD to respect the talent at the final table. There was a good reason those guys were there. All of the players that made the final table were well within that 60% of players who could beat me 99 times out of 100 games. There were some good reason why I was there also, but it really boiled down to the fact that the 10 or so times I really misplayed my hand I either escaped cheap or got lucky. Going into the final table I had played something like 42 hands total... so, if I had screwed up 25% of the time, but escaped by either a quick fold or a lucky flop... Well, that's the game right there. Added to the raw statistics is just the fact that I seriously "poked the bears" on that game. Some of the best players, I personally know, are going to be out to get me. I surely got a boost last week from the disrespect (well deserved). If last week was a foot race between the tortoise (me) and the hares (everyone else)... I'd say this week is going to be a swimming exhibition between the guppy and the sharks. If I get good cards, I may be able to use this to my advantage, but more than likely it will be an exercise in pain.

Good luck at the tables... Hope to see you guys at the mookie tonight.

2006-08-15

The Rigged!!!!

On a lark I played on of those retarded FPP satellites. 6,400 entrants. I actually kicked som real ass playing my game. Got lucky when I needed it (4 times I called all-ins when I had 2 pair and was against the 4 to flush guy who didn't hit). Anyway, I was in a solid 4th place with only 200 more people to go when Poker&#$#@$**!!! Stars decides to just screw me out of the game. I think, honestly, that I was just fatigued... so when I saw my luck turn south, I just didn't have the presence of mind to stop playing and really "wait" for the winners. Now, don't get me wrong... I was the best hand 80% of the time going in to the all ins with weker stacks, but of course I didn't win a single on of those. Then 9% of the all ins I called, I did it because I had TPTK Large Stack and was calling off the shortstack all-in and hoping to get lucky. I know that is total donk play, but I still stand by the premise that at that point in a tourny, you HAVE to knockout these little bottom feeders. Now, I know the usual thinking is that the blinds will increase to a level to knock them out if you wait, but really when you are at the end game, but there is still full tables of 9, if they have just 2x the blinds they will get to see almost 20 hands... If in that time they manage to steal even one blind ... that's another 20-30 hands they get to see. That's why when its a full table. every single largestack at the table should be calling.

Any way, that's not what did me in. What did me in was me betting half of the shortstack's pot (mind you at this point I had 100k in chips and the shortstacks were all 4k-10k) with KQsuited and the shortstack going all in with J 10 off... and then hitting a J or 10 with no help for me. It was almost comical... pocket 5s beat my AK.... 6 8 off suit made light work of my K 10 suited.... etc etc... Now, don't get me wrong there was a good 5 hands that I had no business calling (Putting K 10 off against A J suited comes to mind), but mostly it was calling with top 10 hands that missed the flop completely or got turn/Rivered by a weaker start hand. Finally, once I was down to about 40k... I just stop playing ANYTHING. I end up sitting through 20 hands of just total cuhrap cards... 8 3 offs out of position... or in position Q 7 off, but two all ins right before me. I make the 4th break, and then the 2nd hand after coming back, I get pocket Js... I push to about a half stack bet (really only 4x the blinds at this point) and the Chip lead in the tourny, pushes back. I immediately know that Poker&#$#@$**!!! Stars has fucked me over... I actually say to myself... he's got pocket Aces... but at this point, I really can't afford NOT to call with the pocket Js. I call, and he's got pocket As. Thanks Poker&#$#@$**!!! Stars you flippin beeotch. I end up going out 164th.

Well, on the good side: 1)It didn't cost me any money 2)It was a really good showing when you consider the initial size of the tourny 3)It confirmed to me that my game is solid and has some potential 4)And this is most important... It showed me where the hole is in my game. I've been striving for this sort of "zen donkey". But to do it correctly, you HAVE to be able to read the players at your table correctly. When I started to lose the better hands to these guys, I stopped concentrating on the players and got way too focused on my cards. Thats a very bad place for me. I'm math-savvy enough to understand that certain cards have a better start value than others... but I can't play a missed flop. I just still haven't learned enough about pot odds and such to know when to stick with my AK suited if the flop is 4 8 2 rainbow. I fold it to min bets sometimes.

Really though, I'm pretty happy with my playing right now. I'm not "winning" so much, but I'm really having fun with my game again. Something that was missing for a long time.

2006-08-13

God I Need A Drink

Hey kiddies, I was planning on playing a lot of poker this weekend, check out some new game theory I've been working on. Unfortunately, I just had too much to do, so I don't think I'm really going to get to play much until wednesday.

I think everyone knows that I decided to try and not drink for the month of August. So far, not a drop... but I have to say it sucks. Honestly and truly. I brought my new game to the online arena and did pretty well with it on Friday. I basically cleaned house on 3 10$ buy in, 2 multitable tournaments 1 single table. 2 2nd place finishes and a 1st place. Good stuff, but when I tried to do it in the two live games on Friday, It bit me in the ass. The first one, though, is hard to walk out of... in the first tourny I had pocket 3s and saw a board of AA4 3... I thought certainly my boy Rons2112 was playing his tripped ace with a high kicker. So when he went all in, I almost instacalled. Unfortunately, the rat bastard had me dead to rights with the A4. My bad. I almost rebuilt to get back into striking distance, but then ChylDyl2002 put in the coffin nail with a preflop allin on 77 and I called with face card connectors (I think maybe KQ or something like that). I believe I got my lower face on the flop, but then he rolled a 7 (suspiciously backwards off the deck *wink) on the river. So, I was pretty much on tilt when I walked down to the foobar. When I got to the foobar, there was 8 other players who just seemed to want my blood. NOW... If I had flippin drink, I might have been able to chill out and bide my time, but since I was stone cold... I made a horrible AJ off call thinking that this time Rons2112 was just screwing with me... Again, he wasn't... cowboys, and I was put down to next to zero in chips. Next hand, I made the classic donk allin after the flop gave me 4 to the flush (I would have been allin blind next hand anyways and figured what the hell)... no love and I was first out. So, I wasted 10 dollars to remind myself not to call all-ins strictly because I raised it to begin with. I still think anyone would have gotten caught in that sucker full house. The second tourny at the foo bar was just my own stupid playing. I tried to play it aggressively, and the player to my left wasn't letting anything by. I got frustrated with my folding and took a stand at the exact wrong time. Something that I had pretty much gotten out of my system till this point. But, I played my game elsewhere and got about $100 profit to ease that pain.

2006-08-11

Champion Profile Up

I doubt I have to tell any of my 3 readers, but just in case you stumbled here by accident... Mookie has posted my Champion Profile on his site. I didn't go through the entire archive of past winners, but a cursory glance tells me that I'm a giant windbag compared to the answers given in the past. Oh well, in the immortal words of Socrates, "I drank, what?"

Now that I'm over my initial defensive reaction to the abuse I was getting at the table... I'd like to take this time to thank every single person in the mookuniverse(tm), sincerely. Its been an honor and a pleasure getting to know you guys and learning from you. I'll be aiming to be first one out next week, but know that nothing I say "in game" is meant to do anything else but try to tilt you at that time. Outside of the actual time I'm playing the mookie, I just have the greatest respect for all of you.

Thanks again!

2006-08-10

I'm Glad Nobody Who Plays The Mookie Knows Where I Live

Yeah... I suck... I'm a donk... I'm stupid lucky... I'm a moron who calls with crap and it hits... What the fuck ever. The truth is, I think a good 75% of the people who play the mookie are 10 times the poker player I'll ever be. But seriously, you can point to like 3 hands where I sucked out and pile on this horseshit? I was definitely ecouraging the donkey persona. You want in on a secret... you got played tonight. Me, I played it brilliantly. Yeah that's right biatches, I just said that. I had you so convinced that I was donking every hand, you called when I had the nutz and you folded when I had crap. Thats where I made my money, not the damn 9 4 hand, or the K 3 hand against people with no fucking stack. My stats show 24% calling... thats really from folding a lot at the end, really I was keeping about a 30% call rate during the game until the final table... which is a little loose in a tourny, but not bad at all when you hold a chip lead almost the entire fucking time. MORE IMPORTANTLY, of the flops I called, I won 80% of those hands. How did I not go out on the other 20%? I folded and folded judiciously. The ONLY hand I feel any remorse on is the one with Slb159 . But then again... lets describe the hand as it actually went down. Your hero is in the small blind with K 3... Folds all the way around the table. He looks at BB and sees that he has roughly 7x the chip stack of him. Hero, does what any aggressive player would do AND TRIES TO STEAL THE BLIND. Hero makes a 3x preflop bet... gets called. SHIT... and I actually said it out loud. Flop comes up 4 5 K.... rainbow. ok, so hero has top pair and is 3 to a straight. The odds suck, but because of the 3x preflop raise, BB has about the pot left. Hero, is prepared to walk away. He knows he got caught and HE CHECKS. Now BB doesn't know what to do... he's a scared little punk because of that K there and him only having A J, and he pauses, then goes all-in. Hero notices the reaction and realizes immediately what happened. He's got A Q (Thats what I thought he had), missed the flop alltogether, leaving him 1 over card and all in hoping to hit an Ace. Now hero doesn't have a poker calculator handy... but, I would guess that at this point its basically 50/50 (maybe like 54/46 in my favor). Hero is not about to let a quality player like Slb159 back in the damn game by pansying off 1/8 of his stack at this point. Hero calls and good triumphs over evil. (ok... just kidding... it did go down like that and I did "read" your hand correctly and felt it was worth the coin toss to get you out... that's the long and short of it).

In all honesty, I had a brilliant run of really good cards and luck. Plus, a full table of tilted players (and a rail of tilt adding to the image). I wouldn't be a poker player if I DIDN'T take advantage of the situation. I DOUBT that I will ever win a mookie again. I've been slowly gaining higher and higher position before going out in the mookie, but this night was definitely a complete fluke of luck. So, lay it on... scream your loudest... I'm just happy to have the next 16 buy-ins to the mookie in my account. I've said it before, and I'll say it again... I learn more about this game and have more fun losing playing the mookie than I do anywhere else. Thanks to everyone who played and who stayed till the end. A special thanks to smokkee for convincing the entire table around me that no matter what cards where on the flop I was probably playing them. You made my job 100x easier.

MEMO: Swimming With Donkeys
DEPARTMENT: Kiss my ass
URGENCY: none

Preflop:




Postflop:


All in with Ace high and only a 16% chance against any king regardless of how bad the kicker was is no way to live.

2006-08-03

Oh The Huge Manatee - And Other Big Fish

The mookie was a complete and total bust for me. I think I was 3rd or 4th out. Pretty much the capper to a whole night of frustrating poker. Lately, I've been trying to tighten up my game a little bit... "Tighten" might be the wrong word. For all my, and everyone elses', talk about me playing "Drunken Monkey Style", I don't really play "bad cards" very often. My biggest problem seems to be playing good cards, over-aggressively, out of position. I am, perhaps, a little too quick to limp. I've said before, that if people aren't raising at all at a table pre-flop, I'm going to call just about any two cards. However, post flop, if I don't have the nutz, I fold. I never wait for bad cards to improve. Unfortunately, this leaves me with a table image of "playing loose /and will fold to any bluff". About the worst table image you would ever want to have. Fortunately, that table image allows me to trap a LOT of players early and mid in the game. Where it falls apart for me is the end game, where you really need people to respect your play enough that they don't try stealing your blinds or gambling on str8 or flush draws.

I've been working on my game online and realized there is a big difference in how I play online vs. live. Part of my frustration is I seem to be a significantly better player live, even though I play about the same cards and call about the same number of flops. The reason I swear that I'm playing decent cards, but calling often, is that I have the stats to prove it. I may be seeing the flop 30-40% of the time (ridiculously high by really anybody's standards), but I'm winning 75-80% of any hand I see the flop. This would be outstanding... but, I have one really big flaw. When I have the hand "made" I'm way overbetting it to avoid the suckout, because online I can't tell exactly where other people's hands are. I have to do this, because, if I'm playing 6 8 suited and the flop comes 6 K 8, you have to worry about both the K 8 player AND the guy playing K-whatever, whoose "whatever" could easily be the turn or river. In a live game, I can minimize (read: take a chance) the risk by properly reading player's tells. But online, when I win these hands, I'm not getting anywhere near the payout I should be expecting on a "winning hand" because I've basically had to "buy" the pot early. There is probably a formula for this that goes something like: The more hands you see with limp cards = The more you have to bet post-flop to protect yourself from suckouts = The less likely you'll get callers = the fewer chips you make on a given hand that you won. In the meantime, you are playing so aggressive that when you run into the guy who won't fold a straight or flush draw, when they hit you lose a buttload. Also, you can never dismiss the psychological effect that if you keep taking down pots without people getting to see your cards, sooner or later other players are just going to call you out of spite. This is how suckouts and bad beats happen. Especially on-line when you can't always tell where a person is in the hand, and he can't tell if you are confident and might assume you're completely bluffing.

Now here's where the "balance" really comes in. I am NEVER going to play a passive game. It just isn't in my personality to do so. I've been working on making sure that I don't "buy" pots when I'm 65-70%+ favored. You actually want these to go to showdown when you play online. Its hard, becuase when that 4th diamond comes up on the river and you know you just lost your two pair to it, you want to kick yourself for even being in the hand. However, in the long run, the whole reason you rationalized "limping" was that it was cheap to see the flop. No reason to make it any more expensive, because if you get to the river with bottom two pair, and you can tell no one has improved, the guy with TPTK is going to make a stab and you can generally pump him up another bet over that if you play it right.

In reality, however, I'm still working the finer parts of this out. Especially online. Its not really a system, since its not a precise art where I could tell you if A than B for what to do. It works really well in live tournies if you are able to "read" the players sitting around you. Which, is one of the reasons I think I'm so much more effective in live tourny play than online. In live play, I'm much MUCH better at reading the players at the table. Online... notes are nice to remind yourself of consistent play quirks of certain players, but the game I play you have to be able to read the subtle changes that happen because of player mood from game to game and hand to hand. Its just easier for me to tell, in person, when the noted "plays ultra-tight" player is drunk and just had a fight with his wife... You have to be able to tell who is going to call you out of spite. Who is betting big, but is actually scared you'll go over the top. These are things that vary game to game within the same player. Sometimes they vary hand to hand and are very difficult to notice online strictly by betting style.

A problem with online play is that you can't see body language (and tells) between hands. Here's a foley tip, btw, for live playing: If you're trying to read the other players tells WHILE you're in the hand with them... you've already missed 70%+ of the information you need that players frequently give up voluntarily when they aren't in the hand. I rarely rely on "tells" that happen while the player has chips in the middle... those kind of tells are too often masked or faked by even adequate players, let alone "good" players. Sometimes when I play, I like to fake a "tell"... chat incessently 3 times while you're bluffing and get caught... next time you have pocket Aces, don't shutup for nothing... If you want a heads up on an opponent, watch how he reacts to the previous flops after he's folded. When he's in the hand, he may turn to rock, but if you just saw 15 hands where he folded and then sighed, and dropped his head, or got visibly angry... classic signs of "damn! I should have played that"... the guy is ripe to be over-extending himself because he felt "he missed his winners". Does he watch the other players in hands he's out of... or does he watch the cards? If he watches the cards, he likes the "action" more than anything else and will probably be bluffing or on draws as often as not. If he watches only the other players... he probably plays ubber tight and is looking to pick up tells he can use to confirm his hands when he is in it... This is a great one, because if later in the hand, he's staring you down intently, you know he has TPTK (or something like that) and is trying to see if his hand is still good (when you get this guy... wink and blow him a kiss if you are trying to tilt him... it works almost every time. When it doesn't you may still be able to get a nice meal and a movie out of him after the tourny.) If you want to see if his hand improved on the turn, try to notice if he "stops looking at you". Classic sign that he's now comfortable that he has the nutz. But, again, this is a reaction that could be faked to throw you off if you haven't been reading this guy while he's out of hands. But my description is trying to go a step further than the books that tell you "if he's looking at you he's bluffing, if he's looking away he has it". We've all read those books, and I KNOW that just about everyone I play tends to throw in the fakes on purpose because of the information out there. Try to notice emotional state... Don't bluff into a guy who's been cocky from the moment he walked in to the door. He may have a shitty hand (but better than yours) and call on a "good" feeling. Be a vulture. Sniff for weakness and exploit... hell, sniff for strength and exploit it.

The general rule that I was taught (which I think holds even truer online) is: 1 Play the cards 2. Play the odds 3. Play the players. Now in live games I reverse 2 and 3. I play the cards I have, but then I immediately start focusing on who I'm in the hand against (what their tendancies are, what cards I've seen them play, what size bets they fold to etc etc)... then I use pot odds and things like that to decide if I want to gamble. This gets my ASS KICKED online. Its just way to difficult read players in that format. However, this is the poker that I play... so I'm trying to get better at the online player read. Its definitely costing me, but I'll let you all know if I get any better at this.

2006-08-02

How Do You Keep Your Aces From Getting Cracked?

If there is any hand that I CONSISTENTLY get my butt handed to me on... its Pocket Aces. Let me set up a scenario and I'd like others reading to tell me their next move:

You're Dealer... Pocket Aces / 9 person table /
3 callers before you
/ you raise 4x <-- this may be my problem... the preflop bet.
// 2 people call (you and they have roughly the same chip stack in front of you)
/// Flop comes up crap cards (you know noone called with any of those in their hand) however, two of the same suit are on the board
//// First to act guy... makes a pot bet (which at this point is maybe 1/3 of the remaining stack)

*** YOU KNOW THAT GUY IS ON THE FLUSH DRAW --- other guy folds

Now, what the hell do you do?

2006-08-01

Update To Diary Of A Madman

Well, thank god... nothing happened last night. I can tell you that I was a little bit like an 8 yearold after watching a really scary movie. I couldn't really be in the dark bedroom or even out in the living room all by myself without getting the heebee jeebees. But, there was no hint of hallucinations or flashbacks or anything like that... just the memory of how freaking scary the night before was.

With that in mind, I started looking for anything I may have eaten that night or drank that could have pushed me so far over the edge. I definitely drank too much, so alchohol poisoning is probably number 1 on the list. Hungover on the boat trip, I wasn't exactly judicious with the sunblock, so heat stroke tied to a pretty good sunburn is also in the running. But I think these were actually the "primers" and the one that really tipped the hat was.... drumroll.... valerian root.

I had completely forgotten about taking these. For those who don't know, valerian root is one of those "herbal" medications that people, like my wife, take when they think that "natural" cures are better for you than the manufactured drugs from the big drug companies. You can buy valerian root over the counter, and its basically the plant or whatever that the drug companies use to extract the ingredients for vailum.

Now, my wife swears by a lot of these "herbal" cures. I've never had any luck with them. It seems like my body is programmed to do the exact opposite of anything the "all-natural" cure is supposed to do for me. If I take melatonin (supposed to be like a sleeping pill) I get hyper and can't fall asleep all night. I once tried this "crazy pooping tea" that my wife swears by, and I ended up constipated for 3 days. I had taken valerian root before (1 pill) and thought that I had absolutely no effect from it. So that night when I was feeling pretty shitty and my wife suggested I take something to help me sleep, I found the valerian root (it was all we had) and thought, maybe I didn't take enough last time. So, this time I did take a full dosage (2 pills) and then forgot about it. Last night I was doing some research and this is the write up I find on valerian root:

Valerian Root
Uses: Reducing anxiety, restlessness and insomnia.
Drug interactions: None listed.
Precautions: May not be safe if you have liver disease.
Side effects: Headache, blurred vision, nausea, change in heartbeats, morning grogginess, dark urine, stomach pain, hallucinations, insomnia, nausea, excitability, sedation, sensation disturbance.

Holy cow!!! How did I ever miss this golden gem in my party days? I'm sure that it wasn't the "only" culprit. But, with that list of side effects, I think my body was in a state where it could do its worst. I read a few testamonials from people who had these side effects (and a few of people trying to actually CAUSE these side effects) and I would say that my personal story was a lot more intense than any that I read... but, of course, I had a lot of other things going on that night.

Anyways, I'm glad to say I'm definitely not completely insane. "Completely" being the operative word. However, I'm definitely going to do something that has been a long time coming. For the entire month of August, I'm going on a full detox. No alchohol, better diet and getting off my fat ass for some more exercise. Once September rolls around though... I think I'll eat about 8 of those valerian root pills and see if I can make a night of it.

See you guys at the mookie!

2006-07-31

Just Got Back... And Almost Left Again....

Hey kiddies! No poker news, just got back from a trip to Washington D.C.. In case you care, it was incredible and I highly recommend that everyone makes this trip at least once in their life. I'll try to post more and have some pics for you once I get a little settled back in.

Me and the better looking one (my wife... to be clear, since so many are better looking ones that yours truly) got back on Thursday and on Saturday had a party at the homestead to celebrate my wife's graduating with a Masters and also a house warming since we finally finished the place (well at least as finished as a home ever is). The party was great fun. It was theme party (Come as your favorite childhood character... The lovely went as Cher... I went as generic Harlem Globetrotters guy). We also carried the theme over by mixing in bad 70s beer (Shlitz abd Pabst) and garrish food stuff (a lot of green jello and little debbies).

Now I remember drinking a fair share of Pabst in my youth (in high school you bought Red White Blue 12pk for 3.69... unless you had a date, in which case you spent the dollar extra for the Pabst... kuhlassy). As I matured, and really because waistlines grow so quickly, I started moving towards the light beers or drinking fewer good beers instead of drinking an ass load of deer piss. Now, I want to relate to you a story that happened over this last weekend, cause I'm wondering if they've added a new ingredient to Pabst or if I've gone full-on paranoid schizophrenic (people who've looked over my shoulder at the cards I play at the table always assume the latter, but you decide).

I had been drinking a little excessively for about a week in D.C. (not horrible but putting on a pretty sloppy buzz every night). For some reason at the party, the Pabst just seemed to taste so SO SO good. Not sure if I had simply forgotten the joy that a good cheap beer can bring... or if the fun of seeing old friends just put a little sparkle in my taste buds. Whichever the reason, I remember about halfway into the night, going into the cooler and thinking "Wow, I've already drank 13 of the beers and I just feel good." Needless to say I didn't count any after that, but I kept about the same pace going through the whole party, so I'd estimate I put down somewhere between 24 and 30 beers. I actually reached a point at about 4:00am where I started to vommit, and I thought, "I guess this means I'm not going to be able to drink much more. And went to sleep.

Now as an aside, which will probably be abundantly clear soon enough, I should probably mention my late teens through my twenties. I can't say that I used drugs. That would imply that I was "having some fun" or "partying." No, kiddies, unfortunately, I abused drugs. I don't know why. I can't say that I was ever really an "addict" of anything (definitely did a long stretch of always smoking pot) in particular... really I just had this very dangerous mentallity that If I could get my hands on it, I wanted to do enough to just "almost" overdose. Because I wanted to feel that "bleeding edge"... know the drug at its most extreme... I often was working well without a net. If a couple friends dropped two hits of acid... I'd take 8 hits... Do you know what its like to go on a 3 week coke bender? I do... however it only took me 40 hours, but I did the same amount as anyone has ever done in 3 weeks. I never touched a needle (thankfully too big a pussy) but if you could snort it, smoke it, eat it, drink it, drop it in your eye, or whatever else... I did it and I can probably tell you the warning signs to look for that will let you know you're about one more hit from dying. I actually envied those people who could eat one mushroom cap and end up naked sitting on top of the dome of the State Capital. I wanted to lose my mind that far, but even with ridiculously high dosages, my fat ass brain would kick in and "explain" everything that was going on around me. I mean c'mon... the walls weren't really moving, your over dilated and light sensitive eye were just twitching so fast that you could never get a real "fix" on the pattern. Neurons and receptors were either slowed down so you caught stuff late, or over excited so that the messages got jumbled... But, there was no true enlightenment down that road. There are some things I do consider benefits about this time, but mostly it was just training myself to see the ridiculousness around me. And, at least I always thought, I had escaped more or less unscathed. Sure I probably have a heart the size of a sperm whale's, a liver that looks like a dryed out luffa soaked in motor oil, and I sure as hell am not swimming the English Channel anytime soon with the .25 ounce lung capacity left from multiple nights of a 6 foot bong, but... I kept my precious brain for the most part. I have only one short-circuit (besides my continously playing losing poker) that I know happened during my binges. On one particularily heavy use night... I actually felt something "pop" right around the center of my brain. A little bit above the stem, and a little inside, between the lobes. When that happened, I instantly became overly paranoid about fire. I can tell you childhood traumas that probably helped this particular paranoia choose its form, but it was almost like a forced hallucination that I couldn't "shake". Anywhere were light met shadow (under coffee tables.. between couch cushions... in closets... behind dressers..etc etc) It looked like the light was "flickering" and I swore I could "see" smoke. When it was at its worse I could even smell the smoke. Now this particular bad side effect only seemed to happen when I did a certain drug... so I stopped doing that drug and thought it was all cured. However, I can tell you that to this day, if I "stress" my body too much... (think over-exercising or caught outside on a hot Texas day with no shade) this fucking gem will creep back into my consciousness. Usually never as stong as it once was when percipitated by drug abuse, but its the one permanent damage I did to my brain in all those years of abuse (or at least the one I KNOW of). Really, when it happens nowadays, I can usually get a handle on it. Its usually not that intense, and I can generally just tell myself, oops the little friend is back... try to ignore him. Which will take me back to my original story.

On Sunday morning I woke up with what I would have called a "bad" hangover... not horrible, but pretty shaky. I didn't quite realize that what was saving me from this being a 4 alarm full blown comatose hangover was that I was probably still quite drunk. However, it was 10:00am and I sure as hell didn't want to help clean up after the party we had just had, and I had been begging my friend for a week to invite me on his boat for some wakeboarding and such. In the pantheon of bad ideas I've had in my life, thinking that a little sun and water (and maybe even hair of the dog) would help me crush the hangover that was slowly getting worse by the second is definitely in the top 4 (I'm always adjusting the list to reflect these "damn well old enough to know better" years. IE... when you're 8 years old, trying to jump a car with your bicycle just isn't as stupid considering an 8 year old's mental awareness of basic physics and brittleness of bones... when I did it again, stoned out of my gourd at age 23... well, that was just stupid). However, like a trooper I'm at the dock at 11:00, not really raring to go, but excited about the possibility of fun happening.

Fun did not happen. Fun wasn't even in town that week. There were 2 guys who were avid wakeboarders, my friend who had done it about 3 time in his life, and me who would have been puking upon stepping foot on the boat, but had absolutely nothing left in my stomache form the earlier episode. Of course the 2 pro wake boarders want crystal smooth water and preferably no other boat in sight. That translates to powering about 45 minutes up the ridiculously choppy lake to hind some hidden treasure of a cove. If you've ever seen any of the old vietnam films with the 4 guys riding a huey in bad weather to escape dinang or whatever current dmz they are in, it was a little worse than that. We finaly find a cove that meets everyone's needs (well, except mine, but I doubted even another 45 minutes would have found the cove that my bed and down comforter was in). When we finally do stop, I realize that my back molars are caked with mushy stuff... I'm thinking, maybe a little left over from puking before? or Perhaps I did actually puke again but not enough for it to come out. That's when I realize that the residue on my back molars is actually parts of the rest of my teeth. I had been clenching down on my jaw so hard to keep from puking on all the giant drops and bangs, I had pretty much pulverized a layer or two of enamel. I drop in to the water and pray to puke... nothing. I'm literally on empty. This fantasy cove they have found also has the nice environmental addition of not having a single tree anywhere with in 50 yards of the water. So the entire day consisted of me forcing myself not to puke while the boat was moving (like I could if I wanted to) and then me getting even sicker anytime the boat would stop and the 2,000 degree Texas sun sat boring hole through my scalp down to my liver. By the time I finaly headed home... I was in about the roughest condition I've ever been in in my life. I knew this was going to be a rocky night, when I was about 1 block from my house and I farted... and all of sudden I got so light-headed and dizzy that I almost passed out right behind the wheel.

Suffice to say, I wasn't all that surprised that around 8:00 that night my little "fire" halucinations started. I still hadn't been able to eat a single thing. I managed to sort of swallow two spoonfuls of chicken noodle soup, but between the hangover, the heat stroke, and the lockjaw I had developed from clenching on the boat, my body just wasn't going to trust me to put anything into it. What really sucked was that instead of forcing myself to ignore my hallucinations, I thought maybe they'd be shortlived, so I let em out to play for awhile. Once I had given them the go ahead, and I might add I was really too weak and tired to fight them anyways, they multiplied in intensity every 30 minutes. By the time I try to go to bed, I spend the next 2 or 3 hours waking up in fits of paranoia. In the years after I stopped my errant ways, I had gotten twinges of this before, but this was everybit as intense as the first time it ever happened. My wife, god bless her and really just the greatest person on earth, is doing everything she can to Wavy Gravy me back down to earth. I'm, half convincingly, apologizing and chiding myself at the same time. I keep repeating, I KNOW what I'm seeing is paranoid fantasy and not real. But, it just looks so damn real to me. At about the end of the 3 hours, I'm just completely exhausted and have beaten the hallucinations back down to a minor annoyance. I just about can fall asleep and really at this point... the whole damn house could REALLY be on fire for all I care, I need to sleep. Thats when it went off the deep edge for me.

I'm laying there, starting to calm down and repeating my mantra of "flashback... not real" over and over in my head. Its really starting to work. However, you know how you can tell what your brain is thinking even without the inner monologue sometimes? My brain is sitting there churning through this whole, "well, looks like you won this round, schmuck... guess I can't fuhreak you out with that fire stuff anymore...." I'm thinking, thats right, biatch... I've just prison-owned my subconscious... genius prevails. I was tempted to raise my hand in a fist triumphantly at this point, but then my subconscious I guess got pissed. I heard this voice way WAYYYyy deep down inside the recess of my brain say, "OK... no more fire.... how about... I dunno... the wicked witch of the east"... BOOOM!!! no more than 2 feet from me in full lifelike form the little green witch-bitch appears rubbing her slimy claws together and moving towards me. This is in a word terrifying to me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not particularly scared of the wicked witch. Part of me is actually proud and enthralled by the immense level of detail I've somehow conjured up. I mean I could see the flippin pores on her face. The problem I have is that this is a complete mental snap. After years of hallucinigenic drug use I know what a "hallucination" should be and what it shouldn't be. A hallucination consists of you taking the physical around you, and in various ways, misreading it, or confusing it so badly that your mind fills in gaps to make the visuals happen. This was full-blown, straight jacket time, seeing in full wonderous detail an object that was not even remotely there. There was no trick of misread light or shadow. Eyes fully open and cognizant of the room around me, and some sick fucking character before me that as far as my mind was concerned, had I thrown something at it, it probably would have bounced off of it.

It takes me a good long moment to cope with this one. I finaly have to do some mental gymnastics around the whole issue so that I can get through to my brain, that no matter how damn real that looks, there just is no way that the fucking wicked witch of the east is glowering at me from 2 feet away. This slowly makes the witch just sort of dissapate away from the room. Kind of a cool effect... not sure If I had ever seen that in a movie somewhere or what, but slowly, then accelerating, the "vision" just started to lose detail until when I tried to remember all the detail I had seen before, I really couldn't and it was just gone. I quickly found out that getting rid of the witch was about the dumbest mistake I could have made. Hell, she wasn't hurting anybody, and really I probably could have slept peacefully 2 feet from her the whole night and not really cared. All I really did by using logic to overcome the hallucination was up the ante for my subconscious to really screw with me. The next clear vision was again preceded by a small inner voice. I couldn't quite make out the words, as it was in a whisper, but it was something to the effect of, "Witch doesn't scare you? Too surreal? how about creepy looking homeless guy hanging out in the hallway by the bedroom?

Oh.... good show brain. Kudos. I said bring it, and my subconcious got me right at my worst. Broughted!!! My Friends... Broughted!!! Again, no trick of the light or anything like that. Just a full on hallucination so real that there was no way I could just sit there and "hope" that this was another trick of my brain. I shoot out of bed like a madman. I was screaming something like, "What the HELL is this." but as soon as I took 2 steps towards it, it recoiled backwards and then just disappeared right before my eyes no more than 6 inches from the hand I had outstretched to grab it. All I can do is curl up in a ball on my wife's lap and weep, "I'm sorry... I have gone insane." A small condolence that she really deserves better than to be married to a completely commitable lunatic. I don't mind admitting that I was really flippin scared. I powered through my earlier years with a reckless abandon that had this night occured 7 years ago, I would have lit some candles and started a band with my new freakshow friends that only live in my head. Now, I have a wife I care the world about, a good paying job... a fucking mortgage... I can't afford to go insane.

I realize that there is no shutting this off tonight. So, I lay back down as still as I can make myself, whisper just slightly audibly, "There is nothing in the darkness, just my own insanity..." I make two clenched fists, and I just let go. For the next 4 or 5 hours I am treated to a symphony of the most whacked up crap my brain can come up with. Sometimes its enough to make me sit up or push on a corner of the pillow that has now taken the form of some Barnum-esqe mummified mermaid baby... For the most part, the visions aren't particularly scary. Except those that are the form of otherwise normal looking people walking around in my house. I don't know why, but when the greyish-bat-winged-half skelton-monkey came rushing towards my head at full speed with teeth glaring, I mostly had to just sit there and be impressed by how truly gory a vision it was, but when it looks like a normal 8 year old girl curled up in a ball in the corner of the room and just staring at me with a quizical look on her face... now that shit shook me to the core. For the most part, the hallucinations are almost comically grotesque... Like if you combined Dr. Suess characters with things Tim Burton has done. Oh... reminds me... personal favorite: Circuitry Face man. Picture a well built mexican wrestler dressed head to toe in a black body suit and instead of a head... or a mask... there is this Tron-ish 3d wireframe of circuits glowing that really bright LCD green. He stayed around the longest... just kind of hung out in the middle of the room doing a really slow, expressive ballet dance while all the other hallucinations came and went.

I really thought it was byebye time for me. The intensity and number of the hallucinations just kept growing exponentially until they filled the bedroom. The thought that these may be with me from here on out started to pass my mind. Then around the crack of the new morning glinting through the curtains, I decided I needed to get rid of some of the more "really sick" ones. Hell, I can always "pretend" not to see the other ones when I'm out in public... This should work fine. At first it was damn near impossible to do, unless I got out of bed walked over and took a physical swipe at it. That worked really well, but like I said, the bedroom was freak ghosts from my mind in spades. Not to mention, I thought if Shannon wakes up to see me taking blind haymakers in the dark, this is no longer a problem just in my head... this might be the first sign she should start sleeping someplace "safe". So in the end I worked on just staring at them and "wishing them away. I'd look at them, wish they were gone, close my eyes tight and reopen them. The first couple took 4 or 5 attempts at closing my eyes, wishing then opening. But after dispatching 2 or 3 of them in this fashion, I could vanish them to dust with one blink. A couple of them could tell, and looked frightened when they realized my gaze had fallen upon them.

I got them all gone and finally got about 4 hours of real sleep that I desperately needed. I don't know where this all came from. I don't know why I'm even telling anyone else about it. All I can say is that I'm positive it was a result of hangover and heatstroke and probably will never happen again. I do now that during a decade of drug abuse, I never saw anything even approaching this level of insanity. I don't know if this was a product of that or what. Perhaps the cherry from the last smoked joint, or a particularily bad soup of LSD trapped in some spinal tissue that waited for the lake sun to sweat it back out into my system. More than likely it was the raging fever and stomache ache I was nursing and my mind just could deal better with the freaks, clowns, and aparitions than with the pain I was in.

Definitely going to be early tonight. Hopefully, directly and only with Shannon... Of course, I've never asked... You guys who've met Shannon... she's real right? I haven't just been saving an empty seat next to me at the poker table and you guys humor me? Nothing seems totally impossible after all that.