Saturday, December 31, 2005

Merry Poker-mas To Me

In the run up to Christmas I left my job. The guys in the office gave me some book vouchers, and presciently commented 'We didn't know which ones to buy you, but we reckon you'll spend these on poker books.'

I scooped some other vouchers as Christmas presents, and put them to good use on a few X-Box games plus the following hoard...

Poker books

Recently I've been re-reading my old strategy books, and I wanted to add a few to the collection. Brunson, Cloutier, and McEvoy are good enough for me!

More than that, I wanted to read some books with an orientation on the human side of the game. Hence the Stuey Ungar biography, as well as Anthony Holden's book, and of course, I HAD to get round to Hunter S. Thompson eventually.

Not quite a poker book, but in the general locale.

Let's Be Careful Out There

Online Poker Addict Jailed For A Year

I wonder what sites she played on.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Why I Love PokerStars

Been a hectic few days. Quite a lot of bloggable material, but not yet much time to put it together.

In my spare time, I've been clawing my way back to even for the month on the PokerStars PLO tables.

As I mentioned previously, the holiday season seems to have really brought out the crazies, leading to some very swingy sessions.

I've also been re-reading How Good Is Your Pot Limit Omaha - which is written in a multiple choice structure, so why not try this on for size...

With a mediocre AAxx hand, you limp with most of the table to see a AJx flop with two hearts.

An opponent bets, you raise, he reraises, you reraise all-in, he calls.

Fearing the flush draw, you are appalled when the 5h hits on the turn, but delighted when a second five hits on the river giving you the nut full house.

When the cards are flipped, is your opponent holding:

a. An unfortunate flush and straight draw
b. An optimistic flush draw only
c. A somewhat foolish straight only draw
d. Something else
e. 55xx

Answer: d. Something else. The guy had JJxx. No hearts, no straight draw, nothing but middle set. Drawing to a single jack for quads.

Love it!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Festive Fun

This is something you can have fun with when you have friends or family round over the holiday season. Upload a photo and see which celebrities you most closely resemble.

I'm not sure how accurate the system is, but it's a laugh. The first pic I tried, I got a pretty good match for Kevin Costner. Interestingly the second closest match was for fellow Scot Jackie Stewart.

The next pic I tried was seriously ego stroking - top match for Keanu Reeves (yeah!), and second was Ewan McGregor - another Scot, so maybe there is something in this genes malarky.

However, the top match for another of my photos rather weakened my faith in the system...Britney Spears. Hmmm. Can't quite see it myself.

Mrs Div seems to be pretty close to Annette Benning, and also scored highly for Penelope Cruz, Isabella Rossellini, Courteney Cox and Sarah Michelle Gellar.

Hmmm, remind me why I married her again?

Saturday, December 24, 2005

So Here It Is...

Merry Christmas
...Merry Christmas.

The shopping is done, the presents are wrapped and under the tree, and I'm looking forward to our first Christmas as a family.

Absolutely zilch to report on the poker front, since I've been getting on with the much more important business of catching up with family and friends - which finds me today nursing a gargantuan hangover.

I'm not huge on the commercial aspects of Christmas, but I do like to take the chance afforded by extended holidays to socialise with those who I have been in only sporadic contact with over the rest of the year.

However you choose to spend the festive season, I hope you have a great time.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Back To Poker

But first a quick football update.

I got a commendably swift response from the Whistleblower site, and have had a short interchange with them, which is still ongoing.

I'll update further when that is concluded.

On the poker front, I'm seeing some extraordinary play in the last day or two. It must be the holiday season bringing out the occasional players.

I genuinely wonder if some of them know the rules of the game they are playing. This leads to a lot of straights losing to 2-pair that fill up on the river, sets losing to people drawing to mediocre flushes and backing into straights, etc.

That's all part of the game, and it's just a case of taking the medicine and getting back to the table.

The bonus is the players are often so bad, they don't get paid when they hit. Instead choosing to check it down, and let me see for free just how lucky they got.

One ATM this afternoon burned through EIGHT buy-ins in about forty five minutes, playing and raising well over half his starting hands. It was incredible to watch.

I was the happy recipient of some of his money, but I've redistributed it elsewhere tonight.

The other thing I've noticed is that chat is even worse than normal. So, I've had to turn it off again.

Which is a shame, since poker is a sociable game. But there's only so many moronic rednecks I can tolerate, before I start to get distracted.

It's fun to needle them, but leads me astray from the cards, so time to set temptation aside, for now.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Constable Savage and Commentator Brown

This article has been bouncing around my head for a few weeks, but since very few Celtic fans read my blog, it didn't seem relevant enough to post. Thanks to Paul at Celtic Quick News, things have changed somewhat in the last day!

The inspiration was hearing the classic Not The Nine O'Clock News Constable Savage sketch, on a matchday morning.

As the sketch progressed, I couldn't help but transpose Jock Brown and his ongoing obsession with Neil Lennon, for the aforementioned constable.

(As an aside, there's a long standing movie cliche that the boy/girl usually fight like crazy before eventually succumbing to their true feelings. Does Jock have a crush on Neil?)

Of course all of this is purely a product of my fevered imagination, and couldn't possibly have the slightest grounding in reality or fact.

The Scene: Jock(J) is taken to task by the producer(P) for complaints about his commentating.

P: (The Setanta producer’s voice has a cutting edge.) Come in, shut the door. Now then, Brown, I want to talk to you about some comments you have been making lately. I think that perhaps you’re being a little overzealous.
J: (in a loud and somewhat pompous voice) Which comments do you mean then, sir?
P: Well, for instance, this one: loitering with intent to pass the ball to a team mate. Brown, maybe you’re not aware of this, but it is not illegal to make an accurate pass. Neither is running less quickly than others an offence.
J: You’re sure, sir?
P: Also there is no law against making a tackle on an opponent or sweating on the field of play.
J: If you say so, sir.
P: Yes, I do say so, Brown! Didn’t they teach you anything at law school?
J: I’m sorry, sir.
P: Some of these cases are plain stupid: looking at Barry Ferguson in a funny way ...Is this some kind of joke, Brown?
J: No, sir.
P: And we have some more here: walking on the grass, wearing a hooped shirt in a built-up area on a Sunday afternoon and possession of an offensive heritage. In short, Brown, in the space of one season you’ve brought 117 ridiculous, trumped-up and ludicrous charges.
J: Yes, sir.
P: Against the same man, Brown.
J: Yes, sir.
P: A Mr Neil Lennon of Glasgow Celtic.
J: Yes, sir.
P: (to Brown, who’s been standing so far) Sit down, Brown!
J: Yes, sir.
P: Brown, why do you keep criticising this man?
J: He’s a villain, sir.
P: A villain...
J: And a jailbird.
P: (exploding) I know he’s a jailbird, Brown. He’s down in the cells now. The SFA are holding him on a charge of possession of ginger hair and an Irish accent.
J: Well, well, well, well there you are, sir.
P: You accused him, Brown!
J: (stupidly pleased) Thank you, sir.
P: Brown, would I be correct in assuming that Mr Lennon is a Catholic gentleman?
J: Well, I can’t say I’ve ever noticed, sir.
P: (absolutely furious) Brown, you’re a bigot. It’s journalists like you that give the media a bad name. The fans love to jump on instances like that and the reputation of our profession can be permanently tarnished. Your whole time on television is dominated by racial hatred and petty personal vendettas. Do you get some kind of perverted gratification from going around stirring up trouble?
J: Yes (!), sir!
P: There’s no room for men like you in my company, Brown. I’m transferring you to The Sunday People. Get out!
J: Thank you, sir. (leaves the room)

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Corrupt State Of Scottish Football

When I started this blog, it was necessary to enter a blog description. As part of my description, I included the phrase 'Occasional comments on Glasgow Celtic Football Club, and the rotten, corrupt state of Scottish football.'

The word corrupt is a pretty strong one, and to understand where I was coming from, it may be instructive to pay a visit to the definition of the word corrupt.

1. Marked by immorality and perversion; depraved.
2. Venal; dishonest: a corrupt mayor.
3. Containing errors or alterations, as a text: a corrupt translation.
4. Archaic. Tainted; putrid.

Whilst I certainly think that Scottish football can at times be described as immoral, tainted, and putrid, my main interest is in the venal and dishonest.

The game in Scotland is administered by people who gain a lot from the game, but offer little in return - which certainly meets the definition of venal. I'm thinking here of the faceless suits who finagle their way into office bearing positions, and gain access to worldwide junkets financed indirectly by the season ticket holders at clubs across Scotland.

Scotland will not have a football team at World Cup 2006, but I guarantee we will have some men in suits there, and probably their wives too. They will fly business class, stay in expensive hotels, and dine in fine restaurants.

More importantly, in my eyes, there is a huge amount of dishonesty prevalent in the refereeing of the game. Dishonesty not in the sense of results being bought, but dishonesty in the sense of a complete refusal to accept any error or misjudgement on the part of those who officiate.

It seems to me those in power recognise that any admission of incompetence by the men-in-black on a Saturday, might reflect on their own shortcomings, and provide ammunition for those who seek an overhaul of the entire game.

The SFA tends to rule in the manner of an extreme communist regime, where control is centralised and no failings are ever acknowledged.

Proving this inherent dishonesty is usually rather tricky, as most incidents fall into the category of 'calling it as he saw it'. The defence which is usually deployed goes along the lines 'The referee only sees it once, and can't be faulted if he saw it wrong. He doesn't have the benefit of TV replays.'

The fact that everyone else in the stadium saw the incident differently without recourse to a TV replay is of no consequence to those in control.

As part of their ongoing PR campaign to protect referees from criticism, the SFA introduced the Whistleblower website.

This site is trumpeted as tackling head-on any controversial decisions, with the referees themselves explaining the decision. 'Explaining' in SFA terms, being a synonym for 'justifying'.

What this means in practise, is controversial incidents which the referee got wrong are either ignored, or reinterpreted, and controversial incidents where the referee got it right are highlighted.

Except this weekend, the SFA are damned by their very own words. The incident in question concerns a penalty awarded to Inverness Caledonian Thistle in their game against Celtic.

The penalty was controversial for two reasons.

1. Many observers felt it was not a penalty. The suggestion being that Inverness Caledonian Thistle player Craig Dargo dived, when tackled by Celtic's Stephen McManus.
2. The penalty having been awarded, some people claimed that McManus should have been yellow carded, and consequently sent off for a second yellow card.

The Whistleblower site, as expected, completely ignores reason 1, as that might imply criticism of referee Stuart Dougal, and instead focuses on why Mr Dougal did not send off McManus.

In doing so, they damn themselves with their own words. The words in question being a DIRECT QUOTE from Stuart Dougal.

The key quote is

On the penalty incident which Dougal said was "impeding rather than a physical or brutal challenge"

Note a direct quote from Stuart Dougal, that the punishable offence was 'impeding'.

Mr Dougal then goes on to say, again in a direct quote, 'Given the position of the infringement and the type of offence, the award of the penalty was sufficient. A foul yes, a penalty kick yes but a cautionable!'

Now see Law 12 of the Laws Of Football, as documented on the FIFA website.

'An indirect free kick is also awarded to the opposing team if a player, in the opinion of the referee:

plays in a dangerous manner
impedes the progress of an opponent'

Further, see Law 14 of the Laws Of Football, which states 'A penalty kick is awarded against a team that commits one of the ten offences for which a direct free kick is awarded, inside its own penalty area and while the ball is in play.'

So, in the section of the SFA website dedicated to explaining the actions of referees, Mr Dougal has admitted that he incorrectly awarded a penalty to Inverness Caledonian Thistle, when in his own opinion the offence which was committed merited only an indirect freekick.

The usual 'called it as he saw it' defence cannot be brought to bear, since Mr Dougal himself admits to calling it differently to what he actually saw.

Yet somehow this blatant misapplication of the laws of the game is completely ignored. Not only did Mr Dougal get it wrong at the time, he is getting it wrong on the official SFA website, and his comments pass without challenge.

In doing so, the SFA confirms the corruption of the Scottish game.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

U2 Can Be On The BBC

Well, fingers crossed but perhaps the slump is over. Two winning sessions in a row.

Hardly the stuff of early retirement and a life of leisure, but substantially better than what had gone before.

I'm still stuck for the month, but not quite so badly. That was a truly evil run of cards, for which I have at least some documentary proof.

Can you believe those stats? This in a game where 60% of players routinely see a flop - though most of them are pretty bad.

Whilst checking my Sitemeter stats I was prompted to pick up another interesting screen capture. Somehow I'd got a referral from the BBC Six Music website - my favourite online station.

Keane or Roy Keane
On checking the site, I discovered my blog was showing in the 'Music News From The Web' section. I'm guessing they run some sort of filter for band names and somehow mistook fiery footballer Roy Keane, for middle-of-the-road tunesters Keane.

Not a mistake I'd like to make, but an explanation for the rather obtuse title of this post.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Will Roy Be Keane To Fit In?

Och, I know that's as cheesy a headline as you can get, but I couldn't resist.

No matter how cringeworthy the headline, the point is valid. Where will Roy Keane play for Celtic?

I can't see him going to centre half. All the suggestions are Du Wei is a quality defender, and he will take over from Bobo Balde when he goes to play in the African Nations competition.

Midfield? Drop Lennon or Petrov? Can't see it.

Petrov to wide right, Nakamura to the left. Maybe.

Keane on bench? Impossible.

Still, better too many good players than not enough. I'd have preferred the money to go on two quality full backs though.

One thing is for sure, as a business decision it's already looking good. When I tried to access the official Celtic website this afternoon, it had crashed.

That shows the extent of the Roy Keane effect. The number of hits generated must have been phenomenal.

The Celtic commercial department will be having a very merry Christmas, I'm sure.

Roy Keane Signs For Celtic Until 2007

I recorded my views on Roy Keane signing for Celtic a while ago.

His signing until 2007 is something of a surprise. I'd expected 6 months with a 12 month option to follow.

The most important question is, does the manager actually want him here?

We will find out exactly where Gordon Strachan sees him fitting into the Celtic jigsaw in January - reportedly against Clyde.

They will need a bigger media room at Broadwood.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Vegas Envy

I love to travel; and I love to play poker.

So, you will understand the extreme jealousy I am experiencing whilst perusing the myriad Vegas trip reports.

With only three days remaining in my present job, and two weeks holidays awaiting me, I really should be in a better mood.

Maybe it's the Vegas envy. Maybe it's withdrawal symptoms, since I've barely had time to wield mouse or chip in December. Maybe it's frustration that whenever I do, the results are against me - no matter how far ahead I am when the chips go in.

Whatever the reason, some local apprentice chose the wrong person to get gallus with in front of his workmate.

Ambling to work, across the industrial estate within which my hi-tech office was bizarrely planted, I crossed the path of a van exiting the plumbers merchant's yard.

It's worth mentioning this is a very wide exit road, with no pedestrian footpath.

In my typically semi-conscious early morning state, at first I barely noticed the van.

The exit is clearly marked as a 'Give Way' junction, and I'd be halfway across before the van got there.

Despite this, I'd usually stop and let it past - if the driver showed any sign of behaving courteously by slowing down.

That might seem a slightly perverse attitude, but generally I like to reward good behaviour rather than grumble about bad. I'm always polite to people until they are impolite to me, at which point I'll simply reflect and amplify their own impoliteness.

If the shop assistant says 'please'; I'll say 'thank you'. If they ignore me and continue chatting to their mate about what they did at the weekend, I'll butt in and talk right over them. Seems fair to me.

Returning to this morning, after crossing the road I heard a voice, but not the words it uttered. I glanced quizzically over my shoulder just as the van pulled alongside me.

The driver - who looked like he'd never needed a shave in his life - was smirking up at me, and I could see he had a passenger.

'Haw mate. This is a road.'


'Yeah, and that's a Give Way sign! Can you drive? Do you HAVE a license? Can you read a road sign?'

If I'd turned green and burst out of my clothes, he couldn't have looked more surprised.

Jaw sagging, his gaze returned to the road, and off he drove - without a word more spoken.

Work today feels infinitely more bearable than usual.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Nappy Days

Pah. It may be WPBT time in Vegas, but this weekend was also time for the annual Jolly Boys Outing.

This has been an annual fixture in the Div calendar pretty much since I could legally drink alcohol. That's 18 years old, just for you unfortunate Americans.

The Jolly Boys Outing generally involves a bunch of us setting a day aside to get absolutely hammered, usually tied to some other activities such as a pool tournament or casino visit. Wives and partners are not invited.

This year we decided to kick off the day with the Celtic v Hibs game, which proved to be a wise decision.

Many years ago, I can recall the visits of Alex Ferguson's Aberdeen, and Jim McLean's Dundee United, as being significant events on the football calendar. The sort of game where a 1-0 win was a great result worthy of celebration afterwards.

For a very long time, save for the Rangers fixtures, there's been no comparable event to look forward to. Until now.

While Hearts gave Celtic a tough time in the recent 1-1 draw, their style of play is geared towards being organised and difficult to beat. Hibs, on the other hand, play fast, attacking football.

The stage was set then, for an entertaining 90 minutes. With such anticipation, it's not unusual for the game to be an anti-climax.

For once, the teams didn't let us down. 90 minutes of exhilarating action, great goals, fierce tackling, open play, and a real sense of drama about the whole occasion. Culminating in a 3-2 win for Celtic.

All of which left us buzzing at the final whistle, and with a healthy thirst worked up. The perfect way to kick things off.

I can't comment too much on the rest of the day, other than to say many pubs were visited, and a taxi home from the casino ended the night. My memory of the whole thing is pretty fuzzy, and two days later I'm still recovering.

Which perhaps suggests it's a blessing that I couldn't afford the time or money to make it to Vegas. Though I know at least one UK blogger did. Maybe next year.

Even though I made it to the casino, I didn't have the inclination to gamble. I'm having one of those months where everything I touch turns bad, so the prospect of a drunken blackjack session held little appeal.

I offer as an example losing with double suited Aces to a maniac who calls a raise and 24BB reraise pre-flop with K744, catches a solitary king on the most uncoordinated flop imaginable, and calls off the rest of his stack only to river another king for trips. This after I have already sat through FIVE orbits of the table without winning a hand. Waaahh.

Even worse, I'm pretty sure from his username that he was a fellow Scot. Must have been a Rangers fan!

While my poker game may be making little progress recently, it's fair to say Baby Div is going great guns. We started her on solids fairly recently, and she has taken to them with gusto.

While it's great to see her doing so well, and enjoying her new foods, one unfortunate side effect is a dramatic deterioration in her nappy output. Boy do they stink!

Which is bad enough under normal circumstances, but given my extended hangover I have really been suffering over the last 48 hours.

Such is the content of her nappies, I wouldn't be surprised to receive a furtive approach from some emissary of the Iranian Government, seeking new and deadlier warheads for their missiles.

Since we are feeding her on steamed carrots they have also adopted a most unusual hue.

The staining power of pure carrots is something I'd never appreciated before. After a few fountains of orangey, milky puke, Mrs Div and I have learned to maintain our guard at all times, and liberally swathe the baby and furniture in muslin cloths and towels to prevent staining during feeding time.

All of which works fine, but is no defence against the byproduct of the carrot consumption. Whilst dealing with one such output today, I thought my streaming eyes were deceiving me.

Despite my most vigorous efforts with a fistfull of baby wipes, I could not shift the final residue. That's when it dawned on me it was not in fact residual baby poo, but an altogether more stubborn problem.

The carrot infused poo had tanned the baby's bottom in a colour reminiscent of Christina Aguilera in one of her more outrageous moments. A problem not even the strongest baby wipe can deal with.

I did light heartedly suggest we tried a couple of Oxy-wipes as an alternative solution, but Mrs Div vetoed that one.

Bath time tonight seems to have resolved the situation, fortunately.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Prophet

An all too familiar scene. Me on the laptop playing poker. The wife in close proximity.

A new player joins the table. Except, he isn't an entirely new player, for the notes icon is visible.

So I check what they say, and quickly beckon the wife over to see.

She laughs.

TWO HANDS into his session, the guy blows his buy-in, and leaves with tail between legs.

What did the notes say?

Total moron. Made a massive bet into a dry sidepot and pushed me off the best hand. All-in guy survived.

Will take 2 pair to showdown on a flush board.

Reraises with a set on a flush board! Absolute fuckwit.

I wasn't wrong.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

A Change Is As Good As A Rest

I've been on something of a blogging hiatus this week.

Principally because there's been very little poker played - save for one 'can't win a hand' session at the weekend. Expensive and very frustrating.

It's amazing how many people will draw to see the river whilst chasing a flush draw. When they are roughly 4/1 against hitting, and it's a pot size bet to call.

In the long run (that phrase again!) it's very profitable to play against people who will take those odds. Yet there's nothing statistically unusual about three or four draws hitting in succession.

Mustn't grumble. Grrr.

Away from the world of poker, I've finally made the leap and quit my job.

Since I'd already booked extensive holidays over the Christmas period, the end will come relatively quickly. Next Friday to be precise.

As of January I return to the mercenary world of IT contracting. Initially I've lined up a 6-month contract in a location relatively close to home. Each day I should save almost two hours of commuting time, which translates to either more bed time, or more time with the family.

It's a real shame to be leaving my current employer. The owners are good guys, who treat their staff well. They just haven't been able to find enough of the work I want to do.

Contracting is a step back career wise, but has potentially higher monetary rewards - so long as I keep healthy and in employment.

It also means a lot less emotional commitment to the job at hand, which in my case at least translates to less stress.

When I was a young and naive graduate, I carried the burden of the job home with me every night. At that time I was working for a young successful firm which was growing rapidly. I knew the owners, and really liked the management, so I was perhaps over committed to the job.

When I went contracting I became emotionally detached from the work. By the time I was out the office door each night, I'd forgotten what I was working on and could unwind instantly.

The last 18 months has seen a return to my earlier days, so I'm hoping contracting will get that out of my system. Having some previous experience of the workplace I will be based in, I think it should work out that way.

The thought is also buzzing around my head that a few years of contracting might put me in a position to consider a complete career change.

I'm making no firm plans right now, but keeping an open mind.

In the short term, the new job means it's back to driving, so its time for the Div household to become a two car family.

This should really have happened before the baby arrived, but I wasn't keen to take on the cost of a new car then, so we have been getting by with a (not so) super mini until now.

This weekend Mrs Div and I will be touring the showrooms, wrestling with the quandary of whether to go down the MPV or estate route.

I'm more inclined towards a big diesel estate, but some people suggest an MPV is a more baby friendly option. We might try to sort out a few test drives prior to Christmas.

I am hoping this will be a quiet time of year for car sales, and we might catch a few good deals if the garages want to boost their end of year numbers. Time to get the negotiating hat on.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Game Report: Cincinnati Club Limited Rebuy 1/12/05

Made it along to The Cincinnati Club last Thursday for their regular limited rebuy NLH tourney. (Yes I am behind on updates)

The club was pretty busy with forty odd runners in the tourney and two cash games kicking off quickly thereafter. A small buy in NLH game, and the big 6-card Omaha game.

I heard a rumour that the Sunday 6-card Omaha game is seeing over six figures worth of chips on the table! I like my Omaha, but I'd need to remortgage the house to buy in to that game. The swings must be enormous.

With the club busy I found myself seated at one of the upstairs tables for the commencement of the tourney.

Early doors I was getting loads of decent but not great hands. First two hands I was dealt ATs twice.

Each time I open-raised, got called, missed the flop but made a continuation bet, and saw the opponent(s) fold. Very nice.

I was pretty aware folk would be getting sick of my constant raising and betting so was hoping for a big hand to get properly paid with.

Sure enough, along comes QQ. I raise, guy reraises, I thought about going all-in but called to see a Qxx flop. Very nice.

I check check-called the flop, and think I might have check-raised on the turn. Can't remember the exact details. Anyway, the opponent put all his chips in with 77(no set). He must have thought I had AK.

(Note to self - must take notes after big hands)

I then got AA soon after and picked up two callers to my raise. One of whom folded to a flop bet on a board with two hearts. The other check-called. Turn was a non heart queen, so assuming he was flushing, I put him all in.

He called with Q-rag of hearts and missed on the river. My chip stack was looking pretty healthy at the break, so I declined the top up.

After that it was all downhill. I got AQs. Raised, and at this point one of the guys says 'Is that you got KK to complete your collection?' With two callers I saw a K high flop which totally missed me again. First guy bets and I fold.

I also tangled with local poker pro The Tank. Who in real life resembles a tank as much as I resemble Brad Pitt.

When trying to take his blind with my KTo, he called pre flop, then raised all in when I bet the flop (which I'd missed yet again!). I think I was probably ahead, but it was a pretty marginal call so I folded.

The table then broke and I went downstairs. On the new table fellow TPT member Teacake busted out almost immediately. The chips went in on an Ace high flop after a raise, reraise and call pre-flop - Teacake with AK, the opponent with AJ. The turn a J...

The guy who took his chips played a lot of hands, and I got few chances to open raise as he kept limping. The one chance I got, I raised with something like Q5s and the SB reraised all-in. Fold!

By now I was gradually getting blinded away with no hands at all. Eventually the other guy who'd come downstairs from my starting table made an early position raise. I trebled the bet to go all in with 98o from the button.

My reasoning was I'd been playing so tight, and he'd only ever seen me show down AA and QQ, so he'd need a monster to call. He called with AQ. Doh. No help for me and I was out.

This is an interesting hand for a variety of reasons. I checked the odds on Cardplayer and pre-flop it was 37.6%/62.4% against me. The guy had to call 5200 to win about 10,000 so it's actually a lot more marginal than it first appears.

It's also an interesting example of the folly of trying to play the opponent rather than the cards in these small buy-in events. I've only played three times at CinCins, and twice I've busted out trying to push an opponent off a better hand.

I don't think I've got a monster tell. The first time the guy admitted he thought he was beat and it was a crying call.

On reflection, I still had enough of a stack to take at least one more orbit of the blinds before making a big move, but it seemed like a great opportunity to try to steal a decent stack of chips and buy more time. If my stack dwindles much more, I won't have the firepower to put anyone to the test.

In future, I think I'll revert to ABC poker until later in the game. I seem to recall a poker pro (possibly Tom McEvoy?) saying something along the lines - you gotta stay in long enough to get lucky.

I certainly got lucky with some nice starting hands, but only really hit two flops all night - with both the big starting hands. QQ flops top set, AA flops a good enough draw to get all the flushers chips.

I was probably due some more decent hands, if I'd given myself the time. Next visit I'll try to stick around longer and get lucky.

Friday, December 02, 2005

November Summary

Looking back on my November stats reads like a minute-by-minute account of a short war. 90% boredom, 10% frantic activity.

I didn't play a great deal, and when I did, I managed to get myself into a pretty deep hole in a short period of time. Down around $400 at one point.

Yet by month end, I had somehow ground my way back into the black - though only just.

Reviewing some of my session details, the lesson is pretty clear. I need to lose the stubborn streak and bail out earlier when running bad. One bad session can overturn the good work of four or five winning ones.

Some of my stats in the winning sessions are insane. I'm seeing less than 10% of flops, but winning 80% of my showdowns. Often the table average is 60% to every flop.

When I started playing Omaha, I couldn't multi table since I found it too complex. Now I can three table. It would be four if I had a bigger monitor.

My understanding and speed of reading the board has dramatically improved, but it's also due to playing a lot less hands.

One of the dangers in Omaha is there are a multitude of potentially alluring starting hands, and it's often easier to find reasons to play a hand rather than not play it. I've learned to be very selective, especially out of position.

Aside from poker, November was pretty decent on the footballing front - the Dunfermline aberration excepted. The writing is on the wall for a few of the old guard, as Gordon Strachan moves the team in a new direction.

The January transfer window should be interesting.

Family life also has been going well, and an impending change on the job front should improve it further. More on that soon if things go to plan...