Monday, August 29, 2005

Trip Report: Cincinnati Club

On Thursday I finally made it along to my first tourney at The Cincinnati Club.

The venue itself is a converted restaurant in an old building just south of the city centre. Aside from a few slot machines, it is entirely dedicated to poker, with ten tables immediately available and room for another four if needed.

This sets it aside from the other 'official' venues, which are all casinos with card rooms.

There are some pictures in this article, but I also wanted to show the domed ceiling which rises above the main (i.e. big cash game) table on the mezzanine level. This is from my phone camera so apologies for the quality.

The Thursday night tourney is usually a £5 rebuy Pot Limit Hold Em event, which competes directly with the same event at The Riverboat Casino. This in itself is pretty pointless, as it would be more productive to offer a variety of events to differentiate the new venue.

There's a surfeit of rebuy events in Glasgow and not enough freezouts, or shootouts. Hence this initiative to get more variety introduced.

Unsurprisingly, the turnout was poor. 16, I think. The poker was still fun, and there was complimentary tea, coffee, and soft drinks on offer as the tourney commenced.

On one of the earliest hands I limped on the button with QJs and several callers ahead of me.

The flop came KQx and was checked round to me. With so many in the pot, I was pretty sure there'd be a king out there somewhere, so I checked, and was delighted to see another queen on the turn and some betting before the action got to me.

This fortunate turn of events saw me raking a substantial pot, and the first rebuys of the night being called for.

There was some banter at the table and I got a real slagging from one of the players, as I hardly played a hand for quite a while after this.

I was getting atrocious cards and couldn't really make a move as there were a few limp every hand, call any raisers about. (Fiver rebuy dontcha know!?)

But I played along since you never know when a super tight table image can come to your aid.

Later I raised pre-flop with AJo, and the only caller was Mr Slagger in the BB. At this point, he tried some verbals along the lines 'you don't like that I called'. Clearly he was implying I was worried he could outplay me, and I figured it was wisest to let him have his say.

The flop was rags and he bet out immediately. After I folded, he showed 44, which I suspect was more to my benefit than his. Information. Most welcome.

Later when I raised with A9 and found myself heads-up with him again, I was first to act, and bet out on the flop - having missed again - and he folded to me. This time he didn't show.

Eventually I went out on the bubble of the final table - 4 handed - when I got TT in the big blind. The big stack button raises the pot. Small blind (call anything) smooth calls.

I reraise the pot in the hope the button is either stealing or has two big cards but no pair.

Effectively I'm pot committed here and wouldn't hate it if they both folded, but the cards were as good as I could hope for to make a stand anyway.

Both smooth call, which I like since it implies no overpair, but dislike as I'd rather be heads up.

The flop is 663. Small blind checks. I'm all in which is roughly a pot size bet. Big Stack Button guy agonises for ages, which makes me think he's got me beat, but he looks very reluctant to call. Perhaps my super tight image can save me?

Nope - he reluctantly calls. Small blind calls all in with not a care in the world. Button has QQ, small blind has A3. Turn is another 3 and Mr Any Two Cards is off to the final table with a monster stack!

Sigh. Still, it was instructive to see how difficult Mr Big Stack found it to call my all-in. I suspect if he had less chips, the fear of AA or KK would have made him fold.

Over the course of the night, I did see a few angles being shot. Most noticeably - to me anyway - a player deliberately over betting the pot on the river, after the turn was checked around on an AKxx board. This is Pot Limit remember!

He clearly didn't want a caller and when last to act decided to call with Q high, he suddenly 'realised' his error and tried to take back the excess chips.

My understanding is in this situation, the bet stands for the full amount. The caller didn't seem to know this, and let it go. If it had been my call, I'd have been claiming the full amount.

You don't get that sort of action online!

Overall it was a good night at a nice venue, but it really needs to busy up a little to get the full benefit of the unique setting.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

The Empire Strikes Back Part II - Revenge Of The Fish

< rant >
Well I finally cleared the Empire bonus! Unfortunately showing a substantial loss, after a severe beating from the most disgusting display of poker I have ever seen.

I can take the loss, but some of the beats were so absurd they really stuck in my throat. We've all been there, but I have never experienced so many examples of bad beats/bad luck in such quick succession.

I honestly could not buy a hand. Off the top of my head, a few quick examples:

- AA down to A6s. Flopped a flush.
- KK down to K2s. Runner-runner flush.
- AKo down to JTo. Ace on flop. Runner-runner gutshot straight.
- KK down to 66. Capped pre-flop with another player. This guy made a straight after calling every raise pre-flop and on flop.
- KQ flops a Broadway straight. Loses to runner-runner flush.

That's just scratching the surface, and hardly begins to illustrate just how bad some of the play was.

It's absolutely impossible to put some people on a hand as they literally NEVER raise. One hand I saw got to showdown without a single raise - bet and called the whole way. The hands - AA and JJ on a board of all undercards!!!

I know my play got progressively worse over the weekend, moving from the usual tight-aggressive towards weak-tight as my frustration grew, so some of the blame certainly lies with me.

This was the first lengthy session I've played using PokerAce HUD, and I think that contributed partly to my state of mind, as I was seeing the hole cards people were mucking.

Rather than giving me lots of useful information, it merely reinforced my perception of the standard of play. Some of the hands people were taking to showdown were incomprehensible, and I was even taking offence at some of the heinous bad beats other players were suffering.

Even worse, it really pains me to actually lose money to people who don't even seem to know the rules, as evidenced by the following hand.

I'm dealt trash in the big blind, and check to multiple limpers. The flop comes Ace high, with no help for me.

I check. EP bets out and gets three callers. I fold, actually saying out loud as I do 'They can't all have aces'.

This is confirmed when the turn brings a second Ace. EP bets again and gets one caller. By now I'm presuming both have an Ace and it's a battle of the kickers.

The river is harmless. EP bets again, and the other guy raises. In my mind he can only have one of two hands. Either he paired his kicker, or a small pocket pair has made a baby house.

EP makes what looks like a crying call...and scoops the pot with a modest kicker!

Normally I'd have shrugged this off but PokerAce HUD shows me the losing hand - A2o!!!

So this guy has called all the way, and raised on the river with NO realistically conceivable way of winning the hand. Sure EP guy might have folded to the raise, but it's screamingly obvious he has an Ace.

Yet I still couldn't win a hand against these guys!

I knew I was losing my head, and really I should have quit earlier, but I wanted to get through the bonus.

That's the one disadvantage with bonus whoring - sometimes you find yourself shackled to the PC when you know you'd be better off elsewhere.

Still, long term it's a +EV pursuit, even if it's -mental health in the short term!
< /rant >

Friday, August 26, 2005

The Empire Strikes Back

Wow, I am really getting a severe spanking on the current Empire reload bonus.

A combination of the usual schooling fish, some bad luck, and a degree of tiltiness entering my game.

Still, must persevere, and learn from my mistakes. An example hand - not a bad beat..

Raise with KK and cap it against TT with a calling station sandwiched in-between. Flop comes T-high.

Not easy to get away from that one! But, should I really have capped it on the flop too? I don't think so.

Post-flop I still need a lot of work.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Glasgow Poker Tourney

This is an attempt initiated by a friend of mine to try to get away from the current staple diet in Glasgow of unlimited rebuy tourneys with top heavy prize structures, that tend to lead to final table deals in the wee small hours.

The Cincinnati Club management are keen to provide what the customers want, so they are laying on this tourney at our request. I think any club which is so keen to listen to what the players want, deserves to be a success.

Should be a good night, so get along and support it!

Venue: The Cincinnati Club
Date: 8th September 2005
Time: 8pm sharp

£15 No Limit, One Rebuy/Top-up Only in 1st hour.

Start 8:00pm Sharp.

3000 in Chips starting.

50/100 for 1 hour then 20 Mins each of:
1000/2000 etc.

Payout structure (to 8 man final table), payouts will be adjusted to nearest £5:


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Free Money (seriously!)

Just over a month ago I read this post by Grubby about a way of extracting some free money from River Belle Casino.

Well, I followed his instructions to the letter and after depositing £50, have just withdrawn £313 to Neteller. Not a bad investment for a minutes work each day. £263 profit equals roughly $473!

Sign up here if you want to give it a try.

Grubby, you da man!!!

Disclaimer 1: Be warned, a few of my friends signed up too, and have hit a variety of problems with the software and registration process, so perseverance is required.

Disclaimer 2: Check the T&Cs to make sure they haven't changed. As of yesterday, they were still favourable.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Monday Blues

One of my occasional catch-up posts...

Saturday sucked. Stuart Dougal's refereeing is about as consistent as Michael Jackson's skin tone, but, even so, Alan Thompson and Neil Lennon need to get a grip of themselves.

I've been meaning to put together some thoughts on Celtic's prospects for the season but events have rather overtaken me. I'll try to catch up soon.

More productively, I've now got a distributed client-server Poker Tracker setup running. PostgreSQL on a Linux server, a desktop PC doing the processing donkey work, and my laptop accessing the PostgreSQL database over a wireless network. More on that soon from geeky me!

Played some low buy-in Pot Limit Omaha on Poker Stars over the weekend.

Dear God! It was the poker equivalent of the intro to Saving Private Ryan - chip stacks exploding in all directions, bodies falling with every hand, whilst I belly wriggled and nut peddled my way through the maelstrom.

Quadrupled buy-ins abounded, but not for me. I escaped with my bankroll intact and a small profit. The Stars bonus points rack up pretty quickly at those tables!

Empire are now running a reload at 10 x bonus, so it's back to the low limit Hold Em tables to work that off this week.

How about a random baby pic?

Play Blue Orchid again daddy

She's doing great, putting on weight, getting more alert and active, and keeping us both busy. (Mrs Div much more so than I in all honesty) Time for her first inoculations this week, so time off work to support the family.

For a baby she has some interesting taste in music - recent tunes to have soothed her to sleep including some by Foo Fighters, White Stripes and Bob Dylan!

When the world of football and poker goes horribly wrong, it's much more productive to give the baby a cuddle, than kick the cat!

Time off work = late nights more acceptable, which hopefully = live poker. We shall see.

Speaking of music. Time for the next in my ever so intermittent series:

Music To Play Poker By - Part 3

The Stone Roses - Fools Gold

Another from the 'Madchester' era which defined my university years, and yes I am treating you to the full unadulterated ten minute version.

Actually I suspect a fair degree of 'adulteration' was applied while this track was being laid down.

Quite a few people seem to go for aggressive, high tempo music while they are playing poker. Presumably to keep them focused and their aggression levels high.

Personally, aggression has never been a problem for me. When I'm in 'the zone' it's controlled aggression all the way.

My biggest issue is keeping focus in the face of idiocy. I'm not great at handling a succession of bad beats.

By bad beats I don't mean the catching a flush/straight on the river when the odds were wrong to call type beat.

I'm thinking more the uber bad beats - cold call 3 bets with T3s, catch bottom pair on the flop and river two pair, WTF were you even doing in the hand, abominations.

The sort where the cards are so bad, the first inkling you get is when they raise you on the river.

In the privacy of my own home, Hellmuthian rants used to be the order of the day. A few soul cleansing moments of ranting and raving, then back to business.

With a baby in the home, those days are over. I hate myself when I resort to chat retribution - though every so often I can't resist the urge - so it's important to stay chilled by other means.

Thus, The Stone Roses make perfect sense. I can actually maintain my live game persona with this track on.

I'm not sure if it's purely the music, or perhaps long forgotten happy moments which were set to this soundtrack, but that T3s now elicits nothing more than a mournful shake of the head, a sigh, and onwards to the next hand.

Really just about any Roses song would have been acceptable here, but the title alone could swing it. Throw in a fantastic groove and the line:

'I know the truth and I know what you're thinking'

and it's the perfect poker song for me. Is there any sweeter moment in poker than when you hit that exact sensation, and know just what to do?

If only there were more of them for me! Sigh. Perhaps with practise...

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Frustration Rules

Having to work for a living is such a bind!

Right now I am itching to put in some serious table hours, but work keeps getting in the way. I am getting sick of late nights in the office.

There are more important things in life! Like poker, beer, football, and, er, family too of course!

As I type, some friends are en route to a night of bricks and mortar poker at The Cincinnati Club, whilst I'm swearing at an assortment of computer hardware. Willing it to process faster!

I cleared the Party bonus, showing a nice profit in the process. That was a warm, pleasing sensation, as it's been a while since I made any sort of appreciable profit.

It's also the sort of result that smoothes the 'Are you playing poker again!?!' conversations with Mrs Div.

Mrs Div has picked up a fair appreciation of poker through continual subjection to the multitude of TV programs which I view, as well as my occasional stomping around the house bad beat rants. (Rants now dramatically curtailed due to the arrival of Baby Div)

She was looking over my shoulder whilst I played the last few hands of the weekend, and caught an archetypal Party Poker moment...

My AKo raise UTG found only one caller. A particularly fishy character, as I immediately pointed out to her on the PokerAce HUD stats.

Raggedy flop. I bet, he called. Non threatening turn. I bet, he called. Non threatening river.

At this point I said to Mrs Div, 'He's probably got me beat with a pair or he might have missed some strange draw. If I bet he might fold, and he definitely won't raise. If I check he will bet and I'll need to call. So I need to bet.'

I bet. He called, and showed 76o for a pair of sixes hit on the flop.

Mrs Div (who has NEVER played a hand of online poker): 'What on earth is he doing calling a raise with that!?'

Me(smiling): 'That's where the money is'

And it is. Ten minutes earlier I'd taken four callers to a flop with KK, bet and been called all the way to showdown, and taken down a hefty pot. Thank you very much.

With AK, normally I'd have checked and folded to a bet on the turn (repeat after me 'must not overplay AK, must not overplay AK') but I wanted to push the pot over the rake threshold as I was *this* close to hitting the bonus and earning brownie points for an ahead of schedule logout time.

Mrs Div has been great about giving me some freedom to maintain my pre-baby lifestyle but she has her limits!

In the next week I've got two poker nights planned, plus as much online action as I can manage. Gotta find time for the family too!

Even if it means throwing away a couple of BB to a Party Poker fish.

In other news, my Google page ranking has moved up to 5. No idea why, but it's gotta be worth throwing in a few more random phrases. So keep an eye open for spurious reasons for mentioning Jessica Simpson (Mrs Div loves Newlyweds - which is a bonus for me!), Lindsay Lohan, or any other hot search topics.

Actually, why mention all the hot girls names, that's just going to attract lots of horny guys! I should really be finding spurious reasons to mention the likes of Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Justin Timberlake and assorted boybands. Send the hotties to me oh great Google!

Some people find this site for the strangest reasons. Like searching for the lyrics to No Pope Of Rome. Not quite my target audience!

It's gratifying when people find it for more pokerish reasons. Someone stumbled by recently looking for lessons on how to play Razz. Which was nice!

I need to take more care of my blogroll, but as always time is a limiting factor. If anyone's missing and wants to be included, drop me a line. Equally, I need to take a run through and make sure all the blogs I list are still active. No point letting the space go to waste if they aren't.

Finally, if playing the zombies on Party Poker isn't freaky enough for you, check out this zombie adventure, courtesy of Derren Brown.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Back In (the) Black

Another week, another Party Poker reload bonus.

Seemed like as good a time as any to get back to the limit Hold Em grind. Farewell to Omaha for a little while...

I broke myself back in gently - two-tabling at .5/1 - 45 minutes, 90 raked hands, and 25BB profit. Not a bad start. Some of those players are so bad, watching makes me feel like my eyes are bleeding.

I'm aiming to clear the bonus this weekend. Initially at the .5/1 just to get my eye in.

Later I am planning to take a shot at 3/6. A step up from my usual 2/4 game.

I've been data mining like mad, so am hoping to practice some good table selection.

Results to follow!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Poker In Glasgow

So many options, so little time!

By my reckoning there are now three casinos and two dedicated card rooms in Glasgow offering tournament poker, and cash games.

- Gala Riverboat Casino
- Gala Rotunda Casino
- Stanley Thistle Casino
- Cincinnati Club
- Wabash Club

Sadly, so far I have only had time to play once at The Riverboat, and have a quick introductory tour of The Cincinnati Club.

The aim in the next few weeks is to get involved in a tournament at The Cincinnati Club. After which I'll be in a position to post a proper review.

My brief first impression review would be it looks great, much nicer interior than The Riverboat, and I can't wait to play!

Their tournaments are Hold Em rebuys kicking off at 9pm each night, as follows:


My understanding is there will be dealers choice and Omaha cash games, with other games available on request. Once I've been in and played, I'll post more news.

Comedy Gold

You must listen to this!

Monday, August 01, 2005

July Summary

I'm trying to keep in the good habit of posting a monthly progress report, but for this month only it will need to be a micro post.

On the poker front, my activities were mostly confined to reading, with some experimentation on the Omaha and Stud Hi/Lo micro limit tables.

I posted a small profit, but nothing worth writing about. Another book review will follow shortly.

My other poker activity has been an ongoing effort to datamine the Party 3/6 10-handed Hold Em tables, as I want to step up from 2/4 when I get more time to play.

Watching the games, they certainly look beatable. Here's hoping some of the sharks will have swum over to the 6-handed games.

I created a fresh Poker Tracker database and have been monitoring as many tables as I can manage. Hopefully this will bear fruit when I get to sit down at the table.

Other slightly poker related news is that my laptop died a horrible death yesterday.

I think the CPU is frazzled. So an unwelcome, and probably expensive, visit to beckons. Stay away from Compaq Presarios!

Better news on the poker front is that Glasgow now has a dedicated card room - The Cincinnati Club.

I managed a quick visit last weekend and it looks great. They run nightly tourneys so I need to get along and play as soon as circumstances allow.

Circumstances, of course, meaning the most important July subject, Baby Div.

From being a little underweight at birth, she is coming on in leaps and bounds, and is doing great.

She already has her own strong personality, and isn't slow to express it!

Despite the sleepless nights, feeding demands, tears, tantrums and general upheaval, we are having a great time.

I've always been fond of the movie Grosse Pointe Blank, and large parts of this month seem to have consisted of re-enactments of the scene with John Cusack and baby at the reunion ball.

Me, mesmerised, sitting staring at baby Div, totally engrossed in her every move, oblivious to the rest of the world.

I don't remember John Cusack on nappy changing duties though.