Thursday, September 29, 2005

Sweet Lord!!

Count me in........

Poker Championship

I have registered to play in the
Online Poker Blogger Championship!

This event is powered by PokerStars.

Registration code: 5749840

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Just A Thought

With my pretty decent Google ranking, people occasionally blunder by on the most unexpected search terms. Sometimes they even find me with searches about poker!

I've been posting quite a lot about Omaha poker recently, so there's always the chance a few searches might hit me based on that.

If you happen to find this post whilst searching on Omaha poker, for goodness sake disregard anything I say, and get over to the experts...

Milkybarkid - just won a nice prize in London
Internet Poker Pro - gotta love that pick axe handle story!

That is all.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Reflections On The Weekend

I was pretty miffed on Sunday morning, as memories of the night before reverberated through my aching brain.

Six months ago I'd have been stomping around like a bear with a sore head, and back on the tables by lunchtime. Hoping to recoup my losses from tired, drunk west coast Americans.

Instead I spent the morning with wife and daughter. Somehow the poker tables don't seem half as important when there's an infant asleep on my chest, her tiny hand grasping my shirt as she cosily snuggles in.

Right now, I'd say that's the greatest feeling in the world. There's a benign tranquility that comes from knowing that I helped make her, and right now that little bundle of perfection is entirely reliant on Mrs Div and I.

Nothing else matters to us half as much as she does.

With this new found outbreak of common sense in my life, I was able to review the previous night's activities with a clearer sense of perspective than normal.

For someone who has been playing poker for less than a year, I've an awful tendency to lapse into a superiority complex when playing.

Just because say 40% of the table are demonstrably terrible - like the guy who just called a raise with A567, flopped no obvious draw on a flushing board but still called another big bet and runner-runnered an ignorant straight - I tend to assume I'm clearly superior to everyone. Which obviously is not the case.

Consequently there's a tendency to assume losing hands are bad luck rather than bad play. Often they are, but there were quite a few from this weekend where I was clearly the sinner rather than sinned against.

Having accepted that, I was trying to figure out the root cause of the bad plays, and this led me to a conclusion that slightly surprised me, though in retrospect it makes perfect sense.

Normally I'm an extremely patient player. When I play live, whether homegames, or my occasional forays in casino or card club, I am invariably the table rock.

When I blow the dust off my chips and stick them in the middle, people sit up and take notice.

That style of play is actually easier for me to maintain live than online at present. When I go to play B&M the night is set aside. There are no distractions from the game.

At home, even though I can multitable and see a ton more hands, there are other unpredictable demands on my time. Each session can end at any moment.

This wouldn't be a problem if I was maintaining the long view, but I've been too focused on each session as an atomic event, rather than looking at the long term bankroll trend. I've been chasing.

Consequently I've been guilty of trying to make things happen when the circumstances are unfavourable. Trying to push people off hands, chasing draws when the odds aren't there, overvaluing my strong hands, too much speculative limping.

For someone who is far from an action junkie, I've been seeing a lot of action!

Aggression with a purpose is one of the biggest weapons in the poker armoury; aggression for the sake of aggression is a leak of Titanic proportions.

There aren't many sports or activities where the superior player or team can always prevail, no matter the circumstances, through pure aggression. Poker certainly isn't one of them.

So, I have resolved to sit back, and let the cards fall as they may. When they fall well I play, when they fall badly I fold, and if I'm down at close of play, it's irrelevant. The long term trend is all.

My motto for this week: No more chasing!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

The Poker Gods Giveth...

...and taketh away.

What a beating I took last night at the Omaha tables!! Even Rocky would have been on his knees crying 'No mas' by the end of the night. FIVE buy-ins frittered away.

Everything that could go wrong did go wrong.

- I played a few monster pots abysmally
- The man with no fold button hit every draw imaginable
- Every flop I hit seemed to give someone else a huge draw
- My big draws wouldn't come in
- I just couldn't get anyone to fold to a bet
- As the night went on, I let it get a bit personal

By the close of play, my head was spinning. My screen name should have been Tilty McTilter.

Unfortunately I don't have time to go over it in detail tonight, but I reckon maybe two-thirds of the losses were self inflicted.

Mostly from a huge pot where having almost doubled my buy-in on one table, I got massively involved pre-flop with AAxx single suited, against the table idiot, who held AAKQ and hit a Broadway straight.

From that fiasco I've drawn two lessons. Don't overvalue your hand pre-flop, and even morons get dealt monsters.

The same guy outdrew my made hand by calling pot size bets on flop and turn to hit a backdoor flush holding the TWO AND THREE of spades. So much for only drawing to the nuts!

Another big pot went down when I flopped top two pair with the nut-flush draw, against a guy who had slow played aces and flopped a set.

With my AJ and two hearts I knew I might be behind to a set. However the way the table was playing, I could easily be ahead of a smaller two pair, or someone drawing to a smaller flush, so I figured it was worth the gamble.

That was late on and the tilt factor was high by that point. At the time it felt right to get all the cash in on the flop, but now I'm not so sure. I need to run it through Cardplayer to see just how good/bad a move it was.

Still, we live and learn, and there's no harsher way to learn than bleeding your cash across the ether.

I ran into quite a few situations last night that I hadn't previously experienced, including the classic Omaha hand where my top two pair were actually a very marginal dog to the foe with an open ended straight draw, and the nut flush draw with two overs.

My initial reaction when he outdrew me was that it was a suckout, but I ran the cards through the Cardplayer simulator, and there is was in black and white, the cards ran true!

It's one thing to read that in a book, it's quite another to actually have it happen to you for the first time!

Last night's cards go into the 'Lessons Learned' folder. Next session I hope to apply those lessons well.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Further Adventures In Omaha (and Orwell)

I've had a blast tonight on the PokerStars $50 Pot Limit Omaha tables.

Having recouped all my losses from the insanely misguided session earlier this week, I even added some black numbers to the bankroll spreadsheet.

I played three tables, making unspectacular progress on two, but absolutely killing the third. Every draw hit, every bluff got through, I was flying.

Some of the hands people will call down with beggar belief.

Anything less than a set on the flop gets my nerves jangling if someone calls my bet, yet time and again I see people drawing to straights when there's a flush draw out, calling down with two pair when there's been a bet and a call on a flush board, or raising with two pair into someone with top set.

What can be frustrating is having an obvious fish lay some crazy suckout on me, then watching helpless as they donate their entire stack to someone else on the very next hand.

In a limit hold em game, most half-decent players would be licking their lips when they spot a table with VPIP beyond 50%. Some of these PLO tables are running at 70-80% VPIP and this is big bet poker - the buy-in might only be $50 but some of the pots are approaching $100.

Added to the financial and fun aspects, I also hit a new milestone in my online poker experience. My first ever chat yellow card from PokerStars support.

Maybe it's just me, but I thought it was a tad harsh. I've seen some real redneck stuff in the chat across the various sites I play on. Generally I ignore it, or when I'm in mischievous mode I go for a teasing riposte.

My weakness is while I can usually (but not always) hold fire when some fish rivers me - not wanting to scare them away - I sometimes can't resist sticking my tuppence worth into other people's discussions.

The action tonight was that one player had laid a river suckout on his foe, and was taking some flak for it. His riposte was along the lines 'My BR is more than you've won in your life'.

Now that's the second time this week I've heard that line. A few days ago some muppet was claiming he was superior to the rest of the table as he had won $20,000 last year.

You show me someone who won $20,000 last year and is playing $50 PLO this year, and I'll show you a moron who can't manage money.

So tonight I couldn't resist a little dig of my own. The entire extent of which was 'BR? Bull**** ratio?' (N.B. I used **** in the actual chat)

The guy continued his little verbal war for a few more minutes before leaving without making any comment to me. Literally five minutes later I get a popup warning in the Stars client, and an email message...

"We have received a complaint regarding some things you said in chat at our tables. I have reviewed the chat log and did find some of your comments to be inappropriate.

Our goal at PokerStars is to be a fun place to play, where everyone can feel comfortable. Foul language and abuse of other players takes away from everyone's enjoyment, and therefore cannot be permitted.

We must ask you to refrain from using this type of language in the future, or we will be forced to remove your chat privileges.

Please note that you may not be the only one receiving a message such as this. When we receive a chat complaint, we review the entire chat of all players at the table.
Any other offenders at the table were also warned or revoked as appropriate to our policies.


PokerStars Support Team

26968401 bull**** ratio? 4 9/23/2005 7:25:40 PM"

Now, full marks to Stars for speed of action. Their support is clearly a notch above most sites, but come on! What a load of crap. If I'd omitted the **** would it still have been inappropriate. Orwell comes to online poker!

Anyway, the table was still going with most of the same players, so I couldn't resist mentioning it. Cue much hilarity/incredulity, and on with the game!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Bloody Hell

I was just about to knock up a small post recording the fact that today is my 5th wedding anniversary, when I decided to run through Bloglines first.

Noticing that Sir Al was back in action, I clicked on his site, and saw this!

Wow. What are the odds on that!?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Blogger Handbook

Reporters Without Borders have published an interesting handbook aimed at encouraging people to blog, especially in countries where the 'normal' press is repressed or state-controlled.

The Handbook For Bloggers and Cyber Dissidents can be found here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Adventures In Omaha

Been having (mostly) fun on the $50 Pot Limit Omaha tables on Pokerstars over the last few nights.

I consider myself very much as a beginner at this game. I'm still struggling to get to grips with what does and doesn't constitute a pre-flop raising hand, so I tend to play very tight-passive pre-flop, and hope to hit a monster, or at very least a nut draw.

Based on my reading to date, this isn't optimum strategy, but it seemed to be working pretty well for me. I was generally finishing each session with a reasonable profit.

The texture of the Stars tables can change very quickly. Some tables see seven players to every flop, with no raise. Others see three or four at most, with often a raise and re-raise.

On the madder tables, I've been going even tighter, and letting others do the betting into me when I hit.

Last night I decided to attempt a step forward in my strategy, by going into tight-aggressive mode, and leading the betting more often, as the books recommend.

I was not seeing many flops but generally opening for a raise wherever I got the opportunity.

The results were less than stellar. A few times I did get outdrawn by marginal hands, but mostly I just blew money away, betting out with 2nd best hands, or hammering draws that missed.

Most memorably on a 9-high flop I held an overpair and an open ended straight draw.

My pot size bet on the flop got one caller. The turn missed me but I made another pot size bet, which was called, and again missed the river.

Leaving me with a grand total of not very much, as there are now overcards to my pair.

By now it's pretty damn obvious I'm beat. Equally it seems to me I'm going to get called if I bluff into a pretty big pot. So, I check, expecting to fold to a bet.

My opponent checks behind, and shows 99xx for the flopped top set, which was the stone cold nuts at that point!! So with a medium top set on a drawing board, he simply called my bet.

That's the sort of play the books can't legislate for. Some players seem to make up their mind on the flop that they have a hand, and they are seeing a showdown, come-what-may.

Playing too aggressively I was blundering into their 'trap' - effectively handing the cash over without resistance.

Of course when my draws do hit, these are the guys who will pay off big time, but I need to be more discerning about picking my moments to bet.

90 minutes of all-action play saw me down two buy-ins. An exciting, but expensive, way to pass the time.

By now I was feeling pretty tilty, so I logged out and took a breather.

Once I'd calmed down, I returned to the fray, and reverted to my more passive style.

A short session before bed saw me recover a percentage of the losses.

I know it's not recommended to go back to the tables in these circumstances, but sleep would not have come easy otherwise. I hate ending on a down note.

Still in the red for the night, but feeling much better about things, it was off to bed for a sound sleep.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Baby Update

I really need to get myself a delivery manager for this blog. It's starting to resemble some of the more painful IT projects I've worked on. Gradually slipping further and further behind.

Baby Div was christened the Sunday before last. We had a great, but very exhausting day. Unseasonably pleasant weather, a nice service, and a good little party afterwards.

A plentiful buffet and cheap bar for the adults. Cheesy music and unlimited E numbers for the kids.

The whole day was hectic, I think my beer at the party evaporated quicker than I drank it.

Baby Div was gratifyingly well behaved. Much to our relief. She's a feisty little character, but was on her best behaviour for the priest.

She even refrained from puking on her gown.

I'm certainly open to accusations of bias, but I thought she looked gorgeous.

Modern life is so hectic it needs something big like a birth or death to give me the chance to see some of my family and friends. Every time we get together, we vow it won't take another major event for us see each other again.

It never seems to work out that way.

Friday, September 16, 2005

New Orleans and Global Warming

Now the initial period of rescue and recovery is over, it's worth looking a bit deeper at the possible causes of this catastrophe.

As a starting point, may I suggest this article from The Independent newspaper.

The facts are mindblowing. Arctic ice coverage 18% below trend levels. A latest date for complete summer meltdown of 2070.

Does anyone think it's a good idea to rebuild a city below the current sea level?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Game Report: Cincinnati Club Limited Rebuy

Ahh, the restorative powers of a toasted wholemeal bagel with hot sausage, washed down with mediocre coffee. Suddenly leg two of the trip to work seemed bearable.

I was languishing in Glasgow Central train station on Friday morning, after an unsuccessful, but enjoyable, foray to the Cincinnati Club the previous evening.

The night had started quietly. With an early start time, it made more sense for me to stay in town, rather than heading home for dinner.

I met up with my brother close to his workplace for a traditional Scottish feast of curry washed down with lager. Poker isn't his game so, fed and watered, we parted company and I ambled across the Clyde en route to the club.

With time to kill, I stopped for a few moments to savour the tranquility of the river. Somewhat more relaxing than the other type of river we are accustomed to.

River Clyde
I was really looking forward to the game, as it promised something different.

Most tournaments in Glasgow are of the rebuy variety. From my limited experience of them, I'd come to the conclusion there were a lot more gamblers than card players, some of whom only have eyes for building as big a prize pool as possible.

The low buy-in games are justifiably referred to as 'bingo night', due to the propensity of some players to call with any two cards.

Tonight was intended to be different. As previously advertised on this site, the aim was to go for a structure with more play that would favour skill over deep pockets.

So, there was an initial buy-in of £15 for 3000 chips, with blinds at 50/100 for the first 60 minutes. Only one rebuy or top-up was allowed.

Personally I'd rather just pay £30 and head straight into a freezout with 6000 chips, but it was still a huge step in the right direction.

The driving force behind the new structure was fellow home gamer Rod Paradise, who had persuaded the club management to give the new structure a try, and who I had been assisting in pimping the event across a variety of local forums.

We were delighted to find the club much busier than on previous rebuy nights, as our pimping seemed to have got the message across.

The tourney kicked off at 8.30pm with 54 runners, and a few latecomers missed out. A really good turnout which I hope suitably impressed the management.

Busy night at The Cincinnati Club, Glasgow

After drawing for seats I found myself on a mixed table, with a few players going to war early, whilst the remainder, myself included, sat back and observed the action.

The only notable hand I got in the first hour was QQ, which I made a standard raise with. One caller from the blinds took a flop with me. Checked, and folded to my bet.

There were no obvious draws on the board, and I could probably have risked giving a free card, but I wanted to rake a pot early and give myself time to see how the table developed.

As it happened, that pot paid for my blinds through the rest of the first hour, as I was dealt a succession of trash, and I made it to the break with just my original 3000 chips to show for my endeavours. Taking the top up was a no-brainer.

Meanwhile, the rest of the table had got involved in some big hands.

The loudest player at the table had got exceedingly lucky. Having taken down a big pot with an outrageous bluff, which he showed, just a few hands later he found himself holding AA, and facing an unbeliever. All the chips went in, and the Aces held up.

Post rebuy period, my cards didn't get any better. With a lot of loose limpers, stealing the escalating blinds to stay afloat isn't so easy, and I was gradually sliding down the chip ladder, having missed every flop that I saw.

The situation was not yet critical, but it was getting close, when our table broke and I was moved to sit immediately to the right of 'Whispering' Tommy. A good friend who was there at my suggestion.

Tommy had arrived with a seriously sore throat, and was communicating with croaks and grunts when I last saw him.

It was soon apparent his throat was now in worse shape than my chipstack, as he was conversing in hand signals. Throwing some chips in the pot and pointing skywards to signify a raise.

It hadn't stopped him building a healthy pile of chips.

As the shortstack at the table, I wasn't in a position to push anyone around, so I decided it was time to gamble.

Finding A8s in the small blind, I hoped to get a chance to steal, but an early limper put paid to that plan. I figured a limp in the hope of catching a draw was in order.

Unfortunately, from the big blind a chunk of Tommy's chips went in and his finger gestured towards the ceiling. I could have folded to his raise, but wasn't in a position to surrender the chips easily, so I made the call for around a third of my stack.

The flop brought me a gutshot straight, no flush draw. I pondered for a second, before pushing all in. Pretty much a pot sized bet.

My hope was that I was up against overcards, and might induce a fold.

At best I could be ahead of KQ, at the very worst I'd be behind to an overpair but with the gutshot draw, and perhaps three Aces to save me.

The insta-call told me I was in trouble. Confirmed when Tommy flipped pocket Jacks.

Still, I had seven outs...none of which arrived. I was out in a mediocre position, somewhere around the low 30s of 54.

Time for some socialising, and several pints of reasonably priced beer, served up by the Polish barstaff. A very polite guy who taught me the proper way to pronounce the name of Maciej Zurawski, Celtic's latest goalscoring hero, and a very cute girl who didn't have to do much to make me smile.

I had intended to head home at a reasonable hour but Dave, one of our crew, made the final table, so we stayed to sweat him. Which led to more beers, and a later night, and a very delicate journey to the Glasgow Central next morning.

That's also the reason my description of the play is a bit sketchy. Few notes and many beers equals hazy recollection!

The night went really well and several cash games and SitNGos kicked off as players were eliminated quite early in the evening. The take at the bar must have been good too, so overall I'm presuming it was a good night for the owners.

Let's hope the progress continues and we can move on from the mass of rebuy tourneys and get more variety introduced to the Glasgow poker scene.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Online Update

So, I battered through the latest Party bonus.

Until the final session, I was cruising in the black, before being holed below the waterline by a succession of runner-runner torpedoes - mostly of the backdoor flush variety.

Once again, it was bonus to the rescue, to keep me in profit over the piece.

I'm getting pretty sick of having to rely on the various reload bonuses to keep my bankroll moving forward, but on the whole I haven't been playing horribly.

Sooner or later I am due a session where my premium hands hold up, and my speculative ones hit the flop hard. Until then it's a case of shoulder to the wheel.

One weakness that has crept into my game is losing the ability to fold big hands on the flop or turn when it's screamingly obvious I've been outdrawn.

I'm too keen to explain away my foe's betting and raising as bluffs, when their holdings aren't immediately obvious.

That's a huge error. This is low limit Hold Em on Party Poker. For some players there is no hand range - unless 72o to AA counts as a 'range'.

It feels like a frustration thing, and I'm sure I can erase it quite easily.

Usually I'm very disciplined, not only in poker but any financial matters, so I feel perfectly capable of restoring that strength to my game. Given time to play!

I've been planning to step up to $3/6 on Party for a while now, and have been datamining like mad, but I've not yet made the leap.

Frankly, I don't feel comfortable putting a higher chunk of my bankroll on the line, when I'm not totally on top of my game and just don't feel like my luck is in. That could change at any time, and I certainly have notes on enough players to feel good about finding a decent table.

I really need to get my act together and sort out a rakeback deal before that day dawns.

My only other major online event recently was the second Blonde Poker No Limit Hold Em tourney. I played really well in the first - and also caught some good cards - only to self combust on a crucial hand when I was second in chips, eventually bubbling out.

Consequently I was really looking forward to this game, and was hoping to go at least one place better. Sadly for me, it wasn't to be.

I was card dead from the off, and when I tried to make a move with my only moderately playable hands, I ran into medium pocket pairs who wouldn't lay it down, even to a pre-flop raise and a reraise on the flop.

Most frustrating! Still, I do enjoy the camaraderie of this crowd, and it's a great learning experience.

The fields are relatively small by online standards, and there are several pros involved. So the quality of play is generally high - aided by a big starting stack and slow clock.

The more good players I play, the better I will become, so I'm never upset to run into superior opposition in an MTT. Cash games would be an entirely different story!

I'm Still Here!

The recent hiatus has nothing to do with lack of material. Quite the opposite!

I've been so rushed, I haven't had time to post. (Battering this out whilst waiting for a batch job to complete in work)

Back soon with:

Poker - Live and online.
Pique - Car troubles. Meh.
Parenthood - Christening time.

And sundry other ramblings.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Optimistic Nun

Just a little fun post.

Most people outside Scotland won't know just why this nun is obviously an optimistic lady. Suffice to say, football and religion are involved.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Book Review: Pot-Limit and No-Limit Poker

When I first got involved in online poker, my game of choice was No Limit Hold Em SitNGo games - also known as Single Table Tourneys.

They were fun to play, and had the crucial advantage for a beginner of capping my liabilities at the entry fee. Which might be as low as five dollars.

After a while, I discovered the merits of bonus whoring to boost my meagre bankroll.

This propelled me into the world of Limit Hold Em cash games, where the liabilities were not capped, but were certainly bearable. Especially given the dire nature of many opponents at the lower levels.

Once I had the hang of Limit Hold Em, I began to yearn for the livelier No Limit games I used to play. So I began to dabble in cash No Limit.

Fairly quickly I realised that while not exactly being out-of-my-depth, I wasn't entirely comfortable with how I was playing. My SitNGo style wasn't wholly compatible with cash games.

At this point I recognised learning at the tables could be an expensive experience, and decided to do some reading in the specific area of No Limit cash games. Having asked around for advice, I was recommended Pot-Limit and No-Limit Poker by Stewart Reuben and Bob Ciaffone.

The original issue of this book predates the internet poker boom, but has been updated and reissued over the past few years.

This is not a Hold Em specific book. Indeed I was pleased to see it takes in Pot Limit Omaha, which is another of my recently discovered pleasures. It also uses some more obscure poker variants such as Lowball Draw to illustrate the author's ideas.

At times this can make it hard work to understand the key principles which are being enunciated, as one has to understand the rules of the game before understanding the lesson being taught.

In the short term this can be frustrating, but whether by accident or design, I think it works well. The reader is forced to think deeply about the problem, which in the long term should encourage a better understanding of the lesson.

Key big bet concepts such as relative stack sizes, stacks in relation to the blinds, bet sizes, position, and when to take the initiative are all covered.

The book has substantially altered my strategy on playing big drawing hands, and my perception on when an all-in bet is justified. The all-in as a means of negating positional advantage is not something I was inclined to consider, prior to reading this book.

This is very different to limit strategy.

For someone new to live games, the General section contains some very useful information, which has already improved my live play.

Chapters on such esoteric issues as making deals, dealing big-bet poker, ethics, and a very instructive chapter on the specifics of pot limit rules, all give a useful grounding in expected standards of behaviour if entering a live card room for the first time.

This chapter has already helped me to identify an 'angle shooter' in my local cardroom, by describing exactly a situation which they will try to manipulate. That information alone more than justified the cover price!

This book works well for someone who already has a fair understanding of the rules and mechanics of poker, but not a complete grasp of all areas of the game. It would certainly sit in the intermediate skill range.

It will not teach you basic Hold Em or Omaha strategy, but it will improve your ability to manipulate the big bet games.

The slightly dated tone may be off-putting to some, but personally it appeals to me.

While I am a comparative newbie to the poker scene, I enjoy learning the history of the game. The internet revived poker; it did not give birth to the game.

Recognising the heritage of the game should improve ones appreciation of the game, and, I believe, ultimately improve ones results.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

New Orleans

My heart goes out to the people of New Orleans and the surrounding areas.

It speaks volumes for the magnitude of the situation that the news reporters dispatched by UK agencies are people we are more used to seeing reporting from Afghanistan, Iraq, African famines, or the Asian tsunami.

Even so, while discussing the situation with friends, relatives, and workmates, everyone is absolutely agog at the delays in getting the aid effort moving.

If there is one nation on earth you would expect to deal with this situation, it's the USA.

On UK TV there were projections of disaster prior to Katrina hitting. Of overwhelmed sea defences, massive flooding, serious loss of life. We knew an evacuation had been ordered.

Consequently, after the storm hit and the damage became apparent, I expected to see a hybrid of Apocalypse Now and The Longest Day unfolding on the news feeds.

Instead it's been more Escape From New York and Clockwork Orange.

I expected swarms of helicopters covering the city, marine landing craft, columns of National Guard poised to assist.

Instead, the only overwhelming impression I've gotten is one of inertia and complacency. In the immediate aftermath, there seemed to be more news helicopters than rescue helicopters.

Even today, as the helicopters finally arrive in numbers, there are still people trapped on rooftops, reporters are seeing people dying of exhaustion and dehydration, there's talk of the evacuation being complete in ANOTHER 48 hours.

As I type, I'm watching ludicrous reports of people trapped in areas where local civilians have banded together to form a rescue fleet, but are being blocked from gaining access by the authorities.

All hands to the pump seems to be an alien phrase to some of those in control. Imagine Churchill sending the navy to block the flotillas heading for Dunkirk in 1940.

I wonder if control is the key word here. One can't help but get the impression Washington is pretty keen to downplay the enormity of the event. Maybe letting too many civilians close to the heart of the disaster does not suit their plans.

It's an incredulous situation. The hurricane season has not yet passed.

For the sake of the stranded masses, I sincerely hope the government has finally got their act in gear. Better late than never.

I don't see the point in finger pointing right now. There are higher priorities.

In the weeks to come, when all survivors have been rescued, and order restored, there needs to be some serious thinking done, and perhaps heads shall roll then.

For the present time, my thoughts and best wishes are with all those involved.

August Summary

Time for the book cooking to begin. That feels like a bad sign to me.

My spreadsheet shows a profit for August of $633. Yet, for those of you who actually read this humble blog and pay attention, you will know it wasn't that kind of month.

Most of the profit comes from my River Belle Casino exploits, as recommended by Grubby.

Strictly speaking, this isn't poker winnings, but I'm justifying it on the grounds the seed cash came from my online bankroll, and I'd never have known the casino existed without my poker exploits.

Plus, it just feels good to actually bank the first decent, by my standards, profit in a while. So there!

I've already said enough about how the cards went this month. One positive comment to balance all the bad beat whining - Pot Limit Omaha = fun, fun, fun.

After my previous failed experiment to add some additional dynamic content to the blog with live streaming of poker TV, I've embedded a couple of RSS feeds.

One poker related, from Full Tilt, and one providing up-to-date Glasgow Celtic news/speculation from The Scotsman newspaper.

The Full Tilt feed is another way of publishing their regular Prolessons emails. Unlike most mailshots, these emails are always a worthwhile read.

With so many reports of people quitting college or work to become 'poker pros', I'd particularly recommend Rafe Furst's last email, as a thought provoking read. For the first and only time, I wish I was called Betty!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Home Game Report - Quads and Rewards

Our home game reconvened last week for an all too rare session. Five handed at the outset.

In recognition of the recently completed WSOP, I managed to source a few bracelets to reward the victors. Unfortunately these were not of the gold and platinum variety, but the multi-coloured candy type.

The high point of game one was an all-in battle on the following board.

Dave's AQ being heavily outgunned by Rod's flopped QUAD kings. Normally you wouldn't expect someone holding AQ to be all-in on that board, but with the two most aggressive players in the game clashing, there was only going to be one outcome!

(NB I was on the opposite side to the dealer, so the card order is reversed.)

Taking possession of Dave's entire chip stack wasn't quite enough to propel Rod to victory, as yours truly managed to triumph and claim the first candy bracelet!

Playing only five handed, I was trying to loosen up my game a little, as I tend to be over tight in this scenario. There's no point being loose for the sake of looseness, so it was a case of picking the best spot and pushing hard.

What this translated to on the night, was getting my chips in first when I was on big draws. A flopped open ended straight being the prime example.

As it happened, my draws hit and I got all the chips. And the bracelet.

By game two we had picked up a straggler and were six handed. I was second out in this game, having been card dead and seen my chipstack slowly whittled down.

The hand started well, when I found JJ and was faced with a big early position raise by Pat. I figured this was the hand to make a stand on, so pushed, knowing that my diminished stack was likely to find at least one caller.

The action was folded back to Pat who simply had to call with 99. It was looking good for me, until the flop brought a third 9 and no jack.

This 4/1 shot set Pat off on a cruel sequence of outdraws. Dominated ace - kicker paired. Followed soon after by the winning hand, where Teacake was all-in with TPTK on a 6 high flop, only to see Pat's 54 hit a runner-runner straight. Ouch.

That was enough to see him earn a new nickname. Henceforth he shall be known as Triple-P (Party Poker Pat). Bitter. Me!?

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Another Party Poker Bonus

Code USETOWIN gets 20% to $100.

Of course after my recent Empire disaster you might wonder why I bother, but the cards can't always be so cruel.

Meandering through my Poker Tracker stats, I discovered that in my worst session, I was dealt 181 hands - winning just ONE, yes ONE!!

Now that's what I call variance.

Still, it would be churlish to grumble about that. Other world events put things in perspective.

1000 dead in one day in Iraq.

Hundreds, if not thousands, dead, as New Orleans is decimated by nature's cruel hand.

In the face of these tragedies, everything else pales into insignificance.