Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I Sense A Disturbance In The Force

Well, sense is maybe over egging it a little. More accurately, I read the signs.

This weeks fairly generous bonus offer from Empire - 40% to $200, 7x hands, but clear in 3 days - also included the phrase 'You will soon have access to 10 times more players on Empire Poker!'

So, Empire - and probably Intertops - players can look forward to a botched upgrade, betting on the colour of the flop, and blackjack anyday now.

I happen to have rakeback accounts with both Empire and Intertops so this is potentially good news, but unfortunately it's more likely that Party will do their usual number on the affiliates and cancel all the individual trackers.

What will be interesting is how they deal with all the multiple accounts on the merged database. I'll have three - all created perfectly legitimately - with the same email and Neteller details.

Will two be forcibly closed at random? Will I be asked to pick one to continue with? Or will they just ignore them?

The most interesting question is, how many players will be simultaneously active on the merged database?

With Stars moving ahead recently, and the WSOP looming into view, here's hoping for a juicy spring of bonuses and overlays.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Weekend Wonders

OK, so I didn't get invited to The Playboy Mansion like these spawny bastards, but I did have a good weekend.

Tao of Poker
Bobby Bracelet
Joe Speaker

While the above were deciding that top pair was well worth a raise, and top two pair (or is that two top pairs?) definitely justified an all-in, I was playing a little Stud-8, and having a happy families weekend.

I'm still enjoying Stud-8, and still feeling I can play a little higher.

There's not much 'outplaying' edge at the low limits, since representing a hand is mostly pointless, as you will get called down by people who have caught something - even when you are representing a bigger hand.

The downside of this is you can't push people around, or benefit greatly from deceptive play; the upside is, you get paid when you have the goods.

The biggest edge is probably just having the capability to fold a lot of dross on 3rd street; followed by having the capacity to fold on 4th or 5th when opponents hit and I miss. Not rocket science.

The other edge I can see is a willingness to be aggressive with big draws or strong made hands. It's still surprising to me that many people don't raise even when they clearly have the best of it.

For example, a made low against two high hands should be hammering 5th - 7th streets, to maximise the pot they will split. Every so often they might even hit a lucky high, like a gutshot, and scoop.

Yet often they are content to call down.

On the happy families side, the little one has discovered crawling, as well as the delights of 'peekaboo'. It's such a fulfilling feeling to see her developing so quickly.

She's more than just a wee cute baby now, she's a little person with a mind of her own, and at the risk of overdosing on the saccharine, Mrs Div and I feel so lucky to have her.

She also seems to have a crush on one of the hunks in the 'Happy Baby' book, which bodes ill for the future.

That said, on Sunday we packed her off to her auntie's as it was Mothers Day, and Mrs Div was due a treat! Nothing too fancy, just a meal and a few drinks, but it was nice to get out together.

Mrs Div is now back at work part-time, and Gran and Grandad Div have taken on babysitting duties. So far all seems well, and they haven't asked for money yet!

Which is just as well, since I doubt I'd be funding childcare from my recent poker winnings.

Of course I jest. They'd be affronted if we tried to foist any cash on them. They both adore her, and their help and support is beyond value.

Which is a heck of a schmaltzy way to sign off a post on a 'poker blog', so I won't.

Instead I'll leave you with more wisdom of the wife.

Me: (Reading first reports from The Mansion, laughing)
Her: 'What's up?'
Me: 'Guess who the drunkest celebrity at the Playboy party was?'
Her: 'I don't know.'
Me: 'I'll give you a clue. It's a girl.'
Her: (Knowingly) 'Ah. Tara Reid.'

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Poker For Babies - Lesson 1

Know your foe.

Well it was either that, or Play Poker Like The Pros.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Boom and Bust

The Times recently ran an interesting article on changes to the way credit card users are charged for making deposits at online gambling sites.

On the boom side, it's worth noting that one of the most prestigious UK newspapers now has a dedicated poker section. A sign of the times indeed.

On the bust side, I wonder what effect this change will have on the amount of cash deposited online.

Until now, companies have treated deposits as purchases. So putting $500 into PokerStars was treated by the card companies in just the same way as buying a new DVD player online.

This means the customers were eligible for any special deals offered by card providers.

As a personal example of this, when I applied for an Egg card to take advantage of an interest free for 9 months deal, they gave me a credit limit of £15,000 - that's roughly $25,000. Without me asking!

Had I chosen, I'd have been free to 'invest' that cash in an online poker room for 9 months free of charge. Now, being a sensible type, that thought would have been momentarily tempting, but swiftly discarded.

Is everyone so smart, I wonder? How many players have been living it up at the tables, gambling on borrowed money.

Those players who might previously have been taking advantage of free, or near free, money to gamble with, will be hit with interest charges of around 20%

Of course, one could argue that anyone daft enough to borrow from their credit card company to play online, is probably daft enough to pay the charges too. I just don't know.

But it is certainly another hindrance to the free flow of money into the online games. As well as being another example of why an online wallet like Neteller is such an essential tool for the online poker player.

Monday, March 20, 2006


I did a little housekeeping on the online bankroll last night to consolidate some small amounts from various sites into my Neteller account.

On checking Party Poker, I discovered I had the grand total of $26 in my account, due primarily to them giving me a $20 freebie to tempt me back into playing on their site.

It hardly seemed worth withdrawing, and it crossed my mind to go to a $25 NLH table and lump it in each hand until I got a caller and lost it or made a few big gains.

That didn't seem fair on the other players, so I headed for the blackjack tables - minimum bet $1, maximum bet $200 - and stuck all $26 on the first hand. Which I won.

Then I stuck all $52 on hand two, and pushed. 20 v 20.

Hand three saw me stand on 12 to the dealers 6, and when they busted I now had $104.

I could have made one more bet before hitting the maximum bet limit, but $104 was just about right to cover my squandered buy-in to the Blonde Bash so I called it quits after three hands.

I wasn't sure I'd be allowed to withdraw the money. It seemed a bit too good to be true.

Yet the withdrawal request went through OK, and this morning the cash was safely with Neteller. Not a bad result.

Over the weekend I managed two sessions of Stud-8, which couldn't have been more diametrically opposed.

Friday night was 'can't win a hand night'.

At one point whilst playing 8 handed, I realised another player had scooped or split - but mostly scooped - 11 of the previous 15 hands with the simple tactic of calling every bet on every street no matter what his starting 3 cards were.

I was his victim on one occasion, when he rivered a gutshot straight to my set and I dropped out of another hand on 5th street when I saw him improving and my hand didn't. Which was how most of my hands were going.

Sunday night went just as I'd hope any Stud-8 session would go. Wait for good starting hands, bet them, improve, bet again, improve, bet, and keep getting called.

No fancy play, just good starting hand selection, and giving no free cards. I doubled my money without doing anything remotely clever.

I've moved up two levels since the start of the month, and I'll certainly give the next one a try next weekend when the games are busier. The only noticeable change is the proportion of players who will always see 5th street has dropped slightly, but it's still very loose.

We are still well short of serious money, but I certainly suspect I could hold my own at the next couple of levels.

Time will tell.

Blonde Bash

Well, that didn't quite go as I'd hoped.

Not that I had a bad time, but I was severely annoyed with myself for how I played.

My recent lack of NLH and live play combined with a bout of something approaching stage fright saw me manage to exit a freezout twice before the break.

Confused? Let me explain.

Due to the large number of runners, and limited size of The Cincinatti Club, the field was split into two flights. Afternoon, and evening. As a double-chance freezout it was 3000 chips to start, with another 3000 to be taken at any time in the first three levels.

The survivors from both flights would battle for the prizes in a late night session. At least, that was the plan.

As one of the afternoon players, I made it into Glasgow with Teacake and Patman around 12.45. They headed straight to the club, while I detoured to the pub for a hearty lunch to line my stomach.

When battle commenced I found myself on a table where I wasn't familiar with anyone except the dealer, and even then only by reputation. Tight End is a very nice guy, and kept the action moving well.

Unfortunately, he also dealt me a succession of the trashiest cards imaginable. Which in retrospect may have been a good thing, since it at least kept me out of trouble for a while.

Whenever this happens, I usually console myself with the thought that a tight table image should have larcenous advantages as the blinds become worth stealing.

So, when I looked down at my first decent hand of the afternoon - JJ under the gun - I wondered whether I'd get any action.

I certainly did. A re-raise from a mid position player. Hmmm. Given my lack of activity, the only hands I could see that could reraise me were ones I was either a massive dog to, or a slight favourite over. Out of position, and needing to put a sizeable chunk in just to see a flop, a fold seemed prudent.

The raiser claimed later to have had AK.

The next hand of note, which backed up my feeling about my image, saw me make a raise with AQ. One of the guys at the opposite end of the table made an ostentatious fold, saying 'you've either got Aces or Kings'.

The flop came Q high, which was a welcome sight, and my bet took it down. The ostentatious folder later told me he had Jacks and was convinced I had a bigger pair.

I wasn't taking notes, but I'm pretty sure that was the only two hands I played until my elimination. With level three making the blinds significant, my stack was diminishing so I took the extra chips.

Almost immediately I got into a confrontation with a newcomer to the table, seated directly to my right.

Facing his pre-flop raise, I looked down at TT. I contemplated a reraise, but not having much information on him I decided to see a flop.

The 5 high flop looked very nice to a pair of tens, so when he made a standard continuation bet, I was quite happy to reraise. Only for him to push all-in.

By now I was pretty much pot committed, and didn't have much choice but to call knowing I needed a miracle. Sure enough, he showed QQ and with no help for me I was on the rail two hands before the break.

Really I was pretty disappointed with myself, since I hadn't made a move all afternoon. Maybe it's not being familiar with anyone on the table, or maybe it was lack of match practice, but either way I was paralysed for most of the session, and just let it pass me by.

Whilst loitering at the bar, I heard a suggestion made that there might be a rebuy opportunity. The situation being that several late cancellations from the evening flight had left an imbalance in the numbers.

And so it was, that the afternoon evictees were offered the chance to buy back in to flight two.

From a competitive point of view, I felt pretty bad about this, but seeing as it was primarily a social event, I didn't feel TOO bad about taking the opportunity.

I did find a pen, and amended my 'Div' nametag with a Zee Justin suffix in recognition of my second chance. Just a little poker humour.

Taking my seat for flight two, I found myself on something of a TV table, with Blonde Poker deputy supremo Tikay across from me, forum moderator (and dealer from flight one) Tight End to my left, and no less a poker luminary than reigning Blonde Poker champion and Late Night Poker legend Simon 'Aces' Trumper directly to my right.

Bloody hell! Still, that's the fun of the forum. Getting the chance to observe better poker players at close quarters.

I'd given myself a bit of a shake by now, and tried to get a bit more LAGish, albeit opportunities were somewhat limited as there were raises coming from all directions.

The first chance I got to open raise was with A8s. Not a hand I particularly liked, but I was consciously trying to be a bit more active.

So, I wasn't too chuffed to pick up a mid-position caller, and even less chuffed when Tikay moved all-in from the blinds.

Not having taken the second chance yet, I would have been inclined to call if I was heads up with Tikay, but I was more concerned about the caller.

So, it was a pretty easy fold. When the caller also folded, Tikay showed 22, and the caller said he'd folded AQ.

Which made my fold look eminently sensible. As Tight End pointed out, it was a very nice squeeze play.

My only other hands of note on the TV table got me involved with Tikay and Aces.

A TT pre-flop raise picked up a call from Tikay in the blinds. The Ace high flop wasn't entirely welcome, but when Tikay checked to me, a decent bet took it down.

He seemed to think the flop was to my liking, presumably having me on a big ace.

Later, on my BB, it was folded around to Aces in the SB who completed.

At which point I looked down to see AK. A nice hand to be sure, but after some consideration not one I wanted to play through against Aces.

The blinds by now were diminishing my stack, so a standard raise would pretty much commit me to the pot. Slow playing didn't appeal to me, so the only option was to push. An overbet, but the only sensible bet in my mind.

Aces obviously didn't have much of a hand as he folded fairly quickly.

If I'd had more chips to play with, I'd have liked to play a flop against him, just for the experience, but having already donked out once, I didn't want to give myself the opportunity to do it again!

Almost immediately our table was broken and at my new table I was seated directly to the left of fellow TPTer Rod Paradise, with The Sheriff to my left. I didn't last long.

After Rod had open limped from MP, I found myself looking at 66. Rod's more than a little loose, so his hand range here is so big it's hardly worth contemplating.

Again, I was in a situation where a sensible raise commits me, and with only four other players to get through, I decided to lump them all-in.

A pretty transparent bet, but one that needs a decent hand to call.

Unfortunately The Sheriff was holding JJ, and after some contemplation re-raised all-in, prompting folds from the blinds, and Rod.

An ace high flop brought a wail of anguish from Rod, who had apparently limped, then folded, AQ!

No help for me and I was out (again!).

It was pretty obvious the tournament was going to last well into the wee small hours, and I wasn't really in the mood for Sit-N-Go's or cash games, so I took the chance to chat to a few of the visitors, including the very personable Rivercard, and the delightful Chili Pepper whose personality is equally as nice as her legs!

Unfortunately the place was so jammed a lot of the Blonde hierarchy were run off their feet keeping the action going, and I didn't get the chance to say as many hellos as I'd have liked.

So, I wimped out and headed home early enough to catch a late bus, leaving Rod and Teacake to make the final table - with Teacake making a very respectable third in an extremely tough field, including outlasting WSOP bracelet holder Brian Wilson.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Bashing My Head In

Just about to head for the Blonde Bash.

Been up since 6.30am with the baby, and the bash will probably go on til that time tomorrow so it's shaping up as an endurance test.

I'm hyping myself up with some Arctic Monkeys at present. That's going out music for sure.

So why not make this a quickie in my extremely erratic 'Music To Play Poker By' series?

Arctic Monkeys - I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor

The first time I heard this song it just blew me away. Great tune, smart lyrics, humour, I love it. There's bits of The Wedding Present, Fall, Half-Man Half-Biscuit, in there, but it still sounds fresh and dynamic.

If you've just lost to a 3%er on the river, slap this on, jump around the room for 3 minutes, and you will be sat back down with a big smile on your face and entirely untilted.

Baby Div loves it too. You haven't lived til you've seen an 8-month baby pogo in her hop-and-pop!

Friday, March 17, 2006

I Just Realised

7 card Stud (of either flavour) is the only game I know where it's possible to lose to a runner-runner-runner-runner straight.


Thursday, March 16, 2006

Housekeeping and Other Snippets

Finally got round to tidying up the blog layout a little.

My favourite change is the new icons on the blogroll.

I wish I could take credit for those flashy little flags, but credit has to go the very generous Mark James who provides them as a free download. He also does some very nice icons for applications, so check out his work.

For anyone on my blogroll whose country I have mislocated, feel free to let me know and I'll update it asap. I'm pretty sure it is accurate.

One man awkward squad MikkyT gave me a little challenge, as he is a Scouser residing in Scotland. Some JavaScript cured that problem. I've promoted him to a half-Scotsman.

I got involved in an interesting discussion on Blonde Poker this week. One for Drizz I suspect.

I've probably spent more time talking and reading about poker than actually playing this month, but there's some quality opposition in town this weekend and I'll be playing live on Saturday.

Yes, the Blonde Bash is this weekend. My liver is ill prepared, but I'm looking forward to a good time, and sending the southern raiders homewards to think again.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Jimmy Johnstone

I'm not in the mood for much of anything today.

This morning, a true legend died. Jimmy Johnstone - the greatest player from the greatest team in the 118 year history of Celtic - passed away after a long battle with motor neurone disease.

Despite knowing how ill he was, his death came as a shock, and left me feeling empty inside.

There's already been plenty written about the many colourful stories from his career - both on and off the park - and about his magical skills with a football.

The man was not just a tremendously talented player. He was an entertainer, an inspiration, charismatic, and brave. At just 5' 4", he had to be.

He was also a true fan. Someone who loved the club, and loved playing for Celtic.

Unlike some players with a gift for entertainment, he was also a winner. Part of a team that won a world record nine leagues, and became the first British team to win the greatest club trophy of them all - The European Cup.

Most modern day footballers are as untouchable as rockstars or Hollywood actors.

Such is their wealth, they inevitably live a lifestyle which is unattainable to most normal people, and seldom leads them to mingle with the fans.

Jimmy came from a different era. One where not only was the tackling tougher, and the refereeing more lenient, but the pay was very much on a par with the ordinary working man.

Had he been dazzling defenders in the modern age, he would probably have been one of the highest paid players in the world, living in some gated community and holidaying on private Caribbean islands.

Instead, he lived in a normal home not far from mine. He could be seen - and often heard singing - in the local bars, and while he could count stars such as Rod Stewart, Billy Connolly, and even Robert Duvall as friends, he had many more within the local community, including my dad.

The wee man had his demons to fight, most notably an over fondness for the bottle, but he had a personality that shone. Duvall called him 'the greatest character I ever met', which has to be one hell of a compliment.

It's a cruel world which inflicts such a debilitating disease on one so undeserving.

Now he has gone, his family can take comfort in the knowledge his talents were acclaimed in his lifetime and will never be forgotten.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Last summer, just after I became a dad, I posted a photo of my temporary office.

Today the scene was somewhat different!

Not so summery house

So, with a day at home guaranteed, I've been doing a little housekeeping on the blog.

I've removed some blogs which appear to have expired, and added yet more to the roll. I've also got plans to tidy the list up a bit.

Among the newcomers are some that will already be familiar to most people, and a few which are particularly deserving of a taste of trickledown blogonomics.

DPommo not only has an eye for a good hand, but he isn't shy about making his unedited opinions known on his blog. Exactly as it should be.

He plays big online games - and has already final tabled at EPT Dublin - but also posts about the bad days. (Sample quote: "I dropped £22,000 in the £25/£50 game, so somehow only lost £1000 playing £10/£20 this week.")

He seems to have a penchant for the rock star lifestyle, which probably helped bring him to the attention of his Virgin Poker sponsors. Good man!

TillerMaN was unknown to me until recently, but seems to be quite a star online. He is one of the new breed of players who migrated from online gaming to online poker.

There's an interesting interview with him here.

He is obviously a fast learner, since he played this week in the EPT Monte Carlo and made the second day.

What's more, he's another Glasgow blogger. There's a chance I might bump into him at the Blonde Bash next weekend.

When I started blogging, I thought I was the only Scottish poker blogger. Now there's a whole bunch of us.

As an aside to Matt Milne if he is reading, Matt be very afraid, I got one of my oddest ever search engine hits this week: "Matt Milne" sex

Sounds like someone is doing their research on you! Had a fight with the girlfriend recently? ;)

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Is It The Weekend Already!?

Time flies when you don't have a moment to yourself.

I honestly thought it was Wednesday today, only to discover the weekend is almost upon us.

In my few spare moments I've been plugging away at Stud-8. It's a fun game, but takes a lot of effort.

Limit Hold Em I can play on autopilot whilst multitasking. Not Stud-8.

Anyone who thinks Stud variants are easy is severely deluded.

I'm itching to rattle off a let's all laugh at Rangers post, but don't have enough time to do it justice tonight.

One thing I will say regarding their deal with JJB - I DO NOT agree with the boycott which is being mooted.

I am HAPPY that a company has chosen to get into bed with Rangers without making a similar deal with Celtic.

For too long, the media has taken the easy approach of tarring Celtic and Rangers with the same 'Old Firm' brush.

Any commercial arrangement which differentiates Celtic from Rangers in the eyes of those less familiar with the Scottish arena is to be welcomed.

Celtic can only benefit in the long run from disassociation with Rangers, and their nasty mentality.

Interesting, is it not, that after much vague waffling from the Scottish press and politicians about ending 'Old Firm' bigotry, it needs a European body to take Rangers to task for the behaviour of their fans. Behaviour which has already been condoned by Rangers own 'safety chief'.

The same European body three years ago named Celtic fans, the best in Europe.

The difference in perception abroad is to be welcomed.

Celtic should take all possible steps to ensure the gap between themselves and Rangers is kept as wide as possible - and not just in league points!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A Terrible Fold, Or Was It?

Had this interesting hand at the micro limit Stud-8 tables.

After my raising or betting on every street, sixth street brings the following board.


Villain 1

Villain 2

I'm none too enamoured by those last three cards. In my mind, Villain 2 has clearly made a low, so I'm left fighting for half the pot against Villain 1, and if I'm not ahead, I'm drawing to four outs to make a boat.

Further bad news is there's a fair chance at least one of those outs is held by Villain 2.

Villain 1 must surely have had a drawing hand, to call so many bets. A straight looks almost certain - to my fearful eyes, anyway.

Even worse, Villain 2 surely has to raise any bet, as he is a definite for half the pot - and might even have made a low straight - making it impossible for me to passively call down.

So, when Villain 1 bets after I very weakly check, I can't see any option but folding, only to see these hands revealed after some river action.

Villain 1

Villain 2

Meh. How wrong could I be?

Villain 1 thinks the best way to play a big pair is passively. Villain 2 thinks calling on 5th street with a small pair and runner-runner straight/flush/low draws is a good move.

I'd disagree with both of them, but they got the cash. So, who played it best?

That's not a rhetorical question. Put in the same situation again, I'd still be inclined to fold to a raise unless I was fairly sure of seeing a cheap showdown, but I'm not 100% on that choice.

What I would change is I'd definitely fire another bullet on sixth street. If Villain 1 finds the guts to raise, so be it. I should have put the decision on him, not left the door open to a bet.

What I now know is to take more account of the relative standard of my opponents. There's a lot of passivity at these tables, and a lot of very ill thought out calls.

Perhaps there's a case for always seeing a showdown after playing big pairs fast, especially when they improve to 2-pair, unless the action clearly dictates otherwise.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Hyenas At The Table

The last few nights at the Stud-8 tables have been fun.

Sitting with Ray Zee open at the starting hands section is easy enough. What's interesting is seeing how the hands develop, particularly trying to work out what the heck my opponents are up to.

Playing at the micro limits, the competition is hardly likely to be stellar, and I've lost a few pots to very odds hands, but overall I'm comfortably ahead in Big Bets, if not in monetary terms.

Despite the very low stakes, I'm playing each hand seriously. I'm here to learn.

One thing I've already discovered is that in limit Stud-8, playing against unaware, or inexperienced, players can actually be LESS profitable.

Not because of any 'they play any cards and keep getting lucky' reasons, but because sometimes they don't seem to know they've got the best hand and just won't raise.

Team playing in poker is a big taboo (for most people!), but in Stud-8 situations arise where two players are implicitly teamed for the duration of the hand - usually on 5th or 6th street.

Where one player has clearly made the best low, and another player has a big high made, anyone drawing to a better hand, or who simply hasn't realised they are second best, SHOULD be severely published.

Ray Zee consistently warns about the danger of getting sandwiched in this situation, between two hands which must jam the pot.

Thus the lone wolf, or shark, suddenly becomes a team hunter, collaborating to extract the maximum from a hapless prey.

I raise. I re-raise
Or at least they should...I've already found myself on several occasions shouting at the screen 'raise! raise!', as someone passively calls down with the best low in a multiway pot.

I'm sure this is something which will change as I move up the limits, and my game will have to adjust accordingly.

Right now, if I'm looking at a nut draw, I can afford to take it on since the players are so passive. At higher limits, I'd expect the made hands to punish draws severely.

This wouldn't be such an issue in a pot-limit game, where pot size bets over several streets will escalate rapidly, but in a limit game it lets the donkeys away very lightly.

There's no point getting too bothered about it. That's the nature of the limits I'm playing at, but it's important not to develop a bad habit that will become an expensive leak later.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Last Chance For Tribeca Rakeback

Just got this email in from RakeTheRake.

If you decide to sign up, remember to tell them who sent you!

Dear Player

Sorry to email you on a Friday night but we thought this was worth mentioning.

After midnight tonight, no new players will be allowed to sign up for rakeback for Doyles Room or the Tribeca Network.

All existing accounts will be completely UNAFFECTED :)

Even if you may never actually play on it, it is probably worth setting up an account on that network anyway if you do not already have one

You can find more details here

I repeat, existing players have nothing to worry about!

Best wishes


Thursday, March 02, 2006

My First Winning Hand At Stud-8

Yay. Not just a win, but a scoop. Recorded here for posterity.

That mighty collection was enough to take down a pot of almost 12 Big Bets, or to put it in cold hard cash terms, errr 94¢.

Yep, I was on the 4¢/8¢ tables. Well I did say I was going to start at the bottom and work up...

A Few Random Thoughts

On Poker

You put up with my banal ramblings on Omaha often enough. So, do yourself a favour, and get over to Milkybarkid for some proper Omaha hand analysis. Remember to read the comments too.

On Cars

The car passed its annual roadworthiness check last week (MOT), but needed a new set of brake disks.

I grumbled at the cost, as always. But they saved me a good few quid - and endless hassle - this morning when some Scottish Miss Daisy trundled out in front of me on a roundabout and formed an impromptu rolling road-block right across my exit lane.

Brake, swerve, grind to a halt sideways on the roundabout, curse, and exhale.

That was me. She continued on her merry (and very slow) way without even noticing our near miss - despite the fact I almost T-boned her car.

I have a theory about my fellow drivers, which is that anyone with a hat should be avoided. Whether it's a burberry baseball cap in a souped up Nova, or a tweed trilby in a Volvo.

Today's hat appeared to consist of the pelts of several endangered species and if it was real would surely have earned a can of red paint from PETA.

Yes, I got close enough to check out her hat, and she still didn't see me.

Remember kids - when the back end starts to break away, steer into the skid. That is all.

On Ringtones

I'm not a big fan of gimmicky ringtones. I'd go so far as to say that anyone signing up for those insane packages, which are ceaselessly marketed on the music channels, should be forcibly sterilised to avoid further corruption of the gene pool.

I'm not sure what's worse. Paying £15 a month for a couple of ringtones and a few logos each week; or having such an empty existence that changing the logo on your phone thrice weekly is actually a meaningful part of your life.

That said, here's a poker themed video ringtone for your phone which someone pimped on Blonde Poker. It's pretty clever. Even if the music is absolutely dire.

Bear in mind though, that if you ever let the phone ring long enough to play the entire clip, I'll have hung up long before the end.

On Comments

I don't get many comments, but when I do they are very much appreciated. So thanks to TripJax and Drizz in particular for recently reminding me someone actually reads this stuff!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

February Summary

Very much a 'poker lite' month. Not a huge number of hands played, and stasis in the bankroll.

As promised, I stuck to my diet of 100% PLO8B.

Initially I enjoyed the challenge, but as the month wore on I did begin to get a bit sick of it. Despite it becoming a bit of a grind, I stuck to my guns.

Short term this is a -EV way to approach things, as I could easily have been grinding out more hands and chasing bonuses at LHE, but I want to broaden and deepen my game by applying some discipline and study.

That means less focus on results, and total attention to expansion of my comprehension and insight into the sport of poker.

Comrades, I tell you, yonder lies the path to enlightenment and fulfilment.

Sometime around 2015 I confidently expect to take my seat at the final table of the WSOP HORSE tourney - which by then will be the main event - by levitating across the arena on a cloud of pure poker karma.

Ahem. Back in the real world, on nights when I was too tired or demotivated to play, I buried my head in a variety of books.

Over the last few evenings I also diversified from cash games into playing some small buy-in SNG on Stars.

These proved to be an invigorating change.

Unlike the cash games which tend to be fairly passive affairs, there seems to be a compulsion in the SNGs to get all the chips in the middle at the earliest opportunity. Regardless of hand strength or board cards!

I did have a little difficulty adapting but I got the feeling this could be worth further investigation. I began to wonder if there is more of an edge in these games, where time is limited and hanging around waiting for the nuts isn't always an option.

Suddenly it seemed a shame that February only had 28 days.

The plan for March is to have a go at Stud-8OB. I figured since I am so familiar with split pots, it made more sense to go for this option as my first serious foray into a no-flop poker variant.

PokerStars seem to have the best structure, as their ante is only 10% of the small bet, so I'll probably spend most of the month there.

Their cash tables also go down to real micro limits, which makes it's a good place to get my feet wet.

I'd hope to move up a few levels very quickly, having already observed at slightly bigger tables and found myself saying on 4th or 5th street 'why the hell are you calling, you can't beat either of those hands'.

The joys of online poker.

In other news, I've also been faffing around with a free graphics package called, and I am not making this up, The Gimp - which stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. Those cheeky nerds!

Thus my card icons are starting to look a bit more presentable, and I'm trying to hand craft a few more options which might come in useful. Art isn't my strong point, so this could take a while.

Aside from Stud-8OB, for me the other big poker event in March should be The Blonde Bash - which is probably the closest thing we have in the UK to a blogger get together.

The bash is in Glasgow at The Cincinnati Club, so I don't have far to travel.

Glasgow is rapidly growing into its Glas-Vegas tag, as yet another casino was announced in February and plans for a mega-casino were revived.

If only I had more time and money to 'invest' in playing locally!