Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I'm an idiot

After going bust at the Garage Game, I walked down the hill toward my car thinking about what went wrong.

Everything had started out so well. I was catching hands and getting paid off.

I worked my initial $300 stack up to about $550 on a set of Kings and a set of 3s (everyone else was playing with even shorter stacks). Then my luck went downhill.

I introduced Triple Draw to the rotation of games we were playing, so it became two rounds of 2/5 NL hold 'em, one round of 5/10 limit Omaha Hi/Lo and one round of 5/10 Triple Draw. Everyone really loved playing Triple Draw, and I was happy that they took to it so easily that it became a standard game.

But man, Omaha Hi/Lo and Triple Draw started killing me. I'll be the first to admit that I'm a novice at these games, and it showed. When my hands became second-best on the river, I'd pay off raises. When I tried a turn semibluff, I quickly realized that doesn't work so well when you're up against the nut hi and the low draw doesn't come on the river.

I worked my stack down to about $150. I was getting tired and a little bit cranky. If it weren't a home game, I would have quit playing a long time ago. But they needed me to keep the game going, and I had already told the host I would stay until midnight. Besides, home game etiquette kind of comes with the expectation that you'll stay a while.

In the NL round, I limped with T7s from the button in a four-way pot.

The flop came T97 rainbow. I felt pretty good as it was checked to me and I bet the size of the pot -- about $30. I found two callers, which made me slightly uncomfortable.

The turn brought an Ace. After some thought, I decided that the Ace was a good card for me. I didn't read my opponents as having improved their hands. When it was checked to me, I went all in for $122.

The girl in early position hemmed and hawed before calling, and then the smart guy to my right thought for a while. As he was thinking out loud, it became clear to me that he had T9 for a better two pair.

He said he almost folded, but instead he made the overcall in hopes of winning the large pot. It was a strong read on his part that paid off big. The girl had 97 for bottom two pair.

I pulled for my one-outer, that 7 on the river, but an Ace fell instead. I was busted, and it was time to go.

As I drove home, I got to thinking about why I was pissed at myself.

Did I play the hand poorly? I don't think so. Being a short stack, I feel fine about pushing all in for the opportunity to double or triple up with two pair.

Was it the money? No, a $300 loss isn't anything to get worked up about.

I decided that I simply don't like losing, especially in front of other people. I also realized that I should have bought in for a bigger stack, even if no one else bought in for more than $200. I mean, if I'm comfortable with a larger stack, then that's what I should have been playing with.

Then it hit me.

I hadn't lost! It should have been a chopped pot!

The final board was T97AA. I held T7, and the other player had T9. But that Ace on the river gave us identical five-card hands! My lack of observation had cost me about $225.

Bah. I called back to the game and told them about it. It was already too late to try and go back in time and claim my money, but my opponent said he would take care of me next time.

We'll see. I have no one to blame but myself.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Thou shalt not bluff calling stations

Don't let anyone tell you the games are too hard to beat since Party Poker shut out U.S. players. The virtual ATMs at the tables are giving it away.

I was wondering while I was playing today whether some players have a hard time consistently winning because they can't handle calling stations.

Always remember: Don't bluff at calling stations.

Calling stations are great for the game and they should be easy to beat, but sometimes it's difficult to resist the temptation to fire bullets at them in a vague hope that they will fold or that your miracle card will come on the river.

The way to beat calling stations is to dumb down your game. Play ABC poker. Wait for premium hands and bet them. Tone down preflop aggression with middling cards because your continuation bets will be less effective. Just about every bet or raise you make should be for value because you believe you have the best hand or can extract a large amount if you hit.

Calling stations are boring to play against. They can absorb your chips with flat calls. They won't respect your raises. They don't understand your moves. They can't seem to find the fold button.

But they're also very profitable because they'll pay you off more often. After all, it's what they do best.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Honu win!

The North Shore Honu win the Hawaii Winter Baseball championship!

How awesome is it to be able to watch a baseball game the night before Thanksgiving?

The Hawaii Winter Baseball league was formed using minor league players associated with the Majors and from Japan. Its inaugural season started Oct. 1 and concluded tonight in Les Murakami Stadium on the University of Hawaii campus. It made me so happy to know that baseball was being played in the middle of the Pacific in the dead of the offseason.

It was a pretty good game. The Waikiki Beachboys and the Honu were all tied up at 1 run apiece until the Honu scored 2 in the eighth and 2 in the ninth to win 5-1. I didn't recognize any of the players, but maybe I will remember them if they ever make it to The Show. This league also ran in the mid-90s before being disbanded. During that run, Ichiro and Jason Giambi played here in Hawaii before anyone knew who they were.

A little more than a thousand fans showed up. It was a decent crowd. Everyone was friendly and having fun, but the allegiances to the teams weren't strong since the league is so young. I saw some fantastic defensive plays and speedy pitching. I object to astroturf and they didn't play "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," but I don't have any other complaints.

I loved watching the Honu pile up on the field to celebrate their win. Even though it was a short season on a team made up of players who didn't know each other two months ago, they still seemed excited to win the four-team league.


Hand of the Day

Sometimes pocket Aces become worthless very quickly, but usually it's hard to let them go.

In this hand, my decision to check-fold wasn't difficult. That board was disgusting.

Full Tilt Poker
No Limit Holdem Ring game
Blinds: $5/$10
8 players

Pre-flop: (8 players) HERO is MP1 with :as :ad
2 folds, HERO raises to $35, 3 folds, SB calls, BB calls.

Flop: :tc :ts :9c ($105, 3 players)
SB checks, BB checks, HERO checks.

Turn: :jc ($105, 3 players)
SB bets $65, BB folds, HERO folds.
Uncalled bets: $65 returned to SB.

Final pot: $105

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Does position matter when you're planning to move all-in preflop?

Here's my idea: Position matters before making an all-in bet preflop in a tournament because your chances of winning the hand increase if earlier position players have already folded. I'm not sure this thesis is correct, but I want to put it out there.


Experts say that going all-in is the ultimate equalizer.

An all-in bet freezes time and equity values forever. The bet wields the most pressure you can possibly muster.

Most of all, it eliminates considerations of position because your action in the hand is done and your decision final.

Ah, but there's a problem, at least for me. When I initially read about all-in bets neutralizing positional disadvantages, I internalized that to mean that position doesn't matter if all the chips are going into the pot. That may not be correct.

Yes, after you make an all-in bet, positional values lose meaning. But not before you make the bet.

Before you push, you need to consider all the players left to act behind you.

If I hold Ax under the gun and I push a short stack into the middle, the rest of the table has an opportunity to consider their chances of busting me and taking my chips. In a nine-handed game, eight other players with 16 unknown cards may call me with hands of relatively even value or far greater value -- anything from KJ (42 percent) to AK (70 percent) and many middle pocket pairs (70 percent).

If I can try to make my last desperation bet after a few people have folded, I may have already increased my odds of either picking up the blinds or racing against a weaker hand.

For example, if it's folded to me and I push with Ax from the cutoff, I'm facing six unknown cards rather than 16 if I were under the gun. I don't know how to use math to prove or disprove that it's better to be facing 6 unknown cards than 16, but it intuitively appears to improve my chances if I'm against fewer players.

Conventional wisdom regarding 1) the importance of moving in when your M gets low, and 2) being the first one into the pot when you go all-in still apply.

What I'm suggesting seems like common sense: that your proximity to the last position (which is the big blind in the preflop betting round) could make a significant difference in whether you decide to risk your tournament life.

But lacking math or knowledge, I don't know if my impressions are right. Maybe M and first-in vig so far outweigh the importance of position preflop that position hardly matters.

Let me know. Thanks.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Clamped down

Near the bubble, the FTOPS main event got a little rough.

With the blinds at 400/800 with a 75 chip ante, my stack started to wear down as I folded every hand that was dealt to me. The money was agonizingly close.

Entering the 400/800 level, I knew I had a chance of winning a few hundred dollars just by folding. I'd have to be careful, but I also wanted to keep my eyes on the bigger prize -- the $224,634 for first place out of the $1.2 million pool. More than 2,400 people entered the tourney, and the top 351 made money.

It took me seven satellites to win a $535 entry for this event at a cost of $89 after I had cashed in a couple of the donkfests. I finally (!) won a single-table $75 turbo tourney that gave an entry to the first-place finisher.

My M was near 4.5 at the beginning of the 400/800 level. I needed to somehow make the money. I went into lockdown mode, waiting for the right opportunity to steal enough chips to survive.

Here are the hands I saw:

88 (folded to an early position raise when I was in middle position)

I folded every single hand.

If you've ever played a tournament, you know the pressure that builds up as your stack dwindles to near nothingness. Your chips, your lifeblood, are bleeding away. With every chip you lose, that's one more chip less that you'll have if you ever do double up.

I was ready to push in. I didn't want to wimp my way into the money. But I also knew that I had to avoid busting to win anything at all.

Somewhere near the end of that horrifying run of pathetic cards, the bubble burst!

When that level ended, I was in big trouble. My stack had dwindled to 5128, and the blinds were going up to 500/1000/125. Based on the numbers alone, with an M of 1.95, I needed to push with almost anything.

Or did I have to?

This is a troublesome spot. Entering the new round of blinds, I had two hands before the blinds hit me. Once the blinds took their chunk of my stack, I'd be crippled.

The first hand, I was dealt K7o. I decided to fold yet again and try to endure. I hope I'm not making up excuses, but I didn't want to put my stack on the line with that hand from MP1, especially when almost every other player at the table had enough chips to call me with anything.

Because I felt like I didn't have much folding equity, I tried to get a better value.

I kept waiting as I folded and folded:

A5 (I know you're going to tell me I should have pushed here UTG)

Now my stack was laughably low. I had 2503 chips left, only slightly more than a minraise.

At long last, I saw a beautiful pocket QQ, which I happily pushed all-in with. They held up over a big stack's 96 out of the big blind, and I had doubled up.

The next hand, I went all in again for 6,256 with ATo. Everyone folded. Then again, with AQs, and everyone folded. In three hands, I had picked up 9,000 chips.

It was amazing. With 11,000 chips, I was still below average but in better shape than most players at my table.

After losing 2,000 from the blinds and antes, I went all-in again with ATo and got called by KK. A Ten on the turn gave me hope, and the Ace on the river doubled me through. I was alive!

The blinds went up to 600/1200. Everyone else at the table folded super fast when I raised my first hand back from the break with AQs.

From there, I made a couple of steals but the blinds started catching up with me again. I pushed with QJs against 66 and caught a J on the turn. A few hands later, at 1000/2000/250 blinds, I pushed with TT against QQ. For the first time, my luck failed me.

I'm happy, though, to go out in 158th place with a payout of more than $1,100. Thanks to Daniel, who had a piece of me, as well as railbirders and fellow entrants.

My bubble and post-bubble play is questionable. At some points, my stack got so low that all I needed was a face card (or less) to justify putting all my chips in the middle.

I held on for a long time, knowing that the best I could hope for in most situations was a coin flip. To win, you have to survive. In each of those agonizing hands, I believed my best chance of staying alive was to fold.

I've bounced out on a lot of bubbles. This time, tight play kept me in it until I finally went out 193 spots after the bubble had popped.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

UIGEA update

Six weeks after Congress passed its anti-gambling legislation, there are still more questions than answers about the future of online poker.

It's likely that the real force of the law will be to dry up the money supply by making it more difficult to make deposits. But we don't have a good idea of what our alternatives will be.

What company will emerge as the dominant payment processor? How will we transfer money into the sites? How effective this law will be? Will efforts to carve out a provision for Internet poker be successful?

So far, after the initial fallout of sites rushing to ban U.S. players, it's been business as usual. Where we play may have changed, but only a few people quit logging in as a result.

I found this link about possible WTO fallout insightful (thanks Chilly). If the U.S. and its businesses have to pay a price for this law, we might see political attitudes toward gambling change. The WTO may be our best shot at legalization.

The problem is that the WTO case -- and any other efforts to pass new laws in Congress -- will take time that we don't have. It's widely believed that Neteller will leave the U.S. market if it is determined to be a gambling site by the government. Many other mainstream payment processors such as Firepay already took that step.

What will happen? This 2+2 thread gives a decent analysis of what the law will actually do.

Unless Neteller is bought by a private investor and stays open for business, the most pressing issue for poker players is finding a new funding source.

It seems like ePassporte may become one option, as it's now a pretty widely accepted and privately owned option for deposits. But ePassporte's fees are high ($5 for every $100), and transactions are limited to $500.

There has also been talk about using phone cards to make deposits. While feasible, I'm not sure that method is palatable for most players.

Surely the poker sites are planning for alternate deposit methods. Right?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Full disclosure on Wicked Chops

If integrity is worth a damn in the world of Internet poker and blogs, Wicked Chops should come clean.

As reported by Haley at Pokerblog.com, Wicked Chops is run by a public relations firm in partnership with Internet gambling site Bodog. Wicked Chops has not disclosed its business relationship to Bodog on its site while it continues to present gossip, news and soft core porn as if it were a reputable information source.

You might think that this isn't a big deal. But I believe it's important that people know where their information comes from. In this case, it's coming from a site with an agenda to help Bodog without telling you that's what they're doing.

In the P.R. business, the agency's job is to present information with an angle to slant public opinion to the benefit of the client (Bodog). The truth is secondary to the primary goal of putting a good face on the news.

Wicked Chops does not acknowledge its relationship with Bodog anywhere on its site, instead falling back on the non-answer that "at WCP, we're not so much into journalistic integrity as we are into giving hugs."

It's obvious that Wicked Chops doesn't care about journalistic integrity. That's not exactly the point though. The point is that Wicked Chops isn't being up-front with its readers.

Anything you read at Wicked Chops may be compromised. If you didn't know that they were shills for Bodog, you wouldn't know to read the site with a skeptical eye. Be especially wary about posts concerning WSOP champion Jamie Gold, litigant Crispin Leyser, Bodog itself and Bodog's competitor sites.

I'm not saying that Wicked Chops -- or any other blog -- can't promote its business partners. But to do so in an underhanded fashion is dishonest and unfair to readers.


I've put some thought into this topic.

I get plenty of spam sent to my e-mail from advertisers who want me to promote products I've never heard of. I can't seem to read a blog these days without having to hear about ReviewMe, a site that is paying people to put product reviews on their blogs instead of actual content.

Commercialism has crept into nearly every well-known poker blog. There are so many advertisements, affiliate links and bonus code promotions on some blogs that I sometimes feel like a baseball fan walking into parks tarnished by ads plastered on every spare inch of wall space.

It's not wrong to make money. If anything, that may be the most commonly held belief among poker players.

But blogs, unlike poker, should be motivated by more than profit. They should carry some integrity and assurance that the information provided within isn't tilted toward corporate interests. And if their content does amount to little more than a press release, they should let their readers know that.

In that spirit, I have notified my two advertisers -- Fult Tilt Poker and Poker Source Online -- that I will be removing their ads from this blog at the end of the month. They're both fine companies, but I don't feel right anymore about taking their money if I'm going to complain about the excessive commercialization found on poker blogs.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Garage home game

My first home game since moving to Hawaii took place around an octagonal poker table in a garage on the top of an inland hill. There were six players, and we played two rounds of 2/5 NL HE followed by one round of a 10/20 spread limit Omaha Hi/lo (if that makes any sense).

I got off to a quick start against a guy called the Jet when I hit a set of 7s. A little later, I got some more chips from a set of 3s against a spunky chick who kept forgetting that she had to use two cards during the Omaha round. She kept seeing two pair on the board and saying, "I have boat!"

The other guys seemed to be about average overall. There wasn't much bluffing, and I saw some shockingly passive play with strong hands. I couldn't believe it -- no one can possibly make money if they don't put in money when they're ahead.

Admittedly, I was getting great cards. Many of them didn't get to showdown, but that doesn't mean the pots were small.

Finally, a big guy who smoked cigarettes and played often in this game won a large pot with something like Kings or a straight. On the next hand, I picked up pocket Queens from middle position.

I raised to $20, and the big guy reraised to $80 out of the blinds. I felt like he might be playing his rush or Ax, so I made it $250. He quickly moved all in.

My first instinct was that he had AK, and I almost acted. But then I slowed down. It was about $300 to call in a ~$750 pot. He moved in very fast, and he looked comfortable. He stared at me and then glanced away. I was starting to get the idea.

"What do you think I should do?" I asked.

"I came here to gamble," he said.

That was about the worst thing he could have said if he wanted a call. He wasn't a very good liar.

"No you didn't," I told him. "I fold."

He flipped over pocket Aces, and I was happy I took the time to make what was in retrospect a kind of obvious fold.

I built my stack back up to about $350 over my initial buy-in when I started to get tired and decided it was time to leave. I played one more round, which is usually a mistake.

On my second to last hand, I decided to take a stab at a pot. Nobody had challenged me all night, and I had just been dealt a suited hammer. I think I gave off a couple of tells when I smiled to myself and almost folded, but I couldn't let it go.

I raised one limper with my 7-2, and he called. The flop gave me a pair of 7s with an overcard on the board. I made a $50 continuation bet, and the other guy went all in for $39 more. Ug. I had to call.

What an embarrassing way to end. The other guy had a set of 4s, and I didn't improve.

But that's OK. I made a little money, and it may take something like the power of that last hammer for me to get invited back to the game.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Taking notes

Most every poker decision you make depends on reading your opponents.

What hands could they have? Are they more likely to play back at you because you've been raising a lot? Are they weak-tight? Tight-aggressive? Calling stations? Do they continuation bet? Are their betting actions inconsistent with the hand they're trying to represent? Are they making any rookie mistakes?

Your personal knowledge about poker can give you a partial answer. Pokertracker also helps. Taking good notes is another piece of the puzzle that often goes overlooked.

Writing down concise, accurate and useful notes on my opponents' playing tendencies really helped advance my game. In the past, I had always wanted to take better notes, but I didn't know how.

Then I took the first step: Resolving to take as many notes as possible, even if you don't know what you're looking for. Try to take notes on everyone. Try to make a note every hand. This will get you in the habit of note-taking until it becomes routine.

For example, some of the first notes I take on players are some of the most simple. I write down any time anyone posts a blind out of position. In itself, writing down "mp post" next to someone's name doesn't tell me much about the player, but it can be a useful clue when combined with all the other data at my disposal. Other examples of introductory notes I frequently take include "buys in as short stack," "minraiser," and "button limper." These initial preflop leaks often indicate deeper flaws in your opponents.

After taking a note on a player, sites like Full Tilt will display a green tag next to their screenname by default. You can change that green tag to any other color. This is largely a matter of personal preference, but my rudimentary system assigns a purple tag to loose players and a deep purple tag to players I know. I use a red tag to call my attention to an important note I have taken, often on a player that demonstrates a consistent behavior (such as always bluffing at the river, a tendency to semibluff check-raise when scare cards come, or a high attempt to steal percentage).

Notes on postflop play often prove to be the most valuable. Once you can get an idea about whether an opponent's small bets are for value or show weakness, whether he bets out draws or check-calls them, whether his check-raises show genuine strength or are used for information -- then you're on your way toward manipulating that player to the fullest.

It's rare that one note will tell the full story about a player, but every bit of information is a clue leading you to profitable answers. My note-taking system is far from perfect, but the act of watching other players will further understanding of your own game while helping you figure our your opponents.

Strong players win money because they're observant, gather information and then unleash it at a well-timed moment. Notes are a great way to harvest information to be used when the time is right. As always, I'm interested in hearing about other people's note-taking systems in the comments section.

Play gut!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Calling bluffs in position

A note to people playing against me:

Your pot bets after you miss your draws will cost you lots of money. It's often obvious when you are playing for a draw the whole way, and your turn semibluffs and river bets are some of the easier bluffs to spot.

One hand that comes to mind was when I flopped top pair-weak kicker Tens on a 34T rainbow flop. My opponent check-called the flop, the turn went check-check, and he bet the pot on the river. His 52 was no good.

On another hand, I flopped top pair-top kicker Jacks and raised the 5c8cJd flop in a battle of the blinds. My opponent called. When I got check-raised all-in after an offsuit 4 fell on the turn, I had to call. Of course he had the flush draw, which missed on the river.

These calls are heavily read-dependent, but I won't back down against a big bet when it seems likely I have the best hand.

I don't mind if you keep betting losing hands. It's easy money for me. Just know that you'll probably get called. That is all.

Create polls and vote for free. dPolls.com

Thursday, November 09, 2006

K-Fed: Unlucky in love, cards

The night before news broke that Britney was splitting with Kevin Federline, he was in the mood to gamble.

Player "kfederline" was playing on a 5/10 NL table, and by all appearances, he was on major tilt. Or, more likely, he's simply a horrible player.

Any time he lost a pot, he'd move all-in on the next hand preflop with any two cards. Any time he hit part of the flop, he was prepared to move all-in. He never saw two cards he didn't like to play, and misguided aggression was his only weapon.

But everyone has their 15 minutes of fame. K-Fed knows that better than anyone.

First he was re-raised all-in with one shortstack already all-in. K-Fed called with pocket fives vs. 77 and AK. The shortstack doubled up with his 77, but K-Fed won $1,886 against the big stack when no high cards fell.

"I told you if you believe in yourself, say your prayers ... yo," K-Fed said.

The player he busted warned K-Fed not to give his chips away too quickly. Unfortunately, too much of a good thing was not enough.

All-in with A8o vs. 66 preflop? K-Fed couldn't dance around a third six, and he lost a $1,162 pot.

Two pair vs. a straight? No good for K-Fed, and it cost him a $2,022 pot.

His pocket eights vs. my pocket Aces, all-in preflop? He called for an 8 in the chat window, but no 8 came. He lost a $2,025 pot to me on that one.

Finally, K-Fed put himself out of his misery by getting all the chips in with AKs vs. 99 preflop. True to form, his overcards didn't improve.

Aww, so sad to see him go. Who knows if this player was actually Kevin Federline, but why would anyone else make his name their player ID?

Poor K-Fed. Good luck on that custody battle.

kfederline: bye
Wyteazn shows two pair, Nines and Eights
Wyteazn wins the pot ($1,223) with two pair, Nines and Eights
kfederline: love you
kfederline is sitting out

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

No poker

I didn't get a chance to play yesterday because I had to work long hours for the election.

That's fine though -- I've come to believe that my worries over whether I'm playing too tightly are a reflection of a lack of confidence rather than a severe flaw in my game.

Thanks for the comments to my last post. My attempt to steal percentage is a decent 34. The reason I haven't been able to get my numbers up is that I don't like playing hands from the first two positions.

I could widen my starting hands. I could try to pull more bluffs. I could try to steal more. Or I could just play better poker and have a loose-aggressive mentality, even if it doesn't necessarily result in loose-aggressive numbers. What's important is that I play as best as I can, which is something I've not sure I've been doing well over the last few sessions.


Guitar Hero II is out!

When Being a Fake Rock Star Is Better Than the Reality

And the set list, ripped from the Wikipedia entry:

1. Opening Licks

* "Shout at the Devil" - Mötley Crüe
* "Mother" - Danzig
* "Surrender" - Cheap Trick
* "Woman" - Wolfmother
* "Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight" - Spınal Tap (Encore)

2. Amp-Warmers

* "Strutter" - KISS
* "Heart-Shaped Box" - Nirvana
* "Message in a Bottle" - The Police
* "You Really Got Me" - Van Halen
* "Carry On Wayward Son" - Kansas (Encore)

3. String-Snappers

* "Monkey Wrench" - Foo Fighters
* "Them Bones" - Alice in Chains
* "Search and Destroy" - Iggy Pop and The Stooges
* "Tattooed Love Boys" - The Pretenders
* "War Pigs" - Black Sabbath (Encore)

4. Thrash and Burn

* "Cherry Pie" - Warrant
* "Who Was in My Room Last Night?" - Butthole Surfers
* "Girlfriend" - Matthew Sweet
* "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" - The Rolling Stones
* "Sweet Child O' Mine" - Guns N' Roses (Encore)

5. Return of the Shred

* "Killing in the Name" - Rage Against the Machine
* "John the Fisherman" - Primus
* "Freya" - The Sword
* "Bad Reputation" - Thin Lizzy
* "Last Child" - Aerosmith (Encore)

6. Relentless Riffs

* "Crazy on You" - Heart
* "Trippin' On a Hole in a Paper Heart" - Stone Temple Pilots
* "Rock This Town" - Stray Cats
* "Jessica" - The Allman Brothers Band
* "Stop!" - Jane's Addiction (Encore)

7. Furious Fretwork

* "Madhouse" - Anthrax
* "Carry Me Home" - The Living End
* "Laid to Rest" - Lamb of God
* "Psychobilly Freakout" - The Reverend Horton Heat
* "YYZ" - Rush (Encore)

8. Face-Melters

* "Beast and the Harlot" - Avenged Sevenfold
* "Institutionalized" - Suicidal Tendencies
* "Misirlou" - Dick Dale
* "Hangar 18" - Megadeth
* "Free Bird" - Lynyrd Skynyrd (Encore)

Bonus tracks

* "Raw Dog" - The Last Vegas
* "Arterial Black" - Drist
* "Collide" - Anarchy Club
* "Elephant Bones" - That Handsome Devil
* "Fall of Pangea" - Valient Thorr
* "FTK" - Vagiant
* "Gemini" - Brian Kahanek
* "Jordan" - Buckethead
* "Laughtrack" - The Acro-brats
* "Less Talk More Rokk" - Freezepop
* "The Light that Blinds" - Shadows Fall
* "Mr. Fix-it" - The Amazing Royal Crowns
* "The New Black" - Every Time I Die
* "One for the Road" - Breaking Wheel
* "Parasite" - The Neighborhoods
* "Push Push (Lady Lightning)" - Bang Camaro
* "Radium Eyes" - Count Zero
* "Raw Dog" - The Last Vegas (Winner of the "Be a Guitar Hero" Contest)
* "Red Lottery" - Megasus
* "Six" - All That Remains
* "Soy Bomb" - Honest Bob and the Factory-to-Dealer Incentives
* "Thunderhorse" - Dethklok
* "Trogdor" - Strong Bad
* "The X-Stream" - Voivod
* "Yes We Can" - Made in Mexico

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I'm ready for Vegas

It's not OK. Do you see why?


When I woke up this morning, I had a ton of problems with my car, my apartment door, my computer monitor, my digital tape recorder and my pedal-less bicycle.

By the time I finished work this evening, all those problems had been solved at a cost of only $60 to smooth out the dent in my car. That's a good beat.


I wish I could loosen up preflop, but I'm having a really hard time. Even when I feel like I've been playing looser in these NL 6-max games, when I go back to look at my PokerTracker stats, I find that I'm still only seeing about 20 percent of flops.

I don't think tightish play is terribly wrong, even in shorthanded games, because that kind of strategy helps increase the chances that you will have the better hand when you do play one. In addition, I find that playing tight helps me get through cold runs of cards with minimal losses.

But then again, I recently went through my PT stats to try to figure out how I possibly could have lost money after I had gone to bed the previous night thinking I had booked a winning session.

The reason, of course, was that the blinds really eat up your stack after a while. I don't know how I can play any looser without playing some junk hands.

I just don't see the point of playing bad cards. Maybe I'm missing something obvious here. Any thoughts?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Blacker than the blackest black. Times infinity.

Sweet. Metalocalypse will have a song featured on Guitar Hero II.


In other news, the Rolling Stones canceled their Honolulu show, which really makes me mad.

All the other tour dates were rescheduled while Mick Jagger's delicate throat recovers, but not Honolulu. My guess is that they didn't sell enough tickets.


And now: A Hand Questionably Played

Two people ahead of me limp in a 3/6 NL 6-max game, I call one off the button with J9o, the button raises to $18, the blinds fold and everyone calls. Many times I would fold or raise J9o, but the table dynamics led me to call. Four people see a flop with a $79 pot.

Flop comes QT7 with two suited cards, giving me a vulnerable open-ended straight draw. The early position player bets $75, and I flat call. The two other players fold. I put my opponent on either a flush draw or top pair.

The turn pairs my Jack, giving me lots of potential outs that may or may not be good. The early position player checks, and I decide to put in a largish bet of $200, thinking I might get a fold.

Here's where the hand gets interesting. The other player check-raises me all in -- something I really should have thought about before I bet. His bet brought the pot to about $900, but I only needed to call $300.

I could be pretty sure I was behind, but getting 3:1 pot odds, I felt like I had to call with as many as 13 outs (8 for the straight and 5 for 2 pair).

The river brought a King, completing my straight! My opponent had T7 for a flopped two pair.

I ran the numbers later on twodimes.net, and I found that I was a 64-36 dog in the hand, meaning my call was justified. One question remaining is whether I should have bet the turn. I think it was OK to bet it given my read.


Oh October, how I will miss thee. It was my best month yet by far.

I'm just going to try to be careful in November after last year's Thanksgiving disaster, in which I got robbed while in the midst of a $6,000 downswing. Maybe I'm being silly and superstitious, but I don't want to go through that kind of bad run again.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Bodog + Pokertracker + Gametime = Money

I read somewhere about the DogWatch Handgrabber for Bodog and thought I'd give it a try. After all, the only thing that kept me from Bodog in the past was that I couldn't use PokerTracker with it, and this program finally would allow me to do that.

At first, trying to get DogWatch to work didn't go smoothly. I foolishly sat at a 3/6 NL table while I tried to get it to mine hands, but I didn't realize that the demo version of the software only worked on tables up to .05/.10 NL. That led to me blowing $300 when I hit the idiot end of a straight on the river. Boo.

Another problem I had was trying to get real-time stats overlaid on my tables, since PokerAce HUD doesn't yet support Bodog. But it didn't take me long to realize that the trusty (and free) Gametime+ alternative works just fine. I didn't find any mention of Gametime+ at all in the 2+2 thread, which at first made me think it wasn't compatible.

Here's how you get DogWatch set up to work on Bodog tables above $10:

1) Pay $19 for a registered version of the software.

2) In your Bodog client, under "Account & Preferences," make sure all the boxes under the "Game Details" tab are checked.

3) Click on the lightening bolt icon in PokerTracker and point it to your DogWatch hand history directory, which for me defaulted at C:\Program Files\DogWatch Handgrabber\HHData

4) Once you see that PokerTracker is collecting hands, use Gametime+ to select a player at one of your active tables, and stats should appear as normal. The players in Gametime+ will be listed with "(PTY)" next to their screen names because the hand histories are saved in PokerTracker in the Party Poker format.

5) You'll have to correctly align the overlaid stats to the players they match, but that's just common sense.

And there you go! You'll see all the 60 and 70 percenters that have been hiding out in the land without player tracking.

I've found the waters to be very fishy so far, but the software is kind of annoying. Sometimes it's difficult for me to keep track of the button and the previous action, but I'm sure I'll get used to it.


I got an e-mail from online payment processor Moneybookers yesterday saying they're closing shop for all gambling transactions with U.S. customers.

What wusses.

When I originally funded my Moneybookers account, I made a wire transfer to Germany to do so. Moneybookers also has some e-wallet business not associated with gambling, and no one knows whether federal regulators will put them on the list of banned Internet gambling sites as they form their rules over the next 200-something days.

I can understand shutting off your U.S. customer base once you know your business is prohibited, but doing so now seems premature. Maybe markets are efficient, but I haven't seen any evidence of it in response to the Internet gambling legislation.