Thursday, July 08, 2004

Initial Post

I am venturing into the new world of internet blogs. Please forgive me if I screw up any protocol that I am supposed to follow. I know not what I do.

I am starting this blog to document my quest to win a poker tournament at the local indian casino and eventually get good enough to enter the World Series of Poker.

I started playing poker a few years ago when the first Indian casinos opened here. I started with 1-4 7 card stud and was immediately hooked. Back when all my friends were single we started going 3 or 4 times a week. We used to jokingly wonder if we had a gambling problem. "It's not a problem if I'm winning, right?" Looking back, I 'm amazed I did as well as I did because I really knew nothing about strategy other than don't start with anything worse than a pair of Jacks or 3 to a straight or flush. Well eventually we got bored and I gave it up for a couple of years.

Then Rounders came out and got me interested all over again. I had never played Texas Hold'em but I wanted to learn. So I bought some cheap software and learned the basics. Then the WPT and the WSOP on ESPN became red hot and saw the ads on the shows for Party Poker. Com. I have always had some form on gambling account on the internet so I am one of the folks that actually trusts most of the gaming sites. I figured that since they could afford to advertise on a major tv show that they must be legitimate. I deposited $100 and started playing $.50 - $1.00 limit hold'em.

I have been moderately successful playing online. I have been profitable at every level and now usually play $2-$4. Once I got hooked, I read a bunch of books on poker and figured out the most successful strategy there is on online poker. Play tight, don't chase, and respect most raises. The number one weakness I have seen with my opponets is a lack of patience. They just cannot sit there and fold 20 hands in a row if they don't get the cards. They want the action. Eventually I want to build up my bankroll to play $5-$10 and average $20 an hour in profits. I have just over $500 in my online account right now and $1,700 in my cash stake at home. The rule of thumb seems to be 300 Big Bets for the size of a bankroll for the game you want to play. So I guess I am almost there.

Starting 14 days ago I started an amazing run. I played in a poker tournament organized by one of my friends at his house. The buy in was $120 with unlimited rebuys for the first hour for $100. There were very few good players in the group so I felt pretty confident. By the break I had tripled up and was in the top 5 of chip leaders. I added on for another $100 and ended up at the final table. I eventually got down to the final 4. My friend Allan was also there as well as two other guys that I had just met that night. I was convinced that Allan was the only other one of the final four that knew what he was doing. Allan was getting down in chips and I figured that he might start trying to steal the blinds when he was in position. Sure enough, a few hands later he moved all in from the button. I was on the big blind and to call would have been about 1/2 my stack. Since I knew I was already getting my money back in prize money plus it was getting late, I called. I seriously thought he was trying to steal. I turn over 4-5 suited and he has A-J. Oops! But I got lucky and hit a 4 on the flop and a 5 on the turn. I should have just been patient but I got stupid when one of the other players moved all in. I had A-J and called. He had KK. I got no help and came in 3rd. $500 was the prize so I netted $280.

The next morning I played my friend Billy in golf for the $75 I owed him on bets from the US Open. Billy used to be a few shots better than me but over the last 3 years I have been practicing hard and he spends most of his time working or taking care of his two kids. This year I have been just killing him on our golf bets. Now we are both 8 handicaps. We both shot 37 on the front nine and started slipping on the back. Well I bogey 17 to fall one shot back going into 18. The previous week, Billy had choked on 18 when he had a short pitch over a bunker to the green which he layed sod over and stubbed it into the bunker. This time he gets on the tee and announces, "I am not going to choke on 18 like I did last time". We both manage to get our balls in the fairway. Then Billy sends his approach shot dead right into the desert. The door is now open. I hit a mediocre shot that lands 10 yards short of the green but at least it's in play. Billy eventually makes double bogey and I have 15 feet left for par. I stroke the putt and it's good the whole way. Bang! Another $75 taken from Billy who I have taken to calling ATM. He always gives me money whenever I need it.

Then it was on to Vegas for my brother's bachelor party. Two days and nights at the Palms. It was the first time ever I have gone to Vegas and not had at least one losing session. I played poker, blackjack, and craps and won every single time. I finished up $450 for the weekend.

Then the best night was last Tuesday when I went to the indian casino. I sat down at the $4-$8 table and won my first 2 hands, so now it's a kill pot. That means the stakes double to $8 - $16 and I have to post $8. I am on the button also so I get dealt JJ. Amazingly it's raised twice before it gets to me. Normally I would 3 bet it but I wanted to see a flop. The flop comes J-10-2. Whoopee! There's a bet, then a raise before it gets to me, so I raise, and the initial better raises again all in. Everyone calls. From there they all check to me and I bet and get called on the Turn and the River. Nothing higher than a 10 came on the turn or river. I had the nuts the whole way through. The pot was over $300 when it was over. I continued the great run and took away over $700 in profit in one night of $4-$8. That's like winning the lottery. A great night at 4-8 is winning $100.

So then I decided it was time to start entering the $130 buy in tournaments at the indian casino close to where I work. I have quickly discovered that players in these tournaments are much better than the players in the 4-8 games. I have made the top 50 out of 150 in the last two I have entered. I am still trying to figure out the proper strategies for no limit versus limit. I will write down my thoughts as I go and see if I can figure it out.

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