Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Wow! Almost a month since the last update...

Well, where to begin...

Poker has been great. I have reached a personal goal. If you add up all the money I have spent on poker books, deposits and statisitcal tracking software, I am finally in the "green" since August 1st. One thing I have learned is discipline. I strictly play $2/$4 tables only and nothing else. No more testing higher limits, no-limit tables or Omaha. I am starting to multitable to keep things lively.

I had a great run at the $2/$4 tables on PartyPoker for the last month (although the last week I am down 25 BB). However, I am up over 275 BB which is now the highest ever in my fledgling poker career. I started at 40 BB so in around a month or so, I have had a huge upswing. I can expect the roller coaster to start soon. Actually I think I am in the midst of one right now. You know, top pair, top kicker losing to two pair, lower set losing to higher set, nut flush/straight draws not "rivering," KK or AA getting no multiway action, etc. I am starting to play a little tighter to combat the downswings.

All in all, my aggression is up. Still need to break 2.0 for Total Aggression but am sitting at 1.56 when not including pre-flop aggression. My pre-flop raising is now hovering at 6.42% and need to boost that to 9-10%.

Gonna play live poker for the first time soon. Not sure if I will like it too much since it's slower and I won't have HDTV to keep me occupied.

Speaking of HDTV, Lost has been amazing and CSI continues to kick ass (although CSI NYC is not keeping my attention the way Las Vegas and Miami do). With NFL in full swing and 4-6 games in HDTV every Sunday, I find myself playing poker on my laptop in front of the TV. Life really can't get any better. This also allows me to check my FFL stats as well.

And for the non-poker players, you must play X-Men Legends and/or Burnout 3. I am picking up Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (props to Jeff C. and Pickle). Don't let the ultra conservative press/government officials hate on your game. If half the journalists/politicians had the abililty to be creative vs. "preachy," maybe they could actually write stories/change policy that actually inspire vs. cause controversy.

Enough of the boring stuff. Let's end it with this F, Marry, Kill...Amanda Bynes, Lindsay Lohan, Hilary Duff.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Lost Rules!

Two posts in one day.

But for those that haven't watched it yet, you have to see Lost. ABC is airing the first two episodes this weekend.

There hasn't been a show this good in quite some time and if you have HDTV, the picture is mind-blowing. It's the best looking show on TV, surpassing CSI and all the other useless sitcoms.
As for the story itself, it downright draws you in and leaves you wanting more. The range of characters are superb and if the writers can create enough personalities so each week the overarching story can have intertwined sub-stories, the end result will be phenomenal.

Only if Lost was on HBO or Showtime, then we know it would last at least one full season. But with the pressure networks face with ratings and advertising, unless a show captures that influential 18-49 year old demographic, new programs that break new ground and are edgy (Freaks and Geeks, OZ, Arrested Development, Andy Richter Saves the Universe), we are left with crap like Joey.

Don't forget about The Wire either. Another high quality show that deserves more respect than it has.

Boo hiss to the KC Chiefs...

So, been a while since the last update or a "novel" as a friend put it =). Be sure to check out the blog of the newly promoted (congrats!) and Halo expert Che Chou.

No major poker updates which is probably good. I may test the .25/.50 No-Limit $25 dollar tables for fun this weekend.

Not a bad FFL week either. Had two wins and a lost. The lost was costly though as I dropped to second place in points and position. At least I have three of my starters back this week. Made a minor trade...Jimmy Smith for Aaron Stecker. With Deuce out for a bit, Aaron should get some carries and help alleviate some of the pressure from Brooks.

Speaking of Halo 2, be on the lookout for some great coverage in the coming months from the always influential video game community.

Special shout out to Mango, Frankie and Sketch of Bungie.net for their hospitality this past weekend. Let's just say they work on a game that people may have heard about.

But back to the topic at hand...I can no longer bet on the KC Chiefs...Three bets have resulted in three losses this year. I know they have defense but you would figure they can outscore the opposition like they did last year. Oh well, that's it. Can't afford to lose any more money on this team.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

And then Poker gods gave me a sign...

So, back again for another update on my poker life. I am too frustrated to update about my FFL teams so that will come in another update. However, Johner and Jeff are pissed at me because I purchsed the real-time stat tracking updates on Yahoo. I can't wait a day later for stats so I bought the upgrade during the third quarter of the Monday night football game between Minnesota and Philly. This really irked them. It's kinda of funny. So, I think I will call and email them all day Sunday with "real-time" tracking just to irritate the hell out of them.

I am aslo happy because the new television season is in full gear which means some quality HDTV programming is back. Forget about "Must See TV on NBC" on Thursday nights...it's about CSI (Vegas, Miami and now NYC), The Shield (starts again next year), Nip/Tuck, Reno 911! (season finale this week), Rescue Me, The Wire (season three just kicked off), Without a Trace and a surprisingly good pilot of Lost.

Back to our regulary scheduled poker program (we left off as me losing money and a table image of weak/tight). I proceeded to go back and read the basics and apply a somewhat less weak strategy and apply aggressive tactics. I learned new things each day and with the help of PokerTracker, Two Plus Two, PokerOffice and my growing poker ibrary, I improved my table image to a "rock" (tight hand-selection, passive pre-flop, passive post-flop), after a month or two of play. My immediate problems surfaced which is a good thing, I think. I played too weakly pre and post-flop. I had no problem with my starting hand selections but my nature to "call" instead of raising or folding on the flop, turn or river marked me as weak player. I then made the decision to buckle down and focus on pre/post flop aggressiveness.

The full ring tables were kicking my ass to due to river "chasers." Combine that with my weak play, produced sub-par results. I needed something new. Something clicked in my head. I decided to try shorthanded play (five to six players max). OMG! This is what I now call fun poker. The sheer amount of hands and quick play (I play the fast time tables) were what I needed all along.

I know it's an anomoly but I had the biggest winning weekend of poker ever (over 100 BB for three days). I also learned a bunch of things I didn't quite apply on full ring tables due to my lack of confidence. I was able to play more aggressively (and feel I played "smarter"), protect my blinds, checkraise more on the flop and turn, pre-flop raise more (my p/f raise on full ring was 4.8% percent). I have now doubled my pre-flop and post-flop raise percentage (considering I raise a lot more since less people are playing and that was expected) but mentally I feel stronger with these raises.

I imported last weekend's and this week's stats in Poker Tracker and although it's a smaller sample (only 1.4k vs. 10k on full ring), I just feel better about how I am playing. It's not so much with winning but it's the things I am learning. Shorthanded play has taught me to be more aggressive, defend more and sum up a situation quicker. I have no idea why I couldn't apply these techniques in full ring play. Maybe it's just me and "winning" is blocking out the negatives (clouding my vision) but I want to believe I am starting to go from fish to newbie =).

Coming soon...FFL updates (it's been trade rumor central), the positives of consistent betting versus betting big on the late games to make up for early morning losses and movies that cause emotions.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Long time lurker, first time poster...

So 2004 is almost over and blogs are the "happening" thing. I have finally decided to give it a whirl. Considering I have an addictive nature, I hope this doesn't consume me like other things have.

Let's go down that list...MMORPG's (EQ and WoW), home theater (HDTV > all), video and PC games, fantasy football, NFL and NCAA handicapping and now Poker. Poker is like all of these hobbies mixed together and amplified by 100. Imagine combining the strategy of online PVP, the thrills of outplaying single or multiple people and making money at the same time. Can it get any better than that?

Before we get into Poker, can we talk about the slew of injuries that have plagued the NFL? Not only does it suck to see quality players go down, but ultimately thousands upon thousands of FFL players have to completely rescrap their teams for multiple weeks to keep winning or losing as is the case for one of my teams; I am in four leagues all together.

Let's see, this week I must replace Deuce and Maddox on one team, while finding second to third string starters since three of my guys are on a bye. If I score 50 points this weekend, it will be a miracle. Now, my other FFL team, I have Portis, Taylor, T. Jones and C. Brown all on one team. History shows to start Portis and Taylor and while Portis had a good first week, the second week sucked for the both of them. Imagine ending week two and having two of your bench players score quadruple of what your starters did. This won't happen all the time, but I will give my starters one more week. Also, this league, no one will trade. Here I have two great number two RB's and no one will trade a two for one (I could use a WR or QB upgrade). I swear, I should just collude with a friend and make a ton of money =).

Now for the only thing America seems to care about (not the election, not the cost of gas, not the NL West playoff race, not Joey) but...Poker. What can I say? Never really got into it as a "hobby" but after getting involved (in a legal manner), I have found my new form of "EverCrack." Let's just say all poker players start as fish, myself included, but eventually our goal is to become a shark. So, because of my obessive compulsive, addictive nature, I had to read about Poker before actually playing for real money.

Thanks to the advice at Two Plus Two, I purchased a The Theory of Poker (TOP) by David Sklansky, Winning Low Limit Poker (WLLH) by Lee Jones, Small Stakes Holdem (SSH) by Ed Miller, Holdem Poker for Advanced Players (HPFAP) by David Sklansky and Mason Malmuth and Internet Texas Holdem (ITH) by Matthew Hilger.

I recommend each book and would suggest reading them in a better order then I did. I would say, ITH (or WLLH), SSH, TOP then HPFAP. Some would suggest you read TOP before SSH but I personally like to know more strategies, stats, etc. before getting into the theories. But don't take my word for it as I only have about 11,500 logged hands and slightly below profit.

Too bad all the reading in the world didn't help me prepare for newbie-itis. I deposited money and before I before I knew it, it disappeared into thin air, just like the Chargers' playoff hopes. However, I knew I sucked so this setback only made me want to play better.

Well, that's more than enough for a first time post. Stay tuned for updates of my poker "career" as well as thoughts on the video and PC game industry, home theater, sports handicapping and FFL.