Thursday, August 30, 2007

Puter Tilt

I actually made it to the Monkey this past Tuesday night. Due to projects at work I had not been making it out there much this month, so it was going to be nice to be back.

About 15 min before game time I powered up the PC. It pretty much insta-freezes during the Windows load forcing me to do a hard reboot. That should have been my first clue. When it came back up, it took about ten minutes to load everything before I could fire up Stars. That was clue number two. It seemed as if Stars was taking about a month to load as well, then I noticed that my virus scanner was running and using up about 270% of the puters resources, so I shut it down. Once Stars finished loading, I noticed that the virus scanner had frozen in the background while it was shutting down. Clue number three.

With about two minutes to spare, I managed to get myself signed up for the Monkey. Moments later the table pops up, I can hear the whir of cards being dealt, but oddly enough I can see no cards. I hear blinds being posted, bets being made, and my table is still 100% card free. I hear the beep that lets me know that it’s my turn to act and then about five seconds later my screen refreshes and I can see my cards and the action to date. I fold the junk I was give and sit back. My cards are still on the screen in front of me, I hear the buzz of “You have 15 seconds to act.” Finally my hand gets folded. Rinse, wash, repeat. Three times. I figure people must be getting annoyed with me in much the same way that I am getting annoyed with ye old PC. I contemplate reprogramming it with a hammer when I notice that the screen hasn’t changed for a bit. Then the “Network Connection Lost” box pops up as it tries to reconnect. Until the PC freezes again and I get to reboot again.

The puter must be getting warmed up now, cause it only took eight minutes to go from reset to logging back into Stars. Only to see my AQo in mid/late position insta-mucked for me. Obviously the PC felt bad for that so it tried to make it all better by spontaneously rebooting for me.

I take a deep breath, get it all back up and running and see a perty AKs when I get back. I attempt to make 4BB raise, but now have that annoying system lag again. I try to enter the bet again and when something finally goes thru, I had somehow managed to put in all but 30 of my chips. I don’t recall who it was (possibly Smokey) but someone called me. Two more hearts on the flop, I got put all-in for my last 30 chips as my opponent flopped a set, but no more hearts for me and the board paired so my busted flush went down to a boat. I said my gg’s and gl’s and then ripped the power cord out of the socked to give the PC the shutdown it had earned.

This weekend—say it with me—Format the HDD’s and reinstall!! Thank the gods that it’s a long weekend!

If you actually made it this far, go check out the Bloglines Beta! They have been long overdue for an update and my-oh-my is it sweet!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Late Nite Monday=Missed Monkey Tuesday

So sad, missed last night’s Monkey Tourney, no good reason, just a late day at work, get home exhausted, grab a bite for dinner, then promptly fall asleep on the couch before signing up for the game. Oh well, such things happen, so it will have to be next week all.

The reason for the exhaustion you ask? Well it may have had something to do with me staying up until 12:30 am playing in one of the local bar freeroll games. I love these freerolls, not so much for the play (most of which is terrible) but rather for the massive amounts of free drinks one can consume.

Free drinks you ask? Well our little freeroll tourney is actually a re-buy tourney. It’s free to sit down and play, but if you bust out and wish to get back in the game all you need to do is yell out “buying a round” and get everyone at your table a drink. I get very drunk. Actually the re-buy period ends after the fifth blind level is over, gives you a chance to sober up some before the drive home. The games typically last 4.5-5 hours and re-buys can be done during the first two hours. I always plan to be there in the game for at least two and a half hours.

These games are actually a challenge to win. You will see plenty of absolutely horrible plays and suck-out’s a plenty because it’s “free poker” (says the guy who just did his fourth re-buy of the night). It is just far too common to have four people go to showdown, so you all know how tough it can be to win a pot. The blinds are pretty brutal too. They go 10/20, 20/40 and 50/100. After that, just add a zero and repeat the cycle. Oh, and each level is 25 minutes long.

Anyways, after nursing my short stack for most of the night, I somehow ended up at the final table. I never quite understood this, but is seems that final table=forget how to play. Final tables usually go very quickly from nine players down to three. There seems to be only three ways to play. There is the ‘raise, call, call, all-in’ pre-flop or post-flop, the ‘raise, re-raise, all-in,’ and of course the all-in with atc for the shorties. It seems almost magical, but you can be assured that if there is a raise with two callers there will be an all-in somewhere down the line and the re-raise is an all-in magnet. Knowing that magical formula allowed me to take out five players just by saying ‘re-raise’ knowing that at least one person would be going all-in.

The guy I played heads-up with told us that he had never actually won one of these games before even though he had been heads-up several times before. It didn’t take long to find out why. He folded way too many on his small blind, folded way too often to any raise, and would never go to showdown without at least a pair. He won one huge pot off me early on when he hit a set to my TPTK, leaving me a 10:1 underdog, but thanks to his weak-passive play it didn’t even take me 20 minutes to eventually take him down to the felt. And the beautiful thing was when he was down to his last three chips he said “Well, I gotta do this sooner or later,” and threw them in, I said call without even looking at my cards. He showed AQo, and me, I flipped over the almighty hammer! With the board scattered all over the place, that two on the river allowed me to help him keep his record of never winning a tourney and also losing one to what some misguided souls call the worst hand in poker. So with $50 in my pocket for winning the freeroll I took him and the TD over to bar and bought us all a nice well-deserved drink.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Monkey Around

Well it has been a bit since I scribbled here last so I figured I could take a moment a post. Nothing new to report. Man that was easy!!

The job search continues to go slow, several hits on the resume, lot’s of phone interviews, a few live ones, but nothing leading to an offer thus far. The temp jobs are not too bad; I’m getting paid about the same as my last job, but sadly no benefits at this time. If I remember correctly, you need to work at least 1,000 hours in a nine-month period to qualify or something crazy like that.

As for the poker front, haven’t been playing much online at all, just the tourney formally know as the Wheaties (WWdN), now know as The Monkey Tourney. It fills the spot nicely but is quite a bit smaller with only 20 or so players and usually about 16 showing up on any one night. Still Tuesday night on PokerStars, still starts at 8:30 pm ET, still only $10+1, and yes, the password is still Monkey. I also have started a nice little Monkey Hammer web album, so far they are coming in slow, but then again it takes a bit to get used to taking screen caps.

Last nights game was kind of fun in a different way for me, I actually got to play host. As you all know, playing host carries with it enormous responsibility. Keeping track of who takes out the bounties so next weeks games are named and set up properly and doing the write-up for the website. Having never done the write up before, my fellow players advised me that it should either be funny or ghey. I think I may well found a good balance between the two. Here is my favorite excerpt from The Monkey Tourney website write up that I did, inspired by all the stories and news clips going on over that baseball homerun record thingy. It is virtually all a lie, except for the part that is true:

In all, it was an excellent game, but not without controversy. After playing a record breaking 756 hands, 65 pony boy took down the game. But this event has been overshadowed by rumors and allegations that pony boy had been using performance enhancing substances, namely ginseng (for energy and stamina) and ginkgo biloba (a memory enhancer).

Listening to ‘the man on the street,’ the prevailing opinion is, “It looks like poker has finally got its wish. It will now be viewed as a sport, performance enhancing drugs and all, just like cycling and the Tour d’ France.”

According to officials, Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), who introduced H.R. 4777, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act into the SAFE Ports Act at the last moment in 2006, will be requesting hearings into this matter on Capitol Hill when Congress returns from its August recess.

So what do you think, funny, ghey, or both?

Outside of the Monkey, the rest of my poker has been live in the bar games. I have been doing much better in side games that develop after the freeroll tourney has completed. I had been getting worried about my cash game because for quite sometime, I was feeling lucky if I just broke even. Then I had that moment of clarity, I realized that because I was worried about the job situation and the tightness of the funds, I was too afraid to lose anything in the cash game, and my game suffered. Once I realized that, I just pretty much gave up on the cash games.

Now that I have been working assignment regularly for awhile now, I am much more comfortable. Nowadays when I sit at these (low buy-in) cash games I typically cash out two or three buy-ins up, so I can feel good about that. Once I have a ‘real’ job I can get back to setting up and building a bankroll for the live games and move to one of the big games in town.

For the bar games, the buy-in is quite low and quite light based on the game. Buy-ins are $20-$40 and the game is $0.50/$1.00 NLHE, usually 8 max due to the size of the tables and the traffic in the room. It’s a bit whacked, I know, but it is run in a bar, so most people are playing with either a real good buzz or are smashed, the place is full of other drunken people, and we also want to keep it friendly. Still, buy the end of the night there is typically between $300 and $700 on the table.

With a bit of luck, one day soon I’ll be back into full bankroll management/development mode and not just playing with that little bit left over from last week mode.