Friday, June 30, 2006

Screw June!

June was a bit of an up and down month for me. The first three weeks were up and the last week was down. Three quarters of the way through June it was shaping up to be a banner month as my poker winnings were hovering around $350. The final week brought a drop of $285 or so, the bulk of which came from getting beaten to a pulp on the $1/$2 tables at Party. Despite June being my worst month in 2006, at least I was in the black and booked winnings of $64.

Winnings and (losses) by poker site were:
BetFred +$4
Golden Riviera +$52
Ladbrokes (-$27)
Paradise (-$59)
Party +$154
Poker Stars (-$60)

While I had a rough time with winnings, I did manage to have a pretty solid month when it came to bonuses, racking up $749 even though I didn't hunt down any bonuses in the last half of the month. This is a bit of an inflated figure as the vast majority of the work done on the BetFred and Stars bonuses was done in April and May and both were cleared in the very first couple days of June.

Bonuses by site were:
BetFred - $265
Golden Riviera - $50
Ladbrokes - $214
Party - $100
Poker Stars - $120

I took my first shot at casino bonuses in June and the few I tried went fairly well. I ended up making $432 after clearing bonuses totalling $500.
Bet365 - $225
Intercasino - $70
Planetluck - $53
Starluck - $84

Given all the bonuses I made and the fact that I at least turned a small profit on poker play, I should probably withdraw my Screw June comment. I doubt the month will be terribly offended though, so perhaps I'll let it stand. I certainly wish I had performed better with my poker play and especially with the shots at $1/$2 but it could have gone a lot worse, so I shouldn't complain too much. Hopefully the downward trend turns itself around in July.

I have company in town for the long weekend to celebrate Canada Day so I don't anticipate getting much, if any, poker in this weekend. A little break will probably do me some good.

Good luck to all in July!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Popping my Mookie Cherry

After running Empire's free $15 into the ground when my fullhouse bumped into quads and a flopped two pair ran into...I don't remember what, but it was bigger than two pair, I headed over to donate $10 to the Mookie. I haven't hopped into any of the blogger tourneys before because I am a total tourney donk who rarely plays no limit. Maybe not quite true as I do play NL SNG's at times but anything more than 1 table usually just spells donation for me. Plus these things are at outrageously high buy-ins of $10!! Holy crap, how can they afford that every week!?

It turned out to be a nice break from losing piles of money at 6-max limit, despite a reasonably poor showing, making my exit in 21st out of the 55 entrants. In my final hand there was a 5xBB raise from WLD in early position. As he hesitated 2.4 seconds before betting and put out such a large raise, I was certain he was playing 72o because the 2.4 second pause is a total online tell that I can count on every time. So, I pushed all in with my QQ, which didn't quite double the bet, only to cringe when CC (or his bot) pushed his monster stack with what turned out to be AK and WLD called his remaining stack with 72. The flop brought an A and a K, the turn filled the boat and the fat lady started wailing. I have much to learn about no limit and how to properly play the crazy hammer.

My huge pile of chips (which amounted to 1 round of blinds by the final two) certainly helped push CC to a second place finish. I expect to see my $1.74 cut show up in my Poker Stars account any minute now.

Anyway, it was much fun and a very refreshing change of pace. I'll have to make a point of donating again sometime in the near future.

Afterwards I limped back to Party and played a little $0.50/$1.00 6 max before bed, starting out my next heater with a big win of $3.

There is another donation opportunity tonight as the DADI 7 runs at 9 on Poker Stars, but I doubt I will be home on time as there is a send off tonight for someone from the office.

I hate html and will never post links again.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A New Record

By racking up a single night loss of just over $148, I have managed to set a new record for amount of money lost at poker in a single day. Woot! I don't think I played quite as poorly as the results would indicate but I haven't reviewed the session at all, so the possibility definitely exists. The few times I didn't get dealt complete garbage or completely whiffed on the flop, I ran some big second best hands into some monsters and could have lost more in the process. Lots of people got added to my buddy list again. The past week has been nasty as I undergo a market correction of sorts, bringing my $1/$2 win rate back down to earth, hovering around 2.5BB/100 after losing $250 in the last several days.

So, June is shaping up to be my worst poker month for results to date. If I finish out the next few days like the last week has gone, I still have time to book a loss - which I have no intention of doing. On the bright side, there is nothing like experiencing losses to help get over the trauma of losing. I am becoming increasingly immune to feeling like utter garbage after big losing nights. Sorta. Looking back at net winnings plus lots of sweet sweet bonuses helps too.

Anyway, I may hit up another casino tonight, or I might hop right back on the $1/$2 horse. We'll see.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Monday Rebound?

Well, it wasn't a huge rebound but I did manage to post a small win of $14 over the course of a little more than 200 hands for the night. Had I been playing $0.05/$0.10 this would have been an awesome showing. At $1/$2 it is slightly less impressive, but I will take a win any day of the week. Especially Wednesdays and Thursdays.

I stuck to one table all night and was very diligent about taking notes. I came across one player tonight with a note that I had made sometime in the past. Apparently I was not being quite so diligent at that time as this note didn't tell me much, other than this person likely sucked out on me. At least that is my best guess as "retarded shitcake" didn't really convey a whole lot of useful information, nor was it terribly PC. I hope it at least felt good to write it at the time.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

I played three sessions at $1/$2 yesterday and ended up with a little bit of everything.

In the first session I was up $69 over the course of 304 hands. In the second session I was down $117 over the course of 382 hands. In the final session I played 653 hands, went up $50 early and then fizzled back down to even to end the day at a loss of $48.

I put on a clinic on how to check the river when ahead and put money in when behind, it was uncanny. One of the weaknesses of my game that I complain about is my mental fortitude in handling losses, so I was quite pleased to get some additional practice in this department. I need every bit of experience I can get and can't wait to lose again!

My foray into $1/$2 is going very well despite the losses over the weekend. Previously I was on a bit of a hot streak and unfortunately those come to an end eventually. I hope to start a new heater tonight.

Do you ever feel like a certain night is your lucky night and on others you just can't win? For me, Friday night always feels like a great night to play and I seem to get destroyed on Thurday nights. Well, I was messing around with check your bets and came across this interesting tidbit...

Win/(Loss) by day of the week:
Sunday $147
Monday $392
Tuesday $282
Wednesday (-$186)
Thursday (-$103)
Friday $200
Saturday $465

Apparently Saturday is my big day and Wednesdays are beating the crap out of me. Thursdays are doing a decent job of smacking me around too. If I only played on Saturdays and Mondays I would be a zillionaire, no doubt.

So, thank goodness it is Monday, my second best poker day of the week. Ship it!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Casino Bonuses

Friday night I was struck with the urge (read: too drunk to play poker) to play a couple more casinos for their welcome bonuses. By Saturday afternoon I had an additional $295 en route to my neteller account. It could have been more but I stuck around at both casinos and played beyond the minimum wagering requirements and left small balances behind at both to just mess around with. These bonuses seem to be so lucrative, I do not want to dissuade the casinos from offering them by buggering off after the bare minimum of wagering is done. Not that my actions will make much difference either way, but it probably isn't a bad idea to keep my name off of any ban lists.

The first casino I signed up for was bet365 casino, which runs on playtech software. Of the limited experience I have with online casinos so far, this was by far the best. Their customer service was excellent, they offer a 100% to $200 bonus, I loved the software and to top it off, you can play pontoon, which is a blast and offers slightly less house advantage than blackjack. The fact that I actually finished up $25 on play in addition to the $200 bonus didn't hurt my opinion either I'm sure.

The other I signed up for was intercasino, which is one of the cryptologic casinos and apparently offers a monthly reload bonus as well. I did not like the software as much as playtech's but it was still better than my previous experiences with Starluck and Planetluck. I lost $30 on play while clearing this bonus which left me up $70 for the short stay.

So, in approximately 6 hours of play, I walked away up $295, which is the equivalent of a really good month of poker winnings for me. I can't decide whether this is great or disgusting. Either way, my bankroll likes it.


Though I hate BetFred with a passion and have had nothing but bad luck there, I refuse to withdraw my funds until I break even on play. With bonuses factored in I am up almost $200 but I am a net loser on play alone. I paid a little visit to BetFred yesterday to whittle down that loss but ended up just adding another $30 to it instead. I truly believe I was playing my regular game but there is a huge possibility my play was impacted by the fact that I was only playing there to post a win. I can be an idiot sometimes. I WILL defeat that place eventually though!

A little later in the evening I wandered over to Poker Stars to try my luck in one of their 180 person $4.40 tourneys. After a couple hours of mainly folding garbage I managed to make my exit in 32nd when I pushed my AQo over top of Mister Super Loose and Super Aggressive's preflop raise with QQ. He was supposed to be making one of his regular moves with something like 86s at the time. All in all, a reasonably poor play on my part. C'est la vie.

Even later, I wandered over to Party to try out a 15BB challenge. I sat at a $0.50/$1.00 table with $15 and was going to move up to $1/$2 as soon as I reached $30. Instead, I reached $3 then reloaded because the table was so juicy and eventually finished down $19. So much for the 15BB challenge.

Casinos +$295, Poker (-$52)

Friday, June 23, 2006


The office crew was out for some drinks and munchies, then off to a triple A baseball game for drinks and more munchies, then off to my place for more drinks. Everyone cleared out before midnight and I was left with some time on my hands while I waited for my girlfriend to crawl in from a night out with the girls. I suppose that going to bed at a decent hour should have been an option as well but that only seems like an attractive option the next morning for some reason. I wanted to play a tourney but I couldn't commit to much more than an hour of play, so I settled for my usual 6-max limit at Party.

I was not roaring drunk but I certainly wasn't sober either, and I figured I should just stick to one table of $0.50/$1 so that I couldn't do too much damage to myself. I posted in the big blind and started out right away with great cards getting dealt AQo and catching an Ace and Queen on the flop. It was looking like a great start until the one player who stuck around after the flop caught runner-runner with his 75o to make a straight. Cool trick! I chuckled and carried on and eventually posted a small win on that table. At some point I broke both of my rules and opened a second table of $1/$2. Fortunately, I got smacked in the face with the deck on that table and finished up $56 in half an hour or so before trading that table in for another $0.50/$1 table to tinker around on for another half hour with a small win, for a total of +$67 on the night.

My girlfriend arrived home as I was watching one of my "buddies" play on a $5/$10 table. I figure that timing may have saved me a few hundred dollars as I was really tempted to sit in. By "really tempted" I actually mean that I very briefly considered plunking down a few hundred dollars on that table for a shot before very quickly dismissing the idea as incredibly stupid. It may be time for a 15 or 20x BB challenge though. The last time I tried this I think I did it with 15 BB's, starting with $7.50 at my regular limit of 0.25/0.50 and moving up when I had 15 BB's for the next limit. I didn't make it far, maybe only to $1/$2, but was fun and a pretty low risk way to take a shot at some higher limits.

Very Brief Entry

Drank, played, won.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Dream Tables

Despite having dream tables all night, I still managed to lose $46 or so at Party $1/$2 6-max. I had position on loose passive players for much of the night. In typical fashion, they were playing all kinds of junk hands and hitting all over the place. This was only a minor factor in the loss as the bulk of it was really due to poor decisions on my part. In my experience, a turn check-raise from a passive player often means they have something worthwhile as opposed to them trying to bluff me off my hand. Well experience be damned, I just wasn't going to be pushed around tonight. Brilliant plan. Please take more of my money. Thank you, come again.

Of course, there were the standard bad beats included in there and I was card dead for much of the night, but in the end, I could have lost much less with better play. A shorter session would have helped too.

On the bright side I have a lot of new buddies on my list. Mind you, I am probably on theirs now too. D'oh!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Table Hopping

My poker pysche sucks. I don't know how people play this game for a living. Just a couple losing nights makes me start questioning my poker "abilities". I use that word loosely, because I am very confident that I know enough about poker to know that there is a whole lot I don't know yet. I have been playing for seven months now and with the exception of the 2nd month, I have been in the black. For each of the past five months in a row I have increased my wins over the prior month. I originally deposited $200, have never needed to replenish it and have grown my online bankroll to over $6K (though I did deposit additional amounts to take advantage of bonuses in the early going). Bonuses make up the vast majority of that growth though, but winnings have been steadily increasing and are just under $1,300 to date. So, overall, I am doing fairly well, but I am still very very cautious.

I figure that I am only doing well because I play at baby limits with total beginners. However, whenever I do finally prod myself to move up, I find more people who play like total beginners, so perhaps all is not lost. At what point does one consider themselves to truly be a winning player? It takes a ridiculously long time for true winning rates to converge and the vast majority of poker players are losing players, so I hesitate to think of myself as a winning player yet. I am content to be a player who has won so far though.

My greatest weakness at poker is my lack of guts and the mental fortitude to handle big losses. This will keep me from moving up quickly through the stakes and will cause me to take up camp at a low comfortable level of play, stifling my potential for growth. I will not make a fortune playing poker. The flipside of this weakness is that one of my better strengths is my bankroll management (alternatively called "being a pansy with my winnings") which if it continues means my risk of going el busto should be pretty damn low. I have no problem moving down in stakes, my issues lie with moving up.

When mentioning weaknesses, I should probably include my lack of time devoted to study of the game too. That more than anything else is probably slowing me down as it would contribute greatly to adding the confidence to move up. I rarely review my sessions which leads to me rarely posting questionable hands on 2+2. I do read 2+2 a fair amount, which helps a bit but I haven't done much reading of books other than a couple readings of SSHE and I am slowly making my way through TOP right now. My desire to play for fun is apparently greater than my desire to improve. I hate losing and love winning, so perhaps my overall enjoyment factor could be increased by devoting some more time to study and a little less to playing. I'll have to ponder that one a bit.


Anyway, no clue where all that came from, I really just meant to post last nights 6-max limit results, which included a lot of table hopping. I was a bit jumpy after a couple poor sessions and was quick to leave tables if I didn't like the look of them. This caused me to play at 5 tables over the course of a couple hours. Usually I am too lazy to search out better tables but it is something I should do more often. I originally sat at a $1/$2 6-max table but it was a very brief stay as it quickly dropped to three players, leaving me up $20. I then followed a buddy to a $0.50/$1.00 table and made a whopping $0.50 there over the next 15 minutes before my buddy left. And on it went through the next few tables as well, with me packing up and shipping out whenever the remaining players were either too tight, too aggressive or too few. When all was said and done, I was up $46 for the night.

In other news, Bravo Canada apparently doesn't carry Queer Eye, so I missed the Ed Miller episode.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Stormy Session in Paradise

I played some $0.50/$1.00 6-max limit at BetFred for a while last night and ended up around $10. Then I headed over to Paradise for some more $0.50/$1.00 on full ring tables which started out short-handed. I stayed up far too late trying to dig out of the hole and almost managed to do so, but dug a nice deep pit in the last hour to finish somewhere in the neighborhood of $60 down. Blech.

Catch Ed Miller on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy tonight.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Poker Stars

I deposited $600 at Stars in order to take advantage of their $120 reload bonus. At the limits I play there, I expect this bonus will take me quite some time as I need something like 280 SNG's to clear it.

I played a few SNG's, a $3 tourney and a $4, 180 person tourney last night. In the SNG's I finished 5th, 4th and 3rd to continue my craptastic June showing with SNG's. I have hardly played any though, so no big deal either way. In the $4 tourney I got knocked out on the first hand I got involved with when my KK turned a set and I had one person come along for the ride on a flush draw which hit on the river. In the $3 tourney I made my tourney fee back plus a whopping additional $1 per hour when I finished 161st out of the 1,500 or so.

Today feels like a real Monday as I am feeling the cumulative affect of the prior three days of golf and partying. I golfed like crap, breaking ninety on only one of the three rounds. Ironically, I played my best golf with my worst hangover. We had a great time though and I'm looking forward to doing it again.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Tilt Alert

Wednesday Night Summary

Party Poker $1/$2 6-max Limit
2 hours played, single table

What a swingy session. I was up, I was down, I was back up, back down, back up, way down. I went out with a bang rather than the usual wimper when I flopped a set against a bigger turned set and spewed the whole way to the river to end with a nice even $0 on the table. I had a turned fullhouse run into a rivered larger full house along the way that sent me on a downward skid. There were lots of strange suck outs by people playing garbage cards and I generally played awful, calling far too much and paying off all over the place. The highlight of my night was a misclick river call with Ace high that stood up.

I head out for three days of golf and three nights of fun after work finishes today. The weather is looking like it will be nice, so I am expecting a good time. No online poker for me until Sunday night although it is possible that we might play a little live poker while we are away.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Small Party Session

Tuesday Night Summary

Party Poker $1/$2 6-max Limit
97 hands, single tabling

I was running around last night, getting ready for a golf trip this weekend which didn't leave me much time for poker. I did get a bit of play in just before heading to bed though. For the first time ever, I actually used my Buddy List. There was only one guy playing who was on my list and I had played with him quite recently. Funny enough, when I joined the waiting list for his table I also recognized a solid player who I had played with at the same time as this buddy before. So, it looks like I'm not the only one following him around. After a bit of a wait I got a great seat that put my buddy two seats to my right.

This guy was generally very loose pre-flop and pretty passive post-flop. At one point it was four handed and I raised under the gun with KJo, the solid player on the button 3-bet, my buddy called from the small blind and the big blind folded. The flop came 3K3 rainbow and my buddy bet out, I raised, the button folded and my buddy called. The turn brough a ten to complete the rainbow and again my buddy bet out, I raised him and he re-raised, which put me into call down mode as for this guy to show aggression could mean I was beat but he played such awful cards there was no way I was not seeing a show down with such a large pot. An ace came on the river, my buddy bet out and I called expecting to be shown a 63o or maybe A3o. The pot shipped my way and he showed 92o. I don't understand his play on any street but the end result sure made for a nice hand for me. He left the table after the next hand. The solid player I also recognized left as soon as my buddy left. I think I am going to have to do this buddy list thing more often.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Tourney Donk

I wrote a huge boring post about a $4, 180 person tourney I played last night and then managed to somehow close IE before posting. That is kind of how the tourney went too!

I built up a nice stack and hovered around 2nd to 5th just as the last person bubbled. I had a huge brain fart and got involved with a hand I shouldn't have been in which ended up costing me 2/3 of my stack. I got chewed on by blinds for an orbit or two and had to push any two from the big blind where I caught AK but got outdrawn by 92s when a 2 came on the river. The SB was a huge stack so my 3xBB push wasn't looking all that intimidating and my pushing range was any two cards, so I wasn't terribly surprised with the call and I got knocked out in 10th, one person away from the final table.

I was left with mixed emotions after the tourney as I actually made it much further than I had expected to, which was nice. Going from a good sized stack to short stacked on such a stupid play so late in the game was a little distressing however and the overall emotion I was left with was frustration and anger at myself. Hopefully I learned something along the way. The frustration is long gone and I am just glad to know that I can make it somewhat deep in a baby tourney. Next time I play a speculative hand and tell myself to hit the flop big or get out, I'll get out when I don't hit it big. Maybe.

Along the way I cleared the Ladbrokes $100+$50+$50 bonus while losing $25 on play there. That site could use some more traffic but otherwise it was okay.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

BetFred Punts me Again, Party Delivers

I wandered back to BetFred to play some $1/$2 6-max to clear my loss there before cashing out. Ms. Variance had other plans for me however and I dropped $50 there before calling it a night. There was one guy at the table who was pretty much hitting everything and that is where most of my money ended up. He was playing virtually any two cards and kept on catching. I didn't help myself any by paying off a couple times when I thought I was probably beat. No big deal anyway as it had been a pretty solid day for poker and I was still up a bit.

After getting kicked around at BetFred I decided to go try some more $1/$2 at Party. The first table I sat at cleared out in 20 minutes leaving me up $16. I loaded up another table and became "that guy". I went on the sickest hour long run of cards I have ever gone on. I was picking up great hand after great hand and I was hitting flops all over the place. The few times I was behind on the flop or turn, I caught the card I needed on the turn or river. Others were catching good hands at the same time so I was getting paid off time after time. I spent an hour at that table and was up $125.

That session pushed my Party winnings over $1k and makes me wonder why I bother playing anywhere else as something like 80% of all my winnings are from Party.

I cleared the Planetluck casino wagering requirements today apparently. This one didn't go quite as well as Starluck, leaving me with a loss of $48 on gameplay for a total gain on the bonus of $52. Not a shabby day at all with two casino bonuses clearing plus two poker site bonuses clearing on top of some nice poker winnings.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

More bonuses

Saturday Afternoon Summary

Party Poker $1/$2 6-max Limit
963 hands played, 2 tabling

I got in some good poker this afternoon while finishing up the Party reload bonus, which is done and in my account. More important than the bonus being cleared was the winnings that came with it. In the time it took to clear the $100 bonus at Party I won $199 while I was at it. This was a nice successful little foray into the big scary land of 1/2. The flipside of variance is lurking around out there somewhere of course but I'm enjoying this side of things for now.

I also managed to get the $50 Golden Riviera bonus credited to my account. The fourth email was the lucky one that finally worked.

While I was playing poker I finished off the Starluck casino bonus as well. Once I confirm that I have wagered enough I will withdraw the $184 that is still there. I only lost $16 on blackjack while clearing, so except for some of the headaches that came with doing this bonus, it really wasn't all that bad. $84 for a few hours of playing blackjack isn't terrible. I'll finish up the planetluck one and see how that comes out. I may try a couple more afterwards but these two are two of the very easiest to clear, so I am not certain one way or the other at this point.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Fun with Limit SNG's

Friday Night Summary

Party Poker $1/$2 6-max Limit
1 hour played, 1 table

Early in the evening Thursday night while I was depositing at Party, updating their software and registering at Ladbrokes my girlfriend was playing a couple $5+$1 Limit hold 'em SNG's, one on Party and one on Paradise. I have no idea why she likes to play one from each site at the same time as they have different starting chips, blind levels, etc, but I haven't bothered questioning the practice. At some point, her stomach must have reached the breaking point as she jumped up to go to the kitchen to make some supper and asked me to finish her two SNG's. I was about to get started on clearing the Party bonus but playing out a couple SNG's while she made supper seemed like a pretty damned good deal to me, so I obliged.

I hadn't played a limit hold 'em SNG before and wasn't sure exactly what the optimal strategy was, so I just played fairly tight in the early going. When she handed off the two SNG's they were both in the 3rd level or so and both of her stacks were average. For the most part I didn't mix it up with anyone but did get involved in a few hands. It really doesn't take many raises to get a rather large portion of your stack in the middle, fortunately the hands held up. Slowly people started disappearing and once both SNG's were down to 6 people I felt right at home. And once these things are down to 6, people seem to drop like flies. Stacks get whittled down and people just have to commit themselves to a hand and away they go.

Anyway, before I knew it both SNG's were down to the final three and I had a bigstack at paradise and the 2nd stack at Party. I'm not sure exactly what happened at Paradise but both people went out on the same hand against me. At Party we stayed 3 handed for a while with the bigstack raising just about every hand preflop and leading the betting. Several hands went with the line of bigstack raising preflop, me 3-betting, bigstack leading flop, me raising, bigstack calling and then leading turn, me raising, bigstack calls and leads river, I call, I collect many chips. After the third or so hand like this I was sitting on a mountain of chips and shortly thereafter it was all over.

Winning back-to-back SNG's is pretty rare for me. In the 130something NL SNG's I have played at Stars I think I have only won two in a row twice. I did get some good cards when I needed them but I wonder if I shouldn't be trying some limit SNG's out myself. I have played a couple limit MTT's but pretty much got destroyed everytime. With all my 6-max play though, I felt quite comfortable once we got shorthanded.

My girlfriend got a few extra bucks in her poker accounts and I got a delicious meal. Win win. A little later she fired up an Omaha Hi Lo SNG accidentally. This made for some great entertainment. "I just won a split pot and I have no idea why!". This was all the more hilarious because I am pretty certain I said the exact same thing more than once the first time I played Omaha. Yeah, we suck.

We were out Friday night after work for a few drinks, which of course turned into seven hours of drinking. Actually, this was an earlier than normal night as we usually end up tacking a few more hours onto that. I probably wasn't in the best state to be playing any poker when I got home, so I kept to just one table. I ended up not playing like a complete idiot and did okay, posting a $30 win over the course of an hour before calling it a night.

Party Time

Thursday Night Summary

Party Poker $1/$2 6-max Limit
522 hands played, 2 tabling

I posted this last night but blogger ate the post, so this will have to be a very quick summary.

A 20% to $100 maximum bonus popped up for me at Party last night, which was pretty decent timing as I was planning on heading over there to work on some $1/$2. I am much more comfortable taking shots at that level at Party for some reason as compared to any of the sites I play just to knock off a bonus. Much of that has to do with me winning far more at Party than anywhere else, so that is where my confidence is highest. I'm not sure it really matters where I play, but I'm all about staying in my comfort zone with poker, so this is how I will be doing it.

I loaded up two tables and quickly went up $20 on one and slowly slid downwards on the other. There was a LAG raising every hand and playing it to the end on the 2nd table which gave me all kinds of trouble. I knew he was raising weak holdings and I knew he was betting out with crap but any time I pushed back he had a better hand than I did. This didn't work out so well for me and I steadily slid to just under 10 BB's at which point I was thinking I had better reload or get the hell out of Dodge. I have trouble leaving a table down though so I stuck it out and very gradually climbed back up. For most of the first two hours on that table I was around, or below $30 when I had sat with $60.

Eventually the composition of the table changed (many times over of course) and for the last 45 minutes or so I found myself sitting with 5 very loose and very passive players, which I love. At this point I went on a +$120 run to end the night on that table. I was hit with a few nasty beats along the way as they were calling everything but I knew that it should work out in my favour eventually, and it did. What beat me up more than the bad beats were the strong 2nd best hands I made and couldn't get away from. I got most of those out of the way early in the evening though.

By the end of the night I was up almost $90 with the vast majority of those winnings coming in the last half hour of the three hours I played. For most of the session I figured I'd be posting a loss and it was just a matter of how much I could minimize it, so I kind of love the way things worked out in the end. Yay Party!

I also registered at Ladbrokes last night to take advantage of the $100 deposit bonus in addition to a $50 refer-a-friend bonus plus 50% of the referrers' $100 bonus. They also offer $15 ($25 with picture) for completing a profile there. So, for 500 contributed raked hands, I can knock off $215 in bonus, thanks to 2+2 posters willing to split that referral bonus. I'd be all for getting $50 for nothing too, so if anyone happens to wander by here that plays low enough limits that $215 or $225 bonus for 500 raked hands looks really nice to them and they don't know anyone else with an account there for the RAF bonus, hit me up and I'll pop an email your way.

The casino experiment is still underway as well with my two deposits at two separate casinos. So far, I pretty much think the whole thing sucks. Bad experiences with registering, bad experiences with gaining access to the players club in order to see how much I have wagered and bad experiences with their tracking of wagering. All that said, I can still see how it could be profitable for people but it just isn't going to be worth the headache for me.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Golden Riviera Bonus Cleared

Wednesday Night Summary

Golden Riviera $0.50/$1.00 6-max Limit
3 hours played

I finished off the 250 raked hands required for the $50 Golden Riviera bonus tonight. This was a nice short bonus and I ended up winning $51 in the process. At my limits, that isn't bad for a couple nights of play. Now I just get to wait and see how long it takes to get that bonus credited to my account as I have heard that Golden Riviera is sometimes very slow to pay. No rush on my end anyway. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of traffic on prima these days as there was only one table of $0.50/$1.00 running. I haven't been doing a whole lot of multi-tabling lately, so one table suited me just fine.

I also signed up for another casino tonight for another $100 bonus. I am only half way through the Starluck casino bonus and am a little below what the expected value for optimal blackjack would be. I played a bit at Planetluck tonight using slightly larger bets and experienced an even larger downward variance. I'm curious to see how these come out in the end. I feel pretty sure that if I were to do the top 10 casinos or so, I would be up nicely. On any given one of these deals though, it wouldn't be very shocking at all to bust out. I'll see how these two work out and decide if I want to do anymore afterwards.

I finally managed to dust off my clubs and got nine holes in last Friday and played in a scramble tournament yesterday. I hit a few nice shots here and there but my swing is pretty rusty still. On Friday I played bogie golf the whole way and wasn't terribly upset with that. I basically stank yesterday but there were a couple bright moments as well which will keep me going back for more.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Trout Blogs

Wild Bill, professional poker player and author of The Grind just released a site meant to capture all 2+2 blogs. I happened to bump into the site yesterday, very shortly after its release and was surprised to see my blog listed there. At the time there were about 30 blogs listed and it has already grown to over 70 in just a day. Blogs can be added very easily on the site if yours is not listed yet. Check it out at

I pulled a big chunk of change out of Poker Stars with the intention of cashing some out but before I got around to that, I got hit with the urge to chase down another deposit bonus. I decided on Golden Riviera, based on all of the 2+2 and Bonus Whore posts complaining about how tough it was to cash out and what an overall pain that site was. I am a sucker for punishment, so thought it may be a fun one. I am not quite as aggressive at bonus chasing as many people, so I hope to have a nice smooth experience with them. It is only a $50 bonus and only requires 250 raked hands to clear, so it should be nice and quick anyway. After BetFred I am not up to dealing with a large bonus.

At the same time I figured I would hit up another prima site and decided on Bet365 so as to finally take advantage of a rakeback deal as well. I was informed by the affiliate I was going to sign up through that as of last week there is no more rakeback deal for Bet365. Kind of hilarious timing seeing as though the only other time I tried to sign up for rakeback was with Empire the very day Party bought them back and cancelled all affiliate deals. Customer support at was very apologetic, much moreso than they needed to be as this is completely out of their control. I may sign up there anyway to clear the $100 initial deposit bonus but we'll see.

Then, basically at the same time, I got hit with the urge to try out a casino deal. For quite a while I have been reading posts on 2+2 in the internet bonuses forum about people making a killing on casino sign up deals, so I figured I would give it a try. I signed up at Starluck Casino and deposited $100 and was credited immediately with a matching $100 bonus. I have to wager $1,600 before any of the deposit can be withdrawn. I don't know if it was a bad night there or what but it took me several tries to register and the software went all wonky on me at least twice. My first impression was not great. I stuck to blackjack and went up $40 or so before slowing drawing back to even. I'm not sure how much I have left to wager, but I can already see how these casino deals can be some pretty quick money as the wagering requirements clear quite quickly. I don't anticipate doing many of these as I much prefer playing poker but I will probably try out a couple and see how they work out. It wasn't long ago that I swore I would never try out a casino but at one point I wasn't going to play at more than one poker site as chasing bonuses just seemed like more trouble than it is worth too. Give me another month or two and I'll be going busto on online roulette or something equally stupid.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Another Bonus Cleared

Sunday Afternoon Summary

Poker Stars $5.50 SNG's
9 played
3 - 3rd, 1 - 4th, 2 - 5th, 1 - 6th, 1 - 7th, 1 - 9th
(-45.5%) ROI

Not my best run of SNG's. On the bright side, I did get my chips in the middle with the best of it in all but two of my exits. Doesn't really help me this afternoon, but I suppose in theory it is a good long term habit.

I did finally finish off the $120 Poker Stars reload bonus today, so the bankroll continues to grow steadily. My ratio of bonuses earned to winnings is disgusting which in turns makes the limits I play compared to my bankroll also disgusting. I could have worse problems than being overrolled I suppose. I ignore bonuses won when considering when to move up in levels and will continue to stick to that, so maybe I'll pull a bit of cash back out sometime soon. I managed to spend about triple my entire poker bankroll last month, so any little bit extra would help right now.

It is time to start closing the gap between bonuses and winnings. Therefore, my plan for the rest of the month is to win piles and piles of money. Sounds simple enough.

Digging Out

Sunday Morning Summary

BetFred $0.50/$1.00 6-max Limit
1.5 hours played
1 and 2 tabling

$20 to go and I'm in the black at BetFred. OCD rules.

BetFred Bonus Cleared

Saturday Night Summary

BetFred $0.50/$1.00 6-max Limit
4 hours played
single table

I finally finished the BetFred initial deposit bonus for $250, plus I picked up another $15 bonus for unknown reasons along the way. This turned out to be yet another deposit bonus which just turned out to be a pain. I have no idea why it took me so long but I realized this morning that I had signed up there in March. Well, I have a pretty good idea why it took me so long actually - I dreaded playing at BetFred for much of my stay there. For the most part, the players there are exactly what I am looking to play against. Lots of cold calls, lots of people willing to play with any two cards and lots of people willing to go to the river as long as they are holding two cards. While this is really an ideal situation, I still managed to get my butt handed to me for most of my play there. Frustrating.

The best I can figure is that I played approximately 6,000 hands of 6-max limit at BetFred and ended up with a loss of $37 for -0.6 BB/100. Not my greatest streak and I still can't figure out why clearing this bonus took so long. With the bonuses I am up a healthy $228 there but losing money on play really bothers me. This isn't the first time I have been slightly down after clearing a bonus at a site. I was down $25 at PokerNow after I cleared the $100 deposit bonus. After taking a break from that site for a few weeks I went back and ran the -$25 up to +$10 and then never went back again. While I know I'd be better off just moving on to another site and deposit bonus or back to the safe haven of Party Poker, I strongly suspect I'll find myself back at BetFred attempting to turn that loss on play into at least breakeven or a small profit.

Not exactly sure where I'll be taking the bulk of my limit play next. I really really wish I would have had the foresight to sign myself up for a rakeback deal at Party Poker. It is still my favourite site to play and the only place I tend to play with no bonus to work on. I suppose I could close my account for a while and then open up a new one with a rakeback deal but I'm leary to go that route. Then again, there are piles and piles of sites I haven't yet tried with all kinds of legitimate rakeback deals to work with, so maybe I'll just keep on looking. There are still lots of sites with easy initial deposit bonuses to clear that I haven't yet checked out as well. Perhaps I'll check out a few sites I haven't tried before.

In the meantime I'll probably knock off the rest of the Poker Stars bonus with some baby stake SNG's. Another $76 or so of profit on those and I will be making the big move to the huge $11's. Huge money.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

BetFred Strikes Back

Saturday Afternoon Summary

BetFred $0.50/$1.00 6-max Limit
2 hours played

Wow. I got pummelled in a 2 hour session at BetFred this afternoon. I was up $20 or so early on and watched that gradually disappear and continue to spiral down as hand after made hand got stomped on. I ran into quads and straight flushes three times each and of course I had full houses or nut flushes each time in order to extract the maximum out of my pocket. Second nut flushes got crushed with a fourth flush card on the river several times, giving someone with the single ace the better hand. Back to standard BetFred practice for me. I paid off a pile of people when they hit those hands on me. My bad.

Thanks to the wicked run last night, I am up $40 there over the last two days. I'll repeat this to myself all afternoon to take the sting out of that session. I am very close now to clearing the $250 deposit bonus as another hour should do the trick. Now I am down $50 at BetFred and will stubbornly work that back to a positive figure before I pull out of there. This will give me a great opportunity to lose my full deposit and bonuses and give me something good to whine about.

Round 2 in June goes to BetFred. I'll head back tonight to extract my revenge on that damned place. Or get further pummelled, we'll see.

BetFred Revenge

Friday Night Summary

BetFred $0.50/$1.00 6-max Limit
4 hours played
1 and 2 tabling

+$10 bonus

Poker Stars $5.50 SNG's
3 played
1 - 1st, 1 - 6th, 1 - 7th
36.4% ROI

I played some limit poker for the first time in over two weeks and went on one hell of a hot streak. It was a nice warm welcome back to fixed limit. I got hit in the face by the deck, hit lots of flops, turns and rivers. Pretty much the opposite of how BetFred had gone for me in the past. The winnings last night were enough to dig me out of the hole there completely and leave me just barely over break even. Last nights play also got me a lot closer to finishing off the raked hands required for the $250 deposit bonus which has taken me forever to clear. Another hour or two should finish it off. There was also a $15 bonus showing as pending in the software which previously did not work for bonuses, so they must have gotten that all fixed now. I cleared $10 of the $15 with play last night and only need another 30 hands or so for the last $5. I have no clue why I had this bonus in my account, but I'll take it. It was listed as a May 31, 2006 bonus with almost a full year available to clear it.

I also played a few SNG's very late last night and don't have the slightest clue how they went. I vaguely recall being short stacked pretty early in all of them due to nifty beer + rum strategic play. I do know that I went out fairly early in two of them and finished first in one. I should take a look at the hand histories on those to see what sort of idiotic moves got me knocked out and how badly I sucked out on people to take down first place in one.

I haven't verified, but I believe that yesterday stands as my best single day results to date. I don't recall cracking $100 in one day before. That also pushes me through my first $1,000 in winnings. That milestone took quite a while to hit as I have been playing since November 2005. Winnings have been coming steady but fairly slow and seem to be gradually picking up speed as I continue. I'm liking this trend and hope it persists.

Friday, June 02, 2006

June Begins

Thursday Night Summary

Poker Stars $5.50 SNG's
3 played, 1 - 3rd, 1 - 5th, 1 - 7th
(-45.5%) ROI

I'm not sure what possessed me to raise first in and then call the SB's all-in push while I was holding pocket 7's but as I was doing it I was thinking "FOLD IDIOT, FOLD" and watched helplessly as the mouse cursor moved to the call button and some jackass actually clicked the button. That brilliant move earned me a 7th place finish in my first SNG of June. At least I got what I deserved - which ordinarily would suit me just fine. I was kind of cheering for an underdog suckout on that one though. I lost less than what a sandwich at lunch would cost anyway, so I'll probably live. The other two SNG's didn't go much better, although I did avoid making any huge bonehead moves and barely snuck into the money in one.

I am finally going to knock the dust off my golf clubs and get out for at least 9 holes this afternoon. This means I have to work my butt off this morning, which is why I am posting right now. Procrastination rules. Speaking of procrastination, the fifth year of my four year car lease ended last month and I finally got around to buying it out. I do not recommend doing this as it makes for a rather expensive way to finance a vehicle purchase.