Raise or Fold:  Learning (From) Poker

Writing and playing poker as if they were activities worth doing well.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The End of An Era

Suddenly, but not entirely unexpectedly, the Commissioner and Treasurer of my A League have resigned. The A League has fallen on hard times lately: not enough games, not enough enthusiasm amongst the participants, and a shortage of folks willing to host. The steam has gone out of the enterprise, and internecine squabbles and personality conflicts have also taken their toll. I will, however, always be grateful to the A League for giving me a venue to learn how to play tournament poker for actual cash stakes, and I'll miss the routine of playing in a well-organized group. I am also confident that the friendships I've made amongst these players will endure.

In other breaking news, my B League hosted a small impromptu tourney last night and I won it. Not a whole lotta cabbage, but welcome nonetheless. I attribute it to the knitting I brought with me.

Finally, an important note: Blogger is discontinuing support for FTP publishing, which is what I use to host my blog on my server. As of May 1, all of us FTP users have to either migrate to Blogger/Google's servers or switch blogging software. Since I have no desire to have all of my writing at the mercy of Goo-we're-only-a-little-evil-gle, I will be migrating to a WordPress blog. This will cause disruptions. The painstakingly crafted design will probably evaporate. The RSS feed may change names. My archives may disappear, although I am working hard to avoid that.

If you want to keep following this blog, I recommend that you make sure your bookmark for my site is the canonical URL:
The next version, however (temporarily I hope) lame, will appear at that address.

Thanks so much for following along with me!

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Monday, April 26, 2010

The Secret to Poker Success

Last night, in a moment of insomniac whimsy, I signed up for a $30 Deepstack NLHE tourney on Pokerstars. More than eight hours later, I won the damn thing, beating 114 other players.

Well, actually, we chopped it heads up, but I was the official winner.

So, winning the tourney 'n' all was nice, especially since it's the only winning of any sort I've done in quite some time, but the real joy was discovering how to mitigate the debilitating boredom and frustration of playing poker online.

It's simple: KNIT.

Knitting is soothing, meditative, calming. It has a de-stressing effect. It keeps the part of your monkey brain that would be cooking up REAL distraction pre-occupied with relatively simple and easily set-aside pastimes, so that when you're ready to turn your full attention to the game, you're not worried about what's going on, well, over there somewhere.

And the bonus: you generally get a knitted item to enjoy when you're done. "Free blankets for everyone! Yeah, that's the ticket!"

And yes, I do believe I may be the slightest bit punchy from lack of sleep? Whyever do you ask?

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

BBT: Count Me In

I'm not playing a whole lot of poker these days, but I can't resist the lure of a cheap seat to the WSOP. Look for me at the Mookie and perhaps Poker From the Rail. Read all about it here.

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

That Woozy Feeling

The last thing you want is to be sick in Las Vegas. Unfortunately for the last couple of days I've been plagued with some kind of vague illness: headachy, light-headed, wobbly on my feet, and with a delicate digestive tract. So, at the moment, I'm hanging out in my hotel room feeling just a little bit sorry for myself.

I hope whatever it is goes away quickly so that I can resume having a good time.

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Monday, March 8, 2010

Leaving the Scene of the Crime

I won't be playing at the Crime Scene Game any more.

I had a good showing last night, and made myself whole from the previous loss, which was nice. I had fun playing, as I usually do there. I like hanging out with most of the players; I get along great with the hosts. The social aspects of the venue are a major part of its charm.


I've watched as meaningful percentages of the pot disappear again and again, in the form of redbirds palmed and pocketed by a dealer. I can live with a rake, as long as it's not excessive, but this practice is just unacceptable. If you are running a cash game, you need to make your rake predictable and visible. Sneaking money out of the pot destroys the integrity of the game, and turns an honest profit-making enterprise into thievery.

I don't want to play where people are being ripped off, no matter how congenial an environment it may be. It makes me sad to have to say goodbye, and I bear no ill-will to anyone, but I'm done.

[Update: Thanks for your supportive comments, friends, but I'm going to refrain from publishing or commenting further on this matter. Out of consideration for the many hours of enjoyable play I've had at this venue, I'm going to just let it be.]

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Easy Come, Easy Go

Except for, y'know, the gnashing of teeth and rending of garments.

Last night's session at the Crime Scene Game was a prime example of why I dubbed it that in the first place. It was a bloodbath. I took about five brutal coolers. I should have left after the first one: I flopped a boat, Jacks full of Queens, and my opponent with Q8 caught the 8 on the river.

Things did not improve after that; I will spare you the gory details. But it seems that the pendulum has swung back to Business As Usual (aka "Crush Cardgrrl's Hopes & Dreams").


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Little Swing Back

I've now made 4 return visits to the Crime Scene Game, and booked 4 winning sessions. This is a pleasant change of affairs for me. My last session was a monster, and more than made up for the rather unfortunate series of bust-outs in higher-buy-in tournaments of late. I flopped a couple of huge hands, made a couple of sensible laydowns, and used my Miss Tighty image to take a few pots I had no right to. I played well, and I ran better than average. What's more, I didn't get coolered or bad-beated once, which was refreshing.

On the negative side of the equation: someone stole my phone, with all my data in a freely accessible state, and Apple's wipe mechanism didn't work in a timely-enough manner. I spent most of today on the phone with ATT and Apple getting my old phone up and running, and then the REST of the day changing passwords everywhere I could think of.

I hope to god the evildoers just jailbreak it and wipe it clean. Needless to say it's been a stressful and highly unpleasant experience.

Word to the wise: PUT A PASSWORD ON YOUR PHONE RIGHT NOW. (Yes, it's a tad inconvenient. But what I've been through in the last 24 hours is a whole lot more inconvenient.) And if you have an iPhone, DO NOT SUSPEND SERVICE ON YOUR ACCOUNT UNTIL YOUR WIPE COMMAND GOES THROUGH OR YOU ARE PRETTY SURE IT IS NEVER GOING TO. (I didn't do that, and the net effect is that the wipe command went through all right, but to my newly reinstated original iPhone, which resulted in a marathon support call to fix.

Apple/ATT want $400 to replace my 3GS. That ain't happening. I'll limp along with my OG iPhone until either Apple comes out with a newer model that I find irresistible or until next December, when I once again become eligible for the lower (i.e. within reason) pricing.

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