Raise or Fold:  Learning (From) Poker

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

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Knock Me Down With A Feather

I entered the WBCOOP 8-Game Mix tournament without any expectations whatsoever. Hey, free is free, right?

My strategy for the game was simple: press my edge in the games I know well, and play super-duper tight in the ones I don't. That, and catch some cards occasionally. (Poker is all skill, baby!) The turning point for the evening was getting paid by two opponents when my full house improved to quads. The coup de grace came in a stud rotation when I ran into three full houses in quick succession. THREE!

To my astonishment, I nevertheless managed to finish in fourth place, and grab myself a $215 ticket to a SCOOP event sometime in the future. I was the short stack when the six-handed final table started, but I was able to pull even before I met my boaty waterloo. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I didn't feel particularly outmatched as the field narrowed. I guess there just aren't that many 8-game whizzes in the blogger world.

There's something particularly satisfying about taking $0 and making something of it. How cool would it be if my freeroll rush extended to the next event as well?

Speaking of which: does anybody know whether I could register for a SCOOP event and then unregister and take the $T? On the other hand, I'm wondering whether the weakness of the field in the 8-Game Mix would extend to a similar tournament in the SCOOP. If so, it might be worth trying my hand at that instead of the more familiar NLHE format.

Friday, January 22, 2010

I Wanna Play!

Online Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker! The WBCOOP is a free online Poker tournament open to all Bloggers, so register on WBCOOP to play.

Registration code: 095798

All the cool kids are doing it, so I want to too! Besides, with my new relaxed attitude my results are bound to be better, right?

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What A Rush

I've been playing much less frequently, and generally enjoying it more. Despite starting with a below-average stack, I managed to claw my way to fourth in the A League's end-of-quarter tournament. I hadn't played a lot of games during the season, so the fourth place freeroll finish gave a nice little boost to my ROI.

I joined another tournament series based in Arlington, mostly made up of folks I originally met playing pub poker (and some B Leaguers). I was really pleased with the way I played this game, and had I won my coin toss I would have been well-positioned to make some noise in the tournament. It was a rebuy, which isn't my favorite format. Other games are not rebuys and should suit me even better. I cheerfully recouped my investment in the tournament by playing in the cash game that broke out alongside.

I made returns to both the Capitol Hill and Crime Scene games, where I have achieved modest profits. All in all, 2010 results in live play have been satisfactory, and I've been having fun with it ~ which is the name of the game for me now.

Online, the massacre of horribleness continued. For my own amusement, and to prove that it's not all in my head, I've been taking screenshots of the insanely bad beats I've been dealt. Originally I planned to post them to the Book of Bad Beats, but I don't have the heart for it. It's too depressing. Maybe one day I'll do a massive dump (and I use the word advisedly) of all of them.

But then the heavens opened and angels sang and Full Tilt delivered its latest Spawn of Satan: Rush Poker. Rush Poker is multi-tabling without the multi (although if you're an insatiable action junkie you can indeed multi-table rush tables… cowabunga!). Here's everything you need to know about Rush Poker:
  • You see around 300 hands an hour.
  • You can play all of your hands in position if you want to.
  • Your HUD software may not be as useful, but if you play long enough you will start to recognize some of your opponents in the pool.
Long story short, I was truly down to my last $5 on Full Tilt when I started to play .05/.10 Rush Poker. In two sessions of about an hour and a half each, I have built up to about $60. SIXTY DOLLARS playing 10NL. It took me a little while to make the strategic adjustments needed, but I gotta say, for a quick, ADD-addled hit of profitable playing, Rush Poker is the 'nads. (Well, until the doomswitch kicks in, anyway.)

There are a couple of annoyances in the software, chief among them being that even if you select the "check/fold" or "fold to any bet" options in the big blind, you don't get whisked automatically to a new table unless you click the "Quick Fold" button too. That's just dumb, since the big blind is a timewaster in this game. I also worry that Rush Poker will cause the bad players to go broke quicker, give up, and never come back. I can only hope that Full Tilt has done some studies that show people are more likely to reload in this format than in others.

Looking ahead, I expect to make a trip to AC in February and I'm heading to Las Vegas again toward the end of March. The Vegas trip should be a Trifecta of Fun: PAO Meet-Up, AVP Meet-Up, and precious time with the Grump.

And finally, we're hearing that Charlestown WV will be opening their poker room in July (or thereabouts). That's just a couple of easy highway hours away, much less grueling than the trip to AC and definitely doable as a day trip. Sweet!

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