Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Blogroll Update Phase I Completed

Alright, about a hundred dead links have now been toast-ified. Subtraction is always the easy part; adding newer blogs in is the longer part of the work. Haley's Law of Poker Blog Half-lifes applies: If the blog is about someone dropping a few hundred into a site and attempting to become an online poker sensation... that dream's pretty much not gonna happen. The blog's demise rapidly follows that of the bankroll, it seems.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Major Blogroll Update in Progress

And I need to do it for work reasons, too. Anyone with an established blog that I haven't got around to adding in the last several months, now's the time to remind me! :-)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Sometimes 'Random' Hits Too Close

The February 14th shooting at Northern Illinois University was one of those events which I was certainly aware of, but didn't have a connection to, despite its proximity to my current place of residence. Dekalb, which hosts NUI, is a small town about an hour from here out beyond the farthest stretches of Chicago suburbia. I've never even been there in my two-plus years in the area, despite it only being 40 miles or so away.

I was saddened, of course, by the news, but didn't think I had any connection whatsoever to the tragedy. I was wrong.

When I first moved here it was of necessity, as I'd been evicted and out of a job in Milwaukee, and a dear family that really is my family in a lot of ways took me until I began getting back on my feet. There are two kids in the family, a sister and brother, with the sister now a sophomore in college, down at the U. of Illinois in Champaign.

NUI? No connection, I thought, until I came over to the house today to do laundry and arrange for some furniture shopping. I was told that one of the victims, Ryanne Mace, was rather more than an acquaintance of the college-aged daughter; in fact, they'd sat in adjacent orchestra seats for seven years. A couple of reporters following up the massacre even grabbed an old Dundee-Crown yearbook and went to interview teachers and students, who readily identified the daughter here as one of Ryanne's close friends. There were at least a couple of calls from reporters here today, and then we stopped answering the phone.

It all means changes of schedule for the next few days. I cook the occasional meal at the home, and have, ever since I lived under this roof. Today I cooked, since the normal family cook was off to Champaign to fetch the daughter back for the services. Might have to cook more meals or serve as Haley's Taxi in the next few days. That's fine -- happy to do it if it helps out.

Random violence begets deep ripples. Tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of people are affected by an event such as this. Even dispassionate hermits such as me.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

LOLDonkaments, Too

I haven't played much at all, lately, but when I have, I've been running well. As, for instance:

Amazingly, my Stars balance is now veddy veddy healthy for the piddly stakes I normally play, enough so that I can take a shot or four higher up. This one above was funny. It was my typical Das Boot performance, except this time the damn sub almost made it to dry dock. Short-stacked throughout, I had to suck out with 8-8 against Q-Q just to stay alive roughly halfway through, but from then on I kept getting the chips in with the best cards and having the cards hold up. Made some steals, of course, and leveraged my itty-bitty stack of chips as best I could while players dropped out around me.

I made it the final three, somehow, with less than a tenth of the chips in play, then doubled through twice against one of the others, a nice, but not very skilled, player. (Whaddya expect in a $9.90 tourney?) Suddenly I was heads up with just about 40% of the chips, and we got all the chips in right away, with me having A-K to the leader's A-J. Alas, the string of beats I faded earlier ended right there, as the jack flopped. But I'd been way ahead of the curve anyhow in this one, because you can only dodge the suckouts for so long.

I did a little ego-peeking at officialpokerrankings in recent days, a site I maintain is of marginal use anyway. Since I don't play much on Stars and play small anyway, I usually hang in the 60-65-70% range on the ROI rankings on that site. Therefore, I was curious: What would one good $9.90 final table do?

The answer: All the way to 96%. To which I say, no way. One lucky run in a $9.90, 360-player tourney should not be able to knock one's stats into the top 4% of all players, given that before the event, my ROI for the last 120 days (as that site tracks it) was something like negative two percent. Lies, damned lies, and statistics, all of it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Bouncing around a bit this morning in my neverending pursuit of truth, justice and poker perfection, I noticed Pauly had a piece in the online version of Poker Player Newspaper, where he admitted to playing a lot of turbos.

I do, too, for a lot of the same reasons. The busier I get --- and I've been very busy lately --- the less likely I am to want to think about spending four or five or six hours glued to the computer screen, which would happen were I to run deep in a normal-paced SNG. Last night, for instance, after working a long morning and sneaking in an afternoon nap, I finally said awfuckit and fired up Stars for a couple of turbos. I took one down, too, a $27, 45-player job, for an itty-bitty bankroll boost to my depleted Stars account.

A lot of people stay away from turbos because the structure necessarily dictates high variance and a lot of bad beats. The flip side, as Pauly duly notes, is that a lot of the players suck; these things draw action junkies who are there to get the chips in, often as soon as possible. Add in the fact that turbos are often a couple or three percentage points cheaper in terms of rake paid to the site, and these things can be very profitable.

I'm pretty similar to Pauly in how I play these; I look for a chance to pick up some cheap chips early, though I don't force the issue in the early levels as much as you might think. Amazingly, if I had to recommend one word for playing these things, it's 'patience.' Players tend to panic and jam their chips before they're really forced to, and if you watch for the players getting splashy and short, you can often get the chips in with the best of it. Here's the pivotal point: Would you rather get 1,500 chips into the pot in a pure coin-flip situation, or would you rather get 1,350 chips into the pot as a 2:1 fave?

A little patience makes all the difference. Seems odd to say that in connection with a format where the action is so forced, but I do believe it.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Taking Shots, and Taking Shots

Like I said, I've been taking higher shots lately. There is, of course, a huge difference between taking those shots and winning at them, which doesn't mean I'm any less determined.

At the very least, I'm getting knocked out by a better class of poker player, as evidenced by this screen grab from a recent try at the Bodog $100,000 Sunday Guarantee:

Yep, he got me. We were both deep here, inside the final 200 players with 63 cashing, and we were both relatively short-stacked, down around 4,000 with blinds at something like 150/300 or 200/400. We'd both been really quiet in the previous three or four orbits and had been ground down into the danger zone. I got the chips in bad, 'nuff said, after he opened from the cutoff and I moved in from the small blind. It happens. At least he used my chips to finish 16th.

Getting All Bodoggy for Bloggers

Dedicated readers might remember that Bodog hinted a few weeks back that they were going to upgrade their Bodog Blogger series... and now they have. Bodog's really kicked it up a notch with the relaunching of the Bodog Blogger Tournaments, starting tonight.

How big a notch, you ask? Let's just say this: With this series: Bodog becomes the third site ever to award a WSOP main event seat to some lucky blogger. Anyway, I plan on playing when I can, beginning tonight, perhaps, and anyone with a blog is eligible to join in and try their fun.

Here's the heart of the Bodog announcement:

Bodog Introduces Poker Blogger Tournament Series
Bodog is proud to host the Bodog Poker Blogger Tournament Series opened to any Online Poker Blogger. Join up and challenge other Poker Bloggers each week in our Bodog Poker Room and live to tell about it. Earn points and work your way up the Tournament Leader Board for a spot in the final tournament for your chance to win a $12,000 World Series of Poker* prize package and be a part of Team Bodog 2008.

How it Works
The Bodog Poker Blogger Tournament Series is composed of a series of 18 qualifying tournaments that run weekly beginning Tuesday, February 5th, 2008 to Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008. The top 30% of finishers in each qualifying tournament will earn points based on their finish. These points will be used to rank players over 4 months of qualifying. At the end of the qualifying series, the top 18 players on the Tournament Leader Board will play in the Final Tournament on Tuesday, June 10th, 2008 with the first place finisher winning a $12,000 WSOP* prize package!

Weekly Tournaments
Buy-in: $10 + $1
Prize Pool will be distributed as per Bodog's standard multi-table payout table. In addition, the top 5 players each week will also win T$109 to be used to buy-in to the $100,000 Guaranteed Tournament held every Sunday at 4:00 PM ET. The top 5 bubble players each week will win a free buy-in to next week's Weekly Tournament. (T$11 will be credited to these players' Bodog account within 24 hours after the completion of the tournament)

Final Tournament
Buy-in: $0 + $0 (must finish in the Top 18 on the TLB to be invited)
Grand Prize: $12,000 WSOP* Prize Package with Team Bodog
2nd place: T$540 to be used to buy-in to (2) World Series or Players Choice Semifinal
3rd place: T$379 to be used to buy-in to (1) World Series or Players Choice Semifinal and (1) $100,000 Guaranteed Tournament
4th: T$270 to be used to buy-in to (1) World Series or Players Choice Semifinal
5th: T$109 to be used to buy-in to (1) $100,000 Guaranteed Tournament

Bodog Blogger Tournament Leader Board
The Tournament Leader Board will be available at http://www.bodoglife.com/promotions/poker/blogger-tournament/ throughout the course of the Bodog Poker Blogger Tournament Series. It will provide the point totals for every player that has played in the qualifying tournaments. The top 30% of players in each tournament will receive points according to finish which at the end of the qualifying tournaments will ultimately determine who will move on to the Final Event. The top 18 players on the TLB at the end of the qualifiers will earn their way to the Final Event.

How To Register
To register for the Bodog Poker Blogger Tournament Series, poker bloggers must first go to http://www.bodoglife.com/promotions/poker/blogger-tournament/ and sign in with their Bodog account information in the upper right hand corner. Once this is completed, they then must click on "REGISTER NOW" to register themselves into the tournament series. Bloggers will each have to do this once in order to play in the series. Once this is done, they then need to find the "Online Poker Blogger Tournament" in the software and register as they normally would each and every week.

Bodog Blogger Tournament Host Site
Bodogbloggertournament.com will host this tournament series and will provide poker bloggers with weekly updates on:

* tournament results for winners and losers
* announcements for special promotions or guest players
* the latest in Bodog Poker Room news and gossip
* tips on how to succeed at Bodog Poker

I do believe that with this event, the poker-blogger world will have a running series that might even approach the once-venerated Wheatie (hiya, Wil!) in terms of player participation on Tuesday nights. And why do I say that? Easy: The prizes are just too darned good to not draw a big crowd. Sure, it's a big marketing deal for Bodog, but I tend to speak highly of sites that do marketing right. They even want bloggers to run a banner pimping the series, which looks something like this, though I'm not sure I'm gonna run it yet:

Bodog Poker Blogger Tournament

Lame, I know. But I've been putting in plenty of very long days lately and my inspirational juices runneth low.