Sunday, February 27, 2005

A sad, sad day

The symptoms had been showing for awhile. It would be going strong and then, suddenly, it would shut itself off. After a brief rest it would be ready to go again but I would never know how long it would last. Then, last night with no warning, it died. I tried everything I could to resuscitate it but it was too late. My laptop is now on its way to rehab where it can be given the care needed to work properly. Luckily I bought the 3 year service plan so I am hoping it is not a lost cause. In the meantime, I have hijacked my dad's computer which is identical to mine (except it actually works) and he has let me install a few things I need to survive (like Full Tilt). I should be able to keep up with my blog and my poker playing but I am still annoyed by the whole situation.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

WSOP Freeroll (or my love/hate relationship with AJ)

Today I played in a promontional freeroll over at Full Tilt. We were playing for 1 seat in the WSOP. Here are the highlights as they appeared in my notes.

I started the tournament with 1500 in chips, blinds at 15/30 and going up every 8 minutes and 1663 players. This was not going to be easy. First hand I was dealt AJo and so my relationship with this hand began. Flop came and it missed me completely. I decided to try a bluff but it's a freeroll and no one was backing off. Hit AJo again when the BB got around to me. Of course the flop missed me but this time I folded. Level two came and went with nothing worth reporting.

On level three I won with 66 and was back to T1525 and then I helped the short stack triple up when his hand beat my AQo.

By the start of level four I was down to T850 and I finally get AKo. I raised the minimum and everyone folded. So much for taking down a big pot. Later my JJ got beat by 55 and I was down to T450. I was looking for anything to double me up.

On level five the song "Mr. Brightside" from The Killers came on and the only bright side I could see was that no one had shown up to cheer me on. I was down to T370 when I was dealt QJ of spades. I went all-in and was called by AQ diamonds. DAMN, I figured I was gone but a J on the turn and a Q on the river helped me to double up. Then I got KQo and min. raised to see everyone fold once again.

START RANT This is where I have to get something off my chest. A lot of players didn't show up and Full Tilt does not remove them. Eventually the no-shows are blinded out but it's a pain in the ass when only
3 people at your table are actually there. END RANT

While still on level five my luck started to change and April, from Not a Poker Blog, gets a lot of the credit. She showed up in time to see me get put all-in with AKo. I was against QQ. The flop came all spades and I started to get excited because I had the King of spades. Turn came Ace of spades and I doubled up. Level six was uneventful and I found myself at the first break with T2400 and 776 players left.

Level seven started and blinds were 60/120. The players who never showed were starting to be blinded out and that's when it happened. MY COMPUTER BLEW UP!!!!!!!!! By the time I got back on, we were in level eight and I had been moved to a new table. That's when AJ showed up again but this time it came through. I was up T3065.

By level nine the card started to get cold. We were down to 358 players and I needed to do something. I ended up all-in with 10Jo and rivered my straight. My chip stack was at T3365 when my first big screw-up happened. It was level ten and I had AQo. For some reason I couldn't let it go and I was down to T965.

My notes died for a bit and when level eleven started I had, somehow, gotten up to T2340 with 195 players in the running. This is when I got THE HAND!!!! I was dealt JJ and I believe I raised. I had one caller and we saw the flop.....wait for it...........rag.........J.........J!!!!!!! I checked and got exactly the response I hoped for. He made a large bet and I raised him all-in. He had to call and he doubled me up. Unfortunately I was still well below the average with T5200. At this point I had been moved several times and was getting a little dizzy. I kept April informed as to my whereabouts through good old AIM where we had moved our chat and, when I was finally moved to table 98 she thought it might be good luck (my player name is April98).

Of course it wasn't meant to be. After the second break was unlucky level thirteen and my love/hate relationship with AJ came to an end. This time it was suited and I was all-in. I was ahead after the flop came JA6 but another 6 at the turn killed me. My all-in had been called by A6 and I lost to a full house. By the way, AJ was the hand that took me out in the blogger tournament as well.

I finished in 126th place. Not a bad showing considering I never got my chip stack above the average and I did have a string of cold cards. I probably could have been a little more aggressive in the early rounds but it was a freeroll and only 1st place paid. Everyone wanted it and most bluffs were being called. My thanks again to April for the support, it made the tournament much more fun.

Friday, February 25, 2005

I'm in!!!

Guess who is going to the blogger tournament in Vegas? That's right....ME!! I know you are all so very excited at the prospect of more dead money at the table and, thanks to the cancellation of the hockey season and a nice little refund from the federal government, I will have the necessary funds for the trip. I am thinking about staying downtown because it's much cheaper but if anyone out there wants to share a room on the strip, send me an e-mail at april9807 at aol DOT com. I will be making reservations sometime next week because I hear there is going to be some big card game going on and rooms are going to be harder to come by as June approaches.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Finally a win!!!

I am so happy! I just finished first in the Women's Poker Club, fresh faces tournament! It's a league for beginner's and it was my last tournament. Basically they have a series of 3 or 4 tournaments every other week and everyone is ranked. Top ten at the end of the series get prizes. I don't know what my final ranking will be yet but it's my third final table since this one started. The best part was that I entered the final table short-stacked at about T800. Big blind was 400. I caught good cards and kept doubling up. I know I had Q's once and A's about 3 times. Also caught AK a few times. I can't wait to find out my final ranking and prize.

Also on the poker front, I qualified for a freeroll on Full Tilt on Saturday. First prize is a WSOP seat! All I had to do was get 100 Full Tilt points by last Friday. I had a week and since I am currently working off bonus, 100 points was easy. Tournament starts at 4:30pm EST. Feel free to stop in and cheer me on, screen name is April98.

And with that, I am off to the tables.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Not A Windmill In Sight part two

As we headed toward the coast, I kept my eye on the clouds above. Was that some sunlight trying to peek through? I must have been having hallucinations due to lack of sleep. It was nearly 1 a.m. when I headed to bed and my cat wasn’t cooperating in my quest for quality sleep. If she can’t sleep then no one else is allowed to sleep either.

After a brief breakfast stop we arrived at Fort Ord. The organizers of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am really had their act together. Parking at Fort Ord was plentiful and, best of all, free. From there we got on a shuttle bus and were delivered, about 30 minutes later, to the front gates of the event. Upon exiting the bus we realized the weather had turned from uncomfortably cold to uncomfortably cold and wet. The skies had opened up and were releasing enough rain to annoy me but not enough for a good soaking. It was obviously my punishment for leaving my windbreaker back in the car. Again, good thing I was with Maura, she had a hat and extra coat to keep me warm and dry.

I’m not sure I can truly express how cool it was to be at this event. It’s the first time I have ever stepped foot on a golf course that didn’t have a windmill or a dragon head as the hazard to avoid. We spent a great deal of time on the most beautiful hole of the course, hole 7. It was also the coldest. The hole is located on the tip of a peninsula and the wind was blowing in from the ocean. The chill of the gusts together with the wind speed had the ability to leave me breathless but I kept reminding myself that in Maine (where I was born) I had experienced much, much worse. Besides, I got to see Bill Murray and some guy named Carson Daly (the teenagers seemed to like him).

We headed back to the eighteenth to watch the final teams finish up and seeing Michael Bolton along the way. I had been amazed all day at the way the crowds would go silent at the raising of an arm and then erupt into cheers when the ball found its intended target. It’s something I have not encountered in any other sport and I found to really add to the suspense of the moment. It was kind of like that second right before you push your chips all-in at the poker table only, “did I make the right move” changes to “did I hit the ball in the right direction”. I think I was held my breath a couple of times until I saw the ball land on the green. Lord knows I couldn’t spot that damn thing in the air.

The tournament ended with a true Hallmark moment as Phil Mickelson’s two adorable little girls ran out and jumped into his open arms. It warmed my heart, if not my extremities, and seemed the perfect ending to my first professional golf event.

Saturday, February 19, 2005


I just come to terms with the hockey season being canceled and now it seems they will be officially un-canceling the season, sometime today. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad they are getting a deal done. I just don't know that I want to pay full price for tickets to an abbreviated season. Of course I don't exactly have the money to pay for them. I hit a rough patch in December and asked for a refund for canceled games. There is still some money in my account but I don't think it's enough for a short season and definitely not enough for playoff tickets. Oh well, I always wonder where the money is going to come from and I always figure it out. This time won't be any different (although offering a discount could go a long way with angry fans).

On the poker front, I was a winning player for a couple of hours yesterday. Now I am back to breaking even. Variance is a bitch!

UPDATE: Talks have stopped again with nothing new to report. At least now there are some actual hockey guys in on the talks (Gretzky and Lemieux).

Bring on the Daytona 500!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Actual poker content ahead

I've been playing at Full Tilt Poker since Friday night. I made the switch from Paradise Poker mostly out of frustration. I consider myself to be a "break-even" player. I win a little, I lose a little, basically I break even. At this point I wish I could say that, since I switched to Full Tilt, I am now a winning player but, alas, I am still just breaking even. Fortunately I am having way too much fun to care.

I want to qualify that last statement by saying that, on Paradise, I primarily played limit hold'em and on Full Tilt I am playing no limit. That may be why I am having more fun but I also feel I am getting a lot more information about my play. I am starting to see the holes in my game as well as the strengths. I am figuring out the conditions under which I play my best game and the conditions where I should be shutting the computer off. Of course I still get stupid sometimes. Last night I got lucky with my stupidity (or, as the guy who lost called it, my "gutsy" move).

I was dealt Ks Jd. I don't remember what position I was in or what the pre-flop betting consisted of (Full Tilt doesn't have the hand history function activated yet). The flop came 10s 8c 9h, gut-shot straight draw for me. It was down to me and one other guy and he was first to act. He went all-in. I hadn't anticipated this move and he had me covered. It's a $10 max table and I had only bought in a couple hands before. Calling should not have been an option but I thought it through and I couldn't bring myself to believe he had J 7. I was also motivated by an instinct that I have learned to be right more often then wrong. This time it was telling me my queen was coming on the turn. Finally I called and he showed his J 7. The turn card came and, sure enough, there was my queen. River was a jack but it didn't really matter. As the chips were added to my stack I thought for sure he was going to verbally attack me. Had I been in his shoes I would have at least considered it. Instead he said "gutsy call" but I don't think it was meant as a compliment. I know I got lucky on that one and the poker gods evened things out just a little while ago.

Looks like I'm breaking even yet again.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Not A Windmill In Sight....Part one

Maybe it was the thought of stepping onto a professional golf course for the first time in my life or maybe it was the thought of seeing Bill Murray in person but something was definitely clouding my judgment as I was getting dressed on Sunday morning. See, if you live in the Bay Area there is one weekend each year when the weather is guaranteed to be crappy. No matter what the weather person says, it will be cold and, at some point, it will rain. If you are lucky you might get a little bit of sun but chances are, you won't. Why I suddenly forgot this little fact, I don't know but it was the weekend of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am and I should have known better.

As I went to sleep Saturday night I was excited because I was going to be a spectator at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am golf tournament. I love this tournament. It's a chance to see some great celebrities make total fools of themselves as they play alongside some of the best professional golfers in the world. Which celebrities will make the cut is anybody's guess. Some have been trying and failing for years (see Ray Romano) while others show up for the first time and sail right through (see Kevin James last year). All I know is that I find it fun to watch and, thanks to Maura, I finally had a chance to experience it in person.

I guess the real reason I didn't dress properly on Sunday was because the weather had been so beautiful on Saturday. As I awoke to overcast conditions I kept telling myself that there was no way that my first time at my favorite professional golf event was going to be spoiled by nasty weather. Yeah, that logic works in real life. Anyway, I ended up throwing on a short-sleeve shirt, a sweat shirt, and I decided to carry a light-weight windbreaker. It's a good thing I was going to this event with Maura or I probably would have turned into a popsicle.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

"Jesus" is so cool!

No, I'm not talking about the big "J", I'm talking about poker pro Chris "Jesus" Ferguson. As I was waiting for the freeroll to start on Full Tilt poker last night, I noticed he was playing at the play money tables. I couldn't believe it! Can you even imagine what it must of been like when he sat down? I didn't play with him because the waiting list was 30 people deep but I thought it was nice of him to support the no money players like that. He also played in the freeroll (although not at my table) and he went out about 20 places after I did. I was really hoping to beat him but it wasn't in the cards.

Poker Islands Warning

As I said earlier in the week, I have been cashing out of other sites in order to make a bigger deposit at Full Tilt. I have $19.50 at Poker Islands and have been trying, for a week, to cash out. I still don't have my money.

The first thing I tried was to request the cash out from the software. According to the site, the minimum cash out for Neteller is $15. No problem since I have $19.50, right? I fill in the necessary information, hit submit, and get an error. "Can't complete transaction due to amount being requested is less than the minimum." Now I'm no math genius but last time I checked $19.50 was greater than $15. I tried a couple more times and got the same result. Finally I e-mailed the cashier and that's when my nightmare began.

I'm not going to detail every e-mail exchange but they told me at least 3 times that the transaction was being taken care of and the money would be in my account within 24 hours. As of yesterday afternoon my money was still in my Poker Islands account. I sent another e-mail and was told that the transaction couldn't be completed because the Neteller account number I gave them was invalid. Now, no one asked me at any point for my Neteller account number so I had no idea what they were talking about. In my next e-mail I explained that and gave them the account number. The next e-mail I received informed me that they would process the transaction on MONDAY because the cashier was now closed for the weekend. To say I was pissed off would be an understatement. There was a serious lack of communication on their part but they continued to place the blame on me for not giving them the correct account number (can't do something if I don't know I need to do it).

Anyway, I promised to uninstall the software as soon as the transaction was complete and I also promised to express my dismay with their customer service on my blog.

At least they can't say that I don't keep my promises!

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Shhhh....Don't tell....I'm blogging from work

It's about time

The NHL told the player's association that if a deal is not reached by this weekend, the season will be canceled as soon as Monday. In other news, I tried to find someone who still cares and I had no luck.

Personally, I don't think there is enough time left in the season for play to be meaningful. What team wants to win a Stanley Cup and have an asterik by their name in the record books? As much as I want to see the Cup in the possession of the San Jose Sharks, I really don't know that it would mean as much considering the season would only consist of about 30 games. I'd rather they get the deal worked out and start the pre-season in September. I think that would be more acceptable to fans than an abbreviated season. Of course they have lost so many fans that I don't even know if hockey will be able to survive this lockout no matter what conclusion is reached.

Thankfully, NASCAR starts soon!

Going Full Tilt

After a bad weekend at the tables I have decided to pull all my money out of Paradise and pool it with some tiny bankrolls from a couple of other sites. From there I have decided to deposit the funds at Full Tilt Poker. I have had an account there for a while but have never deposited which means I am still eligible for the 100% first time depositors bonus. They give 120 days to work off the bonus and I think I can do it. I just really need a change of scenery to get my game going again. Then again, it could just be my raging crush on Phil Gordon motivating this decision.

Hmmmm.....Maybe I'll think about that a little more. ;)

Sunday, February 06, 2005

The big game!

It is a game that is anticipated unlike any other sporting event in history. A day when legends can be born and dreams can be shattered. A day when families and friends gather to eat tons of food and drink massive quantities of beer. You guessed it, I'm about to do a write-up of....................................


That's right ladies and gentlemen, I said the puppy bowl. It was Animal Planets attempt at alternative programming and I gotta say, it was the most horrible waste of TV watching time since Who Wants To Marry a Millionaire. The kicker is that I couldn't take my eyes off the cute little things. I mean seriously, who doesn't like puppies. The problem was it went on and on and on until I was considering using them as target practice*.

Picture a large pen set up to look like a football field littered with dog toys and a couple of dishes of water. Add some puppies of mixed breeds and, well, that's it. The puppies play. The puppies drink water. The puppies play, in the water. There are a few funky camera angles (the water bowl cam) and a horrid soundtrack of music that you wouldn't even hear in an elevator. Oh, and this poor guy, dressed as a ref, who comes into the pen to call a penalty whenever one of the little rascals does his business. It's also his job to clean it up.....On camera!

Unfortunately if you missed it you are out of luck. It looks like Animal Planet sold out of the DVD copies they were offering but there is still time to get your votes in for MVP.

Seriously, couldn't Animal planet have come up with something better?

*Disclaimer: The owner of this blog wants to make it clear that she does not condone the use of puppies for target practice. She actually loves puppies a great deal, as long as they don't live in her house.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

I'm a contest winner!!!!

My friend Maura, over at One Ping Only, celebrated her blog's first anniversary last week by having a contest. The object was to create a rough concept for a new reality show. It was basically an anything goes type of contest. After much contemplation I came up with a concept that I could actually see working out (with a little tweaking of course) and submitted it for judging. Well, guess what? I won first prize! (And before people start yelling about it being rigged, judging was done by an independent third party.) So if you want to read my concept click on over to her site and check it out. One hint, it is poker related. Oh, and if you decide to steal my idea, be prepared to pay me off big! ;)

Headhunter Final Table

Last night, while Maura was typing up the post announcing the winners, I was playing in a tournament over at Jet-Set Poker. I have a very small bankroll over there leftover from a deposit I made so I could play in some Women's Poker Club events. I wasn't sure what to do with the money because their micro-limit ring game action isn't very exciting but I needed to take a pill at 1 a.m. and I thought a tournament might be a good idea.

Now Jet-Set isn't my favorite site but they do have these headhunter tournaments that I find to be a lot of fun. Basically there is a bounty of everyone's head, that is based on the player's site ranking, and a nice little prize pool to go with it. There ended up being 87 entries and the top 18 places got paid. I ended up placing 6th and taking out 4 players in the process. I cashed for about $17 total.

The only hand I really remember (because I actually took notes on it) was when I was dealt the Hilton sisters (QQ) shortly after moving to the final table. The flop came KQ6 and I was feeling good. The turn came another King and I wasn't feeling so good but, when the other player went all in I called. I just didn't think he had a king. Turns out I was right as he was holding J10.....He was chasing an Ace. River came a 7 and I doubled up. It was enough chips to keep me in awhile longer. I don't even remember the hand I went out on but they were playing so tight at the final table that I didn't care anymore. I made a move and it didn't work out. I still finished 6th and had a lot of fun.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Playing through the pain: My first WPBT tournament

The tale I am about to tell actually starts back on Monday. As my regular readers may recall I had jury duty that morning, woke up feeling not-so-well, and ended up having an “incident” in the jury room at the court house.

On Tuesday afternoon it was settled, I was not going to play in the WPBT tournament. Financially it just wasn’t going to work. Between my back injury and my hours being cut back at work, I just didn’t have the extra money to deposit at Poker Stars. I posted on my blog that I wouldn’t be able to play but that I would be cheering from the rails. I was a little disappointed but I was also relieved. The thought of playing in a tournament with people who actually knew what they were doing was a little scary. See, I play micro-any-two- cards-can-win-limit-poker where raises mean nothing and bluffing is almost impossible. The kind of game the bloggers play I have only seen on TV and read about in books or on blogs. I have no real experience with that level of play so I was comfortable with the role of observer for the evening. Fortunately for me, people actually read my blog and one reader wasn’t about to let me off the hook that easily.

After reading the comment Pauly left after my Tuesday afternoon post I wasn’t sure what to think. Tao of Poker is one of my favorite poker blogs. I really enjoy Pauly’s writing and I think it's great that he isn’t afraid to give honest feedback regarding the quality of some of the newer blogs on the internet, however, his offer to back me in the tournament made me question his sanity. I finally decided that, insane or not, this was an offer I couldn’t refuse. I was going to play in my first WPBT tournament and that knowledge found its way into my dreams while I slept that night.

With the exception of the continued pain in my abdomen, Wednesday was just like any other work day. I did my job, made a few people smile (they don’t know me well enough to know better), and went home to prepare for the tournament. Preparation consisted of reviewing a chart of starting hands vs. position and reading some new posts on my favorite blogs. About ten minutes before the tournament started something bad happened. I took a breath and felt a sharp pain in my left side, like someone was stabbing me with an ice pick (not that I know what it feels like to be stabbed with an ice pick). I took another breath and felt the same thing. As a matter of fact, every time I inhaled my abdomen went into a painful spasm. That’s when the conversation started in my head:

“Why won’t this go away? Maybe I just need to wait a few minutes………Okay,
it’s not getting any better. I think it’s actually getting worse, maybe I
should unregister from the tournament…..No, I’ll be okay in a few minutes….Oops,
the tournament is starting so I can’t unregister now. Crap, why won’t this
pain stop!”

The pain continued as the tournament started. I checked out my table to see if I recognized any names. Turns out Badblood and Up4Poker were the only names I recognized at my table but it was enough to worry me. Somehow I had to play my best game and survive this damn pain. I ended up folding almost all my hands in the first two levels. I couldn’t focus on the game and probably let a couple of good hands get away. It was what I had to do to keep from really screwing up but I wasn’t happy to be doing it.

Finally I got JJ and, like the couple other hands I attempted to play, I raised pre-flop. Badblood called and we saw the flop. No help for me but I threw out a bet anyway. The turn was a J. I made another bet and Badblood raised me all in. I called but at that point I think I was hoping he had me beat. The pain had started to subside but it hadn’t gone away completely and I was afraid it would come back. I ended up winning my first hand of the night.

A few minutes later I was almost pain free but I still wasn’t sure that continuing to play was the right move. But, I guess if I am going to die I might as well be playing poker at the time. And play poker I did! Actually I continued to fold a lot. Even with the pain almost gone, my brain wasn’t functioning properly but I managed to take down a pot on level five with AKo (I outkicked the other caller). That was really the best hand I saw for quite a while. I was getting all sorts of crap and my math disability makes it difficult to bluff my way through a steal attempt. Eventually I was moved to a table with SirFWALGMan and Drizztdj but I continued to be dealt crap.

Level six came and I was moved to my last table for the evening. Somewhere around that time Pauly informed me that he was out and it was all up to me. No pressure there! ;0) I had about 1200 in chips when JJ came through for me again and I cracked QQ when the third J came on the river. I was up to 2670 but I knew it wasn’t enough to get me to the final table but I went back to getting crap hands. I did manage to steal a couple pots in level seven but the antes were eating up my stack fast. I needed a big pot and I needed it soon.

Level eight would prove to be the best and the worst level of the game for me. Early on I had KK. There were three of us in the pot and two of us were all in. I was up against QQ and 55. Flop came 2s9h7s and I was wishing I had the hammer. The turn and river were 3’s and I won 5285. I was still in shock five hands later when I got AJs. It ended up another 3-way pot with two of us all in. KK and AQ against my AJ (did anyone have luck with AJ?) and I wasn’t feeling so confident about my hand. The flop showed an A but the damn river showed a Q and my tournament was over.

I didn’t make the money but I finished in 36th place. I was not totally unhappy with my play considering the health issues and now that I know what to expect in the next one.

A big thanks to Iggy for arranging the tournament and Pauly for making it possible for me to play.

The unforeseen cicumstances that prevented me from posting this yesterday was the medication I started for the pain in my abdomen. Nothing serious, I just need to take some drugs for a few days.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Sorry for the delay!

Due to unforeseen circumstances I will not be posting my WPBT tournament report today. I'm hoping to have it up by tomorrow night or Saturday at the latest. If you are curious about the reason for the delay, well, too bad......It's part of the tournament report so you'll have to wait!

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Maybe next time!

UPDATE: I'm out! I finished 36th out of 151. There will be a write up but probably not until tomorrow, when I get my thoughts together.

UPDATE: Whoo hoo.....I'm playing in the tournament. I'm all signed up and going for as many bounties as possible. Actually, I just don't want to be the first one out! Wish me luck, I'll need it.

I just wanted to let everyone know that I will not be playing in the WPBT tournament tomorrow night. I have been toying with the idea for a couple of weeks but it ain't gonna happen. I just don't have the bankroll right now (damn $50 minimum deposit). I will be stopping in and hanging out on the rails for a bit so expect a hello from April98 at some point in the tourny.

Oh, and I promise that next time I will participate......maybe!