Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Back From Poker Vacation

Three days away from online poker, and I didn't miss it one bit. I mean, I didn't even think of playing while I was away on an awesome long weekend at the beach in 90+ degree, sunny Delaware. There really is nothing like long weekends and vacations with your family, once you have kids. I mean, I've loved every trip Hammer Wife and I have ever taken together, but once the kids are thrown into the mix, these trips and holidays take on added significance and enjoyment. Those of you with kids out there will understand exactly what I mean I'm sure. Anyways I was so busy hanging out with my family, relaxing, reading books to the oldest Hammer Girl, getting up at 2am with the 10-month old Hammer Baby, and kicking the Atlantic Ocean's ass with my boogie board that I never even thought about playing online poker. Frankly, it was a welcome respite for me from the grind that so many of you have written about. As most of you know from reading the blog, I have been running bad for about two straight weeks now, and I can't say enough how much that saps away my desire to log on and hit the virtual tables. But, I am hell-bent on getting in as much practice as I can heading into this weekend, as not only is the WPBT live nlh tournament scheduled for this coming Saturday at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, but also since I will be playing in WSOP Event #13 this Friday, July 7, the $2500 buyin nlh tournament event in this year's WSOP. With that in mind, it was with trepidation and yet a sense of hopeful optimism that I sat down to my laptop last night upon my return from the long weekend, hoping against hope that my three days away would have some effect on the recockulous streak I've been going through lately.

Sadly, three days completely away from the online poker scene has done me absolutely no good, as last night I proceeded to get donked off of every wall in my poker room bedroom by a combination of pokerstars, partypoker and full tilt. I mean, guys hitting 2- and 3-outers on me has become so commonplace now that I can hardly remember ever feeling any confidence that any cards will work in my favor. Ever. Last night I lost huge pots in tournaments with my pocket overpair losing to a pocket underpair when my opponent hit another of his paired cards on the turn, when my AK lost to A9 when my opponent made a miracle 9 on the river for two pairs over my TPTK, and when my opponent rivered a boat to best my flopped trips, in all three cases with me not getting all the money in until after the flop had already come out. Lately, every time the cards are flipped and I have the best hand, regardless of how many outs my opponents have, I just know I'm about get slammed with one of those outs on the turn or especially on the river. When I first realized this was happening a few weeks ago, I started reeling things in a bit, and ensuring that I waited through the flop before committing all of my chips with my significantly favored hands, but even that has had virtually no effect on the endless stream of bad cards that have been plaguing me over my past several sessions of online play. I'm at the point where I'm more than expecting to get screwed -- I know I'm going to get screwed. And there is very little I can do about it.

Now, I've been playing poker long enough to know that variance can do this to a man, and that sometimes you have to just wait it out because variance has its way with anyone and everyone who dares tempt the poker gods with any kind of regular poker action. At the end of 2005 and into the beginning of 2006, I went through a stretch where I got bad beat out of 15 consecutive mtt's, across all of the poker sites I was using at the time. 15 consecutive bad beats. It was mind-boggling and incredibly frustrating, but I emerged (finally) from that situation with a greater understanding and appreciation for the game, and almost immediately I embarked upon a huge upswing in my tournament game, one that I never thought was possible at the time. But second to that period, this has been without a doubt the next worst streak I have yet to endure as an online poker player. Around every corner is the worst possible turn card, or the miracle river to snatch all of my chips from a situation where I was about to double up and move into contention for the top spot in a tournament at that point. But I've been there before, and I've weathered that storm, and I know I can and will do that again here.

The problem is that I am heading into my WSOP tournament on Friday. The thought of dropping $2500 on a buyin to a tournament where the first time I get allin with my pocket Aces against pocket 4s of my opponent, he is going to suck out a 4 on me on the flop (and, the way things have been going lately, another 4 on the river just for good measure) is so unappealing to me that I can't even describe it. I'm definitely still going to play, as participating in the World Series of Poker has been an unwritten life goal of mine for at least the last three or four years if not more. But I can't exactly say I'm looking forward to it given the way things have been going for me lately. And the worst part is that this streak is starting to affect the way I play certain hands. I've already mentioned that I've found myself not pushing allin preflop with guaranteed winning hands because I want to wait until the three flop cards are out to make sure I'm not getting screwed there. That already is a bad sign in that it is taking me away from my game, the game that won me the WSOP seat in the first place. Similarly, I have caught myself lately pushing a little too hard when I know I'm ahead, say, on the flop, because I want to get everyone else to fold as quickly as possible since I fear the turn and river cards. 2-outers should only be hitting on the turn or the river about 1 in 12 hands, and should be treated as such. When they are consistently hitting more like 10 out of 12 hands, however, it becomes very difficult to keep treating them like the long shots that they truly are. This is just going to add another layer of complexity to my WSOP performance, in that I will have to be fighting all of these instincts in addition to dealing with what is likely to be the toughest field I have ever faced in any poker tournament, my first WSOP jitters, and all that goes along with these things.

So, here's the point. I need my confidence back, and I need it in a Damn Hurry since tonight (Wednesday) is the last chance I will have to play any meaningful amount of poker before I head out to Sin City. I plan to play in the Mookie tonight as I do every Wednesday night with all of my bloggery friends:

What: The Mookie -- no-limit holdem tournament
When: Wednesday nights, 10pm ET
Where: Pokerstars, "Private" tab
Buyin: $10 + $1
Password: vegas1

As I say week in and week out, if you care enough to read this blog, then you should care enough to be playing in the weekly Mookie tournament, which continues to draw the best and brightest from the poker blogging community every Wednesday evening. I will be there, though I might be a few minutes late depending on what my evening plans turn out to be (we have the babysitter in this evening instead of our usual Thursday night schedule during the summer months). I'm going to be there, and I will expect to see you there as well.

The only question is, who is going to donk to me in the Mookie tonight to make sure that my confidence is restored heading into Vegas? Isn't it worth you taking a paltry $10 hit to your bankroll, in order to help me not to take a $2500 hit to mine? Try to think about it from that perspective. I need to win or at least cash in this event tonight, or I am at a nearly all-time low mentally as I jump on that plane on Thursday evening. Somebody among you will come through for me, I am sure of it. Right?

Btw, congratulations are in order to my man drraz, who once again cashed in the weekly Mondays At The Hoy tournament at 10pm ET on pokerstars (password is "hammer"), this time taking the entire event down for a nice $160 payday:

Guys, that makes four straight Hoy tournaments in which drraz has cashed. That is an abomination if I don't say so myself. I mean, the guy is a good poker player, but I've played thousands of hours with him...and he's not that good. He's not even close to that good. So next Monday night we all must put that streak to an end. I may even have to put up a small cash bounty on drraz's head to ensure the action against him that people need to take to get him out of this event early next time around. Anyways, congratulations as well to first-time Hoy cashers NewinNov and Aquaverse. So glad you guys could take advantage without me around to play sherriff, and I look forward to taking back some of those ill-gotten gains next Monday when I'm back and better than ever, and will be fresh off of my $750,000 victory in WSOP Event #13. Yeah right.

See you tonight at the Mookie! Glad to be back in the bloghouse.


Blogger mookie99 said...

Thanks for the tourney pimpin'...if you are lucky enough to be at my table there is a good chance my $10 will go towards your confidence boost.

1:37 AM  
Blogger SugarlandStump said...

I'm sure I'll donate to ya, too.

If I don't play tonight I'll wish you good luck now at the WSOP. Just play your game & everything should work out. Remember: online poker is rigged!

2:36 AM  
Blogger Matt Silverthorn said...

If I do end up donating to you tonight, I expect a cut of that $750,000 :-) GL in Vegas!

4:13 AM  
Blogger Iakaris aka I.A.K. said...

Well I might have begged off tonight, but if its THAT important to steal my blinds, who I am to get in the way your march to the bracelet? See ya at the Mookie.

Nice post, glad the weekend treated you well, and here's hoping you're just pre-paying for amazing karma in Vegas, brotha.

5:25 AM  
Blogger slb159 said...


I tried to double up on Razz on a crazy bluff, but got caught and, well, cry cry. He had plenty of chips to fold (more than 2x mine) as I was second in chips at the time if I remember correctly, but 3 clubs on the flop didn't scare him at all. He called my push.

I then took it out on

Better luck next time for slb. At least I didn't go out 1st or 2nd like I have been doing at your tourney in the past. Thx for hosting.

5:33 AM  
Blogger smokkee said...

hey 'yazoooooo

we were able to change our return flight. we're staying over night in vegas sat 7/8. our flight arrives in vegas @ 11:15am. we plan to check in and head over to Caesars asap. GL in the WSOP.

you can email your contact info to me at:

9:19 PM  

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