Sunday, October 28, 2007

Fantasy Football Week 8 (with a bit of poker content too)

Another week, another victory, although this one was pretty huge. This week's victory:

1. Gave me a 2 game lead
2. Was against the previous second place team who gave me my only prior loss, so this was big in terms of a potential tiebreaker
4. Happened despite not starting my best lineup.

The play of the week was Manning's 59 yard TD to Wayne; owning both players, that play alone was worth about 18 points to me. With my opponent starting Moss & Gostkowski, I had to sweat the entire Patriots game, but in the end I came away with a double digit victory.


Peyton Manning
- It looked rough in the early going for Manning, but he came through with a good effort this week.

Brian Westbrook - The two scores were huge, but more importantly, he didn't get injured.

Marshawn Lynch - Every fantasy site hyped up Lynch this week, and for good reason. The Jets are atrocious & Lynch has put up good numbers even against good defenses. Luckily he did just enough to keep me ahead, but suffice it to say I expected more this week.

Reggie Wayne - The kind of numbers I hoped for when I took him as my first WR. With Harrison out he's the primary target, and he's put up two huge weeks lately. Which is awesome, because I have no other consistent WRs.

Isaac Bruce
- A late decision, I figured he'd perform well against in a shootout against the Browns. Was hoping for a TD with the yardage, but not a bad choice for a last minute grab.

Heath Miller - No TDs for this guy, which was disappointing since my opponent had Roethlisberger, and my TDs would've been more valuable than his.

Kris Brown - I didn't expect much against the Chargers this week, but I may have to start looking for a new kicker since Houston's offense is a mess right now.

NYG D - Put up decent numbers but, in the light of very few sacks & no TOs, I was hoping for a shutout.


Derek Anderson
- Better numbers than Manning this week, and he'll probably be my starter next week vs. Seattle rather than Manning vs. NEP.

Joey Galloway - Left him on my bench since he's so streaky & I didn't figure him to go off against Jacksonville. So much for that - his benching could've cost me the game

Waiver Wire

For some reason, another owner dropped M. Colston earlier this week. So not only did he not play him, he might lose him for the rest of the year. I put a claim on him & B. Watson, who was dropped for a bye week replacement. I don't really need Watson, but I don't want anyone else grabbing him. They both cleared waivers, so it's first come, first serve, and it'd be sweet to grab both of them. It'd only cost me Jason Wright & Issac Bruce.

Other Notes

I sent off a couple of trade offers this week to some of the bottom-feeder teams, hoping to trade some depth in exchange for a top WR or RB. Even though players like D. Bowe & P. Crayton are on my bench, they're still top 20 WR. I didn't expect to pry away someone like Willie Parker in exchange for T. Henry and one of those WRs (or both, I don't care), so I wasn't surprised when they all declined. What was surprising was that the majority of them said that they were happy with their teams. Really? You're happy when three of the RBs on your roster are out for the year? (McAllister, R. Brown, & Cadillac) You're happy when your starting WRs are Bernard Berrian & Donald Driver? Or your ONLY RBs are S. Jax, M. Jones-Drew, and L. Jordan, yet you're sitting on 6 WRs? It's baffling that these guys aren't even interested in negotiating. One person said that the only players I had that they were intersted in were Wayne, Westbrook, & Manning, but considering his best players are E. James & Plaxico, it's obvious that's not going anywhere.

I thought this was worth sharing, just to give you an idea of how soft this league is. The owner that has the 3 RBs our for the year....he only had two until he decided to drop Jerious Norwood for Ronnie Brown THIS WEEK. And, to top it off, he started him this week too.


Not much happening with poker, obviously, if I have no bankroll. I'm been subjected to donking around in the freerolls. Took a shot at a seat in the $750k but got hosed when I flopped two pair on a Q67 board. Get a medium stack all in with nothing but the wonderful JackAce, but lose to a runner-runner 4 flush. The wheels fell off after that. Made my way through a Stud freeroll of almost 4000 to win a seat in another freeroll, where 1st place was a decent $170, but 450th place was a not-so-decent fifty cents. I'm kinda glad I finished before the money in that one.

I've resorted to posting about freerolls. Ugh, shoot me now.

Anyways, aside from asking for donations, I doubt I'll be depositing again until after X-mas. I still have the itch to play daily (to think that I was getting bored with the $5 SNGs - I'd KILL to play one of them right now) and I always get that "awfuckit" feeling to throw some money back on there, but that'd be counterproductive to the reason I cashed out in the first place. I'm working on incorporating some live play back into my schedule, but plans are still developing. I'll have some more about hopefully in the next week or so. GL to all in the BBT2. SO frustrating that I cashed out just before this, but I'm glad I'm keeping some of my money instead of continually donating it to you donks.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fantasy Football Week 7

Enough of that depressing post, let's talk about something positive. Like another FF victory!

Admittedly, there's a bit of luck factor in my victories. After 7 games, I am 2nd in points, but I'm also next to last in points against. This week I was only 4th in points, but ended up going against the worst team & ran away with a victory.

I got put in the precarious spot this week of having to root for & against my team, the Steelers. My opponent played their defense this week while I started Heath Miller. It almost worked out perfectly, as the Steelers almost won despite giving up 28 points AND Miller had his best week yet. But we can't win them all. Anyways, here's how I did this week:


Peyton Manning - A distant 3rd at QB behind Brady & Romo. I didn't draft him with the expectation he'd have more 1 TD games than anything else, or that he'd have 4 of 6 weeks at less than 15pts. Indy's offense is so balanced this year that Manning has to be considered a semi-bust at this point. He's not losing me games, but he's not winning them either.

Brian Westbrook - Yardage was decent again, but still no scores. Take away that huge game against Detroit and he'd be a below-average RB with no TDs

Thomas Jones - After his game the week before, I expected a good game against Cincy this week. Needless to say, TJ won't be seeing any more starts from me unless I have an injury.

Reggie Wayne - Nice output from him this week. I hope this continues because my receiving corps is hurting right now.

Joey Galloway - He's hit & miss. Despite going against Detroit this week, he was a miss...again

Heath Miller - He saved me this week. I probably still would've won without the 2nd TD, but I needed at least one score from him. I'll say it again, by the end of the year, he'll be a top 5 TE

Kris Brown - All those points in the Hou-Tenn game and he gets just 4 extra points. I fucking hate kickers

Wash D - They were still the number 3 defense this week, but they blew a chance at a huge game against the Cardinals. That game should've been a shutout.


Marshawn Lynch - I don't think I can bench this guy anymore. He put up good numbers against Balt's D this week, and he's been as consistent as anyone this season. Not stellar, but consistent. He's got 3 great matchups before going up against NE, and even against the Pats he still put up almost 100 yards + a TD. Marshawn, I will doubt you no longer.

Andre Johnson - Please come back. I need you. I miss you. I miss your musk.

Seattle D - I knew the Rams matchup was a sweet one, but they're so fucking erratic, it's hard to know when to start them. I lost 13 points by benching them this week.

Waiver Wire

I don't feel confident starting Wash's D against NE this upcoming week, so I dropped them for NYGs. Minn is still available but they're so horrible against the pass, I don't trust them. I missed a chance at Kenny Watson & Jesse Chatman, so no other notable pickups.

Other Notes

Although I'm in 1st place by a game & a half, I'm not that happy with my team. I'm not confident starting any of my players, and I'm only an injury away from being very screwed. Furthermore, I don't have that many tradeable assests, just Derek Anderson & Travis Henry. It's time to start making some offers and see if I can improve my team at all.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

When It All Falls Apart

Today was one of those days. Nothing could go right, nor did I really put myself in a position to make things right.

After getting oh so close to making it to the next level of my bankroll challenge, I hit a wall. A big wall, a Great Wall sized wall, in every single way possible. I got outplayed, outflopped, outrivered, and overpowered mentally. I put myself on tilt and tried to work through it in the worst way possible - by playing more & taking bigger shots.

Today, I lost about half my bankroll. With each game I felt that I "this was the one", but they never turned out to be.

I tried different games because I just couldn't handle the boredom of playing $5 SNGs anymore. So I jumped to $6 Turbos & Token games. I turned $6 into a $75 token, then blew it all on a SNG trying to bluff even though it was apparent it wasn't going to work. I tried to recover by playing $30 SNGs. That left me down $60 more. I played the Mookie and did farely well, but went completely card dead just as the antes were kicking and was left to push 66 into an all in before me. His AQ turned into trips and I was out in twenty-something.

To make things worse, I'm in the same problem as last time. I could really use the bankroll money right now. So, at least once today, I did the smart thing. I cashed most of it out. There's more important things than poker right now, and it took a $200 downswing to realize that.

Right now, I'm just not mentally in the game, so I need to give it a rest. I've got a little bit left in my account, so we'll see where that goes. As for the bankroll challenge, or any kind of serious playing, it's on hiatus for quite some time. Maybe I'll give it another shot sometime next year, maybe not for another year from now. I really don't know.

This is more than just not being able to handle a downswing or playing over my head. This is about doing what's smart. The past month or so I lost the enjoyment factor of playing poker. It became all about increasing my bankroll, little by little, and it wore down on me. Today was the cumulative result of several hours of grinding it out and only seeing a small amount of progress. I tried to accelerate it and it didn't work. I know myself well enough to know that the only way to prevent it is to take a break, and I really don't see myself taking a break as long as I have money in my account. So I'm taking it out & using it for more important things. I wish I would have realized this $200 ago, but right now, I'm trying to focus on the bright side of things. I haven't cashed out $200 in poker earnings in a long time. So at least I have that.

Good luck to everyone in the upcoming BBT2. I wish I could join you, but I've got more important things to focus on.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Fantasy Football Week 6

Who's that in first place? That's right, yours truly.

Going into Monday night, I was 15 pts ahead with my opponent starting Brandon Jacobs. Luckily, the Giants decided to use Droughns & Ward at the goalline instead of Jacobs. The other team in first place was up by 4 with his opponent starting Alge Crumpler & Warrick Dunn. Of course, they scored 4 pts exactly to finish in a tie. But a half game lead is still a lead, and I'll take it.

I have a couple of Browns to thank for this - Derek Anderson & Jason Wright. It's still amazing that DA was available two weeks ago when he was the 6th ranked QB in our league. After last week, he's now the 3rd ranked QB, just above my other QB, Peyton Manning. Funny how I have two of the top 4 QBs in the league: one who was my number one overall pick, the other a waiver wire pickup.

Jason Wright was a last minute addition because I wasn't comfortable playing Thomas Jones against Philly. Of course, TJ finally goes off, but J. Wright still gave me good yardage & a TD, so it was only about a 2 point difference between the two. Anyways, here's the recap for the week:


Derek Anderson - He's a clear cut starter if I have anyone other than Manning on my team. I've officially got a fantasy football QB controversy.

Brian Westbrook - Came through with the yardage, here's to hoping he stays healthy.

Jason Wright
- In Jamal Lewis's absence, he's put up some good numbers in a pass-happy offense.

Joey Galloway - I hate starting WRs that are primarily big-play guys, but with so many people on a bye this week, I had too. Luckily he came through with a long TD catch this week.

Dwyane Bowe - Expected more out of him this week, but with LJ running wild & Gonzalez doing his thing, there weren't enough touches to go around.

Alex Smith - Nothing from my bye week TE, so I'll say good bye to him

Jay Feely - Other available kickers had better weeks, but I went with him anyways because I figured it'd be a high scoring game. A decent week nevertheless

Sea D - Talk about a huge disappointment. As badly as they played, these guys could have cost me the game this week. I might have to start revolving defenses after next week (I can't sit them at home against the Rams this week)


Thomas Jones - Nice to see him finally put up some numbers, but I can't trust him as a solid starter unless NYJ starts moving the ball better.

Waiver Wire

With my bye week over, it's time to stock up my roster again. I dropped A. Smith & Feely for P. Crayton & K. Brown. The only other decently ranked FA available is Derrick Ward, who is still somehow ranked in the top 10 RBs in our league. I'll let him stay because I don't really have any RBs I want to drop.

Other Notes

So as of this week, this is my roster:

QB: P. Manning, D. Anderson
RB: B. Westbrook, T. Henry, T. Jones, M. Lynch, J. Wright, S. Young
WR: R. Wayne, A. Johnson, J. Galloway, D. Bowe, P. Crayton
TE: H. Miller
K: K. Brown
D: Seattle

At QB I'm set, almost too well. It's nice to a backup like DA, but I think he's worth more because of his trade value right now. At RB I'm solid but not very secure - Westbrook is an injury away from being out for the season, and Henry might be gone in a couple of games. I'm sitting on Selvin Young in case that happens. I don't think I can upgrade at RB without weakening another position, but I'll see what offers I can muster. At WR, I badly need Andre Johnson to return. He's still ranked in the top 15 WRs in our league, and he's only played two games. Especially since the second place team is loaded at WR, I need another top WR to counter that. I'm happy with Heath Miller at TE, although one team in our league has both J. Witten & A. Gates, so I might see if I can snag one of them. Thanks to the ineptness of other owners, I now have the top kicker on my roster. Some people are still holding on to two kickers - why wouldn't you drop one for the best kicker in the league right now? Defense is a question mark now, and I might have to start playing the waiver wire each week. But for my fantasy D, I'm not looking for them to win me games - just don't lose them.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Like A True Blogger

Hooray. This is my 100th post. And like all the others, it's pretty pointless.

I didn't make it through the first hour of the Blogger Championship on PokerStars, which is ok, because if I ended up advancing deep, I'd either bubble or finish just in the prize standings for a nice duffel bag. Instead, I went out in a blaze of glory.

I got decent cards to start with: AQ, AK, and KK, but had to fold them all (went up against AK with AQ, missed with AK, and folded to a bet on an A-high flop with KK). Tried to bluff the good doctor with the hammer, but his reraise let me know he wasn't fucking around.

I had enough of this folding business, so the next time I saw a monster, I took matters into my own hands:

Level III (100/200) - Seat #4 is the button
Seat 1: Richmagpies (8075 in chips)
Seat 2: asgawer (9677 in chips)
Seat 3: Strumey (7000 in chips)
Seat 4: Flashodad (9762 in chips)
Seat 5: mclarich (7931 in chips)
Seat 6: drbkrcr (28405 in chips)
Seat 7: Quique (19700 in chips)
Seat 8: pomaikailani (7625 in chips)
Seat 9: pokerkaz (9900 in chips)
mclarich: posts small blind 100
drbkrcr: posts big blind 200
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to mclarich [2s 7c] (looks like AA to me)
Quique: folds
pomaikailani: folds
pokerkaz: folds
Richmagpies: folds
asgawer: folds
Strumey: raises 400 to 600 (standard cutoff steal)
Flashodad: folds
mclarich: raises 1200 to 1800 (resteal like a good blogger)
drbkrcr: calls 1600 (he's reraised most of his decent pairs, so unless the flop is nasty, I'm coming out firing)
Strumey: folds
*** FLOP *** [3c 2d 4d] (correct me if I'm wrong, but I just hit the nuts)
mclarich: bets 1800 (a weak bet, but I don't think he hit this flop anyways)
drbkrcr: raises 1800 to 3600 (lol minraise)
mclarich: raises 2531 to 6131 and is all-in (live by the hammer, die by the hammer)
drbkrcr: calls 2531
*** TURN *** [3c 2d 4d] [As]
*** RIVER *** [3c 2d 4d As] [Th]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
mclarich: shows [2s 7c] (a pair of Deuces)
drbkrcr: shows [Jc Ac] (a pair of Aces) (WTF?!?!)
drbkrcr collected 16462 from pot

I really don't understand the raise on the flop. The only thing that's going to fold is a pure bluff, and I haven't given him any reason to think I'm bluffing. Putting me all-in is a better play than min-raising me. Why is he trying to build the pot on just a bluff? Plus, he's about a 65-35 underdog based on my range here, my hammer is actually stronger than QQ at this point. But, just as I rep'd the role of a blogger with the hammer, he did the same with his JackAce, and like a good blogger, he sucked out with it.

Congrats to everyone who won a duffel bag and other assorted crap.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Getting Closer

Finally, a good night at the tables last night. Played an assortment of games last night - NLHE, PLO, Stud, and I conquered them all. I even caught myself 3-tabling at one point fairly easily. Obviously, multi-tabling increases your potential profit\hr, but whether or not it works for me is still to be determined. Anytime I multi-table, I usually have to stagger my games, because trying to multi 2 SNGs when it gets to heads-up in both of them is what drives me nuts. Last night I was short-handed in a NL SNG, halfway through a PL SNG, and playing the .50\1 Stud table. The varying speeds of each game was key to keeping me focuses.

I'm happy to say that Stud was very profitable yesterday, as I finished up the day up about 2\3rds of a buyin. I would have been up more but I couldn't get away from a made straight on 6th st. When my opponent started betting out showing xx3Q3, I knew he had trips, but I was open-ended with a pair of 8s, so I was swimming in outs. Sadly, he paired his Q when I made my straight on 6th, and I couldn't find it in me to fold when it was only going to cost me 2 bets more. Plus, there was always a chance that he had another pair underneath, thinking his two pair were good.

But otherwise, Stud was very kind to me last night, giving me some monster hands that got paid off:

1. Rolled up 2s. You have to love when you're forced to bring in already sitting on a monster. However, I had to play this one slowly as someone took the lead betting out with xx66 on 4th st. I didn't think he had trips quite yet, but with others in the pot, I didn't want to isolate so early. But 6th street brought him trips as well, so I had to call 2 bets & hope that A) I could pair a card for a boat and B) that he didn't have a boat already. Amazingly, both things worked out for me as I paired a 3 & took down the pot.

2. Limped (AK)A. Got in a two bet when I paired my K on 4th, then got the A on 5th and found two people willing to call me all the way down. Nothing like having the virtual nuts & the pot locked up by 5th st.

3. Very next hand, limped (TA)T. Paired my A on 4th, and again boated up with a T on 5th. Only one caller, someone who couldn't find it in him to fold trip 8's, although I can't blame him I guess.

PLO was good to me as well. Finished 2nd in the Turbo game where I battled back from about being down to 500 chips after having to lay down KKxx on a K high board because of the straight possibilities. I took this success in PLO as a sign that I should play more, so I switched over to Heads-up games & took down 4 of 6.

NL was also very friendly towards me last night. After trying to steal with Q5, I ended up folding on a Q62 flop when my opponent check-raised me all in. He shows JTo for the stone cold bluff. Dunno what made him think that I was trying to steal, but it was a good bet on his part. I really thought about calling - the fact that he check-raised all-in gave me the feeling like he was just trying to buy the pot. But we were still short of the money and I wasn't in panic mode yet, so I folded. I ended up going heads up against him when I got him to commit when I pushed on an A-high flop with A6. He *instacalled* with nothing but Q high. I finally got vindication against his bluff when I slowplayed AA until he pot-committed himself with K7 on a 533K board & took down the victory

So what does this all mean? It means that I am about $40 away from getting to the next level of my bankroll challenge. I cannot WAIT to get out of $5 SNG land! Of course, I was almost this close a couple of weeks ago before I dropped almost $100 in losses, so who knows how long this will take, but I'm playing pretty well right now so hopefully I'll get to that level soon.

I started this bankroll challenge with just $70, but a week before I decided that, I was all the way down to only $20 in my account. In less than 3 months, I've worked that up to nearly $500, playing on average about 6 hours a week. I know that's only a fraction of what some of you are used to playing with, but in my case, it's a significant amount. I just realized the other day that I haven't deposited money into my account since May - that's the longest I've EVER gone without depositing. This bankroll challenge thing seems like it's taken forever, but I do have to admit it's probably the best poker decision I've ever made.

GL this weekend, and I'll see you on Poker Stars on Sunday.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

7-Card Stud Strategy: Betting Early Streets (Pt. 1)

A new record - my 3rd post today! Amazing how productive I am on here when work gives me access to post again. Don't forget to check out my other posts from today.

I realize that my first post on Stud strategy wasn't necessarily the most in depth. I wanted to get a post like that out first though, because when I talk about my strategy in Stud, I think it's important to understand the kind of hands I play when I'm writing out my thoughts.

Hopefully today's post will be a little more in depth. I'll try not to be too wordy, but I apologize in advance if I am. I hope to provide something insightful, or at least provoke some good discussion, but if you're reading this blog, you know that's not necessarily my forte'. But I'll try my best.

Betting 4th Street

The decision to check or bet on 4th street is an easy one, because in many cases, either decision is a good one. Whether you have just a pair, trips, a huge draw, or the option of c-betting a bluff, there's good arguments for checking & betting. The reason I think that 4th street is relatively inconsequential is for two reasons:

1. A 4th st bet is only 1\2 a bet
2. Most drawing hands & semi made hands are going to call.

A bet on 4th street will not encourage many players to fold, and unless you have a strong hand, you're building a pot that you may not even be a favorite in. A bet on 4th street may help define your hand a bit, but hands that are potential favorites here, such as trips or even some huge draws, aren't going to raise or check-raise you very often on 4th street because it's only 1\2 a bet. Nevertheless, there are some occasions where I will bet out on 4th street, and it's usually dependent on the number of players in the pot.

Large Pot (4 or more players)

Pairs: I'd estimate about 70% of the time, if I'm entering a large pot with a pair, I'm just limping or check-calling, so I'll continue to call or check-call when there's action in front of me. If I'm holding a small pair and 4th st doesn't trip me up or give me additional outs via another connector, then I'll let the hand go. And of course, if I see one of my paired cards dealt to someone else on 4th street, folding your hand to any action before you warrants serious merit.

Trips: Most of the time, I'll treat trips (either rolled or a naked pair with trips underneath) the same way I'd treat a pair. For maximum value, you almost always have to slow play trips on 4th st, although depending on your 4th street card, a bet on 4th street can be useful as well, and it's partly dependent on table image. If you're someone who's been frequently limping pairs or betting 2-pairs on 4th st, or if you're against opponents who overvalue high cards that pair on later streets, then there might be some slight value in building the pot with a bet here, but generally, I think a slow play is the way to go.

Straight Draws: How I bet 4th street with a straight draw depends on two things: position and being open-ended. In early position with 4th st giving me an OESD, not only will I bet, I will also often 2-bet anyone who bets before me (usually if I'm drawing to a higher straight). This does a couple of things:

1. It helps to discourage callers just a little bit more.
2. It helps build the pot in case you hit
3. It can help you steal the pot if you get scare cards on 5th & 6th st
(ex. (98)TJAK or (98)TJJ).

Otherwise, with straight draws that are gutshots, or straight draws that add flush draws to the mix, I'm just calling to see 5th st cheaply.

Flush Draws: IMO, these hands are the easiest to play:

1. If 4th street is a non-sooted blank, fold to any action
2. If 4th street is non-sooted but pairs your top card, fold in EP, call in LP
3. If 4th street is non-sooted but adds straight draws, call up to 2-bets*
4. If 4th street is sooted, call up to 2-bets.

Again, I really hate flush draws in Stud, so I might play this more conservatively than others. From what I've seen, flushes don't get paid off as often through 7th street as other hands do (especially if you've got 3rd-6th sooted), so I'll check-call up to 2 bets if I'm 4-sooted. Otherwise, I'll play these hands either very cautiously or not at all. However, the exception is No. 3, which I'll talk about below.

Straight & Flush Draws: Bet & raise aggressively. In any position. If you're sitting on (9T)J sooted and 4th st brings you a Q, sooted or not, you have too many ways to win the hand not to bet or raise. I'll sometimes 3-bet in this instance, or two-bet with the intent of calling a 4-bet. The only hand that has a lockdown on the pot by 4th st is quads, and I doubt you'll see someone play quads hyperaggressively on 4th st. In addition, a 4-bet on 4th st is equal to 2-bets on 5th st, so it's a good way to build the pot & discourage other callers while not getting too invested in the pot that you can't let do. Sometimes, you'll have to slow down if you brick 5th & 6th st and you're up against a calling station or a boat, but those losses should be counted by the number of times you either get paid off when you hit or steal the pot outright.

Some will probably frown upon playing this aggressively, and instead encourage a slow play or just calling a 2-bet to keep other callers around in case you hit. I'll agree with this to a degree because it's important to mix up your play. I prefer to play these aggressively because of one reason: it's an unmade hand. Some will cite this as a reason to keep the pot small and wait until you have a made hand. Instead, I like to play this as a monster, because it means I can win the pot by either betting other off the pot or getting paid when I call. If you're just check calling an unmade but strong drawing hand, you either have to let it go if you don't hit at some point, or hope you have a strong read on your opponent that you can bluff them off the pot. That story isn't usually as believable as aggressively betting a strong draw early, since you could be just as likely to have trips or 2-pair. Combine that with some scare cards on 5th & 6th street, and you have a better chance of taking down a pot with Q-high & aggressive betting than you do with Q-high and check-calling.

Other Hands: If you're limping with (78)A, (AK)T, or (69)K and you happen to pair any card, tread very lightly. I wouldn't be caught dead with one of those hands in a large pot to begin with, but some do like to play high cards. Your best bet is pairing your naked card on 4th st because then everyone knows you've got at least a high pair. Sometimes you can take down a pot early with just that pair, but overall, I think it's just best to fold the hand early.

Small Pots: (3 players or heads up)

Overall, the same strategy applies, except the aggressiveness of the betting gets amplified in some cases. I'll bet my pairs more aggressively but I'll slow play trips even more. I'll still play the same draws but I won't raise as much with anything but monster draws. Because the pot is potentially smaller with less people, I'm looking to value bet made hands & bet scare cards more than I am trying to build a pot with drawing hands.

I should note that this strategy is more appliable to cash Stud games or early tournament play. The strategy does need to be modified quite a bit, and perhaps I'll touch on that in a later post. For now, I think this is enough; I'll try to get something up tomorrow about 5th street betting.

Fantasy Football Week 5

Phew. Another close game, but a victory nonetheless. I only scored 63 points this week but it was enough to steal a game against an opponent who had a worse week than I did. So, going into Week 6, I'm 4-1, tied for 1st in my league. Week 6 is crucial because I have the following players on a bye: Manning, Henry, Lynch, Evans, Wayne, H. Miller, & J. Reed. Aside from my defense, that was my whole starting lineup last week. So now I have to be savvy with the waiver-wire pickups, which I started doing last week. More on that in a moment. For now, here's the recap:


Peyton Manning - Still not putting up 1st Round numbers. In most cases, he was the first QB chosen in a FF league, so I think you have to say this season has been a disappointment so far. I really expected 20-22 points per game on average.

Marshawn Lynch - He's putting up average numbers in tough situations: no offensive help, against strong defenses, and\or playing from behind. I think he's a solid No. 2 RB right now, and hopefully he can explode for some big games in the coming weeks.

Travis Henry - Probably the last time I'll be able to play him this season. Anytime you lose your No. 2 RB, it's going to hurt, and what makes it worse is that I really only have Lynch for depth, since Thomas Jones hasn't shown up yet this season.

Reggie Wayne - Not putting up the numbers I expected. Take away the first game of the season and his numbers are way below average. But I was able to get some yards & a TD this week, so that's encouraging.

Lee Evans - Started him over Galloway this week, and it didn't make too much of a difference, but 1 catch for 12 yards? I don't think I can play him anymore unless it's a very specific matchup. I know they've played against some tough teams early on, but I expected more than 20 points TOTAL through 5 games.

Heath Miller - Another TD & some yardage. I love that Pitt's using the TEs so much; this guy should end up in the top 6 of TEs this year.

Jeff Reed - Ever since I dropped Rackers for him, he hasn't hit a FG. Now that he's on a bye week, it's time to say goodbye.

KC Defense - Benched the Seattle D & dropped a bye week Minn D in favor of these guys. I expected a low scoring game & a chance that KC could hold Jax to just a couple of points. Didn't quite happen, but at least they got a couple sacks and put up more points than Seattle did.


Thomas Jones - The NYJ's offense is really struggling, and I don't forsee any weeks where I'll be starting Jones...except for this week. I've only got two RBs to play this week, and he's one of them. Hopefully he can do something against Philly.

Waiver Wire

Since this upcoming week leaves me so thin, I started preparing the week before by grabbing a couple of QBs - Derek Anderson & Jeff Garcia - and stored them away to make sure I didn't lose out. After watching this past week, and considering the upcoming matchups, I'm gonna go with Anderson, as I like his matchup at home vs. Miami more than Garcia vs. Tenn. I also dropped the KC Defense & Jeff Reed for Dwayne Bowe & Jay Feely, although I'm reconsidering Feely as my kicker this week. Luckily, our league allows for unlimited transactions, so I have a chance to replace him later this week. I'm hoping that Andre Johnson is healthy this week so I can put him back in my lineup, and drop Bowe for a RB like Deshawn Wynn or Jason Wright. Otherwise, this is probably my lineup next week:

QB: D. Anderson
RB: B. Westbrook
RB: T. Jones
WR: J. Galloway
WR: D. Bowe
TE: A. Smith
K: J. Feely
D: Seattle

This is why I'm glad I'm 4-1 right now instead of 3-2. Good luck to everyone in your FF this week, as well as the FSL Blogger games. I finished 2nd this week thanks to Santonio Holmes' hamstring, but I'm gaining points fast, so watch out!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Stunned (warning: 7-Card Stud talk ahead)

Crazy...I'm posting this from work again. Let's see how long this lasts again. Although I'm pretty sure I still can't comment, being able to post from work would be nice again.

So here's what I typed out to post later tonight, enjoy!

So, despite saying that I wouldn't be able to play as often as I used, I got quite a bit of poker in this past week. Of course, it helps when you call out of work one of those days.

Made some huge progress on my bankroll challenge, working myself up near the $450 mark. Woo hoo! Only $50 until I can start running $10 SNGs. Alas, Full Tilt's RNG had other plans, and I find myself back down just under $400. How did I go on a $75 downswing?

7 Card Stud.

Stud is probably my second favorite poker variation. I've been successful at it so far, and I seem to have a better understanding of the game than most of those at my table when I play. Yet that wasn't enough to counter the donkeys I ran into this weekend. After a $50 upswing earlier in the week, I lost it all & then some after some brutal hands:

1. First, I couldn't win with rolled up threes when someone slowplayed a pair of hidden Aces that became trips. Someone else made trips along the line too. Luckily I didn't go overboard with the betting, but it's hard not to stop the dollar signs from flashing in your eyes when you see rolled trips.

2. Got two bet holding (QQ)Axx on 5th st against JJx showing. Someone else was showing a J so I didn't put him on trips. Paired my A on 6th st and he slowed down to my bet. He two bet me again on 7th st and showed (QQ)JJxx(J). FTP changes the cards sometimes when they're shown, but I'm pretty sure he caught the 3rd J on 7th st. Nice f'n 1-outer

3. Next hand, (JJ)AAxxx is no good against a 6-high straight that filled up on 7th st. Chased all the way hoping for a 6 outer at best. Nice.

4. 3-bet with (K2)K at an aggressive table, only to see the original raiser 4 bet. Someone gets a K on 4th, the other K comes out on 5th, so the best I can hope for is 2 pair. I fold, expecting to see a pair of Aces, at minimum, somewhere. Nope. Instead it's hidden 9s vs hidden Ts that make two pair, tens & twos, for the winning hand.

I know I shouldn't be amazed at how atrocious the play is at these levels - my success is dependent upon it. But when you get a flurry of beats like that (and that was just one sitting), you can't help but get frustrated. I should be at $500, writing a post about how I'm moving on to the next level of my bankroll challenge, and instead, I'm lamenting what could have been.

But, since I'm such a nice guy, and since it seems like there's quite a bit of people who could use even the most basic of 7 Card Stud strategy, I'll post some of my thoughts on the topic this week. Since only 13 people play this game anymore, I doubt I'll get any discussion going, but we'll see. Today, I'll talk about starting hands.

Pairs: I'll play any pair if there's no raise in front of me. I generally don't raise pairs below tens, and I'll call raises with a pair of 8's or above if I have a decent kicker or possible draw. Pairs must be played cautiously because very rarely is one pair good enough to win. Because of this, I recommend limping with pairs a lot more often than you would see in NLHE, even big pairs like AA or KK, especially in multiway pots. Admittedly, I'm a pretty tight Stud player, so I like to get to 5th as cheaply as possible with just one pair, especially in multiway pots.

Straight Draws: I'll raise with a straight draw if I'm 3-connected and my biggest card is showing (i.e (T9)J), but otherwise, I'm usually limping with these as well. I don't like to play gutshot draws unless I'm at a weak-tight table.

Flush Draws: In Stud, I absolutely hate flush draws. Unless you go perfect-perfect through 5th street, you usually end up paying too much to try to hit, and it's usually not worth the few times you get paid. Flush draws are more playable if you have two high cards and one of them is showing; this also gives you a chance to take a pot if you pair your up-card. Otherwise, I really don't play solely flush draws.

Straight & Flush Draws: On the other hand, a hand like (J9)Q sooted I will play very aggressively. I will come in with a raise, maybe even sometimes a 2-bet, wtih a hand like this. It is only a drawing hand, but because of the number of ways to win this hand (straight, flush, pairs, or just plain aggressiveness), I like to bet strongly to start to try and build a pot. If I'm still only on Q high by 6th st, I'll start to slow down, and if I concede the hand, so be it. Sooted connectors are monster hands in Stud, so play them as such, albeit with less gusto if it's something like (45)6.

Rolled Trips: There's probably not a better feeling in Stud then having to bring in with a hand like (44)4. You know that you're probably a favorite to win the hand, and most likely you're going to get paid. With rolled trips you almost have to limp-call because you don't want to chase anyone out. However, the flip side of that, you have to change it up every now & then, and there are some benefits to raising with these hands. In the right circumstances, I recommend raising with even something as strong as (KK)K or likewise, although I'll rarely 2-bet because I want to conceal the strength of my hand to some degree. If you're at a loose table with a lot of high card betting, you might be able to get an extra bet or two, or a check-raise in, if you play your hand like a steal attempt. Anyways, a hand like this is still beatable come 7th street, but because it's so strong to begin with, I think the best strategy is to encourage as much action through 5th street as possible.

Other hands: There aren't many more hands that are playable. Like NLHE, you can get away with stealing pots if it folds to you in position, but I only do that if I'm on (what would be) the button or CO and I have the highest card showing, and I'll do it less often in a cash game vs. tournament play.

Other thoughts: It's really amazing how many people don't take into consideration what cards are showing, or it at least seems like it. A connecting hand like (78)9 might seem playable, but if three 6s & two Ts are showing, you're better off throwing it away. Likewise, if you've got (JJ)2 facing a raise, and you see a J showing elsewhere, get rid of it. This might seem obvious, as I thought it did, but even this concept seems missed on a lot of players.

Next, I'll touch on my betting strategy for 4th & 5th streets.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

I Hate These Things

Fucking Cayne.

I did one of these already a couple of months back, so I'll try to list something different than before.

1. I work in the corporate office for the Northwest division of a leading national retailer. I won't tell you who, except that it's definitely not WalMart.

2. After toying with the idea of double-majoring in Business Management & Philosophy, I decided that would be pointless and just got the first degree, minoring in the second.

3. A couple of years ago, while hanging out in San Diego, I went with a couple of friends on a side trip to Tijuana. We ended up at a strip club where it only cost $1 to feel the girls up (and I'm not just talking breasts, either). Lap dances were only $10, and one of our friends needed a new pair of pants afterwards. It was at this strip club where, and I will swear this until I die, that at a table by himself, I saw none other than Enrique Iglesias. Dunno what he was doing trolling divey strip clubs in TJ, but I'm positive it was him.

4. Almost two weeks ago, I was diagnosed with type-2 diabetes. I'm taking steps to manage it but it's a long road ahead of me.

5. I'm completely terrified of being dead. Not dying, but being dead. Not existing. Sometimes, my mind will wander, and I'll start thinking about being dead, trying to imagine what it's like (I'm agnostic, so there's not much to imagine). The whole notion that, someday, even this world will ceast to exist, is too much to me to think about, and when I do, I sometimes break into panic attacks.

6. Some favorites of mine: Radiohead, Fight Club, pizza, The Stranger by Albert Camus, Fat Tire, Ireland

7. Almost two years ago, I flew home to AZ for Thanksiving weekend. I had just moved away from Seattle about 5 months prior, so I was excited to see my friends. I got in late Wednesday night & immediately met up with some of my good friends at my favorite bar. We threw back several Irish Car Bombs and other assorted drinks. I'd driven home more intoxicated than I was that night. My friend had just purchased a new Acura speedburner-type car. The last thing I recall before crashing into the telephone pole was trying to take a turn at 35 miles\hr after stupidly trying to drag race someone. Everyone survived except for the car. A couple broken bones, some bruised friendships, $4k out of my own pocket and some time in jail, it's pretty clear that was the worst night of my life.

8. I was at Game 6 of 1993 NBA Finals, Suns vs. Bulls. We had season tickets that year, so I caught all sorts of amazing games (rookie year Shaq bringing down the hoop, brawl vs. Knicks, etc.) I don't remember anything from the game other than Ainge leaving Paxson to double down on Horace Grant, then Paxson sticking that dagger into my heart from 24 feet away. I will never understand why you would leave John Paxson open to double against a layup from Horace Grant. That might have been the second worst night of my life. I'm a diehard Suns fan and I'm wondering if I'm ever going to see a championship in my lifetime.

9. I lived in Arizona all of my life until June 2005. That month I packed as much stuff as I could fit into my 98 Accord and left AZ for Seattle, WA. It wasn't quite as spontaneous as that sounds - I had planned it for about a month & had a job waiting for me, but it was still the riskiest decision I've ever made, and over two years later, it's probably the best one I've made too.

10. People say I look like Brian Posehn, or better yet, "that one guy from that one show". Google it if you don't know who I'm talking about.

Alan, you're up next.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Public Service Announcement

Online Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker!

This Online Poker Tournament is a No Limit Texas Holdem event exclusive to Bloggers.

Registration code: 7081683

Fantasy Football Week 4

I only scored 60 points this week. Yet it was somehow enough to win and go to 3-1 on the season.

Amazingly, my opponent had a worse week than I did. Going into Monday night he had only 35 points. But with Ben Watson & TJ Housh playing, he definitely had the chance to pass me. Housh did his part, but Watson did absolutely nothing, and I squeaked out the victory.

I've got Westbrook on a bye this week, and then half my team is on a bye the following week, so getting this victory was huge for me. If I can get to Week 6 with a 4-1 record then I should be OK. I do have the most points in the league right now, but only 4 over the second place team, the guy who beat me with S. Smith, Moss, & C. Johnson, so I really hope to steal these next two games. If not, I have a feeling that he'll have an edge on any tiebreakers if it gets to that point, which I hope it doesn't.


Peyton Manning - He saved my team this week. Despite Addai running wild, he was able to find a way to get 3 TDs plus a rare goaline TD of his own. He may not be the top QB this year, which is what you kinda expect when he's your top choice, but I really can't be too disappointed with his play this year, although I would definitely like to see more yardage.

Brian Westbrook - Nice goose egg from him. Can't score if you don't play. Even though he was a gametime decision, I should have followed his injury more closely instead of just making him an automatic start.

Marshawn Lynch - I figured he'd get at least 100 and a TD in this game, so I started him over Travis Henry, who I didn't think was going to do that well against the Colts. He didn't get the yardage, but nevertheless, he gave almost a point more than Henry would have

Reggie Wayne - At least he scored, but outside of Week 1, he's been a disappointment so far. Maybe with Marvin Harrison's injury he'll step it up

Joey Galloway
- He runs hot & cold and this week he was ice cold. 1 catch for 7 yards? It didn't help me that TB jumped out to an early lead, so they weren't forced to pass it that much. I debated Galloway vs Evans all week, and had I paid attention to the fact that Delhomme wasn't playing, I may have made a different decision.

Heath Miller
- Still putting up decent yards for a TE, and I think he had a TD that was called off. As long as he's an active target, he's my starter.

Jeff Reed - Not a good week for my kicker. Didn't quite expect the Cards' D to be that dominant, keeping them out of FG range.

Minn D - I have to take a long look at this team to see if I want to keep starting them. They're still the top D in our league but they've been horrible the last 2 games. I know I won't be starting them this week, since they're on a bye.


Travis Henry - I didn't think he'd do well because of what happened against Jacksonville the week before. I thought that Indy would start out hot at home, and that the running game would struggle for most of the game. I now know never to doubt Travis Henry, although word is that he's banged up this week. That sucks for me, because Westbrook is on a bye.

Lee Evans - Finally some signs of life from a disappointing receiver. I'm still not confident playing him yet, and it'll depend on his matchup vs. Galloway's matchup, unless....

Andre Johnson - Please come back Andre. I need you. I miss you.

Sea D - Missed a HUGE game by this defense. I'm still not sure how I feel about this team, but they're the 3rd ranked D in our league. I have to start them this week against Pitt. That should be interesting.

Waiver Wire

I still need to get a new backup QB, as Leinart is pretty much worthless right now. Manning's on a bye after this week so I need to make a decision soon. Delhomme was looking decent until he got injured, and he goes up against the Cards in Week 6. I'll also be dropping Ladell Betts soon, because the Week 6 bye leaves me without Manning, Wayne, Henry, Lynch, Evans, Miller, and Reed. A bye week replacement is more important than holding onto my 5th RB who's not even a starter anyways.