Sunday, January 23, 2011

Australian Open & Aussie Millions

Finished the Australian Open chess wiht 6.5/11, which was reasonable. Could have been better, could have been worse. My final two rounds were quite a mix, with a great position in round 10 against Patrick Champion becoming a horrible loss thanks to a few shocking moves in an ending. Round 11 was quite the opposite, with a good attacking game against Richard Voon making up (somewhat) for the previous round, and a good way to finish the tournament.
As far as the tournament itself is concerned, it was a three-way tie between GM Zong-Yuan Zhao, IM George Xie & Moulthun Ly, with George getting the trophy on tie break (the illogical sum of opponent's ratings ... but what tie break system is really fair?). Vladimir Smirnov also picked up his third & final IM norm ... and with the 2400 rating requirement having been previously fulfilled, he should be an IM on the next FIDE list.

The Aussie Millions has been run & won as far as I'm concerned. I'm not as cashed-up as I was at this time last year, so decided to only play the 8-game event (of course this was 'helped' by the lack on non-NLHE events - no limit holdem, Manila, Omaha hi-lo or stud outside the 8 game) ... and I found myself on a pretty tough table. It was a good decision to play the tournament 6-handed, however when the table consist of Dave Morton, Leo Boxell, Oliver Gill, Matt Pearson, myself & an unknown player, there really aren't too many obvious places to get chips easily ... particularly when the unknown guy manages to run me down in the few pots I manage to play heads-up with him. I only managed to finish around 50th out of the 68 starters, which was disappointing. Of course with only NLHE events left on the schedule (apart from a $10k 8-game), I'm not going to play any more events ... NLHE isn't my best game & I'd rather play cash than have to deal with the swings of bigger buy-in events.
The series itself is being run well, as most Crown tournaments are, however the lack of non-NLHE events is disappointing from a personal level. Having said that, the use of the Studio 3 nightclub area for the TV tables/$100k challenge/televised cash game is excellent, although as you might expect, poker still lacks something as a spectator sport when you can't see the hole cards.

Also for those who bother to read the blog, I'll extend the deadline for the quiz ... and reveal results & winner in around a week ... needless to say the man behind the UnknownName3 blog is in front at the moment, though his total is definitely beatable.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Quiz re-wording & chess update

A minor change to question 1 of the quiz ...

1. You are playing Omaha & have 9c3c3d3h in your hand. What three combinations of five community board cards would give you the nuts?

That should clear up any confusion as to what I am looking for in the answer. I want the final 5 board cards (three different boards) where 9333 can be the nuts in Omaha.

As far as the chess goes, I'm currently on 3.5/6 in the Australian Open, which is a reasonable result so far. I'd definitely like to finish on 6.5 or more, so will need to win some more games to make that happen. No particularly special results, though I did draw with former Australian Champion Doug Hamilton in round 5.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A New Years Quiz

Something a bit different for the new year ... a poker quiz ... but not your average poker quiz! This is a largely google-proof quiz (though there are one or two questions where google may help).
I'll give people about 2 weeks to get their responses in ... I'll announce the winners on January 14th (the second day of the Aussie Millions). I'll also try to come up with prize(s) of some sort.

Send your answers to me at

And now for the quiz ...

1. You are playing Omaha & have 9c3c3d3h in your hand. What three final board cards would give you the nuts?
2. What was unique about the 8-game event at the 2010 Aria Poker Classic?
3. What did I do during the Omaha hi-lo event at the 2010 WSOP that was unusual?
4. Which WSOP bracelet winner was at my table when I busted from the event?
5. What two hotels have I stayed at on my trips to Las Vegas?
6. Which Australian casinos have I cashed in playing tournament poker?
7. How many $1 chips do I have from American casinos?
8. What casino has the most poker tables in the world?
9. What were the names of the two main characters in the poker movie Rounders? Which actors played them?
10. I have folded pocket aces pre-flop once in my life. What was the tournament & why did I fold the hand?

Happy New Year everyone!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Chess, poker & a new year

I finished the Canterbury Summer Swiss with 5/7, which was =5th out of 68 players. The result was far better on paper than it was in regards to the actual chess. I was losing in four games (rounds 1, 4, 6 & 7) but managed to win round 1 & draw round 6 & 7 to make my score look far better than it actually was.
Christmas with the family was good & I'm now back in Sydney for New Years & the Australian Open chess. Hopefully the good chess results can continue ... obviously with improved quality of play!
The homegame went reasonably well, with 12 players turning up & playing at various times throughout the day & night, though it did end up being multiple single table tournaments, rather than the intended mix of tournament & cash games. Of course I still managed to run horribly, but managed to win one of the tournaments. The response from those who attended was positive, so I may begin hosting home games on a more regular basis.

Happy New Year to all the readers of the blog & listeners to the podcast! Hopefully things will continue to grow & improve in 2011!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sydney & some updates ...

I'm in Sydney at the moment, spending some time with the family over Christmas. I'm sure I'll catch up with many of my Sydney friends while in town as well.
I've also got a few things happening over the next month ... two chess tournaments - one in Melbourne (the Canterbury Summer Swiss) & one in Sydney (the Australian Open) ... a poker homegame (let me know if you're interested in attending) ... as well as the Aussie Millions!
As far as the chess stuff goes, I would like to do some sort of blogging/podcast type thing around it. I suspect this may involve setting up another blog, though it might also end up here, but either way I'll let you know.
As for the 'you' ... there's been 8 downloads of the latest episode, which only went up about a week ago, so I suppose that means there's at least 8 people who read the blog & listen to the podcast (or perhaps fewer readers/listeners who have trouble downloading & need to download multiple times ... but I'll go with the optimistic numbers!) ... one would almost call it a following, although I think such terms should be reserved for times when you run out of fingers when counting.
As for the Deuces Cracked 50,000 hand challenge, I'm currently around 11,500 hands in and down about $40. I've been going in the right direction lately playing micro-NLHE, which has seen something of a recovery from my earlier efforts with Rush poker & limit holdem, where I ran horribly. At the moment, I think the leaders in the challenge are up around $300, so I'm not entirely out of the running yet, although the graph needs to keep heading in the right direction.
I'm sure I'll also be playing some poker while in Sydney & I'll let you know how it goes.
If I don't get around to updating beforehand ... have a great festive season!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Episode 9 is here!

Finally, the long overdue episode is out!

The episode is full of news, covering the WSOP final table, the WSOPE, the Partouche Poker tour, as well as local events such as ANZPT Melbourne & Darwin, APPT Auckland & Sydney, the Sydney Championships & the Joe Hachem Deepstack Series. I also look at some play form the High Rollers event at the Victorian Championships & discuss a hand from the WSOP final table that will be talked about for a few years to come ...

Don't forget to send your feedback to

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The watch is here!!

It looks like Full Tilt deliver a lot quicker than they say they will!
I returned home from a brief trip to the shops today to find a package underneath my door mat. Inside was the Full Tilt watch I had ordered a few weeks ago. 6-8 weeks shipping ... not with Full Tilt!

Of course the watch will now be part of the things I wear pretty much where ever I go!

Now to work on actually turning a profit in this Deuces Cracked 50,000 hands challenge ... and finish recording a podcast!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A tournament cash ... finally!

Yes, I've finally managed a cash in a live tournament ... my first for over three months!
By the same token, it was also very disappointing. The event in question was the 8 game at the latest joe Hachem Deep Stack Series at Crown. The disappointing part of it was that I was the chip leader going into the final table & stayed at or near the top of the chip count throughout the final table ... until it got down to three handed. Early in three handed play I continued to chip up & at one point I had over 300k in chips, compared with the 140k & 45k of my oppoents ... yes, I had a massive chip lead! I felt I was the best player remaining at the table & I felt I was playing well ... and yet I still managed to finish 3rd!
It all came apart in the triple draw & limit holdem rounds ... two big triple draw hands saw me make second-best hands & lose sizable pots ... and then another two limit holdem hands saw me go from big stack to short stack in about 15 hands! I eventually went out in the Omaha hi-lo round, after chopping a pot when I flopped a full house, only to have my oppoent catch running low cards to take the low ... and finally went out with a high-only hand QJJ8 against my opponent's A874 which made two pair with the A8 to scoop the pot & send me home.
In summary, it is good to finally get a live tournament cash after months of non-cashes ... but at the same time, its very disappointing to once again miss out on the trophy, particularly given the situation I was in when three-handed.

In other news, I've recorded a few segments for the next episode of the Donkcast, so expect to hear it soon!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Another Deuces Cracked Challenge

I've decided to get involved in another Deuces Cracked challenge ... this time a bankroll-building challenge to see who can turn $100 into the most after 50,000 hands. The challenge starts on December 1 & runs for three months (or 50,000 hands, whatever comes first). Part of the reason for getting involved in this is not only for the potential win (two coaches have offered a free coaching session to the winner), but also to see how long it takes to actually get through 50,000 hands. At the moment, while I have been playing some micro-limits to gain Full Tilt Academy points through challenges, I have played just over 25,000 hands on Full Tilt since September ... which means I need to be playing more to fulfill the 50,000 hand requirement.
Also coming into consideration in this challenge are the issues of bankroll management & game selection. The main issues being how aggressively to use (or ignore) bankroll management ... and what games to play.
Issues to ponder:
What level & game should I be starting at?
* 2NL
* 5NL rush (there is no 2NL for rush)
* 5NL
* 10/20c L
* 25/50c L
How many tables should I be playing simultaneously?
* 1
* 2
* 4
* 6
* 8
* As many as possible
At what point should I move up in limits?
* 20 buy-ins (NL)
* 30 buy-ins (NL)
* 40 buy-ins (NL)
* ?? buy-ins (NL)
* 200 BB (L)
* 300 BB (L)
* 500 BB (L)
Will the progress of others (assuming others post their progress) affect how I play in terms of game choice & limits?
I'm sure there's a few rather obvious questions I'm missing at the moment ...
At present, the thought is to start at 2NL & move up when I have 30 buy-ins, although that might change ...

In other happenings, I've completed enough of the FTPA challenges to get over the 5000 point mark, have converted these points into Full Tilt points & have put in an order for the watch I have been mentioning on the blog ... apparently it takes 6-8 weeks for delivery, so I suspect it might become a late Christmas gift, but I'll see what happens.
I also plan to get a new (now long overdue) episode of the Donkcast out in the next few days ... but with so much to try to catch up on, it might almost become a news-only episode!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Watch ... the Academy ...

I've gone for a change of direction with the Full Tilt watch mentioned a few posts ago. Yes, the plan is to still get it from the FTP shop, not only because I need a new watch (my current one is somewhat ordinary, plus the hands have stopped [in spite of the digital display still working, so it still works as a watch] & I'm kind of lazy in regards to repairs & maintenance), but because a Full Tilt watch says so much more about yourself than a site store purchase of the t-shirt/cap variety.
With this in mind, I've made use of the Full Tilt Academy to build up points. When you reach 5000 Academy points, these can be exchanced for 5000 Full Tilt points ... which in turn can be used to purchase the watch. Earning points in the academy is reasonably straightforward, as you simply have to complete challenges at the tables.
For example, the requirements for Bill Edler's 'Power of Position' challenge are as follows:
* Open-fold A-J, A-T, A-9, K-Q, K-J, or K-T 3 times in early position (UTG, UTG+1) in 8- or 9-handed NLHE cash games.
* Raise with A-Q, A-J, A-T, A-9, K-Q, K-J, or K-T 3 times in late position (button, cutoff) in 8- or 9-handed NLHE cash games.
* Win a pot with a continuation bet on the flop with no pair in an 8- or 9-handed NLHE cash game, after open-raising from late position (button or cutoff) pre-flop.
* Successfully bluff on the turn with no pair after calling a bet in position on the flop.
* Win 3 consecutive pots from the button.
You get points for completing each task (the points per task increases as you complete the tasks), with the entire challenge being worth 250 points.
As you can see from the example, the challenges are about getting players to play 'correct' (whatever that means) poker, with many of the tasks requiring things that you would (or should) be doing in many cases in the course of your normal cash game play. Yes, the academy does cop some flack for some of the tasks & suggestions (such as Mike Matusow's 'Setup Plays' challenge, where he requires limp-folding as part of the challenge), but on the whole its a decent idea from Full Tilt ... and doubles as a pretty easy way to gain points for various poker-related items.
As a result I've been multi-tabling micro stakes quite a bit lately & have racked up just over 4000 points in the academy, so hopefully the 5000 mark (and the watch) is not too far away.
On the related Full Tilt points goal, I'm now close to the 6000FTP mark ... which will put me well over the required points for the watch when I add in the 5000 from the academy!
Time to get my BLING on!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Deuces Cracked Report Card!

Deuces Cracked are currently running a series on mixed games, called Report Card, where member-submitted videos are reviewed by a range of DC experts in the various games. My video is the latest to be reviewed by the DC team!
You can watch the start of the video (DC have 2 minute previews of all their videos for non-members) here, though I do recommend signing up to become a member as there is a heap of great poker content on the site.
If there is enough demand (ie: comments on this post) I'll see if I can arrange alternative means of viewing the video.

As for my overall results from the video, Dan 'DJSensei' Morris graded me as follows:
Triple Draw D
Limit Holdem B-
Limit Omaha hi-lo C+
Razz A-
Seven Card Stud C
Seven Card Stud hi-lo C
No Limit Holdem B+
Pot Limit Omaha C+
Overall GPA 2.41 (yes, they're Americans ... that's how they do things)
So far I've only watched the video through once, so I'm sure I'll pick up a lot more as I re-watch it. However, for the moment the main issues were as follows:
I need to work on my triple draw (which I am)
Don't get involved in limped stud hands when you are the bring-in unless you make a really big hand
Bet bigger in PLO (they seem to be a fan of the 'bet the maximum' approach, which has its advantages, particularly in a mixed game with both limit & big bet games)
Be more aware of position (and related to that, relative hand strength) when playing hands

Of course I submitted the video around two months ago, so I feel as if I have improved in some of the areas mentioned, as well as the fact that a one hour video is a really small sample size to get a full picture of how someone plays (its barely enough time to get through more than one rotation of all the games).

The people reviewing the various games (with links to their DC profile/coaching pages) are:
Joe Tall covering the three stud games (he also has an interesting blog)
Danzasmack covering the limit flop games (yes, the same danzasmack who was my first podcast guest)
Soepgroente covering the big bet games & triple draw
DJSensei doing the hosting & final grading.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Mixed games on Full Tilt!

The latest software update on Full Tilt Poker has introduced a range of draw poker games. The reason that it is of interest is that it is the first time draw poker has been offered at Full Tilt. Previously if you were after draw poker, you had to play at PokerStars (and possibly some other smaller sites). Anyway, given that it is something new, people tend to try it out without knowing much about the various games that are played (the same thing happened in the first few weeks of Rush Poker at Full Tilt) ... and as a result the games are good. Of course it also tends to increase the variance as a result, but if you run good, there's money to be made!
My favourite at the moment is the 10-game mix, which includes the usual games in standard 8-game mixes (limit Holdem, limit Omaha hi-lo, limit Razz, limit Stud, limit Stud hi-lo, limit 2-7 triple draw, no limit Holdem & pot limit Omaha) as well as Badugi & no limit 2-7 single draw. So many players are horrible & will call with almost anything, so you can generally maximise your value for your strong hands ... the dilemma is in saving bets when you don't have the best of it.
I'm sure I'll find out more in the coming days and weeks ... and I have less than 3500 points left for the watch!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Back in Melbourne ... back to the grind!

I'm back from the Sydney trip. Good to be home & sleeping in my own bed!
The Sydney trip was good for the most part. The Deuces Cracked meetup was great. It was good to catch up with my chess firends that I hadn't seen for a while. The poker, particularly at the casino, could have been better. I like the deeper stacks (you can now buy in to a $1/2 table up to $200), although deep stacks mean little when you continue to run bad ... such as an all-in pre-flop with KK v JJ for roughly $160 where my opponent did the usual & flopped a J & I couldn't catch up.
It was also good to catch up with the family ... my brother seems to be going OK with his studies & my parents are still doing fine.
Now that I'm back in Melbourne, its back to the grind. I'm hoping to do some casual teaching to give me something of a regular income ... and of course hoping to turn the current poker run bad around! The next step for me as far as online poker goes is to not only continue to build my bankroll (I've gone off the idea of the self-challenge from a few posts back) playing limit & no limit holdem & mixed games, with the occasional tourney ... but also to build up my Full Till points so that I can have a watch (as seen on the left) shipped to my home.
Will see how it goes ...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sydney Deuces Cracked Meet

I ventured up to Sydney for a week (where I'm typing this post from) for, amongst other things, a Sydney meetup of Deuces Cracked members. There were a total of 6 of us who were on the felt at the Jade Tavern for an evening of 25/50c NLHE (which moved to Star City later on). Big thanks to Aus_dragon (Nathan) for organising it & good to meet Shuttle, Stanmore, Pink_dragon & PokerGnome Alicia (a semi-private joke for those that are wondering). The DC game ended in a small profit for myself, though the 'highlight' hand was one near the end of the night between Shuttle & PokerGnome. PokerGnome raised to $1.50 (or thereabouts - my memory is not precise with the following figures) UTG, Shuttle made it $4.25 on the button & PokerGnome shoved for his remaining $25. While Shuttle was thinking about what to do, PokerGnome offered to show one card & showed a queen ... which lead Shuttle to instanly say 'I call' & turn over K7o! Of course the king arrived on the flop, with a 7 on the river for the final kick in the nuts for PokerGnome.
Personally I found the game to be good, however I was more comfortable in it knowing that there were no spastic maniacs at the table, as seems to be so common elsewhere (although there were times when Shuttle & PokerGnome came close to such descriptions) ... and as a result I felt I played reasonably well for the most part.
Of course when I went to Star City, the crazy fish (and my poor timing) left me with a small loss for the evening. A sample of my poor timing included 4-betting a short stack with AK, picking up a caller with 88 & checking it down post-flop to see the short stack with JJ to triple up; a mate of mine who was short & open-shoved his last 10bbs where I had 99 & decided to call (yes, bad decision which only occured to me AFTER I had put the chips in the middle) where he had JJ & held ... and just a general lack of premium hands and spots to get chips easily (live players dislike folding, which makes bluffing somewhat difficult to do).

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Another tourney, another story to tell ...

Played the Deepstack event at the ANZPT Melbourne & it was my usual tale of woe. Got off to a decent start at a very passive table, chipping up early by making use of position & the passivity of the other players. If folded or limped to me in late position, it was almost an invitation to raise, with almost no 3-bets pre-flop. Of course post-flop, it was invariably checked to the pre-flop raiser, so I simply put in the c-bet & took down the pot a vast majority of the time. If I was called on the flop, I either had to make a hand, or simply give up on the pot, but this happened rarely. Of course this lack of 3-betting was the beginning of the end for me ... I made my standard opening raise of 550 (levels 100/200/25), only to be re-raised to 1650 by the player two to my left. This was then called by the button before it got back to me! I re-raised to 5000 (I started the hand with about 13k) & noticed that the lady who re-raised me had around 6k total. She decided to shove after some thought & the other player got out of the way ... and my AA was up against AKs. Of course there was a king on the flop & a king on the river ... so a decent chunk of my stack went elsewhere.
I managed to lose a few more chips (some raises that met resistance, as well as an ill-timed flop check-raise) before finally getting my last 3500 in with 88 against KJo & lost the slightly more even coinflip ... and the walk of shame.
This put my live tournament streak at something like 0/18 for tournaments after my cash in the Thursday tournament around two months ago ... and as usual I got my money in good the vast majority of the time! Tournaments are so much fun!
When, oh when, will I run good???