Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Poker, Poker, the World Series of Poker

The Twins are suffering the effects of horrible management, both on-field and general, and the Gophers football and basketball are a ways away from newsworthy. And given this "blogger's" apparent inability to write about his favorite frustrating teams, maybe his severe interest in poker is enough to jump start this blog. So I'll write about poker.

The main question an aspiring poker player needs to ask is: how good am I really? There are three certainties in life, namely death, taxes, and you thinking you're a better poker player than you really are. A general misconception of one's abilities shouldn't be too surprising, given the tendency of players to blame their losses on anything but themselves. Heard any bad beat stories lately?

Actually, one measure of how good you are might be how long it's been since you bored someone with a bad beat story.

So where do I stand in line for future poker superstardom? It's a tough call. My results indicate I'm probably in the top ten percent of Minnesota no-limit Texas hold 'em tournament players. I am average at best at no-limit cash, and once the topic becomes limit hold 'em or any games besides hold'em, I would be considered bad at this time. For that reason, any discussion of "poker" in this blog means by default No Limit Texas Hold'em.

2009 Results
While I would like to brag mightily about my success, you can probably understand why I will provide limited information here. I will give a little background information prior to 2009 sometime soon, but suffice it to say the profit was always negative, and I generally look at pre-2009 as strictly a learning experience.

I will brag about my biggest win of the year, which the government is eagerly waiting to get its hands on. Mind you, I'm all about paying lots of taxes, but it still hurts. It seems I spend all my time collecting poker receipts these days. Back to the success. Running Aces started a new deep-stack tournament this calendar year (1st, 3rd, and 5th Saturdays of the month). At the time the buy-in was $550, and in my first attempt, I took down first place. It was a tournament where I was severely short-stacked with blinds getting big, so when I went all-in four times in a row and got called twice, I found myself with maybe the average chip stack, and I pretty much was in the zone thereafter. I played strongly, withstood the temper tantrum of a poker diva whose main characteristic is nastily chastising those who knock her out, and eventually found myself heads-up against Everett.

Everett is another top 10% player in the state, I have come to find. We played in the same World Series event last week, though his results I don't yet know--he told me he was short-stacked during our first break. Heads-up at Running Aces, I had passed him in chip count, and it wasn't long into our match that I threw out the standard raise--three times the big blind--with pocket sixes, he raised all-in with A7s, and we had a showdown. The flop yielded a 7, but I turned a 6, and I won my first ever poker tournament championship, nearly $8k.

That started a winning stretch for me, and I started to believe I was good and knew what I was doing. But as any seasoned poker player knows, success comes in streaks, and "running bad" is soon to follow. My bad streak culminated in late April at Canterbury during a $340 satellite to the Minnesota Poker Championship when I went all-in with fives, got called with Aces, and threw my cards so hard they landed face down on the floor. As I left, I told the tournament director Eddie to not let me play again that week. I no longer knew what I was doing at the poker table.

Daniel Negreanu is the one I credit with pulling me out of my slump a mere ten days later. I decided to join a poker internet site, one that taught the game, to see if it could help me. I chose Negreanu's It helped immediately, and I haven't looked back since, cashing in nearly every local tournament I've played. With the exception of some horrible luck at the World Series of Poker, I'm still going strong. I flew in from Vegas at 5:30 am this past Saturday, entered the Running Aces deep-stack tourney at 2pm, and took first place at around 1am Sunday morning. Since then I've had a non-cash at Canterbury and a 4th place at Running Aces.

So that's a summary of my 2009, and many of the items I mention in brief here, I'll expound on in future postings, including the WSOP, my recent win, chopping tournament money, running bad, and Poker Bitch. Maybe that's sexist...she seems nice otherwise, and trust me, there a lot of guys with issues, too.

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