Thursday, August 28, 2008

Do you trust fortune tellers?

Was working in a busy country town today with a work colleague 'S', we had an hour to kill before the next client arrived. It was wet miserable morning... the cafe was full of fat builders in ill-fitting shirts and too-big-on-the-butt trousers with egg and tomato sauce dripping down their stubby chins. Grossed me out so much I insisted on leaving! There wasn't anything else to do apart from walk in the rain...

On the Square there was a camper van parked advertising Gypsy Lee 'AS SEEN ON TV' Psychic Clairvoyant Palm Readings, Crystal Ball and Tarot Cards... These weren't your standard handmade/painted posters they were real professional print job with numerous photos of the said fortune teller with various stars and celebrities. Neither of us had heard of her but we were still suitable impressed (mind you 'S' hadn't a clue who Paul Newman was either!) so in we went.

S, who opted for a Crystal Ball reading for €30, came out 11 mins later smiling but still looking a tad disappointed. She felt the reading was general but pretty vague; the woman instantly assumed that she was in a relationship (which she was) and predicted that she would marry him eventually (S was kinda disappointed with this for some reason!) have 3 children in quick succession and give up her job temporarily to mind them. She predicted correctly that there were 4 other members in her family that she was close to (true) and she had 3 close friends that she can count on and go far with (S is off on holidays this Saturday with 2 girlfriends while the other best friend is taking her camping next month... )

Still S was disappointed... no magical dark knight of romance, no scandal to make her famous, or lotto wins to look forward to... just life as she already knew it: boring humdrum day-to-day life.

I went in and asked for the tarot reading (they are cards...) for €40 as I was feeling a little flush after last night's cash win. I was determined not give any telling answers to leading questions such tellers usually ask.

As I sat down at the other side of the caravan with the fortune teller, she immediately asked me a common job related question for a "friend" of hers... I put it down to the fact that S might have told her what we worked at and replied with the usual doled out advice that we are trained to give. Later S swore blind that the subject of our work never came up... Hmmm!?

The gypsy asked me why I picked the cards, and not the crystal ball like S, not wanting to mention poker I thought of 'S' and mumbled something about a previous crystal ball reading I had been disappointed with. They she made me jump...

"Do you play cards m'dear?" she had a deep husky voice and her irises shone yellow with brown specks reminding me of a cat. Huh? I swear I never touched the deck! I had no poker memorabllia or similar on myself... I looked puzzled and asked 'why she thought that?' but she didn't reply to me just spread the cards and asked me to pick any 5 and make a wish in my heart.

"Have you ever given any thought to fostering or adoption?" perhaps in the past... "well I see you doing it in future; fostering a child then adopting them... I see you with 3 children of your own too... 2 girls and a boy... the boy will be born first followed by two girls..." I got goosebumps hearing this! I already have a son and daughter, my son is the oldest. But I SWEAR I have no plans to have a 3rd!!! The very thought has me very worried right now!

"I see you surrounded by lots of children... does your job have any involvement with children?" Yes, spot on... "they will grow up to work alongside you in the future... " Hope it's not in poker or their parents won't thank me!

"You are looking for a partner, is that right my dear?" Ah ha! Another leading question! I stared at the cards I picked looking for the 'male figure' that sprung the question - not one card had a male figure. "You may know him already my dear... you may have turned him down once already; don't do it a second time... his initial is P or C" pfffft! I assure all my admirers that there's no 'P' or 'C' in my life, and I've not turned down anyone for a date recently! I bet Susie Woosie is already making a mental list here(!)

"Do you worry about money dear?" Who doesn't! I have a mortgage, a job that involves a lot of travelling and an expensive hobby (no I didn't tell her that!) But she predicts that I will never be 'rich' I will know tight times but I will come into a fair sum of money at various occasions in my life (of course... poker winnings!) and my home will always be luxurious (of course... thanks to my poker winnings!) and welcoming (Did I tell ya about my plan to buy a poker table with wooden top for the dining room with my 'next big win! Just bring a bottle and some cash over with you...) "you will never be in a position to ask for help... as long as you spend wisely" Amen to that!

"I see you climbing the ladder in your career my dear" I nodded, I'm actively working on that one right now and I incorporated it into my 'wish'... "am I right that you wished for career success?" Cue another goosebump moment. "The cards say it will come to you, all in good time my dear..."

There were other messages about my life that rang eeriely true to form in my 20 minute reading... but I digress sharing them for now.

Before I went in - I gave my bag to S, having already taken the €40 from my wallet and tucking it inside my shirt (in my defence I had no pockets... I blame Susie Woosie for giving me this habit!) I was told of a fortune teller years ago who put her children under the table to rob unsuspecting clients of their cash as they placed their handbag on the floor... now Gypsy Lee looked too old to have small children and I had a clear view under the table so it was unlikely to happen but I wasn't taking any chances!

"You can take your money out of your bra, its quite safe here my dear..." Impossible! How did she know???!!! I felt more goosebumps. No... The woman must have CCTV cameras or something!?! I laughed and paid her dues as she chanted the gypsy blessing over the cash in my palm. I just hope she was praying to the deities for it to double up for me than forgiveness for scamming me so well!

IF it was a scam that is, cos she was so good, accurate or scarily close enough to be! Unlike my colleague 'S' bemoaning her 'humdrum' life ... I must admit I'd be very happy if my life turns out the way as predicted!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

From $0.31 to $31 in 4 hours...

Was in the mood to play online tonight but I didn't want to add any more money to my account... Instead I challenged myself to grind on the 0.31c I had left! LOL!

2 x .10c SnGs (10 player) = .50c
2 x .20c SnGs = $1.60
Get on .02/.04c tables, put down $1.80, got up with $5 (crazy playing here!)
Play 30 seater $2+.40c = $6 approx
Join .10/.20c table, put down $8 and got up with $31!

Such a small amount be happy about but hey... I don't usually run this good on such small amounts!

Paddy Power Ramasses 0.10/0.20, hand converted by the iPoker Converter at Talking-Poker

saw flop saw showdown

Button Heroine ($13.36)
BB EASYCALL75 ($15.83)
UTG theguns1 ($20.38)
UTG+1 yarosh91 ($10.67)

Preflop: Heroine is on the Button with A A
theguns1 raises to 0.80,
1 fold,
Heroine raises to 2,
ERCIYESMG raises to 4.50,
1 fold,
theguns1 raises to 9,
Heroine moves all-in for 11.36,
theguns1 calls 4.36.

Flop (31.42) J K 5

Turn (31.42) 6

River (31.42) 4

theguns1 shows Q Q
Heroine shows A A

Heroine wins 31.42 with One pair, Aces

I would have raised more than $2 but with the SB on major tilt pushing AIPF in almost every other hand with a wide range, he made me fold several times holding the better hand. I needed him to push again here. I didn't expect theguns1 to raise, knowing he had a monster plus he had me well covered, it was time to shove!

First time I secure a win with AA in weeks too! GG!

Thank you Lady Variance!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Happy Birthday Vera!

That girl was looking mighty fine being at the centre of the attention last Wednesday in Blinker's, City West!

Vera's birthday bash is an annual poker event held in August every year, this year was the biggest yet, so I was told. With 130 expected, 5k prizepool, freeroll with €10 rebuys for the first hour and €20 top-up... the world and his aunt wouldn't have passed up such a great offer! There was more than 300 degens queuing up for the title. During the game the unlucky ones unable to get a seat, kept the blackjack and roulette tables going strong!

Since we arrived early to register, Susie Woosie and myself sat ourselves down at the cash table to wait for the start which didn't kick off til 10:15pm, I left the cash table -€50 while Susie made €125. I noticed the rake was pretty high, one example: Susie Woosie pushed €50 into one pot with 3 callers, along with 4/5xblinds making it just under €200 and dealer took a €25 chip from the pile and gave back just €3... €22 rake for a €190 pot?(!) I was going to point it out but realised there were several 'experienced' cash players on the table who would have said something, I digressed assuming that he prob dropped in €10 before picking up the chip...

I was placed on table 9 for the Freeroll Madness, while I noticed several tables calling wildly for chips our's was passive by comparison! We ourso dealers, one of the players (part-time dealer) hopped into the seat and took over the job. In the first hand I was UTG with A5 suited and opened for 300, got two callers... flop came out 55K... I bet 1k... MP folded and CO-1 called. Turn Q giving a flush board. Play went check, check. River was small card, I pushed all-in and villian called showing K5o. LOL! Just as well it's a rebuy(!)

3 rebuys and one top-up later (I had expected to pay a lot more but...) I was sitting on €7k when the 'real game' began after the break. A playable stack with blinds at 200-400 and there was only 69k approx on the table. But with 15 minute blinds, hand dead and the chipleaders re-raising the pots I was the 5th person to be booted off the table with 120 people still in play. I pushed with my final 4k in CO with Kh9h, got two callers (BB & SB - one AIPF too) both holding 77. And NONE of my outs appeared on the board to save my skin (not even ONE heart!) allowing the 77 holders to carve up the last of my chips between them!

Susie Woosie had the honour of sitting right beside Vera while she pushed 'All In' in every hand... building her stack up to €22 by the end of the break thanks to Vera's 'free chips' playing! She lasted an hour or so longer than me.

While waiting for Susie, I sat down at a cash table with €50. There was one white-haired-tashed grumpy geezer who put several players on tilt with his rude comments and bad beat calls that turned out VERY lucky for him(!) One hand he limped in with 910 then called two huge raise ("what ya bet that much for... I can't fold these!") with AQJ on flop only to win with K on river against JJ and AQ... He eventually took all my chips too(!) I was watching the rake closely - appeared to be taking €2 for every €20 pot, a massive 10%! I wisely decided not to invest any more on the cash table and left at a respectable 2am while 70 where still playing strong in the Birthday Bash.

Great night - great atmosphere - lovely poker room... shame about the rake. I'd play in a FO but no more cash there for me!

Many Happy Returns Vera! Hope you got our card?

AFTERTHOUGHT: Just saw Boards today and there's some comments about the high rake... glad it wasn't just me imaging things! Hope the rumours of the owners fleecing the prize fund wasn't true... be a shame if it is, Blinkers is a nice place to play and Vera's Birthday Bash really put Blinkers on the 'poker map'.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

"So... What do you do with da winnin's?"

What winnin's? Ah sure, I spend it o'course!

The serious poker nits out there really swear by a strict bankroll management programme, by keeping everything, extending their poker spending to a percentage of what money they have accumulated to date in order to control the bad variance or downswings... and allow themselves a' wee salary' at the end of the month/year/season.

I use this method somewhat when playing online - to be honest I do play a little 'higher' than the recommended 5% limit so my swings are wild! If I have $100 I play $10 STTs/MTTs games, if I drop below $50 I limit myself to $5 games, but if I drop to $10 ... I will not play the $1 games! Why? The standard of playing at that level is atrocious! As a result I just end up blowing the lot... I'm a tad sceptical about setting store by online playing; sure online is where 'the money' is, but in order to make it you have to put in the hours and grind, grind, grind, which I don't have. Then there's all the stories of collusion, hackers, and fixed cards... and the amount of bad beats I get are horrendous! I don't 'employ' this method playing live, thankfully!

Live playing is a whole different kettle of fish in my opinion, granted there's no rakeback, but there's tells to be spotted, banter to partake in, plus you get to see how the cards are being dealt. I do enjoy playing live more... probably because I make far more from it than playing online.

Back to the question of winnings... I accumulate 'assets'. Whenever I win anything I spend it on something solid. This way I've something to show for my winnings and not a varying bankroll as determined by the mood of lady variance... I've brought items for the house, toys for kids, handbags, shoes, make-up, etc... every time I see/use them, I think 'DPN January 2008 winnings' or 'Irish Deaf Poker Open 2008'. Then I play again when I can afford it or when I want to. The way I see it, I don't lose what I didn't have to begin with. I do keep tabs though, if I'm spending way more than I've won I start to think twice about playing certain games/levels... But my bankroll never actually 'disappears'.

I got criticised recently for spending too much on poker, for having a -€630 loss. This represents 7 months of playing costing less than €100 per month. Let's assume I went out one night a month: get all dolled up (make-up/clothes = €€) have a few drinks before I head out (wine = €€) call for a taxi ... well I ain't walking far in my killer heels aren't I? ( taxi = €€€) meet the girls for a meal or drinks (eating/drinking out = €€€€€) go dancing (nightclub = €€€€) then hail a taxi home (more €€€). I'd spend far MORE than €630 on 7 night outs! And no one would dream of slating me for doing THIS? Go figure(!) Playing one live game a week, I've had a few 'nights out' for a fraction of the cost.

Maybe it doesn't work for some, but it certainly does for me.

PS The August Challenge is running well! From -€630 to +€785 ... and before ye ask I've just brought this for €775!!!:

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Lady Variance smiles at last!

After running deep, or reaching final tables even, in recent tournaments but not cashing; I was getting to a stage of disenchantment with poker. On 1st August I decided it was make-or-break time, clear the minus factor and get myself back to black and establish a healthy bankroll. I gave myself 30 days to meet this challenge.

With a rare 9-day-release-pass on my hands from 2nd August, I had several opportunities to play in the first week alone. I made it from -€630 odd to black by day 4 and had a wee profit to be proud of by the end of the first week!

On Saturday I decided to check out the €60 FO game in the new Blinkers Casino, City West, Susie Woosie came along for the spin. We arrived at 8:15pm, the place was empty bar the staff, the game finally hit off at 8:50pm with 10 players, with a 11th joining before end of 1st level just after one player was knocked out. It took almost 3 hours before the next player left... The longest SnG table ever!? I got so bored with the TAG game I started playing loose calling with cheeky hands: winning with 22 against another player all-in with AQs being the most memorable! I swung from chipleader to just-below-average stack back up to chipleader then down to shortest stack in the final 4, before finishing 2nd for €200. That gave me a wee profit of €120 after paying the buy-in and €20 membership. Lovely club, great staff, shame about the numbers... Susie did rather well on the Roulette table to win her buy-ins back!

Was asked to deal on Sunday at Dundalk 100 that put another €160 into the pot. Also meant I missed my favourite game in the Bell, so I toddled along to DPN's Hartstown €60 FO game on Monday instead. It's the same structure but a bigger field usually with a minimum of 3-4 full tables, the players are usually more serious and there's less banter. I had fine hands and ran like God to arrive on the final table with a 4-1 chiplead, then romped home with the €470 1st place!

On Wednesday, I went back to the Jackpot with Susie Woosie to check out the popular game, but exited just before the end of the 2nd level in 52nd place; with AK v 88 on a AK8 board. GG. I parked myself on the 'round of each' cash table and lost €100 in two sick Omaha hands, the last one I was all-in holding AJ7K on a J7Q flop: with two pair, flush & straight draw, I managed to miss all of my 18+ outs to lose to a player holding KK making his set with K on the river. Meh! Took a break for an hour to rail Susie Woosie who was still in the tournament, some of the players on her tabl were getting noticeably irate at us signing to each other (probably thinking I was assisting her... As if!) I joined the PL table with €50 and left with €200 just as Susie finished up in 8th place for €50 WP girl! So another nice night out that cost us nothing!

Had plans to play two other tournaments on Thursday & Friday but events elsewhere transpired against me... Saturday was the day of the flash floods, and the monthly Irish Deaf Poker game; only 9 of us made it so we held a simple €20 SnG game was held, I told it down for €125. Brought it to the Fitz cash game but didn't improve on it. Another 'cheap' night out... I met the usual suspects in for the cash league final game, Smurph, Martin and Teresa. All out early sitting at the cash tables with fine stacks starting up their hours for the next league final! Sticky (a regular from Bell/Hartstown) joined me on the cash table having crashed out in 20 odd place for €1k (nice one Sir!) and proceeded to play a huge bluff game pushing me off pots where I had the better hand! Finally owned me in the end when I called his raise when he DID have a hand! Grrrrr!

Didn't get far in the Bell or Hartstown games - was totally card dead, disappointing as I really need the league points - but still made a nice profit by taking down no less than 3 side cash games on both nights for a total of €290 (€120 profit). Good going!