Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Posted by Junelli 8:45 PM
Holly is one of "The Girls Next Door"

(0) comments

Posted by Junelli 8:58 AM
Yes, I am still taking a break from poker.

Last weekend was an exception, because it was a Vegas trip that had been planned for months. Also, my "break" means the regular Houston games I would normally play in. I'll still play in the occasional home game, and of course, I'll still play whenever I go to Vegas. I might even play in a Houston card room. Just not very often, and not for as much money.

Yes, I played $10-$20 NL at the Bellagio.

Yes, I played with Phil "The Unibomber" Laak.

I had the pleasure of sitting right next to him for over 3 hours and watching him play. Unfortunately for me, he was directly on my left, which meant I was severely limited in what I could do. Memo to self: when you play with one of the top professional players on the planet, try to sit on his left (not the other way around). Oh well.

I'm happy to report that Laak didn't take 1 cent from me. The only real tough hand I was involved in with him, also involved a local pro on the other end of the table.

The local pro raised to $100 preflop (standard raise nearly ever hand). I called in late position with AJs. Unibomber called, and we saw a pot 3 handed.

The flop was AT5 rainbow, and the local pro led out for $200. I thought about calling, but this was a tough spot for me to be in. I had no idea what Laak planned to do, and I also had little idea where my AJ stood against the bettor. This hand could get expensive for me, so I decide to fold.

Smart move. Laak raises to $600. The bettor re-raised all-in for $2,800 more. Laak called reluctantly.

Laak had A5 for 2 pair.
Bettor had TT for middle set.

Middle set held up to win a huge pot. I'm glad I stayed out of that one.

Anyway, Laak was very cool, and was constantly pestered by fans coming up to shake his hand. He handled it all very well, and didn't show the slightest sign of arrogance. I really liked him.

When I got home I did a little research into his bio and found these nuggets on his resume:

Hosts E! Hollywood Hold Em on TV
6th place WPT Bicycle 2003
12th place WPT Bellagio 2003
2nd place WSOP PL Hold Em
5th place 2005 Five Diamond World Poker Classic

Pretty impressive for a former repo man from Dublin.

(3) comments

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Posted by Dr Fro 4:30 PM
If you were born in or around 1973, you will think this is awesome.

(1) comments

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Posted by Dr Fro 11:53 PM
From: Junelli
To: Dr. Fro
Subject: Poker
Date: Sat, 24 Mar 2007 20:58:42 -0500

Unibomber is sitting directly on my left in the 10-20 NL game at Bellagio.

Sent by GoodLink (

(4) comments

Posted by Dr Fro 10:11 PM
The most depressing days of the year are (in no particular order):
  1. The first Monday in January, when I go back to work after two weeks off;
  2. The first game that UT loses (and for all practical purposes loses a shot at the National Championship)
  3. The second game that UT loses (and really, really puts UT out of the National Championship)
  4. My annual physical each April when, despite the fun that comes with being examined for testicular cancer from a fairly hot nurse, I get told that I need to slow down on the drinking of alcohol and coffee and that I need to work less and sleep more. Basically, I am told that I have to change my entire life, a life of which I am quite fond
  5. That day in March when I become mathematically eliminated from my March Madness pool.

Due to the Memphis loss, I can now do no better than 7th place (money is paid to 1st-6th). I am moping around the house. Mrs. Dr. Fro keeps trying to cheer me up, "Fro, you get to have your nuggets rubbed by that nurse in a couple weeks..." Women, they just don't understand.

(0) comments

Posted by Dr Fro 2:45 PM
Harrah's had a teleconference to discuss the 2007 WSOP. They reiterated that "Harrah's will also not be allowing any online sites to buy-in the WSOP players. Obviously, though, the online sites are still offering seats, but when asked about how these qualifications would translate into a warm chair, Jeffrey refused comment. "

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

But if the US is going to be stupid with their gambling laws, Canada will step up and host tournaments. Btw, this casino is the one we played at outside of Vancouver back in November

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

But the biggest news in poker is that I am pretty sure I just broke the record for consecutive hands won (look at bottom left).

(2) comments

Posted by Dr Fro 2:21 PM
Uh-oh, time to find a new hobby.

(1) comments

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Posted by Dr Fro 5:14 PM
I have many issues with the new version of Blogger, one of which is that the comments I make to posts get lost and never posted. So, I will respond to Mark's post in a new post of my own:

Mark, I thought that was brilliant. I could relate to that post well. Each sentence sent off a wave of thoughts, each worthy of an uber-post in itself. I will limit my comment to the overall theme: a chronology of events that come to a peak but ultimately lead to a a tragic fall. Perhaps your story could be made into a classic Greek tragedy. If so, what would be your fatal flaw?

My story is not too different from yours. I started playing "real" poker a few years earlier, and though my stakes rose, I happily plateau-ed at $1/$2 and $2/$5 NL. The $5-$10 games you often played were out of my league.

Other than that, I also made a sickening amount of money in the early post-Moneymaker years. And for the same reasons you described, that all turned around. Fortunately, at $1/$2, I can lose every night and still pay the mortgage. There certainly aren't any $12,000 pots.

About a year ago, I gave up on the thought that my long stretch of success would continue, that I could keep stepping it up in stakes and someday be a Chip Reese or Doyle Brunson. I figured out that I was good enough to keep it as a hobby and maybe break even or maybe win, or maybe I would lose, but it wouldn't kill me.

I learned to walk away from games when losing (even the juicy ones) just to avoid too devastating of a loss. I am still learning how to walk away with a monster stack to avoid dumping my winnings back into the pot.

I stopped trying to swing for the fence. Three things that always struck me as massively cool and no doubt affected my approach to the game:
  1. The famous email from Greer Kid where he stated that his goal was not to win money from his bookie; the goal was for his bookie to go bust.
  2. A quote in a Caro book about not trying to get up a winner, but trying to break the table in half and have all the chips flow into your pockets
  3. The scene in Rounders where Mike D. wins all the money back plus enough to play in the WSOP

These both described and shaped my approach to gambling: go for it all. Any other approach was for losers.

I learned that actually the "going for it all" approach is the one for losers.

So, I play for fun. I may gamble a lot more than others would call recreational, but for me it is. And guess what? I started to win.

So, I say you are making the right decision. Keep it a hobby, keep the stakes low, have fun with it. Just don't quit.

(0) comments

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Posted by Junelli 12:44 PM
"Poker is Easy!"

At least, so I thought.

When I first started playing, I had the game "figured" out. Now I'm not so sure.

At the end of 2002, a new show hit the airwaves that would change the poker landscape forever. I was one of the new players that this television show introduced to the world of NL Hold Em. And I fell in love immediately. The game required concentration, perception, situational awareness, guts, skill and a whole lot of good fortune. This kind of activity was right up my alley.

I started playing in regular home games in 2003, and couldn't get enough. When I played poker, I forgot about pressures at work and home, and could fully devote myself to the game.

The feeling I got was not unlike flying an airplane. When I got my pilot's license in 1996, I discovered what a joy it was to climb into the cockpit, taxi to the end of the runway, push the throttle forward, and rotate. When the wheels lifted off the ground, I forgot about everything else in the world. It was surprisingly peaceful.

Poker was the same way for me. It was a social activity that was a lot more challenging than Golden Tee at Little Woodrows. I enjoyed "coffee-housing" with my friends the most, and looked forward to the time I would spend with them around the table. It was a chance for guys to get away from the house and have fun with buddies that were unfortunately becoming too distant in the face of the daily grind.

Our first home game was some weird derivation of $3-$6 limit. We didn't understand blinds and antes, and I'm pretty sure we screwed up all the betting rounds. But we had fun. I had been reading my first poker book by Ken Warren, and I was trying to play only premium starting hands. I thought that was the secret to winning poker.

At around the same time, I discovered internet poker. First Paradise Poker, and then Party Poker. I never played too much, but certainly enough to learn more of the nuances of the game. I also learned what a bad beat was.

I read every poker book I could get my hands on. My appetite for poker knowledge was insatiable. To date, I have probably read over 20 poker books. Each one different that the last, and all of them interesting.

Over the next 2 years, I was a consistent winner. Of course, I had my ups and downs, but I was a winning player. I was fearless. I learned some new moves (like raising to get a free card; leading out when I'm in the middle of a 3 handed pot; calling on the flop so I can take it away on the turn; etc.).

I was pretty successful too. I cashed in a tournament in Lake Charles, and won first place in a 50 person tournament (pocketing ~$2,600). I made the final table in Dr. Fro and JohnnyMac's annual tournament 3 years in a row.

I also played in various poker games around town. The games used to be $1-$2PL or $1-$2NL. Then $2-$5 PL became popular. Now it seems, every game is $5-$5 NL. Sure there are bigger and smaller games around, but this game has evolved to be the linchpin of the Houston poker scene.

I have just about seen and heard it all. I've seen fights at the table as well as couples making out during a game. I've seen 1 outers hit, and I've seen 30 outers miss. And arguments. I've seen more arguments about rule interpretations, collusion, string bets, etc. than I care to count.

I've played with lawyers, accountants, cops, truck drivers, lawn-men, bookies, retired millionaires, broke ex-millionaires (e.g. "Don"), web designers, high school kids, radio talk show hosts, restauranteurs, and professional gamblers. One guy even played with a dog in his lap.

Most of the people are nice. Some are douchebags. I am a happy-go-lucky guy and have a very non-threatening demeanor, so I've always avoided trouble. If I'm playing at a table with strangers, I keep to myself, and try to stay under the radar.

Beginning in 2005, the home games began to die out. I got married, and found it too difficult to host my regular game. Frankly, I'm not even sure if there is still interest. And the friends who did host the game, stopped. In the past 8 months I've probably played in less than 4 home games.

In 2005, I took a sick beat in one of the largest poker games I've ever played in. I had top set of Aces on a board of AQT. The pot was $900, and a guy bluffed into me for $2,000. I moved all in for approx $6,000. He called with K2, and caught a J on the turn to make a straight. The board didn't pair on the river and I lost a pot worth more than $12,000.

I'm not sure if that hand ruined me forever, but it certainly didn't help. My game has never been the same. Since then, I am no longer a winning player, and the card rooms seem tougher than ever. For all the books I've read, I've forgotten what it takes to win at this game. I no longer have the concentration, perception, situational awareness, guts, skill, or good fortune. Although, I know how to count outs, and I can calculate insurance pretty quickly (5 outs = 5:1 or $250 to $50), I can't figure out how to get back to my winning style from 2002-2005.

I've tried playing tight and waiting for premium hands. When they come, I usually miss. For instance, in a big $5-$5 game I was playing tight as a drum. I get KK on the button, and raise to $100 preflop. I get 2 callers. The flop is TTT. You guessed it: some toolbox has a 9To. The same game 1 week later, I have TT against a flop of 888. Yep: someone called $75 preflop with 83o.

Those situations annoy the hell out of me. I know that, in long run I'm going to win in those situations. But I'm tired of "investing" for the long run. When does the long run ever happen?

I've also tried playing loose. I'll try limping every flop in hopes of catching something surprising. It's usually me that's surprised when my bottom twp pair gets counterfeited.

And I've mastered the art of going on tilt. Although there aren't usually any outward signs, I will begin to get frustrated that I keep getting Q4 when some donkey hits his 4th full house for the night. I start playing QJ like it's the stone cold nuts. Of course, I usually have to rebuy. It's sick how much money I have "called off" with the worst hand.

Also, the quality of players has definitely improved. The players are mostly "regulars" and it's becoming harder for me to find the sucker. I have no doubt, that some of the regular players probably consider me a sucker. And they're probably right. I think most anyone will agree that NL is tougher now than it was in 2003-2005. More people know what they're doing now.

I'm tired of losing. I'm starting to realize that I'm not the poker prodigy that I once thought I was, and I'm accepting the fact that I'm mediocre at best.

I haven't been enjoying the game for some time. And some of my friends who played with me regularly, are usually too busy (or broke) to play now. For the past 6 months, I haven't played very often (2-3 times per month). But even that doesn't appeal to me anymore.

I going to stop playing for awhile. I'll still play in home games, or the occasional tournament. And I might even play in a card room every now and then. But from now on, it's just for recreation. At least until it becomes fun again...

(3) comments

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Posted by Dr Fro 9:58 PM
I have been a bit AWOL lately due to, among other things, running my NCAA pool. I just dropped by for a quickie..
Last night, I won in multiple sessions online (once thanks to a royal flush) and found myself "in the black" on the year. That is, my balance on 1/1 was $228 and I had $229. I came here to write a post about my fortune and then lost $25. I never finished the post. Then I lost again. Then I lost more.
The funny thing is that three times this year that has happened to me where I am in the black, start a blog post about it and then lose it before I finish the post.
I figured my luck would turn around by tonight, so I sat down in a heads up SNG. First hand I get JackKingOff (hee hee). My opponent goes all-in. I call his BS and then call his bet. He had J9. Flop is nothing, turn is a Jack and river is a 9.
Kill me.

(1) comments

Monday, March 19, 2007

Posted by Junelli 1:24 PM
Blades Of Glory

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Posted by Junelli 11:46 AM
Last night I was watching TV with my wife, and I switch the channel to "Return of the Jedi." It's the scene where OB-1 is informing Luke that he has a twin sister.

My wife lets out a big sigh, rolls her eyes, and then says, "Baby, I'm not watching Frodo Baggins. Please change it."

Am I the only one who thinks that's just pathetic?

(1) comments

Posted by Padilla 8:54 AM
As the Good Doctor's luck is turning, mine is staying the wrong direction.

I've moved up in SNG buy-ins, and nothing really changes with respect to what I'm being eliminated with. I swear I'm ahead 75% of the time when the money goes in. The game is a bit more difficult at $50 buy-ins. There are more raises, less callers, and longer overall tournaments, emphasizing short stack play with half the field left. I'm still dabbling in MTT's also for a change of pace and to test my patience.

Last night I played a 211-entry $35 Bounty MTT and ended up 40th. I'm whining a bit, but when I was 12th I played a hand as perfectly as I could and ended up being rivered and eliminated instead of jumping to 2nd place. It still stings a little bit because I was verbally stating every aspect of the hand as it progressed, knowing exactly how it was going to play out. I was sure that this was going to be my night as I dodged the minefield of bounty hunters and bad play. Alas, it was not to be. AGAIN!!

I'm trying to defend my NCAA BB Suicide Pool Title this year, wish me luck.

(0) comments

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Posted by Dr Fro 9:46 PM
My luck turned around right after I posted my (losing) gambling results for 2007. That night I went out and won $144 in our little home game. I got most of it in a $140 Omaha 8 pot that I scooped with KKQQQ.

Tonight I bought into a $22 Heads-up SNG. First hand, I raise from the button with A9. He goes all-in. F.-it, I call. He had 77. I caught an Ace on the river.

I sure would like to carry this luck streak into March Madness, in which I invested $110 in 6 brackets in 4 pools.

(0) comments

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Posted by Dr Fro 11:42 AM
This could come in handy.

* * * * * * *
Question: Is it bad to go to a work party and pass out in the restroom?
Hint: It was at the boss's house.
* * * * * * *

I am such a snob, and I am a terrible snob regarding television. I make fun of people that watch bad TV. My wife watches Idol. Unfortunately, now I do, too. (and I kinda like it!) Anyway, I found this site that is trying to get the worst guy voted to win it all.

* * * * * * *

My gambling this year is as follows:
- $50 Basketball (2-3)
+$18 Online O/8
+ $35 Online Holdem SNGs (2nd, 2nd, 6th)
- $133 Online Holdem
- $78 Home games
- $120 Sports pools
Hopefully things will turn around soon. A high finish in my March Madness pool ($6,000 in prizes) should do the trick.

* * * * * * *

Tonight is a league poker game night, and for the first time ever, I would rather not play. I could spend all night reading CBS Sportsline, etc, digesting every bit of information on the Big Dance that I can. I guess that will have to wait until Monday at work.

* * * * * * *

Paul Wasicka won the National Heads Up Championship. I figured he was some schmo that got lucky at the WSOP last year, but watching him on High Stakes Poker this season made me respect his game. He completely kicked ass against a very difficult field. Well done, Paul.

* * * * * * *

This one flew under the radar, but there was a bill introduced to legalize poker in Texas. Kinda.

* * * * * * *

(2) comments

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Posted by Junelli 11:50 AM
My Poker Stars experiment has suffered a set back.

After starting with $25, I followed my rules religously. I only played occasionally (about once a week), but I played within my bankroll limits.

I ran my account up to about $125, which is a very healthy increase based on the stakes I was playing.

Then I came home drunk one night...

I decided to take a crack at a bigger game and see if I could make some quick money. I played $2-$4 limit table. Accordingly to my previously set rules, playing this game required a buy-in of $100 and a bankroll of $2,000. Well I had a $125 bankroll, and I bought in for all of it.

I lost just over $100, and now only have about $20 left.

Back to the drawing board.

(2) comments

Monday, March 05, 2007

Posted by Johnnymac 10:20 AM

(0) comments

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Posted by Dr Fro 10:05 PM
This was yummy...

...'though I only won $6 on it.

Sorry I haven't blogged much lately. There is plenty about which I should write, but I have had nary a minute to do it lately. Expect something this week.

(0) comments

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Posted by Johnnymac 3:46 PM

1) Why were a handful of rebel fighters able to penetrate the defenses of a battle station that had the capability of destroying an entire planet and the defenses to ward off several fleets of battle ships?

2) Why did Grand Moff Tarkin refuse to deploy the station’s large fleet of TIE Fighters until it was too late? Was he acting on orders from somebody to not shoot down the rebel attack force? If so, who, and why?

3) Why was the rebel pilot who supposedly destroyed the Death Star reported to be on the Death Star days, maybe hours, prior to its destruction? Why was he allowed to escape, and why were several individuals dressed in Stormtrooper uniforms seen helping him?

(0) comments

Random thoughts from a lawyer, an accountant, a commodities trader, an ex-Marine and a WSOP Main Event money finisher that don't know as much as they wish they did...



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Which one is the fish?

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