This post is not about poker....

...so feel free to skip it. I just want to publicly throw these words out into the world in the hopes that I can get rid of them.

I hate the holidays...well hate is a strong word. What I hate is the constant reminders of how much has been lost. I never miss my parents so much as when Christmas rolls around..it's been 13 years since my mother died and 4 since my dad passed. And now, this year, my grandmother had developed alzheimer's in the last few months that is so severe that she no longer knows who I am.

My parents LOVED Christmas, and my mum went totally nutzo about it every year. Christmas in my parents house started on Dec 1, but the planning started before then. Homemade fruitcakes (and not the crappy ones that people want to use as doorstops; everyone wanted my mum's recipe) were started in August and left in the fruit cellar to age. The Christmas lights were put up all over the front yard around Thankgsiving; thousands of them. And cookies...it seems like all I did was bake. Cards were written and sent, and the many boxes of decorations were brought down from the attic. Christmas lists were made, but not of what YOU wanted to get but what you thought the people around you wanted. Both my parents were big fans of making their kids THINK (something I cursed them for then, but wish I could thank them for now). You had to think about the person, what they were like, what they liked, and take it from there, so everything opened on Christmas Day was a true and wonderful surprise from the cheesey stocking stuffers to your main present.

As the day came closer it was like living a Rockwell/Hallmark moment, but it was better because it was REAL and imperfect, filled with real people who not only genuinely cared about each other, but actually liked being around each other. Christmas dinners were always at our small, small house and the minimum that ever sat down at the table was 16. I'm sure there were arguments but frankly, I don't remember them. All I remember is the laughter that filled the house; well, that and been caught in the glare of the miniature sun that was the light for my dad's Super8 movie camera.

But since mum died, it's all fallen apart. As a family we were invited to the cousin's for dinner, but it was never the same. The feeling became more "I have to do this" rather than "I want to do this". And then when dad remarried and moved it became even worse. The family is too spread out now, and throw in-laws into the mix and you get a whole lot of obligation. I fucking hate obligation.

The best Christmas over the last 10 years? Getting out of town. One year Hunny Bunny and I rented a cottage for a week over Christmas (and didn't give out the phone number), but the best one was 2 years ago when we went to Las Vegas (GOD I LOVE LV!). We got married on the 22nd, and spent Christmas Day driving from the Grand Canyon to Zion National Park. It was quiet, in most places completely deserted, and it was wonderful for reasons that even now I can't quite pin down.

Sigh. But this year we're doing the holiday/family thing. And what used to be joy at the holidays is now only obligation.

Is it Boxing Day yet????

now this is more like it!

Saturdays with Dr. Pauly #4

Done. Not sure where it puts me on the leaderboard, but I'm absolutely not getting the iPod, lol.

I honest to god wonder what the hell I'm thinking sometimes. Lost a lot of chips to dietlime early because I was so enamored with my trip Kings that it blinded my eyes to the very healthy possibility of a straight. Then got soooo tight that I folded a lot that I could easily have won with aggressive play. Won a few small pots, enough to claw my way out of last place, when I got pocket A's.

Woo Hoo!!!

Flop came J/4/5, dietlime and I are the only ones in. Turn comes Q, dietlime (who is on my right) checks, I bet big but not huge, and he calls ... river was nothing special, he bets 2x BB (i think), I go all in with the paltry $415 in chips I have left...and blammo. Wouldn't you know it, he has a 4 and a 5.

And this is what happens EVERY SINGLE TIME i dick around with pocket aces. Just play 'em hard pre-flop and get it over with....it's when people have the chance to see the rest of the cards that the AA loses it's lustre, so don't let them see the cards!

Scuse me while I go and bap my head against a wall for a while. Then I'm going to figure out what I'm going to do next weekend.....

And since we're being philosophical....


Age does not diminish the extreme disappointment of having a scoop of ice cream fall from the cone. - Jim Fiebig

I used to think that there was no feeling so exquisitely sharp as that feeling when the ice cream splats on the sidewalk.

I was wrong.

It's been replaced by the feeling that comes over you when you realize that the beautiful full house you've flopped and have slow played so carefully so as to wring every last possible chip from the other players, has been killed by the quads slow played by the charming gentleman across from you who wanted to wring every last chip from you.

In a philosophical mood......

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
-- Desiderata, Max Ehrmann


I had an epiphany of sorts yesterday, one that relates to everything in general and my poker in particular.

I'd been getting in the dumps a bit lately, questioning myself about everything in general and poker in particular. And the epiphany is, I'm not questioning my abilities in terms of myself, but in terms of everyone else. And the comparison has been making me bitter.

I read all these blogs written by people who are great players, read of their amazing wins, and bad beats, look at their stats and $ won. And my secret heart thinks, I'm not doing nearly as well, therefore I MUST suck at the game.

So while walking in the sunshine on a *very* chilly Toronto afternoon, I gave myself a reality cheque. And wonder of all wonders it didn't bounce.

So here's the poker-related stuff (the rest has been dumped in my private blog)
1) I have only been playing for a year. And other than 3 or 4 forays to Rama, it's all been online. And have only played the money games for 4 - 5 months. How fickin' dumb is it to compare myself to people who have been playing for YEARS, DECADES, even?
2) I live hand to mouth. I love teaching, but at a not-for-profit school, it's hard to rake in the big bucks. Hard? Fucking impossible. And the tradedoff between a job I love and no cash vs. lots of dough but hating most of my waking moments is a no-brainer. I put into poker what I am comfortable losing, and as long as the money lost can go firmly into the "learning experience" column, then it's money well spent. Eventually I will have a bankroll and will feel comfortable playing at higher levels. How fickin' dumb is it to compare myself to people who have been setting up a bankroll and playing for YEARS???
3) DO NOT TAKE EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE TO THE TABLES. Yes I have been a bit bummed lately. Hunny bunny is working a lot (I've seen him for maybe 3 waking hours in the last 3 weeks). Friends are far away so no one to call and say "HELP - I need a cocktail". But reviewing my log of SnG's played, the ones I've gone out early all have the same notes...bored, preoccupied, distant. So why play?
4) DO NOT PLAY AFTER A FEW BEERS. Self explanatory. Duh.

So after this lovely walk, went home, played some poker and KICKED ASS. Went back to UB for a while to hang with my old buds on the play chip tables, but got bored at the 50/100 table and moved to the 1000/2000 table. Took the 500k that Bob spotted me and ended the hour with over a million. (Sidenote: pls take into account that the play chip tables on UB are so loose that it's easy to take the fish with even a marginal hand.) Then went to Stars (YAY my credit card payment cleared and I can play the $ tables again!) and came in second on a one-table SnG. Only won $13, but hey, that represents a 26% gain on my current bankroll, lol!

It's all about perspective bay-bee.

No comments from the cheap seats please....

Saturday with Dr. Pauly & Sitter Outters


K, here's the updated ipod leaderboard. As you can see, my standing is currently at a humble 31st. I'm concluding by this that my 4th place finish in the first game was a sheer fluke (note to self; play hungover next week, since the well-rested-and-healthy strategy doesn't seem to work). And while I have no chance at the ipod now, I'm still going to play, because there are very few other ways to have THIS much fun for only 10 bucks while still in your PJ's and home alone. (SirF, feel free to comment on this however you see fit *wicked grin).

Now, I don't want this to sound like sour grapes, because it isn't ... more like an observational comment. But it does kind of bug me that RickLang who sat out for the whole game, still managed to advance in the standings. Now I'm the first one to understand when real life takes you away from the computer; and while I jest about the guy who sits out does better than me, I do realize that I fully deserved the 54th place I ended up with. And I understand that the only way to monitor this is to add work to Dr. Pauly, who is already doing a lot. But it really burns my ass a bit to see no-shows bump good players (a group that does not include me, alas) who are there for the whole painful process.

Just my two cents (or 1.32 cents CDN) worth. An immutable fact of life is that it's often unfair, but that doesn't mean I can't bitch about it. Why? Coz bitching makes me feel better.

I bitch, therefore I am. Pffft.

Saturday with Dr Pauly #3

Well this is just peachy....I've got SirF, HermWarfare and gary634 at my table, all who have kicked my butt before. *grins...it should be interesting if nothing else.

1:17
Is that a cold wind I feel blowing off my cards? The best hand was a big slick, and everyone ran as soon as I raised 2x the bb. I'm developing too strong a rleationship with my fold button.

1:23
won my first hand, and took out gary in the process. made the pair of kings on the turn. thank you o, great and mighty poker gods.

1:26
ace high str8. oh my, i'm feeling faint, *grin.

1:32
Compliments on my blog....SirF and Trump, y'all will turn a girl's head (said in a fake southern belle drawl)

1:40
dammit. chickened out. flush draw and straight draw and buddy to my right raises enough to put me all in. after long deliberation (well, more like 4 seconds) i decided to not see what buddy had. I'm about 80% certain that he had crap, but I'm also 100% certain that the river would not have gone my way. Better to fold and continue to annoy people.

1:51
short stacked and stressing. had good hands but forgot about factoring in the fact that I'm IN THE BLINDS. QA sOOted, all in in SB (not that impressive really, only 615 in chips), and OF COURSE he has QQ.

My dreams of leaderboard domination and winning the iPod are becoming more and more distant. Laughable, really.

So I'm done, had my $10 worth of fun. So do I keep playing poker, or (gasp) work? Sigh. Time to get crackin' on those client sties AND my marking. Sigh. I hate it when that responsible adult shit gets in the way of me having fun....

WWdN #6: HeyKidsItsBG Invitational

3:50 Teranna time.
Just got in a few mintues ago, got changed into warm and dry clothes (WHY, you ask Juliette?? Because unlike some jammy tarts, there are those who must still deal with snow and crap while you decide what BEACH to go to. Sorry, am a tad bitter about that ATM. In a related thought, I need new winter boots.).
I'm ready! Got PS all fired up and am ready to see if the poker gods like me today.

4:01
We start, only 28 players. Not sure if that makes my odds of winning better, or worse...

4:15
And the word to remember for today is: FOLD

4:16
oooooo...pocket aces, how pretty...but on the SB. Dr. Pauly raises, I call. Crap flop, i bet 5x the BB, he folds, phew.

4:18
pocket aces again...yipppeeee!!!!!

5:02
almost got bluffed out of a pot, we both had a pair of kings, thank GOD my kicker was higher. I'll never be able to play live...my fucking hands are trembling like mad!

Ok, it's after the break, and OMG I'm fourth!!

5:43
Ick. Lost a lot of chips in 2 hands (farging river, 'nuff said), and the only good hand I had after that turned out to be a full house for both of us, and even when chopped it put me pretty much where I started from. Antes ate up a lot as the cards turned colder than a witch's you-know-what, then small blind with pocket fours and $415. WTH, all in and buh bye.

AND even though I lost, it was BIG fun. It's so much more enoyable when people chat the social aspect is there.

It's all about the prep....

Played a freeroll tonight...figured it was the best way to get my mojo back.
So this time I went through the checklist; enough time to dedicate to this? Check. In the comfy clothes (in this case an old hoodie of my dads and PJ bottoms that have flames printed all over them. What can I say, I need to do laundry.)? Check. Biological needs satisfied? Check. Laptop battery charged and wireless card working? Check and check. Adequate liquids close at hand? Check.
Which brings me to ol' skully here. This is the best damn souvenir a grrl could have; a GIANT skull mug from Treasure Island. The damn thing weighs a tonne when empty; when full, it holds TWO bottles of beer and well, I can use it as part of my weight training. It was purchased full of strawberry daiquiris at TI in Vegas; J, my best bud and degenerate partner in crime has one to match. It is a souvenir in the most true sense - I have memories of walking the Strip on a balmy April evening, slowly getting "skull-faced" as we moseyed in and out of casinos. Many things were discussed....men, poker, husbands, other men, aging, clothes, the importance of silk and leather in terms of lingerie, poker, and more men. It was the conversation that settled the fact that we are "eff cubed". FFF = Fucking Fabulous Femmes.
I forget that occasionally. Like over the last few weeks. But I filled up skully with soda and cranberry juice, plonked him down on the table by the couch and settled in to reclaim my confidence in my abilities.
Mission accomplished. I felt like a shark swimming with the guppies (MAN were some of these guys dumb!! Made my all-in with twos look like a well planned strategy!). Freerolls are great to break a losing streak. I finished 281 out of 5000; I could have done better but to be honest, I got a bit bored, I don't NEED more play chips, and the laundry was not going to do itself (DAMN!).
J, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You know what for.

P.S.

I managed to stay away from poker for 12 whole hours...didn't win, but didn't care so much *grin

I have not been doing well the last week or so. Yes, the cards have been cold, but I've been letting other factors affect my play. I have forgotten the Zen of Poker, the still watchfulness and patience, and have reverted to my old way of play, jumping in every pot and trying force the board.
And I wonder that I'm losing money hand over fist.
Now, I may call upon the poker gods (or any god for that matter), but it's not like I have any faith at all that they exist. But sometimes coincidences do occur in such a way that makes me go "hmmmmm....."
Came back from the Monday night game at Tawny & Tay's, where I lost two games....4 of 6 in one, 6 of 6 in the other. While I do have my money's worth in fun (Geo, you are one sick lil' puppy *grin), I don't often win cash (twice in the year I've been playing there, to be exact). And on the drive home last night, I beat myself up about my overall bad play ... I mean, come on Kat! All in on 2's???? What the fuck was I thinking.
Therein lies the problem....I wasn't. I was trying to force it, to make the cold cards bend to my will. Recipe for disaster there, eh?
And when I got home, I checked my email to find one of Full Tilt's Tips from the Pro's on losing streaks. While I feel much better now I'm not alone in how I react to losing...I don't know how I'd deal with one that is months-long rather than days-long.
So. I think I'll stop escaping into poker for a week (ok, ok, maybe a few days), and try to deal some of the real stuff that's going on. Because frankly, the more I NEED poker to be the thing that works for me, the less it WILL be the thing that works right now. Once I have a handle on that, maybe I can find my poker zen again in time to kick some ass on Poker Stars Saturday with Dr. Pauly.
Here's hoping.

Can you hear the faint laughter in the distance?

I can. And if you've read the last 2 posts, you already know what I'm going to say.
Joined 1,989 others in the $2 tourney. and I played soooo well...selectively agressive and made a good showing for myself. Hovered around 130th for a long time, and got shuffled around to new tables a lot. On the last table, we were all about the same, traded blinds back and forth. Then I got QQ, and raised 5x the BB. No takers except one guy who only called me, so I put him on a mid pair as he usually jumps on it hard if he has something more. Nothing on the flop, 10x the BB. He raises, I re-raise to all in, he matches. He has JJ. Turn is nothing.
And then the river....you guessed it....a JACK.
And that faint noise in the distance? It's the poker gods snickering.

ARGH!!!

I don't know what I did to offend the River Gods, but I am truly, truly sorry. I have just now lost my 6th SnG tourney in a row as a result of someone making a better hand on the river. And honestly, I only tilted and made a bone head move in ONE of them. The worse part is that on 3 of those SnG's I was busted by someone making their one-outer.
As my dad would say, enough to make a grown woman cry in her beer. Think I'll go back to knitting as an obsession.

Why?

Why am I still playing today? Logically I know that I should have quit hours ago, but it seems I'm stuck in a One-More Syndrome. ONE more hand, ONE more SnG, ONE more MTT. Emotionally I'm on tilt, and I know it. I feel like I HAVE to win something today, and keep trying to force the issue. I have been rivered so many times today that I feel like I have a sign on my avatar that is visible to only runner runners. (oh, and to player at seat #4 on the one table SnG...it is not a NH you sad piece of lame-ass shit, when you get your one-outer on the fucking river...it's a fucking miracle and you should offer weekly sacrifices to the poker gods for bailing your sad ass from going out 45 of 45).
Time to turn the computer off and have a nice cold martini and a nice hot bubble bath.
But maybe ONE MORE GAME first.......

Saturday with Dr Pauly #2

12:52
Not really up for this. Went to see grandma at the hospital and cried all the way home. But it's too late to unregister now, so here we go.

1:14
This was a mistake. The play feels wierd (best I can do to describe it), and my hearts not really in it. Won a small pot from Shane, then gave it back with plenty of interest when I felt married to my pair of aces and didn't even see the flush.

1:30
Done. In record time. Was down to 650, folded waiting for the cards. Got QQ in middle position, raised 3x the BB. Fold, fold fold all the way around, then Shane goes all in. My honest thought was let's get this over with, and click the All In button. He turns over Big Slick...I *might* have a chance! Alas, just the poker gods playing with me, and he makes a pair of Kings on the turn. Buh-Bye me.

What will they think of next, Part II

Had a girlie day yesterday on my half-day; spa, manicure, facial, colour touch-up on the hair. Preluded it all by a leisurely stroll through the magazine section of Indigo books (Bluff, Bust and Vogue Knitting), then moseyed my way to gift section, where I saw this.
Honestly ...on the one hand I'd love to pop open a box and see how it plays but on the other hand, all I can think is enough already.

What will they think of next??


The bright sparks at the OLGC have jumped on the bandwagon (like others have I'm sure) and have launched a scratch and win ticket based on Hold 'Em. Now, normally, I wouldn't touch scratch tickets with a ten foot pole (my gramma loves 'em though!), but hey, for a chance at a $75k WPT entry I'll pony up three whole bucks. Well, actually, $12 as I bought the last four that the corner store had. And while I did not win the WPT seat, I did end up cashing in my $12 investment and collecting $25.

To be honest, I'm still giggling about it.

Winning poker vs a good orgasm?

Monday morning and the usual "So how was your weekend?" queries in the teachers lounge. "I did marking all weekend!" "I was so busy! Marking assignments and working on exams." You get the picture. Then it's my turn...."I did S.F.A. all weekend. I drank, I tried to ride my bike (not at the same time, and the battery was dead anyway), I watched bad TV, and I won $122 on poker."

Silence. One colleague replied something along the lines of how my procrastination will bite me on the ass later (well, duh); and another laughed and stated how I had the same tone of voice and expression as someone who's telling her friends that she had hot wild sex all weekend. (hah! I wish! Hunny Bunny was working all weekend)

So it got me thinking.... is poker as an addiction similar to sex as an addiction? Let's review, shall we?

SEX:

  • when you find a good lover, it's all you can think about. When will I see them again? And how can I manipulate the situation so we can get nekkid?
  • when you find a good lover, it's all you can talk about. You alternately bore and annoy your friends with talk of how utterly fabulous life is (or how badly it sucks as you try to over analyze a weird phonecall)
  • when it's good, it's very, very good! But when it's bad, you end up walking around feeling unfulfilled and jittery, mumbling and grumbling under your breath, wondering "WTF????".
  • The best instances of it culminate with the word "yes Yes YES" shouted at great volume, and end with that small, secret smile at the end of the day as you wiggle under the covers and get ready for happy blissful slumber.


POKER:

  • when you find a good game, it's all you can think about. When will I see those fish..errr...players again? And how can I manipulate the situation so I can take all their chips?
  • when you find a good game, it's all you can talk about. You alternately bore and annoy your friends with talk of how utterly fabulous the game is (or how badly it sucks as you try to over analyze a bad beat)
  • when it's good, it's very, very good! But when it's bad, you end up walking around feeling unfulfilled and jittery, mumbling and grumbling under your breath, wondering "WTF????".
  • The best instances of it culminate with the word "yes Yes YES" shouted at great volume, and end with that small, secret smile at the end of the day as you wiggle under the covers and get ready for happy blissful slumber.


Nah, no similarities at all *grin.

Stars in my eyes, or, Playing in Poker Stars' Saturdays with Dr. Pauly

Yes, I will freely admit it. When I play in blogger tournaments on Poker Stars, I do have stars in my eyes to some degree. I mean, here are people whose blogs I've read regularly, who's insights on poker have helped me and my game far more than the big pros on TV. And then there's me, poker newbie, rubbing virtual elbows with them. I gleefully fork over the $11 entry fee to play in Wil's Friday night game, and stuck post-it note reminders all over my computer when I read on a Chick and a Chair about Dr. Pauly's Saturday tourney.

So there I was at 1pm on Sat, more than just a little hungover (another night out with Su and Andrea, 'nuff said), had some chillin' techno from Groove Salad on the iTunes radio, clad in pj's and firmly ensconced on the couch with plenty of advil and soda water close at hand. (Sidenote: I LOVE wireless internet! I could NOT have sat upright for that length of time!). I was ready. ish.

And then the next hour was a complete and total blur. Either the pantheon of poker gods and goddesses smiled on me, or I should play hungover more often. I couldn't think about the cards too much coz it hurt dammit; so I was flying on instinct through much of it. All I know was I looked at the lobby sometime after first break to see MY NAME at the top. And somehow managed to stay there until final table.

Caught some good cards, but when it mattered most someone (i think it was gary, or it might have been bob) had better and took a big bite out of my stack. The wind was out of my sails, and I managed to stay in until 4th. Honestly, I usually remember more of my game that this, especially good games, but I'd say my brain was fuzzy well into Sunday morning (yes J, it was that good a night *wicked grin).

Notes/observations:

  1. Thank you, thank you Joanne, for your article about online tournaments and the zen of folding. Fucking brilliant, light-bulb-going-on-over-the-head kind of stuff.
  2. I love the social aspect of the game; winning the cash for fourth was great, but even better was the fun of the game, the chat, etc. Even though I didn't know anyone on, everyone was still supportive. I loved playing on UB for all those hours and hours, and made some great pals, but it didn't help my game. Moving to PS and concentrating on the play has helped immensely....but I still do miss the camaraderie, and got a taste of that back on Saturday - thanks guys!
  3. Is it a chick thing, the oh-my-gosh-i'm-soooooo-sorry feeling when you win a pot just because the cards went the way they did? Like it's my "fault" (not the right word, but the correct one escapes me) and I should give the chips back. Not that I would, mind you. I know that I got a few chips from TNspaceman, when the turn and river went my way. It's an odd feeling...already starting to type in good game and goodbye to everyone and then realizing that you've won the pot. And then actually thinking "oh, shit" because I'm empathizing with the opponent so much.
  4. It's a good thing that the game was online; and not just because I wanted to stay in my pjs. I definitely need to go play live more as I'm pretty sure that jumping up and down and yelling "yipppeeeee skipppeeeeeee" is a pretty big damn tell.
  5. I love, love, love poker. There are moments on the bike, when there's a unexpected vista down a hidden road or when i hit some curves *just* right, and all I can say is BIG FUN when the helmet comes off. Poker is BIG FUN most of the time for me.
  6. No matter how old I am, no matter how much of a jaded, cynical fuck I think I am, I still get a charge out of seeing my name in print. Thanks *grin.

See y'all next Saturday!

gonzo grrl wins one

Yes, it finally happened...i won last night's regular Monday night no-limit game at Taylor and Tawny's. WOO HOO!!!!!!!!!!!!
But don't ask me what happened. I was loose, sloppy, aggressive, folded at inappropriate times, raised when a thinking person would run from the pot, played out of turn at least 5 times (sorry Tay!), counted my outs NEVER, bluffed my ass off when I had shit, and even bluffed my ass off when I had a good hand. Looked right at peoples faces and grinned.(And sorry Tawny....I can't help but smile when you give me that level and serious what-the-hell-do-you-have look.) And hell, at one point was even playing to LOSE (hunny bunny was early and I felt bad about him waiting) and STILL kept winning pots.
This is not the first time this has happened to me..actually it happens a lot online. Apparently the key to my success is to play to lose. Go figure.


    Katitude



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