Donkeys Always Draw
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
New Location -
Since I've decided to actually post here, and make it worthwhile, I've moved this blog. I'm no longer restricted by the confines of Blogger. I now have my own domain name and a new name for the blog.

In honor of the disturbingly-more-childish-every-day Phil Hellmuth, the new title is...

Donkeys Always Draw

Please update accordingly, and I look forward to writing a little bit. Alot has happened for me pokerwise (not to mention personally) since I last posted, but I haven't made the time to write about any of it yet (having my first child in September has alot to do with that).

Sunday, August 20, 2006
Adventures in Des Moines, my first big cash...
Now that we've moved to city that has a casino, I decided to check out the poker room there. It opened up earlier this year, and has about 15-20 tables I think.

I've only played in B&M once before (see earlier posts for details). I now play low to mid stakes online. Lately I've been feasting on SnG's and Heads Up play. I fare well, and am slowly building a decent sized bankroll. When time allows, I take stabs at MTT's. Usually with buyins between $5 and $20. I've cashed in a few of these MTT tourney's, but no final tables or anything like that.

The local casino offers the usual selection of cash games, and the play seems pretty standard for a casino in the middle of nowhere (Des Moines, Iowa). A few people who seem to know their stuff, a few who think they know it all, and make it a point to let everyone know. And a few who are completely out of their league.

The casino offers three MTT tourneys a week, ranging from $25 to $100 buyins. I played in Sunday's $50 +10.

There were 111 entrants for a prize pool of $5550. Payouts as follows:

1 32% $1,776.00
2 21% $1,165.50
3 15% $832.50
4 10% $555.00
5 7% $388.50
6 5% $277.50
7 3% $166.50
8 3% $166.50
9 2% $111.00
10 2% $111.00

I made the final table 2nd in chips with 81,000 (chip leader had about 88,000), and after about 8-10 hands, we were down to 6, at this point I was in 3rd, with somewhere around 70-75,000. Somebody suggested that we chop the remaining prize money 6 ways. Everyone agreed, and we each walked away with $832.50, which is equivalent to 3rd place money. So I guess I was compensated properly for my stack. The blinds had just increased to 5,000-10,000, so it probably would have been a shovefest from that point on. Nobody had a commanding chip lead. The couple of shortstacks (relatively speaking that is, even in third place, my M was only 5 or so) were more than happy with the chop. Personally, I would have liked to see a couple of the short stacks eliminated before we chopped, but I wasn't going to be the lone holdout.

This is easily the most I have won at one time playing poker (I think maybe $40 was my previous best).

I really didn't have too many notable hands. Here's what I recall.

When we were down to 18 people or so, I was dealt KK back to back. First time I doubled up off the chip leader, the next time I doubled up a very short stack when his A-3 offsuit rivered a flush to crack my Kings.

The very next hand I was dealt 10-10, and scooped a decent pot.

A couple of hands later I folded 8-8 UTG (I had my reasons), and accidentally exposed my cards while mucking. An accidental move that would pay off big time. The table was amazed that I folded and really stayed away from me the rest of the tourney whenever I was in a pot, assuming I had a monster every time I guess. I took advantage of this, and did quite a bit of chipping up.

Early on, I limped with 4-4, and flopped a set on a rainbow, unconnected board. Scooped a decent sized pot if I remember correctly.

At some point, my A-A flopped a set after my 4xBB preflop raise drew 4 callers, and I eliminated 2 players. Can't remember what they had though.

I played ABC poker for the most part, and didn't make too many moves. I think I attempted blind steals maybe 7-10 times, and was successful every time but one.

The blinds increased very rapidly in this tourney, every 20 minutes. That really kept the action lively. I prefer longer levels, but I can't complain about the results this time.

All in all, I must say that B&M play is so much more fun than online play. Probably 70% of the players I played with just simply telegraphed their hands with the tells they give off. I'm just amazed at the number of people that pretty much tell you they're folding by being poised to toss the cards at the muck long before it's their turn to act. This made it quite easy to isolate players who I felt were weak.

I kept all of my pre-flop raises to 3-4xBB, and I think I did a pretty good job of disguising big hands. The people who I went to showdown with were usually quite surprised with what they were up against. I think I bluffed at 2 pots in all, taking down 1 of them. With blind levels increasing so rapidly, bluffing really wasn't a good idea, and the players who tried to set up their elaborate bluffs were usually unsuccessful.

Saturday, October 01, 2005
Soon to be back in the U.S.?
Play at

Saturday, July 16, 2005
Never thought I'd say this...
But I actually enjoyed Hellmuth last night/morning on Cardplayer's audio feed from the final table of the Main Event. Sure, he steered the conversation in a self-centered direction at times, but all-in-all, I thought he did a fine job.

Hell of a final table. Going on very little sleep, I fell asleep around 11:00 (CST) Friday night, hoping to wake up around 2-3 (which usually happens) and catch the end. I managed to sleep straight through until 8:00am. Pissed because I missed the end of it, I lumbered out of bed and to the computer to see just how bad Matusow creamed the field. After all, he *was* the only name in the field.

Much to my surprise, cards were still flying. Not only that, it wasn't even heads up yet! Dear God, this must be a record for longest final table (anyone?).

OK, Matusow must be the chip leader, after all, the pros on Cardplayer's audio all but had him as a lock to win this thing.

What's this, he's gone...he's the FIRST ONE GONE!!! Just goes to show you (again) that you don't need to be a name to win sometimes.

After quickly looking back at some hands, it looks like he may have been a little too impatient, but I don't know. I wasn't there.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005
I'm Stepping Out...
My attempt to qualify for the WSOP ended the other night on step 4 of 6. It was a decent idea to give it a shot, and I only bought in once for $11+1. My game at the moment is in a SnG kind of mood, if you know what I mean.

Finding a Step 1-2 game on Party isn't particularly hard. There seems to be 5-6 running at any given moment. Step 3 was a little harder to find a game for, but nothing compared to step 4 (and up I presume). I'd go on but it's not as interesting as what I really want to get to.

I noticed one player, going by "Gamboholic_" that seemed to be playing a lot of the steps single tables. Which I thought was quite odd. Then I decided to look a little closer. I found this user playing simultaneously on a Steps 5 and 6, while waiting for a game to start on a Steps 3 and 4. That's some pretty intense Sit and Go action if you ask me.

A few people chatted during the games saying that it's a bot. I don't know if it's a bot or not. The user in question's play was solid, and I have a hard time believing a bot could play that well.

My Theory:
I think Party might be filling a few of the seats in the mid-upper steps with people playing, but not collecting. I guess you could say a prop, but one who's main purpose is to prevent as many people as possible from advancing in the Steps, thereby reducing the number of WSOP packages that they'll have to give away.

Do I have any proof. Nope, just an educated guess on my part.

Speaking of the WSOP package that is offered to the winner of a Step 6 table, this is what it says on Party's pages.

"There are 6 Steps to the top where a fabulous WSOP package worth $13,500 awaits the winner."

That's it, it doesn't say a word about a buyin to the main event, or any event for that matter. Seems kind of purposefully vague to me.

Monday, May 02, 2005
Home Game
I'm in a home game. It's about 4-5 of us who actually know how to play the game with at least a skill level above a mouth breathing retard. The other 2-4 seats are filled currently by friends/family who are kind of in the "figuring the game out" mode.

It's all fun, and we play SnG style with a $2-5 buyin, nothing extravagent.

But I have to comment on Jessica (name changed to protect the fish). When she first started playing, I commented one night over beers that she would be easy to read. You have to know her, but it's true. I barely remember the comment, probably because of the massive amount of liquor I had coursing through my veins, but I do remember the conversation.

Jessica has taken this comment to heart, and has done everything she can possibly do to try and prevent me from "reading her" during our games. It's pure comedy at this point. She's putting on her best straight face, yet still has those darting eyes. And it's not like we're in any of those so called "Looking into your soul" moments. This is during normal play!

I don't have the heart to tell her that her face is the last thing I'm thinking about when playing her. It's all about the betting, and her actions with her hands (the ones attached to her arms).

Thank God for poker on TV. The make it seem like if you're a "people person", you'll have no problem at the table.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Hellmuth implodes again...
Paul Phillips has some interesting info about Phil Hellmuth's AA getting busted by Chad Layne's T9s.


From Mike Paulle's Poker Blog

Nothing happening, sorry. Except for David Pham and Jean-Robert Bellande jawing at each other.No new famous exits. The chips are barely moving.The table told me that Phil Hellmuth underbet his Aces that's why he lost. I may have to upgrade the tantrum index, though, as Chad Layne said that the names Phil called were "unbelievible" lol. How this guy has avoided being punched out amazes me.

Imagine playing 10 9 suited! Phil Hellmuth couldn't imagine that someone was call him with trash like that! Phil is out to Chad Layne when Chad flopped two 9's for trips while Phil had pocket Aces. Not much of a tantrum by Hellmuth standards. I rate it a 3 on his 10 scale."

My second Royal Flush

I raised minimum bet preflop, one caller, I checked the flop, he pushed, I called. If only it were that easy to get paid off by monsters every time. Posted by Hello

Let's finish up this "How I got here" crap
It's been a few months since I posted, I've gone through a few lifestyle changes since I started this blog up. I want to get this "history of me" done so I can move on to more substantive (and fun) postings.

The tourney was a ten table NLHE shootout, with the winners of each table advancing to the final table. There were three sessions, 8:00 am, 1:00, and 5:00. I had hoped to make the 1:00 session, but missed it by about a half hour, so I signed up for the 5:00 session. I got to watch the tables from the 1:00 session though, and it helped me get familiar with how the B&M thing works.

The tourney was a $150+15 buyin, and if you made the final table, you would get the buyin back, and more depending on how high you finished. It was part of a yearlong series that culminated in a final tournament at the end of the year which would consist of the winners of the monthly tournament at two casinos (St. Louis and Kansas City).

I leave the casino for a late lunch, and get back and the tables are being assembled for my 5:00 session. I draw seat four at my table, and my table is a mix of ages. Seats two and ten were old timers (60+ years old), who definitely knew the game, seat nine was a middle aged man who dressed and acted 20 years younger. Seats one, three, six, seven, and eight were all younger fellas (under 30). But it was seat five, right next to me, that interested me the most.

I was concerned about Seat 5's play for a couple of reasons, the primary reason being position, he was immediately to my left. He looked to be my age (early thirties), but he had definitely had more B&M time under his belt than I did. He had a Bellagio hat on. As we started up, I wanted to strike up a little chit-chat with him, so I asked him if he played at this casino often. He said he did most of his playing in Vegas. I realize now that playing in Vegas does not make one a great poker player, but at the time I was a little intimidated. He was friendly, and helped guide me through a few of the basics of how to play properly in a card room. During the course of the tournament, he would routinely expose his cards to me (mid-hand) in hands that I had already folded out of. I don't know why he was doing this, but it was info that I was glad to see.

I don't remember all of the hand details, just a few, and I'll get to those in a second.

I was nervous as hell as it started. I was trying hard to control the shaking in my hands, but I'm sure those immediately around me could notice. Only thing was, it wasn't just when I was in a hand, I was just flat out nervous all around. Fortunately, after the first break, that subsided.

Blinds went up every 20 minutes, with a break after every three levels.

I remember winning the first hand, but I absolutely cannot remember what I held. I came in for the minimum raise, and was folded to me. On the second hand, I folded, and there were about 3-4 limpers. The flop came K-5-x. Seat three (SB) slammed his stack of chips down in front of him. "ALL IN!". He looked to be about 21-25 years old, and had a very cocky style about him. Before the tourney started, he had turned his chair around, and hogged so much of space around him that Seats 2 and 4 (me) had virtually no room to maneuver.

Seat five immediately called, and the rest of the table folded. Seat three had AA, seat five had K-5 for two pair. The aces didn't improve, and we had our first casualty. He pounded his fist on the rail, and got up in a huff. I very quickly learned from him how NOT to play aces. Actually, it was pretty bad push, and probably an even worse call.

So now seat five was doubled up...great. I don't remember much else until the final hand before the break. I was BB with 9-3 offsuit. I saw a flop for free, and it came 9-9-x (don't remember the x). I placed a smallish bet and was raised. I wanted to reraise, but knocked over my stack. I began picking up my chips and placing them out to bet, but was called for a string bet, and could only call. By now I'm sure my table image was that of a complete novice, which was true, and probably helped me out at some point. The turn brought the case 9. I had quads. I made a fairly sizable bet, and the Seat seven called after trying to look into my soul. I don't remember the river, because it didn't matter to me at the time. I pushed, and Seat seven stared me down again, and eventually folded. I know I probably played this wrong, I've since learned a little (ok, a lot) more about how to play hands for value, etc... But at the time, I was ecstatic, because I was second in chips.

I dragged occasional small-medium pots, and avoided confrontations with the chip leader (seat five) and between the two of us, we pretty much picked off the whole table.

Quite honestly, I don't remember much else until head-up. Yes, you heard me, I had gotten to heads up at the table guessed it, Seat Five, right next to me. He had me outchipped about 6000-4000 when we entered headsup, and I wasn't catching anything. I found myself outchipped about 8500-1500 when he busted me. I pushed pre-flop with K-8 suited, and he called with J-5 off. I felt pretty good when the first exposed card on the flop was a K. Unfortunately, the other two cards on the flop guessed it, a J and a 5. No help from the turn or river and I was done.

He congratulated me, saying that I played very well. I was pleasantly surprised that he didn't add "for a first timer", since he knew that I had never played live before. Hell, I had barely played online at that point.

Looking back, I think the weakest part for me was my headsup play. I really didn't know how to play headsup at the time. And I probably was far too passive.

The TD came over to me, and asked for some information. then handed me a slip and said that he'd walk me over to the cage so I could cash out. I looked at him with a puzzled look, and said, "Why, I didn't win?" He told me I won $100 for getting second at the table. I didn't know they paid out for second, so it was a nice surprise.

All in all, it was fun. I haven't played in a casino since (I live about 2 hours away from the nearest casino), but my online game has expanded and improved.

I now play on a variety of sites, I still play Party, but I've also grown fond of a few others. Budget wise, it's tough. I don't have any money to sink into my bankroll (just married), so I'm working on turning a small amount that I started with ($50) into enough to take advantage of a a little bit of bonus whoring. I'll get there, but it's nice to learn at very low levels. I've turned that $50 into about $140 now. I don't have alot of time to play, so I can't increase the bankroll too terribly fast. that's ok though. I'm in no rush.

I've become a S&G specialist, and have done well in them. I really like MTT's though, and I've been playing alot of freeroll or low buyin MTT's lately, in addition to 1 table and 2 table S&G's. NLHE is still the game of choice, but I'm woking on my Omaha H/L game.

The freeroll MTT's are good training. It pretty much forces you to fold crap early on that you shouldn't be playing anyway. The first half of those things are littered with people pushing with junk. The latter parts of those tournaments are good though, and you actually get into some decent play.

I've finished 12/10,300 in a Bet365 freeroll for a whopping $4.50 the other day. 7/634 in another freeroll MTT yesterday. So I'm getting my MTT game in shape.

Oh, I finished 8/76 in ScurvyDog's Blogger Omaha tournament last Friday. It was blast.

That's where I'm at now. I'l be posting more frequently now that I've gotten this old stuff out of my brain and into this blog. It'll be a mix of personal results (although that stuff gets old for people), strategy, and humor. I don't know where it will go, but we'll take it for a ride and find out.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004
The First Story (ya gotta start somewhere) Part II
So you may ask, "Why PartyPoker? Site XXX is much better, has a better bonus, or has a better interface." The simple answer is...I don't know. I guess since I'd been playing the free tables on Party, I was familiar with the interface.

I'm not sure where I wanted to gamble first. I dig around a little bit, and discover these things called Sit and Go's (or for the more conservative Baptists out there, Sin and Go's). What a perfect way to practice up for the Freeze Out tournament tomorrow.

My first Sit and Go was pretty unmemorable. I didn't cash. But what where these people doing? There weren't three all-ins on the first hand. We actually made it to level three. What the hell was going on??? Welcome to poker for real money, not play chips.

I win the second SnG I play, and place second in another. In hindsite, this prepared me more for the live tourney I was playing in tomorrow than anything else (with the exception of reading Super System maybe). I hit the sack, and had dreams of monster pots coming my way tomorrow.

More to come...

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