Tuesday, May 29, 2007

How Could I?

How could I feel like I have anything to feel bad about when someone so close to me doesn't have food at home.How could I feel self-pity when someone so close to me is so brave and got out of their comfort zone to try and make something of themselves, only to have the hands of fate throw an unbelievable string of unfortunate events in their face......yet they smile and remain positive...and hungry.How?All I can say is I have big-time respect for you sir. I know you don't have Internet....or a bed....or furniture.......or food. You will.
"It's OK" he said. "We get paid tomorrow. I'll be OK until then."
"Tomorrow is Thursday."


My small struggles in life seem so small now and I feel so great to be losing weight and making new friends this year. I have a Grandson on the way and I'm so blessed. My focus this year is becoming crystal clear. I had fallen in to such a comfort zone in life, and it feels so good to be busting out of a rut.I won a trip for two to Maui a few years ago. It was an unbelievable experience. They gave us a list of activities to choose from. It was all paid for so money was no factor in your decisions. I started picking things like a free Corvette convertible for a day and shopping sprees and riding horses.....then I thought.....I could do any of that stuff in my home town. This is a chance to do things I have never done and not only that, things I would never ordinarily do. I started over and selected a catamaran trip, a helicopter tour, and snorkeling. Were these things a little scary? Of course they were, but I'm so glad I did every one of them. All three experiences contain memories that I will never forget....swimming with sea turtles, flying over volcanoes, sailing in the clear ocean with dolphins all around. Sometimes you have to face your fear head on. So many times when I was younger I ran from the things that I feared only to have them reappear in my new environment. I showed my wife the list of activities and had her try to guess which ones we were doing. She guessed all the ones I would normally select. I laughed and showed her the ones I picked.She said "You're kidding, why?"I didn't expect her to "get it" but she did and it was so awesome!!!If you want to see some cool pictures of a current trip to Hawaii check out Brian's blog.

Monday, May 28, 2007


My neighbor recently returned from a trip to Costa Rica. He played a lot of poker at the Horseshoe Casino there. He had something happen to him that I was not aware was a rule in some casinos.
He was in a 2/5 no limit cash game and bought in for $600 which seemed to be what most of the larger stacks at the table had. He found the action to be fairly weak and loose and he sat back and waited for a few strong starting hands and rather quickly doubled up. He then busted another player and was sitting with $1,800 or so within an hour. He got a little looser and braver as he felt like a huge stack at the table that could push the table around a bit. He locked up in a hand with a guy that looked to have about $400 in front of him and flopped middle pair. He decided to just put the guy all in so he shoved. What he didn't notice was that the guy had $2,000 in cash sitting behind his stack in $100 bills. The guy flipped a set and the $1,800 was gone just like that. Licking his wounds he went to his hotel and regrouped. The next day he came back to the same game and sat down. This time he put $4,000 in twenty dollar bills behind his $600 in chips and got down to business. He got in to a hand with the same guy that had won his $1,800 the night before and had quads. The other guy had a boat and pushed all in with about $1,500. Z-Man quickly called with his quads and flipped them up. The dealer counted $600 out of the other guys stack and pushed it to Z-Man. Z held up the $4,000 in twenties and the dealer said, "Only 100 dollar bills play, no twenties."
I checked with MiamiDon and he confirmed that this holds true at casinos in Vegas as well. He said that some don't play cash at all but the ones that do it's hundreds only.
I was not aware of this and as much as I play I guessed that some others out there would want to know this before it happens to them.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

MTT Goal for 2007

To be a winning MTT player, you need to money at least 13% of the time. The higher over 13% you are the less you are probably winning, meaning you are staying tight and getting to the money a lot but not going deep from there very often. I like to be between 10 and 20 percent. I have ran as high as 30% on 100 tournaments, but I was spending a lot of time for small cash. I prefer to open up my game a little, and reduce my cashes to about 18%, where I give myself a better chance to make about 10 times the money I make at 30%. At 18% on Party, I cashed about 10 final tables out of 100 tournaments with an average buy-in of $22 for over $19,000 with only $2,200 invested so a profit of $16,800.
I am currently running 20/88 on Stars for 22.73% itm and 36/166 on Full Tilt for 21.69% itm. I think I'm about 3%-6% higher than I need to be. I have to find a few adjustments to get to some final tables and bring home some big $.
When I was playing Party, I was playing larger buy-ins than I currently play, but I made a conscious decision to play buy-ins that fit my bankroll so I can't step back up until I get a few big wins under my belt. The larger the buy-in the smaller percentage of donkeys you see, but it's similar enough and once you get past the first two hours there is little difference in play from a 5 dollar buy in to a larger buy in. I hope to get back to a $20 average buy-in this year. I'm going to stick to buy-ins that are 5% or less of my online roll. Right now I have about $300 total online between Stars and Tilt, so I'll be playing mostly 2 and 5 buck buy-in MTTs. The only exceptions right now are if I play a qualifier or two and win a buy-in to a larger tourney. If I can get my roll to over $500 I'll switch to 10 and 20 buck tournaments.
I was fortunate to get all my money off of Party before they shut it down to US players, and I did not put much on any other sites. My current goal is to take the small amount I have online and build it to $25,000 by the end of the year without depositing or withdrawing any. I will be taking you along for the ride good or bad.

Live Blogging

I thought it might be kind of fun to live blog a multi-table tournament in-depth with my thoughts on hands, table conditions, switching gears, and whatever else pops up so here we go:
Small stakes tournament on Full Tilt:
Buyin = $5.50
Entrants = 308
Places Paid = 36
I always look at the size of the field vs. the percent that make the money and what size buy-in it is to get in the right frame of mind for that particular tournament. This is a small buy-in so the play will more than likely be very loose with a few moments of solid play. With this in mind, I plan to start out fairly tight and look for a chance to double up early and/or most importantly not get in a big coin flip that I don't have a good chance of winning.
I know some people like to get in on a coin flip early on even if they are a slight dog with a chance to double or triple up, but i prefer to try and wait until I am fairly sure I am a huge favorite.
In keeping with our game plan, I have folded Ax suited and suited connectors 3 of the first 4 hands of the tournament. I don't have position, it's early, and people are being fairly aggressive with big raises before it gets to me so I'm just sitting back and observing trying to pick up on some weaknesses and making notes of their tendencies so I can use it to their disadvantage hopefully today.
The next 5 hands are junk....fold, fold, fold, fold, fold.
I pick up AK utg and the blinds are still 15/30. I raise it to 125 and get one caller in the big blind. He checks the flop of A Q 10 with two clubs to me. I bet 145 and he smooth calls....hmm. The turn is a 7 of spades. He checks again and I bet 350. He smooth calls again. I don't think I'm ahead but I definitely have a chance for the nuts to hit on the river. 2 of spades on the river and we both check it down. He has Q 10 in his hand for 2 pair and I drop a good sized pot.
I'm down to 820 in chips. I have K9 offsuit in the big blind. One caller and we check it all the way. I spike a king on the river and drag a small pot.
The very next hand I am dealt 77 in the small blind. There is one caller from early position and I limp in from the small blind. The big blind goes all in with his last 285 and the other guy just calls. I decide to go ahead and shove and try to isolate the big blinds small stack. The other guy calls my shove. The big blind has A 10 offsuit and the other guy has 10 2 of diamonds. The board is 3 4 A 2 Q with 3 spades. I lose the main pot but win the side pot and I now have 1,190.
A couple of junk hands then I get A 7 suited in good position. I decide to put in a small raise and see if I can pick up the blinds. I'm very willing to get away from this if I feel any pressure. I raise to 125 and get 4 callers!! Now I'm ready to fold, fold, fold. The flop is 10 7 2 rainbow. We all check. The turn is a 6 of hearts giving me four hearts and 2nd pair. It checks around to the the player before me and he shoves with 1,160. He has me covered and I should obviously fold. I don't. I shove. This is a terrible play on my part. I honestly don't have any idea what makes me call this. It's definitely a horrible call. Everyone else folds and we flip our cards up. He has A 3 and he's drawing completely dead!!! I drag the pot and I'm up to 2,755.
I'm embarrased to even post that hand, but I'm laying the whole tourney out here good or bad so it is what it is. I'm regrouping in my mind and telling myself to play smart.
An orbit of bad cards and I fold ( which is just what I need to do for a few minutes is tighten up and get over the bad play ).
I've played solid and tight for about 30 more hands and I'm sitting at 3,050. We've been playing for 45 minutes and the average stack is 2,640.
We've lost almost half the field already and we have 160 still in. I'm sitting about middle of the pack with 2,800.
If I had more chips I would probably switch gears here and try to bully the table around for a few minutes looking for a chance to double on a lucky flop but I don't so I'm just sitting tight. Five minutes until the first break.
There is some very loose play going on at the table. If I could just pick up a hand soon, I stand an excellent chance of getting in to an all in situation way ahead. Come on cards. There's a 3-way all in and they all have crap cards and weak draws. Please give me a hand. I fold a suited A 9 with two all ins ahead of me and I would have won. I still like the fold. I'm not looking for an even or underdog coin flip. I'm looking for AA or KK or AK or something very strong to fight with. Chips are flying like crazy and it's an excellent time to double or triple up. A 7 takes down a pre-flop all-in against AK and things like that are happening. It's like the table took a "Go Crazy" pill or something. There's literally a shove and at least one call on almost every hand. It's almost break time.
No cards come my way and I head in to the break with 2,215.

At the break:
My stack = 2,215.
My position = 88th of 138.

The table condition is very loose and I'm settling in to ultra-tight mode. I'm going to sit back for the next couple of orbits and take notes and wait for a premium starting hand. I've not seen any great starting hands to speak of yet so I'm content to be over 2,000.
I get moved to a new table and I'm a short stack at this table. There's one player with 13,000 and several with 5,000. I pick up a suited ace in the small blind. It's folded around to me and I limp. He raises three times the blind and I call. I flop an ace and we both check. Turn is a ten for a board of J 7 A 10 rainbow. I bet 500 and he calls. The river is a 2 and I bet another 500. He calls with 10 5 suited and I take it down. I now have 3,455.
We've lost another 25 players or so and there's 111 players left. The average stack is 4,162.
I have 77 in late position and bet 365. The big blind calls. The flop is Q53 rainbow. He checks and I bet 500. He folds and I have 3,880.
I pick up 9 7 suited in middle position. There's a raise and a call of 480 in early postion so I let it go. I would have picked up a flush draw and missed. I saved about 750 chips by folding.
I have A8 of hearts in the big blind. One big stack raises and everyone else folds. He's been playing super loose and pushing the table around and I decide to see the flop. the flop is and ace high and I decide to gamble. I check and he bets 800. I check-raise it to 1,600 and he shoves. I call and he shows Q 9 for nothing. I sweat the turn and the river as he has two over cards. He misses and I now have 7,760. The average is at 4,714 so I get healthy. I'm not crazy about the play but I can't wait forever for AA or something and if you get too low you just become too weak to run people out of a hand so I'm OK with my play here.
I'm sitting at 17th of 92 left in. The big stack of the tourney is at 17,000.
I min-raise with 77 utg and get 3 callers. The flop is 10 7 2 with two hearts on the board. The small blind leads out with 200 and the big blind folds. I raise it to 1,000 and only the small blind calls. The turn is the queen of clubs and he bets 600. I shove and he calls with his last 2 grand. He spikes a flush on the river and I'm down to 3,500. I pick up K 10 in the small blind and it folds to me. I raise it up three times the blind and the big blind calls. The flop is king high and I check it to him. He bets 200 and I call. The turn pairs the board and we both check. The river is a king and I make a boat. I overbet the pot with a 2,000 bet and he folds. I think a value bet of about 400 would have been the better play but at least I drag the pot and I'm back up to 4,285. I have 77 for about the 4th time and min-raise from early position. It folds to the big blind and he calls. The flop is 10 6 4 rainbow and he bets out 800. I give him no credit and shove. He calls with 10 7 off suit and I'm out in about 77th place.
Nothing spectacular in this one and I played somewhat poorly. The river beat on the set really got me out of my game a little and I overplayed the sevens at the end.

Good luck at the tables this week everyone!!!!!

Friday, May 25, 2007

8 5 off is the new AA

Wow!!! What a fun week of poker I have had!! I played at PokerCats Arena and BrainMc's on consecutive nights. I donked it up pretty good at the Cat Arena and had a blast. The next night I was in for a real treat at BrainMc's League tournament. The competition in his league in my opinion was the toughest tournament inside or outside a casino I have played since the WSOP Circuit tournaments I played back in September of last year. There were several really tough players and they played like it was their job. Unfortunately BrainMc busted early so I didn't get to play at his table, but I did outlast most of the field for a solid 2nd place finish. I hope to play with those guys again soon!!

I'm sure most of you are already aware but in case you somehow missed it everywhere else:

PokerStars is running the Ocean's Thirteen Darfur Charity Tournament next Sunday afternoon at 3:30pm ET.PokerStars is teaming up with the cast of Ocean's Thirteen to help stop the suffering in the war-torn region of Darfur in the Sudan. If you have not been paying attention, over 400,000 people have already been killed. They launched Not On Our Watch. Their mission is to..."focus global attention and resources to stop and prevent mass atrocities. Drawing on the powerful voice of citizen artists, activists, and cultural leaders, our mission is to generate lifesaving humanitarian assistance and protection for the vulnerable, marginalized, and displaced."PokerStars is donating $1 million and you can help out by playing in two diffeent charity events. You have a shot to win a ticket to the Ocean's Thirteen premiere in Los Angeles. See below for specific details.
Overview of the Ocean's Thirteen Darfur Charity Tournament:These tournaments are special re-buy tournaments - the entire prize pool will be matched by PokerStars and donated to the Darfur relief efforts. At the conclusion of the event the prize pool, which will be temporarily awarded to the 1st place finisher, will be removed from the 1st place finisher's account. The amount will then be matched by PokerStars and sent forward to the Darfur charity. Thank you for participating — go re-buy crazy! — it's for a good cause. Good luck!Date: May 27th 2007, 15:30 ETBuy-in: $10 plus rebuys.Prizes: Top 4 receive tickets to June 5th premiere in Los Angeles plus 2 nights hotel and $2k for travel/spending. Top 18 receive autographed copy of "Oceans 13" DVD. Total prize pool will go to charity. PokerStars will match the donation. The tournament is open to all players. Good luck!

It's for a great cause and it has the Good Doctor's seal of approval.

Have a great week everyone!!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Tagged!!! (I thought I was going to slide by this)

I've been reading the "7 random things" posts and watching people being tagged this way and that and I began to think that Kevin Bacon didn't even live on the same plane as me when suddenly all the chains of tags turned their heads and snapped in my direction....so without further rambling I present:

7 Random things about Surflexus

1. I am terrified of grasshoppers. I know that they aren't going to hurt me and I can't explain this paranoia but it exists and has for a long, long time.

2. I can sing the alphabet backwards in under 6 seconds, under 3 on a good day. I've taught all three of my children to do the same.

3. I am an organ donor. One of my best friends in the world died while waiting for a donor and it is the least I can do.

4. I am not exactly clairvoyant but I am something. I have visions from time to time. I don't have or haven't developed an ability to harness this power and use it as I wish but it exists. An example is that I saw a room in a vision that I had never visited. I saw it several times and to try and figure out what it was I made a list of everything I saw all the way down to a small pile of spilled blue detergent in a specific corner of the room and a description of two drawings made by a child hanging on the fridge. Three months after this particular vision stopped I went to a new friend's house after school and it was his living room and kitchen!!! I made him come to my house and pulled out the list and made him come with me while I showed it to his family. It freaked them all out really bad and I have never spoken to them since. I do not share any visions with anyone for any reason any more.

5. I am terrible with directions. I can't remember how to get anywhere that I have been without a new map every time. This was terrible when I was a teen first driving and can still be quite frightening. I rarely travel without a navigation system now. It has saved me hundreds of hours of drive time since I began using it.

6. I keep in touch. I am a "Network Extremist". I keep in touch with just about every person I have ever worked with or have been friends with.

7. I have a New Quest this year. There is a link to it on the right there and it will provide you with a lot more than 7 random things about Surflexus!!

Thanks for all the tags folks!!!

I'm officially tagging everyone that hasn't been tagged yet. You're it!!!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

"We're in our element"

As Mrs. Surf and I enjoyed a great time in Tunica she made the comment "We're in our element." It was such a true statement. I really feel at home in the casinos. I enjoy being able to play games that involve luck but you can apply skills to that give you a chance to lose a small amount or win a huge amount. I love hearing the comments of the unskilled gamers that say things like "It's all luck" or "You can't beat this game; the house always wins." While it is a true statement that the house always wins more than it loses, it doesn't win every session or even against every player. There are games in the casino that you can beat on a regular basis. It can take a lot of studying and applying the proper discipline to do it, but it can be done.
Poker is different from most casino games in that you are applying skill to beat the other opponents at the table along with a combination of the luck of getting the right cards when you need them; sometimes you need them and sometimes you don't. The house always wins at the poker tables as they take a rake of the action no matter who wins the hands. I have had a nice run at the tables the last week or so. I made the money in two of three tournaments we played at Kajagugu's last Friday and I had a great night at PokerCats Tuesday cashing out for 4 1/2 my original buy-in after getting there two hours late due to a meeting at work. I went on a run on Riverstars today and finished 14th of 1,071 almost making it to the final table. Thanks to Weak, Waffles, and Kat for the nice words of encouragement during the tourney and especially to ThePokerEnthusiast for hanging out with me from beginning to end keeping me calm and steady throughout with his helpful insight.
Have a great week everyone!!!

Thursday, May 03, 2007


We're home from Tunica. The trip went well but unfortunately the poker tournaments were a bust.
The Sunday tournament was a fairly large field. I got crippled early against a runner runner flush when I flopped a set and he shoved with nothing. I managed to rally back from near nothing (about $100 or so) to get back to about 5,500 or so. The blinds were still fairly small; I think they were about 150/300. I got pocket queens and raised it up to 1,000. The flop had a queen in it and once again someone else shoved having me well covered. I call and he turns over J 8 offsuit and says "You got me." Well, I did until he hits two miracle cards giving him a straight and sending me packing.
Mrs. Surf and I went over to the hotel for a bit then met up with PokerCat at Horseshoe or Goldstrike, I don't remember which. I sat down at his 1/2 no limit table which was a really bad idea because I was feeling very impatient and played very badly quickly losing my buy in by chasing an open-ended straight in a huge pot then playing TPTK like it was solid gold.
The Monday tournament was much better. It was my most solid play of the trip. It wasn't a huge tournament; only about 70 players. Mrs. Surf and I both made the final table but found ourselves extremely short stacked. We both had about 2,000 and the blinds were 1,000/2,000. Only the top 5 made the money and we had 8 players still in. I was seated to her left and decided to shove in her big blind to give us both a chance to win a big pot and get to the money. I look at my cards and have J9 suited. I shove. It folds to the small blind and he is priced in so he calls. Mrs. Surf flips up 9 7 and the small blind shows his 8 3 offsuit....nice. I get optimistic as the turn falls and nobody has paired or hit a draw. The river is a 3 and we both get knocked out by Snowman Tater Legs..hehe.
The Tuesday tournament was a quick one for me when the super-aggressive player at the table was in the big blind and I isolated him from late position with a raise. He calls and I'm holding A 10 of diamonds. The flop gives me an ace and it's a rainbow flop. I check with him and the turn is a second spade. He shoves his small stack on in and I call having him well covered. He hits his flush draw and I'm a small stack early. I double twice and get back to 1,500 or so after being down from 4,000 starting chips to 200. I sit tight for a while as the deck is ice cold and I blind down to 800 chips when I get KK. The blinds are 100/200 and I'm in middle position. The first to act raises it to 500 and I decide to just call and hope to get some more chips in the pot. I hate not to re-raise but I need chips and decide it's my best move. No more takers and it's just the two of us to the flop. 10 10 6 and he bets 1,000 not realizing I only have 300 more. I call and he flips over pocket sixes for the boat. Mrs. Surf played very well and made it to the final two tables finishing in about 15th or so place.