Thursday, October 28, 2004

To Party or Not to Party?

I used to play at UB. I was quite successful there, for a while anyways. For many, many reasons, I decided to try out PokerStars, and haven't ever looked back. Until now, anyways.

I love the interface on Stars. I love the range of games, and I find the tournaments to be challenging, but workable. Also, I have never played better SNG's in my life. But those damn ring games...

For a while, I thought it was just me. My brother (Tactix, from "Bullets In The Hole") has had tremendous success on the ring games at Stars. However, he is a far more disciplined player than I am. But after reading many blogs, I find that there are a number of other players that find them to be quite tough as well. Interestingly though, I find them to be difficult due to the lack of quality play, whereas I have read others find it difficult due to the high level of "good" play there. Bit of a discrepancy. Anyway...

The general consensus seems to lean towards Party Poker as the best place to make money. (At least in the low to mid-range limits.)So now I am trying to decide if I should diversify a bit, and try it out for a while. My other consideration is FullTiltPoker, only because of the 100% deposit bonus. However I have heard mixed reviews about that site, plus it supposedly takes forever to clear the bonus.

Any thoughts, opinions, suggestions?

Tuesday, October 26, 2004


It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.
When anger rises, think of the consequences.
To see what is right, and not do it, is want of courage or principle.
The cautious seldom err.
Things that are done, it is needless to speak about - things that are past, it is needless to blame.
To go beyond, is as wrong as to fall short.
Be not ashamed of mistakes, and thus make them crimes.
Men's natures are all alike, it is their habits that carry them far.
- Confucius (551 BC - 479 BC)

Confucius would have been a poker player in another life. I am convinced of it. That is the funny thing about quotes, you can always find one to suit you, wherever you are at in life.

My poker game is going through a process of alteration. Having been fairly successful in certain aspects of the game, yet not as successful in others, I have been trying to weed out my flaws/shortcomings/weaknesses, and give them the time and attention they deserve.
As I mentioned before, I am a tournament girl. If I had the bankroll to support nothing but tournaments and SNG's (single / double table tourneys known as sit-n-go's) I am very confident that I could bring in a steady income from those alone. However, without a strong bankroll, I am forced to play the lower limit tourneys, hence eliminating the possibilities of larger payouts. There is nothing more frustrating that playing a $1.00 entry tournament, and beating out 1700 players to end up in the top 10% (or better) and only earning $2.57 for 6-7 hours of work. I don't discount the learning experience, but I am sure my point is clear.

The easy solution would be to just deposit more money into the game, to get the bankroll to where I would be comfortable playing the games I want to play. But, for many reasons, I am not going to do that. Instead, I have decided to work my bankroll up by playing more ring games, and the odd tourney/SNG.

I said the dreaded phrase. Ring games. Sends shivers down my spine.

Now don't get me wrong. I enjoy ring games. I really enjoy ring games at higher stakes. I just really hate low-limit ring games, and the type of player that they seem to attract. So, instead of avoiding them like the plague, which was my first inclination, that is exactly where I am currently focusing my attention. I have devised a strategy (spreadsheet) for these games, beginning at micro-limit, and working back up through the lower-limits, until I once again reach the limits I like playing at. Why? Why would I do this to myself? Because it is not the pro's that I fear playing. It is not the experienced rounder that is taking my chips. It is the collection of lucky fish that play any hand that are getting the better of me, so I am now facing them head on in their own game. I feel that I need to break through this barrier if I am ever truly going to be playing the quality of poker that I feel I am capable of.

How long will this process take? Undecided at this point. Could be a couple of weeks, or I could crack and it could end tomorrow. Like I said, I have devised a spreadsheet to track where I am at, and if I follow this, I will only move up levels based on the results of play that I have achieved. It is tedious, boring work, that I am confident will only improve my game in the long run. As with anything else, studying and practicing in poker are the two most beneficial things you can do, and I decided for that reason also, it is better to stick with low limits while I am trying out new strategies.

I do encourage anyone who has recently gone through a series of bad beats / terrible runs of cards / uncertainty or unhappiness with their play, to knock your game back down to a micro limit, even just for an hour. I have learned more from losing $0.17 on these tables, than I have from winning $80.00 on a "better" table.

Humility is our greatest lesson.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Low-Limit Lobotomy

I don't like to complain (too much) about bad beats. However, this rant is more about the pains of playing low limit poker more than anything. I will go on to happier, or at least more productive topics in a minute, but this one I had to share.

AA. Nice starting hand. Early position. I raise and EVERY person at the table calls. Flop comes K, 7, 2 rainbow. I bet, second position raises, EVERY person at the table calls. Turn comes a 4. I check, second position bets, EVERY person at the table calls. River comes with a 9. EVERY single person at the table calls a round of betting. The winner? Someone who limped in with K4. It wasn't the person in second position, he showed is 23 off-suit.

Now, I don't expect my aces to hold up everytime. That is certainly not my issue here. My issue is that EVERY single person at the table called EVERY single bet and raise. This happened to me with AA twice, with KK, with QQ, and with big slick. Apparently the only way to win a hand on these tables is to bet bet bet, hope everyone else folds, and hope that you luck out on the flop, the turn, and/or the river. At least that is what everyone at my table was doing. Is that poker? My favorite is when someone lucks out on the river, having called crap the entire time against monster hands, and when they suck out something, other players say "nh". Nice hand? NICE hand? OMG....

What are we, as conscientious poker players, supposed to do with that? I know, the easy answer is don't play low-limit poker. Great solution in a perfect world. Unfortunately, examples like the above aren't just restricted to low limit games, they are just more common.

I have been revamping my game lately, and am forcing myself to play lower limits than I normally like, due to beats like that mentioned above. I am trying to get into the heads of these players, to better understand what I am up against in tournaments and ring games against the weak - loose players. Using it as a learning experience, etc, etc.

But come on!

I suppose the answer is, you can't get into someone's head if they aren't using it.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Poker Bloggers Tourney

That was my first tournament with the poker bloggers, and I have to say that I had a great time. It was refreshing playing quality poker against quality opponents. Congrats to everyone who played, and especially to everyone who placed. I look very forward to the next one, and hope to improve on my 12th place showing to a final table at some point! Thanks again Iggy, and thanks to my brother Tactix, who talked me into playing!!

Joanne1111 - known to the rest of my world as just Jo or Joanne.
Welcome to my poker blog. I have been reading blogs for a while now, and decided it was finally time to start one of my own. All feedback is encouraged and appreciated! Posted by Hello

Women Shouldn't Play Poker

Those were the words of wisdom I encountered today.

I am a fairly tight, selective-agressive player. When I bet out, chances are I have something good. When I call, chances are I have something good, or something that may amount to something good. Odds, pot-odds, etc. etc. etc. Every now and then I mix it up a little. Pretty textbook, if you ask me.

So I was playing another ring game (which I don't really like - I am a tourney girl at heart) and I had Q J suited in late position. One raise before me, and I called. (Somewhat questionable, I know, but I felt the need to play a hand after seeing nothing but 3 - 8off and the like for the better part of an hour.) Flop came up K, J, 9 (the K and 9 to my suit). The initial raiser threw out a bet, and I once again called. Turn was another J, giving me trips. He bet, I called again, hoping to trap him for a few more dollars. (Hoping, of course, that I did have him beat at that stage.) River came up as a 7, so he bet, I raised, he re-raised, I called.

When he showed his big slick I wasn't surprised. That was what I put him on, hoping that he didn't have the trip kings or the straight. As the pot came my direction, he muttered "Women shouldn't play poker". Doing my standard poor job of keeping my mouth shut, I retaliated with "Maybe women just shouldn't play better poker than you".

Now, in all fairness, I should point out a couple of things. First of all, he did add a just kidding (j/k) after we posted those not-so-nice things to each other, as did I. Second of all, I honestly didn't think that I played better poker than he did. He easily could have had a better hand than I did. His argument was that I should not have called him on the flop with second pair. No amount of words would convince him that I was not only calling because of my pair of Jacks, I was drawing for a straight, a flush, a straight flush, etc. etc. I had tons of outs, and couldn't justify laying down the hand even though it was pretty obvious that he had me beat at the flop.

However, the hand was what the hand was. I beat him, he lost. He chose to make a gender-specific comment on my play, in truth or in jest, I don't know. This happens sooooo often while I am playing, which is one reason I don't play alot of ring games anymore. I find in tournaments, the average player is either less concerned about gender, or at least less vocal about it. So why don't I use a handle that is non-gender specific? Or why don't I chance my icon to a picture of a brick rather than a picture of me? I suppose the answer is, I have no reason to hide who/what I am.

Poker is still, for the majority, a man's game. I know that, he knows that, she knows that. And to be perfectly honest, I usually prefer to play against men too. I am not a girly-girl. Give me a beer over a pina colada anyday. On holidays, if I can't play poker, I prefer to be out fishing. That is just the way it is. It comes as no surprise to anyone that knows me well, that I chose to make poker a full-time endeavor.

So my question for the masses is this: Does it matter to you if you are beat by a woman in a "man's game", or does it just matter that you were beat? I don't really expect anyone to answer this, but answer it to yourself. You might be surprised at what you learn.

I am a Hoar

I never knew until yesterday that I was a hoar.
It was posted to me during an online game, so it must be true.

What is a hoar you may ask? Ahhhh....same question I deliberated for countless minutes yesterday.

After taking a rather bad beat, my opponent decided that he needed to vent a little frustration my way. He berated me for winning a hand that consisted of my pocket queens (raised, then re-raised pre-flop by his A-7 off) and a flop of A, Q, 7. Played out to the river, and no other cards of significance showing, I obviously emerged the winner of the hand.

Now, I can understand that any beat can be tough. However this particular opponent had more chips than I did, and we were playing for low limits. All in all he probably only lost about $6.00 on the hand. Nothing to write home about as a victory for me, and certainly nothing to get too upset with on his end. (Serves him right for his A-rag, if you ask me.)

However, he couldn’t seem to let this hand go. Fifteen minutes later he was still going on and on about it. I usually (poorly) attempt to keep my mouth shut, but he was amusing me with his rants and raves, so I suppose I was provoking him a little. He came out with the ever-so-vicious taunt: “You are a Hoar!”

This one actually made me stop and think. If he was deliberately trying to get me to turn my attention away from my game, he succeeded. Hoar. Hmmm. Better consult Mr. Webster before I decide if I should feel complimented or insulted. With a “brb” on my game, this is what I found out: (my comments are in parenthesis)


1. White, or grayish white; as, hoar frost; hoar cliffs. (well, I am blond…but I am certainly not grey)
2. Gray or white with age; hoary. (Hoary…lol…I just love that word)
Old trees with trunks all hoar. --Byron. (Hmmm….does the thought of me invoke visions of trees with trunks all hoar?)
3. Musty; moldy; stale. [Obs.] --Shak. (Ok, ok, I have been sitting at my computer for about 13 hours, I suppose I could get up and open a window to let some air in here.)

\Hoar\, n. Hoariness; antiquity. [R.]Covered with the awful hoar of innumerable ages. --Burke. (
This is my favorite of the bunch. Really, really makes me want to go shower. Now!)

Ok, so it is probably now safe to assume that he didn’t actually mean “hoar”. So he misspelled whatever he was trying to say to me. The obvious, whore, of course entered my mind. I just didn’t have enough faith that he could misspell it to that extreme. So what does that leave us? Hmmm… Boar? Do I somehow represent an uncastrated male pig? Some wild swine with a narrow body and prominent tusks? I am guessing no. (I am hoping no.)

Alas, I returned to my table, but the accuser in question had already made his exit. Leaving the question unanswered for all eternity, I proceeded to make my way back into the game, trying once again to regain focus on the cards. What was dealt to me again? Pocket Queens.

Or, should I say, Pocket Hoars?

A Muse's Musings

A Muse’s Musings

We all have our little bag of tricks.
Things that we think, mantras that we chant, words that we speak.
We all have our ways of calming down our nerves to get back into the game after a bad beat.
We all have ways of mentally creating a pseudo-poker environment in our living room / dining room / den / study when we play online poker.
Something that gets us in the proper state of mind. Something that allows us to block out the sound of the neighbor’s lawn mower, or the children playing outside.
Something that saves us from Adult Attention-Deficit Disorder (which I have in spades, no pun intended) while we grind away the hours at our tables.

In this particular entry, I am going to focus on that last one.

My biggest challenge in playing online poker thus far has been forcing myself to focus entirely on the game at hand. And, subsequently, to turn off my computer when I start turning on the TV and the radio to add distraction. Yeah, that is what my game needs – added distraction. When I am truly focused on the game, my win ratio increases dramatically. It was in my best interest to find something poker-related to focus my inattentiveness on. What did I come up with? Well, a la John Vorhaus, I began keeping a poker journal. I use Poker Tracker to keep track of my poker stats, but I began using my journal to make notes on the players. I started out with the best of intentions, really. But I found, more often than not, my comments weren’t about the quality (or lack thereof) of their play, but rather the idiosyncrasies of the players themselves.
For instance, I can’t stand it when people misspell words. I have notes on at least a dozen players, where my only comment is “ – read it, learn it, love it.”
Needless to say, I have about given up on the notebook, as it ended up distracting me more than helping me. I now rely on Poker Tracker pretty much exclusively, adding just a quick note on the players when I feel it is relevant to the game.

So once again without something to focus on as my ADD kicked in during a game, I had to find another outlet. Being a student of Latin, and slightly obsessed with words and their origins, I began looking up words in the dictionary that could relate to poker. Everything, as we all know, can relate to poker in one way or another. Or, at least we can twist anything to relate to poker if we really want to.

Well, my word of the week is Muse.
Courtesy of (with slight editing to make it a bit more readable):
To be absorbed in one's thoughts
To consider or say thoughtfully
A state of meditation.

Word History: The Muse has inspired English poetry since Chaucer invoked her in 1374. Muse comes from Latin M sa, from Greek Mousa. As to the further origins of this form, a clue is provided by the name of Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory and mother of the Muses. Her name is the Greek noun mn mosun “memory,” which comes from *mn -, an extended form of the Greek and Indo-European root *men-, “to think.” This is the root from which we derive amnesia (from Greek), mental (from Latin), and mind (from Germanic). The reconstructed form *montya that is the ancestor of Greek Mousa could then mean something like “having mental power.”

Ah, Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory. How often have I prayed to her without knowing her name.

Who knew that it was the mental state of my mind, which caused me temporary amnesia. Making me forget I actually have a slight knowledge of how to play the game of poker.

Next time I go on tilt, or my attentiveness to the game dwindles, I will know that I have lost my montya.