Entries in category "Poker"

On our Vegas trip, Damien, Guerric and myself decided to enroll in a live poker tournament. I've played in a couple before, so this wasn't a completely new experience for me, but it had been a couple of years since I played in anything live.

We ended up enrolling in the 7pm daily $50 tournament at Treasure Island - they had a rebuy option if you busted in the first hour (if there were seats available). The tournament had 30 people and had very reasonable blind structures ($3,500 with 25/50 blinds at 20 minute levels - never in the whole tournament did it feel like an all-in fest, as I've experienced in other tournaments).

I decided to focus like hell on this tournament and really make a stand with my chips. I spent the hour before the tournament just chilling in my room and clearing my mind from all the blackjack strategies (it's amazing how you start seeing poker hands in blackjack and vice versa).

I was able to pick out in the first level who the fishes were, and boy were there tons of the at my table. There was one pretty good player (but he was burdened with information overload and overfolded hands), two dangerous players who knew how to play and were willing to push their chips in.

I decided my strategy would be to play tight-and-aggressive (TAG) and bluff pots against the smart players. And I managed to execute that strategy pretty well. I won't bore you with the pot details, but at the end of buy-in period (blinds ended at $100/$200), I had managed to build up my lead to $8,000 in chips with only exposing a single hand (had to make them believe I wasn't a bluffer!). The rest I picked up on positional bets with weakness, or against fishes who didn't hit their flops. It was beautiful. The two dangerous players I had avoided busted against reaching fishies, so I was ecstatic. The table was prime feeding grounds.

I was in the zone.

Now, you'll know that one of the things I take pride in when I play poker is the quality of our weekly poker games. At Carolina, it was an incredible source of pride that our weekly poker games netted such strong showings in campus-wide tournaments. Anybody who played in our weekly games could go out and run the tables at almost any home game. I recall a particular incident when I went to Duke and was so utterly disappointed in the quality of play I bled chips back to them (I had taken huge pots off of them on some really basic stupid hands).

I'm proud to say that Guerric, Damien and I all survived to the final table (although G did rebuy...). At the final table, blinds started pretty much at $400/$800, and I had about $17,000 in chips (the whole game, I was fortunate in being able to protect a 20xBB stack).

Unfortunately, the two "big stacks" at the table were seated to my immediate left. I couldn't get a read on the guy to my immediate left (he had about 25,000 in chips), but he struck me as a guy who got lucky. Now, the HUGE chip leader was an English gentleman - he had, by my guesstimate, about 40% of the chips in the play - he was seated two to the left of me.

Nobody else at the table concerned me - either they were weak players with decent stacks, or better players with weak stacks. The only person who was capable of putting the hurt on me was the English gentleman.

With about 8 players left, the blinds were at $500/$1000. Although I had only played one hand at the final table, I felt good - I was getting a good read on most the players there.

So here's the story of the hand I busted (it doesn't involve bad beats or anything, so it's rather pedestrian).

I was the button, and two players in the middle had limped in with $1,000. I woke up to JJ in the button against the two large stacks in the blinds.

With $3,500 in the pot as dead money, I knew this was an awesome time to make a move. I made a raise up to $4,000 (1/4 of my stack). The bet was enough that the two small stacks that had called (one of them being Damien) would have to commit more than half their stacks. The bigger of the short stacks only had about $7,500 in chips - I was willing to risk half my stack on a race.

My one hope as I bet this pot was that neither of the blinds would pop it.

But of course, the English gentleman did. Playing the big stack perfectly, he popped it. The two middle players folded, and I was stuck with a decision.

Now, anybody from my old poker days knows I hate races. I have folded races when the blind structures allow it - I don't like risking my whole tournament on a 55% winner (to me, it's the equivalent of going to Vegas and dumping your whole stash on black when you get there as opposed to grinding it out in blackjack).

I had to do the math.

I had about 17,500 in chips with a pot with 4000 committed (leaving me with 12,500). If I folded, this would leave me with 12xBB which would be healthy enough to survive, but I'd have to attack some short stacks with position - but I hated the fact that the blinds would still be sitting behind me, able to pop it. Now, even at 12,000, I would still be about 4th or 5th in chips. With payouts beginning in 4th, I could easily try to just money it. (This is the "Surviving Sally" technique that Damien has perfected).

But you know me - I wanted to win the whole thing.

By my calculations, this pot was roughly 40,000 - with about 115,000 of chips in play, this would give me a commandling lead and I knew that once I had outchipped the two guys behind me, I could play big stack against them.

I felt as good as any that winning this hand would secure me into the two top of the tournament.

So I took the coin flip. I had pegged the English gentleman with AK but was hoping that he had tried it with an AJ suited... he flipped a AQ.

And a queen popped the board with no help.

Alas. All that hard work and focus, to lose on a coin race. 

I'll be honest - I was a bit steamed and exhausted after that tournament (it wasn't a long one) and had to walk it off. Oh well. I can only imagine what Terrence felt at the WSOP.

Damien managed to place fourth, and Guerric and I managed to make some money while blowing off steam at the blackjack tables (we had great fun doing it, too!).

Posted by roy on January 24, 2010 at 11:00 PM in Travel, Poker | 3 Comments

For those of you long-time readers, who bore the brunt of my long-winded poker entries from back in the Carolina days, will be happy to hear that Terrence qualified for the WSOP Main Event ($10,000 buy-in!) through a satellite tournament.

I was in Vegas Wed/Thurs with my parents, and was able to catch up with Terrence, Brigid (T's GF), and Peter ... I'm feeling pretty pumped for Terrence. If there's anybody I know who could do well at the WSOP, it's Terrence.

And he's decided to pick up his Tabulas poker diary to capture his experiences.

Check it out: http://terrence.tabulas.com

Good luck, Terrence!

I'll tell you one thing - talking to them about poker makes me want to train again; my game has diminished so greatly lately it's not even funny. (Un?)fortunately, my job keeps me quite busy where I couldn't realistically put in the hours to get good again. Oh well!

Posted by roy on July 4, 2009 at 03:04 PM in Poker | 6 Comments

Can you believe that it's been two weeks since I posted something of any import? (By my standards, at least. I doubt any of you can distinguish between the crappy drivel and the mediocre drivel on this tabby).

Well, it's 3am and I can't sleep, so here's an original rambling post!

. . .

I have been Twittering a bit lately, which has cut into some of the creative juices which would normally manifest themselves here (I'm using the phrase "creative" quite liberally here, bear with me). I'm a fan of impermanence, but Twitter takes it too far to the extreme. The problem with Twitter is its value rapidly diminishes about 30 seconds after you post. You could write the world's best tweet, and after 10 or so tweets, nobody can find it again (unless they fav-ed it). A great blog post, though, lasts for a long, long time.

Twitter, in essence, is a dumbed-down blog engine - it was created to be simple by design (limiting to 140 characters per post, or whatever the number is). None of the ideas behind Twitter were very novel - all the early generations of weblog engines pursued those ideas ... with the tendency to overengineer. I mean, even I wrote about posting via email (== SMS) back in 2003 for Tabulas. Seeing your friends' tweets (posts)? Done in LJ and in Tabulas through the "friends" page. Opening up an API? Done a long time ago with MetaWeblog. I won't write a whole treatise on this, but the reason I suspect Twitter became such a huge success is that its limitations and simplicity let people not worry about actually composing worthwhile posts. Secondary to that was the easy ability to respond to posts with the "@user" feature - it's easy to get those addicting fixes of self-importance that is not as easy to get while weblogging. Number 1 reason people stop blogging? No comments. The very reason I love writing in this Tabulas ("Nobody will dare to read this embarassing crap"), other people use as an excuse to stop writing. I'll never understand it.

. . .

Something that triggered my "something is fundamentally changing with the web" spider-sense (Amazon's S3, Akismet/TypePad Anti-Spam, Yahoo's Term Extraction API are all members of this family) is the Universal Edit Button.

The idea is simple enough: You install a browser plug-in (one day you won't have to), and on any page that is editable, an icon appears in the same spot in your browser:

From a technical perspective, it required all of 3 lines of code inside MindTouch Deki, so I added it pretty quickly. The idea stuck around, though.

What if every CMS added this capability? (Expect it for Tabulas, shortly). And what if, instead of sending it to Tabulas, it automatically populated a wiki page with your contents? I'd imagine the user experience to be something like this:

  1. I write a post in Tabulas, and click a checkbox that says "Publish to my personal wiki"
  2. Post gets published on my Tabulas, and a page gets created on my wiki as well
  3. Anytime somebody visits my page, they see a little "edit" icon (see above) which lets them "edit" my post ...
  4. ... which takes them to my personal wiki, which has my post already published. You sign-in to the wiki and edit my post ...
  5. ... which might (or might not) automatically update my Tabulas entry over the MetaWeblog API (of course, the author would have the power to approve changes or not)

This ties together much close blogging and wiki editing, which amplify the benefits of each platform. Nobody can dispute that wiki pages can create the most rich and diverse content that no other CMS can match. The huge benefits of blogging is that topics and content get pushed to you. Whether you want to or not, I'm going to push to you (through friends/RSS/email notifications, whatever) what I want to say. Now imagine if I started the outline of a blog post (for example, a "release notes" for a MindTouch Deki product release) and people filled in the content with links in our user documentation... money.

I like this idea, because each step already exists ... the hardest part is tying together the user experience and the data transfers. I'm pretty sure, given a week, I could hack up a prototype, which would be pretty awesome. Maybe I can tear myself away from my lazy machinations and get something done.

. . .

Going back briefly to the Universal Edit Button ... this type of UI unification in the chrome of the browser ("chrome" as opposed to "content") is something that's very exciting. There's no reason you couldn't do the same with logging in across applications, too (PLEASE GOD, LET'S TRY TO FIGURE OUT SINGLE SIGN-ON SOMETIME THIS DECADE).

. . .

Holy crap, "Always on my Mind" by Pet Shop Boys just came on my iTunes. It's a pretty awesome song. And yes, I still love Smirnoff Ice.

. . .

So what have I been up to lately? Nothing at all. I fell off the gambling wagon for about three weeks - I played a lot of $10 SNGs on PokerStars and made a nice return ... but I cashed it all out, so as to not be distracted from the more important things in my life. Been watching a lot of movies and TV shows lately (I watched all seven seasons of West Wing over the past few weeks)... absolutely in love with Rose Byrne, in case you hadn't noticed:

. . .

Work is going well. As always, I find myself doing too many things at once... but I'm just trying to do my part in getting MindTouch in the right place to be successful. I've been a bit distressed at the increasing role business decisions have been affecting Deki lately, so I'll have to do my best to make sure I voice my concerns when necessary.

These last few weeks have the first times I've realized that I can't do everything at once. Sure, in the past, I've felt overwhelmed ... but I always felt that given enough hours, I could do it all. Not so much anymore. I've been playing so many roles lately: I do a fair amount of development as a software engineer, I obsess over the UI as a user experience engineer, I mentor others as a dev lead, I oversee the Deki releases as a product manager, I run the dev meetings as dir.eng, and I manage most of our non-Deki engineering projects as dir.eng. Unlike what I originally believed, each promotion hasn't freed me from the burdens of my previous positions, but rather just added another responsibility. I know I've been letting some of the PM responsiblities slide (like overseeing the Russians and driving the product's direction). C'est la vie. But you know what's great about this? It's always a challenge. I sometimes wish I had a mentor who could guide me from point A to point B faster ... but overall, I've been learning a buttload. I just have to remember to write about what I've learned more often here.

. . .

A coworker said he was disappointed in me cause I had the capabilities of being a weblebrity but I wasn't one. All silliness associated with that phrase aside, I think he was saying I wasn't reaching up to my full potential. I don't know if he was being serious, but maybe that's the root of my self-loathing. I choose not to reach cause I'm scared I'll fail. Or maybe I'm simply too exhausted from dealing with everything at MT to deal with my own stuff in my spare time. Who knows. All I know is I have awesome ideas, and I'm letting them all wither on the vine. I'll have to do something about that.

. . .

Still no dating for me :( The last girl I liked was in 2006. Holy crap, that's a long time! Before 2006, I crushed like crazy. Of course, as in all things, that last situation in 2006 turned me into an emotional mess, so maybe it's good I've stopped trying to find a relationship for myself. I'm not even sure how I'd deal with "not being alone." I oftentimes joke about my distaste for women due to past experiences ... I hope that hasn't dripped into my subconscious. The problem clearly is me (to the extent that I will avoid people altogether on the offchance I meet a girl I like!), and I don't really care to fix it.

. . .

Fact: This entry took an hour to write. Sweet. I will leave you with this wonderful (uplifting) track by Nina Simone:


Posted by roy on June 23, 2008 at 03:59 AM in Personal, Ramblings, Poker, Tabulas | 2 Comments

It's very amusing to me that the first night I've ever gone out and hung out with people (not from work) happens in LA, of all places. I met up with a friend of a friend for dinner (I was really craving some Korean food in LA), and it was with a pretty sizable party. I got invited out to play poker with them after dinner ... so I figured, what the hell (not like I got a life to run back to in SD). Anyways, the people were really nice and cool - I should really go out and meet more people.

Posted by roy on October 28, 2007 at 01:14 PM in Ramblings, Poker | 2 Comments

On one hand, I feel like I've been in SD forever. But it's really only been 3 weeks. Wow.

. . .

Where does all the time go? Seriously, the weekdays fly by so fast now ... the weekends are equally hard to track down

. . .

Pam the receptionist from The Office is my ideal woman. If you've ever said to somebody you know, "You're JUST like Pam from that TV show, the Office", shoot them MY way (bwahah)

Speaking of The Office, I watched the original BBC version of The Office a long time ago and I have to say I prefer the American version. But they're really not the same show: The Beeb version was much more comedy-driven, while the American version has a bit more (subtle) drama associated with it - it has that formulaic "girl and guy who everyone knows is perfect for each other but refuse to admit to each other" that worked so well for Friends...

. . .

I didn't watch the "Big Game" because I frankly could not stand either the Colts or the Bears winning. I'm not sure why I have such animosity towards Peyton Manning, because I really have no reason to.

. . .

Why do websites that have "Security Questions" always have questions that I don't know the answers to? I just logged into Facebook and it gave me this prompt:

The problem is my Mom spells her maiden name in two ways, and I always mix up the two when I answer that question (as I've found out), so I try to avoid that. Besides that one, I could probably only answer "Who was my first kiss" question, which is *actually* a bit ambiguous because I forget the name of the kindergarten girl who kissed me... (I was in K too at the time, you pervs)

Is it too much to allow users to input their own security question?

. . .

Yes, NC State beat Carolina. Good for you, bert.

. . .

I went with Tim to a local casino to play in my first (live) poker tournament here in Cali. It had the most ridiculous blind structure EVER (even worse than Hold 'Em for Hunger).

We started with 3,000 chips at 25/50 blinds (not bad). The blinds were raised every 15 minutes, and they went like this:

  • Level 1: 25/50
  • Level 2: 50/100
  • Level 3: 100/200
  • Level 4: 200/400
  • Level 5: 500/1000
  • Level 6: 1000/2000
  • Level 7: 2000/4000

The first few levels were fine, but in 3 levels we went up from 200/400 to 2000/4000. Wow.

I mean, it was hard to find ANYBODY with more than 5xBB at level 7. Needless to say, I busted out in the seventh level after playing a hand questionably (ducks in mid-position against a forced all-in with players left to act behind me) and getting crippled.

But I had fun. So I'll probably be back there.

Posted by roy on February 4, 2007 at 09:11 PM in Ramblings, Poker, San Diego | 6 Comments
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