That State of Mind TM
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Friday, September 30, 2005 

The Art of Fighting Without Fighting

Before poker, there was one thing i was really really into. Since high school, i was studying martial arts, specifically Jeet Kune Do, Bruce Lee's "martial art" if you could call it that. i was also a big fan of boxing, a student of the game you might say. When i was in my peak form, man, i can only dream of doing those things now hehe. i was a lean mean fighting machine then!

one thing i loved about JKD is, other than that it is really practical and doesnt beat around the bush with fancy schmancy forms and "techniques", is that Bruce Lee made it more interesting by giving it a philosophical approach. He best described JKD as a tool NOT for violence, but as a personal expression of oneself, hence, JKD is not really a rigid, fixed "martial art" but rather an expression of the individual. Looking back, and reading about it again, i was surprised to see how JKD can be related to the game of poker. i am posting the best quotes i could get from the Tao of Jeet Kune Do and see for yourself how much it can be compared to the Game. Just replace JKD with NLHE. hehe. see for yourself.

"Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless, and add what is essentially your own." i think that quote said it best. Lee even said that "if people say JKD is different from this and from that, then let the name "JKD" be wiped out, for that is what it is, just a name."

"The highest technique is to have no technique. My technique is a result of your technique; my movement is a result of your movement.A good JKD man does not oppose force or give way completely. He is pliable as a spring; he is the complement and not the opposition to his opponent’s strength. He has no technique; he makes his opponent's technique his technique. He has no design; he makes opportunity his design.One should not respond to circumstance with artificial and "wooden" prearrangement. Your action should be like the immediacy of a shadow adapting to its moving object. Your task is simply to complete the other half of the oneness spontaneously. "

"In building a statue, a sculptor doesn't keep adding clay to his subject. Actually, he keeps chiselling away at the inessentials until the truth of its creation is revealed without obstructions. Thus, contrary to other styles, being wise in Jeet Kune-Do doesn't mean adding more; it means to minimize, in other words to hack away the unessential.
It is not daily increase but daily decrease; hack away the unessential"

And, of course, mastery in JKD, as well as Poker, requires the most important thing. Repetition, repetition, and repetition. Bruce Lee did not teach a "learn in 3 easy steps" way of mastering the art of fighting, so it is the same with mastering the art of No Limit Texas Holdem. Just as it takes THOUSANDS of repetitons of the same movements day in and day out to achieve the optimum reaction time and muscle memory, Poker requires you to play hundreds, if not thousands of hands before you can call yourself a "master".

Mastery of both arts mean that you have to learn as much as you can, take what is effective FOR YOU personally, discard what you think is unnecessary, and not have a rigid "fight plan" but rather be a mirror to your opponent, responding like an echo.

"When one has reached maturity in the art, one will have a formless form. It is like ice dissolving in water. When one has no form, one can be all forms; when one has no style, he can fit in with any style."

Sunday, September 25, 2005 

The Mango Classic: Small stack special coming up!

Wow. What a tourney. I’m totally spent after playing for about 8 hours straight. The Mango Classic is one for the books. 107 players, HUGE 160K pot, great atmosphere, great venue (thanks to Ace and his family) and above all, great POKER!

Going into this tourney, I admit I had a good feeling about it. You see, I have never ever won a major tournament, hell even made ITM, except maybe for a few 10-15 seaters when we were starting out playing poker. In the last tourney I joined, I went all in with pocket queens and got called by a Q-9 that hit trip 9s. ( that’s basically the story of my tourney life. bad beats, bad plays, bad calls.)

But this was different. I’m thinking I have spent all my bad karma with all those bad beats and crap hands, and it’s about time for things to work out in my favor. Oh, and i went into the tourney with the last penny from my wallet.

I think my first hand itself was already a sign of things to come. I got Pocket Rockets, American Airlines, Andre Agassis, on first deal of the tourney. Yeah baby..

After about the 4th level, I was on average stack, playing tight and picking my spots. Then I got As-Kh. I don’t know but whenever I get this hand, I can hear alarms and warning buzzers in the background. I raise 800 on the 200 big blinds and get one caller, Skippy. Flop comes, 3 hearts, all low cards. I figure I got Kh plus two over cards, so I check then call skips’ bet of 400. Turn is blank. Skip checks, and im thinking of making a play. But then I just check too. River comes, still no heart for my draw, and skip goes all in after my check. I think about it really hard, I have about 85% of my chips in the pot. But I KNOW I’m beat, so I do the right thing, and fold it. Good fold, since skip tells me he flopped the nut flush with Ah-Qh. Whew! Im left with 300+ in chips…

Now I’m super small stack. I’m a bit relaxed with it coz I’m used to playing small stack in our regular ring game. (200 buy-in special hehe) After folding a lot of A-x hands, I finally get something decent, Ks-Js, and go all in, and I get one caller. King hits the river and I’m still alive!

To make the story short, by some great timing and good plays, I managed to up my stack to 6000++ by the time it was time to merge to the final table. Folded pocket Tens after the flop didn’t help me, all in with Ac-Jc and it held up, got my second Rockets of the night and won a big pot with it, and things like that. I was at 300 in chips when it was still about 30 players left, and I was just happy to make it this far. My 6000 chip stack was smaller than the average stack of 9000+ (some guys had 30-40K in chips going into the final table!)

Final table action, I see some familiar guys, misha and skippy. I’m just elated that I’m in the final table, never mind if I’m first out. Hell, when I heard that The Attorney got bubbled out (nice one atty!) I went all in with my Ac-Qc immediately, and got one big stack to call me, and doubled me up! The final table was intense, and I followed nick’s advice of “all-in or fold”.

People started taking each other out! The more people got taken out, the bigger our prize money became, and I was again just happy to be there in that spot.

But before I know it, my stack is almost 20,000 chips! The cards I pushed with kept on holding up, like nick said, the Math will hold up tonight. And I was going in with the best of it, and getting rewarded for it.

Then it was down to 3. Misha, myself, and another guy (sorry bro I didn’t catch your name). My stack was even bigger than Mishas’ by this time, but the other guy had a MONSTER stack from the beginning of final table. I’m on the BB with 8000, and the other guy raises minimum, misha folds. I’m looking at my Q-6 offsuit and I’m thinking this guy is trying to make a move, so I call (about 1/3 of my stack). (yep, 4000/8000 blinds ) 3rd place is assured of about P19,000, so I’m not feeling too bad about busting out now.

Flop is 9-10-J. Open ended straight draw for me, plus an overcard… I push all-in, about 15K. He thinks about it, and calls. He shows an A-x nothing hand, and I have my 14-outer (open ended straight draw on the flop plus any 6 or Queen).

Nothing hit. Ace high holds up!

Just like that, i'm out. Damn! I was in a daze, I didn’t even see all those guys putting their hand out to congratulate me. All i could think about was that "I wanted to win!"

Honestly, all I could think about was “why did he call that?… and all those outs! Damn!” hehe. The difference between 1st and 3rd was about 28K, so you’ll know why I was a bit upset with myself. A great heads-up battle with the Mishca, best player i know in the RP, would have been classic!

But when I went back to reality, I realize what an accomplishment I just made. From 300 in chips to 3rd place in the biggest tourney ever to date. 3rd place out of a 107 players. Congratulations to Mischa too, who went heads up with the monster chip leader and came out on top! It’s good to know that the real players make it to the top.

Whatta night. 8 hours of the best poker I’ve ever played in my life. All the guys who came and played, congratulations, you were just a part of Philippine Poker history.

One for the BBC Misha! BBC represent!

Friday, September 23, 2005 

The BBC Friday 500

It's Friday once again my friends! You all know what that means... It is time for arguably one of the best (if not THE best) regular tournaments in the country today, the BBC Friday 500. A weekly gathering 30-40 of the best hold'em players, this tourney is a chance to gauge your skills against the best in the field.

Another huge pot plus the honor and bragging rights of being a part of the BBC Friday 500 wall of fame awaits this weeks' champion!

and what a great way to warm up for the Mango Classic tomorrow!

Shuffle up and deal!

Thursday, September 22, 2005 

Better the second time around

i played again in the big table yesterday. the usual 1/5 of the max buy-in, all i can afford nowadays. (small stack special!) The usual guys, big wally, misha, and The Attorney.

First hand i play is pocket jacks. i raise bet half my stack into the pot after getting two limpers, and The Atty calls it. i know he calls everything pre flop except maybe for absolute crap cards, so i know i might get sucked out. Flop is 6-6-x. i go all in for the last half of my stack and get him to call. sure enough, he's on K-x, i forgot what now, but the turn doesnt help him and the river is a 6 so i get full house and double up! feeling good!

Next hand i get is pocket 10s. i call the straddle and raise 500 again, this time i get 3 callers. argh. Flop is A-J-x. Theyre betting like crazy so i fold my tens, losing almost half my stack again. oh well..

After folding a few hands, i see pocket queens. i manage to win and almost double up again! wohoo now im REALLY thinking cash out... but i decide to play a bit more out of respect to the guys and of course i really love playing at that table hehe.

Now after like two hand, i see pocket queens again. wow. i raise half my stack into the pot and get misha to set me all-in, everyone else fold. He even pretended to think about it twice before he show ACES. For some reason, i felt my queens were gonna hold up, and i felt pretty confident about it. Blame it on some crazy new theory the grouch and i was observing all throughout the night. Turn is a queen of course! Aces cracked! tripled up my stack, wanted to play soe more but misha kept on going all-in pre flop after that hand, so i do the right thing and cash it out.

i love that game! i'll be back so watch your backs! hehe.


They did it again!

i can't believe i fell for it again! the other night i was playing at the 10/20 with about 8 players, one of them being barb, nickGs' awesome wife. i look at my hole cards and see AK suited, i raise about 10xBB, and only barb calls.


Flop comes J-x-x. barb checks, i bet, she calls.
Turn is an Ace. barb bets like 20xBB or something. Damn. what the hell! is she on AJ?

"barb, you got AJ?" She raises her eyebrows is a "yes" gesture and says something like "respect!".

i fold and show AK, and she laughs and shows A-10! i'm beginning to think they are out to get me. hehe. nice bet barb, great play! and stupid fold on my part.

watch your backs!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 

so far so good

i've been having a good streak lately, winning everytime i sat down at the table. last night i sat dwon with my favorite small stack game, buying in 1/3 of the max buy. hehe. in an hour i tripled up, had to leave for a while, came back and doubled up some more.

i'm building up the bankroll so i can play in the big table again. i hope this streak holds up in time for the biggest damn poker tourney here to date, The Mango Classic.

watch your back!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 

Playing REAL Poker

It's 6:30 am as of now, just got back home from the BBC state of mind. After a loooong day, i finally got to play some poker. The only table was the 5K max 50/100.It was my first time playing the big table, and for a guy like me with an almost non-existent bankroll, playing a 50/100 No Limit holdem game can be pretty intimidating. i buy in a measly 1K, just wanted to see some cards, maybe get to see a good hand and win a little money. im sitting with the big fish, Big wally, Misha, Barbiemanila, NickG, and checkpoint louie.

I'm sitting tp the right of Misha so my hopes of limping in on the big blind pre-flop is nil, what with his consistent straddling of the blinds. slowly my 10X big blind buy in is dwindling into oblivion, and im getting crap hands. on the big blind with 350 left to me, i go all in when everybody limped to me. i had 10h-5h and was happy to see everyone folding, then nick calls me. He had As-9s. My 10 spiked the river and so i win my first hand of playing real poker. Next hand i play is an As-Qs, with 3 callers to my pre flop raise. Flop hits 2 spades and a nothing card. i had the button, everyone checks to me, and i bet and get 2 callers. turn is nothing again, all check, so i bet more than 3X my first bet (about 700) and i get Misha to call "coz he likes my style" so he says. im thinking "damn im beat on this hand for sure!", but then Misha shows a spade flush draw too! turns out Big wally folded his Pocket queens on my turn bet! wow, at this point, my 350 all in is now almost 4000 in chips. (cash out! cash out!) so i say to myself "last hand, this is my last hand..."

i get A-K offsuit. trouble.

nick raises 300, so it's 400 to call for me, whcih i gladly do, thinking "at least i can fold if i dont hit the flop. everyone else folds.

Flop is K-Q-K. ohmygod. Trips with an Ace kicker. nickG checks, i check too. Turn is a 6. NickG checks again, bet 200, he calls. River is a 2. Nick goes ALL IN. WTF!

now im in some deep shit. What could he have? im thinking maybe A-Q? POCKET QUEENS? K-6??? no way, he raised pre-flop. i KNOW he doesnt have a king. i ask him "nick, what do you have? got pocket queens?" to which he coldly replies "No i dont." so i think about it for a looong time, my hearts' pounding, my hands are shaking. Im up 3K, which is a lot for a guy like me. im thinking nick is trying to make a play and steal the 1K plus pot.. but ALL IN? i got him covered, and i'd still have about 500 in chips left if i lose, and that did it for me. i reluctantly call, and he shows me POCKET QUEENS. pocket queens. he even asks me if i have the kings full. im now too numb to react. My burger suddenly tastes like paper and my iced tea like water. i cant believe i fell for it. i would have folded that any other time for sure... but he said he didnt have pocket queens without batting an eyelash. the burger still tastes like paper.

it takes me a while to pick up the pieces of myself on the floor before i go all in again without looking at my cards. i even hit the flush but got beat by a full house. i didnt even matter. it keeps on playing over and over again in my head...

"nick, you got queens?" "Nope, i dont." like a broken record.

i learned a lot playing those few hands at that table. I learned it in a painful, harsh way, but the first lesson in poker is NEVER EVER EVER believe in anybody but yourself at the poker table. they might be your friends outside the table, but poker is WAR. another lesson i learned is that REAL poker is when the stakes matter to you. they might be playing 50/100 the way i play the 10/20 game, but 3K is a lot of money to me. And the last lesson is that when you play at stakes that hurt, THAT is when you find out what poker is all about. Really, ive never felt better losing all that hard earned money like that. Whatta rush!

i played again and won some of it back before having to go home coz of the time.

one thing's for sure, I'll be playing more of that game. no more retard poker for me!

Watch your back! hehehe. (i should have folded! argh!)

"It's hard work, gambling, playing poker. Don't let anyone tell you different. Think about what it's like to sit at a poker table with people whose only goal is to cut you throat, take away your money, and leave you out back talking to yourself about what went wrong inside. That probably sounds harsh, but that's the way it is at the poker table. if you dont believe me, then your'e the lamb going off to the slaughter."-- Stuey Ungar, 3-time World Series of Poker champion, best card player to walk the face of the earth.

Sunday, September 18, 2005 

BBC Bounty Hunter Special

What a tourney!

The BBC Bounty Hunter Tournament was brought to us by JJ the Duke himself, as part of his birthday bash at the state of mind known as the BBC. about 24 players came out to go hunting for scalps in this awesome game! Each player buys-in 500 for his "bounty" and another 200 for the winner's pot. For each player you knock out, you win his bounty. The player who knocks YOU out gets your bounty PLUS 100 from each of your kills. Blinds started high and starting chips were T3000. No tight players in THIS game! Winner also gets a bottle of Jack Daniels ( our sponsor for the night!) plus a BBC Bounty Hunter custom made cap. and bragging rights. hehe.

The game was pretty agressive from the get go. Those "scalps" (a single chip in each stack with the players' name on it) looked pretty inviting. i was personally playing a bit tight, although i was getting one of the worst run of cards ever. won a few pots and was up a bit by level 2. Best hand i got all night was AKo and i didnt even hit the flop. Finally got a decent hand, AQo, and bet half my stack pre flop. one guy thinks about it for a while... then finally decides to re-raise me all in. i call, and he shows K-7 suited. King on the flop. end of the game for me. (DAMN! AGAIN! i really dunno if i should believe in bad luck, coz the last tourneyi went all in pre-flop with QQ and i get a caller who had Q9, and he gets trip 9s)

The game went of for several hours more, until it was 3-way action with Kath (ze german snake), NickG, and Dino. Kath was MAJOR chip lead at this point, after several gutsy plays from small stack at the start of final table action. Last hand had nick all-inl, Dino goes all-in on the too, and kath calls since it was only 1/10 of her stack to call.

KATH: 7d-4h
NICK: Qs-10s
DINO: 5c-4c

The Flop was Kh-5d-4d. The turn was 6d. River was 8c. Kath gets a straight on the river! The lady who had only one bounty to her name going in to the final table (shared coz it was a split pot) won the first ever bounty hunter tourney at the BBC. It was her first tournament win ever too. Great game!

The next one's gonna be even better.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 

Of foul language, crazy antics, blabber mouths, all-in monsters, bad etiquette and other weird poker behaviors.

im sure everyone has encountered weird, crazy, outright BAD poker behavior. If you've played long enough, you will encounter every single type of player, from proper, quiet, well mannered ones to the crazy, noisy, rude Muthafuckas!

There are people who have no idea what poker etiquette is. They react on flops when they hit something they folded, act out of turn, dont pay attention to the game, delay the game, take forever to FOLD, and some even look at cards that you already folded!

There are also whiners, complainers, people who blame the cards, people who say "why did you play that!" "wow you are so lucky!" "i should have won this hand but i folded!" and the like. some people even blame the dealers for bad cards.

Then there's the kind of player who cant help but scream, curse, react violently, and the like. They will react like that no matter if they WIN a big pot, or LOSE a big pot. Theyll curse at the cards, scream for a card, shout, shriek, celebrate, whatever!some might even say things they regret afterwards hehe, *wink wink*

there are the blabber mouths who just WONT STOP talking, analyzing your hand, etc. Another kind we all loathe are the know-it-all poker players who have been playing for a month or two, won several home games, and think they are ready to "go pro". " after they lose a pot they'll say "i knew you had pocket kings!" and things like that. makes me wanna ask them if theyre psychic or something. They knew you had kings but they still called! hehehe. crazy.

i've probably been guilty of some of those offenses hehehe (maybe all of us at one time or another), but that's the beauty of the game, it really is a microcosm of life in the sense that your'e gonna encounter people like that ANYWHERE, not just on the table. If you can deal with these kinds of people on the poker table, you'll have no problem with them in real life.

the best way to deal with them? kick their asses. No not at the parking lot, at the tables! hehehe!

Thursday, September 08, 2005 

Viva BBC!

That perfect state of mind known as the BBC is officially almost turning ONE as of this week! (one month that is hehe). For all the poker degenerates who support this noble endeavor, thank you. We will strive to continue improving and giving better quality games in a safe, wholesome, and secure environment. (what the f***?) hehehehe.

anyway, i dont really have anough time right now to put anything else here, so feel free to post and comment here.



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Quote of the Day

  • The best poker I've ever played has always entailed peace. A relaxed comfort. Eyes open, ears open, radar up. Absorbing my opponent's every message. Taking them as they come. Not mixing what those messages are with what I want them to be. It's like an aerial view. A view from above the myriad luck-dependent reactions of those many people who never gain such a peace. And when you gain that view, that peace - when you'd rather have the truth, no matter how disappointing, over a false hope, no matter how desirable - then you're a player. The hand you're on slips into a stream of thousands of other hands, no one of which, because of your lofty view, seems unduly important, no false fearful emotions rise within you. When you gain the peace of lofty perspective, you're a player, and when you're a player, you're free.- from "King of a Small World" by Rick Benett
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