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Monday, February 27, 2006 

Green Triumphant

The Blue vs. Green tournament was a big success. The Airport Casino Theater was an awesome venue, it looked like a WPT or WSOP tourney! The event itself was great, food, drinks, the works. (I just dont understand why they bring in those cheap dancers who dance "tsokolate" and shit like that. It just looks cheap.) The prizes were great too, even if it was for charity, they gave away some quality items to the winners and even for the raffle. About 120 players came to play, and the group was divided into two sides, blue and green, to be combined for the final table when each side has 5 players left.

The tournament was a bit of a disappointment (as expected) because of the retarded turbo structure. Other than that, it was good. We started with 10K and I found myself with 5K in chips after NOT playing a single hand post flop, and the blinds were 500-1000 at the 3rd level! There were guys at our table who just learned how to play that same day, and one guy didnt even bother to look at his cards all the way to the river! He said he was just invited to play for charity and he doesnt have a clue about playing poker. This prompted two good players in our table (ariel and benny) to bust out early,after they went on tilt i guess. Well i was at the last hand before the break with my 5K chips, and i see A-2 suited. I decide to see the flop before i push, so i did. 3 other people in the pot and i get 2 hearts on the flop, so i pushed and got the heart on the turn, and quadrupled up before the break! We were down to two tables at this point (started with six) and i was sure i could fold my way to the final table of our side. But the blind increased to 1000-2000 with 200 ante (insane) so i saw my 20K turn into 13K in one orbit without playing anything after the flop. The blinds went up to 2k-4k with 500 ante (shyet) and im in the BB, so i im left with about 9K after i post and there is 10K in the pot pre-flop. i see pocket 7s and one guy limps in, so i pushed. He limped in his JJ so i was screwed.

Nick G played a super tight game and found himself super short stack with 4K chips at the final 2 tables (one big blind i think) along with Checkpoint Louie who had a nice stack at this point (he was playing really well). Nick goes on a miracle run and ends the final 2 tables with about 130K in chips! What a rush! (it helps when you push with A-A and get called by 2 people, one of whom had Q-6 hehe!)

The final table saw 5 greens and 5 blues fighting for the first prize of a JVC 42' plasma TV, plus P70K worth in non-cashable chips for the casino games. Everyone in the top 6 gets something too, an aircon, a fridge, a burberry jacket, ferrari items, non-cashable chips, etc. Luis and Nick are still in, but it sucked that their big stacks that they worked hard to build will just be taken away, and everyone will start with an equal 20K in chips, the first level being 500-1000. Final table action was really exciting, with a guy getting taken out on the very first deal. A couple of guys who were in the final table have never even played a tournament before, so the experienced players were really having a hard time making a move. Nick happily folded his way into the money, with four people going out early. By this time, Luis had the chip lead with his aggressive and intimidating play. Soon enough, the blinds caught up with nikc and he went all-in and busted out in 5th place, winning an Aircon, 10k in chips, and a Johnnie Walker Blue Label and Green label set.

Luis on the other hand, with his dark shades and intimidating stare downs, was still in contention to win the Plasma TV, having the slight chip lead among the last 4. Pocket JJ hurt his stack when he was bluffed on the river by a very gusty play from Boydee, a first time tournament player who was picking up important advice during the game from luis himself. By some lucky plays, (luis goes all in pre-flop with K-9 on a bluff, gets called by pocket 9s, and the board shows 5-6-7-8! split pot!) Luis manages to make it to heads up with the eventual winner, Boydee. The game ended in a non-climactic fashion, as Boydee had a huge chip lead at this point, and i think he even won the game with an A-A or something. Luis was THIS close to winning that Plasma, and i'm sure he deserved it more. Oh, and the final table was dominated totally by the green players, the top 6 having 4 greens and 2 blues, and the final 3 being an all green affair. In the spirit of camaraderie, it wasnt really a green vs. blue game, bu a green AND blue game. (that's what they said. yeah right hehe.) Luis won 30K in chips and a... (drumroll...) Lancel Luggage set! luggage! (hey, it's worth $500 or something) sadly, no one won the special prize for anyone who made a royal flush in the final table, which was a Mercedes-Benz B170 compact sports tourer.

Congrats to nick and luis, two of the crew who made it to the final table against all odds. It was a minefield! Special mention to Luis and the way he played, which was awesome. Like nick said, it was the first time that i was really impressed by how luis played in a tournament. He used his image to his advantage, not scared to stare people down, calling the dealers by their first names, and other things that made his opponents intimidated. He made great plays when it counted, and got lucky during the right moments too.

Also, the event was co-hosted by non other than the German Snake herself, kath. She was also the host for the TV coverage by Solar. (which included a segment on chip tricks by yours truly! hehe) Great job Kath! Watch out for her in other TV poker events too!

Congrats to PAGCOR and the organizers of the event for a successful and exciting game. We hope there will be more to come, with better structures and better prizes too! Congrats to the Lasalle team for proving who the better poker players are hehe!

Animo Lasalle!

Friday, February 24, 2006 

Green vs. Blue and other stuff

It's almost surreal to think that we were actually in the same room with Doyle Brunson and that we shook his hand, talked a little bit, took photos, and had stuff signed by the man himself. Watching him play from 5 feet away was almost unreal. I know the opportunity might never again be available to us ordinary guys who can't go to vegas or what, so i'm really glad i had the chance to experience a bit of history.

The program was a bit, ummm, i dunno really how to describe it (embarassing? retarded?), with the tournament taking FOREVER to start (it said 6pm but started 10pm) delayed by stupid song and dance numbers that had nothing to do with poker, hosts and emcees who didn't really know what the hell they were talking about, (wow sir, you must be really to good to win two world championships with deuces of tens!) and a retarded blinds structure where everyone starts with TEN big blinds at 15 minute levels.

But Doyle and his crew were good sports and just went along with the program all smiles. What a great guy. After the program, he even went up to the cash tables and said goodbye to the players before being whisked away to his hotel.

Well, after a rush like that, what else is there to do but play some poker! So i promptly did my thing and lost going all in while pressing my edge (my all in was pot sized pre-flop, made everyone fold except one guy with 8-9 offsuit.(?!?) he got two pair on the flop against my sixes.)
Kath (who swore NEVER to play in the ACF after tasting multiple bad beats) had a better night, cashing out TEN TIMES her buy-in! Go kath! (maybe i shouldn't play and just stake kath all the time.)


I'll be playing the Green vs. Blue game on saturday, gonna go for that plasma TV! The blinds strucutre again will be a bit retarded and super-turbo fast, so i'm hoping to get lucky and hit the cards right. No amount of skill will win that game for anyone. The luckiest man that night will win the tournament for sure. Wish me luck! I'm gonna need it.


Doyle and the gang


Living Legend

The Living Legend of Poker, Doyle Brunson himself, took his time off to visit the RP and promote the game we all love. What an awesome player! We're not worthy!!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006 

IF There Were No Variance, There Would Be No Fish

I'm not really a superstitious person. I don't really believe in luck, or fate, whatever. I believe everything we experience is a direct result of our actions, or inaction. It is not the actual events or experiences that matter, how we react to them is more important.

So why the &*ck is it that every single time i play at the ACF card room, i always go home with just a bad beat story?!? Had about 1000+ in my stack, called with A-8 in late position, got a raise to 150 from a loose player, and one caller before me so i call. Flop is A-8-Q rainbow. Raiser bets 300, guy beside me goes all in for about 800, so i call with two pair (i'm putting them on ace-high kicker). Raiser calls, shows A-10, pusher shows Q-9 (DUH?!?), and i show my winning A-8. Q on river gives it to dumbass on my right. It just aint right. (blech. i just threw up in my mouth a little bit.)

Repeat after me:

if there were no variance, there would be no fish. If they always lost, they would not come back.
if there were no variance, there would be no fish. If they always lost, they would not come back.
if there were no variance, there would be no fish! If they always lost, they would not come back!

(words of comfort from wild bill of grindblog)

So off i went to the regular tuesday gig at my friends place in makati. Shook off the bad beat, played really well and got some big hands to go my way. More than Tripled my intial buy, winning me back my losses at the ACF and a little bit more for my coffee and other stuff. My only regret of the game was letting go of a 6K pot pre-flop. (i just put in 300 to call a raise with Kh-Qh, but someone goes all-in for 1K total, and he gets 3 callers. I let it go and BAM nut flush for me. Although they all had me beat when i laid it down. Woulda been a 10K or more cash out for me if i called.) The difference between a small win and the huge payout is usually decided on big hands like that. oh well, there's always next time. Man, that game is fine to play in! Lots of action. Will be playing there regularly now for sure. Kath went in for 1500 and cashed 5000 too! And we played separate tables!


I'm psyched about Doyle Brunson being here. Gonna get to see him for real later, maybe get somethin signed too. Photo-op is a must!

Another thing i'm really psyched about is the Lasalle-Ateneo poker game. Oh man. I really want to play that. i Think i'll make something happen before saturday. And also, Kath might be your host for that event as well, i hope she gets the gig. There is no better host qualified to do that gig i believe. They could get a hot starlet bimbo who's clueless about the game, or someone passionate and knowledgable about who and what the game is all about, especially in the local scene. So organizers, do the right thing and get a real poker game host.

Monday, February 20, 2006 

Doyle Brunson

The man himself is coming to grace our humble felt in the Airport Casino Filipino this Feb.22!

The living legend of Poker. He was great then, but against all odds he is still one of the best today. Most of his generation has faded away into obscurity, what with the coming of al the young guns and online poker prodigies. But not Doyle. He continues to rack up tournament wins, WSOP bracelets, and millions of dollars in winnings.

It will be an honor to be in his presence, moreso to watch him actually play here! I'd do anything to play ONE HAND with the man, so maybe if i watch them play, i can use my hypnotic ability to ask one of my friends who WILL be playing in that table (hmmm. mischa maybe hehe) to let me play one hand. I'll just fold it unless it's pocket aces, but at least i can say i played a hand with the best of the best.

See you there!

Friday, February 17, 2006 

Is Poker bad for your Health?

When i was younger, like high school/college days, i was a total health buff. I remember first going to the gym when i was 13, having no idea what i was doing. I started going regularly when i was 16, going every single day for a year! I was just doing what the instructor told me to do, and i always felt good after going to the gym. It was like a drug for me. Luckily, i am also blessed with a great metabolism and a body type that easily develops muscle. Before Gold's Gym and all that hoopla, i already was a proud owner of a six-pack of abs hehe. Other than the gym, when i was around 17 i discovered JKD, and i got hooked immediately. I would train 4-5 times a week (they recommended 2x a week) and i adapted very very quickly to the rigorous training. Four months after starting i could already raise my leg up to head level and hold it there for almost 20 seconds! I learned how to kick and punch with lighting fast speeds, and i could make a 250lb punching bag swinging hard towards me stop in its tracks with a sidekick. I didnt smoke, i didnt drink, no drugs whatsoever. I was 150lbs of lean mass, in tip-top shape, in peak condition.

Those days are but a faded memory today.

Today, when i look in the mirror, i feel disgusted. layers of fat that never existed before just took over my whole body! I'm willing to bet that anybody who knows me doesnt know that i weigh almost 200lbs now, because thanks to my body type, i dont look like it. But i do, about 195lbs give or take a few burgers. That's 45 friggin pounds over my ideal weight! That's borderline obese my friends, and that's just NOT good. It started when i got a "normal" job about a couple of years back, and the "busy" (yeah right) schedules gave me an excuse not to work out in any way, shape, or form. But the real downward spiral to Lardass-ville began when i started to play poker. Yes, i blame the very game i love and play almost every single day for this unhealthy and literally asking-for-a-heart-attack lifestyle. For almost a year now, i have been playing poker almost every single day.

Look at the poker players' lifestyle. You sit down for hours and hours on end, usually late at night into the wee hours of the morning. Sitting on your ass all night wont exactly tone your body right? While playing, you get thirsty, so you drink. Do you see guys drinking healthy fruit juices while playing? It's either beer, soda, whatever. Then, you get hungry. I've never seen a player eat a nice fresh green salad or fruits and veggies while on the felt. It's either Mcdonalds, wendys, instant noodles, or nuts and chips. Then, there's the smoking. I probably inhale more passive smoke playing poker than the average regualr smoker, that i might as well smoke myself right? (but i don't think i ever will pick up that habit.) It's just BAD, BAD, BAD! It's the fitness trainers' worst nightmare!

I'm now weaker, more prone to getting sick, and overall fatigued most of the time. I used to be able to climb 9 floors of a building before i even break a sweat,and now i have trouble going up TWO. I really want to change all this, and i've been telling myself to get up and workout almost all the time, but it's a habit that you really have to force yourself to get accustomed to doing. And i've just gotten too damn lazy.

To all poker regulars out there, i suggest that you pick your kind of workout aand work on it at least 3x a week, about 30-45 mins a day. Try to eat right, and as much as possible, take multi- vitamins too. And it's always a good idea to cut back on the smoking, especially when non-smokers are also playing with you.

As for me, i've decided that, starting monday next week (haha! procrastination at it's finest.), i'm going to start my journey to a healthier, more active lifestyle. And to make things more interesting, i'm willing to make a bet with anyone who's willing to do so that i can lose 25 pounds before the end of March! IF i dont make it, i pay you, if i do manage to do it, i win the bet. Doyle Brunson actually won a $100,000 bet to lose 100lbs in a year! So taking inspiration from that, i'm willing to take a bet (although not too big hehe) with anyone who thinks i can't do it.

I'm going to do it anyway, with or without the bet, because it's simply the right thing to do. Poker players should be more health conscious, because in the end, winning all that money will be useless if you don't have the health to enjoy it with.


Played today at my friend's regualr game in makati. It was a nice soft game (although i lost, kath quadrupled up) although it was really hard to read the players (mostly new guys) because most of them were insanely rich thirty-somethings who are there to play willing to lose 4 or 5 maximum buy-ins. They would pay ANY amount to see the flop, and would chase any draw or ace too. The only way to play back at them was to massively overbet the pot, and it was hard to do that without the big stack. The guy on my left called 200 pre-flop raises (20-40 NLHE game) with 8-5 offsuit and Q-2 offsuit. (We also talked about his recent purchase of a Porsche 911 Carrera S, worth P8.2M, duh.) This other guy would raise UTG with K-3. It was crazy, but there was a lot of money moving around in that game. i just got suckered into going all-in after i raised pre-flop wiht pocket tens, and had a flop of 3 low cards rainbow, with no straight or what. One guy flat-called with pocket aces, so i was screwed.

But i always have fun in that game, win or lose. It's where i learned how to play Hold'em, so it's basically homecourt for me.


Tuesday, February 14, 2006 

Same shit, different day

My regular monday game got canceled last night, so i ended up playing at another friend's place in pasig. Great place, great people, cheap beer, great poker. About 3 or 4 new faces joined in on the fun, and new faces are always welcome to join us in a poker table.

After a few hands, i immediately noticed that one was tight, one was a calling station, one was very very passive, and the last one was a loose aggressive player. An hour into the game, and i took advantage of the calling station and also with some very nice hands i quadrupled my stack to 4000. i was feeling pretty good, and the tide seemed to have turned to my favor after the huge downswings i had the previous month. Then it started to get ugly. I hate repeating bad beat stories, but pocket 10s, A-Koff, A-Qoff wiped out 2500 from my stack almost in consecutive hands. It was ugly. i hit the flops hard, but i got beat by the loose aggressive guy who kept raising me and then hitting the draw. My last hand was A-9 suited, hit the flop with 9-3-3, i bet 500 which was about 1/4 of the already big pot (about 5 callers to a 200+ raise, i was last to act pre-flop at the blinds so i called, getting 4-1 on my money) and then got called. i checked the turn, got pushed all in for about 500 more (with a pot of about 3500) so i called, and he showed pocket tens. ugh.

poof. it happened so fast, and then less than an hour later, they all left the table. The guy who took my stack ended up losing it all to another regular player. ouch.

same shit, different day.

Saturday, February 11, 2006 


Note to poker gods: why do they always manage to get that runner-runner on me? I don't want to go into the details. lets just say i flopped trips and overbet the flop and turn, but he still got his runner-runner/gutshot straight. ugh.

It made me start to think about how other players think when they play. I guess most players here are only concerned with their own hand, and are oblivious to what their opponents are holding. As most of us know, there are many layers in the thought process of a serious player
who is against another player in a hand.

What am i holding?
what do i think my opponent is holding?
what does my opponent think im holding?
what does my opponent think i think he's holding?
what do I think my opponent thinks i'm holding?
how much is the pot? how much is the bet? why did he bet that much? how much should I bet? should i raise? should i call? what are my pot odds?
and many more layers of hand analysis, player reads, and odds calculations.

i guess most players are stuck in the first one. They can't get past the fact that their A-K is no good anymore after the river, even if they hit nothing, and will still call a bet. They cant let go of their pocket 10's even if the board has four overcards and they are facing multiple bets and raises. Can't really complain because ultimately, they are the one who will fatten the bankroll. yeah they'll hit their runner-runner once in a while, and that's why they keep coming back for more.

If there was no luck in poker than it wouldnt be fun anymore.


when are we going to have those regular SnG tournaments at the Airport Casino?

i was playing in a friends' place somewhere in pasig, and after the game i realized that iv'e been playing with the same guys over and over again. We've become good friends over the long hours and hours of playing, and i just thought that it sucks that we try to get each others money at the table, sometimes having the unavoidable ill-feelings (at least for a short while) that they are milking you out of your money, and they are your so-called friends. I mean, the money just goes around and get passed from hand to hand every other day.

That's why i'd really love to have the regular daily SnG's in the casino, so that we go up against mostly strangers and people we don't really know. And most probably, people who don't really care about losing their money. If i win a big pot againts a friend who i know has kids to feed, knowing that that pot might have fed their family for a few days, i cant help but feel a tinge of guilt. That's why softplaying is very common. I flopped a set the other day, then a guy went all-in and told me to fold to his straight, which i did, and he did have it. He did it becuase i was having a bad night of bad beats and suckouts.

I wouldnt mind taking money from a rich guy who's idea of a thrill is to bet P10,000 on one hand of baccarat.

The casino game is still hard to crack for me, i've never really won anything substantial there, but i think an SnG gives me better odds because of the equal stacks and no rebuy factor. i'd love to see those loose cannons self-destruct and take each other out in a single-table SnG!

So, to those concerned, let's get those daily tourneys going eh?

watch your back!


i just hope my previous post does not get deleted after i post this one. crossing my fingers.

Monday, February 06, 2006 


Just got busted out the 500 buy-in, 20-man SnG at JGPT with my A-Joff against someone who called my all-in with J-Toff, getting the 10 on the flop. That's life.

After booking another SnG loss, i started to think about what was really wrong with the way i play. I honestly believe that i have been playing well and that i could, theoretically, play at a higher level (if i just had the roll) and still consistently get positive results. I just recently experienced a big month of losses, and am currently crawling my way back to regain the lost bankroll. It's a real grind, but i love what i'm doing so i dont really mind. It just gets pretty frustrating sometimes, making the right moves and going in with the best hand, only to get busted by a lucky draw.

it dawned on me that most of the RP tournament poker scene is based on a somehow flawed structure. Correct me if i'm wrong, but at the 5th level of blinds, average stack should not be 8-times the big blinds! i mean, it's all in or fold, cross your fingers and hope to hit the flop poker! It just sucks the skill element of post-flop play right out of the game. We have become so accustomed to playing "turbo" poker. 15-20 minute blinds, ridiculously high blinds increase structures, etc., that i'm afraid that we are not really preparing ourselves properly for a more international arena of poker. Successful online players, some of them making 6-figure incomes annually while still not even old enough to go inside a casino, are a very good source of valuable inputs and info that can help any aspiring player. Go to and be amazed at this 19 year old kid who makes hundreds of thousands of dollars online. Just by looking at his results and some other successful players, i realized how big of a fish i really am, and not just me, but 99% of the players i know too. The realization that man, we are so way behind in terms of experience, smacked me right in the head. It frightened me to think that maybe, just maybe, we have been doing it all wrong all this time.

I was doing some comparisons and research on poker tourneys and games, and i saw that in most big tournaments, at the final table, a "small" stack is about 10-15xBB. The average stack is usually 30-40xBB. I saw one tourney where a player had 105,000 in chips at the final table, the blinds were at 4000-8000, and he still considered it to be a "small" stack. Shouldn't that be the way it should be? I'm pretty sure that if the circumstances are like that, more skilled and experienced player wont have too much of a hard time going deep into tournaments and being consistent winners. I also believe that the notion that tournaments will last forever in a structure like this is false. Even if the blinds are small, it is still a NO-LIMIT game, and people will still get busted out the same. I believe people will even play more hands, and thus, result in more action and a more exciting, fast paced tournament.

I think we have to set up a tournament soon, and we will adopt a structure that we will get from one of the international tournaments out there. It's the only way to know, and through this, we will get a feel of how professional tournaments are played. I'm betting that tournament results will be more consistent and predictable. More skilled and experienced players will ITM more often, and the beginners will have a harder time cracking the games, don't you think?

We will try to adapt these structures in future tournaments, and we will see what kind of feedback we get from the players. I'm pretty sure it will be a positive one. I'm all for the improvement of the local poker scene, and i believe this is a step towards more "intelligent" gameplay. Hey, if you have ideas that you think can help our poker scene, go ahead and bring it up!

Till next time, May the edge be with you.

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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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