That State of Mind TM
+ Life. Poker. It's a State of Mind.
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Saturday, September 23, 2006 

Ace Crackers and Getting Wasted

I played a couple of days ago at JG again, the same big stack long levels game that we've started to play recently. I was really intent on bagging a win this time, and ive been sharpening the SnG skills online too hehe. I started the game playing solid, till i trapped this other guy with two-pair A-J making him push all in on the river after i feigned weakness and checked the turn when the Ace came out, almost doubling me up!

At the 150-300 level, i had about 5,000+ in my stack, which i think was 2nd or 3rd in chips, and we were 6 or 5 handed at this point (we started with 11 players). I got Aces UTG, and raised it to 900. Everyone folds except the Big Blind, who takes quite a long time thinking before deciding to raise me to 2,000. I promptly push my remaining 4,000+ in the pot, and i have him covered by more than 1,000. He takes several minutes before declaring that he was gonna make a bad call, and shows pocket 8's! I'm already thinking about how im gonna run over the rest of the players after winning this hand when the flop comes 7-8-9! No help from the turn or river and i'm down to 1,000. BB comes to me and i get pushed all-in by a raiser, which i call with KJ and it holds up. I'm thinking i can still do some damage and make a comeback, and a few hands later i raise to 600 in LP with A9, and get one caller. Flop comes Ace and two spades, and i push 1600 all-in. Other player thinks for about 5 seconds and makes the call with a K-high flush draw. River is a spade and im out! ouch! Those damn aces...

Better to bust out with the best hand than on a crappy play right? yeah sure, it still sucks though hehe.

Next day i got to play with the same guys at a friend's house on her birthday party, just a fun 100 buy-in game. Got tipsy and played like a loose-caboose and donked my way to busting out at third. We then proceeded to get drucking funk on this great tasting white wine which i think our host had several cases ready for the guests hehe. Damn i've never been so wasted in my life! i think i was having a drunken debate with this other person about religion and shit! I hardly remember going home (hitched a ride with JG) and good thing i didnt bring a car since i couldnt even walk straight! Damn, good thing i didnt get a hangover today, that wouldve sucked big time. So that's what it's like to get puke-drunk and have the world spinning and shit like that. I'm not a drinker and i've never gotten that drunk in my life, so that was a new experience for me!

Let's do it again! hehe!

till next time... watch your back!

Friday, September 22, 2006 

Never Underestimate a Donkey!

Today , i have found a new respect for Donkeys all over the world! Read this article i found online and see fo yourself. NEVER underestimate a donkey ever again!


A couple from Montana were out riding on the range, he with his rifle and she (fortunately) with her camera. Their dogs always followed them, but on this occasion a Mountain Lion decided that he wanted to stalk the dogs (you'll see the dogs in the background watching). Very, very bad decision...

The hunter got off the mule with his rifle and decided to shoot in the air to scare away the lion, but before he could get off a shot the lion charged in and decided he wanted a piece of those dogs. With that, the mule took off and decided he wanted a piece of that lion. That's when all hell broke loose... for the lion.

As the lion approached the dogs the mule snatched him up by the tail and started whirling him around. Banging its head on the ground on every pass. Then he dropped it, stomped on it and held it to the ground by the throat. The mule then got down on his knees and bit the thing all over a couple of dozen times to make sure it was dead, than whipped it into the air again, walked back over to the couple (that were stunned in silence) and stood there ready to continue his ride... as if nothing had just happened.

Fortunately even though the hunter didn't get off a shot, his wife got off these 4...

Saturday, September 16, 2006 

Busy week/ Poker Crackdown

Ok I haven't posted anything in a while, mostly due to my fairly old PC crashing due to a worm or virus. It just kept shutting down on it's own. But fixed it now so i have to tame down a bit on the downloads hehe.

I've been pretty busy the past weeks. Last week, i hosted and ran a charity tournament for an group of young Indian professionals. They had a four table MTT, and wow did those guys love playing poker. They kept on playing until the sun was almost up, and they still wanted to borrow the chipset so they could take it home and keep playing there! Fun game, great people, great food and drinks, great party! Made a bunch of cash to raise funds for the charity they were supporting in the process too.

Played some small games here and there. Still on a bit of a hiatus from poker (i almost only play once or twice a week now) and the times i have been playing, i wasnt rewarded for my lack of practice hehe. Last night at JG's house in Dasma, i kept getting premium hands and hitting the flop, only to get outdrawn or killed by a bigger hand like trips. I flopped top pair/top kicker twice and twice someone had a set! Went all-in in LP after several limpers with 9-9 when i was short and ran into J-J on the BB. Lost all my coin tosses too. I was first to bust out and decided to go jump in the pool and go for a swim nalang hehe!

This week i ran this poker game in Absinth as a part of an event which launched the Antiquary brand of Scotch whiskey. They had a cool set-up where registered participants in the event got 2000 in play money cash which they could exchange for chips and play in the play money 50-100 cash game. If you win enough, you can cash out and "buy" stuff like Cigars, Wine or Whiskey glasses, Money Clips, etc., from the prize booth. Most of the players were new and i even had to sit down with some of them and explain the game while they played, but i would have to say that the poker table was THE highlight of the event! Everyone crowded and watched, and players old and young were playing and haveing a great time. Even the Head Honcho, (who was wearing a Kilt) a genuine Scottish guy, sat down and played. Late into the game, he had murderous intentions of catching this young kid who kept going all-in on him 90% of the time! He called me to his side and whispered "watch me i'm gonna catch this kid! just watch!" hehe.

That event showed how poker really has a mass appeal that can get anybody hooked. There are really no boundaries in the poker table. Age, race, social status, all these things didnt matter. Everyone had a great time and i'm prety sure a lot of those guys will start looking for a game they can play regularly ;).

Moving on to other bigger things, last night while playing a friendly one-table game at JG's house in dasma, we heard the news that two regular running poker games in Makati and Pasig were raided by the NBI. The Makati game was pretty harmless, a very small buy-in SnG format game (and they never play cash games) with mostly young people looking for a good time after work. The Pasig game was supposedly a PPT sattelite game but i believe they run cash games too. Anyway, i heard they were all brought to the NBI office in Manila, but i also heard that they have now been set free after several negotiations. I'm pretty sure they couldnt really find any reason to detain the players, but i dont know what they are going to do about the organizers, if they are pressing charges or not. No details yet really, but i'm sure we'll hear the whole story soon enough.

I would have to say that i sort of have an idea of what they are going through and our prayers go out to them. I hope they resolve the issue as soon as possible. I guess PAGCOR is trying to send a message out there. The only thing i can suggest is for home game organizers to keep it small and private. We have to understand that these games have been running for a long time and are very public about their games. The Makati game even has a private cable channel televising their tournaments.

Maybe soon enough we wont have a need to go to "underground" poker rooms, and have a place where everyone can play poker with peace of mind in a safe and legal environment. We DO have that now in the ACF poker room, but not everyone likes going to the Casino. Till then, we will have to settle for small, private home games.

Again, our prayers go out to those involved. We hope everything works out in their favor.


On a lighter note, i decided that our Poker Blogger Invitational should be postponed until around mid-october, when Gamefrog gets back. That way, we will have a major sponsor on our booze and food haha! Share the wealth, share the love!

Monday, September 11, 2006 

Love-Hate Relationship

Today was a nice easy sunday that i reserved for a 1-table SnG at JG's place, 500 buy-in deep stack game. 3000 stacks, 10-20 starting blinds with 30 minute levels. Good for some "socializing" poker, nice and relaxed. LItlle did we know that about 3 hours into the game, nobody would bust out yet, and there was only ONE rebuy! The small stacks just kept doubling up. Had a good game, got Kings thrice, won some big pots with some nice plays, but ended up busting out i think 5th when i had about a 3K stack on the 300-600 level, and went all in with A-8 after the small blinds limped in. He calls and shows 10-10, and that was it for me. I just got impatient hehe.

I actually enjoyed the game a lot. There was one particular play i made which gave me a rush that i havent felt in a long time. I raised 200 on 30-60 (not sure) on the cut-off with 9d-8d after not playing a hand for a while. Got 4 callers, yikes! Flop comes Q-2-3 rainbow. Everyone checks to me, so i bet 500 on pocket balls! Everyone folds except the last guy, who has been chasing draws a lot, doing the hwole check-call-check-call-fold thing. I was really wondering what he could be flat calling me with on a flop like that, and when the turn came J, he checked again! I thought for about 10 seconds, then pushed all-in for 1800 more with nothing but a gutshot prayer for outs hehe! He thinks for a while and asks for a count of my chips before finally folding. (whew!) It just shows i havent been playing for quite some time now since i really got a rush from playing that hand. Sometimes, it feels good to trust your judgement, and even though you could be wrong sometimes, it pays off when you are right.

Later that night, i remembered that my friend had a game in the Fort, and i decided i wanted to at leat just hang out and have a few drinks at his place, maybe play some poker too. Ok, if you dont like bad beat stories, stop reading now hehe.

Lets just say there was a player, european guy, who was raising almost P500 on almost every hand in the 20-40 game, and would call all-in on bottom pair or ace high. And he didnt care about the money too, since he owned a whole floor on the condo/building we were playing in! So i waited patiently and managed to double my stack to around 2K after a few hands. I was already contemplating cashing out since he was really raising 4 out of 5 hands to 500 even if the pot had less than 100., and we were already 4-handed in the table. Then it came. AQ suited i raised 200, he calls. Flop Q-5-10. HE bets 1000, which is about 60% of my stack. By the turn, which was a J, i was all-in. He show 5-3 offsuit, and promptly spikes the 3 on he river. ouch ouch ouch. He eventually lost a lot of money and gave it all away to the other players. One guy sat down and had a 10K stack after 3 hands because of him! wow. I'd play that game all day and night if i had a bankroll that can take the beats hehe. Later pushed with QQ, for about 1K, he calls with Q-3, but the other caller had AK and hit the K on the flop. Not my night. hehe.

Had a nice little glimpse of what i've been missing the past month or so i havent been playing. The rush of the big bluff, the sick beats, ahhh... that's why Poker really is a love-hate relationship. Sometimes the cards love you, sometimes they dont. We live to play another day!

Gotta keep playing.

Saturday, September 09, 2006 

Happy Birthday Blog!

A couple of days ago marked this blog's first year in existence. We've come a long way from that time to today. I cant believe that so many things have happened in a span of 365 days. Good or bad, i'm grateful for all the experiences.

May we have many more brithdays to come hehe!

Monday, September 04, 2006 

Awesome Game, Miracle Three, and the Crocodile Hunter

Yesterday i decided that it would be worth my time to go and watch the final table of arguably the best tournament ever set-up in the RP today. Small field of 50, Big guaranteed pot, deep starting stacks of 200xBB, hour long levels (1.5hrs for final table), and excellent players all around. It's was a poker players dream scenario.

The action was pretty intense, with chip leads changing hands several times, big bluffs being pulled off (and shown), and the best thing about it was there were hardly any bad beats. A couple of hours later, the bubble finally burst and everyone stated playing more relaxed. When it was down to three, they eventually agreed to a chop and everyone got 120K each, plus 10K to the chip leader. Awesome game from everyone, including the staff who ran it. Derek, who won the million peso title, showed some class when he gave P10,000 to the staff as a tip, and the two others followed suit, making the staff jump with joy for the 30K tip hehe. Amazingly, the whole final table lasted for about 5-6 hours only. Congratulations to the finalists and of course to our very own Barb Galan who came in to the final table 8th in chips and eventually won it all. Why am i not surprised?

What a great game. It will serve as a benchmark for tournaments to come, and i hope that poker tournaments in the future will follow suit. Quality poker. Nothing gets better than that.


So i decided to play the ring game after about a month of not playing. Fun table with regular poker buddies, but lost my first 1K when my raised AK got 2 callers and got my A but someone who called my raise with K-5 got 2 5's on the board. Left with 600, i pushed the very next hand with A-J and got called by 6-6, no love from the deck for me.

Hand of the night for me was my last hand. I was down to about 800 after a total of 2K in buy-ins, and got 3-3 UTG. limped it, got callers, MP loose player raises 200, he gets 2 callers, i decide to push my last 700+ in to at least isolate one player, but i get 4 callers! Flop was 9d-Jh-10d and i was ready to go home. Turn came Jd so the flush and straight are already there, and im already standing up to leave, when the beautiful 3 of clubs falls on the river! Wohoo! i win the 4K pot and eventually end up cashing out 3500 after playing a few more pots.

Damn it feels good to spike the river once in a while! I almost never get to experience that since i dont play that loose. I even folded Kh-Kd on a flop of Ad-5d-7d after i bet 500 on the turn and got re-raised 1500 by dirty ice cream, who showed two pair A-7 after i folded. The rabbit hunt showed a King to add insult to injusry too hehe. What a rush. Last night, i remembered why i started to play poker, and that is purely for the thrill and the rush of the game.


Off-topic: i got news from yahoo just now that Steve Irwin, the aussie croc hunter with the TV show, died today while filming in the great barrier reef. He was killed, of all things, by a stingray that stung him on the chest. He died before the Medevac chopper arrived. I admired the guy's passion and love for his craft. He was 44.

Friday, September 01, 2006 

The Variance of Life

It's pretty much a cliche when we compare poker to life, but really, it IS so much like life in so many levels that you can't deny the truth in the sayings. Poker is a microcosm of life.

Life is the dealer that shuffles your deck, and whatever cards youre given, you gotta play it. Sometimes you get premium hands, win nice pots, and have a healthy stack. There are days when nothing can seem to go wrong and you feel like youre on top of the world. But you can also get a bad run of cards, with heart-breaking bad beats that just wrenches your gut and make you want to pull your hair out. I'm pretty sure everybody has their own version of these things, and I myself have several experiences that fall into these categories.

But, like poker, it's not WHAT cards you get, but how you play it. Like my favorite poker quote says, "Only losers blame the cards." One thing most poker players hate are bad beat stories, and i've heard and had enough of those to last me a lifetime. For me, with life, i hate "bad beat" stories too. If something bad happened to you, dont throw a pity party for yourself, because everyone has their own problems to deal with. Play your cards! Deal with the cold deck. Life goes on. The next hand is coming and you gotta keep playing. Will you stop playing a tournament just because you got a bad beat? nope. But you have the choice to either suck it up and take it like a man, or whine like a crybaby, go on tilt, and blow off your entire stack on stupid decisions. Dont blow off your entire life with stupid decisions just because you had some bad experiences. The only thing that matters is how you played your cards. As long as you have a chip to play with, youre still in the game. You gotta keep playing.

Poker really is a mirror of life. How you play reflects how you live, how you are as a person deep inside. The beauty of it is, if you have a firm grasp of the intricacies involved in the game and know how to play the game at it's highest level, it will also reflect in how you live your life. When youve learned to accept bad beats as nothing but the uncontrollable fall of the cards, you start to treat events in your life as the same thing, Life unfolding like a deck of cards. Once you learn how to make the most out of both your good cards AND bad cards, you also learn how to make the most out of your good AND bad experiences.

I have to admit that i only have a feeble grasp of what i'm talking about, but it's a start. It all starts with awareness anyway. I'm using this wisdom i learned from, of all things, poker, as i write this article down. I'm going through a pretty bad run of cards right now, and the beats just keep on coming. And im not talking about poker.

Variance in poker is like variance in life, and because of a simple game of cards, i know what i have to do.

I gotta keep playing.


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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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