Monday, July 30, 2007

DD, send your bribe checks to: AlCantHang

I have been bottling this up inside because when a friend does you a favor, you never want to look that proverbial gift horse in the proverbial mouth. Unless, say, that gift horse went off as a "lock" at 4-1 and ended up more interested in some lead pony on the outside fence and finishes seventh. Not that I'm bitter.

But, no, this gift horse was my buddy DD agreeing to fill in for me in the finals of the BBT that I have blogged about from time-to-time. For a refresher, this is the natural disaster where various poker bloggers meet-up several times a week, earning points for various prizes and a season-ending freeroll made up of a fraction of the Full Tilt juice taken out for each event.

Despite cashing in only one of the weekly events and a HORSE special event or two, my middling-average play earned me a spot in the freeroll. 56 entrants, 12 paid, going for somewhere in the neighborhood of 1K. Naturally, I agree to play in a buddy's home game the night of the freeroll...and despite pleading him to set-up a wireless connection in advance so I could play the freeroll in between hands of "3-5-7" and "pass the whore" ... I was going to be shut out of the tourney. I figured even if I didn't play a hand, I would outlast 20% of the field.

BUT...with my pride on the line as at least one of the 56 in the tournament have read this blog at least once, I decided to call upon a friend to play in it for me. I will not publicly give out DD's location or occupation (his FT name is ohiocopywriter), but I play in a poker league with him and a fantasy football league with him so suffice it to say, I consider him a brother. In addition, he isn't a half-bad poker player. Rather excitable and aggressive, he's somewhat the antithesis of me. Well, at least the aggressive part. But that doesn't give him the ultimate credentials in my book. Rather, DD is the only person I know (aside from myself) who would show-up in a stranger's house in a rural community known only for its NHRA for a tourney...and then go back.

Luckily, DD was available and after an e-mail that said, "Wow...they're going to be confused by my playing style" ... he was off. I kept checking my e-mail and text messages throughout the hands of "Auction" and "Bundles" and other high-skill poker games, but alas, not a single update from DD. I could only assume he was flying high and couldn't be bothered. I wasn't worried about motivation as I had agreed to split any proceeds with him and DD needs money in his Full Tilt account like Michael Vick does in his attorney fee account.

I wrap-up in the home game about midnight and head home. I am two minutes from my front door when the ding of a text message comes through on my phone. "DD must be on a break" I think. Instead, the message reads something like, "I really blow at poker, here are a few excuses, but the bottom line is you were one of the first ones out...I am complete scum and you never should have put faith in me. I am going to go drown myself in a toilet." Well, it SOUNDED like that anyway.

Anyone who has ever played the ponies knows the feeling of getting the first, second and fourth place horses in your trifecta and hoping for an inquiry and a placing you know is not coming. Well, for the first time in my life, that inquiry sign actually popped up on the toteboard. Apparently the ordinarily reliable Full Tilt servers crapped out and the tournament was canceled. Thanks to the hard-work of Mr.Al, the tournament has been rescheduled and FT even added several hundred to the prize pool.

So, DD, your bribe to FT and Al worked...and I appreciate it. I only ask that you forget the username and password I gave you and instead, sign-on Thursday under your own soiled name and rail me so that all in BBT-land can give you the ridicule you so richly deserve.

No offense.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

F*** the 50-50

I think I'm going to propose. This love-have thing is so much like a marriage it's scary. It's 9:40 and I'm out. KK UTG, raise 4x the big blind in first level...first hand I've played all night...ONE person folds and eight go to the flop. Comes 10-X-X two spades...I bet pot, two folds and a guy pushes...everyone folds around to me...I have about 600 invested in the pot at this point...sure, I could fold here and live to fight another day with 1,400...but can I really do that with KK in this position and he so OBVIOUSLY be on a flush draw? Not me. I call, he flips 9-10 of spades, catches trip 10s on the turn and goodnight gracie. Good news is the flush didn't hit. *cough*

Stupid play by me? I have to call there right? Should I have pushed and made him call? Perhaps that's the right play. Regardless...I'm going to sleep so I can help with the baby in a couple hours.
My first finish in the quadruple digits...

Good times.

Ready to talk about it...

This post may ramble incessantly, I haven't decided yet...but I have a lot on my mind.

First of all, the post below regarding my disappointing (to say the least) performance in the 50-50 on Sunday...I finished somewhere in the 900s. Ouch. But then my wife said, "'re out before I am even asleep. Shut off the computer and go to sleep so you can help with the baby later." Double ouch.

I was "girly chatting" as my blogger friends call me with a non-poker playing friend during the 50-50 and I complained about the two hands that crippled me. Both times I railed on the "donkey" who played "that hand" into my raise and flopped "that" ... how could he do that, blah blah. But do you know what I realized? I never complain when I run my KK into AA. Or when my 99 loses to AQ late in a tourney. You know why? I got my money in when I thought I had the best of it and it just didn't work out. It's always the hands where I have Top-pair, Top-kicker and try to bully a guy out of a pot when he's slow-playing a set and I'm too dense to realize it...those are the hands I berate the donkeys for. After all, isn't it easier to scream at the donkeys than admit holes in our game?

On another topic, I was going to take a run at the $50 satellite to the $500,000 guarantee on Sunday instead of the 50-50. But my lovely wife had her heart set on this "concert in the park" that started at 6. I have NEVER played in the major Sunday tourney...something always comes up. And I felt like I had been playing well in the 50-50 and it was time to try to blindly weave my way through the shitstorm that is the Sunday tourney. But it was not to be. And I was angry. I was tilting before the orchestra played the first few bars of "Yankee Doodle Dandy."

Needless to say, the first thing I did was fire up Full Tilt when we got home. It was around 8:15 so too late for 50-50 satellites and too early for the tourney itself. So what is there to do, but fire up the PL Omaha tables? I started three-tabling and before I could get ITunes started, I was down $80. Not a huge deal...except that with a $50 buy-in to the 50-50 staring me in the face, my bankroll of $250 is suddenly down below my Mendoza-line of $130. So I was in a bad mood for missing the $500K, I was pissed about a few hands of Omaha and I charged into the 50-50 with an attitude. And look where it got me. Nice Tilt. Ass.

To that end, I don't know how, I don't know why, but I FIRMLY believe that there is a correlation between your mood/attitude and your gambling "luck." I don't believe in luck per se, I believe that it's just a mathematical entity, but a session, a year and even our lives are a small sample size and sometimes too small to see the odds play out. That said, there is SOMETHING that ties luck to attitude. I could say that it's your decisions in poker, but how do you explain blackjack or *shudder* slot machines or even horse racing? Scared money is bad money and mad money is bad money. But I'm not sure why.

I played in the 50-50 last night to get the taste of Sunday's debacle out of my mouth. I played pretty well, more akin to my style, early on, but about 30 minutes in I got tricky with AQ with a bunch of paired undercards on the board. I had zero respect for my heads-up opponent and thought I could bet him off his hand by force of will. Not when he flopped a boat. I was down from 2,500 chips to 500. One of my resolutions is to be a better short-stack player and I took this opportunity to start. I was down to 25% of my starting stack, but blinds were still about 20/40 so it wasn't completely hopeless. Long story short, I played my game, scratched and clawed and finished in the money for a satisfying $85ish payday.

I still love the 50-50 and I still have a LONG way to go with the mental part of my game. Bankroll is at $275.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Not ready to talk about it

But let's just say that the Omaha tables on Sunday and Sunday's 50-50 did not go well. I think my aforementioned average finish may have just jumped 500 spots.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Like Peas and Carrots

"We go together like peas and carrots" -- Forrest...Forrest Gump.

Scanning back through my performance in the 50-50 on Full Tilt, I have played the tourney five times, satelliting in once for total buy-ins around $230. In those five tournaments, I have cashed for $342 and an average finish of 215...almost always, 153 make the money in these tournaments. While I am not going to make a living with these finishes, for a recreational player who vastly prefers tournaments to cash games...this is the best bang for my buck that I have found on any site.

I told a friend of mine last night (who specializes in six-handed SNGs) that the same reasons I love these tourneys are the same reasons he would hate them. You start with a fantastic amount of chips relative to the blinds...the structure is slow and even...with a flat pay structure. Bravo, Full Tilt. Bravo. And on top of that, the $2 rebuy satellite at 6:40 is a donkfest just waiting to be taken. So a $55 buy-in can easily turn into $10.

That said, as much as I love this tournament, I feel like I am stuck in a rut of mediocrity. I play so few tournaments with less than 500 players that my "end-game" is dreadful. And worse yet, as I have previously opined, I am always playing tournaments above my bankroll so the money means something. This leads to a lot of finishes between 50-250 and good, but not great performances. Last night is a perfect example.

Most recently, last night I bought directly in and as I scanned the table, I didn't recognize a single name. Usually a good sign. It was a weak table and I was able to pick and choose my spots and they would still pay me off regardless of my image. I quickly doubled-up before going card-dead until well after the first break. One of the best things about this tournament is that few people understand the relevance of the blinds to chip ratio. So you will find people with 3,000 chips getting "desperate" at the 80/160 level. They're easy to pick out and exploit. Utilizing that strategy, I built my chip stack up to a little over $10,000 and pretty much folded my way into the money with a few well-timed steals despite not seeing anything other than a KK which was folded around.

Once in the money, I loosened up and tried to steal a little more frequently and unfortunately got caught a few times. I was getting short and pushed with 99 in early position. I got called by AK and doubled up to over 12,000. After a few successful steals I was sitting on a stack around 24,000-25,000 and about 26 out of 35 or so. My table was pretty weak and I felt confident that this was my turn for a deep run. Then came the evidence of my lack of end-game. I wake-up to 10-10 in the small blind. It's folded around to the hijack and he bumps 2.5x the big blind. I knew this was a bet that signified something, not a steal, but was most likely a mediocre hand and almost surely a drawing hand. K-Q, Ace-rag...something of that nature. So it's up to me. this point...with blinds and antes high and pocket tens...what do you do? CLEARLY you push. If he is on a draw and given his stack around 30,000 he is not want to go to war with KQ. Most likely. But no. My thought process went like this. I can call his bet and still have over 20,000 chips if a high card comes on the flop and promptly to fight another day and maybe make the next $30 payout level. All this for an extra $30. So I just call.

BB folds and we go to the flop heads-up. Clearly the flop comes A-Q-5 rainbow so my likely scenario comes to pass. So CLEARLY I check-fold...or MAYBE re-raise and represent a monster...but no. At 2:15 a.m. and my bravado rising in dreams of a final table, my adrenaline tells me that he had KJ or something and I push my last $20,000. He insta-calls and flips A-7. Say what you will about an instacall in this situation with A-7, but my play was stupid. I read him perfectly and even though I made the incorrect play pre-flop for maximum EV, I still gave myself an out that I refused to take post-flop.

I was out in 30th place for ~$200. Not a bad return and continued success in the 50-50, but it could have and should have been much better.

Thanks to an ill-advised trip to the .50/$1 pot limit omaha table and an untimely QQQ loss to a rivered straight with the money all-in on the turn and a peer-pressured entry into a $26 LIMIT Omaha Hi/Lo tournament that was akin to paint account sits somewhere in the $290 range. Over doubling my buy-in from last month, but continuing on the roller coaster of my last few weeks.

Stuipid is as Stupid does.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Cool Product Plug

I know that with some blogs, it's difficult to tell if a post has been "bought and paid for." One of the benefits of a blog that nobody reads is that nobody would pay for me to post anything either. So you can rest assured that the content is all my own.

I just discovered a brilliant little service called I may be the only one, but I do my best thinking in the car. But invariably by the time I get home, the thought is gone or I have forgotten. Or to make it poker relevant...if you are playing in a tourney and want to make notes on a hand, but don't have time to type or don't want to mess with hand histories...then use jott!

It's sign-up...put your cell number in...and then you can call jott's 800 number and dictate a message to yourself. Jott will then transcribe it and e-mail it to whatever e-mail address you provide. A hand or an entire blog...all without pressing a key.

As my boys from Guinness say...BRILLIANT!

Sunday, July 15, 2007


I know this is hardly the reason the three of you reading this still visit this modest space. But I hope you will indulge me. As I said, my grandfather, or PoPo, passed away last Thursday. His funeral is tomorrow. And in advance of my eulogy, I drafted a few quick thoughts that I think can serve as my blog post in honor of him. Thank you.

Good morning.

I greatly appreciate you all taking time this morning to celebrate the life of the man I called PoPo. I hope you will all indulge me as I take the next few minutes to reflect on his life as seen through MY eyes.

Many people are defined by what they choose to do for a living. As most of you know, PoPo was a WWII veteran and he retired from Ford after over 30 years at the Lima plant. But he wasn’t defined by his job and I believe he could have been almost anything.

First and foremost, I think everyone in this room knows that PoPo could have been a stand-up comic. I know you ALL heard this one. A guy walks up to a boy at a gas station…the boy is sitting with a dog. The man asks if the boy’s dog bites. He says no. The man goes to pet the dog and the dog bites him. The guy says to the boy, I asked if your dog bites and the boy says, that’s not my dog. Comic genius. A joke for every occasion. Yesterday as people came to pay their respects, I can’t tell you how many people said something about PoPo’s sense of humor or his predilection for being ornery. He certainly could have been a comic.

If he didn’t want to be in front of the camera or in front of the crowd, I think he still had a job in the entertainment industry as a movie critic. Movie critics don’t like anything. And I know for a fact that PoPo hasn’t liked a movie since Julie Andrews was gracing the fake Alps in the Sound of Music. He even had the personality trait to sit through movies he didn’t like. I remember a time he and MoMo went to the Wapak theatre to see what they thought was a movie with the late, great Walter Mathieu set on a cruise ship. What they saw instead was a disaster of a film with Cuba Gooding Jr…set on a cruise ship. He and MoMo sat through the entire movie without saying a word…but as they left the theatre, they turned to each other and asked, “Was that the movie you thought it was going to be?” If his son could eke out a career as a sportswriter, he certainly could have been a movie critic.

Writing may be in the genes, but the gambling gene just MIGHT be passed down in our family as well. You know it’s bad when you send your grandchildren to the venerable Zip Stop for some scratch-off bingo tickets and the person behind the counter says, “Are you Wig’s grandkid?” I also learned betting on horses from PoPo. Well, at least $2 win tickets on his friend's horses. And when they went to Vegas for the first time, I have never seen someone so mesmerized by the nickel slots and so happy to have jet black hands from the oft-handled coins.

In Vegas, I personally witnessed another possible occupation for my PoPo. Foodie or food connoisseur. We took he and MoMo to a “fancy” restaurant in Vegas called Hugo’s Cellar. It has all the touches…women get roses, they put cheesecloth on your lemons in the iced tea so the seeds don’t get in your drink. They had everything. For your salad, they brought a cart to your table filled with well over 20 items they could put on your salad. The dialogue between the waiter and PoPo went something like this: “Sir, would you like shrimp?” “No.” “Garbanzo Beans?” “No.” “Radicchio?” No. “ Beets? “What did you say? Beets. Oh. No.” And so on. At the end I think he had just lettuce and cheese. But not bleu cheese. That cost extra at Brown’s and PoPo didn’t like it when you ordered bleu cheese.

Motivational Speaker. There’s a completely embellished story floating around about me hiding behind a furnace one year when it came time for baseball try-outs…but my favorite story proving PoPo’s Dr. Phil tendencies involved my dad playing baseball when he was younger. Much younger. There was a pitcher throwing pretty hard. I think dad was slightly intimidated. PoPo yelled out, “Stand in there! He won’t hit you!” As I recall, dad, there was a trip to the hospital and a cast that followed. But hey, PoPo got dad to stand in there.

I asked my brother what his favorite memory of PoPo was yesterday and he answered, “Ohio State football games.” I found that hard to argue with and after having season tickets for so long, I think PoPo could have easily been a stadium docent. I mean, nobody talked to more people in C-Deck than PoPo. And everytime we would hike all the way up those three never-ending levels he would ask someone if they installed the elevator yet. Every game. PoPo, they installed those elevators and I am firmly convinced you were the reason why.

Finally, I think everyone knows PoPo could have easily been an Advertising Executive. I mean, everyone has seen those commercials that were modeled after his life. The commercials may have featured Scandanavians, but we know they were based on PoPo. You know the ones, where complete strangers were brought together all over a pack of Mentos? Yeah. Clearly ripped off his life story. If there’s someone in here that wasn’t offered a piece of candy by my grandfather at some point, they’re in the wrong church because you’ve never been in the same ZIP CODE as PoPo. On the way to an aforementioned Ohio State game, the traffic was slightly worse than trying to make a left turn on Defiance and someone let PoPo in. As he got off at Olentangy River Rd., with thousands of rabid Buckeye fans desperately trying to get in to see the game, PoPo stopped the car in the middle of traffic, unbuckled his seatbelt and walked back to that man that had let him in and offered him a Mentos. THAT was my PoPo.

Yes, he could have been anything he wanted to be.

But what he WAS, was a loving husband for over 50 years to MoMo…a proud father to dad and Mark…a father figure to my mother…a loving brother to Gene and Harold and a true family patriarch to many in this room. But most importantly to me, he was the quintessential grandfather. He attended as many of my basketball games as he could (even when it was just to watch me clapping for my teammates from the sidelines). He knew the path to get ice cream and could get there with his eyes closed. Was always willing to take my brother and I to any county fair we desired.

But what I will always remember most about PoPo was how comfortable and how loved I felt in his presence. There wasn’t a place in this world that I felt more “at home” than at MoMo and PoPo’s. No matter what was happening in my life, I knew there was a safe-haven on Glyncrest. And one of my greatest joys was watching my kids, Audrey and Sidney, take to their great-grandfather the same way I had. It didn’t matter what PoPo looked like, whether he was in a wheelchair in his later years or whatever, Sidney was immediately drawn to him. She felt that same comfort, that same love. And I promise I will do everything in my power to make sure she remembers that about her PoPo and to ensure Audrey knows how lucky she is to have met her PoPo for even such a brief time.

He could have been anything. But today, I thank God he was my PoPo. I love you.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Definition of Tilt...

My grandfather passed away unexpectedly on Thursday.

It was a shock and I will probably write more about it later. But I'm not quite ready so I'm going to get this back to poker. For now.

After spending the day with my dad and my grandmother, I got home, mentally and physically exhausted. So what did I do? Of course drink a bottle of wine and four-table full tilt. Not exactly Barry Greenstein's recommendation in Ace on the the River. I played like the world owed me pots. I played like every re-raise or raised blind was a personal affront. Omaha, PL Hold'em, HORSE...I had them all going at once. I bought directly into the 50-50 at 9:30.

I think you all know how this story ends. I lost at every cash table I played and busted out of the 50-50 around 300 or so and the top 153 got paid. All told, I took my account from around $260 to $70 in one ill-advised session. I stuck to my limits in cash games, but had far too many tables going and buying directly into the 50-50 was an obvious deviation.

Naturally last night, with my wife boozing it up at some fondue restaurant, I put the kids to bed and took my last $70 and bought directly into the 50-50. I know that was stupid, but let's ignore it for just a bit and let me just take a second to say that I absolutely love this tournament. You know how some golf holes are set-up perfectly for your game? Like the holes with fifty yards of fairway in front of you and 200 yards of fairway at a 90-degree angle just perfect for your slice? That's how I eel about the 50-50. I always wondered how pros could claim that if these tournaments were set-up right, they could cash 70% of the time. I truly feel that if I had the bankroll to play this tournament four or five times a week, I would cash two times and go pretty deep once.

All told, last night I finished somewhere around 60th when my nut flush draw didn't get there on the turn or the river. $140ish payout brings the account back up to $150. I haven't seen an experiment fail as badly as this one since (insert cliched failed experiment reference here..perhaps you prefer EuroDisney or New Coke or Crystal Pepsi).

Sure, I could use my grandfather's passing as an excuse, but in poker, there will always be a "tiltable" offense lurking to destroy your bankroll and "donkify" your game.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Ummm...this is really embarassing

It's one thing to completely implode in the comfort of your own home, ITunes in your earphones, lights off so as not to wake the kids or worse yet, the wife. At times like those, routinely breaking any pre-determined set of rules is just met with self-flagellation and an undeniable urge for a double Woodford Reserve.

But to blog about sound like a broken every day wake up, fire up the Acer Aspire and carefully craft an explanation for your lack of discipline...calls for TWO Woodfords.

Bottom line: Full Tilt account = $258.40. Oh yeah, I forgot one other sentiment. Guilt.

Yesterday, I fired up the FT client and sat down at two PL .25/.50 HE tables and started the grind. I was down $1 at one table and up $2.50 at the other when I thought, eh, perhaps I should investigate the Omaha Hi tables. Doh.

Sure as shootin' there was only one "full" table that was even remotely within my bankroll, but EXACTLY the table I vowed to stay away from: .50/$1. But I figured, what the heck...only play the nuts, right? A mere 25 minutes later, I had run my $55 short buy-in up to over $200, back down to $50, up to $185 and down to $110. For those with the 'roll to play these limits, that volatility is expected. Indeed, this should be considered a good session. But to me, these swings represented great opportunity and great opportunity for ruin.

To make matters worse, I joined one of the $26 token frenzy tournaments during my Omaha run, closed out the tables I SHOULD have been playing and proceeded to donk off my entire stack in the first level. My thinking? "I'm up so much at the Omaha table that this really doesn't matter...I'll either run this up and coast into a token or bust out and go back to hoping to fill up my boat on the river to beat the nut flush I know I'm up against in Omaha."

Repeat after me, "Relatively (for your bankroll) Hi Limit Omaha is not a sure-fire slot machine...Relatively (for your bankroll) Hi Limit Omaha is not a sure-fire slot machine"


But all alcoholics *ahem* Mel Gibson *ahem* have slip-ups and as a bankroll-demolishing-addict I expect no less from myself. I still have the desire. I just hope the follow-through will follow soon.

Until then...anyone up for Omaha?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Best laid plans of mice and poker players

Well...that lasted a day.

If there was any doubt that my blog yesterday was factual, I present...Exhibit A.

Last night, I took my bankroll and looked for a tournament. I used to abhor re-buy tournaments, but ever since Astin told me about the $2 rebuy satellites for the Fifty-Fifty, I look at them completely differently. They appear to be a great opportunity to expand my game and play the opposite of my natural style. Ordinarily, I am ridiculously tight early in tournaments and loosen up as the antes kick in...pretty standard. But sometimes I'm TOO tight and worse, weak tight early in these tournies. The rebuy tournaments allow me to play a little more loosely early and have done so profitably.

So what does this have to do with last night? I found a $6,500 guarantee $3 rebuy tournament at 8:30 on FT. It was a huge overlay at the time and I was salivating. I figured I could invest about five rebuys or so and if I wasn't having any luck accumulating chips, I could just shut it down. Wellllllll...13 rebuys later, my bankroll is down to $152 and change. I lost EVERY conceivable coin-flip and couldn't complete a straight or a flush to save my life. But I was CONFIDENT I could cash in that thing. I did build up a nice stack, but I went out in the 50-ish range for winnings of $20. Gross. Yup. I cashed and had a net loss.


Given this recent revelation, I think I need to add an addendum to my bankroll management rules: I will not re-buy more than five times in any tournament, with the amount not to exceed 150% of my tournament buy-in limit. In simple terms? My tournament limit right now is $10. I will not rebuy so that my investment in any tournament exceeds $15. Again, not scientific and perhaps not even sound reasoning, but it gives me much needed guidelines.

I am an undisciplined SOB, but the first step is realization as I keep reminding myself. The problem is, I never get past the first baby step.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Cheaters, Democrats and fiscally irresponsible...MUST READ

Isn't it funny how it is human nature to skip over the sections of written works that we actually need to read the most?

For every Tony Robbins-Dr. Phil wannabe who is obsessed with self-realization, there are hundreds who prefer to ignore their flaws and work diligently to further prop up areas of competence and excellence.

Serial cheaters overlook infidelity storylines, Democrats ignore sections on reason and logic and the fiscally irresponsible flip past sections on credit and indeed bankroll management.

I am irrefutably the latter.

As an obsessive reader, I consume everything I can get my hands on. I subscribe to a multitude of magazines, have my library card number memorized and possess a google reader account with well over 100 blogs. And yet when my Card Player comes every two weeks, without exception I completely disregard any articles dealing with bankroll management. With all due respect to excessive continuation bets and a seemingly endless obsession with looking at poker as an extension of proof of "manliness" ... bankroll management is without question the biggest "hole" in my game.

As I revealed in a previous post, I have never deposited more than $200 into any poker account (when poker was legal of course) and yet I have never played a cash game lower than .50/$1 and routinely buy straight into $24+2 tournies. Despite several cashes in the hundreds of dollars, the reason for the dearth of poker posts over the past month is that I went broke early last month (again).

You want to talk about shows of "manliness" ... what can be more humbling than going bust? I should know. I am without question a losing poker player over my months of Full Tilt participation. I firmly believe that it has nothing to do with my poker skill or lack there of. While I am not yet ready for the $50,000 HORSE at the WSOP, I without question should be a winning poker player.

Unfortunately (or fortunately) poker is not only a game of skill, but it is a game of percentages. Those percentages dictate that you will not always have winning sessions no matter your skill. They dictate that despite being all-in with your last $100, your opponent IS going to hit that two-outer somewhere around 10% of the time over the LONG RUN. Variance is a bitch.

But it is a high maintenance bitch that can be managed by more effective bankroll management...something I am determined to adhere to this time around. Discipline. Not in the "catching a fly with chopsticks, Mr. Miyagi" kind of way, but a "I will not directly buy into the $50 +5 satellite for the Sunday $500,000 guaranteed when I have $56.39 left in my account" kind of way.

To that end, here are my new bankroll resolutions after having deposited $130 (the sum of cash I got for my recent 30th a 10-year-old buying baseball cards with his $1 allowance):

-- Buy PokerTracker
-- Actually USE PokerTracker
-- Keep track of success in token frenzy tournies to see if they're +EV for me
-- Play only in token sit and gos
-- DO NOT buy directly into any tourney higher than $10+1
-- DO NOT play any cash games higher than .25/.50 until the bankroll is doubled
-- DO NOT play any Hi/Lo games unless the stakes are so low I can buy-in with coins I found in my couch
-- Pot Limit is my preferred brand of hold' actually PLAY it for a change

These are clearly not scientific. These are clearly tailored to my preferences of tournaments over cash games. I would not recommend these to anyone else. But I believe doing this will tell me in three months whether I am truly a winning poker player or if I need to go back to trying to break 110 and make golf my obsession ... er ... hobby.

After a weekend of adhering to these rules (minus the PokerTracker) my bankroll sits at $192 with one $26 token in the account. That's the good news. The bad news is that following one disastrous departure from the rules, my bankroll went from $206 down to $140 before building it back up. Someone please keep me AWAY of the .50/$1 Omaha tables. Maybe I should pretend that I am a democrat and the table chatter at the Omaha tables are full of logic and reason.

"If you're not a liberal when you're young, you have no heart. If you're not a conservative when you're older, you have no brain."

-- Winston Churchill