Hi there! It’s been a long time since I have posted a blog entry and am feeling pretty guilty about it. Yes, laziness has played a small part in it but I’ve also been really busy with my regular job, home life and pinball. Speaking of pinball, I am entered into a pinball tournament this weekend with a first prize of $2500. There’s also going to be a draw for a brand new pinball machine from Stern. What I am really excited about is that I’ll be ranked on the world leaderboard after this tournament. Just a side note: the top Canadian is a kid in my local league who’s currently ranked 12th in the world and I think I’m better than him .

This is not to say that I haven’t been playing poker at all. I played in this month’s Big Bang tournament and finished 14th, good for $45. I was surprised (and very thankful) to get the ticket and I was not going to let this gracious opportunity go to waste. What I really wanted was to make the final table (for my 15 minutes of fame getting lambasted by CannonLee, ArtySmokesPS and Roland GTX of my weak play ) but it just wasn’t in the cards. I was basically card dead near the end and couldn’t manufacture any steal spots as the players at my table seemed to be pretty active. I had to push after posting the Big Blind holding a very marginal hand (T6s) with not very many chips behind (<3BB) when the button with a much bigger stack (~16BB) open shoved the pot. Overall, I was pleased with my play but think that I should have taken some chances to 3-bet steal when I had some fold equity. I should have known that they were probably raising the pot lighter than normal at that stage of the tournament. It’s all about changing gears at different stages of the tournament and I failed to do that (ArtySmokesPS’s nitty play has rubbed off on me a little too much ).

I also finished 36th in the Power of Two tourney, for $2.90. I invited 3 people to join me but I’m not sure whether any of them signed up. It’s their loss as they could have won at least $2.90 to match what I got, just by entering. As expected, the field was quite soft and thought I should have finished much higher. But with 13BB in my stack and only 4 tables left, I tried to steal with ATo in MP. I got called by the SB who happened to be the table chip leader. The flop was and the big stack lead out with a 3x bet. I thought hard about it and put him on something like 67s , 89s or a ragged ace as I thought that he might 3-bet pre-flop with any ace better than mine, so I shoved. I was wrong. He snap called and tabled AJo. I was drawing dead after the turn when a J came. In hindsight, I think a better play would have been to jam pre-flop instead of the open min-raise. Playing timidly doesn’t usually bode well.

I have been playing a mixture of games, $1.50 STT Fifty50’s, freerolls and “grinding” (if you can call 1-tabling grinding) 2NL Zoom for the past month and have been a slight winner. I like playing 1 table at times because I have enough time to make notes on the fly. Also, people who search for me in the client will assume that I’m more of a recreational player (which, I guess, is true to a degree). At 2NL though, it might not be all that advantageous as the regulars all probably have thousands of hands on me by now. After briefly having played 10NL and 25NL Zoom, I’ve found that I have had to adjust my play to much more straight forward lines and bluff a whole lot less. I think that I am good enough to play 5NL Zoom at this point but I am trying to follow my bankroll management guidelines. I plan to move up to 5NL once I’m at $250 for my Zoom bankroll and move will move back down if my bankroll gets below $200. I’m currently at around the $200 mark.

I’ve slowed down my tournament play this month as I am finding I have less time to dedicate to poker. Now I mostly play tournaments on weekends with some freeroll tourneys throughout the week. I recently checked my rankings online and have found that my tournament play has declined dramatically. I used to finish ITM around 1 out of 5 tourneys but now am finishing ITM only 1 out of 9 or 10 tourneys. I realize the more important statistic is the ROI and higher finishes would reflect that. However, after my laptop power connection failed (I’m no longer able to charge the battery or get power through from an AC outlet), I have been playing without PokerTracker 4 and therefore, without statistics. I thought that I would get my laptop up and running again but it has turned out to be a harder fix than I anticipated. It’s pretty painful because of the amount of time and money I have put into my laptop that I’m denying the thought that it’s truly dead. I’ve only complicated the matter by not keeping track of my tournaments on a spreadsheet like I used to do before getting PT4. I have recently acquired another laptop and am in the process of getting it ready for poker. Hopefully, it will last just as long as my previous one (about 5 years) with much less investment (no new screens, hard drives, memory upgrades, batteries or port replicators please). Failing that, I hope to make enough money to buy a proper poker rig.

Finally, I am inching closer to earning my 4th Stellar Reward for the year and hope to collect a 5th one to total $100 in rewards for the year. It will mean that I need to achieve Silver Star at least once more in the next 3 months. This makes me a little nervous as I had pushed for Silver Star in June so that I could purchase my VIP Club Live ticket at a better price. I had to play at stakes higher than what I usually play (as mentioned above) and ended up losing some money. I aim to avoid that by moving up to 5NL Zoom soon so that it will be easier to attain Silver Star than playing 2NL.

Thanks for reading and please comment below. I promise it won’t be so long in writing my next blog post. See you at the tables and good luck in all your games!