Goodbye Beautiful, Genius, Freaky, Hilarious Bard
George Carlin 1937-2008

Posted by Alex Laforest in

George Carlin died yesterday, at age 71. To quote the NYTimes website, "the cause of death was heart failure".

This is bumming me out. More than expected. A little bit like Stanley Kubrick, about ten years ago. I have been thinking about Death lately... Perhaps it explains why I feel that tightness in my throat my people call moton dans la gorge... Or perhaps the fact that George is, was only one year older than my dad.

Having a sweet glass of porto to his memories, I can only remember those quotes I still constantly use :P...

"The planet is fine. The people are fucked."
"You know who I pray to? Joe Pesci."
"I don't have pet peeves, I have major psychotic fucking hatreds."
"Well, if crime fighters fight crime and fire fighters fight fire, what do freedom fighters fight?"
“When you're born you get a ticket to the freak show. When you're born in America, you get a front row seat.”

And those I just found and/or didn't remember :P:
“Not only do I not know what's going on, I wouldn't know what to do about it if I did.”
“The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.”
“If we could just find out who's in charge, we could kill him.”

And, from all the videos of him out there, one that is, I think, the most emblematic of the creative genius that man was. Cheers, George!


Spewtardation, Stepping Down, More Spewtardation  

Posted by Alex Laforest in

I don't know what's going on. Seriously. Don't really feel like doing anything these days. I get those episodes, for lack of a better word. Right in the middle of one these these days. It's been a long one, actually. Anyway, when I finally decide to play poker, it's more with the idea that I must log a couple of hands at least, keeping myself from rusting too much, you know. But, as you might imagine, I do not play my best poker... far from it. But I figured I could get by fine, even with sub-par play; this is µNL after all, for Jesus Ferguson's Sake!!! But it seems I need my focus on the game... Had a couple of rough breaks too, though, to be completely honest. A couple of lucky rivers for my opponent, flushing my sets, or hijacking my straights, or simply beating my slightly overplayed top/over pairs... All in all, stuff telling me I'm not playing that bad, and might actually be closer to my normal game than I think, but still being off of it somehow... Bored?!?!?! Not of poker per se, but rather with life. And not in any kind of suicidal fashion, not at all...Seriously. And not in a cynical, jaded, seen-it-all way either. Life's great, don't get me wrong :). It's just plain and simple boredom with my routine, I supposed... And I am such a routine guy :S... Just hoping for some changes, something extravagant to happen, I guess... Something in the vicinity of Grandness...

Writing these last two sentences, I was imagining all the positive stuff that could fit into that category; wining a big cash prize in some poker tourney, falling in love, getting a great new job, the Habs claiming the Cup next year, catching a jaw-dropping, fist-clenching, personal moral threatening movie, random good news from friends or family members... Not in any order, by the way, lol... But re-reading those lines, I envision all the tragic stuff that could, in its own right, fall under the Grandness label; sickness (mine, or any of my relatives), death (ditto), accidents, heartbreaks, unemployment... Guess that's at least a bit part of my being unfocused... out of focus, one might even say (wink@Woody Allen for his Deconstructing Harry :P)... Guess the status quo is good enough, after all ;-).

Anywho, back to the poker side of things, and enough with those babblings. Living on a very tight bankroll can be exhausting. At first, I managed to get about 2 buy-ins above my 10 BIs threshold at NL25, but then got into that unfocused period I'm still in, and dropped about 3 buy-ins before deciding to step down. Sniff sniff, but it felt comfy knowing I could shove when a slight favorite without breaking a sweat at the amount of money in the pot :P (exaggerating a tad here, but you get the drift). But, I also started overplaying borderline hands again, and now find myself still stuck for June and going down... I'm also way off pace for my handlogging target. All in all, still figuring why I don't really feel like playing... I know I had a 'live play' rush kinda thing when I played 3-handed poker on some Friday night and then got a very decent 8-handed homegame on the following Tuesday, but those usually translate into renewed enthusiasm around the virtual felt... To be continued, I guess...


New Silly Male-Ego-Thing Objective  

Posted by Alex Laforest in , ,

Not playing a lot so far this June. Close to 3000 hands in 13 days, waaaaaay off pace for my 12K objective, but hey, I can have crazy sick weekends (in terms of logging hands at least :P), and, for my defense, it IS beautiful June over here, in my O so very northern and cold country... Truth be told though, it's a pattern of mine; strong hand-logging months are always followed by a week or two of very light play...

On the other hand, these slow periods often tend to make me dwell back on theory and analysis, which I definitely should do way more frequently. It should actually be part of some regimented, disciplined routine or warm-up or something... I have been considering this for while now, but I must still admit I feel time flying by in my life, and lean towards more of a bohemian lifestyle... Anywho, this rekindling brought me to fiddle around my PT and, lo and behold, I made a tremendous discovery. Ok, ok, it's very personal and it has nothing to do with the software's features and what not; it's just that I always thought I'd be stuck with a red line for my disastrous bout at NL5(2? Whatever!!!! LOL. That lowest of stakes on Stars, blinds a penny/two pennies and a fiver buy-in), but to my astonished eyes and low jaw, I am green at that limit also :D!!! Which brings me to this post's title; my PT has now only one of those dreaded red lines (which, for the record, means you are losing money at this limit), for 6-handed NL10... And this my friend(s), has awaken my pride, my male ego requiring, nay, demanding that every single one of those lines be green as the meadow of a summer park! lol. Seriously, LOL! But, as always, there is an ulterior motive here, a very simple one, which is forcing me to dab at shorthanded play, cause, well, lets face it, the higher the stakes, the smaller the fields. Plus, it's always good to... darn, looking for a translation for ajouter des cordes à son arc... Bah, screw it :P!


Random thought: taking a shot at making a living of poker would certainly means drastic lifestyle changes. Ldo. But the real newsflash here (well, sorta... and for me... Epiphanies are always so... obvious... lol) is the complete shift in the "work" schedule (still can't bring myself to seeing poker-for-a-living as "real work", although every single 5h+ session I ever played drained me as much if not more than a day's work, and I do realize it would be real work...). I mean, I'm a pretty early bird, used to arise between 6 and 8 am, oversleeping until nine maybe and later than that only when I'm hungover :P. But, reading this WCG|Rider's reasons for his NL25 challenge failure:
2) I played during the day a bunch. Sort of retarded on my end, but the games can be ab[s]olutely so nitty during the day that it is very difficult to even beat them for very much. Playing at night is defin[i]tely the way to go when you do something like this.
I came to realize the money is way easier to get at night with poker, which would mean, you guessed it, having to change my very, very old habit (basically potty-trained by 5 years of newspaper routes when in my teens... lol)... I know I could do that, and probably easily enough, but, well, it kinda just struck me... To paraphrase Rider, sort of retarded of me :P, but still...


Edit 2 days later:
Did it! My NL10 6-handed line is now green :D! Woohoo! Can now move back to grinding Full-ring NL25 and try to log some half-decent numbers before June's done :). And I must confess I felt a little stupid and counter-productive and stubborn accomplishing this smallest of objectives!

On a last side note, Daniel Negreanu won his 4th WSOP bracelet, giving me a nice edge in my bet with Nic, but yesterday, Allen Cunningham finished 4th in the PLHE/PLO event, bringing Nic's team closer to back in the game. I have the feeling this bet ain't over, not even close ;-).


The New Stakes  

Posted by Alex Laforest

I can't say I have settled at NL25 yet, but I can surely say I am not (not yet, anyway lol) overwhelmed by it either. I must confess that, while grinding patiently NL10, I spent long hours imagining a seriously freaky gap skillwise between the 2 stakes, and the resulting downfall that would obviously ensure (note the avoidance of the poker slang downswing... Downfall just sounds... grander to me :P). But, as I write these lines multi-tabling on Party, I feel I am actually right in the process of settling in... I still make doofus plays (cf. previous post ;-)), but I think and hope they're getting less and less costly; definitely something I'll have to check in my PT3.

Last thought: I think the mere fact that the pots and other amounts of money are so easy to count, and starting to represent something (at last, even if it's not much :P), helps me concentrate a lot. A little like the few times I played NL200 at the Casino; though I can relatively easily afford to loose a couple hundred bucks, donkeying that much in one night would drastically modify my budgeting on the short term, to put it one way ;-). Thus, I am under the impression that my play is more focused since moving up... The feeling that when I take the virtual felt, I take it with both intent and determination... Not just to pass time, having nothing better to do, like I did playing NL10. A little weird and unexpected... And I guess this might means a tad less hands played per month... Will see!

P.S.: WCG|Rider called off the Insane Prop Bet, so I removed the link from the Links section. Here for is abdicating post.


You Got To Know When To Fold'em...  

Posted by Alex Laforest

Yes, yes, you whiny, jaded, cynical imaginary know-it-all reader, this is gonna be about the very cliché "what to do with my Rockets????" kinda post... LOL! But, just trust me, I won't complain too much, I promise ;-).

Tuesday's after work session was going smooth, I was playing well, doing the savvy teeth-grinding, fist-pounding-the-table laydown of my big slick in front of a shorty's shove from the Button when I got on my first Small Blind (shhhuuuushhh, we'll talk about that very very interesting strategic question in another post) - I just hate paying off Shorties :P... And then, this happens, making me feel like some kind of newbie playing his 53rd hand :P...

Hand Played Like A Silly Boorish N00b #1

Party Poker No-Limit Hold'em, $0.25 BB (8 handed) Party Poker Converter Tool from (Format: HTML)

MP1 ($30.28)
MP2 ($6.69)
CO ($14.28)
Hero ($44.98)
SB ($25.66)
BB ($13.74)
UTG ($7.20)
UTG+1 ($4.98)

Preflop: Hero is Button with As, Ac.
5 folds, Hero raises to $1, SB raises to $3, 1 fold, Hero calls $2.

Flop: ($6.25) 9s, Kh, Kd (2 players)
SB bets $4, Hero calls $4.

Turn: ($14.25) 2s (2 players)
SB bets $8, Hero calls $8.

River: ($30.25) Js (2 players)
SB bets $10.66 and is all-in, Hero calls $10.66.

Final Pot: $40.91

Results below:
Hero has As Ac (two pair, aces and kings).
SB has Ks Ad (three of a kind, kings).
Outcome: SB wins $40.91.

Which is basically overplaying, passively (/puke) an overpair by feeling married to it, enough to be completely oblivious to every sign screaming out loud about how this marriage is due for a hasty divorce! In a nutshell, I think the proper play here is somewhere along the line of either simply folding the flop (which is waaaaayyy too tight, that's for sure, imho), or a raising probe to validate Villain is indeed holding a King. A min-raise would be perfect and could even benefit from a little fold equity from something else than a big slick, since min-raising represents strength... A call (or re-raise, ldo) from villain, means insta-shutdown. This is definitely the play I like the most as I am writing this.


Another example of being absolutely unconscious at the table (especially since this Villain had been ranting about how NL25ers suck big time compared to NL100 players :P).

Hand Played Like A Silly Boorish N00b #2

Party Poker No-Limit Hold'em, $0.25 BB (7 handed) Party Poker Converter Tool from (Format: HTML)

CO ($25)
Button ($31.61)
SB ($25.56)
Hero ($26.07)
UTG ($35.90)
MP1 ($44.74)
MP2 ($4.40)

Preflop: Hero is BB with 3d, 7s.
1 fold, MP1 calls $0.25, 3 folds, SB completes, Hero checks.

Flop: ($3.87) 3s, 7h, Kc (3 players)
SB bets $0.50, Hero raises to $1, MP1 calls $1, SB calls $0.50.

Turn: ($3.87) 6s (3 players)
SB checks, Hero bets $2, MP1 raises to $7, SB folds, Hero calls $5.

River: ($17.87) Qs (2 players)
Hero checks, MP1 bets $9, Hero calls $9.

Final Pot: $35.87

Results below:
Hero has 3d 7s (two pair, sevens and threes).
MP1 has 7d Kd (two pair, kings and sevens).
Outcome: MP1 wins $35.87.

I am having a little harder time figuring the play where I'm the most comfortable here, which is the main reason why I hate hitting with garbage hands out of position!!! But, my first reflex when reading the hand history is to fold to the turn raise from Villain. Just give him credit even though he open-limped preflop. Calling on the turn leaves only one option on the river when a Spades hit; bluffing with a big raise. Not sure this is the maximum EV play though... Still was a good floating spot, but as I said, I was inattentive, to say the least.


All in all, it feels like I am (re)re-learning those basic tights and ropes. Oh well, I'm managing to break even most of the time, with +1 BI grind so far, so it's not that bad... Just a leak needing patching ;-)... And on a pseudo-positive side note (even if this may jinx it :P), I took a slight lead in my WSOP prop bet, thanks to KidPoker's cashing in the No-Limit Holdem 1K w/Rebuys Event :). And the WSOP makes me wanna play lousy donkaments LOL!


May Recap  

Posted by Alex Laforest in ,

Alright, May is over, which means June's here, which in turn means Sun, Summertime, girls, booze, WSOP and vacations :D!!!! Woohoo! ROFL!

More importantly, May 2008 might (and I cannot stress the word enough :P) have been the most significant month pokerwise so far, since I finally (/sigh) managed to rake enough to climb one measly level... which, as lame as the stakes may be, feels very good... Especially since mid-month, I hit one of my worst downswing ever, which quickly became my biggest poker down ever. I thought about simply quitting those stupid objectives-fantasies I entertain about poker (see May 12th post)... I did take a week off, came back, played a lot considering I am trying to live a fulfilled life (lmao), and managed to get my money back in much less time than I had first expected, and which got me so depressed in the first place, seeing all that mountainside I had to climb back yet again... Took me about 25 hundreds hands, basically covering the span of a weekend.

In any case, I am now rolled, barely (11 buy-ins now... w00t!), for NL25, and make it my single goal for June to settle there, and get grinding that level. Funny how moving up stakes, even at those micro-stakes I play, always makes the new game more exciting, the pots being bigger and starting to be more... relevant, the total amount of money involved getting closer to... puzzling... Mind you, NL25 is still a level I could afford to play and lose (not that this is the objective, ldo), but this odd feeling I still get when betting 7 bucks in a 10$ pot makes me wonder what's it gonna be if and when I get to play levels I could not afford where I a losing or casual or touristic player...

And now, for something completely different, the monthly graphs (out of PT3 this month, and from now on, until PokerEV supports PT3's db format or PT3 implements new graph features :P)!  

May 2008 -$$ Won for Hands

May 2008 - $ Won Showdown & Non-Showdown
May08 May08_SD_NSD


And now for something...

... completely different...

For all the media and art buffs out there, here's what I'm tripping on lately, besides poker... Comments and/or suggestions welcomed ;-).

  • Alias (Bendis!) (Graphic Novel)

  • Last Worthy Movie
    Milk (Gus Van Sant)

    And while we're at it, other personal stuff includes (contains French ramblings :P):
  • My Trials With Photography
  • Mise en Abyme (Movie Blog)