Reminder -- WPBT Tournament Series Re-Starts Sunday Jan. 28

This is just a quick reminder today for this weekend to all you poker blogger types out there. That's right -- the World Poker Bloggers Tour returns for its spectacular kickoff tournament to the 2007 WPBT season, coming this Sunday night at 9pm ET on full tilt. Come join everyone who's anyone in the poker blogging community as the group's best and the brightest come out to play and mix things up in what is, in this blogger's view anyways, without a doubt the best concentration of poker blogging skill and mettle anywhere on the Internets.

The WPBT, conceived of by Byron and now this year managed as well by Columbo, is a series of poker tournaments, limited only to poker bloggers or at least players with some actual semblance of an actual blog. The series first ran in 2006, and Byron has conceived of a brilliant scoring script (B recently explained to me what a script actually is, so now I get to use that word and put it in italics too!) that enables them to award Player of the Year (POY) points to the top half of finishers in each event, and to keep a running tally throughout the year of all the players' performances. The semiannual live WPBT poker tournaments held in Las Vegas each summer and winter also count towards the WPBT POY scoring, and generally the live tourneys have the heaviest weight as well due to the higher live-casino buyins, so this only adds to the excitement already generated by this fun and hotly-contest series of poker tournaments among our little group. And the end result is the WPBT Player of the Year leaderboard, which will be hosted and updated regularly on either Byron's and/or Columbo's blog, where anyone can view the list of the top points-winners thus far in the year's WPBT tournaments. Personally, I found this to be one of the most fun aspects of playing poker with the bloggers during 2006. But then, that might have had something to do with the fact that I ended the year in 4th place in POY overall points among the 150+ bloggers who showed up to play in one or more of these tournaments last year.

In any event, this coming Sunday night at 9pm ET marks the first new tournament of the 2007 WPBT season, so all of you bloggers out there will want to make sure you get in early so as not to fall behind in the POY race for the year. Especially you guys who did poorly early in 2006, and a great number of you who started blogging later during 2006 and thus did not have the chance to gain enough POY points to make the top of the list, this is your time to get in there and make an early splash. This Sunday's event will be no-limit holdem, and bears a $26 (tier 1 token) buyin on full tilt, so not only are there the first round of WPBT POY points at stake, but also a nice amount of cash to play for as well. So be sure to come on out and join the crowd this weekend, and support your fellow bloggers as well as make your mark and show your skills for all to see for 2007. I am already registered, so I am definitely looking forward to seeing you all there. Best of luck though, as I always seem to get it up for these WPBT tournaments, so you'll want to watch out for me if I pop onto your table at some point along the way.

Have a great weekend everyone, and I'll see you on Sunday for the WPBT on full tilt. Also, go stop by Miami Don's blog today for a nice post detailing the odds-on favorites to take down the 2007 WPBT POY race. Don can always be counted on for the Vegas odds spin on things, and the WPBT is no exception.

Mondays at the Hoy -- Results and 2007 Leaderboard

Kickass Cardsquad Screenshot!Mondays at the Hoy went off again last night at 10pm ET, at its regular home on pokerstars, and I showed up ready to play and to defend my current top spot on the 2007 money leader board for the MATH tournament. We got our usual 20 runners for this, the first of the weekly blogger tournaments every week, although the list of players last nght did include some new Hoy virgins in addition to many of the old standbys.

I started the Hoy off poorly, calling a preflop raise from steal position from Astin with a mediocre QTo myself, knowing Astin's tendency to bluff with nothing in these blogger tournaments (sorry to spoil your secret, Astin!). When Astin checkraised me on the turn on a board that missed my hand entirely, I had to fold, despite figuring that Astin had nothing, because I couldn't beat any pair, Ace-high or even King-high on this board. Luckily, I soon regained my chips and then some as I was able to make pocket Queens hold up (can you believe it?!) when my flop check induced an allin push from NewinNov with just A4o on a flop of 249 rainbow. This built my stack back over 2400 chips (starting stacks in the MATH are 1500), and on the very next hand I looked down to find pocket Aces.

Pocket Aces. How much do you love taking down a big pot in a no-limit holdem tournament, and then finding pocket Aces on the very next hand, when many of the players are apt to put you on an aggressive Doyle-esque attempt to raise with nothing just to try to make a rush for yourself? It's a rare opportunity, and while I pondered how best to milk as many chips as possible out of my tablemates, Fuel55 limped for the 50-chip big blind from UTG+1, and then relatively new poker blogger Julius Goat followed that up from UTG+2 with a 4x raise to 200. It's like McDonald's says: I'm Lovin' It!

No sooner had I raised this bet to 500 chips preflop with my pocket Aces from middle position, that Mattazuma quickly made it 1200 chips to go from right behind me in the cutoff. Yes! Could I have planned this one any better? Fuel and the Goat (wisely) folded their hands, and of course I moved in for my last 1680 chips. Mattazuma insta-called, and flipped up pocket Jacks. Probably a questionable play on his part, but as he explains on his blog this morning, he in fact thought that I was just making an over-aggro move on the hand following my pocket Queens and the big pot I was able to win with them. And he certainly did the right thing and re-reraised it up big with those Jacks, knocking out Fuel and the Goat, in support of what was basically a necessity to get the pot heads-up were he to have any realistic chance of winning such a high-action preflop pot with pocket Jacks. And he especially did the right thing when the board came Ten - Six - Eight - Five...

Jack on the river. IGH in 16th place out of 20 players. For the second time in the Mondays at the Hoy tournament, Mattazuma knocked me out of a hand from behind after making what I consider to be not such a great play preflop. That said, for the second time, Matt also managed to make great use of my chips, playing much smarter and more selectively aggressive poker from there on out, ending up busting on the bubble in 4th place for another strong showing for the guy who claims he is just donking off the rest of his money online in blogger tournaments due to the latest news from Neteller last week. So my night at the Hoy ended early, but I did stick around to watch most of the rest of the tournament, which was one of the better ones we've had recently on pokerstars.

In the end, after without a doubt the longest bubble period with 4 players left in any Hoy in several months, it was jeciimd ending in 3rd place for an $80 payout, and last week's winner VinNay finishing in 2nd for $120, bringing his 2-week Hoy money total to over $300. And winning the event was Fuel 55, using pocket Kings to call VinNay's pocket 5s preflop in the final hand to ice his first-ever Hoy title, and Fuel's second blogger tournament win in about a week's time. Congratulations to all three of our Hoy cashers this week, and following is the updated 2007 Chase for the Hoy leaderboard, including last night's results:

1. VinNay $310
2. Hoyazo $200
3. Fuel55 $200
4. Zeem $120
5. Ganton516 $114
6. PhinCity $80
7. jeciimd $80
8. Manik79 $76

You may note that three of the eight players who have cashed this year and found their way onto the early leaderboard in the Hoy tournament are non-bloggers, two of which are friends of friends of mine who have never blogged in their lives. So this should give some impetus to all of you out there who are not necessarily involved or even a part at all of the "blogger community" to come out and play next week and in future MATH tournaments, because as you know we always encourage new players to join and see what all the fun is about. I look forward to seeing you next week in the 2007 Chase for the Hoy, and thanks to everyone who came out to play last night as always.

Losing Iron Status, Getting Back in the Game

I'd like to state for the record that NyQuil / NeoCitran and poker do not mix. Seriously, don't try it at home. I've been down with a bout of the flu over the past week which eliminated any hopes and dreams I had of reaching Iron Man status at Full Tilt for the month of January. In fact, I haven't opened a single poker client the entire time (less 3 or 4 SNG's that I completely tanked in) which was probably a very wise decision. The best I can hope for at this point is Silver Status in January, so I'll be working on Iron again once February begins.

I was hoping to play in the MATH and the WWdN this week (especially since Hoy is now keeping a leaderboard with the Monday night results) but had to put the kibosh on that plan as well. Damn flu - miss a week, miss a lot. However, I'll be relearning the game easing back into the online poker world tonight by playing in the Mookie, though it wouldn't surprise me if I donk out in spectacular fashion early on. If you are looking for easy money, come see me. I'll also state for the record that it is highly doubtful I'll be making an appearance at any blogger tables afterwards, but once my system has returned to "normal" I'll be back, and hopefully in fine form.

Details for the Mook tonight are as follows:

What: The Mookie - Ride That Donkey
Where: Full Tilt Poker
Time: 10pm EST
Cost: $10 + $1
Password: vegas1

And don't forget, there is a second chance tournament at 11:30pm EST, which will be turbo PLO. Yes you read that right: Turbo PLO. Oy. Over/under on the total duration of that game?

Mondays at the Hoy Results

Kickass Cardsquad Screenshot!It was another fun night yesterday in Mondays at the Hoy, as 19 bloggers and non-bloggers alike came together in the Chase for the Hoy. As I've mentioned previously, last week (the first non-holiday Monday of the new year), we officially began keeping the leaderboard for the 2007 money leaders in the weekly Hoy tournament, with me actually grabbing the early lead after taking down the first official event of the new year. Although I did make the final table, in the end it was a big blind special that eliminated me, as my A6s on the button in an unopened pot proved not enough to best the big blind who found AKo and a single Ace on the flop, easily enough to convince me to move in the rest of my chips right into the open arms of my opponent.

Overall, last night at the Hoy was another hard-fought bout, with 19 runners setting out to make their mark on the year's money list, and in the end it was a trio of relatively new players in the blogger games that took down the cashish. Winning first place and the $190 first prize was VinNay, with whom I've only played on a few occasions so far but who I hope to see more of in the future. Finishing in second place for $114 was Ganton516, whose blog I could not find on the internets for the life of me, and rounding out the cash spots was Manik79 in third place, putting in his second strong performance in the Hoy in just the last few weeks and winning $76 for his efforts last night.

All this all leaves our 2007 Hoy moneyleader board as of now looking as follows:

1. Hoyazo (yes!) $200
2. VinNay $190
3. Zeem $120
4. Ganton516 $114
5. PhinCity $80
6. Manik79 $76

I look forward to seeing you next week in the 2007 Chase for the Hoy, and thanks to everyone who came out to play last night as always.

New Full Tilt Commercials

Since I read about 200 blogs a day I am so thankful for Bloglines because I don't have to bookmark them all myself or search for each individual page. Yes, I'm lazy. When I come across ones that have video, pictures, or extensive reading though I open them up in a new browser and look at the page in its entirety. One such case recently was The Princess, who posted about Full Tilt Poker's new commercials that are apparently airing during Poker After Dark.

Being Canuck, it is rare that we get the same commercials as my American friends do. That said, I am ashamed to admit that even though I pay for cable every month, I rarely turn on my televsion set so I haven't yet watched the show and have no idea if they are airing the same commercials in Canada or not. Either way, I followed her link to the Full Tilt site and found the commercials highly entertaining, so in case you haven't seem them either, here is the link:

Full Tilt Commercials

Aussie Million Main Event

Since online satellites have been running for what seems like, well, forever, it is almost hard to believe that the Main Event of the 2007 Aussie Millions is finally underway in Melbourne. Dr. Pauly is in the Land Down Under covering the event for, and according to him they are now down to the top 80 players who are all in the money. You can see the full list of players via the "read" link below, but a few notable names still in the running are:

Gus Hansen, Keith Sexton, Andrew Black, Patrik Antonius, Kristy Gazes, Ross Boatman, Kirill Gerasimov, and Joe Hachem.

Go check out Pauly's blog and for videos, news, and info on all the live happenings at this event.

Mondays at the Hoy Tonight

Kickass Cardsquad Screenshot

Don't forget, tonight is Mondays at the Hoy on pokerstars. Here are the details:

What: Mondays at the Hoy no-limit holdem tournament
Where: Pokerstars, "Private" tournament tab
When: Monday nights at 10pm ET
How Much: $20 + $2 buyin
Password: hammer

Although I've run Mondays at the Hoy every Monday since the Spring of 2006, this year we're starting something new as I will be keeping a running tally of the year's leading moneywinners at the MATH tournament. So far yours truly is in the lead, as I won last week's event in spectacular fashion for just my second career MATH title. I will definitely be looking for my first repeat tonight, so come on out and make a run at the yearly cash leaderboard, and try to dethrone me in the process. People love eliminating me from this tournament with just two crappy overcards, so why not come and give it a whirl in the battle for the $20 buyins? Last week we had 20 runners, and as always we're always looking for new Hoy players, and especially first-timers. So if you've never played a blogger tournament or just never played the MATH before, why not make tonight the night that all changes? Was one of your 2007 resolutions to play some poker with the bloggers? Then tonight is your night!

Also, I would like to congratulate Miami Don for taking down his own tournament, the blogger Big Game, last night on full tilt. Don put on quite a show, waiting it out when the action got fast and furious with many allins as soon as the 3 cash spots were reached, and then playing a smart and careful end game to capture all the chips in the end. Kajagugu won the second-place prize, and CC rounded out the cash spots with his third-place finish. I ended the event in 4th place, bubbling out of the primary cash spots, but not before securing a deal that got me back my $75 buyin from the top 3 cash finishers. In all, it was another fun night replete with lots of great poker players and great poker play. I'm looking forward to more of the same this evening, so I'll see you tonight at Mondays at the Hoy!!

Reminder: Big Game Tournament Tonight

Kickass Cardsquad Screenshot

This is just a reminder that Sunday night at 9:30pm ET will be the latest Big Game tournament on Full Tilt, hosted by the one and only Miami Don. I cannot encourage enough everyone out there to play, if you have any interest in getting to know the bloggers, if you have a new blog that you are looking to get publicized, or even if you have no blog at all, or don't even know what blog is (or you just think blogs are ghey). As you can see from the banner at left, the game is tonight at 9:30pm ET on full tilt, under the "Tournaments" tab and then the "Private" tab. The password for all of the Big Game tournaments is "donkey", because that's what you are if you miss this event when you can and should have been playing.

Although there are a number of other blogger-hosted private tournaments out there, the Big Game truly has a unique niche among those other events, due mostly to its buyin amount. While mostly every other regular private game out there is for a $10 or at most $20 buyin, the Big Game features a Tier II token buyin on full tilt, or $75 cash from your account. This changes things for a few reasons. Not only does the larger buyin tend to attract the higher-bankroll players, but those higher rollers also tend to be more highly skilled in nlh tournaments. The result is typically a very well-played and hard-fought poker event, where the top finishers not only have to perform very well to get to that point, but also tend to be paid handsomely for their efforts.

Another great feature of the Big Game that Don has pushed hard to include is the Double Stacks. This means that each player in the tournament will start things off with 3000 chips, instead of full tilt's usual 1500 chip starting stacks. Again, this type of change tends to increase the likelihood of the skill players performing well, since double stacks provides the players with a lot more room to make some moves in the earlygoing, knowing that even if you are forced to fold your bluff, you've still got plenty of chips left to make some noise. Lord knows that I bluff early and often in almost any deep stacks event, so you might want to play just to try to pick me off and get off to a good start early thanks to some chips from your truly.

I cashed in 2nd place in the last of the Big Game tournaments that took place in December, and I will be there tonight again at 9:30pm ET to try to continue that run while I also play in the weekly 30k HORSE tournament at 9:30pm ET which I won a couple of weeks ago. I look forward to seeing you there at the Big Game tonight on full tilt!

Mondays at the Hoy -- and the Early Money Leader Is....

Kickass Cardsquad Screenshot!Oh what a night! There really is something special about winning one's own tournament. Maybe Wil can comment on this as well as he has held the weekly WWdN tournament on Tuesday nights for well over a year now by my records. Actually I guess I don't specifically recall Wil ever winning the WWdN (unlike some people) -- I definitely remember more than one top-3 finish for him some time ago, but maybe Wil can fill us in on the details -- but last night I had the honor of winning my second Mondays at the Hoy tournament and my first of the new year. Even better, I managed to pull off the big victory in the very week that I announced on my blog that I will be keeping a weekly tally of 2007 Money Leaders for the Mondays at the Hoy tournament, which I will post here every week after that week's event.

So it is with great honor and pride that I present to you the first MATH Money Leader Board for 2007:

Hoyazo ... $200
Zeem ... $120
PhinCity ...$80

Really, last night's Hoy is just the latest notch in my belt after what has been a very hot streak for me at the virtual tables over the past couple of months. In fact, last night I also managed to cash in 32nd place out of 1585 entrants in the nightly 25k guaranteed no-limit holdem tournament, which bears the exact same start time of 10pm ET as Mondays at the Hoy, and I also final tabled the nightly HORSE mtt on full tilt, which runs at 10:15pm ET every night. Throw in some full-out donkery from me over a few hours at a blogger 1-2 nlh cash game, and I was a four-tabling machine last night, losing a bit in the cash but making nice scores in each of my other three tourneys that ran concurrently into the wee hours of the morning. I plan to have more of a writeup on those three tournament cashes on my blog later today, but suffice it to say, I am running hot hot hot and can't wait to log on every night to see what I'm going to dominate next.

Hopefully, my streak will continue for one more day, as I am really looking forward to tonight's Winner's Choice tournament on Full Tilt at 9pm ET, for which I won a qualifier this past Sunday as well. It's a $216 buyin no-limit holdem tournament, and the winner wins a $12,000 prize package, including 2k in travel expenses and a buyin to any $10,000 WPT or WSOP event of the winner's choice (hence the name). If I'm lucky I can get on in time to play Wil's WWdN tournament as well, which as always will run tonight at 8:30pm ET on Pokerstars -- password as always is "monkey". See you there!

Weekend Poker Recap

I played A LOT of poker this weekend. More, in fact, than I have probably played in the past month combined. To give you an indication of how much "lots" is, the picture to the right shows the amount of Full Tilt Poker Iron Man Challenge Points I collected in two days. Yes, I am happy to report that I am well on my way to Iron status for January.

The weekend began with an $8 token SNG on Full Tilt which I won, then progressed on to a Tier Two ($26 token entry) which I also placed in. I took that $75 token and played a Tier Three. Now, every time I mention a Tier Three people ask me what it is - so if you aren't in the know listen up. A Tier Three is a 9-player SNG which you buy into for $75 cash or a $75 token. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places pay cash, first place winning $310. Needless to say I won first place in mine (all this with only an $8 investment), so the weekend was off to a great start.

I then moved on to a $1/$2 NL table with a few bloggers, which we ended up taking over for the entire night. I left the table 9 hours later with 3.5x the max buy-in (you do the math). At one point I was actually up almost 5x, but I lost a significant pot (to a non-blogger) when my flopped set of fives lost to a set of aces that my opponent caught on the turn. C'est la vie though, I am certainly not complaining.

Today I played in three large tournaments - the 400k Guaranteed (which I will be writing about in a subsequent post), the $35k Guaranteed, and the $12k Guaranteed, all on Full Tilt of course. I basically bubbled in the 12k - was out in 111th place and the top 72 paid. My money was in with the best of it, but my opponent (who drastically out-chipped me) caught one of their two overcards on the turn.

I did cash in the $35k however. My all-in raise with KK was called by two people - one holding QQ and the other 55. QQ caught another Q on the flop and I was out in was out in 156th place. Since the top 306 places paid, I was still pretty happy with the results.

In between (and during) all this I also played three $30 SNG's (two I didn't place in but the third I won) and I earned another $26 token from a turbo peep. I am exhausted just writing all that out.

Since I am working on earning Iron status in January, I am sure that I'll be keeping up the same momentum throughout the week, hopefully with similar results. Stay tuned for more soon.

Girls, Girls. You're BOTH Pretty.

A few months ago, I played in a FPP satellite for the huge PokerStars Sunday tournament. I didn't win a ticket, but I did make a new acquaintance in Ed Brayton, a hell of a poker player, and a freelance writer who pens the absolutely brilliant Dispatches from the Culture Wars blog.

Ed mostly writes about science, religion, and where they intersect (and when they shouldn't) but he also writes about poker, leading to this gem from last week.

For those of you who aren't up to speed on this: Daniel Negreanu loudly (and, in my opinion, quite ignorantly) criticized Greg Raymer and other players who brought a lawsuit against the World Poker Tour last year, and the resulting kerfuffle took on a life of its own on 2+2, Daniel's Full Contact Poker Forum, and on a small yacht in the Indian Ocean, where two brothers randomly chose the topic as the one thing they were going to fight to the death about to settle the question, once and for all, "Whose is bigger?"

Things seemed to settle down until recently, after Joe Hachem crushered Daniel at Bellagio, and Daniel praised Joe for being a real good tournament player (duh) but also took a pretty nasty swipe at Greg, comparing him to Jamie Gold and Chris Moneymaker as guys who just got lucky. Oh, you di-int!

Yeah, he did, apparently ignoring Greg's impressive tournament record after he won the 2004 WSOP Main Event, which included finishing 19th in 2005, against a field of over 6000 nearly 6000 players.

Now, Daniel has always been a good guy to me, and I genuinely like him, but this is just silly. I don't think he really believes it either; he's talking about Main Event champions who didn't repeat or do much after winning their bracelet, and Varkonyi is conspicuously absent.

Click over to Ed's blog, and take a look at Greg's response to Daniel's barb. It's classic.

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a fantastic New Years Eve last night, and are off to a great start on 2007. I was lucky enough to be able to celebrate with my fellow poker blogger and (former IFF, now RL) friend Katitude as she made the trek out West to celebrate the holidays with her family. They welcomed me into their home with open arms last night, and after chatting for a while and laughing hysterically at their children we ended up playing a little poker, if you can imagine that.

When you play a lot of live poker, you learn to control your emotions. I can sit for hours indifferent to my surroundings and unaffected by the cards, the flop, the wins or the bad beats. Even when I play online I have trained myself to remain unemotional, sitting stoically watching the screen. That is one of the reasons I love home games so much. They aren't so much about who wins or loses, they are about the conversation, the laughter, and the trash talking that ultimately ensues.

There were five of us in the game last night, and other than Kat and myself they are all relatively new to the game. We decided to offer them some helpful hints during the first blind structure (a.k.a. her and I trying to teach them everything we know in 30 minutes) so I am sure it was a bit of information overkill, but they picked up on a lot and then we threw them to the wolves. No better way to learn, right?

Best quotes of the night:

"Folding is not a direct reflection of your masculinity"
"Why are you calling that huge raise with nothing?"
"Why are you calling that huge raise with nothing AGAIN?"

Yes, there was a considerable amount of donkey-like play, and I'm proud to say that a very good majority of it came from me. We had a fabulous time though - thanks again S&B, if you are reading this.

One of my resolutions for the new year is to get together with friends and family and play home games more often throughout 2007 - they really remind me of why I love this game so much.

Best wishes to everyone in 2007!

Snow is -EV for live poker play

Strangely enough we had a warm, brown Christmas way up here in my part of Canuckland, however the Weather Gods have since retaliated and now we are covered in the white stuff. I was planning to head to my local casino tonight for some live poker action, but since the roads are pretty much pure ice I decided to stay in and play some online tournaments instead. Much to my dismay, I found out that The Mookie is on hiatus this week, but Sir AlCantHang has come to the rescue by hosting his Riverchasers tournament so I will probably hit that up.

Even though my poker game is somewhat in the weeds lately, I was more than thrilled to see that it would be a game of HORSE since I am kinda tired of all Hold'em, all the time. Details for his tourney are as follows:

Tournament #9376891@ Full Tilt Poker
Game: H.O.R.S.E.
Date: December 27th, 10pm ET
Buyin: $5+.50
Password: riverchasers
Tournament name: Riverchasers Online Poker Tour Event #5

ouch. my junk.

Well, that was fast.

I sat into today's 50FPP freeroll, ready to play some 'go big or go home' poker, with the speedy blind structure and whatnot, and as an exercise in playing a shorter stack (relative to the blinds) a little more aggressively.

So with that in mind, the very first hand I played was K5c, in the cutoff, after two limpers. I figured that it was a chance to work on post-flop play, too, and unless I really hit, I'd be done with the hand.

The SB called, the BB checked. The flop came Kd-7d-5h, and I had top and bottom pair. An EP limper min-bet, and was called in two places. I upped it to 450, figuring that one of these guys hit his king, or was on a flush draw, and would jam over the top of me, so I could jam back, and take a fairly decent hand to war heads-up.

Everything worked out exactly as planned, when the EP bettor jammed, but things got dicey when one of the callers also jammed. Now I was taking top and bottom pair to war -- on the very first hand I'd played, no less -- against two players with a flush draw out there. Well, I've been trying to avoid the Monsters Under The Bed syndrome, and I figured this was as good a spot as any to gamble and triple up. I just couldn't see how I was behind, unless I was against a set, but I've learned in these short stack things that you just can't be afraid of a set whenever someone overbets a not-that-scary board, right? Wouldn't a set want to get some action from someone who hit TP? And none of the preflop action indicated any premium hands, so . . .

I called, and I was way ahead of K8 and I guess slightly ahead of a Q-high flush draw with no pair.

Well, until the board paired 7s on the river and go from looking good to busto just like that. Ouch.

Did I completely fuck up there? I don't think so. Would any of you guys have played it differently? I figure the right thing to do in a massive field turbo is put all your money in when you're reasonably sure you're ahead and you hope for the best. But right now, I'm feeling a little stupid.

The chat today was nothing like yesterday's. There were lots of friendly and kind comments, including several "Welcome to Riverstars" messages, which were actually delivered with good humor, so at least that aspect of the game was enjoyable.

I play again tomorrow, if you'd like to come in and deliver your own kick to my junk

ah, the joys of online heckling

David Pogue recently wrote a column where he channeled Ric Romero, and marveled at how people online can be such outrageous dicks, and behave in ways that would get them a cockpunch in real life.

I just got bounced from today's Team PokerStars freeroll tourney, and I have to say that even I am shocked at how unconscionably rude these people were; I don't know how guys like Chris and Greg deal with this shit every single time they sit down to play. The quality of their insults was second only to their ability to mangle basic rules of English grammar and spelling.

I tried to leave my observer chat on, because part of my responsibility as a member of Team PokerStars is to chat with folks and stuff . . . but oh my god, I was just stunned at how outrageously idiotic these unaccountable people were. I ignored the comments as best as I could, and just played my game, but I'm going to have to turn observer chat off (or get PokerStars to put a chat moderator on my table) for the rest of the tourneys. That's a real shame, but without accountability and someone to whack them on the nose from time to time, the loudest and most annoying person seems to win in this online version of Lord of the Flies.

I played as well as I could, considering the blinds move up every 5 minutes and it's tough to do much of anything without cards to back it up, but I kept my stack right around 1500 until my M dropped to around 4ish, and I found pocket sevens. An active player with a big stack limped in EP, and I thought about jamming to get heads up, but I got distracted by the haters and just raised, pot-committing myself without using whatever folding equity I had. As far as I'm concerned, that's my only mistake in the hand, so when a player reraised behind, the EP limper called, and I saw a chance to triple up to just over average, I figured I was about 45% or so to win. I called, and they both showed over cards. One guy paired his king, and IGHN about 1/2 way through the field. It was really cool that he was so excited to win the tourney ticket, though, so that was pretty cool, since the whole point of these events is to thank the players who have made PokerStars such a success in the online poker world.

I have to say, though, when I was eliminated, I was a little relieved that I wouldn't have to put up with the insults and various misspellings of "you're" and "your" anymore, and I will admit with some shame that, though I thought it would be fun to play some low-limit cash poker before the Wheetie started, I decided to virtually walk away, so I could get a break from these children. There's something really wrong with that, from both sides, I think.

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