Jason's Poker Blog

  1. 2009-04-30 06:45:59

    A Poker Movie I Forgot to Watch - Deal

    I recently watched the movie "What Happens in Vegas" (which was funny). One of the trailers on the DVD was for the movie "Deal", which stars none other than Burt Reynolds (among others).

    Did I happen to mention the others include Shannon Elizabeth? I met her twice. Once was with Galen at the best place to eat in the world: Grand Lux Cafe at the Venetian. She was sitting across from us. The other time was while she was playing in event #48 in the 2008 WSOP. She was kneeling on her backwards-turned chair with her butt in the air.

    Did I happen to mention that by "meeting" Shannon Elizabeth I meant we kind of looked at her and talked about her? Yeah.

    Anyway, back to the storyline. The music and rhyme are designed to make you have a good time. Props to Graham for getting that reference, I'm sure. Anyway, here we go: Has anybody seen this movie? I think I need to see it, just for fun, even though I'm sure it will be ... okay, at best.

    Did anybody see "The Grand"? Funny stuff :) (And Shannon Elizabeth again!) I liked that one, but I'm not much of a movie connoisseur.

    I'm putting "Deal" on my Blockbuster queue and will report back.

    Posted by Jason M at 2009-04-30 06:45:59 | permalink | Discuss (2 comments)

  2. 2009-04-14 00:43:32

    Chad Luck and the Poker Failure

    One of the best parts about living in wonderful Foster City are the power outages. I've been told it's because we live on a landfill at a very low elevation, which causes leakage into the power grid tunnels, which causes shorts. I've already had to throw away dinners and change work plans, and worse yet, power outages decimate our database infrastructure at work. I've never had outages affect my online poker, but today something unbelievable happened.

    My good friend and roommate Chad plays low buy-in tournaments on Carbon poker. Some of these tournaments are 25-50 players while a lot of them are 100+ or even 1500. He does pretty well, and usually at least bubbles, even in the big ones. Sunday he was signed up for a 3:30pm $5 bounty tournament, but the power went out at 3pm. He couldn't unregister on his iPhone, so we just hoped the power would come back on in time...

    At 5:12pm, the power came back up. He turned his computer on and logged in. He was UTG with 430 in chips (starting stack was 2k) and the blinds were 150/300. There were still 21 players left out of the 60 initial players. He was dealt and decided to fold, since the chance of the next hand being better was so great. A player at another table got knocked out, so it was down to 20. On the 300 big blind, Chad was dealt ! Five people limped (probably trying to collect the bounty) and a sixth person went all in for 1100. Chad called all in, and another 2 players called the 1100.

    The flop:

    Awesome! Everybody checked it around. We were hoping somebody would bluff with air and the twos would hold up, but no dice.

    The turn:


    The river:

    Pow! While everybody was checking it around we were yelling and were high-fiving each other. Our celebratory yells were soon replaced by yells of disbelief as the monitor went blank. Before we could even tell if we won the hand for sure, the power went out. Insane!

    The power just blipped on again (for only 5 minutes of course) and it turns out Chad won the hand and had about 2500 in chips. He ended up folding into 15th place :p

    Posted by Jason M at 2009-04-14 00:43:32 | permalink | Discuss (7 comments)

  3. 2009-03-31 03:59:32

    Spring Break in Vegas

    I'm back from my "Spring Break" vacation in Vegas. It was more of a vacation than usual, which was quite enjoyable.

    Not Poker

    We stayed at the Venetian (thanks for setting all of that up, Ace) and I spent most of my time there, although others ventured out into the unusually warm (and ever dry) outside here and there.

    Here are some items that I feel are noteworthy:

    • I did make it to the Rio to see "Penn & Teller". Some of the tricks were visibly fake (we did have 3rd row seats), but overall it was a great show. I especially enjoyed the "Psychic" portion of the show. These guys are smart.
    • We went to Tryst at the Wynn. The waterfall + pond is pretty nifty for a club. It's layed out pretty well and it was not overly crowded. Thanks to Dan for getting us all in for free :D
    • We got a table in the mega-section at Tao in the Venetian near a group celebrating the birthday of some actor from the Soprano's. Be jealous :p This was my second time at Tao, and I think I like Tryst better. Tao is just too crowded. They opened Tao Beach and it was not as special as I thought it would be. It was fine/neat/cool, but not kick-ass.
    • I visited a spa (at the Venetian) for the first time in my life (thanks for setting that up, Megan). I recommend it. Wow. On top of the massage, they have multiple relaxation rooms, saunas, hot tubs, an "igloo" and other crazy stuff, as well as everything you need to get ready to go out. A one-hour massage can easily turn into 3 hours of relaxation for no additional charge.


    I only played about 15 hours of poker, so I only lost about $300. Not a bad hourly rate, right? LOL. Ace and I managed to play for a few hours each day and also a couple of the nights. Jeff and Stephen from Vegas also joined us (thanks, guys) and so did Nio. Below are some memorable (and not so memorable) moments from the Venetian poker room... Enjoy :p

    My first session ended badly with me flopping a flush. That's a ridiculous statement, isn't it? My opponent had played and raised and won the last 3 hands, so I called his raise with . The flop was and I was in heaven. I checked and he bet. I just called because he was 3-barrelling the whole way to get his opponents to fold. The turn was the and it went check-bet-call. The river paired the board and he went all in. I called and he flipped over . Nice! The very next hand Stephen played in the small blind against the same guy. The guy didn't show because Stephen took his whole stack after rivering the his nut flush. Aargh hahahaha. Stephen bought me a drink to help me get over it :p

    Adrian and I played in the noon tournament on Thursday. It was $150 to enter, and we started with 7500 in chips. It has the same structure as the deep stacks, so it was pretty good. We woke up late and got our chips after a few hands had started. I flopped top two pair with and then we got up for the rest of the round to find some food. I lasted until about round 4 when I called an all in semi-bluff straight draw and he hit. Adrian lasted a couple more rounds, but we didn't money. I recommend this tournament. There were a few good players and a few stack-gifters. I felt comfortable at the table from the moment I sat down.

    I had a great session later that night. The best hand is when I defended a raise from the maniac in the hijack with my in the small blind. Four people had already limped, there was one call, so I confidently over-called. The flop was of course, so I donked right into everybody for $40 from first position. The relatively solid player on my left raised all in for $64, the player to his left took 3 minutes to (supposedly) fold two-pair, and the preflop raiser flat-called. I think he knew something about how I only donk in with the nuts... The turn was a blank , so I bet and he called $100. The river was another blank so we repeated. I showed the nuts and he showed . So I raked in a good $550 pot. Unfortunately, it was Ace who had the kings. LOL.

    Saturday nights are great for poker at the Venetian. I started out by stacking pocket aces with my , switched tables and stacked a drunkard with my nut straight (after check-mega-raising because I knew he'd call), and then finished building my stack up to $800 by bluffing the river for $100 with on a board of against an aggressive button-raiser only to get called because she didn't think I had a jack. She was right, but her pocket threes didn't hold! I'm going to write about my last hand of the session in the strategy forum to get some input. It was a crazy one :)


    I'm really busy right now and expect to be taking some time off poker except for a game once or twice a month until I get finished with some of the other projects I have going. Thanks for reading, and I will catch up with the comments and questions here and on the forum as soon as I can.

    Posted by Jason M at 2009-03-31 03:59:32 | permalink | Discuss (6 comments)

  4. 2009-03-25 16:54:16

    Off to Vegas

    We have a big group going to Vegas, leaving in 10 minutes. Woo! So far we plan on going to Tao on Friday (with snazzy table service) and Penn & Teller on Saturday. We don't know what we are doing Saturday night, but hopefully there is a place we can get into easily enough after the show.

    As always, there will be some pokering. I might try some 6/12 or 8/16 limit just for Nick :) Maybe some 2/5 NL if I'm feeling lucky. Hopefully we can win some money to justify coming back in April for the Deeeeeeep Stacks!

    Quick question: does anybody have any recommendations for food and/or after-show party location at the Rio for Saturday?

    If anything amazing happens, I'll post it here. Bye!

    Posted by Jason M at 2009-03-25 16:54:16 | permalink | Discuss (6 comments)

  5. 2009-03-18 03:52:13

    Full Tilt Poker Academy

    I received an email from Full Tilt a couple weeks ago touting their Poker Academy. I was a little bit skeptical and put off reading the email until just now.

    I just hit the URL and the first thing that struck me is the site looks good. The design is aesthetically pleasing. Videos are integrated into the pages. It's just pretty slick. I logged on with my Full Tilt account and it turns out I am a "Gold Member" which means I get unlimited featured content. You can become a Gold Member by gaining Full Tilt points by playing real money on the site or by finishing challenges in the Academy.

    I'm pretty sure this isn't as good of a learning community as some other pay sites offer (, for example), but it seems pretty slick. I'm sure the main goal is to make a nifty-looking community that gets more people to log on and play on their real money application, but it seems like there are some good lessons to be had, also.

    If you have time, check it out and post your comments below. I probably won't get around to logging in to it for another couple weeks, so it'd be nice to see what other people think. Thanks!

    Posted by Jason M at 2009-03-18 03:52:13 | permalink | Discuss (0 comments)

  6. 2009-03-11 06:52:13

    Even My Cat Beats Me at Poker

    This is the last picture I took of Buddha. He masterfully trapped me with his aces.

    Posted by Jason M at 2009-03-11 06:52:13 | permalink | Discuss (6 comments)

  7. 2009-02-24 04:44:12

    February 2009 Vegas Deep Stack Extravaganza Recap

    I was hoping I'd be able to write a long post about how this last trip to the Venetian was another success, but that's not going to happen. In fact, being in Seattle, then getting sick, then going to Vegas has left me with way too much stuff to do, so I'm not going to go too much in depth here.


    Day 1

    The first day ($340 entry) I went out in 200th place out of 430 players. I didn't actually get a hand better than or until we were 4 hours in. I had just made a failed steal attempt when the blinds were at 300/600 with 50 antes and the blinds increased to 400/800 with 75 (that's 2k in the pot). I picked up and rejoiced inside. I set the new standard raise a bit high at 2600 and the big blind defended. With about 15k to start the hand, when the blind checked to me on the board, I bet out 3300. The blind then raised 15k on top, which put me all in, so I called. He had and the turn was the . I didn't bother staying to see the river :) Adrian lasted a bit longer.

    Day 2

    The second day ($340 entry) I actually made a run for it. There were 534 entrants, and I picked up a few times in the early rounds to build enough of a stack to keep things going when I went card dead. I failed to pick up another hand for the next 3 hours. I was waiting for an opportunity to build a bit so I wouldn't be blinded out, and something interesting finally happened. One of the most aggressive (and large-stacked) players on the table made a fairly large steal raise from the button to open the pot, and I decided to make it 3.5 times more his raise to go from the big blind with my . He thought for a bit, and to my surprise he went all in. I thought he was a lot weaker than that... So I called and he had . The flop came out , so I called for a diamond on the turn. Oops, it was the . So I called for a diamond on the river: ! Yay.

    A few hands later, I received . I raised, somebody shoved, so after some deliberation I called. They had and I didn't get unlucky. Evidently, I offended my opponent by thinking about it for a couple minutes. Whatever. The very next hand I was dealt and made the same raise. My opponent on my left, who had been respecting me a lot, smooth-called (damn) and the small blind (who had re-raised me twice already) shoved. Awesome! I reshoved, on my left folded so the in the blinds was isolated, missed the flop, and was out. It turns out would have been the best hand ;) Woo woo! I was up to 120k with the blinds at at 600/1200.

    Adrian busted out a bit ago and met up for dinner with Chad, Jeff, Stephen, and a few of their friends (Dan, Meagan, Laurel). I took my 10-minute break opportunity to eat some stuff off of their plates and get a few pieces of advice. Unfortunately, when play resumed, I folded away about 20k. Then the maniac who doubled me up with his built back up with a few lucky and good hands. He made another button raise against my blind, and I smooth-called with . Long-story short, he flopped a set of sevens and I hit my ace on the turn, so he took me for a good 50-60k.

    Jeff and Stephen stuck around with Adrian and Dan to watch me eat dinner. We talked about every possible hypothetical situation with my 5-M stack that had me starting on the big blind. I felt pretty confident I could make it work... So I went back, ready to shove. Everybody folded to my big blinds - great start! I shoved two more times and didn't get called and then switched tables :D

    I shoved again with and doubled up against LOL. But then I had to fold a fifth of my stack away with crap hands when people raised (and re-raised) in front of me. I went out open-shoving with against . Oh well.

    80th/534 players. Meh.

    Day 3

    This one is short and sweet. It was the $560 tournament with 340 players (more than expected). There were a few bad players and a few great players on my table and we never moved. Eventually the bad players gave the money to the good players. I ended up losing with on an ace-high flop when the guy called my turn bet for 600 with because it was six-hundred and he had sixes... He busted out pretty quickly.

    I folded everything but about 10 hands for about 5 hours. No jokes. I ended up getting crippled when I raised an aggressive pre-flop raiser with my from the button but had the big blind come over the top with . Ugh. I went out shortly after that with a open-shove into . 220th place.


    I felt pretty good at the tables. There were some really good players, and a lot of mediocre players. I seemed to pick them out pretty well. I did make noticeable mistakes in both tournaments, which motivates me to keep trying. I would rather look back and see what I did wrong than just think I was getting unlucky. However, I was seriously card dead for hours at a time in all three tournaments. I think I had JJ-AA about 10 times in 15 hours of play. I should do the math and see if that's normal.

    One thing I know I need to work on is accumulating chips when I don't have hands. I need to figure out when to re-steal. I have no problem raising with mediocre hands in position and stealing on the flop (or doubling up when I accidentally hit it). Maybe it's not necessary to re-raise with junk, but it seems like I need to do something else to help build when the hands aren't coming or connecting.

    1/2 NL at the Venetian

    The first night was great - I made about $650 in 2 hours with Chad. I flopped three-of-a-kind a few times and got full value. The rest of the nights were so-so. Some wins, one big loss. It's definitely amazing to play late nights on Friday and Saturday. Wow. People are just drunk, tired, stupid, or all 3. Or they are pros, capitalizing on those traits :)

    The most disappointing pot was when I 3-bet this dude on the turn to build an $800 pot. I had ace-high on a flush draw board and I just couldn't believe he had me beat. Unfortunately, he didn't, but he called with his flush draw anyway (and hit). Boo! I reconsidered the situation and decided I should have flat-called his turn raise and went all in on the river if I still felt the same way. Maybe, maybe not.


    Although we came out behind, this was definitely one of the better trips. Staying at the Venetian made everything so much easier. I ate at the Grand Lux cafe at least 7 times. I think I played 40 hours of poker in 4 days. I saw my grandpa and grandma from WI and other friends from way back in the day. "ROK" at NYNY was pretty good for a Wednesday, and had cheap bottle service ($240 with tip for 4 guys when regular entry would have been $120). Tao lived up to the reputation. And finally, my flight back was only delayed one hour. That's a new record for being home on time!

    I'm sorry I didn't keep people posted in a more live manner. I did not have any down time. Every day was eat, poker, drink, poker, sleep. Repeat. Yay.

    Posted by Jason M at 2009-02-24 04:44:12 | permalink | Discuss (11 comments)