Wednesday, December 26, 2007

ITH "2" is finished!

I have finally completed the 2nd edition of my first book, Internet Texas Hold'em. I have wanted to revise and update this book for a long, long time and have finally completed it. The book will have a new title as I have deemphasized the "internet" part of the book and adjusted some things here and there to make the book appropriate for both live and online limit games. I pretty much have the new title nailed down but will wait to announce it once I have it finalized.

I basically went through the entire book to make little changes here and there to make it read better. I also added/deleted/updated a few concepts where I saw appropriate. For example, there were a few concepts which are used so rarely I just deleted them. I also put more emphasis on certain concepts - for example playing in loose games/multi-way pots. I updated the Starting Hand chapter and guidelines to allow for more looser games. I also gave the "beginner" player more credit to learn faster to I added a few more hands here and there which I think people beginners can play profitably.

The most significant change however is the addition of three new chapters. There are two new chapters which cover short-handed play and one chapter on multi-way pots. I am very pleased with all three. It was a challenge covering short-handed topics in just two chapters, but I think the material will really help people who start to play short-handed. There are starting hand guidelines for short-handed play as well as my generaly approach to these games (which happens to be favorite form of limit hold'em).

So I've finished the manuscript. I am having it professionally copyedited for grammar and style, it will need to be typeset again, and then printed so we are looking at a late March/April release date.

I expect the Rizen/Ape/Pearljammer book to come out in May.

I played last Sunday my normal 9 tourneys and came away with nothing for the first time ever. I finished 38th in the RB event where they paid 36 losing A9 to KQ. I wasn't crazy about the guys call with KQ. I raised from middle position with an M of about 4.5 to 5. The player with a huge stack called me from the SB with his KQ. I think this is a decent call in a "normal" situation as many players would raise with all kinds of hands with a short stack. However, many players tighten up 2 away from the money so not sure if his call was the best there. But in any case he stopped my streak and cashing at least once on a Sunday.

I played very well for a few hours and then things started to go awry I think for two reasons. Around 7 to 730 I had 7 tables going. I have made a few mistakes playing this many tables before and I made another one this time as I didn't see a third player involved in a hand. I also seemed a little tired so I think I got off my game. It was a shame as I was chip leader in a PCA satellite for probably a couple of hours and then fell short having misplayed a hand.

I'll probably play this Sunday and then I'll be off to the Bahamas for the PokerStars tourney in early January.

Oh, I forgot about an amazing 100-200 limit game I played the other night. There was an absolutely horrendous player in the game. He raised UTG with 92 on one hand (6-handed). He called a flop raise with 6-3 on a board of K-J-2. The best hand was on this board though, AA727. He leads out flop and turn and I call. He bets the river, I raise, and he calls. He had 9-8! Unfortunately the 9-2 hand took a $4k pot from me, but I still managed a very nice win in just about an hour.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

and Life...

The title of this blog is Poker and Life. Although I am heavily involved in poker from many aspects - websites, books, and playing, I also enjoy a very healthy family life. This entry is mostly about life with a little bit of poker thrown in at the end.

We lived in New Zealand for a couple of years back when I wrote Internet Texas Hold'em. We also visiting there earlier this year for a couple of months. Our best friend's son, Sam, came to visit us this week for five days on his way back to New Zealand from England. Sam is 19. Diana's niece is also in town who is 15. So this week I was the tour guide for Atlanta.

Sam arrived on Sunday so no poker for me. We went to Midieval Times that evening for dinner. Midieval Times is located in 6 or 7 cities around the country. It's basically a dinner theater, but the show performed by live "knights" and horses doing horse tricks, jousting, and fighting. And then of course you eat dinner with your fingers. My two boys were totally enthralled so I was watching them watching the show half the time. Overall great fun, although on the expensive side. Kind of one of those things that is worthwhile to do once.

On Monday we visited the Acquarium, which features the largest fish tank in the world. It is only 2 years old and quite nice. We then saw The Alps at the Imax about a guy climbing the Eiger. I love movies and I love Imax. That evening we went to Lake Lanier which features Christmas lights. The boys just had a fantastic time once again. Sam is a great kid and Joshua really took a liking to him and they bonded quite well.

On Tuesday we went to Stone Mountain park. Great family fun for a very reasonable price. $18 for adults and $14 for 3 and up (Zachary was free). The park has a mini-town which they decorated with more than 2 million Christmas lights creating a great atmosphere. We saw a 25 minutes Christmas song and dance show, a 25 minute 4d movie of The Polar Express, a 12 minute laser show on the side of the mountain, and concluded the evening with a "snowfall" celebration and fireworks. That took us about 4 hours with dinner and walking around the shops. There were a couple of shows we missed as well as the train which goes around the mountain with Christmas decorations. Overall great value and I think we'll probably plan on going there every year as the boys just had an absolutely fantastic time.

On Wednesday we had dinner at the top of the Westin Peachtree hotel, which has a restaurant at the top which rotates in a circle giving great views of Atlanta.

All of this really put me in the Christmas spirit. Joshua really understands Christmas now and Santa Claus so I'm really looking forward to Christmas this year. All of my family is coming to visit so should be a great time.

On to poker....How about Scott Clements?! Is there a more accomplished tournament player over the last couple of years? He has won 2 WPT titles, 2 WSOP bracelets, and he just won the premier online event, The Poker Stars Sunday Million. He has basically reached the pinnacle of what I call the Big 3 - WSOP, WPT, and Online tourneys. I don't believe I have ever played with him and I don't know him - but congrats Scott on an amazing run.

I'd also like to congratulate Rizen for winning $50K+ in one of the UB special $500 events.

I did manage a couple of short-handed limit sessions which I haven't played in quite some time winning about $1200. One particular hand was fun. I raised from SB with 63s, the BB 3-bet, and I 4-bet as he had been quite aggressive from the BB against me. I couldn't wait for a premium hand to make a stand against him. He flopped 2 pair and I hit a flush on the turn so I won a huge pot. He typed in chat "keep 4-betting with 63s", so I replied "keep 3-betting with J high!".

I hope to play the big Sunday tournaments before the holidays.

Happy holidays everyone!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Two shoes

I had quite an embarrassing moment the other night doing something that I've never done before in my life. I took Joshua and my wife's niece, Laura, to the park the other day (the weather here has been gorgeous lately). Joshua and I are swinging away and at the top of my swing, I get a great view of my shoes right in front of me. There was a problem - I was wearing two different shoes! I had a black tennis shoe on and a black casual shoe on.

Laura, who is fifteen, couldn't stop laughing. After thinking about it for a while, I'm surprised I've gone almost 41 years without ever having made this mistake. I have all of these shoes in the closet, I grab a couple, and I'm off. I can see where I might make this type of mistake. If anyone has done this also, please post a comment as it would make me feel a little better :).

Sunday's tourneys didn't go too well. I cashed 50th in the UB $215 and that was my only cash. I lost a big pot with A-K vs AJ with about 60 left which would have put me in the top 3 in chips. I made some really good calls on Sunday that I was quite proud of, and I think indicative that I am starting to understand the online player a little better. I did make some questionable plays in the FTP 750K guarantee. I was doing quite well in that event. I had 7 tables up and running and I find that I sometimes panic when 2 or 3 tables are going. I need to learn to use the time clock and take my time on big decisions. In any case, there was a raise, and I made a big overbet allin raise with A-K from middle position. The SB woke up with AA and busted me. I should have known better to commit such a large stack but I just started to panic a little and didn't think about my position and the players behind me. It seems like every Sunday I make one of these types of "online" mistakes due to multi-tabling.

Now that I am playing a lot more online MTT's, I can see where the variance is quite frustrating. In many of these tournaments, 50% of the prize pool is paid in the top 3-5 spots. Let's say you have a 50% ROI. You invest $100 in the tournament. You expect to cash $150 for each tournament played. This means you get $75 when you finish in the top 3 and $75 for all other cashes. You are losing money until you get that top 3 finish! So far this year in the bigger tourneys, I've won one PS nightly tournament and won a seat to the Bahamas. I've had lots of cashes, but most in that 11th to 50th range. Getting close just isn't good enough in tournament poker. I feel good about putting myself in a lot of situations to get that big win, but it's frustrating falling short so often. Hopefully if I keep working on my game, just a very slight improvement here and there will get me over the hump.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Official Announcement for Rizen, Apestyles, Pearljammer books

I've hinted a little about three new books that I will be publishing next year and we finally released the "official" announcement this week.

From the press release:

"The first two books, yet untitled, are a two-volume set written by three of the top tournament players in the world, Eric “Rizen” Lynch, Jon “Pearljammer” Turner, and Jon “Apestyles” Van Fleet. Collectively, they have over 200 wins, 1000 final tables, and have cashed for more than 6 million dollars the last few years playing in both live and online poker tournaments.

This series will analyze real hands played by the authors to demonstrate their thought processes and strategies they use to achieve their success. The books are set for a spring and fall release in 2008.

Eric “Rizen” Lynch has also teamed up with Matthew Hilger to write No-Limit Hold’em Tournament Strategy: Expert Strategies for Live and Online Play. The book is scheduled for a Fall 2008 release and will look at advanced concepts and strategies for succeeding in no-limit Hold’em tournaments."

We are currently working on the first volume of the hands book and so far the material is excellent. I'm learning a few tricks myself from these guys are am really enjoying working with all three of them. There will be at least 50 hands from each author that they walk through from start to finish. It will likely be a book that players of all levels will be able to learn from.

Eric and I call the NL strategy book, the "big" book. The hands books are going to be great, but I am also very excited to start working on the NL book which we will probably start writing in January. We have put together a tentative table of contents and I can't wait to see what Eric has to write about some of the topics. I highly recommend that you read some of Eric's articles found at Cardplayer and Bluff to get an idea of how good of a writer he is.

We will be collaborating similarly to how Ian Taylor and I worked on The Poker Mindset. Eric will be doing most of the writing and I will be helping him from start to finish with feedback, suggestions, etcetera. And of course I am the publisher also.

I really enjoyed working with Ian on The Poker Mindset and I hope to be publishing more authors in the future. I find it a lot more fun to work in collaboration with others rather than working on a project all by myself. I also think the end product turns out much better. Hopefully the next three books will set the bar very high.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Another Deep run

I won’t go into much details. I thought I played the best I’ve played in quite a while, especially in the FTP Mulligan where I finished 13th. Yet another deep run without hitting the big payday. Lost one key hand with about 50 or 60 left (?). I made what I think was a great call with 77 and lost to A3 and A8 – with A3 having the bigger stack of the two opponents. If ace doesn’t hit the river I’m in top 5 in chip count but that’s the way it goes sometimes. Also cashed in the Sunday Million but for small amount. I’m playing most Sundays now in about 9 tourneys and it seems like I always have one nice deep run, hopefully I’ll hit soon.

On to better news…

It was my boys’ birthdays this week. They were both born on November 28th and are now 4 and 2. We had a Chuck y Cheese party today which was actually quite fun. The boys got this riding bike that connects to the TV to play games – the first toy I’ve seen Joshua get addicted to. He played for 4 hours until it was time to go to bed. I loved seeing it because I remember my addictions back from my childhood days. Great stuff and I’m glad they had a lot of fun.

My fantasy football seasons are about to end with me missing the playoffs in both Leagues. In the ITH League, I lost 2 games by less than 2 points, one by 2 yards – which pretty much did me in. In my main League, it was just a struggle all year long. There are ten teams. I had one draft pick who exceeded its draft “value” – Kellen Winslow. Bush was average. McNabb was average. Hines Ward was good but injured. Everyone else was a disappointment, especially Rudi Johnson, Lee Evans, and Baltimore. For only having one good thing happen all year (Winslow being hot and not getting injured), I actually had some momentum a couple of weeks ago and a shot to make the playoffs.

I tell you, if you think poker is frustrating from all of the bad beats, try fantasy football! – busted draft picks, injuries, lineup miscues, unlucky scheduling…it’s brutal and I have no idea why I keep doing it :).

I’ll be making a big book announcement very soon so stay tuned.