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playing poker and teaching science: May 2005

playing poker and teaching science

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Location: Indiana, United States

I'm a middle school science teacher, wrestling coach, poker player, scuba diver, aikido black belt, amateur writer, and student of life. In the past I have tried to give back a little by volunteering at a children's home in Belmopan, Belize, Central America. I also love Frosted Flakes. I have taken a year sabbatical from my teaching position in order to sail the Caribbean. Does that sound crazy to you?

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

On line

I just bet out on my quad 9's and was raised and re-raised. I love on line poker :-)

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Beans don’t fry on the grill…

I’m movin’ on up.

After a few weeks of the variance of bonus chasing and trying to play just to get numbers of hands, I’ve decided to ditch that experiment with the following observations:

1. Bonus chasing can be profitable.
2. Bonus chasing requires ABC poker.
3. Bonus chasing requires a lot of time.
4. Bonus chasing is not very much fun.

It was an interesting experiment, but if I have to complete a certain number of hands in a certain time period, I’m not having fun playing and, after all, poker is supposed to be fun. I did however see a lot of things that take excessive playing time to observe. Such as:

1. In one WINNING session I had quads beaten by a straight flush and an aces over 10’s full house beaten by quad jacks.
2. Won a huge pot with a king high straight flush winning over an ace high flush.
3. I received KK three hands in a row, doubled up on the first one and lost to 88 with a flopped set, and then 77 when four spades hit. Guess who had none.
4. In a game of Omaha hi, SEVEN people stayed all the way to the river in a raised and re-raised pot where I won, 31 big bets with the FLOPPED nut flush.

The bankroll I have on line is large enough t venture into the unexplored land of $3/$6 limit hold em. I have three times the amount I usually buy into a 3/6 game with and I know I’m a winner at these home games. So I’m moving up a level.

I sat for a few orbits last night and made $75 in less than a half hour with good starting hands in good position. The game was very tight and the players very predictable, yet I resisted the urge to make any type of real play. I played ABC and was called down with the best hand.

We’ll see how things go up on the east side, in my New York apartment in the sky.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Bonus Guy

The latest report on bonus whoring is that it ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Yes, it is definitely a way to make money and at last count I have made about $200 in the last three weeks. I just finished a 50% match bonus on Empire Poker however and by the end of it I was just tired of playing to be playing.

I really enjoy poker and the enjoyment comes from not only playing poker, but reading about, watching, and researching poker. When you have to slave away to make sure you reach the minimum hand requirement in a limited amount of time, it’s just not that much fun.

Just when I was thinking these words I found this at the Bad Beat Blog:
"I made the right decision in curtailing my bonus chasing. I find I am dreading firing up Empire Poker each night to clear my requisite 100 hands to finish off the latest bonus. The upside is that the $1/$2 shorthanded tables are still ATMs. Still, I find myself checking my total number of raked hands every five minutes so I can move back to playing SnGs. My love of poker is coming back and it was the bonus whoring that was killing it."

I concur.

That said, I just found out about a Party Poker bonus, but it is only a 7x hands played match and I have a month to play it off. So I placed bonus bankroll, which incidentally has gone from $179 to exactly $300 in the last three weeks, and put it into Party to play the $1/$2 short-handed games I enjoy so much.

I play because it’s fun. Making money is going to be second for now.

Interesting article from the Indianapolis Star about college poker:


Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The dangers of research...

As a science teacher, research is an integral part of my psychological make up. So I consider reading poker books, articles, and blogs to be another form of research. When I come across some tidbit of information worth considering I go into thought mode and ponder it until I decide to use it or not.

Here’s the latest food for thought from Iggy at Guinness and Poker:

“For you fun-loving recreational players, I remember reading some random Mike Caro article about "protecting your bankroll" in which he espoused that you can be more reckless with a small bankroll than you can with a large one. And more importantly, how most players treat their bankrolls just the opposite. And how, if you have a poker bankroll, it's for poker *only*.In other words, if you have a good job and a few hundred bucks online that is easily replaceable, take some shots.”


Chop, chop, chop.

Another score at my weekly home game! With eight players this week the play was very rock-esk for the first three levels and as players began to drop I found myself winning a small pot here and there to stay alive, but since we were only paying the top two spots, third was the same money as eighth so I carefully looked for a place to make a move.

I was able to take advantage of some lucky play of The Guy Catching Cards Out Of His Ass, who had already eliminated two playes, when he called the all-in play by the next to smallest stack. Under the gun moved all-in with KQs and was called by TGCCOOHA who was holding a pair of ducks. Behind him was the short stack who called to triple up with AQ. The board missed everyone and I was in the top three.

Down to the top three I was able to take advantage of my table image as a solid player winning a huge pot with KQs. I made a big raise pre-flop which was called by TGCCOOHA and then moved all-in without even looking at the board after the flop. Actually I was looking at the board out of my peripheral vision, but TGCCOOHA was looking at me during the flop, looking for weakness and I showed nary a bit. He folded without even thinking about it and I was able to coast into the top two.

The Chop:

This has become a very friendly game with a lot of camaraderie and a few guys that drift in and out donating money to the cause. I’ve made it to the top two twice lately and chopped the winnings, once 50/50 and last night about 60/40 as I was behind in the chip count.

There are some players who never chop and if this was some prestigious tournament with a huge payout……nah…. I love to win but making it to the top two or three is a win as far as I’m concerned especially when you consider the fact that rising blinds eventually make it a coin toss anyway and in this case I really didn’t want to be tossing a coin with TGCCOOHA I don’t mind taking the guaranteed money. Also, moving on to the limit portion of the evening is as important as the tournament.

I have now officially made enough money playing poker to pay for my Vegas trip. In the words of Napoleon Dynamite, “Sweet!”

I won’t be chopping in Vegas. Winning the blogger’s tournament and becoming a paragraph in blogs all over the web will be my 15 minutes of fame!

Monday, May 02, 2005


If I was talking to Shana Hiatt during the post game interview it would go something like this:

“Well Shana, I think I played a good game. I got all my money in with the best hand and lost to a three-outer. That’s poker.”


I took the leap and slapped down my $30 (+$3) on Poker Stars Sunday night for the World Poker Blogger’s Tour World Series of Poker. The winner received a $1500 seat at the WSOP and with only 65 or so entries, the odds weren’t too bad at all. There were a lot of names I recognized from their blogs however so I knew the competition would be tough.

I think I played well and was actually in 4th place at one point until I was beat with the best hand. I went all-in with AQs against KQ and the board gave the other player an ace on the river for Broadway and IGHN.

Hands of note:
Level one I tried to limp in with a suited ace but had to fold to a big, late position raise.
67s in the small blind that I raised when everyone folded around to me. The flop was 7 high so I bet the minimum. The ivypokerprof raised but I read it as a steal attempt and re-raised. He folded and I won the hand. Whew!
I moved into 4th place for a while when I called a raise with AQ and check-raised a queen high flop, winning $990.
Level two I won with big slick and K10 from the big blind.
Level three I played NO HANDS AT ALL! Card dead.
I had to fold JJ to an ace high flop that was bet out.

It was a dark and stormy night and the blinds were at $75/$100. I was in late position when I was dealt 72o. Crap. I was actually hoping that I wouldn’t be dealt The Hammer. I NEVER play that hand but a lot of bloggers take great pride in use of The Hammer and I couldn’t very well let it go since this was a blogger’s tournament. I thought, took a deep breath, and raised to four times the big blind. All folded and I showed the bluff. WHEW!

I need to work on bluffing from time to time and I’m glad it worked. Once.

Overall I think I played well with the exception of one hand where I folded AQ out of the small blind to an early position raise that turned out to be KQ. But I made it past the first break and into the 6th level in a good position to make the final table with a little luck and the camaraderie of the blogger’s tournament was well worth the $30 to play.

Congratulations to ABVidale, the eventual winner.