Saturday, 16 April 2011

The second Black Friday of my life.

This is horrible in the moment. I don't like what has happened in the poker world in the last 26 hours.  Change freaks me out.  It always has.  My reactions to yesterdays indictment was shock, disbelief, denial, anger and so on.  It feels like so many of my friends have been laid off, and potentially more will lose 'normal' jobs based on the fall out.  I am concerned for what this will mean for the WSOP this's only 6 weeks away! 

I am fortunate that poker is not my livelihood and that I am Canadian (perhaps foremost), so I can hardly imagine the fear and devastation that some of my American friends are facing.  I hope that they can take a few days/weeks of vacation, essentially let cooler heads prevail and start reformulating a plan of attack.  Poker players are intelligent people and I have no doubt that we will recover. 

I had a bad week a while ago, was chatting to my friend about some of my issues and the comment he made was essentially that my concerns were all 'first world problems' and while I was angry at first to have to acknowledge that, it helped me keep things in perspective.  The FBI, DOJ, the indictments and all that surrounding this is just that....a first world problem.

I feel like I have more to write....but I have to go curling.  :)

Oh yes, this was the first "Black Friday"

I remember it all to well. 

Monday, 11 April 2011

Women's Tourney

I played my 2nd ever women only tournament yesterday, on PokerStars.  At the end of March, they starting running a weekly $55 NL hold em tournaments on Sunday and have just upped the guarantee from $5k to $10k.  It worked out fairly well for me and I finished 3rd out of 231 players and managed to pick up a team pro bounty too, from the ever controversial Mer Brit (peachymer).

Everybody has different views on women's tournaments, I always said you couldn't pay me to play in the ladies event in the WSOP.  I have friends that will tell you it is the softest field and others that will tell you it's the toughest.  I wouldn't mind hearing Shaun Deeb's perspective after he got dressed up in drag to enter the 2010 ladies event, I don't know where he finished....but it doesn't look like he cashed. 
I don't think ladies tournaments are easy.  I think in fact that they are significantly harder, especially for me.  Things I notice:

1) Women seem to play smaller pots preflop, I  feel like there is more limping in to see flops.

2) Once women limp in, they really want to see that flop and will call raises with a wider range of hands.

3) Women will call you down when they flop a pair, they also seem to check call even if they improve their hands on the turn/river....unless it is the nuts. 

4) If a woman raises or leads out on a river, you are surely beat.  If she three bets preflop, it is AK or a pocket pair and probably QQ +

5) If the woman is aware of all of the above...she probably becomes loose aggressive and plays more of a man style game, none of the previous 'lady' rules apply. This style of game applies to people like Vanessa Russo, Vanessa Selbst, and other more publicly successful women players. 

Without a doubt, I become territorial and hyper aggressive when I know I am playing another woman (as evidenced by the final table yesterday), I feel like I can push them over every hand.  I will fix this leak over the next few weeks...  Many men play women this way also, but that is for another blog.  Whether it is just being narcissistic or self centered, I like to be the exception to the rule, center of attention or the girl in the "man's world" (I estimate that about 10 - 15% of players are XX), and these ladies are limping in on my territory...literally and figuratively! 

Ultimately, I think it is great that sites are running these kind of tournaments, despite it being challenging to establish that all players are actually women.  I think if marketed well, these tournaments will bring a much higher flow of traffic as well as a sense of community among the ladies.  Maybe some satellites for the WSOP event...then I would play!  Also, I hope that PokerStars will consider a different game format instead of always no limit hold em (I am satisfied with any format of omaha 8/b), even bi-monthly or quarterly.  Women are versatile!!!

A closing note to the is incredibly intimidating for a woman to join a poker game, or walk into a poker room.  My first year I would shake for the first hour or so at the table, and the players were mostly really kind to me.  Be nice to women in the game, live and online alike.  A week doesn't go by where I don't get berated in the chat box, thankfully I have been around long enough now that I see the online chat is a reflection of that players insecurity, not a measure of me.  I try to focus on the good today: 
ApesAreFun: whos the girl in your avatar talon?
talonchick: me
ApesAreFun: oh
ApesAreFun: you're pretty!
Plus, when they go to the board to fill your game, or fill the empty tournament seat at the WSOP, would you rather a sweaty, unshowered man or a lady who has probably put some effort into her appearance that day?


(Also, I am 11 days [or 13 classes] into my 30 day yoga challenge, it has been incredible, but I am exhausted...have to push through the 'hump' and finish strong!)

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

April - Spring is in the air

Ask anyone around Edmonton, life is about 30% better than it was this time a month ago.  As I mentioned before, the snow if finally melting (which makes my sprint for the bus in the morning a bit icy) and the temperature is finally hitting some flip flop weather.  Thank God.

I did commit to the 30 day yoga challenge at a local studio ( and am so far (5 classes in) happy I have done it.  My hips are more flexible and my mind feels more focused.  To go along with this, I cut back my poker playing drastically, which has led to better sleep for the most part.  I haven't been playing all that well, or running all that well either if I want an excuse, so I hope that moving my focus to something else, for the short term, will help me long term in day to day life and of course with poker.  I am off to do a 2nd class in 30 minutes, need to get ahead if I am going to complete 30 classes in 30 days... have at least two basketball games this month, along with Riverdance tickets, a curling weekend away, Easter long weekend and who knows what else may pop up.

Oh yeah, did I hear someone picked UCONN to ship the NCAA tourney?  If I could figure out how to do it, I would post my bracket... It was a sad day for me yesterday though, I really like Brad Stevens; his coaching style, his demeanor and how well spoken he is, caught myself rooting for the 'underdogs'.  Nonetheless, I picked a champion this year, maybe next year I will actually place a sports bet....

Off to Fusion Flow...