Flushed Royally

Well, I got the invitation to the PokerStars Blogger Championship that I mentioned in the last post, so I figured I’d better brush up on my game.

I joined a single table Sit-N-Go game, and did pretty well, hanging out in the top three for at least half the game. Going into the hand, blinds were 100/200, I was chip leader in middle position, and I was dealt pretty good cards: [Ks][Qc]. When it came around to me, I called. The next player went all in. Since he had been making monster bluff bets all game, and since I had plenty of chips to cover him, I called. We turned them up for the showdown, and I was surprised to see he had a decent hand too: [Ac][Jd].

The flop came [7d][Kd][Td], so I was pretty happy. I had top pair (kings), and as long as he didn’t get any diamonds or an ace, I had a good chance of winning the hand and knocking him out of the tournament. Unfortunately, the turn card was a [Qd], which gave him the flush. As I was typing “nh” into the chat bar, the river card came up: [Ad].

I caught a flush on the board, and he caught a Royal Flush on the river.

Nice hand, indeed. A very nice hand. Some would say I suffered a bad beat; that I had a good hand, but was beat by another player’s luck. In this case, I disagree. Yes, I had a decent hand on the flop, but when the Queen of Diamonds showed up on the turn, it was all over. He had me dominated before the river card ever came.

As it turned out, I went on to finish fourth in the tournament (one spot out of the money, of course) and he was knocked out sixteen hands after hitting his Royal.

Ahh, poker. I’ve missed it.

PokerStars Blogger Championship

It’s time once again for the PokerStars.com Blogger Championship, and though I haven’t said much about poker recently, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been on my mind.

I’m still livid about the legislation banning U.S. funds transfers to online poker sites that was passed at about this time last year, but I’m pleased that the Poker Player’s Alliance continues to lobby for changes to the laws, and that former Senator Alfonse D’Amato stepped up to the plate to chair the Alliance.

I will probably not even place in the Blogger Championship, but I will play anyway, and I will have fun doing it. I hope to see you there.

I am not a poker pro, but I am a writer

I played in the Inaugural PokerStars Blogger Championship Sunday, and I sucked. I finished in 1193rd place out of 1473. By comparison, Wil Wheaton finished 328th! (Congrats, Wil!)

The long and short of it is that I got impatient. The hand that killed me was a hand on which I should never have bet hard (AQ that turned into a pair of queens) and I got beat by a straight (AK with QJ on the flop and a 10 on the turn.) If you know anything about No Limit Hold-Em, you will know that I should have folded after the flop, rather than raising based on my paired queen. Oh well.

However, I had a blast at MileHiCon 37, both Saturday and Sunday. The panel discussions I participated in were fun, I met some cool people (both fans and participants), and hopefully I made some good impressions. I look forward to participating in the convention next year, assuming they ask me back.

My apologies for the lapse in domain name registration over the last few days. One of the disadvantages of being unemployed is that things like domain name registrations, no matter how crucial they are to supporting a budding writing career, are less important than things like mortgages and car payments.

PokerStars Blogger Championship

Well, it’s official. Ryan from PokerStars support says he has confirmed that the PokerStars registration number is on my site, and I’m registered to play in the inaugural Blogger Championship on October 23, 2005.

If anyone had told me a year ago that I would be playing in a blog-related online Hold ‘Em tournament, I wouldn’t have believed them. I didn’t even know how to play Hold ‘Em back then. Poker being what it is, I may get knocked out early on. Or, I may hang on and do pretty well. Hopefully I will at least make the top 10% of players, especially since the field will be made up of other bloggers, many of whom may not know much about poker. Usually, when I play in the big play money tournaments, I make it to at least the top 20%. My best showing was 205th place out of 5807 players in a satellite tournament, which works out to be the top 3.5% of all players.

Tonight, I played three Sit’N’Go tournaments. I finished 4th in a 9 player tourney, 11th in a 27 player tourney, and then 1st in another 9 player game. The last game was interesting, because when it got down to a head-to-head game, I was significantly behind in chips (about 2,500 to the other player’s 10,500.) An observer came into the room to chat with the other player, and the following conversation occurred. (The other people’s names have been changed, irrelevant comments have been edited out, and I’m paraphrasing the observer’s comments because the PokerStars Instant Hand History doesn’t record observer chat.)

Observer (to other player): So, when you get done taking this guy’s chips, what are you going to do?

Player: i’m going home

Lytspeed: Thanks for the vote of confidence. LOL!

Observer: No offense, it’s just that you don’t have a chance. She’s a pro, and she’ll probably kick your butt.

Lytspeed: Probably true, but I’m going to try anyway. 🙂

I won every hand that went all the way to a showdown after that. There were several hands where one or the other of us folded, which is very common in heads-up games, but every showdown belonged to me, and I won the tournament. In the end, I had about 2,000 more chips in my play money account than I had at the beginning of the night, so I consider the evening a success.

I find it interesting that I’m motivated to blog about this. It’s been a while since I was interested in blogging. I can thank PokerStars for that, at least. 🙂


The Only Constant Is Change

There has been another gap in my journal entries. Those who know me well know that this indicates a period of stress. Unlike many bloggers, I don’t feel completely comfortable dumping my personal life on the Internet for all to see. My Creativity Journal is intended to be a structured blog about creativity, and when things are stressful, I usually don’t engage in creative activities as often.

This time is kind of different. Sure, there has been stress, but I have actually been engaging in more creative thinking over the last month and a half or so. Being unemployed gives one that luxury.

Yes, unemployed. Their choice, not mine.

Immediately after returning from my honeymoon with Lannette, my employer of over seven years dismissed me with no severance pay. I was not entirely surprised at the dismissal, but I was shocked that they did not offer me severance pay. The company has a history of giving severance packages, but for whatever reason, they chose not to do so this time. However, this is not a bitch session, it’s a Creativity Journal, right?

As you may have seen from the opening page of my site, since becoming jobless I have been getting more writing assignments from ComputorEdge magazine. My band, Steel River Three, has been playing private parties and we have publicly debuted my song “New Guy Smell.” I have considered making a career out of computer consulting, freelance writing, and music, and have received nothing but support from Lannette while I explore this idea. (Thank you, honey.)

Another thing I have discovered is that I’m pretty good at Texas Hold ‘Em Poker. I had read Wil Wheaton‘s blog entries about playing in the World Series of Poker and landing a gig as a PokerStars.com team player. A few months before being fired, I had purchased Dataviz software’s Hold ‘Em High program for my Treo 650, and practiced in hopes of being able to sit down at a table in Las Vegas on the honeymoon. Alas, that was not to be due to lack of funds, but I enjoyed playing poker on the handheld anyway. When I found I had some free time on my hands (and no money) at home, I began playing in play money tournaments at PokerStars.

Now, PokerStars has decided to hold a free tournament for bloggers only. The prize package looks great, and I have nothing to lose except a few hours on a Sunday afternoon.

Registration for the tournament required pasting an advertisment on the blog, which I did on the main page of this site. Normally, I don’t go for that kind of thing on my site, but I’ll allow it temporarily as a condition of my tournament entry. Who knows? Maybe I’ll play *really* well and get hired as a blogger for PokerStars!

Look out, Wil, here I come. 😉