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Shirley Rosario
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Poker ClassicJanuary 29
I played in the Omaha event at the LA Poker Classic last night. I have never been at a table like the first one I was assigned to. The players on the table (with the exception of two) were the worst group of players I have ever played against. I was not dealt a lot of good starting hands and I didn't play many pots. The players at the table didn't recognize how many pots I had been playing because when I raised, I still got a lot of callers.

On one hand, I raised in first position with AT58 (after not playing a hand for half an hour) and got EIGHT callers. I couldn't believe my eyes. The flop was Q84 with two diamonds and I led out with my pair, dry ace and weak low draw. I was raised by one player and all of the other players called both bets. A deuce came on the turn and I figured I would check raise the raiser so I could isolate the field. I hoped that either my A5 would be good for low or my pair of eights would be good for high. My hopes of isolating the pot did not work because most of the players still called. I figured I was dead, but I was wrong. My A5 won half the pot.

On two hands, I raised in early position with AAxx and got four callers on both. On both hands, an ace hit the board. I was amazed that I could get four callers when I held two aces and one was on the board. What could these players possibly have? I won one of the two hands.

I only made it through about a quarter of the field. I did everything I could to get my chips in with the best of it, but things just didn't work out for me. I was pleased with the way I played the tournament and am ready to play the next event.

When I got home I decided to play in the $33 No Limit Holdem with rebuy tournament on PokerStars. I normally do well in this event and I felt like I was still focused. There were more than 200 players and I finished in fourth place winning $2217.

January 27
I played in the first event of the L.A. Poker Classic last night (a $330 No Limit tourney) and it was incredible. My performance wasn't incredible, but the turnout was. Fifteen minutes before the tournament was to begin there were at least 200 people still in a line that went all the way around the tournament room.

I sat down at my table and called Steve to tell him what I was witnessing. I told him that I have never seen anything like it. He told me that in this kind of tournament, I should not be afraid to go broke. It was important for me to accumulate chips. I can honestly say, I was not afraid to go broke in this tournament. In fact, I was finished only a half hour later. I played a lot of hands and it didn't work out for me. I was dealt a lot of small pairs and I was not able to get anything going. We started with $800 in chips and I was down to $310 on the hand I was eliminated with. I called the $15 with T8 of hearts and there were five other players in the pot. The flop was 8 high with two clubs. The first three players checked to me. I bet $100 and the player on the button asked me how much more I had. I told him $195 and we got all of the chips in right there. He had J8 so I was in deep trouble. I did not improve and was eliminated. I walked over to a friend (Oliver) who was still standing in line and I told him that I was eliminated. He laughed and told me, "At least you didn't play six hours and get eliminated without making it into the money". I had to agree.

I walked downstairs and talked to a few other players who were already eliminated. They told me how they got knocked out and I had to laugh. One player told me he had pocket Queens and both of his opponents flopped sets (sixes and fours). Another player told me he lost with pocket Aces. I thought it was funny that I was eliminated with T8.

I plan to play a few more tournaments at the Classic. I am sure I'll do better in the upcoming ones.

January 23
My cruise lasted about zero seconds unless you count the thirty minutes I spent in the lobby. The person in charge of booking the reservations (from the Bike) did not change the passenger's name from my sister's to my cousin's. Since 9-11, they are not able to let anyone make changes the day of their departure. We talked to four people and finally realized that they were not going to let us go. Actually, they would have let me go by myself, but I didn't think it would be cool for me to tell my cousin, "sorry about the mix up. I will see you in a few days." I am hoping that I will get another trip because of the mix up.

Since I didn't go on my trip, I have been able to do some work on my website. I am sure you noticed by now, I have replaced the pictures throughout the site. I was really pleased with the photographer and the quality of the photos. I do not have that "fuzzy" look that I did in all my other photos. I am working on a couple articles and a glossary of poker terms. I use so much poker terminology in my journal and it never crossed my mind (until a reader pointed it out) that some new players might not have any idea what I am talking about

I played in the Omaha tournament and it was so boring. A couple of the players were taking so long every time it was their turn to act. I just sat there and wondered what they could possibly be thinking about. I suppose they could have been playing 6 games at once or something like that. I was playing just 1!!! Just one, and I couldn't get anything going. I sat there concentrating on the screen waiting for a hand or two to get the ball rolling, but it didn't happen. I didn't even make it through half the field.

I hope everyone has enjoyed the new guest article section. I have been pleased with the enthusiasm of getting an article posted by some people. I am hoping that it will continue because I like that there are different insights into the game. I played in a $100 No Limit tournament with rebuys last night and there was a player on my table that reads my site. He mentioned that he was thinking about writing an article. The field had narrowed down quite a bit (from a little over 200 to about 45) and he said that he was going to write an article on how he beat me at the final table in that tournament. It was wishful thinking on his part. He finished shortly after that. I finished in 19th place and was paid just a small amount.

January 19
The last two days of work have been hectic. I managed to make money, but not without having verbal battles with two players.

Yesterday, I was playing in the $100 buy-in No Limit game and wound up arguing with a total moron. The argument started out with me trying to be helpful to a new player. The new player was sitting to my right and the old man chip thief was sitting across the table from us. Both players were involved in the hand and all of their chips got in on the turn. After all the cards were dealt, the new player turned his hand face up and showed AK. The board was A77xx and he thought his hand might be good. The old man chip thief held his cards in his hand for about 30 seconds and I thought to myself, "here goes the slowroll." I warned the player to my right, "be prepared because he likes to slowroll". The old man finally showed his hand and he did not have the winning hand. He had an ace, but had a smaller kicker. The player to my right then told me, "You don't need to tell me how to play." I informed him, "I would never do that. I was just trying to be helpful, but obviously, that didn't go over too well." He cries, "well I lost two hundred dollars before this hand".

The argument continued for a little while because I told him that I play poker for a living and losses are a part of the game, but I would never act like he just did." We continued for about another 1 or 2 minutes and finally I stopped. I thought it was going to be over, but we had words again about an hour later. The second argument was about asking players to see their hands. You all know how I feel about that and after about five minutes of arguing, he did too. I left the game a short while later and played in another one. When I left work, I called Steve to tell him how my day went and he hardly listened to me. He said, "Engaging in conversations with idiots, I see." Before we got off the phone, Steve told me that from now on I was supposed to tell the player, "I am not supposed to have conversations with idiots for free. If you want me to talk to you, then you have to pay me a dollar." I thought that piece of advice was pretty funny, but I am not sure if I will ever use it.

Today, I got in another argument with a player, but it was worse. The customer has had a lot of problems with employees of the casino and I know the issue is his, not mine. My boss is working on the problem.

You would think with all that chaos, I wouldn't have time to play poker, but that is not the case. I played terrific poker for the past two days and have some great hands to talk about. The first hand, I was in the big blind and there were five limpers for $3. The player in the small blind raised and made it $15. I thought the raise was ridiculous. I don't think a player should raise from the small blind, except on rare occasions. The most important reason for this is the small blind is out of position for the rest of the hand. If he wanted to play the hand out of position, he certainly didn't want to do it with 6 other opponents and his $15 raise was asking for exactly that. If he wanted to pick up the blinds, his raise should have been much larger. I knew this player didn't have much, so I raised to $80 with K2 offsuit, figuring that I would accomplish what he couldn't. I was in for a shock when the player to my immediate left called and so did one other player. By the way, the small blind folded. I guess I accomplished something. The board was JJJ72 and me and the player to my left split the pot with jacks full of deuces. Yes, you read that correctly. The player who originally limped called $77 more dollars with 42 suited. The other player had T8 offsuit. I got a lot more action than normal for the next hour or so because of this hand and that helped me accumulate a decent stack.

A few hours later, I called a small raise from the blind with 96 of hearts. The flop gave me two pair, but the flop also had two clubs and a possible straight. I bet the pot and was called in two spots and then the next player to act moved all-in for about double my bet. I moved in behind him trying to isolate, but both of the players called (they both had less chips than I did). I needed two blank cards in order to win the large pot. The dealer turned an eight, making four straight cards on board and she put a club on the river. I knew I could just kiss my money goodbye. I showed my two pair, the next player showed a straight, the next one a flush and the last one mucked. I still had a of chips and was ready for battle. I was especially ready to take down the player with the flush because he slowrolled the player with the straight. I wasn't mad about it because the guy was really nice and wasn't doing it intentionally, but I did have to make a joke about it with him. The next hand was my big one for the day.

All of the players folded to the "slowroller" in late position. He called and the next player made it $30. I decided to call with KT suited because the two players in the hand had large stacks. The "slowroller" raised it another $50 and the original raiser folded. The decision was mine and I thought about it for a few seconds. It cost me $50 to call and the pot was already $140. I liked a call in this spot because I figured I had at least one overcard on my opponent. I had a hand that I could get away from easily. I also had a hand that worked well together. The flop came all baby cards with two clubs. I sat there thinking about how I wanted to play the hand. I knew I was willing to play for all of my chips because I had the flush draw and at least one overcard (at least according to my read). I didn't have to think much because my opponent pushed all in. I called and he showed pocket jacks. I read the situation correctly. I needed a club or a king and I didn't have to wait long. The turn was a club and I won a huge pot. There was a lot of debate at the table about my $50 call preflop, but I actually took my own advice and "shut up". I just listened and when they were all finished, I said, "I stand behind my decision." At least I practice what I preach once in awhile.

January 16
I have had a successful weekend online. I played a lot of sit n go's, including some larger ones and I have faired well. Last night, I played a few at one time and that was a disaster. As soon as I was eliminated from two of them, I was able to focus my attention on the one game. I ended up winning that one. Playing one game is so much more profitable than trying to play multi games.

There are a few new guest articles in the strategy section. There are a lot of lessons to be learned from them. One of them in particular really speaks to me. The article is about listening to what players are thinking rather than listening to what they are saying. Sometimes it is difficult to filter out the "idiot talk" at the table, but it has to be done. There is another article on focusing at the table and staying in the game. It stresses how important it is to remain focused throughout the entire game. Read and enjoy!

January 15
I played in a $33 No Limit Holdem tournament w/rebuys last night and I finished in the money. When there were about 80 players left, Jennicide (of PokerStars and various newsgroups fame) rooted me in from the sidelines. It was amazing that I was dealt pocket aces three times within 30 minutes and my chips skyrocketed. I was in at least the top twenty during the rest of the tournament and most of the time, I was in the top nine.

During the final table play, I picked up some big hands and was the chip leader. We got down to three players and things didn't go well after that. One of the players was extremely aggressive and unfortunately I didn't do much about it. He stole my blind, stole my blind, and then stole my blind again. Anytime, I would try and take a stand, he would reraise me. On one hand, I flopped a pair of eights with a board of J98 and I made a pot size bet into the pot. He raised by doubling my bet and I figured this was the best time for me to take a stand. I reraised him and then had to back peddle when he reraised me back. I had to make a stand at some point, but his raises seemed to me that this was not the time I should have picked. I had enough chips to play one more hand, but that didn't work out the way I wanted either. I held J9 of hearts in the big blind. I had 1/6 my chips in the pot. The aggressive player raised three times the amount of the blind and I called knowing that no matter what happened I had to put the remaining chips into the pot on the flop. The board was Qxx with two diamonds and one club (hence not even a backdoor flush draw) and I couldn't bring myself to calling off the last of my chips even though my brain was telling me I had to. I ended up finishing in third place two hands later.

I am amazed at how I can play so well (at least by my standards) for four hours and then play bad for the last ten minutes and the only thing I am going to dwell on is the latter. Competition is so torturous at times. I suppose my $3270 payday will ease the pain a little.

January 11
I went into work today and was called into the manager's office. The casino manager and the high limit section manager wanted to talk with me. One of them asked, "You have never been written up, right?" and the other said, "this is going to be your first". I know that both of them like me and I know that I haven't done anything worth getting in trouble for, so I said, "Yeah right" They handed me an envelope with my name on it and when I opened it, I was pleasantly surprised.

It read, "In recognition of your outstanding performance as a Prop in the Poker Section, it is my honor to inform you that the management of The Bicycle Casino would like to present to you with the following gift: A trip for two on a 3-night cruise..."

I was really pleased with one hand in particular today and I didn't even win a substantial amount on it. I did however, beat the old man chip thief and that is priceless. I called a small raise on the button with A9 of diamonds. The flop was 99x with two clubs. The old man chip thief bet $3 into the $20 pot and I knew what this meant. He always plays suited cards and that small bet could only mean that he was trying to see a cheap turn card. I raised to $20, the other players folded to him and he called. The turn was an ace of clubs. He made his flush, but not without giving me the full house. He checked and I checked behind him knowing that I would get all of his chips on the river. On the river, he bet about $50 and I moved all-in. He only had about $40 left and he threw them into the pot. I was supposed to show my hand first, but he proudly turned his up and said, "flush". I turned my hand up and said, "full house!" Winning that pot was a nice bonus to an already great day.

January 7
My week at work was full of adventures and profits. On one of the days, I sat in the $100 buy-in No Limit game and won about $1,000. About half of the players on the table didn't know me and that worked out perfectly. I started out getting good hands (or at least hitting perfect flops) and it looked like I was bullying the table. One of the players told me that if I came over the top of him again, he would move in. About an hour later, the following hand came up. I raised with KQ and got two callers. The flop was all baby cards with two clubs. The first player checked and I bet the pot hoping that I would be able to just buy it with a large bet. I figured if one of the players called, I would at least be drawing live with my overcards. The next player to act thought about it for awhile and finally folded and the player who originally checked, called my bet. I was not happy with the call because this player was reckless and he could have anything. On the turn, after my opponent checked, I moved all-in for about $300. The pot only had $150 in it and I thought for sure I could buy it for a large bet. I was disappointed when my opponent called. I was praying for a king or a queen, but it never got there. I asked the player, "what do you have?" and he said, "I have jack high" and I proudly turned my hand up and said, "I have king high". My opponent was on a flush draw and missed. The player who had folded looked totally disgusted because he would have won the hand and he said he knew I didn't have anything. He was the same player who told me he would move all-in over the top of me, but he missed his golden opportunity. I knew this was going to haunt him and it didn't take me long to use it against him. A couple hands later, I held QJ and called a small raise and so did the "Over the top" player. The flop was JJT. The first player checked, I made a small bet, Mr. Over the Top called, and the first player folded. The turn was a 9. I just moved all of my chips into the pot because I knew he would think I was bluffing. He had about $300 in front of him and thought about it for a minute. He said something about me having a nine and called. He turned over T6 and I won another huge pot.

I enjoy having the reputation I do. Many players have difficulty trying to put me on a hand. On this particular day, I earned a reputation as a bluffer because of a couple hands. Any player that really knows me knows that I am capable of bluffs, but not in the way Mr. Over the Top assumed.

On one of the other days, I got into a verbal confrontation with one of the players at my table. I was playing in the $200 buy-in No Limit game. Five people limped and I was in the big blind with AJ of diamonds. I don't particularly like to see a flop with this hand out of position, so I raised to $40. I was hoping to just pick up the pot right there, but I was called by one player. The flop was 632. I bet $90 and my opponent asked me how much I had left. I pushed my chips forward so he could see them and he asked me to count them down. I just pushed them a little closer to him. He asked the dealer to count my chips and I finally said, "you have me covered". He told me that he was aware of that, but wanted to know how much I had. He then said, "I put you all-in." This is one of my pet peeves because no player can put me all-in UNLESS I choose to go all-in. I said, "you are going to put me all-in? Or, am I going to put myself all-in if I decide to call?" There was about $300 in the pot and I only had $100 left. I was almost positive that both of my overcards were good and I also had a backdoor flush draw, so I called. The turn was a jack and I won the hand beating his pocket fives. He got up from the table and took a little walk and I was feeling proud of myself. I was proud that I was successful in making him tilt. He came back a little while later and pulled the same stuff. He asked a player to count out their chips and said, "I don't know why it is so difficult". I told him that it was not difficult, but I didn't have to count my chips for him. He started babbling, "AJ, nice hand, nice call" and I said, "pocket fives, nice all-in". He said that it was a horrible call and I told him, "If you can't figure out why I called, I am not going to help you". He replied, "I don't need to figure it out". I sometimes act like a kid in the sense that I have to get the last word in, so I said, "That is why you will never be a good player". I told the player across the table, "Tell him Bill" and Bill told me "just keep your mouth shut" and made a zipping motion with his hand to his mouth.

I have written a few articles this week and I am not following my own advice. I need to "shut up" when I am at the poker table. I also need to apply what I know. It is not good enough to "know" it, you have to practice it. I know I shouldn't talk about hands and strategy, but sometimes my mouth runs wild. I have to stop.

I played in a $100 multi-table No Limit tournament last night on PokerStars and I finished third out of 179 players. There were a couple hands I got lucky on, like taking AJ offsuit against AJ offsuit and hitting four clubs for a flush. Although I got lucky on a couple, I stayed focused throughout the tournament and played well. I received $2130 for my third place finish.

January 4
I had another rollercoaster day at work. I was talking with one of the other No Limit Hosts about my game and I was saying that my game is a lot more volatile than hers. There are many days that I can start out by losing a few buy-ins, but I end up winning on most of the sessions. Today was no different.

After my first few buy-ins, I was starting to make a comeback. This is when I had a "duh!!" moment. I called a small raise with 76 offsuit. The flop was 953. My opponent bet a small amount and I decided to call with my double gutshot straight draw. All of the other players folded. The turn was a seven giving me a pair and a double gutter. He made the same size bet and I called again. The river was a high card. I was not thrilled with this card and figured I was going to fold to a large bet because he had been betting the whole way. I missed my straight and didn't improve my pair, so I thought he had me beat. When he started reaching for his chips, I told him he better make a large bet. He turned to me and asked me how much he should bet and I told him that if he bet $60, then I would fold. Sure enough he bet $60 and I folded. To make matters worse, he showed me his hand after I folded... A2 giving him ace high. There are many times, I use this tactic (telling players how much to bet) and it works to my advantage. If I tell them to bet a small amount because I am on a draw, they often will. I don't know what I was thinking today. There was no reason for me to give him that pot. No reason, except that it would make a good read for my online journal.

Another interesting thing that happened today is when a player palmed some chips in the middle of a hand. I noticed he had $22 in front of him after the completion of the betting on the flop. During the betting round on the turn, he only had $7. We all busted him especially because I was 100% positive that he had exactly $22 after the flop. I will discuss the details of this story in one of my upcoming articles about angle shooting.

The day ended with me making a nice profit. When I was about to get up from the table, my co-worker (the one I talked to earlier about the volatility of my game) walked by and said, "you sure do have big swings. I could never handle that". I thought to myself that I don't mind swings because I know my bottom line is what matters.

January 3
I played in the Omaha High Low tournament last night on PokerStars and I finished in eighth place. I was happy with the way I played although I was a little disappointed in how I finished. When I signed up for the tournament, I told myself I was only going to play one game and focus. I stuck true to my word and when I got to the final table, I figured I had the best shot of any er on the table. I had been paying attention and I thought I could beat them all. Don't get me wrong, there were a few players who were good, but I still thought I could win. Maybe if I focus the same amount during next weeks tournament, I will win the darn thing.

So, a New Year has started and I vowed to do a couple things different regarding poker. I keep a log for my play when I go to work. The records are meticulous. I record the limits, the games, the amount won/loss, the time I play at the table and the pots I win (the last one I need to do for the bosses). Although, I am so good about my records while I am working, I am horrible at keeping records for tournaments or online play. I am now keeping accurate records for all three things. I look forward to the New Year and hope all of you have great success on and off the poker table.