Thursday, December 29, 2005


29 DEC 05

In the spirit of the season, may these brighten your day. Have a safe and happy holiday.

See you next year.

-Dr. C

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Cute Kid Story

28 DEC 05

Warning – No Poker Content!!

This is supposed to be a poker blog, but this was just too cute to pass up. Besides, Drizz has frequently posted about his young ‘un, to positive dramatic effect.

I too have a potty-training youngster who can be a handful at times, but will easily make up for it with comments like these. Like most 3 year-olds, he is learning to speak and will occasionally mix up letter sounds. We don’t have a Doggy, we have a Goggy.

Dr. Chako: Jason, it’s doggy.

Jason: Goggy.

Dr. Chako: No, Jason. Try again. D – D – Doggy.

Jason: D- D - … Goggy!!

Cute factor 5/10

So fast forward to last week. The scene is set while riding in the minivan with his 8 year-old brother.

Jason: Mommy, I want a Powder Ranger.

Older Brother: Jason, it’s POWER Ranger.

Jason: That’s what I said! D- D- … POWDER Ranger!!

Cute Factor 10+.

Okay. I thought it was cute. Maybe you had to be there.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Making a Move

27 DEC 05

I’ve grown fond a making a of move that, when it works, the payoff is phenomenal.

Here is the situation. Typically, it’s a loose-passive 4/8 game (better with a full kill). Often there are two bets pre-flop with 4 or 5-way action. I’m in late position or on the button with either J10 or Q10 (preferably suited, but not necessary). Early raiser. One or two callers.

Here is the move. I reraise.

Okay. It’s not the trickiest of moves, but it does a couple of things. First, since I’m not an overly-aggressive player, I get big-hand equity. Post flop, it will usually check around to me - the final raiser. At this point, I bet and most everyone calls. Beware of check-raisers at this point. A flop check raise means only one thing – the check-raiser has a hand, but is afraid of a suckout. It never works. Nearly everyone preflop will call this bet. If it happens, and I have no piece or no draw, I quietly fold. Most people at 4/8 never pay attention to the flop-fold, so I’m not afraid they’ll think (or remember) I was bluffing. If I have a draw, I reraise.

Here is the key. The fish will often fold to the first raiser. If he bets, watch out. If he checks (9 times out of 10), I bet aggressively to the river. It’s amazing how he will fold to the river bet when his gutshot doesn’t get there or his Ace doesn't pair. And if he does get there, I get the wonderful reaction from the rest of the table...

You three-bet with THAT?

I simply go back to my regular tight-aggressive style and collect from all the future bluff equity. They always remember the river bluff.

Thursday, December 22, 2005


Just what I needed to get my mojo back - a little blogger tournament. Thanks to Wil for setting these up. I placed 25th, but I made good decisions (okay the big bluff with KJ against the 99 wasn't so good, but other than that...)

Second place in a $15 two table SNG turbo helps too. I had recently fallen in love with middle connectors and one gaps. Strange. I kept losing. I started folding them and, what do you know, 2nd place.

Now my wife and sister are headed to Vegas. Without me. Guess where they are staying...

The Bellagio.

Dammit - I've never stayed at the Bellagio. All I'm saying is, they'd better have a friggin' awesome time. And I mean this - I fully expect them to come back with at least one "what happens in Vegas" story.

Of course, my dear wife of 10+ years will eventually tell me the story.

You will, won't you dear?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Pathetic Short Post

Thanks for the advice about getting my money into Pokerstars. I figure the advice is self-motivated since you are all likely going to get my money eventually.

Online first (for me) - getting AA cracked 5 times in one sitting.

Hands that beat my aces:
J10 off
92 off (WTF?)
63 (but they were soooted)

'Scuze my whilst I go kick my dog.


Friday, December 16, 2005

Best of the Rest

Looks like I'm reaching for a re-buy
How can Bill maintain such a high level of "coolness?"
Yup. I'm a big dumb fan. Jealous?
He totally should have sold these shirts.
Two docs and a luckbox. To quote Dave Barry, that would be a really good name for a rock band.

Back in the Saddle

16 DEC 05

That was the longest I allow myself to be depressed – about 12 hours. I never want to do that again!!

In order to recover my normal jovial disposition, I played intensely with my kids and skipped online poker. Actually, skipping poker was easy. When I tried to rebuy, it said my card was denied. WTF? I know I have a big balance (I set up this account exclusively for online poker), and I keep rigorous records. I clicked on the website to check my balance, and it’s fat and happy. I tried again – DECLINED.

I called my bank. They said the problem was at Pokerstars. I called Pokerstars. They said it must be a problem with my personal information. Well, I haven’t changed the info at all since I opened the account, but sure, I’ll look again. Nope. No problem there. Then they said it must be coming from my bank.

Back on the phone to the bank. NOW they apologize. Sorry, they say, Mastercard (credit or debit) can no longer be used for online poker. You’ll have to find a different way to get them your money. Does anyone else know about this?

Anyway, all this meant more time with the kiddies. I love watching my youngest squeal when I yell, “Who needs a beating?” Then we chase each other through the house with the dog in tow. It’s a blast.

After bath time and bed time (can I have a 3rd drink of water, pleeeeese?), I decide to re-scrub my poker stats.

Since October:

Tournaments (both live and online): +$350
Live Ring Games: +$1100
Online (non-tournament): -$1000

The highlight: I’ve won (meaning walked away with more money than I started) in 18 of the last 20 ring games I’ve played.

The low point: Mega-tilting away $1000 in (basically) one session online.

It’s time to refocus on what I’m good at – live action and tourneys. If I ever get more money into Pokerstars, I’m skipping the ring games all together and concentrating on the SNGs (including the 180’s) and the satellites to the bigger games on the weekends. That’s how I ran up my balance last time.

Just thinking about it makes me smile.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


15 DEC 05

I still have more stories and pics from Vegas. In fact, thinking about it is the only thing that’s making me smile right now. For those of you looking for poker stories, I’m afraid I have to disappoint you. I have a cold, I lost my entire stake (again) on Pokerstars, and their damn site won’t take my credit card for some reason. WTF?!?! I’m NOT transferring money to Neteller again – not with an 8.9% transaction fee!

To top it off, I had to have “the talk” with two patients yesterday. Normally, I have to give bad news about once or twice a month. Twice in one day was tough. I’ll write more about it on my other blog, Beauty in Shades of Gray.

For now, I’m going to keep thinking about the great weekend we all had in Vegas, knowing that tomorrow will be better.

Final thought: I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble. - Helen Keller

Monday, December 12, 2005

WPBT ’05 Trip Report

12 DEC 05


Like most bloggers preparing their trip report, I have no idea where to begin. How do you describe the best Vegas week ever? Are there enough adjectives? Will I get the point across? Does anyone care?

Faithful readers of my blog (basically my Dad, and sometimes my dear and patient wife) were both there. They know what happened. New bloggers I met may also stop by this humble blog (hey guys!), but they were also there. We all saw this incredible event unfold. It was legendary even before it ended.

But let’s go back to the beginning.

Wednesday: My mother-in-law has everything under control. She knows where to find the daycare, the school and the scotch (okay, maybe not the scotch). She kisses the dear and patient wife/daughter and the dutiful son-in-law (your hero) and sends us off to the Seatac airport. An uneventful direct flight into McCarran Airport has us both saying, “Vegas, baby!”

My wonderful wife has already set up the shuttle to take us to the Wynn. That’s right. You heard me. We were staying uptown! And let me tell you, everything they say about this place is true. You gotta love a guy (Steve Wynn) who says, “hmmm… I think we need something in front of the hotel. I know! A mountain. Yeah. Put it right there. No, a little to the left. Good. Now cover it with trees and a huge friggin’ waterfall. Hmmm… Better make it four waterfalls. And fountains!! How come you didn’t remind me about the fountains???” Rooms? Go ahead and put plasma TV’s in the bathrooms. You heard me!! Put in a computer operated mini bar while you’re at it. If they lift up the chocolate and don’t put it back within 60 seconds, charge ‘em! We gotta pay for these friggin’ waterfalls, dammit.

Still, I couldn’t help but think that the Bellagio was a bit more grand. I think it was intentional. In an article I read, Steve Wynn said he already did “grand.” With the Wynn, he wanted to pay more attention to detail. He did, but I think he lost something in the effort. Most of my party agreed (that the Bellagio was better), but that shouldn’t detract from how incredible the Wynn really was.

I’m not there for 10 minutes, and I already have a $100 bar bill. Can you say $25 for 18 year-old Macallan? The bartender actually had a 52 year old Macallan that he let me sniff. It smelled sweet, but get this - it’s $650 for one shot. No shit. This is going to be a great trip. Dinner at Wing Lei is $800 for our party of 10. I better hit the poker room. Fast.

Well, first I have to stop off at the craps table. I help Dad with his chips (he’s blind) and the pit crew is awesome and patient as we start playing the highest stakes craps game of our lives. $15 minimum bets, and suddenly I’ve got $200 on the table. Point. Point again. Holy crap! No wait.


No phrase is more painful than “7 out” said in that droll monotone. I friggin’ hate that. Still, I was about even. Back up to $300 on the table and… “7 out.” Donked off $300.

It’s time to play a little game we call poker.

It’s the $1 - $3 NL table right by the rail at the Wynn. A huge crowed of railbirds watch as I sit down next to Duke. Duke is a local Vegas legend. I pull out my $300 stake and call for chips. That’s when I notice that Duke has about $20,000 in cash and chips in front of him. Can you say, “seat change!!” I moved from his right to his left (he was now seated on my right). He was very boisterous and gregarious, introducing himself to everyone at the table and flirting with a really cute girl on the rail. He said he just had his 50th birthday and he was here to celebrate. Needless to say, I was nervous. I fully expected him to live straddle and run over the table. What I found, though, was the tightest player I’ve ever met. He never bet more than $9, he saw about one in 10 hands, and never saw a river card. I’m sure he never varied more than $20 up or down for the hour he sat there (and half of that $20 was spent buying a drink for the model/hooker on the rail). At least he got a kiss on the cheek from her before she left.

After he left, I heard from some of the locals that this is a regular thing for him. He hops from casino to casino as sort of a pseudolife - buying in for far more than necessary, but never playing the games where he might actually put any of that money at risk. Sometimes he shows up in a tux. One of the locals started going on and on about “Duke’s little weiner,” until the dealer had enough and threatened to kick him out. For my take, I thought the guy was a little desperate for attention, but he certainly found a way to get it and was one of the highlights of my trip.

End of the night: Up $100, including the $300 loss at craps.

Thursday: More family time. Our posse consists of my dad, his wonderful girlfriend Judy (is it okay to call her a girlfriend when their combined age is over 120? Talk amongst yourselves), my aunts and uncles from Florida and Alabama, my dad’s cousins from Toronto and us. We all head out on the town, culminating with Rita Rudner doing her stand-up shtick. We all laughed really hard in places and at least smiled the whole time. Sitting in the front row sucked, and we all complained of a sore neck by the end.

Back to the Wynn. Donk off $200 more at the craps table before I learn my lesson. It was the last time I played craps in Vegas. A long wait for the $1 - $3 NL table has me sitting in with the dear and patient wife at the $4 - $8 limit table. Holy crap! She plays 4 hands, 4 hands, and she’s up $200. Can you say, OPM*? I knew you could.

Move to the $1 - $3 NL table. Win $300. Thankyouverymuch.

Okay. It’s two am (Golden Earring, anyone?). We are back in the room and the pillows look awfully inviting, but I’m restless. There are bloggers in Vegas, and it’s my duty to find them. Shaking her head, the dear and patient wife finally says, “go already!” A 10 minute taxi to the Excalibur and, holy crap, I’m in blogger heaven. Immediately I see all my internet heroes. There’s Joe Speaker, Bad Blood, CJ, Otis, Drizz and The Mark. Where the hell is Pauly? Shit, he’s right there. I shook his friggin’ hand!! What? There’s a seat for me?

Pauly isn’t at our table but all the others are. I buy in for $100 and proceed to stomp all over the bloggers. That’s right. You heard me. I ran that $100 up to $450 in about an hour (sorry Bad Blood) when Drizz says, “let’s switch to Omaha 8 high/low.” The dealer says no way, and I breathe a huge sigh of relief. My total experience at this game is .01/.02 PLO on Pokerstars, and I’ve lost nearly every time. The Mark chimes in. “If the manager tells you to do it, will you deal it?” “Of course,” says the dealer, “but he will never agree to it.” Turns out The Mark knows the guy and sure enough, I’m playing PLO. Crap.

I fold every hand until I’m dealt AAQ2. The flop is AA10. Holy crap. I bet $25 and everyone folds. I turn over my quads and ask, “Is that any good? I really have no idea how to play this game.”

Only one other hand of note. The details are a little fuzzy, but here is the gist. I pick up A23Q on the button and call $3 into a five way pot. The flop is K53 giving me the nut low draw. I call a $15 bet and three of us see the turn. It’s a 10 and it checks to me. I check and the river brings an 8. I have the nut low. The Mark bets $50. Drizz folds, and without knowing what I’m doing, I say, “pot.” The dealer (very sharp, BTW) says, “that’s $262.” Did anyone see my balls jump up into my throat? Geez, I hope not.

The Mark goes into the tank. I’m praying he has the high when he says, “I’ve got the nut low, I think I need to call.” Shit. All I have at this point is A-high. Even a pair of 2’s and I get ¼ of the pot. I just keep smiling. Finally, he calls and turns over…


That’s right. Chop it up!! Everyone at my end of the table says no one else makes that call. Too bad for me, but I walked around and gave him a high five. It was the hand of the night. Even Otis said it was a hell of a lot of fun to watch. With the blinds and extra small bets that were in that pot, I’m up! I’m a winning O8 H/L player, dammit! Look out Pokerstars!!

I shake hands all around and I’m off to bed, crashing at around 5:30 am. Gotta love Vegas.

Friday: The Wynn buffet for breakfast and dinner. Can you say, “hedonism?” I knew you could. All I remember is John Elway was sitting two tables over, I had king crab legs that were (no shit) 3 feet long and my wife had 4 rambutons. I wouldn’t eat these things on a bet. They look like small pink porcupines, but apparently the fruit inside is quite good. I’ll take their word for it.

No one’s at the Excalibur at midnight (I forgot they were all the MGM playing HORPSE), but the wife and I both won at $2 - $4 limit with a table full of donkeys. We should have won a lot more but for a few unlucky rivers. Still, OPM is awfully nice.

Saturday: Show up at the Imperial Palace at 10 am with our luggage and see a whole lot of familiar faces, including Whiskeytown, who I played with the night before at the most incredible $1 - $3 table I’ve ever sat at. It was at Paris, and I hope he blogs about it. If not, look here for a future post about the maniac of all maniacs.

I’m first on the alternate list, and as people are paying the $65 entry fee, I get to pose with some of the invited speakers, including Barry Greenstein (the Robin Hood of poker) and Charlie Shoten. Holy crap, it’s Wil Wheaton! I shake his hand and I’m a big dumb fan again. I tell him the story about how bonding with my son while watching TNG in Germany was similar to his story about bonding with his step kids while watching Firefly. I hope he doesn’t think I’m too big of a geek. Wait… doesn’t that make me a kindred spirit?

Okay. Here comes the negative part. I’m a real upbeat person, and I hate to say bad things, but here goes. Next time we do this, will someone please tell the speakers to limit their talks to 5 minutes max? Thanks. If I had to hear Michael Craig say, “the next thing that happened was…” one more time, I was going to punch someone.

11:45 am and the cards are in the air. I’m seat 4, table 4 and Bill Friggin’ Rini is on my right. He’s aggressive, so I get to coast a bit. Before the first hand he tosses a $25 tourney chip at the dealer and says, “Aces please.” Sure enough, the next hand he bets $150, gets no callers and flips up aces. I try the same shtick.

No kidding. I get Aces the very next hand.

But wait, there’s more. I proceed to get AA again 4 hands later. I raise to 4x BB and get one caller. It turns out she’s Pokergeek’s girlfriend, and she just calls. The flop is low cards. I bet, she raises and I reraise all in. She thinks for about 20 seconds and calls with QQ. No help on the turn and river and she’s out. I love busting people, but I felt truly bad for her. She clearly has a lot riding on this emotionally, but she recovered quickly and came back just in time to watch me go up against her boyfriend.

Pokergeek is to my immediate left. I’m SB and he’s BB. Everyone folds to me and I go right into the Scotty Nguyen bit from one of the Poker Superstars events.

Dr. Chako: Dealer, what’s the minimum raise?

Dealer: $600.

Dr. Chako: So I have to put in how much?

Dealer: An extra $450.

At this point I deliberately count out $450 chips.

Dr. Chako: Okay. Minimum raise. Is that right?

Dealer: Yes, that’s right.

Pokergeek (looking right at me): All in.

Dr. Chako: Call!!

I couldn’t get the words out fast enough. He flips over KQ, and I flip over AA.

That’s right. I busted out both Geek and girlfriend-of-Geek with AA. He was very gracious and shook my hand before giving me his bounty prize – a very cool Full Tilt hat. Truly a gentleman.

Afterwards, everyone at the table said they knew what I was doing. I made it easy for them because I had AA 5 friggin’ times within the first ½ hour!! It seems they had all seen that Scotty Nguyen episode, too. Too bad Geek doesn’t watch poker on TV. To be honest, I really expected him to fold just so I could show everyone that I AA once again.

I’m up and down, including folding AQ off suit to Jason (Justin?) who then showed his Q4 (bastard!) and reraising Bill Rini with QQ. He folded after a short time in the tank. I put him on something like J10 based on the way he folded and his aggressive style. We’ll see.

I run up to about $8000 (we started with $2500) and it’s the break. I stay to watch the dealer race off the green chips. I’ve got three greenies and she flips me a 2, a 3 and a 4. Oh well. But wait. My four plays!!

I’m moved to table 1, seat four, and guess who is in seat 7? Wil Friggin’ Wheaton. I’m in heaven. Thank goodness for the wife and the digital camera, because I wasn’t there long. The table is pretty tight and I pick up pocket 4s on the button. It checks around to me, and I briefly think about folding (I had folded 44 twice so far) or maybe put in a minimum raise, but no. I go, “all-in.”

The small blind goes into the tank. Shit. We are even in chips and I think he’s thinking about calling. He does calls and the big blind quickly calls behind.

SB has 10s and BB has Qs. A straight for the 10’s on the turn means I’m done. The river brings the BB a full house for a very exciting hand that I got to watch as I was walking away.

Still, the early exit meant we could catch an earlier flight back home to Federal Way, and I got to hug my kids before bedtime.

Here’s the bottom line. I got a hug from Pauly. I got to shake hands with Wil Wheaton and John Elway. I got to pose with Barry Greenstein, and I got to play in the WPBT.

I’d say I’m the luckiest man alive, but there are about 100 bloggers that probably feel the same way.

When are we doing it again guys, ‘cause it can’t be soon enough.

*OPM – other people’s money

Saturday, December 10, 2005

WPBT, baby!!

Still recovering from the best Vegas weekend ever. Here's a quick pic dump.

Bill, I had QQ.

The amazing Bill Rini
Dr. Chako and Dr. Pauly
The ever gracious Barry Greestein
Al Can't Hang - what more can I say?
Table 1. I'm in Seat 4. Wil Wheaton is in seat 7.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Kicked in the Juuuuunk

2 DEC 05

I have been WAY too full of myself lately. My mistress has finally set me firmly on my ass.

Flash back to early November:

Mistress: Oooh, Dr. Chako, you are a poker god (running her fingers through my hair). I want you. I NEED you. I’ve never met anyone like you. How can anyone make correct decisions time and again like you? You won three straight hands with Q 10 off suit. Masterful! Take me.

Dr. Chako: Settle down, baby. Just watch me go.

Hell, I’ve been bragging about myself in the comments section of other bloggers (go see Drizz). How friggin’annoying.

Now, how’s about we look at two days ago.

Mistress (still running her fingers through said hair): Oh, Dr. Chako. I’ve got something for you.

Dr. Chako: Yeah, baby. I know. You really dig me. I get that.

Mistress: WHAM! (Kneeing the unsuspecting Dr. Chako square in the junk). Are you okay, baby?

Dr. Chako (eyes wide with despair): WHAT DID YOU DO THAT FOR?!?! That really friggin’ hurt! (Our hero crumples over and retches his comp’d fruit plate)

Mistress: I know, sweety, but I only do it because I love you. I won’t do it again. Promise.

Dr. Chako (groaning): Really?

Mistress (smiling that sweet smile that you MUST believe): I love you, baby.

And yesterday…

Mistress (without hesitation or smile): WHAM! (right back in the ol’ sweet spot – square in the junk)

Dr. Chako: Whu….? (air goes out)

Mistress: Baby, I wasn’t sure you got it last time. You understand, right?

Mistress, I have two things to say to you:


2. I’ll see you tomorrow.

Final thought: Thanks for the pimpage, Iggy. I really hope to see you in Vegas in a few days.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Blogger NL Action with Wil F***IN’ Wheaton

21 NOV 05

So, I didn’t think to copy the chat portion of the conversation where Wil Wheaton and I had a “geek-off” (BTW- I’m a HUGE geek, but I think he may have me. He did write a book called “Just a Geek,” after all). I mentioned that I sited Bones McCoy in my application to medical school, and it was met with stunned silence. Perhaps no one believed. Well, technically it’s not true, but I did talk about McCoy in my interviews. It helps that most doctors are huge Star Trek fans…

I intended to just post the portions of the conversations that involved me, but there was some pretty funny exchanges between another of my blogger heroes (Dr. Pauly) and Wil:

DrPauly: i got the hammer wil
Wil Wheaton: sigh
Wil Wheaton: dammit
Wil Wheaton: you should call
Wil Wheaton: so you can show
Wil Wheaton: for serious
Dealer: DrPauly, it's your turn. You have 15 seconds to act
BStouts [observer]: call him
Wil Wheaton: wuss
Dealer: Wil Wheaton has two pair, Kings and Queens
Dealer: DrPauly has a pair of Sevens
Dealer: Game #3101315314: Wil Wheaton wins pot ($8) with two pair, Kings and Queens
Wil Wheaton: DING
DrPauly: asscock
Wil Wheaton: hahahaha

And this gem:

Wil Wheaton: eight no goot?
DrPauly: i got 7-3 wil
DrPauly: but do i have hearts
Wil Wheaton: really?
Dealer: Wil Wheaton, it's your turn. You have 15 seconds to act
Wil Wheaton: i have a pair
Dealer: Player Wil Wheaton has requested TIME
Wil Wheaton: it's not a good pair
DrPauly: raise me
Wil Wheaton: i think i'll just call
DrPauly: i'll show
Wil Wheaton: heeeeeehaaaaaawwwwww
Dealer: DrPauly has a straight, Four to Eight
Dealer: Wil Wheaton has a pair of Eights
Dealer: Game #3101363457: DrPauly wins pot ($0.99) with a straight, Four to Eight
Wil Wheaton: nice - hahahaha

It’s always a good idea to insult your gracious host:

Wil Wheaton: now i think i win because i chased it all the way and got there
Dealer: Game #3101378370: Wil Wheaton wins pot ($1.39)
Wil Wheaton: i told you i chased it like a donkey
Wil Wheaton: i felt it
Wil Wheaton: i was going all the way
DrChako: you win back the donkey title
Wil Wheaton: YES!
Wil Wheaton: Heeeeeee Haaaawwwww (shows just how gracious)

This one did involve me:

DrChako: okay - my last hand – it’s my wife's birthday (which was quite true – happy birthday, honey!)
DrChako: take it easy on me
Wil Wheaton: everyone call so chako can have fun on his last hand
Wil Wheaton: wheeee
DrChako: i got a piece
Wil Wheaton: you should totally win, because it's your last hand
Wil Wheaton: i just flipped the switch for you
DrChako: this is my pot
DrChako: are any of you listening?
Wil Wheaton: ding!
DrChako: darn
Dealer: Game #3101545295: PhoebusX wins pot ($1.27)
Wil Wheaton: that wasn't very nice, phoebus
PhoebusX: hehe, sorry
Wil Wheaton: see ya dr.chako :)
Tactix: happy b-day to the wife!
DrChako: thanks - she's sweating me, so you told her yourself
Wil Wheaton: happy birthday!

I won about $2.50, but more importantly had more fun playing poker then I can remember. Thanks again to all involved. I hope to see some or all of you in Vegas.

Final thought: I wonder if the birthday greeting from Wil meant more than the birthstone ring I got her…

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Atomic Hammer

15 NOV 05

The blogger community has united around certain nomenclature. 72 off-suit is known as the hammer because of its awesome (and stealthy) powers. Here is my version – the atomic hammer:

(Warning: Hand History)

Hold'em No Limit ($0.25/$0.50) - 2005/11/14 - 21:19:51 (ET)
Dealt to DrChako [7c 2s]

*** FLOP *** [7s Js 2h] BAM!!

*** TURN *** [7s Js 2h] [2d] BAM BAM!!

*** RIVER *** [7s Js 2h 2d] [2c] ATOMIC HAMMER, BABY!!

*** SHOW DOWN ***

DrChako: shows [7c 2c] (four of a kind, Deuces)

Of course, that set the stage for my bust out from a live tourney last night. Playing at PJ Pockets in Federal Way, I had AA and raised to 3xBB (it was my second AA of the night - should have folded pre-flop), and got two callers. The flop was KJ3 rainbow. First all in had Q10 and the second all in had K8.


An 8 on the river sent me home.

Final thought: All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure. - Mark Twain, Letter to Mrs Foote, Dec. 2, 1887

Thursday, November 10, 2005

SNG and Publishing Update

10 NOV 05

Boring stuff to just about anyone but me, but here goes:

Buy-In: $15.00/$1.00 - 18 players
4th place. $27.00
Buy-In: $5.00/$0.25 - 4 players
1st place. $20.00
Buy-In: $15.00/$1.00 - 18 players
1st place. $108.00
Buy-In: $15.00/$1.00 - 18 players
4th place. $27.00
Buy-In: $15.00/$1.00 - 18 players
3rd place. $54.00
Buy-In: $11.00/$1.00 - 45 players
6th place. $29.70
Buy-In: $11.00/$1.00 - 45 players
6th place. $29.70
Buy-In: $15.00/$1.00 - 18 players
2nd place. $81.00
Buy-In: $11.00/$1.00 - 45 players
6th place. $29.70
Buy-In: $15.00/$1.00 - 18 players
4th place. $27.00
Buy-In: $15.00/$1.00 - 18 players
1st place. $108.00
Buy-In: $11.00/$1.00 - 45 players
1st place. $153.46

That’s $694.56. Not too shabby. Of course, it’s meaningless unless you know what I spent for all tournaments entered (including those I didn’t cash in). I can tell you that my bankroll has climbed, so my tournament play is clearly +EV. In the future, I’m going to change to the Drizz format and just state total gain/loss.

It occurred to me that online poker has given me a scary gift. Most poker pros probably get this knowledge after years of the tournament grind. I’ve gotten it after less than one year of play. It’s this – make good decisions and you will win in the long run. Bad beats, and even bad moves will take care of themselves. Doyle said it best. He was talking about the play of individual hands when he said that he stabs at smaller pots and wins quite often. This allows him to take bigger chances when he may not have the best hand because even he is supposed to make his share of draws and suckouts.

I’m applying this same attitude to tournament play, and it’s done two things:
1. It’s allowed me to make more aggressive plays closer to the money, and
2. If feel less bad when I don’t hit.

That coupled with a plump bankroll has given me a lot of confidence, and confidence breeds winning.

Final thought: There has been early and positive interest in my publishing idea. Please keep your thoughts and ideas coming (and next time post them on the blog – don’t be shy!). One idea was to pay the writers up front AND offer some kind of royalty. Good idea. My new plan is to distribute 50% of the net profits to the writers. What’s not to like?!?!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


9 NOV 05

I love reading other poker bloggers. Our great secret is that there is so much to learn. Good poker bloggers teach you a lot about poker theory, how to play individual hands and how to manage your bankroll. Great poker bloggers teach you about life.

Dr. Pauly mentioned the other day that he still hasn’t published his books yet. I had a publishing company for a while, and I would have loved to publish it for him. Unfortunately, with the advent of self-publishing and the lack of great writing, I stopped after one novel (a very good one by Hunter Silvastorm, check it out if you get the chance).

But now I’m thinking that there is already some great material out there, and it sure would be easy to compile it into book form. The marketing is already there – bloggers would surely push the book, especially if their own work was included. I still have to decide a target price and such, but I was thinking about offering cash for great submissions. Heck, I might even try to get Wil to write the forward…

Your thoughts would be appreciated. Would you let me incorporate some of your best stuff? I’m thinking like $50 for five great submissions. Of course, I get to choose which ones get included (and who gets paid), but do you think this would work?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Vegas Recap

3 NOV 05

Okay. I got it now. Poker is (+) EV. Gambling is (-) EV.

But gambling is fun!!

I broke down the totals from my trip last week to Las Vegas.

NLHE: (-) $190
LHE: (+) $90
Tournament: (-) $124

Roulette: (-) $60
Craps: (-) $6
Blackjack: (-) $10

Total: (-) $300

It would seem like Limit Hold ‘em is my specialty, but I don’t think that’s true. I killed the No Limit tables at 1-3, but GOT killed at 2-5. Once again, I bought in for the minimum and I was over my head. When that happens, I don’t bet appropriately. I know that. I KNEW that, yet when that 2-5 table opened up, I sat right down. There was one famous guy at the table – people called him Cowboy. You’d recognize him from the WSOP broadcasts. He cleaned up and overbet when he knew someone would fold. That’s such a powerful tool, and I had it in my arsenal at 1-3, but not at 2-5. I couldn’t pull the trigger on a $200 bluff. I did in fact pull the trigger on a $90 semi-bluff at 1-3.

I have Q 10 off with the Queen of clubs. I raised to $12 on the button and get two callers. The flop comes all clubs, King-high. I had a straight and flush draw. The first position guy bets $15. That screamed “continuation-bet.” The second guy just called, so I put him on a draw. He was a good player, so I knew he would fold if I bet appropriately. I paused for effect, and bet $90. Both folded, and I raked a decent pot.

Here is one hand I’m not sure I would play differently. I’ve gamed several scenarios, and all have me losing, sometimes losing a lot more than I did.

Playing 1-2 NL at the Sahara. There is a bully to my right who refuses to chop the blinds. He raises to $10, and I call with 4 5 off.

Flop A 4 4, rainbow. Sweet.

He bets $10 and I quickly call.

Turn 7.

He bets $20, and I quickly call.

River 7. Full house, baby.

He checks.

I take my time and bet $30. He quickly raises to $100.

Pocket aces? Case 7? No way. I put him on AK.

I call. He turns over K 7 diamonds for the higher full house.

Before the night was over, most of us at the table had his money, but I heard from one of the locals that he wins more than he loses. Go figure.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Movin’ On Up

3 NOV 05

I’ve finally figured out my motivation for playing poker – making money. You laugh, but it’s not as obvious as you think. Up until now, I’ve been playing for the challenge and the adrenaline rush, and I’ve had plenty of both. My bankroll stagnated for a while, but now that it’s on the upswing, I’ve been afforded the luxury (no pun intended) to do some soul searching. I want to make some serious money. Granted, I do pretty well in my career as a physician, but this endeavor is separate. In order to call myself a successful poker player, I need to set a goal, and not stop until I achieve it.

That goal is $25,000.

Okay. It may sound unrealistic to some, but after spending a week in Vegas and watching a guy blow that much in 5 hands on the blackjack table, I think it’s a good and attainable goal.

Now, how do I do it? Here is a start:

Buy-In: $25.00/$2.00 - 18 players

You finished the tournament in 2nd place. A $135.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

That’s right. I’m moving up in limits in online tournaments. Up until now, I have only played the $15 + 1 two-table SNG’s, and have been doing quite well. I found the skill level at $25 to be no different. I wonder how it will change as I move to the $35 and $55 tournaments. I also intend to play the bigger tournaments more often.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

It’s Variance, Idiot!!

25 OCT 05

The epiphany came to me yesterday as I was trying to think why I’ve been so successful at online poker, but so horrible in the casino. Sure, it could be because the online players are donks and the casino players are all better than me, but it had to be more than that. As I’ve said before, if you delude yourself about your skills you will lose money. That being said, I’d like to think I’m fairly intelligent and an above average poker player.

So what gives?

What gives is variance. Much thanks is owed to several bloggers and poker authors for trying to pound this idea into my head. Leave it to Excel to drive it home. Here is the epiphany: I have been buying into limit games with too little to allow for aggressive play PLUS variance.

Let me explain.

Figure 1. Here is me. I buy into a 4/8 table with $100, or about 12 x the BB. With my aggressive style of play, as soon as I get to the inevitable downswing and hit -12 BB, I’m done. I don't allow myself to rebuy, so I walk away down for the session (and pissed off to boot).

Figure 2. Here is where I should be – buying in with at least 30 x the BB. This way, if and when I swing below 12 x the BB, I’m giving myself a chance to swing back.

The key to this strategy is two fold:
- Walk away when you reach a set limit.
- Never lose more than 30 x BB in one session.

Another factor is the change of style once I get close to the – 8 BB point. I become less aggressive, or I go on tilt, and both are HUGE –EV.

I’ll let you know how it goes when I get back from Vegas.

Final thought: This only applies to limit. I’ll be trying some no-limit ring action and a few tournaments, but that’s for another blog.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Blogger Tourney Bust Out

24 OCT 05


At least I outlasted Dr. Pauly.

Quick recap:

I’m in EP with A 10 off (no diamonds) and raise to 3x BB. I get one caller. The flop comes three diamonds. I check and the caller bets small. I put him on a hand but fearful of the diamonds. I push and he calls with AcJd. That’s right. No pair, and only the J of diamonds. No more diamonds come, so he beats me with J-high. He didn’t really have me outchipped. Maybe it was a good read…

BS. He made a bad call and got lucky. I noticed that he did not finish in the money.

So there.

Down a little for the weekend, but Vegas is right around the corner. If Pauly is still there, I’m buying him a beer or three just to say thanks for all the free entertainment.

You should be listening to:

Friday, October 21, 2005

What On Earth…?

21 OCT 05

What on Earth did you like about that flop?

I can’t believe how many times I said that yesterday. Gotta love the Muckleshoot, where if you dream it, your card will come.

I hate having made hands trumped by gut shots, especially when the pot odds clearly did not warrant idiots staying in. Lost with KK, QQ and AQ like that. Of course, I had my one suck out when I caught a third 8 to my pockets and busted a guy with AA. I limped in middle position. There was one caller and he raised. I called, and so did MP.

The flop was 7 6 2 rainbow. I had an overpair so I bet it. MP calls and AA guy raises. I call and so does MP. There are now 10 big bets in the pot. The turn is a 5, giving me the open ender and the over pair. I check and so does MP. AA bets and we both call. I think I’m beat, but I have 10 outs (two 8’s, four 4’s and four 9’s).

River was an 8.

I bet, and as MP is calling, the button guy shouts, “you sonofabitch,” because he knows his rockets got busted. With the way the table was going, he should have expected it. Besides, he was one of the morons that sucked out on me two hands earlier.

Small consolation as I still ended up down for the night. I was happy with my play – more aggressive, but I still screwed up one hand by playing too tightly.

I’m dealt KK in middle position and the LAG to my right raises. I reraise and (holy crap), I isolate him. That almost never happens at the Muck. Anyway, the flop comes undercards. He bets and I raise. He calls. The turn is another undercard. He bets again.

Now, I’m thinking, AA? Trips? I just called. That was my mistake. I should either raise or fold that hand. At this point, he looks at me and says, “what, no raise?”


River is an Ace. He bets, I call, and he beats me with A Q.

Final thought: T minus 5 days to Vegas.

You should be reading:

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Instant Karma

19 OCT 05

First, my tournament update (‘cause I know you love these updates):

You finished the tournament in 3rd place. A $54.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account.
You finished the tournament in 1st place. A $108.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account.
You finished the tournament in 4th place. A $27.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account.
You finished the tournament in 3rd place. A $54.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account.
You finished the tournament in 3rd place. A $54.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account.
You finished the tournament in 3rd place. A $54.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account.
You finished the tournament in 3rd place. A $54.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account.
You finished the tournament in 4th place. A $27.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

I also tried three 5 table tourneys (and cashed in all three):
Buy-In: $11.00/$1.00 - 45 players
Tournament started - 2005/10/07 - 23:47:36 (ET)
Dear DrChako, You finished the tournament in 6th place. A $29.70 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

Buy-In: $11.00/$1.00 - 45 players
Tournament started - 2005/10/11 - 19:45:08 (ET)
Dear DrChako, You finished the tournament in 5th place. A $44.55 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

Buy-In: $11.00/$1.00 - 45 players
Tournament started - 2005/10/13 - 17:23:39 (ET)
Dear DrChako, You finished the tournament in 1st place. A $153.46 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

And this one I especially liked, because I outlasted a huge field and only got beat on a bad suckout:

Buy-In: $10.00/$1.00 - 1345 players
Tournament started - 2005/10/13 - 21:35:00 (ET)
Dear DrChako, You finished the tournament in 34th place. A $47.07 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

Skills are still intact, despite a couple of bad beats the other day. As an aside, how can I win $704.98, and still go on tilt when I lose $35? Talk amongst yourselves…

On to karma.

So last night, I’m leaving the hospital at 8 pm, when I encounter Jo. Jo is breathing quite heavily while leaning against a car in the hospital parking lot.

Me: “Can I help you?”

Jo: “I can’t find my car! My husband is bleeding from his rectum and I’ve been walking around this parking lot for the last two hours and I can’t find my car and I want to go home and I don’t think I can go on much longer, and…”


Jo: Silence. Rapid, but quiet breathing.

Me (extending my hand): “My name is Dr. Chako.”

Jo: “God bless you. I’m Jo.”

Me: “Take my arm, and I’ll get you to security. I won’t leave until I’m sure you get where you need to go.”

There is much crying interspersed with lots of thanks as we make our way to the ER and find security. Dr. Chako saves the day.

Fast forward to later that evening and a $25 two-table SNG:

You finished the tournament in 2nd place. A $135.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

Coincidence? I think not. Maybe if I drove her home myself, I’d have gotten first.

Karma baby.

Final thought: We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give. - Sir Winston Churchill

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I’m Back

18 OCT 05

I knew you missed me.

I was off furthering my career and having a heck of a time to boot. Here is a hint of what I did on my summer vacation:

Online poker treated me well while away, but after last night I’m probably even (KK vs. AA, K-high flush vs. A-high flush – that kind of thing).

More trip report perhaps tomorrow.

Final thought: Thanks Scott. Driving it was fun, and I WILL own that car. Oh yes, I will. (I’m starting to sound like Plankton from Sponge Bob. That crabby patty will be MINE!)

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Two Peas – Different Pods

6 OCT 05

I’m short-stacked but in-the-money in the latest $15 + 1, two-table SNG, when I get the following hand:

Seat 5: cdf1983 (13775 in chips)
Seat 7: EvilStepDad (8895 in chips)
Seat 8: DrChako (4330 in chips)

Dealt to DrChako [Ad Kd]
EvilStepDad: folds
DrChako: raises 1200 to 2400
cdf1983: raises 11300 to 13700 and is all-in
DrChako: calls 1855 and is all-in

*** FLOP *** [Ac As Kh] Wow!
cdf1983 said, "nh"
*** TURN *** [Ac As Kh] [Ah] Double Wow!!
DrChako said, "holy crap!"
DrChako: shows [Ad Kd] (four of a kind, Aces)
cdf1983: shows [3c Qc] (three of a kind, Aces)
cdf1983 said, "daaaaammmmmmmmmmm"

It’s nice for the variance to come my way for a change. Unfortunately, the yin-yang in the universe decided to seek revenge on my wife. While I was catching miracle cards, I watched her Aces full of 4’s get beat by Aces full of Jacks, her flopped set get beat by a straight when a Queen came on the river (to a moron holding nothing but AK), her pocket Jacks on a flop of 4, 4, 5 get destroyed by a guy holding pocket 5’s, and at least one other 2nd best full-house. It got to the point where I was calling out the bad beats before the cards were turned over.

Flop K 8 6. Turn Ace. River 6. “Oh, he’s clearly gonna flip over Ace-6."

Bam. Ace-6.

It’s probably my fault.

You should be reading: The Blonde. Look for HNT, or in today’s case LNT. Trust me.

Final thought: History will be kind to me for I intend to write it. - Sir Winston Churchill

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Kicker Problems

5 OCT 05

Coffee-housing is talking to your opponent in order to:

- Get information
- Create confusion

So, I’m playing heads up with my wife (okay, we’re poker geeks - got it). The specifics of the hand are a bit fuzzy now, but I had something like A 9 off-suit. The board comes A 10 2 rainbow, and she bets.

Now, you have to know my wife. She is not an aggressive player. It’s fair to say that when she’s betting, she has something. She has a couple of tells, and one of them said that she got a piece of that flop.

But, so did I.

Sometimes I can get information just by looking, but I decided to try a little coffee-housing. She’s looking at her chips (tell) and I say, “I got an Ace. You got an Ace?” She pauses ever so briefly (tell) before the tiniest smirk (tell) comes, and she says, “yup.”

I believe her.

“What’s your kicker?” I ask deviously. “You’ll have to bet to find out,” comes her smooth reply (TELL!!)

I go all-in (moron). She calls.

She had the Ace. Her kicker – another Ace.

Thank God we were playing for honor only.

Final thought: I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him. - Mark Twain

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Oh, the Wit

4 OCT 05

So, I’m walking arm in arm with my wife, when she say, “your arm hair is really soft.”

My quick-witted reply?

“That’s not the only thing that’s soft, baby.”

Okay. Maybe I need to work on that one.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Free Counter

Online Universities


3 OCT 05

First off, welcome to my new readers. Many of you got an email from me today, so I appreciate you stopping by. Feel free to leave comments from time to time. Just realize that anyone can read your comments, so don’t be too vulgar.

If you track back to some of my recent postings, you’ll see that I suffered a horrible string a bad beats (it couldn’t be bad play, right?), and I decimated most of my bankroll. I was filled with self-doubt. Why didn’t I just stick with golf?!

But lately, my internet play has surged (as I knew it would), and my bankroll is flush again. Here is a taste:

No Limit Hold'emBuy-In: $15.00/$1.00 - 18 players
Tournament started - 2005/10/01 - 18:54:39 (ET)
You finished the tournament in 4th place. A $27.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

No Limit Hold'emBuy-In: $12.00/$1.00 - 18 players
Tournament started - 2005/10/01 - 19:48:13 (ET)
You finished the tournament in 2nd place. A $64.80 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

No Limit Hold'emBuy-In: $15.00/$1.00 - 18 players
Tournament started - 2005/10/02 - 01:06:49 (ET)
You finished the tournament in 3rd place. A $54.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

No Limit Hold'emBuy-In: $15.00/$1.00 - 18 players
Tournament started - 2005/10/02 - 11:34:34 (ET)
You finished the tournament in 3rd place. A $54.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

No Limit Hold'emBuy-In: $15.00/$1.00 - 18 players
Tournament started - 2005/10/02 - 19:14:58 (ET)
You finished the tournament in 1st place. A $108.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

And finally, I played in a free qualifier tournament...

No Limit Hold'emSuper Satellite
Tournament started - 2005/10/02 - 12:00:00 (ET)
You finished the tournament in 1st place.You qualified to play in Tournament #12671146 and are automatically registered for it. If you choose to unregister from this tournament your account will be credited with $215.00 Tournament dollars. Tournament dollars can be used to buy into any tournament.

I decided to play the big one. There were 3000 players, about 90% of them paying $215 to play. The rest qualified like I did. Unfortunately, I got knocked out in 845th place. At least I outlasted 2/3 of the field. Too bad. First place was over $100,000.

Still, it feels good to be back.

You should be reading: This (It’s a link to my very first blog. After you click the link, scroll to the bottom.)

Final thought: Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society. - Mark Twain

Friday, September 30, 2005

I KNEW This Blogging Thing Would Pay Off

Poker Championship

I have registered to play in the
Online Poker Blogger Championship!

This event is powered by PokerStars.

Registration code: 9658918

Strategy Switch

30 SEP 05

Once again, poker confounds me. Playing NLHE ring game (.25/.50 – 9 handed), I get pocket AA twice in one loop. There are several limpers in front. I bump it to $5 – far too high for this game, but I figure to get at least one caller. I get two.

Flop is Q high. I push. Without hesitation, he calls. Q on the river.

Again, I get AA and this time only bump it to $2. Two callers. Flop is J high with 2 hearts. I bet $4 – more than half the pot. He reraises the minimum, and I push (which overbets the pot) to price him out of the flush draw. He flops over Kh 5h and sucks out the heart on the river.

I tell these two bad beats only to illustrate the following hand: KK UTG. I bump to $1.50. MP calls. The button bumps to $5. I bump to $8.50 to try and get MP to fold. No such luck. He calls and button puts us both all in. We both call. MP has QJ (!), and of course, the button has AA.

K on the river, and the suckout comes my way!! I tripled up and left the room.

Bottom line: AA sucks (right, Jarel?)

Some more good fortune in the two table $15 + 1:

Buy-In: $15.00/$1.00 - 18 playersTotal Prize Pool: $270.00
Tournament started - 2005/09/29 - 23:50:15 (ET)
You finished the tournament in 1st place.
A $108.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

Buy-In: $15.00/$1.00 - 18 playersTotal Prize Pool: $270.00
Tournament started - 2005/09/28 - 20:36:04 (ET)
You finished the tournament in 1st place.
A $108.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

Buy-In: $15.00/$1.00 - 18 playersTotal Prize Pool: $270.00
Tournament started - 2005/09/26 - 19:48:47 (ET)
You finished the tournament in 2nd place.
A $81.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

And I even tried a LIMIT tournament. It was nice to cash since my wife is such a better limit player than I am:

PokerStars Tournament #12956623, Limit Hold'emBuy-In: $10.00/$1.00
243 playersTotal Prize Pool: $6160.00
Tournament started - 2005/09/26 - 00:30:00 (ET)
You finished the tournament in 20th place.
A $43.12 award has been credited to your Real Money account.
You earned 70.09 tournament leader points in this tournament.

I also pulled the laptop in front of the tube to play one of the big games ($11 + 1 with re-buys. There were about 1400 players with a top prize of about $14,000). Bottom line, don’t play while watching final table madness. I finished 250th.

New site to plug: Clarified. She’s not sure if it’s spelled Clareified or Clarified, but it’s always great writing. Laugh out loud stuff.

Final thought: It is a terrible thing to see and have no vision. - Helen Keller

Friday, September 23, 2005

A New Game

23 SEP 05

Or should I say, a new way to play online.

I recently found the 11+R tournament. Poker Stars has this three or four times a day, and it’s quite soft. I cashed the first time I played:

PokerStars Tournament #12672464, No Limit Hold'em Buy-In: $10.00/$1.00
370 players, Total Prize Pool: $14860.00
You finished the tournament in 34th place. A $74.30 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

First place was over $3000. It was a 4 hour investment of time, but the return on investment is huge. I got knocked out by a chip leader who was being a bully. I called with 9c 10c. The flop came A 10 3, with 2 clubs. I bet and got called. I went all in after the turn (a blank) which was probably my mistake. I had a pair and the best draw (9 clubs for the flush, 3 nines for 2 pair, and two tens for the set). He called and a blank came on the river. He won with a pair of Aces.

I’ll be back.

I also cashed in a few more SNG’s:

Buy-In: $15.00/$1.00, 18 players. You finished the tournament in 4th place. A $27.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account.
Buy-In: $15.00/$1.00, 18 players. You finished the tournament in 4th place. A $27.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account.
Buy-In: $15.00/$1.00, 18 players. You finished the tournament in 2nd place. A $81.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account.
Buy-In: $15.00/$1.00, 18 players. You finished the tournament in 1st place. A $108.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

So, then I went back to the Muckleshoot to play in their $45 rebuy Thursday night tournament. You start with 1500 chips, but the blinds start at 25/50 and go up quickly. Antes begin as soon as the rebuy and add-on period is over.


The online tournament requires FAR more skill. This live tourney was an all-in fest, and I had no fun. I didn’t even bother to get the add-on. I just wanted to get the hell out of there.

You should be reading: It lists all tournament winners and includes their lifetime winnings (since 2004). It’s free to register. It does not list SNG wins (otherwise I’d be on there a bunch), and it doesn’t list losses. Several of the players that made it beyond the bubble in the 11+R tournament had lifetime winnings on PS over $20,000.

Final thought: Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold. - Helen Keller

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Heck of a Way to Make a Living

18 SEP 05

So, I’m on my way to a live home game yesterday, but traffic is miserable on I-5 North. Conveniently, I get off in Fife and I’m forced to drive right past my old stomping grounds – Freddie’s of Fife. They usually spread 3/6 (and 4/8 when they get busy), and they have a fairly good payout structure for their Monte Carlo. I’ve never hit the jackpot, but I’ve been close. Anyway, I hate 3/6 almost as much as 4/8. Statistically it should be a better game because the small blind is only $1. That SHOULD mean that the small blind wouldn’t call with weaker hands because he has to pay more than 50% to see the flop.

Yeah. Right.

There was an average of 5 people to see the flop every time. I reraised in late position after sitting quietly for 5 minutes and the flop came A J 6. They all checked to me. My bet got 4 callers. The turn was a 10. It’s checked to me again. I bet and get one caller. The river is a blank. I bet again and get called.

By pocket 8’s.

Do you realize how ridiculous that is? I sure did. It would be great if I could say that he read my “tell.” The truth is that no one in that room knows how to read tells, and wouldn’t care to look if they did. I just ran into a calling station before I knew what to do about it. I mucked without showing to the great surprise of the rest of the table.

So, at least now I have bluff equity, and should get paid for decent hands.

None came.

As my chips dwindled, I get Jc 8c in the big blind. 5 callers see a flop of K J 8. I’m thinking my two pair is good, but I check anyway in 2nd position (the small blind called the flop, of course). One MP bets and everyone calls.

6 on the turn. Rainbow board.

Now I come out betting, and 4 call me. Bluff equity, right? I’m getting paid, baby!!

The river is a 6.


Now I’m beat. With the board paired, anyone holding a K or a pocket pair higher than my Jacks has me beat. On the off chance that this was not the case (all right, so it was a stupid move), I bet. I get three callers.

Two of them had Ace-high. I’m reaching for the pot exclaiming how I can’t believe no one stayed with the case K. The dude on the ends waits until my hand hits the chips and slow-rolls his pocket K.

If I wasn’t on tilt before, I was now. I stood up and pointed my finger in the guys face and said, “that’s called a slow-roll, and it’s not right!” He just gave me a blank look. I took my remaining three dollars and left to the sound of “seat open!”

Strange that I lost my cool like that. I’ve had much worse bad beats. The combination of not winning a single hand in that session (!) plus the slow-roll was too much, I guess.

So with that chip on my shoulder, I went to the home game. I was .25/.50 dealer’s choice with a buck on the river. One joker was good for Aces, straights and flushes. We took it out for a couple rounds of Hold ‘em and one round of Omaha.

One game of baseball had me just calling with a Hollywood (straight flush wheel – in this case A thru 5 of spades) because I was afraid of 5 Aces. Fortunately, he only had 4 Aces. I finished up 7 dollars for the night, and I had a great time. I was going to say BUT I had a great time, but that wouldn’t be fair. A win is a win, and we had a good time to boot.

To finish the night, I played a little NLHE .25/.50 on PokerStars, and I brought my A game. Started with $20 and finished over $60 in about 30 minutes.


Friday, September 16, 2005

Back in the Saddle

16 SEP 05

I hit the Muckleshoot again last night. I stayed WAY too late, especially since I had to get up at 4:30 am again. I made a command decision to sleep in to 6:00, so I set my alarm for 5:50. Unfortunately, I set it for 5:50 pm (when will I stop making that same stupid mistake?) and woke up at 6:37.


I doubled up at the ‘shoot, but it should have been much better. I had a bad beat which I’ll illustrate here, not because it’s incredibly bad, but because I made one betting mistake when I knew I was beat.

I had 53 off suit in the big blind. There were 6 to see the flop which came 3 5 7 rainbow. I check my two pair and a late calling station bet. Everyone called up to me, and I check-raised the flop. This is usually a sign of medium strength when you don’t want anyone to draw out on you. It’s often used when you are trying to get people who are drawing to overcards, a straight or flush to fold. It almost never works at 4/8, and true to form, 6 people called the raise. The turn was a 3.


Now I had the baby full house, and I wanted to get paid for it, so I bet. I had a reputation as a little aggressive, so I thought I might get some action. I was right. There were three callers before the calling station raised the pot. I wasn’t afraid. In fact, I put him on AA or KK which was fine by me. I reraised. He capped and I called. The river was a 5.

Holy crap.

Now I went from a bottom full house to a top full house (not quite, but you see it coming, don't you?). Here is where I made my mistake. He is a calling station and he capped the river. The correct move was to check and call (since I had the 3rd nuts at this point. I’m beat by 75 or 77).

He raised.

As I’m calling the raise, I said, “You picked a helluva time to get pocket 7’s.” He said, “You mean these?”


My only real mistake was that last bet on the river. Normally, I’m getting paid for that hand. I still left up $100, so all was not a total loss. I think I tilted a little after that hand, but not too bad.

Final thought: Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock. - Will Rogers

Thursday, September 15, 2005

A Flurry of Success

15 SEP 05

So, I reread my last few entries. Talk about depressing.

I took a break from poker (for about 12 hours) and did some reading. I also listened to Barry Greenstein live audioblog the WCOOP tournament on PokerStars. He mentioned that most good players “got broke” several times before they became successful. I think the only pro who claims to never have been broke is Sklansky.

I decided to concentrate on my specialty. Things have taken a decided turn for the better:

PokerStars Tournament #12401432, No Limit Hold'emBuy-In: $5.00/$0.25
4 playersTotal Prize Pool: $20.00 Tournament started - 2005/09/10 - 18:57:06 (ET)
Dear DrChako, You finished the tournament in 1st place. A $20.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

PokerStars Tournament #12433089, No Limit Hold'emBuy-In: $15.00/$1.00
18 playersTotal Prize Pool: $270.00 Tournament started - 2005/09/11 - 13:55:49 (ET)
Dear DrChako, You finished the tournament in 2nd place. A $81.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

PokerStars Tournament #12457937, No Limit Hold'emBuy-In: $15.00/$1.00
18 playersTotal Prize Pool: $270.00 Tournament started - 2005/09/12 - 00:02:51 (ET)
Dear DrChako, You finished the tournament in 4th place. A $27.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

PokerStars Tournament #12540227, No Limit Hold'emBuy-In: $15.00/$1.00
18 playersTotal Prize Pool: $270.00 Tournament started - 2005/09/14 - 00:47:39 (ET)
Dear DrChako, You finished the tournament in 1st place. A $108.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

PokerStars Tournament #12580369, No Limit Hold'emBuy-In: $15.00/$1.00
18 playersTotal Prize Pool: $270.00 Tournament started - 2005/09/15 - 01:03:52 (ET)
Dear DrChako, You finished the tournament in 2nd place. A $81.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

Reading this helped.

I can’t say I’m completely back yet, but I’m getting there.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

More Ups and Downs

7 SEP 05

So, my bankroll is gone.

Talk about depressing. After the self-doubt (and self-loathing) of watching the last of my allotted stake disappear at 10/20, I started doing some soul-searching. Why am I playing this stupid game? What if I’m not as good as I think I am? Maybe 10/20 is too high a limit for me?

Actually, that last one is partly true. Some of the players at the table even told me so. I made two pair on the turn, but folded on the river when the 4th spade hit and the caller finally bet into me. I (stupidly) asked him to show and he told me he’d show for $5. I felt like an idiot for even asking. I didn’t pay him off. To needle me, he told his buddy (sitting between us) that he put me on being a tight player and thought I might fold to the bet.

He was right, but I still think he had a spade. I didn’t.

Part of the problem is playing 10/20 on the weekends. The play is a LOT more aggressive (a lot like 4/8, in fact), and my game isn’t suited to that (no pun intended). Never try to play higher limits when you are nursing a dwindling bankroll. It was in Doyle’s book, Poker Wisdom of a Champion where he said that there are very few players that play well under these conditions. Unfortunately, I’m not one of them.

So in the midst of this rut, I decided to do some bonus whoring. I dropped $600 into Poker Stars in order to get the $120 reload bonus. I’m playing two tables of 1 / 2 limit simultaneously in order to gain the 600 FFP’s I need to qualify. After that, I’m going to stick to my specialty – the $15 two-table NLHE tournament. Just to remember what it’s like, I signed up for one while playing the two tables of 1 / 2 (so I'm playing three tables at once). When I got to the final table, I was the short stack. I was dealt 9 9 with the 9 of clubs, and I raised. I got one caller. After the flop I had an overpair and three to the flush. The Jc came on the turn and my bet got raised. The river completed my flush, but at that point, I was all in. He had Jh 8c for the flush with the 8c. My flush with the 9c took the pot. Here is how we finished:

PokerStars Tournament #12209146, No Limit Hold'emBuy-In: $15.00/$1.00
18 playersTotal Prize Pool: $270.00
Tournament started - 2005/09/06 - 00:36:44 (ET)

Dear DrChako, You finished the tournament in 1st place.A $108.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account. Congratulations! Thank you for participating.

So maybe poker is trying to tell me not to give up. I’m not one to look for omens, but last night…

PokerStars Game #2516556885: Hold'em Limit ($1/$2) - 2005/09/06 - 23:04:02 (ET)
Table 'Balaton' Seat #4 is the button
Seat 1: hartdoc ($22.25 in chips)
Seat 2: DrChako ($19.25 in chips)
Seat 3: Kutz43 ($82 in chips)
Seat 4: gravedigger ($26 in chips)
Seat 6: BostonDonny ($44 in chips)
Seat 7: Moleman ($68.50 in chips)
Seat 8: Ranza ($14.25 in chips)
Seat 9: scottrude ($117.75 in chips)
Seat 10: Toyman ($66.25 in chips)
BostonDonny: posts small blind $0.50
Moleman: posts big blind $1
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to DrChako [Qh Kh]
scottrude: calls $1
DrChako: raises $1 to $2
scottrude: calls $1 (it's rare to isolate in 1 / 2, but it worked this time. Too bad.)
*** FLOP *** [Th Qc 5s]
scottrude: bets $1
DrChako: calls $1 (smooth call with top pair, K kicker)
*** TURN *** [Th Qc 5s] [Ah]
scottrude: bets $2
DrChako: raises $2 to $4
scottrude: raises $2 to $6
DrChako: calls $2 (I figured he had me beat when he reraised. I was right.)
*** RIVER *** [Th Qc 5s Ah] [Jh!!!!!]
scottrude: bets $2
DrChako: raises $2 to $4 (after MUCH pausing)
scottrude: calls $2
*** SHOW DOWN ***
DrChako: shows [Qh Kh] (a Royal Flush)
scottrude: mucks hand
DrChako collected $26.50 from pot

*** SUMMARY ***

Total pot $27.50 Rake $1

Board [Th Qc 5s Ah Jh]

Seat 2: DrChako showed [Qh Kh] and won ($26.50) with a Royal Flush

Seat 9: scottrude mucked [Js Kd] for the straight

I called my dad right away. He said that in all his years of playing, he only got one Royal Flush. I’m sure the difference is that I’m playing online. Not that I think online is fixed (I’ve heard all the conspiracies. It is not in the interest of Poker Stars to fix the games. They probably make millions a day already. If rumor got out that they were fixed, all their business would go away). It’s just that I’m seeing up to 200 hands per hour. I’ve probably seen almost as many hands of poker this year as my dad did in 5.

So, maybe I won’t give up just yet. My plan is to build the bankroll back to at least $500 (if possible) then maybe try a little NLHE ring at Tulalip (risky, but a good way to build a bankroll in a hurry) before going back to 10/20 at the ‘shoot. When I do go back, don’t look for me on the weekends. If you see me there, it’s either because I’m desperate, or flush with cash.

You should be reading: Wil Wheaton at CardPlayer

Final thought: It is easy to be brave from a safe distance. - Aesop

Thursday, September 01, 2005

New Orleans…

1 SEP 05

Second post today. Unusual, but necessary.

As a doctor and poker player, I urge you to sign up/re-buy/buy-in to the PokerStars fundraiser. See this and this for more information.

Many thanks to PokerStars, Wil Wheaton and the many bloggers who are getting behind this.

A Clash of Kings

1 SEP 05

That’s actually the title of George R. R. Martin’s second book in what is soon to be a 4 parter in the Song of Ice and Fire series. Seems appropriate for a poker blog, too.

As I noted, my bankroll has suffered lately. I’m stuck for all my online play. My entire stake at Party Poker and Poker Stars had vanished, and I was hovering near the bottom of the barrel (talk about a mixed metaphor). I took close to my last $400 to the Muckleshoot a couple of days ago. I say it was nearly my last because I forced myself to stick to the “poker-can” concept, and so far it’s working. That is, it was until recently.

For those that didn’t read it on an earlier blog, the poker-can probably saved my marriage (okay, that’s a bit of an overstatement. Let’s just say that after an INTENSE discussion with my wife, we decided that using family money was unacceptable for by burgeoning poker career, so we staked my “can.” When the stake is gone, it’s gone. Then the begging begins, and NOBODY wants that).

I started looking at this like a business recently, and I immediately became much more frugal. Start thinking about BB/hr and stop lamenting individual hands, I told myself. Well, I’ve cashed in the last two tournaments I played and had three consecutive winning sessions (included a 4/8 win, which is astounding given that this isn’t really poker IMHO). While the bankroll isn’t back to even yet, it’s getting there. I’ve decided not to rebuy on Poker Stars until I get back to even (or close to it) and then I’m going to stick with +EV events like 5/10 LHE and the $15 two-table NHLE.

One bad hand from last night: I’m playing 10/20 and I’m in MP with AJo. I’m first in, so I raise. I get three callers. The flop is A 9 6 rainbow. BB checks, I check and the button checks. The turn is a K. BB bets and I raise. He’s played too many pots, but he does raise with a premium hand (although thinking about it now, I never saw him reraise). Since he just called my raise from the BB, I can’t put him on anything, but if I was going to make a move, this was the time). Button calls (!) and BB calls (!!). The river is a 2.

BB checks. I check.

Button bets.

Okay, now what? Did the BB slow play his AK? Did the button flop trips? Actually, to this point, I haven’t screwed up too badly (other than not betting the Ace on the flop). BB called and I called. Classic mistake. You need a MUCH stronger hand to over call. Aces with a J kicker could NEVER have won this pot, and it didn’t. BB had 2 pair (K2, but they were sooooted) and the button DID in fact flop a set of 6’s.


You should be reading: David Sedaris; Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim

Final thought: Never... ever suggest they don't have to pay you. What they pay for, they'll value. What they get for free, they'll take for granted, and then demand as a right. Hold them up for all the market will bear. - Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campain, 1999

Wednesday, August 31, 2005


31 AUG 05

In the pursuit of truth, I finally got around to making my Excel spreadsheet so I can track my wins and losses. It’s quite the eye opener. Talk about finding your holes!!

I always suspected that my internet play was –EV, but this really hit the point home. Specifically, playing ½ 6-handed is –EV. I’ve lost more playing that game then most. It’s also the source of some of my biggest wins (%-wise), but it’s more gambling than anything else. Poker should NOT be about gambling (at least limit-poker shouldn’t). It’s about odds, and about maximizing gains and minimizing losses. If I stick to the 2-table $15 SNG or the 5/10 ring game, I usually am a winning player.

Unfortunately, I lost another buy-in on PokerStars. I never really had a chance, I suppose. I didn’t buy in with enough to sustain the variance – made worse by a succession of bad-beats that in the normal course of the game are expected (not like the quad rush I mentioned yesterday).

So I got back to basics and went back to the Muckleshoot last night for a little 10/20. I played very tight for the first two hours and had nearly blinded away my entire stake when I got Q 10o in the big blind. There were three callers, so I thought I was going to see a cheap flop when the small blind raised it to 20. I called and so did everyone else.

With $100 in the pot, the flop came 10-high with 2 diamonds. The small blind bet (of course). I just called to see what the rest of the table would do. There was only one additional caller.

The turn was a blank, and the small blind checked. I checked too, because the third guy was very aggressive (LAG – loose aggressive guy), so I was hoping for a check raise. He bet, but unfortunately, the small blind called. Now I was stuck, but I paid to see the river card just in case I got two pair. The river was a blank.

Small blind checks (I put him on AK). I bet and hold my breath (figuratively, I hope. Mike Caro says that bluffers will often tighten up. If you see this, bet out). The LAG just calls, so I think I’m beat. Small blind calls (thank goodness for morons) with his AK. I show my top pair Q-kicker, and I think I’m going to get slow-rolled because the LAG is taking a long time to show. He flips over his ten, then mucks. Later I heard he had J 10.


Then I went on a medium rush and walked away up $60 for the night. Mary is my new favorite dealer.

In the interest of honesty, here is one hand I played horribly. I had QJo with the J of hearts. I flop top pair with 4 players in an unraised pot. Two hearts come and I pair the Q. I bet and all call. A heart on the turn and everyone checks. The river brings the 4th heart, but pairs the board. The early position calling station (CS) bets out. Now, I have the J high-flush. There is one person left, but he acts behind me. I figure, if early CS doesn’t have me beat, late position guy does.

I mucked. So does the last-to-act guy.

I’m not sure what the first guy had, but I think I heard him say he had 10 10 with the 10 of hearts. That would suck. If I’m forced to calculate implied odds, I think I’m supposed to make that call. If I was thinking critically, I could have discounted the full house (someone would have bet the two pair or the trips on the turn). That means that only three cards could have beaten me (AKQ of hearts).

I NOW know that the correct move was to raise. If I get reraised, I can fold. This is the definition of tight-aggressive play. Perhaps I was still smarting from earlier losses. Perhaps it was too late in the evening and I wasn’t thinking critically. Hopefully, I wont make the same mistake again.

You should be reading: Stephen R. Donaldson. He wrote one of the great Sci-Fan trilogies 20-odd years ago: Thomas Covenant, White Gold Wielder. His second trilogy wasn’t as good, and he just came out with the first book in the third trilogy. It’s getting mediocre reviews, so I might not get it. Most anything would pale by comparison to George R. R. Martin anyway.

Final thought: Experience suggests it doesn't matter so much how you got here, as what you do after you arrive. - Lois McMaster Bujold, "Barrayar", 1991

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

More Bad Beats (that I’m NOT talking about)

30 AUG 05

Ok. Explain this to me. How long can a bad run of cards sustain itself?

When I’m talking about a bad run, I’m not talking about going card-dead. I’m talking about flopping a solid hand, only to have it beat. Statistically, this is a good thing. It means I’m going in with the best hand, and they have to hold up a certain percentage of the time, right? Then, it’s just a matter of maximizing your wins and minimizing your losses.

Got it. Thanks.

So what do you do when you flop three full houses, only to have them beaten BY THE SAME GUY.

With Quads. All three times.

Within 45 minutes.

I’m reminded of the movie The World According to Garp. Robin Williams (playing Garp) is about to buy a house when a airplane crashes into it while he is standing in the yard. As the pilot is walking out of the wreckage, Garp says to the real estate agent, “we’ll take it.” What?! He replies that the house is now airplane proof. What are the odds of it ever getting hit by another airplane?

That’s how I’m approaching this. What are the odds that three of my full houses will get beat by quads ever again in my lifetime, let alone in the same night?

I think I can beat those odds. Like the gate guard said to me this morning as I arrived with my top down, “Ooh. An optimist?”

Yup. That’s me. Perhaps is delusion…

You should be reading: Drudge

Final thought: Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself. - Lois McMaster Bujold, "A Civil Campaign", 1999

Friday, August 26, 2005

Way cool

26 AUG 05

I just got back from a surprisingly relaxing vacation / family reunion in farm-country, Wisconsin. We threw a 35th anniversary party for the in-laws and it was well received. Not much in the way of poker stories other than a short 3-handed NL tournament with me, my brother-in-law and the wife. The wife won, or course. She called my all-in bet on the flop with a 4-flush and caught the flush on the turn. That’s one dollar out of the poker can. Damn.

The “way cool” reference is due to the following e-mail:

Wow, I remember you. Your buddy almost beat Mark Seif, right?

Good luck with your blog. I just added you to the blogroll!

From none other than Dr. Pauly!! I sort of feel famous by association. For anyone referred here from his web site, let me say thanks for the traffic. If you are looking for excellent writing, stick with Dr. Pauly. Glance here occasionally to check on the struggles of an aspiring poker player who happens to also be a physician. If you want to know more, see my very first post for a sort of FAQ page.

Many thanks to Dr. Pauly. Look for me tonight at the Muckleshoot.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


16 AUG 05

I’m sure someone has already made a tee-shirt with this logo (VARIANCE) on it. It’s a great thing to remember when someone sucks out on you. If the morons want to keep calling my made hands with 93o, let ‘em. I’ll win the vast majority of those battles, as evidenced by the last two days where I fluctuated significantly, but finished well into the positive range. I’m pleased that I had enough sense to walk away two days ago when I was only down $250 at 10/20.

Heading to Wisconsin tomorrow for the in-laws 35th anniversary. Hopefully, a poker game will break out. I think my wife has been telling the family that I’ve been playing high stakes poker, so I’m expecting no takers for higher limit family games, but that’s okay. Family poker should be about fun – not beating each others brains out. I get just as much pleasure out of winning a $5+1 SNG as I do winning $300 in higher stakes limit games.

You should be reading: Damn, is George RR Martin good!!

Final thought: “Variance!” (Best said after a string of bad beats, but only if you are SURE you’ve played your very best. If you’re forced to keep saying it over weeks or months, consider taking up bowling or golf.)

Friday, August 12, 2005

Short Post

I need a break.

I can’t say that I’m working too hard. Heck, my hours are pretty reasonable. I just hate dealing with stupid stuff. If all I did was care for patients, life would be grand. Maybe I should hire someone to handle all my administrative BS.

Nah. Life would be too good, and I’d have nothing to complain about. Golfers and poker players are only as good as their excuses.

You should be reading: Books. I’m re-reading George R. R. Martin in anticipation of the 4th book in the Song of Ice and Fire series. I love science-fantasy, and Martin is among the best of the genre. Perhaps THE best. You should also read this. You’ll become a better NLHE tournament player if you do.

Final thought: Sometimes good enough isn’t.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Looking Within

11 AUG 05

A successful poker player must be introspective (or so say the pundits), so in the interest of seeking the truth, I am forced to admit that I went on TILT yesterday.

Online poker is an interesting world. Sitting in my kitchen with the wireless hook-up to the laptop, I am amazed at how often I get my heart pumping with simple clicks of the mouse. I play tight aggressive, and lately my table image has not gotten me a lot of action. That’s okay. If I just steal the blinds or win a few hands on the flop, I’m fine with that. I know when to fold (in fact, I folded pocket AA on the turn and a Q-high flush on the turn yesterday. Both hands went to the river and both folds saved me a BUNCH of money). I’m usually not fazed with the occasional suckout on the river. Variance. But yesterday there were 4 consecutive hands that, while technically not the worst of bad beats, their cumulative effect took its toll.

Can you say, “re-buy?” I knew you could.

Then I proceeded to lose most of the re-buy in about a half hour. It was only time limitations that forced me to stop. Thank goodness for that. I’m now convinced that I wasn’t playing my best and would have lost the rest of that buy-in had I stayed. If only I would have figured that out sooner. I need to be better about setting personal limits (besides those forced on me by time constraints).

Anyway, in order to get right with the world, I went back for some live action at the Muckleshoot. The same regulars were there at the $10/$20 table and we chatted briefly about the good time we had the previous night. It was truly a fun table. Unfortunately, there was only one table of $10/$20, but plenty of open seats at $4/$8. I really hate low limit (as I’ve said before), but what the heck. Here was my night:

Start with $60 (unusual move, since I usually start with a full rack ($100) and I intended to buy in to the higher limit with a lot more than that. My thought was that it would force me to play more conservatively).

Quickly got up to $120 with some good cards and a couple of LOL (little old lady) calling stations.

Back to $60 with too-aggressive play. I guess I got greedy.

Nearly busted to nothing an hour later.

Got to all in with top pair and the nut-flush draw post-flop and caught the nuts on the turn. Back to $60.

Crazy rush at the end included a full-house, Ace-high flush and flopped set to finish at $160.

Now if I can just get that online stuff figured out.

You should be reading: Up For Poker

Final thought: One can always be kind to people about whom one cares nothing. - Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Poker is fun?

10 AUG 05

Last night was the most fun I’ve had playing poker when I didn’t win. I actually broke even, although I didn’t play many hands.

The game was $10/$20 at the Muckleshoot, and the table was a bunch of regulars. I am still a relative newcomer, but we had great conversation and a lot of laughs. Yes, I know we were trying to beat each others brains out, but I was still able to enjoy myself.

Mike Caro said that people enjoy losing to him because he makes everyone have fun at the table. In Doyle Brunson’s Super/System 2, he said that talkative tables are often loose, and therefore will give you a lot of action. There was plenty of action to be had last night, I just got cold-decked. I went 30 consecutive hands without a face card!!

The best part was one jovial woman at my end of the table calling me a wimp for leaving at 11:30 pm. I told her it was because I had to get up at 4 am, and she said she had to get up at three. What I didn’t tell her was that I needed to be rested so that nobody died today.

I never tell people what I do, although maybe I should. After all, this blog is called Never Play Poker with a Man Called Doc. How will they know I’m a doc if I don’t tell them?

You should be reading:

Final thought: We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. - Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere's Fan, 1892, Act III (I promise quotes from someone other than Wilde in the near future. These are just some of my favorites)

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Snake Bit

9 AUG 05

No bad beat stories, but I managed to lose the casino winnings (from yesterday) on PokerStars last night. Some LAG to my left was raising stupid stuff and catching cards. I know I’ll beat those guys in the long run, but after my decimation in Vegas, I need to replenish my poker funds without begging the wife for another influx of cash. Why the hell does a doctor need to beg his wife for poker money?!

You don’t know my wife.

More about the Poker Can and Vegas in upcoming blogs.

You should be reading: Drudge

Final thought: The basis of optimism is sheer terror. - Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891 (Oscar Wilde was clearly a poker player)

Monday, August 08, 2005

Weekend with Dad

8 AUG 05

What a great weekend!!

My dad and his girlfriend stayed with us and we taught them Texas Hold ‘em. We played low or no stakes and had a terrific time listening to Dad, who was a steady poker winner “back in the day” tell us that Hold ‘em is all about luck. He maintained that people only play it because it’s an action game. When confronted (by me) with the fact that the same group of about 30 players are winning consistently on the WSOP and WPT, he dismissed it as a fluke.

Then I took his money. Again.

It’s strange beating your Dad. He’s a great sport, but he and my wife both gave me grief when I sucked out with my 72o against my wife's AQs when I flopped a 7 and went all in against her short stack.

So of course we had to try a “real” game. I thought we were going to play stud or draw, but we switched to 31 for a dollar a point. This is an insanely mindless game of chance where you each start with three chips and then you each get three cards. You take turns drawing and the one closest to 31 (Ace and two face cards) “knocks,” then every other player gets to draw one card. The lowest pays one of their three chips into the pot. All four of us exactly broke even, but we actually had an entertaining 3 hours in the meantime.

I dropped them off at the SeaTac airport last night and stopped into the Silver Dollar Casino by the Airport for a quick round of 4/8 (a game I am coming to hate).

First hand: JJ. I bet and get 8 callers (I friggin’ HATE low limit!)

Flop: A J 5 (I LOVE this game!!)

I check. MP bets. I call and 7 stay for the turn.

Turn is a 5 (FH baby!!)

Can you say Check-Raise? I knew you could.

Three stay to see the river which was a blank. There were two diamonds on the flop. One was staying for the flush (too bad it didn’t hit) and the other flopped 2 pair that he couldn’t get away from.

First hand of the night – about $120.

I didn’t play another hand and went home after one loop (with much scowling from the various characters at the table). It was a great hit, but 10/20 is a MUCH better game.

You should be reading: The Onion and The Onion AV Club

Final thought: I can resist anything but temptation. - Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere's Fan, 1892, Act I

Friday, August 05, 2005

An Up and Down Day

5 AUG 05

I LOVE these emails:

PokerStars Tournament #10921559, No Limit Hold'emBuy-In: $10.00/$0.50
4 playersTotal Prize Pool: $40.00 Tournament started - 2005/08/05 - 02:17:30 (ET)
Dear DrChako, You finished the tournament in 1st place. A $40.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account. Congratulations! Thank you for participating.

Online players (those that play tournaments, anyway) know what I’m talking about. Actually, it’s rare that I play heads up, but I was in a mood after winning (and subsequently losing) $150 in the course of 3 hours. It started innocently enough. I played a little $5/$10 on PS and did rather well. I was about to turn off the computer when I had “the voice” tell me to play another SNG. The $15+1 Turbo 2-table is my specialty.

PokerStars Tournament #10877704, No Limit Hold'emBuy-In: $15.00/$1.00
18 playersTotal Prize Pool: $270.00 Tournament started - 2005/08/04 - 00:28:15 (ET)
Dear DrChako, You finished the tournament in 1st place. A $108.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account. Congratulations!Thank you for participating.

It was a good night and I caught some great cards toward the end. My only suckout was on the final hand. I had over $20,000 and there were two players left. Both had under $1000. They were both all in with me on the button. I called with 10 7o and got my 7 on the river.

I couldn’t go to bed right then, could I? You know the rest. There will be no bad beat stories on this blog. Suffice it to say that I don’t play well tired.

You should be reading Wil Wheaton.

Final thought: Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative. - Oscar Wilde

Thursday, August 04, 2005

And So it Begins...

4 AUG 05

Just what we need - another poker blogger. Well, I’m not your typical poker player and I’m not your typical blogger. I suppose I’ll develop a FAQ eventually (if anyone really cares), but here is the answer to a couple of questions:

Are you really a doctor?
Yep. Board certified.

Do you play live or online?
Mostly online, but I play live in the Puget Sound region as often as possible. I’m just waiting for the day when the casinos go smoke-free. I’ll probably have to move to California before that happens.

Are you consistently winning or losing?
I’ve been on a horrible losing streak lately. Look me up on PokerStars if you want to take some of my money.

Can I marry you?
It’s strange how often I get asked this question. It usually follows the Are you really a Doctor? question. Sorry, but I’m happily married with two wonderful kids. And dammit, where were you when I was single? Hell, where were you when I was a geeky high school kid humping my desk and dreaming of Linda Carter?

Can you get me Viagra (Vioxx, Fentanyl, Ritalin, etc)?

Why did you feel compelled to write a blog?
Same reason as millions of others – because I have something to say, and who knows, someone may actually read it. You are!

I hope to contribute regularly, but my schedule can be erratic and quite full. Feel free to ask all things related to Poker, medicine and life. I’ll do my best.

Weird confession: In my job as a physician, I’m often required to do fine and detailed work with my hands. This includes biopsies. If I do say so myself, I’m quite good at it. Yet, as a bonus to my readers, I’ll let you in on a little secret. When I’ve got the nuts (or close to it), my hands shake. If you see this – fold. I’m not sure why I’m giving away my biggest tell, but it seems the right thing to do in a blog. Besides, I read several bloggers, and the one quality I admire most is honesty.

Speaking of, you should be reading:

Dr. Pauly

Final thought:
Start every day off with a smile and get it over with. W. C. Fields