Monday, October 16, 2006

R.I.P. Party Poker
"We all had such a wonderful time..." - Woody Allen
Thanks to Byron for hosting the WBPT Swollen Genitalia Night at Full Tilt, where Derek made the final table of the Razz event on his birthday of all days. And yes I sucked out on him on the final table. Derek finished in 5th as I took 3rd and made the money despite being shortstacked for the last hour of the tourney.

play online pokerI can't seem to win these things. I have a 2nd and 3rd place finish this year and that's it. Congrats to Hoy who came from behind to win.

I also played in the Put a Bad Beat on Cancer charity event at Full Tilt with Rafe Furst, Andy Bloch, and Phil Gordon. Despite doubling up early, I exited early in 84th out of 174. Phil Gordon won the entire thing and Kat bubbled off the final table. Change100 also made the money and finished in 14th place.

It's been good to play in a few of these tournaments including The Mookie (on Wednesdays) since I'll be hitting the road starting Friday and won't have much time to play in blogger events over the next four weeks.

* * * * *

It seems like a decade ago, but it was only in early 2004 when I dove head first into the fishy waters at Party Poker. I had been an online virgin and I prided myself primarily as a live player as I made weekly treks to casinos either renting a car to drive to Foxwoods or hopping on a bus to Atlantic City. My favorite underground poker room was located three blocks away from the apartment of a neurotic Valium-guzzling actress who I used to date.

At the insistence of Iggy, I deposited money onto Party Poker and opened up an account with Choice Poker for the first ever blogger tournament. Choice Poker stole our money but that began a series of blogger tournaments on different sites that eventually morphed into the WBPT. I was excited to play online with other bloggers and partake in Grubby's Infamous Hammer Challenge which put The Hammer on the map. Raising with 7-2o had been seared into our brains and The Hammer officially became a part of everyday poker vernacular

Within a few weeks playing on Party Poker, I almost won a seat into the 2004 WPT Championships at the Bellagio through a satellite. I missed a seat by a few spots. In late 2004, I got close to winning a seat in the Aussie Millions.

I started out playing NL ring games and SNGs. On Saturday mornings, I'd play in that huge 2000+ person $5 MTT with my brother, Maudie, BG, Chris Halverson, or whoever else was around. Over the last 2.5 years, I've switched up what games that I play. For a while, I grinded it out at the $30 and $50 SNGs until I hit a dismal losing streak and lost a chunk of my bankroll. Then I played $100 MTTs but kept headbutting myself on the bubble. I quit playing tournaments shortly after I lost another percentage of my roll.

After crunching the numbers and doing some soul searching, I gave up tournaments and focused on cash games. I'd play NL live and play Limit tables online. I eventually accepted my role as an online low limit grinder. The numbers told me my best results were on Party Poker, so that's where I grinded it out and finally found my niche.

Grinding is boring. So is playing ABC poker. However, the consistent flow of money ended up being my motivation. Playing limit online wasn't sexy or exciting or challenging, but earning money never is. And it's tough to walk away from free money.

I multi-tabled 3/6 and eventually made my way up to 5/10 and 10/20. In order to keep my mind sharp and to satisfy my inner action junkie, I played PLO tables on Party Poker. I began in the kiddie pool at the $25 tables and eventually I found myself sitting at the $1000 PLO tables slugging it out against eurodonkeys.

In the last week of playing on Party Poker, I frequently took shots at the 15/30 tables. And like HDouble had been telling me for years... those players are awful. Too bad variance slapped me around, otherwise I would have left with a nice score.

Party Poker is my favorite online poker site. Or was. My definition of favorite is the site where I won the most money on. Since my first cash out (I originally funded my account using a Western Union transfer and used to get paid in checks when I cashed out) I've used the money I fleeced off the fish to pay my bills, funded trips to Foxwoods, AC, and Las Vegas, followed Phish and traveled with my winnings, padded my bankroll, and bought my Mom a TV and a new flat screen monitor.

No matter how bad I was running in real life or on other sites... I could always fire up Party Poker for a quick ego boost. Now that safety net is gone. My security blanket is no longer. Say good-bye to the Woobie.

Probably the biggest thing I'll miss about Party Poker is the anonymity. I changed my original screen name when random readers started recognizing me at the tables. Since then I never really had any problems. A few friends knew who I was and kept my secret safe. I used to play under a super-secret name on Empire Poker and sat at blogger tables incognito, which was more fun at times because people actually folded to my raises and not everyone tried to bluff me.

Here are a couple of random hands that happened the last week at the tables on Party Poker:
15/30 Limit Hold'em: I had been playing tight when I found 6-6 at the cutoff so I raised when the action got folded to me. The button (who had been playing a lot of hands) called and the big blind (who had been playing tight-aggressive) re-raised. I called along with the Button. The flop was a rainbow A-Q-6. Big blind opened up and I raised. The Button called and the big blind three bet. I capped it and the Button and big blind called. Big blind opened up again on the turn when another rag fell. I raised, the Button and big blind both called. On the river a Jack fell. Big blind checked, I bet and the Button raised. Big blind and I both called. "Who's got K-10?" I typed in the chat. Big blind had A-K, which I put him on. The Button showed J-J. I have no idea why he called all the way to the river with two overs on the board.

5/10 Pot Limit Omaha: Talk about a juiced hand even for PLO. With As-Kc-3s-3c, I limped in LP. Flop was Ks-4s-3h. One player bet 3/4 pot, another called and I raised the pot with bottom set and the nut flush redraw. Both called. On the turn, the case 3 fell which gave me quads. First player bet 1/2 the pot, second player raised all-in (we had him covered). We both called. On the river a King spiked and the board read K-4-3-3-K. The first player bet 1/2 pot, I moved all in and he called. The hands... player one showed 4-4-x-x for a full house fours over Kings. Second player showed A-A-x-x. And I busted two players with quads.
Despite the lukewarm results at the 15/30 tables, I managed to cash out of Party Poker with one last score.

* * * * *

And yes, I'm glad that last week is over. Not only did Bill Frist run my favorite poker site out of the country, he's also chopping away at my freelance writing career. I got dropped by two freelance clients and had to reduce my rate for another publication due to his legislation. Plus Party Poker is still investigating my affiliate account for fraud and they have not been very helpful with explaining to me what's going on. Personally, I think that's all bullshit and they don't want to pay me because of their shrinking income. I had been loyal to them since I started playing online and brought them hundreds of players over the past two WSOP and this is how they end things? Like I said last week... it's their loss, not mine.

If you are a Party Poker player looking for a new place to play, then you should be following the fish! They're playing on Poker Stars and Full Tilt Poker. Both sites have generous first-time deposit bonuses up to 100%. And Full Tilt is also currently running a reload bonus through Friday.
Download Full Tilt Poker here
Download PokerStars here

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