Sunday, March 30, 2008

Biggest Cache Machine ever; lucky; Spooky

The Yakima Cache Machine II was a blast. It's impossible to get solid numbers, but I'm almost certain that this was the biggest cache machine ever. I'm calling it 120 people, since the reservations we made at Old Country Buffet were for 70, they turned everyone else away, and someone told me that as a result, there were 50 more cachers eating dinner next door. Wow.

On top of that, I think my experiment in separating out the stupid micro-caches from the route worked well. As someone pointed out last night, anyone who wanted to get the micros that were near the route certainly wasn't prevented from doing so, and even in my car, we attempted a couple of them that were painfully close to where we were, because they still showed up on the map and on some of the higher end GPSRs.

It's been more than 15 years since I was a passenger on the ride through the Yakima River canyon. I've never ridden through there when there was snow on the hills. I stand by my claim that it's the most beautiful drive in the state.

I expected a few of the caches to have some relatively steep hill climbing, but I didn't expect there to be as many (7+). My legs and feet are still aching 24 hours later.

Was it the best CM ever? I think it might be. YCM I was my all time favorite, but this time there wasn't a really bad one on the route.

Oh, and on the poker side, I played again last night at Casino Caribbean, won $100 in a raffle, and another $63 at the table. When I won the raffle, I had the same dealer at the table who dealt me the quad aces the night before. He was as shocked at my luck as I was.

The drive home... well... When I left, Snoqualmie had traction tires required, and White pass had traction tires advised. The ol' Saturn doesn't take chains (not enough wheel-well clearance), so I'm heading home via The Dalles, Oregon. It's about an extra hour of driving compared to White Pass, which is the way I came over on Friday. No biggie. I got to eat a good pizza burger from Spooky's restaurant in The Dalles, which has free wi-fi, which is allowing me to post this blog entry.

Friday, March 28, 2008


Well, this trip has paid for itself.

I've been playing poker in casinos for something like five years now, and in that time, I've played in casinos at least 73 times (my recordkeeping starts in October 2005).

Every casino I've played in pays out a bonus for hitting four of a kind. Every casino, that is, except the classic Vegas ones (Bellagio and Binions) and the Tampa Hard Rock. And the last time I hit quads? May of 2005 at the Tampa Hard Rock (quad queens).

Tonight I'm at a table in Yakima, at the Caribbean Casino, and I'm down about $60 after losing a pot holding QJ when the board comes 2QJ/Q/K. The other guy had pocket kings, and my full house loses to his full house. I've been doing better at avoiding tilt, though, and soon I get two black aces.

I flop an ace, raise, get some callers, and turn the final ace. I check through the river, because if I don't make it to a showdown, no jackpot.

I got $116 for the quad aces, and another $25 for the high hand of the hour. And then I hit another two full houses over the next 30 minutes, leaving +$247.

Yeah, this trip paid for itself nicely.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Yakima Cache Machine II is Saturday

I'm looking forward to the Yakima Cache Machine II event more than any cache machine in a long time. Maybe it's because the first YCM five years ago was my favorite of the 15 I've organized. Maybe it's because the drive through the Yakima River canyon is, IMHO, the most fun drive in the state -- even better than 101 along Hood Canal, or the Olympic Peninsula loop. Maybe it's because I'm the navigator for a carload of cachers (dsvaughn, GeekGirl, and hydnsek) who are gonna be a barrel of fun. We're even gonna meet up on Friday before the event for a 3-mile, 12-cache hike through Cowiche Canyon.

I'm giddy.

(And yes, Yakima has poker rooms. Maybe it'll cover my hotel room costs.)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Still four players

I played for about 4½ hours at Palace on Monday morning, taking a nice spring vacation day. I played well in the tournament, but when the blinds were getting high and my stack was getting low, I got knocked out before the money when I called an all in bet with AKo against QQ.

I then went to the $3/$6 game, and played some of the best poker I've played in months. A big part of it, I think, was I was in a seat that didn't have a good view of a TV screen. I hate those things; they're so distracting.

I held my own for a while. Up $20, down $20, then hit a couple of big pots (like AJ on JAJ flop) to bring me up +$116. A few blinds and a badly played pair of pocket fives brought me back down to +$96, and I left when my brain felt exhausted.

The best hand of the day, though, didn't earn me a big stack. Nope. Here's the situation. I'm in the small blind, and I'm dealt A♦K♥. The big blind to my left only has $2 after he posts his $3 blind. The under the gun player, who seems to be a good player but plays his draws too long, calls the $3. A few callers, and it folds around to the button, who raises to $6. The button's a crazy old Asian guy who has built a pretty good stack by paying whatever it takes to see the flop, and then getting out quickly if the flop misses him, but winning big pots with hands of two random cards.

I re-raise it to $9, the big blind is now all in, the under the gun player calls, and it folds around to the crazy button caps it to $12. I call, the UTG calls, there's $41 in the pots already. Main pot is $20, side pot is $28. Four players.

The flop is K♦T♥J♠ I've got top pair top kicker, and I really only fear AQ. I bet $3, UTG calls, and the button raises. This tells me that he's got a hand, and that UTG probably has a face card. I like my hand though, so I re-raise. UTG calls again, and the button caps it. I call and UTG calls. $85 in the pots. Still four players.

The turn is a Q♣

I'm gleeful, thinking one of the players hit two pair, and the other may have three of a kind, losing to my straight. There's probably another ace out there though, so we'll be splitting the pot. That's OK. If we can keep the third player in, we'll split his money. I bet $6. UTG laughs "I'm good," implying that he's got the ace. He raises. The big blind, who has been sitting back wishing he had more money in the pot, says "I'm good, too." The crazy button laughs and calls. I raise, UTG raises, we all call, and I say "I'm good, too." No way that the four of us have all four aces. $156 in the pot. Still four players.

The river's a rag. We're all laughing now. I bet, UTG raises, button calls, I re-raise, UTG caps it, we all call, and the grand reveal:

It's a four way chop. We each get our money back. The money from the people who limped then folded pre-flop paid for the rake and the tip. I thought this kind of crazy hand only happened online.

(And I'm still not sure why the crazy Asian was calling instead of re-raising. The rake had already maxed out when the pot hit $30.)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Happy dance

I entered a $1 + $0.10 9-player sit n go tonight, and got knocked out in 6th place. I then signed up for a similar 45-player tourney, and ended up with this:

PokerStars Tournament #80831143, No Limit Hold'em
Buy-In: $1.00/$0.20
45 players
Total Prize Pool: $45.00
Tournament started - 2008/03/14 - 01:42:34 (ET)

Dear LauricT,

You finished the tournament in 2nd place.
A $10.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

You earned 52.03 tournament leader points in this tournament. For information about our tournament leader board, see our web site at

Thank you for participating.

Solid play, aggressive with the big stack, picking my battles with the small stack -- I think that's my highest money win in a tourney ever. At one point early in the tournament, I'm dealt QQ under the gun, two middle position players and the button go all in. I consider going all in; I'm getting 4-to-1 on my money, because I've got the biggest stack, but if I lose, I'll be crippled. With three other players in... I fold. The players show 99, JJ, and AA. There's a J on the flop, and no aces or nines show (and no queens, if you're wondering), and I pat myself on the back for a good fold.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Five, but not six

My tournament streak ended in my sixth game, where I lost a third of my stack chasing an open end straight draw when I was dealt 85s in the small blind, and got a flop of 7-6-J. The 4 or 9 never came. After folding for most of 19 hands, I'm slowly getting blinded away, and with less than 18 big blinds left, I'm dealt JTs. I push all in, and get called by two players. No luck, I'm out, down $1.20 for the tournament, but only down $0.80 for the day, having placed third (+$0.40) in another $1.20 tourney earlier. Still feeling good.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Make that four

Hmm... something's going on. In addition to the two back-to-back tournaments where I ended up in the money, I also cashed in the next two I entered, on Wednesday and this afternoon. Sure, they're only micro-limit buy-in tourneys, but placing 18th out of 167, 1st of 9, 2nd of 9, and 1st of 9 ... it's a bit of an ego boost. Certainly, a big part of it has been luck, such as when my KQ♠ knocked out A♠ T♠when a four-diamond board hit.

A bigger part, by far, however, has been playing to get to such a position, and that's mostly because I've been following the small-stack fast tournament strategy that Tom Snyder wrote about in The Poker Tournament Formula, a book I picked up last year* after someone on the defunct Seattle Poker Forum recommended it. To over-simplify, if you've got less than 20 big blinds left, and you're not in the blinds, either fold or go all in. With 21-50 big blinds left, you're a little safer, so there's a few more calling options. With more than 50, you've got breathing room, so play really tight and let the other players knock each other out.

I'd be surprised if the streak lasts much longer, and based on in La Center last September, I'm hoping that I'm able to alternate between tight tournament play and looser cash game play.

But I can enjoy it while it lasts.

* I just re-read a post from last March where I mention this same book. I'd bought it with a gift card that TMIB and Pony had gotten me. I guess that's how I get all my poker books ;-)

** Oh, and I also got my $35 check as reimbursement for my $35 in Happy Days chips. Interesting that it's from the owner's personal account. I suspect I should probably cash it real quick.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

That's two

After a long, long drought, I finally placed in the money in two micro-limit tournaments today and last night. At PlayersOnly, I played in a $0.25 rebuy and add-on tourney, adding on $0.50 during the match. Top 30 positions of about 170 paid, and I ended in 18th place, ending up +$1.20 or so.

This afternoon, I took the $5.11 remaining in my PokerStars account, played a few hands of razz to double it, then played in a 9 player sit-n-go, $1+$0.20. The result:

PokerStars Tournament #79311255, No Limit Hold'em
Buy-In: $1.00/$0.20
9 players
Total Prize Pool: $9.00
Tournament started - 2008/03/01 - 18:07:39 (ET)

Dear LauricT,

You finished the tournament in 1st place.
A $4.50 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

Thank you for participating.

Very nice. I suspect that part of it was that I've been catching up on all the AnteUp podcasts I've missed since last summer, and have been re-reading Lee Jones' Winning Low Limit Hold 'Em, which TMIB nicely bought me for my birthday (well, that's what I used the gift card for). It's the gift that keeps giving :-)

(Screen shot from my bonus hunt last month. Deuces never loses, especially when my 8th card was a 7)