Thursday, August 31, 2006

Bounty on My Head Tonight!

Join me again in the weekly Donk2Shark tournament tonight on PokerStars! This tourney was set up by a buddy of mine on the PokerXFactor forums and it's open to everyone. If you sign up because of hearing about it on +EV, and if you knock me out of the tournament, I'll give you back your $11 buy-in. Here's how to find it --

PokerStars --> Tourney --> Private --> August 31, 21:00 EST (or search for Tourney #30791023)

Password: bloomer13

You can find more details here. If you're new to PokerStars and can't find the tourney, click here for a visual aid.

EDIT: Hey, I actually won the Donk2Shark tourney! Check out the cool proof (I'm Snagglefood) --

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Say Goodbye to Harold

Our long national nightmare ends today with the fifth and final Harold strip (click here for the first). If you read Monday's strip you may be wondering why Harold didn't try to see Violet that day, since he apparently loves her. I think it's because Monday's strip took place a couple weeks or so after he won all the money, and in that time he became a changed man. Harold went from the sheltered life of a middle-class family in a small town to having $1.5 million on his own in L.A. He went from having one friend who he worshipped to having hundreds of people act like they worship him. Doesn't take long in that environment to forget about your old life, and he probably forgot all about Violet after sleeping with a dozen strippers or so. Hmm, I think I should just rename the comic "Harold" and make it all about his life in Vegas!

In today's strip Harold is being interviewed after winning the Legends of Poker WPT event at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles, and coincidentally the final table of that event will be played later today. As I write this, there's nine players left, with Hoyt Corkins leading and Scotty Nguyen and John Juanda still alive. I'm rooting for Scotty to take it down. More entertaining to watch that way, and I'm a fan of his.

Rizen has a good article up on Pocket Fives today about how to spot and attack weakness. I highly recommend it.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Lifelong Tilt

(For those of you just joining us, click here to read from the start of this storyline.)

So here's the situation: You're an online pro, grinding out a decent living, but you know that a couple bad months could have you begging for your old job back. Your only poker playing friend is a semi-retarded donkey who you win money from every time you play, but he lucks into winning a satellite to a World Poker Tour event and then takes it down for seven figures. And before skipping town for good all he does is give you his horrible old cap. How do you handle it?

If I'm Corbin (that's the blonde guy), I probably handle it pretty well, since I'd just love to be an online pro in the first place. But we always want more than what we currently have and I imagine Corbin would go on some extended tilt after this if he isn't extremely good at controlling his emotions. Poker buddies of Steve Dannenmann and dozens of others like him have probably gone through similar experiences, although I think Harold is probably a bigger fish than any player who has won over a million bucks (note: Tiffany Williamson only made $400,000).

Good news for Harold fans -- stay tuned for a bonus Harold strip on either Wednesday or Friday, with a special guest appearance by Mike Sexton!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Harold's Got the Nuts

If you don't understand today's comic, please read Wednesday's strip.

For those of you who hate Harold, and I hope that's none of you, you can look forward to his final appearance on Monday. (Well, he might show up once more after that.) Harold is playing in the Legends of Poker WPT event, by the way, which in real life begins tomorrow at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Bust Me in Tonight's Donk2Shark Tourney!

A buddy of mine at the PokerXFactor forums has started a weekly tournament at PokerStars called Donk2Shark and it's open for everyone to join. They had 23 players last Thursday and they're hoping to top that tonight. Here's how to find it --

PokerStars --> Tourney --> Private --> August 24, 21:00 EST (9:00 PM EST) donk2shark 6 (or just look up tourney #30348110)

Password: bloomer13

It's a $10+1 buy-in and you can find more details here. If you're new to PokerStars and are having trouble finding the private tournament, click on the image below to see where it is --
As an added bonus, if you play in this tournament because of reading about it here at +EV, and if you knock me out (I play under the name Snagglefood on PokerStars), I'll give you your buy-in of $11 back.

I also plan to start some private tournaments for readers of +EV soon. Anyone interested?

UPDATE: 40 players entered the Donk2Shark tourney tonight and I went out 26th. I also played in the Ultimate Bet $25K Guarantee again tonight and I just got crippled on this hand. Just can't win a race deep in tourneys lately (or ever!). I tripled up right after that, though, and now while writing this I just went out on this annoying beat. Might have had a chance still if I won that. Finished 63rd out of 239, top 30 paid. Sad.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Current Chip Leader in $25K Tourney

Click the image --
Current Chip Leader
My name is Pupkin on Ultimate Bet and I entered this tournament as an alternate, the last alternate, wasn't seated until about 42 minutes in, and 15 minutes later I was the big chip leader after doubling up twice and busting another player. And now I'm winning almost every hand after the break, using my big stack wisely. I'm up to 14,300 now, leading by almost 4,000. Very early, though. $6,500 goes to the winner. My biggest cash ever was $1,200 a couple months ago. I'll update my progess in this post.

9:33 EST -- 17,635 chips now, second place has 13,000. I would be over 20,000 if not for a bad beat (my A7 lost to A3 -- 3 on river).

10:13 EST -- 14th place out of 90 left now at the second break. Had a couple tough hands.

10:31 EST -- 6th out of 74 left. Chip leader at my table again with 14K and now I have pocket aces. Damn, I flopped a set of aces and almost won a HUGE pot, but this guy didn't cooperate. Up to 16K, 4th place.

10:40 EST -- 4th out of 62 left and I'm over 20,000 chips for the first time! Feels like it should be even more, though.

11:11 EST -- 7th out of 38 now with 23K. Top 30 pays.

11:33 EST -- 16th out of 28 -- in the money at least! Buy-in was $100+9 and now I'm guaranteed at least $162.50.

12:03 a.m. EST -- Out in 20th when my Ace-King gets called by P0ker H0's pocket fours. Flop came Q Q Q and his fours held up. Would have been top five in chips if I won the hand. 20th paid $175, profit of $66 for almost four hours of work. Really frustrated. This was supposed to finally be my big score. Oh well. I was up $320 in $1/2 Pot Limit Omaha earlier today, so it's still one of my top 20 best days ever in poker (playing about a year).

We Want More of that Character!

You all loved Harold so much that I decided to give in to your demands and give him his own storyline! Well actually I didn't get much feedback on Harold, but I had already planned to do a four-strip arc about him, so you're stuck with him until Monday! He'll leave us forever after that, though, so enjoy his greatness while you still can.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Historic Debut of Harold

The wife and kid get annoying after a while, but instead of killing them off I decided to just replace them with a giant fat man for today's strip. His name is Harold and he doesn't like asking for tissues. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Two Fun Hands!

Won a satellite to today's Ultimate Bet $200,000 guaranteed tournament, and during the first 20 minutes I had a stretch of four hands where I was dealt pocket jacks, pocket queens, and pocket aces. Flopped a set with the jacks and somehow won a nice pot against a guy with second pair, and here's what happened with the queens and aces --



Friday, August 18, 2006

Nearly Quadrupling Up With Straight Flush

Playing in a $25+2.50 buy-in tournament on Ultimate Bet right now and check out what just happened.

OK, maybe I'm destined to win this one. Same tournament, watch this. I was screaming for the spades in the chat box. I'm in 20th out of 26 now. Top 20 pays, first gets $1,080.

Ugh, so frustrating. I wish I lost that straight flush hand now. Finished 22nd when just 20 pay when this happened. I just can't win with 16 outs on the river, or when I have the dominating hand. I can apparently suck out with flushes when I'm short stacked, though!

Thanks, Bax

The inspiration for today's strip comes from Cliff "JohnnyBax" Josephy, the #1 ranked online poker player and a teacher at PokerXFactor. He often screams "Fwaatchaaaa!" when he sends in all his chips during his training videos and it's become a popular catch phrase on the PXF forums, so I just had to find a way to use it in the strip. I'm not sure if Bax screams to "relieve tension," but apparently Corbin has found multiple uses for the wild man yell.

Ultimate Bet is my favorite site to play on (love the software), but it has its problems and another one happened last night. Shortly after I finished second in the Omaha tournament that I talked about in my previous post, everything went buggy and it wouldn't let anyone log into their accounts for a while, saying "invalid password." UB's customer support pretty much always gets the job done right eventually, but they're really slow, and things like this should never happen in the first place. This has been going on for a long time and I doubt things will change unless they get new management.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Not Another Second

OK, this one was just torture. I won't bore you with the whole story, but this is like the eighth or ninth Omaha tournament I've ever played, first place $692, second $425, and this was the first (and last) hand of heads up play . . .
crackercadd is eliminated.

Hand #34354511-89 at Thu320pmA-Final (Pot Limit tournament Omaha)
Powered by UltimateBet
Started at 17/Aug/06 19:30:14

crackercadd is at seat 2 with 0 (sitting out).
Pupkin is at seat 3 with 178030.
sarahjane is at seat 4 with 256970.
The button is at seat 3.

Pupkin posts the small blind of 4000.
sarahjane posts the big blind of 8000.

Pupkin: Ah 5h Ad 4c
sarahjane: -- -- -- --


Pupkin raises to 24000. sarahjane re-raises to 72000.
Pupkin goes all-in for 178030. sarahjane calls.

Tournament all-in showdown -- players show:

Pupkin shows Ah 5h Ad 4c.
sarahjane shows Ts 5s Jd Jc.

Flop (board: 7c 8s 9d):

(no action in this round)

Turn (board: 7c 8s 9d Kd):

(no action in this round)

River (board: 7c 8s 9d Kd 6s):

(no action in this round)


Pupkin has 5h 4c 7c 8s 6s: straight, eight high.
sarahjane has Ts Jd 7c 8s 9d: straight, jack high.

Hand #34354511-89 Summary:

No rake is taken for this hand.
sarahjane wins 356060 with straight, jack high.

For those of you who might not be well versed in poker and reading hand histories, I had aces against her jacks and she flopped the nuts. I am sad. Really thought this was gonna end the year long drought without a win. It's my second runner-up finish in about 60 hours, too, both ending in bad beats.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Winning Your First Tournament

Well it looks like Scarlett is about to win the first tournament she ever played, which is exactly what I did about a year ago. The bad news is that I still haven't won since then! (Only talking about non-satellite multi-table tournaments here.) That first win was just a $1 buy-in on Ultimate Bet (1,173 players), and then a couple days later in my third tournament ever I finished second in a $5 buy-in. I've only had three second place finishes since then, all in the past couple months, including Monday night in a $20 tourney on UB for $490. I'm a good heads up player, having had a lot of success in heads up SNGs, but in all four of those runner-up finishes in MTTs I was outchipped when it got heads up, usually by a lot.

Later today I'll be going to the Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs, IA. Probably gonna play some $2/5 no-limit. I'll update how it went tonight.

UPDATE: Bought in for $150 at the $100 minimum/$300 maximum $2/5 NL table. In two hours I got zero premium hands and my stack dwindled to about $90, then I called an all-in after flopping a double gutshot straight draw and a flush draw with J9 of hearts on a flop of Kh-Tx-7h. He had AK, which he limped pre-flop with (allowing me to limp on the button), and I missed my 15-outer.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Only Explanation

It's easy to jump to conclusions when your husband's addicted to online poker and he suddenly volunteers to spend the day with your parents. Luckily for her, though, they're not broke (SPOILER!), but I wouldn't be surprised if he had just busted out early in a couple Sunday majors.

I'm sure I'll work their names into the strip soon, but I'll go ahead and tell you now that the husband is Corbin, Violet's the wife, and the little girl is Scarlett. Corbin is of course named after "Major League" star Corbin Bernsen, Violet is named after Violet from "Peanuts," and let's just say that Scarlett is named after Scarlett Johansson. I'll probably introduce another character or two before the end of August.

You might have noticed from the credits above the strip that the artist is named Tiger Claw. He told me that he didn't want to use his real name because "whenever I use my pen name, good things usually happen," but I secretly think it's because he dislikes the writing and doesn't think too highly of the strip's chances for success. So if you ever want to find out the artist's name, tell all your friends about the strip and make it super popular! I wish I could draw as good as him, but unfortunately I can't draw at all (proof here). I'm very nitpicky about the art in +EV, though, to the annoyance of Tiger Claw, I'm sure. I asked him to change about a million things (mostly facial expressions) after seeing the pencils for today's strip, and I thought you might be interested in seeing that, so I hope he doesn't mind --
I've already heard a ton of praise for the art in the feedback I received for the first strip. Tiger Claw's doing a great job. Keep those comments coming. I'll probably set up a +EV message board soon.

I haven't played much poker in the past few weeks because I've been working on writing a low budget horror movie that I hope to actually film as well (more on that in coming weeks, I'm sure), but I played a few satellites yesterday morning to the PokerStars Million and one to the Ultimate Bet $200K. Busted out early in all of them. Oh well, there's always next week.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

My 2006 World Series of Poker

In this year's WSOP I played in zero events, cashed in zero of them, won zero bracelets, and lost somewhere around $500 from online satellites and the $25 pay-per-view coverage of the Main Event's final table. Way back in December, less than five months after I started playing, I very nearly became one of the first online qualifiers for the Main Event, but I finished seventh when only three got seats in a $300+20 Ultimate Bet satellite, which I won my way into through a $5 rebuy (spent $15.50). After I busted out I said, "That was the best shot I'm gonna have," and I was right, sadly, never coming that close again. I guarantee that I'll play in at least one event in 2007, though, and hopefully the Main Event too.

I'm from Southern California and I was supposed to move back there during the WSOP, so I was counting on being able to stop in Vegas for a while on the way and maybe even play in a $1,000 WSOP event, but the move was delayed and I'm still in South Dakota. Instead, like most of you, I followed the action on Cardplayer and Pocket Fives Live, among other sites. I joined a great poker training site called PokerXFactor in early June and one of their teaching pros, Eric "Rizen" Lynch, the #2 ranked player on Pocket Fives, made this year's WSOP very exciting to follow. He finished third out of 1,102 players in Event #3 for $104,544, and then he made a huge run in the Main Event, where he placed 24th out of 8,773 for $494,797. He's a great teacher of the game and seems like a really good guy, so the PokerXFactor community was rooting hard for him and it was fun to be a part of that. During breaks at the Main Event he phoned in a lot of detailed updates to the PXF forum and those were great to listen to while refreshing Cardplayer to see the latest chip counts. I was going to buy the pay-per-view final table if he made it or not, but that would have been amazing to see him play for $12 million live on television just a couple weeks after watching him play in $10 rebuys online. As he did to what seems like half the whole damn field, though, Jamie Gold knocked Rizen out in 24th. It wasn't a bad beat, but just bad timing for Rizen by running into a big hand while making a smart, aggressive play with a short stack.

Which brings us to Jamie Gold and the final table. The character of Ari Gold on the HBO series "Entourage" is apparently at least partly based on this guy, who used to be a Hollywood agent. I recently started watching "Entourage" and Jamie does seem a lot like Ari -- very outspoken and aggressive, and a bit insane. If you didn't order the pay-per-view, just wait until you see this guy on ESPN. He's the most talkative poker player I've ever seen and he's very entertaining, especially when you're always thinking about how there's TWELVE MILLION DOLLARS on the line in this tournament, and here's a guy who's leading it and at the same time he's basically telling his opponents what he has during every hand, and not only that, but he's telling the TRUTH, but they never catch on and they keep doing exactly what he wants. At one point Gold even nonchalantly flipped one of his cards face up and then flipped it back down while telling his opponent what he has and what he should do. Complete insanity.

The only pro to make the final table, Allen Cunningham, finished fourth, and he also literally looked like he was going to vomit almost every time the camera showed his face. I haven't seen him a whole lot on TV, so I don't know if his face always looks like that or what, but it was very odd the way he was moving his mouth -- I was basically just waiting for him to start throwing up all over his chips at any moment. He amazingly didn't vomit during the coverage, but I'm sure he did at some point last night after his pocket 10s lost to Jamie Gold's KJ, all-in pre-flop. Gold was such a luckbox during this tournament that absolutely everyone watching KNEW that he would win that hand, including Cunningham and Gold himself, who jumped up and applauded when he saw Cunningham flip the 10s. I was like, "Um, Jamie, that means you're behind," but he was happy that he wasn't dominated, and of course he knew a king was coming on the flop. Jennifer Harman, one of my favorite players, was a guest in the booth at the time and she said "I'm officially sick" after that hand.

The broadcasters, Phil Gordon and some moron named Ali, were horrible. Gordon, who has written books on poker and co-hosted "Celebrity Poker," couldn't even count and he gave wrong numbers about very important things, like the size of the pot pre-flop, saying multiple times that it was 320,000 chips during the first level we saw when it was actually 420,000 (80K/160K blinds, 20K antes). He also called Doyle Brunson 79 years old to his face when it was actually his 73rd birthday and he said one of the players was 33 when he was really 22. Gordon also absolutely loves playing Rock Paper Scissors, or Roshambo, to a frightening degree. Pretty sure he likes it more than poker. He and his buddy Ali challenged every poker pro guest that they had in the booth to a $100 game of Roshambo before they could leave. Near the end of the broadcast they were, for SOME REASON, showing highlights of every time Ali played Roshambo that night, and Gordon announced that he picked up a tell on Ali and he knew what he was going to throw (rock, paper or scissors) every time, so he challenged Ali to a $1,000 game and he said, "Come on, be my bitch right now." Ali looks like a poor college student, and he acted like one, so he only agreed to a $100 game and the money had to go to charity. Phil did indeed make him his bitch, though, and I believe that he did pick up on a Roshambo tell, as crazy as that seems.

Another big problem I had was a bit understandable because the show was live, but it's the same problem I have with all poker coverage on TV -- they fail to show the players' chip counts at all times. And not only do they not show them "at all times," but they usually don't even show them or mention them when that number is CRUCIAL to understanding why certain plays are made. For edited television coverage, as practically all poker is, the chip counts (or at least approximate chip counts) should be shown as often as possible, especially when players are all-in. The World Poker Tour does a better job of this than the WSOP on ESPN, but they're both still horrible at it. We can't just have updates on chip counts as we come back from commercials -- we need it AT ALL TIMES.

Well, I hope they have the final table of every WSOP event live on pay-per-view next year, and I hope I'm sitting at one of them!

Friday, August 11, 2006

+EV Starts, Main Event Ends

Welcome to, home of the new comic strip +EV, which means "positive expective value," as I'm sure you know if you're a poker player. I think this first strip tells you just about everything you need to know about the comic. It's about a young husband and father who plays a lot of online poker, and he's probably not immune to going on tilt sometimes. You'll learn more as it goes along, so keep coming back here every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for new strips.

I started playing poker online in July of 2005 and I first planned on making a poker comic shortly after that. It was called "Drawing Dead" and would star zombies playing poker. One idea was to start the comic by killing off all the players at the final table of the World Series of Poker Main Event in some way (maybe a terrorist attack) and then have them rise from their graves in order to find each other and finish the tournament, entering casinos along the way to play poker and try to hide their deadness. I never really actively pursued starting up that comic because I thought it was a bit too crazy, but I might do it later sometime.

It's 5:50 a.m. Central time and Jamie Gold just won the 2006 World Series of Poker Main Event. I got it on pay-per-view and just watched every hand for 14 hours. Norman Chad is interviewing him right now for ESPN and I can't wait to see the hole cards when this final table airs in a couple months. Jamie Gold is insane. For example, he just said "All I've ever wanted is blueberries" and "Blueberries probably were the reason why I won." He was eating blueberries out of a bowl with a big spoon like cereal for much of the final table. I'll write more about the final table later, but I've gotta get to sleep now!