The Crooked Link

Life of a Low Stakes Gambler...

Monday, June 30, 2008

Catching Up...

I haven't blogged in a while because not much has been going on. Summer's been treating me alright, I guess. Haven't really been doing the gambling thing for the last couple of weeks. I was extremely lucky that Rommel from work didn't want to bet on the Cubs v. Sox series this weekend as I could have potentially lost around $500 if he'd actually had the balls to bet me that much like he said he would a few weeks ago. But after sweeping them at Wrigley last week, he quickly changed his mind.

I did lose $25 on the Italy vs. Spain Euro-Cup Semifinals. Had Italy and the game ended up going all the way to a penalty shootout which is pretty much a coin flip. I didn't feel too bad about that loss though, since I'd won $25 off the same dude a few weeks ago on the Champions League final that also ended up going to PKs.

Something I have been doing a lot of lately is gaming on my Xbox 360. My Xbox Live free month trial expired a week ago so I finally had to fork over the $50 for a one year subscription. I also picked up a copy of Fifa 08 and I've got to say it's the most addicting game ever. The online play is just so much fun it's insane.

I've only had the game for a week but I've already been crushing the games online. Record thus far is 15-4 and I'm already a level 3 player. I've chosen Milan as my regular team since it's proven to be successful for me. Out of the 4 matches that I lost, I blame 2 on a bad connection on the other player's part that simply made the game unplayable because of the lag and another one where I decided to take a shot and challenge a level 8 player and got beat 2-0. I think that's the only game where I truy felt I was outplayed yet was able to keep it a modest 2-0 loss.

Anyway, the game's addicting as hell and I really want to make a run at the leaderboards so I'm going to be putting in some mad time into it. My goal for friday is to reach at least level 6 if not higher and mantain a winning percentage over 70%, (currently it's 78%.)

With all this, I'd also been trying to figure out a way to combine my love for video games and passion for gambling. Then, as if my prayers had been answered, I get a message yesterday from someone on Xbox Live telling me to check out

Its esentially a poker website without the poker. Instead, you load up your account with real money trough Pay Pal, credit card etc, much like you would a poker account. Then issue challenges to other players for any amount of money. You guys play the match, the results get reported to the site, and the money is either credited or withdrawn from your balance.

Wow, wait a minute. I could have sworn I though of this idea back in like 2005. Back then I was crushing Fifa 06 on the PS2 and wishing I could somehow make money off it. So this same exact concept entered my mind and I did nothing with it. Let it be known I WILL be contacting my local intellectual properties specialist!

Ha, anyway I will still however be opening an account with these sly bastards who stole my idea and try to make some money playing Fifa 08. But I'm going to wait until I've reached a gaming level at which I think I have a good edge over the average gamer. A level 10 ranking sounds about right.


So I haven't been playing poker all that much latelyand actually missed out on a couple of home games this past weekend because of work. Also Rockford Charitables, the local charity casino I usually visit is on a 1 month haitus because of the WSOP which leaves me with limited live play options. There's another 18+ charity casino group called Chicago Charitable Games that also runs around the suburbs but the problem is their events are usually 1hour or more away.

But they're holding a very intersting series of tournaments throughout late July being dubbed the Chicago Series of Poker so I might just have to make the drive out to some of the events. The tournaments that catch my eye as of right now are the $150 Heads Up tournament and the $400 Main Event, with a potential dive in the $100 Hold Em' crapshoot as well.

Also, another $4.40 challenge is starting up at FCP and I'm undecided about whether I want to play it or not. Registration ends on July 5th, so I've still got the week to make up my mind. Last challenge I ran like shit and was doubling up with a partner so I only played half the tournies. I think I'll stick to a solo flight if I decide to play this one.

I did manage to put in a good micro limit session on Stars last night just for kicks. Ended the night up one buyin at $10NL. I'm thinking of really putting down some effort into trying to improve my cash game play by purchasing Poker Tracker 3. Everyone on FCP swears by it if you are serious about tracking your results and moving up in limits. But this is still a little farther down the road. By the end of summer perhaps, I'll save up to have a decent starting roll and put alot of study into cash game play.

I'll end this unusually long blog with a congrats to Scotty Nguyen for taking down the $50k HORSE tournament aka the Pro's Championship. I obviously wanted either Ivey or Daniel to win it. Daniel especially because it seemed like he REALLY wanted to win it by the way he was talking about it all the way back in his early blogs before the series even started. Not to say Phil or any of the other players didn't want it just as bad though. I was railing the action up until like 5am and they were still 3 handed when I went to sleep.

Ivey's chances of winning a bracelet are really becoming very weak now although he did hustle people into bracelet bets which included the European World Series of Poker, so he's still got a shot.

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Paper by Grace A.

My friend Grace, aka my ex girlfriend, aka the ex who "busted" my blog, had a paper to write for her English 101 class.

She decided to pick me and my gambling obsession as her topic of writing. She wrote what I thought was an extremely well written paper. And no, I'm not just saying that because it's about me =)

Anyway, with Grace's permission I've decided to share the paper here on my blog.


And disregard the fact that she makes me sound like the next Brian Townsend. lol.

“You Got To Know When To Hold ‘Em, Know When To Fold ‘Em”

-Kenny Rogers

Learning to play poker at the age of 12 was merely the tip of the iceberg for Victor Ortiz, now 18. He was subconsciously destined to live the life of an underage gambler as the game has proven to be much more than a pastime. Attending casinos and hosting home games is nothing out of the ordinary for Ortiz, but these low stake bets must satisfy him until the big move to Las Vegas in three years. But why such an infatuation with poker and gambling?

As he sits in darkness with nothing but the glow of the television for light, his back resting against his headboard, watching the latest episode of Poker After Dark at two in the morning, Victor envisions himself at the table beside his idol, Daniel Negreanu. The Canadian born Negreanu, a few credits short of graduating, dropped out of high school to pursue a career in the sport. Negreanu became known as “Kid Poker” and quickly gained recognition for his ability to read people, eccentric yet wholesome demeanor, and knack for dominating the cards. In 1998, he became the youngest player to win a World Series of Poker bracelet and has earned four more since then.

Aspiring to be like Negreanu, Ortiz refines his technique regularly, putting it to the test during live sessions as well as online. “The pure competition,” he says, “drew me to poker. It’s the feeling of owning my opponent and knowing exactly what his hand is and knowing I was better than him that intrigued me.” Despite his drive to defeat his opponents, Victor has yet to perfect one aspect very vital to achieving success in the game; money management.

    Victor: I need to learn discipline. You can be a good poker player but if you have bad money management and go on tilt every time you have a bad session, you’re going to be broke most of the time.

Do you have good money management?

    Victor: No, not at all. That’s why I consider that my biggest weakness as a poker player and the main thing I want to improve.

There were times when Victor’s desire to gross a large cash reward ran through his body like melting lava erupting from a volcano, fueling his passion to win and burning a hole in his jeans’ pocket. Because of this, there were numerous occasion when he had given up the hope of making it big as a poker player. “I thought I was done. I really did,” he recalls, “I told myself last week that it was over. No more gambling for me. How long did that last? About a day and a half.” But beware, Ortiz does not consider poker to be “true gambling.” He explains that “it is a game of skill in which some luck is involved but in the long run, a skilled player will surpass a lucky one. When I’m at the poker table, I know I’m playing a game of skill. Sure, I also consider myself a gambler but only when it comes to sports betting or blackjack.”

Not only does Ortiz bet on sports but also on colloquial circumstances as well. This occurs most often during the slow slew of work at Gigio’s Pizzeria. He and his coworkers engage in intense, high wager, impromptu situations. A smiling Victor elaborates, “We'll gamble pretty much on anything. From coin flips to blackjack, to whether the next person who calls in is a man or a woman. And not just bubble gum change stakes either. There's been times were I've won upwards of $300 dollars in a single night on nothing but coin flips and blackjack.” Such activities do not end in the work place but are continued at school during lunch breaks, where the ante has exceeded from nickel and dimes to great sums of money.

Seeking every opportunity to earn a reputation as “a grinder today, a legend tomorrow,” Victor Ortiz is an unstoppable, determined, admirable figure in the world of up-and-coming poker players. Very few people endure and overcome the obstacles that following a dream requires and even fewer people achieve that dream. There is no doubt that with some time, a little practice and perseverance this young, intelligent man will be evaluating the mannerisms and calling the bluffs of top guns, like Daniel Negreanu.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Well, it's happened folks. A blogger's worst nightmare has come true.

The "ex" has gotten a hold of my blog and was not happy about some stuff I posted a while back. Specifically about me writing about our breakup with what she called a "nonchalant" attitude.

And it's funny because I've actually tried to keep this blog as gambling oriented as possible without leaking too much about my personal shit. But I guess there were a couple of post a few months ago where I really wasn't worried about what I wrote because no one really read my shit.

Then the Crooked Straight picked up my blog and in order to help promote the site, I started linking the Crooked Straight to my other sites like Facebook and Myspace, which in turn opened up my blog for all my friends to see.

Anyway, the ex is probably reading this post as well so a shout out to her!

See, even though what I wrote a while back could have potentially ruined our friendship, we were both mature enough to realize that it would be silly to argue over something that really doesn't matter now. So we remain good friends. =)


On a completely unrelated note, my family decided to get a dog. It's a puppy actually. An 8 week old Beagle and just about the most adorable little punk. My parents brought him home a week ago. A bit of a debate stirred up about what to name him. Of course, my degenerate self wanted to name him something that was gambling related. Parlay, teaser and Ace were just a few of my suggestions I threw out there but they were quickly shot down by my sisters.

So we settled on Chase which it turns out could not have been a more fitting name. Dude will start to chase you around the house as soon as you walk in the door and just does not tire out.

Here's a couple of pictures:

Saturday, June 14, 2008


I've been bleeding badly online the last few days. Running into so many coolers and bad beats but overall just playing like shit. Pic up top is one example of how bad I've been running. Down to 3 people in an SnG (2 places pay) dude min-raises to 200 on the SB and I call on the BB with 7-10. I hit a monster flop making trip sevens a 97% favorite to win the pot. It goes check check and the turn comes a King. I fire off 300 and he insta-shoves for like 1k more. It's an insta-call by me obviously but he catches a disgusting King on the river to give me the endearing bubble boy title.

Then I tilted off a buy in at 10NL and a couple more $10 HU matches.

I decided not to play today and instead staked some FCPers into a couple of tournies in search of good karma but none of them managed to cash.

I also ran like shit in blackjack at work yesterday and lost $22. So overall not the greatest of gambling weeks. And that's with no sports bets as well although I will get back into that in the next week or so.

Furcio and I were at work yesterday discussing a hand that we played at our poker game last Sunday were he ended up felting me. We were playing $.10c/.25c NL and I had about $30 in front of me and limp in with 5-6 off. He raises on the button and as soon as he said raise I just felt he had a big hand. I don't know what it was exactly, but his demeanor told me he had a monster. It was actually a specific physical tell that he gave away but I can't go much into detail since he occasionally browses my blog, lol.

Anyway I STILL decide to call his pre-flop raise hoping to hit the flop and I do. It comes J-5-6 with two diamonds. I bet out like $3 dollars with my two pair, he raises and I move all in.

The all in move by me was definitely questionable. He was about the only player at the table to have almost as many chips as me (he had like $25) but he was also the only dude at the table besides myself who knew what the hell he was doing. So for him to re-raise me on the flop I knew he had to have a big hand. So if my pre-flop read on him was correct he had to have QQ-AA. Sure he could also have JJ but having played with him a ton before, I knew he wouldn't have re-raised me on the flop with a set of Jacks even though 2 diamonds where out there. He would have just slow played it.

Anyway I soon as I announce all in he's like "Aw fuck dude come on man, I can't lay this down. I have to call."

So my read was right on as he had A-A and I was a 75% to win the pot, but of course a J has to hit on the turn to counterfeit my two pair giving him Aces and Jacks. I could have still won with a 5 or 6 on the river but I brick out.

So anyway back to yesterday when him and I are discussing the hand. He keeps insisting that his call of my all in on that flop was not a bad play and although secretly I agree with him (I probably wouldn't have folded AA in that spot either) I continue to needle him for the rest of the day telling him it was a horrible call. I kept giving him shit like "Hey dude whatever. Keep putting in all your money as a 25% underdog. See how far that gets you" And he would respond with "Yea man, keep calling my pre-flop raises with garbage hands like 5-6 off." LOL, it was all in good fun though, but I took this picture on my phone at work today which I plan on sending to him.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Morning Tilt

I'm on major tilt right now after playing online for a couple of hours. I've played 2 $6.60s and a $10 HU and have gotten owned in all of them.

The first $6.60 I was out in like the 4th hand where I misplayed AK and ran it into Aces. Then the second one, I grinded a short stack back to a decent amount only to again misplay my 8c9h in a 4h 6h 8h flop. My opponent had me crushed with kh 8x.

The HU match was also a major grind. It lasted something like 45 minutes with each of us just going back and forth with the chip lead until finally I got bored and called an all in with QJ and ran into AK. AKx flop and gg me.

I'm down $23.70 thus far so I'll probably take a break and fire up some $4.40s later tonight.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Back to Grinding

Sunday's poker game that my guy Furcio and I hosted turned out to be really fun. We didn't expect many people to show but actually had a good turn out. First we played a $5 tournament with rebuys that I ended up bubbling and then we played .10c/.25c NL.

It was a really fun night just hanging with my friends playing poker while also watching game 2 of the Finals and betting on random shit during the game.

Anyway I'll probably be hosting another game in a couple of weeks since this one turned out to be pretty successful.

I'm also back to grinding online SnGs. I recently won a prop bet that I had about this dude failing a challenge that he could make $10,000 playing nothing but 25NL online. He finally gave up a couple of days ago after being up only about $3,000 or so. I'd laid 5/2 to two guys from FCP that he wouldn't be able to do it so I collected a sweet $80 and hope to build the online roll from there.

I'm going to be playing mostly $5.50 and $6.60 shorthanded Sit and Go's since I've had a lot of success with those in the past. I played a few of them today with somewhat moderate success. I won the first one I played in and then got coolerd in the second one where I made 3 jacks on the river but some guy made a flush. So I ended up busting in 4th in that one.

The third one I played in I managed to place 2nd. I was destined to place 6th in that one though, if it weren't for a sick call that I made early on.

Full Tilt Poker Game #6778109301: $5 + $0.50 Sit & Go
Seat 1: SkittleHead (1,380)
Seat 2: mjbroncos (1,260)
Seat 3: hiddenvariable (1,930)
Seat 4: CroOkeDLiNk (1,730)
Seat 5: pepper79 (1,170)
Seat 6: LINCKO (1,530)
CroOkeDLiNk posts the small blind of 20
pepper79 posts the big blind of 40
The button is in seat #3
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to CroOkeDLiNk [Qd Qc]
LINCKO raises to 80
SkittleHead folds
mjbroncos calls 80
hiddenvariable folds
CroOkeDLiNk raises to 280
pepper79 calls 240
LINCKO folds
mjbroncos calls 200
*** FLOP *** [8s Ac 2h]
CroOkeDLiNk has 15 seconds left to act
CroOkeDLiNk bets 160
pepper79 calls 160
mjbroncos folds
*** TURN *** [8s Ac 2h] [8h]
CroOkeDLiNk checks
pepper79 checks
*** RIVER *** [8s Ac 2h 8h] [9s]
CroOkeDLiNk has 15 seconds left to act
CroOkeDLiNk bets 40
pepper79 raises to 730, and is all in
CroOkeDLiNk has 15 seconds left to act
CroOkeDLiNk has requested TIME
CroOkeDLiNk calls 690
*** SHOW DOWN ***
pepper79 shows [4d 5s] a pair of Eights
CroOkeDLiNk shows [Qd Qc] two pair, Queens and Eights
CroOkeDLiNk wins the pot (2,700) with two pair, Queens and Eights
pepper79 stands up

So when I made it 280 to go, I was just praying for no Ace to hit the flop. But sure enough one hit. I still led out for 160 and got insta-called. At that point I was ready to fold to a bet on the turn, but it went check check. River was a blank.

Okay, so what could my opponent have here? At first I really thought he had the Ace. If I check the river he moves in with the Ace. But if he had an Ace would he really check the turn? I didn't think so. He might check the turn with an 8 there but it's unlikely he had an 8. So I bet out 40 on the river which is essentially a check and he instantly shoves.

I go into the tank a bit and convince myself he's got air and make the call. Somehow my Queens are good and my opponent goes on to berate my bad play on the observer chat, lol.

Anyway, I played a couple more SnGs that I couldn't get anything going in and 2 $10 HU matches which I ended up splitting.

Total net profit for the day was around $9.

I'll be grinding online most of the day tomorrow as well hoping for some good results.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Poker Sunday

Damn it, once again I keep neglecting this blog although this time I have been pretty busy. Thursday I took decided to hit up the casino and got murdered. Well, not really murdered, more like roughed up a little.

I bought in for $150 at 1/2NL and immediately lose like $30 on my first hand where I sense that my top pair top kicker is no good and I have to throw it away on the river. Then for the next couple of hours I just keep hitting zero flops and before I know it I'm down to about $60 in chips. Time for a seat change! I move to seat 5 and on the 2nd hand of my new seat I get AhJh and limp in middle position with a couple of limpers behind me. Cut off makes it 10 to go and it folds around to me so I make the call. Flop comes 7 J 10 with one heart and I lead out for $12. Opponent thinks and calls. Turn is a blank heart, giving me the nut flush draw. I bet out $17 and again he just calls. River is a sweet heart giving me the nuts. I think for a bit and bet out $25. My opponent immediately moves all in and I call him instantly. I turn turn over my cards and I guess he misread my hand because he flips over pocket jacks for a set, thinking its the best hand until someone informs him that I have a flush. Ouch! I pretty much went runner runner on his ass, but that's what he gets for slow playing a flopped set like that, lol.

From that hand on, I went on a small rush and managed to build my stack all the way to $280ish, just playing very tight and getting paid off when I had a hand. But then, disaster struck. I don't even know how the hell it happened, but after I built my stack I started to make some loose calls and before I knew it, my stack was again back to $100. A couple of coolers later I was down to $50 and just decided to call it a night.

I felt like shit on the drive home, because I changed my playing style when I started to build my stack but I shouldn't have done that. If playing tight against this table was working, why change my approach?

Anyway, yea felt bad for a while about the session and went into one of those "holy shit I suck at poker, I'm going to quit for life" moments before snapping out of it. Now I can't wait to go back next week and get my money back.

Okay, anyway so today my friend Furcio and I are hosting a poker game in my garage. It's sort of an End of the School year kind of thing so it's mostly people from school that suck at poker. I really don't plan on taking it seriously and I'm just looking to have some fun. I had to wake up early as hell this morning to clean out the garage and now I'm waiting for my guy Furcio to pick me up so we can go buy some snacks for the game. The drinks have already been provided by Gigio's Pizzeria... altought unbeknown to Gigio's management, lol.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Senior Pranks

So last night my friend advises me "Dude, when you're at school tomorrow make sure not to touch the railing on the main stairway"

Okay...part of his elaborate Senior prank, I suppose.

So I get to school late, around 9:30 and check the railing. Seems perfectly normal to me.

I see my friend during lunch.

"Dude wtf? There's nothing on the railing..."

"I know dude, I'm going to do it right now. I'm waiting for it to clear out"

"What exactly are you going to do to it?"

"I'm going to smear the whole thing with vaseline"


"It's going to be funny as hell!"


So after lunch I check and there's still nothing on the railing. Well it is a little greasy, but surely this isn't the full effect is it?

I go down to find my friend in the lunchroom.

"Dude please don't tell me that's it."

"There's been complications. People keep coming up and down the stairs. I was only able to do the third floor"

"I just checked the third floor. It's perfectly normal except for two spots where there's big gunks of vaseline. Is that it?"

"I guess"


So tomorrow there's another one planned out. My friend Andrew ordered a shipment of a shitload of superballs which will be dropped down the stairs from the third floor. Should be somewhat amusing I guess? I'll bring my camera to capture some video/pictures and post them up tomorrow night.

There's also another prank that I'm not sure is going to take place. Northside has this thing where, instead of bells ringing during the end of each period, we get music blasting from the intercoms. Each week students submit CDs of the music they want to listen to for that particular week and after its been approved by administration is gets played for during passing periods.

Someone thought it would be funny if instead of music, what we hear tomorrow during passing period is a series of uh...sexually explicit sounds? I don't know how they plan to surpass the administration that reviews the music before being played, so I doubt this one will happen.

All in all a very weak selection of pranks in my opinion, but then again I don't see me coming up with anything better so whatever.

I also ordered my Senior shirt today. It was a last minute design thrown together by Ona as an alternative to the official school Senior shirt which was even lamer. The administration wouldn't let this be our official shirt because of the Corona thing. They had the same problem with last year's shirts that read "Senior High Life" with the Miller High Life logo on them.

On an unrelated note, I went 3-5 today in our softball game with 4 rbis but with a couple, lets just call them "defensive miscues," including a ground ball that took a funny hop and hit me right on my left nut. Still hurts...

Record Update

Total Record: 50-69-2

Bankroll: $100.00

Total Profit: -$100.00 (Yuck!)