Friday, December 31, 2004

Golf and Party Poker Step

I took the afternoon off yesterday to play golf at Phoenix Country Club with Bill and Glen. Bill and I had the standard bet of $50 on the round. I have to give him one stroke as I am a 10 handicap and he is an 11.

According to Bill, it was the best round of golf he has ever seen me play. I shot 75. Being a golfer, naturally I can think of 5 or 6 shots that I left out there, but yes I did play very well. The aggravating part was the bet. Bill was not playing all that well so I was beating him by 10 strokes going into the last hole. Invariably Bill or I will press on the last hole if we are down to try and win back our bets, all at once. Bill had bogeyed or double bogeyed the last 6 holes so I was feeling really confident going into 18 and I proclaimed, "Bill you can do what you want on 18, but there is no way I am losing to you on this hole."

Bill decided to add a twist and asked if he can make the bet after he sees his tee shot on the par 5 18th. Since Bill always hits 2 iron off the tee, I didn't think that would make much of a difference so I agreed. Bill hit his tee shot about 190 yards in the middle of the fairway. I hit my 3 wood about 220 down the middle. We both laid up. Bill somehow hit his pitching wedge to 6 feet. I hit my 52 degree wedge very well, right over the flag and it stopped 20 feet from the pin.

The last time we played at Phoenix Country Club, I started out horribly and eventually got to playing better and started winning some of the bets. We pressed again on 18 and I birdied the hole by sinking a 30 foot putt. This is after 3 or 4 rounds in a row where I had not scored better than a 7 on this difficult hole.

Needless to say, Bill was having flashbacks of me making this putt again. I gave it a good run, but it broke a little more to the right than I thought and left me with an easy tap in for par. Bill confidently strode up to his ball. He then made a tentative stroke at it, but somehow it found the bottom of the cup and he finished even for the day. This game is so unfair! I shoot my all time best score at Phoenix CC by 5 strokes and I finish even for the day!

Now for Poker:

I decided to give the one table step tournaments at Party Poker a try. My ROI on the 10+1 and the 20+2 sit and go's has been between 30-40% so I thought I would give it shot as you can win in the thousands if you make it through the 5 steps.

I finished in second place in the 10+1 step one table. I played my normal game and just reminded myself over and over that you need to finish in the top 2. Once I made the final 2 I just went all in and lost because it doesn't matter if you win or lose.

I immediately started the level 2 step. The guy who finished in first place was on the table as well. This one I started out really well, winning a few pots early and building up to 1500 by level 2. Then I lost a pot and was down to 1000. In level 2 you need to finish in the top four to get anything. 4th place you go back to step 1 for free plus you win $3. 3rd place gives you another shot at step 2. 1st and 2nd move on to step 3. I started to get blinded down a little but I had 800 left with 6 players left. That's when the table got really weak tight. I was stealing a few blinds and then doubled up when I went all in with my pocket fours preflop and a big stack called me with A-9. There were 4 players left when the guy that one the first step I played in was eliminated.

Now with 3 left, I had about 1700 along with one other guy at 1700. The chip leader had 5600. I figure he's going to fold his way to the finals so I need to steal his blinds often. We go a few hands with that strategy when I get dealt AJ offsuit on the button. This time I only call because I want the other short stack to raise me. He raises me from the big blind, and I come over the top all in. He calls with A2. The flop is A-3-5. Turn is a King. I am one card away from step 3!!
The river is the fucking 4! He rivers the straight and I am out in third.

On the bright side, I get another free roll at step 2.

Another quick question for my small audience.....Does anyone know how to make the avatar show up when posting on 2+2. I can't for the life of me get that thing to work.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

A Scrappy Win

Last night I played in a 20+2 two table tournament. I was hoping it would be kind of quick, since I only had an hour until Michele was supposed to come over and hang out.

This tournament officially qualifies as the coldest cards I have ever seen. I went two full orbits before playing a single hand. I waited until level three before I even raised a hand. I did not receive a single pocket pair until I was heads up at the end.

Once the blinds got to 50-100 and I had about 800 left, I started to steal. I still had crappy cards but I was counting on my tight image. I went all in a couple of times with nothing and slowly got over 1000. Then I got moved to the other table. So much for my tight image. Finally my cards got a little better and I continued to get lucky with my steals.

In the 2 table tournaments, only the top 4 pay. When it got down to 6, the table was really tight because 2 guys had really big chip stacks, I was average with another guy, and there were two short stacks. It really made for good stealing and I built my chips up rather quickly.

Suddenly we were down to four and the two chip leaders tangled. One got busted out and the other guy had 75% of the chips left. I busted out the last short stack and it was heads up and I only had about 6000 in chips compared to 14000 for the leader. He was aggressive and kept putting me all in on the flops. I slow played him once and doubled up, but my cards were ice cold and I didn't have the chips to scare him. I thought by going all in a few times preflop he may play conservative. I raised all in with 9-10 offsuit and he called with King-9 and it was over.

Still to win $100 with almost no cards was quite satisfying.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Another Almost at Fort McDowell

Traffic was horrible as I was trying to get my last minute Christmas shopping done. Instead of fighting it, I decided to head up to Fort McDowell until it subsided.

The tournament is a $20 entry and I think I started with 1650 in tchips with my early bird bonuses. 1st round of blinds is 0-25 and 25-25 so at least it gives you a little time.

I started out well. I got some good starting cards and missed a couple of flops, but bet ath them anyways and took them down.

One guy bought in 3 times and kept moving all in with middle pair or top pair and getting beat by an overpair. Including once by me when I had KK.

I won another big pot when I had 9-10 of clubs on the button. The flop had a 9 and 7 and 8 of clubs clubs. So I have top pair, a (straight)flush draw, and a normal straight draw. I made a small bet on the flop and got two callers. The reason for the small bet, was I didn't like my reverse implied odds and also I didn't mind if these guys came along for another card. If a high card that's a club hits I might get some action later. An Ace hit the turn so we all checked. The river was a 6 which made the board 6-7-8-9-A. One guy went all in for a small amount and the next person called. I didn't like this because I thought there might be a Jack-10. I couldn't talk myself into folding so I called and one person had the 5 and the other had two pair. I won a huge pot and was now chip leader at my table.

Here's a mistake??? Later I had A-10 of diamonds on the button. A woman doubled the blind early and I reraised. She called and we went to the flop. I believe the flop was Q-10-8 all clubs. She checked and I thought about putting her all in. When I was counting her chips, she grabbed them all and was threatening to call me. For some reason, I believed her, so I checked. The turn was a non club and she checked again and I checked. The river was an Ace of spades. This time she bet the 1800 she had left and I called because I had 2 pair. Of course she had K-J for the straight. This took away my chip lead. I guess she was willing to put her chips in with an open ended straight draw against a flush board?

Another hand I had AQ unsuited. I had just won two hands in a row with raises preflop so I didn't want to raise a third time and have someone come over the top so I just called. There were 3 to the flop. The flop was Q-5-3. The old man on the end went all in with just a few chips. The next guy went all in as well. Fuck, I have top pair top kicker and a lot of the table has been playing like idiots. The problem was I didn't have a read on the 2nd all in as he was pretty new to the table. I folded. The first guy turned over Q-9 and the second guy turned over 5-3. The first guy hit his 9 for two pair and won a big pot. I avoided a train wreck.

At what point do you start to gamble and steal with any two cards and hope to get lucky? I think it has to be before you get to 4-5 times the big blind. With 40 or so left, I was just under the average chip stack, but I could only survive 2 orbits with the blinds and ante's. Is it better to wait for decent starting cards before throwing them all in the middle or do you just take the chance when everyone else was tightening up? The only way I was going to win any money was to double or triple up.

Hey I almost forgot. My cards went cold and there just were not many steal opportunities so I was getting blinded down. When I am in my final desperation mode with about 4 times the blind left, I am sitting in the 10 seat to the right of the dealer. The tournament director is wandering around and happens to be standing right behind me. I am dealt JJ, however while the dealer flings the card to me, it catches on a really bad paint job on the felt and flips up about 45 degrees. It quickly lands face down and I truly believe that no one else at the table saw the card but me. That is except the tournament director who saw it. He says, "Whoa what was that a Queen or some kind of face card? You know the rules, we have to turn that card up and make it the burn card." So of course my replacement card is a 3. I mutter to myself and fold. Of course my jacks would have held up and probably doubled me up as well. I lost my all in bet a few hands later and I was out in about 18th place.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

The Vegas Blues

I really need a Vegas trip that is profitable some day. They are so few and far between. Here's the damage.

Poker Tournaments: -200
Blackjack: -100
No Limit Poker: -185
4-8 ring games: approx even

Let's recap my tournament action:

My first tournament was the $60 buy in at the Flamingo at 10:00 AM. You start with 1000 in tournament chips but the blinds start at 25-50 and double every 15 minutes.

I am obviously at a table with at least 1/2 beginners. This is obvious after the first 3 hands. My fourth hand I am under the gun. I am dealt 99. I raise 200 pretty much hoping to win the blinds. It's folded around to the small blind who calls. The flop has a King, and two undercards with 2 clubs. My opponent checks and I bet another 200. He calls. The turn is an Ace and I don't want to spend any more money on this pot. He checks and I check. The river is a blank and we check it through. He turns over A-3 of clubs. So he called on the flush draw. I don't know why he called the preflop raise though.

My very next hand on the big blind I am dealt AJ offsuit. I now have 550 left after my blind and the blinds will be 50-100 in around 5 minutes. There are 3 limpers before it gets to me. I decide to go all in. I'm happy if I win the blinds but I have a good chance to double up if someone calls me. A black guy on the end of the table starts stacking his chips. I have already seen this guy make 2 bad plays in 5 hands so I decide I am happy if he calls. Amazingly he calls with King 5 offsuit. What the fuck?! So flop comes with a King and a Jack, so I am screwed but I still have a chance. The turn is another King and now it's over. My first tournament lasted 10 minutes.

I decide I have now have time to go over to the Golden Nugget and play in their 11:00 AM tournament. I catch a cab and I sign up for $60. This one we at least start with 1500 in chips and there are $40 rebuys for the first hour and a $40 add on. My cards are still cold so I am declining in the blinds. I rebuy with about 5 minutes left before the break and then I take the add on. If I remember that leaves me with about 10 times the blinds after the break. Now I start playing the small stack well and mostly winning the blinds when I move in.

Eventually I make it to the final two tables out of 57 players. The chip leader at our table is calling off his chips left and right and there are a couple of other short stacks at my table so everyone is in that weird place where they want to play tight to make it into the money but the blinds are so high, they have to push their small edges. I basically dont make any mistakes but get blinded down to where I end up all in along with the former chip leader. We both are eliminated at the same time in 13th place.

So even though I feel I have played perfect poker, I am down $200 in tournament entries. Since I haven't been impressed by the quality of poker in the tournament, I decide this would be a good place to play in the $1-$2 No Limit game. I finally get set in the game and it is soft. There were a couple of guys that liked to bluff and also liked to call down with the second best hand. I get a couple of good hands and I am up almost $200 early.

One good hand was when I was on the big blind. There are a couple of limpers and the small blind completes. I decide to raise it to $10. Two of the limpers fold, but the old man on my right calls the bet. He is one of the guys who has called down a couple of bad hands and I have yet to see any aggression from him.

The flop comes King-9-4. He checks and I decide to bet $20. He thinks about it for a little while and calls. Normally I would be done with this hand. With the old man calling me down, I am thinking he's got a King. The next card comes out and it's low again. The old man checks again and I really sense that he's weak. This time I bet $40 and he calls again. The river is another low card. He checks and I check it through. He turns over 5's. What the hell was he thinking? That's a sign about how bad the table was.

The problem was then the cards went cold. I was patient for at least an hour. I made some good laydowns and was still playing tight, by the book poker, like I thought I should against these bad calling station players.

Finally I have Jack 7 in the small blind. The guy on my left is the big blind, he is a lousy player and the button (the old guy on my right is in the hand) also limps in. I figure it's worth a dollar to play a pot against these two. The flop is Queen-10-6. I check, and the others check. The turn is the 9. This gives me a double belly buster straight draw. All I need is a King or an 8. I decide to bet $10. The player on my left folds and the button calls. The eight comes on the river. I bet $20. The button raises me to $60. I reraise all in to about $150 so it's 90 more to call. He calls. I say there is only one hand that can beat me and sure enough, he has it in King Jack. Let's discuss.

First of all, he should have raised before the flop when it was folded to him on the button, but like I said he was not very aggressive. Second I lost my patience and forgot about my read on this guy. When he raised me on the end that should have set off alarms that he might have me beat. I never even thought about it. I was so in love with my hand and thought of making a big score that I missed all the very evident signs.

I did have the good sense to quit and go back to my room at Caesers. Michele tried to cheer me up but I was a little bummed out. We had dinner and went to Zumanity at New York, New York. Zumanity was an excellent show with lots of ooh and aah moments of acrobatics and freaky flexibility.

The next day I went to Bellagio and played in the 4 - 8 game. My cards were still cold. I played for an hour before I won a hand and that was a chopped pot. The good news was that my starting cards were so bad, I was not even tempted to play them. Michele watched me for the last hour. I finally started to bluff a couple of times just so the players at the table wouldn't think I was a total tight ass. It won me a couple of small pots. I finally got up to go to lunch down another $45.

So I left Vegas without a single winning session. Once again I am feeling very far away from being on the World Poker Tour.

That's why it felt so good to come home and play Party Poker on Sunday. I won a 20+2 sit n go and I won $75 in the 2-4 ring game.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

I Can't Wait For Vegas!

I leave tomorrow for Vegas with Michele.

I am very short on the poker winnings goal with one day to go. It would take a great session tonight, which is not going to happen since I need to pay the mountain of bills stacked up on my desk at home. Oh well. I did finish up $143 so that's a plus. I am also adding in the $225 I received from my old network group that is basically found money. All I have to do is come away from Vegas a winner. :-)

My friend Jon called me last night from the Bellagio. He said all the stars of the poker world were out last night because the main event of the 5 Diamond Classic for the World Poker Tour started last night. I am going to try and go over and check it out a little bit while I am there.

Now for a couple of No Limit Poker strategy issues.

Tom Keller wrote an interesting article in Card Player about the call and bluff move. Let's say you limp before the flop and there are one or two other callers. The flop comes and someone bets in front of you. You smell weakness because maybe they only bet 1/2 the pot. Instead of reraising them, you smooth call. If another innocuos card comes off and he checks. You bet and take down the pot. This is better than the reraise on the flop because you can see more information with the turn card and the opponet's reaction. It's the same in that the call and bet probably costs you as much as a reraise on the flop. It's dangerous, because the turn could bring another high card that hits your opponet.

The Poker Babe also mentioned her blog that the main thing she has learned in her poker tournament experience is that many tight players have a really hard time learning that they have to put their tournament life at risk a lot in order to win. She mentions that she played hundreds of tournaments before she finally realized this concept. The key is knowing when to do that. You obviously want to do it at the right time so you don't get busted out.

I agree with this because my main problem in the tournaments I have played is that I get blinded off. Or I lose one or two hands and then am stuck going with the all in mode. It really is more about putting your opponet on a hand and deciding if you can move them off of it. There was another article in Card Player about the leak in many good players game of folding to a raise. In my one table sit-n-go's, they go so fast that I don't worry about that too much. There's not much reason to bluff until you get down to the final 4. But in the 3 tables or the big tournaments, it is easy to play for a couple of hours with the same players and they will notice this trend. I just don't know if I have the balls to reraise with the worst hand or to do it to someone else if I suspect they are bluffing. My stack is very rarely deep enough to bully someone that much.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

A New NL Move?

After coming back from visiting a client in Payson I decided to check out the poker room at Fort McDowell. I knew they had tournaments at 7:00 PM every night for only $30 with rebuys. I showed up at 5:30 and sat in a 3-6 game. There were a couple of fish at the table so I felt pretty confident.

Once again I got in trouble by bluffing. I was in a blind with a 6. No raises preflop. The flop is checked around and is all low cards. The turn gives me an open end straight draw so I bet. The button raises me. The pot only has like 4 bets so I fold. He shows me his 6 and says he hit the inside straight. I still think he misread his hand but I am not 100% sure. Anyways it was a good bet.

Another hand I had A-9 suited on the button. It's folded to me so I raise. The big blind calls. The flop is 9-7-2. He checks and I bet. He calls right away. The turn is another 7. He checks and I call. The river is a blank. He checks again and I decide to value bet because I think he was calling down with over cards. He raises me. Now I am screwed but I can't fold to one bet with top pair, top kicker so I call. He has the hammer (7-2) and pounds me right in the head with a full house.

Overall I saw some bad play but I didn't have enough time/cards to capitalize so I finished down $18.

The tournament was a little strange in that they give all kinds of bonus chips for showing up early. The think you start with 600 and the blinds start at 25-0. I think I got 500 for each hour I showed up early. The rebuys were $10 for another 600 and an add on for 1000 for $20 at the break.

Early on I got dealt pocket Aces. I raised preflop and got two callers. The flop was A-Q-Q. Wow! It was checked to me on the button and I checked it through. The turn was another face card. It was checked to me again and I bet 1/2 the pot hoping someone would think I was trying to buy it. Everyone folded. Little did I realize that they also play bad beat jackpots on the tournament games. I had a qualifying hand all I had to do was get beat by 4 Queens.

Anyway, I was not doing to well because everytime I made a bet on the flop, someone came over the top of me. The last one was very interesting. I had KQ of diamonds in middle position with 1500 in chips left. The blinds were 100-200. I raised to 500 and the button who had me easily covered reraised all in. Now this is a normal play if you have AA-KK-QQ-or AK. All of those hand I am a 4-1 underdog at least. Even if they have an underpair, I am a slight underdog.

I folded and made a remark that I don't know if I am getting unlucky that I am running into monster hands or just getting outplayed. One of the other more friendly players said at this stage of the tournament, if you make a raise, you better be ready to put all your chips in the middle. The button was taking advantage of that fact.

I posted this move on 2+2 because I am looking for a math answer. The all in reraise just looks like a move that will work a huge percentage of the time. Just think, I can only realistically call with QQ, KK, or AA. Maybe even AK. I guess that's something I will have to use in the future.

On another note, my poker goal is not going well. Although I received a check out of the blue from my old networking organization for $225. I guess I'll add that to the poker pot to make up for my recent losses. Still I would like to win it on my own.

Monday, December 06, 2004


I am not having much luck the last few days. I am bluffing too much in limit poker and I am making too many all in calls for all my chips in the tournaments.

Latest example is QJ of diamonds in small blind. Folded to me. I have stolen the blinds of the guy on my left frequently and I don't want to be reraised all in so I just complete the blind. Big blind checks. Flop is 7-5-7 with 2 diamonds. I check and he checks. The turn is a black queen. This time I bet the pot. He raises. I move all in hoping for the flush and pretty much thinking I have it won. He turns over 7-4 and I don't get the diamond. 19th place for the second time in a row on 3 table tourney.

I have also been playing the 2-4 games. There were two instances where I sat there and watched one player at the table just try to give their money away. Crazy bluffs and stupid call downs. Both times I never got the starting cards to even get involved except for one hand. Each time I punish them on every street for their draws and they suck out on the river. $40-$50 pots each time.

On the other hand I was reviewing the year that I have had in 2004. Overall I have to say it's been one of the best ever. Let's review:

Hit my rainy day savings fund goal.
I found myself a great girlfriend.
Trip to Maui.
Trip to Pebble Beach.
Bought a new house.
Bought a rental property.
Saved triple the requirement on my 401k.
U of A beat ASU in football.
5 trips to Las Vegas.
Shot a 73 (one over par) at Whirlwind.
Joined Phoenix Country Club.
Paid off my truck.

It sure looks like the best year of my life.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Are Party Poker Players getting better?

Poker Goal $450 by 12/18
Actual $217

Last night I played about 200 hands on a couple of different tables. This was the first time I was worried about the caliber of play on Party. For the first hour or so I did not see one player turn over crappy cards when they were called down. I saw a preflop raise almost every hand. The only reason I was hanging around was because the pots were so big. Are Party Poker players figuring out how to play the game? Have the fish started to lose all their money and given up?

Then to top it off it was one of those nights where every time I made a tight fold preflop, the flop would come and hit me hard. Of course my cards were already in the muck so you can't win if you're not in the hand. The worst one was when I folded King-9 of diamonds in the middle to a preflop raise. The flop came 10-Jack-Queen rainbow. The raiser had Ace-Queen and I think the other player ended up with 2 pair. That would have been a huge pot. I swear it happened at least 5 times. Usually I just tell myself it's the poker gods fucking with me and my discipline will be rewarded later. I wasn't quite buying it because I was down $65.

Later I got a little excited when I was dealt pocket queens. I raised preflop and had 3 callers. The flop came QQA. Four of a Kind! I was playing on the bad beat jackpot table so I had to play carefully. I slow played it and tried to keep everyone in. The board did not pair again but there was a flush possibility on the river. So I did get one raise in on the end. I think my share of the jackpot would have been around $10,000.

Finally I broke even when I called a preflop raise with 88 and hit the third 8 on the flop. The board paired 3's on the river and I took down an $80 pot.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Home Poker and Bad Toilets

The home game was crowded last night with 9 players. We had Kurt, Tom, Bill, Rob, Chris, Jon, Dan, and Jeff.

First off I got lousy cards all night. I won one big pot when I had pocket Jacks in one of the blinds. There were 3 callers and I raised. Jeff on my right reraised all in and I capped to trap Kurt and Jon. They both called. There was an Ace on the flop. I led out to test the waters and Kurt folded. Jon called. The other two cards were low and seemingly uncoordinated. The turn was a blank so I checked. Jon bet and I called. The river was the Jack. I still thought Jon had an Ace after calling my flop bet and calling all of those raises preflop. He was acting strong throughout the hand. I checked hoping to check raise him. He checked it through and missed his open end straight draw. That basically got me back to even where I stayed the rest of the night.

Rob and Bill traded a couple of big pots. Bill lost a big pot when his 3 tens with a Queen kicker lost to Rob's 3 tens with an Ace kicker. The Bill won the last big pot when he had pocket Jacks and Rob had pocket Queens. The board at the end read X-7-8-9-10. Bill's straight won the pot.

The other big event was Jeff taking a shit in my bathroom and stopping up my toilet. It was disgusting. I used to have a plunger before I moved, but I have no idea where it's buried in my garage now. I finally had to shame Jeff into buying a plunger and going to work. After the water level went down some, he tried to flush again and the toilet overflowed with crap water onto the tile. Even stink would say, "That Stinks!" Eventually the toiled choked down Jeff's intestines and he mopped up the mess. I immediately threw away the mop. From now on I will make sure Jeff doesn't eat anything for 24 hours before he comes to my house.

Monday, November 29, 2004

First Win at $20+2 Sit-N-Go

Poker Goal for Vegas 12-16-04 $450
Total won as of 11/28/04 $183

I've recently been taking a stab at the $20 sit-n-go's on Party Poker. I have not noticed much of difference in skill level from the $10 ones. I guess the players are a little tighter in the early going.

I really like the strategy cheat sheet I picked up from the 2+2 website. It's very rare that I finish any worse than 4th using this strategy.

Here were some of the highlights from my first win:

Early going in the big blind I pick up Jack-Nine. I think there were 4 others in the pot that limped in. The flop is 8-10-Queen all diamonds. I have the 9 of diamonds. I push all in on the flop which was about twice the pot. I'm hoping no one has the made flush. I don't want to slow play and give someone a chance to draw at the flush. Plus it looks like I am protecting a pair hand like Queens or two pair. I get two callers, one who had the Ace of diamonds and he gets no help and the other had an open end straight draw which he didn't hit either, so I triple up.

Later a short stack with about 500 goes all in trying to steal my big blind. I have AA so I immediately call. He had K-9. Now I am at 4500 with 3 other players left. I briefly think about trying to bully these guys around but that seems unnecessarily risky since I can fold my way to the final 2.

I basically sit back and wait for hands. I get a couple of Ace-X hands on the button and try to steal but get reraised back, so I fold.

I knock another guy out and the other guy busts out and I am left heads up with a 2-1 chip lead. The last guy left is the guy who has reraised me a couple of times and got me to fold. He immediately goes into all in mode. The blinds are still relatively small so I can be patient. After 4 all ins in a row, I get A-4 in small blind. I just call. He raises all in and I call. He had King - 5. I get an Ace on the flop and it holds up. $100 is credited to my account.

I am trying to get a home poker game together for Tuesday. I have 4 so far so I need a couple more. Hopefully it will be as profitable as the last time.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Sit-n-Go Strategy update

I have been using the sit-n-go strategy I stole from the 2+2 post and so far it has been pretty effective. It's hard playing that tight in the early going but I guess the positive is that it's rare that I lose a hand in the first 3 rounds. Partly because of the good cards I start with and also because some of the players notice that I haven't played a hand in a full rotation.

Last night I played 2 $20 one table sit-n-gos. The first one included a lot of good cards and I don't think I lost a hand until I got heads up at the end. I took a bad beat and ended up taking second. My opponet was on the button and doubled the blind. I reraised all in with my pocket Queens. He turned over A-9 and called. I would have had a 7-1 chip advantage if I won, but he caught his Ace on the river. Instead I was severely short stacked and eventually he out drew me.

The second tournament seemed to be a rock garden. I really didn't see any incredibly bad plays like you normally do. Maybe the $20 tournaments have a better skill level? I managed to make it to the last 3 and in the money. Part of this new strategy is to gamble for 1st place and settle for 3rd. I started to go all in a lot and steal a lot of blinds. Unfortunately a couple of times I had small pairs and I ran into bigger pairs. The last one I had 77's and called an all in raise. The raiser had JJ and I was out in 3rd.

Still 2 cashes helps recover the losses from the 2 poor showings last night on the 3 table tournaments I played in.

I also recorded the 1998 World Series of Poker. It was won by Scotty Nguyen. The broadcast quality was horrible as they still had not invented the hole card cams yet and they didn't even bother to go back and put in the hole cards for the hands they did turn up. It was funny to hear Vince Van Patten doing the commentary for ESPN. I also chuckled because this was the year that Matt Damon and Ed Norton were given free entries into the tournament because Rounders was coming out. They were projecting what a popular movies this was going to be and how impressed they were that there were 350 entries in the main event. 2004 had over 3,500. I think poker has had quite a boom, eh?

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

A New Goal

I set a new poker goal yesterday. I want to have $450 to gamble with in Las Vegas when I go with Michele in December. This works out to $15 a day. I also figured out that I could keep the same pace until June and have $3,000. That works out to when the World Series of Poker will be starting in Vegas. I am currently thinking that I would be willing to play 3 one table satellites for the 10k entry fee. Who knows, I may change my mind in a few months on that number. Hell I don't know if I would have the guts to take $10,000 in winnings and then enter the big contest. That would be, by far, the most I have ever won in gambling.

Anyways I tried out a summary of one-table satellite strategy I got off of a 2+2 site. I played 2 Party Poker 10+1 tournaments and one PokerStars 10+1 2 table tournament. I did pretty well in Party Poker as I came in 4th and 2nd. Basically the strategy is play really tight in the early rounds and make pot sized bets. I am always amazed at the bad play I see by some of the players at Party.

The PokerStars site, on the other hand, has really hammered me. I don't think I have had a winning session on that site yet. I joined to play in the blogger tournament. I had $60 left over and have played in some one and two table tournaments. I think I am down to my last $25 now. I don't know if I like the structure as much on PokerStars. They give you 50% more chips to start with so the tournaments last much longer. Normally that would be ok except the beginning levels seem to last forever and the later (higher) levels seem to go very quick.

Plus I seem to get dogshit cards. The top 5 paid on the two table tournament and I busted out in 7th. I waited until I had 1.5 times the big blind before I was finally forced all in. I didn't even have cards that I thought I could bluff with. Plus the chip leader was two spots to my left which made it very hard to play the button when the big blind had me covered five or six times over. Oh well I'm sure the luck will turn soon.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Near Miss in Live Tournament

It's Friday afternoon, my Dad is out of the office playing Tennis in Palm Springs, and my assistant is out on vacation. I have virtually nothing to do in the office so I decide to play in the 11:00 AM $60 buy in tournament at Casino AZ. 110 entries and the top 20 pay something.

I won a couple hands early but after a couple of levels I was down to 9-10 times the big blind. I really played my short stack well. I had quite a few all in's and only was called once. I had A-10 of diamonds and he had A-3. I won that one with a pair of 10's.

With 50 players left, I won a couple more hands after all in raises and realized I was the chip leader at the table. I was still only about 15 times the blind but I felt good. Then the tide turned. I raised with K-J on the button and lost to an all in on the blinds who called me. Then with 300-600 blinds I was in late position. Under the gun limped and everyone folded to me. I had pocket Jacks. I raised to 1800. The blinds folded, but the first limper reraised me all in for 2200 more. So that means 6700 in the pot and 2200 to call. I did stop to consider what he would limp reraise me with all in. 3 hands that are way ahead. Overcards I definitely have the odds to call. Lower pairs I have the odds to call. If I win I have an excellent chance to go very far. I decide to call and he turns over QQ. He gets his third Queen on the turn and lose most of my stack and I 'm down to 5,000.

I maintain between 5,000 and 10,000 for a while and it's down to 3 tables of 10. They bring over some new players with a lot of chips.

I haven't bluffed once and every time I have had to show cards I have had good ones. I need to pick up some blinds. I am down to 5,000 in chips and the blinds are going up from 500-1000 in 5 minutes. When the big blind comes and I fold to a raise. The small blind comes and it's folded to me and I am tempted to go all in. I can't limp because the guy on my left hasn't let me do that in 3 attempts. I decide to fold. He shows me AJ. Phew! Avoided that disaster. The next hand I get 5-7 unsuited on the button. It's folded to me again and this time I decide to pull the bluff. My nemesis in the small blind folds, but the big blind calls right away with out even looking up from the magazine he is looking at. Oops. He turns over AQ unsuited.

I get no help and I'm out. I stand up to look around and see where I finished. 23rd. Dammit that was a stupid play. I had eight more hands to get something I could work with. Hell I could have just sat around and probably made it into the money. I was patient the whole tournament until that one hand and then I fucked it up.

Monday, November 08, 2004

A Win With An Audience

There hasn't been too much to report over the last week. I have a girlfriend now and that has cut into my poker playing a little.

Last Friday I got home from work and then went for a run. I was supposed to meet my girlfriend at my house to go out. After I had showered and recovered from my run, I logged on to Party Poker and started a 3 table sit-n-go. I called the girlfriend and said come over in an hour and "I'm playing in a tournament online so I might be ready to go right away or you may have to wait a while."

By the time she showed up there were still 20 players left. I had shown her some of the basic rules of the game last week so she was interested in what was going on. Once she was there I started catching cards like crazy. I started with pocket 9's and the flop came with 2 nines. I slow played it perfectly and took all of my opponet's chips. Another time I had top pair on the flop and two short stacks had gone all in. I called and busted out both of them with their draws. Another time I decided to try and steal with J-2. One of the blinds decided to call me. The flop was rags and we both checked. The turn was a 2 so I decided to throw a small bet out there to see if I could take it and he called. The river was the Jack! Apparently it hit my opponet because he made a pot sized bet. I raised him all in and he called with his J-10. His one pair loses to my two pair and he's gone.

Finally I made it to the final 2 and I had something like a 6-1 chip lead. It was over in about 6 hands and I won $270 in front of my girlfriend. It was nice to show her that I have some skill in this hobby and it's not just "gambling".

In the mean time I have played two 3 table sit-n-go's since and I haven't cashed. One I got beat by trip nines when I had top pair and top kicker. Another was a little interesting. I was on the blind and the button doubled the blind. I reraised all in with KQ, halfway hoping for him to fold. The raise would put my opponet virtually all in. That small of a raise didn't seem to indicate a made hand. There were 6 players left and only 5 make money. The blinds were high and 3 of the players only had 3-4 times the amount of the small and big blinds left so it was becoming a crap shoot. I had started with about 7 times the big blind. This player seemed kind of loose and I figured I need to get a little lucky if he calls and double up to try and win this thing. He took his full time limit and finally called with 2-2. Wow! That seems like a horrible play to me. Of course I don't get any help and I bust out. Oh well just cashing at the lowest amount doesn't mean much to me so I guess I went out with guns blazing.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Please give me some cards!

I played at 3-6 at Gila River last night. One of the worst playing tables I have seen in quite some time. Of the 9 players at the table at 6 had no idea of starting card standards or drawing odds.

Unfortunately the cards were not cooperating. I saw the river once in 3 hours with a busted flush draw. I won exactly 2 pots. My voluntary put money in the pot percentage was probably 15% or lower. My best hand was pocket JJ with 6 other players in a raised pot. The flop had and Ace and a King. See ya!

I even tried to use my really tight image to my advantage. I raised one time with King-10 offsuit early. I got 4 callers! What the f***? After the flop misses me, someone leads out into me and I have to fold. Sure enough one player had Ace King and the other had pocket QQ.

I lost $105 and felt like I never really lost a pot. I just got blinded to death. Ugh!

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

More Analysis from Big Tournament

I posted my AK vs. 2 all in hand on 2+2 and it was unanimous that I made the right decision on calling. I went to the probability calculator and I discovered that I was a 30-35% favorite to win the hand against the cards my opponets had or even the possible hands I was against. The pot was laying me 2.9 to 1 odds and I was probably 2-1 or better to win the hand. I still hated losing that pot though. Especially to the moron who went in the worst hand. At least comfort me by losing to the pocket Queens. He was smart to move all in.

I wonder if the guy who lost to my one outer, 4 of a kind on the river is still telling his friends that story.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

First big Tournament Cash!

Party Poker 30+3 NL Hold'em entry. Approx 650 players. 1st Place approx $4500. Top 70 pay.

I went in trying to be patient and not do anything stupid. I almost hit my goal. :0

There were a lot of guys early going all in on flush draws. I really don't understand that move. If some one has top pair they are going to call you if they only invested $33. It's probably different in the WSOP when you have thousands of dollars invested.

A few highlight hands:

I'm on the button with J10 suited. One limper and I raise trying to get everyone to fold but willing to see the flop if called. The board is A-10-10. The caller checks to me and I check it through hoping to induce a bluff later on. The turn is a 2. He bets 200 and I call. The river is now the case 10 giving me 4 of a kind. He bets, I go all in, and he calls. He turns over AA for Aces full of Tens. I can't believe I caught the one outer on the river. I'm trying to trap him the whole time and I was practically dead.

Ace King suited and I call an early raise. Flop is A-7-10. I check and he goes all in. I call and he has QQ. Turn is a Jack. River is the King giving my opponet the straight. How unlucky.

The hand that crippled me at the end. I have AK under the gun with 2000-4000 blinds. I raise to 10k. I have 54,560 at the start of the hand. The player two spots to my left goes all in for 31687. Another player goes all in for 15000. Now it's back to me. What do I do? There is something like 18 players left and if I win this hand there is a very good shot that I make it to the final table. I am willing to race against a pocket pair, but I need to know if any of my Aces or Kings are taken. If I call I will get all 5 cards to make a high pair since both players are all in. I decide to make the loose call.

Flop comes Jack diamonds, 7 diamonds, and 8 diamonds. The guy 2 to my left turns over Ace-2 of diamonds and has the nut flush. The other all in guy turns over QQ. I am screwed. I think I will post this hand on 2+2 to see what they say. I think they will tell me to fold.

Busted out with A-10 going all in after a raise. The raiser had A-Q and his Queen high held up.

Overall I am proud of how I played and I can't wait to get there again.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Finally a win against live people

I went back to my old fertile stomping grounds of Wild Horse Pass Indian Casino on the Gila River Reservation. I used to play there all the time after rounds of golf on Whirlwind. Since they have had a pro tournament on the golf course and now planting the winter grass, I haven't played out there in 2 or 3 months.

I have had rotten luck lately playing live. My flushes and straights aren't coming in, and my top pair hands are being consistenly beat by the rivered flushes and straights. It's been fucking with my mind and I have been playing too many hands and being too aggressive because of it.

This time I decided I was going to tighten up early and try and play my best poker. I have found that if I take a deep breath and listen to my inner voice on my reads, I am actually pretty good at determining whether these guys have a decent hand.

I sat at the 3-6 table and started my session. Immediately I dug myself a hole and was down around $60. I broke my new rule a couple of times by trying to win the pot with 2nd high pair after everyone checks through on the flop. You really can't do that against loose passive players. Anyway the cards were cold, I bought another $50 before a kill pot to make sure I had some ammunition and still I was getting nothing. Finally I was down $120 and cursing my luck.

The good thing is, I was playing solid poker. I was playing tight preflop. The few times I was in a hand, I got out at the right time when I was surely beat. I had a couple more hands where I was ahead until the fateful river straight or flush. I know that Ed Miller says you should call down a lot of these but my reads were really good and I think there might have been only one out of 7 or 8 where there was any chance at all that I was being bluffed. That time the pot was not that big so I still think it was a good play even though he had a sly grin on his face after he raked the pot.

My reason for folding these hands is that these players were so bad that I don't think they were smart enough to think of bluffing at the pot when the straight or flush draw shows up on the board. Especially when they check call all the way and then hurriedly put their bet in on the river.

After 45 minutes I don't think I had won a single hand. Finally I started getting dealt AK like crazy. And finally the top pair hands were holding up. Plus it was nice to hit a couple of flushes and nut straights as well.

There was one hand where I raised with AQ under the gun and there were 3 other callers. The flop came Q-10-9. The big blind came out betting and I my gut tells me he has the straight already. I'm only one card away along with top pair, top kicker. I want to see where this guy is at plus get rid of the other guys. I raise and both of the other guys cold call?! The the inital better raises again. Here's where I get a little stupid. I raise again trying to get the other guys out. They both call again!

Well now I'm pretty sure this guy has the straight. I have no idea what the other guys are chasing. The next card is a Jack and we all check it through. The river is a King so now I have the nut straight. I double check to make sure. The guy on my right leads out (I guess he was going for the check raise on the turn) and I raise and the other two moronic cold callers finally fold. The initial bettor is sick about it and he calls. He knows he's beat but he calls anyway because the pot is so big. After that monster pot I was all the way back to even.

From there I continued to win a few pots here and there and eventually cashed out up $107.

Thank god for Gila River Casino!

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Things I Need To Stop Doing

Got beat for $140 last night at Casino AZ on the 3-6 game. I don't feel I played too bad but just got beat by lot's of straights and flushes with my top pair and good kickers. I think I have identified a couple of leaks though:

1. Flop has a pair on board. I have 2 pair matching up the other card on the board. Stop betting this unless I have position and a high pair greater than 10's. I either check it early and it gets checked around. Then I lead out, and get two callers who invariable have the 3 of a kind and are doing some weird slow play or they pair a higher card later. I may be able to get away with betting it against one or two players but 4 or 5 has to stop.

2. Tighten up preflop in early position. Too many times I feel the table is passive and I can limp in with medium suited connectors and it gets popped for a raise.

3. Don't bother trying to steal. The pot's are too small for this to be profitable. At most there are one or two big bets in there and these guys are always seeming to call me down.

4. Respect the reraise unless I have the nuts or a close second to it.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Yuma Trip Report

I traveled to Yuma, AZ last weekend for my roommate's wedding. I wasn't sure how much poker I would get to play but it turned out to be quite a bit.

Thursday night we went to the Paradise Casino. When our gang showed up there was only one table going at 4-8. We had 8 players on our own so we told them to open up another table. Naturally I put my name in first because I knew it would take 15 minutes to set up the new table and by then there was a good chance that my friends would lose interest because there was also blackjack there and 4-8 was a little high for a couple of my friends.

I sat in the first game and noticed immediately that there were a couple guys that were habitual bluffers and a few loose players as well. I won a pot early and was up $40 quickly. The other table finally got going so I put in for a table change to play with my friends.

The fun thing about playing with my friends is I can play off my image with them. When they play with me and a bunch of strangers at the casino they know I play really tight. If I am playing against them all at the same time, I tend to be more loose aggressive because I can bluff them out of some pots. My friend Robert finally noticed this the other night.

Unfortunately, the cards were not coming for the first two hours with my friends. I did not win a single hand for 2 hours. I was the only one on the table for quite a while who had not won a hand. Eventually a couple of my friends got up and went to play Black Jack and a couple of new guys sat down, including one of the dealers who was off duty. He wanted action. He immediately started raising every pot preflop.

That was just about the time I was dealt A-7 of spades on the button. He raised early and I had a few callers before it got to me so I just called. I got two spades on the flop. Off Duty Dealer bet with a couple of callers and I raised on a free card play. I got my 5th spade on the turn and it went from there. I even got raised on the river so I got an extra bet in. I went from down about 100 to up $3 in one hand. I proceeded to lose a little of it back but I left down $40 for the night.

On Friday night we played No Limit hold'em at Chris' Dad's house. None of these guys knew how to play very well. They don't know to bet more than $1 or $2 dollars at a time unless they go all in. I got beat for my first $20 when I bet my top pair into a flopped full house. Then I slowly made my way back. It got to the point where there would be 3 or 4 limpers for $1 preflop. The flop would come and if I caught any piece of it, I would just bet the pot and take it down. I ended up $18 for the night. The funny thing was Eric had never played no limit (he'd only seen it on tv). He won about $100 because he kept hitting straights and flushes. He would always bet low because he didn't want to scare anyone out of the pots. It worked in reverse because people would try to push him out and he would always call them with a better hand.

That's what makes poker so popular. You can go on a great run of cards and beat everyone with no skill at all.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Ethical Decision

Last night I am in a hurry to play a quick multi table tournament before my volleyball game at 6:00 PM. I have some trouble logging on to Party Poker and then I sign up for what I believed was a 3 table tourney for $30 +3. It turns out it was just a 2 table tournament, but that's ok because I only have about 2 hours. For some reason it takes 15 minutes for the tournament to fill up and start so in the mean time I play some hands in the 2-4 Bad Beat Jackpot section.

My first hand, I post the $2 blind and get dealt 2-8 of clubs. Everybody is in even with a raise before it gets to me, so I figure I can call another $2 since I'm getting 1/2 price. Oops it was reraised before it got to me, so I call $4 more. Then it's raised again so now I have to call the other $2 because the pot's so big. I think there was over $50 in the pot and we hadn't even seen the flop yet.

Guess what..... the flop comes with two clubs. There's a bet and a raise before it gets to me but I am still getting great odds so I call the raise. A couple more callers. The turn is another club and I have an 8 high flush. I specifically remember a line from Small Stakes Hold'em that a flush will win most of the time (I am thinking of this because obviously someone had a good hand before the flop and I should beware of a high club out there). It's checked to me and I decide not to be tricky and just bet. It's called twice. The river is no help and not a club, so I bet again and get called by one guy. The final pot is $85. Goodness Gracious! what a nice way to win a hand.

So now I am up $58 after one hand and the tournament has not started. I pretty much stayed even from there until the tournament.

The tournament had some crazy players again that were caught in some really silly bluffs. One guy named IO10101 nearly bluffed himself out of the tournament against another guy who just called him down with Ace high. Somehow he survived to the win the thing.

I had really crappy starting cards for the most part. The funny thing was that when I had a good hand, I was really winning a shit load of money with them. I doubled up with a nut straight and increased my stack by 50% against IO10101 with AJ when I flopped two pair. I was comfortably among the chip leaders the whole way but the clock was beginning to be a problem.

I need to leave my house by 5:45 to make the volleyball game at 6:00. This is just a rec league so there is no real important reason to be there other than being there for my team. By 5:30 we are down to the final table and I have an average chip stack. The top 4 pay out. First place is $240 and fourth place is $40. I finally start to get some cards and get more aggressive as I am now trying to knock guys out so we can end this thing. I end up getting to the final 5 as a slight chip leader with $7500 of the $20,000 in play. It's now 5:45. What do I do?

I could start the all in mode, hope to get lucky and end it quick. I can go on auto post and safely assume I will out last at least one guy and get some money. Or do I stay and play it to the end possibly missing the entire volleyball game.

I decide I do not like the all in mode since the short stacks could just fold and I might run into a decent hand from one of the big stacks and be crippled. So I give up and go on auto post and leave for the game. I come back an hour and half later and find out I placed 3rd for $120. Not bad. My party poker account is now $840 a new high.

My next report will be on the games from Chris' wedding and the casinos in lovely Yuma Arizona.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Another Near Miss in 3 Table Tourney

I played in 2 Three table tournaments last night online. My thinking going in was that I wanted to attack any weak bets that I saw. What I mean is if there is a $100 pot and someone bets the minimum, say $15. Then I will raise and try to win the pot.

Unfortunately the first game I was in was crazy. Lots of all in's with mediocre hands. I got crippled early and took a chance to double up. It didn't hit and I was out in 20 something place. Not one of my better showings.

The second game was a little more normal. I played the normal tight game. There was not any weak betting going on so I didn't really get the chance to follow through on my plan.

When it got down to two tables I was a little below average in stack size. I continued to be patient and eventually it got down to 2 tables of 6. The problem was we were a bunch of slow players so the blinds were starting to get high. Of the 6 players on our table, 5 of them had about the same size stack as me with the chip leader having about 2 times as much. Basically no one was on the verge of going broke so it would take someone on the other table to break 2 players so we could get to the final table of 10. Then I could afford to be more patient since I could wait a few more hands before the blinds came around.

So we went to random blind stealing just so we could all stay even. I don't think any hand went past the flop for about 15 hands.

Finally we combined to one table and I was about 5th or 6th in chips. I had not really been getting many good hands for the entire tournament and I was a little surprised that I was still alive. Luckily my cards were bad enough that I never got too crippled by trying to chase something. Suddenly my luck changed. I wasn't getting big pairs, it was that my all in bets were hitting. At least 3 times I went into the flop with the worst hand by far and came out a winner. There was 10-8 and I hit a straigt on the river. There was an A-8 against an A-K that I tied on when the board gave us both a Broadway straight. Another time I had 8-8 against 10-10 and hit the third 8 on the flop. Suddenly I was the chip leader.

The last few guys busted out and I was heads up with a pretty good player. We were equal in chips with about 15,000 each. I think the blinds were 400-800. I busted out when I bluffed at a ragged flop after he checked to me. He had raised my blind to 2300 preflop and I called with K-J. I moved all in after the check hoping he would fold his over cards or Ace - something. He called with his QQ. Oh shit.

I am really clueless when it comes to heads up. Anyways it was worth $240 2nd place prize so my Party Poker account is back up over $600 again.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Stepping up to 10-20.....bad idea

For the last couple of months I have been really curious about sitting down at a 10-20 hold'em game at Casino AZ. I almost did it during my last trip to Las Vegas but I played the no limit game instead. That was plenty of adrenaline so that satisfied the craving for a while.

Last week, my friend Chris D. told me he had played in the 10-20 game a couple of times and was telling me how well he had done. I have played with Chris and watched him play a couple of times and he is not all that good. So now my curiousity was piqued again.

On Friday I went to a happy hour for my boss who is leaving for Texas. Afterwards I was driving down the highway that passes right by the casino. My original plan was to hit the gym after the happy hour and then go home and play online. Of course the chance to play live and skip a workout was too much to resist.

I signed up at the 10-20 list and was surprised to find out that the take a rake intead of a time charge. I guess that is new. I didn't watch the rake too closely but it looked like it was only a max of 4 or 5 bucks. There was enough of a list that they created a new table and sat me down with the other new players. This was what they call a "must move" table which means that if a seat opens in the first table you must move from the table you are at to the main game.

I was understandably a little nervous as I bought in for 400. I won a hand early and was up around $80. The table was ok. There were a couple of guys that at least talked like they knew what they were doing. There was one guy of mexican descent that I had seen before at my table. He seemed to be chasing everything. My initial strategy was to wait for good cards and hopefully get in a hand with this guy. Before I could catch any decent cards I was moved to the main game.

The main game was a rock garden. Just about everyone played solid starting hands and the preflop bet was raised at least 1/2 the time so limping in for one bet with mediocre cards was really a bad idea. There was one man in the 9 seat of far eastern descent who was a little bit crazy but with a purpose. Every once in a while he would go on a raising spree to try and loosen up the table. At least half the time, he had the cards so it was hard to make a play on him.

After the first couple of hours I was down to my last 100. I nursed that stack for another 2 hours and even built it up to 250 after winning a decent pot. The main problem was that were not very many large pots so it was going to take a great run of cards to make it back to even.

This is about the time that I should have got up and left. I had proven to myself that the players are not that much better at that level. I had the adrenalin pumping a little. I had a loss I could live with at 150. Plus there was no way that I was good enough to outplay the others at the table unless I got really good cards. At least these thoughts crossed my mind before I conveniently ignored them.

My last hand was the one that laid the big hurt on me. My image, like everyone elses at the table was tight and I was looking for an opportunity to win a pot with a check raise. It just seemed like the table would really respect that move and lay down their hands. Well we had a kill pot and the stakes are now 15-30. I get dealt King Hearts - Jack Diamonds under the gun. I limp and for once there are about 5 other players in the pot. The flop is something like 8-7-2 all diamonds. I decide to lead out just in case I can win it right there. I get like 4 callers. The next card is another low diamond so now I have the flush. I check. Sure enough it's bet a couple of turns later and the guy on my right calls, then I pop it for a raise ($60). The initial better folds and the last guy on my right goes into the tank and thinks about it for a while. He reluctantly calls.

Two players left and the river is a rag. I bet really hoping he'll fold. He calls and turns over King - Jack same as me, except his King is a diamond and he wins the biggest pot we had seen in 4 hours. He then admitted that he was really worried that I had the Ace. It almost worked. I picked up my remaining $30 and left.

So lets review again the lessons I need to learn.

1. Play within your limits which currently is 3-6 with my current balance in the gambling account.

2. If you can't spot the sucker at the table in the first 30 minutes, you are the sucker.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Better Luck at 3-6 and a Near Miss in Tourney

Well I have followed through and gone back to 3-6 in the live games and stuck with 2-4 online.

On Sunday I entered a 30+3 tournament at Party Poker. There were just over 1500 players and first place was $9500. The top 130 paid out and the first prize level was $47.50.

I tried to play pretty solid and not try many fancy plays. I was amazed how bad some of plays were that I saw. Guys were dropping like flies in the first few rounds which in my mind should never happen. Anyways I stayed around the chip average for the first two breaks. My table was pretty easy to read and luckily no one really amassed a huge stack of chips, so there were not a lot of hard decisions to make.

We got down to about 180 players left and one guy ended up with about 20k in chips while I was around 6000. The blinds were starting to get big and I felt I was going to need to double up soon to make any money. The big stack finally woke up and started doubling the blind every time he entered a pot (which was a lot) to try and bully the rest of us. I won a couple of all ins when everyone folded to pick up a couple of small pots.

Finally were are down to 134 players and we are playing one hand at a time. I am on the button with about 3500 in chips left. Now the question is, am I happy just finishing in the money? It would be the first time I have ever done it which is cool to say. However we are only talking about netting $13. That does not excite me very much. I decide I want to make more money so I am not going to go super conservative and try to wait out the small stacks. I am dealt K-10 on the button. The blinds have stacks that are similar in size to mine. I am already figuring that an all in bet will get them to fold since we are close to the money. The big stack is the only better with his double the blind bet. I figure he could have just about anything. He might even fold since my stack could still cause him a little damage.

I push in, the blinds fold. I love it when a plan comes together. Oh wait, big stack is thinking about it..........he calls. Shit! He turns over K-8 suited. Yes! I'm a big favorite. Here's the flop.....oh no there's an 8. I get no help on the turn and river and I am out in 134th. Oh well.

Yesterday I went to Casino AZ and played 3-6. Again the players at 3-6 are so much worse than the 4-8 players it's ridiculous. They are there to gamble. Even had one guy heads up tell me he knows I only play Aces when there was an Ace and a King on the board. He obviously had the King. I bet the turn (which happened to pair my 5 kicker) and he calls. I bet the river and he calls again? I love 3-6.

The only interesting strategy hand was after I had missed my blind. I posted the $4 since I was only one off the button and was dealt 5-6 of hearts. Somebody early raised and everyone was calling. I figure what the hell, I am half way in. 14 small bets going to the flop. 7 players.

The flop is 2-3-4 with 2 clubs. It is bet and raised before it gets to me. What should I do? 17 small bets in the pot so even if I reraise everyone is still getting at least 6-1 to call on a flush draw. Since I can't protect my hand, I decide just to call and see if I can keep more people in. I think 5 players ended up seeing the turn so now it's 13 big bets in the pot. The turn was a Jack not a club. The player who raised on the flop ( and who I was hoping would lead out so I could raise) checked it through to me. So I bet and low and behold I only get 2 callers including a quiet old lady in first position. Now 16 big bets in pot to the river. The river was a 2 of clubs so now the board is paired and a flush is out there. The old lady bets. Fuck can't I get a hand to hold up! The other player gets scared out and folds. I make the crying call, publicly saying I think I am beat. The old lady turns over a Jack for Jacks and 2's. Unbelievable my straight held up and I rake in the monster. I love 3-6.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Party Poker saves me

Lately I have been having a bad run in the card rooms. I have stopped playing the $130 buy in tournaments at Casino AZ because I feel like it's just a crap shoot because the blinds go up so fast.

When I play 4-8 it just seems that I am not playing my best game. I think I am playing a little too loose with my starting hands and I may be chasing too many hands when the pots get big. I still need to get better at thinking more about what my opponet has and then figuring out my outs to get better. In other words, play the opponet and not the cards. It's not as big a deal in limit hold'em but it's everything in no limit.

Last Friday I played for about 6 hours at Casino Arizona and lost around $150. I was down about $260 before I clawed back. There was only one good play I made that I was proud of. I had Ace Jack and I had paired the Jack buy there was a King on the board and two clubs. My table image was pretty tight. When the third club hit on the turn it was checked to me. There were two guys left in a fairly large pot. I kind of felt like I had a decent chance at the best hand but I felt I couldn't give away another chance at someone drawing out on me with a flush so I bet. The first player folded obviously thinking I hit the flush. The guy on my right just called. Well the turn was a blank and the guy on my right checked to me again. Now I think to myself that if he's still here he probably has a decent hand but not the flush. If I check it through I have to show down and I had the feeling I was behind. If I bet he may fold. Plus I was probably going to call one bet on the river anyway because the pot was giving me something like 10-1. Anyway the guy on my right folded his pair of Kings because I sold him on the fact that I had the flush. For once I played the man, although I did it almost without really thinking about it. It was almost a subconscious move.

So after these recent beats, my cash gambling bankroll is down to around $600. I am kind of strapped right now in my bank accounts on account of trying to join Phoenix Country Club and trying to come up with the money I am going to owe my Dad at the end of the year from work. However I had over $400 in my Party Poker account and I was running decent there. From here I have decided to play more 2-4 online and work on the concepts from Small Stakes Hold'em and occasionally play the sit n go's. Last night I sat down on the 2-4 bad beat jackpot table.

From the get go I was getting good cards and there were horrible players. Right away I got reads on 3 or 4 players because they were all going to show down on the river. I love it when I get to see their cards on the end. One guy was playing every hand, one had pretty weak starting standards, and one guy only bet first if he had the nuts. I was lucky enough to be involved in hands with each of these guys repeatedly in just the kind of spots that I could take advantage of my reads. Plus I hit a two pair on the river once to win a big pot, I had 4 aces once, and 4 threes another time. I couldn't lose and ended up winning $172 in a little over an hour. That's 43 big bets! Finally a good run of cards.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

I hate playing defense

More thoughts from Las Vegas......

Played for about 5 hours at the Mirage during the day on Saturday. It was one of those days where I never got good cards. Either my starting cards sucked I was folding or I'd raise with my starting cards and the flop would miss me entirely. It was especially annoying because I was playing 6-12 and hoping to make a big score.

Looking back I don't think it was possible to win any money that day with the cards I had. I was definitely possible to lose less. I was down $350 after the session was over.

I called down a couple of times where I was pretty sure I was beat. I didn't respect a couple of raises against me. Yada, yada, yada. "It ain't no fun waitin' around to be a millionaire".

I am still trying to assimilate the Ed Miller book. I am doing ok on his quiz hands in the back of the book. I know one thing that has not worked out so far is pumping up my nut flush draws. That's just a function of mathematics in that eventually I will win those pots, but lately my draws have not been hitting.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Vegas, baby Vegas!

Just back from Las Vegas for my room mate's bachelor party. Lots of poker and a couple of new experiences.

The main scare or adrenalin pumping moments came during my first ever cash no limit game at the Flamingo. The blinds were 2-5 and the minimum buy in was $100 and the max was $300. I bought in for the max and told myself to play very tight and conservative and fight the urge to make fancy plays.

My plan worked brilliantly for the first two hours. The table was incredibly weak tight. Most people folded to a preflop raise or the first bet at a flop. They weren't even big bets for the most part. Usually $20-$30 bets into pots of $20-$30. I recognized the trend and thought about trying to steal a couple pots or blinds but I didn't pull the trigger. I really didn't need to because I was winning every hand I got involved in. I was up $250 after 2 hours. There was only one hand that went to a showdown. I had a suited Ace on button and called down after the flop gave me 4 to a flush. I easily had the odds to call the whole time because the guy with top pair was too much of a pussy to push me off the hand. I caught him on the river and won a nice pot.

After two hours it was 1:00 AM and the table started to turn over. The weak tights were being slowly replaced by the loose aggressives and the gamblers. The pots started to get bigger and the cards got colder. I can't tell you how many times I did the math in my head on whether I was up or down for the trip and whether I should quit. At my peak, I think I was up $100 overall if I walked away. Finally I decided that I was not tired, I might be able to trap one of the new players for a big pot, and I would just make sure that I did not chase any draws so I should be fine. Once again, famous last words.

The heart breaking hand of the night. I am dealt King Jack offsuit on the button. Two players limp for $5 and I raise to $15. (When I posted this hand for feedback on 2+2 I was told this was not a big enough raise). Blinds fold and limpers call. Flop is KK8 with two hearts. The first guy bets $20 (oh good I am going to make some money here) and the next guy raises to $60 (maybe not). I decide I need to narrow the field so I raise to $100. My thinking at the time is the first guy is just betting at the board because he read somewhere that the first one to bet at a paired board usually wins the pot. The second guys raise tells me he has a King. How big a kicker is the question. Plus I am concerned about the flush draw.

The turn is 10 not a heart. The opponet checks in to me. My first instict is "whew, good I am happy to check down to the river because I have never bet so much on one hand of poker in my life". Obviously not the correct reaction. I check even though I could be giving him a free draw at the flush.

The last card is a 3 also not a heart. Ok no flushes so 3 of kind or a full house wins this hand. I didn't think he had a full house or he would have bet. I didn't think he had Ace King or he would have raised preflop. Now I think I have the best hand because only King-Queen can beat me. I bet $60 hoping he calls and pays me off. He calls and I pay him off because he has King-Queen.

The poker books would say that I should have lost a lot more money on this hand. Preflop if I raise more, maybe I win the pot uncontested. If I raise it to $25 or $30 and they call I have more leverage. After flop when it is bet and then raised, If I raise all in maybe I win it right there. Then it looks like I have Ace King maybe even the flush draw. Does he call? I think my opponet had just enough gamble in him that he calls but I'll never know.

So that wiped out my profits. Later I got dealt 9's on the button and decided to call hoping to flop a set. The flop was J82. The same opponet who is in middle position checks along with the others. When it gets to me, I decide to bet the pot thinking no one has a Jack. My nemesis calls and the rest fold. Another low card comes out. He checks and I bet again. He calls. The last card is a Queen. He checks and I check. He turns over King Jack. What the fuck?! I still can't figure out why he didn't bet that? So now I am down $150. I am remembering the line from rounders where Matt Damon's character explains that a lot of pros will not play No Limit because the swings are too high. I can see why.

Finally I get a pair of 4's late and limp. The flop is A-7-4. A black guy across the table from me who I know is a bad player bets $30. Good let's trap him, I call. The next card doesn't scare him or me so he bets $30 again. I go for the jugular and bet all in for just over $100. I had seen this player earlier call an all in bet preflop with just A-4 of spades. The guy who went all in bet at least $100 and there was only $20 in the pot. A really stupid bet, I thought. Until this guy called him. The all in guy turned over Kings and won easily. It might have been the only pot I saw they guy win all night. Anyway I thought the odds were pretty good that I would get called and sure enough he did with his pair of Aces. No help on the river and now I am back up a few bucks again.

That's pretty much where I stayed the rest of the morning until 3:00 AM when I left. Overall I won $15 playing for four hours and got some good experience. I felt for the most part that I treated my chips as units and not as dollars which was my biggest fear coming in. I could have played better on the trip kings hand but in all likelihood I would have lost more money. I made some good laydowns that saved me a lot of money as well.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Jeff's Poker Tournament Disaster

So Jeff has his second poker tournament party at his house last Saturday. The first tournament he had was $120 buy in with 30 players and I came in third place. I actually thought I could have won it if I had been a little more patient. Anyways it was good for around $600.

This time the buy in was $150 with $100 rebuys. We were starting with $2000 in chips and the blinds started at 10-20. I recognized a lot of the faces so I was confident that I would do well.

The very first hand someone went all in and got busted out so it looked like people were going to play loose and gamble it up. I played a standard game and did not lose a hand for the first two hours. I did make a couple of semi bluffs but my reads were good and my opponets laid down their hands.

At the first break I was at 4975. This was the last chance for rebuys or add ons. I noticed that our table seemed to have all the big stacks and the other tables had lots of short stacks. I had been playing very well against my opponets on my table so I figured it would be a good investment to buy an additional $2000 in chips with a $100. This was the same strategy I used last time.

We consolidated down to two tables and most of the big stacks seemed to remain on my table. The first hand was a show down between the guy on my immediate right and the guy two seats to my left. They both went all in, one with KK and the other with AA. The guy on my left had the Aces and of course they got cracked when a King fell on the flop. He had the KK hand covered by about 2 to 1 so he was still alive.

The very next hand involved this player and me. I was two off the button and it was folded to me. I had A-4 of hearts. I decide to raise and try to steal the blinds. The button (the AA loser) calls and the blinds fold. Heads up to the flop. The flop is Q-4-4 rainbow. Since there are no flush draws and I know my opponet is steaming, I decide to check and see if I can trap him. He falls for it and puts the rest of his stack in the middle. I call with approximately $3,000. He gets a pained look on his face and says "I was just bluffing". He turns over J-9 of clubs. There is one other club on the board. Sure enough he goes runner, runner flush and takes my pot. That's right it was my pot! I played it perfectly and I was a 94% favorite on the flop, dammit!

That erased my add on plus a little more, and put that opponet almost right back where he was before. He was one of the better players so I really wanted to put him out, plus it was my first chance at winning the $20 bounties that were offerred for knocking people out. All right calm down. I still have a lot of chips.

Two hands later I get K-J off suit and decide to limp after one other person has bet. The button calls and we have a family pot. The flop is Q-10-5. I have an open end straight draw with one of them to the nuts. The guy on my right (same guy who won with KK vs AA) makes a bet of $700. This was a little high and I gave it some thought. Basically I thought if I get the straight, I might break him. With his bet I am putting him on a pair of Queens or maybe 10's. I call and the button calls. I still have no idea what the button has. The turn is a K. I am very happy to see that card. Now I realize that there is a straight on the board. I think to my self, the button would have raised with AJ right?

Well the guy on my right bets 1000 into the pot. Interesting but I am still not worried about him. Now I want to win the pot right now. The button only has about 1500 left. I think to myself that if I go all in I don't think these other guys will call with the straight on the board. Plus there are no more rebuys so players are a little afraid to put all their chips in the middle. Surprisingly the button calls my all in and the guy on my right does as well. The button has the AJ for the nuts and the guy on my right just has a pair of 5's. The river is a 5 and I am out.

Thinking back, I should have just put the button all in. The guy on my right was not going to reraise and as I figured out, I had him beat with my Kings. Of course the 3 of kind 5's he gets on the river, he's going to bet and then I'm probably screwed.

Oh well.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

I'm back after the wedding

Well I had some time off from poker while I was in Monterey, CA for my brother's wedding. Cruel irony was that I went into my brother's hotel the first day and saw a guy playing poker online in the lobby on his laptop.

I thought it was interesting that Noah and Tyler are both online players at Party Poker. Noah says his screen name is Feenom. He actually entered a $30 no limit tournament with about 1,000 players and came in third. He says he won over $1,800. Wow.

My play has pretty much sucked recently. The last live tournament I entered, I got absolutely no cards and busted out again before the first break. I have noticed the games before the tournament are extremely tight at the 4-8 level. It seems like this is the favorite game of the tournament players to kill time. I wish they would go somewhere else and let the fish back into these games.

Full Tilt Poker finally started a deposit bonus of 100%. That's huge! I deposited $100 and have quickly lost $87 of it at 1-2, 2-4, and 3-6. I have never seen so many bad beats all at once. It's flushes losing to full houses, my aces losing to a second pair on the river, etc. Plus again it seems like the players are much better and there is horrible game selection. You're lucky to get one game in each level. Hopefully I can hold on and play enough hands to get my $100 bonus. Plus I have yet to see any of the advertised players on the website. As soon as I get my bonus, I am cashing out.

Tonight is our fantasy football draft and a poker night. It will be interesting to see what stakes I can talk these guys into. Usually it's ridiculously small like 50 cent - $1. I don't understand how these guys can play $10 hands of blackjack or 3-6 poker at the casino and then pucker up when it comes to a home game. You would think that after I explain that there is no rake and no tip and their odds are so much better that they would be willing to risk a little more.

I have been reading Small Stakes Hold'em by Ed Miller. It is definitely a good book and it addresses a lot of play after the flop which is where I need the most work. The thing I wonder about is his theory about pot size and calling bets on the river. He seems to be very mathematical in his sense that if the pot is laying you 10-1, there is almost no reason not to call. His reasoning is that if you are wrong and in 2nd place it only costs you 1 bet, but if you're right you win 10 or more bets. I tend to fold a lot when I am behind. I definitely need to work on figuring all my hidden outs and whether I should call even when I am behind in the hopes of catching up.

I have found that in my limit games that I am usually correct in my reads and that for the most part I have folded correctly. The question is, am I right enough to over come the pot odds I give up? I think part of the flaw in Miller's reasoning is that some of the outs that improve my hand still may not give me the winning hand, because how can you know for sure what he has? Plus I have posted on 2+2 before that I think it's important to make a lay down once in a while and praise yourself for making the right decision. Otherwise losing 9 pots in a row with calls on the river is likely to put you on tilt and cause you to play worse.

That's it for now.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Finally a 3 table victory

I finally won a three table sit n go at Party Poker for $275. I think I had come in 2nd 3 other times. I haven't been keeping track on Poker Tracker because it's been a pain in the ass, but I think I am cashing in around 40% of the tournaments I play.

I tried out some of the tips I read in another blog. I thought the best one was going after the medium stacks when it gets close to the money. They are the most likely to be playing ultra tight because they are just waiting for the small stacks to disappear. I did manage to steal a couple of blinds with that technique.

I also tried keeping the pots small in the beginning. It did help me once when I flopped two ugly pair on the big blind with about 3 others in the pot. I only bet the minimum and someone tried to come over the top of me all in. I called and quickly doubled up.

Finally when it was heads up, I had a 3 to 1 chip lead. Immediately my opponet went all in a few times so I decided to play the waiting game. My lead never got below 2-1 but we played a lot of hands. My opponet actually mixed it up fairly well. What I tried to do is fold a few small blinds to think he could start to push me around and then he went all in with crap and I busted him when I had Jacks.

I also wanted to comment on the World Series of Poker Main Event broadcast last night. Those pros were really having a hard time adjusting their games to the rank amateurs at the table. No wonder Dan Harrington made it to the final table twice. All you need to do is play super tight and don't bluff. That should at least get you through day one. Why would you want to play like Daniel Negreanu or Gus Hansen and see every flop? They have a big bullseye on their chest and everyone is going to bluff right back at them, because that's all they see on TV.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Frustrating times

Decided to play 4-8 at Casino AZ on a Monday last night. The table looked pretty good when I started. A few loose passive players. Right away the guy two seats to my left takes a bad beat and starts bitching and moaning and the table morale goes way down. It always amazes me that these idiots will berate a player for making a bad play. If you want to get your money back then encourage the stupid play, don't shame him into playing better!

Anyway while the table looked good, my cards did not. For the first 2 hours I think I won one hand when I had AA utg and raised. Everyone folded and all I won was the blinds. Yippee! I was down about $140 before I finally started to catch some cards. I crawled my way back all the way to even.

Then I was dealt QJ of diamonds in late position. I called and there was 4 to the flop. The flop came Q-Q-7. It was checked to me and I bet. The player on my left called and a bad player in front me came along. I was looking at the flop and trying to figure out what people had and I couldn't really come up with anything that would beat me. The turn was an Ace so now I think I might get some action. It's checked to me again and I bet. Player on left calls and in front of me calls again. Darn, no raises? The river looks harmless so the same pattern happens again and everyone calls. The player to my left turns over AQ for a full house. The player to my right mucked so I have no idea what he was chasing. At first I couldn't believe the winner didn't raise on the turn or river. Then he mentioned he wanted to other player to come along. I think he played it great because he extracted the maximum from the hand. Plus it saved me some money because I would have reraised the turn and called down the river.

Then the cards went cold again and after being down about $140 I looked around the table and all the fish had left and it was all pretty solid players. I mustered up my discipline and left the table for home. That was the one positive of the night was that I recognized that I needed to quit.

Friday, August 13, 2004

First Poker Night at My House

I got to break in my new poker table last night. The table played nice except the chip holders are worthless. The rubber insert works well as the cards slide nicely and it has just enough give that you can do a few chip tricks on it.

I am pretty sure I was the big winner last night at $100. We were playing 3-6 hold'em and man my friends are bad players.

Chris is my friend from work who I talk poker with from time to time. He just cannot get away from a hand. There were so many times he would call to the river, and his opponet would turn over middle pair and he would muck. I know he has read a book or two on hold'em so he should have some idea on starting hands. I value bet him 3 times with top pair against flush and straight draws and not once did he have it.

Billy was smart enough to usually get out of the pot if I was in. I think he won $25

Hopefully Jeff will put together another tournament at his work training room. I think that could be a lot of fun.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Always a bridesmaid

I entered 2 three table tournaments last night on Party Poker. The first one I was bounced out in the 4th hand. I had 3 fours, another player had 3 threes, and the winning player had the flush. The thought crossed my mind to fold and be patient, but I couldn't resist trying to win all those chips. There was an article in Card Player recently about a guy who just couldn't stand the thought of folding and finding out he was bluffed. It was a deep seated fear. I am definitely not that bad but I understand where he is coming from.

The second tournament I came in 2nd place for the second time. I am know convinced that in order to win these things, you definitely need 4 or 5 lucky breaks. My favorite was when I was in the small blind. It was folded to the button who put in a standard raise. My gut told me he was just trying to steal and I had A7 suited so my hand had some possibilities plus I wanted to send a message not to go after my blinds. I raised all in and I had him covered by about 1000.

I guess he thought I was bluffing so he calls for the rest of his chips and turns over Q10 of diamonds. So I was right, but he was too dumb to fold. Now the flop comes Q-10-8. The turn is a Jack and the river is a King to give me the straight. I made a couple of these moves against the short stacks and got lucky.

I am getting much better at strategizing on who I want to play pots with. The obvious rules are stay away from the big stacks and pick on the small stacks. However I will notice when the big stacks seem to be just waiting for good hands and biding their time until the get into the money. Then I am not afraid to go after their blinds. I am also careful that when I raise a small stack in the blinds that I better have a decent hand, because he could just raise the rest of his stack all in.

I was an average size stack by the final table. I don't remember really eliminating anyone but just playing good cards and picking up some occasional blinds. When it got down to 4, I had about 5000, another player had 5000, the short stack had 1000, and the chip leader had 19,000. It seemed pretty obvious that the best strategy would be to pick on the short stack. However the other 5000 stack got tangled up with the big stack and lost all his chips.

Finally I eliminated the small stack and I was heads up but with a very short stack. Amazingly I managed to crawl my way into the game. I was raising all of my small blinds. My cards were crappy but it didn't matter because it seemed the big stack was just going to wait for the nuts. I finally got up to about 11,000 to 19,000 and then I doubled up. Now I had the chip lead. Well my opponet changed gears and started the all in mode. I couldn't call with anything and we eventually got to about even. Finally I had A7 suited and I just raised the blind and he just called. The flop was A K 8 rainbow. I bet about 1/3 of the pot hoping he would call. He did. The flop was a 5. Now I check hoping he will go all in. Sure enough he does and I call. He turns over K-5. Ouch! No help on the river and I only have enough for the blind on the next hand. 2 hands later it's over. Oh well $225 is a nice nights work.

I wonder if there's a decent guide for heads up poker?

Monday, August 09, 2004

Party Poker Multi Table

I tried a big online tournament for the first time in a long while. $30 + 3 buy in NL hold'em. 1700 players. I finished in 160th place about 30 spots from the money. I was pretty much short stacked the whole time. Somehow I saw 3 four of a kind hands in the tournament. Maybe the shuffler is broken or something.

Anyway, I don't think I made any great moves or any really bad moves. Just was very patient. I threw away low pocket pairs 3 times when there was a raise in front, because I felt I had just enough chips to be that patient instead of gambling on a coin flip at best. That may be too weak tight compared to the number of times I saw people go all in on flush draws, get called, then get bounced to the rail. Saw a couple of stupid bluffs get bounced as well. I guess these big tournaments are pretty soft. Everyone trying to strike it rich.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Bad Beat costs me again

Another tournament at Casino AZ and another $130 down the drain. I've tightened up considerably the last two tournaments and it seems to work ok. This time my strategy was to play tight, establish rock image, don't bother stealing blinds for the first round, if I see what looks like a steal attempt, come over the top.

Well the table was exceptionally loose with lots of limping for the first 30 minutes. 3 people were eliminated and they were all replaced with players with big stacks.

Early on, I limped in the small blind with AQ and 4 callers. The flop came A - J - 7 and I bet $1000 into about a $600 pot. There were two of the same suit and I didn't want anyone drawing against me.

A little later, I made a mistake when I flopped a pair of Jacks with an A kicker. I only bet half the pot and one guy called who I think was on a draw. The third card of his suit came and I checked. He moved all in. At the time I didn't bet more because I was a little afraid of overcards. I don't think he had the flush yet, but he sensed weakness and made a good play.
I wonder though, if he actually had the flush, is that the best way to play it? I probably would have called a few hundred if he did it right.

After that I was around 1700 in chips with blinds at 100-200. Damn these blinds move up too fast! I look around and there is only one player at the table with less chips than me so I decide it's time to go to all in or fold mode. One hand on the button, everyone folds to me and I have KJ of hearts. I move all in, and no callers. So I pick up $300 in blinds.

Next hand I get AQ offsuit. Folded to the guy who beat me when I had the Jacks. He bets 700. Folded to me. I think for a little while. I need to double up. I felt like he would slow play AA or KK. Let's go and I close my eyes and move all in. He thinks for a little while. He has me covered but not by much. He calls and flips over AJ. That's about the best hand I could hope for. Now I am a little excited as the flop comes out A-2-2. The turn is no help. Now he's got 5 outs. The 3 Jacks for the win or the two Aces for a split pot. And what do you know, the Jack hits on the river and I'm gone. That's twice in the last two weeks I've moved all in as an 80% favorite and been busted out. I feel like Phil Hellmuth whining about it but c'mon let me have a little luck for Christ's sake.

Also to add to the aggravation I lost $45 in the 4-8 games before the tournament. For the second week in a row I've been at a boring table where nobody talks and nobody bets. Just for fun I decided to play the big blind without looking at my cards. Since I need to learn to play the man and not the cards I thought it might be educational. There were 5 people in the pot with no raises. Flop came out pretty ragged. I check, everyone checks until the button. This guy is asian and I had noticed that every time it's checked to him, he can't resist putting in a bet. He's been caught bluffing a couple of times as well. Well maybe I can get him to give this up, so I raise. Everyone at table groans and the rest fold back to the button who of course calls. The turn looks innocent and lead out, and he calls me without hesitation. The river comes and it puts 3 of the same suit on the board. I look at the asian and he has his hands on the chips ready to bet. I decide I should look at my cards and sure enough, they suck. No pair with Jack high. I talk myself into thinking he must have something or he would have folded on the turn. I check and he checks and turns over a crappy hand but it did pair 7's, which is like 3rd highest pair on board. I can't believe I fell for the hands on the chips move.

I thought the good news would be that everyone at the table saw me bluff so I should get some more action when I get cards. Of course then the cards went ice cold until I had to leave for the tournament. It was just a little annoying that I kept getting medium suited connectors that I would call before the flop and then get nothing on the flop. It was like bleeding me with leeches.

I am becoming more and more convinced that the rake in live games is way too high. In the 4-8 game they take $2 from every pot for the bad beat jackpot and $3 max for the rake. I think the average pot is usually $50-60 so that's close to 10%. Plus you need to tip the dealer a buck or two if you win. The internet lets you see much more hands and the rake is only $1 on the 2-4 games so I am guessing it would only be $2 on the 4-8.

Another interesting note. The dealer and a couple of players were discussing the 10-20 and 20-40 games. They said the 10-20 game is a rock garden, but the 20-40 game plays like a 4-8 game with lots of preflop raising and suckouts. One day I'll give it a shot. Maybe the next time I am in Vegas. You probably need to buy in for about 20 big bets so that would be 800 in the 20-40 game. I could afford that.