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.