Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Wedding in Vegas

I threw all my chips in the middle with Michele and now we are in the big poker game of life together.

The Bellagio did a fantastic job with the wedding and everyone who made the trip was really impressed.

However this blog is about poker and not my personal life so on with the poker escapades.

My first night was Thursday for the bachelor party. We all met up at the Mandalay Bay to play 2-4-8 Hold'em. While it was fun to get 2-3 of my friends on the same table so we could play together, I am not a big fan of this betting structure. The blinds are only $1 and $2. If you raise preflop, the bet increases to $6. So usually there are a bunch of limpers for $2 and then everyone gets grumpy if you raise and charge them $6. Plus the math gets harder as I have to remember to cut the bets in half for the flop and then in half again for the turn and river when calculating my pot odds.

I lost around $50 playing about 4 hours. Somehow Carlo managed to lose $300. He still claims he knows what he is doing. Adam busted out as well, but at least he managed to make it last a few hours. Carlo was gone in 90 minutes.

The rest of night was dinner at Joes, a club, and then back to the Bay for some late night blackjack. Somehow I went on a run although I never got my bet higher than $75. I believe I won $125 but it's a little blurry.

There was no poker Friday as I was busy all day, but Saturday I needed something to take my mind off of the pending nuptials.

The Bellagio poker room has become the busiest room on the strip. This is a slow weekend in Vegas and during prime hours every table was full and the waiting lists were huge. It may have had something to do with the big WPT tournament that was in town. Here is a list of all the Poker Stars I saw during my stay:
Marcle Luske
Chris Ferguson
Doyle Brunson
Johnny Chan
Ming Ly
Chip Reese
Gus Hansen
Sam Farha
Phil Ivey
and TJ Cloutier playing $10 craps at 8:30 AM

I knew I was only going to play for a couple of hours so I jumped on an 8-16 table instead of the 4-8 that I signed up for. The very first hand I played I raised with Ace King of diamonds and flopped the nut flush. I slow played it until the river against an aggressive player on the other end of the table and started out with a nice profit. Of course what always happens in these situations is that the table is really juicy and you get stuck. You want to stay because you know you will make it back but some other commitment is more important. Eventually I lost my profits and was put in just that spot. I lost around $100 but I felt that I was playing pretty well.

There was one hand where I had JJ on the button. There was a Queen on the flop and the big blind check raised me and I folded. He eventually showed down top pair with a weak kicker so it was a good laydown for me. Later I raised preflop with JJ and this guy plus another called after me preflop. I had just lost that other hand so when the flop came with an Ace and two medium cards, I decided to check this time since I was in bad position. The next player bet and the one who beat last time called. I decided that one of them must have an Ace since they called my tight ass raise and another bet on the flop.

Oops. They both had middle pair and I folded the best hand. I still probably made the correct play against most players. These guys were just incredibly loose. Still a better strategy is to lead out that flop and see where I am at.

I racked up and it was off to get changed for the wedding.

On Sunday, my new wife was nice enough to let me play most of the day. I had done most of the planning and she had been working extremely hard at work so she just wanted to lay on the couch and get some alone time.

I found another 8-16 table at Bellagio with at least 3 players who had been there all night and were still going at 9:00 AM. These guys were loose and just looking to have fun. The African guy from my session yesterday was also at the table drinking scotch straight up. He claims to have played online but he was extremely slow at making decisions and had a really hard time remembering who was in the hand and how much to bet.

I made a little run early and had nearly doubled up my $300 buy in. After 2 hours a couple of the players on my end were starting to tilt because the African guy was taking so long. I didn't care since he sucked and I wanted to keep him happy. Plus there was NFL football on the tv so there were some nice things to keep you distracted. Sure enough these guys decide to try and bust the African and pick the wrong hands as he starts to catch cards and they get frustrated and leave.

There was another guy who looks like a friend I have named Joe, so that is how I will refer to him. He was there to gambool. Occasionally he would play a hand blind and he would raise with crappy cards just to mix things up. On one hand where he folded, he bet the guy next to him $5 on who would win the pot that neither one of them were in. These are the kinds of tables I enjoy. Easy money and nobody really minds losing it.

I finished this session up over $100 but it could have been so much better. It is really annoying that everytime I try to move up into a bigger game, I find worse players but I still manage to lose crucial pots. I could have made over 500 if it wasn't for a couple of hands.

I had Jack-9 of diamonds in the small blind. A few limpers and I complete. The flop is Jack-7-7 and I lead out on the flop. I get one caller who seemed to be slow playing me and the African who could very well have a 3 card draw with 2 to come. The turn is a 6 and I lead out again. Both call. Now I am really starting to convince myself that someone has the 3rd 7. The river is another 6. I just check to see what happens. Surprisingly the guy who I think is slow playing checks as well and then the African bets. I had not seen him bluff on the river and there was still a chance that the other guy was waiting to check raise (although he'd be crazy to check on the river with the calling station on his left). I was getting 7 to 1 and if I close the action, I call but I had no idea what the guy on my left had. Depressingly after I fold, the other guy folds and I don't even get to see the hand. I try to chide him into showing me but he wants to keep it a secret.

I have QT suited in late position and I call after a few limpers. The flop is 10 high rainbow. It's checked to me and I bet. The African calls and and early limper calls. The turn is a low second club. I open and African folds. The early guy calls again. The river was the 3rd club and he leads out. I have to call because the pot's too big and I had seen he is capable of bluffing. Sure enough he caught middle pair on the flop with the backdoor flush draw. He made a bad call but not horribly bad on the flop and turn, but hit his card on the river.

A little while later I get AA cracked by a runner runner flush, and now I'm a little pissed.

The very next hand I am dealt Ace King of clubs. I raise and they probably think I'm steaming a little. Africa calls and the button calls. The button tried to act like he was a good player but was obviously calling down too many draws. Although it felt like he was getting the "I can never win a hand" discouraged look and was starting to tighten up.

This time the flop misses me, but it's only 10 high. I check, African checks, and the button bets. I briefly consider raising, but I just call. The African has already made a comment that he knows I only play solid hands. An amazing observation for someone who had probably consumed an entire bottle of scotch. African calls the flop bet as well. Because I was steaming a little I figure if the next card is higher than a 10 I am going to bluff at it. I know the best the button could possibly have is the 10 and the African is afraid of me.

The turn is the Queen. This time I lead out. The African folds instantly and the button thinks for a few seconds. Then he folds as well. I flip over my Ace King and proclaim, "I guess I have to bluff to win pots in this game, because my good hands don't hold up." I don't know what the button had, but someone mentioned that I had the best hand anyway.

I thought this was kind of a breakthrough moment though because I was thinking on a different level. By checking on the flop, the button must have assumed I had Ace King or Ace Queen. When the Queen comes out, he had to think he was beat. I am trying to wait on my bets until I think about what my opponents have and what they think I have. Always trying to get better.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Signs that you are at a good table

About a week ago I was playing at Casino Arizona on a Sunday while watching football. My table was full of fish and as usual, I was trying to be friendly and having random conversations. It occurred to me that there have been some common and not so common comments made at the table over the years that are sure signs that these players are losers.

I plan on coming back to this post from time to time to update it, but here is what I have so far:

1. I never raise with (AA, KK, AK) because I always lose with that hand

2. My ATM card has a withdrawal maximum, so I can't pull any more money out until midnight. Is there a branch nearby?

3. One fish calling another fish a bad player.

4. "I'll have another shot of whiskey"

5. "Straddle!"

6. "But it was sooooted!"

4. After playing any 2 suited for the 10th time and exclaiming, "Man I never seem to hit a flush!"

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Detour on the Road to a Championship

This afternoon I was as close as I have ever been to scoring a big payday in a NL tournament. I entered the Full Tilt $10+1 with 267 entrants.

I started the tournament at 2:00 PM, fully expecting to bust out in time to clean the bathroom and make it to my parents by 5:00 PM. If it goes well, I might be able to skip the cleaning.

I slowly built my stack, but I never really got the lead at my table. For the longest time, I was just about average. Then with about 35 players left, I hit a couple of big hands and built up my chipstack to where I would easily cruise into the money. The problem was time was running out.

Eventually I made it to the final table, but it was 4:30 and I needed to shower and drive to my parents by 5:00 PM. I called and told them, I had a chance to win $700 so I was going to be late. I told them I would meet them at the restaurant instead of their house. The problem is, that the dinner is to celebrate my Mom and Michele's birthdays. I cannot leave them hanging.

It was now past 5:30 and I am meeting them at 6:00 PM. I had earlier taken a 4 minute shower during one of the tournament breaks and only lost a couple of blinds and antes. I was in 5th place and still had about 10x the bigblind. I called a 2x big blind raise from my blind with crap. The flop was very ragged so I lead out for 1/2 the pot. The big stack with 5x as many chips as me, doubles my bet and I fold. So now I am in desperation mode.

Next hand, is folded to me and I raise all in to get the blinds. I win. Now I'm on the button and it's folded to me again. This time I push with 10-8 offsuit. I get called by the big blind with Ace Jack. For the first time in the entire tournament, I win a race where I was an underdog and spike a 10 on the river. Then I get pocket Kings and win a nice pot. So now I am in 3rd place with 5 left and I have to leave for dinner.

Dammit this sucks! I relent to my familiy's wishes and set the computer for autofold. I come back from a great dinner at the Cheesecake Factory to find out I had managed to fold my way into 3rd place. That is a win of $333.75 so it still is a great finish and probably where I would have finished if I had actually been playing.

It was interesting that I never really sucked out on anyone until the very end. I only made one really good play where I recognized a player's stop n go move and I called with 2nd pair and bad kicker. I had tried to steal the blind with absolute crap and he had called and then pushed in after the flop. I had plenty of chips so I figured I would gamble a little.

The rest of the time, I just took advantage of my stealing opportunities and no one ever really played back at me. It definitely seems like the Full Tilt players are tighter and definitely not as aggressive.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

U of A vs ASU at Gila River

Since Chris did not come up with tickets to the big football game on Friday, I decided to play poker at the Gila River Casino and watch the game while I played.

It was only 11:00 AM so the place was a little slow. I hopped right in to a 4-8 Hold'em game in seat 4 with a nice view of the big screen tv. Little did I know that the big show was going to be at my table.

Thirty minutes into the game a guy with a mustache and sunglasses sat down in the 6 seat. I soon discovered that he was the world's worst Hold'em player. I have seen loose and aggressive before, but he took it to an entirely new level. The best part of it was, he hit a tremendous streak of luck.

I sometimes wonder if it's bad karma to root for the bad player to win pots so you can take his money later. Mustache man quickly ran his stack up over $400 and had to ask for a color change, because he had too many chips on the table and did not know how to stack them properly. Then the luck turned and he eventually went all in a couple of times. Each time I was rooting for him to hit his draw so he would not go home. Is that wrong?

All the while, I had shitty cards and was patiently biding my time. With Mustache man on my left, I needed to be very selective about which cards to play because he was raising 80% of the time. I also had a decent player on my direct left. He bluffed me out of one pot when the straight and flush card came on the river. If I check and he bets as a bluff, that is usually a decent chance. This time I bet and he bluff raised me. Not as good a move from a math standpoint but he was perceptive enough to realize that I would lay it down.

After watching Mr. Bluff for a while I realized that he got hot early and started playing way too many hands. He was feeling invincible and it was only a matter of time before he would lose it all back.

So after a 2-3 hours I was down about $60. Luckily the U of A was winning the football game so I was not too preoccupied with the fact that I was losing at poker. Finally the streak ended and I was dealt AA under the gun. I raised to 8 and of course Mustache man reraised to 12. Amazingly, the young guy two seats to his left capped it. I wanted to cap it but this allowed me to disguise my hand so it's just as well.

The flop was Ace-2-7. I decide to check and let them bet it for me. Mustache bets, young guy raises, I 3 bet. Mustache man calls and then young guy caps it and is all in. I call and Mustache calls again. I have no idea what Mustache man has. I am assuming that young guy has Ace King. The turn is a 5 and is the second heart on the board. I bet and Mustache calls. The river is a 3 and also a heart so it's completed a flush and a straight draw. Now I am a little worried but what can you do? I bet and mustache man thinks for a while. Then he announces, "I have to raise you". Fuck! Well the pot is too big to fold so I call and turn over my trip Aces. The young guy turns over his Ace King and I lose to mustache man's straight. He had 4-9 offsuit!

Let's run down the errors he made on this hand:
1. playing 4-9 offsuit anywhere but the big blind for free is wrong.
2. compounding his error, he reraises the tightest player at the table with it preflop.
3. He called two more on the flop after a raise and reraise with only the runner runner straight draw.
4. On the river, with a possible flush out there, he raises me. I seriously doubt he considered the flush was even out there.

So now I am down about $150. I handle the bad beat really well and decide that I am definitely not leaving this table until Mustache man leaves. This is too good of an opportunity. For the most part, everyone at the table was having a good time and were taking the bad beats well. I was going to do everything in my power to keep Mustache man happy and at the table.

Hours go by and I am constantly struggling to get back to even. The U of A loses on a last second field goal, so now the only way to make me happy is to win my money back at poker.
Finally by 7:00 PM, Mustache man has begun to lose his money and I am close to even. He leaves and I decide that the guy in the one seat is a pretty big fish as well so I might as well stay. I hit a small rush and by 8:00 PM I am up $60 and going home. I was totally fried, but it felt great to leave a winner.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Full Tilt $4000 Guarantee

This was originally intended to be a running record of a good run I had in the Full Tilt Tournament. I'm afraid it's turned into jibberish. I will do my best to edit.

I am chip leader with 120 remaining with 9900 chips. Average stack is 2737.

Big hand to get me there was AK off in early position. Under the gun raised, I reraised him to put him all in. Another player went all in behind me and I would have to call 500 more. First guy calls and I have to call with great odds. UTG turns over 99 and guy who raised me turns over AQ suited. I spike the King on the river.

I am hitting cards like crazy and getting paid off. It seems a little sad that I need to get so many great hands in order to make it this far in a tournament. It's seems to refute the concept of the cards do not matter.

I just busted another guy with trip 4's against his AA. Up to 15k. Next closest is 9800

I have donked off 4k in chips on a blind steal gone bad and a reraise preflop with 77. With the 77's he came over the top again. I just called. The flop was A-?-? with the ? being below my 7's. He checked and only had 1700 left. I felt like if he was weak or medium he would have bet into me. If he checks he probably has the Ace and wants me to bet first. I checked through. The turn was another low card and bet out. I folded like a pussy.

JJ in middle position. 2x the blind raise in front of me. I raise to 2000. The small blind goes all in with 2700. BB folds and initial raiser folds. I call the last 700. He turns over AQ offsuit. He hits Q on river. I am down to 8130. Blinds are now 100-200. 13th place out of 59. Next closest at table is 6070.

Blinds up to 120-240 with 20 ante. I raise Jc10c and steal blinds.

I have slipped into 3rd place at table due to other's winning pots, not me losing.

A7 diamonds, I steal blinds. Steals are worth 560.

I think this is the point where I steal blinds but don't bluff at pots because it costs too much if I am wrong.

Blinds up to 150-300 with 25 ante. I am at 7725 after posting bb in last hand.

In the small blind I am dealt KK. The button raises to 800. I reraise to 2000, he folds.

A6 off in cutoff. I steal blinds. The chip leader with 25,310 has moved to my table two to my left.
AKo in middle position. One limper and I raise. Button reraises all in for 8000. I call he turns over AQ. Ace on flop and my hand holds up. Back up to 18,000. Aren't these the kind of hands when you are running good he turns up AQ and when you are running bad he turns up AA or KK?

Two hands later, AJ in middle. I raise and steal blinds.

68 off in small blind. Button limps in, I complete. Flop has Ace and two low cards. I lead out and bluff the flop. I get called by button. Turn pairs my 8 but I'm done with the hand. I check and button bets. I fold.

Screen name Kirbyred triples up with a set of 5's against top pair, top kicker and the chip leader who had a flush draw. He is new chip leader at table with 20,570. I am just behind with 17,994.

New blinds 200-400 with 50 ante. 1050 in every pot.

A5 off early position. I rasie to 1200 to steal. BB was a small stack and i didn't mind a race if he called. He didn't.

KQ off in small blind. Button just limps. I raise to 2000 and they all fold.

We're at a break. I have 19,344 and I am in 4th place. 2nd and 3rd are at my table. There are 31 left. Next level 250-500 with 50 ante.

2 chip leaders clash and screen name JCmoney wins with a set and busts the other guy. JCmoney now has 38,589 and a big chip lead.

K3 off in cutoff, I steal blinds.

We're in the money now. New level 300-600 and 75 ante.

K7 in cutoff and I steal again. This blind stealing is going almost too well.

I am down to 8600 after calling with KJ offsuit and 4 players in pot. Flop comes out all spades with a Jack. Player to my right leads out small and I put in strong raise. He calls and the next card is another spade. I try to bet about half his stack to see where he is and he raises me all in. Now I think I am forced to call. Of course he has the spades. What the fuck was I thinking here? There is no need for the fancy play. There was probably an 80% chance he called the raise with a spade. Why make the stupid bet on 4th street? Just check it through.

I am probably in all in or double up mode now.

2 tables left. 7134 in chips. Blinds are now 500-100 and 125 ante. Definitely all in or fold.

Folded to me with 37 offsuit in small blind. I can't pull the trigger and I fold.

I get moved to a new table and take BB. I get dealt AJ. Folded to small blind who completes and I raise all in. He turns over A6 and my hand holds up.

Two hands later I get K-10 and go all in. No callers. Very next hand AK and I raise 3x blind and steal blinds again. Now up to 20,143.

AJ suited on bb. Button tries to steal, I reraise all in and take it down. 25,843 now.

More blind stealing and I am up to 30,943 and 6th place. 13 left. Blinds 600-1200 with 150 ante.

Q9 off in small blind. Utg limps. I raise 4k and all fold.

Very next hand I get AK offsuit in button. Folded to cutoff who raises the min. I reraise. He calls. Flop is 8h Js Jh. He checks and I check. Turn is Kh. He bets 14500 which is the size of the pot. I reraise all in. He calls with QJ. Last card is 8 for his full house and I am out in 13th place.

The last hand was a bit unlucky because I would have been much better off without the King or Ace hitting. Of course if the turn was a blank and he checks again, I probably would have bet thinking I still have the best hand.

All that work and I think I only won like $100.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

World Series Of Poker Challenge 2006

First let me update the sit n go challenge from earlier. I did not make the $1,000 because I could not play enough tournaments.

Here were my final stats as of 11/15/05:
Tournaments: 124
ROI%: 39.3%
Total Won: $536
Firsts: 18
Seconds: 22
Thirds: 17

Granted it is not a very significant sample size but it did confirm that I am definitely good enough to crush the 10+1's. The bigger question is whether I have the game for the 55's. I had 225 at that level and only a 2% ROI.

Now for the World Series. A couple of weeks ago, Billy was watching the replays of the 2005 WSOP and couldn't believe some of the bad plays he was seeing. Now granted, Billy was only looking at things on a surface level and does not know some of the meta game strategy going on in these events, but basically it was an accurate statement.

Billy then offerred to give me $5,000 to sponsor me 1/2 of the entry into the Main Event in 2006. He figured that I would never play in the tournament on my own and this way he can help a friend's dream come true. Now in order to take this "risk" he wanted a chance at some big rewards down the road. So he said that I would have to pay him 100% of the first 10k in winnings and 60% after that. Plus I would have to pay his way to Vegas. He also put in that if I happen to qualify in a satellite before the event then he would receive 10% of my winnings since I would not have been there in the first place unless he gave me the $5,000 up front.

So in one sense this is a very generous offer. If only 10% of the entrants make money and I figure I am better than at least 50% of the players in the room, then I only have a 1 in 5 chance of making any money at all. If Billy is right, that I would never buy in on my own then this may make sense.

The problem is that I am convinced that I will play in the World Series someday. I think I can qualify via satellite one way or another. This year, I did not really set up a plan for qualifying. I diddled around on the Party Poker Steps but that was it. I also tried to play a one table satellite for one of the smaller tournaments and that ended for me on the first hand with my Aces getting cracked. Most of the time, I was still concentrating on trying to build up my bankroll.

With my conviction about playing someday, I believe I should be entitled to a bigger cut of the money if Billy sponsors me. Robert could not believe that I was turning down a free $5000 for a "once in a lifetime" experience. After further discussion I told Robert that I was willing to bet a large amount of money that within 5 years I will play in the Main Event. We settled on dinner at the Ocean Club. Therefore here is my challenge for 2006.

I will play in the Main Event of the World Series of Poker in 2006.

Here is my plan. The online sites will start running satellites in late May or early June. I will find the best value for the money and attempt to qualify through those. If that doesn't work, I will book at least one weekend trip to Vegas during the preliminary events and play in at least one of their daily live satellites.

In the mean time, I want to build up $3,000 in bankroll specifically for the purpose of qualifying for the the Main Event. That gives me 6 months to build that up. The safest way to do that would be to play on a site exclusively as my WSOP bankroll site. I can keep the rest of my poker bankroll on the other sites and play other games that will keep my interest. My main money making game will probably be the sit-n-go's since I think my win rate is the highest there and the variance is rather low. So I will probably have to choose between Party or Poker Stars for the WSOP quest.

Friday, November 11, 2005

It's Good To Be Lucky

Last Monday Night I went to the Casino AZ for the Monday Night Football promotion.

I quickly found a soft 3-6 Hold'em game. The player in the 9 seat was playing every hand and there were usually 5 or more to the flop. Within the first few hands I hit a set of 5's. I got in a couple of raises and amazingly they held up even with a possible straight and flush on the board. So I was up a quick $50.

Before I walked into the casino, I told myself I was due to have a good session. I psyched myself up and told myself that I would continue to value bet my hands even though I had been getting sucked out on a lot lately. So this was definitely a good start to the night.

After a couple of hours they passed out the number cards for the Patriots v. Colts game on the TV. My card for the whole game had the numbers 1 and 4. These were decent numbers. If I hit them exactly they are worth $400. If the home and away numbers are reversed, I win $200. Luckily enough with about 3 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter, the scores were right on my number. Now the end of the 1st and 3rd quarter are good numbers to have, because the teams are not in a hurry to score. If time runs out, they just switch sides of the field and start the other way. At the end of the half and the end of the game, it can get crazy when teams go into their 2 minute offense.

So the Colts had the ball and they had been marching down the field at will, pretty much all game. They had about 70 yards to go with 3 minutes left. Even with a couple of running plays which eat up clock time, they had managed to move down to the 10 yard line with about 20 seconds left. Luckily, Manning over threw his receiver in the endzone and then they ran another running play and the quarter ended with them inside the 10. So my numbers held up and I won $400 ! The Colts scored on the very first play of the 4th Quarter so I really sqweeked out the win.

While the game had been going on, my luck at cards had turned bad again and I had lost my early winnings and even had to dig for an additional $40. Right after my big $400 win, my luck changed again. I won it all back to finish down about $20. The only hand that pissed me off was when I had a suited Ace on the button. There were 5 callers in front of me. I briefly thought about raising to build up the pot, but I decided to be conservative. The blinds came along and there were 8 players in the pot.

The flop had two of my suit. There was a bet from early position and everyone started calling. I decided to raise, figuring that everyone would come along for a pot that big. Almost everyone did, except for an old man who was part senile and actually folded after limping in even though he was getting something like 18-1.

The turn filled up my flush and also put a possible straight out there. I had visions of a big pot, now. Amazingly, everyone checked to me on the button. I bet and everyone folded but two people.

The river was an Ace, so I figured I would at least get a couple of calls. The two players checked and I bet. Amazingly they both folded. I couldn't believe I didn't get any action after the flop. I guess I shouldn't complain about winning a decent size pot. I can't help but wonder if I would have won more money if I had waited until the turn to raise.

My card for the last quarter was 1-1. That meant I was covered pretty well between this card and the card I got at the start of the game. So the Colts went down and scored again and with the extra point the score would be 41-21. But wait! Bill Belicheck checks his coaching card and decides even though there are only 4 minutes left that they need to go for 2 points and make sure they lead by 3 touchdowns. DAMMIT! If they kick the extra point and hold the Patriots scoreless the rest of the game, I would have won an additional $300. After they missed the 2 point conversion, there was no way I could win, so I stacked up my chips and left a $380 winner for the night.

Monday, November 07, 2005

SNG Challenge Update 2

Here are my stats after 67 tournaments:
Net Amount won: $237
ROI%: 31%
Finish In The Money: 44%
Firsts: 9
Seconds: 10
Thirds: 11

I have one week left in my challenge. Obviously the biggest challenge is getting in enough tournaments. Last week was bad as it seemed I had something going on every night last week. This week is more open so I should be able to squeeze some more in.

Basically I have been making $3.53 a tournament which means in order to hit $1,000 in profit I need to play at least 216 more tournaments by the 15th. That is a hefty order.

In the mean time, I am heading to Casino AZ again because that Monday Football promotion brings out all the fishes. And dammit I am going to win one of those numbers again!

Of course if I can get about 100 more tournaments like the following, I will easily make my goal.

Here are some interesting stats from my win:
91 Total Hands
2 times I was dealt AA. It was back to back. The first time I made Quads.
1 time I was dealt KK
6 times in the last 21 hands starting at 200-400 blinds, my starting cards had an Ace in them.

I actually had to come back after I lost a big portion of my stack heads up. When the blinds got to 250-500, I decided I was going to push any 2 since he seemed pretty tight. I caught up quickly and then with A3 suited on the big blind, I called his push all in from the small blind. He had 4c 7d. I hit runner runner flush to beat his 2 pair and I won.

Here's a great example of someone being really stupid on the bubble:

4 players left.
Hero 3930
pikkemand 270
dogbert999 1500
niccchick 1850

pikkemand must have been disconnected. It's been pretty obvious that he has folded the last 10 hands in a row and the folds come lightning fast. He is on my left so luckily the other guys have not totally abused him and I have been able to steal his big blind every time it's folded to me.

The blinds are 150-300 so pikkemand will be all in in 2 hands. He has survived at least 3 other times when all in, so his luck is bound to run out. He survived once when he managed to get a straight against my A-5 with his 5-7.

In this hand I am utg with Qd 10h. Definitely good enough to steal. I raise to 900. pikkemand folds (of course), but Dogbert calls me leaving him 750. Niccchick folds on the BB. So 2100 in the pot.
The flop is perfect for me. 3s 3c 10s. Dogbert checks and I bet enough to put him all in. Now the only way a good player should call here is with A-10, a 3, or a pocket pair higher that 10's. You will only have 750 left if you fold, but the short stack will be all in before you. Plus if he does survive, the next hand he is the small blind to Dogbert's big blind. If no one else plays, he will get his blind back plus pikkemand's who will fold.

Instead Dogbert calls off the rest of his chips with KcQc. What a fool! Of course the poker gods rewarded him for his stupidity, because the Ace of clubs came on the turn picking up 12 additional outs and the river is a Jack of hearts giving the dufus the straight.

Later Dogbert called all in with a flush draw in a 3 way pot with Niccchick and pikkemand. If he folds and pikkemand loses, he locks up 3rd place. Instead he calls. Pikkemand wins the hand with a flush. Niccchick had pocket Kings so he wins the side pot and Dogbert goes out in 4th place. He lost to a guy asleep at the wheel.

Monday, October 31, 2005

SNG Challenge Update 1

My first weekend of play in the Challenge I played 42 tournaments. Here are my relevant stats:

Amount won: $128
ROI%: 27.71%
1st Place: 5
2nd Place: 6
3rd Place: 8
Finish in the Money: 45%

The level of play is much worse than the $55's. There are usually 2 players out by the end of the first 2 levels. That almost never happens at the higher levels. Plus you tend to see much bigger bluffs in the $11's.

Here were some interesting hands:
4 handed, blinds 75-150
I'm BB with 3720
SB is Stu1971 with 1265
Button is 575
UTG is 2215

Obviously the correct play is to play tight here since the button is due to go broke soon. UTG and the button fold and the small blind completes. I have 7-3 offsuit.

The flop is 4d 4h 3s. He checks and I bet 300 which is the amount of the pot. The SB then check raises me all in with a bet of 1190. This seems weird. He could have a 4 but it just doesn't seem very likely. If he did, he would probably just call and slow play it. He could have Ace-3, but I think he would have went all in preflop.

I decide to call because I can afford the chips and it smells like a bluff. He turns over Ad Kd and hits runner runner flush to beat me. OK, bad beat, but I made a good call. Naturally I begin to look for revenge.

Later in the same tournament, it's down to heads up between me and stu1971. He had a big chip lead at the start but I have almost pulled even. He has been playing very conservative and I have been abusing his blinds. I have 3705 and he has 4295. The blinds are 200-400. I have the small blind and the button and I finally get dealt Pocket Aces.

My first instinct was to slow play it. Then I thought that he's probably getting tired of being bullied and maybe he's ready to defend his blind. So I raise to 1200. He falls for the bait and raises all in at 3800. I call quicker than Hugh Grant says yes to a hooker.

He turns over Kd Qc. So he was justified in pushing back. The flop is Kh Ks Th.

He goes on to turn a full house and I am out. I guess this one wasn't meant to be.

The other thing that hampered my returns was the fact that I went on a 7 tournament streak of not cashing. Of course that happened right after I had cashed in 7 straight and got all cocky.

I probably will not get to play the next couple of days because I am going to the casino tonight and playing in a charity poker tournament tomorrow.

This might be tougher than I thought.

Friday, October 28, 2005

SNG Challenge

I've read posts before with these challenges and they have always seemed like fun except, I have a real job and can't play more than 15 hours a week.

So I am going to give myself a smaller one and see if I can get some others to join me.

My goal is to take $200 and play the $11 Sits at Party Poker. I will turn the $200 into $1000 by November 15th. I think I can do it in under 230 tournaments.

I will post this on 2+2 and see if I can get anyone to follow along. Hopefully this will add to the bankroll a little bit as well.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Clarification of Large Tourney Strategy

Just read a decent article on large field tournament strategy.

The punctuation is crappy, but I think he makes a lot of sense. Here are the basics:

Early stage: Your goal is to see the flop cheaply and out flop your opponents. You are basically looking for two pair or better and trying to trap your opponents. Bluffs at abandoned pots are ok only if they are done very cheaply.

Middle stage: Play tight solid poker. Raise big cards preflop and if you hit top pair and good kicker, bet big. If you miss, do not bluff. It costs too much money if you are called.

Late stage: Blinds are big and you should be happy just winning them. You want to win all of your hands preflop. Steal in the right spots with good cards. Other players will start getting desperate and it will be easy to chip up quickly if you are picking on the right players.

I have played in these modes at different times in tournaments, but I don't think it was ever quite in that order. This is definitely something I will have to experiment with.

As for my bad run, I have avoided playing poker the last 2 days. On Monday I played 1 $55 sit at Party. My idea was to record every hand and submit it to 2+2 for evaluation. The problem was, it took too long to record my hands and I don't think there is a good way to summarize everything so someone would take the time to read it.

I think the only way to do it is copy my tournament summary into a post with a link to the party poker hand replayer. Then you can just sit back and watch the tournament play out. It may take too long for someone to watch the entire thing, so maybe I could edit out the hands I don't play except for hands where I see someone do something stupid to give my critics some background on my opponents.

The funny thing was, I did not play a hand for the first 3 rounds. I got short stacked and went into all in mode and I was not called the first 5 or 6 times I did it. Then in the middle of writing down the previous hand I was dealt 88. There was a small raise in front of me so the play was all in or fold. I wasn't quite sure that my reraise would be enough to get him to fold. While I am thinking about it, Party Poker timed me out. It did not even go into my timebank!. After it folded me, two other players called and it turned out that the original raiser had 99 and one of the callers had over cards. I would have lost the hand.

The very next hand I was dealt AK and went to bet. Unfortunately it folded me, because I forgot to hit the "I am Back" button. Dammit. I pretty much stopped writing everything down after that.

Somehow I managed to make it in the money by continuing to move all in and winning blinds. I made it to the final two and I was down in chips 2-1. We traded blinds back and forth and then he raised 2x the blind from the button. That seemed weak, so I moved all in with 98 suited. He turned over a pair of tens. I should have remembered from earlier that he raised 2x the blind with a good hand when it was 3 or 4 handed. I should have taken my time. Anyway, the $150 came in handy.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Losing Sucks!

I absolutely hate reading posts from players that complain about a 200 or 300 BB losing streak and wonder what they should do about it. I am not going to write one of those posts.

I will say that I dropped $1500 over the last few days. I was playing 4 tables at a time in 3-6 on the bad beat jackpot tables at Party Poker and the $55 sit and gos. The jackpot was up over $650,000 so I thought it was a smart play to give myself a chance at it.

Was I unlucky? Yes. Could I have played better? Yes.

Now I am forcing myself to move back down to the $33 sits and 2-4 in limit. I am going to limit myself to two tables at a time as well. I also want to play more Omaha 8OB if I can find decent games. There is quite a mental challenge involved in this. There is a strong urge to make my money back as quickly as I lost it. I know that moving down will delay the accomplishment of that goal. However, it should also prevent me from losing any more money.

My main short term goal is to have a fat bankroll for my Wedding in Vegas in December. Since I know there will be at least one or two sessions of black jack or craps, I am going to need some money that, "I can afford to lose."

I think one of the issues I encountered with the 3-6 games over the weekend was game selection. When I could get Poker Tracker to work with Game Time, I seemed to find 2-4 other players at the table that looked pretty good. I didn't have the discipline or the tools to find other softer tables. No matter how many fixes I try, I cannot get Poker Tracker to work in real time. It always freezes up on me after about 45 minutes.

As for Omaha, I think I have finally settled on a preflop strategy. I will only play A2XX or A3XX hands along with 23XX hands if the other two cards give me good cards for a high. I will also play 4 cards over a 9 if there are a lot of players already in the pot. This alone should give me enough of an advantage to make up for lack of skill post flop. I have noticed that players will play absolute crap online. I still need to get better at figuring out when I am drawing to a nut straight, but I am improving. It's a shame that there are hardly any limit tables available in this game, even on Party Poker.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Best Non Winning Session Ever?

They say that in poker you should concentrate on making the best decision possible in every hand. Money won or lost is outcome based thinking. If you make the correct play, you will win in the long run.

Last night was one of those sessions. I went to the Casino AZ for the Monday Night Football specials. I sat down at the usual loose passibe 4-8 table determined to play tight solid poker. As I said last time, I think I have been trying to mix up things too much in play in the erroneous assumption that my opponents are paying attention. This time I would play tight and solid until they make a move that tells me they are noticing what I am doing.

I did really well in sticking with that strategy. I was patient and even keeled for the 4 hours I was there. I was going to show a profit for the night until I lost the last hand.

I was in middle position with the 5-7 of diamonds. This is not a text book call, but there had been very little preflop raising and at least 5 players seeing every flop so I thought it was a good idea. The flop was 8x-9x-Kd. The small blind bets and there are two more callers before it gets to me. I have an inside straight draw and back door flush draw. I'm getting 8-1 probably 10-1 when the rest of the players call so I am actually getting the correct odds so I call. Using Phil Gordon's 2-4 rule I have 4 6's and give me one out for the back door flush, so 5 outs total. 5 times 4 = 20% chance to win. 5 big bets to the turn.

Everyone calls and the turn is the 10 of diamonds. The small blind checks and everyone checks to the button who bets. The small blind check raises. Two players fold and it's to me. First I try to calculate my pot odds. 8 big bets in pot with one player behind me to act. I have the open end straight draw but the low end for 8 outs. I now have a low flush draw which would be 9-2 = 7 outs. So 15 outs. 15 x 2 = 30% so my odds are ok to call the raise. The button calls with a puzzled look on his face.

The river was a diamond. The small blind bets, and I raise. The button calls and the small blind calls. The button had the 8-9 of diamonds for a bigger flush. He had two pair on the flop. The small blind had top pair and a busted straight draw.

Man I really wanted that pot. But that is the way it went most of the night. I ended the night down $7 and I lost 3 decent pots where I was rivered on the end by someone who played bad cards preflop. I made a couple of really good folds to save myself some money.

On an unrelated topic. I think I am going to by Eastbay's Sit-n-Go power tools to help with my game. It looks like an integrated EV solution for figuring out when to push all in. I still think my biggest weakness is heads up, but maybe if I accumulate more chips in the bubble and in the money stage, I will be able to compensate for it.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Can I play any worse?

Went to the Gila River for the first time in months. I played in one of the softest 4-8 games ever and lost $175.

The first hour was spent folding bad cards. I knew I wasn't going to play well because I was having trouble following the action when I was out of the hand. A good player pays attention and trys to play along with the others in the game. Time and again I was missing possible flushes and straights on the board. Of course it didn't help that most of the players were playing any two cards so hand reading was becoming exceedingly difficult.

I dug for another $100 and went on a rush. My best hand was 4 sevens on the flop. I was in late position and I just called after a couple of bets in front of me. On the turn, a flush draw came up. Unfortunately nobody bet and it was checked to me. I decided to check and see if someone could hit a card. This was a horrible decision. When playing with a bunch of calling stations, make the bet.

The river made 4 of the same suit on the river. There was a bet and a raise in front of me. There was still 2 players left to act, plus the original better. I asked for time, so I could think about reraising or going for the over call. I decided to just call and hope others would come along. Unfortunately, everyone else folded.

So I won a big pot, but I probably left 5 bets out there.

Since I was obviously the tightest player at the table, occasionally I would try to make a bluff or a hyperaggressive move to sustain my action on my good hands. The problem was I didn't get much show down value because I would be forced to fold before the river or the table was not paying attention. I think the better strategy in that situation is to just play tight, solid poker. If I get a couple hands in a row where players start to fold to my bets, then it's time to open up. After all there was a very good chance that in this game it would not matter since nobody was paying much attention.

Eventually things started to go haywire. I did not hit a single draw all night. There was a fat guy in the 8 seat that just seemed to have my number. Every time I had top pair, he had two pair. If I had 3 of a kind, he had a straight or flush.

In addition it was smoky and incredibly noisy due to the band in the bar. Eventually it was all giving me a headache.

The only positive is that I had the discipline to finally get up from the table and leave when I knew I was not playing my best.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Friendly Pot Limit and SNG Strategy

Last weekend I went to Rob's house to watch the ASU vs USC football game and play some poker.

We played 1-2 blinds and pot limit raises. I played with Jon, Rob, Carlo, Ryan, and Ken.
I am becoming more and more convinced that pot limit and no limit cash games are not my best game. It is so much more of an art of reading people as weak or strong and being willing to put all your chips in the middle. In limit poker, I can only make small mistakes and I take great pleasure in making one or two extra bets. Plus reads are much less important since the math basically dictates your decision on the turn and river.

We all started with $40 to $60 and Jon went on a heater right away. He is great at playing with his friends. He talks all the time and really mixes up his chatter well. So far, I can never tell when he's telling the truth. With some well timed bluffs and some good cards, Jon made $180 in less than 2 hours.

I lost $45 and only won one pot. I gave two pots away. Once I had Ace King offsuit in the small blind. Carlo and Ken folded then Ryan raised to $4. Rob folded, but as he did, he turned over a King. Jon then reraised to $10. If Rob doesn't turn over the King, I probably call. As it was, Ryan is pretty tight when it comes to preflop raises. Jon usually doesn't reraise so I thought he must have a pretty good hand as well. Thinking that one King was dead for sure and that there might be one or two other Aces and Kings in Jon and Ryan's hand, I folded.

Sure enough an Ace came on the flop and Ryan and Jon ended up checking it down. Ryan had something like Ace-10 and Jon only had Queen-10 suited. I really looked into their soul on that one.

The other hand I gave away was when I had AJ suited on the button. It was folded to Jon and he raised to $4. I made it $10. It felt like I challenged Jon's manhood, so he called. The flop was all low cards and I totally whiffed. Jon checked. I didn't want to give Jon a chance to check raise me, so I checked as well. The turn missed me again. Jon checked again. For some reason I thought he was in call mode so I did not bet again. The river missed again, but this time Jon put in $10. I think I only had about $20 left so I could not raise him out of the pot. All I had was Ace high and I felt like it was the best hand. I ended up folding and he turned over a rivered flush. I let him check into runner-runner. More evidence that I suck at No-Limit and Pot-Limit.

As for the Sits I have been doing pretty well. I have my overall rate of return on the $55's up to 11% from a low of 1%. I was browsing the two plus two website and I came across an interesting strategy. Here is the post
I have been frustrated by playing tight early and not getting any value from the hands that I do play. In other words if I have Ace-King and raise preflop. I get one caller and the flop has a King. Usually I bet 1/2 to 2/3 of the pot. It seems like 75% of the time they fold and I just win the preflop bets. This post suggests over betting the pot or even pushing all in. This looks so strange that a lot of players will think it's a bluff and call with 2nd or 3rd pair.

I know that I will not call my opponent's all in bet in the early stages even if I feel it's a bluff because I have the discipline to wait for a better opportunity. I usually just make a note that this players overuses the all in bet and look to trap him later. I think most players see the overbet and think bluff. Then they think," I don't want to be bluffed by this retard so I will call."

I am going to give this approach a try and see if I get anyone to bite.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

WBPT Tournament sucks

I tried to play in the WBPT tournament at Titan Poker last night. What a bore fest!

I was under a little time pressure trying to get my withdrawal from Party Poker to clear so I could move some money over to Titan. The money hit my Neteller account with about 15 minutes to go until tournament time. In the mean time, I was still finishing up 2 $55 sit n go's where I ended up taking first place in both of them.

This also happened to be the time that Carlo came over to look at taking one of our refrigerators, so the 4 dogs went crazy, barking and running around the house. I am amazed I got everything set up.

The tournament started at 6:00 and I had to put it on auto post and fold because Carlo was still there and Michele had just came home. After I got rid of Carlo, I sat down. I did not recognize anyone at my table. I searched the other tables and found Iggy and Pauly and opened up their tables just to see if there was any good chat. This is where we had the big problem.

The chat software at Titan was almost unusable. Everytime you start to type, you are interrupted by action at the table. This interruption bounces the cursor back to the beginning of the box. The only time you could type in peace is when it was your turn. Of course then you have to deal with the alarm clock buzzing sound telling you it's time to bet. After you type your witty remarks, the bubble comes up on the screen and blocks your avatar and chip count so you have no idea how many chips you have.

Titan has a dollar for dollar bonus and it didn't look too hard to reach at first glance, but I may not have the patience for their software. It had a lot of Noble Poker's features which makes me think that they are skin for them.

Back to the tournament. I was a little bored with it, because there was no chat and I had just made $450 from the party sits. I only got to play for 15 minutes, before dinner was ready and I was on auto post again. I quickly scarfed down a couple of pieces of pizza with Michele and then went back to the computer. I was still stuck around my original 1500 in chips.

Honestly after the break I lost all interest in the tournament. I was waiting for a decent hand and pushing all in to double up. Eventually I lost a race and I was out.

As for my other poker....the wins in the Party sits pushed my bankroll over $5500 now. That's starting to turn into real money.

My next trip to Vegas is being planned in December. It will be for my wedding, so I don't know how much time I will have to play poker. I am coming in on a Thursday for my bachelor party, so maybe I'll get in a few hands before Michele comes in on Friday.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Finally a Big Tournament Win!

Yesterday I went a little tournament crazy and entered some small stakes tourneys online. On some of the less trafficked sites you can sometimes find an overlay of money with their guaranteed prize pools. For instance if it's $20 to enter and the prize pool is guaranteed at $2000, all you have to do is find out if they have less than 100 players.

I was splashing around on Full Tilt yesterday and noticed their $24+2 guaranteed $3500. Therefore it needs 146 players to break even. I signed up with about 15 minutes until cards in the air and there was less than 100 players. Unfortunately, there was a late rush and I think they pushed over 150.

At the beginning I did not do much of anything. I really wasn't getting much to play with and I was just hanging around. I was happy that Full Tilt gives you 1500 chips to start and the blinds move up rather slowly so I could afford to be patient. This was the point where I started to pull some unbelievable suckouts from my ass. Here is a sample of some of my hand histories:

FullTiltPoker Game #221483751: $3,500 Guarantee (1394091), Table 3 - 40/80 - No Limit Hold'em - 12:43:04 ET - 2005/09/17
Seat 1: JACKSCHIPS46 (4,490)
Seat 2: Scubatoast (1,970)
Seat 3: Captian Eric (1,660)
Seat 4: Poker_Bully1 (3,580)
Seat 5: taxationfinance (1,480)
Seat 6: aslatman (1,275)
Seat 7: MELCOCHON (1,750)
Seat 8: Buzman (2,660)
Seat 9: rommmi (3,890)
rommmi posts the small blind of 40
JACKSCHIPS46 posts the big blind of 80
The button is in seat #8
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Poker_Bully1 [9c 9s]
Scubatoast folds
Captian Eric folds
Poker_Bully1 calls 80 I had been raising a lot and felt I should play this one for set value or a limp reraise.
taxationfinance folds
aslatman folds
Buzman calls 80
UTfan (Observer): i can tell
rommmi has 15 seconds left to act
rommmi is sitting out
rommmi has timed out
rommmi folds
*** FLOP *** [8h 6h 7c]
JACKSCHIPS46 bets 80
rommmi has returned
Poker_Bully1 has 15 seconds left to act
Poker_Bully1 raises to 360 I feel I have the best hand so I raise to charge any possible flush draws
Buzman folds
JACKSCHIPS46 calls 280
*** TURN *** [8h 6h 7c] [Qh]
JACKSCHIPS46 bets 80
Poker_Bully1 calls 80
*** RIVER *** [8h 6h 7c Qh] [2h]
JACKSCHIPS46 bets 80
Poker_Bully1 calls 80
*** SHOW DOWN ***
JACKSCHIPS46 shows [9h 7d] (a flush, Queen high) I'm lucky he didn't bet more.
Poker_Bully1 mucks
JACKSCHIPS46 wins the pot (1,320) with a flush, Queen high
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 1,320 Rake 0
Board: [8h 6h 7c Qh 2h]
Seat 1: JACKSCHIPS46 (big blind) showed [9h 7d] and won (1,320) with a flush, Queen high
Seat 2: Scubatoast didn't bet (folded)
Seat 3: Captian Eric didn't bet (folded)
Seat 4: Poker_Bully1 mucked [9c 9s] - a pair of Nines
Seat 5: taxationfinance didn't bet (folded)
Seat 6: aslatman didn't bet (folded)
Seat 7: MELCOCHON didn't bet (folded)
Seat 8: Buzman (button) folded on the Flop
Seat 9: rommmi (small blind) folded before the Flop

FullTiltPoker Game #221487253: $3,500 Guarantee (1394091), Table 3 - 40/80 - No Limit Hold'em - 12:47:19 ET - 2005/09/17
Seat 1: JACKSCHIPS46 (5,170)
Seat 2: Scubatoast (2,090)
Seat 3: Captian Eric (1,780)
Seat 4: Poker_Bully1 (2,900)
Seat 5: taxationfinance (1,600)
Seat 6: aslatman (1,275)
Seat 7: MELCOCHON (1,750)
Seat 8: Buzman (2,500)
Seat 9: rommmi (3,690)
Poker_Bully1 posts the small blind of 40
taxationfinance posts the big blind of 80
The button is in seat #3
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Poker_Bully1 [8c Kc]
aslatman calls 80
Buzman folds
rommmi calls 80
Scubatoast calls 80
Captian Eric calls 80
Poker_Bully1 calls 40
Buzman: can't win on skill alone, we all know that
taxationfinance checks
*** FLOP *** [8s Jc 4c] I limp into pot with suited King and the flop looks good. I briefly consider betting, but maybe I can get better odds if I check, so I do.
Poker_Bully1 has 15 seconds left to act
Poker_Bully1 checks
taxationfinance checks
aslatman bets 1,195, and is all in The pot was 480 and he overbets it. Usually that's a flush draw. I have the 2nd nut flush draw, plus I already have a pair of 8's
rommmi folds
Scubatoast folds
Captian Eric folds
Poker_Bully1 raises to 2,820, and is all in I decide I am going to play. I raise all in to make sure the last guy in the pot doesn't play with me
taxationfinance folds
Poker_Bully1 shows [8c Kc]
aslatman shows [Jh Qs] Oops he has top pair. C'mon flush!
Uncalled bet of 1,625 returned to Poker_Bully1
*** TURN *** [8s Jc 4c] [Qd]
*** RIVER *** [8s Jc 4c Qd] [2d] No flush for me. :-(
Poker_Bully1 shows a pair of Eights
aslatman shows two pair, Queens and Jacks
aslatman wins the pot (2,870) with two pair, Queens and Jacks
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 2,870 Rake 0
Board: [8s Jc 4c Qd 2d]
Seat 1: JACKSCHIPS46 didn't bet (folded)
Seat 2: Scubatoast folded on the Flop
Seat 3: Captian Eric (button) folded on the Flop
Seat 4: Poker_Bully1 (small blind) showed [8c Kc] and lost with a pair of Eights
Seat 5: taxationfinance (big blind) folded on the Flop
Seat 6: aslatman showed [Jh Qs] and won (2,870) with two pair, Queens and Jacks
Seat 7: MELCOCHON didn't bet (folded)
Seat 8: Buzman didn't bet (folded)
Seat 9: rommmi folded on the Flop

Here is where my luck turns around.

FullTiltPoker Game #221513688: $3,500 Guarantee (1394091), Table 3 - 80/160 - No Limit Hold'em - 13:19:20 ET - 2005/09/17
Seat 1: JACKSCHIPS46 (1,810)
Seat 2: Scubatoast (7,360)
Seat 3: Captian Eric (2,380)
Seat 4: Poker_Bully1 (1,565)
Seat 5: Btrain83 (945)
Seat 6: aslatman (1,550)
Seat 7: MELCOCHON (3,205)
Seat 8: Buzman (895)
Seat 9: rommmi (4,000)
JACKSCHIPS46 posts the small blind of 80
Scubatoast posts the big blind of 160
The button is in seat #9
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Poker_Bully1 [Ac 3c]
Captian Eric folds
Poker_Bully1 raises to 1,565, and is all in
Btrain83 folds
aslatman folds
Buzman folds
rommmi folds
Scubatoast calls 1,405
Poker_Bully1 shows [Ac 3c]
Scubatoast shows [Kh Kd]
*** FLOP *** [5c 4c 5d]
*** TURN *** [5c 4c 5d] [2h]
*** RIVER *** [5c 4c 5d 2h] [Jd]
Poker_Bully1 shows a straight, Five high Nothing like cracking pocket kings! Now I have a little breathing room.
Scubatoast shows two pair, Kings and Fives
Poker_Bully1 wins the pot (3,210) with a straight, Five high
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 3,210 Rake 0
Board: [5c 4c 5d 2h Jd]
Seat 1: JACKSCHIPS46 (small blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 2: Scubatoast (big blind) showed [Kh Kd] and lost with two pair, Kings and Fives
Seat 3: Captian Eric didn't bet (folded)
Seat 4: Poker_Bully1 showed [Ac 3c] and won (3,210) with a straight, Five high
Seat 5: Btrain83 didn't bet (folded)
Seat 6: aslatman didn't bet (folded)
Seat 7: MELCOCHON didn't bet (folded)
Seat 8: Buzman didn't bet (folded)
Seat 9: rommmi (button) didn't bet (folded)

FullTiltPoker Game #221526683: $3,500 Guarantee (1394091), Table 13 - 100/200 - No Limit Hold'em - 13:34:18 ET - 2005/09/17
Seat 1: ksay1122 (12,395)
Seat 2: Dlorican (11,505)
Seat 3: HASITNOW (11,120)
Seat 4: forkmule (4,670)
Seat 5: J111333444 (1,745)
Seat 6: scooter02 (4,460)
Seat 8: SurfinC (11,575)
Seat 9: Poker_Bully1 (4,590)
Dlorican posts the small blind of 100
HASITNOW posts the big blind of 200
The button is in seat #1
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Poker_Bully1 [Qd Ks]
forkmule folds
J111333444 calls 200
scooter02 folds
SurfinC folds
Poker_Bully1 raises to 800
ksay1122 folds
Dlorican folds
J111333444 calls 600
*** FLOP *** [7c Kh As]
J111333444 checks
SurfinC: short stack bullying is what it was right kojack
Poker_Bully1 bets 950 Smaller stack shows weakness on the flop so I put him to a decision for all his chips. It wasn't a very hard decision since he was trapping me.
J111333444 calls 945, and is all in
Poker_Bully1 shows [Qd Ks]
J111333444 shows [Ah Tc]
Uncalled bet of 5 returned to Poker_Bully1
*** TURN *** [7c Kh As] [5h]
*** RIVER *** [7c Kh As 5h] [Kc] YES! One of my 5 outs hits on the river.
Poker_Bully1 shows three of a kind, Kings
J111333444 shows two pair, Aces and Kings
Poker_Bully1 wins the pot (3,790) with three of a kind, Kings
J111333444 stands up
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 3,790 Rake 0
Board: [7c Kh As 5h Kc]
Seat 1: ksay1122 (button) didn't bet (folded)
Seat 2: Dlorican (small blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 3: HASITNOW (big blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 4: forkmule didn't bet (folded)
Seat 5: J111333444 showed [Ah Tc] and lost with two pair, Aces and Kings
Seat 6: scooter02 didn't bet (folded)
Seat 8: SurfinC didn't bet (folded)
Seat 9: Poker_Bully1 showed [Qd Ks] and won (3,790) with three of a kind, Kings

FullTiltPoker Game #221533795: $3,500 Guarantee (1394091), Table 13 - 120/240 Ante 25 - No Limit Hold'em - 13:41:28 ET - 2005/09/17
Seat 1: ksay1122 (12,300)
Seat 2: Dlorican (11,790), is sitting out
Seat 3: HASITNOW (9,645)
Seat 4: forkmule (3,715)
Seat 5: Whitey72 (5,885)
Seat 6: scooter02 (5,685)
Seat 8: SurfinC (10,880)
Seat 9: Poker_Bully1 (6,700)
ksay1122 antes 25
Dlorican antes 25
HASITNOW antes 25
forkmule antes 25
Whitey72 antes 25
scooter02 antes 25
SurfinC antes 25
Poker_Bully1 antes 25
forkmule posts the small blind of 120
Whitey72 posts the big blind of 240
Dlorican has returned
The button is in seat #3
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Poker_Bully1 [7c Jc]
scooter02 folds
SurfinC folds
Poker_Bully1 raises to 800 I had been quiet for a while so I decide to try and steal the blinds.
ksay1122 calls 800 Dammit! a caller and now I am out of position.
Dlorican is sitting out
Dlorican folds
forkmule folds
Whitey72 folds
*** FLOP *** [Qc Jh Jd] Bingo, Bango, Bongo I have 3 Jacks! Time to play for all my chips. As Vince Van Patten would say, I set the trap and I am putting branches and leaves over it.
Poker_Bully1 checks
ksay1122 bets 6,240 He falls into the hole!
Poker_Bully1 calls 5,875, and is all in
ksay1122 shows [Js Kc] Sarcasm alert: He's right where I want him now. I only need the 2 remaining 7's or to split I need one of 3 Queens or runner runner Aces.
Poker_Bully1 shows [7c Jc]
Uncalled bet of 365 returned to ksay1122
*** TURN *** [Qc Jh Jd] [7h] Yahtzee!
Dlorican has returned
*** RIVER *** [Qc Jh Jd 7h] [Td]
ksay1122 shows three of a kind, Jacks
Poker_Bully1 shows a full house, Jacks full of Sevens
Poker_Bully1 wins the pot (13,910) with a full house, Jacks full of Sevens
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 13,910 Rake 0
Board: [Qc Jh Jd 7h Td]
Seat 1: ksay1122 showed [Js Kc] and lost with three of a kind, Jacks
Seat 2: Dlorican folded before the Flop
Seat 3: HASITNOW (button) folded before the Flop
Seat 4: forkmule (small blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 5: Whitey72 (big blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 6: scooter02 folded before the Flop
Seat 8: SurfinC folded before the Flop
Seat 9: Poker_Bully1 showed [7c Jc] and won (13,910) with a full house, Jacks full of Sevens

Eventually I made it all the way to the final table and finished 5th for $262. I chuckled to myself that when you get to the final table, the backround changes into a studio similar to the World Poker Tour.

Later in the day, I found a $5 turbo tournament on Noble Poker that was guaranteeing $1250. So that means there has to be 250 players. When I signed up for this one there was just over 100. After I signed up, I realized that it was a rebuy and add on tournament. So once again it looks like Noble Poker will make money. Oh well.

Since it was a turbo and only $5 rebuys, I figured I would see some really crazy plays. To my surprise, most of the players played conservatively. The blinds increased every 5 minutes so there is no time to wait for good hands. You need to push every small edge and hope you get lucky. I was planning to take advantage of my opponents' stupidity.

I doubled up early with a straight. Then lost it all when my Kings with a Queen kicker went down to Kings with an Ace kicker. Rebuy! I bled off some chips and had about 600 left with Ace 5 suited utg. I limped and 4 other guys went all in. I figure what the hell, so I call. No flush so I rebuy. This time I win a couple of small pots but I run out of time as the break hits with 50-100 blinds and $5 add ons for $1,000 chips. I only have $1100 so I need the chips badly.

Back from the break and I think the blinds were 60-120. The other players just had no idea how to play in this format. 90% of the time when I was first in the pot in middle or late position, I raised all in. I was seldom called. When I was called, it was usually by a hopelessly short stacked player. This went on and on all the way to the final table.

Amazingly they stop raising the blinds once it gets to 5000-10000. There were 4 of us left and we played for probably 20 minutes. I was usually fluctuating between 80 and 120k in chips so there still wasn't much room for creativity. I really felt like the best player of the bunch due to my experience with all the bubble play in Sit-n-Go's.

Finally I made it to heads up with a 2-1 chip lead. Again, I tried to remember what Harrington said in his book and call with any 2 from the small blind, and mix up my play once in a while. The great thing was, that once it was down to 2 players we actually had a lot of chips to play with since the blinds had stopped going up. I finally ground him down to about 60k in chips and just started putting him all in, every chance I could.

Then the miracle happened. He called my all in bet and my hand held up. Mother fucking Champion of a 150 player tournament. $478 to the winner.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Learning Curve on Omaha 8OB

I played my first session in Omaha at the casino last week. I'd give myself an overall grade of a C. I missed a couple of bets with my good hands, and I chased a couple of hands too far. Overall I lost $40 over 2 hours.

Surprisingly the thing I struggled the most with, was how to look at my cards. I tried two at a time in the hold'em mode or stacking all 4 on top of each other and picking them up. Sometimes I just looked one at a time. I tried to watch how the others did it, but they seemed to all do it differently.

These are just random things I have figured out finally in Omaha that should help:
1. You need both cards of the same suit to make a flush. This also means that once 3 of the same suit hit the board, the other suits do not matter. In other words, you are not charging someone with a flush draw if there are 3 of the same suit on the board. He already has the flush or he can't get there. That is different from Hold'em
2. Be aware that playing for one side of the pot also opens you up to being quartered which very rarely makes you any money.
3. It probably only takes one or two big pots in a session at Omaha to make money. The casino has a kill pot, if the previous pot is over $50. This means that at least 25% of the hands dealt are kill pots.

I have also had the urge to play more big tournaments lately after reading Harrington's second book. My results have been the same, so basically I have been pissing money away. It is mind boggling to consider how tough it would be to be a pro player that only plays tournaments. Not only do you have to be lucky enough to have your big favorite hands hold up, but invariably you will be in pots where you are only slightly ahead or even behind. Guess what? You need to win most of those too.

My last tournament was a $22 with over 2000 players. I managed to build my stack up to 4000 and was the chip leader at my table by at least 1000. I had hit 3 different sets to build this up. Then everything turned.

I bluffed off a good amount of chips with a busted straight draw and flush draw. I chased about 3 other straights (with the correct odds) and didn't hit one. Finally I am short stacked and after one limper, I move all in with A6 off. Everyone folds past the blinds and the original limper calls and turns over Ace Queen. I hate it when someone limps with good cards. It just seems so stupid to me. So I think I finished in 800 something place.

On Monday 9-12 I played 4-8 Holdem at the Casino during their Monday Night Football promotion. My table was the perfect combination of a couple of tight players that could be pushed around and a bunch of loose passive calling stations. Unfortunately I dug myself a hole and couldn't climb out. A few times I won a couple of hands in a row to get back to even and then the chips just slowly bled away again waiting for a good hand. I lost $40 by the end of the night.

My one highlight was a great laydown. I had won the previous two pots so I had the Kill. I posted $8. A middle position player went all in for $16. The player on the big blind to my right reraised to $24. I looked down and found two Queens. The same hand I won the last pot with.

The player on my right was just having horrible luck. In the 2 hours I had played with him he had at least 4 high pocket pairs beaten by straights or flushes. Plus he always called down with top pair and bad kickers. But the big tell, is that he never raised preflop unless he had a good high pocket pair. Knowing this I decided to just call his raise instead of reraising.

The flop came Ace-7-Jack rainbow. The BB led out. Seeing the Ace I decided to fold. He turned over Ace-10 of diamonds and beat the all in player for the pot.

Now running the play over again in my head, there are other ways to play this hand. I could have reraised preflop. Knowing what he had now, he probably calls and check raises me on the flop. If he caps it preflop I can be pretty sure that I am only playing for set value. If he was really smart he would check the flop and see if I bet. Then he could check raise me. I think if he had AA or KK though he might have just led out.

All in all, my read was not perfect but I did manage to lose the least amount possible.

Another rule I learned the hard way for hold'em. When you flop two pair with Ace little, play it as fast as possible. I slow played my hand into oblivion when the board paired and my kicker sucked. No more check raises, just lead out or raise when it's bet to you. Maybe I can squeeze out the other Ace or someone with the middle or low pair who might hit the set down the road.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

I Met a Poker Star!

I was in Maui last week for my girlfriend's brother's wedding. It was my second time on the island and it is truly one of the most beautiful places in the world.

One of the events scheduled, was a luau at the Renaissance Hotel in Waliea. While everyone was being seated I noticed that Daniel Negraneau (sic) was also at the luau with his new wife. I went up and introduced myself and told him congratulations on the wedding. He seemed to be enjoying the dinner. I read on his blog that some drunk guy kept inviting him to play golf, but I never saw anyone bothering him. I chickened out on getting a picture with him. I had the perfect opportunity while everyone was waiting for the valet to get our cars. I just hate playing the role of "my life sucks so I live vicariously through yours on TV". I'd rather have a conversation and find out something interesting about him than pester him for a picture.

During the vacation I started reading two books on poker. The first one is Michael Cappeletti's book on Omaha Hi-Lo and the second is volume 2 of Harrington on Hold'em.

The Omaha book is solid so far. I totally understand that the number one strategy for beating the average loose game is to play tight preflop and only draw to the nuts. In probably ten different tables of play at Party Poker, I have probably come out ahead on 9 of them in the .50-$1 level. I think I am ready to take a stab at the live casino 3-6 game. I watched a little of one game while I was on a break from the hold'em tournament and I watched two people fight over which was the low hand on the board. If they are playing and can't figure out the low within 10 seconds, then they obviously don't know much about how to play the game.

My main weakness right now in Omaha is knowing when it makes sense to raise. My mind is still cluttered with figuring out the nut lows and highs on the board and figuring out how many outs I have to the nuts. There is no time for higher level strategy just yet. Once I can figure out these other details quicker, I will have more time to spend on figuring out what my opponents might have and whether I should raise for value or raise to narrow the field.

The second volume of Harrington on Hold'em is excellent. I have finished about 1/3 of the book by skipping around to the sections that interest me the most. The first section I read was on heads up play. There is an excellent analysis on the heads up match between Phil Ivey and John D'Agostino at the end of the big poker tournament in New Jersey last year. He presents a lot of interesting stats to consider on how often someone hits the flop and what you should be thinking about when you are on the button vs. first to act.

Here are a couple of the helpful tips I gleaned from the book:
1. It is always correct to at least call from the small blind. With 3-1 odds on your call, even 2-7 versus a random hand has better odds than that. Now if your opponent always raises you when you call, then it may be ok to fold occasionally.
2. Most flops miss both players, so the first one to bet, or the one who plays most aggressively usually wins the pot.
3. Calling down with Ace high is ok if you can get there cheaply.

I played a set of 3 sits last night and made it to heads up in one of them. I tried to use his tips and came back from a 3-1 deficit to pull slightly ahead. Unfortunately I got a bit unlucky as I flopped top pair, check raised the flop and he called. On the turn he only had about 1500 left so I decided to check and see if he would put the rest in. He did and I called with only about 200 left over. Unfortunately, the turn filled his inside straight and he won. So I think I played it right and did charge him for the draw. Oh well.

Now that my back is almost 100% I am looking forward to putting in some time in the live casinos again.

Monday, August 29, 2005

7th Place

The big tournament sponsored by Jeff was last Saturday. The turnout was not as big as expected as we only had 22 players. The garage that we had the tables set up in was awesome. The owner of the house buys/sells cars and trucks after fixing them up so he had a great garage with refrigerators, bathroom, and heavy duty air conditioning as it was 112 degrees outside.

We started with 1000 in chips and the blinds were 5-10 at the start. They were supposed to go up every 1/2 hour but that was a best case scenario as we would have to depend on Jeff to remember to tell everyone.

My strategy was to play tight for a couple of rounds and get a feel for the players at my table and then try to be aggressive and acquire a big stack. We had unlimited rebuys for the first 2 hours and I was prepared to buy in 2 more times if necessary.

Basically there were a lot of loose players at my table limping in. They also would call down with bad kickers so this was a good table. The problem was that I was getting horrible cards for the first hour and saw a flop maybe twice. Eventually the blinds were getting a little higher and I was down to about 700. I got AQ on the button and raised to 150. Jeff called me. The flop was something like 7-5-2. He checked and I moved all in. My thinking was that the flop probably did not hit him. If I bet 300 he is likely to call anyway since he had the chips. If I bet 300, I have nothing left on the later streets. Plus it was getting about to the time that I needed chips or to bust out and rebuy. Jeff folded reluctantly.

The very next hand I was dealt KK. I raised again and a short stack came over the top all in. I called and took his chips and suddenly I was up to about 2000. I got lucky once when I was dealt K-3 in the big blind. I flopped a King and bet on the flop and the turn. On the turn, I was raised all in. The board was K-5-2-4. So had top pair and the open end straight draw. If I lose, I am pretty short stacked again. Because I had the draw, I decided to call. I expected my opponent to have a King, but he also had a 5 for two pair. Of course I got my 6 on the river and hit the straight to bust him out.

Once we hit the break, I added on and had about 4,000. I think the blinds were up to 100-200. We consolidated to two tables and I confirmed that the top 8 would pay. I basically held steady and people busted out left and right. We made it to the final table and then quickly into the money with 8 people left. The blinds were now 200-400 and I only had about 3200 left. I just was not getting any cards, and the big stack held by a guy named Frank was doing a good job of being aggressive and making people define their hands.

Now because of my rebuy I was only going to make money if I finished in 6th or better. I made it to the final 7 with about the same amount of chips, when my unlucky break occurred. Comically I was not even in the hand. One of the shorter stacks at the table got involved with the chip leader. The chip leader had top pair and strong kicker. When the money went all in after the turn, the short stack turned over an inside straight draw. If he is eliminated, I move up to 6th and make money. Also one of the other players mentions that he folded one of the 4 remaining outs. Sure enough, he hit the straight on the river and doubled up.

A couple more rotations went by and I was still at about 7 x the big blind. I was dealt KJ offsuit on the big blind. The 2nd chip leader raised to 1000. The chip leader called. It was folded to me. They didn't feel that strong so I thought it was time to make a move and I raised all in. Now I did not specifically think to myself that I should make the "squeeze play" I like to think that I made it on instinct instead of impatience. I don't know for sure. Anyways, the initial raiser folded, but the big stack called me with KQ suited. There were no more Jacks in the deck and I flamed out in 7th. I spent $250 and received $180 back.

Overall I played well. There is one hand that I am still questioning. At the final table I was dealt J7 in the big blind. The big stack called and the small blind completed. The flop was J-J-3 with two clubs. It was checked to me. I think there was 300 in the pot. I bet 200 because I wanted to charge any flush draws. In retrospect, the chances of the big stack having a flush draw were pretty slim. The chances were pretty good that he would have bet at the pot if it was checked to him since he had been pretty aggressive. I guess I should have let him catch up or only bet 100 to make it look like I was trying to steal it. I really wanted to make that a big pot because I saw it as the chance to double up, but I got too excited. Not a horrible play, but not the most effective.

As for my online play, I was subjected to some bad beats again in the 50's. I find it fascinating to play when one player goes on a huge lucky roll and gets to 5,000 in chips with 5 or 6 players left. I usually have close to what I started with and there are usually a couple of players with only 500 left. I think the best strategy is to try and play a pot with the big stack with a strong hand and trap him. If I have seen him make bad plays I think that will be the easiest money to win.

The first situation occurred when I had about 1000 chips with 5 left. I was dealt 33 in late position. The big stack was under the gun and just doubled the blind. My original thinking was I can push him around and if he does call me, he probably just has over cards and I'll be a slight favorite. Of course he woke up with QQ and I was gone. My strategy was sound, except I probably should have only done that with 99 or better. 33 is just too weak.

The second situation really pissed me off. I had close to 2000 in chips and was in great shape with 4 left. The chip leader had over 5000 and was horrible. He was in the small blind and I was in the big blind with AJ of spades. I think the blinds were 75-150. He just called the blind. I raised to 450. He called. The flop came A-10-7 rainbow. He minimum bet the flop and I went all in. He called quickly with Ace-5. The turn was a blank, but the river hit his 5 and I was out again.

I remember Phil Hellmuth interviewing Greg Raymer after the WSOP main event this year. Phil was lamenting the fact that Greg had totally outplayed his opponent on a hand, but his opponent had hit a runner, runner flush to beat him. "You work so hard the entire tournament to set up a player like that, and just when you have him right where you want him, he sucks out on you. Doesn't that drive you crazy?!" Greg gave some gracious answer that sometimes you just have to get lucky and that all he can control is the decisions he makes, blah, blah, blah. I agree with Phil, it sucks!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Tune up

First a comedy break brought to you by David Letterman and AOL.

That is why dogs are the best.

I played in the Casino AZ $130 NL tournament last night to tune up for the tournament at Jeff's this weekend. 170 players, 2000 in starting chips, 20 minute levels. Blinds started at 25-50.

My first table was very passive. Lot's of limping preflop and not a lot of betting after the flop. So blind stealing was out since it was very rare that I would get to open a pot in late position. There were usually at least 2 callers before it got to me. However it was a good strategy to put in a raise preflop and then a continuation bet after the flop. I did this about 3 times and never got called. One time I checked the flop and then bluffed the turn. I was called so I figured I was done with the hand. He checked to me on the river and I just turned over my cards. I won with Ace high as he had a busted straight draw.

It was one of those weird sessions where every time I folded a marginal hand (one you could play under the right circumstances) the flop came up huge. I also seemed to be dealt Ace-little a lot. Well I was slowly chipping up and then was dealt KK in the hole. I raised to 400 after one limper came in for 100. He called and it was heads up. The flop was nine high and he bet 100 into the pot. It was a weak bet, but I wanted to make sure he made a mistake if he had a straight draw. He only had 800 left so I put him all in. He turned over Ace-9. My Kings held up and I busted him out. I looked around the table and noticed that I was the chip leader by a couple thousand now. Tonight might be the night.

A few more hands go by and I am dealt AA. Utg raises the 200 big blind to 500. It's folded to me 2 off the button and I reraise to 1500. Everyone folds to the initial raiser. He does what I am dreaming of and goes all in which is really just calling my bet plus a 200 raise so 1700 total. The pot has 3700 and it will put me in great position if I win. He turns over 33. Way to overplay that worthless hand!

You all know what's coming next....The guy next to me said, "Ha I folded an Ace". I said, "It would be better if you told me you folded a 3." The flop was safe. So was the turn. The river was another ugly 3 and he wins the pot. A hit to my stack but nothing too terrible.

The next hand I am dealt KQ suited. Its folded to me and raise to 600. It's folded to the big blind (pocket 3's guy) and he calls. The flop is A-3-9. This time he bets out 600. I look at him trying to get a read. I ask, "You don't have pocket 3's again do you?" He smiles. I lay it down and he's nice enough to show me his Ace.

Now that I've blown off 2300 in chips I get more bad news in that my table is breaking. I get moved to another table where a guy in an ASU hat has at least 10,000 in chips and another old guy has just about as many on his left. The blinds have gone up to 150-300 which means I have just over 10 BB left.

Of course this is where I go card dead. One funny moment is when I am blinded down to about 8 times the big blind and 3 off the button. The ASU hat limps in, weakly I feel, and it's folded to me. This feels like a time to move all in and steal the blinds. Unfortunately I actually look at my cards first and they are 10-5. So much for that idea and I fold. Well it ends up as the 2 blinds and ASU in the pot and the flop is 10-10-5. I think they all check it down and then I announce, "I'd play this game much better if I didn't look at my cards. I had 10-5. I felt like I should move in because you guys were weak, but I couldn't do it after I looked at my cards." The very next hand I was dealt KK. ASU had limped in again. This time I raised to 1000. It's folded through the blinds. ASU asks me if I looked at my cards this time and I said I did. He folds and tells me he had an Ace. That would have made a great angle if he had called.

Eventually I was blinded down and went all in with my last 1200 with 9-5 suited. I was called by Queen Jack and he hit his Queen on the flop. Suprisingly there were still about 70 left.

Overall I think I made the right decision almost every time so I can't really complain about how I played. Just need to be a little more lucky.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Big Tournament Coming Up

The bankroll has been replenished and back over $4,400 thanks to some nice scores in the 50 Sits and a first place in a 3 table $33 sit. I still have a long way to go to clear the bonuses on Full Tilt and Noble but I hope that playing 6 handed in 2-4 will improve my limit hold'em play. Short handed is such a totally different game.

The big day on this week's agenda is Saturday. My friend Jeff is organizing a poker tournament at a friends house. The first two that I played in were definitely juicy. The first one, I came in Third and probably should have won except that I got impatient at the end. The second one, I was in great shape until a guy on tilt pushed all his chips in with nothing and I called with 3 of a kind, only to see my chips go away when he hit the runner runner flush. I win that pot and I am the chip leader with about 20 left.

So this tournament has a $150 buy in for $1000 in chips. There are $100 rebuys for the first 2 hours. The evite says there are about 40 players signed up so far. The tricky part about these tournaments is that a majority of the players have no idea about tournament strategy. It's important to identify these players quickly and figure out a way to trap them.

The usual mistake I see in this type of tournament is very passive play preflop and then if they get a good hand, they love to slow play it. This makes it very hard to put a player on a hand. The key to playing these players is to make sure you are in position so you can see what they do first. So if I flop top pair and good kicker on the flop and it's checked to me, I can make a bet and see what they do. If they just call they may be trying to slow play. If the turn doesn't improve my hand, I may just check it through and see what happens on the river. At least this keeps the pots small, early on.

I also think I will be playing lots of small pairs and suited connecters for cheap trying to make a big hand. I swear some of these players may not even realize a flush or straight is possible when they look at certain boards.

The rebuys will help as well since I can afford to be a little more aggressive and try to get chips early. I think my back is healthy enough to attempt a tournament at Casino Arizona on Tuesday or Wednesday just to get some practice in at reading people again.

The win in the 3 table tournament was pretty amusing. I got short stacked with about 20 players left when someone put a bad beat on me. I stayed patient and moved in a couple of times to keep my stack at 5-7 times the blinds. It was amazing I was still in, because i really hadn't had any decent starting cards.

Suddenly I began to get cards and the timing was right because others got cards that were just a little bit worse than mine. Before I know it, I'm in the money at the final 5. There were 30,000 chips in play and I had about 5000 with 250-500 blinds. There were a couple of guys over 10,000 and they swapped chips around. I won a couple of hands and finally everyone was just about even in chips around 6,000. For the most part, the table was still playing kind of tight with just min raises and every once in a while someone would come over the top and they would all fold. Very few flops.

I decide that now is the time to be aggressive because the blinds had just moved up to 400-800. I felt like if I start pushing all in, 75% of the time I am going to win the 1200 in blinds and the other 25% I may just have to get lucky. But the great part is, if I get lucky I am then in prime position to win. So here is the hand history from that point forward:

Opponent chat is in blue. Mine is in purple.

#Game No : 2568758431
***** Hand History for Game 2568758431 *****
NL Texas Hold'em Trny:15011432 Level:11 Blinds (400/800) - Saturday, August 20, 19:03:52 EDT 2005
Table 3 - Table(433627) Table #1 (Real Money)
Seat 1 is the button
Total number of players : 5
Seat 1: jcsmitty22 ( $7255 )
Seat 4: naguara ( $4610 )
Seat 6: RTL43 ( $6853 )
Seat 8: larryvq ( $5710 )
Seat 9: Pitbull201 ( $5572 )
Trny:15011432 Level:11
Blinds (400/800)
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to larryvq [ Ah 3s ]
larryvq is all-In [5710]
Pitbull201 folds.
jcsmitty22 calls [5710].
naguara folds.
RTL43 folds.
** Dealing Flop ** [ 8h, Qs, 2d ]
** Dealing Turn ** [ 3d ]
** Dealing River ** [ 6d ]
larryvq shows [ Ah, 3s ] a pair of threes.
jcsmitty22 shows [ Ks, As ] high card ace.
larryvq wins 12620 chips from the main pot with a pair of threes.
yeah dude
good one
fckin retard
Game #2568760468 starts.

#Game No : 2568760468
***** Hand History for Game 2568760468 *****
NL Texas Hold'em Trny:15011432 Level:11 Blinds (400/800) - Saturday, August 20, 19:04:17 EDT 2005
Table 3 - Table(433627) Table #1 (Real Money)
Seat 4 is the button
Total number of players : 5
Seat 1: jcsmitty22 ( $1545 )
Seat 4: naguara ( $4210 )
Seat 6: RTL43 ( $6053 )
Seat 8: larryvq ( $12620 )
Seat 9: Pitbull201 ( $5572 )
Trny:15011432 Level:11
Blinds (400/800)
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to larryvq [ As 2s ]
Pitbull201 folds.
jcsmitty22 folds.
jcsmitty22: way to be a fckin assclown
RTL43: brutal
jcsmitty22: when u steal blinds u raise them 3-4 times so u can lay down to a better hand
jcsmitty22: you dont just go all in under the gun like a fkcing retard
jcsmitty22: jesus christ
naguara folds.
RTL43 folds.
larryvq does not show cards.
larryvq wins 1200 chips
learn how to fckin play poker
Game #2568763472 starts.

#Game No : 2568763472
***** Hand History for Game 2568763472 *****
NL Texas Hold'em Trny:15011432 Level:11 Blinds (400/800) - Saturday, August 20, 19:04:54 EDT 2005
Table 3 - Table(433627) Table #1 (Real Money)
Seat 6 is the button
Total number of players : 5
Seat 1: jcsmitty22 ( $1545 )
Seat 4: naguara ( $4210 )
Seat 6: RTL43 ( $5653 )
Seat 8: larryvq ( $13020 )
Seat 9: Pitbull201 ( $5572 )
Trny:15011432 Level:11
Blinds (400/800)
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to larryvq [ 2h 8d ]
jcsmitty22 is all-In [1545]
naguara folds.
RTL43 folds.
larryvq folds.
larryvq: here's 400 back

Pitbull201 calls [745].
** Dealing Flop ** [ 4d, 3c, 6s ]
** Dealing Turn ** [ Qd ]
** Dealing River ** [ 2s ]
jcsmitty22 shows [ 8c, Jc ] high card queen.
Pitbull201 shows [ Tc, Kd ] high card king.
Pitbull201 wins 3490 chips from the main pot with high card king.
Player jcsmitty22 finished in 5 place and received $90
no crying JC it is poker
what a joke
jcsmitty22 has left the table.
Game #2568767452 starts.

#Game No : 2568767452
***** Hand History for Game 2568767452 *****
NL Texas Hold'em Trny:15011432 Level:11 Blinds (400/800) - Saturday, August 20, 19:05:42 EDT 2005
Table 3 - Table(433627) Table #1 (Real Money)
Seat 8 is the button
Total number of players : 4
Seat 4: naguara ( $4210 )
Seat 6: RTL43 ( $5653 )
Seat 8: larryvq ( $12620 )
Seat 9: Pitbull201 ( $7517 )
Trny:15011432 Level:11
Blinds (400/800)
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to larryvq [ Kh 9c ]
jcsmitty22: larry what a joke you are
RTL43: gg
jcsmitty22: risk 6k to win 1200
RTL43 folds.
jcsmitty22: what a fckin douche
jcsmitty22: not a gg
jcsmitty22: a ridiculously stupid game

naguara: gl JC
jcsmitty22: just keep hittin buttons larry
larryvq: tilt much?
jcsmitty22: keep it up
larryvq raises [2500].
Pitbull201 folds.
naguara folds.
larryvq does not show cards.
larryvq wins 3700 chips
learn how to play poker
then come to the 33 buy-ins
Game #2568771246 starts.

#Game No : 2568771246
***** Hand History for Game 2568771246 *****
NL Texas Hold'em Trny:15011432 Level:11 Blinds (400/800) - Saturday, August 20, 19:06:28 EDT 2005
Table 3 - Table(433627) Table #1 (Real Money)
Seat 9 is the button
Total number of players : 4
Seat 4: naguara ( $3410 )
Seat 6: RTL43 ( $5653 )
Seat 8: larryvq ( $13820 )
Seat 9: Pitbull201 ( $7117 )
Trny:15011432 Level:11
Blinds (400/800)
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to larryvq [ Th Ad ]
jcsmitty22: jesus christ moron
larryvq raises [2400].
Pitbull201 folds.
naguara folds.
RTL43 folds.
larryvq does not show cards.
larryvq wins 3600 chips
i only 7xx blind, all in is good bet
Game #2568774099 starts.

#Game No : 2568774099
***** Hand History for Game 2568774099 *****
NL Texas Hold'em Trny:15011432 Level:11 Blinds (400/800) - Saturday, August 20, 19:07:02 EDT 2005
Table 3 - Table(433627) Table #1 (Real Money)
Seat 4 is the button
Total number of players : 4
Seat 4: naguara ( $3010 )
Seat 6: RTL43 ( $4853 )
Seat 8: larryvq ( $15020 )
Seat 9: Pitbull201 ( $7117 )
Trny:15011432 Level:11
Blinds (400/800)
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to larryvq [ 2h 3c ]
Pitbull201 folds.
naguara folds.
RTL43 folds.
larryvq does not show cards.
larryvq wins 1200 chips
Game #2568775229 starts.

#Game No : 2568775229
***** Hand History for Game 2568775229 *****
NL Texas Hold'em Trny:15011432 Level:11 Blinds (400/800) - Saturday, August 20, 19:07:16 EDT 2005
Table 3 - Table(433627) Table #1 (Real Money)
Seat 6 is the button
Total number of players : 4
Seat 4: naguara ( $3010 )
Seat 6: RTL43 ( $4453 )
Seat 8: larryvq ( $15420 )
Seat 9: Pitbull201 ( $7117 )
Trny:15011432 Level:11
Blinds (400/800)
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to larryvq [ 5c 9c ]
naguara folds.
RTL43 folds.
larryvq: seeing guys go crazy like that is half the fun of online poker
larryvq folds.
Pitbull201 does not show cards.
Pitbull201 wins 1200 chips
Game #2568777616 starts.

Anyways I started to get some great cards and the other players were moving in on me and I busted them fairly quickly after that. What sucks is that first place is only $270. First place on the $55 one tables is $250 and much easier to win. Still it was fun to book a nice win.