Thursday, April 28, 2005

One Step Closer to WSOP 2005

I made it to step 4 last night in the Party Poker Steps to the WSOP. There are 6 all together that I need to get through.

I like the concept in that they are all single table sit-n-gos and you can start for $11. As I documented earlier, my first attempt was foiled on my first hand when I was dealt Aces preflop and had to go all in against two other all ins preflop. Right now I am on the second $11.

If I were to buy into the tournament at step four directly it would be something like $500. For the next two steps I only need to place in the top 3 to advance to the next step. The next two places get to try again at the same level. It's very rare that I bounce out of a tournament below the top 5. The hard one will be the last step where you need to win to get the World Series seat.

I am planning on making a couple of posts on 2+2 to get feedback about strategy at the higher levels. One thing I noticed last night was as soon as it got to 4 players and one of the players was a little low on chips, that everyone ganged up on him. If it was his blind, someone was going to raise him. If he folded, but someone else called, it was usually checked down to the end. I enjoyed playing that way, but I'm sure I will hate it if I am ever the short stack.

My other theory is if I get to the final table, it would seem that the first instinct of a player when it gets down to 2 or 3 is to wait for a premium hand. After all who wants to come so close to going to the World Series and get sucked out on. My first instinct is to play into that and start putting a lot of pressure on those players until they fold themselves into oblivion. Then hopefully I would have a big enough stack when I get heads up, that I will only need to get lucky one time. My guess is that the blinds will be huge at the end because everyone will have played so tight at the beginning.

On another note, my quick trip to Vegas is coming up in two weeks. I hear that the Rio is already running satellites for some of the WSOP events. I will definitely have to take a cab over and check it out. I am also going to check out the new Wynn hotel. The poker room sounds awesome.

Monday, April 18, 2005

I'm Officially A Poker Addict

My name is Larry and I am addicted to Party Poker.

I broke down and bought a 19" flat screen monitor that I can hook up to my laptop. I finally got it to work last night and played 2-4 hold'em for about an hour on 3 tables with virtually no overlap. I think Michele has finally realized the depths of my "sickness". Unfortunately, I finished the session down about $60, but I can't win every time.

I will have to figure out how to squeeze more tables on to my screens. I know there must be a way to 4 tables on the big screen alone without overlap. It probably has something to do with the resolution. I maxed it out to 1200X1080 ? and I at least got the tables the same size as the table picture on my laptop. I wish Party would just let us resize the damn windows, it would make life so much easier.

Saturday night was a great night of poker. I had played a few sit'n'gos during the day and won a little money. I am still toying with the more aggressive strategy of all in when stealing blinds. Michele decided to take a bath after we watched a movie together, so I thought I would take my shot at the Level 2 Step for the World Series of Poker. At step 2 the top 2 advance to the next level, 3 gets a little money and the chance to try again, and 4-7 go back to step 1. So obviously it makes sense to play very conservative until at least 3 people are out.

I did not start out well and was down to about 500 chips and there was only a couple people gone. I got to 500 by laying down a couple of hands with some good reads. Other players may have gone broke.

Finally I made it into the top 7 and the blinds had moved to 50-100. I started to catch some cards and doubled up a couple of times. When it got down to 4, we were all even with about 2500 chips a piece. This is another bubble level so you would be inclined to play careful. However the blinds are 100-200 so there is not a lot of room to screw around. I began to push all in whenever I got something playable and wouldn't you know it, I got called by better hands a couple of times. But I got lucky and sucked out. I lost a couple of battles with short stacks but nothing I couldn't recover from.

When it got to 3 players I figure that aggression is going to win the thing, so that's what I did. If it was folded to me in the small blind, I went all in. If I had a medium hand on the button, I pushed. They were so afraid of me in the big blind that they folded to me almost every time. I eventually busted out the last guy and it was down to 2.

My notes said that the top 2 advance but I wasn't 100% sure so I still played to win. I called a raise with 9-7 and flopped two pair. I pushed and he called with top pair and I won to move on to level 3.

Michele was already tucked in so I walked into the bedroom, declared myself as the best poker player in the universe and proceeded to ravish her under the covers. That my friends is a good Saturday night. Winning at poker, followed by great sex.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

One new idea

I was reading another website here which has lots of tips for playing at Party Poker. There was a great article on blind stealing when you are the small blind and it's been folded to you.

The basic conclusion is that it is positive EV to bet all in if you have less than 13 BB left and the BB is a semi reasonable player. Your folding equity is so high because the chances of the BB running into a hand he wants to call with are less than 20%. Then there's always the chance that you suck out and double up.

There was some interesting analysis about the article on 2+2 and how it relates to tournaments. The majority opinion was not to go overboard with the move but overall it is correct.

The other post I was chuckling at, had to do with calculating standard deviation and degrees of confidence for sit-n-gos. I still don't know how these guys play so many sit'n'gos to get these stats. Especially when it gets short handed, I would just totally lose my mind. Anyways I think the best statistical measure is how much money you have won.

The all in blind strategy has helped a little bit as I have had some nice places in the $33's. I also won my first WSOP step tournament. I was nearly dead and came back with a little luck. When it got to heads up my opponent played like he had got up to take a piss and left the post my blind and fold button on. I've never seen a guy play so passive at the end. Anyways thanks to his ineptness I am on to round 2.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Bad Omen for WSOP?

So I decide to dabble in trying to qualify for the World Series on Party Poker. I don't have a lot of time last night, so I decide to try one of the Step tables for $11. The top 2 advance to the next step.

I win the button and the very first hand I am dealt AA. Under the Gun calls 15 and it's folded to a late player who raises to 75. Instead of reraising I decide to just call for deception, plus I have position the rest of the hand and he may bluff off more chips later. The UTG player then pushes all in.

Time to change strategy. I'm thinking the initial raiser can't possibly call. After thinking for a minute he does call.

I always scoff at the stupid hypotheticals I see on 2+2 where guys try to figure out the right time to fold pocket aces preflop. This actually seemed like it might be one of those times. Since it was only $11 and I had a chance to take a huge chip lead I called. I gotta say, that if it was the first hand of the Main Event of the WSOP, I might fold. I looked up my odds on the Card Player Website and I am a 70% favorite against a pocket pair and Ace King. I am a 66% favorite against 2 other pocket pairs.

The money goes in the middle and the early player had JJ and the late player had AK. Ofcourse the flop has another Jack in it and the turn and river bring a Queen and a 10 for the straight. For the first time ever I am eliminated in the first hand.

I tried another tournament and busted out in 4th and won $7 back. Then I played in a $30+3 normal sit n go and busted out on the bubble in fourth. I called an all in late with A-10 against the other smaller stack who was just 300 smaller than me. He had raised with KQ making me a 59% favorite. My opponent and I only had about 4 times the big blind left anyway. He paired up and I didn't so I was basically left for dead.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The Most Beautiful Thing In Poker

Last night was spent at Casino Arizona networking :-) and watching the National Championship Game.

I sat down at a nice loose passive 3-6 game and proceeded to hit a lot of draws. I was up a quick 100 and having a good time.

One of my last hands was where the most beautiful sight in poker occurred. It was a kill pot and I was in middle position. UTG calls, the next guy raises, and I peek at my cards......Pocket Aces baby! So beautiful! I reraise and everyone folds to the UTG who calls 2 and the initial raiser who calls one. $69 in the pot to the flop. The flop is all low cards. Check, Check, I bet. I get two calls. $87 in pot to the turn. The turn pairs one of the low cards, still no flush out there. Check, Check, I bet, one fold, and one call. The river is a Jack. Check and I value bet and he calls. I turn over the aces and he mucks. $135 pot heading my way.

The other beautiful hand was me raising Ace King of Clubs preflop and getting 3 callers. The flop only has one club but I have over cards and I don't think it helps anyone. Two checks to me and I bet hoping to buy the button. The button calls and everyone else calls. The turn puts a possible straight on the board but it is another club. Now the first player bets into me, a call, and it's to me. Should I pump up the flush draw? I am sure at least one of the three players has the straight, so my only outs are the clubs. I decide to just call. The button calls. The river is a beautiful club. Now it goes bet, bet, I raise, call, call, call. All three of my opponents had the same crappy Q-8 for the Queen high straight and I had the nut flush. Hah, Hah, Hah, Hah, Hah. I love punishing fish for playing crappy hands. Especially when I hit a runner runner flush.

The only way last night could've been better was if Illinois had hit a 3 pointer at the end of the game. That would have made the score 75-73 and I would have hit my numbers in the Basketball promotion at the casino. That was worth $400. Oh well I can't be too greedy.

On another note, thank god Party Poker has started tournaments to get into the World Series of Poker. It looks like a pretty good deal to. I will have to figure out what my "qualifying budget" is and get to work. I should probably finish Dan Harrington's book before I get too serious.