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.