Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Time to Move Up?

Results since last post:
O8 $1-$2 -$33
O8 $2-$4 -$3.50
Limit HE 8-16 -$11
Limit HE 10-20 +$293

I sat in the 8-16 game at Gila River last night and it was as soft as a 3-6 game.

This got me thinking. I would have won over $100 if I had not been involved and/or one just 1 pot. I played it correctly, it's just that two players that were hopelessly behind preflop and after the flop, managed to hit their draws. It's bad luck, but a good sign that even the higher players are making amateur mistakes.

I sat down tonight at a 10-20 game on Party Poker. There was one extremely bad fish that I won at least $150 from. I think his preflop calling % was over 70%.

I have 127 days until May 31st. I want a total bankroll of at least $7,000 by then. $3,000 of that will then be used to try and qualify for the Main Event of the WSOP. In 23 days of 2006, I have played 2700 hands online and a few hundred (educated guess) in the casinos. That works out to approximately 130 hands a day.

What limit will I need to play in order to assure myself of winning $2,000 in 127 days?

130 hands per day * 127 days = 16,510 hands

$2000 / 16,510 = $0.1211 per hand

In terms of $ per 100 hands then that is $12.11 per hand. So at 2 BB per 100, that would be $3-6 hold'em. If I go more conservatively at 1BB per 100, then I am looking at $6-$12

My stats in Poker Tracker through 28,134 hands in limit poker show an average win rate of 1.55 BB per 100 hands. In 2-4 hold'em it is 2.84 per 100 for 13,697 hands. In 3-6 hold'em it is 1.2 BB per 100 hands for 12,015 hands.

So my win rate per hand is:
$3-$6 ------ +0.072 per hand
$2-$4 ------- +0.1136 per hand
Here's the math. I wanted my total bankroll to be $7000 by March 31. Let's say it is $5,000 right now. So I need $2000 in 63 days.

At current win rate of 3-6 poker that is 27,777 hands. At 2-4 win rate it's 17,605 hands. That works out to 279 hands a day.

I think the best thing to do is 3 and 4 table at $3-6. Increase my win rate, and play more hands.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Tournament Disaster and Weekend of Tilt

Results since last post
Heads Up +19
1 Table -110
2 Table -22
4 Table -350
5 Table -22
Multi -44

Total -529

Ring Games:
1-2 NL -243
3-6 limit +188

Total -55

As you can see from the title of this post, my weekend of poker did not go well.

The tournament at Jeff's started with 4 tables of 8. 2000 in chips and 25-50 blinds. I happened to get seated at a table where I knew a couple of the players who were decent so I decided to play ultra conservative and look to value bet when I could. I absolutely did not want to steal any pots in the beginning. It just didn't seem worth the risk.

Things were looking up after about the third hand when there were 3 guys in a hand. No raises before the flop, no bets on the flop and turn. The river is a blank and one player bets about 1/2 the pot. It looks like a steal but who knows. Another player calls. The first bettor had Jack high. Ok he took a stab and lost, I can get on board with that strategy. The caller turned over Jack high with a worse kicker! Wow! Maybe I can make some money on this table.

Later I was dealt pocket 8's and I called after a couple of limpers, hoping to flop a set. Chris raised on the button. Everyone folded except me. The flop was K-7-3. I check and he checks. The turn was a 5. This time I figure I am good so I bet about 1/2 the pot. Surprisingly Chris calls. We have played each other in past tournaments so I feel like he knows I am a good player. The river is an Ace. I am in no mood to play a big pot so I check and he checks behind. Now I am ready to rake in the pot and he turns over King-Jack. Huh? I am still wondering why he checked behind on the flop and only called the turn.

A little later, I got back above my starting chips when I rivered the nut flush against Steve's straight. Then my cards went stone dead. Nobody at my table was really making any progress. They seemed to be just shifting the chips around.

Finally I was down to around 8-9 times the blinds and I was dealt Ace-King offsuit. There was a small early raise and I reraised all in. Everyone else folded and the initial raiser called with A-10. Maybe this is where I make my move. A ten hits the flop and I fail to improve.

I rebuy for $100 and get moved to a different table. I am to the right of Brian, who plays up to 60-120 in the casino. I don't think he is that great a player, but I do know that he is better than most in the tournament. I am busy getting blinded down when the break comes. Now I can add another $1000 which I do. I look around at all the different chip stacks and it looks like the highest is only around 4,000. So if I can get up around 2,000 then double up, I will be in the thick of things.

The first or second hand after the break I am dealt pocket 8's in early position. I raise 3x the blind and Brian is my only caller. The blinds were high enough, that my only real move on the flop was going to be all in. I figure about 90% of the possible flops, I am going to move in anyway because Brian probably thinks I have a high pair.

The flop is 6-7-9 rainbow. Perfect! I move in and Brian can't get his chips in fast enough. He has pocket Aces. So preflop I am 4-1 dog. After the money goes in, I have 10 outs times 4 for a 40% chance. I'll take it I guess. Well I finally get lucky and my 5 hits on the river to crack his Aces. Brian was the chip leader too, so he was not very happy.

Now I have some room to maneuver. I try to steal the blinds with K-9 suited from the cut off. The big blind moves all in and I fold. Another rotation and again I raise with Ace King. The big blind moves all in. I have him covered by a good amount so I call. He has Ace Queen. Queen on the flop and no help for me, so now I am short stacked again.

It was down hill from there as I became totally desperate after another all in loss with Ace King. My final hand, I had pocket tens and lost to someone with pocket Queens.

In reviewing my play afterwards, there really wasn't much I could do. The pocket 10's were the best made hand I had the whole day. I never had anything better than a pair except when I rivered the straight against Brian or the rivered flush against Steve. There was never a time when I could set any traps to let the bad players fall into them.

I played a couple of winner take all $20 sit n go's after the tournament and busted out in the middle of both, so the total day was a loss of $390.

On Sunday I was supposed to to to Curtis' house and play poker and watch football. Since I was so disgusted with my play the last time I was there for the National Championship game, I decided to fire up Full Tilt and play a couple of tables of short handed No Limit with 1-2 blinds. I was trying to remember Phil Gordon's advice from the book I listened to in the morning. It didn't help.

Every time I had a decent hand, someone would raise a big amount representing at least two pair or a set. I on the other hand could not seem to flop a set to save my life or any other hand better than a pair.

Tilt was in full force when I a called a 2x raise from the button with Ace-9 suited. The flop was 10-9-3. I checked and he bet about 1/3 of the pot. I decided he's bluffing and I am tired of being pushed around, so I triple his bet and raise. He reraises me to put me all in for about $40 more. Out of frustration and not rational thought, I call. Amazingly he shows pocket 10'
s for the nuts. So that was a quick $250.

I get to Curtis' house and there are not enough people to play poker. During the boring second half of the game, I fire up a SNG at Party Poker on his laptop. Early in the sit, I get 4 queens. I win a few hundred but don't double up. A little later I am dealt 10-9 suited utg. I decide to play a little loose and call. Nobody raises but there are 4 players in the pot. The flop is 9 high. I fire out a small bet to see where I am at. The button vastly over bets the pot and goes all in. I am tempted to call, but decide it's too early to risk 1/2 my stack with a pair of 10's. He shows 9-7 suited, so I could have been in a commanding position.

Then, the cou de gras of my bad luck. I have Jack-7 on the big blind. No body raises and the small blind completes. The small blind is the chip leader. There are two 7's on the flop so I have 3 7's with a Jack kicker. I slow play the flop and check it through. The turn is a blank and the small blind bets small. I raise. He reraises me all in. I think I have him and call immediately. He has the case 7 along with an Ace kicker. Fuck!

I play a few more sits at home and eventually score a second place. Then I fire up the FCP site and win another $120 to stem the bleeding. Overall, a very bad weekend. I tried to explain to Michele why I was so bummed and I don't know if she quite understood.

I was really looking forward to the tournament on Saturday. I felt like I was hot going in, and I was going to win. I played the best I could and the cards did not fall my way. After that, I really wanted to score a win against my friends on Sunday, but didn't even get to play. So basically I was frustrated and the money loss stung a bit as well.

I guess I'll stick with Full Contact. I can't seem to lose there, lately. (Hope I don't jinx myself).

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Phil Gordon's Green Book and Jeff's Tourney

Results since last post on 1/17/06
3-6 -$68.40
NL 1-2 +$111
NL $55 SNG's 4 played +$95

I downloaded Phil Gordon's "Little Green Book of Poker" to my Ipod a couple of days ago. So far I am really impressed. No Limit cash games and big Multi Table Tournaments are easily my worst games. There are plenty of books that relate to Tournaments but not too many that discuss cash game strategies. This book definitely fits the bill.

I am only 1/2 way through it, but what I enjoy the most are the scripts that he runs in his head before he makes a decision. This is definitely something I need to commit to memory.

It also clarified my thinking on medium to low pocket pairs. It's ok to call a raise in position with these hands if it costs less than 12% of your stack. The idea being that if you hit your set and your opponent has more money than you, then you could theoretically double your stack. This makes up for the 7 out of 8 times that you do not hit your set.

Phil's philosophy on betting with a paired board is also interesting. If he raised before the flop and took control of the hand, then if there are only 1 or 2 players in the pot, usually the first player to bet will win the pot. It's hard for another player to hit the flop with only 2 cards in play instead of 3.

I also found it interesting that if he flops a flush, that he likes to play it fast even if he does not have the nut flush. If he thinks someone has the Ace or nut flush draw and he's already flopped it, then he wants to make his opponent pay to draw at it. They think they have 9 outs but they really only have 7 so you can force your opponent to make a costly mistake. He believes that the chances of someone flopping a flush when you flop a flush are so slim that he will go broke with the hand.

In addition to reading or listening to Phil's book, I have joined Thomas Keller's website and his "Thunder Squadron". He has taken it upon himself to set up a new website designed to help other players improve their game. 2+2 has become a little weak lately, so I am glad to have a new resource. Thomas seems to be active on the site so it's good to get a pro's feedback once in a while. Plus, since he grew up in Chandler, a lot of the posters on the site live in Arizona so I have a chance to make some new local poker friends. Since one of the requirements to join his squadron is to keep detailed records, so I am recommitting myself to keeping Poker Tracker updated and I will lead off every blog with my results since the previous blog.

Finally, Jeff is having another big poker tournament. I have played in 3 and cashed in 2 so I am really looking forward to it. I still think he should lower the buy in to get more players, but $150 does keep out some of the riff raff. The problem is he only gets about 30 players. If you rebuy once, then you have to make the top 5 just to break even. I think I am ready to make a big score.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I Think I Have Found The Sweet Spot

I have been playing a lot of 3-6 Hold'em on Full Contact Poker lately. This is Daniel Negreanu's skin for Poker Room. They gave me a great bonus to work off after I deposited $650. I think it was around $350. I have earned over $150 so far in the bonus plus another $250 or so in table winnings.

The site is pretty cool and the hands seem to move faster than Party Poker. There have been some software glitches like part of my screen going dark or the note taking function not working, but overall I am pretty happy with the site.

I have been doing quite well because I can make Poker Tracker work in conjunction with the live games. I have set up PT to download the hand histories every 5 minutes. After 20 minutes or so I have 20 or more hands on everyone in the table. FCP allows you to color code your notes so it makes it really easy to identify which players are Tight Aggro, Loose Aggro, or Passive fish. With only 16,000 players, there seem to be a lot of the same players that show up at the same time and a lot of them are easy money. Even the waiting lists are usually not too long. I will scan the open games and look for tables where the pots are at least 5 big bets and put myself on the list. After 30 minutes I can tell whether a game is fat or not just by the stats. My only issue is that the site is that it's not big enough to support playing 3 or more tables at one time. I don't think I could find enough healthy games plus it would probably move too quick for me.

I have tried using Poker Tracker with Party Poker and PT always seems to crash after 15 minutes. It's been great to get to use it again.

I played a couple of Sit-n-Go's on Full Tilt last night as well. I bought into a $55 and a $33. In the $55 I got a hold of some chips early and basically cruised into the final 3. Both of the players seemed decent so I knew this part would be a dog fight. I lost a good chunk of chips slow playing top two pair and a flush hit the river. The leader went all in and I took too long to call so the site folded me. I asked in the chat if he had the flush and he said he did. Good thing I timed out I guess? Now I was down to about 6-7 big blinds. I was dealt 55 on the big blind. The button made a 3x raise from the button which I took as weak. She was in the 10 BB range where the all in move made more sense. She had played timid in the past, so it looked like a steal. I was short enough that it didn't matter as long as the small blind folded, which he did. I reraised all in and the button called in a shot with AA. Another excellent read by me!!! It worked out well for me though as I caught another 5 on the turn and put her down to a very small stack.

Once it got to heads up, my opponent was coming over the top of me on my raises from the small blind. I had to fold the first few. Then I won a bunch of chips when I pushed in the turn with Ace high. He had an open ended straight draw and luckily he missed.

Now he was playing the all in game. He took back the chip lead and I had had enough. I raised 3x the blind from the small blind with A-2. He raised all in again. This time I called and he had King X unsuited. Unfortunately he hit the X on the turn and I was done the next hand.

The 33 was a rock fest. No one seemed to raise and I never got any action whenever I raised. I finally made it down to 4 handed. I got caught stealing once or twice so my stack was down to 4x the blind. The guy on my left was just as short and the other two had comfortable stacks. In the small blind, I was dealt 5-2 offsuit. The math says push so I did, hoping the other shortie would continue to play tight. He waited unti the last second and he called with King-4. I hit a 2 on the flop, but he hit the 4 on the turn and the King on the river and busted me on the bubble.

I know it was only 2 games, but they seemed a heck of a lot softer than the $55's at Party Poker. I will have to give them a few more chances and see what happens.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Review of Home Game, Heads Up, Ft McDowell

The Rose Bowl was a great game. I especially enjoyed Bill telling me that I "have to pick your spots" when it comes to sports betting. His $300 bet on the Trojans went down in flames. Yet another great example of why I seldom bet on sports anymore. It's just too damn frustrating.

When I arrived after fighting traffic for an hour, everyone was in front of the TV and no one seemed interested in getting a poker game going. Eventually Billy said he wanted to play the heads up match for $100. We conned Chris into dealing for us and we got started with $100 each and the blinds were $.50 and $1. In the beginning I was winning the blinds and a couple of small pots, but Billy was winning the larger pots.

So after 20 or so hands I was down around $30. Now Billy decided he was going to lean on me. He started overbetting pots. If there was $5 in the pot, he'd bet $10. This was working because he was getting lucky enough to avoid playing pots with me when I had good hands. I was doing a good job of mixing up my play preflop, but he just seemed to have a good run of folding to my preflop raises when I had pocket pairs or high Aces.

Things were continuing to go bad, so I decided to change my strategy. Now I was going to play conservative preflop and try to outplay him after the flop. The blinds were still small (we upped them to $1-$2) so I could still afford to be patient. Sure enough, on the big blind I was dealt 5-7 and Billy just called from the button. The flop was 8-6-4 so I had flopped the nuts. I checked and Bill bet $10 on the flop. I only had about $40 left so I went all in. He called with a pair of 6's. I doubled up to around $85. By then the rest of the guys were ready to play and we called the match a draw.

Looking back, I think it makes more sense to play a little less aggressive preflop. It will be awful hard to win if I am consantly betting $3-$5 preflop to win $1. I think it makes more sense if we are playing with 30-50 times the big blind and not 100.

Once we started the full 1-2 Pot Limit game, I played terrible. If you refer back to my previous post I told myself that I would play solid poker this time and really restrict my bluffing. I also was going to try and isolate Carlo whenever I could. Unfortunately I didn't follow my strategy about the bluffing and Carlo sucked out on two pots where I isolated him.

Here were some of the key hands:

Carlo was on my right, which made it easy to isolate him. I had A-Q suited in early position. Carlo was utg and limped in. I raised to $7 which made everyone fold. The flop came out A-K-7. Carlo checked and I put him all in for about $10. He thought about it for a little bit and then called with his Ace-4. So I have him dominated. The turn is a blank. The river pairs the board and we split the pot with Aces up and King kicker. Good play, bad result.

In another hand, I managed to isolate Carlo again and he called all in with a flush draw on the flop. He hit it on the turn.

As for bad plays, once I had the nut flush draw against Jon. I think it was checked around on the flop. The turn gave me the nut flush draw. I semi bluffed and Jon called. The river was a blank and I though Jon might give me credit for the flush so I bet about 1/2 the pot. Jon called with middle set. That might have been the only hand that Jon calls with there. I still don't think it was wise for me to be messing around like that though. Jon is pretty good at picking off bluffs.

I have pocket 6's. I raise from middle position and only Marty calls. The flop is A-A-3. Marty bets $5 into a $10 pot. I am sure Marty would check an Ace so I think he may have hit the three. I just call and see if I can take the pot away on the turn. The turn is a 6 giving me 6's full of Aces. Marty bets again and I reraise all in. Marty calls and turns over A-3 for the full house Aces over 3's. It was a good play by Marty. I don't know if he thought it through or not, but he definitely played it against type.

My worst hand was just bad luck again in that I limped on the button with 7-8 suited. The flop came 6-7-8 rainbow. Marty in the big blind checks, and a couple of other guys check around. I make a pot sized bet. Marty reraises me all in. I decide that Marty would not make that move with a draw and I am pretty sure he would not do that with top pair. I lay it down face up and he shows me 9-10 for the nuts. That was my best play of the night and I lost money.

Overall I bluffed too much and I played too many hands preflop. I tried to get in cheap where I could, but there were too many times where I had to call raises after I limped and I was definitely not hitting any of those flops.

Last night I stopped at Fort McDowell after coming back from a client visit in Payson. I usually like the tournament structure there because they give you a decent amount of chips. I arrived a little later than I wanted at 5:30 PM so I didn't think I would get many bonus chips for my play before the tournament.

The first table available was 6-12. I bought in for $200 and proceeded to win my first hand. Then a little while later I flopped a set and won another big pot. I had doubled my buy in inside of 30 minutes. This table was playing as bad as a 2-4 table. I was really getting depressed that it was going to break when the tournament started.

Knowing it was going to break, I decided to sign up for the tournament anyways, since technically it would be a free roll with my winnings. Unfortunately I got screwed on my starting chips. I only started with 1000 and 25-50 blinds. Apparently they are allowing you to buy more chips with Frequent Player Points on your Fort McDowell card. Most of my table started with 3000-5000 in chips.

Add to equation that I was feeling a little under the weather, I decided that I would try to double up quick. I was pretty tight for the first two rounds because the rest of the players were just loose aggressive maniacs. I was down to about 700 in chips when I made my move.

I had Jack-10 suited a couple off the button. It was folded to me and I put in my 700 which was 7x the blind. The big blind called with A-7. I hit a Jack on the flop and it held up.

The blinds went up again to 75-150. I was under the gun. I raised all in with pocket 10's. I figure it might look a little suspicious but I wanted a call but only one caller if possible. The guy two to my left with a lot of chips decided to call with Ace-Jack. My tens held up and now I was over 3000.

I kept telling myself not to worry about making money in the tournament until I was the chip leader at my table. I was never close to that although eventually I was at least a middle stack. Eventually the 120 person field was wittled down to about 40. Here is the one hand I misplayed.

I had Ace-10 offsuit in the small blind. The Big Blind was really short and was definitely going to go all in on this hand. I think the blinds were 200-400 with 50 ante. My M was just over 10. It was folded to the button and tried to act all important and stares at his cards for a few seconds. Then he slowly counted out his chips for a raise to 1200. I felt like he was just trying to steal. I didn't know if I should just call and push in on the flop or just reraise him now. The hard part was the big blind being ready to go all in. I just called and the big blind put the rest of his chips in and we had to call 300 more.

The flop was all rags. I wussed out and checked. For some reason I thought the button might check it down. Now he put in 2000 which basically commits him to the pot. I fold. The button turned over K-7 suited. The big blind eventually won the hand. My Ace-10 would not have hit anything on the board.

I think this was one of those wrong moves at the right time. If my read is that he's stealing and I am trying to double up, I think Ace-10 is plenty good enough to push all in. It was probably enough to make him fold and it may have been strong enough to make the big blind fold anyway.

Eventually I made it to the final 3 tables. Incredibly the average stack was only 8x the blinds. No one at my table seemed to get that the only bet was all in. I stole a couple of pots. Then on the big blind I had Ace-Queen suited. The cutoff went all in. It looked like a steal, but it didn't matter because I was ready to stick my chips in. He flipped up K-9 of spades so I had him dominated since my cards were spades as well. He caught a King on the turn and I was out. I was 3 for 4 on my races, but unfortunately the one I lost, I was all in.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Never Say Die & Big Home Game Tonight

Sometimes it's a bad thing to be dealt pocket Aces in the first couple of rounds of blinds in a one table sit and go. Usually you end up winning a small pot of less than $100 and you are on your merry way. Occasionally you get lucky and run into someone with a lower pocket pair and manage to get all their chips.

It seems like about 50% of the time you get your preflop raise called and then the flop comes out with a few draws. You make a bet to protect your hand and the opponent calls again. Now I have 1/3 of my stack in the middle and I'm not really sure where I am at. The turn comes and it is another bad card which completes a straight or flush. Now what? Sometimes I feel like I should bet again to pray that they will fold. Other times I feel like checking and hoping they will let me get away from the pot without putting any more chips in the middle.

A couple of nights ago I was in this situation. The second hand of the tournament I get dealt Aces in the big blind. It's folded to the button who just calls. The small blind completes, so I'm thinking I am not going to make any money with this hand. I raise it to 50 and both call. The flop is Qd - Tc - 6d. The sb checks and I bet 100 into the 150 dollar pot. The button folds but the small blind calls. The turn is the 7d putting 3 diamonds on the board. The sb checks again so I still have no idea what he has. For some reason I'm playing a bit weak so I decided to check it through. The river is 9c so not only is there a flush out there, but all you need is an 8 for a straight or KJ for a better straight. I am thinking I am probably screwed. To increase this feeling the small blind leads out for 350 which is the size of the pot.

For some reason I can't lay it down so I call and he turns over Td - 4d for the flush. So I lose 500 with Aces. The good news is my check through on the turn kept the pot small. The bad news is, half my stack is gone.

What made this tournament a lot of fun is that I did not get discouraged. The blinds were only 10-15 so I still had an M of 20 so there was time to come back. Sure enough I scratched and clawed my way into a second place finish. In fact I managed to get Aces dealt to me again and this time I doubled up with them. Never give up!

Tonight is the National Championship game between USC and Texas. Curtis is having a few of us over to play 1-2 Pot Limit Hold'em and watch the game. The standard home game crew is coming so there is a chance to make some money. I think tonight I am going to play tight solid poker. Usually I goof around a little and try to push people around. I have lost a bit of money in the last couple of games, so hopefully they will remember that and call me with some crappy hands.

Here is my strategy. If I have a chance to isolate Carlo or Ryan in a hand I should probably do it. Especially Carlo since he'll chase with anything. Ryan I can get to fold along with Robert. I should probably stay away from Jon if he shows up. Bill I can just wait until about 9:00 PM when he'll get bored and then I can take all his money.

Bill also wants to challenge me to a heads up freeze out for $100. He owes me $150 from previous bets so basically I am playing with house money. Maybe we could start with .50-$1 blinds and move them up every 15 minutes. That should give me enough time to take him down. I think I want to play just to see if I have actually learned anything from all the sit and gos I have played in the two years since the last time we did it. We'll see.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Taking a Shot At The Big Game

Using the excuse of I had not had a losing session since I put the wedding ring on my finger, I thought I would take a little step up in limits to the 6-12 game at Gila River.

Right away, a bald guy sat down on my right that I had played against a couple of days earlier at the 4-8 table. He was someone who I wanted to stay away from. I don't think he's a great player necessarily, but he tends to be in pots with good cards and I don't think he's afraid to lay down a hand when he's beat. In other words, if I win any money off of him, it won't be much.

After a few rounds of blinds, my basic conclusion is that the players are still bad, just not as horrible as the low limit players. They will play A-10 under the gun, while a bad 3-6 player will play any Ace. There was a lot of raising preflop, but mostly it was due to the aggressive player in the 9 seat. He had a great personality and was obviously there to have fun. Just the type of player I like at my table.

Overall, I was not getting the best cards on night so there was probably no way I was going to come out a winner. However, there was one mistake I made over and over again.

Do not call a raise with Ace-Jack. Let me say this again.....DO NOT CALL A RAISE WITH ACE-JACK!!!!!!!!

I lost every time I was dealt these two evil cards. 1/2 the time I missed the flop and had to fold after calling 2 preflop. Once my Jack with top kicker was beat by Aces. Another time, my Ace with Jack kicker was beat by the Ace with Queen kicker. I chopped one pot when I paired the Ace but the board paired at the end. The player with the low Ace, was saved by the King on the flop which became the kicker for the Aces over 5's.

Another time, a player who was raising with crap came in for a raise again. I was on the button and just called because I was beat up (probably not the best reason for a decision). The flop had two Queens and a low card. The preflop raiser led out again. The flop looked pretty ragged and I was willing to gamble that he did not have a Queen. Plus I had a back door nut flush draw. My plan was to call the bet on the flop with the intention of raising the turn. The turn was another club giving me 4 to the flush but it was another low card. He bet out, but I decided that I would just call now to see if I hit the flush. If I get it on the end, I will raise him then. The river is another Ace. Once again he leads out.

My read is that he does not have a Queen. It's probably a medium pocket pair. Because he raised preflop and led out on every other street, there's a decent chance he has something better that just two pair. So I just make the crying call and he turns over Queen-7 for 3 of a kind. Ugh!

On a positive note. A few times the table got short handed, once even down to 5 players. I played very well short handed. I stepped up my aggressiveness and was raising in position and lead betting second pair. I actually made it into the black before the table filled up again. Once we got to 9 handed again, it all fell apart.

So after 5 hours of poker, I was down $217. Not a major loss, just enough to sting a little. One of these days I will step up in limits and actually be lucky enough to get some cards and make a score. I hope it happens in 2006.