Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Poker blahs

I am still struggling with motivation. Losing sucks and lately it has been sucking my inspiration from the game. I used to get more motivated to come back from a loss, but now the loss has been so big, that I dread the long hours it will take to build back up.

I have been good about not trying to move up and make it all back in one session, but it's hard to resist.

It's been a while since I have been in the running in a multi table tournament. This is the pattern that has been consistent: 180 man $22 tourney on Stars last night.

1. Wait for good hands that don't come early. Watch as idiots lose chips in big pots that you are not in.

2. Start to lose patience and lose 1/3 of my stack by raising with medium hand and laying down to reraise, or missing flop and continuation betting but getting called.

3. Blinds are up and I steal blinds a couple of times.

4. Somebody calls my all in raise and sucks out. I am out in 80th place.

Here was the end last night:

I have 1185 in chips. Blinds are 50-100. I am dealt Ad 5s on the button.

It's folded to me. The small blind has 1265 in chips and the big blind has 5460 in chips.

This is an obvious raise, the question is whether it should be all in or just 300. I decide 300 since there are still 7 minutes left in this level, and I'll still have 7 big bets if I have to fold to a reraise or miss the flop.

The small blind moves all in and the big blind folds. I fold as well.

Next hand in the cut off, I am dealt Kh 8d. It is folded to me again. Now I decide I need the chips. Note: this may not be the best move in retrospect, but there are only a few minutes left now in the level. This is the exact opposite of my thinking in the previous hand. I raise all in.

I am called by the big blind who has 1140 chips with 33. I guess he was looking to gamble.
Flop is Ad Ks 6c. Yeah I have a King! He is down to 2 outs. Turn is an 8c. I have two pair, but it doesn't matter since it still doesn't beat 3 of a kind, which is my opponent's only chance. River is the 3. Fuck!

I play a $22 Sit and Go on Stars the night before last. I have been playing more Sits one table at a time, to work on my game. I play solid and make it to heads up. My heads up play is relatively weak, but I am getting better. Pokerstars Sits tend to give you a lot of play heads up. Even on the final hand, we both had about 13-15 big blinds left.

My opponent should have been out when we were 3 handed. I had over 8000 in chips and my 2 opponents had less than 2000. He rivered a 6 for 3 of a kind and stayed alive. Eventually we made it to heads up and he was still alive.

My opponent, Spkrothhouse had reraised me a couple of times all in and watched me fold. He had also over bet all in preflop once as well. I was starting to believe that when he overbet the pot, that he had nothing and that when he bet small, he had the goods. Here is the last hand.

Larryvq 6460
Srkrothhouse 7040.
Blinds are 200-400 with 25 ante.

Larry posts the small blind and has the button.

I am dealt Ac 6s. I raise to 1225 and he calls.

Flop is 4s 4h Ks. He bets all in for 5815 into a 2450 pot. This smells like another bluff. I have about the worst hand I would call with. I call.

Skrot turns over Jh 8s. I caught him with his hand in the cookie jar.

Of course he spikes an 8 on the turn and I don't get my Ace on the river.

I need a Big Score!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Miracle SNG Comeback

So I took a couple of days off and fired up a $22 sit and go on Party last night. I was just playing one, because I was watching the concert DVD of Journey from 1981. Things were going my way, as I hit trips on the first hand and won a big pot. I made it to three handed and then knocked out the short stack to get heads up. Starting heads up I had 13465 chips and Burke21 had 6535. Blinds were 300-600.

A couple of hands later, I call a reraise on the button with KQ of clubs. The flop is 6s, 4s, 6d and Burke21 pushes in 2471 chips. I can't call and now it's tied.

A little later, I catch a diamond flush with Jc 2d. I win 2400 chips and my lead is up to 12701 to 7299. I run my lead up to 15000 to 5000 and stall for a little time, so the blinds will go up to 400-800 with a 25 ante. I figure I can just start pushing all in, since he has played passive for the most part.

For the next three hands I push all in, but it's easy because I am dealt AQ, AK, AJ. On the AJ hand, he calls his last 5000 with Kh 2d. Of course he hits his King on the flop and now we're tied again.

The next hand, I start with 10102 and he has 9898. I post the big blind and I am dealt 10d 7d. Burke just calls from the button. The flop is 8d 6d, Qh. So assuming that Phil Gordon's rule of 2 and 4 is correct, I have 12 outs times 4, so a 48% chance to win the hand, assuming that 10 high is no good. Heck if I throw in the 3 tens, it's a 60% chance. I check and Burke21 leads out for 1600. I push all in and he calls with 9s 8c. I get no help on the turn or river so now I am practically dead. I have 204 left and Burke21 has 19,796.

Remember the blinds are 400-800 with 25 antes. I will have to double up at least 3 times just to have more than the blinds. So here's what happens:

1. 4h, 2h win with pair of 2's
2. 6d, 6s win with 6's and 4's
3. 8d, 3s win with pair of 8's
4. 10s, 5d win with pair of 5's I now have 3264 in chips
5. I fold 6d, jh on button
6. Jh, 9d I push from big blind and hit straight 7-J now I have 5678 in chips and I am back in this thing.

Eventually I came all the way back and won the final hand when my Ace Queen held up against his Queen Eight.

Possibly the greatest comeback ever!

Monday, April 03, 2006

What Have I Learned From Losing Last Month?

I have officially seen the worst downswing in my brief poker playing history. I hate reading other player's posts about their losing streaks so I will not detail the individual hands.

The culmination of this streak was my trip to Las Vegas last weekend with my friend Tom and his two friends Brad and Ken. I believe the total wreckage of the weekend was down $1,500.

Here is what I believe I have learned during the last 6 weeks of losing:

1. If you start out bad at a table, it's best to just change tables or change games.

I have never been a big proponent of the loss limit camp to betting strategy. If the game is good, you should be patient and wait for the cards to turn. It's all one big session. That is all true, however there are other things that override that strategy.

When you start out losing, you are building a bad table image. I sat at the 6-12 table at Caesers with some of the worst players in Vegas. For the first two hours, I did not win a single hand. These players are not afraid to play a hand with me, because they haven't felt the sting of losing against me. They are happy to chase their long shot draws because it never enters their mind that they are hopelessly behind in the hand. Why should it, every time they play against me, they win? The only way to change this image is to go on a mad rush of cards and punish the table for an hour. This seems to very seldom happen, so I think the best strategy is to get up and find a fresh table.

2. You have to be even more patient at No Limit then Limit in cash games

The only way to make money in a No Limit cash game on the internet is to hope that your great hands, match up with somebody's pretty good hand. There are very few opportunities to outplay your opponents in low limit online NL hold'em. The key is to keep throwing bait in the water by playing solid hands along with a few speculative ones. Once you land the nuts, you need to get lucky and hope someone else really likes their hand. Hopefully your stack has not been eroded by bad beats or impatient play, so that when you double up with your monster, it makes a profit for the session instead of just getting you back to even.

I say patient, because I have often lost it, after receiving a number of good hands in a game and not getting paid off. Eventually you start to get fancy and try checking or slow playing. Then it comes back to bite you in the ass.

Overall, I am going to take a few days off from playing and figure out a new plan. I am probably going to have to drop down to 2-4 online and grind it out in the cash games again. With live poker, I guess I am going to have to back to the 3-6 games to regain my confidence and bankroll. Or I may just concentrate on the Steps and see if I can make a big score to rebuild the bankroll in a hurry. I still feel that I have not been outplayed, however I did notice one difference in my play at 3-6 versus 6-12.

At 3-6, the game feels easy to me. I can concentrate more on the players, and less on how much money I have in front of me. I know I am not describing this well, but I feel like I know what the players are going to do, before they do it at 3-6. It's near impossible to read their hands sometimes, but at least I can get a read on whether they are weak or strong.