Monday, June 26, 2006

The Quest for WSOP glory continues

I had my first experience trying to qualify with Poker Stars over the weekend. I entered the $27 rebuy satellite into the $650 qualifier on Sunday night.

I had a mad rush of cards early, including flopping the mortal nuts twice. Somehow I still managed to use two additional buy ins and then the add on for a total investment of $102 by the first break. The good news was that I was in the top 10.

I eventually made it to the final table and at bubble time, I had a medium stack. I did not feel I could fold into the win, but I didn't want to take a lot of chances either. The problem was, no one was playing sherriff and trying to pick off the short stacks as they kept stealing blinds to stay alive. There were 4 spots into the next tournament and cash for 5th place. With the blinds at 1000-2000 and 100 ante there were 7 players left. I had 37,789 in chips and in second place.

I was dealt QJo in the small blind when Wulffman with 28,880 in chips raised to 6000 from the button. It looked like a steal and he had been rather active building up from a very short stack at the final table. I decided to call and see if I flopped something.

Flop was Td 5c Jh. I led out for 10,000 assuming he would fold. Wulffman raised me all in for an additional 12,780. I really expected my hand to be good so I called. Wulffman turned over AJ to have me dominated.

So now I am under 10,000 and I am one of the short stacks. I steal a couple of times to maintain my stack. We lose one player along the way, so now we are truly on the bubble with 6 players left. I am dealt KK under the gun. I could just limp and see if can get more action, however I had been raising all in the other times and I didn't want to raise any suspicion. Sure enough, the player on my left calls and Wulffman calls from the big blind.

The flop is 7c 3c 6c and I have the King of clubs. Wulfmman checks in the BB and lowroad bets 10,757 and is all in. Wulfmann folds.

Ok push the pot to me. Wait a second.....lowroad has pocket Aces. Oh my fucking god! I type in "come on club" into the chat and the river is a beautiful 2 of clubs and I win the pot.

Lowroad does get a break when a medium stack decides to take his flush up against Wulffman's nut flush and busts out. So at least he won some money to take the sting out of getting his Aces cracked.

So I qualified for the big Sunday $650 tournament.

While I was playing the Poker Stars Rebuy, I was also playing a $75 satellite into the 100 seat guarantee in July on Full Tilt. I made the final table of that one and I was pretty sure I would get my seat. Somehow I donked myself down to 2,870 in chips at the 200-400 blind level with 6 players left. I was dealt A2s on the button. It was folded to me and I pushed in. Unfortunately the chip leader with 17,535 in chips woke up with a hand in the big blind. He called with AQ and I busted out.

I really should not have taken the chance there. I needed to steal against the stacks at 7000 to 4000 level who are not taking any chances. Hell they may not even call with that AQ in that spot. The chip leader could obviously take the chance to bust someone.

So Sunday I spent all day psyching myself up for the big Poker Stars tournament. I really felt like this would be the one and I couldn't wait to tell all my friends how I didn't need their backing and I how I will win money in the main event all by myself.

I was happy to see that when everyone was finally registered that there were 24 seats up for grabs. Almost 3 tables! The blind levels were 30 minutes and we started with 2500 chips so we had a lot of play.

I did not have any luck at all. My best hand the whole time was one pair. I was dealt pocket pairs at least a dozen times and never flopped a set. I dropped down to about 1700, when I made a check raise bluff all in with A8 offsuit. I had flopped the Ace, but I was not crazy about my kicker. A third spade hit the turn and I check raised all in. My opponent finally folded after thinking about it for a minute. He asked how big my kicker was and I lied and told him I had the flush.

That was the only time I seized an opportunity and won a decent sized pot. It was really weird because it seemed like everyone at my table was a good player. Even after identifying who was playing weak tight, someone else would jump in and steal the blinds before I got the chance. There were a couple of times where I was ready to resteal and again someone jumped in front of me.

I hope the rest of my big tournaments don't have that many good players. Since I had to rely on good cards that were not coming, I really did not have much of a chance. I finally went broke with top pair, 2nd nut kicker when a tricky player limped with AA preflop.

I am still rearing to try again and I think I will even enter a live satellite in Las Vegas when I am there for the Blogger gathering as well as hanging out with the Yuma crew at the Hard Rock. I still have 3 weeks.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Swimming against the tide

In the words of the great Billy Baxter, "When you shoot pool, somedays you make every shot and other days you hit the rail every time."

Yesterday, I was home early from work because we were getting our carpets cleaned. I decided to enter a few satellites to the World Series. Lady Luck was a screaming bitch yesterday.

Full Tilt sat to 100 seat giveaway in July

Very early and I am in the small blind with Kh Qs. I have 1,470 in chips to start. It's folded to the cutoff with 1470 in chips. He raises from 30 to 105. Button folds, I call, and big blind folds.

Flop is Ks 7h 8c. For some reason, I decide to let my opponent try to bluff off his chips. I check and he bets 180 into a 225 pot. I just call.

Turn is 7s. I check again and now he bets 330 into a 810 pot. I just call again.

River is Ad. I decide to move all in for my remaining 855. Cutoff calls with Ac Td and wins the pot.

So good read, but I should have just raised the turn all in, if I was sure. Why risk the river and having to bet or call my remaining chips?

Poker Stars $80 satellite into Sunday WSOP satellite

I was playing well and keeping above average in chips. Pretty much in the top ten for most of the tournament. We had just made it down to 2 tables. I think there were 7 spots available to win, so I definitely needed to acquire some more chips to make the final table.

When we were at 3 tables, my table was playing really tight 6 handed. It was rare that we saw a flop and I managed to steal a few blinds myself to maintain.

So I start with 4160 in chips. I am dealt Kh Tc at UTG +2. I think I can steal with blinds at 100-200 so I raise to 600. The big blind calls.

The flop is 2s 8h Td. It's a good flop in that it's unlikely that it hit anybody, but it's bad that if someone wants to play back at me, I will be uncomfortable. The BB checks and I bet 800. This guy raises all in for his last 2650. So it's 1850 to call. This player had made some bad plays in the past, so I figure I am ahead and this is a good chance to win a lot of chips. I call.

Opponent turn over Jc Ts. I have him dominated. He has 3 Jacks for outs and running straight cards. The turn is a harmless 5, but the river is the Jack. Fuck!!!!!

Two hands later I bust out when I raise all in with AJ and get called by AQ.

Poker Stars $16 Double Shoot out to Sunday WSOP qualifier.

My table is made up of a bunch of crazies and before I know it, 5 of them have busted out and we are still at the 6th level. I had a good stack but lost half of it when stealing and getting played back at when I had to lay them down.

Now I am at 2745 in chips which is tied for 2nd. The blinds are 100-200 with 25 ante. With the Ah 5h utg I decide to raise all in. Of course I run into Pocket Kings. The board gives me a glimmer of hope when I flop two more hearts. But I haven't hit a necessary flush draw in two weeks and I do not improve.

Party Poker, I played two $55 sits and busted out of those with no money. I also played the 3:00 PM $55 satellite to the 6:00 PM tournament.

I had been hovering around my starting stack of 3000. My table looked good as there were lots of reckless players willing to broke with top pair, medium kicker.

Finally I am dealt pocket Aces in the small blind. Blinds are 100-200 and I have 2570 before posting. There is a middle position raise to 600. Everyone folds to me. The raiser has 4,766 before the hand starts so he has me covered easily.

My dilemna is how much to raise? I could just shove it in now, but I don't want to scare them off. KK or QQ or AK will probably call me. But lower pocket pairs or AQ, AJ may fold. I don't want to min raise to 1200 because that seems to obvious and I want to hold some chips back to have them fold a flush or straight draw if they happen to flop one..

I decide on betting I decide to bet 1500 total, raising it 900. That leaves me 1070 left. There is 3200 now in the pot. So my idea of having some chips left over, doesn't really matter since now he will be getting the right odds to chase the flush if it hit.

So the flop is not great as it's 9d, Th, 8h. Lots of draws. I shove my last 1070 in and he calls immediately with Qs Ts. So my smaller raise worked to get the bad hand to chase. Of course it bites me in the ass when the Queen comes on the turn. So I need two Aces, 3 nines, or 3 eights to stay alive. Nope those odds are not good enough for me this day and I drown again.

Somedays you're the windshield, somedays you're the bug.

Monday, June 19, 2006

World Blogger Championship and Satellite update

I played in the freeroll on Poker Stars yesterday. I still can't believe there were over 2,200 players signed up. They must not all be poker blogs, but who cares, it's still free.

I was not having any luck at all and mostly folding my way through the first few levels. Here is the final hand.

I have 2085 in chips which is not much more than the 2000 I started with. I am dealt As Kd in late position. The blinds are 50-100. It's folded to me and I raise to 300. Born2DogBaby (2190 in chips)on my left calls and everyone else folds.

750 in the pot to the flop of 4c Qc 4s. I bet 350 in a continuation bet figuring the board should look scary and it's paired so I doubt he called my raise with a 4. I only have to sweat AQ or KQ or maybe QJ. Or if he has the Ace of clubs he may call. Born2DogBaby then raises me all in for 1890.

So it's 1435 to call into a 4320 pot. Almost 3 to 1. This raise seems like he doesn't want a call. For some reason I put him on a flush draw. I figure I am ahead of his draw and if he has a Queen, I still have 6 outs. He turns over Td Jh for an outright bluff. So I am a 3-1 favorite. The jack hits the turn and I am out.

Looking back on it now, this was a stupid call on my part. If Born2DogBaby has a Queen, I am a 3-1 dog. If it's Ace-Queen I am almost an 8-1 dog. A decent player that raises all in on a flush draw, usually has the nut flush draw, so one of my Aces would be dead.

So even though I was ahead in the hand, from a theoretical standpoint it was a horrible move.

I was playing in the $27 rebuy tournament at the same time as the Blogger tournament on Poker Stars and not having any luck there either. Everyone was gambling it up in the first few levels trying to double and triple up. I was more than willing to spend a few rebuys but I never had any decent cards to play. When I finally did get a decent hand in the rebuy period and moved all in, everyone folded because I was the only one on the table that had not played a hand in 2 levels.

Finally I got impatient after the break and with 10 BB left and A7 offsuit in early position, I raised all in. I was called by AQ and it was over after blowing a stupid $52 on a tournament I was not really paying attention to.

Overall in my quest for World Series of Poker glory I am still up $905 after 18 tournaments. My one near miss has paid for a lot of entries. Plus my success rate in the $55 sats on Party Poker has made things relatively cheap. Only 40 days left.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Guys Night Out

I did not make it to Vegas last weekend because I couldn't get anyone else to go with me. So instead I got Rob, Carlo, and Jon to go out to dinner Saturday night and then to Casino Arizona for a long night of poker.

We finally arrived around 8:00 PM and I was immediately seated in a 4-8 game. My very first hand I was dealt 2 black Kings. I raise and get two callers. The flop has an Ace. The player on my right leads out. I glance at the other opponent on my left. He looks ready to call. I muck it. Good read on my part, since when the hand was over, the both had an Ace.

The rest of the night followed the same script in that I just could not get a hand to hold up. I had lots of good starting hands this time, but never flopped anything good.

I stayed until 2:30 AM and left down $244. What a crappy run I have had at Casino AZ.

I thought I would sleep in on Sunday and be sick of poker. Unfortunately, the dogs decided to wake me up at 6:00 AM and I couldn't get back to sleep. Surprisingly I actually felt like playing poker again.

I played a satellite on Full Tilt and lost. I also lost some money in the ring no limit games again. After an afternoon nap, I logged on to Party for the 3:00 PM $55 satellite. Once again I qualified for the 6:00 PM satellite to the Main Event. I am continually surprised how easy it is to qualify in these small satellites. I am currently 4 for 8 in qualifying for the $215 tournament. This doesn't include the one tournament where my internet service went out in the middle of it and I had to call Rob and have him log on for me and coach him over the phone. On that one, I finished two spots away from qualifying but I did win $36 back.

Amazingly I am currently ahead by $1,067 in my attempts to qualify. My original plans were to spend about $3,000 trying to qualify. I may luck out and not have to spend all of my account.

After qualifying for the 6:00 PM tournament, I spent some time psyching myself up and telling myself that this was the tournament to win. When I logged on, I was surprised to learn that there would be 12 whole seats awarded in this tournament! That means there were over 600 players in this shin dig. This looks like a really good chance.

10 hands into the tournament, I busted out. Yay me!

Here's the hand:
Blinds are 20-40.
I have 2940 chips on the button with Qs Ts. One limper and I limp. The Small Blind raises to 180. The limper calls and I call. There is 580 in the pot.

Flop: 7h, Qc, Tc

Now I am trying to figure out how to double up. The Small Blind raiser bets 533 and the first limper folds. Because of the amount of the preflop raise and the position of the raisier I am putting him on a good hand. Probably AA, KK, AQ, maybe QQ. I think the size of the flop bet tells me it's probably AQ, AA, or KK. If he hit trips, he would probably bet less or even check. Maybe he has Ac Kc and is pushing a flush and straight draw.

Here's where I stand depending on my opponent's holdings:
Opponent's hand Odds
AA 73% favorite
KK 71% favorite
QQ practically drawing dead
AQ 84% favorite
AcKc 55% favorite
AcKs 77% favorite

So I decide to just raise 2x his bet to 1066. So my opponent has to call 533 into a pot of of 2179.

Now that I know the odds, I obviously should have raised more. Probably just all in. There's a good chance that he calls with some of these hands.

He calls the 533.

The turn is an Ace of hearts. So no flush yet, but it does put a straight on the board. My opponent puts me all in for 1694, leaving him with just 1100 in chips. Uh oh.

Now my chances do not look so good since if he has AQ, QQ, or AA I am beat. The only realistic hand I am ahead of is pocket Kings and the Ace probably would have scared him. Unfortunately I did not have the time to figure all this out and I call.

Luckily he only had Ac Ks so I was still a 73% favorite. But the Ace came on the river and I lost to trip Aces.

So for future reference, if I have two pair and I think my opponent might have an over pair, it's better to raise all in or at least 3-4 times my opponent's initial bet. I am a favorite, but I can lose if the board pairs or something comes runner, runner. I am not enough of a favorite to slow play.

God Damn this game can be cruel.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

My Achilles Heel

The Casino Arizona has just been raping me lately. It is the only location that I do not have a winning record at. I can't figure it out.

Over my last few visits, I have felt that the level of my opponents has been especially bad. The problem is that I have not been able to find a way to take advantage of it.

Last night I must have been dealt Ace Queen at least 8 times. The only time I won with it, was when I did not raise it under the guy and by some miracle, my pair of Queens held up. On one hand in middle position I raised it after the guy on my right called preflop. It's folded around to him and he calls. I pair my Ace on the board but the board also has two 4's. He leads out and I raise. He just calls. The turn is a blank and he leads out again. Now I'm worried. I just call. River is another blank and he leads again. I make the crying call, figuring he has 3 fours. Instead he turns over Ace-King. I asked him nicely why he doesn't raise with that hand. "I guess I am just too conservative". Ya think??? These guys are playing a game that I am not familiar with.

At 3-6 on a kill pot, I am dealt QQ in the small blind. There is one raise by a player who seems to be decent, and a reraise all in by a donkey. Another donkey on the button calls. I ask how much it is to reraise (because I lose track of the bet amount after posting $2 and they take $1 for the jackpot drop). I bet $24. They all call.

The flop is 8 high. I bet and the decent player raises me and the donkey calls. Alright maybe I am up against KK or AA. The table had seemed pretty passive until that point. I just call.

The turn is another low card but it puts 3 cards to a straight out there now. The flop had 2 of the same suit. I figure everyone is still drawing because the decent player had to have a pocket pair with all the raising right?? I check and decent player checks??? and donkey checks. What the fuck? So now my initial read is a bit off and it's obvious that the other players are drawing. Now I just need to dodge the flush and straight and I might win. The river brings a 4 card straight on board of 2-7-8-9-10. I'm finished now. I check again and decent player bets. Donkey calls and I muck. Decent player had 66 and had the straight. Donkey had 2-4 suited??!!

I don't know what Donkey was doing, but the decent player was more interesting. I can understand the raise with 66 in a kill pot. I can understand the loose call of two more raises after it goes by him. What I don't understand is the raise of my flop bet? He was two cards away from a straight and there were two over cards on the flop.

I was totally confused and took a walk. I remembered that I would tell myself that if I started out losing at a table that I would switch games. Even though the players are bad, my table image is shot because no one is afraid of me.

I went to the desk and asked to be put in a 4-8 game. After folding a few hands I am dealt AA under the gun. I raise. The guy on my left calls and the button calls. The flop is 8-9-10 with 2 clubs. I have the Ace of clubs.

I bet, it's raised, it's reraised by the button. Fuck!!! I just call hoping the guy on my left will slow down. No such luck as he caps it. So 4 bets for the three of us on the flop. Now I am praying for another Ace or a club so at least I can draw at a flush. The turn is a red 3.

I check and then all hell breaks loose. Raise, reraise, I fold. Now it's heads up and unlimited raises. Each player puts in 6 raises. Let's of these players has Queen Jack. Odds are both players have it, but I've seen crazier things. My guess was that someone had Queen Jack of clubs and was freerolling the flush. Otherwise why put in all the raises?

The river pairs the 10. Now the straight is no longer the nuts. The guy on my left leads out and the button just calls. Now it's apparent that the guy on my left just got a full house. Sure enough it's 8's full of Tens. He just won a huuuge pot playing like an idiot.

When it was all said and done I only lost $202. I made some decent laydowns that saved me a few bets. Things will eventually turn around for me there but I doubt that I will ever make the big score that it would take to even things out.