Monday, May 26, 2008

Hole In One!!!!

I scored my first hole in one on Sunday. It was on the 8th hole at Phoenix Country Club. The pin was in the back of the green and it was playing 188 yards from the white tees. I hit a five iron and it started out high and a little left. It faded back towards the pin, took one bounce and went in the hole.

I saw the ball disappear, but I was not sure that it went in. It could have easily gone off the back of the green. I looked through my range finder to see if I could spot the ball, and it definitely was not on the surface of the green.

When we drove up to the green, I grabbed my wedge and putter because I did not want to jinx it. As I walked up, I kept looking over the back of the green to see if my ball was there. Finally I reached the hole and there it was.

I'm glad my first hole in one, was a well struck shot. I'd hate to hit a ball thin with a 20 yard fade and get that lucky. At least now I can say it looked good the whole way. It was also part of a great round of golf where I finished with a 75 which is 4 over par. I believe it's my best round at Phoenix Country Club. My best round ever is one over par which I did at Ventana Canyon and Whirlwind-Devil's Claw.

Since I was so lucky in golf that day, I decided the time was right to play my Step 5 Sit and Go to the World Series. Surprisingly it took a long time to fill up, but eventually we got underway.

This was the tightest sit and go I have ever seen. Through 30 hands, there were two players that had yet to play a hand and two others with a vpip of less than 10%. When I saw how tight everyone was, I made some selective blind steals with any two cards. It did not do much good since the blinds were small and I was not picking up any premium cards.

There was not much interesting about the tournament and I finished 5th after running Ace rag into Kings in a small blind vs big blind shove.

On Monday I played my step 4 and was bounced back down to step 2. Fuck! I have run so bad in poker this month. I can't afford to have a month this bad, this close to the World Series.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Almost There

I bought into a Poker Stars Step 2 a few days ago. I did not want to mess around trying to win the $7.50 Step One, so I figured the $27 was worth avoiding the hassle.

I have not been able to play every day, but I have managed to move all the way up to step 5 without having to take any steps backwards. Tonight's step 4 was a shining example of my luck box skills.

I started out a little more active than usual, because the table was extremely tight. I had added a couple hundred to my stack, when I got involved in a pot that I shouldn't have and lost it all back. I raised an utg limper with A5o on the button. He called the 4x raise to 120. The flop was 7c-5c-Qc. I did not have a club. It was checked to me and I bet 180. My opponent min raised to 360 and I was done with the hand. This dropped me down to 1175.

My least favorite hands in SNG's are low pocket pairs. You never really have a big enough stack to play them for set value. I hate raising them, because I always have to fold like a little girl if I am reraised out of position.

I had a weird stretch where in 3 consecutive hands I was dealt 77, 77, and 88.
I raised the first time and won the blinds. I folded the second time because I felt like I would get raised or have to play them out of position. Good thing I did, because two players ended up all in with QQ and AKs. Then I had 88 under the gun and just limped. It was folded through the blinds and the flop came KK4. I made a small probing bet and won that pot.

So I am almost back up to my starting stack with 8 left.

A couple of hands go by and I get 88 in the cut off and raise. This time the big stack at the table smooth calls behind me on the button. The flop is Tc-9h-3h. I check and fold to a bet of 200. I was actually cursing my card luck because if I was going to catch pocket pairs, it was going to need to be bigger than 8's.

After a couple of rounds of blinds at 50-100, I am in the big blind with 1010 in chips and there are still 8 players left. I am dealt KhTd. Miniatus in middle position makes it 300 to go with 1945 left behind. I decide to resteal since I need chips bad and unless he has a monster like AA, KK, QQ, or AK I will be in ok shape to suck out, or he folds. He takes the maximum time to consider and then calls with KcJd. I guess he was getting 2-1 but it seems like a loose call.
Anyway, I build the drama and wait until the river to spike my ten and double up.

The very next hand on the small blind I pick up pocket Aces. Cards Speak (chip leader at 4290 in chips) raises to 250 under the gun. It's folded to me and I raise to 600. Cards Speak calls and we have 1300 in the pot.

The flop is 6h-8c-5s. I check hoping he has an over pair and wants to bet to protect his hand. Instead he checks it through. The turn is a beautiful Ace. I check again, hoping for some action. He checks again. Shit! The river is a 5 and pairs the board. I have the nut full house. I make a weak looking bet of 500. Cards Speak min raises to 1000 and I put the rest of my 970 in for the last raise. Cards Speak shows 66 for 6's full of 5's. I had him crushed preflop, he had me squished on the flop, and I re-sucked out on the turn.

Suddenly I am the chip leader with 4240 in chips.

Cards Speak makes a come back and with 5 players left, he takes 900 of my chips after I raise AJo in small blind to his Big Blind. The flop has an Ace and 3 hearts. None of my cards are red, but I make the continuation bet and get called. The turn is an offsuit 6 and I check and he bets 975. I can't stand the heat and fold. He says in the chat that it's a good fold. I guess I believe him.

I tread water for a while and there are now 4 of us left. Top 3 get their money back. 4th place goes back to Step 3. The blinds are 100-200 and I have 2290 in the small blind. It's folded to me and I push Qs8d. I'm pretty sure this is an ok play according to SNG Power Tools. For some reason Cards Speak calls me with As8s and only 2520 in his stack. This time I end the suspense on the turn and hit my Queen. Now I have 4500 in chips and I'm in second place with 4 left and one shorty.

I eliminate Cards Speak the next hand when I pick up Ace-Jack on the button and limp in so I can include the Big blind when Cards Speak pushes in the rest of his chips in the small blind.

Three of us left and now it's truly a free roll. The end comes when my opponents square off with AhQs vs. KcJc. Lucky for me, the flop comes Ks-Kd-Kh and the larger stack eliminates the other player and I am on to step 5!

On an unrelated note, my golf game has been struggling lately. My Driver has been really wild and I bought the Leadbetter Interactive DVD set to try and correct some things at the top of my swing. I recorded my swing on my video camera and noticed that I was taking the driver back way inside and flat and then moving it more upright at the top. It looked pretty bad.

So now I am trying to concentrate on taking my arms back in more of an upward motion and less around my body. I want to use the software in the DVD's to analyze my swing in more detail but so far I have been unable to get the damn thing installed on my laptop.

On Monday of this week my country club had a US Open qualifying tournament. 86 players shooting for 6 spots. The USGA set up the course and the pins. Bill and I decided to test our games against the pros and see how far back we are.

We both birdied the first hole which is a Par 5 down wind. Man this is easy! Oops. It all fell apart after that. I shot an 88 with 5 double bogeys. Worse yet, Bill shot a 91. This was a week after he shot 74 on a course in Prescott.

This morning I left Bill a voice mail, rubbing in my ugly victory and asked him what was going through his head seeing the vast difference in his game from week to week. Bill blamed it all on the fact that he missed too many fairways. In Prescott, the course was wide open and even if you were off the fairway from the tee, you still had an open shot at the green. At Phoenix Country Club, you are constantly fighting the trees if you are the slightest bit off line. Hell there are some fairways, where you need to be on the right side or you have trouble with the trees.

Bill stated, "If I can play from the middle of the fairway on every hole, I will shoot 74 every time." I sense a bet coming. Bill did miss some fairways, but his bigger problem was his wedge game. I believe if you miss the fairway, that a good golfer should be able to make bogey from just about anywhere. Bill had a few double bogeys and worse, due to missing the fairway, and then hitting bad wedges to the green. Maybe we'll play for fun and I'll give him a ball in the fairway on every non par 3 and bet him if he can shoot the 74. Or maybe he gives me 10 strokes and I play my ball against his. We'll see.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Up and Down the Steps

I think I have found the way I am going to try and qualify for the Sorld Series Of Poker Main Event. The Poker Stars steps seem to be the way to go.

I can never find the time to play in a satellite and then another satellite. The Steps are 5 minute round turbo Sit and Go's so if you make it to the final two or 3 players it lasts no more than an hour.

I went on a bit of a run and made it to step 4. That left two more to get through for the seat. What is cool is that even if you don't win step 6, you can win a large amount of cash for some of the other top places. Unfortunately, my luck ran out and went back to step 3, then step 2 twice, and now out.

I have also noticed a lot of atrocious play, so I think I have an edge. The problem is that even with an edge, you need to get very lucky to make it all the way through.

I haven't counted for sure, but I would guess that you need to be all in at least 8-10 times in each Sit and Go. The blinds go up so fast and you need to steal the blinds to keep up. So you have to be lucky and not run into a good hand and you need your rare pocket aces or kings to hold up.

I guess I'll have to buy the activation code for my old Sit and Go Power tools and run some scenarios. One thing I figured out from Card Runners is that if there are 3 players left and the top two move on to the next round, then you need a 67% favored hand to make a call of an all in bet. There are not too many hands that meet that criteria. That also means that you should be able to push almost any two from the small blind. Then the luck comes back into play because after the third time in a row of shoving, the BB will make the fuck you call and try and get lucky. For some reason that always seems to work against me.