Sunday, July 20, 2008

Some New Strategy, Same Old Mistakes

After the World Series of Poker, my wife suggested that maybe I should play a few more tournaments with a more reckless and aggressive style since that seems to be the way to win one of these things.

Now I don't totally agree with her suggestion on the strategy, but I will happily use it as an excuse to play more tournaments.

My first tournament after the WSOP was a 20k free roll on Full Tilt from my rake back site. Since it was a free roll, I figured everyone will be playing a little fast and loose and this may be a good experiment.

Results: Busto in 4 hands. I win the first hand with Ace-medium kicker. I think I folded the second hand. Third hand, I have Kd-Jc. I raise in position and get called by the Big Blind. Flop is all diamonds and all lower than my Jack. Opponent checks, I bet, he check raises, I move all in. He calls with the death hand of Ad,XX. Naturally I miss my 5 outs and I am down to 10BB. Very next hand I have 88 in early position. I move all in after one limper. Everyone folds to limper who calls with 99 and I am out.

Next tournament is the Wednesday weekly freeze out at Scott's. I am all ready to regale my friends with my WSOP stories but 1/2 of them don't show. It's 5 handed and we mistakenly start with 5k instead of the normal 4k.

I make a few aggressive plays on the button with mixed results. The most interesting hand happened with Scott. I am in the Big Blind and Scott is on my left. He limps in and everyone folds to the small blind who calls and I check with Queen-X. The flop is ragged low cards none of which match anything I have.

SB checks, I check, and Scott checks. Using my newly developed hand reading skills from the World Series, I determine that everybody missed. The turn is another ragged card which completes the rainbow. SB checks, and I bet figuring to pick up the pot. Scott calls quickly.

I am still not feeling any strength from Scott and I put him on some kind of gutter ball straight draw. The river misses all possible draws. I decide to fire again, 100% sure that this one will win the pot for me. Scott then raises me.

Of course I can't call with Queen high, so I decide to advertise that I got caught bluffing, just so I can get a little action later with a good hand. Scott then sticks the needle in me by showing the table Jack high.

WOW! The smooth call on the turn and bluff raise on the river. I was a little tilted there as I made a good read and got outplayed.

As the night wore on, Greg and Jeff busted and it was down to me, Scott, and Darrell. All this time, I think my largest stack count was 6k. Eventually the magic for Scott disappeared and he went out in 3rd place. I had moved all in about 6 times and had yet to be called, which allowed me to survive and skate into 2nd place. Heads up lasted one hand as I moved all in with 6d-7d and was called by A-7. No six for me and I pocketed a whopping $10 profit for the night.

The last tournament was Friday night with Jeff's "Knockout Dealers". This was a $200 buy in with $100 rebuys. We had close to 40 players. So the prize pool would be rather large. Jeff's idea is to hire hot models to deal the cards and then the players will tip them for good hands and bringing them drinks. Jeff promised his structure would be a little slower for me this time. He was wrong.

We started with 1,000 in chips and blinds were 10-20. Levels are 20 minutes long until the start of the 3rd hour when they go to 10 minutes. Our hot dealer was your stereotypical dumb blonde. In two of the first 3 hands someone was dealt a Joker from the new deck. Every few hands, she would forget to deal someone in or give the button one card instead of two. I just kept staring at her chest and trying to ignore all the other ineptitude. Her chest was incredibly skilled.

My strategy coming in was to be aggressive again and try to build up chips. Usually these tournaments have a lot of novices and calling stations, but this one was different. Three of the players at my table knew each other from the local casino tournaments so it looked like there was some skill at my table.

I raised a couple of hands early and was reraised off of them. When I finally get the button, it's folded to me and I have Qd-2d. I put in another raise and the Big Blind calls.

I totally miss the flop but there is one diamond. The blind checks and I bet hoping he folds. He calls but does not look strong. The turn is another diamond. He checks again. I fire again feeling like a line of check calls twice and a check again, usually means he's folding. He calls. Ugh!

The river is a beautiful diamond and I have the Queen high flush. He checks for a third time and I go all in for my remaining 500. He calls and mucks his hand when he sees my flush. I still have no idea what he had, but he seemed a bit upset when he lost, so maybe I was totally off and he had a strong hand. Now I have a little room to work.

Another key hand was at the same table. The player in the 9 seat had been raising a lot of hands and definitely seemed to know how to play. He made his third raise in a row and it was folded to me on the button. I have As-Qs and move all in for about 17 BB. The small blind calls and the initial raiser calls. I hope they all have small pairs. The first raiser turns over Queens and the blind turns over pocket 10's. I am kind of screwed.

Luckily our beautiful dealer flops an Ace for me. Unfortunately it is part of an all heart board. My cards are black and the guy with Queens has the Queen of hearts. Somehow I dodge all the remaining hearts, tens, and one Queen left in the deck and win a big pot.

At the break I am up to 4500 and decide not to take the add on for 1000 in chips since it's only 5 BB. For some reason, Jeff forgets to increase the blinds when we get back and we start again at 100-200. I figure that people are going to start busting very fast, so I will pick my spots carefully. It helps when I flop trip jacks in the big blind holding J-2 and win another decent sized pot.

Eventually I last down to the final 2 tables. There are 14 left and the final 9 get paid. I am in the big blind with 10-8. There are three limpers in the pot and I check. The flop is T-T-7. I need to win a big pot and the other limpers had been aggressive so I slow play and check up front. The first limper checks as well, but the second limper fires out a bet. The last guy folds and it's on me. No other move for me but all in. Then the first limper goes all in over the top of me, and the initial bettor says he's all in as well. I'm not feeling so good about my hand now.

Sure enough, one player had the K-T for three tens with a higher kicker, and the other player had limped with pocket Aces. The dreaded cold deck and I am knocked out. If that dummy with the Aces had raised before the flop, I would have folded and avoided this whole disaster.

Instead I go home collecting two $20 bounties and down $180 for the night.

My title also mentions "Same Old Mistakes". I have decided to play exclusively on Poker Stars for a while to see how good or bad their Frequent Player Point system is. It looks like they offer a lot of free roll tournaments that you can enter with the FPP's, and you earn points for every hand you sit in (not just the ones you play). I don't have a lot of money on Stars right now, so I decided to drop down to the 25 NL games and PLO games and build it up instead of going through the hassle of transferring money from my Full Tilt account.

The same old mistake is going broke with top pair. I had 3 games going at once and they were all "high speed" tables so I did not give myself a lot of time to analyze this hand while I was playing it. Here it is:

Free hand converter brought to you by CardRunners

Seat 1: campbeltown ($33.10) -
Seat 2: Westboro2005 ($8.30) -
Seat 3: WHITE SCHARK ($26.80)
Seat 5: larryvq ($25.40)
Seat 6: hunlaci ($24.65) -


campbeltown posts small blind $0.10
Westboro2005 posts BIG blind $0.25
Dealt To: larryvq

RAISE larryvq ($1)
CALL hunlaci ($1)
FOLD campbeltown
FOLD Westboro2005


Pot: $2.35

BET larryvq ($1)
CALL hunlaci ($1)

I like my bet on the flop here. It's a little smaller than normal so I can get the weak Aces to call or possibly JJ,QQ, or KK


Pot: $4.35

BET larryvq ($3)
RAISE hunlaci ($6)
RAISE larryvq ($23.40)
CALL hunlaci ($16.65)

This is just awful on so many levels. My turn bet is ok, all though there is something to be said for checking for pot control. When he raises me, there is not a single hand I can beat that would pull that move on the turn. So I guess that's the perfect excuse to push all in drawing dead.


Pot: $53.4



hunlaci collected $47.65 from main pot

Total pot: $49 Rake: $2

Final Board:

Seat 1: campbeltown small blind folded before Flop - Net Gain/Loss: ($-0.1)
Seat 2: Westboro2005 big blind folded before Flop - Net Gain/Loss: ($-0.25)
Seat 3: WHITE SCHARK folded before Flop didnt bet - Net Gain/Loss: ($0)
Seat 5: larryvq showed [As Qd] and lost with two pair, Aces and Tens - Net Gain/Loss: ($-21.65)
Seat 6: hunlaci button showed [Th Ah] and won 47.65 with a full house, Tens full of Aces - Net Gain/Loss: ($39.65)

Free hand converter brought to you by CardRunners

Luckily there were enough bad players and a fortunate hand when someone's KK ran into my AA that I managed to eke out a small $7 profit after 434 hands.

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