Thursday, August 28, 2008

5-150 Hand Analysis

I spent a couple of hours at a juicy 5-150 spread limit table at Casino Arizona today. I managed to win $172 and I had a couple of interesting hands that I felt I should explore.

The first one was pretty early in the session. I picked up AK suited in early position. I raise to $20. The player on my immediate left re-raised to $60 and everyone folded back to me.

My opponent seemed a little loose and passive so I was pretty sure he had a big hand to reraise me. He had approximately $160 left in his stack after the raise. I had him covered. I thought about re-raising all in so I could see all 5 cards, but I also did not feel like flipping a coin for $220. I decided to call and see the flop.

$125 in the pot and the flop was K-Q-Q rainbow. So I hit my King, but I still don't like the flop that much. If he has the normal tight player range for re-raises of AA, KK, QQ, or AK then I am behind every one of those hands. He could also have JJ or AQ, but that may be wishful thinking on the jacks. I check and my opponent starts to count out his chips. He thinks for about a minute and then checks. I am still not feeling good about my hand, but his passiveness has polarized his hand even more. In other words he either loves or hates his hand.

The turn was a brick. I bet $80 hoping that's enough to take it down. He calls pretty quickly and I am done with this hand now.

The river is another low card. I check and he checks behind again and rolls over AA. My read was correct in that he was really worried about his hand. AQ or even KQ was in my range according to his analysis after the hand. However, I do not think I could have made him lay it down. I wonder if a bet of $50-$60 would have been just as good as $80 to find out where I was?

I pull out another $100 and a little while later I pick up two black Kings in late position. A loose calling station type player raises in early position. It's folded to me and I raise to $60. Everyone else is out and the initial raiser calls. $125 in the pot.

The flop is Ts-8s-4d. He checks to me and I bet $100. He calls fairly quickly. It feels like he has a flush draw or maybe a pocket pair like JJ or QQ. The turn is another Ten. He checks again and I bet the full $150. He only had around $120 left and he calls. He does not turn over his cards. The river is not a spade and I win the hand. He does not show, but he mentions that he had a draw. So soon after my loss I am back on the winning side of the ledger.

The last hand I wanted to write about was a lost opportunity. I had Jd-8s in the small blind. Four players limp in for $5, I complete the blind and the big blind checks. 6 players to the flop for a pot of $27 (after the rake).

The flop is Ad-Kd-7d. I check my flush draw and everyone checks to the cutoff who bets $20. The button folds and I call. Everyone else gives up and it's heads up to the turn for $67.

This player was loose passive preflop, but tended to bet his top pair, weak kicker hands. He had won a couple of pots after limping preflop and then showing an Ace after his opponent would fold to his flop or turn bets with an Ace on the board. I never saw his kickers, but I assumed they weren't that great. Although there was one hand where he only completed in the small blind with AK instead of raising a couple of limpers in the pot.

The turn was a 6s so the board read Ad-Kd-7d-6s. I checked again and this time he bet $40 into the $67 pot. I felt like he was betting an Ace and trying to protect his hand. I looked at the rest of his stack which was approximately $100 and calculated my pot odds. I just did not feel like I would get paid off on the river if I called and hit the diamond. So I folded. Ho hum no big deal right?

While driving home and replaying some of the key hands in my mind, a lightning bolt struck. If I check raise that turn, I think he would fold that hand over 50% of the time. That line just screams of a slow played flush. Especially with me in the small blind where I could have any 2 diamonds. Even if he calls with something as strong as a set of 7's, I still have outs. In fact, my odds might be even better than 9 out of 46 since the other limpers threw away their hands on the flop and I doubt they would have thrown away a diamond. So my odds could have been as good as 9 good cards to 31 bad ones.

So the mistake was not stopping to think, "Does my opponent have a hand that I can raise him off of?" I must remember to consider this in the future.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Amare Stoudemire and Me

At 3:00 PM yesterday I received a text message from my friend, Jeff who invited me to the new shoe release party for Amare Stoudemire of the Phoenix Suns.

Jeff is the friend of mine who has formed the company, Knockout Dealers which run poker tournaments. The business idea is that Jeff hires and trains models to deal the cards and they wear fish net stockings and bustiers to look their best. Jeff was hired by the party planner for Amare to run a poker tournament during the party. Since it was such short notice, Jeff was worried he would not have enough players, so he was nice enough to give me a call. He said, "we have 8 prizes to give away and if you play, I will have at least 10 players." With those odds, how can I pass it up?

The party was held at the Rockridge Estate. This infamous property is owned by the estate of the late Scott Coles of Mortgages Ltd. Scott made the business news a couple of months ago when he committed suicide after his wife filed for divorce and his company was sued by various clients for not fully funding the mortgages they had promised. After Scott's death, Mortgages Ltd declared bankruptcy and thousands of local investors are wondering if they will get any of their money back when it's all said and done.

The property itself is unbelievable. It is currently listed for sale at $16,000,000. The first line of the listing says, "If money was no object, this is the house you would build." Check out the pictures above of where the party was held. If you can believe it, this was just the pool house/guest house. We were not allowed in the main residence.
Jeff did not tell me it was a pool party, so I was a bit over dressed. No big deal as there were dozens of hot women running around in various states of undress all night. There were also lots of big black men running around as well. It was definitely not a crowd I am used to running with. It looked like an episode of Entourage.
As for the poker tournament, there were 15 players and 8 prizes to choose from. If you finished in 1st, then you got first pick of the prizes. The prizes included signed Suns jerseys, shoes, Suns tickets, and a $200 gift certificate to Stoudemire's restaurant.
I was seated at the "L" table. The first four people who sat down were named Larry, Louis, Lisa, and Lon. Louis was on my left and I came to find out that the Phoenix Suns had just signed him to a contract. After checking the internets at home, apparently he played sparingly for the 76'ers last year and the Suns picked him up as a free agent. He was a very nice guy and a very bad poker player. My favorite.
Surprisingly the blinds in this tournament were slow moving and I could play my normal patient game and pick my spots. Somehow I gathered chips occasionally and got lucky a few times and made it to the final 3.
The last men standing were myself, Jeff, and Mark (who happened to be the lucky man who has the real estate listing for the house). Jeff was the big chip leader and twice he had Mark all in and behind. Twice Mark went runner-runner to make a full house and stave off elimination.
Eventually I gained the chip lead and took my turn trying to elimate Mark. I pushed all in with KQ and he called with pocket 3's. The flop was Q-Q-3. Mark had not turned over his cards yet, so I figured I was comfortably ahead. He was nice enough to show me the bad news after the flop.
After a long time at 3 handed, Jeff finally went broke and Mark and I were heads up with only 20 BB between us. I was ready for the tournament to be over so I began to push all in frequently. Mark had barely called me all night, but he finally did with ten high. I was lucky enough to have the monster 3-7 in my hand. When I say lucky, I mean I sucked out on him to stay alive in the tournament. Eventually he pushed all in with J-9 and I picked up AQ and made the easy call. My Ace high held up and I won the tournament.
There was going to be a little skill in picking the prize I wanted. Since the party was put together very hastily, they did not have the actual prizes there. I was going to have to depend on Jeff, Amare, and his handlers to come through and deliver the goods. This means taking free tickets or a signed jersey would be a relatively easy thing for them to follow through on. Instead of taking the sure thing, I decided to gamble.
I chose the Amare Stoudemire All Star Package. The NBA All Star game will be in Phoenix in February. Apparently the schedule is party on Thursday, party on Friday, and party on Saturday, followed by the game on Sunday. Amare and his party planner promised me that they would get me into one of the official "All Star" parties that week where I can hob nob with the players and coaches. I give myself a 50/50 chance of this happening, but it's fun to think about. At a minimum I have a great story to tell my son, Jake when he gets older.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Final Table of $26 Full Tilt Knockout Tourney

$24 + 2 Full Tilt Knock Out final table

I made another nice run in an online tournament at Full Tilt on Sunday. I played in a random Knock Out sit and go with a 90 player cap.

Here are the possible payouts:

1. $576
2. $351
3. $252
4. $198
5. $144
6. $108
7. $72
8. $54
9. $45

Plus you make $4 every time you knock a player out of the tournament.

I finished in 5th place and I had a few knockouts. I don't know how many exactly because Full Tilt doesn't tell you.

There were some donktastic players in this one and with a little luck on my part I made a nice run. I thought I would go through the hands again and see if I could have done some things better.

Level 1 20-40 blinds starting with 3000 chips.

1. TsTc in small blind. UTG limps, hijack limps, button limps, I complete and BB checks. Flop is 8c-4h-Qd and it’s checked around.
Turn is 8h. I lead out for 80 and everyone folds.

2. 9d7s on button. It’s folded to me and I open raise to 100 and win the blinds.
Stack 3150. 2c2d in cutoff. One limper and I limp along. Button raises to 120. Blinds fold, early limper calls and I call. Pot is 420.

Flop is 8s-2s-4s. I flop a set but with a monotone board and I don’t have a spade. Early player checks, I check, and button bets 240. Early player folds and I call. Pot is 900.

The turn is a 3s so now the board is 8-2-4-3 all spades. I check again and button checks behind.

River is Jh. I check. The button bets 640 and I call to see JsTs for a flopped flush and lose the pot.

This was one hand where trying to play a small ball strategy did protect my stack. Usually I would have led out on the flop to see where I was at. By check calling, I gave myself another chance to see the turn and possibly hit the full house. The river call was probably too loose, but then again, I had not shown any aggression in the hand, so I may have to call there if I don’t put any bets in on flop or turn.

Level 2 25-50

3. Stack 2100. AsKs in BB. Early player min raises to 100. Cutoff calls and Small Blind calls. I raise to 550 hoping to take it down now or get it all in before the flop. Instead I get called in two spots behind me.
1,750 in the pot and the flop is Ac-8c-2c. I push all in for 1600. They both fold and I win a big pot.

I think leading out is the right play. I can’t bet less than all in and I don’t want to give a free card. If a club draw calls me, I’m still ahead. Plus the pot is big and I want to win it now.

4. Stack 3325. 5d4d in small blind. H8thrvr in first position calls and DANIELTT2 calls 50. I limp and the BB checks. 200 in the pot going to the flop.

Flop is Jh-5c-Qc and it’s checked around.

Turn is 3h. h8thervr bets 50 and DANIELTT2 calls and I fold

River is 7c. h8therver bets 150 and DANIELTT2 calls. H8therver shows 9s8s and DANIELTT2 shows 7h6h. This is a big clue that h8thrvr is willing to bluff two streets. I don’t know why DANIELTT2 called the turn there.

5. Stack 3300. AhAs on button. Aftermath666 moves all in for 3,265 first in the pot. Hmmmm.... that is a 60 BB shove. Glad I woke up with Aces. My opponent turns over pocket Jacks. The flop was interesting as it had an Ace and a Jack in it. I dodge the one outer on the turn and river and double up to 6605.

Level 3 30-60 blinds

6. Stack is 6605. I have pocket 2’s in late position. I open raise to 180 and small blind calls me. Flop is Ah-8c-Qs and I continuation bet 240 into a 420 pot and take it down.

7. Stack 6790. I have As3s in small blind. Its folded around to me and I complete. We both check it down to the river and I win small pot.

Level 4 40-80 blinds

8. Qc6c 3 off the button. I decide to get a little frisky and open raise to 200. ByeByeToYou raises all in to 1,750 behind me and Coolerman calls on the button. I of course fold and watch as AQo goes up against Pocket Aces. The aces hold up for Coolerman.

Level 5 50-100 blinds

9. Stack size 6,380. I am moved to a new table. I pick up JhJc in the big blind. (I sure seemed to pick up a lot of hands in early position this tournament). Dg0425 is under the gun and raises to 300 and has 2,430 behind. It’s folded to the small blind who calls with 9,925 behind. I also just call.

Pot has 900 and the flop is 8s-Jd-2d. The small blind checks and I lead out for 400. dg0425 raises to 1200. I reraise and put him all in. He calls with KsJs and is drawing nearly dead. I win a 5,760 pot.

10. Stack 9,660. I have AdKh in cutoff. Cardom limps for 100 with 9,825 behind. I raise to 300. citiQQ calls on the button and Pistevo in the small blind calls. They both have about 3800 behind.

The pot has 1,300 in it and the flop is 2s-7c-3s It’s checked to me and I check it to the button who bets 400. The others fold. Since I’m out of position and the small bet looks suspiciously like a big hand, I fold.

Level 6 60-120

11. Stack size 9,360. I have 8c7c utg plus one. I raise to 300 and everyone folds except the big blind who calls. The pot has 660 going to the flop.

The flop is Ah-6h-6s. I make a continuation bet of 330 and he folds.

Level 7 80-160

12. Stack size is 9,540 and I have AhJd. Cardom limps for 160 with 7,435 behind and I call. The button Pistevo calls and the Big Blind checks his option. 720 in the pot going to the flop.

The flop is Ks-5h-Js Cardom bets 720 and everyone folds.

Level 8 100-200

13. Stack size 9,080 and I have Kd5d. brody1kanob limps in utg+1 with 16,785 behind. I limp in the cutoff. citiQQ calls in the small blind and Pistevo checks in the BB. 800 in the pot going to the flop.

Flop is Td-Th-7h. Right color, wrong suit. I fold to a 400 bet.

Level 9 150-300 with 25 ante

14. Stack size 8,230 and I have 7s7d on the button. Middle position moves all in for 1,790 and I call. He turns over pocket 9’s.

Flop is 8s-6s-Th giving me a little hope, but he has two of my outs. Turn and river brick and I lose.

Level 10 200-400 with 50 ante

15. Stack size 5,565 in the small blind with Ac9h. schwags 33 with 9900 in chips open raises on button for 1105. It looks like a textbook steal, so I shove all in and he folds.

16. Stack size 7,420 with 8d6s in cutoff. I open raise to 1,000 hoping to steal. It works and I pick up 900 dollars.

Level 11 250-500 with 50 ante.

17. Stack size 7,420. I have AhKd in small blind. tigerP limps utg+3 with 8,204 behind. The mokummaster raises to 1,500 with 2,710 behind. I shove all in and tigerP folds. The mokummaster calls and shows pocket tens.

There is 9,870 in the pot and the flop is Qc-Td-4c and I am in trouble. The tens hold up and I am down to 3,460.

18. Stack size 3,410. The very next hand I pick up 9c9s on the button. Schwags33 raises to 1275 in the cutoff and I push all in. schwags is getting 3-1 on his money and is forced to call with 9h8c. There is 8,020 in the pot going to the flop.

The flop is Qc-Kc-Th. I avoid the Jack for a chop on the turn and river and get right back into the tournament.

19. Stack size 7,870. I have 8c3s utg+1. The big blind is extremely tight according to my stats so I try for the blind steal by raising to 1,250. Pistevo in the cutoff shoves all in for 6,865 and I fold.

Level 12 300-600 with 75 ante

20. Stack size 5,320. I have AcKh in cutoff. Iliko59 moves all in for 3040. I reraise all in. citiQQ calls from the small blind and I am not feeling too good. The pot has 14,805.

Iliko59 shows Ad7c and citiQQ shows JhJc. The board is 9s-3c-Ks-9c-7h and I win a coin flip for my tournament life.

Level 13 400-800 with 100 ante

21. Stack size 14,630. I have AcQs utg+1. I open raise to 2000 and win the blinds and antes. It’s 7 handed at our table so that is 1,900 every time I do this.

22. Stack size 14,930. I have 7h-5h on the button. I open raise to 3600. blackpanter333 has 5,075 after paying the blind and citiQQ has 1,730 after paying the big blind.

I was thinking that they would not want to play for their tournament life, so I raised bigger than normal. In retrospect, this was dumb as citiQQ would be looking for any excuse to push all in after 1/3 of his stack went in for the blind. Blackpanther333 wakes up with AsQd and moves all in. I am forced to call getting nearly 5-1 on my money.

The pot is 12,450 and the board comes out 9c-6c-Ts-4c-8c and I suck out with the Ten high straight. This is the first hand I get really lucky on in the tournament.

23. Stack size 21,805 and I am chip leader at table. I pick up AdJs on the button. I open raise to 2000 and pick up 1,900 in blinds and antes

Level 14 500-1000 with 125 ante

24. Stack size is 23,230. I have 4c3c utg. I raise to 2,500 hoping to steal the blinds. Steinsbo11 in the small blind wakes up with QdQh and moves all in for 5,055. Getting 3-1 on my money I am forced to call again.
The pot has 11,735 and the board runs out 4s-2c-Ah-Kd-As and I lose.

Level 15 800-1600 with 200 ante.

25. Stack size 15,750 and I have Ad5h on the button. The table is 6 handed. It’s folded to me and I push all in against BIGGDEE123 with 46,137 in chips and citiQQ with 10,690 in chips.

I did not want to give the big stack a chance to reraise me if I only raise 3x the blinds. They both fold and I pick up 3,600 in blinds and antes.

26. Stack size 18,750 and I have AhQc in the hijack. I push all in again and nobody calls.

Level 16 1000-2000 with 250 ante

27. Stack size 18,750. I have Ac7d under the gun. I push all in and bbridges4058 on button calls for 7,260. The blinds fold and the pot has 18,520. He turns over KsQh so I am ahead but barely.
The board runs 9c-4c-Ah-9d-4d and I flop good!

28. Stack size 30,510. I have Kh9s on the button. The table is 5 handed. I believe we are at money bubble time. It’s folded to me and I raise to 5,000 and win 4,250 in blinds and antes.

29. Stack size 34,760. I have As2d in cut off. The table is still 5 handed and still on the bubble. I raise to 5,000. Steinsbo in the BB wakes up with 77 and raises all in to 5877 and I call 877 more. The 7’s hold up and I lose the pot.

Level 17 1200-2400 with 300 ante

30. Stack size 24,333. I have QhTs in cut off. The table is still 5 handed and still on bubble. I open raise to 7000 and everyone folds. I win 5,100 in antes and blinds.

31. Stack size 25,133. I am in the SB with Kh4s. Still 5 handed on the bubble. It’s folded to me and I decide to limp in.

I had been raising a lot and I was going to try and take away the hand on the flop by making a min bet. Just to be a little different.

The pot is 6,300 and the flop is Q-9-8 rainbow. I lead out for 2,400 and get min raised to 4800. I have to fold.

Level 18 1500-3000 with 400 ante

32. The bubble has burst and we are 9 handed at the final table. I have 19,733 and I am utg+2 with AcTd. I open raise all in and get called by the BB with 33. It cost more than half his stack so I don’t know if that’s a call that should be made, but so be it.

The pot has 44,566 and the board came out Jd-5d-7d-2d-Qh and I manage to hit the diamond flush and win the pot.

33. Stack size 44,166 and I am in second place. I am utg+2 with AcKd and I raise to 7,500. Everyone folds and I win 7,700 in blinds.

Level 19 2000-4000 with 500 ante

34. We have lost 3 players since I last played a hand. We are down to 6 handed. Stack size 39,066 after posting the Big Blind. I have TdTc. It’s folded to the button who is the chip leader with 91,000 in chips. He raises to 8,000. The small blind folds and I push all in. He folds and I win $12,500.

Level 20 2500-5000 with 600 ante.

35. Six players left. Stack size 52,366 and I have the button with Jc4h. It’s folded to me and I raise to 12,500 and win the blinds and antes which are now up to 10,500.

36. Down to 5 and I have 52,966 in chips. I also have the small blind and JcTc. It’s folded to me and I raise to 12,500. The BB shoves over the top of me for 35,116. I’m getting almost exactly 2-1 to make the call but I fold because I’ll still have 9 BB left and I can push and win the blinds in another hand and make the 12,500 back.

37. The next hand I have 42,366 in chips on the button and I wake up with QhQs. IrieAce in cutoff pushes his last 8,684 into the pot and I reraise all in to isolate. IrieAce turns over Jd4d and I feel good. There are 26,668 chips in the pot.

The board comes out 8h-7c-5s-4c-Js. He catches runner-runner to stay alive. At the time I was pissed because I felt that this crippled me. Looking at it now, it was the best time to take a bad beat because it was against the shortest stack at the table. Still it would have been nice to eliminate him and move up the pay scale.

Level 21 3000-6000 with 750 ante

38. I have 23,632 in chips and I pick up Ah8s on the button. The chip leader at the table raises to 18,000. I decide to push in the rest of my chips and he turns over AsJh. I do not improve and I am out in 5th place.

It’s common for most players to lament their elimination hand as the cause of their bad performance. Usually it was the hands they didn’t play right earlier that put them in the position to be eliminated. This time, however I really should not have pushed in there. I need to have first in the pot raise equity or a really solid hand to play anything with that short stack.

Here were the final stats of the tournament according to PokerTracker:
Total hands: 154
VPIP: 25%
PFR: 19%
Blind defense: 1 time, successful
Att to steal Blinds: 9 times out of 21 66% of the time they folded, 11% they folded on flop.

Overall it was the typical combination of good aggressive play, timely cards, and a little luck

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Approaching My Handicap Goal

My golf handicap reset this week to a 6.6 index. For the last 2 years I have been trying to make it down to 5.0. This is the closest I have been.

Although you would not have known it by how I played today while shooting an 86. The good news is that I feel like that is the worst I can play. It used to be the worst I could play was something in the low 90's.

Today was strange because all of my iron shots were horrible. Even my wedges which I usually hit really well. Oh well, I guess I'll just put in a little more work on the range in our lovely 105 degree heat.

I hit the World Series of Poker goal in 2008 and I think I can hit the golf one in the same year.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Deep Stack Tourney at Fort McDowell

For my 37th birthday, my wife bought me a $115 entry into a Deep Stack Tournament at the Fort. When I spoke to the poker room manager on the phone a few days before the event, he warned me to get there by 8:00 AM for an 11:00 AM start. The genesis of the tournament is that it is a free roll for everyone who has made a final table of one of ther daily tournaments. Those qualifiers only pay $15 for a service fee and the casino is adding their $100. Since there were approximately 100 qualifiers, there were only going to be 70 spots available for the general public.

So I did my part and arrived at 8:00. The place was a ghost town as only one game of 3-6 holdem was running and it wasn't even full. The staff finally figured out the computer sign ups and I was signed up by 8:15. In the mean time I had 3 hours to kill by playing some 3-6 limit.

After misplaying a couple of hands and getting unlucky a couple of times, I felt good that I was only down $15 before the tournament started. I took a quick break and went outside to warm up and clear my head.

An hour before the tournament started the poker room was packed to the gills. The reason was that the Fort decided to sign up alternates for the tournament and then let them in with reduced stacks depending on which level they were allowed in. In one of the worst cases of money grubbing I have ever seen, the management signed up 130 alternates! They were still letting players in by level 5 when they were buying in with less then 10 big blinds. Unbelievable!

Here was the structure:
30 minute blind levels
Starting stack of $10,000

So in their defense, it was a deep stack at the start and the first 3 levels were good. My main gripe were the jumps at 300-600 to 500-1000 and then again doubling to 1000-2000. There was no player at my table in those levels that had more than 30 big blinds. I know they have to end the tournament sometime, but the way to do and treat the players right is not sign up so many alternates and limit the amount of chips in play. That way you would not have to accelerate the blinds so fast in the middle levels.

I was excited to try out some of the strategies for small ball that I had been reading about in my wife's other birthday present, Daniel Negreanu's Power Poker. There must have been a problem in my implementation, because just about every time I strayed from my normal game, I was punished.

Luckily, I had room to make mistakes because on the 4th hand of my tournament, I picked up pocket Aces in the small blind. The Under The Gun player raised to 200 and everyone folded to me. I reraised to 800 and he called. The flop was 10-9-7 rainbow. I bet 1500 into a 1700 pot, and he raised me all in! I guess he could have a set or a flush, but I thought he would slow play it, so I figured I was ahead. I called and he turned over JJ. I dodged the straight and two jacks and had a quick double up to almost 20,000.

A few hands later I raised J-T suited in early position. I was called by the blinds. The flop was all spades and Jack high. I did not have any spades. The blind led out with a healthy bet and I called. The turn paired the board with 5's. He led again for a little under 1/2 the pot. I decided to get tricky and raise about 2.5 times his bet. I was trying to make it look like I was slow playing a flush or even a full house. He was not buying it and he called. The river paired the Jack. Now I figure at worst I am chopping the pot. The blind checks and I bet 2000 on the end. He mutters that the Jack was the only card that could screw up his hand and he folded. Now I am up to 23k.

The tournament is not even a 1/2 hour old and I am probably the chip leader.

It was at this point that things went the wrong way. I picked up AK under the gun plus one. Under the gun raises to 300. I reraise to 1200. It's folded to the big blind who goes all in for around 9,000. The initial raiser thinks for a short time and folds. I sit there and try to do a little math, but my brain is really not working. I am assuming that he does not have Aces or Kings since I have one of each. I am trying to figure out if this is an auto call or a tough one. I figure I probably have the right odds and I call. My opponent turns over pocket Queens and it's a race. A race I lose.

Now I'm back down to around 15k. If I win, I am over 30k and really looking good. I don't know if that was a good call. Mathematically I am sure it probably makes sense in a small way. The thing is, I can fold Ace King there and still have 20k with 50-100 blinds and still be the chip leader at the table. It may have not been the right time from a strategy point of view.

From here I went on a steady spiral down to about 8k playing stupid hands and trying stupid bluffs. No excuse really, just hoping I could bully people around a little and obviously picked the wrong spots.

The blinds were up to 200-400 and I felt I was getting a little short. I still had close to 20 BB left but I knew the blinds were going up fast and there were still a ton of people left in this tournament and I was going to need chips.

It was at this level that my table seemed to get incredibly tight. The player in the 8 seat had started off early raising pots preflop 5 and 10x the blinds in the first couple of levels. Now he started raising about 60% of his hands , but only 2.5x the blinds. The crazy thing was that no one was playing back at him. 1/2 the time he won the blinds and the half he won with a continuation bet on the flop. I think it was driving me nuts because no one was playing at back at him, and he was playing the way I wanted to play at the beginning of the day. I felt like I could reraise and make him fold, but it was going to risk at least 1/2 my chips. Maybe that's what everyone else was thinking as well?

My patience was wearing thin when I finally picked up a pair of Kings in the big blind. There was a raise in middle position, then a reraise all in for less than my stack. I thought about slow playing and just calling, but I figured I would rather play against 1 player instead of 2 or 3. I pushed all in and the initial raiser also called. I was up against AQ and pocket 8's. The flop was K-T-7. Now I need to dodge 4 Jacks and 2 Eights. The turn bricked, and the river was another King giving me 4 of a kind. This put me back up to 20k. Wait a second. The guy who was annoying the table with his aggressive play, says to the dealer, "I swear I folded K-Q."

The dealer starts to look through the muck. I say, "Why would you even bring that up, you weren't even in the hand and now you might kill it." The dealer finds a Queen and a Jack. The player says, "I guess I misread my hand." That douche bag has been annoying me for a 1/2 hour and now he almost gives me a heart attack.

Shortly after this hand our table breaks and I get moved. My new tables has around the same mix of stacks. No one is really big and a few are hovering around 10 BB.

Once again my table is playing incredibly tight in that every raise preflop goes uncalled and the all anyone is doing is swapping blinds. It was here, that I really should have started raising every other hand. I have started looking at my cards right after I get them, to give me more time to make up my mind on my strategy before it gets to me. However I think this strategy hurts me in this case because I see my crappy cards and immediately my mind wants me to fold. In the old way, I could watch everyone else and recognize the steal situation before I looked, and then just pretend to look if I did not want to lose my nerve to raise. Hell one guy was a little irritated for me pushing in on his big blind two rounds in a row and said if he had pocket Queens or better, he was calling me. For some stupid reason I blurted out, "if you're going to wait for a hand that good, I might as well push in on you all day." Really dumb on my part.

The end was anticlimactic as I pushed in with 30k and 1500-3000 blinds with KJo. The girl next to me, who was pretty new to the table, took a while to make the call. Everyone else folded and she tabled pocket Queens. She amazingly really thought about folding it. I paired a Jack on the flop, but none of my other 5 outs hit the turn or river and I go home now. 52nd out of 300 runners is not bad, but it doesn't pay.

I think I am going to experiment in some 180 person Sit and Go's on Stars with the small ball aggressive strategy and see if I can hone my skills. I really need to do a better job of playing the other players cards and not my own.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Best Online Cash Session Ever!

I prepped for today's session by watching a Card Runners video on No Limit Hold'em. I did not learn much new except for one nice play that I used to stack an opponent. Follow along as the deck hits me up side the head.

Free hand converter brought to you by CardRunners

Seat 1: larryvq ($107.55)
Seat 2: SrBocce ($38)
Seat 3: Klopzi ($101.35) -
Seat 4: FLA TO PA ($19) -
Seat 5: CrakBandit ($77.90) -
Seat 6: HolyBull22 ($88.50)


FLA TO PA posts small blind $0.50
CrakBandit posts BIG blind $1
Dealt To: larryvq

FOLD HolyBull22
RAISE larryvq ($4)
FOLD SrBocce
FOLD Klopzi
CALL CrakBandit ($3)


Pot: $8.5

CHECK CrakBandit
BET larryvq ($7)
CALL CrakBandit ($7)


Pot: $22.5

CHECK CrakBandit
BET larryvq ($15)
RAISE CrakBandit ($66.90)
CALL larryvq ($51.90)


Pot: $156.3



larryvq collected $153.3 from main pot

Total pot: $156 Rake: $3

Final Board:

Seat 1: larryvq showed [Ks Kd] and won 153.30 with three of a kind, Kings - Net Gain/Loss: ($128.3)
Seat 2: SrBocce folded before Flop didnt bet - Net Gain/Loss: ($0)
Seat 3: Klopzi button folded before Flop didnt bet - Net Gain/Loss: ($0)
Seat 4: FLA TO PA small blind folded before Flop - Net Gain/Loss: ($-0.5)
Seat 5: CrakBandit big blind showed [Td Qs] and lost with two pair, Queens and Tens - Net Gain/Loss: ($-62.9)

Seat 6: HolyBull22 folded before Flop didnt bet - Net Gain/Loss: ($0)

Serves him right for calling my raise with Queen-Ten offsuit. He deserved to get 5 outed on the turn.

Free hand converter brought to you by CardRunners

Seat 1: kizza_om ($198.50) -
Seat 2: larryvq ($111.60)
Seat 4: rsxpunk ($117.25)
Seat 5: cndee412 ($48.05) -
Seat 6: CylusBallin ($99.50) -


CylusBallin posts small blind $0.50
kizza_om posts BIG blind $1
Dealt To: larryvq

RAISE larryvq ($4)
FOLD rsxpunk
FOLD cndee412
CALL CylusBallin ($3.50)
FOLD kizza_om


Pot: $9

BET CylusBallin ($6)
RAISE larryvq ($19)
CALL CylusBallin ($13)


Pot: $47

CHECK CylusBallin
BET larryvq ($25)
RAISE CylusBallin ($76.50)
CALL larryvq ($51.50)


Pot: $200



larryvq collected $198 from main pot

Total pot: $200 Rake: $2

Final Board:

Seat 1: kizza_om big blind folded before Flop - Net Gain/Loss: ($-1)
Seat 2: larryvq showed [Ac Kc] and won 198 with a flush, Ace high - Net Gain/Loss: ($156.5)
Seat 4: rsxpunk folded before Flop didnt bet - Net Gain/Loss: ($0)
Seat 5: cndee412 button folded before Flop didnt bet - Net Gain/Loss: ($0)
Seat 6: CylusBallin small blind showed [3d 4d] and lost with two pair, Fours and Threes - Net Gain/Loss: ($-71)

This hand let me know that CylusBallin was a bit of an over aggressive maniac. It's pretty silly to bet that much with two pair into a flush and straight draw.

In the aforementioned Cardrunners video, the instructor played a hand with a weak Ace out of position. Instead of leading out when he flopped the Ace, he check called three streets. The instructor had raised preflop and since the opponent only called, he ruled out hands like AA, KK, QQ, AK, and AQ. I believe the flop was A-K-Q rainbow. Since he knew that his opponent was likely to bet if shown weakness, he strung him along for three streets of value.

Watch how this hand develops in a similar way.....

Free hand converter brought to you by CardRunners

Seat 1: kizza_om ($152.50)
Seat 2: larryvq ($215.90) -
Seat 4: Viceroy333 ($95.20) -
Seat 5: cndee412 ($67.60) -
Seat 6: CylusBallin ($111.95)


Viceroy333 posts small blind $0.50
cndee412 posts BIG blind $1
Dealt To: larryvq

RAISE CylusBallin ($4)
FOLD kizza_om
RAISE larryvq ($13)
FOLD Viceroy333
FOLD cndee412
CALL CylusBallin ($9)

Since he just calls the reraise, I don't put him on AA or KK. He may have AK so I will play carefully.


Pot: $27.5

CHECK CylusBallin
CHECK larryvq

I am way ahead or way behind on this flop. Since there are not a lot of draws possible, I check it through for pot size control and to induce a bluff.


Pot: $27.5

BET CylusBallin ($18)
CALL larryvq ($18)


Pot: $63.5

BET CylusBallin ($80.95)
CALL larryvq ($80.95)

The overbet shove is really good sign that my hand is good here. If he has a monster like a set of Tens or even AK, he would bet smaller hoping for a call.



larryvq collected $223.4 from main pot

Total pot: $225 Rake: $2

Final Board:

Seat 1: kizza_om folded before Flop didnt bet - Net Gain/Loss: ($0)
Seat 2: larryvq button showed [Qs Ad] and won 223.40 with two pair, Aces and Threes - Net Gain/Loss: ($196.4)
Seat 4: Viceroy333 small blind folded before Flop - Net Gain/Loss: ($-0.5)
Seat 5: cndee412 big blind folded before Flop - Net Gain/Loss: ($-1)
Seat 6: CylusBallin showed [5s 5d] and lost with two pair, Fives and Threes - Net Gain/Loss: ($-111.95)

Free hand converter brought to you by CardRunners

Seat 1: kizza_om ($199.20) -
Seat 2: larryvq ($345.55)
Seat 3: mrchumpy ($98.50)
Seat 4: Viceroy333 ($60.65)
Seat 5: pugz12 ($95) -
Seat 6: CylusBallin ($100) -


CylusBallin posts small blind $0.50
kizza_om posts BIG blind $1
Dealt To: larryvq

RAISE larryvq ($4)
FOLD mrchumpy
FOLD Viceroy333
CALL pugz12 ($4)
FOLD CylusBallin
RAISE kizza_om ($19)
RAISE larryvq ($50)
FOLD pugz12
CALL kizza_om ($31)

kizza_om had a tight aggressive profile. I thought he was capable of making a squeeze play here, especially since pugz12 was playing 41% of his hands preflop. I was not very excited when he called my 4 bet raise.


Pot: $109.5

CHECK kizza_om
CHECK larryvq

Ok this run of cards is getting a little ridiculous. Why should I bet and blow him off QQ or JJ here? Let him think I have Ace-King and watch him bet.


Pot: $109.5

BET kizza_om ($149.20)
CALL larryvq ($149.20)


Pot: $407.9

Please oh please do not have pocket Aces!!!!


Man this game is fun!!!!


larryvq collected $399.9 from main pot

Total pot: $402 Rake: $3

Final Board:

Seat 1: kizza_om big blind showed [Ks Kc] and lost with two pair, Kings and Nines - Net Gain/Loss: ($-199.2)

Seat 2: larryvq showed [Th Td] and won 399.90 with a full house, Tens full of Nines - Net Gain/Loss: ($364.9)
Seat 3: mrchumpy folded before Flop didnt bet - Net Gain/Loss: ($0)
Seat 4: Viceroy333 folded before Flop didnt bet - Net Gain/Loss: ($0)
Seat 5: pugz12 button folded before Flop - Net Gain/Loss: ($-4)
Seat 6: CylusBallin small blind folded before Flop - Net Gain/Loss: ($-0.5)

Free hand converter brought to you by CardRunners

So my final total for the night was 181 hands for a profit of $502.70. That is my best online cash session ever. It's in my top 3 all time for cash games. Now I know what it feels like to run as good as Jamie Gold or Jerry Yang for at least an hour or two.