Sunday, November 30, 2008

Bubble Boy and 60 Minutes

Well it finally happened in a live tournament. I played the $85 afternoon tournament at Casino Arizona on Friday afternoon. There were 180 players and they would pay 20 players. I finished in 21st.

It did not take me long to build up a stack in this tournament. I was all in by the second hand of the tournament. I had AcQc on the button. There was one limper and I raised to 200. The blinds folded and the limper called. The flop was Jc-Td-6c. He checked to me and I bet 300. He raised me to 1000. I had about 3000 left.

Before I did anything, I stopped to try and read his hand. He limped before the flop, which could mean something bad like he flopped a set of 10's or 6's. He could also do this with Ace-Jack or a draw. I figure that I need to accumulate chips quickly in these tournaments and even if he has a set, I still have 12 clean outs to the nuts. I move all in.

He says, "Hmmmm I guess I call" He turns over Q9 offsuit. What a dummy! My hand held up and I was off to a quick start. This player still had about 500 in chips left after he lost the hand because he had received a starting chip bonus for his cash game play before the tournament. I tried to finish him off a little while later when I had an over pair to his pair of 5s. Unfortunately he spiked a 5 on the river and eventually had built back up to a decent stack. I did not see him after our table broke, but he did not make it to the last 2 tables.

Once again, most of the players in this tournament were way too tight and passive. I think there was one point in the tournament where my raises went uncalled before the flop 10 straight times. Don't get me wrong, I was picking my spots well and not playing too crazy. I was picking up legitimate raising hands 90% of the time with the others being bluffs in late position or against tight blinds.

I also managed to win my races when I needed to. I don't consider it good or bad luck when I win a race, but if you win a few in a row, then it's definitely a good run of cards. Just before the last break, I won a big race for 3/4 of my stack with AK vs QQ. That left me with 30,000 in chips and the blinds at 1,000-2,000. We had 3 tables left and 21 players. 20th-11th place paid $100. The decent money was in the top 3 spots.

The last big tournament score at CAZ, I was a little miffed at myself because I felt like I could have taken advantage of the tight players more to build up my stack for the final table. Since I didn't really care if I "win" my money back, I decided that I was going to raise every time it was folded to me, until someone pushed back. Why not, since no one had pushed back thus far?

The one problem with this plan was that there were 2 other players that had me covered by 10-20k. One was three to my right and the other was 3 to my left. So basically one of them was going to have position on me in every hand.

I was under the gun plus one for the first hand back on the bubble. I picked up 97 offsuit and raised to 5k. Everyone behind me folded, except the big stack on the button who raised me to 10k. The blinds both folded. Now I really wanted to throw my hand away, but it was only 5k more to call into a 18k pot. The math says call, so that's what I did.

The flop was A-T-6 rainbow. I checked my inside straight draw praying he'd give me a free look at it. He checked behind. The turn was another ten. Since he checked and didn't seem to like the flop, I thought I would bet and maybe convince him I had a ten. I bet 8k and he min raises me again to 16k. I contemplate calling and hoping for the miracle, but I decide if I fold, I can still push all in on another hand and win the blinds a couple of times or find a better spot. He told me he had Ace-Ten for a full house. Nice timing there Lar!

I fold the next few hands including the blinds and I'm left with 9k. It's folded to me in the cutoff and I raise with Jack-Eight offsuit all in. I raised because one of the short stacks was in the big blind and it seemed he was trying to squeek into the money. Especially since there was another player on my right who only had 4,000 left. Unfortunately he called me with King Ten. I did not get lucky, except for the fact that he had less money than me, so I was still alive with 3,500 in chips.

I folded the remaining hands until it got to my blind. Unfortunately there was a raise and a call before it got to me and I looked at Ace-8. I could not come up with a decent reason to fold, so I put the rest of my chips in and hoped to get lucky. The two other players checked down all the streets as they came out - Q-J-9-2-10. Hey I have a straight, that has to be good right? Nope, they both had Ace-King.

I still think my strategy was a good one and that I just got a bit unlucky to run into some decent hands behind me. I do think I could have found a fold on the 9-7 just on the fact that I would still have 25k left and enough to scare people from calling me on future raises. The good news is that they are having a "free roll" for a $25 service fee in December for all the bubble boys and girls from the tournaments throughout the year. So I have a chance to redeem my pride.

The other big poker news is that 60 Minutes finally aired their expose on the Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet cheating scandals. Overall I thought the piece was pretty fair. They definitely stuck it to UB and AP as well as Russ Hamilton. The main focus was on how the players playing the game caught the cheaters, not the companies themselves, and how the cheating players had yet to charged or prosecuted for any crimes.

The big problem with the story was that they failed to differentiate that playing online poker is not illegal. Owning an online poker company in the US is illegal. Funding the poker account is now illegal for the banks. But it's always been legal to play.

They also did not bring up anything about the passage of the UIGEA or the legislation that is out there to regulate online poker. The Washington Post will be publishing a companion piece tomorrow discussing whether online poker should be "legal" and regulated, so maybe some important players in Washington will see this article and look further into the subject. It's really going to suck if the banks actually start enforcing these regulations.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Another Win at Casino AZ

I passed a milestone this week. Back in January, I had set my annual life goals for 2008. I made goals relating to life, work, golf, tennis, and poker. One of my goals for poker was to increase my bankroll to at least $5,000 using the "Chris Ferguson" method of bankroll management.

While playing online last weekend, I managed to cross the $5,000 total bankroll mark for about 10 seconds. The plan was to pass it and quit so I could at least say I was there for one day. However as I passed it, I was dealt pocket jacks before I could close out of the table. In short I lost about $70 on that hand, so I was beneath the goal again.

Yesterday, I went to the Casino Arizona after work to play in the 5-150 game. I don't know if it's a good or bad thing, but I am starting to recognize some of the players at my table. A person of Asian descent, named Dan was on my left and he said he played with me two weeks ago. The younger, blond haired guy, who kept me from reraising my pocket Aces last week was at the table. And for the third time, the older man who is a member of Whisper Rock Golf Club, was on my right.

For a brief moment in time, one of biggest fish I have ever seen, was sitting at the table as well. I believe he is of Indian (the country) descent. I think he was playing last week and someone at my table pointed him out at another table. He said that he just kept moving all in for $150 and driving everyone nuts at the table. This time he was at my table and after watching the first rotation of blinds, I was starting to get excited. He was awful! Unfortunately, before I had a chance to play a hand with him, he went broke and asked for a table change. The rest of us at the table joked that we were all going to go up to the front desk and request a table change to his new table but no one actually had the balls to go up and do it. When I left for the day, I saw him at the ATM pulling out $1,000. I hope I see him again.

I ended up winning $200 for the session with most of it from just two hands. I flopped two pair and got an old man drawing to a flush to call $210 to do it. Then the very next hand I picked up pocket Jacks and raised in position. A shortish stack called for about 25% of his remaining chips. When the flop came out 8 high, he moved all in and I called. He had Ace-King and did not improve.

Before these hands, I was down about $100 from one hand. It was the most interesting one of the session so here it is:

I have $250 in front of me and Ac8c in middle position. There is a raise in front of me to $15. I call, Dan calls behind me, and the big blind calls. 4 players to the flop for $60.

The flop is Qc-Qh-9c. It's checked to me and I bet $30 with my club flush draw. Dan calls behind me and the other two players fold.

The turn is a 4d. Now I look at Dan and he has about $150 left. He could be on a weaker draw than me or he has a Queen. I decide to bet $60. He thinks for about a second and moves all in. So it's $90 more to win $60+$60+$60+$150=$330. So it's not quite the right odds to call assuming my flush wins the pot. He could have Q-9 and I would be drawing dead. He could hit the King or Jack of clubs and crush me there, so I think it's a pretty fundamental fold.

I initially bet on the flop, hoping to take down the pot. I figured with the board being so draw heavy that someone with a Queen would raise immediately to price out the draws. When Dan called, I thought there was some chance he was drawing, although a Queen was definitely in his range.

I think the bet on the turn was probably a bad play on my part. I think that bet folds out the worse draws and only gets called or raised by better hands. Plus I almost made it enough to force me to throw good money after bad and chase the flush. If I check, I give Dan the chance to make a silly small bet and give me the odds to chase the flush or bet enough to make me give up the hand. Plus if he checks behind with say a King high flush draw or a straight draw, then I can bluff the river, or better yet, hit a club and win the rest of his stack.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Can you win a big 4 way pot with Aces?

After another brutal day in the financial markets I decided to relieve some stress by playing the 5-150 game at Casino Arizona. My luck was not any better for the first 2 hours as I was card dead and decided to run bluffs against the two biggest calling stations at the casino. To be fair, on one of the bluffs, I happened to run into top two pair and made a bad read. He stared right at me when he bet which I thought was the classic tell of strong means weak. I guess strong means strong in this case. Plus this was early in the session before I realized how bad these players were.

So I had dug myself a $200 hole by 5:15 PM and it was time to go. I had one hand left before the blinds hit me and I picked up pocket Aces. I raised to $20. The high school basketball coach on my left called, one more call, loose hispanic player raises to $65. The other big calling station calls and then the old man goes all in for $140.

I of course try to raise the full $150 again and make it $290 total. Then the player in the 7 seat, who was not in the hand, tells the dealer that I am not allowed to raise. I ask for the floor supervisor to come over and straighten this out, since the basketball coach and the player on his left had folded, and the other caller, had put in more chips to call my raise.

The supervisor came over and explained that there is a 3 raise limit (due to the game technically being a "limit" game). So the dealer gave me back $150 and the other player $150 and we see the flop 4 handed with one all in. $600 in the pot and I am convinced there is no way that my Aces are going to hold up.

The flop is Qs-8s-3s. Oy vey! I'm pretty sure someone probably has pocket Queens. I notice that everyone starts looking at their hole cards again. I say, "why don't we all take a moment to check our hole cards for a spade?" I peek at my cards and lo and behold I have the Ace of spades.

The loose player on my left tries to argue that I checked. Everyone else at the table talks him down after they all confirm that I said, "let's check our hole cards". I bet $150 and loose player calls and other loose player calls. Sheesh I may just have the best hand! If someone hit a set on a monotone board, you have to raise right? $1050 in the pot.

The turn is an Ace. All right! Now this pot is all mine. I am going to value town here. Rats! I only have $27 left in my stack. I bet it and get two callers. $1131 in the pot.

The river is a deuce and the two other players make their small bets for a side pot. The side pot is won by the first loose player on my left with pocket Queens. The main pot is won by me when the old man rolls over pocket Kings.


This $1,131 pot was by far the largest I had ever won, breaking my previous $700 record from my trip to Vegas last December. It took me 4 hands to stack and rack all my chips. I apologized for leaving so soon after cleaning everyone out and left with a $606 profit. This definitely cheered me up after a bleh day at work.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Cheating? Misclick? Stupid?

I was not involved in this hand, but I couldn't believe it when it was over and the cards were turned up.

FullTiltPoker Game #9033243967: Table Highland (6 max) - $0.50/$1 - No Limit Hold'em - 23:39:20 ET - 2008/11/17
Seat 1: KORsung ($101.05)
Seat 2: Poker_Bully1 ($96.70)
Seat 3: CaseAce84 ($99.05)
Seat 4: MTY-BEAT ($118.55)
Seat 5: Ship it Strange ($105.60)
Seat 6: Fighting Tilt ($124.40)
Fighting Tilt posts the small blind of $0.50
KORsung posts the big blind of $1
The button is in seat #5

*** HOLE CARDS ***Dealt to Poker_Bully1 [Tc 5c]
Poker_Bully1 folds
CaseAce84 folds
MTY-BEAT raises to $2
Ship it Strange folds
Fighting Tilt folds
KORsung calls $1

*** FLOP *** [3h 4d Jd]
KORsung checks
MTY-BEAT bets $1
KORsung raises to $10
MTY-BEAT calls $9

*** TURN *** [3h 4d Jd] [Kc]

KORsung bets $24.50
MTY-BEAT calls $24.50

*** RIVER *** [3h 4d Jd Kc] [6s]

KORsung bets $64.55, and is all in
MTY-BEAT calls $64.55

*** SHOW DOWN ***
KORsung shows [3d 4c] two pair, Fours and Threes
MTY-BEAT mucks
KORsung wins the pot ($199.60) with two pair, Fours and Threes

*** SUMMARY ***Total pot $202.60 Rake $3
Board: [3h 4d Jd Kc 6s]
Seat 1: KORsung (big blind) showed [3d 4c] and won ($199.60) with two pair, Fours and Seat 4: MTY-BEAT mucked [2d 9d]

MTY-BEAT bet, called the raise on the flop with the flush draw, check called the turn, and then called the river with 9 high!

Now I thought that maybe they were colluding so I looked up where they say they are from. KORsung is from South Korea and MTY-BEAT is from Mexico. I don't think they are close friends since they are half way around the world from each other.

I did manage to take the rest of MTY-BEAT's money when he went all in with middle pair and I called with top pair, top kicker.

Should I send this hand history to Full Tilt security? Any thoughts from my readers?

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Internet Blackout and Sunday Tournaments

As I write this, they are playing the final table of the WSOP Main Event. I am going to do my best to avoid finding out who won and watch it "live" on Tuesday night. Of course this will require me to avoid surfing poker blogs and watching ESPN in case they show the winner on the crawl below the main screen. I don't know, but I'm thinking it might be kind of tough.

Today was the monthly rakeback freeroll with a $20,000 prize pool. In two previous attempts at this tournament, I may have played a combined 20 hands. They were quick and inglorious exits. Especially embarrasing after clearing the afternoon with my wife, and coming out of the "man cave" fifteen minutes later saying, "I'm done".

So in my tradition of over analysis I thought I would review all the hands I played:

1500 in starting chips. 563 players and they were paying 89 players.

Starting blinds were 15-30.

1. Ad6d utg. I raised since it was the second hand of the tournament and I figured half the table probably was not at their computer yet. Instead I get called in 3 other spots. The flop is 8-7-4 with one diamond.

The blind checks and I check. The player behind bets 250 and the button calls 250. The blind folds and I decide that it's too much to draw to my inside straight. Of course there is a 5 on the river and I would have got there. Not a good start.

2. KsJc in the cutoff. 1335 in chips. I open raise to 100 and win the blinds.

3. Blinds are 20-40. 1335 in chips. I have KsKc in the cutoff. I open raise to 100 and win the blinds.

4. Blinds are 25-50. I have 1,255 in chips. AhQd in middle position. I open raise to 150 and win the blinds. By now I figured out three different players that registered and did not show up to play the tournament. They are getting blinded off. Thanks to poker tracker I can figure this out quicker than the guys without it. We'll see how long until they catch on.

5. Blinds are 30-60. I have 1,240 in chips. JhQd on the button. Folded to me, I raise to 180 and win the blinds.

6. 30-60 blinds and 1,330 in chips. The blinds are on two players who are absent. I am ready to raise with any two cards except I wake up with AhQd. I open raise to 180 and win the blinds. I am going to need some action eventually.

7. Very next hand I raise QJo and win the blinds again.

8. 30-60 blinds and 1,510 in chips. Tc9c in late position. I open raise to 180 and win the blinds.

9. I steal the absent guys blinds again with QhTh.

10. 1570 in chips. Blinds are 40-80. One of the absent guys is in the big blind. I open raise with JdTd to 240. The small blind who is playing and has a decent sized stack catches on to my game and reraises all in. I fold.

11. 1,250 in chips. Blinds are 40-80. I have K7o on the BB. The SB is one of the other absent players. By now it should be apparent to anyone who has been paying attention which players are not there. It's folded to the button with 1,930 in chips. He raises to 240. I reraise all in, figuring it's a straight steal. He folds and I finally win a pot with more than the blinds in it.

12. 1,570 in chips. Blinds are still 40-80. The blinds are on the two absent players again. Once again I wake up with a real hand, two jacks. I open raise to 240 and win the blinds. Sigh.

13. 1,570 in chips. I complete with T8o in the small blind. There is one late limper. I check fold the flop.

14. Blinds 50-100. I have 1,530 in chips and Ac9h in the cutoff. It's folded to me and I raise to 300. MaliceUW in the BB with 1,960 in chips makes the call. The flop is 5d-As-5c. MaliceUW checks and I check behind. I check because I am either way ahead or way behind. This way I can keep the pot smaller and possibly induce a bluff from a small pocket pair. The turn is the Td. MaliceUW checks again. I bet 300 and he calls. The river is the 8d completing a backdoor flush draw. He checks and I check behind. I win after MaliceUW rolls over QcTs. I guess I could have value bet the river there again, but I would have been totally committed to the hand and I was happy to get to showdown cheap.

15. Blinds 50-100. I have 2,180 in chips. One of the absent players finally showed up and busted the first hand he played. The other guy is still there and in the big blind. There is no small blind. It's folded to me and I raise with A8o and win the one blind.

16. Blinds 50-100. I have 2,280 in chips. On the button with JTo and it's folded to me. Instead of the obvious raise, I decide to limp in for 100. The small blind folds and the BB checks. The flop is 9-Q-9. It's checked to me and I bet 200 and win the pot.

17. I raise the absent guy's blind again and win without contest.

18. 2530 in chips. I have AQo utg. I raise to 350 and it's folded to the button who calls. The blinds fold and there is 850 in the pot. The flop is 9s-7c-8s. I swallow hard and make my continuation bet bluff of 450 and the button folds.

19. 2,880 in chips. Blinds are 50-100. I am in the small blind with AQo. The BB is short with only 220 in chips after posting the 100 blind. It's folded to the cutoff who open limps. He has 3,900 in chips. The button who is also short, folds and it's to me. I feel like I should isolate the short BB so I move all in. The BB folds and the limper folds and I win the pot.

20. 3,330 in chips. Blinds are still 50-100. I am on the button with Ac3c. It's folded to me. The small blind has only 170 left after the blinds. I am hoping if I limp, the big blind will come along and we can try to eliminate him. Instead the small blind folds and we see the flop heads up with the BB who has 4,125 in chips. The flop is As-4s-3s. I have top and bottom pair, but now I have to worry about the flush. Cha59 leads out for 150 into the 250 pot. I play small ball and just call. The turn is a 2h. Cha checks and I check behind. I know I am giving away a lot of draws here, but my hand is really nothing but a bluff catcher and why face calling a big raise? The river is a Jd. Cha checks again and put out a little bet of 200 that maybe a naked ace or smaller two pair might call. He folds and I win a small pot.

21. I have 3,630 in chips. Blinds are 60-120. I am in middle position with AdKs. It's folded to me and I open raise for 360. The big blind is absent and everyone else folds. I win the blinds again.

22. 3,810 in chips. Very next hand I pick up JcTc. It's folded to me again and this time I try limping. Everyone else folds to the BB who has 5,434 in chips. He checks. I flop top two pair and put out a small 120 bet and scare him off. I wonder how many chips I might have had if I had managed to get any action at all on these hands?

23. 3,810 in chips. I open raise AQo and win the blinds.

24. 3,990 in chips. I am finally moved to a new table. I assume the stacks with less than 500 are others that have not shown up for the tournament and are being blinded off. I see 3 such stacks. I have AhQs utg and the BB is one of the short stacks. I decide to min raise to 240. It's folded to the cutoff who reraises all in for 2,686. I decide to be patient and not take the possible coin flip and fold. I believe I was distracted on this hand by my son. If I look at the odds, I would have to call 2,246 to win 3,100. I am only crushed by AA, KK, QQ, and AK. I am not exactly crushed by QQ but it's not good. There may be an argument for calling, except I know nothing about this player and I don't know if only raises with good hands or sees my small raise as a steal?????

25. Blinds are 80-160. I pick up pocket 9's and raise to 400 and win the blinds.

26. 3,950 in chips. Very next hand I pick up AdQs. I open raise to 400 and sun4ever in the small blind calls with 2,866 behind. He is the one who reraised me in hand 24. The flop is 6c-Th-Qc. Sun4ever checks and I bet 500. He folds.

27. Blinds are up to 100-200. I pick up 8d9d in middle position. I raise to 600 and everyone folds.

28. 4,270 in chips. Blinds 100-200. I have JdJs utg. I min raise to 400 and everyone folds except PKRPORO in the BB who calls the 200. The flop is Th-Qh-Ad. Yuck! He checks and I check behind. The turn is the 4c. He checks again. I think about betting. Nope I want a cheap showdown and the free chance at my straight draw, so I check again. The river is the 3s and PKRPORO leads out for 600. I figure I have to call and he shows me AQ for two pair. I was behind the whole way and got away pretty cheap. One of the very few hands I have played that made it to the river and I lost.

29. 3,070 in chips. I have 8s7d in the small blind. Everyone folds to me and I complete. The BB checks. I whiff the flop and it goes check-check. The turn is another blank and I bluff 200. It works and he folds.

30. The very next hand I have A4s on the button. It's folded to me, I raise and win the blinds.

31. The very next hand I pick up AQs in the cutoff. I open raise and win the blinds again. 3,870 in chips now.

32. Blinds are 120-240 with 25 ante. I have 3,820 in chips and AdQc in early position. I raise to 720 and win the blinds and antes.

33. I open raise KQo in the cutoff and get reraised all in by the big blind and fold.

34. 3125 in chips and I pick up Jacks in middle position. I open raise to 720. It's folded to sun4ever on the button and he reraises to 2,665 total. It's folded back to me. I thought that was the rest of my chips so I just called. It turns out I still had 485 left. The flop was kind of ugly as it was Qs-5d-Ks. I figure I meant to go all in anyway so I put in my last 485 in chips and get called. He shows 99. Sweet! The turn is 5 and the river is another Queen and I double up!

35. 5,675 in chips. Blinds are 150-300 with 25 ante. I have AdKc on the button. Tony63 open raises all in for 2,972. I reraise all in to isolate. He turns over Qd7d. The flop is Js-Ks-9s. Neither one of us has spades, but now I have to fade a Ten instead of his pair cards. The turn is a King and the river is a 2 and I win another race.

36. 9,197 in chips. I pick up Kings utg+1. I raise to 750 and get reraised all to 1,899. I call and he shows pocket 7's. I win again!

37. Blinds are 250-500 with 50 ante. I have 9,046 in chips and AJo on the button. I open raise and win the blinds.

38. 10,046 in chips. Blinds 250-500 with 50 ante. I have QdTd in middle position. I open raise to 1,250. I am called by the cutoff and the small blind. I finally get action when I have a crappy hand. The flop is 3-8-7 rainbow. In spite of the innocuous flop, I am not interested in c-betting with two other players in the pot. It's checked around. The turn is a Jack and the small blind bets 2,900 into a 4,650 pot. I fold and the cutoff folds.

39. 7,496 in chips. I have AhQh in the cutoff. Blinds are 300-600 with 75 ante. Mary Van King with 21,000 in chips opens for 1,689 in early position. It's folded to me and I just call. The flop is 2c-4c-2h. Mary leads into me for 1925 into a 4,953 pot. I fold.

I guess the play was to reraise all in or fold. There is no reason to call off over 20% of my stack. I think I was confused because Mary had enough chips to call my raise and not be too concerned. Plus I think we were getting close to the money bubble.

40. 5,582 in chips. Blinds are 300-600 with 75 ante. I pick up pocket tens in middle position and raise all in. Everyone folds and I add 1400 to my stack.

41. Blinds up to 400-800. I have been blinded down to 3,457 in chips. I have pocket 7's in the small blind. LE2Jog with 13k in chips raises to 2,300 in middle position. We are already in the money and I am ready to take a race. I reraise all in. LE2Jog is priced in to call with any two, but he rolls over 99. I don't hit the miracle and I am out in 59th place. I win $70 and I am happy to finally cash in the big free roll.

The overall summary is that there were 243 hands and I played 17% raising 14% and my total aggression factor was 4.3. I really could have used a little action on my hands. In 20 of the 41 hands I played, my raise went uncalled and I just won the blinds. I played a couple of hands badly, but overall I am happy.

While the Free Roll was going on, I decided to open another tournament just to keep me from getting bored. I found a $26 satellite into the FTOPS 9 for $322. They were guaranteeing 20 seats and 15 minutes before the start time there was going to be an overlay. Suddenly a rush of registrations hit and they had enough players to guarantee 27 spots and 28th would get $60. There were 365 players.

I did some quick math and figured out that the average chip stack when the tournament would end was $19,500.

I wish I had the hand histories of the other tables. When it got down to the last 34 players, I opened up the other tables to see where I stood. I never had more than 11,000 in chips and I was getting short towards the end. I kept looking for a spot to move in, but either my cards were horrible or some other short stack had already moved all in in front of me. Plus the player directly to my left had over 30,000 in chips and had shown a propensity for calling light.

Here were my hands towards the end:
This is starting with 7,580 in chips and the blinds were 800-1600 with 200 antes.
A4s on button, raise in front of me
62s By this time I was so low, that I was guaranteed to be called.
Q7s I only need one more player to bust.
J4s I am all in due to the big blind. Two players call and the small blind calls all in, but he has more chips than I do, so if we both lose, he still finishes ahead of me.

The flop is 4c-Js-Ts. I'm pretty sure I'm ahead. The King comes on the turn. That makes me squirm. The river is a 5. The players turn over A9o, QTs, and Q3s. I quadruple up! The bad news was the other all in had the ten, so he was not eliminated either.

In the mean time I see a couple of other all ins suck out to stay alive on the other tables. Finally 4 hands later, the bubble finally bursts and I win the satellite! Ship the $322

So my final take for the weekend was $366. That was definitely a nice comeback from the beating I have been taking at the cash tables.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Grrrrrrr I'm frustrated

The golf course has reopened at Phoenix Country Club after overseeding. Bill and I got to play our first round together in a long time along with Bill's dad, Ron. We were playing for a rather pedestrian $25 and currently we are both playing to a 8 handicap.

Bill started fast with a birdie on 1 and I had a par. Bill then faltered on the short par 3 second hole when he hit his shot in the water. I missed my 15 footer for birdie and took a one stroke lead. The missed putt was one of many on the day. I did not 3 putt all day, but I don't think I one putted either. I don't know what is wrong with my putting, but I can't recall a time when I've putted worse. I'm still making the short 4-5 footers, but I'm not even close to making anything inside of 20 feet.

Bill's game was rusty and he was going to be hard pressed to catch me. My game was pretty solid except for the putting. I wasn't hurting myself, but I wasn't helping either. By the 14th hole I had built a 3 shot lead.

I led off with a driver down the middle of the fairway. Bill, who was struggling with his driver, hit 2 iron off the tee. He pulled it way left and it went into the landscaping equipment storage area which is out of bounds. He hit his third shot off the tee and it was also left and looking like it was heading out as well. Bill pulled out a third tee ball as a provisional and finally pushed one out to the right. We went to check on his ball on the left and it was in bounds by maybe an inch. He hit his approach shot into the bunker 20 yards short of the green. From there he skulled his shot over the green and into the back yard of a homeowner. This was also out of bounds.

Needless to say, the match was well in hand. Of course it wouldn't be a golf match with Bill unless we pressed the bet on 18. This time it was my turn to choke. 18 is a par five with wather on the right side of the green. We were both in trouble off the tee, but our lay up shots were both within 5 yards of each other. I had 135 yards to the green. I took my swing and it felt good coming off the club face. I looked up to follow the ball and it was heading frighteningly to the right and into the water.

Bill hit the middle of the green to put a stranglehold on the hole. I could still hope for a miracle chip in to tie. I carefully placed my ball on the steep bank of the lake (dropping the ball would only add to the collection of balls in the water so we skip the dropping and go right to placing). I tried to hit my delicate pitch and managed to double hit the ball ala TC Chen. So much for the miracle. I carded an 85 and called it a day. Even on all the bets.

Today I stopped by the Gila River Casino after work to play some 3-6 limit hold'em with Carlo and Rob. It's been a while since I played limit so my game was a little rusty. What followed was a series of beats so gut wrenching, I have acquired a new found distaste for the game.

It took a while for a seat to open up and by that time, Rob had taken a couple of beats and given up. I took Rob's seat (9) while Carlo remained in seat 5. Next to Carlo was a loud guy named Ron wearing a new Jet's jersey. On my second or third hand, I picked up pocket Kings. I had a few limpers to me and I raised. It was called in a couple of places, including by Ron in the big blind. Then Carlo does something strange and reraises from under the gun. It's called by everyone between us and I cap it. So it's 5 ways for 4 bets a piece before the flop.

The flop is J-6-2. Carlo leads out after Ron checks. It's called in a couple spots and I of course raise. Ron calls 2, Carlo calls, and the other two call as well. The turn is a blank and they all check to me. I bet and Ron and Carlo call. The river is a 5 which looks harmless. Ron blurts out that, "I think I caught you" and bets 6. Carlo finally gives up and I make the crying call into the humongous pot. Ron turns over 5-2 and wins with two pair. Ouch my balls hurt!

Now Ron admits that he is playing crappy cards and mentions that I want him to play that way. I respond by saying that I may buy him a lunch to make sure he doesn't leave with all my money.

A few hands later, Ron does it to me again with the 2-5 and beats me on the river for a medium sized pot.

Now in between, I manage to win a couple of pots, so I am still up $20 in spite of everything.

Then I go and lose when I flop a set of 5's and my opponent had flopped a set of 7's. Followed by rivering a King high flush, to lose to the old man's full house on my right.

I make a quick comeback when I win a big pot with Ace-King. The very next hand, I pick up Ace-King again. This time Carlo is coming along for the ride. I flop an Ace again and Carlo check calls my bet. The turn is an innocuous 8. This time Carlo leads out. My radar is up and I think Carlo may have turned two pair. But I also saw him screwing around by limp-reraising King-Jack offsuit. I can't help myself and I raise. Carlo calls and we see the river. It completes a low 4 card straight. One of the players who folded on the flop makes a gesture of frustration which obviously means he folded the card that would have made the straight. Carlo checks and once again I bet. Carlo is nice to me and just calls and rolls over 8-3 for two pair. This game is so rigged!

So I was ahead for one hand and just lost it all back in the very next hand.

Carlo is up $50 and ready to leave the casino. He starts trying to talk me into playing $50 worth of slots with him. I say no at first, but eventually give in. Carlo leads me to the "Deal or No Deal" slots. We pump in $100 and play as a team. Carlo says the key is to get the briefcase bonus. When you hit that, you get to play Deal or No Deal on the video screen for a grand prize amount determined by your spin.

It took us about 10 spins before we hit the briefcase and got to play. Our first offer was $65. We said no deal and we opened a couple of medium sized cases, but our offer went up to $135. Nowwe had the $500 case and 4 other cases all under $50. Since there was a 1 out of 5 chance that we would select a low case, we declined the deal.

Now I realize that the Expected Value in this game is to add up the remaining cases and divide by the number of cases. However, I was there to gamble and not to explain to Carlo how the math would work. We said, "No Deal" and because I am running so good, the computer picked the $500 case and knocked our deal down to $35. We dejectedly took the deal and moved to a different Deal or No Deal machine.

We put our $90 into the new machine and started again. This time we hit the spin wheels right and won $200! So amazingly enough, after splitting the winnings, I finished the day up $3!

That's right after all those bad breaks and getting beat by 8-3 and 5-2 twice, I still managed leave with $3 of profit. Maybe I run better than I thought?

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Why I have not posted lately

Thank god October is over!

The worst month in the stock market in 21 years has kept me from playing my best poker. Obviously my mind has been occupied.