Friday, December 26, 2008

Good Article on Tells

Joe Navarro is an expert on tells. He wrote a great book called "Read'em and Reap" and currently writes for Bluff Magazine. I found this article online and I want to remember to look for these tells of the mouth. I will update you the next time I play live to see if I noticed it.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Bill and Larry Golf Bet year 3

The matchup to decide the best golfer between the two of us for 2009 started today. 10 rounds of golf. Each round will be stroke play. Each win counts as one point. The first one to 5.5 points win the bet. Bill had made some noise a couple of weeks ago about not betting any money on it due to the economy. I of course, questioned his man hood and goaded him into agreeing to a $500 wager. He finally accepted.

Due to the crowd of players today we started on hole number 10. In a surprise, Bill's 5 year old son, joined us for the first 7 holes. I knew this might be a distraction for Bill and sure enough, he had a couple of bad holes when he got distracted.

Bill had jumped out to an early lead as I bogeyed the first 4 holes. My first stroke of luck happened on 14. I hit a 3 wood left, that hit a tree and managed to stay in bounds by about 6 inches. I had to lay up to 50 yards in front of the green and made a bogey 5. The good news was that Bill had hit his tee shot out of bounds and missed the green on his approach. He finished with a 7 to my 5 and I suddenly had a 2 shot lead.

Then I got lucky and birdied the next two holes including number 16 where I sank a 35 foot putt. In the mean time Bill continued his downward spiral by bogeying 15 and double bogeying 16. Suddenly I had a 7 stroke lead after 7 holes.

In my usual fashion I proceeded to give back a bunch of strokes. I got an unlucky bounce off the cart path on 17 and make double bogey. Then I managed to hit the ball in the water on 18 and my lead was back down to 3.

The backsliding continued as we made the turn. To make things worse we had been playing behind a very slow group of 5 old men who would not do the courtesy of letting our foursome play through. It was cold and threatening rain plus the group behind us was losing patience and had yelled at us a couple of times to hurry up. I went back to talk to one of them and let them know that it wasn't our fault. They ended up skipping a couple of holes to get in front of the both of us.

By the time we arrived at the third hole, my lead was down to one. I finally found my groove and went on a run and played the last 7 holes in 1 over par. Bill had some chances to put the pressure on me, but he 3 putted on 7 to miss an opportunity to pick up a stroke and he missed the birdie putt on 18 that would have put the pressure on me to make my 3 footer for par.

The final score was Larry 81 and Bill 83. I now lead the best of 10 rounds 1-0 and the momentum continues from 2008 into 2009.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Short Stack Tournament Strategy

I have been on a bit of a good run at the casino recently. On Friday after work I played in the 5-150 game at Casino Arizona. I sat and folded for 2 hours and was down $100 when lightning struck. In the span of 5 minutes, I flopped the nut straight and doubled up and then I flopped a set of 7's and turned the full house and won another $250.

At the high point I was up $400. I lost some of it back with Queens when a King flopped and ended the day up over $300.

I had to come back on Saturday morning to play in the Bubble Boy Free Roll. This was the tournament for all the players that had finished on the bubble in all the previous tournaments throughout the year. It was a $25 service fee plus you could get 1500 extra chips for an additional $10, 5 of which went to the dealers and a $5 Keno card.

There were 185 players and they were paying the top 40 a minimum of $50.

Once again I started out fast. In the first hour I had quad 6's and got paid, a straight, and a flush. I won nearly every hand I played in this tournament except for 3.

The first one was early and I'm not sure if I played it wrong or not. I raised one limper with KJs in late position. The button called, the BB called and the limper called. The flop was King high with no straight or flush possible. I did not like the preflop call behind me and I was worried about getting sucked in to a big pot. It was checked to me and I checked as well to see what the button would do. He checked behind.

The turn was a 9, which seemed innocent enough. Except the BB led out for the size of the pot. The early player folded. I still had the button behind me left to act, but I was pretty sure he was going to fold since he didn't act on the flop. I still thought I was ahead, but I wanted to protect my chips. I just called and hoped he would not fire again on the river.

The river was meaningless and he put in the rest of his chips. I could still call and have over 20 BB left, which is a big stack in this tournament. I called and he showed me trip 9's. He had hit the two outer on the turn.

So with results oriented thinking, I should have bet the flop and he probably would have folded. I think with 3 other people in the hand, I need to bet to protect my hand and find out where I am. I could probably bet half the pot and figure that out. If it's heads up, I can check it, because I am either way ahead or way behind. He either has a King with a better kicker or something better. Or he is drawing to 2-5 outs to hit his trips or second pair.

Another hand was a raise with KJ where a short stack pushed all in from the BB. I was getting over 2-1 on my call and felt like I had to make it. I lost the race against AQ.

I easily made it into the top 40 and actually made it down to the final two tables. I was fluctuating between 8-12 BB and the blinds were now going to double every 30 minutes. If I had to guess, the average stack was probably 7-9 BB, but I had the two chip leaders on my left with 20-40 BB. My stealing options were going to be a bit limited.

I made a push all in with A2o in early position and the big stack on my left called with JJ and I did not improve. I finished in 15th for $100. When I added that to the $135 I won in the morning playing 3-6 limit hold'em, it made for a very profitable day.

I was a little disappointed in myself that I made the raise with A2. After thinking about for a while, I thought that maybe I should have waited for a better spot.

I am going to discuss two things relating to late tournament strategy. The first is simple push or fold calculations preflop. The second is a proper strategy for stealing blinds when all the other players have 8-12 BB in their stacks.

I posted the hand for help on two plus two and they told me about the statistical formula to calculate the fold percentage for multiple players.

If people are calling with probability x, the formula for the chances that someone out of y number of players calls is:1 - (1-x)^y.

So, for 5 players left to act and they are calling with the top 10% of their hands, someone will call 40.9% of the time.

The second part of strategy is what to do when everyone is playing tight and they have short stacks. You have a few different options:

1. Play tight and wait for good cards to double up. Wait for premium hands, raise enough to put your opponents all in and hope they double you up.

2. Raise 3x the blind and widen your range a little. If they reraise, you are priced in to call so be sure to play cards you don't mind going all in with. Usually they will call the raise and see if they hit the flop. So you may be forced to go all in on the flop if you want to win the pot.

3. Raise 2-2.5x the blind. In this case, if your opponent reraises all in, you may be able to find a fold and save yourself a little money. The draw back is that more players will be enticed to call the smaller bet and you will be forced to play post flop.

The players seem to play so tight that I am starting to think that option 3 may work in the Casino Arizona tournaments.

a) The players are bad enough that some feel a raise of the BB of 3000 to 6000 seems like a big raise and they may fold, when they are getting 2.5 to one to make the call. They are seldom that big of an underdog to anything.

b)It will let you get away a little cheaper if someone plays back at you for 8-12BB.

c) It will also get you a little more action on your high pocket pairs.

Now I posed this question on 2+2 and they all recommended that I raise enough to put my opponents all in. Maximum pressure. You get called less, and if you do get called and double up you win even more chips. I think I'll try the min raise the next time and see what happens.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Golf Tournament and New Monitor

I played in the Member-Member with Bill last weekend at Phoenix CC. Bill claimed that he should be deemed a Saint since he performed a miracle and convinced Alisha that he could play golf for 3 straight days.

It was a stressful tournament as after the first few holes on Friday, my back tightened up and I was sure I was going to be on my back the rest of the weekend. For once, it actually loosened up on Saturday and felt 100% on Sunday. Usually if I feel the twinge, it means the full blown spasm is coming soon.

We were only 4 shots back of the leaders in our flight going into the last round. However the format was a modified chapman. I don't know why it's called a "chapman" but it's alternate shot with a dash of scramble. We both hit our tee shots, then switch balls (I hit his tee shot and vice versa), then we pick the best of the two and alternate shots from there. This format will test the bounds of friendship in a hurry if you have any competitive spirit.

In spite of Bill's excitement to play 3 straight days of golf, he showed up 10 minutes before our tee time on Sunday and played with no warm up. Any kind of warm up would have been a good idea since it was 50 degrees and the greens were running extra fast. So because he was cold and the jacket he wore was restricting his swing, he managed to put 4 balls in the water on the first 6 holes. I seriously wanted to quit and go home when we made the turn. I have never seen him play that bad. Especially when he's motivated to play. I don't know where we finished in the flight but with a net 77, I'm sure it was near the bottom.

The big news for poker is that I bought a new wide screen monitor. Now I can tile 6 Full Tilt tables without any over lap. I can also do it for Poker Stars but they are a little small for my taste. I gave it a test run tonight and I played 5 tables of .25-50 No Limit on Poker Stars. I managed to play 433 hands in one hour. Unfortunately I lost about $40, but it was good to know that I did not have too much trouble handling the volume.

This will come in handy if I ever decide to bonus whore or try to rack up FPP's on Poker Stars for some of their benefits.

I think for the most part, I will continue with 2 tables at higher stakes and concentrate on becoming a better player.

Plus the new monitor has a built in webcam so I will be able to video conference with people on skype once I sign up for an account.

Monday, December 08, 2008

A New Move

andyH333 is a good tight aggressive player. I have over 200 hands of history on him where he almost never limps in a pot and raises about 22% of his hands preflop.

jimbobjones2006 is a loose passive player. My stats show him playing 38% of his hands preflop (the ideal is 15-22%) and only raising 8% of the time.

I have seen andyH333 raise jimbo after he limps a couple of times. It looks like a standard isolation play. Punishing the limpers is something I like to do.

In the example below, jimbo limps, and andy raises. I am in the small blind. For once I make a play based on the situation and not my cards. jimbo is probably weak and doesn't have a hand that can call two raises. andyH333 is probably not that strong since he is just trying to isolate jimbo. I raise to $15 and win the pot.

I must be getting comfortable at these levels because not once in the hand did I think about "oh my gosh it's $15 I just bet!" The great players are this comfortable at every level. I am working on it.

FullTiltPoker Game #9397726407: Table Requa (6 max) - $0.50/$1 - No Limit Hold'em - 22:48:38 ET - 2008/12/08
Seat 1: mmmpotbrownies ($101.40)
Seat 2: Poker_Bully1 ($119.30)
Seat 3: You Dont See Me ($205.60)
Seat 4: GreatWent ($106.70)
Seat 5: jimbobjones2006 ($145.40)
Seat 6: andyh333 ($106)
mmmpotbrownies posts the small blind of $0.50
Poker_Bully1 posts the big blind of $1
The button is in seat #6
*** HOLE CARDS ***Dealt to Poker_Bully1 [6d 5c]
You Dont See Me folds
GreatWent folds
jimbobjones2006 calls $1
andyh333 raises to $4.50
mmmpotbrownies folds
Poker_Bully1 has 15 seconds left to act
Poker_Bully1 raises to $15
jimbobjones2006 fold
sandyh333 has 15 seconds left to act
andyh333 is sitting out
andyh333 has timed out
andyh333 folds
Uncalled bet of $10.50 returned to Poker_Bully1
Poker_Bully1 mucksPoker_Bully1 wins the pot ($10.50