Thursday, December 31, 2009

Luck Can Only Take You So Far

I had a free Wednesday night since I usually play Tennis, but our USTA team has a vacation due to the holiday season. My friend Jeff (see has been hosting a weekly tournament at his house for a $40 buy in. I finally decided to make an appearance knowing I could also catch the U of A vs. Nebraska football game at the Holiday Bowl.

The football game started at 6:00 PM while the tournament was not starting until 7:00. This gave me some time to get there early and watch my beloved Wildcats fall behind by a touchdown only 71 seconds into the game after an interception was run back to the 5 yard line. The rest of the game went downhill from there and I was glad to have a poker game to distract me.

We started the game with eight players and 10,000 chips. The starting blinds were 100-200 and the levels were going up every 20 minutes. Jeff was nice enough to provide us with one of his dealers, the lovely and talented Heidi. This helped move the game along and let the players focus on their cards instead of shuffling and dealing.

I’m pretty sure I did not see a flop for the first level as my cards were pretty crappy. Early in the second level I picked up K9o in late position. There was a limper to me and I decided I should play a hand and try to pick up some chips. I raised and got an additional caller in the big blind. The flop missed me, but they checked to me and I bet half the pot. They folded pretty quickly and at least I was back up to my starting stack.

The next two levels went by with me winning an occasional small pot and staying right around 10,000 in chips. The fourth level was 400-800 and it was the last level for rebuys. The next level would be 500-1000. During this level a couple of late arrivals showed up and bought in so now we had 10 players at the table. With two minutes to go in the level, I open raised AsQs to 2,400 in the hi-jack. One of the new players moved his 10k all in. From the brief comments I had heard from the other players, this player had the reputation of being an “action player” and could very well be trying to double up quick during the final stage of the rebuy level. An older gentleman who had been playing somewhat solid called his bet. Here is where the rebuy screws up your thinking sometimes. I did not give the caller too much credit because I figure he knows the other guy is gambling. Plus he only had about 12,000 in chips so he may be trying to make a quick score. I see a chance to triple up if I get lucky. I raise all in.

To my surprise, I was waaay behind. The “action player” had AK and the older gentleman had AA. I can’t get much more behind than that. The flop was K-X-X. The turn was a Jack, and before anyone noticed except for me, the river was a Ten giving me the straight! That goes down as one of my better suckouts. I am now the big chip leader with 35k in chips and no need to take the add-on.

The very next hand, which was the first hand of the 500-1000 level, it was folded to me again in late position and I had 3s4s. I figure I would intimidate a little bit and raise to steal the blinds. The other new player then raised all in with his 9,000 in chips. I did some quick math and figured I was getting better than 2-1 and called. He had Ace-King so it was the best hand I could hope for. Naturally I binked off the straight again on the river to beat him and added more to my big stack.

From that point on, I tried to play pretty tight. It was pretty much ABC poker until the field started to narrow. Jeff was only going to pay the top 3 places and apparently they never chop. As the blinds went up, the short stacks were going broke and I was maintaining my stack. We eventually got down to 4 handed. The man on my right was a nice guy and had built up a stack similar to mine. Unfortunately he lost most of it to his wife, Tina and was down to one 2,000 chip on the bubble. He almost made the miraculous comeback. He won three hands in a row, and then he open raised all in from the small blind into my big blind. I talked myself into calling with Jack-Ten and he rolled over Ace-3. For once, I did not lay a beat on someone and he doubled up again.

Because the blinds were getting so high, I did not feel too comfortable trying to abuse the bubble. One wrong move and I could be crippled as well, so I was not happy to see the comeback. Luckily soon after he got his chips, Tina ended up knocking him out when he flopped top pair, but she had top two pair.

We soon knocked out Ira, a former dealer at Harrah’s, in third place and it was heads up between me and Tina. She was a good player, but she was not very aggressive when it got short handed and she was letting me run her over. The blinds were high enough, that the only real move for her and me was to go all in on any hand we wanted to play. But she kept trying to limp in on her small blind and I kept raising her off the hand.

I had her down close to 2-1 in chips when I finally decided to limp with 10-4 offsuit on the button. She checked and I flopped a ten for top pair. She bet into me and I decided to just call and slow play. The turn was a Queen and she bet again. I became a little concerned, but I thought she still had enough chips to fold if I raised all in. That’s what I did and she hesitated for a couple of seconds, which gave me some hope, before she announced, “call” and had me crushed with Q-5 which was two pair. I slow played my way into a big loss.

I only had 3 big blinds left for the next hand and lost the next all in to come in second place. With all the lucky breaks I was getting, I was sure I was going to win this thing, but made a bad decision and it cost me. Still the $210 was nice.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

WBPT, The Craziest Game Ever; Will I Ever Be Good At This Game?

I was in Las Vegas last weekend to tag along with my wife, Michele as she attended the Colorado River User Water Conference at Caesar's Palace. Naturally this meant lots of poker for me along with some alone time with the wife sans Jake.

My first foray down to the poker room at Caesar's was derailed at 10:00 AM because there was not a game running. There were only 2 tables with players at them and they were left overs from the 9:00 AM tournament. I went to get breakfast and kill some time until the 12:00 tournament. This is when I found the casino's excuse for a $5 black jack table.

Shockingly the minimum bet at a table with a live dealer for blackjack on a Thursday morning was $25. The alternative is video blackjack with a virtual dealer. The minimum bet is only $5. The video is creepy because it does not flow smoothly. Plus they change it every 5 minutes. It would be infinitely better if you could just freeze it on the hot dealer in a bikini dealing by the pool. Instead I got a steady diet of a good looking black man followed by a smiling japanese female.

This was fine for killing time, but I found one major fault with the game. Once you have put in a bet, there is no way to delete it or decrease it. I was content to play $5 at a time, but after winning a couple of hands in a row, I decided to up it to $10. I hit a button that said 10 but it increased my bet by 10x so I wound up betting $50. I frantically looked for the delete button as the clock ticked down but I could not find one. Oh well, maybe I'll get lucky. Nope. My 15 busts. I end up losing for $40 for the session before I walk into the poker tournament.

The noon tournament at Caesars had a good turnout with over 80 players for $85 a piece. I was disappointed to find out that the structure has changed since the last time I was there. Now the blind levels are only 20 minutes. They do start you with 130 BB but I knew that would not last too far past the second hour.

There was not anything real exciting about this experience. Some times in tournaments every move you make works out and other times it doesn't. I got caught bluffing repeatedly and my image was pretty bad. I never caught the really good cards to get paid off and I finally busted when an active player on the button raised my big blind. I had Kc9c and decided to ship in 18 BB over the top of him praying for the fold. This time he was raising with a good hand and called with Ace-King. I missed my flush and 3 pair outs and was out in around 50th place.

I played a good amount of No Limit cash games this weekend and here is my list of concerns.

1. Far too often I don't feel comfortable that I know where I am at in a hand. For some reason I think that I should be able to sit at a table at this level and have confidence that I can play better than most of the players at the table. This was rarely happening.

2. I still don't know how to adjust to certain tables that play different than ABC poker. Here's what gives me trouble:

A table with a bunch of loose passive players. They limp whenever they can and hardly ever raise. They never reraise. So I will raise good cards in position and get 3-5 other players in the hand. Unless I flop two pair or better, I can almost always expect to get beat by someone smooth calling AK and flopping top pair or a sneaky guy who hit his set.

The other kind of table is one I seldom run into but it should be insanely profitable. What do you do when you run into a player or two who is content to raise every hand 5x the blind in the dark? He will call almost any raise to see the flop and loves to try and outplay his opponents. Do you risk the reraise and c-bet any flop hoping he misses? Or do you call and try to wade through the other 3-4 players and just hope you hit a monster?

I posted the question on 2+2 and the majority response was to reraise my good hands or hands that can make top pair, good kicker. If I hit top pair or even middle pair, bet strong and hope it holds up. I'm sure that it becomes a much higher variance game and I have to be able to stomach the swings. However, in the long run that is probably the most profitable way to play it.

On Friday night I managed to convince my wife to join me in a forayh over to the Mirage to join the a bunch of Poker Bloggers and the World Poker Blogger Tour WPBT gathering. I found Iggy at the table and he warned me that the 1-2 No Limit game was crazy. "If you have any respect for money, this is not the game for you."

I sat back and watched and met Otis and Linda from PokerWorks . Michele decided to try her luck at the slots so I swallowed hard and decided to put my name on the list for the game.

I was quickly moved into the game and it was as crazy as advertised. The sole purpose of half the players at the table was to lay as bad a beat as possible on someone so they would have a story to write about when they got home. Multiple players were raising and reraising blind.

This is definitely not a game I am comfortable in but it should be profitable if my hands hold up. I was there to have a good time so that's what I decided to do. This didn't change my normal tight poker game much, but I made sure to interact and tell some jokes so maybe in their drunken stupor they would not notice that I was only playing premium hands.

Sure enough, on two different hands I raised preflop with Ace-Queen. Got called in a couple of spots. Flopped the Ace, and check raised all in on the flop. I got called by weaker Aces both times and left the game up over $300. Otis was down over $2,000 when I left. That's how swingy this game was.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Man Who Never Shows Down a Hand

I left work a little early today to play in the afternoon tournament at Casino Arizona. It's a very convoluted buy in process, but the simple description is I paid $85 for $3,800 in starting chips with the blinds at 25-50.

We started with 90 runners today and I got off to a good start when I raised KQ after two limpers who called. The flop looked innocent so I made a continuation bet and they both folded.

I also made a nice steal in the first level when two other players meekly limped into the pot. The small blind called and I raised on the big blind to 300. They all folded like the weak tight sissies I thought they were.

For most of the first 3 levels, I did not have any great starting hands. All the pots I won were from stealing the blinds or raising preflop and making a bet on the flop to take it down. I believe I had 5,900 in chips at the first break.

While I was heading outside for some fresh air, I ran into my friend Noah at another one of the tournament tables. Noah has had pretty good success in these tournaments and I have been anxious to play with him, to study his play. We said a quick hello and we were back to our separate tables.

Slowly and surely the field was whittling away and we were down to 3 tables. When they consolidated to three tables, I was moved to Noah's table where I noticed that he had a pretty big stack.

Noah played like I expected from our previous conversations. He was very aggressive in that he raised frequently preflop and was always evaluating how to take the pot away from someone. He really does try to play the man more than his cards. That is something I wish I did more of in my game, but it can also come back and bite you in the ass if you are not schooled in some of the fundamentals of the game.

For instance I noticed that Noah would get himself pot committed often when he could have sized his bets differently. He was also raising some strange amounts preflop and I could not figure out if there was a pattern since nobody was really playing back at him.

I ended up doubling up off of him when he raised his AQ into my pocket Kings on my big blind. I was pretty short, so he was going to have to call my reraise with darn near any two cards. I flopped a King so that was a good double up.

A couple of rounds went buy and we ran into each other again. This time he raised in middle position with 66 and I reraised all in from the button with Ace-8. He called and I hit an 8.

Noah eventually went bust with around 25 players left. It was here where I started a very interesting streak. For the next 3-4 levels of play, I was all in somewhere between 10-12 times and not called once! I may have had a decent hand like KQ suited a couple of times, but most of them were well timed raises against players who were tight or it was folded to me at the button or small blind and I just played the odds that my opponent(s) would not have the cards to call me. These were truly some of the tighest players I had seen at a tournament in Casino Arizona.

This strategy kept me between 7 and 13 times the big blind and eventually got me to the final table.

Once we got there we had the inevitable discussion about a chop. The table decided to pool the prize money from 4th to 10th and split it evenly among all of the players. This gave me a guarantee of $342 versus 10th place money of $108.

It was soon after that I finally picked up Aces. I raised to 2.5x the blind and a relatively short stack behind me, raised all in. I called to see his AQ. My hand held up and I finally had a comfortable stack.

It did not last long as the very next hand I raised again with pocket 5's. Another short stack moved all in. I was priced in to call and he turned over Ace-King. I was hoping to win yet another race, but he flopped broadway and I was drawing near dead. A five binked off on the river just to rub a little salt in the wound. I was back to short stack shove mode again.

We lost a couple more players and got down to 7 handed. The players started talking about making a deal again since nobody was a big chip leader. I had chipped up a little to about 10x the blind which put me in 2nd place. This time the amount would be over $700. I was adamant that I was not making a deal now. A tight russian player on my right began to plead with me to make the deal. "$400 is a lot of money...You don't know what will happen....You still have to eliminate 4 other people...blah blah blah". I finally insisted that he shut up because I was not changing my mind.

To make things interesting, I soon had a hand I felt was worthy of a raise. I counted out my chips and the Russian starts chirping again, saying "now there is a big target on you." His bitching did not motivate anyone else to call my raise and I won the blinds again.

I found this to be an interesting psychological dynamic because usually I am quiet and friendly and do not want to draw attention to the fact that I am trying to rape other players blinds. This guy had forced my image out into the open and was encouraging others to take shots at me.

I made a small adjustment and tightened up a little and made sure I only raised hands that I was comfortable calling a reraise with or I just moved all in and hoped they were not frustrated enough to make the spite call. Luckily the Russian was on my right so I was able to act after him during most of the hands and could avoid any direct confrontations.

During this stretch of the tournament I continued to find the right times to raise and win the blinds as nobody wanted to mess with me. We finally lost the Russian when he went all in with JJ and another player woke up with AA.

The blinds were now getting humongous at 2000-4000 and they rolled up to 4000-8000 when we finally got down to 4 players. At this point the chip leader had 135,000 and I was second with 65,000. The other two players had approximately 40,000 in chips. Now I was ready to take a deal. We gave the guy with first place chips $1,200 and the rest of us split up $923 each.

It was one of those tournaments where almost all of my "moves" worked and the other times where I was ready to make a move, someone else would beat me to it and end up saving me money because I ended up folding a losing hand.

I'm sure there was a lot of luck involved, but this tournament really felt like I won it with skill. I was never all in where I was more than a 44% dog and the fact that I was almost never called when I raised says I did a very good job of picking the right spots to steal. The boost to the poker bankroll feels really good.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Have I Finally Found The Golden Goose?

I mostly play on Full Tilt because I have a rake back deal and for the most part it is just as good as Pokerstars. I happened to be exploring over at Pokerstars a couple of weeks ago and I noticed they have "Double or Nothing" Sit-n-Go's. This means they start with 10 players at one table and if you make the final 5, you double your money.

I have been bemoaning the fact that there were not tournaments like this just for cash. I have been decidely plus expected value in my satellite experience because so many players make tournament killing mistakes when they could afford to fold their way into the money.

My prayers have been answered. Apparently they have been running for months and I was ignorantly unaware.

I know it's still a small sample size but I have now played 39 of these tournaments at the $21.60 level and I have cashed in 26. I can play up to 5 at a time without much trouble and today I accomplished the ultimate goal which was to play 5 and cash in all five.

There are extensive posts now on 2+2 about these tables and I'm sure the hard core players are quickly figuring out the mathematically perfect way to play these tournaments. But for now, there are 5-6 fishes at every table and I am happy to take advantage.

In other news, I have finally put together a winning streak at Casino Arizona. The last 3 times I have played, I have left with more money than I started with. To make things even more amazing, it has been in three different games: 3-6 limit hold'em, 1-2 No Limit Hold'em, and 3-6 limit omaha 8 or better.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Still Backsliding

My poker bankroll is all the way down to close to $2,000. I don't know what I am doing wrong. When I play PLO or No Limit Hold'em it seems that whenever I make a good hand, nobody pays me off. I am still pretty good about not losing a lot, but I never win the big pots to get me to a big winning session.

Lets do some analysis of my last few No Limit Hold'em online sessions:

10/2 299 hands won $52.45
Hands won over $20 5 for a total of $202
Hands lost over $20 3 for a total of $161

9/29 339 hands lost $35.75
Hands won over $20 2 for a total of $46
Hands lost over $20 0

9/22 243 hands lost $21.65
Hands won over $20 1 for $39
Hands lost over $20 1 for $51

9/19 574 hands lost $394
Hands won over $20 3 for $84
Hands lost over $20 9 for $417 Ouch!

9/17 329 hands lost $197
Hands won over $20 6 for $184
Hands lost over $20 7 for $300

9/13 100 hands lost $108
Hands won over $20 0
Hands lost over $20 1 for $100

9/12 469 hands lost $125
Hands won over $20 6 for $232
Hands lost over $20 8 for $285

So over my last few sessions I have won 23 big pots and lost 29. So it would make sense to lose less big pots. However I still think that I am not winning enough on the big pots to offset the losses. It also seems like some of the big losses were cold decks or bad beats so maybe I just need to run a bit better as well.

After some struggles with Hold'em Manager I finally broke down my hands by starting cards to see where I was losing money. I have only had Hold'em manager for almost 3 months so I only have approximately 5000 hands. My suspicions were confirmed.

AA 15 times won $22
KK 16 times lost $73
QQ 17 times even
AKo or AKs 42 times lost $152

These are supposed to be very profitable hands. I went back and reviewed the hands and I saw a few minor mistakes but I did not see any horrible misplays. The main thing I noticed was that I five bet shoved a few times with AK and got called with 99 and TT, but I never seemed to get called by those hands when I did it with AA or KK. They usually folded after my first raise. I'd say that's a bad run of cards.

The Casino Arizona is still treating me like shit. I must lose 80% of the time in limit hold'em sessions this year. I am really striving to improve on reading people and choosing my times to bluff much more selectively. However, I can't seem to catch a break when I do have the winning hand on the flop or turn. I seem to be running pretty bad on the river. I know I sound like every other whiner on the internet forums, but since hardly anyone else reads this blog, I'll shout out into the void.

I will be heading out to Fort McDowell tonight for another football promotion. If I can't win the money from the players I might as well try and win it back from the casinos.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

It's Official. I am running bad

Here are my stats from tonight's session:
574 hands played in a little over 2 hours

I lose $394.70.

AA twice. Once it's folded to me in the BB and I win $0.50. The other time, I reraise and win $3.

AK 3 times. I net a negative $10.

KK 4 times. 3 times I raise and win the blinds. The fourth time I get it all in on the flop and the other guy has Aces. Net loss with KK = $124

QQ twice. I win the blinds both times for a profit of $2.50

I won three pots over $25 for the night with the biggest being $31.50. I lost 6 pots greater than $25. The biggest was the KK hand.

Here was the second biggest of the night:

Full Tilt Poker $0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em - 6 players
The Official [url=]2+2[/url] Hand Converter [url=]Powered By[/url]

[b]Hero (CO): $110.30[/b]
BTN: $102.00
[b]SB: $84.10[/b]
BB: $39.00
UTG: $20.95
MP: $162.10

[b]Pre Flop:[/b] ($1.50) Hero is CO with T:club: T:spade:
UTG calls $1, [i]1 fold[/i], [color=red]Hero raises to $4.50[/color], [color=red]BTN raises to $13[/color], SB calls $12.50, [i]2 folds[/i], Hero calls $8.50

[b]Flop:[/b] ($41.00) 7:heart: 5:diamond: 4:spade: [color=blue](3 players)[/color]
[color=red]SB bets $5[/color], [color=red]Hero raises to $23[/color], BTN folds, SB calls $18

[b]Turn:[/b] ($87.00) 7:spade: [color=blue](2 players)[/color]
[color=red]SB bets $5[/color], [color=red]Hero raises to $49[/color], SB calls $43.10 all in

[b]River:[/b] ($183.20) K:spade: [color=blue](2 players - 1 is all in)[/color]

[b]Final Pot:[/b] $183.20
Hero shows T:club: T:spade: (two pair, Tens and Sevens)
SB shows J:spade: 9:spade: (a flush, King high)
SB wins $180.20
(Rake: $3.00)

So this donkey calls a 3bet in the blind with Js 9s preflop. Calls my cbet with nothing but a runner runner flush draw. Calls the turn bet with the flush draw, and gets there on the river.

I am mad about the beat, but not tilted. What tilts me is that in 4 different hands later in the session, I have him in a pot that I am sure he is going to pay me off and he escapes every time. WHAT THE F***!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Win Some, Lose More

After my last post, I waited a day and played some $26 multi table sit and go's. I finally ran like a god and cashed a 2nd place and a 4 th place to clear over $320.

Feeling good about my chances tonight, but the cash games were not good to me.

I have 9cTc on the button in 6 handed .50-1 NL. $104 in my stack. I raise to 3.50. The BB (lilmissdezi) calls.
Flop is 7c 8d 5c. So I have 15 outs with the straight and flush draw and hell maybe the 9's and 10's are good for outs too so that may give me as many as 21 outs twice. I bet $5 and lilmissdezi calls. The turn is 3h. No help but I bet again this time $12. I am called again.

I am wondering if my opponent has an over pair like 10's and is trying to keep the pot small. I have not played many hands with her yet so I don't have a good grasp of her style.

The river is Qd and I miss my infinite draw. I decide the pot is big and the only way to win it is to bluff at it. I fire $23 and my opponent calls with Ac,7s for second pair. Wow!

In another bluff gone awry. I have Ks Ts in the small blind. A new player named nala314 is in the hijack and open raises to $3.50. I call from the small blind and the BB folds. The flop is 3h Jd 7h. I check and nala314 bets $2 into an $8 pot. Since this flop is ragged and $2 looks very weak, I decide to check raise to $8. nala314 calls before I even finish clicking on the bet button.

The turn is a Ts. I think the snap call is a heart draw or top pair, with a weak kicker. This time I bet $15 into a $24 pot and he snap calls again. Now I am leaning towards more of a pocket pair type of hand.

The river is the 8s putting 4 to a straight out. I check hoping for a free showdown. He bets $30 into the $54 pot. I don't think I beat anything so I fold. He shows me a bluff of AsQc. Double Wow!

Last strange hand:

I have AA in the small blind. I have already had to lay down pocket aces once in this session on the turn. My other big pocket pairs have received no action at all. The button raises to 3.00. I decide to smooth call and try to trap. The BB comes along. The effective stacks here were $80.

The flop is 7s 7h Ks. I check again to play it slow. The BB bets $4 into a $9 pot. The button raises to $13. I already hate my hand. I really want to shove and hope they are playing like jackasses, but I fight the urge and just call. The BB then shoves all in for his last $77 and the button calls. Well that makes it an easy fold. The BB has 7d Td and the button has Ad Kc. So the button was an idiot that I could have stacked if I had just re-raised before the flop and knocked out the BB.

I rarely slow play high pocket pairs but lately when I try to mix it up, I get burned.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Session analysis Running into Quads

This will probably be incredibly boring but in order to improve my dismal play lately I am going to force myself to evaluate the biggest winners and losers from each session.

So this was from a 456 hand session of .50-1 NL where I lost $150.

Here are the losers:

Ah6s on the button. Herpes Is 4eva is in the cutoff. He open raises to $3.50 with 30/23/2.8 stats. I reraise to $12. He calls.

The reraise is a bit aggressive but I was in position and I had not done it very much so I expected to win the pot preflop most of the time.

Flop is 2d 5s Ts. Herpes checks and I make a cbet of $18 into a 25.50 pot. Herpes calls. I think the cbet wins the pot most of the time with a ragged flop like that. He calls, so he's either peeling one off with AK, has a pocket pair that he's not too comfortable with like JJ, 99, or 88. Or he's slow playing a monster set.

I am done with this hand. The turn is a 6h so the board is 2d 5s Ts 6h. It's checked through. The river is the 3 of hearts and it's checked through again.

I think this was a good bluff that didn't go my way. Herpes shows down JJ.

Hand #2

I have QQ in BB. Regina in cutoff raises to 3.50. She is 16/12/inf after 27 hands so not a huge sample. I decide to mix things up and just call in the BB. I think I have been getting irritated that I am getting no action with my high pocket pairs preflop so that's probably what led to this slow play.

Flop is 2s Ts 9h. I decide to go for a check raise. Regina complys and bets the pot of $7.50. I raise to $20. She 3 bets it all in for $96.50 total. I call and she shows T 9 for top two pair. I miss my slim draws and she takes $100 off me.

Looking back, I think I can find a fold here. The only hand I am beating that might shove all in is JJ or maybe AsKs. And even AK with the flush draw I am actually behind on the hand. I was happy to get my whole stack in with QQ before the flop, so I rationalized that I can just as well do it on the flop.

Hand #3

I have 7s 7c in cutoff. Hotsauce raises to $3 under the gun. I call the raise instead of reraising because Hotsauce is playing 16/12/2 and pretty tight. I want to try and hit a set rather than reraise and get pushed off my hand if he 4 bets. Pammy824 reraises on the button to $12. The blinds fold and Hotsauce folds leaving me to call $9 into a $19 pot out of position. Pammy is 18/18/inf after 45 hands.

Pammy started with $100 so her stack may not quite be big enough for me to call the reraise hoping to flop a set.

The flop is 6d As 7d. This is a dream flop since you always want to flop a set when there is an Ace in the board since the other player may go broke with a pair of Aces and a good kicker. I check to slow play and Pammy bets $18 into a $28.50 pot. I smooth call.

Turn is the Ac. I check again, hoping to get it all it with my 7's full of Aces against trip aces. Pammy checks behind so maybe she had KK or QQ and is afraid of the Aces now? River is 8d so board reads 6d As 7d Ac 8d. That completes a lot of draws so I should get paid out now. I go for a value bet of $34 and pammy cooperates and shoves the rest in for $70. I snap call and she rolls over AA for quad Aces.

I don'tthink there was a way of getting away from this awful luck.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Marathon at Ft McDowell; Bad Beat Jackpot

Kory turned me on to the football promotions at Fort McDowell casino this year. For the college games they will splash pot $75 on 3 tables for every touchdown and $75 on one table for every field goal. Since Fort McDowell has 1/4 of the tables as Casino Arizona, your chances of hitting one of these bonuses is much higher.

It would seem that the key to winning these prizes would be to pick the highest scoring games. On the preannounced schedule, it would seem that the Oklahoma/BYU game would fit the bill. The over/under in Vegas was 69 points and Oklahoma was favored by more than 20 even though BYU is a top 25 team. We figured this game was good for 8-9 touchdowns for sure.

In a debacle on the scale of last year's Super Bowl promotion, the game was a real snoozefest. Oklahoma's Heisman winning quarterback, Sam Bradford, hurt his shoulder at the end of the first half. This totally ruined any chance of this turning into a high scoring affair. The final was 14-13 with BYU scoring the upset. My table did get splashed once, but I could not find one pair our of all 5 cards on the board and the winner won with a pair of 5's and 7 kicker.

Even if I don't win the promotional funds, I should still be able to pick up some money from the other bad players right? I was down a quick $80 in the first couple of hours with losing lots of small pots where I raise with AK, whiff the flop, bet the flop and/or turn with nothing and give up on the river to see someone calling me down with 2nd pair or worse. In fact I saw one hand where a player actually called on the river with 5 high. Let me repeat that....there were two other players in the pot and he called down with 5 high!

Kory asked me to join him at his table, but I wasn't about to leave my table of horrible players. Alas, nothing went according to plan as Kory had to leave early because of a babysitting issue and I continued to lose pot after pot.

With the game winding down, I was down over $200 and pulling out my last $100 bill. I called Michele to give her a progress report and told her I was about to make my triumphant comeback. She gave me to OK to stay as long as I wanted so I went back to grinding.

I gave myself a couple of artificial deadlines to stop and go home but I managed to find an excuse to stay each time. 9:00 PM came along and I had managed to make it all the way back to only down $20. Since I was so close to making a profit and starting to catch some cards, I figured I would stay and try to get to the positive. By 10:00 PM I was down over $100 again and was too stubborn to leave stuck this much after all this time.

Here is where the miracle happens. A stocky younger man had sat on my left for the last 15 minutes and proceeded to lighten up the table. The proceeding gentleman in the seat was causing tension at the table by criticizing other players and acting as if he was God's gift to poker. We were all glad to see him go. The new guy was a clown, but in a playful way and it was fun to banter back and forth with him as he played any two cards.

He was caught up in a hand with a quiet asian lady in the one seat. The board was 2d-10h-5h. The lady had bet her hand and the guy on my left called. The turn was a 2 of hearts completing the flush draws. Now the asian woman checks and the guy bets. She calls. So it looks like the guy on my left has hit his flush. The river is the 3 of hearts. Now she bets and he raises. They are heads up and start stacking chips for reraises. Since it is heads up there are unlimited raises and eventually they both get around $28 in on the river.

The guy on my left blurts out, "I hope you have 4 twos lady!" and rolls over his straight flush with the Ah4h. She does roll over the the 4 of a kind and the entire table celebrates.
The bad beat jackpot fund was $5,200. That means the 4 of a kind wins $2,600, the straight flush wins $1,300 and the rest of the table split the last 25% only 6 ways since we were two players short. That worked out to $217.
It's been years since I won any kind of share of a bad beat, but I distinctly remember it taking a long time to pay out. I was tired after playing for 7 hours and ready to go home. Sure enough I had to wait until after midnight before we finally got paid.
Knowing that I was going to be there a while, I made a goal to finish strong and at least break even with my initial bankroll before adding my table share. Finally things started to go my way as I hit some longshot draws and bluffed a couple of pots successfully. I managed to get all the way back to down $5 on the day before they called my name.
I went up to collect my winnings. I tipped the dealer $10 and went back to rack up my chips. After a quick late night stop at Jack In The Box, my profit for the night was $199. Poker is definitely a hard way to make an easy living.

Monday, August 31, 2009

What Do I Do With Small Pocket Pairs?

Free hand converter brought to you by CardRunners

Seat 1: Lionne24 ($229.35) -
Seat 2: Needbankroll ($268.10) -
Seat 3: Poker_Bully1 ($257.70) -
Seat 4: lance74 ($229)
Seat 5: Porntraktr ($200)
Seat 6: Finchster ($227.20)


Needbankroll posts small blind $1
Poker_Bully1 posts BIG blind $2
Dealt To: Poker_Bully1

FOLD lance74
FOLD Porntraktr
FOLD Finchster
FOLD Lionne24
RAISE Needbankroll ($6)
RAISE Poker_Bully1 ($21)
RAISE Needbankroll ($50)
FOLD Poker_Bully1
UNCALLED Needbankroll ($29)
MUCK Needbankroll

Needbankroll collected $42 from main pot

Total pot: $42 Rake: $0

Seat 1: Lionne24 button didnt bet folded - Net Gain/Loss: ($0)
Seat 2: Needbankroll small blind collected 42, mucked - Net Gain/Loss: ($20)
Seat 3: Poker_Bully1 big blind folded before the Flop - Net Gain/Loss: ($-21)
Seat 4: lance74 didnt bet folded - Net Gain/Loss: ($0)
Seat 5: Porntraktr didnt bet folded - Net Gain/Loss: ($0)
Seat 6: Finchster didnt bet folded - Net Gain/Loss: ($0)

Free hand converter brought to you by CardRunners

I ran into this situation a few times last night and I am puzzled on what to do. The players that kept reraising me or 4 betting me had solid stats, but it seemed to be happening more than normal. It was tough to say whether the table had seen me fold and was exploiting it or they just happened to have good hands when I had a good hand.

Folding is always a conservative option. I protect my stack and wait for a better situation. I am seldom dominating someone if they call. I know at higher levels the better players will exploit this and begin to reraise me lighter and lighter. I am not sure how many players at 1-2 NL are paying this much attention.

I can call and hope to flop a set. In this particular hand we started with effective stacks of 120 BB. He raised 3x and I 3bet to 10x. He 4 bet to 25x. Assuming I win his whole stack if I hit, then I am calling 15 more bets to win 35x in the pot and 100x more in his stack which is approximately 9-1 odds.

This still isn't that profitable in the long run because I am losing 25x every time I get in this position and don't hit my set. You may say, "Yeah but you're only calling 15x not 25x." Yes but that's only because I reraised in the first place. I could have just called the initial raise in position and seen the flop cheaper.

The aggressive option is to push all in and pray for a fold or Ace-King. It will definitely sting more when I lose some of these confrontations, but maybe it will get me more action when I 4 bet my Aces and Kings? Once again, the problem is that I don't play enough against the same opponents for them to notice if I am 4 bet shoving light. If I get lucky and happen to get Aces within a 100 or so hands after shoving all in with 6's then maybe it pays off. Most of the time my sessions a table are rarely more than 200 hands so the odds are pretty long for getting multiple pocket pairs that are worth getting it all in over.

Do any of my 5 or so readers have a suggestion or comment?

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Number 1 Lesson of Omaha 8 or Better

I learned a $120 lesson today at the casino. It makes no sense to draw at anything less than the nuts in the 3-6 Limit Omaha 8 or better game at Casino Arizona.

Besides some tilt hands, I went to the river three times with the second or third best hand and watched my money go to horrible players.

Once again, the table was full of donkeys playing any four cards. I am convinced now that just playing solid cards and ABC poker, I could be a very consistent winner at this game.


For some reason I was still on tilt from yesterday's PLO session online. I lost $380 which in it self is not hard to do in that game. The frustrating thing was that I lost the majority of it $10-$20 at a time. For the first two hours my largest won pot was $14. I just never hit a hand. I never stacked off, but I kept folding with small losses, but never hit the big hand to make up for the losses. The last straw was losing with a gut shot straight and the nut flush draw to two pair. I was a 60% favorite when the money went in, but I was not running good enough to hit one of my 12 outs and I quit the game.

I tried to do some analysis on why I have been on a losing streak over the last 5 months. I reviewed my blog and I think the reason is that I have been playing too many tournaments and not enough cash games.

My excuse for playing the tournaments was to get my game sharp for the possibility of playing in the World Series. Since that is over with, I think I will concentrate on trying to build up the bank roll for the next few months. I won the first two sessions I played after this goal was set, so I think that's why I was bothered so much when I lost in PLO. I basically lost back everything that I had won.

August will be a winning month. I promise.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Drought Finally Ends at Casino AZ

After what seemed like at least 10 losing trips to Casino Arizona, I finally walked away a winner today. I made a change that may be a very profitable one in the future. I finally sat down in the 3-6 Omaha 8 or better game.

When I first showed up after work, there was a list of 7-8 players waiting for Omaha so I sat in a 3-6 Hold'em game while I waited for my name to be called. The hold'em game was more of the same old shit as I dropped a quick $50 in about 20 minutes. My second hand of the session was Jack Ten offsuit in the big blind. I flopped a ten for top pair and bet the flop and turn. I checked the river and lost to another ten with a Queen kicker.

The very next hand, I find Ace-Queen in the small blind. There is one limper and I raise. The big blind comes along and the limper calls one more. I totally miss the Jack high flop. I bet anyway and the blind calls while the preflop limper folds. I bluff the turn and the river. The blind at least thinks for a few seconds before calling the river with a pair of tens and a nine kicker. Why do I continue to try and force people to fold in this stupid game?!

Finally my name is called for the 3-6 Omaha game and I rack up what's left of my stack and hustle over. In a sign of good luck, a player on the button wants to take the open seat that I was about to take. He wants to play the button first, so I get a free hand, which I fold and then I get to switch behind the button without paying the blinds. I tend to focus on these small victories when I am losing.

The first thing I did was try to figure out a way to look at all 4 cards at once. This is more difficult than it sounds since it is especially difficult to shield your cards from the other players with 4 in your hand. I finally decided to line them up in portrait style, one on top of the other so I could peel them up all at once with my thumb.

While trying not to look like a total amateur, I reminded myself to watch all of my opponents for the cards they were turning over at showdown. At the very least it would give me an idea of their starting hand requirements. As I get faster at reading hands, I can graduate to recreating the action in my head to see if my opponents have tendencies with certain hands. This type of detailed thinking was not really necessary in this game as the players were incredibly bad.

Last night I started reading the Omaha 8 or better section in Jeff Hwang's Pot Limit Omaha Poker book. He mentioned, as many others have that you can make a lot of money in loose Omaha 8 games by just playing or drawing to the nuts. This game was a prime example.

My first clue that this was a soft game was when the player two to my left tried to raise KJ78 before the flop. I also saw hands like AQ77 and KK33. Wow!
Unfortunately my mind has not adapted to remembering all the cards in Omaha hands (I can barely recreate them for hold'em). I believe my first win was half of a small pot with a nut low. Then I won a big pot with the nut low and a Ten high flush for the high to scoop.

The player next to me was nice enough to show me his cards if I was out of the hand. He wanted some company for his misery as he kept hitting decent hands by the turn only to be decimated by the river. I will grant him that he was having some bad luck, but his major problem was that he should not have been in half of the hands to begin with. He was the ideal opponent because the only thing he would think of was his hand and whether he had any chance at a draw to a better hand. There was absolutely no thought to what the odds were to draw to these hands or the fact that even if he hit the draws, they were not to the nuts.

One of the neat things about this game is if you scoop a pot and it's over $50, the next hand is a kill pot and the stakes go up to $6-$12. It was one of these hands where I won my biggest pot, even though I split with another person.

I started with A23Qss in middle position. There was one limper and the kill pot poster before it got to me. I raised to build the pot since I figured it would at least be 4 way action with the money already in the pot. Instead there ended up being 7 players in the pot. The flop had a deuce and another low card in it. I had no high possible but a player on my right led into me. Since I was drawing to the nut low, I just call to try and bring others into the pot. Everyone calls! The turn gives me the nut low, but also puts a possible straight out there and a flush draw. The same thing happens again where I just call hoping for half the pot. Although by now, I am figuring that someone is going to quarter me for the low and I will be lucky to get my money back. The river is the third flush card. It's actually checked to me and I check it through. Everyone turns over their cards and there are a couple of straights and a non nut flush for high. Amazingly no one else has A-3 for the nut low and I win half of a monster pot. There were 6 people in the hand at the end and I was the only one with a nut low!

Right before I was going to leave, I backed into a scoop when my AQ23 hit Aces and twos for the high when no low was possible. Somehow it was checked through on the turn and river as no one tried to bluff at it. I was itching to fold, but when we turned over all the hands, I was the only one with an Ace in my hand. Someone else had Kings up, but that wasn't close to the winner.

So after a negative $50 set back at Hold'em, I left the casino up $60 for the day. That was a $110 swing in about an hour and a half. I know that a sample size of one doesn't count for much, but I really think I may have stumbled into a very profitable game for the next few sessions.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Should I Focus on Games Other Than No Limit Hold’em?

On the drive back from Las Vegas, Michele made a suggestion that maybe I should try to specialize in some of the other games besides No Limit Hold’em. We were listening to one of the poker podcasts I had on my ITouch in the car and the guests were commenting on how much harder the online No Limit games had become over the last few years. The theory is that with all the coaching sites, books, and message boards out there, that the poker IQ of the average NL Hold’em player has gone way up and it is tougher to beat the game.

I happen to think that there is still money to be made at the low stakes levels of No Limit Hold’em online, but I was a little burnt out on Hold’em and I figured that I would rededicate myself to Omaha for the next few weeks and see if that is really the answer.

As I have written about in my previous posts, I have been learning how to play Pot Limit Omaha High over the last few months. I pulled up my Omaha Poker Tracker Stats and across all levels I have been losing .32 BB/100 over 8,430 hands. That is not a very large sample size and honestly, that could turn positive in about two sessions of .50-1 PLO.

Many players claim that PLO is the game of the future. It is much more complex than Hold’em and therefore, there are very few experts at the game and most of them are playing at nosebleed stakes. According to a couple of authors that I have read, the skill difference between an expert and pretty good player in PLO is very small, because it is very rare that you get someone all in drawing dead or close to it. I disagree with this statement because I have found that I have seen players get their whole stack in the pot drawing at non nut hands, when someone else already has the nuts.

I think there is definitely a profitable niche in these games, I just have to improve enough to take advantage. Plus it has become a very popular game, so it is not hard to find 12-20 tables running of 6 max or full ring at Poker Stars or Full Tilt.

The other game I wanted to investigate was Limit Omaha Eight or Better (O8). I have heard that this game has less variance that Limit Hold’em and that a good player can clean up in these games because most people have no idea how to play split pot games. I only have 988 hands in my Poker Tracker data base for split games, but I am slightly ahead.

I have seen evidence in every game I have played over the last week, that there are some really bad O8 players. I even tried to observe the 3-6 O8 game at Casino Arizona while I was waiting for a seat to open up. I had heard that it was a bunch of old men who only played the nuts. Instead, in the hands I observed, there was a fundamental mistake made by somebody on almost every hand.

The problem with O8 is that it is not nearly as popular as Pot Limit Omaha. If I’m lucky there is one 3-6 and one 6-12 live game running at the Casino. That can make for a long wait if there are a few people in line ahead of me. Online is not much better as I have been playing the .5-1 games on Poker Stars and Full Tilt. The full ring games will have 3-4 tables running. There is not a lot of chance for game selection there. It’s even worse at the higher levels where you are lucky if there is one full ring table running at each level.

The other problem with O8 is that that it is a very slow game. The dealer has to deal 4 cards to everyone, so that takes more time. Every pot at the end is usually split so it takes longer to read the hands and separate the chips. It could really drive a guy nuts who is used to playing 3-4 tables at once online. I might have to play at very high stakes live, in order to compensate for playing ¼ as many hands as if I was playing online.

I have cracked open my books on Omaha and over the next few weeks I plan on posting some strategy for Omaha. I doubt any of it will be ground breaking stuff, but I figure if I write it down in my own words, it will help me synthesize the lessons and make me a better player. I also plan on taking at least two hands from every session and posting them on Cardrunners or Two Plus Two to get feedback from the other players.

For the next month I am going to become an Omaholic.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

I Went To The WSOP And All I Got Was This Lousy Beefstick!

Michele and I went on what I hope is now an annual trip to Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker. Last year I qualified through Full Tilt Poker online, but this year I was not as lucky. I figured I would give a $550 mega satellite one last chance before I give up for 2009.

We arrived in Las Vegas a little after 2:00 PM and we immediately headed to the Convention Center to check out the action. After a brief chat with a supervisor, I found out that the satellite would start at 4:00 PM. Michele and I decided that we would postpone our date night until Friday so I could play in today's tournament. We waited in line for about a 1/2 hour to register during which it was announced that the tournament start time would be pushed back until 4:30 because there were so many entries.

Eventually there were 526 runners for 26 seats. We started with 4,000 in chips and 1/2 hour levels. The first blind level was 25-50. My cards were horrendous for the first level. I think I folded the entire level. I may have tried a random blind steal and got reraised so I laid it down.

I tried a couple of other small moves in the next level that were unsuccessful as well. The third level was 100-200. I think I was down to around 3,500 in chips. I picked up 44 on the button. It was folded to me and I raised to 600. The crazy scandanavian in the big blind reraised to 1800. My first instinct was to push all in. It always looks like a steal when the button raises first in the pot. However, if my opponent had been paying attention, he should have noticed that I had not really played a hand in the last hour. I eventually pussed out and he turned over an Ace. I said, "there had better been another one of those in your hand."

I folded the next 9 hands when it was my button again. This time I called a raise from one of the more active players at the table with Q-3 offsuit. I was intending to play my position and figured he would fire at the flop and then I would take it on the turn when he checked. The problem was that the Small Blind called after me. So this makes the pot a little bigger that I want and now I have to bluff two people instead of one.

I don't remember what the flop was, but the small blind checked, the raiser bet, I called with nothing, and the small blind came along. The turn actually gave me an inside straight draw. The small blind checked again and this time the pre-flop raiser checked as well. So do I take the free card? The pot was already pretty big and I would be happy to take it down if they will let me. I fired at the pot leaving me just under 2k in chips. The small blind then pounced and announced he was all in. The other guy folded and I disgustedly mucked.

Now I really have to go into lock down mode. I only have 9 BB left. Luckily a short time later, an older hispanic fellow who could not speak english and was the worst player at the table limps in under the gun. I pick up pocket Queens and go all in. The blinds fold and the hispanic guy calls off half his stack with K-10. Luckily a King does not hit the board and I double up to nearly my starting stack.

The next level was the same 100-200 blind level but they added the 25 ante. Now my stack is getting whittled away each hand and I fold back down to 3,400. A newer player at the table raises in early position to 600. I look down at JJ and immediately ship it in. He snap calls with QQ and I go home now. An utterly distasteful performance.

I sulk back up to the room and check on Michele. She had ordered a $21 hamburger from room service and was in a half dazed meat coma on the bed. I sat down and enjoyed some free beef jerky and watched TV for an hour with her. Naturally my competitive nature would not allow me to sit still after losing $550 so I asked if it would be ok to go down and play some cash games for a while. She voiced some small concern that I might be upset, and I honestly told her that I felt OK. What I did not recognize was the onset of patience tilt.

There are many kinds of tilt. You can see a Phil Hellmuth rant where he berates another player and looks like a total ass. You can see someone take a bad beat and steam raise the next 5 hands. Patience tilt is where you are anxious to win your money back and tend to over play your hands. You are still waiting for the good ones, but once you get one, the money is probably going into the pot and you better hope that you are running good.

The Rio's poker room is right next to their sports book and pretty small for a hotel that prides itself on hosting the World Series. The smallest No Limit game they run is a $1-$3 blind game. That's a little higher than I normally play but I was not too concerned.

I decided to buy in a little short, to further encourage myself to be patient and not chase hands with silly suited connectors until I had built up a stack. The shorter buy in would force me to play premium hands and play them hard to get paid.

My very first hand, I picked up pocket queens. I was in the cutoff and I raised to $15. The button smooth called me and the big blind also came along. The flop was J-J-7. That looks pretty good. The blind checks and I bet $30. The button calls again but the blind then check raises me to $120. Ugh! My initial instinct was to fold. After all, very few guys have the balls to check raise a raiser and a caller with an under pair.

For some reason, the tilt devil on my other shoulder whispers in my ear. "Why would he check raise now? The flop is safe, any good player would check raise the turn and trap you for all your chips. Maybe he's just trying to bully the new guy? I listen the the tilt devil and push all in. The button folds. The blind takes a few seconds pondering the call before he pushes out the other $100. I knew that hesitation meant he had a Jack with a mediocre kicker. I was right as he eventually showed the J-9. The button claimed he threw away pocket Kings. He had no reason to lie, but I was a little flabbergasted that the deck had been that stacked against me in the very first hand.

I stumbled to the ATM and withdrew another buy in. Now I was playing pretty tight and a couple of new crazy players had joined the table. The young guy who had busted me had lost his stack and left the game. The new player was playing a lot of pots and making big raises preflop. It sucked having him on my left, so when a seat opened up two to his right, I jumped on it immediately. I would much rather have the maniac on my right. Plus there was a short stacked calling station on my immediate left now who would easily pay me off if I ever hit anything.

I had rebought in for $200 again, but after the seat change I put another $100 on the table so I would have the ammunition to play against the aggressive guy. I won a small pot with Ace-King after I reraised an early raiser. He made the call and I bluffed on a board of 2-3-8. So now my stack was sitting around $325.

A couple of hands later, I picked up AsKd again. I raised to $12. The player two seats to my left made it $35 and everyone else folded. My tilt devil suggested shoving all in, but I fought back that instinct. I decided to call and see what happens. The flop was Ac-Tc-6c. So I got top pair, but there is three to a flush out there. I think for a moment then check, planning to check raise. My thinking was that he will probably bet almost anything here to continue after his reraise preflop. If I am ahead, he will shut down after I raise and I won't have to play the turn and river and worry about another club coming. I did not think of it at the time, but it the flop also eliminates one of the hands he could have reraised me with as the AcKc is not possible since the Ac is on the board.

So I checked and he bet $50. I raised all in and he called immediately. He had the AdKc. The turn was another club and my stack was gone again. I knew I had overplayed the QQ hand earlier, but this one I was not so sure. I just ran poker stove and gave him a range of AA, KK, QQ, AK with the King of clubs, and AQ with the Queen of clubs. If that range is accurate then I was 59% to win the hand after the flop. If I take out his AQ hands my win rate only goes up to 60%. So I guess it wasn't terrible. I made my best poker move of the day and quit the game.

Michele was a little shocked when I told her how much I had lost, but that's the risk you take.

The next day while we were waiting at the Monte Carlo to meet my friends Rudy and Teresa for lunch, Michele and I hit the slot machines for a small profit. I then played black jack for a little while and made some small change there too.

After lunch and a quick nap, I decided to go back and conquer the Rio cash games again. This time I was bound and determined to wait for my good hands and hope to get paid when I hit them.

The game was reasonably soft and I had slowly increased my starting stack from $300 up to $425. I was a couple of hours into the session and I could feel my patience starting to wear a little thin.

A couple of the calling stations had busted and some short stacked timid players had taken their place so my chance for more profits were starting to look slim. Just about when I was ready to leave, I picked up 22 in middle position. A younger guy who had doubled up earlier when his top two pair had spiked a full house on the river against an old lady's bottom set, raised to $15. Since he was the only one at the table that had me covered, I could finally call with a small pocket pair and have the correct odds. The older man to my immediate left called as well and we had three to the flop.

One of the reasons for my frustration lately is that I had picked up a number of small pocket pairs in the last few sessions of poker and it seemed like it had been days since I had hit a set. This time the flop was good to me as it was a perfect A-7-2 rainbow. The initial raiser bet $30. I decided to slow play since the board was so harmless. I just called and the old man called behind me. The turn was a 9 which put two diamonds on the board. The raiser bet $50 this time and now I pounced and raised to a total of $150. The man on my left folded and my opponent started to think. He eventually put out the $100 to call and we went to the river. The dealer laid out another 7 giving me 2's full of 7's. My opponent checked. I'm not sure that a value bet is the best idea here. A good player is probably only going to call with something that beats me. Maybe he was fooling around with A-9 pre-flop and he hit two pair on the turn? I bet $150 and he took a little time and called again.

I showed the full house and he mucked. It was the biggest pot the table had seen since I had been there. My profit was $390 on just that hand! I folded the next couple of hands and then took a bathroom break to gather my thoughts. It was getting close to dinner time and I decided to call it a night. I racked up and went to tell Michele that I had won back half of the money I had lost the day before.

Dinner was at the Palms at Gardunos. We stuffed ourselves with cheesy Mexican goodness, but had to kill a couple of hours before the start time of the Hangover movie. The slots were not kind, but the black jack table was open only this time it was a $10 minimum bet instead of $5 like it was at the Monte Carlo. In spite of being distracted constantly by all the hot women dressed like prostitutes trying to get into the Jay-Z concert that night, I managed to win $100 to cap off my gambling for the trip.

We ended our vacation by watching the movie of the year. I don't think anything could have lived up to the hype that my friends were giving this movie, but it did it's best. I really appreciated the slide show of the bachelor party pictures at the end of the movie. Fortunately or unfortunately, a lot of those pictures brought back some memories of crazy days gone by.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Nice Win But It's A Little Late

I thought this was going to be a quick 2 hour tournament, but over 100 people registered during the late registration period. I'll have to check but I think I was only all in and behind once the entire tournament and that was after we were already in the money. I had to push KJ and the big stack called me with A5. So even that was not too big of an underdog.
It's amazing how easy the game is when you get AA and KK at the right times and you manage to double up or triple up every time you get them.
It's too bad I did not have these cards in the Main Event satellite.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Last Chance For A Free Vacation

The Full Tilt 150 seat Main Event Satellite starts at 3:00 PM today. We are an hour away from the start and they are still over $500,000 short of their guarantee. I bet there is a small overlay again this year. They need 3600 players to break even and they are at 2,512 as of 2:09 PM.

As a warm up I played 3 $12 turbo 180 man sit and gos on Stars. I busted out quickly on the first two, including one where I had AA against an underpair, all in preflop and got cracked.

The third one, I sucked out a couple of times early and built a big stack into the money. I was second in chips with 16 left and picked up AA in the sb. There was an all in, then a reraise before it got to me. I push and he calls with 99. If I win, I have twice the chips of the nearest competitor. The flop and turn look good, but the river screws me when a 9 hits and I am crippled. What could have been over $500 in prize money shrinks to $23.

The Full Tilt tournament is running and I have lost my first two hands trying to raise before the flop and getting my continuation bet bluffs called. It's ok, they start us with 3,000 in chips and the blinds are only 10-20. I am down to 2700.

Qc3h on button. alluna1 limps from middle position. I raise to 80 on button Flop is As 6h Jc. I bet 1/2 pot and he calls. I am worried about a slow play. Turn is a 3d. He checks again and I bet 1/2 pot. River is Qs. I have lucked into two pair. What would he call with? I can't imagine anything that doesn't beat me. Even though I would rather not show down this hand, I check behind. He had KJ and I am at 3,140 in chips.

I am not going to live blog every hand this time, because it saps too much mental energy. I'll just give you the highlights.

I picked up AA right after another player went broke with it in the previous hand. Mine was uneventful as I got one called preflop and he folded on the flop.

9s9c in middle position. Anthoover is big stack with 6k. He raises to 105, I call behind him. Flop is 4d 9d 7d. So I have top set but there is 3 to a flush out there. He checks and I bet 140. He check raises to 390. I call. The flop is 3c. He bets 600 and I call. The river is Tc and he bets 1,700 which will only leave me with 400 if I call and I am beat. I take my full time bank amount and eventually fold.

He played it strong the entire way so either he flopped the flush or he had AA with the Ace of diamonds. After folding I am left with 2,150 in chips. The good thing is I only lost 1,095 chips and I still have plenty left. The bad part is that I am now on tilt because I really wanted to board to pair so I could double up. It just felt too early to make the hero call.

Edit inserted 6-26-09. I ran this hand through poker stove and assigned the villain TT-AA, some pocket pairs with just a diamond, and some high cards with diamonds. I was at least a 3-1 favorite against his range. I posted the hand on 2+2 and it was unanimous that I should have raised the flop or the turn and tried to get my whole stack in the middle. Note to self: Never fold top set in a tournament, you're not good enough to lay it down.

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Seat 1: braminc ($3,000)
Seat 2: amy6695 ($2,930)
Seat 4: alluna1 ($1,560)
Seat 5: gwashyg ($2,140)
Seat 6: VirtualDevil ($2,770) -
Seat 7: Ant3h00ver2 ($7,840) -
Seat 8: Poker_Bully1 ($2,090) -
Seat 9: BTown99 ($4,610)


Ant3h00ver2 posts small blind $20
Poker_Bully1 posts BIG blind $40
Dealt To: Poker_Bully1

FOLD BTown99
FOLD braminc
FOLD amy6695
FOLD alluna1
FOLD gwashyg
FOLD VirtualDevil
CALL Ant3h00ver2 ($20)
RAISE Poker_Bully1 ($150)
CALL Ant3h00ver2 ($110)

I think the raise is standard in position.


Pot: $300

CHECK Ant3h00ver2
BET Poker_Bully1 ($160)
CALL Ant3h00ver2 ($160)

I continuation bet here about 100% of the time so even though Ant3hoover2 does not really know my game, I can guess that he may float me here.


Pot: $620

CHECK Ant3h00ver2
BET Poker_Bully1 ($360)
CALL Ant3h00ver2 ($360)

I pick up the inside straight draw. There might be an argument for checking back here since I could get raised off a decent hand. At the time I felt like I needed the chips in the middle and this was the only way to get them.

Pot: $1340

CHECK Ant3h00ver2
CHECK Poker_Bully1 I save my bullets for a different hand


Did he really just call me with bottom pair and then a crappy flush draw on the turn???? Now I am really on tilt because maybe I should have got all my money in with the set of 9's earlier.

Ant3h00ver2 collected $1340 from main pot with two pair, Kings and Threes

Total pot: $1 Rake: $0

Final Board:

Seat 1: braminc didnt bet folded - Net Gain/Loss: ($0)
Seat 2: amy6695 didnt bet folded - Net Gain/Loss: ($0)
Seat 4: alluna1 didnt bet folded - Net Gain/Loss: ($0)
Seat 5: gwashyg didnt bet folded - Net Gain/Loss: ($0)
Seat 6: VirtualDevil button didnt bet folded - Net Gain/Loss: ($0)
Seat 7: Ant3h00ver2 small blind showed [2s 3s] and won 1,340 with two pair, Kings and Threes - Net Gain/Loss: ($670)

Seat 8: Poker_Bully1 big blind showed [7d Ah] and lost with a pair of Kings - Net Gain/Loss: ($-670)
Seat 9: BTown99 didnt bet folded - Net Gain/Loss: ($0)

Here is a nice comeback hand:

Seat 1: braminc ($3,075) -
Seat 2: amy6695 ($2,930)
Seat 4: alluna1 ($1,560)
Seat 5: gwashyg ($2,140)
Seat 6: VirtualDevil ($2,770)
Seat 7: Ant3h00ver2 ($8,510)
Seat 8: Poker_Bully1 ($1,395) -
Seat 9: BTown99 ($4,560) -


BTown99 posts small blind $25
braminc posts BIG blind $50
Dealt To: Poker_Bully1

RAISE amy6695 ($175)
FOLD alluna1
FOLD gwashyg
FOLD VirtualDevil
FOLD Ant3h00ver2
CALL Poker_Bully1 ($175)
FOLD BTown99
FOLD braminc


Pot: $425

BET amy6695 ($250)
CALL Poker_Bully1 ($250)


Pot: $925

CHECK amy6695
CHECK Poker_Bully1


Pot: $925

BET amy6695 ($500)
CALL Poker_Bully1 ($500)



Poker_Bully1 collected $1925 from main pot with a full house, Queens full of Tens

Total pot: $1 Rake: $0

Final Board:

Seat 1: braminc big blind folded before the Flop - Net Gain/Loss: ($-50)
Seat 2: amy6695 showed [Ad Jh] and lost with three of a kind, Queens - Net Gain/Loss: ($-925)

Seat 4: alluna1 didnt bet folded - Net Gain/Loss: ($0)
Seat 5: gwashyg didnt bet folded - Net Gain/Loss: ($0)
Seat 6: VirtualDevil didnt bet folded - Net Gain/Loss: ($0)
Seat 7: Ant3h00ver2 didnt bet folded - Net Gain/Loss: ($0)
Seat 8: Poker_Bully1 button showed [Ts Td] and won 1,925 with a full house, Queens full of Tens - Net Gain/Loss: ($1000)
Seat 9: BTown99 small blind folded before the Flop - Net Gain/Loss: ($-25)

Playing small ball and not reraising on the button, wins me some extra chips when my opponent bluffs into me on the river. I did have to think about it a little while on the river since somebody could play KK or AA the same way as he played it.

I have 2,420 in chips and the blinds are 25-50. I pick up 77 in the small blind. It's folded to me and I raise to 150 and BTown99 calls in the BB. The flop is Jd 3d 2s. I bet 160 and he raises me to 500. I fold. Blech!

The very next hand, I call a raise from early position with Qh Jc on the button. The flop is 3h 3c Ts. The preflop raiser leads out for 200. I think about bluffing but decide to fold.

New table. 30-60 blinds and I have 2,070 in chips. Not the best of starts.

They barely broke even with 3,614 entries. At least bubble boy gets $3,500 for his troubles.

Also there is a $200 bounty if you bust a pro again this year.

I raise a couple of pots and win with c-bets on the flop. I lose a couple of pots when I get raised off my c-bets on the flop. My stack has dwindled down to 1,620. The blinds have gone up to 40-80.

First time I am all in. I have AhTh in cutoff. Salavas who has chip lead at our table raises to 280. I reraise all in to 1,620. He claims to have an Ace but he folds it. Whew! Blinds are now up to 50-100 and I have 2,020 in chips.

It is folded to me on the button and my blind steal with 84o goes terribly awry. I am left with 1,170 in chips. All in or fold mode now I guess.

Blinds are up again to 60-120. I have 1,020 chips to start. Salavas raises to 360. I come over top all in for 1,020. I have AsQs and this is the second time I have pulled this move on him. Everyone folds.

Next hand I pick up KJo. I open raise to 360 and everyone folds to me. I win the blinds again. I am up to 1,740. I have a little breathing room. The blinds go to 80-160 in 8 minutes.

Here is when disaster strikes:

Seat 1: Horus MARVI ($3,533)
Seat 2: crunchtime1 ($3,185)
Seat 3: Pascha777 ($3,277)
Seat 4: Salavas ($12,098) -
Seat 5: i hd lotsa outs ($3,200) -
Seat 6: Poker_Bully1 ($1,740) -
Seat 7: akaono ($5,436)
Seat 8: BALA51 ($4,096)
Seat 9: Bluffinger ($4,376)


i hd lotsa outs posts small blind $60
Poker_Bully1 posts BIG blind $120
Dealt To: Poker_Bully1

FOLD akaono
FOLD Bluffinger
FOLD crunchtime1
FOLD Pascha777
RAISE Salavas ($420)
FOLD i hd lotsa outs
RAISE Poker_Bully1 ($1740)
CALL Salavas ($1320)

This is the third time I have reraised Salavas so I know for sure that he is calling. I am hoping for a weaker Ace. I get my wish (sort of).


Pot: $3540


Pot: $3540


Pot: $3540



Salavas collected $3540 from main pot with two pair, Aces and Tens

Total pot: $3 Rake: $0

Final Board:

Seat 1: Horus MARVI didnt bet folded - Net Gain/Loss: ($0)
Seat 2: crunchtime1 didnt bet folded - Net Gain/Loss: ($0)
Seat 3: Pascha777 didnt bet folded - Net Gain/Loss: ($0)
Seat 4: Salavas button showed [As Th] and won 3,540 with two pair, Aces and Tens - Net Gain/Loss: ($1800)

Seat 5: i hd lotsa outs small blind folded before the Flop - Net Gain/Loss: ($-60)
Seat 6: Poker_Bully1 big blind showed [Kd Ah] and lost with a pair of Aces - Net Gain/Loss: ($-1740)
Seat 7: akaono didnt bet folded - Net Gain/Loss: ($0)
Seat 8: BALA51 didnt bet folded - Net Gain/Loss: ($0)
Seat 9: Bluffinger didnt bet folded - Net Gain/Loss: ($0)

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I am done in 2,295th place. Sigh!!!

I have put a big dent in the bankroll over the last month and I am still planning on going to Vegas over 4th of July. I am 90% certain that I may take a break from poker for the next week and just concentrate on my golf and tennis games. I think I need to clear my head for a while.

I also don't know if I will try to play one of the super satellites at the WSOP. May bankroll may not be able to afford it.