Thursday, April 30, 2009

Lots of Losses

The downswing started on Thursday last week when I stopped in Casino Arizona after work and played some 3-6 limit poker with Kory. I gave Kory my book on Small Stakes Hold’em by Ed Miller and David Sklansky to borrow. Kory is fired up after reading some of the concepts and is trying to apply them to his game. I am happy to come along and offer any guidance that I can.

I liked the table that we ended up at, but I was not running well. The main pot that got me steaming a little was a strange one.

I limped under the gun with a suited Ace. A bunch of people called including an old man on my left and a middle aged gentleman on my right. I flopped the nut heart flush. I don’t remember the exact cards since it was a few days ago, but I remember that they were between 5-10 so there were straight possibilities out there. Since there were so many players in the pot, I figured I would check and see how many players would like to come along before I make a decision on raising.

The old man bet and 3 others called including myself. The turn brought another heart. Again in an effort to disguise my hand, I checked. The betting was the same. Now this old guy was pretty passive, so the straight flush possibility was already in my head. After all it was a little strange that 3 players were still in the hand with 4 of the same suit on the board.

The river was the 5th heart and now it put a 4 to a straight flush on the board. Now I am really worried about the straight flush. I figure I’ll check call. I check and the old man re-checks his cards, and then hesitates for about 15 seconds. While he is thinking, he subtly moves his right hand up and down in a checking motion. The player on my right (button) thinks he checks and goes to turn over his hand. I also pick up my cards but do not show them, when the old man exclaims that he did not check. The dealer asks if we want to call the floor. Me and the button both agree to let it slide. The old man now bets and the button calls.

I’m not afraid of the button call because I saw he had the Queen of Hearts so I know I have him beat. I think to myself that the only reason the old man would think so long was that he had a non-nut flush and was wondering if he should save his money. I convince myself that I am right and put in a raise. The old man immediately re-raises. The button realizes he’s beat and folds and I make the crying call. The old man ran a Hollywood angle shoot on me and I fell for it.

I took a break to go to the ATM and while I was up, I decided to put my name on the list for the new 1-2 max 500 game. I was called to the game about 15 minutes later and left Kory on his own to fight the old man.

This was one of the few times that I followed my system in limit hold-em where I got up after losing a buy in and changed tables. I think when I am losing, my table image becomes very bad and players are willing to chase more hands against me because they feel like I am on a losing streak and they will get lucky. It often becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. In order to win any of my money back in limit poker, I need to be able to run a successful semi-bluff once in a while to pick up a pot or two while I wait for a strong hand to get paid off.

Instead of switching limit tables, though I went to the new No Limit game. I immediately ran into what I think was pocket Aces after I reraised him with AQ suited. He reraised the minimum which forced me to call. The flop missed me and he made a 1/3 size of the pot bet, seemingly begging me for a call. I let it go and the two players on my right were nice enough to let me now that he was the tightest player at the table.

I was also amused that of the nine players in the game, I think there was only one player older than me. I think a couple of the players were not even 21 yet. I think you are allowed to gamble at 18 or 19 on the Indian Casinos but I am not sure about that. After that brief set back, I broke even for the rest of the session.

Sunday was a home tournament day. Jeff and his Dream Dealers were hosting a game at a house in McCormick Ranch. The original buy in was to be $150 but he was not generating enough interest. He lowered it to $100 and he managed to wrangle up 12 players.

There were some familiar faces from Jeff’s previous tournaments, but the one semi-celebrity was Kevin O’Donnell. Kevin has won over $1,000,000 in large buy in poker tournaments over the years and finished 21st in World Series of Poker Main Event in 2006. He seemed like a nice guy and was taking the game pretty seriously. This is never good news.

We started with 1000 chips and the blinds were 5-10. The levels were to last 25 minutes but there were some slight modifications along the way. We originally started 11 handed until the last player showed up about 10 minutes into the first level.

I was going to try and play fast and aggressive since it looked like the blinds would come up pretty fast. I did some bluffing from the button and I won some small pots and lost some others.

My highlight was pulling off a great bluff against a player named Keith. Keith has won a few of Jeff’s events and is a pretty good player. I open raised with 4c5c on the button and Keith called in the small blind. The flop was 6h-7d-Jh. Keith checked and I made a continuation bet of 70% of the pot. He made a quick call. The turn was a King of clubs. He checked again, and this time I had about a pot sized bet left in my stack. Since two of my straight outs might be dirty with flush draw out there, I wanted to end the hand now. Plus I felt like he was drawing and I might be able to get him off his hand. I pushed all in. Keith looked very pained. I thought he was going to call when he started doing math in his head. Then he looked directly at me and asked if I had a “made” hand. I responded, “yes, absolutely.” He bought it and folded. Of course I had to show him the bluff and the whole table hooted and hollered.

I lost some of those chips right back, and then I picked up ATo. I raised and the BB who had a big stack min raised me. It was the last hand before the break and the blinds were about to double. I felt like this was my chance to get some utility back so I pushed all in. He called me with 77. I hit a ten on the flop and had doubled up.

I took the $1,000 add on and had about $2,500 in chips going into the 50-100 level. There were 9 players left and the top three were getting paid. First place would be $1,100. I mainly folded for the first level at the final table and then the blinds went up to 100-200.

Now I am getting short and a few others at the table were starting to make the all in preflop moves. Finally at UTG+1 I pick up AKo. Jeff limped under the gun and I pushed all in for $2,400. A short stack of 800 called and then Kevin O’Donnell started complaining. “I know he’s got Jacks. I can’t beat Jacks. That’s the only hand he would do that with.” He talked himself into calling with pocket tens. The short stack had AQ so one of my outs was gone. We ran out the board and I missed everything. Kevin even spiked a ten on the river for an extra twist of the knife.

If I win that hand I knock out two players including the best one at the table and I have a good stack to work with. Instead I am out in 9th place. Kevin went on the chop the final prize with Keith after playing for a half hour heads up.

So after losing $220 in the tournament, I was feeling very unsatisfied. After my family went to bed, I decided to play some 1-2 NL on Full Tilt and try and make it back. This turned out to be a bad idea as well. Here were a few hands to relive.

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Seat 1: Tweelingen ($285.45) -
Seat 2: Poker_Bully1 ($202)
Seat 3: count_to_ten ($80)
Seat 4: artofniza ($323.20)
Seat 5: jolohu ($252.95) -
Seat 6: YukDaDuke ($200) -


YukDaDuke posts small blind $1
Tweelingen posts BIG blind $2
Dealt To: Poker_Bully1

RAISE Poker_Bully1 ($9)
CALL count_to_ten ($7)
FOLD artofniza
CALL jolohu ($9)
FOLD YukDaDuke
CALL Tweelingen ($7)

Tweelingen was playing with a VPIP of 32% and raising 21% of the time so he was a little loose and aggressive.


Pot: $35

CHECK Tweelingen
BET Poker_Bully1 ($37) Build the pot and try to protect in case someone has the naked Ace of clubs
CALL count_to_ten ($37)
FOLD jolohu
RAISE Tweelingen ($276.45) Uh, oh. Now the big raise makes me think he has the flush but it's small and he's trying to protect.
CALL Poker_Bully1 ($156)
CALL count_to_ten ($34)
UNCALLED Tweelingen ($83.45)


Pot: $492


Pot: $492

Horrible read by me. Nothing like getting over $200 into the pot drawing practically dead


Tweelingen collected $244 from side pot 1 with a flush, Ace highTweelingen collected $247 from main pot with a flush, Ace high

Total pot: $494Main pot: $250
Side pot: $244
Rake: $3

Final Board:

Seat 1: Tweelingen big blind showed [Ac 7c] and won 491 with a flush, Ace high - Net Gain/Loss: ($289)

Seat 2: Poker_Bully1 showed [Kc Kh] and lost with two pair, Kings and Fours - Net Gain/Loss: ($-202)
Seat 3: count_to_ten showed [Jd 6d] and lost with two pair, Jacks and Fours - Net Gain/Loss: ($-78)

Seat 4: artofniza didnt bet folded - Net Gain/Loss: ($0)
Seat 5: jolohu button folded on the Flop - Net Gain/Loss: ($-9)
Seat 6: YukDaDuke small blind folded before the Flop - Net Gain/Loss: ($-1)

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Seat 1: artofniza ($643.30)
Seat 2: WHYME STILL ($274)
Seat 3: FSobotka ($37) -
Seat 4: Shabooz ($101.70) -
Seat 5: Upay4myM6 ($114.70) -
Seat 6: Poker_Bully1 ($333.25)


Shabooz posts small blind $1
Upay4myM6 posts BIG blind $2
Dealt To: Poker_Bully1

RAISE Poker_Bully1 ($7)
FOLD artofniza
FOLD FSobotka
CALL Shabooz ($6)
FOLD Upay4myM6


Pot: $23

CHECK Shabooz
BET Poker_Bully1 ($14)
RAISE WHYME STILL ($46) This player was playing pretty solid for the session. I don't think he called my raise with 4-7 or 2-4 so I put him on an over pair or a flush draw
FOLD Shabooz
CALL Poker_Bully1 ($32) No sense in raising since it may fold hands worse than mine.


Pot: $115

BET Poker_Bully1 ($68) Now I can really make him pay to draw.


Pot: $251

CHECK Poker_Bully1 And he gets there. I convince myself that there is a chance he's bluffing, since that's the only hand I can beat. Wrong again.
CALL Poker_Bully1 ($153)


MUCK Poker_Bully1

WHYME STILL collected $554 from main pot with a flush, King high

Total pot: $557 Rake: $3

Final Board:

Seat 1: artofniza didnt bet folded - Net Gain/Loss: ($0)
Seat 2: WHYME STILL showed [Jc Qc] and won 554 with a flush, King high - Net Gain/Loss: ($280)

Seat 3: FSobotka button didnt bet folded - Net Gain/Loss: ($0)
Seat 4: Shabooz small blind folded on the Flop - Net Gain/Loss: ($-7)
Seat 5: Upay4myM6 big blind folded before the Flop - Net Gain/Loss: ($-2)
Seat 6: Poker_Bully1 mucked [3h 3s] - three of a kind, Threes - Net Gain/Loss: ($-274)

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