Sunday, May 23, 2010

It Feels Good To Win

Since my last post I had a tremendously bad session at 5-500 Spread Limit Hold'em at the Casino Arizona followed by a fun winning streak which has won that money back and more.

The 5-500 game is a little out of my bankroll league. I am relatively comfortable with the stakes, but when the poker bankroll is between $4,000 and $5,000 I'm pretty sure that variance can raise it's ugly head and wipe me out if I played regularly. I think you need about $10,000 to play that game on a regular basis.

Occasionally I like to take a shot at it when I feel like playing "high". My bad session was marked by two hands, both against the same guy. The first one was when I ran my Ace-King into his two Kings and all the money got in preflop. My opponent had started the hand with less than $200 so I don't think I'll do too bad getting Ace-King all in for 40 BB's in most games.

The second hand, I lost my remaining $300 when we both flopped 3 of a kind but he had me out kicked by one. In a cash game, when you are all in, you are not required to turn over your cards like you are in a tournament. There are many times when players just wait for the cards to run out and then muck after they see they are a loser. However, you do need to show your cards to collect the pot if you are a winner. So it makes no sense to wait, if you have the best hand after your opponent has turned over his cards.

We got all our money in on the turn and I flipped over my hand. My opponent saw my cards and did not look happy. In fact the player next to me commented on that fact and said, "you must be good." The river card was drawn and then he slow rolled me by turning over his hand at the end. So not only was I felted but I was insulted by the slow roll.

This session really depressed me because I was still trying to recover from the $800 plus downswing from the last Las Vegas trip.

After a week or so of laying low, I decided to try the big game again. It was a Saturday night after a two day golf tournament in which I had played 54 holes and drank a decent amount of beer.

The line up in this game was much more to my liking. They were mostly loose passive preflop and tight after the flop. I was not getting many cards at the beginning, but I would steal an occasional pot to keep my stack at it's starting level of $300.

Then I picked up good old Ace-King in the small blind. There were a couple of calls and then I raised to $25. Joel, a middle aged man who looked like he could be a part of the Russian mob, was the only caller. I have seen Joel at the tables before, so I assumed he at least knew what he was doing. The flop was ragged and I fired a $35 bet hoping to take it down. Joel calls. The turn doesn't look like it helps anyone and I bet $75 this time. Joel calls again and quickly.

Now I'm pretty sure he must have at least a pair. Not many players in these games will call two bets with your standard draws. The river misses me again and I am determined not to put another chip in the pot so I check. Joel checks as well and says, "I missed". I roll over my Ace high and drag a nice pot. So not only do I win a decent pot, but I get to advertise that I will fire two bullets on a bluff if I think someone is weak.

The very next hand, Joel is under the gun and decides to straddle to $10. I am now on the button. Everyone folds to me and I look down at AJo. I raise to $30 and Joel calls. The flop is a beautiful A-J-2 rainbow.

Joel checks to me and the hand is playing out exactly like the last one. I bet $30. Joel says, "Did you hit something this time" sarcastically and calls. The turn is a 7. He checks and I bet $60 which he calls again.

The river is a 9. Joel checks for a 3rd time and I decide to try and get some value. I bet $100 leaving me $140 behind. Joel still has me covered. Joel immediately moves all in. A check raise on the river in these games is very rare and almost never a bluff. I thought about it for a while and the problem was that he could literally have any two cards because he straddled. It's probably not the best reason to call, but I rationalized that I just had too much money invested in the pot and going broke with top two pair in this situation would not weigh on my conscious. I called. Joel rolled over 9-2 for a rivered two pair which he thought was good. I quickly showed my A-J and watched his mood turn from joy to anger in a millisecond. He stormed off to go to the ATM while I raked in a huge pot.

It is very rare when you establish your image at the poker table against one opponent and the very next hand, you get to use that image against them. It is a beautiful thing when it happens.

I ended up $540 for the night which erased my earlier loss. Since then I have been on quite a roll.

I have played 3-6 limit at the casino twice and won $110 and $60. I have been playing .25-.50 PLO online and finally found a level with lots of bad players so I can now win. I played a quick session of Rush .50-$1 No Limit and won $80. Plus I have found a new fertile hunting ground, the Rush $12 multi table Sit and Gos.

These start with 150 players and it is played in the Rush format until the final table. Rush tables allow you to fold your hand before it is even your turn to act and then the computer takes you to a brand new table and a new hand almost instantaneously. Even though the structure is a turbo, you can see many more hands per level in this format, than a standard Sit and Go.

Since you can see more hands, it would make sense to be patient and wait for good hands. The great part is that most of the players have not figured this out. They see "Turbo" and think they have to make crazy plays and double up as soon as possible. So far this has allowed me to get paid off quite frequently on my good hands.

So far I have played 9 of these and cashed in 3. The last one was my best where I managed a 4th place for $150. The other two were min cashs. We'll see if my strategy pans out or if I just happen to be running good.

On the golf front, I have continued my winning ways. I beat Bill in our 4th match out at Whirlwind 77-80 to take a 4-0 lead. I was one under par after the front nine and started to think about whether I could shoot par for the first time. That is not the proper mindset, plus I had a couple of bad breaks on the back nine, but I was very happy with how I played.

Currently I am up 13 strokes on the cumulative score bet for $65 plus the $200 overall bet. I offered him a buy out of $250 bet he told me to go fuck myself so I guess I will just have to smash him when we play today.

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