Monday, June 28, 2010

Best Golfer and Higher Limits

On Friday after work, Kory and I decided we were going to go to Casino Arizona and move up to the 6-12 Limit Hold'em game. Kory said he had a "pro" coming to join us who would refuse to play lower than 6-12. According to my bankroll rules, I should be playing at 6-12 but I have never made the move out of laziness.

In a relatively common occurence, work interfered and I was the only one at the casino. Kory had to go to a meeting. I sat down and committed myself to studying my opponents.

Very quickly I figured out the two soft spots at the table. They made the typical mistakes you see in limit poker which were calling with incorrect odds and betting hands that have no chance of winning.

Even the other players were not all that impressive. It also made me comfortable that you play the 6-12 game with $2 chips. So in chips it looks just like a 3-6 game.

I finished up $152. I didn't make any great plays. I just played solid poker and hit a couple of draws. It's nice to know that there is not a big step up in talent at the next level.

On Saturday, Bill and I played match #9 in our golf challenge. I had won the first 5 matches and Bill had won the last 3. All I needed was a tie or better in the last two matches to win the $200 bet.

Every summer, the golf course at Phoenix Country Club gets burnt out. For some reason the bermuda rough never seems to come out of the winter grass transition very well. The greens are still pretty good and most of the time, the fairway is ok too. It's just the rough is very bare and a little annoying considering how much we pay for dues.

The good news is that the course plays much easier because the ball rolls out and the ground is still soft, so even hitting off of a bare lie is not too difficult.

I won't bore everyone with the details of the round this time, but it was nice that finally we both played well at the same time. I shot 76 and Bill shot 80. I made a lot of putts and finished the last 6 holes at even par. When you shoot even par, it's hard for someone who is an 8 handicap to make up shots.

The next day, I celebrated by testing out the latest Callaway irons at the PGA Tour Superstore. I fell in love with the Diablo Forged Irons and I phoned in my order to the Country Club. According to the readouts at the store, I was hitting the 6 iron 14 yards farther than my current set. Plus the accuracy was fantastic as well. Hopefully I will get the set soon.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Satellite Sunday for WSOP Main Event

Even though I will be in Wyoming during the Main Event, I figured I should at least give the satellites a shot and see if I can make a big payday. I won the first $80 satellite I entered on Poker Stars to get into their 200 player guarantee for $370.

Overall I am pretty disappointed in the satellite options that were available for the big 200 and 150 guarantees on Poker Stars and Full Tilt respectively. There were not very many scheduled tournaments available. They had the normal list of Sit and Gos but I don't have the time to register and wait around for them to fill up. Full Tilt seemed to encourage all the "gamblers" by offering 500 chip starting stacks and hyper turbos as the most preferred way to get in.

I tried an $109 satellite on Full Tilt and didn't come close, so I gave up there. All my eggs are in the Poker Stars basket

1:34 PM I raise 77 and everyone folds

1:38 PM I raise A3o in sb and the bb folds

1:40 PM It looks like Poker Stars hit their guarantee pretty easily. The minimum prize pool was $2.4 MM. They are already over $2.7 MM and there are still people registering. It's one package for every 34.3 players so it's definitely a long shot.

1:45 PM I raise AsQc in middle position. SB Dirty Cluber calls. Flop is 4s-Kh-9d. I make cbet of 100 and he calls. Turn is Qs. It goes check check. River is a 4c and Dirty Cluber bets 160 into 340 pot. I call and win. Opponent had TT. My stack is now 3,330.

1:48 PM I open steal on button with J5o because the BB has not played a hand in the tournament yet. I win 45 in blinds.

1:49 PM I call after one limper with JTo. One of the blinds comes along. Flop is Jd-Td-2d. It's checked to me, I bet 90 into 105 pot. They both fold.

1:52 PM I have JhJs in middle position. One limper and I raise to 120. MikRo17 who hasn't played a hand yet calls in position. Everyone else folds. Flop is Kd-3c-6s. I bet 150 into 315 pot. He calls. Turn is 5d. I bet 330 and he calls again. River is 2s. I check and he checks behind and wins pot with KhQc. I am down to 2,805. I probably did not need to fire the second bet there against tighty.

2:06 PM I have Ah5d on button. An early limmper wooshka1967 and it's folded to me. I raise to 120 and he calls. Flop is Qd-5c-9d. He checks and I bet
150 and he calls. Turn pairs the 9. He checks and I check. River is 3s. We both check and he shows me KQ. My luck on continuation bets has not been very good today. I am down to 2520 in chips. Blinds are 20-40.

2:09 PM I have 99 in middle position. I raise first in. Tight MikRo17 calls in position and Dirty Cluber makes it 520 from the Big Blind. I fold and MikRo17 folds. Chips at 2,400.

2:13 PM I have A8o in sb. It's folded to button who calls. I call and BB checks. Flop is 9h-Ts-2s. I check fold.

2:14 PM I have Kd3d on button. 3 limpers and I call on button. The small blind who has not raised yet in the tournament raises to 120. He gets 2 callers plus me. The flop is 9h-3s-7c. The raiser checks and middle player bets 80 into a pot of 560. I call and raiser calls. Turn is a Queen and everyone checks. River is a Jack and they check to me. I bet 480 figuring the raiser has AK and middle guy has a weak 9. He thinks for a while and folds.

2:17 PM I call a raise with 55. Flop is all over cards and I fold to a bet.

2:19 PM I pick up AKo. A player who has not raised in 43 hands raises and I three bet him. He folds and I pick up small pot. Chips at 2980.

2:22 PM I have JdJs utg. I min raise to 80 and scanlobj calls. Flop is 6s-3h-Ah. I check and he checks. Turn is As. Now I bet 160 into a 220 pot and he calls. Does he have a flush draw or a medium pocket pair? The river is the Ks. I check and he bets 340. I call hoping he's bluffing or betting a small pair. He rolls over AQ. Well played. I'm down to 2345.

2:26 PM. Registration is still open and prize pool is over $3 MM. Thats at least 250 seats!

2:30 PM. I raise AhJd in early position. wooshka1967 reraises the minimum to 250. I call and hate it. Flop is Ac-Qh-4c. I bet 300 into 575 pot. He calls and only has 735 left. The turn is 2d. I don't know what to do. I bet enough to put him all in and he calls quickly. I am sure he will turn up Ace-King or Ace-Queen. He shows K-T. Huh? I fade the 4 outs and chip up to 3630.

2:32 PM. I have AKo on button. Whatth3hell raises to 400 only leaving 1,165. That's 8x the blind. I am thinking about what to do and I time out. The big blind goes all in and Whatth3hell calls. The flop is K-T-8. Whatth3hell had TT and the big blind had AcQc. I lucked out that I didn't play that hand.

2:35 PM. I raise 22 and get reraised and have to let it go.

2:45 PM AsQc on button. Whatth3hell limps for 60. I raise to 180 and TheFordGuy calls in sb and Whatth3hell folds. Flop is Ad-6h-8h. Blind checks and I bet. He folds.

2:46 PM Very next hand pick up QQ. Bob&Tomshow raises utg to 180. Whatth3hell calls. I 3bet to 600. First raiser folds and Whatth3hell calls. Flop is 3d-2c-7s. He checks and I bet 960 into a 1,470 pot and he folds. I am up to 4,560.

2:47 PM I have AdQd in early position. I raise to 180 and scanlobj reraises to 360. He has not 3 bet yet in the tournament. I call with good odds. Flop is 6s-2s-Jc. I check fold. Down to 4,200.

2:52 PM Final prize pool numbers. $3,034,150 in pool. 252 entries. 253-279th pay $370 and 280th place pays $160. 8669 entries. There are 6579 players left. Wow that is a long way to go.

3:07 PM In other betting news, my last chance at winning any money in the US Open golf tournament is being flushed down the drain by the collapse of Dustin Johnson. He made Triple Bogey, then Double Bogey, and just hit his tee shot on 4 off a cliff into the ocean. I guess I'll need to win the poker tournament.

3:10 PM I pick up AKo in late position. Raise first in and win the blinds. 4,080 in chips.

3:11 PM I raise Ac6c first in to 240. MikRo17 reraises all in for 2100 and I fold.

3:16 PM. nvasaydi raises in middle position. It's folded to me in blinds and I call with 55. Flop is J-6-3. I lead out for 300 and he raises to 600. I fold. Down to 3,250.

3:20 PM I raise Q3o because both of the blinds are the tightest players at the table. It almost works but the BB iacog4 calls. Flop is 6d-Jh-Jd. I make a c-bet and he folds. 3,630 in chips.

3:23 PM I have 44 in BB. The aforementioned tight player iacog4 tries to steal my blind. I debate reraising but just call. Flop is 7s-Jd-7d. I check and he bets 1/2 the pot. I call. Turn is a Ts and goes check check. River is 6d. I decide to bluff/blocking bet 700 and he folds. Up to 4,350 now in chips.

3:29 PM Raise the tight guys again and win the blinds. Next hand I have 77 utg and min raise. Get 2 callers and flop is 8-9-T. It's checked around. The turn is another T putting two flush draws out there. Whatth3hell bets 100 into 700 pot and I fold. Why fuck around on that scary board?

3:33 PM I get KK and Whatth3hell raises in front to 360. I make it 1080 and he calls. An Ace flops and he overbets the pot of 2,475 by going all in for 4,755 (I only have 2,965 so it's not that bad of an overbet) I want to call, but I force myself to fold since I still have plenty of play left. Down to 2,965 in chips.

3:45 PM Nothing playable and have blinded down to 2620. Blinds going to 75-150 with 20 ante. Only 4600 players left to go through.

3:49 PM QdQh under the gun. I raise to 450. The big stack, nvasaydie calls and floxizz the second tightest player at the table goes all in for 2,960. I call and nvasaydie folds. I'm up against AdKh. The flop is 7d-2d-5d, the turn is 3d and I'm drawing dead. I go to the couch to watch the US Open after finishing in 4,352nd place. Meh.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Introducing Kory to 2-250 Spread Limit

Last Thursday after work, I convinced Kory to come over to the $1-$2 blind, max bet $250 table at Casino Arizona. Kory has usually played the 3-6 or 4-8 limit tables and done fairly well. He's had some bad experiences in Las Vegas at the 1-2 No Limit tables so he was apprehensive.

I felt bad when he lost his $80 stack on Thursday after check raising all in on a J-8-X board. The donkey called his raise with Q-9 for the inside straight draw and an over card. He hit the straight and Kory went home a loser.

Apparently Kory went back Friday night and had more atrocious luck. Kory has the same personality trait as me, in that if he loses, he becomes more determined to figure the game out and try and come back with a win.

So for our outing on Saturday night, he had called me earlier in the day and said he was ready to try again.

I arrived at the casino a little after 7:00 PM and was sat right away. To my left was an old war vet in a wheel chair with only one leg. To his left was another man in his 50's or 60's with a tattoo on his arm proclaiming that he was the Arizona Gold Gloves Boxing Champion 5 different times.

I was a few spots away from the Big Blind when I sat down, so I took a hand right away. I squeezed out KQ offsuit and put in a $10 raise. The Golden Gloves guy called and then a woman in the Small Blind, reraised me to $22. Now reraises in this game are rare, especially from a woman who I did not initially make out to be a regular player. Since it was so cheap, I decided to call the $12 and the player behind me called as well.

The flop was K-7-6 with two diamonds. The woman checked. So now I think maybe she has QQ and I can take the pot away. I bet $40. Golden Gloves guy raises me to $80 and the woman folds. This is why I hate getting a good hand early in a session. I have no idea how this guy plays and whether he's capable of making a move or if he has K-J and thinks it's the nuts. I decide that I don't want to put my whole $200 in the pot, so I fold. Down $80 in the first 5 minutes.

About 10 minutes later, I get the rest of my $120 in the middle with the second nut straight. There was 4 to a straight on the board and I didn't think the nut straight was out there since they would have had to call a big bet on the flop with a gut shot. Much to my chagrin, there were two other players who called my bet and they both had the same straight.

Kory finally was moved to my table just in time for the biggest cash game bluff I have pulled off in quite a while. A young man with a wool beanie and mirrored sun glasses had sat down not long after I had arrived. He looked like someone who might take the game seriously but not play too well. He was in early position and raised to $7. It was folded to me on the button and I called with the 6-7 of diamonds.

The flop was 2-3-5 with one diamond. The young guy led out for $10 and I called. I figured the flop looks pretty innocent and he could be betting with anything. Plus I have a gutshot and backdoor flush draw, so maybe I can win a big pot.

The turn was a black 6. Now I have top pair with a crappy kicker. My opponent checks. I bet $40 to try and take the pot away. The kid did not look happy when I called the flop, and he really looked like he struggled to find the call on the turn. I could have played conservative and try to get to show down if he had Ace-King but I don't know in the long run if one way is better than the other.

The river paired the 3. He checks again, and now I put the remainder of my chips in the middle which was $110. Once he struggled with the call on the turn and checked the river, I was pretty sure he had a small pocket pair like 77,88,99. The board was pretty scary since there was a possible straight, full house, or even just an over pair to his in my range. He looked pretty sick to his stomach when I made the bet. He never really tried to get a read on me, he just kept looking at the board and his hand for about 3 minutes.

Kory asked me if there was a time limit to making a decision. I said, "I could call the clock, but I think it's pretty rude". The dealer then to my dismay said, "You're on the clock" to the other player. I told the dealer that I didn't want the clock called, but she started telling the other player that he had taken 3 minutes and it was time to make a decision. I think the dealer was a little impatient because another dealer was behind her ready to push her out of her down. Anyways, he finally called with his pocket 8's and I lost my first buy in.

Kory was shocked that I didn't have a full house. The rest of the table was pretty stunned as well. I told my opponent "good call" and reached in my money clip for another $200. Surprisingly I was not too upset about losing the hand. I was happy with myself for making a good read on his cards and following my instinct. I was truly playing the man and not the cards. I definitely think my bluff was a positive Expected Value move, it just didn't work this one time.

In the mean time, I was starting to get a read on the rest of the table and realizing that if I hit a decent hand, I could probably take all of them down because they tended to over value, medium strength hands.

I went on a decent run and built my $200 back up to around $370 when I got the hand of the night. A quiet man with a baseball cap and an ipod raised to $15 in early position. I had not seen him raise a pot yet, and he seemed to be very tight. It was folded to me on the button and I looked down at QQ. Normally I would reraise, but I genuinely thought he might have AA or KK so I just called. The one legged vet called as well in the small blind.

The flop was a beautiful K-Q-8 with two diamonds. I had the Queen of diamonds. The tight player bet $30. I raised to $100 hoping to charge the guy on my left if he had some kind of draw. Plus if the first player has AA, he's probably coming along. Well the vet on my left called and the tight player folded.

The turn was a 9 of hearts. I bet $250 which only left me with about $40 left. He called again quickly. Now I'm worried that he got there with J-T or something silly. The river was a low card. I checked and he checked. He said, "I have Kings". As I rolled over my set of Queens I asked, "Do you have one in your hand or two?" He quickly flashed the K-T and I won a monster pot.

The vet was pissed. Apparently he had lost a good bit of money yesterday and was very proud of himself that he had won most of it back Saturday evening, until I took it all away from him. What a horrible call he made!

Getting back to Kory, he had been nursing his small stack for over an hour. Unfortunately I took some of his money on a couple of unlucky hands for him. The first one we both flopped a flush, but mine was higher. Another hand, I hit a third Jack on the river when he and another guy had both paired their Ace on the flop.

At one point I was up over $400. Then I lost a pot to another woman when she turned a straight against my JJ with a 6-7. I got away from it on the river when she raised. I was thinking about packing it in and that pretty much convinced me it was time to go.

As I was racking up my chips, I saw Kory finally get paid off when he flopped a set of Aces and the other player had turned a set of 6's. That got him back up over $120 in his stack.

I left a $312 winner and started driving home. About 15 minutes into my drive, Kory called to tell me that he had made a heroic comeback and had turned his little stack into $400 in 10 minutes. Then the table grumbled when he racked up and left even for the night. Congrats to Kory. He says he wants to keep playing the bigger game, so I hope he keeps running well.