Friday, July 30, 2010

I Have A Case of the Run-Goods

I started the month of July with $4,880 in the Poker Bankroll. I had made a steady climb from my low in May of $3,293. I had only taken out $136 in my plan to skim any money over $5,000 for the year of 2010 and I was getting a little discouraged. Everytime I got a little over 5k in a month, a bad session would knock me back down.

That all changed this month. As of July 30, I have $5,804 in the poker bankroll plus I have already withdrawn $800 this month. To celebrate, I bought a new set of Callaway Irons, which I am totally in love with.

The really big winnings have come from the 1-2 No Limit game at Casino Arizona. Last Friday I won an additional $420 in a session plus the $800 I won during my "Pro for 2 days" experiment after my vacation. I don't know if I am playing any differently, but I do know that I have been having good hands and the bad players keep calling my value bets without sucking out on me.

As for online play, the main highlight has been a good run at the Rush No Limit tables at Full Tilt. For the month of July, I am up $459 over 1643 hands. Obviously it takes a little luck to run good over that few hands, but I have also made an adjustment that has helped my game.

I watched a couple of videos on Cardrunners that went over strategy for Rush poker. Even though the videos were for full ring, I was surprised at how tight the instructor would play. Especially when he was out of position, he was folding hands like Ace-Queen suited. His reasoning was that Rush poker allows you to play so many hands, that why should you take the chance of putting yourself in an awkward position post flop, when you can fold and get another good hand in a matter of seconds. He would rather look at more hands per hour and play the ones with a significant edge rather than take the time to play hands where the edge is small.

Now I do not play enough volume of hands for this to make a huge difference, however I do know that one of the leaks in my game at Rush is my tendency to bluff too much and push weak hands. Using the philosophy of patience and waiting for the big edges, I have managed to avoid the bad spots and have been lucky enough to get paid off when I have made a good hand post flop. Here are a few examples:

Full Tilt, $0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em Cash, Rush, 6 Players

Poker Tools by CardRunners - Hand Details

The Nutulas: $101.05 (101.1 bb)

Aedaa: $152.80 (152.8 bb)

omerat: $32.55 (32.6 bb)

busanmilk: $113.90 (113.9 bb)

Hero: $144.40 (144.4 bb)

sharpia1: $223.05 (223.1 bb)

Preflop: Hero is BTN with K of spades A of spades

Aedaa calls $1, omerat raises to $5.50, busanmilk folds, Hero calls $5.50, sharpia1 folds, The Nutulas raises to $23.50, 2 folds, Hero raises to $144.40 and is all-in, The Nutulas calls $77.55 and is all-in

Flop: ($209.10) K of diamonds T of spades 8 of hearts (2 players, 2 are all-in)

Turn: ($209.10) 5 of diamonds (2 players, 2 are all-in)

River: ($209.10) K of clubs (2 players, 2 are all-in)


Since the initial raiser was a little short, I didn't see the need to put him all in for now. Plus I had the button and sometimes, these tables get very squeeze happy. If one of the blinds decides to squeeze, I am pretty confident in 4 betting all in against their range.

Sure enough someone takes the bait and they are crushed.

Full Tilt, $0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em Cash, Rush, 6 Players

Poker Tools by CardRunners - Hand Details

jpfish75: $100 (100 bb)

thedudelb: $100 (100 bb)

Im Indie: $100.50 (100.5 bb)

Hero: $104.40 (104.4 bb)

WowLucky: $597.65 (597.7 bb)

AnkoXI: $104 (104 bb)

Preflop: Hero is SB with 9 of clubs 9 of diamonds

AnkoXI folds, jpfish75 raises to $3.50, 2 folds, Hero calls $3, WowLucky folds

Flop: ($8) 7 of clubs 6 of spades 9 of hearts (2 players)

Hero checks, jpfish75 checks

Turn: ($8) 7 of diamonds (2 players)

Hero bets $4, jpfish75 raises to $16, Hero calls $12

River: ($40) 5 of clubs (2 players)

Hero checks, jpfish75 bets $80.50 and is all-in, Hero calls $80.50


I have a medium pair in the small blind. There is a school of thought that says re-raising is ok here. Sometimes I do that, but lately I have been more conservative waiting for better spots.

The flop is good in that I have top set, but obviously there are draws out there and there is a remote possibility he has 10-8 for the nuts. I check, hoping to check raise, but he checks it through. Leading out is probably better here, but it's so rare someone does not c-bet in these games.

The turn is perfect as it fills me up. I bet a little small hoping to induce a raise. I get one. Now I think he may have an over pair like TT or JJ and checked the flop to keep the pot small. The river is a 5 which puts 4 to a straight out there. Any bet I make here, probably scares off most players. I'll let him try and get value or bluff since he might think I am scared. Instead of a little bluff, he over bets the pot. I snap call and fist pump as he roll over 8's for a straight to lose to my full house.

Full Tilt, $0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em Cash, Rush, 6 Players

Poker Tools by CardRunners - Hand Details

Hero: $99.90 (99.9 bb)

deez1233: $434.10 (434.1 bb)

Sonny88: $20.15 (20.2 bb)

Im Indie: $136.90 (136.9 bb)

craigulator19: $41 (41 bb)

dbc3131: $101.55 (101.6 bb)

Preflop: Hero is CO with K of clubs K of hearts

craigulator19 folds, dbc3131 raises to $2, Hero raises to $7, deez1233 calls $7, 2 folds, dbc3131 calls $5

Flop: ($22.50) 3 of diamonds 9 of spades 7 of clubs (3 players)

dbc3131 checks, Hero bets $14, deez1233 calls $14, dbc3131 calls $14

Turn: ($64.50) A of clubs (3 players)

dbc3131 bets $55, Hero folds, deez1233 raises to $110, dbc3131 calls $25.55 and is all-in

River: ($225.60) 3 of clubs (2 players, 1 is all-in)


Here is one where I lost the minimum. The min raise in front of me is a little fishy, but when the button calls my raise behind me, I don't feel too comfortable. The flop looks good, but again I get called behind and the initial raiser calls as well. I am putting someone on at least an Ace-King, possibly Aces, or a set. I don't think both players have me beat, but I would not be surprised if one did. My plan is to get to showdown as cheap as possible. Well an Ace rolls off on the turn and the initial raiser preflop now makes a big bet into two players on the turn. It's an easy fold for me.

Once I see what the cards were, I really like the bet my opponent made on the turn. If he is trying to put his opponents on a hand range, that Ace hits a lot of their range and it definitely makes it easier to get all the money in by the river. I might have bet a little less, to see if KK or QQ calls, but he got lucky in that the button had the best Ace possible and was not going away. I'm happy because I lost the minimum.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Pro Poker Experiment Day 2

Kory told me they were running some juicy promotions at Fort McDowell, so I decided to make the hour long drive out there on Friday afternoon. In a new promotion, every time you get pocket Aces, you either win the pot with the best hand or if it gets cracked, they count up the pot and award you that amount.

Plus they had your normal bad beat jackpot going along with some weird computerized drawing. If they called your name, the dealer would deal two cards. If the cards paired then you won some kind of progressive jackpot.

They were also running a $30 tournament at 7:00 PM in which if you played 3 hours before, you could win $60 in bounties for every elimination.

Unfortunately, I got a little bit of a late start so I only got 2 hours of cash games in before the 7:00 PM tournament. So instead of $60 bounties, I would be eligible for $40. I believe the tournament started with around 80 players.

I couldn't get much going in the cash games and cashed out down $27. I started out strong in the tournament with some good hands early. After my strong start, we had a short stack call, and then Kory, who happened to draw my table, raised him. I looked down to see pocket Kings. The normal play is to reraise and isolate Kory, however I thought if I reraise, it will just allow the short stack to fold and I can't win his bounty. Kory was deep enough that I didn't think I could get his whole stack just yet.

So I decided to call and the small stack called the raise. The flop was all clubs and low cards. They both checked to me and I made a pot sized bet since I didn't want them to draw. The small stack called, and Kory raised all in. I call. The small stack was not on a flush draw and had an underpair. Kory had QQ with no clubs as well. It looked pretty good for me to pick up two bounties and a lot of chips, but Kory spiked a Queen on the river to suck out. That left me with a little under 5k in chips.

The very next hand, I picked up AA. I raised and got one caller in the blinds. The flop was king high. He checked, I bet, and he check raised me all in. I snap call and he has a king. I fade his outs and I am back up to my starting stack.

I started to accumulate chips and even knocked off a bounty to win my buy in plus a little extra. My table was getting steamed up because I was raising a lot of hands before the flop. Probably 70% of the time, I had a raising hand since I was definitely running good. But since no one was playing back at me, I was feeling pretty confident in that most of the players at the table would fold if I made any kind of continuation bet on the flop.

Even though we started with 10,000 in chips and the first level was 25-50, the structure was very fast. First of all the levels were only 15 minutes. Secondly, once everyone got short and there was a 3 or more way all in, the side pots became very difficult to calculate and it would take 5 minutes to play out the hand with all the crazy chip counts.

Sadly after the first hour, my table broke and I had to build up a new image. I began to go card dead and with the blinds increasing, I didn't have the flexibility to play crazy.

I tried to steal where I could, but got caught once and it left me relatively short. After that, I just sat back and watched players bust on every hand.

I managed an occasional double up but I had less than 7 BB from 35 players on. Somehow I managed to make the final two tables and the bust out craziness was continuing. Every time I would even see a remotely playable hand, someone was all in before I had the chance to push. I was getting a little frustrated, but what could I do?

At the second break we were down to 11 players and 10 were going to get paid. I think the blinds were 15k-30k with a 1k ante. I had around 50k and the blinds were going to hit me in 2 hands. I was talking with Kory, who had busted out and was playing a cash game, and we discussed strategy. We decided that my best bet was to fold and hope to make the $80 min cash. The player on my left had even less chips than me, and even though I would go through the blind first, there was a good chance that someone else may bust.

Sure enough when I folded under the gun, three other players at my table were all in. We had an elimination and then we got to the redraw for the final table. Somehow I drew the button. Meanwhile I threw out the idea of a ten way chop since the blinds were so high. Most were ok with that since it would have guaranteed $180 to everyone which was a little better than 4th place money. The chip leader wanted to save some for first place so eventually we agreed on $200 in addition for first and everyone else got $160.

I busted out in 7th when my pocket 7's went down in a 3 way pot and I cashed my $160. Plus I had managed to pick up 2 bounties for $40 each. So $240 in winnings, less $40 for the tournament and less $27 in cash game losses left me with a profit of $173.

So my 2 day experiment ended up with me winning just over $1000 and paying for my new golf clubs.

What a run!

Friday, July 09, 2010

Michele's Worst Nightmare

My wife, Michele, admitted to me before I left for the casino last night that part of her hoped I would win money, but another part of her wanted me to lose so I would not get too excited about the prospects of playing poker for a living.

I am sure that I do not want to play poker for a living. I would not have the ability to affect others lives and it would not allow me to create anything tangible. However, I do like the idea of playing part-time and earning extra money.

Yesterday during my "Pro Poker Player" experiment, I won $850. Only $40 of it was from online play and the rest was from playing 1-2 No Limit at Casino Arizona.

I only squeezed in 11 sit and gos and I won 7 of them. It should have been 8, except for a mysterious hand on the bubble. There were 6 players left and 5 get paid. I picked up two aces and there was only one player who had more chips than me at the table. Everyone else was short stacked and I could probably squeak into the money if I lost the hand to them. I pushed all in and was immediately called by the chip leader. If he loses, he is crippled. The correct strategy is for him to fold every single hand, even Aces because he can comfortably fold into the money.

Since he called, I was expecting to see KK or maybe even the weird AA. Instead it was ten-eight offsuit! Before I could even process that, the flop came out with two tens! It felt really weird and like I had been scammed. Did he know what the flop was going to be? I took my tin foil hat off and came to the conclusion that it was a gigantic misclick error. My opponent was playing a lot of tables at once and could easily make that mistake. Oh well, I got pretty lucky in some other spots, so overall I can't complain.

At Casino Arizona, I ran exceptionally well. It wasn't the kind of luck where I get money in behind and then suck out. It was the kind of luck where I kept making the nuts and having idiots pay me off with hopeless hands.

I made two raises on the river against the same opponent. One time I had the King high flush for 2nd nuts, and another time I had the Broadway straight for the nuts. Each time he called me with two pair.

In my biggest hand of the night, everyone limped for $2 including me on the button with 7-9 offsuit. The small blind made it $12 and 6 players called. The flop was 5-6-8 rainbow. The raiser bet $20 and three others called! I decided to raise to $100 figuring maybe someone had a set and I want to charge them in case the board pairs. I got one caller who still had $350 left.

The turn was a 2. He checked and I bet $150. He calls again. The river is a ten. No flush and only one higher straight. He checks and I put him all in for his last $220. He is agonizing over a call. I figure he must have a set. Finally he calls and rolls over QQ. How dumb can you be? At the very least he has to put me on a set right? I raise almost every time I come into the pot, but this time I limp and call a raise behind me with a ton of people in the pot. There is no way I show up with JJ?

I kept looking for spots to get aggressively creative, but there were so many calling stations, that I just played snug and waited to get paid off. For once it worked to perfection.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

The Pro Poker Player Experiment

I just got back from a week in Wyoming visiting the inlaws. We did some camping, hiking, fly fishing and lots of hanging out in close quarters. I am ready for some "me" time. Since today is Thursday, I didn't think it made much sense to work for 2 days and then have the weekend with two more days off. So I am extending my vacation until Monday.

During my vacation, I am going to pretend that I play poker for a living. For now, I have decided that I will play online Double or Nothing Sit and Gos in the afternoon, pick up Jake from daycare around 4, have dinner with the wife and child, and then hit Casino Arizona for live poker from 8:00 to Midnight. Of course this schedule is always subject to change since I am a pro poker player and I make my own schedule.

For the live games, I plan on playing 6-12 limit hold'em or 1-2 No Limit. If I have a good run, I may jump up to the 3-5 No Limit game and try to win the big money. I decided against playing the afternoon tournaments because the rake is still way to high and if I was a pro, I would probably pass.

This may be the longest I have gone without playing a hand of poker in a few years. I am itching to get back to it.