Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I'm not even supposed to be here!

Event #2 , in which I decide to stick around and eat honey.

He remains formless. Not like the river flowing down a hill, nor like the unmuddied waters of of the still lake, but rather as a drop of dew condensed in a child’s pocket maze game. Tilting and moving of the environment takes us closer and closer to our goal.

Blah, blah blah. I finished 3rd last night in the WPBT #2 event (PLO). I’d like to pontificate how brilliant my play was. How I bested the best PLO players. But both would be a load of bull. Play at our starting table was so plebian that it prompted Snalitrax to heckle us from the rail. “This is some of the worse poker I have ever seen.” He may have been right. By the time we made it to level 3, I was a firm 26th out of 29 left.

But when you are the short stack in PLO & the field is playing tentative, you can quickly catch back up by steal blinds with pot size re-raises pre-flop and scaring the already tentative field. I crawled back out of the basement twice and with 20 left, thought I might squeak into the points at 15. (I finished just in the points in event #1, NLHE).

So, with this in mind, I played my basic PLO strategy.
1. Stay away from garbage hands.
2. Stay away from raised pots pre-flop without premium cards.
3. Decide on the flop the value of going to the river vs. folding. (See Freddy Deeb)
4. And, of course, get your money in ahead.

#4 seems so obvious , and if you are playing hold’em it is. But in PLO, which is a drawing game, you often get your money in on the come. Instead, I was trying to use ½ pot bets on the come to dissuade garbage from chasing while still building a pot. If I hit a hand, I made these same bets so that I would not be too readable. I sacrificed a few big pots with the nuts by only building ½ pot, but I think it had a bigger EV on the long road to the final table.

Even at the final table, I think I was 8 of 9. But players were making some miscalculated moves and I was lying in wait with my premium holdings. Fast forward to 4 left and I am suddenly the chip leader. With 3 left, I build my lead to having half the chips at the table. But as the song says,” somewhere in a lonely hotel room is a man starting to realize that fate has turned its back on him.”

In the course of three hands, the short stack, whom I had targeted for elimination on this hand, got his money in behind on nothing better than an open ended straight draw (not even a wrap), which he hit. The very next hand, I run my flopped nut flush into a turned boat. Then, as the short stack, run my KK into a random set of 4 cards which send me home.

Still, if I am going to go out, that seems the way to do it. In a blaze of fate. I could curse fate, but instead I will thank it, as I should have been on a plane to California and unable to play at all. But fate grounded the plane with “maintenance problems” and instead of working, I cash in event #2.

I will get to work on setting up event #3 when I return. And thanks to Biggestron (plays poker), for the thankless job of scorekeeping.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The stress of life

I am flying back from a business trip. Not an ordinary business trip, mind you, but a high stress one. My company was just acquired by a very large organization and I am giving some of my new peers a tour of some of the facilities. All the time realizing that they are sizing up what has to be sized down. I try not to let negative thoughts about the future creep into my thinking. After all, I am good at what I do, I am marketable, and I would also be an asset to the new overlords. But that does not mean its not incredibly stressful.

So, I am leaving the restroom stall at the airport and I notice... (how do I put this delicately), that my excrement is bright red. As I wash up and exit, dark thoughts swim through my head. Has my career stress finally gotten to me? Did I stress myself into cancer? Should I panic?

Rational thought tells me to dismiss this all, but very recently I had an uncle die a year after being diagnosed with massive colon cancer. The first time he went to go see a doctor (which was long overdue) was due to a similar event.

I try reading on the plane to keep my thoughts elsewhere and additionally rationalizing that tomorrow, when no repeat occurred, that it was all my imagination. A trick of the light in the room. But I finished my book early. Possibly due to an unconscious attempt to read faster than normal. Back to pondering and thinking...

As the plane prepares to land, I had a TV moment. A scene played out as if I was in the closing scenes of a movie. I am sitting on a quiet plane, waiting for the gear to touchdown, and I start to laugh. It must have seemed to anyone watching that I thought of something funny, or I had an epiphany. And I did...

The day before I left, while in an online tournament, I ate an entire bag of RED pistachios.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Donkey Challenge update

I am ALMOST there. On Poker Stars, I have worked my $200 to over $500. If I hit $600, I actually HIT the Donkey Challenge requirements!! On FT, I play too many blogger events and not much else, so my bankroll is -40% instead of +40%. I am way behind there.

Thanks to http://www.mattahfahtu.com for reminding me to update everyone. And further props to him for posted Donkey Challenge #2, the SnG army. Play 10 $5 SnG and cash in at least 7 of them. Keep going until you can do it at the $30 SnG level. (I am going to skip the "restart" rule, as I think it takes long enough as it is)

In addition, I think any game qualifies, not just NLHE. I agree, no turbos.

WPBT Event #2

Is Sunday at 9pm EST and its PLO. I will NOT be able to attend as I will still be on a plane to California. :( (maybe a post and fold for points?)

Although its bloggers only, its a great tournament to be a railbird. Fun chat, lots of hammer dropping and donkey punching. What more could you ask for?

Let's all be friends

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In poker news:
I blew the chip lead in the hoy last night, but I had it coming. I misplayed two big hands, and when you play with the big guns, you had better know how to shoot. BUT, I feel my game has now moved to the next level and I feel like I finally "get it". I no longer have to rely on "playing by the book" or the hipocracy of playing correctly. I have moved past that now and can actually implement better strategy that I have learned in my journey. Pressure Points, image manipulation, forcing your opponent to disclose their strength, etc.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


I played in my local 3 table MTT montly game last night and cahsed for the 3rd straight month. (1st, 1st, 4th). I feel my game is progressing very well, as I am cashing in even more difficult weekly games like the Hoy. If I can get good at cashing at a large field, like the 60-90 player WWdN or the Mookie (like the Hoy a VERY tough field), I will have to consider finally moving up levels.

But then again, who can move up levels without building a bankroll as it is still neigh impossible to make a deposit anywhere.

I dont think my aggression has been particularly good, and my stud game is still a work in progress, but my trapping has been very good as of late. Apparently I have a gift for looking weak ;)

I had some great hands from last night, one if which will be a OMM episode! I think you'll find it a real thinker!

But I can tell you this. I REALLY seemed to have pissed someone off last night. I am not sure who, but neither scenario was anything but excellent from me. (IMHO)

1st Scenario: I am card dead for a long time, but we are 7 handed, so I decide to try a "test". If I raise UtG, could I isolate or steal the blinds. THIS IS AN IMPORTANT TEST. You should be running this test once a level (I learned this from Phil Gordon). Always know, at each level, your steal options. So, I raise UtG with 74s knowing darn well I am in trouble if anyone raises or I get alot of action. Folds around to the monster stack and after thinking he calls. Now this is a horrible play by him for 2 reasons, and good for 1 reasons. Its bad because he should be looking to pick on short stacks with 1/3 of the field already eliminated. And 2, he could have just raised. It was good, however, in that he had position. The others fold. So, I know my place for the level and I am satisfied. I expect to lose the hand and move on with my button coming up. But a funny thing happens. The flop is 44Q. Oops. I hit a big one and there is no way he has a 4 here. I weak check, and after looking at me and assuming I cant have a 4 because I raised UtG, he makes a RECKLESS move and pushes all in! WHY? I suspect he thought I had a pair and he was looking to accumulate chips with his AQ TPTK. Most idiots would call with their JJ and send their chips his way. That's, I suspect, how he got that stack. But I HAD the 4 and insta-called. He actually mouthed the word "what", and after the cards dealt out and the chips pushed to me, said "I figured you could not have a 4 pushing from EP". I did not say anything, but who pushes his monster stack into a pot of basically 7 big bets!?!?!?

The second one was final table. 5 players left I think (pays 5). I am again making a steal with 36s. I had position with the button, the two players on my right folded, and the SB was short stacked but could get away, so I figured he would. I was wrong. He pushes and its basically a pot size re-raise. But I know:
1. I have two live cards.
2. If he does not have a pair, I think I have to call here and take a stab at knocking someone out.

in his favor: I was 0 for 4 in knock out attempts at the final table thus far.
in my favor: I was even more sure he did not have a pair as he started to play with his cards. It was almost like he wanted me to know he had two big cards like KQ. I sat there for a WHILE thinking through this (out loud as usual) to the amusement of the table. I even said in Ivy fashion, "this would be a sick call dude".

So, I call and he has AK. 4 blank and a 3 on the river and he is out. I dont think he was upset, but I dont think anyone can say it was stupid.

I tried so hard to play aggressive with 4 left, but players kept getting cards and I kept getting a 2 as part of my hand. I mean really alot. And the MONSTER (more than all other players combined) was on my left all this time. I raise, he would push me off. UGH.

We push chips around for a while, but the blinds are killing our ability to play.

Finally, I called a raise with QT and the flop is QJT. Now my money is going in, knowning darn well someone has a K and that K is calling. Fine. I am a favorite. I push, big stack reluctantly folds (despite his having odds to call with anything) and the guy on my right calling with the 9. The turn is a K and IGHN. But I was HAPPY that it took a draw getting there and me getting my money in ahead, to knock me out.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Return to The Vic

A return visit to the VIC resulted in a completely different experience.

This time, I dropped by Monday night at 7:30 and waited an hour for a seat at the low limit table. I had been watching for a while. You pick up a lot of information watching, especially when there is no deal. (At the low limit tables, no dealer is supplied). When I took my seat, I was seated with the following players:

Starting to my left …

Left 1: A regular, who actually stole an empty seat in the commotion of a rebuy tournament starting in another part of the room. He was a tall man, shaved, and wearing a sport type polo top. And he wore sunglasses. But he was not stupid. But he was aggressive and would push the weaker fish off his pots.

2: An older lady from Dubai who had more money than sense. She did not how to play at all, but still played dumb in order to get away with very amateur moves like over betting the pot. She would see a raised pot and there would be like $15 in the pot and she would just push with like $100 and take it down. This worked often and she would sometimes show 2 pair when she did it. Still, I was drooling at the prospect of hitting a strong flop on her.

3 & 4. Asian middle aged gentleman (30s) who seems to at least know each other. Neither played particularly bad, nor did they play awful.

5: This guy was a trip. He wanted to be table captain, had to constantly but nicely encourage seat 2 to take an action and always wanted to initiate friendly conversation. Oh, and he always bet when ahead, and folded when behind. No bluffs.

A guy who played so few hands, I almost forgot who he was. Seemed lost
This guy was a bigger guy who played very vanilla.
eventually the nobody was replaced by a well to do woman who played tight.

I play for like an hour and fold for like an hour. I literally folded by 60 down to 30 and had to take another 40 to get back to 70. Then I folded that down to like 30 and change. Finally, something happened!

I let Mr. Aggression on my left bet every street after I check every street. I am playing A8 on a flop of A9A. When he has my down to 20, I simply push since he already made the pot so big he has to call. I even rivered the boat.

You would think the traps would get more obvious, eh?

But a few hands later I get a big pocket pair and get into a pot with seat 7. When the flop is all under cards, I let him bet and take a decent pot.

A round later, I could be more obvious if I wrote TRAP on my forehead, while playing a game of Mouse Trap and singing “Trapping days are here again”.

I raise a small 3x with ATs and seat two will always play for 3 if she plays. I flop top two and simply check to see if she does her all-in move, trying to look weak by actually just looking like I hit nothing. She goes for the stack and pushes in over 100 putting me all in. I insta-call, the trap so obvious that she did not see it? I taught her a lesson she would never forget. She bet 20 on the flop from then on for the remainder of the night.

I doubled up one more time when I decided to see a flop with 77. The flop was 3 clubs and me with a set of 7s. Little did I know I was the WORST hand against a flopped nut flush (seat 7) AND a straight (seat 8). Both with position on me. I check. But the bet was only 15, and the lady in seat 8 called, so I called to see one more card. And lo the board paired! Straight bets, I call, flush raises, straight calls, I go all in, flush calls, straight finally folds. And the nut flush is bust and goes home. By now I am up over $300.

Seat 5, realizing he was no going to win any money now, leaves. I played for another hour, but folded most of the time. Seat 2 continued to play with a seemingly unlimited bankroll in a purse that never left her lap. Seat 4 was replaced by an accountant looking guy who played old school. Raised every pot, aggressive post flop. I figured I could slow him down, but got a run of hands with a 2 in them. For like an hour. By now I am too tired, but was comfortable I could have beaten them all night.

All in all, not a bad return. But that first hour of bleeding? Oh was that painful.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Wot's up Gov? Limpin wiph Aces, eh?

Playing cards at "the Vic" in London. Got the royal treatment, complete with hostess giving me a tour of the place and buying me a drink. Sat down and had a fine cuban cigar before heading to the tables. I HOPED to play low limit Omaha, but the smallest game running was ANTE PLO with pots getting into the humdreds of pounds. NEVER play PLO with scared money. So, I asked them to start the 1-2 Omaha/HE rotation game list and took my seat at the entry level 1/2 -1 pound NLHE tables.

These guys were easy. RARELY applied pressure, raises were reserved for getting more money in the pot. Mostly loose pre-flop with lots of limp attempts, which would normally be silly. But in this case, since guys were paying off better hands, I played each hand like a lotto ticket.

I did fold my KJ on a Jack high flop as there was a pot size re-raise of my aggression and it was too early to have a read. Smart as we played hours and he only did that one other time when he had a set.

Then, the first of 2 interesting hands.

I have just shy of 60 in front of me.
Utg Limper, I call im MP with Qs9s. LP and blinds call.
Flop is 5s7sQc. UtG comes out betting for 5. I raise to 15. Fold around to our utg limper.

He makes it 40. (Pot is now like 68 and my call makes it 100). I am not quite getting 2-1 but I go into the tank. I see it this way. He limped, so he doesn't have a monster pair. If he has a set or a Q, I still have the flush re-draw. If HE has a draw too, then the Top Pair is a big favorite as I have two of his outs. Flopping TP with a flush draw is a huge weakness for me, I find it impossbile to get away from. Especially when this guy could have AK or Q8.

In the end I call, and he shows AA??? Wow. A UTG ACES LIMPER?! turn is a non-spade, but the river is a 9 making me two pair. At first I thought I lost as it was also a non-spade. But two pair beat the overpair. (I expected he would have raked the pot as he waited to see if I noticed).

Played steady, "take their money patiently" poker for two hours. Was up two full buyins plus when I played my last hand (the rake was due and it was late)

Min raise from "UK opie". 2 callers plus me with in the blind with KQs. I decide not to call and just see as I dont want to play a big hand.

Flop is AKQ. Either I am way ahead or way behind. He bets 5 . So, well I call. Weak.

J on turn. I check, He bets 15. I make a HUGE mistake ad call here. Am I just tired? I think maybe he has A-rag?

River is blank and I check. He bets 25 and I trump my earlier mistake by calling EVEN after thinking about it. Duh. Ak for him. I give back 60 pounds of my 180 profit and go home on a low note after playing well for 2 hours.

Got to me Henry and Zog the night before, but it was an off week for their poker night, so its was Curry and politics instead. Maybe next time.

Visited the Mahiki bar. Nice set-up. Too night-clubby for me, and the staff was less than exciting...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Well, I cashed for a second time in the Hoy. But it was highly dissapointing. I should have won. And I think I blew it.

It started early when Kat and I tangled. I was very aggressive early, picking up small pots post flop. In the case, I had ratched up to a plus +30% on my stack. There were no players eliminated yet and we were getting close to level 2. I called a raise with I think J9 suited and flopped TP and a golden flush redraw. Then money went it, with Kat tabling QQ. She made a big bet and when I came over the top all the money went it. The flush redraw hit.

So I was an early big stack, which I never relinguisehd (I was only as low as 5th). I love these smaller 3 table MTT as it really plays to my strength. Lots of short handed play mixed with never having to chase a monster chip leader. You are in it until the moment you are out.

With 5 left, I switched styles to "fundemental theory" mode, but could not help playing every AJ suited ("The Hoy") as if it was golden. I ended up putting shadow all in and it turns out he is on a draw and folds to my pair of Jacks. I had to show. The only two hands I showed all night were my hammers and my Hoys. Later I will bust shadow when my JJ out flops his AQ on an QJ board. He must have thought he was lucky until my hand flipped up.

At the end I had Hoy and Soprano out chipped 2-1 and still blew the lead. The worst transgression on the last hand (for me atleast). I was trying to see flops and make decisions afterwards, especially with Aces. In this hnad I defended my blind with J5 (rare for me to defend, I thought this would help). The flop was AQJ and Hoy made a weak lead, which looked like a blocking bet. So I came over the top. Aparently he had the same strategy I did, as he showed down his Ace-rag. In retrospect, the blocking bet doesn't make as much sense here as this was the flop not the turn. I could have just folded here, but I was card dead for that last 5 minutes and had folded away the chip lead.

I cashed, but I coulda won. I coulda been a contender...

Thursday, February 01, 2007


"Suicide's an alternative" - Suicidal Tendancies...
"HOMICIDE" - 999

I killed myself last night and wish pain upon the false poker gods. I am playing in a 3 table MTT where I am clearly better than 2/3 of the field. I am running over my table and accumulating chips. At the final table, I am 4th in chips. 2 players go out and with 7 left, I could easily take this down. I need to bust a player and catch the chip leader in order to take the big prize. I am playing for top 3 here and dont intend to finish 4th. I am dodging and weaving very well, projecting the image I wish to project, never showing cards and trying to avoid costly showdowns. Then, I get KK and someone raises in front of me. We have equal stacks, but I will be the chip leader with this hand. Based on his position and bet size, I figure him for 99-JJ, MAYBE QQ. This is what I want, 4-1+. I push and he calls with TT. FLOP? 679. Turn 8. Gez. I want to strangle someone. I played WELL!!! I DESERVE TO WIN. (yeah right)

In the Mookie, I did not fare as well, although I went out in the top half of the field. I just could not accumulate chips and eventually ran my A-rag steal raise into AK. Bummer.

WPBT #2 is Feb 25th at 9pm and its PLO (at FT). I sent in the set up request. Same password, so you dont have to decifer the banner!