Sunday, March 30, 2008

I got my token, I got my Orange Crush

That's right, I am taking a night off from Rock Band to play the Blogger Big Game tonight! (I am getting my token as I type!) (oops, nevermind, already won it.)

In other interesting news, my old roomate who spent years writing for Letterman and Conan, is now a blogger with

Take a look, I think it's hilarious!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Ok, so I had variance coming after wining the Hoy. But gez, I have been crippled in FOUR tournaments out of 6 since, getting my money in way ahead. I know, I know, play not results. But I dread flying to vegas, signing up, plunking down my $1500 (despite the fact I won my way in) and then watching someone get all there money in with a pair and hitting a set on the river to send me home.

I should stop thinking about these things and take my loses like a man instead of some whiny blogger. But its alot easier to dismiss $10-$25 than it is to watch $1500 go out the window...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

6MAX - A tale of two hands...

PokerStars Game #16204648757: Tournament #81587897, $50+$5 Hold'em No Limit - Level IV (50/100) - 2008/03/23 - 23:03:18 (ET)
Table '81587897 6' 6-max Seat #2 is the button
Seat 1: TorcidaST (1915 in chips)
Seat 2: sagar111 (9370 in chips)
Seat 3: RoadkingOz (3337 in chips)
Seat 4: Columbo777 (1503 in chips)
Seat 5: hdspoker (1825 in chips)
Seat 6: Arvid2k7 (3050 in chips)
RoadkingOz: posts small blind 50
Columbo777: posts big blind 100
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Columbo777 [3h 3d]
hdspoker: folds
Arvid2k7: folds
TorcidaST: calls 100
sagar111: raises 400 to 500
RoadkingOz: folds
Columbo777: raises 1003 to 1503 and is all-in
TorcidaST: calls 1403
sagar111: calls 1003
*** FLOP *** [3c 2h Kd]
TorcidaST: bets 412 and is all-in
sagar111: calls 412
*** TURN *** [3c 2h Kd] [Kc]
*** RIVER *** [3c 2h Kd Kc] [4s]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
TorcidaST: shows [Td Jc] (a pair of Kings)
sagar111: shows [Js Ac] (a pair of Kings - Ace kicker)
sagar111 collected 824 from side pot
Columbo777: shows [3h 3d] (a full house, Threes full of Kings)
Columbo777 collected 4559 from main pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 5383 Main pot 4559. Side pot 824. | Rake 0
Board [3c 2h Kd Kc 4s]
Seat 1: TorcidaST showed [Td Jc] and lost with a pair of Kings
Seat 2: sagar111 (button) showed [Js Ac] and won (824) with a pair of Kings
Seat 3: RoadkingOz (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 4: Columbo777 (big blind) showed [3h 3d] and won (4559) with a full house, Threes full of Kings
Seat 5: hdspoker folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 6: Arvid2k7 folded before Flop (didn't bet)

I was seeing alot of players willing to stack-off with AJ or JTs. I catch a big break here and triple up.

After some boring folding, I am an average stack with 60 left...

PokerStars Game #16205135851: Tournament #81587897, $50+$5 Hold'em No Limit - Level V (75/150) - 2008/03/23 - 23:27:02 (ET)
Table '81587897 6' 6-max Seat #2 is the button
Seat 1: Devin Thomas (3215 in chips)
Seat 2: sagar111 (5735 in chips)
Seat 3: RoadkingOz (6156 in chips)
Seat 4: Columbo777 (4559 in chips)
Seat 5: hdspoker (4750 in chips)
Seat 6: Arvid2k7 (2100 in chips)
RoadkingOz: posts small blind 75
Columbo777: posts big blind 150
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Columbo777 [6d 6c]
hdspoker: folds
Arvid2k7: raises 300 to 450 (3x)
Devin Thomas: calls 450 -- probably AJ again, :)
sagar111: folds
RoadkingOz: folds
Columbo777: raises 1200 to 1650 shut it down or stop N go...
Arvid2k7: folds
Devin Thomas: calls 1200 - AK maybe?
*** FLOP *** [Qc Jd 7s]
Columbo777: bets 2909 and is all-in
Devin Thomas: calls 1565 and is all-in
*** TURN *** [Qc Jd 7s] [3d]
*** RIVER *** [Qc Jd 7s 3d] [9d]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Columbo777: shows [6d 6c] (a pair of Sixes)
Devin Thomas: shows [Js As] (a pair of Jacks)
Devin Thomas collected 6955 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 6955 | Rake 0
Board [Qc Jd 7s 3d 9d]
Seat 1: Devin Thomas showed [Js As] and won (6955) with a pair of Jacks
Seat 2: sagar111 (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 3: RoadkingOz (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 4: Columbo777 (big blind) showed [6d 6c] and lost with a pair of Sixes
Seat 5: hdspoker folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 6: Arvid2k7 folded before Flop

I was right the first time. These guys are willing to call big pre-flops with AJ.

Is it me, or do players loosen up way more in 6 max because they think they are supposed to? And can I even DEFEND making a stand there with 66 just because I saw a modicum of dead money? Probably not.

Someone pull the drill-bit out of my head. I be learnin'

Monday, March 17, 2008

A strategy reminder

I played in a satellite on Sunday and sucked it hard. But it wasn't tactics that made the difference, it was strategy. The hands I played, I played as well as can be expected. But in some ways, the regularly scheduled events spoil us.

Imagine you are in a field of 500 and the top 150 get satellite seats. Easy pickings, right? Well, did you remember that you start with 1500 chips and its a turbo? I didn't. Or better said, I didn't pay it any mind. A big mistake.

What should be the strategy going into a shallow stack turbo? Top 10 hands. There is no room to get fancy, maneuver post-flop with suited connectors, etc. You have $1500 in chips and you're dealt 98s. Are you going to call $200 chips here to see a flop? If so, you're playing like a hope-a-tron. Deeper stacks, maybe. Not a turbo, maybe. Deep stacks and not a turbo? Now we are talking.

Back to the 98s. What do you do now when the flop is K93 (not your suit) and its up to you. You gonna bet? If he bets 100, you going to call? Do you see your stack shrinkling like someone is pouring acid on a stack of pancakes?

"So using your logic, if I am in a short stack turbo satellite and I dont get a top 10 hand in the first 3 levels, I am just going to lose and that's that?!"

Yup. Probably. But you'll always have the ATC push (first in only) at about $800 chips. Ironically, once you get to level 3 and its $100/$200, $800 had better be from late position.

Good luck chip-hunter.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Tonight is YOUR night in the barrel

Did not matter HOW i got my money in ahead in the this weeks Mookie, the result was the same. I ended the hand behind. Lost 3 big pots where I got my money in good, the second one of which broke my back. But it happens and I have to take my beats like everyone else. So, look out tomorrow, I got some variance comin' my way!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

PLOw me!

I finished 5th last night in the skillz PLO tournament. Again, having to defend a hand against a disgruntled holder of AA. I never get that. Big pairs in Omaha not holding up? Who would have thought?! To me, having AA in Omaha is like having AK in NLHE. You need to IMPROVE.

Anyways, I always struggled in PLO to determine starting ranges (same with Stud-7 hi only). I look back over the hand histories and the real story is that I played too FEW hands and paid to much in blinds/antes. I don't make that mistake now.

In this tournament, calling a pre-flop raise with 678T was not only justified, but essential. PLO is a game of peek and dive. Peek at a flop, dive out of the way of the scrapnel after it comes.

And worse, when you do flop a straight on this hand and the pre-flop guy was "moving to build a pot", I often disregard 2 suits on the board as "dangerous". The real story is not the AA pre-flop raise, but he unjustified call to the river with it. That board screamed "crack" at the top of its lungs as far as I could see.

I twice got my money in good and lost, once complete with a flush draw, OESD draw and 2 pair to boot. The ultimate drawing flop in PLO. I lost half my stack. haha.

But I was really happy overall because for the first time in a long time (if ever), I played PLO without making a huge and fatal mistake.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Donk's paradise redux

Still with an average stack the almost exact same scenario comes into play, only this time I have JJ...

I have 13k. UtG pushes in his 5k stack. Button with 6k shoves.

You have JJ. Is THIS a call or fold? How does this compare with the AK?

Donk's paradise

Last night was the weekly 6max NL (Monday's at the Hoy) and I had an interesting tale unfold. I was playing pretty well and ran my stack from 3k up to 18k. Normally, this would put my squarely in first, but last night it was only good enough for third. As a matter of fact, the chip leader, lucko, had OVER twice my stack. There are maybe 22 players left and the points/cash start at 10... The stage is set...

Astin with about $4500 pushes from UtG. He is a short stack and the average stack is about 12k*, so this is just any pair. Let's estimate 66.

*lucko has made the average stack disproportionally higher for everyone else but him.

The button, with only about $5500 pushes his stack in, lets estimate AQ.

Why? Because we have AhKh in the BB.

Argurments for calling:
1. The sheer numberof times that the BB waking up with AK has knocked ME out of a tournament with a short stack.
2. Luck-o can't be caught up to without another infusion of chips.
3. I am getting 2-1 on my money with big slick.
4. If I LOSE the hand, I still have 500 chips above an average stack, far from out.

Arguments for folding:
1. I HATE taking any Ax hand all-in pot pre-flop against multiple opponents.
2. It's possible one of them has a top 3 hand, ruining my odds.
3. I am 3rd in chips and have been playing pretty well, especially post flop this evening. Why get my money in pre-flop and have to pray?

In the end, due to the luck-o factor, I called. Astin had 66, button has AK. No paint comes at all and Astin triples up and the button goes home.

I would lose one other 3 way pot on the way to the button and eventually go out 12th when luck-o wakes up with... Yup, AK.

So, I broke my rule of never calling 2 all-ins without a premium pair. Should I have folded or was I just a victim of a "donk's paradise"?

Friday, March 07, 2008

the afterMATH

In the blogger skillz game, I learned on thing. My STUD game is WEAK. Somehow I just dont play enough hands. So, I am really soliciting advice here. What is you starting range of hands in STUD? I like to start with either a pair, 3 connected cards or 3 suited cards or 3 broadway cards. But by 5th street, if I have a "single pair below the door card of a raiser", I am typically folding. If I had a draw hand and dont improve on 4th or 5th, I fold. And I wont play with any hand below these when someone completes. So, this is causing me to bleed to death. What should I do?

At the Mookie, I had to lay down middle pair to a re-raise. With the stacks back at 1500, I was now working with 900 chips and chased average for an hour before losing back to back races and going out midway.

On Thursday, I' d love to tell you some great story, but in reality I was playing rock-band with the kids and missed the start. lame. Damn that's addicting.

So, next week its time to come out guns blazing... see you then.

Oh, by the way. I set up a myspace page for "columbo" at which is also lame.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

As promised - for Pureprophet

Alan asked to see this hand after he folded. So, here it is an my logic…

Full Tilt Poker Game #5493553082: Mondays at the Hoy (41405249), Table 15 - 800/1600 Ante 200 - No Limit Hold'em - 1:06:04 ET - 2008/03/04
Seat 1: pureprophet (90,117)
Seat 4: Breeze81 (18,105)
Seat 5: bayne_s (31,390)
Seat 6: columbo (46,963)
Everyone ntes 200
columbo posts the small blind of 800
pureprophet posts the big blind of 1,600
The button is in seat #5

Ok, There are 4 at our table and maybe 9 left. I have a healthy stack, but not enough to coast. I am playing to win not cash (note: this is RARE for me, I usually play to cash high and not worry about first.)

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to columbo [2d 2c]
Breeze81 folds
bayne_s folds
columbo calls 800

I know a lot of people would raise or fold here, but I prefer small-ball, If I raise and he-reraises, the pot is 3 times as large than if I am just prepared to call a 3x raise from the ONLY remaining player. NOTE: This is NOT a popular way to play, I know that. But I will not attempt to convince you my style is better than any “book” style.

pureprophet raises to 3,200
columbo calls 1,600

There was NO thought put into the call as I prepared for the raise in advance.
Pot is 7200 and is still escapable… for either of us. This is important to me.

*** FLOP *** [Th 3d 4h]
This flop rules. I mean, when you are on 22 and you DON’T flop a set, wouldn’t you want THIS flop? Even when I bet, how can he put me on even a range of hands near 22?

columbo bets 7,200
This POT size bet attempt to show that I flopped either TP or have a pair 55-99.

pureprophet has 15 seconds left to act <= probably thinking the same thing, but is worried about a bluff because the flop is so bad. But, the bet is BIG so he is wary of coming over the top. He suspects he might be ahead, so he calls.

pureprophet calls 7,200

Pot is about 21k

Now since he calls here, I do NOT smell a trap. I now suspect he has A-rag, something like K3, or even presto.

*** TURN *** [Th 3d 4h] [4c]

The four pairs the board and I want to make a bet that looks like the I am worried about a flush sucking out on me, Plus, the turn is the pressure point when he smooth calls the turn. If I am not afraid and his hand is marginal, psychologically his choice is brutal.

But I am willing to move in here. I mean even though I could fold and still have chips, I push to send a message. “I want your chips”.

columbo bets 36,363, and is all in

He likes is hand or suspicious, but only a hope-a-tron calls here unless I have a reputation for bluffing, which I don’t.

pureprophet has requested TIME
pureprophet folds

Uncalled bet of 36,363 returned to columbo
columbo wins the pot (21,600)

Was I bluffing with the best hand or did Alan lay down a pair? Only he knows.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Thoughts after a modicum of sleep

First of all, thanks to everyone who rail-birded me and left a "Fuck you Scott Fischman" shout-out comment last night. Unlike many other tournaments that really are just a couple of big decisions, this one was a struggle for dominance the entire route.

Featured in the run:

  • TWO future One Minute Mystery hands.

  • A hand so tough, that Schulman asked for the Hand History after the match... (I'll post it later tonight in its entirety.)

  • 3 hands where I was pedaling a monster, just to see it reduced to a danger hand on the river due to a board pair or 3 suit card.

  • Some of the best reads I ever made, catching a player with second best hand.

I could on and on for hours, but I am not Hoyazo. (haha). But I will say this...

I think I know why I WON this instead of just cashing. Here is my take on that:

  • The matra really did help. I know it sounded like a joke, but things like that keep you "in the moment". Yelling that mantra keep me engaged and excited when a 3+ hours event can have your interest and focus phasing in and out.

  • I had light background noise. Usually this is an unimportant DVD (last week it was old Benny Hill discs), but last night it was Mrs. Columbo cleaning out her closet for the first time in 6 years and making little comments. I'll compare myself (ever so briefly) to John Lennon there who wrote songs with the TV on, Radio on, and reading the newspaper all at once. This is far better than silence for me.

  • I did not have an enitre level of "card death". You dont need to be Astin and get big pocket pairs slapping you in the face, but you need at least something to play in a level. I had a reasonable set of card. (Is it just me or is it much harder to be card dead in 6-max?)

  • Someone made a HUGE mistake against me in the middle rounds. After losing a big hand when my KK got cracked by AQ for half my chips... I drop from first in chips to tied around 10th. And I am tied with the person who took my chips. Now, you have all these chips and you flop a flush draw with 2 overs. You make a pot size bet and your opponent (the only player to have you covered) comes over the top. Do you call? Really? A couple of people argued that you HAD to call. I am in the opposite camp (as were many others). I dont see how you can call and keep your sanity. Why risk your TWICE average stack fighting a battle that YOU DONT NEED TO WIN. I can see it from both sides, but I still rather have the set than the draw, which is what I had. So the overs are no good and the flush draw doesn't get there, and I get ALL my chips BACK from this player! That was HUGE. HUGE(addendum: In the guise of disclosure, I did NOT have the set. As a matter of fact I had NOTHING BUT AIR and hit a pair on the river. but my POINT was there is no way my opponent can put me on less than TPTK here, more likely a set.)

  • I had enough chips at the final table to continue to play MY STYLE. I was playing with a couple of guys who were decent, but were not a familiar with "small-ball". I really got away with playing a style that usually I have to abandon towards the end. Purephophet I think new this and would try to keep me honest.

  • Not defending my blinds was costing me chips... BUT I used that to my advantage at times. I am a poor defender of my blinds. Pureprophet, Pushmonkey, and zeroluck were stealing from me more than I like, but I took it like a man. Why? There are 2 schools on this, the Phil's. Ivy defends like he has a monster every time. Hellmuth takes his lumps and sets up future plays. I follow the latter (because I suck at the Ivy method). When I forced a player to play a bigger pot, I had the best of it.

  • At the end, Heads Up with Zeroluck he would just pound me. Not only would he bluff on flops, he would rub it in by showing his garbage. I rarely did the re-steal, confused by the aggressive play coming from the new guy. Instead, to my detriment at first, I played dodge-and-parry looking for openings. But my experience recognizing patterns came more and more into play as I extended the duel. Sure I was laying down hands where my bottom pair was ahead… but there were just enough times where the trap was a crushing blow.

I find it incredibly ironic that last year I LED in money taken from the Hoy, yet never once finished first. (A testiment to both the good and the bad of my style of play.) But by playing a little more for first and taking on a marginal amount of additional risk, I finally cracked that glass. Now when I reach a final table, I can stop obsessing about "here comes another second place". And that is worth alot more to me than the prize money.

Fuck You Scott Fischman

I won the fucking Hoy! Finally. 105 runners and I took it down. FINALLY. The monkey is off my back.

So what's with the title? Well, after the Sunday game, Everytime I won a big hand in the Hoy I yelled "Fuck you Scott Fischman". It works! He should write a book!

Monday, March 03, 2008

BBT3 kicks off with a bang

I played in my home game series on Saturday and since I had my seat all but wrapped up, I tried to be more loose. I sucked at it. I passed and opportunity to test AK with my 88 and yet what else can I want? If I decide to play loose and I am afraid to re-raise with 88, call it a night.

So when BBT3 kicked off, I took my lessons from Saturday and a good run of early cards to take a big early chip lead to 25k. It would never eclipse that. But what really surprised me was when I noticed a player moving up quickly to 9k in chips. It was Scott Fischman. Ugh.

Later, he moved to my table. As a matter of fact, at one point the 4 chip leaders were all at the same table. But what was more interesting was that Scott was employing the Surflexus strategy of 'taking on all comers'. He would even call a raise then a shove with T6o! and somehow come out on top. It was unexplainable... really.

I ended up finishing in the bottom of the money, 18th. Sad when you think about the early mountain of chips.