Thursday, June 26, 2008

Betting Lines

Hoy put up an interesting post (and might have coined the phrase) on "Betting Lines". No, not craps or slots, but in poker. These are patterns on the flop and the turn based on situational betting.

For example:

When I flop a straight and I am OOP, I am going to make a continuation bet if I was the aggressor pre-flop. If my opponent was the aggressor pre-flop, then I am going to check-call, then bet out first on the turn card.

So, the betting line is "check-call the flop, bet the turn". Hoy likes the "check-call the flop, check-raise the turn" line in this situation, but I would be afriad of him checking behind on the turn. I can only make this move if I am sure he is the kind of player that fires 2 bullets.

I like this concept of cataloging betting lines. NOT because I want a pattern to follow, but rather to BASELINE my preferred play. There is an old saying in stand-up. "The better rehearsed your routine, the freer you are to deviate from it." This is because when your material is very well memorized (Seinfeld is said to memorize right down to the specific words used in every sentence), you can depart from it and seque back to it seemlessly. To finish up this line of thinking, If I know how I normally react in this situation, it frees me up to think about the value of deviation in this particular instance!

I am going to dedicate some time to betting lines and come up with some common situational actions. I'll post the ones I come up with. Please feel free to post you own.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

I enjoyed the living bejebus out of this guys videos

Could not post Thursday due to TILT

Any post from Thursday would have been a chronological list of bad beats and nothing more. When you play $7 SnGs, I guess you have to expect that KK is going to go down to 34. That is just the way it is...

But I made my mind up after coming back from Vegas to change 4 things in my game. And these are not minor adjustments by any stretch of the imagination.

  1. Don't be afraid to get your money in fast. If you are ahead, you are ahead. No one is going to see a free river or even a cheap river ever again. If you in a hand with me and you are going to see a river card, either you're way ahead or I am going for the stack and you called. I used to say I like to control the pot size, but I think it a misnomer. I think it was an excuse to protect my stack. Now, I want to apply that pressure point on the turn.
  2. I am using more math and less 'lay downs'. You give me 3-1 pre-flop and I am calling with 2 napkins. I dont care how big the blinds are. If I have the odds to call, chances are pretty darn good I am going to call. period. I find I just dont play enough hands when I try to only play premium hands. Thanks Gus Hansen! (Read his book!)
  3. And this is a big one. At a live table, I am discarding my Columbo persona. Or at least modifying it. I find when I get to be my semi-obnoxious self who can banter, talk, and otherwise talk through hands out load, I make better decisions. And I have more fun playing. And I miss having fun playing. The blogger game at the IP where I would call any Falstaff bet with a decree of "Monkey Chips!!!" made me remember this is a game and we play games for stress relief, not to induce further stress into our lives.
  4. Before I left for Vegas, players generally have the following opinion of me: "Not aggressive enough". No one is going to be able to say that about me anymore... Mark my words...

So last night, fresh from a BRUTAL black and blue beating at the FT tables Wednesday, I came to the Friday night game with 2 full magazine clips of ammo. I had a goal too. Playing for first instead of the money. After all, this was not a league game, it was a 3 table MTT. No points, just paid top 4.

From the early stages, I was living up to my rules. But it really kicked in after the first break where I started boarding on obnoxious. I had powned Scott our host this night, and at one point when he started to bet, I called all-in before he could even finish his bet. It saved him 1000 chips, but it was worth it. The message was clear. "Dont play hands with me unless all the chips are going in". Otherwise, I was stealing, re-raising with rag hands, etc.

There was one very interesting hand that cost me a pile of chips that I still marvel at (not with Scott).
EP raises 4xBB. Obviously with a hand. I call with 66. The flop is QQ8. He bets and I re-raise. My logic is that he really has to think now. He cant call the reraise with any non-pair, and he would have to think about it with any pair less AA (where he could not get away due to the magical allure of Aces.) Without even thinking, he goes all-in. I fold, surprised my pressure did not even make him think. I was especially surprised he did not take time to think when he showed his TT. That made me muse, boy howdy. Still, I like my play here. Most hands are in trouble against that re-raise.

Cutting to the chase, at the final table I am average stacked, but by the time we get to the money, I have the big stack and wield it accordingly. Once we got to 6 handed, I would raise with anything I could get my hands on, like T7s. If a short stack shoved, I would be forced to call. I was about 50-50 in these, but when I lost, I lost... When I won, I broke a player.

And when we were heads up, I think I had an advantage in that I seemed to understand where I was at heads-up and was willing to pay big pots with any edge. The math went just enough in my favor to take down the first place prize.

Long live Aggro-columbo

Thursday, June 19, 2008

For the love of all that is poker

Can I have a hand stand up? (In the voice of "Chandler" from "Friends") "Can I GET my money in anymore ahead?!"

My post Vegas run continues with flopped straights and dominating hands going down in flames. My online bankroll is suddenly at risk for the first time in 3 years, but I am playing decent. (or so my "donkey head" thinks)

There was a very interesting hand last night that I was going to use for a OMM, but think I want the discussion instead. Fuel raises pre-flop and I feel compelled to see a flop (out of position) with 77.

The flop is 456, (I check) and Fuel makes his famous OBV (overbet for value) of 2x pot. Calling puts 1/3 of my chips in the pot, but the blinds are still low (level 2?). I cant see folding here, can you? I mean an overpair with an OESD? I figure he could have ATbC (any two big cards) and thus two overs or a pair. But in either case, the OESD is a good redraw, right? I figure there is some play left here and I can still continue the MTT with 2/3 of my chips, so I call instead of shove.

The turn is a 3 and I make the straight. The money all goes in and I win the pot.

Did I play the hand poorly? Why?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Movie Review, The Grand

Todays review, the straight to video contestant "The Grand". If you liked Best in Show, then you may like this one too. Same style, albeit without some of the brilliance of character actors. Instead, there is a big cast of comics. and lots of poker cameos.

You'll quickly realize that almost all 6 of the final table players are a combination of two famous poker players. This makes the banter and personalities fun for fans of poker players.

The movie is uneven and practically plotless, but still invokes chuckles that come out of the characterizations. David Cross cracked me up in a hand against the unabomber.

Overall its worth a watch for nothing more than this line:
"Let me tell you how the internet screwed up poker. ok? When a guy sucks out on you on the river, on the internet, you can't take the guy out into the parking lot and you can not break his fucking knees."


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Just how -EV is Rockband?

Well, I was willing to give up my seasons tickets to the Detroit Lions this year. Now for many of you, that seems like a no brainer. But to a ticket holder of FIFTEEN years with seats in row 21, it was NOT an easy decision.

Nevertheless, I gave up my $1800 / pr seats and blew the money on Rock Band!

"All of it??" you ask?

The low-down:

I had no X-Box 360. Needed the one with the big HD: $500
Rockband : $170
Drum Pads: $20 (after market gum pads to help with the noise)
Foot Petal : $20 (after market foot petal, to avoid the breaking problems)
DLC (download content point) to date : $80
Second Guiter : $30
I had a microphone stand, but since the microphone is strangely fat I needed a special clip :$12
Beer : Lots of beer. LOTS. $140 (yes, really)
Guitar Strum mod from, $20
I bought a Tamborine and a Cow bell. Its too funny playing "Dont fear the Reaper" actually WITH MORE COWBELL! $30

so, just about $1k.

My buddy Neal built a drum kit out of REAL DRUMS to replace the Chinese made plastic craptacular drums that come with the game. Since we play at my house, he has been hauling them over every Friday. So, he offered to build me a set also, if I pay for the parts. OMG, where is my checkbook!!!!? $300

The guys a reviewed the American DJ LED light bar which is SOUND ACTIVATED and works GREAT with Rockband. $200.

Drum stool : $40
I even bought a guitar stand for the guitar for $10 bucks.
and a couple of LONG USB extension cables: $10

And yes, we have ALREADY crushed the endless setlist on Medium. We are playing on hard now and are up to 850k in fans. Next weekend we may eclipse the 1mil fan mark. (geek-y)

Worth that much??? Let's test:

Lions: 8 home games (although you PAY for 10). 4 hours of entertainment (if you don't mind losing) = 32 hours of entertainment for $1800 bucks.

Lets just ASSUME I will be spending another $150 this year on DLC (more songs damn you!) which brings the expense equal to $1800. That is a HELL of a lot for a video game! or is it?

Hours and INCREDIBLE fun, not only on Friday nights but with FAMILY. The ENTIRE family. My 7 year old sings! Its like the bloody partridge family. (why no partridge family songs?)

Hours logged to date: over 75! Even if I BROKE my hand playing guitar at 100 hours. That would be $18/hr. A movie is like $6/hr. An mp3 is $1 for 3 minutes. I can safely expect 300 hours of entertainment from this, which would bring it down to movie price.

4 player, not sitting and cheering (what little their was), and family fun. I never thought I would buy a xbox 360, as I don't play many video games any more (well, I have a mame cabinet. Don't you?) and I certainly would not have expected this type of expense at my age. But who else can drop $200 on a LED light board just for immersion?!

Overall, I think I can live with my decision...

ok, ok

So I have not posted since the debacle that was my big tournament weekend. But I have made a decision. Columbo is dead, Long live Aggro-Columbo.

Enemy to all who would check the turn. Pushing reads where I even THINK I am ahead. Conservation calling on the turn for me is over. OVER.

So many river cards have killed me as a 4-1 favorite. From now on, you wanna see a river? Good luck. Either I already folded, or you are going to have to call a BIG bet.

This may seem like I am expounding the obvious. But For me, Houdini when it comes to not getting trapped, its a 180degree turn.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

More crushed dreams

Well, my TOC chance at full tilt just ended. The turning point was when waffles moved all-in and I called with KK. He flips over AK and the Ace on the flop sealed my fate. I still had a small stack, but had to push with anything and ran my AJ into AK. (not enough chips to even fold).

I finished 12th in a difficult field and with the exception of the throw away at the end, got my money in good every freakin time. (like that matters)

Mega-tilt right now... Dont know how I am going to be able to take the Bodog Tuesday rollercoaster finale. I am hungry, mentally shot, and utterly disappointed with the entire 3 days in Vegas (cards wise).

did I tell you I had a nice session yesterday? No big profits. just maybe 1/2 buy-in, which was impressive considering my cards. Lady sits down. First hand AcKc, flops nut flush, other lady PILES her money in on every street with TP. TWO, yes 2 hands later, she is dealt KK and stakes AQ when a Queen flops. She is there 3 hands, and up 2 full buy-ins.

I dont know why I play this game. I should stick to Rockband.

I always said, I am not a lucky person. Fair enough.

More work interviews, meetings, fund raising, and other chaos on Monday. Where is this life going anyway?

Friday, June 06, 2008

Feh (WSOP event#9 recap)

Event #9 in the WSOP has come and mostly gone. Just under 1300 runners, down to 70 at end of day1. For someone in there first WSOP event, I have to say it was very non intimidating. I had no pros at my tables and I did not feel out gunned at any time. I was surprised at the stacks, however, as 3000 chips is considerable less than it is online where you get twice the number of hands per hour. In reality, it was down right few.

After level 1, I had added 500 chips and into level 2 added about 500 chips. With $4k, I got 1000 in pre-flop with two black Aces against a loose caller, which I was very happy about, only to see a flop of KdQdJd and the caller move all in with a flopped straight, afraid of an Ad. Just like that, I am back to 3000. Bad news Aces cracked, good news, he leaped for the endgame when he was way ahead. Now, this same player goes on a tear. I mean a TEAR. He starts hitting every flop and accumulating chips. Showdowns confirm his lack of bluffing. As his stack grows to about 8000, he starts getting more and more bold in being the first to raise.

When you play 6max, this is a big warning sign. You can't just play for chips, you have to do some table control. You cant avoid it. I start making stands by coming over the top. This guy's pattern was to go into the tank, count out the chip, then fold. I had seen him do it 5 previous times, so I felt he did not like to get played back at. I did this to him twice and each time he backed off.

Despite getting those AA chips back, I still only have about $4k in chips and the avg is now 6k after the break. I open UtG with AT and this guy calls from the button (he did this ALOT). My opening requirements had been decent each time, so I might even get credit for a bigger hand.
Flop is AK3. Without hesitation, I move all in, knowing its the right move.
  1. I am probably ahead and a smaller bet is too risky. The pot is already 2k.
  2. I am establishing that he should not just "try to see flops with me" every time and instead save that for the other 4 players.
  3. In the off chance he has AJ, the move might get him to lay it down (50/50)
  4. If I dont win this hand, I have only 2k in chips and on life support.
  5. If he thinks I am bluffing and calls with a K, I will double up.
He goes in to the tank, counts his chips like he always does, gets ready to fold and then out of the blue says, "I am only behind AQ". (wouldn't you be behind AK too?). He calls with AJ and IGHN.

So frustrating this trip. Even in cash games, 3 TOP SETS all 3 down in flames to flushes, 3 pocket Aces, all down in flames. Even so I am up in cash games (if you dont count drunk monkey chips at the IP at 2am playing 2-4 HORSE. weeeeeeeeee)

Some just went to the Caesars mega stack $330 and I am going to skip that just because of the FT tomorrow at 2pm local (megastacks are 2 day events). But I am SURE I will get in some good play tonight at the MGM.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Twitter is on the ropes

Major part of their infrastructure is down, including IM updating. I have a twitter updater on my blog, but that is days behind too. They need to get their act together.

In the meantime, you'll have to sign-up with twitter to follow me (ltcolumbo). I'll update at each break.

BBT3 - The final insult

Pays 20 places, Columbo = 21st...

And I have nothing to blame but my May play, which has resulted in zero final tables. ARGH.

I feel so stupid now. And now I can take that to Event 9. Gez.

The Power of Pairs Compells You!

The Power of Pairs Compells You!
The Power of Pairs Compells You!
The Power of Pairs Compells You!

In the big game last night I dug myself a hole in scenario #1, but I still think I like the play...

Scenario #1:
A MP raises like 4.5x and I figure its QQ or near there. I call with JT hearts.

Flop is Jack high with 2 hearts. He makes what appears to be a probe bet, but I am not buying it. I decide to call here.

The turn is a black Ace. This is both good and bad. If my read is correct, this is a scare card for him. But I have not made a flush.

He checks and I realize I can steal this right here. He is worried about the Ace. AJ is in my probable holdings here as is Ax for that matter. Especially AK, AQ as I think they would have peeled off another card. So I put in a pot size bet (now almost half my chips are in).

He calls with KK and I do not hit the flush.

Do you think I played this poorly? Did he make a great call based on information or a "I cant fold Kings" call?

Scenario #2. My Q is .75 and its been a struggle all night. I have had to play perfect just to get this was and win a race AQ vs. 88. the MP who has been low-profile at the table, puts in the 4-5x raise. I am thinking "decent hand here". I have JJ on the button. I figure the blinds to fold, so I wonder if I raise or call. I am worried that I although I can put him on a pair, I cant put him on a particular pair. Is it TT? QQ? I am not sure. I decide that my post flop position gives calling and edge and thus I make the call. Blinds fold.

Flop is 9 high (2 clubs). MP bets out POT and I have 2x pot left. If I fold, my Q is .5 and with 40% of the field left, I am having a real hard time folding an overpair here. The Power of Pairs Compells You! On the other hand, my gut tells me that the probable holding from the MP is QQ. The Power of Pairs Compells You!

Is this a shove or a fold? The Power of Pairs Compells You!