Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I am again reading up on chip utility. My conclusion is that the larger the field, the more important this becomes. In a 3 table MTT, I think I can play good decision poker and come out ahead. But in large MTT field, I feel like I have to play more based on utility. Its interesting to note that the European lads that dominated this year at the WSOP were post-flop, out-play you types and not the more traditional out-last you types. This is a chance from earlier years where there was reckless abandon to acquire a big stack and wield it for pressure. This was much more of a accumulate chips and wield it for value. I don't want to rewrite books here, so you can read up on chip utility elsewhere. But...

In the past, I have always had problems emulating American big stack players. Now I know why. I could never play loose enough to build a big stack. And even when I did, the pressure I applied only seems to diminish the large stack (I even recall this year players with a big stack loosing it very quickly). So I never played this style.

But now that I have been exposed to a better way to do this (utility and value), I find myself playing differently in big fields. I understand the watermark of the green zone in not an M of 20 in a large field, but rather an M of 40 is what I want. Once I have 40-60 BB in my stack, I can see any flop I want with position, and I have my full arsenal of moves available. Below that, and its premium card poker.

Why is this so important to me? Well, once someone ELSE at your table has accumulated this utility, they can roll-over the table forcing pressure on you without playing all-in poker. That in turn, allows then to pick up some smaller pots easier and pick up additional chips they otherwise would have to fight harder for.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Deep Thoughts II (level up)

If my poker game were in the RPG world, I just leveled up.

I looked back at the posts I made this summer while running good and I pointed to 3 things that improved my game, plus one "deep thought". To recap:

1. Remember WHY we bet. To get a worse hand to call or a better hand to fold.
2. Steal spots and steal cards need to be selected carefully.
3. Understanding Chip Utility.
DT: Challenges with middle pairs after the flop.

Now, lets look at what happened to me this weekend and what we learned/applied:

1. AK can not draw vs. 2 opponents all-in despite attractive odds. I OVERLY concerned myself with Chip Utility and took some -EV in the "hopes" of tripling up if I hit an Ace. Turns out I had about 20% of tripling up, not proper odds.

2. There are times where your choice of call, raise or fold are nearly profound. Blinds are 300/600 and 3x raises from MP. Solid player (in this case, Bayne). Folds to me w/99 in BB. When stacks are tight, you can NOT raise here (although you could shove). Raising creates an inverted pressure point (on against you) where as a call puts you OOP. Does that make 99 a fold for 1800 when stacks are 15k and blinds 300/600? M is about 17. The answer is yes due to his range. I am either racing or way behind. I think i need QQ or better here unless i feel its a steal.

At the time, i thought it might be and thus the raise, allowing my opponent to put max pressure point ON me. This ties in very succinctly with my previous Deep Thought.

If stacks are DEEPER, I can play this middle pair many ways. But the way it was, I should have taken the fold. I get that. I eventually made the right decision, but it cost me 4k in chips instead of 600 in chips.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Trip Report

What a blur my head is today. Friday, my plane arrived 30 minutes late, so I made it to the tournament with 15 minutes to spare. My first table had James VanZandt and Karina Jett. Lucky for me, they went out early. At the add-on, I have Michael Bingham (sp?). Then I played with Jeff Madsen and Kenna James. And finally at a table with Lee Watkinson. I played pretty well through most of the tournament, but made an interesting decision with 21 left which will be a future One Minute Mystery. I made the decision to overplay a hand because of the pot size, my stack size and the fact that the tournament only really played 3 places. I decided to risk looking bad rather finish something stupid like 8th. Could I have picked a better spot? You decide.

After that, I went and played mixed games at the MGM. I started by losing a big $60 pot on boat over boat, then the local grinder on my right starting giving me trouble. I had to stop drinking and win a couple of big pots, before he moved to another table. Had I not been there for fun, I would have made a better show of it, but I dropped another $60 to just plain loose play.

Then, I went to the bar and drank until I could drink no more. I was great seeing everyone again.

The Saturday wedding of Gracie and Sweet Pablo was alot of fun and Al Cant Hang did a great job. I have some video, which I will find a place to post soon. The tournament was a disappointment as I really wanted to win, but about 1/2 way through I got caught up in a bad spot. I have about 15k in chips and the blinds are 300/600. Bayne raises my blind to 1800 and I look down at 99. I suspect both a respectable hand and shenanigans, but my delay before raising to 4k apparently was enough for Bayne to instantly go all in. If he has Ax, I would be comfortable calling, but I made this same mistake in the last tournament. What if he has TT or JJ or AA (We saw ALOT of AA at our table). In the end, I fold and he shows the AK.

I never really got any momentum after that, with a run of bad flops and went out in the middle stages. Congrats to Maigrey (aka Poker Princess) for her well earned victory.

After that, it was sausage and beer at the hofbrau house with Byron, Alan (and his brother), Brian (StaticKling) and later by happenstance Grubette and friends. NEVER order the .25l beer at a beer hall or the ridicule for your "tiny beer" will have no end! (Also video to follow).

Finally, the celebration at the IP bar, where I think I cashed out first at 2am local time. I left MANY bloggers still there and lit up.

I wanted to go to the pinball museum Sunday morning before my flight, but the effects of 2 hangovers sent me packing.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Weekend in Vegas schedule

2pm arrival- DASH over to the Hard Rock for the charity tournament (see link previous post). After its done, check into MGM hotel and find the WPBTers at MGM and play mixed games until I collapse from jet lag and time zone change differential.

Sat morning (note: morning = noon) - attend wedding (find wedding)

Saturday 2pm - set up pre-tournament surprise. Bounty cards! (I hate Waffles)

Saturday 3pm - Donkey, er, Blogger tournament

Saturday 8PMish - Hofbrauhaus! Praise be to the Germans! Deutscheland uber all, bitches! (unlike Biggestron, I AM German). Icht ben ein Deutche or something like that!

Saturday night - play the worst poker ever along with many others trying to play the worst poker ever.

Sunday morn - check out, lunch, plane and out.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A race away from another DEEP run...

Full Tilt Poker Game #9409149986: $27,500 Guarantee (71726024), Table 27 - 300/600 Ante 75 - No Limit Hold'em - 16:33:42 ET - 2008/12/09
Seat 1: Baggygreen (53,277)
Seat 2: MadmanEk (27,141)
Seat 3: Pete1971 (6,760)
Seat 4: Mekonmurphy (12,754)
Seat 5: Whitnit (7,735)
Seat 6: quequambo (4,972)
Seat 8: braincandy1 (17,878)
Seat 9: columbo (20,860)
columbo antes 75
columbo posts the small blind of 300
Baggygreen posts the big blind of 600
The button is in seat #8
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to columbo [Ts Th]
MadmanEk folds
Pete1971 folds
Mekonmurphy folds
Whitnit folds
quequambo folds
braincandy1 raises to 2,700
columbo has 15 seconds left to act
columbo raises to 7,000

I figure not to get a call here, this could be a button raise with marginal cards. I want to make it PAINFUL to not give up the hand.

Baggygreen folds
braincandy1 raises to 17,803, and is all in
columbo has 15 seconds left to act
columbo has requested TIME

In the end, I figure its a race which makes this a reluctant call.

columbo calls 10,803
braincandy1 shows [Qh Ac]
columbo shows [Ts Th]

A race that if I win, will put my in the upper ranks of chips with the bubble approaching.

*** FLOP *** [Qc 5s 2s]
*** TURN *** [Qc 5s 2s] [6s]
*** RIVER *** [Qc 5s 2s 6s] [7c]
braincandy1 shows a pair of Queens
columbo shows a pair of Tens
braincandy1 wins the pot (36,806) with a pair of Queens
The blinds are now 400/800 with an ante of 100

Anyone at all think I was out of line here? (*I dont) As a matter of fact, I am surprised AQ does not escape there with only $1700 chips lost.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

a big gamble

So last night is league night and despite leagues rewarding tighty-whitey play, a dismal stretch of cards had me folding too many (40+) hands. The one big hand, AA netted me just the blinds. I am at 10k and the blinds are 300/600. (Note: when a 3x raise > 5% of your chips, you have no chip utility.) I make a raise to 1600 with KQ and only the BB calls. The flop is T93 all hearts. He checks, I c-bet, he calls. The turn is something like a 4d and he checks again. I think for a while. The pot is $3k, and I have $7k left. I want to win this pot. Heck, I need to win this pot. So, I decide I am going to try and push him off his hand. The decision is whether to do it here, or wait for the river. Complicating the issue is that I cant put him on a credible hand here. Either he has something like A8 and is worried I am betting a made flush (not likely) or maybe he has a smaller pocket pair like 66 and is thinking I am on AK (probable). I decide since I have the Qh, I will see the river. I decide in advance that if he value bets, and I have nothing, I will fold. I decide if he checks again, I will shove. The river is a black T pairing the board and he checks. I say that I am all in. He calls with T8 for trips.

So I pose this question. "How good/bad was this move/read here?"

Friday, December 05, 2008

Strange Mental Stage

It's a week before the WBPT annual winter donk-fest, er pokergames and this one will be a strange whirlwind for me. Can't fly out until Friday, run over to the hardrock, after the MTT check in at MGM and play cash til 2am, then the blogger tournament on Sat. Almost seems like work... but its not.

Work has really dragged me down lately as I am used to being a big global IT executive and because of the state of affairs, I am a utility player at a small company.

In the meantime, I am either finishing strong or going out early in online tournaments. But the interesting part of my play on the last 2 weeks is that I have been killed by opponents hitting straights (sometimes flopped). It's almost like I have had straight blinders on. I have made a mental note of this pitfall and hope to stop falling in.

Last night an amazing thing happened. I won 2 races. both 33 vs. AK. I was on either end and won both. Will I run goot (sic) in Vegas?

This video shows my mental state:

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Time to get to work

Online Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker!

This PokerStars tournament is a No Limit Texas Hold’em event exclusive to Bloggers.

Registration code: 266566

Wild Swings

So, last night I took down my 3 table league night by remembering to not remember average chips stack. Its something Lee Childs told me to stop thinking about, and its been hard but results speak.

But in the 24k today, I was out in two hands. And I could not have been more off on my reads. In the first hand, I put the player on a draw (I had middle pair and a flush draw, albeit a low one) and he shows TPTK. 1/2 my chips gone. Then on the next hand, he rivers his straight when I had him on a pair worried about a draw. And just like that I am out 15 minutes into round 1. How dreadful.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

WPBT and events

Friday I arrive and rush over the the Hard Rock Poker Jingle Benefit

Your registration is complete!
Purchased at: December 03, 2008 10:01 AM

Want some company? Invite a friend to participate!
Event Name: Poker Jingle At The Hard Rock
Date & Time: December 12, 2008 03:00 PM
Location: Hard Rock Hotel Poker Lounge
Thank you very much for registering for the Poker Jingle at the Hard Rock! We look forward to seeing you. If you would like more information, please contact The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society at (702) 436-4220.

Saturday, its the WPBT Blogger donkfest, er, I mean tournament at the Venetian at I think 3pm (contact Falstaff for details and reservations). I encourage all bloggers to donate to the "WAFFLES BULLSEYE (bounty) FUND".
I'll start it with $20. Knock out Waffles before the final table and take the entire pot!! (you must take all of waffles' chips before the final table. void where prohibited (no where). If you touch waffles, see your doctor.)

One of these two nights (or both), I need to eat sausage and drink beer at Hoffbrau House.

It's going to be a whirlwind weekend of poker!!!


ARGH! Oh, I am coming for you... rest assured...

I swear, that donkey is willing to play for his entire stack with KTo!

I am bringing a target to Vegas in 2 weeks

Monday, December 01, 2008

Charity Poker Room

Another visit to the low stakes card room near my home. Sat down at the 1-2 table and despite 3 pocket pairs in 10 minutes, I was still about even. I took a flop with 77 against what I knew to be a big pair. I flopped a gut shot, but a POT sized bet to protect his hand saved his bacon as I would have hit it.

But then something wonderful happened. They got enough players to start a HO table. A rotation of NLHE with a rotation of 5-10 Omaha-high. I leaped over to the new table and confirmed my suspicions. No one really knew Omaha in the entire room except me. And the best part was because it was a rotation game and not a straight omaha game, no one noticed I won all the chips in omaha! I felt like a escaped panther at a petting zoo.

Funniest moment of the night was when I made 4 pair. Amusing, and since everyone missed their draws, my best two pair took the pot.

I left when the game broke up. I stacked every player at the table. If you ever get a chance to play 5-10 limit omaha, I cant endorse it enough.