Monday, April 26, 2010

Weekend of decent finishes

In what I like to call small-field events, I had some good but no cigar finishes this weekend.  In the AIPS on Saturday, I had a chance to win it after coming from behind early, only to get sucked out on with 3 left by the very person I came from behind on (sucked out on) in the middle levels.  I finished second.

Sunday, I punched a Main Event Shootout ticket (satellite) and then in the BBT5, won a ridiculous 3 out of 3 races to be right in it after the bubble, only to run into a must call situation.  There are 16 left and its raised up and I have 66 in position.  There can be lots of stealing at this point, and lots of raising with Ax, so I call and the flop is 678.  He shoves instantly.  This is an EASY call.   Why?  He does not have 9T raising this late from EP.  If he has 77 or 88, he is looking to get my stack, not get me to fold.  No.  He has 99-AA.  I HOPE he has AA here, but I expect 99 or TT, which clearly would explain the shove. 

I call to see the TT, meaning I have to sweat 6 outs instead of 10 (if he had 99), but BOTH hit as a Ten comes on the turn and send me home from a great run.  Bummer.  But, played well.  In these 100 player events (just like with a shootout) you are often forced to fold to most re-raises or large river bets, something I had been working on for the last two weeks.  I did make 1 hero call, and I was correct.  Much better than making all the calls and bleeding chips away.  Progress.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Poker Tracker to the rescue

I lost 90% of my losing hands in cash games online this year from the blinds.  OMG.  I have a new strategy.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

First week of BBT5 in the books

And I have little to show for it but stories.  Ran into Quads, Ran into Quads, AK could not outlast AQ.  If the laws of variance hold up, I have already cashed in next week's events. 

We shall see...

In other news, I continue my "training" for the WSOP, trying to get in at least 1 SnG and 1 MTT a day.  Not easy, but I hope its time well invested.  Again, we shall see...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Raging Bull

"I want you to hit me in the face Joey".  I need to learn to take a punch.  Really.  I have developed a very fatal habit and not wanting to take a punch and give up a hand where I could realistically have run into the nuts. 

Thanks again to high stakes poker for their 2 most recent episodes, where a pro demonstrated this in action.   Even after all this time, I needed to watch and soak it up. 

I feel like I am so very close to a breakout, that I am amazed at how bad of a decision I can make at times.

There is a word for this.  Discipline.

I need me some.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Kill Me Now

I continue, even after all these posts, to have difficulty getting away from big hands when my opponent make a large (significant) turn or later bet.   And the bigger the bet, the longer I tank. WTF?   What do I need to do here to learn a simple lesson?

I donked off a DEEP STACK here when I made my second losing straight in level 1.  But this time, even though the bets were large, I make a terrible hope-a-tron amateur call.   Woe (and self flagellation) is me.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Friday's hand revisited

I cant stop thinking about this hand... You are chip leader with 36 / 1800 left and have JJ in MP. You raise to 15k (2.5x) with 500k behind. The cutoff makes it 40k. With $300k, the cutoff has an above avg stack and is the second largest stack at the table.

1. Chip value (DV) is very high now. The avg stack at the final table should be about $500k, which you already have. There are plenty of shorter stacks at the table. You can fold here with little loss. But what does that say to yourself? To your opponent?

2. You can call, avoiding running JJ in QQ, KK, AA. But will have to play post-flop OOP. You could also check-fold the $40k and still be the chip leader.

3. You could raise to $120k, but this creates a pot odds issue. Unless he is on a re-steal, he calls here and now you are playing a $250k pot OOP. In the case he is on a re-steal, he may (probably) fold.

As I weighed my options, I did not give enough credit to #3. AFTER the bubble, especially "down the stretch" (as they say in horse racing) with 5 tables or lss remaining, players start using the re-steal more often. But I did not think of this for a couple of reasons:

A. I had not been re-raised like this yet at the table, nor had I observed any re-steals.

B. We did not have similar stack sizes. Its rare for the second largest stack to re-steal from the big stack.

As reported, I opted for Option 2. I wanted option 1, but did not want to be weak, be perceived as week, or fold a premium pair because I didn't have a pair. Not the best of thinking, but honest. But I picked #2 OVER #3 because I did not want to get re-re-re-raised all-in by AK and be forced to race.

The flop was, as reported, 443 (two toned).

Now, I have an over pair and the pot is $90k or so. Again, I have options:

1. I can bet out my overpair and expect hands like AK to shrivel up and fold.
2. I can check and wait for the aggressor in position to make his play.

I opted for #1. I feel this was the real, fatal mistake.

A. I bet $50k, and made the pot $140k. The pot is becoming epic. All I have is a pair that may or may not be bigger than my opponents hand.

B. I did not respect position enough in this hand. I really believed he had Ax and I was ahead. My hand read was good, but my luck was bad.

He moves all in now. Options:

A. I can fold and keep my chips, avoiding throwing valuable money away. I have lost $90k and still have $400k and be 2nd or 3rd in chips.

B. I can call because I beat so many hands here and I feel he is resigned to his fate.

Before the late stages of +EV. But LATE in the tournament, down the stretch, one must look for these potholes. The EPIC bloody hand that may be a turned set, or top-two played tricky, where players are trying to trap and extract max value.

I think I need to continue thinking about this...

Friday, April 09, 2010

Harder to escape your hand if opponent plays bad?

Full Tilt Poker Game #19952806168: $42,000 Guarantee (152632857), Table 24 - 2500/5000 Ante 600 - No Limit Hold'em - 18:48:07 ET - 2010/04/09
Seat 1: a463993 (176,127)
Seat 2: columbo (434,208) <2nd overall in chips
Seat 3: Zipp125 (183,813)
Seat 4: Gouranga (246,699)
Seat 5: teac1 (93,860)
Seat 6: HansBy (98,568)
Seat 7: Terpfan21 (168,500)
Seat 8: yashka (206,118)
Seat 9: Hoobody (171,352)

antes 600

HansBy posts the small blind of 2,500
Terpfan21 posts the big blind of 5,000
The button is in seat #5
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to columbo [Jd Jh]
yashka folds
Hoobody folds
a463993 folds
columbo raises to 12,500
Zipp125 folds
Gouranga raises to 40,000
teac1 folds
HansBy folds
Terpfan21 folds
columbo has 15 seconds left to act
columbo has requested TIME (I contemplated options here)
columbo calls 27,500
*** FLOP *** [4s 4d 3d]
columbo has 15 seconds left to act
columbo bets 50,000
Gouranga raises to 206,099, and is all in

Put him on a hand here! You are beating ALOT of hands here and 2:1 on the call.

Still, he did shove on your lead bet. But I have to think that in the LONG RUN, this is better being called than folded?

The flop eliminates the Ax hands. TT doubles you up. QQ, KK, AA? can you really fold to just that?

My brain is melting... Do I really want to re-raise preflop here? (If I was willing to call off my stack, I fear the answer was YES. Lesson to be learned there.)

An important lesson. Understand that your leverage with JJ comes pre-flop, not post-flop. I think I ahead the whole way in this hand...

I know, you wanna know...

As Maxwell Smart would say, "Would you believe A4 sooooted" (with 36 left no less)!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Lions News: Matt Millen confused by Lions moves, team improvement.

"I don't understand what they are doing. It's almost as if there is a concerted effort to improve the roster through logical moves. Do they really expect to be successful by drawing up and executing a plan?" -Millen starting at Lions press releases and thinking to himself.

The Lions are arguably the most improved team this off season (they also had the most room to improve) as they have already cemented 4 new starters before the draft even begins.

Trading day THREE picks for a STARTING LEFT Guard and a STARTING CORNER, Trading for Corey Williams to play DT, and the big signing of Nate Burelson at WR. Assuming the Lions draft "insert future DT that can actually block out the sun here", they are going actually look respectable. And Yes, there is Kyle VandenBosch who was the first free agency signing. And this is huge, as last year, the Lions played a cardboard cutout of a right DE (and not surprisingly had zero sacks). So, ANY signing was a starter, but to get a guy who can anchor that position was more than we could have hoped for.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Brutal exit from the $22k 6-max

$22,500 Guarantee
Seat 1: a463993 (8,140)
Seat 2: arrondubai0108 (5,230)
Seat 3: priviet85 (4,242)
Seat 4: KronicKiller (2,675)
Seat 5: vanner56 (1,820), is sitting out
Seat 6: columbo (2,765)
a463993 posts the small blind of 25
arrondubai0108 posts the big blind of 50
The button is in seat #6
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to columbo [2d 2c]
priviet85 calls 50
KronicKiller folds
vanner56 folds
columbo calls 50
a463993 folds
arrondubai0108 checks

ok, call with a pair. How hard is that?

*** FLOP *** [4s Tc Td]
arrondubai0108 checks
priviet85 checks
columbo checks

no flop, no hand

*** TURN *** [4s Tc Td] [6s]
arrondubai0108 checks
priviet85 checks
columbo bets 175 (maybe I actually have the best hand?)
arrondubai0108 calls 175

ha, nope. Someone has a T (perhaps a 4 or 6)

priviet85 folds
*** RIVER *** [4s Tc Td 6s] [2h]
arrondubai0108 bets 525

Pot sized bet and I made my hand on the river. He will never see it coming.

columbo raises to 2,540, and is all in
arrondubai0108 calls 2,015

*** SHOW DOWN ***
columbo shows [2d 2c] a full house, Twos full of Tens
arrondubai0108 shows [Th 4c] a full house, Tens full of Fours

oops, it was me who never saw it coming.

arrondubai0108 wins the pot (5,605) with a full house, Tens full of Fours
columbo stands up

Seriously? I hit the 2 outs the will break me here? I dont even call the river bet without that 2 here. ARGH.

Even more seriously. Could ANYONE have escaped this? Could you REALLY make an argument that I should have CALLED here????

Sunday, April 04, 2010

League night recap and important notes

Despite never winning a league night, I am in second place, making the final table 8 months in a row. I play much tighter in a league, as this is rewarded by the long term prize. Last night, despite being a lock for a top 6 spot, I played my usual game, not a reckless loose game and some others did who wanted to finish high or mentally checked out.

As is often the case playing tight, I went to the final table with a paltry 15k in chips (1/2 of average). I bluffed only once on the way, because it was an optimal spot.

Now at the final table, we are down to 6 and I have just won a big hand from the opponent 2 to my right. He frequently plays the same way from late position, and I took to coming over the top pre-flop with decent hands and raking his raise in.

In this critical hand, I come into a pot with a big pair for $10k, and I had maybe $44k to start the hand. SOLID Player from the blinds calls. Now we are at the bubble, so this is doubly interesting. The flop comes and we are staring at each other and not the flop. He checks, I bet, he check-raises me all in and I freeze. I look at the jack high flop and look back at my QQ and stare in disbelieve. ANY other player at this table I snap call here. But I know this guy. He plays a very solid, mistake free game by and large. And I remember how he plays Kings. He will always raise, but may call a big raise and move in with a flop with no Ace. And with him knowing I will make a c-bet with my big hand, he check raises. It was the perfect play and I would give few players this much credit. I toss away the QQ. He mucks and I survive. After the hand, the player to his right comments that either one of us could have AJ. NOTHING could have been farther from the truth and I was amazed that someone could read that hand so poorly. But then again, this was a clash of players who play big hands strong, and he did not have our familiarity.

Later on, he said he actually had AA. If so, and based on the facts that we are 6 handed and he is in the blind, I can not argue with the pre-flop call (vs. raise). He is going for my stack and its a really good play with a 7 in 8 chance of success. NOTE: IF he did bluff here, it was perfectly timed and I will just admit to being outplayed. so be it.

I was also amazed that the remaining players doubted I had QQ because I did not show. THERE IS A LESSON TO BE LEARNED HERE. NEVER SHOW. You can be honest, but never show. If you want your opponent to know what you had, tell him. There is no reason not to be honest! But let the rest of the table double guess you to death.

Perhaps this is why I got called more than I expected? Someone called my UTG raise with 88 earlier and commented that "I had noting" when I showed KQ. I won the race, but was surprised he SNAP called my all-in raise with 88 for 25% of his stack. (And since when is KQ, 7 or 8 handed, garbage? Especially when its maybe the first hand I played at the final table.)

Later on, when we are past the bubble and FOUR HANDED, I ran AKs into AA and my 88 was called by AQ and I lost a race I needed to win. So I exit 4th, even though I did not make a stupid mistake. All in all, I an thrilled with my play as I enter the final month of training for the WSOP. The 88 hand was interesting in that it was my coming over the top of another one of those pre-flop raises from that same guy, and I expected to just take it down. But the BB surprises us both by CALLING. So now, the original raiser is calling based on odds and I am against 2 players with a middle pair. UGH. But I still think I played it correctly. How many pocket pairs do I wish to laydown 4 handed to a raise from a guy who loves to raise pre-flop. In the end, I lost a race as a tiny favorite, so I have to think "that's poker".