Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Ever pitch a perfect game?

Well, I just came close. I pitched a 1-hitter. I played a 5 table SnG and made zero mistakes for a long time. I was below average the entire way, but had dodged monsters (AA twice) at every turn. Then, with 12 left, I double up to avg. Then, I steal my way to above avg with 11 left. I had properly identified the table changing to tight and stole them blind.

I was stealing so much, that when it was folded to me in the SB, I decided to limp with QJo just so the BB wouldn't attack me. He checks and we see a flop of 442. And he proceeds to let me bet the flop and the turn and check-calls. The turn was the Jack, so I suspect I am ahead. The river is an Ace and he checks, I bet and he check-raises. Now he re-raised only 1/3 of the pot, but I called. STOOPID. I KNOW I am beat here, but with what? He flip the BB nuts with 42.

Just then the tables merge to 1 and I notice that I could have folded my way to the money in 6th. Instead, I blow my no-hitter by giving up a home run. And that is saying alot considering how much I hate baseball.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Is it getting fishy again out there?

I was tricked last night into thinking I was at a tight table. Because I did not want everyone to fold, I min raised with KK from MP. Rare, but I did it. I got a caller from LP and the BB. The flop was 556. The BB takes a stab at it and I raise. The LP pushes all-in and I was not surprised when he turned up the 5. But was it 56s? or even A5s? Nope. J5s. Hmmm, what am I to think?

First of all, sure it was "bad form" to raise it only 2xBB. But I suspect he would have called 3x also. Not sure, but there it is.

And yes, when someone goes all-in halfway through a 5 table SnG and you suspect its not a bluff.

But I think the big mistake is not profiling players. I assume everyone is playing simple-solid. Would I call a raise (even a min raise) with J5s? No, but I would not have even limped at this stage with J5s. Either I am raising for a steal or folding. And its too early to steal.

If someone will call a raise with J5s and I don't realize it, there are 1 of 2 reasons:
1. I just got moved to the table
2. I am watching football/family guy while I play.

In this case, it was both. I blame #1. But it was still a wake-up call that I need to pay attention like I do in the live games.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

The Trials and Tribulations of O8B

2 table O8B tournament, with a rebuy or add-in after level 2. 10k in chips, add-on is also 10k. I play a simple double suited hand earlier, before everyone remembers that big hands win in Omaha. Sure enough, my 9s2sxx in the BB hits a flush on the turn and the two pair chases it down. The low and I split a pot that was bigger than it should have been.

On the next hand, I hit a K high flush on the FLOP and the low has not gotten there yet. I start to be cautious of the Ace, but when the others just call, I figure the King is good. This may have been a mistake, because it assumes that the others KNEW that in O8B you would always bet the made flush with 3 players in the pot. But the low did not get there and I scooped a pot while broke a player forcing him to re-buy.

I make a disciplined fold with JTT8 2 suited because of a raise from the button and I had no Ace. O8B, be weary of not having an Ace in your hand.

I play a nut low draw on the flop, but the turn bet is too big and I am not going to chase. Fold.

Someone comes in late, sits down and his set on the flop makes a boat on the turn. He TRIPLES up and my chip lead never returns. BUT, more on this later.

It is at this point that I assess my situation. There are already two players knocked out (and it’s a rebuy tournament!) The add-on is 10k and I already have over 20k. I decide to slow down and only play top ten hands. I also make a note that this table is especially susceptible to the check-raise, as the last to act ALWAYS fires at the pot. I hope to get a chance to use this.

I get into a discussion with the player on my left about O8B draws. He pushes in what I consider marginal situations and he claims he is a favorite. For example QJ83 and 2 hearts vs. a board with QT23 with 2 diamonds. He has two pair and can not make low. How can you possible think you’re a favorite here? There is no made straight or flush yet, but even if they don’t get there, you can’t take low. So you are betting to drive out THREE draws. Seems like you are giving away money here. Yet in the other hands we discuss, he is the one pushing with the draw. And again claims to be the favorite. I enjoy the debate, but it seems to upset him so I drop it.

I fold A25T with 3 hearts to a 3xBB pre-flop raise because it seems unlikely that I can scoop with this hand. The flop was Q85 all clubs and I would have lost both to the guy who makes a wheel on the river.

I take the add-in. I have $35k and the avg is $20k

I lost $5k pushing AA with a low draw. The low does not get there and neither does my flush. I lose to a straight (no low).

Called $wk with low draw. Check-called the flop. Debated raising, but wanted my hand to get there first. The turn makes my nut low and then I start betting. 3 players saw the river card, and then I split with the high hand.

Worse miss of the night: I fold A57J with the suited Ace. I fold for no reason in LP because of the lack of coordinated hand. I have about a 6% chance of being able to play this post-flop. So I fold it. The board spring a 7 farm and I would have made quads with no low hand to split with. Oh well. I COULD have limped in LP with that hand, but man that would be sloppy play.

We are playing 7 handed and I have $28k vs. avg of $21k

I get AAK2 with 2 hearts. I raise 3xBB and get 2 callers. The flop is K92 rainbow and I figure the AA may hold up! When they both check, I decide to bet pot and take it now. They both fold.

My A235 loses to A238 when no one hit the board at all and there was no low. That’s right, in Omaha I lost to Ace high.

We are now 6 handed and playing tight has bled me down to avg.

I fold 336J in BB to a raise.

I had A258 with the Ace suited and call a big pre-flop raise (after a limper) from the button. Should I have raised to isolate? (I won the hand)

I get away from a hand where I had 2 pair and the second best low. High was the K high flush and I chastise myself for playing a hand without an Ace here. (it was like 2356).

We are down to one table and my opportunity came. I flopped a set on a rainbow board and I checked knowing I would get to raise. The LP overbets!!! ½ his remaining stack. I re-raise him all-in and he folds? Did not expect that, but I still take down a big pot with no risk because of an observation I made.

Then the big stack, who was hitting everything early, does not slow down. He is playing too fast because of his early success and he start paying off hands. I get AAxx and the big stack raises from EP. I re-raise to drive the blinds out. My logic is always this. In Omaha, if you can get AA against any other single hand, you are the favorite. So, if I raise and drive the blinds out, I am the favorite to win the hand. The blinds fold as does the early limper and the big stack flips over a KKxx hand!!! Heaven. But we split low, so he gets ¼ of the pot.

I win another hand when my A22T hand calls a short stack all-in pre-flop and turns a boat.

Called a 3xBB raise from the big stack and had to dump post flop.

Took ½ a pot with a 3 player showdown. We are down to 5 handed. The big stack has bet off all his chips and is out.

There are 4 left and the tournament pays 4 placed. After I make the money, I start to play for first instead of the money. So as if on cue, I get a decision to make. I have As9s45 and the flop is QsJs9c. I am on the button. The chip leader bets $5k and the other players, who was almost out 10 hands ago but is now the chip leaders, makes it $20k. I have about $40k left. So I can fold here, but I calculate as follows:

I am sure he flopped a straight. I am absolutely sure. (I was right, he had KTTx). Calling is way wrong as he will put me all in on the turn anyway. I have to fold or go all in. I assess the table and there are two big stacks (in this hand) and another stack of $40k. So, if I fold, I am tied for 3rd. But, if my draw gets there, I will probably triple up as I expect the $5k player to call also, attracted to the big pot. As I think, the player NOT in the hand calls the clock on me. On one hand, I am almost thankful that I have to make a decision in 60 seconds. But on the other hand, I am always irritated when someone not in the hand calls the clock. I just think its bad form. In the end, I decide to play for first and make the raise. I get the callers and the turn is a T and the river a Q. He makes a boat and I did not make a flush anyway. I go out 4th, winning back my money.

Overall, I was very happy with my play and my decisions. So, I can’t cry about the outcome too much. I feel I am a competent O8B player, so I really wanted to win. But in the end, there was too much ground to make up and in the end I made the right move at the wrong time. (sic) Like life I guess.

Now, NLHE practice until Vegas.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Mrs Columbo possibly insane

That's right. Thanks to the WPBT and her entry in the big event, she has been playing 40+ hours a week in order to not be a fish. She already played alot, but now she is up to dawn practicing online. She is already competent, but she wants to do well in front of our peers. Now I have to hope I manage to finish better her in addition to others. Just more pressure I guess!!!

I will bring some WPBT hats to sell at cost. They came out well enough, but the supplier is a flaky woman, so I only hope I get them in time. Right now, I have just the two samples.

Playing in a O8B 2 table SnG tonight instead of our monthly NLHE game. I hope to clean up but I have had troubles in the early rounds of 8OB where the entire tables plays garbage and its an Ozz-fest of chasing. In this situation, what does one do with trips, or even worse, 2 pair. I expect I will make most of my money catching players chasing 1/2 the pot (usually low). I will have to take my signature notepad with me!

Thanksgiving was a family only affair this year, then we stayed up late and watched our "my name is earl" episodes and slept in. Well, I slept in, Mrs Columbo just went to bed.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Played a $5 2 table SnG at FullTilt last night and when we were down to the bubble, two of us called the short stack all in. One of the railbirds obvious sweating the "monkey" was explaining to us (me) to check it down. The turn made me the nutz (straight, no pair no flush) and I bet.

COLUMBO= NOOB they all typed. He folded to my min bet and I took the hand. Then, I went on to take rest of their money. Monkey was a very predictable player, and it hurt him and I played him like a harmonica while Mrs columbo swaeted the heads-up final. He started with a 3 to 1 chip lead, but that did not last long. He eventually got AA and slowplayed it, which let me trip my TP on the river.

Did I forget to mention the best part. At one point, I made a bad call and was left with a measly $465 chips and an M of 1 with 11 left? I short stack played them almost to the point of feeling guilty. No one understood anything above level 1 thinking and more importantly, I noticed this fact! I am learning. What is the world coming too?

Listening to the Lord Admiral poker podcast (link on right)? If not, shame on you. Plus, visit those links. There are some important blogs out there you should be reading.

Its the night before thanksgiving and the family was NOT invited to the mother in laws tomorrow. Why? Who knows, but it makes for an interesting holiday. So, I made the stuffing and bought a turkey today. How hard can it be? We go to the thanksgiving day parade each year in Detroit and this year it should be a nipple-chipping 20 degrees. Then, I get the watch the Lions thrash around the field like a fish playing every hand in the hopes of hitting something. Then, my own turkey dinner. Now that I think about it, not so bad, eh?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Poor ROI???

Entered 3 SnGs last night. $10 NLHE 3 table, $5 NLHE 2 table short handed (6 players at a table max), and a $2 O8B. Total cost = $19

Finished JUST in the money in two of them for a return of $31. A 63% ROI.

I probably could have done better, but I was playing two at once AND had the GB/Viks game on.

Here's the thing. I have gotten good enough that since I rarely do anything stupid, I can often "simple-stupid" (see previous post) my way into the money. I usually start to pay attention at level 3 or at final table. Cavalier I know, but it was recreational. (Poor excuse). I need to concentrate on reading more. And you know what makes you work at that? O8B.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Open the kimono

I told everyone that I would share some of my memory mneumonics that I use to classify players at the table. I will be playing O8B all this week, so I thought this would be a good time for this...

Memory Mnemonics for holdings

FIRST a recap of "simple-solid":
Pre-Flop [remember the GAP concept after level 2]
AA, KK : Can min raise to keep field (2.5x-3x)
QQ, JJ, TT: raise for value, not to reduce field (3x)
AK, AQs, AJs, KQs: Must raise to reduce field. (3x-3.5x)
99, KTs, QJs, KJs, ATs, AQo, JTs : FTAraise (3x), call any <5xBB raise (& <5% of stack)
Suited connector (56s+), Suited 1 gap >7, pocket pair, ATs, A9s, A8s : play with position (or anytime in PL) for <5% of stack
2 gap or 3 gap, suited ace or King, 2 face : <3xBB raise or FTA raise 3xBB, in LP

Flop (what are they calling with?)
Continuation bet if you were FTA raiser, you are FTA now, and there are 2- opponents (monster or big draw can check-raise)
Probe bet (¼ pot) vs. ½ pot bet (only make these two bets)
Post Flop bets based on number of opponents (2-), table dynamic (tight), current image(not loose), and position(LP), stack size.

Turn (watch pot size, apply pressure or get out)
Raise at least ½ the pot if the player makes the same turn bet as the flop bet (shows weakness or inexperience).
FTA Bet or Call probe bets with any draw (top pair w/bad kicker, pair with over-card, middle pair with draw)
FTA Bet or Raise probe bet 2x with top pair w/good kicker, two pair
FTA Bet (just under ½ pot) or Re-Raise (his bet size) any action with a monster hand (set, open draw, flush draw, trips)

OK. Like Phil Helmuth has his base “animal” categorization system, I too have a system for remembering how a player will play certain hands. I have adopted the chopsocky system.

Similar, but more intricate than the animal system, it associates silly kung fu moves (colorfully named after wacky, improbable animal actions such as “snake in the eagle’s claw” or “tiger dancing drunk”) with players to help remember how a player will react in a given situation or how they play hands.

This allows me to associate MOVES with a player instead of your typical (rock, tight/weak, LAG, tight/aggressive) categories of play-styles. The nice thing about this method is that you can make up new ones on the fly and add them to your list.

Here are my list (a work in progress) or basic types: The animals are based on Chinese folklore attributes, not “Anglo” ones. I also referenced the 4 elements just for those of you who know this folklore.

Animals themselves (starting requirements and play-styles)
• Turtle (aka mouse) – patient and rock-like pre-flop. Plays slow (only comes at you with big cards, only raises when ahead).
• Dragon (fire) – Very dangerous and aggressive post-flop. Maybe tight aggressive, but understands to mix up play and loosen up with position. Will make more complex moves. WILL put players on hands and get it right. Most dangerous at the table.
• Viper (aka serpent) – Plays by the book (solid tight aggressive), but slowplays big hands (see snake).
• Snake (earth element) – Tight (coiled). Typically plays “by the book” pre-flop. Tight/Aggressive.
• Grasshopper (aka panther) – a decision maker. Still learning, but not stupid. Solid, but basic. Online internet qualifiers are often grasshoppers. Typically has played less than 2 years.
• Mongoose – an intermediate player who can dispatch snakes and vipers by playing back at them with re-raises, but has little additional creativity. A post beginner.
• Leopard (water element) - It relies on speed and aggression. The leopard attacks with a relentless series of attacks, unconcerned about blocking or being hit. LAG! Will rip through a weak table like a tidal wave.
• Black Tiger (metal element) – Looks to intimidate players, bully. (in chopsocky, the tiger styles are preferred by bad guys.) Likes to pick on short stacks and tight players (dead money) only. Will often clash with Leopards and Eagles.
• Monkey – someone who is constantly jumping around and changing gears but is too good to be a leopard. (Flack, Hansen, etc.) Hard to get a read on.
• Hound (aka hound dog) – Likes to hang around and play speculative hands (NL only). Loves drawing hands. Then tries to look weak (like he is drawing) with big hands. (Negraneau)
• Phoenix – likes to fire out pots, especially on uncontested pots. Will play tight when below avg, loose when above avg.
• Crane (wood element) - Likes to see cheap flops and will often limp, even FTA. Weaker as the levels progress. They look to avoid conflict and will defer to a show of strength unless they are on a big draw or a made hand (or are uncontested). Not always Weak/tight though. Very common at low stakes NL in Brick and Mortar.
• Panda - A calling station or Loose chaser.
• Eagle – tries/likes to be table captain. Physical behavior (touching chips, telling the dealer things) is also a good indicator of this. You can play mental games with these players.


Snake in the Eagle’s shadow - a tight solid player who is waiting for the table captain to knock out players.

Now when you assign a mental note to a player, you are unlikely to forget it.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

WPBT hats!!!!

Are you interested in a hat??? Just let me know that you'll cough up somewhere around $15-$18 bucks and I'll pack you one in my suitcase!!! There are TWO styles to choose from and they feature the WPBT logo. I am selling them at COST because I am ONLY doing this because I think its really cool.

There are two styles, table felt green with brown rail visor, and of course black. The green came out WAY cooler than expected.

Take a look and email me or post a comment with your blogger name and I'll order you one.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Goodnight Columbo

Or more to the point, Good night for the Columbos. Mrs Columbo decided on a whim to download absolute poker and based on free roll rumors. To test the software, she shunned her family and entered a 2000 person freeroll. The result? I had to make my own dinner and she took FIRST. Vegas beware!

Then, a friend came in from out of town. He is a big card player, but does not play online. He HAD to play in the casino. So, for the FIRST time, I went to MotorCity Casino to play cards. I WANTED to play Omaha, but they only had Hold Em this evening. G opted for the no max buy in table. Me? I waited for the 50/200 buy in. Good call, as G busted out of his bankroll before I got my seat!!

Its a 1/2/2 blind structure where the button pays $1 and both blinds $2. Plus the $6 per half hour table fee. I fold the first 30 hands, so I bled off $25 bucks before I got my biggest hand of the night KJo. I had PAID ATENTION though. I had a good read on EVERYONE, including what I call the PAIN POINT. The pain point is the pre-flop raise that gets the junk to fold without wasting a single chip. I noticed that a raise to $7 accomplished the same as a raise as high as $12 or $15. So I raised it up to $7 from EP. There were 2 callers. The flop is J93 rainbow and I check. The button, who played "crane" style, bets out $20. (Crane style is someone who sticks there neck out for pots, but withdrawls when someone plays back at them, thinking they are beat.) He was very consistent with his pattern. When I raise it to $40, he thinks and thinks. But he was a young kid and I expected I could not lose either way here. I think he had QJ, but he put me on KK because it was the first hand I played all night. He folded. (hopefully he folded AJ). He asked me what I had and I did not tell him. He tried to act like it did not bother him, but it did.

I am even, and on comes the return of El-Foldo. I get to see a flop with ATs (my best hand of the evening? or KJo?) and fold to action by two post flop. Then, on the button, for some inexplicable reason, its limped around to me. I get to play on the button for $1 more?! Ok, any two cards then I guess. I am playing J4o.

The flop is T44. The BB bets $10 and only I call. The turn is an Ace. He checks, I bet $20 and he calls. (big pot for a me, a guy playing only his second turn card of the evening.) The river is a blank undercard and the BB checks again. The pot is big enough to try and get a good value bet in. But I don't like to showdown if I can avoid it, so I bet $50 expecting him to fold. Instead he check-raises me another $50. I stop for a split second to process the following information:

1. He is a decent player, but has pushed 2 hands on the river and gotten the opponent to fold. He also seems to undervalue kickers as evidenced by the Ax hands he has played.
2. It makes no sense to me to check-raise, what is in effect now, only 1/4 of the pot. He would have to have a boat to justify that.
3. He would have had to make the boat on the river, based on my read of his play. If not, his raise was donkey-ish.

In the end (which was 1 second), I decided that I believed he had a 4 with a bad kicker and put me on AT due to my tight image. He forgot I was able to play for HALF a limp.

After I say call and push the stack in, he looks at me as if to rub it in and says, "I have the 4". I don't even wait for him to show after he says that. I simply flip over my J4. The dealer says, "Trip fours with a pretty good kicker". I did not even have to look up, I knew he was mucking his cards.

THREE hours at the casino, played THREE hands to the TURN or farther, and had an ROI of 50%. Ugly? Who else can say they played cards for 3 hours, never had a starting hand better than KJo, and left a winner?

Survival first, the profits will come. Of course, I lost $9 ealier in the day playing low limit RAZZ, but let's not talk about that.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Why poker is like an RPG

An RPG (or role playing game) in the vein of Dark age of Camelot, or Star Wars Battlefield, or the mammoth Everquest are very similar to poker. As you start your character, you have a new world and no experience. You take on lame beginner missions and build experience. After a long while, you make some friends, learn to navigate the world, and finally take on some real challenges. And if you stick with it, you drive your character up to the high levels which allow you move intense adventures. Sound familiar?

Mrs Columbo started her adventure over the Christmas holiday last year. She played at the play money tables for 8 months, building experience, making friends, and becoming emotionally attached to the world she spent so much time in. Recently, she has moved up to the real money micro tables. A small step? hardly. She earned it and she is doing well. She is even placing in some tournaments.

Poker is sort of an RPG for non-gamers. The biggest difference being that you decide when you are ready to move up instead of some artificial time scale called "exp". And its risk-reward based. Move up before you ready and your bankroll suffers. I bet the RPG crowd could learn alot from this.

Point? well, let me digress a bit and make another one. Party Poker is going to ruin everything. When they took their poker site public, they added the pressure of growth revenues. That cuased the company to look for more ways to generate growth (income). They introduced blackjack and side bets. And that's gambling. Its not game play based on skill, its plain gambling. And it marks the beginning of the end. Soon we will see the negative backlash that comes with gambling, then regulation based on the lost tax revenues, and then decline of ease of online play, then when the boom ends, the brick casinos start to offer less card room space.

These things swing like pendulums and if you dont believe it, then you're simple too young to have seen it all before.

(and now to tie these two together) Just like each RPG explodes with popularity, it is always replaced by the "newest and shinyest" version. Its just a matter of time. And poker will lose ground to other activities, namely everything else in the world. Its explosive moment in the sun may change the landscape forever, but certainly will not remain the dominant force it is now. That's why we remember things like "the 80s" as the 80s.

And one more thing.... LIONS WIN!!! LIONS WIN!!!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Saturday's with Pauly

Finally got to play in one of these!!!

PokerStars Tournament #14328904, No Limit Hold'em
Buy-In: $10.00/$1.00
93 players
Total Prize Pool: $930.00
Tournament started - 2005/11/12 - 13:00:00 (ET)

Dear Columbo777,
You finished the tournament in 9th place.

Not bad, just made the money. Was top 3 in chips until I lost back to back races. My 66 lost to AQ (I was the aggressor) and my A6 lost to 33in the BB who must of thought I was on a steal (I was, but it was still a race).

Other than that, I played decent. Helped along the way by a couple of sets which made up for the two times my KK ran into AA.

I REALLY wanted to win, but so does everyone. At least I didn't embarrass myself. And to everyone who played, see you in Vegas baby!

joey! joey! joey!

Can you hear the crowd chanting? Joey! Joey! Joey! It's been a LONG time since Joey Harrington (Detroit Lions) has heard that. They say (and I always believed) that the game is SO much faster in the pros. Don't believe it? Watch a weekend of college footbal, then watch Monday night football. Fast.

When a college quarterback finally makes the adjustment, the "game slows down" for him. Unless of course, you never make the adjustment. Like so many quarterbacks before him... Don't make the adjustment and you always look lost out there, having to scramble and run for 5 yards on 3rd and seven. Or throwing to the outlet receiver on 3rd and 10 and hope that through some miracle he can add 6 more yards to the 4 yard throw. Rarely.

So what does all this mean? Well, I played in my monthly 3 table last night. I did well. The game slowed down for me last night. I made good decisions, was never in over my head, and put myself in a position to win.

When we were down to 3, the chip leader got sucked out on by second place, putting me on the short stack a few hands later. I doubled up in the BB and SB to get back to alive, winning with 93o and 23o. The blinds went up a few hands later and again was all-in, but this time with a big hand like AK and it held up. In the end, Mrs. Columbo (who had majorly sucked out on the chip leader KJ vs AA) got the brunt of my suckouts and went out 3rd. I then hit trip queens during heads up and took home the prize.

Was there much skill in those last hands? No, not really. It was like throwing the big ben pass with seconds left to get in field goal range, running down the field, spiking the ball and kicking the winning field goal with 2 seconds left on the clock.

The real game happend in the previous 58 minutes of play, or in this case, the previous 10 levels of play. You need to put yourself in a position to win. As with most of my best play, I was never the chip leader, I was never running over the table, but I was making good decisions. And there is a ton of value in that.

Some players are looser and rely on building up a stack. That is all well and good, but I just dont play that way. I used to be concerned about it, but I am not anymore. I am started to develop my poker instincts, and I can only hope that it continues in bigger stakes games.

By the way, there were two KILLER articles in this months card player. One was why it is correct to race QQ against AK in a big field event. Great article. The second was how to play an "ambi" (amibidextrous split) hand in O8B. Look them up. They are very good articles.

Ok, enough self examination. I can not wait for the WBPT. Not only did I not attend previous events, but I know no one! But why let that stop me??? After all, I am the "wannabe", right?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

worst post ever

I'm sorry. Really. That 22 lousy hands post was the lamest post ever. Here is a more interesting and shorter version of it (with no redundant info).

I decided to play in a bigger money tournament after reading doubleAs advice to Pauly (?P to play in one big tournament a week. For a wannabe like me, the $20 is a big money tournament, despite my satellite into the $175 the other night.

I feel I need to do this, and this was the push I needed. So, did I fare well? No. Did I PLAY well? Well, that is what I was worried about and thus posted the entire 22 hands. I dont think so, but cant quite put my finger on it. But this morning I can. The big hand that cost me 2/3 of my chips was pair vs. pair and neither was TP. We both properly identified that the other did not have the Ace and that the oeverpair was good. His was just one better. Tragic? Yes. Poor play on my part? Well, I did not like the wimpy turn bet that I used to fake a value bet (which he bought, but called anyway because it was too small). But should I have gone all-in on the river? Probably. Because I committed my stack and its health to the pot. Sure I did not go broke, but had to play short stack and had loose callers knock me out one rotation later.

I will do this again! Viva la wannabe.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

22 lousy hands

Played in my very first online $20 tourney. The one that has 180 players...

Columbo777 (1500 in chips)
Dealt to Columbo777 [3c 2s]
Dealt to Columbo777 [Jh 4c]
Dealt to Columbo777 [3d 9d]
Dealt to Columbo777 [5d 6c]
Dealt to Columbo777 [3s 8d]
Dealt to Columbo777 [8c 5h]
Dealt to Columbo777 [7c 2d]

Level I (10/20)
Columbo777: posts big blind 20
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Columbo777 [Qc Kc]
calls 20
calls 20
raises 40 to 60
calls 60
Columbo777: calls 40 limp/call in level 1
calls 40
calls 40
*** FLOP *** [8c 8h Td]
Columbo777: checks
bets 100
calls 100
Columbo folds
*** TURN *** [8c 8h Td] [Kh]
bets 200
calls 200
*** RIVER *** [8c 8h Td Kh] [Qd]
bets 40
raises 160 to 200
original raiser collected 990 from pot
How did I know I would have sucked out on him?

Dealt to Columbo777 [Kh Ts]
MP: raises 80 to 100
Columbo777: folds

Dealt to Columbo777 [3c As]
Dealt to Columbo777 [7c 8d]
LP: raises 880 to 920 and is all-in
Columbo777: folds

Dealt to Columbo777 [Qc 5h]
Dealt to Columbo777 [9c 5c]

Level I (10/20)
Dealt to Columbo777 [5c Ac]
*** FLOP *** [9d 8c Ad]
*** TURN *** [9d 8c Ad] [7h]
*** RIVER *** [9d 8c Ad 7h] [2d]
LP: bets 460
Columbo777: folds

Level II (15/30)
Seat #6 is the button
Seat 1: Columbo777 (1330 in chips)
Dealt to Columbo777 [Th Tc]
Columbo777: calls 30 [planning on limp-raise here]
MP: raises 60 to 90
MP: calls 90
MP: calls 90
LP: calls 75
Columbo777: raises 210 to 300 [limp raise as planned]
calls 210
calls 210
calls 210
folds [3 callers?!, no respect]
*** FLOP *** [5s As 9s]
All check
*** TURN *** [5s As 9s] [4c]
Columbo777: bets 300
calls 300
*** RIVER *** [5s As 9s 4c] [Ah]
Columbo777: bets 150
calls 150
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Columbo777: shows [Th Tc] (two pair, Aces and Tens)
shows [Jd Jh] (two pair, Aces and Jacks)
That sucked!!!

Dealt to Columbo777 [4s Td]
Dealt to Columbo777 [3d 2c]
Dealt to Columbo777 [6s 3c]
Dealt to Columbo777 [Jc 7d]
Dealt to Columbo777 [Jc 7d] (not a typo)
Dealt to Columbo777 [4c 6s]
Dealt to Columbo777 [7c Jh] (still not a typo)

Hold'em No Limit - Level II (15/30)
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Columbo777 [Jh Js]
MP: raises 120 to 150
Columbo777: raises 385 to 535 and is all-in
Button: raises 600 to 1135 and is all-in
MP: calls 855 and is all-in
*** FLOP *** [Ts 2s 5h]
*** TURN *** [Ts 2s 5h] [Qc]
*** RIVER *** [Ts 2s 5h Qc] [5d]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
MP: shows [Kd 9h] (a pair of Fives)
button showed [Kc Qs] and won (2590) with two pair, Queens and Fives

I am Sad.

Monday, November 07, 2005

dig the hole, jump in, cover it with vines

Setting a trap? Nope, more like finding a "kick me" sign on you back and then remembering that you made the sign, layed it on a chair, then later forget about it and sat in the chair.

Here now, exposed for ALL to see, is quite possible the WORST hand I ever played. Please not the rich depth of lessons to be learned here as I place an Asterick next to every (obvious) mistake.

PokerStars Game #2991291340: Tournament #14619755, Hold'em No Limit - Match Round I, Level II (15/30) - 2005/11/06 - 19:38:35 (ET)
Table '14619755 1' Seat #4 is the button
BUTTON (1245 in chips)
BB : Columbo777 (1705 in chips)
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Columbo777 [Qc Jd]
one limper here
BUTTON: raises 90 to 120
Columbo777: calls 90 (defending a blind in LEVEL II) *
limper folds
*** FLOP *** [8c Tc Kc]
Columbo777: checks * (I flopped a straight draw and a flush draw and then relunquished control of the hand)
BUTTON: bets 210
Columbo777: calls 210 * (Says he has TP and that I am drawing and as a 50/50 calls)
*** TURN *** [8c Tc Kc] [8s]
Columbo777: checks * (only valid if I am folding, which is valid now that the board pairs)
Button: bets 450 (bets pot, again saying the he has TP and KNOWNS I am drawing)
Columbo777: calls 450 * (WTF? Since when am I a chaser?)
*** RIVER *** [8c Tc Kc 8s] [4d]
Columbo777: checks * (NOW I give up)
BUTTON: bets 465 and is all-in
Columbo777: folds (had NOTHING)
button collected 1605 from pot

say what you want about how poorly I played this hand (very poorly), but the biggest question is had is WHY? Why, post flop, would I check-call??? And even if it WAS justified (which it is not), to do it again on the turn, like some lotto-playing, chaser?

Of course, one hand is not enough to knock one out, but I ran into a bit of a bad run after this... ran into AA, got no action on KK, and eventually got outdrawn by an over card.

I make it to an SnG where I am strong, and punk out. That was $140 well spent, eh? Well, I cant really look at it that way as you can't get better without playing bigger games.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Do you want the money or what Jay has in the box?

PokerStars Tournament #14619983, No Limit Hold'em
Super Satellite
Buy-In: $5.00/$0.50 (I rebought to double chips after the first hand, DESPITE my policy of NOT doing that. So I was into this sucker for $11)

274 players <= that's alot of players
Total Prize Pool: $4775.00
Target Tournament #14619755 Buy-In: $175.00
27 tickets to the target tournament

Tournament started - 2005/11/06 - 16:45:00 (ET)

Dear Columbo777,

You finished the tournament in 1st place.
You qualified to play in Tournament #14619755 and are automatically registered for it.
See Tournament #14619755 Lobby for further details.

If you choose to unregister from this tournament your account will be credited
with 175.00 W$. W$ can be used to buy into any qualifying special PokerStars event.
Visit our web site at for more details.

This came the hard way, as with the blinds being 100% of everyone stacks in about 9 hands, I get JJ in the SB. Now I THINK I can fold my way there, but it will be CLOSE as the blinds go up every 5 seconds. Its folded to the button, who goes all-in. I fold it as does the BB and he shows 94s just to be a jerk. By the way, I made it by ONE hand (I was the $40k all-in BB next hand. $40k counted for 8th oeverall in chips at the time no less).

THEN, a spam message spews forth offering to BUY my entry the the $175 double shootout for $140. Righteous bucks. But I have never played in a big money satellite, nor a double shootout for real money. And I have nothing better to do with $140 bucks. So, I'm plunging in. In about 40 minutes. If there is no follow-up post, assume the worst.

Most amusing hand of the night. just before the rebuy period is over, 2 players get stupid and start moving all-in every hand. The 3rd time, I wakeup with KK and take down the both of them, plus another VERY loose caller with A9. It may have been early, but it sure helps to have dead money at your table anytime you can get it.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

misleading stats

Last night:
ROI 0%
4th place in a SnG. (was doing well, then my business meeting came) I was playing fast and pushed when I flopped a pair, guessing that unless he had a big pocket pair, he would have to fold. I was right, he had KK.

Plus, I lost $1 at the .05/.10 table when a Leopard (LAG) who raised every hand pre-flop even out of position, got caught WAY behind. Her KJ vs. my KQ with a K flopped. The river was a J. Happy? Sort of. yeah. I made a great read and was not afraid of being behind vs. an obvious fish. But I lost the $1. Oh well.

Working out my mneumonic system still. Tried it last night. More on that later.

I am off to London for a few days. Should I play cards there?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

All coins have 2 sides

I played winning poker last night, but it was a tale of two SnGs last night. Let me say this first, I was not playing poker at the level I wanted to play at...

I have recently upgraded my training level to intermediate. That means that I am looking for non-card patterns and moves that will make me a more winning player. For example, when a player has mid pair and he is bet into, he is forced to make a grey area decision. Amateurs will often make a weak tight fold with mid-pair and give up the pot if the other player raises his play and shows strength. You will find yourself on both sides of this coin. Sometimes you have to mid-pair and are trying to hide it, sometimes you suspect you're against mid-pair and have to decide if you can take the pot away. Mrs. columbo is pretty good at the latter, but you have to except that a winning move is one that works 2 out of 3 times. That 3rd time is painful. The suckouts don't bother me, I still consider making the right read a victory now.

I am trying to get out of the mode of trying so hard to WIN and instead work on the Greg Raymer school of "making good decisions". Here is my checklist:

1. Wait for level 3 (you can't read players in the first 2 levels IMHO)
2. Watch plays and what they will play and from what position. I am currently working on a memory system for this. More on that later this week.
3. Watch which players will make moves and which players will REACT to moves.
4. now watch for opportunities (in addition to playing solid poker).

Now the bad news...
Last night, I played a SnG (NLHE) where I was the mid-pair holding player on numerous occasions. One particular player always would move in on me after I made my play. I pulled the rip-cord each time. The problem is this: If I was right the first two times, it still gives him confidence to run the same move the third time. And since no one called him down, I don't have a read. When there were 3 left and this happened again, I called him down only to see TPTK.

But I did not evaluate holdings last night like an intermediate player. Instead I was in simple-solid mode. Not that there is anything wrong with that! Simple-Solid mode wins money. But I have aspirations of intermediate play, which entails putting players on cards based on betting, cards shown, and tendancies. I did not do that well.

BUT, enough self flagellation. Now the good news...
I played a PL Omaha H/L SnG last night and played what might have been a perfect game. And considering how hard I am on myself, I actually deserve an accolade here. I mean, I played a perfect game. I had about 30-40 decisions to make and I got everyone of them right. Everynoe. (Yes, I took first). It's hard not to like Omaha when you make the most money from it. Short-handed Omaha H/L has been a challenge for me (thus the desire to play it), but I find that it is easier to evaluate where you stand in Omaha than it is in Hold em. In a rare instance, I even scooped a pot with 2-pair, making a great read on my opponent. I'll have to play another one and get my ass handed to me so I can come back down to earth.

Metric for last evening: ROI 97% (return on investment aka won money as a percentage of invested money). WD% (winning decisione %) UNKNOWN (see below)

I am starting (as of right now I guess) to track two things in every session, ROI and decision%. How many decisions did I have to make, and how many were right. And I am not talking about simple solid decisions where I am in the SB and I have to make a call on odds. That is a MECHANICAL choice. I am talking about TACTICAL choices where I have to make a choice based on a read. I begin with my next session. Let's see how it goes.