Tuesday, December 27, 2005

omaha, oh omaha

Limit Omaha. Is there a better tournament game out there? A game of cunning calculated risks and rewards. I played in a big one last night, 405 people. At the same time, played in a NLHE field of 1200. Now in the latter, I call a pre-flop raise of 5x with 89s on the button. Why? Because this is a good hand to take a chance with in position. Sure, there was only the blinds to follow, but I did it anyways. The flop was 78T giving me the open ended. the problem? The guy now went all in. Well, you start with $1500 in chips and I have about $1200 - $100 committed pre-flop. I decide to call and I hit the Jack on the turn. The guy is furious (he had QQ). But I said to him, How can you expect me to drop a chance to double up in level one when some guy (you) decides to push his entire stack in ON LEVEL ONE!? If I hit the draw, I double up which is important in large fields. You set up a condition where calling was just too tempting, correct odds or not.

Contrast this with Limit Omaha. Out of 405, I finish 18th. Ironically, leading most of the way until with 35 left, A player lost in the hand (has no idea he is behind) is ramming and jamming with two pair against my FLOPPED NUT FLUSH. So, knowing that he has at best 10 outs (his case card, or pairing the board on his non set card) I am re-raising. On the river, his 3 pairs and I check-cry call his now made boat. I finish 20th, only because I pulled up at the end. But man, he does not hit that river and I finish in the top 3 at worst. He went on to go out BEFORE me despite taking all those chips.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Deja Vu

I happened again!!! I flop TP and a flush redraw, run into a SET and get no lose. This does not happen often, but happened to me TWICE MORE in the last few days. What gives? Am I severly calculating my odds here wrong?

Saturday, December 17, 2005

what can I say?

In my anti-climatic life after Vegas, I am holding it together. But here is dilema of the week:

You are in the early stages of a MTT (50 players) and the blinds are 1/2. You start with 110 chips (weird, I know).

You watch the UTG raise to 10. It folds around to you on the button and you look down at JsQs. Now, it seems to me that this warrents a call based on position and the fact that it is easier to put him on a hand here. In this case, I figure on big cards. The blinds fold.

The flop is Jc9s7s. A GREAT flop for you. Top pair AND a flush draw. But then, the UTG bets out $25. Now I am NOT asking you what YOU would do here. That would be too easy... Listen...

I pick up something. Maybe a tell, maybe a feeling. THAT I AM BEHIND. Now, knowing that a FEELING puts you behind, but the MATH says statistically, you may be ahead post flop, which one do you rely on more?

You CANT call here because you cant afford to sacrifice the folding equity and risk getting pushed off the draw portion of the hand on the turn. (Unless you are going to run a more sophisticated attempt to take the pot away.) So, now based on the information given, what is your move? EMAIL me your responses and I will post them!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Blogger, Blogger, Blogger. Oi! Oi! Oi!

I just returned from the WPBT winter classic. As a fringe member of this fabulous poker group, I can only say I want to be a full time part of it as soon as possible. Out of ignorance and restraint, I put too much emphasis on getting to Vegas on a budget and doing well in the tournament. Both were VERY wrong choices. Since I drove 6 hours to get there, I had to leave at lunch on Sunday. What a shame, because I really missed an extra day to just hang out with some of the gang.

It was such a pleasure, but I am not going to post any details as of yet, because I have some great audio bits I want to edit and shoot to Lord Admiral for the weekly poker podcast. (Man, if you STILL don’t listen to that, how do you call yourself a poker player? -see links). I have not even decided what I can use yet, as I have not heard all the levels, but suffice it to say that if I got it all, it’s a rollercoaster ride of fun.

I will not bother with the blogger results, as I know Pauly and CJ were all over that and have solid notes on the field, the final table and the results. Instead, I will chronicle just myself and Mrs. Columbo, which turn outs to be more interesting that it seems.

BUT, there is a complaint I need to log with my blogger community. For the first time EVER, I lost my entire bankroll. My bankroll for any trip is two full buy-ins. I have never had to “weather out swings”, “go home broke”, or even leave a casino down more than a single buy in. But Saturday night at the late hours, I donked off two full buy ins. And I did it while having the time of my life and running into monsters. I first sit down and watch set over set or set and figure I was lucky I was not in that hand. F-Train was not so lucky. But later, when my straight got boated on the river, and then the same guy sucked out a 4 flush on my set, I was down 1 buy in already. I finally ended my misery when my KK ran into Drizz and his AA. It was a LONG walk back to the hotel with mixed emotions. Then I realized, I should blame all the bloggers for creating such a circus of fun, that I donked off my bankroll. (Yes, it was that fun. But for details, listen to Lord Admiral. What they don’t use, I will post.)

Like I said, I have SO much more to say, but I want to hear the tape first. Special thanks to the Rootster (http://joaquinochoa.blogspot.com/) who is going to hook me up with more Omaha 8OB knowledge. Assuming I get off tilt from my worst donkey night ever on Saturday.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Public Stoning. Step right up!

That's right folks, line right up and throw stones at the hypocrite. Get a good one. Wind up good. Aim for the face. I deserve it. I feel like the Houston Oilers blowing the 42 point lead vs. the Bills in that playoff game years ago.

I am playing in only my second $20 180 player tournament (well, I am a wannabe)ever. This was a big step up for me, but I am taking to heart DoubleAs mantra of playing the higher levels to get better. And get better I did.

I was below average most of the way, as I am a tighter player. At one point my Q dropped below .5 and I thought I was done. But chip and a chair. I NEVER give up. I fought back to below average. Then, just before the break, I get a nice run of bad callers for ALL their chips.

I have TP, get called by Mid-pair. I get and overpair, get called by TP. Then, inexplicably, I get called by Kd5d when I go all in from the BB with TT. The flop has a T, the turn the fourth diamond, and then the river gives him the flush… and me the boat. (I thought I had lost the hand!) Then, I break a FOURTH player when my AJ hits TP on the flop and he CALLS my big bet with nothing but an Ace.

At break #2 I am the chip leader. (I made the swing from .5 to chip leader in 10 minutes.) There are 25 left and 18 places pay. I can’t possible blow this, can I? Warning: NO BAD BEAT STORY COMING. But this is going to be painful. Today’s word? “eviscerate”.

Level IX (300/600) – 22 left, 18 spots paid – AVG stack = 11k
Seat #6 is the button
Seat 1: (7609 in chips)
Seat 4: (24092 in chips)
Seat 5: (14835 in chips)
Seat 6: (28953 in chips) < the new chip leader going into the hand.
Seat 7: (8052 in chips) < this guy had me covered when he gave me 80% of his chips earlier with the K5s call PRE-FLOP.
Seat 8: Columbo777 (17886 in chips) < about 4th in chips overall.
Seat 9: (10547 in chips)
ante 50
SB: posts small blind 300
Columbo777: posts big blind 600 < a pittance

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Columbo777 [Ad Ks] < but out of position.
MP: calls 600
LP: raises 1800 to 2400 < premium hand or theif?
Columbo777: calls 1800 < why not just fold? HE IS THE CHIP LEADER. Mistake #1 (the only debatable one) Make the money first, then go for the win.
MP folds

Ok, the pot is 4800. Still manageable

*** FLOP *** [Ah 5c 2s]
I have flopped TP, but don’t want to get into a big battle with the chip leader. I can fold my way to the money.
Columbo777: bets 1800 < I expect this to make the point that I have an Ace and I want to see what he has. MISTAKE #2, the weak lead bet.
LP: calls 1800 < He says, “that was a weak bet. My Ace has a better kicker, or my big pair is still good."

*** TURN *** [Ah 5c 2s] [Qs]
Columbo777: bets 1800 < another weak bet.
LP: raises 1800 to 3600 < He is telling me he is not going away.
Columbo777: calls 1800 < I think he has AQ and I am beat. Yet I call. MISTAKE #3

*** RIVER *** [Ah 5c 2s Qs] [2c]
Columbo777: checks
LP: bets 21103 and is all-in
Columbo calls time.
Columbo777: calls 10036 and is all-in < WTF?! Are you kidding me? MISTAKE #4 AND MISTAKE #5. I think I am beat and still call, PLUS I 10k is still enough to make the money!! I somehow get emotionally attached to my lost sheep and jump off the cliff to be with them in the valley. Ho Ho Ho, stupid giant.

*** SHOW DOWN ***
LP: shows [Qd Qh] (a full house, Queens full of Deuces)-or AQ, what's the dif?
Columbo777: shows [Ad Ks] (two pair, Aces and Deuces)
LP collected 36922 from pot

This is the worst set of decisions I have EVER made and it cost me EV, pride, and a probable payoff of >$40.

Let’s lay it out there so we never, ever do anything this stupid again.

1. WHY tangle with the chip leader on the bubble? To defend your BB? I am not even a defender type!!!
2. Why play AK out of position on the bubble against the only player who can bust you? It's a drawing had for jimminy-sake.
3. I let a recent run of good cards give me artificial confidence. I HAVE MADE THIS MISTAKE BEFORE. I hate that. You build up chips gambling and you know to change gears, but then you dont.
4. IF you decide to play the hand, how can you NOT protect it post flop?! Insanely bad! You can’t play TP weak. And I did. I played scared and let a player draw a cheap turn card*.
5. HOW do you not make the river fold? I lost 60% of my chips, but I still would have had a Q of .9!!! Hardly out of the money!! That was a STRATEGIC mistake. And that is the worst type of mistake. I pride myself on strategy over tactics and this was the worst type of digression.

*Yes, he did hit his 2 outer to beat me. And the board had no real draws. Most of the time, I am going to win this hand and this mistake would be a forgotten footnote as he pays off my Ace with his big pocket pair. I fool him into thinking I don’t have the Ace by my weak flop bet and he comes out with both barrels blazing on the turn. The only flaw in the plan is if he hits his 2-outer set on the turn. Yeah, right. Good luck. But that is going to happen and it did not need to. I could have pushed him out post flop. I KNEW I had to be ahead against everything accept 55 or A5. He could have made that big pre-flop raise on a steal and I let that thought steer me into playing scared. If you are going to play scared, DON’T PLAY. FOLD. STOOPID STOOPID STOOPID (hitting head with shoe).

Would this hand have been such a fatal set of mistakes had we not been at the bubble? Nope. In any case BUT the bubble vs. the big stack, I feel this play was ok. Even justified as you are dragging down a QQ by making him bet off his stack vs. the TP drawing to 2 outs. But in this STRATEGIC position, you can’t play TACTICAL. And I did. And that makes me the hypocrite.

So spit on that stone, cock that arm back, and - “OUCH!” Wait for it!!!!
And let me have it. It’s the only way I am going to remember.

If you see me this weekend, and I am wearing my Columbo shirt (so you’ll know me), instead of shaking my hand before the tournament and wishing me luck, slap me in the head so I don’t forget any of this. It’s the nicest thing you can do for me. Really. (and it certainly will confuse the wife.)

Oh yeah, Mrs. Columbo cashed 2 for 2 last night.

Monday, December 05, 2005

WPBT warm up event?

ok, not really. More of a $1 lotto tournament with 1200 entries. I cashed, despite being crippled twice. But this was by far my favorite hand:

Tournament Hold'em No Limit - Level V (75/150) < still relatively early on.
Seat #1 is the button
Seat 1: (4600 in chips)
Seat 2: (8255 in chips)
Seat 3: (2670 in chips)
Seat 4: (13310 in chips)
Seat 5: (7077 in chips) <= quadrupled up and crippled me earler
Seat 6: (4648 in chips)
Seat 7: Columbo777 (2225 in chips) < have scratched and clawed my way back to avg.
Seat 8: (2845 in chips)
Seat 9: (1635 in chips)

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Columbo777 [Qd Js]
Columbo777: calls 150 - two face cards at a tight table. I should raise here, but call because I intend to throw this hand away on any raise. Still, it was a MISTAKE to allow the blinds to see a free flop. I could have atleast raised to 2xBB.
SB: calls 75
BB: checks

myself and the blinds see a flop, the pot is $450
*** FLOP *** [9h 8c Kd] < an gut shot straight draw.
SB: checks
BB: checks
Columbo777: checks < I decide not to make myself pay to draw. Plus, they probably have nothing and I have no need to win the blinds here. I want to win a bigger pot, so I am going to draw and bet the turn if they check. If I bet and they fold, I throw away an opportunity here as I only win the equivalent of 1 extra M. It's early so I'll take a FREE chance here from position. Consider me the villian here now.

*** TURN *** [9h 8c Kd] [Th] < bing-o bang-o
SB: bets 300 < wow! thanks!!! I also now know he will call a reasonable re-raise.
BB: folds
Columbo777: raises 300 to 600 < I think he will call a reasonable re-reaise, so I make a weak one like I am stupid. I hope he puts me on a bluff or a donkey play.
SB: calls 300 < the warning signs should have gone off, but they didnt!

the pot is now $1650 (and attractive)
*** RIVER *** [9h 8c Kd Th] [2d] < THUD. a total ROCK!! I hope he has a set with like 88!

SB: checks < why? Nothing but a bluff? Has he given up?

With the nuts here, what can I bet and get paid off? I am going to make a weak bet, and hope that if he does not have J7 (in which he is calling/raising no matter what), that he will think it's a bluff and he will call with a King.
Columbo777: bets 750 < sheepishly
SB: raises 900 to 1650 < oh my, he has J7!!
Columbo777: calls 725 and is all-in

*** SHOW DOWN ***
SB: shows [9c Ks] (two pair, Kings and Nines)

Oh man, an AWFUL river raise. He CHECK-RAISED when he was DEAD IN THE WATER. Even if he thought I was bluffing, this was a very basic level hold em mistake. How did he put me on just a pair? And why the river bet? How does he justify that risk? And even worse, just how bad was that check on the flop. He got tricky and expected me to bet and he would call or raise. Instead I get a free draw AND he bets when a scare card for him hits the board. And the worst sin at NLHE here? He NEVER applied any pressure to me until it was too late. He misidentified the "pressure point" of the hand.

Columbo777 collected 4600 from pot
SB is knock-ed out.