Friday, March 17, 2006

A return to the donkey invitational challenge

OH the pain of full disclosure. So I took my $200 and worked it down to $51. How? Mostly by playing $10 tournaments against bloggers and not placing, then playing $.25/.50 and allowing myself to get sucked out on in big pots for $25 a whack.

When I reached the $51, I could have thrown in the towel. I could have reloaded. But I didn't. I took the Chris Ferguson route. Turn $1 in $20k route. I started doing something I should have learned to do a long time ago. I started grinding. Buy in for the minimum, grind it to twice that size, and bank it. (This was the strategy that Ferguson used when he worked that $1 to $20k as I hear it.)

Two huge advantages that buck conventional wisdom:
1. You need a big stack to punish people. Just not true. Out playing them punishes them.
2. If you hit a big hand, you could have gotten a bigger payoff. Strangely not true. Well, that may be true but something else MORE than compensates for it. Other players view you as weak and are MORE WILLING to pay off your hands when they have more chips than you. REMEMBER THIS when you are playing short stacked poker.

I thought I was a good short stack player before. Ha, now I am really good. And I am forced to make more decisions than I thought I would. Every hand could be the set back that ruins my results.

Last night my win rate was 20BB/half hour. I was very happy with this considering that I ran TP into Aces TWICE. Once I escaped on the river because he got greedy, once I did not escape because he was a LAG. What does a LAG always do with Aces? Slow play. He was lucky I did not crack those aces.

And I even got a lecture!!! I am on the button and ALL fold to me. So I raise on any two cards, in this case 35o. The table would typically fold here, but BOTH blinds decided that they would call. The flop is 246. SB bets 2/3 pot. BB flops. I smooth call. The turn is a Ten. He bets again! I figure I will try the old "fake bluff". Remember, I am a SHORT STACK to him, and psychologically he thinks I can’t hurt him. So I push all in like I am on a desperate bluff. He calls. And he is pissed when I show the 35o. “Your (sic) not a good player”. Then someone else at the table jumps in and says, “yeah playing like that, you suck”. “playing 35o is stupid” etc. I just replied, “really? Bad?”.

I noticed they left the table when I continued to take hands. Why play 35o on the button? Come on! Three good reasons.

1. If I get in a showdown and lost, I can show the 35o and be tagged as an idiot. This is profitable.
2. If they fold the blinds, I pick free money and I can show the 35o and be tagged as a bluffer. This is profitable when you are grinding.
3. Because they EXPECT a certain range of cards, if I hit they may bet off their stack in a hopeless situation on pure bravado.

Most times its #1 or #2. That image cost me $.75 and will pay me about $10 over the course of the next hour. This time it was #3.

So, back to our invitational challenge. I have grinded (?) my way back from $51 to $85 in the last 180 minutes of play. And that includes another lost blogger tournament. I am learning to grind and its improving my game.

I even made a call on the river of an all-in bet. But this was different than the peppered meat. I knew I was ahead. Plus, he was a short stack who could not possibly hurt me. :)

My hopes? My dream here? That I can grind my way back to $100, then to $150, move up to $.25/$.50 again and push myself back over $200 for the first time this year. Pathetic for a so called winning player, eh? But beleive me. If I am talking to you in May and I am over $350, I will be a VERY happy camper.

How is everyone else doing in the donkey invitational? (see contest post in Jan)


StatikKling said...

I took my bankroll down to, I kid you not, a little more than $9. I was bitter. I had almost failed. I stopped playing and focused on my play. Reviewing everything in PT and reading Harrington's first book over again. You see, I remember mostly what I read last. The last chaper I read was Harrington's second book, and the chapter about bluffing. I know it sounds stupid, but I'd bluff a lot more than I should, which usually made me place out of the bubble.

But after I sat myself down and did the research about my game and focused, I was able to make a huge comeback. I won a $1 tourney for $128, and placed 166th in a $5 tourney for a little over 3x the buy in. I had built my bankroll up to a place it's never been before, over $310.

Now add in early morning SnG's where I'd pressure myself for time, or losing focus, I've dropped it down to about $220 (haven't logged into FTP for a few days, not sure where I'm at.)

During the WPBT Sat, I noticed something about myself, which makes sense. I care about how the other bloggers and what they think of my game play, so I brought my A game to the Sat. and to the last winter classic. I played really well. Random people in the SnG's I could careless what they think, so I play just about any two cards and usually fail to make the bubble. So I think for me, the whole thing is mental.

StatikKling said...

The 166th place should read 16th..