Friday, August 31, 2007

more 1-2 play

I did not want to let that last session bother me, so back I went. Won two FULL buy-in by being patient, and slightly loose pre-flop, TAG post flop. Finally, someone noticed (or thought he noticed) that I never played a big pot without a big hand, but I showed him the Kh on a K77T 3 heart board and he was conviced I bluffed. I had KT. But I convinced him I bluffed out his Ah with a river bet. Ha. Sometimes the illusion of bluffing is even better than the bluff itself.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

tiny setback

Ended last nights session down 1/4 of a buy-in. Now, this seems like normal variance execpt I played for like 3 hours. So, this was very dissappointing.

The scenario was a difficult one. Many regulars playing, the girlfriend of one who could not fold, calling large pre-flop raises with no concern for starting hands, often calling flop bets regardless of the flop. How do you adjust? Me, I usually try to see more flops from position, take more flops with connectors, and be prepared to fold big pairs on the turn if players are not going away.

Which is exactly what happened. The results were killing me though. In 3 hours, I flopped an OESD ONCE, and someone over bet the pot. I hit a couple of flush draws, but raked only medium size pots. And my Kings (once) and Jacks (twice). Lots 2/3. One time the Jacks were an overpair to the board and held. The Kings flop had no ace, yet I bet pot and got not one but two callers. The turn put out the straight card, and I was able to escape what was a one card straight draw versus 2 pair (or so he says). The river gave "girlfriend" the one card straight. But here was the MO for her: If she decided to play a hand. She would call ANY size bet and call it all the way down. Great opportunity to just gut her, but I never got the opportunity. I made money on my big hands, but in the end, it was calling the limps with connectors and missing so many times that bled off my chips.

I have seen other players that when they encounter this type of table, start raising everyhand to reduce the field and modify the playing style of the table. Everytime I have personally experienced this, two things happen:
1. The table DOES change to a tighter pre-flop table with less limpers and callers.
2. The guy doing all the raising loses a ton of money.

So, what's a player to do at this type table other than wait for cards?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

more 1-2 cash games

Well, went down a buy-in, then worked my second buy-in to 4 buy-ins. Then left with 3 buy-ins for a profit of 1 buy-in. But here was the biggest hand of interest...

UtG limps. MP limps, I limp with 8d7d, BB checks. Flop is 699. UtG bets 2xBB again. MP calls, I decide to call, BB folds.

Turn is the T. UtG checks, MP bets $20, I call. UtG moves all-in for $110. MP goes into the tank...

[FLASHBACK to 15 minutes ago]
EP moves all-in for $75 on a flush board. tank guy (again in MP) goes all-in with 2 pair, I call with a Ten flush. Original raiser shows 9 flush. River is blank and I rake a BIG pot.

He moves all-in and has about $100 in chips. Now its decision time for me. 9T has me beat with a boat. But, 98 or 97 are very plausible hands, which I am ahead of. Could they both have a 9?! That is certainly the best case. But if one of them does not, what does he have? T8? T7? TT? JJ? JT? so hard to put someone on the second hand...

I call. UtG ALSO has 87 for the straight. Tank guy called off his stack AGAIN with 2 pair as a 5-1 dog. River is a 10 and I lose a buy-in of profit.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Las Vegas part 2, cash games

Up two and 1/2 buy-ins in 2.5 hours?! Hey, this is easy.

Well, the details are more reflective of the truth. Played a bit tights, and my big hands got action and held up. I play SLAG (slightly loose aggressive) so when I hit a hand, it just looks like I came in to the pot and am playing top or middle pair. But you would think SOMEONE would notice I never play a bit pot without a big hand? NOPE.

Unlike in the Ceasar's tournament, I have pocket KK twice (once each 1 session) and both times I got a call on my raise and no ace flopped. One guy even ran me down with TP.

But now my dilemma of the week. Not once, but TWICE I flopped a set on a all suited board and I had none of that suit*. AA and the flop is AcTc3c. Or a set of sevens on an all heart board. (*Obviously if its an all suited board, and you flop a set, you CANT have one of that suit, but just wanted to be clear). Both times I was either heads-up or 2 opponents at the most. How do you like to play this situation?

In one case the turn and river came JJ. He thought I had a Jack and was bluffing and hit runner-runner :) I was ahead the entire time.

I don't put a ton of credence in that whole "try to get a tell, or stare at someone for information" type stuff. I like to attribute players with a style and a set of behaviors and then work backwards to what they hold. Just what works for me. But on an all-suit board, players do strange things that are wiggity-wack.

Speaking of that, I think it may be time to fold the monthly WPBT game. Either that, or convert it to Holdém only. Attendance has been dismal and the junkets to Las Vegas are the only anchor event anyways. Anyone agree?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

What does one need to do to win a vegas tournament

Apparently, have a plan, execute it and play well just is not good enough.

I am in Vegas for 1 day, and I arrive early enough to enter my favorite tournament, the Ceasars $150 7pm. I like this one for 3 reasons:
  1. Vegas tournament under $200
  2. usually 5 tables or less (tonight was 4) [this is a sweet spot for me, 3 is even better]
  3. lots of chips. Especially at 7pm where its 5000 to start.

In levels 1 and 2 (each 40 minutes), I play SLIP poker. Slightly Loose, flops In Position. I missed all 10 I played in the first 80 minutes, but just as level 2 was ending, I checked with the Hammer in the BB and the flop was 7 high. Nice thing here is that when you bet, someone thinks they should call with 2 overs. The turn was the 2 and I bet again. Everyone went away and I entered the break even at 5200.

Now, this is what is cool about this tournament. The blinds go up AND Ante's are introduced. You should shift to SLAG poker now (Slightly Loose AGressive) and steal alot more. I was the only player at the table who adjusted. At the end of level 3, I had chipped up with 7k without even getting a caller, just steals. I know the image I must have now, and I am ready to exploit it. Of course, only 1 or 2 players were paying enough attention to notice. Both would play in the following hands.

Now, the guy 2 to my left, is a big talker, drinker and card player. He knows what I am doing and has let me steal his small blind twice now. This time, it gets to me on the button with KK and I know exactly what to do. I make a quick splash raise of the exact amount I made all the steal raises with knowing he will raise with an Ace thinking steal. I hope he gets an Ace. I luck out and he pops me to 2700. I have him covered by about 1100 and I say "all-in". He INSTA-CALLS with AQ?! Ace comes RIGHT OUT THE DOOR. damn. I lose 6k.

I have 1100 left and I raise all-in with K9s and get no callers. I proclaim "get used to that", and do this 3 more times in 10 hands.. I continue to make big raises until I have chipped up to almost 4k. I decide I am going to slow down now and use a big hand to trap someone with my image. I even limp in the SB knowing I will get poped and have to fold, just to show everyone I am slowing down. Less than a rotation later... Sure enough, I raise with AKs and the SB thinks he can re-steal and goes all-in. I know he is weak and slightly desperate and insta-call to see his 9hTh. (remember, I am still a short stack at shy of 4k., I cant fold AKs here.)

The flop is T high with 2 hearts. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!

I NEVER got my money in bad, never made a major mistake, and unfortunately never had a big hand hold up.

As I walked away, AQ drinking corona and spilling salt all over the table guy get up to go to the bathroom. He makes some comments about how I played well and just was unlucky. Feh.

Its just not enough to play well, you have to win as a favorite when it counts. I am sad. I walk for 6 blocks and return to my room.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

WPBT Event #8 (new time)

WPBT 07 event #8
Password: wpbt72 [bloggers only please!]
Date: 8/26 (Sunday)
Time: 2 pm (Eastern/Server Time)
Buyin: $24 or token
Game: Pot Limit HO (Hold'em / Omaha Mixed)

Monday, August 20, 2007

my streak shattered

kids interupting, a blown fuse during a game, and a bee sting all contributed to my downfall. That and a hell of a lot of Qxo. where x is typically 2,3 or 4.

and then in the mookie, buddydank radio (mostly wedding music) played Simon and Garfunkel...

columbo: 50 ways to fold you aces
columbo: into the muck, chuck
Julius_Goat: just hit the ISD, lee
columbo: save the chips, chip?
columbo: dont push in your stack Jack
Julius_Goat: just drop the hamma, gramma
wwonka69: step out the back jack
Julius_Goat: it just don't pay to chase, grace
Julius_Goat: just don't try to bluff, russ
Julius_Goat: just peddle the nuts, gus

GOOD poker songs:
Cheap Sunglasses (ZZ Top)
Aces of Spades (Motorhead)

Who are the luck boxes this week to compensate for KQo, JJ and AQs (twice) as my only 4 premium hands the entire first hour?! I won 1, lost 2, and TIED one!

It was like an oragami class for me! FOLD, FOLD, and more FOLD.

ARGH... my bee sting hurts...

After the break, it was suicide. plan and simple. I got my money in AJs vs. AJs and make a flush. triple up to 1/2 the starting stack size. and two hands later run my weak ass hand into a SET. bye bye... a merciful end...

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Maybe its time to move up?

I read Chad's post about the SNG tournament manager software and decided to give it a try. While I dont agree with paying $40 for a program that onyl handles Sit-N-Gos only, I was curious. I imported my garbage and did not see much that was interesting, other than I play VERY FEW S-n-Gs.

I decide to give the S-n-G world a tour of duty and played 6 of them over the last 2 days since I downloaded the software.

My results were, uhhhmmm, surprising...

Friday, August 17, 2007

WPBT Event #8

I just could not resolve my Triple Draw issue with Poker Stars in time, so we are moving to HA at Full Tilt. It should be this Sunday at a new time, 7pm (to avoid the "big game").

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A tale of two Hands

Hand #1: Dealt JJ in LP at a tight cash 1-2 table. Raise from MP to 6. I raise to 18 and the blinds fold. Pot is about $40. Flop is T65 rainbow. He bets like $18 and I raise POT/All-in for another $60. He goes into the tank and get this... CALLS with 86o?!?! Um, thanks for $70 bucks?

Hand #2: 5 hours later in the Hoy. Tight 7 handed table, folded to me in MP and see JJ. Make a 2xBB raise, and everyone folds except the blinds. (Big blind is the chip leader with 4 times every one's stack size). Flop is T65 with 2 clubs. blinds check and I bet 2/3rds the pot. The chip leader simply pushes all in. Effectively betting $2000 into a $600 pot and putting me all in with an overpair. Even though I would normally fold here, I called. He shows 56s and takes me out.

I figured he was pushing with the T of clubs and maybe another club for Top pair with a flush redraw. Thus, even though it would be a very marginal call, I am a favorite. Except it wasn't TP with a draw, it was a blatant attempt to felt me. So obvious in fact, that I discounted it because of hand #1.


Saturday, August 11, 2007


I played in my first Donkament (pw:donkarama) Friday night. For those of you who have never heard of this Donkey-Fest, its a private $1 NLHE with $1 add-on and $1 rebuys for the first HOUR. Not for the faint of heart. Went broke on HAND 1 with JJ vs. 88 and AT. All the money in pre-flop! It was not always ridiculous though, and after the break, I was 4th in chips.

But like all tournaments of this type, the trick is to SLOW DOWN and not remain a maniac. Easier said then done.

I accidentally raised instead of folding one hand, so I decided to fire TWO more barrels. Both were called. Ugh. Lost a chunk there. And Bayne cant fold middle pair to save his life? But, for maybe the first time in my entire poker life, I could actually PUT someone on middle pair and was contemplating the odds of him folding to a push (I had 77, he had AT). I NEVER push KNOWING I am behind, but suddenly, something was working that had been dormant in my brain.

Too bad it was against Bayne, who would call. But, maybe another time...

Despite being a $1, it was great rebuy experience. Highly recommended.

Oh yes... I almost forgot. B-A-Y-N-E!!!
My KJ flopped trips, only to see Bayne show his AK limp. I now have a nemesis...


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Was yesterday Suckout day?

I laid down OESD to a big bet and the A of hearts on an all-heart flop to an all-in, but when the tables are turned and I flop a King high flush and go all-in, a lone Ace calls. And when I 2 pair, the flush draw calls. Both times they hit.

"I hope you had a hell of a piss Arnold!!!" - Brad Hamilton at All American Burger

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

WPBT Event #8

The next event is scheduled to be Triple Draw on Poker Stars. This is the only Poker Stars event of the year. It would notmally be on the 26th, but I can get that to work, so I am hoping for permission to run it on the 19th (along side the Big Game). Maybe a different start time (like 10:30pm ) would work?

Its a Token Frenzy

Time for a longer post... Many of my posts are short, to the point and devoid of comic flare. Ironic for an ex-comic, eh? But poker is no jpoking matter!

First off, let me state my opinion of the Token Frenzy. Yum. You start with $1500 in chips, and getting to about $4000 allows you to click "Sit out" and walk away. Yet, on NUMEROUS occasions, I saw stacks bigger than that getting involved with hands. This is great for you, the informed reader and donkey puncher, as you could conceivably make it simply by getting to $3000 in chips. Why? because bigger stacks actually ATTEMPT to eliminate players. Yum. They do all the work for you. Just get to twice your starting stack and wait. Pure gold.

Next, on the non-poker subject of Camping. My family LOVES camping. Freaking loves it. Because of this, I have made every attempt to enjoy camping. We bought a new trailer and it actually has a bed! What a HUGE difference this makes. Huge. I have a laptop that actually stays in the camper with its own set of campfire friendly software. The wife tries to only camp where they have wireless, although its often spotty. Its still better than being offline. Her mother has an awesome campsite in Claire, but we can never stay there since I cant even get cell coverage without driving 2 miles. I have really learned to enjoy these little trips and even played the Hoy Monday night from the campfire. All that being said, I think camping would be better in a multi-family situation. My goal for next year is to coordinate camping with other friends.

My work situation is very much in flux right now. I was a high-level person with a mid-sized company. That company being acquired, has placed me back in "middle mgt", which means "not a VP". This MAY be a setback, then again, maybe not. A re-alignment may create a situation where I am reporting to a VP, but have 6 times the reports I had at the mid-sized company. Where opportunity meets preparation... I will be ready for a promotion in 2 years at a company 20 times the size of the previous one. I can choose to be pessimistic or optimistic. I always assume I will succeed. Is that optimism, ego, or a little of both.

That being said, I have decided to break my own rule and commit now to playing in a 2008 WSOP event. I have always said that if I don't satellite in, I wont play. Well, I can afford the $1500 event, and if I don't satellite into a single event, I will plunk it down and play just for the experience and donk it up with the rest of the field. So be it. I am playing in two "leagues" this fall (second wed and second Saturday of the month) in the hopes of working the home-game satellite option also.

I look forward to the WPBT winter fest and decided to put together a flyer for 2008. Sort of a marketing flyer (tongue firmly in cheek), but I would luv to see us represent in the 2008 WSOP. There were some huge cheers during 2007 as we learned of fellow bloggers cashing. In 2008, I will once again take orders for the WPBT hats if you want one to use for the events or the WSOP itself. (I hope I can still get them at the same place. They were very cost-friendly.) I would also like to put together a Thursday night Beer-Fest at the Hoffbrau House Beer-hall across the street from Hard Rock. (Home of the 1/2 liter pilsner) Anyone?

Hoyoza and Chad (KOD) recently wrote the book on stealing and playing in big field donk-fests. There two articles are better than the Full Tilt Tournament book itself. Read them and save $22 bucks.

I myself have not written a strategy post in quite some time. I think this is because I have no major epiphanies over the recent months. Just using what I learn to improve my finishes. If you would have told me in January, that I would be $7 from the money lead in the Hoy in August, I would have laughed at you. My goals for the second half of 2007? Cash in a big field tournament and learn how to win in cash games instead of playing for hours to break even. (This happens to me OFTEN.) Every trip to California now, I will play cash games after dinner until I have to go to bed. (And my heads up game needs work.)

I put a link to the poker Google calendar (which I keep updated) on the blog...
Sunday is the big-game and the occasional WPBT event
Monday is the Hoy
Tuesday is an off-night
Wednesday is the Mookie
Thursday are Ante-up games and the pokersluts tour.
Friday is the donkament.

All that in addition to FTOPS, token frenzys, the DONKEY CHALLENGE sit n Go tables, the 50/50, etc.

Big Brother comment: The "America's player" ended exactly as expected. The chaotic choices made week to week without a long range plan, results in the player being singled out as suspicious. Duh. of course, his complete lack of a subtle bone in his body certainly contributed. Even more disconcerting is that COMPLETE lack of strategy of ANY of the "houseguests". Do any of them plan more than a single move in advance?! Most are REACTIVE, and that's you lose a chip stack.

The Ante-Up podcast recently did a great episode on the WSOP bootcamps. The big take-away for the emphasis on AGGRESSION. I, for one, am SICK of hearing this tired sound byte. Can anyone even tell me what it means anymore? What does aggression mean to YOU?

Despite my words about camping, the family took their most recent trip WAY up north and I was only able to get up there 1 weekend. The rest of the time, I went on my annual fix-about, where I fix every little thing wrong with the house. I am exhausted, and I know the minute the family returns, the house will start its downward spiral again. Life is maintenance. I also wanted to go to the casino one night, but there was a 90 minute wait for a table at Motor City?! On a Tuesday night at 7pm? Ugh. I hope MGM opens on time!

I read recently, that the government asked Second Life to shut down gambling on the VIRTUAL world due to proof of real money laundering. I am not even sure how that works. (Apparently there is a $270-$1 fake to real exchange rate?!) Now, there has been an old fashioned circa 1929 bank run in Second Life. When your entire economy is gambling and virtual sex, shutting off gambling completely cripples 1/2 the economy. Ok, more like 10% since Second Life is 90% virtual night clubs, virtual sex, and the sale of advanced genitals. (yeah, really).

Good News Everyone! A distribution decision has FINALLY been made on the future Futurama episodes. One movie to be released in November of 2007, followed by 3 "movies" split up into 1/2 hour episodes with added material. Someone made a decision.

That's it for now... Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

shutting up now...

remember all that belly-aching last week? HA!

I was on Machinaw Island this weekend and bought a 3 dollar horseshoe before playing in the Hoy Monday night. I set myself up around a campfire, with campsite wireless and a beer. The wireless was so bad, that I dropped in and more than a teabag. heh. teabag.


I was emotionally wrapped up in the game too, throwing my latop onto the grass when I ran my K4 into K5 thinking I was out before the money. We chopped.

I had a couple of big pairs early and then was card dead often for 3-4 rotations at a time. It was painful. But I went into the Hoy noticing that we only started with 3 tables. There was no need to play my normal SLAG style and tightened up to a more traditional TAG style. I am not so fond of TAG because I feel you waste value pushing players off of hands when they are behind. But I often do just that when the tournament is 5 tables or less.

In the end, I got sucked out on, watched other players suck out to prevent my from the money, then sucked out to make the money. Ahh poker. Twice MM was my victim. Ironically they came after I was robbed of the #3 spot twice.

Its too bad the blinds get up there so fast that you end up shoving. But that's the way it works at 1:30am.

I could not listen to buddy radio as I could barely keep a conection link. So I missed out on a lot of distractions.

Campfire, no radio, played traditional TAG, got a tad bit of luck at the end (K8 beat KQ to pop the bubble).

Sunday, August 05, 2007

A major setback

I know now why I am playing badly. I have reverted to some old habits. Here is what happens:

Player 2 to my right, who is pretty good, raises to 3xBB. He looks like he has a big hand. I wake up in the small blind with AA. After much delay, I call, but the BB surprisingly calls.

The flop is uncoordinated and with a Q. I check, BB checks, and the CUTOFF bets big. I already hemmed and hawed pre-flop, now I re-raise. The pot is big enough that I can justify all of it without the alarm bells going off. BB folds, he calls with KK. I win a BIG pot and have doubled through.

The VERY NEXT HAND. I have AQ and pop it 3xBB. The cutoff calls. The flop is KJT. Check, check.

Turn is a 7 and a second heart. Now I have to bet and bet 1000. Call.

River is a second Ten. KJT7T. check and I bet out 1500. RAISE is announced.

Now, what would you do here? Let me tell you what I THOUGHT I WOULD DO here. I would expect a re-raise here of about 2000-2500. If it was MORE than that, I would be seriously worried of a boat. That or less, I am calling and seeing what happened. I figure the player for AT. and they expect they are ahead. But if they had JT or KT, ugh.

INSTEAD of that logical move, when I hear raise, I pull a Helmuth and shove all my chips in the pot. WTF? I dont try to get a read, I dont take any time, I just ASSUME that its AT. again wtf?

I mean, as I play it out, I almost certainly call most bets here. BUT, to not wait and see what the bet is, and how it is made, and at least try to get a read, was just plain "amateur hour".

I was embarrassed and full of self-loathing. Although I was able to crawl back for a while, another chance to accumulate chips never cam my way and the blinds ate me up.

So, in order to compensate for my lame tendancies, I have to add a 5 second rule to myself. or something. Whatever I do, I cant continue to just assume that every read I make stays correct through the hand.

I read that I was ahead and I was, until the river. There is just no excuse. Amatuer hour. Sad really, that after 3 years, I can still have trouble playing back-to-back big hands.

It happens, players make hands on the river.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

How much of Poker is mental?

I played a 1 table 6max SnG last night, a HORSE SnG, the Mookie and the Dookie. What did they all have in common. I did poorly in each. Heck, only a suckout propelled me to 14th in the Mookie.

This morning I am discouraged and feel as though I have no "A" game.

When this feeling comes over you, what is the best way to "reset"?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Risk Reward Scenario

I did not post this for days as I contemplated the hand and my finish Monday night. 3 table MTT of NLHE. There are SEVEN left, pays but 3. Note my stack size. I cant make the money by folding. I estimate I need to reach 24k in chips to cash. With the top 3 in chips at 15k+, my EFFECTIVE FINAL TABLE Q is .5, and that is very important to me here... Tell me what you do here...

FINAL Table - 150/300 Ante 25
Seat 1: PokerBrian322 (21,090)
Seat 2: RaisingCayne (5,230)
Seat 3: bartonf (15,524)
Seat 4: IslandBum1 (3,458)
Seat 5 [BUTTON]: hoyazo (16,770)
Seat 6 [SB]: columbo (8,580)
Seat 7:[BB}jeciimd (7,348)
PokerBrian322 antes 25

PokerBrian322 folds
RaisingCayne folds
bartonf folds
IslandBum1 folds
hoyazo has 15 seconds left to act
hoyazo raises to 1,225

Dealt to columbo [Ts Td]
Hoyazo is not know to me to be a "big stack bully", but is famous for his discussions of stealing and re-stealing. AND its folded to him on the button.

If I CALL here, its 15% of my stack and I believe I commit myself to a Stop n Go.

If I RAISE here, its still enough to matter as it would be a 4 times pot raise and 1/2 of Hoyazo's chips.

If he has a premium pair, on the button, folded around, I am dead (JJ,QQ,KK,AA). (Hoyazo has had AA twice in the last 30 minutes.) Based on sheer statistics, I'll ignore that one. If he has Ace-X, he might be afraid of a bigger Ax.
If he has AK, especially suited, he probably calls ANY bet I make, which makes the Stop N Go a better choice. On a non-Ace flop, I would be pushing, but I am SECOND to act. What if he pushed all-in on the flop before I can? Or makes a bet that commits himself? Dunno...

So, what do you want to do here?