Thursday, July 31, 2008

One Time!

I walked a mile in everyone's shoes who has screamed that for legitimate reasons. AGAIN, bubble boy when my AA suckers the QQ into shoving and flops a set. I know, just another bad beat, right. But talk about cliche's, what about WHEN IT RAINS IT POURS?

Back in the Saddle

So I was playing poker last night and I was in quite a mood. Sullen and detached, I played fewer hands than usual and played more weak-tight than I typically do. Well, at least I did in the Mookie and went out 7th when A9 sucked out on my AQ. Happens. The good news was that I cashed. Despite running into suckouts, I did win not one but TWO races, which made the difrerence.

How did I GET sullen? Well, I am playing in my Wed night league and I pre-flop raise with 72o. Not just to be cute, but because I played so few hands. The flop comes J9x and I make a continuation bet, which is called by a player who usually does not call when he misses the flop. I figure he has a 9 here. On the turn, I cant even recall the card, I make a 1/2 pot bet. I think it was a K? I would expect the 9 to let go here. Playing few hands, continuation bet, firing second bullet. But his read on me sees to be that I am a big donk. So he calls and I am sure he has a 9. But I am also pretty sure he will call a river bet for anything short of all-in. And maybe there too. So I let it go. (and of course have to watch the abuse pour in from the chat box. Doesn't anyone just win a pot and shut up anymore?). Anyway, that is not the point. I obviously did not have a good enough read on this guys style to run this gambit.

Lesson learned.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Rockband hat

Ok, I got to hand it to myself. My daughter wore this to school and it was a big hit!
My Dad can beat your Dad at Rockband hat

Note the gold icon. It means completion of the entire world tour...
Beats a Columbo hat, eh?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Maybe its not ALL me??

Went out in the 32k with KK into the AA UtG limper. I might be able to get away there. But the "I run bad" curse is firmly here:

First I get a great read that a guy floated me and I am going to take it on the turn. and the turn is an innocent 9. I bet and he crushes me as he hit the 9 and his turn call left me checking the river. So, I come into the final 4 as the shorty.

Table 1 - 60/120 - No Limit Hold'em - 21:09:01 ET - 2008/07/28
Seat 1: LetsBully (3,690)
Seat 2: mwhiii (3,115)
Seat 3: bradleyPHX (4,905)
Seat 8: columbo (1,790)
mwhiii posts the small blind of 60
bradleyPHX posts the big blind of 120
The button is in seat #1
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to columbo [2h 2c]
columbo raises to 360
LetsBully folds
mwhiii calls 300
bradleyPHX folds

*** FLOP *** [Qs Kh 3c]
mwhiii checks
columbo checks
*** TURN *** [Qs Kh 3c] [2s]
mwhiii checks
columbo bets 120 <= even if I dont hit the two
mwhiii raises to 360

columbo has 15 seconds left to act <=for effect. I am going to catch him slow playing to break me.
columbo raises to 840 <= what a sucker bet. will he fall for it?

mwhiii raises to 2,755, and is all in <= yup.
columbo calls 590, and is all in
mwhiii shows [Qd Kd]
columbo shows [2h 2c]

*** RIVER *** [Qs Kh 3c 2s] [Ks]
Are you kidding me?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Reality Check

I got some real bad news when I installed a newer version of poker tracker. It was a graph. Not bad news in itself, except it quickly displayed my 2008 poker downward spiral. Results wise, I am playing the worst poker of my life.

It culminated yesterday in a $30 SnG when with FOUR left, I went broke with trips. My Houdini skills have been destroyed by game adjustments and I am grasping at ideas to stop the bleeding.

As the say on the battlefield, "Time to fall back!!"

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Shallow Thoughts

In which I bubble not 1 or 2, but FOUR events over the last 2 days. Out of 4! Sad. Including a second place finish in the HOY, which paid just 1st. It happens, I know. But while digesting my results, I floated a hypothesis.

Let's say you were FORCED to play as follows:

Before the money:
1. Whenever you raise pre-flop and are re-raised, or two raises proceed your action, you must fold everything by AA, KK. If its raised once, you can call but only with position (up to say 3.5xBB)
2. Post flop, any bet by your opponent after the flop that would push the pot to 3X the pot size (at the opening of betting) forces you to fold without the current nuts. (You are free to do this, however. But if he re-raises, you are done.)
3. Being re-raised on the turn or river is an auto-fold. As is your opponent betting (VP$P) on the river > 1/2 pot(unless you have the nuts).

Now, if we played this way all the time, the theory is that your play would become predictably weak-tight and fast.

But, as with all things that are constraint-based, you can find ways to work with the constraints. For example:
1. To avoid this situation, raise at least 3.5x BB with premium holdings. Be glad to release non-premiums.
2. Make bets into a pot of 200 that try to force the pot size near 600. i.e., bet pot on flops where you wish to take it down. That way someone coming over the top forcing you to fold came over you with a pot size bet.
3. Make a pressure bet that you feel your opponent can only trump with a solid holding. avoid dark tunnel bets, especially on the river.

Ok, playing this way, what do you miss?
1. Value bets are off the table.
2. folding TPTK is going to happen.
3. You may not get full value post-flop when you catch an opponent with a second best hand. (Since you cant afford to bet 1/2 pot)
4. Setting up an image for later.
5. There is no escaping being card dead other than patience.

BUT, after you make the money, you can re-introduce value bets, slow-playing, walking the dog, floating bets, re-steals, and broken draw bluffing. i.e., change gears BIG TIME. If this is a giant field MTT, then instead of "making the money", you can change gears after >50% of the field is gone. But you would prefer, for the purposes of this discussion, to wait until 75% of the field is gone.

[results to follow]

Sunday, July 20, 2008

trying something newish

When I decide to play a hand until the point I release it, I am asking myself a question. "On what street do I wish to apply the pressure?" It is more than it seems. It's about predicting the pressure point instead of waiting for it to come up.

one of the things I am trying to avoid is letting my opponent have a betting line that does not benefit me in any way, such as call-check-check. He floats my flop bet, maybe with a draw, maybe with bottom pair. Now I have to break his betting line. So I predict that the pressure point is the turn or the river, depending on what the board is. Typically, the turn.

sometimes this line of thinking helps you decide when to come over the top of someone. it also helps to keep the aggression factor in you game. Sure, it can backfire with hands like AQ pre-flop, but you have to work past that.

By the way, check out this site for a great rakeback deal with Full Tilt.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Playing for the win or just stupid?

Full Tilt Poker Game #7254280737: The Mookie (54411549), Table 4 - 150/300 Ante 25 - No Limit Hold'em - 23:47:49 ET - 2008/07/16
Seat 1: cemfredmd (4,430)
Seat 2: PirateLawyer (23,175) <=OMG
Seat 3: emoryiowa (7,025)
Seat 4: Breeze81 (13,360)
Seat 5: -WYLDKARD- (2,665)
Seat 7: bayne_s (5,195)
Seat 8: columbo (6,060) <= got the worst of a hand earlier and fought back.
Seat 9: DDionysus (3,715)
antes 25
-WYLDKARD- posts the small blind of 150
bayne_s posts the big blind of 300

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to columbo [Jh Js]
UTG columbo raises to 1,000 (1/2 hoping for call, 1/2 not)
DDionysus folds
cemfredmd folds
PirateLawyer raises to 2,200 (this could just be a big stack raise?)

I start to think that I will shove when it comes back around...

emoryiowa folds
Breeze81 folds
-WYLDKARD- folds
bayne_s raises to 4,400
columbo: wtf?
columbo has 15 seconds left to act
columbo has requested TIME

Here is what I start thinking.... There are 24 runners left. Do I want to just eek out my existence or try and get some chips? Its a tough call. But I start to formulate a plan. If I shove here, PL has to fold. He cant think we is ahead with 2 re-raises. So estimate his fold here (even though he has lots of chips) at 90% if I shove. Then I am heads up with Bayne with 2.5k in dead chips.

BUT, Bayne is NOT a steal-y player. He has a hand here, no doubt.

So, do you play this hand, or fold it?

Did I bet to little here?

Table 1 - 40/80 - No Limit Hold'em
Seat 1: Drinking Buddy (1,945)
Seat 2: msugoose (2,375)
Seat 3: columbo (4,540)
Seat 4: Wirdpear (5,650)
Seat 5: Reegy (1,625)
Seat 6: FishforFive (1,870)
Seat 7: Dogsoldier1 (2,460)
Seat 8: Durand Dirty (5,025)
Seat 9: remysteel (1,510)
Dogsoldier1 posts the small blind of 40
Durand Dirty posts the big blind of 80
The button is in seat #6
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to columbo [Qh Jh]
remysteel folds
Drinking Buddy raises to 225
msugoose folds
columbo calls 225
Wirdpear folds
FishforFive is sitting out
Reegy folds
FishforFive folds
Dogsoldier1 folds
Durand Dirty folds

Pot is about 500 and change
*** FLOP *** [5d Th 2h]
Drinking Buddy bets 285
columbo calls 285
4 to 1, close enough

*** TURN *** [5d Th 2h] [5c]
Drinking Buddy checks
The pot is like 1k and I played this like a big pair. Like TT
I figure him now for Tx, 99, 88,77 and his is finally slowing down.
He has just under 1500 left.

I figure 800 into 1000 and he'll fold. If I am wrong, I have to call an all-in on odds but have the redraw.
columbo bets 800.
Drinking Buddy has 15 seconds left to act
Should I have bet more if I am correct about his hand?

Monday, July 14, 2008

One Minute Mystery

Can someone design me a T-Shirt?
Teller, of Penn and Teller, gives a talk about magic that is also a relevant discussion for poker...

False repetition patterns and intent.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Wednesday is League night

I played in my local league and the Mookie. There is nothing more bizarre than having KK at both tables at the same time with the timer action alarms going off. I ended up over betting both and scaring everyone away.

Here is a familiar and old story.

You have QQ and when you get called by TP jack, he hits the river and sucks-out. no big deal, happens (I already had his money in the pot too.) I dont mention it or blink an eye. But of course, later in the match, I suck out on AA with A7 and I am a complete donk and everyone feels free to say so. Why? Because earlier in the evening I cracked a big hand with 75 suited. That first time I got called a donk too. But listen to this... I out played him. Period.

Look: Folded to the button, who min-raises. Gus taught me, from the BB and raise smaller than 3x (3.5x with antes) is an AUTO-CALL. AUTO CALL. Flop comes with 2 clubs and I check. He checks. WHY? Turn is a third club. I check again. He bets and I call. River is a blank and when I make a value bet of $1k (20% of his stack), he CALLS my made flush. How am I the donk there? HOW?

On the A7 hand, its folded to me on the button with a short stack. The giant stack is in the BB. I make the raise, he calls. Flop is all junk and when he checks I bet. Well, when he moves is I am already on the ropes stack wise. He trapped me fair and square. And I got lucky. Runner-runner lucky. But how is a short stack moving in when its folded to the button with A7 bad? And how is running a Stop-N-Go instead of pre-flop all in so much worse?

Frankly, I understand why everyone called Gus crazy when he first started winning big money. Its the math. Some decisions are not reads, or big laydowns, or a "feeling". They are just position, initiative, and math. And from what I gather, knowing that makes you a donk.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

On the road for 10 days

From 3rd - the 13th. That is a long time. So, not much poker now, but I will be in Austin this next weekend... maybe something will come up. I also have "online league night" on Wednesday that I will try not to miss, so I will probably play the mookie also.

I am sorry about the twitter issues. Its why my twitter is not being updated. Because its so hit or miss right now. and the loss of the IM updating is really a death blow.

I picked up yet another poker book, the "secrets" one Hoy mentioned in a post at the end of June. Gee, its only my 20th or so... ridiculous really. How much can I learn about hold'em?
Maybe I'll just find out. I am thinking about taking a few hours of guidance from a pro... Will it be worth it? I think I have to find out. More on that in August.

For now, survival in a dying economy. Off to the airport...

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

MGM Detroit

Another night of checking out the casinos. I saw the new Motor City card room last night, so tonight it was to check out the new MGM card room.

On a second floor, its spacious and casual. Unlike the MC room, there was no wait and I got to sit down right away. We even got to play 6 handed for a while.

The 1-2 play was attrocious. I mean really, really bad. It put me in a bad mode, but I did what I was supposed to do and took about $300 from the table in a few hours. No real amazing hands, but the reads were sooooo easy. There was one hand where I have a straight draw and a flush draw and so I bet. My opponent calls. On the turn, a blank, I bet again and he hems and haws and starts calculating his odds. I gave him about 3-1 and he figures that out and he calls. (its at this point I realize we have close to the same hand). So when the board pairs on the river, I move in and he says "oh man, you just made quads!" and he folds. (I actually have 7 high). But I let him believe as I raked the pot. He was so sure I had pocket sixes, that he figured I made quads. Hilarious. well, sad too.

A hand much later in the night was interesting... I flopped TPTK and this girl check-called my flop bet. On the turn, SHE bets out like $15 in to a pot of $90. I cant help but mutter aloud, "that bet makes no sense". I look over at her and she raises her eyebrow almost like she is trying to look suave. I tilt my head, pause, and move in. She folds what I have to think was a draw and the $15 was a blocking bet. lame.

Just in my last rotation I picked up my first set in two nights (well over the 9 hands average) and the other guy raised preflop so I put him on an AK type hand. The turn is a K and I started making value bets. He put in about $70 on two streets, suspecting but not escaping.

And AGAIN, two hands before I get up to leave, my only AA of the night, but I had only one caller and he folded to a continuation bet. I turned it face up with a dealer toke and decided to leave right then.

Overall, I liked the room, but I'll have to play the 200-500 next time.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Motor City Casino

Last night I did something I rarely do. I drove downtown to the card room. I needed to occupy my brain to stave off some depression, and I was not thrilled with the idea of a movie. (although I did see WANTED on sunday and liked it.) 50 min-200 max, 2-3 blinds

I sat down and really started the way I usually do... By digging a hole. This is my MO and I have to break it. I folded 88 too soon and then made move with 99.

I called the pre-flop raise of $20 with 99, pretty standard stuff.
Flop is T34 and he again bets $20. I call, expecting to check-raise on the turn and take it.
Turn is a K! Perfect. He checks and I bet $60. He thinks for a while, asks if I hit the King, then calls. He also bets out on the river (I think he had JJ or QQ).

Now later on, after playing with guy for hours, I will know that he wont lay down those hands here. But at the time, seemed like a good place to make a move.

I then get felted with a short stack on 2nd pair (pocky 99 vs pocket JJ on an all baby board).

I rebuy and not 30 minutes later, Utg raises to $20, I make it $35 (note: I do this knowing that some fishtard at the table will say "that's not enough". but of course it is.) with AdKd. Fold around to the button who moves in for 105. UtG folds. So now its $70 to win $160 and there is no way in hell I am folding AKsuited. So I call and he tables JJ and they hold up.

I am down to about $80 in chips (-$320) and really have not won a real pot. I then win a few small pots and get pocket Kings. I take down a nice pot there against a loose caller. About an hour later, I am almost break even. This despite never hitting a set, never making a straight, and making a 5 high flush once (and sadly missed a value bet). I won basically on top pair and pressure on the turn. I did get one guy to lay down AJ with the jack of spades on a 4 spade board because he put me firmly on the Ace of spades and I made a bet. I had 99 with the 9 of spades... "betters are winners."

I was berating myself everytime I made a mistake and it was taking its toll as I made lots of little mistakes. But then, I started to get it together.

I am playing MUCH better now (as I do after I get the first hour out of the way) and have a read on everyone. There is a guy at the back end of the table who LOVES to play Kx. And when he hits the K, he takes down a nice pot vs. things like middle pair and broken draws. (He is the guy who beat my pocket 99 with his pocket JJ way earlier). I make a joke everytime I am in a hand with this guy, "You got Jacks again?"

Its just before 11 and I am up maybe $20 overall and after that big hole, I figured I would leave before my next blind while I was even. Second to last hand, I look down at AA... Despite the obvious nature of this, and despite I played KK from early position this way before and thus this is seemingly obvious, I raise to $20. The King of Kings at the end of the table calls. Everyone else knows better and folds. Heads-up. Flop is K89 rainbow. I make a simple continuation bet of $20 thinking he might call and I'll get some value. He raises to $100.

Now I start to tank. I start thinking "Gus" poker. There is no value in calling here as he will bet every street(?). If I play this pot, I might lose my entire $400 and go home broke. And I feel if I play this pot, all the money needs to go in. There in no other proper way to play this. But I take my time and start thinking instead of just reacting. (Note: this was HARD to do.) I take a deep breath and think about what hands I am SCARED of. I can ONLY come up with K8 or K9. Against OTHER players I would be VERY worried by a set. But against this guy, the King of Kings, I put the time in to KNOW that is what he plays. And he bets his top pair STRONG, just like this time. He has just never had to raise before. So, then I make the move of the day...

I ask him, "King what?".
And here is where an amateur slits his throat. He is subconciously afraid of me drawing out, so he answers. And what an answer...
"King Large" says the King of Kings.

Now I know I have to call. He has something like AK, KQ, KJ, KT and does NOT have two pair!
I say, "I'm sorry, I gotta do this. All-in".
He confidently says "all-in" and I pause. The dealer moved no chips and his bet was never placed.
Instead of showing my cards, I instead said "Say it"
and he repeated "all -in".
Again, since no chips moved, I said "all-in?"
and he said "yes".
Only then, I tabled the Aces and he shows KJo. Two baby cards later and I was up $400 bucks in profit for the evening.

It was weird that when I moved in he said something other than "call". We were heads-up and despite his declaration being clear, I paused and made sure that money went in. I did not want a situation where he somehow tricks me into seeing my AA then folds.

Despite wanting to leave, I stayed one more rotation just for politeness. I won another $100 from very bad play from a couple of new players. Then, I left.

A swing of -$320 to +$500 in 90 minutes. Wow.