Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Time for the Holidays

There is something about having a dinner scheduled later that puts me on a heater. I finished at about 130th yesterday, when my pairs held and I won the race I gladly took in hour 3 (AK vs QQ). But in the end, 88 in the SB. Folded around to the button, who limps. I raise. BB folds and he re-raises. I call and the flop is 992. Unless he has a bigger pair, I am way ahead. But alas, he has Kings and he manipulated to pot to be large enough pre-flop that I went busto. There is a lesson here for raising with big hand (even if its a tricky limp-raise) to make the pot harder to get away from (remember prospect theory?).

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Strange Results

How after all these years do I DROP 1/2 buy-in at 1-2, but pick up 3x my buy-in playing 7game mix? Most unexpected.

As I get ready for the holidays, I would like to register a complaint as to how fast this year passed me by. Despite major events, including a broken back, it seems like its all rushed like watching a bullet train pass by.

Looks like for a job I was not sure I wanted, I have quickly become the go-to guy for the CEO, and with good reason. I am amazingly good at what I do, which in all modesty make me shake my head when I miss out on some opportunity I apply for. What are these people/companies looking for? [deleted rest of tirade was here]

Still, things are not bad in any way. As Joe Walsh said, "I can't complain, but some times I still do."

Monday, December 14, 2009

Worst Trip Report Ever !

Going to Vegas is always great, right? Well, there are expectations and there is reality. Thursday, I am already sick before we leave with a head cold. Nasty one. After we checked in, I had a associate who lives in Vegas pick us up and we headed to check out Frankie's Tiki Room.

I REALLY wanted to love Frankie's, as I love tiki and want to support it. But I was sorta let down.

First the good. Nice decor, great music selection, drink mugs are first rate.

The Bad?
I felt like correcting some of the drink recipes (ingredients), air circulation is terrible so its really smokey, small place, was not greeted with the attention I figure I warrant and covet, so dark I could not read the drink menus.

Now its off to the IP to meet and greet. It's great connecting with so many great people again. But just when the tables games started, my body gave out and I had to bow out by midnight. Sad really.

Friday was spent sleeping and it was not until 2pm until I got going again. I played some MGM poker and later transferred to the infamous "table 16". It was a riotous time, with Mark really creating alot of the hilarity. Still, I bowed out after about 2 hours for dinner. I roped the penners and Garth & company into going to Hoffbraus House.

We only had an hour for my favorite beer hall in the world, before walking over to Hard Rock for Pokeratti's famous rotation game, NL/PLO. I won my first PLO hand and spent the next hour donking away 80% of my profits. The game got a bit stale, so we headed back to MGM, where I played HORSE until 1:30 am. I won $25. (Did you like my poker bowling shirt!?)

Saturday was the big tournament and here I will digress a bit. When you play a tournament, you need to understand how fast to play. This was 20 min level. Now I am getting about 3 rotations a level and after two hours the level will be 400/800/100. With $7k in starting chips, what does this tell you?

Answer: To have an M over 10, you need at least 16k. You prefer to have over 30k, obviously. You want to double once per hour. This is not a recipe for deep stack play. It's longball all the way and you certainly need to win a race along the way.

I am down to $4k at 300/600, so my range is big. UtG raises, I shove. F-Train thinks for a while and somehow comes over the top with 55. I dont like his play, as in order to win this hand, he has to be right that the squeeze would work on a UTG raise and that I did not have a pair, and ever if right on both, he is only a small favorite. But KNOWING that he is a larger stack and given what I just said above, who can blame him? My AJ goes nowhere and I am out.

I spent the rest of the evening playing $1/2 at the Venetian. Again, F-Train was right. This is the softest game in the history of poker. Later, I was joined by Chad and Smokee which made it even more fun. Watching Chad roll over the table had me amused, bemused, and envious. I still won over $300. I did let Smokee bluff me out of a hand where the situation and my hand both said call. Yet somehow I folded. I played WAY too tight the entire weekend, and I paid for it. I lost $120 Thursday, Won about $50 on Friday, and Won $300 on Saturday minus $100 for the MTT. So I finish with a marginal profit, far below expectations. Of course, you cant measure fun and if I was there for money, I would have eat and slept at the V $1/2.

Sunday I was mercifully on a plane during the Lions debacle. Perhaps you all understand why the Lions are drafting FOUR d-lineman in the draft.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Hold On, 'Cause I'm comin'

I am already packed and ready to rage-hard.


Thursday its a dinner time visit to Frankie's Tiki Room to worship the girl-drink gods and hopefully I will then... wait for it... Rum-good. HAHAHA, I rum good! Then its off to the IP for extreme-networking. Its like networking, only EXTREME.

Friday its dinner at the Hoffbaru-House (across from Hard Rock) and YOU ARE INVITED. Come one come all and sing, eat and drink all in German-ish! (I'll be twittering, but assume about 6pm, so we can make MGM later by 9-ish)
Then its severe mixed games at the MGM. Its like mixed games, only SEVERE. (hopefully there will be $1 chips left!)

Saturday its the annual blogger last-longer, knock-out-waffles MTT @ Caesar's and I for one am wearing a bowling shirt! Long live the Hammer!

Monday, December 07, 2009

the $42k (now with more k!)

Wow, the $32k has ballooned to the $42k with 2200 runners instead of the usual 1200-1400. That is a big field folks.

I double up early vs. some dead money and then with a slightly above average stack, had to go pick my daughter at school (unscheduled). I 'sat out' and when I returned I was 20% below average. So.... when it was folded around to the SB and my opponent shoved for $4k (I had about $7k, avg was $9k), I decided to call with A6o. Loose? Maybe, but you know he has ATC. In this case K8o. No one hits jack-squat and I have an average stack again. Then, not a few moments later, I am moved to a new table and dealt JJ in EP. I raise and get a caller from the BB. So the pot is 2k and the flop is 789.

And then he bets POT. I think this was a mistake for 1 reason, I knew his exact hand at this point. TT. I figure he has 8 outs twice, so I shove and he calls... showing the expected TT. No changes on the turn and river and I am sitting pretty with 300 to the money.

I leaked and blinded down to average with 456 left (pays 234) with 14.5k in chips. Staying away from obvious trouble with an M just around 15. The blinds are beginning their squeeze now and its time to get some decent hands. Small ball is coming to a close.

I keep getting 88 in EP. I play it once and fold it once. Tough spot. Getting grind down by the blinds... Down, down, down. I have a tenancy to over react when this happens and shut down, playing only the best cards. But in this case, I was really getting a run of junk. I needed something good to come my way. I try to force something with KJs from EP and my tight image let me pick up the blinds for the first time in 2 rotations. 334 left, 100 to the money. M around 10. Antes killing me now, but BLO (big-little-offsuit) hands are not going to help.

And then, again with the 88, only this time in the SB. Looks like a re-steal hand opportunity. Almost like it was planned, the cutoff makes it 3200 and I shove 10k, which he calls. I look up to see he has KJo! 88 holds and I get to cash today. I am surprised that KJ does not fold to a 3x all-in, but there you are.

Or do I?, Two rotations later, the same guy shoves all-in for 9k from the cutoff and I have JJ in the BB and call. He has K6o and good goes to better when he comes up empty. I know some players steal based on tendencies, but K6o? Do my stats somehow warrant that after I already took half his chips with 88?

10 to the bubble and again JJ in EP. I raise it to 3x and get a caller from a MP. And the flop is AQ9. Gez. I make a very weak, check-fold. This guy has a tight range. I am still 2k above average. Until the blinds come of course. But we are at the actual bubble when someone gets the Kobiashi Naru. AA UTG and the BB is a giant stack that calls most all-ins. The guy shoves his AA and the giant stack calls with 78s. AA becomes the bubble boy, of course. The insanity continues when very shortly thereafter, I call a shorty all-in with my QQ and make DQB! I cant wait to yell THAT in the blogger tournament this weekend. See you soon!

Kicked in the Jimmy!

I finished 8th at league night, going out when my AQ failed to double up against A8. Happens. No news there.

But what happened AFTER that is the stuff of legend...

I am offered a +EV chance of a lifetime. To play and teach Razz to two guys (short-handed) with the nicknames yum-yum and pork-chop at $1/$2 with a $1 ante. Oh my god, pinch me I am dreaming...

Cut to 1 hour later, where said pork-chop has all the chips at the table, including my $60. And even 3 handed, I only recall 3 hands where and 8 or better didn't take the pot. How someone can catch gifts cards like a mother at her baby shower turns out to be far beyond me.

I run goot. See you in Vegas Thursday.

Friday, December 04, 2009

A dusting of snow...

I have not had poker posts here for about 2 weeks as I took the family to visit grandparents in Florida and got hooked on Borderlands (xbox). But I do have my monthly league game on Saturday, followed up by a weekend of poker debauchery.

I noticed something while I was in Florida. The Japanese have a word for it. Of course, I dont know what it is, I dont speak Japanese, but I know they have a word for it. It describes the feeling one gets when they grew up with the seasons changing (as all of Japan does) and then they relocate to someplace like California or Florida where the seasons are all similar. You get this sorta of melancholy angst. It happened to me in Florida and it was a first for me, a cold hater. Yet, as I watch my childhood visions grow old on the TV, and epic movie series relaunches, I realize that its ok. But to halt some unnecessary rambling, I need to hit the satellite circuit in January and start focusing on WSOP 2010. I was so close to cashing in the event 39 donkament (I just had to stave off an insane all-in call from AK with my big pair) that I know I am getting way better at this game.

I closed the monster leak I had, which was getting over involved with good hands pre-flop (ironically, NO ONE I player with at event 39 would, they would just shove and pray and 1 of them would have prayers answered) like AK, AQ, or even QQ when the call would be insanely large (like 50 BB). I hope this is one of the final pieces to the puzzle.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

WPBT goals 2009 edition

I love the winter blogger events, mostly because it is very easy to fall into the crowd and just inherit new friends each year. I have had fun, learned about life and poker, and stayed in contact with a group (not easy for me).

But I have been a bit of a corporate prude in my personal life. I was always afraid that there are permanent repercussions to bad behavior, including perhaps SOMEONE FINDING OUT! Being in a entirely new position now, I feel little need for restraint.

Mrs. Columbo just finished her final "junior" semester for her BS-RN (She is an RN now) which assures us an income even in a dour economy. But even with this sad economy, I am working at a small company helping them grow and survive. I even turned down a job last spring! Well, I did fall down the stairs and break my back, so that did have something to do with turning it down also.

So up comes my Vegas weekend and here are some goals:

1. Actually PLAY pai-gow instead of watch.
2. Win the blogger event instead of coming in lame 5th.
3. Drink
4. Go with the flow, even if the flow = "steel panthers".
5. Play poker. (in best Clint Eastwood voice) "Alot of poker". (remember to buy all $1 chips kids!)

See you next Thursday!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What would you do?

Full Tilt Poker Game #16122056455: $38,000 Guarantee (118387707), Table 16 - 120/240 Ante 25 - No Limit Hold'em
Seat 1: Kryptx00 (1,620)
Seat 2: iLittLe TuNa (5,140)
Seat 3: columbo (10,930)
Seat 4: jnr1j (11,900)
Seat 5: The Hyena (2,495)
Seat 6: Magico77 (2,140)
Seat 7: Odd Hole (3,685)
Seat 8: Ferris Spewler (12,285)
Seat 9: bernardminet13 (3,825)
antes 25
jnr1j posts the small blind of 120
The Hyena posts the big blind of 240
The button is in seat #3

Magico77 folds
Odd Hole folds
Ferris Spewler folds
bernardminet13 folds
Kryptx00 raises to 1,595, and is all in
iLittLe TuNa folds

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to columbo [Qs Ac]
columbo has 15 seconds left to act
columbo calls 1,595

jnr1j has 15 seconds left to act
jnr1j raises to 5,040
The Hyena folds
columbo has 15 seconds left to act

What do you think here?
(I have $8500 or so left behind, which is almost exactly avg if that matters)

Small Ball revisited

Its amazing what memory does over time. How we remember things differently depending on what has happened since the original memory occurred.

When I went back and revisited my notes on small-ball, I noticed somethings that I was not doing as part of that process anymore.

Its only 4-6 rules, so how did I go astray???

To recap:

Small raises
Leverage (or respect) position
passive pre-flop, aggressive post flop play
pot control OOP or after then turn without a monster.

But what happens is that the concept of Pot Control seems to consume the memory and "aggressive post flop play" gets buried.

If I turn it sideways, small ball looks like "slightly loose, aggressive solid" (in poker tracker terms).

Friday, November 13, 2009

Best Application Ever

Watch to the end, then imagine the application at the tables...

Enhanced information reality

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Aren’t you a little old for an epiphany?

I saw a great BBC special last night about how the brain makes bad decisions. Of particular note was "prospecting theory" where a human can be manipulated into making a bad choice if there is already loss involved. (i.e. doesn't want to fold with chips in the pot). Furthermore, the first-to-act part of the brain is the emotional center, with the Frontal Lobe (logical) waiting to kick in. When you are already vested with the prospect of loss (or assumed loss) your emotional center wishes to make a BAD DECISION. Not an emotional decision, mind you. But rather a BAD decision.

This was RIVETING to me on the heals of making a TERRIBLE decision, where I know better. (for those columbo fans, I ate a BIG CHUNK of PEPPERED BEEF!)

They also made a startling find that you can BREAK the prospecting (or other cycles) through stimulus (intentional or unintentional). For example, temperature. Holding a cold beverage may make me more weary of you, while a warm beverage more comfortable with you. If you fold too much and play too tight, perhaps a warm beverage? If you are making lousy calls, perhaps cooling off literally helps?

Further information points to the same effect for pre-event rituals (even superstitious ones like ball players wearing the same socks every game). Or Johnny Chan and his Orange. It seems that these also help break prospecting (and other) decision cycles.

There is also the idea that when one is "in the zone" where decision making is going so well that one seems to be able to "see the results before they happen", that the brain has managed to shut down the emotional center for a time (SPOCK! I need you Spock! now do Kirk). sorry, obscure reference. Anyways, this is brainiac (sic) stuff, I know. But think about this...

When you see a player on TV with a blank stare and mouth agape, have they then shut off the emotional center for pure logic? and if so, can I do that by training myself and changing my stimulus. The answer is YES.

It could be a drink, gum, choice of ipod music, etc. to break existing patterns, then some ability to "create a moment" where the emotion shuts down. Now do that for long hours on end on demand. Not as easy as it first sounded, is it? But being cognizant of this may make a world of difference in your post decision analysis.

There is an old adage of "counting 10" or "going to a happy place" under the weight of a big decision. But it may be as simple as training yourself to pick up your cold drink before you act.

Gambling Tales Podcast is now available.

Join Falstaff (John Hartness) and Special K (Curtis Krumel) as we take you through the best in lies and legends about gambling today and through the ages. . Show #001 with Badblood and the origins of gambling is available immediately. New shows are scheduled to appear every two weeks. Guests scheduled to appear in future shows include Dr. Pauly, Lee Jones, Dr. David Schwartz (UNLV – Roll the Bones)

The podcast is available at

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It will be searchable on iTunes by the weekend.

Email address for Questions, Comments, and Suggestions:

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Played like ass

nuff said. Details are typical. Results expected. Gez, after all this time, ass.

You know what? I need a vacation...

Monday, November 09, 2009

Final Table tomorrow

Ok, I'll admit that I followed the final table a bit on Saturday until they lost a player and then decided to wait until Tuesday. Sad but true.

In other news, saw my brother and his family for the first time in a long time. Fun to reconnect.

Was looking at some hands recently, and I noticed that there are some big hands where I think I am ahead despite V$IP coming from my opponent. I am having some problems adjusting at times. In my league game, I bubbled on Saturday picking up points but missing the real victory. And as if I was ramming my head against a wall, had to go up against a guy who just started running good and as you know, I am not a lucky person.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Great final 17 poker in WSOP

Did you appreciate the hand where 99 raises, KK reraises and then some very smart players get away from some VERY big hands: AKs, TT, and JJ!

I can only imagine Begleiter's image with KK there.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Concepts on Small Ball

You are early in an MTT and after a raise you make a button call with AJ and the flop if Jack high. You call a c-bet and on the turn, its an Ace (no flush) and you have top two. First to act raiser bets half the pot, and you call figuring to be ahead. River is a blank and he bets again...

Full Tilt Poker Game #15749020578: $38,000 Guarantee (115313599), Table 164 - 25/50 - No Limit Hold'em - 14:39:54 ET - 2009/11/02
Seat 1: burax (5,320)
Seat 2: columbo (4,720)
Seat 3: jarv_1 (9,190)
Seat 4: marcusmb (2,730)
Seat 5: bluntouze (1,660)
Seat 6: Spree At Last (6,560)
Seat 7: Jonah (9,360)
Seat 8: Dirk Scheringa (5,130)
Seat 9: strizigraz (2,530)
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Spree At Last folds
Jonah folds
Dirk Scheringa raises to 150
strizigraz folds
burax folds
columbo calls 150 [Js Ac]
jarv_1 folds
marcusmb folds
bluntouze calls 100

*** FLOP *** [6c Jh 9h] (TPTK)
bluntouze checks
Dirk Scheringa bets 350
columbo calls 350
bluntouze folds

*** TURN *** [6c Jh 9h] [As] (TOP TWO!)
Dirk Scheringa bets 900
columbo raises to 1,800

I know, why the min-raise?

Dirk Scheringa raises to 4,630, and is all in

so, Does he have a set? A flush draw? or sqat?

HERE IS what is really interesting about this One Minute Mystery. When you CALL with the AJ you ARE playing small-ball. (Otherwise you would have raised and taken control of the hand pre-flop with position.) So, if you ARE playing small-ball, can you even make the RAISE? NO. and let's say I dont raise and call and he shoves the river. can I call? NO.

Here is another question... CAN you play small ball successfully holding AJ?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Rolled over a table

I drop down limits because I wanted to play but could not focus my entire attention. Wow, what a difference that can make. It was effortless accumulating money/chips playing ABC poker and occasionally exploiting my opponents tenancies.

Running bad? drop back and gain some free confidence!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Lions must-win game?

Why? Because if the Lions want someone to share the stick of 0-16 with them, there chance this year is the Rams (and Bucs). With the Rams looking at Sunday's match-up as there best chance to go 1-15, expect both teams to clash with epic strength and partial competence. THE BASEMENT BRAWL. ITS ON!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Here is a update that offers some glimpse into my state of mind... Am I making good choices??!! You can read much into that, and I think its justified. I am trying to figure out where /what I want to be in a year, and assuming I did nothing, obviously nothing would change. I am not sure that is such a good thing, so thus my state of mind... more to come I am sure.

Monday, October 26, 2009

WSOP thoughts

As we get closer to the November 9, and I read about and watch every hand I can, I have noticed that there seems to be 2 types of pro finishers. One type has an instinct for when the press the action, and the other have a knack for knowing when you have overplayed your hand (or are just bluffing) based on the betting story. Of course, you want to do both and excel at both. Seems obvious right? But like many things in this lifetime, its easier said than done.

I have been playing more aggressive as of late and as a result I find myself more willing to strongly play a weaker hand or even push with TPTK if I have an M of 20 or less. I am not sure its a good thing, but at least I am conscious of it. I am waiting to see what I learn from all this.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Played in a great deep stack tournament on Saturday, and it was the lamest roller coaster ever for me. No hills.

In the first FIVE levels, I was dealt 2 "premium" hands in AJ and JJ. The JJ saw a flop of AKQ and was done. At the first break I somehow had 18k of my starting 20k intact.

To start level 6, I won a hand with AJ, hitting my FIRST BOARD of the day. That's right run bad complainers (See Fuel), I did not hit a flop until LEVEL 6.

It is now 200/400/50 and its folded around to me on the Button with AQ. I raise and the SB calls. I miss the flop but c-bet and the SB calls. We both check the turn and the river and he calls "King high". I show the AQ and take the pot. "I dont know why I called your flop bet", the kid says.

THE VERY NEXT HAND, a limper and then it folds to me in the SB and AGAIN I have AQ. I raise it up and the BB (same kid) calls. The flop is Q75 rainbow... The pot is 3200.

I make a c-bet of 2k and he calls. The turn is a Jack, and I decide this has been my only real chance in 7 levels to accumulate chips. I decide to check raise. I check and he bets 2500. (Its 2500 to call a pot of 9700). I have 17.5k behind.

Now I started the hand with 21k and have an M of about 21, so we are still in a healthy state here. But a raise here to 7500 puts me in an awkward position.

I decide to raise all-in and he goes into the tank. He puts me on a set, and I feer I just ran into a hand like KK in the SB. After about a minute, he calls with bottom set (presto) and I am out.

Did I over-play this hand?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Betting Lines

Ok, fill in the gaps exercise. What is missing? (note: these are generalizations, not rules, that exclude off kilter bluffs)

Betting Lines

• Limp in EP = pair
• Limp in MP = pair or connector
• Limp in late = any playable holding
• Raise in EP = big pair or AQ+
• Re-raise = attempt to thin field with hands that want fewer opponents like big pairs and AK.
• 3rd raise = AA, KK or maybe AK,QQ

Post flop lines:
• check- call = draw or middle pair
• C-bet size 1/2 is standard, Smaller is typically a probe bet. Larger is pricing out draws.
• check raise often equal semi-bluff
• Call can sometimes be Setting up for a take-away play on the turn
• Betting when someone fails to c-bet or checked to = Trying to end hand not trap, but hand might have value.
• Just Call can still be weak or strong... Tendency towards weak.

• OOP player Takes control = looking to end hand or "Chan" play.
• C-better now checks = slowing down with marginal or no hand.
• Continue to bet 1/2 + of pot = driving out draws with something-something
• Check-raise = set (or 2 pair)
• Call is typically weak now, trying to get to showdown.
• Lead bet of 1/3 the pot is now a block bet for pot control
• Checking behind = pot control

• Value bet = thinks he is ahead
• Peppered beef (1/2 to 2/3 pot on river) = thinks you will pay off
• Check = looking to get to showdown
• Raise = big mystery with all but the nuts.

When someone RAISES on turn or river AFTER checking the PREVIOUS street (flop or turn), be suspicious of a bluff or the nuts.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Good news and bad news, Houdini

I've got good new and bad news. The good news is that you are in perfect health. The bad news is that you locked yourself in a tank of water.

Same here. I KNOW why I have been playing poorly in MTTs this week. Its because I dont want to escape. So I wrote myself a note for today that said "fold to every single re-raise". I headed that advise for exactly 3 minutes (2 hands into the 32k) and went out on TPTK. IS DONK=TRUE.

Enough already. I am playing in a big live MTT Saturday, and the spirit of Houdini WILL be there.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Embarassing day

Yesterday, I took a walk on the donk side. I ran AKs into KK and a set into a flush. Sad really. I could have escaped from both if it was a tournament. But it was cash, and I felt the need to "hope" I was good.

In other news, I have spent all my money. I have been updating long outdated things around the house. My treadmill was 14 years old, my TV was square shaped, trees were covering what was once a sidewalk and had to be euthanized, trips were planned to get me out of the house this winter, and even bought my daughter some new pokemon cards. Don't laugh, they are expensive.

Needless to say (I like that expression), I seem a bit listless and internally trying to work my way out of it.

Monday, October 05, 2009


I took stock of all the money I ever put on sites, and alarmingly I have a LOSS at Stars. I decided to I would grind it back up on principle. But as I started, I remembered why I have a loss on Stars. It's the run-bad center of my universe. Nevertheless, taking some guidance from Ferguson's ability to turn $1 into $10k, I am going to turn $100 into $1000. So far, I am up to $200 despite some brutal... well you know.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Cedar Point trip rained out

Looks like we'll try again during the bye week. That means poker league Saturday. I had better do well after expecting to miss the event.

As for poker in general, I have had less time to play this week, which disappointments me, but after watching the ESPN coverage, I wonder if one can get better just watching Ivey play? I know everyone is anointing him the patron saint of poker plays, but even watching him tell you that he simply makes very few mistakes. Perhaps none.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I am the Lions of the felt

Just like opposing QBs seems to have their best day vs. the Lions defense (especially last year), donks seem to have their best day against me. Stacked last night against all odds. In an hour, have only committed my stack to 1 pot. Other than that, never had more than 8 big bets in a pot. Player on my left, watching the entire time, know this? I raise pre-flop. He re-raises. I push in my 50 BB. What do I have? What does he have?

Its EASY to put me on AA here. But did you put him on KK? Of course, but no. He had AK.
K-y-z-x-K. RIGHT. OK.

Enjoy your big day of stats vs. my 4-3 defense.

Monday, September 28, 2009

NFL and hard times

The Lions did the impossible and won a game on Sunday. But all is not sunny here and I am in the doghouse. Seems no one is immune from the stress of suburban living.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pacific Poker site

This room has been around for a while now and I've played there before. Traditional poker games are offered, including Omaha, and Seven-card stud. Like other poker sites, Pacific Poker offers free play for players who prefer not to use real money.

What I found out recently, is that they now have a browser based client that works for both MAC and WINDOWS PCs.

This makes it easy to quickly fire up online poker tournaments.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Lions working on 2010 game plan

ok, I think none of us expected the Lions to go from 0-16 to the playoffs. The organization decided to go on a true rebuilding project and are planning for 2010 even before 2009 kickoff. The are playing the rookies, shed "project" players on the DLine and started a 4th round pick at DT. In addition, they married themselves to the idea that they could teach 5 offensive lineman to run block. After week 1, it looked like a train wreck. But in week 2, there were signs of life! The Lions could run the ball and they did often in the first half. It wasn't until in the third quarter when Kevin coughed up the ball that the wheels came off the bus.

Stafford "ran" the offense, but continues to look like the same Stafford in the bowl game last year. The difference is pro defenses dont drop picks nor leave receivers uncovered. Kid better learn faster.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

miniFTOPS shootout

3 handed, had AJ and A flops. lost good section of stack to AK.

Worked it back up to competitive and then went out how I OFTEN GO OUT... Losing to a call from two overs POST FLOP!!!! ARGH.

3 handed. AK button raises and I call with T8. Flop is 8 high. I CHECK RAISE his c-bet all-in.

He calls and is rewarded with a KING on the river. Did I mention this is a SHOOTOUT?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Tight Plays and Dark Days

Saturday was league night and I brought my A game. I played my hit good hands well early on, and made it to the final table. With 5 left, I laid down AKs to a tight re-raiser. He had QQ and I ran from the race, like a little girl. Then, when a different player made the same move, I called with AK. He had JJ and on the river I hit the Ace. With 4 left, I laid down an AJs to an all-in pre-flop, only to be shown A8. But I dont feel too bad about that one...

I eventually went out fourth, when I picked off a steal raise with JJ and his K5 made a boat.

I am not always sure what drives these weird decisions to lay down AK or AJ 4 handed. I may just be way too tight and/or analytical.

But I did have a fun time at the final table breaking a player a few hands after he yelled at me for asking how many places we were paying. Seemed like a fair question to me with 7 left.

As for my Lions, woes be them. QBs continue to put up record numbers, and since we dont play Tampa, Oakland, or the Rams, its going to be a lean season for wins.

Still, 1 game does not a season make, so I will wait one more before crying in my soup.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Heidi!, Heidi ...Grandfather!, Grandfather!

For those of you who saw the title and it brought memories back of a curly mopped girls who sings, this post is not for you.

If you, however, remember the famous Raiders Heidi game where the end of the game was preempted by the evening broadcast of the Sunday night movie, then feel for me now...

Last night, SECONDS before fumble that sends the game into overtime, my local NBC channel was replaced by a YELLOW BOX. Not even show of content, just a color! It lasted far into the night and I had to hear about the victory without watching it.

A big AYKM (or WTF) to Dish Network and/or the Detroit NBC affiliate (WDIV).

Thursday, September 10, 2009

AIPS O8B and the Beatles

I consider this one of my better games and so I expected to make a decent run. Alas, I finished in the second bubble, ITM but missing the final table. Like with many/most O8B tournaments, hands were rare and difficult lay-downs came early and often. Towards the end, I made some decent reads where I knew the hands were close enough that I had to ride it out. On the last one, I was against Aces (I knew), but flopped a flush draw, straight draw wrap and a pair. I missed them all and that was that.

I also picked up Beatles Rock Band and so far its ok. The real test comes this weekend with more players and harmony singing, which should prove challenging and comical as the beer flows.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Big OMAHA question

How are you supposed to play a FLOPPED STRAIGHT in PLO with ZERO REDRAWS???

Board is KQT with 2 hearts and you have AJs and a pair like 88. Now, what is the proper play here????

Assume you act first and 4 saw the flop.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Got Balls? How about a cold-cock?

Full Tilt Poker Game #14568578834: $34,000 Guarantee (106895948), Table 57 - 1500/3000 Ante 400 - No Limit Hold'em - 18:24:00 ET - 2009/09/08
Seat 1: fehrio9le (42,829)
Seat 2: Duff McGuire (46,410)
Seat 3: Pede25 (47,244)
Seat 4: PureProfitFour (239,741)
Seat 5: bfstein1 (118,448)
Seat 6: columbo (88,105)
Seat 7: Fisker1810 (77,559), is sitting out
Seat 8: sofa mike (101,162)
Seat 9: JNETS (377,156)
fehrio9le antes 400
Duff McGuire antes 400
Pede25 antes 400
PureProfitFour antes 400
bfstein1 antes 400
columbo antes 400
Fisker1810 antes 400
sofa mike antes 400
JNETS antes 400
fehrio9le posts the small blind of 1,500
Duff McGuire posts the big blind of 3,000
The button is in seat #9
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to columbo [Jd Jc]
Pede25 folds
PureProfitFour folds
bfstein1 folds
columbo raises to 8,500
Fisker1810 folds
sofa mike folds
JNETS raises to 27,000
fehrio9le folds
Duff McGuire folds
columbo has 15 seconds left to act
columbo has requested TIME
columbo calls 18,500
*** FLOP *** [Ad 8h 8d]
columbo has 15 seconds left to act
columbo bets 60,705, and is all in
JNETS has 15 seconds left to act
JNETS has requested TIME
JNETS folds
Uncalled bet of 60,705 returned to columbo
columbo mucks
columbo STEALS the pot (62,100)

Full Tilt Poker Game #14568665977: $34,000 Guarantee (106895948), Table 57 - 1500/3000 Ante 400 - No Limit Hold'em - 18:28:14 ET - 2009/09/08
Seat 1: fehrio9le (38,929)
Seat 3: Took Your Wife (29,991)
Seat 4: PureProfitFour (296,419)
Seat 5: bfstein1 (111,548)
Seat 6: columbo (116,305)
Seat 7: Fisker1810 (72,159), is sitting out
Seat 8: sofa mike (98,762)
Seat 9: JNETS (405,732)
antes 400
Fisker1810 posts the small blind of 1,500
sofa mike posts the big blind of 3,000
The button is in seat #6
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to columbo [Qs Ad]
JNETS folds
fehrio9le folds
Took Your Wife folds
PureProfitFour raises to 7,831
bfstein1 folds
columbo calls 7,831
Fisker1810 folds
sofa mike folds
*** FLOP *** [9s Qd Th]
PureProfitFour has 15 seconds left to act
PureProfitFour bets 10,121
columbo has 15 seconds left to act
columbo raises to 27,000
PureProfitFour has 15 seconds left to act
PureProfitFour calls 16,879
*** TURN *** [9s Qd Th] [4d]
PureProfitFour checks
columbo bets 81,074, and is all in
PureProfitFour calls 81,074
columbo shows [Qs Ad]
PureProfitFour shows [8c Jc]
*** RIVER *** [9s Qd Th 4d] [5h]
columbo shows a pair of Queens
PureProfitFour FLOPPED a straight, Queen high

out 49th...


65 left in the 32k

Full Tilt Poker Game #14568337265: $34,000 Guarantee (106895948), Table 57 - 1200/2400 Ante 300 - No Limit Hold'em - 18:12:17 ET - 2009/09/08
Seat 1: fehrio9le (30,030)
Seat 3: Pede25 (53,744)
Seat 4: PureProfitFour (187,342)
Seat 5: bfstein1 (161,147)
Seat 6: columbo (111,904)
Seat 7: Fisker1810 (90,759), is sitting out
Seat 8: sofa mike (106,862)
Seat 9: JNETS (341,156)
fehrio9le antes 300
Pede25 antes 300
PureProfitFour antes 300
bfstein1 antes 300
columbo antes 300
Fisker1810 antes 300
sofa mike antes 300
JNETS antes 300
Duff McGuire sits down
Duff McGuire adds 55,710
bfstein1 posts the small blind of 1,200
columbo posts the big blind of 2,400
The button is in seat #4
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to columbo [Qd Js]
Fisker1810 folds
sofa mike folds
JNETS folds
fehrio9le folds
Pede25 folds
Fisker1810 has reconnected
PureProfitFour has 15 seconds left to act
PureProfitFour raises to 5,799
Fisker1810 has been disconnected
bfstein1 folds
columbo calls 3,399
*** FLOP *** [2c 7c 7s]
columbo checks
PureProfitFour has 15 seconds left to act
PureProfitFour checks
*** TURN *** [2c 7c 7s] [Jh]
columbo bets 7,200
PureProfitFour calls 7,200
*** RIVER *** [2c 7c 7s Jh] [Ah]
columbo checks
PureProfitFour bets 21,600
columbo has 15 seconds left to act
columbo has requested TIME

WELL??? (avg stack is about 85k...)


In the "motivational poster" vein:

"You are never as far ahead as you think."


A disappointing showing to say the least in the NLHE event.

Here is the all too familiar scenario:

You are not getting any great run of cards, but are playing solid and after about an 90 minutes you have maybe 4500 in chips. This is about average. The big stack is 23k and there are a whopping 9000+ players LEFT. Blinds are 100/200 and you are forced to surrender both. You are now slightly below average. Terrible hands and active players force another lean rotation. You watch as the cutoff re-raises an MP raiser. The MP raiser shoves in 20 BB with TT only to be shown QQ and he is out.

Its the next hand....

MP limper, button (previous QQ winner now with 8k in chips) raises again to 597 (yup, not 600. this was his habit). You have TT in the BB.

My thought process:
Pot is 1100. I have an M of 10-15, so I am looking for good spots, but not in a panic.

If I fold here, that is way too tight.

If I Call here, I have to play a middle pair OOP. After the flop, I EXPECT to see at least 1 over card. With 4200 in chips, calling 600 puts my stack at 3600 and First action. If I check, I have to expect a c-bet of 900 (into 1700). If I bet (800 ish) as a feeler/blocking/am I ahead? bet, he can simple call, which almost but but not quite commits me to the hand (1400 of 4200 invested).

If I raise here, I can end the hand now or I can take down the pot with a c-bet if 2/3 of the time. (assuming he does not have AA/KK). My raise would be to 1200 (leaving 3000 behind).

I decide I like the 3rd option here and make it 1200.

He shoves.

And its here I make a fatal mistake. I call. There is no way I am good here. He shows KK.

Now, if we BACK UP to the pre-flop decision and think about why I REALLY wanted to raise instead of call...

Its because I dont feel I can play small ball with TT in this spot. I have an M of 14 to start the hand and I let the fact that there are 9000+ players also influence me. How can I continue to bleed chips and hope to win this thing vs. so many players???

Either I can get dealt QQ and KK numerous times (as was the case with my opponent I would find out), or I can take some volatility to keep my M>20. and I decided to play it that way. It did not work out and I went camping.

(btw, the flop was all under cards!)

I talked to a very good player, and he says that he calls. But if he did raise like I did, that he would not fold to the 4 bet. Obviously, I must have agreed.

IF my M is 20+, this is an easy CALL pre-flop with escape route already mapped out.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

All the Blogger games gone?

Next week school starts again, which means weeknights at home. I started to look up the old standard blogger games, but it seems they are gone...

Mookie? gone
Riverchasers? gone

I did sign up for the Skillz rotating games on Tuesday the 8th. Last time I signed up, I was the only player :(

The Mookie is kinda replaced by the ANTE-UP series and a new Detroit online league on Wednesdays, so that is ok.

Is the blogger BIG game still around????

I have noticed on Sunday, Gambit may have a game at 9pm, but I did not find it on his site.

There is a low buy-in 2+2 forum PLO on Thursday, but its at 7:05pm which is an awful time. There is also the twitter poker tour that I have not tried yet...

Gadzooks used to maintain a google poker calendar, but I dont think its been updated in quite some time...

Any other leads? (See you in December!)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hand on ESPN

I watched a player make a terrible play vs. Daniel last night and I had played a similar hand this past weekend. It concerns playing middle pairs (77 - 99) in the blinds.

The scenario:

You have 32k, blinds are 400/800.
MP limper, Button (or cutoff) raises to 3000.
The MP limper is loose, so is a probable call if you call.
Button is TAG, so he will most probably c-bet if checked to on the flop.
Your M = 26.6
In the SB, you look down at 88.

Now, you have 3 (ok 4) options:

1. FOLD. Folding 88 to a 3.5xBB raise seems weak. Still, I only have 400 invested here and playing this hand post flop will be challenging.

2. Call. You have a pair, you might have a pot of 9k in a minute, and you can evaluate after the flop. You will have 10% of your chips out there though.

3. Raise. Get out the limper and play a bigger pot. Its a raise to 9k, which is now almost a third of your chips and if he re-raises, you will be stuck with an even worse decision for all your chips with a middle pair. A Race at best. If you fold, you are down to 24k, with an M of 20.

4. Shove. Make him fold if you can or call with AK. Of course, if he has TT or better, you are in bad shape and probably going home.

When I encounter this, I called and then check folded on a flop of J35 when the button bet 6k.

In the WSOP hand, the guy checked CALLED the 6k (terrible), then check-folded the turn.

What would you do?

Monday, August 24, 2009

The final countdwon

The family is coming back from their camping summer and I had one last day of poker. I decided to play in a local charity tournament. It was $125 and it 80 players.

It was "deep stack", but now I truly understand why players are now dissing on the "deep stack" label. Yes, it was deep stacked, but there are TWO big issues.

1. The early levels are all donkey levels with bad players willing to shove 10k on a flush draw.

2. The later levels are way escalated to make up for the early ones and thus at the end it turns into a WPT TV type event with everyone shoving or folding.

In this case, both this MTT turned out to be the CASE STUDY for the above complaints.

I made two mistakes in the tournament. The first was making a $1k river call when I flopped a set on a all heart board. The BB bet every street and made a bet big enough on the river, that I knew he had it. I called anyway to see Th4h. No blame on anyone by myself.

I played very well after that and was finally rewarded with an opportunity. I have KK Utg and I make it 3x BB. But its early and Utg+2 calls, MP calls, MP Calls and my KK is looking in bad shape. Suddenly, the Hijack re-raises! I have a stack of like $8k and the pot is now about $9k. I make a grand gesture of counting the pot, re-counting my stack, and then saying out-loud "There is already 9k out there". I move in for $8k. The first called is all-in now (but he was very short stacked and so it almost did not matter). Folds back to the re-raiser who has me covered. He thinks for a while and decides because of my speech that I must have AK and calls with 99. A king in the door and a king on the river and Dem's Quad's Bitches!
99. Gez. Bad.

I bleed alot of chips for the next hour. I had some good starting hands, but not one panned out and I folded them all post-flop. I was just unable to get chips. I was all the way back down to 12k when I raise with AQ and flop the straight. The TAG on my right flopped a set of Kings. They money goes in and I show the nuts on the turn and dodge the board pairing on the river.

Just before the next break, I make my second mistake. I CALL a raise from the SB with 88. Now I have 37k, the raise is to 3k and I call OOP with a middle pair for 10%. A third person tags along (limp-call) and the flop is J34. Here is my problem. This guy always bets out when he hits top pair. And he hits top pair ALOT. I have gone broke in this situation before, and now with two opponents, I got to figure out who has the Jack? The pot is like $9k. What can I bet here? Two checks to the original raiser, who bets 9k. Ugh. I put myself in this bad position. I fold.

I will make no further mistakes.

24 or so left and money weighted to top 3. A shorter stack shoves UTG+1 (a real talked) and it folds to me in the BB with TT. Now UTG+1 is a special donkey place. When bad players have less than average, they feel this need to shove BEFORE the blinds comes up. A9 is an easy hand to put him on here. Still it was $34k and I had $45k. But who plays for 9th, right? I CALL!!! He has AQ and the board is a gut tearing
KQ3... Ugh, this sucks
T... yeah, I made a set

and now I am short stacked.

Never say die. I play short stack like a monster. I steal, I abuse and I take races. I am back to $35k when there are 14 left and some starts a chop discussion. Its late and the blinds are now ridiculous compared to the stacks (All M=5). One buy does not want to do it, 13 others do.

I make a button steal and get called from the SB. The blinds were 4k/8k and I have $35k. I was stealing with ATC if it folded to me on the button, which it did. In this case, I had A6. I am scared when I see QQ. An ace in the door and now I have $70k with 13 left and he have a break. I take the time to casually explain to the no voter that he also has 90k (much worse than it appears he realized.) and that with the new blinds of $6k/$12k, he really only had 5 rounds of play and his equity was shot. I think he liked my presentation and changed his vote to YES. We return from the break to chop and everyone gets 5th place money.

But hold the phone. The poker room wont allow us to chop?

Discussions start, some bordering on yelling. A guy demands to see the posted rules. We are forced to start playing again and this time I am stealing much less. I am biding my time a bit like a sit n go. One of the managers is reading the ruling to the most vocal player in regards to the chop. Finally, he says, "lets just all go all in and then who can complain?". The room manager was not happy, but decided to tell us not to talk about it. Well, the train had left the station, so next hand all the money went in. (I made a straight with 8T and become the representative from our table.) We repeated the process one more time and 13 players chopped. The blinds when we quit? 7k/14k. Average chips stack? 36k.

I wrap it up with a win and some cash. What more could I ask for?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ceiling cat is watching you be a luckbox

Never in my life had I seen a guy on such a heater. This guy on my right in the course of about two hours...

KK 3 times (all hold up).
Flops or turns 2 pair on four occasions for the best hand, getting action.
flopped TPTK numerous times, all getting action from worse hands.
Folded after the flop maybe 3 times in the entire 2 hours.

We are at a 1-2 table and he is up to $1300.
Me? KK cracked twice (by a non-ace hand). I flopped TP and 2 sets, all to zero action. I won only 1 good pot all night when a guy flopped a set and I flopped a straight. This was 2 hours ago and before the arrival of Heater guy. (but I was up $150 because of that)

Heater gets up to take a phone call. He is gone for 1 hand.

In that one hand, I call a cutoff raise from SB with JTo and an MP limper call.
Flop is JJT (2 hearts). MP bets 17, cutoff calls, I call, hoping for an undercard on the turn.

Turn is black 3 and MP checks now, and cutoff bets 25. I call and then MP calls.

I have the MP on the flush draw and cutoff on a Jack. Turn is the glorious 2 of hearts. I check the nuts. MP also checks? Cutoff bets 25.

I drop into thought. If I call, then the MP will call (I expect) for +$25. If I make it $60, the MP folds and cutoff calls (I expect) for +$35. So I make it $60 to go. MP folds and the cutoff moves all-in!! In a split second I realize he made a worse boat, insta-call and table "nuts". He turns over TT. (MP folded just a Jack.)

Heater guy comes back, immediately in the next few hands makes a ROYAL FLUSH. I decide its time to exit. I tell him to thank whomever called him for me and take my profit to the window.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Evil Columbo

Last night, I was more Rorschach than Columbo??? Anyone who's played with me knows I am about as unemotional at the table as it gets. So how did I become the bad guy?

I sit down at a 1-2 charity poker room table with $200 (max). I flopped top pair a couple of times and it was good. After about an hour, I am at $325 with nothing memorable happening. I did get Aces once, and 2 callers saw a flop that had more draws than an animation studio. I played the hand very cautiously but both players stuck to the end with a pair and a gutshot that did not get there.

and now "the hand".

UtG (2 to my left) limps, folds around to the cutoff, who makes it $15. The button, with $400 sitting in front of him, makes it $30. This is significant. In my entire time at the table, there had never been a pre-flop re-raise. I also know that this guy would normally bring in a pocket pair for raise, never a limp. All the alarms go off in my head, and I figure in the SB I am going to fold almost all holdings. It was then I peeked down at KK.

Obviously, folding is a horrible play. So even if I think he has Aces, I am not going to fold pre-flop. If this is a tournament, this is an easy 3-bet. But at a 1-2 table with a raise and a re-raise and the bet at $30 (the largest yet). I do not intend to drop $350 on a pair to a weak table. I am thinking Deep-stack cash poker (or so I hope). The "correct" raise here is about $90, forcing all hands but Aces or stupid morons to fold. And that is a large and insane bet at a 1-2 table I felt, when the button could very well have AA here. Why get $90 in pre-flop when I am winning the hands I showdown? (that is my thinking at my time.) So, I decide to make a marginally incorrect play and call here, seeing the flop 3 handed and put pressure on any flop without an ace. The original limper surprises me and calls. Now the original raiser has a must call and 4 people see a flop with $122 in the pot!

The flop is 9s9c4c. The UTG immediately moves in for his remaining $115. The cutoff insta-folds. The Button makes a relatively quick decision and CALLS. Oh what a tangled web we weave. If I had raised pre-flop, then the decision would have already been made. I sit back and mutter "Wow". It takes me about 30 seconds to work through that the EP limper either had 44 and flopped the biggest hand of his life, or that he simple had "some pair" and decided to move in because of the pot size. I make a mental note that I don't think he moves in there with 44 and that is that. I am no longer thinking about the UtG player at all in my decision. So now back to the button. I start calculating the odds that he has AA. He did not raise here, nor did he really consider folding. I am thinking about AA and if I would call here vs. raising. I count out the $115. About 2 full minutes has passed. This is a long time apparently, since a guy at the end of the table starts muttering to make a decision. I then realize, late in the process I know, that I can NOT call here. Either I am playing for my stack here or I am not. I am not going to face another bet on the turn and fold. So, the entire $350 is at risk.

Then he gets louder to insure everyone hears his discontent. I look over and say "Do you have somewhere to go?". To which he replies, "Yes". Normally I wouldn't have said anything, but now the engagement has started. I say, "Well go then. I have an important decision to make." At this point the BUTTON jumps in and says something to the affect of, "you can call the clock if you don't like it." This guy immediately does that. This did not go over big at the table, but what's done is done. I say, "fine" and I fold. (I actually am still torn at this point, knowing I am probably the best hand yet knowing that this fold is only a small error. I am obviously uncomfortable with my decision or lack of one.)

UTG tables 33, button shows 88. ARGH. Everyone could tell when I saw the cards, I was ahead. It was written all over my face. The turn was an 8. Wow again.

There was much discussion now about the hands and some of it directed at the guy who called the clock. I chirped in "You were out of line." "Hey, Don't blame me for folding." "I do blame you." He bolts out of his chair. There was some sort of exchange now that seemed like I was back in high school. "You want to take it outside?" (really, he says this. The guy is 50 easy too.) I say "Com'on, how old are you (using a tone that indicating I meant we were too old for that, not that he was weak old guy). Then, Something about it being my fault. Then me saying that I am not the asshole here. Then him saying "are you calling me an asshole?" and I said "I am not the asshole here." Finally it comes to an end, somehow. Mostly, because having seen this SO many times in my life, I know the answer is to simply not stand up. That usually ends the escalation. When the second guy stands up (*cough* Motor City *cough*) its shouting.

The game moves on. The button and I continue to talk about the hand, much to the annoyance of the UTG player in the hand. He especially did not like the fact that we both thought he had nothing. The button and I discuss this for the next two hands among ourselves.

At this point, the clock guy gets up and leaves. That's right, he had to leave anyways and wanted to get a few more hands in, thus his complaining. He called the clock to get in 2 more hands. And I am the evil Columbo? He walks over and from over my left shoulder offers his hand and says, "Are we good?" Aghast, I shake his hand not meeting his eyes. Actually not even turning to look up at him. But I am not one to refuse his "closure".

Later on, not too much later on though, we (the button and I) start discussing the hand again. Now, the cutoff guy in the hand chimes in and says, "You are obviously a good player. You were taking a long time to make a decision." I reply. "It was a long time, but it was a big decision for $300 and 2 minutes is just not that long of a time when you think about it that way." I could tell he not only did not agree, and additionally thought I was some asshat.

Still later on, the button and I are talking about the hand again. This time the UTG chimes in rather exhaustively, "You guys are still talking about the hand? Let it go." I am already out of my shell... "If you want to be a good player, you need to think about these types of hands." He then says, "If *I* want to be a good player? You don't think I am a good player??". Oops. I realize the box I am in, so I just say "I don't think anyone here is in the November 9." and that is that. But now he too has me labeled as an asshat. And NO, I did not think he was a good player. He was the worst kind of player, who floats out of positions with marginal hands and marginal draws. Now he has targeting me, and this will be VERY profitable for me as he will continue to call my raises with marginal cards, flop just enough to call a flop bet, then fold on the turn to a huge bet, losing chips in $35 chucks.

Moving on. I am in a hand with a player and I flop TP. I bet 65% of the pot and he folds his flush draw. Now HE makes a comment that I did not bet enough. (um, but, you folded.) I say, "No, I bet enough to give you -10% equity on your draw." This statement shocked him that to the point that he never said a word the rest of the night to me. It did not hurt then now I am accumulating chips at an alarming rate.

I take a flop with AK and the flop is Ace high (like A47). My UTG friend cant let go of yet another hand and the Button wanted to play again too~ More chips for Columbo. The River was a King, but I was already ahead. No one called my river bet.

Another hand I have QQ and the flop is Ten high with 2 spades. The UTG bet, the button Calls, and I make it $100. They both fold.

I am up to close to $500 now and I am about to get into another hand of interest. I take a flop (there was a small raise) with 77 in the SB. The flop is T73 with 2 spades. The raiser moves in for almost $100 and I have second nuts. The button CALLS. Sound familiar? For the only time all evening, say "all-in". Now he knew I folded a BIG PAIR last time he was in this soup. He also knows I have shown down all monster hands. He also notices I have him covered. He asks if I have a big hand and I, noting the 2 spades, say "Oh yeah" with confidence. The button eventually, after much pain, folds the Ts. (No he did not have 2 spades). The turn and river (they rabbit hunted) were both spades. The giant bet was not what pushed him off the hand. It was the fact that I was practically telling him I had a set. I did everything but state it.

I am sitting now on $800 in chips and hear from the two newer guys who sat down in the 8 and 9 seats. I limp from EP with 7s6s and call a small raise to stay in the hand. The flop is 5s9sTd. I check, he bets, I call. The flop is the 2h. I check, he bets, I call. The river is the 8s. I just made the immortal nuts. I check, and when he checks behind, I casually as you say "oh high" say "Straight flush" and turn up the cards. The 8 seat already thinks I am an asshat. He also makes a comment about about my play and "keep doing that", like he is going to stack me. Then he tells the 9 seat about "the hand". Now the 9 seat thinks I'm an asshat. I don't know how the 8 seat even knew about it. He was correct for the wrong reason. My calls were correct (I could even raise the flop, but I put him on a weak holding), but my check on the river is bad in retrospect.

I played another rotation and the button is now involved in a new hand with a player on my left and the infamous UTG guy (who is UTG+1 in this hand). I am NOT in the hand. The flop is KK5. Guy on my left moves all-in for $300. Famous UTG guy (if I want to be good?) CALLS and the BUTTON (yes, that button) calls, Proudly stating that he knows he's behind! All three all-in. It does not take a detective to know what the hands are. 55, AK, AA in my opinion. Turns out it was 55, AK and KQ. That KQ call may be the single worse 1-2 call I have ever seen. The button just called $350 with the THIRD BEST HAND. (now do you think losing $30 with KK is bad?) They both go broke.

I play a few more hands and leave, saying, "Sorry for the drama guys". In the end, I made great decisions with the potential exception of the KK hand. But it was quite a night. Columbo the asshat. Up 350% for the night.

Monday, August 17, 2009

interesting hand...

Full Tilt Poker Game #14092061522: $34,000 Guarantee (103658629), Table 86 - 60/120 - No Limit Hold'em - 15:18:16 ET - 2009/08/17
Seat 1: SteveS2005 (2,360)
Seat 2: chadster96 (2,780)
Seat 3: jimbo1308 (5,423)
Seat 4: Dark-Knight100 (2,390)
Seat 5: GOOORiLLAAA (3,190)
Seat 6: vwchadw (6,260)
Seat 7: columbo (10,100)
Seat 8: eDude_The (4,097)
Seat 9: Business Man (6,728)
Business Man posts the small blind of 60
SteveS2005 posts the big blind of 120
The button is in seat #8
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to columbo [6c 4c]
chadster96 calls 120
jimbo1308 folds
GOOORiLLAAA has reconnected
Dark-Knight100 calls 120
vwchadw has 15 seconds left to act
vwchadw folds
columbo calls 120
eDude_The has 15 seconds left to act
eDude_The calls 120
Business Man folds
SteveS2005 checks
*** FLOP *** [2h 7c 5c]
SteveS2005 checks
chadster96 checks
Dark-Knight100 checks
columbo bets 480 (as opposed to just being a shove-monkey)
eDude_The has 15 seconds left to act
eDude_The calls 480
SteveS2005 folds
chadster96 folds
Dark-Knight100 folds
*** TURN *** [2h 7c 5c] [Kd]
columbo checks
eDude_The has 15 seconds left to act
eDude_The bets 720
columbo has 15 seconds left to act
columbo has requested TIME

Considering stack sizes, I cant see getting away from this. (It seems to me he hit the King.)

Friday, August 14, 2009


I have been very hard on myself as of late, in regards to "putting players on hands". I always work like a detective, and focus on the WHY instead of the hands. Maybe this is why I have so many issues in a cash game (or perhaps not). But WHY is an important question. Why did he check, Why did he bet? I have always been less concerned about his holding.

But now, that is coming back to possibly haunt me. As I reach the precipice of being really good at this game, this has become my glass ceiling.

I noticed it when I played 1-2 cash for the last couple of weeks and was not a factor. Other than suckouts and bluffs that got called, nothing remarkable at all. Which is NOT a good thing.

Now is the time. To paraphrase the intellectual (Steiner) in La Dolce Vita, I am stuck between amateur and professional, living a sheltered existence of sheltered risk. Now, my focus has to be on correcting this through fixing my weakness while playing for higher stakes.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

OMG, NL O8B???

I played a small 2 table SNG last night at a VFW hall. No big deal. But after the tournament, they all sit around and play NLO8B. Really!

It was very strange at first, and I dropped $40 trying in vein to protect top set. After that, I adjusted and went with the flow. Here was the idea. Everyone would call any raise pre-flop, so betting was pointless and everyone knew it. 11 players would see a flop. Here is the funny part. If someone flopped the immortal nuts, they got paid off by multiple players! It was just a matter of flopping a big hand or draw. So you spent a dollar prospecting, then folded or started betting. I ended up only about $20, but one guy started flopping nut straights and when the draws failed to get there, was up $600 bucks. Re-donk-u-lous!

I have got to try this again...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

10% to the 456

OK, so its an obscure reference (Torchwood). But I hear myself saying it every time Mrs. Columbo complains about someone doing something stupid. It was all I could do to not scream it last night when someone called $44 in a 1-2 NL Game with 72 soooted and the flop was A72. He broke the Ax hand player. It was at this point, I decided I was going to see flops and fold until I hit HARD. I finally, after 3 days, flopped a set and against 2 players that had me covered. I checked, let them bet $50 and a call, before moving in. One of them STILL called me and it was a profit for the evening. The problem is that it isn't very fun, and it isn't challenging like a tournament. But as luck would have it, I ran into a player I used to play with in a league a few years back and they have a Tuesday private tournament going again, and I'll play in that tonight.

Off to other notes: Face the Ace.
Yes, its a 30 minute Full Tilt infomercial. Yes, the first episode was VERY bad. The second one was a bit better. But more importantly, the second one shows why I should NOT play poker at all. I am not a lucky person. Gus Hansen is the Run-good god. If I had the time for such efforts, I would photoshop a headshot of GUS on a tiki pole, complete with worshippers bowing down and bringing gifts of fruit whilst he hold aloft some obscure 2 native cards, say the 2 of bananas and the Chief of coconuts and a board with all 2s and coconuts.

Next post: A return to betting lines...

Monday, August 03, 2009


It's been a long time since I have been stacked in 1-2. Last night, after the player on my left rebought in a third time, he went on the most heinous heater. He hit every flop he played and quickly moved his stack to over double. To make matters worse, he decided to straddle my BB. I have 55 and I call his inevitable straddle raise.

Flop is 773 and he bets $50. I am incredulous. Fast forward to him showing AA on his straddle. Doesn't get any better than that folks.

Friday, July 31, 2009


Well, not many. I am playing the $34k daily and getting ITM often enough, but ending up somewhere like 88th for $50 bucks. Ugh.

As for live poker, that ramps up again Saturday with league night, followed up with more casino cash games for a couple of weeks.

NFL camps have started and Lions report today. They flipped 8 of 11 starters on Defense. They are functionally an expansion team. I hope this time, there are improvements.

Listening to Ante-up podcast and still not sure my new segment is more interesting than the old one. Maybe as we get deeper in the tournament. I have also done some work with Lee (acumen poker) so I can attest to his skill level as a teacher.

I REALLY, REALLY want to get a regular weeknight game starting in Fall. I have one lined up, but that one will only have about 10 players. I would prefer a LEAGUE type where results are tracked week to week.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Detroit Casinos report, cash vs. tournament, and miscellaneous thoughts

It's been a while since I had played poker at the Detroit casinos, so I made it a point this week to play at least a session at each one. I will admit, frankly, that I avoided the downtown casinos because of the parking situations. Much of the parking in the past had been unattached and this is just not going to work for me. I have zero intention of setting a foot in the city proper with a bankroll. Now, I am happy to report the all 3 casinos (even Greektown) has an attached parking structure. Just to round out the tour, I spent an evening at one of the "charity casinos" that are so popular now, this one at "Doc's sports bar" and now at the Northville Downs.

I started my tour at MGM since it the easiest to get into and out of, it being 5 feet from the off ramp.

MGM Positives:
Poker room is sequestered on another floor, which is quiet and smoke free.
Lower attendance means getting a seat faster.
Call ahead seating that actually works.
Very comfortable chairs (downright the best)
low buy-in game is deeper at 50-300 instead of 50-200.
I found the dealers very competent.
nicest interior of the 3 major casinos, smells nice

MGM negatives:
The regulars are annoying at times
No tournaments
NLHE only
Some VERY amateur players at times.

I had 2 (once 3) callers on multiple occasions put in $50 pre-flop just to try and crack my big pair. They succeeded both times.

Next it was off to MotorCity casino, perhaps the poker room of choice in Detroit.
I think its best to some up my experience with MC by skipping right to the list.

MC positives:
Better players
more tables than the others
mixed games and higher stakes games
free food and drink bar for players

MC negatives:
always seem to have to park on the roof (and return to highway past burned out housing street)
longest wait ever for a seat
evening tournaments only Mon & Thurs
dealer mistakes
big one: EVERY TIME I have been at MC, there has been an altercation. This time was no exception. (shouting/arguments, dealer mistakes, having to review tape to sort out the mess, etc.)
Noisy as hell. (loud music, sounds of the casino very near)
I reek of "casino smell" when I get home.

I am always confused as to why people like to play here. Maybe because its not Greektown casino.

on that segue...
Wednesday, I am sick of cash and decide I want to play in a tournament. Greektown casino is running a 7pm, so I call and inquire. "We get about 70 players. As long as you are here by 6:30 or so". I show up at 6:30 to see a FULL tournament and a wait list of 40+. The "management" of the poker room is horrible. They are more concerned with if the "hard candy" bowl is full than running the room. ("Hey, do you think you could do better?". In about 1 day!) Who the f*ck eats hard candy out of a bowl in a poker room? The poker-room staff is bothered by everyone ("This job would be great if it wasn't for the players.") Not only all this, but they SHRANK the room down to 1/2 its normal size and put in slot machines, losing the 6 limit tables they used to have in the process. The "tournament director" looked lost, as did pretty much everyone working there. (Maybe its because of the maze of corridors as the casino is built into a old indoor mall. Looks cool though.) Cash tables were up to an hour wait.

I cant tell you about the play there because I LEFT. I got in my car and went back down the worlds stupidest parking structure design and proceeded to MGM. I sat down upon arrival and began to play immediately.

Greektown Positives:
Assuming that a badly run tournament is better than no tournament, this is on the positive side.

Greektown Negatives:
Too numerous to list (see rant)

My fourth/fifth trip was to a charity room, Doc's and Northville Downs. At Doc's this consists of 2-4 tables squeezed into a section normally reserved for parties. At Northville Downs, it 5-6 tables in the basement section.

Charity room positives:
Play so bad that its funny
CLOSE to a home near you!
better beer list at a bar, where applicable
people are friendly

Charity room negative:
less tables when there is a party in the restaurant/bar (Doc's)
dealers are bad. so very bad.

During this whirlwind tour I did notice a few things about cash games vs tournaments. Tournaments require more "situation reads" where as cash games require more "player reads". I would expound on this, but its stuff I have commented on before and dont feel like re-hashing right now. I made some good players reads and some bad player reads. I also played far more check-call poker than I would in a tournament.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


"Yet Another One Card Flush"

Tilting, Full of HATE!!!

Going to go play cash at MotorCity tonight. Played at MGM last night and the room was too "clicque-ish". Everyone was regulars and the play was all limp and hit/miss stuff. Difficult grind for a very small profit.

Not just that, but I find cash games BORING compared to a tournament. Really!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Just one more thing

By the way, I was just listening to the Ray Foley interview on Ante-up and he said something during hand of the week that was both common-knowledge and yet worth repeating.

When you have position and you raise a c-bet post flop and the c-betting CALLS you, he will rarely lead out or try to re-take the lead in the hand.

Then, I get to re-evaluate on the turn, where the OOP player does not.

This is a persuasive argument for raising c-bets with good but not great hands instead of looking for trying to control the size of the pot. (like with a 2-1 draw)

If I were to CALL the c-bet from the button and the c-better fires a second barrel, I would be forced to fold marginal hands now.

I found it interesting to contemplate.

Barry Greenstein said a similar thing in his book. He stated the raising the c-bet was the better move.

Trip to the MGM detroit

The family was camping and I stayed behind to work, so I took to the streets one night and ended up at the MGM. The 2-5 had only 1 table, so I sat down at 1-2 and tilted soon after.

I am playing tight, but not having a lot of luck. I even had to fold a flush to a higher flush. But then, I get dealt AA UtG. I expected some stupid raise, so I limped and sure enough a raise to $8 and then a raise to $20 from a guy with only $55 left. Then the kid (ac/dc muscle shirt) flats the $20. He only has $100 behind. I make it $100 to go and the $8 folder folds right away. The rest of the action is a testament as to why Hold 'em is the game of choice among donks.

Guy who made it $20 says out loud, "I know I am beat, but its my last $30" and pushes it in.

Guy on his right who flatted his call, "thinks" for about 10 seconds and piles in his entire stack.

First guy has KQo (not even a pair). But wait for it...
Second guy has AQo!? with the Ace of diamonds.

The flop is all diamonds and the river a diamond and he makes the one card flush.

I am down like $250 now for the night and he has $280 in front of him.

Fast forward a couple of hours. I won most of my money back, while he lost his entire $280 and another $100 on top of that. Best of all, he liked to bluff the river. Each time he did, someone would call and he would say "good call".

Amazing how hard it is to be a big favorite in a HE hand.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


Knew this was a +EV move. But my short time of running good is over... "Alas, I hardly knew yee."

Full Tilt Poker Game #13278858207: $34,000 Guarantee (98235235), Table 14 - 2000/4000 Ante 500 - No Limit Hold'em - 18:35:45 ET - 2009/07/08
Seat 1: dezyr_two (78,850)
Seat 2: Mezosius (242,156)
Seat 3: columbo (132,173)
Seat 4: bberger91 (118,520)
Seat 5: kingshafter (203,527)
Seat 6: --OURAGANT-- (57,278)
Seat 7: Hawkeye1414 (320,707)
Seat 8: Zombo (42,342)
Seat 9: bozobobo (38,636)
dezyr_two antes 500
Mezosius antes 500
columbo antes 500
bberger91 antes 500
kingshafter antes 500
--OURAGANT-- antes 500
Hawkeye1414 antes 500
Zombo antes 500
bozobobo antes 500
columbo posts the small blind of 2,000
bberger91 posts the big blind of 4,000
The button is in seat #2
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to columbo [As Kd]
kingshafter folds
--OURAGANT-- folds
Hawkeye1414 folds
Zombo folds
bozobobo has 15 seconds left to act
bozobobo folds
dezyr_two raises to 78,350, and is all in
Mezosius folds
columbo raises to 131,673, and is all in
bberger91 folds
columbo shows [As Kd]
dezyr_two shows [Tc Ad]
Uncalled bet of 53,323 returned to columbo
*** FLOP *** [Ts 6d 5s]
*** TURN *** [Ts 6d 5s] [Ac]
*** RIVER *** [Ts 6d 5s Ac] [Jd]
columbo shows a pair of Aces
dezyr_two shows two pair, Aces and Tens
dezyr_two wins the pot (165,200) with two pair, Aces and Tens

Would have put me 6th in chips with 35 left. Sigh...

Went on to lose to QUAD KINGS of all hands (with 55). Finished 30th.


Full Tilt Poker Game #13278102572: $34,000 Guarantee (98235235), Table 111 - 1000/2000 Ante 250 - No Limit Hold'em - 17:50:55 ET - 2009/07/08
Seat 1: youngman7 (22,587)
Seat 2: columbo (45,184)
Seat 3: billyed (28,920)
Seat 4: firedog0002 (13,960)
Seat 5: mau69 (66,516)
Seat 6: lolli82 (113,095)
Seat 7: jtown5 (28,014)
Seat 8: Albatarrr (52,373)
Seat 9: GUCCEE (43,892)
antes 250

mau69 posts the small blind of 1,000
lolli82 posts the big blind of 2,000
The button is in seat #4
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to columbo [5h 5d]
jtown5 folds
Albatarrr folds
GUCCEE folds
youngman7 folds
columbo raises to 5,005
billyed folds
firedog0002 folds
mau69 calls 4,005
lolli82 calls 3,005
*** FLOP *** [9h Js 5c]
mau69 checks
lolli82 checks
columbo bets 12,000
mau69 calls 12,000
lolli82 folds
*** TURN *** [9h Js 5c] [5s]
mau69 checks
columbo checks [so +EV/$$$, he'll think he is goot]
*** RIVER *** [9h Js 5c 5s] [2h]
mau69 bets 16,000
columbo raises to 27,929, and is all in
mau69 calls 11,929
*** SHOW DOWN ***
columbo shows [5h 5d] four of a kind, Fives
mau69 mucks
columbo wins the pot (97,123) with D'EMS (DARE'S) QUADS BITCHES!!!!

Villain had KK !

I ironically, I was just lamenting that when I had my last big hand KK. Utg raised, I raised UTG+1 and everyone folded including the shorty UTG. I only added $4500 to my stack, but then I reminded myself I played it correctly and so be it.

Can't complain now

Full Tilt Poker Game #13277857296: $34,000 Guarantee (98235235), Table 114 - 800/1600 Ante 200 - No Limit Hold'em - 17:36:51 ET - 2009/07/08
Seat 1: schmooof (29,805)
Seat 2: Heke88 (13,821)
Seat 3: UlationControl (13,024)
Seat 4: columbo (25,042)
Seat 5: Swiss I Master (61,581)
Seat 7: jmk 1168 (29,461)
Seat 8: kingshafter (50,889)
Seat 9: redbob14 (130,824)
schmooof antes 200
Heke88 antes 200
UlationControl antes 200
columbo antes 200
Swiss I Master antes 200
jmk 1168 antes 200
kingshafter antes 200
redbob14 antes 200
columbo posts the small blind of 800
Swiss I Master posts the big blind of 1,600
The button is in seat #3
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to columbo [8c 8d]
jmk 1168 folds
kingshafter folds
redbob14 raises to 3,900
schmooof has 15 seconds left to act
schmooof folds
Heke88 folds
UlationControl folds
columbo raises to 24,842, and is all in
Swiss I Master folds
redbob14 calls 20,942
columbo shows [8c 8d]
redbob14 shows [Ts Tc]
*** FLOP *** [3d 8s Ks]
*** TURN *** [3d 8s Ks] [Ah]
*** RIVER *** [3d 8s Ks Ah] [6d]
columbo shows three of a kind, Eights
redbob14 shows a pair of Tens
columbo wins the pot (52,884) with three of a kind, Eights

I really thought based on this guys stack, PRF of 38% and last hand calling an all-in with A2, that he would fold or show some marginal A7. TT was WAY bigger than anticipated, but for some reason, today I run good.

Why today? Who can say? I cant get over it. I have to get my money in behind to do well? ok, stop lamenting and play, dammit!

I am free rolling now with 102 left... TABLE BROKE. ALL NOTES WORTHLESS...

What a difference a week makes

Would I have folded this last week????

Full Tilt Poker Game #13277040763: $34,000 Guarantee (98235235), Table 114 - 300/600 Ante 75 - No Limit Hold'em - 16:48:59 ET - 2009/07/08
Seat 1: Slayer_pol (7,829)
Seat 2: SAPP313 (4,270)
Seat 3: UlationControl (17,085)
Seat 4: columbo (23,438)
Seat 5: Swiss I Master (30,593)
Seat 6: wesleyloves (7,044), is sitting out (faking it)
Seat 7: 7Ace7King7 (28,310)
Seat 8: WSOPstar2B (23,095)
Seat 9: Cigoli (21,890)

antes 75

WSOPstar2B (Iron man chip) posts the small blind of 300
Cigoli posts the big blind of 600
The button is in seat #7

Slayer_pol raises to 7,754, and is all in
SAPP313 folds
UlationControl has 15 seconds left to act
UlationControl folds

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to columbo [Jc Js]

Don't want to think too long and have others peg me as JJ... So I dont want to call time...
columbo calls 7,754

Swiss I Master folds
wesleyloves folds
7Ace7King7 folds
WSOPstar2B folds
Cigoli folds
Slayer_pol shows [Ad Qh]
columbo shows [Jc Js]
*** FLOP *** [9c Kc 5c]
*** TURN *** [9c Kc 5c] [As]
*** RIVER *** [9c Kc 5c As] [2c]
Slayer_pol shows a pair of Aces
columbo shows a flush, King high
columbo wins the pot (17,083) with a flush, King high

Also of note was that I tried a re-steal from a button raise with A6s and it turned out he really had a hand (77). When he shoved I was forced to call, but the A6 prevailed.

Could I be, cough - cough, running good today?

Two Plus Two Forum

I will freely admit, I have not been a big "forum" guy. But recently I went trolling through the "best of" 2+2 forum links and among the flotsam and jetsam of diatribe I found a wonderful gem (link lost, sorry).

There was an interesting and thought provoking post on stealing. The supposition was that when it comes to the difference between and intermediate player and an advanced player, the intermediate player will steal when the situation is good (later positions, FTA, etc) and he has a hand that has some value such as a suite connector or a small pair. The idea being that its a semi-steal. He would be fine picking up the blinds, but if gets called, he has a hand that has some "hit value". The advanced player, however, is stealing based solely on situation and player profiles, generally with ATC (any two cards). This is further enforced by the "Harrington Bots" because Harrington himself expounds the idea that steals should be with hands that are not "trash hands".

There is a wealth of information to contemplate in these ideas, but what I took from it is, "am I a lame stealer"??? i.e., "will I only steal with non-trash hands?"

I think the answer is yes. I consistently avoid situations where I would have to play post-flop with "air". I think this is because so many players will call c-bets with a naked Ace or a baby pair. In my WSOP event, my c-bet was flatted by a naked Ace FOUR times, THREE of which were rewarded with an ACE on the turn!!! I got away in 2/3 of them, but this is only a good play if the player you are flatting is weak (will always check turn if missed flop) or you have a plan based on reads or tenancies to take the hand away. Otherwise, you are just "floating, hoping for a checked turn". Emphasis on Hope.

So I have been very weary of stealing with air. The terrible downside of this is that since even a decent hand will miss 2/3 of the time, I am not doing myself any favors! Being unwilling to practice playing a hand with air is hurting my ability to rise to the top of the the "pyramid of play".

Unlike in the past, I am looking for a minor adjustment, not a major one. I am looking to add a bit of this play, not a ton. But it does force me to ask myself this, "am I missing even more re-steal situations?". I fear the answer is YES.
I need to be conscious of this and track situations where I could have re-stole but opted not to...

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Thinking Good, Running Bad

It's hard to continually post about how good my decisions are and yet try and justify how I could possibly be running so badly. Well, here's one. I dont play loose enough or enough hands to have a brutal beat just fade into the mix. So when I determine I am way ahead on the flop and a user is willing to play for his stack, I have zero reason to try and control the pot size.

Onto other thoughts. Is there a better way?
A beginner is a player who plays his cards well.

It was said that one graduates to intermediate when "he plays his opponents cards". That is bullsh*t. Its when he (she) becomes "situationaly aware". Understanding the correct move in a diverse number of situations. Harrington's book taught an army of beginners how to be intermediate players with M and Q alone. But the better intermediate players have added a playbook of situations that they draw from. (blind vs. blind, pot control vs. pressure bets, stealing, re-stealing, punishing limpers, when to be a shove monkey, etc).

Then there is the final passage. ADDING individual player tenancies (i.e. READS) to the above two. (If you can read a player, but done understand situational awareness, stick to cash games). It's here were the pro's really shine. Understanding when their opponent absolutely has to have middle pair. Knowing that they are bullying vs. running good, and knowing the optimal defense for that player when one gets into hands with them.

I for one find this last part much harder online. Player tenancies are more erratic and time to think and analyze (and down time) is minimal. But you can make up for some of this with shear volume. And that is some of my obsession with the daily $32k.

Today's missed cash:

Full Tilt Poker Game #13258843800: $34,000 Guarantee (98098435), Table 14 - 250/500 Ante 50 - No Limit Hold'em - 16:27:16 ET - 2009/07/07

Seat 1: DrewGodofPoker (14,050) <= likes to FLAT any raise as he is on my direct left.
Seat 2: Call-kluka (18,082)
Seat 3: SirThomasNichum (24,136)
Seat 4: marcsnick (8,068)
Seat 5: BurmD (9,986)
Seat 6: sonicreducer420 (5,575)
Seat 7: supertonic1989 (7,845)
Seat 8: DonksRock (14,702)
Seat 9: columbo (11,246)
antes 50
Call-kluka posts the small blind of 250
SirThomasNichum posts the big blind of 500
The button is in seat #1

marcsnick folds
BurmD folds
sonicreducer420 folds
supertonic1989 folds
DonksRock folds

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to columbo [Js Qs]
columbo has 15 seconds left to act
columbo raises to 1,250

I decide with it folded around to me in the cutoff, I would raise/steal here.
I had won (without showdowns) 3 of the last 4 hands I played, and I had folded a fair amount of hands without a bet, such that my stack of 10k was that size for a while, while the avg. jumped to nearly 14k.

DrewGodofPoker calls 1,250

again, flatting me from the button this time. No surprise. (pot is 3250)

Call-kluka folds
SirThomasNichum folds

*** FLOP *** [8h Jh 4c]
columbo has 15 seconds left to act
columbo bets 2,500 (into 3250 or 3/4 pot)

One could make an argument for a number of silly plays here, but to me with this hand and this flop, the best strategy was a simple, standard c-bet.

DrewGodofPoker has 15 seconds left to act
DrewGodofPoker raises to 5,465

Considering his starting stack size of 14k AND the fact that this is the 3rd time he has flatted me, I can put significant weight on this being and attempt to take the pot away from me. AK is a reasonable holding for me, I have few enough chips that I would be loath to continue if I missed the board. In my favor is that the flat was unlikely coming from AA or KK, so unless he has QQ or AJ, I am looking pretty good here. But most of all, is my intense feeling that he was going to do this with any hit on the board. I can put him here on A8s or A4s here, but I am crushed if he has 88 or 44 here. Still, a read is a read... And what did I learn from Hoyazo? RAISE!

columbo raises to 9,946, and is all in
DrewGodofPoker calls 4,481 <= note that he INSTA-CALLS!
columbo shows [Js Qs]
DrewGodofPoker shows [As 8s]

He puts me on the AK and I am going to...
*** TURN *** [8h Jh 4c] [8c]
*** RIVER *** [8h Jh 4c 8c] [Kc]

go home now...

But seriously, how do I NOT get my money in on this flop with my read?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

So f'n close

Full Tilt $32k today and with 100 left, my table has Karina Jett, Mike McDonald, and TwoBlackAces. I am short-ish, but still have some non-shove play.

The BB in this hand has been set up by a prior play. I came in light on a button raise and he shoved on me. I made a fold. This time, its folded to me on the button again and I am ready to go...

Full Tilt Poker Game #13124409555: $34,000 Guarantee (97195837), Table 69 - 1000/2000 Ante 250 - No Limit Hold'em - 17:46:37 ET - 2009/06/30
Seat 1: Jon2322 (92,859)
Seat 2: Karina Jett (85,000), is sitting out
Seat 3: pampil (46,622)
Seat 4: aggi3guy (56,146)
Seat 5: Mike McDonald (30,277)
Seat 6: columbo (27,170)
Seat 7: lol_me_is_good (51,618)
Seat 8: regrind (27,613)
Seat 9: twoblackaces (86,165)
antes 250
lol_me_is_good posts the small blind of 1,000
regrind posts the big blind of 2,000
The button is in seat #6
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to columbo [9d 9h]

twoblackaces folds
Jon2322 folds
Karina Jett folds
pampil folds
aggi3guy folds
Mike McDonald folds
columbo raises to 5,000
lol_me_is_good folds
regrind calls 3,000
*** FLOP *** [7c 2d Kc]
regrind bets 22,363, and is all in
columbo has 15 seconds left to act
columbo has requested TIME

I spend 30 seconds of my time bank here, coming to the conclusion he simply changed it up and ran a Stop N Go on me here.

I call, expecting to see either TP or AIR.

columbo calls 21,920, and is all in
regrind shows [9c Ad]
columbo shows [9d 9h]

YES! only have to sweat the Ace!

Uncalled bet of 443 returned to regrind
*** TURN *** [7c 2d Kc] [Ts]
*** RIVER *** [7c 2d Kc Ts] [Ac]
regrind shows a pair of Aces
columbo shows a pair of Nines
regrind wins the pot (57,090) with a pair of Aces
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 57,090 | Rake 0
Board: [7c 2d Kc Ts Ac]
Seat 1: Jon2322 folded before the Flop
Seat 2: Karina Jett folded before the Flop
Seat 3: pampil folded before the Flop
Seat 4: aggi3guy folded before the Flop
Seat 5: Mike McDonald folded before the Flop
Seat 6: columbo (button) showed [9d 9h] and lost with a pair of Nines
Seat 7: lol_me_is_good (small blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 8: regrind (big blind) showed [9c Ad] and won (57,090) with a pair of Aces
Seat 9: twoblackaces folded before the Flop

This is an automated message sent from Full Tilt Poker.

Full Tilt Poker Tournament #97195837 $34,000 Guarantee NL Hold'em
Buy-In: $24.00 + $2.00
1515 players
Total Prize Pool: $36360.00
Start Date: June 30 2:00 PM ET

Dear columbo,
You finished the tournament in 88th place.
There has been $54.54 added to your account.

F#@K!!! Nothing left but a beat story and $50 lousy bucks.
(Mike McDonald went out before I could finish this post at 74.)

KK revisited

Its interesting to ask the question this way:

You are approaching the final stretches of a MTT and its 6 to the money. You have KK and there are 2 all-ins in front of you. If you move all-in, you either finish 1st or 12th (pays 6). If you fold, you finish 6th just in the money.

What's more important? Cashing or playing to win?
Last night I played to CASH. Why? Not sure. But when I play SnG's, I play much tighter than any other situation. In cash game or large field MTT, I shove here.

So why do I fold in a SnG? I was thinking at the time that the goal in an SnG is the cash. Is that correct or wrong?

Monday, June 29, 2009

My first ever fold of KK

A 5 table SnG, with 13 players left. I am 3rd in chips, pays 6 places.

Full Tilt Poker Game #13109472706: $24 + $2 Sit & Go (97244116), Table 5 - 150/300 - No Limit Hold'em - 21:53:40 ET - 2009/06/29
Seat 1: Mlindsay (3,920)
Seat 2: Jim Leach (1,515)
Seat 3: columbo (7,510)
Seat 6: Tam Raven (4,665)
Seat 7: Chef Patty (5,790)
Seat 8: breauxdle (2,610)
Seat 9: Vestvik7 (1,630)
Jim Leach posts the small blind of 150
columbo posts the big blind of 300
The button is in seat #1
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to columbo [Ks Kh]
Tam Raven raises to 4,665, and is all in
Chef Patty has 15 seconds left to act
Chef Patty has requested TIME
Chef Patty raises to 5,790, and is all in
breauxdle folds
Vestvik7 folds
Mlindsay folds
Jim Leach folds
columbo has 15 seconds left to act
columbo has requested TIME
columbo folds [KsKh]
Chef Patty shows [Jd Jh]
Tam Raven shows [9c 9h]
Uncalled bet of 1,125 returned to Chef Patty
*** FLOP *** [4s 8d 7d]
*** TURN *** [4s 8d 7d] [Js]
*** RIVER *** [4s 8d 7d Js] [3h]
Chef Patty shows three of a kind, Jacks
Tam Raven shows a pair of Nines
Chef Patty wins the pot (9,780) with three of a kind, Jacks

I figured one of the 2 may have Aces, I am not folding Aces here. Its debatable that I should fold KK, but based on stack sizes, I did not read either player as this desperate!!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

SnG madness?

A recent bracelet winner (congrats again) tipped me off that the 5 table $24+$2 SnGs on Full Tilt have gotten turned very soft again.

I decided to see for myself on Sunday...

Despite my KK losing to an AK shove (see any WSOP post), I managed to cash.

Charmin-ny soft.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

PokerTek tables

An addendum to my trip report is a mention of the dealer-less tables at Excalibur. After seeing dealer-less blackjack tables (2) at Caesar's, it reminded me to go try the PokerTek tables. My experience definitely tilted to one side.

First, I had to apply for a card, which meant having my ID scanned and imaged. Well, not thrilled, but my player cards have a ton of stored info, so how can I complain? Still, I suspect my license was imaged and stored, and I am not for that.

Next I had to load chips onto my card. This was akin to a credit card transaction, complete will dated/silly receipt signing ceremony. Finally, its off to the table.

The blinds have been set at $.50/$1, I supposed because of the either the niche they can fill or the backlash that would occur by collecting more rake based on more hands. I suspect it was because the room is unpopular. (click for proof)

Now to the actual play. Ummm. What? Oh, sorry I dozed off. My table had 7 players. 3 were having a side conversation about poker rooms and you could tell none of them were any better than occasional recreation players. They overwhelming loved PokerTek because they "got in so many more hands per hour". Which brought a smile to my face as their "playing" constituted picking up the card, touching the corner of their cards, touching the FOLD button, and then touching the CONFIRM button. There was even a young grinder at the table, up $80 dollars which I can only assume took him 80 hours to accumulate.

The entire experience consisted of watching players stare DOWN at the screen, clicking screens with the corner of their cards, and watching animated cards. It took the poker experience and reduced it to a mechanic task much like gardening, mockingly celebrating the extra 15 hands per hour. I could not even sit out the hour, preferring instead to shop with the wife. Are you hearing this? Shopping for gifts for the in-laws was BETTER than PokerTek. Talk about an indictment.

It even seemed to reduce the other players to surreal automatons, faceless bald-spots, clicking robots with bad AI.

On an even more personal note, I like thinking of the deck as a static determination of fate that I dont get online. Why would I want to sacrifice that live? Why would I just not stay home and play online at a BETTER interface?

There is some hope, however, in that the heads-up tables fill a niche and deal a game that could not otherwise be played live. Oh, but there are no heads-up tables, so too bad so sad for you.

Thankfully the entire "experiment" is coming to a close. Bring back the Aces-cracked Wheel!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

WSOP 2009 Trip Report (event 39)

As is my tradition, I twittered all my tournament updates live (ltcolumbo) and save the write-ups for the blog. It was an eventful trip, full of lessons and anecdotes.

I arrived Wednesday, a day earlier than usual for a Saturday event. I wanted to play with my recent mentor, Lee Childs (acumenpoker) and he had to leave for a wedding on Thursday, so I headed out a day early with Mrs. Columbo in tow. My buddy Glenn had come in a day earlier, taking a 3 day detour traveling home from a sales trip in Seattle. We had a late lunch and met Lee over at the Rio.

He suggested we play some SnGs and we all 3 bought into a $100 Satellite. Lee went out early. This was great in that he got to sweat me for a few hands. You start with only 1000 in chips in this one. First big man for me was where it was raised from EP and then a 550 all-in from MP. I had TT in the blind and folded. Lee says he would have snap-called there because of the structure, but I thought the table play was poor enough so far that waiting had benefits. The EP showed a weak ace from early position vs. what I think was KQ. The Ace high held, and indeed TT would have won the day. Exactly 1 rotation later, the exact same thing happened. The same guy makes an EP raise and I have TT in the blind again. This time I calculate the max value. I had a ton of information to go on and decide that I folded that last TT for just this reason. I expect that he will make a c-bet if I call, maybe fold if I move in, but probably call. I decide to call and then re-raise his c-bet all-in. I call the $200 and the flop is Q55. He makes the c-bet of $300 and I move in for $800. He had AQ. Oops. Nice plan, if it would have worked.
Score: Lee 1, Columbo naught.

So Lee and I head off to grab another SnG, this time a $300. (We left my buddy still in the $100 SnG, and he would end up chopping first.) This table had much better play and you started with $1500 instead of $1k, similar to the online structures. Although there were plenty of good hands, I recall very few remarkable ones. Lee went out early again, and after watching us get down to five and me almost breaking the 1 seat (but he had me covered so he has a few chips left), he had to get packing. The “seat 1” was a guy who sort of looked the part. A bit over-weight, longer hair than corporate, an earring and the sort of liaise-affair demeanor to the whole thing. From the point of 5 left and down, the seat 1 doubled up four times leaving us heads up with the same chips stacks. We chopped the $3k. Score 1 for Columbo. I then realized, they paid it out in T-chips, which I would have to sell at some later date, since I pre-paid for event 39.

Glenn and I then had a nice time at the Cuban cigar bar in the forum shops with a mojito, a drink regaining its well deserved popularity.

Thursday I went down to play the Caesar’s $330 deep stack at noon. Great structure, 200 players. I felt this was a much more manageable size than the 500 players at Venetian and a whole lot cheaper too, as Venetian was running a $1k today. I played very well.

Had to get away from a couple of hands, and even made a credible bluff and my opponent laid down a better hand. But with over half the field out and running well, things took a turn for the worst. I am a BIG believer that players, especially cash players, put too much credence in hand decisions ‘in the moment’ and not enough about ‘context’. Hellmuth sometimes accidently discloses this same strategy during tirades on bad beats. (Although he takes credit for setting up players). The idea is that everything that happens at the table, good or bad, changes your image at the table. And if I play a hand poorly or weakly, I don’t have to berate myself. I simple need to USE that to my future advantage. It’s the tournament meta-game that few players utilize. In this case, a new kid at the table, sits down and watches me raise pre-flop, then check fold after the flop. A weak play to say the least, but the flop could not have been worse and I saw no reason to contest at that point. So it comes around to me again and I raise pre-flop and the same kid calls from the BB. I can see it on his face; he wants to take advantage of me and is calling light. He has any-two-cards. The flop comes down and I hit two pair. I make the c-bet and he check-calls. I know what comes next. Give him the chance to try and take the hand away. The turn comes and I weak-lead. Heh, I am sure he is coming over the top, his body language and bad acting betraying him. The board looks relatively safe, with only a gut-shot really there. He pushes into me and I snap-called. He suddenly looks very embarrassed and turns over his QT. I show him my two pair and he starts counting out the pay-off. He didn’t even know he had outs. He had a double-buster draw, but played it as a stone bluff. When the J hit the river and he won, he only knew it because everyone at the table let out an “ohhhh”. Instead of being positioned to finish my run, I was out just at dinner and none too happy. But what could I do? I read the kid perfectly and I read the situation perfectly. He had zero idea of where he was at. And if I could see his hand, I would do it again, so I can hardly count that as a mistake.

My buddy went out 15 minutes later, so we went to the Mandalay Bay Rum Jungle for Brazilian dinner at the dinner break.

Friday, I played some 1-3 cash just to practice situations and reads. I did not win a whole lot, but I did pocket a buy-in of profit. Had another cigar and drinks at the Rhumbar at mirage, then off to my favorite Friday night location, the Hoffbrau House. We stayed late, as it’s hard to drag me out of there. Ein Prosit.

Saturday, it was breakfast at the RIO (corned beef hash) and off to event 39. The structure is very kind in the first four levels and maybe this worked against me a little when I hit a big had in Level 1. Very first rotation and I raise with 55 and get an OOP caller (one of the blinds). I flop a set. The board is AK5. He checks, I bet like 200 into the pot of 300, he calls. The turn is some blank and he checks. Now I bet 600 into the pot of like 700 and he calls. The river is a blank and he checks. He can’t like his hand very much and with out a re-raise pre-flop or on the turn, he does not have AK. He must have like AQ/AJ and is worried I have AK? There is now a good 1900 in the pot, but if I bet, I can’t see him calling. Yet, I have to bet here with the best hand. I know a more reckless player would bet like 1200 here and pray the guy made a donk call. But I just could not place him as being that stupid in level 1. So I make a value bet of 600 and he calls to see the bad news. I did not get to see his cards. He avoided me the rest of his time at the table. Maybe AT?

Despite being up 1500 early, some bad flops and some speculating dragged me back down to the starting 4500 by the end of level 1. Towards the end of level 2, this most amazing hand comes. “What wicked webs we weave”… Limp from total donk in MP. Raise from LP from uber-tight, conservative older man who looks the part of a watch-maker in the movies. I call from the button with 88. Flop is the beautiful K78 with two clubs. Donk checks, LP watchmaker bets out. I think he has AK here, c-betting, but certainly has a good hand. I could raise here, but against two opponents in the 50/100 level, I wish to play more conservatively and keep the pot small against the massive draws so I call. The donk calls and I figure him now for the clubs. The turn is a K!

A short digression here. I focused very hard mentally on Friday at the cash tables on not getting excited over hands. By the end of the night, you could deal me AA and I couldn’t care less. I played every-hand with a blank face, and this carried over to Saturday. Even when the K hit, my heart stayed steady and my expression blank. No one at the table had a clue.

Donk checks, as he is waiting for his 3rd club. Our watchmaker bets out like 800. I look like I am thinking about my hand, but I am calculating how to break two people on the river. If I raise here, the flush draw (who is drawing dead) will reluctantly fold and I will get called by trip Kings and sweat the case king and the board pairing the seven. (And perhaps an ace or two.) I figure he has 8 outs at the most. If I instead call here, club draw calls drawing-dead and if the river is a club, they BOTH go broke. I have no doubt that the trip Kings can not fold either way and that the money goes in. I make the smooth call and sure enough, club donk calls. The river is an iceburg 7 (non-club). Donk checks intending to fold and Kings make a huge bet. He just back-doored the higher boat and I forced to fold the Titanic. I was so frustrated, I had to just fold the next 3 hands knowing I would not be able to play them properly. The spider eaten by the trapped bug.

I managed to chip up and grind through level 2 and so many players are luckier than me. Three times someone floated my c-bet (out of position!) with a naked ace. All three times the Ace came on the turn. Unbelievable. Seriously, all three times.

At the level 2 break, I overheard not one but two bad beat stories of QUADS over QUADS. Yikes. Maybe I am not so much unlucky as I am just plain luck absent.

Its level 3 and I casually re-raise with KK and all the money goes in. KK vs. KK. Chop. Really?

I actually play an A2 hand when it’s folded to my button and the BB calls. Flop is T83 and he checks, I c-bet, he calls. Turn is a 2 and when he checks, I move in to shut down his hand. He must have 2 overs or a weak draw. He mucks T9 face up and I act incredulous that he made that great lay-down. “I was sure you had an over-pair”, he said. Score one for the tight image. I made sure to tell him again how impressive that lay-down was. He ate it up. (He was so sure I had JJ, he never even asked at the break.)

At the end of level 4, I raised with AQ from MP. The card rack at the other end of the table, and older guy who has only been playing only a year and won the Venetian deep stack earlier in the week, calls. He is a strong TAG player, and his c-bets are frequently the size of the pot. The flop comes AQx and I let him bet every street, getting all my money in on the river. He tables A5. From that point on, he folded every hand where I raised first to act. This helped me more than once, as he assured the guy next to him (a very weird half-Scandinavian kid) that he had made a good laydown against me since I don’t bluff.

At the break I am at 7800, which is average. Mrs. Columbo bought me a new vegas hat and delivered it at the break, so I took off the Lions hat and switched to the “vegas hat”.

Level 5 sucks. It starts when I play TsTc from EP and the flop comes down 973 all hearts. I check, new-donk bets out, button moves all-in. new-Donk looks ready to call when I fold my now marginal over-pair. Button has AK BLACK for a total bluff, new-donk caller has 77 with the 7 of hearts. WTF? Two non hearts come and again TT would have won had I been a shove monkey with any over-pair. I still say that calling there with TT would have been horrible.

Here is something else. When a player sits at the table and he wants to talk to the dealer or to players, he usually sucks. He’s an ABC player at best and the money means little to him, so he chats it up. It’s just a matter of ticks before they go broke with Top Pair. So many players I watched. Sit, Chat, Rail. And the cash game players who have zero patience for anyone else’s decision and then go into the tank for 20 minutes on a big call where they have no clue as to where they are at. They are like time bombs, waiting to explode and spew chips in multiple directions. Watching these guys stack off to other players at the table and all I can do is watch and hope to get into a similar situation.

Meanwhile, for the next level and a half, I will see no pairs, no playable starting hands, and no suited connectors. It starts when I fold KQ in the BB to a raise and a re-raise. No defending there Over 90 minutes of hands with a 4 in them. At the very end of level 8, I finally get to play a hand with KK. Everyone folds, but since it was a re-raise, I picked up some chips. I used my image and Gus Hansen’s rule that everyone hates playing at the end of a level to make 3 steals. I am 8200 at the break, the board has 9600 as average. We go to dinner.

When I return, the board has some bad news. The average is actually more like 14k and there are 873 left. The levels are 200/400/50, so with 8200, my M is poor (8). At this point I have had 4 hammers, KK twice, and pretty much just the TT hands. The guy who sat down two to my right is another BSD (big swinging dick) from Florida. Likes to push people out of pots, play big hands, but not a big post-flop player. He loses a big hand and tilts. He starts moving all in on my BB hands (we both have about 10-11k now) and I say very matter-of-factly, “I like this. Makes my decisions simple”. He mutters sometime about “making it clear-cut” and I politely smile. Again, meta-game context. He did this about 3 times (1 time I even tossed KTo). The fourth time I had QQ. Surprisingly, he had AJ. Even more surprising, he was very optimistic that his Ace would hit. When it did not, I left him with only 1k in chips. I needed that, and I had spent almost 1600 setting it up over 4 rotations.

At the break, I am 20k, with the average at 22k. Not terrible. 550 left. We go to 9 handed at the tables and I note that despite now having counted SIX hammers today, I have not had AA a single time. KK twice, QQ twice, AK twice, TT twice, KQ 3 times.

In level 7, some douche who plays online as “creative”-something-or-other is anything but. He simple moves all-in with Ax. The first time, a decent player (guy who was the level 1 payoff of my set) raises from EP and he (creative) calls. The button now raises with his AJ. The 44 calls all-in resigned to his fate. They both put him on a small pair. How do I know? Douche moves all in and puts AJ on a challenge here. AJ says he knows first guy has a small pair but doesn’t understand how this guy can move in here without AK. He finally folds and sees he was ahead when AT sooted is tabled. Ace hits the flop and AT doubles up. Less than a rotation later, the AJ guy moves all in with QQ and again, douche snap calls with AK and out draws him and sends him home.

Now in level 8, we get to new players, both on my right. The first guy in the 10 seat looks the part with his sunglasses and Italian looking hat and 5 o’clock shadow. The guy directly to my right sits down with a huge stack. Must be 70k. He looks the west coast Asian gambler part, but I have no evidence yet, just wild guesses. But let’s be frank here, poker players dress the part. A guy who is tight, does not cultivate these images.

I get my first evidence we I raised from EP and the “seat 10” guy had no experience with my image, nor did he care. As soon as the flop came, he fired out and I knew this was going to be a big pot if I called. I decided not to float with my Ace.

I spend some time thinking about day 2. I’ll need over 30k in chips to be competitive and I’ll have to start playing back at these new players. I’ll have to maybe even put in some post-flop re-steal efforts. I decide that with less than half a level until tomorrow, I’ll put off that strategy for now. I have about 18k and can’t worry about anything but getting my money in good if I get the chance.

Not a couple of hands later, “Seat 10” raises to 2200 UTG. Blinds are 500/1000/100. The big stack in the seat 1 flat calls and I suddenly understand what just happened to my table. I now have two big stacks who have little to no regard for position or pot size. They are going to play every pot and shut out the rest of the table. My only saving grace is that I can move in on a big hand and if they fold, I pick up 5k. If not, I’ll have a hand to double up with. Two folds to me and just like I hoped for, I look down at JJ. Since I did a Phil Ivey on this one and calculated everything before looking at my cards, I had no further thoughts to process. My read was first guy came in light and second guy was just going to flat every pot he could with his monster stack. I move in for something around 16-18k. As I get ready to celebrate, douche moves all-in. At first I figure I am crushed, but then I figure there is a good chance I am up against AK here for a race. So now I hope my read on the first two was correct. They both put on a big show, but I see right through it. I had it pegged. There cards hit the muck and I am thrilled to have 4500 in dead money in the pot, especially when “creative” tables another AKo. I show my Jacks and all I can do is watch my new stack of 36k go to zero when the flop is AKx.

Some players just run well. I saw 1, then after level 7 two at my table that hit every flop hard. Yet, I finished about 400th, just short of the money. I got away from marginal situations and bad beats, had decent reads, and played a solid meta-game. I had set myself up to make a day 2 run and was only a race away, my only race of the entire day, which I couldn’t win. You can’t win a WSOP event without winning a race. That’s just the way it is with 2800 players.

I was very dejected. I remember saying hello to F-train and CK and Al Can’t Hang and LJ during various levels, but the writers area was empty at the end of the day, so I left, feeling like Lane Meyers. -“A man beaten. The once great champ, now a study in moppishness.”

Sunday I played some cash just to remind myself I don’t totally suck. I did not lose a single hand or make a single mistake. When I was up a buy-in, I left and we had dinner at the sidewalk café at the Paris. That sucked. But it was going to no matter what, right?

Now for my $$$ Total disclosure.
SnG profit: $1100, Cash Profit: $400, MTT profit: -$1800.

Lessons learned? Dashiell Hammett describes it in one of his “Continental Operative” stories. “Few men get killed. Most of them who meet sudden ends get themselves killed. I have experience at dodging that. I try to take the survivors for a ride.” That’s how I play. I am not looking to hit giant draws after the money goes in, or to just shove and hope. I am waiting for my opportunity to win without getting killed. I count on getting through the one or two marginal clashes in one piece. This was just not the day.

It took some big round-house punches to knock me out. I could have gone broke multiple times in multiple places, but I didn’t. And I was “lucky” in that I never had to get away from a losing set-over-set, the hardest thing in hold ém. Although happy with my performance, I would not be totally honest if I didn’t say that I am brutally disappointed. Maybe now I won’t scoff when players yell “One Time!”

-Yeah, I still will.

Congrats to Ray Foley, a local player here in Detroit that took down the event!

And just to prove I still have my sense of humor...