Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Embarassed myself in the PPI

So bad. Put a player on a hand and refused to change it. Even worse, but not spend the TIME required to make a good decision. Result? O-U-T out. Spanked like the step-mother on Harper's Island...

Monday, April 27, 2009

A tale of 2 tournaments

I blew off the Lions VIP draft party and instead played a deep stack live MTT. $20k in starting chips, 35 minute levels. I played LOTS of small ball, but after the lunch break, I had not won any "large" pot. Made some great plays, but its not the same as building chips. I recall one time I think I gave a player too much credit for a brain and made a value check-raise on the river with the nuts. He called it with TPTK (I had a well disguised back-door flush), but maybe I should have went for his stack. [I am STILL thinking about this]

On Sunday, I signed up for the BRIT MTT but because BWW advertised wireless even though it did not work, I had to move. By the time I logged in, I missed 30 minutes and my starting stack was now 980 chips. You start with a lean 1500 and its an exercise in chip utility. "Come high or stay home." So I played UBER aggro poker and danced my way to the final table, being the short stack the ENTIRE WAY. Them, I LOST my connection for 10 minutes again, and when I got back there were only 7 left. I eventually went out 6th, losing a race with AQ vs. a middle pair. Not bad, eh?

Last night I watched High Stakes Poker (You got Durr'd). That kid is amazing. But the real story is Patrick Antonius. You watch him play, and you watch a guy who is building a story of your betting as you play. Just amazing.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Punched my BBT Ticket !!!

After getting sucked out on at the bubble of my Tuesday night league, I rallied on in the BBT SKILLZ game last night.

RAZZ was the game, and its one of my better games (NLHE, TripleDraw, then RAZZ. I have to work harder on Omaha). I was up to a good start early, then on a lean stack, and then on a tear to secure my first BBT 09 win and my TOC seat for a chance for a visit to the big show.

I consider it funny when I listen to a good razz player like Jennifer Harmon talk about remembering all the board cards. I KNOW you need to do that in stud, but really, who does that in RAZZ? I use my patent pending razz strategy that I call "84B".

The 8 stands for 8 or better starting hand. I rarely play a non 3 to an eight hand even for a non-complete bet. and likewise, I rarely fold an 8 regardless of the action before 4th. Now I will note how many "little cards" are out there and more importantly, how many "little cards" that do not match one of mine. If you count "littles", like many books advise, you need to disregard the ones that would pair you. Those are "rocks" to you. I never try to calculate the card my opponent needs to make a better 7 than me. Even if I was willing to put in that effort, how many times would I be correct? Close to zero.

The 4 stands for 4th street. If I brick and my opponent does not, I am folding 90% of the time. Really. Maybe more. The exception is when he bricks harder so that his board is still behind mine.

The B stands for the board. I play "transparent" in that I assume that my opponent has 2 decent in the hole and that he will assume that I do also (which I do). Because of this, its VERY hard to bluff me off a hand early. If your board is better than mine though, I NEVER CHASE IN RAZZ. LISTEN. "NEVER". EVER.

The footnote is pot control. I never try to build a big pot before 5th street. And I am very happy check-calling even after 5th. There were at least 2 hands yesterday where people sorta laughed because they could not figure out why I was not pushing more or betting in certain circumstances. Razz plays like a one-legged driver. Its either gas or brake and never both. I stick with brake and switch to gas only when I feel I have the lead in the hand.

All this sounds simple, but the patience to actually follow it can be brutal. BUT, thanks to my recent commitment to escaping bad situations, I could not have had a better result.

At the final table, I accumulated chips like a mad-man and by the time we were heads up, I had a 3-1 chip lead. Sweet.

Am I the best razz player? Not by a LONG SHOT. But my style works darn well.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Return of Houdini?

Its been a long time since I abandoned blind chip utility in favor of escaping bad situations. In the 21k today, I made FOUR major laydowns. That is four more than I normally would make this year. Only 1 was even post-fold questionable, but in 1 case I avoided the dreaded "running into Aces" scenario. (AK CALLED AND WON, I HAD TT.)

Don't get me wrong, it was HARD folding TPTK to a river all-in and its very hard to allow a EP Raiser to shove you off of JJ. But there is a difference between a hard fold and calling. A big difference. One I have been blowing off lately.

And because of this, I had to play ShortStack poker more than I like to. But I was in there and not out on the rail. And like many luckboxes out there, surviving gave me an AA just when I needed chips. So I saw 2 major rivers and folded 4 major re-raise hands and somehow I have just enough for an average stack.

I dont know how this is going to turn out, but its nice having some of my old Houdini skills back.

UPDATE: Went out on the BUBBLE (17 until) AGAIN! when I made what I thought was a great read/call with 99. He turns over 88 and elation turns to dinner-time when he flops the set.

Friday, April 17, 2009

How many licks?

...does it take to get to the money in the 34k?

Lets find out...

1. The nice lesson learned from stupid mistakes we make is that when other make them, we have an easier time recognizing them. Thus it was when early on I called a 4xBB bet after limping with Jh9h for small-ball only. The flop is JJ6 and the original raiser bets out pot. What does this tell you? Easy, he has QQ, KK or AA. (I dont see 66 raising to 4xBB early on.) This was such a bad lead by him, I figure I will raise now rather then later despite the no-draw board. He cant wait to go broke.

2. I have 6k, and a 2k stack shoves pre-flop from the SB AFTER I raised to 300. Despite only having 300 invested, the shove makes little sense to me. I call with QQ and he shows A7o. Really early for that kind of steal from the SB. Not smart.

3. With blinds up to 200/400/50, I am in the BB with AQo. Player with similar size stack raises to 1000. This is a good place for a re-steal because of stack sizes, and I push over the top all-in for 6500. SHOCKINGLY he called with KTs. Wow. But for some reason my hand holds up.

4. Same level and this time I am the first raiser to the pot with 9dTd. I expect to get credit for a bigger hand as I have played tight. I get a CALL from the SB. He checks the flop and I c-bet for 1900 into 2500 and after some time, he folds. (Flop was KQ6 with 2 hearts)

5. The time for small-ball is over... I raise from the cutoff with AcTd. The button calls. The Flop is T96 (with 2 diamonds) and I am not in a mind that I want to "extract value" here out of position. I decide I want to shut 're down right here and prevent a scare card from ruining my hand. I bet pot. He folds.

6. Stack is dwindling in the 250/500/50 level as I have GARBAGE over and over. I am in the BB with Ac9C when a short stack moves all in for 8k. I have 17k in my stack and without even really considering it, I FOLD.

7. There are less then 10 players to go out before the money. I have a LEAN stack, but by no means critical. with the blinds at 500/1000/125 and my stack at 12k, I could easily fold to the money. But I am actually looking to accumulate chips. 1 to my left is the tournament leader with 90k, and I have seen him pay off an all-in with a mere AJ earlier. I have JJ in EP and make it 3k. BIG STACK who has been calling lean but not trying to freeze the table, bets 11k in effect daring me to play for my stack on the bubble. As I shove my chips in, I notice we are FOUR from the money. He shows AK and after the flop I am way behind and bubble out of the 34k.

So either way, I guess the answer is 7. (or 6 if you dont count the #6 fold)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Dances with Wolves...

If I had a Cherokee poker name for the month of April, it would be "Runs into Aces". My regular Houdini skills are lost to me right now, I am I making big calls or big shoves into AA. And what's worse than running into AA in the BB? (something more obscene, obviously).

Sunday, April 05, 2009

suckout sunday?

played incredibly good-decision poker today.

Lost a race, lost AQ to AJ, and best of all caught a played who could not fold a flush draw and put him all in on the TURN... He called off his stack and won.

How much of this game is simple chip accumulation and winning when your ahead? not enough apparently. But enough grousing...

I need to go play XBOX or something ('saints row bitches')... anything else.

In non-poker news, have you seen Kevin Pollak's new online talk show? Good stuff.

Anatomy of a downfall

Hoping to do well at league night, I sit down and play tight. Starting with 10k in chips, I fluctuate between 11k and 9k for a while. Then...

Raise with 66 from MP and I get called from the player on the left. The rest fold. Flop is 843. Good flop for a pair of sixes. I decide to check raise. I check, player bets 1k (pot size bet). Hmmm, I follow though and make it 3500. She smooth calls. Well, now I know I am behind. But how far. The turn brings a 2 and the 3rd club. I contemplate moving in, but decide based on the strength of the smooth call and the pot size, she would have to call. Not deep enough to bluff here. I check and she checks behind. The river pairs the 8 and I check again and she puts in a low value bet. OMG, she has a monster. I fold and am out half my stack. (She flopped a set, checked the flush board and rivered a boat.)

So now with a half stack something weird happens, the blinds are up around 300/600 now and I have 5k in my M=6 stack. The UTG limps! now what I noticed at this table is that after two limpers, no one but me even "punished", so everyone would just limp along. and me with 9Ts. ok, I limp and 3 others do. 5 see a flop of TTx. Utg bets, I shove. rest fold. UTG limped with... KT!? NEVER saw that play coming and I lose with trips over a kicker. IGHN.

I found that spot hard to deal with, I had the blinds in two hands, and thus I could say that I could raise there with 9Ts for a steal, stop and go. But with only 5k, and my raise to what, 2k? I am committed anyway. But 5k was ridiculous as a raise... or was it? (I think so). I think I played it decently, so I guess I chalk it up to a difficult hand coming to a short stack. UGH no matter how you slice it.

so, today I'll play online and smoke some ribs in my new smoker... and try to let it go...

Friday, April 03, 2009

I made my WSOP decision(s)

I am going to play a $1500 event, and decided on #39. (Saturday June 20th). If you are in town, give me a holler!

I have budgeted $400-$800 for satellite events to the main event, and will only play this year if I win my main event seat.

If I do win a main event seat, then I'll end up flying back out for it. Silly, really, but that's the way it worked out.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

I'm gonna win the Mookie...

That is what I was saying to myself last night as I played. I was in the groove and making good decisions. I had an above average stack and then my KK fell to AJ. Back to 1/2 of average. But instead of resigning myself to a bad finish and going to bed, I remembered what Ferguson said. "Many players give up after a tough beat. Good players dont". and I didn't.

Again I built my stack to way above average and again a major setback. AA cracked by 77.

Again I built my stack up and this time with about 18 left, a MP raised, and a short stack shoved. I have KK. I need to come over the top here. If the MP folds (which is likely) I have isolated a player who might have shoved with AK and I have squeezed extra equity out of the original raiser. If the original raiser has any hand but AA and he calls, now I have both the main pot and side pot I can win. But alas, the MP DID have AA and again I am the short stack.

Despite all this, I eeked into the final table to cash in 9th. Kudos to Blinders who somehow played just 3 hands (can you say shove and pray?) and took a stack shorter than mine and lasted past my departure.

Also of note: I stay disciplined and folded many baby pairs from early position (utg).