Sunday, May 31, 2009

So this is it

That last night of the BBT4. And in effect, the last night of training.

I have always been transparent in this blog, writing thought and strategies even if they turn out to be wild or unfounded. But the blog is one that chronicles a journey, and a long one at that. After 5 years, I strive to be more than I am.

The last year has been a wild one. Major job change, winning a 24k, breaking my back, seeking the mentoring of a pro, and realizing once again that the journey never truly ends.

Despite my results over the last year, I feel that I am better than I am last year when I satellited my way in via my home-town league. I am constantly experimenting now with advanced concepts instead of intermediate ones.

There is one day left in my "training schedule" to the WSOP, today's BBT4 events. I am 16th overall and despite that solid running, I hope this is no aspersion to any of the players in saying how disapointed I am that I am not in the top 10. There is no one to blame but myself, and I cant place much of the results on beats. With a event sampling size as large as this 3 month series, its silly to dwell on the one or two where you went out 11th.

Although this does remind of the 32ks over the last 6 months where I went down with 100 left to a brutal beat, sabotaging my repeat success.

I have thoughts about how I will approach the NLHE event 39, but that can wait. For today, I am prepared mentally for the challenge. I will be no easy mark today. My biggest mistake over the last week was playing to conservative close between 20-15 places left. I can not let myself fall into that trap again.

Good luck everyone.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

so far no determinations...

Top Set could not stave off an attack from an OESD. He hit both ends on the turn/river.

The Psychology of Self Improvement

I have been thinking about this for quite some time... I remember even in grad school, the words of one professor. "You are very good at making decisions. But sometimes you make them too quickly." Still true to this day? Yes, albeit to a lesser extent, but yes. So what is a repeat offender to do?

I am going to try something drastic. I physical manifestation of a mnemonic device. (Sounds all doctory, doesn't it?)

This is a small object (not a chip) that I can hold in my hand and rub/stroke (heh) to remind me to think longer and more completely before a hand.

This is not the first mnemonic I ever used, as in my early days I had a sticker of the professor from Powerpuff girls on my monitor asking me "flush?" to remind me of the number of times (way too many) that I was paying off flushes. And it worked. Very effective.

I am off right now to locate said object and to try out my desperate grasp at control in the 32k today.

66 does me in

Its funny that on Monday I did not want to play 66 from EP and instead went out on AJ vs. 33. So color me red when I played 66 and was re-raised from the ginormous stack on the button. I called and saw a flop of T83 and he CHECKS.

Now either he has JJ-AA OR he has big overs. But when he checked, I pushed. At the time, I figured I scare a big range of his holdings and I represent a hand like JJ also. But today, I realize that his CHECK instead of a c-bet to a short stack is an invitation to go broke. So I dressed up to the nines and he welcomed me at the door with Top Set.

I think I was in trouble here no matter what, but to not recognize that simple betting line has me in a panic.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My name is (who?)

Coming from the land of eminem, I understand economic adversity. But despite all that, I am playing Event #39. Why? Numerous reasons.

1. Have to play a big tournament once in a while. The Shaolin monks would say that if you practice fighting and do not fight, then your skills are less than those who fight. I dont fight the big fights very often, but I can make an exception once a year to test my mettle. (I want to play more Razz after the WSOP is over and test my mettle there too.)

2. I have been practicing way too much over the last 3 months not to take the "test". Despite my results, my decisions are becoming honed and my game rising to a level I did not even feel I could get to a year ago.

3. With the economic downturn and the reigning in of travel and such, I need to do something that is "bigger than life". Considering I broke (nasty) my back months ago, this is as big as it gets this year.

So there you have it. Justification in the worst way. I did not qualify for a $1500 event this year in a satellite or club, so I am breaking my own rule to not play an event without expressing my way in. But I will take 3 or 4 shots are WSOP main event seats. I expect next year to be the year I get in, but you never know.

In other news, I am starting to combine chip utility and small ball together without a train wreck ensuing. This is interesting. Sometimes I feel that the best thing I could do for myself is to never know what my chip stack is... But obviously no one can afford that lack of information. I do need to make sound decisions, however, without allowing myself to be taken in by justifications. As of late, I am too prove to make a good call, even though the stand alone logic is FOLD. Interestingly I am right alot of the time. But not all the time. I am really starting to understand the meta-game behind small ball.

But in results, it can be brutal if you let your stack get too short. I bubble the PPI on Monday, and I was disapointed by a big stretch of dreck that I could not play my way out of. As it was, a suckout blind vs blind kept me out of 13th.

Skillz was Stud and if it wasn't the last BBT4 skillz night, I would have passed. Instead I made 4 second best hands to go out way too soon. Just 2 events left...

As it is, I feel slightly guilty going into the WSOP series as results have been average lately AND I punched my BBT4 ticket in RAZZ, not NLHE. Funny, eh? I'll put all that behind me tonight as I make a final, focused charge at the Mookie.

"I will fold to sets. I will fold to sets. I will fold to sets."

ok, I am ready.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

If I see one more set....

I have moved from chip-utility drills to small-ball practice, but I am having a HELL of a time getting away from an over-pair when I run into a SET.

I am banging my head on the table. Look, if you play me at all in the next week and you raise me on the turn and I dont fold, just type SET into the chat box to remind me what a DONK I am.

I would also like to PIMP a poker podcast, Poker Soup TV. Other than occasionally leaving the podcast running for an extra hour while they play poker on skype, I really like to return to old-school poker podcasts where people talk about hands. No, take that back. Where you dont just TALK about hands for a few seconds, but you analyze hands. I miss that so much. (Get them on itunes).

Monday, May 18, 2009


OMG, just I just play a hand like a donkey.

Limper, I make it 4xBB, BB calls, original limper calls. Flop is 989. chcek, check to me. I make a c-bet of 2/3rds the port with an overpair of JJ.

Like that bet? Well, I c-bet into 2 players. But not necessarily incorrect. I am able to assume that one player hit a card higher than 8 (a 9 in this case), but since there are two of them, its just as valid to think they both missed. so far, still ok.

BB now RAISES to 3x my bet. original limper folds.
AS HARD AS IT IS here to put the BB on A9, QQ, KK or even AA, I feel stupid because once again I make a QUICK decision and get it all in. Now to be fair, if I CALL here, the money is going in over the next 2 streets because he has KK.

Its a hard read here, but I was 11th in chips and did not need to play a big pot with a pair. At the same time, how do I put the BB on KK? (TripJax played this tricky and got a great flop for it I think, considering there were 3 to the flop.)

Friday, May 15, 2009

situations and thoughts

ok, mostly thoughts.

mini-Ftops is worthless. I want to see if I can hold my own in a RAZZ tournament, so I sign up for mini-ftops Razz. 1200 players? In a limit game? what for 24 hours? gez. I bowed out. FTOP razz was more reasonable at 400, but its was a $300 buy-in. so I guess I can continue to fool myself a while longer.

Working on my game going into the final training stretch before Vegas. My results in the last 6 months are all over the place, and yet I am playing incredibly well as of late.

How many of you have lost to QUADS 3 times in 2 weeks?

"thought I'd something more to say..."

Monday, May 11, 2009

Recovering from a brutal beat

When you play in a tournament, a big tournament, you are focused on making good decisions. But in the end, there is a fundamental difference from the smaller tournaments you will play. In the big tournaments, results DO matter. Its a tad ironic that you got hear by remembering the mantra, "decisions not results".

So you train, practice and study making good decisions. You analyze every mistake. Then you walk into the big tournament and you know what? Fish start jumping out of the water and into your boat. It's what you trained for. You feel great. And then an early setback.

Have a sample:

Seat 1: WidowJack (3,625)
Seat 2: boyana05 (8,553)
Seat 3: donkurchips2me (2,947)
Seat 4: rhe041 (2,615)
Seat 5: MrHeuvel (2,965)
Seat 6: Gabyleviking (2,080)
Seat 7: columbo (4,995)
Seat 8: koikoi1 (2,095)
Seat 9: HevvyDevvy (10,160)
rhe041 posts the small blind of 25
MrHeuvel posts the big blind of 50
The button is in seat #3
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to columbo [9h 9c]
Gabyleviking calls 50
columbo raises to 150
koikoi1 folds
HevvyDevvy folds
WidowJack folds
boyana05 calls 150
donkurchips2me folds
rhe041 folds
MrHeuvel calls 100
Gabyleviking calls 100
*** FLOP *** [6d Js 9s]
MrHeuvel checks
Gabyleviking bets 500 (top pair, probably AJ)
columbo raises to 1,000
boyana05 folds
MrHeuvel folds
Gabyleviking has 15 seconds left to act
Gabyleviking raises to 1,930, and is all in
columbo calls 930
Gabyleviking shows [Jd Ks]
columbo shows [9h 9c]
*** TURN *** [6d Js 9s] [Kd]
*** RIVER *** [6d Js 9s Kd] [Jc]
Gabyleviking shows a full house, Jacks full of Kings

Not just a full house mind you, a runner-runner bad beat.

My above average stack is now reduced to a starting stack and I am forced to stare into space, a gaping hole in my face where my jaw was.

We have ALL been there. But what is important is that I am "down but not out". Chip-and-a-chair cliche' moved aside by a Monty Python, "I'm not dead yet".

Chris Ferguson once said that one of the biggest differences between an amateur and a pro is how quickly the amateur will shift to all-in hope-and-a-prayer poker after his stack suffers a big loss. Again, we've all been there.

So how do we soldier on? Here is what I do.

First off, If I get knocked out, I think of it this way. "It took runner-runner to take me out". (or on Sunday, "it took a 3 outer to take me out".) It's not a bad beat story. Its a testament to how lucky someone has to get to outplay you. The "how" is irrelevant. 'It took QUADS to knock me out.' Not that is a statement.

If I did NOT get knocked out, then its usually a call to arms. I am not going to sit idly by and watch my stack dwindle. oh no! You have unleashed pain upon the table my friend. You thought I raised a lot before? The pots just got bigger because I'll take a bit more volatility now! And I will bet into you after the flop like a kamikaze pilot. The reality is that I will start to do that, but slowly shift back down after the image is established or I get some chips back. Then I am going to try and stack someone even if it means getting my money in on Middle Pair with a solid redraw. Once I reach average again, its back to my regular game plan.

One last thing. I never, ever get into a discussion at the table in an attempt to justify my play. The best you are going to get from me is a shrug. I can not be rattled. I'll even say that to myself. "these guys are not good enough to tilt me. They might be bad enough to tilt me..."

Its true in many ways that its harder to get through minefield of fish than a sea of pros. But is there anything more satisfying that watching that idiot who luck-boxed away with your chips go broke while you are still sitting there and get to watch him walk to the rail? If you are going to wage a comeback and you have some volatility, you may have to win a race. Or worse, win from behind. So be it.

All the more satisfying when some player who read a chapter on small ball lets you get there on the turn and river to 2-pair his TP weak kicker. He'll tell me how bad that play was. And I'll shrug. Because after all, he's half right!

Its funny that I feel stupid writing this post. I mean, I have the urge to just delete it. Sometimes when I read it, I feel like I am explaining cooking my favorite dish to a chef. But I want to be able to go back and read this post later. Because one day, I might need to learn this again. There is only so much beating a person can take before they require some solace.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

"I run bad" Hall of fame first ballot

Think it can't happen TWICE IN ONE WEEK?!?!?? THINK AGAIN!

Full Tilt Poker Game #12066319284: $34,000 Guarantee (90177637), Table 102 - 500/1000 Ante 125 - No Limit Hold'em - 17:14:47 ET - 2009/05/06
Seat 1: bego82 (3,068)
Seat 2: stockpig (45,260)
Seat 3: pokerpro109 (52,675)
Seat 4: Guitarhero10 (25,418)
Seat 5: Lefty_wAAs (18,919)
Seat 6: nemo_fr (31,048)
Seat 7: columbo (18,347)
Seat 8: Gregtzky85 (11,408)
Seat 9: miski (19,624)
bego82 antes 125
stockpig antes 125
pokerpro109 antes 125
Guitarhero10 antes 125
Lefty_wAAs antes 125
nemo_fr antes 125
columbo antes 125
Gregtzky85 antes 125
miski antes 125
stockpig posts the small blind of 500
pokerpro109 posts the big blind of 1,000
The button is in seat #1
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to columbo [Js Jh]
Guitarhero10 folds
Lefty_wAAs raises to 2,000
nemo_fr folds
columbo calls 2,000

This guy was hard to figure out on bet sizes, but often came in light and tried to buy it post flop.

Gregtzky85 folds
miski folds
bego82 folds
stockpig folds
pokerpro109 calls 1,000 (big stack, almost exact same note)

*** FLOP *** [9d 3h 6d] (not bad at all!)
pokerpro109 checks

(10-1 lefty bets here)

Lefty_wAAs has 15 seconds left to act
Lefty_wAAs bets 7,625
columbo raises to 16,222, and is all in SWEET
pokerpro109 folds SWEETER
Lefty_wAAs calls 8,597
columbo shows [Js Jh]
Lefty_wAAs shows [8h 8c]

SWEETEST!!!!! So many chips!

*** TURN *** [9d 3h 6d] [8s]
*** RIVER *** [9d 3h 6d 8s] [8d]
columbo shows two pair, Jacks and Eights
Lefty_wAAs shows four of a kind, Eights
Lefty_wAAs wins the pot (40,069) with four of a kind, Eights
columbo stands up

*** SUMMARY ***

Monday, May 04, 2009

playing well or opportunistic

Other than my run in the previous post, I finished 3rd in my league on Saturday and sixth in the donkament on Sunday.

The Saturday tournament was interesting in that with 3 left, a solid player started tilting for no discernible reason and raised all-in 5 hands in a row. This hand I have 88 and I RAISE first to act to send a message. I am not going to play scared and back down. I have 70k and its $3k/$6k so shoving all-in every hand is not how I want to play. He shoves again, and I call with 88. He has a hand with AK and the King hits the river. Discussions digressed into a comment that was akin to "the best I could hope for was a race". I don't think that enters into it. 3 handed, I will not be pushed around by folding a pocket pair to a 6th all-in in a row. I have no need to be the table police, but with 3 left I need to establish some sort of sane foothold.

Sunday, on the bubble play was tight and you just know it was inevitable that it would be a pair of big hands. I had TPTK, he had flopped a set. Too bad for me.
Final table, WPBT points, but no monies.

"I run bad" Hall of fame entry - Best in class!

Full Tilt Poker Game #12027105331: $34,000 Guarantee (89920510), Table 16 - 120/240 Ante 25 - No Limit Hold'em - 15:48:24 ET - 2009/05/04
Seat 1: Capuccio (8,728)
Seat 2: FCN-Forever (6,368)
Seat 3: Alfie Lemon (5,699), is sitting out
Seat 4: CodeNameDonkey (8,370)
Seat 5: davits59 (4,279)
Seat 6: columbo (5,105) [short due to a bluff that got picked off for almost $3k, but still ok health wise for this level]
Seat 7: ZgunnZ (2,097)
Seat 8: justfloppin (3,030)
Seat 9: josue29200 (16,183)
antes 25

davits59 folds
Dealt to columbo [Ac Ah]
columbo raises to 720 [sweet]

ZgunnZ folds
justfloppin folds
josue29200 raises to 1,440 [sweeter]

Capuccio raises to 8,703, and is all in [sweetest]
FCN-Forever folds
Alfie Lemon folds
CodeNameDonkey folds
columbo calls 4,360, and is all in [now with squeeze bonus money!]
josue29200 folds [free $1400 in monies!]

Capuccio shows [Kh Kc]
columbo shows [Ac Ah]

*** FLOP *** [Kd 8c Tc]
*** TURN *** [Kd 8c Tc] [Ks]
*** RIVER *** [Kd 8c Tc Ks] [Qh]