Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mentally Vexed

There's an expression for you. I made a half hearted attempt to login to an online site yesterday, only to forget my password and get distracted by something shiny. Part of it is the new job, part of it is the mental distraction of the holidays, and some of it is even the Reid bill saga. Am I supposed to flee with my funds the moment it passes or simply ignore it as "much ado about nothing"?

And even this medium. This blog type medium. Where is it going? or perhaps more correctly, where is it fading away to? Perhaps as a content provider who is ONLY chronicling a stupendous rise to mediocrity, this blog has run its course (sort of like leaving on a drive to LA and ending up in San Diego).

I could say "time will tell", but lately time=stress. Perhaps this is why young players dominate long tournaments. Time is a simple commodity of which they are overloaded. I seem to be treating idle time as paramount to say smoking, an event that shortens your life.

I watched the first couple of episodes of Mad Men last night to see what all the commotion was about. I dont think the show is for me, and I dont feel like watching it just because everyone else likes it. Talk about digressing...

I missed the WPBT last weekend, and that also took its mental toll as I cursed the poker gods. And yet, I have too much to be thankful for to really be anything more than "sorry I missed it. Next year for sure."

2 months ago, I was close to last in my league (as was its host). I bet someone that we would both make the top 11 out of 27) by the end of the league getting 6-1 odds I think. I came in second that month, and in December my accomplice won. Neither was particularly pretty, but we continue to climb the ladder. It has to go better than my "Lions will win 5 games this year" bets. (Note: I will make that same bet next year!)

Monday, December 06, 2010

Another Tale of Two Kings

After early level success, I had a combination of bad table position and bad cards. With about 1/2 the field gone, my double-avg size stack was tiny. I have maybe $12k (avg is $35k) and I finally get a hand: KK.

An action player who had made many marginal plans and got rewarded this evening is on my left and he raised (I am in the blind) to like $1800. Now I can re-raise all-in, and expect him to fold and rake a pot of like $4k. OR, I can bet half my stack (say $5k) and expect him to CALL, and expect him to call the post-flop push, as probably a 3-1 favorite (as he probably has a weak Ace... yet again).

I dont know how you play, but I am NOT letter a weak ace get away pre-flop here. I bet 1/2 my stack, he calls with Ah3h. Flop is Th9h3c and when I shove, he now calls again as a dog, because he hit the flop. But in the end, he draws out and I go out.

But, that is the way I play.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Totally NOTHING to report

Really. In a strange way, I found myself AVOIDING opportunities to play poker this weekend and instead work on minor house remodeling/decorating projects. And hacking my Wii. And playing XBOX. and staring. Which brings me to the thought that I am rebelling against poker since I am to miss the WPBT extravaganza in Vegas for the first time in 5 years. So much booze. So many straddles.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Why do I like tournament poker better than cash games? It's just really hard with 40-50 BB to get away from a set regardless of the board. And if you have top-set second nuts, you are not going to escape from the unlikely change that someone called a 4x raise with 2d4d.

Still, no one to blame but yourself. Move in with top-set and lose... It happens, move on. At least it wasn't Kings into Aces pre-flop!

Friday, November 05, 2010

Putting it all together

A short while back, I made the affirmation that I was going to play more hands. I did this because of what I know of game theory and war strategy. The more dangerous you are, the more confrontations you can avoid. Its a simple postulate, but a psychological truth.

But it dawns on me this morning that me implementation strategy is flawed. Playing more hands may increase opportunity (and volatility), but the real way to strike fear into your opponents is to be dangerous. This is OFTEN misquoted and misinterpreted by players and people to mean aggression. And there is a great deal of truth to that. But that is more of a tactical view. What you really want to do is constantly create uncomfortable situations for your opponents.

You see this often on TV poker and you can read a great book length article on it in doubleas book "pressure poker". You find situations where you can apply pressure to your opponent. But what was missing from this (and also missing from the book) is the psychology behind it. Which is tied very closely to timing and its success or failure. The WSOP main event illustrates this very well. "When your opponent seems to want to play a small pot, pressure hit with a big bet. When your opponent wants to play a big pot, frustrate him with a fold." Obviously we see the first part of that statement in aggression at the table, but not enough credit (on TV certainly) is given to the second half. Denying your opponent the opportunity to set the pot size is in my opinion the single biggest asset next to your cards themselves.

How does Annette play an entire SnG or MTT without looking at her cards? This is how. Creating uncomfortable situation and obviously not disclosing the fact that she is playing blind.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Finally, an update

Well, life is in chaos. But change brings growth and that is what learning is all about. Maybe its the change of scenery, or perhaps its my internal growth, but my way of viewing hands has changed.

I have a new job, and at the executive level times are tough, so I embrace it rather than grouse. I have a 40 min commute. Average to some, but the longest of my career. In addition, I walked into a 120m company with the tech infrastructure of the 1980s. Really, you think I am joking, but alas I am not. The CEO uses AOL email still. You cant make this stuff up.

As for reading, I picked up a book called The 33 Strategies of War, by the author of my favorite book of all time, the 48 Laws of Power. If you have ever read Sun Tzu, you immediately take away that most battles are won before they begin. The equivalent in poker is playing hands and knowing your stuff. But so many players are decent and well prepared now, it just is not enough of an edge. If you read the 33 Strategies of War, the biggest thing you take away is that the best generals could improvise against the grain. i.e. come up with strategies on the fly that were based on exploiting tenancies. If you are a big NFL fan (and I mean an X's and O's guy, not that fantasy crap) you know that tenancies and weaknesses are exploitable.

All this comes to a point. I am changing my style a bit moving forward. I am going to play a bit more aggressive and play about 5% more hands. And I am going to use those hands to attempt to exploit my opponents and keep them on the defense. This, is paramount to today's game. Watching the WSOP on ESPN (too many all-in preflop hands on TV) simply confirms this. You need to be able to "run more plays" to get ahead.

I played the ante-up 5 card single draw tournament Wednesday night and made the final table. I like this game, but there are no "simple bluffs". If you are going to bluff in single draw, you really have to set it up pre-draw. For Example, if you have a strong image, you can draw two after a raise from position and know you are probably going to take down the pot better when the player who drew 3 checks. Even though you have nada. On the other hand, if you have a lame image, they will assume you have held onto your Ace kicker (very lame). I saw at least TWO players doing that. Wow. In the end, its hard to fold a dealt 2 pair pre-flop when the blinds are high. I had to once, and was crippled and then not a few hands later could not (no chips) and again was shown trips (pre-flop).

This Saturday, I have a deep stack $200 live game with a field of about 100. Should be a good one. Last time I went out early when a guy boated on the river, and I didn't fold. Lame. But I'll play better this time.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Terrible MTT session

3 tournaments, zero success. Why? I think its lack of concentration more than anything. If I am going to play, it has to be with the eye of the tiger, not the apathy of a koala.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Poker Anecdote

Last night I am playing at league night. I have bled off 20% of my stack missing flops. I hit zero of them. So, folds around to the button and "villain" makes a raise. I also noted he played his last 4 buttons or so (but I am not sure). I look down at Ac7c, so I call. I have already decided on a course of action for my hand if I hit an Ace.

Flop is 8cAdJh. I decide that I will check raise the c-bet. The c-bet comes for maybe 1500 and I come over the top for 7k all in. Now, that is a big bet, but he calls with TPTK. I figure that a bigger Ace here (but not AK) may fold. Tough call, but certainly reasonable. The turn is a 7 and I win the hand from behind. Not that I am proud of my play here, but now I feel like I have to defend it because this guy is pissed.

Even after a short discussion, he says something under his breath. With strangers I would let that go, but not in a league. I bring it back up. His logic is that he "never plays marginal hands, and thus cant have just a Jack there." He solicits confirming opinions from another player at the table. No way this guy would make a button raise with a hand like KJ or QJ. Fine. Ok.

As usual with this kind of story, fast forward maybe an hour at the most. Folded around to him on the button and he raises. I decide to CALL in the SB with KQo. I have this hand in the blinds because of the trouble it can cause. You could argue for a raise since the antes kicked in, but perhaps this guy has AK again. Ok, so the BB calls and we end up going to the river since no one can beat the pocket pair of 77 from the BB. He shows JsQs!! The EXACT hand he states he NEVER plays.

Moral of the story: Phil Hellmuth is a genius. Really. By going on a tirade, people give you credit for tighter play. Try it!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

More Thoughts

Got my ass out of the office this week and rode my new bike to the grocery store. I had watched the WSOP coverage the night before, and as I recalled the information I was amazed at how few interesting hands there were. I mean, most played themselves. Very boring. Even the occasion bluff seemed well timed and a good spot for it. I even followed Jean-Robert Bellande's bluff logic as he bet 3 streets into trips I think. Happens.

I am disappointed that the Lions are already on their back-up QB. I guess the NFL is not like poker. No injury substitutions.

Playing the 6-max $22k today. I like the format. You see more "stab bluffs" that have to be countered, and players show more patterns in 6-max.

Job? yeah, yeah, let me finish Mass Effect 2 first. ok, seriously, two jobs with 3rd interviews this week. People afraid of making a mistake I presume.

I still like MSFT for a buy and hold. The revenue stream from xbox live is so good, that PS3 and Wii were forced to add those services. That and they print money like IBM does as of late. Equities = gambol

Friday, September 10, 2010

Thoughts and Notes

Job hunting has been "fun", but I am glad its coming to a close.  I have 3 or so viable ones in the final stages, plus a couple of backups in the pipeline.  Overall, I expect to be working and saying goodbye to the daily $42k sometime in the next 30 days.

I'll miss that daily practice, albeit at the $24 level.  I decided that my future play will be at the next level or higher ($69+) from now on.   This is a big change (moving up levels), but in forays into the higher levels, things have gone relatively well.

In other thoughts...

I wanted to play at an online casino so I looked up online casinos and found as a site that lists a few.  Should be an interesting site to watch going forward.

Its interesting that Harrah's has not surfaced in DC as of yet, but I am expecting it soon after the election.
I expect some sort of online poker in the US, but you must be a US owned and operated Brick and Mortar casino to get a license.  This will all but crush the offshore entities for about a year as they scramble to find a way to land a beachhead.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Really? THRID (sic) best hand here???

Full Tilt Poker Game #23732823713: $8K Super Stack (Early Antes)
Seat 1: columbo (5,370)
Seat 2: digit67 (2,808)
Seat 3: kampi 08 (8,858)
Seat 4: chrispy2005 (2,466)
Seat 5: xiiviix (6,569)
Seat 6: COUNT TRON (3,988)
Seat 7: Reebak (9,213)
Seat 8: DomeMish (8,670)
Seat 9: EvalEvan66 (4,475)

everyone antes 10
columbo posts the small blind of 40
digit67 posts the big blind of 80
The button is in seat #9

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to columbo [7s 5s]
chrispy2005: wp?
kampi 08 folds
chrispy2005 raises to 200
xiiviix calls 200
Reebak folds
DomeMish calls 200
EvalEvan66 folds
columbo calls 160  (why not?)
digit67 calls 120

*** FLOP *** [3s 8s 4s]
columbo has 15 seconds left to act
columbo checks - decide to check-raise all-in here with the super draw...
digit67 bets 1,090
chrispy2005 folds
xiiviix raises to 6,359, and is all in
DomeMish folds
columbo calls 5,160, and is all in
digit67 calls 1,508, and is all in
xiiviix shows [Ks Qs]
columbo shows [7s 5s]
digit67 shows [As 8c]
Uncalled bet of 1,199 returned to xiiviix

*** TURN *** [3s 8s 4s] [9s]
*** RIVER *** [3s 8s 4s 9s] [Kd]
xiiviix shows a flush, King high
columbo shows a flush, Nine high
xiiviix wins the side pot (5,124) with a flush, King high
digit67 shows a flush, Ace high
digit67 wins the main pot (8,884) with a flush, Ace high

*** SUMMARY ***
Seat 1: columbo (small blind) showed [7s 5s] and lost with a flush, Nine high
Seat 2: digit67 (big blind) showed [As 8c] and won (8,884) with a flush, Ace high
Seat 5: xiiviix showed [Ks Qs] and won (5,124) with a flush, King high

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

How I LOATHE the Button Straddle

Why?  Let me spell it out.  It takes any game and forces it to play 1 level higher, without the stacks.  For example, in a 1-2 game the button straddle is $5.  So, you are playing a $2-$5 game, but the buy-in is only $200 max.  So, you are forced to play a bigger game against stacks that have accumulated at the table with only 40 BB. 

Yes, that REALLY bothers me.  It changes the game in that the table play is looser, but most of the time the loose play is unjustified.  Worse, if you are not getting cards, you bleed chips relatively quickly.

Here is a scenario.  You see some flop (at $5-$10 each) and miss EVERYONE and have to refill even though you have NOT LOST A HAND.  The stack to your left is $800 and ALWAYS button straddles and often raises it.  So, a new girl on his left limps.  I look down at 88 and its a perfect place to see a 4-5 handed flop.  I limp too.  The button makes it $20 to go and then the UTG girl, who is being tricky with QQ, re-pops to $45. 

She only has $120 behind and this button guy is probably going to call pre-flop, but who can be sure.  Do I want to play for $45 with 88 in a $1-$2 game??? No, of course not.  I am WAY behind and I would need to win a pot of $400 to have justified the call.  She only has $120.  And if I miss the flop, which I will 7 out of 8 times, I just called off 9 BB in a losing effort. 

The flop was A8X.  Figures. 

But my point is that the people building big stacks (and another guy was stuck $400 before he won a pot and started to build a stack) are doing it getting their money in with total disregard for EV. 

Conclusion: Its a donk-fest only you dont have the usual edge you would at said fest.  Your best bet is to build a stack fast, but if you keep getting "see a flop hands", you had better hit a few of them.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Poker and Football (NFL that is)

Why do I love football so much?  Because I am constantly amazed at the Xs and Os of it. The coaches and their game plans and the scheming are riveting to me. 

I approach poker tournaments like an NFL coach.  I have a game plan based on the structure and then call plays based on the situation.  This is probably why I am a tournament player vs. a cash player.  I put the situations first and try "reads" on a player second.  (I do the reverse if playing cash).

So, I was sort of bemused last night when a comment was made about my play style.  We have 12 players, so it becomes an extended SnG.  Short-handed, then full table, then returning to short handed.  I for one love short-handed play in this situation.  But apparently someone had been stat-hunting and made a comment that I am not aggro enough to be good short-handed.  I found that intriguing.  (I still think being aggressive at 6-max is over-rated.)

In a 6-max tournament, you really have to open up your starting hands and fight a bit harder for pots.  But I am not a believer that you simple change out your game-plan styles for 6-max.  That's debatable I know.  But in a 12 person home-game, there is no comparison to a full field 6-max tournament.

My game plan for this more SnG situation is simple.  (Nods to Jen Harman here).  No Limit is a game of trapping.  With big stacks and big fields, you are trapping post-flop.  In a smaller field with smaller stacks, I am more likely to utilize the Phil Hellmuth method of trapping.  Pre-flop raises, laydowns to re-raises, until you cultivate situation where you think you have gotten an edge pre-flop. 

Sure, at one point with 5 or 6 left (this hand will be OMM e107) I had to lay down what turned out to be the best hand (although I still outlasted that player to get to the chop at the end).  But more often, I was trying to play big pots with my big hands pre-flop.

To me, in a big field AK is a drawing hand.  In a shorter stack or smaller field short-handed, AK is a TRAPPING hand (and sometimes AQ for that matter). 

Sure, even in 6-max I treat UTG as UTG (nods to Lee Childs), but usually I am playing hands I might discard at a full table (AJ, the Cosenza, etc.).  And I will "float" more, but I am still not going to be stupid and bluff off large amounts of chips under the guise of aggression. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Lions News: status of the 3 year plan

Why did the Lions trade for a DE last night?

Take a look at this diagram.  The Lions are on a 3 years plan, and a competent one.  I was critical at first, because I always felt you built from the defense up.  But in the pass-happy NFL, you have to build from the QB first.  So year 1 they assess their offense and grab their QB.  The use "talent fill-ins" on defense, determining their targets.

Year 2: they finalize their offensive based on year 1 weaknesses (Calvin being triple teamed was a big indicator) and fix the TRENCHES.  That is right, the priority was the TRENCHES.  Solidified LG.   Two BIG MASSIVE impact DT.  And SITUATIONAL DEs.  Speed rushers AND edge containment guys. 

2011: The "back 7" will be finalized.  Everyone there this year, with the exception of Delmas, is competing for a 2011 job.  This includes the CB trades, Peterson, and the new crop of discarded safeties from other teams. 

It seems worth stating that the Lions aspire to 8-8 this year.  7-9 will be disappointing, based on their plan.  9-7 would be something to be ecstatic about as it confirms that the moves to date have had a huge impact.  But rest assured, the Lions will be interesting instead of the doormat of the NFC North.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Poker's Prisoners Dilemma

You have 8500 in chips and are dealt KK in the BB. The level is 100/200 (antes start next level). With 3 limpers at 200 each, deciding what size raise took me a second thought. In the end, I voted for 1000 (not 1200). First limper folds, second (BUTTON) calls, third folds.

Ok, so the pot is $2500 and you have $7500 behind. Assuming that an Ace does not flop, you are going to lead out a good percentage of the time. The lead would be anywhere from $1000 to $2500 depending on the flop. Standard would be about $1500-$1800.

The flop comes 78Q with 2 spades (My kings are red). My opponent can have a wide range, but based on the limp call on the button, I am going to have trouble putting him on a hand. After thinking that only a Q will call, I decide to bet only $1000. This is light, but in a home game, c-bets and turn bets often fall into bad habits of "same size as last bet" traps, and I figured it would look like that.

After betting the $1k, my opponent raises to $3k. Here now is the dilemma:

You have a strong holding vs. a wide range at an early level. BUT, you have $2k in

Here is my criteria for a fold:
1. Did my opponent take control of a hand? If so, why
2. Did my opponent reach the tipping point first?

In this case, he took control of the hand and yet I cant see him trying to "take it away" on this flop. Especially for that much of his stack. He also reached the tipping point first. Based on criteria, I should have seriously considered a fold. Yet because of stack size, I did not.

I really am thinking about this hard...

Thursday, August 05, 2010

It's time to post again

I took a surprise break from the grind for a week or two as my day job evaporated. Sure, I hired on knowing the goal was to sell the company, so I should chalk it up as another victory. But financials were disappointing in this market, and thus this IT executive is looking again. Hopefully, another growth company that needs scalability, technology, operation expertise, and above all needs a guy like me.

Job hunting can be mentally taxing (certainly isn't physically) and so I am very cognizant of my brain and moods at a given moment.

When I finally did sit down yesterday and play the $42k, I notice things again that I take for granted. Specifically, the period of a tournament where 50% of the field is gone until the 15% mark. This is where the M starts to grind away and the deep stacks portion of the tournament is coming to a close. You may have more than average when this begins, but if you play passive, you will be a short stack or flame-out at the 15% - 10% mark. It's the tipping point of an MTT and is only relevant in large fields, but online its a must have skill.

I am trying to work on skills that really work in this range. You cant force too much action, but you cant just "wait for hands" either.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

VERY apprehensive about playing right now... (job bad beat)

I am apprehensive about playing right now due to the fact that I am looking for a new job. And let's face it, 90% of poker (past the amateur levels) is concentration and deep thought. In the face of such uncertainty, I think it would be severely -EV to sit down and try to concentrate. I can just picture the recent chain of events (all out of my control) leaking into the silence and mood-tilting me.

I have been in IT and technology a long time. I got so good at it, that my last 3 companies were all purchased! I made considerable contributions to the bottom line and in customer satisfaction ratings, so I am in some ways a victim of my own success.

I am hoping that all that success translates to opportunity, but its a tough market. I would also like to say a public thanks for the people that have taken some time to refer me to others in their network. I am amazed at the generosity and kindness that can come from people you only get to see occasionally.

more to come...

Friday, July 09, 2010

What to do?

4 tables left in the $42k and the level is 4k/8k/1k and you are dealt 99 in the BB.
EP raises it to $18k. You have about $185k as does the EP raiser.


Thursday, July 01, 2010

$42k play as of late

I am playing well until the antes reach 50, then instead of ramping up the aggro, I bleed chips. This is probably the hardest part of any tournament, playing at a full table when you cant wait for good situations. Perhaps I should practice by playing 6-max cash?

In other news, I really, really want to change from donkaments to shootouts moving forward, but suddenly there are fewer choices for shootouts on the online sites. Why is that?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Transperancy and suck-age Part V (4th hour)

(12) Easy shove, bad luck

Full Tilt Poker Game #21829287690: $42,000 Guarantee (168285862), Table 143 - 500/1000 Ante 125 Seat 2: Toni_Jensen (8,461)
Seat 3: poil76 (61,025)
Seat 4: columbo (5,757)
Seat 5: Just4fun_Kara (26,870)
Seat 6: bigcon-cret (74,508)
Seat 7: buldos (12,269)
Seat 8: Jazzinitup (68,081)
Seat 9: Gosha1966 (26,824)
antes 125
poil76 posts the small blind of 500
columbo posts the big blind of 1,000
The button is in seat #2

Just4fun_Kara folds
bigcon-cret folds
buldos folds
Jazzinitup raises to 2,345
Gosha1966 folds
Toni_Jensen folds
poil76 folds

 *** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to columbo [Th Ts]
 columbo raises to 5,632, and is all in

Jazzinitup calls 3,287
 which still tells me nothing in that he is going to call any shove here.

columbo shows [Th Ts]
Jazzinitup shows [Ad Ah]
*** FLOP *** [5h 2d 8c]
*** TURN *** [5h 2d 8c] [8h]
*** RIVER *** [5h 2d 8c 8h] [6h]
columbo shows two pair, Tens and Eights
Jazzinitup shows two pair, Aces and Eights
Jazzinitup wins the pot (12,764) with two pair, Aces and Eights

Out 193rd, pays 189.  A true bubble-boy!

So, played well or played poorly?

Transperancy and suck-age Part IV (4th hour)

(#11) UTG makes it 1800 and there is an all-in caller.  I have 67o in BB and tank, but eventually fold.  AQ vs. KT and the flop comes 6 high.  turn and river blanks.  Was that really the spot?

It was 1000 to call 4000 but the money would be lost without hitting the flop vs. 2 players. 

Man, I am going to be thinking about this for a while.


Transperancy and suck-age Part III (3rd hour)

Fold AJo in the SB vs.UtG 3x raise.  He had Ac7c?!  Makes Flush (vs. shorty all-in caller)??  WTF Bulgaria??

(8) A tough hand with middling pairs.  Unless you hit the flop!
Full Tilt Poker Game #21828063281: $42,000 Guarantee (168285862), Table 40 - 150/300 Ante 25
Seat 1: columbo (10,182)
Seat 2: W24W73 (16,350)
Seat 3: rubin-bg (10,393)
Seat 4: p4tricio (2,858)
Seat 5: Thorodor (4,720)
Seat 6: SirRui (9,841)
Seat 7: nicklas87 (7,610)
Seat 8: SKRUB-ALF (6,165)
Seat 9: Sgtlion (4,685)
everyone antes 25
The button is in seat #8
W24W73 folds
rubin-bg folds
p4tricio folds
Thorodor folds
SirRui raises to 700
nicklas87 folds
Sgtlion folds

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to columbo [8c 8h]
columbo has 15 seconds left to act
columbo calls 400
*** FLOP *** [8d 2s Qc]
columbo checks
SirRui bets 1,200
columbo has 15 seconds left to act
columbo calls 1,200
*** TURN *** [8d 2s Qc] [6d]
columbo checks  (not sure this was a good idea, he will check behind many, many hands.  But if he has zed, then its ok)
SirRui checks
*** RIVER *** [8d 2s Qc 6d] [Qh]
columbo bets 1,900
SirRui has 15 seconds left to act
SirRui has requested TIME
SirRui calls 1,900
*** SHOW DOWN ***
columbo shows [8c 8h] a full house, Eights full of Queens
Seat 6: SirRui mucked [Td Ah] - a pair of Queens

OMG! Handed me $1900 in chips on a HERO CALL!  Thanks!

Raise to 1k with AhQh in cutoff, no callers.  (200/400/50)

(9) Sat stunned with 55 (folded to me) in MP and decided to just call.  Cutoff with only 1800 shoves.  SB re-shoves for 5k and I fold it.   AT vs. AK re-shove.  K on river.  I would have called the 1800 I think.   So, all's w4ll that ends w4ll. 

I have $12.7k and avg is 12.8k.  There are 370 left 1/2 way through the 3rd hour.  We have had 9 or our hands of excitement so far...  We are at the 20% left marker and here is where mistakes become fatal...
also of note that M is just 10 here, and thus there is not any room for small-ball.  We are coming at pots with guns blazing and with control only.

Folded to me in Hijack and I raise to 1250 with AQo.  No Callers.

FOLD KQo in MP when player on right open shoves with $4200.  My position is too early.  He gets called by the button with TT but turns a set.  Lucky him.  (I would have flopped TP). 
Meanwhile average has crept up to $16k as players flame out.  Level moves up to 300/600/75.

Fold BB of 75o to shove.  Hardly worth noting except that I am bleeding chips and not seeing many hands.

(10) I get to see a discount flop (4 players) from SB with Jh9h and flop heart draw (KcTh3h).  I check-call a min bet of 600 and then the turn is an Ad.  I check and LP OBV SHOVES 15K!?  He hit the Ace.  Crap.  I fold.  $10k left.  (Would you have shoved the flop?)

Table move.  Q=0.5

Open-Fold KJo in Hijack as its a weak hand to shove with, and I have no play with my short stack.   Its a new table, so I dont know who would call my shove (player on Button has $71k).  Same goes for A9s UtG+1.  (4th hand at new table).  Two players get it all in pre-flop with marginal hands.  A9 would not have won though.

UGH.  Fold 54o in BB vs. UTG raiser.  Fold 24o in SB to UTG+1 raiser.  M=M-1.  241 left.

Blinds move to 400/800/100 and I am looking for ATC to shove in a good spot.  Still fold A9o when UTG makes it 3x.  UTG+1 3 bets and SB 4bets!   (Ak, AK, QQ)  A9o no good at all.  225 left. Cards suck.  Spots suck.  Cant find a crack anywhere.

End of hour 3.  I have 8k, Avg is just under 22k with 219 left. 
We are just going to have to get some chips.

Transperancy and suck-age Part 2 (2nd hour)

First hand back, AK in BB.  Cutoff makes it 240 (3x).  I re-raise to 600.  He folds.

Hmmm, I fold 4h5h from UtG+2 when UtG+1 makes it 3x.   Awfully conservative, but with 5 more players with position, it would be wishful thinking that I could call here.  And I am not raising.  So I fold.  So does everyone else.  Oh dear.

Hmmm, rotation later UtG limps, so I limp behind (UtG+1) with with 88.  Flop is 24T so I bet 200 into 350 after UTG and BB checks.  Re-raised all-in for 540 by BB and UTG limper folds.  Must call.  He has Q4 for middle pair and I win a pot but I can hardly call this an interesting hand.

Flop bottom pair in the BB vs. single limper.  He c-bets 100 into 350, so I  check-call.   But when he bets 300 on turn, I check-fold.  Again, very conservative.  (the next hand, 2 players go broke at the table AK,AQ,JJ pile their money in pre-flop with the AQ CALLING the other 2 all-ins!)

Folded to me in cutoff and I fold A9o.  Meh.  No good can come of it at 50/100.
I also fold AJo UtG+1, without apologies. 
(Interesting Hand #6) When I get AJo in the BB and that guy from the last hand (when I flop bottom pair with 23) makes it 3x, I reraise him this time.  Oops, he calls.  Flop is Q38 with 2 hearts and I check, he also checks.  Turn is a 7 (non-heart).  I lead out for 900 (into 1700) and he folds!  Phew. (AJ also?  AK?  middling pair?  Who can say?)  I had to bet to win, vs. getting a better hand to fold rule.

Hmmm, fold 33 to a raise of 480 (I have 5700) in Hijack because I think its a bad spot and too many chips.  Cutoff makes it 1200.  Nice fold me.

Make it 3x with AQs UtG, no callers.

Same guy on my right raises AGAIN and I fold 66, Cutoff AGAIN re-raises (all-in) and this time he calls.  He had ATs and the cutoff KK. Lame.

Easy Fold KJ UtG.

(#7) Cutoff raises to 565, I re-raise from SB to 1700,  Cutoff thinks and shoves with QhJh???  Hope-a-tron!  Snap-call with AA holds up.

Get frisky with my image and raise from MP (First in)  to 500 with 7c8c and all folds.  300 chips for me.

Call Button min-raise from BB with KdTd.  Flop is Ah6h9d.  I check, he bets 400 and I sit and think.  But fold. -400 chips for me.

Folds around to me on button and yet I still fold 5To.  Gimme a T... Gimme an I...  Gimme a G...

Battle of the blinds and I have Ac7c.   I flop TP AND 2 clubs.  He leads out for min but he only has $1800 behind?  What do I even do here?   He is WAY behind, but every card will be an over.  I just shove hoping to look like the naked flush draw.  He tanks, but eventually folds.  (Note: avg is 7.7k, so what does he lead out with here?  Napkins I assume?)

At second break, I have $10.8k, Avg is 8.3k  (Q=1.2ish)   575 of our now 1588 runners left (pays 189).

Transperancy and suck-age Part 1 (the first hour)

Ok, I have said before that the $42k is basically being right on 20 hands and not getting unlucky.  Let's put that to the test.  I will post my non-trivial hands from today and you can judge...

Level I has little action.  Made a straight and already had no action, a bet results in folds.  Not even worth discussing for 60 chips.
Ditto for TT on a flop of 9h5c4c and I bet 2/3 pot and get 3 folds.
Ditto for AQ folded to me on button, blinds fold.
Ditto for QQ from EP (all folds) and
AQ UtG (all folds).
AQ again only in BB this hand.  I call and the flop is 828 so I fold to his c-bet.  (No 3bet with AQ OOP in L1.)
AJ now in SB and folds around, I raise, BB folds.
(4 decent hands in a row, no fireworks.)

Folded to me in SB with A9, call.  Flop Ace. Bet and BB folds. 

First interesting hand (easy fold)
Full Tilt Poker Game #21826194566: $42,000 Guarantee 20/40
Seat 1: columbo (3,370)
Seat 2: ghnopin92110 (2,775), is sitting out
Seat 3: ThunderFX (1,580)
Seat 4: laksjdfh (4,935)
Seat 5: Majesticflo11 (3,000)
Seat 6: cece0123 (3,060)
Seat 7: pigcrab (2,175)
Seat 8: Fabio_Bitt (3,410)
Seat 9: liflo (3,090)
The button is in seat #2
cece0123 folds
pigcrab folds
Fabio_Bitt folds
liflo has 15 seconds left to act
liflo raises to 320
columbo has 15 seconds left to act
columbo has requested TIME
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to columbo [Kc Ac]
columbo calls 320  [Big raise to 8x here is probably QQ-AA.  With me having AK, I figure QQ]
ghnopin92110 folds
ThunderFX folds
laksjdfh folds
*** FLOP *** [8s Jd 4c]
liflo bets 2,770, and is all in
columbo folds

I am now sitting with a starting stack size after all that.

NEXT (2nd interesting hand):
Full Tilt Poker Game #21826239415: $42,000 25/50
Seat 1: columbo (3,050)
Seat 2: ghnopin92110 (2,775), is sitting out
Seat 3: ThunderFX (1,560)
Seat 4: laksjdfh (5,095)
Seat 5: Majesticflo11 (2,875)
Seat 6: cece0123 (3,085)
Seat 8: Fabio_Bitt (3,410)
Seat 9: liflo (3,370)
cece0123 posts the small blind of 25
Fabio_Bitt posts the big blind of 50
The button is in seat #5

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to columbo [Ac Ks]
columbo has 15 seconds left to act
columbo raises to 150
ghnopin92110 folds
ThunderFX folds
laksjdfh calls 150
Majesticflo11 folds
cece0123 has 15 seconds left to act
cece0123 calls 125
Fabio_Bitt folds

*** FLOP *** [9d 2c As]
cece0123 checks
columbo has 15 seconds left to act
columbo bets 300  (3/5 pot)
laksjdfh calls 300  CALL?
cece0123 folds
*** TURN *** [9d 2c As] [Kd]
columbo checks  (I am hoping he tries to "take it away')
laksjdfh checks   (nope, probably a marginal ace)
*** RIVER *** [9d 2c As Kd] [Ts]
columbo bets 500  (how much will he call with an Ace?  About 1/2 port)
laksjdfh calls 500
*** SHOW DOWN ***
columbo shows [Ac Ks] two pair, Aces and Kings
laksjdfh mucks

(3) Way ahead or Way behind?  I play this real careful then OBV.
Full Tilt Poker Game #21826330653: $42,000 Guarantee (168285862), Table 40 - 25/50
Seat 1: columbo (4,125)
Seat 2: ghnopin92110 (2,700), is sitting out
Seat 3: rollon234 (2,675)
Seat 4: laksjdfh (4,095)
Seat 5: Majesticflo11 (2,875), is sitting out
Seat 6: cece0123 (3,160)
Seat 7: medijun (866)
Seat 8: Fabio_Bitt (5,045)
Seat 9: liflo (3,545)
laksjdfh posts the small blind of 25
Majesticflo11 posts the big blind of 50
The button is in seat #3
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to columbo [Ad As]
cece0123 folds
medijun folds
Fabio_Bitt folds
liflo calls 50
columbo raises to 200
ghnopin92110 folds
rollon234 folds
laksjdfh folds
Majesticflo11 folds
liflo calls 150
*** FLOP *** [Th Kh 4h]
liflo checks
columbo checks  (I should normally bet here, but did not)
*** TURN *** [Th Kh 4h] [Ks]
liflo bets 100
columbo calls 100  (Should raise here if I think he has just a heart, but continue to play passive because its the first hour)
*** RIVER *** [Th Kh 4h Ks] [Ah]
liflo checks
columbo has 15 seconds left to act
columbo bets 675  (or pot size bet, trying to look like a bluff, hoping he makes a crying call with a heart)
liflo folds

(4) Getting a tad more aggressive pre-lfop
Full Tilt Poker Game #21826430743: $42,000 Guarantee (168285862), Table 40 - 30/60 - No Limit Hold'em - 14:42:49 ET - 2010/06/23
Seat 1: columbo (4,425)
Seat 2: ghnopin92110 (2,625), is sitting out
Seat 3: rollon234 (2,600)
Seat 4: laksjdfh (3,990)
Seat 5: Majesticflo11 (2,740), is sitting out
Seat 6: frnckrt (3,380)
Seat 8: Fabio_Bitt (5,220)
Seat 9: liflo (4,426)
Majesticflo11 posts the small blind of 30
frnckrt posts the big blind of 60
The button is in seat #4
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to columbo [As Ks]
Fabio_Bitt raises to 180
liflo folds
columbo raises to 480
ghnopin92110 folds
rollon234 folds
laksjdfh folds
Majesticflo11 folds
frnckrt folds
Fabio_Bitt calls 300
*** FLOP *** [9d Jc 6h]
Fabio_Bitt checks
columbo checks  (marginally ahead or way behind)
*** TURN *** [9d Jc 6h] [Ah]
Fabio_Bitt checks
columbo bets 750  (3/4 pot)
Fabio_Bitt has 15 seconds left to act
Fabio_Bitt folds

KK UtG+1 raise to 200, no action.

(5) TT after a raise and caller
Full Tilt Poker Game #21826533333: $42,000 Guarantee (168285862), Table 40 - 30/60
Seat 1: columbo (4,995)
Seat 2: ghnopin92110 (2,565), is sitting out
Seat 3: rollon234 (2,600)
Seat 4: laksjdfh (3,930)
Seat 5: Majesticflo11 (3,040)
Seat 6: frnckrt (3,860)
Seat 7: PurpleH (2,965)
Seat 8: Fabio_Bitt (3,600)
Seat 9: liflo (4,906)
ghnopin92110 posts the small blind of 30
rollon234 posts the big blind of 60
The button is in seat #1
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to columbo [Td Th]
laksjdfh folds
Majesticflo11 folds
frnckrt raises to 120
PurpleH calls 120
Fabio_Bitt folds
liflo folds
columbo raises to 360
ghnopin92110 folds
rollon234 folds
frnckrt calls 240
PurpleH folds
*** FLOP *** [Kc 3d 3c]
frnckrt checks
columbo bets 550  (c-bet, hoping he does not have K)
frnckrt calls 550
*** TURN *** [Kc 3d 3c] [Jc]
frnckrt checks
columbo checks
*** RIVER *** [Kc 3d 3c Jc] [4s]
frnckrt checks

He is trying to get to showdown but he is only going to fold JJ or QQ to a big bluff.
columbo checks
*** SHOW DOWN ***
columbo shows [Td Th] two pair, Tens and Threes
frnckrt shows [Qd Kd] two pair, Kings and Threes

At the first break, I have $4085, avg. is $4095 (Q=1).  There are 1078 or the original 1473 left. 
5 interesting hands so far, but also got dealt more than the usual share of playable hands.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

It's about the gaze...

Peer deeply into my eyes...

Apparently, when someone goes all slack jaw and blank while staring and thinking at the flop, this is an indication that they are an expert.  Not because of what it accomplishes, but because why it happens.  "Change Blindness" and other psychological indicators are physically apparent.  This also give credence to tells "when there are no tells". 

It also seems to that by emulating that behavior, you are more likely to pick up the "affect of the effect".  i.e. Some of the reason this is done should rub off.   Although the more you know, the smaller the gap.

Today's Psychoanalysis is now complete.  Put down your wet rags and go back to your lives.

And remember to get the Durrrr look on your face.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Maybe I dont suck?

Played ONE MTT since my return.  (Did I mention my car died coming home from the airport?)

115th of 2545.  Why no run like that last week?!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Where to Begin/End?

Worst. Trip. Ever.

I know no one truly believes that one "runs bad".  HA!  I challenge anyone (take that FUEL)  to a RUN BAD contest. 

At one point, I was so brutally beat down, when a person hit a four out on me on the turn, I tossed my cards down in such a way that the dealer just mucked them, and my re-suck 2 outer on the river was null and void.  My big chance to beat someone down and I accidentally (but to be clear, firmly my fault) throw it away.  This was small stakes cash at the very end of the trip.  I got up from the table (still up no less) and was done for the trip.

I cant talk about beats because who cares?  So, no stories from the Venetian DS.  That is right, not one hand that was not a "beat story". 

I am going to take a page from the NFL.  When a head coach witnesses his club get clobbered, they sometimes just burn the tape and forget about it.  Figuratively, of course.  But they dont study it.  They caulk it up to getting hammered and just prepare for the next opponent. 


Oh, the 11 hour flight ordeal back was fun too.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Another $1.5k under my belt

My first table was brutal, featuring a guy who was hot off chopping the Sunday million last week and pwnd me twice.  This took my 4500 down to 3000 and I had to work uphill from there on in.  I kept finding good spot to chip up though and despite some ups and downs was relieved when my table broke.   My new table was much tighter and less chaotic, allowing me to play more within my style.  I doubled my JJ thought A7, but the other chips were hard to come by.  We had FIVE stacks of 7-9k at our table at the dinner break, with $14 being avg.

I hatched a post dinner plan.  I knew we had only 1 more hour before the ante ratio changed to 6:1 and I already had little to no chip utility.  I decided I was going to double up in the next hour.  My opportunity came when a player who often raises light, makes it 800. (we are at 200/400/50).  I have 88 in MP and I THINK about shoving and picking up the 1500 in chips.  But that was not the plan.  The plan is to call, allow one of the two guys at the far end of the table to try a squeeze play with an Ace and then 3 bet all in.  Sure enough the large stack does and I insta-shove.  He made it $1650 and I make it $9k.  I figure I have lots of fold equity here, based on how I played it.  Despite my raise being like $7k he says "Unless you have KK I have to call".  Huh?  really?  Well, he only has AQ, a light call and one that surprised me based on my image and 88 was far lower than any of my showdowns at the table.  But, I was still a small favorite to chip up from $9k to $20k (with now $15k being average and $20k being stellar).   I liked the $1800 in dead money here and well as the expected range of the squeeze play being Ax.  I expect to see at least AK here though, and truth be told expected a fold.

The flop had a Q and its over again.  Eerily similar to last year.  (which was JJ vs. AK in almost the exact same situation and levels).

Amazingly, I went back over the hands I played and never got my money in bad.  Perhaps that is a bad thing.  I did let internet-guy bluff me off my 22 hand and then turn around and make a gut shot straight on another hand where he called my c-bet with air.  That may have been early on, but it set that stage for my need to win a race.  My only race of the event.  And I lose it.

I am the Charlie Brown of poker.

Probably going to play Venetian $340 DS tomorrow now.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Last Minute Practice

In the 19k today just for some practice.  Playing well, but had to release many hands and I am behind avg. 

If you are going to be in Vegas this week, say hello.  I will be the ONLY person in Vegas with a Lions hat on.

MGM Tuesday night, WSOP #8 Wed.  WSOP #11 Friday (unless I play one of the DS casino MTTs).

and twitter updates after each level (I'll try to remember to tag with #wsop #bbt #anteup)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I dont know nothin about nothin if its not about me.

Quote courtesy of Santonio Holmes (NFL WR).   I was out 4th in the BBT Rail event last night.  I lost a big race with AQs vs. 55 at the end and was crippled.  I can't complain though, since my earlier AQ cracked KK. 

There were times I played too tight, but no times where I played too loose.  I again 3-bet all-in my aces with 6 or less left.  So be it.  It's easy to be a Monday morning QB.

But there were some very interesting situations.  With 5 left, Mike Mahoney had like 90k in chips and to his left Buddy dank (SB) had like 1200 and Sell the Kids had like 7300 in the BB.  It folded around to MM in the button and he folded.  I thought about that for a while.  I am betting 8k in the dark there.

Buddy raised my BB next hand with 2300 in chips and its the 500/1000 level.  So its 1300 more for me to call with my 74o.  I wanted to fold, but figured I had two live and the math said call.  Impossibly, he has K4 and I am dead to a 7.  I double him up.

Eventually, Dank will go broke and the 4 of us will play for close to 30 minutes before I go out on the AQs vs. 55 hand.  With 3 stacks around 30k, that is alot of stealing going on at the 500/1000 level. 

I really, really wanted that top 2 spot, but in the end its down to a clash of two hands where I came out on the short end.

Good Luck to everyone in the ToC, there is but 1 qualifying MTT left on Wed.  (the tournament formerly known as da Mookie)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Got my act together?

Although I did not fare well in the $100k (did not win a single showdown), I felt like I did not play poorly.  So I guessed I was not shocked when I finally made a deep BBT run last night.  But with 18 left through 10 left, I rode a rollercoaster of chips up and down. 

With 12 left, I had AA and somehow, FTrain managed to lay down AK pre-flop to my 3bet.   Based on the stack sizes and being short handed (and his perpetual 5ht place finishes) I did not think he could lay it down.  I win, but miss value. 

I also opted to 3 bet all-in my KK which I knew would result in the hand ending, but did not know what I would do when a Ace flopped.   The hand that force me to take on racing was with FUEL.  Now we are SIX handed and he makes a cutoff raise.  I think, but decide to CALL on the button with KsQ.  The flop comes King high and when he makes his c-bet (and I have him covered), I shove.  In retrospect, this is not a great play as he folds all but AA, KK, AK (or a set) which beat me.   But its still awful luck that he has AA, I get KQ AND flop a King high TP.

The rest of the game was races, and I eventually lost one (AJ vs. TT?) and thus I was final table bubble boy.

BUT.  I am playing smart again. 

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Probably the WORST time to ask

...based on how I ran the last two weeks...  But does anyone want to buy/swap 5% of my second $1500 event (event 11)??  If I don't play for any reason, then your money is 100% refunded.  I'll be twittering at the end of every level for both tournaments (including #anteup).

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I wish I had a better excuse

Last night, chipped up with a SET vs. 2 pair, and then gave it back an hour later when I ran TPTK into a set. 

There is just no more to say...  Poker is not about hitting sets and dodging sets, its about concentration and performance and I had neither last night.  End of story.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Interesting results

I played the 62 player RAIL MTT last night and I was committed to ONLY getting my money in ahead.  And I succeeded.  The results? 

With 16 left, I was 16th.  QJs out-flopped my Ax and I was done. 

As you all know (especially Otis), if you only get your money in ahead, then you are playing too tight.

But it was therapeutic to not run a pair into AA for once.

Monday, May 17, 2010

In shock

Wow, another crash-and-burn in the BBT5 last night.  Check out this run.

Hand 1:  Flopped a flush draw.  On the turn, pick up a gutshot and still have one over.  I decide to bet.  My thinking is that I am out of position and the board looks scary.  If I bet and my opponent folds, fine.  If he calls, I may be able to bluff the river.  It was a calculated backwards play, trying to disguise a draw.  It failed and I had to fold to a check raise.

Hand 2: I Raise with JJ.  The Flop is Qxx.  I call three small but increasing bets (the turn was a blank also). villain reveals QT.  I dont know if a big bet would have worked when the K fell on the river.  But since the villain fired the 3rd bullet, I just called.

Hand 3: JJ again.  1 opponent.  Flop is T73 rainbow.  I bet pot and get check raised.  I have 1000 chips left now of the starting 3000 and this player saw me fold to the previous check -raise.

Can you fold?  Before you answer, think about this:  The MTT only pays top 2% (top 2 places only).

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dunning-Kruger Effect and Poker

Have you ever noticed how incompetent people are often incredibly confident while the highly-skilled underestimate their ability to perform. That's called the Dunning-Kruger Effect named for Justin Kruger and David Dunning of Cornell University who published their study of said cognitive bias in 1999.

You see this on reality TV all the time.  And you see it at the poker table often enough.  I dont have some brilliant tie-in, just happy to see someone went out of their way to prove it exists.

Lost at Sea

I have no coherent thoughts on yesterday.  Somehow, someway, I seem to find the most ingenious ways to get my money in behind.  Last night, I folded AQ 4 times pre-flop and even folded 88 to a 3 bet, but in the end still ran 1/2 my stack into AA and then again ran the rest in vs. AA.  Wow.  I feel as LOST as, well, serial TV writers...

I'll continue to look for answers, after all.  I am somehow compelled not to give up.   But man, this is a dark time for my game.

I am looking forward to the Old West immersion of Red Dead Redemption next week on the XBOX to give me a distraction.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Bubble play

Did I misplay this hand? 
Avg. is $25k, pays 189. 
Should I be putting MUTANT on bigger hand here?

Full Tilt Poker Game #20735063092: $42,000 Guarantee (159284141), Table 3 - 500/1000 Ante 125 - No Limit Hold'em - 17:14:15 ET - 2010/05/10
Seat 1: coinsaregold (24,215)
Seat 2: PJShark (50,662)
Seat 3: FatStax7 (51,720)
Seat 5: columbo (13,528)
Seat 6: GeeRaff1 (9,271)
Seat 7: SNNikk (6,872)
Seat 8: kudi66 (11,433)
Seat 9: MutantVirus (38,425)
antes 125
columbo posts the small blind of 500
GeeRaff1 posts the big blind of 1,000
The button is in seat #3
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to columbo [Th Tc]
SNNikk raises to 6,747, and is all in
kudi66 folds
MutantVirus calls 6,747
coinsaregold folds
PJShark folds
FatStax7 folds
Jblaich sits down
columbo raises to 13,403, and is all in
GeeRaff1 folds
MutantVirus calls 6,656
columbo shows [Th Tc]
SNNikk shows [Ad 6s]
MutantVirus shows [Qc Qh]
*** FLOP *** [8s 2c 5h]
*** TURN *** [8s 2c 5h] [4c]
*** RIVER *** [8s 2c 5h 4c] [8h]
columbo shows two pair, Tens and Eights
MutantVirus shows two pair, Queens and Eights
SNNikk shows a pair of Eights
MutantVirus wins the main pot (22,241) with two pair, Queens and Eights

Is it a Discipline issue or do I just have the wrong goal?

I went out in the BBT5 the worst way possible last night, stacking off with TP.  So bad.  But out of it again comes a realization: I have note been making decisions well.

I am terribly confused by this, as one of my greatest attributes until recently was the great escape.  But recently, I seem happy to drive my hands into oncoming walls and complain that its bad luck that the wall is there.  Ok, sometimes the wall does fall from the sky.  But not always.  Not every time.

Am I missing the discipline of folding, or is is a misguided goal?  I wonder.  Today, my goal is simply to be "right".  I am not going to "try to win the tournament", but rather attempt to simply make the correct decisions, or by putting my opponent on the correct hand, I can take a risk.  But in either case, I need to concentrate on being right, not the tournament.   Lee has tried to convey this to me at times also.  As was the case with the "biggest hand of all time" post and podcast. 

Let's see what happens, shall we?

Friday, May 07, 2010

Wow, sometimes I am cool!



Ironic or Iconic?

Not so much as an accurate title for the post, but it flows off the tongue well...

Right after having a discussion with another player who told me (correctly) that I have been very results oriented as of late, I AGAIN run KK in LP into AA in a turbo, and then in the $42k tighten way up and have to win two races just to get to $10k in chips (avg is now 12.5k) and I see a min-raise from my right and I am in the cutoff with JJ.  Great spot to shove and take down $2k in chips.  Despite only having to get through the button and blinds, someone wakes up with KK (not the min-raiser who bailed as predicted) and knocks me out.

If I play small-ball, I am not winning big pots.  When I play long-ball, I continue to run into monsters as critical times.

I am always afraid of "fooling myself" into thinking I am playing well when I am tanking, but seriously...  I look over the situations and the hands, and I am looking like the ass-end of variance here.  I continue to monitor the situation, but gez.  It's time to be extra cognizant.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Monday, May 03, 2010

someone lets me hang myself

Moments after listening to David Williams talk about how he is less likely now to 3-bet AA, this happens to me...

Full Tilt Poker Game #20555219453: $42,000 Guarantee (157799791), Table 30 - 200/400 Ante 50 - No Limit Hold'em - 16:22:49 ET - 2010/05/03
Seat 1: columbo (12,560)
Seat 2: grenat_mtp (20,189)
Seat 3: VACATIONBABE (7,104)
Seat 4: ruthless1988 (10,680)
Seat 5: Gazaramataz (10,570)
Seat 7: Zolee21 (8,541)
Seat 8: timur valiev (27,338)
Seat 9: Mojomoj1 (9,527)
antes 50
ruthless1988 posts the small blind of 200
Gazaramataz posts the big blind of 400
The button is in seat #3
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to columbo [Qc Qh]
Zolee21 raises to 800
macblack0 sits down
timur valiev folds
Mojomoj1 folds
columbo has 15 seconds left to act
columbo raises to 2,000
grenat_mtp folds
ruthless1988 folds
Gazaramataz folds
Zolee21 has 15 seconds left to act
Zolee21 calls 1,200
*** FLOP *** [9c 7s 8h]
Zolee21 checks
columbo bets 10,510, and is all in
Zolee21 calls 6,491, and is all in
columbo shows [Qc Qh]
Zolee21 shows [Ac Ad]
Uncalled bet of 4,019 returned to columbo
*** TURN *** [9c 7s 8h] [Ks]
*** RIVER *** [9c 7s 8h Ks] [6c]
columbo shows a pair of Queens
Zolee21 shows a pair of Aces
Zolee21 wins the pot (17,982) with a pair of Aces

Notice how the villain CALLS the $1200 and gets the perfect storm flop.   No one giving free cards here, and I am stuck holding a big overpair, which looks good, but is beat. 

I don't see how with $4500 in their pre-flop, I am not going to get here after he checks.  So I bet what $3500 and then fold to another $3k getting 4:1?  Not likely.  I think I am stuck here.  Do you?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Weekend of decent finishes

In what I like to call small-field events, I had some good but no cigar finishes this weekend.  In the AIPS on Saturday, I had a chance to win it after coming from behind early, only to get sucked out on with 3 left by the very person I came from behind on (sucked out on) in the middle levels.  I finished second.

Sunday, I punched a Main Event Shootout ticket (satellite) and then in the BBT5, won a ridiculous 3 out of 3 races to be right in it after the bubble, only to run into a must call situation.  There are 16 left and its raised up and I have 66 in position.  There can be lots of stealing at this point, and lots of raising with Ax, so I call and the flop is 678.  He shoves instantly.  This is an EASY call.   Why?  He does not have 9T raising this late from EP.  If he has 77 or 88, he is looking to get my stack, not get me to fold.  No.  He has 99-AA.  I HOPE he has AA here, but I expect 99 or TT, which clearly would explain the shove. 

I call to see the TT, meaning I have to sweat 6 outs instead of 10 (if he had 99), but BOTH hit as a Ten comes on the turn and send me home from a great run.  Bummer.  But, played well.  In these 100 player events (just like with a shootout) you are often forced to fold to most re-raises or large river bets, something I had been working on for the last two weeks.  I did make 1 hero call, and I was correct.  Much better than making all the calls and bleeding chips away.  Progress.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Poker Tracker to the rescue

I lost 90% of my losing hands in cash games online this year from the blinds.  OMG.  I have a new strategy.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

First week of BBT5 in the books

And I have little to show for it but stories.  Ran into Quads, Ran into Quads, AK could not outlast AQ.  If the laws of variance hold up, I have already cashed in next week's events. 

We shall see...

In other news, I continue my "training" for the WSOP, trying to get in at least 1 SnG and 1 MTT a day.  Not easy, but I hope its time well invested.  Again, we shall see...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Raging Bull

"I want you to hit me in the face Joey".  I need to learn to take a punch.  Really.  I have developed a very fatal habit and not wanting to take a punch and give up a hand where I could realistically have run into the nuts. 

Thanks again to high stakes poker for their 2 most recent episodes, where a pro demonstrated this in action.   Even after all this time, I needed to watch and soak it up. 

I feel like I am so very close to a breakout, that I am amazed at how bad of a decision I can make at times.

There is a word for this.  Discipline.

I need me some.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Kill Me Now

I continue, even after all these posts, to have difficulty getting away from big hands when my opponent make a large (significant) turn or later bet.   And the bigger the bet, the longer I tank. WTF?   What do I need to do here to learn a simple lesson?

I donked off a DEEP STACK here when I made my second losing straight in level 1.  But this time, even though the bets were large, I make a terrible hope-a-tron amateur call.   Woe (and self flagellation) is me.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Friday's hand revisited

I cant stop thinking about this hand... You are chip leader with 36 / 1800 left and have JJ in MP. You raise to 15k (2.5x) with 500k behind. The cutoff makes it 40k. With $300k, the cutoff has an above avg stack and is the second largest stack at the table.

1. Chip value (DV) is very high now. The avg stack at the final table should be about $500k, which you already have. There are plenty of shorter stacks at the table. You can fold here with little loss. But what does that say to yourself? To your opponent?

2. You can call, avoiding running JJ in QQ, KK, AA. But will have to play post-flop OOP. You could also check-fold the $40k and still be the chip leader.

3. You could raise to $120k, but this creates a pot odds issue. Unless he is on a re-steal, he calls here and now you are playing a $250k pot OOP. In the case he is on a re-steal, he may (probably) fold.

As I weighed my options, I did not give enough credit to #3. AFTER the bubble, especially "down the stretch" (as they say in horse racing) with 5 tables or lss remaining, players start using the re-steal more often. But I did not think of this for a couple of reasons:

A. I had not been re-raised like this yet at the table, nor had I observed any re-steals.

B. We did not have similar stack sizes. Its rare for the second largest stack to re-steal from the big stack.

As reported, I opted for Option 2. I wanted option 1, but did not want to be weak, be perceived as week, or fold a premium pair because I didn't have a pair. Not the best of thinking, but honest. But I picked #2 OVER #3 because I did not want to get re-re-re-raised all-in by AK and be forced to race.

The flop was, as reported, 443 (two toned).

Now, I have an over pair and the pot is $90k or so. Again, I have options:

1. I can bet out my overpair and expect hands like AK to shrivel up and fold.
2. I can check and wait for the aggressor in position to make his play.

I opted for #1. I feel this was the real, fatal mistake.

A. I bet $50k, and made the pot $140k. The pot is becoming epic. All I have is a pair that may or may not be bigger than my opponents hand.

B. I did not respect position enough in this hand. I really believed he had Ax and I was ahead. My hand read was good, but my luck was bad.

He moves all in now. Options:

A. I can fold and keep my chips, avoiding throwing valuable money away. I have lost $90k and still have $400k and be 2nd or 3rd in chips.

B. I can call because I beat so many hands here and I feel he is resigned to his fate.

Before the late stages of +EV. But LATE in the tournament, down the stretch, one must look for these potholes. The EPIC bloody hand that may be a turned set, or top-two played tricky, where players are trying to trap and extract max value.

I think I need to continue thinking about this...

Friday, April 09, 2010

Harder to escape your hand if opponent plays bad?

Full Tilt Poker Game #19952806168: $42,000 Guarantee (152632857), Table 24 - 2500/5000 Ante 600 - No Limit Hold'em - 18:48:07 ET - 2010/04/09
Seat 1: a463993 (176,127)
Seat 2: columbo (434,208) <2nd overall in chips
Seat 3: Zipp125 (183,813)
Seat 4: Gouranga (246,699)
Seat 5: teac1 (93,860)
Seat 6: HansBy (98,568)
Seat 7: Terpfan21 (168,500)
Seat 8: yashka (206,118)
Seat 9: Hoobody (171,352)

antes 600

HansBy posts the small blind of 2,500
Terpfan21 posts the big blind of 5,000
The button is in seat #5
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to columbo [Jd Jh]
yashka folds
Hoobody folds
a463993 folds
columbo raises to 12,500
Zipp125 folds
Gouranga raises to 40,000
teac1 folds
HansBy folds
Terpfan21 folds
columbo has 15 seconds left to act
columbo has requested TIME (I contemplated options here)
columbo calls 27,500
*** FLOP *** [4s 4d 3d]
columbo has 15 seconds left to act
columbo bets 50,000
Gouranga raises to 206,099, and is all in

Put him on a hand here! You are beating ALOT of hands here and 2:1 on the call.

Still, he did shove on your lead bet. But I have to think that in the LONG RUN, this is better being called than folded?

The flop eliminates the Ax hands. TT doubles you up. QQ, KK, AA? can you really fold to just that?

My brain is melting... Do I really want to re-raise preflop here? (If I was willing to call off my stack, I fear the answer was YES. Lesson to be learned there.)

An important lesson. Understand that your leverage with JJ comes pre-flop, not post-flop. I think I ahead the whole way in this hand...

I know, you wanna know...

As Maxwell Smart would say, "Would you believe A4 sooooted" (with 36 left no less)!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Lions News: Matt Millen confused by Lions moves, team improvement.

"I don't understand what they are doing. It's almost as if there is a concerted effort to improve the roster through logical moves. Do they really expect to be successful by drawing up and executing a plan?" -Millen starting at Lions press releases and thinking to himself.

The Lions are arguably the most improved team this off season (they also had the most room to improve) as they have already cemented 4 new starters before the draft even begins.

Trading day THREE picks for a STARTING LEFT Guard and a STARTING CORNER, Trading for Corey Williams to play DT, and the big signing of Nate Burelson at WR. Assuming the Lions draft "insert future DT that can actually block out the sun here", they are going actually look respectable. And Yes, there is Kyle VandenBosch who was the first free agency signing. And this is huge, as last year, the Lions played a cardboard cutout of a right DE (and not surprisingly had zero sacks). So, ANY signing was a starter, but to get a guy who can anchor that position was more than we could have hoped for.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Brutal exit from the $22k 6-max

$22,500 Guarantee
Seat 1: a463993 (8,140)
Seat 2: arrondubai0108 (5,230)
Seat 3: priviet85 (4,242)
Seat 4: KronicKiller (2,675)
Seat 5: vanner56 (1,820), is sitting out
Seat 6: columbo (2,765)
a463993 posts the small blind of 25
arrondubai0108 posts the big blind of 50
The button is in seat #6
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to columbo [2d 2c]
priviet85 calls 50
KronicKiller folds
vanner56 folds
columbo calls 50
a463993 folds
arrondubai0108 checks

ok, call with a pair. How hard is that?

*** FLOP *** [4s Tc Td]
arrondubai0108 checks
priviet85 checks
columbo checks

no flop, no hand

*** TURN *** [4s Tc Td] [6s]
arrondubai0108 checks
priviet85 checks
columbo bets 175 (maybe I actually have the best hand?)
arrondubai0108 calls 175

ha, nope. Someone has a T (perhaps a 4 or 6)

priviet85 folds
*** RIVER *** [4s Tc Td 6s] [2h]
arrondubai0108 bets 525

Pot sized bet and I made my hand on the river. He will never see it coming.

columbo raises to 2,540, and is all in
arrondubai0108 calls 2,015

*** SHOW DOWN ***
columbo shows [2d 2c] a full house, Twos full of Tens
arrondubai0108 shows [Th 4c] a full house, Tens full of Fours

oops, it was me who never saw it coming.

arrondubai0108 wins the pot (5,605) with a full house, Tens full of Fours
columbo stands up

Seriously? I hit the 2 outs the will break me here? I dont even call the river bet without that 2 here. ARGH.

Even more seriously. Could ANYONE have escaped this? Could you REALLY make an argument that I should have CALLED here????

Sunday, April 04, 2010

League night recap and important notes

Despite never winning a league night, I am in second place, making the final table 8 months in a row. I play much tighter in a league, as this is rewarded by the long term prize. Last night, despite being a lock for a top 6 spot, I played my usual game, not a reckless loose game and some others did who wanted to finish high or mentally checked out.

As is often the case playing tight, I went to the final table with a paltry 15k in chips (1/2 of average). I bluffed only once on the way, because it was an optimal spot.

Now at the final table, we are down to 6 and I have just won a big hand from the opponent 2 to my right. He frequently plays the same way from late position, and I took to coming over the top pre-flop with decent hands and raking his raise in.

In this critical hand, I come into a pot with a big pair for $10k, and I had maybe $44k to start the hand. SOLID Player from the blinds calls. Now we are at the bubble, so this is doubly interesting. The flop comes and we are staring at each other and not the flop. He checks, I bet, he check-raises me all in and I freeze. I look at the jack high flop and look back at my QQ and stare in disbelieve. ANY other player at this table I snap call here. But I know this guy. He plays a very solid, mistake free game by and large. And I remember how he plays Kings. He will always raise, but may call a big raise and move in with a flop with no Ace. And with him knowing I will make a c-bet with my big hand, he check raises. It was the perfect play and I would give few players this much credit. I toss away the QQ. He mucks and I survive. After the hand, the player to his right comments that either one of us could have AJ. NOTHING could have been farther from the truth and I was amazed that someone could read that hand so poorly. But then again, this was a clash of players who play big hands strong, and he did not have our familiarity.

Later on, he said he actually had AA. If so, and based on the facts that we are 6 handed and he is in the blind, I can not argue with the pre-flop call (vs. raise). He is going for my stack and its a really good play with a 7 in 8 chance of success. NOTE: IF he did bluff here, it was perfectly timed and I will just admit to being outplayed. so be it.

I was also amazed that the remaining players doubted I had QQ because I did not show. THERE IS A LESSON TO BE LEARNED HERE. NEVER SHOW. You can be honest, but never show. If you want your opponent to know what you had, tell him. There is no reason not to be honest! But let the rest of the table double guess you to death.

Perhaps this is why I got called more than I expected? Someone called my UTG raise with 88 earlier and commented that "I had noting" when I showed KQ. I won the race, but was surprised he SNAP called my all-in raise with 88 for 25% of his stack. (And since when is KQ, 7 or 8 handed, garbage? Especially when its maybe the first hand I played at the final table.)

Later on, when we are past the bubble and FOUR HANDED, I ran AKs into AA and my 88 was called by AQ and I lost a race I needed to win. So I exit 4th, even though I did not make a stupid mistake. All in all, I an thrilled with my play as I enter the final month of training for the WSOP. The 88 hand was interesting in that it was my coming over the top of another one of those pre-flop raises from that same guy, and I expected to just take it down. But the BB surprises us both by CALLING. So now, the original raiser is calling based on odds and I am against 2 players with a middle pair. UGH. But I still think I played it correctly. How many pocket pairs do I wish to laydown 4 handed to a raise from a guy who loves to raise pre-flop. In the end, I lost a race as a tiny favorite, so I have to think "that's poker".

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Burning a Line

It's a term I coined when you decide your post-flop line pre-flop based on the opponent. Today, this guy kept raising my blind and putting in big C-bets. I decided I was going to check-raise him on the next flop no matter what fell.

Well, the first time an interloper came in and raised pre-flop and he fled. Much later, when I was no longer a short stack, I decided that 6d7d would defend and planned on a check-raise with any decent flop.

9d9h5d was closer than I even hoped for. Pot is $1300 and I check, he bets $1k and I move all in for $6k. He calls with AsQs???

Qd is the turn and I take a big pot. But how does he call the check raise with just two overs?

(He went back to raising my blinds too, and with hands like JTo. Is there a target on my head that reads "donk"?)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Can you make this fold?

Call a raised pre-flop bet in just level 1 or 2 with 77. 3 see the flop.

Flop is 789 (2 clubs). check, I bet pot. Button shoves. Other guy folds.

Now, I am SURE he has either TT or a club draw. Lets say 100% just for clarity.

And lets say you have about 400 in the pot, and 22 behind.

When he shoves, can you fold knowing you are the favorite because its hour 1?

(*by the way, he did have TT. So its 10 outs (2 tens, 4 sixes, 4 jacks) twice or 40%-ish.)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Rush Poker tip

Wanna watch the hand play out instead of being whisked to the next table?

Click "sit out next hand" and you can watch the hand play out!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Anyone else in Vegas for week 1 of the WSOP?

In Event #8 and probably #11. Late night cash games at MGM.
Early knockouts may result in Venetian or Caesar daily tournament.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

and then, tragedy...

Not 24 hours after I decide I am going to go to Vegas for the WSOP, I run into AA five times and while my car goes in for an oil change, it dies right there (fuel pump fuse) in the bay.

Undaunted, I book the flight and book my MGM room...

Not 5 hours later its announced that my daughter's recital is going to be that same weekend.

Somehow the cosmos is trying to tell me that I am dead money?

AND I am in the doghouse despite everything being outside my control. Sigh...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Anyone play this differently?

Full Tilt Poker Game #19498739356: $42,000
Seat 1: bat779 (3,460), is sitting out
Seat 2: TIBIGS (230)
Seat 3: Xmachine888 (2,840)
Seat 4: Ronin1917 (4,335)
Seat 5: columbo (5,705)
Seat 6: Da Pleaser (2,755)
Seat 7: mrflipflap007 (6,685)
Seat 8: RiverRat916 (225), is sitting out
Seat 9: Butleren (3,945)
Ronin1917 posts the small blind of 15
columbo posts the big blind of 30
The button is in seat #3
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to columbo [As Ac]
Da Pleaser folds
mrflipflap007 folds
RiverRat916 folds
Butleren folds
bat779 folds
TIBIGS raises to 230, and is all in
Xmachine888 folds
Ronin1917 calls 215
columbo raises to 888
Ronin1917 has 15 seconds left to act
Ronin1917 has requested TIME
Ronin1917 calls 658
*** FLOP *** [4h Qh 8c]
Ronin1917 checks
columbo bets 500

NOTE: The SIDE POT is 658 and I base my bet on that amount instead of the entire pot for 3 reasons.

1. Its early and I think I am extracting value.
2. Unless he flopped VERY well, he will be way behind. A heart draw at best.

Ronin1917 calls 500
*** TURN *** [4h Qh 8c] [3h]
Ronin1917 checks
columbo checks
*** RIVER *** [4h Qh 8c 3h] [7h]
Ronin1917 has 15 seconds left to act
Ronin1917 bets 750
columbo has 15 seconds left to act
columbo folds

I escape here, knowing he has at least 1 heart. Based on his check turn, I bet he has 2 hearts.

Uncalled bet of 750 returned to Ronin1917
Ronin1917 wins the side pot (2,316)
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Ronin1917 shows [Th Ah] a flush, Ace high
TIBIGS mucks

Monday, March 22, 2010

Stars $ for Tilt $ anyone?

How do you best move money between sites?


I have two things that are going to get me back to my training / weekend grind. Thw WSOP events and the YouRock Guitar. I am finalizing my events for the WSOP and its looking more and more like I will be there the first week in June, playing two NL $1500 events. I have two practice events scheduled locally so far and now is the time where I will start playing hands every single day online. I still think that the "turned set" is the most diabolical hand in poker.

As for my weekend activity, I must admit that after a couple of years, RockBand can get a bit stale. That's why I PRE-ORDERED the YouRock Guitar. Alas, as my friends start to make "vaporware" jokes, I see no arrival date in site. The PS3 version is late (delayed until May) because... wait for it... its late from CHINA. GEZ people, can we get past "cheaper" over "quality" please. And don't even TRY to tell me that the quality is the same, I am not listening and have personal experiences to the contrary. The worst part is I don't have a PS3, I have an XBOX and that version is NO WHERE TO BE SEEN. So I don't expect to be learning guitar until after the WSOP. Just as well I guess.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Did Phil Hellmuth actually reveal the secret to his success?

It sounds like a tabloid headline for a supermarket poker and aliens paper, but I really do believe that recently Phil has revealed in 10 minutes more than he did in 5 DVDs and a book. Phil is currently working on his "Kinder and Gentler" image, and doing the dog & pony interview circuit starting on ESPN. I really, really enjoyed (and am somewhat obsessed with) his recent description of his meta-strategy.

I have to fill in some pieces from other interviews and his recent tournaments, but it flows like this.

Phil plays poker like a boxer. He is going to jab and jab and jab at you. As he does, he is playing solid, but always betting when you give up the lead in the pot. And he is applying that pressure, letting you escape, and then telling you he "had a hand". His famous image help here.

Now, when it does not work, he "marks you" and wants to "set you up". He is going to bet into you, but he is never going to get all-in without the goods. No elaborate bluffs, no Ace high hero calls. When you play back at him, he is going to fold and set up an image (in the past accompanied by verbal denial) that he can be pushed around. He does this because he wants to win a BIG pot against this type of player. And he is patient enough to set this up over the course of hours if necessary.

You can hear bit and pieces of this in recent WPT interviews. "I was only all-in once in the entire tournament." "That is what I do, I set him up to take a big pot from him." The knock-out roundhouse punch.

"Eh. So What? We all knew that." I hear you say. Yeah, maybe. But I find it riveting when combined with Phil defending himself vs. criticism that he is no longer great. "The young internet guys think after they are successful that their way is the right way. I've been playing 30 years and they really believe I don't know what I am doing?"

It's such a simply strategy and does not take into account Phil's tactical ability to read a player, but it certainly a solid strategy.

ok, enough of the Phil love fest. I am not writing this as an "ode to Phil". But I do really appreciate the overall power of this simple to recite strategy. Play poker like a boxer. Jab and find your opponents weakness. If its the jab, jab a lot. If it isn't the jab, look for an opportunity for a knock-out punch.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Still thinking about Vegas dates

In the meantime, I fired up some online poker figuring I could play Omaha with the Europeans today. Could not find an O8B limit game, so I decided to play O8B-PL.

Thank goodness for full-size screen layouts. Pre-flop O8B raises always interest me, as they really show how udnerstands the game and who is just "kinda there". Really, who calls a RE-RAISE with 3 4 6 3 ? What are you expecting to flop to put you ahead in EITHER hand?

And I understand raises, but if you have AA69 rainbow, do you really want to RE-RE-RAISE POT?

I think in O8B, sometimes winning HIGH and splitting LOW is better than a scoop because no matter how high you bet, he is calling for 1/4 of the pot!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

WSOP schedule

Looks like there are less options for players "flying in" for a single NL $1500 event this year. If you play one that starts Saturday, you could be playing on Monday. and I think Wed at noon is too early, you have to fly out Tuesday and be in Vegas almost a week...

Fri, Jun 4th 12:00 PM
3-Day Event Event #11: No-Limit Hold'em
Structure Sheet Pre-Register Now $1,500

Fri, Jun 25th 12:00 PM
3-Day Event Event #45: No-Limit Hold’em
Structure Sheet Pre-Register Now $1,500

Thu, Jul 1st 12:00 PM (prior to main event day 1, but only $1k) Event #54: No-Limit Hold’em - But since I have an obligation to my satellite league, it must be a $1.5k event.

So this leaves me June 3rd-7th or June 24th-28th, in which I would book a flight back for Monday morning. Since I would fly out Thursday night, I can get away with just 2 days off of work.

Anyone else of a like mind?


Wed, Jun 2nd 12:00 PM
3-Day Event Event #8: No-Limit Hold’em
Structure Sheet Pre-Register Now $1,500

(or) Thu, Jun 3rd 12:00 PM
3-Day Event Event #9: Pot-Limit Hold'em

and if I am playing well, but get eliminated, I can play this:
Fri, Jun 4th 12:00 PM
3-Day Event Event #11: No-Limit Hold'em
Structure Sheet Pre-Register Now $1,500

Suddenly, this looks best because IF I decide to play TWO events, this is the best shot at it. I would fly out Tues and back Sun (or miss flight if I made day 3 of second tournament.)

Monday, March 08, 2010

Harrington Revisited

Talked about a vague title for a post, eh? I had quite a tough time in mid 2008-mid 2009 working through some rough patches, and creating repeatable success. But much of it came down to how I was changing how I played hands based on M. And these adjustments were killing me.

I now enjoy much more success in terms of MTT and some of that success it directly in relation to my adjustments (and somewhat getting away from) in how I address M.

For example: I have an M of 20. Does this mean I can play small-ball? I used to think the answer was YES. But its not. Far from it. What I want to know is, if I raise 3xBB (or call 3xBB from position), is that 5% or less of my stack? So, if blinds are 100/200/25 and thus a rotation at a full table is 500, I would need 10k for an M of 20. and if I raise it to 3xBB, I am making it 600. This is MORE than 5%. You see? For ME personally, the so called Green zone is where my M is 30+. Then I am going to play comfortable small-ball (i.e. 15k).

From an M of 30 down to 20, I can maybe play some small-ball hands from position, but I am going to have to give them up on the turn (because of chips) if I get played back at. I am sticking to suited 1 gaps and unsuited connectors at worst. I can also play baby pairs safely.

When my M is between 20 and 10, I am playing long-ball, but perhaps with open ranges.

When my M is below 10, I am not only playing ONLY long-ball, and now also willing to RACE.

When my M is 7.5 or less, I am usually looking to make all-in bets pre-flop depending on the size of the antes, because I feel the pressure is the BEST way to get the job done. You just lack the chips to maneuver post flop and when picking up the blinds is 10%+ of your stack, you should want to do that without a clash as many times as possible. So at 100/200/25 again (500 a rotation), if my stack is 3500 or less, and shoving is going to net me 500 in chips, I am not looking to "see a flop". I would rather add the chips and move forward. This, of course, assumes that I can either be first in there or hold a top 10 hand. I will ESPECIALLY open my range to make this move if there are Limpers in front of me! (Limpers ask to be punished!)

I have a mantra I use now at the table when I hit an lower inflection point. "The time for small-ball is over." I say it as I fold 56s or JT or even 88.

I have also learned recently that it is a pretty big mistake to worry about Q. I have just 1 test involving Q. If my Q is .25 or lower, I wont fold AK pre-flop.

I am pretty happy with this formula and as I move forward in experience, I am looking to maximize how well I play in the M 30+ green zone, where the widest array of decisions come into play post-flop.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Confessions of a Talentless Person

Over the years, separated from my fragile childhood and young adult ego, it has become easier to state one of the defining traits of my development. I am talentless. Really. I have zero natural talent for anything. (I could dive into a list right now, but it would end before you stopped reading. And it would be an incomplete list, since I have a questionable memory.) Yet, as a "normal" human being, I am driven to purpose and meaning. And unless I was willing to devote my life to religion (something I have no talent for), I am forced to do things the hard way. I am forced to learn.

Now, I am not talking about basic learning. I can tie my shoes after all. But in a great example, I had taken nearly 3 years of French and yet can speak better German from watching Hogan's Heroes. No, I am talking about immersive learning. Where I really have to apply myself for longer periods of time and effort than anyone with even an iota of talent for the particular skill.

Even my current pursuits in poker or music continually re-demonstrate my lack of nature talent, forcing me to work on my morale as much as my focus. Progress is incremental and in elongated time frames, making serious endeavors a "life's work" so to speak.

All throughout though, I have had some success. I even wrote a one day seminar on "How your technology shop could be of more value to your business" and I believe that its very, very good. But that took nearly 30 years.

So I guess I take the good with the bad that I did not cash in Event #39 last year after playing poker for nearly 5 years. I remain committed to improving and learning new facets and getting over humps and et al.

Now don't get me wrong. This is not a "woe is me" post. I have had my share of successes and victories in life. And I have a good life, good family, decent health, etc. that others might kill for. But it is a "spring is coming" type post. Sometimes the winter gets to us and we think about our setbacks, our challenges, and our lack of progress towards nirvana. But then spring comes and we brighten up and forge on!

I am going to the WSOP this year and I may just play two $1500 events this year. It seems silly, but recently I have begun to look at the table as if I am looking through glass at an operating room. Doubt and second guessing giving way to a perspective of time and place. Perhaps all the experience is paying off? Perhaps its just perspective that comes with age. Perhaps its just spring.

One thing is certain. I'll never be afraid of hard work and I'll never "throw it all away" stupidly, because nothing has come that easy to me skill wise. I appreciate how far I have come so perhaps I am just worried that I could run out of time!

Oops, gotta go. Just dealt the hammer...

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Time to get back to it!

After a week out, and a horrendous week at work, its time to play some poker.

I did play some $1/$2 at a poker-pro table on the ship. Perfect place for such a table. But, very few players and they were all playing flop-trap, so it took too long to grind away their money. (although I did). Plus the rake was 10%/$7max at a $1/$2 table!


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cigar aficianado

Is cigar aficianado the 21st century equivalent in impact as playboy was?

Seriously. Take a look at this magazine and replace nude with cigar, and see what I see.

Add an additional social commentary column about poker and it's a slam dunk.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cashed in $42k

Finally got back to MTT play today and cashed in the $42k. Interesting and not so unusual is that at one key point in hour 2, I came from behind to double up.

Its those type of hands that can propel you to ill gotten gains!

Its a small retribution for the suckouts laid on me... right?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Imaginary Hand

Lets say you are at a relatively typical 1-2 or 2-5 table and the UTG makes it 3x and the UTG+1 makes it 9x BB. Folds around to you on the button with JJ.

Easy fold? (I think so)

Monday, February 08, 2010

Good to Great

Here it is for the millionth time. A perfect example of what is keeping my from being an elite player.

3 table MTT (league night). I have played well all night, making only 1 poor decision. Folded when I should have called, so a minor mistake. There are 4 left and the blinds are 1500/3000/100 and I have 6ok, tied for second in chips.

LOTS of raise, all fold action, so I make a comment about flops and limp with JT. The blinds both call.

Flop is 886 and all players check. The turn is a TEN. check, small bet, and I look at the player on my right with only $33k behind. The pot is $10k. I bet $33k, to put the player on my right (BB) all in. I do this as a signal to the SB that this hand is ending here and I am going to knock the BB out.

But the SB ruins my plans and CALLS $33k. Now I have $30k behind and a blank falls on the river. But I am stuck. He smiles and says all in. He obviously has an 8 and I call anyways because the pot is big and I have 60% of my chips in there.

I could not have played this hand worse. The $30k bet is amateurish, and the crying call when I had 15BB left was atrocious.

Still, we try and learn and soldier on.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Felted in RUSH

Totally pwnd by KQ vs AJ on flop of JTx when turn brings a 9 and *I* volunteer my stack. Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life son.

Hope I am not so stupid later this evening.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Lean week after win

A bit of rush, no major news. League night on Saturday and Next Online League Night starts next Wed, so things should pick up here quickly.

Friday, January 29, 2010

WBCOOP mis-step

After an hour, I have doubled up twice and have about $6500 in chips. There are SEVEN post-and-folds at my table now and the remaining player on my left is from Finland. He is not only stealing the blinds, but doing it to me. I am 2 to his left however, and when I realize he isnt going to share (or alternate), I start playing back HARD. I play it as a heads-up battle and we are fighting on every hand.

I call him all the way down with a pair of aces and now I have $8k and he has probably $12k. BIG stacks compared to the avg of just under $4k. But the battle rages on. Twice I call him down and take a pot. Then, I call his pre-flop with AK and an ace flops. (A85). The money goes in and he has 85 and I am out.

Where did it all go wrong?

I got into a competitive situation even though it was not time to do so.
With a way above avg stack, I stacked off with TPTK.

But most important of all, I repeated my most common mistake. I dont respect the 3 bet post-flop enough. Once I re-raise, I am mentally committed and RARELY then fold to the 3bet shove. This has been fatal to me and I have got to get it corrected.

I don't get American Idol

Really. I don't get it. Is Carrie Underwood the Apex of Talent?

I remember the show that American Idol is based on being better and funnier. It was called "The Gong Show".

"Pants on the ground!" Perfect.

Chuck Barris, the godfather of Idol and Letterman.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The $84k ?!?!

I went to register for the $32k $42k today and it came up as the $82k! And its DOUBLE STACKS. The guarantee is done (it seems) by expanding the payout field to 20%.

$25 Million Double Guarantees Week
Win your share of $25 million in guaranteed tournament prize pools with Full Tilt Poker’s $25 Million Double Guarantees Week.

I never saw the announcement, but sure, sign me up!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Poker Tracker 3 Auto-rate rules

Does anyone have an updated rules import? I used to use IGGY's for PT2, but it doesn't translate to PT3.

Friday, January 22, 2010


After two straight days of RUSH POKER on Full Tilt, I finally feel I have enough information to comment. and not just OMG! I haz more cardz!

RUSH poker is "Virtual Multi-tabling". Each hand, every player without a hand in front of them is whisked to a insta-table to play a hand. When the hand is over, they are instantly whisked to a new one. Think of it as Multi-Tabling but there are not hand conflicts (being in two important hands at once).

For the non-grinder semi-pro, this could be the most important update of your life. Think about it. These phenom players get that way by playing 8 tables (or more), 8 hours a day. As the semi-pro or non-grinder, you can not afford that time nor that punishment. But now, you can "drop into" a multi-table and drop out again AT WILL. That means that I can easily play about 300 hands an hour without that time commitment.

And what do you learn playing that type of volume? The brain is forced to "pattern burn". This is AI term based on pattern recognition. The brain subconsciously becomes better at catagorizing and patterning the data. Assuming you are not donking off all your chips. (big assumption?)

I had quite an adjustment. In the first 3-4 hours, I was down almost $100. Then, something clicked. 3 hours later I had won it all back. And then I entered the $42k. And I won. Coincidence?

Here are the PROs and CONs of crack Rush Poker.

LOTS of Hands. LOTS. Its really really a lot (Don't Panic!)
Great for working on your SITUATIONAL plays
Poker cheat tools can not be used against you
Much easier to fold to "peppered beef" bet since EVERYONE is grinding.
(another way to say it is that you are "surprised less".)
Exposes Flaws in your game

Random seat. (I would like the whisk to be smarter and draw players to the next logical seat in their rotation)
No hero calls
No results. Once you fold, you are gone.
Forces you to be RESULTS oriented.

removes some of the finer nuances of the game (stack size, blind defense, setting up a play, etc)

Overall, I am impressed, amazed and in a position to benefit from RUSH POKER more than the pros.