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!