Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Back up to $10

I spent the weekend only playing in the $10 sngs. There's a big difference between a $5 9 person sng and $10 9 person sng. I'd swear there are more donkeys at $10 than $5. I lost more hands to 2 and 3 outers than I can count. And a first for me. I lost a hand to someone hoping to hit a royal flush. I lost it on the river. My full house cracked by a miracle.

My experience this weekend was actually encouraging, though. I adjusted to the new styles of play and actually ended the weekend with a profit. It was $2, but it was a profit.

I'll stay at this level for a while now. My bankroll is intact and I have enough there to ride out a losing streak at this level without much danger.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Co-ed Invitational II

Our second poker invitational was another fantastic evening! We had 13 people in our little basement tournament. Bodie25 and Mrs. Bodie25 were here. So be sure to check out his perspective.
My results weren't as good as I hoped, I bubbled. The night started kind of hectic. I realized just after we started the Dr. Neau wasn't set up just right and I needed to reload everything. The funny thing is, I figured this out because I took the first person out of the tournament, not more than 5 hands in.

I was dealt AA and did a standard 3xBB raise from MP. One caller, the BB, a guy know for playing draing hands and going for the suck out. I catch another ace on the flop and there doesn't seem to be much for draws. The turn comes with another spade. Now, if he tries to run with me, I'm pretty sure he's on a flush draw, I decide to put him to the test and push him all in. To my suprise, he calls and I was right, he's on a flush draw. We were almost even in chips, so I would have been left with a chip had I lost the hand. I survived to live again. Aaron was on the rail in 13th place.

I played like a donkey for the next few minutes. Just mixing it up and being aggressive. Turns out, everyone else was getting cards. I dropped back to par. Bodie25 made a nice play with aces when I was on a straight draw and top pair. I had put him on a big ace and thought he would fold to the extreme pressure. His aces was the biggest and he didn't fold.

I didn't really play a lot of hands after this. The deck went cold for me, but everyone else was getting playable hands.

When my stack cut to the 10xBB zone, all the short stacks were moving in and getting picked off. At this time, I kept looking down to find 2 3, 9 2, J 3, Q 4. Not exactly the hands you want to call an all-in with.

I plodded along to the bubble, and kept getting marginal hands you can either fold or push with. I tried to be patient and wait for a good spot, but I never found one. With less than 2 BB left, I found A J of hearts, and had 2 callers (suprise!) It was over, my first loss at my own house.

OhCountess (Mrs. OhCaptain), had a pretty amazing ride. She enter the final table a very short stack, and out lasted a couple of people! Well done!

Mrs. Bodie 25 didn't retain her crown as reigning champion, but Bodie25 had a very nice showing. He was in on the hand that took out our here (me), and parlayed that into a 4th place finish. But he lasted much longer after I finished.

Dick and Bonnie made a very impressive first time in our tournament. This young couple were celebrating their' 50th Wedding Anniversary with us and finished 3rd and 2nd to Eloise!

Nice job everyone! More details about the Co-ed Invitational III very soon!

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The return to form - I actually had cards too!

Poker league resumed last night. It summer, so the fields are much smaller than normal. There were only 8 tables last night, so at most there were 64, but our table wasn't full, so the number must be smaller.

The pressure if off for me, even if I qualify for the state tournament, I can't attend. It's all about the poker now. It's time to practice and mix it up.

I've been successful lately online but really changing the way I play the blinds and being in position. An example would be, early on in a tournament, when someone does a standard raise in position and comes around to me in the BB, if no one else has entered the pot, I'll call with almost any two cards. What I find is that most of the time, a post flop bet will take it down if they miss. I also get far few people trying to steal the blinds, especially if I go to show down with some random junk. I've also been entering more pots from position with marginal hands and then either baling on a hand or out playing people. Both of these adjustments to my game have helped maintain a healthier stack.

Last night, I rolled out these adjustments at league and the results were quite promising! While I made my biggest jumps in chip counts with good cards, I added a lot of small pots to my stack as well.

One more adjustment I made last night, I spent more time putting people on a hand and avoiding pots with the truly maniacal players in the league.

This wouldn't be a good poker night recap without my two favorite hands. I'd tell you the story of my exit from the tournament, but let's just say, losing 4 straight coin flips still hurts.

The first fun hand of the night came with me dealing. There were a lot of limpers, I think only one person folded pre-flop. I of course called with 22. Gotta love the ducks! The flop comes 3 K 2, two hears and a diamond. I raise pot size. He re-raises all-in. Everyone folds to me. OK. This is the same guy that a couple of weeks about told me what an idiot I was to push with a flush draw when all he had was top pair and a very weak kicker. I'm guessing, he's in a similar situation here. I was close, he had K 2. I called hoping to avoid a K. I did and he went home. Ducks aren't fun, until you have 3 of them.

The next hand came not much longer after this last one. I'm now in the BB. The blinds are 50/100. The cut-off calls the BB and everyone else folds. I looked down and found J 7o. What the heck, let's see a flop. The flop comes 7 3 7. Hmm, could this be a BB special? I bet out, pot size. He calls me. This guy I'm playing is a maniac, but he's not that good either. So I'm putting him on an over pair, AK, AQ, A7, A3, and maybe even 33. I'm leaning towards the A 3. People like to see flops with their aces. He wasn't visibly show signs of be really strong.

The turn is a J. GIN! The only hand I'm now worried about is JJ. He didn't react at all to the J; in fact, I'd say he was completely disinterested in it. I bet the pot again, but this time, I told him I didn't think he had a made hand and was hoping for more. He called. The river was a 6. I realize there is now a straight draw out there. I tell him that I know the 6 didn't help him and I bet the pot again. He tells me he did hit something. I actually at this time think he might actually have the 33 or ace 7. HE CALLS! He did have the 33 and wasn't really happy about the 7s full. I think he was trapping me. Second nuts is fun, even more so when it J 7!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

I'm liking the MTT

Tonight, there was time to play a 90 person deep stack $5 sit-n-go. I decided to play this one as patiently as possible. My plan worked fabulously. I finished 4th!
Here's my observation. Many of the people I played were willing to just hand over their chips as long as I was patient and let the hands come to me.
Later in the tournament, my tight image was paying off and I was stealing enough to survive. I also watched as people panicked and basically threw money away trying for a big score. Some fairly sizable pots were being thrown around with pretty marginal hands.
My tournament ended when I was dealt A Q UTG. I raised pot, which was basically committing me to an all in. The BB and fat stack called. He had QQ. I was dead to an ace and it never came, despite many pleas to the poker gods.

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Almost got there

One more night of playing a MTT. Back to the $5 45 person NL Hold'em sng. For the second night in a row, I CASHED!
This will help the bankroll, but I could smell first place.

The villian in this story was basically a donkey, kicking around and getting lucky at just the right times. I quite sure, he's a novice. The final table in this tournament just didn't seem to be as experienced as the final tables I'm used to in the 9 person sngs.
Quite often, a short stack would push all in for less than 2 BB, and NO ONE CALLED! Come on folks! The lucky folks did it when I was UTG.
Buy pots was easy and could be done almost at will. There were a lot of walks.

The picture on the right shows the hand that I tried to knock him out first. No luck. He spikes the ace on the river.

I held the chip lead for most of the times we were heads up. This was the hand that I lost it for the first time.

The next time I caught him getting lucky, I had the ace and he had a king, I don't necessarily question him playing this hand all in, but he'd play almost anything all in. And I don't mean pushing all in, I mean calling it.

Every hand was good, and it had been this way most of the way through the tournament.

Again he spiked the card he needed.

Bottom line though, I played patient and put my money in the pot when I was ahead. I even thought through people's betting patterns to make sure I was thinking things through.

I've bought my self some buy-ins now for future tournaments and I'm starting to feel comfortable with this format again.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

A bad beat – I believe this qualifies

At the recommendation of a few of my poker friends, I've started venturing back into the larger than 9 person tournament space. Last night, we were back at a 45 person SNG. I hadn't really played them much at all lately, the take longer and I'd been losing pretty steadily at them.

Early on in the tournament, I'd hit a huge pot and taken 3 people out when I flopped the nuts and 3 other people figured they could win gut shot straight draws (d'Oh!). I coasted along, cleaning up the dead money a few times, but not really see much for cards.

In the LB, I see this action. The UTG player limps in for 100, the next player raises to 300. They were both fairly new to the table so there wasn't history on them. It folds around to me and I find JJ. I can call that raise from the LB with that. The BB and the limper think for a while and fold. The flop comes 8 3 J. I check. Ziggy1623 raises to 500 bringing the pot to 1300, I raise to 1000, he goes all in for 1885 and I'm thinking GIN! I'm way out in front of anything he might have. I instantly call. Ziggy turns of 99. Holy cow! All of his chips with a pair of nines! According to Card Player's odds calculator, I'm ahead 96.67% to 3.33%. Ziggy told me later, he just about turned everything off to head to bed when he witnessed a Q and a 10 on the turn and river. He had hit the miracle straight.

I battled through and kept my composure. I finished 4th in the tournament and Ziggy finished 1st. He was very gracious in his suck out and we exchanged jabs about it for the rest of the tournament.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Sympathy calls and the bonehead

All I can say is that last night's poker league was both rewarding and disappointing. For the first time in a long time, I felt I was really playing well. I felt comfortable with my reads and most importantly, I was remembering to slow down and think about what was going on.

That being said, there was the big blow up moment where I threw caution to the wind and threw my chips away violating rule #1. Never go broke with top pair. That's where all my chips went, and that was very disappointing.

One of the best moments of the night for me came against Connie. She's a decent league player, but not always the most sophisticated. She was in the CO position to my BB. She likes to enter pots from late position and doesn't need to be that strong, but when she's going to steal, she raises. In this occasion, she just called the BB. The dealer and the LB folded leaving me heads up with her. I didn't watch the flop, only her actions. She was looking at the TV when the flop came and had to be told to come back to the table. This appeared to be genuine disinterest. Since she limped pre flop, and was really interested in watching the Minnesota Twins, I put her on a small ace of some kind. The flop comes Q 8 3 rainbow. Now here comes the interesting part, I have 5 3 o and check to her. We need to drag her away from the TV to get back to the felt. She sorta glanced at the flop but was grabbing chips before her eyes could read the cards. I really felt at this moment that she had a small ace and was doing a continuation bet. The turn was a 5. Well, that helped! I checked, I was positive she would fire another shot at this one. I was correct. She just fired the minimum. I'm now convinced she's got absolutely nothing but ace high. I hope to slow play now. Hopefully, there is an ace on the river and I can make some money. The river missed her and I checked to her hoping she would bet. I figured a bet at this moment would only result in a fold. My only hope for more chips was to let her do it on her own + I want to see her cards!

I was right! She had a small ace! Not the biggest pot I've ever won, but heck, with 5 3 o in the BB, I can't complain.

I really stayed alive with a OK stack for most of the evening cleaning the dead money pots. I mostly just did semi-bluffs at bad texture flops. They looked good to me!

The bonehead move of the day came when I was in the BB and had one limper on my left (UTG). She joined are table late in the evening, so I had no history one her at all. I don't think I've ever seen her there before. I was dealt KcTs. The flop had a Tc and contained 3 clubs. I bet 2 BB into the pot and she didn't hesitate and moved all in. For some reason, I really thought she either had 2 pair (now that's stupid) or a small flush. Now calling left me almost broke. So I called. Ugh. That was dumb. I had enough chips left to make 1 all in and tripled up only to lose everything a few minutes later to a sympathy call. Handlebar mustache guy wanted to go home and called my KQ all in with Ad6d. I suppose I'll just have to play better next week!

Friday, June 8, 2007

Keeping it legal

I read a couple of good commentaries on the legal state of online poker. Make no bones about it, I'm a card carrying memeber of the Poker Player's Alliance. How I chose to spend my money should be left to me.

A quote from Al D'Amato say it all, "We talk about fair trade and free trade. We talk about individual rights. We're sanctimonious hypocrites."

This first link, describes the current state of affairs pretty well. The Department of Justice would like to snuff out online poker. It's a far greater threat to our nation than drugs and gangs, pfft.

This second article also wonders whether online poker is dead or not.

Both articles are a great read.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The drought is over!

I broke through and made the money again! I really focused back on playing smart poker and not going overboard with the top pairs any more. I probably laid down to some bluffs, but in the end, the results speak for themselves. I won the thing!

It started:
Seat 1: BD Mack (8,590)
Seat 7: OhCaptain (4,910)

He seemed to be a fairly agressive player, but also seemed to fear the trap. I got caught slow playing a couple of times. This really paid off in the end.

We got as low as:
Seat 1: BD Mack (10,750)
Seat 7: OhCaptain (2,750)

I really got the sense that BD was getting cocky. I had been playing very week. I was letting him really push me around until...

BD Mack posts the small blind of 120
OhCaptain posts the big blind of 240
The button is in seat #1
*** HOLE CARDS ***Dealt to OhCaptain [Ks 9s]
BD Mack calls 120OhCaptain checks
*** FLOP *** [4s Ts 9c]
OhCaptain checks
BD Mack bets 480
OhCaptain raises to 2,510, and is all in
BD Mack calls 2,030
OhCaptain shows [Ks 9s]
BD Mack shows [8c 7d]
*** TURN *** [4s Ts 9c] [Tc]
*** RIVER *** [4s Ts 9c Tc] [Th]
OhCaptain shows a full house, Tens full of Nines
BD Mack shows three of a kind, Tens
OhCaptain wins the pot (5,500) with a full house, Tens full of Nines
*** SUMMARY ***Total pot 5,500 Rake 0Board: [4s Ts 9c Tc Th]
Seat 1: BD Mack (small blind) showed [8c 7d] and lost with three of a kind, Tens
Seat 7: OhCaptain (big blind) showed [Ks 9s] and won (5,500) with a full house, Tens full of Nines

I never once tried push him with a second pair or draw. I gave a bunch back by betting the next flop. It was a 1440 pot sized bet. I had nothing and he went all in, but I wasn't going to call K high for all my chips.

I went back to just playing small ball with him. He really seemed to be getting bored with this tourny...right where I wanted him.

Seat 1: BD Mack (7,020)
Seat 7: OhCaptain (6,480)
OhCaptain posts the small blind of 150
BD Mack posts the big blind of 300
The button is in seat #7
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to OhCaptain [Ts As]
OhCaptain calls 150
BD Mack raises to 900
OhCaptain raises to 2,700
BD Mack raises to 7,020, and is all in
OhCaptain calls 3,780, and is all in
BD Mack shows [Jh Qh]
OhCaptain shows [Ts As]
Uncalled bet of 540 returned to BD Mack
*** FLOP *** [8s 7c Qc]
*** TURN *** [8s 7c Qc] [Ac]
*** RIVER *** [8s 7c Qc Ac] [5d]
BD Mack shows a pair of Queens
OhCaptain shows a pair of Aces
OhCaptain wins the pot (12,960) with a pair of Aces
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 12,960 Rake 0Board: [8s 7c Qc Ac 5d]
Seat 1: BD Mack (big blind) showed [Jh Qh] and lost with a pair of Queens
Seat 7: OhCaptain (small blind) showed [Ts As] and won (12,960) with a pair of Aces

I really believed he was getting bored and frustratoed. We started almost even and he had had me on the ropes. I think this part of my game has really matured. I didn't get impatient. Took two more hands, but I did finish him off. Strange hand too...

Board: [Jh Td Th 9h 3h]
Seat 1: BD Mack (big blind) showed [Ks 8c] and lost with a pair of Tens
Seat 7: OhCaptain (small blind) showed [Kc 8h] and won (2,160) with a flush, Jack high

The monkey is gone and I feel better now. I lost quite a bit this weekend moving up and then just donking off a couple tournys. Patients, patients, patients.

They are fighting back! - (Finally)

Seems the Internet Gaming companies have finally grown a backbone are suing the Federal Government to stop the UIGEA!

Let's just hope this insanity ends soon and no government body can tell me how I should spend money. Spread the word far and loud! Get the government out of our homes and so we can all shuffle up and deal!

Let's try linking to some Picasa Photos

Here are some of the pictures I took at the State poker championship.


MN State Poker Championship

Poker - Live at Brother's

Played some live poker again last night. It was nice to get back to the felt. I'm finding, that as I working on increasing my preception levels, I also find there is a lot more garbage to filter through at this venue. A lot of chatter at my table, and I got to admit, I was one of them. Jerry L. was on my right and Jess was on my left. Jerry's a skilled player, so I got to make some moves on him and he noticed. Jess is just a tight player, she getting better, but mostly she just waits for a hand.

This was my last pure freerole at poker league. Had I taken 1st place last night, I'd go to regionals. 2nd place...and I don't go. Well, isn't that special. I decided to approach the night as another experiment. I watch people every week play the hands aggressively and they pile up the chips. Of course, that wasn't the case for me. I would get "Sympathy Calls," they new I had them beat and they wanted to go home. So they out draw me. Mike Matusow's got a lot catching up to do on losing coin flips. Heck, I don't even win the 2:1's right now.

I'm still reading the book "The Mathematics of Poker". The first section was a little slow. It's been quite long time since I had stats in college, but I moving in to the more meatier areas now. I'm learning a lot more about EV and pot odds calculation. Cool stuff!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Every time I try...

I tried moving up again this weekend. After spending 2 weeks consistently cashing and even getting a few more first, I moved to the $10 games and watched the cards and opportunities vanish.

The first game I played, I stole every single chip I had and finished 4th. I didn't once see a hand bigger than second pair or at best top pair with four suited cards and 4 people in the pot.

I did start making a leak again. Calling with top pair and dying with it. But I also lost every coin flip.

Live poker starts up again on tomorrow night. This is the one last weak to play without the pressure to win.

Any coaches out there looking to mentor a motivated student?