Friday, September 28, 2007

AIPS II Event #9 - Let's just start with...

I hate limit hold'em. I play almost exclusively NLHE and Razz. Gawd, I love razz, but I digress. I played in this tournament...the first private tournament I have ever played in. It was being run by the best poker podcast from Florida. Ante Up! And had some short lived fun and even made my way to the leader board for a while.

I moved up in chips quite quickly to start. I was playing tight/agressive poker. I build my way up to #2 on the leader board with ~3500 in chips. And then...I pissed them all away. Mostly because....I decided to be a chip limit...with little blinds and no hope of winning.

I do believe that had I just stuck to my plan and played patient'd be seeing my name in lights. Lesson learned...let's hope I can someday learn to stick to my plan.

To be honest...I lost the most money when I had KK UTG and got donkey called all the way to the river by a guy holding A6. He had paired his ace. Why don't I lay these things down? I knew he had an ace I could tell he was keeping the pot small by check/calling...but no...I can spike a K and make him cry...whatever.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Search for the meaning of poker league

I'll be honest, last night; I really didn't care much about the poker in poker league. I'm pretty thoroughly frustrated playing in a bar league. You play about 10 hands an hour, so you can't play tight, you will never see a hand. You can play looser, but if you don't have the nuts by the river, forget about it, they are calling you all the way. Every move you make, you risk losing your stack do some moron feeling lucky.

I busted out pretty early last night. Basically I was frustrated and didn't really care. I figured I had a decent hand with a fair chance of winning. The blinds are 25/25 (yep, first level) and baldy on my right raises to 75. He'll raise with any paint or pocket pair. Heck, he's even told me and I quote..."I don't get it, I raise with a monster like A T..." wasn't aware that was a monster...but oh well. I squeeze KQ.'s early position and I've found I can't really wait for a better hand in this league. So I call. Well Manicured guy that I lost the heads up tournament raises to 300. Now, my experience with him is he likes to be tricky. He can also raise any time he thinks others are weak. Baldy and I both call. The flop come K97 rainbow. Baldy checks, I raise all in with top pair. I only had 1050 left so it was either pot for 950 or put it all in. Well Manicured guy about instantly calls. Of course he had AK and as it turns out, Baldy had KJ. This is about my luck.

The part that frustrates me the most is watching the sheer volume of hands won with second pair or high cards...and I enter a pot to find that I'm drawing almost dead with KQ every time. Just one week, I'd like to actually play in a pot where I'm not dominated every time I put chips in the middle.

The only other hand I played...I had 99. I lost to TT. Nice. I really need to play some cards outside of this group...maybe I can talk Bodie25 into a little travel time soon. I hear there is some big game at one of the local hotels...a change of scenery could do me some good.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Online Update - Other People's Money

I did it! I've come back from a serious downsizing of the bankroll!

After putting my tail between my legs and moving down, way down, the food chain, I've moved my bankroll back above par!

The next tournament I play...will be with other people's money!

I think I'll stay at this level for a little while longer and pad this bankroll if I can. I'd like to get back to continually playing with other people's money. Poker is a lot more fun that way.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Last Night - A Freeroll

Bodie25 used to talk me into playing freerolls with him before he got some real cash. These are a strange, strange way to play poker and I'm not sure they are really good for you to play in the long run.

The basic concept of a freeroll is there is a prize that people want, but risk nothing but time to get. The most common strategy you see is to keep pushing all in until you have a large pile of chips. That's about it. To describe the play as "Loose" is kinda funny. This is just plain insane. People will move in with any 2 cards and hope for the best.

So last night, I outlasted 2672 people by basically folding and watching for players that were selective in the hands they played. These people provide the best time to push all-in and get some value. Last night, until we were done to 90 people, did I ever play a hand that wasn't premium. AK was about as loose as I got. Drawing hands are worthless here. You won't have the chance to see the flop, because everyone will be all-in prior to the cards hitting the you want a made hand. But don't be suprised to see people with any range in there with you.

I think playing this actually brought back some leaks when I got to the money tables again later in the night. Since people were playing tighter by comparison, I started over valueing my hands and taking risks that weren't smart. I adjusted back, but for the most part...I think it made me dumber. I'm now more excited than ever to play in the cash money actually get think!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Another Tuesday night...

This is week whatever at Brother's Poker League. The census is down and for some reason, nothing is going my way. I couldn't have been more card dead last night. I went 2 full orbits without a card bigger than an 8. I stole a little, but for the most part, every hand had at least 4 people in it and frankly, when you look down and find J2o for the umteenth time in a day, I just gave up the hand before first break.

I'm of course in the BB in the last hand before break. UTG raises 1 BB. He's a punk kid, lots of tatoo, and those ever expanding gross earings where the earlob gets all stretched...yuck! Flopr was A 7 4. What the heck...I got dealt we get it all in. I figured he had an ace, which he did, and no one would ever lay down an ace at poker league (I hadn't been dealt one in an hour). He had AQo, which of course is a monster...and he can't wait to get it all in. I miss all 7 of my outs and go home.

This online thing is getting to be a lot more fun. I played 2 $1.25 45 person sngs. The first one, I blinded out...continuing my decline into card dead hell. When I did get an Ace with a card bigger than a 5, the flop so completely missed me, that there is just no way I'm dying with ace high with no draw.

The second tournament, the card death continued until we got down to 2 tables. At first, I was just stealing and restealing at will...that was fun, and then, I finally got a few hands! I really had a good read on the guys at the final table. I played very patient and got my chips in ahead every time. I took it down!

This level is really helping my bankroll. I'm almost back to par. In this type of tournament, my ROI has dropped a smidge. But it's still encouraging. I cash 38% of the time and have an ROI of 173%. Too bad the stakes are small...I could retire!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Bourbonators Recap And Online Update

Sorry about not posting a recap since Friday night, my other hobby was consuming a fair bit of my time this weekend. You can check that out at my photo blog.

I love Bourbonators. The poker has come a long way since I first joined them. We are a group of guys that get together once a month, try a new Whiskey, Scotch or Bourbon and then sit down to some cards, laughs and BBQ'ed covered something with chips. (Veggie trays usually decay on tray)

This month was no different. The usual cast of characters were there; Lowell, Marshall, Darrin, John (Chief Bourbonator), Jon (our gracious host), Old John (he's older than me!), and Colin. Even Marshall has made great strides in his game, he's still a blank page when you try to read him, but at least there are far few 23o hidden in front of him when he pushes.

The first game, I decided to play differently than in the past. I'm been working hard to get more aggressive and just take more pots that no one wants. This was paying off nicely for me. My reads all night were pretty dead on. As I noted in a previous post, I bubbled. Card dead just doesn't always work when you've been very agressive most of the night. I did make a stupid call against Jon, the eventual winner, that really cost me some chips. I had a draw, and pretty sure Jon knew it. He got me off the hand and left me with a short stack. I was drawing the flush and the straight draw, but wasn't willing to pay the all-in to see the river. I think a reraise early would have slowed him down enough for me to see it.

The second game, I pretty much stayed on the same track. I made good reads and never really saw a big hand. I avoided a lot of opportunities to lose chips and took as many pots as I could that no one wanted. I knocked Jon out at bubble time with middle pair(me) vs. his over cards. Since this wasn't FTP, my middle pair held up. I ended up Heads Up against Darrin. Darrin has never been the winner of any night. He played well and got cards just slightly better than the ones I had. I had played him pretty aggressive and loose for most of the night. He started getting a much better sense of when I was weak (which was often).

I was happy with the way I played. Poker is getting to be fun again. Even online poker...

I've been on hiatis lately from playing anything bigger than $2. NO RING GAMES! My bankroll at taking a serious beating and I was playing my money again. I definitely needed to make some adjustments. I dropped down to the $1 45 Person NLH sngs. The long string of bad beats were over. At this level, I can wait for a bigger hand and then turn on the gas when we get to the money. I've been running just sick lately too there. While Saturday night was definitely just weird, I had AA 5 times in one tournament, I've been cashing about 50% of the time. My ROI is something sick too, 238%. I'll hang out here for a while, experiment and work the leaks out. My bankroll is just about back to par and with a little padding, I hope to step it up again.

The MTTs are still my best game, I need to play more of these. I've been trying to fit in a 180 person $2 game every now and then. I've cashed a few times, but they take more than 3 hours to get to the beginnings of the cash...Dad's just don't have that kind of time.

Tomorrow night is the Brother's League again. I cashed the first week, now it's time to get back there. more sick suckouts. Bodie25 needs the competition at the top.

Friday, September 14, 2007

I bubbled...bummer

Jon Blixt won and Colin finished second.

We just started the second game, Marshall actually folded the first
hand. Darrin raises, John Wegge reraises to 300. Flop AK9. Turn 6.
River ten. John bets, Darrin reraises, john goes all-in Darrin calls.
Darrin has a straight and takes Wegge out.

Bourbonators - September 2007

Holding my own in chips. Lowell, Marshall, John Rispa out!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Wow - where to start - Donkey gets lucky????

I sat down for week 3 of the fall league at Brother's Bar and Grill. Full of all the hopes we poker junkies have each time we sit down. I was calm, rested and feeling at the top of my game. Online play has even turned around the trendline points up again.

On my right this week, were 2 new people. Neither with any experience and surely hadn't been at a table near me before. On my left was one guy I've played before, he has shakier hands than I do. On his left, was another new guy.

The two on my right were definitly calling stations. They were in almost every pot. The guy directly on my left would not laydown anything. I watched him call a huge bet on the river with the sucker straight. The board was 8 7 6 5...he had the 4. Was bummed to find that had put in the big raise had a 9. But like he said..."I can't lay down a straight!"

Well, being an observant player, I like that kind of information.

Not much was going on, the table seemed pretty loose and chips were moving around, so I just played her tight. I cleaned up one pot that had 3 aces on the board. Prof Jens was in the hand, I had the full house when I pair my king on the flop. Not really sure where the table was, I mean there were 4 of us in the pot. Prof Jens raises 50 on the river. Now this bet to me was either fishing for a raise or an attemp to just take it down now. He does both. I pair my king so I just called. The button just calls too. They were both just fishing. Nice little pot.

I folded for about 20 more minutes and then my random number generator went off and I raised from UTG with A 7. I know, that's a pretty loose raise, but I also don't want to put myself in the spot where I always play tight. I fully plan on bailing out of this hand if I miss completely.

The flop comes A♣73♣, I hit it, but the clubs are scaring me a little. I bet pot to 500. Todd folds and the LB and BB both call. OK...someone have clubs? Other aces out there (hoping this is true)? The turn comes 2 I put out another large bet of 1200 and to my shock...everyone still calls! WTF! I'm really hopping that they have big aces or are dumb enough to chase a draw. The river turns yet another non-scary card, the 2♠. I finish putting all of my chips in. I really believe I have the best hand. Outside of pocket aces, 7s or 3s, which these two rookies would have wet themselves over a while ago, am I really worried about A2, 72 or 32? Could someone have called all the raises hoping to hit a full house?

Yes they could. They did, and the proudly turned over A2. Wow...and he's bragging about it. I had 2 chips left and that happened to be the BB the very next hand. I was 4♠5♣ was no match for whatever the other two had.

Thanks to Prof Jens for reminding me that I played the hand correctly and had donkey boy right where I wanted him. Unfortunately...that's variance.

Filled with all the emotions of a bad suckout, I left the table, looking for Bodie25. I found him and told him the story. He was on his way to making a big splash in the league standings...CONGRATS! I'll let him tell the story...go check out his site for details.

After I busted out, the broke the table and A2 guy moved over to Bodie25's table. Jon and Bodie noticed his large stack and asked how he got it. He proudly told them how he just busted 2 people out with a full house. Jon asks...did you have A2? "Yeah!"...the table laughs. He was gone within the hour. His chips removed by the skills of my friends at his new table....thanks guys!

What did learn from this? Not much, maybe keep the tight motif up longer and be more careful of the blind squirrel finding a nut. I don't think I would ever play that hand differently against a player of limited means. I was never behind him in the hand until the river. In fact, I basically had him right were I want him 95% of the time. Next time, I'll be fat, dumb and happy with chips.

Side Note: Went home and signed into FT of course. Still making regular profits on the $1.25 45 person sng. For the month of September...I've cashed in 4 of 8 with an ROI of 238%. I wish I could get those kinds of returns on a much bigger buy in. Oh well, this the medicine I have to swallow to get my bankroll back up to healthy.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Online Poker Update

I haven't been writing much about my online play. was really sucking. I had a stretch of bad cards and turned that into a longer stretch of wretched play.

I blew the profit I'd made. Now, I didn't blow the whole bankroll, but officially, I'm playing my money again.

Lately, I've been doing a lot of soul searching and reading. I knew what the problem was. I wasn't paying attention. I was missing the fundamentals. I quit thinking thru hands and put my self at risk for marginal hands in bad spots. Things like, watching stack sizes and betting patterns. I was also just steaming. Losing breads more losing.

Lately, I've moved back to my roots. I swallowed my pride and started back at the beginning. $1.25 45 person tournaments. I used to be pretty dang good at these, and frankly, they pay almost the same as the $5.50 9 person. The biggest difference is the risk to reward. Risking a $1.25 to win $15.95 is better than $5.50 to win $17.50.

I've also started playing the $2.25 180 person tournaments, when time permits. I've only played a handful of these. They are different that what I'm used to, but I really like them. Tonight, I cashed for the first time. I probably could have got a lot deeper. I picked a stupid spot to push and lost. I finished 18th. The first to get paid. I'll keep these up for a while, the 45 and the 180 person tournaments...let's just see if I can get back the magic.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Gold Rush – Poker League Week 2

Week 2 began with me at a table with some players I have played before. Not a new person at the table.

I follow the same strategy I used last week. Play the player and the situation. The person on my right, let's just call him Rev. Falwell (OK…for some reason he just looks like him to me). This guy never saw two cards he wouldn't call the BB with. As I watched him play throughout the night, he'd stay in with any pair or decent high card. That's not to say he wouldn't have a hand, but let's just say that wasn't necessary to reach the river. On my immediate left was Officer Jeff. He's a solid player and was making moves. He his right was Walter. He's a retired guy that I've played many times. He plays very tight, but watch out, he'll turn over a monster when you bluff him at the wrong time. His biggest weakness is he sometimes stays too long with a marginal hand; he misses the draws that hit quite often. Jen G was seated directly across from me. That's what I remember, the texture of the table changed over the course of the night.

The table was pretty weak to start with, but my raises were usually met with many callers. I did up the raise size from 3x to 3.5x and that seemed to help. I really need to keep track of how various size bets work from different positions. UTG, a standard 3x raise usually caused a cascade of callers, each getting better pot odds than the one in front of them. Since my goal is to stay out of the way of variance (donkeys), I kept a pretty close tab on where I was, who was after me, and did they look at their cards and give away anything. Rev. Falwell didn't seem to miss any pots along the way (ok, it was just really rare), I used this to my advantage.

Rev. Falwell and I got into a pot that walked around to him in the SB. He calls and I check. I think I had J 2, maybe 10 7…as it turns out, it really didn't matter anyway…I flopped 2 pair. I bet pot size, he calls, there wasn't anything bigger than my top pair, so I just hopped he caught at little. Turn, a blank, but paired the suit of another card, that seemed to get him a little happier. He calls my pot size bet. The river pairs my deuce…again. Filler Up! I was trying to think of a bet he would call. I bet out 700, which was 100 more than my turn bet, but that was too much, he folded. He was on a straight draw and as he folds says, huh, there was a flush draw too…I didn't see that. He tried telling me all of his outs he could have hit to beat me…most of the time, he kept forgetting that a full house would have won. He had gotten an early big chip stack, but Office Jeff and I helped remove most of his chips. The blinds kept raising and we kept losing players.

And my cards started to REALLY suck. I went 2 hours with the best hand I saw was AJo, it was UTG. A 4x BB raise was met with 4 callers, and the board came out all spades…a K and Q…and everyone else at the table felt compelled to bet. Nice. I think I'll fold.

I sat helplessly stealing, just treading water, until 3 new people eventually showed up at the table, all on my right, all loving the raise and call pre-flop. One was our good friend Bodie25. He spotted the weakness in the table that I had been stealing from to tread water, and picked up in earlier position than me where I was about to leave off. There was one time; I very seriously considered a resteal. He raised when I was in the BB. His raise was a 3x, and everyone folded to me. My Spidey Sense was tingling and telling me he was just making a move. I guess, he'll have to tell the story. I prefer to bluff when I have a hand that might draw well. I had Jc 7s. Not a particularly strong hand, but I really think a bluff might have pushed him off. We'll never know.

I survived to break, just limping along. I just wasn't able to get anything together. I saw 8 2 off suit 4 times one orbit. That's never good. I made some gallant pushes when the blinds reached 200/400 and then pushed one too many times. I had 1700 chips left and saw my first pocket pair of the entire evening, 77. Grant, was trying to steal again with his raise before me. I just knew he was, but I also knew I was probably a coin flip to him, the question was, and would he fold rather than put 900 more chips in the middle. He called. He turns over J 10. We all know how well I do at coin flips. I got home pretty quick after that. Sucked some more at some online SNG's...and went to bed. Time to head back into the tank and rethink my style or my inability to switch style to fit the table. Any advice?