Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Week 14 - Poker league recap

I think I figured out where all the pocket aces I was missing were...they were hiding in week 14.

I came in to week 14 5th in points. Top 2 finishers go directly to the State Tournament. Since the top 2 pay essentially the same, my only main focus is finishing in there. With three weeks to go, I was only 71 points out of first place and 65 points out of second. I have a shot!

My plan the last 3 weeks has been this. Make good decisions, play each had one at a time and think about who's in the pot with me and make sure everything is optimal. What the heck does that mean? Too often, when I'm play free bar poker, I didn't take into account the other player and what motivates them. Some people want to win the tournament, some just want to win the hand and other just want to make points. Also, there are vastly different skill levels and experiences...this needs to be considered.

I muddled along for most of the first part of the night and only played 4 hands before the first break...couriously...3 of those were AA. I had almost forgotten what they looked like. Too bad though, they didn't really pay me big...just big enough to keep the stack growing. But it also gave me more respect moving forward.

I played the player most of the night. One thing with free poker is you can't out play people that only see the two cards in front of them, so when you make moves, be aware of the person you are doing it to. Lucky for me, people don't do this. I won 2 larger pots making the correct call on the river. Each with no better than a pair. One of the calls was a 200 chips raise on the river when blinds were 75/150. This just seemed odd. The pot was 750...and I had bottom pair. Getting almost 5;1 to call with bottom pair, turns out everyone else folded to a stone cold bluff. Two hands later, the flop comes all junk, it's 9 high and rainbow. It checks around on the flop. I paired my Q on the turn. The UTG player raises 300. This gets everyone to fold. I know this player...he would have raised with anything higher that QJ preflop UTG. Why would he bet a Q if it hit him and not raise preflop. I had QJ, so there didn't seem to be a hand he'd play that would be 2 betting the turn...so I call. The river is a blank...and lower than Q or J. He raises again...and I still have the same problem...what would he have? As it turns out...NOTHING! I called the river bet and take down the pot. Hmm...this thinking stuff worked.

It wasn't long after this that I lost half my stack in 2 hands. 5400 to 2500 in 2 hands. I'm not really sure why I played this hand, AJo UTG, I decided to raise 3X for 1200. It folds around to the BB...the guy in 4th place, 1 point ahead of me...he moves all in. Wow. Ron is the kind of guy that will use pressure to win pots, but he knows I'm a tight player and one not prone to raise with crap. He's also seen my only raises all night were with AA. I just can't imagine him doing this with AA, KK or maybe even QQ. I don't think he would do this with AK or even JJ. He didn't get to be in forth place in a 16 week league by being an idiot. I lay it down and he turns AA. I'm out 1200, but still alive.

2 hands later, I get 88 in the LB. It folds to me and I raise it one bet and get called. He had folded to a raise early with junk, so I'm guessing he's not completely junky. The flop comes 9 high and 2 clubs. I bet it one bet and he calls. I really get the feeling he's got something. He's trying to trap me. I just know it. We check the turn and the river. The river brought an ace, so there is no way I'm taking a swing. I turn over my 8's and he turns AQ of clubs. My stack has been halved, but at least I made the right call.

I play some small pot poker and raise and steal my way to the final table. Double up once when a checked river brings me a flush and straight draw and a king in the whole for an over. I hit the river!

At this stage in the tournament, the blinds are ridiculous. No one has an M greater than 15. I held out until there was 6 left. Each orbit is costing 3000 in chips and I only 12000...I push it all in with J6d when it walks to me in the LB...BB finds KQ...and it holds. So I'm out in 6th. Not bad though...3 weeks and 3 final tables. One hell of a turn around!

So here's how the top 5 look now (and keep in mind - the top two go directly to state)

  1. Ryan - 1266
  2. OhCaptain - 1226
  3. Jon B - 1193
  4. Prof Jens - 1160
  5. Ron - 1130

I need a much bigger lead...or the next 2 weeks canceled...buckle up! We're in for a fun ride!

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Hunt For a Satellite Token

I really want to play in the AIPS II Main Event. My online bankroll is hovering just over 3 c notes. So a $26 buy-in seems like a pretty big investment.

As I wrote in "I tried something new and survived," I was going to try and win my way in by getting a satellite token. My first attempt, I finished second and won $10. My second attempt, same result. So I figure that gives me $11.20 more to spend in my quest for a token.

I tried for a third time tonight and busted way to early. I just played it badly. Flopped second pair and a got shot straight draw. On raise, surprisingly low for the pot size, so I called. The turn pairs the Q on the flop. Again, the villain raises, but it's only about 60% of the pot. I just don't feel like he has anything. The river was the J I needed to make my straight. Unfortunately, the villain had JJ for the full house. This devastated my stack.

I really think I gotta figure out how to quit with these momentary calling station plays. UGGG! Anyone got a good way to get rid of a leak?

So the quest for the token now sits at $6.80...one more loss and I'll have to make a decision. OhCountess hasn't given me the day off yet anyways...I think I should clear up that little detail too.

Overblocking and the UIGEA and my frustration with humans

Short-Stacked Shamus challenges the brains of all who read his posts. More than once now, he's sent my brain into a logic loop trying to solve an enigma.

In a recent post entitled "Overblocking and the UIGEA", he discusses his frustration and analysis of the Annie Duke's premise that UIGEA will cause "Overblocking." Banks will block transactions that are probably legal, but since there is a hint of grey, they will block in anyways just to be sure.

The entire movement to ban online poker just pushes me to the limits of what this libertarian can stomach.

I've written about this subject in the passed and on other blogs, but what is with governments desire to protect me from myself? And why do the people allow this to happen? I personally find the idea that the government should protect me from me is ludicrous. So why do we continue to allow the government more and more control of our lives?

I personally think its because people don't care. Most people pay so little attention to their government that don't even know what's happening. Fat, dumb and stupid. Just the way they need us. The only time people notice is when the government gets too close to something they are paying attention to, their wallets.

My daughters school is doing a pretty good job of teaching her about government, but the problem is...she's 8. My sister-in-law recently graduated from High School. In there, they learn almost nothing of government and what they do learn, is taught so quickly that it is forgotten within minutes. It seems we as a people work harder to make sure kids learn about Creation than we do to teach them about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

For me, I've taken matters into my own hands. I've called my congressmen more than once. I've sent them emails and I also spend time talking to my kids about democracy, freedom and government. I take my kids to the polls with me when I vote so they can see how it works. Most of my neighbors stay home. Its sad.

Now keep in mind, my greatest concern with the leaders of this country is that our political system is currently designed and built for the maintanance of parties. It used to be the parties were there to support politicians. This is no longer the case. The politicians serve the parties...but that's a whole other post, but this fact is keenly important to this conversation.

Each party derives its finances from donations from people that care. These people tend to be the people that pay attention to government and how it can server them, but no one should be suprised, these people are looking out for the issues that matter most to them, not the country.

During the Regan administration, we started seeing the rise of the fringe groups. The religous right rose and showed how much money it could raise for a candidate. This bought them power and influence. The Democrats have been overwhelmed by their fringe groups now as well. So this country derives most of its political will from both the far left and the far right. Not only do these people bring money to game, they also bring votes. The middle, while more numerous, provides neither money or votes.

So Shamus, I share your pessimism. I really don't see this problem lasting forever. Outside of dissolving the WTO, I see no way for the US to avoid this little fiasco costing them billions of dollars. The pressure is building to get rid of this law, but I think you are right, its gonna get worse before it gets better.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Holidays and Full Tilt Poker

OK...call me paranoid. Tell me I'm thinking like Chirs on Ante Up, but is it just me or do the players and the play at Full Tilt Poker just go goofy on holiday weekends.

When I go through Poker Tracker and examine my results and ROI, there is always a dip over a major holiday.

My theory has always been that the truly casual players become more numerous on these weekends, but why do I seem unable to keep winning at the same rate I usually do? Yesterday, I got it all in preflop late in a tournament with KK to a little pair only to come up bust...3 times! I'd expect to loose this 1 out of 5 times, but each time I had it yesterday...WHAM! Variance. Not to mention, putting someone to the test for all their chips and have them call with 33 isn't frustrating enough.

It just seems like variance gets a boost...where is my foil helmet...I think they are listening.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Can someone check Bodie's Pulse?

Bodie25 and I have had an on going bet for poker league, a lasts longer bet. I've had the upper hand in this one and continued to find ways to just make it longer. Last week, I won the tournament for the second time this season.

To spice things up, we changed the bet. This week it was all on me. He laid me 5:1 that I couldn't win back to back poker leagues. I really thought a fair spread would be 20:1, since there are roughly 50 people in tournament and the variance is huge...it's a freeroll for Pete's sake.

I should probably mention what the stakes are. We play for the Zuppa Tuscana at the Olive Garden. Arguably the best soup ever made. That's another post. He's been feeding me well and to be honest, just winning the bet would be way worth anything.

My attention this week continued to be just making good decisions. I've really been trying hard to make sure each decision I make is the best for the situation. I've found that be making myself think more aggressively, I don't consider the fact that a calling station doesn't care and will be all-in cause - "it was suited!" At first, I was angry at them and the league but then I realized that it wasn't their fault I lost, it was mine for not considering it and taking appropriate action.

So this week it was all about the right play. Early on, I tried playing a few more draws against people that over value their hands....this failed cause...I never hit my draws. Well, that was the risk of calling them. I got as low as 1000 chips in a tournament that starts with 2000.

This week, it was all about the thinking process, the M was important. In many weeks past, I've let the stack dip too low before turning up the heat, thus I get in there with a submarginal hand and lose. This week, when the M was starting to hit the red zone, I'd make moves based on more than just my two cards...whose in the blinds, whose left to act, did they look at their cards, if they did...did they react, where am I (LP, MP, EP). I even found a nice trick for players that are paying attention...I shoved once and got everyone to fold (QQ). Whew...next hand J9...I pushed again (my M was 6). It folds around again, the limpers even folded. Comment by one of the player, "The first time I figured it was just a move, but the second time in a row...you have to have it." Hmm...something to think about, I just played it cause it's my favorite hand. Lesson learned.

I played the M game for a while. Just hanging on. I'm currently 5th in the league points (gawd I wished I had those tilt nights back for a couple of extra points). So making the points is increasingly more important. 3 of the 4 people in front of me have already busted. This adds to every decision now. I want to win, but I also want points...

Eloise double me up again, I had asked her if I should promise her again to make good use of the chips...I tried hard to win the bet and keep this promise...

I made the final table. Whew! Of the remaining 7 people, Ryan is on my left (currently 4th in points). After that, a random selection of luckboxes...DANG, I might actually have a chance to win it all. Bodie25 had stayed to watch me play. I could tell he was both cheering me on and thinking about the bet. I was trying to keep the bet out of my mind. It's still all about the decision for me.

I win some big pots, but the blinds : stack size for everyone is at the point where you just gotta push. Baldie, not the best player ever, is a loose player. Bodie25 called him aggressive, but I think that aggression just comes from him thinking that a flush draw is strong, not anything more than that. He pushes from UTG with his 18000 chips. I'm already in for 6000 and it folds to me. I have 18500 left. I squeeze JJ. What would you do? I called. He turns over AA. A on the flop...no runner runner. I busted 4th, but what a hell of a ride it was.

Bodie25 really gave a great recap of this on his site. I highly recommend you check it out.

The Name is Hoyazo - The Hammer Player

Just read this article on PokerListings.com. Each day I grow more and more disappointed with the state of journalism on this site.

Under Texas Hold'em Tips, you will find an article called "The Rise of the Hammer". Let's see how they mention Hoyazo...

One online poker blogger came up with the name "The Hammer" and ran a contest to see who could win with this hand, and the name has caught on.

Hmmm...did we forget to mention who the blogger was or even mention the web site??? Nice...spew the big names for playing with the hammer, but forget the guy that named it.

Folks...it's in the details. the details.

UPDATE: I was informed that the blogger actually mentioned in the article is Grubby. Not sure who that is yet...even still MENTION THE DAMN BLOGGERS NAME IN THE ARTICLE!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Free bar poker that's not hold'em...really???

Sunday morning, Bodie25 called our house. He's sounded like a kid on Christmas Day, hoping to get an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle, with a compass in the stock and 'this thing' which tells time. He was interested in going to a neighboring town to play a little free poker at a bar. The bar pays cash to the winner (we like cash), and to really get you going...they are playing Pot Limit Omaha (PLO). Yes, you read it right, PLO.

The event was being run by the Big Doc Poker. I'd recently played hold'em at the Whiskey Bones Roadhouse and finished fifth. He runs an interesting tournament, but there are some rules that I don't agree with...but that's not why we are here.

As previously noted in this blog of higher thought, I suck at PLO. To be perfectly honest, I felt like a virgin to the felt again. All the cards and the chips and the people, it was quite exhilarating!

I've never felt more comfortable in my NLHE game. Both my online and live bankrolls have positive trends and when I sit at the table, the universe just seems to be in order...and then they deal me 4 cards and tell me 2 from the hand 3 from the community. Draw to the nuts. 2 pair rarely wins. Lots of suited connectors are good. Oh bother! (Been reading a lot of Winnie the Pooh books to my 4 year-old lately)

Needless to say...I stunk. I didn't win a single pot. I made it past first break by not doing anything. But hey! My iPhone tells me this place has Wi-Fi and guess who brought their laptop with them (does this finally prove once and for all who the geek is?)

Bodie25 drove together, and I'm not one to just ditch a guy when he's winning...unless he just took all my money and I think he's cheating...those rules didn't apply here. He's actually got a monster chip lead! So after a phenomenal cheeseburger and some quiet time reading a book and listening to 'Beyond the table', off to the minivan I went, and retrieved the laptop.

I sat down to the table that had been a side game that vanished, played a cheap SNG and waited for Bodie25 to take this thing down. Geez...PLO takes a long time.

Big Doc and his girlfriend sat down and we started a game of SHO. Seems Big Doc's girlfriend HATES lowball games. Oye vey!

Well...playing short handed mixed games seemed to work for me. I played them all with a good understand and had a lot of fun. Even in Omaha! All the while, I was checking out Bodie25's table, he's mountain of chips just kept getting bigger until finally, well, I let Bodie25 tell you what happened.

Tonight, the return of Free Poker at Brother's Bar & Grill. I find myself in 5th place in the league. I should be a lock for regionals, but maybe there is still hope to be the league champ with a free pass to state...we'll have to wait and see.

Friday, November 16, 2007

A Replay of my shortest SNG...

Thanks to TK over at http://www.SitNGoTraining.com/ for creating the video for me. Hopefully this works. This is a replay of the shortest SNG I've ever played. Note the complete lack of losing hands...I probably played this too loose, but when you are 5:1 in chips to the next stack...whatcha supposed to do.

Click here to view a larger version.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

D'oh! I didn't make it past Scott!

I finished 84th. I really suck at most of these games. Plus the whole limit thing...uggg. It was fun though and Bodie25 is still in it!

I finished 84th...just one spot sooner than Scott.

Next event is the AIPS II Main Event. Time to go win me a satellite token.

AIPS II - Stud H/L

OK...to me, this game can be vodoo to me. But when I hit trip 3s with a good low draw by 5th street...IT HELD and scooped.

Now, I keep bringing in 3 to a flush and the nut low draw...that would be good????

So Chris Cosenza is out and so is Columbo. Can't wait to read what happened with those guys!

It's break time, and I'm still in this. Stud H/L was very good to me. Now...Omaha...a game I suck at. Let me get to razz and hook up with some cards. First time through I never had 2 cards smaller than a 9 at one time...ugggg!

Played AIPS II Event #11 5.50 HORSE 11.15.07

Alrighty..it's begun. I hate LHE. Is it possible to win this whole tournament just cleaning up during RAZZ? Oh well...this will still be fun. It's pretty cool to see the player with the names.

Columbo is over 2000 in chips already...hmm.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Promises Kept

This week, I was rested, calm and ready to play. My focus, to make the best decisions possible with each hand and get inside the heads of the other players.

Nothing fancy this week. Not many hands of the week to be honest. What we have is vindication for those good players busted by the morons...because, in the end, I put my money in with the best hand and won it all.

Why promises kept? Eloise, a regular at my home game, asked me to win since I was playing with her chips. She found herself with the second best hand against me twice. We sat at the same table all night. She fought hard and got her way into a pretty good chip position only to loose two big pots to me. So when she busted, she just told me that I better win it all...Eloise...your chips were not squandered ;-)

Bodie25 and Mrs. Bodie25 were there, but I could tell by the look on his face that it didn't go well. Let's hope you finds your groove again. Poker can be a twisted game.

Probably the hand with the most satisfaction for me wasn't the last one. And to be honest, the pot wasn't all that large. I was in the pot with the lady that slow rolled me a couple of weeks ago with AA. This time, I flopped the an open ended straight draw. She bet the flop, I called. I hit the straight on the turn. She bet, I called. Now, I hate slow playing and this was turning into the second time of the night was going to slow play because I just new that if the board didn't pair, I had the stone cold nuts and she'd pay me off. Sure enough, there are no flushes or pairs on the river and she's betting, I raise to put her all in...she calls and just scratches her head...she's done. Ahh...sweet, sweet revenge.

I suppose now that I mentioned this is the second time I slow played a hand I should tell you that the first time was up against my previous nemesis..the well manicured man. I flopped the set of jacks and he couldn't stop betting...he had pair the 7 and I had flopped the set of Js. I think that demon is done.

I stayed the course of my plan for extremely tight aggressive play until the final table. I switched gears at the final table and started pushing all-in with just about any two cards bigger than 10 or a pocket pair. Funny thing is, people assumed I was on a rush and just folded a lot to me. Faith A. even made the comment, "He's gotta a lot of chips, wow...take a risk like that he must have something big." I had KTo. Steal the blinds twice each orbit and you are making a profit.

When the table was 4 handed, I actually believed I could win the whole thing. I felt in my heart that I could out play each and every one of these guys. I watched as the impaled themselves on each others chips and even took a one out myself. The only hand all night I got into behind. He called one of my all-ins with AQ. I had K T and paired my K on the flop.

When we got heads up, my Villain was a decent player, but I don't think he has much experience heads up. It only took about 10 minutes at the most for me to win with a flopped set of 4s. Wouldn't you raise with 45o heads up?

Promises kept. This ones for you guys!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

If it was always this easy, I would quit my day job

Last night, I got hit by the deck, and hit hard.

The first $2 9 person SNG of the night, I busted early...stupid mistake made by me. I knew it, made a note on it and moved to the next one. Something very strange happened the next game...I was getting just sick cards. I'm mean REALLY SICK!

From Poker Tracker

Yes, 17 minutes. I wouldn't even blame the other players in the game...I just couldn't get bad cards.

First Hand: I'm the BB and dealt K2♣. UTG+1 raises to 60. It folds to me. I call the one bet raise. Flop comes K♥ 7 7♣. OK...I hit my K and I seriously doubt I need to worry about the 7s. I lead out with a pot size bet (135) and he calls. The turn K♣. Ok...I now have the nuts. I again raise out of position for a pot size bet (405). The Villian here raises all-in for 1305. Is there any way possible I could lay this down? Seriously? He would have to have pocket 7s! I call. The Villian turns over TT. Yep...TT. A meaningless river card is exposed. One player busted. It's nice to start out a SNG with a double stack.

Next Hand: It folds to my in LB. I raise one bet, BB folds.

Hand 3: I'm on the button and dealt A♣K♣. MP Villian raises pot to 105. Folds to me, I reraise it to 180 and it folds around again to the Villian that just calls. Flop comes A♠7♠9The Villain raises to 150. I hit the pot raise button and make it 855. Villian comes over the top all-in. I assume he's got the Ace and make the call...remember...I have a fairly large stack here. The Villian turns over not two pair, but AJ Wow! I was hoping to be a head. 3 hands in, I have a triple stack.

On the very next hand...two other players go all-in and one is eliminated...and not by me. This is hand 4 and we are down to 6.

2 hands pass without much action, but on hand 7...

I'm the BB and dealt KQ. Not the greatest of starting hands out of position, but let's just see what happens. It folds to the cutoff who raises it to 150. LB (the other big stack) and I both call. Flop comes Q♣Q♠6♣. Well, isn't that special. The two blinds...we each check and original raiser bet 30. We all know what that means...SWING AND A MISS! The LB raises 300, I think he's trying the resteal...why wouldn't he...the 30 bet was just plain dumb. I raise it to 1380 to see if anyone wants to dance again...everyone folds. I was hoping this looked like a big stack bully move, so I didn't show. That's still a nice pot at 1080 chips.

The very next hand. Action folds to me in the BB. I call with K♠K. I kinda figured everyone is getting sick of me running over the table by now. I might not get action for being a bully. This seemed to work. The flop comes...T♠42. My chip stack at the beginning of the hand is 5220. The LB stack sits at 1455. I have some room to gamble...he raises to 80 (a 2XBB raise) I raise it back to 160, he raises to 560 and then moved him all-in. I'm positive he has hit something and I was right...he had top pair with a 3 kicker. He hits no more

8 hands into the tournament, I now have almost half the chips in play (6675).

I'm quite sure that no one else at the table is enjoying this as much as I am. The other weird thing, I haven't exactly been sucking out on people either. I've had the cards. There seems to be a general state of shock at the table, and I steal and bully my way around for a while. I don't normally play this loose in a SNG, but my goodness...this is ridiculous.

5 hands since I've eliminated someone...I've built my stack to 7075. I'm back in the SB and dealt K2. The blinds are at 20/40 and it folds to me. I raise it 2 bets to 120 and get called. The flop comes J♠T♣Q. I bet the flop (240), and this hands villian moves all-in. This raise is only about 10% of my stack. He's probably hit something, but I make the call any ways. I seriously planned on losing this to keep up the idea that I'm an idiot, but fate intervenes. The villian turns over K♠J♣...he's ahead and drawing to the same straight as me. As it turns out, it was all for naught...the turn and river are both diamonds...I win with a flush and we are down to 4. Bubble time and we are only on the 2nd blind level.

I figured it would calm down after this...I mean really...this is getting sick even to me.

5 hands after the last bust out, I have an unimaginable chip lead (8040). The rest of the stacks look like this 2465, 1855, 1140. I'm almost priced in to calling any all in...just because. The button raises to 175, and I call with...KQ...again. The BB joins the action as well. The flop comes 6♣6J. This time, everyone all checks. I really get the feeling that no one wants to be in the pot with me. The turn is the K♣. My guess was everyone missed the flop, so this should make my two pair good. I bet it pot (525), the BB calls and the button folds. We are off the river where we find T♠. I fear no evil and put the Villian all in. Not like I have to worry at this point. I lose to him and I still have more than half the chips in play. I show my 2 pair and he mucks! He had pair the J and was trying to trap me. D'oh! Children...this is why we never bet the universe slow playing top pair.

And now, the bubble burst, I'm embarrassed. I have 10,040 in chips.

Needless to say, I didn't donk of my chips to anyone and within a few minutes, the table was empty. 17 minutes was all it took to clear the table. GAWD I love getting hit by the deck!

Monday, November 12, 2007

I tried something new and SURVIVED!

I've been reading a lot of other players blogs regularly lately. Many of you guys have a winning track record or at least have won some real cake at some of the bigger buy-ins. According to SharkScope, I've played ~900 tournaments on Full Tilt Poker. But reading your blogs has inspired me to try and join the regular blogger tournaments. Unfortunately, they are out of my usual buy-in range.

A little back story...when I started playing online poker oh so many years ago. I played the play money tournaments. I started winning those very regularly. My wife actually encouraged me to try the real money tournaments. I'd played live poker for money, but mostly just small buy-in home games ($5 and $10). I was also successful at those. Regularly scoring some real money wins. Since I had the OK from the Mrs. to give it a try, I transfered some money up to NetTeller (this is back in the day). One thing about me is that, while I'm not afraid of risk, I don't generally go seek it without preparation. The money sat at NetTeller for a while. $200 just sitting there. I wanted to make sure I moved the money and didn't just blow it into the Ether.

After about 6 weeks of sitting on the money, I pulled the trigger and deposited the $200 into my account. I was now officially vested into playing online poker for money. Now that the money was there, I needed to play with right? Well, no. I played like 2 $1 SNGs and lost them and started wondering if I was doing the right thing. I mixed it up for a while between the play money and the micro limit sngs.

One day, I realized that I was taking down the $1 + .25 45 person SNG on such a regular basis, I was actually profitable. This got both comfortable and extremely BORING!

Well, I moved my game up to the $5 level and found it was harder to make money on the MTT SNGs, but I could cash 40% of the time at the STT. Well we did this for a while and even got to the point where I had double my initial deposit! All the while, I was getting more confident in my game and trying my hand at the cash games. I got to the point where I could win about as much as I could lose between the SNG and the ring game. Nice. I suck at ring games...but that's another post.

I played at the $5 level for about 9 months and notice a real see-saw balance in my account. A lot of the money was being lost in the ring games, and then made back up in the SNGs. But then something happened to my tournaments...I started to suck at those too. I sucked so bad that not only did I lose my run up, but then I lost my seed money as well...not all of it...I was down to $125 in my account. Ugg! I'm not playing other people's money! This ain't good.

I had purchased Poker Tracker real early on and started pouring through the numbers. That's when I noticed that at one time, I was really good at the $1 + .25 45 person sng. Could I drop back down to the dollar tables? What the hell, at least I'll lose money slower. You see, I have a fear of losing my bankroll. I don't know what I'll do if that balance ever hits zero. My live play bankroll has plenty and I could always deposit more, but the point is, I failed. I lost the deposit. Weird? The amount of money isn't a problem, it's the idea that I would be a failure that keeps driving me.

Well, from my low point a couple of months ago, I've grinded my way back to a profit again. My game is also much improved after a period of long introspection. I had started making stupid calls and stupid bets when I KNEW I was behind. But would get mad at the donkey for calling my opening raise. The key to being better than a donkey is not to donk away all your chips being mad at someone.

This weekend, I took my first steps in joining you big boys in something bigger than a $5 or $10 game. I played a $4 Satellite Token SNG. I've never played in one of these before. I figured that if I won it, I was out $4, but I'd really like to play in the AIPS II Main Event. $26 would exceed my bankroll management rules at the moment. I have never played in a tournament that represented more that 10% of my bankroll. So I figured I could give the satellite tokens a try.

My philosophy for this tournament was that while 2nd place paid $10, I am really just after the token. Most of the people in this tournament genuinely seemed, well, weak. They were extremely tight and no one was taking risks. I switched gears and reminded myself that it was only $4 and the chance to play in the Main Event was worth it. I also really focused on this game and paid close attention to what everyone was up to. As it turns out, I battled my way, making some sick calls along the way...cause those all-ins didn't match their play, until I was heads up for the token! Sad part coming...I had this guy all-in several times ahead, and he just kept hitting what he needed. I busted to him and finished 2nd.

According to my calculations, this make me ahead in my attempts to get into the main event. I've made ~$5 trying to get my token. So this should mean I get two more chances at the prize.

How do you figure out this buyin stuff? I'm sure many of you just buy-in. But you micro-limit guys...how do you account for Tokens and buy-in to events bigger than you usually play? Someday I really hope to play Mondays at the Hoy and the Mookie. I'll get my token someday...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

My night at Bourbonators - Nothing like getting hit with the deck

Bourbonators is my monthly whisky club. Not a bad gig at all, chip in for a new whisk(e)y, bourbon or scotch, drink the booze and play some cards. What a great way to spend the evening!

We actually had several newer faces at the game. Bodie25 made it and as far as OhCaptain is concerned, this game is less about the poker and more about just hanging out with friends...that's not to say though...we ain't competitive.

We usually play 2 or 3 SNGs in a night, depending on the number of people and speed of the play. With 11 people there, I would seriously doubt we'd get to 3 games.

The first game went pretty much routing, I folded, folded and folded and to my surprise (not really) busted pretty early. If you want to know why, check out this.

After some very serious Wii Bowling and Wii Carnival Games, we got back to game 2.

I really paid attention to how people were playing the first game and figured my optimal strategy was be patient, play cheap pots and try to guess what a blank sheet was thinking.

Now, this is the best part, about 30 minutes into the tournament, I get hit with the deck. In a hand with Dan K, He one bet raises, everyone folds to me in the BB. I called with K8. The flop comes 8 3 10, 2 hearts. Dan raises 1 bet. I think he on a flush draw. He wouldn't play anything this crappy with a raise. The turn is a K, not a heart. Now we are cooking with gas. He seems disappointed as raises again, this time 2 bets. I have to call this now. I really think he's on the flush. The perfect storm is delivered on the river. The 8 of hearts. He's giddy. This time, I actually bet first. 3 bets. He thinks for a second and moves all in. I insta-call and give him the bad news. He had me covered, so score this a double up.

I used these chips to push the table around for a while and build my stack some more. I seriously just kept getting the cards. One more time later, a nice big pot with Dan again, and BAAM! Kings over 8s full house...

I did my best and eliminated almost everyone until finally I was heads up with John W., our chief Bourbonator. John's a good player, experienced. We played for a while, sucking out on each other until finally, I get KK. I moved all in, he calls to find the deck is pretty cold. He's got tens, and I take it down.

The best part of all this is just hanging with the guys, laughing and drinking some good whisky.

Darrin is our champion!

Darrin just won the poker points championship! Congrats Darrin!

Friday, November 9, 2007

More Wii bowling and booze

Still waiting for game 2. Damn it!

Out of the first tourny

So out comes the Wii!

Poker League and the cry for help

Poker league, poker league, poker league.

Rule #1 - Don't play poker exhausted. - If you've read anything from the pros as it relates to poker advice it's this. Get plenty of rest. Tuesday, I definitely did not get plenty of rest.

One of the big differences I have noticed between live and online poker is my ability to play tired. Online...I can play tired. In person...watch the hair-trigger tilt button.

Poker league starts at ~7 pm. It usually starts a couple of minutes later than that. I was done at 7:15. It seems I have no tolerance for horrible play being rewarded and decided that ignoring all the facts was a better way to play.

I had just watched a fairly poor player win a hand from UTG with 8♠6♠. Of course you'd play that...it's SUITED! Most of the hands so far had been won with someone playing something suited from out of position...or had been called all the way to the river with ace high. Not because they thought someone was bluff, they just hoped their kicker was big enough to win. Oye Vey!

I found myself in the LB. The blinds are a whopping 25/25. As usual, there is a 3 limpers and I look down to find AQ. As mentioned earlier...the tilting has probably already begun. I had 5 hours of sleep and full day at work, and enough just amazingly bad poker in 10 minutes to make me want to scream. So I raise it 200. Actually a very large bet at this time. I get one caller. Same guy from the last paragraph, and no signs he's improved since then. The flop comes A75 rainbow. OK...since his call of such a large bet can be read to mean, he's still got any two cards, I raise to 500. There is a very good chance he's got a set, 2 pair, a bigger pocket pair, a straight draw, an ace, a king, or any 2 other suited cards. He immediately reraises me. This narrows down his hands to he probably has one of the suits showing, a straight draw, a set or a big ace like A9 or A10. I'm just really tired and move all in...he can't wait to get his money in...he turns over 55. He hit the set. It never dawned on him that I could have an over set. Not that it mattered...I went home, crushed a couple of $1.25 9 person sngs on Full Tilt and went to bed.

Tonight, I'm well rested and ready to go again. For tonight...is Bourbonators!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Short and sweet - Question for you!

Is it possible to win a hand with AQ? I'm not sure it can be done. Anyone have evidence to the contrary? I need proof it can be done before I spend another chip on it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Mondays Whiskey Bones Roadhouse - Big Doc Poker

I've been hoping to get Bodie25 out of his funk now for a few weeks. He's turned doin ho's and gang bang to pass the time. A change of scenery would do me some good too.

Whiskey Bones Roadhouse is a local bar here in Rochester that I reviewed and took pictures at a while ago. When I was there, I noticed a little sign on the wall advertising free poker on Mondays. I've played some two other places here in Rochester that do free poker. I like this bar for blues, so maybe it might be fun for poker!

This particular night is run by Big Doc Poker. He's a for hire poker night runner. This particular bar, he pays $100 for first, $30 and $20 bar tabs for 2nd and 3rd. I have no idea what a married father of 2 would do with a $30 bar tab (we just don't get out much and this place doesn't serve food)...so I figured this to be a winner takes all tournament.

I got there early enough to enter both Bodie25 and I in for the nights festivities. I also spent some time scouting out the competition. For the most part, this was a new crowd. Randy was the only guy I new. There is a lady in a wheelchair and her friend that had been a Brother's before, but no one I've really seen before. Bodie25 shows up and shortly after we get our seat assignments.

I gotta say, I got probably the worst table to start with anyone could hope to have. We'll just call her "Big boobed drunk birthday girl" (BBDBG), she was sitting at my table. Not sure why she was even there, but she had never played poker in her life...not to mention she's been drinking for 8 hours. This was not good and it was taking FOREVER to play each hand. The only advantage to this table...we had a dead money spot saved for a guy that never showed, and after BBDBG got escorted out of the poker area for excessive potty mouth, they would divide up their chips and redistribute them to the table. I was making money and not playing a hand...not bad.

It was really not uncommon for there to be 7 people in a pot on a table of 8 here. Yours truly, of course decided to play the opposite of the people around me and just played super tight. I missed out on quads once when my Q♣J♣ would have hit. But a guy could have easily been chipless putting money into these pots where J3o is hitting the straights. It was a train wreck waiting to happen.

No one really noticed that I hadn't played a hand for an hour any way. I raised it to 4XBB after folding 4 orbits, and I got 6 callers. Good think I mucked AK after seeing the flop. J7 had hit the straight and was stacking chips.

My table stayed together for a pretty long time. I eventually got moved to Bodie25's table. I was pretty short stacked and looking for an opportunity to push them all in. Unfortunately for Bodie25, he gave me the next window to do it. He's on the button, I'm in the BB. He gives up this little "I'm gonna steal your blinds" raise, I look down to A9o. Now, at this moment, he's either got me dominated and actually has a hand, or he's playing position. I really believe he's playing position and I shove. My shove isn't that big compared to his raise, so we are off. He turns J9...cool...I'm ahead. Now full well, a jack is coming. But alas...my ace finds a friend and I double up. I had enough chips now to steal the blinds for a while. Bodie25 unfortunately runs out of gas and goes home just shy of the final table. I think he busts 10th. Nice showing!

There is a guy at this table that is a carbon copy of my wife ex-stepdad that passed away. I gotta say, it was freaking me out a bit. Tom was a great guy and very much apart of our lives when were just starting out. This version has a mountain of chips and has been drinking screwdrivers like a drunken prom queen. Maniac Aggressive and keeps getting paid off.

I traverse my way to the final table. They do it up on the stage...with studio lighting...you know, the colored lights. I happened to be sitting under the red light, the diamonds and hearts almost disappeared...nice. Didn't matter. I watch 3 people bust from the table. Surprisingly, the skill level at this point was a bit inexperienced playing short handed at the final table. There is now an ante and the blinds are 400/800 with a 100 ante. People were still min raising preflop, so there was lots of action. With the 5 people left, I have 5400 chips. We start each hand with 1700 in the pot. It folds to me. I squeeze AJo in the BB. I decided that I'll put the blinds to the test and hope to just walk away with the stack in the middle. I push them all in. The BB thinks for a little while...this ain't good. He's been a fairly solid player. He calls and turns of A♠K♠. Crap! A bigger hand. I took a chance and it didn't work out.

This game is definitely beatable. I'd like to take another swing for the $100. Maybe next week. Tonight...more live poker at Brother's!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

How do you do this?

Probably the weakest part of my game is the gamble. I rarely like to just throw out the numbers and just hope to hit a card.

In this hand, my opponent not only calls my preflop raise with a suited 89, but then calls the rest of it on a gut shot straight draw. How do you do this?

My guess is, I should have pushed preflop and not just pot raised. But do you think he would have called anyways? Would you call for half your stack with a only a gut shot straight draw?

Full Tilt Poker, $1 + $0.25 NL Hold'em Sit n' Go, 400/800 Blinds, 7 Players
LeggoPoker Hand History Converter

CO: 5,784
BTN: 7,450
SB: 5,507
BB: 12,853
OhCaptain (UTG): 5,670
UTG+1: 20,780
MP: 9,456

Pre-Flop: (1,200) A K dealt to OhCaptain (UTG)
OhCaptain raises to 2,800, UTG+1 folds, MP calls 2,800, 4 folds

Flop: (6,800) 6 T 5 (2 Players)

OhCaptain bets 2,870 and is All-In, MP calls 2,870

Turn: (12,540) 6 T 5 [ 7 ] (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

River: (12,540) 6 T 5 7 [ T ] (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: 12,540 Pot

OhCaptain showed A K (a pair of Tens) and LOST (-5,670 NET)

MP showed 8 9 (a straight, Ten high) and WON 12,540 (+6,870 NET)

An amazing rail and the bridesmaid - Co-ed Invitiation V Recap

Last night, we hosted the fifth installment of our home game. In the spirit of Halloween, costumes were "Preferred". And we had some great ones! 20 people anted up the entry fee. The second largest game we've hosted. We started with 2 full tables of 10.

Yes, Chris "Jesus" Ferguson was playing in our game! We had hockey pros, referees, walking dead, a judge, a headless man, Chewbacca, and a professional paint ball player.

Your blogging host, OhCaptain, was shooting for Sammy Farha, but it might have been more of Tony G. I quit smoking almost 4 years ago, so we borrowed one from a guest. Anyone want a soggy cig? Sucking on those all night leaves them...never mind.

I never really played like either of those two players. I stayed tight and rock like for most of the tournament. I played 4 hands before the bubble broke and we were in the money...but more about that later.

How about some history, back story and table observations to get things going.

The game started out a bit slow at my table. Lots of people feeling it out.

Here's Bodie25, I think that's a mask, or he's flopped a monster...it's hard to tell. The way his cards went, I'd be guessing a mask.

Some pots were splashed around, but no one was willing to put them all in. The first hand I was in, probably the 5th hand of the night. I'm dealt A♣10. The clubs in the flop. I have position on the other 2 guys in the hand. I check. I've played these two guys before and I'm pretty sure I'm gonna see the turn for free. Cam does raise, but it's only to 200. We had called a raise pre-flop to 150, so there was 475 in the pot. I know I'm not quite getting pot odds to call, but I think John will call, and he does. The turn is no club. Now Cam raises to 300. Still , not quite pot odds, but I call, I get the feeling that one of them has made a flush or just a pair. The river is a forth club. I raise to 300. I'm hoping someone has a big club and wants to dance. John just calls and Cam folds. I show him the nuts. I got some chips.

That was the last hand I played for a LONG time. After the break, we finally lost our first player. Cam, was the first to go. Table 2 had lots of commotion but no one busting. Every time I turned around, someone was busting on our table and we were moving someone from table 2.
One trend that was becoming painfully obvious, the usual experienced rounders were taking huge hits. OhCountess busted before the final table...OhCaptian was sad.

This trend was causing me to really think strategy. My cards were really sucking, but entering these pots was getting dangerous. Experienced players were getting called and the new players were getting lucky. I chose the route of safest travel, and really focused on being tight. Most of the pots on my tables started with 2 raises...and those were from people out of position.

When we got down to the final table, we started shorter than 10. 2 people busted when we were at 11 people, the starting table started with 9 people. Now, I have yet to really play any hands. I was getting some really marginal hands, and these pots just kept getting wilder.

The next hand I really played pitted me against the tournament leader. A new guy to our home game. He'd taken out a great many of the people already. He also seemed to be doing it by getting in bad and getting lucky. He took Bonnie out by calling all of his chips with second pair. He catches 2 pair on the turn, after the money went in.

He's played poker before in some home games. So he had some experience, but I'm not sure he's ever wielded a big stack. He let me see a free flop from the BB. I only had 9 3o and the shorted stack of the 4 of us left. On the flop, I watched Mike. He didn't seem to see the flop with any excitement. He min raises the flop, and I really think that was just a continuation bet. The flop had come 2 3 K, and all night, he really bet it hard when he hit top pair...especially, paint cards. I really thought that second pair was good, so I pushed them in. He insta-calls and turns of Q 10! He missed! Now to dodge his over cards...and I did! I doubled up.

Just staying out of the way, got me into the money. I coasted. I was also worried that Bodie25 was going to be right and I'd never flip the switch from tight to loose and take down some pots.

I didn't play another hand until we got down to 4 handed. Danny seemed to be ready to rumble. If I could out last him, I'd be against the 2 chip leaders, Mike and his wife, Katie.

When we got to 3 people, the husband and wife duo had most of the chips. I figured if I didn't try something soon, I'd be out in third. I flipped the switch and started putting the pressure on. Mike doubled me up a few times and I collected enough chips to move up the stack leader board.

I noticed that Mike started making more mistakes when I was taunting him and talking confidently to him. It wasn't until then that I saw him consider folding to my pressure.

These hands were basically unmemorable. I'd push, Katie would fold and Mike would call, only to loose to a better hand when his didn't improve. Since I could put the ultimate pressure on Katie, I turned my attention to getting her chips. We didn't play many hands in this configuration before I found myself in the BB. Katie was on the button and limped. Mike just called the LB. I squeeze, AKo. I decided then and there to put them to the ultimate test. I pushed them all in. Katie thinks for a while and eventually she mumbles how tired she is and calls. Mike then tells me he willing to make this interesting. It was a few more people than I wanted, but I can't tell him to fold.

Katie turns over K♠ 7♠ and much to my surprise, mike turns over A5o. Hmm...I'm ahead, but only by a coin flip. According to Card Player's Hand Calculator, I'm in the lead (45.75%), Katie's got a 30.08% chance and Mike's got the worst chance at 19.35%.

He spikes the 5. OhCaptain again is the bridesmaid! But, at least I had more chips when the hand started. Again...I'm 2nd! I just can't win one of these!

I'm really tired and will probably re-read this in the morning and find it doesn't make sense. I'll fix those AFTER I soak up some Zzz's.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Co-ed Invitational V Approaches - My 100th Post!

Wow, I just noticed, this will be my 100th post. I honestly didn't think I would keep this up, but as it turns out, I really enjoy blogging. You should be getting virtual party favors in your virtual inbox to help me virtually celebrate this! W00T! W00T!

He's the scoop for this weekend. I'll be returning to the felt with OhCountess (Mrs. OhCaptain - clever huh?), Bodie25, and Mrs. Bodie25. Bodie25 is coming out of hiatis for this! Hopefully the time away from poker has given him a new lease on the game.

This will be the most ambitious tournament I've ever run. ~27 confirmed attendees. I counted out all the chips last night...what a glorious sight that is. Some of the regulars from the home game will be absent. We will be missing Elloise and John and our reigning champion Jon will be gone. Congrats to Jon though...he's missing the action with the birth of his daughter! What an awesome reason to miss a game!

This party will also include costumes. I hope to take lots of pictures. One thing that sucks...I can't play poker and take pictures too often. Seems not being at the table pay attention is bad for your poker game...who knew! The Wii will be all fired up and Wii Bowling will be jammin! Seemed like a fun idea for the loser lounge. I hope I never have to spend time there...gives me the shivers, but the way the poker gods have been treating me lately, I'll be 2 outed and done. (happened AGAIN last night in a MTT - I had KK, nice big raise preflop, get called, the flop comes QJT...I push...numbnuts calls with A8o - King on the turn and no love on the river)

Lots to do to get ready for tomorrow night. If you are coming and reading this...we might need some more food...