Thursday, January 31, 2008

A "D" Lister's Mookie Recap

Well, last night, the bloggers of the Internets gather once again for the Mookie. I love playing this tournament because it gives me an opportunity to play with some very experience players for not so huge a buy-in. With 4 hours of sleep and a whole days worth of working. I apologize for any moments of poor judgement or fractured speech.

I didn't recap last weeks tournament, I meant to, I just really didn't have time. Its been pretty crazy around my life, but the FUD is starting to clear and I'm quickly becoming excited for the new opportunities!

I enjoyed being the underdog again last night. While the picks were going on, only Buddy picked me with the last pick of the night. Which, I have to say, was better than my last deep run.

The guys from BDR were hilarious as usual, but I gotta I do have a bone to pick with them. When we got down to three handed, not sure who, but one of them asks, "Does OhCaptain have a blog yet?" Thanks! I won this thing a month ago, you didn't bother to click the link since then? And the answer is "Yes, I do I have a blog now."

In my morning perusal of Google Reader, found a few interesting posts about the Mookie. Not too surprising to find Hoy is now complaining that he can't win it because the format is gear towards Maniac aggressive luckboxes. Hoy, you need to examine your game. Here's what he had to say:

In my view it takes two main things to have a solid shot to win a Mookie, due to the large fields and due to the low buyin of $11 which means a lot of players who are not the tight-aggressive style normally indicative of the higher-bankroll guys. It takes (1) aggression to get through this big field, and (2) luck, moreso than in the other tournaments due to the large field and large number of passive and loose players.
I think that his impression of the tournament and his arrogance in how poker should be played results in his inability to win the Mookie. Anyone that has played me will probably not call my game lucky agressive. I can be about as tight as they come. I don't have the pedigree of Hoy, but when he says "...a lot of players who are not the tight-aggressive style normally indicative of the higher-bankroll guys." it tells me that he's only comfortable playing players that are TAG. Therein lies his weakness, his inability to adjust his game to different styles.

Come to the table to win. You've got to beat everyone. Don't just play the people that you know how to beat.

The other blogger I found interesting this morning was LJ. I sat next to LJ all evening. She doesn't remember the hand she busted out on. Probably because she busted out on a hand I was shocked at how bad she played. In the course of 2 hands, she went from a comfortable stack to out, handing all of her chips to me. I appreciated the effort! But watching her play last night, I'd have to guess she was very distracted or lacked G.A.S.

Enough ranting. I probably get demoted to the "E" list, but this is my blog.

I settled into my usually Wednesday position. Got snuggled into the couch with a blanket (it's -20°F ain't girly to get cold at that temp). I get the headphones on and fire up BDR. I even get the IM chats going with PokerFool and Bodie25.

My first table include Martyr99, AlCantHang, DaBag, LJ, IlkkaK, Lucko21, OhCountess (relation - the Mrs, fellas). AlCantHang starts accumulating chips with some rather dubious calls and raises. It was apparent to me that he came to gamble.

Full Tilt Poker Game #5060341374: The Mookie (37226882), Table 7 - 15/30 - No Limit Hold'em - 22:08:23 ET - 2008/01/30
Seat 1: Martyr99 (2,985)
Seat 3: AlCantHang (5,925)
Seat 4: DaBag (3,270)
Seat 5: pvanharibo (3,045)
Seat 6: IlkkaK (2,955)
Seat 7: OhCaptain (3,045)
Seat 8: lucko21 (375)
Seat 9: OhCountess (2,805)
AlCantHang posts the small blind of 15
DaBag posts the big blind of 30
AlCantHang: wow. thought i was dead and going to bed <- I sense a bit of self-doubt?? The button is in seat #1
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to OhCaptain [Kd Kc]
pvanharibo folds
IlkkaK folds
OhCaptain raises to 105 <- a simple pot size raise
lucko21 folds
OhCountess folds
Martyr99 folds
AlCantHang calls 90
DaBag has 15 seconds left to act
DaBag calls 75
*** FLOP *** [Qs 7c 3s]
lucko21: i was willing to gambool, i know u rr me light sometimes <-referring to the previous hand. Al had just won a monster pot. I figure he's still rolling from it.
lucko21: nh
AlCantHang has 15 seconds left to act
AlCantHang bets 175 <-This bet seems small. I just raised preflop for 105. I also think about the fact that I'm new, no one knows me. So he's leading into a raiser. I sense a trap, but I seriously doubt he hit a set here. Besides...look at the flop!
DaBag has 15 seconds left to act
DaBag calls 175
OhCaptain raises to 1,015 <--If he's flopped a set, I'm dead here anyways, but if he didn't, he's gonna push all in with AQ, KQ or another pocket pair. I really believe that.
AlCantHang raises to 5,820, and is all in <-- There it is. I think if he has a set, he just smooth calls me.
DaBag has 15 seconds left to act
DaBag folds
OhCaptain calls 1,925, and is all in <-- KK should be ahead. I now need to hope I holds up.
AlCantHang shows [As Qh]
OhCaptain shows [Kd Kc]
Uncalled bet of 2,880 returned to AlCantHang
*** TURN *** [Qs 7c 3s] [6d]
*** RIVER *** [Qs 7c 3s 6d] [5h]
AlCantHang shows a pair of Queens
OhCaptain shows a pair of Kings
OhCaptain wins the pot (6,370) with a pair of Kings <--Sweet Jesus! No aces!

As has been my Mookie life the last 2 weeks, I say here, around 6000 chips for what seemed an eternity. The next time my chip stack made any kind of up or down motion was almost an hour and a half later.

Full Tilt Poker Game #5061353558: The Mookie (37226882), Table 7 - 100/200 - No Limit Hold'em - 23:30:20 ET - 2008/01/30
Seat 1: KillinKegz (8,245)
Seat 2: pokerpeaker (2,415)
Seat 4: DaBag (1,530)
Seat 5: pvanharibo (6,880)
Seat 6: Astin (4,746)
Seat 7: OhCaptain (6,134)
Seat 8: IlkkaK (1,775)
Seat 9: OhCountess (6,815)
Astin posts the small blind of 100
OhCaptain posts the big blind of 200
The button is in seat #5
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to OhCaptain [7c 6c]
IlkkaK folds
OhCountess has 15 seconds left to act
OhCountess folds
KillinKegz folds
wwonka69 sits down
wwonka69 adds 1,720
pokerpeaker has 15 seconds left to act
pokerpeaker folds
DaBag has 15 seconds left to act
DaBag calls 200
pvanharibo folds
Astin folds
OhCaptain checks
*** FLOP *** [Ac 6d 6h] <--folks, this is why we raise before the flop. Life only gets worse for limpers.
OhCaptain checks
DaBag bets 500
OhCaptain raises to 1,000 <--I see a lot of people do this weakass reraise with junk, lets see if he bites..
DaBag raises to 1,330, and is all in <--There it is! I've gotta call this. I'll bet he's got an ace.
OhCaptain calls 330
DaBag shows [Qh Ad] <--No one ever listens to me. This is the hand of death. It should never be played. Its is cursed.
OhCaptain shows [7c 6c]
*** TURN *** [Ac 6d 6h] [Qs] <-- OK. That's not funny. Knock it off *** RIVER *** [Ac 6d 6h Qs] [3s] <-- Ahh.
DaBag shows two pair, Aces and Queens
OhCaptain shows three of a kind, Sixes
OhCaptain wins the pot (3,160) with three of a kind, Sixes
DaBag stands up

It was a bit later, that LJ gave gave me all of her chips. I seem to have misplaced the hand histories. She gave them away in 2 hands. One on a steal attempt gone bad, but the last one, that one still makes me thing. We are the only two in the pot. She limps and I'm in the BB. I don't remember both cards, but I do know I had a K. I think I had K6. The flop comes KKQ. Wow...again with the flopped set for a BB special. This time, I checked to her. She did a candy ass raise, I reraised and she pushed all-in. Again, I'm not laying down top set and I have no reason to believe she's got a bigger kicker or QQ. She turned over Q5, I think. I still wonder what she was thinking. At this point, I was still playing rock like and folding almost everything.

After this, my stack reaches 20,000 chips. I loosened up a bit her for a while I also turned up the aggression. It was not uncommon for the table to walk to me in the blinds. I was tournament chipleader and seemingly on a rush.

Full Tilt Poker Game #5061850785: The Mookie (37226882), Table 3 - 250/500 Ante 50 - No Limit Hold'em - 0:14:23 ET - 2008/01/31
Seat 1: heffmike (10,329)
Seat 2: schlepp571 (12,100), is sitting out
Seat 3: MiamiDon (9,495)
Seat 4: OhCaptain (20,303)
Seat 5: CheckinMyAA (6,991), is sitting out
Seat 6: lightning36 (9,270)
Seat 7: Schaubs (4,490)
Seat 8: Donkey Shortz (6,520)
Seat 9: mookie99 (2,710)
heffmike antes 50
schlepp571 antes 50
MiamiDon antes 50
OhCaptain antes 50
CheckinMyAA antes 50
lightning36 antes 50
Schaubs antes 50
Donkey Shortz antes 50
mookie99 antes 50
CheckinMyAA has returned
OhCaptain posts the small blind of 250
CheckinMyAA posts the big blind of 500
The button is in seat #3
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to OhCaptain [9c Ac]
lightning36 folds
Schaubs folds
Donkey Shortz folds
mookie99 folds
heffmike folds
schlepp571 folds
MiamiDon folds
OhCaptain raises to 1,950 <--With a walk to me, I raise it up. I know this will look like a steal, but calle me crazy, I like a good suited A9 to go the races with CheckinMyAA raises to 6,941, and is all in <--This is most likely a resteal. But I'm also way ahead in chips. I believe he could do this with any ace or two painted cards, I call.
OhCaptain calls 4,991
CheckinMyAA shows [2c As] <--I love it when a plan comes together.
OhCaptain shows [9c Ac]
*** FLOP *** [Th Tc Jc]
*** TURN *** [Th Tc Jc] [5d]
schlepp571 has returned
*** RIVER *** [Th Tc Jc 5d] [6c]
CheckinMyAA shows a pair of Tens
OhCaptain shows a flush, Ace high
OhCaptain wins the pot (14,332) with a flush, Ace high <--OK Stupid, now whatcha going to do?
CheckinMyAA stands up

I screwed up a hand a bit after this and did something totally stupid. What I remember of it is I made 2 pair on the river. The board has flushes and straights coming out the wazoo. For some stupid reason I raised 6000 on the river. 2 pair was no good.

The time between bubble and 3 way action was not long at all. People were flaming out like crazy. I did my best to just stay out of the way. I was pretty card dead and fools and their money were quickly being parted, but before I knew it, we were down to Surflexus and Mookie.

It was quite clear, I was not the railbirds favorite. Mookie had that. What I had was patience and desire. Apparently not enough, but they were there. We battled for more than 30 minutes. 3 way poker. My observation was that Surf was actually playing tight and Mookie was applying the pressure. I used this too my advantage and decided I was going to selectively attack Mookie. Surf was only entering pots with strong hands, to fight with him could end in disaster. Mookie on the other hand was raising almost every button or LB, but he was also afraid of protecting against the resteal.

With that information, it went like this. Mookie - raise, OhCaptain would steal. Mookie - raise, I fold, Surf Folds. Surf - raise, Mookie and OhCaptain fold. Surf - raise, Mookie call, OhCaptain fold. Small squirmish. Mookie down in chips. Fold, Fold, Fold. Mookie raises, OhCaptain folds Surf calls. Small quirmish, Mookie has chips. Fold, Fold, Fold. Anyone seen if this deck has ranks or suits on them

I battled my way back from the starting size of about 30,000 chips, up to 90,000 chips and the lead. I felt really comfortable, but dang! This was intense poker. We battled and fought until finally I went for a steal of Surf's blinds. I had A4, not a horrible stealing hand, but surf tables A9. I never improved. This brought me below the 40,00 chip mark. I also get dealt a long string of hands with 2's in them. 32, 62, 62, T2...absolute crap. I wanted to get something with a shot at showing down. And when I saw this, I had hope in my eyes again....

Full Tilt Poker Game #5062884601: The Mookie (37226882), Table 3 - 2500/5000 Ante 600 - No Limit Hold'em - 2:04:04 ET - 2008/01/31
Seat 4: OhCaptain (2,656)
Seat 6: surflexus (143,528)
Seat 9: mookie99 (87,816)
OhCaptain antes 600
surflexus antes 600
mookie99 antes 600
surflexus posts the small blind of 2,500
mookie99 posts the big blind of 5,000
The button is in seat #4
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to OhCaptain [Td Ts]
OhCaptain calls 2,056, and is all in <--Yeah...this sucks
surflexus calls 2,500
mookie99 checks
*** FLOP *** [Kh Kc Ks]
surflexus checks
mookie99 checks
*** TURN *** [Kh Kc Ks] [Tc]
surflexus checks
mookie99 bets 5,000
surflexus folds
mookie99 shows [Ad Kd] <--Sweet mother...he flops friggin quads! I'm drawing dead.
OhCaptain shows [Td Ts]
Uncalled bet of 5,000 returned to mookie99
*** RIVER *** [Kh Kc Ks Tc] [9c]
mookie99 wins the side pot (5,888)
mookie99 shows four of a kind, Kings
OhCaptain shows a full house, Kings full of Tens
mookie99 wins the main pot (7,968) with four of a kind, Kings
OhCaptain: gg
mookie99: gg
OhCaptain stands up

Yep. I lost to Mookie's quad kings. Watcha gonna do?

I had a blast! My hats off to Mookie and Surflexus. That was about as much fun I've had short handed!

The Mookie been very good to me

It's early on Thursday morning. Well past my bed time. But it also means that I played the Mookie and if I'm up this late...

Didn't win it this time, but I did finish 3rd! W00T! W00T!

Congrats to Surflexus and Mookie. Mookie!!!! So close!!!!

Well done guys! I gotta be up for work soon...more post tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Poker Leage Recap - Home in time to clear the driveway

I usually keep the personal stuff to one of my other blogs, but I think it will help to explain why I've been a bit distracted and tilty lately. You see, I quit my job almost 2 weeks ago.

I'm not an idiot, I did so after getting a new job. This has been one of the hardest decisions I've ever made. This was harder than laying down AA. This was brutally hard.

I've been with my former employer 5 months shy of 10 years. This company has been like my extended family. I started there as a intern while finishing my BS degree and have moved my way to the top programmer in the company. The part I loved about the job is the company was very small. If there are any other programmers out there, you'll know what I mean, but I got to wear a lot of different hats. The owner of the company had an office next to mine for years. We were more than co-worker, but we were friends. Many of my co-workers also became like family to me. I felt like I'm letting them down by leaving.

This was a team decision with my wife and I. I got a fantastic offer from a very large employer in our area. They made a fantastic offer, but I'm not leaving the job for the money. I'm leaving because I've reached a point in my life when I value security more than money. When you work in a small company you find yourself making lots of risky decisions. I'm ready for a break from the risk. The risks seemed smaller when the job market for software programmer was full of openings. Today, the number of jobs is small and the people around to fill those spots are numerous. Columbo, I know your fears. There have been periods in the last year, that no jobs were posted in the area for anything remotely resembling what I do.

With that being said, I returned to poker league tonight sort of ready to play poker.

I got a good night of sleep last night, but I still woke up tired. I think all of this has left me drained to empty. To make things fun, I decided to play tonight loose. Play to my strengths which is reading people.

This worked great for the first half of the night. I cleaned up pots and even got someone to double me up. It got a little hairy at first. Being loose, I was splashing lots of pots with chips, only to come up short and fold to someone actually getting something. But in the end, the game was mine. We went to break and I had 5900 in chips. Almost 3 times the starting stack. in just 3 blind levels. I really felt like I could tell what people had.

After break, the wheels feel off. While in the first part of the night, I was getting fun hands to be loose with. In the next period, I wasn't getting anything even fun to play. I don't know how loose I'd need to be to play J3o out of position with a raise in front of me. The worst part of this, as I kept folding this garbage, I was also completely running out of G.A.S. (def. #6).

I find that it takes a lot of energy and desire to play this style of poker. The best part, I knew the cards the guy had that took me out (AK). I also knew that he'd call every raise. Unfortunately, my initial raise from the button (A3) basically committed me to the pot. Oh well. I still had fun. I really need to get to a casino or a home game and play for money. Right now, points just ain't do it for me.

First break at poker league

We are switching up the game tonight and playing to my strengths. It
appears to be working! 5800 chips at first break!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Royal Virgin

It was bound to happen eventually. I have read that they exist and dreamed of the day I would get one. According to Poker Tracker, it took 49, 837 hands - I've lost my Royal Virginity!
Would have been cooler to get one against someone who wasn't betting the entire tournament with top pair and a 6 kicker. Oh well, I'll take it!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Poker League - Week 4: The State Tournament Hang Over

Dimitri Nobles, not the real one stupid, but someone playing his style made an appearance last night at poker league. This caused quite a stir. He was hitting his junk hands verses made hands quite regularly and building a huge chips stack. Lucky for me, he didn't start at my table.

My first table had all regulars at it. The cast included Well Manicured Man (WMM), Comic Book Guy, Louis, Virginia, Cal, and Elija Wood. WMM, Comic Book Guy, Elija and Louis were all my left. Yummy!

I started early picking on Louis. Calling him a luckbox and reminding him how many times he's sucked out on people. For him, this seems to bother him. He seemed to want to want to prove me wrong. I took this as an invitation to change my game against him. More on that later.

I started out tight, there was lots of family pots the first few orbits. This seems to be the trend at league lately. Lots of weak action early with people calling everything. I stayed out of this unless I was in position. There is just too much risk.

After the love fest ended, I started raising pots into Louis and Comic Book Guy. These guys like to try and trap, unfortunately for them, I either hit my hand or knew they missed there's. The best part was Comic Book Guy kept calling my continuation bet and then bluffing the river. Louis got flustered with my continuation bets. He's used to my Rock of Gibraltar style and was assuming I had something. I won one hand with pocket 3s. It was an underpair to the entire board. Louis had folded the winning hand to me. Hehehehe.

I kept driving this truck right up to first break, building a stack of about 5000 chips by break. I had amassed this stack one small pot at a time. After break, the wheels came off. Dimitri sat down at the table and I didn't see a hand better than 93o for about a hour.

Dimitri kept goading the table to play more hands. That's his style, he gets people to commit weak hands to the pot and then raises them out. With a reputation to put people all in with complete crap, he gets everyone scared to call a raise, but a lot of people kept limping. I avoided putting any money into the pot. You can't bluff him, you need to actually show down a better hand. I figured saving money now, would pay dividends if I ever got cards again.

Our table got broke up and I got moved to a table with another group of regulars, but I had got blinded down to 2000 chips. I held my own until the blinds were at 300/600. I still only had 2000 in chips. Chris raised it to 2000 from UTG. I knew he was calling me out. I let out a sigh before looking at my hand. A♠8♠. Chris is someone that doesn't really understand the odds that well, so I figured there was a good chance I'd be ahead + I've only got 1400 chips after this and the small blind is next. How low can I go? I called. He tables K♣J♣. Yeah, I'm ahead, but I stood anyway. I don't win these. The J on the flop sealed my fate. And as Chris pointed was coin flip right? One over is a coin flip...right? Plus he was he might be a little ahead...right? Someday I'll win "a coin flip."


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Players Only Poker - Freeroll

As is typical for me, when I try out a new poker site, I usually go cheap and try the free stuff first to make sure I can find my way around and actually play some poker. I'd seen enough ads for Players Only Poker to know that it looked to be another poker site. Good or bad, I just don't know.

I'm generally a Full Tilt player. I like their software. The user interface is intuitive and things, for the most part, just work as expected...most of the time. But, I'm not the kind of consumer that doesn't like to check out the grass on the other side of the fence.

The first thing you notice about Players Only, the use a lot of flash on the web site. It looks nice and the babes are hot, but frankly, I hate it when flash makes me wait. Oh well, they have a quick link to the poker software. I downloaded it, installed it and got an account set up pretty quickly.

Much like Full Tilt, the software made it pretty easy to find my way around. I found out pretty quick they are indeed running a "Million Dollar Freeroll". Hmm...that sounded like fun and free on a new site is always good. I signed up for it but was surprised to learn that it wasn't filling all that quick. Most of the time when I think freeroll, I assume I have about 5 minutes to get registered, this, not so much.

When the play started it seemed to have a tournament lobby like Poker Stars and tables like Party Poker. The buttons on the table were easy to use and well labeled. Probably the thing I hated the most was the lobby just didn't seem to refresh very often. In order to get more accurate results in the lobby, I had to close the window and open it back up. The table interface appeared to lose connection numerous times and then BAM! I'm sitting out and missed a hand. There wasn't much feedback for connection problems.

The players in this freeroll were quite possible the worst poker players ever assembled. At first, 70% of the field was sitting out. The 2 live ones I had at the table, were extremely timid. This allowed me to accumulate chips quickly. With so few people on the table, I'd raise preflop with anything and the continuation bet the flop to take it down. My favorite part was how many people would limp with a big pair, and then push after the flop. I'd made the straight, so a call was in order...thanks for playing!

This was pretty much the softest freeroll I have ever played. Most of the ones on FTP usually just consist of maniacs. I met very little maniac but a ton of LP players. The top ten from this freeroll go on to the big one where the money is. I finished I'll probably see if I can play the next tournament.

To sum it up, it seems to be poker software based on everyone else. Nothing really new here, but it did actually work.

Excuse the mess - Reflection on the State Tournament

It's a long drive home from Fargo. Plenty of time for me to reflect on what I kind of felt as a disapointing run at the 2007 Fall League Gold Rush Championship. I finished around 70th in a field of 351.

I've gotten a lot of comments and emails from people reminding me that I did finish in the top 20% of the field. I'm pretty proud of that, but losing is not something I enjoy. I enter a tournament with the expectation of winning it. I have only the one goal.

I'd like to thank Brook, with the Free Poker Network, for including a link to this blog in the updates on their site. If you followed that link here, welcome! This is a blog. My grammer is periodically suspect. I apologize for the mess. I did reread my last's needs a bit of help, but it was late and I wanted to give people an update on where I finished.

The more time I thought about the tournament, the more I realized that it was mistakes I made that cost me a chance to go deeper. Some of my decisions were suspsect and my actions definitely wrong for the moment.

The thing I love about poker is that we can, in a large extent, control our own destiny in a tournament. We notice things like my move all-in that ended my tournament. That was an unfortunate bit of luck. I was a 3:1 leader in the hand when the money went it, but it doesn't change the fact that I was desparately playing ace rag out of position. I needed to do this because the blinds were eating me alive.

I also realized that the KJ hand I mentioned in the previous post caused me more anguish and lost opportunity than I really gave it credit for. It took me off my game. I realized on the way home that I hadn't given the hand enough thought. I was a monster to win the hand, yet I played it scared of the suck out. The suck out wouldn't have come because I couldn't put him on a hand that could suck out on me. Aggression was the wrong move. I should have been looking for value.
Each one of the tournaments is a learning opportunity. I'm taking from this one the knowledge that I'm not really in control of myself yet. I need to be more disciplined in my actions and decisions. I had a lot of fun, but the fun was tempered by my in ability to move on and adapt at times.

I did spend my down time taking pictures. I've included some of the best here. I was hoping to get some time to shoot more photos but that would have cut into my playing time...not a good trade off. Definitely -EV.

Guys from the Free Poker Network, if you've read this far, here are some of my thoughts on how to improve this tournament.

#1 -No smoking - the smoke was terrible up there. I might just be used to it being completely smoke-free, but my eyes were burning! #2 - Turn the music down! There were times at the table I couldn't hear anyone talking. I know, I know, I wear headphones a lot. But even when I wasn't wearing the headphones, I couldn't hear anything. They actually helped me block out the noise.

Everything else was run pretty well. The staff, as always, did a great job of keeping it moving.

The only other complain I had was the service at the Hub was terrible! I know it was busy, but the staff people I interacted with couldn't have been more spacey. We asked a question, they'd answer it and leave. This was common...

Waitress: "Are you ready to order?"

Us: "Yes we are. One quick question, where are the bathrooms?"

Waitress: "The are over in the corner." [pointing to a corner as she leaves the table]

Us: "Hello? Where are you going? We wanted to order?" [this was spoken without anyone hearing us, she had already left the area]
Normally, I'd just figure that it was a distracted waitress and a one time thing. Apparently, they trained all the staff this way. We got one question and they'd leave the table. A one hour break and it would take 30 minutes just to order. Surprisingly, the food was fantastic! My guess, they blew the budget on the kitchen staff.

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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Thanks for the effort!

I appreciated the comments and the emails. They really helped! Unfortunately, I just can't escape the cards.

I'm back at the hotel now. I took a little time to "de-steam" or what ever the term is for walking off that sick feeling of busting out of a tournament. Disappointment can be so disappointing.

I spent the entire day just a bit below average in chips. I played this tournament tight and aggressive. One interesting fact of the day, in about hours of poker, I only showed my hand four times. I won a ton of pots that never made the showdown. Isn't that how it goes when you are playing TAG?

Because of this, I really only have 3 specific hands to share. All of the other hands involved me picking the right spot to put someone to a very tough decision.

I found a few people throughout the day that liked to limp or min-raise out of position and then beat them over the head what a bad idea that is. This was a great way to keep up a stack just slightly shy of average. I had AA twice. At no time today did I have KK, QQ or JJ. I did find that odd.

The beginning of the tournament, I misplayed some of my bigger hands and failed to get value for them. This left me a bit tilty to start. I started the tournament really not feeling very good. I think there was a bit of the flu mixed with a lot of nerves. The big tournaments, for some reason, make me nervous. I hate that. 351 people is the biggest tournament I have ever played live.

This first hand found me in the BB with KJ. 4 players had limped in and the LB had called. The flop came KJ6 rainbow. I did a little math and it seemed I should bet 1500. This is still early in a deep stack tournament (we started with 10,000). Since I hadn't played a hand before this, I'd lost a few chips to the blinds. This is level 3. I got one caller. The turn was another J. This is where I screwed up. I figured the guy had AK, or KQ because he wasn't very happy to with the J on the turn. For reasons unknown, I put him all in. I'm guessing it was the nerves. I really think I could have got a lot more out of him. I don't know what I was scared of. If anyone can tell me a hand that he could be drawing to that I would lose to, I'd like to know.

This next hand I'd love to hear some opinions if I played this in a way that makes sense. The blinds are 1000/2000. A short stack moves all-in in MP. He's got 3000 in chips. I haven't played a lot of hands, but my stack is also around 1600. The blinds have moved to a spot where there is an all-in every couple of hands. Making moves can be very difficult and tricky. I saw this as an opportunity to make a move. The button, LB and BB this hand had M's of around 15-20. The 2 players between me and the button were short and looking for spots to move. I have KT of clubs. I figured he could move all-in with any ace. Since A-9 and lower are hands that I would be drawing well against, I pushed all-in expecting everyone to fold. I was right and he turns over A3. I connect both the K and the T and collect my only bounty of the day. $5. I increased my stack by 6000. My thinking is, I should have excellent fold equity to most hands, and thus I should be getting 2:1 for my money.

I spent the next while picking those soft spots again and staying afloat and picking up a little bit a time.

With 15 minutes left for the day, I'm actually thinking about whether to fold my way to day two or not. You master tournament players, is this something you should really do, or just play as if the day will go on forever? I really want to know!

In the BB, with the blinds of 2000/4000, I have 27,000 in chips. A lady that has seen more lucky cards come than anyone else in the day raises it to 8000. It folds to me and I find A2. I felt her range of hands was a lot of the aces and bigger kings and queens. I called the bet on a bit of a gamble. With the right flop, I'd either hit or possibly be able to steal it from her. There was also a chance the ace would be good. She wasn't really good as much as lucky. The flop comes A92. The way she looked at the pot, it seemed to me that she hit the ace, but I really didn't get the sense that she was any bigger than that. I was quite sure my 2 pair was in the lead. If she's doesn't have A9, I should be way out in the lead. I push it all in and she calls me. She has A 10! For her, that hand is an absolute monster. She seems really confident, and why shouldn't she be? The turn was a ten. Son of a....I walked that emotion off, remember?

I took a big risk and lost. I feel good because I did die with my boots on. I put my money in when I was ahead. A double up would have been a great way to coast into tomorrow.

I'm heading back over to the venue tomorrow. I'd like to try one of the freerolls.and maybe get a t-shirt. Right now, I'm pretty bummed. They weren't keep track of position yet so all I know is I busted somewhere between 65 and 75. I can find out in the morning when the final count of players is announced at the beginning of the day.

Thanks for keeping me in your thoughts. We'll get them next year!

Dinner Break

Wow. I'm still kicking. After dinner break, the blinds will 1000/2000.
I need to find some good spot or better yet a double up.

Send me the good karma boys and girls. There are 13 tables left. So
around 130 left. There will be 3 blind levels after break

The smoke here is terrible.

First Break

I still have chips. I'm also really not seeing any cards and when I do
no one else is. I may also being playing too tight. Thinking about a
gear shift soon. Hope no one at my table sees this.

Welcome to table 6 seat 9

Shuffle up & deal!

Good Morning Fargo

The sun is coming up, but doesn't seem to be doing much in terms of the tempurature. It's 22 below zero (-22° F). This is brutaly cold, even for a native Minnesotan. By the sounds of it, there is even snow down in Georgia and Mississippi. Good luck with that boys!

I slept OK. I was a little leary of this hotel when we got here. We were told when we were checking in that there was a big hockey tournament near here and a lot of people were staying here. I just didn't want to hear about a hotel full of kids. But as it turns out, they are 10-11 year olds...yeah! Kids that WILL sleep.

Registration for the tournament starts at 11 AM. This hotel is about a half mile away, so we are just relaxing. I think I'll be heading down for some free breakfast here shortly.

When we went to the venue last night, I tracked down some free wi-fi in the building. Oh how I love weak IT departments. There is an extremely good chance that some live blogging will be going on today.

Live poker will be awesome! We still have a few more hours if anyone has any good advice. Remember, if I win this tournament, you will all be invited to the party!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Listening to Kajaguru whine

After reading about our poor southern boy complain about the cold in
Omaha I thought I might share this with everyone.

OhCountess is still driving and I fell asleep listening to Ante Up. It
so cold my sock froze to the windshield.

Now that's cold! I don't want hear about it being in the 30's any
more. Now back to the hand of the week.

About half way to Fargo

OhCountess has taken the wheel. We are just passing through St. Cloud
Minnesota. It will be nice to get there and unwind for the night. I
think I will take short nap. Can you believe it is dark already?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

2 nights of private tornaments

Last night was The Mookie. My first one since winning it the last week of December. I was excited to get back to the virtual felt with the other bloggers, but I just knew it was going to be one of those nights I should close the lid on the laptop.

My youngest daughter was up all night the night before with an ear ache. I hate excuses, but I also know that when I'm tired, I get a short fuse and do something stupid.

I was getting great cards all before the break. I had AA 3 times. Don't tell Chad. The best part of getting aces is of course getting them cracked. I called an all-in from a stack that wasn't that short, around 1000 chips. What a sight to see...the guy had ducks! Well, 3 of the first 4 cards were also clubs, I had the guy to a one outer...and of course the 2 of spades hits the river.

Shortly after that, I moved to a new table. I got sandwiched between 2 LAG players. I was still pretty much steaming from the aces getting cracked. With Numbono on my left and PirateLawyer on my right, I did something I knew was just plain stupid, while I was doing it. PirateLawyer limps from the button, I complete from the LB and Numbono raises one bet from the BB. We all call. I have 45o and catch a 5 on the flop. The flop has 2 clubs. PirateLawyer raises 2 bets, I re-raise to 1200 and Numbono calls. Did I mention he's also the massive chip leader? Needless to say a 3rd club comes on the turn. He pushes the all in button and I call...I call with bottom pair. WTF! Gawd! I didn't even want to play that hand and now I'm on the rail. Much swearing followed.

Let's move on to tonight. AIPS III Event #1. Limit Hold'em. Need I say more. I ran up the chips early. Moving up quickly and taken some nice pots...the donked it all away. Finishing 140th out of 155. Got a nice pot out of Lee Childs early on only to have him take me out later in the tournament. Not that you'd need to be scared of a guy 195 chips moving them all in when the blinds are 80/160. His pocket 3s flopped a set against my pocket jacks. Gawd! I love limit hold'em! At least I had Columbo on my left for most of the tournament.

I still had fun and look forward to more of these to come! I'm absolutely stoked for June...RAZZ! Next month might be good as well. Stud. I'm beginning to understand stud.

Stay tuned! Tomorrow OhCountess and I head to Fargo! Live poker!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

In preparation for the State Poker Championship - I fold

Do you ever sometimes just know its going to be a long night?

It was back to the felt last night in what will probably be my last live session for sitting down for the Minnesota State Poker championship in the Minnesota Poker League. A lot of people wished me well last night, which was really cool. Unfortunately, the cards were pretty cool all night as well.

Early on, I had some cards and won some pots. Usually with top pair, nothing extraordinary. I hit the sucker straight once...I didn't bet it; out of position, it hit on the river, any jack would take it down and it was 4 way pot, but none the less, I had healthy looking stack at first break.

The night seemed to be foreshadowed by my first 3 hands. I drew the ace to start the night, so I get to deal. I dealt myself 92o. Okay...not interested. It was almost a family pot, but still, its 92o.

The next hand, I'm dealt 2 spades. A nine and a deuce. Sweet! I folded that one too.

The next hand I'm dealt 2 hearts. A nine and a deuce. Sweet! I folded that one too.

The next hand I'm dealt 2 black cards. One a spade, the other a club. A nine and another nine, but now I'm in middle position and a known LAG is in the BB. I just call. The flop comes AKQ all hearts. I folded this one too. Lots of betting. Chips are flying. I'm no where near playing that hand.

This pretty much sums up the night. When I was in position, there was usually at 3 raises a head of me and the ubiquitous 9 in the hole.

I've got no bad beat stories. No hero calls. Not even a "can you believe that donkey called me" hand. Just a long string of crappy cards.

Some nights are like this. I lasted about 2 and half hours and got home early. It was nice to see OhCountess before she fell asleep for the night. We watched some TV and I got to play a little online poker. I even made a little money.

Tonight, I plan on returning to the Mookie! I haven't had a chance to play it since I won it in December. Do you think it would tilt Hoy if I took it down in 2 of my first 3 attempts? OK, that would be hilarious. I doubt my skills are that good, but a guy can dream!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Virtual felt just doesn't have the feel for the real thing

Can anyone help with this problem? Why is it that live poker feels so easy and the results are solid and when I go online to play poker, I can't win a freakin' hand?

The part I love about live poker is all the extra information. It's just sitting there. You find it, your read it and you make decisions that really stick.

I go online. I fold 49 consecutive hands, my M falls below 10 in the process, I fire 3 bullets at the pot (the last bullet being all of the remainder), and I get called by 3rd pair and a Q kicker.

Now granted, I was bluffing, but come on! Who assumes that 3rd pair is good enough for 75% of your stack against a guy that has folded 49 straight hands?

I swear, playing the Mookie has ruined my game. I either need to move up dramatically and get out of no-fold'em holdem, or stick to live poker...which there isn't much around here. Maybe this week will be all about Razz.

Last night was about as brutal a sit-n-go session I've ever had. When I was chip leader in one $5 sng, I get AK on the button, it walks to me, I raise it pot, like I normally would to steal the blinds, the BB pushes (his M still about 14), I call, and remember, I've only been in pots with premium hands the whole tournament, He turns over Q6o. BAM! Half my stack is gone. OK...the mistake was calling the all-in. I could have just laid down and died. One hand later, a very short stacked player takes the next half of my stack when he pushes and I call with AQ he had pushed with A5o...and scores the five.

So tell me this...when other people see my avatar or name come up, or is there a web site out there that tells you..."if you can, put your money in with OhCaptain behind or in a coin can't loose!"??????

Sorry for the rant, but then again...ain't this one of the reasons we started these things?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

January Bourbonators - A state tournament warm up?

Last night we had our monthly home game for the Bourbonators. 11 people showed for this home game. A nice number. Bodie25 was our gracious host and put together a fantastic spread.

Bourbonators is mostly about sitting around and having a good time, and that was accomplished. A lot of our discussion was focused around the coming Whiskey Fest in Chicago. The group is trying to see who can get hall passes from the wives to go away for a weekend and sample lots of good booze. I think my chances would be better going to the Great American Beer Festival. Not because it was closer, but because I actually am a bigger fan of fine beers than I am of fine spirits.

Jon also recounted the Regional Tournament for the Minnesota Poker League. He had finished 3rd, I think, on the leader board for the regular season. 3 people from my bar qualified for the state tournament bringing the number of us that will be there to 5.

Last night, the poker started with a big pot and never really let up. Lots of crazy action. I took the opportunity to reflect and practice my folding techniques. In the first game, I voluntarily put money into the pot only once in the first hour. When we were down to 5 handed, I played my first hand. A very loose player had raised the flop. His range of hands is the entire deck. I pushed all my chips in to put him to the test. He called. He had A♣Q♣ and I found myself only holding K♣J♣. I've been farther behind, but in this case, I hit a K to stay in the lead a double up.

I focused on cleaning up the dead money from here on out. I found that several of the players give off enough information to know when they've missed the flop. I built my stack up slow and methodically. I stayed out of the big pots and cleaned up the little ones. Worked well. I stayed alive until I got heads up. It was yours truly vs. Marshall. Marshall is one of our looser players, but seems to be learning with each month. He's still very aggressive, but seems to understand the game a bit better than he used to. When we got heads up, I finally started seeing some cards. I doubled through him a couple of times and won the first sit n go.

I approached the second game the same as the first. I played one hand early and tried to be tricky. Thankfully I bailed before it got to be too much of my stack. Folding the rest of the way, I got my self into the short table again and it pretty well played out like before. I cleaned up the dead money using my stack size, a nice medium stack, I pushed people out of the way and just took the chips. I got up against the head bourbonator and fellow poker leaguer John heads up. Again, I got cards when I needed them and turned John's big stack into my stack. Wow, I won both games tonight! Sweet! I think this is the first time I've won both.

Last night was a blast. Good times with good friends and a little poker makes for a fantastic night out with the guys!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Shannon Elizabeth chooses high road and skips freeroll

Here's a twist to the usual poker story, Shannon Elizabeth chooses to pass on the endorsment freeroll and just buy in rather that become a shill.

In an article posted on entitiled "Star Pays Own Way to Aussie Millions", it is reported that she was offered free entry into the event if only she promotes the tournament. Now, I'm not sure I could turn down a freeroll into something like that, but I just found it interesting that she would rather not shill something she doesn't want to promote.

Kudos to Ms. Elizabeth.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Ahh...back to the felt - I missed live play

Week 2 of Minnesota Poker League's 'Destination Las Vegas' returned to Brother's Bar and Grill this week. I missed week 1 with the passing of my wife's grandmother. It felt great to get back to live play. If you guys think that the Mookie has plenty of donkey's, you've got to try poker league.

This is my weekly attempt to avoid making dangerous mistakes. You really need to pick good spots and make sure you aren't in a position to get sucked out on. They will call you with anything.

This week, I found myself at a table with a mix of regulars and new people. I found I enjoyed the new people for the ability to give me chips. I also avoided the players at the table that will try and trap me.

I played my usual tight game, but this time I made sure to get a little more adventurous in position. I think I'm really beginning to understand position. Even in this donkament setting, position is a huge tool. The biggest advantage is knowing when early and late position can have their most power.

EP (playing from the blinds) gives you an advantage in the ugly flops. No one raises preflop so you are going to see a lot. I use these opportunity to steal when there are regulars that I know know my game and will fold if they miss, but I never attempt a steal when there are unknowns in the pot. There is no guarantee that they have a clue what's going on.

LP (playing from the button and cutoff) provides the greatest opportunity to clean up the dead money pots. If it folds to you on the button or cutoff and there is an ace showing, a bet will either win the pot, or identify those people that already have at least a pair. I don't know that anyone besides me and Bodie25 and a very small handful of players have ever floated or even know that it can be done (Hi! Eloise).

My first real opportunity to take some chips came fairly early. I was in the BB, the were 4 limpers and the LB in the pot. The flop comes 49Q rainbow. I had checked the flop without looking (what's the point, they'd all call a raise anyway), so I looked down and found KJo. Not too shabby, I have a gut shot. I check because I really don't want to call a reraise and there's a good chance I'll see a free turn. The button does end up raising 1 bet. I called, he's knew and frankly my gut shot will be the nuts if there are no more hearts and I hit my 10. Everyone else surprisingly folds. The turn is the money card. I fill my straight. Now I bet. With 2 hearts still, I don't want him to draw cheaply to a flush. I'm actually a bit taken back, but he reraises me. 3 times my pot size raise. I think for a second and announce that I'm all in. Again, I want to make sure that anyone drawing to a better hand pays dearly. He makes the call. You'll never guess what he turns over...Q♠2♠. Wow, he called my all in with top pair worst kicker and is drawing dead. I had him covered so he stands and leaves.

I continue to play my tight game. Cleaning up some pots and generally staying out of the way of the lunacy. My table gets busted and I'm sitting next to the Well Manicured Man ( WMM - see previous posts about him for history). Eloise is also at this table, and its now down to mostly regulars. Eloise and WMM are two fairly aggressive players, there is also a guy there that I just haven't come up with a name for. He tends to drink plenty of beer. I use my free time from folding to keep observing and I think I finally have WMM perfectly figured out.

We got into one pot together. A few limpers had entered the pot and the flop comes Q92. I have second pair with 93o. I check cause, well, this hand isn't that good. It checks around to WMM and he raises it 2 bets. I don't normally spend a lot of money on second pair and well below average kicker, but I think I could be scary with the right cards to come. Everyone else folds. The turn is a blank (and less than a 9). I check, and he checks. Now, WMM guy always bets when he thinks he's ahead. His checking of the turn told me he had in actuality missed the flop. I get a sense from him that he's not happy to still have me hanging around. The turn is yet another blank and still less than a 9. I check again. He raises to 1500. A huge bet at the time and there was something about the raise that seemed off. No straights, no flushes and nothing bigger. If he had a Q, he would have bet the turn. He's also some one that would play suited connectors, but nothing connected, so he's only got one pair at best. I even believe that a 9 in his hand, he would have raised the turn. He has a physical tell that I'm 80% sure of and it said bluff as well. I make the call. He's only ace high. I take down a large pot.

They make the announcement that we are almost to points. I've got plenty of chips to coast on for a while so I tighten way up again. I'm folding AQ and AJ even in LP now. People are getting a little crazy, and my goal this season is to get LOTS of points.

As it turns out, this strategy pays off, not only do I make the points, but I also make the final 4. I doubled up making a fairly loose call for all my chips with KQ, but my read was right, he only had one over...I paired my something. I start bullying pots and just taking the blinds and dead money. When we get to 4 handed, variance catches up to me. I get AK 2 times and lose with it every time. The first time, LB raises, I have him covered in chips and if he doesn't have a pair, I'm way ahead, he calls my all in with 33. Of course he hits the set. . The next and final hand I played. I'm the LB, raise all in (no one has an M bigger than 6). I hear the chant of certain death from the BB. "I'm tired, I want to go home." That always means a suck out is coming. Always. She tables Q♣4♣ and 5 cards later, she hits the straight. Yep, I flopped 2 pair but the J on the turn and the 10 on the river sealed my fate.

A nice way to start the season! One more week of league before State!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Where has the time gone? and the money?

OK, I'm not broke, but this blog has been pretty quite lately.

First, my family suffered the loss of my wife's grandma. If you are really interested, I posted much more about this at my person/family blog. This sent our life into a tizzy for about 2 weeks. Saying we were tired just doesn't go far enough.

Normally, I post every couple days because poker has become part of my scheduled existence. Every Tuesday night, I play league poker at a local bar. That's be on hiatus for 2 weeks. Bodie25 and I usually find some place to play on any off weeks...but that dang Christmas and New Year holidays mean...very little chance to get out of the house. For pretty much the last 2 weeks, it was online poker. I played a lot of sngs.

Now, there was one exciting poker adventure, I won the friggin' mookie! But we already new this. But blogger brethren, the Mookie has ruined my game. Well, not really. But it did have a serious affect on how I thought about poker. It would seem that bloggers play better poker than your average idiot and I had high expectations after winning. This caused me to lose track of one key thing in poker, Know Your Opponent.

When I reached the final table at the Mookie, I know there weren't going to be many people that would call my all in with QTo. Most bloggers know that that is a stupid play. The average Joe at the $1 45 person so much. That's a monster. Got a gut shot straight draw...keep calling baby, you could get lucky.

This is not good for someone looking to learn more control of one's emotions, but the worst part; I was reading their hand correctly. I caught myself saying, "You hit your friggin flush, damn it! I call." WTF? I knew better, but I just couldn't stand it. I'd call just to see what a moron they were. Again, WTF?

I have taken some time away from the table and eased back the throttle. I know how to play this game. I can play very well. Lesson learned, again. Showing a flopped set isn't really gonna do any good when they hit the straight on the river. You just sometimes need to muck a made hand. That's how we make money.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Defending the Mookie

There is a very good chance that I will not be defending my Mookie title tonight.

My wife's Grandmother past away and the visitation is tonight with the funeral being tomorrow. If we get home in time to play and the Mrs. doesn't mind, I'll be playing.

Talk of poker will not be the subject I start. I can have poker brain at some of the worst times.

Hopefully, I make it to the Mookie tonight. If not, good luck all! Just make sure Hoyazo or Mookie don't win it. Why ruin a good thing? Well, Mookie can win. I think its fun to listen to Hoy's sob stories every week. It seems the well never runs dry on bad beats and bad play.

See ya on the felt!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Goals can be good - Aspirations for 2008

2007 is a year I can be proud of. I learned a lot and I even made some money. So now I look to 2008 and think about what I would like to accomplish next.

Goal 1: Learn to play Pot Limit Omaha. I know the simple part of Omaha, its poker...I get that. What I'd like to learn is how to play it well. I've got 2 games I'm comfortable with NLHE and Razz, its time to add PLO.

Goal 2: Become proficient in the cash games. I suck at online ring games. This needs to change.

Goal 3: Win another blogament. I got the Mookie and the experience of that tournament has me thinking that if I want to step up my game, these tournaments will help. They are a cheaper way to play really quality players. I plan to be in a lot more of these in the coming months.

Goal 4: Improve my writing skills. This year, I'm starting a new habit. I will reread my posts BEFORE hitting the publish button. Geez, I went to college. I graduated. I know how to write. I just need to do a much better job at it. Short-stacked Shamus writes such great posts, I'd like to write a response to the Rumble that comes close.

Goal 5: Win the Minnesota Poker League State Championship. I've qualified for the tournament, now its time to take it down. (If I win this one, the new goal is to take down the Shooting Star at the Bay 101...yeah, I know, lots of luck at that)

Goal 6: Play in a live tournament with a 3 figure buy-in. I'd really like to take a shot at the WSOP satellite that comes to the area.

Goal 7: Finish reading more books. I started the books with vigor this year, but then it took me forever to finish them. I need to just git-r-done.

I think to sum up my aspirations for 2008, it's to become more disciplined. To hon my self-control and use the noodle inside my skull.