Sunday, January 30, 2005

Quads- the easier way to win some money

As I had said, I had a very crappy week at the tables. On Saturday, I started what I hope is a new trend back to continued success.

It started with placing first in a SnG in the morning. I was able to double through early on when I re-raised it up with the Hilton Sisters. The player on my right raised it to 3xs the BB. I kicked it up to 250. One guy called while the original raiser folded. Flop came 9 high. My opponent suddenly went all in. Right away I had to think of what he was holding. If he had AA or KK, he would have pushed pre-flop. I am pretty certain of that. And with the way some clowns play on the net, he could have easily called with any pair this early in the tourney and hit his set. I called figuring that he didn't hit the set. If he had, he wouldn't have pushed. This overbet was the attempt to scare me away. He showed J J and was shown the door.

Needless to say, with a chip lead that early, it allows you to be aggressive and stay aggressive as long as you don't make the stupid plays. But of course, I made some stupid plays and gave a good number of those chips back. But I was also playing some hands extremely well too. Like limping in with Presto and catching the set on the flop. Rarely do I slow play trips. I this case though, I had the lowest possible set and was curiously to see if the other guy who was being very aggressive, would stay that way. Yep, he was. He bet it out. I just called. Turn was the case 5. But this time he checked. Crap. I checked behind him. On the river, I bet it out. Crappily, he folded. Apparently he was just on a steal. But quads are nice.

I proceed to play a lot of mediocre hands and keep betting out just about any hand. Second pair, bet. Top pair, bet. Draws, bet. Nothing, bet. It gets to be very effective because when you catch a hand, they don't believe you. Kinda like playing K 10. Flop come J 10 3. I bet it out for about half the pot. One caller. Turn is a K. I bet again, just to get re-raised all in. Huh? He pushed with a pair of jacks.

People fall out left and right and next thing I know, I am in the money and have a commanding chip lead. The third place player does battle with the second and get bounced. I catch A A and make a ridiculously high bet trying to make it look like a total steal. Caught that move on tv. My opponent called and I start the weekend right. There is more poker to be played later at the bar.

The game at the bar is somewhat of a crap shoot. We have 8 people paying 20 bones a piece. Out of this group, there is me and 1 other guy who play on a regular basis. The others like to play. But they have no clue about betting, pot odds, or quality cards. They also like to bet on absolutely nothing. Take for example Brian. There are 2 Kings on the board and he thinks he is going to bluff John (a very conservative player who won't bet or call if he has nothing). Brian pushes all in with A high. If he had raised pre-flop with his A Q, John probably would have folded his K 3 offsuit. There is K who will stay in pots with any two pair, though someone is sure to have a set. He plays good at times, but doesn't know when to lay a hand down. Bob was a new guy I had no clue about but noticed he played just about every hand. He seemed to lose interest in the game as well.

I started out pretty strong catching a pair of 9s to start. With blinds just 1/2, I pop it up to 10 and get 4 callers. Flop comes 10 high and I bet out to see everyone fold. Next hand, I fill up a straight from the big blind. I have a nice start. John is also running well to. As I mentioned before, he busted out Brian, and then he took out another guy. He has a huge chip lead. I am in a distant second.

I try to take out Bob by limping in with 10 7 spades. Flop came 8 9 spades and 2 hearts. I am looking pretty good here. Bob bets out 20 and I call. Turn is the 4 of spades. I have my flush and am still drawing to a straight flush. Bob bet out 50. I figure it is a good place to push and do so. He immediately calls. Uh-oh. I right away realize he has the flush as well, but does he have me beat? Yep. And I am drawing dead when he shows J 6 spades. Both cards I would need to fill my straight flush! Crap! That hurt, but I was still ok.

Until I made a call I usually don't. I hate to call all in bets when I have just a draw. I rather push and make them react. But when Randy pushed all in and I have the nut flush draw, I called a bet that wasn't going to be good for me. I would have about 40 some left. I didn't hit my flush and looked like I was on the brink of going out in 5th.

But as I said, quads are the easy way to make some money. UTG, I push with 8 8. Two callers. Flop comes 8 6 5. I have my set, but the straight possibility is out there. The turn gives a 7 and I think I am screwed. Someone must have a straight. They aren't betting on each other so that is a good sign. The case 8 hits the river. Quads again and I triple up.

This is where experience pays off. I take my time and start raising the pot with any quality starting hand, and mucking everything else. I am stealing blinds and getting people to fold their crappy hands. 3rd place is going to pay the entry fee back. This is where is got ugly. John proceeds to dump his chips to Bob. All on suckouts and he goes out in 5th. Bob is gone in 4th when he bluffs one too many times to Randy.

I pull a nice Hellmuth move when I raise the pot with Q Q. Randy calls to see a flop come Q high. He pushes. I can't get my chips in fast enough. I knock out Randy and kick Ernie an extra 10 bucks to finish the game because some entertainment was showing up soon.

Experience paid off. The bad beats will happen but you have to get past that. I could have just pushed on anything when I was down but I was going to go out on a good hand no matter what. Thankfully, I took it all. It always feels good beating the players you know you should beat.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

A high level of suckage

Last week was good to me. Very good.

This week has been bad. Very bad.

I made the money in 1 tournament out of 10. Yep, just one.

Today was the icing on the cake. Without any cards to play, I get sucked out twice on the river to go out. Each time when the cards went runner runner for them to win.

Especially when I limp in with 6 6. One caller. Flop comes 8 A A. I bet to see where I might be. The other player calls. Turn is a 6. Great. I fill my boat by I have the dummy end. I check just in case. Stupid move. I should show I have an A as well, just in case he doesn't. He bet out the majority of my chips. Great again. I re-raise all in. Now he goes into the tank and takes a while to call. He shows 9 9. I am ahead! I am going to double up! Uh, no. An A hits the river and I am gone in 4th.

That hurts.

Then I play a 5 man tournament for shits and giggles. I was curious to see the payouts. It pays the top 2 so I am guessing $30, $20 or maybe $35, $15. I go out in 3rd when some guy, who is playing ATC and raising every hand, plays 8 3 off and hits a set on the turn. Though I flopped top pair, aces, and bet it aggressively, he stayed in with his pair of 8s.

That sucks.

So of course I then go to a $20 SnG. Why not lose more money quicker? I aggresively play A J and have one guy calling down all bets. He then bets out the river with a bunch of rags on the board. He must have caught his set. I dump 600 to start. I bleed some more. I steal some blinds from early position with K Q off but it is still very ugly.

Part of what sucks is there are some very loose players at the table. One guy called two raise with 9 8 off. He proceeds to hit his set of 9s on the flop and slow plays it well. Shit, I could clean up on this table with some decent cards.

But I haven't seen decent cards all week. The best I have had tonight is K K. Once. Before that, A Q twice.

I believe the best move I can make is to walk away. I think I am done for the week. Get away and regroup. The weekend looks rather busy so that may work in my favor.

Suddenly, returning to Badger Poker looks appealing.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Tearing up the cheapies

I played poker on Saturday. A lot of poker. Spent about 8 hours online, raising, bluffing, mucking, and making others tilt. And I did it all in a freeroll and a dollar entry tournament at Pokerroom.

I don't know why I do the freeroll on the weekends. It is a big crapshoot for the first hour as people push on just about anything. 2200 start. Not common for 500 people to be knocked out in the first 15 minutes. After the jokers are cleared out, those who have the huge stacks tend to just glide to the end, if they stick around. They usually leave the table for the next hour or so. I guess I do it out of force of habit.

The freeroll wasn't all that exciting from my standpoint. I chipped up nicely to 4000 in the first hour. Not bad but not great considering the top stack were at 30000. But 4xs the starting stack of 1000 means I am around average. I continue to do pretty good, building up an ok stack. Never being huge. I knock some small stacks out when I am catching the premium hands. I also do a nice amount of blind stealing on smaller stacks. But I don't really gain any significant ground on the leaders. I am usually sitting in the 28th. Top 45 ($10 to start) pay so I don't mind. I keep thinking it is some good experience as well.

When we finally get through the bubble delays (that is a sad story in itself), play zips along rather quickly. Long story short, I came in 17th and collected 18 bucks. I didn't care for the manner in which I went out though. Being short stacked, Itried to make a move with 7 7. UTG limped in. Next guy pushed all in. I had the second guy covered and hoped that he was just going with A high. Unfortunately for me, two guys behind me with bigger stacks pushed as well. The limper went away. They all showed face cards, which worked in my favor, but they paired up the K on the flop. No 7 came my way and I was done. My gut feeling initially was to fold the sevens. When the second guy went over the top, I felt I was probably beat. He ended up showing A K. But 3 went out on the hand. I could have stayed around and possibly made the final table. Oh well.

I did piss off a guy in the freeroll. Somewhere in the second hour, I bluff my way to a good pot. I showed my 9 5 off when he folded on the river. I didn't personally like the move and even apologized saying I didn't mean to be a dick. Instead of accepting, it the guy types back "too late". Well, ok then. But then I noticed something. Even though he was 4 players to my right, every time I was in the big blind, he raised the bet. Like clockwork. It took me a while to realize it but it was apparent he was out to get me. What sucked was that I wasn't catching any hands to play against him. I tried to defend the blind and call with anything decent but the flops would miss me.

Until I caught 7 7. I re-raised him all in after he made his bet. He called after a pause. With K 8 off. He got no help and I doubled through on him. How do you call with that? I guess I really pissed him off that he had to try and knock me out. I don't usually show cards, but I will if I think I can set someone off. Though this one was unintentional, it paid dividends.

At the same time I was doing the free roll, I was also playing a qualifier for a bigger event. Having played quite a bit the previous week (where I took my drunken tirade depleted account from $93 to $212), I had a ticket to play a turbo event where all you had to do was place in the top 260 out of 1300 to go to the main event. Didn't seem like that would be too hard. Within the first 5 hands, I jumped up to 4100 and 15th place. This was going to be a breeze! But then I would slowly lose half of that over the next 15 minutes. I stayed aggressive and stole blinds while I could but was getting caught a lot as well. When it got down to 265 people left, it slowed up dramatically. Everyone was trying to keep time on their side, hoping a different short stack would get blinded out. At this point, I was sliding down and was at 255. Uh oh! The blinds were coming right at me.

Being a turbo event (blinds go up every 10 minutes) they were sitting at 1200/2400. I had 2365. Shit! But something interesting started to happen. The table worked together to try and get people into the big tourney. Big stacks were stalling so the little guys could have a chance. Words of encouragement were bandied about the table. They helped me out with one very smart play. The big blind would hit me on the next hand. There was 261 people left. It was possible that I would post the big blind and go out. As play went around the table, someone told the small blind that he had to call. Both small and big blinds were big stacks. It was pointed out that if the small blind calls, there will be a flop which will take more time. That would help out the small stacks. Since the blinds were big stacked and already in, why not see cards to slow the game down some more? It was a moot point as the bubble person went out when the flop hit. But I did find it amazing how everyone tried to help each other win a tournament ticket.

So after doing some shoveling, I came back just in time to register for the Lucky Dollar. One buck gets you in with the top prize being about $1500. Not bad if you win. But it would pay only the top 15. I didn't sign up right away but after looking at the snow piling up outside, I figured I might parlay might freeroll play into something bigger.

And better. I finished in 14th place and won $30. Once again, I played for 4 1/2 hours. Yeah I cashed a little bit but I wanted to hit the final table this time. Even finishing 5th would have paid well too. Instead I went out when I tried to steal with A 10. Not a bad attempt on my part but I was called down with J J. No ace and I was done. I was in last at the time, but I wonder if I could have waited around for a premium hand. I had about 60k or so and blind were 4000/8000 so I had time. If I hadn't overplayed 7 7, I most likely would have made the final table.

I had moved to 170k when I got caught stealing. Just after a break, I raised it up with J 8 of diamonds. The big blind though called me. Uh oh. Flop came 10 7 K and only one diamond. He checked so I bet it out again, just over half the pot. He called. Hmm... Next card was a diamond. Now I have the gutshot straight and a flush draw. But still just a draw. He checked and I fired the second bullet. He called again. Shit! River is a 9. I can't believe it at first. Now I have the nuts. I luck into the straight and push all in. I get called by the pair of kings and jump up to 8th. But I would then get caught with the sevens and lose to the same guy who re-raised me all in with 9 9.

It was a good run for the day. Plus, I still have a ticket to a bigger payout tourney.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

The disconnect truly sucks

I like the layout at Pokerroom. But it seems that when they upgraded the look of the tables, the software was screwed up. The play can be choppy and slow. Worse yet, it can freeze on you. That happened to me tonight playing the SnGs.

The night started off bad. In the first $10, I was doing pretty good. I was sitting second with 7 left when I caught K K in the small blind. A couple players limped in to the button. He raised it to 200. I took it upstairs to 350, hoping to get the button to play with me. But the big blind pushes all in. Huh? Not what I expected. The button folds (he said he had A K). I call and see he has A Q. I am in great shape. Flop comes a bunch of rags. No sweat. Turn is a Q. I ain't scared. River is a Q. WTF? Runner runner takes me down. I am in shock, but not out. I still have around 500 left. But I can't believe anyone would call a raise and re-raise with A Q offsuit. Not a great move.

Later, to rub salt in the would, he calls my J J all in with A 9 off and hits the A on the river. The jerk probably went on to win. I took a deep breath and went to the next table. There I puttered around for half an hour, slowly building up just to give it away. I catch a nice run of cards to be in the top half. It was funny how we lost players. The first 4 went right away as people gambled on draws that didn't hit. When we were at 6, there were 3 stacks less than 1000 and 3 stacks above 3000. I had managed to get above the 3000 mark. I get A 7 on the button. One small stack had limped. I wasn't concerned about him because he wasn't that good. I looked at the big blind and bet out enough to make him fold or go all in. He went all in. But the limper then re-raised all in. It was only another 105 so I have to call. One shows K J while the other has A J. Flop comes 7 A 7- jackpot!!! Two down, 1 more to go.

Two hands later, the small stack just calls. I fold in the small blind. The big blind just checks. Flop comes A K 5. BB checks. Small stack bets half of his stack. BB pushes all in and gets called. Small stack shows K 5 for two pair. BB shows A A for the set. To polish it off, he gets the case ace on the river. Big fireworks to knock people out. I caught some nice cards from there and went on to take first. Nice to be at a profit.

So what should one do when profitable? Play some more. How about the 20 table? Sure, I would still be up even if I don't get in the money.

This table was interesting. Very aggressive. We lost 2 players within the first orbit. I take down some small hands but don't seem to get anywhere. I get up to about 2000 just to get smacked down on a steal here and there.

We get down to 5 players when tragedy strikes! My window just disappears! I try to get the window back up but it doesn't automatically take me to the table like it should. I go through the list and find it. It opens back up. I have just 1092 left and the blinds are 150-300. I can't afford to not play. But nothing is happening. I am getting no response. Ok. Relax. Close the window and restart in a new window again. But the window won't close. I try everything and it will not close. The program doesn't want to end. Shit! Finally I try to reboot. It takes what seems like an hour for everything to sort itself out and finally it shuts down.

I get it rebooted and go back to the poker table. I pray I have something left. I do! I am in the big blind with Q 10. I have 4 left!!! The flop had come out 10 high. I push all in. Yes, all 4 go in!!! Hey, I am a gambler. There is just over 600 in the pot. My pair of 10s hold up. Sweet! Next hand, I get K K and push again. The big stack, or should I say huge stack, is over 12000. The other 2 guys left have less than 1000. I have a chance to still make the money. My K K close to triples me up. Now, I am in second place. I take a shot to knock a guy out from the big blind by calling his last 105. He shows A 9 to me 5 3 suited. A hit a 5 on the flop, but he catches the A on the river. No, not this again!

Then this same guys pulls a stupid move a couple hands later. Once again, I am in the big blind, he the small. After posting, he has 252 left. Blinds are 200/400. I have some crap hand and he just calls. No push? I think something may be up. Flop comes and hits my crap with a pair but on the low end. He checks, as do I. Turn is no help to me, but I think I may have a good hand. Still he has 52 left after calling. I bet to push him all in. He folds. Huh? Stupidest play I have seen in a while. Next hand he is gone and I am in the money. Plus, I have a chance for second. Ok, not really as I push on A 2 and lose pathetically to a set.

But after all that frustration, I was just happy to get logged back in and gt paid. That worked out well in the end.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Got a chunk back

When you get knocked off the horse, you just need to get back on and ride again. I fired up Pokerroom last night hoping to get two SnGs in before 8. Even though the second one was slow as hell, I did get both squeaked in before getting some work done. Came in 1st and 3rd. Not a bad way to get the old roll up.

The thing that got me though was I played an extremely patient game, and think I played my cards well. Especially in the first game. I didn't play a hand, except for the blinds, for 2 orbits. I was getting nothing. But I did keep an eye on what the others were doing. I can't tell you enough how you should pay attention to the play of others when you get crap cards. In this case, there were 2 players that wanted to play every hand. They were catching cards and were winning, even though their play was actually pretty bad. They had some very lame bets, only min betting on when their opponent was obviously on a draw. They would overbet with second or third pair and suck out on the river.

Just watching them told me that I could take my time, be patient and hope to get the full value of just a couple good hands. This was even more powerful because other players weren't following such a thought process. We were down to 5 players and the blinds were only 25/50. I am one of the short stacks with about 1100. The other shorty had about 900 with the big stacks of at least 3100, but the top dope only over 4000. Blinds are small so I have quite a bit of time to make something happen.

It also doesn't hurt when the big stacks go to war. I chipped up back to 2000 and was treading water when the biggest stack went to war with number two. That is the good thing about SnGs at Pokerroom. The majority of the people do not have the common sense to lay low with a big stack unless they have a dominating hand (an error I have made many a time). The big stack ended up dumping the majority of his chips when he called an all in bet with two pair losing to the straight. Now the big boy was lower than I was. I took out the smallest stack with 10 10 to his A 3 and before I knew it, there were only 3 people left. I was outchipped by over a 2 to 1 margin by both players. Blinds were still relatively cheap though in the 100/200 level. I could go a round or two if I had abysmal cards but would have to defend any blind that hit me. I catch A K and push to their folds from the button. That helps. Then from the big blind, I see a free flop with Q 6. Flop comes K 10 6. I bet out 400 and get called. I know that if the next card helps me, I have to push, or I am in trouble. Turn is a Q and I push. He calls with K J and I double up. I am now back into their neighborhood and feeling confident as I feel they simply aren't that good.

A couple hands later, I get A A in the big blind. I have been somewhat aggressive and raising hands to steal whatever I can, so it wasn't surprising that the small blind tried to do the same and pushed all in with Q 10. He got no help and it was just two of us now. Thought I was sitting well at 5800, my opponent was still higher at 9200.

I get into the head's up mode mentality and do battle. I start to chip up a bit until I get knocked back to 4000. But a couple hands of playing aggressively, gets me back in the game again. My opponent is playing either totally weak or strong. My guess is that he is playing his strong hands too strong and the weak hands totally weak (helluva deduction there Sherlock!). What he doesn't realize is that it is a huge tell. But I still need to figure out what he considers strong. I get the idea when he pushes all in from the small blind. I have A 10 and call. He shows J 9. Huh? No help and I now am in the lead.

That is the info I needed. I stay away from his pushes and raise up when I have any two cards. He is folding and going down. He pushes again when I have A 4. I can afford to double him up so I call to see he has A 3. Done. Game over!

Similarly, the second table went the same way. One guy who was at the table I just finished was playing. I knew what to expect from him as he was one of the clowns who had a huge lead but got busted out. This game took forever as 3 people disappeared for great lengths and two others took every single second to make a decision. Patient play paid off again and I got 3rd place money. Plan to try again tonight. If I get the same results, the whole blurry Saturday night massacre will be wiped away.

Monday, January 17, 2005

It was all a blur

That is what happened on Saturday. I was doing ok. Just above average for chips. I knew that if I could double up, I would be in a great position to cruise and run over some players. The two people to my right were aggressive but over valued a lot of hands. I knew that I could get their chips if I was patient.

I was UTG+1. The gun had limped. I saw A Q suited and jacked it up the size of the pot. I expected everyone to fold with the possible exception of the big blind. He played a lot. It did fold to the blinds. Only the limper called. Flop came J 8 4. Limper checked. I bet 2000, just over half the pot. He called. Turn is an A. He checked again. My read is that he may have a J, or K K at best. I know I have the best hand right now.

He does not have a set. Or does he? I think of what hands would warrant the pre-flop call. A high pair that he hit on the flop and is slow playing. A J. Possible. K J. Playable. I settled that he had K J. So I know my aces are good and I push all in.

He calls.

And shows Q J off. WTF? Not only did he call preflop, but when the over card comes out, he commits with second pair.

Fantastically stupid. Until the river is a J. For all practical purposes, I am done.

From there, it was an afternoon of tilt. And whisky. Lots of whisky. I had a couple of beers during the tourney. When the bad beat hit me, I quickly drank what I had left.

From there on, it was just a bottle of Maker's Mark. Or at least it was a bottle of Maker's Mark. That went down rather quickly. Well, actually it was a couple of hours and more poker games. I started to hit the SnG with reckless abandon. And I wasn't doing just $10 tables. I was hitting the $20s. I put some Anthrax on the player and went to war.

Talk about a way to just throw out a bankroll that you are slowly building up. Out of 4, I came in 3rd just once. In each of the other 3, I came in 4th. Two because of runner runner flushes and straights.

I finally did the smart thing. I closed one eye so I could see the cards better. Good. Now there are only 2. I went all in, lost, and turned off the pc. I stumbled to the couch and watched Badger hockey.

I would see the true damage the next day. I am back where I started. Not too bad, but not good. Back to the drawing board.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

What to drink when....

While drinking, I sometimes think about drinking. Or poker. So what do you do when you have two great tastes that go together? Go online of course!

I dedicate this to you the true pioneers of the poker blogging world. Check them out on the right. The list will be growing as I finally get around to giving credit to those I read and try to learn from. But after answering the question of what to drink when playing poker, I thought of something a tad more perplexing:

What to drink when playing the Hammer?

Hmm...not as easy as it sounds. I went to see if there was already a concoction called The Hammer. Alas, there was not. I found some that were close and not quite. So here are some suggestions and THE recommendation.

First, it is easy to get rid of everything that has a gay name. Velvet Hammer (Creme de Cacao, Vodka, Cream) is quicly disqualified. If someone heard you were drinking a Velvet Hammer, they would ask were your boyfriend Todd was.

The Jack Hammer is close. Jack Daniels and gold tequila. If you drink that, you have no problem playing the Hammer at any level. That will not only put hair on your chest but on your monitor as well. Unfortunately, the Jack Hammer would have to be hoisted when playing the Jack Hammer, J 4. See BadBlood Tuesday Jan 4 entry.

The Fire Hammer sounds like something out of Vulcan’s handbook. Vodka, Amaretto, Triple sec, Lemon juice. No, too fruity looking. It may actually taste good.

Though it sounds like something that you would only drink when playing online, you may want to introduce this to that special someone in your life after playing some poker, the Pajama Hammer. Guava juice, Vodka, Blue Curacao, Peach schnapps is probably better at bringing down a sweeter pot that anything you may drag online. Then again, if your Curacao is blue, you may want to see a doctor.

The first runner up is definitely the Irish Hammer. Jack Daniels, Irish Mist, Bailey's Irish cream. It is Irish. You don’t argue with the Irish when it comes to drinking. They are professionals. But this doesn’t quite win.

Thus I present to you my solution...Thor’s Hammer. Just like when you find the right time to play the Hammer, you need to have something that isn’t quite common as well to drink when you do play the Hammer. I bet after drinking this vodka, you will not only play the Hammer often, you will see results beyond your wildest belief. Like most vodka, you want to keep this in your freezer and take it out when necessary. This works especially well in a home game. Picture it, playing the Hammer and sauntering to the icebox and pulling out the bottle. If that doesn't totally piss of some people at the table, then nothing will! And you will surely get some sweet action after that!

And if you just don't know what the Hammer is, or just don't get it, it is too bad. Go immediately to the bar and get a drink.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Worth sharing

I wrote this up on my other blog. I felt is was most appropriate to put it here as well. I have added some some new links on the side. There are some real bloggers out there that I read and you should too. For now, you can click on the links from my other blog. Also, you may see that I changed the name of this. I am not sure why I have the address but not the same name. This name is better.

Dave, of All Things Dave notoriety, had a couple of more comments including one extremely tough question. One is too tough to answer accurately. Yes, I said that. Can't necessarily be answered to a definite point. And I will prove that case.

Dave wants to know what you should drink when playing poker, if one should drink at all. The answer to the latter is obvious. Why wouldn't you drink when playing poker? And if there is anyone out there that just stuck their nose in the air saying "I don't drink". Leave. Now. If you don't drink then you don't play poker. And if you play poker, then you need to start drinking. If not, you are the table buzzkill. Poker is supposed to be fun.

Nuff said.

But what do you have poured in that tumbler to tempt the taste buds and awaken the mind? For that, there is no definitive answer. I could defer to the some of the masters who I believe provide fantastic answers. Iggy, the blogfather, would answer Guinness. Who am I to argue with a man of such high standing? Another,
Al would quickly say Southern Comfort. The entire bottle. For the first hour. Then you bring another. BadBlood may answer Heineken.
Linda would probably tell you to drink wine.

I would say either Lite beer from Miler or Maker's and ginger. Depends how long I intend to play and whether the casino has Maker's Mark. I can plow down Lite until the cows come home. It will let me keep my senses and not get me too blitzed. The Maker's and ginger will get the buzz going but it is a nice mellow drink. You don't slam those down like water. But once we hit the wee hours in the morning, I may switch to Bailey's and coffee. A caffeine kick at 5 in the morning is needed to keep the game going (just don't let the Bellagio see you walk out with their coffee glasses).

It is all about having a good time. Yeah, those pros will say you shouldn't drink, but they need to make a living at it. I am just another guy playing here and there and just enjoying the game.

But should you play drunk? Depends on your definition of drunk. Buzzed up? Comfortably numb having reached that plateau where it seems you just can't get drunker and still have the control of your arms? Or falling out of your chair and slobbering about how your aces were just cracked by the Hammer?

I do pretty well hooched up. Some of my better sessions come from playing as I come home from the bar. Maybe it is because I am willing to bluff a bit more or I just want to ram and jam.

Does that work Dave?

Hey, let's try a multi again

After having pissed away a SnG, I noticed that a 5 dollar multi was about to start. I figured I could kill some time and just by playing somewhat conservative, have a good chance to hit not only money, but to hit the final table. Considering how a good number of people play online, that is always feasible, save the bad beat.

So I join in. 273 players are in trying to get over $440 for first place. Seeing how I just mentioned the play of most people online, let me paint the picture for you. After just 12 minutes, 41 people are gone. My table is a good example of it. A couple of very aggressive players jacking the 20 big blind up to 200 with any two face cards. Then pushing all in when they hit any part of the flop. Top pair, bottom pair, draw. Any part! I take note and will try to play accordingly.

That is if I get to play. First hour, there is not much to play. I do get 7 7 to become a full house by the turn and score big. This pumped me up to just under 3000. But I bleed chips away like a hemophiliac. This is bad. I try to make some things happen by play some suited connectors and faces but I can't hit a flop to save my life. I try to steal but the guy two spots to my left goes all in every time I do. That SOB is beginning to piss me off. At least someone is calling him so he has somewhat legitimate pushes (A Q mostly). It hurts because I drop at least 1000 trying to steal and I really can't afford that.

I am not in good shape at the hour break. 110 people are left after an hour, I am 92. I have 780 left. Now I need to be aggressive. I have no choice. I need to get cards and quick. When I do I have to push and hope to maximize my hands. And I try. First hand back, I get A J suited and push and double up to around 1600.

The blinds ratchet me down a bit. I am able to limp in with 4 4 in the cutoff. 5 people pay 150 to see the flop of J 8 4. I push all in and they fold. I wonder if that was the best move. I think it is with bottom set. I could try to trap and get more out of it, but I also could let someone else hit a higher set. Maybe if there were fewer players, the move would be to check.

A couple of hands later I go all in with 10 10 but get no callers. Two hands later I push again with J J when 3 players try to limp ahead of me. Only one player calls with 9 9 and I more than double up.

In the first 20 minutes of the second hour, I have done ok. I am sitting at 7004. Now I can steal some blinds and do. A 2, raise it up. Though I am sitting at 23, I feel good. K J clubs in small blind folds around. I raise it up on the big blind who has only 1360 left. He pushes with 7 6 off and gets no help.

I try to see some card with a limp of J 10 off from the button. 4 people see the flop of Q 3 3, two diamonds. It is checked to me so I bet 700. One caller. Turn is an A. He checks. I smell a trap. River is a 10 of diamonds. I must be behind now. He goes all in. I have laydown. I am down to 4400. That killed my momentum. Now I am beginning to get myself in trouble again.

It also doesn't help that it is a tough table. Four players are over 10k with one over 31k. Smartly enough, the big stacks are using their chips. I envy them. But things can change quickly. A small stacks pushes his last 3100 in and more than triples up with his A A. that would be nice to have. Funny how the next hand he must be in heaven when he gets A K and calls a small stacks push of about 2400. The other guy has 4 4 but flops a set. The poker gods giveth and taketh away. But the guy with the 4s pushes next hand with A Q and it stands. He went from being out to over 10k.

Blinds kill me and I am down to 3244. I get nothing to play during the next orbit and the blinds are back. I post the big blind of 800 and see A 10. It folds to the button (no small blind this hand) and he calls. I push and he folds. In the small blind I get K J. One raise on the button and I fold. Something doesn't feel right. Though the board shows a full house, sixes over threes, one guy is holding 8 8 and gets a big payoff from a big stack.

Next hand I get 9 9 and plan to push, but someone in early position pushes. Can't be good. Two others call. The original pusher had A 7 off and won with two pair- 7s and 6s. My nines would have been the best hand. Damn!!!

This sucks as there are 31 people left. I am sitting at 26 and it would appear I am just trying to hit the money at 20. Not the case. I want to double up and get to the final table. But apparently, I am not being aggressive enough (not playing the 9s) and waiting too much to see a good starting hand.

So what do I do? Under the gun push with A 8 hearts. Done at 30. I am very disappointed I didn't go with the nines. Not as much because it would have won, but when you wait for a hand to play and then fold it, it can kill your game. I needed to recall the crap people will play online for the next time.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Two tables, $22 dollars, $2 loss

Played on a nice roller coaster last night at Pokerroom. I had to get that bad taste out of my mouth from Sunday night. I wish I had more information save up for this blog. I just recall having 7 7 on the first hand and raising it up to 75 (10/20 blinds) and having 5 callers. Hmm...Flop comes 3 5 J. In mid position I bet out 250 and get 3 callers. Oh great! Turn is a 3. I figure someone out of all these callers has to have a J or a bigger pair. So I just check. It checks around. River is a 3. Now I have a full house, albeit not the nuts. But a value bet looks good so I bet out 400. One guy calls and I win a huge pot. It would be needed as I hardly got a good hand after that.

I did yo yo quite a bit from there. I noticed one guy who chipped up pretty well was playing every hand. No matter what he had, he was in. If it was suited, and he flopped a draw, he was in to the river so matter what the bet was. Hell, he was playing bottom pair and calling it down, sometimes sucking out on the river. I like that kind of player because the majority of the time I can let him collect chips and get a chunk with one good hand. Unfortunately, they can suck out on you too.

Though I had a nice starting stack to start, I would end up dumping a bit to a flush suckout. I built it back up just to come back down. When we were down to 4, I hit it well on a 6 3 from the big blind that flopped me two pair and an A. His A J went down in flames and I was in the money. One other loose player was still in the game. I liked that thought and should have knocked him out. He barely had more than I did at 3400. When I saw A Q, I raised it to 1500 knowing there was a good chance he would try to steal it away. Sure enough, he pushed and showed Q 8. You know that 8 would hit on the river and I would be done. Yeah, 3rd makes a bit of money but I still hate going out on a crap hand.

Similiar thing happened on the second table, except I couldn't catch a hand to save my life. For a half hour, I caught nothing. Absolutely nothing. It was worse when we got down to 5 and one guy was stealing blinds left and right. You can't defend with J 2 off. But when you don't play many hands, you can pretty much get paid when you do catch one. Cowboys kept me afloat as did Big Slick on back to back hands.

What was sad is that some players still do not understand putting pressure on the small stacks when you are huge. One guy had 6300 in the small blind while the big blind had 600. You push him in on any two cards! This guy wouldn't. You have to try and knock them out. Doubling to 1200 won't matter as the blinds are still big.

But as I said, I was tired of having my blinds stolen from me so I tried to go on the offensive. On the button I had Q 10 off and raised it up to 1200, just twice the big blind. Though it was half my stack, there is a good chance that he will fold or play a weaker hand. The big blind was a wuss. Instead he pushed. Having half my chips in, I am committed and must call. He has A J spades. Ugh! What a bad time to steal. Done in 4th.

Overall I was pleased though. Stayed patient and read people well. If one card hits in the first game, I have a small profit. Looks like the 20 SnG may have to wait a bit.

I see Badger Poker has started up again. The locations are too convenient for me except for Stenys. Long Wongs is a nice bar and I will probably go out there some Tuesday. As for now, I am contemplating Stenys. Those games are so bad that they are fun to right about the goofballs in them. I just may have to go back for at least one a week.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

So, after watching a Packer debacle

I figure lets go home and try to play drunk. At first, it is pretty good. I log in and watch some people play some pretty bad cards. Like when the guy who had A A made a min raise just to let the dope with K 2 hit his set on the river. Damn stupid play by the aces.

That gives me a good idea on how the table may be. At least at first. I catch cowboys in mid position and of course raise (unlike the dipshit with the aces who gave the min raise) 4 times the big blind. Best part is 4 people call. Yahoo! Flop comes K 9 7. Cha ching! One guy goes all in! Oh my Lord, I have hit the motherload. I quickly call to see his K 10 and can't help to think how stupid that play was.

Unfortunately for me, I would get sucked out a half dozen hands later. I just called the bet of 100 from the small blind with A Q. There were 4 others in the hand and I figured someone has a good pair. Flop comes A K 3. I bet out half the pot to see where I am. I get two callers. Ok. Turn is a 5. I push all in because I am damn certain I have the best hand. Sure enough, I do as the one caller has A J. But he spikes his J on the river. Shit!

I may seem down but I am just back where I started. I bluff one out with a limp of 8 7 off. Flop comes A J A. I bet the pot and the other 3 fold. Nice. A couple of hands later my A Q suited will pay off for a small pot when the flop hits Q high.

I take down two small pots after that mainly because the table becomes pretty tight. My next score comes from the blinds. I have 3 5 in the big blind and see the flop for free. It comes A 3 2. Hey, I have been drinking so I feel a bit froggy and bet it out. I get one caller. Hmmm... Turn is a Q. Heck, I bet it once, let's do it again. Put out 200. Called. River is a 5. Wow! I bet out 500 because I know if this dope has an A, he will raise it. Sure enough, he raises and I call to take down his A 8. I like it when people over play their aces.

A number of hands later I play out a nice bluff with J 10 when the flop comes A high. I bet it out and the same dope who got lucky on the river with his A J folded. I collect some more chips just by being aggressive with any good hands and betting the flop. Table is stil tight and I am trying to take advantage of it.

Unfortunately, I can't shake some crappy play by some people. That a-hole who sucked out with his A J is being a pain in the ass. I am running this table and this dickweed doesn't think about that. I limp in with A 7 and this dope calls. I bet the flop of 7 10 6. He calls. Turn is a 9. There is no flush so I bet it out. He calls. River is a 6 so I push all in. Dickweed calls with J 10 off and takes down the pot. How he can do that I don't know.

But that little bastard would do it to me again with that damn J 10 off. In the big blind I raise it up with A J after two people limp in. Dickweed calls. Flop comes J 10 3 rainbow. I bet 100. He calls. Turn is a 2. I bet 2000 and he raises all in. I call it thinking this dipshit can't have anything better than K J. No, the damn J 10 off again. He called a big raise with J 10 off. Pissed me off. Yeah, I should have folded to the re-raise but there is no reason for him to see that flop. I am so on tilt that I need a beer. I should have made the money but go out in 4th.

Pretty crappy weekend playing drunk poker

7 tables, 1 first, 1 second. Some bad beats. I was quite disappointed that I didn't do well playing drunk. Usually I do very well. Coming home from the bar and firing it up online has been good. I had my Makers and ginger by me, giving me support but I just couldn't get it to go. When AK is beaten by A 9, you know it is going to be rough.

But the worst table was the one where I caught nothing. Played 20 minutes and had no good starting hands. Not a one. Defended blinds and caught a piece of the flop but nothing. When K 10 suited looks good and you push your last 500, you know you just shouldn't be playing. Or you get aggressive with 10 10. Should have know he was slow playing cowboys.

I now have a new goal. I am sitting at $166 right now. New program is to get over 200 and try to hit the 20 dollar tables. I have played them a couple of times in the past, but usually have had my ass handed to me. I think I can change that. But first thing is to get above 200.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

A multi here, a SnG there

After doing some shoveling and having dinner, I figured I'd play a little poker and relax. I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to play but made a decision once I went online. A $10 multi was starting in 10 minutes. Sure, let's give it a shot. There was barely 100 people signed up so I didn't mind the numbers. It would pay only the final table, but that didn't bother me. I was up for the challenge. But by the time it started, the final tally was 212 people. Payout was larger but still, only the final table. Ok, only a hundred more people to plow through.

I started ok. A couple hands in I limped in from the big blind with J 8. On the turn I filled my straight and took down a little pot. I took my time again as the horrific trend I mentioned a couple of posts ago started to play itself out again. I laughed when a guy limped with K K and the guy filled his straight from the big blind with 7 4. I waited for the guy to complain but it didn't happen. I then saw some have 10 8 suited but his A K. The 8 10 limped from UTG and made his flush on the turn. He even scored when the A hit the river and A K bet out!

Then again, I didn't last long either. A whopping 15 minutes. I was in the big blind with K K. 6 limpers tried to get in. So I raised it 500. Only one guy calls. Flop comes 9 9 8. I bet half the pot and he calls. Turn is a Q. I bet half my stack, which is just under half of his. He pushes all in. I give the crying call right away thinking if he filled a straight on that, then I will take my ball and go home. He has the straight and I am done. It could be said his call was really bad on the pre flop raise. But he got lucky and hit his cards trying to suck out. I also could have laid it down but was being a stubborn buffoon. Being a stubborn buffoon can kill your game quickly. I made a really stupid play by calling and deserved to be out.

So of course this buffoon went to a $10 SnG figuring a win there and I would be net up for the night. It never amazed me how some people will play every hand, especially at the starting limits. The "it's-only-a-small-blind" concept is funny because they have no clue how much they are bleeding out to start the game. In this case, it was some clown name splitz. He played the first 7 out of 10 hands. And then he became a calling station. As Monty Burns woud say-Excellent!

I took some chips off of him when I limped with K 10 diamonds. Flop came K J 2 with 2 hearts. He checked so I bet top pair with a good kicker for 100 and he calls. The turn brings 4 of clubs. He bets 50. Huh? Weak bet. I raise to 200 and he calls. I figure he is on a draw or he maybe has a K as well. River is not a heart. He checks. I check just in case he is playing K Q. He has K 5 off. Nice play dope!

I tried to play some connectors and suited connectors but wasn't hitting anything. Amazing how 5 hands in a row I caught connectors. Played 3 and then stopped. Nothing hit and I wasn't going to bleed this early. A pair of 3s didn't hit. But American Airlines does. I can't understand what this guy was thinking. I am in the big blind (they are only 15/30). UTG raises to 60. 3 others call. So I jack it up to 500, hoping one fishy goes for the hook. Sure enough, one guy re-raises me all in. The other fold. I can't call quick enough. He shows 8 9 offsuit. WTF? I raise it 500, he pushes for an additional 520 thinking I am going to fold??? Silly and I skyrocket over 2900.

I caught some nice pairs through out the game. K K came twice. I got a great payoff on one, and avoided devestation on the other. UTG raised to 90 and two others called. I re-raised to 300 to thin the crowd and get a read on the original raiser. They fold to him and he re-raises for 120 more. Hmmm... One other caller before me and we see a flop of 9 4 10 all spades. Neither of my kings are spades. UTG bets out 800. I am now convinced he has A A. I fold the cowboys. The other clown called and in the end he shows A A to win. I was extremely happy with my laydown there. About 5 hands later, the Kings show up again. Same scenario unfolds. Guy ahead of me raises to 250 (blinds 50/100) . I re-raise to 500. It folds to the raiser and he calls. Flop comes K Q Q. I briefly wonder if he has Q Q. He bets 100. A weak bet, but the stubborn buffoon in me comes out. I don't think he has Q Q now. Maybe A K, or J J. The weak bet tells me that he wants me to raise again. Of course, I do. I bump it to 500. I believe I have the nuts and know he will re-raise. He does. All in. Sweet. He shows A Q and is drawing to the last Q, which thankfully, doesn't show. Amazingly, I would get K K twice more, but not score as big.

I am 2000 ahead of anyone else at the table and start to bully a bit. It works for a while until I get sloppy and give some chips away. I get them back with K J. One other guy keeps betting on each card. I am just calling as I am not quite sure what he might have. I feel my J is the better kicker and get paid at the end when he shows K 4. I may have played it the same way with a big stack, but not with that weak kicker and a small stack.

I get cold-decked when we are down to 5. I lose some hands defending the blinds but don't lose more than 450 per hand. But I need to knock someone out. I settle for stealing some blinds when we get to 4. Still haven't seen a good hand for a while. Blinds are going back and forth as no one is really playing past the flop now. I see K K and raise the blind. He raises back. I think about it and say "Damnit, show me aces!" and push all in. He takes some time and calls. Shows K K as well!

Finally, the other two go at it preflop. One has 6 6, the other A K. Ace hits the flop and we are down to 2. We volley back and forth until I drop a bunch being aggressive with a bluff. I push all in with A 8 diamonds and am called by his K 10. A win here pulls me back to striking range. Flop misses both of us. Turn is no good. River is a 10. Done.

I did end up net on the night by a whopping 8 bucks. Whoo hoo!!! I consider playing one more but think of the snow I will be battling tomorrow. Time to get a drink instead.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Project SnG...I said I wasn't going to play the $5 multi

But then again, I felt it was just $6. I hadn't really planned to play poker but when I logged in I just couldn't help get sucked in by a multi. It was starting in 3 minutes and if I was out quickly, it was no big deal. I would approach it like Badger Poker and see what happens.

I noticed what I consider an ugly trend in poker. People slow playing big hands preflop. Not raising the pot at all. Worst part about this is the bitching and moaning you hear when they lose. Now, I am not one to talk during these sessions, but when someone misplays a big hand by being fancy, I am happy to tell them it was their fault they screwd up a good hand. One clown I noticed at my first table was some dope going by Big Dawg. Not only was he slow playing, but he was also playing extremely aggressive. I was in the small blind (15/30) with Q 9 clubs. I see the flop with 5 others (see, just like Badger Poker). Flop comes 5 Q 2. I bet out my top pair about 3/4 of the pot. One guy calls before BigDawg raises. I call it but the other one folds. Turn is a 9. Sweet. I bet out 400 and get raised again. With just 415 left, I push all in with my two pair. I think it is the best hand. Sure enough, he shows A K. Even the A on the river gives him the loser. This dope boosts me up to 3235 and a chip lead at the table.

Next clown gives me chips when he continues to bet stupid numbers. If he had 2173 total chips, he would raise to 173. If he had 3306, he would raise to 306. Anything to have an even amount of chips. Any time I had something decent, I knew to raise him for two reasons. One, he would fold because he didn't want his chip total to be uneven. Two, he would call but fold on the flop. My K K got an extra 500 out of him doing just that. No flop of 4 10 9 was going to help him.

I hit one monster hand with A J. I limped in with blinds at 75/150. One guy raised, there is a reraise. Hmm...for 300 more I have a chance at a 1125 pot. I call to see the flop of J J Q. Bingo. I put out a small bet and get raised. I push all in and get called!!! He shows A Q. No help and I go over 9k in chips.

I am chipping up nicely. At the break, I am sitting in 9th out of the starting 355. First place is $444. I guess that isn't bad for a $5 buy in. Unfortunately the second hour would be brutal. I was over $10k in chips but stopped catching hands. I took down a small pot with J J. But the success I had with A J comes back to haunt me. I raised it UTG to 3xs the blind and get one guy to call. This guy is playing every hand. Bet the flop and you usually get him to fold. So I did, (flop was J 10 3) but he re-raised. I pushed all in with TPTK. He called and showed the pocket 10s for the set. Devasting blow. I am down to 4k with about 80 players left. I should have just called and checked on the turn. I should have taken it easy and played aggresively at the right time with the right players.

The tourney pays 40 spots. I am around 55 after the bad play so it isn't totally bad. I need to double up but don't have to worry about doing it soon. I move up a bit with 9 9, but then get cold decked for 45 minutes. Blinds are going up and I am not catching cards. Thankfully, the number of people left is shrinking. And players are getting tighter as we near the money. Before I know it, there are 45 people left and I am still hanging in on the bubble. The second break comes and I have about 3800 left. There are 41 people.

Another problem with hitting the bubble is that the tight and low stacks, get tighter and slower. This is the time where people take their time, hoping the cards go around fast on another table so they can fall into the money. That is one move I do not do. I take a couple of seconds to act but I don't let the time get to the end. You may say I am not helping my cause but I say that kind of play is crap. Either you have faith in playing or stay away from the table.

About 5 hands into the third hour, the 41st guy is done. Right after that, I catch 2 2 UTG and push. Why not? This hand just won a good size pot with a set on the flop. But everyone folds around. Nice! But I only last 6 more spots and go out in 34th. Get $13 for my effort. I like getting my money back but the $5 tourney pay big in the top 5 only.

So I come back on Tuesday and go back to the $10 table and come in 3rd to catch $20. Should have done better but one guy kept going short stacked and catching whatever cards he needed to stay alive. Amazing. He could go in with 5 2 against your A K and catch a 2 on the river for the win. Sometimes you just have the cards against you. Only thing to do is walk away with a small profit.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

SnG Weekend roundup

Played three games on Friday before heading out to celebrate the new year. Not much to say there. In the first one, I finished 10th. How? I had A K and raised it up preflop. One guy re-raised me. There were two callers. Flop came A K 6. I bet and was raised. I re-raised all in. He showed A A. Ouch! Pocket rockets made for a quick game.

Next table, I played a bit more patiently and came in first. Yes! I survived a bad beat when my K K got cracked by the flush draw on the river. But then I went on a rush and my 190 grew to 3450 within the next ten hands. Played the good hands well and caught some nice flops. I also like to think I played short handed very well. I went on the nice rush and after building the short stack up, I stayed aggressive when everyone was thinking I was pushing on anything. The rush was over and suddenly I was a big stack. But the comeback would be short and I would finish in second.

But then I ran into the opposite in the third game. One guy played well and was a chip leader throughout the game. However, when it was down to just 4, he became a total wuss. I was sitting in second place and pushed the short stacks as well as the big stack around with some aggressive bets. Problem was, the short stacks were being pressured by the big stack. He could have taken one guy out on three different occasions. The short stack had about 800 after posting the big blind. The big stack, with about 8000, should have pushed him in with any two cards but was folding. I didn't like that at all.

And it would cost me. Because I wanted him to take out a short stack, it made me a bit more aggressive than I should have been. Thus I went out in 4th when I raised it up on a steal with just an A 8. The big stack was in the big blind and re-raised me all in. I called though I should have folded. If I fold, I am still in 2nd by a couple of hundred. His 9 9 held up. It sucked. The passive play by the big stack put me on tilt when I should have been fine. So on that note, I went out and got drunk for New Year's Eve.

I didn't play again until Sunday night. Played some conservative poker until we were down to 5 again. That seems to be the solid game plan. Nice hand of note was a 10 6 big blind hand I had. It was called to me so I saw a flop with 10 6. Flop came 8 6 3, with 2 diamonds. I bet out my pair and was called. On the turn came a 2. I checked. My opponent bet out half the pot. My gut was he was on the flush draw. I pushed all in to take down a couple thousand when he folded. It is nice to have the instinct to figure out why they just called and know that they were on a draw. Too many people do not take that chance. And you can't unless you bet it out. I set up a nice stop and go with the check and it paid off.

The guy I would end up head up against took took the last two out on two consecutive hands and had a chip lead on me. It doesn't hurt to get a pair of 6s and flop the set to take the lead. I then bet out the A J and had him push all in with Q 4 diamonds. Though two diamonds hit the flop, he had no more help and I was a winner again! Nice

So the 9 game experiment is finished. I have 3 firsts and one third. But the best part is getting my game under control again. My original $100 is at $151. A 50% return. I will play more of the SnGs for a while before doing a $10 multi experiment. Of course, the multis is where the big money is at.