Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Losing aggression and sucking out

Got back on the winning track yesterday. But it was ugly at first.

I came to realize unless I develop a greater sense of discipline, I will never move up levels and be successful. I took big dips with my starting stacks chasing draws and playing second pair. Worse part is I knew I was wrong. I knew I was beat. But after playing online for quite some time, you begin to think that second pair is going to win with all the knuckleheads that online.

Well, I was one of those knuckleheads last night. Thankfully I pulled my head out of my ass and straightened up to make some money.

I got there with 2 good hands and one big suckout. The 2 good hands netted me $164. One was A A, the other A Q. Both were against the same opponent. I played the A Q well. But this was after I misplayed the A A.

I should have had each street capped with the A A. It was capped preflop. Capped on a flop of 4 5 8. But when a 3 hit the turn, I just called the raise. A 10 on the river and I checked fearing he hit a set. I called the bet to see his K K. I can't believe I let this one go down like that. Why was I fearing a set? Capping with a baby pair preflop? Some idiots may do that but I should have read this correctly. This was screaming overpair. I should have kept raising. He didn't have me on A A. I left about $30 on the table in that hand.

Thus when two hands later I had A Q, I played the same guy heads up more aggressively when the Q hit the flop. With no overcards, I kept raising him back as I was confident my Q was good. At least I learned about that opponents tendencies and used it to my advantage.

Meanwhile on the other table, I sucked out to get back to the positive. I may have not had pot odds on the turn, but I had huge implied odds- which I messed up. I was in the BB with 9 7 off. 3 people limp. MP raises. The cut off and button call the two bets. I figure at least one of the limpers if not 2 will call as well. I have to see a flop here. They all call. Flop is 7 8 A. It checks to the bettor who starts the action again. Both cut off and button call. I have bottom pair with no flush draw and a backdoor straight. I figure the bettor has just an ace. I want to see another card on the cheap here to see if I can suck something out. I believe I have pot odds here for the call so I do. Only one of the limpers in EP stays. Turn is a 5. I now have a gutshot straight draw. Same action. Bet. Call, call, call. I call as well. I count myself for 9 outs that are good. The EP go away. River is a 6. I hit my gutshot. But then I screw it up and bet. I should have gone for the check raise. If someone else is playing 9 10 in this spot, power to them. But I should have squeaked out another bet from each of the 2 that called me. Sure enough, one had A K while the other had......4 4 ???? WTF?

This time next week, the tour of Vegas card rooms will be in full swing. Time cannot go fast enough right now.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Kings cracked- Twice!!!

Nothing can ruin a good run that having a good pair cracked twice. Within 15 minutes.

That was the difference between a winning and losing session. The second time I could see. Guy had limped in mid position with J 10o and flopped a straight. Problem here was the EP limper who had A Q did not raise. If he raised, there is a slight chance that guy does not call two bets or even the third when I raise it behind him. I say slight as the guy was probably playing the hand no matter what. So he flopped the straight, slow played the flop, and raised the river. He got an extra bet out of me on the turn when I realized the clown played J 10 and paid him off. It would have been so sweet to see the board pair up and send the joker home.

It was the first K K I lost with that pissed me off. I was in the BB with the cowboys and re-raised the button. Flop came Q high rainbow. There is no draw out there. I bet and he calls. Turn in the dreaded A. I bet and he calls. River is a rag. I bet and he calls to show A 10o. I can see the steal, but to draw to 3 outs? Correct me if I am wrong, but with 3 outs, he doesn't have pot odds to make that call (yeah I could look it up but don't want to. I rather bitch).

Overall I can't complain too much. The loss wasn't that much and I got out before I tilted away a lot more.

In one week from today, I should be finishing up an all night poker session in Vegas. I can see the transition from Lite to Maker's Mark to Baileys and coffee happening already.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Mixed reviews

I had a strange weekend of poker. While I couldn't catch cards to save my life on PokerBlue and tilted away cash like there was no tomorrow, I was making more to cover the losses over at PokerShare.

What is that? PokerShare?

A site I discovered while perusing the news. For each player point you earn, you earn "shares" of the company. Or shares that are in a trust representing 40% of the company. If they go public- as they intend to do- you could end up with stock of a real listed company. In the meantime, they promise to pay out dividends over the year. I will probably add a banner or two for them.

Interesting enough, they are basically an Ultimate Bet skin. They offer the Aruba trip tournies just like UB and the points you earn are Ultimate Points. Finding tables is not a problem either. I have been playing 2/4 and moved up to 3/6 where I am doing pretty good. My initial deposit of $250 is just under $900 at this time. They are also offering the 100% bonus up to $250. Collecting points seems to be quite easy as well. In the past it always sounded like clearing UB bonuses were difficult. This one doesn't seem so. At the very least, it is easier to clear than Full Tilt.

I may move away from Poker Blue where I took a hit. I think because the players are pretty loose that I lost some discipline and started playing too many draws and second pair, paying off way too many hands. It also hurts to have your Aces cracked by the guy who sucks out with the river river flush. I may continue to play just to get entry in the Sunday freerolls but considering I won't be around for the next two, I may just go away.

Playing all the limit has me feeling pretty confident about Vegas. Only a week away now. I can see it now, spinning the wheel at the Excalibur or taking down some bonus money with my quad 5s at the Monte Carlo or Mandalay Bay.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

If only it were this easy all the time

Here is a hand that Dr. Pauly would be proud of:

I was playing 2/4 last night. I am in the BB with the Hilton Sisters. UTG raises. It folds around to me and I bump it up. He caps.

The flop comes 7d, Jc, Qc. I flop my set. I bet. He raises. Nice! I re-raise and he caps. I like this.

Turn is the case Q. Sweet mother, the entire Hilton family! I bet it out (There is no way he is dropping this hand the way he has bet it so far). He raises, I re-raises and he caps again.

River is a 10h. At this point I must admit I had pegged him for A A or K K. But I really don't care what he has. We go through the dance again with it getting capped.

He turns over A K. Of clubs. I win a $94 pot.

It isn't until I replay the hand that I realize potentially dodged a bullet. He was drawing to a Royal Flush. If he hit that 10 of clubs, I would have suffered a bad beat and not collected anything.

Worse yet, just before I called the final bet, I type in "you are going to feel stupid". I would have been the stupid one if that 10c hits.

Thankfully, it didn't.

Movie stars

Saw this on Iggy's site and had to post it as well.

the Poker Geek and Dr. Pauly in a starring role. Damn funny.

Of course I post something like this because I have nothing else to add. Haven't played much over the last two days. Been busy with other things. That will change though.

Vegas is less than 2 weeks away. Thoughts of going through Excalibur, MGM, the Mirage and Bellagio are swimming through my head. I can feel the felt below my finger tips.

Until then, I will continue to hone my skills at the virtual tables.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Stuckeness- crappy play digs a hole

No, I am not talking about my opponents on PokerBlue. I need to step forward and say it.

I stunk tonight.

Flat out stunk the joint up. I had to open windows in my house to get some of the stench out.

And yet, I squeaked out a ten dollar profit. Over 2 hours. Huge profit!!!

I got the majority of it with the Hiltons. Always easy when you flop a set that includes a K or A. But when you fill the boat by the river and someone else is so excited to cap it, you can cover up all the mistakes you tried to make to your bankroll.

But after playing some great poker for the last couple of weeks, the weekend wasn't so kind to me. I need to take step back and look at what went wrong. As much as I would like to claim the bad beats, suckouts and the clowns calling 3 bets with crap, I know a good part of the loss was my own fault.

At least tonight I was able to realize what I was doing and come back out of a hole. Being stuck for $150 playing 2/4 sucks. Coming back to eke out a couple bucks feels good. I just need to prevent the stuckeness. Hey, I created a word!!! Feel free to use it but give me a bit of credit.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Freerollin' again on Blue

I am a sucker for the freeroll. I was quite happy to see PokerBlue continue to have Sunday freerolls for anyone playing at least 4 hours during the week. With their WPT promotion over, they now have a $3000 prize pool up for grabs.

First prize is $1000. Only 85 people are registered so this should be a cashing opportunity. Especially when the table starts with just 9 people and 3 aren't even online. Even if I make the second table, I can still pocket 50 bucks.

Things start slow. I win a small pot with 6 6, lose a bigger pot with 8 8. I take down some small pots with A K and the monster hand of K 4 off.

Things are going slow when my table abruptly closes. I get kicked out to the lobby. I try to get back to my table but it comes up blank. Visions of Poker Morgue go through my mind. Then a message comes up stating the prize pool has been figured incorrectly and the tournament will restart soon. It does restart but with just 3 of us at the table. Soon others show up again. Now I am at a table with 9 people, of which 5 aren't online.

And apparently they want to play every hand. Which is ok with me. But I don't like rasing with A K suited and having the big blind call to see a board of all diamonds. Then I have to fold 7 7 to the all in bet.

Somewhat stupid play on my part here. I have the A Q suited in clubs and catch two of the suit on the flop. I make the follow through bet and get called. I make the turn bet, not my suit and get raised. Damn. I now think I can push my last 800 in and go finish dinner (never try to make dinner and play poker at the same time), or I can fight my way back. My stomach wins out and I push, a play I never believe in making. I get lucky and see a beautiful 2 of clubs on the river. I double through.

QQ takes a nice pot when I bet out the flop of J 7 7. I get one caller. I push on the rag turn to take the pot down right there. I figured him for just an ace and was surprised he didn't call.

I lose a chunk of chip with A 10 off on the button. I go for a steal and raise it up 4xs the blinds. The small blind calls. Flop comes 9 10 J, two clubs. SB bets the pot. I feel he has nothing but a draw. I think my 10s are good and push him in. He calls showing K 6 suited but a Q spikes the turn giving him a straight. WTF?!?!!? I hate the suckout! It is bad enough he called with a crap hand but to not even hit the draw he was thinking sucks.

Then I push it all with a flush just to run into quad kings. So much for an easy cash.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

A breakthrough?

I played just under an hour yesterday on two tables. I believe I netted a whole $27. Yet I believe it was one of the more successful sessions I had.

What, 27 bucks isn't a lot for a 2/4 game?

Yep, it isn't. I may have played 4 hands out of 67 at one table. That is why I think I was successful.

I was disciplined. I was smart enough to continue to hit that fold button, no matter how bored and frustrated I was getting, over and over again.

I thought I wanted to play poker, not watch. The cards I was getting sucked. When you feel tempted to play that J 7 suited in late position, even to a raise, hoping to catch a flop, you know the discipline is gone out the door. But I didn't play it.

I did play a J 3 soooted from the big blind though. It was raised from early position and 3 others called. For 2 bucks I was 9 to 1 on my money. Then I sucked out on the river to scoop a pot.

The only other hand that I played well was 3 3 on the button. It folded around so I raised. I can't recall where I read this play. Basically if you are going to be the first to enter the pot from the button, you always enter with a raise. Always. So I did. The BB called. Flop came A 4 6. He bet and I raised, following through on my pre-flop bet. He folded quickly. I should have shown the treys but didn't. Maybe I would have gotten action on my A K suited the next hand.

But I sat there for just under an hour folding crap hand after crap hand. Didn't play the connectors or two faces out of position. Stayed with the game plan the entire way. The result was a winning session. Not of high dollar proportions but of patience. I don't think you can win at poker without patience. Last night I may have proved it. Just another lesson learned, but one important one.

Hopefully that means my next session will be all action because folding again and again really sucked. But it had to be done.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


I have been mixing my play between Poker Blue and Full Tilt lately. To me, there is not better place to play ring games than FTP. I like the layout, the graphics, sounds, basically everything. Yet, I can't stay away from the fishiness of Poker Blue and the hope they have another freeroll promotion for a WPT or similar event.

Only problem with PB is the number of players on the site. Unlike Poker Mountain Morgue (which I logged onto this weekend to find 8 people playing free games), they usually have about 500 people logged in. Not much but enough to have some games going. Unfortunately there are just 2 tables at 2/4, with a big waiting list on at least one. It seems people sign up and never play. I jump on anything with 6 players so it doesn't matter too much but I would rather play two tables. I am up over $200 there in a week (roughly 8 hours of play) and would like to play more. Maybe I should take a stab at the 3/6. That usually is running with 7 players.

I ran into a bad spot last night. Did ok instead of very well. The problem was getting value bets in on the river. I ran into two beats that set me back a bit. With A K I raise up from late position and the limpers call. Flop of K J 7. I bet and two call. Turn is a rag. I bet, they call. River is a 6. I bet, they call. The clown playing J 6 soooted takes down the pot. Now I didn't like that but I didn't mind it either. That told me a lot of what this guy was doing. Same with the guy who called down every bet with 5 5 and all overcards on the board. People just cannot fold a pair no matter how many overcards are on the board.

The issue I now noticed was that I was not making that final bet on the river anymore because of that damn J 6 sooooted. It probably cost me 4 or 5 bets. I found myself fearing players hitting their second pair on the river and check raising me. It took about 5 hands to get over it.

I then went to Full Tilt and proceeded to get my act together. However, every time I put that value bet in, I found myself losing to the suckout. Thankfully, they weren't raising me. If it weren't for one bad hand ( K K losing to A Q with me paying off the damn A on two streets), I would have had a great night.

But when it was all said and done, I learned a lesson. If you think you have the best hand, you must bet it. You are going to win the pot more times than not. When you don't, move on. That extra bet can be the difference between profit and losses because they will add up.
Don't let the suckouts change you game.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Trying to ride the Bike.

I played in the PokerBlue Bike freeroll today. 138 started. I ended up in 4th. No trip for me.

My A K ran into A A. That was it. I won't be in L.A. next weekend. Maybe I should have realized something was up with the limp, push on the raise move.

On the flip side, the play in this tourney was pretty pathetic. Lots of strange pushes, calls, etc. I didn't even try to understand what the heck these people were trying to accomplish.

Hopefully they will have more of these freerolls in the future. The play at PokerBlue is very soft and I am using it to hone my ring game. Results have been very encouraging. At the least I will be in good shape for Vegas next month.

Friday, August 12, 2005

That was different

After encountering some extremely passive players at the 1/2 tables at PokerBlue, I experienced the opposite at the 2/4 tables. Not that they were any good, just aggressive.

I noticed things would be different right away. I usually will post right away to enter the game unless the blinds will hit me within 2 or 3 hands. Basically that is what happened last night. It showed me what to expect. 3 bets pre-flop and capping on the flop were common. I had no problem with that. I had two tables open and was ready to ram and jam.

I had the deck hit me silly on one table and quickly doubled up. It is easy when you get pocket rockets back to back. I scooped a nice pot with a full house and got a smaller one on a river fold. But I noticed some interesting stuff. Some of the big stacks were trying to bully people out. Pre flop raises with K 8 off or in EP with K J off. They would call the re-raise but fold to the flop bet. Or they would cap the turn and fold on the river. I would have played for a while longer but the bad beats started happening. When the clown called 2 bets with Q 3 suited and hit his flush to beat my flopped set, I was done. I cashed up 12 BB.

Unfortunately I wasn't as lucky at the other table. I cashed down 14 BB. Here I couldn't get a hand to save my life. A K would see ragged flops and the guy with second pair would call me down. When my two pair got crushed by quads, I knew it was time to go there too.

But overall it was encouraging. I know I can hang here. I hope to make this just a quick stop before heading up again. I have the bankroll to do so and need to really find that comfort zone.

After losing 10 bucks on the ring game, I made it up by coming in first in a $10 SnG. I was about to go double or nothing and pop it into a $30 SnG but decided that my one beer wouldn't last me that long. Rather than go through withdrawal, I decided it was time to call it a day.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Been thinking

Traffic really shoots up when you get a rec from Dr. Pauly. Best part is that I met Pauly in June and was told to hit up the Imperial Palace room. He said it was soft. He wasn't kidding. He had also given me a vote of confidence in the WPBT at the final table. For those who read him, he is a good guy. Buy him a Red Stripe when you see him.

If I could somehow rig the internet to give free beer, I would. Wouldn't that be a feat? Open your CD-ROM and pop a glass in. Free beer. Ah, if only.

But "D" got me to thinking with what he had to say. I may be holding myself down at the limit I play right now. But that is for two reasons. First, I am trying to get my ring game in better shape. I feel I am succeeding there. Second, I need to feel comfortable playing bigger limits or bigger buy in tournaments. For some reason, I prize my online bankroll more than any money I make in live settings. I may play 1/2 online, but I usually will play 5/10 or 6/12 live. Next month in Vegas I will try the 8/16 at Bellagio. I feel comfortable at those levels, but not online. It could be with so many more hands, I just cannot handle the swing at this time. But I am sure the comfort level will develop.

To get there, I realize I should start playing more 2/4 at a minimum. I did well clearing the August bonus at Party Poker. That should tell me something. I think it is time to kick it up a notch. While playing at PokerBlue yesterday, I was shocked at how passive people were. I watched as one person called down with A A. No pre-flop raise, no raise on any street. Just calls. They were lucky to win that as the flush was there on the turn. I kept betting out with the Hiltons but that a-hole took the pot I built. Granted, I am not complaining. I could have lost more on that hand, but I can't help but wonder why some people play. One person in particular had me flabbergasted. Calling station all the way. Except when they raised pre-flop, you knew they had a monster. But they did bet out one other time. On a gutshot straight. I already had my set, but didn't like seeing the scare card on the turn. I called and then bet out the river just to see them call with A high.

Again, I am not complaining about how the passive play. I sure the hell don't understand their thinking. Do they think they are being tricky by slow playing? Slow playing in limit is pretty stupid to begin with. There are some places you can do so, but every time? Just like check-raising. The same players do it every time. You sure are fooling anyone. Instead you are winning smaller pots. Nice move, especially when you flop your set of 2s, and lose to the higher set because you waited to check raise the river.

"D" also brought up Potowatami. I can't say I have been down there since last fall. I should go out there again soon. I watched the 20/40 game once. One guy practically ran over the table, though it was only 4 handed. I was told the 10/20 game is much tougher than the 20/40 at the Pot. I do like the game plan. Maybe I should take some cash and head down just to get a taste when I get back from Vegas.

Thanks for the encouragement "D".

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Clicking on though the good doctor

Thanks Dr. Pauly for the shout out. I hope anyone that has clicked on through Pauly's site isn't expecting the high level of writing that he puts out there on a daily basis. I am just a hack trying to improve my game and have fun doing so. This is more to amuse myself than anything else. And that I do.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


After reading Iggy's last post about Poker Blue and their WPT freeroll, I knew it was just a matter of time before I would deposit there. I wouldn't be able to participate in the last two freerolls but could get into one of them. Plus with 100% deposit bonus, it would help me work on my ring game.

I have decided to focus on the ring game with the Vegas trip on the horizon. I want to dominate the tables in the castle. I haven't felt this good about my ring game ever. Reading the Sklansky, Malmouth, Miller book has really helped.

So I finally popped some cash into Poker Blue and started playing. Overall reaction is mixed. The software is just like any other for the most part. But they do not allow notes (that I can find) nor does it make a sound to alert you to your turn. When I am on a bad streak of cards, I like to get stuff done between hands. Whether it is making dinner, getting the laundry going, or using the bathroom, it is nice to have some sound telling you it is your turn, and not that your turn is just about up. Another thing I like is the choice to show my hand or not. It seems to be set on automuck. Oh well.

The players so far have been pretty bad as well. As fishy as Party. Last night there were over 1000 logged in and it didn't take long to get a seat in a full 1/2 game. One thing I noticed right away was that any ace was going to be played. No matter what rag may be with it. Plus, that ace wasn't going to fold. No matter what. Thus I didn't like having my K K or Q Q busted by the turn A even though they had no reason calling that flop bet.

The blinds were just about always in the hand as well. It was like they figured if they had 50 cents in there already, that calling 1.50 more, without pot odds, was always the smart thing to do. Hey, your Q 5 offsuit may just flop two queens and take down the A A being played from UTG. Yeah, I am still smarting from that beat.

Aggressive plays works like a charm so far. In playing two hours, I don't think I saw one single check raise. Even with the trip queens above. He bet the flop and I raised him. Never did he raise me on the turn or river. Actually, I checked the river as did he. The players are very passive. And they are willing to call down with bottom pair.

So I may sit here for a bit and play Poker Blue to see how it works out. My hope is that the WPT freeroll is replaced by a very similar promotion soon and that the frequent player points I accumulate clearing the bonus may be used for something better. Otherwise there is nothing too special about playing there. I rather play at Full Tilt for the ring games or Party Poker for the Bad Beat Jackpot.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Borgata or Bust

I started the tourney up with a belly full of beer and Hooters wings. Now that I was in the proper mindset, I had to get to work.

246 started. 4 seats awarded. 5-7 pay cash. I am a bit surprised it got another 90 players from when I checked this morning.

Right away I notice a guy at my table who was on my right in the SnG I won to get here. He is a pretty aggressive player. Will have to remember that and use it to my advantage.

I start with a couple of hands that don't hit. J 10 suited catches no flop. K J off no flop. It has to get better. And it does. I am dealt K K and chip back above the starting count of 2000.

A Q off gets me some chips on a flop bet and I am the early chip leader at my table.

7 7 get a caller on the raised flop. The board of 3 3 2 looks good too. No action on my flop bet.

A K off. I re-raise the EP guy. He just calls. I like that. Flop of J 10 7, two diamonda. He checks. I figure him for a pair, Q Q tops, but most likely 8s or 7s. I check behind him. Turn is a rag. I bet half the pot and get no action.

A couple hands later, I have Big Slick again. But no action. Even the EP limper bails. But now he looks angry. Oh no!

Table is feeling pretty soft. Or maybe I am actually getting some respect? With J 10 off I raise preflop from mid position. Only the BB calls. A high flop. Yuck! Bet just over half the pot. He folds. I will have to try that again.

Don't play any hands for a while. Then the snowman come to visit. My 8s meet a flop of 9 9 2. The two guys who called don't want to throw snowballs around and fold to my bet.

I finally run into a bad spot. A K in the BB. I raise it up and get called by a limper. Flop comes J 10 8. I bet and he calls. Wait! That isn't suppose to happen. The turn is a rag. I check. He checks. River is a rag. Crap! I bet 500. He raises. Damn. I fold and get back to where I started.

Soon I get moved to a new table. Only a couple bigger stacks here. Not too bad. I get A K off on my second hand. Raise but no calls.

At the first break, I have just 2670 (up from the starting stack of 2000). I had doubled up to 4010 but the A K hand hurt. I am sitting in 81st place with 144 left. I have basically played my style so far so I am not unhappy. I feel good that I can chip up and be a factor.

I get K J off after the break in the small blind but I have to fold the push monkey UTG who puts in his last 1075. I soon get A K off again. An A high flop greets me and the BB. I bet he folds. Seems to be a theme there except for the one guy who didn't want to play by my rules.

I then put the pedal to the floor a bit. A 10 off. Raise. 9 10 suited. Raise. A J off. Raise. A K off in the BB again. Call a push monkey. Uh oh, he has 8 8. No help and I am down to 1600. Ouch.
I then see 5 5 on the button. Early raise and the same push monkey does it again. Pushes. I fold. Early guy has A A. Thanks monkey!

I watch one guy start to run over the table. Hitting top pair, sets. Getting ugly. I was about to take him on with 7 7 in the BB but the SB pushes. WTF? I can't play this and fold. The bully folds as well. Damn! I could have taken them chips. With blinds at 80/160 and only 1290 left, I need to make some kind of move.

Then the Cowboys come along. I am in the cutoff and just raise the pot size hoping to get some action. Nope, not this time. Next hand I do the same with K Q. No action again. Damn. At least the table seems a bit tighter. Maybe I can do some thieving. K Q UTG. Raise. Get raised by the BB. It will cost me 850. I don't think he has much. Or maybe it is I don't think. I call and see his A Q. An A on the flop hurts and I am crippled to 420. Hey, 420! Light up!!!

Next hand in BB I get K 8 suited. It folds around to the SB who calls. I raise my last 220 (blinds are 100/200). He calls with Q 2 suited. Flop is K K 8. Where was that last hand??? I double up. In the small blind, I get A 7 off. I just call, resisting the urge to push. Flop is A 7 3. I push but get no callers. Back up to 1240. A little breathing room but not much.

Blinds come flying around and I see the Hammer. I fight the urge to push and fold. Sorry guys but the guy who raised is pretty tight.

Then the jacks come. I am a bit scared of these guys after reading this (see the 4th paragraph). I push and get called by the SB. He shows A 5. I see the A right away on the flop and cringe. But then I notice the Jack of Diamonds and breathe a sigh of relief. Up to 2080. I soon get A J spades. A raise gets no action.

I now fold for a round. Blinded down a bit. I then see some 3s. I feel like pushing but the player on my right raises. Guess I will fold this.

Blinds go up and antes are in play. Gotta step it up again. A 10 suited. I push. Yeah this hand is deadly but I need to do something and don't mind being the aggressor with this hand. They all fold. Good. Back to 2335 but still need to double up. Here come the blinds. There go the blinds with my money.

I see some 10s and push. The guy on my right who had min-raised calls. He has only K J. The A on the flop is meaningless for once. I double up to 4300. I feel like I am just about back in it. Because I say "just", I fold my K J suited in EP. UTG raised to over 1000. I don't like that. I can wait for something a bit better. It folds around and he shows the A K suited. Whew!

I then get moved back to the table I started at. This is where the tournament leader is. Great! At least he isn't near me and I can make some moves on the blinds.

I try to chip up with A 10 clubs in the SB. But the BB then pushes. Damn! I feel he doesn't have a big hand as it takes him time to make a decision. But I don't like to see a flop with this hand when it cost me all of my chips. I fold. Then I push on the next hand with A J off. No action and I go back to 3300. Still need to make a move. Raise with K 10 suited and get the blinds. Back above 4k. Until the blinds take me down again.

Then the table push monkey starts again, pushing every hand. Great. I will probably go card dead for a while. No sooner typed than it happens. That isn't good. Maybe I should type, "I go on a killer rush" and see if it happens?

At the second break I have a total of 3850 and sit in 45th place with 51 left. Still alive. That is what matters. But on hand after the break, in the small blind, I raise it up with A J off. It had folded around to me. The BB then pushes. I know he has an A at best. I call to see his A 4 off. The flop comes with a 3 and 5, the turn a 2. His wheel knocks me out at 51. A bad beat sends me home.

At least I felt good about my play. A couple spots where I got caught were erased. I made a nice comeback, but a bad beat sends me to the showers. That's poker for you.

That feeling

You ever have that feeling. You know, that top of your game feeling.

Cards come around and hit you well. Most of your big hands don't get busted. When they do, it is only a small pot that is lost because some punter (see Dr. Pauly's letter from the Aussie) has only 5 bucks left at the 2/4 table and goes all in just to catch runner runner to win the $12 pot. You would have lost a lot more on your flopped set. But you didn't.

You have that top of your game feeling going.

That is how I feel this morning. Just played two hours at the Bad Beat tables on Party Poker and cashed out up $213. That is 25 BB an hour. Pretty good rate, eh?

Made some nice hands and got paid off well. The best part though, is the two tables I was playing. If I didn't have to mow the lawn, I would still be going at it. One table was super fishy, while the other table was half fishy but with cool people.

At the fishy table, I got knocked around pretty bad. My starting hundred went down to $26 before I made the comeback and cashed up a couple of bucks. My draws just weren't hitting. My big pocket pairs weren't dragging any big pots. But I knew if I was patient, and played very disciplined poker, I would make it back and then some. Bingo! Up 12 bones when done.

Meanwhile at the other table, I was kicking ass. I tripled my buy in. I only had K K cracked once. Every other time, I collected big pots with those hands. I watched in amazement as I got raised when holding the nuts. You can't ask for anything more. Even had my blinds pay off. 8 2 off in the big blind? No problem. Nice to see the 8 hit the flop and get checked around. I thank everyone for calling my bet when the 2 hits the turn. I want to shake their hand when a 8 hits the river and they pay me off.

I could bet people off pots. I could raise for free cards. I could bluff. There was little I couldn't do.

About the only thing that didn't happen was hitting the Bad Beat Jackpot. There is always later.
And this all occurs because of the August bonus. Hopefully I can carry this over to the Full Tilt tournament.

If only I didn't have to mow the lawn.

Still, its good to have that feeling.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Making the satellite chip pay off

I put that satellite chip to use tonight. After playing some ring games and suffering a nasty beat (doofus play A 2 off, going for the gutshot wheel, and hitting runner runner 2s for trips), I decided it was time to put that $26 dollar value to use.

The only tournament was starting at 9:30 CST and was a multi. I didn't know whether I wanted to play a multi or try a SnG to get into Saturday's Borgata Open tournament. I settled on the SnG because there were 6 already registered and it shouldn't take much time for 2 others to show. Sure enough, they were soon there and we were on.

After about an hour, I won my seat. I pissed someone off early when my open ended straight was filled on the turn. He went on about how I was dominated after the flop (he claims he had two pair). I don't think I was quite "dominated" there. I was behind, but with the open ended draw and two over cards, I can't be that far behind. He was playing two rags and shouldn't have been in there. When he made the wimpy flop bet, I had an easy call.

That chipped me up early. A half hour later, I was the chip leader. I would never give it up either. The play at the table was fantastic. People pushing on their draws, calling all ins with a low pocket pair. Sweet action!

The winning hand was a draw. I had K 4d in the BB and saw a free flop. Came A 6 8, one diamond. He checked, I checked. Turn is a diamond. He thinks and bets the pot. I am pretty sure he doesn't have an ace. He may have a lower pair. I feel my K is pretty good and I have the flush outs as well. The call is only 1200 and I would be behind in chips by about 1000 if I don't hit a card. I also recall a comment he had earlier in the tournament when he bet the pot. He said he had to push out the draws. I was confident that is what he was trying. I call. River is the 10 of diamonds. He checks. I bet 2000, trying to make it look like I am buying it. He pushes all in. Whaaaaat? Hell, it don't get any easier than that. One push of the button and I have my seat for Saturday. My nut flush beats his flopped set of 6s. Nice slowplay.

Looks like they will only be giving out 2, maybe 3 seats. Worse yet, I may not be able to get those days off if I somehow win the seat. My Vegas trip in the beginning of September could hinder it. But I will worry about that bridge when I come to it.

I have a tournament to win on Saturday! And don't forget to read Truckin'.

Einstein he is not

"It was your lower cards that beat me"

Yes, that is what a player said to me after I scooped a pot in Razz. Wow, you think so?

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

More satellite fun

I was playing some limit at Full Tilt. Things were going my way. I was playing some disciplined poker and achieving some good results. I was quite happy with my play. Until my A A got busted on the flopped straight and I lost to A K. Not a bad beat but I knew the third player in the hand had K K. If the flop was better, I would have cleaned the other buy out. The fact he actually had a hand here was surprising considering the crap he had played already.

But after being a bit restless (it has been hot and humid lately and my air condition aka Lake Michigan hasn't kicked in yet), I felt I needed a tourney fix. So I loaded up PokerRoom to see what they had going on. They usually have their $5 tourney going on. But not tonight. It may have started earlier because I didn't see it. Instead I saw something that intrigued me even more. A satellite to the WPT Bellagio stop. Sweet. It was stage one of three. Always willing to climb a mountain, I signed up. For every 9 players, one seat in the second stage is award. Works for me.

107 people started. I double up on the 3rd hand with J 8s in the big blind. Someone in EP raised to just 50. 4 players had already called. Pot odds told me to call and see a flop. Well what do you know? I flopped a flush. I was going to be it out because I didn't have the nuts. If I could get at least one caller- guaranteed I would- it would be profitable. I was about to bet just above the pot, when I felt I should push instead. I did and was called by the K of spades. No other spade and I double up quickly. In hindsight, I should have bet a smaller amount and pushed a on a raise or the turn.

A number of hands later, I re-raise the UTG bettor with J J. But he then pushes. Oops. Though he may have A K here, I don't feel the risk is good. Hell, with the jacks, I should just call here and see a flop.

But the quick double up is all that happened for the next half hour. I stay even by playing some hands aggressively to make my blinds back. But instead I chase a 6 outer and give chips back. I am back where I started. Why? Cuz I am not focused on the game. The Motley Crue I have playing in the background is more interesting than the cards I am getting. Plus a table switch didn't help me much. The fish were swimming on the old one.

Must focus. A Q looks good. Raise to 500. No callers. Oh well. Send me the blinds. But from there I wimper out. Blinds come around and I can't defend. Then I push with 9 9 just to run into K K. Ouch. I toss my last 180 in as the big blind with 6 3. Out at 33.

I played pretty poorly here. The Motley Crue had me going too.

Quad Ducks- Was it misplayed?

No, I am not the one that had the deuces. I was the one who lost the pot. But I didn't lose much.

It is 1/2 on Full Tilt. I am in the BB and am dealt 10 7 off. UTG+1 limps. Everyone else folds. Flop comes 2 2 10,rainbow. I check, he checks. Turn is a rag. I bet, he calls. River a Q. I bet, he raises, I call. He shows the pocket 2s.

Then he proceeds to type in chat about his big hand. How great he is, blah, blah, blah.

I sat there, perplexed. Not about how I lost the hand (my two pair looked good considering someone is EP just limped, how would they have a 2? A 2 or 2 2 is about it), but how the guy could brag when he only won a small pot. What did he get, 6 1/2 BBs?

I mean he had quad 2s. On that flop, how the heck am I going to think he has that? I think he should have bet it. It would look like a steal. At the minimum, raise the turn. He may get more out of it. I play pretty aggressive at times. On this board, I would have to think my 10 is good. Unless the clown is playing all over cards this far, I have a good chance to win.

I would think with any quads 4s or less, you can bet it out, especially on a rag board like this. No one is going to buy it. What if someone has a pocket pair themselves? They may play their draw to a full house or again, think their hand is good. You can never put someone on quads.

I could be wrong, but I don't think so. Instead of trying to maximize this hand and get a bigger pot, this guy was slow playing, thinking he was the king of the world here.

Any thoughts?

Monday, August 01, 2005

Getting back on the horse

After a weekend away from online poker, I got back on the horse, firing Full Tilt up. I figured I would pick away at the 1/2 tables, getting my game back into shape.

At least that was the plan. I had two tables up, quickly dropping $30 right away on one on a series of bad beats, bad calls, and stupid play. All that while I was up a bit on the other table. What is did was serve as a huge wake up call.

I slapped myself in the face a couple times and woke up. I folded many hands, waiting to get the starters. I folded when the overcards were out or the draws were strong. In the end, I was up 8 BB after just over an hour. I was pleased.

So please I signed up for the 500 points satellite token freeroll, mainly to get back in the tournament swing. I am going to end up playing the satellites anyway in an attempt to win a spot in the WPT Borgata event, so why not used the points? All I had to do was make the final table.

Things started well. Built up a nice pile of chips, nothing huge. Was just over 3k at the first break. Saw a number of interesting hands. Got 8 8 three times, each winning a pot with a flop of two sets and one full house.

Played some hands pretty aggressively in the second session. But mainly, I took advantage of the idiots. The donkeys. The monkeys. Yes, the fish. I watched them try to bluff again and again, catching some cards here and there. Thus, when I got A A, I knew the push monkey would do something on a Q 9 4 board. He pushed with a pair of 9s. Nice. He gave me the fuel I needed. From there, I was able to bully the table.

A funny thing seems to happen on Full Tilt when the blinds get up a bit. Not very high but around the 120/240 mark. The tables are tighter than tight. No one plays to a raise. It is something I don't see as much at PokerRoom. Better yet, only a couple players realize this and adjust their play accordingly. I become the biggest crook in the world in this area of the game. And it works. Too many players think you are stealing too much. They call instead of raising. When you hit yours cards, you bet them out of the game. Just like taking candy from a baby.

Thus, I was quite happy to be in the lead at the second break. I figured I could hold my own, chip up a bit more and earn a token.

I didn't play many hands when we were down to two tables. I stole some blinds and antes here and there but rarely saw a flop. Basically, my cards sucked. Maybe this is the only time where going card dead may be a good thing. But if I wanted to make the final table, I needed to win at least one more decent sized pot.

I was getting a bit frustrated by one play in the end. Apparently they knew little about tournament strategy. They kept betting out, trying to bluff others out of the hand when one person was all in. More than once they ended up doubling the other person's stack. I was getting pissed, especially when the mental midget ended up on my right when we were at two tables. Man, I wanted a hand to bust them so badly. Especially when this push monkey kept pushing again and again.

Well, I got my decent sized pot out of the small blind with A 10. Two 10s hit the flop. I checked just to have the BB bet into me. He even pushed on my turn re-raise, showing K 3. I guess the 3 on the turn meant he was strong. Actually, it meant he was done. I didn't mind seeing this donk leave as he kept making stupid comments like stating he was laying down a strong hand to a re-raise when he had 6 6 in early position. Yeah, tough laydown there.

Then A A came along and I was able to knock out the push monkey. That felt good. It also put me back on top with just one person left until I get my token. I just had to fold in. I even folded K K along the way which sucked because the last person was busted on that hand. But it was nice to see that final table again. I mean it. The layout for the final table on Full Tilt is pretty cool. I like the studio set.

From there, I decided I just would wait for the Hammer and push with that. Or the Jackhammer. It seemed like forever but then the Jackhammer showed up. And went down in flames. Such is life.

Yeah the prize was just a satellite token, but it felt good to get deep in a tourney again. I just need to get my mojo going in the next tournament to get into the Borgata.

No raise em

Playing poker with people who only seem to have a passing interest in the game is always interesting, if not frustrating. Bluffing is over done by most, while they show no respect (or intelligence) to any raises. Much like playing on Party Poker. All you can do is bet your solid hands and hope that someone doesn't draw out of you, or is playing way too tight.

That is the only way to explain the poker games around the campfire this past weekend. It was a series of 6-8 player SnGs. I only played in 3 of them as I was pretty hooched one night and I wasn't too interested in playing poker this weekend. I was trying to get away from it for a bit. But I got sucked back in.

And it wasn't too pretty. When the best hand you see all night is pocket deuces, you know it will be a long one. Thus K Q looks good to try and get some chips only to be called by A x. Same thing was occurring during the second night. Card dead until halfway through the game, I just puttered along. I played my strong hands strong. I got just enough luck to stay in. Like when I pushed with the Hilton Sisters against K x suited. The K hit the flop but a lucky lady showed on the river to keep me alive. That was the turning point. I would throw A J against K K and get the A on the flop. Some aggressive play in the right spots would get me a victory.

But the toughest spots were watching people get damn lucky. Hitting two and three outers with regularity. Out of the group, there was one person who I considered to be a good player. One person who puts some time in and wants to play well. Of course, after a day of drinking I had to be a total ass to him (Randy, if you read this, I apologize) about playing. But the rest of the group basically are those who play just when people get together. They want to have some fun. For 5 bucks, the price is right. Nothing wrong with that. But it does get frustrating when you watch people just call with A A or K K. No, I don't feel bad for them when they lose to Q 3 offsuit. That is your own fault. Likewise, I don't feel bad when you call a big bet pre-flop just to fold right away.

Over the course of a 2 hour game (yeah they run long too), there will be maybe, yes maybe, 5 preflop raises. If Randy or I are out, there will be none. Like when I busted K K with A J, the kings didn't raise. Or when the aces were cracked, he didn't raise. Apparently he didn't look either. Big hands were knocked about by the two soooooted cards. Ugly.

All it does is lose my interest in the game. The luck factor increase five fold. The poker skill factor approaches neglible. I find myself getting very aggressive early out of boredom. If I bust out, I can sit back by the campfire and drink. If I get close to the money, I can be patient and earn a little. But most of the time, it is just a place to swat bugs and toss cards around.

But I did come out ahead by 5 bucks! Whoo hoo!