Wednesday, March 30, 2005

WPBT night

I was ready. Had gone down to the liquor store to get beer. At first I was going to just get a six pack but was worried I would run out. So I twelver of Leinenkugels was the trick. That and a bottle of Sprecher Dopplebock. Sweet nectar of the beer gods!

An hour before the tournament started, I popped the Sprecher and relax, playing some 6 player NL over at Poker Mountain. I still don't know why I have money over there. I was doing well. I noticed at one point that I was the only one raising preflop. I would follow up with a bet and the one guy, who would always call, would fold. I left after a half our up 32 big bets (.15/.25). Not bad.

I kill the next half hour with a couple of Leinies. I am now in the zone. I look around at my starting table. Only one I notice is DoubleAs. This could be rough. He just won a trip to Aruba.

I start by playing pretty bad. Try to bluff one hand and play a draw on another. I lose close to 1000 right off the bat. Wow, I suck!

With 565, I get tight. I get a pair of 8s in the SB and don't even have the cajones to raise it. I fold on the A high flop.

I continue to try and limp in and play a very pitiful game. I am down to 130. That is until I defend my blinds with K J. Flop totally misses me and I am at 70. This is the worst I have played in so long. I have this vision in my mind about this great comeback.... but that is the beer kicking in.

I get K 10 in the BB. I have some kind of chance, don't I? But I fill the flush with the 10, busting the pocket rockets. Amazing. So on the next hand I go all in with A Q and get called by the guy whose aces I just busted. Of course, he has K 6 and I lose to his king high straight.

Yes, I suck.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Call or not?

I thought I read somewhere that if you had a royal flush draw, you had to go for it. Had that situation come up on me last night. I had A 10 spades UTG. I limped in and saw a flop of K J 7, with the K J being spades. My opponent went all in. I was the in 2nd at the SnG and it would cost me 1300, leaving me where I had started at 1500. I thought and made the call. He showed J 9 for the pair. The turn was a Q so I had my straight.

But is that the right call? Leave comments. C'mon, Dr Pauly can't be the only to leave comments!!!

I ended up winning the SnG which meant I had a token for another satellite on Full Tilt. I took total control when I successfully shut down the table maniac. I was getting annoyed by his all in bets all the time. From watching him, I knew he would raise on many hands. So when he raised just the min on the button, I called with A J. Well, anyone would have called a regular bet. Flop came J high. I checked, waiting for him to bet away. Bingo! He pushes. I quickly call and he shows Q J. I take him out and I have over 11000. I take out the tiny stack and do a victory lap around the house!

Now I need to win the other satellite. I have a choice of going for a 75k tourney, a WPT tourney or a WSOP Circuit tourney. The 75k may be the best choice as the overlay is huge (from what I have heard).

Just need a little success in that SnG and I can feel the big cash coming my way.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Freeroll vs Buy in

On Friday afternoon, I finished 10th in a freeroll at PokerRoom. That netted me $22. Not huge but I will take it. 10 out of 2400 is pretty good. It actually got me to thinking about playing freerolls and low buy in tournaments at PokerRoom.

The $5 multis will usually attract around 300 people. Finish in 10th and you will get roughly the same amount as the freeroll. Difference is the number of people you are up against and the prize amount if you finish in the top 5 which can get you at least $100 with first usually in the neighborhood of $400.

But which one is a tougher tournament to play? If you play the FR, you have no money invested. You will need to make it to the top 45 to get at least $10.

In a multi, you will need to get to the top 20 to get paid. Your cost is $5.50 (including the juice).

I was thinking that the buy in must be tougher because people are willing to pay to get in, thus better players. Then I thought that may not be so. Sure 2400 people are in a freeroll and there is some real jackass play that occurs in the first hour. To enjoy a good poker game in the FR, you need to get past that first hour before any real use of strategy comes into play. In the first hour, roughly 1800-2000 players will be eliminated. I am not kidding. There will usually be 600 gone in the first half hour. Mainly because of the jackass play. People pushing with ATC just to double up. Then they try to bully the table. When a real hand takes them out, play changes.

In a low buy in, at least half the field will be done in the first 45 minutes. The quality of play isn't much better than the freeroll in that first hour. Some people will treat the low buy in like a freeroll.

I would have thought the buy in would be a tougher game to play but I don't think it is. In the FR you need to avoid the idiots who dick around. It hurts to have them suck out on you and send you to the virtual rail when they play their J 3 off and runner runner you for two pair. Avoid the bad beat and you will build your stack well. Hell, even survival means you have a chance to do well.

I didn't have many chips after the first hour on Friday. I believe I was around 600 in fact, down from the start of 1000. Come the end of the second hour I was above 200 but no where near the top. In fact, I was towards the very bottom. When the third hour started, I noticed that there were about 192 people left. I was at 187. I caught a decent hand and pushed getting 3 callers. I take down the pot and vault to the upper half. Two hands later, I get A A and push. Get 3 callers and I vault into the top 50. Another decent hand later and I am at 4. If I hadn't played to survive, I wouldn't have been given the opportunity to make the final table.

I played a buy in multi the next day and was done in the middle of the pack. I thought the play was softer, more players just gambling away their chips. It has me believing that the freerolls, though with no investment but time, are tougher than some of the low buy in multis. At the very least, they can help you adjust you playing style, allow you to try new things. While some may blow them off, I play them every weekend to help learn and grow my game. I'd like to think it works.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Self Destructive

That is how I felt this morning. One should not play NL when they are feeling self destructive.

It all started last night. Had some beers at the pub watching some basketball. Came home to play some drunken poker. Things seemed normal at Full Tilt. I had done very well the night before playing the limit game. The .5/1 tables were full so I registered for a $10 SnG. I was out in 9th when my A Q suited ran into quad jacks on the turn. Ouch!

I then sat down played limit. I was once again amazed by how many try to slow play in limit. Now there may be some situations where you could (or maybe should as I sure the hell ain't no expert), but time and time again I watched people slow play monsters instead of building a pot. There are so many bets left on the table that it gets pathetic.

Case in point. Guy limps in from EP. I am on the button with 5 5 and I limp as well. Flop comes J high. I check as does he. Turn is a 5. I bet and he raises. I re-raise. He calls. River is an ace. He bets, I raise and he calls, showing A A. He just about lost to 5 5 and had to suck it out with pocket rockets. I thought that was insane.

I watched as time and time again people just limped with big pairs or big slick (suited nonetheless) again and again. Whenever I was in the pot with them, I had the best hand on the turn but would lose it on the river. It was frustrating. Very frustrating.

I have read a lot of how Full Tilt has turned on many bloggers lately. I experienced last year. Ran well and then every possible suckout started to occur. Plain weird how it happens but it does.

So I woke up this morning to right the wrongs of last night. Well, not quite. I couldn't find a table at FT so I went to Poker Stars. Jumped into a $10 SnG. Was out in 9th when I re-raised a re-raise with A A. One caller. Flop comes J high. I push and get called by Q J. Of course, the Q hits the turn and I am done. Just like that. Guess it may be a long day.

So as I steam hotter than my coffee I go play at the .10/.25 NL at PStars and go back to Full Tilt. I proceed to dump another $20 at FT in 15 minutes. But I double up to 35 on PStars so it ain't all bad. Still not great but not all bad.

I am disappointed that the $50 I had at Full Tilt that I ran to $155 is now at $74. Time to hit the SnGs again and build it back up. I can't run bad for the whole day now can I?

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Sometimes you have to just wonder

Played some limit tonight on Poker Mountain and Full Tilt. That ended up being quite frustrating. Between not getting good starting hands and defending blinds, it was quite pitiful. In the end I was down about $40. I wondered why I played as long as I did.

In was one of those nights where you got off to a good start as if it was just to tease you. I quickly move up on both sites with some sets and flushes. But then the cards just stopped coming. So did the draws. I couldn't hit a hand to save my life. Yes there would be a glimmer of hope. K K wouldn't get cracked but the opponent would fold on the turn resulting in a smaller pot. But then I would get 10 10 and get called by the guy playing any suited. Flop wouldn't touch him but he had overcards. I knew he did. When the K hit on the turn, I knew I was going to lose this hand. Sure enough, he suddenly bet out the river and showed K 9 suited. He would do it to me later with 8 6 suited.

I would have pocket rockets get beat by Q J when the flop came 9 10 J. I even said aloud I hate that flop and I am in trouble (everyone talks out loud while playing online poker right?). I have 9 10 busted in the BB when a guy hits runner runner 3s to hit his set. He had that power hand of 3 2.

After that beat, I was done. I knew I wasn't going to win playing limit tonight. So of course I went and got into a 2 table SnG. I have been playing the $5 ones at Full Tilt. I really should be playing the $10 and will start to do so. I was disappointed to come in 2nd. But I shouldn't have been. I didn't raise a single hand preflop until we were done to the money. That amazed me. I had doubled up from the big blind with K 4 when I flopped two pair and moved in. I stole some blinds and saw cheap flops but never raised with a premium starting hand.

Then I had over a 2 to 1 chip lead going heads up. Plus I had a read on my opponent. I don't believe he ever bluffed. He would raise with any pair preflop or an ace. Whenever he bet, he had a piece of the flop. My aggressive play may have backfired on me. I tried to knock him out and came close a couple of times. But A J ran into A Q. Man that always pisses me off to see the card just one higher than what you hold with your ace. I pushed with K J just to split the pot when the board paired up and his K 4 played to the ace kicker on the board. I finally pushed with ducks and was called by K J suited. He flopped the J and it was over.

At least I made some of the cash back. I also had a pretty nice bluff I was proud of. I limped in with something like J 4. Flop came 6 7 8. My opponent bet out. I knew him to be very aggressive so I raised it back. The turn was another 8. He bet and I just called. The river was a 9. I bet the pot and he folded. I figured he thought I was on a draw or slow playing a set. My read on him worked well. I will have to try that one again.

Monday, March 21, 2005

BadBlood plays Poker

I just get finished recapping the first quarter for me when I see BadBlood does something similiar.
BadBlood plays Poker

Quarter review

It was just about 3 months ago that I hopped back into playing poker online. On December 28th I deposited $100 into Firepay with the idea of playing 9 SnGs as an experiment to test my skills. Today, my bankroll stands just north of $550. It isn't a staggering sum by any means. I don't claim to dominate any game. But I would have to say that I am proud of where I stand right now.

A good chunk came from two free roll victories as of late. The other being SnGs. That seems to be my strength. Playing against 8 or 9 other players, or even 17 on the two table games, which I have done well with also.

Lately I have been playing the limit ring games with not as much success. I wouldn't be shocked to see if overall I am down playing limit. Not by much though. I went on a bad run playing 1/2 at Poker Mountain. But have been doing well playing .5/1 at Full Tilt.

I have noticed how many players will find it extremely hard to fold their pocket pairs. There are a lot of players that will call down and pay you off with any pair.

The ones that amuse me the most of the people who slow play in limit. About a month ago, I was struggling with limit and did what most people do when they aren't playing well. I grabbed SuperSystem and read the limit section again. Doyle points it out that in limit, you play strong hands and play them hard. The point is to build a pot. Same thing is said by Phil Hellmuth. So it cracks me up when some joker goes and just calls your bet and then decides to check-raise you on the river with his A A. I see this again and again. How many bets do they leave off the table? Especially when there are usually 4 or 5 to a flop. Do they have any idea how much more they could have made on these pots, that is if they are winning them. If there is a reason to slow play in limit, I would like to know. Maybe if only 2 players see the flop?

I like to think that I have learned quite a bit about poker over the last year. During the last 3 months, I have been able to put it to use. There is still a lot more to learn. I see some areas of my game that I need to improve on and others that I feel really good about. One of them being reading what other players have.

I am trying formulate some goals for the rest of the year. I would like to see my bankroll at least hit the $1000 mark. I would like to think that may be easy considering the first 3 months but that would be too presumptuous.

I want to win a multi. A big multi with over 300 players. The buy in doesn't matter. I want to cash in some good coin and take one down. And then maybe down the line start playing in some super satellites to have a chance at a WPT or WSOP event. That would be the big goal. Something to build up to.

Of couse, winning a WPBT event would be beyond words.

As I think about it, I believe my couse of action is to start playing a couple of 2 or 3 table SnGs to develop my game a bit more. I will play some limit to work off some bonuses as well as get myself ready for Vegas in June. I will also plan to play at least one multi a week. Where, I do not know yet. Any and all suggestions are appreciated.

I look forward to the next couple of months being a good as the first quarter.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Poker Mountain Freeroll Take 2

After the debacle at Poker Mountain the other night, I was ready to move all my money out and remove the software from by pc. After airing my grievances over at Full Contact Poker, I took some advice from a player there that had a similar thing happen. I sent an email to PM asking for my Summit Points back. They obliged. Not only did they give me the points back, but they gave me more! I was now eligible for a $2500 freeroll, not the $1000. That is some sweet action! Especially since they only had 25 signed up for it earlier in the week.

So I planned to tone down my St. P's drinking to take advantage of this tourney. I wasn't sure they would have these next week so I felt I needed to use those points now. Being a bit lit on Irish Stout, I got home and logged in. There were now 70 people signed up. Still not bad. Top 10 will get paid with the bottom getting $50 and the top getting $750.

I planned to play on the tight side for a while. I watch 2 guys making huge preflop bets. With blinds at just 5/10 (yeah, they start that low), they were raising to 150. No one is calling them down. They may see a flop and fold to a second outrageous bet. I really would like to get a read on what they are playing but it ain't happening. I hope to catch a monster to slap one of these guys around.

I do take down a nice pot with 44 in small blind. I limp to see a flop of 3 3 4 with two other players. It checks around. I put out a big bet on the turn, twice the size of the pot to make it look like I am stealing when an A hits. I get raised. Nice! I re-raise it back to 400 and get called. River is a 10. My nuts have held up (nice phrase there). I push all in and get called. That is an easy double up.

One of the yahoos get busted down when he makes a stupid play by reraising 6 times the bet and calling the all in with 9 9. They lose to K K. How do you make that bet, let alone that call with only 99? All of this was preflop.

I get more chips by playing Q 10 diamonds. See 10 9 4 flop. I raise a min bet and call his re-raise. Turn is A of diamonds. Two diamonds on the board. I now bet 2/3 the pot and get called. On the river, I call his all in bet of just 355. He was playing a pair of 9s. Thanks for your chips. This player was very easy to read and was playing some pitiful cards.

Someone finally calls down on of the yahoos who was making the big preflop raises. This time he makes the 5xs preflop bet and gets called all the way down. He shows A A. Maybe he is playing big cards hard afterall? I need to keep an eye on him. I wonder what his thought process is. Does he think he will get someone to call these obscene bets? No one has. I settle on the premise that his post flop play stinks and he is scared to play actual poker.

I knock another guy out when I raise K J to 4x the bet with 2 limpers. The first limper then pushes. I call to see he has Q J. I was proud of that play. He had done nothing to show any real strength. Mid position limp and then a push is suppose to make me thing he has a high pair?

I start to get a number of small pairs that are not hitting and chip down a bit. I get some back by stealing but would like to hit something big again. My prior luck with the 4s is just that. Luck.

I get some good hands UTG (A Q, A J suited, J J) and raise 3xs the blind each time but never get a caller. I decide to slow down and steal when it is good but play really tight for a while. Of course I then try to bluff my way to victory in the BB with K J and a slew of low cards on the board. He has A A. Nice bluff on my part- NOT.

I gather some chips when I get Cowboys back to back and collect some limpers without seeing a flop. I raised to a pot size bet on each. One limper's stack was a decent size so I am surprised that I didn't get a call on them. Maybe next time I should just give the regular raise. For the most part, my raises have been identical. Usually 3xs the BB or if there are limpers, a pot sized bet.

Things go cold at this point. I guess that can be normal. I try to steal a pot with A high on a Q Q 5 flop but he won't go away when I bet it. I fold on his river bet.

I try a semi steal with K Q hearts on the button. Flop comes A 10 6 with the A & 10 being hearts. The BB bets out and I raise it to 300. He calls. Turn is an A. River a Q. Miss the flush and lose the pot. I kept betting all the way hoping to take it down but he will not fold his A 9. All I really did was manage to give my chips away there.

Blinds come around and I am in the need to push soon. In the big blind I push with K 10, putting my last 800 in the pot calling an EP's raise. 3 see the flop and I hope to triple up. Flop comes 10 8 6 rainbow. Not bad. Turn is a 10. Nice. River doesn't matter and I pull it down and stay alive!

Couple of hands later the Hilton Sisters visit. I re-raise a 300 bet before the flop putting it to 600. Flop comes 9 8 2. He pushes. I know he is aggressive and I call. He shows 6 6 and is done. I am now at 4600 tossing me into the top 5. Funny how in a couple of hands you can go from being close to out to vaulting to the top.

Get A Q off in the BB. UTG limps. Everyone else folds. I raise to 300 and he calls. Flop comes A K 6. I push and he folds. Maybe too aggressive but I wanted to possibly rake in a weak ace on him.

We head to the break and I am in 5th with 4820. Leader is at 7057. Final table pays and there are 26 people left. Should I be really tight? I decide to continue to play aggressively and push the small guys when I can, and be cautious by the big stacks.

I sit out a couple of hands and watch A A get cracked by 7 7. Now there is some knucklehead with about 1200 left who has decided to push all in, preflop, on every other hand. Looks like he may push with any ace.

I try to find out when I get 7 7 and raise it up. I get a different caller. Flop comes J 10 6. I bet out 300 and get raised all in. It seems like too much so I call and see A Q. No help and I take down a nice pot. My reads are paying off. It really has helped to be at the same table all night.

A pair of 4s on the button net me the blinds with a flop of 2 3 6. Min bet does the job. I knew he had no piece of that and no higher pocket pair by the delay in his action. I see a nice flop from the big blind with A 2. A flop of 4 5 7 looks good to me. I hit my straight on the turn when the 3 hits and push it on the smaller stack. But he shows 6 7 which gives me the dummy end of the straight. It knocks me down a bit but not too bad.

It now becomes an all in festival. The small stacks are pushing on anything. I have no cards to play on them but the big stacks are picking them off left and right. I lose some chips on 4 4 when I try to limp and have to call another bet. Fop came 7 7 2- Hammer special. I fold to a raise though I am not sure I had the worst hand.

Try to steal with K J but that doesn't work. I am now at 10th,barely in the money. I need to chip up a bit to make a run. Get 9 9 in the small blind and raise it up to 800. Limper calls. Flop comes 8 high. I push and he folds. That helps with just 14 left. Need to survive 5 more to cash in.

When we are down to 13,I still sit in the 10 spot. Blinds are 100/200 and we are gong hand for hand so I have some time. But with blinds this low, I am thinking it may take a while as the small stacks are in the 1500 range. Or maybe not. Some big stacks battled at the other table and before I expect it, the final table is here. I am going to get paid!

I start in 8th but quickly use my blinds with A 10 suited to chip up with 2 pair. Now the low blinds are good. I can take some time and wait for some good hands. I see the Hiltons once again and raise it to 1200 (200/400 blinds. SB thinks and calls. BB quickly calls. Flop is K 7 4, two hearts. I don't like that K. It checks to me and I push. Again SB thinks but folds as does BB. Whew! It gets interesting because every spot increases the payout by $25 up to 6th. It increases by $50 above that. Though I am in 6th, I can still wait around and hopefully see big stacks battle. Plus, a double up and I am in great position to make a run.

I can feel something like 10s or Js coming my way. Something to make it just a bit difficult. I don't make it any easier when I accidentally call with 3 4 clubs. No help at but I make a bluff at it on the turn when the flush possibility is on the board. River is a rag and it checks to me. I didn't have the balls to bluff the flush on the river and lose to a guy drawing on the straight.

I really couldn't afford to lose those chips. I am now at 1800 and at the bottom. I push in from the small blind with A 6. I am about to be blinded out if I wait and any ace looks good to me. I get called by a big stack with A 3 suited. I look good on the flop but he goes runner runner for the flush. I am done in 7th and get $125. Not bad for never being above 6000 in chips. I don't like the runner runner. Bad way to go out but that is poker. I cashed and that is what matter to me most.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

St. Patty's Tourney on the 16th?

PokerRoom held a tournament last night in honor of St. Patricks Day. Only $2 to play, 10k guaranteed. Not bad. Top 200 got paid. I was thinking I could parlay my play into at least the money and hopefully a chance at the pot of gold.

Things started slow for me. I steal a couple of small pots by betting when it is checked to me. My A K suited goes down when 3 hearts flop. I have spades. I bet my pair of aces and get called. Turn is a heart. Crap! That is a terrible card so I check. Right after the hand, I am kicking myself because I should have bet. I fold to a bet on the river.

I go on a nice little roll after that though. I see A A in late position. EP has raised so I make a pot size raise. He has me covered and pushes all in. SWEET! He shows 10 10. Huh? He put in a pile of chips with 10 10?!? I thought about this later. I make a pot size raise. Does he think I am trying to scare him off? This bet is 1/3 of my chips. I have odds to call. What is this person thinking?

After I double up, I get A Q. I raise again and everyone folds. I get K 10. It has been folded around to me and I limp. I am able to take out "Mr. All in with 10s" with J J. I called just knowing he would push with anything.

But my run would last too long. I make a mistake by not raising A Q in late position. 6 players had limped. I was concerned with one early limper thinking that if I raise, he would come over the top. So I just called. Flop comes J high, two spades. I bet out the pot and all but one fold. Turn is a 10. I bet half the pot (another mistake?)and he calls. River is a 5. Flush is missed, but now he bets just the min. I have just A high but call to see what he played. 10 5 suited. He called the pot size bet to draw his flush? He committed a lot of chips on a draw, with second pair at bet on the turn. Yeah, I was ticked. Now I am back to the starting level of 1500.

Watched some jokers take the full allotted time and then move all in. Why be a dick? Just make your bet. You know you don't need to take the time and make it look like you might fold.

I then get no cards for a long time. Finally Big Slick come along and I push my 1100 in. The slow playing idiot calls with A J. J on the river knocks me out. What are you gonna do?

I was disappointed with how this one ended. I played a SnG on Full Tilt where the deck was slapping me silly. Big pairs left and right. Too bad I didn't see that this time.

Monday, March 14, 2005

One frozen Poker Mountain

Poker Mountain is offering freerolls for those who have collected enough of their Summit points. Seeing how they may be running only this week, I decided to pop into one on Monday night. Final table was being paid starting at $20 and moving to $300 for first.

I started off on a bad note giving up 600 chips when my A K didn't improve and Q Q won the pot. That set the them for me. Lose big stacks and fight back. That happened to me twice when I was aggressive with a flopped 2 pair going up against a set. Ouch! But staying aggressive is the way to win.. Twice as in I was able to chip back nicely. Even got up to 3rd before the place fell apart.

Literally. When we reached 34 players (four tables), two tables froze up and couldn’t play. But I will get to that in a bit.

Tables were really tight. Players were folding to any raise. I was stealing at least once per round. The table I was at had 3 big stacks (over 3500), 3 medium stacks (1500-3500) and 3 short stacks (in the hundreds). I would have been able to steal more but some players were being stupidly aggressive. They were raising out of position with any two suited cards. It was stupid because there were always short stacks behind them, calling and doubling up. There was at least time I would have knocked one guy out if some hadn’t raised with their 8 6 suited. Hey, I will try and steal all the time, but I want a hand that can hold up and not have a good chance of doubling up the short stacks. I don't think these guys realized that the short stacks in the blinds were going to be committed to the pot.

I am able to double up and move to the 4000 range. I catch 9 9 in the SB. Problem is the BB-who has just been moved to the table- is the tournament leader with over 10k in chips. And he is using them, grossly overbetting pots to take them down. Flop comes 8 7 4. I bet out 600 and he calls. Turn is an A. Bad card. I check. He bets slightly under the pot, 1000. I think it is a steal and I call. River is a 4. I bet out 1000 and he calls and mucks. This pops me up to 3rd place and in great position with 50 people left.

I then give half of my chips away on some bad beats. I call an all in raise from the button with A Q simply because of the hands this guy has already played. He shows A J and fills his straight on the river. Of course it is the Q that fills it so it is like rubbing salt into the wounds. Same thing happens when J J run into A 10 and the J hits the river to give the straight.

Then with 34 people left, other players start chatting in the box saying that their tables are frozen. Sure enough, you can’t look at their tables and their chip stacks don’t change over 15 minutes. Not a soul from Poker Mountain is responding to what is happening. WTF? An hour after I sent an email about the problem, they respond, saying the tournament will play out. Didn’t matter as I was knocked out in 32. Or was it 12? 20 players couldn’t play. More than half the field isn’t playing and they expect the other 14 to go at it. I wonder what happens if they get their system fixed. These players have missed blinds and they have gone up tremendously since they were frozen. Welcome crapshoot!

I felt I had played pretty well. My calls were good except for the last one (of course). I had Q 10 hearts in the SB and called. Flop came Q high. I bet out the pot and get re-raised 2/3 of my chips. That should have told me that my 10 was no good. He showed A Q and knocked me out.

Having two tables freeze up and not telling players how to fix or make them whole is unacceptable to me. I have taken my money out of Poker Mountain. Site is too unstable to be trusted.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Riding a HORSE to end a weekend

Played quite a bit this weekend. I have some bonuses to work off at a couple different sites. It is cold outside and I had a late night drinking Hacker Pschorr. In other words, all I need is a pc and some chips in front of me.

I played a rebuy satellite at PStars in the morning. Winner would go on to have a chance at a seat in the WSOP tourney that cost $33 to enter. That was a rebuy as well, though I wouldn't be rebuying in that one. I did rebuy once and popped the addon to finish in the top 194. That moved me on to the bigger tourney.

I then tried to play at Poker Mountain. As I have said before, the limit games (when going) are a good place to work off a bonus. But PM needs to get their act together. The software froze up on me. This has happened a couple of times. They barely have 100 people playing and they can't keep their site up. I think that is rather scary. I may have to just pull out and forget about them for a while until they get more stable. I played at Full Tilt last year when they were in their beta stage and rarely experienced that problem.

In the afternoon, I came back to PStars to play the tourney again. That didn't go well. One bad beat killed me. I had chipped up quite nicely before that. I started with A K suited but got nothing on the flop. Folded some hands, took down some pots. I was playing at Full Tilt at the same time with MrsCantHang and Drizztdj. I doubled through on a big mistake. I accidentally went all in with 9 5 off while switching between PStars and Full Tilt. I had hit the raise button when I went to look at my hand. Of course, the guy calls with A K spades. But a 5 hits the flop and I take down the pot. Funny how a screw up can be quite profitable. Of course the other play was pissed. But then again, it can come back to bite you in the ass. I was crippled when my pocket 10s ran into pocket 7s. I called his raise of 500. The flop comes 9 high. I bet he moves all in. I think he preflop bet was suspicious and the push seems weird as well. I feel great when I see the sevens. Until the river, that is. River 7

Speaking of Full Tilt, I popped some money back in there to play the blogger HORSE tournament last night. For whatever reason, the ring games here usually kill me. More specifically, the NL games kill me. Too many times I have been able to re-raise preflop with AA just to see the other play hit their set on the flop. Thus, I am sticking to the limit game there for now. I like the interface quite a bit but the cards just kill me. I played some limit on Saturday with the hope of making enough to buy into the 10 multi that started in the early evening. I was only playing .5/1.

I accomplished that mission with 10 minutes to go. The first 30 minutes of the tourney went well. I chipped up a bit but never got going anywhere big. That didn't concern me though. I was ready to be patient and when the blinds went up, I could shift gears into an aggressive mode and steal blinds. Somehow stealing blinds at FT is easier than other sites.

Only problem is the player to my right has decided to play every hand. And I do mean every hands. That shouldn't prevent my thievery but he does not fold to a big re-raise. No matter the cost, or the cards, he will see a flop. Case in point. I have A K suited in the big blind. Button and he limp. I raise it up to 6 times the blinds, knowing they will not go anywhere. Unfortunately, the flop sucks- 7 8 9 none of my suit. I bet the pot anyways. They both call. Huh? I check the turn and the button pushes. SB calls and I fold. Button has A 9 off and SB has J 8 suited. The nines stood up and he survives. I was amazed they called that raise but hey, it worked for them.

As the game progressed, Mr J8suited continues to play every hand. I am begging for cards to double through him. He is taking down pots only because the table is scared to bet. Flops came all suited and would be chekced around. He would min bet and take it down. This happened again and again.

Finally I tried to make my move against the other yahoo. In the big blind again, I have A K off. He raised from the button 4xs the blind. Mr J8suited calls. I think for a while about whether I want to call or push. I think of his bet and the last time he bet like that. That time he had 10s. I figure he has a middle pair or queens at best. I push. He calls with J J. It stood up and I was done. I thought the call was pretty bad at first (of course I did, it knocked me out!). If he folds, he still has around 1800 and can play at this table. I thought a push there would represent I had AA or KK. Still, my AK and the over cards had me feeling right about the call. I guess I gave him too much credit for thinking. After that, I really needed a beer and called it a night.

Later that night, I would have a dream about playing online. I was playing on Poker Mountain. I had quad 6s and the game froze up on me just when I was about to push all in for a monster pot. Funny how I woke up in a cold sweat.

So of course, I got up and signed up for the freeroll on Pokerroom. I play these just about every weekend. Mainly because I like the experience of playing a big tournament against 2200 people. The play sucks for the first hour. I watched one guy push all in a couple times with crap. He sucked out on every hand. I just hoped to catch and hand take my chances with him. I was able to double through on someone when I hit a flush on the turn. Funny how they called me with second pair. That must have been the catalyst as I then began to chip up nicely. I moved myself from the starting 1000 to 4500 quickly. Not bad in the first hour where you really just want to survive.

In the beginning of the second hour, I got a nice gift early. From the BB I had A J and just called all the limpers. A big stack had just moved in to my right and was rather aggressive. Flop came J J x. I decided to check raise and see what happens. The SB bet the pot and I pushed all in. They called quickly with A 6. That was a nice gift. It gives me enough chips to begin to bully the table a bit. Of course it doesn't hurt that I get some nice flops.

I proceed to do quite well, spending the majority of the time in the top 10. I bust A A with J 10 suited on a J 10 flop. I make some good calls and traps along the way. I am happy to see that Pokerroom finally changed their set up on the tournaments. When we approached the money, they went hand for hand. That eliminated the stalling. They switched HFH at every moment that they money was moving up. I was still in the top ten when we hit 20.

My goal was to hit the final table. It has been quite some time since I made a final table. I have come in the mid teens many times in the freeroll and other multis but I hadn't been able to crack that nut lately. Needless to say, if felt good to make it. Now I had to find a way to win. I folded quite a bit at first, stealing blinds to stay afloat. I parlayed pocket 8s when I flopped my set. This pushed me to 3. A couple of hands laters, with the help of AA and KK, I was the table leader with 5 left. Not a big lead but a lead.

But this isn't a victory story. I went out in 3rd. When we were down to 3, I was too aggressive and lost some close hands. My A 3 was beat by A 8 when he hit the 8 on the river. I overplayed K J and I was done. Received $60 for third.

From there, it was the HORSE tournament. I had gone to Hooters to properly prepare by stuffing my belly with wings and beer. I did ok, finishing the first session in 4th. I chipped up in Omaha and Stud. I folded to the hammer in the Hold em and pretty much sucked in Razz. Funny how I got a set of 10s and then K K A in Razz but nothing close to that in Stud. I went out in 40th when I tried to push a small stack out with A high. I tried to bully him but he made a full house and left me looking stupid. I later pushed with a pair of 9s in stud and was done in 40th. Needless to say, it was a great time. Played with some great bloggers. The only one I recognized based on the screen name was Dr. Pauly. I would find out later that Human head had dropped the Hammer on me in fine fashion.

Bottom line is the weekend was mildly profitable. Count in the blogger tourney and I feel I am way ahead.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Back to the SnGs

Played a couple of SnGs last night. First one sucked. No cards and when I tried to make some moves, I caught nothing. 9 10 folds around and I push it up 3xs the BB. Get called by K 9 off. Hits his K on the flop. Even though I bet out the flop and turn, he kept calling. If he is going to call with that, I realized there was no way I was driving him out. But his play encouraged me. Now I just need some hands to go my way to get my chips back.

But I didn't get any. I got blinded down and had to go with Q 6 suited. Oh well, where is the next one?

I get luck in the second SnG and hit a big hand with A K in the big blind. There were a couple limpers going in. A small stack that had just been devastated pushes in. I loved it when he pushed all in preflop getting some limpers out. I call as does one other. Sweet flop of A A K. How do I milk the other guy. He had just taken down a big stack in the previous hand so I had to get some of those chips. I checked the flop as does he. I bet out just 100 on the turn. Make it look like I may a weak attempt to get the pot. He calls. River does not matter so I decide how much to bet to get him to call. Go high or low? I bet half the pot on the river. Damn, he folded. Should I have bet less on the river? Yeah, either bet high to buy or make him call with a small bet.

Watched some weird play. J 5 suited called a 4x preflop bet. Ugh! Of course he hits 2 pair and wins. I realized I was over estimating my competition as this table. There were some really crappy hands being played. I wasn't going to be able to bluff much. I had to adjust and be patient.

One guys get short stacked when he pushed with A J and a J on the board. He is called by K J. K hits the turn crippling him. A couple hands later I try to limp with A 4 clubs. The crippled hand is in the big blind and pushes. Two limpers go away. I call hoping the small blind (another short stack) will call as well. He does. Flop comes all clubs. Bingo! I check and call his push. Sometimes it seems too easy.


I try to steal a couple hands later with J 3 suited. Guy I slow played the full house on earlier calls in the small blind. Big blind was on away so I was rather pissed that he called. Flop comes A 6 6. He checks. Right away I think of how I slow played him. I smell a trap and check behind him. Same thing on the turn and river. I guess he was pretty confident I would bet into him. I felt good getting away from that one. Later I wouldn't be so lucky.

Later I do something I rarely do. UTG I raise to 3xs the blind. It folds around and I show my A J. Hoping that they will now think I raise only with good hands. Will this pay off? I hope so.

I pay off a full house when a guy slow plays his A. My read of K high was way off. I had two pair that I thought was good. The table was playing tight so I guess I should have known better but to go with A 5 offsuit? Because of that, I am now the short stack.

I think what is really annoying me is the guy on my left will not let me steal the away guys blinds. Every time I raise he either calls or re-raises me. Bastard! Guess my showing of the cards is totally meaningless.

I basically have to switch to the all in bet any time I enter a hand. I push with A 10 off and get no callers. That lets me survive another round. I push with A 7 and get called by 55. I look good when the 7 hits the flop. But the turn is a 5 and I am out.

I need to get back to playing more tournament poker. I enjoy it more. Though I lost both my buy ins, the play was quite a bit more interesting and to my liking.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

New book

I bought a new poker book the other day. Win Your Way Into Big Money Hold'em Tournaments by Tom McEvoy and Brad Daugherty. It is about playing satellites. Since I enjoy tournament play, I thought this might help me learn to adjust my game for both SnGs and multis.

I ripped through half of the book and found most of it disappointing. While some may find the history of the satellite and variations interesting, I was looking for strategy. Too many times I have been in the money with barely a chance to move higher. I realized I am rarely in a position to win. This book may not get me into that spot, but I figured it could help.

I skipped over the limit section preferring to read the no limit. So far it gives some basic ideas but nothing unique. If you do not know about betting for information to see where you stand, or limping from the button and betting a flopped ace, then you probably never came close to winning a tournament.

I put the book down just before I reached the meat I was looking for. Advice on playing each level. I hope it gets better. Otherwise I may be selling it on Ebay or giving it away. I guess I should have gone with my gut and went with an older book about tournament play.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

I feel like I got screwed and they didn't even buy me dinner

Played the $30, 1 grand added tourney at Poker Mountain this evening. Went out at 15th. With only 73 people in the tournament, only the final table paid. I wouldn't mind going out but with the bad beat, it sucked.

I didn't really catch many good hands throughout the game. I probably played tighter than ever, but that was because there was little to play and the tables were on the aggressive side. It did allow me to slow play some hands but it was hard to chip up.

I was about to go out in the 20s but I caught a nice break. I pushed all in with KK only to have him hit his out on the river. It knocked me back down to 644. UTG I pushed with 6 6 (blinds are 150/300). Surpisingly it folds around and I collect the blinds. Then in the BB, I get 9 9. There is an early raise and then a re-raise by the small blind. I push hoping to triple up. I was shocked to see them both fold. I was now back to 2500. I stole my share of blinds but that just kept me afloat.

Finally out of the small blind, I complete with K 7. Flop comes K Q 9. I bet 300 hoping he will make a move. He pushes all in. I call to see he has 9 3. I feel damn good until the 3 hits the turn. If I double up there, I make it to the final table easily.

Instead, I watch the Simpsons. Guess I win afterall.

Climbing the Poker, I mean Mountain

Poker Mountain is quite a misnomer. At least right now. I opened an account there to do some bonus whoring. With it being a new site, they are offering 100%. Problem is finding a game. For example, I logged on yesterday morning, and there were 2 people on the site. Probably was me and the administrator. The most I have seen on there is 126. Thousands and thousands on Party Poker and they can't get any guppies to come over? Maybe I shouldn't be so harsh. Full Tilt took a while to get going as well.

I did find some juicy tables though. The 1/2 limit game will clear your bonus quickly. Each raked hand of 50 cents goes toward the bonus that is released every 100 hands. At the 1/2, players will call you down with any pair on the board. Doesn't matter how many over cards, they will call you. One guy is particular thought he could bluff his way through pots. Didn't matter that he would reload for only $10. That would be gone within one orbit.

They will raise with any hand as well. J 2 suited is pretty powerful to some. So is the 4 5 offsuit. I managed to double my deposit, minus the bonuses, in 3 days playing conservatively.

One other play that is quite interesting is the blind stealing. The button will just about always raise if it is folded to him. Same with the blinds. I haven't noticed that much in a limit game. But it happens like clockwork. So does the folding if you bet out against them from the blinds on the flop.

There is a $30 tourney tonight with $1000 added. They are capping registration at 200. I don't think they have that many with cash in their accounts. So far, only 20 are registered. Could be a nice payday.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Value betting

I am seriously considering heading to Vegas for this event. I have looked for rooms and they are on the pricey side except for downtown or the far north end of the strip like the Sahara. Downtown may be the better spot. Have to win enough to cover taxis.

Played a couple hours last night at Poker Mountain, the new site being pimped by Daniel Negreanu and TJ Cloutier. Not much going on there. Action is decent but there only seems to be just over 100 players at any given time. I decided to try it out for the bonus (100%) and the chance at a Bellagio trip. Last time I tried to bonus whore I went bust at Full Tilt so hopefully the results will be better this time around. So far, I am up over $100 just playing NL and .5/1 limit games, not including the bonus earned.

Last night, while playing at the NL table, I ran into a situation over and over that left me wondering how to play it better the next time. The scenario was similar every time. I had a read on the players and knew which ones would hang on hoping to catch their draws. I would end up heads up with them with a board that showed either the flush or straight possibilities on the river. I would lead the betting on each street with them just calling. On the river they would check to me. I know I probably should value bet at this point. But after being slow played, I became a bit fearful of that re-raise when they are slow playing the nuts. I am confident I have the best hand, but don't want to get hosed by the SP, or get bluffed out with a big raise.

I guess this is more of a read on the opponent. If they have slow played big hands in the past, I may want to skip that final bet. Otherwise hit them with a bet they cannot help but call. I will have to tweak that part of my game and see exactly what happens

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Saturday night at the pond

Before I get to Saturday night, I noticed something different while playing at Poker Mountain last night. I played in a SnG and noticed something very strange at the end. It was down to 3 people. I had the biggest stack. There was a little button that read something like "are you willing to consider a deal". They may have a way to cut a deal in a tourney to divy the prize? I hadn't seen that before. It also showed the value of the last hand and the dollar value you would get. I hit it to see what would happen. Nothing did. But after I busted the third place guy out, the last person was on auto fold. Every bet, every small blind was folded. Huh? Was it a bot? I do not know but I had never seen that before.

Oh well, back to the indians...

I sat down in the poker room at the Menomonee casino at about 8, sporting a day's worth of beer buzz. I knew what to expect and wasn't going to let these guppies run me down. Same rules were applying again tonight.

At the table already was my friend Randy. When I sat down, he told me we had a live one going. Some old guy with an Alaska hat was tossing chips around like he was pitching pennies. He would rebuy a couple of times for $50 each. An Asian guy that arrived at the table late last night. He was with a cute blonde that I was hoping would take off the jean jacket she was wearing so I could get a better look at the goods. Instead she put on a heavy coat. There was the scruffy guy who would never raise. And two young kids who didn't appear to know exactly what they were doing. I started calling one of them swoosh due to the Nike hat he was wearing. At one point I knew he had me beat and I said to him "Your king jack is good swoosh, nice straight". He laughed and showed his hand. His buddy was just plain bad, coughing up a lot of chips.

I started the night with a suckout of my own, when I runnered 3s for a set. I did have a draw on the turn so it wasn't that bad, but I did apologize to swoosh for staying in with such crap and getting lucky. Things are a bit different tonight.

I actually have a couple good hands stand up and I am up 60 quickly. I have a nice pot with my friend Randy. I limp in from the SB with Q 2 suited. He raised and I refused to let him have it. Flop comes Q Q 7. Jackpot! I check and he bets it. The two callers dutifully placed their chips out. I check raise. Randy quickly re-raises. We now lose our callers. Damn. I am trying to think what he might have. A K? Does he have A Q? He must have big cards. Turn is a rag. I bet it and he re-raises. I tell him he shouldn't do that and just call. River is a 2. Now the board is showing 4 spades. I check and say to him he better not have sucked out a flush on me. He says he hasn't and bets. I reluctantly call. He shows Q 2 off. I toss my cards up. I had forgotten I had the 2 as well and we split. Here I thought I was beat by the boat and yet I had some chips coming in.

I only played two hours that night as I had a party to go to. I had intended to come back but ended up drinking quite a bit. I did go back to the poker room just to see only one table going. There were some huge stacks out there. One guy had over 600 in dollar chips in front of him. I was amazed at how much money was on the table for a 3/6 game.

One final thing I must say about the Menomonee Casino is that they are the friendliest people I have ever met in an Indian casino. The dealers were competent and willing to talk. Not much more you could ask for.

Fishing trip? Friday night.

Ever have that feeling that the poker game is going to be really fishy just by sitting down? I have yet to decide whether that is really as good as it seems. As much as I want every dolt to try and catch their 3 outer on the river, sometimes it seems they do catch them way too often. I walked away from the table on Friday night wondering whether it was just variance or whether I am just need to learn play low limit better.

I have begun to loathe the low limit casino game. By low limit I mean 2/4 or 3/6. Just by the limit. When you see people limping in with anything, calling the raise with anything or even calling a capped pot just to see a flop, you know that any two cards will suddenly win. That is how is seemed to be at the Menomonee Casino in Keshena. I sat back watching players call down with second or third pair drooling at wanting some of the action. That is until I was sucked out on 3 huge pots.

I also wondered where these people learned to play. Did someone give them "lessons". There seemed to be the same kind of play going on. Not everyone, but the majority of the players seem to play like lemmings. Their cheat sheet looked something like this:

1) Always see a flop. If you have an ace or king, you are way ahead. Any suited cards are good as are any connectors. No matter the cost, you want to see a flop. If the pot is raised, call. You have already committed 3 dollars. Their hand can't be that much better than yours. Beside, you might get lucky on the flop.

2) Unless the flop has totally missed you, you want to see the turn. Seeing the turn is a MUST! Call any bet to see the turn card. It doesn't matter if you need runner runner to win, you need to see the turn.

3) If you improved on the turn, see the river. Call all bets to see the river. So what if you have a gutshot, it could happen.

4) Have the nuts? Don't scare your opponents by raising. Building the pot only makes them fold. Especially on the river. Just call the bet.

That is what I experienced this weekend. Does that not look like a very profitable situation? I thought so until the the suckout killed my Friday night. I made up for it on Saturday but still was down 10 bucks at the poker tables. I can't complain as I had a good time, but I guess I need to change my low limit game. I expected this kind of action and tried to play accordingly. Nothing you can do when the river kills you. I felt my reads were good. I spotted tells on most of the players. You could tell when they were on a draw and when you had the best hand.

On Friday there were 3 pots that killed me. The first is when I raised it up with 9 9. Of course, 7 people see the flop come 3 5 9. I bet it and they all call (see Rule 2). Turn is a 4. Again, I look at the board and think what they could have called with and bet it again. This time, I only have 2 callers. I must be way ahead at this time. River is a 6. I bet and they call me down. The pot is split to to the guy with A 7 and 7 9 on their 7 high straights. What the guy with A 7 was still doing in their, I do not know. I think his hat said it all. Pecker.

He was wearing a hat that said Woodsville Peckers and he was the player you would love to see at your table. He was calling down any pair and any draw. Tonight, he was getting lucky. When I sat down he was about to bust out but then went on his mad rush, hitting many a card on the river to send him a pot. Some young kid with an earring was bleeding chips out nicely. He didn't seem to really have a grasp on the game folding many a time on the river. The Indian in the Old Navy shirt was willing to pay to see cards but never seem to catch anything. The old guy in the coat was a regular contributor. The loud mouth in the black hoodie was interesting. He was talking it up and catching cards. Once I was liquored up I had fun with him. Strangely enough, the guy on my right was the long time friend of a my friend's husband. He wasn't that good. He dutifully followed the stated rules above.

My favorite at the table though had to be the feeble kid with the earring. He was exhibiting the classic tells and seemed to swear by Rule 4. If he hit the flop, his hands instantly went to his chips and he looked down to grab some. I watched him dutifully to see where I was in any hand I was in with him. He yo yoed in chips never really going anywhere.

I won some decent pots but never got anywhere. I was up maybe 30 bucks early when my A J beat A 7. I knew I had the guy all the way as he played his hand a little too confident. I did like his look when he realized he had lost. But that was pretty much how the night went. I would take down decent pots but lose the big ones.

This beat is the one that killed me. I caught J J in the BB and raised it up to see the usual 8 callers. Flop comes 7 5 2 rainbow. I bet it out and have 5 call. I guess some of them forgot about Rule 2. The turn comes A of hearts. Bad card for me. I check it to see if someone caught their ace. Surprisingly it checks around. River seems to be an innocuous 5 of hearts. The possibility of a flush is now out there, but I can't see how anyone would have stayed on to catch runner runner flush. I check it though, just to be safe. It checks around to the guy two spots to my right who bets it out. Just as he does, the dealer stops him. Apparently the quite Asian guy hadn't acted and was now betting. Shit! Some clown caught his flush? The guy who was going to bet, folds. I knew I had him beat and was a bit pissed. He had two lower pair. But did this guy catch his flush? I was willing to pay him off just to see what he played. He turned over K 4 of hearts. WTF? I laughed out loud at his hand. I felt like going all Hellmuth over him (hey, I am one of the few that like Phil and some of his tantrums). He called two bets preflop. He had one overcard on the flop, with a longshot draw. He has a better draw on the turn but had nothing until he hits it on the river. He had no reason to be in there and won. I thought this one over and believe that even if I bet the turn, he wasn't going anywhere. I will chalk that up to a bad beat, with maybe some bad play on myself. Any comments on how you would have played it are appreciated.

I tilted a bit after that. I raised up the next hand with K 9 off and bet the flop of A A 6. Pecker called my flop bet but folded on the turn. I showed the K 9 out of exasperation.

The last hand that got me was when two guys hit their gutshot on the river. I had a higher pair going and knew they were drawing to a straight. I was screwed when the 2 hit on fifth street and it was bet out to me. Both were playing A 5.

After that, I saw nothing and decided at 2 in the morning, it was time to call it quits. I wish I would have stayed as half an hour later, they consolidated tables (only 2 running 3/6 all night) and took the limit to 5/10. I would have like to have played in that game. My friend Randy made over $200 in it.

Instead I walked away wondering if I thought I was overestimating my skill level. I thought about what I could have done differently. I don't know of any hands I could have played that would have paid. Maybe tomorrow I will loosen my starting hands up a bit and see what happens. I think part of what frustrated me was I believe I was a much better player than those at the table, but the results didn't show it. That is how the game goes sometimes but what can you do about it except suck it up?