Wednesday, May 31, 2006
So I figured I might as well play and see what happens. It hadn't dawned on me that I hadn't played in a tournament for well over a week. I wonder why? I had no reason to not play when given the chance for poker. I just had been playing ring games instead.
I think it showed early on. Though I was a couple of early pots, they were all tiny. The table seemed tight so I started playing loose and raising with just about anything. Until I started bleeding chips. So after 45 minutes of not getting any action on big hands, and drawing out on crap hands, I decided to go to push mode. That didn't net me any more than the big hands and I ended up at the break under 800. Most good tournament players will tell you that you should be able to double up in the first round, which puts your in a great spot for the second session where people get tighter. They are right. So why had I done the opposite?
As the second session began, I knew I had to push to get back in. So with any decent hand or position, I was shoving chips in. Got back to 1500, then 2000, then back to 1700. My yo yo impression was pretty good. Then I caught my first break. I got a caller with A A. His 8s did not crack my boys so I doubled through to just under 3k.
Then I got lucky. I stayed aggressive and kept making raises. This time however, I kept an eye on where the big stacks were. I tried to key up my moves only when they acted first whether they had limped, or raised. If they folded, I could try to pound the smaller stacks behind me. This is where I got lucky a couple of times. A 8s beats J J by filling a gutshot straight on the river. K 5 suited (bad steal attempt but I had to only call a little more) defeated A high with a flush on the turn. Add a bluff or two in and suddenly I was up in 2nd place.
I was taking some chances that I wouldn't when I was playing tighter. Some paid off, others didn't. But sometimes you know that if you miss the chance to knock someone out, and suddenly you drop 3000 to them, you feel inside that the game is still flowing in your direction. You know you can either bully the table or the cards will come. It isn't about whether you will get that 3000 back, but how long will it take. That is a nice comfort zone to be in.
In the end, I finished in 4th place when my 5 5 lost the flip to A J. I didn't like the way I played that final table though. I started ok but I wasn't focusing on trying to win. Sounds stupid to play all that way and not try to win. But I realized that is what I was doing. I shoved with the 5s when I could have made a standard raise or limped. I think the blinds were 600-1200 at the time. Shoving isn't a bad move, but if I do a normal raise, I can get away from the overcards on the flop and find a better spot to push with. It may not have mattered but I wouldn't have been left with the bad taste of pushing with a small pair of 5s.
Monday, May 29, 2006
That $30 carrot they were dangling in front of me annoyed me. I think it was the number I saw in Poker Track that did it. It was in red. Yes, I admit it, I am a losing player on Party. I could rattle off bad beat story after bad beat story but I would own too many people money that I would have to go to the Summer Classic and hand out dollar bills like an ATM.
I was grinding out 300 hands at the 3/6 tables for the last week. Except for one ugly hand (typical of the Party player), I had a nice run, more than doubling what I had at Party. I had only one losing session and that wasn't too bad. I stayed aggressive and pounded people for trying to draw out with their anything suited hands.
It felt good to play some solid poker. Not perfect but good enough to make some coin. And I will take that any day.
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker!
This Online Poker Tournament is a No Limit Texas Holdem event exclusive to Bloggers.
Registration code: 7330476
Good to see PokerStars is throwing another blogger appreciation party. Maybe I can remember to show up for the start of this tournament. Last time I thought it started at 5, just to realize I was 2 hours late. I played exactly one hand, pushing my short stack in with K K, just to run into A A. Funny how this game can be.
I did however win a fleece for best essay. My teachers would have been so proud.
This time around I have the time correct. I just need to make sure I am back in town. I think I am off camping that weekend.
Monday, May 22, 2006
If a tournament cannot be held in the same format live, then it shouldn't be done. Yes, we mostly play internet poker but the way this tournament was set up, it took away one major skill set needed to play successful tournament poker. Focus. With two tables going, it was hard to stay focused on what was happening at what table. Many times you were prompted to act at the same time. For me, this lead to wasting time banks on one table as I made a decision on the other.
It also took me out of the flow at one table. People would fold around and before you know it, it was time to act again. But you didn't see what was happening because of the play at your other table. I think there were some great stealing opportunities lost because of this.
I also didn't care for starting with the same players at both tables. That took some strategy out of it. Once the table changes started, it got better, though it was fun trying to pull off the same move on the same person at two different tables.
The tilt factor was interesting. If you got a beat at one table, it could affect you at the other. I went out 20 in one, 10 in the other. I took a bad card at the river, double pairing the board and making my opponent's A kicker come into play (I had 6 6, he A J, board ended up with Ks and 7s). That had an effect at first at the other table where I was in a good spot. I can't complain because I did crack SoxLover's A A, and later someone's K K.
Patience, discipline, and focus are key for doing well in these tourneys. Take one out of the mix and it becomes more of a crapshoot.
Just my opinion. I would rather stick to current formats instead of creating them.
Saturday, May 20, 2006
I was taking it easy to begin with. In the first hand, I was pretty sure I had the best hand from the blinds with 7 4 and a flop of 2 2 4. But with the min-raise in mid position and the overbet on the flop, I decided not to go to battle on the first hand. Why bother?
An interesting thing happened about 10 minutes into the tournament. All the no shows were removed. Just like that 40 people were gone. I don't know if I like that or not. It prevents people was collecting chips on dead players but if you were just running late you got screwed.
They also posted the payouts. 27 places would pay with first place paying $540. Not bad.
I could check all of this out and more because I folded for the next 15 minutes. Man, what crappy cards! I steal a hand or two. This is getting boring. To lighten things up, I suggest to the table that we get everyone to chop the prize pool and head out for beers. That would be interesting if somehow we could get the entire tourney to agree to a big distribution of the prize money.
If I wasn't able to go on a nice rush of stealing blinds, I would be below the starting stack. And bored. The Absolute software isn't the best. Feels slow and clunky. Don't care for it. Or the cards I am getting.
I finally hit a big pot. Note I said big pot, not a big hand. With A Q clubs, I raise to 350. BB calls. Flop comes out with 2 clubs. The BB bets out. With just 1200 behind and the pot at 1050, I push. He calls and shows the J 10 of clubs. No J or 10 hits and I suddenly double up. I was shocked by this. Not the call but to suddenly bump up after hardly playing is a nice surprise.
I go back into my folding game for a while. Then 9 9 comes along. I bump it up to 400. Only problem is the SB goes all in. I don't feel like gambling here and fold. A raise of 2000 here seems fishy. Of course I don't get any action when I get K K a couple of hands later.
I finished in 35th when I made a bad read. I tried to limp with A 4s. The button raised and I called. Flop came 5 Q Q. I called his min bet. I put him on A K right away. The turn was a 4. I check-raised him all in. He insta called with A Q. Oops. Wrong read.
Oh well. I didn't play bad for what I got dealt. One bad read sent me to the rail. This tourney was easy money. Then again, I guess not if I didn't get any.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Not unhappy with the way I played. It just rough when I stopped hitting flops and my bets were raised. Felt like any respect or image I had was suddenly gone. Like they were looking at my cards.
8 isn't bad especially considering I got knocked around again in the Full Tilt token tournies. For the life of me I cannot win one of those things again. I get in with the best hand just to lose. Frustrating. But it has to be temporary. I hope.
Saturday, May 13, 2006
I cleared the PokerStars bonus thanks to their double points giveaway. At the same time I noticed an email from Titan giving me a whole $10. Curious as to whether I still had some cash over there, I logged in to see I did have just under $25. So to get my game back in shape, I hopped into a $5 MTT that was about to start. I had been avoiding the low buy in tournies because of the donkey play but felt I need to get my feet back under me after the absence.
I was hitting some flops pretty well early. Like first hand when I see a set of 8s. I pushed when the first guy bet the pot. Quick and easy double especially when I see guy had top pair only. But he didn't disappear. I forgot that most of the Titan tournies are rebuys. Damn!
I don't care for rebuy tournaments too much. Play is usually erratic and one bad beat can really tilt you. But then I thought of Speaker's posts on the Paradise rebuy and figured he may be right about taking advantage of the donktastic play. So leaned back and got into rock mode.
By the first break, I had only double up to over 2k so I too the add on. My investment was $10.50 of Titan's money. I would need to get to 30 to win $23.70. Not quite life changing.
One other aspects of rebuys that I find intriguing is the people who can shift their games once the rebuy period is over. Some still are terrible while you can see the shift to playing poker in others. I stuck to my the tight image I was trying to portray but started to steal more. Thankfully no one called me down with my K 9o.
Before I knew it we hit the second break and people were falling like rocks. Then we hit the money and more people dropped like flies. Blinds were going up every 10 minutes. With people taking too much time to fold, there was barely an orbit of play before blinds went up again. It became push poker. You could barely get above an M of 5.
I kept hitting the all in button like a slot player in their tournaments. Made the final table too. Went out in 8th when A K ran into A A. Oh well. Earned a $94.80 prize for my efforts. Only problem is that I now need to play on Titan to clear the money for withdrawal. Not quite sure how many hands I have to play either.
Funny how a cash can force me to play more at a site I had deserted.
Monday, May 08, 2006
Otherwise I haven't played much poker lately. The real world is exerting pressure on me. Some shit hit the fan over the weekend. Thankfully nothing too serious but some matters that need to be dealt with.
When I have found a chance to get some time in, I have been struggling. I took a small whooping at 5/10 so I dropped back again. I continue to play a bit of NL ring but not much to make a difference. Even the number of tournaments I have been in has fallen off. Like most of the time, I have no focus on what to play.
Let's hope I can get lucky somewhere and make a nice score.
Thursday, May 04, 2006
I pose this question to all. After reading Joe Speaker talk about how he had a group of morons at his table to open a MTT on Full Tilt, I wondered what was worse....
1. Having a group of morons at your table and you are card dead. You watch people pushing with J 3o or 4 4 from early position; extremely non-sensical moves. You are begging to get a high pair or any group A hand just so you can take advantage of the situation and chip up early. Alas, those cards only come after the table dramatically tightens up.
2. On the first hand, you are dealt A A. MP pushes (yes, he puts all 1500 in) with 3 3 or A Jo. He proceeds to hit his 3, a straight or runner runner Js to knock you out.
Which is worse...not getting a hand to beat the moron with or having the moron crack your aces?
Both painfully brutal in their own way.
Monday, May 01, 2006
I had every intention to be the tightest player in the game. It was easy to do early when I was watching the Sopranos. I folded like a champ. I was getting crap cards so it wasn't too hard to do. Nothing was high or connected or suited. Then I caught some hands and chipped up a bit. I catch my first big hand, the Anti Christ 6 6 6. It would fill to a full house and I would suddenly be on top.
I then loosened up a bit and stole a couple of pots. Then my hands didn't complete and I fell back a bit. Stakes had risen nicely so I knew I had to really make a move if I was going to have a chance to make the final table. I thought it came when I had two kinds. Early position raised, and then there was re-raise. I raised again to isolate what appeared to be a pair of queens. But EP came along for two more bets. 4th street didn't appear to improve any of us and I bet it out again. But on 5th, EP suddenly bet out. I had a feeling that I was now behind to 3 of a kind. I should have folded but instead decided to jam. A fold would leave me with just over 1000. Betting was at 200/400 and the pot already had over 4k in it. Sure enough, EP had stayed in to 5th just to get lucky. I didn't get a 3rd king and was done.
I was somewhat disappointed. I should have stopped when I knew I was behind. I don't think his play with the 9s was that great either. He put in a lot of chips to try and hit his 2 outer.
I still am proud that I reside on the top of the WPBT POY board. Staying on top is not going to be easy, especially with just 4 months down, 8 to go. All I can do is continue to give it my best. If I end up on top, it will be a great honor and accomplishment. If not, I know I made a good showing. There are a lot of cards yet to be dealt. And I intend to get my fair share of those cards.