Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Away from the heat

For the first time in many years, I will not be going to Vegas in the summer months. I actually like going in the summer. I don't mind the blast furnace heat because the beer is always cold. I like that the crowds are a bit sparser so you can get around a bit easier. Plus it is usually 6 months since my last visit.

I rather forsake Vegas for a couple more months and maybe head down south around September. With Steel Panther on the road and not guaranteed to play GVR it seems like an easy decision.

F-Train posts an interesting tidbit from the WSOP this year. I know these late registrations would bother the hell out of me. It reeks of angle shooting. Think of it, you get a fresh stack and you are not fatigued. You can bypass the low blinds and get to where the real accumulation begins. I agree with F-Train. The period is way too long.

I have some time off next week as I spend some time at the world's largest music festival, Summerfest. Cold beer and music is such a nice combination. Will play some PLO8 by day and rock out at night. Who will I see? Good question that I answered here.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Thank you for the donatin

Been jamming along on the PLO8 tables for the past couple of days. Not all sessions have been winners but I have avoided the big loss. I am usually two tabling the .25/.50 games on Full Tilt. Yeah it isn't for huge money but for the game itself. Making money at the game is good but enjoying yourself is more important.

I have come to the conclusion that picking off a bluff or making a good call feels better in a PLO8 game. Busting the guy who is constantly raising in an attempt to run over the table is better than NLH. We all want to get the jackass to stop but when you felt him in PLO8 because you were patient, it is a better rush.

Or making a good read on what part of the pot a player is going for when they bet the river. Too many people get infatuated with hitting their low and taking half the pot. I used to that. But good old greed took over and I want the entire pot. SCOOOOOOOP! Making a read when you don't have a good low or high but are pretty confident your opponent is going after only one side is nice.

Toss in the hand or two where you just look at the replay in disbelief and wonder WTF just happened is a final reason to play 4 card split bingo. I am a firm believer in trying to think about why someone played a hand the way they did. But when someone re-raises you on the flop when they have no chance at any part of the pot unless they go runner runner will bend your brain backwards further than an 8 year old gymnast. It sometimes takes a minute or two to shake your brain back into place and go on with the game.

I picked off a couple of these this morning. And luckily, I dodged some bullets when I totally misread my opponent. Still trying to figure out how someone got all their money in with A 2 4 5 and a board showing K Q 9. I had a set of kings and gladly took his cash when the board ran out with him being dead on the turn. Thank you for the $45 donation.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Rooftop baseball, season 2

Heading down south to Chicago to watch single A minor league quality baseball this weekend. I am sure there will be some kind of poker played in between lots of beer consumption. I hope we make it to the lesbian bar as well. Looking forward to some time away from work and seeing some good friends.

Last year's view of the port-o-potty the Cubs play "baseball" in.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sweet action

Always late to the party, I noticed that Drizz had a check from Full Tilt bounce. I followed the path to Pokerati where the talk was of a federal crackdown on monies being received from poker sites. From there I somehow ended up at TripJax site where he had emails from both Full Tilt and PokerStars telling him not to cash the checks they sent.

Good news is that Full Tilt and PokerStars are not to blame for the problem and they were proactive in addressing and correcting the issues. What struck me though was that Full Tilt gave Trip $100 for the problem he encountered. $100 for his $300 withdrawal that went bad.

That seem pretty damn generous. A 33% return just for a bad check. How can I get in on some of that sweet action? It has to better than the thumping I got at the PLO8 table Monday night. Nothing would go right.

Finally, you all are familiar with the roll below listing friends who are writing for various outlets. Show them some love and support. One to also include is F-Train. He is writing for one of these (I am not sure which exactly) but also have some comments on his own blog. Add him to the roster!

Riding the F Train
Poker From the Rail
Tao of Poker
Wicked Chops Poker

Poker Stars Blog
Ulimate Bet Blog

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Tried but not quite there

I like my first table. On my left is Dr. Pauly, my right is LJ. I don't think either of them are online playing. Lucko is also at the table. Otherwise I am not familiar with the other 3. Tony Eusebio, 125 Will, or mclarich. Sorry guys.

LJ shows up and get hot quick. My AJs does not improve as I don't hit my flush. Still playing an 8 handed table with 3 gone.

I get my first good size pot when I hit my straight on the river. Gets me above the starting line. I was donking it up early making some bad calls. Deep stacks is goot.

Just when it looks like only 3 live players can rack up chips they move me to a new table. WTF?!?!?!? Now I am at a full table with everyone playing. First thing that happens is K Qs does not improve. Time to be patient. Lots of poker to be played.

First big hand of the night. A A. I am UTG and tempted to just call but I am not a fan of that move. I raise and get one caller. Flop is 2 3 9, two diamonds. I go for the continuation bet and win a small pot. Comfortable with playing small ball for a while.

I thought we might see the first battle of the night. Vinnay and Columbo just about tangle but Columbo doesn't want any part of the re-re-raise preflop. Columbo comes back a couple hands later with his own re-raise preflop. Had a couple people trapped and they folded.

I feel like I escaped from my run in with BWoP. We ended up both holding K Q but I played it meekly and just kept calling her bets. I should have popped it back at some point. But I want to keep the aggression down so I can unleash it later on or when I get on a roll.

No action on K K. Next hand is 8 8. Same result. Then K Qs from the BB. I just check as Columbo seems suspicious with his early position call. I fold on the A high flop. Too many red cards out there.

K K comes around again. This time pushmonkey72 on my right raises. I love re-raising preflop in blogger games. Rarely do you see a flop. We don't on this hand. But we do a bit later. I try to steal with A 9o. But jamyhawk min-raises from the BB. Min-raise? Seems suspicious. I make the loose call and hit the flop well, A J 9. Now they lead out with a bet of 375. Time to pop it. I make it 1250 to go but don't get the call. I am over 6100 now. Table is also getting looser just before the break. Some bigger pots are forming and the action is getting heated. I have 6146 which puts me in 13th at the break.

I don't have much going in the second session. Raise a couple hands here and there and capture blinds but nothing big. A Ks doesn't improve. Get reraised from the button when I try to steal with Q 10s. Feel like I am grinding to no where. Even when I do win a hand I only get a piece of the pot. Splitting pots stinks.

Still doing little. Got outkicked on one hand and then no action when I tilt raised with A 10o on the next. Finally win a hand with A Js. This session has been brutal. Have to fold 7 7 when Miami Don makes the ridiculous all in overbet. Then 10 10 is up against Q Q and I don't lost much but can't win.

I am glad when the second session is done. I lost have of my chips and dropped to 26 with 32 left. Getting close to push mode. M is at 10. Medic!

Round 3 starts up with little fanfare. I am able to get some blinds before reraising Hoy. I took a chance with K Js because Hoy is trying to run over the table. He will fold to a reraise so it was worth the risk. Of course one of these times he will have a hand so I must be careful.

Take another little boost up with K K. I reraised MiamiDon-pushed all in REVENGE IS MINE!- but he doesn't call. Back over 4000 now. Get a bit more with some SB slow play. With A 3 I get lucky and see a flop of 9 9 A. I call Columbo's bet on the flop and hope he puts one more out there on the turn. But he doesn't. The river puts a third diamond on the board. Crap. Thankfully he checks behind and I am just under the starting stack. Antes are kicking in so I need to get a bit more aggressive.

There is another table change. I see HeffMike, Joannada, and Jordan from HighonPoker. Get A Js early and call a raise. Flop is 9 7 3 with two diamonds. Ugly. I decline to call the all in bet. Soon I get A K and push on a raise to me. I am up against 6 6 and hope to catch a card. I get it right away with the A. I double up to over 5k.

Moving up and down between 4 and 6k. Lots of small stacks pushing at every moment. I am one of them. But then its over. J J is not OK. Ran it up against A K and he caught his K on the flop. Oh well. I didn't want to go to Vegas when it is so hot out anyway. ;)

TOC time

So the time has come. The Battle of the Bloggers Tournament of Champions is upon us. Two bloggers are going to Vegas next month to play in the WSOP Main Event. Others are getting jerseys and smaller entries. Some are going home empty handed. Wait. They most likely are playing from home so I guess they are going to stay empty handed. Let's just hope they don't kick their dogs.

I am glad to see Hoy got the rest of the odds posted. I was curious to see what he would say about my chances. I had an idea of what kind of odds I should have based on the numbers he was putting on other players. Let's see what Hoy had to say:

StB plays under the handle "nightranger" on full tilt and is another guy who has demonstrated skill in maximizing value from his strong hands. Although StB has won several blonkaments in his day, those days were mostly some time ago, and as a rule we don't see StB in our regular games with anywhere near the frequency that was once the case. In the end I know that StB can play the game, but I think his odds of winning one of the top two prizes are right around average given his lack of recent experience against most of the rest of the ToC field. 22 to 1.

Average? Average? Well, that is accurate. I think Hoy is correct. Having played few of these events because of my job and the real world, he is correct that I haven't played many events and that my victories are some time ago. Can't argue the facts. I can thank him for some respect and will do my best to not be average. In fact, should I actually win one of the seats, I do intend to play in the Main Event, if I can get the time away from work.

I had kinda planned on "training" for this game. When I have played some poker lately it has been PLO8. Considering the size of the field, 44, I was going to play some 45 man SnGs to develop strategies on getting deep. But I got only one game this weekend. Finished 8th which was still out of the money. That was on a regular starting stack though. I see we start with 5000 in chips for the TOC. That may accommodate my loose starting play a bit better. Or I may just end up being Gigli.

Unlike Hoy, I won't be live blogging. I hope to have a recap here when I am done. Good luck to everyone!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

To the virtual felt

I just finished my best PLO8 session. Ended up two buy ins. But it wasn't the money that made it so good. Sure that is part of it, but when all was said and done, I was very happy with the way I played. And I had fun doing so.

It was like the perfect storm. A little patience, a little luck, and the right cards that would have me felting a guy twice a couple hands apart.

I really enjoy playing PLO8. It keeps you thinking. I have been playing the 6 handed tables as of late as it helps me focus on my opponents. Today I really was in the zone. I noticed the tendencies of the other players. I noticed how one guy only would raise UTG and he usually had nothing. I knew another would only bet with the nuts or the nut draw. Another guy wanted to play any four cards acting like it was a bingo game. And for once, I was able to sit back, be patient and let it unfold.

It is the bingo players that can tilt me. I see them play these crappy hands and I begin to lose my discipline. My patience wears thin and I am no longer waiting for quality hands. I want to press any cards, call bets thinking I can hit the low or my gutter card, yelling at the monitor 2! 2! 2! thinking it will come. I did none of that today. I folded when I had nothing, I made some good bets, some good laydowns, and stole some orphan pots.

Of course it helps to get lucky too. I define luck here as not just getting the cards but getting the opportunity to get an opponent to pay you off. That may be the frustrating part of PLO8 to me. I don't recall any monster hands getting paid off. Until today. I got paid off twice and two nice sized pots were slid my way. Once with A A 3 x where I flopped a set. Board was A K 2. Rag on the turn and another deuce on the river gave me the nuts. My opponent called each of my pot sized bets. He held K K x x. Couple hands later I would be on the other side of the betting pattern. I called his raise from the BB with A 2 9 K, with 2 diamonds. Flopped the nut low and check called his pot size bet. Turn gave me a second diamond and this time I decided to bet into him. He called and we saw the third diamond hit the river. Perfect. Little chance he is expecting be up against a flush. I bet pot and he calls after some thought. I leave with my chip stack three times the size as when I started just over 90 minutes ago.

Now that was fun.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

If I was a betting man...

I see that Hoy is posting odds for Sunday's BBT4 TOC. He is giving a little background and thoughts before stating the numbers. I am curious to see if he will put a line on himself. Oh yeah, I can't wait to see the odds put on me. I have an idea on what it should be and why.

There are two lines that I have seen so far that are way out of whack. If I was a betting man (wait, I am) there are two people I would be walking up to the window to put money on feeling safe that one of them would pay out handsomely.

Looking forward to the rest of the list. Been good and objective so far. One other thing to point out is Hoy graciously praises Al for all the work he had done on this project. Let me echo that thought as well. Thanks Al!