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Sunday, January 30, 2005

If It's Not One Thing... Okay, It Is Just One Thing

Warning: Bad beat story and probably stupid play ahead

I'm playing my favorite, the 1:00 Saturday $1,000 freeroll on Prima yesterday. Things are going well, as I'm up to T5900 with blinds at 50/100.

One of the things I'm trying to work on is getting the opportunity to pick up more pots when I've got a biggish stack. I've read that you can't just go into a shell in the middle levels -- you need to if anything pick up your aggression. The unfortunate side effect is that sometimes things go awry, as they did here.

I'm UTG and I pick up Ac6c. In many cases, late in a tournament, this is an easy fold out of position. Here, where I have 59 BBs and I'm at a decidedly passive table (almost no preflop raising except for me), it's an easy limp. I do so.

One player in MP also limps. He's the biggest stack at the table, with about T9000. He has me covered, but his stack has about none of my chips in it -- he got moved to the table several orbits ago, and I've been out of most pots other than a couple of SB-BB steals with a run of crummy cards.

Folded around to the SB, who folds. BB is a no-show, so s/he gets folded as well. We're heads up.

The flop is 663 rainbow. I have trips. I push out a small bet of T100, looking for a raise or a fold. Villain smooth calls. I think, okay, he's most likely either got unpaired high cards or possibly a smaller pair.

Turn is another 3. I now have the nut full house. I am only behind someone holding 33, and I refuse to put him on that hand.

What do you do in this situation? I am still thinking that villain will raise or fold, so I push out a bet of T600 to test him. Once again, he smooth calls. I don't understand that play at all. This is very confusing.

River is a Q. I push out a bet of T1200, thinking that anything larger than that will be an instafold, while this might suck an AK or AQ into a call. Villain responds by pushing all in (!?!). Let's think about this. I'm beat by only three hands here -- 33 or QQ -- or Q6. I can't put him on either of the first two hands. And who limps Q6? I push.

And I lose to QQ.

I've spent a fair amount of time analyzing my play here, and I'm struggling with what, if anything, I did wrong. It may be that I should have pushed on the turn, when I have the nuts, but since the villain had me covered, he may have called and I still would have been rivered. I think this would have been a safer play, but I'm not convinced it would have been *better* per se -- I want to extract as many chips as possible, and in all likelihood the villain has exactly what he had here -- a 2 outer. If he has unpaired (say, broadway) cards, he's drawing dead (if he's got the case 6, of course, it's a chop unless the river pairs his other card or my ace). A bigger bet on the turn would have also been in order, but again, I don't necessarily want the villain to fold since I have the nuts.

I would have thought 33 to be more likely than QQ -- if I have QQ, even in the early-ish stages of a tournament, I'm raising it up if nobody else has done anything. Heck, I raise crap like AKo. I never saw the train coming, and I wasn't smart enough to fold to the reraise -- I could have kept two-thirds of my chips and played on.

What's the point of this post? Well, there really isn't one. Let's just say that I've noticed lately that I'm getting bounced from tournaments more and more on 2- 3- and 4-outers. I think this is a sign of improved play -- I'm no longer putting my existence on the line with marginal hands, drawing hands, low pairs, etc. and getting caught with my pants down, at least unless/until I get short stacked. You have to dodge the tough beats to reach the final table, but by avoiding real trouble, the odds do appear to go up.

With that nugget of non-wisdom, I am off to play at least 31 hands of the always entertaining $0.25/$0.50 limit. The things i'll do for a free twenty bucks...

Friday, January 28, 2005

When The Horseshoe Falls Out, Does It Hurt?

Another results post? The Horrah! The Horrah!

Yeah, I know. Real content is where it's at. Well, screw that.

Some days you're both lucky and good. I've been taking a reaming of late, playing horribly in NL ring games. I'm down from the mid $900s to $750, and that's with $60 in bonuses cleared.

Thankfully, I kinda got the horseshoe tonight -- although I like to think quite a bit of it was good play. I hit the $3500 guaranteed ($25+2) and finished 5th of 152 for a $247 cash. Bubbled out 21st (20 pay) in a $2 NL freezeout, and I'm in the money in a $1 freezeout. I admit to wondering why I'm playing this one, but you takes what is available.

I got my money in the middle in the right spot in the $25+2 -- we're down to 5 with 3 big stacks and 2 modestly small stacks. I'm the bigger of the small stacks. The smallest stack is uber-tight. After getting a third of the other small stack's money in the middle, I push with AQs. I get called by the big stack and the other small stack folds (smart move). Big stack has AJo. We each get an ace on the flop, turn is nothing, and river is a fricking JACK.

Dammit, I just got rivered again to bust 18th in the $1 NL. Same story, get my money in as a favorite (44 vs. K9o, 3 low cards on the flop so I push) only to see a K come at the end. Oh, well. I was going to double up or bust, and the $4.89 cash is both meaningless and enough to pay for the 2 minifee tournaments.

So much for the horseshoe. Ow.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

In Other Words...

Welcome back to the world's worst "poker blog". Poorly-written and not exactly entertaining, this thing is little more than a vanity project. Well, aside from the fact that I don't publicize it. And the fact that I freely acknowledge that I suck at poker.

Not to get all existential or anything, but this blog serves as an outlet, a release, a way to scream out the frustrations of the game without getting all Mattias Andersson. Gaaa, indeed.

I need someone to give me a powerful analogy. I need a word picture for the feeling you get when you've just bubbled out of a sizable tournament, when just 3 hands ago you were looking like a virtual lock for at least low money.

I'm thinking it's somewhere between "football in the groin" and "kicked in the stomach by a largish mule".

As always, there is a kinda-bad beat story involved here. Down to 43 in tonights $10+1 NL $4,000 guaranteed. Top 40 is money. I have half the average stack with about T5000. Blinds at 400/800. I'm dealt TT in the big blind. Two shorter stacks go all in in front of me. In many cases, I have no problem folding in this situation, but this is a pretty solid hand, and I have to like the chance to not quite triple up. I call.

Cards are flipped. My TT is up against AJo and 88. I am ahead!

An 8 comes on the flop.

Now I am behind. I don't improve, and I lose about half my stack. Next hand, I complete the SB with a marginal hand, and the big stack in the BB puts me all in on an unhelpful flop. I fold.

Very next hand, on the button with about T1600 left, I get JJ. I push (duh). The big-stacked BB calls, correctly. He could have any 2 cards.

Unfortunately, those 2 cards are AKo. A king hits the flop, and I bust out 42nd, 2 short of a modest payday.

Although I'm unhappy about not cashing, it isn't the lack of cashing (40th only pays like $19 anyway) that bothers me. It's the feeling you get when you think you're doing something well, only to fall just short. There is a physical reaction to busting out of a tournament -- at least there is for me. I don't like that feeling very much, especially when you're close to accomplishing a goal. I am not good enough to make winning every time a goal, so cashing is something I'm shooting for. When I fail, it hurts.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The Kid Has No Changeup

For a change of pace, the last couple nights I've just played multi-table tournaments. Fairly low buyins for the most part. I would like to get home in time to play (let alone sign up for) the 6:30 freeroll, but I just haven't made it.

Still, there are plenty to choose from. I took yet another crack at the $100,000 guaranteed satellite and once again whiffed, coming in 14th of 55 (5 seats).

Hit the $4,000 guaranteed ($10+1 NL), played poorly and finished outside the money (79th of 374).

Signed up for a $5+1 NL freezeout. Didn't play especially well. Immediately after hand-for-hand ended (30 places paid, I'm 28th in chips) I get AA -- for the FIRST time tonight -- in middle position. I push. I get *3* callers, 2 of whom end up all in at some point before the river so cards are flipped. I'm ahead all the way to the end, then get cracked when 99 hits the inside straight on a 10. Out exactly in 30th for a massive $9.17 cash.

Clearly internet poker is rigged. Crap.

I did get KK once and got no action. No queens, jacks, AKs or anything like that.

Oh, well, I've still got the $25+2 going that I'm sucking hind tit in. I think I better go back to grinding it out in the ring games and playing freerolls.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Some Good, Some Bad, Some Ugly

Mixed results tonight. The good -- I won a couple bucks playing 2 tables of $0.25/$0.50 limit, grinding through a few more hands. At some point, some bonus $ better hit my account.

The bad: Mixed in a table of my old new fave, $0.25/$0.50 NL. Managed to drop about $63. Just the worst run of cards I've ever seen, and I know card dead. I got about six decent hands, none of which held up. I'd finally get AQ, flop would be K72 rainbow, and I'd be facing a $9.00 bet. Uhhhh, no. I lost a good chunk on a set-over-set -- I had 2s, villain had 4s, and I bet the flop hard to try and push out flush draws. Oops.

Really a shame, too, because I had an uberfish in front of me and a seriously pissed off jackass behind me. The uberfish ran incredibly hot, sucking out left and right -- she cracked my KK with A7 off by making the improbable inside straight on the river. She managed to tick off the guy behind me, who cursed at her until she eventually left -- with a bunch of his money and mine. Idiot. If I'd ever had a decent hand (even TPTK would have been nice), I was just drooling at the possibility of trapping her and doubling up a couple times.

The ugly: Early tournament play. I hit the MTTs hard, playing a $10 qualifier for the Saturday $100k guaranteed. Finished 11th out of 52 (5 made it) after 44 on the button with a short stack got 2 callers with junk offsuit overcards, turned a set, but someone else rivered a 4-flush and I'm out. If that 4th spade doesn't hit, I triple up and have a very good shot at the entry. I might play another one tomorrow, since a $100+9 buyin is a little rich for this man's pile of dead money.

Hit the $5 NL freezeout. Busted out early after a couple horrible plays. I'm steaming a bit.

I play a $25+2 NL freezeout (I don't play rebuys other than freerolls at present). Doing great, and then poof, all gone. 97th of 253. I need to do something else.

God help me, I played a $10 fixed limit tournament. Rolled along great, more than quadrupling the 1500 starting chips, and then proceeded to lose three hands in a row with AKs, AA and AJs. I limp out with my tail between my legs, 98th of 340.


Now, back to the good. Played the 9:30 $15 NL freezeout and finished 6th out of 139 for a $135 payday. I think that puts me in the black for the evening -- barely. Stole just enough blinds to hang on, and survived at least one all-in. Finally got short-stacked and lost in the big blind with A-rag vs. 23s, darned pair of deuces.

It occurs to me that (1) I need a new hobby, and (2) I could actually post something here that isn't a recounting of my boring play and bad beats.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Last Brag for This Weekend

Man, I wanted to be able to say I won a tournament twice this weekend.

It was still snowy outside last night, so I played the evening $1k NL freeroll (same deal as the afternoon tournament I won - 1000 player freezeout). Was rolling along pretty decently, made the money, but never threatened to make the final table. I don't remember what busted me out, but I'm sure it was something impatient. Top 80, but not top 40.

Played the afternoon again today. Didn't get many cards (don't think I ever saw AA). Saw maybe four flops, total. Had KK four times -- busted QQ twice and JJ once. JJ about twice, no other PP higher than one pair of 7s. Ended up busting out 20th. I was in good shape with about 35,000 chips (blinds were 2,000/4,000), get AKo in middle position, and raise to 12,000 after UTG limped. The SB (with 97k chips) reraised all-in. This is the 2nd best hand I've seen in 90 minutes, and the SB had just gotten AA cracked.


I call and SB flips AQs. Two of his suit come on the flop, turn brick, river Qc. Nuts. Not a three-outer, since he had the flush draw also, but I had him dominated the whole way. If I'd doubled up there, I could have folded my way to the final table.

Oh, well, it happens. I'll take $8 more of free Prima money. I even managed to grind through almost enough hands at $0.25/$0.50 limit (x 4 tables) to unlock another $20.00 of bonus, and I even won like $10.00 in the process. Yay.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Brag Time


First ever multitable win. Man does that feel GOOD.

I was the short stack with 7 players left -- 31,000 chips. Chip leader (who finished 2nd) had 660,000 about that time.

Good times. Free money rocks.


Sometimes, you just need to go to bed.

Late night freeroll. A half hour in, I get QQ in middle position. Blinds 20/40. I raise to 210. I get one caller with a somewhat bigger stack. Flop is Q62, 2 clubs. I check, caller bets out 80, I raise to 450 with the nuts to try and prevent any type of flush draw.

Caller pushes all-in (wtf?) and I instacall.

Turn is a brick.

River is a bright red ace. Nice hand, sir - it goes nicely with the two aces already in your hand.

Just another 2-outer boring ass bad beat story. I think it was a message from above that yes, I really should be sleeping, especially since I haven't been drinking.

Monday, January 17, 2005

A Tournament Hand

From tonight's $5+1 Multi NL Freezeout on Prima:

Well into the event, 94 left out of 400 some. I have T2200, blinds at 200/400 or 300/600 (I forget which).

I get QQ in UTG+1. I push. One caller behind. Big blind reraises all in. First caller calls.

AA vs. KK vs. QQ. Oops.

Flop is KQJ. I'm still not good.

Turn is a T.

Alas, the river was not the miracle A (or case Q). Flopped a set of Qs after pushing and I still lose. Oh, well, at least I won $3 back in the freeroll I was playing at the same time.

Sunday, January 16, 2005


I'm playing the $10+1 MTT at Prima. I'm making a comeback from some shaky early play when this happens. Level 7 (150/300 blinds), and this is about the first real good hand I've had.

I get AA in middle position. I have a below average stack of 2700 or so. One limper, someone raises to 900. I reraise to 1500. Only the raiser stays in.

Flop is AA3, with 2 clubs. This is the best flop I've ever received.

Villan checks, I check behind. Turn is a Q.

Villan bets out 600. I pause momentarily (no sense in being a drama queen) and call.

River is a J. Villan bets all in, loses and shows Kh9h (!)

To borrow someone else's slogan, I love this game. I'll still probably bust out short of the money, but moments like that are worth it.

Edited to add: Out in 26th, for just under $31. Nothing special, but it's always nice to cash.

Tournament Goodness

Some more tournament results... last night's 1 AM freeroll. We're getting down to the bubble (80 places pay), and I'm brutally short stacked. Get into hand-by-hand mode. Things are getting worse. Pick up QQ for my BB and just push, since I don't even have enough for a full small blind. I lose to some random garbage. Thankfully, hand-by-hand mode had just ended and I missed it. My loss was good for exactly 80th place and a whole $3. Yeah.

This afternoon's 1 PM freeroll was even better. 5th out of 1000, good for $60. Only made one really awful play -- raised from MP with AKs, got reraised some token amount(by QQ) and the BB came along for the ride. QQ was all-in preflop, 99 went all-in on the flop - 10 high, 2 spades. A 9 is turned and my hand is third best. Lost about 1/3 of my stack, but I didn't feel too bad about it.

Last note - I busted out with the HAMMER. 72o in small blind. I raise the BB, who reraises. I happily push my puny remaining stack, meet up with Q9o, and lose when he hits a 9 on the turn (river 2, too little, too late). I'd be more upset if the difference between 4th and 5th were more than $5, and the big stacks did have five to ten plus times what I did at that point.

Table Coaching 101

Just catching up on my reading. If you enjoy table coach chat as much as I do, check out this post from UWannaBet?: i-am-always-right-how-not-to-keep-fish

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to try and recapture the $25.00 of profit I blew last night on a really horrible call of the nut flush with my flopped set.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Poker Gruel

I would like to have a rich, steaming bowl of poker goodness for your bemusement.

Like I said, I'd like to have that.

Since I don't, I will throw out there a general observation that the current Prima deposit bonus (deposit $20 get up to $200 free) sounds *much* better than it really is. I threw in $50 (my first deposit - everything else in there is winnings off their free $10) so that I can eventually cash some money out, figuring I might as well get a bonus as long as I'm playing there anyway.

To get the first $20.00 bonus, you essentially have to play 600 raked hands if you play the lowest permissible limit -- $0.25-$0.50 -- which is an awful lot for such a relatively small bonus. That's 30x raked hands, compared to 5-10x for most deposit bonuses. Oh, sure, you can cut that down to 10x by playing $2-$4 and above, but if you're going to do that, it sure as heck isn't going to be on a deposit anywhere in the vicinity of $20.00.

Anyway, I've cleared about half the first $20.00 bonus, having stepped up from the more comfortable $0.10/$0.20 ($20max) to $0.25/$0.50 ($50max). It's not that it's all that much harder, it's just that the swings are bigger. I haven't booked any major wins -- I've had some nice $20 profits -- but I have suffered a couple of temporary $25 downswings. More variance.

And more table coaching. Jeez. I can't believe how much griping there is after someone wins on a tremendous suckout. More on that later.

Friday, January 14, 2005

No Substitutes Allowed

I'm envious of people who can pick things up just from reading a book or hearing someone describe how to do this or that. I'm so definitely not one of those people. I have to do it.

One of the more challenging things about my chosen profession is you have to do new and different things every day, and if you're lucky you've read about them. Much of the time you're supposed to wing it.

It drives me nuts.

Similar thing with poker. I can read all I want, and I might even pick some things up, but there is no substitute, for me, for playing. And playing, and playing some more.

Good thing I'm enjoying it.

Where am going with this? Nowhere in particular. I mostly just want to sing the praises of getting in there and getting your hands dirty, even if it means playing the lowest limits on the planet. I already look back at plays I made a month ago and cringe. That's good. It means I'm getting better. When I can't find the screwups and fix them, that's when I'll know I should either quit or get professional help. Or both.

I'm still having more luck playing NL than limit. I occasionally goof (as I just did, when my flopped straight lost to a rivered boat, despite what I thought was pretty aggressive betting), but it's still been profitable. The limit -- I'm currently playing 0.25-0.50 -- is going okay, as I've gotten quite a bit tighter, but it hasn't been tremendously profitable. It's grinding.

I've also cashed low in a couple more tournaments (and just busted out 35th in one that paid 30 places - JJ lost to QJo, grrr). Amazing what a difference better hand selection and position will do for you. I'm sure I'm not profitable in tourneys yet, but I'm getting there.

Last comment -- multi-tabling certainly becomes easier with a little practice. While I could barely keep up with 2 tables before, i'm now entirely comfortable with 4 and can surf, blog and do other stuff in between decisions. Practice, practice, practice!

On an entirely unrelated note, I dug the Simon & Garfunkel Greatest Hits CD out for the first time in years and have it spinning in the laptop while I 4-table. Good times. I just wish I had some $ to go chase the $700,000 bad beat jackpot at Party some more...

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Party Poker Owns Me

Ugh. I have still not had any luck at Party.

I hit a $10+$1 multi on Prima tonight, and busted out 58th out of 385. Things were getting along, and I never had a big stack. I got heads up with a guy I had covered, barely, when he pushed all-in coming back after my raise. I have AQo, villan has KJo. Flop has a Q, turn nothing, river is a fricking K. He hits 3 outer, I'm crippled. I have to push the next hand UTG (as I have less than 1 BB left) with 10-7s, get a 4 flush but lose to a rivered 3 against 93o. That's why they play the game.

So I have time to kill. The Party bad beat jackpot is over $440,000, so I dump what little I have left in Neteller into Party and hit it. For about 2 orbits. Fold, fold fold. What's this? AK of diamonds! Sweet. It's raised to me and I happily 3 bet. Capped back and we're off. 2 diamonds on the flop. I'm loving this. I push and get pushed back. Hmm. Same guy raised and capped preflop. Board isn't threatening - 9 high. Maybe AK, AQ or AJ?

Long story short, no diamond comes on the turn or river, villan calls my value bet on the river (an Ace hit, so I could be good) and flips 33 for the flopped set. Interesting. He raised and capped preflop with 33? Ouch. I'm now very short and quickly bust out.

So much for Party. And here I'd hoped to be able to kill the hour I had until the Party freeroll. Uh, no. So it's back to the Prima micro-NL games with my tail dragging between my legs.

The moral of the story, as always, is man, I suck at poker.

Center of the Universe = Me

I am always amazed when I go back and read the drivel that I've previously posted. This is about the most self-centered, narcissistic junk since, oh, I don't know, Donald Trump's last book.

You could say that I don't have much to say. You'd be right.

Oh, well. It entertains me to post epic tales of awful play, so don't look for major changes any time soon.

This past weekend was pretty ugly, poker-wise. I played quite a few hands at various levels, and not much of it went well. Dropped a $40 buyin at a $0.25/$0.50 NL table where I flat played horrendously. Got abused at $0.25/$0.50 limit. Dumped some money into Party and got run over (more on that in a minute). On the plus side, I did make a couple bucks with a low cash in a freeroll on Prima, and made a deposit at my Prima site of choice so that I can (a) work on a bonus, and (b) eventually cash out some of my winnings.

Yesterday was an improvement. I had 2 tables of $0.25/$0.50 limit going, and dropped about seven bucks after missing ten or fifteen draws in a row. Maybe that bonus isn't going to be real profitable. Had a table of $0.10/$0.20 NL going and picked up about $20.00. Only one hand of note, had KK, player behind me had JJ and he kept pushing pretty hard on a board full of low cards. I didn't have him on set or a straight draw, since he'd reraised me pre-flop. I'm just glad he didn't have AA (I thought AK might have been possible).

I also played in a $5 NL freezeout, and finished 13th out of 200. My hand selection and understanding of position is clearly improving, although I could probably stand to be more aggressive stealing blinds. I finally got knocked out with KK going down to A-rag off after I pushed preflop. No complaints.

I have a Party new player freeroll to play in tonight. I'd like to do well, but since it's a very late start (10:15 ET, ugh), I don't know if I'll be able to stay awake. So far, my experience with Party has been ugly. I had two down sessions, briefly poked my head above even, and then pretty much lost it. The cards have been extremely cold -- I demo'd Pokertracker and found that my 150 hands or so featured the following:

AA -- None
KK -- One (lost to A2 off when an ace came on the flop)
QQ -- None
JJ -- None
TT -- None
AKs -- None
AK0 -- Four times (a loser 3 times)

My most profitable hands (which ain't saying much) were 88 (flopped a set once) and A2s (big blind special nut flush). Just gruesome. I can also stand to improve my game -- my % of putting money in was slightly higher than optimal, and my aggression level was fairly low. We'll see if they improve.

Friday, January 07, 2005

No more virginity

(not what you think, alas).

What it means was I got my first royal flush tonight. Had A7 of diamonds, two came on the flop, the turn made my flush, and the river brought the last piece of the royal. I didn't even try to win a huge pot -- I wanted to show. I doubt I would have gotten much action anyway, since I was in against only one player, who'd flopped a straight, and knew he was beat.

The downside was that apparently both hole cards have to play in order to get a piece of the Prima high hand of the day prize. It's not a ton of money, usually $10-$20. But I'd take it.

Oh well, it was still a good day. I dropped a $20 buyin early tonight, but made it all back and more. Had one big win on another table, and a third that was down a few bucks. With a good run (fingers crossed), maybe I can hit $500 by the weekend.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Random Number Generation

A couple of quick hits:

I continue to have more fun (and more luck) playing micro-limit NL as opposed to limit. Last night wasn't one of my better days of late -- cards were very cold, and very few of the decent hands I played turned into anything. As a result, I played tighter than usual (not that that is saying much), and managed to avoid too much carnage. I did drop a buyin on one table ($10), but more than made up for it on two others, so I ended up the day about $10 to the good. I think I had AA once, KK once and got no action either time.

One good result was facing down a player that had me pegged as weak/tight. He kept betting sizable amounts anytime I was in a pot with him, and I kept folding as I totally missed flop after flop, draw after draw. Finally, I took a chance. I had JJ, raised pre-flop, bet into him on the flop, checked the turn and called his large bet. The board had a scary pair of 7s and I think an overcard (Q?), making this a marginal call, but I read it as an effort to buy the pot. His bet pushed everyone else out. River was a harmless brick, and I checked. He overbet the pot by a bit, and I called, thinking my read was correct. I was right. He showed A8o for the board pair of 7s, ace kicker. I'm no expert, but there are times in this stupid game where reads will give you better odds than an abstract calculation based on who-holds-what. He only had 3 outs -- the other aces. I think I will need to add some of this aggression to my game, but many of the tables are already loaded with aggros, making tighter play a better option.

I did also play a couple orbits of $0.25/$0.50 limit. Poor decision. I got maybe one or two semi-playable hands outside the blinds, hit nothing with them (or the blinds, for that matter), and just dropped a couple bucks before closing it down out of boredom. Slow, slow, slow action, horrible players. I saw capping with crap like J-9 off. If I tire of NL, I may try 3 or 4-tabling this game instead to see if that makes the pace fast enough.

Tuesday was a better day, as I cleared the $400.00 mark for the first time. It wasn't as profitable as the weekend, but it was still a good day. I still make horrendous mistakes, but when I do I don't often risk my whole stack. If anything, I fold too much once I'm in a pot. I can live with that for now, as I learn.

The highlight was playing in a Level One sit'n'go satellite for a WPT event in California. Ten players, $1 buyin (you have to win two more levels -- the $10 - 6 man, and the $60 - 10 man -- to get into the main satellite. I started very poorly, was 9th out of 9 in chips about a half hour in, and came all the way back to win after a lengthy duel heads-up. I started the heads-up down about 3-1 in chips, I think, but made it through. Last hand I had an Ace with an 8 vs. and Ace with a 2, nothing on flop or turn, the river paired the 8, I win.

No, I have no delusions of even getting to the main satellite. This was just something different to do.

I really feel like I should get some money into Party Poker for a shot at the bad beat jackpot. When it gets over $300,000 it's appealing enough to suffer the additional cost and assume the risk of higher losses playing at larger stakes than I am used to online.

Okay. enough with the boring (to you) poker stuff. Back to work.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Better to Be Lucky Than Good

I suck at no limit poker. I admit it. Now that I've got step 1 of my personal 12 step NL self-help program out of the way, here's your content.

I have had an astoundingly good couple of days, still playing on Prima's money. Registered a very nice win total for the weekend (up to a new balance of $140).

Played in the 2+2 Tsunami Relief tournament organized by GrannyMae on Stars. Finished 15th out of about 240, for my second MTT "cash" ever. My appalingly bad loose/weak style was kept in check by a string of appalling cards after I'd flopped a couple sets early. I never had a big stack, and was exceptionally lucky to double up with 10-3 sooted when short-stacked, and to triple up with Q-8 sooted when really short stacked later. I get crippled soon after we got down to 3 tables, and then woke up to find AA. I push my puny stack in, get called, and lose to J-6 off when a six appears on the river. Hah.

Good times.

Yesterday was even better times. I'm playing more micro-limit NL on Prima. I've got 3 tables going, and am doing nicely. On the bigger table (woo! $0.10/$0.20, $20 max buyin), I'm rolling good. Pick up 88 in the big blind. Flop comes 773. I bet, get 2 callers. Turn is an 8 (full boat!). I bet out, get raised (huh?), and happily push the raiser all-in (I had him covered). River is the case 8 -- WHAM! The chat box fills up instantly with something I've never seen before... everyone wins!

That's right, we hit the Prima bad-beat micro-jackpot. I sucked out runner-runner quad 8s to beat flopped quad 7s. Thank goodness for the slowplay -- otherwise I'd have been down $25 instead of dragging a $60 pot and picking up $125.00 to boot for dealing out the bad beat with my 1-outer. I have to give props -- I never guessed the guy flopped quads. Being in first position and having a hand to bet out kept me in the dark.

Anyway, with a winning session on top of everything else, the ol' micro-bankroll is looking much healthier all of a sudden.

I still suck at no-limit, though.

Monday, January 03, 2005

I love table coaches (and really awful suckouts)

For your bemusement. Names other than mine have been edited to protect identities.

I clearly need a coach to help me deal with table coaches. I mean, I can't believe how much I forgot to add to this running dialog. I didn't get to drop names of people that have owned me, ask what kind of fish I was, If he had an affiliate code at Party, how I could improve my play (only play AA and KK, boss?) etc... Can anyone help me out?

Here's the backstory. I'm playing $0.10/$0.20 Turbo NL at Prima. The table has a $20.00 max buyin. I'm playing my patented loose/weak NL style (let's not sugarcoat things - I suck, but I've had a good run). I love a table that's passive preflop -- nothing more than min raises or up to 5x the BB or so. I have a bad habit of limping with a wide range of hands and playing hard after the flop. Like I said, I suck. Flame as much as you want.

Anyway, the table picks up a couple of very aggressive players. They're p---ing me off by preflop raising to $5, $10 or all in. You can't play any 2 soooted cards for those kind of stakes! I resolve to get even.Finally, after only getting to suck out on these clowns once or twice and suffering a beat or three, I get my chance. I pick up KK in late position, after a small stack has gone all in and one joker has called. I push him all in and he calls. Joker flips QQ (small stack had rags, I think), and KK is goot. Other joker takes off.

The table picks up some new players, and two of them promptly get in a raising war. I have 10-9 of spades (sooted!) UTG and I limp. Villain #1 raises, Villain #2 reraises. I call. Villain #1 raises again, followed by villain #2. I'm tired of this and decide to see if they've got anything. I re-raised enough to put the smaller stack all in and put up or shut up. They both instacall. Oops.

Cards are flipped. Villain #1 has AA, Villain #2 has KK. Yep, 10-9 sooted is a bit of an underdog.

Flop is 7-8-10 rainbow. Okay, OESD. I push out a couple more bucks to put the other villain all-in (hey, why not go nuts?).Turn is a beautiful 6 for the 10-high straight, river is meaningless brick. I drag a $30.00 pot on a truly awful play.

Villan #2 is p---sed, and here's where the fun begins:

> On_THG wins $29.40 with a Straight, Ten high
testy> lol
testy> you bet that CHIT like that?
testy> wow
> R01 wins $3.10
On_THG> sorry about that.
testy> then stumbled into a winner? incredible
> G did not act in time and was folded
testy> np you're obviously an awful player
testy> gl bud
On_THG> true that
> Aces wins $0.19 with a Full House, Deuces full of Fours
> F wins $0.19 with a Full House, Deuces full of Fours
> On_THG wins $0.19 with a Full House, Deuces full of Fours
testy> stupidest move I've seen all day
On_THG> yay me!
On_THG> but you'
On_THG> 're wrong
testy> lol
On_THG> I sucked out with 72 off earlier
testy> hardly
On_THG> THAT was stupidest
testy> ahh
testy> so you're one of those stupid but lucky players then....well obviously
On_THG> pairs of 2s on river GOOD
testy> 9T vs KK and AA lol
testy> that's one for the books
> G wins $3.05 with a Straight, Seven high
hum> > R01 wins $0.90
On_THG> What can I say? I ike getting 2-1
> hum wins $1.20
> R01 wins $1.20
> R01 wins $0.40 with One Pair, Jacks
> R01 wins $0.60
> hum wins $1.55 with One Pair, Jacks

The table coach left somewhere in there, and the two or three remaining players (neither villan reloaded)wandered off after a few more hands. I just sit out once it gets to heads up and concentrate on the other2 tables I have open.Apparently, coach hadn't had enough, as he comes back while I'm the only one sitting there:

[Observer]testy> chased everyone off eh? guess they dont like playing with cheaters
On_THG> I thought I was just dumb
[Observer]testy> no way on earth you're playing that way and winning
[Observer]testy> no way
On_THG> high variance poker, my friend. That's my game
[Observer]testy> you won 65 dollars sitting there playing that way?
[Observer]testy> uh yeah
On_THG> nah, only 45. $20 was the buyin
[Observer]testy> well I'm reporting you for're either the luckiest player on earth or a hacker
[Observer]testy> if you're just dumb lucky then I apologize, but that was the worst play I've ever seen
On_THG> As you wish. You've obviously never played drunk.
On_THG> And you both had short stacks
[Observer]testy> and you're winning like crazy
[Observer]testy> no I dont play drunk
On_THG> Too bad some of the other guys who were raising like crazy left.
On_THG> they had my number
[Observer]testy> clearly
[Observer]testy> you're sitting there with $45 profit and getting beaten?
[Observer]testy> please
[Observer]testy> have a good day...I'm off to write an email
On_THG> Really. I was down at least $5 earler
On_THG> Come sit at one of my other tables
[Observer]testy> no thanx I hate stupid players that are constantly getting lucky
[Observer]testy> makes me puke when I play good odds and lose
On_THG> did u have the KK or the AA? I forget
[Observer]testy> KK
On_THG> So you were an underdog anyway
[Observer]testy> 23rd time In a row I've lost with it
[Observer]testy> to AA yes
[Observer]testy> not to your *
On_THG> if it makes you feel better...
[Observer]testy> it doesnt
On_THG> I got busted out of a tournament tonight...
On_THG> with AA cracked by J6 off
[Observer]testy> Im fine it was only $10 you just get sick of seeing stupid players profit[Observer]testy> that was the worst play I've seen in months
On_THG> You should play at my table more often.
On_THG> I make stupid plays all the time
[Observer]testy> ...and here you are +$45
[Observer]testy> sounds pretty friggin smelly to me
[Observer]testy> obviously
On_THG> yeah, but I'm down almost a buck on my other tables
[Observer]testy> so you're only +$44 awww
[Observer]testy> pity
On_THG> lol
[Observer]testy> you play that stupid on every one?
On_THG> yup
[Observer]testy> and you're down a buck?
On_THG> well, i'm in a hand, so it might be 2 soon
[Observer]testy> you should be getting *ed and you know it
On_THG> oops, 88 held upOn_THG> now I'm up $0.50
[Observer]testy> well I'm requesting an investigation
On_THG> Please feel free.
[Observer]testy> if you're innocent of collusion or hacking then I apologize
On_THG> How much have you lost tonight?
[Observer]testy> your play and success is so far out of whack
[Observer]testy> havent
On_THG> well, that's good at least
[Observer]testy> was up 111.61 BBs before that *
[Observer]testy> had I lost to AA I wouldve said hey NH bud
On_THG> all at 0.10 0.20?
[Observer]testy> nope
[Observer]testy> mostly .05/.1
On_THG> still a good night
[Observer]testy> yes
On_THG> You're obviously much more knowledgable than I am.
[Observer]testy> I took it from people that played like you
On_THG> I just play 2 cards that look good
[Observer]testy> you're a gd liar
[Observer]testy> please dont insult my intelligence
[Observer]testy> you know exactly what you're doing
On_THG> you don't value suited connectors?
[Observer]testy> absolutely
[Observer]testy> I certainly dont raise like that pf though
[Observer]testy> nobody sane does
[Observer]testy> they're limp hands and you know it
On_THG> the people at the table b/f you got there sure did
On_THG> I got into the spirit
[Observer]testy> they're stupid then and they lost
[Observer]testy> ...and rightly so
[Observer]testy> stupid players lose
On_THG> yep, I got lucky
[Observer]testy> uh huh sure
On_THG> and I'll probably lose too
[Observer]testy> over and over and over
On_THG> because of dumb plays like that
[Observer]testy> hope so
[Observer]testy> the dumb play had a huge payoff
On_THG> sure did
[Observer]testy> well good day I've entered a note for your nick and I will be sending an email they probably wont do *
On_THG> just played 86 o in the SB
[Observer]testy> that's just too far outside the statistical norm
On_THG> it made a boat.
[Observer]testy> nh
On_THG> $5 profit.
[Observer]testy> how wonderful for you
[Observer]testy> and I play decent hands to win
[Observer]testy> the things you have to do when you dont cheat
[Observer]testy> bye now
On_THG> maybe you ned to losen up in BNL
On_THG> in NL
[Observer]testy> I tire of your phony ignorance
[Observer]testy> no thanx
On_THG> Your call.
On_THG> you're a winning player, I'm not
[Observer]testy> I'm +13.31bbs in 18k hands
[Observer]testy> I do fine...I just cant count on stupid luck to win
On_THG> obviously. You play correctly, I don't

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Happy New Year (How Original)

Couple things of note.

On the Internet front, things are rolling. I've been playing nickel-dime and $0.10-$0.20 No Limit instead of my usual limit game. I was having mixed results at $0.25-$0.50 (and really didn't have the bankroll), so I've been playing NL instead.

For the very first time, I am over $100.00. Off the $10.00 that 7 Sultans gives you free. I know, I know, it's not much, but I had been bouncing around the $20-40 range for so long. And I will now probably lose six buyins in a row, but whatever. This is a good milestone. I also realize that I am tempting fate by mentioning it, but what the heck. Another side benefit of playing NL appears to be that more pots are raked, as I actually qualified to play in a 100 min raked hand freeroll, something that i wasn't able to do even playing hours of $0.25/$0.50 limit.

I also got around to funding my Neteller account, so I can play in the Tsunami relief tourney tomorrow at 6 on Stars. Check it out.

Spent New Year's Eve playing at Little River in Manistee. The more I play there, the more I like it, even though my results are definately suboptimal and the drive makes it significantly -EV. Drove through downtown Manistee on the way, nice play. Stopped at a bar and had a beer, watched a bit of a bowl game. Got to the room about 3:00, got a seat by 4:00 -- if i'd gotten there at any other time, I wouldn't have had to wait. There were 2 tables going, both 4-8 limit. A third table went later, and they almost had enough to start a 1/2 NL game, but it never got off the ground.

The people at LR are nice, and most are regulars. I sat with a guy and his wife, a guy and his son-in-law, and a couple other regulars. Almost everyone was on a first name basis, it was weird. But kind of nice. There were several players I recognized from my handful of prior visits, some of whom are solid players, some of whom are horrendous and/or play drunk (usually and).

I bought in for $120.00. This isn't a ton (15 BB), but it's an amount I'm comfortable with. The game was as close to ideal as you could ask for. Many, many calling stations. A rotating cast of characters at a couple seats who had no clue and rapidly donated a hundred bucks or more. A couple of maniacs who came in and raised most every hand preflop and bet if they had anything at all (bottom pair, a weak draw, whatever).

I picked up AJ early, flopped 2 pair and it held up. Picked up a couple other pots, one with AQo and one with A8s where I hit running 8s for quads. Yay. I made one questionable play, where I had KcQc, the flop came Jd-9d-rag and I folded to a bet and a raise. Seeing as those actions came from the blinds, who had only called my preflop raise, and that I had 2 overcards and a strong inside straight draw, I could have called. If I'd had the hand later, I would have, seeing as raises were most unlikely from the players behind me (the raiser was a drinker). A ten fell on the turn, the flush draw never came in, and I would have been good. I'll have to think some more about that one. Fortunately, it was still early and it only cost me the 2 small bets preflop. Would have been a nice pot, though!

At one point, about 2 hours in, I was up more than $150.00. It was good.

And then it all went bad. Real bad. Little did I know that it would be four and a half hours before I dragged another pot. FOUR plus hours.

For whatever reason, I just went beyond card dead. I kept track (more or less). The best hands I received during that time were Q6s, J9o and 76s. I should have taken notes. They would have read something like 43o - T3o - T5o - 62s - J2o, etc etc. Just horrid.

On the positive side, the cards were so awful that I can count the number of pots I entered outside the blinds on one hand. With fingers left over. I think I limped with the Hammer (72o) on the button once just for the hell of it.

But, and this is a major leak in my game, I did make some ill-advised blind defenses. I'd play suited cards, and I called an extra bet from the BB with the J9o. Thankfully, without exception I missed flops and was in on maybe 1 or 2 turns. Didn't get in too much trouble.

After about 2 hours, I had the 76s on the button, and a guy who raised about three quarters of the hands preflop raised. For the sheer hell of it, I made it 3 to go (not smart, not smart). The whole world called, and it pretty much went downhill from there. Big pot, inside straight draw (flop was 8-4-smaller face card, rainbow), it didn't cost many bets to play thanks to the table full of calling stations. Missed my draw, took a shot at betting the river after the turn was checked through, and got a caller. Was most ashamed to show my 8-high.

I slow bled chips down to my buyin and kept getting nothing. I tightened up for a while after the 76s debacle, and managed to not lose anything other than blinds. I tried everything I could think of to change my luck -- the deck was changed. I went for a couple walks. I tipped a new dealer preemptively (she then dealt me 4-highs two hands in a row). I bought the table a round of drinks. I even folded a hand blind UTG. I did not resort to angle shooting -- no reason to piss off these nice people, especially those who were bound and determined to piss away their money. It's not my style, anyway, although that may change if I ever sit with a couple of real jackasses.

The bleeding continued. No hands, no hands, a little blind tilt. I finally got all the way down to the felt, got a hand and had to get $20 more chips to play it out (cash on the table plays at LR). AKo made 2 pair on the turn and it held up. I picked up another small pot or something and made it back to about $120.00.

Not much after that, bled a few chips and ended the night down $60. Glad I didn't stay later, as it was 3:00 am by the time I made the drive (2 hours with the obligatory late night BK stop, man I was hungry) home. Didn't see any drunks on the road - one of the nice things about Manistee is that it's in the middle of nowhere, and there ain't much traffic between here and there. Much better than driving to Gary, IN. Still, if I'd known that I would be going, I might have tried to snag a room somewhere and maybe played today too. Then I could have had more than 2 beers.... Oh, well. I need to go to Vegas sometime soon.