Tuesday, January 31, 2006

In Between

Almost a week without a post.  It’s mainly due to me not having much time coupled with not having much to write about either.

The poker is going what I’d call “meh.”  The bankroll is pretty stagnant, but I can’t necessarily fault my play either.  I’d be up a healthy amount if I could win a few of those coin-flip situations.  Not the pair vs. overcards pre-flop ones, it’s the 14-15 outs twice post-flop ones.  It seems that I’m not catching the outs I need and my opponents are.  I still like pushing in those spots on either end of it because any fold equity you have makes the play +EV.  Also, you tend not to get paid if you wait until the draw hits based on the board texture.  There’s probably $800 or so in pots in the last few days of which I’m theoretically entitled to 50%.  I have zero.  No worries though, I’ll catch my share eventually.

Over at the TalkingPoker.com forum, they’re having a February 5/10 6-max limit hold ‘em challenge.  I was thinking of trying it, but realized there’s no way in high heaven that I’ll log 5000 hands in a month.  Regardless, I’m still going to see what I can do at the 5/10 game for a while.  Based on the first night, the 5/10 6-max tables are full of maniacs.  Two pair on the board?  Any Ace is gold!  I logged 150 hands and managed a statistically improbable 14.86BB/100 win rate.  That obviously won’t continue, but I chalk that win rate up solely to table selection.  Sure, I had AA cracked on hand #5, but the monsters I held were paid off in spades.  Or clubs if that’s what gets you going.  Otis made a comment to me in passing in Tunica that has stuck with me concerning my limit hold ‘em game.  I will either prove him wrong or right.

I’m also working on a small project that’s going to end up taking more time than I thought.  The final product will probably be high-end stupid, but that’s not going to stop me.  The G-Vegas crew knows what it is based on Thursday’s NL ring game at Otis’ house.  And that’s all I have to say about that for now.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Scared Money

When it’s at the table, can you see it? Sometimes you’ll have to look in the mirror, but usually it will be there.

****

Hank comes out of his FullTilt coding bunker with a post this week, which is nice to see. His bankroll-type post is spot on, as usual. I’d like to comment on his type #4 – Scared money.

Last weekend in Tunica I was both the hunter and the hunted. Rather than chronologically discuss my adventures, I’ll relay them as they occurred to me – which unfortunately was in a backwards fashion.

At the Golden Buddha 1/2NL game on Saturday, there was a young kid to my right who was stuck. He wasn’t ashamed to admit that he just wanted to get even, but more than that, it was obvious to me that he was playing above his normal limits. Even though the 1/2NL game is the low-limit NL that you’ll find in casinos, online you have more lower limit choices.

I called a pre-flop raise from the kid with 47s, not quite a real hand. But, I had position and there was a legitimate possibility that I could outplay the scared money at the table. The flop came K-high with two hearts. The continuation bet from scared money told me everything I needed to know. He no longer liked his hand. So I smooth called because that’s the least information I could give about my hand to my lone opponent.

When the turn brought a 3rd heart and a check, I knew I could take the pot away. I even said aloud “I think I’m going to try to take this one away from you,” and made a pot-sized bet. He folded his pocket Queens.

****

Rewind back to the debacle known as Thursday in Tunica. At the Grand Casino, 2/5NL was the only no-limit game in town. I sat down nonetheless without even two buy-ins in my cash roll. From Hank:

…but is playing a limit where a loss will put a serious dent in his bankroll.

I made my best efforts not to play scared. On one hand I believe I succeeded. With pocket Jacks, I raised and got the button and the big blind to call. The flop was King-high and I bet hard at it. I had to. A check would be waiving the surrender flag. Luckily, the other callers folded and I won. But disaster would not be diverted entirely.

…this player will usually “pick a hand and go with it.” …it is often difficult for him to get away from the hand.

Holding AK and having position on a limp-caller, I made a huge continuation bet on an KQT flop. My opponent check-raised me all-in. I could not get away and busted out to his KT. I should have folded; that board was obviously scary and TPTK was obviously no good. But my money was scared and I played like it.

****

After playing on Saturday, if even I could recognize the scared money at the 1/2NL table, then regulars to the 2/5NL game should EASILY be able to recognize the scared money that I was. I walked right into the trap and suffered for it.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Fortune Smiles

Luck comes in many forms.  Perhaps there is some physical but undetectable particle that causes a random event to occur one way instead of another.  Perhaps our realities are constantly splitting into alternate ones, each split producing different outcomes – one positive, one negative.  Just ask Schroedinger’s cat.  Or Tasha Yar.

Whatever it is, after last Thursday’s early poker debacle, I knew I needed my share.  I sat at a $4/$8 table all by my lonesome it seemed while the remainder of G-Vegas traded barbs, cheques and check-raises at the $2/$5 NL table.  Even at the limit poker table, I was down a bit of my buy-in when The Luckbox walked over to check in on my status.  I fought the good fight, smiled a little and said, “I’m hangin’ in there.”  Plus Six Sigma walked back to his $2/$5 game and I played some more limit poker.

Oddly enough, my luck changed.

Coincidence?  Did Lafayette’s version of Longshot just empower me with a temporary ability to suckout?  When I spiked a six on the river with my pocket 6’s to drag a huge pot, I thought so.  When I caught runner-runner clubs for the nut flush when TWO OTHER people also caught runner-runner flushes, I knew so.

I was sold.  So much so that on Friday, I had CJ rub my head not once, but twice, to ensure that my luck continue.  As it were, I had the best poker-playing day of my career that day.

****

On Saturday, I sat back down at the Golden Banana’s $1/$2 table hoping to secure another winning day.  Spaceman stopped by the table to wish me some good luck in during a break in his WPT coverage.  He saw me lose my entire stack on hand #1 as I grossly misplayed KQs.  I was going to have to work hard to recoup an early deficit.

Sadly, CJ remained at the Grand, having to save up his entire bit of luck reserves for the WSOPC event he was playing along with Otis and Iggy.  I, on the other hand, would have to make my own luck.

****

I firmly believe in tipping the dealers.  They work hard and deserve a tip.  Even if I just win the blinds, I’ll give them a dollar.  On Saturday, I pre-tipped a dealer named Charles, throwing him a $5 chip and then asking him for a playable hand.  “Deal me a hand Charles,” I announced.  Charles complied.

The first card I was dealt slid all the way under the rail.  We had to pry the rail up from the table just to retrieve it.  It was the 8 of hearts.  The second card came and it was the 6 of clubs.  A monster.  I was on the button and when nearly everyone limped in, I tossed in my $2 and said “Charles dealt me a hand, be careful.”

The flop came 245 rainbow.  To the uninitiated, the flop may have appeared to have missed me.  But for whatever reason, double belly-buster straight draws jump right out at me and I didn’t miss this one.  The action checked around to me on the button and I made nearly a pot sized bet of $10.  Again I said, “Charles has dealt me a hand here.”  The BB called, but out of nowhere, a person two to my right check-raised me to $30.  Wasn’t he listening?

I called, but the big blind folded.  The turn came.  Somewhere CJ was smiling.

The check-raiser checked again.  I bet my nuts for $100 and the older guy came over the top all in.  Err….call?  He showed A3 for the flopped wheel, but was drawing dead to my straight to the 8.  “Thank you Charles,” and another $5 chip was tossed his way.

****

I’m sure we all want to be skilled poker players at heart.  Skill is something we control, but the luck factor is in someone else’s hands.  Whether you can make your own luck or rely on someone or something else to bestow it upon you, don’t turn your back on it.  Accept your good fortune and pray that it lasts.  I raise a toast to The Luckbox.

Monday, January 23, 2006

How Much Do You Have Left, Sir?

At last, I’m back home. Nine hours in a car with G-Rob on Thursday and Sunday is a marathon few could complete. Dueling iPod’s waged war with each other. It was Phish vs. In Flames. We’re still not sure who won. Now, on to the poker!

****

I’m starting my trip report with a recap of Friday. I was going to post about Thursday night, but rather than bore the reader with a recap of how I got stuck early for the most money I’ve ever lost in a live session, I’d rather talk about the good.

And Friday was good. Real good. It’s nice to post your best ever live win the day after posting your worst ever live loss. Vindication one time, baby.

****

I sat down at a brand, spankin’ new $1/$2 NL table with a bunch of like minded donkeys at the Gold Strike casino card room. My mind was fresh and I was enthusiastic to play well especially considering that this card room used ChipCo chips. I love ChipCo chips. Mmmmm…

Things started off well when my first pocket Aces of the trip did not get cracked and won me a nice $80 pot against someone who flopped top pair with QJ. Then it started. I began to felt some people. There is no other better feeling in the poker world than to felt someone at the NL ring game. None. Let’s recap a few hands.

  1. Pocket K’s in MP. A pre-flop raiser makes it $12 and I pop it to $30. Only the pre-flop raiser calls and the flop is TTT. I figure my hand is good and when the pre-flop raiser bets out $50, I ask, “How much do you have left, sir?” I put him all-in and he calls with AK. No Ace and no case ten, and MHIG.
  2. Pocket J’s in the SB. An EP raiser makes it $12 and it’s called twice before getting back to me in the small blind. I call. The flop is QJx rainbow and I get sneaky with a check. It’s checked all around. The turn is an 8 and I bet out $50. An LP caller raises me to $100 and I ask, “How much do you have left, sir?” I put him all-in and he calls with his turned set of 8’s. No case 8 and MHIG.
  3. I was dealt a hand and there was some confusion about who was in the pot since someone who had been away just sat down again and didn’t post his missed blinds. The dealer asked for all the cards back, and stupidly, I looked at my now dead hole cards. Pocket Q’s. Ugh. I figured Karma would make up for it. The very next hand I’m dealt 97 of hearts. I call a small raise from the button and 4 people see a flop of 89T. The 8 and the T are hearts. I’ve flopped an OESFD and middle pair. The EP raiser bets $10, 1 caller comes along and I call as well. The turn is a 9. Now I still have the OESFD and trip 9’s. I’ve got to be feeling pretty good about my hand right now. The EP raiser bets $15, 1 caller stays with us and I call too. The river? What was the river you ask? If you looked at my pants, you’d instantly know that it was the 6 of hearts. My OESFD just became an honest-to-goodness straight flush. The EP raiser now bet out $50 and the caller went into the tank. I was praying for a call, but the guy managed to lay down his straight he would later say. I ask “How much do you have left sir?” and put him all-in. He calls and says incredulously, “What do you have, a straight flush?” “Yes, yes I do,” I respond. His pocket T’s and his full house were no good. M-m-m-m-monster pot comes my way. I clean myself up in the men’s room not soon after.

At one point in the ring game, I had roughly $1100 sitting in front of me. I completely erased my first day’s loss and was relieved to say the least.

****

G-Rob and I cashed out of the Gold Tooth and went back to the Grand where we were staying. We met up with Iggy and Tuscaloosa Johnny and sat down at a $120 single table satellite. Understanding that the SNG was a crap shoot, I just played my strong hands hard. I managed to chop 1st with a random guy after I eliminated G-Rob in 3rd. Add another $430 profit to my day and I finished Friday up over $1100, by far my biggest live winning day ever.

More to come…

Thursday, January 19, 2006

G-Vegas on the Road

I've managed to secure a ticket on the G-Rob express. BB and the UpForPoker crew will be in Tunica by this evening. Reports to follow.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

WWdN Victory Brew

 


I went downstairs at the break with 3 left to get my last beer. Luck of the Pauly prevailed. Thanks to all the railbirds, it was a total blast. Posted by Picasa

G-Vegas vs. The Big Game

I really loved watching the GSN Big Cash game last night.  What a cast of characters.  It’s comforting to know that poker is poker is poker at least on some level no matter what the stakes.  Here’s a quick run down of that game compared to the regular G-Vegas no limit game.

Daniel Negreanu ran over the table early.  His aggressive style with garbage superbly disguised the times when he held his monster hands.  Combine that with his talkative demeanor and you basically have G-Rob in a nutshell.

In the category of not-so-subtle reminders, Texas Dolly pulled the classic limp/re-raise all-in with AKo.  The message was clear:  I’m at this table too with a big stack.  Don’t fuck with me Kid.  With all that gamble in him, one can compare that style to TheMark who’s always looking to make his presence known at the table.

Jerry Buss was there too.  Big money with deep pockets and a decent, but not world-class level of play, he reminds me of The Rankster.  Both are quiet and are there to play some cards; perhaps learning from some of the better players surrounding them during their stay.

I tell you one thing.  If I’m a gynecologist, I’m living in Las Vegas.  That guy’s business must thrive beyond belief in the City of Sin.  “Hey doc, should anything be growing down here?  Didn’t think so.”  Oddly, he was the big winner with a set over set hand against Ted Forrest.  His style is reminiscent of Teddy Ballgame – a bit loud, a bit abrasive and willing to put some cash in the pot.

My co-worker Random101 put my style on that of the young kid.  Probably because he was bald too.  Thanks.

****

Some other observations:

Ted Forrest’s call of the all-in is debatable.  Now, I’m not saying I can make that laydown there, but I have seen others do so.  When I was at The Palms back in October, I witnessed one guy bet out big with top two pair, and then one guy raise $200, about 1/3rd his stack.  A guy in late position then went all in.  The board was uncoordinated and rainbow.  Both EP bettors folded.  The second guy folded his bottom set face up.  So I’m just saying I’ve seen it done.  On the 245 board, can you really think you’re good?  I’m interested to hear other’s opinions on that hand.

Poor Sammy Farha.  Guy couldn’t buy a seat.  I did notice that the game was 8-handed.  I just know I’d make room for Sammy at my table, if for no other reason than to liven it up.

G-Vegas needs some waitresses.  There once was a rumor that one semi-regular player could get one of his co-workers to serve beer for us all night.  We asked him what she looked like and he simply said, “She’s 18, and unbelievably hot.”  We then asked how much money she wanted and he said $20 would do.  On cue, everyone at the table reached for $20 and told him to make the phone call.  He said, “Not $20 per person, $20 total.”   He never called.  Talk about disappointment.

I will say this however, Mrs_All_In makes one killer late night bacon and eggs.  Killer.

****

Two closing notes:

First, I had a winning session.  Yes you read that correctly.  Took a small step up in limits and played some of my best poker in a while.  Post forthcoming.

Secondly, I sent my chip design in.  Some comments:  

“you have what looks to be a pretty solid Illustrator file”
“your art looks good and pretty much ready to go”

Color me excited.  I’ll let you all know when I pull the trigger.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Nothing to See Here

The Zen of Poker dictates how best to respond after a bad beat.  Calmness, evenness, remain focused, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah.

I say “Fuck it.”

Yesterday I let it out.  Nobody was upstairs and after what seemed like the 80th consecutive 5 outer hit, I said a big hearty “Fuck you” to poker.  Yeah that’s right, I reacted “wrong.”  I correctly stopped playing, but I went on a rant.  It was a Matusow-like rant, driven by the martyrdom of playing well but losing.  Perhaps it’s a sign of insanity that I was talking to myself.  But at least I listen.

Inside I’m battling a loss of confidence combined with not winning against a diminishing belief that I’m playing well.  I suppose I should comfort myself that I’m not losing either.  But when your bankroll is stagnant for a couple of weeks, it does make you question why you even play.  I feel I can justify my time playing when I’m winning.  But when I’m not winning, my justification loses some credibility.

I don’t even want my share of good luck.  I want normal luck.  I want expected value to mature into actual value.  I want to neither deposit nor withdraw from the equity bank.

Statistically, the long-term in poker is measured in years.  To lament a six-week aberration is foolish, but here I am doing it.  And you all continue to listen, which frankly, must be getting tiring.  Sorry.

Done.  I promise.

****

So with that, on to more exciting things.  The winner of Event #1 of the BBSOP is hosting a tournament up in Charlotte the weekend of February 24th.  Fortuitously, In Flames is playing in Charlotte on the Friday before.

Just like Mr. Pibbs + Red Vines = Crazy Delicious, Poker + Metal = BadBlood Heaven.  I told’ja that I’m crazy for that Swedish Melodic Death Metal cousin!

I’m trying to make arrangements to secure my attendance.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Not Hosting

Last night I did not host a poker game.

And it felt great.

G-Rob took up the reins for the week by arranging and hosting the G-Vegas NL ring game at his house.  All I had to do was show up, drink and play cards.  Well OK, I had to bring my chips since G-Rob’s inferior 300 piece set couldn’t accommodate the onslaught of G-Vegas regulars who were ready to donque it up.  That’s French by the way, for donk.

****

The list of attendees grew and shrank and I didn’t have to worry about it.  People bought and re-bought chips and I didn’t have to deal with it.  Ah yes, a clear head.  Granted, I had to air out things with the Mrs. prior to playing, something about a Disney trip that will cost us 8 kazillion dollars; but we talked it through just in time for me to head to Ye Olde Silverleaf poker compound.

****

When I got there, G-Rob said Otis would be playing.  Of course I was excited, but I had to ask “Didn’t he just get back?”  Otis did confirm upon arrival that yes he did just get back from his PCA coverage, but didn’t play a lick of cards.  I saw the look of poker-junkie withdrawal in his eyes and he need not have said another word.

Deal ‘em up.

****

Teddy Ballgame has had my number for a while.  I can’t put my finger on it, but the guy either has a better hand or outdraws me each and every time.  During the New Year’s Day tourney, he hit a 4-outer on the river to bust my set of 7’s and went on to cash in 4th place.

Last night, I managed to turn the tables a bit.  With JTo a few people saw a flop of 489 with two spades.  Checked to Teddy on the button, he bet out and only I called.  The turn was an offsuit 7 giving me the nuts, but it was vulnerable.  I checked and Teddy came out firing again.  I check-raised all-in.

For whatever reason, Teddy likes to call my all-in bets.  He did so again on this hand flipping up top two-pair, 89.  The stage was set for another 4-outer, but I’m due for about 27 straight wins on these 10:1 favorites.  It didn’t hit and Teddy rebought.

****

The Rankster is another local G-Vegas veteran who has my number too.  I busted his AA with J6o from the big blind when he didn’t raise pre-flop.  The flop was J-high and I called his small $2 bets to the river at which point I hit my two-pair.

I ended the Rankster’s evening on a sour note by felting both him and G-Rob.  I held AK, Rankster had KK, and G-Rob, held his own monster, T7s.  Both G-Rob and the Rankster were all-in pre-flop.  I figured I was a coin flip and due to the short-stacks of those guys called.

The flop was Q-high.  Turn was a J, and the river was a T.  I hit a 6-outer.  Or you could say it was runner-runner to broadway.  Either way, I sucked out.

And it felt great.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

A Moment of Clarity

(Preamble:  Thanks again for all the suggestions regarding the chip design.  I literally can’t wait to finish it off and send it in.  I’ll post some pics once they arrive.)

****

I’ve come to realize (again) how important mind-set is when you’re playing poker.  A week ago Monday, I won a good amount at the G-Vegas Big Game.  What struck me different about that session was the overwhelming level of clarity I possessed on the drive to the Rick’s.

That particular day at work involved nothing out of the ordinary, and the post-work workout was fine too.  When I arrived home there was no arguing about the fact that I was going to play and the kids had great days at school.  Basically, my brain was empty.  I was calm, cool, and collected.

****

Poker on the Internet offers a variety of things that the live game doesn’t.  The biggest difference is convenience.  You can’t play live poker for twenty minutes then get up and leave, but online, we’ve actually defined that type of session as a hit-and-run.

This convenience factor however, has a down side.  It’s way too easy to play poker when you probably shouldn’t.

It becomes feasible to log on and play a few hands after dinner when the kids are doing homework and the wife is cleaning dishes.  You can play on a Sunday morning for an hour when the family is at church.  Can’t sleep?  Log on and play.

****

Because online poker is so accessible, I’ve found myself playing at inappropriate times.  I define inappropriate to mean when my mind is not at my best.  I don’t care who you are, if you have unattended items or issues eating away at you, you will not play your best poker.  Period.  End of story.  Well, at least for me.

We all need discipline when we play, but I’m finding that I need discipline to determine whether or not I should even sit down and begin.

****

Take last night for example.  The Mrs. retired early after helping me with chip colors.  The PLO8 tourney on Stars was about to start so I two-tabled it with a NL ring game.  And my mind was thankfully clear.

While I sucked rocks at the tourney, I managed to do well at the NL game and posted my first win online since last Wednesday.  Sure the cards helped, but my decision-making process was right on target.

Over the course of 150 hands, I called 3 all-ins and each time I was ahead in the hand.  I lost the first as a 2:1 advantage but won the other two.

Here’s to more clear-headed poker in the weeks to come.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Chip Design v2

I decided to mess around some more and after eliminating the BB on the face, I thought the design became less cluttered.

Also, I eliminated the black chip, sorry TeamScott, and with the aid of someone else (*cough* Mrs_Blood *cough*) developed a different 5th color.

Anyhow, here's the next gen design.

Fire Away

 


Critiques welcome. Colors, design, anything. These will be for a custom ChipCo chip, the ceramic ones - not clay like a Paulson. Posted by Picasa

Hey Batter Batter!

Whooosh…

That’s the sound of me missing the mark with that last post.  I meant to contrast reactions to getting caught in the rain and parallel them with reactions to a bad beat, but I got lost somewhere along the way based on some of the comments.

****

Anyway, look here for an update soon with a few pictures.  I’m trying to design a custom poker chip and any of you who want to provide some feedback will have a chance.

Ignorance is Bliss

Sometimes I feel I’m continually balancing my nature to be completely honest on the blog versus my self-perception that I’m a whiny little bizznatch.  Usually the honest part wins out and you get posts like yesterday’s.  But then I think how frikkin’ pissy I must sound and get second thoughts about making those types of posts ever again.  See?  There I go again, more whining about whining.

****

I was walking from my car to my office today and it was raining.  Hard.  By the time I arrived at my desk, my coat was saturated and my pants were soaked, sticking to my thighs as I walked.

On my way up to the 3rd floor, I rode the elevator with another guy who got caught in the rain.  I had a baseball cap to wear which kept me somewhat dry, but this guy was flat out drenched.  His hair was dripping water onto his face and it was collecting on the tip of his nose and falling to the floor.

And he was laughing with his friends about it.

Meanwhile, I’m annoyed as all hell.

****

Basically, we both had a bad beat with the weather.  How did I react?  I lamented my recent move to the new building where I work that requires a much longer trek across the parking lot.  The other guy?  Laughter.

So who’s the idiot?  Is it me for not being able to shrug off the variance that is South Carolina weather?  Or is it the other guy who doesn’t realize that his clothes have just been ruined and his work day will be just a tad more miserable than it need be?

****

I often tell my friends that intelligence is a curse.  When you’re smart, you realize just how often you’re getting screwed in life.  The mentally challenged don’t know that life is fucking them hard, so they smile and live life happy.

And that’s how poker is too.

Edit: Can't y'all just let me wallow in misery without reminding me that I'm a moron with no umbrella??? Sheeesh.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Recovery Plan

I’ve hit a small snag in the road.

A year ago, the road ahead was filled with uncertainty.  I had finished the 2004 poker year ahead and figured I could at least keep up the pace in 2005.  When all the beans were counted, 2005 was twice the year 2004 was, even after you stir in the Great Vegas Equalizer.

With the arrival of 2006, plans were made, and a recipe for success was created.  Well, one thing’s for sure, I can’t cook.

I have an agreement with myself that prevents me from blogging about bad beats and losses, because seriously, who wants to read that?  Not even me.  Rather than bemoan my latest streak in the red, I’ll write about what I think has been the recurring theme for my descent through bankroll decimation hell.

****

If you’re going to go skydiving and your main chute fails, there is always the backup chute to save you.  It’s not the fall, as they say, it’s the sudden stop that kills.  If you’re in the IT field and your hard drive crashes, you hopefully can revert to some recently created backups and restore your business to a working state.  It’s pretty much common sense.  Backup and recovery.

****

In any one given poker session, I have no backup and recovery plan.  And it’s obvious I need one.

If a session goes right for me, from beginning to end, there’s no problem.  But those types of sessions are few and far between.  Of late, sessions have been derailed because of some obscene beat.  I thought I could handle them, but alas, it appears that I still have trouble.

It’s the beats combined with their rapid succession combined with the people perpetrating them.  Add it all up and my play level takes a steep dive.  With each additional losing day, the threshold at which my play deteriorates gets lower and lower.  Before you know it, I’ve regressed into playing hands I know I shouldn’t and mis-playing hands where I snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

****

Sometimes, it’s not even the cards that get to me.  Last night, I played in a cash game after a tournament and wondered what the dealer was doing when he was taking dollars out of the pot each hand.

A rake?  Are you kidding me?  A home game with a rake?  Nevermind that the game was $1/$2 NL with a $50-max buy-in.  Craps with cards.  Nice.  Not.

G-Rob had the sense to get up and leave nearly immediately.  I, on the other hand, waited to lose my stack to a 5-outer before I left the table.

I still wanted to play, but that environment was just absurd.  Let me clarify:  I still wanted to play well.  So even though I got home at midnight, I resolved to play 100 hands online.

Well, it wasn’t too long before I lost my stack again, thanks to the runner-runner variety of beats.  I was done.  And down.  Again.

****

I am looking for a winning session, which hasn’t happened in over a week.  That elusive needle in a haystack.  I know they’ll come back eventually, but in the meantime I need a backup strategy.  I need something, anything, that will allow me to withstand the inevitable X-outer and continue to keep my play level consistently high.  I’m not sure what it is yet.

Perhaps it’s a small walk, perhaps it’s a 5-minute break with a brewsky.  Whatever it is, I’ll find it and eliminate YAH (yet another hole) in my game.

Monday, January 09, 2006

1000 Words

 


For the new year, I'd like to hit the target more often. That way, I can avoid hearing this line over and over again in my head.

"Still, 'old friend.' You've managed to kill everyone else but like a poor marksman, you keep....missing...the target." 
(FYI: That dotted line is variance. And my tilt-directional arrow represents me playing well, but losing. Then my play level drops as a result and I continue to lose. For whatever reason, I rarely get into that luck-box area. CJ has monopolized it and won't even let me come visit.)Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Two Hands From The Big Game

The G-Vegas Big Game began where it left off.  During only 4 sessions there in 2005, I managed a small profit.  I’m sure my table image was rock-ish, at least to those who were paying attention.  I was hoping to play more during the forthcoming year, so I made a point to get there on its first installment in aught six.

The first interesting hand for me came during a NLO8 hand.  Yes, that’s “N,” not “P.”  G-Vegas likes its gambool and pot-limit apparently doesn’t cut it.  Regardless, I’m dealt A28K rainbow and see the flop for $5.  When the flop comes 467, my first thoughts are “jackpot.”  An EP limper bets $15 into the pot and I’m all too happy to call.  G-Rob, in LP, raises $30 to $45 and a warning flag in my head is raised ever so slightly.  That same flag begins waiving frantically when the initial EP bettor goes over the top all-in for about $80 more.

I have the nut low, but no high draw.  So here’s my thinking:  Right now I could very well be playing for only a quarter of the pot.  In fact, it may be 1/6th the pot based on the action.  I have no high hand draw AND my nut low is subject to counterfeiting, albeit the chances are small.  So I fold.  Yes, that’s right, I folded the nut low on the flop.  Even though there were four players in the pot and only G-Rob had a stack that covered me, I still folded.  Good thing too, since G-Rob came over the top all-in too.  He indeed had A2, but with the nut flush draw.  He hit and scooped.  My fold easily saved me $100+.

Hand number two was really interesting too.  I’m dealt A3 of hearts and raise to 3xBB to $15.  G-Rob on the button calls as does one other player.  The flop is a scary, coordinated A23.  Of spades.  I flopped top two-pair on a scary board, but still had to represent my hand.  I bet out $30 and only G-Rob smooth called.  The turn was a 9.  Of spades.  Things just got even more interesting.

Here’s a peek inside my thought process for how I was going to play this hand.  Remember that G-Rob just scooped an enormous NLO8 hand.  He probably had $600 in front of him at the time and it was easy to see him regain his comfort level at the table.  He’s ran bad at TheRick’s in the past, but with 3x his buy-in in front of him, I felt that he felt he could play his normally aggressive game, especially during a NL hold ‘em hand.

I bet $30 on the turn, which screamed “I do not have a flush.”  Why would I bet this amount?  Because I was confident G-Rob would see this as an opportunity.  Not especially confident, but just a little bit.  He raised me to $80.  Before I called, I put him on a big Ace.  He smoothed called my pre-flop raise, so I know he has a hand.  I call at this point thinking that there’s a decent chance his other card is not a spade.  The river is an offsuit Jack.  I’m not too pleased, because that card could just as easily given G-Rob a higher two-pair than mine.

I check the river to see what G-Rob will bet.  He easily has me covered and I most certainly could not call an all-in bet from him.  He bets $70 into a $250+ pot.  I still feel I have to call because I’m confident he’s holding an Ace, I’m confident he’s willing to bluff at the flush and there’s a decent chance his other card is neither a spade nor matching a card on the board for a higher two-pair.  I call.

G-Rob shows AQ.  Q of clubs.  My read was correct and I pulled in a decent pot.  Many of the players couldn’t believe I called the hand.  I certainly was not 100% sure my read was right, but I was going with it, especially on the river given the pot odds at the time.

Even though he lost that pot to me, G-Rob and I cashed out a collective $800+ in profit for the night, both playing decent poker.  I’ll happily book my $450 win in hopes that it’s a sign of better things to come for 2006.

New Year's Day Tourney - 2006

I’m somewhat of a control freak.  Yeah, yeah, those of you that know me will just nod your head or smile inside in agreement.  That’s one of the reasons why I like to host poker games at the house.  I like to make sure things run correctly.  From a weekly home game to larger tournaments, I like to think I run a tight ship.

But you know what?  It can get tiring.  Very tiring.

It would be one thing if I had a dedicated poker room isolated from the rest of the house.  There would be no setup, no teardown, and there wouldn’t be any noise issues to affect the slumbering miniBloods.  But I don’t have such a room, so setting up a poker game at the house takes some work.

Recently after a few home games, I was feeling down about hosting because things were getting out of hand.  People were too loud and when hosting begins to seem more like babysitting, I can’t concentrate too well on playing decent poker.

So with some trepidation, I still set up a big New Year’s Day tournament that would kickoff the G-Vegas series of poker tournaments for the 2006 season.  To the credit of all my friends, it couldn’t have gone any better.

****


The poker content of the tourney can be summarized thusly:  suckout.  With the LuckBox in attendance, you knew things would get interesting.  I survived the first of the table consolidations with a slightly below average stack, but one that was above where I started.  My demise came in the form of a flopped set of 7’s.

On a previous hand, I had pushed all-in on a flush draw and showed the table my semi-bluff.  I was setting up things for a future hand and this was my opportunity.  The flop was T74 rainbow and I checked my set.  Teddy Ballgame came out firing in late position and I flat-called.  The turn was a 9, putting a straight draw on board and I made my move.  I checked the turn and Teddy bet out again.  I check-raised all-in and Teddy called quickly with his JTo – top pair, medium kicker.

At first glance, I thought Teddy was drawing dead.  But the LuckBox spoke up and said “He needs an 8.”  The river card came oh so slowly, revealing one of the four outs Teddy needed to eliminate me.  I was out in 15th place thinking that 2006 was going to be just like 2005.

****

We started a cash game in the kitchen, and CJ, err the LuckBox, helped out yet again with tournament organization duties.  CJ had just eliminated TheMark when he called off all his chips on an OESD and hit.  We kid CJ that poker must be easy when you know you’re going to hit all your draws.  He’d later bust pocket K’s twice, once with T4s (fullhouse) and once with AQ (quad Aces).  Bloggers who were there couldn’t believe their eyes.

The money finishers were as follows:  Uncle Ted in 5th with a $50 save, Teddy Ballgame in 4th with $115, BigPirate in 3rd with  $190, CJ in 2nd with $400 and Falstaff in 1st as the BBSOP 2006 New Year’s Day Champion.  Fittingly, CJ lost the tourney with the JackHammer; perhaps it’s magic has been lost.

His prizes were $445 in cash (reflects final table deal with CJ), an engraved money clip (BBSOP 2006) and a free entry into the G-Vegas tourney circuit Championships scheduled for the end of this year.

Pictures of the event can be found here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/69943340@N00/sets/1740761/

****

The tournament certainly couldn’t have been pulled off so smoothly without the help of a bunch of people.  Thanks to:

Random101 for bringing his table and chairs.
TheMark and Mrs_All_In for bringing additional chairs.
Shep Tiltstein for providing sandwiches to the crew.
Frank the Tank for providing his table.
G-Rob for dealing while he was between work commitments.
CJ for helping run the tourney to its conclusion.

..and of course, Mrs_Blood who cooked, cleaned and handled the miniBloods all day.

Thanks to everyone who attended for making the hosting job much easier than I anticipated.  Hope to see you all again soon.

Sunday, January 01, 2006