Friday, July 30, 2004

Home Game with the Match-o-Matic

The bi-weekly home game has turned into somewhat of a weekly occurance now. Obviously I have no problem with that. While my win last night was not as high as the previous two sessions, it was still in the triple digits, +$116. Looking back on things the morning after, there really weren't too many memorable hands. But, I don't want to disappoint, so I'll relay some of them and try to make them at least sound interesting.

Hand 1: The game is Anaconda. We've got 7 players, so it's deal 7 cards to each player, pass two to the left, one to the right, stand up, sit down, fight, fight fight. After all the passing is done, keep your best 5 hi or low poker hand and set them up to be rolled one at a time. After I pass away some garbage, I'm left with A,K,K,10. The player to my right graciously gives me a K for trips and the player to my left passes me a lone card which turnes out to be a 10. A K's over 10's boat is an extremely playable hand in this game, and knowing that I'm mucking an A gives me a bit of added strength. We are quickly narrowed down to 4 players and it is obvious that there are 3 trying for high and one for low. The low seeking player is showing an A in his hand, one other high player is showing a flush potential and the 3rd is showing A,A,5. It is at this point that I completely forget that I mucked the 4th A. In the back of my mind, I know I have him beat, but can't for sure remember where I saw that
last Ace. So I forget to cap it each turn and don't make as much as I should have. Major brain fart there.

Hand 2: The game is 3/6 Hold 'em. I'm dealt 7,5 offsuit and throw in $3 on a whim, thinking I'd like to see a flop. The flop is J,J,10 with about 4 other callers. What the fuck, I say to myself, and toss in another $3 bet. Folds all around. Of course I show my garbage and win a decent $12. After that little play, it's time to switch gears into tight mode, these folks will call my hands down now for sure.

Hand 3: The game is 5-card stud - Auction. Rather than dealing each player in turn their up cards, each card is offered up in a rotating fashion allowing each player to bid on it. Once you pass on a card, you can't jump back in the bidding. If it's passed around to you, you are stuck with that card but don't have to pay for it. In the spirit of eBay, we have a "Buy-it-now" feature where you can just buy the card offered to you for a set price rather than hope to outbid someone. The game is high/low and the "Buy-it-now" price is $4.
After 4 cards are bid on, I'm showing A,8,5 clubs and have the 4 of clubs in the hole. Based on the other up cards, my plan is to buy the first low card regardless of suit as I would be able to guarantee my low hand. There is another A-high flush in diamonds showing and I can't guarantee my A-8 flush would win. During the last round of bidding, no low cards show up and the diamond flush player buys the K of diamonds for $4 basically nailing the high portion of the pot. Much to my chargin, I'm dealt the 7 of clubs giving me a flush but an unplayable low hand as flushes count against you for the low.
The player showing the diamond flush is known to bluff a lot and I remember him purposefully buying his 1st card, the 8 of diamonds. Why would you buy the 8 of diamonds on the first rounds? Either because you have another 8 or you have another diamonds. From my perspective, the former is more likely, but I just can't make the call. Since there's a round of betting post-declaration, I figure it would cost me an additional $12 to see if I can win half the pot. I choose to lay it down, and properly, the other player doesn't show me what he has. I'll wonder about that hand for a while.

How did the Match-o-Matic do? He only lost about $35 which is not too bad considering he doesn't know any of the playing styles of the other players. One guy went on tilt mode big time and tossed away over $200 chasing down made hands with marginal ones. This player has been losing quite consistently of late, and I wouldn't be surprised if he ended up quitting.

There turns out to be a tournament going on this evening which I weasled my way into. It could be a biggie, perhaps $100 buy-in with over 20 players. We shall see, and as always, you shall read about it.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004


A former co-worker/poker player buddy is in town this week and I offered him up a seat in my Thursday night home game. He accepted, and with the agreement of the regular round of players, Thursday promises to be another good night. You see, this former co-worker had a nickname:


We have a game called Criss Cross where you lay 5 cards down in a cross-shape and deal 4 cards to each player. There are no wild cards, and after each community card from the cross is flipped there is a round of betting. The catch is that if you stick around to see the middle and final card but lose, you have to match the pot. We usually limit the amount of the match to $20 so as not to get too carried away.

My friend the Match-o-matic used to call and see that final card way too often. The times he'd catch his 4 or 5 outer would invariably piss someone off and he'd be proud of his play.

Unfortunately for Match-o-matic, he now has an account at Party Poker. He's what you'd now call a Calling Station or River Chaser. Regardless, the Match-o-matic is down several G's with his style of play. I'm not sure he plans on changing it, nor if he knows something is amiss with his strategy.

What I do know is that he will have a lot of fun at our home game, and the other players will have a lot of fun having him around. My prediction is that he'll catch his outers against me and I'll regret bringing him.

If he does, he'll be buying several rounds of you-know-whats at Nepals.

Postscript: I believe I've ended several posts with references to Nepals. If you've been, you know why. If not, you need to go.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Three Best Things in Life

Crush the enemy, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of the women.

Well, I've dealt another crushing blow to my home game counterparts with yet another $200+ victory. There weren't many pots where I didn't know exactly how things were going to turn out. Whenever we're playing hold 'em, nobody but me is looking at the reactions of others as they see their hole cards. Nobody but me is watching other player's reactions to the flop. They are truly missing out.

My cards were also running pretty well which never hurts. So well, that I let my wife play a hand for me. I let her look at the cards and make all the decisions in a 3/6 hold 'em game. After she peeks, she tells me to bet. We get 3 callers. A flop of 8,3,3 with 2 hearts doesn't faze her and she tells me to bet out. Down to 1 caller. The turn brings a 7, but not a heart. She says bet again. I do, and the remaining player folds. I finally peek down to see our hole cards. A,Q hearts. Well done, well done. Rabbit hunting confirmed a 3rd heart on the river, only sealing our victory that much more.

My wife proved to be a lucky charm in another game as well. We're playing Anaconda Hi only, getting dealt 6 cards and passing 1 each to the left and to the right. We had 8 players and couldn't deal everyone 7 cards. I'm dealt 3 pair, Q's, 9's and 2's. I show the hand to my wife and tell her to pick between the 9's and the 2's because I have to get rid of one pair and hope to match one of the other 2 for the full house. Originally, I was going to pick the 9's to get rid of since we were playing hi-only and I'd be more likely to catch a 2 than a 9 or Q. Someone argued later that I should have passed the Q's which might have been a good option as well. But my wife tells me to pass the 2's along so I do. Lo and behold, someone passes me a 9 and I'm set. I take down a huge pot as I overcome trip J's and a flush, neither of whom believed I had the full house.

During one game of what we call Kansas City (5 card stud, 1 down, 4 up, option to exchange 1 card at the end, hi/lo) I'm aiming for low against 1 player. There are 2 others obviously in the hunt for high. I exchange my 5th card, a Q, and buy a monster K, giving me a K-high for the low. Extremely not good. My opponent for low was forced to take an exchange since we declare with a chip whether or not we'll do so. This eliminates a bit of positional advantage inherent in this game. He tosses a J and gets a 6 in return, leaving him with 2,6,8,9 on the board vs. my K-high garbage. Now, here's where I check some math. I figure it's going to cost me an additional $6 in the remaining betting rounds to call him down. I have a feeling he may have paired his 6 on the exchange due to not seeing any 6's during play. So in effect I've got about 3 outs with roughtly 15-20 cards left, a 5:1, perhaps 6:1 shot. There's enough money in the pot for me to call him down and I do. Judging from his reaction, I think I've got him. After the showdown, I see his paired 6's and take home the low half of the pot with a piss poor K-high.

Later on, one of the players chooses Chicago as his game to deal. I hate that game, it's garbage. Low spade in the hole in a 7-card stud game takes half the pot. Where's the skill? Nowhere. After 2 cards are dealt down and 1 up, checks go all the way around the table to the dealer. He says, "C'mon guys, gotta put some money in this pot." I immediately say aloud, "Well there's the 4 of spades talking." I fold out of this game in a hurry and watch as play unfolds. Bottom line was that someone was slow playing the 3 of spades and the dealer did in fact have the 4 of spades as I claimed. I actually had people wondering how I knew. I really didn't know, but it was an educated guess. The kind of educated guesses that you need to make at the poker table. I told them they could learn my secrets if they bought my poker DVD.

So there sits my story, a microcosm of this year in general - cleaning up in live play and getting killed online. To be better at both is my long term goal, and this blog will of course chart the progress.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

New Kid on the Block

No, I'm not talking about Donny Wahlberg...

I've only been blogging since this past March, I consider myself to be relatively new to the scene, perhaps even a bit late to the party. So I am always thrilled when those who've been part of this community take the time to either comment on this blog or perhaps mention me in theirs. Even better still is when other bloggers invite you to physically participate in their regular poker games.

There are certain professional players out there who maintain blogs and it's quite a learning experience to read about their insights to the game we all play. One such pro, Paul Phillips, has even replied to a few of my questions I've posted in his live journal blog. While these small bits of text are probably the closest I'll ever come to talking poker with a professional, it's still an honor nonetheless to have one of the current crop of great players personally respond to one of your questions.

I've witnessed other brushes with greatness too. I've seen Wil Wheaton post a comment in Up For Poker's blog. That must be thrilling.

I'm really just rambling here, but I just wanted to take some time to mention how I appreciate the Poker Blogger Community. Glad to see that there's respect both given and earned among the participants.

I really enjoy when bloggers purposefully try to interact with other bloggers. Things like Pauly's contests, Grubby's Hand of the Week, AlCantHang's blogger questions - all fantastic ideas. I hope to come up with a contest of my own sometime so I can give back to the community :)


A few random ideas:

The WPT should have a blogger-only event.

The bloggers should have an annual tournament in Vegas. (I've personally never been)

One day at the WSOP, there should be a final table with 3 or more bloggers.


Just had my home game, I'll have to dedicate a post to it, but I wanted to do a little bragging since I again was the big winner at +$210.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Protecting the Blinds

Preamble: My gracious employer has decided to block web access to Lovely. So I'm posting this through a terminal session where I'm connected to my Linux server. As such spell checking and previewing posts will be a little difficult using Lynx :)

I'm going to relay a couple of instances where protecting the blinds can be seen as a decent play, but each scenario has mixed results.

I'm holding J,7 offsuit in the small blind and there are 5 callers prior to having the action. At this point, I'm getting huge pot odds to call. The flop is J,9,7 leaving me with top and bottom pair. As the pot right now is T150, I bet out a pot sized bet. Here's where I make an assuredly stupid play. I'm re-raised all in by someone in late position. I called. I didn't even think about what hands that player could play from that position without raising. 7's? 9's? That would require a raise I think, but did I even remotely consider him holding J,9? Um, no. Well that's what he had and I'm out.

Scenario 2: I'm holding J,4 spades and there are 4 callers so again I limp in. The flop is all spades. I know my J-high flush is OK, but I'm doomed if another spade falls for sure. But I bet out to clear the field a bit and am called by one player. The turn is not a spade and I bet out, but am raised. I re-raise and am just called, so now I've put my opponent on a single high spade. The river is not a spade either and I bet out a half-pot sized bet and am simply called. I ended up winning the hand without seeing my opponents cards, but by the winning hand description in the message area, I'm told I won with a flush with a J-kicker. So my opponent had 2 baby spades for a lesser flush.

So I'm thinking that protecting the blinds can be a good play, but you have to be very aware post flop of how well the flop has hit your hand. In both instances above, the flop hit me pretty well; but only in one hand did I win. I should have layed down the first hand but didn't. After playing these two hands, I'll have to put some consideration when you should protect your big blind. Since it's an extra full bet at least, pot odds will be less that what you'd get proteting the small blind.

Anyway, just some more rambling thoughts.

Friday, July 16, 2004

A First in Live Tournament Play

Looking down at K,Q of diamonds, I really had to think about calling that all in bet...


I got home a bit early last night only to find my home empty. Obviously the wife had taken the kids somewhere, but she didn't leave a note. Past experiences dictated that this meant she'd be home soon so I didn't have much time to myself. But of course that didn't prevent me from firing up the old Party Poker client, did it?

I spent a couple of minutes playing a bit of $1/$2 Omaha, just to change up the pace a bit. A few minutes into it, a local buddy named Mike who plays online too sends me a message via the Party Poker chat room.

"Hey, I'm playing in a small tournament."

My local home game, normally scheduled for tonight had been cancelled due to a majority of players heading to a Greenville Braves game, the local AA minor league affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. As I was on vacation last week, I was truly Jonesing for some live action.

"Where? When?" I asked.

"Tonight, in Taylors at 8pm."

"Do they need any extra players?" I inquired.

"I'll ask and let you know."

So now after telling my wife I had no poker game tonight, I had to ask her if I could play in this impromptu tournament. God bless her soul for not saying no. Granted, it wasn't an enthusiastic yes, but it wasn't a no.

My buddy called me back and said that the players running the tournament had no problem with me showing up. Luckily, they lived only about 10 minutes away and off I went.

The buy-in was $20 and there were only six players, paying the top two $80 and $40 respectively. I had to make a quick player assessment on four unknown players, but I made the assumption that they were all on the newish side of tournament play. Blinds started at $1/$2 with a T100 chip starting amount. Off we went.

As expected, the action was a bit loose early on with not too much pre-flop raising. I won an early pot after limping in with A,6 and catching 2-pair on the flop. I stood at about T125 roughly 10 minutes into the tournament.

Not too much later, a player named Jeff goes all in against a player named Andy after the turn brings an A to the board. Andy calls the all-in bet showing 8,8. Jeff proudly shows his A,K and becomes the early chip leader after the river offers no help.

The next playable hand for me is 9,9 UTG. I raise the $2 BB to $6 and am called by the SB, chip leader Jeff and the BB, Brad. The flop is 6,8,9 rainbow and I'm feeling both good and guarded since the straight draw is very visible. Jeff bets out $25 and is called by Brad in the BB. It's a great bet at this point, but my instincts tell me he's on a straight draw and doesn't have the straight right now. My instincts are confirmed after I raise all in and he doesn't immediately call. Jeff pondered the call for a bit, and since he was the chip leader, he could afford to call and lose. So call he does and the BB folds. Since I'm all-in, we show our cards and he's holding A,7 for the draw. He has 8 outs and if this were Party Poker, I'd be 100% sure he'd catch one. But luckily for me, the turn brings another 6, pairing the board and doubling me up to take the chip lead.

I play a bit tight at this point, having over T250 with only T600 out in play. A later hand brings me 7,8 in the BB, and I am allowed to see the flop for free. Pre-flop raising at this point is rare, so it's a bit difficult to put people on hands at this point. The flop is 9,8,2. Middle pair for me, but I was the BB so I don't have position. I check and the former chip leader Jeff bets $5. I call and see a 7 on the turn giving me 2-pair but also bringing a straight draw to the table. I check again and Jeff bets another $5, I call. The river is a 6 and now with 4 to the straight on the board I'm a bit concerned. I check again.

Here's where live play is so much more fun for me. After I check, I notice Jeff scramble a bit to gather up chips for a bet. Every other bet by him throughout the night has been rather mechanical and calm. But not this one. He bets out $50 which is about half his stack. From a pure betting perspective, it's an excellent bet as it can easily be seen as both a value bet and a bluffing bet. But it's his actions that indicate to me that he's bluffing. If this were an online game and I had only the amount of the bet available to me as information, I'd fold in a heartbeat. But I had more information this time, his mannerisms. They just weren't consistent with what he'd previously done during the night. So I called, probably 65% sure it was a bluff.

"Do you have the 5 or 10?"

"No, just a pair of 9's."

My two-pair took another decent sized pot and I was staring at about T350, a dominating stack at this point.

I don't think I played many hands thereafter, and watched as Mike, who invited me to the tournament, busted everyone else out until it was down to just us two, heads-up.

During one hand, I raise pre-flop with 6,8 of spades. My buddy calls and the flop is 7,9,10 with 2 hearts showing. I bet T25 and am raised to T50. I re-raise all-in and Mike folds.

I slow play A,Q suited and catch an A on the turn and put Mike all-in. He had been betting into me this entire hand and had to fold once I put him all in. He was down to T47 vs. my T553. How could I lose this one, I thought?

Since I had such a huge chip lead, there was no reason not to put Mike all-in whenever I held a high card. The first opportunity came with me holding A,7. He easily called holding Q,Q and doubled up. Those damn Hiltons! The very next hand, Mike goes all-in again with me holding 9,10 offsuit. I call and he's holding Q,Q again. Hiltons, twice in a row. Don't you have to at least wait 10 minutes before you get involved with them again? I know I do.

So now the chip count is roughly T180 to T420 and the blinds are 10/20. The very next hand, Mike goes all-in again. No way he has a monster hand again and I look down to see K,Q diamonds.....

Suffice to say that I called that all-in bet and Mike turned out to be bluffing with 9,10 offsuit. A K on the flop sealed my very first live tournament win. Granted, it was only 6 people, but let me tell you how good it felt with me bubbling out on so many live tournaments in the past year. My wallet was $60 richer and I drove home very satisfied with my play and the results.

What to do with the winnings? For those in the know, Nepals is having their anniversary party this Saturday night. Enough said.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Losing Musings

Tilt-man showed up again last night. Not really a tilt in the sense that I began to play really poorly, but tilt in the sense that I played beyond the limits of what my bankroll could withstand.

It started innocently enough with a couple of single table tournaments. I got busted out of the first one in 7th place, I think, when my AK vs. A3 lost to a 3 on the river after an A hit the flop. That was an "ugh" moment. In the second tournament, I got busted in 5th place when my AK yet again got broken on an A-high flop against an A5 when a 5 came on BOTH the turn and the river.

So I joined the $100 NL ring games, where the hand posted below got the better of me. Here's a bit more detail on that hand. I was holding 33 and called a $2 raise to see a flop of 2,3,4. The original raiser immediately goes all-in. To me, it's obvious I'm ahead right here and this is a telegraphed attempt to buy the small $12 pot right there. So I call with ease and confidence. The turn is no help and I thought the river would be no help too, but alas it was a 10 giving him the set.

So with my bankroll depleted already, I tossed the remainder of it away on the 5/10 and 10/20 limit hold 'em tables. Duh. You know, I just have to realize that I'm not the type of gambler/poker player that can successfully pull off a hit and run on the higher limit tables. Other bloggers seem to be able to, just not me. So I'll have to reload and regain some discipline.

What's funny to me is that if I could eliminate 3 days of poker playing from the last year, I'd be up money online. There have been 3 days of -$900 swings and obviously eliminating those type of days would go a long way towards me being profitable online.

I mainly keep track of my financial performance to hopefully one day claim that I'm a decent player. It's an ego thing that I think most players can identify with. The money is a great tool with which to keep score, but the bottom line is that some players want to be a winning player for the intellectual gratification. You see so many professionals at the WSOP say that they want the title and the bracelet, not the money.

So with that, I'm listing some personal rules that I need to follow for the foreseeable future while playing online:

1. When playing no-limit, stay at the $25 buy-in tables.
2. When playing limit, stay at the $1/$2 tables.
3. Stop-loss at no-limit is $25 or 1 buy-in.
4. Stop-loss at limit is also $25.
5. Limit sessions to 2 hours at max (multiple sessions per day are OK)
6. When the bankroll grows to over $500, cash out $100.
7. Read rules 1 through 6 each time you sit down at a table :)

Bottom line is that I know I'm a better player than I was a year ago, but still have some work to do with respect to some aspects of the game. The blogger community has been a huge, valuable resource that I've been able to use to better my play and a big thanks go out to all of you who stop by here and to whose blogs I regularly visit.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Twice in 3 Days

Ok, this is yet another bad beat story....

Lost a $200+ pot when my set of 3's got rivered AGAIN by a 10 giving my opponent a set over set victory. Man, that's $530 on those 2 hands. That's huge to me. If only I can win some of these 2 outers....

Monday, July 12, 2004

The Prize Has Arrived

The new phone book's here. The new phone book's here. --Navin R. Johnson

I got a phone call from my wife while I was at work today. She said I got a package in the mail from somewhere called Tao of Poker. I told her to open it up, it's an original painting from Dr. Pauly.

She said, "Who?"

I said, "Just open it."

I asked her to describe the painting for me. She said, "Hey, it's pretty; it's got a nice pink background. I like it."

"Sweet", I said.

So when I got home I promptly hung the painting on the wall of my computer room where most of my online playing occurs. And, for the enjoyment of everyone, have posted a link to a picture of the painting.

Cracking AA w/the Hiltons

Thanks again Pauly, I'm both honored and thrilled to have won.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Law of Large Numberss

I knew statistics would eventually pay me off. I buckled down my playing style and entered a few more $20 sit-n-go's.

The results:

2nd, 7th, 1st, 1st

The 7th place finish was due to a KK getting squashed by JQ when the flop came JQ and the turn brought another Q. Oh well, I'll still take KK over JQ any day :)

Anyway, very pleased with my decisions AND my results.

Premium Hands Getting Destroyed

I've been playing some Sit N' Go's to break up my NL ring game woes, wherein I've tried moving up to the $100 buy-in ranks.

In my 2nd one, I've made the money and am 2nd in chips when I'm dealt the Hiltons. I raise up T300 and the short stack goes all-in. I call to see his AJo. Well, the board is garbage until the A spikes on the river. I don't see another playable hand and am blinded away to 3rd place.

In the 3rd one, it's the 3rd or 4th hand and I'm dealt AA. A K-high flop and I bet the size of the pot, about T250. I get called and decide to push all-in at that point. The other guy shows me KJ and a deadly J spikes on the river for him, eliminating me in 10th.

None of that hurts as much as the 8's I'm dealt in a ring game where the flop makes my set. After all is said and done, the $325 pot goes to my opponent who rivered a 10 for a set over set victory. That one hurt a lot, and as such, my bank roll has taken quite a hit this weekend based nearly on the results of that one single hand.

I'm hoping not to dwell too long on these bad results as I'm still making correct decisions which is all that I can control. But sometimes it hurts, I tell ya, it hurts.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Anti-CJ Hand

So, I'm graciously allowing my mother-in-law access to my laptop so she can check her email from the campground. An HOUR!!!! later, I log on anxiously awaiting the tables at Party Poker.

Compounding the overly long wait for my own laptop is a run of garbage cards that I can't rightfully play. Until I get CJ's favorite, 9,9.

I of course pre-flop raise to $3 and am called by one player. I see a very good flop when you're holding 9's: 3s, 4s, 8d. I bet out $4 and am raised to $20. I call. The turn is a Kd. Other player goes all in and I call. The river is a 7d. Get this....

Other player wins holding Q,10d. Thou art shitting me.

Raising and going all in for a runner-runner draw. Good Lord.

Let me remind you I'm at a recreation center at a camp grounds in North Carolina where the average age is about 60 years old. So I guess it's really no surprise that I get a couple of looks when I yell "You fucking dildo!" and toss my World Champion New England Patriots hat into the ceiling fan.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

On Vacation

Well, I'm off camping this week with the wife, both kids, and the in-laws. Up here in a camp ground in North Carolina, there is incredibly enough a wireless access point. And with me being the genius that I am, I've brought my laptop. So you know what that means...

Anyway, been swimming, miniature golfing, eating, and drinking the last 2 days and anticipate much of the same for the next 3. Poker? Perhaps. If you see me on Party, shout out!

Saturday, July 03, 2004

More Bubble-icious Action

Well, just got home from the Up For Poker boy's 4th of July weekend poker tournament. Another fantastically run tournament featuring 23 players and a $50 buy-in. Let me set the stage for you early and mention that the top four players would be paid $125, $175, $275, $575.

I drew table 3 and saw only one familiar face, known in these parts as Greenwood Phil. The other 5 players at the table were all unknowns to me, so I had no idea what their style would be. Best to play it safe during these early rounds. I brought along two of my home game buddies, Teddy Ballgame and the Rankster, each of whom drew table 1.

Luckily for me, the early rounds saw me get a decent number of starting hands to play, including A,A twice, and Q,Q once. Neither of those monsters lost and I soon found myself at about T1700 by the first break, up from the original starting T1000.

Meanwhile, over at table 1, the Rankster managed to be the first eliminated. Good thing he drove the hour drive himself as he would have had to wait about 3 more hours if he wanted to wait for the rest of us to finish up.

Early in round 4 after the 1st break, I'm dealt 9,9. The flop is K,J,9 and I have position on the only other player in this hand. He bets out T100 and I simply call for now, fearing a straight draw. When the turn brings an A and he checks, I put him on K,X with a good kicker. So I bet out T200 and he calls. The river is a rag and I bet out T400 at which point the other player raises me all-in. I'm a bit nervous not knowing these players, but I really wasn't thinking that he was slow playing a straight. I call and he shows K,Q. My trip 9's take a rather big pot, giving me roughly T3000 in chips and I became chip leader at my table.

After the tables condensed to two, I was moved to another table with all new players. I was immediately dealt J,J and saw a K,10,4 flop. One player bet, and another raised all-in. I'd have to lay down these J's for sure. The all-in raiser showed A,A and I turned out making the obviously correct call on that hand. The very next hand I'm dealt J,J again but only smooth call and see a 4-handed flop. I'm not generally aggressive twice in a row since I tend to think that raising pre-flop two hands in a row dilutes its effect. That may be a flaw in my playing style though. The flop this time is 8,9,10 and I bet out. I get one caller and the turn brings a Q. I bet out again and the other player folds. Now I'm about at T3700.

Next comes the hand of the tournament for me. I'm dealt A,10 and see an A,Q,J heart flop. I'm holding the 10 of hearts and at this point believe nobody's got a flush. I bet T400 and get called by one player. The turn brings a 3 of hearts and I've now got the 2nd highest possible flush. The other player goes all-in. Here's my dilema: I'm not sure how good or bad a player he is. An all-in bet here by a decent player is to me an attempt to buy the pot, because if they are holding the K of hearts, there's no reason to bet me out of the pot. But I didn't know anything about him, and have seen earlier play where other people went all in with the nuts and were actually called. So I decide to lay the hand down having plenty of chips to work with later on. Turns out the other guy was holding the 6 of hearts and I would have won. This would have given me about T6000+ and an easy ticket into the money.

After we get down to 10 players, I'm moved to another table where it's 5-handed. I get some cards, including a set of 7's and finish at the break with T3300.

The final table of eight is roughly even with nobody holding a huge dominating stack. The only problem here is that the blinds are 300/600 and the next level they go to 500/1000. Unfortunately for me, the deck goes cold on me at the final table. But not before three players go out leaving me right on the bubble. My last hurrah is an all-in with T1000 holding 9,10 hearts. The big blind is my only opponent holding J,2 spades. There's no help for me and my tournament is over in 5th place, just out of the money......AGAIN.

Here's a quick summary of the 7 live tournaments I've played in:

11 players, paying 4 - 6th
16 players, paying 4 - 4th
19 players, paying 3 - 4th
19 players, paying 4 - 5th
13 players, paying 3 - 7th
33 players, paying 5 - 5th
23 players, paying 4 - 5th

As you can see, I've always made the final table; but in 5 out of 7 tournaments, I've been eliminated either on the bubble or just at the first money position. A very disturbing trend indeed, not to mention the WBT tourney where there were 30 players, paying 3 - 4th.

At some point this needs to improve and I'll need to do some analysis of my tournament play to figure out why this happens so often.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Not A Worry Cause My Wallet's Fat

There was a massacre at my home game last night. And it was delivered by yours truly to the rest of the players. A six-player event where I dominated to the tune of +$197. After last week's craptacular performance where my play could easily have been described as loosey-goosey, I vowed to tighten up and let the other players call me down to keep me honest.

And was I ever honest. Didn't bluff a single time and had the goods when I needed them.

I hope to parlay this winning trend to Saturday's tournament with the boys at Up For Poker.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Some Beat Downs

Not to bore the readers with bad beat stories, but last night's events put a hurt on the old bankroll. Dropped $79 in only about 90 minutes; three hands really stand out as contributing factors to the overall results.

Holding A,A, the flop is A,Q,4 rainbow. The dumbass in me checks thinking slow play all the way. Well I gave away a free card and the turn brought the K. I eventually get all-in to my opponents J,10. These straights are absolutely killing my sets the last week.

Holding K,10 and I limp in to see a 10,10,4 rainbow flop. I'm not slow playing this, so I bet. I'm called. I'm eventually all-in again against 3,5 spades and see runner-runner spade for the loss. Yay.

Last hand of the night and I limp in with 9,10 suited. The flop is the majestic J,Q,K. I don't put anyone on A,10 and I'm right. I'm eventually all in after the turn against someone holding K,J. The river is another J. Joy.

Those three pots were a combined $140+ so to say that I was subject to some variance would be a bit of an understatement.

I logged out after the last loss knowing full well that in the past I'd have continued to throw money away with very bad play in an attempt to make back my losses quickly. After all, $79 isn't really all that much and I hope to regroup again tomorrow in my home game.