Friday, March 30, 2007

1 Token Down, 3 Tokens Left

My bankroll has run dry. I took the $53 that I had remaining and turned it into 4 tokens. Not bad, since it means that I can buy into twice as many tournaments as I would have been able to, but I should have been sitting on six or seven tokens. I finished second in as many tables as I won, and three of them I had a chance to win but I either lost to suckouts or just forgot how to play heads up.

I used Token #1 to play the 26k guarantee on Wednesday. I made it through the first hour break with just crap hands. Only hands of note were JJ, TT, AT and AK.

TT: In the BB, UTG min-raises to 80. MP calls and I call. Flop comes 664 and UTG bets out 1\2 pot. MP makes it 600 and I fold. I was hoping to be the aggressor on this hand, but when MP reraises, I decide to fight another day. Not sure if this was a good fold - what beats me here? AA-JJ are probably out of the picture since there wasn't a reraise preflop. 6x? 44? Would he really push that hard with either of those? Doing this kind of analysis during the hand is something I'm trying to get better at. JJ is possible, other than that I have to figure I'm ahead.

JJ: Picked it up UTG and raised 3xBB. BB calls, flop comes QJ3, two spades. I bet out about 3\4 pot and he folds.

AT: Folds to me on the button, I raise 3xBB and BB pushes. Have to fold this one.

AK: Raise from the CO 4xBB and button reraises. Chips go in the middle and he's got TT. Hit a K on the turn to double up to about T2800

J7: Not a hand of note because it was so good, but because of how I played it. Folds to the button who raises it to 350. I'm in the BB and I put him on a steal, so I repop to 800. He immediately raises all in and I fold. I'm happy with my play, especially since I hadn't been playing aggressive; I wanted others to know that my blinds aren't there to be stolen. But I was playing more the circumstance rather than the player, and perhaps I could have picked a better spot\hand to resteal with. This drops me down to about T1400.

After the break, I play two hands:

Ax: Down to about T1200, I push all in from MP against 1 limper. Blinds and limper fold.

TT: Raise from MP with TT, button puts me all in. AK vs TT, K hits the river. I finish 469\1127, approximately.

This was only the second tourney I played in a while, and the biggest one I've ever played, but I'm not completely satisfied with my play. On the first TT, I can't possibly put the reraiser on an pair better than mine; maybe a semi-bluff with Ax of spades or a pair like 77-99. But I chose to fold and instead put my money in at a better spot where I'm the aggressor, like the AK hand. I played pretty tight preflop, folding hands like AJo in EP (Hoy would be so proud). I really didn't get that many big hands to play, but I didn't make the best of them when I did get them.

Things To Work On:

1. Post-Flop Play. The first TT hand is a good example. I'm too slow on my analysis right now, I need to sharpen that. Instead of limiting to myself to "what hand does he have", I need to think of possible hand ranges and go from there. Had I been thinking that way before, I probably push on the first TT hand.

EDIT: Thanks to PokerEnthusiast's comment, I see that folding the TT hand was probably correct. Although I'm probably ahead on the flop, against hands like AK through AJs, I'm not that much of a favorite. Thanks for the comment, PE.

2. Positional Aggression. I didn't get that many hands, but there were times where I was definitely playing too passively. There were probably a couple of occassions where I could have taken down a pot with a big pre-flop raise. Another problem was that I usually had a couple of short-stacks after me. I didn't have a big enough stack to bully them, so instead I folded out of fear that they would pick up a hand that they wanted to push with, and I either have to call with marginal hands or fold.

Friday, March 23, 2007


The day after I announce my most recent attempt to abstain from online poker, Fuel55 goes and posts this. Fuel's blog was one of the first blogs I started reading and continues to be one of the few blogs I read on a daily basis because of posts like this.

The fact is I am only an average poker player, but with the potential for more. I've yet to reach my potential because I have not made the effort to improve my game. There are serious holes in my game that prevent me from being a winning player, holes that I even know about, yet I chose to ignore them. He's right when he says the quote hits the nail on the head - the opportunity for me to become a better poker player is right there in front of me, but yet I don't take it. It's not that I don't want to, it's that I'm not putting myself in the right mind frame to do so.

My mind frame right now is not of a poker player, it's of a gambler who likes to play poker. In clear cut situations, I'm making the right decisions. It's the marginal situations that I'm putting myself in that are limiting me as a poker player. Let me present an example from an $11k guaranteed tournament I played the other day:

526 runners, and with about 188 to go, I was sitting in 26th place. I was able to triple up early when I hit back to back AA. The first time I took the blinds, the second I raised it in the BB against 5 preflop limpers to 6xBB. I get four callers. Flop comes 862, two diamonds. I bet half the pot, EP pushes. MP calls, and I call. Up against JJ and A2s (wtf?) I take down the pot.

My other big hand is when when I limp with A7c. Flop comes 99T, checks all around. Turn is an A, MP bets 2\3rds, and I reraise to take down the pot. This tops me off at around T6200.

Sitting in the SB against an EP limper, I call with KJo. Flop comes JT3 and I bet the pot - 240. The limper raises to 560, and right here is where I make my mistake. I put him on the following hands: AJ, KJ, QJ, JT, 33. I can only beat one of those hands. I narrow it down to JT. I think AJ would have raised preflop, QJ wouldn't raise post-flop, and it just doesn't feel like 33. So I'm either spliting the pot or I'm drawing to 3 outs. Yet I still call his flop raise. And his turn bet. And his river bet, all just to see that he, in fact, has JT. I lose half my stack.

Why did I do this? Because in my head, I told myself "what if a K comes?" I wasn't playing poker, I was gambling in the form of poker. This isn't just beating myself up over one mistake, this is one event in a history of many that symbolizes where I am at, mentally, with poker. I know that I can make the right play, yet I choose not to because I am thinking more about the big score at the end then I am about making the right plays it takes to get there.

In order to put myself in the right mind frame, I need to take a break from this. My progress as a poker player has plateaued over the last several months. Instead of trying to improve, I've tried to rely on the poker skills I have now to be successful, and that isn't working. Plus, I am not analyzing the game well enough. I'm constantly putting my opponents on donkey plays and calling with less than optimal hands when I should be focusing on my Furthermore, I do not have the patience right now to crank it out at the low limit games in order to build my bankroll.

I need a break. A fresh start. Clear my mind.

Once I get finished with my current bankroll, I'm stepping away from both online and B&M poker for 3 months. I'll limit myself to home games, and that's it.

Speaking of my current bankroll, last night was a mild success. I played 4 $6.60 SNGs for the $26 tokens, taking down two of them. In addition, I offest the cost of playing those by clearing some of my bonus at the cash table, and picked up a little bit more money. My total for last night - $16 spent, two $26 tokens. Not a bad night. Now let's hope that I can turn those tokens into something bigger.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Looking For One Last Score (Or, My Most Recent Declaration Of Quitting Online Poker)

I'm back at it again. I'm quitting online poker for a while.

This time I'm serious.

And this time, I mean it.

This has nothing to do with running into bad beats or abilities to transfer funds or pressure from my girlfriend to not play as much. It has everything to do with four things:

1. Money
2. Time
3. Dedication
4. Addiction


The fact is, as I've mentioned several times before, I do not have the bankroll to take huge losses nor do I have the financial security to keep buyin back. I'm not a college student with excess student loans and $600 in loose income to blow each month. More importantly, there's no way to justify spending money on poker when I have so many other immediate needs. Realistically, I should be withdrawing what I have left and applying that elsewhere, but I'll give myself a chance at one last hurrah or donk away the rest of my bankroll, again.


Over the last couple of weeks, I've significantly increased how much I've been playing. I took Tuesday off a couple of weeks ago becase I was feeling slightly ill, and spent all day playing. Again, yesterday, I had a couple of appointments, but by 1:30, I was back at the tables. I'm investing a lot of time into poker, and because of it, I'm missing out on doing other things that I could\should be doing. Especially considering the weather up her is going to be gloriously beautiful in a month or so, I need to stop devoting so much time to such an anti-social activity.


I have a lot to improve, but considering the above, I am not willing to make the necessary dedication right now to improving my game. Poker is just a hobby to me, and while I do want to give myself as much of an advantage over anyone else at the table, I'm not in a position to do this just yet. At some point in the future, I will look to make the effort to becoming a serious poker player, but that time is not right now.


I'm not going to admit that I am addicited to online poker, but I am willing to admit that I am making it more of a priority than I should be. What does bother me is that I find myself getting into my old habits - specifically, if I lose a small game, I jump to a bigger game to see if I can recoup my losses, and if I lose that game, I jump to the next. Last night I played a $11 SnG - chump change for most, and much less than the $33 games I used to play a year ago - a game that costs a significant amount of my measly bankroll. If I'm not willing to have the discipline to camp out at the micro-stakes table and build my bankroll, then I shouldn't be playing at all.

So, here's the schedule for my last hurrah:

1. Token games - I'm going to put most of my emphasis on trying to win $26 tokens. If I try to focus on playing SnGs, I'm going to find myself continuing down the same path I'm on now. My goal isn't to slowly build my bankroll back up. My goal is to put myself in the best position to win a significant amount of money soon. I figure my best bet is to buy into the $26 tourneys, so I'm going to shoot for that.

2. A couple of 90-person SnGs. Probably just one, maybe two. Again, another chance to win a decent amount of money cheaply. I don't want to invest everything into token games, so I'm trying to diversify

3. Micro cash games - I'm going to use the remainder to sit down at the cash tables. This is mostly because I have about $5-$10 left on my deposit bonus that I still need to clear. I'm not going to pass up free money.

I'll divy up my bankroll later tonight and go from there. I have no intention of taking any earnings and reinvesting them. Whatever I win, whether it be $1 or a couple hundred, it's all being cashed out. Then, it's quitsville for a while. This is just one change of many that I'm trying to make in my life, and I truly believe, seriously, that this is for the best.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

How To Win A Sit N' Go (Or, A Bragging Post, Fuel55 Style)

Step 1: Make a straight flush:

Seat 1: 11duke11 (1,410)
Seat 2: LT1071 (1,650)
Seat 3: thatbayboy (1,455)
Seat 4: mclarich (1,470)
Seat 5: IchewBIGtime (1,500)
Seat 6: PoetLaureate (1,500)
Seat 7: Ryan Becker (1,500)
Seat 8: OTPABA (1,545)
Seat 9: goati77 (1,470)
mclarich posts the small blind of 15
IchewBIGtime posts the big blind of 30
The button is in seat #3

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to mclarich [Ah 4h]
PoetLaureate folds
Ryan Becker calls 30
OTPABA folds
goati77 folds
11duke11 calls 30
LT1071 calls 30
thatbayboy calls 30
mclarich calls 15 (easy call from the small blind)
IchewBIGtime checks

*** FLOP *** [3h Ac 2h]

mclarich checks (setting up the check-raise)
IchewBIGtime bets 30
Ryan Becker raises to 150 (probably beat, maybe has AJ-A8? I'm still check raising anyways)
11duke11 folds
LT1071 folds
thatbayboy calls 150 (chasing a flush draw? Please, tag along!)
Mclarich raises to 1,440, and is all in (If I'm beat and I don't catch up, so be it. But with a chance to triple up in a token game, I'll take my chances. I've got 16 outs - three 3's, three 4's, four 5's and six hearts if I'm against another flush draw)
IchewBIGtime folds
Ryan Becker raises to 1,470, and is all in
thatbayboy calls 1,275, and is all in
Ryan Becker shows [2d Ad](Figured I was behind - can't blame him for calling)
thatbayboy shows [Jh Th](nice call with nothing but 4th nut flush possibilities)
mclarich shows [Ah 4h]

*** TURN *** [3h Ac 2h] [5h]

Thank you, come again.

*** RIVER *** [3h Ac 2h 5h] [Qc]

Ryan Becker shows two pair, Aces and Twos
mclarich wins the side pot (30) with a straight flush, Five high
mclarich wins the main pot (4,485) with a straight flush, Five high

2. Flop quads against an overpair

Seat 1: 11duke11 (1,535)
Seat 4: mclarich (3,405)
Seat 5: IchewBIGtime (1,940)
Seat 8: OTPABA (3,430)
Seat 9: goati77 (3,190)
OTPABA posts the small blind of 50
goati77 posts the big blind of 100
The button is in seat #5
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to mclarich [6h 6s]
11duke11 folds
mclarich calls 100 (The limp is pretty weak, but I'm just playing this for set value. It should cost me less to limp-call then it would to call a reraise.)

IchewBIGtime folds
OTPABA calls 50
goati77 raises to 500 (I figure I'm beat, but I'm thinking implied odds here. I'm not calling 400 into an 1100 pot, I'm calling 400 for the potential of a 7000 pot, even if I'm a huge dog. I'm willing to take the risk)
mclarich calls 400
OTPABA folds

*** FLOP *** [6c 2h 6d]


goati77 bets 700
mclarich has 15 seconds left to act (I meant to act a little quicker, hand some mouse problems)
mclarich raises to 2,000
goati77 raises to 2,690, and is all in
mclarich calls 690
goati77 shows [Qs Qh] (another player gets fucked by the bitches)
mclarich shows [6h 6s]

*** TURN *** [6c 2h 6d] [Kh]
*** RIVER *** [6c 2h 6d Kh] [9h]

goati77: lol
goati77 shows two pair, Queens and Sixes
mclarich shows four of a kind, Sixes
mclarich wins the pot (6,480) with four of a kind, Sixes
goati77 stands up
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 6,480 | Rake 0
Board: [6c 2h 6d Kh 9h]
Seat 1: 11duke11 didn't bet (folded)
Seat 4: mclarich showed [6h 6s] and won (6,480) with four of a kind, Sixes
Seat 5: IchewBIGtime (button) didn't bet (folded)
Seat 8: OTPABA (small blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 9: goati77 (big blind) showed [Qs Qh] and lost with two pair, Queens and Sixes

3: Coast to victory

Actually, it was still a pretty tough match since my stack was pretty much even with the next guy, but I was able to eek out a victory. Flopping quads and hitting a str8 flush in the same game - definitely a first for me.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Running SO Good Hurts So Bad Sometimes (Or, How I Was Able To Find That "Tilt" Feeling Again)

I know that Iakaris has the trademark on longwinded titles, and by no means am I trying to steal his thunder. These just seem to work for me lately.

After a great day on Sunday (I'll post the recap later tonight), I played hooky from work yesterday and cranked it out at the poker table, Full Tilt-style. Ended up the day losing about $35, which isn't most to some, but it hurt me pretty badly, as that was about 25% of my bankroll. Ouch. Here's how it all went down:

The Good

Picked up a $20 pot on .05\.10 PLO8. Holding AQ34 in an unraised pot, the flop comes down A87. Top pair, second nut low, I call the measly bets. Turn comes a Q. I hit top two pair and the chips start flying. Two people go all in for a couple of bucks. I'm a dog unless I'm up against a flopped set (which I ran into early, in a set over set hand). But top two with nut low possibilites, and a table full of donks bigger than I, I'm not folding. River is a beautiful two. The only other person not all in bets the minimum. I go for the ol' overbet and push it all in. He calls with A8xx and I scoop the pot.

Also, cashed in a couple of 1-table SNGs - one was for a $26 token and the other was 3rd in a $5 game. Nothing spectacular.

The Bad

Can't remember all of the games or the order these took place, but I enough bad beats yesterday to put me on tilt. I hardly ever go on tilt anymore. I understand it happens and I deal with it. But yesterday just really got to me:

KK vs TT - lose to a flopped set.
66 vs AK - Pushed as a medium shortstack and lose the race
AJ vs AK - Yes, I was an underdog on this hand, but the dude only raised it the min. I called in SB and flopped top two. Chips go in on the turn and he rivers a K.
KKxx vs 4567 - On heads up PLO, I bet when the flop comes K56. The other guy pushes over the top with two pair and an OESD with two of his cards already in his hand. He turns the str8 of course.
AT vs T6 - this hand was a SnG I already cashed in. 3-handed, in the BB, the button comes for a raise and the SB pushes. He's got me covered, but AT 3-handed is pretty solid, and his bet just doesn't seem that strong. Last time he did this, he had KQ (and sucked out a str8 against KK). So I call, and he's dominated. Until the 6 hits the turn. FUCK ME!

I even tried pushing someone off a hand with the hammer, and he calls with pocket 9s for nearly his entire stack. I make two pair, but the board pairs 4s and he's got a better two pair.

The Ugly

I admit my fault on this hand. Down to the bubble on a 1-table SNG, I have A9o. I'd been raising and stealing a lot, so I try to get sneaky on this one. BB checks and the flop comes 794, two clubs. I have the Ace of clubs. He bets the pot and I push all in. He calls with his 94, flopped two pair. Don't blame him for the call, and I should have just raised preflop instead of getting sneaky. I also shouldn't have pushed post-flop, but I didn't think he'd have two pair - was hoping for something like J9 or maybe clubs.

So what's the moral of this story?

1. I need to stay off of tilt. I've been so good at this, but yesterday, I hit that moment where I said "fuck this!" and kept hopping back into games after I suffered a bad beat. I should have taken a break and got my head back where it needs to be.

2. Play within my bankroll. Soon, I should look to drop back down to the smaller games. I've been extremely comfortable playing the $1.25 5-table games. A win isn't much, but I've come 3rd or higher in 2 of the 4 I've played, and I could use a couple of these to build my bankroll.

3. Stop playing the PLO Heads-Up games. I've had a lot of fun playing these games, but I need to stay away from them. One, the risk-reward isn't worth it to me; I'd rather keep my $2 and use it at the lower limits or the .5\.10 PLO8 game then risk it to win $4. Two, most players at these games are tight, even for just $2, and I get tired of playing these people as they just sit around waiting for the nuts.

4. Stick to what's working. The A9 hand is a perfect example. How many times to do I need to do this (meaning be sneaky and have it backfire) before I learn. Why am I trying to trap with A9o, then pushing with just TPTK into a stack bigger than me? No reason why I can't just steal the blinds there and keep playing my game.

Here's hoping I can get back to my winning ways tonight at The Mookie.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Bloggerpods (Or, How I Got Hit With The Deck So Hard, My Head Still Hurts)

You know it's going to be a good tournament when:

A) You get AA at least four times during the event (although I didn't get completely paid off once)

B) You get people all in twice with Qx against your AK and you don't get sucked out on.

C) You fold 33 preflop (and rightfully so, only to see that you would have caught quads on a pot where three people were all in) but live to tell about it

4) You win an iPod (or in my case, the cash equivalent of it).

Details to come...

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Who's The Stud? (Or, How JJ Became My Most Hated Hand Again)

So it's not much, but at least I can claim a win at a blogger game.

The Mookie tonight wasn't as good to me. I'll be seeing JJ in my sleep tonight. Couldn't get any action on my big pairs, stole a couple of blinds, but not much action unless JJ was involved.

JJ No. 1 - I got JJ UTG and decided to limp. Pokerenthusiast raised to 250 and the repop was looking good, especially since he was having trouble with the live blog tonight. But TripJax reraised and ruined my plans - wasn't sure if he was on QQ or better, but with a raise and a reraise, I decided to wait for a better hand. The chips go in the middle and they've both got AK. Board is Q high and I would've tripled up. That's what I get for being crafty.

JJ No. 2 - I raise in EP with QJd, trying hoping to hit a flop. Get one caller and the flop is AJA, two hears. It goes check-check, and the turn is 7s. I bet out to represent an A and I get reraised. Got to lay it down, and the other guy shows JJ. Balls!

JJ No. 3 - very next hand,pokerenthusiast raises to 300 and I push for 700something with AQ. He calls guessed it, and IGHN.

The Stud game was another story. I won't go through the hand history, but I stuck to a pretty simple formula - complete when in good position, only play draws if there's no completion unless they're huge draws, only chase them if they're cheap, and bet aggressively. I don't really know how good a strategy this really is, but it seems to work for me well. When I lose at Stud, it's either due to one of two reasons - I overplay a hand against a well concealed stronger hand, or I get brutally sucked out on. Luckily, neither of those occured tonight, and I was able to take down my first (but hopefully not last) blogger game.