Tuesday, June 26, 2007

So Much For That Idea

I used up both my tokens last night, buying into two MTTs at 7pm.

By 7:35pm I was out of both.

Only played one hand in the $26k. Got KK in MP and called a UTG raise to 95. 4 people saw the flop of J83 rainbow. Third to act, I bet out 250 or so into a 310 pot. UTG reraises me to 700. The only thing I'm worried about is a set here, but with the rainbow board, the reraise seems out of place. So I push, looking for that glorious early stage doubleup. He calls.

He shows KJ. He's drawing to two outs.

I think you know where this is going.

When the turn hits, I'm now looking for the river to show me the only card that can save me. It doesn't come. I'm now down to 50 chips and can't recover. GG me

Simultaneously, I was playing my first ever MATH tournament. I chipped up slightly early on when I made broadway on the river with JT but didn't get any more of Chad's chips after the flop.

Was feeling comfortable until the $26k ended. I got tilted and proceeded to play as such. Woke up with QQ on the button yet didn't reraise Chad's MP raise. Haven't really played with Chad that much, but I respect what I know of his game, so that combined with my lack of clarity paralyzed me, and I played passively. Flop was K high, 3 spades, and I had the Qs. Turn was A, river was blank. We both checked it down and his KTo was goot. So many places to take the pot with a bet and I didn't.

Next hand, tried to represent a big hand with a raise from the SB with QTo. Bet the A high, two club flop & BB called. Check on the turn ruined any chance of carrying out the bluff. River was a blank and took a stab at the pot incase BB was on a flush draw. BB calls with QQ and I'm barely half the starting stack.

Limp 44, don't hit a set and fold to a bet. Would've taken the pot as the two left in the hand were on draws or high cards.

Dude from the QQ hand limps UTG and it folds to my BB. I raise it up with JJ. Bet the KT9, 2 diamond flop to see where my hand is at. He calls. Turn is a 9 and I'm done with the hand, and his pot size bet ensures that.

I'm not going out without a fight though. Raise from MP and get one caller. Push the 9 high flop and he folds. I show the hammer.

Limp 99 UTG. Turn gives me an OESD but I check fold to Hoy's bet. Chad calls, and I see the river, the J that I needed. Hoy showed 76 for bottom pair. I would've been goot but again played the hand passively.

Next hand, ATc in the BB. Folds to Hoy and he raised to 3.5xBB. Combine a read of a steal on his part and a case of the awfukits and I decide to push. His AKo tells me that was a bad choice. Flop a T but Hoy flops a gutshot Broadway that gets there on the river. He laughs, I say GG and go back to picking on $5 SNG donks.

I was upset for a while afterwards for a couple of reasons. I let the KK hand get to me, and it got to me more than something like that normally would because I had this expectation built up that I was playing good enough to run deep. But the KK hand I couldn't control - I got my hand in as a huge favorite but it didn't hold up.

Trying to play the MATH afterwards was futile. Going in, I felt confident, but after the $26k bustout, I lost my confidence. Instead of playing solid, aggressive poker, I instead tried to play tricky. I went against every principle of poker that I know.

I cashed out most of my bankroll afterwards. I felt myself getting that tilt feeling again, the one that makes you want to jump up in stakes and try to recoup your losses, or just to feel better. I've still got some left to play around with until I can make another deposit. And I'll continue to work on my game to avoid these kind of blowups.

But it's just so goddamn disheartening when you think everything is finally starting to go well, and it blows up in your face.

Roll with the punches, I guess.

Monday, June 25, 2007

MTT Memories

I hardly played any poker this weekend, and it felt pretty good. The girlfriend and I decided to jampack our weekend with barbecues, art festivals, a gay pride parade, and several hours of Lost: Season 1. The only poker that I played this weekend were a couple of SNGs Friday night. In 3 games I had two cashes and 1 token win. But that's not to say that I didn't think about poker this weekend; in fact, I thought about it a lot.

On Saturday, while the girlfriend and I were throwing back some pints, the conversation turned to poker, again. I talk about poker a lot with her because, well, she's always around, and now that she's showing an interest in poker, I can't help it. I was talking about my stats lately; since the Mookie a couple of weeks ago, I've played 16 SNGS. My stats: 12 cashes, 7 wins, two tokens. My stats on Sharkscope: $425 profit, 32% ROI, and running SuperHot. More importantly, I've felt more confident with my game lately. I know I'm not at my peak game yet, but I'm getting there, and I've got this confidence now that I can run deep in a MTT very soon. I've got two tokens to burn, and with a 50% cash rate in the $26k (only 2 for 4, but it's a start), I'm going to see what I can do in that thing.

Of course, thinking about going deep in a MTT conjures up memories of my two MTT final tables. I haven't final tabled a large MTT since a 2nd place finish in a $77 game on Party Poker over a year ago. Granted, I've only played a couple since then (and I'm excluding my BloggerPods and 90-player SNG finishes from the list, BTW), so I've had few chances. Anyways, those memories of final tables past got me thinking about a couple hands from those games, mainly the hands I busted out on. Those hands got me thinking about more hands, and more hands, and so on. I remember so many different hands so vividly, it's like the screenshots from Hoy's blog, only in my head. So, as I set forth in my goal of making another final table, I make a trip to the past, and my 10 most memorable hands ever.

10. A9 vs Q3

Most of these hands were hands I busted out on, this one included. This hand occured on a $100+9 MTT I played on Party years ago. I played this after my first big MTT, and I remember it started late at night, around midnight. It wasn't too large of a field, somewhere between 180 & 200 runners. I signed up on a whim and almost immediately fell asleep. Somehow I made down to the final 18 and cashed when I made the mistake of limping A9 from the SB when it folded to me. Then, I c-bet the Q3x flop. When the A hit the turn, I knew I had to be golden, so I bet then called my opponents all in. He hit the BB special with Q3 and sent me to bed. This one sticks out mostly because I immediately knew afterwards just how badly I played this hand and I vowed never to get tricky with A9.

9. QQ vs AK

This was a hand from my first final table. We were getting close to the bubble and I had decent stack, but nothing that was very workable, something around 9900 (I don't remember what the blinds were). Someone raised in EP, I think about a 3rd of my stack, and I pushed with QQ. He had me covered, but I figured I had some fold equity, but I also knew that a call meant I could be out. He called and showed AK and my hand held up. In the same circumstance now, I'm not sure how many times I would make that play, but I remember that hand because I felt I had the best hand and I made the decision that I'd rather go deep and take down the tournament and risk busting then I would to just barely cash like I had several times before.

8. JJ vs Q9

This was another hand from the first MTT. I raised preflop with JJ. Flop came Q9x and I c-bet, got one caller. Turn was another 9. I led out again because I didn't put him on a Q and he still called. River was a J. At this point I put him on a 9 so I pushed. He calls and shows the Q9. This was a huge hand for me because it was the first time that I was able to go deep in a MTT with a good sized stack.

7. AA vs KQ.

I think this was the first time I ever laid down AA. I got AA on the button, and preflop, UTG raised. UTG+1 either called or reraised, I think reraised, and I just smooth called. UTG called as well, and the flop came Q high. At this point I was honestly scared of QQ, but the betting didn't get crazy, it might have even checked to the turn. Turn was a K and UTG now leads out. UTG+1 reraises, and I just had that feeling I was beat, so I folded. Turns out UTG had KQ and +1 had AK. Good laydown, Matt.

Of course, the river was the case A and I would've scooped a monster pot, but I think I ended up winning the whole thing (this was on a 5-table SNG).

6. KK vs AA

Probably the only time I've laid down KK preflop. A couple of hands before I doubled up through some guy with AA vs his KK. There was something about the way he played that hand, and most of his big hands, that I took note of. I think it was about 4 hands later that I got KK on the button. The same guy limped before me in the CO, and I raised it up. The SB and BB, both shorter stacks, called, then the CO reraised it. There was something about this play that called out AA to me, and after taking a huge pot off this guy, I didn't want to give the chips back. I folded, and both SB and BB called all-in. He showed AA and took a big pot, but it would have been bigger if I didn't fold. This was one of my prouder moments.

5. T3 vs Ax

This occured in another multi-table SNG. I had chipped up and had a pretty tight but solid image, when I decided to mix it up a bit. An EP player raised it up, but his bet seemed kind of weak, so I decided I was going to see if I could outmuscle him, so I smooth called from the BB. The flop came A high and I check raised his C-bet. The turn was a blank, and I lead out strong, essentially putting him all in, and he folded, saying that he thought he was outkicked. Prior to this I was a HORRIBLE bluffer, so I couldn't help but show him the bluff. I won't always make this move, but if I'm confident in my read, I've been known to call with air from time to time just to change things up like this.

4. 99 vs A3

This one occured in live play, when I was playing a tournament at the Plaza in Las Vegas. I was staying there many trips ago with some friends, and I decided to get up early and try my hand at their $55 game. This was my first time ever playing poker in Vegas. The first tournament I didn't even last the first break. I was visibly nervous and just completely out of my element. The second game I was a lot more calm, and after winning a huge pot with AK vs AQ preflop, I had a decent stack and made it to the second break.

After the tables broke, I sat down and got 99 about 5 hands in. It folds to me and, with a stack of around 8500, I raised it to 2k preflop, about 3xBB. One of the blinds call. Flop comes K63. I bet 2k and he calls. Turn is a blank. Another 2k bet, he calls. River is a 3 and he puts me all in. I didn't think he had a K at the time, so I called, and he shows A3 for the rivered trips. Today, I wouldn't play that hand the same way, but I'd still probably go broke because I had the feeling that he was treating his bottom pair like it was gold. This hand helped my live game because I gained some confidence in making some reads.

3. KK vs 42

This hand was relatively inconsequential. I think it was at a $22 multi-table SNG and I raised preflop with KK. BB calls. Flop comes 42x, no straight or flush possibilities. BB check raises me all in and shows 42 soooted. At this time I was still pretty brash and talked a lot of shit, and I just went off on the guy. I called him whatever I could think of and asked him how he could defend his call.

His response: "It was suited. I like suited cards".

Of course, today, I might make the same call he did, but I didn't understand it at the time. What I did understand though was two things:

A) Putting myself on tilt does me no good. I end up playing worse, and there's no point getting that upset about something I can't control.
B) Berating someone for a call like that does no good either. I want that guy to call me with 42 every single time I have KK.

Don't get me wrong, I still talk shit from time to time, and sometimes I can't help but let my emotions get the best of me. But from that hand forward, I've focused more energy on trying to play better and less on getting tilted.

2. QJ vs KK

This hand came from my 2nd place finish in a $77 MTT on Party, and my biggest cash - $3500. We were heads up and I had a decent chip lead, but nothing dominating. The other guy offered to make a deal. It might have been the smartest choice, but as I told him, I'd never really made it this far, and I wanted to go for the win. Of course, this decision probably cost me about $1k, but that's in the past now.

I raised preflop with QJd and my opponent just called. We checked the 9 high flop, and the turn was the Td. The 9 was also a diamond, so I was swimming in outs and looking at a potential straight flush. Plus, my opponent seemed weak, so I bet the pot. He then pushed all in for less than double and I had to call. He shows KK, I can't find an out, and he takes the chiplead. I finish in 2nd when my A4 is no good against A5 when we both pair our kicker.

I'd still probably make the same play, I just happened to get trapped by a slow played KK. Even though this wasn't the hand that busted me, it was the most crippling hand, and I went from being a confident chipleader to watching a chance at victory slip away.

1. JJ vs AA

Easily the most memorable. This was my first final table in a MTT. It was about 3pm on a Saturday, and I didn't really have anything to do, so I signed up for a $33 MTT on Party. Prior to this, I'd barely cashed a handful of times but nothing spectacular. I got a good run of cards, made some good decisions, and at the final table we get down to 4 when this hand comes up.

In the SB, I'm sitting at about 150k. Button has about 180k, BB is chipleader with 300k. UTG is shortstack with 32k, and blinds I think were 4k\8k. First hand after the break, shortstack pushes. Button folds, and I'm in SB with JJ. I think the shortstack could have anything, and 4 handed with JJ, and a chance to acquire more chips, I decide to push. BB chipleader instacalls with AA. Shortstack shows 44. First hand back, we all have pocketpairs, and we're both dominated by the chipleader. Wonderful.

I never hit my 2-outer and I go home in 3rd for about $1400.

Again, I'd probably make the same play again. Maybe if I call and check down I get away from the hand, but I wasn't in a position to call off about 1\4 my stack when I had a very strong hand 4-handed. I just happened to run into AA at the worst possible time. It happens.

Now, let's see if I can bump one of these hands off the list with a new one...preferably the hand that captures my first MTT victory.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I'm Afraid To Post Anymore

Seriously. Not that I'm a believer in any kind of karmic retribution or anything like that, but I'm afraid to post anymore. I'm running pretty good lately, good for my standards. I'm not running Main Event good or Venetian good, I'm just running $5 SNG good. I'm afraid to say that I've turned some kind of corner or that I'm a better player. But I am on some kind of roll right now. My big pairs are holding up, my reads are spot on, and I'm making the right plays at the right time.

Perhaps my donkish play in the Mookie was just what I needed. I don't have the data to cite exact figures right now, but my best guess is since last week's Mookie, I've played somewhere between 9-13 SNGs. I've cashed in all but two I believe, maybe three. I've finished 1st in at least 6 of them, maybe more. I'll correct these stats later, but this is probably the best I've run in a long time.

It reminds me of how I was running 2 years ago or more. The good ol' Party Poker days. Back then, I was playing way out of my bankroll, but it didn't really matter at the time. I was no sng machine, but I held my own. I used to focus on $22 & $33 SnGs, and it just always seemed like I was cashing all the time. I didn't keep any statistics, but I know that I was able to count on poker for a little bit of supplemental income at the time.

Alas, things have changed since then. I've gone through a transformation of sorts, a revision of my poker skills. I've torn my confidence down and I've begun to slowly build it back up. I don't know if I'm necessarily a better poker player than I was before. More knowledgable, yes, but I'm still trying to build back those other skills one needs. Confidence. Aggressiveness. Clarity. I'm getting there though, and even though I'm still at the $5 level, the results are starting to show this.

Part of me wants to move up in stakes, even just to the $10 level, but my current bankroll can't support it. I know that part of my success is that I'm playing against players who, for the most part, are not as good or as successful as I am (which isn't saying a whole lot). I feel like I'm getting to the point where I'm getting bored, hence the desire to move up to different stakes. But I'm made that jump before, and it was the wrong choice. So I'll stick out here in the $5 games for a while. Based on my results recently, that can't be a bad thing.

Let's just hope the poker gods don't read this.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Free Poker Lessons Here!

We'll start things off today with one of the sickest hands I've been involved with in a long, long time.

Playing a $5 SnG, I'm up to about 1700 or so when I get KK UTG. Blinds are 30\60, and I raise it up to 180. Player to my left, who hasn't been involved in that many pots, reraises me to 630, about 1\2 his stack. AA is a possibility, but I put his range on AA-JJ, AK, AQ, and I'm only afraid of one of those hands. BB is the bigstack and has been playing loose, donkish poker. BB also makes the call, and I'm really not worried about his hand. I go for the push, knowing that A) I've got UTG+1 covered & B) BB is going to call, so even if I'm up against AA, I should be able to double the rest of my stack through the BB. UTG+1 calls, and on cue, BB calls as well.


Fuck me! I appreciate BB calling off 40% of his stack with KQo, but not the same time I'm all in against AA as well! Oh well, at least I know I won't be out.

Flop comes 99K. I hit the fucking one outer!
Turn is a T
River is an A.

The ol' suck-resuck. I'd be more pissed if this knocked me out, and I would've been happier with a 5k stack instead of the 1100 I was left with, but it's always fun to be involved in a hand like this and live to tell about it. BTW, I ended up 3rd when I rivered two pair, only to push into the donkBB's turned straight. GG me.

Last night, I sat down with my girlfriend & played some online poker with her. Her interest in poker has really grown since we started hosting some home games, and she's to the point now where's she's improving her understanding of basic poker strategy.

The first game, things started well when it checked to us in the BB with 58. Flop comes 458, and we take our two pair to the river and it's good against someone's limped 99.

We stack up to about 1900 or so when I show her how to overplay AK. Player to the right minraises to 60, and I tell her to reraise to 200. Two callers see a flop of 335, and we bet 1\2 pot. Original raiser calls. Turn is a 6 and I tell her to put him all in for 830 more. I was convinced this guy would fold, and I wanted to show her the joys of aggressive betting. The guy instead calls and shows A3o. Looks like I'll be showing her the joys of short-stack playing.

Next hand is QQ UTG, and we raise 5xBB, no callers.

Final hand is KK in the SB. A raise UTG and an EP call before us, and we push for 700. UTG then pushes for about 1100 total, and EP calls. The hands?

UTG: T9h

Nice! Looks like a triple up for us!

Flop comes Qxx, two hearts.
Turn is a blank
River is an A. GG us.

Since we ended that game so early, we fired up one more. This ended up being a really good game for instructional value because there were so many different types of players.

Our first big hand was 99 in EP. A 3xBB raise got one caller, a very loose player in the BB who like to overbet and bluff.

Flop comes A87, and he leads out a minbet. We reraise, representing an A, and he calls. Turn is a 5 and he minbets again. We call to keep the pot small. River is a beautiful 9, and he leads puts us all in. Normally, I'd be worried about a 6, but we're not folding trips to this guy. We call, and he shows T8o.

Next big hand, we get 66 in EP and just limp in. Checks to the same BB again who raises 3.5xBB. We make the call and see a J64, two heart flop. BB shoves for 1700 into a 500 pot and we call with our trips. BB shows A2c and goes home. Again, I'd fold 66 to other players, but I explain to my GF that we made the call knowing we'd get all his chips if we catch a 6. With that overbet, I'd call even if we didn't.

A couple hands later, we got AJo on the button, and I elected to limp. The BB then reraises about 5xBB, and I tell my GF we should fold. Flop comes AQx and BB bets out big, UTG calls. Gets to the river, another A, and the two show 55 & 98 sooted. Even though our AJ would have been good, I try to convince my girlfriend that laying down AJo to a preflop raise is a good thing.

Later, we get AK on the button and a somewhat shortstack raises 3xBB to 360 from UTG. I convince my GF to reraise him all in, and he calls with QQ. We flop a flush draw which gets there on the river, and I explain to my GF that we made the play because we were up against a shortstack with a premium hand, and we were really only afraid of two hands, AA or KK.

The person to the right of us was playing pretty tight to start, so I encouraged my GF to make a couple of laydowns, but I also noticed that, as the table got shorter, this person was stealing a lot more. So we used to our advantage a couple of times.

First, we open-raised with AQs and the tighty called from the BB. Flop came A42, two clubs, and we bet less than 1\2. I told her to bet this so that it'd seem weak. Sure enough, the BB reraised our 200 bet to 650. We came over the top for 1400, and she folded.

We then made a loose cal in the SB with 22 against the tighty, and I thought about pushing the raise on a TT3 flop. But then I noticed the tighty put 1\2 her stack in on the flop bet and elected to fold instead.

A couple hands later, we called another bet from the tighty with 86d - gotta teach her the beauty of suited connecters, right? Flop came J85, and the button bet out 600 - less than half the pot about about 1\4 of her stack. I reraised what looked like a C-bet, and she folded.

We end up getting heads up against the player who reraised from the BB against our AJo with 98 sooted. Heads up lasts about 6 hands when he min-raises our BB, and we call with KJo. Flop comes KJx, two spades, and we lead out looking weak. SB pushes and shows 58o for a complete bluff. And just like that (with a little bit of help), my girlfriend won her first online SnG.

The victory was nice, but more importantly, this game was great practice for her. I was able to give her pointers that she can use at a full game rather than heads up, which is the biggest difficulty about trying to teach her one on one. I showed her things like aggressive betting, check-raising, identifying your opponent, and the different between raising A6 from the button three-handed and folding A2 sooted to a push from the button 3 handed. I felt like a seasoned poker vet when I was instructing her as every single play we made paid off, and we completely owned the table. And as helpful as it was for my girlfriend to get some more practice, it was helpful for me too, as it helped build up my confidence just a little bit more.

Friday, June 15, 2007

An Abundance Of Linkage

Thanks to RecessRampage & TripJax for your comments to my last post. I'm over my Mookie mistake. It definitely wasn't the worst move or the worst call I've ever made, it's just not the type of call I should be making at this stage. But I've recovered, and in a good way too. 4 SnGs, 3 cashes, 2 1st places. Only non cash was a bubble bad beat with QQ vs AK. My confidence is coming back.

Props to Jordan for his victory yesterday and a nice cash of over $3k. Congrats man, it's well deserved. He's got a recap post up now, and I can't help but envy his feelings about his cash. It's been just over a year since my last big cash, and I have to admit that I'm a little bit jealous. All in due time, though, all in due time. Anyways, thanks for providing additional motivation to call in sick to work more often.

Waffles put up an interesting post. No, I'm not talking about that one. This one. He mentioned some problems with ePassporte and their withdrawals to bank accounts. I encountered this on Wednesday night, and I called ePassporte to see what the problem was. Surprisingly, I got through fairly quickly, and they told me it was a techinical problem with their ACH processor. He told me to try again in 24 hours. Based on his concise explanation, I wasn't too bothered by this, and didn't really believe it was some backlash from the UIGEA. This morning, I tried the withdrawal again, and it said it was successful. I still have to wait about a week to see the funds, so I'm keeping fingers crossed, but I personally believe that it was a legitimate techinical issue that's been resolved.

Hoy put up an interesting post today as well. Perhaps it's a little tilt-induced, but I think it's a great post about his views on some of tendencies of other bloggers. It'll be interesting to see the responses he gets. I'm sure any blogger would be welcome to suggestions on improving their play, and Hoy is one of the more respected bloggers around (rightfully so). But I can also see why some of the targets might be bothered by the post; I'm not quite sure what the intent was behind it. BloggerDrama, anyone?

I've got an idea for a recurring theme that I'm going to start incorporating into my blog. I think I'll start next week, so be on the lookout for that. I think it'll bring something new to the pokerblog scene, in an old sort of way. What does that mean? Tune in next Friday to find out.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

An Honest Mistake

I'm embarrassed. I put up a post yesterday, declaring that I got the donkery out of my system, and I'm ready to bring my "A" game to The Mookie last night. And then I proceed to make such a huge donkey mistake that I send myself on tilt for most of the night.

I couldn't really get anything going last night. I had to fold 22 & AQo preflop against a couple of reraises. I chipped down to about 1k when I get AKo in the SB. Folds to Miami Don who raises to 155 (I think blinds were 25\50). I push, BB and MD fold. I steal a couple more hands, raise UTG with QQ, and soon enough, I'm back to a starting stack.

Then comes the death hand. This was at the 30\60 level, and I had lost some chips in a manner that I can't remember. I'm in the SB with A9o, and we get 3 limpers, including Miami Don on the button. I limp as well, getting 10:1 on my hand. Flop comes 7K9 rainbow. I check and surprisingly, it checks all around. Turn is a 3. I bet 240 into the 300 pot, assuming my 9 could be good. Everyone folds but Miami Don. River is a Q.

This is where I make my mistake. I check, and Miami Don bets about 1\2 pot. I think about what he could have. 33 crossed my mind. JT makes a straight, Q9 could be a possibility as well. The only thing I can really beat is a complete bluff. There are two clubs out there, so perhaps he's trying to bluff with a busted flush draw. Yeah, that's it. I make the call for 1\3 of my stack.

Miami Don shows 33 and I'm desperately shortstacked.

I don't pick up anything pushable until I get A2d in the BB with a raise in front of me. I push, he calls with AT, and the flop is all black. IGHN.

After the game, I was FUMING at myself for making that call. Seriously? 3rd pair on the river? Against Miami Don? How many people are making that call? And what's worse, I can't actually figure out what made me make that call. Curiosity? Do I really have to call off 1\3rd of my stack just to confirm that I'm beat?

I beat myself up afterwards. I've been playing poker for 3.5 years now. This kind of the call is something I'd expect from someone who's been playing for 3.5 DAYS, maybe weeks, but certainly not YEARS. I know better than that. I could just imagine the look on Don's face. A9o? If he's getting a call, I'm sure he's expecting me to show Q9, maybe Q7 at best. But middle pair alone?

I felt sick & depressed. It's just so goddamn frustrating to be making these kind of mental mistakes at this stage in my poker "career". And that's what this was, it was a mental mistake. It was a lack of focus & discpline, a failure to think things through and realize that the only thing I'm beating is a bluff, and that calling off so many chips on this hand was not the optimal play.

What made it more embarrassing was that I did this during a Blogger game. I'd consider myself to be a fringe member of such a closely knit group, but it's making calls like this that will keep me on the fringe. I don't have the bankroll to play each Blogger event, and while I know that I can't win everytime, I'd like to think that I'd be more focused and play my best when I do take the opportunity to play one of these games. And although most of those in the game last night don't really know me or my blog, it still makes it worse that I made that play in The Mookie. Against a bunch of unknown players, I wouldn't be so upset about it, but against a group of players that I have a lot of respect for, it's disheartening.

I did make one good play last night. Once the tilt set in, I knew what usually came next - donking off my bankroll at higher stakes, playing under less than optimal emotional circumstances. Not this time. Instead, I cashed out most of my winnings from my 90 seat SNG win. I promised my girlfriend I'd take her out to a nice dinner, and I wasn't going to waste that money away. So I took out enough for that, and a little bit extra. Now's probably a good time to use that extra on picking up HOH2, because God knows I could use it.

I know it probably seems like I'm being overly hard on myself, and perhaps that's true. We all make bad calls from time to time, but there was something just so obviously bad about this call that bothered me. I'll pick myself up, get back into the game, and start winning again, I know this. But I'm never going to progress unless I get past making mistakes like this. My skill level has plateaued, and if I ever want to get into the WSOP with at least a fighting chance, I have to learn from these mistakes.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Yesterday was not my proudest day as a poker player. I donked it up pretty bad. I had a headache when I came home, and I don't know if it's the same for anyone else, but playing poker helps get rid of headaches. It relaxes me. So after a quick stop to the market for a surprise gift for the girlfriend (flowers & chocolate, SO typical), I fired up FTP. Since I wanted to be available when she came home, I skipped the SNGs and went for the low stakes cash NL. And proceeded to drop 2 buyins.

Granted, I've still got a lot of work to do with my cash game, and .5\.10 stakes isn't really a good barometer of one's cash game skill. But I blame my losses on mostly just playing like a donk. At these stakes, it's very much ABC poker, so there shouldn't be any reason I'm putting in money without a strong hand. But especially at these stakes, it's almost impossible to tell sometimes if your opponent has a better hand, or is just trying to run off some exciting bluff. Alas, yesterday's table was less donkish than I was being, and when I called off my stack with TPNK against what I thought was a semi-bluff (instead, it was top 2 pair), I switched back to SNGs.

Things didn't get much better poker wise, although the results were much better. The hand of the night was when I limped UTG with A5 sooted. Only the blinds play along, and the flop comes 468, one spade. BB checks and I bet 2\3rds pot. BB min raises. It's still early, so this could be a donk move or a strong move, but with a gutshot & an over, easy call. Turn is a Ts. BB checks again, and I bet out 150. BB then raises to 700. I'm pretty sure I'm beat, but I've got BB covered, and I really don't feel like fighting the rest of the game as a mid stack. With outs for the gutshot & the flush, I push. He calls with 75o for the flopped flush. 2s hits the river and he goes home, not without some choice words for my play. I agreed with the table when someone commented that I played this horribly, and I took no pride in my play. But with the donkiness over with, I used my stack and my newfound loose image to take down the rest of the table.

So what's the point of this post? The point is that I got my donkiness out of my system last night. Good thing too, because I'm taking a break from the Mookie live blog and jumping into the pond with everyone else. That's right...I'm playin the Mookie tonight!

One more hand to talk about, another $5 SNG hand. Down to 5 players, I'm about 3rd in chips with around 3k. Two stacks are at about 3.5k, one's down to about $1k, and the SS is at about 700. Blinds are 30\60, and UTG, the leader, minraises to 120. I've got JJ, which we all know is the nuts, so I repop to about 480. Button & blinds fold, and UTG re-reraises to 1k. I make the call. Flop comes T9x, two suited. UTG bets 3\4 pot, I push for 2300, and he calls. What does he have?

If you said AA, you're right. The reason I bring this hand up is that, despite all the signs that I was up against an overpair, and most likely AA, I made the call & then inexplicably pushed the flop. In a tournament, or at bigger stakes, I probably fold this preflop. But at these stakes, for some reason, I tend to discard any chance that I may just be in a PP vs overpair situation. Sometimes, I end up chalking it up to a race situation despite the clear warning signals, and that's all because I'm not focused. Not to bask in previous glory, but there's been times where I've layed down KK preflop, and I've been correct in doing so, because I've been focused enough to pick up on my opponent's tendencies. I should have picked up on this, but I just knew that my JJ was OK, and I was wrong. Just another reminder that, as good as I've been running lately, that I've still got room to improve.

Some more blogroll pimpage. Added a couple of bloggers with Seattle ties, Zeem & MeanHappyGuy. Found out in the last Mookie that Zeem lives on the other side of Lake Washington in Bellevue, and MeanHappy is from the area.

Also, BuddyDank makes the list. The BuddyDank Radio webcasts during the Mookie & Dookie have been the talk of the week. Even over the internets, the final table last week had a party atmosphere to it, and when everyone moved over to the Dookie afterwards, it really felt like back in the day, when a party got crashed or broken up, you just moved to the next one.

Also adding Miami Don & Blinders to the list. I read these two pretty regularly, but I've just forgotten to link them up so far. Done & Done.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Good Friday

Not wanting to go back to work after taking yesterday off for a dentist's appointment, I decided to take today off too and play some poker. While my day wasn't as good as cashing at the WSOP, it was one of my better days in a while.

I warmed up with a $2.25 Turbo. I had the lead headsup but lost in two hands. First, I had to fold to an all in bet on the river with just middle pair and a missed flush draw. I then called an all in push on the next hand with 22 and it couldn't hold up against AK. Not a normal call, but for less than $4 between 1st and 2nd, I didn't care.

I then decided to play a 90 player, double stack SNG. Here's the recap:

Level 1 - 15\30 through Level 3 - 25\50

Played 2 hands in the first three levels. First hand was 53d in the SB, which I took to the turn on an A46 flop. No straight and had to fold to a turn bet. On the last hand of Level 3, I limped with KJ sooted and made top pair on a K66 board. Got one caller with K4, but split the pot when the A hit the turn. T2645

Level 4 - 30\60 through Level 6 50\100

Limped 55 from the SB. Took a pot when I called a bet on a AA2 flop then bet the 3 on the turn. Not the strongest way to play it, but presto is still gold.

Raised UTG with AKo and got four callers. Checked the flop, check-folded to a bet on the turn.

Won a pot on Level 5 that moved me to T3800, but the hand history didn't record it.

Chipped down to 2890 when I made a loose call with 55. I limped for 100 from MP when the CO pushed for 1500 or so. I thought it was about 50\50 that he had a hand or was just trying to steal from limpers, so I called, and he shows AK. I flopped a set on a 235 board, and he never caught a 4. Ended the level at T4715.

Level 7 - 60\120 through Level 9 - 100\200

Picked up a couple pots with A3, 99, 66 and 33, lose a little bit when I have to fold a flush draw with QTs on the turn.

Raise a couple limpers in from the CO with K9s. Get one caller who folds to my bet on a AK7 two spade flop.

UTG limps, and I raise 4.5x BB with AA. UTG calls and the board comes 843. UTG min bets the flop, I raise to 1200. He calls, then calls my 1000 bets on the turn & the river. I felt like he'd fold to bigger bets, so I kept the bets somewhat small. He shows A8 for TPTK. I end level nine at T9700.

Level 10 - 120\240 - Level 12 - 200\400

Here's a steal gone wrong then gone right:

Dealt to mclarich [2h 3h]
AnrA folds
currier4 folds
snowmanlikeme folds
lymee folds
synsk folds
mclarich raises to 720
magikbird calls 720
eliseo folds
*** FLOP *** [4d Kh As]
mclarich checks
magikbird bets 960
mclarich raises to 4,320
magikbird calls 2,945, and is all in
mclarich shows [2h 3h]
magikbird shows [Kc Qh]
Uncalled bet of 415 returned to mclarich
*** TURN *** [4d Kh As] [6c]
*** RIVER *** [4d Kh As 6c] [5s]
mclarich shows a straight, Six high
magikbird shows a pair of Kings
mclarich wins the pot (9,835) with a straight, Six high
magikbird stands up

On that last hand, I didn't think he had an A, and I really felt he could lay it down to my reraise. I was wrong, but I made the move with outs and hit my 4-outer.

About 9 hands later, raise from UTG+1 to 900 with KK. BB, who is also a massive chipleader calls. Flop comes 932, two hearts. I lead out for 1500 into a 2100 pot, and he calls. Turn is a 2, and after requesting time, BB leads for 3900. I can't see how the 2 helps him, and the only reasonable hand that I'm behind is 99, so I call. River is a 7, and he leads out for 6300. I think about a fold but I can't fold to his range. He shows J5 for a complete and utter bluff. T26000.

Next hand, limp 44 UTG. 4 players check the QT9, 2 diamond board. Turn is a 4c and everyone folds to my bet.

Next hand, in the BB, 3 limpers and I check with A9s. Flop comes 752, two spades. Mr. J5 bets pot and I call. Turn is a 9c. I lead for the pot and he folds, claiming A8.

Couple hands later, call from EP a 1200 bet from Mr. J5. We check the flop & turn, he bets out when the A hits the river. I call, he shows Q9 for Queen high. He declares that I'm tilting him.

8 hands later, get KK UTG and raise 3xBB to 1200. Mr. J5 calls and BB is shortstack who goes all in for 540. Flop comes J52, two hears, and Mr. J5 leads pot for 2400. I reraise to 8800. He claims QJ and folds. River is a J and I thank God he didn't call. He officially goes on mega-tilt. Finish the level at T36k and the new chipleader.

Level 13 - 250\500 through Level 15 - 400\800

Stole a couple pots, one with KK again. Took down a decent pot with A2 vs AK. AK limped in before me, and I called his min bet on a J82 flop. Turn was a J, river a 2 and I just called his river bet.

Gained some more chips a couple hands later when I tried to steal with A5o and called a shortstack push. He shows JJ, but I turn an A and take down a 12k pot. Up to about 46k.

Lose a big pot when it folds to the SB. He min raises my BB to 1600, I reraise with A5d and he goes all in for 11k. He shows QQ and I don't improve. I end the level at 37k.

Level 16 - 500\1000 through Level 18 - 800\1600

Stole with K9, AK, then take down a 7k pot with K5. Tried to steal but BB calls 2k more. Flop is T95 and I call his 2k bet with 3rd pair. Turn is an A, he bets out 2k, and I reraise, he folds.

We get to the final table during level 16, and I'm second in chips at 50k. Huge stack of 93k immediately to my left, but anyone else is about 1\2 my stack.

Win a 15k pot when I reraise with 88 on a 479 board. Couple hands later, take down a 21k pot with AQ. T67k. Hit a high mark of about 83k but chip down to 64k by the end of level 18. Down to 5 players, still 2nd in chips.

Level 19 - 1000\2000 through Level 21 - 1500\3000

Drop down to 46k when I have to fold my bluff. SB min raises me and I call with J7c. Flop is K88 and SB leads out for just under 1\2 pot. I reraise like I hit the board, and SB pushes all in. He shows AA.

Work back up to 57k when I get TT in the CO, raise to 6k. Button, the chipleader at 82k, raises to 10k and I smooth call. Flop is 664. I check and he bets the pot. He could easily have AK here or an under pair, so I push. He shows KK and I'm all but gone. The T on the river saves me and chipleader at 118k.

I take out the same guy a couple hands later when I raise his BB with A2. He pushes for 25k and I call. He shows 45d and my hand holds up. T141k.

Four hands later, it's the hand of the tournament. Down to 4, I get QQ in the BB. Two limpers, and I raise 4xBB to 8k. Both call, and flop comes Q35, two spades. I check and UTG shoves for 83k. I call, he shows 55 for middle set. I'm at 235k after the hand, the next biggest stack is 24k.

One shortstack takes down the other, and we get heads up. Stacks are 230k vs 39k. Victory is pretty much mine, but it takes a little bit of effort. 2nd hand heads up, I push on the shortstack with 66 and he calls with AK & pairs the board.

It takes a couple of hands to get a feel of how he plays. I double him up when I push with KT on a QJJ board. He shows AQ and I'm down to 128k.

Just before the level ends, I get decent pot, again with 23 sooted. I min raised from the button - this was enough to take the pot many times before. He calls, and the flop is a sweet 654. I check the flop, check-call the turn, and the value bet the river, and he calls with K6. Back up to 166k.

Last hand of the level, I get AA and decide to limp with them. Flop is T23 and I check call his min bet. Turn is a 9 and he bets about 2\3 pot, I call. River is a 3 and he calls my pot bet, shows T5 for top pair. Up to T199k.

Level 22 - 2000\4000

Only one hand at this level. I check my blind with 46 and the flop comes 375. I bet 1\2 the pot and he min raises me. I repop to 24k and he calls. I went for the raise here hoping it would look like a steal. Turn is a 5. He's got 50k, and I put him all in. He calls with K7 and can't catch a 5 outer. I take the game and $112.

This was probably the best I played in a long, long time, although the cards certainly helped. I was focused, paid attention to how my opponents played, and tried to maximize my pots. At one point my stats were pretty amazing - 13\15 in showdowns. Admittedly, my opponents were pretty weak, and I was able to steal quite a bit. I also did a fair share of floating, and I think that, by showing down some huge hands, my opponents showed me respect. The TT suckout hand was huge, but other than that one hand, I never put in too many chips if I was behind.

A couple hours later, I decided to play a 1 table SNG and took that down as well. So for the day, I put in $13.25 in buyins and came away with $139.90. At the stakes I'm playing now, this was definitely my best day in a while.