Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Elite Eight*

*Two days later, I realized there were only 16 to begin with.

I made it out of the 1st round of the HUC5 against Kajagugu. It was a sweep, although there should probably be an asterisk next to my name. Let me explain.

In the first game, I had just got bluffed off a pot holding JJ on an A high board. Amir showed JT for a busted straight draw. On the very next hand, my wonderful internet service decides to go out on me. And not for just a couple second; I have to do the whole plug & restart thing.

When I come back, Kajagugu was kind enough to not take advantage of my situation. Unfortunately for him, I have 99 when I get back, so I raise it up. He didn't expect that as he was on autofold. He raises the very next hand and I push with AK. He then asks if I want to restart. I think it's fair that we should play a full game out to determine the winner, so I agree. He calls with A7 and knocks me out anyways when the flop comes 7 high.

On to Game 2. I drop down a bit when I reraise on a 567 flop holding middle pair with a straight draw. I called his reraise but fold to his bet on the turn when I don't hit my card. Down to 810 within 5 hands or so.

I try to keep the pots small but it's not working. I drop down to 465 and it's looking pretty bleak. Time to get aggressive.

I push 44 preflop in the BB. Push top pair with nut flush draw on the turn. Push KT on a 9 high flop. Slowly but surely I'm crawling back.

I call a preflop raise with KJo and flop trips. I push on his flop bet, he folds.

Flop top pair with AK and take another pot. Up to 1165.

Finally hit a big hand with KJo again. Flop top pair on a two-spade flop, smooth call the bet. Turn pairs the 5 and completes a flush. He leads out for half the pot & I decide it's now or never. I push and he calls with AsQd. No 4 flush comes and I double up to 2330. Pretty weak play but I felt I had the best hand and wanted to milk it.

Two hands later, I flop top pair with JTo and get the chips in on the middle. Kaja shows a smaller pair and I take the lead in the matchup.

Kaja wanted to run the next one then but my girlfriend needed some help at work. SO I took a short break and came back to see if Kaja was still up. He responded about 15 minutes later and the game was on.

Full Tilt lost most of the hand history and I can't recall very many hands. I remember getting paid off a bit when I flopped trip 7s, but mostly it was just keeping the pot small, calling & making value bets. As the blinds increased so did the action. I reraised preflop with AK then c-bet a T high flop. I was way behind if the flop hit him, but the way the game was going, I was checking a lot of flops. I felt the only way to take the pot down was to c-bet & it worked.

Kaja worked his stack up a bit with some well timed bets and a fortuitous K on the river on one hand. I think I took a pot away from him when I smooth called a preflop raise with 99. I reraised his bet on a KT6 flop, then bet when the turn came an 8. I didn't think he had a K and I felt he had to fold anything else to the strength I was showing.

Kaja worked his stack up again when I paired an A on the river and called a value bet. He shows 67 for flopped trips. This brought him back to almost 1300. He was drawing closer.

A couple hands I raise his limp to 300 & he repops to 900. I hadn't seen him do this yet. 5 hands beat me right now, and many others leaving me in a coinflip situation. Whatever it was, I felt like I was ahead so I pushed. Sure enough, it's AK vs 99. But in classic fashion, I take down the game:

It was a well played match, and I'm very gracious for Kajagugu's offer to restart after the disconnect problem. So now, I await the winner of cmitch vs. Mike Maloney.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Non-Poker Post

It's that time. Fantasy Football is in full affect, and once again this year, I'll be playing in my usual league. A co-worker organized a league about 5 or 6 years ago, and for the first couple of years, I owned the league, finishing first or second each year. The competition has gotten better, and with the stakes at $100\person this year, it should be pretty interesting.

Of course, the biggest key to Fantasy Football success is the draft. Sure, it's possible to pull out a victory through deft waiver-wire manipulation and some ole fashioned luck, but a good draft still makes the most impact. Unless you have my team from last year. I thought I was solid with Shaun Alexander, Lamont Jordan, Roy Williams & Larry Fitzgerald in my 1st four picks. Then I lose 3 of them to injuries a couple games into the season and I finish the season in last place.

Anyways, I know that a lot of you that read this blog are into Fantasy Football as well, so I wanted to take a step away from poker today and post some of my thoughts on my draft strategy and see what you all think.

1. Know your league. Before the draft, get to know the other owners. Learn their FF experience, know their favorite teams, and in the middle of the draft, pay attention to their draft strategy. In some leagues, I've been willing to let some players slide, knowing that I could get them in the next round because the player behind me A) like to draft a backup QB early or B) was partial to players from his team. Luckily, his team was the Raiders.

2. Pay attention to the schedule. As you're drafting, know when the bye weeks are. Try to draft backups that have different bye weeks than your studs. Or, if you want to try to win a game by plugging in Tavaris Jackson because Peyton & Trent Green are on byes, be my guest. Also, if the majority of your studs are from perennial playoff teams, understand the risk involved when the FF playoffs hit. If you're lucky enough to make it, you may have to win your league with backups because all your studs are sitting. The best move I ever made was sitting Tom Brady in Week 17 the year he broke out, and started some relative unknown named Matt Hasselbeck. All he did was throw for 3 TD & run for 1 more, with almost 400 yards passing and lead me to victory.

3. RB, RB, RB. This year is a little bit different as there aren't as many top-tier RBs as in year past, but still, unless you're in slot 10 and you see Peyton Manning staring you in the face, you have to be prepared to go RB-RB in the first two rounds, maybe even three. After Peyton, the dropoff between some like Palmer and Hasselbeck isn't significant enough to pass up a RB like Ronnie Brown or Edgerrin James. And as far as WRs go, the dropoff is even less. WRs aren't consistent from week to week. RBs are too valuable to pass up, whether it's as a replacement for when Shaun Alexander tears his ACL or as trade value to fill some holes.

4. Don't handcuff. I know that some say if you have LT you have to have Michael Turner. I disagree 100%. If you look at most RBs, the backup rarely performs to the level of the injured starter. I'd rather plug in a starter from another team, like Ahman Green or Kevin Jones then put in a backup that's hardly played. A proven scrub is better than an unproven backup in most cases.

5. Beware of platoons. I drafted Cedric Benson two years in a row incase he was going to be the breakout RB for Chicago. Of course, he was my 4th or 5th RB, but I could have taken a stab at a different running back that wasn't in a platoon situation. Situations like Minnesota (C. Taylor & A. Peterson) or Dallas (J. Jones, M. Barber III) should be viewed with caution there. There's some value in those players, but I'd never suggest using any of them as a permanent 2 starter.

6. Don't overvalue rookies. One, avoid rookie QBs. Name the last QB that had any significant value fantasy-wise in their rookie season. They may be good to plug in during a bye week, but there's no point keeping them on your roster beyond then. Rookie RBs have some decent value, but the only ones to see any decent playing time are Adrian Peterson & Marshawn Lynch, and I wouldn't suggest taking either of them to be a number 2 starter. WRs are already unpredictable enough, don't waste your time on any rookie WRs this year not named Calvin Johnson. As far as CJ is concerned, an argument could be made to draft him as a No. 2 WR. The Lions passing game is strong enough, and their running game weak enough, that he could easily go for 75\1200\8 in his rookie year.

7. Don't overvalue sleepers. As satisfying as it is to draft someone like Vernand Morency in the 4th round only to laugh as he explodes for 1400\12 this year, the odds are it's not going to happen. I've seen teams ruined because they've drafted sleepers too early and passing up on better & more established RBs. You should never plan on a starter being a sleeper.

8. Wait on drafting defenses. Last year, in our league, the Chicago D went in the 5th round, I think. I'd rather take Anquan Boldin & roll with the Steelers D in round 13 then go with Chicago in the 5th round and trying to rely on Donte' Stallworth again. Also, outside of Chicago's D, I can't really think of another D that's worth taking before round 8. I prefer to have a QB, 3-4 RB, 2-3 WR and\or my TE before I even start considering a defense.

9. Save the kicker until the end. There's obviously some kickers that are more valuable than others, but most kickers are so unpredictable from week to week, let alone season to season, and the value between the No.1 kicker and the No. 10 kicker isn't that different, that I will never understand someone who drafts a kicker like Vinatieri, Akers, or back in the day, Vanderjagt, over a backup at the top three positions. If your kicker goes down, you pick up another one and hardly notice the difference. Your QB goes down, and are you really going to feel better starting Byron Leftwich thinking "Hey, well at least I still have Neil Rackers!"

10. Don't draft backups at TE, D, or K. The difference between a backup TE and a waiver wire TE is little to none. Same with a defense or a kicker. Just keep one until a bye week happens, and then drop T.J. Duckett because he isn't going to do anything, again. Backup TEs, defenses, & kickers do nothing but use up a roster spot that can be used for holding RBs for trade value, or rolling with 6 WRs and playing the matchups. And if there's no one you want to drop, then don't. Just go the week with your kicker on the bye; it's entirely possible to win a week without a kicker or a defense. Trust me, there's weeks where I wish I would have just started my regular defense because the bye week replacement gave me negative points.

11. Last thought. If you have the chance, always draft Torry Holt. I can't tell you how many times that dude has saved my ass.

So there's my thoughts on drafting for Fantasy Football. My draft is this Sunday night, and I'll do another post on Monday recapping the draft and introducing you to my team this year.

P.S. Go Steelers!

The Shit I Have To Deal With

Granted I want people to make calls like this, but come on!

(as I'm typing this I lost the screen shot, so you'll have to deal with the hand history).

Full Tilt Poker Game #3387859714: $5 + $0.50 Sit & Go (25906071), Table 1 - 120/240 - No Limit Hold'em - 3:44:57 ET - 2007/08/28
Seat 7: tlaporta1021 (1,360)
Seat 8: 1800blowme (8,700)
Seat 9: mclarich (3,440)
mclarich posts the small blind of 120
tlaporta1021 posts the big blind of 240
The button is in seat #8
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to mclarich [Qd Qh]
1800blowme raises to 480 (what's the saying about minraises again)
mclarich has 15 seconds left to act
mclarich raises to 1,200
tlaporta1021 folds
1800blowme calls 720 (what, you think you're gonna hit your ace?)

*** FLOP *** [2s 4c 8s]
mclarich bets 2,240, and is all in (no point slow playing with two red Qs on this flop)
1800blowme calls 2,240
mclarich shows [Qd Qh]

I'm going to put the long break in here for effect. Trust me, you'll never guess what he called with.

1800blowme shows [5h Th]

That's right. No straight draw, no flush draw, only one overcard which is no good anyways.

*** TURN *** [2s 4c 8s] [6s] (wait for it....)
*** RIVER *** [2s 4c 8s 6s] [7h] (you motherfucker)

mclarich shows a pair of Queens
1800blowme shows a straight, Eight high
1800blowme wins the pot (7,120) with a straight, Eight high
mclarich stands up

Online poker is SO rigged.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Five Points Revisted

When I started this bankroll challenge, I wrote a series of posts about the 5 things I felt I would need to be successful. Patience, Aggressiveness, Focus, Dedication, and Attitude. I'm a month into my bankroll challenge and I'm just now hitting some resistance, so I guess it would be appropriate to revisit these points and talk about the first month of the challenge.

I started this thing with $70. I'm probably averaging about 10-12 SNGs a week. I haven't been keeping track so far because the number of SNGs or time invested or any other stat isn't important to me. I'm just concerned about the bottom line - increasing that bankroll, and I'll play as much as it takes to get there. I do check SharkScope since it's free, and it gives me a good estimate of how I'm running. After one month, my bankroll is at $308, with a high mark of $358. So I've profited about $238 in one month, averaging just above $4 per SNG. My SNG avg should be higher because that doesn't account for a $26 token, and it accounts for losses at PLO games (more on that in a moment). Just based on SNGs, my profit should be closer to $5-$6 a game. Anyways, I didn't have any expectations about where I'd be in one month, but being above $300 doesn't surprise me. I probably should be higher, but like I mentioned, I've kinda plateaued lately.

All that aside, let's talk about the 5 posts:


Patience hasn't been a problem. SNGs can be a grind, to the point they can cause a man to change his identity. The past week or so I've been bored with them, but I haven't lost my patience. My SNG strategy at these stakes requires a bit of patience; I'll fold through 3-4 levels and still win. At these stakes, fancy moves aren't required. Just get your chips in when you've got the hand to do it. Early on, the only hands I'll go in preflop are AA-QQ and AK. Hands like JJ-99 and AQ-AJ I rarely reraise with, even if I think I have the best hand preflop. Most people at these levels will call preflop without premium cards, and very rarely steal, so I find it's better to see a flop and hope to get paid off then to get it in preflop. I know it's not the most revolutionary idea, but the players at these level have horrible post-flop skills, so it's easier to take advantage of them that way.

I've also been patient with the challenge - the only time I've played out of my stakes was the one Mookie a couple of weeks back. Furthermore, although I said I'd open up and start trying to acquire tokens once I've hit $300, I'm not as interested in doing that right now. Winning token games doesn't enhance my bankroll so it's not a priority. I'll still try my hand at them from time to time, but I'm not playing them as much as I thought I would when I set the milestone.


Being aggressive hasn't been a problem for me as well. Having a bigger bankroll then I'm used to, I'm no longer playing with scared money. Losing a $5 SNG no longer represents losing 10% of my bankroll. I'm more concerned with the big cashes, so I'm willing to take chances to acquire big stacks, even if it means going busto. I'm also getting better at steals & resteals, which although is rare at the $5 stakes, it can be done against the right player.


Of the 5 things, this one has probably been the hardest to maintain. The grind of the SNGs has gotten to me, so I've veered from SNGs and played some micro limit PLO for a change of pace. The games are frustrating because, at the micro stakes, it's more gambling than anything else. Most players have that "hey, I've got 4 cards, let's see what happens" mentality, coupled with the "who cares that I'm out of position with unsooted 3 gappers. It's only $.35 more. Why not, let's see what happens". Admittedly, I donk it up myself too, and I haven't still completely grasped the concept that, even at these stakes, a pot bet on the river means the nuts more often than anything else. Every once in a while, I'll find a bigger donk to stack me. But for the most part, it's -EV for me to play because I'm either donking away $10 or I spend an hour playing and walk away up $.50. If I want to play other variations, I should just stick to the SNGs instead. It just sucks that I'm like 1 of 10 people on FTP who likes playing 7-Stud.

Anyways, I've been able to maintain my focus about 90% of the time while playing, and I definitely notice a dropoff in success when I'm either bored or frustrated or whatever. Focus has probably been my biggest problem (which is part of the reason I prefer NOT to multi-table), and although it's gotten better, it still needs improvement.


No problems here. I know I'm in for the long haul, I'm prepared for that, and the only thing that matters right now is working up that bankroll. I haven't increased the stakes at all and don't plan to until I hit $500. I will admit that I can do a better job of analyzing my game, and I'll need to do that as I move up in stakes, but for right now, I honestly don't think it makes a difference. I'm confident in my strategy at these games, and losing is usually the result of a bad beat or suckout rather than a mistake that I've made.


My attitude has certainly improved. I really didn't even flinch when I lost the AK vs AQ hand on Monday. Again, it's easier for me to have a better attitude when I know that losing a game doesn't mean a significant portion of my bankroll was wasted. I'm not trying to play just to barely cash, I'm not trying to play to impress or earn the respect of other bloggers, I'm not playing for any reason other to increase my bankroll, and as long as I continue to see progress, I'll be OK. Even being on a downswing right now doesn't bother me. I knew this would happen at some point, and I just need to look at what I'm possibly doing wrong, try to remember that I will experience swings like this, and I'll pull through it.

If there was anything I could say I should change about my attitude, it's to try and get more enjoyment out of the SNG grind. It's hard to find the fun in something that's becoming so monotonous, so maybe I need to find ways to make it fun. Maybe talk trash some more, or try to sign up for games that other players I know are playing. That might work.

The other thing that might help, which if I don't start today I will tomorrow, is a short break from poker. I had a short break from it over the birthday weekend, but it may be helpful to take another break and just not think about poker at all. I'm in this challenge for the long haul so a couple days away shouldn't hurt.

This will probably be my last post for the week, so GL to everyone this weekend.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Even Steven

Yesterday, I planned to live blog my misadventures as I took the whole day off, just to play poker. I eagerly awaited this day, dreaming of a hugely profitable day, maybe even enough to bump my bankroll into the $11 SNG range. I took a stab at another MTT and that elusive big score. In the end, I ended up breaking even, give or take a couple of dollars. I felt like Seinfeld in "The Opposite" episode. The one where George does the opposite and ends up scoring the job with the Yankees, while Elaine loses her job because her boss won't shake hands with the Japanese. Like Jerry, I was "even steven" yesterday. Although I shouldn't have been if I could get AK to hold up more often. I got AK all in on preflop at least 7 times, each time a huge favorite:

AK holds up: vs AJ (1), A8 (1)
AK loses: vs AJ (1), AQ (2), KT (1), QJ(1)

6 of the times, I had the person drawing to 3 outs (for the simplicity of argument, I'll ignore straight & flush possibilities). Nevertheless, of all the days to choose, this was the day that Variance decided to catch up with me. Against AJ, AQ, and KT, my opponent flopped a pair with their unshared card. QJ flopped a flush, leaving me drawing to a higher 4 flush. 7 times I got AK all in as a 64% favorite or better, yet it only held up 28.5% of the time today, including the crucial hand in the $17.5k. I can't complain though. Get the money in with the best hand and let the cards fall. But it is frustrating because I'm not just pushing & praying with AK. I'm getting it all in as a dominating hand, rather than coinflips, but it just doesn't hold up like it should. C'est la vie.

The solace I can take from this is, even on days where my dominating hands aren't holding up, I'm still breaking even rather than losing. When those hands do hold up it translates into victories and more cash, and I see my bankroll grow. When they don't, I'm still able to eek out enough cashes to keep me even. As pompous as this may sound, and although I probably don't the statistics to back it up, the truth is that any time I play one of these SNGs, I feel like I'm the best player at the table. Each & every time. There isn't a game that I've played recently where I even felt any competition, let alone that I was the 2nd or 3rd best player at the table. Truthfully, I probably do invest more time and concentration than others do at these levels, so I don't think it's that outrageous of a statement for me to make. So I'm confident that, as long as I continue to play as I am doing, and stray from letting variance affect my play, I'll be back on the upstreak again in no time.

A couple more comments to round out the post:

Much like the SNGs, I'm finding myself much more confident at the tables during MTTs as well. Yesterday in the $17.5k, there wasn't a point where I felt out of my element. Again, I was confident in myself that I was the best player at the table, but unfortunately, I didn't have the cards to play with. Like I mentioned yesterday, I went almost 3 hours of play with a total of 5 pocket pairs, the highest one being JJ. I got AK or AQ about 5 times, and I was able to double up or take out an opponent with those hands on 3 occasions, so perhaps that makes up for it. I only put my stack at risk on the following hands:

KJo: called a min raise in the BB and flopped trips. Got it all in on the river when the min-raiser couldn't fold his horrendously played AA.
AQo: reraised the big stack from MP and pushed a 7 high flop. He called with 55 but a Q came on the river.
AKo: lost to AQ. You heard that story earlier.

Because of the lack of playable hands, I had to rely on steals & resteals to stay alive. Mostly resteals, as the table was very aggressive and there was almost always a raise before it got to me. The big stack, the one I doubled through with AQ, played his stack well, raising almost every time it folded to him. I knew that, more often than not, he was stealing, and on at least two occasions I played back and induced a fold. However, I had to be cautious, because he kept his bets the same size, and a couple times he showed down hands like TT & KK. In addition, the blinds were getting to a point that any resteal raise was essentially a push, and there's only so many times I can risk my tournament life trying to induce a fold with J9 sooted.

So what does this mean? It means I'm feeling much better about MTTs. I don't have the success to show for it, but I consider myself to be an MTT player. I don't have the proper skills for a cash game, and I feel the same way that Hoy does about SNGs. They're profitable, but grinding it out on SNGs can be a drag. I find myself starting to get bored with the $5 SNGs, and playing the $17.5k yesterday only reinforced my love for MTTs. FTP has a DS $24k that I'm going to try to play more often. It starts about 10 minutes before I get home from work, so it's a rush to make it, but if I enter in advance I can always just show up late. I'd prefer this over the $28k since that's not a DS. I'm comfortable with either one, but I'll take a DS game over a regular one any day.

Finally, for those that have been offering support during this challenge, I just want to say thanks. I appreciate the comments, the kind words, & the criticism. My blog isn't the most popular or even the most fun to read. I'm not savvy enough to make eloquent posts about MTT strategy, nor will you find a constant stream of posts about my successes. My blog isn't to boast about my skills or to blast other bloggers for their lack of. It's just for me. It's my way to clear my head of the numerous thoughts I have going on about poker. I'd probably still be blogging even if I didn't have any readers. But for the few of you that continue to stop by, I offer you the sincerest of gratitudes. Again, thank you.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Live Bloggin

Add me to the list of people taking a day off from work and playing poker instead. It's a gift to myself on the tail end of a whirlwind birthday celebration. What started as a 2-night stay to the wine country of Washington (courtesy of the girlfriend) transformed into a BBQ then pub crawl Saturday night. Fully recovered, I'm intending to use most of today to play poker. I'm still just working up the bankroll, but I was able to score a token for the $17.5k guarantee that starts in just over an hour.

So while you're at work defending your clients, crunching some numbers, or whatever the hell it is that you do, I'll be here at home, in my boxers, fighting off donkeys left & right.

10:12am - Twice already i've ran KK into AA twice. Both times the AA reraises less than the minimum. Both times I've told myself "I know this is how a donk reraises AA". Both times I've pushed back anyways. But at the same time, it's hard to fold KK preflop as a big stack at these levels. They could just as easily have KJo.

11:27am - Half-hour into the $17.5k, and I've played 2 of 23 hands. Even though it's a DS game, I'm haven't gotten any cards to play. I'd kill for 98s at this point. If I get T4o or Q2o one more time, I may start considering sacrificing one of our cats to appease the poker gods. Luckily, I've got a table full of donks (including myself) so if I can get anything going, I should be able to do OK. Start placing bets to see how long it takes for that last statement to backfire on me.

11:33am - Reraised a half-stack from button with AKo. He pushes for 1700, I call. He shows A8. AK holds up. This is fun.

12:07pm - Head into the first break 331 out of 549. Only notable hands are AK, 99 and 55. Moved to a new table just before the break. Gonna have to start looking at making some steals & resteals.

12:14pm - Finally. MP min-raises, I'm the 2nd caller in the BB with KJo. Flop comes JJ4 two clubs. I call to the river then push like I'm bluffing a missed draw. He calls with AA. Yay me.

12:45pm - I get lucky. Big stack has been raising most flops from MP on, so I repop with AQo. Push a 7 high board and he calls with pocket 5s. Nail a Q on the river to double up. We talk a little trash. Hopefully I can get into another big pot with him.

1:17pm - Just after the 2nd break, AK is good against AJ. 57\206.

1:45pm - Out in 125th. AK no good when AQ flops a Q. Out the very next hand with KQ when top pair is no good against a set of 3s. Discouraging way to go out, but such is the life of MTTs. Had an aggressive bigstack to my right who was opening a lot of pots. Restole a couple of times, but just didn't have anything pushable. Went almost 3 hours with my only pairs being JJ, 99, 66, and 55. AK three times and AQ twice. Couldn't really steal as most pots were opened before me. Time to concentrate on SNGs again.

2:09pm - So I took today off to grind out some poker with the hopes that I'd continue to accelerate the bankroll challenge, but it's turned out to be quite the opposite. So I'm putting an end to this misery and halting the live blog. Thanks for reading perhaps the most boring blog post I've written. If it gets more exciting later, perhaps I'll revisit. I'm going to go focus on losing with AK to KT some more. Peace.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Slowly But Surely

I wish I had more exciting news, but the bankroll challenge has been slow. I'm still above the $300 mark and slowly inching closer to $500, but there's still a lot of work to be done. It's a slow process right now, considering the most I can profit from any one table is $17.50. I'd need about 11 consecutive victories to get to $500 as soon as possible. I don't think I've won 11 consecutive SNGs ever in my life. The point is: trying to increase my bankroll at these stakes is a long, arduous process. That's not news to me, though, and I'm willing to stay patient and continue to grind it out.

Of course, there are other ways to accelerate the bankroll challenge. I could try to multi-table. Every once in a while, I'll run two tables simultaneously. Not only is that the most my computer can handle, it's the most I can handle. I don't have any stats to prove it, but I can assure you that I'm less successful even multi-tabling two games. I'm usually fine as long as both tables are full. However, if both tables get down to heads-up at the same time, it gets a little more challenging. It's not that I can't multi-table, it's just that I don't prefer to. But I know that my time will be more productive if I can play a couple games concurrently, so it's still something I'm trying to work on.

Last night, I tried to work up the bankroll via a 90 person SNG. I took one of these down a couple months back fairly easily. A victory turns $5 into $112.50, the equivalent of about 6.5 single table victories. But, I went out on the bubble when I pushed AK into an UTG raise. I felt his range was 77-AA, AT-AK. I'm a coinflip against most, and combined with the fold equity, this was an easy decision for me, even on the bubble. I could've folded and snuck into the cash, but I wasn't interested in an $8.10 payout. I wanted the top 3 stack and a chance at the big payout. UTG makes the call with QQ. He flops a set on a 3-diamond board, and I can't find another diamond to 4-flush him. It's always disappointing to bust out of a MTT with no cash, but I'm not concerned with the small cashes anymore. I'm looking for the victories & the huge payouts, and I'm content knowing that I busted out making the right play.

This will probably be my last post for the week. I'll probably find some time to play tonight, but after that, I'm taking a short break. I got a birthday coming up on Thursday, the big 29. The girlfriend is taking me to some unknown destination Thursday night, and we'll return on Saturday to host the BBQ throwdown known as Matturday. I'll be back on Monday - I'm treating myself to a day off from work, where I'll try to follow in the footsteps of these donks and see if I can turn a day off into a big score. GL at the tables, everyone!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Bankroll Challenge - Update

I know it's not much, but it's a pretty significant amount for me, for a couple of reasons:

1. It's the first time I've had over $300 in any online poker account in over a year.

2. More importantly, it means that I've surpassed the first level of my bankroll challenge.

So what does this mean? I'm still going to stick with $5 SNGs until I get to $500, but now that I'm past $300, I'll run a couple token games too. If I drop below $250, token games are out of the picture until I hit $300 again.

For the $5 level, I'm running about as well as I can. These games are becoming second nature to me, and I really notice an improvement in my play. My confidence is at an all time high, and even though I know that I'll need to adjust my game as I move up in levels, there's no doubt in my mind right now that I'm going to succeed at this challenge.

For the first time in my life, I'm running SuperHot on Sharkscope:

I need to get some rest now. GL to you all this weekend, especially those playing the FTOPS!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Roll Call Redux

Not much new to report on the challenge. Pretty much even for the past week or so. As I'm writing this, I'm in a SNG right now, getting KK cracked by JT by the same guy who cracked my AK with A6. Awesome.

I reported sometime last week that there were a few blogs that my workplace blocked, then unblocked. Well, the bad news for all of us is that they've blocked you guys again, as well as my ability to post or leave comments. Hence the post at 2:20am EST.

As you could imagine, this severely limits the amount of poker content I can view at work, my prime blog-reading time. There's so many damn bloggers out there, it's hard to keep up, and frankly, I just haven't been concerned with reading new blogs. But now that my company has deemed some of you unsuitable, I've had to expand my horizons and add some new blogs to the list.

So, for those of you new to my list, welcome to the blogroll of the least read poker blog....ever. I look forward to reading your posts when I should be working.

As for those of you who are late night visits to your blog will have to suffice.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Check it Down!

As part of this bankroll challenge, I said I wouldn't play any blogger tournaments until my bankroll was sufficient enough to play a SNG at the same buyin. However, I've been on a decent roll lately, and my bankroll was at the highest I've ever had it on FT. Plus, I knew the girlfriend was going to be away for a while. So I splurged and bought into the Mookie at the last moment. The allure of the new double stacks and a chance to significantly progress in my bankroll challenge was too much for me to deny. And I almost took the bitch down.

Well, kinda almost. With the cards I got, I should've.

An astounding 23 pocket pairs. AA once, KK five times, QQ three times, JJ three times. I had every PP except 55 & TT. Three times my pocket pair made a set, including a two outer against wwonka69 that doubled me up early. Most importantly, I got action on many of my big pairs and they held up each time. Except for the last one, when I ran JJ into lightning36's AA. As a result, I made my first Mookie final table and my first cash in a blogger game (I did take down the Dookie once, but personally, I don't count that).

Late in the game, a hand came up that I'm very curious to see what others feel about this. I'll keep the names anonymous out of respect for those involved, but suffice it to say that I completely disagree with how this hand was played and was quite upset afterwards. Here's the scenario: we're down to 10 players, maybe 11, and a shortstack goes all in. I call with KQo and one other person calls. I'll just let the rest of the hand speak for itself.

Full Tilt Poker Game #3128586678: The Mookie - Mikey Likes It (23768769), Table 7 - 500/1000 Ante 125 - No Limit Hold'em - 0:51:25 ET - 2007/08/02
Seat 1: mclarich (28,382)
Seat 4: Player A (32,050)
Seat 6: Player B (19,918)
Seat 7: Player C (16,227)
Seat 9: Player D (2,616)
mclarich antes 125
Player A antes 125
Player B antes 125
Player C antes 125
Player D antes 125
Player A posts the small blind of 500
Player B posts the big blind of 1,000
The button is in seat #1
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to mclarich [Qh Kc]
Player C folds
Player D raises to 2,491, and is all in
mclarich calls 2,491
Player A calls 1,991
Player B folds
*** FLOP *** [5d 2c Qs]
Player A bets 9,098
mclarich folds
Player A shows [Qc Jd]
Player D shows [Ad Qd]
Uncalled bet of 9,098 returned to Player A
*** TURN *** [5d 2c Qs] [5h]
*** RIVER *** [5d 2c Qs 5h] [Kh]
Player A shows two pair, Queens and Fives
Player D shows two pair, Queens and Fives
Player D wins the pot (9,098) with two pair, Queens and Fives

Obviously, this was a frustrating hand because I was bet out of a dry pot when, had it been checked down, I would have taken down the pot and eliminated a player on or near the bubble. Nevermind what I think though, I'm curious to know what others think about the following questions:

1. Was Player A correct in making that bet?
2. Would you call 1\3rd of your stack with top pair, 2nd kicker in this situation?
3. What type of hands do you bet with into a dry pot?

This situation has come up a couple of times, and each time I find myself laying down the best hand, only to see the bettor with not only an inferior hand than mine, but inferior to the all-in player's hand. In a MTT setting, I just can't comprehend the logic behind these bets. But I'm willing to accept that my view on these situations may be flawed, so I'm open to comments and suggestions.

Anyways, I had a blast playing the Mook last night. I don't think I'll be playing it again soon, as I really need to adhere to my bankroll challenge parameters. But, if I keep being a card rack like I was last night, my bankroll should be there in no time. As discouraging as it was to go out in 7th when I really felt like I had a solid chance to take it down, it is encouraging to get my first final table and my first cash in the Mookie.

Good luck to everyone in the freeroll tonight!