Thursday, January 31, 2008

JJ Not OK (When You Play It Like A Donk)

Work-tilt forced me to leave early & skip school last night. With a clear agenda on my Wednesday night, only one way to spend it!


Of course I donked my way out of it about halfway through. Had the cards just didn't know how to play them. Pocket pairs for the night were 44, 66 2x, 77 2x, 99, JJ, QQ, KK, AA. Along with a couple AK or AQ thrown in there. With cards like that, I should have been rolling in the money, right?


AA was in the BB & everyone folded, KK folded to a raise. QQ flopped trips but didn't get much out of Astin other than a c-bet on the flop. I played most of my small pairs weakly, hoping to flop sets. The first couple didn't pan out. Finally, on the last 77, I flopped dem quads. I let leftylu catch up with his AQ and was able get his stack, putting me in the top 6 around the first break.

Then the donkeyness started.

Raised my JJ in EP only to see a reraise from DonkeyShortz (I believe, i'm doing this from work so don't recall the spelling) reraised my 700 to 1800. This was approximately half a stack. I had about 6800, so calling the addt'l would've left me with a decent stack still.

The flop came 8 or 9 high, all spades. I don't have a J of spades. What do I do? I put Shortz all in. He happily flips over AA (no spades) and takes the pot.

Seriously, what was I doing here? I can tell you know, I was doing anything but thinking critically, and nothing but fixating on those two Jacks of mine. Wheeeeeeee, overpair to the flop, let's play! How retarded is that? If I'm raising from an early position, and a decently tight player reraises me, how can I put his range on anything outside of AA-QQ, AK or AQ. I think even tens are out of a reraise range. It's not like I'm in steal position. I think there's a strong argument to fold preflop, but there's no argument on the flop - I must fold.

Anyways, I had a good time in the Mook, so I guess that's all that matters. Highlight of the night was Fuel calling me ghey for not playing HUC6 this time around. On the path to becoming a certified poker blogger, I think being called ghey by Fuel is one of the requirements. Good times.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Sneaky Russians, Rebuys, & More

As I mentioned last Friday, I was invited to a friends' home game. I haven't played live poker since a trip to Treasure Casino with Cayne back in September - my own live games are on hold until I can get a better table. The structure made for an exciting game - $10 with rebuys through 4 levels, 5k in chips, 30 minute levels. Man, if only we could get a cardroom here to do that same structure!

We were some of the first people at the game. The setup was a long 10 person table & a octagonal 8 person table crammed into someone's living room. I was stuck in the corner, wedged between the piano & the entertainment center. It wasn't as uncomfortable as it may sound but it wasn't exactly comfortable either. Like most other times when I'm in a new environment, I'm usually rather quiet & reserved. This was one of those situations where everyone knew everyone else but I only knew one person, but they were all very gracious & friendly and I loosened up pretty quickly.

We got the game started with just one table; as others joined, they started playing short-handed at the smaller table until everyone arrived, then we got reassigned. I lucked out and didn't get moved at all throughout the game, although that would later cause some problems for me courtesy of the guy to my right. My table was relatively weak-tight & full of calling stations, but they weren't completely oblivous to poker. In fact, it was actually a bit of a relief to be playing with people who understood concepts like position & pot odds.

I chipped up a bit early when my raise with 99 was called by 3 players. I flopped bottom set on a JT9 board, and since I'm a man, I bet out with my set, getting one called. The 8 on the turn slowed me down, so we checked it. River was a 2 which completed a flush draw as well, and I checked to the caller who was in position. It would've been hard to call a decent bet here, but luckily he just checked & showed 8s for the turned set.

I stayed tight again while I tried to pick up on the player's tendencies. The two players to the left of me, Tyson & Nate, were fairly weak-tight. To the right of me was some Russian guy, Pavel, who played his big hands fairly straight-forward, but was also capable of playing ATC and making some moves. He limped a lot, and it was hard to push him off any hand before the turn, especially if you didn't raise preflop. The rest of the table was relatively weak-tight.

I layed low until I had AQ on the button. Pavel, the sneaky Russian, had limped along with a couple others. I raised it to 3.5x and got a couple callers, including Pavel & Tyson from the BB. The flop was AT9 with two diamonds, I bet about 23rd when checked to me. Both Tyson & Pavel called. The turn came a 5 of diamonds & we check it all around. The river was a horrible card for me - another Ace. Tyson now leads out for 1k - about 13rd pot, and Pavel smooth calls. I know I'm probably beat here but I just couldn't fold trips getting 5:1. Tyson shows T2 for 2nd pair, Pavel, the sneaky Russian, shows the nut flush.

A couple hands later, Pavel, the sneaky Russian limps, and I raised with JJ. Of course he calls, and calls my bet on an A88 board. With two diamonds, I thought he might have been chasing the flush again, so I bet the turn when it was an offsuit 6, and he calls again. We check the river & he shows A3.

I still had a healthy stack, thanks to lots of stealing, mostly Tyson's chips. I was the button on his BB and just kept abusing his blinds. I gave him a bone when I c-bet a flop then folded to his bet on the river (the fact that it was obvious he had a hand helped too), but otherwise I just kept raising & betting, even to the point that I was check-raising him with nothing other than T high. So when he limped on my BB, when I had A9 sooted, I was going to repop him again. I didn't pay much attention to Pavel, the sneaky Russian, limping his SB, so I raised it 5x to 1000. Tyson folded but Pavel reraised me all in. In a regular tournament, I'm folding here, but being a rebuy tournament, I thought his hand range was much wider, and honestly thought he was just making a move. Knowing I could rebuy, and the fact that my stack was not that much more than a starting stack, I made the call, and the sneaky Russian shows KK. Well played sir.

I rebought and started loosening up my play, the way a true blogger should - The Hammer. I know that The Hammer loses meaning outside of blogger games, but the flipside is seeing everyone's faces when you rake in a pot flashing the seven-deuce. You can't get that at a blogger game. Unfortunately, playing loose didn't go too well as other players started calling me down more often, not because they thought I was bluffing, but because they just kept hitting flops hard when I wasn't. Down to about 3500, I got the JackAce on the button. My good friend Tyson calls my raise, like he always did. The flop was AJ9 with two diamonds. I elected not to bet, even despite the draws, because I wanted to give him the idea that I didn't like that flop. My plan worked perfectly because he couldn't resist betting the 5 on the turn. I check raised his pot-bet for basically the same amount more, and he couldn't call because he just didn't have anything.

Around this time, another player joined us and got seated to my left. Another Russian. His name? Teddy. And the rumor was that he was completely reckless. Everyone warned me that the first couple of hands, unless I have AA, then just fold because he's going all in, probably even all-in blind. When he finally got there, he sat out his first hand, much to the chagrin of Nate, who happened to have AA. Luckily for him, another guy, Andy, gave him some action with AK.

I was prepared to give Teddy some action, knowing that he probably had ATC, and on his first hand I had Q6, fully intending to call his all in with it. However, Pavel decided to limp UTG, and I figured that was too scary to get involved. Sure enough, Teddy goes all in, everyone folds, and he shows K3. The dealer did some rabbit hunting & I would've hit a Q to take the pot. Dunno why Pavel the sneaky Russian was limping if he knew Teddy was pushing but oh well.

On the last hand before the break, with the rebuy period ending, I was fully intending to push from the BB. My stack was about 4200, and the fact that I was less than the starting stack + the added enjoyment of pushing & rebuying made this a no-brainer. 5 people limped for 200 and I went all in. Tyson, the first limper, thought about it & finally called after Pavel agreed to cover a rebuy for him. He showed A2, but luckily I actually had a hand - TT. My tens held up, and my stack was about 7500 coming back from break.

Shortly after the break, the smaller table lost some players, and we had to send one over. Nate the dealer decided to send Pavel rather than dealing it out. His reasoning was that Pavel was in the SB, and it was the new SB who busted out, so he had to go. No one argued about this, but I found it to be unusual. I wasn't complaining though - I was happy to see the big stack, crafty, sneaky Russian call station gone. Once he left, I started running over the table. My KQ flopped a pair & took Tyson out when I slowplayed it to the turn, like the AJ hand previously. He couldn't find a fold to my check-raise and took his 55 to the felt. After that, my A7 outflopped a shortstack's 55, and all of a sudden I was a big chipleader.

When we condensed to one table, once again, I found Pavel sitting directly to my right. I had a healthy stack but played tight, especially with 5 new players at our table. I wanted to get a feel for things. I stole a couple blinds but didn't really have any playable hands until I got AK in MP. I raised it just over 3x to 2500 when the guy next to me, Dan, went all in for 9900. I took some time to think about it because calling would've been half my stack. But I took a chance and made the call. Dan flipped up.....44. WTF? He still had about 12 BB, and he's reraising the FIRST time I've raised OOP with 44? Perhaps he "just knew" because I missed the board and he doubled up.

After that, I couldn't find anything playable, and the blinds had jumped to 5001000. I was down to about 9500 in the SB when it folds to Pavel, who limps. I had to be weary of this limp, but he was raising fairly aggressively at this table, so I read his limp as weak & pushed all in. Unfortunately Dan, the BB, had me outchipped & goes all in too. Fuck. Pavel folds, Dan shows KK, and I'm ready to go, but I found an A on the flop to double me up. The bad beat brought some groans from the table, but I just calmly raked my chips in and kept going.

Once we were down to 5, I was on the button against another tight BB. I kept raising him, folding once when he finally played back, but I kept adding to my stack by taking his. He finally took a stand with QJ sooted but my A7 was good enough to win. We finally broke through to the money after only after about 5 hours.

After the money bubble, the player to my left, Andy, started getting aggressive. I think he was just catching cards but it severely limited my ability to steal. Down to about 24000 with blinds at 1k2k, I raised on the button with A2 offsuit. The BB, Jeremiah, called, and the flop came QJ9 all spades. A horrible flop for me - I didn't have a single spade, but when Jeremiah checked to me, I thought the only way I could win this was to bet. It was very likely to be just as scary of a flop for him as it was for me, so I asked for a count of his chips, thought a bit, then bet half of the pot, which was just a bit less than his stack. He agonized, and it looked like he was going to call, but he decided to fold, saying he had 88. I was saved!

It was getting late - about 1:30am at this point, but I was still going strong. I had invested $20, which was the payout for 4th place, and I really didn't feel like investing almost 7 hours of play just to break even. Luckily, Pavel the sneaky Russian started losing his stack, finally taking a stand with 34 sooted against Jeremiah's 7s. The 7 on the flop sealed his fate, and I was finally guaranteed profit.

Unfortunately for me, my stack wasn't doing too well - 20k at 2k4k blinds. On the button, I found 25 sooted and took a stab at it. Jeremiah found AK and made the call. My cards were live + I picked up added outs with an OESD but I never got there, so I finally went home at 2am with $30 more than I got there with. I know that's less than minimum wage these days, but I was just happy to play in a quality poker game once again.

Friday, January 25, 2008

From Omaha To Nomaha.

I know, that title is pretty gay.

After winning a $3 KO game about a week ago, I've been playing a lot of them since. Part of my mentality has been "Well, I've already done it once, why not again?" I've final tabled it once since then, and end up going out somewhere in the 20-30 range. I've had a couple chances to run deep again in these but have donked away some mid size stacks playing too aggressively. These games are fun though and I'll still play them fairly often, but I need to reign it in a bit. My bankroll is noticeably lighter since that victory.

I also played a $5 DS PLO game last night. Doubled up my stack within the 1st hour, then lost 23rds of it on a 983 board with AAxx. I had an overpair and the nut flush draw, bet out, and got reraised. Since I had him covered I took a chance at getting a huge stack, and he shows KJTT with a draw to the straight flush. Turn was good but river was a T for trips.

Fought back until I had an interesting hand against a big stack who wasn't very good. He limped from EP and it folds to me in the BB with KJ4x. Flop comes AQ8, Q8 are same suit as my J4. He min-bets and I check raise to 3xBB. He smooth calls, and for whatever reason, I read this to mean that he wasn't drawing to a nut flush - not sure why, but from what I'd seen I figured he would've reraises top pair with nut flush draw. Turn completes my flush, and I try to sell it as a scare card by delaying & weak betting. he smooth calls again. River is irrelevant, and I check. He then pot bets it which is more than my stack. I'm only afraid of KX spades here, and I just can't fold it after all is said & done. He shows A8TX for a smaller flush & I double up. Probably not the best play but I just really felt that I wasn't against a higher flush.

Afterwards, the cards started pouring in. Took more chips from the same stack when he couldn't fold his 2nd nut flush to my nut flush. Got AAKx and AAKK twice in about 15 hands, both times flop came AKx. And one of those even gave me the case A on the turn. DQB baby. Sadly, I couldn't get very much post-flop out of those hands.

Then the wheels fell off.

Hand 1) I was sitting in 2nd place with about 30 left to play, raised it in EP with AQJ5, single suited. BB calls and flop is a wonderful 234 rainbow. BB bets about 23rd pot and I smooth call. Turn is a Jh and he bets big. Losing this hand still keeps me around 10k so I put him in, he shows 4566 with 2 hearts for the utter nuts + flush redraw. I thought maybe the Jh meant flush redraw & 2 pair or trips - did not expect nuts vs 2nd nuts.

Hand 2) Raised with AAQx (yes, again), saw a flop of 734. Flop was uncoordinated and I could have won the pot here, but I checked OOP. Opponent checks. Turn is a 2s and I bet pot. Opponent goes all in for less then a minraise more & shows A2QX with AX spades. River is a Q and gives him two pair.

Hand 3) Final hand was a silly battle of the blinds. I had 5666 but it folded to me in the SB and the 56 was sooted so I just limped. Flop was 333. I pot bet it and BB calls. Turn is an A. I bet again, he calls. River is a J, I don't feel like playing anymore so I push. He calls and shows the case 3. I was correct in figuring he didn't have a pair, but he has the one card that beats me.

Not sure what to do with those last three hands. I'm sure I could fold Hand 1 preflop OOP, but aside from that, is anyone folding that hand at any point? Hand 2, yes I could have bet on the flop. My opponent got his money in on the turn behind with at most 17 outs (if no other spades were dealt preflop). Can't do the calc since I'm at work & they block that kind of stuff but I figure my AA is decently ahead with one card to go. IMO, it was just a sucky river. Hand 3, I should have just folded the 666 preflop (did I need a bigger sign than that?) or check-folded after the flop, but I was tilty at that point and just refused to believe he has the case 3. Any thoughts?

Anyways, so yeah, time to get back to business. I've had fun playing MTTs the past week or so but it's time to get back to my bread-n-butter, the SNGs. I'll also be playing a home game tonight that a friend invited me too - $10, 5k in chips, two rebuys through the first two hours. This should be interesting - I'll try to provide a Jordan-esque recap for you next week.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

That Familiar Feeling

I'm using some extra vacation to take today off. You know what that means.

I scored a $26 token the other night, somehow coming back from a stack of 345 with 12-13 left in the tournament ($8 2-table, 5 tokens awarded) to take down the whole thing. Admittedly, I was shocked because the whole occurrence was hard evidence disproving a slight superstition of mine (more on that in a second).

I used the token on the $17.5k DS tournament earlier today. I lost a good portion of my stack bluffing a scare card on the river that unfortunately gave my opponent the bottom end of a straight. Left with about 12x BB, I hung on until I got QQ in the SB. CO+1 raises 3x, I push, he shows A8. I'm fine until the A on the turn and I go home in the middle of the pack somewhere.

(Sidenote: I seriously contemplated a stop-n-go on this hand, but with such a low stack and little fold equity, I figured I was better off just getting it in preflop. Any thoughts on this idea are welcomed).

What's funny is, when that hand played out, as soon as I saw his hand, I thought "I'm gone". Even when the flop came out T high, with none of his suit, I knew I was gone. The ace on the turn looked like bad luck, but in my head, it was a known fact that an A was going to hit.

I don't claim to be a clairvoyant or anything, but I can't help to sometimes wonder if FTP is.....yes, rigged. I write this not actually believing that FTP is set up to reward certain players & punish others. In fact, I can actually say that I don't believe FTP is set up to be anything but random. However, if I was ever to suggest that FTP is rigged, it's by doing this: preventing short-stacks from doubling up & extending the length of tournaments.

At some point, the blinds will swallow up most stacks, and no tournament can go on forever. Plus, there's always your classic setup hands, AA vs KK, or your coinflips that end up in favor of the opponent who's slightly behind. But what I see so often are hand where a shortstack goes in with a, say, a mid pair like 66, flops trips against an opponent who's priced in, then loses to runner-runner straight or flush. Or the shorty who pushes with A6, gets called by A3, then loses when A3 pairs his 3. It just seems like shorties getting in as a decent favorite then losing in horrific fashion happens a lot more often then the math says it should.

(Disclaimer: I won't claim to know the math behind this concept, and it could turn out that what I'm seeing happen is a lot more likely than I think it is. If you've got the math to disprove my crackpot theory, please, use it).

Anyways, I won't waste any more words suggesting that online poker may, in fact, be kinda sorta rigged (because we all know it is, right?). But the next time you get your shortstack in with 88 against JT, see an 8 high flop, only to see a 7 then a 9 hit the board...well, I'll try not to say "I told ya so."

Monday, January 21, 2008

A Good Start

The stakes aren't very brag-worthy, but a win is a win:

I won't go into a full report, just some short notes:

1. Had about 5-6 KOs total in addition to 1st place.
2. Finished in just over 2 hours.
3. Only big pairs were AA & JJ - had AK at least 5x, AQ about 2x.
4. As probably expected, the players were absolutely atrocious. Some were absolute call stations, others were limping UTG then folding when a shortstack pushes for less than a minraise!

I played tight until I could amass a stack and then loosened up a bit to acquire some more chips. My stack varied considerably, and I really only survived by picking up onthe tight players and abusing them with aggression. I hung around as a mid stack at the final table until I flopped trips on a checked BB to triple up. From there, it was mostly riding rivered nut flushes & flopped straights to victory.

My deposit came through on Tuesday and since then, I've already doubled it. Plus, I was able to get in some MTT play as well. Let's hope this is just the first of many successes this year.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Back In Business

I'm back, and so far so good.

I've played 3 games since I got my bankroll back; a $3 Turbo Knockout DS Multi-Table SNG, and two $5 SNG. The KO SNG was a failure when someone decided that limping in EP with 58 sooted, then calling a preflop raise (I had QQ) with a caller behind me, then calling a pot-sized push & call OOP with just an 8 high flush draw was a good move. Or maybe he just knew the Qd would hit on the turn. I missed my redraws to a boat & he gets an addt'l $.50. Congrats, douchebag.

The $5 SNGs were much better - didn't just cash, took both of those bitches down. I'm trying to approach these games more analytically. I may not find higher-level thinking players in these games, but just by improved observation & better strategic thinking, I should be able to increase my cash & win rates in these games. I'm not saying I'm forecasting future progress just because I took down two SNGs in a row, but I do think that these victories are partially due to having a different outlook on these games.

Anyways, enough talk about winning $5 SNGs. Pretty soon, this'll start to sound like a brag post, and I'm sure the analogy between internet fighting & the Special Olympics probably applies to bragging about $5 SNG victories. So I digress.


Caught most of the Mookie FT last night. I remained a lurker rather than a chatter since I really didn't know anyone at the final table (I usually limit my railbirding to those I've chatted with outside of blog posts & comments). Mookie vs Hoy would've been epic. I think one of these guys gets a victory this year, but a HU battle for the prop bet would've been fitting. Alas, it was not meant to be. Congrats to NumbBono for the victory, the same guy who knocked me out of my first Mookie (sadly, I've played in so few of them that I can remember details about most of them).


Lastly, it looks like a idea of mine is finally coming to fruition. Back in Nov, I started floating the idea of a Seattle Blogger home game. I've been running home games off & on at my apartment but it mostly consisted of friends who only had a small amount of poker experience. Rather than take a chance on a home game full of strangers, why not start my own home game and invite internet strangers! After much delay, it looks like we'll be running our first game sometime in February (the exact date is still TBD). Here's the lineup:



Seattle John


The Wife


(hopefully) zeem

I imagine hijinks will ensue, and you can count on a full report on this blog when they do.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Random Thoughts Of The Week

I'm posting this from Google documents. Workplace has again blocked my Blogger access. The short time I was able to post & comment from work was again enjoyable, but I guess they prefer that I do better things with my time here. We are a large company, and it's very possible that my actions have no effect on their on-again, off-again policy, but I'm beginning to think that they might.

BTW, can anyone give me advise on posting from Google Docs to Blogger with a title? Everything I've tried so far has ended up title-less.

Anyways, not much to say about poker lately. I went through the rest of my bankroll (which was less than the number of years I've been alive, so it was no big deal) when I stayed home after getting a severe case of the Mondays. I had a hard time sleeping, mostly because of my Diabetic medication, and when 7am rolled around, I decided my 2.5 hours of sleep wasn't enough. Once I finally woke up, I fired up FTP and turned $13 into $1, then back to $10, before finally going busto.

But it wasn't all bad on Monday. I did finally get through DragonForce, Medium difficulty, on Guitar Hero 3. Only 3 stars, and I limped my way to the finish line, but anyone who's played this knows that it's a pretty decent accomplishment nevertheless. But that's for another blog.

The good news is, as planned, I will be back. I've got a deposit that I'm waiting for ePassporte to process, and of course, they take unnecessarily long. That should be coming through any day now; until then, I play the waiting game.

I started going through some of my poker texts, starting with HOH2 (I read the first one sometime last year). I've yet to get into anything incredibly insightful, but even the bit I've read so far has helped me to start focusing on known leaks in my game. I haven't made it through the first chapter yet, but Harrington's discussion on bluffs got me thinking about the way I bluff.

In $5 SNGs, certain bluffs are fairly easily. C-bets are easy money because very few people will pickup on c-bet frequency; they have a hard enough time seeing past their own cards. Obviously, I reign in the c-bets on coordinated boards andor large pots, but standard c-bets work pretty often. Bluffs like resteals, on the other hand, doesn't work as well. Again, players at these stakes can't see past their cards, so most resteals are going to get called down (if the player doesn't decide to REreraise with their KQo or A8o).

What I need to do is learn to pick my bluffs better. I need to be more observant when I'm bluffing in a game outside of the structure I normally play (see my rant post from two weeks ago ). Most $5 SNG players play the same, but moving to something like a blogger game, I need to remember (and stay reminded) that, until my observation skills become closer to automatic, I need to think through my bluffs more. In the Mookie against Buckeyes, I decided to resteal with no other information other than A) the bet seemed kind of stealy-looking and B) the way he played a hand against Hoy on another table I happened to be watching (and really, I used that information wrong anyways). I put my whole tournament line trying to bluff a player I knew little about. As I progress into more MTTs, I can't be making those kind of mistakes.

I'm hoping to be back on FTP this week, but since I'm at the mercy of ePassporte, it may not be until next. Either way, good luck to all this week.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

A Tough Hand From The Mookie

Thanks to everyone for the comments on my last post. I have to admit, a tilty post like that is out of the ordinary for me, but it felt good to unleash all that. Obviously I played the hand badly but my opponent's unsolicited remark afterwards started some banter that just kept my rage going. Let's move on now. This hand confused the hell out of me last night. I'm pretty sure I made the right laydown, but I'd like to get some input.

Full Tilt Poker Game #4717232109: The Mookie (35293529), Table 5 - 60/120 - No Limit Hold'em - 23:14:46 ET - 2008/01/02
Seat 1: twoblackaces (2,955)
Seat 2: mclarich (6,130)
Seat 3: KngofKngs (2,965)
Seat 4: Donkette (5,415)
Seat 5: Fuel55 (5,730)
Seat 6: TheCloserX5 (5,620)
Seat 7: dnasty13 (5,698)
Seat 8: IlkkaK (2,305)
Seat 9: UnTiltable15 (6,512)
KngofKngs posts the small blind of 60
Donkette posts the big blind of 120
The button is in seat #2
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to mclarich [Ks As]
Fuel55 folds
TheCloserX5 folds
dnasty13 folds
IlkkaK folds
UnTiltable15 folds
twoblackaces folds
mclarich raises to 360
KngofKngs has 15 seconds left to act
KngofKngs folds
Donkette calls 240

Nothing much to speak of here - standard raise, was hoping that Donkette would see it as a steal & reraise. No such luck.

*** FLOP *** [Ac Kd Qd]
Donkette checks
mclarich bets 360
Donkette calls 360

So I hit the flop pretty strong, but with straight & flush draws, I'm still vulnerable. What's interesting is Donkette instacalled. I rule out AA-QQ based on the play so far - the only hand I'm behind is JT. Flush draw is also a possibility, and very likely based on the instacall.

*** TURN *** [Ac Kd Qd] [4c]
Donkette checks
mclarich bets 600
Donkette calls 600

In retrospect I probably should have bet this bigger (betsizing has become a bit of a problem for me lately, not sure why). My thought at the time was: the 4c was a safe card, and with 1 card to come, I don't mind stringing her along for some more, but I probably should have bet 1000-1200 here. The problem with my bet is that I don't get any more information than I had before; she's still getting decent odds to chase.

*** RIVER *** [Ac Kd Qd 4c] [Th]
Donkette bets 2,700

Well this sure throws me for a loop. I can't see her betting two pair this hard. The bet size throws me off big time - did she have Jx & hit? AJ, KJ, or QJ? Jx of diamonds? If so, why is she betting this so hard now? The possibility of a missed draw is there - the pot bet looks designed to push me off the hand.

mclarich has 15 seconds left to act

If I'm behind, it has to be to Jx. I'm trying to find a way to call this. The bet represents about 58% of my stack. With about 2100 left I'm still in good position, but I'd be entering push or fold mode shortly if I lose.

mclarich has requested TIME
mclarich folds
Donkette wins the pot (2,700)

In the end, I decided to save my chips for a better spot. Donkette's pot bet left her with about 1300, and I really didn't believe that she'd call all that down just to bluff me when a bad river card hit. I gave her credit for having some kind of Jack; maybe AJ-QJ, or even flopping it with JT. Her bet seemed like she was saying "I have a Jack. If you do too, so be it". Otherwise, if she reads me for having strength, she may think I can't lay it down. If she had just the flush draw, then kudos to her for a great bet on the river (and shame the dealer for bringing that nasty card).

Ignore the betsizing problem on the turn for now (I should point out that my small bet on the turn did keep the pot small, making sure I wasn't priced in for a river call, thank you very much!). Do you make the hero fold or the gutsy call here?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

On Serious Tilt Right Now

I try to keep my posts to once a day, but I'm tilting so hard right now that I need to spit this out right away so that you get the full effect of how I'm feeling right now. Here's how I went out of the Mookie just now:

Full Tilt Poker Game #4717596141: The Mookie (35293529), Table 5 - 120/240 Ante 25 - No Limit Hold'em - 23:46:46 ET - 2008/01/02
Seat 1: Buckeyes22 (9,080)
Seat 2: mclarich (5,340)
Seat 3: KngofKngs (3,085)
Seat 4: Donkette (4,943)
Seat 6: TheCloserX5 (15,600)
Seat 7: bayne_s (18,205)
Seat 8: swimmom95 (180), is sitting out
Seat 9: UnTiltable15 (7,377)
Buckeyes22 antes 25
mclarich antes 25
KngofKngs antes 25
Donkette antes 25
TheCloserX5 antes 25
bayne_s antes 25
swimmom95 antes 25
UnTiltable15 antes 25
mclarich posts the small blind of 120
KngofKngs posts the big blind of 240
The button is in seat #1
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to mclarich [Ac 3h]
Donkette folds
TheCloserX5 folds
bayne_s folds
swimmom95 folds
UnTiltable15 folds
Buckeyes22 raises to 975
mclarich has 15 seconds left to act
mclarich raises to 2,160
KngofKngs folds
Buckeyes22 calls 1,185

I know that A3 is not a solid hand. One word: resteal.

*** FLOP *** [Td Kh Qc]
mclarich has 15 seconds left to act
mclarich bets 3,155, and is all in

I can't fold now, and considering what's I've done so far (reraise, then push a coordinated flop), any DECENT poker player would have to fold the majority of hands.

Buckeyes22 calls 3,155
mclarich shows [Ac 3h]
Buckeyes22 shows [Ks 8c]

Seriously? TP8K is gold I guess. But who the fuck calls a reraise with K8o? Then calls half their stack on that board with K8?

*** TURN *** [Td Kh Qc] [6s]
*** RIVER *** [Td Kh Qc 6s] [8s]
mclarich shows Ace King high
Buckeyes22 shows two pair, Kings and Eights
Buckeyes22 wins the pot (11,070) with two pair, Kings and Eights
mclarich stands up

If I made a mistake, it's that I didn't give him credit for a solid hand, but I honestly didn't think he had one. I really thought I could push him off of the hand. I was watching his table earlier when he called Hoy's push on a K high board with nothing but the nut flush draw. I suppose I can check-fold that board if I want to play pussy-ass weak poker, but again, I gave him too much credit for being a solid player.

Then, he adds this to fuel my rage even more:

mclarich (Observer): lol
TheCloserX5: gg
Buckeyes22: re-raise w/ a3??????
mclarich (Observer): K8
mclarich (Observer): you call with K8?
Buckeyes22: u r quiet re-raising w/ that garbage
mclarich (Observer): seriously?
Buckeyes22: seriously pushing w/ no pair/
mclarich (Observer): seriously calling a reraise with K8 and
then thinking TP bad kicker is good on that board?
mclarich (Observer): you have MAD psychic skills
mclarich (Observer): or a luckbox
mclarich (Observer): still not sure which
Buckeyes22: or thought u were a donk
Buckeyes22: looks like i was correct
Buckeyes22: if it makes u feel better, i thought i was beat
when i called
mclarich (Observer): you thought you were beat and STILL
Mookman5 (Observer): keep it up buddy
Buckeyes22: ty
Buckeyes22: some guy shamed me
Buckeyes22: for calling re-rasie w/ K8
Buckeyes22: what do u think?
Mookman5 (Observer): i play Q6 and push
Mookman5 (Observer): any 2 cards can win
mclarich (Observer): please come by my blog tomorrow
Buckeyes22: i raised from button
Mookman5 (Observer): i am sure you had enough chips to
make the call
Dealer: Donkette has 15 seconds left to act
mclarich (Observer):
mclarich (Observer): i won't bother the rest of the table with this
mclarich (Observer): gl all
Buckeyes22: get over it
Mookman5 (Observer): i think im going to try donk the madness
Mookman5 (Observer): you keep ballin'
Mookman5 (Observer): that guy might talk &#%@ about you in
his blog no one cares about or reads, look out
Buckeyes22: i had the best hand on flop
Buckeyes22: and he shamed me for call
Buckeyes22: i don't get some people
Buckeyes22: his move didn't pay off

He chastises me for playing A3 like I did when he didn't consider anything other than the fact that he hit top pair (cue Fuel's "TP is gold" comment right about now). The only way I'm winning that pot is by betting, and by reraising then making the ONLY bet I can make, I'd venture to say that at least 80% of the people playing the Mookie would fold that, if not fold it preflop. I just happened to run into one of the 20% who couldn't.

Then, later, he says that he thought he was beat when he called! So, apparently, he gave me credit for having a better hand than him and wanted to donate half his stack to me? I'm really supposed to believe that? How do you even begin to think you can win consistently as a poker player if you're willing to call off half your stack WHEN YOU THINK YOU'RE BEAT! He later says he had the best hand on the flop, yet admitted right before that to not thinking that when he made the call!

Honestly, I mean no ill will towards Buckeyes22 personally; I've made a pointed attempt to refrain from any name calling or slander towards him as a person because that's not what this is about. I'm sure he's a great guy in real life. But Buckeyes, if you are reading this blog, do you still think you made a great play? Is it not entirely possible that I have any one of these hands: AA, AK, KK, QQ, KQ, KJ, AJ, KT, TT? That's 9 hands right there that beat you that are entirely possible considering my action. If you want to narrow your thinking to "I had top pair" and "you only had A3" then I can GUARANTEE you that the only way you will win any of these blogger tournaments is by relying on luck, not poker skills. If you actually think about poker critically, you should be able to see that, in the long run, folding K8 to a reraise preflop will serve you better than hoping to hit a flop & hoping that you are ahead, or worse, calling when you think you're behind because you want to confirm or because you hope you'll suckout. Ignore what I actually had and think about how I played the hand, and tell me that you still think I played the hand poorly.

I'm open to any and all criticism on this hand, because I'm willing to take it equally as much as I dish it out. Fault me for trying to bluff a call station, or fault me for trying to bluff or resteal at the wrong time, I'll understand that. But I think I've layed out a pretty good argument justifying why I played the hand that way. I've lost games going out on a bluff, and if I think the situation is right, I'll do it again; I have no problem with the outcome because I knew it was a risk going into it. If he would've said "I put you on a steal or a bluff" then all the more credit to him for somehow coming to that conclusion. But to criticize MY play when you can't see just how horrible YOUR play was? No fuckin way.

EDIT: I'm writing this about an hour later, after I calmed myself down by destroying it on Guitar Hero III. I do realize I made some mistakes on the play, namely A) trying to resteal without considering the possibility that Buckeyes may actually have been on a hand and B) not reraising enough to induce a fold. I'm not concerned with A as much, since I think trying to resteal in that position, against a raise like that, is merited. However, I needed to reraise more, either 3-4x the BB, or even push if I don't think he has a hand. Despite his holding, I gave him odds to call. I tried to represent a strong hand, but did so in a poor manner, and ended up going out on a pure bluff.

I don't think that admission takes away from the fact that Buckeyes played the hand poorly himself, or that I made the play not because I had the best hand but because I thought I could induce a fold. I don't blame anyone but me for the play, and making a post like this really is out of my character. I won't delete it because I don't think out of line, and it's good to keep so that I can go back & read this at a later time. I won't take back anything I've said, but with a clearer mind, I can at least admit that the way I tried to represent my hand wasn't played as well as I could have.

Ooh, Ahh, Push It!

I find it hard to think critically about my game due to the stakes that I play. The straight-forwardness of most people's play, combined with the structure of a SNG, usually makes play pretty predictable. I've thought this way for a long time now, but a new year brings a new perspective, and I'm trying to get away from that limited mindset. Instead, I'm trying to look at things in a different light, because the truth is I should be crushing these games. Not just winning or cashing consistently, but crushing. And I'm not. So something must be wrong. I bubbled a 2-table SNG last night, and looking back, I can think of a couple hands that I played poorly.

Hand No. 1

TT in late position, 8 players left. My stack is about 11.5x the BB. This hand was actually the second of 4 hands in a row that I was dealt a PP (JJ, TT, QQ, 22). I've already pushed 2x, once to steal, the other with JJ with a limper before me. This affected my thinking because I elected to limp instead (with a limper before me again). I played this hand looking to get away from it from the start, and ended up folding when the BB bet out on a K-high 2-club flop. I should've pushed but didn't out of fear that I'd get called when that's exactly what I should want. If BB wakes up with JJ+, so be it. If limper calls with A8 and hits, so be it. I played this hand with the fear of getting sucked out on affecting my decision. I'm prone to getting in this mindframe on occassion, and the sooner I can learn to avoid it, the better I'll become.

Hand No. 2

This one I'm pretty sure I made the right play, but not completely. 55 UTG, my stack is about 14x the BB. If my M was smaller, this is a push without a doubt, but I felt that I still had time to play with 7 people left (including one microstack who is autofolding). I may be too results-oriented with this one as I would've at least doubled up with a flopped set - instead AQ doubled up against A7. Is anyone else pushing there?

Hand Nos. 3 & 4

Down to 5, I'm the shortstack again, with less than 10x the BB. Folds to me in the small blind with Q6o. I fold. Next hand, folds to me on the button with K7o. I fold.

What am I doing here? I HAVE to push these hands. The blinds are hitting me in three hands & I'm folding these hands? I know better than this. I have to push with basically ATC here (which is what I did a couple hands later with 83, running into AJ). I can try to feed you the excuse that I was scared to make a move because I was too afraid that I wouldn't cash (which was at the forefront of my mind because my bankroll is so small right now), but that's all it is, an excuse. The fact is, pushing those hands WAS my best chance to cash.

The good news is that, despite the debacle last night, I've still managed to double my bankroll since the year started. The bad news is that I've been alive more years than my bankroll has dollars. I'll be redepositing most of the money I withdrew in a week or two, but until then, I better start adjusting my game and stop being so results focused. I need to remember that, despite how ugly the cards may look, there's times when it's appropriate to go all in with them, and thinking about this concept as being contradictory to how I play poker means that I'm further away from being a good poker player than I'd like to think.