Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Question For O8 Players

Would you play this hand differently, and if so, how? This is from a 1-table SNG but we can pretend it's the first level of an O8 MTT.

PokerStars Game #25288478915: Tournament #143208169, $5.00+$0.50 Omaha Hi/Lo Pot Limit - Level I (10/20) - 2009/02/23 22:56:23 ET
Table '143208169 1' 9-max Seat #7 is the button
Seat 1: skpersian (1260 in chips)
Seat 2: kaymarx (1460 in chips)
Seat 3: mclarich (1520 in chips)
Seat 4: srgra (2080 in chips)
Seat 5: patches068 (1970 in chips)
Seat 7: jmurphy69 (1960 in chips)
Seat 8: NeedsaJet (1380 in chips)
Seat 9: dbird_33 (1870 in chips)
NeedsaJet: posts small blind 10
dbird_33: posts big blind 20
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to mclarich [2h 3d 3s As]
skpersian: folds
kaymarx: calls 20
mclarich: raises 40 to 60
srgra: calls 60
patches068: folds
jmurphy69: folds
NeedsaJet: calls 50
dbird_33: calls 40
kaymarx: calls 40
*** FLOP *** [6d Ts 4c]
NeedsaJet: checks
dbird_33: checks
kaymarx: checks
mclarich: checks
srgra: bets 100
NeedsaJet: calls 100
dbird_33: calls 100
kaymarx: folds
mclarich: calls 100
*** TURN *** [6d Ts 4c] [2s]
NeedsaJet: bets 140
dbird_33: calls 140
mclarich: calls 140
srgra: calls 140
*** RIVER *** [6d Ts 4c 2s] [Kh]
NeedsaJet: bets 200
dbird_33: folds
mclarich: calls 200
srgra: calls 200
*** SHOW DOWN ***
NeedsaJet: shows [2c 9d Ad 5c] (HI: a pair of Deuces; LO: 6,5,4,2,A)
mclarich: shows [2h 3d 3s As] (HI: a pair of Threes; LO: 6,4,3,2,A)
srgra: shows [Jc Tc Th 6s] (HI: three of a kind, Tens)
srgra collected 930 from pot
mclarich collected 930 from pot

Preflop: I'm OOP but with a sooted Ace and two draws for a low, I raise to build a pot in case the flop comes low. In the early stages of these games, hardly anyone is folding to small PF raises, even with really bad O8 hands.

Flop: I'm still drawing to a made low, but OOP I don't want to A) force anyone out with an unmade low or B) position myself to face a raise OOP.

Turn: I've made my low with a draw to the nut flush, but I'm at best only chopping the pot, at worst quartering it vs a high hand vs another low (although the fact that I have two of the 3's make that less likely)

River: Still only chopping the pot at best.

Considering the draw I have on the turn + a made low, would anyone raise instead of just calling at any point? Obviously if I knew what each person in front of me was betting with I would raise, or if I had been more conscious of the fact that I had two of the threes needed for the nut low. O8 is just so much easier for me when I'm in position.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Wheeeee, Back To Poker Stuff

Thank you to all for the congratulations you left on my other blog. Suffice it to say that it's a very exciting time for me for many reasons, one of those being the fact that I'll have a legitimate income again to help support this poker habit of mine.

Anyway, let's get back to being a poker blog.

My one and only goal this year has been to improve as a poker player. I haven't developed any way of measuring whether or not I've shown improvement, but over the first two months of 2009, I do feel that I'm at least playing better than when I stopped playing regularly last year. These days, I'm still resigned to play microstakes SNGs, so I'm not really improving by going up against stronger competition. However, I have made some changes to my game that has helped me become more profitable in the short run.

First, and most recognizable, I've become more patient when I play. I first started doing this after I reread HOH2's chapter on zones (i.e. Green Zone, Red Zone, etc.) Prior to this, and especially in multi-table SNGs, if I find myself shortstacked, I've found myself pushing AIPF with a wider range of hands then probably necessary, and doing so earlier than necessary. Usually I'll do this when I fear that my stack size is dwindling so much that I lose significant fold equity, but in the games at these levels, I realized that fold equity is not as important because players just don't know how to fold. When you're able to shove AA AIPF in the first level against a raiser and get called by anything from AJ to 77, being able to induce a fold is more then just somewhat irrelevant, it's nearly impossible. These days, I'll allow my stack to drop a little lower than I usually find comfortable, looking for a chance to A) find a better hand that I can shove with or B) wait until I'm in position to push more aggressively against stacks that don't understand pot odds or M values.

Likewise, in single table SNGs, I've reigned in the aggression considerably preflop and focused more on getting value out of my hands postflop. Instead of 3-betting with a hand like AK or JJ, I'll find myself calling more in various positions and reassessing my hand on different streets. One consequence of this is that I may not get as much value out of my hands as I could by building a pot preflop, but I'm also doing this mostly when I feel that reraising preflop will not induce a fold or thin the field when I'd like. If I can get heads up, then it's a different story.

The side effects of this are notable in two ways. One, I'm basically playing conservative ABC poker. Profitable as it may be at these levels, I feel like I'll definitely have to make some adjustments if and when I start playing at higher levels and\or jumping into MTTs again. Secondly, it's just plain boring. For the past couple weeks, I've only been playing O8 and 8-game SNGs because I've been so bored playing NLHE SNGs. I've had some success, both in terms of profitability and in keeping my interest, but the flipside is that some of these games take FOREVER. In one game yesterday, we played for 90 minutes...before we even got to the bubble! I'll leave you with this hand as an example of what I'm talking about.

PokerStars Game #25098556004: Tournament #141887058, $10+$1 Omaha Hi/Lo Pot Limit - Level VIII (200/400) - 2009/02/18 19:49:36 ET
Table '141887058 1' 9-max Seat #2 is the button
Seat 1: amhrch (4403 in chips)
Seat 2: robin712 (2616 in chips)
Seat 3: mclarich (3786 in chips)
Seat 6: kelvio (958 in chips)
Seat 7: AA-KK-Man (1737 in chips)
mclarich: posts small blind 200
kelvio: posts big blind 400
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to mclarich [Kh Jc Tc Qc]
AA-KK-Man: folds
amhrch: calls 400
robin712: folds
mclarich: calls 200
kelvio: raises 400 to 800
amhrch: calls 400
mclarich: folds

The chipleader, ahmrch, had been limping a lot of low-Ace hands. Likewise, kelvio was not raising much preflop, so limping with a Hi-only hand was an easy call. I guess I had odds to call once kelvio min-raised but being OOP with a chipleader behind me, I elected to just fold and save an extra 400.

*** FLOP *** [6s 5s 5h]
kelvio: checks
amhrch: checks
mclarich said, "omg a check?"
mclarich said, "really?"

This is where I lost it. Not only did kelvio only min-raise when he was obviously pot-committed, he checks the flop? And amhrch refuses to put him all in? Is either person really going to fold this hand at any point?

*** TURN *** [6s 5s 5h] [7h]

Wait, it gets better:

kelvio: checks

And this is why these games take forever

amhrch: bets 400
kelvio: calls 158 and is all-in
Uncalled bet (242) returned to amhrch
*** RIVER *** [6s 5s 5h 7h] [5c]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
kelvio: shows [4h Ac 8d 3d] (HI: a straight, Four to Eight; LO: 7,6,5,3,A)
amhrch: shows [6h 3s 9d Ah] (HI: three of a kind, Fives; LO: 7,6,5,3,A)
kelvio collected 1158 from pot
kelvio collected 579 from pot
amhrch collected 579 from pot

Seriously, how fucking retarded do you have to be to A) put only 80% of your stack in preflop with a minraise instead of AIPF, B) check the flop when both players are committed, and C) check the turn with a straight + 2nd nut low?

I don't even think Waffles is that retarded.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


This is a crossover post from my other personal blog. It has nothing to do with poker directly, but indirectly, it does. Either way, it's my biggest victory in quite some time.

More poker content later. Now, I drink.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Generous Man Am I

Tonight, I made another visit to Rascal's casino, a nearby cardroom that holds a nightly tournament with a good structure by Washington standards. It's no deep stack extravaganza, but with 5k chips to start, it's not an immediate shove-fest either. This is the same place where I scored my first live cash the last time I was there, not to mention Cayne's first live tournament victory a few weeks prior to that.

I've adjusted my game the more times I play this tournament. Most of the players are calling stations in the early levels, so despite the quickly rising blind levels, I usually play pretty tight early on. I didn't win a single pot during the first three levels, but not that I had much to work with either. The best hand I saw preflop was A7o OOP, and the only time I called a raise preflop, I missed with sooted connectors.

After the first break, I was entering all-in mode. I took a small pot when I pushed out some limpers with A8 sooted. It wasn't the best hand, but I knew at least one of the limpers was observant, and he mentioned after the hand he would've called someone else in that situation, but not me since it was the first move I made all night. I kept nursing my stack until, at the 400\800 level, I shoved 66 UTG for 5500 total. A shorty called me for 4k, and two of the other stacks agonized over folding AT and KT. I held up vs the shorty's QJ on a T high board. Thanks for the folds, guys!

That hand put me at 10k and at the final table, but I still had work to do with blinds soon doubling to 800\1600. I couldn't find a hand before the blinds hit me, and with 7500 left, I found my make or break hand: AdKd. Unfortunately, I was faced with a UTG limp plus an all-in from the second biggest stack. I knew I was up against a pair, and considering the action, I could very well be dominated, but I couldn't fold a hand this big. Luckily, I was in better shape than imagined. The big stack had TT, and the UTG limped tanked then called with...22. The flop was all unders, but more importantly, all diamonds. No miracle runner-runners, and the flush put me in 1st place with 8 left.

The increasing blinds turned medium stacks into shorties, and I took one of them out with 55 vs QJ when my presto turned into quads on the river, then a few hands later my AK bested a shorty's A4. I was a dominating chipleader, and used my big stack to pressure the rest of the table. Three of the stacks were easily down to M's of less than 3, yet folded nearly any time I raised their blind. It also helped that I was showing some big Aces a couple times to keep giving them the impression I had a hand.

When down to 5 players, everyone started talking chop (actually, the chop take started at 8 players. Everyone at the table wanted to chop for $75 each so they could go play a cash game. Fuck that idea.) With such a big lead and the only one not that affected by the blinds, I held out for a while, then agreed to let 4th & 5th get their buyin back. This knocked first down from $285 to $255, a small concession but I didn't really mind.

Once we were down to 4, the other three started talking about a chop again. I was warming up to the idea because the blinds would soon be increasing to the point where, even as chipleader by about a 2:1 advantage over 2nd place, I would soon be down to only 7BB myself. However, they wanted an even chop, and I wasn't about to split the pot 4 ways when two of the stacks were nearly down to 1-2BBs. I suggested they all take 3rd place money, and I take $200. Two were OK but the woman next to me didn't believe in anything other than an even chop. I felt I was being generous as it was and refused. Not only did I have the bigger stack, but I was easily the better player, and 2nd place was a strong probability for me. I was willing to concede a bit due to the structure, but not that much.

We played a couple more hands then finally came up with an agreement. The suggestion was $190 for me, $125 for her, and $115 for the rest. In retrospect, I should have suggested that her additional $10 should have come from the other two players, but at the moment, I was only thinking about two things:

1. I have no job; $190 is a nice prize at this point
2. I already lost $50 earlier at Pai Gow; I'd hate to play this out and only walk away up $15.

So I caved in, and apparently the extra $10 was enough for the woman to cave in as well. I didn't win the tournament outright, but I ended the game with the most chips and the biggest prize, so it's good enough for me to call the night a victory! I walked out with $110 profit in my second straight cash in a live MTT.


Sunday, February 08, 2009

Those Crafty Chakos

Last night was my second foray into merging this fantasy world of poker blogging with the concept that there are real live people behind these things. Simply put: I played poker with bloggers last night.

MHG was kind enough to host the rag tag crew of Seattle bloggers + 1 guy from our moose-loving neighbors up north. I'd had the pleasure of meeting most of them at Cayne's place last year but this gathering got me acquainted with PirateLawyer, Zeem, and The Doc. Add The Wife and the Ambiguously Gay Duo (not confirmed, but I've only once seen them apart. Hmmm?), throw in some drinks and some highly regarded guacamole, and we soon found ourselves in some form of a poker game.

The night started off with a bang when PL became the Gigli only a couple hands in when his 9-high flush couldn't find a one-outer vs MHG's K-high flush. That wasn't the bad beat though; it was MHG not being able to triple up since Zeem somehow found a way to fold his Q-high flush.

Knowing that I was going sober the whole night, I would have no excuse for bad play other than pure donkery, so I tried to play a solid game. I found my 2nd AK of the night, and after The Wife limped UTG, I put in a healthy bet to see where I was at. Once it got back to her, she immediately shoved all-in. I got in a couple of hands against her last year, and I figured her to be a tight player. In other circumstances, I might find a fold here, but in a $10 blogger game, with that radiant face staring back at me (among other things), I matched her bet, fully expecting to find myself dominated against AA or KK, maybe QQ at worst.

Nope. KJo. I caught her trying to make a move on me (very flattered, btw). I paired my A on the flop, but a T also gave her 4 outs to the gutshot. Of course, 2 of those Queens finished out the board, and my stack was devastated.

I fought back my way with a series of pushes, some with good cards (88, AK) some with not so good cards (86 sooted). Luckily, I only got called when I had the good cards, and I somehow managed my way to not just avoid the bitter 3rd place prize of $5 but actually making profit, finishing only behind Cayne.

At this point, others were very much inebriated. Cayne was making equally inappropriate and hilarious jokes, Zeem was confessing to being a 42 year old virgin, The Doc was trying to raise hands he wasn't even in, and I think MHG and The Wife were playing a game of grab-ass in the living room. A lack of sobriety had to be the explanation for all of this, not to mention the reason no one objected to the idea of a limit HORSE game (only more O and no R). I should have spoke up but, well, like most bad ideas, it seemed like a good one at the time.

Starting with the H, I began the game with a pair of Aces UTG. I put in a raise, only to be 3-bet by The Doc. I capped it when it came to me, and I'm pretty sure half the table came along.

By the time we hit the river, my AA never improved, and with a K and a J on board, and with the Doc betting me the whole way, I played it cautiously in case he tripped up. After I called his river bet, he proclaims "nothing" and I flip up my Aces.

"except a straight."

What? The Doc then shows QTo for a rivered gutshot K-high straight. Are you serious? Not only did he donkey his way into the pot by betting with air, but he then proceeded to slow-roll me with it!

A move like that could get one killed in Atlantic City, but at this game, the only way anyone was going to die was via laughter. I'm almost honored to say that, in my first meeting with The Doc, I got slowrolled by his straight and lived to laugh about it. Good times indeed. He later admitted that he didn't realize he made the hand until he actually looked at his cards; either way, it was still hysterical.

I hung around through both of the O games until we got to Stud, where PL tried to put on a clinic. He took down nearly every hand, although I was able to get nearly maximum value when I took my rolled 9s and turned them into a full house by 5th street. Other than that, he was the stud of Stud.

We fought our way through the H and the O's, where I lost a lot of my stack when a short-stacked Zeem doubled through me with Q3, but then I repaid the favor when I jammed my hammer against him and won. Note: I will never use the phrase "jammed my hammer against him" in any context ever again, but I'll leave it in that previous sentence, just to serve as a reminder.

Once we got back to stud, PL took over the table again. I tried to battle him with a couple multi-way draws that never got there, and by the time we were back to the third round of H, he had a pretty commanding lead. I won the sucker prize of $5 when he flushed me vs my overpair & no draws in Omaha. Eventually PL won vs Joshua, but I don't know how it happened, nor did I care. The game was dragging at that point, the drunken natives were getting restless for a cash game (mostly The Doc), and I pretty much lost all interest after the Stud clinic.

In the cash game, I managed to lose my first $8 buyin when The Doc played some kind of mind game against me in Pineapple, blatantly showing me he threw away second pair, telling me he was on the flush draw, and then betting when it got there. I put my last $4 in with TPTK, only to see that he indeed turned the nut flush. Crafty, indeed.

By the time the cash game was over, it was almost 2:30am. I had to be up in less than 6 hours to run a 5k around Greenlake, so I called it a night, as did most others. For the evening, I pulled a Waffles (which, with The Wife around could probably mean a number of horrendous things) and ended the night exactly breakeven. 7 hours of play, no money lost, and too many laughs to count. Blogger poker sounds like the new Pai Gow!

It was great to see everyone, old faces and new, and I hope to be the host of the next game very soon. And, sorry Doc, I won't be killing my cats.