Thursday, March 26, 2009

One Day, My Balls Will Be Big Enough.

At least I wasn’t the Gigli last night. Whether or not I should have been is debatable.

So I played the Mookie yesterday after a last minute gesture of graciousness by another blogger. Maybe 5 hands in or so, I go heads up preflop with some random stranger holding KQo.

Flop is AQ5. He bets 77% of pot. I got a piece but I’m drawing to 5 outs at best. But let’s play it differently. What if I hit that flop harder, like 55, AJ or AQ? What would I normally do then, call? So I called.

Turn is a J, also giving the board 2 clubs. He leads out for 60% of pot this time. My 5 outs still might be clean + another 3-4 outs to the straight (Tc might not be good). But can I still legitimately represent a bigger hand than 2nd pair 2nd kicker? I think so. So I raise another 550. He tanks then calls.

River pairs the J. He tanks then checks. I can still tell my story here by betting large. I don’t think he has AQ or AJ; otherwise, the betting on the turn would probably be different (bigger turn bet and\or 3-bet my reraise). AK is a possibility considering his action so far, and the fact that I don’t know if he would fold TPTK right now is a consideration. I’d like to think the he would fold AT or worse to a big river bet, but then again, this is a blogger tournament. But I’m leaning heavily toward a big river bet because I put him on something like Ax. Maybe A5? AT through A8? I really think that if he’s got 2 pair or better on the turn I’m seeing a reraise, and his check on the river tells me AK at best.

But to tell the story, my best will cost me at minimum 90% of my remaining stack, which might as well be the whole thing. Then I start thinking about being the Gigli thanks to a bluff gone wrong, and how many times I’ve bluffed my way out of a tournament (albeit with much worse bluffs than this would have been). Not only that, I would have busted out first from a bluff gone wrong in a tournament that I got into via the courtesy of someone else. All these thoughts start to cloud my mind within the matter of 15 seconds. Maybe if I’m on my own bankroll I fire the last bullet, but in this situation, with 60% of my stack still intact, I think differently. And, despite getting to this point with nothing but 2nd pair and stupid play mega brass cojones, I make probably my biggest mistake of the hand.

I give up and check.

He shows A9 for TP with nut-flush draw on the turn. I seriously hope that he doesn’t call a huge bet there with TP no kicker, and by the time I busted, I saw enough of his play to think that he wouldn’t have. I think anything other than a club or a 9 would have got him to fold to a big bet on the river, and had he not been sooted, maybe even folds the turn. Instead, I spent the next hour trying to claw my way back.

I ended up busting out shortly after the first break after I ran my 33 into PL’s QQ AIPF, which was totally unfair since he had just won a couple hands prior with his own 33 vs someone else’s QQ despite the fact that he misplayed his hand (although, in his defense, QQ misplayed his hand as well). But it was a win-win-win for me since I didn’t have to worry about a much worse scenario: keep fighting as a short-stack only to get stuck playing during Lost yet still end up with no points or no money.

Payday is tomorrow. See you all again next week.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Timing's Just Right

In poker, timing is everything, right? It’s one thing to pick up AA, it’s another thing when you pick up AA vs someone’s KK, and it’s a totally different thing when everyone folds to your AA in the BB. Sometimes, timing can make or break a single tournament or session.

Speaking in bigger terms, timing and poker have a different meaning for me. As of last night, my combined balance between both of my active poker sites is a whopping $.04. I think it probably costs me more than that just to log in to FTP or PS. About a month ago, I was sitting on a very small three-digit bankroll on PS, enough to keep me active. Then three significant things happened:

- I lost a couple buyins at micro-stakes 08 tables, approximately 25% of my roll. That was just dumb on my part.

- I swapped funds with another blogger to play the Mookie a couple weeks back. After finishing in the middle of the pack, I took the rest of my funds swap on FTP to work up a small bankroll for more BBT4 events. FTP rewarded my return from a 6-month hiatus on their site with their standard setups and suckouts.

- The 08 donkeys that I have been preying on kept calling but started hitting. And calling. And hitting. With A59J rainbow. With Q784 rainbow. It was far from the brutality of my venture into cash games last summer, the one that left me psychologically scarred for a couple weeks at least. But when each buying represents 30% of your bankroll, it doesn’t take a very long string of beats to bust me entirely.

But this is about timing. In the same week that I go busto for the umpteenth time (i.e busto for me includes strategic withdrawals of money, not just complete bankroll decimation), I get a paycheck for the first time in 10.5 months. Just when I have next to nothing for a bankroll, I have a chance to start it up again.

And, speaking about timing, if there was a time to start playing again, it’s now, during the BBT4. I’ve missed nearly each incarnation of the BBT series prior to this. I was completely absent during the BBT3 last year, as it coincided with my separation from my previous employer & ended just when I got my fat severance check. I think I played a couple of BBT2 events but I never made a dent in the points race nor did I win a single event. I’ve wanted to play the BBT series, and now, with a steadier financial situation, I can do that.

The Mookie is tomorrow. Payday is Friday, so unless someone wants to front me a Mookie buyin until I redeposit, I’ll be absent from BBT4 events this week. But, as long as my redeposit clears in time, I should be back at the Blogger tournaments, making a concerted effort at a strong showing in April.

See you at the tables soon.