Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Tale Of Two Rooms

A while back, I compared my results from the Detroit poker rooms, and my numbers varied from room to room.

So if I do the same for the Reno rooms, will the results also vary? The short answer is, 'Hell yeah!" In fact, there is one room that I just can win, and another room that I can't seem to lose. Here are those numbers.

Atlantis $2/$3: 14 sessions (10-4 .714) +$2820 (+$201.43 avg) 51.25 hrs (+$55.02/hr)
Last five sessions:
12/12: +$115 ~ 1.50 hrs
12/11: +$160 ~ 4.00 hrs
12/09: +$353 ~ 2.00 hrs
12/03: +$256 ~ 3.00 hrs
11/28: +$538 ~ 3.25 hrs

Grand Sierra $1/$2: 11 sessions (3-8 .273) -$1085 (-$98.63 avg) 33 hrs (-$32.88/hr)
Last five sessions:
12/10: -$100 ~ 3.0 hrs
11/21: -$270 ~ 4.5 hrs
11/19: -$234 ~ 4.0 hrs
11/17: -$91   ~ 3.0 hrs
11/11: +$215 ~ 2.0 hrs

I really don't know why I can't win in one room, but I can't lose in the other. Yes, short term variance is a factor, and I'm sure the numbers will probably even out somewhat a year from now.

And I know that $1/$2 and $2/$3 are not exactly the same game, but they're close enough. The preflop raises are slightly bigger in the $2/$3 game, and the average pot size is slightly larger. So over the very long term, I would guess the hourly win rate might be $5/hr more at $2/$3 than at $1/$2, but that's not really a factor for this sample size.

Grand Sierra is full of Super Nits who buy-in for $100, and just don't want to put any money in the pot. Atlantis certainly has it's share of Super Nits. But there are a few players who I enjoy seeing at the table, because I know they don't like to fold. Maybe it only takes one or two at a table to make it profitable.

Here are the numbers for the other two casinos, just for comparison:

Peppermill $1/$2: 11 sessions (5-5-1 .455) -$148 (-$13.45 avg) 30.75 hrs (-$4.81/hr)
Last five sessions:
12/23: +$183 ~ 2.25 hrs
12/20: -$224 ~ 1.75 hrs
11/29: -$173 ~ 2.5 hrs
11/27: +$0 ~ 3.0 hrs
11/03: -$420 ~ 3.0 hrs

Eldorado $1/$2: 4 sessions (3-1 .750) +$317 (+$79.25 avg) 10.5 hrs (+$30.19/hr)
Last four sessions:
12/05: +$251 ~ 3.0 hrs
11/22: +$19 ~ 2.75 hrs
11/12: -$96 ~ 2.0 hrs
11/10: +$143 ~ 2.75 hrs

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Visions Of Sugar Plums Dancing In My Head

Since I recently moved out to Reno, I'm out here all by myself for the Holidays. So what is there for me to do on a Holiday night in a casino town?

After work last night, I headed to the Atlantis to play some cards. Since it was Christmas Eve, I really wasn't sure what expect. As it turns out, they had a decent crowd. There was eventually two tables of $3/$6 Limit and one $2/$3 NL. They were even taking sign ups for their Friday night tournament. It's a $120 20k chip "Deep Stack" tournament. I've been wanting to try this tournament, but I normally have to work on Saturday morning. So this was a good opportunity to try it out.

They usually get two or three tables on a normal Friday. But this week, we started with just seven players at "Shuffle Up & Deal", and ended up with nine participants. Since we started with 20k chips and blinds at 25/50, I figured the action would be slow in the beginning. I was wrong.

UTG limps. UTG+2 raises to 300. Four or five players call. I'm the BB, and look down at As Ad. I pop it to 1500. UTG cold calls, and UTG+2 also calls. This starts the cascade of "I've got Pot Odds now." Yeah, I didn't raise enough. I did want some action, but not five or six players seeing the Flop of 3d 2d 2h. Overall, not a bad Flop for me. I bet 5500. UTG gathers up his chips and goes All-In for around 18k. Everyone else folds. Since he's UTG and cold called preflop, I'm assuming that he's got a Mid Pair like TT or JJ. He may also have two big Diamonds, but I do have the Ad for a blocker and redraw. I make the call, and he shows KQd. The Turn and River are black. We count down the stacks, and I have him covered. I've now got 46k in the first level.

As we progressed, I tried to play small pot poker, and protect my chip stack. It worked well, as I maintained my chips stack over 40k for the next few levels. The next player I knocked out was with me raising preflop with AA, and getting one caller. The Flop was Q-high. I made a standard C-Bet, and he raised me to 5k. He has also knocked out a player and had a good chip stack, so I decided not to slowplay. I 3-Bet to 15k, and he just couldn't get away from KQo.

By the time we got to the first break (before the 400/800 Level), there was four player remaining. I had 91600 which was just over half of the chips in play (180k total). There was another Big Stack with around 50k, and the other two stack were just hanging around.

Four handed play last for quite a while, as the small stacks gained and lost chips. I stayed with my small pot strategy. By the time the 4th player was eliminated, I was still over 80k. But the other two players were around 50k, so my chip advantage as not as comfortable was it once was.

By now the blinds are starting to get silly, like 1k/2k/200 and 2k/4k/400. That's 7200 chips every orbit, which is just three hands in the 2k/4k/400 Level. Also, my card started to get silly. My starting hands were lousy, even for three handed. And when I had something, one of the others had something better. In a Blind vs Blind hand, I had Q5, and the River was a Q. I bet, and the other guy called with Q8. In another hand, I hit Trips on the Turn, made a bet of 5k, and got a caller. The River brought the Back Door Flush. He quickly bet 10k, so I made the crying call only to see his baby Flush.

After the Trips vs Flush hand, I had 32500, and had to start shoving All-In. Nobody called my first All-In, and I hung around the 25k-30k mark for a few orbits.

Eventually, I'm in the BB. The Button folds, and the SB says All-In. I peek at my cards, and see TT. It takes me about 0.00473 seconds to say Call. He's got a baby Ace, and missed his three outer. We have essentially swapped chip positions, as he is now the short stack.

Very next hand, he goes All-In on the Button. I'm the SB, look down at AJo, and shove All-In to isolate. The Button had Q8s, and completely missed the Board. He's eliminated in 3rd place.

The three of us already agreed to chop the $900 prize pool when it got to Heads-Up. We counted down the two remaining chip stacks, and they were very close. So we just chopped evenly, and I walked out of the Poker Room with $430 after giving a $20 tip.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

It's Like Seeing A Dodo Bird

I walked into the Peppermill Poker Room just after 7pm on Monday night to play some $4/$8 Limit Hold'em. Oddly, they didn't have a $4/$8 game running. In fact, they only had three tables running, a $2/$4 Limit, a $1/$2 NL, and a $1-$4 Spread Limit Razz.

No, that wasn't a typo. There is actually a Razz cash game being spread. The table was full with eight players and a List of three names. So I put my name on the List along with the $4/$8 List, and took an open seat at the $1/$2 game.

A little before 9pm, a seat opened up at the Razz table. They started calling down the List. However, nobody showed up, so I got the seat. I was happy to switch tables because I was really card dead at the $1/$2 table. I only played one significant pot. My Top Pair (KQd) ran into AA from one of the Super Nits at the table. I left the table down $224.

I cashed in my Red $5 chips, and bought a rack of Blue $1 chips ($100 total). The structure of the game is no ante with a $1 Bring-In. You can bet from $1 to $4 from 3rd to 6th Street, and $1 to $8 on 7th Street.

My cards were horrible for the first half hour, so I just sat there watching the action and tried to come up with a strategy. It became rather obvious that my HORSE tournament strategy of naked aggression wasn't gonna work here. This was a very loose passive table. After a player brought it in for $1, there were two, three, or even four player limping in behind with a variety of hands. Even when I raised the Bring-In and they folded, I only won a dollar or two because there's no antes.

Eventually, I came up with a strategy. Since there's no ante, I limped on 3rd with a wide variety of hands, and treated it like an ante. Usually a good card showing, and maybe one underneath. I tried not to play super loose, because I didn't want to chase too much. Even when I had a good hand like three Wheel cards, I still limped in to help build a pot. I limped in with (25)4, and someone else raised. I just called, and ended up winning a nice sized pot, even though he folded to my $6 bet on 7th Street.

Since this is Spread Limit, you can bet different amounts. I noticed that players tended to bet the strength of their hand. In one hand, a player had 4 2 showing, but only bet $2. This was not what he had been betting in previous hands, and I figured he paired one of his hole cards. On 5th Street, he had 4 2 4. He checked, and folded to my bet. I asked him if he had Two Pair or Trips, and he said Two Pair.

My Spread Limit strategy end up with me betting $1 on 3rd, $2 on 4th, $3 on 5th, $4 on 6th, and $6 on 7th. I may have lost a little value is spots, but this kept me consistent, just in case someone was actually paying attention (doubtful at this table). It also allowed me to build a pot as the hand progressed.

Overall, I had a good night. I was very happy with my play, and I think I ran good as well. In the various hands that got to 7th Street with a bet on 7th, there was only two times that I didn't have the best hand. One was my 876xx against the 2nd best player at the table who had 86xxx. The other one was a hand that I was bluffing. He lead out on 7th. I folded, and told him that I paired up. This was a true statement, since I paired my King.

The game broke just after 11pm, and I finished up $90. This $1-$4 Spread structure is described by some players as a "Time Killing" structure. You're not really gonna win or lose much. So for me to almost double up in two hours is a damn fine session.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I Suck At Limit Hold'em

1:15 $100 - I walked into the Eldorado Poker Room on Sunday afternoon, and got seated at a $3/$6 table. The game has a Full Kill, but the Blinds are just $1/$2. So if someone raises preflop, then is goes to $5, and not $6. I've been finding this structure is somewhat common around town.

The table is a mix of old players, and those that are not quite as old.

1:30 $113 - I limped with A5o in the Cutoff. I flopped a Wheel Draw, and all players checked. I hit it on the Turn, so I bet the Turn and River. I got one caller on both streets.

The table is playing normal. No crazy Action Guys so far. Some are play most of the hands, and some are mostly folding. 

2:00 $87 - In a Kill Pot, the lady who had the Kill Button ($6) is UTG, and made a comment about her Dead Man's Hand when she peeks at it. There were a bunch of limpers. I'm the SB, and have Kh Kd. So I raised ($12), and everyone called. Six players saw a Flop of A Q J. Even though I hated that Flop, I bet ($6), and three players called. The Turn was [A Q J] 6. I basically gave up and checked. UTG (The Kill Lady) bet ($12). One called, and one folded. I thought about it for a bit, and called with my Broadway Draw. River [A Q J 6] 2. I checked, and UTG bet ($12). The other player folded, and so did I. UTG showed A6o (Yeah, that's not the Dead Man's Hand.)

Later, I limped and called a raise with J9o in the Hyjack. The Board ran out KJ6 6 4, and my hand was good with four players still in at the River.

2:30 $120 - I limped in Mid with A8d. Seven players saw a Flop of 8s 3h 3d. It checked to me, and I bet ($3). Three players called. The Turn was [8s 3h 3d] Kd. I picked up a Flush Draw, so I'm happy to bet ($6). Only the SB called, but he had $4 left behind. River [8s 3h 3d Kd] Ac. He checked. I bet ($6), and he called with his last $4. I showed my Two Pair, and he flashed the Kh before he mucked.

Later, I raise from the Cutoff with AJs. Only the SB and Mid called. Flop was Ts 9s 4h. They checked, and I bet my Flush Draw. Only the Mid called. Turn [Ts 9s 4h] 8s. He checked. I bet my Nut Flush, and he called. River [Ts 9s 4h 8s] 3h. Once again, Check Bet and Call. I showed my Nut Flush, and he didn't show.

3:00 $82 - Only one limper when it got to me in the Hyjack, so I decided to raise ($6) with 77. Only the Button and the limper called. Flop was K Q 8. The limper bet ($3), but only had $5 behind. I assume that I'm behind, so I fold. The Button called. The limper goes All-In for $5 on the Turn, and the Button folded.

I limped UTG with A6s. Six players saw a Flop of Ac 3c 3d. I lead out with my Top Pair, and three players call. The Turn was [Ac 3c 3d] 9h. I bet again. Mid player thought for a moment, and called. The other player folded. [Ac 3c 3d 9h] 7h. I bet again. Mid player thought for a bit, and raised. I make the crying call, and he showed K3o. I played this hand horribly from start to finish.

3:30 $60 - No noteworthy hands. I played a few hands by either limping or calling a raise, and then airballing the Flop. Overall, I've been been trying to play solid cards, while being a little looser in position (Button, Cutoff, and Hyjack). The table is still playing loose passive. There might be two preflop raises each orbit.

4:00 $29 - I limped in the Hyjack with J7h. Five players saw the Flop of Th 5c 3s. All players checked. The Turn was [Th 5c 3s] Jc. Mid player bet, and he's an old Nit. I call with my Top Pair. The Cutoff raised, and he's another old Nit. All others fold back to the Mid player. He paused for a moment, and called. This is a bit of a predicament for me because these are two of the tightest players at the table. I finally decided to fold. Even if I hit my Two Pair, it might not be any good. The River was [Th 5c 3s Jc] 7c. They both check. Mid had J9, but the Cutoff wins with KJ. In hindsight, I still have no clue if the proper play was to fold or call.

Later in a Kill pot, I limped on the Button with 65h. Four players see a Flop of Qh 7h 3c. It checked to me, and I bet with my Flush Draw + Gutshot. Only the BB called, who had the Kill. The Turn was [Qh 7h 3c] 9s. She checked. I decide to also check. This lady is playing 80% of hands, and seeing 50% of the Rivers. There's no point in betting my Draw, because she will not fold. The River was another brick for me. We both check, and she wins another pot with T7d.

4:20 $3 - I'm down to $18 when I limp in the Cutoff with As Tc. Six players Ah Kd 7d. UTG bets. The Hyjack calls (one of the old Nits from earlier). I decide to raise and scare off the Blinds from calling with whatever. It worked as only UTG and Mid called. Turn [Ah Kd 7d] 4d. All three of us checked. River [Ah Kd 7d 4d] Qh. UTG checked. Hyjack bet. I hate this because I don't see how I can have the best hand. But this pot got big because of my raise on the Flop, so I make the crying call. UTG folded, and Mid shows A9d for Da Nuts.

I feel a case of Tilt coming on, so I cashout my last three White chips, and head home.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

7-Card Bingo ?

Starting this week, I'm switching to Limit Hold'em for my primary Cash game for the next 6-8 weeks. There are two main reasons for this.

First, the NL games in Reno aren't very good these days. This town is full of 50 and 60 year old Super Nits. They buy-in for $100 and wait for AA or KK. They put almost no money into the pot, and fold at the first scare card. Yes, they're easy to bluff, but there's no money in the pot when they fold. If they call, then you're crushed. When playing against them, I will either win a bunch of tiny pots, or lose a couple of bigger pots.

Now this doesn't mean that I can't win at a NL table, it just means that I'm not winning much in general. It does seem to vary from room to room. There is one room where I just can't win, and there is another room where I can't seem to lose. But I will save that topic for another blog post.

The other reason is because Limit Hold'em is definitely not my best game, and this is a good opportunity to dive into the Limit world and improve. While I'm playing Limit, I still have a NL mentality, and I'm not sure that I'm making the proper decisions when I'm getting Pot Odds of 12-1.

I will be playing $3/$6 or $4/$8 at first. (Not $2/$4. Even I have standards.) Eventually, I want to take some shots in the Peppermill's $15/$30 or $20/$40 game so I can make some real money at Limit Hold'em. The $3/$5 NL games in this town are rare, and generally only pop up during the various tournament series that Poker Rooms run.

I know that these lower Limit games are often called 7-Card Bingo because nobody ever folds. And it's certainly true that many players play most hands, and either check call call or bet raise raise. But there are other players who just limp in with AA and never raise because it's only one pair. Part of Poker is learning to adjust to your opponents.

I will also be checking out for the first time some poker rooms that are primarily Limit rooms, like the Nugget that I was at last night.

Now it's certainly possible that a blog title for next week will be "What The $#@! Was I Thinking?" There will certainly be periods of frustration. But as long as I'm not losing every session, I will keep grinding it out.

This doesn't mean that I won't be playing anything else. If I walk into a room and they have three names on the List for Limit and an open seat at the NL table, then I'll probably play some NL. There is also a tournament series next month at the Peppermill that I'm planning on playing in a couple of Sunday events.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

MTT Grinder

Even though they are called Donkaments, tournaments can be profitable in the long run. For a Live player, the "Long Run" can take months or even years, because a tournament can last an entire day or even a few days. For Online players, it's much different because they can play a whole bunch in one day. And if they bust out of one, there's another one starting within 15 minutes.

So how can a Live player like me shorten the "Long Run" like an Online player? By playing multiple tournaments in one day, of course.

One thing that would like to try on my next trip to Las Vegas (hopefully in June) is spend a day just playing in the smaller daily tournaments that most casinos run. Since there are so many casinos around Vegas, there are tournaments starting almost every hour. I would make a list of the better tournaments that start each hour. As soon as I bust out of one, or take one down, I would head over to the next tournament on the list. I figure that I could do between 5-8 tournaments in one day, depending on how many I go deep in.

I know what you're saying, "But those things have horrible structures and are just a shove-fest." And you're right. They are high-variance, but the players are generally horrible. I would equate these tourneys to a three or five table online turbo Sit-N-Go. Yes, the structure sucks, but they don't take that much time, and the players are terrible. By playing a lot of them, it helps reduce the variance.

So why don't I just do this in Reno? Well, the daily tournament schedule isn't as spread out as it is in Sin City. The tournaments are bunched together, with many of them starting at 11am or 6pm. Also, I work six days a week with Sunday being my only day off. And the Sunday tourney schedule just isn't as diverse as it is during the week.

But I decided to give it a try on Sunday. Here's what happened:

Atlantis 11am $75 ($40 + $15 + $20 Bounty) 10k chips. We didn't have a big crowd for this one. So the Poker Room decided to squeeze 11 players on to one table, and then have alternates. We ended up 12 players.

Since this was a one table tourney, I decided to try the Sit-N-Go strategy of Tight Early & Aggressive Later. Fortunately, I got some cards early to start building my chip stack. Then I got into a trainwreck with my KK vs QQ vs AJs. The Cowboys held up, and I won two Bounties.

At the Break (before the 400/800 Level), I had 25100 chips, and was either 2nd or 3rd out of seven players. The problem was that I had a horrible seat at the table. On my Left were the other two Big Stacks, and they liked to play pots. On my Right were three smaller stacks of players who were trying to fold to the money.

So I stayed patient while players were knocked out. I finally got to Heads-Up with one of the Action Guys after the other Action Guys blew up. After a few hands of Heads-Up in the 2k/4k/400 Level, I raised to 10k on the Button with ATd. The other player, who had me covered, raised to 45k. As you can expect, we're not very deepstacked right now (Average stack is 15BB). So I decided to take the plunge, and he had AKs. I missed my 3-outer, and finished in 2nd place for $144 + 4 Bounties.

Club Cal Neva $10 Rebuy ($8 + $2). This tournament runs four times a day (10am, 2pm, 6pm, 10pm), and I played in the 6pm. $10 gets you 2000 chips. There's a $5 Dealer AddOn for 1000 chips. It's unlimited Rebuys for the first hour (4 Levels), and you can rebuy at 500 chips or less. At the Break, you can get a $10 AddOn for 4000 chips.

Once again, I ended up in a one table tournament. This one was 10-handed with Alternates. We ended up with 12 players total. I had a lousy start by rebuying twice without winning a hand. Shortly before the break, I finally won a hand by doubling up, and then doubled up again. After I got the AddOn, I had 10600 chips, which was an average stack at the Break (before the 300/600 Level).

After the Break, the action at the table was a little ridiculous. The players either limped in, or shoved All-In for way more then they need to. And the calls they got were rather questionable. Once again, I just sat back, and played patiently.

I got to three handed (the Bubble). The Button and SB limped, which was a little rare. I was the BB, and looked down at KK. I decided to slow play this, and try to trap them for a big pot rather than just win the 2BB. The Flop was Q 7 4. The SB shoved, and I called. She had Q7, and I missed my Two Pair draw. Oh well, I gambled and lost.

There were two other tournaments that I could have played if my two tourneys didn't last so long; a $75 Peppermill at 1pm and $45 Harrah's at 8pm. I'm sure there are other little tourneys around town that I haven't found yet.

Overall, it was a good day, but this isn't something that I will make a lot of money doing in Reno. The ROI could be profitable, but the hourly rate won't be anything close to what I can make in the Cash games. However, I do enjoy tournaments, so I may do this once a month or so, just to check out some of the smaller rooms that I don't visit regularly.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

$180 HORSE Tournament

WARNING: This post contains no TV Poker (NLHE) content. If you're not into terms like Scooping, Bring In, Live 4 Low, Rolled Up, 6th Street, Quartered, and Nut Low Wrap, then just move on to your next Blog to read.

"Shuffle Up & Deal" 6000 - They had three tables of eight chip stacks set up. Our table has seven player, and I'm the youngest by 10 years. The other two tables have four players and one player. Obviously, late players are coming, plus they have late registration for a Level or two.

We will play eight hands of each game. The Levels are 30 minutes long.

End of Level 1 (50/100 Limit) 5900 - Ended on Razz #4. The play has been what I expected, which is rather passive. No Action Guys at this table. Not much happening for me. I won the last hand of the Level. I was the Bring-In with (A7)K. Two players just limped in, and I ended up drawing out on them.

They opened up a 4th table, but took some players from each table. We are now playing six handed.

Level 2 (75/150 Limit) 6820 - Ended on Stud-8 #6. The final count for the tourney is 26 players, and we are still six handed. I won another Razz hand after bringing it in with a K. I definitely have an edge in Razz because the other players are just playing their own hand. I also won a Stud-8 hand by hitting a 6-high Straight on 7th Street.

Level 3 (100/200 Limit) 6590 - Ended on Omaha-8 #7. I won a nice Omaha-8 pot with Ac 4c Kh 7h. I raised on the Turn with a Heart Flush Draw and an A4 Low. I hit the Flush on the River for the scoop. A few hands later, I royally screwed up a hand out of the BB. I flopped Bottom Set (3) and no possible Low. I called the SB on all three streets. He ended up with the Nut Flush and a 24 Low. I'm an idiot for even calling on the Flop, let alone the rest of the way.

Level 4 (150/300 Limit) 8825 - Ended on Stud-8 #1. I raped and pillaged during the Razz. I won four of the eight pots with just naked aggression. That included a bluff on 7th Street when I paired my King. The other player paired their Ace, and folded. I was tempted to show the bluff, but why ruin a good thing.

BREAK - Still 26 players left. I looked at the payouts (3 spots), and noticed the prizepool was a little short. As it turns out, they are taking out 3% of the prizepool for the Staff. They are also taking $20 for Fees, and a $10 AddOn for Dealers. That means this tournament is actually $145.50 + $34.50. Gotta love it.

Level 5 (200/400 Limit) 5800 - Ended on Omaha-8 #5. I had the Hold'em round from Hell. I lost two good sized pots with AJ. First hand was me 3-Betting from the BB with AJh after the Button raised when it folded around to him. The Flop was Q-high. I bet on the Flop and Turn, and the Button called. We both just checked the River, and he had AK-high. The second hand was with As Jh. I raised from the Cutoff, and the same player limped and called. I ended up losing with a four card Heart Flush to his Qh 9c.

They broke the fourth table at the end of the level, so we are now 8-handed.

Level 6 (300/600 Limit) 5425 - Ended on Razz #7. I won a small half pot in Omaha-8 with a 24 Low. In Razz, I won two pots with decent hands. First was with (65)7 5 when the other player was dealt a J on 4th Street. The other hand was me getting an 8632A on 5th street against someone who had a good board but paired up. I did show that I made the 8-Low.
But... I got a little over aggressive when I 3-Bet against two players with (KJ)A. Eventually one of the players folded, but the other hung around. My board didn't get that much better, so I did some checking as well as betting. Finally on 7th, I bet blind before I was dealt the card hoping he would miss. But he said, "Well, I got a 7, so I guess I gotta call." It probably wasn't the smartest move to 3-Bet with a KJ in the hole. But if he was reluctantly calling with a 7-Low in Razz, then naked aggression is the right strategy. I just need to pick my spots a little better.

Level 7 (400/800 Limit) 7875 - Ended on Stud-8 #2. Our Dealer was rather inexperienced, and lost count during the rounds. We ended up playing extra Razz and Stud hands. I had a very active Stud round. I got AA twice and JJ once, and won all three. In my one bad hand, I brought it in with (32)4. A Jack completed, and I called. 4th Street was (32)4 5, so I called his bet. By 6th Street, all I had was a Pair of 4. His board was J A 6 A. I folded since he had half of my Straight outs.

Level 8 (600/1200 Limit) 4500 - Ended on Hold'em #5. Our table broke in the middle of the Level. We were playing Hold'em, but the new table was on Stud-8. At the first table, I was in a bizarre Stud-8 hand that involve both of us having 9 9 showing on 4th Street. I didn't improve, and folded on 6th Street.
At the new table, I eliminated a player in Hold'em. He went All-In for 1100. I was the BB with 85o, and made the crying call for 500 more. He had K9d, and I flopped an 8.

BREAK - There are 15 players left. I'm going into the "Get Lucky" stage of the tournament. I need to catch a few hands, and not screw up. Shouldn't be a problem.

Level 9 (800/1600 Limit) 0 - In Omaha-8, I was the SB, and it folded to me. I called with KJ62. The BB checked. Flop was Js 9s 2s. We both checked. Turn [Js 9s 2s] 7s. I bet 1600, and the BB raised. I only have 1300 left. It looks like I pot-committed myself, so I take the plunge with Two Pair. He shows the Nut Flush (A8s), and I miss my four outer. I finish in 14th place.

I still have never cashed in a Non TV-Poker casino tournament. I don't know if it's because I'm doing something wrong, or it's because Limit tournaments are a little more reliant on Luck because you need to catch cards. I do know from reading previous Running Logs that I have gotten into trouble by trying to steal Blinds in a Limit tournament. I was trying not to be over aggressive today, except for the Razz, and I'm overall pleased with my play today. Certainly not perfect, but I played as well as the other players in the tournament.

Also, I played some $1/$2 earlier in the day, and won $251 in three hours. So this tournament was essentially a freeroll.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Hand Of The Day #62

$1/$3 NLHE - Atlantis Casino - 12.3.10

As usual, there was a bunch of limpers at this passive table. I'm on the Button with As Jh. If I do my standard raise to $11, then I will probably get five or six callers. So I decide to just limp in, and see a Flop with seven or eight players.

Flop Kc Kh Td. Everyone checks around to me. I know that at least one of the eight players has a King, and there's a good chance that both of the remaining Kings are out there. So there's no point stabbing at this pot with just a Broadway draw. Check.

Turn [Kc Kh Td] Qc. The SB leads out for $10. Two players call (UTG+1 and Mid). I decide to make a small raise to $25 with my Straight. But if anyone raises, I will probably fold. I can beat a King, but I can't beat KT, KQ or TT. However, all three players just called.

River [Kc Kh Td Qc] 3s. SB checks. UTG+1 bets $50. Mid folds. I just call, assuming that I'm gonna see a Full House. SB thinks for a bit, and reluctantly calls. UTG+1 shows J9c for a K-high Straight. SB shows Ks 5h. I show my AJ, and scoop a nice pot.

After the hand, there was the usual table talk about the hand. And an interesting question popped up. What would I have done if it checked to me on the River?

At the time, I really wasn't sure what to do with four players still in on the River. After pondering for a bit, I think the proper move would have been to make a small Value Bet (around $40 I guess), and then fold to anything larger than a min-raise.

I know that in my last Hand Of The Day, I said that you should check in a "Way Ahead or Way Behind" situation. But this is a slightly different situation. I certainly could be crushed by KQ, KT, K3, or TT. But I'm ahead of many more hands, like any other King, J9, QJ, JT, AQ, or a Flush Draw. This is a perfect spot to do a Bet/Fold, which is making a Value Bet, and then folding when someone check-raises me. Nobody that doesn't have a Full House will check-raise on that Board with four players still in the hand on the River.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Hand Of The Day #61

$1/$2 NLHE - Grand Sierra - 11.19.10

I raise to $7 in Mid position with AKo. Five players see a Flop of Ad Qc 4d. It checks to me, and I bet $20. Only the SB calls, a 70's gentleman who's on the Nitty side.

Turn [Ad Qc 4d] Ks. He checks. I bet $30, and I've got about $150 behind ($100 in Green, and $50 in Red chips). He glances at my stack, and says, "All-In. No...wait. I call." The Dealer lets him just call, and deals the River Card.

River [Ad Qc 4d Ks] 3c. He checks. OK, this is a really weird situation. The time between "All-In. No...wait. I call." and him checking the River card was rather short. It all happened very quickly, and it caught me off guard. I thought that when a player says All-In, it meant All-In. But as I said in my last blog entry, Regulars who play in a room every day don't have to follow the same rules that other players do. I'm tempted to complain about this, but I know it's too late.

So why did this 70's gentleman do a "Pump Fake" against me? There is no chance that this is some sort of a Angle Shot. He's on the Nitty side, and Nits don't shoot angles at the table. I think that he didn't notice my four Green chips at first, and was willing to put me All-In for $50 more, but not $150 more.

Since I have Top Two Pair, I decide to go All-In to look like I missed the Flush Draw. He snap-called with QQ for a flopped Set.

I could just chalk this up to a cooler, but the truth is that I made a mistake in this hand. That mistake was not finishing my thought process before I shoved my chips in the pot. What hand was he willing to check-raise me All-In for? It can't be a Draw. Nits don't shove All-In on Draws, even Combo Draws like KJd.

So he would have to have a Made Hand like a Set (AA, KK, QQ, 44), Two Pair (AK, AQ, A4), or a Straight (JT). I doubt he has AA, because even Nits 3-Bet with AA preflop. KK is doubtful because he would have folded with the A on the Flop. JT is doubtful because he would not have Pump Faked with the Nuts.

That leaves QQ, 44, AK, AQ, and A4. AK and A4 are less likely, since I already have AK and I doubt he would play A4 unless it was suited.

So of the three likely hands (QQ, 44, and AQ), I'm ahead of one, and behind two of them. Even if I factor in AK and A4, I'm still 2-2-1 against his range. This is clearly a case of "Way Ahead or Way Behind". When you're not sure if either you're crushing somebody or they're crushing you, then the best action is to Check. And that's what I should have done is this situation.

I don't think it's donk-o-riffic to get stacked off in a cooler. But if I ever want to be a Good player, then I need to be able to lose the minimum when the deck is stacked against me. And I certainly didn't do that in this hand.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Rants & Raves: How Much Tolerance Do You Give A Drunk?

I was at an interesting table earlier this week at the Eldorado. At first, it was a rather typical weeknight $1/$2 game. (You know... boring.) Then three college kids sat down at the table, and two of them were rather drunk. The Dealers knew one of the drunks by name, Casey.

The two drunks and their buddy bought in for around $100 each. The two drunks played like you would expect them to do. They played almost every hand. They called with nothing, and raised for no reason. As a player at the table, I think it was wonderful, because I can get paid when I have a big hand.

However, there were other things happening that were not so wonderful. They were openly talking about hands and their cards during a hand. They would tell each other, "Call him. He ain't got nothing." After every hand between them, the winner would toss a chip or two back the loser, and said, "Good Battle." One time, the non-drunk buddy got short on chips, and Casey tossed him five Red chips right across the table.

I was not thrilled with all the extra-curricular activities, but I didn't say anything because I didn't want to "tap the fishtank". There was one player who was vocal about the circus, but he was just saying generic things to nobody in particular. Things like, "I can't believe what I'm seeing" and "I can't believe they have cameras in here."

There was one other person who didn't say anything, and that was the Dealer. Actually, of the three Dealers who sat down during while the drunks were here, and only one of the them said anything to Casey about what was happening.

Unfortunately, this was not uncommon. I've played in a lot of smaller poker rooms that cater to Locals, and the Dealers don't enforce the rules with the Locals for one simple reason. Dealers get paid with tips, and they don't want to upset the people who tip them, who are the Regulars that the Dealers are on a first name basis with. But "tourists" like me, the Dealers don't care about.

The worst Poker Room for this double standard was at Seneca Allegany Casino & Hotel in Salamanca, NY. They were one of the first casinos in the area, and they had a decent amount of business from Cleveland, which was about a 2.5 hour drive. A few years ago, a large group of from the CPMG went up there on Good Friday. One of us, El Diabl0, was in a hand with two Locals. On the River, one of the Locals bet, and El Diabl0 called. The other Local was thinking, and the first Local said, "I got this one, Fred. Just lay it down." So he folded, and the first Local won the pot. El Diabl0 asked the Dealer, "You guys allow this in your Poker Room?" The Dealer didn't respond, but did collect the tip.

At a different table, I was sitting with two of our players, Canuck and Twitch. They got into a pot, and were the only two in the pot. So naturally, there was some table talk between them. After Twitch won the hand, the Dealer warned him that he was not allowed to lie about his hand. So I asked the Dealer, "What if he told the truth?" The Dealer said, "Well, we don't encourage that here."

A Dealer's job is to control the Deck, control the Pot, and control the Table. That doesn't mean they have to be a Bitch, and yell at everyone. Usually just a couple of words can solve a lot of problems, and it certainly would have helped with the drunks earlier this week.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hand Of The Day #60

$1/$2 NLHE - Grand Sierra - 11.19.10

It limps around to me in the SB. I call the extra $1 with 76d. BB raises to $15. He's a 30's gentleman who is very much a No0b. Only the Cutoff calls, who's a 20's kid wearing UB gear. This should be a Fold for me. I'm out of position, and I've got under $200 left. But I'm leaving very soon, and I'm losing. So I decide to gamble and make the call.

Flop Kc 5s 3c. I check. BB bets $10. Cutoff thinks for a bit, and folds. Now it's my turn. One of the things I've learn over the last few months is when a player raises preflop, and then bets the same amount or less, that usually means Weak. It's not 100%, as some players will try to trap, or some Super Nits just don't want to put any money in the pot. But overall, it's been a reliable bet-sizing tell against basic players. So I check-raise to $35. Hopefully, he'll fold. If not, I do have a Gutshot Straight Draw.  He thinks for a moment, and calls.

Turn [Kc 5s 3c] Jd. Well, he didn't fold, and I didn't hit my Straight, so now what do I do? Another thing that I've learn is that when a player is Weak, it doesn't mean that he'll fold. We all know players that will go broke with QQ on a K-high Board. I decide to follow through, and bet $50. If he calls, and a lousy River card comes, I will probably have to give up. But he thinks for a moment, and folds. I show my 7-high, and scoop the pot. He didn't say what he had, but I'm assuming something around JJ.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Charity And Giving

6:10 $300 - I walk into the Grand Sierra Poker Room on Friday evening, and was immediately seated at the second $1/$2 table that was just opening. We start with six players. The biggest stack is $400, and he's one of the Dealers in this room. (In Nevada, Dealers can play in their own Poker Room, sometimes while on the clock. I don't like this rule, but that's another post for another day.)

6:30 $312 - The Dealer left the table to go do his job. We are now five chip stacks, although one of the players played one hand, and vanished. We've been playing 4-handed for a while now. The action is all small pots, as you would expect.

As it turns out, the Grand Sierra is hosting two different Charity tournaments tonight at 7pm in their tournament area right outside the Poker Room. Hopefully, a few of those players will venture in the Poker Room after they bust out of the Charity tournament to give another donation.

7:00 $341 - The nightly non-Charity tournament started at 6:30 with two tables. In a strange occurrence, the main $1/$2 game broke due to players going to the tournament, and the remaining few joined us. We are now full with nine chip stacks, but four of those players are wandering around, and have "Missed Blinds" buttons next to their chips. So much for the "3rd Man Walking" rule.

7:30 $250 - One of the Charity tournament has eight tables; the other has five. Another $1/$2 table just opened. My table is down to eight chip stack, but they all have players now. So far, the play has been rather tame, which is what I expected. I lost chips in a cooler hand. In a limped pot, I just called in the SB with AJ. The Flop was AA2. I bet $5 on the Flop, $10 on the Turn, and $15 on the River. The only caller was a 60's gentleman who looked a lot like Sidney Pollack. He raised on the River from $15 to $35, and I called. He had AQ.

8:00 $239 - We are finally full with nine chip stacks, and nine players. However, this table is dead, even on a Friday night. (This town is full of Super Nits.) We are getting one or two walks every orbit. Unfortunately, my cards are also dead. I think it's time to start the $5 Straddle to try to loosen up the table. It's had some success in the past. (I know my former Home game players are saying, "He's straddling?", but it's really that bad in Reno on some nights.)

The Charity tournaments are doing some raffles and auctions over the loudspeaker, with an emphasis on LOUD. It's really a major distraction for everyone in the Poker Room.

8:30 $202 - Here's a list of hands from the last 20 minutes: (Button) 84d, it was 3-Bet before it got to me, so I folded. (CO) 96d, limp; I flopped a Flush Draw on a Paired board. I called a $10 bet, but folded on the Turn. (Hyj) 92o, fold. (Mid) J2o, fold. (Mid) Q9o, fold. (UTG+1) Q3o, fold. (BB - the player on my Right took a walk, so I wasn't able to straddle.) 72o, checked my option and folded on Flop. (SB) A3o, flopped Top Pair and called $5 on the Flop & Turn from the Sydney Pollack guy. River was checked, and he had ATo. (Btn) 94o, fold. (CO) 33, limp and fold on Flop. (Hyj) 93o, fold. (Mid) J6o, fold. (Mid) JTo, folded to a $10 raise from a Super Nit. (UTG+1) Q3o, fold.

As you can see, it was a whole lot of nothing. At least the walks have stopped, as I don't think we had one in the last 30 minutes. However, the Charity tournaments are still doing their festivities. Our Dealer was just dealing in the tournament area, and said it's even louder out there.

9:00 $192 - A third $1/$2 table has opened up. I really only played one hand, and got stacked off. It was partially a cooler, and partially a small mistake by me as I didn't need to lose everything. It will be a future Hand Of The Day, so I can give it a full analysis. I reloaded for my last $200.

9:30 $181 - Since I'm leaving around 10:30, I started splashing around more. The results were mixed, but nothing noteworthy. The Charity tournaments have finally quieted down.

At 9pm every night, the Poker Room wheels in a table with a few dishes from the Buffet. Tonight, they had spaghetti with meatballs and sausage, some sort of chicken dish, pork chops in a teriyaki sauce, and BBQ beef ribs. Why they would bring ribs into a Poker Room, I'll never know.

10:00 $195 - Here's a hand to describe how this session has gone: UTG+1 limps. Everyone else folded to me. I'm the SB with Ac 2h, and call. Three players see a Flop of 5c 4c 3h. I bet $5 with my Straight. Both players call. Turn [5c 4c 3h] 7h. That's a terrible card, as any 6 just hit a better Straight. I check, and so does everyone else. River [5c 4c 3h 7h] Jc. Great, now the Flush gets there. I check. BB bets $5. UTG+1 folds. I quietly say "FML", and call. BB shows J8c for the Flush.

10:40 $263 - I pulled off a sweet bluff against a No0b that will be future Hand Of The Day. One of the $1/$2 tables broke, so they're down to two tables. The Charity tournaments are down to their last few tables, but none of the players seem to be coming to the Poker Room. The Buffet sent over some desserts, some sort of cheesecake with a restaurant presentation (whipped cream, half a strawberry, and other decorations).

Since I have to work in the morning, I head home down $234 for the evening. Even though this was a lousy session, I am +$19 for this week with one more day to go (Sunday). For the last two weeks, I was +$81 and +$414. So I'm slowly pulling up out of the freefall I was in shortly after I arrived in Reno.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hand of The Day #59

$4/$8 Omaha Hi/Low - Peppermill - 11.07.10

I'm in the Cutoff. I scooped the last pot, so I post the Kill of $6 (This hand will be played as $6/$12). A bunch of players limp in. At the Peppermill, the Kill gets the last option after the BB. I look down at Ad 2s 3c 7c, and I decide to raise ($12). Normally, I wouldn't raise with just a Low hand, but since everyone is already in, they're not gonna fold. By raising, I can win a bigger Low pot.

Seven or Eight players see a Flop of 7d 2d 2c. It checks around to me. Since I have a Full House and the Nut Low Draw, I decide to bet. The SB check-raises ($12). Two players cold call. I 3-Bet ($18), and all three players call.

Turn [7d 2d 2c] Jd. The Flush gets there, excellent. SB goes All-In for $3. Mid players completes to $12. Another Mid player folds. I raise ($24). The Mid player is one of the "9-Card Bingo" players at this table, so his range is rather wide. He calls.

River [7d 2d 2c Jd] Ah. Well, that card sucks. My Hi hand slightly improved to 2 Full of A. But the Ace brings the Low, just not mine. Mid checks. I'm fairly sure that my Hi hand is the best, so I bet ($12). Mid calls. I show my Boat. Mid show just the 2 and no Low. The SB shows his Q-high Flush, but no Low. I scoop a monster pot.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Road Trip

On Sunday, I made my first Road Trip since moving to Reno. There is a WSOP Circut Event happening down at Harvey's Lake Tahoe, which is about an hour south of Reno.

There was an Omaha-8 tourney, but I didn't play in it. The buy-in ($345) was a little high for my bankroll. Also, the structure said it was a two day event, and I have to work on Monday. They had 110 players, and first place was just over $9k.

The Poker Room is not normally that busy, but it was hopping when I got there. They had numerous $2/$3 NL games, a few $3/$6 Limit games, and two $3/$5 games. There was a Seniors tournament at 4pm, so the cash games thinned out when that started.

As for me, I played $2/$3 for about five hours. I had some good hands, and some bad. There was a few suckouts, and a some minor donk-offs by me. In the end, I was left up $208. Here is the most noteworthy hand.

I'm in the BB, and check my option with JTd. Five players see a Flop of Tc 9d 5d. I lead out for $11 with Top Pair and Flush Draw. Three players call.
Turn [Tc 9d 5d] Qs. I'm not happy with an overcard, but that does add the Open-Ender to my draws. I bet $40, hoping to take down the pot right now. Only the Button calls. He's a 70's gentleman who has trouble seeing the Board, and he just moved over to the #5 Seat, which is right across from the Dealer.
River [Tc 9d 5d Qs] 9s. Well, I missed everything. I decide to bet $60. (This bet might have been a mistake, but that's not relevant for this post.) The old man called, and I turned over my hand. The old man looks over the Board, and asks the Dealer what I have. The Dealer shows and tells him, and the old man just keeps looking over the Board. After what seemed like a full minute, he finally turned his hand over. 92c for Trip 9. Nice Slowroll, Sir.

On a side note, I had to drive through Carson City, the state capital, to get to Tahoe. On the way down around 11:30-12:00, I stopped at two casinos in Carson City to check them out. I had no intention of playing anything; this was just a quick recon. The first one had a Poker Room with two tables. There was two gentleman sitting at one of the tables waiting for some more players for a $3/$6 game. The other casino's Poker Room had three tables. They were all in use for what looked like a tournament. Sadly, those were two of the best options for Poker in Carson City.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Hand Of The Day #58

$1/$2 NLHE - Grand Sierra - 11.05.10

This hand is an example of how things have been going the last few weeks.

I'm on the Button with AKh, and raise to $7. Six players see a Flop of Kc 2c 2s. The Cutoff bets $20. He's a 60's gentleman, and a Super Nit. He has played very few hands so far. I think about raising because of the Flush Draw, but with six players seeing the Flop, there's a decent chance that someone has a 2. So I just call, and will see what happens on the Turn. Everyone else folds.

Turn [Kc 2c 2s] Ad. The Cutoff grabs some chips, bets $45, goes back to his stack for more chips, but the Dealer said No. To me, everything about this screams that he has a 2 in his hand. But, if he's a Super Nit, then why would he have a 2? Well, there's one important detail that I haven't mentioned yet. He missed his Blinds, and posted when the Button passed, which would put him in the Cutoff.

But what other hand could he have? AA or KK is unlikely because I doubt he would have checked his option before I raised. AK is a small possibility, but I doubt it. He may or may not have raised preflop. But if he does have AK, then we're chopping. He's got about $150 behind, and that's a lot for me to risk just to get my money back.

After thinking for about a minute, I decide that a 2 is the only thing that makes sense. So I fold my AK face up. He doesn't show, but said I made a great laydown.

Nice hand, Sir.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Finally, Some Tournament Action

"Shuffle Up & Deal" 8000 - I walked into Peppermill tournament area for the $120 Limit Crazy Pineapple Hi/Lo tournament. I get there ten minutes before Shuffle Up & Deal, and they don't have anything ready. There was one dealer who just started building chip stacks.

About five minutes later, I find out there's only seven players signed up for the tournament (last week's tourney had 28). The TD gave us the option to cancel, but everyone voted to play. So we started with two dead stacks. The levels are 20 minutes long.

End of Level 1 (50/100 Limit) 7575 - We are up to 13 players on two tables. The player on my direct Right who took one of the dead stacks is one of the Action Guys from last night's O-8 games. He's asking all kind of questions about the rules and how the game plays.

This table is full of Super Nits. I had someone who just Check / Called with QQ on a J-high board, and I had KJ. In another hand. I was dealt AJhTc on the Button, and raised (100). Four players saw a Flop of Ad Kc Td. I bet (50) with my Two Pair. and got two callers. The Turn was [Ad Kc Td] Kh. The two players check. I just got counterfeited, so I check. The River was also checked around, and I showed my AT, hoping that my hand was good. But the SB shows KK for Quads that he checked twice. You can't be too careful, I guess.

Level 2 (100/200 Limit) 7775 - I finally won a pot with QQ. I hit a Set on the Turn, and beat Two Pair that never raised.

Even more Super Nit action. I end up with T3c on a Ad 7c 4c Flop. I bet (100) my Flush Draw with 3-Low Draw. and two players called. Turn was [Ad 7c 4c] Kc. They check, and I bet (200). They both call. River [Ad 7c 4c Kc] Ah. They both check. I'm tempted to bet, but I think it's best to conserve chips in a Limit Tournament, so I just turn over my Flush. One of the other players shows AK, which was the Nuts.

Level 3 (150/300 Limit) 10025 - I finally scooped two pots. First was with AK in the BB. I hit the A on the Flop, and nobody has a Low. Second, I ended up with T5c on the Turn and had a Flush and 5-Low. It held up.

Action Guy isn't playing too crazy, but he is playing every hand. I've also noticed that players are rarely going for the Low. Hopefully, I can use this later.

Level 4 (200/400 Limit) 11725 - I get A5cKd in Mid position, and raise (400). The Cutoff 3-Bet (600). Action Guy cold called, and I just call. Flop was Ad Jc 7d. Action Guy checked. I bet (200) with Top Pair. Cutoff called, and Action Guy folded. I discard the 5c. Turn [Ad Jc 7d] 3h. I bet (400), and Cutoff called. River [Ad Jc 7d 5c] Qc. We both check, and I show my hand. He showed QTo, and I scoop. What hand did he 3-Bet that had QTo in it?

Level 5 (300/600 Limit) 10700 - I tried to tighten up my starting hand requirements towards more Low cards. The Limits are starting to get high, and we are still seeing 3 - 5 players to the Flop.

Although, I did raise (600) UTG with QcQ2s. Four players saw a Flop of Jc 9h 2h. I bet (300), and two players called. I discarded 2s. Turn [Jc 9h 2h] 5h. They check, and so do I because of the possible Flush (like anyone at this table would bet their own hand). River [Jc 9h 2h 5h] 3h. I check. The Super Nit next to me bet (600). The other player thought for a bit, and made a reluctant call. I had no problem pitching my QQ. The Super Nit has As 6h, and scoops the pot with 6-Flush and 6-Low. The other player had 75 for a worse Low.

BREAK: All 13 players are still in, but some are quite short stacked (under 2k).

Level 6 (400/800 Limit) 12700 - We have 11 players left, and six at our table. I didn't play many pots. I did win a 4-way pot from the SB. It got checked down, and I won it with a Pair. I also played 73h5d in the Cutoff. Four players saw a Flop of 9c 5c 5s. I bet the whole way. The Super Nit next to me just called each time with 65, and we ended up chopping.

Level 7 (600/1200 Limit) 12500 - I limp (600) with 765 in Mid position. Only the Blinds call. Flop Js Ts 7h. They check. I bet (600) with Bottom Pair, hoping they fold. Only the SB called. I discard the 5. Turn [Js Ts 7h] 6c. Sweet! SB checked. I bet (1200), and he called. River [Js Ts 7h 6c] As. SB checked. That was a horrible card, as it brought the Flush, Broadway, and a Low. I check, and show my Two Pair. He has J2, and I scoop.

Final Table 5500 - We get to the Final Table (9 players) with six minutes left in the 800/1600 Level. Unfortunately, I developed a case of Fancy Tournament Play Syndrome, and it failed miserably. I tried to steal the Blinds when it folded to me on the Button with 763o, and that didn't go well.

Later, Action Guy raised (1600), and he was short-stacked. I had A52o, and decided to 3-Bet (2400) to isolate. He called, and everyone else folded. The Flop was horrible for me, so I checked because he only had 1300 left. He finally went All-In on the River. I really didn't want to call with just A-high. But the pot was over 7000, so I made the crying call. He had JJ. This hand was pure moronic by me. There's no reason to ever isolate with just Low cards. I want more players in the pot, so I can win more with the Low half of the pot.

Level 8 (800/1600 Limit) 0 - Very first hand of the Final Table, I get KcKs2d, and raise (1600) from UTG+2. One old geezer called from Mid position. He's from the other table, so I haven't played any hands with him yet. Flop 9s 9h 5h. I bet (800), and he called. Turn [9s 9h 5h] Jh. Naturally, the Flush gets there, so I check. Old geezer bets (1600). I only have 3100 left, so I take the plunge and raise All-In (3100). Even if he has a Flush, but I have outs with Two Pair. Old Geezer calls with Qh Qs. River [9s 9h 5h Jh] Th, and he hits his 4-card Flush. I'm out in 9th place.

I could say it was bad luck that knocked me out of the tournament. Certainly, if either of my plays worked, or my KK hold up, then I'm in good shape for the rest of the tournament. But there was no good reason to bring out the Fancy Tournament Plays to this tournament. I'm definitely one of the top players in this small field, and I had a decent chip stack. I just needed to stay patient and disciplined. I needed to play smarter then they were playing, and that doesn't necessarily mean that I needed to be playing more aggressively.

Hopefully I will remember this lesson in future tournaments. I do want to play more non-TV Poker tournament in the future. The next one might be on Sunday, December 5, a $170 HORSE tournament during Grand Sierra's Winter Pot Of Gold series.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I Might Quit No Limit Hold'em

Peppermill is having one of their tournament series this week. One of the tournaments today is a $120 Limit Crazy Pineapple Hi/Low at 4pm. I enjoy tournaments other than TV Poker, so I'm gonna play my first tournament since arriving in Reno.

In order to get some practice before the tournament, I went to the Peppermill last night to play some $4/$8 Omaha Hi/Low. It's not exactly the same as Limit Crazy Pineapple Hi/Low, but it's certainly closer than NLHE. I haven't played Omaha Hi/Low in a few weeks because I've been checking out other rooms in Reno.

Without a doubt, this was the best Omaha Hi/Lo table that I've ever played at. If this table ran everyday, I might quit No Limit Hold'em.

It had the usual assortment of "9-Card Bingo" players. But the difference at this table was two players who were not only playing every hand, but usually raising. One guy was there when I sat down, and he raised preflop around 80% of the hands. He had around $250 in Blue chips when I sat down. I think he rebought for $100 five or six times before I left. We had pots over $200 that were scooped by one player or another. I think the largest was about $250.

This was a Kill game, up to $6/$12. You get the Kill Button after you scoop a pot over $60. It was common at this table to have five or six Kill pots in a row. I only had the Kill Button one time, and I was already up $200 before I won that pot. Most of the pots I won were Lows. Of course, one of the Lows was over $100, and another was $80, and those were just half of the Pot. The $80 Low was capped on the River (5 Bets). I was the third player on the River. The Board was AJJ 7 5. I was just calling with my Nut Low, hoping that I would get my money back. The other two players had AJ and A7, and were raising each other.

I only won $231 in 4.5 hours, mostly because my starting hands were terrible. When the table is this crazy loose, I really stick to playing quality starting hands, and playing Position on the Action Guys. I went through a stretch of 45 minutes of not playing a single hand. I never had AAxx the entire night, I did get dealt Trips three times, and 4-Card Flushes twice.

The best starting hand I had was AQ32 rainbow, and it was my most annoying hand. I raised UTG, and of course got 3-Bet by one of the Action Guys. Six or seven players saw Flop of Qh 7c 6c. I lead out with Top Pair and the Nut Low Wrap. Five players saw the Turn [Qh 7c 6c] 7d. I check, and the Action Guy who 3-Bet preflop bet. I call with my Nut Low Wrap, along with others. Four players saw the River [Qh 7c 6c 7d] 6h. Agghhh! I check. Action Guy bets. All fold around to me. I really don't want to call with just AQ, but I'm get like 20-1. So I make the crying call, and he shows 77 for Quads. Sometimes this game can be very frustrating, but that was my only bad hand of the night.

As long as the game is half as juicy as this table was, I'm gonna play the $4/$8 Omaha Hi/Low every Saturday night, and any other night I see it running. On Wednesday, it was going, but I decided to play $1/$2 instead. I lost $420 in a very frustrating session.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Rants & Raves: The November Nine

On Saturday, November 6, the World Series of Poker resumes after it's four month hiatus.

For the record, I've always hated the concept of the November Nine. I think it's a "Wag the Dog" stunt so ESPN can get better ratings. I know it's supposed to help promote Poker, and it gives the nine player more opportunities for sponsorships. But, to me, it affects the outcome of the tournament. Momentum and game flow are big factors in a tournament. Do you think Jerry Yang or Jamie Gold would have won if they had to come back four months later? Do you think Phil Ivey would have won last year if he could have played the next day?

Since were almost done with the third November Nine, I want to see if it has delivered on what was expected. First is the sponsorship opportunities for the nine players. Jeffery Pollack, former Commissioner for the WSOP, said that he hoped "the nine players would come to the Final Table looking like NASCAR drivers, covered with patches and logos." There was some of that the first year. But none of those patches were from Pepsi, Budweiser, Ford, Burger King, or any other "mainstream" companies. All of them were from companies in the Poker industry, like CardRunners or Card Player. And the second year had noticeably less patches and logos. What will happen this year remains to be seen.

And has the November Nine been a boom for Poker? Well, the number of players at the Main Event has grown in each of the last three years, but it was growing before that. The only drop off was due to the passage of the UIGEA in 2006, but they're almost back to the 8000 range.

The most important numbers to look at are the ratings for ESPN, since this is their baby. The ratings for the first year, 2008, were awesome for a Poker show. In 2009, when Phil Ivey was one of the November Nine, it was expected to have even bigger ratings. Instead, they were actually down 7% from the previous year. This year, the rating are already down 16% over last year.

Because of the declining ratings, I'm going to make a bold prediction: Either next year, 2011, or the following year, 2012, will be the last year for the November Nine. Now it's possible that there will continue to be some sort of delay, and that it might not exactly go back to how it was in 2007, when they played the Final Table then next day. But the current concept of the November Nine will change. If ESPN isn't getting the ratings, then they will not be going along with it.

As for some bold prediction for this year, like who's gonna win... To be honest, I haven't been watching the coverage. Partially because I was a little busy moving across the country, and now I'm a little busy actually playing Poker. Another factor is that I'm bored with Poker on TV. It's gotten stale for me.

Although, I listen to a lot poker podcasts while delivering the mail, so I do know who is in the November Nine. I have no clue who's gonna win. I think it's wide open this year.

But I will make one prediction for 2010. I think this will be the fastest Final Table in many years. First, since the November Nine Bubble lasted six hours, the blinds are a little high right now.

Second, all but one of the Nine are Pros, either Live or Online. I really doubt any of them will be interested in "Folding their way to 4th Place". I also don't think they will be as scared of The Grinder as last year's table was scared of Ivey. I expect the Play of the table to be similar to last year after Ivey busted out; a lot of 4-Betting and flipping coins because they now have the Pot Odds.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Two Inch Wad Of $100 Bills

6:25 $200 - The Peppermill is opening up a third $1/$2 table on Friday night (10/29). But there's a tournament starting at 7pm, so they will end up breaking one of these tables because a bunch of players will probably be heading to the tournament.

We are starting with 9 players. Most have bought in for $200.

7:00 $365 - I won two good pots. First, I called a raise in BB with QJh. The Flop was Js Jc Ts. Second hand was me raising in the Cutoff with JTo. Only the Hyjack called. The Flop was 9h 8c 7d. He had 96d. A Ten on the River ensured I got a good Value Bet paid off.

7:30 $456 - Looks like I was wrong about the tables breaking. Although, we are six handed, and the other table are about the same.

I won a nice pot from the SB that will be a future Hand Of The Day. It could have been more, but I couldn't slow play it due to how the hand played out. The very next hand, UTG+1 raised to $5. One player called. I'm the Button with Jh Js, and raise to $20. They both call. Flop was 6c 6h 5d. They both checked, and I bet $40. UTG+1 counted his chips (around $125), stared me down for a bit, and finally folded. The other dude also folded.

8:00 $431 - We got down to five players, and there was talk of breaking the table. But some new players have started coming into the Room, and we now have eight players.

I raised on the Button with AA. Four players saw me flop a Set. I bet $15, and UTG called. I bet $25 on the Turn, and he called. He thought about my $40 River bet, but eventually folded.

I also lost a few pots. The biggest one was me limping with QJc and hitting Top Pair (J). I bet $7 on the Flop, and got three callers. I bet $25 on the Turn, but an older Asian gentleman checkraised to $50. He hasn't been playing many hands to this point. I don't know what he had, but I'm sure my Top Pair was no good, so I made a quick fold.

8:30 $234 - It's hard to believe that I could go from Hot to Cold so fast. The worst hand was me limping on the Button with J6h. Six players saw a Flop of Qh Th 6c. A 60's guy bet $15. He's relatively new to the Table. I decide to isolate with my Pair + Flush Draw, and raise to $40. It folds around to him, and he quickly goes All-In for $72 more. I'm not thrill with it, but I have good Pot Odds ($72 to win approx $160). So I make the call, and he shows 6d 6s for a Set. I miss my Flush Draw, and lose most of my profit for the night. As I've said before, "Flopping a 1-outer is way more profitable than Rivering it."

Shortly after that hand, a 60's Japanese gentleman sits down on my direct Right. He leaves his chips in the Rack ($300), and starts throwing money around. He called a Pot sized bet of around $65 on the Turn with just a naked Gutshot, and missed of course. Later, he raised to $25 in the SB. I'm the BB with 65d. I really wanted to call. But he only had about $150 behind, and I just wasn't getting the right Implied Odds to call. There was one customer. The Flop was 7d 6s 5h. He goes All-In by tossing the Rack into the middle of the table. The other player folded. Once again, I make the Right Play at the Wrong Time.

On a side note, the $20/$40 game broke, and a $3/$5 NL game took it's place. It's starting out six handed, and most of the players are from the $20/$40 game. This is the first $3/$5 game that I've seen since I moved to Reno. I have no interest in playing in the game since I'm planning on leaving at 10:30.

9:00 $226 - I didn't really play a hand. The Old Japanese Guy (OJG) went for a walk, and came back with $300 more. He's not playing crazy. His VPIP is relatively normal for a $1/$2 game. But when he raises, it's to $20 or more. He's not raising with trash, either. He's getting to Showdown with hands like AK, JJ, and KQ. But when he's in the Pot, he's betting Big, and not folding. I saw him go to Showdown in a 3-way pot with just KQ-high (Missed Broadway draw), which included him calling a River bet with just KQ-high.

When his stack got down to about $100, he pulled an envelope out of his pocket. It contained a two inch wad of $100 bills. He wanted to put the whole wad on the table, and some of the players were encouraging him because they wanted to win the "Lottery" of being in a pot with him. The Dealer said that $400 more is fine.

That $3/$5 game didn't last 15 minutes, as they couldn't get any more players. The Poker Room converted it to the 4th $1/$2 table.

9:30 $237 - I seem to have gone into Super Nit mode. Partially because of OJG's wild play who's on my Right. Partially because other players at the table are limping in, and trying to trap him. I've seen a few players get pissed because he folded.

Another reason for my lack of play was my lack of cards. The only hand I played was in the Cutoff with 52o. OJG had folded, and only one player had limped in, so I raised to $7. Four players saw a Flop of A J 3. It checked to me, and I bet my standard $15. Everyone folded, and I showed my Wheel Draw.

10:00 $212 - Nothing interesting happened to me. OJG is gone. He was leaving, and essentially gave $500 to a player (the Older Asian gentleman from earlier) that had AA. OJG had 55. The table has gone back to normal play.

The Floor is trying to restart the $3/$5 game, but it's not going well.

10:30 $113 - I splashed around a bit trying to catch something since I'm heading home, but I couldn't hit the side of a mountain with an airplane right now. The biggest loss with me betting all three Streets with a Flush Draw (Q8s on a Flop of Ks Js 5d). I hit the 8 on the Turn, but I airballed the River. I got called down by a player who had a weak K.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Luck Vs Skill

It's Friday night when I start this post, and I just got back from the Peppermill with a small loss at the $1/$2 game. I did a Running Log of the session that I will publish later.

This was my 5th losing session in a row, and I'm 2-8 in my last 10 sessions (9 NL and 1 Limit).

If you think this will be a post about me whining and complaining about "Running Bad", guess again. The term "Running Bad" is not part of my vocabulary.  Ups and Downs are part of the game of Poker. I've been though various cold streaks in the few years that I've been playing. Learning to deal with them is part of the game. I definitely haven't play Perfect Poker in my last 10 sessions, but my Luck Factor is certainly on the Negative side.

Poker has always had the Luck vs Skill debate. Here is my saying about this topic: "The Skill in Poker is winning more when Luck is good, and losing less when Luck is bad."

The total for my eight losing sessions is -$1137, which averages out to -$142.13. The largest was -$236. My two winning sessions were $187 and $824 for a total of $1011. So my "Running Bad" streak of 2-8 means that I've lost $126 overall, or $12.60 per session.

I think that would qualify as "losing less when Luck is bad."

Monday, October 25, 2010

18 Days Later

Well, I've been in Reno for 18 days now.

However, most of my time has been working. I've been at work six days a week, starting at 7:30am, and leaving the Post Office between 5:30 - 7:00pm. That doesn't leave much time for other activities. So I'm only able to only play poker for 2 - 4 hours after work, at that's if I even feel like going out and getting off the couch.

I'm trying to have an actual Poker Bankroll, and not just a pile of Cash like I had in Cleveland. And that means that I need to have some Bankroll Management. "The Plan" is when my Bankroll is under $2k to just play $1/$2 NL (or $1/$3 NL). Between $2k and $3k, I'll mix in some Limit ($3/$6 or $4/$8) and Tournaments. Over $3k, I can mix in some occasional bigger games ($2/$5 NL or $15/$30 Limit), as well as some Pit action. Right now, my 'Roll is in the $1500 range, so I'm grinding away at $1/$2 NL.

And "grinding" is the key word. So far, this town is full of passive players and Super Nits. I'm not sure if it's always this way, or just because we're going into the "Off-Season" for tourists. I've been winning or losing a small amount each time. It seems like I've been the Action Guy at the table for about half of my sessions. I'm sure the players in my Home Game find that hard to believe.

My worst session was on Friday night at the Peppermill. The table was very tight passive, but my cards sucked. Every time I had any hand, everyone folded. But when I was stabbing at the Pot, I would get three callers. Plus, I was tired from work, and it wasn't helping my state of mind. I only lost $236 in 2.5 hours. But then, I went into the Pit, and tilted off $200 in a Video Poker machine. Time to climb back "On the Wagon" after falling off of it.

My best session was on Saturday, the following night, at Atlantis. There's that saying about "Finding the Sucker at the Table". Well, I found one, and I won $824 in four hours. That my second best session ever, behind my $876 session at Nautica back in July, and it was my best $1/$3 session.

The Blog hasn't been very active because the action hasn't been very interesting. There really have been very few hands that are worthy of "Hand Of The Day" status, and some of those were part of my Marathon session. Since I'm only playing 2-3 hours on most nights, I haven't bothered doing the Running Logs. I'm not playing in tournaments right now, due to my Bankroll Management plan. Plus, my long work hours are making me miss most of the "Shuffle Up & Deals".

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Live Blog #1 - The Reno Marathon

(Before you start reading this, let the dog outside, take a quick visit to the bathroom, and grab a snack along with a cool, refreshing beverage. This is loooong post.)

9:00am $300 - The first table of the day (Sunday 10/17) is $2/$3 NL, and is starting with eight players. Most are buying in with $200 or $300. The Old Guy on my Left has $50. The $100 drawing for the 9am people will be given away as $50, $30, & $20 by vote of the Table.

9:30 $331 - Table is still 8-handed, and playing calm, as expected. I'm playing fairly tight, and observing. I won three small pots. Most notably, I had KK in the BB on a Straddle ($6), and raised to $16. Only the Straddle called, and I won it on the Flop.

10:00 $303 - Table is now full (9-handed). Cards kinda suck for me. I even missed out on the $100 promo. But half of this table is Super Nits, so I think it's time to "Step On The Gas" a bit (in late position, of course).

10:30 $222 - Well, so much for that idea. Super Nits are getting some cards, and mine still suck. Time to go back to waiting for opportunities.

10:40 $300 - I limp in Mid with Js Td. Button (an Old Lady) raises to $8. I call. The player on my Left back-raises to $23. He just recently sat down, but seems to be a bit of an Action Guy. Button calls, and so do I.
Flop Jh 8h 3c. I check. Action Guy bets $25. Button calls. This seems like a good spot to check-raise, so I instantly raise to $75. Action Guy thinks for a bit, and folds. Button calls quickly, which I don't like.
Turn [Jh 8h 3c] Qs. I hate that card, but I gotta follow through with it. I go All-In for $127. She says, "Well, I've come this far," and calls. The River is [Jh 8h 3c Qs] Th. I now have Two Pair, but she quickly shows AQh for the Nut Flush. REBUY!

11:00 $271 - I'm really getting frustrated. Every time I'm in a pot, someone is either leading into me, or check-raising me. Plus, trying to type this Live Blog isn't helping.

11:15 - This isn't working. The small screen of the iPhone, and the fact that I've already rebought for $300 isn't helping my mood, which is borderline Tilt right now.

I'll keep the Running Log going on the side, and posting it later. It's easier to jot down notes in shorthand, than to do full entries on the fly. If I had a laptop next to me, then maybe I could do it live.

11:30 $329 - Starting to turn the corner. I won a few small pots. Most notably, The UTG min-raised ($6). A few players called. I'm on the Button with KJo, and 3-Bet to $36. All folded.

12:00 $238 - Well, I guess my "rush" is over. I don't think I won a pot. My biggest loss was calling a shortshack's All In for $36 with 22. The shortstack had ATh, flopped a Ten, and rivered Trip Tens.

12:30 $375 - I raise ($11) in the Hyjack with A2o. Only the Button calls, and he's an Old Guy who's shortstacked. The Flop is A J 2. I check my Two Pair, and he bets $15. I just call. The Turn is [A J 2] 4. I check. He bets $15 again, and I check-raise to $40. He goes All-In for not much more, and I call. The River is [A J 2 4] 5. I show my Two Pair, and he shows J5.

I also won the last two pots with KJo and QJo. I raised to my standard $11 preflop, got one caller, and took it down on the Flop.

1:00 $402 - I limp UTG+2 with QJd. Five players see a Flop of A Q J. I lead out for $11. The J5 guy calls. As it turns out, he's a world class calling station, and he's still milking the shortstack while rebuying for $100 each time. The Turn is [A Q J] 6. I bet $20, and he calls. The River is [A Q J 6] 7. I bet $30. He goes to fold, then thinks for a while, and then folds. I guess I should have bet $25.

2:00 $449 - I took a break, and headed to the Buffet. On my return hand, I get dealt 43d in the Hyjack. Six players see a Flop of Ks Kd 2h. Everyone checks. Turn [Ks Kd 2h] 5h. The SB bet $15. He's a Super Nit, and obviously has a K. I'm the only caller with my Open-Ender. River [Ks Kd 2h 5h] As. He bets $15 again. I raise to $50 with the Wheel, and he calls. I say, "Straight," and he gets that "How do you have a Straight?" look on his face. He didn't show his hand.

2:30 $382 - Half of this table is still here from 9am. I played a few hands and chased a bit, but nothing good happened.

3:00 $600 - Back to even. I won two pots against someone trying to make something happen. I just Check & Called him down, and won both pots. In another pot, I raised UTG+1 with KJo. 14 players called (well, maybe 6). The Flop was A K x. I bet $30, and they all folded.

I spoke too soon about everyone sticking around. There have been some big changes. Most notably, a Regular has sit on my direct Left. He's an Action Guy who likes to play big pots, and is straddling my BB every time. I will need to adjust.

3:30 $610 - I played a few pots, but nothing newsworthy.

4:00 $412 - UTG+2 raised to $10. He's a 50's guy, and new to the table. 3-4 players called. I'm the SB with Jh Jd, and 3-Bet to $60. The new guy goes All-In for $154. It folds around to me. I'm not happy about this, but I gotta call. I'm getting pot odds of $94 to win around $250. Naturally, he has AA. The Good News is that I hit my first Set of the Day on the Flop. The Bad News is that he does too. A J x on the Flop. I hate wasting Sets.

4:30 $502 - I won a few small pots, although one should have been much larger. UTG raised to $10, and I called with 54o in the Cutoff. Four players see a Flop of Ah 3h 2c. It checked around to me. I didn't want to give a free card here and get a bad Turn card to kill my action (like a 5, a 4, or a Heart), so I bet $25 with my Straight. Everyone folded.

5:00 $317 - Wheels have come off the Bus. I limped UTG with KK, but nobody raised. I ended up folding on the Turn. I don't know why I just limped. That play is great for Tournaments, but rarely works in Cash games.
I called an $11 raise in Mid position with 54c. Five players see a Flop of A 6 2. The raiser checks. I decide to stab at my Gutshot for $35. Only the Cutoff calls. The Turn is [A 6 2] 2. I bet $50. He tanks for a bit, and reluctantly calls. I'm sure he's got a weak Ace. The Turn [A 6 2 2] 7. I bet $60 with my 5-high. He thinks for a bit, and says Call. I say, "5-high", and he shows AK. He said that he thought I had a 2. Why would I ever have a 2 here? I read him as weak. And to him, AK was weak here. Fuckin' Super Nit.

5:30 $211 - The Downward Spiral continues in various hands. Most notably, I limp in a straddle pot in the BB with A2c. Six players see a Flop of Qc 8c 2s. I lead out for $11, forgetting that it's a Straddle and the pot is much larger. The Straddler, who's the Action Guy on my Left that I mentioned earlier, raised to $30. It folds around to the SB, and he calls. He's a 70's Asian gentleman in a Rascal, and he's extremely loose and active. I just call the raise with my Pair + Nut Flush Draw.
Turn [Qc 8c 2s] 7h. The SB goes All-In for $57. I insta-call the All-In, hoping that the Action Guy will get scared off (He's got some "Game", and he thinks I'm on the Tight side of the spectrum.) He goes into deep thought mode for about a minute, and reluctantly folds his hand face-up, Q8o for Top Two Pair.
River [Qc 8c 2s 7h] As. I miss my Flush, but I did hit Two Pair. The Old Loose guy says "Two Pair." I show my cards, assuming that my hand is best. But he shows A8o for a higher Two Pair. (Yes, he shoved on the Turn with just Middle Pair. Did I mention that he was Loose?) The Action Guy is befuddled by this action, and is pissed that he folded the best hand on the Turn. (Although he would have lost on the River).

The very next hand, I get As Ac in the SB, and I just limp. I'm hoping that Action Guy will snap in the BB. And he does raise to $13. But only the UTG called the extra $10, so I don't squeeze. I'm willing to take the Flop 3-handed in order to trap someone. Flop is Q-high, and all three players check. I bet on the Turn, and they fold. Action Guy said he had AK. Guess I should have squeezed.

6:00 $435 - Today's roller coaster continues. I'm actually falling behind on my note taking, and missing hands. The big hand that started the comeback was me raising UTG+1 with AJh. Five players saw the Flop of A J 2. I bet $20, and only the Fuckin' Super Nit from before called. I bet $30 on the Turn, and $50 on the River. He just called the whole way with A2. I did win $100 on the hand, but still... Fuckin' Super Nit.

6:30 $458 - We're getting shorthanded, as is the other $2/$3 table. So they combine them at our table, and we're eight handed. I limp in EP with Qc Js. Five players see the Flop of Qh Tc 4c. The Old Loose Guy bets $15. I raise to $40 in order to isolate. The Fuckin' Super Nit cold calls, but the Old Loose Guy folds. The Flush hit the Turn, and we end up checking it down. He called my raise with Ac Th (Middle Pair), which surprised me. I mention that my "5-High" from earlier seems to be paying off, and he agrees. Maybe there is a lesson for me to learn here...

7:00 $509 - OK, I've been here way too long. But I'm almost back to even, so I'm gonna grind it out until I get to $601 or 9pm. I'm also getting hungry, and my iPhone battery is getting very low.

7:30 $415 - The Action Guy is having as good of a day as I am. He goes busto, rebuys for $300, and Straddles for $10 instead of his usual $6. There is the usual Limpage (I can't understand why nobody ever raises a Straddle pot.) Of course, I'm the BB and I look down at Js Jd. I decide to limp and try to trap the Action Guy who just rebought, especially since the AA hand earlier went so well. But he checks his option this time. Flop is 8c 6c 3h. Since this is such a wonderful Flop of Jacks, I bet $30. It folds around to the Old Loose Guy. He calls, and has only $41 left. Turn [8c 6c 3h] Kc. He checks, and so do I. River [8c 6c 3h Kc] Th. He goes All-In for the $41. I think about it for a while, remember back to the A8 hand from earlier. I make the crying call, hoping that he hit his Ten. Of course, he has 9h 7d for the Straight.

After this pathetic hand, my cards go very quiet. That seems to happen often to me after I donk off a bunch of chips.

8:00 $436 - I only played one hand. I made my standard raise to $11 in the Hyjack with A6o. Three players saw the Flop of K 6 3. I bet $20, and they both fold.

8:30 $401 - Still card dead. A different player straddles. Four players limp in. I'm the Button with T9o, and I 3-Bet to $25 because I love to punish Straddlers. Only the BB called. He's the Old Loose Guy who switch seats, and is now on the Left of Action Guy. Oh, and he's got $19 left in his stack. The Flop is A K x. He checks. I hate this situation, but I gotta bet the $19, and pray that he folds his little pocket pair. But, as you can guess, he called with ATo.

Later, a limp pot got checked on the Flop and Turn. My TT hit the 2-outer on the River. I bet $11, and got one caller.

9:00pm $509 - Old Loose Guy raises to $20 UTG, which is a big raise for him. It folds to me in the SB, and I call with QTd. Not the best call out of position, but I'm losing and leaving soon. The Flop is Qs Tc 6c. I check my Top Two Pair. He bets $60. This overbet means an Overpair. I don't see any reason to slowplay, so I check-raise to $125. He calls quickly. Turn [Qs Tc 6c] Js. I go All-In for my remaining $209. He goes to fold, and then looks at the pot, and then looks back at his hand. After close to two minutes, he finally folds. AGGGHHHH!!!

This hand is a great example of my unique ability to win the minimum with my Monster hands. It's not that I screw up in the hand; I just seem to choose the wrong action for what my opponent has. It doesn't matter if I play it aggressively like this hand, or passively like the AA hand when the Action Guy had AK. In hindsight, I can always see what I should have bet, but that doesn't mean squat while I'm in the moment. Here is another example of my wonderful ability.

So I finish this 12-hour session down almost $100. I go grab a burger, and head home.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Comming Soon ... Live Blogging

Since I moved out to Reno, it would be nice to have a Reno cell number, rather than a Cleveland cell number. I was unable to do this online, so I went up to the Verizon store to switch my number. As it turns out, they couldn't do it either. After they did some research, they discovered the problem. Since I was originally an Alltel customer (Alltel was gobbled up by Verizon about a year ago), my Alltel phone can't have a Reno area code. But... I could get a new phone with the Reno number, and of course a new 2-Year contract.

After a few choice words by me, I left the store very unsatisfied. However, I did realize something during the conversation. Yes, I will have to sign a new 2-Year contract, but there is no reason that I have to sign with Verizon.

So about an hour after I walked out of the Verizon store, I walked out of an AT&T store with a new iPhone 4. Why an iPhone? For the past year or so, I have always had two devices with me, my cell phone and an iTouch. So it made sense to merge them into one device. (On a side note, if you've never tried an iTouch, I highly recommend it. It's one of the coolest devices ever. It's basically an iPhone without the phone.)

Since I now have Web access anytime I want, what can I do with it? Well, one of my features on this blog has been the Running Logs, where I jot down notes and various hands from my session, and write them up later. So I figure, let's cut out the middle step, and just write it up live at the table.

I'm gonna try the first one on Sunday at around 9am PDT, or noon EDT, from the Atlantis. (One of their promotions to get morning games going is all players in the room at 9am have the chance to win $100. Last Sunday, there were two players, and they chopped the money.) I'll play whatever game they get started, which will probably be $2/$3 NL. I'll hopefully play for 4-6 hours, and watch the Browns get pummeled by the Steelers on one of the TVs in the room.

We'll see if this works or not. It may be a one time thing, or I may start doing it once a week or so.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hand Of The Day #57

$4/$8 Limit - Peppermill - 10/9/10

One player limps in. I'm UTG+2 and raise ($8) with AQh. Three players cold call. The BB and UTG also call. Six players see the Flop of As Jh 6s. I bet ($4). Two players call. The Button raises ($8). It folds to me. With this Flop, the Button could be raising with anything from just an Ace to a Flush Draw to a Set or Two Pair. If I just call, then the two player between us will call. So I 3-Bet ($12) to try to isolate with the Button. Plus, if he 4-Bets, then I know that I'm probably behind. The two players fold, and the Button calls.

Turn [As Jh 6s] Tc. Well, that changes nothing, so I bet ($8), and the Button calls.

River [As Jh 6s Tc] 3s. I don't like that card. But I'm still likely to have the best hand, so I bet ($8). After all, it's Limit. It's not like I'm gonna lose my stack. The Button just calls. I show my AQh. He shows A4c.

Why is he still in this hand with just A4? I can understand his raise on the Flop. But when I put in the 3rd Bet, he should know that he's behind. And then when the Flush gets there, then what hand could he beat? I understand that Pot Odds in Limit Poker dictate that you need to call on the River, even when you're behind. But if you're bloating up the pot by raising and calling the whole way, then you will be a losing player.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sometimes One Hand Is All It Takes

After having a Sunday morning breakfast at their buffet, I walked into the Poker Room at the Atlantis, and sat down in the only game they have running. It's a $2/$3 NL game, and I was the fifth player. I could tell right away that this was gonna be a rough session. I had to keep making laydowns. For example. I get the K-high Flush on the River, and bet. The old geezer on my Right instantly check-raised, and said "RAISE" very loud and aggressively. It was rather obvious that he wasn't doing that with the Q-high Flush. In another hand, I raised in late position with 54h. The Flop was Q84. The SB lead out, and I called. The Turn was [Q84] 4. Again the SB bet, and I just called with the plan of raising the River. However, the River was [Q84 4] Q. The SB start to grab some more chips. I tell him don't bother betting, and I fold my hand face up. He said he had AQ.

At 11am, they had a $70 Bounty Tournament. I haven't played a tourney yet in Reno, so I signed up for it. Plus, I'm hoping my luck will change. But it didn't. I had no cards to play, and blinded out. I finished 8th out of 11 players.

Since I live five minutes away, I just went home for a while, and came back around 4:30. I sat down at the only game with an open seat, which was the same $2/$3 game. I bought in for $300. A few of the players from earlier were still here. Unfortunately, my Luck was still here. My stack started to dwindle, until I won a big pot with AA against an old geezer with a big stack. A bit later, I have JT with a Flop of 9 8 x. I bet the Flop, and the same old geezer calls. The Turn was a [98x] K. I fire again, and he calls. I miss the River, and I fire again. Even though my bets are about the same size as the AA hand, he still calls me down with just a 9.

After this, I add on to my stack, and go really card dead. I slowly bled down, and it was getting late. I decide to leave at a certain time. In my final hand, we're playing shorthanded (7 players), and I limp with T9o. The Flop is 865. I bet out $11 with a Gutshot and two Overs. The SB and Button call. The Turn was [865] 7. The BB bet $22. I just call with my six-card Straight, hoping to not scare off the Button. Not only was the Button not scared, she raised to $50, and the SB called. I shipped in my remaining stack of around $175. Both players thought about it for a bit, and called. They both have a 9, and I triple up.

So after a day of horrible, frustrating, ridiculous cards, I head home up $25 for the day.

On Monday, I walk into the Peppermill Poker Room around 1pm. I sit down in the only game with an open seat, $4/$8 Limit. Once again, I could quickly tell this was gonna be a rough session. I was only at the table for 1.75 hours, and I never had a chance. When I had KK, there was an A on the Flop. I kept getting out kicked, or I had Top Pair against a old geezer who limped in with an Overpair. Even my final hand, I ran into a flopped Set of Threes.

Just like the day before, I head home for a while, and came back at 6pm. I sat down in the $1/$2 game, and my luck improved dramatically. I won a few pots, and was up around $150 when the 6:30 tournament started. I didn't play in the tourney, but almost everyone else did. We only had three players left, but we kept playing. It didn't take long for me to bust one of the players when I hit Two Pair on the Turn with J5o.

So for the first time ever, I played Heads-Up Cash in a casino. It was against an older Eastern European gentleman named Sol (short for Salomon). Earlier in the day, he had lost $1500 in the $20/$40 Limit game, and was at the $1/$2 just blowing off steam. He had a big stack, and was the Action Guy earlier. But in the Heads-Up, he played relatively friendly, with the preflop raises in the $5-$7 range. Even though we were both over $450, I was happy to play Small-Ball.

Usually in Heads-Up, whoever gets the best cards usually wins the match. And he kicked my ass. Every time I had a Hand, he folded. Every time he had a Hand, I had something to call him down. He won all the big pots, and I won all the small pots. Even when I started grinding back, I lost another big pot. I ended up losing around $200 to him. For example, in one of our last hands, I flopped a Set of Tens. He's calling the whole way, and raised on the River when he hit his Gutshot.

After about 45 minutes of Heads-Up, a third player sat down. And then a fourth. Eventually the table filled up, but I was still not winning, especially against Sol. He just had my number on this night.

Later on, I had around $200 left in my stack. I called a preflop raise of $12 with 3h 3d in the SB. Four players saw a Flop of 5c 3c 3s. I check my Quads. The preflop raiser goes All-In for $95 (yeah, that's a slight overbet). The player next to him calls quickly. He's an older gentleman who recently sat down, and bought in for around $500. (In Reno, it's common for rooms to allow a player to buy-in equal to the largest stack at the table. I don't like this rule, but that's another post for another day.) I think for a bit, look over my stack, and go All-In for another $93. The old guy thinks for a while, and finally tosses a $100 bill into the pot. As the dealer gathers up the chips for the Side Pot, I show my Quads. The other players don't show their hands, and I win a sweet pot. I also won $50 from the Peppermill for a High Hand Bonus.

So after another day of horrible, frustrating, ridiculous cards, I head home up $36 for the day.

Yeah, I think I'm gonna make it in this town.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Saturday Night At The 'Mill

7:55 $200 - I walk into the Peppermill after my first day of delivering mail in Reno. I've heard the $4/$8 Omaha-8 game goes on Saturdays. There is one table running, and I put my name on the List (4th spot). They're opening a second $4/$8 Hold'em table, so I sit down while waiting for a seat in the Omaha-8 game. The Hold'em table is playing with a Half Kill ($6/$12). There's an older Asian gentleman on my Right who is obsessed with my Chief Wahoo card protector. He kept grabbing it, and talking about it when I sat down.

8:30 $173 - Now 3rd on the List. The only hand that I won was was with J9o in the Cutoff. As it turns out, the older Asian dude is the Action Guy at this table. (The Dealers call him Uncle Bill.) He's playing 80% of the hands, and doing a lot of betting along with some raising. Right after he raised a hand in early position, I tried to isolate with 88. But other players still called three bets. That's the second time this week that I've tried that play, and they both failed miserably. I probably should wait 'til I start playing in bigger Limit games.

9:00 $243 - 2nd on the List. I managed to win a couple of small pots, but I didn't write them down (not sure why). This table is playing super loose, both Preflop and on the Flop. Even with someone raising, they are still cold calling. If I can get a hand or two to holdup, then it could be a good session.

9:35 $316 - I won a sweet pot with AQh that will be future Hand Of The Day to demonstrate the play at this table.

My seat at the Omaha-8 table is open, so I cash in my profit and buy-in for my standard of $200. This table also has a Half Kill to $6/$12. However, the Blinds are only $2/$2 with $4 to play. So I will be folding the Blinds much more than I normally do.

10:00 $310 - This table is playing rather normal. Some are playing tight, and others are playing 9-Card Bingo. I scooped two pots. The first was with Kings Full when the Low missed. The second was when I raised Preflop with Ad Kh Js 2s. Three players saw the Flop of Jd 5c 4c. Both the Flush and Low missed, and my Top Pair was good.

10:30 $416 - I'm having a very good night. Most of the pots that I've won have been scoops. One of them was when I raised with Ah Ad 5s 3d, and got two callers. All I had on the Flop was the AA and a Low Draw, but I fired the whole way. An A on the River gave me a Set of A and a 5 3 Low for the scoop.
Another hand was with As Qh 5d 4s in the SB. The Flop was Ks Qs Jc. I bet all three streets with just the Flush Draw. I hit my Flush on the River for the Nuts, and one of the old guys started whining because he flopped the Straight. Maybe he should have raised at some point, rather than just calling.

11:10 $436 - I'm the SB with As 9s 9d 8c. The Board was 7s 6s 2d Th Ad. I bet out on all three streets, and got two caller with only a Low. In another hand, I was one of three players who had a Wheel with 4 2. Fortunately, there was another player who flopped Trip Kings, and didn't fill up.

Even though "They" say you shouldn't get up from a winning session, I did get up, and headed home. With the expenses of the last week, plus gambling in the Pit with my Road Crew, I'm a little low on Cash right now. So winning $352 in four hours of $4/$8 Limit Poker will help out with that.