Friday, January 29, 2010

Hand of the Day #24

$1/$2 NLHE - Mountaineer - 01.28.10

Straddle pot. I'm in the Hyjack with 98c and raise to $15. A few players call. A Mid position player (Googe, a player from our home games) back-raises to $50. He's got about $130 left. I think for a moment, and decide to call the extra $35, hoping that other will follow. Only the Straddle calls.

Flop: Ad Ah Td - Not the Flop I was hoping for. Straddle checks. Mid checks. I check.

Turn: [Ad Ah Td] 6c - Straddle checks. Mid checks. Well, since nobody seems interested in this pot, and I just picked up a gutshot, I bet $50. Straddle quickly folds. Mid thinks for a bit and calls.

River: [Ad Ah Td 6c] 2h - Mid checks. Since I have 9-high, I look at his stack, say All-In, and put out some green chips. He thinks for a moment, says "I don't believe you, Mailman", places his short stack of $78 over the betting line, and turns over his KK. I tell him his hand is good, and muck.

OK, I'll admit this wasn't the best hand I've ever played. Calling the $35 raise wasn't a good call, because he didn't have enough chips to give the proper Implied Odds. I also suck at pulling off a Big Bluff. If I had an Ace, I would have played it the same way. Maybe if I bet $75 on the Turn, instead of $50?

Probably not.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

As The Coin Bounces...

We had only 24 players this week for our Saturday night home game.

- I got off to a quick start, thanks to this hand - (50/100) 6 handed.
I'm Mid and limped with 87h. The SB (a new guy) raised to 250. I called, along with three others. Flop was 5c 4s 3c. SB bets 300. BB (Dawn) calls. This bet seemed small to me. I'm not sure if he's just a min bettor or he whiffed with AK. So I raised to 1000 with only two overs and a gutshot. Unfortunately, I forgot there was still one more player to act. The Button (DP) went into deep thought. He stared me down, and called. The SB and BB also called. Wonderful.

Turn: [5c 4s 3c] 6d - Wow, the perfect card. SB & BB check. I started to count some chips to bet, when I realized that I've got 3500 left. So I go All-In. The Button instantly went over the top for 2900 more. SB & BB fold. Button asked if we are chopping. I said maybe, and show my hand. He rolled his eyes, and show 74o. The River was a brick, I scooped a huge pot.

- After this, things kept cruising along. The player on my direct right was a newer player. He raised a lot preflop, but only bet the Flop when he hit. So I started to take advantage of this.

- At the first break, I had 20900 chips. I decided to not take the AddOn, and save $10. I feel that 50 BB at the 200/400 level is good enough.

- When we went to two tables, I had 26000. I just knocked out a short stack with AA in the BB. I raised, and a limper shoved with 44.

- (400/800) Full table. It folded to me in the SB. I raised to 2100 with K7. The BB was a new player, and this was the first hand I played against him. He called. Flop was K89. I bet 3100. He thought for a bit, and went All-In for 3600 more. I called, and he showed AJh. He missed his three-outer.

- Things were going smoothly until this hand. (800/1600) 6-handed. I raised UTG to 4100 with 66. If folded to the BB (K-Tina) who went All-In for 10400 more. I think for a bit. Since I'm getting almost 2 to 1 (4100 + 4100 + 800 +10400), I decide to call. She has AT, and wins the race. I've got around 25k left.

- 2nd Break, and I've got 24500. We are still have 11 players left.

- Shortly after the break, (1000/2000) 5-handed. UTG went All-In for 8k. It folded to me in the BB, and I call with A9o. He turned over JTo. I knock-out another player, and we are at the Final Table. I've got 33500, and in 2nd place behind K-Tina.

- Next level (1500/3000), we are 7-handed. One player (Jamie) limped. The Button (RR Dave) shoved All-In for 15k. I'm the BB with 55, and I decide to isolate All-In. Limper folded, and the Button has AQd. He hits his A, and I lose the race. I've got 22500 left.

- Next level (2000/4000), we are 6-handed. a Mid player (K-Tina) pushed All-In for 15k. It folded to me in the BB. I looked at KQc, and called the extra 11k. She had A4o. She ended up hitting two pair, and won the race. I've got around 10k left.

- Very next hand, it folded to me in the SB, and I looked at J8o. Since I've only got 2-3 BB left, I went All-In. The BB (Doc) called, and showed ATh. I hit my J on the Turn, but he Rivered the A, and I'm out in 6th place.

Last year, I won a Saturday night tournament by going 6/6 in coin flips, including 4 at the Final Table. This week made up for it. I usually try to avoid coin flips until we have to start flipping. But, most of them were unavoidable this week.

If I could undo one of them, it would be the 66 vs AT before the break. Even though I was getting good odds, and I had enough chip to gamble, I could have saved the chips for a future battle. But winning that flip would have given me over 50k, which is more than a quarter of the chips in play with ten players left. As it turned out, K-Tina ended up winning the tourney.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Butterfly Effect (or The Accidental Blind)

This is from yesterday's Greektown 11am $75 tourney.

"Shuffle Up & Deal" 4000 chips - There was a larger crowd than normal due to the Holiday (that's why I was there). We started with 59 players on six tables. This tourney normally gets 20-30 players. I'm on Table 5, and I don't recognize anyone at the table.

End of Level 1 (25/50) [25 minute levels] 4050 - The table was tight/passive as expected. I raised one hand to 300 with ATc, and took down the Blinds plus one limper.

Level 2 (50/100) 4100 - I raised to 500 twice, and took down the Blinds plus limpers. I limped on the Button with K8. I hit the K on the Flop, and called a bet of 200 by a Early Position older gentleman. He bet the Turn. I folded, assuming that he had me out kicked.

Level 3 (100/200) 5400 - It folded to me in the Cutoff, so I raised to 800, and took the Blinds. I also raised in Mid position with AQh. I got one caller, and took it down on the Flop.

Level 4 (150/300) 10100 - After a few player limped, I checked my option in the BB with T2d. Flop is Ad Th 6d. (Hello, Big Blind Special) I lead out for 1100. One player called. Next player went All-In for 3500. It folded back to me, and I ship it All-In. The Caller folded, and the All-In showed AQ. I hit another T on the Turn, and take down a sweet pot.
The table broke immediately after this hand, and I was moved to Table 1. Very first hand, I've looked at AKd in Early Position, and raised to 1000. I got one caller, whiffed the Flop, and folded to his bet.

Level 5 (200/400/25) [30 minute levels] 9875 - I raised to 1500 with JTh in Mid position. I got one caller, and took it down with a Flop bet.
After a couple of limpers, I also limped with 98d in the Cutoff. The Button raised to 2000. The BB and a limper called. I really didn't want to call because the implied odds just aren't there in a tournament. But I was getting a little under 4-1 odds, and with this being a fast tourney structure, I needed to take some chances. So I called, but completely missed the Flop. The Button ended up going All-In and everyone folded.

Break Time. 30 players are left, and I've got an above average stack.

Level 6 (400/800/50) 13525 - With many shortstacks holding on for dear life, I started to step on the gas, and steal the Blinds and Antes. I didn't have any resistance, but a few players started to make comments about it. Every Blind vs Blinds situation was either a Walk or I raised and took it down.

Level 7 (600/1200/100) 18500 - "Push & Pray" has begun for the Shortstacks, so I had to slow down on the stealing. I did raise to 3100 in Early position with AKs. I got one caller, but he reluctantly folded on the Turn.

Level 8 (800/1600/200) 28000 - First hand of the Level, I post my blind, and continue stack chips from a pot I had just won. I then looked up, and realized that I'm the UTG player. By this time, it folded around to the SB, who pushed All-In for 3250. The BB starts to count his small stack of chips, and looks at me, probably wondering why I just limped in. I try to keep a "poker face", and not influence the action. He reluctantly folded. I say what happened, and called the micro raise. I turn over A5 (Sweet!). He showed A9 (Drat!), and wins the pot. The BB would have called if it wasn't for me limping in, and would have hit a straight on the River. This "Accidental Blind" didn't hurt my stack much, but it was a little embarrassing.
Later in the level, the same player had gotten some more chips, and min-raised in the Cutoff. I'm the SB and called with T9d. The BB also called. Flop was T high. I check. BB bet 4000. Cutoff folded, and I shipped it for 10k more. The BB, who's been really tight, thinks for a bit, and reluctantly folded.
I've now got the chip lead at our table. There are 14 players left, but we've been stuck there for a while. The Shortstacks just keep hanging around on both tables.

Level 9 (1600/3200/300) 0 chips - First of all, that's not a typo. The Blinds actually doubled in one level.
We finally got to five handed about halfway though the level. The player from the Accidental Blind hand went All-In from the Cutoff. He had gotten a large stack through a ridiculous suck-out against another player. I'm the Button with AQh, and went All-In. Everyone folded, and he showed AA. You got to love the 5-handed, shortstack cooler. This left me with 300 chips. So I have just enough to ante the next hand, and lost when my 95o doesn't hold up. I finish in 11th place, and bubbled the Final Table.

Some people say that the perfect "Real Life" example of the Butterfly Effect is a poker tournament. One single action early in the tournament can impact the outcome, whether it's a simple misdeal that would have been an AA vs KK hand, or an accidental call instead of a raise to save a player some chips.

My "Accidental Blind", which seemed so insignificant at the time, got me eliminated from the tournament 45 minutes after it happened. Now, I'm not saying that I would have won the tournament if this didn't happen. With that dude being out of the tournament, all the cards would have been different. Hell, I might have been eliminated even earlier. You just never know.

I found out later in the day that he was involved in the Chop for $900.

Nice Hand, Sir.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Quick Hits

5:10pm $300 - Finally got a $1/$2 NLHE seat at MGM Detroit. Being a Sunday afternoon, I bought in for max. There were a few short stacks, and a few stacks in the $300-$400 range. Nobody has more than $500.

5:30 $295 - I've only played my blinds. So far, this is a typical $1/$2 table. A lot of preflop limping with some occasionally raising that get called by many. It's been rare that a Flop has fewer than four players. Only one player seems to be an action player, a 50 yr old Middle Eastern dude. He's sitting four seats to my left.

6:00 $434 - I was very active, and most of the hands went well. The biggest pot was the first one that I played. I limped in Mid position with KQc. Someone raised to $7, and about five players saw an 8 high Flop with two clubs. With my Flush draw + two overcards, I led out on the Flop and Turn, and only the Action Guy called. I whiffed the River, and we both checked. He shows J9c for a missed Flush draw, and my K high was good.

6:30 $544 - Ended up winning a sweet pot with AhKc by hitting a back door flush. After I raised to $7 preflop, and many players saw a Flop that I missed. A short stack in the SB led out for just $10, so myself and Action Guy called. I hit the Kh on the Turn, which gave me the Nut Flush draw. Short stack went All-In for $38. Both of us called. I hit the Flush on the River. I bet $60, and Action Guy folded. Short Stack was pissed that his 53h got cracked, but it was his own fault. If he didn't bet just $10 on the Flop, and went All-In for the full $48, then I wouldn't have called.

6:40 $579 - I knocked two short stacks in one hand with AJ. The largest stack was Action Guy with $24. We already had three open seats when the these two players left the table, and the game ended up breaking.

Since I made $279 in just 1.5 hours, I decided to book the win, and leave the Poker Room.

Of course, I went back down to the Pit, and sat down at a 3-Card Poker table. I was there an hour, and won $530. I would like to think that it was due to some tweaks I made to my betting system. Or it could have been the four Straights that I hit during hour. Even the hand that I sat out just before Coloring Up my chip stack would have been a Straight if I had played it.

Since I was up $800 in just 2.5 hours of playing, I grabbed a quick meal at the Food Court, headed to Motor City Casino for my Free Room, and just chilled the rest of the night.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Wednesday Night Cash Game

The host of my Saturday night game occasionally has a Wednesday night Cash game that goes from 7-11:30. It's the same structure as the Saturday night game, $1/$1 NL ($150 max).

Because I worked late, I didn't arrive until 7:30. I bought in for $100, and I cashed out at 10:30 for $320. I was definitely catching some cards, and didn't have much bad luck. Most time that I raised preflop, I had a favorable flop (AT on a T high Flop, KJ on a J high Flop, TT on a low Flop, etc.)

On two hands, I stacked off someone. First one, I limped in UTG with AQ, called a raise, and flopped two pair. I won about $60-$70 on that hand. The second one was a Set over Set. My QQ on the Button against 77 in the BB on a Q 7 x Flop. I won around $75 on that hand.

There was only two hands in which I lost any money. In the first hand, I made the second raise preflop with JJ to $15. The next player, our esteemed host, made the third raise to $45. It folded back around to me, and I made the easy fold. Any hand that he would raise to $45 with has my JJ crushed. He showed KK.

For the second hand, a Mid player raised to $3. He's an action player, so his range is rather wide. He had been raising preflop to $5-$8, so just $3 is odd. I called on the Button with A7o. A few players saw the Flop of 7c 6s 4c. Mid player bet out for $10. I was the only caller with Top Pair.

Turn: [7c 6s 4c] Kh - He checked. Even though that's an overcard that he might have hit, I don't want to give a free card, so I bet $15. He called.

River: [7c 6s 4c Kh] 2d - He led out for $25. I was not thrilled with this bet. It seemed like more of a Value bet, rather than an "I Missed, Go Away!" bet. I said outloud that I think he hit the K. I already had a nice stack, so made the crying call.

I was right. He had KK for a Set. Ooops! At least I got some valuable information for future hands.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hand of the Day #23

$2/$5 - Hollywood Casino - 7/27/09

Here's a Hand of the Day that happened back over the summer when I wasn't blogging.

I went down to the Hollywood Casino near Cincinnati for a couple of days to check out their new poker room. On my second day, I was playing some $1/$3 in the late afternoon. I wasn't really winning or losing. I went to the bathroom. On the way back, I put $100 into a slot machine. About ten minutes later, I cashed out for $550. I walked back to the poker room, put my name on the $2/$5 list, and went back to my $1/$3 game.

About 30 minutes later, they called my name. I went to buy some more chips, and sat down at the only $2/$5 table. I had played about two orbits, and haven't won a pot yet. I really haven't' had any cards, and I've got about $460 in my stack. The table has been rather tight & passive, with only one player who seemed interested in raising preflop.

I'm in the Hyjack with J7d. There were a couple of limpers. Normally, I wouldn't play this hand, but with this table seeming tight, I should limp in with a wider range of hands. The Button is the Action guy, and raises to $25. He just moved over to this seat, and this is the first hand that he raised from this seat. The BB, UTG+1 and a Mid player calls. I really don't want to play a big pot with this hand, but I am get pot odds, so I call. Besides, what's the worst that could happen?

Five players see a Flop of Ad 6d 2d. Oh, that's why some people play J7d, so they can flop a flush. The BB checks. UTG+1 bets $150. She's an older black lady who seems to be a tight passive player. I think she's been here since the day before, because I remember seeing her wearing the same thing yesterday. The Mid players folds.

Now it's my turn. It seems to me that she overbet the Flop, which I think means that she isn't thrilled with the Flop. She could have a small flush, and wants to scare everyone else away. She also could have something like Ax Kd, or 66 for a set. Part of me just wants to call, but I can't. There are still players to act, including the preflop raiser. With the A on the Flop, there are only two cards that I'm worried about. If I just call, and the fourth diamond appears on the board, then my hand is in bad shape.

So I did the only thing that I could do; All-In for about $435. The Button thinks for a moment, and goes All-In for more. The BB gets that "Are you serious?" look on his face, thinks for a bit, and shoves All-In. UTG+1 calls.

Here are the hands (Flop: Ad 6d 2d)
UTG+1 - K9d
Button - QTd
BB - 6s6c

Well, there was only two cards that I was worried about, and they are both in the pot. The BB hits his boat on the River and scoops the Main pot for about $2000. UTG+1 get the small side pot of around $300. I just shake my head, and leave the table.

The worst thing about this hand is if I was in a different position both preflop and on the Flop, then I might not have gone broke. If I wasn't in the Hyjack, I wouldn't have played a garbage hand like J7d. If the anyone but the Button raised preflop, and I wasn't the last one to act, then I wouldn't have called the raise. If I was first to bet on the Flop, I would have  seen all the carnage of the All-Ins, and maybe gotten away from it. If I was to act after others went All-In, then I might not have shoved All-In.

At least I was on a freeroll. All I really lost was the $100 that I put in the slot machine.

Monday, January 11, 2010

V is for ...

We had 33 runners for our Saturday night tournament.

I ended up working late, so I brought a Subway Meatball sub to eat before I bought in. That didn't go as planned, due to the steady flow of late comers. I ended up eating about 3/4 of it, and then gave up and bought in during the 2nd level.

I could tell that I was just not mentally "here", and the only way that I was gonna win was to catch some sweet cards. The only cards that I caught were Q2, J5, 93, etc. The best hand that I had all night was AJ. I did raise preflop, and everyone folded. Someone who was away from the table missed out on QQ.

By the first break, I had 3100 chips left. I didn't even take the AddOn, because I knew that I would be lighting a match to a $10 bill.

In the first hand after break (200/400), the UTG player raised to 1200. I looked down at JTs. This seemed like a good hand to gamble with, and shoved for 3100. UTG called with two red Tens. I completely missed the board, and finished in 25th place.

We are about halfway though our third season for Dave's Saturday Nights, which runs from September to May. Overall, this season has been dreadful for me. We have had 18 tournaments so far. I have no wins, three Final Tables and three cashes (2nd for $200, 3rd for $150, and 5th for $70). My average finish is 16.9 out of an average of 32.5 players.

The "good" news is that I am only down $130, which is only four buy-ins. The last two season have been profitable for me, so I have no reason to think this one will be any different. Tournament success is all about the long term.

So why am I doing so bad this season? Is the answer A) I am running bad.  B) I am playing bad. C) I am too distracted with running the game. D) We have more player this season (32.5 avg) than last season (28.4 avg).

The correct answer is E) All of the Above. I've been playing poker tournemants long enough to know that all tourney players go through Ups and Downs. Right now I'm in a Down, but it will pass. It always does.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Hand of the Day #22

$1/$3 NLHE - Hollywood Casino - 1/3/10

A few limpers. I'm the BB with 33, and check. Four player see the Flop of Jc 6h 3d. Cool! Being first to act, I check, and so does everyone else.

Turn: [Jc 6h 3d] Ad - I'm assuming that A hit someone, so I bet $7, which about half the pot. All three players call.

River: [Jc 6h 3d Ad] Td - Well, that card sucks. Diamond draw got there, as well as KQ and TT. Since there are still four players in this pot, I decide to go into Check/Call mode. The next player bets $25. The other two fold. I grab 5 Red Chips, start shuffling them, and go into deep thought.

This guy is what I would call a Super Nit. He has a big stack ($500+), but it's on lockdown. He plays very few hands. He doesn't bet much, and almost never raises.

So what hand is he betting $25 on the River? The only hand that I can beat with Bottom Set is Two Pair. He probably would have bet AJ on the Flop, or min-raised the Turn. AT is the other possibility, but I just can't see him betting $25 with Two Pair on that board. Super Nits love to get to showdown. They might call with Two Pair on a Flush board, but they wouldn't lead out.

I ended up doing the only option that I had. I turned my hand over, and folded face up. Why show my hand? Because Super Nits love to show their big hands. And he did the same. Jd Js for a Flopped Set.

Set over Set on the Flop, and I only lose $7. I think we can call that a win.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Hand of the Day #21

$1/$2 NLHE - MGM Detroit - 01/01/10

This hand take place about two hours after yesterday's Hand of the Day, and there is a connection between them.

UTG and UTG+1 fold. I've got AQs, and pop it to $7. Three players call. The BB, our favorite old Eastern European LAG-tard, raises to $25. I call, and so to two other players.

Flop: 9h 3c 2c - Old Man checks. I suddenly get that 'Deja Vu' feeling. I've seen this before, and I know that everyone else has too. So I bet $60, just like last time. The player two seat to my left thinks for a while. He's a tight, passive player who's been milking his shortstack the whole time I've been at this table. Does he have Top Pair, or maybe 77 or 88? I'm hoping that he folds, just like he's been doing all day long.

While he's thinking, I look at the other two players. The Hijack is an older gentleman, and he looks like he's waiting to fold. The last one is our favorite Old Man, and I'm fairly certain that he will fold his AK.

Finally, the player folds. The Hijack also folds. The Old Man thinks for a moment, give me a look over, turn his cards face up, and tosses AK into the muck.

So naturally, as the dealer is gathering the pot to ship to me, I turn over my AQ. The tight player said he had 88. Old Man is not amused, and said, "I almost called you. I knew you weren't that tight." Hopefully, he will pay off next time when I actually have it.

I really like my tight table image. I don't get any monster cashouts, and I rarely get a huge pot. But I do get to enjoy hands like this every now and then.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Hand of the Day #20

$1/$2 NLHE - MGM Detroit - 01/01/10

I'm UTG+1 with Jc Jh, and before I can raise, the SB puts out $12. The SB is an old Eastern European man dressed in a suit and tie. On the surface, he looks like a typical old nit, but he's actually a very loose and aggressive player. We've all been at the table for a while, and anyone with half a poker brain can see that he's a LAG-tard.

The dealer informs him that he's the SB, and the Old Man takes all the chips back but one white chip. That is a bit of a Red Flag, but I still decide to raise to $7. A few players call. The Old Man makes it $30, and I'm not surprised. But I was a little surprised when the BB snap called the $30. He's a loose regular who's is currently shortstacked.

I decide to just call rather than 3-bet. I figure the Old Man might shove All-In with a wide range. So I would rather see a Flop in position, and outplay him. All the other players fold.

Flop: 9s 7d 4h - Old Man pauses for a moment and checks. BB also checks. OK, now I'm confused. The Old Man doesn't seem like someone who would trap with AA or KK. It's possible that he's got 99. Or he could just have AK. Also, the BB has under $100 left, and there's $90+ in the pot. So I decide to bet $60, and see what happens.

Old Man quickly calls. BB thinks for a moment, and goes All-In for $78. I call the $18, and so does the Old Man.

Turn: [9s 7d 4h] 2s - Old Man checks. Now I know he's got AK. As much as I would like to value bet, there is too much money in that pot to get screwed on the River. I want him to pay for that 6-outer. I bet $125. He smacks the table in disgust, and folds in anger.

River: [9s 7d 4h 2s] 6s - BB shows his TT. I show my JJ, and scoop up a very sweet pot.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I Thought This Was a $1/$3 Table?

I arrive at the Hollywood Poker Room about 9am, hoping there was any table open so I can play a little before the 11am tourney. Much to my surprise, there was 3 $1/$3 tables, two $3/$6 tables, a serious interest list for $2/$5, and a few other names on various lists. I ask the desk if there are any open seats in any game, and the send me over to a $1/$3 table.

9:10 $300 - This must be an all-night table, because there are some big stacks here. The player two seats to my right has about $1000. The player to my left has about $800.

9:30 $293 - Just played the blinds. I can't believe this is a Monday Morning table. I haven't seen a limped pot yet. It's been $20 minimum preflop. The player on my direct right is an Action Guy. He's got about $600, and is doing most of the raising.

10:00 $309 - Limp pots are extremely rare, so I gotta start doing some calling, and seeing a Flop or two. I called $15 with JTs and missed. I called $25 (from SB Action Guy) with KQc in the BB. I bet $60 on Flop with Top Pair (K). The Flush hit on the Turn, so I had to fold when another player bet $100. I then reloaded with 4 Green chip out of my pocket.

10:30 $228 - I am completely out of my comfort zone. It's like I'm at a $2/$5 table, and shortstacked. It's still very rare to see a Flop for under $20. But there is so much potential at the table for a huge score. I need to be patient and wait for Action Guy to double me up. It is ridiculous how many pots he's playing and raising. His Poker Tracker preflop stats would be 90/75.

11:00 $181 - I've gone from uncomfortable to frustrated. I just don't have the chips to play any hands that aren't Top 10. Even if I add my last $100, it won't do much good with the $25+ preflop action. I would have flopped a set of 3 in the SB, but it was raised early to $15 and then $45 by Action Guy on the Button before it got to me. I was gonna play in the tourney, but I've got $200 'invested' in this table, and there are still many big stacks here along with Action Guy.

11:30 $197 - Won a small pot with a Straight in the BB. The tourney started, and we lost 6 players, including most of the big stacks and Action Guy. The only big stack is directly to my left, and he's a super nit.

12:00 $451 - I'm UTG with AK, and backraised to $50, and got 2 callers. On the Q-high Flop, I checkraised All-In for $82 and got two callers. I hit the K on the River. I got a little lucky with that semi-bluff, but it's about time something went right at this table. If I lost, I would have bought into the tourney.

12:30 $494 - Semi bluffed with a flush draw and gutshot on Flop, and won it on the Turn. The table has calmed down to a normal $1/$3 table, but still good action for a Monday afternoon.

1:00 $620 - Flopped a Pair & Nut Flush draw, and 3-bet it for $100. I went All-In on the Turn, and he folded. Unfortunately, he had a opened ended straight flush draw. If I realized that I had him dominated, I would have only bet about $100-$150 on the Turn.

1:30 $506 - I got backraised by UTG+1, and the he checkraised me on a Q high board. He hasn't been at the table that long, so it's hard to put him on a hand. He had about the same size stack as me, and I just felt this wasn't a battle worth fighting.

2:00 $545 - I raised three hands in a row to $11, my standard at $1/$3. I whiffed on the first two, but won a decent pot with the 3rd one (KK).

2:30 $808 - Won a sweet pot with JT in late position. I called a raise preflop. I hit Top Pair (T) on the Flop against what I'm assuming was AK and a draw. The AK kept betting, and the draw and I kept calling. Won a few other small to decent pots, including Top Pair (9) against a old calling station that was chasing a gutshot.

I decided to cashout. There was a $5/$10 Limit table that just opened, along with a $1/$3/$5 PLO table. But I'm getting hungry, and I really want to book a win. Lately, most of these overnighters have ended with me up or down $100. I'm not losing any money, but I'm not winning either. This was a good trip, and I want to leave with a wad of cash in my pocket.

I head upstairs, walk through the Pit, head to the Buffet for a free lunch, and then start my journey home. I don't stop to play anything. I won big last night in the Pit, and I don't see any reason to give half of it back.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Hooray for Hollywood

I arrived at the Hollywood Casino at about 4pm. It's formally known as Argosy Casino, down by Cincinnati. I took the long walk down to the Poker Room, which is one of the best Poker Rooms in the Midwest. There was a long list for the $1/$3 game (they don't have $1/$2). While waiting, I put $50 into a slot machine. I ended up playing for a while, and cashed out for $65.

4:30 $300 - Finally got a seat. There are some big stacks at this table, so I buy-in for the max. The guy to my right has about $900.

5:00 $270 - Very first hand, I limp & called a $15 raise with 55. I missed the Flop. I got to the Turn for free, but missed. There are some really big raises preflop ($20-$25). The big stack to my right is an Action guy. He made a terrible call with K9 to a check raise All-In on a 9 7 7 Flop. This could be a great session.

5:30 $356 - Action guy left with about $800. Drat! A few other players are walking around, so we are playing 6 or 7 handed. The table got very passive. I won a two pots with AK and 88.

6:00 $383 - Won a nice pot with KJ by hitting two pair on River. Lost half of that when I chased a flush draw on the Button, and stabbed on the River when I missed.

6:30 $310 - Card dead and bleeding chips. Calling too much. This table is very loose, with an average of 6-7 players in every limped pot, and 4-5 players in the raised pots.

7:00 $303 - Lost $15 with a stab on the Flop with a gutshot. Two players called, and I missed and gave up. I won a small pot with KK.

7:30 $0 - I got frisky with 54 in late position, but ran into a Nit with big hand. Later I flopped two sets in one orbit, and lost both of them. The last one was against a flush draw, and the money got All-In on the Flop ($180ish). He hit his flush draw on the Turn, and I missed my boat draw on the River.

When you flop two sets in one orbit and they both lose, it's time to walk away. So I put that $65 slot ticket into a random slot machine, and lose it way too quickly.

My next stop was a 3-Card Poker (3CP) table. A very important factor in 3CP, as well as Video Poker, is the pay table. And Hollywood has a crappy pay tables for their games. But they also have a Video 3CP machine, just like a Video Blackjack machine that some casinos have. The pay table is a little better at the Video 3CP machine, so I buy-in for my standard $300.

As bad as my last session was in Detroit, this one was the exact opposite. I don't think I've ever seen so many Flushes in one session. I got my stack up to $500, and upped my bet. My stack floated between $450 and $550 for a while. I finally hit a Straight, so I upped my bet again. The next two hands were a Straight and Trips. I played a few more hands to see if this rush would keep going, but it didn't. I ended up cashing out for $1020, a new record for profit. Since it was a Video machine, I didn't need to tip the dealer.

After cashing in all my chips and tickets, I headed to Buffet for a free dinner. I must say that Hollywood has one of the best buffets that I have ever seen in a casino. They have the largest variety of food that I have seen outside of Las Vegas. And the Sunday Dinner is only $19.21 with tax, which is a fairly good price compared to the Detroit casinos.

After gorging, it was almost 9pm. So I just went back to my room. I'm up $370 for the day, which pays for the hotel, and covers my buy-in for the 11am tourney tomorrow ($125).

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Nothing to See Here ... Just Move Along

We had 30 players on Saturday night. Due to the steady flow of late arrivals, I didn't get to buy-in until the end of the 1st level. The very first hand, I'm in the BB, and it's just me and SB. I end up winning almost 2k when I make two pair on the Turn with 83.

And that was the only highlight of my tourney. I really didn't have any cards to play. Before the break, I got into a 3-way All-In with two very shortstacks for about 1700. I had AT against KQ and Q7, but they both ended up with two pair. At the break, I had about 5500 chips. After the break, and I lose a coin flip for about 1600. That left me shortstacked. I finally shoved All-In for 2400 with KQ. The SB looked down at QQ, and I missed my 3-outer. I finished in 21st place.

After doing some TD stuff, I bought in to the Cash game so they could get the 8-Game table started. However, it took awhile to get everyone bought in, and drag some players away from the NL table. By the time we finally got started, I only had time to play one orbit of Triple Draw before I had to go deal the Final Table. I played one hand plus blinds, and lost $13.

The tournament ended on a double elimination, which is only the second time that it has happened. The Button, who was extremely short stacked, went All-In with QT. The SB went All-In to isolate with JT, and BB called as the chip leader with 44. The 44 held up.

After the tournament, I just went home. I was very tired, and making numerous small mistakes while dealing. It generally not a good idea to make numerous small mistakes while playing with real money.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Starting off the Year with a Bang! (and a Thud!)

For the last few years, I've gone to casino on New Year's Day with one of my poker buddies, Chan, who is also a mailman. Last year, we went Mountaineer. This year, he wanted to play some $2/$5, so we went up to MGM Detroit.

12:00 $50 - We got up to the Poker Room, and got seated at a $1/$2 table that just opened. There was only seven players at the table, and nobody has over $200. So I decide to shortstack it, and buy-in for the minimum of $50. I've got more chips in my pocket if I need to rebuy, or feel like I should add-on.

12:30 $95 - Doubled up with a flopped set of Q. Table is playing fairly passive, but two $2/$5 players just sat down to play while waiting for the $2/$5 game to open.

1:00 $157 - Won a pot against Chan with the Nut 4-Card Flush. Later, I limped and called a $12 preflop raise with KTs. I flopped top pair (T), bet out, and everyone folded. The $2/$5 game just opened, and we lost a couple of players, including Chan.

1:30 $153 - I'm starting to call more preflop, but usually missing. I also limped on the Button with 73, and flopped two pair.

2:00 $140 - Action is picking up at the table, but none for me. I need to quit calling raises preflop, and try to see flops cheaper in position until I get some more chips.

2:30 $238 - I can't hit a #$%! thing. I add-on $150 due to an older Eastern European gentleman three seats to my right. He's got over $500 in front of him, and he's generating most of the action at the table. He will lose those chips at some point, and I want a chunk of them.

3:00 $272 - Won a decent pot with QQ in the Big Blind.

3:30 $588 - My patience finally paid off. Won a big pot with JJ against old Action guy and another loose player.

4:00 $652 - Stacked off a short stack with Top/Top (AQ) on the Flop. There was an AA vs QQ vs JJ preflop train wreck. Old Action guy had AA, but the QQ hit the Flop to scoop a huge pot.

4:30 $633 - An older gentleman raised to $12 in EP. I was on the Button with 33, but nobody called, so I folded. Just the SB called, and I would have hit a set. Action guy has been bleeding chips since his AA got cracked in the train wreck. His stack is now down to $50, and he add-on $200 more.

5:00 $596 - Lost a decent pot with TT against slowplayed KK. I got some of it back with AK. I checked Top/Top on the Flop, and then bet the Turn and River.

5:30 $609 - Reraised in late position with QJh, and won the pot with a c-bet on an A high Flop. The old Action guy has really tightened up his game since he reloaded his stack.

6:05 $664 - Cashout. I won a sweet pot with a semi-bluff with AQs.

On a side note, MGM keep the rake ($6 max) in the dealer's tray, instead of dropping it down a slot. Six hours after the table opened, there was $660 in the rake tray, and that doesn't even account for the $1 for the Bad Beat Jackpot that was taken out of every pot. Who says that Poker Rooms don't make money for the Casinos?

After I cashed out, I left Chan in the Poker Room, and went downstairs to get some food. Being a holiday, the food court was packed, and I had trouble find a seat.

I then went over to a 3-Card Poker table to gamble with some of my winnings. Unfortunately, I lost $400 in just 30 minutes. I was getting terrible cards, and the dealer just kept getting better cards than me. It was just one of those times that nothing went right, which was basically the opposite of my $1/$2 session.

As I was going broke in the Pit, Chan finished up his poker session, and we headed home. I only left Detroit with $64 of profit. Yippee! At least my Saturday night tournament buy-in is covered.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Year in Review

It's time to look back and see how 2009 was. Last year, 2008, was a very good year for me on the Poker front. This year, not so much.

Let's start with the good stuff.

Once again, the Home games in the CPMG were very good to me. I was up $2120 in Cash games. Most of that came from the main game, $1/$1 NLHE ($2010 in 36 sessions). The rest of the games end up in a wash.

The tournament numbers were also good: 52 tournaments, 5 wins, 14 cashes, $1880 buy-in, $2400 cashout, 27.66% ROI.

The biggest issue that I have with my tourney numbers is that my five wins all came in small fields ranging from 9 to 23 players. I haven't won a tournament with over 30 players since early in 2007, and I've never won a tournament over 39 players. This is a hole in my tournament 'game', and I wish I knew how to fix it.

And then there is the Casino side of the ledger. Some of the numbers are good, some are bad, and some are very, very ugly.

On the good side is tournaments: 22 tournaments, 4 wins or chops, 5 cashes, $1965 buy-in, $2115 cashout, 7.63% ROI.

Yes, it's only $150 profit. But the important thing is that this was the first year that I've actually made money in Casino tournaments. Hopefully, a sign of things to come.

The Cash games were also profitable to me, $1965. That number seems respectable, but it's a mix of good and bad. The good was from the $1/$2 & $1/$3 games ($4875, 67 sessions). The bad was $2/$5 (-$1967, 7 sessions) and various Limit Hold'em attempts (-$889, 10 sessions).

The ugly part of the numbers happened in the Pit. I lost $2332 on various Table games, and $655 at Video Poker, although I did win $220 in Slots. These numbers are disgusting, and I really can't defend them. But I did learn not to play certain games as the year went on, and was up $40 at the Table games for the last three months of the year.

I would like to say that I just won't play in the Pit anymore, but I know that ain't gonna happen. I just need to do it in moderation, and play games that seem to work for me.