Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"Other than that, Mrs Lincoln, how was the play?"

Even though I have been to my regular Saturday night home game every week, I haven't done any blog entries about them. There is a very simple reason for this.

I haven't played much poker on any of these night.

The tournaments have been ugly. I haven't even made the final two tables of any game. The Cards have been bad. The Coin Flips have been all Tails. The Suckouts have been dramatic.

Most nights, I haven't played any cash. When I have, it was a short session, and not very interesting.

So, since I'm posting something, that means that things went better this past Saturday?


We end up getting a Flash Mob of 45 players for no particular reason. And since most of them showed up (relatively) on-time, I didn't get to buy in until the end of Level 1. And when I finally got to play some hands, I played horribly. I played too many hands, did a lot of limping and calling, and did very little betting and raising. I dusted my starting stack fairly quickly. So I rebought with my 3k chip AddOn, and went into Lockdown Mode. I finally got involved with a Coin Flip (A7c vs 44). I Turned an Open-Ender and Flush draw, but whiffed the River. I was eliminated in 38th place. It was the second week in a row that I was out before the First Break.

On the Cash game side, I did play a little 8-Game before going to deal the Final Table. I won a nice pot in the Omaha-8 round against a new player, but the rest of the hands didn't go as well, and I lost $5. After the Final Table, I played about 1.5 hours. It went similar to the first session, and I lost $30.

But that wasn't even the best part of the evening.

There are two different types of "catching a cold". The first is the "near-death experience" that lasts for 24-36 hours, and maybe another day of recovery. The second, which I now have, is just a simple head cold. It starts out as just "the sniffles", and it slowly works its way from your sinuses to your throat and lungs. You can still function relatively normally. It just makes your life miserable for 10-14 days.

On Saturday night, I was in the early stages of this. I had a bit of head congestion, and touch of a sore throat. At the beginning of the evening, my voice was a 9/10. However, due to running a 45-player circus, my voice by the end of the night was a 0.5/10. At the time of typing this post on Tuesday night, my voice hasn't completely recovered. I still sound hoarse, and I don't have all the octaves. I have also started to develop a bit of a cough.

So by our next game on Saturday night, my voice should be back to normal. But nobody will be able to hear me talk. I'll be too busy coughing up a lung all night long.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Snow Day

The Greater Cincinnati Area got buried in snow yesterday, with some parts getting up to a foot. This caused all kinds of traffic problems, and numerous business closings. But the Casino is always open. There was definitely a drop in attendance for customers and dealers. They canceled some of the casino promotions, and even closed the Buffet early (3pm). But when I walked into the Poker Room just after 10am, there was five $1/$2 and three $3/$6 tables running.

Here are two logs from my day, one tournament and one cash game.

"Shuffle Up & Deal" - The 11:15am tournament had 29 runners, which is less than half of what they normally get. It's a $125 Bounty tournament ($20 bounty). You get 6000 chips, and 25 minute levels.

End of Level 1 (25/50) 9125 - I called a 200 raise in the BB with 55. Four players saw a Flop of Q Q 5. Being in the BB, I checked, assuming that someone would bet. They all checked. Turn [Q Q 5] 9. I bet 625. Two players called, including the initial raiser. River [Q Q 5 9] 6. I bet 1500. UTG just calls with KQ. The initial raiser folds his AA.

How do I not collect any bounties with this hand? What a bunch of Nits.

Level 2 (50/100) 6725 - Won a decent pot with J9 in the SB. I flopped Top Pair, turned Trips, and rivered a straight. I don't know what the other player had. I lost a bigger pot when I limped in the Cutoff with 53o. I called a bet from the BB with Bottom Pair (9 6 3), and I raised him when I hit my Two Pair on the Turn. But the 5 gave him a Straight with 87, and he doubled up.

Level 3 (75/150) 5575 - Someone min-raised, and I called in the BB with 96o. I flopped a combo draw, and called a 1200 bet. I missed on the Turn, and decided to fold to the 2000 bet.

Oddly, even thought they have broken the third table, there have been no bounties earned at our table.

Level 4 (100/200/25) 0 - I limped on the Button with Q6d. Flop was Kc Jd Td, giving me the big combo draw. BB lead out for 1000. It folded to me, and I decided to shove All-In for 4000. The BB called with KJ. The Turn and River were the last two K, giving him Quads.

I think the All-In was the right move in this spot. Even against two pair, I was only a 47-53 underdog. If I win, I'm back up near 10k. Sometimes you just gotta go for it.


2:40pm $200 - After a free lunch in the Buffet, and getting in some quality Pit time, I headed back to the Poker Room. There was a full interest list for $3/$6 Omaha-8 w/Kill. So I put my name on it, and they opened the table soon after. We started with seven players. And much to my surprise, I was not the youngest player at the table.

3:00 $218 - Young guy two seats to my Left is an Action Guy who brought over $700 from a $1/$3 table. The very first hand, he raised in Mid with 5h6h7h8x, and ended up scooping the pot. The only hand that I played, and I took down the Low in a Kill pot with 6h5h4x3x.

3:30 $201 - The player to my direct Right has no clue what he's doing, and is asking numerous questions. Unfortunately, he is getting quality starting hands, and keeps getting half pots. The Action Kid left the table, but the table is now full.

4:00 $199 - I'm kind of card dead. I did win a High with the Nut Flush, but someone called the River bet with a 76 low and no High.

4:30 $236 - Cards got better, but I didn't win all the hands I played. The best hand was hitting Kings Full on the Turn, and the Low missed the River. I also folded the 2nd Nut Low (A4) on the Turn, when I put the preflop raiser on A2. I was wrong.

5:00 $209 - This game can be so frustrating. The only winner was me raising with AKhA2c preflop. I completely missed the Flop of Q82. An A hit the Turn, and my Set held up for the High. We're down to seven players, and this game might not last.

5:30 $173 - I'm playing very donktastic. I even made a crying call on the River with a Low that wasn't there. We're down to five players. Nobody wants to break the game, so we're talking about making this a Limit Hold'em and Omaha-8 table to draw more players. I will gladly play any mixed game they want to play.

6:00 $178 - Just before we started the Hold'em round, a new player sat down and said "No!" That's why Mixed tables are very rare in casinos. My cards aren't good, but I did scoop a small pot with a Boat on the River.

6:30 $150 - I flopped the Nut Low wrap in a Kill pot with 234x. I raised the Flop and bet the Turn, but the Board ended up AQ6 A 6. The only good news was that we now have nine players.

7:00 $163 - I rivered the Nut Straight. The pot was still three handed, and ended up getting 3-bet. As you can guess, one of the players had the same straight, and I got quartered.

7:40 $220 - It's time to go. I think I've hit "The Wall". I was up late last night, thanks to the tournament win, and my body just doesn't like to sleep in. Since I knew I was leaving soon, I started splashing around more, and it worked. The biggest pot was me getting a 3/4 pot with a baby flush and A4 Low.

So I played for five hours, and made $20. That's a $4/hr win rate. Not exactly time to quit my job. The cards weren't that good to me. But to be fair, I did screw up a couple of hands, and wasted around $20-$25. In NL, you could just hit a Set and stack someone to make up the money you donk off. Since this is Limit, that is just not an option. It's hard to get those Bets back.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Hollywood Ending

"Shuffle Up & Deal" - After playing Cash for a couple of hours, I bought in to the 8:15 tournament at Hollywood Casino down by Cincinnati. We ended up with 57 players, with six getting paid. We start with 5000 chips and 20 minute levels.

End of Level 1 (25/50) 4625 - Fairly tight table. Only one potential Action Guy, and he's two seats to my Right. In one hand, I ended up hitting Two Pair on the River in a multi-way pot. Even though that brought a Flush, I still made a value bet of 500 when it checked around to me. A Old Guy in the Blinds instantly check-raised to 1000. I quickly folded my Two Pair face up, and he showed a Q-high Flush. It was a dumb bet by me, but the Cash game player in me wanted to get some Value.

Level 2 (50/100) 4900 - I called a raise with AQ, and won it on the Flop. I tried a Semi-Bluff with an Open-Ender (96c on a Qc Jd Td Flop). I was called by a Young Player on the Flop and Turn. I missed the River, and gave up because he only had 1300 chips left. The Board was Q J T J Q, and I was playing the Board. As it turns out, he had 87d for a gutshot Straigh Flush draw, and we chopped the pot.

Level 3 (75/150) 4500 - I raised with AQc, and everyone folded. I raised with 65o, and three players called. Typical of my tourney luck these days.

Level 4 (100/200) 4500 - I'm card dead, as usual. I'm slowly starting to "Step on the Gas" with mixed results.

Level 5 (200/400) 4100 - I played only one hand. I shoved with JTs, and everyone folded.

Level 6 (300/600) 7500 - Very first hand of the Level, there were a few limpers. I'm in the Small Blind, and shoved with KJc. Everyone folded. Next hand, I get TT on the Button, and raised to 1700. One player called, and I won it on the Flop. A few hands later the table broke.

Level 7 (500/1000) 6500 - We are down to two tables now. I'm doing some stealing, but I still haven't gotten a double up. I lost 4500 in a A9 vs KQd, and he hit the Flush.

Level 8 (1000/2000) 52000 - I finally picked up a hand, QQ, and more than doubled up to 28500 against KQ and J8. I won more big pots with AK and AQ and eliminated players. We got to the Final Table just before the end of the Level. I had 52000, and was in 2nd place. Chip Leader has 73000. We eliminate two players before the end of the Level, and go on Break with eight players left.

Level 9 (2000/4000) 135K - I popped the Bubble in a Blind vs Blind hand. I'm the SB with Q3x, and I flopped top pair. I check & call on the Flop. A second Q hit the Turn, and we both checked. The River was brick, and I lead out for 15k, hoping it looked like I missed the Flush draw. She thinks for a while, and goes All-In for 18k with second pair. We all agreed to give the Bubble $20, except for the former Chip Leader. So I eliminated him next by raising to 10k with AA, and he shoved in the SB with A9. Karma is a bitch.

We are now five handed.

Level 10 (3000/6000) 165K - While five handed, there was two extremely short stacks  (under 10k). Because there was a $110 difference in prize money, they were trying to out-fold each other. Since they had so few chips, I started limping in to help eliminate the players. It took about two full orbits to finally eliminate them.

When it got to three handed, the short stack started the "Monty Hall" and was trying to chop. Since I had half the chips in play, I held out for a few hands, but we finally came to an agreement. They got $1000 each, and I got $1295 (minus $20 for Bubble Save, and $20 for dealer tip).

I normally hate chopping, especially when I'm the best player at the table and I've got half the chips. But I've never been in a daily casino tournament that didn't chop. Even though I'm the dominate player, the blinds are high. It only takes one silly River card, and a lost coin flip to screw me over.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Hand of the Day #27

$2/$5 NLHE - MGM Detroit - 2.07.10

I've been playing for about four hours, and I'm getting hungry. The session hasn't gone well, due mostly to crappy cards. I'm down a little, and it's time to go. I'm UTG, and will be leaving as soon as I look at my cards and fold. However, the Poker Gods decided to have some fun by giving me Jd Js, the largest pair I've been dealt today. I have no interest in playing a big pot with JJ out of position, so I just limp in. Plus, a player two seats down has been raising a lot, but he folded.

Seven players see a Flop of Jh Th 9s. Well, I hit top set, but it's an extremely draw-heavy board. I lead out for $25. Surprisingly, only two players call.

Turn: [Jh Th 9s] 7c - Well, an 8 got there. But, I really don't want to give a free card, so I bet $55. First player folds, and the second player calls. He's an older gentleman who's obviously a regular player with this group. He hasn't been at the table very long, and he hasn't played many hands yet.

River: [Jh Th 9s 7c] 7s - Sweet, the board paired. Time to value bet $100. He thought for a moment, and then made the crying call saying, "You probably got me beat." I show my Full House, and he mucks. I can only assume that he had the last J.

I scoop a $420 pot, rack up my chips, and leave the Poker Room with a little profit.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Hand of the Day #26

$2/$5 NLHE - MGM Detroit - 2.07.10

The Hyjack raises to $25. I'm the Button and call with 76c. Six players see a Flop of Ac Kc Ts. It checks around to the Hyjack, and he bets $100. My perception is that he has not played many hands, and has been rather tight. He's got about $225-$250 behind.

Now it's my turn. I did flop a Flush draw, and I have the Hyjack covered. With the pot odds of 2.5-1, I'm not getting the proper odds to call just to see one card (4-1) without getting paid off. Since he's been playing tight, I don't know if he will pay off a Flush with only one pair or even two pair.

I could raise it up, and try to blow him off his hand. But with the pot size being $250 (6x$25 + $100) plus whatever I bet, I don't think there is much fold equity in this spot, unless he is just betting QQ or JJ here.

Also, there are still four other players to act. One of them could have flopped a set or straight, and is waiting to check-raise. Or they could have a larger flush draw that might also include a pair or a straight draw (JTc for example). So, any money that I put in the pot could be almost drawing dead, especially if I raise and commit myself to the pot.

So I reluctantly did the only thing I could do ... Fold. And so did everyone else. The Hyjack took down the pot, and didn't show his hand.

Another point to consider is convert these number to a $1/$2 game, and ask the question, "Would I have called $40 on the Flop?" The truthful answer is Maybe. I have played $2/$5 very rarely in the past (6 sessions last year), and I think I do play a little tighter for one simple reason; the money still matters to me. If I loose $200 - $300 in the $1/$2 game, it's sucks but it doesn't hurt. If I lose $500 - $700 in the $2/$5 game, it does hurt. I do want to start playing bigger, and "Upping the Ante". Hopefully, I will start to look at the money a little different in the future.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sometimes It's How Little You Lose

I arrived at the Greektown Poker Room at 11:15 on Monday for the 11:00 daily tournament. A little late, but they never start on time, so it shouldn't matter. But they said that the tournament already started, and they don't allow late buy-ins. The tournament had 24 players, meaning that there was six open seats at the three tables. I know that they have had late buy-ins for the first level in the old Poker Room, just like every other Poker Room in the country. But the Floorperson said, "Sir, I've been here for 10 years, and we have never allowed players to buy-in after the tourney has started."

Typical Greektown. One of many examples why they are one of the worst run Poker Rooms in this part of the country.

11:25 $200 - Since I wasn't allowed to give Greektown money to play in their tournament, I sat down at a $1/$2 table. There is nobody at this table over $300, and three players have under $100.

12:00 $101 - This is a fairly typical weekday $1/$2 table. Unfortunately, I can already tell that this will be a bad session. I've had a few annoying hands that didn't go as planned. For example, I flopped the beautiful Open-Ended Straight Flush draw (J9s - Qs Ts 4h) against what turned out to be Top Set. I bet on the Flop and Turn, and check/folded when I missed on the River.

12:30 $98 - I don't think I played a single hand.

1:00 $84 - This is pathetic. On a side note, today is New Dealer Day at Greektown. We have already had three new dealers, one of them had a "shadow" watching them. Some were OK, and others have a long way to go. They didn't hire new dealers. They just are cross training dealers from the Pit. 

1:30 $63 - I don't think that I've won a pot yet. The table almost broke as we got down to six handed. Fortunately, the crack staff of Greektown finally realized that they have a list of player waiting to fill the empty seats.

2:00 $232 - I finally got a hand, QQ. I decided to play it tricky, and either "Go Big or Go Home." I ended up more that tripling up by just checking and calling. 

Shortly after, I was the BB with J9. The Flop was J high, and everyone checked. I bet the $15 on the Turn, and got quickly raised to $45 by a new player who I have played with before ("Tony" from this post). I know he would have bet the J, so I think that he's either just raising some sort of straight draw, or he is just testing me. So I raise to $125. He says that I must have a set, and folds. 

2:35 $293 - I limped and called a $53 All-In by a short stack who has been shoving a decent amount. I had KJ, and he had AJ. The board Flushed out, and I won the pot. 

Since I finally got a little profit, I cashed out.

One of my poker sayings is, "Skill helps you win more when Luck is going good, and lose less when Luck is going bad." This trip was a good example of this. My cards in the Poker Rooms and in the Pit were butt ugly. And I ended up losing only $192. To me, that's a moral victory.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Super Sunday

3:00 $500 - Walked in to the MGM Detroit Poker Room, and got a seat at the $2/$5 table. As it turns out, the table just opened, so there are no big stacks at the table. I only recognize one player at the other end of the table.

3:30 $480 - I've haven't had any real hands yet. I'm just playing tight to set up a table image, and observe the rest of the table. So far, it's been rather loose passive. Most of the limp pots have 4-7 players. Occasionally, someone raised to $40. A couple of players were straddling to $10.

4:00 $325 - Played a few pots and won only one. All small pots, and I didn't take any big hits. The winning pot was me raising to $20 with AQ in Mid position after two players limped in. Everyone folded.

4:30 $312 - The only hand I played was limping on the Button with 43o and I whiffed the Flop. There was also a $1500+ trainwreck involving four players, two of which were All-In Preflop. The two players who still had chips both hit a set; 8 on the Flop and 9 on the Turn.

5:00 $584 - I stabbed at a pot in the BB, but got called. So I reloaded for $200 when the Button got to me. That very hand I look down at AK, and raised to $15. A few player call. Then a passive player in Mid position back-raises to $75. It folds to me, and I instantly 4-bet to $200. He thinks for a bit, puts me on QQ, and reluctantly folds.

This hand was great for my stack and my confidence. I'm not impressed with anybody at this table. They are just more comfortable with the money involved, since I haven't played $2/$5 in six months (I'm not counting that silly session at Greektown in December). Now that I've got some chips, it's time to start playing some Poker.

5:30 $719 - Two big stacks ($1500+) have left the table, and new players have taken their seats. I called a $15 raise on the Button with T9o. Many players saw a Flop of Ks Ts 5h. It checked to me, so I bet $50. Only one player called. The Turn was another T. I bet $75, and got a caller. I bet $125 on the River (KT5 T 5), but he folded.

6:00 $666 - I raised to $15 in Mid with KQ but whiffed. I limped and called a $15 raise with 64o. I flopped an open-ender (K 7 5). I led out for $55, and everyone folded.

I also raised UTG+2 with AJ to $15. However, it was a straddle pot, so it was actually a min raise. Another player in the Cutoff raised to $40. I was the only caller. The Flop was 8-high. I checked, and he bet $60. I said, "You missed, too?" and folded.

6:30 $589 - Called or raised a few hands, but missed everything. The Poker Room has died now that the Super Bowl has kicked-off. There is only one table of $1/$2 and one table of $2/$5 running, and there are open seats at both tables.

7:00 $790 - Still really card dead, so I decided to call it quits at 7pm. I won a sweet pot in the last orbit that will be a future Hand of the Day.

So I made $90 in four hours. Certainly not a record setting day. But with my pathetic history at $2/$5, any win is a good win.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Hand of the Day #25

$1/$2 NLHE - Mountaineer - 01.28.10

I've got QQ in Early Position, so I pop it to $7. The next player raises to $19. He's a regular player who's name I think is Lyndel. He's a well respected player who's loose and aggressive. It folds around to the BB who calls. He's an older gentleman who just sat down. Since I'm out of position, and Lyndel's range is quite wide, I re-raise to $75. He thinks for a moment, looks at my stack, and calls. The BB folds.

Flop: Jd 9c 8s. I bet $100. Lyndel goes All-In. I've got $159 left, and he has me covered. Because he's a LAG player, I have no clue where I'm at right now. But the Pot is about $530, so calling $159 is good pot odds for what right now is a coin flip. Either I'm ahead or I'm behind. So I call.

The rest board is [Jd 9c 8s] 9h Qc. He shows his TT for a straight. I show my QQ for a boat, and scoop a $689 pot.

I'm a Small Ball player, and I absolutely hate playing a big pot with just an Overpair. I understand that sometimes you just gotta do it, but I was very uncomfortable putting $334 into the pot with just QQ.

I'm not sure if the "proper" move is to blow up the pot with the $75 raise preflop. On one side, I'm out of position against a good player, so I should try to keep the pot under control. (Play smaller pots out of position, and play bigger pots in position.)

On the other hand, I do have QQ, and I would rather try to take the pot down preflop. Also, if I just call the $19, and go to the Flop three handed, I don't know what would have happened.