Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Streak is Dead - Long Live the Streak.

On Saturday night, we had our monthly variety tournament, a $50 Deeper Stack. 12k in starting chips, longer levels, a few extra levels added, and antes. These are the most popular of our variety tournaments, and this week we had 42 players.

Because of the size of the field, I would usually be Dead Money in this tournament, and I fully expected to extend my streak to 0-14. Instead, I finished in 3rd place for $360.

Normally, this would be a happy post, telling how I skillfully maneuvered through the field. But not this time. I should have won this one. It was mine to lose, and I did. Not because of some two-outer on the River, or because of some AA vs KK cold deck. It's much worse than that.

I lost because I screwed up.

I started the Final Table with an average stack. But a new player, who had been playing rather tight & passive, decided to dump his chips to me. I raised with AJd, and the Flop was Jd Td 9d. He lead out on the Flop, and I went All-In. He thought for a moment, and called with K7c, a two-way straight draw and overcard. He missed is 8-outer, and I have the one of the bigger stacks at the table.

By the time we got to the money (5 got paid), I was the Big Stack at the table. There was 504k chips in play, and I had around 150k or 30% of the chips.

There was a lady at the table, Cindy, who was having a very good night. She had the dominant stack throughout the night, mostly because she was hitting a lot of hands. Her stack had dwindled down to an average stack by the time her and I got involved with two separate hands.

My #1 rule when it comes to Big Stack tournament poker is: "The worst thing that you can do with a Big Stack is Call. You can Bet, Raise, or Fold. But don't Call off your stack." When I'm dealing the Final Tables, I see it happen regularly with newer players.

But that's exactly what I did in two hands with Cindy. I raised preflop in both, and she called. The rest of the hand, I just check/called her down, mostly because I couldn't believe she kept hitting. The first hand, she flopped a Set, and rivered Quads. The second hand, she had Top Pair, and I had 2nd Pair (Q J x). Most of the bets that I called were up to 20k. Overall, I called off 100k for no good reason. It was stupid to get over involved in these hands. All I had to do was fold, and wait for a better spot.

At this point, I almost finished 5th. My AQ ran into AK, but I spiked a Q on the Flop. I hung around for a while, but never got my Big Stack back. Finally, when we were 3-handed, I pushed All-In on the Button with 98o. The BB (Big Country) thought for a bit, and finally called with QJs. I flopped a 9, but a Q on the Turn sent my away in 3rd place. Cindy finished in 2nd for $550, and Big Country took it down for $850.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Hand of the Day #30

$1/$2 NLHE - MGM Detroit - 03.12.10

UTG+1 raises to $5. He has only been here about 30 minutes, and has done this a decent amount of times. I'm the SB, and call with 54o. Five players see the Flop of Js 8h 5c. I decide to lead out for $15, and just UTG+1 calls.

Turn: [Js 8h 5c] 4s. Since he was the preflop raiser, I check my Two Pair, hoping he'll stab at it. He graciously does for $30. I check-raise to $80. He thinks for a moment or two, and pushes All-In for $175. I'm not thrilled about this with just Bottom Two Pair, but I call.

River: [Js 8h 5c 4s] Qs. I show my hand, and he says, "Wow! Two Pair." He just sits their looking at my hand, and then the Board, and then his cards. Finally, the Dealer says, "Show your hand, or muck." He keeps looking back over everything, and turns over a 5. (WTF?)

As he goes to muck his cards, he exposes the other card, a 3. Yes, he figured I was just screwing around with a check-raise, and pushed with Bottom/Bottom. And then he's surprised that it didn't hold up.

Often when Player A wins a big pot because Player B screwed up, I will say to Player A after the hand, "Merry Christmas."

Well, Merry Christmas to Me for the extra $145 that this Donk gave me..

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hand Of The Day #29

Hollywood Casino - 03.18.10 - $340 NLHE Deepstack (20k): Level 1 (25/50)

An older gentleman in Early Position raises to 250. I'm in Mid position, and call with Th Tc. The player next to me, in the Hyjack, raises to 600. He arrived late to the table, and this is one of first hands that I've seen him play. The SB calls, but the BB and the older gentleman fold.

Three of us see a Flop of Ts 4d 2s. Sweet! SB checks. I check my Top Set. Hyjack bets 600. SB folds. I decide to check-raise to 1600, just in case the Hyjack actually has a real hand. He just calls.

Turn[Ts 4d 2s] 2d. Well, that a good card. Now I have the virtual Nuts, but I'm not sure how strong the Hyjack is. Since I raised, I really can't check, hoping that he'll fire a bullet. But I don't want to scare him off. So, let's try a value bet of 2000. He calls. Now I'm really hoping that the 3rd Spade card hit the River.

River: [Ts 4d 2s 2d] 5s. Bingo! Now for the trap. When the card comes out, I say, "Check" in disgust, like I can't believe the stupid Flush got there. The trick is to be subtle, and not "Hollywood" it. Hopefully, he'll take the bait.

Fortunately, he did. In less than two seconds after I said, "Check," the following three things happened: He said, "All-In." I said, 'Call." He cards went towards the muck, face down.

I showed my Full House, and counted down my stack. I had 15500. He shipped the full amount, and had 600 left. I scooped a pot of 40300.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hand Of The Day #28

$1/$2 NLHE - Greektown Casino - 03.22.10

UTG limps. I'm the UTG+1 with 75h, and I limp. (Yeah, it's that kind of table.) Many others limp in to the pot. The BB raises to $12. Most of us call. Six or seven players see a Flop of Th 9s 8s. SB checks. BB goes All-In for $36. UTG thinks for a bit, and calls.

While the UTG is thinking, so am I. On the surface, I don't have much right now. Just the dummy end of an Open-Ender on a Flush board, and a backdoor Flush draw. Against six or seven players, my hand is shit. But against one player, it has some equity.

With the preflop raise, there's around $80 in the pot. The BB, who was the preflop raiser, bet $36 (Pot total: $116ish). Since he raised to $12 with just $48 in his stack, he could be pushing in with a rather wide range of hands. He could have an overpair, and just didn't want to see that pointy card. He could have some face cards, and whiffed. It is possible that he's got a Set or Straight. But I think that he's just a Pair, or maybe even AK.

Right after the UTG called (Pot total: $152ish), I decided that the only logical move was to Isolate, since I'm now getting $152/$36 or 4.22/1. I quickly grabbed a full stack of Red, added one White chip on top, and pushed it forward for a $101 bet. No, I have not misread my hand. I am aware that I currently have 7-high.

But this is a scary Flop, and I have a very good table image. I recently raised on the Flop with a Set, and won a sweet pot against two players with Top Pair (AJ). This table has been rather passive (hence all the limping). So I just have to hope that nobody flopped a Monster, and shoves All-In. If they do, then I will probably fold, since I would drawing very, very dead.

But nobody did. Everyone ejected, except the UTG player. He thought for a while, and reluctantly called the extra $65. Crap.

Turn: [Th 9s 8s] 6s. Well, I hit my Straight, but the Flush got there, too. UTG thinks for a bit, and goes All-In for $40. I hate this, but the pot is over $350 now, so it's an auto-call.

River: [Th 9s 8s 6s] Ts. Peachy, the fourth Flush card, and the Board pairs. I show my Straight. UTG shows ATc, and BB shows KTd for Trips. Neither of them have a Spade, and I win a pot near $400.

Did I get lucky in this hand? Well, duh! But I would like to think that I created some of my own luck by reading the situation, and doing the action that gave me the best chance to win the pot.

Or maybe I just Luckboxed this hand. Either way, I'm the one who's stacking the chips.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Road to Recovery

- I ended up cashing in the Tournament. 38th place $802. I won some pots, but never got the big double up that you need to go deep. Towards the end of Level 22 (12k/24k/3k), I raised to 60k with KJ on the Button. The BB goes All-In, and has my small stack crushed. I'm fairly certain that he's pushing back with a real hand. I could fold, but that would leave me with 180k, or just over 7 BB. The Antes and Blinds are extremely high, and we're near the end of this Level. They paid 64 spots, with small pay jumps every 9 or 10 spots. There was another pay jump of $90 ($891) in a few spots, but the $1k payouts didn't come until there are 27 players left. So I decided that in order to go deep, it's time to gamble. I shipped it All-In, and the BB turned over AK. The board ran out 8-high, and head over to the Cage to collect my $802.

- On the Cash game front, I played some $3/$6 for two hours before the Tournament restarted. I won $100. In the evening, I played $1/$3 for a while, and was down $370. They opened up a $5/$10 Omaha-8 w/Kill table, so I went over there. I played about three hours, and then I stared to hit "The Wall" about 1 AM. I left the table up $135.

Also, throughout the day, I played various session of Blackjack, both the Video machine and Live with some CPMGers before they headed home. All the session combined for -$25.

- Because of coming back for Day 2 of the Tournament, and the giant hole I dug on Wednesday, I never did play in a satellite for the WPT Main Event. It also seems that nobody else was playing the satellites either. Every Mega-Satellite they ran today gave away only one or two seats. The $270 gave away one seat for every 40 player. They only got around 60. There was a $530 at Midnight (1 for every 20). A buddy for one of the players at my table signed up for this one at 11:40, and he was Entrant #1.

This may set the record for the smallest WPT field ever. Hollywood has done a crappy job of running Satellites. They should have been running a Mega for the Main Event every night. Instead, they were running Megas for the next day's tournament. Why do you need to run a Mega-Satellite for a $340 tournament? That's a Buy-In for the $1/$3 game.

$10k is a lot of money in this part of the country. The biggest regular Cash game is $2/$5 NLHE and $1/$3/$5 PLO, with occasionally a $5/$10 NLHE on weekends. Even with the Pros coming into town last night, the only Big game was a $5/$10 NLHE table that was barely kept full, and was playing 6-handed after Midnight.

- Speaking of Pros, I was standing in line at the Cage right behind some tall dude that was taking forever. As it turns out, it was Erik Seidel buying in to the Main Event. Kathy Liebert was at the next window. Bryan "Devo" Devonshire was playing in the $5/$10 game, and Ron Rose was playing $1/$3. Other sightings included Hoyt Corkins, Greg "FBT" Mueller, Andrew Lichtenberger, JJ Liu, and Alan "Chainsaw" Kessler.

- I've decide to check-out today, play some more Cash today, and head home. I'm not sure exactly what time I will leave town. It will probably depends on how many draws and sets I can hit. With my success of the last two days, I could actually break into Profit for this trip with a good day today.

- This will probably be the last Blog entry about this trip, unless something news worthy happens today. I've been posting for about ten straight days, and I'm a little Blogged out. I do have a bunch of Hands Of The Day that I will be posting over the next few weeks, as well as a Review of the Hollywood Casino.

Friday, March 19, 2010

$340 NLHE Deepstack Tournament

I decided to do another running log for this tournament. But instead of doing an entry every Level, I did one every Break, which was every three Levels.

Shuffle Up & Deal 20000 - The room is buzzing. There are 59 tables in the ballroom, and they're all in use. Currently, the computer screen says there are 532 players. Our table is starting out with 8/10 players. There are three other CPMGers in this tournament: Colin, Chan, and Meat. Levels are 30 minutes long.

Break 1 - End of Level 3 (75/150) 41075 - Currently 644 entries, and still a few more alternates to be seated. I doubled up with a Set of Tens (future H.O.T.D.)  Table is fairly passive. One Action Guy two seat to my Right. He seems to be a Card Rack right now. A Cash "Pro" got an empty seat on my direct Left.

Break 2 - End of Level 6 (150/300/25) 61025 - Officially 647 players. I'm in annoying spot with an Aggressive Card Rack on my Right, and a Cash "Pro" on my Left. Since I've got chips, I'm being very patient, but slowly bleeding chips.

I got into a couple of big pots with Aggro guy. First, I raised him with just Top Pair on Flop. I fired on Turn, but we checked River. He missed his Flush, but hit a Straight on the River.
Second hand, I 3-bet him preflop with AJ. He called, and an A hit the Flop. He bets 15k, which puts me All-In. I snap call. He shows 98o, and I double up.
Shortly after this hand, we got into a rare Blind vs Blind hand. Naturally, he raised the Small Blind, and I just called with 66. The Board was A53 4 K. He fired all three streets, including 16k on the River. I called him down, and he said, "I got nothing." I showed my 66, and he was not amused. I believed the word "Unbluffable" was used.

Break 3 - End of Level 9 (400/800/75) 157200 - 442 players left. I won a monster double up with KK against Aggro guy, and another short stack jumped in the middle. (Another future H.O.T.D.) Later, I knocked out AK with KK for 21k. Otherwise I played very tight. Both Aggro guy and Cash "Pro" were active, so I'm just staying out of their way. There's no reason to risk my chips right now. I've gotta be in the Top 5 if they tracked chip stacks. Aggro guy was eliminated on last hand before Break.

Colin and Chan are gone. Meat is still grinding with around 40k chips.

Dinner Break - End of Level 12 (800/1600/200) 153800 - 287 players left. Early after break, I eliminated 55 with AQ (Q on Flop) for 6500. After that, I was very card dead. I tried an occasional move, just to maintain my stack against the Antes. Not all of them worked.

Just before the Break, an passive old guy in the Hyjack raised to 4400, and had 12200 behind. I was the BB with KQc, and decided he had a small enough stack for me to gamble. I raised to 30k in order to isolate against him, and hopefully I'm not crushed. He thought for about 90 seconds, said "I hope you've got a Monster," and folded. I can't believe he folded.

Break 5 - End of Level 15 (2k/4k/400) 158k - 165 players left. Right after the Break, I knocked out two players with KQ. However, the largest of the two was only 5100.  In Level 14, our table broke. The guy who in now on my direct Right has as many chips as I do. He said he got them in an AA vs KK vs 22 hand. Guess which one he had?

I ended up getting into a big pot with him. He limped UTG. I get KK, and pop it up to 15k. Only he called. Flop was Ts 8s 5c. He leads out of 20k. I think for a moment, and then grab a stack of Gray 5k chips, and move it foward for 100k. He goes into the tank, and reluctantly folds.  Later, I tried to steal with A3c. The SB woke up with AQ, and I was pot committed. I whiffed my 3-outer.

The blinds are really getting high. Even though I'm on one the larger stack at the table, I've only got 26 BB going into the next level. The Average Stack is around 80k.

End of Day 1 - Level 18(5k/10k/1k) 157k - I knocked out a few players with AQ and AK. I got my stack up to the 230k-250k range for most Level 17. But I lost an AQ vs A8d (River Flush). Later, I was the solo BB. It folded to the Button, and he raised to 30k. It smelled like a steal. I had A6o, and put him All-In for 67500. He thought for a bit, and called with KQo. He spiked the K on the Turn.

The rest of the day was me being patient. Surprisingly, I only had one pocket pair for the last 4-5 levels. It was QQ, but nobody called. Of course, the very next hand, I raise with J9o. An old geezer two seats down shoved All-In, and I insta-mucked.

Officially 90 players left, as they broke a table when the Level ended, but there are a few tables with 9 players. Meat busted out in Level 17.

As for my table, I'm around 4th or 5th in chips. The chip leader at our table might be the overall chip leader with 544k. He's seems to be fairly solid, and no-nonsense. He's also on the other end of the table. There are a couple of local "Pros" who recently got moved to our table. One is on my direct Right, and the other is a few seats to my Left.

We are roughly 25 players away from the Money. I'm not sure exactly how many get paid, how much the Min Cash is, or how much 1st place is for one simple reason... I don't care right now. I will worry about that stuff when we get down to seven tables, or even the Final Table. It will be interesting to see how everyone plays when we get to the Bubble. I've never been involved in a multi-table Bubble.

I would say my chances of cashing are 60%. I've got enough experience with shortstack play to hopefully not do anything stupid. But with the starting Level of 6k/12k/1500, I've only got 13BB. As we all know, anything can happen with Push & Pray Poker. If I can pick up a few pots, or get someone's shortstack, then I will be in better shape.

Either way, it will be posted here tomorrow. We start back up at 2pm.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cell Phone Update #1

What a difference a day makes. +$355 in Poker & BJ this morning. Over 600 players for tourney. I doubled up in Level 1.

St. Patrick's Day Massacre

At the Hollywood Poker Room, I got a seat at a new $1/$3NL table about 11am. I bought in for $300, and added another $100 later. There was two Action Guys at the start. They were waiting for the $2/$5 game to open. They were raising every hand, and throwing money around. Unfortunately, I didn't have any cards to catch that money. So I tried to play the occasional hand while being patient, and bled away some money. After a few hours, the Kid next to me had been raising a lot, and I had been folding a lot. So he raised to $20, and I 3-bet to $50 with KQ. He called. The Flop was J9x. He checked, and I c-bet $80, which was more than half of my remaining stack. He looked at my little stack, and went All-In. I was committed with a Gutshot & Two Overcards, so I called. I turned a Flush draw, but an Airball hit the River. I said, "K high." He turned over AA. Nice Hand, Sir.

So, I went up to the Pit. I put $100 in the Video Blackjack machine, and lost it. It wasn't completely due to bad luck. I tried something different with my betting, and it failed miserably. I won't do that again.

At this point, I'm a little on Tilt. So I do what any rational person would do. I sit down at a 3-Card Poker table. I buy-in for $350, and dusted that off. This was to do horrible cards. It was one of those sessions that I never really had a chance.

So, now it was time for the Buffet.

After some gorging, I go back to the Poker Room, and get seated at $1/$3 table about 4pm. I bought in for $300, got into a hole early, and added another $100. I then started grinding my way back towards even. But the best I did in my eight hours at this table was back up to $450. Most of the session, my stack was in the $225-$275 range. If I managed to get above that, then I would lose a very frustrating hand. If I went below that, then I would win a decent pot to get me back there.

Here are a few hands from this session:

- I'm the BB with T4o. Five players see the Flop of Ts 9h 6c. I check Top Pair. A Mid player, who is playing his first hand at this table, bets $6. Three players call. I smell weakness, so I squeeze to $26. The same Mid guy 3-bets to $76. Three players fold. Now I'm very confused. This bets seems like either a set or straight. But why would someone with a strong hand bet so little, and let everyone chase their whatever draw? But I've only got Top Pair with no kicker. So I say, "I guess my Two Pair is no good.", and fold. He said he had 87 for a Straight.

- I'm in Mid with A2h, and raise to $11. Four players see a Flop of Qh Th Td. It checks to me, and I bet $20 on my Flush draw, which has been my standard c-bet. I get two callers. Turn is [Qh Th Td] 9h. Both callers check to me. I hit my Flush, but I'm a little concerned about potential Full Houses. I bet $50. UTG+1 calls All-In for $45, and the other player folds. I show my Nut Flush. River is [Qh Th Td 9h] Jh. He shows K8h for the six-card Straight Flush. Ya gotta love the perfect Runner-Runner. Nice hand, Sir.

- I'm down under $100 at this point, but I'm leaving soon. I'm in Mid with AKo, and raise to $11. Four players see a Flop of Kc 5d 4h. It checks to me. Normally, I would just fire a c-bet of $20. But I've only got $59 left, and I want to get maximum value. This Flop is fairly dry. So I check hoping that someone after me will bet after me. They don't. Turn is [Kc 5d 4h] 6h. Not a great card for me. Someone bets $20. I go All-In for $59. The guy next to me grabs his chip stack of around $250, and moves it over the Line. At this point, I know I'm going to leave broke. The first better folds. River is [Kc 5d 4h 6h] 7s. I say, "I assume my One Pair is no good?" He show 87o for a Turned Gutshot. Nice hand, Sir.

And that hand ended my worst casino day ever. I guess this is what I get for not wearing green on St Patrick's Day.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cash Game Update

On Monday, I got to the Hollywood a little early before the 3pm tourney. So I sat down at a $3/$6 Limit table. While I was playing, one of my fellow CPMGers, The Meats, also sat down. There are various players stopping by for a day or two while I'm down here.

Anyway, the session was just under two hours, but it went well. I was almost $100 at one point. The biggest pot was when I rivered a four card Nut Flush. But the last two orbits didn't go as well, and I left the table up $32.

After the tourney, I sat down at a $1/$3NL. I only played two hours. I was getting tired, and the table was rather tight. Although in one hand, I did Flop trips in the BB, Turn Quads, and got a young lady to pay off a $40 River value bet. Overall, I left the table down $20.

On Tuesday, I sat down at a $1/$3NL at noon. It was a fairly typical weekday afternoon table. A lot of older regular players who know each others names, along with the names of all the dealers and the cocktail waitress. There was only one Action Guy, and he was three seats to my Left. He was playing 80% of the pots, and was calling everything, including a few times with A-high on the River. Unfortunately, I doubled him up once. I raised with QT. The Flop came Jd Td 9c. I lead out for $25, and he raised to $60. He only had $89 behind, and his range was rather wide in this spot, so I put him All-In. He had AJ, and I whiffed.

About an hour after I sat down, another CPMGer, DougPoker, sat down at the table. He didn't have a good session, including running into a nasty cooler. On a Turn card of 883 7, his pocket 77 ran into Quad 88.

After about three hours, I had managed to climb back to -$50. I went to lunch with The Meats, who was still playing $3/$6 Limit. When I came back, only three original player were still there. Both DougPoker and ActionGuy were gone.

Thing started to go much better. I pulled off a nice semi-bluff in position that got a few players attention. Very next hand, I was dealt AK. I raised, and hit the Flop of KJ5. I got check-raised by the player next to me. He only had $115 total chips, so I put him All-In. He called with KT, and I stacked him.

At 5:30, I end up leaving the table up $363. I was getting tired because I didn't sleep well the night before. I decide to go back to my room and chill for the rest of the night.

As for the Pit games, I've been pretty good at not playing them so far. I've only played the Video Blackjack machines, which have a $5 minimum. I like them because they have the Surrender option, which is an advantage for the players. I just bet the minimum, and if I win, I will up my bet by $2 each time until I lose. So far, it's gone very well. I've played a few short session, and I'm up $135.

For the trip, I'm up $170 for two days, and that includes -$340 for the tournament. That's certainly not retirement money, but I'm pleased overall. Today will be more cash games, and tomorrow is another $340 tournament.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

$340 Omaha-8 / Stud-8 Tournament

WARNING: This post contains no TV Poker (NLHE) content. If you're not into terms like Scooping, 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" 10000 - This tournament started at 3pm. It ended up with 36 players on five tables (max 8 per table due to Stud). Four places get paid. Each Level is 15 minutes.

At my table, we started with 6 players. Surprisingly, only one is over 50 yrs old.

End of Level 1 (100/200 Omaha-8) 9525 - Only played one hand. Had Nut Flush and A3 Low. He had A2.

Level 2 (100/200 Stud-8) 10025 - Won two small pots. Our seventh player arrived, a young kid with his hat on backwards. He asked the Dealer about the betting because he's never played Limit poker before. The rest of the table seems solid. Only one player is being aggressive. He seems to be a local "Pro" who's been playing all the events.

Level 3 (150/300 O8) 10450 - Won two half pots. Kid still asking questions like, "8 or better for the High?" It's hard to believe that Dead Money would pay $340 for this tournament.

Level 4 (150/300 S8) 10275 - Didn't play a hand. Kid is playing 90% of the hands.

Level 5 (200/400 O8) 9800 - I cracked Aggressive Pro's AA3x with A3cK6h. Nut Flush and a chopped Low. Next hand, I flopped Trip 6, and lost to River Flush.

Level 6 (200/400 S8) 13000 - I got dealt (55)A. Old guy before me raised with a K. I 3-bet to represent the AA. Old guy and another player called. I finally win it on 5th street when they don't improve. Very next hand, I get (A5)A, and win it on 4th street. Later, I get (AK)A in the Steal (last spot before the Bring-In), and Complete. The Bring-In calls, and we end up going to Showdown. He missed his straight and Low draws, and I win with Two Pair.

Level 7 (300/600 O8) 18575 - I flopped Quad 6 in the BB of a raised pot, and scooped when the Low missed. Later, I got into a pot with Aggressive Pro. I check-raised him on the Flop with Nut Flush Draw & Low Wrap. I scooped, and knocked him out.

Level 8 (300/600 S8) 18200 - Quiet level. I just stole the Antes & Bring-In with an A showing.

Level 9 (400/800 O8) 15700 - Not a good Level. I got saved when I turned a 1-outer A for Top Boat to get the High. With the Blinds getting higher, the chips are starting to move.

Level 10 (400/800 S8) 14300 - Card dead, but I've had very few Bring-Ins. I'll probably get stuck with them later when it starts to hurt.

Level 11 (500/1000 O8) 11800 - I tried some Blind stealing, but it didn't go well. I need to be very selective about stealing with the Blinds this high.

Level 12 (500/1000 S8) 8100 - I completed the Bring-In with (AKc)2h. Only the Kid called with a Q. He fired out on 4th, 5th and 6th. My board kept getting better (AKc)2h 4d 9c 5s. On 7th, he checked, but was holding a 1k chip to call. I peeked at my 7th card, and it was 2c for a Pair of 2. I checked, and he showed just a Pair of Q for the win. The Kid now has almost 20k. Despite this hand, he's not completely Dead Money. He plays PLO8 online.

- Dinner Break -

Level 13 (600/1200 O8) 2700 - This got ugly fast. In the BB, I flopped a Wheel Draw against UTG. I turned a pair with an Open-Ender. I rivered Two Pair with a Live 4 Low. UTG had a better Two Pair with a Live 2 Low. Also, I tried another Button steal that didn't go well.

Level 14 (600/1200 S8) 4000 - Our table broke. Players are starting to bust faster, but not as fast as I thought they would due to the split pots.

I'm holding on for dear life. Last hand of the Level, I get dealt (A2c)3h. I decide to gamble, and just limp right after the Bring-In. Someone completed. Two other players call. I back-raise to 1200. The Completer 4-bets to 1800. The next player goes All-In for 2100ish. Bring-In calls. I go All-In for 1800. My gamble paid off, as I'm getting 3-1 on the Main pot, and there's a small side pot which I'm not involved. I end up drawing (A2) 3 5 9 8 (T). Even though I missed my 4-card Wheel Draw, My 8 5 Low holds up for half the Main. The other All-In player gets the High of the Main with a Set of Q.

Level 16 (800/1600 O8) 3600 - Since the All-In trainwreck was the very last hand of the previous level, we didn't play an Omaha hand until 3 minutes into this Level. We only played a few hands. I was the SB at the start, and folded to a raise.

Level 16 (800/1600 S8) 7000 - I Bring-In with (T8) 3. Two other players limp. Next Card (T8) 3 2. The other two players check, so I bet to represent the Low draw. They both call. 5th Street is (T8) 3 2 4. They check. I go All-In for 1600. One calls. 6th and 7th are (T8) 3 2 4 T (2). I miss my Low, but my Two Pair scoops the pot.

Level 17 (1k/2k O8) 10000 - Hit a Small Blind Special. Flopped Two Pair, and turned Small Boat. Later, I raised with AKhK5, but missed the Flop horribly.

Level 18 (1k/2k S8) 5500 - Got dealt (5d 6s) 7d. I tried to raise, but screwed it up (don't ask). Next player raises with a J. Two more call. Player goes All-In for 1675. I decided to try to isolate, and raise to 2675. Not surprisingly, everyone called. 4th Street is (5d 6s) 7d Th. The J who raised just paired his J, and bets. Next player raises with 6A showing. Next player folds, and i have to eject. I'm not sure if my raise to isolate was the correct play with that many players in the pot. But it only cost me 1000.

Level 19 (1200/2400 O8) 0 - In the SB, I turned Two Pair, and rivered Three Pair, but the other player rivered the Flush & a Low. Next, I get it All-In for 2200, and get 3 callers. My A2 Low gets Quartered, and I get my 2200 back. A few hands later, I'm UTG, and raise All-In with 654d2c. I get two callers. The Board is JT5 6 K. My Two Pair gets beaten my AQ for Broadway. I finish in 17th place at 9:15pm. The Kid is still playing at a different table.

Overall, it was a good experience. It's good to step out of the CPMG pond, where I'm one of the Sharks, and see that I've still got a long way to go before I consider myself a Good player. In this field, I was middle of the pack. I played OK, but made some mistakes. Mostly, I was too aggressive trying to steal with mediocre hands. That's just not a good idea in Limit. Plus, my run of good hands came too early, but I can't do anything about that.

I was able to survive for a while by dodging four All-Ins. But I never got the cards to get my stack back up into contention. And eventually, this cat ran out of lives.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

0 For 13

Last night at Dave's Poker Pit, we had our regular tourney with a good crowd of 39 players. With the steady flow of late buy-ins, and AddOns later on, I didn't get to play much poker before the first break. My stack went down, and back up. I got to the first break with 7100 chips, down 900 from where we started.

After the break, I wasn't seeing any good cards. My table was rather active, so I just stayed patient. Finally, Terry K raised in early position. He had been doing that a lot. I look at JJ on the Button, and shipped it All-In for 5600. He thought for about .03 seconds, and called with KK. The board ran out 8-high, and I finished in 29th place.

Overall, this was a typical tournament for me these days. I am currently on a 0-13 run in my Saturday night home game. My last cash was back on December 12 (2nd place $200 23 players).

Here are my results since then:
12.19 - 20/32
12.26 - 11/31
01.02 - 21/30
01.09 - 25/33
01.16 - 5/26 (Bubble)
01.23 - 6/24
01.30 - 45/58
02.06 - 17/31
02.13 - 23/29
02.20 - 38/45
02.27 - 4 Table Shootout. Two players advance from each table. I finished 4th or 5th at my table of 8 players.
03.06 - 26/37
03.13 - 29/39

I understand that tournament success is measured in the long term, that variance streaks are to be expected, and all that 'shit. But these numbers are disgusting. I've been getting knocked out early in most of these tourneys. The only Final Tables that I made were the two smallest fields.

The problem is that I have no clue what the problem is. Some have suggested that my TD duties are too much of a distraction. I agree to a certain extent that it takes away from my "game". But I've been doing this for three seasons, which is over 100 tournaments. You'd think that I would have adjusted by now. I have shown a profit in tournaments each of the last two season. So, in theory, I should also show a profit this season. I'm down $430 in 27 tournaments, so I can still pull out of this in the last 10 tournaments. Last night, 1st place got $450.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Insert Title Here

I arrived at Greektown for their 11am tourney a bit early, so I sat down to kill a little time at a $1/$2 table. I was only there 30 minutes, and didn't play a hand.

There was 50 players for the $75 tournament. I would love to tell you how I skillfully navigated my way to a dominate victory. But the truth is that I raised preflop three times, and never won a hand. I was knocked out in Level 3 (100/200) when I went All-In shortstacked with AA, got called reluctantly by A9d. He flopped a 9, and then rivered another one. I finished somewhere around 35th place.

One of my poker buddies, Chan, came with me for this trip. He ended up cashing in 5th place for $210.

After busting out of the tournament, I sat down at a $1/$2 table. The two stacks to my right had about 20 black chips ($100) between them. This table was CRAZY. Preflop raises of $30-$40 were not uncommon. There was one pot that was 3-bet to $75, and six players saw the Flop. Four of them went All-In on the Flop. The total size of the pot was about $950.

Even though I had the best seat next to the LAG-tard, I was really card dead. So I just hung on for deal life, and tried to be patience. After four hours, I walked away from the table up $117. The LAG-tard, who had about $2k shortly after I sat down, had about $300 when I left. I'm sure he dusted that off quickly.

We then went over to MGM, ate dinner at the Buffet, and headed up to the Poker Room. I sat down at a $1/$2 table, and bought in for the max of $300. Overall, the table was "normal". Not super tight, but not crazy Friday night action either. I got off to a bad start, and ended up adding another $100 to my stack. Then the affects of the Buffet kicked in, and I started to get groggy, and just not mentally in the game.

About two hours after I sat down, I was still under $200, but I was starting to wake up. There was a key hand (a future HOTD) that could have wiped me out, but instead started my recovery. I was slowly climbing back toward break even, getting as close as -$30, when I took another small hit. I flopped Two Pair (A2), got a lady All-In on the Flop for around $70 with AJ, and a J on the Turn.

A bit later, things started to get much better. I finally broke into Profit when someone donked off $145 to me as a gift (another future HOTD). Later, I got into an AA vs KK hand with another short stack jumping in the middle. That was good for a little over $200 of profit.

I actually got it up over the +$500 mark when I took my first hit in awhile. One of the Action Players raised it up to $7 from the Hyjack. I'm the SB with AKc, and just called. UTG back-raised to $27. Action Guy called, and so did I. Flop Ad Kh 6h. I check my Two Pair. UTG bets $30. Action Guy called. I check-raise to $80. UTG shipped it for $99. Action Guy thinks for a long time, and folds. I call the $19. Not surprisingly, UTG turns over KK. I miss my 2-outer, and lose $126 on a cooler.

But I did get some of it back. Finally, a little after 1am, I left MGM up $445 after playing for over eight hours.

Friday, March 12, 2010

And BINGO was his name-O

7:45 $200 - Walked into the Motor City Poker Room, and immediately got seated at a $1/$2 table. Not much money on this table. A few stacks under $100. The biggest stack is $450, and is two seats to my left. (I'm in Seat 8. He's in Seat 10)

8:00 $210 - I raised to $7 with QJ on the Button, and took it down on the Flop. The Big Stack is a LAG-tard. He raised with 73o in Mid position, and turned Two Pair to wipe out a small stack. Since he's got position on me, I will keep a close eye on him to pick up some patterns.

8:30 $197 - Big Stack is now over $650. He's playing 80%+ of the hands. The bad news is that he's actually got some talent. He made a very sweet Value Bet ($30) on the River with just 88. The good news is that he seems to be telegraphing his intentions preflop. Things like grabbing chips early to raise. Hopefully, he will keep it up.

9:00 $250 - Big Stack cracked AA with T7s. He raised UTG, called the AA 3-bet, and flopped Top Pair & Flush Draw. When you're having a good night, things like Pot Odds don't seem to matter. Oh, and I won two pots.

9:30 $317 - I won a decent pot involving Big Stack that will be a future Hand Of The Day. Big Stack also won his third pot of the night with 73. At least, this time it was suited.
Also, we had the first Quad Straddle (to $10) that I have ever seen in a casino. Later in the session, there were a few Double Straddles to $6. I have never seen a casino that would allow this silliness.

10:00 $444 - Got my first pocket pair of the evening, 44, in a straddle pot. I flopped a Set, and turned a Boat (T94 9). I even got paid off by saying, "Call". Big Stack is up over $800. Someone overplayed a baby A with just Top Pair. Big Stack had him outkicked.

10:30 $445 - Big Stack just left the table with a little over $900. Only one guy on the other side of the table seems to be an action guy. A few new players have just sat down.

11:00 $374 - I decided to shift gears, and step on the gas. This was not a good idea, since I should have waited to see how the new players are playing. This table has turned into a Bingo table. A helluva lot of limping. Any small preflop raise is called by everyone. Pots with less than six players are rare. Bluffing and C-Betting are a terrible idea.

11:30 $319 - I've gone into Bingo mode in late position (Button, CutOff, & Hyjack). Unfortunately, I'm really card dead. But if I get hit a hand, I should get paid off by these guys.

12:10 $257 - I picked up my 2nd pocket pair of the night, QQ, and they got cracked. I raised in Early position. Five players saw a Flop of 9 6 4 rainbow. The player in front of me bet $20. I raise to $50. It folded back around to this guy, who goes All-In for $109. I grab the extra $60, and pause for a minute to think. He's been sitting here for a while. He's been playing Bingo like everyone else. But what hand would he lead out with, and then 3-bet All-In? I have to think that I'm behind. I'm getting the proper Pot Odds for Two Pair, which is 3-1 (25%). But against a Set, I'm crushed. So I decide to fold. He didnt' show.
I did get some money back with AJ on an A high Flop. I bet all three streets, and got called.

Since I worked all day, I was planning on ending at Midnight. So I cashed out with a tiny profit that doesn't even cover the buy-in for tomorrow's tournament at Greektown.

I have to admit that I'm not sure how to play at a Bingo table. This is my second straight session at one of the tables, and my results aren't good. Both times, I had a good stack that got bled away.

Basic Poker Theory states, "Play the opposite of the everyone else at the table." Since everyone else is playing loose & passive, I should be playing tight & aggressive. And I think I am mostly. I'm not limping in Early and Mid position with marginal hands. I am still raising preflop, even though I know it will be called by many players. I am playing loose in position (Button, CutOff, and maybe Hyjack). Because any good Flop should get paid off.

The problem is that I just don't hit hands like that. I am not a Lucky player. I'm not saying that to bitch, whine or moan. I'm just stating it as a fact. There are player that I play with regularly who play all kinds of crappy hands, or rely on Luck too much. And some days they hit really big, and some days they dust off a few buy-ins. The Big Stack tonight is a good example of this.

But as I've already said, I just don't get lucky like that. It is so incredibly rare that I go on a sick run of cards, or just have one of those magical nights. My record cashout for a $1/$2 table is only $720 (Oct '08), and I've had two other session over $600. My record at Dave's Poker Pit, a $1/$1 home game, is $550. That was the last "Magical Night" that I can remember (April '09). At least 2-3 times a month, a player will cashout over $1000.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Going Pro

As of 4:01 this afternoon, I will be on vacation for the next 12 or so days. During this time, I will be playing a lot of poker, and taking some shots at some bigger events.

Tonight, I will be heading to Detroit right after work. I'll be staying at Motor City for both Thursday and Friday nights, but I'll be playing at all three poker rooms.

I'll be coming home early Saturday afternoon, hopefully take a nap, and go to my regular Saturday night home game.

Sunday will be a day of rest and recovery from my usual all-nighter on Saturday.

Monday morning, I will be heading down to Cincinnati and the Hollywood Casino. I will be down there for about a week, and staying at the Holiday Inn Express just around the corner from the casino. Hollywood Casino having a big tournament series. I will be playing in the $340 Stud-8 / Omaha-8 at 3pm Monday, and the $340 NL DeepStack at 12n Thursday. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I'm planning on playing Cash games. On Friday, I will be playing in some Satellites for the WPT Main Event, which will start on Saturday, and run until the Final Table is taped on Wednesday.

I know the odds of winning a seat to the Main Event are small, so I will probably stay for some Cash games on Saturday, and head home on Sunday.

Or, maybe things will go badly, and I will end up Busto. If that happens, then I will leave early, and save some vacation days.

Either way, this blog will get back to the daily posting that I used to do. There is also an option for me to post small entries from my cell phone (kinda like Twitter, I guess). I may do some experimenting with that. However, my cell phone doesn't get a signal in the Hollywood Poker Room.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Hours of Bordem Mixed with Moments of Sheer Frustration

11:50 $75 - After waiting at Mountaineer for 20 minutes, they finally opened up a new $1/$2 table. Since it's a Thursday morning, I buy-in for the table minimum of $75. Nobody at the table bought in for more than $200. Two others also have the minimum, and an old guy bought in for 60 white chips. I think he supposed to be at the $2/$4 table.

12:30 $53 - I'm really card dead. This table is typical for a weekday $1/$2 table. Very little preflop raising. Lots of limping and small pots. There was an AA vs KK pot that had under $50 by the end. There was a small raise preflop, and a small bet on the Flop. The Turn brought a Club Flush, and it got checked down, even though they both had a Club.

1:00 $55 - Won a small pot with Two Pair on the Button with Q9. I still haven't been dealt a pocket pair or QJ+.

1:30 $45 - This is pathetic. I've been playing a few "splash around" hands like 64o and T9o, along with limping with ATC on the Button and CutOff. But everything has been Airballs so far. I'm not even gonna try any bluffs. This table is a Value Bet table, and not a Bluff table. If I ever get any hands, I should get paid off.

2:00 $55 - I won a pot in the BB with Trip 5 on the River. There are still very few preflop raises, with most players trying to play "Bingo!" on the Flop and Turn. But so far, I have seen very few called bets on the River. Hopefully, I can take advantage of this later.

2:30 $254 - I doubled up with AA on the Button. On my next Button, I called a $7 raise with 76s. Five players saw a Flop of A 9 7. A different player leads out for $10. I just call, along with a few others. Turn is 6. He bets $15. I raise to $50. The preflop raiser asks how much I have left ($26), and he goes All-In. The $15 bettor folds, and I call. I hit a Full House on the River, and the preflop raiser mucks.

3:00 $276 - I do my standard preflop raise to $7 with AK, and won it on the Flop. I also raised twice with AQ. First one was a total Airball, so I folded. The second ended up as a chop when the board paired on the River.

3:30 $120 - Things went downhill quickly. I limped & called a raise with 76h. I flopped a Flush, so I led out for $15, and the preflop raiser called. The Turn was the 4th Heart, and we both checked. The River was a brick. I checked, and he bet. I folded face up, and he shows KQh.
Later, I flopped two pair with 54o in the BB, but the board was ugly (7d 5h 4d). I check raised from $10 to $30, and two players called. The Turn was a 3rd Diamond, so I checked and called a $20 bet. The River, which still has three players, was the 4th Diamond. I just checked and folded.

4:00 $71 - I tried my first bluff of the day, and it failed miserably (as usual). I raised in the CutOff with 76h. Three players saw a Flop of Kc Qs Jc. I bet $15, and an older Eastern European guy calls (UTG+1). He's one of the Action Guys at this table. Turn was [Kc Qs Jc] 6s. I bet $25, and he called. River [Kc Qs Jc 6s] 3c. Even with the Flush on the Board, I bet $40. Old Guy snap-called with K8s.

4:30 $175 - There are some new faces at the table. I'm planning on leaving at 6pm. I really don't feel like milking this stortstack, especially with some deeper stacks at the table. So I pull $125 out of my pocket when the Button came around to me.

5:00 $140 - Cards suck. I guess I'm now one of "Bingo!" players. I did some limping, and called a few raises. But everything was a big Whiff.

5:30 $92 - I raised with 43h in the Hyjack. Five players saw a Flop of 8 5 2. A player in Mid position bets $8. He's been doing this small donk betting, so I raise to $30 with the Open Ender. The CutOff was thinking, but the Button called out of turn. And then the CutOff called. The Donk bettor folded. The Turn was [8 5 2] 5. I checked. CutOff bet $30, and the Button called. My "Spidey Sense" was tingling, so I folded. As it turns out, they both flopped Sets (88 vs 22), and they got the money All-In on the River.
Later, I raised with KQ in Mid position, and got a couple of callers. I flopped Two Pair on a draw-heavy board [Kh Qc 2h]. I did my standard c-bet of $15, and everyone insta-folded. Out of frustration, I showed my hand and whined a little.

6:05 $97 - I won two small pots, and started climbing closer to the break even mark. I got it up to $140-ish. I limped in the CutOff with K8d. Flop was 6h 6d 2d. SB leads out for $6, and I'm the only caller. Turn [6h 6d 2d] 4s. He checked, I bet $15, and he called. River [6h 6d 2d 4s] Qc. He checked, and I decided to try another River bluff of $25. He thinks for a moment, and calls. I say, "King High". He turned over QTd. He missed his lower flush draw, and hit his 6-outer on the River.

Well, this hand was the Cherry on top of the Sundae that was my session. I finished the orbit, cashed out, and headed home.

I guess that only losing $103 on a day where the cards were so frustrating should be a Silver Lining, but I'm just not feeling it.