Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hand Of The Day #37

$1/$2 NLHE - MGM Detroit - 04.15.10

I call the $1 from the SB with 96h. Four players see the Flop of Kd 7d 5s. I check. The BB bets $10. The Cutoff calls. I've got a Gutshot draw. I normally only call if I'm drawing to the Nut Straights, which I am, and if there's no Flush Draw, which there is. But it's only $10, and there are two players that I could win money from. So I call, and hope that a Black 8 hits the Turn.

Turn: [Kd 7d 5s] 8s. And there it is. I check. The BB bets $25. Cutoff calls. I check-raise to $75. The BB quickly goes All-In for around $225. The Cutoff thinks for a while, and reluctantly folds. I've got the BB covered. So I double check my cards, and call. I show my hand. He turns over 64d for a smaller Straight and a Flush draw. Nasty cooler.

River: [Kd 7d 5s 8s] Jc. He misses his redraw, and I scoop a $500 pot.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

$10 Rebuy-Mania

Being that Saturday night was the last Saturday of the month, that meant Variety Night for our weekly home game. This month is was the $10 Rebuy-Mania. For $10, you start with 1000 chips. It's unlimited rebuys for the first four levels, starting at 5/10. You can rebuy at 500 chips or under. There's an additional AddOn of $10 for 1000 chips.

Traditionally, this has been the least popular of the variety tournaments. Last year, we set the record for a CPMG Rebuy tournament at 26 players. This year, attendance has been up due in part to the POY tournament race. So I expected that it was possible that we might get up to thirty players.

Well, that goal was broken before "Shuffle Up & Deal". We ended up selling out all four table that we had set up, and had alternates waiting to buy-in. Only one of the alternates got seated. The others decided to set up the 5th table, and starting the Cash game.

The official numbers were: 41 Players; 73 Rebuys; 33 AddOns. Those numbers might seem a little ridiculous on the surface. But the number that best tells the story is Average Stack at the Break, which was 3775 with 39 players remaining. That number is consistent with numbers from the previous three times that we have run this event (4000, 4055, and 3675)

The most Rebuys was 7+1 by Brian B. ProWest and Jeri had 5+1. Only two players were invested with their original $10, but neither of them made it to the Final Table. One of those $10 players had over 10k chips at the First Break. One other player had over 10k, but he went on to finish in 2nd place (El Diabl0).

As for my tournament, I didn't get to buy-in until close to the end of the first level due to the steady flow of players arriving. Fortunately, I did have an assistant TD (Data) who did great job of handling the Rebuys so I could play.

With there being four tables, some of them were on the calm side. Some of them had normal Rebuy action. And one of them was a Psycho table. That was the table that I ended up at. It had two of the three Rebuy leaders, along with many other who ended three or four rebuys. The one alternate ended up at our table well into the Rebuy period, and rebought three times. Because there was so much carnage at our table, it was not uncommon for there to be two or three Side Pots for some of the All-Ins. Fortunately, there was another experienced TD at the other end of the table (DougPoker), so we were able to keep things organized and moving as fast as multiple 3-way All-Ins can be.

At first, I was playing very tight for a two reasons. First was the ridiculous action. I don't just start shoving wildly for a Rebuy tournament. Second was because my cards were terrible. It took almost two levels to pick up a real hand (QQ), and get my stack in the middle. But I lost the 4-way All-In. So I rebought, and ended up rebuying a second time before I finally won a 3-way All-In with KK.

This got me up to almost 3000 chips, which slowed down some of the Crazies. They ended up folding to me once or twice because I had too many chips to gamble against. I was able to win one or two more pots, including the Final Hand of the Rebuy period with A9. After I bought the 1000 chip AddOn at the First Break, I had 7500 chips which was double the Average Stack.

After that, it was just a normal tournament, and the normal tournament things happened. I won pots; I lost pots; I got shortstacked; I doubled up. Things were cruising along until this hand in the 200/400 level.

It had folded around to the Button (Eskimo), who raised to 1200. I'm the SB, and I look down at 99. The Button had been doing a lot of raising lately, and winning pots uncontested. So this seemed like a good time to 3-bet to 4000. The BB folds. The Button thinks for a bit, and calls. I'm not happy about this. As the Button grabs the deck to deal the Flop, I push my stack of around 7500 All-In "In the Dark" because I'm probably not gonna like most Flops, and it will hopefully look like I have a Big Pair. The Flop is K T T. The Button is not happy with my shove. He thinks for a bit, and reluctantly calls. He shows AK. Great, he's been raising all these times, and now he wakes up with a real hand. I miss my two-outer, and I finish in 12th place.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Friday Night at Motor City

9:00 $500 - After waiting almost two hours and being at the top of the List, they decide to open up a 3rd $2/$5 table. It's a Must Move table that goes to the 2nd table, and then you get a Must Move to the 1st table. We started with seven players.

9:30 $554 - Since I was at the top of the List, I played only three hands before moving to Table 2. Raised to $20 with KQc, and won with a C-Bet on the Flop.

10:00 $591 - Raised to $25 with QQ in SB, and got four callers. The Flop was 5-high. I bet four Green chips, and everyone quickly folded.

10:30 $454 - Raised to $15 with Qs Qd. Five players saw a Flop of Th 5h 2c. I bet $50, and only UTG calls. He an older gentleman who seems to be very tight & passive. Turn [Th 5h 2c] Qh. Interesting card that give me a Set, but completes the Flush. He checks. I decide to bet $50 to see where I'm at. He calls. River [Th 5h 2c Qh] Ac. He leads out for $150. I roll my eyes, think for a moment, and fold my cards face up. He shows AJh.

11:00 $631 - I call a $20 raise from the Tight & Passive guy. I'm the CutOff with 55. The Hyjack and Button also call. SB goes All-In for $155. T&P guy folds. Hyjack folds. I think for a minute, and decide to call. With the extra dead money in the pot, I'm willing to gamble for 30 Big Blinds. Button folds. SB shows AQd, and I win the Race.

11:30 $449 - Dealt Q5s in BB. Flop is 8c 5c 5h. I lead out for $15. Only a Mid player calls. Turn [8c 5c 5h] 2s. I bet $25. He goes All-In for $85. Naturally, I call. River [8c 5c 5h 2s] 8d. He shows 87d for a rivered Full House. That's the second time tonight he's done that to someone. It must be nice to have that ability. I also called a $25 raise with 76c in the Cutoff. The Flop was all Hearts.

12:00 $359 - I raised a few times and stabbed at a couple of pots. Most of them failed miserably. I'm really starting to get frustrated.

12:30 $334 - I limped with 44 in Mid position. SB goes All-In for $65. UTG+1 calls, and so do I. It gets checked down, and I miss. I did manage to win a small pot with 98o in the BB. I hit Two Pair on the River.

1:00 $185 - I raised in Mid with Ad Qc. Four players see a Flop of Q high with 2 Clubs. I bet $30 and got one caller. Turn Ac. I check. He bets $40, and I call with Two Pair and Q Flush Draw. River is a brick. I check and call a $60 bet. He shows T9c for a Flush. That's the 3rd Flush that I've seen hit against me, with another one or two that I think they hit.

I'm in a really bad state of mind. (OK, I'm borderline TILT). I'm debating whether to add on more chips, or just cut my losses and call it a night.

1:30 $269 - I didn't add on any chips, and got moved to the Main table. Most of the players I was with at Table #2 are here.

I won a decent pot with A9s. I bet $15 on a Q97 Flop, and got at least four callers. The Q paired on the Turn, and I quit betting. But so did everyone else, and I won the pot. I missed some value on this hand. I was the last to act in the hand, and I should have realized that if it gets checked around on the Turn and River, then nobody has a Q or is slowplaying something big. A $50 stab would have gotten at least one caller with a 9 in their hand.

Also, I raised to $15 UTG with AQ, and won it on the A-high Flop.

1:40 $0 - I raised in Mid with AK. Five players saw a Flop of Kh 5h 2d. I bet $35. The "Tight & Passive" dude from earlier check-raised to $100 from the BB. I roll my eyes, say "Fuck it" to myself, and go All-In. He calls, and says I'm ahead. I show my AK, and he shows 34h for the big Combo Draw. Turn is a brick, but the River is the Qh. (Yes, the same Qh that was in our previous hand.) I say, "Nice Hand, Sir," and head up back to my room to call it a night.

This was just another wonderful example of my inability to beat a $2/$5 table.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Hand Of The Day #36

$1/$3 NLHE - Hollywood Casino - 03.16.10

I'm the BB with Kc 7d in a Limped pot. Six players see the Flop of Ts 7s 7h. Why does it seem like the only time that I flop Trip is in the Blinds? It's the worst position to play this hand. But I have learned from past experience that the best way to play this hand is to lead out. If you want to play a big pot, then you gotta bet it. So I bet my standard $11. Only a young lady on the Button calls.

Turn: [Ts 7s 7h] 7c. I guess I gotta check the Quads. Fortunately, she bets it for me, $20. Obviously, she has a T, Probably KT or maybe AT. I don't want to raise, and scare her off, so I think for a moment and call.

River: [Ts 7s 7h 7c] 5s. Well the Flush Draw got there. So I decide to bet $40, and hope it looks like I'm betting the Flush, because everyone always assumes that you're on a Flush Draw. She thinks for a bit, and finally calls. I show my Quadzilla. She said, "Wow! You get the Oscar for that one. I almost raised."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hand Of The Day #35

$3/$6 LHE - Hollywood Casino - 03.19.10

A bunch of limpers, as usual. I'm the BB with Jd Jh. I let out a sigh when I look at my cards because there is just no point in raising. The UTG, who I've been chatting with, makes a comment about my sigh.

Six or seven player see the Flop of Th 9s 6c. SB bets $3. I quickly raise to $6, hoping that some of the limpers will get scared off. Only UTG, Button, and SB call.

Turn: [Th 9s 6c] Qh. SB checks. I hate that card. It's an overcard, a possible straight, and now a Flush draw for someone to chase. But it's Limit, so I bet $6. UTG and Button calls. SB folds.

River: [Th 9s 6c Qh] 4s. I certainly like that Brick. I bet $6. UTG thinks for a moment, gets disgusted, and flashes his cards to me as he folds them, Ac As. The Button also folds. Since UTG was kind enough to show me his hand, I turned over my JJ as the Dealer ships the pot to me. He was not amused.

As bad as some of the $1/$2 or $1/$3 players can be, the $3/$6 player can be so much worse. And this hand is a great example of this. Earlier in the session, this guy didn't raise with KK in the SB after I raised on the Button. I can understand not raising with a big pair sometimes, like with my JJ in the BB. Nobody will fold, and it will just create a bigger pot for everyone to chase. But the best time to raise preflop is as the first player into the pot.

We discussed the hand later on. He realized that he screwed up, and was kicking himself for it. If he had raised preflop, then the whole hand would have played differently. Less players might have entered. I might have 3-bet with my JJ. And he would have won the pot.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Song Remains The Same

We had 31 runners for our Saturday night Home game. My first table was full of action players, so I couldn't make any moves because they would have called. I got to the first break with 7200 chips, 800 below the starting stack.

After my table broke, my next table draw was better. I was able to raise and steal some blinds, but I never got a double up. I just maintained my stack around 8-12 Big Blinds for a couple of levels.

But in the 800/1600 level, things went sour. I raised with A5, and the Button (Linda) called All-In with 98o because she only had 4500. She won the race by flopping a 8, and ended up finishing in 2nd place. This left me short stacked. A few hands later, I raised All-In with JTo. Another short stack (Special K) woke up with QQ, and that left me with 1100 chips. When I got to the UTG, I moved in blind for less then the BB. It folded around to the BB. I had J8h, and he had an A. We both missed the Board, and I finished in 14th place.

After I finish up with my TD duties, I sat down in the Cash game, and bought in for $100. I played fairly tight, since the home game tables can get a little crazy at 2:30am. After about 30 minutes, I got into my first big pot.

I limp on the Button with KsQc. About five players see the Flop of Kc 5h 3c. An Early Position player (Meat) bets $3. One or two players call. With both Flush and Straight draws out there, I raise to $15. Both Meat and the Hyjack (TK) call. Turn is [Kc 5h 3c] 6d. They both check. I don't like that card, but I can't give a free card. I bet $25. Meat thinks for a bit, mumbles some stuff, and folds. TK says that he was hoping that Meat would call. That comment seems like he's on a draw. TK asks me how much I have left. I tell him $60 exactly, and he calls.

River is [Kc 5h 3c 6d] 6s. TK instantly bets $60 to put me All-In. To me, this is one of those Monster or Miss bets. He's either been slowplaying something like a Flopped Set or a Turned Straight, or he completely missed his Flush and is trying to get me to go away. He is very capable of either one of those. I thought for a while, and decided to call. TK turns over 64o for Trip 6. I have to admit that I didn't think of that possibility, or even a hand like A6c. I usually don't guess well on those Hero River calls.

So I rebought for my last $100. About an orbit later, I double up with QQ on a J high Flop. After that, I started to slowly build my stack. Over the next hour, I build it up to over $300. And that brings us to our next big hand.

I limped on the Button with 44. Five players see a Flop of Ks 9c 4h. It checks around to me, and I bet $5 with my Set. The Blinds fold. UTG (Meat) raises to $10. The next player (DP) thinks for a moment, and raises to $20. It folds back to me. I look over at each of their stacks. Meat only has around $30 left. DP has well over $400, and has me covered.

Obviously, I'm not folding. But do I raise or just call? Regardless of which I do, I'm assuming that Meat is moving his few chips into the middle. The question is what will DP do? Since this is a Home game, we have play a lot of hands over the last few years. I know that he's got a real hand. This is a rather dry Flop, as the only draw would be a Gutshot like QJ or JT. My guess is either Two Pair or a Set. If I just call, then DP could raise big to isolate against Meat, and I won't know where I'm at. Having over 300 Big Blinds, I don't want to commit my stack with just Bottom Set. So I raise to $70 to get some more information.

As expected, Meat ships his small stack in the middle, but it's less than my $70 bet. DP gets that "Are you kidding me?" look on his face. He thinks for a long time, and says a few times, "I don't think I can fold this?" He asks how much my total stack is, and I tell him $325 including my $70 bet. He counts out 13 Green chips, and keeps thinking. During this time, I figure out that he's got K9 for Top Two Pair. He wouldn't do this with just AK, hands like 94 or K4 just aren't in his range, and his money would already be in the pot if he had a larger Set. Finally, he ships it in, and I snap call. I show my 44, and he shows K9.

The Turn is [Ks 9c 4h] 9d. DP celebrates as his 4-outer hits the board. Since this is a Home game, the Button is also the Dealer, which is me this hand. Ya gotta love dealing your own Death card. The River card is not the last 4 in the deck, and I lose my last buy-in. I ship the large stack over to DP, gather up my stuff, and head out to my car with empty pockets for the second week in a row.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Poker Is A Skill Game

12:30 $300 - After waiting for 15 minutes, I get a seat at the only $1/$2 table at MGM Detroit. This looks like a normal weekday table. Nobody has over $350. I recognize a few regulars.

1:00 $268 - There are a couple of $2/$5 players waiting for their game to open, and they are generating a lot of action. I raises to $11 with AJ, and got five callers. Q8 ended up winning the hand by hitting Trip 8 on the Flop. It's gonna be that kind of table. If I can catch any cards, it should be a great session.

1:30 $261 - I got one of the $2/$5 players All-In preflop for $111, JJ vs AJc. He flushed out on me. I still haven't won a pot yet, so I reloaded for $150 more.

2:00 $284 - Finally won my first pot. I raised to $15 with ATh, and got two callers. The board double paired with low cards. It got checked down, and I had the only Ace. Power Poker, Baby!

The second $1/$2 table finally opened, but it doesn't look like the $2/$5 game will get going for a while.

2:30 $424 - I won about $150 with AQ against one of the $2/$5 players, and sent him home. The other $2/$5, my AJc guy, also dusted off his stack. Hopefully, this table will calm down, and I can play a little poker, instead of waiting for a hand.

3:00 $646 - Still playing eight handed. I won around $250 in a limped pot from the SB, a future H.O.T.D.

3:30 $640 - I didn't really play a hand. I took a 10 minute break to walk around, and refill my cool, refreshing beverage. I came back to find three new players. One of them seems to be another $2/$5 player waiting for the "Real Money" Game to open up.

4:00 $588 - I raised $10 UTG+1 with 44, and got two callers. I c-bet $25 on a Q32 Flop, and they both called. I gave up, and QJ ended up winning the hand. This hand was a mistake by me. I don't need to raise in Early Position with 44 to generate action at this table; it's already got plenty. I also don't need to mix up my raising hands because nobody cares. Half the table just wants to see Flop, and see if the Roulette ball lands on their number. On a Crazy Bingo table like this one, I don't need to raise with anything but Top 10 hands. Limped pots get 5-7 players. Raised pots get 4-6 players.

There are currently two Action Dudes at this table, the $2/$5 player, and another psycho. They're both hitting their crap right now, so I just need to be patient.

4:30 $532 - It's really hard to patient with no cards to play. I got into a pot with the $2/$5 dude. I called one of his raises with 76o on the Button. It didn't work out.

It's also really hard to patient when these nut-jobs keep hitting all their crappy cards. The $2/$5 psycho is hitting ridiculous hands, and is getting paid off. He's been here just over an hour, and already has $900 in front of him.

5:00 $499 - The $2/$5 dude left the table. He was bored by this small game, and went over to Motor City to play in the $5/$10NL game.

The one remaining Action Guy started raising Blind to $15. He has the money in his hand, and announces to the table as the Dealer starts dealing. His cards are right where the Dealer pitched them as he tosses his three Red chip forward. Of course, everyone is just calling the $15, instead of raising. On the second time he did it, I limped and back-raised with 22 UTG. I fired a $60 c-bet on the Flop, but I had to give up on the Turn because there was too many Face Cards on the Board. Naturally, he woke up with AK that hand.

5:30 $451 - I raise to $12 with AJ in Mid position, and get five callers. I flopped an Open-Ender on a Flush Draw board. I had to fold because I was in the middle of two players who were betting and raising. I would have won the pot.

I'm really getting frustrated now. I really have no clue how to win at these Crazy Bingo tables without catching cards. One of the local solid grinders, who had been sitting here all day, said he never raises preflop, even with AA. But he will 3-bet if someone else raises. I think this has some possibilities. You just need to play Small Ball with your Big Pairs, which I normally do anyways. It's something I may try next time I sit at one of these tables.

6:00 $493 - I raised $10 in Mid position with JTo, and get four callers. I flopped a Gutshot (Q82). I c-bet $35, and everyone folded. That's the first time it happened today.

The Blind Action Guy is just an absolute Card Rack now. He's been raising Blind once or twice an Orbit. In the latest one, he ended up with 94o. He flopped Two Pair, and hit his Boat on the River. Someone else in the pot had a Straight on the Turn, and lost $200 on the River to the Blind Action Guy, who's got around $1100 in front of him now.

6:10 $335 - UTG raises to $10. He just recently sat down. Three players call. I'm the SB, and have AKs. The UTG has around $100 behind. I decide that I'm willing to Flip for his stack, so I raise to $70. UTG folds. (I found out right after the hand that he had AQ.) I do get one caller, an older gentleman who hasn't been here that long. He calls the extra $60, and has $55 behind. Flop is Kh Th Ts. I bet $55, and Old Dude calls. I show my AK for Two Pair. Old Dude, who called the first $10 raise, and put in more than half of his stack with my raise, turns over T6c for Trip 10. I miss my two outer.

I go into Mega-Tilt, gather up my chips, and storm away from the table down $115 for the day.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hand Of The Day #34

$1/$2 NLHE - Motor City Casino - 04.14.10

UTG+1 raises with two Red chip, and mumbles something. Three players call $6. I'm on the Button with K4d, so I call the $6. UTG+1 says that he raised to $10. Some of us want to take our bets back, including me. The Dealer says that the money is over the Line, and must stay in if we fold, and threatens to call the Floor over. So I have to call the extra $4.

Flop is Kh Td 7c. UTG+1 bets $20. A Mid player calls. This wasn't the Flop I was hoping for, but I did hit Top Pair. UTG+1 only has $20 behind, but the Mid players has a good stack, and has been active. So I decide to call, and peel off just one card.

Turn: [Kh Td 7c] 4c. Bingo! UTG+1 puts his last $20 over the Line. Mid calls. I raise to $70. Mid folds. I show my Two Pair, and UTG+1 shows 7h7d for a Set.

River: [Kh Td 7c 4c] Th. My Two Pair gets counterfeited, but it doesn't matter. I lose $50 on a hand that I didn't even want to play.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Lost Weekend

I made a rare Friday night appearance at a local home game. It was a player who is starting up a cash game, and lives about 10 minutes from my home. It's a $1/$2 NLHE ($200 max).

I lost my first buy-in in the first orbit. Someone, who's favorite hand is the mighty 2-4, raised UTG with it. One player called. I 3-bet to $40 with AK in Mid position. Only the 2-4 called, and she hit trip 2's on the Turn.

So I reloaded, and slowly started to build up my stack when I lost most of it to a cooler. I hit the Nut Straight against a Set on the Turn, and the board paired on the River. Most of the money went in on the Turn.

This left me with about $50, so I brought out my last $100. I basically just sat there for an hour as I went really card dead. I tried to play the occasional hand, but nothing worked out. Finally, I get my stack of $65 All-In preflop with 99 against one player (El Diabl0) with AJ. The 2-4 player, who had dusted off the money she won from me, also jumped in with a shorter stack. The Flop was J high, and got sent home a little earlier than I was planning.

On Saturday night, we had 35 players for our tournament. I was hoping that things would go better for me than the night before, but it didn't.

In the first orbit that I played, I limped with 97c on the Button. Flop was 9d 9h 3h. I bet 125, and only the BB (Neighbor Mike) called. Turn was the 3rd heart, but I still bet 225, and the BB called. River was the 4th heart, but the board didn't pair, so I just checked and showed my Trips. The BB turns over 2d 2h, and scoops the pot.

Things kept going swimmingly, and I ended up finishing in 27th place.

Since I busted out early, I actually played Cash, $1/$1 NLHE. I bought in for $100. I tried to play patiently, but I kept getting into hands with one of the Action Players who was having a good night. He kept getting there by the River, including a few Runner-Runners. Eventually, I got my short stack All-In with 55 against two players, but the little pair didn't hold up.

After dealing the Final Table, I rebought for another $100. I didn't get many cards for the first hour or so. Eventually, I raise to $5 with AKc. The SB, who had been the most aggressive preflop, 3-bet to $20. I insta-shipped my stack that was just under $70. He called with QQ. The board came out Tails, and I was busto for the night.

Friday, April 9, 2010

I Have To Admit ... I'm Not Getting Any Better

After my recent "vacation of Poker" in Detroit and Cincinnati, I was reflecting on the Good and the Bad of the experience. And I finally came to the realization that I'm not getting any better at this game.

Don't get me wrong, I certainly don't suck at Poker. In fact, I would rank myself as an "Above Average" player in both NL Cash and Tournaments. The problem is that I have been at the "Above Average" rank for the past 2-3 years, and I haven't made the natural progression to the "Good" ranking.

So what would it take for me to consider myself a "Good" Cash Player? Simple. Beat $2/$5 NLHE.

Between 2009 & 2010, I've lost $1877 at $2/$5. That is only 8 sessions (2 Wins, 5 Losses), which I know is a small sample size.

Sure, I'm a winning $1/$2 player, but how hard is it to beat $1/$2? Besides, my numbers are not as good as they should be. I've only been keeping track of Hours Played since September '09. During that time, I have won $2034 in 158.75 hours during 48 sessions. That works out to $12.81 per hour, which sucks.

Another bad thing about my numbers is the size of the Cash-outs. My biggest ever at $1/$2 is just $720, and that was back in Oct '08. After that, I've only got 2 other Cash-outs over $555 ($628 in 03/09 and $601 in 06/08).

The good part about my small Cash-outs is that my losses are also small. The most I've ever lost is just $450 in 10/08. I am certainly a Small Ball player when it comes to NL Cash games.

So what am I gonna do about it? Maybe I'll just keep plodding along, and hopefully some magical switch will click in my brain? No, that what I've been doing. I need to attack this, and put a plan together.

I have been thinking about this for the past week, and I've come up with a few things. Some are stuff that I need to start doing. Some are things that I need to think about in a different light. And some are probably just bullshit, but I'm gonna list them anyways. After all, that's what a Blog is for.

- Change my Preflop Raising: I've been using my standard $1/$2 preflop raise of $7 for a long time, and overall, it's been good to me. But it has gotten me into some ridiculous situations, because all the limper jump on board. Going to the Flop with seven players in a raised pot is not good poker.

So I'm gonna tweak it a bit. In the $200 max games, I will still do $7, but I will add $1 for each limper. For the $300 max games, I will do bump it $10, with the same $1 for each limper. I'm not sure how much of a difference this will make. But it will make some of the pots bigger. And that's a good way to have bigger Cash-outs.

- More 3-betting Preflop: For those who don't know, a 3-bet is the 2nd raise that is made on a particular street (usually Preflop). Online, 3-betting is standard, with the aggressive players 4-betting, and even 5-betting. In Live play, 3-betting is very rare without a premium hand.

So I'm in the Cutoff with a hand that I'm would raise (say JTs), and a player in Mid position raises to $10, then why not 3-bet to $25 instead of just calling? It would reduce the number of players to the Flop, and I would have Position on that player. That seems like smart Poker to me.

- Less "Bingo!": It's not uncommon to sit a $1/$2 table that is playing like a $3/$6 Limit game. A whole lot of limping, and a whole lot of calling preflop. Everyone is just hoping to hit their "Bingo!". Sometimes when I'm in the BB, I'll just check my option, and say "Come on, Red 32!", which is Roulette reference.

Don't get me wrong, sometimes a little "Bingo!" is perfectly OK. But like everything else in Poker, it needs to be in the right situation. Usually, as cheap as possible, and with Position. But when you start calling preflop raises because everyone else is. or you start chasing on the Flop, hoping to hit your miracle Turn card, then you're just gambling.

Also, when you see the players on High Stake Poker playing all kinds of crap, trying to hit their "Bingo!", they are playing against players who have 150-400 Big Blinds in front of them. At a $1/$2 table, many of the "Bingo!"players are sitting there with $80, and are hoping to hit the Bad Beat Jackpot. Just how much can you win with your miracle card?

- Win more pots before showdown: This is one of those mental things. As I just said, players love to call Preflop and on the Flop. Even on the Turn, some are willing to call. But by the River, they will often give up because they didn't hit what they were chasing.

If I get into the mental state of trying to win pots before showdown, then I don't actually need a hand in order to win the pot (in theory).

- Focus solely on NL Cash: I enjoy tournaments, and I enjoy playing other forms of Poker. But NL Cash games is where the money is at. So, if I want to get better, then I need to focus on just NL Cash for a while. That means no more tournaments on my Casino trips.

As for my Home games, I still gotta play tournaments, since I'm the Tournament Director. But I will play the $1/$1 NL game when ever I can, but no more 8-Game for a while.

This will also apply to Online Poker. I don't play much Online, mostly because I get bored after an hour or so. Usually, I prefer to play other games, like Limit Hold'em or Limit Omaha-8. But I've already started playing 6-max NLHE at very low stakes (.05/.10). It plays completely different than Live Poker. But part of becoming a "Good" player is adjusting to the table that I'm playing. 

- Be more willing to play bigger pots, and willing to go deeper into my pocket: This one is self explanatory. Being a Small Baller, I'm not a big fan of playing big pots with just One Pair, as we saw in this Hand Of The Day. But if I want to start getting bigger Cash-outs, then I need to start playing bigger pots. Also, I need to be willing to go deeper into my pocket for more buy-ins when the situation is right.

- Work on Tells and Strength/Weakness: I have to admit that I really suck to this stuff. Yes, I can pick up the occasional Tell on the New/Bad player. Mostly that's because they are No0bs, and don't know any better yet. But with the Good/Experienced players, I just don't notice this stuff. I really wish I could. It would be the #1 thing that I would like to improve in my 'game'.

I know that Tells aren't the most important thing, and they really aren't that big of a factor. Betting patterns tell you so much more. But if I could make just one good $30 call, and one good $30 fold because of the Tell, then that would increase my win-rate by $60 a session.

Awhile back, I bought the Phil Hellmuth & Joe Navarro book, "Read 'Em and Reap" about Tells. One of these days, I really should start reading it. But I ain't never been one for no book learnin'.

And finally...

- Start playing more $2/$5: This is another "DUH!". If I want to start beating $2/$5, then maybe I should play it more. And if my bankroll can't support it, then I need to make more trips to the ATM. I really hate dipping into my Real Life money to do that, but I can afford to do it. It's time to step up, and see if I really can be better than just a Recreational player.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Hand Of The Day #33

Hollywood Casino - 03.18.10 - $340 NLHE Deepstack (20k): Level 7 (200/400/50)

I'm UTG with Kh Kc, and raise to 1400. Four players see the Flop of 7c 5d 2c. The SB leads out for 2500. He's been very active at this table, with lots of betting and raising. He's also catching a lot of big hands. We are the two big stacks at the table, but he's got me covered.

His 2500 bet is less than half the pot of 6450. He could be betting anything from Top Pair to Two Pair+ to some sort of draw. I'm not screwing around with this situation, and raise to 10k. One of the other preflop callers in Mid position thinks for awhile, and goes All-In for 12500.

It folds back around to the SB. He goes into deep thought, and starts talking through the situation. He seems to put me on AK, and just making a move. That would be a retarded move for me to make in this spot. Anyone who's been paying attention at this table would know that the SB doesn't like to fold.

After a full minute, the SB raises to 30k. Because he took so long to make this decision, I'm fairly positive that he's not hollywooding a big hand. I insta-ship All-In for 58500. The SB gets that "Oh, Crap!" look on his face. He thinks for about 30 seconds before making the call. He had to call because his raise to 30k made him pot committed. He just needed to call 28500 into a pot of 107450.

I show my KK. The SB has Q7s for Top Pair. The Mid player, who jumped in the middle of this pot, had 99. My KK holds up, and I scoop a pot of 135950.

Monday, April 5, 2010

He Made Me An Offer I Couldn't Refuse

We had 41 players for our Saturday night tournament. Many of them showed up on time. And by On Time, I mean exactly at 8pm. So it took some extra time to buy everyone in and get the extra chips distributed. But we had "Shuffle Up & Deal" by 8:15 with 28 players at four tables. With all four tables now open, I just had to fill them up with the late stragglers, which doesn't take much effort for this TD.

So I was able to actually play a little poker in the beginning levels. Overall, it went well. My stack had started to dwindle towards "Short" when I hit a set against someone who check-raised me with just Top Pair and a lousy kicker. That easy double-up got me back in the game. I had just over 14k at the first break, thanks to eliminating a player JJ vs TT for about 4000.

Things kept going rather smoothly. I knocked out a short stack or two to get me up to the 20k-25k mark. I hung around there for a while. I wasn't getting great cards, but I was able to steal enough to maintain my stack. I even pulled of a few bluffs during the night.

As we got closer to the Final Table, I knocked out another player to get me up to around 50k. (55 vs two players with overcards, and they missed.) And then a big hand happened.

I think one early player either made a small raise or just limped. Colin, one of the best and most experienced players, 3-bet from Mid position to 10k. I'm on the Button, and I do my little "Prayer to the Poker Gods" thing before I look at my cards. Well, they listened this time, as I look down at two black Aces. If I put the 4-bet in here, it will scream AA to Colin. So I try to get that "Crap, I've got JJ" look on my face, and just call the 10k, with around 40k behind. I'm willing to gamble in this spot to win a monster pot. One of the Blinds moves All-In for around 14k. The first raiser also goes All-In for around the same amount. Colin wants to know if he can re-pop it, but he knows that he can't because they didn't shove in for enough. He calls, and so do I. Flop came Q high and dry. He checks, and I shove. This really confused him, but he folds since he's got a pair smaller then the Q. I show my AA, and both of the All-Ins turn over T9o. They do pick up a Gutshot on the Turn, but my AA hold up for a very big pot.

That hand got us to the Final Table, and I have the chip lead of 89k out of 325k in total chips. That is the good news. The Bad News is that my seat draw sucked. Colin is now on my direct Left, and another quality experienced player (HipHop) is right after him. This will make stealing and making moves much more difficult. Fortunately, I don't need to make any moves for a while.

And I didn't do anything but A-B-C poker for a level or two. By the time we got to the Bubble (5 got paid), I was still the Chip Leader with 70-75k. But the other stacks were not that far behind me, and there was nobody holding on for dear life. Play really ground to a very slow pace. Usually a single raise, and all fold, or just a Walk.

During this Bubble stage, it folded around to me in the SB. Colin and I had only a few Blind v Blind situations so far, with no big pots yet. Both of us tend to be Small Ballers, and we were playing these situations that way. I looked down at A3o, and decided to make a move. I just limped in, with the intention of shoving All-In if he raised his BB. He did raise, and I did shove. He thought for a while, saying, "I don't think I can fold this," which scared the crap out of me. But eventually he folded and showed his AJ. I carefully showed just my Ace, and he now seemed convinced that I had tried to trap with AK, which is something that I would do in that spot (see AA earlier). Later on in the evening, he asked me what I had, and I told him the truth. He was not amused.

Eventually, HipHop was our Bubble Boy, and Colin finished in 4th. This left myself, Linda (an fairly tight, but experienced lady), and Terry C (the Host's best buddy, who is a Level 1 player). The chips were fairly even, but Terry was the Chip Leader. I'm fairly confident of the Win at this point. Two hands later, I was extremely confident of the Win, thanks to Linda's AQ running into my AK in a nasty cooler. This gave me the chip lead heading to Heads-Up, roughly 190k-135k.

Terry wanted to Chop, and go play Cash. I had no interest in that for a few reasons. First, we were only a little ways into the 3k/6k level, so we has some play left. Second, I'm a much better player than he is. If we play this out ten times, I'll probably win 7 or 8 of them. Lastly, and most importantly to me, I really wanted this win. As I've mentioned before, I've only won one CPMG tournament over 30 players. This is a giant thorn in my side now, and some players can't believe it when I tell them. This would be the largest CPMG field that I've ever defeated. Plus, I have yet to score a victory this season. (29 tournaments so far)

Well, this was turning out to be one of the 2 or 3 that he would win. He was getting all the cards. My chip lead lasted about two hands. He kept winning most of the pots. No big pots, but the small and medium pots were starting to add up. Taking 6k-20k out of my stack at time was getting on my nerve. I decided to go into ultra Small Ball mode, and quit raising preflop just to stop the bleeding, and outplay him post-flop.

I'm not sure if it would have worked, because, out of the blue, he asked, "You want to Chop?"

"Even money?", I asked cautiously.


Well, the current chip count was roughly 75k-250k. The end of the Level was only a few minutes away, and we'd be going to 4k/8k. At that level, I would have to start shoving All-In to get back into this match. If it had been anything that gave me 2nd place money, I would have said No. But an even-money chop was just too good of an equity advantage to ignore.

Since the payouts were $480 & $310, we chopped at $395 each. I'm not happy about it, but I just couldn't say No to the offer.

In the last two weeks, I've cashed for $672 of profit between both tournaments, and I'm not happy with either one of them.

Oh yeah, I'm a Poker Player.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Hand Of The Day #32

$1/$3 NLHE - Hollywood Casino -  03.17.10

I'm UTG+1 with Jh Jc, and pop it to $11. Surprisingly, only the BB calls. Flop is Tc 8c 5s. BB leads out for $10. So far, the BB has been a nit, so I'm not thrilled with this bet. I just call, in case he flopped a Big Blind Special.

Turn [Tc 8c 5s] 6c. The BB looks back at his cards and checks. Since the Club Flush hit, he probably was looking to see if one of his cards is a Club. I'm guessing that he might have Ac Tx or Kc Tx. I do have the Jc, so I bet $25. If he min-raises, I will probably fold, since my One Pair will be no good. He just calls.

River [Tc 8c 5s 6c] 3h. The BB grabs about $30 of Red chips, but checks. OK, now I'm positive that he's got Ac Tx or Kc Tx. Since he's willing to call $30, let's see if he's willing to call more. I bet $50. BB thinks for a bit, and calls. I say Jacks, turn my cards over, and put a $1 chip on top for the Dealer tip. The BB mucks his cards in disgust.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Hand Of The Day #31

$1/$3 NLHE - Hollywood Casino - 03.17.10

I'm the Cutoff with 76o and raise to $11. Five players see the Flop of Td 8h 5c. The BB leads out of $17. One player calls before it gets back to me. The BB has been an active player at the table so far, so his range is kinda wide. I've flopped an Open-Ender. Since I was the preflop raiser, I decide to semi-bluff with a raise to $45. Only the BB calls.

Turn [Td 8h 5c] Kh.  BB checks. I fire another Bullet for $60. He thinks for a moment, and calls. I can't put the BB on a hand, but he doesn't seem to be afraid of the K.

River [Td 8h 5c Kh] 3c. The BB checks. I decide to "empty the clip", and bet $60 again so it looks like a value bet. The BB calls quickly. I say, "7 high". He turns over K8d, for a flopped Middle Pair, and turned Two Pair.

I suck at bluffing.