Friday, July 30, 2010

A Scouting Report

Yesterday, I made my first visit to The Rivers Casino in downtown Pittsburgh. The Poker Room is right by the elevators for the Parking Garage. It has 20+ tables, and the room is rather spacious. It's good to see they didn't cram as many tables as possible, and have no room to maneuver. Everything is clean and new, which is because it is new. They just opened up the Poker Room three weeks ago. They seem to be using the Bravo system, which is when you swipe your Player's Card at the table for comps. I didn't ask about the comps or rake, but I didn't see anything about a Bad Beat Jackpot.

When I got there at 12:30, they had four tables of $1/$3 NL, one table of $2/$5 NL, one table of $4/$8 Limit, and a list for $1/$3 PLO. When I left at 4:30, they had eight tables of $1/$3 NL, two tables of $2/$5, two tables of $4/8, and lists for $1/$3 PLO, $4/$8 O8, and $5/$10 NL.

However, this trip was different than my other trips. I didn't play any poker. I went with my Uncle, who is a gambler, but doesn't play poker. When we got there, we walked around to check out the place, and then grabbed some lunch at one of their restaurants. The Chicken Cordon Bleu sandwich was good, but overpriced as you would expect in a casino.

We then headed over to the Craps table. I've never played Craps before, but it's my uncle's specialty. He tried to show me how to play. I kept my betting on the simple side, while he had bets all over the place. We ended up playing one full orbit around table. Most of the Rolls were rather quick. Set the Point, roll a couple of other numbers, and hit the dreaded 7. My Uncle's Roll was quick, with him hitting 7 on the 2nd throw. My Roll was also short, but I did hit my Point twice. Only one player's Roll lasted what seemed to be 15-20 throws. He never hit his Point of 5, but he did hit 6 many times. That gave us a chance to get some of our money back, but not quite back to even. I ended up walking away from the Craps table down $85.

Next stop was the 3-Card Poker table. And just like most of my 3-Card Poker sessions this year, the Dealer had much better cards then we did. In fact, the Dealer only dealt one Straight to the table the whole time we were there. My Uncle got dealt a decent amount of Pairs, but nothing higher. I did get two Flushes, but one of them was beat by a bigger Flush. When my Uncle busted out, I was actually close to even. I decided to go Blind for one last hand. Naturally, the Dealer had a Flush. I did end up with a Pair, so I didn't lose my entire bet. I walked away from the table down $40.

While I did my Blind bet, my Uncle wandered off. After cashing out my chips, I finally found him at a .25 Slot machine. He seemed to be winning a little, and wanted to keep playing. So I sat next to him, put $50 in to the Slot machine, and basically lit a match to it. Spin after spin was little or nothing. After my Uncle wasted most of what he was winning, he cashed out for +$20, and we headed home.

Overall, he was down almost $400, and I was down $175. Considering how bad I've been running in the Pit this year, that's not bad. Plus, I've had a good week at the Home game tables this week, with 2nd place at Julie's and +$236 at a Wednesday night Cash game. So this was essentially a free roll.

I'll be returning to Pittsburgh next weekend to actually play some poker at both The Rivers and The Meadows.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How Do You Defeat Someone Who Is "Having A Good Day"?

On Sunday, Julie had another $40 afternoon tournament. Even though it's July, we had a good crowd of 19 players. (She only has two tables.) I did start a Running Log of this tournament, but I fell behind early on. This was mostly due to a future Hand Of The Day against Julie when I did her a little dirty, and busted her out of the tournament in Level 2. I stayed active for a few levels because of my good cards. I got to the first Break (End of 100/200 Level) with 23125 chips.

After the Break, I wasn't playing many hands. Partially because my cards went quiet, and partially because of who was on my direct Left. I have a small list of players that I never try to steal their Blinds because they will always call me. Chan is one of those players, and he was on my direct Left. But he got his KK cracked with QQ (Donkey Dawn), and was out of the tournament.

Now the player on my direct Left (Mike T) was the other big stack at the table, so I just stayed patient. Fortunately, the cards got a little better. I picked up a few hands (most notably was a Set of 3 against Donkey Dawn). I got some value with them and even knocked out a few players.

When we got to the Final Table (400/800), I had 37525 chips, which was the Big Stack. There were two other players over the 30k mark (Mike T & Brad). I also had a wonderful seat draw. All the players on my Left had small or medium stacks, and would fold to my steal attempts. Both of the 30k stacks were on the other end of the table.

I slowly worked my stack to just over 40k, when I hit a bump in the road. The Cutoff (Mike T) raised to 3000 in the 600/1200 level. I was the BB, and was the only caller with KQ. Flop was Qh Js 6h. I checked. He thought for a bit, and then went All-In. I insta-called, and he had AQ. I lost 20k in that hand. Ouch!

That got me down to just over 20k, but I was now 4th in chips. I kept working my great seat draw, and building back my stack to over 30k. Most hands went well, but there were a few bumps in the road. At this point we were still 9 handed, and I started to knock out some players. The only suckout was when I raised on the Button with QTc. The SB (Cheryl) went All-In for not much more. I called, and she showed AQo. I missed the Flop, but hit a backdoor Flush on the River.

The Bubble popped in the 1k/2k level. I was 2nd in chips behind Brad, who had a ton of chips. He's a loose Cash Game player who rarely plays tournaments. So far, he's been playing like a loose Cash Game player who rarely plays tournament. A lot of questionable play, but he's having a very good day with the cards.

I knocked out the 4th place finisher (Donkey Dawn) in the 1200/2500 level. In a Blind vs Blind hand, she shoved on the Flop with a Flush Draw, and I called with Top Pair. She missed, and this gave me 60600 of the 190k chips in play.

The very next hand, I'm Button, and raise it up to 7500 with AQd. Because of the knockout, there was only a BB (Brad), and he thought for a moment before raising to 30k. I had to stop for a minute and think. AQd is a damn fine hand with just three players left. As I've already mentioned, Brad isn't a Tournament player, and has been doing some bizarre things. But what made me pause and think was the third player at the table (Mike T) who only has around 5 BB left. Finally, I decided that Brad's range is just too wide to fold AQ, and I shove for the 60k. Brad snap calls with AK. DRAT!! But the Lovely Lady appears on the Flop, and I doubled up.

Mike T is eliminated soon after by Brad, and I start the Heads-Up match with the Chip Lead. The first big hand we play ended up being his A9 vs my A7 on a A-high board. I was in the BB, so I just Checked & Call the whole way. This gave Brad back the Chip Lead.

We play for a while before the next big hand. I called a raise in the BB with 53o. Flop was Jc 5c 4d. I checked Middle Pair, and Brad bet 10k, which has been his regular bet. I decided to check-raise to 25k. I don't know if I had the best hand, so this was sort of a semi bluff, but I want to slow him down. He just called. The Turn was [Jc 5c 4d] 8h. Because of the check-raise, I now had to shove All-In for around 45k - 55k, Brad calls, and shows 84o for Two Pair on the Turn. I miss my 2-outer, and finish in 2nd place for $220.

So back to my original question, how do you defeat someone who is "Having a Good Day"? Well, I had a Good Day at the table, but Brad had a Better Day. And in a poker tournament, sometimes that's all that matters.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Rants & Raves: The $50k Players Championship

On Tuesday night, ESPN starts their 2010 World Series of Poker coverage. The first event will be the Final Table of the $50k Players' Championship.

For those who are not familiar with the Tournaments history, it start back in 2006 as the $50k HORSE Tournament. It was won by Chip Reese, and the WSOP named the Trophy after him when he died a year or two later. However, even though it was a HORSE tournament, No Limit Hold'em (NLHE) was played at the Final Table, as requested by ESPN. Many of the Pro were not thrilled with this, since NLHE is not part of the HORSE rotation. I agree with the Pros; a HORSE tournament should have a HORSE Final Table.

The following year, 2007, the WSOP and ESPN agreed with the Players. The tournament was HORSE throughout the entire tournament. ESPN aired 3-4 episodes of the Tournament, which covered from the final 24 players to the championship. As a Mixed Game Player, I really enjoyed watching the Pros play. But the rest of America did not, as these episodes were the lowest rated WSOP shows since before the Poker Boom in 2003.

In 2008, ESPN only aired two episodes of the $50k HORSE, which were the Final Table. Unfortunately, these were the "Scotty Nguyen Is An Angry Drunk" episodes, and I've heard that ESPN has buried these episodes so that they won't be aired in reruns.

Last year, ESPN decided not to broadcast any of the formerly prestigious $50k HORSE tournament. Since there was no TV coverage, attendance dropped for the tournament from the 140-150 range in previous years down to under 100.

This year, the WSOP made some changes to the tournament. First, they changed it from HORSE to an 8-Game tournament, and they are now calling it the $50k Players' Championship. They are also making the Final Table NLHE only, so that ESPN will cover it. While some of the Pros aren't thrilled with the NLHE only Final Table, they understand the importance of ESPN showing this tournament, mostly for extra money the players can earn by wearing their Full Tilt or PokerStars gear.

Personally, I hate it. Yes, NLHE is one of the 8-Games, but a Mixed game tournament should have a Mixed Final Table. But I can understand not wanting to show all of the 8-Games. While I enjoy playing 2-7 Triple Draw, it's not a game that you would want to watch on TV.

However, since I know that many of the WSOP Players' Advisory Committee read this blog (after all, who doesn't read it?), I have a compromise that they can use for next year. Have the Final Table consist of No Limit Hold'em, Limit Hold'em, Pot Limit Omaha, and 7 Card Stud.

All four games have been on ESPN in the past, and none of them have that confusing Hi/Lo component to them. Two of the games are Hold'em, which is easier for the "Casual" viewer to follow. There are two Limit games and two Big Bet games, so you still have the Mixed game feel to it.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hand Of The Day #47

$1/$2 NLHE - Nautica Charity Poker Festival - 07.13.10

A couple of limpers. I'm the Hyjack, and look down at Ac As. I raise to my standard $7, and six players see a Flop of Ah 8d 7d. It checks to me, and I make a standard C-Bet of $25. Ya gotta love Top Set, but the 87d means there are many draws that could tag along. Three players call.

Turn [Ah 8d 7d] 9h. The SB checks. Mid player checks. I check. I hate that card. There is now a three card Straight and two Flush Draws out there. This is a good time for a little Pot Control. I don't mind giving a Free Card here, because I can still hit my Full House Draw. The Button also checks.

River [Ah 8d 7d 9h] 8c. The SB checks. Mid checks. Well, I hit my Full House Draw. I grab two Green chips, and bet $50. Button folds. SB says, "Raise!" He puts the $50 out, and says, "$300." The Mid player quickly ejects, and it's back to me. That's a really big raise that essentially says, "POT!"

98x makes the most sense here. It's hard to put him on Quads. I doubt he would slowplay a Set like this. Plus, most people would only Min raise so they could get paid off. If the Turn and River were both 9, then Quads might be possibility. But in NLHE, Aces Full is usually good.

I go All-In for $494. The SB calls, and shows his hand with confidence. JTo for the Turned Straight. I show my Full House. He looks over the Board in confusion while the table goes "Whoa!" We count down the stacks. He's got around $60 left after paying me off. I scoop what is probably the biggest pot I've ever won.

His check-raise from $50 to $300 is a perfect example of a Zero Play, which is when someone make a bet or raise that could only be called by a hand that has him beat. Am I gonna call the extra $250 with AK? Even if I had 87s, It would be difficult to call that much of a raise, because I couldn't beat anything that would raise that much.

Of course he's gonna lose some money when I made my Full House, but he didn't need to lose the full $494. He could have lead out, and folded to my raise. Or he could have only check-raised to $125 or $150, and then fold to my All-In.

But, as I mentioned before, he really thought he had the Nuts on the River. With the two Red Flush Draws on the Turn, he probably thought, "Dealer, I need a black card on the River." When he saw the black 8c, then he assumed that he still had the Nuts, not noticing that it paired the Board. It's a classic No0b mistake.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Balancing The Scales

There was a Cash game at El Diabl0's on Thursday night starting at 7pm. It was the standard $1/$1 NLHE ($160 max). On weeknight games, I only play until 10-10:30, so I only brought $200.

I bought in for $100, and got off to a good start. I won a nice pot with AJ by flopping Top Pair. That was the highlight of the evening for me, because things starting going downhill after that.

I limped in Mid position with KTo in a Straddle pot ($2). The BB (Mike K) raised to $12, and I was the only caller. The Flop was Kd 6d Th, so I have Top Two Pair on a very Wet board. BB bets $20. I know that he C-Bets about 114% of the time after he raises, so I just call. I figure if he wants to keep betting, I'll keep calling. Turn [Kd 6d Th] Qh. He thought for a moment, and checked. I quickly bet $30, and he called. River [Kd 6d Th Qh] Jd. He quickly went All-In for about $60, and had me covered. That River card was what I call a Joker because it completed all possible draws. At this point, all I could really beat was a bluff. I didn't think he would shove with QJ, which was the highest hand that I could beat. So I thought for a moment, and folded. He said that he flopped a Flush and Straight draw, but who knows.

This left me with around $50 - $55, and I decided not to reload yet. However, I went very card dead for a while. Finally, I looked down at at AK in Mid position, and limped in a Straddle pot hoping that someone would raise. The Button did raise to $12. He's a new player who's playing a lot of pots. One player (Colin) called. I back-raised All-In for $44. The Button quickly and calmly called, which I wasn't happy about. Colin folded ATs. I showed my hand, and Button showed A6d. One of the other players (Chan) said that he folded 66. So you know what that means... Flush Draw on the Flop. The Turn was a Brick, but the River was the Qd, and I lose my first buy-in.

It's only 8:30, but I decided to leave. I could tell that this just wasn't my night. Plus I was getting tired. Delivering mail in the 90 degree weather lately has not been fun.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Call Me ... MacArthur

I decided to stay in town on my Off Day today, and get some stuff done. I also decided to make my return to the Nautica Charity Poker Festival in Cleveland. I haven't been there for almost a year.

Even though some of our Home game players practically live down there, I've never been a big fan of the place. All the dealers are volunteer, and some of them are dealing for the first time. They can't even follow the action, let alone enforce any rules or control the Pot. It not uncommon for many players to have their fingers in the Pot, either making change or gather up bets.

Since the Dealers aren't in control of the tables, cheating is also common down there. We've all seen Teams working together. Either Whiplashing an unsuspecting player, signaling to their partner, or squeezing out the other players and checking it down. Also, shorting pots is not unusual. I've seen players say $100, but only bet a stack of 16-18 Red chips. I've also seen a player bet $30 with a Black $100 chip, lose the pot, and then try to buy back his $100 chip with not enough Red chips.

Lately, I've heard that things have improved somewhat. Most notably, the $15/hr Time Fee has been replaced with a $6 max Rake. So today seemed like a good day to make my return to Nautica. Here is my Running Log of the session.

4:20 $200 - I arrived just before they opened at 4pm. This was the first time that I've been here this early, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Well, like most things involving Nautica, it was chaotic. There was a big line outside the entrance, and they started letting us in 10 players at a time. Since I got there just before 4pm, I was towards the back of the line. When I finally got inside, I put my name on the $1/$2 list. There were already two tables open, and it took about 15 minutes to get the 3rd opened.

I grabbed the 6 Seat, so I can help the Dealer with Pots, just in case they're a No0b. Fortunately, the volunteer Dealer seemed to have a clue.

5:00 $147 - So far, this has been a normal $1/$2 table. Nobody playing hyper-aggressive, and nobody donking off stacks of chips. There's been a decent amount of preflop raises between $10-$20. The Dealer is quite competent, and we're playing at a good pace.

The only hand I really played with limping and calling a raise with A6s in Mid position. Five players saw the Flop of 9s 7s 7c. It checked around. Turn was a Brick. The BB bet $30, and I was the only caller with my Flush Draw. I missed the River, and folded to the BB's bet.

5:30 $113 - Cards suck so far. It folded to me in Mid, so I raised to $7 with ATh. Only the Blinds call. Flop is 8d 5d 2s. SB bets $10, and I call. Turn is Kc. He bets $10, and I give up.

We got a new Dealer. He is experienced, and very efficient. He's even making change for $5 Red chips with money from the Rake.

6:00 $195 - I reloaded for $100 more. Here are my last 13 hands of the half hour:

J7o (Mid - Fold). Q4s (Fold). 74o (Fold). K8c (UTG - Fold. Everyone limped, and checked it down to River. I would have hit Flush). KTo (BB - Checked my option, and Airballed). 95o (SB - Folded to raise). A6o (Btn - Folded to raise). K4o (Fold). 52o (Fold). 76o (Mid - Limped, then Airballed). J5o (Fold). K2o (Fold). Q7o (UTG - Fold).

6:30 $372 - I finally won a pot! I limped in Mid with Q5c. Flopped Trip Q. Someone called my Flop bet, but folded to my Turn Bet. Very next hand, I raised to $7 with A9d. Three players see the Flop of A 9 6. I bet $15. One player called, but folded on the Turn.

Later, UTG raised to $6. Three players call. I'm the Button, and look at KK. I raise to $30. The BB, UTG, and Hyjack call. Flop is Ts 5s 2c. It checks around to me. I grab a stack of Red chips, and bet it for $80. BB folds. UTG thinks for a bit, and goes All-In for $44. Hyjack folds. UTG has QQ, and misses his two-outer.

7:00 $389 - Dealer changed again. This one isn't bad, but he looks like he is "Separated At Birth" from one of our former Home game players (Theo).

I limp on Button with 64o. I flopped a Gutshot. It checked around to me, and I bet my standard $11, and only get one caller. I hit my Gutshot, but he folded. My Table Image is really Tight now, so I think it's time to start raising more. Preflop has become a Mega-Limp-Fest with pots having 6-9 players each time.

7:30 $1129 - The preflop raising has gone well. I have won two of the pots on the River with a $35 stab while having not much. (Pair of 5 with 54o in one. The other was with QJ-high. The players folded each time.)

Later, I doubled up in a future Hand Of The Day, which includes a "Gift" of about $400.

8:00 $1209 - Another Dealer change, and she is a No0b. The table is helpful in keeping the action moving.

I hit a Small Blind Special with 52o. Flop was 5c 3s 2c. I lead out for $11 on the Flop, and only the "Gift" player called. He called a $20 Turn bet, but folded to the River bet when all the Draws missed.

Later, I hit a Set in the BB with 44, and won a nice pot. I also raised with Q8h UTG+2, and won the pot with Top Pair.

This is the most money I've ever had at a poker table. My old record for $1/$2 profit was $720.

8:20 $1176 - I stabbed at a pot with Middle Pair, but folded to a raise. I also called a Flop bet with a Broadway Draw, but missed.

I was planning on staying until 9pm. Right now, I'm up $876. Part of me really wants to go for the $1000 mark. But part of me is getting hungry. I'm at the 4 Hour mark, which is what I normally play. I decided to cashout, grab some Subway, and go home to type up this post.

A Blogger's work is never done.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Hand Of The Day #46

$1/$2 NLHE - Greektown Casino - 07.10.10

Game is currently eight handed. I limp in Mid position with 86o. Six players see the Flop of Ac 9d 7d. The player before me bets $10. He a Kid who's here playing with his buddy. He's also a total No0b. He's extremely tentative in his actions, fumbles his chips, and not sure when it's his turn. I call with the Open-Ender. The Button also calls.

Turn [Ac 9d 7d] Ts. No0b bets $10 again. Since I have the Nuts, I make a small raise to $25. I don't want to scare off the No0b, but I want the Button to fold, just in case he's on a Draw. The Button does fold, and the No0b called.

River [Ac 9d 7d Ts] Qc. No0b turns over his hand, Jc Js, like we're at Showdown. The players and the Dealer get that "WTF?" look on their faces. The Dealer tells the No0b that it's his action. The No0b says he's sorry, turns his hand back over, and checks.

I'm just sitting there shuffling 6 Red chips, and I place them over the Line for a $30 bet. Why bet when he's only got JJ? Because I was already planning to bet $30 on the River, and I knew he would call. And he did, rather quickly. I show my Straight, and scoop the pot. The Button said he folded an A.

Was is wrong to bet after he showed his hand? Hell, No! Taking advantage of the Weak is what Poker is all about.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Into The Lion's Den

2:00 $300 - After donking off my chips in the Greektown 11am tourney on Monday, I decide to go play at my own personal Money Tree, MGM Detroit. My win-rate is much larger there than any other Detroit casino. I don't know why this happens, but I've learned not to question the Poker Gods.

They are opening a new table, the 3rd $1/$2 table. I'm the only player who bought in for the full $300. Most have $200, and a few have around $100. There are a few $2/$5 regular waiting for the "real" game to open up.

2:30 $296 - The action at this table is what I expected with the $2/$5 players sitting in the Kiddie game. I'm just sitting back, and being patient. The only raise I made was with JTo in Mid position after it folded around to me. Everyone else folded, and I won the blinds.

3:00 $231- As I've mentioned before, MGM Detroit doesn't drop their rake. They keep it in the Dealer's tray on the Seat 10 side. After an hour, there is $80 in that slot.

Straddle pot. It folded to me in Mid position. I raise to $15 with 77. The Blinds and Straddle call. Flop Qc 8d 5d. It checks around to me, and I C-Bet for $35. The BB called, and I gave up.

3:30 $233 - Limped with QJ on the Button. BB raised to $13. Four players see the Flop of Qc 8d 5h. It checks around to me, and I bet $40. Only the SB (Old Guy who likes to chase Draws) calls. Turn [Qc 8d 5h] 9d. SB checks. I don't like that card, so I also check. River [Qc 8d 6h 9d] 8c. SB grabs a stack of Red chips and bets $95. After thinking about it for a little bit, I make the crying call. He shows 75o for a Straight. It was a bad call by me. My record for Hero Calls sucks, and I need to stop giving away chips.

I grab 8 Green chips out of my pocket, and reload $200.

4:00 $241 - Rake is now $155. I raised with AQ, got two callers, and took it down on the Flop. Even though the $2/$5 players are still here, the table has calmed down somewhat. I've been doing a lot of folding today, because my cards really suck.

4:30 $326 - UTG has been milking his Shortstack for a while now, and goes All-In for $17. I'm the next player, and call with JTo. This starts the cascade, and six players see the Flop of Js Jd 3s. I bet $50, and all fold. UTG has 88, and misses his 2-outer.

5:00 $266 - Rake is $231. I called a few raises, and made a few. All were Airballs. I've been card dead all day. Maybe this is "balancing the scales" for my tourney victory on Saturday night.

5:30 $274 - I called a $7 raise on the Button with 54o. Five players saw the Flop of Ac 5s 2c. It folds around to me, and I bet $20. Everybody folds.

6:10 $535 - I forgot to check the Rake, but the hourly total seems to be in the $70-$80 range.

Straddle pot. I'm in Mid position, and make it $15 with AKo. One or two players call. The Straddle, who is one of the $2/$5 players and the Action Guy of the table, raises to $75. I go All-In for $270. If I just call, then I might whiff the Flop. Plus, I expect him to call me with a wide range of hands. I was planning on leaving soon, so I if I win or lose, then it's all good. He talks a little, and finally calls. I show my cards, but he doesn't. When I hit the Greenstein, he pounds his fist on the table, and shows his JJ.

I was planning on leaving at 6pm, so I play another orbit, but nothing of interest happened. I leave the table up $35.

On Sunday, I played a session similar to this one: 4.5 hours, no cards, and -$54. For me to have played 8.5 hours of card dead poker, and only be down $19, that feels like a moral victory to me.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Me & Mrs B

"Shuffle Up & Deal" 10000 - I got home from work on Saturday, and expected to spend a quiet night catching up on Netflix. Instead, I find out that one of our Home game hosts (Julie) just scheduled a tournament that starts in about an hour. So I quickly scarf down some dinner, and head over to her place.

We started out with 12 players. I am seated at Table 2. I like my seat draw, since four of the six players are women. The only other guy is Adam, and he's on my direct Right. Host Julie is on my Left.

End of Level 1 (25/50) 9850 - So far, the play has been normal for the first level. I called two preflop raises, but airballed the Flops. Towards the end of the Level, I limped with AT, hit Top Pair on Flop, and won it on the Turn.

Level 2 (50/100) 9900 - Currently, we have 13 runners for the tournament. I raised to 250 with KQo. Won it on a Q-high Flop. With the small field tonight, I'm trying to play patiently until we get to the Final Table, then I can work my magic.

Level 3 (75/150) 10775 - The 14th player (Morgan) just walked in, and is at our table. I limped on the Button with 92s. Four players see a Flop of Kh 3c 3s. It checks to me, and I make a stab of 225. Only the BB calls.

She is a new player named Mrs B, and this is the first time I've played with her. She an older lady who is a very "recreational" player. So far, she's been playing a lot of pots. If she raises preflop, it's always a min-raise. She will call with a very wide range post-flop, but she will check Top Pair on the Flop.

Turn [Kh 3c 3s] 8s. She checks. She seemed rather reluctant to call the 225, so I fire again for 525 with my Flush Draw. She quickly folds.

Level 4 (100/200) 12025 - I limped in SB with Ah 2d. Four players saw the Flop of 7s 5c 3c, and all checked. Turn [7s 5c 3c] 5s. Since nobody showed much interest on the Flop, I lead out for 325. The BB (Julie) and the Button (Adam) called. River [7s 5c 3c 5s] Qh. Everybody checked, and my A-high was good.

Level 5 (125/250) 12950 - We are now up to 16 runners, but only 14 are left. I raised with KJ on the Button. I won the pot by hitting the K on the River.


Level 6 (150/300) 11475 - I limped on the Button with T8c. Five players see the Flop of Kc Ks Qc. It checks around to me, and I bet 625 with my Flush Draw. Only the BB (Mrs B) calls. I hit my Flush on the Turn, and we both check. On the River, she bets 1000. This surprised me. She either got a K or a Full House. I decide to do a Min raise to 2000. If she goes All-In, then I will make the easy fold. But she just calls with a K.

Later, I limped on the Button with 64o. Three players see the Flop of Q 6 4. A Mid player (Morgan) bets 1000. Since I know that he likes to bet, I just call. Turn [Q 6 4] J. He bets 2000. I grab my stack of 500 chips, and push it forward. Unfortunately, it's only 8 chips, or 4000, so he calls the min-raise. River [Q 6 4 J] J. He checks. I turn my hand over in disgust at getting counterfeited. He wins the pot with QTs. I'm not sure he would have called if I made a "real" raise on the Turn.

Level 7 (200/400) 12575 - Blind vs Blind against Adam, who is the SB. We both limp. Flop J 8 3. He bets 500, and I call. Turn [J 8 3] 2. He checks. I bet 700, and he calls. River [J 8 3 2] 5. He checks, and I bet 1000. He says that his Pair is no good, and folds. I show 97o for a missed Gutshot. Gotta love the Value Bluff.

Level 8 (250/500) 18050 - I start bleeding chips. Not from any big pots. But calling a min-raise preflop, or getting check-raised after stabbing at a pot is starting to add up now that the Blinds are getting up there.

Morgan's been raising a lot against my Blinds, and I need to slow him down. After he raised in Mid position, I pushed back on the Button with A6. He snap called with TT. This was a mistake by me because he had less chips then I realized. However, my mistake was rewarded with an A on the Flop.

That sent Morgan home, and us to the Final Table shortly before the Level ended. I've got a slightly above average stack at this point. On my direct Right is Meat, and my direct Left is Mrs B.

Level 9 (300/600) 21550 - UTG+1 (Adam) make it 1700 to go. Two players call. I'm on the Button. I look down at AJo, and decided to squeeze it up to 7000. All fold.

Next hand, it folds to me in the Cutoff. I raise to 1600 with 65o. Only the BB (K-Tina) calls. Flop Tc 3h 2c. She leads out for 2200, and has about 4k behind. I decide not to gamble with my Gutshot, and fold.

Level 10 (400/800) 9700 - Mid (Jack) limps. CO (Linda) raises 2200. SB (Meat) calls. I'm the BB, and I look down at Ad Qh. I really can't call here, so it's a Push or Fold situation. I look over at Linda, and she's checking out her chip stack like she's counting it. I think she wants to get her chips in the middle, so I fold. Flop Qc Tc 8c. They both get the chips All-In. Linda has Ac Kh for the Nut Flush draw, but she's drawing dead. Meat called with J9c for a Straight Flush, and Linda is left with about 2k in chips. If I had shoved, I would hit my 3-outer against her. So I made the right move at the wrong time.

Since she's so short-stacked, she starts going All-In every chance she gets. I call the 2nd one for 4500 with 76c. She has 55, and wins the Race. This was a mistake by me. The Blinds are to high to start gambling at the Final Table.

Later, I raise to 2100 on the Hyjack with JTo. CO (Mrs B) and BB (Jack) call. Flop Ac 9c 7h. I make a C-Bet of 4100. Mrs B calls. The Flush came on the Turn, and we both check. I hit my J on the River, but I just check. She has A5d and wins the pot. Making that C-Bet was a mistake against someone who doesn't like to fold, especially when they will call my preflop raise with any A.

BREAK TIME. We've got 8 players left.

Level 11 (500/1000) 11200 - UTG (Mrs B) min-raised to 2000. Mid (K-Tina) calls. SB (Meat) folds. I'm the BB, and call with 85d. I flop a Flush draw, and quickly ship it All-In for 7700. Everyone folds.

Later, I raised to 2500 with QTh in Mid, and get two callers. The Flop came out K-high. I checked and folded.

Level 12 (600/1200) 28900 - I doubled up with KK.

Later, Mid (Jack) raises to 3600. The next player (McLovin') goes All-In for 5900. It folds around to me in the SB. I've got AQo, and ship it for 18400 total (12300 more). Jack goes deep in to the tank. He counts his stack, which is around 42k. After almost two minutes, he folds AK face up. I turn my hand over, and McLovin' shows 55. The Flop comes KQX, and I win the pot. We are now 6 handed.

Level 13 (700/1500) 57500 - Five players left, which is the Bubble. It folds to the Button (Meat), who raises to 4500. I'm the SB, and look down at KK. I see no reason to get cute here, so I raise to 12000. Meat quickly goes All-In with AK, and I call. The last remaining K hits the Flop, which seals the deal. We count down our stacks, and he's got about 4k left. He hangs around for a bit, but eventually is the Bubble Boy.

Level 14 (1k/2k) 75k-85k ish - Still four handed. Jack is the Button, and limps again. SB (Linda) calls. I'm the BB with ATo, and check. Flop is T 8 6. SB checks. I check my Top Top, because I'm sure that Jack will fire at it. He does for 5k. SB folds. I check-raise to 15k. Jack quickly goes All-In. Crap, I hope he didn't hit a monster. I ask how much, and he's got 19k more. I gotta make the call, and say I've got AT. He gets the "Are you serious?" look on his face, and turns over KT. He misses his 3-outer, and is out in 4th place. I've now got the dominant stack at the table.

Level 15 (1200/2500) 85500 - Been three handed the whole level. I started off as the dominant stack, with well over 100k. I'm trying to play small pots, and not give away any Courtesy Double-Ups. But at any Final Table, sometimes you just gotta call. I double up both of them with Coin Flips, like 88 vs Linda's AK.  This evens things up a bit, but I'm still chips leader.

Since we're three handed, most of the pots are Heads-Up. I'm playing pots against Mrs B very differently then the pots I play against Linda. As I've said before, Mrs B is a recreational player, and is not a fan of folding. Linda is an experienced grinder, and has no problem folding.

Level 16 (1500/3000) 160k - I raise on the Button to 8000 with A4o. Mrs B (SB) goes All-In. Linda folds her BB. It looks like she's got around 15-18k, so I call. She has KJ, and hit her card. After counting her chips, she actually had 27k more, and she is now the chip leader. If I knew she had that many, I wouldn't have called with just a baby Ace. Another mistake by me.

Shortly after, Mrs B min-raises to 6k on the Button. Linda calls in the SB. I look at A9 in the BB. A9 is a rather good hand with just three players left. I consider shipping it All-In, but there is no Fold Equity because Mrs B doesn't like to fold. I am the best player at this table, so why get into a Coin Flip if I don't have to? I just call the extra 3k. All three of us end up checking it down. Mrs B win the pot with AT-high. I pat myself on the back for being disciplined.

Shortly after, Linda goes All-In from the SB. I look down at AK, and call. She's got 66. I win the Race, and Linda finishes in 3rd. This give me back the chip lead, but only by 2k over Mrs B.

Linda decides to stick around, and shuffle the cards while Julie deals Heads-Up. The hands were coming faster then we could post our blinds. I'm playing Super Small Ball against Mrs B, with an occasional preflop raise or a stab at a pot. I'm just waiting to hit something big, and end this tourney. Finally, in the last hand of the level. I flop Bottom Pair, turn Bottom Two Pair, and river a Boat. Mrs B calls the All-In, and the tourney is over.

This was my first Home tourney win of the year. Being that we are halfway through this year, it's a little pathetic.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Hand Of The Day #45

$1/$2 NLHE - MGM Detroit - 06.13.10

Mid player raises to $10. He's been doing a lot of raising, usually to just $4. I call in the Cutoff with 93c, since it's suited. I've got around $450, and he's got the same or maybe more. The SB also calls.

Flop Kh 9h 3s. SB checks. Mid bets $30. I see no reason to slowplay my Bottom Two Pair, so I raise to $80. SB folds. Mid thinks for a bit, and raises to $130, the absolute minimum raise. WTF? I decide to just call. If our stacks were smaller, then I would have no problem shipping it All-In. But I've still got over $300 behind, and that Min 3-Bet is really bizarre.

Turn [Kh 9h 3s] Ah. Worst card in the Deck, other than another K. Mid thinks for a bit, and checks. To me, this is a "Way Ahead or Way Behind" situation. I really can't put him on Hearts in this spot. But he certainly could have AK or AA. Plus, I don't want to get Check-Raised, so I just check.

River [Kh 9h 3s Ah] 6h. I wasn't worried about the 3rd Heart, but the 4th one really sucks. He thinks and checks. I say, "Two Pair", and it was good. I'm not really sure what he had, but the only hands that I could beat were KQ, or maybe QQ.

I know that I sometimes complain that I can't get paid off with my big hands. And maybe I should have re-raised after he made that Min 3-Bet. But how much more money would he have committed with KQ or QQ?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Hand Of The Day #44

$1/$2 NLHE - MGM Detroit - 06.13.10

I raise to $7 in Mid position with Jc Js. Cutoff raises to $20. He's the Big Stack at the table, and seems to be the only "Player" at the table. All Fold. Since he's got me covered, and I'm out of position, I just call.

Flop Jh Tc 9d. I check my Top Set. He checks.

Turn [Jh Tc 9d] Ts. I decide to check my Boat. He fires $30. I decide to just call, and fire out big on the River.

River [Jh Tc 9d Ts] Kh. I quickly grab 3 Green chips and bet $75. He tanks for a while. He looks back at his had a few times. He finally folds AT (Trip Tens) face up. I muck my Full House in quiet disgust, and scoop my small pot.

This hand shows my unique ability to win the minimum with Monster hands. It doesn't necessarily mean that I played it wrong. I always seem to choose the wrong betting line for the cards my opponent has. I could have decided to lead out on the Turn, or even Check-Raise him. But he could have had other hands that would have folded, like AK or maybe AJ.

Certainly in this hand, Position was a factor. It's much easier to manipulate the pot size when you're last to act.

Also, the K on the River turned out to be a Scare Card for just Trips, since any Q will have him beat. Of course, if he had a different hand like AQ or QQ, then it would have been a great card for me.