Sunday, December 25, 2011

Coal In The Stocking

2:20 $300 - I walk into the Peppermill Poker Room on Christmas Day, and got seated at one of the two $1/$2 NL tables.

In my first orbit, I was dealt Ah As in the Hyjack. There was a couple of limpers, so I raised to $10. Only UTG (80's guy) and Mid (lady I've never seen) called. The three of us saw a Flop of Ac 8h 6s. They both checked. That's a relatively dry Flop, so I checked. Turn [Ac 8h 6s] 9h. Once again, they both checked. I bet $21, UTG folded, and Mid called. River [Ac 8h 6s 9h] 7h. Wonderful. The Dealer just put up the Joker, as there is now a 4-Card Straight and 3-Card Flush out there. She checked. I thought for a moment, and made a $21 value bet. She could easily have Two Pair on this board, and I'd make an easy fold if she raised. But she just called, said "Straight," and showed 9h 5c. I mucked my hand without showing it or making any comments.

Next hand, it folded to me. I raised to $7 with Ac Th, and the Button and BB call. I completely airballed the Flop, so I checked the Flop and folded on the Turn.

Next hand, both UTG and UTG+1 limped in. I'm next with As Qd, so raise to $9. The Button, and both limpers called. Flop 6c 5d 3s. It checked to me, and I decide to make a $20 C-Bet. Only UTG+1 called, and she's the 95 lady from before. Turn [6c 5d 3s] 7c. She checked, and so did I. River [6c 5d 3s 7c] 6s. She quickly grabs some chips to bet, and I muck even faster.

A few hands later, I limped in the SB with Q4o, and six players saw a Flop of Q 6 4. I lead out for $6, and only the BB called. The Turn was [Q64] 2. I bet $10, and the BB folded.

A few hands later, a couple of players limped in. I'm the Hyjack with Ad Ah, and raised again to $10. Only one of the limpers called. Flop Ks 8d 5d. He looked back at his cards, and bet $10. I decided to raise to $25 for value, and to get some more info. He looked back at his cards a few times, and finally called after about 30 seconds. Turn [Ks 8d 5d] 4c. He checked, and I bet $35. He looked back at his cards a couple of more times, and check-raised All-In for about $40 more. I'm not happy about it, but I called. River [Ks 8d 5d 4c] Kh, and he won the pot with KJd.

After 14 hands (about 20 minutes), I grabbed my remaining chips, cashed them out for $111, and left the Peppermill.

I have no idea how to win at this game anymore, and I have no clue what to do about it. I'm a broken man.

Monday, December 19, 2011

I Need To Vent

I mentioned in my previous post that I did good last weekend, and I was hoping that this meant things had finally started to turn around for me. Well, that didn't happen. In fact, I had lost all that I won last weekend, and some more on top of that.

It started on Saturday, when I played in the Peppermill's 6:30pm $120 tournament. It had 21 players, and I made a deep run. The problem was when we got down to six players, the play dragged to a halt as nobody would get knocked out. This caused everyone to become rather shortstacked, so everyone was just waiting for big hands to get their chips in the middle.

When we got down to five players, I decided to "step on the gas", and started shoving my shortstack in whenever it seemed appropriate. After all, nobody was trying to win this, so I might as well. Overall, things went well, as I was able to build my stack steadily. But I did have to make some annoying laydowns, which kept me from getting the big stack.

Eventually, I was knocked out in 4th place when I lost a race with my KTo losing to the BB's 44. He had me covered by a little bit, and I was the Bubble Boy again. Before I even got out of my seat, they started discussing a deal. I'm sure they didn't play another hand.

And when I said "Bubble Boy again", I meant it. In the last six tournaments, I have finished as the Bubble Boy or Bubble+1 in five of them. And those include a $240 tourney, a $230 one, and this $120 tourney.

On Sunday, I went back to the Peppermill to grind some $1/$2 NL. I ended up grinding for 4.25 hours, and lost the $300 buy-in and $200 add-on. It was a lot of terrible cards, and losing annoying small and medium pots. The biggest loss was me making a $120 call with a Set of 8, and ran into a Flush. It was just one of those session that I wasn't gonna win, no matter what I did.

But the cherry on top of the sundae was tonight. Surprisingly, I got off work earlier than I expected, especially for Christmas week. So I decided to go grind some $1/$2 NL, and went to the Grand Sierra. I'm not sure why I went there, because I can't win there. Since I've moved here last year, here are my numbers before tonight (-$1425, 29 sessions, 82 hours), and these are the worst numbers by far for $1/$2 in any of the Reno rooms. I honestly have no clue why I can't win at the Grand Sierra. The only difference between this room and the other room is that it's a rock garden. This room has more Super-Nits per table than any other room in Reno. But it should be easier to play against them, because they usually play their cards face up.

I sat down with the full $300, and things started off like they normally do at Grand Sierra. The biggest loss was when I hit Two Pair on the River, and someone else hit a bigger Two Pair (JT vs KT). There was also various other hands involving annoying situations, and frustrating laydowns.

My stack had bled down to around $120, when I was dealt 9s 9c in the UTG+1. I raised to $5, which is what I've been raising all night. Five players saw a Flop of 9d 6d 4h. The BB lead out for $16. I've played with him before, and he's the only Action Guy at the table. I considered just calling to keep the Action Guy in the pot. But I quickly realized that the Flop was too draw-heavy, and slowplaying would be suicidal. I raised to $40.

It folded around to the SB, who's one of the Super-Nits at the table. He grabbed some chips, put them back in his stack, and then said "All-In" for over $250. The BB couldn't fold fast enough, and I couldn't call fast enough. I knew the SB had either Set with 66 or 44, as he would never go All-In with hands like 96 or even 87d. Even the Dealer quietly said "Set over Set" right after I insta-called.

I turned my hand over, and the SB said, "Crap, you got me," but didn't show his hand. The Dealer dealt the Turn [9d 6d 4h] 6s. "Oh!" said the SB, as he quickly showed his 66 for Quads. I have no idea what the River card was, as I grabbed my bottle of Mountain Dew and stormed away from the table. I guess it could have been the last 9 in the deck.

Yeah, like that would ever happen to me.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sunshine And Rainbows ?

Here's a recap of my poker from last weekend.

On Saturday, Grand Sierra had the Main Event for their Winter Pot of Gold tourney series. So I headed up there after work, and got seated at a new $1/$2 table a little after 7pm.

I got off to a lousy start as I lost a couple of decent sized pots to a tournament Super-Nit. It took me almost an hour to win my first pot. I did manage to double up when I had 98s on the Button. I flopped Two Pair and turned a Boat against the one Action Guy at the table. But I was so low on chips, it didn't even get me back to my buy-in of $300.

Things kept going lousy. A little after 9pm, I was debating whether to add-on an extra $200, or just cut my losses. The Poker Room brought in some food, so I decided to stick around, and bought the extra $200.

As it turned out, I made the right decision. About 11pm, I left the Poker Room up $415. The biggest reason was that I flopped a Straight Flush with 54s for a High Hand Bonus of $267, plus the pot. I won a few other nice pots from either the Action Guy or another player who was running worse than I was.

On Sunday morning, I played in the Atlantis 11am $80 Bounty donkament, which had 18 players. Once again, I got off to a lousy start, which I've already mentioned. It looked like I wasn't even going to make it to the Final Table when I shoved with A9o, and got quickly called by TT. But I flopped an Ace to double up, and survive to the Final Table.

Things weren't going well at the Final Table, as I didn't have many opportunities to get chips or Bounties. With six players left, I finally 3-Bet All-In with ATo, and the initial raiser called with AJc. I hit my Ten on the Turn, and doubled up.

This started a good run for me, as I quickly became one of the chip leaders when we got to the four-handed Bubble. Naturally, all the players wanted to do a Bubble Save, but I quickly said No. I am no longer saying Yes to the Bubble Saves, even though I finished on the Bubble or Bubble+1 in my last three tournaments. This caused the other players to get pissed at me, as they are all local tourney regulars, but I didn't care.

Play continued, and I eventually popped the Bubble by knocking out a player who had almost as many chips as I did. This gave me the Tower Of Power with the dominate chips stack. The other two players started talking about making a deal. While I don't do Bubble Saves, I am willing to make a deal to lock up my equity as the Chip Leader. I got a little less than 1st Place money, the other two chopped the rest, and we kept our Bounties. I walked out of the Atlantis up $300.

I went home to chill for a while, and then headed over to the Peppermill. They had two tables of $1/$2 with an open seat. The first one had a Kid that I've never seen before on the Left of the open seat, and the second one had some older regulars around the open seat. Naturally, I choose the second table.

We don't have to post at the Peppermill, so my first hand was UTG. I got 99, so I limped in. I flopped a Set, and turned Quads for a $75 High Hand Bonus. Things continued to well at this table, but I wasn't at it for long as I got called to another game. I left the table up $102 plus the High Hand Bonus.

The game that I was called to was the $5/$10 Limit Crazy Pineapple H/L game that was starting. (Yes, I know what you're thinking.) I'm not going into to much detail here about the game, as I will make a separate post about it after I've played a few sessions.

This was only the second time I've played the game, and it didn't go well. My first time was the previous week, and I had a good session as there were a few players giving away money. This line-up was less generous, and I just could get any good scooped pots. After 4.25 hours, I walked away from the table down $94.

Overall, I was up $778 for the weekend, which included a $20 football parley that I lost. So is it sunshine and rainbows now? Are happy days here again?

I wouldn't say so yet, but it was certainly a good start. My pile of cash was getting low enough that a trip to the ATM was an option. This weekend certainly gave me some room on that. Now if I can string together some winning weekends, even if they aren't as large as this one, then I can say I'm on the road to recovery.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hand Of The Day #88

Atlantis $80 Bounty Tournament ~ Level 4 (200/400/50) ~ 12.11.11

We are eight handed. UTG+1 limps. I'm the Cutoff, and also limp with 7d 7s. Both blinds climb on board, and the Flop is 7c 4c 2h. It checks around to me, and I also checked. It's a bit of a gamble by me, as this board is very draw heavy, especially for a limped pot. But things have not gone well in this donkament so far, so I want the chance to win a big pot. The players at this table are very basic, so I won't lose much if a draw hits the Turn.

Turn [7c 4c 2h] 4d - Well, I don't have to worry about the draws, as the I now have a Full House. The SB leads out for 600. He's a 70's gentleman who's a semi-regular in the donkaments around Reno, and he seems to be playing like a 70's gentleman. I instantly put him on 4. The other two players fold. If they would have called, then I would have raised. But since it's just me and the SB now, I just call so I don't scare him off. I am planning on raising his River bet. Hopefully, he will hit his kicker, or another 2 will come.

River [7c 4c 2h 4d] 4h - Or another 4 could come. The SB quickly tosses out two Yellow 1k chips for a bet of 2000. I get visibly annoyed, and say, "I don't believe this. I have the 2nd Nuts, and I'm considering folding."

I still think he has the last 4 in his hand, but what other hands could he have. Remember, it's a 70's gentleman who limped in the SB preflop, checked the Flop, made a small bet on the Turn, and made a near pot-sized bet on the River.

If he had an Overpair, like 88 or 99, then I'm assuming that he would have bet the Flop, and I doubt he would bet as big on the River. If he had the last 7, then why bet so big on the Flop? If he had 22, then why bomb the River when is had got counterfeited? If he missed a draw, even a big monster like 65c, then he wouldn't bet the Turn or River because old geezers don't bet their draws, nor bluff when they missed.

It only took me about 20 seconds to make the easy decision, and I folded my 77 face up. Tight players love to show their big hands, so the SB showed his hand, 43s. Sometimes the 3% gets there. (Yes, Live Poker is rigged.)

Naturally. the table was shocked to see this. I look at it the same way I look at folding KK preflop. I've done it four or five times in my poker life, and they've all been this easy.

Welcome to my last few months.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December News & Notes

- I'm sure you loyal readers have noticed that the blog entries are becoming fewer and fewer. I've been losing my motivation for this blog for awhile now. Part of it is because of my mixed results over the last few months, and part of it is because I just don't feel like sitting in front of the computer grind out a post. It took me almost a week to get this one typed up.

No, I'm not going to shut down this blog, as I have too much good information in these pages. There will be stretches of time when the posts will be few and far between, and there will be some spurts where I'll be more motivated to do some blogging.

- I forgot to mention this before, but if you're a tournament player, then you need to check out a WSOP Circuit Event. The tournament structures are among the best I've ever played. The levels start at 30 minutes long, but extend to 40 minutes after the Dinner Break, and 45 minutes on Day 2.

As for the actually levels, have you ever played a 50/75 level, or a 700/1400/200? The 1k/2k/300 level, which every tournament has, is on Level 17. How many tournament structures even have 17 levels?

- Last month, I mentioned the Heads Up machines that arrived at the Peppermill, and I was playing them and learning how to play against the machine. That little experiment is now over.

I was learning how the machine played, and I was about even when I went to Lake Tahoe for the WSOP-C. When I got back, I noticed that something was different about the machine.

I lost six straight session of $100, and I never had a chance in any of those sessions. I noticed that the pots the machine was winning were consistently larger than the pots that I was winning. It seemed that it had been switched to "God" mode, as it hit the one card it needed to hit, or it bluffed in a strange spot when I didn't have anything, or folded in a spot where you think it would normally call.

I have no delusions that I'm a great Heads-Up Limit player, or that I was planning on quitting my job so I could make a living off of this machine. I just wanted to grind out a little profit, and earn some comps.

I also understand that variance means that the machine will have some good days, but I will also have the occasional good day. As a player, all I wanted was a fair fight. But that wasn't happening, and that's why I'm no longer playing those machines.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Remember When I Was A Winning Player...

First of all, I want to say that I have never considered myself a "Good" player. I don't mean that in the way that most people say, "He's a good player" or "That dude sucks." I use the terms "Good", "Above Average", and "Average" as an official, objective ranking. While I would consider myself a "Good" tournament player, I'm only an "Average" Limit Holdem player.

However, this post is about NL Cash, specifically $1/$2 and $2/$3. While I've consider myself an "Above Average, approaching Good" player, I have always been a winning player. I have kept records in a database for the past five years, along with over 300 blog entries, that show I have been a winning player over the long run.

However, I can no longer say that. Here are the numbers since I moved out to Reno back in October '10.

$1/$2 NL: -$1207 ~ 87 Sessions (-$13.87/Session) ~ 233.50 hrs (-$5.17/hr)
$2/$3 NL: -$490   ~ 40 Sessions (-$12.25/Session) ~ 120.25 hrs (-$4.07/hr)
Last 20 Sessions (combined): -$1586  ~  7-13  ~  54.25 hrs  

These numbers aren't catastrophic, and aren't telling me to quit poker and take up pottery. However, the sample size is large enough to tell me that something is very wrong. Here are three things that I believe are affecting my winrate.

1) Fancy Play Syndrome - A while back, one of the things that I wanted to improve in order to become a "Good" NL player was to win without cards. You know, running without the ball, making something from nothing, reading situations and taking advantage of them, getting maximum value from 6-high...

Overall, I have gotten better at this, as documented through various Hands Of The Day and Running Logs. It's a good tool to use once or twice a session to help increase my winrate.

The problem is that there are sessions which I'm doing it once or twice an hour, or even per orbit. I ended up burning through chips by calling to float on the Flop and/or Turn, and then having to fold on the River. Other times, I put out a big raise, and run into a monster.

There's no doubt that I'm often the best player at the table. But I'm not good enough to play so reckless, just to prove that I'm smarter than the other players.

2) Patience - Before I moved to Reno, I was known as patient player, in both cash games and tournaments. However, those days are long gone.


Well, as for cash games, if you look closely at the numbers above, you'll see that I'm averaging only 2.75 hours per session. With my work schedule of six long days per week, it's rare that I play a session of six hours or longer, with many sessions being two hours or less. In shorter sessions, you need to catch some cards in order to win. If I'm not catching the cards, sometimes I try to make things happen, which is what I just talked about.

In tournaments, I played mostly home tournaments back in Cleveland, and those tourneys had pretty good structures. In Reno, it's been mostly Daily Donkaments, and you need a different mindset for those. When I have played in the occasional bigger tourney, I have still gone in with the donkament mindset, and have gotten into some trouble with it. 

3) Luck/Variance - As I've mentioned before, I don't like the term "Running Bad", mostly because I think that many players use it as an excuse. But maybe ignoring the "Luck Factor" of poker is just as bad as using it as a crutch.

Last winter, I went on a heater, and was piling up the money. But since the spring, it's been going downhill. There has been a few spikes up, but things haven't been going good for a while now.

Last weekend, I was gonna play every day from Wednesday through Sunday, due to the holiday weekend. I had Thursday off from work, and my Friday night bowling league was off due to the holiday. I set a goal of making $1000 in the $1/$2 games, to see if I could focus on playing good, and making money. Here are the results.

Wed 11.23 (Atlantis) -$81 ~ 5.25 hrs
Thur 11.24 (Grand Sierra) +$209 ~ 3.25 hrs
Thur 11.24 (Peppermill) -$300 ~ 1.50 hrs
Fri 11.25 (Atlantis) -$289 ~ 1.75 hrs

I quit after this, as it looked like I was more likely to lose $1000 instead of winning it. I didn't even play on Saturday night. On Sunday, I did the Double Daily Donkament thing, and airballed both of them.

I'm taking this entire week off to clear my head, and I won't be stepping foot in a casino until Sunday. Hopefully, I can improve on #1 and #2, but #3 is something that I just have to deal with.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

And Now The Rest Of The Story (WSOP-C Edition)

On Tuesday 11/15, I played in the $345 6-Max Event, which had 199 players. I played much faster and looser than I did in the previous tournament. After all, it was a 6-max. Some of it went wonderfully, and some of it was a dismal failure. I tried two big bluffs. The first was me 3-betting on the Button with QJs. The other player called my 3-bet, and lead out on a 9-high Flop. I again raised, and he folded. The other bluff was making a large value bet on the River with a 4-Flush board that was also paired. The other player thought for almost two minutes before calling with the 2nd Nut Flush.

Just like the previous tournament, 21 players got paid, and I busted out in 28th. So close.

On Wednesday 11/16, I played in the $345 NL Event, which had 202 players. However, I wasn't feeling good on that day. I had a mild headache, along with a touch of being dizzy and lightheaded. I have no clue why it happened. I tried to ignore it at the start of the tourney, but it just wouldn't go away. The first break was at 2:00, and was 20 minutes long. It was only the 50/100 level, so I left the table 10 minutes before the break, went to the Gift Shop to get some drugs, and went back to my room to lay down. I woke up just after 3:00, but didn't feel much better. I went back down to the tourney, and grinded away. I tried to play A-B-C poker, and keep my decisions simple. Eventually, I ran out of chips, and finished around 95th place.

After I grabbed a quick dinner, I still wasn't feeling 100%, so I went up to my hotel room to chill. Eventually, I realized that if I'm gonna stay in the room all night, then I should just go home. So I headed down to the poker room, and sat down in the $3/$6 game, so I could play some poker that didn't require much thought.

And that was certainly what I encountered. It had the usual mix of Super Nits and 7-Card Bingo players. There was also a couple of players who liked to raise preflop. One of them called all 5-Bets preflop with K9o, and of course he won the pot with a Straight. I saw numerous other mistakes, whether it's by making calls that could never be any good, or checking on the River when they obviously had the best hand. All this meant that I never had a chance at this table. It took 3.5 hours, but I finally dusted off my $100 buy-in.

On Thursday 11/17, it was time to go home. I checked out of my hotel room, grabbed some breakfast, and went to the poker room to play some $1/$3 NL. The only table was the overnight table, so I was allowed to buy-in for more than the $300 max. I sat down with $600, which was less than half of the largest stack. Even though I was the oldest player at the table, the play was rather calm. It was obvious that everyone was tired, and many were debating whether to get a quick nap before the noon tourney, or just stay up and go for it.

Things got off to a good start, as I got good cards, and even pulled off a nice semi-bluff. But the table dynamics started to change, as the Kids slowly went to bed, and the older players who were starting their day filled their seat. Normally, this would have been good for me, except Lady Luck decided to have some fun with me. I kept hitting hands, and running into bigger hands on the Flop. First was a Set of Jacks vs Q-high Flush that cost me about $100. Next was KJ vs 88 on a KK8 Flop. I called his Flop and Turn bets, but folded to his $100 River bet.

Later, against the 88 player, he raised preflop from UTG, and I 3-bet from the Button with QQ. He just called, and then shoved All-In for about $200 on a Flop of Tc 7h 4h. This really confused me, as I was concerned that he had KK and waited to not see an Ace on the Flop. I made the call, and he had KTh for Top Pair and Flush Draw. He hit his Flush on the Turn, and then hit a King on the River to also get Two Pair. It's good to know that I never had a chance in this hand.

The Final Straw for me was my K9o vs 93o (BB) on a 993 T Board. He check-raised his shortstack on the Turn, and I missed my Boat Draw. I was planning on playing at least six hours, but I got up after this hand. I played just 4.5 hours, and lost $445. I walked back to my car, and made the journey home.

Since I left Tahoe earlier than I planned, I headed to the Peppermill in the evening for the $95 Cash Me Out tourney. (They have the CMO on Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday evenings). However, there was only 12 players at Shuffle Up & Deal. Why was there such a low turnout? Because all the tourney grinders were in Tahoe for the WSOP-C. The TD decided to convert this to a standard $65 tourney, and we ended up with 20 players after the late stragglers finally showed up.

Things went well for me, as I got to Heads-Up against a 70's guy in a wheelchair. He wanted to chop, but I said, "Let's play for a bit. I never get to play Heads-Up." Yeah, that's a lie, but I certainly have an advantage over him. We played for about 15 minutes, with some ups and downs.

Finally, he shoved All-In from the SB, and I looked down at 77. I thought we were close in chips, so I asked for an exact count. As it turned out, we were less than a BB apart. I'm sure he's not shoving light, so this is a tough decision. I asked the TD how much was in the prizepool, and it was $770. So I offered a deal: $350 each, and the winner of this hand gets the rest. The other player agreed, and turned over 88.


I did Flop a Gutshot (6 4 3), but I missed everything. I left the Peppermill in 2nd place with $340 after the Dealer Tip.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hand Of The Day #87

Harvey's Lake Tahoe - 11.13.11 - $355 WSOP-C #5 Level 4 (50/100)

UTG raised to 400. He's a 30's guy who's been one of the tightest players (or least active so far) at this table. It folded around to me in the BB, and I make the call with J9d.

Flop Js Th 9s. Interesting as I hit Two Pair on a very wet Flop. I check to the preflop raiser, and he bet 1000. I decided to check-raise to 2500. He quickly ships his stack All-In. I have 5800 behind, and he has me covered.

Since this is such a wet board, and he's been fairly tight so far, I didn't insta-call. Instead, I went into deep thought, and try to put him on a hand.

He raised big preflop, bet 'pot' on the Flop, and insta-shipped after I check-raised.

Would he do this with an Overpair? Maybe, but since he's been quiet at this table, I don't know how good he is. Some players with an Overpair would be scared of this Flop. Others would think, "I have AA and I ship." Either way, I'm roughly 70/30 against AA, but only 51/49 against QQ because of the Straight Draw.

How about AK or AQ? With out Spades, it's highly doubtful that he would have even called my check-raise, let alone shoving it in. But AKs or AQs is definitely a possibility. I'm 55/45 against AKs, but 48/52 against AQs because of the extra four Straight outs.

Two Pair is doubtful, as I don't see him raising from UTG with JT or T9.

A Set is certainly a possibility. I doubt he would raise UTG with 99. I don't know if he would have raised with TT, but I only have two outs (11/89) against TT. A Set of Jacks would mean a one-outer hit the Flop, but that does happen. I'm essentially drawing dead against JJ (3/97)

As for a Straight, 87 or Q8 are not hands he would raise preflop with. But KQ is high on the list, and I only have four outs (18/82) against a Straight. But if he had KQs, wouldn't he slowplay it a little?

I thought for almost two minutes. I realized that I'm crushing some hands, flipping against some hands, and drawing very thin against other hands. If I fold, I still have 58BB in a tournament that seems to have a very slow structure.

I ended up folding my hand face up, hoping that he would show his hand. He didn't, and I never did find out what he had.

Since I didn't call the All-In, then should I have check-raised? Probably not. But there are so many cards that could come on the Turn (K, Q, T, 8, or any Spade) that would either kill my action or kill my hand.

Either way, yuck!

I did go on to 5th place in this tourney, so you could say that I made a good fold. But that's looking at results, and that's a bad way to evaluate poker decisions.

Monday, November 14, 2011

WSOP-C #5 (Day 2) - End of Level 26 (8k/16k/3k)

Lv 26 (8k/16k/3k). Well, here's the only hand that matters. UTG raised to 36k. Folded to me in the BB. I look at KTo. Folding just seems to nitty, so I called. Flop 986. I checked, and so did he. Turn [986] 7. Wow, I just hit my Gutshot. I checked again, assuming he would stab at it. He bet around 45k, and I just called. River [986 7] 4. I lead out for 75k. He tanks for a while, and asks me if I have a Pair yet. He thought some more, and said All-In. I called, and he showed JTh for the J-high Straight. And I'm out in 5th place, $3355 after the $40 Dealer Tip.

I'm not surprised that he had that hand, especially after that little question he asked me about having a Pair. But we are 5-handed, and the Blinds are getting up there, so what else could I do? That was the first bad luck I had had in a long time at this tourney.

It's hard to call 5th place a big accomplishment, but this was my biggest casino cash ever. Plus, this was the most patient tournament I've played since I moved to Reno, so that has to mean something.

At least I picked the right tourney to Live Blog.

WSOP-C #5 (Day 2) - End Of Level 25 (6k/12k/2k)

Lv 24 (5k/10k/2k) The play has been fairly straight forward. A raise preflop usually wins it. Some times there is a 3-bet or a Flop, but nothing huge. I was hovering between 125k and 210k.

Until this hand. UTG raised to 26k. Button called. I was the BB with AKs, and 3-bet to 85k. UTG gets that annoyed look, and folded. Button thinks for a bit, and says, " I call the All-In.". The Floor was called over, and ruled it a call. As the Dealer gathers the pot, I said All-In in the dark for 142k. Flop was Kc 9h 7h. The Button called with TT. He missed his two outer, and I'm the Chip Leader with well over 400k.

Lv 25 (6k/12k/2k) This tourney has ground to a halt. Players seem to be waiting for Big Hands. I want to steal more, but the player in Seat 2 has good chips, and likes to see Flops.

The only significant pots were not good ones for me. It folded to the Button, who raised to 32k. I was the SB, and 3-bet to 90k. He insta-shipped it, and I had to fold.

The other hand was the same guy raising to 32k in the Cutoff. He's been raising from that spot a few times, so I just called with 22. Flop 9 5 3. He bet 50k, and I called as somewhat of a float. Turn was 8, and he pushed All-In. I had to fold.

We are 5-handed, and I have 337k. I'm either 2nd or 3rd right now. I guess I'm not gonna make it to the 5pm $235 O-8 tourney.

WSOP-C #5 (Day 2) - End Of Level 23 (4k/8k/1k)

The play is more aggressive today, which I expected. Last night, players were just waiting to go home once it became apparent that we were not gonna make it to the Final Table.

It took just over an orbit to knock out both Shortstacks at each table.

The very next hand after #13 busted, it folded to the Button, who raised to 16k. I was the SB, and shoved for 82k with Q7c. The Button tanked for a while, but eventually folded.

It only took another orbit or two to knock out #12 & #11. When they announced that we have reached the Final Table, my table had just started our hand. It folded to me in the SB, and I looked at AQo. I decided to just raise to 16k, instead of shipping. The BB was a Kid whom had started out as the Big Stack, and he likes to play. I'm hoping he will ship it. Instead, he just called. Flop Q T 6. I lead out for 21k, hoping it will look like a c-bet. He thought for a bit, and said All-In. I couldn't call fast enough, and he had K7o. He missed his 3-outer, and I got my double up I was hoping to get before the Final Table.

At the 10-handed Final Table, I have 208k. At this table are two players from my very first table yesterday, including the guy whom I won my first survival race (TT v AK). He was sitting on my direct Right yesterday, and now he's on my direct Right is the Chip Leader (over 400k). The Average is 180k, and most players are in the 150k - 225k range.

Lv 23 (4k/8k/1k). We get down to eight players, as QQ lost to KK.

I only played two significant hands. First was me raising to 21k with 99. Both the Button and BB called. Flop was 554. I bet 51k, and they both folded.  The other hand was me raising to 21k with AQo. The BB called. I missed the Flop, but bet 31k. He called, and I shut down.

They have a Live Streaming feed of all Circuit Final Tables on I don't know the specifics, but check it out if you're interested. I'm in Seat 8, with the dark green shirt.

We are 7 handed, and I have 150k.

WSOP-C #5 (Day 2) - "Shuffle Up & Deal"

Welcome back.

For a quick recap, I have 107k, and the Blinds will be 3k/6k/1k. There are 14 players left.

My strategy for today is to stay in Super Nit mode until we lose two players. At 12 spots, there is a pay jump of almost $200 which gets us over $1k.

After that, it's time to start stepping on the gas. I need to get chips in order to make a serious run at the Final Table. Moving up the pay scale is a consideration, but the tourney player in me wants to win.

WSOP-C #5 - End Of Level 21 (2500/5000/500)

The play has been a little silly, as a few players are shipping it preflop with 20 BBs or more. I stayed in patient mode for the whole time.

Surprisingly, the bustouts happened much slower than I expected. I realized why when we got the Final Two Tables. We did another redraw for seats, and I noticed the Average Stack was 26 BB, which is damn impressive for a $355 tournament.

My patience got paid off in Lv20 (2k/4k/500). In the span of five or six hands, I stole the Blinds with something like Q9h, and then looked down at JJ, AK, and KK. All the hands held up, but none were monster pots or knocking out a shortstack. I won the pots either preflop or on the Flop. However, at this stage of the tourney, even the small pots have a lot of chips.

Lv21 (2500/5k/500) - It folded around to the Button, who pushed All-In for 28500. I'm fairly sure he's shoving just because he can. I'm the BB, and insta-called with KTo. He had 93h. He flopped a Pair & Flush Draw, hit the Flush on the Turn, and rivered the 4th Heart just for fun. Nice Hand, Sir!

The rest of the period was somewhat uneventful. I made a few preflop raises, and won a Blind v Blind hand when I raised the Flop with Top Pair.

I have a really terrible seat draw again, as the Big Stack of the table is on my direct Left, and he's rather active. I'm also really tired, as it's well past midnight. I woke up early this morning, and couldn't fall back asleep. By staying patient, it keeps my decisions easier, which makes it less likely that I will have a blow-up.

I made to the End of Day with 107k chips, which is ok, but not great. With the next level being 3k/6k/1k, I have 18 BB. Staying patient will only get me so far. I need to get some chips if I want to make it to the Final Table, let alone make some noise at it.

There are 14 players remaining. We have made $833, with the next pay jump at 12th ($1012). Everyone who makes the Final Table gets $1249, and 1st is $13,874.

We start up at 3pm PST tomorrow, so check in to see I can make a really deep run.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

WSOP-C #5 - End of Level 18 (1200/2400/400)

21 players left.

Lv16 (800/1600/100) - I did raise a few times preflop. I won some, and I lost some. Nothing went past the Flop.

The only interesting hand was me on the Button with A5h. It folded to me, and I limped because the Limper was the BB. Three of us saw a Flop of Ad 5s 4s. Both Blinds checked, and I also checked to trap the Limper. Turn [Ad 5s 4s] 8s. Another wonderful Turn card. They both checked, and I bet 4100. SB folded, and Limper went into deep thought before going All-In for 20k-ish. I have to make the call, and he has Jc Ts for a Flush Draw. He missed the River, and finally knocked himself out.

Lv17 (1k/2k/300) - I won a race for over 20k, JJ v AQ.

At 27 players, they did a complete redraw for seats. I had 137k, which was 2nd at my new table.

Lv18 (1200/2400/400) - We got to the Bubble half way through the level. Instead of Hand For Hand, they do Round For Round. Each table plays one full round, and waits for the other tables to finish their rounds. Any players who bust out in the round will Bubble, and split any appropriate monies. They said this prevents stalling, but I don't see how.

Either way, it didn't matter. The Bubble popped on the first round at a different table with just a few minutes to go before the Break.

I have 113k chips.

WSOP-C #5 - End Of Level 15 (700/1400/200)

34 players left.

After the Dinner Break, they extended the levels to 40 minutes. They also made the tables 9-handed when we got to 54 players.

At my table, I'm no longer the Big Stack. One player got moved to this one with over 90k. A player at my table went in a nice rush, and knocked out a few players. A third guy was moved to this table. Even though I have him covered, I'm not happy he's here because he's very active. He's often limping, and calling preflop raises. He fires at many Flops, and even bluffs at Rivers.

Because of these factors, I went into Super Nit mode, and was keeping my VPIP very low. I still did play a few hands, though.

Lv13 (500/1k/100) - I raised to 2300 with AKs. Only the BB called. The Flop was K-high. He lead out for 2300, and I just called so I didn't scare him off. He checked the Turn, so I bet 3000. He called, and checked the River. I bet 5000, and he called with K3o

Lv14 (600/1200/200) - The Limper limped in. This encourages a few other to follow. I'm the Cutoff with QQ, and raised to 5000. Everyone folded.

Lv15 (700/1400/200) - The Limper limped in. I'm the Button with AKo, and raise to 4100. Naturally, he was the only caller. Flop was J-high. He checked, and I decided to also check. We both checked the Turn. On the River, he tossed out one Yellow 1k chip. He had to make it 1400, and I called. He had A6c, no pair, and I won the pot. That had to be the worst attempt of a River bet I've seen in a long time. He doesn't beat anything, and a 5k bet probably would have won it.

I have 79000 chips, and my strategy seems to be working so far. 21 players get paid, and we should be close to the Bubble by next break.

WSOP-C #5 - End Of Level 12 (400/800/100)

63 players left.

Lv9 (200/400/50) - A Mid player raised to 875. He's a player who was at my first table. I'm next in the Hyjack, and called with 4c 4h. Three player saw a Flop of Ks Qd 4s. Mid bet 1700. I just call, hoping the next player will raise. But he folded. Turn [Ks Qd 4s] Js. What a horrible card. This is what I get for slow playing. He bet 2800, and I just call. River [Ks Qd 4s Js] 9h. This just gets better and better. He thinks for a bit, and checks. I bet 3800, hoping he will call. Instead, he ejected and started to mumble to himself.

I also doubled up a short stack who had AA. I hit Top Pair on the Flop (Ten). The whole hand cost me over 9k chips.

Lv10 (250/500/50) Picked up KK again, and won a decent pot.

I took a little break away from the table. When I got back, it was my SB. UTG+1 went All-In. The Cutoff went All-In. Both were in the 4k-8k range. I look down at AA, and made it 20k. The two players had JJ & TT. I flop an Ace to eliminate any doubt, as well as both players.

Lv11 (300/600/75). Folded to me in the Hyjack, and I raised to 1625 with AJo. The Cutoff, Button, SB, and BB called. (What could possibly go wrong?) Flop J 8 6. The Blinds checked. I bet 6k. Cutoff folded. Button thought for a bit before folding J9. The Blinds quickly folded. I showed my hand, and said, "Life is good."

I went card dead after this, which I didn't mind since I was the Big Stack at my table. In Lv 12 (400/800/100), the Floor had me start buying up the Green 25 chips. I got most of them, and then they broke our table. The Floor gave me a Blue 5k chip for the Greens. At my new table, I didn't play any hands, but I did by up all the Green chips again. I got another Blue chip when we went to Break.

I have 57700 chips. I finally made it to a Dinner Break, and I've got serious chips. Next level is 500/1k/100, or 57 BB.

WSOP-C #5 - End Of Level 8 (150/300/25)

188 players for this one. 109 are left.

Lv5 (75/150). After losing a couple of small pots, I doubled up to 8800 with TT vs AK. I 3-bet preflop, and called his All-In.

Towards the end of the level, UTG+1 limps. Kid in Mid raised to 750. I was the Cutoff with Js Jc, and 3-bet to 2100. Both UTG+1 and Kid called. Flop 9h 7h 6d. UTG+1 checked. Kid looked at my stack, and bet around 5k. I push All-In for 6450. UTG+1 folded his AKc (he said later). Kid called with TT. The Board held up, and I got a monster double up to around 19k.

Lv6 (100/200). Two players limped. I was the Cutoff, and min-raised to 400 with 9s 9c. Button called. BB 3-bet to 1700. He's a 50's guy named John. He's a regular around the Reno poker rooms. He quite a bit on the laggy side, but in a good way. I've seen him play more Cash than Tournaments, and I respect his game. He's a very active player who can pounce on weakness, or slowplay to trap someone. He'd already 3-bet me when I had 22 out of position. I called that 3-bet, and folded when I missed my Set Draw.

But 99 is much different than 22, and I have position for this hand. I snap-called, and the Button also called. Flop Jd 6c 4s. John bet 4900. I snap-called and the Button folded. Turn [Jd 6c 4s] 6h. He though for a moment, and checked. I'm confident that I have the best hand, but I checked for some pot control. River [Jd 6c 4s 6h] 6s. He thinks for a moment, and asked how much I've got left (about 11k). He thinks a bit longer, and bet 7500. Once again, I snap-call. He said, "Good call," and mucked.

Things went very card dead after that. (Not a complaint.) The only time I saw any playable hands was in early position. And they were hands like 55, QJo, 86s...

They are breaking our table at the end of this break. This break is 10 minutes, as they're not serving any food.

I have 30850 chips.

WSOP-C #5 - End Of Level 4 (50/100)

The table's been playing as you would expect for the beginning of a tournament with the exception of almost no limp pots. Everyone seems to be playing relatively normal, just some are tighter than others.

Lv2 (25/50) UTG (Kid) limps. I'm Mid with ATd, and min-raise to 100. A few players called, but the Kid back-raised to 575. I call, and so does the Cutoff (30's Guy). Flop Qc 6h 4s. Kid bet 1675. I quickly call, as this looks like a standard c-bet. However, Cutoff ships his stack All-In for 9k-ish. Kid quickly ships it, and I can't fold fast enough. Kid had KK, and Cutoff had 64o for Two Pair. The Turn was a King, and the Kid eliminated the Cutoff.

If I keep playing hands this badly, then this will be a very painful trip. Calling a Flop with just AT-high to float in a three way pot is moronic. I need to pull my head out of my ass, and start playing patient, small-pot poker. Fortunately, I did start playing better, and won a few small pots.

Lv4 (50/100). I lost almost 3k chips in a hand that I will save for a Hand Of The Day so I can go in depth on the analysis.
Three hands later, I was one of the limpers in the Cutoff with 44. The SB shipped All-In for 1475. The three limpers folded, but I called. He had AQ, and won the race by hitting an Ace on the Flop.

I have 4175 chips. This break is 20 minutes long, as they're serving free pizza. At least I'll get something for my $355.

WSOP-C #5 - "Shuffle Up & Deal"

I am a moron.

For no good reason, I didn't leave Reno until 10:50am. I went as fast as my little Prius would go up a mountain, I pull into Harvey's at 11:58, and got to the poker room at 12:02. Surprisingly, there was no line for the buy-ins. When I got to my table, I had only missed six minutes of the level.

We get 10k chips, which included 3k for a $10 Add-On. The first level is 25/25, which seems silly for a 10k stack. The levels are 30 minutes long. The Timer says 149 Entrants.

My table has eight players, and two open seats without dead stacks. It is all guys, and a mix of ages.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Hand Of The Day #86

Atlantis $240 Super Stack - Level (800/1600/200) - 11.06.11

This tournament had 26 players, and we are at the Final Table. I got there with just over 40k chips, which was in the middle of the pack. I blinded off for a couple of obits. In the hand just before this one, I called a raise with 55 in the BB. The Flop was KQ5, and I doubled up against AK, which got me up to around 65k chips. We are currently eight handed.

UTG limped for 1600. He's a Kid who started the Final Table as one of the Chip Leaders, and has been playing very few hands. This limp was surprising to me, as there has been very little limping by anyone up to this point. Also surprisingly, it folded around to the Button, who also limped. She's a 60's lady who has been quiet at this table. I'm the SB with A9h, and am happy to see a cheap Flop. The BB checked his option.

Flop 8h 7c 2h. This is a good Flop for me, as I have the Nut Flush Draw, two Overcards, and a backdoor Straight Draw. I like to bet these hands on the Flop, and then check if I hit my Flush on the Turn. I can also hit my Overcards or pick up a Straight Draw on the Turn, and still fire a bet on the Turn. I toss a 5000 chip on to the table.

The BB folded, but the UTG raised to 12000. Since he limped, it's hard to say what hand he may be raising with. However, I don't have much time to think about it, as the Button shipped it All-In for 28300.

I didn't know what the Button had, and I didn't care. I insta-shoved All-In for around 58k, hoping to isolate against the Button. UTG went into deep thought for almost a minute before making the call.

UTG had 2d 2c for Bottom Set. Button had Ad 8s for Top Pair. The Board ran out [8h 7c 2h] As 8d. The Button tripled up with the Main Pot with Eights Full of Aces, and UTG won the Side Pot with Deuces Full of Aces. I'm eliminated in 8th place.

They say, "Never go broke in a limped pot." Generally, that is good advice. But I'm happy with how I played this hand, and I wouldn't change anything I did. It just didn't work out. It was really bizarre to see a 3-way trainwreck in a limped pot at a Final Table.

I love tournaments.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Peppermill's $130 6-Max

"Shuffle Up & Deal" - The $130 6-max at started at 4pm last Sunday, and is the Peppermill's final event for their Deep Stack Classic. It looks like they've got around 10 tables, although none of them seem to have a full six players. My table has four players. Two of them are older, and one around my age.  The levels are 20 minutes long, and we get 6000 chips

Level 1 (25/50) - Table filled up with a 40's guy and a 30's lady. The tables are more full, but they've already broke a table. I think we have 7 tables.

The play at my table has been normal, expect for more preflop raising. Nobody getting out of hand by playing every pot, or acting hyper aggressive.

My level was quiet. I'm playing tight to observe others and set up an image. I raised with AK, and took it down on Flop. I have 5825 chips.

Level 2 (50/100) - More quiet time for me. I won a pot on the Flop with QQ. I have 5875 chips.

Level 3 (75/150) - Still very card dead. Only pot I played was a Blind vs Blind hand that I won on the Flop. I want to step on the gas a little, but there's a shortstack under 1500 on my Left. (I'm in Seat 1. He's in Seat 3). I have 5725 chips.

BREAK - It's easier to count tables now that everyone is away. We only have five tables for this tourney. The noon tourney is down to three tables.

Level 4 (100/200/25) - I finally played a hand. The Cutoff raised to 400. The Button called. I called in the BB with 76o. Flop K76. I checked, and the Cutoff bet 700. Button thought for a bit, and folded. I decided to just call. If the Button called, then I would have raised. Turn [K76] 4. I checked, he bet 1200, and I called. River [K76 4] 3. That's a bad card for as it might kill my action. That's what I get for slowplaying. I lead out for 2000. He thought for a bit, and folded a King face up.

Preflop raising is much less than the beginning of the tourney, and limping is more rampant. The shortstack is still hanging around. At the end or the level, I get moved to another table, that now has 5 players. The TD has finally posted the numbers, and we had 31 entrants. I have 8900 chips.

Level 5 (150/300/50) - They broke a table. My new table has two guys who are raising often, and for a lot of chips (between 1000 and 1400). Fortunately, they are both on my Right.

In a rare limped pot. I had K8h in the SB. Four players saw a Flop of Qh Th 6d. I lead out for 725 with my Flush Draw. Only the Button called. Turn [Qh Th 6d] Kc. That's an interesting card, as I now have Top Pair to go with my draw. I think for a moment and checked because I'm not sure what to do. The Button bet 1200. I decided to check-raise to 3100. He quickly folded a Pair & Straight Draw. In the very next hand, I steal the Blinds with K7o. I have 12150 chips.

Level 6 (200/400/50) - In the last hand of the level, the most active and aggressive player at the table raised to 1600 from Mid position. The Cutoff called. He a 60's guy who a little low on chips, but not a shortstack. I'm the Button with A4d. I decided to do my first squeeze of the day, and go All-In for 8200. It folded back to the Mid who asks how much, and goes into thought. Meanwhile, the Cutoff calls my All-In out of turn. Now the Mid asks for his chip count, and eventually calls. I'm not happy about any of this, as I'm assuming that the Mid called because of the pot odds. However, the Mid shows QQ, and the Cutoff has AK. Flop ran out A88 J 4. The Cutoff tripled up, and I won the small side pot of 3400.

Level 7 (300/600/75) - Three hands later, I shove for 3175 with A8. The Cutoff calls quickly with ATo. Board was T22 8 4, and I'm out around 16th place.

In a 6-max game, the guy who's been raising 30% of hands, and 75% of Buttons wakes up with QQ. And the old guy between us just calls with AK, instead of shipping All-In like he should have.

I love tournaments.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

November News & Notes

I didn't do a News & Notes in October, mostly because I didn't have much to report. However, this one should make up for it, as it's a little long.

-  The November Nine is Sunday, and ESPN2 is broadcasting it "Near-Live" starting at 12:30 PST. I'm planning on watching, but I'll also be playing poker. I'll be at the 11am $230 Super Stack at the Atlantis, and the 6:30 $95 Cash Me Out at the Peppermill. I'm hoping that the TVs in the rooms will have the NFL on them, and not the WSOP. I'll be recording the coverage, and watching it from my couch after I win each tourney. (At least, that's the plan).

Last year, I did a Rants & Raves about the November Nine. I made a bold prediction that the November Nine will be over in a year or two, and it looks like I was right. With ESPN shifting to the near-live broadcasts, there is no reason to wait four months. For next year, I would guess they will only wait a few weeks for the Final Table. This would give a little time to get the hype machine working. A lot of this would depend on ESPN, and their broadcast schedule for other sports. I don't think there is much going on in late July other than baseball.

- In case you haven't heard yet, Nevada has approved November Nine betting. You can bet on who will win, along with other prop bets like who will bust out first, what the winning hand will be, what's the color of the first Flop, will the chip leader win, and the total number of hands at the Final Table.

Obviously, I made some bets. I bet $100 on two different winners; Eoghan O'Dea (4/1) and Phil Collins (5.5/1). I also made two $20 prop bets. 1st eliminate - Pius Heinz (3/1) as he seems to be the one most likely to go kamikaze against one of the shorter stacks. As for the winning hand, I went with High Card (15/1). On the prop sheet, it was listed at 35/1, which seemed too good to be true. But it had dropped since then at Grand Sierra, and I didn't feel like driving all over town to find better odds for a $20 bet. Just for reference, a Pair is listed at 1/3 and a Straight is 12/1.

- The Peppermill has recently gotten those Heads-Up machines that have popped up in Vegas and other locations. It's you against the computer playing Heads-Up Limit Hold'em. There is no rake, but there is a Bonus Bet that has terrible odds. (No, I don't play the Bonus.) You can play $2/$4 Limit, or $4/$8 Limit.

Naturally, I've played a few times, and I'm down a little. Limit Hold'em is not my best game, and the first time I ever played Limit Heads-Up is against this machine. But it's still Poker, and I'm figuring things out. I may do a full blog entry about this in the future.

If anyone out there has any advice on Heads-Up Limit, either from personal experience or just a link, then please let me know. I could really use some tips, especially about playing from the Big Blind. Always going into Check/Call mode can get expensive with just King High.

- I know I just said I won't be going back to Tahoe anytime soon, but that's not completely accurate. The WSOP Circuit is heading to Harvey's Nov 10 - 21. I took a few vacation days at work, and I will be up there from Sunday 11/13 - Thur 11/17. I'll be playing in various tournaments up to $345, including PLO and Limit O8, and cash games.

Even though I only live an hour away, I got a room at Harvey's for four nights. I don't want keep making the trip up and down the mountain, especially if it's late at night after I go deep in a tourney. If things go badly, I can always head home for a break.

I'm gonna do some Live Blogging while I'm down there. Probably either the Sunday or Monday 12p $345 NL tourney. I'll post which one when the time gets closer. If it ends up being another quickie, and may do a second one. I'm gonna make to a dinner break one of these times.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Sunday At Tahoe

I decided to take a little road trip last Sunday (10/23), and headed up to Harvey's at South Lake Tahoe. There was no special event going on Sunday. I just figured I would check out the place. However, I won't be going back anytime soon, because it was a giant waste of time.

There was a $40 donkament at 10am. It took me a little longer to get up to Tahoe than I thought it would, and walked into the poker room at 10:10. The tournament had just one table with two alternates waiting, so I was shut out of it. The Floor said the $3/$6 game should start around 10:30 or 11am. I wandered around for a while, dumping a $100 bill in a Video Poker machine and then sitting down at a Texas Hold'em Bonus table. I was down $45 when they started the $3/$6 game.

The $3/$6 game started shorthanded with five players, and was playing rather tight. Eventually, the game filled up, and started playing like a normal $3/$6 table. There was some good, some bad, and a lot of frustrating.

Here's some info about the Harvey's Poker Room:

- I gave them my players' card, and found out they don't give comps to poker players.

- I bought into the $3/$6 game for $100. The dealer gave me 60 White $1 chips and 8 $5 chips. I thought this was bizarre, as most $3/$6 games frown upon Red chips at the table. I asked him about it, and he said they don't have enough White chips in the room. During a busy Friday or Saturday night, they run out of White chips, and have to use the Silver $1 Slugs that the Pit games use. How can the almighty Caesars Corporation, the largest gaming company in the world, let one of their larger poker rooms not have enough chips?

- They do have the High Hand Bonuses that most rooms have around here, but they do them in a very different way. There is a sign posted that says, "Poker Rewards," along with a dollar amount. I'm assuming that it's the total of the Promo account. On Sunday, it was $8798. For Quads, you win 1% of the Player Rewards. A Straight Flush pays 3%, and a Royal pays 5%. The other bizarre thing is that you only need one card to collect the Bonus, but they only pay if you get Quads 9 or higher.

They also have a second tourney on Sundays. It's a $120 NL tourney at 2pm. Obviously, I'm planning on playing in it, as well as one or two people at our $3/$6 table. At around 12:30, I heard the Floor talking to a customer about this tourney. He said that it probably won't run today, since it didn't go last week.

This really pissed me off, and I snapped at the Floor. I told him there are a few of sitting here waiting for that tournament, and if you tell others the tourney probably won't happen, then they won't come back. If you don't want to be here, than close the room. He babbled about some lame excuses, including staff issues.

At 2pm, the tourney did start, so I cashed out of the $3/$6 game down $3. The tourney was capped at one table with 11 players squeezed around it because they were too cheap to pay another dealer. They gave us 6k chips with 20 minute levels, and a quick structure.

Since we were 11 handed, I played tight for two levels, and then start to go after the Blinds. I raised with 96o from the Cutoff, and got called by one of the Blinds. I hit Two Pair on the Turn, and got All-In. The other player had a better Two Pair with A9o. Next hand, I 3-Bet All-In with JJ. The original raiser had AK, and flopped a King. I was the first one eliminated.

I then sat down at the $2/$3NL table that had recently opened up. I was there less than an hour before I dusted off my $300 buy-in. It was a combination of bad luck and bad play. The only thing I'd eaten all day was some McDonald's on the way to Tahoe. I was hungry, grumpy, and had very little patience. That's a bad recipe for a session of poker.

I then left the casino, and headed into town to get a sandwich and fill up the gas tank. On the way home, I stopped by two casinos in Carson City just to do some recon. The first one, Casino Fandango, only had a Dealer and a Floor in the poker room. They were sitting there chatting since there were no players. As it turns out, the poker room is only open four days a week, and it's mostly for daily donkaments. The second one, Gold Dust West, didn't even have a poker room.

I'm really glad got transferred to Reno rather than Carson City.

Monday, October 24, 2011

LOL Donkaments #8

Harrah's Reno 10am $35 NLHE - 10.21.11

I had a rare day off from work on Friday. And by "rare", I mean my last one was back in late June. So I got some work done on my car, went to the bank, and of course, played some poker.

My first poker stop was at Harrah's for their 10am tourney. Their structures are horrible: 15 min levels, 25/50. 50/100, 100/200, 200/400, 400/800. 500/1000, 1k/2k, 2k/4k, etc. For this one, they gave us 2500 chips, and that includes a $5 add-on for 1k chips.

In spite of all that, I actually like their tourneys, and that's because of the quality of the players. Most of the local grinders stay away from Harrah's because they don't want to waste their time. So the players are those who are staying at the hotel, or live downtown. They are all Level 1 players, or even Level 0. It's not uncommon for someone to be playing in their first casino tournament. And this one was no exception.

We had 15 players, and the staff seemed to be surprised it was that large.

If you've played in a previous tournament, followed by their cash game, you get a coupon for an extra 1000 chips. Starting with 3500 chips is way better than starting with 2500 chips.

I was one of the few player with the extra chips, and it really helped. I hit a couple of hands, and I stole a few pots as the table was playing rather timid. By the break at end of the 100/200 level, I was up to 7300 chips and we had 11 players left.

In the next level (200/400), we had five players at our table, and we're still on the Final Table Bubble. UTG went All-In for 600. The Button called. The SB went All-In for 1100. I was the BB, and looked down at 87o. I was getting great pot odds (call 700 to win 3200), assuming that the Button didn't go All-In. He's an 70's guy who had been playing passive. I called the extra 700, and the Button called the extra 500. Flop was A 8 4, and we both checked. Turn was [A84] 8. I bet 1000, and the Button quickly folded. UTG and the SB didn't even have a Pair yet, and were drawing dead. This sent us to the Final Table with just nine players, and I was the healthy chip leader.

I stayed patient, as there were many short stacks. My next big pot was in the next level (400/800). We were down to five handed, and it folded around the SB. He limped in, and I raise to 2000 with TT from the BB. He called, and the Flop was 9 6 3. He checked, I bet 2600, and he called. Turn was [963] 4. He checked, and I went All-In for 5800. He thought for a moment, and called with Q9o. He missed the River, and I doubled up. He was still in, but had less than 1500 chips left.

I knocked out the 4th place player in a race, AK vs his TT, as I flopped an Ace.

The three handed play lasted in to the next level (500/1000). The Button folded, and the SB limped (the Q9o guy from before), even though he only had 2500 total. I'm the BB with ATd, and put him All-in. He shrugged his shoulders, and called with 32o (Why even limp in, let alone call off your chips?) Surprisingly, he didn't double up.

The Heads-Up match started with me having a 2-1 chip lead. My opponent was an 60's gentleman who had been playing rather tight. However, it was rather obvious from the start that he just wanted to get this over with. He had gotten a phone call, and then started overbetting. It seemed he wanted get his chips in the middle, although there was no mention of a deal by him. I would have done so if he mentioned it, but there was no way I was gonna bring it up.

Unfortunately, I wasn't getting any cards, and he was quickly catching up to me. I did get QQ in the SB, and limped. He didn't raise, and the Flop was K-high. We both checked, and the Turn was an Ace. He checked again, so I bet to end this hand. He quickly folded.

Finally, I limped with A3o. He raised to 4k, and I 3-Bet to 14k. He quickly called, and assumed I was All-In, but I still had 5k - 7k behind. The Flop was 7c 4c 3c. He went All-In. I hate this Flop, as I don't have a Club. But I do have a Pair, so I had to call. He turned over QTh, and missed. We counted the stacks, and I had him covered by one 500 chip.

First place was $240 after the Dealer Tip.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

If It Wasn't For Luck...

6:55 $300 - I walk into GSR on Saturday night and immediately get seated at $1/$2 table. It has just 6 players, with the biggest stack around $400. I recognize a couple of old locals.

7:30 $299 - Table is now full with 9 players. Half are over 50, and the play is as you would expect it to be.

I limped in the Cutoff with A7d. Five players saw the Flop Ac Qh 4d. It checked to me, and I bet $7. Only the SB called, a 50's Lady. Turn [Ac Qh 4d] Ah. We both check. River [Ac Qh 4d Ah] Jc. She bet $20. I called, expecting to chop. She showed KTo for Broadway.

Two hands later, it folded to me, and I raised to $7 with 75c. Hyjack & BB called. Flop Kc 8s 4c. I bet $15 with my Flush and Gutshot Draws, and they both called. Turn [Kc 8s 4c] Th. BB (60's Guy) led out $25. I call, and Hyjack folds. River [Kc 8s 4c Th] 2c. BB checked, so I bet $40. He called, and mucked what I'm assuming was Two Pair.

Later, I limped in Mid with A3c. Button (30's guy) raised to $7. Three of us saw the Flop, Ad Kc 6h, and everyone checked. Turn [Ad Kc 6h] 4c. I bet $15 with Top Pair and Nut Flush Draw. The Button, who was the preflop raiser, min-raised to $30. I call, hoping for a Club. River [Ad Kc 6h 4c] 7h. I checked, and the Button counted out $80, which was more than 60% of his stack. I asked if he had AK or KK before I folded. He showed AKs.

8:00 $389 - I've been very active, so I've fallen behind on my notes. Best hand was me raising to $5 from UTG with T8s. (I only raised to $5 because the table was getting shorthanded when some players stepped away from the table.) Only the BB called. I hit a Backdoor Flush vs what I'm assuming was Trip Ks, and got $40 on the River.

8:30 $397 - Quiet time for me. I really think I got a good table draw. Loose preflop and tight/passive post flop is a great table for me. It doubt there will be many monster pots, but it's a good table to grind out a solid win. I just need to stay a little patient, play position, and stay away from the Bingo hands that can happen at $1/$2.

9:00 $263 - Lost the Hand Of The Day with JJ. So much for not having any monster pots. At least it was mostly profit. Currently, there are 4 $1/$2, 1 $3/$5, and 1 $5/$10 games running.

9:30 $267 - More card dead. I hope this isn't gonna be another night of total card dead after a bad beat.

The Fall Pot Of Gold $1600 Main Event and Deepstacks Live were this weekend. The Main Event had 187 entrants, which is rather good for a Reno Main Event. I did a quick look at the tourney area, and noticed Mike Matusow was still in tourney. (Steve Brecher defeated David 'ODB' Baker for the title on Monday night.)

10:00 $349 - $5 Straddle pot, and I limp with J9h in the BB. Four players see the Flop, 9 3 3. All check. Turn [933] 4. SB bet $15. I call, as does the Straddle. River [933 4] J. SB checked. I bet $20 with my 3-Pair. Straddle folds. SB thinks, talks about paying me off again, but finally folds 77 face up.

Next hand, I have 97o in the SB. Four of us see the Flop of A77. I fire out a Red $5 Chip, and the BB is only caller. She's the 50's lady from earlier, and she's terrible. She buys in short, and calls with any Ace. She's on her third or fourth small buy-in. I bet $10 on Turn, and she called. I bet $15 on River, and she called her last $14 with A9o.

They opened up another $5/$10 table, which is a must-move for the Main Game. Two $5/$10 tables in Reno is impressive, even during tournament time.

10:30 $385 - In a limp pot, I have 9h 9c in the BB. Five of us see the Flop, 7d 3d 2h. I bet $7. Cutoff & Button called, and they are both 60's nits. Turn [7d 3d 2h] 8h. I bet $20 to try to scare them off. Surprisingly, they both called. River [7d 3d 2h 8h] 2d. All players checked, and I'm good.

11:00 $312 - $5 Straddle pot, and I'm the BB with ATo. Four players see the Flop, Td 7h 4d. For whatever reason, I checked. Straddle bet $7. I decided that I'm gonna check raise him. But... the Button raised $20. He's an old Nit I've played with before at the Peppermill. I just called, and Straddle folded. Turn [Td 7h 4d] Ac. I checked my Top Two Pair. He quickly went All-In for $85. I say "I hope we have the same hand," and called. We didn't, as he had TT. I missed my 2-outer.

11:30 $254 - I'm getting a little impatient, and starting to play more Bingo than I should. I limped UTG+2 with JTo, and I was the only caller of a $12 raise. Flop completely missed me. I checked, he bet $15, and I called to Float out of position (who wouldn't). Turn was a King. I lead out $25, and he raised to $75. I'm a moron.

12:00 $245 -  A whole lot of nothing happened. Just a steady flow of Q3 and J5 type hands. I really hate leaving just a little down, but it's time to leave. Its past my bedtime, and I'm tired. Even my big bottle of Mountain Dew isn't helping.

Overall, I'm happy with my play. I said this was a good table for me, and I was right. If it wasn't for three hands (a bad beat, a cooler-ish hand, and a minor donk-off), I would have had a nice win.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Hand Of The Day #85

$1/$2 NL ~ Grand Sierra ~10.15.11

I'm UTG+1 with Js Jc, and I do my standard raise to $7. Five players see a Flop of Qd Qh Jd. It's checks to me, and I bet out $15. I want to bet small enough for the draws to come along. Plus, with this many players calling the preflop raise, I fairly sure that someone has a Q. If it was J 3 3, then it might be a different story.

The player next to me raises to $45, and has a little over $100 behind. It folds around the Button, who thinks for about half a minute before calling.

It's back to me. Well, there's no reason to slowplay here. At least one of them has a Q, if not both of them. I 3-Bet to $145. The first player goes into deep thought, starts whining, and eventually folds K9d for the Gutshot Straight Flush Draw. The Button thinks even longer. Eventually, he calls for his last $88 with QTc

The Turn and River is [Qd Qh Jd] Ad Ah. The Button wins the pot with Queens Full of Aces.

This is example #94 of, "There is no good way to play JJ." Seriously, this isn't a bad beat story. I'm happy with this hand, and I got what I wanted. It just didn't work out. Sometimes the 23% hits.

Nice Hand, Sir.

After the hand, the K9d guy said that I should have slowplayed this, so I could have gotten his money after the Flush hit the Turn. The idea of slowplaying to trap is very overrated. It will usually result in winning a much smaller pot, or letting the other player catch up. In this hand, if I just call the $30 raise, I would have to assume that both players have a Q. The Turn would have been [Qd Qh Jd] Ad. That could have easily scared off the Button with QTc, since their kicker wouldn't even play.

Granted, if the Button folded on the Turn, then I would have won the pot. But that is results-oriented thinking, and shouldn't be part of how you look back at hands.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

GSR $400 Bounty - End of Level 6 (200/400/50)

76 players for this one, which right about where I said it would be. That means they missed another guarantee by 24 players, so we have an overlay of $7200

Things were rather quiet for me, due to lack of chips and cards. I never got over 10k chips, but didn't fall below the 5k mark. I played a few hands. I won some small ones, and stabbed at some others at the wrong time.

Towards the start of Lv6 (200/400/50), they broke our table. After about two orbits of folding at my new table, I shoved for 4500 with AJc after one player limped. The Button thought for a moment, and called. He's collect two bounties since I sat down, and says he is playing his rush as he shows KTo. I tell him that I don't mind the call, as I will either get chips or be put out of my misery. Naturally, a Ten hit the Flop. The Turn was a Q, giving me a Broadway draw. But, as you've probably guessed by now, the River was a brick, and I walk out of the GSR somewhere around 40th place.

GSR $400 Bounty - End of Level 3 (100/200)

Lv1 (50/100) 7-handed. UTG+1 raised to 300. A couple of players called. I'm the SB with As Ad, and 3-Bet to 1600. UTG+1 folded, but one of the other players called. Flop Kc 7c 3s. I bet 2600. She thought for a moment, and went All-In for 6300 more. I don't think she has a monster by how long she took, so I call. She has Kd Jh, and missed her 5-outer. Bounty #1.

Two notable players at my table. First is a lady who is a regular in the Reno tournaments. I'm glad she's at my table because she's a world-class calling station.

The second player is an older gentleman named Woody who I thought was at a WPT Final Table. As it turns out, he was at the LAPC with Phil Ivey and Phil Hellmuth.

Lv2 (75/150) 8-handed. Folded around to the Button, who raised to 400. I'm the SB with As Ah (again). I decided to just call, as the Button seems to be a tight player. The two of us saw a Flop of Js Tc 5c. I checked, he bet 750, and I called. Turn 6d. I check, and he bet 1500. I think he's got a real hand, so I check raise to 4000. He called. I tried to bet 6500, which would put the Button All-In, before the Dealer put out the River card. But the Dealer was too quick, and it was 3d. The Button thought for a good minute, but folded. Almost Bounty #2

A Kid sat down on my direct Left. He a college kid who also a Pro. He's talking about California and Nevada poker stuff with others at the table. I hate that he's on my Left, but I have enough chips to be patient. Unfortunately, he's off to a good start, and has already collected a bounty.

Lv3 (100/200) 8-handed. I raise to 525 in Mid with QQ. The Kid 3-Bet to 1600. It folded around to me. It's close whether to 4-Bet or call, but I decide to 4-Bet to 4000. He asks how much I've got, which is more than he's got. He just calls, and the Flop is Th 7h 3s. I bet 6500. He thinks for a moment, and ships it All-In. I call, and he's got AA. I miss my 2-outer, and send him 21575 chips.

So much for being patient and playing small pot poker. Maybe I didn't need to 4-Bet. But with the 10-high Board, I was still gonna lose a chunk of chips.

I have 7875 chips.

GSR $400 Bounty - "Shuffle Up & Deal"

This tournament has 12k chips, with 40 minute levels. The bounty is $50. There is a break every three levels, and that's when I will make the next post.

For this tournament series, Grand Sierra Resort has been doing guarantees for various tournament. According to the thread on 2+2, they have been badly missing their guarantees, as they are around 1 for 8 up to today. One of them had an overlay over $16k. This one has a $30k guarantee, which means they need 100 player in order to hit it. I would be stunned if that happens, as I expect the total entrants to be in the 60-80 range. I'm not sure if this one has re-entries, but that would help.

Right now, they have 11 tables set up. The tables are 10-handed, but only have eight stacks. My table has five players, and I'm the youngest.

Very first hand, I hit a Straight, and won a decent pot.

Chip Leader!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Happy Anniversary

One year ago today, I turned off of I-80 with the U-Haul, and arrived in Reno to start my new life. So, was it worth it? Am I happy that I did it?

In a word, abso-fucking-lutely.

The best thing about living in Reno has been the weather. It's always sunny in Reno, as the Sierra Mountains block most of the storm fronts that come off the Pacific Ocean. Even during the winter, it's sunny most days. That is a big difference from the Cleveland area, where the sun might shine 5-7 days from November to March.

As a mailman, I love the lack of rain. During the summer, there was a three month period of no measurable rainfall. Yesterday, we had our first storm system in months. The amount of rain falling from the sky was not that much, and it was gone in a few hours, followed by more sunshine. It's a big difference from the all-day soakers that we would get in NE Ohio.

Since there no rain, there is also no humidity. The summer temperatures are in the mid to upper 90's, but it doesn't feel like it. Yes, there were a couple of days when it was damn hot out there, and that sun can be very intense with the higher elevations. But overall, it's much better to be outside all day in Reno rather than Cleveland.

Even the winters are milder. The coldest that the daily high temperature got was around 25 degrees. Back east, it was not uncommon to have a full week with daytime temperatures hitting the 10's or even single digits.

Up in the mountains, they got buried in snow last winter. It was so much, that the ski resorts were still open on Memorial Day weekend. But down in Reno, we only had a few snowfalls that added up to around 12 inches for the entire winter. Cleveland had at least five different blizzards that dropped more than 12 inches of snow each.

Anyways, this isn't "The Biggest Little Weather Blog In The World", so it's time to talk about the main reason I moved across the country. Living five minutes away from the two best poker rooms in Reno has been glorious, especially after being used to drive 2+ hours to either Detroit or Mountaineer / Pittsburgh.

However, I'm now playing less hours per week than I did back in Cleveland, and that is because of work. Back in Ohio, I was Regular Carrier. I had a route, no mandatory overtime, and a set schedule for off days. Since I transferred to a new office, I had to start over on the seniority list as a sub, I am working six days a week, 55+ hrs each week. I haven't had a day off since June.

I was playing cards on my off day, and maybe the night before when I headed up for an overnighter. I also had my Saturday nights home game, and sometimes on Sundays. Now, I'm trying to play on Thursday and Saturday nights for a couple of hours, and on Sundays. But some weeks, that doesn't even happen. These days, a four hour session at a $1/$2 table is a long session for me.

Unfortunately, I don't see my work schedule improving much in the next year or two. At least I'm getting a huge paychecks every two weeks. "Money won is twice as sweet as money earned, but money earned is guaranteed."

One thing I do miss about living back east is having buddies to talk poker with. I don't have anyone out here to discuss poker, and that's probably why I'm still doing this blog.

As far as my results for the past year, they've been good and bad, as you loyal readers have noticed. How much of that was variance and how much was me is anyone's guess.

Because of my lack of free time, I really haven't been trying to get better or focus on bigger games. I guess you could say I'm now a "Recreational Bumhunter". I play for fun when I have a chance. When my work schedule improves, then maybe I can take poker more seriously, by focusing on bigger games and trying to become a better player.

On a side note, the Grand Sierra is having their Fall Pot Of Gold tournament series now. On Sunday, they're having a $400 Bounty tournament at noon ($50 Bounty). I haven't done a Live Blog since the WSOP, so I'm gonna do one for this tournament. Tune in at 12n (3pm EST) for the first entry. Hopefully, I can actually make it to the dinner break this time.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

What About Bob?

I sat down at the $1/$2 table, and it looked like a typical $1/$2 table. The gentleman on my left is an older nit who is also named Greg D. He's a regular at the Peppermill, and we joke about our names whenever we see each other.

The table played fairly normal for a $1/$2 game. You know, tight and passive. I was a little card dead. I did play a few hands with mixed results. After an hour, I was down a little when this hand happened:

I limped in the SB with JTo. Around five players saw a Flop of A Q 8. I lead out for $7 with my well-hidden Double Gutshot (K or 9). One or two players called. Turn [AQ8] K. Sweet! I bet $15. A Mid player raised to $55, and it folded back to me. So far, the Mid player seemed to be a no-nonsense player. I don't see any reason to slowplay, so I 3-Bet to $115. He thought for a bit, and called the extra $60. Before the River card was dealt, I started to go All-In for $122. The River was [AQ8 K] T. That's a terrible card for me, as it would scare some players. He thought for over a minute. Eventually, he called because the pot was so big. I show my hand, and he mucked his hand in disgust. One of his cards flipped over, 8s.

Later on, the table was playing rather calm, so I tried the Button straddle to $5. A couple of players limped. I looked down at AKo, and raised to $20. The BB and Cutoff called. Flop J T T. They both checked, I decided not to c-bet. Turn [JTT] 5. Again, they both check. I could probably bet, and take it down. But if I check, one of them could stab at it, or I could get some value if an A, K or Q hits the River. The River [JTT 5] 6. BB checks. Cutoff bet $20. I seriously doubt he's betting a 6 in this spot. It's probably a T that he slowplayed, or he has nothing. I can beat nothing, and it's only $20 to win $80. I quickly called, and he had KQo for a missed Straight draw. We talked about the hand afterwards. I told him the River bet was too small, and betting the Turn would have been better to either take the pot down, or build the pot for your draw.

There is a 60's gentleman who's been losing, and we'll call him Bob. We have played various pots together, and he recently sucked out by calling with nothing on the Flop and hitting an Overcard. In another pot, I stabbed at a Flop of Q J 5 with just K8o. Only Bob reluctantly called. I bet the Turn, and Bob reluctantly called. I bet around $60 on the River, which would put Bob All-In. He thought for a moment, and said, "Well, I guess I'm going home." (I love to hear that when I'm bluffing.) He pushed his chips forward, and I said "King High". He showed A2o, no pair and no draw.

Less than an orbit later, I limped UTG with AQo. The Flop came Q-high. I bet $11, and got one caller (guess who?). I bet $25 on the Turn, and $45 on the River. It took him almost a minute to call the River bet, but I got back a big chunk of the money I bluffed off earlier.

A bit later, the table got a little shorthand due to open seats and other players stepping away. It folded around to the Button who limped. I was the SB with KQc. I raised it up to $5 to juice up the pot. The BB, Bob, 3-bet to $10. Both the Button and I called. Flop Ac Jd Tc. A decent Flop for me with Broadway and the Royal Flush Draw. I debated whether or not to bet, but I decided to check to the raiser. Both Bob and the Button checked. Turn [Ac Jd Tc] Jc. I think check was the right choice as I just hit my Royal. I check again, and so does everyone else. River is whatever. I bet $30, and only Bob called (of course). He had KK. The Peppermill has a Progressive Royal Flush Bonus that was at $550 for a Club Royal.

It didn't take very long to get into another pot with Bob. I limped in the Cutoff with 97o. Bob was the BB and raised to $10. I called, along with another player. Flop 9 8 6. Bob bet $15, the other player folded, and I raised to $40 with Top Pair and an Open-Ender. Bob mumbled something about "Again?" and called. Turn [986] J. Bob checked. I decided to check for some pot control. I really don't know where I'm at in this hand, and Bob will probably call if I bet. River [986 J] T. Bob goes All-In for $77. Well, I hit my Straight, but I lose to any Q. I make the call. Bob shows JJ for a Set, and Bob walks away from the table.

I left shortly after Bob did. Not because Bob left, but because it was 10pm. I was planning on this being a quick session, even though I am catching some great cards. Even my last two hands were good. UTG+1, I limped with KJo, folded to a raise, but the Flop was K-high. I don't know if I would have been good or not. UTG, I had AK, limped in, and took it down on the Flop.

I cashed out +$349 for 2.25 hours of play. I also got the $550 for the Royal, and $100 for the High Hand Bonus that the Peppermill gives away every four hours. So when I added up everything for this day (including the 3-Card Poker, Slots, Video Poker, a $10 Football parley, the $95 Cash Me Out, and this $1/$2 session), I went home for the evening up $654.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

LOL Donkaments #7

Peppermill 6:30 $95 Cash Me Out - 09.25.11

It was a small crowd for this one, as we eventually had 26 runners when the late buy-in period ended.

There was a player at my table who we will call Fred. He is a 60's gentleman with an Indian accent. He said he had never played this game before. As it turned out, Fred had no idea what this game was, or anything about the game. He didn't understand things like blinds, betting, how hands were determined, or what beat what. He seemed to think this was a table game, as he held his cards like he was at a Blackjack table, and asked the Dealer a couple of times what he should do with his cards. You can do this at various table games, like Pia-Gow. The Dealer said that he could not give Fred any advice, and he could only tell Fred what his options were. I've played a lot of home games with some very new players, but I have never played with someone who was a complete blank slate.

Once I realized what was going on with Fred, I tried to play in every pot that he was in. For example, I limped from early position with 76o because it was Fred's Big Blind. It folded around to the SB, who called. Fred min-raised to 100. Naturally, I called, but the SB folded. Flop was 4 3 2. Fred bet 50, and I called with Two Overs and a Gutshot. Turn [4 3 2] 6. Once again, he bet 50, and I called. River [4 3 2 6] 6. Now Fred goes All-In, and I quickly call. He proudly turned over AQo, and I showed my Trip 6s. The Dealer gathered up the pot, and shipped it to me. Fred didn't understand why he lost, because an Ace and a Queen are bigger than a Seven and a Six. (No, I'm not making this up. He actually said that.) The Dealer did his best to explain how the game worked, but I'm not sure that Fred got it.

However, Fred did pull out $30 to use his first rebuy, in spite of various players at the table saying that he should save his money. I was not one of those players, as I mentioned that tournaments are a good way to learn the game. One of my poker sayings is, "Tournaments are for teaching, and Cash Games are to get schooled."

On a side note, I have often been critical of the Peppermill on this blog. This is mostly because of how disorganized they are about various things. But this time, I have to give some major props to the dealers for how they handled a complete newbie at the table. The first one was a full-time dealer named Francis. He was very patient, courteous, and professional with Fred. It's a very frustrating situation for a dealer to constantly answer the same basic questions over and over, and he did a wonderful job of it. The other dealers after him also did very professional job.

Anyways, back to the action. Shortly after I got Fred's first buy-in, I limped for 100 in the Cutoff with 44 . The BB raised to 250, and I was the only caller. Flop was Kd Qh 4c. The BB bet 250 or 300. He's a 50's gentleman whom I know nothing about. I just called, as I thought the bet was weak, and I didn't want to scare him off. Turn was [Kd Qh 4c] 2d. Now the BB checked. I grabbed a 500 chip, and tossed it forward. The BB thought for a moment, and called. River was [Kd Qh 4c 2d] 7d. The BB checked again. For some reason, my Spider-Sense was tingling, as I thought that he could be slowplaying a big hand. But I had a Set, so I bet another 500 chip. The BB went All-In for around 1300 more. I thought for a little bit, and made the crying call. After all, I was up from the hand with Fred. The BB showed A8d for a backdoor Nut Flush. Nice Hand, Sir.

Play continued, but a rather slow pace due to Fred. He had tightened up, and was playing considerably less hands. But when he played, he either limped or was All-In. He hadn't figured out that you could raise something between a min-raise and everything. He was still asking a lot of questions, and slowing the game down. Eventually some of the old nits started snapping at Fred for being so slow. I was getting annoyed at the old nits for "taping on the 'tank", and almost spoke up. I didn't want to cause any problems, so I simply bit my tongue.

There was a group of guys who showed up late, and were able to buy-in. One of them was seated on my direct Right, and he bought in using all his rebuys. He's a large 40's guy, and we'll call him Larry. (By the way, I'm completely making up these names.) I remember seeing Larry earlier in the day when I was playing 3-Card Poker. He was with his buddies at a roulette table, and was very loud and rude with everyone around him. A supervisor came to that table, and warned Larry about his unfriendly language concerning the lady dealer. I could tell before he even played a hand that he was going to be a bullshit artist. And I seemed to be right, as he raised his very first hand, and took it down on the Flop. A few hands later, Larry raised again, and got one caller. Larry bet on the Flop, got called, and then put the other player All-In on the Turn. The other player called with AK, no pair. It was good as Larry had AJ, no pair.

A little later (maybe in the 100/200/25 level), Larry raised again. I had AJo, and considered a 3-Bet. But I thought that Larry might 4-Bet All-In, and I didn't want to call everything with AJ, so I just called the initial raise. The Flop was Js 9s 5s. Surprisingly, Larry checked, so I bet 800 with Top Top. Larry looked over at my stack, and pushed his big chips forward. Even though I didn't have a Spade, I insta-called. Larry had KQo (no spade) for a Gutshot, and proceeded to hit it on the River. Nice Hand, Sir.

I used my last rebuy for 4000 chips, and was rather card dead. Larry kept hitting hands, and stayed very active. Since I had position on him, I was able to stay out of his way. But the blind of 100/200/25 and 150/300/50 started eating away at my stack, and I got short-stacked.

Once again, it folded around to Larry on the Button in the 150/300/50 level. He simply grabbed some big chips, and bet them. I looked down in the SB at 76c. Not exactly premium holdings, but Larry's range is more than half the deck. I don't remember exactly how many chips I had, but I figured this was a good spot to gamble. Larry had a better hand than I expected, AJo, but I still had two live cards and a live suit. The Board ran out, and the lowest card was a 9.

I finished in 21st place, and this was the first time in quite a while that I didn't even make the first break. Fred was still at the table. He had some ups and downs, including using his last rebuy. I don't remember the specifics.

I walked out of the tourney room, and into the main poker room. It was kinda slow for a Sunday, with around five tables open. I considered just heading home, and putting an end to this losing day. But it was only 7:45pm, and I did have money in my pocket.

I walked over to the desk to see if they had any open seats. The only one was at the $1/$2 table. So I bought $300 in chips, and walked over to the table.

(To be continued...)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Family Day

This weekend should have been a great poker weekend for me. It was the $2500 Main Event of the Atlantis's WPT Regional Event. I wasn't planning on playing in the tourney, but the cash games are always better during a tournament series. It was also "Street Vibrations" this weekend. It's a city-wide festival for bikers. Various casinos had different events for the festival, with most of them centered in Downtown Reno and Sparks. Perhaps you heard about some of the special events on the news?

However, I did say "should" because I didn't play any poker at the Atlantis. Instead, I had some family come into town for the weekend. My uncle from Cleveland (the one who helped me move across the country) and his long-time girlfriend came into town on Saturday. They stayed here until Monday morning, and then drove down to San Frisco for a few days. They will be back here on Friday, and head home on Saturday.

We had dinner after I got off work on Saturday night. On Sunday, we had some breakfast, and then went for a long drive around Lake Tahoe, as they wanted to see Nevada. We went down the California side as we made our way to South Lake Tahoe. We took a quick break at Harvey's . They ended up playing a little Video Poker, and I watched the end of the Browns game (we won 17-16). We then headed to Carson City, the state capital, and then up to Virginia City, which is an Old West town.

After we got back to civilization, my uncle and I went up to the Peppermill, as he wanted to get his gamble on. I hung out with him, as it would have been rude of me to run off to the poker room. First, he wanted to play some slots that he did good with on his last visit. I played two different machines. I won $50 on the first, and lost $40 on the second.

Next, he wanted to play some 3-Card Poker. I haven't been playing 3-Card Poker in this town because the pay tables for the bonus hands suck. But, as a gracious host, I bought in for $200. Naturally, I showed off my uncanny ability to sit at any pit game with a hot dealer. Not "hot" as in attractive, but "hot" as in she couldn't miss. She hit three Flushes, a Straight, a bunch of Pairs, and some A-highs. I did get some cards, but nothing that could compete with what she was getting. It didn't take me too long to dust off my buy-in.

In fact, she wiped out the entire table, except my uncle. He wasn't winning a lot, but he wasn't losing either. He kept playing, so I just stood back and watched. They switched dealers, and the new one wasn't hitting as many hands, and actually didn't qualify a few times. My uncle didn't seem to want to quit yet, so I pulled another $100 bill out of my pocket and bought in. I wasn't getting great cards, but I was doing ok. Ultimately, I never got anything higher than a Pair. You can't win in this game without cards, and I eventually went busto. My uncle walked away from the table +$25.

We then went back to their hotel to pick-up his girlfriend, and went out to dinner. Afterwards, they dropped me back at my apartment, and went back to the hotel to rest. They were tired, as they were still on East Coast Time.

I walked through my apartment door at 6:10pm. I then remembered the Peppermill's $95 Cash Me Out tournament starts at 6:30. Since I haven't played any poker since last Sunday, I refilled my pockets with cash, and headed back to the Peppermill.

(To Be Continued...)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hand Of The Day #84

Harrah's Reno ~ $1/$2 NLHE ~ 09.18.11

I don't remember the exact details of the Preflop or Flop action. I apologize for this, as it does have some effect on the important part of the hand. But here is my best recollection...

There was a normal raise preflop ($7-$10) from a player in early position. I called in the Hyjack with 8s 7h. Four or five players saw a Flop of Qd 6h 5s. The raiser checked. I think I bet something like $20 with my Open-Ender. The Button called, and the raiser check-raised All-In for around $30-$35. Only the Button and I called.

Turn [Qd 6h 5s] 9c. Bingo! I make a value bet of $50 with my Nut Straight. The Button doesn't take too long to call. He's an Old Man, and he's been playing like an Old Man. A little on the loose side, but very on the passive side. I'm glad he called the $50, but I was a little surprised, as a $50 bet is huge for this table. I'm wondering if he just has a good Top Pair, or something stronger.

River [Qd 6h 5s 9c] 6c. Well, that's not a card I wanted to see. I was gonna bet $75, but I decided to just bet $50. He called the first $50, so hopefully he will call this one.

Well, he didn't call. Instead he said "Raise" rather forcefully. He started to play with his chips, and I went into deep thought. I hate it when Old Geezers say "Raise" on the River, because they are never, ever bluffing. Before he says his raise amount, I tell him not to bother, and show my cards, hoping that he would show his hand. He did, as he had Ac 6d for Trip 6s with an Ace kicker.


Over the years, I've learned one of the most important thing that you need to be a winning $1/$2 player is the $20 Value Bet on the River. Most $1/$2 players just want to check it down, get to showdown as cheaply as possible, and hope they have the best hand. So if you can squeeze out that extra $20 (or $10 or $50) on the River every time you have the best hand, then your win-rate will be much higher.

In order to make these thin Value Bets, you need to be able to read hands. Now I will admit that I'm not the best hand reader, but the average $1/$2 player plays their hand almost face up. So being able to follow the action, and determine when I'm 70% likely to have the best hand isn't that difficult at a typical $1/$2 table.

The other thing you need to be able to do is to Bet/Fold. Even though you willingly put money into the pot, you need to be able to fold when your opponent says "Raise". As I said, the average $1/$2 player wants to get to showdown cheaply, especially the older players. So if one of them raises on the River after you bet, then they have a monster hand.

And that goes for this guy, who raised with a hand that he thought was a monster. Now I have no clue why he was still in this hand with just A6, but I'm not gonna blame him. After all, I was the one who folded to what was probably going to be a min-raise of $50.

I have to admit that it never occurred to me that he could just have Trip 6s. If it had been the Queen that paired on the River, then Trips would seem more likely. It's certainly in his range, but at the very bottom of it.

I'm so used to having the mentality of Bet/Fold on my River Value Bets that I just assumed I was beat. And if you go back through this blog and look at the many times that I've folded on the River, I'm almost always right.

One difference in this hand compared to some of the other hands was the Board (Qd 6h 5s 9c 6c). There was no Flushes or Four Card Straights out there. It's a rather non-dramatic Board, and my Straight was somewhat hidden. That's why he thought he had the best hand. Of course, if I had Two Pair or a Set on the Turn, then his raise would be suicidal. But, again, I'm not here to criticize him.

This hand was a valuable lesson for me to not always assume that the opponent is raising with the Nuts. I need to take the texture of the Board into consideration, and figure out what hand he thinks that he has beat.

And when I say "valuable", I mean the preflop action (roughly $25-$40), plus around $100 ($30-$35 x 3) on the Flop, plus $100 ($50 x 2) on the Turn, plus $100 ($50 x 2) on the River, plus whatever he was gonna raise (probably $50-$70).