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.