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.