Friday, December 31, 2004

Droppin' the Hammer to Double-Up; Stop-n-Go Awes the Table & Dries Up the Action

I'll spare you the details of a couple brutal beats and stupid plays on my part, and just stick to the fun ones, what with this being new year's eve and all...

First, last night's session:

I picked up a pair of 3's in the big blind at the .25/.50 table and checked to go along with 4 limpers. Flop comes 3h Xh 6h. I decide to represent the flush and bet at it, figuring nobody holding the actual flush would raise me yet. Only one caller. I put him on a made flush or the Ah on the draw.

Turn brings a 6, giving me the boat. I slow down and check, figuring if either of my reads was correct he'd bet. He did. I flat called, now looking like I was on the draw as well. I prayed for another heart on the river.

It came. I did my happy dance. Really, it's more of a happy squirm as it was late and I was tired and didn't want to get up.

I check again and he bet at it. I knew he had the Ah, because if he had a random low-card flush, he'd have checked to prevent my check-raise, since I had represented a high-card draw with my betting pattern. So, I got to get my check-raise in. He re-raised me, confirming to me he had the Ace, so I capped it.

When the cards turned over, it was almost as though I could hear his screams in my ears. It doubled me up, and the table was suitably impressed and chatted appropriately respectful comments. It doubled me up at that point, as I was short-stacked. Unfortunately, I got very little action thereafter and had to leave for greener pastures.

Alas, that was not to be, but as I said, I will spare you THOSE stories. Mostly, I just blame myself.

Anyway, I've been avoiding dropping the hammer lately, because frankly the damn thing never pays off for me. Guess I don't have a tight enough image to scare anyone out of a pot at the low-limits. But, I picked it up in a perfect situation tonight and thought I'd take a swing.

I was playing pot-limit hold 'em (my wretched leak). I was a the table almost an hour and had played maybe three hands, enough to stay about 10% below breakeven and have a tight image. There was one limper ahead of me with the blinds to my left, so I bet the pot (about 13% of my table stake). Two callers, one was the big blind.

Flop comes 2-K-7.

Bingo, I thought, and considered the stop-n-go. No, I don't think I want to get fancy after getting so lucky, the poker gods would probably rise up and smite me. I bet about the same amount I had bet pre-flop, which was about 1/3 of the pot at the time. One caller. I put him on the King, and prayed he didn't have a better two pair.

Turn brings a J, worrying me as I can easily see him giving me that previous action with KJ. I test it with a $1 bet.

He calls. Now I am very worried about a trap.

A rag falls on the river. I push all-in figuring I had represented top pair, top kicker all along, even trips, so he can't call without a better hand.

He called. Shit.

But, I win! Whoa!

Made me wonder what he thought I had and why he called. All I can figure is he put me on QQ or a medium pair, and I was trying to muscle him off his top pair.

Honestly, I felt pretty silly when it turned over, but yes, I got action afterwards. However, I neglected to drop "The Hammer" into the chat, forgetful me, so now I just look like a lucky maniac instead of knowledgeable blogger partaking of the blogging community's primary contribution to poker culture.

I guess I can live with that. ;-)

Thursday, December 30, 2004

A lucky NL hand

When I first started playing cash NL and PL games, I was having problems. The bets were getting intimidating. But, I've managed to get more consistent and turn things around. How?

I make other people feel uncomfortable. I wait for good cards, and bet them aggressively. Most of the time, I'm just picking up small pots here and there. Occasionally, I can double up. Got a lucky one today.

Yes, I am willing to admit when I get lucky - every poker player in the world needs to gets lucky once in a while. So many times I have to read and listen to admittedly skillful players bemoan their run of bad luck that's cost them 1/2 of their bankroll. But, when they double that 'roll up, they never give any credit to good luck -- it's always their 'skillz' that got them there.

Guys... ladies... I don't care how skillful you are, no amount of skill will control the cards you get to start with. That's random chance - luck. After that, you get all the credit. But it doesn't take a rocket scientist to make money when you pick AA, KK, and QQ seven times in one session. That's luck. I've had those sessions, I know. I've also gone two weeks without seeing a Top-10 hand. Nothing I can do to control either situation except to play through them.

So, back to the lucky hand I picked up today. Lucky because I made a bad read, caught a 5-outer, and got away with it.

I was on the button with Ad8s. Normally, I muck AXo when the X is below a T, but there were a bunch of limpers so it was cheap to see the flop and I had position so I could get away from the hand if the flop looked troublesome. I called $.25.

Flop comes 6d7dAs. Checked to MP, who bets $.50. At this table, I had seen similar bets from top pair as well as 4-to-the-draws. I put him on a draw. I don't know why, probably wishful thinking as I was getting froggy to get my money in the pot.

At this point, there was over $3 in the pot. I only had $6.75 in front of me, so I figured with my top pair, weak kicker, I should show strength to push him off his draw. I pushed all-in. Everyone else folds. He thought a few seconds, and I thought he'd muck, but he called and turned over 6-7, for two pair.

Shit.

Bad, bad read on my part. I need to learn from that.

A 3h comes on the turn, no help, but then I catch my miracle 8, giving me a better 2-pr.

Lucky me.

See, the other guy played better. He was ahead and bet it. He sniffed out my 1-pr and called me properly. I played badly, but caught an 8.25:1 card that only netted me about 2.5:1 on my money. If I keep doing that, I will lose money in the long run. Nice to hit it and come away winners, that can't be permitted to happen again. The only thing I can say favorable about my play is that I thought I was putting my money in with a better than 50% chance he would fold. If he had, great play by me. Because of the bad read, lousy play. Catch a lucky card, I get to examine this hand feeling relieved instead of disgusted.

Onward!

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Probably the most solid session I've ever played...

The evening started out bad, real bad. I had to walk away from the 'puter. Fortunately, it was bad only at .02/.04. After a few hours, I reviewed my play. I felt ok with it. I was card dead, and the few good cards I got suffered from some bad rivers. But, I was only down $1.20.

Then, I took a look at my bonus points and saw that I only had 27, and needed 100, after 2 weeks of play. Playing at my levels, it's pretty hard to get $.25 raked hands. So, I decided I was going to do something about it.

I stepped up to $.25/$.50.

I decided I would play absolute rock solid poker. Chart Poker, I call it. Just followed my chart and the odds. Normally, I'm pretty good about starting hand selections, but where I make my mistakes is ignoring position, and occasionally playing some marginal cards that are marginal because they are unsuited, like A9o. Tonight, I figured I would just sit tight. Someone always calls at these levels, I don't have to give anyone any action.

I jumped in with $10, and lost half right away. I mean, right away-first orbit. Again, some bad rivers got me. I was worried, but resolved to sit and play solid, and focus on racking up bouns points rather than dazzle my opponents with my poker repertoire... LOL.

So, that's what I did. It didn't take long to make some money. Not much longer after that, I'd doubled up. I decided to push my luck with my "leak", PLHE with the $.10 blinds. I wanted to rack up some more points.

I bought in for $4, and I was blinding and blinding away chips, and racking up bonus points. I made some small moves with great cards to stay even. Mostly stayed out of trouble, and was at about $2.50. I picked up a decent hand with position, finally, AsTs on the button. MP raised it to the max, $.30 at that point. I called, SB folded, BB called. Flop came one spade, with rags. He bets $.10

??

Stringing me along? Hell, that's practically a free card, I'll take it. Turn comes Js, giving me the flush draw with one overcard, 12 outs. He bets $1.10.

??

Oooookay, I go through the possibilities... big pair, trying to push me off my draw... trip J's?... no, felt too aggressive, if he was stringing me along earlier, then picked up his trips, I just felt like he wouldn't have gotten so aggressive... an underpair, maybe 99...

Anyway, the bet just smacked of fear, not strength. I knew it was a pair, and put him on 99. All I had was the draw. I decided: a) looked like fear, b) if I called this bet, I was pot committed, c) if my spade came, he'd never call my all-in. So, I re-raised to get all my chips in on the come. I was gambling.

No spade on the river, just..... an Ace. Good thing, because my read was off a little. He had QQ. I was gracious, pointing out my lucky river.

So, that's how I finally, for once, finished up in the PLHE game. And, I took down over $13 in the .25/.50 game, more than doubling up there. And the bonus, is the bonus points, which now sit at 73, so I picked up nearly 50 tonight. I'll sit tight tomorrow to pick up the rest, then evalute my bankroll and play and figure out which game I should be sitting at the most. At least I'm noticing that the games get relatively tighter as I move up (but not "tight"), which is actually good for me. The river rats tended to stand out, so I respected the others and pounded the rats. And, since I didn't seem to catch in inordinate number of great hands, I feel better about my play tonight than I did last night during that monster rush. It felt good, and was a confidence builder. The test will be whether I can follow through, and avoid my "leaks".

Monday, December 27, 2004

Another rush finally happened.....

Do you suppose it might have something to do with the fact that I made a deposit today?

I couldn't catch a damn card earlier tonight, and then I made a $20 deposit, jumped into a .10/.20 table, and in a couple of orbits, my fortunes changed. It was like I was finally getting all of the good starting hands that I've been denied for the last week, all at once.

I got AA four times, KK twice, AK a couple times. Seemed like I hit every draw by the turn. And, when others hit their cards, it was like I could see what they were playing.

Unreal.

So, I was finally getting good cards, so it was easy to sit and wait for 'em. I had bought in for $2, and left an hour later with over $12. Not a bad session's work.

And, yes, I do think there is something hinky with me suddenly catching good cards right after a deposit. It was too sudden. Like they're trying to get me to move up another level and blow my wad. Which is why I think I might move back down to .02/.04, so it will last longer.

Screw 'em, if I have to pay for my entertainment/poker lessons, I'm gonna get my money's worth....

Friday, December 24, 2004

I call it "The Ivey Effect"

Disclaimer: In no way do I even think I belong on the same poker playing planet as Phil Ivey.

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.
Douglas Adams, "Last Chance to See"


I read the Ivey interview in Cardplayer a few weeks ago, and enjoyed the story of how he would spend all week winning enough money at $75/$150 so he could move up to $200/$400 (or was it $400/$800?). Regardless, he said he rode that rollercoaster for 6 months; win all week, give it up at the next level on the weekend.

That's where I am now.

Not at those levels, mind you. But, I win and win and win at limit so i can try pot limit, then get creamed at pot limit. I do it because I love the thrill of the bigger bets and the challenge of not having those artificial limits in place.

But, I basically suck at it. No patience.

I can sit here and write that I am resolved to not play any more PL, but I know that isn't the case. If I can beat the game substantially one night, it will be a psychological breakthrough that I think will help me develop the confidence I need to sit and wait.

Isn't that funny? I diagnose playing marginal cards as a lack of confidence? Weird. Anyway, what is usually happening when I bust out is that I make a pre-flop pot limit bet with big connecting cards, then I don't hit the flop. I try to bluff at the flop with another pot limit bet, and someone calls. So, I wind up pot-committed and drawing to overcards.

If I just had the confidence to know that I can lay that hand down and wait for the next one, I think I'll be ok. But it just seems like I get into that "win it now" mode.

Well, they say half the battle is admitting the problem. We'll see.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

A little insight needed, please...

As I've said before, I don't own Pokertracker yet since I play at such low limits. But AP does provide some basic stats. Here's an extremely small sample (1000 hands); I could use some insight into what it means:

First, let me explain something - the vast majority of these hands are at $.02/.04, playing 6 man tables that are normally at 4 or 5-handed. So, lots of short-handed play.

Flops Seen: 40% (I know this is too much, but playing short-handed and only playing the blinds and you're pretty much at 40%)

Games won: 16%
Showdowns won: 52%
Games won when seeing the flop: 39%

I also see that my raise % is just shy of 6%. Not sure if you add the "Bet%" onto that to measure aggression, but that is over 11%; make it 17% of the time I am pushing the betting in some manner.

So, you stats folks, what does this mean? If it makes a difference, I am satisfied with my cash winnings.

Thanks for any help.

Odds & Ends at Midnight

I forgot to report on last Saturday's home game at buccaneermike's (which I skipped, like a good boy, for the sake of spousal relations at this most stressful time of the year).

Joeboddy was first out. Supposedly, the night played out weird. Everyone tightened up with so much money at stake - $40 buy-in, winner-take-all, 9 man table. $360 to the winner. Buccaneermike played aggressive from the start, and apparently Joeboddy did also, 'cept he got unlucky. Supposedly, it took 3 hrs for the next guy to go out, and the blinds were escalating every 20 minutes. Unreal, considering the usual style of play at this game.

Buccaneermike came in 4th. There is justice in a winner-take-all world. A guy that's only played with us for a month or two won it all. Normally, a nice guy, but was late getting to his father's bedside at the hospital because of the game, though. Apparently, he is really bad off, maybe dying, and it was Boy-Roy's turn to pull the nightwatch at the hospital.

Good to see a man with his priorities straight get rewarded. Jeesh.
----------------------------------------

Back to AP: Ok, I'm over the beats from the MTT earlier. It didn't cost me money, so I have no right to be pissed.

As for the .02/.04 tables, it seems to get downright fishy in the evening. On the one hand, there are the fish that are afraid to play while they're learning. On the other hand, you've got guys that play at higher limits that drop down to blow off steam by raising any two cards. A guy willing to be just the slightest bit patient can do fine for himself.

I've been analyzing my records and discovered something: I have more winning sessions that losing sessions by a long shot, at most limits. But, when I lose, I lose BIG! And since I'm playing with a short bankroll because I don't want to risk any more of my meager cash bankroll than necessary online, it only takes one losing session to throw all my gains out of the window.

So, I'm trying a strategy change. I buy-in for the minimum at the table, in this case $.40. If it goes, I switch tables and re-buy one more time. If that goes, I'm down 20 BBs and I walk away for a few hours. Also, I'm usually multi-tabling now, so that's taking some of the variance out as well. It seems to be working so far, as I'm knocking out more winning sessions than ever, almost always more than doubling up. My infrequent losses are being managed better. The real proof will be in a few weeks, when I can move up in limits, or maybe play some $.10 PL HE.

Knock on wood.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Keep your bad beat stories to yourself...

Playing a MTT freeroll WSOP satellite at AP. Same guy rivered me out twice with little cards, beating my so-called "quality hands".

First hand: I'm holding AKo in the BB. 5 limpers, and I make it 5x the BB to go. 4 callers. Little cards on the flop. Gets checked around. Little card on the turn. Checked again. Little card on the river, a 5. I check and the guy behind me bets about 1/2 the pot. It was a tiny amount of my bankroll at the time, so I mostly called just to send the message not to try to steal on me. He had called a 5x raise with 4c5c. Ok, they were suited, but c'mon!

I'm playing a great, tight aggressive game, accumulating chips and staying ahead of average. Almost at the first break, I pick up QQ, in the BB again. I make it 4x the BB to go. 4 callers, including the same guy. Flop, turn, and river are all little cards, but I've learned from before and I'm pounding, eventually putting the dude all-in. He rivers a straight, playing 6s3s.

Mutha-fucka!

No way I put him on the straight draw, he wasn't getting odds. I put him on either the top pair on the board (a 10), or waiting to spike an Ace or King. Straight draw, no way. I knew he had to play crap cards to have hit it.

Bastard!

I saw that he lives in a town about 50 miles away, I'm ready to hunt the bastard down - anyone with me?

Hey, here's an idea: Anyone remember the Seinfeld episode where he wanted to live out every comedians dream and show up at the workplace of someone that heckled him in the club, so he could heckle them at their job? He did it, it was pretty funny.

I think that the next time all the bloggers get together like they did in Vegas last week, instead of a tourney, they should hunt down some rag-playing sumbitch and give him a bad-beat about the head and shoulders.

I'd sign up for that trip in a heartbeat!

At least I didn't spend my own money on the tourney, then I'd be REALLY pissed! That's right, I'm not even REALLY pissed yet! Imagine what THAT would be like!

So, ya'll just keep your bad beats to yourself, I'm too busy stewing over mine. It'll take a while.

I'm liking Absolute Poker, mostly...

In terms of giving back to the players, it's no contest: Absolute blows Pacific out of the water. Tons more freerolls, and not just in NLHE either; I've seen some PL Omaha as well. Also, you can use their reward points for special MTTs. I seem to be racking up the points very quickly, so that's cool. Not a lot of money in these freerolls, but it's great practice and you can't beat the price.

Good way to learn, ya know?

The competition is definitely tougher, even at the low limits. Lots more folding, so the calling stations go bust pretty soon. Also, more bluffing because of all the folding, but THAT'S poker. I also like the incredibly low limits. I've been playing .02/.04 (I know, most of you say "why bother?" - cuz it's fun and I don't have to worry about the money and can focus on playing 'right'). They also have .50 SNG's.

Plus, the ability to multi-table is a bonus, although I'm still learning to keep track of everything. As I said in a previous post, it's probably good for me that I'm forced to play on automatic right now.

Oh well, if you're a fish like me, come on over to AP. If you're good... stay away... far, far, away....

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Three tables is too much, and a Home Game report

I was up on the day playing 3 tables, but it was the cards more than me. I wasn't evaluating and making decisions, just reacting. It didn't feel good. I think I need more practice with just 2 tables.

Tonight was rougher, the cards didn't come and the draws didn't fill out. But, I'm still up for the day, so I have something to be happy about.

On the home game front, I was a good boy tonight...

Buccaneermike scheduled a $40 buy-in, winner-take-all for tonight. But, I told Mrs. Big and the Bigettes that I wouldn't go to any more games until after the holidays, and I kept that promise. Good me.

Probably saved $40, too, but it was hard the last few days because my NL has been coming along as I practice. I just called over, and after 2 hrs of play there are still 7 men at the table. VERY unusual for this group, but I guess the stakes tightened up their sphinctors' a bit. Buccaneermike is pushing the table around, from the reports I've gotten. Joeboddy was first out, which had to crush him.

Too bad, so sad... NOT!

I'm hoping one of the new guys wins. Buccaneermike has been getting a little too full of himself, and the fact is, he almost wills himself to win. It's very impressive. Losing this monster, especially if he loses it heads up, will tilt him for weeks. It would also be sweet justice, since he is the only one that wants to play winner-take-all. His place, his rules. So, if he comes sooooooo close and walks away empty-handed, all will be well with the world

New Site; First Time Multi-Tabling

Wow, that was harder than I thought it would be!

Signed up over at Absolute Poker, mostly because their minimum Neteller deposit is only $15.

Gotta say that I like it so far. Great selection of low-limit games, including SNGs at only $.50 a pop. I played one to get used to the graphics. Sitting at the table waiting for the tourney to start, I was chatting with someone, telling them to take it easy on me since it was my first time. The other guy said it was his first real money game, that he had won $5 in a freeroll earlier in the day.

The structure is great for tight players. T$1500. and blinds starting at 10/20. I could sit all day if I had to. And, mostly I did, unless I got the big cards, then I hammered. It was good.

About 20 minutes into it, some dude was cracking jokes. At one point he said, "I'm drunk", and I responded with "I'm a fish." Well, just about then, my rush started and I began busting people. Turned out that the freeroll dude and I were heads up at the end.

Our chips were nearly even, and I put the pressur eon him, just in case it REALLY was his first time. Of course, I got caught and he nearly busted me. He had me 10-1 on chips. I whipped out that short-stack again and kept up the aggression. Within 5 hands, I was back to even. At this point, I got the best compliment I've ever received at a poker table:

"You're no fish."

{Blush} Aw, shucks... LOL

Anyway, made me feel good, even if I know the truth: As I've said in this blog before, I'm the King Fish.

I suppose I can accept that I know how to play the CARDS well enough. It's just that I lack the discipline to make money. I understand this limitation about myself. It's something I keep in mind, so I can still have fun playing low-limit without causing myself financial pain. But make no mistake: While I understand it, I don't accept it. I continue to try to improve, it's just that every once in a while, I try to parlay my winnings into a bigger roll. It's a leak, and I've got to work to plug it.

Anyway, on to multi-tabling.

Y'all that play 3 and 4 tables have my respect; it was all I could do to keep up with 2. I admit, I thought it would be easier. After all, I typically fold 25% of my hands, so I figured I could do 2 tables and still have time on my hands. Unfortuantely, my decent cards seemed to come at the same time at both tables. Once, I had AA simultaneously. And they both got busted on suck-outs simultaneously.

Anyway, I made money at both tables, so I'm happy with that. I also could have made more at either table, but had bad runs near the end of the session. It was very difficult to follow both tables, but I'm sure it will get better as my brain gets trained for it. On a positive note, it forced me to be more disciplined with my hand selection. There simply wasn't time to play those unsuited connectors and Ace-rags that get a man Feeling Froggy after folding 30 hands in a row.

Can't wait to see how tomorrow goes!

Friday, December 17, 2004

Confessions from a degenerate mind

My rush of cards in the SNGs was short-lived. As usual, I stepped up to the biggest tourney I could afford, looking for the home run. Instead, I got bust.

Real bust.

When I was finished, my balance said $0.

Now, THAT's bust! Nobody can accuse me of not gambling it up.

Happens every time - I'm my own worst enemy, no discipline.

So, I moped for 2 days, playing the freerolls and play money, waiting for payday so I could make another deposit. Then, I remembered something:

Bonus Points.

Can you believe it? Those damn points that take forever to build up at the rate of 1 point per $10 wagered at the ring tables. Turned out I had 208 of them.

I converted them to cash: $2

Go ahead, laugh - I did! So, I popped into some .05/.10 tables this morning, and I've doubled up: $4.67.

Uh-huh, keep laughing, monkey-boy, I'm coming back!

ROFLMAO!

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Multi-Table Freeroll

I need to play more of these, more seriously.

I played for an hour this morning. I was late starting, and basically blinded off chips for the first 30 minutes. Limped a couple times, and got pushed out. I was down about 1/2 my chips and basically was short-stacked to my table. Well below-average.

So, I whipped out my short-stack (man, that sounds very sexual, and just a little poor on self-esteem!).

Any Ace, or a decent Kx, and I pushed. Didn't get called with K9s, next hand was ATo, and didn't get called there either. The hand after these was QQ.

Perfect.

I KNEW someone would call me, nobody allows someone to push 3 hands in a row without calling. I pushed, got called by 3 people!

Thanks, guys!

So, I was the big stack, changed gears, and whipped that big stack all around the table (there, that sounds better for the ole' self-image!).

I wasn't pounding with everything, but any decent cards you might play in a low-limit game was enough to raise with. Over the next 30 minutes, I built my stack up to about 21K, about 3 times the average. At this point, we were almost to the break. And, I had to get back to work (yes, working from home and online poker might SEEM like the perfect combination, but in fact, I'm way better at my work than I am at poker, and since it pays waaaaaay better, I am loath to risk losing it).

I figured I needed to just play to win fast or go out. There were about 90 people left, and I estimated I was top 20. Since it was freeroll and only paid top 10, it might as well have been winner-take-all. So, I played the big stack like a short stack (any ace, any decent Kx) and was out in two hands.

Oh well. I've had a couple MTTs like this (and cashed in one I played in the middle of the night), and it makes me feel good to know I can accumulate chips like that. Perhaps, this weekend and over the holidays, I can devote enough time to some MTTs to see if I can make a final table.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

9 Minutes

Unbelievable 5-seat SNG today…

I took out the first guy on the first hand, with 2 pr. I flopped the 2 pr, made a double-pot sized bet, which he called. I put him on top pair or a flush draw. The turn brought a blank, and with over $400 in the pot, I decided I had him beat if he had top pair, and that I was going to make him make a decision for all his chips to try to hit his flush.

I pushed.

He called.

I won.

You aren’t going to believe this: I pushed first with every other person at the table, and they all called. And I won every time, with nothing better than 2 pr.

It was over in 9 minutes.

Yes, you read that correctly: 9 minutes.

Probably the worst display of poker I have ever seen. And honestly, not my best either - who pushes with 2 pr on the first hand?

It felt good.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Still catching cards

I don't want to make it sound like I'm winning everything in sight and destroying tables left and right.

I'm not.

But, I'm winning a little here, little there.

I'll take it.

I think the only change I've made is that I'm not allowing myself to be bluffed as much. I'm gambling a little more. I still start with strong hands, but I'm not giving up on them so easily.

It's paying off. Sometimes it costs me, but I'm learning to keep it manageable. Where someone would have bluffed me out of a pot, I now go to check and call mode unless I am obviously beat. I only need to do it once or twice, then nobody bluffs at me anymore.

Makes the game more predictable. Consider it an investment.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Finally!

I actually ran well at the tables today.

And, it was a 20-seat SNG!

And, I won!

It's been a long time since I won a 20-seat SNG. I used to live off of them. I made nice change off of the $8 20-seater back then. Today was a $2, with $14 for 1st. Given how crappy I've run, and especially how crappy I've played NL, I'll take it.

It helps that I got AA twice, and QQ once, and got called on my eventual all-ins. There was one guy that seemed to have a hard-on for me, he'd win a bunch off of everyone, then call me almost every time I went all-in. The only time he didn't, I had gone all-in on the short stack with JJ. Weird. I made most of my money off of him.

It also was a shot of confidence because I was battling back from the short stack most of the day, including at the final table. On the bubble, I only had enough for 2 more orbits, but 3 of the big stacks went all-in, and only one can win that battle. I found myself severely short-stacked in 4th. From there, everytime I caught any big card I pushed, and got called and obviously won. My best call was against the guy that had been big stack most of the tourney. I had just doubled up and had him covered by about $1000. I had raised UTG with 77 when blinds were $250/$500. Neither of us needed to push with the other two severely short-stacked, but he did. It felt like he was figuring I would not want to risk my newly-acquired riches. I suspected overcards, with the push being a defensive move to get me out. In other words, a coin flip for me.

I called, even knowing I was barely ahead. I only remember that I picked up a third 7 on the flop, but the betting was finished so all that was left to do was watch. I rivered a 4th 7 for quads and began celebrating before chips even slid my way.

From there, I picked my spots. I played extremely slow, allowing the short stacks to feel the pressure of increasing blinds. When I came in, I raised, but didn't push. I had good cards and wanted to induce bluffs. I got them.

So, lucky me. I got good cards for the first time in about 2 weeks, and managed not to screw them up. Showed a little heart, too, if I do say so myself.

I love it when a plan comes together.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Running bad

So, I’ve been running bad lately.

Real bad.

I get few playable hands. My straights and flushes aren’t filling out. I haven’t seen a full house in ages. If I flop trips, someone else picks up a straight. If I have 2 pr, someone else has trips.

Yeah, it’s been like that.

Strangely, I’m not panicky or anxious. I know bad runs can go on and on for thousands of hands, and the only way to get through them is to play through them. I’m playing at the lowest limits so I don’t have to change from a tight aggressive style. I know that if I play passive at a higher level, I’ll fail.

So, I’m just working through it as best I can.

Friday, December 10, 2004

I'm Back!

I've been away on travel for my real job. Trip went well (I know, you all ccare SOOOO much!) Did not play poker while I was gone, but I still wanted to do an update....

So, my long-awaited cafepress.com order finally came in. If you remember, I have created Big Slick Nuts gear and have started selling it at cafepress.com. I also told you all not to buy any until I had a chance to order a sample and check it out.

Well, I must say, the quality is EXCELLENT. I order a sticker, and it turned out great. Next, I'm going to order a piece of apprarel.

It takes about 7-10 days to receive your item, depending on your location. Mine took the full 10 days. But it was defnitely worth it!

Well, I am going to go back to the tables and see if my involuntary (but needed) break has helped my mind-set at all.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Taking a deep breath...

I've been strugging for the last 20 hrs to understand what happened last night at the Hard Rock. Running the "REAL" numbers has helped me figure it out.

I played $2/$2 for 4 hrs, and felt as though I played some of the most solid poker I have ever played, live of online.

And still lost $39.

The table was ok, tougher than normal, but beatable. I was never intimidated, but I also knew I couldn't underestimate these guys. They were mostly strong.

Not alot of turnover while I was there, so I could get pretty good reads on people. I wasn't getting very good cards at all, not nearly my share. I got AKs once, and took it down on the turn when the lasat guy folded. Other than that, I got AQo twice and KQo once. Had medium pairs twice. That was it.

I was making outstanding laydowns, which I know for a fact since 95% of the hands were shown down (they were tough, but not that tough). While I wish I had played some hands pre-flop because of how they would wound up, I also know it's right to lay down 86o in early position and I put it out of my mind when I see it would have rivered a straight.

But, I had TPTK a couple times when the flop was suited, and layed down to obvious flushes rather than making the longshot call to draw some undefined miracle.

I did get sucked out on twice, badly enough to put a hurt on me. But, I sucked out on someone when I got 10-2o in the SB and rivered a boat, beating his 5-full-of-10 boat he had on the turn (made $45 of OPM on that one). I got into a shouting match with another guy at the table when called me a river rat. There was lots of pre-flop raising going on, I wasn't catching many cards, so I was only playing 1 in 10 non-blind hands.

On this hand, I was SB on an unraised pot, flopped top pair, turned trips (still behind, unknown to me, to trip 5s that turned the boat on my third 10), then rivered the 2. It was completely logical for me to be in one of the few unraised hands, to stay in the hand on the flop, and to be aggressive on the turn. So I got pissed when the asshole opened his mouth. He tried to to explain that was just speaking in generalities about the structure of the game making it impossible to chase people from the pot. But, he had called me a river rat! Me, the guy with his elbow set on "auto-fold"!

Anyway, his comment was specific, not general, which was why I was offended. And he had folded his hand after the first raise on the turn, so it's not like HE got rivered. In my mind, his dog left the fight when his cards were mucked, so he should keep his mouth shut. Anyway, I didn't back down and I didn't tilt, something I was happy about. In fact, I got 10-2o two hands later, thought, "Oh, my lucky hand!" and promptly mucked it.

Yes, I'm very proud I could do that after both the big win and bigger argument.

We had a drunk guy drop about $250 while I was there. I didn't get it. Like I said, not much turnover, only saw one guy leave with obvious winnings, but I was up also when he left. My money left me on the few hands I did get to play, that I had to lay down. I saw very few to the river, and was 2/4 on the river, so that was ok. It was just one of those nights where I didn't get my share.

I think I got to see the real effect of the rake, first-hand, last night. Our dealers kept having to call for re-fills at least 4 times. One of the guys commented, "We keep bringing all these chips into the game, and nobody's really leaving with them, so where are they going?"

He and I looked at the rake bax simultaneously. The light went on. It's 10%, $5 max at Seminole Hard Rock, folks. Every hand. Plus $1 to the jackpot. At 20 hands/hr minimum, that's a total of $120/hr leaving the table. Another $2/hand in tokes is $40/hr down that slot. $160/hr total. $640 for my 4 hr session. I'm getting dizzy.

$64/seat for my 4 hrs. I'm going to be sick.

Since I lost $39, I suppose I'm actually $25 ahead of the game. That feels right, given how I felt about my play.

It's better than that in Vegas and Biloxi, right? Please tell me it is so I can save my money and go play somewhere better rather than piss it away like this.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Splish, splash, like a bass chasing worms...

Sometimes, I can be such a fish...

So I actually try to play despite my illness. I splashed around at all levels at an ungodly rate. At one point my bankroll was BELOW the $20 I deposited! Made some modest recovery during the afternoon, then this evening I jumped all over the place. Started at .25/.50, caught a big pot right off, then sucked out 2 more. By the 4th hand, we were down to 3 and they were both severealy short. I hammered until a bigger stack came along. It was fun exploiting the smaller stacks.... AGGRESSION!

So I jumped around between .10/.20 and .25/.50, looking for similar situations - 1 or 2 short stacks that were hammer-able. Some games were successful, some not, but by the end of it all I had recovered all my losses.

As the Nature Boy, Ric Flair would say: "WHOOOOOOO!"

Ok, so I can't do that every night and expect long-term success, but from time to time it might be fun to exploit. I remember reading an article in at the CardPlayer.com site by Daniel N. where he used to take one day a month to just go wild and get it out his system. He doesn't do it anymore (to my knowledge), but it might be fun to try again after the new year.