Sunday, July 31, 2005

B & Q's Tourney July 30, 2005

24 players over 4 tables. Having 6 players instead of 8 or 10 may not seem like a huge difference, but I find it really affects the table play, The blinds hit you that much faster, and it's that much tougher to expect pot-odds with limping hands.

The notebook? As I've said, it's a TPD. I've also discovered some interesting personal numerology that I cannot reveal. I don't normally believe in this sort of thing, but it's clear to me that I have to survive X number of hands in order to have a chance, and I've got to make a move between hands Y and Z or else I can expect to be blinded out. That's as much as I can say without giving away my tournament game completely.

The cash table was reckless junior last night. LW went all-in 3 times in succession until he recovered his buy-in, and then he calmed down. After that, the rest of the table went loco, loco, loco with that All-in Fever.

Held my own at the cash table, and I walked out of B&Q's with exactly the same cash as I walked in with. I would have walked out ahead, but I had been in tilt mode for at least 20 minutes before I stopped.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Preach's July 30, 2005

There were at least 5 new faces at Preach's and all of them seemed like pretty good players. One of them in particular was obviously accustomed to playing at much higher stakes, and was playing with a very admirable emotional detachment to his chips. He would take and frequently offer all-in bets if he liked his starters at all, and he walked away with 7 bounties and first prize in a field of 13 players.

My highest lifetime hand was last night, a 7-high heart straight flush. I only knew that I had won the pot because my last standing opponent had no pair, and it was pointed out to me by others. Straight Flush blindness, I guess.

There was also an all-in battle suckout I'm particularly proud of.

Me: JdJh
Not Me: AsJs

I'm the 65.5% fave going in.

Ah, xc, xh

I'm now the 8.8% dog.


Now I'm the 22.7% dog


And I get four suited hearts on the board for my jack of hearts. I'm getting so much better at sucking out! Tee hee!

Also had a nice run at the cash table. I whittle down my stack to about 35% of a buy-in, and I leave the table with 7 times buy-in!

Friday, July 29, 2005

Action Tourney July 28, 2005

24 player tourney. I got a little too frisky too early, and spent the remainder of the tourney trying to play catch up. I had one decent all-in with my QQ prevailing over KJos. (xxJ, Q,x), but I had a couple of all-in battles where I was sucked out, and so it was an evening of bleeding. It's a different blind structure and a different style of player than other tourneys I play, so I may need to adjust my play quite a bit if I wish to do well there.

Then I hit the cash table, and got my entry fee and gas money back. A free evening's entertainment.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Speert's Poker Club Atlanta July 26, 2005

This place gets the FNJ thumbs up. It's a little tough to find, but worth it.

Mr. Speert was in the building, but he was playing on-line and said hello as we went for a smoke. We didn't have the honor at the table.

Played two hours of cash no limit, with a rake, and came out in the black. There was one fascinating hand I was in, and this time I was actually the victor.

I'm allowed to limp in BB with KJos, 3 in the hand. One of the two players is in every single hand, and had been on a very impressive rush, but only after re-loading twice and showing all the symptoms of tilt, tilt, tilt.

Flop 3,5,T rainbow. Checks around.
Turn Q. SB checks, I bet 5, Tilty raises me to 15, I call, and I give an obvious verbal tell that I'm on a draw.
River: A.

I bet 20, and tilty puts me all in, which I obviously expect.

But he wasn't tilting at all. The Ace gave him a wheel. He stated after the hand that he didn't even see the high straight on the board.

FNJ 1, Tilty 0.
(Tilty had cleaned out at least 3 players before he faced off with me. His stack was huge.)

Monday, July 25, 2005

Hooters Free Roll July 25, 2005

You know there's that movie coming out about the 40 year old virgin? Well, I had my first hooters experience this evening, I went there for a free roll, of course.

The hosts were:

There were 3 tables of 8, starting with 1500 in chips, and a gradual blind elevation. They had a bizarre alternate system in which every time somebody got eliminated, a new recruit was sent in with 1500 in chips. Of course, lots of newbies eliminated themselves in the first 15 minutes, so it took less than 30 minutes for all the alternates to come in.

I made final table and got to sit with some decent players who took the free roll about as seriously as I did. I stood to win some Hooters gift certificates, so after about 3 hours play with 5 players remaining, I got sloppy and careless and went out quickly. I could have played tight and held out another hour for a baseball cap.

I'm getting much better at sucking out. Check these!

1) I limp with Qtos with about 5 other players. The flop is qq2, so I make a tiny raise to see who has the other queen. BB goes in, and since BB checked, I liked my chances on the kicker. But BB has 22, so BB has a boat to my trips with two cards to play.

Runner runner pair of 3s for QQQ33. Nyah nyah nyah.

I looked up the odds, and he was 77.1% fave with two cards to play, and 84.1% fave with one card left.

2) I limp in with Ad9d, and there's 3 in the hand. The flop come 6d7d5s, and the player before me goes all in. It's a nothing board, so I put him on the same draw where I would have the nut flush. I go all in and he's got the STRAIGHT FLUSH DRAW 4567, and he's also got a pair of my 5s to no pair. Turn doesn't help, but river gives me a kd for the nut flush.

I looked up the odds, and he was 64.2% fave with 2 cards left, and 85% fave when the turn didn't help either of use.

My suck out skills are clearly improving!

Scent of final table messes with head

I had made it down to the final two tables of a 64 player tourney by playing sensible, not too fancy poker all the way down the line. I'm in the SB and it has been folded down to SB and BB. BB is the shortest stack at the table, and I had actually managed to work my way towards healthy stack for a change.

I have ATs.

I get ahead of myself and offer an all-in wager to the BB.

BB has AQs.

On the up side, I had the BB covered, but it was a crippling blow from which I was unable to recover. I finished 12th or 13th in the field of 64.

Six hours of play shot down by one bad decision.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Not a coin flip!

The hand I went out on today was my AJos vs 88.

88 is the 56% favorite. If AJ suited, then 88 is still the 53% favorite.

Those numbers don't change much for pocket 2s.

That ain't poker!

Sorry dude, but going all-in on every hand isn't poker. That's just playing the lottery, and it grows tiresome rapidly. I played with drunks last weekend, and their game was equally sophisticated.

Dude, if you want a piece of me, let's play some 3/6 limit heads-up, and I'll rip you a new one.

64 player tourney July 24, 2005

I survived 12th or 13th place down to the last 2 tables. I got impatient when we got close the final table and pushed the envelope and got shot down. I probably could have hung on my blinds for another hour if I hadn't gotten cutesy.

I finally performed a decent suck-out. I raised all-in from UTG, and somebody with two overs called. I had 76os, I paired, he didn't. Nyah nyah nyah.

Great tourney!

Tourney July 23, 2005

Took 4th place in a field of 24(+/-), which is the best I've done yet in a larger tourney. Today I'm playing a field of 64, which should be quite a marathon.

Interesting hand 1 - First table, less than 10 hands into the tourney, I make a small raise on the blinds, and a guy who likes to play wild (D)offers me an all-in proposition. I accept, and we've both got the same big slick offsuit. I get 3 to a flush and that's about as exciting as that push ever gets.

'At least we didn't have to pay a rake'....

Interesting hand 2 - Final table, I'm the big and it's getting expensive to be the big. (V) makes a 1BB raise on me, and I call with 82 suited. My 8 pairs and I offer an all in proposition, which he accepts with AQ suited. He's four to a flush, but fails to save himself with two cards remaining. He's big stack, so this is barely a dent, but it gives me enough blind money for quite a few turns around the table.

BUT, just a few hands later I offer an all-in against the two blinds, and I find myself facing pocket aces from a guy (M) who's either been running a hot streak or running lots of bluffs. Having seen the aces, I'm almost willing to believe the other 8 all-ins he had offered and nobody accepted were mostly true.

Gotta go.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Recognizing Your Own Tilt

I have finally admitted to myself that I was on tilt this past weekend. Other witnesses had already told me, but the biggest hurdle is always an egyptian river, right?

How did I recognize it? When I was in denial, I started to take notes on the big hands in which I was involved, and when I stayed or folded, and whether there were suck outs involved. It was a truculent self-argumentative maneuver, but probably the smartest move I made on the whole saturday. When I reviewed the notes on Thursday with a cool head, I noticed two big problems.

1) In a few of the 'suck-outs' that pissed me off the most, I was the 50% favorite or worse. That isn't really a suck-out.
2) In the most dramatic example, I realized that I had mucked a 'chopper', where I would have been entitled to one-half of a very healthy pot. I was so-pissed off that my nutty, nutty boat was counterfeited that I mucked. I was so tilty that I didn't even realized what I had done till I reviewed the notes.

Now that's tilt!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

On the Bus? (drunks at the table)

Saturday in Laughlin I had an interesting afternoon at the 3-6 tables. Some guys who had been boating in the hot sun all day sat at the table with the intention of drinking and whooping it up. There were 3 little piggies, all drinking up the booze as quickly as the waitress would bring it.

The first little piggy bought in for $100, quickly grew his stack to nearly $300, and then bled it all away with stupid bluffs.

The second little piggy bought in twice for $100, and each time he kept bleeding it all away calling the stupid bluffs.

The third little piggy bought in twice for $100, and grew his stack to at least $500, because he was catching lucky.

The third little piggy's first question every time the action came to him was 'How much can I bet???'. He did not fold a single time, and never bet or raised less than he was allowed. As you can imagine, this grows a stack pretty quickly when you're catching, but it will bleed it all away just as fast.

But then the damn bus he came in on had to leave while he was ahead! Broke my heart and made me tilt!

As you can imagine, it's very expensive to sit with this kind when you're not catching. I think next time I'll ask for a table change, rather than hoping for statistics to catch up.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Limit Tournament - Colorado Belle - Laughlin NV

For funzies, I tried one tournament in Laughlin, at the Colorado Belle Casino. Here's the gory details.

Entry Fee: $25, of which 20 goes to the prize pool, and the house and dealers get the other 5.

Tourney Structure: 200 in Tourney Chips, blinds start at 5/10 and escalate every 15 minutes. Essentially, every time it was your BB, the next level had always started.

Fast Action: If you didn't make a move quickly, you would be bled to death by the third or fourth level. You can barely wait for S-Class 6 starters, to say nothing of pocket Aces.

This kind of tournament had very little social interaction between the players, and was deadly dull to me. I played one, and after that, decided I would stick with standard limit games where I could wait for decent starters, and fold J8os.

The Colorado Belle had a nice poker room with good dealers, and a lot of regulars. I was happy to play their limit tables for an hour before the tourney and an hour after. Since it wasn't my home casino, I eventually migrated back to my hotel to play.

Their limit game was 2-6 spread, with only one blind ($2) and a non-escalating structure. This made it easy and cheap to wait for starters, and it also lead to some very healthy pots when more than one player got excited about the flop.

Leather-Butt Weekend at Laughlin Nevada - Details to Follow

Logged in between 24 and 30 hours of playing in a 38 hour period at the Flamingo in Nevada. It felt like the Cheers bar, because by the second calendar day, I knew virtually every face and half the names.

I say 'calendar day' because it felt like one continuous day punctuated by an occasional nap.

I will write up a few hands, stories and impressions when I have a moment. Stay tuned.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Ethical Dilemma at Poker Tracker

Let's say you are playing a casino between 3 AM and 9 AM, and they are running a promotion:

Any pocket Aces sucked out in Hold'Em at the showdown will be given a $100 rack of chips.

And let's say you've been playing with off-duty dealers and other shark-like creatures and getting waxed, but you manage to land pocket Aces, and naturally you don't bet them up to get more callers, and you don't push a soul out of the pot. For an investment of 20 odd dollars, you're looking at either a 60-80 Pot or a 100 rack. The rack for you.

Now here's the tricky part. At the end of 90 minutes play, you are at exactly break even in terms of money-in and money out, and you cash out and leave after an enjoyable session with funny, friendly folks.

How do you score this on your poker analyst?

If you mark it as break-even, it makes you look like a better cardplayer than you are, and skews your statistics.

If you mark it as a $100 loss, that's not really the truth either. Plus, when the gambling auditor looks at the books, a C-Note drop is an area of concern.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

A lesson cheaply learned

Darn near every book I read said the same thing, but maybe I wasn't listening:

"Find your comfort level. Don't play beyond your gulp limit."

I was happy with my performance at the 4/8 tables, so last night I tried two hours at the 6/12 table. I was clearly outside of my comfort zone, moving my style from tight-agressive to tight-weak. When I had the best hand I was not maximizing profits, and I allowed myself to be pushed out of hands several times where I would not have been pushed out at lower limits.

I was down four betting units in two hours of play, although I was actually down 25 units for a while. At the lower limit tables, I finished up 15 units on the first night, and up 4 units on the night I wasn't catching cards.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Limit Betting Sequence Details - Casino Arizona

4/8 Table:

Pre-flop and Flop, a single bet is $4.
Turn and River, a single bet is $8

Max raise in a round is four bets.
Any one player can only make one raise at a time.
Re-raising is allowed.
Check-raising is allowed.
When two players only are in the hand, unlimited re-raising is allowed.
Normally, the max possible investment on one hand without a show-down string of re-raises is:
(4*4) + (4*4) + (4*8) + (4*8)

Or a total of $96 for a bat-shit insane betting round.

Kill Round - Special Rule. When one player wins two consecutive hands worth 40 or more each, the next round is a double, kill-round. The double winner pays double blind, and the little and big blind ante as usual (2 and 4). The betting limits are doubled for that round, and 8 is the first call. The kill button gets last option on the pre-flop button.

Squirelly Casino Stuff - If a player has Aces Full or better and is beaten in a showdown by a better hand, there is a cumulative jackpot aware, which can be in the multiple thousands. When I played there was 27,000 in this fund.
50% goes to loser of the suck-out
25% goes to winner with the big hand
25% is distributed among anybody else playing at that table at that moment.

I caught Aces full on the first night, but nobody came up with four jacks to beat me. The rest of the table was most disappointed. I had a partial compensation by virtue of collecting a decent pot.

Casino Arizona at Indian Bend 4/8 Limit July 11 & 12

This was my first US Casino Poker experience, but thanks to all of the home games and cash games, it wasn't nearly as intimidating as I might have expected. I played 4/8 limit both nights, and came out with a positive result both nights by sticking to very basic poker strategy. The first evening was full of calling stations, and the second evening was full of players who had just busted out of an NLHE tourney.

The second evening I went with my brother, who has been a casino gambler all his life, but not a hold'em player until recently. By betting the goods and running an occasional risk, he brought home over 3 times his starting stake, dwarfing my take home for the two evenings. (I'm making more than a McDonalds fry cook, but less than a decent waiter, according to We were at the same table by luck of the draw, not by design.

We're gonna take Mom for some casino hold'em in Nevada this weekend. Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Rake's Tourney July 9, 2005

I had a very enjoyable evening at a tourney that I plan to return to. The atmosphere was convivial and relaxed, the blinds were 30 minutes through midnight, and I just squeaked into 8th place (the tiniest cash prize) in a field of 27 because I failed to suck out yet again.

Of the 90 hands I was dealt, I was very happy with my play on all but two of them. One was an over-conservative play where I folded middle pair to a small raise on a scary board, but then the turn and river were a boat for the hand I folded. That doesn't bother me nearly as much as the bitch-slapping I got on the one had where I got ahead of myself.

I'm UTG with 2.4 times my initial stack, which is pretty healthy for the table. I look at pocket tens and raise 3BB, which is about 1/5 of my stack. NF goes over the top for another 2.25BB all-in bet, and I call since I know he can't re-raise. I assume we're looking at a coin flip versus big slick. I'm sadly mistaken when I see his pocket rockets. I fail to suck-out and I'm back to about break-even, which is not healthy for the blind price. I never recoup enough to do anything but wait for class 1 hands and fold limpers that would have won many a pot.

I suck at sucking-out. I must learn how to suck-out. Is there a suck-out school?

For posterity, I should record that NF, shortly before that hand, turned pocket 3s into four of a kind. These two hands weren't enough, since he was one of the last to go out before he made final table. Other than these two hands, he really didn't seem to be catching much or even getting playable starters.

Also should record that I had the chance to meet and play with the Count, who I had been hoping to meet for a while now. The Count took the tourney home. Ours was a tight table, and we barely lost a player while the other two tables seemed to be dropping like flies in comparison.

I've used the notebook for two tourneys in a row and I plan to continue to use it as a crutch in tourneys. It helps to prevent me from getting ahead of myself. I was mocked mercilessly for it by my tablemates, but most of those doing the mocking did not make the final table. I at least had that honor, so the notebook stays for any multi-table tourney going forward.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Madame's Tourney July 8, 2005

Due to a rainstorm, there were only 19 at this tourney, when there are usually 24 or more. Limped into the final table after being critically wounded a few hands before, and went out on hand #91 as the first casualty at the final table. The notebook seemed to keep me away from all-in fever: although I had my share of all-ins and offers to go all-in, I only made one poor judgement call involving the magic words.

A player who'd been antagonizing me (in the poker game only, we had friendly chit chat outside the game) raises my limp, and I go into the flop. I flop a pair of kings, which is the high card on the board. He bets big, and I call. There's another king, he's first to act, he bets and I call. Last card is a jack, and the board now reads something like K, 9, 7, K, J with no possible flush. I'm sitting on trips waiting for one more stupid bet, and he goes all in.

Do you see the straight on the board? I didn't till we flipped our cards. In one hand I went from healthy-big to crippled. In retrospect, I could have put him all in on the turn, and he would have been in a position to double the pot in exchange for his open-ended straight draw.

I was catching a lot of nice cards all evening, but only because I was willing to wait for my moments. Looking at the notebook, I see that I didn't get much above my original stack until hand 60, and prior to that point I yo-yo'd between break-even and worse, but never got myself into serious trouble.

My life as a big stack lasted for precisely 3 hands.

At the tail end of my night, I go all in at 2.2 BB, and get two callers. I have KTs vs 58 and K7. 48os was also at the end of his rope, so didn't have our bets covered. BB calls just so I don't auto-steal the blind that little stack doesn't have covered. If they were suited, I was the 45.2% favorite. If they weren't, I was the 52.0% favorite. I forget if they were suited, sorry.

The tiny stack rivers his trip 8s, and by the time we're done, the board negates my T beating the BB's 4 and it is a push. I go out 2 or 3 hands later.

Final hand I'm the BB and announce an all-in as BB times 1.2 without looking at my cards. Madame is gracious enough to raise everybody else out, so it's at least a race. She's got two overs to my two unders, and nobody pairs up.

A very enjoyable evening. Five hours of poker flew by in a twinkling.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Action Tourney July 7, 2005

33 players, including me, mom and bro. Mom went out in the third hand when she called an all-in from pocket jacks on a nothing flop. Her opponent had pocket kings and she failed to catch lucky. Tutored her a lot, but I think I failed to mention getting away from the second best hand when there's a runaway train on the horizon.

I relapsed into all-in fever. I put in three successful all-in bets in the first hour. One with no takers, one where I had the best hand when I went in and I was sucked out (which I'm okay with), and one where I had a draw and a pair and my caller had a smaller pair. On my fourth all-in, somebody with the nut trips was laying in wait for me, so I dug my own grave. Such is poker.

My brother survived as a small stack down to being second to last to go before two tables were consolidated down to one final table.

While waiting for him to finish, Mom and I hit the cash table. We both left in the black. Mom got 2.5 times buy in, and I finished with 3 times buy in, so I imagine the other players were sad to see us leave the table with their money, but nobody carped about it too loudly, and other people were itching to fill our seats with fresh money.

It was a crowd pleaser to see Mom take a huge cash pot by accepting an all-in wager with no trepidation. Much joyful shouting went along with that. Mom now has two victims who clearly underestimated her. Who's next?

Good tourney, good players. I'll be back as I can.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Calculator Odds Fun - Small Pair Showdowns

AhTh vs 3c3s - 50.4% for AT
AhTh vs 3h3s - 50.% exactly
AhTs vs 3c3h - 52.3% for 33
QdJd vs 3c3s - 52.1% for QJ
QdJ3 vs 3d3s - 51.8% for QJ
AsKs vs 3s3c - 51.0% for 33
AsKd vs 3c3h - 53.8% for 33

I'm starting to get a new respect for small pairs in a showdown!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Medieval Tourney July 6, 2005

I took along my brother and my mother to the Medieval Wednesday tourney. There was a table of 11, who mostly were on their best behavior for the senior citizen. I think the language got toned down a notch from other evenings, and nobody got sloppy drunk.

Mom was given the respect one gives an elder, and eventually, the surviving players learned to give her respect as a cardplayer too. After the first hour, anytime Mom was in a hand, the whole table seemed to proceed with caution.

The player that everybody else at the table seemed to fear and respect came just in time for the first deal. He started out swinging for the fences. In one of the first few hands I caught pocket smalls from early, and was allowed to limp over to the big swinger on Big Blind, who let me see the flop cheaply. I caught my third early, but went with caution, knowing how dangerous a set of low trips can be to one's own welfare. On the river I flopped full, and took a sizeable pot from the Big Swinger. He asked me why I didn't raise on a boat, and I responded that the boat was not made till the river, and I knew that if I re-raised, I wouldn't get to showboat.

The exact same big swinger continues to play agressively, and less than 30 minutes later he's in a hand with my Mom, and he's trying to buy the pot. Mama don't go for that, and she called him all the way down with a decent hand, and left him with about 4% of his original stack, or about 1.8 BB at that time.

The very next hand, big swinger goes all in on a marginal, but he doesn't have enough chips to scare away the big blind, and he's out in record time. He storms out, clearly pissed off at himself and the world, doesn't even finish his beer or say anything in terms of parting words.

His punishment was to be mocked by the entire table for the rest of the evening.

As I said, after that, everybody had a healthy respect for Mom's calls, and when Mom raised, only the foolhardy stayed. The best laugh of the evening was when somebody asked her why she made a particular decision, and she said 'That's what the book told me to do.' Referring to the Caro she had skimmed just before we left the house.

Mom's been playing six weeks less than I have. This was her first tournament with players who take the game seriously.

As a family, we held our own. Mom was about the fifth or sixth eliminated after 150 minutes of play, by a suck-out if I recall correctly. My brother was the fifth place survivor, and I was the fourth place survivor. My brother lost to a suck-out, and I lost to a coin flip. My opponent had AT suited against my all-in pocket 3s. According to the calculator, AT suited had a 50.4% chance to win.

And it did.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Family Tourney July 2, 2005

A family tourney can be most frustrating, because half the players are calling stations, and that means that unless you've got a monster, you'll be sucked out half the time by all the callers. The options are to play super, super tight, or see every flop like everybody else. I try to play my regular tournament style, and I'm consistently an early outer. At least the stakes are low.

My 18 year-old nephew thinks he's hot stuff at the table, and in this context I haven't been able to show him otherwise, even though I can see that he plays far too many bluffs and any tight player would eat him alive. At least he hasn't gotten it into his head to take this up as a profession.

And my sis-in-law will probably mock me eternally for losing two tourneys last night, despite knowing all the lingo and walking everybody through the betting sequences and that sort of thing. She lives in another state, so I won't have to hear it too much. I'll have to take solace by doing well in the tournaments and cash games with players who take it a little more seriously.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Tourney July 1, 2005

Started out at a very tight-agressive table, with my brother. In 2 hours or more, we very infrequently see a river card. I do a yo-yo, starting with 10,000 chips, bleeding down to 6400 at my lowest, eventually climbing up to 13,600 at my peak.

We move to a new table after midnight, and the blinds and antes start getting expensive. I'm still at break-even, and a player goes all-in from UTG, and I honestly believe he's tilting from a loss the hand before, so I try to double up as the Big Blind with last option to call (nobody else called.
The showdown? He has K-J os, and I have QT clubs. The calculator says he's the 58% favorite, and I fail to suck out.

Then I'm short stacked and the small blind, and my brother to the left of me is short stacked and big. We both announce our intention to go all in prior to getting our cards.(neither of us has 1.5 BB, and we're ready to go home.)

One player calls us with A-7os. I look, AJos, he looks, AK os. A7 sucks out by matching his 7 and niether of us catches. (A K on the river would have given me a straight....) (20.6 percent chance for that suck out, with big slick the 56% favorite.)

We left at 1 AM, and the remainder went on to the final table.
An enjoyable evening.