Saturday, September 30, 2006

COCC #3 - Sep 23

I did play the COCC in K-ville last Saturday. It was a full day of heartbreaks.

In the first tourney I simply made some bad decisions for most of my chips. I should have been playing ABC poker against unstudied opponenets, and I was trying to bluff people with second pair and so on. I didn't stand a chance.

Then a 1/2 NLHE cash game where I was playing okay, but getting rivered for some big pots. Feh.

Then the second tourney, where early on I had to make a big decision as follows:

Blinds 50/100 - I've got 20M, and I'm in late position. Two limpers, and I raise to 400, and I have one caller, the UTG limper, who I know from many experiences as tight and fairly predictable.

The flop is two hearts, he checks, I bet the pot and he calls.

The turn is another heart, and there is now four to a straight on the board, missing only a seven in the middle. He checks, and I check behind. I have an Ace of hearts, so I could still river a win.

The river is an ace, giving me trips. He pushes, and I agonize for a little bit, consider his playing style and how he played this hand. I have no reason to think that he doesn't have the flush, and failing that, the straight. I fold face up, and he's kind enough to expose Qh Jh.

This knocks my chip stack down quite a bit, and limits my options for the rest of the tourney. When we're down to one table (from two) I attempt to buy the blinds with Js Ts in mid-position, and the big blind pushes, offering me 3 to 1 pot odds. I call, and on the turn I have a flush draw and an outside draw. Neither of us pair, and now I've got a tiny stack.

I find AKo utg and push, no callers, so I'm at 4M in the BB. I've got K6o in the BB with one limper and the SB, and the flop is K54 rainbow. I check, hoping that the early position limper will attempt to pick up the orphan. He does, and I push, and he calls with KJo to win.

Then I play some short handed cash with some unstudied players, and I can't work any magic at all. I bluff out the one decent player a few times, and I bluff out the bad player a couple times, but even so, I bleed for a while before going home.

The irony is that this game and this crowd should be very beatable for me. Maybe I've got to change my attitude in order to beat it?

Friday, September 29, 2006

Gold Strike Wednesday w/Horshoe Stud

I made one very good read early on at a 1/2 NLHE session at the GS Tunica this past Wednesday. I haven't been at the table for 20 minutes, and I've doubled my usual buy-in since everybody appeared to be loaded for bear. In the BB I've got 7d 9d, and the SB bumps it up to 5, I call, and there are 3 other callers. (Jesse was doing nuisance bets and nuisance raises all night.) and I call, and flop a flush which includes the ace.

Jesse bets 5 as a tester, and I smooth call, hoping I will be interpreted as drawing to an unmade flush instead of a pat hand. two folds and the button raises up to 30. Jesse calls, and I also smooth call. I'm worried at this point about a higher made flush, as there are 3 higher diamonds unaccounted for.

The turn is a non-diamond, and Jesse makes a smallish bet which I smooth call, assuming that the button will come over the top. Sure enough, the button pushes for 95 more, and Jesse folds after some deliberation. I think that I may be in trouble here, but I take a minute to study the button. He is clearly not relaxed at all, and I can see his shallow breathing and what looks like a thinly masked panic attack, which tells me he's betting with something less than the nuts, and would prefer that we both folded and gave him the pot. (OK, his bet also says that too, but it wouldn't be ridiculous in that situation to push with the nuts to misrepresent your hand, right). After about 45 seconds I call.

He doesn't flip his cards till the river comes out, and sure enough, he's got 6d 5d for a made flush weaker than mine, and I've just doubled up based on what I consider to be a daring call.

Then I spent the next two hours giving most of my profit away, on many cold calls, raises that don't work, attempted pot purchases and the like. I don't actually get many decent hands at all, so when people come over the top, I usually have to let go. I think that by the last 30 minutes, people were coming over the top of me with anything because I had let so many pots go. I leave to go next door for 7-stud before I bleed to death.

7-stud I take down two smallish pots in 75 minutes, and otherwise bleed in dribs and drabs. I barely had any playable starting hands, and the few I had failed to improve by fifth street, and bluffing wasn't much of an option at this table.

BTW - I'm getting tired of blogging these days. I'll try to blog the live games as interesting things happen, but it will be more an more sporadic.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Gold Strike Monday

Embarassing Disclosure - I recently had to reload at Pokertards. Such humiliation! I milked my initial deposit for about 11 months, sold off a little more than what I put in to buddies, and then bled out the remainder on 4.40 180 tourneys, which I'm getting better at, but they're certainly nowhere near profitable for me.

I worked a full day then went to Gold Strike, where I actually had to pay for a meal. (bastards!) I didn't catch a lot of cards, but I was getting very creative with buying orphans and buying it on the river. I think I actually had two winning hands all night, but I collected a lot of pots. It seemed like my radar was really picking up weakness well, or else I was just at a weak table, but I bought one pot with 24o and a busted wheel draw, I bought another pot with second pair after calling down the initial raiser, and I bought a few orphans on the turn or river. My success rate on bluffing must have been better than 50%, and I was very active.

In the end, just under one buy in over 3 hours of play.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Anonymous Message

Anonymous write:

hey...I hear what you are saying about having so much to learn, but seriously...after having read through most of your posts, I can't help but think your game is pretty solid; it's your confidence that needs some work.

I agree that I've reached a certain level of mechanical poker competence, but I do need to move it up another level to play poker with any artistry. Yes, the confidence needs a boost, but I intend to get it back.

Play in some respectable tourneys and mix it up...more squeeze play, c-bets, stop-and-go's...a little FP syndrome...who cares what your cards are...use position and bully...have fun with it. When you sit at the table, assume everyone else sucks...more times then not, you'll find out you're right.

I appreciate the kind words. These days I'm focusing on the 180 player games specifically to mix it up a little more.

Gold Strike - Tuesday Nighter

Another run of ABC-ish poker with good luck for a profitable evening last night. I was never down more than 4BB the whole night, catching some nice cards, and getting a little more creative with my bluffs.

Early on, after playing tight, I represented 97o as a high pair with a 3bb raise, and was able to buy it on the flop 3 way.

Then I had a very nice run of legitimate hands, which I generally collected smallish on.

I did collect nicely off a weak boat (TT - boat 88J-T) that rivered quads. Turns out the guy re-raised me on the turn with only a straight when I already had the weak boat. I weak-bet the weak boat, and he raised me, and I 3 bet him back without much hesitation, and he four bets me to more than half my stack, and I deliberate and call, with the intention of calling the river. (I had raised 3bb in the BB and he had early position limped, and not reraised my bump, so JJ was feasible but dubious. He seemed to come out swinging when he had cards.) When I hit my quads, I did not push, but instead put in a teaser bet only, which he called. I guess I could have tried to collect deeper, but I also felt my cold call of his four bet might have made him hesitant, despite getting five to one even if I had pushed.

I was up to 3x buy-in when I got moved off the must-move. For an hour plus I could neither catch cards nor buy a pot, despite my any two cards play. (Okay, I bought one pot when two other players showed weakness, but I also bled like crazy.) It's always frustrating when you feel like you've got a read on nearly the whole table, but you can't find the favorable circumstances to collect. I walked out after bleeding back down to 2x buy-in.

I went in with the intention of learning to read hand tells that Harrington talks about, but I still haven't caught on to that technique. It's on my list.

All-in Math for Tourneys

Blinds 50/100 - You are in the big blind w/Js 5s, a stack of 1625 (11M) after posting;
3 others in the pot (400$)
The flop comes 5d 7s Ks giving you second pair and a weak flush draw.

You bet 200, and there is a reraise by a larger stack to 400.

If you come over the top and are called, you're putting in 1225 to win 3650 at that point, or 2 to 1 odds for 2 cards.

If you call, you're getting 5 to 1 odds to peel off one card, and presumably your opponent will push you all-in on the turn. If you fold on the turn, you'll be left with 1225, or 8M to move on with.

Against a higher pair with no flush draw, you're about 43% (1.3 to 1) for the next two cards. Against any two spades, you're actually a slight favorite (51% or 1 to 1) here. Against a set, you're 28% or 3 to 1.

I chose to push, and lost to the Kh Jh.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Gold Strike and Stuff

To my loyal readers (I can think of at least one)

Sorry for the lack of stuff. I've continued to play a lot on-line, but that live tourney really shook my confidence, and I'm trying to rebuild my shattered ego. Maybe I'm not the worldwide poker champion. Yet.

I final tabled twice in the Pokertards 4.40 180s, which is where most of my on-line attention is going these days. One time I final tabled and got a call that my daughter missed her bus, and I had to blind out to seventh place in the 20 minutes I was away. I was bummed, but it happens. The other time I got agressive at the wrong time and made 8th or so. I find that I'm still too eager to make a big laydown in tournament play, even in some LO8 tourneys I played recently.

I also need to work a lot at taking a few deep breaths when I'm in a hand, and to count to 5 before I make any decision at all, even when the decision is crystal clear.

Last night I played a long 1/2 NLHE session at Gold Strike Tunica. I honestly think I played some bad, ABC-ish poker, and it was my good fortune to be at a weak table, and to catch some decent cards. I collected off of Aces twice (didn't need to show them down either time, buying it once on the flop after a big reraise preflop, and once on the river with a frequent bluffer and caller who liked to call and then bet into any weak-looking check.) I collected off of flopped trips twice, once beating a flopped higher two pair, and another time beating something the guy chose not to show. I got stacked early on by a player who cheap-limped 63o, and I've got 45o on the 367 rainbow flop. He makes an overbet, which I cold call, and the turn counterfeits my 4, which I misinterpret as completing an open-ended straight draw that would be higher than mine, so we both check it down. (Dumbass. Take your time.) The river is another 6, which I check, and he makes an overbet to the pot. I take a minute and think that I'm only behind 58 for the straight, and I don't give the boats due consideration. (Dumbass. Take your time.) I hadn't been at the table long, but I did notice over time that the guy only made big river bets with the nuts.

I still need a lot of work on people reading. I can get into some people's heads on their betting patters, but I really have a hard time picking out physical tells. Perhaps I should focus on one aspect of physical tells per session and exclusively look for that tell, rather than trying to paint such a broad canvas of perception.

I got a cheap room at 12:30 AM at the Gold Strike (25$ after 5 hours of card play) and took a 3 hour nap, came back fresh at 4:30. The table was full of players who liked to charge 12$ to see a flop, and any time I got limpers, I was raised, and I never found any over-the-top cards, and don't have confidence enough in my hand reading to go into these big pots with weak starters. Yet another area to work on.

Overall, it was a nice winning session (2.5 buy-in), the first decent take home I'd seen since I came back from my 10 days away from poker.

In short, I've clearly hit the next level of play, where I start to realize how much stuff I've actually got to work on in order to even resemble a decent player.