A few things at the top:
Iggy and HDouble have put together the first ever Poker Tracker Guide. I haven't gotten around to purchasing my copy yet (mainly because my sun-addled brain still hasn't adjusted to being back in the Land of Snow) but hell, Iggy and Hank are no dummies, and the Guide has been endorsed by Poker Tracker Pat. Get out there and get yours.
The next live WPBT event, for those that haven't read it elsewhere, will be at the Aladdin in Las Vegas on June 4. It coincides with the start of the WSOP; good luck getting a reasonably priced flight and/or hotel room. But hey, it's Vegas. Who needs a hotel room?
Ok, ok. The PSAs are out of the way. Let's talk poker. Specifically, let's talk about hitting the Commerce Casino on Saturday afternoon with Bill, Phil, and Ryan.
Oddly enough, despite living in LA for about a year, I had never played at the Commerce before. My live play when I lived in Santa Monica was primarily at the Bike, with one trip to the Hustler. My initial impression was the Commerce was a little classier than the Bike, but maybe I just haven't been to the Bike in a while.
Bill was running late and would ccme down later. Once Phil, Ryan and I located each other, we decided we were all hungry and hit the bar for some food. Tasty food. Lots of tasty food. For about $5 each. God bless the Commerce Casino. Then we hit the tables for about three hours, each at a different $100 min/max NLHE table. $2/$3 blinds. Basically, a crazy action game.
I started out doing ok, up about $60, but then two beats spaced across 45 minutes wiped me out. The first, I flopped trips out of the big blind and a guy in late position called heads-up, pot-sized bets on both the flop and the turn looking for a club flush holding Jc 6c. He found it on the river.
The second beat, I made a move at a pot by raising a guy all-in for about $65 on a flop of 8d 6d 8c holding Ad 5d. He called with Qd 9d and had the audacity to pair his queen on the turn. No ace or diamond hit the river, and that was my first buy-in gone. At that point, about three or four hours in, I figured a drink was in order. I rounded up the troops, took stock of where we were at (up, down, down, down) and then headed off to the bar.
In honor of Al, I offered a round of SoCo shots. Bill was the only taker. Unfortunately, nobody had Al's phone number handy, so dial-a-shots were out of the question. Bill and I toasted Al's liver all the same.
After a few more drinks were consumed, it was back to the tables. I only got about an hour of play in before I was forced to take another break, down $40 after getting burned for $30 holding AQo on the button.
I should mention one of the more amusing hands I witnessed in those first two sessions. A somewhat solid player limped in from late position. The button and the small blind both called before the big blind, a typical loosey-goosey California player, made it $15 to go. The late position player reraised to $30, driving out the button and the small blind. The big blind raised it to $60, and the LP guy said "Let's see a flop" and called. They both had fairly decent-sized stacks.
The flop was Q-7-4, three suits. The big blind led out for $50. The LP guy went into the tank, and I was pretty sure I knew what he was thinking. He was wondering if his kings were about to go down in flames to aces. He thought some more, and asked the big blind "Do you have aces?" I don't know if he got a tell, but he then pushed all-in for $200. When the big blind didn't insta-call, he said "Well, I guess you don't have aces."
Now it was the big blind's turn in the tank. He was on my immediate right, furrowing his brow and trying to decide if the guy was bluffing or not. Finally, he said, "I have to see what he has" and called. When late position didn't immediately turn over his hand, the big blind said "I knew he didn't have anything." Once all the cards were out, however, late position turned over KK.
What did the big blind have that was worth a $150 all-in call? I'm glad you asked. He turned over 72o. The Hammer. Pauly and Grubby would have been proud.
For my own play, I didn't make as many mistakes as I made at the AC Tropicana last week, but one particular fold after the flop had me kicking myself for two days. I made the wrong play, and I knew it. What's worse, my hand would have made the nuts and dragged a net $150 pot.
My final stint at the table was 9:30 Sunday morning (long story, but I was still at the casino at that point), and let me tell you, that was the craziest table of all of them. Typically at these $100 tables, a "standard" raise is $12-15, and to get any respect at all you have to raise to $20-$25. At this table, just about every hand was getting raised to $20 and was getting called in multiple places, with multiple people then calling flop bets. Crazy! Unfortunately, I didn't really get a piece of it and left after 1.5 hours down $24.
So, in the end, another losing session for me. I don't even remember what winning is like anymore. I know NLHE cash play is not my strongest game - I tend to play a bit too tight-weak, I think - but I was hopeful that with the crazy action in the game, it wouldn't be an issue. Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way.
The rest of the trip was spent in the sun - on the beach, on the golf course, at the driving range, wherever. It had me questioning once again why in the hell I moved back to NYC.
Monday, February 28, 2005
A few things at the top:
Thursday, February 24, 2005
I'm off to Los Angeles later this afternoon, which means there will be no updates until Monday. I'm looking forward to a little poker on Saturday. If any LA poker bloggers read this who aren't already on Bill's LA listserv, drop me an email at asphnxma1 at hotmail dot com if you're interested in joining me.
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
The RPT made a stop at the AC Tropicana yesterday, enjoying a rare day off and a rare day out of New York City. We arrived just before noon, were handed $17 in cash as we stepped off the bus, and within 20 minutes were all seated at our respective tables. Participants were:
Me - 1/2 NLHE, 60/300. I bought in for 300.
Ugarte - 4/8 LHE.
BkynPlague - 1/2 NLHE
Deke - 1/2 NLHE
So how'd I do?
Well, I made several mistakes, but let's start with how cold-decked I was. In 5.5 hours (approximately 200 hands), I was dealt zero Group 1 hands, two Group 2 hands, and three Group 3 hands. I was dealt a pocket pair six times; none of them was bigger than 6s. Suited cards were hard to come by; most of what I was seeing was K5o. My suited kings and aces were almost invariably babies (A2s, A3s). Deke says I complain about my cards too much, and maybe that's true, but to go 200 hands without even a single big pair and only two big aces is a pretty dry stretch.
Be that as it may, you have to play the cards you're dealt. You don't get to choose your cards. The first pot I got involved with past the flop was with pocket 5s. A guy two seats to my right, who had been raising all manners of hands, came in for $10. With position, I called. It was just me and him for a flop of A-rag-rag. He checked, and I checked(?!). I wish I could tell you what I was thinking here, but the truth is I have no idea. Another rag hit the turn, and he bet $17. I raised to $50, and he pushed for about $250! I deliberated for a while as if I was pondering a call, and then mucked my hand. My deliberations at least got him to open his hand: AKo. It was a useful tidbit that unfortunately I wouldn't be able to take advantage of -- he was willing to push in on the turn with top pair. Go figure, he did eventually bust.
That was my first mistake. I think it's pretty obvious I should have bet $20 on the flop, and if he raised, I could safely fold, whereas if he called, I could take one off on the turn and fold to any bet if I missed the river. I consider that a $30 mistake.
A bit later, I tried to limp ATo from somewhat early position, and got in (the table started out fairly tight). We might have been 4 or 5 to a flop of T-7-3, two spades. I led out $10, and was called by only one player, who seemed to have a pretty straightforward style -- bet when he had the goods, call when he didn't. The turn was another ten. I fired off $30, trying to win it right there. He frowned and called to see a river 7. "Crap," I thought. "That's a bad card."
Here was mistake number two: I bet $50 on the river. This was an insanely dumb bet. There was only one hand that could beat me: 77, and I would have expected to be raised on the turn if he held 77. I was chopping if he had any ten, and pretty much any other plausible hand (drawing spades, for example) would fold to my bet. It was extremely unlikely he was holding x7, because once the second ten popped on the turn he probably would have released for $30. Thus, he either held xT (split pot) or spades, a hand that would fold to any river bet. My bet, therefore, accomplished nothing, and since I would call even if he pushed all-in, I should have just checked. Anyway, he called my $50 and showed JT for a split pot. Boooooo.
I think Ugarte may have watched me let this tight local draw into a flush. When I bet $25 on the river (a defensive bet into a medium-sized pot) and he raised me to $50, I safely threw away my hand. I had seen him make that raise previously, holding the nut flush. I had a feeling he had drawn into it on the river, so maybe this bet was a mistake and maybe it wasn't.
The one hand that made me want to puke (and caused me to get up and go for a walk) was about halfway through the day. I got into a pot in late position with 7h6h. The flop came down 8-5-3, two diamonds, and a player who was relatively new to the table and hadn't played many pots bet $10. I called; nobody else came along. The turn was the 6d. He bet $15 into a $30 pot. This one was clearly a raise or fold situation. I don't think he had the flush yet, and it was VERY conceivable that I could have been drawing to it. Instead, I very weakly called. The river was the Ad, and he bet $15 again (there was $60 in the pot). I'm almost sure he didn't have a diamond or an ace, but I was too disgusted to even try buying this pot and I don't think a river bluff was believable anyway, given that I didn't raise the turn. I just mucked my hand in disgust.
After my break, I slipped into a pot with J9o in late position, to flop J-8-5. When it checked to me, only the two blinds called my $10 bet. An offsuit king brought a $30 bet from the big blind. He was the type of player who could be stone bluffing there. I called. We checked down the river, and he showed KQo. Ugh. I don't know how I feel about my play on the turn in this one. I was only invested in the pot for $10, and he was representing the king. Calling seems like it can't possibly be the right play.
Finally, I took down a decent-sized pot with KhTh. The flop was T-9-3, all spades, and it checked to me in middle position. I bet $10 (pot), and the same guy called behind me, along with two other people in early position. Icky. Did somebody already have the made flush? The turn was an offsuit 4, and I felt like I was walking into the jaws of the beast with a $30 bet. This time only my friend behind me called. The river was a pretty good card: Kd. It gave me top two. It did put a QJ straight on board, but I didn't put him on it. Here was the problem -- he had position on me, so I felt if I checked, I would be facing a large bet that would be difficult to call. My sense was that he didn't have the flush, but I wasn't entirely confident of that. So I bet $50. In retrospect, I think this was another dumb bet. If he raised me I probably would have had to fold with a straight and flush on board unless I had a dead read that it was a total bluff. But then again, is checking right here either? I can just as easily face the same large bet if I check. This one has me puzzled a bit, about what the best play is. Regardless, he called with 9s-4h for a turned two pair. He had a few choice words and some dirty looks for me when I showed him my rivered two pair.
Late in the day, I made my last mistake against BkynPlague. It was a series of mistakes, really. With AT, I raised to $7. On my immediate left, he reraised to $20. I know he's not screwing around, and I should have just dumped my hand immediately. Instead, I called. That's a $13 mistake. The flop was Ace-rag-rag. Here's my second mistake: I checked. He bet $30, and I raised to $60. Yes, a minimum raise. I wanted to let him know I had an ace, without making it too expensive for me if he also had one. He called, and I knew I was beat. We checked it down, and he showed AK. Big mistake, check-raising the flop. It was a theme for the day: me raising when there was a strong likelihood I was behind. The proper play here would have been to fold preflop, but barring that, would have been to bet $30 on the flop, and if he called or raised, to shut down. So this was either a $73 or $30 mistake, depending on how you want to look at it.
Add them all up, and my mistakes combined with dead cards pretty much ensured a losing day, and that's how it ended: down $170. I was tempted to stay, to try to get un-stuck, but BkynPlague reminded me that "It's all one long session". I pushed out of my chair to go catch some shut-eye on the bus back to NYC.
Monday, February 21, 2005
I'm recently back from AC - full report to follow tomorrow. In the meantime, I wanted to start the week off with two tidbits:
1. The folks at Poker Tracker have released a beta version of a new product called "Poker Tracker Omaha". It is exactly what it sounds like - a version of Poker Tracker designed specifically for Omaha and Omaha Hi/Lo. I haven't had a chance to fully play around with it yet, but from what I can tell so far it looks and acts like the original.
2. The NYT has an article in today's edition (account required) about the proliferation of "no stakes" hold'em tournaments at bars in various states across the nation, and the authorities efforts to shut them down. It's an interesting read.
Thursday, February 17, 2005
Ok, since yesterday was Wednesday, you might be expecting a write-up of last night's Above Malibu tournament. Guess what? It's not going to happen.
That's not to say I didn't play. I did. I didn't win my first pot until Level 5 (mainly because a gross calling station was on my immediate left, and I had a half hour span where I wasn't dealt a hand better than T2). I finally won my first pot when I called an all-in blind from the big blind and managed to more than triple up. Eventually, I went out on the bubble when my pocket 8s ran into pocket Hellmuths, and I was pot-committed to call the 1.5xBB all-in reraise over the top of me. I lost, and then went out on the next hand heads-up from the big blind with T6s when the flop was A-T-x. My opponent had AdKd.
Instead of picking apart my tournament play, I want to talk about a couple of interesting hands in the Losers Lounge ring game. Ordinarily, I skip out on the ring game due to the lateness of the hour (if I've gone deep in the tournament, it's usually after 1am by the time I bust) and the fact that I have to get up for work at 7am. Last night, Ugarte somehow convinced me to join the ring game. Maybe it was all of those chicken pictures. Anyway, I think most of these hands are interesting because of mistakes I made.
** Hand No. 1 **
The game, as always, was NLHE, 0.25/0.50 blinds, $20 buy-in. I missed a few hands early on, and found myself down to about $15. With A8o in the BB, I took a free three-handed flop of T-8-8 and promptly bet $1 into the $1.50 pot. The player two seats to my left raised to $3, and it folded to me. I did not think J9 or T8 were likely hands for him, and I couldn't see him raising TT in that spot, so I felt I was comfortably ahead and had him drawing to 2 (if he paired the ten) or 3 (if he held x8) outs. I called the raise; $7.50 in the pot.
The turn was a very ugly ten that we both checked.
The river was a blank, and I was faced with a decision. My gut was that he had raised a hand like AT/KT on the flop, and then caught his 2-outer on the turn and checked behind in an effort to induce me to bet the river. But there was always the chance that he really had been drawing the whole time. I'm not sure what the best move is here. A small river bet that looks like a value bet is one option. The upside of that bet is that if he was drawing or held x8, I probably win the pot or at least get a cheap showdown for a chop.
The risk is that if I get raised, I have to fold -- BUT, I don't think he can raise here without the ten. Unfortunately, this isn't the option I took. Instead I checked, he bet $5, and I folded my hand face-up. He said he had the ten, but I never believe poker players unless I see it for myself.
** Hand No. 2 **
I completed from the small blind with QcTc. The flop was pretty good: 9c-8c-x. I had an inside straight flush draw with two overcards. The problem was that I was first to act in a 5-way pot. I checked, and somehow it checked around. The turn was a blank, to which I led out for $3. Nobody raised, but at least three people called. I had to expect somebody else was drawing clubs, one or two might be drawing for the straight, and somebody was paired up. When the river came a queen to give me top pair, I checked, fearing the JT straight. It checked through and my queen was good.
I think the mistake on this hand was not betting the flop. I have four outs to the nuts, another eight to a very strong hand, plus two overcards which could be good. On a raggedy board like that, I think I need to bet my hand rather than try to draw into it. In this instance, it worked out to my advantage by pairing on the river and getting a rather nice-sized pot, but I don't think it was the optimal play.
** Hand No. 3 **
Shortly afterwards, I limped 4d2d from the button in a 6-way pot and flopped two pair 8-4-2 to bust one player for his whole stack. That doubled me up to about $40. As the night wore on, we were down to 5 players when I caught 9h9s in the CO. I made a standard $2 raise, and it folded to the big blind who reraised to $5. I called.
My read on the big blind was that he was not a very deceptive player, but I did see him refuse to chop the blinds with Ugarte, then reraise Ugarte from $1.50 to $3.50, only to fold on the flop when Ugarte bet $5. So, while my intuition here was that he had a hand, I remembered the previous hand with Ugarte and tucked it away.
The flop came Th-7h-3s. He was first to act and bet $5 into the $10 pot, a rather curious bet. I was sure he didn't have the ten, so it was only a question of whether he had a bigger pair. I raised to $15 to find out, and he quickly said "Ok" and called. $40 in the pot.
The turn was the very interesting 6h, and he pushed his last $10.50. I thought about some things. Would he make that move with AK, or did he really have a big pair? If he had a big pair, how many outs did I have? It was either 5 or 14. In fact, half the time it is 5 (the 3 out of 6 times his pair uses a heart) and half the time it is 14. So my effective outs in this situation are 9.5, giving me a bit better than 4-to-1 on a 5-to-1 call. I called, he showed KK with the king of hearts, and I was pretty screwed until I bad beated him by spiking one of my five outs (the 9d) on the river.
I think I misplayed this hand somewhere, and it may have been talking myself into the call on the turn. I welcome people's thoughts on this one. I think the flop raise was correct, if only to test whether he really had a big pair.
** Hand No. 4 **
This one I wasn't involved in. Ugarte, with a tight rep, raised to $2 from MP. He was called by the CO and the button before the big blind reraised to $6. Ugarte promptly made it $15, folding the CO. The button made a comment about not really wanting to play his hand before calling the $15. The big blind called as well, for $47 in the pot before the flop.
The flop was raggedy, 9-high and unconnected. I think the big blind checked, inducing Ugarte to push his last $8. The button and the big blind both called, the big blind being all-in as well. They all opened:
Big blind - AhKh
Ugarte - AdKc
Button - AsAc
When the CO announced he folded KcQc, Ugarte was drawing dead and the big blind was drawing only to a runner-runner flush which did not materialize. I'm not sure how much I like the button's play here. Once the CO came along for the ride, I think he should have reraised. However, once the BB raised to $6 and Ugarte reraised to $15, I think calling is the better play. He has to know that he has caught both of them holding big hands and that he's probably ok as along as no king, queen or jack flops. By calling, he is attempting to entice the big blind to stay in the hand, which might not happen if he pushes right away. The rest of the money is going in on the flop one way or another, so at that point I think it's really just a matter of hoping that the aces hold.
All in all, it was an interesting night. I made a few good plays, a couple of mistakes, and wound up with a profit of $50 thanks to a bad beat. I wasn't proud of that beat, and apologized to my opponent, but I still wonder if the call was correct or not.
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
Now that Google has finally gotten off its butt and upgraded Blogger's lame, lame comment system, I've gone ahead and installed it. In the long run, it's good: no more dealing with Haloscan being down, no more 1000 character limit, no more deletion of comments after three months. Your words are now forever saved for posterity, so watch what you say!
The downside is the short run: I've removed the link to Haloscan from my template, which means all of the existing comments will seem to have "disappeared". Such is the price of progress, I suppose. You all will just have to fill up my new comments page to replace the old ones.
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
Not the Red Baron, I'm sure.
Not Charlie's wonderful dog.
Not anyone I really know.
Just another pilot down.
Greetings from the bottom of the barrel. If you haven't been following along, I'm not scraping it; I've broken through and kept on tunneling to see what's below. I think Phil Hellmuth is down here somewhere, playing cards with a Bobblehead RealDoll version of himself and Stuey Ungar. I bet I'll find Ted Binion in the corner, doing a line of coke off a stripper's ass.
It's hard to believe I could blow through a $2800 bankroll in 30 days, but that's what I did. If you haven't been able to tell, I'm oddly calm about all of this, which I find to be... well, interesting. There was a discussion recently - I wish I could remember where, but I have trouble remembering to comb my hair in the morning - about reaching a threshold where you go "numb" to the pain and misery of the suckouts, the tilt, the bad play. I think I hit that stage when I dropped down to $250 a few weeks ago, and this was just finishing off what was started back then. There was some good play in between, of course, notably my play (or maybe only my results?) in the Above Malibu tournaments, but by and large I think I played like crap, and when I wasn't playing like crap, I was either card-dead or getting outdrawn.
Eventually, the numbness kicked in. That was probably when the break was in order, but I cavalierly plowed ahead, determined to start the road back right away. The glaring red number staring back from the spreadsheet, the number that hadn't been red in a long, long time, was searing into me, my own Eye of Sauron, willing my onwards in my own quest for bankroll redemption. Nasssty hobbitses, we wants the Precious back! Except Gollum was a villain in the story, and Frodo was Christ, carrying his great burden and wanting to do nothing more than put it down and even having Sam help him carry it a portion of the way... so I guess that analogy doesn't really work.
Yes, yes, I'm a geek. Let's move past that, shall we?
Felicia had an interesting post yesterday about spotting the sucker at the table. Just because "you've got game" doesn't mean you're not the sucker. Take me and 5/10 6-max. I know aggression is key in those games, but I just naturally assumed that since every one says the games are so juicy, I could beat them. What I didn't realize is that playing short-handed is a fundamentally different game than playing a full ring game. Or maybe, I realized it, but I didn't make the right adjustments, do the appropriate reading, and figure out how to beat the game at a lower level before jumping into 5/10. That made me the sucker at the 5/10 6-max tables.
Can I beat those games? I'm sure I can. The point is that I wasn't properly equipped at that time, from a studying, research or experience standpoint. And let's not forget my psychological state. So much of poker is tied into psychology, and I was reeling from a really bad run at 15/30. May as well have just chugged a kerosene cocktail and thrown a lit match down my throat. I might have had better results.
And here I am, at the bottom. With $0.38 in my Party account, there's no going lower than this. The plan right now is to not play online for the rest of the month. That won't stop me from playing live games, of course -- the Wednesday tournament at Above Malibu is a bewitching siren, and the Radio Poker Tour is planning a special President's Day trip to Atlantic City. That will be followed up by a blogger get-together in LA late next week at Commerce or Hollywood Park (perhaps), so I'll get a chance to rekindle my hatred of the structure of LA-area NLHE cash games.
I -might- try a few of these Party Player Points freerolls to see if I can hit a free score, because I have the points to burn, but there will be no other online poker. I finished the process of consolidating my bankroll, and since I blew through the last $50 at Party, it stands at $388. That's fine. Come March, I'll dump that into Paradise and start grinding the 1/2 games. Not before that.
It's a long road back, but I've got the time. Hopefully I can find the right attitude in the interim.
Monday, February 14, 2005
My roll on Party was down to $25, after another 0 for 4 SNG session. Two were horrific plays by me, after people made horrific calls against me in two others to knock me out in 5th and 4th. Tilt much?
I took a break for a while, and at 11pm, in a much better frame of mind, I sat down at 0.50 / 1.00. No big deal, right?
I played for an hour and a half. And at the end of that, I was up a whopping $1.50 after three people hit three-outers against me; hands where I had them dominated after the flop with top pair, strong kicker (K or A) only to see them pair their kicker. The first one I called down even though, from the betting, I was pretty sure I knew what had happened; the second two I got away from, and let somebody else call down.
Nobody likes reading about bad beats, and nobody likes listening to people whine about them. So I won't. I'll just say that, "in theory", these are the people I'm supposed to be making money off of, when they call down with their crappy kickers. In theory. Tonight, I was 1 for 4 in those situations. But I was still up $1.50, so I guess that's something, variance be damned.
Anyway, my table broke after that hour and a half, so I moved to a new one. Two hands killed me. AK from the BB, 3-handed comes in third after flopping top pair. At least I got away on the turn, but that was $3.50. 43o in the BB, 3-handed unraised pot, flops a wheel. SB snuck in with aces, though, and kills me on the river when the board pairs deuces. I never put him on it, of course, especially after the flop checked around. I figured he made trip deuces. That was another $5.50. Throw in a few missed flops and two small blinds, and just like that, I'm down $10 for the 2-hour session.
And so now the bankroll on Party is basically exhausted. I have $11. I'm about to take that last $11 and put it into a SNG, and then it will finally be done. I'll have gone bankrupt on Party Poker, a day that I never thought would come.
First hand of the SNG: AdKd in MP. I raise it to 5xBB, and only the button calls. I miss the flop by a mile: Jc-5s-6c. I bet pot and he calls. Turn no help: 2h. He could easily be drawing on that flop, and he could also easily have called the preflop raise with a hand like AJ and is now worried about QQ-AA. Problem is, on the first hand of the tournament I simply have no idea, and if he does have KJ/AJ, he will most definitely call a large turn bet (even a push). I know this, so I check, and he pushes (of course). I have to fold, and just like that I'm down over 25% of my stack.
He went out on the 6th hand of the tournament, so I suspect he bluffed me off of my hand. The thing is, you know a player like that (once you've figured out he's that type of player) is going to hang himself at some point. You just have to wait until you have the goods before you give him the rope. Calling an all-in with ace-high, where, even if I'm ahead he has at least 11 or 12 outs on the river, is not the right situation. And if I'm behind, well, I'm drawing pretty slim.
Two rounds of blinds and crap cards knocked me down to 505. With 3 hands to go in Level 2, in the CO, I pick up AK again. A player in MP raises to 7xBB, which smells like jacks to me. As I am debating if I should call or push, someone else in between us calls the raise. Ick. Now what? I have to imagine at least one of my aces is dead, and I'm not particularly thrilled to play this hand 3-ways. I fold. And a good thing, because the button and the SB both also call the raise. The flop is all crap, which you'd kind of expect in that situation, and the preflop raiser takes it down with a push.
Level 3, I picked up the Hammer at UTG+1. As good a time as any to start bluff-raising! I raise to 175. One player in MP thinks before calling. The flop is K-8-4 and I push my last 330. He folds, and I'm up to 755. Go hammer.
In my BB, I get 66. One player limps, the SB completes, and I raise to 250. Early limper calls, which is not good when the flop comes Q-5-A. But whatever, I push to represent the ace. There's always a chance. He calls with A9. The end. I'm broke, I go out of this one 9th.
asphnxma, over and out.
Sunday, February 13, 2005
Another weekend, another beating administered by the players at Party Poker.
$0.50/$1 Holdem - 2.5 table hours, ($12)
$1/$2 Omaha8 - 1.5 table hours, ($30). Most of that was one brutal hand where I came in with KKQJ double-suited, flopped K-6-6, and somebody had the other two sixes for quads. One small bet preflop, three on the flop, and 4 big bets on the turn and river. Ugh.
$2/$4 holdem - 1.2 table hours, ($50). This was at Gaming Club, trying to work off a bonus.
$0.50 NLHE - 0.2 table hours ($15)
MTT at Gaming Club - ($27) Doing fine until QQ went down two hands in a row.
Party Poker SNGs - played 14 of these things, ranging from $30+3 to $5+1. I managed to cash in three. Total loss - ($117). These used to be my bread and butter, too. Instead, I found that even at the $10 level, they are not as soft as they once were. I can't tell you how many of these were 7-headed going into Level 5 or 6, and with Party's format of increasing the blinds every 10 hands, they basically turn into a crapshoot as the blinds become a huge percentage of everyone's stack.
Total weekend loss - ($251)
I don't know what to do anymore. I've tried everything. I've tried playing at micro-limits, I've tried playing SNGs, I've tried playing tournaments, I've tried playing games other than holdem. It doesn't matter where I go, I get beaten badly. I get run down by gutshots, chop hands where I have the nuts on the turn, and generally get outflopped, outdrawn and outplayed.
I'm in the process of consolidating my roll - such as it is - and then I'm going to dump it all in one place. I guess Paradise is the next choice for bonus whoring, but damn it's such a fucking grind that I don't know if I can handle it. I'll have $161 from Gaming Club, $80 from Golden Tiger, $45 at Party (ha!), and $150 or so from Stars. I guess about $400-$450. Put it all in at Paradise, clear the $50 new player bonus, and hopefully by that point I'll have $500. Then I guess I'll install Empire and go for the $100 new player deposit there. Not sure how much it's really worth it though, I feel like I'm never going to get out of this hole, and I may wind up just sinking in deeper as I get beaten over and over and over.
I'm really tempted to pull the plug on the whole thing.
Thursday, February 10, 2005
Another Wednesday night, another Above Malibu NLHE tournament.
The turnout was rather light again last night, at just 14 players. Noticeably absent were Jagweed and Ugarte, amongst others. MTV's Billy Merritt, after winning the tournament for the first time last week, was also a no-show this week. "Celebrities". Pfah.
I took a small pot early on by raising a king-high flop with KTs after the big blind led out at the pot. He's a pretty loose player, and I had put him on a small suited king. He made some comment like "I guess two pair is no good?" but there wasn't a chance I believed he had two pair. I'm sure he was trying to get a read of me, but I just calmly stared him down until he folded. Very good.
Then it was folding time for a while. I watched pocket aces catch a set on the river twice in about ten minutes, the first time to bust a flopped set and the second time to bust a flopped flush (the board paired on the turn). No such luck for me, though. I couldn't catch much, even with an adjustment for the fact that we were six-handed. I found AQo at one point in Level 2 and raised it up. The BB called and then made a pot-sized bet at the Th-9h-3h flop, a rather strong bet for that player. With no hearts in my hand, I figured there were better battles to choose and folded.
A bit later I was dealt AcJc and raised it again. Same player called for a flop of Ad-Kc-7s. We both checked the flop. The turn was the 7c, a good and bad card. Good, because it brought my flush draw. Bad, because if the BB had an ace we were going to chop if neither of us hit our kickers on the river. I bet 500, just shy of the pot. He slowly called, and the river brought a beautiful club. He checked again, and I went into the tank. Really, all I was doing was trying to figure out how much I could extract out of him, but I wanted him to think maybe I was contemplating a bet with a hand like QQ. I bet 500 again, he called and showed Ah6h. My first decent pot came my way.
Nothing much interesting happened for a long while after that. I stole a few times here and there, but the blinds began to creep up and I wasn't stealing THAT much. We whittled down, slowly but surely to four players, the bubble. One player, who had defended his play in a hand against me a few weeks ago by pointing out "Who won the hand?" (ha) kept making pretty terrible all-in calls, and then coming from waaaaaaaaay behind on the turn or river. He had built a large stack, and one other guy built a large stack when he held aces and simultaneously eliminated two players. The other player and I had about equal stacks of around 3000.
He pushed for a total of 2700 on his button, my big blind. I had AJo and a total of about 3400 at that point. I went for it. He had ATo. The flop was A-J-x and that about buried him. The next hand, I got my first pocket pair all tournament - 9s - and took the blinds. And then again after that.
And then we traded blinds for a while until my big blind brought AK. The UTG player, the "who won the hand" guy, min-raised from 600 to 1200. The SB folded. I pushed. I had him covered. He called with 55. Very interesting, because this was the SAME exact hand at the SAME exact point of the tournament in the SAME exact positions that had elicited the discussion two weeks ago. Then, he had limped in and then called a 3.5xBB raise. The flop brought a 5, so it was an easy call for him when I pushed. I told him after the tournament why I thought his play there was terrible, and he defended it with "Who won the hand?"
Anyway, back to last night. Flop came out 7-8-9, turn Q, river... ace! Ah, sweet sweet revenge. I busted him. He seemed annoyed - probably thought it would have been better to limp-call again - but then where does that leave him on the 7-8-9 flop? Maybe if he put me on broadway cards he would call a flop push, but I certainly raise with more than just broadway cards or AK, especially at the 3-handed stage of the tournament.
Whatever, we got a chip count after that, which came out 14900 - 14100 in my favor (I think it should have been 14900 - 13100, but whatever), and quickly agreed to an even chop.
So, in the last four weeks, I have three cashes at Above Malibu: 3rd/13, 4th/19, and 1st/14. Not bad. Not bad at all. This week, my prize money was even enough to splurge on a cab home! Now that's livin' in luxury.
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
"Homer, this is a rare lapse of judgment for you."
Remember about a week ago when I said there was a long, ugly post coming? Yeah, neither do I. Except, actually, I do. And now that I'm not feverish, chilled, achy, sneezy (mostly) or coughy (sort of), I think I finally have enough energy to post it. It's a poker post, which I'm sure will interest some of you and will induce the rest of you to click through to another site. Go ahead, I'll wait. Gone? Ok, now for those that are still here, let's move onwards...
Two Saturdays ago, I fired up Party Poker. With the bankroll down to about $1200, 15/30 was way out of the realm of possibility. I decided to dip a toe into 5/10 6-max. Playing shorthanded is a relatively new experience for me, and I wasn't really sure of the proper style of play. I had an up and down day that ended down about $150, and in a fit of frustration, decided to hit a 15/30 table again. First mistake.
I told myself I would play tight-aggressive, and I did. In half an hour, I took 7 flops: 4 with Group 1 hands, 1 with a Group 2 hand, and one in blind defense. The first hand I played was J9s in the BB. There was a raise from UTG, and everyone else folded. But - one player had posted an additional big blind and a dead blind, so there was $30+15+10+10+15=$80 already in the pot. For 5-1, it was an easy call. Sure, my hand was speculative, but heads up there were lots of flops that would look good to me. Unfortunately, the flop I got was not one of them, and I had to fold. Ok, no big deal.
Two hands later, on the button, I got AQs. One limper to me that I raised. The small blind and the limper both called for a flop of 3-8-7, two diamonds, not my suit. It checked to me and I bet. The small blind was the only caller. The turn was another 7 that we both checked. The river was an offsuit 5, and he now led out. I wasn't sure what to do here. There was the chance that he was drawing diamonds the whole way, but I had nothing and had telegraphed my nothing on the turn. But the board was pretty ugly too, and he had been passively calling until I checked behind on the turn. I decided to call him down, and he turned over 85s.
Next orbit, I limped A2s on the button behind one other limper. Both blinds came in for a flop of A-4-6 two hearts. I got one caller all the way for a small pot (my ace was good), so I was pretty much back to where I started - maybe slightly under.
Then, it all went downhill.
UTG, I got KK. Great! I raised. Guy on my left and somebody else called, before the button made it 3 and the SB capped! Well, obviously I had to call the additional raises, but we took the flop 5-handed. A pretty ugly flop of 9-Q-T, two hearts. This one I definitely misplayed. The SB led out. With 5 people in for a capped flop, and the cap coming from the SB, I felt like there was a very good chance I was behind (either QQ or AA). But I had my gutshot, and with 21 bets in, I couldn't fold. So I called trying to get a cheap turn. And then the guy on my left raised. Fold from MP, the button who had made it 3-bets folded (significance of this to be made clear shortly), re-raise from the SB to 3 bets. And there I was, holding KK, not knowing what to do. I was really inclined to fold, but I was still getting odds on the gutshot, so I called. And the fucking guy on my left capped! Fuck fuck fuck. Definitely was behind.
Turn - no help. There was now $480 in the pot, we checked to the capper, he bet and was called by the SB. $30 into $540, no there was no way I could fold. The miracle jack could come... but it didn't. We both called the river, and the showdown was:
SB - KK
me - KK
left - AA
I knew I was beat on the flop, but I couldn't let it go, hoping for a miracle 4-outer. Awful.
The next flop I took was two orbits later, with QQ at UTG. I raised, again left guy called, AGAIN the button made it 3-bets, but this time the blinds both folded. We both called for a flop of 8-7-J, two spades. I led out, left called, the button raised, I made it 3, left folded, button called. I led to the river, button called both streets and turned over... KK. 0 for 2.
Two hands later, in the SB, I was dealt AKs. There was a raise from middle position that folded to me. I made it three bets and managed to isolate the raiser. The board came 8-3-2-2-4, with runner-runner spades for a potential flush, but he folded to my river bet, which made me happy. I really felt the only way I was going to win the hand was to get him to fold. He thought about calling, but did eventually fold. My guess here is AQ.
Two hands later, in the CO, I was dealt KK again. Again I raised it. Again left guy called, as did the big blind and one early limper. I got a great flop of 2-5-3, two hearts. I led out. Again left guy called, as did the big blind. The turn was a scary Th to put out the potential flush, but I bet it all the same, holding the Kh. Only left guy called. The river was a 4, and I knew that my big pair was going to wind up second-best again. I check-called, and he showed... AcJh. Yeah. That one hurt the most, because I had been far ahead the whole way (as opposed to the other two hands, where I was woefully behind).
After all this, I was down $475. I got up, a little... how do you say... "imbalanced" after having 3 big pairs go down in two orbits. Back to the 5/10 6-max tables, right? Wrong! Big mistake. I managed to blow off another $250 there (did I mention I don't really know the right style of play for shorthanded games? did I mention I was a little off-kilter after my beating at 15/30?), and then dumped some down to the lower limit players too, and even threw in a couple of SNGs to boot. When all was said and done, I managed to bleed close to $1000 off my roll. I finally forced myself up, but the damage was done: the bankroll, which had stood at $2800 two weeks prior, was down to $250. Well done.
I never should have been sitting 15/30 in the first place, and now I'm paying for it. This piece of brilliance by yours truly put me in the hole over $1,500 for this month, after being ahead $1,000 just two weeks ago. That's a $2,500 swing. Geebus fucking christ. What the hell is wrong with me? When on earth did I become the guy who can lose $2,500 playing poker? That's three goddamn rent payments.
My confidence is really shot right now, and my bankroll really won't support much of anything. I've started bonus whoring to rebuild. It's a real grind, and it's clear is that it's probably going to be at least March before I start turning a profit for this year, unless I hit some big tournament wins.
Part of the problem was playing over my head. My roll was never big enough for 15/30, I think. At its peak, it was only 93 big bets. Since then, I've had 6 of 7 losing sessions, dropping a total of 65 bets. Throw in some other losses at 5/10, 3/6, and just about every other goddamn limit that I've been playing recently, and well, I barely have a pot to piss in.
A couple of lessons here, I think. 1) Be properly bankrolled for the limits you sit down at. 2) Recognize the signs of tilt and turn the damn computer off. Throw it out a window, down a staircase, flush it down a toilet, do whatever is necessary.
Lessons learned (hopefully).
Monday, February 07, 2005
Well, I'm back from Colorado. I have a few thoughts about the whole ordeal, but right now I'm too wiped out to formulate them. Thursday night, I developed a pretty bad case of the flu, just about the worst possible time since my flight to Colorado was Friday afternoon. I'm recovering, but I'm nowhere near 100%. I'll get a few posts up later in the week, hopefully.
Thursday, February 03, 2005
A big, heartfelt 'thank you' to everyone who has left comments or sent me email expressing sympathy regarding my nephew. It has been a pretty depressing, stressful week, but I'm glad to be part of such a supportive community. I'll be heading to Colorado tomorrow to be with my family (special thanks to kaz for helping me find a reasonably-priced flight to Colorado Springs on two days' notice), so this should be my last post of the week; just a quick recap of last night. The "long and ugly" post I promised earlier this week will wait until Sunday.
The WPBT Groundhog's Day Gala was not very exciting for me. I was raising with all manners of garbage early (including a reraise from the SB with the Hammer), stealing blinds, and then got sucked out for a split pot on my first showdown. Continued raising, taking blinds, until JJ on the button in Level 3. One limper, already a huge stack after busting three players with, I believe, set v. two pair, full house v. smaller full house, and nut flush v. smaller flush, called a 5xBB raise - the same person who sucked out on me earlier by rivering a paired board with A2o v. my AJ (A-K-9 flop). Flop came Q-8-5, two clubs, I believe. He checked, I bet 3/4 pot, he called. Turn missed all draws, I pushed, he called with KQo. Oh well!
Afterwards, I went to AM, where I placed 4th out of 19 despite playing somewhat passively and being mostly card dead. One opportune all-in suckout that quadrupled me up was the key hand.
Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend the Blue Parrot Invitational this weekend. Good luck to Coach, Derek, Ferrari, Joaquin, Mas, Monte Christo, Pauly, Toby and Ugarte.
See you next week.
Tuesday, February 01, 2005
Now I'm breaking two rules: one, posting from work; two, the fact that I said this would be a light week.
My mother called today to report that my nephew, who was born on November 28, died earlier in the day. This was not unexpected; he was born with a somewhat rare (1 in 5,000 births) genetic condition known as trisomy 13. The condition was discovered during routine monitoring and testing early in my sister-in-law's pregnancy, and she and my brother were given the grim prognosis: likelihood of miscarriage, and even if the baby made it to a live birth, extremely high mortality. Within the last week, my nephew began to have recurrent episodes of apnea, and it appeared that the end was approaching. It came today.
My brother and his wife had "Little Paul" for two months. The fact that he made it that far at all was amazing, since I've seen various mortality numbers quoted as high as 80% in the first month. As my brother said, "He was a tough little guy." But that was between sobs, as he was completely devestated. I think he would have been equally as devestated if Little Paul had only survived two days.
Me, I was left sort of quietly holding the phone, not really sure what you can possibly say to someone in that situation. And maybe the answer is, nothing. There's nothing you can say. You can just sort of try to quietly be there for the bereaved parent.
Anyway, it is an extremely shitty situation, no matter what the take or how it plays out, and one I just needed to spout off about for a few minutes. So parents - go hug your kids! Not everyone is as lucky as you.
I thought we were taking I-10 to I-605. It turns out we were taking the "Miserable Dead-Stop Traffic" freeway to the "Avoid it like the Plague" freeway.
I am headed your way. I will be in town, staying in Hollywood, from Friday, February 25th through Sunday, February 27th (just in time to miss the end of the LA Poker Classic at Commerce and the beginning of the Winnin' O' The Green at the Bike). I'm not sure what my schedule will be yet, but Saturday is looking like a good day for a poker bonanza...