Monday, October 30, 2006

More Niagara and Sunday Report

I went back to Niagara Friday morning with Steve and Aaron to hang out, sweat Steve, and play some poker. Steve ran pretty bad on Friday, getting sucked out on several times all-in with the best of it, but was still doing pretty well when he got all-in with AA vs QQ 3 players from the money for a 1.5x average stack and lost. I hung out with gobbo, AaronBeen, and Mike some more on Saturday then came home late last night. Today I played a bunch of tournaments and was doing fairly well, but fell short again. I lost a flip for ten times the starting stack on Stars in the million to bust before the money. UB I lost AK vs KQ for about 7 times starting stack and on Full Tilt I lost A4s vs JTo and then KQs vs A6o to bust 22/1700+. So close. On the plus side I'm still running incredibly good at 3/6 NL. I'm gonna keep this one short and get to bed. Night,


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Niagara Trip Report

I got a ride with Steve and Aaron up to Fallsview Casino Tuesday night. The plan was to play one last live satellite and try to qualify for the WPT, and if that didn't work then just hang and play cash games. We arrive around 8 and meet up with gobboboy (who won the UB 200K guarnateed on Sunday for 45K), AaronBeen, and Ansky near the poker room. After grabbing some food with those guys Steve, Aaron, and I got in a $1200 satellite for the WPT. I didn't really want both those guys at my table but Steve got moved to fill the last seat in another satellite, and got to play against fellow Team Pokerstars member Barry Greenstein.

My table basically consisted of a bunch of bad and/or weak-tight players, plus myself, and Aaron sitting on my right. We started with 2500 chips and I got off to a hot start flopping TPTK to win a decent pot, along with a few other small ones. Then I won a huge pot when I flopped a set of 9s out of the SB in a multiway limped pot on Q97 flop. I manged to get all-in on the flop against AQ and a shortstack with 86 to move to around 9K in chips. Once we reached the 100/200 a25 level Aaron was opening a ton of pots and I was opening almost every one that he folded, and occasionally reraising him. Unforunately things started to go wrong for me around here. I raised preflop and cont. bet an A-hi flop only to get raised and fold. Then I lost a flip in a 6K pot against one of the tighties when my blind steal with QT got pushed on by 66 and I called getting around 2:1. Another cont. bet into an A-hi flop getting pushed on later and I was down to around 3K, well in last place with only myself, tighty (who kept picking up monsters), and Aaron left. I shove K2o on the button at 200/400 a75 and get called by tighty in the SB who shows AT. He flops a bunch of tens and I'm out. Aaron ended up making a deal HU where the other guy got the seat but paid him a few grand. As usual, Steve was luckboxing along nicely (his 64 beat JJ AIPF) and made it heads up against Barry Greenstein a bit behind in chips. Unfortunately they both flopped top pair, but Barry had the better kicker to bust him.

The play was so bad in my satellite and I really wanted to play the WPT so I decided to get on the list for another. In the mean time I ran into gobbo and he talked me into playing 25/50 limit holdem wih him while I was waiting since the game looked good and it was the only thing with no waiting list. I got dealt aces a couple times and flopped top pair a couple more to end up leaving the game ahead 600. After about an hour though all the weak spots had left and the game consisted of like 6 2+2ers (including Josh. and his friend next to me who I talked to a bit) so I got up. Perfect timing as my satellite was starting so I got in.

In this one I got off to a bad start and never was dealt any hands but I hung in there and stole some pots to keep afolat. There was a lot more action in this satellite, in and between pots. On the very first hand, an older guy won a pretty big pot off a younger kid when older guy obviously had a premium pair and young guy lost half his chips before folding his overpair TT face up to the turn push. Older guy eventually told him he made a good fold and then Indian kid flipped out for no reason and started cussing the guy out right to his face. The old guy got right back in his face and security had to come by to pull them away from each other and tell them to stop yelling at each other. It was so retarded. I believe the kid's logic was that if the older guy was going to tell him he had him beat then he should have also showed his hand, and that telling him but not showing the hand was bad poker etiquette. Obviously this was completely absurd and only makes him look like more an idiot than trying to get in a fight with someone over a hand of poker already did. Fortunately the young kid busted quickly and civility was restored. Anyways nothing particularly interesting happened in hands I played and long story short I get dealt K2o on the button shortstacked again, go all-in, and lose to fairly solid young guy who had all the chips in the BB with 44. Stupid king-deuce.

At this point it was like 4am and I had decided I was not going to sleep and just play a lot of poker. The next ~14 hours were spent playing 5/10 NL. I was up as much as 1200 but was a bit unlucky to only finish up 100. There are three interesting hands I can recall.

There is a huge call station fish who was been hitting everything and is up quite a bit. He limps in late position as does the SB and I check my BB with K4o. The flop is T83 and gets checked around. The river is a 5, the SB checks, I figure no one has anything and bet 20 trying to win it right there, but call station quickly calls and the SB folds. The turn is an A and I check. Call station hesitates and thinks for a second, then bets 30. In general he had been playing pretty quickly. Something seemed not quite right here. If he had a pair on the flop I don't think he would have checked it through, and I don't think he'd be value betting a weak pair here (though it's possible because he obviously doesn't think about these things the same way a good player would and I'd seen him make some weird bets). Also, on the turn there are a lot of open-ended or gutshot straight draws and he would probably call my bet with any of these (definitely the open enders and maybe the gutshots). None of them can win a showdown so "the only way for him to win here is to bet", as Mike Sexton says 8 million times per WPT episode. The pot is offering over 3:1 on a call so I only need to be right 25% of the time to show a profit if I call. So, after all this analysis; the possible physical tell, the hand reading, and the pot odds, king high isn't looking so bad anymore so I go ahead and call. He flips over the 64 and I get to table my monster and rake in the pot. I heard some of the other players mutter "wow that's sick a read" or similar things, but really the physical tell is a very small part of it, the hand reading and pot odds are the most important aspects.

Hand 2: I have been raising a lot of pots and playing pretty aggressive because the table was 6 handed at the time and I wanted to get rid of my supertight image due to card deadness, and beause other people were playing pretty tight. This time I find AKs and raise to 40, and get called by a player on my left who seems to play pretty well (solid TAG style). The flop is 663 and I check because my hand has some showdown value and I figure he will play fairly predictably. He checks behind and the turn is a 9. Again we both check and the river is a T. I'm pretty sure he doesn't have a pair either unless he just caught a pair of tens (and I don't think he calls my raise preflop with many hands containing a ten) so I likely have the best hand, and given that I've been playing pretty loose he might not give me credit for anything here and call with a worse hand thinking I'm just trying to steal it since he checked back twice. I bet 60 for value (or hoping he folds the same hand as me). He hums and haws wondering if i have AT and just caught a pair but eventually calls and mucks what was probably AQ. Value betting ace-high in a no-limit game is definitely a good feeling when it works, though there aren't many situations where it's a good idea to do it.

Hand 3: Random guy UTG doubles to 20. In this game these raises almost always seem to be pot builders with marginal hands so when I find AK in MP I go ahead and make it 80. The BB, who has been playing very tight, cold calls the 80 and UTG folds. Flop K82 rainbow UTG leads for 200, and has a bit over 300 left. I think and fold. I just couldn't figure out any reasonable hand he can have here that I beat. Given what I'd seen of his play I couldn't see him calling with KQ or KJ preflop and even if he did the flop bet doesn't make any sense. Maybe he has QQ or JJ but again the flop bet doesn't make sesne. When tight live players fire out huge bets I tend to believe them. So I figure his most likely hand is AK, but there's also a good chance he could have AA, since he may not reraise preflop because when he puts in the 4th bet preflop it's going to be obvious that he has a monster, so calling disguises his hand a bit. It's certainly also possible that he has 88 or 22 and called hoping to flop a set and bust me, though he didn't have that much money behind so they're less likely. Putting in another $500 hoping to chop and win half the $185 already in there preflop when I could easily be drawing to 2 outs or less didn't seem like a great idea so I just folded. Maybe I gave him too much credit here, but I think the fold is best.

So when my 24 hours of poker marathon ended I went to see how Steve and Aaron were doing in the WPT event. Steve had like 40K and Aaron 70K (starting stack 20K) but their fortunes quickly reversed. Aaron lost huge pot with QQ when someone flopped a flush on him and he didn't get away, and eventually was busted by Juanda when he restole preflop with K9 and ended up getting it in after a 985 flop against Juanda's marginal preflop call with 76s. Steve had AA vs KK to get to over 65K and then TT vs 88 on a T85 flop against the chipleader to get a huge stack and take the chiplead himself. Juanda continued on his rush and finished the day with around 173K though apparently, but Steve finished 3rd on the day with 144.6K. Today is the second day 1 and he plays again on Friday. We drove back this morning for school and stuff but I'm heading back out there with him tomorrow morning to sweat him a bit, play some more live poker, and hang out with whoever else we know that's still there. Live poker can be incredibly boring though (too slow, too few tables) so I'm not sure how much of that I'm going actually going to want to play after already putting in a 24hr session yesterday. Anyways wish Steve luck, he has his day 1 report posted on his blog now if you want to read about what a crazy luckbox he is.


Monday, October 23, 2006

Not quite luckbox enough

Hooray! Today was Sunday so I played lots of poker. It was a pretty good day but again I came a bit short from the big score. I cashed the 215 on on Full Tilt and the 100r on Stars. The 100r was my last tournament of the day and I was running a little bit insane: 56 beats A6, 53 beats A9, Q2 beats 55, AT beats AQ, A2 beats JJ. Yeah, I'm a luckbox. I didn't actually get dealt any real hands though so I was only average stack with 16 left. It was folded to a good aggressive player on the button who had 120K, and raised 3xBB to 24K. I'm in the SB with 155K holding A3 and reraise, then am committed to call his push. He has the QQ and somehow I fail to hit my guthot+overcard on the river (rigged). Seems like a pretty obvious resteal spot but I ran into a big hand, damn. I seriously need to stop busting with two tables left this is getting ridiculous. On the plus side I also made a grand at 3/6 NL 6-max. Woot.

I think I've learned to adapt to the 6-max game pretty well, but my main leak seems to be occasionally just having a brain cramp and refusing to fold hands that are fairly clearly beat. I make good laydowns usually but every now and then I just decide not to drop a hand like TPTK or an overpair when it's clear my opponent has one pair beat. There are times to make stands with these hands but I'm talking about situations where my instincts are saying I'm beat, as well as the action. I'll need to tighten this up a bit or it'll really start to show in my results when I stop running so hot. I'm going to Niagara on Tuesday. It turns out that UB invented this supersatellite and it doesn't actually exist (wtf?), so I'll take a shot at one of the 1200 single tables and if that doesn't work I'll probably just play a bunch of cash games. Last chance if anyone out there wants to volunteer to stake me!


Monday, October 16, 2006

Sunday just isn't the same

No Party Million and no Dise 150K were the major differences. Since Bush signed the bill into law on Friday the online poker world has changed. Party seems to be surviving at least, but they've moved around their entire tournament schedule to try to cater to European players more, so their big tournaments are at different times than everyone else. Dise looks to be almost dead, despite the fact that most Americans are still allowed to play there (but they can no longer deposit). As far as I can tell the only tournaments left worth playing are their flagship 30+rebuys at 3 and 9, but even those have had their guarantees cut in half. However, the other main sites I play tournaments on seem to be doing fine. UB had a small overlay in the 200K guaranteed and full tilt got over 1000 players for their monthly $530 Sunday tournament. Stars had record attendance for their Sunday Million (over 6100 players) and will surely gain the most from Party dropping out. Hopefully the Party cash game fish get over their soon though because despite the fact that I've been killing the 600 NL games lately they're not exactly soft (I've just been running good), usually with 4-5 regulars at every 6-max table.

Speaking of which, I posted a hand on 2+2 and my opponent happened to see the thread and posted the results from his perspective. Basically, he pulled a sick bluff and owned me as badly as I've ever been owned. Pleeease Party fish hurry and get on Pokerstars. The 600 NL 6-max games need you. I have KThh in this hand:

So owned

In the thread he said he thought I folded bottom set. Yes, he knowingly tried to bluff me off of bottom set. People aren't supposed to be doing this stuff at 600NL. Also, I didn't play the hand very well. I was trying to mix up my play by checkraising without a monster for once and yeah, it got me in to lots of trouble. Still, I need to find some way to mix up my play here. I can't have my good opponents folding one pair hands every time I show strength on the flop, or I need to exploit it if they do. NL cash games are so complicated against good players.

Oh yeah as for tournaments I cashed the UB 200K and Full Tilt 500K. I was 4/90 when we made the money on UBafter running the table over on the bubble but two unfortunate hands later I was on the rail with TT running into KK and AQ meeting QQ. ON Full Tilt I was pretty shortstacked in the money and got a resteal snapped off to bust. I might have to ease up on the restealing. I really want to play WPT Niagara, but I've done terribly in almost every satellite I've played. If I actually manage to win a seat now I'll have barely saved any money over just paying the buy-in directly. Apparently they're running a supersattellite next Tuesday so Steve and I are probably going to go up there to play it.That'll likely be my only other shot at this one. Anyways I'm off for now. Later,


Friday, October 06, 2006

Closing the Gap

As a rule of thumb when I say I'm taking a break from poker on here I actually mean that I know I *should* take a break, but I rarely get away from the game completely. I've been sneaking in some poker at night and the results have been very positive. I played some turbo single table tournaments on Stars (a mix of the 60s, 114s, and 225s) and ran hot, then on Wednesday I played in the 20/180 challenge organized on 2+2. What ended up happening is 21 people (all people who post in the MTT forum on 2+2) each wagered $160 on who would have the best results over 5 consecutive $22 180-man SNGs on Stars based on a point system rewarding how long you last in each. I was chip leader with 25 left in 2 of them and mananged a 2nd place in one of those to vault me into 1st place in the sidebet. The tournament only paid $720 for 2nd but I won over $2600 (80% of the pot) on the sidebet.

I've also played about 3000 hands of $600 NL (6-max tables) cash games and am up over $4K, running extremely hot. There have been some really bad players at these tables and I've started flopping some monsters again, and I'm actually getting some action when I do. This combination was basically never happening on my cash game downswing. Moving down against worse players defnitely makes a difference since they give me more action with weaker hands but it's about time I started flopping more hands that I can play big pots with. I've also made a few good laydowns. I folded trips with a weak kicker once when I knew I had to be up against a full house (I didn't even have to think about this fold) and bottom set another time when I figured I had to be up against a bigger set or a straight (35J7 board). Both hands were 3-way pots which made the laydowns easier and I got to confirm that I was right since the other player called down both times. Understanding how/when to control pot size and recognizing when you need to be able to fold a strong hand are probably the 2 key skills in these mid-limit games.

Anyways I've grinded my way back up to only about 30K from my peak a few months ago. I won't be playing tournaments this weekend because I'm doing the family thing for Thanksgving but hopefully I can continue to chop away at my downswing if I have time to play next week.


Monday, October 02, 2006

WCOOP #18: $2600 NL Main Event

Over 2500 players played this thing for a prize pool over 6.25 million. First was more than 1.1 million. I got pwned. I had a great table draw, there were several very weak players at my table and no one I recognized. I went up and down between 10K and 15K (we started with 10K chips) for the first few hours and then I eventually won a few pots and stole some blinds to get over 25K. I continued going up and down for a bit until I was back down to 18K or so and raised 3xBB to 4500 with AA. The BB called. The flop came J33 and he checks to me and I check behind. The slowplay might be suspicious to some players but this guy was just pretty bad and I wanted to make sure to give him every chance to get his money in against me here. The turn was a blank and he shoved so I instacalled. He had the KJ so my slowplay didn't matter anyways, and he's drawing to 2 outs.

I didn't do much in the other tournaments I was playing either, busting just before the final table again in a 100r on Dise for my only cash. I've probably done that 3 times in the last few weeks and only made one final table in these (a 5th). I'm not sure what the plan will be to rebuild from here, but it will probably involve some sort of break from poker for a week or 2 at least. I hit the 40K mark today and I only have about 10K left in my online accounts now. I could reload some from what I've cashed out and won playing live but I'm really not happy it'd have come to that. Sadly, playing these big field tournaments the variance really is that sick. On the other hand I'm really not thrilled with the idea of moving way down in limits since it feels like I'd be giving away so much in EV when I still have more than enough money back to cover playing higher if I need it. I'll figure sometihng out. Oh well, I guess I'm not going to have a whole lot of time for this silly game for the rest of the year anyways.