Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Hand 1: ...I finally raised in the SB with AQo to 3600 at 600/1200. The BB who is supertight makes it 10K which is pretty gross. I hadn't even raised his blind before but it was still blind vs blind so I decided to call. Flop AT8 he bets 10K I call. Turn 6 I chk/chk, river 9 chk/chk AK is good sir.
Hand 2: Randal (RandALLin) open shoves 20K in the CO, I reshove with AK and lose to 22. Down to like 30K now.
Hand 3: I shove 64o in the SB and the BB instafolds ATo face up, wheeee donkaments.
Hand 4: Aggressive chipleader opens to 4800 at 800/1600 a300, I shove Q2s in the BB for 32K and he thinks for a bit and shows ATs before folding. I don't know if this was for show because I really didn't think there was any chance he'd call me without a huge hand there.
Hand 5: I open to 6600 on the button at 1200/2400 a300 and the BB shoves 20.7K more. I have to call and lose to AJo.
Hand 6: Shove like 11.5K with K3o and they all fold lol.
Hand 7: Shove 17K with K5s UTG and get called by A9o and lose.
I also played a really long live 25/50 NL session the day before which went terribly and lost 9K as I never made any hands that day either. So basically the last two days have been pretty painful, online it's the equivalent of like a few hours of play, but live it's stretched out over 2 days because everything is so much slower. Anyways I'm hanging out here today before heading back to Toronto tomorrow and then driving to Kingston after that to check out Steve's (Paul-Ambrose) new ridiculous house and getting a ride to Foxwoods from there in his new Lexus. When the hell did he become such a baller?
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Hand 1: 150/300 a50, I have just under 20K last hand before break. UTG limps, he's bad, UTG+1 limps, he's bad, and two other guys limp who are also not likely very skilled I can't remember who. I find AQcc in the BB and raise 1500 more. UTG instacalls as does UTG+1. Flop T82cc, I bet 5500, UTG folds, UTG+1 instashoves, I instacall. He has J7cc, the turn is an offsuit 9 :-(. River club though and I double to 40.5K.
Hand 2: Early in 200/400 a75 level, folds to me in the CO with 22 I make it 1200. Button calls, he's bad (obv) and we see a 933 flop. I decide to check even though I probably have the best hand to stop him from doing anything something goofy that I can't really call and hopefully induce a bluff at some point. He bets 2K and I call. Turn is a 2! I check and he bets 5K. I think for a bit and decide if he has a big hand he'll probably just bet the river anyways and there's a good chance he's bluffing and will fire again so I can't raise and push him out now so I call and river is a Q. I check and he bets 20K, I shove and he instamucks. I think I have around 75K after this hand.
I don't think I play anymore really big pots. I win a few small pots punishing the weak limpers with raises in position and usually just winning with a flop bet whether I hit or not. So I have today and tomorrow off and Day 2 is on Monday. Average stack is around 45K so I'm in excellent shape with 76.1K.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Also, I'm now cross-posting this blog over at TwoRags. A lot of my friends blog there and it seemed like a good way to get more people reading this and also hopefully to help get them some traffic as well. The guys over at TwoRags have set up a phone number I can call and give live updates throughout the day, and they'll post them on my blog on that site, so I might try that out if you want to check over there. OK Steve just got here, gonna watch some TV and crash a little earlier than usual so I'm fresh tomorrow. Good luck me,
Monday, October 22, 2007
I ended up heading to Waterloo on Thursday to Timex's new house to play with him in the Ladbrokes Reunion cash game thing. The idea was to bring back all the big names that used to play on the site by offering a bunch of added money. There were 2 100/200 NL tables of 6 players, and you buy-in with your own money and play for 5 hours. You can reload for $20K as often as you want just like a cash game. At the end of that time whoever had the biggest stack at each table played heads up matches the next day for $60K contributed by Ladbrokes. So with 12 players that added money would be worth $5K in EV to an average player. We figured we were likely an underdog against the fairly tough lineups, but not by so much that we weren't +EV with the overlay. Anyways a lot of the people they invited couldn't play so they needed anyone to fill the seats, and since Americans can't play on there it wasn't easy to find people. Timex ended up getting in and was able to get one of the other players to trade us $60K on the site for money on Pokerstars to play with. I took 25% of our action.
I haven't done any hand analysis on here in a while and I think we played some very interesting hands, so this should be pretty good.
http://www.pokerhand.org/?1614288 - You're probably thinking wtf are they doing calling the river and you're kind of right. However, while the A does mean a lot of his bluffs now beat us, it is also the perfect card for him to bluff at, so any hand he was bluffing with on the turn he would be almost certain to fire the final barrel with on the river. We probably still have to fold though. I mena I almost wanted to fold the turn when he made that big bet because I find those bets are usually for value, but folding 77 there does seem pretty weak. I kind of froze up on the river and didn't really know what to do though and timex wanted to call. I think my job was mostly to talk him out of doing such crazy things so I kind of screwed up on this one. On the plus side it was very unlikely anyone would try to bluff us for a while which is a pretty good image to have.
http://www.pokerhand.org/?1614322 - We didn't let it get to us though and started hitting a few flops and winning some decent pots. We thought we might get it all back and more here but it didn't happen. Maybe should have just raised the flop but we decided to slowplay instead. Sadly no one had a queen.
http://www.pokerhand.org/?1614328 - The first really big pot we won that got us back close to even. It's pretty debatable whether we should fire the turn or not. I kind of felt he may be trapping and talked timex into checking. We should probably bet bigger on the flop so there's more in there on the turn for us to win with a bluff if we're going to fire again, which in retrospect I think we probably should. However, our standard continuation bet in reraised pots was typically smaller like the bet we made so it's good to be consistent. Fortunately we got there and he timebanked forever before calling, I'd guess he had a hand like AQ or JJ.
http://www.pokerhand.org/?1614347 - For the most part we'd been playing very straightforward, mixing in some small bluffs of course but nothing major. usually we were giving up after our continuation bets got called so we decided to fire a 2nd barrel here since he'll probably fold any king and even some aces with weak kickers.
http://www.pokerhand.org/?1614360 - Huge pot that we prboably played really bad. We decided to check the flop for pot control/to trap since if we bet and getraised neither of us had any clue what to do this deep. He fired pretty big and we called. On the turn we just check/called again. I think we really should have checkraised all-in here. There are so many draws and so many ugly river cards for us. If we're going to call the river anyways it has to be way better to just stick it in here. Unfortunately we didn't really know what we were going to do on the river yet because we suck so we ended up just calling. The river figured to be a good card for us as we now beat flopped 2 pair hands. It shoudln't have helped him unless he has JT, and it's pretty unlikely he would play that hand this way. We check to him of course to give him the chance to fire again and he shoves it in. We thought for a long time and decided the way we played the hand we had to call. At the very least he could be shoving a worse hand for value like KK or QQ or have a busted combo draw or something like 87s. He told us after he had the only straight draw that missed, I guess that means something like 78 or 56 maybe. Anyways we're now up pretty big on the day and we have a big chiplead.
http://www.pokerhand.org/?1614379 - Decided to check behind the flop for deception. We probably still should have folded the river. The bet size screamed value bet, and although he might have AJ or AT it's far more likely we're beat.
http://www.pokerhand.org/?1614382 - Just straightforward keep on firing. Up really big and looking good at this point. But then the very next hand:
http://www.pokerhand.org/?1614384 - The river raise might be spew but it just seems so much more likely he has 2 pair than a set. However he had been playing very solid and we're not even guaranteed to get looked up by a worse 2 pair so maybe just calling the river is better.
Now that we're plauing just 3-handed you might expect the action to pick up, but in fact the 3-handed play was generally very careful and solid on these deep stacks. Also playing for position to finish as chipleader is very important so trying to conserve the chipklead became important.
http://www.pokerhand.org/?1614388 - This hand was really gross and we felt like huge pussies for playing it so soft. I talked timex into folding the river this time, though it may have been wrong. terken didn't seem like to running big bluffs on us anymore though. The chiplead now went back and forth between us and terken, it was incredibly close and exciting, but still there weren't a lot of huge pots being played.
http://www.pokerhand.org/?1614393 - We were 3-betting him pretty recklessly at times when he took the chiplead since he wants to avoid big pots. Here he made a little move to try to stop that. timex obviously wanted to reraise the flop or float and bluff a later street but I talked him out of it. We'd seen him make these small rasies as bluffs before though so it actually might not have been such a bad idea.
http://www.pokerhand.org/?1614406 - This is a pretty sick bluff I'm not gonna lie. Surprisingly this wasn't me trying to hold timex back and him saying no way we have to fire. As soon as the river card hit I was actually the first person to immediately say "$20,000". So we reraise preflop because we hadn't in a while and he was raising almost every button. Fire the flop get called. The turn is a good card to represent AK or a big pair and gives us a diamond draw which could be good, so we decide to fire again figuring we fold out most middle pocket pairs, especially those without a diamond. Unfortunately he calls again and the river pairs the king. At this point it's basically impossible for him to have a king, and it's quite reasonable we could play AK this way, so it's always strong when you can credibly represent a hand your opponent can not possibly beat. It's also possible we could play a big flush this way since we figure he can't have a boat. The only problem with our story is that we might not have bet the turn with AK fearing the flush and playing for pot control instead, but we'd value bet aggressively enough so far that it was believable that we would. Of course the turn is also kind of an obvious scare card so he might realize there's some chance we decided to keep firing away with air. However, neither of the other 2 players had shown any propensity to make huge calls in big pots and we hadn't shown any huge bluffs like this either. He folded very quickly.
http://www.pokerhand.org/?1614396 - We were now playing semi-reckless to try to take chips from terken. Here we win a nice pot to get back in contention.
http://www.pokerhand.org/?1614397 - Such a sick turn card, the only card in the deck we stack off to. When he shoves the turn it's definitely not an automatic call, in fact it seemed fairly likely he had flopped a flush, but when you throw in the extra $30k in equity for winning the pot and the match we have to call. And of course there's lots of ways he can be semi-bluffing or just thinking he has the best hand and we're overplaying our hand to try to build our stack.
The on the last hand pokerkong raised to $800, terken called, and we shoved $43,000 with AJo because timex is a psycho. It's actually not that bad because a double up gives us the win and an extra ~$30k in equity in the HU match the next day but still pretty crazy. terken tanked and folded QQ, some rough math shows he prboably would have been correct to call and risk the seat in the HU match to try to take our money right now. Eek.
So we finished up a whopping $2K, so I made $500 and still averaged $100/hr. Could be worse I guess.
Oh yeah so this Thursday I'm heading to Niagara for WPT at Fallsview which I'm very very excited for. After that it's WPT Foxwoods in Connecticuit. Gotta go to sleep now, car shopping tomorrow. Going to test drive a Mazda3 Sport in the afternoon.
Monday, October 15, 2007
So when I saw him tonight and he was spewing a bit in the ring game as usual I decided to taker another shot. It was weird because he didn't play me any more after that the few times I saw him. I had changed my screenname though so i guess he either didn't know it was me or felt playing tonight. This time things started out poorly, I couldn't hit a flop and he was just winning every pot. We opened a 2nd table and things started to turn around. I made some hands and picked off some bluffs and was ahead a few thousnand on the match. Then I flopped the nut flush against his smaller flush and won a huge pot. I was up a bit less than 20K probably at this point and then just like the time before things started going wrong. I flopped a pair of aces in a reraised pot with A7s and decided to just call him down. This time he had the goods though and I just paid off his set of jacks. OK no worries I'm still ahead. On the other table I 4-bet to $3000 with AQ and he moved in for $8000 more. I had to call and was happy to see his A9 until a 9 flopped. Now I was stuck again but I mean the guy just put in $11K preflop with A9 I'm obviously not going to quit him. From here things just kept getting worse and worse.
He made a ton of hands and I just paid off almost every one of them. Hell I called him down with A-hi once even, I couldn't have found the fold button with a map. A few were unavoiable such as when he flopped a set of 6s against my AA and led into me on all 3 streets. Others were optimistic calls by me at best. He was obviously getting the best of the cards, but I was getting outplayed really badly too. Finally I called it a night when we got it in on the 457ss flop in a reraised pot preflop and his 56o outraced my AJss. Definitely his preflop play was really poor at times, but he was hitting everything and I just spewed. By the end I'd lost about 55K, and I was up $3500 in the ring game, so he took me for about 6 buy-ins. I kind of get the feeling that this guy might actually be a really good player and he splashes around a lot to try to get action from fish like me. On the other hand the variance in heads up is really big and losing 6 buyins to a hot run of cards is probably not an uncommon thing. As much as I'd like to play him more and see what happens it's probably not a good idea.
I haven't been doing well in the games on Cake lately at all really. The 25/50 is just not very soft anymore, though I feel like a few of the TAG regulars are not really that good and I have an edge on them, and there are still some fish from time to time. The only game I've been winning in consistently lately is the 10/20 6-max on Party. I think that will be my main game for a while with the usual mix of sitting in whatever good games on can find on the other sites up to 25/50. If there aren't enough of those games I'll mix in some 5/10 as well, and of course the usual tournaments.
In other more exciting news WPT Niagara is in 2 weeks and WPT Foxwoods is right after that, so I'll be playing a lot more live poker soon. Niagara only has the main event but Foxwoods has a series of tournaments and the plan is to play the 2k, 3k, and 5k prelims as well as the 10K main event. The only other live tournaments Im' planning to play this year are some of the Bellagio series for it's next WPT event in early December. Vegas in December sounds a lot more reasonable than that July heat.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
In a loose sense, when I talk about playing exploitably I mean playing in a predictable way to which there is a simple counter-strategy. If your opponents figured out what you were doing they could exploit your predictable play by implementing the counter-strategy. At first glance this may seem like a bad thing. You might think we should try to balance our play more. For example, instead of always having a big hand when we make a big bet we should also bluff sometimes too so we're not so easy to figure out. Of course in general this is good advice, but overall the situation is not so simple. It's been suggested by Sklansky and others that there is some unexploitable strategy, perhaps based on game theory in some way, to randomize your play such that you can not be beaten. The best an opponent could do is play the same strategy and breakeven. Fortunately, as I know next to nothing about game theory (and I probably know a lot more math than you), in the real world such a strategy is not ideal. The reason is simply that our opponents are not that good, and we can make a lot more money from them playing exploitably. There are two simple reasons:
1. Our opponents are not observant enough to figure out what our strategy is.
2. Even if they do figure it out they won't know how to counter it properly.
In particular, for mutli-table tournaments, realted to point 1 is the simple idea that due to the structure of these tournaments we don't play against the same people very often, therefore making it difficult for anyone to play enough hands with us to figure out what we're doing (of course if you're a high-volume regular player this rule doesn't apply as much).
Let's look at a very basic example. Suppose we're playing against a player who always calls our bets. How do we counter his exploitable play? Simply, we will never bluff this player (and we'll bet more of our marginal hands for value since he'll call with so much worse). But now we are playing exploitably ourselves of course. If he realized we were never bluffing he could just stop calling us without a good hand. But anyone who has played microstakes poker at all has run into one of these types of guys who just never folds if he has any kind of pair or draw, and never really changes his strategy even though everyone with half a clue never bluffs him. The fact that we are playing exploitably is irrelevant, and in fact clearly leads to maximal profit against this player, whereas someone mixing in bluffs to remain unpredictable is wasting money.
That was obviously an extreme example but it illustrates the point. Now let's focus on tournaments more specifically. It's not a big secret that there a lot of players in tournaments at every level who aren't really the best poker players. That combined with the fact about not playing against the same people frequently in tournaments means the general rule in tournaments is that we don't need to worry very much about playing exploitably. By the time people figure out how you play your table will break and you'll have 8 new people who have no idea how you play. For the most part we just worry about maximizing our advantage against the typical mistakes our opponents will be making. However, there are a lot of situations that happen frequently enough that it's important not to be too predictable. Here are a few common things people do:
1. Raising preflop. If you vary the amount you raise preflop based on the strength of your hand, the strong players at the table are going to catch on fairly quickly. Also if you always raise when it folds to you in late position everyone will notice, but a lot of people won't adjust properly.
2. Reraising preflop: Same as above about raise amount. There are also a lot of players who will never reraise in most situations without a huge hand. This is often not really such a bad thing, but it lets strong players off too easy.
3. Continuation betting: Again if you change the amount you bet based on whether you like the flop or not in some constant way, people will pick up on it since you're going to be c-betting a lot usually.
However, beyond these simple things it's going to be hard for anyone to pick up anything much more complicated. The other thing is that beacuse of the typically fast structure of online tournaments it is often very difficult to exploit anything but these most basic tendencies even if you pick up on them. Having some detailed information about how an opponent plays the river won't help too much when you're all-in after the flop every hand. OK I'm pretty sure this post sucks but I'm too tired to try to fix it and Im going to bed.
Monday, October 01, 2007
As usual, the structure for the main event was excellent. 20K in starting chips, 30 minute levels with Stars new and improved more gradual blind structure and reasonable-sized antes. The tournament would last at least 20 hours. I started slow but eventually began to pick up some medium-sized pots to increase my stack. I then won two fairly big coinflips, winning from both sides of an AK vs QQ confrontation to increase my stack to 120K, almost twice average. From there things went downhill though and I dropped as low as 50. I managed to win some small pots to get back close to 90K as we entered the money. I blinded back down to around 60K but then shoved with AK and doubled through AJs. After that I won another coinflip with AK against two tens to break the 10 times starting stack barrier for the first time in all of the WCOOP, and my 220K stack was approximately average. Unfortunately it was downhill from there, I lost a few pots in a row and started having to play push/fold poker again. Eventually I moved in with 77 and got called my KingDan's 99 and that was that. I probably didn't have to push that hand but I don't really think it was a mistake. Oh well, I got $9K for 121st.
I also final tabled a $50 rebuy on Cake but busted 7th for $2200, but I've never laughed so hard in a poker tournament. There was a stretch of about 5 consecutive hands I played (and won) towards the end where people made terrible/hilarious plays continuously. Things such as making a pot sized bet of 22K on the flop and folding to raise with 9K behind. Or betting 9K into a 45K pot as a bluff on the river with a busted flush draw, forcing me to call and win with 88 on a AcQc79A board when I'd all but given up when my flop bet got called. I also had a big stack in the UB 200K Gntd. but I donked it off on the first hand after the bubble burst because I'd been raising every hand on the bubble and I thought some guy was just sick of me raising when he actually had KK. Oops.
Anyways I made a decent profit on the day, and now that WCOOP is over I will probably be playing a lot less for a while, though anything is a lot less comapred to the hours I was putting in the last 2 weeks. Even when I took Saturday off it was to go play in a fun little live team tournament in Kitchener with my friends from back in my $20 home game days. I played 3 7-player single table tourneys and managed to put up a strong 7th, 7th, 6th performance, likely making most of the room contemplate going pro at least briefly figuring if the biggest donkey in the room can do it.... I did however manage to grind out my heads up match which ended up making the difference between the top 2 teams. At least I got to crush some dreams despite my team being well behind.
In other news I got my new desktop and monitor from Dell, to go with the new desk and chair I bought earlier in the week. All-in-all I'm pretty happy with my new workspace, it beats the hell out of staring at my laptop screen like I had been for the last 6 months.
Oh yeah I also wanted to write something in response to a comment to my last post re: sponsorship. Regarding specific people, I believe thayer was offered a sponsorship deal after he final tabled WPT Mandalay Bay but he ended up turning it down because it was a very poor contract. Junglen says he's talking to a few of the major online sites right now and seems to be close to having something worked out. He's not someone I talk to a lot, but PearlJammer was recently signed by Full Tilt after some big online scores and several solid live results. And of course Steve has been on Team Pokerstars for a while now. Basically, it's not just about being the best player though, it's more about how much advertising you can get them and if you'll be a positive ambassador for the site. Remember, they're marketing to the average Joe watching poker on TV who might occasionally try making a desposit online, not the hardcore player/fan. They already have your money.
With that in mind, live results are obviously important. They want people who have been on TV so the public might have some idea who they are, and who figure to be on TV more often in the future. Obviously a big part of this is being a good player since you figure to make more final tables, but also people who are going to attract the cameras in other ways. The "personalities" like Humberto, Rainkhan, etc... are loud painful examples of this, and also basically any attractive fermale player who plays a lot of tournaments, even if they're not very good. With respect to people like Humberto and Khan, it's unfortunate that what makes for good TV is often nearly the opposite of what is considered proper etiquette at a poker table. Negreanu really mixes being entertaining while playing respectful serious high-level poker better than anyone else. It's kind of unfortunate that most online players like myself have never really had to learn some of these skills since with so many games going online trying to keep a joking friendly atmosphere so the live ones keep coming back really isn't an important skill for the online pro. And of course when we play live we're generally just trying to focus on the game and make sure not to give away any information during hands.
So what does this mean for me? I'm a quiet online pro with no big live results and no one in the mainstream poker media has any idea who I am. Most obviously this means I've got to get some live results. Make a televised final table and try to come accross well in all the interviews and other coverage that come along with that would be ideal, and hopefully put up another deep finish or two around the same time so people see I'm out there all the time putting up results. Of course this is coming from a guy who has never made the money in a $10K event, that seems like an awful lot to ask. On the other hand, other than for potential sponsorship purposes I could basically care less whether anyone has any idea who I am. Hell it's probably very advantageous for me to remain an unknown in these live tournaments. As long as I keep making good money and have fun doing it anything else is just a bonus.