Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Fuck DoylesRoom and Fuck Pocket Kings

It's been a while since my last post. I have been crazy busy with work, and just got back from a 9-day vacation. It's time for me to bitch, so reader beware. I just have to get this off my chest.

As of today, I am a loser at online poker for 2006. This is pretty unusual for me, as I have never really had a losing streak that lasted more than a few weeks. I think I can trace it back to a couple of key events that started my downward spiral. The first was when I found out you needed 110,000 fucking action points to clear the DoylesRoom "super bonus". I signed up for DoylesRoom about 4 months ago using the super bonus code. This was for a $550 bonus and hardbound copy of super system. Everything that I had read indicated that you needed 100 action points for every dollar of bonus. This would mean that I needed 55,000 points to clear the bonus. In my first 3 brief sessions on DoylesRoom, I ran my $500 deposit up to $1,050. I got stuck there for a while, but gained some momentum and ran it up to $1,800+ near the end of 2005. That's when I finally hit the 55,000 action point mark, but no bonus came my way. Action points are harder to get for me, because they are based on your actual rake, and not on the table rake like most other sites. The way I play cash games generally causes me to be raked much less than "action" players who compete for way more pots. With a standard system, it would take about 55 hours of 4 tabling .50/1 to get 55,000 action points, but it probably took me about 75 hours to get there at DoylesRoom. So I was up about $1,350 in 75 hours of play on DoylesRoom. Not great, but decent plus time to get an extra $550. No bonus came, and after contacting support I found out it would take 110,000 points or twice the effort to clear the bonus. This was unpublished and bullshit in my mind. I was pissed. Fuck DoylesRoom! PokerTracker don't work there, and I am making less than on FullTilt. Time to play mainly on Fulltilt, and pick up a table or two on DoylesRoom when things were too tight at FullTilt.

This is when I started running KK vs. AA preflop on a regular basis at DoylesRoom (see previous post). Well I did not learn how to lay them down preflop yet. It always goes something like this. I raise 4x with KK, then some one reraises me. I push all-in, and there is AA as usual. It used to be that you would make that move, and some jackass fish would call with 66, or TT, or QQ, but not anymore. It is always fucking AA. These players have gotten better, I have gotten unluckier, or some combination of the two. Oh yeah, I never ever suck out when this happens, and I never run up against KK when I have AA. So I rack out, and rack out, and rack out. After running KK into AA preflop last week and today, My bankroll at DoylesRoom is down to $950 or about $900 lighter then the end of 2005. My Action points are only up to 67,000. I have lost $900 in about 15 hours of 4 table equivalent play (-$60/hr). Fuck DoylesRoom, Fuck DoylesRoom, Fuck, Fuck, Fuck!!!!! I have never seen anything like this, and I really don't think my play has deteriorated, I am just getting KK crushed over and over. Fuck Pocket Kings, Fuck Cowboys, and Fuck Brokeback Mountain, Fuck, Fuck, Fuck!!!

On Fulltilt I have been basically break even in 2006. I have won a few bucks on PokerStars, but just in the company tournament. Today, I was 4 tabling (2 fulltilt, and 2 Doyles), when I ran KK vs. AA twice in 2 minutes (1 dolyes, 1 fulltilt). All-in preflop, no help of course. Luckily on fulltilt this was right after I ran a flopped set that I check raised into a higher turned set, that stuck me 1/3 of my stack. I started a new tracker database when Fulltilt started the new WSOP promo. Since then, I am down $160. I have lost big with QQ 5 out of 7 times and am down overall about $100 with all pocket pairs which is very unusual (through about 1400 hands). So I suck at fulltilt lately as well.

The other reason I will give is my broken wrist which happened a few days before the end of the year. I have cut down on my play quite a bit since then, because I have been too drugged up or too tired to play my normal late night shift. Also I can't really chat like I used too. While chatting can be a distraction when your multitabling, I usually have some fun with it by getting under other players skin, or carrying on ridiculous yet funny conversations. This tends to put me in a good mood, and makes the game way more enjoyable. With the bad beats I have taken lately, the game is just not as fun, and I think that makes me play worse.

So what do I do. First of all, I don't think online poker is rigged by the sites. I am going through some difficult times, that are starting to affect my game. I think it would be good to switch things up a bit and play Sit and Goes instead of exclusively cash games which have been good to me in the past. Plus, my tournament play has still been good throughout all of this. I really want to go for the WSOP freeroll on fulltilt, but I will not make it this month. It is going to take about 60+ hours of .50/1 four tabling to get to 10k in points, so I will need to turn my game around before the 15th, or I will start pissing away my FullTilt bankroll. Also, Its time to bite the bullet and upgrade my video card and monitor to high resolution. Since I can type now with my bad wrist, chat will also be back in effect. Stay tuned to see how I do.

Monday, February 13, 2006

I Need To Learn How To Lay KK Down Preflop

I have never folded KK preflop. Never! My justification goes something like this. I can't laydown KK, and no one else can either. When my KK goes up against AA, I will lose big, but when my AA goes up against KK I will win big. The whole thing is a wash. I play this way, because I don't want to be bluffed of my KK preflop by a smaller pair or AK. I also try to get my money in preflop, so I wont get bluffed out of the pot if an A flops. I may need to rethink this.

I have folded QQ preflop many times. It seems like I am right nearly everytime and the other guy or guys have KK or AA. QQ is an easier laydown as there are two hands that can beat it preflop, and there are more scary flops then for KK. Over the last few days, I have pushed hard preflop with KK, and lost to AA. Both times, I really felt the guy had AA, but I don't fold KK preflop, so I pushed and lost. By the way, its not impossible for KK to beat AA, but it does not seem to happen for me. The last one I lost went something like this.

.50/1 nl DoylesRoom, 9 handed
UTG limps, and I raise to $5 with KK
Everyone folds to limper who reraises to $21

Holy shit. A limp raiser from UTG. That is my move with AA. This guy probably has it. He has me covered $100+ so the guys not a complete douchbag. I have seen shorties do this with any pair or AK, but this guy is not a shorty and neither am I. What type of a hand do you limp with UTG and reraise 21x to get heads up with the only preflop raiser, assuming that you know what your doing. AA or KK is about it. QQ is not really a limp raising hand, but slightly possible. KK is probably out as I have the only other two kings. So he has AA (highly likely) or KK/QQ (not very likely).

I reraise all-in
Limp raiser calls with AA
No help and I lose A $200 pot.

I think I could have made this laydown, and should have. I knew what he had, but wanted to see. Avoid that urge. Lay them down if your sure. It may help your bankroll. Having said all this, please don't limp raise bluff me at the tables. I will know what your doing.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Orange County Poker Tour

The OCPT is really starting to snowball. We are pulling 15+ for the monthly traveling NL Holdem tournament, and will probably be north of 20 soon. Last night was the Huntington Beach stop at Larry's house. 16 people showed up for a prize pool of $590 (includes rebuys and add-ons). I told everyone that I was going to fold all my hands until I get AA, and then I would limp.

It did not take long. I pick up AA UTG on the second hand. I don't limp. I pop the $2 BB to $5 and get 4 callers. Flop comes low, and I take it down with a follow through. 6 hands later, I got AA again. I pop it to 8 and get 4 callers. Another low flop, and I bet $50 and take it down. I am off to a decent start at about $300 in chips. Blinds are $3/6, I get 66 and limp. The flop drops AK6 rainbow. Someone opens at $12, and I smooth call. My table is full of aggressive players, and with an A and K on the board, they will prolly do the betting for me here. Chris raises to $24, second Chris calls, original better reraises to $50. I smooth call again. Chris 1 folds, Chris 2 calls. Turn drops a beautiful K giving me the boat. Original better checks. Pot has about $200 in it. I bet $75 knowing someone will call, and will be pot committed if they do. Loppy (original better) thinks then calls. River is a blank, Loppy checks, I say "all-in", and Loppy thinks and calls. He shows AJ, and I win $700+ pot. I few hand later I get AKs, and raise it to $30. Gary goes all-in for $104 total, and I have to call. He's got AQ, but catches a Q on the flop, and I lose the hand. We get to the break (no more rebuys), and I have about $550 in chips. I take the add-on for $150 more. I am around third place overall. Play progresses pretty quickly to the final table, and I have about $650 in chips. I pick-up QQ, and Chris pops the $30 BB to $120. He has been raising with hands like ATo, KJo... all night, and making big all-in bluffs on the river. I don't think he has AK, AA, or KK, and I am pretty sure he will call anything preflop with a pocket pair. I reraise all-in, and Chris thinks and calls with his 99. The Hilton Sisters hold-up, and I got $1300 in chips which is close to the lead. At this point, I figure I got 2nd place minimum locked up.

Play gets down to 6 handed with the blinds at $50/100, and I am card dead and getting slowly blinded down. I realize I am going to need to make some moves. I pick up 99 and go all-in preflop after a couple folds. Chris calls with AK, and the 99 holds. Smokkee gets knocked out by Chris, I knock out Ken, and Chris eliminates Ryan. We are down to 3 players. Chip stacks were something like this: Chris 3,200, Me 2,000, Mark, 1400. Blinds are at $200/400 so there is not much time to be screwing around. I pick up QJs in the SB and the button folds. I push all-in figuring I have good folding equity, and decent odds against most holdings. Mark calls with A8o, and I get no help. I'm down to $600. A couple hands later, Mark gets all-in with Chris and wins, crippling his stack, and putting me back in second. The next hand, Mark eliminates Chris. I am a huge chip dog, but the blinds are big so I have a chance. I am ready to push with any pair, A or any paint! I get paint, push and double up. I get Q2o in the SB, and push. Mark calls me with the frickin Brunson (T2o). I have him dominated, and with this win will be close in chips. If he is going to call all-ins with T2o, I can win this thing easy. Mark flops a T and its over. Mark wins $255, and I get $155 for my efforts.

My tournament play feels real solid right now. I can sit back, and get my big hands paid off. The structure of the OCPT plays more to my style. The supper aggressive players just can't keep it up for four hours straight without faltering. Also, playing live with a cast on my wrist is super lucky, especially when people try to make fun of me. Three live tournaments and three cashes since I broke my wrist. One trip to Vegas with good $1/2 nl results. One stop at the Bay $101, another nice win. I should break my wrist more often.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Greatest Feeling In Poker

What's the best thing that can happen in Texas Holdem? Or more correctly, what feels the best. Well getting all of your chips in after the river with the nutz is pretty good, but I am talking about getting all your chips in the middle preflop with rockets. That feels the best. When you get them all-in preflop with rockets you have done your work. You are in a great situation, and it is in the hands of the poker gods. You have played as well as any mortal could play, just need to wait for the outcome. Getting it in with the nutz after the river is nice, but you already see the pot as yours, so it does not feel as good.

Fulltilt $.50/1 nl 9 handed
I get AA in MP
UTG opens to $5 and gets one caller.
I reraise to $15
UTG calls
next guy goes all-in for $50 total
I reraise all-in
UTG folds

This is it, the perfect situation. I am going to crush his KK, QQ, or AK.

Blinders shows AA
Other guy shows AA

Split pot, and I win 1/2 of UTGs $15. Could have been worse.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Newport Poker Open 17

Last night was the Newport Poker Open on PokerStars. We just had 7 for a prize pool of $140. I just took over the season standings lead last month, so it was time to pad my lead. I played four 9 player Sit & Gos to get ready. I have not played a single online tourney of any type since my victory in last months Newport Open. In the 4 warm ups, I got 2nd in a $30, 3rd in a $20, 2nd in a $10, and 6th in a $10 for a decent profit. I played pretty well, and was a big chip dog heads up for both 2nd place finishes. I felt I was ready.

I go card dead for the first hour. After the first hour I am down to 1,000, and have won only 2 pots and 0-2 in showdowns. Things could be a lot worse. We are down to 5, and smokkee is already out. Unfortunately, Train69 has a big chip lead and he is currentkly 2nd overall just 4pts back. I start to get more active 5 way and manage to slowly chip up to about 2k. We get down to 4 way. I limp in with K7o, and flop KKx. I slowplay the flop, and Train69 bets 2/3 pot, I call. Turn is a blank, I check again. Train69 bets 1/2 pot and I min reraise, call. River is a K giving me quads, and I value bet, get reraised, push all-in, and am called. Train shows TT for a boat, but I got quad Ks for a double up to 4k. I am now way into 2nd, and Train69 has dropped to striking distance. We get down to 3 way which assures I will get money, but more importantly season standings points. 3-way lasts for over 1/2 hour as we can't seem to get rid of Dino who has less than 1k most of the way. I take the chip lead briefly on 3-4 occasions during the 3-way action. Train finally knocks out Dino, and I begin heads up with about 2k in chips to Train's 8k. The winner here will lead the standings going into next month.

We go back and forth for a while when I call a min raise preflop with 87s. Flop comes 8 high with a gutshot. When Train opens, I push all-in and get called by 55. I double up to about 4,200 in chips vs. 6,300. I think I have a good chance of winning at this point. Train is over respecting my bets, and is underbetting when I am drawing. I should be able to outplay him for the win here if I am patient. I pick up QQ in the SB. Normally this is an automatic raise for me, but I decided to play it differently. I figured If I raised my Normal 3x, Train would fold practically all holdings less a pocket pair or good A. If I let him see a flop, I could probably get a double up, if he caught a piece. Plus he might raise me preflop in which case I would stall and push. I limped, he called, flop came K52 rainbow. I hated the K, but wanted to find out where I was, so I bet the pot (900) and get called. Turn is a 5, the pot is 2,700, and I got about 3k left. I bet 1500, and Train puts me all-in. I am convinced he does not have the K, but can't really put him on a hand. I call based on the size of the pot, and the amount I had left. River is a K, and Train has the Q5 for a boat. I take 2nd place. What I did there with the QQs was arguably my only bad play of the tournament, but at the time it felt right. I wanted to extract some value from the ladies and was willing to take a risk. With Train holding Q5, he had to catch the two 5s to beat me which was quite a longshot. Well I'm in 2nd place now for the season. Better finish higher than Train next month.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Bay 101

I was at a tradeshow last week in San Jose, and had a couple of hours to kill, so I hit up the Bay 101. I have never played there before, but have played at the other (can't remember the name) cardroom in San Jose. The Bay 101 is massive, and had lots of open space for a cardroom. No Limit Poker is banned by city ordinance in San Jose, so I would have to play limit, which I can't really stand, but beggars cant be choosers. I put myself on the 3/6 holdem list and was called in about 5 minutes. I sit down and on the second hand I limp with 44, and flop a set. If there is one thing I have learned, you don't slowplay in limit. I bet and raised all the way to the end after turning a boat, and won a nice $140 pot. An orbit later I limp and call a raise with 55, flop a set, turn a boat and win another big pot. Later, I would flop the nut straight and a boat with KQ, continuing with my bet at all opportunities philosophy. The table was giving me much respect, and I probably had some good bluffing opportunities, but I would have to leave after an hour and a half up $115. I was up $145, but gave some back on AQ when I the flop came AKx, and I jammed the pot all the way but could not get a K5 to fold, and a 5 hit on the river.

I have a couple of observations on Limit Holdem. First there is a much higher luck factor than NL. You are going to need cards, and good ones to win. Bluffing at 3/6 really does not work. It is very frustrating to play your A-game and lose, while some retard is dragging back pot after pot on rivered flushes and straights. It was nice to get cards and win this time, but the cards almost played themselves. My second observation is when you are playing in the California card clubs which rake a flat $4-5 everyhand you need to make some adjustments vs. A Vegas style 5% rake. You need to be playing hands that will generate a big pot, that you will likely win. Small pots are a waste of time, and will end up being raked a huge % if you win on the flop or turn. You could see $4 raked out of a $8 pot for example. You want to be playing the big drawing hands like pocket pairs, suited connectors, Axs. And you want to bet them hard the whole way, if you have a good shot of hitting. There is not much that can be done with an unimproved big pocket pair (still raise preflop), so you probably want to limit the pot size till the turn. Anyway, thats all for now, but always look at the rake structure and adjust as required. Making a $6 bet on the turn to chase away 2 others and win a $4 pot is not +EV.