Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Nuclear Option

I try to keep my content focused on poker, so my loyal reader or two does not have to wade through to much fluff to get to the good stuff, but It's time to switch things up a bit for better or worse.

Last night was the pokersavvy 1k blogger freeroll on The email said it started at 5:30pm pacific, but it was actually scheduled for 6:30pm. 5:30 would have worked much better for me, and the nuclear option could have been adverted. Lets me explain.

The wifey don't like the poker you see.

It's not like I'm some sort of degenerate gambler or something. Well I have been gambling since my 21st pretty consistently. I would head up to Vegas 8-10 weekends a year with the buddies. I even lived in Vegas for 4 years going to UNLV. Blackjack, Craps, and Sports betting were serious hobbies. Blackjack and craps were played mainly for fun, and without the expectation of winning. I could count cards at blackjack, so I could play break even+ when I chose to concentrate. Sport's betting was serious, and I made some good money back then betting basketball, football, and some baseball. I had not discovered poker yet.

After Vegas, I moved back to Orange County and settled down. I resisted the urge to get an online sportsbook account, but eventually did, mainly for the superbowl. Then poker arrived. Finally a game that is mentally challenging, fun, and can be potentially-ridiculously-profitable. Plus it's popularity is going through the roof. I have found the game for me.

The wifey don't like the poker you see.

So some compromises are made so that I can enjoy my hobby, and not get into too much trouble. Mainly, I am not supposed to play between when I get home from work and when the kids go to bed.

But the blogger tourneys run at that time!

No blogger tourneys for me I guess.

Well. I really wanted to play in the savvy freeroll, but the wifey gets home at 7pm. I will just take my chances. If I go out in the first 1/2 hour, no one is the wiser. If I go deep, at least there will be some money involved. Only 36 entries. Can't go more than 2 hours.

On a very early hand, I take a flop from the SB with Q9. Flop drops JT8, and I slow play at first, then push and take down a nice pot getting me to 1680 (started 1000) and in second place out of the gate.

I raise it up with Ad Kd and get several callers. I flop a gutshot royal to the Qd. I make a small reraise on the flop, and turn a Q for the straight. More money goes in, and I take it down on a blank river. I am at 3365 and way in the early lead.

SB pushes for 305, and I call from the BB with A5. SB has K5 and is eliminated

I raise it up with QQ, and get a couple callers. Flop is low rainbow. I bet, get reraised all-in and call. I am against 88 (no 8 yet). Turn is an 8, and I get knocked back to about 2200 and 2nd place.

I get 44, call a min raise and flop a set. I min raise flop, bet out on the turn, and check behind a flush board losing to a made flush on the river. Down to 4th place.

Things heading south, but I saved some chips there.

Raise it up 5x from the cutoff with KK, one caller. Reraise on the flop and take it down.

See a flop with 95 from BB. Flop comes 766, and I lead out on a semibluff and take it down.

I'm back to 2nd place.

Wifey just came home, and appears to be pissed i'm playing poker.

I limp from Button with KTs. 3 way pot. Flop comes T82 with 2 spades. Check, check, I bet 300, SB goes all-in for 695, deep stack calls. I push all-in for 1900 total. Deep stack calls and has K9s for the flush draw. I dodge bullets, and win a 4865 pot and am back to way out in the lead.

From here I just cruised to the final table, and 6 handed bubble play. This went on for about 15 minutes.

The wifey was not happy, and had some chores she would rather me be doing.

I am in 3rd place out of 6 with about 5100 in chips. Top 5 paid. Been here for 15 minutes. And then the Nuclear option. The wifey comes over and just kills to power to the PC. OMG!, WTF! She has pulled this crap a few times before, but never at a critical stage in a tourney. I try to reboot, but she turns it off again. Then she goes outside, and kills the power to the house. Then she stand's by the door challenging me to get past her and get to the electric box.

Tournament over for me!

I took third place for a $150 cash. The site of a guy sitting out on the bubble must have been like blood in the water for the blogger sharks. In attacking my dead blinds, they attached each other, and I somehow managed to hold on to my third place position sitting out.

I'm pissed because I wanted the chance to play for the win, and can use the experience of a tourney like this for the WSOP. Anyway congrats to boobielover who rallied hard at the final table and got the win. He was going all-in on the bubble at a ridiculous clip, but no one would call him.

Wifey gets home at 9pm tonight, so the DADI is on. Can you keep a secret?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

My Tournament Game Seems To Be Coming Around

I have to admit that my tournament game is a little rusty with all of my focus on grinding cash games for a profit. MTTs have never been a big money winner for me, but with WSOP Event #27 just a few weeks away I need to be honing my skills for a solid showing. I plan on playing a bunch of tournaments every night that I can, at the expense of growing the roll (unless of course, I hit a big cash). I played several last night, and did pretty well me thinks.

FullTilt 8k

Got off to a decent start doubling up in the first 1/2 hour, and played solid till my exit. Ended up bubbling out in 47/488 (top 45 paid), when I went card dead late and had to shove UTG with a naked king or be all-in on the next hand. I couple key hands really hurt me in this one. Early on, I was all-in on a 7k pot and had to split it when my kicker was counterfeited on the river. Late, I'm all-in preflop PP over PP, but the board makes a straight for a 5k pot split. If I can scoop up the whole pot on either of those, I know I make the money, and have a shot at going deep. I still did beat 9/10 players which is normally good for a cash in an MTT.

BoDog 3.5k

Got off to a good start again getting my stack north of 7k early in the second hour. Went card dead in the middle, but worked my way through it. Started chipping back up late, running my stack up to 28k when the final two tables formed. Then after getting blinded back down to 19k, I pick up AKo. I open raise 2.5x, and a guy with my size stack pushes in. I make the call and am against AQo for a 37k pot. Flop comes king high all diamonds, and I don't have one. The turn brings another diamond, and that dirty gold digger the Queen of diamonds scoops the pot. I am crippled down to about 1.5k and exit a few hands later in 16/333 players for a decent cash. If I win the hand I am close to 39k in chips which would be about 4th, with 15 left and I am looking to go deep at the final table. I had enough chips to fold to the final table, but I am looking for the win here. Felt good, but its always a disappointment to go out like this after all that work.

I plan on continuing to run as many tourneys as I can before the WSOP. I got the PokerSavvy freeroll tonight on, and the DADI tomorrow night. If I continue to improve my game, I will post a nice cash in this here blog before July 18th. I want to go to the WSOP on a high note.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Never Blog About Running Good, Ever, Ever, Ever!

When I am running bad for a decent amount of time, I try to resist blogging about it. Eventually, I just have to. Writing stuff down tends to make you think things through a little better, and blogging about your losing streak seems to always do the trick. You examine your (poor) play, write down your thoughts, and try to hit the felt rejuvenated. For some reason it always works. The streak ends and you are back on track. This is one of the huge benefits of blogging, in my opinion. I have killed something like three bad streaks almost immediately by simply blogging about it.

Now for when you are running good. Never, ever, ever, ever, blog about this. It's bound to kill your streak. You try to examine why your running good, and come to the conclusion that your Gods gift to poker. You are the shit! You are so proud of this that you have to tell the world. Worst of all, you start actually believing it. This will kill your streak faster then anything. Believe me!

I post my bankroll from time to time. Mainly to document my progress. I was running bad at the start of the year, and my bankroll gains were pretty pathetic. Then I got on a hot streak, and won about 3k in 30 days. Finally, I could brag about how good I am, and post some nice results. I even tried to figure out what I was doing right during the streak. Big mistake!

Posting these results, put a lot of unneeded pressure on myself. I felt I really needed to keep the pace up, and post another huge gain. When I took some bad beats immediately after the post, I started really pressing to get the roll back in positive territory. This was disastrous to my game. The good streak ended immediately, and a bad one ensued. It's taken this long, but my game seems to be coming back around. The interesting thing about poker (at least for me), is it is best to let the money come to you. If you are trying to hard to win, you are bound to lose. It is best to just sit back, and wait for great situations, and let the fish feed your roll.

Another problem I run into is chasing too many bonuses. My bread and butter site is FullTilt. I clear about $30/hr consistently multitabling the .50/1 nl. At PartyPoker, I do as well, but have a much more limited history. I have been able to win on every site I have played at so far. But PokerTracker does not work on all the sites I play at, so I only have Tilt, Stars, and Party well documented. When I chase bonuses, I typically clear around $10/hr on just about all of the sites
. I played about 10k hands on PokerStars recently to get up to SilverStar, and clear a couple of reload bonuses. I am about break even for all of this work. I would have made 1k+ on FullTilt had I stayed there over that many hands, but they have not had a reload bonus in a while. Why give up a solid $30/hr to chase a $10/hr bonus? Because I am stupid. Thats why.

I went back to FullTilt cash games over the weekend to switch thing up, and I am glad I am back. They also started another reload bonus last night, so I have no reason to leave. I am going to plow through the $300 bonus, and qualify for the last 20 seat WSOP freeroll. This should put my bankroll back on track.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

My Second Nuts Beats Your Second Nuts

I won a nice pot today on an interesting hand after I started thinking about it. BTW, I needed this hand, as I have been taking some pretty brutal beats on PokerStars lately. This one was for a $258 pot at .50/1 nl.

I pick up JJ and am facing a raise to $4. I reraise to $7 to see where I am at. Initial better calls here, and I may think my JJ is good as an over pair on the flop. A small reraise back, and I play for a set. A big raise back, and I am probably folding. Anyway, two others and the original raiser call. Ok not very likely I am against AA or KK here. QQ is also slightly ruled out. I am likely in the lead, but JJ don't play well 4 handed. Lets see a flop.


I think I may have just messed myself. Initial better leads out for $20, and I reraise to $40. Fold, Fold, All-in. I call, $258 pot.

Now for some interesting nut analysis here. I have the second nuts, with AA only beating me. AA is pretty unlikely, as we are talking about flopped quad As and nobody represented AA preflop, except maybe me. Now the other guy? It's pretty obvious. AK is what he had. To him this is second nuts as well. Only JJ beats him. There is no way he can get away from this hand, and I don't think anyone else could either.

In case you think you might be able to fold the second nuts on the flop here are some considerations:

1) Does the nut hand make sense based on the preflop betting

AA not really in my case. JJ, was a min reraise preflop so definitely possible

2) What are the odds of the nut hand having just hit.

AA flopping quads are extremely rare. JJ flopping a set, not so rare.

Quads on PokerStars

I don't play much on PokerStars anymore. I have had way more success on FullTilt, and the bonuses are much better elsewhere. I had to get my VIP level up to Silver to buy into Event #27 of the WSOP, I had an old bonus to clear, and a new one I am about to finish. So I have been playing over there quite a bit lately. I really can't say PokerStars has been good to me. I have to admit that I was not running very good for a couple weeks before I started playing Stars again. So some of this is related to my game being a little off right now. Anyway, I lost $300 in my first big session on PokerStars, and have taken about 3 months worth of brutal beats in the last two weeks there. Crazy crap that keeps me from ever pulling ahead there. I checked PokerTracker, and I have 8000+ hands of .50/1 nl with a loss of about $20. I would have made $1000+ on FullTilt over that many hands. Please be kind to me PS Gods! Anyway, the hand above was a slight reprieve from the beat down. This guy actually thinks he's gonna push me off quad Ks. On the other hand, I flop Quad 9s and actually build a decent pot.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Weekend Tourneys

I played in few tournaments over the weekend. Not a lot of luck, but some interesting hands.

PokerStars World Blogger Championship

It was kind of a wild ride through this one. Key hands are as follows. I call a preflop raise with JJ. Flop comes KJx all clubs. Initial raiser pushes in on the flop. I call, and I'm against AA no clubs. Turn a club, river a club for a board flush and a split pot. I raise preflop with AKo, and get a single caller. Flop comes all low with 2 hearts (I have K of hearts). I make the continuation bet with 2 overs and a runner/runner flush draw, Call. Turn is a low heart. I fire a second 250 bet, and get min raised to 500. I have to call with all the outs. River is a blank, and my opponent pushes in. I have to fold and I am down to T1000. I pick up AA and min raise an initial raiser to T600. Initial raiser pushes, and I call. The guy has 84o, lol. AA holds up and I'm back to T2000. I get blinded down to T1500, and pick up JJ, blinds 50/100. The chip leader who has been raising numerous pots opens for T500. I can't just call here, and I can't really put this guy on a monster, so I push all-in. I get called by a shorty with T5, and chip leader tanks then calls. Chip leader has KQo, shorty has KJ. Well at least one of the outs is missing. Flop and turn is all low, but a Q on the river sends me home in about 1500/2250.

Bodog 100k Guarantee

I used to play this one quite a bit with decent success. Bodog recently gave me 135 Tournament Dollars for making a $100 deposit, so I was freerolled into this one. 650 entrys made for a nice 35k overlay. The structure is also better then before. You get 2500 in starting chips, and a very slow blind schedule. Last level before the first break is 20/40. I will probably start playing this one every week if the overlays stay large. I don't really get much to work with for the first hour, and am down to about T1800 when I see a flop with ATs. Flop comes 987 rainbow. I call a bet. Turn is a low of my suit, so I have a flush draw now as well. I call another bet. River drops a 6 giving me the straight. I reraise this time all-in and get called by JTo for a higher straight. IGHN

WSOP Tune-up home tourney

I hosted an $80 buy-in home game Saturday night. It had the identical structure as event #6 of the WSOP, except 45 minute levels. I flopped a small flush from the BB, and check/called a flop bet. I then lead out on the turn and river and won a nice pot. Later I called a 3x raise with 33, and 4 other callers. I flopped my set, and Larry went all-in on the flop. I called and won another nice pot. We were down to 5 pretty quick, and I was third in chips, but way behind the top 2. I raise with 99 preflop, and Chris and Ken call. Flop comes 663. Chris checks, and Ken goes all-in for 1300 more. I can't put Ken on AA-QQ as he only called preflop. I figure there is a pretty good chance I am in the lead, and make the call. Ken has JJ and it holds, and my stack takes a pretty big hit. 4-handed, I call a raise with KQo. Flop comes JTx all hearts. I bet and Ken calls. Turn is another heart. Check/Check. River is an A giving me the straight. Check/Check. I say, "I have you beat if you don't have a heart", and Ken flips up JJ for the set. I am back. 4-handed with me and Ken about equal in chips, and the other two way ahead. The pay is not much more for 3rd vs. 4th, so I am prepared to take a stand. I open raise from the button with A3o. Ken's dad calls. He has been pushing people around all-night and bluffing a lot. Flop comes 743 rainbow. Checks to me and I make a continuation bet, Call. Turn is a 2. Now Ken's dad bets into me. A call would just about put me in. He really could have anything, but there is a good chance I am good, and I am pretty much pot committed anyway. I push-in. He calls with K4o. IGHN.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

I'm Saving My Live Tourney Luck For the WSOP

Last night was the monthly stop on the OCPT. We had 22 entries which is a new record, and a $710 prize pool. My live tourney luck was back in nonexistent mode. I did not win a single pot all night (2+hours of play). Shortly after the rebuys ended, I looked down at KK. I had about T290 with the blinds as 10/20. UTG open raises to T40. I reraise to T80 looking to isolate UTG. Larry goes all-in behind me. I put Larry on a range of hands 77-AA or AK or possibly worse. He could have AA, but odds are he doesn't. Plus, I am not going to lay down KK preflop after being cold decked the whole tournament. I make the call, and Larry has AA. No help, no pots won, IGHN, priceless!

I am having a $80 buy-in Saturday night. It is structured just like Event #6 of the WSOP, except for 45 minute levels. I call it a "WSOP tune-up" tournament. The poker gods owe me some luck for this one and event #27 due to last night, and my last live tourney. Don't let me down poker gods!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

WSOP Event #27, Here I Come!

Hello Blinders,

You were registered into following WSOP events using W$ from your account:
Event Tournament Buy in#27 24960475 $1,500

You will be receiving a registration email from ___ within a week where you can choose your size and check your account information is correct. You will pick up your shirts in Las Vegas at our hospitality suite where you will also pick up your seat assignment and sign our waiver.

Best of luck!


PokerStars Support Team

Friday, June 09, 2006

Another Broken Bone

It's been a while since my last post, but I have an excuse. I managed to break another bone. After going my whole life without a hospital stay of any kind and without any broken bones, I have now broken bones twice in the last 5 months. Both requiring Surgery. This time, I broke my cheekbone by crashing heads into another player while playing basketball. Ouch! I had surgery Wednesday night to reduce a collapsed zyglomatic arch on my right cheek. The surgery went well, and the dent in the side of my face is gone, but it feels like I just got hit in the side of the head with a 2x4.

So what else has been happening? I am starting to pull out of my latest slump, winning back the $300 I lost in one session on PokerStars plus a little extra. It is weird, but whenever I am moved enough to bitch about a session in my blog, things seem to turn right around. It's great having a blog for this reason, so try it if you have not yet.

What else? I have to send out props to doubleas who hooked me up with the 1,500 in W$ I need for the WSOP. Please don't bother him for $W, as he is only buying them, but I have to thank him for helping me out. Also, I have to send out big props to smokkee, who bubbled out of the 1k WSOP buy-in on FullTilt, but still cashed $3,500. He outlasted three fulltilt pros, and many other solid players. This guy is obsessed with winning a seat, and if he keeps his tournament play as solid as it has been he will get it. Not bad for a guy who has only been playing for about 1 1/2 years.

Lastly, I am playing in the FullTilt IronMan this weekend. I hope to do better then my last few freerolls on FullTilt. I also got lured back to Bodog for $135 in free tourney credits. I might play in the 100k there this weekend as well. I will say I hope I do good, rather than wish me luck, becuase the later never seems to work.

Blinders out!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Welcome Back To PokerStars

Well after a great 30 day period where I could do no wrong, I have started running bad. I knew it would be hard to maintain a $100/day profit average, but I thought I could at least keep winning. Its been a rough few weeks. Before, it seemed like I was on the winning side of all the big hands, and winning nearly every session. Now it seems like I am on the losing end of the big hands, and losing nearly every session. What a difference a few weeks makes. I don't think my play has deteriorated, but my luck certainly has, which may be starting to effect my play to some extent. I am down on just about every site I play at since my last bankroll report, so it is not site specific. I used to jump around a little when running bad until I found I site I could win on, but its not working this time. Hopefully, this will turn around soon.

WSOP Update

I decided to not play event #6. I will be playing event #2 or a later $1500 buy-in. I am going to do the direct buy-in on PokerStars, to avoid the hassle of registering myself. Plus you can buy-in with $W on PokerStars, and you can get $W at a discount at various websites. The best I have seen is buying $W for 87.5% cash. So, I can buy-in for $1312 to a $1500 event. That is pretty sweet. The only problem is you need to be at SilverStar level to do a direct buy-in. So I will need to get 1500 FPPs before I can buy-in. The deadline for Event #2 is June 7th which will be pretty tough. So last night (June 1st) I decided to start accumulating FPPs towards the SilverStar.

Welcome Back to PokerStars

I have hardly played at PokerStars at all this year. I played a little last week to clear my bonus, and actually won some there vs. my bad streak at other sites. When I saw that FullTilt was not going to do a reload bonus on the 1st, I decided to dedicate my playing time to PokerStars until I get to SilverStar.

My first big session back, was my worst in recent memory. Welcome back to PokerStars! It was not that I was playing bad, or taking bad beats, I just got into some real bad situations.

Situation #1
Raise 4x preflop with TT. One caller on button. Flop drops AKx with a flush draw. I make a 2/3 continuation bet to see where I stand. Call. Turn drops a T for my set, plus now there are two flush draws. I make a pot sized bet to protect my hand, and get reraised. I can't put this guy on AA or KK due to his smooth call preflop, so I push with my set. He calls, and has QJs for the straight. He hits his flush on the river just to rub it in. Summary: I catch a set on the turn and lose my stack.

Situation #2
Raise 4x preflop from the button with KK. BB calls. Flop is Axx rainbow. BB checks, and I make a smallish continuation bet to see where I am at. BB calls. Turn is a blank. BB checks, I check. Turn is a K for my set. Now BB bets the pot. I have the second nuts to AA. This guy smooth called the preflop, and checked the flop and turn. I can't put him on AA. I put him on an A with possibly 2-pair. AK is very likely. I reraise him big. He pushes, I call. He has AA. Summary: I catch the second nut set on the river and lose my stack. I really think this guy played the hand horribly, but he looks like a genius. He prolly could have got me all-in preflop. If my 2-outer does not hit on the river, I get away cheap.

Situation #3
Pot limit. I pick up KK preflop and reraise pot an early raiser. Somehow we get all the money in preflop, which is not that easy in pot limit. The guy has AK, and spikes an A on the flop. Summary: I get all my money in preflop with the best hand and lose.

Session Summary
I play break even outside of these big hands, so I am down $300 overall in 600 hands of play. I earn 159 FPPs. I am looking at 20+ hours of 5+ tabling to get to 1500 FPPs. I hope the next session is not this bad. Welcome back to PokerStars.