Monday, January 29, 2007

How Do You Guys Do It???

I failed miserably in my goal to get 1500 hands in over the weekend. I should be honest with myself, and admit that my family obligations will always come before poker. Weekends are tough to get playing time in for me, except late at night. Friday, the wife had a small party at our house that prevented me from playing, and Saturday night I went to the opening event of a live tournament league. Not much to report on that, except out of 45 runners we were down to 16, when I pushed over a min raise with QQ, and got called by the dreaded AK and lost to a spiked King on the flop. Winning that hand would have easily put me in the money of a 5k-ish prize pool.

So then Sunday night comes around, and the opening event of the WPBT. I asked for permission to play in it, and was summarily rejected by the wife. In fact, my even asking to play in it started quite the argument that included lots of yelling, and me dodging various objects thrown at me from close range. The 6pm Pacific start is a little tough for me. I am officially allowed to play poker after the kids go to sleep, so any earlier tournaments I need permission or must skip. That's why I am rarely seen in the weekly blogger tourneys, except when the wife works late, and will not find out.

So my question to you guys is how do you do it? A good portion of you are married with children, yet regularly play in the weekly tourneys and special events. I have seen some discussion on this in the past, and I seem to follow the recommendations that are made. I generate 10k+ per year in profits so it's hard to argue I have a "gambling problem". I have always shared the wealth after a big tournament score, or pulled funds from the bankroll to cover an expensive project we are doing on the house. Yet still, the wife just can't stand the fact that I play poker at all. Part of the problem, I guess is that I am involved in a some regular, and irregular home games. I run the Orange County Poker Tour which is a once a month Wednesday night tournament at rotating locations. I also am part of the Orange Poker League, that is also once a month on Saturdays. Then you have the random home game that pops up from time to time. The random ones, I usually ask to go to, and get denied. Is it just too much to expect to play in a couple of live events a month, and get 5-10 hours in online weekly as well? It's a pretty tough situation I am in, but I need to try to make the best of it. Any suggestions out there?????


Friday, January 26, 2007

Go Chicago!

As part of my sportsbook whoring late last year, I earned a couple of free futures bets on the Superbowl. I ended up taking Chicago for $50 at 4.5 -1 odds. I also had San Diego at 15-1 (see above). If those fawking Patriots would not have ruined my plans, I could have easially had future bets at huge odds on both sides of the game. Normally, I would be looking to hedge something like that, but I think you would be retarded to lay 7 points on either team. I will be loading up on Chicago +7, and prolly take some money line action as well. I see this as a close game if Grossman sucks, or an easy win for Chicago, if he plays well. Either way they cover. I hate taking the dog in the superbowl, but when I have I have never been wrong. Chicago has the defense to slow down Indy, and the size and running game to expose Indy's weak running defense and control the clock. This one is looking like quite the lock, and it may have been good that S.D already choked. If they were in the game, I may have put way to much on thier side.

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$2446 - Ladder Challenge Home Stretch

Not a lot of hands since my last update, but I was away on business for 5 days and did not play much cash games. I am less than 1500 hands from finishing this thing, and I am going to try to get those in over the weekend. The 9-handed 3/6NL table on FullTilt has been empty every time I have checked, so I am not sure if I will get more hands in at that level. For those of you interested in attempting a ladder challenge similar to this, check back next week, as I will do a full post mortem on the challenge. I am also planning on doing something that I don't think has been done before in the blogosphere (as far as I know). I am going to do a detailed analysis of the 10k hands via PokerTracker, that may reveal too much about my game, but will also show the power of using PokerTracker to attack your leaks, and improve your game. Anyone serious about improving really needs to have the tools that PT provides. I find that those who refuse to use it are typically afraid of what it will reveal about their game. Things like not wanting to stare at statistical evidence of a serious leak, or come to the realization that you are not a winning player. Anyway, I think there will be some interesting posts next week to make up for the lack of good stuff the last few weeks.

On another note, I just wanted to touch on some live tournament stuff. I won the first event on the 2007 OCPT earlier in the month. I was the cash leader last year, and I plan on taking it down again this year. It's not in my official 2007 goals, because 2007 for me is all about improving my cash game and moving up the stakes. Also, tomorrow night will be the first event of the OPT (orange poker tour). This is a league type structure with an end of the year single table championship. Last year I made the championship and took 5th for a pretty nice cash. This year they have made some improvements to the structure that raises the stakes and make it less of a crap shoot. The play is pretty bad in this thing, so I am looking to win it all this year.

Below is a bad beat, that was extra brutal. Read on at your own risk.

Full Tilt Poker Game #1656942824: Table Verbena Creek - $1/$2 - No Limit Hold'em - 0:13:14 ET - 2007/01/23
Seat 1: JoeChicago7 ($68)
Seat 2: Arctic Spider ($100)
Seat 3: tommyzero51 ($197.70)
Seat 4: o7 ($306.65)
Seat 5: AAvKK ($216.20)
Seat 6: dfulvio ($84)
Seat 7: BIG_LOOSAR23 ($200)
Seat 8: pokerRN72 ($309.30)
Seat 9: Blinders ($287.40)
o7 posts the small blind of $1
AAvKK posts the big blind of $2
The button is in seat #3
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Blinders [7h 7c]
dfulvio folds
pokerRN72 folds
Blinders calls $2
JoeChicago7 calls $2
Arctic Spider folds
tommyzero51 calls $2
o7 folds
AAvKK raises to $8
Blinders calls $6
JoeChicago7 folds
tommyzero51 calls $6
*** FLOP *** [7s 8s Qc]
AAvKK bets $20
Blinders raises to $40
tommyzero51 folds
AAvKK raises to $90
Blinders raises to $279.40, and is all in
AAvKK calls $118.20, and is all in
Blinders shows [7h 7c]
AAvKK shows [Qs Ad]
Uncalled bet of $71.20 returned to Blinders
*** TURN *** [7s 8s Qc] [6s]
*** RIVER *** [7s 8s Qc 6s] [3s]
Blinders shows three of a kind, Sevens
AAvKK shows a flush, Queen high
AAvKK wins the pot ($440.40) with a flush, Queen high
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $443.40 Rake $3
Board: [7s 8s Qc 6s 3s]
Seat 5: AAvKK (big blind) showed [Qs Ad] and won ($440.40) with a flush, Queen high
Seat 9: Blinders showed [7h 7c] and lost with three of a kind, Sevens

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Monday, January 22, 2007

HORSE Final Table Last Night

I have played one MTT online in the last two months. It was CCs tourney which was more of a S&G. I have been focusing exclusively on my cash game. I am traveling on business this week so I have a laptop, but no high res monitor, PokerTracker, or HUD. I was trying to decide if I should just suspend the ladder challenge until I get back (since I am missing some of my tools of the trade), or just play MTTs and S&Gs this week. So last night, I thought it would be cool to run an MTT or two. I noticed that the 4k HORSE tourney was going off with a huge overlay (about $1400) for FullTilt. I could not resist. It would be a good decision.

I have no idea, why I am good at HORSE. I hate limit holdem, and Stud just seems like to much work to play correctly. I do think I am pretty good at Razz. Mainly because I have put some effort into learning how to play the game correctly (props to F-Trian for providing strategy posts for razz). Omaha high/low to me is more fun than holdem, but it I doubt I play it close to correctly yet. So it's a bunch of games, that I have hardly ever played, and many that I don't particularly like. Yet, I appear to be some sort of natural at it.

I never played HORSE until FT offered HORSE S&Gs. I have probably run about 10-15 of the $5 HORSE S&Gs for a decent profit. I final tabled my first $5 HORSE MTT several months ago. I also held my own in the DADI HORSE event last year, though I did not cash. Last night would be my third HORSE MTT, and my second final table. This one would be good for 3rd place and a $508 cash. That's my best MTT cash online in two years. I am not going to analyze any of the hands, because I do not claim to be an expert at any of the HORSE games, but below is how the tourney went from a chip count perspective.

I jumped out early getting to 4500 before the break and sitting in the top 4 for most of the first hour. I would continue to stay in the top 10 in the second hour, and until the cash bubble burst. We were stuck at 15 players for a long time, and I briefly was the guy in 15th place, but I would rally back, getting to the final table 6th in chips. I would get to 20k in chips, for second most at the final table breifly, but then drifted back to about 15k. With 7 left, there were two big stacks with about 60k. I was third with 15k, and all others were pretty short. With me needing to quadruple up to compete for one of the top 2 spots, I decided to hold back a little and let the shorties get eliminated before taking any big risks. The blinds were such that any hand the shorties would play would be for all their chips. This strategy would work, as the shorties were pushed out, and I was left in 3rd place with 15k in chips. 3-way I just went hyper-aggressive, and got a double up, but could not get a second one. Out in a respectable 3rd place. I love HORSE.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Countering A Maniac

I have been holding back, but I wanted to discuss a hand from the blogger 200NL a couple weeks ago. It was a hand I played against lucko, and it illustrates how you can play back at a cash game maniac. I have always found these types pretty easy to beat in cash games, but you can't just sit around and wait for the nutz. You actually are going to need to mix things up a bit, and at times out bluff the bluffer to do it right.

When I play online, I always use the autofold button. I have disabled it for a blogger tourney or two, but I pretty much always have it selected. As such, I never show my hand unless it goes to showdown. With my tight-aggressive style, I do not go to a lot of showdowns, so you give out almost no information on what you are doing. If you show your hands, you have to keep track of what you have shown, and what type of adjustment you need to make in the future based on the info you have revealed. To me this is way to much work. Just keep them guessing and play your A-game. I think most of the pros follow this except the more jack-assish like Mike the mouth. So now for the hand below, which I did not show, though it would have felt good:

FullTiltPoker Game #1569221639: Table Carey Grove - $1/$2 - No Limit Hold'em - 2:05:14 ET - 2007/01/10
weak_player: doh
Seat 1: lucko21 ($611.70)
Seat 2: smokkee ($263.30)
Seat 3: csquard ($191.15)
Seat 4: Fuel55 ($165.65)
Seat 5: weak_player ($226.40)
Seat 6: Blinders ($200.05)
Seat 7: FittSmurf ($219.40)
Seat 8: Troublecat ($224.25)
Seat 9: ScottMc ($245.40)
weak_player posts the small blind of $1
Blinders posts the big blind of $2
The button is in seat #4
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Blinders [9c Ks]
FittSmurf folds
Troublecat folds
ScottMc folds
lucko21 raises to $6
smokkee folds
csquard folds
Fuel55 folds
weak_player folds

Lucko has been raising about 40% of the pots, and seeing over 55% of the flops. 3x is his typical raise size. I have a decent hand, and will be out of position. My hand is actually ahead of lucko's 40% preflop raising range. Since I am in the BB, I am easily priced in to see a flop. Reraising would not be a good idea with this hand, because lucko could pop me back with air and force me off my hand before the flop.

Blinders calls $4

*** FLOP *** [3c As Th]

Well, I missed the flop. I am pretty positive lucko will c-bet. His range is so wide, that although it includes "any ace", it is more likely that he does not have one. If I bet, it is pretty likely that he will reraise me weather he hit the flop or not. I check to let him c-bet, and go for the check raise.

Blinders checks
lucko21 bets $8
Blinders raises to $20
lucko21 calls $12

There was the c-bet as predicted. I check raise him, because that is how he would expect me to play an ace (I am weak-tight remember). His call tells me that he does not have the ace. He is probably floating me, figuring I will not fire again on the turn without the ace, and he can push me off my hand on the turn if I check. Also with a maniac, you must beat them to the aggression. If not they will run over you, unless you catch the nutz, which does not happen very often.

*** TURN *** [3c As Th] [9d]

Well, I have a piece now, and am likely in the lead. I have to fire again an amount that would be consistent with me having a good ace. I bet again.

Blinders bets $30
lucko21 has 15 seconds left to act
lucko21 folds
Uncalled bet of $30 returned to Blinders
Blinders mucks
Blinders wins the pot ($50.35)
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $53 Rake $2.65
Board: [3c As Th 9d]

Ok, that was not a huge pot, but it is a good example of how to apply pressure to a maniac. If you combine plays like this, with rope-a-dope type moves when you have a big hand, its just a matter of time before you get their stack. Playing like a maniac in middle to late stages of an MTT can be very productive, but that style of play in a cash game is generally suicide. With lucko's read on me that I am weak-tight, he has to give me a ton of respect when I play back at him. If I play back at him with air, it really screws with his whole program, and makes it difficult to find a strategy that will work against me, without tightening way up preflop.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The End Of Online Poker Stage Two

Neteller has basically ceased US operations. It looks like to cash out, you will have to ATM it out, which might be inconvenient if you have 10s of thousands to remove. I don't have that much as I have been quietly transferring it to my checking account for a while, but I still have about 5k at Neteller. Wonder what I will do with all that cash. Vegas is a tempting 265 miles away.

I do think this is stage two of the end though. With the founders of Neteller arrested, the few sources for transferring are taking a pretty huge gamble by offering services in the US. Bottom line, it just got a lot harder to transfer funds in an out for 100s of thousands of Neteller customers. I have my full ladder roll on FullTilt, and I should be able to generate poker funds indefinitely there. My roll at pokerstars is non-existent. I have about 1k at bodog, so that appears to be my only option without getting an account with a small soon to be shut down transfer service. For people like me who can generate funds cool, but for the 90% out there who need to be reloading their accounts on a semi-regular basis, the new issues and inconvenience could easily push them away. The games will be drying up as a result.

Better get as much poker in as you can in the next few weeks as the donks and fish are blowing through their rolls for the last time.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

$2482 - Moving Up To 3/6 NL

I don't have a ton of readers of this here blog. I do get a daily read from the poker Gods though, so that counts for something. They don't ever post comments, but I know they read. How do I know? Whenever I decide I need to bitch about being unlucky or on the wrong end of variance, they read my post and intervene with lightning speed. So I did the lets all feel sorry for Blinders post Monday. Tuesday, things just went my way. The ultimate bone thrown at me by the PGs when they gave me a flopped boat with 88, and let me get a full double up for a $450 pot at 1/2 NL. Sure, it would have been nicer to get a hand like that at 2/4NL, but the poker gods have other plans for me I guess.
So I looked at the role, and it was above $2400 before I knew it. Time to move up to 3/6 NL. The 3/6 pickings at FullTilt are pretty slim. Often there is no full ring tables going, and when one is running it usually looks pretty tough. There happened to be one running, and it was about as soft as I have seen, so I took a shot. 30 hands later, I am up $60 at 3/6 NL. And I did it without getting a pocket pair. The big hand was a check-raise all-in bluff at a very scary board that was not called (whew! heart thumping on that one).
So poker Gods, thanks for being loyal readers. Per our agreement, I will try to not post about how great I am, and will limit the I am not lucky posts to just when I need them. If my reward for you guys screwing with me at 2/4 NL is that I will be a winning 3/6 NL player, I will take the cards you are dealing me.

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Monday, January 15, 2007

$2109 - Still Can't Get Any Breaks at 2/4 NL

I am getting beat back down a little at 2/4NL. It is a simple pattern. I claw and scratch my way close to even and then the next big pot I play for I lose. Rinse/Repeat. It's the big pots that determine if you are a winning player or not, and right now I am just not getting any breaks at 2/4 NL. A few days back I flopped Broadway with JTs in an unraised pot. I bet the flop big, bet the turn big still holding the nuts, then a Q dropped on the river, and I lost to a rivered boat. Lost $200 on that hand, but the retard who flopped two-pair and rivered the boat never put a single bet in, saving me about $200. Below, are three hands from a recent session with some limited commentary. This is a typical example of how things tend to go for me at 2/4 NL.
I sit down and this is the first hand I observe.
Full Tilt Poker Game #1584811154: Table Wetlands Park - $2/$4 - No Limit Hold'em - 14:42:44 ET - 2007/01/12
Seat 1: mrtoenutsman ($170.10)
Seat 2: Blinders ($400)
Seat 3: shalgab ($94.10)
Seat 4: JGaryW ($744.60)
Seat 5: andy56 ($232.50)
Seat 6: godblessmnymkr ($391.40)
Seat 7: sdvjones ($189.80)
Seat 8: xgo0B3rx ($122)
Seat 9: Harry Callaghan ($388), is sitting out
JGaryW posts the small blind of $2
andy56 posts the big blind of $4
Blinders posts $4
The button is in seat #3
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Blinders [5d 7h]
godblessmnymkr folds
sdvjones folds
xgo0B3rx folds
mrtoenutsman raises to $12
Blinders folds
shalgab calls $12
Harry Callaghan has returned
JGaryW raises to $36
andy56 folds
mrtoenutsman calls $24
shalgab calls $24
*** FLOP *** [6c 8d 3c]
JGaryW bets $76
mrtoenutsman raises to $134.10, and is all in
shalgab folds
JGaryW calls $58.10
mrtoenutsman shows [6s Js]
JGaryW shows [Th Ac]
*** TURN *** [6c 8d 3c] [8s]
*** RIVER *** [6c 8d 3c 8s] [9s]
mrtoenutsman shows two pair, Eights and Sixes
JGaryW shows a pair of Eights
mrtoenutsman wins the pot ($381.20) with two pair, Eights and Sixes
OK, we have a bigstack getting way out of linhe preflop, and a shorty, getting just as out of line preflop, and willing to get it all in with 2nd pair crap kicker on the flop. This should be a profitable session.
Then I play this hand against the bigstack.
FullTiltPoker Game #1584827376: Table Wetlands Park - $2/$4 - No Limit Hold'em - 14:45:57 ET - 2007/01/12
Seat 1: mrtoenutsman ($387.20)
Seat 2: Blinders ($402)
Seat 3: shalgab ($54.10)
Seat 4: JGaryW ($558.50)
Seat 5: andy56 ($224.50)
Seat 6: godblessmnymkr ($411.40)
Seat 7: sdvjones ($183.80)
Seat 8: NMDynasty ($400)
Seat 9: Harry Callaghan ($384)
Harry Callaghan posts the small blind of $2
mrtoenutsman posts the big blind of $4
The button is in seat #7
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Blinders [Js Jd]
Blinders raises to $14
shalgab folds
JGaryW calls $14
andy56 folds
godblessmnymkr folds
sdvjones folds
mrtoenutsman stands up
Harry Callaghan folds
mrtoenutsman folds
*** FLOP *** [8d Qh 8c]
Blinders bets $25
JGaryW calls $25
*** TURN *** [8d Qh 8c] [4d]
Blinders checks
JGaryW bets $28
Blinders raises to $75
JGaryW calls $47
*** RIVER *** [8d Qh 8c 4d] [5s]
Blinders checks
JGaryW checks
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Blinders shows [Js Jd] (two pair, Jacks and Eights)
JGaryW mucks
Blinders wins the pot ($231) with two pair, Jacks and Eights
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $234 Rake $3
Board: [8d Qh 8c 4d 5s]
Seat 2: Blinders showed [Js Jd] and won ($231) with two pair, Jacks and Eights
Seat 4: JGaryW mucked [Tc Td] - two pair, Tens and Eights
I thought I played this one pretty good with the checkraise on the turn. Off to a nice session so far.
Then this hand happens, At first I thought this was a bad beat, but it is more of a coinflip.
Full Tilt Poker Game #1584907434: Table Wetlands Park - $2/$4 - No Limit Hold'em - 15:01:11 ET - 2007/01/12
Seat 1: Loki_Dawg ($206.80)
Seat 2: Blinders ($499.60)
Seat 3: shalgab ($45.60)
Seat 4: JGaryW ($551.90)
Seat 5: andy56 ($204.50)
Seat 6: godblessmnymkr ($401.40)
Seat 7: sdvjones ($126.90)
Seat 8: NMDynasty ($401)
Seat 9: 21SeanTaylor ($396), is sitting out
NMDynasty posts the small blind of $2
Loki_Dawg posts the big blind of $4
21SeanTaylor has returned
The button is in seat #7
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Blinders [Kh Kc]
Blinders raises to $14
shalgab folds
JGaryW folds
andy56 calls $14
godblessmnymkr folds
sdvjones folds
NMDynasty folds
Loki_Dawg calls $10
*** FLOP *** [6c 4s 3d]
Loki_Dawg checks
Blinders bets $25
andy56 folds
Loki_Dawg raises to $70
Blinders raises to $485.60, and is all in
Loki_Dawg calls $122.80, and is all in
Blinders shows [Kh Kc]
Loki_Dawg shows [5s As]
Uncalled bet of $292.80 returned to Blinders
*** TURN *** [6c 4s 3d] [2d]
*** RIVER *** [6c 4s 3d 2d] [Qc]
Blinders shows a pair of Kings
Loki_Dawg shows a straight, Six high
Loki_Dawg wins the pot ($426.60) with a straight, Six high
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $429.60 Rake $3
Board: [6c 4s 3d 2d Qc]
Seat 1: Loki_Dawg (big blind) showed [5s As] and won ($426.60) with a straight, Six high
Seat 2: Blinders showed [Kh Kc] and lost with a pair of Kings
Pretty typical stuff there. I make the correct (balzy) push, and then lose to a draw. In this case it was a pretty fat draw, so possibly I should fold there vs pushing. I am going to have to win one of these to push over the top at 2/4 NL, but its just not happening for me at this point. I should be happy that I am getting it in with the best of it in most cases, but the lack of results still bother me.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

$2339 - The Blogger 200NL Cash Game

Well, I have scratched and clawed my way up to nearly even at 2/4 NL. I continue to crush 1/2 NL, and I am just $61 from hitting the threshold for moving up to 3/6 NL, but enough about the ladder challenge. Lets talk about the blogger $200 table.

I got my first shot at the regular blogger $200NL cash game last night on FullTilt. At the table were smokkee, lucko, MiamiDon, Weak Player, TroubleCat (Ryan), Iam23skidoo, and others jumping in and out or watching from the rail. I had to throw my table selection rules out the window for this one, but what are you going to do. It was a pretty wild table, with the pot size averaging about $120 for hours. What a great way to earn FPPs if you got some money to throw away. As usual lucko was running over the table, raising ½ his hands and playing hyper-aggressive post flop. Normally, when I see someone playing like this at a cash game, I am licking my chops. I have never seen someone play like that that I could not beat in a cash game, and I thought it was suicidal to play that way against the level of competition. With Don and Ryan on his immediate left, and weak 4 off his left, I figured they would crush him, but I watched him run his stack almost up to 1k. He did give a lot of it back later. Some of it to Ryan, who was playing great.
Suited connectors, small pairs, big pairs would have been gold, but I really did not catch much in the way of starting hands. I went over 60 hands before winning my first pot on a double barreled semi-bluff. A few hands later, I won with the hammer at showdown. Then I had to quit a little after midnight down about $50. Though card dead, I thought I played decent, but made one mistake. Just for fun, I will review the handful of hands I played if you are interested.

Raised from the cutoff to $7 with AQo, and was called by lucko. Whiffed the flop, C-bet, and folded to lucko’s check-raise. Typed “who didn’t see that coming”.

Smooth called a MP open to $7 with AKs in the cutoff. Lucko reraises to $28 from the BB, and it folds to me. I call. I miss the flop, lucko bets out $70. I fold, and lucko shows K4o, no piece of the board. The preflop call of lucko’s reraise was a mistake, though I think you could justify the just call line. I should have pooooshed instead of calling. Lucko’s raising/reraising range easially justifys the push, and it would have been great for my table image which was not very good. He would have had to fold to the reraise or look like a donkey (hopefully he would have chosen the latter). Without this one mistake, I would have been up for the session.

Called a min raise with 98s, missed the flop and folded to a flop bet.

Limped from the button with 33. Smokkee raises to $12 total. One other caller. I call. I miss the flop. Smokkee leads out for $32. We both fold. Smokkee shows JT for middle pair.

It’s now been over 60 hands and I have played just 4 and not won a pot. I limp from LP with JTs in a 3 way pot. Flop is KQx none of my suit. I lead out for $4. Just Ryan calls. Turn is a Q, and I bet $10. Ryan folds. Yeah, I won my first hand! For smokkee I offer a snippet from the hand history as proof (he never believes that I bluff, but I think it was just a standard semibluff)

Dealt to Blinders [Jc Tc]
*** FLOP *** [6h Ks Qd]
weak_player checks
Blinders bets $4
Troublecat calls $4
weak_player folds
*** TURN *** [6h Ks Qd] [Qh]
Blinders bets $10
Troublecat folds

The 2nd and only hand I won is shown below. It was classic use of the hammer!

FullTiltPoker Game #1562944871: Table Arlington Bridge - $1/$2 - No Limit Hold'em - 3:10:09 ET - 2007/01/09
Seat 1: sangorama ($235.50)
Seat 2: Blinders ($177.30)
Seat 3: XxMagiciaNxX ($199)
Seat 4: smokkee ($235.45)
Seat 5: lucko21 ($472.70)
Seat 6: MiamiDon ($436.15)
Seat 7: Troublecat ($502)
Seat 8: iam23skidoo ($352.65)
Seat 9: weak_player ($323.70)
Blinders posts the small blind of $1
XxMagiciaNxX posts the big blind of $2
The button is in seat #1
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Blinders [7s 2d]
smokkee folds
lucko21 folds
MiamiDon folds
Troublecat calls $2
iam23skidoo folds
weak_player folds
sangorama folds
Blinders calls $1
XxMagiciaNxX checks
*** FLOP *** [Kh 2s Jd]
Blinders checks
Need to slowplay my monster

XxMagiciaNxX checks
Troublecat checks
*** TURN *** [Kh 2s Jd] [4s]
Blinders bets $2
Time to min bet for value

XxMagiciaNxX folds
Troublecat calls $2
*** RIVER *** [Kh 2s Jd 4s] [6c]
Blinders bets $2
If a min bet can't take it down on the turn, you MUST min bet the river

Troublecat: this is a courtesy call
Troublecat calls $2
weak_player: fawker
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Blinders shows [7s 2d] (a pair of Twos)
weak_player: lol
Troublecat mucks
Blinders wins the pot ($13.30) with a pair of Twos
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $14 Rake $0.70
Board: [Kh 2s Jd 4s 6c]
Seat 2: Blinders (small blind) showed [7s 2d] and won ($13.30) with a pair of Twos
Seat 3: XxMagiciaNxX (big blind) folded on the Turn
Seat 7: Troublecat mucked [As 8s] - Ace King high

Monday, January 08, 2007

Inducing A Bluff

I don't have a lot to report on the ladder challenge. I am pretty strict with table selection, so if there are not any good tables to get on, I simply don't play. I was out of town Saturday night, and ended up not playing at all over the weekend. So much for my goal of playing 1.5x as much in 07 as in 06. What I wanted to write about though was inducing bluffs. This is something I have been doing lately that seems to work pretty well. There are few requirements for this play that I will list below, and then we will look at an example hand.

1) You are heads-up post flop
2) You are in position
3) You have a medium strong hand like an over pair or TPTK

Example hand below:

Warning! This play looks a little weak-tight, but it really is not IMO.

FullTiltPoker Game #1558563855: Table Vespertina
- $1/$2 - No Limit Hold'em - 15:28:30 ET - 2007/01/08
Seat 1: kkeellyy ($36.05)
Seat 2: marius1 ($103.05)
Seat 3: BellyBoyBoy ($205.90)
Seat 4: Blinders ($183.80)
Seat 5: Bobbo Viking ($237.20)
Seat 6: Bigkawik ($199.80)
Seat 7: maniac1028 ($115)
Seat 8: Bentley 18 ($19)
Seat 9: 1forthethumb ($202.75)
Bobbo Viking posts the small blind of $1
Bigkawik posts the big blind of $2
The button is in seat #4

*** HOLE CARDS ***Dealt to Blinders [Ad Ac]

maniac1028 folds
Bentley 18 folds
1forthethumb folds
kkeellyy folds
marius1 calls $2
BellyBoyBoy folds

Blinders raises to $8

Typical preflop raise amount here after a limper.

Bobbo Viking folds
Bigkawik folds
marius1 calls $6
*** FLOP *** [4h 5c 8c]
marius1 checks

Blinders bets $12

Pretty good flop, but it is in the limp/call range so I need to be careful. A set, 2 pair with 45s, or a straight with 67s are possible. I make my typical 2/3 pot continuation bet.

marius1 calls $12

ok, he is slowplaying a set or straight, on a draw, or has some medium strength hand that he is not sure about. Not a lot of draws out there unless he is drawing to overs.

*** TURN *** [4h 5c 8c] [Qs]

marius1 checks
Blinders checks

Why did I check behind here? For a few reasons. I don't have a real strong hand, so I am managing the pot size in case I am behind. Also, at this level and up people notice when you don't fire again on the turn after c-betting and read it as very weak. I will let this guy go ahead and bluff at it on the river if he so desires. If he checks the river, I will make a smallish value bet behind. This is where I am inducing the bluff.

*** RIVER *** [4h 5c 8c Qs] [7d]

marius1 bets $43

That sure looks like a bluff doesn't it? A 6 would make a straight, but the preflop raise call, and c-bet call, make it doubtfull that helped him. If he did hit the straight I would expect a value sized bet. I would also expect a value sized bet if he was slowplaying a monster. This guy is playing my hand which he thinks is weak, or he has a Q and thinks I will call what looks like a bluff with something worse. The pot is big enough for my overpair, so I will just call.

Blinders calls $43

*** SHOW DOWN ***marius1 shows [Ts Td] (a pair of Tens)
Blinders shows [Ad Ac] (a pair of Aces)
Blinders wins the pot ($126) with a pair of Aces
*** SUMMARY ***Total pot $129 Rake $3Board: [4h 5c 8c Qs 7d]

I think I got all that I could here. If I bet the turn, he has to be concerned that his TT is no good. If he calls my turn bet, he probably checks the river and I probably check behind because I would be very worried I was behind. Game theory wise, this is a pretty good play, because I often shut down on the turn when I have hands like AK and miss the flop, and my c-bet gets called. If you routinely do not fire the second bullet on the turn, you need to not fire as well with medium hands like this. With a monster, I probably just fire on all streets and hope he has a better hand than TT.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

$2156 - Sometimes I Do The Wrong Thing For The Right Reason

Well, I am now about 60% through the Ladder Challenge. I decided a while back I would run it until I got up to 10,000 hands. My 1/2 NL game remains solid, and I think it's just a matter of time before I get over the hump at 2/4 NL. It is becoming very apparent that the most important thing at the higher level cash games is table selection. A decent .50/1 NL player could probably be a winner at 2/4 and 3/6 NL by using solid table selection. There are a ridiculous number of donks at these levels (I guess all levels). If you can put yourself at tables that have lots of donks and not many good players, it is hard to lose.
Now for the title. During the challenge and at other times, I have done some things at the table that I knew were wrong, but did them anyway because I thought it would help my game. This sounds a little crazy, but it actually is a valid way to improve your game. If you read some of the poker books carefully you will see this concept from time to time, but probably just jumped right past it. I will give a couple of examples from the ladder challenge that are well enough documented, that you might be able to see what I was trying to do.
The first example was folding KK preflop. It has bothered me for a long time that I could not make this type of fold. On the hand in question, AA alarm bells were going of in my head, enough that I considered the fold. Actually folding though was bad decision. If you are going to fold KK preflop in a cash game, you better have a solid read on your opponent. I had no read on my opponent and on top of that, he was kind of short stacked. Having played with the guy some more since then, I can assure you that it was a bad fold. So why did I do it? To prove to myself that I could. I have not folded KK preflop since, but I think when faced with the right situation I could make the fold again. The first time was not the right situation, but forget about that for now. The fact is, I have folded KK preflop in a cash game. It is something I am now capable of doing, that 99% of the players out there can't. My game has expanded as a result.
The second example was when I over played AKs preflop at a 2/4 NL cash game. In this case I had been playing 2/4 NL for just a short time. I was struggling to get used to slinging that many chips around in a cash game. I was not sure if I was willing to put it all-in preflop on a coin-flip. If your not willing to go to war with your whole stack when you think you have the best of it, you should move down to a level where you are. Since I am serious about moving up, and I was playing a lot of small ball up to that point at 2/4 NL, I was subconsciously looking for an opportunity to gambool big time. Calling an all-in preflop with AK in a cash game is something that I just don't ever do. OK, if I had some huge read that the guy was a complete maniac, I might, but that is pretty rare. The hand was a bit of a slippery slope the way it played out, and my read was JJ or QQ for the big stack. With the dead money in the pot, I had the pot odds to run it. Unfortunately, my read was off, and I was really up against KK. As the hand was dealt out, and I was losing the biggest pot of my life, I was surprisingly calm. I wanted to prove I could get it in like that, so to me this was a success. The chips going the other way hurt, and if you take that one mistake away I am a winning player at 2/4 nl, but it was something I needed to do for myself even though I knew it was wrong.
I am not sure if this makes any sense, or will help anyone with their game, but these are the things I do from time to time, right or wrong.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

2007 Poker Goals

The list is going to be short this year.

1) Win $16,000 online in 2007

Comment: I won about 8k the last 2 years. Time to step things up a bit

2) Play only 1/2 NL and up cash games in 2007

Comment: Time to lose the .50/1 NL crutch I have relied on for way too long.

3) Become a winning player at 2/4 and 3/6 NL in 2007

Comment: not there yet, but I feel I am real close.

4) Play at least 2000 hands of 5/10 NL online

Comment: I need to be taking shots at this level to prepare for 2008.

5) Play at least 1.5x as much online in 2007 as 2006

Comment: The amount of time I spend playing was way down in 2006. This was partly a result of "The Project", and "The Project" will eat up quite a bit of time as well in 2007. I need to find the time to keep improving my game, no matter whats on my plate.

That's it!

There will be no MTT or WSOP goals this year. WSOP - been there, done that. MTTs - Lets face it, not my bread and butter. I am sure I will go through some phases of wanting to play MTTs in 2007, and I will play in quite a few blogger events for sure, but I refuse to let MTTs distract me from where the money is - CASH GAMES. If I happen to win a seat in the WSOP, fine, but as usual I will make almost no effort towards this so why make it a goal.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

It's Been A While

Sorry for the lack of updates. I was on vacation over X-Mas and got real sick afterwards. I am finally feeling better, but have not played any online poker since my last post. I did play some live poker at a Indian casino called "Spotlight 29". During my time at Spotlight 29, I saw the worst river call in my life, and did something that makes me question just how honest I am. Now not being honest is a good thing in poker, but it is also nice to be able to sleep at night. After I explain what I did, I would like to hear your thoughts, but first to the worst call ever.

I was playing 1/2 NL cash games, and the play was pretty horrible. I was not getting cards, so I was just struggling to stay even, then it happened. I had some BS hand like 85o in the BB and saw a free flop. Flop comes QT6 rainbow and it checks around. An 8 drops giving me third pair, but with 4 others left, I am not confident so I check and it checks around again. River brings a 3 and I think I might actually be good, so I bet $6 and get three callers. The first caller has a T which will end up being the best hand. The second caller (first overcall) had King high. The last caller (second overcall), and an extra bad player had J2o for Jack f-ing high no kicker????? I have no idea how you can think your ahead with Jack high on the river after a bet and two calls but this retard did. So my third pair only beat 2/3 of the callers, but at least I got to see the worst call of my life. Now for the moral dilemma.

When I lived in Vegas many years ago, I would play a lot of BlackJack in the off strip casinos. There was one in particular called the Railroad Pass that had $1 BJ and the worst BJ dealers in town. New dealers tend to work the off strip locations before moving on to the strip. The dealers were so bad that they would make tons of mistakes. They would pay the players when the lost, and sometimes take the players money when they won. When they tried to wrongly take my money, I would speak up and correct them. When they paid me when they should not, I would stay quiet. I justified this by thinking it's the price of doing business when you employ bad dealers, so I could justify not speaking up. They would make so many mistakes though it was easy a +EV game because of this.

So back to Spotlight 29. I did play some BJ there, and the dealers were bad, and they did pay my 19 when the dealer had 20, for $6 I did not deserve, but this is not what I am talking about. It was when I was cashing out at poker for the last time. I had $134 in $2 chips, and took them to the front. The lady counted it as $174 (an extra row of chips that were not there). I kept quiet, assuming she would notice the mistake. She didn't, and I took the money and split. I don't think I would have done this at a place I would regularly play at, but I doubt I will be back at Spotlight for years if ever. So I took the money and ran. Does that make me dishonest? Would anyone else not have spoken up and corrected the mistake. I guess the dividing factor is that casinos are out to take my money, so why should I not take theirs?