Sunday, February 27, 2005

Sunday afternoon @ The B&M

Back to 2/4 with a different pal of mine tagging along (his first time) so i played 2/4 instead of 3/6 as expected. Probably a good thing I did.

Started out the session playing virtually nothing again (typical 17% starting hands doesnt seem like much action when you're moving at 25 hands per hour). Dont think i had too many of those stuck in there for the first 2 hours since I just blinded away (and maybe a flop bet here and there) about 40 bucks (10BB) with no showdowns or victories to show for it. I was paying close attention to see if my hands 'were good' and in each case I made a good call (thats ok by me).

Won two hands within a short stretch to get back to even, and then again started sliding with no playable cards. Back down to -35 for the day... then won a decent pot with A/9 when i outkicked a player (i was borderline going to throw it away as 9 is a quite marginal kicker in my opinion). Figured it was worth calling down, and I won that one... back to 11 short of even. Entered another pot with A-3 from the blinds, flopped two pair. Bet Bet bet... the turn and river come runner runner spades. Guy to my left bets out, lady at the end raises... ruh roh.... i fold. Good fold turns out (flush over flush).

Finally at the end of the session -- literally second last hand I planned to play, I picked up A8o in MP and limped (it was a passive table). 6 point callers. Flop comes down A-A-8. Fireworks go off, but i'm pretty cool at the tables these days... didnt even get the heart pumping. One bet out from EP (i'm praying for an aggressive ace-holder), folded to me, I just call. Cant give away that i PAIRED my kicker, and i wasnt going to chase him out for $2 anyways even if i wanted to, which i didnt. I bet the turn (a blank), he called. Jack falls on the river, he bets out, I raise, he re-raises.

I've been in situations before where I thought I had the nuts before, kept raising, and figured out later than some silly guy had quads and i didnt consider it. So... when 3-bet... I looked again at my hand... at the board. I HAD THE NUTS!!! No wait... the jack on board... if he paired that, he's Aces over Jacks... ruh roh. I looked at him in the far corner... he seemed sort of surprised that I raised into him on the river... wait a sec...he checked the turn and bet the river... did he improve? A-J seems like a hand he would check/call the turn on if he feared a kicker from me... Hmm... DAMN.. the more i thought about it.. the more A-J stood out. Still i had to put in my call bet to see. Yep.. Aces full of Jacks over Aces full of 8's. Typical. Lost 5BB on that one but it could have been much worse If i didnt take a step back and wonder what the hell he was raising with.

So yeah, down $37 at the end of this. I didnt really get upset at all over that beat at the end, or the session in general. I feel like i'm playing good cards, saving bets where i get a read that turns out right... but the cards are ALL AGAINST ME!

Oh well... theres always next week.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Taking a Break

I've been off the poker-crack for the last 3 days in an attempt to refocus my play. It's quite possible that i'll pick it back up today with some online stuff, and tomorrow with a B&M visit, but who knows.

In the meantime, i'm working on a brand new top-secret project just for fun. You, my half reader a day, will be the first to know when that happens.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Back at the Casino... at 3/6?

Well, my complaining last weekend about bad service from the local casino out of my system, I was back at it Saturday night with my usual compatriot in poker gaming.

Upon arriving at the great hall of poker, we were greeted with a 2/4 list that stretched from top to bottom with names, add on to this that there were seemingly 50 people wandering the front area by the desk waiting for their name to be called. So, it was a tough decision... wait all night for a 2/4, or grow a pair and play 3/6. Well... we chose to play tonight.

Signing up for 3/6 made me actually nervous... i was never nervous at the 2/4 table after my first 30 minutes... but for some reason jumping a level made my hands shake for the first 30 minutes at the table. No kidding... theres something about playing above your normal position that makes the experience unique.

Bought in for $150, 25BB to my usual $100 at the 2/4... ok so i had a small stack of 10 reds.. big deal. Started off the game well splitting one small pot with A-J when the board hit 3-A-3-x-A funny thing was, at the river card the bet was initiated by one of three of us, I raised to 12, and the last guy dropped out. When we showed our aces full.. he said... OH DAMN i should have been paying attention, i had an ace too. So i guess i made a few bucks there by raising when i knew it was going to split. This was the first moment I realize how horribly bad the players were at this table... the man to my left would raise any hand he played, which were many. If he hit any card on the board -- ANY -- he would bet or raise. This was LAG #1. I soon found out that we had 3 of these, one guy who had never played before, and two 'young guns' who thought that spinning their chips into the pot and looking badass doing it was the key to making cash.

To say that this table was loose was an understatement. The 2/4 game is tame by these standards... this table was loose pre-flop and super-agressive. If I didnt like my hand for a capped pre-flop, it wasnt worth playing... because more often than not. it capped. Unfortunately, this evening the poker gods werent with me... and while I got up a few BB early, they were pissed away by blinds in a 2 hour stretch of folding.. literally. In a 4 hour session I played a total of 10 hands including blind play. It's frustrating to fold so much... but I just spent the time trying to work on my bet counting and watched the players mannerisms when they did things... makes for a good show.

In the last 10 hands, I got a few playable ones... once limping in MP with Q-Js.. hitting jacks but having the pot bet and raised ahead of me. Turns out good call as there were aces in the hole. Another one was A-Qo pre-flop raise by me and I hit the ace on a rainbow board. Bet to my right, i raise to see where im at, called at my left. Next card is a blank to my mind, the caller bets out... i'm looking at the board to see whats up there (it was a nothing card -- a heart).. put him on two pair POSSIBLY (this guy didnt know what he was doing but the bettor to my right was still in there so I didnt like a raise) and called. River was a heart. Caller bets, right calls, i call. I HATE calling but i couldnt put this guy on a hand -- had the guy to my right on A-lower kicker. The guy turns over... 4-10 hearts. Thats right people... called two pre-flop, called two on the flop, bet out with a pair of 4s at the turn and caught a flush at the river. They were SOOTED.

Lost another small one when I had A-Qs, raised pre-flop one caller. Flop was K-x-x, i bet out, called. Turn was the Q, I didnt know if he had the K but bet out anyways (he called down with anything), called. River was blank, I bet, he called.. he called with K-2o pre-flop.

Yep, these are rediculously beatable tables if i catch some cards at all. Ended up down 12BB after those beatings, but my outlook was extremely positive. Instead of loose-passive 2/4.. .this is loose agressive 3/6. The profit is there to take from the players... its really only a question of whether you have any cards to damage them with. I didnt last night... so be it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Super System 2 Made Me Money

Last night was the typical Monday night game, on Tuesday. It seems we're moving the Monday game on Tuesdays now...

The 1/2 game i played my typical style, made a whopping dollar after I got drawn upon twice at the end (was up $20 previously). In the first all-in game I amped the aggression numbers quite a bit. It's funny, i HATE the typical crapshoot style of these things... blinds up way too fast... i'd rather play post-flop real poker not pre-flop lets guess who has the best hand.

Anyways... first game I got booted early when I held A-x on a J-x-x-J board. My first instinct was that he was slowplaying A-J after his pre-flop raise, but when he made a big raise on the 2nd jack, I thought he was trying to represent something that wasnt there. Of course, it was. Down to 250 chips and gone next hand.

Second game was a bit different, I started to push hard on everyone and it worked! SS2's advice on playing with a gambling attitude against tight players made for an interesting time. In one case, the guy to my right, a rather good player who is quite aggressive himself raised 3 times in a matter of 2 loops and in each case I re-raised all in. (All in because the blinds were so high that nothing else would have an impact). Each time he liked his hand, and each time he didnt like it enough to play telling me that he would catch me eventually. Well, the 4th time it happened, I had A-4s and he held K-8, he called the all-in. Of course, he caught his king, and said "You werent really in the lead" and I had to disagree. He called, he drew out, and I made the right play. Built a huge stack when my all-in was called at two points. My A-Qo v A-4o v A-10s. It held up. Down to heads up, we chipped away at each other until finally the blinds got so high he was 2 big blinds from being done. Of course I leaned and he called and I won a race.

I'm not done with brunson's section in SS2, but his major point in the first pages of NL Hold-em is all about using huge aggression in the right ways. Having your opponents know you'll put them all in at any time is powerful stuff. I did win a few cold bluffs last night, and I have to say, those feel great.

Watched Deeb v. Negreanu heads up last night after the game. Negreanu pulled off a rediculously wild bluff on a flush-river card to win a gigantic pot... Deeb couldnt have called that given the way Daniel played the hand, even if his TPTK was best. The risk of losing an extra 100k would have crippled him.

Cant wait for the next show of the heads up battle.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Pissed off at the local B&M

I'm located in southern ontario, near Niagara Falls. Our local casinos in Niagara Falls have only one poker room, and it blows. Limits are too high (min 4/8 most times) and the room is open to the rest of the casino and their bloody slots and smoke and music. When i play poker, i want to hear cards and chips... CARDS AND CHIPS.

Back to it, the indian casino (Seneca Niagara Falls) over in Niagara Falls, NY has a GREAT poker room. The dealers are great, the room is great (cards and chips), and the players are so-so... too many locals though. Anyways, I play 2/4 over there whenever I go, and I've been going once a week for the past few months it seems. Not exactly their biggest customer, but I'm a repeat customer...

... until yesterday night? I still havent decided whether i'm being too picky or they were actually wrong. I call in at 8:45pm to put two on the list before I make the 30 minute trek over the border to the casino. This helps kill some couch-time when they're busy. Did I mention they have very comfortable leather chairs and couches and card player mags hanging around? Poker room lets the call go to voicemail first time. Lets try that again,

Room: "Poker Room This is SO AND SO"
Me: "Hi, can i get two names on the 2/4 list?"
Room: "We're not taking call-ins tonight"
Me: "OK, how busy are you" -- (how long is my wait going to be?)
Room: "We're busy"
Me: "How long is the list for 2/4?" -- (how long is my wait going to be?)
Room: "We're VERY busy" -- CLICK --

Now, I'm sort of awestruck that I was just treated rudely by a casino employee when i'm actually taking the time to call in and inquire when I can begin to pay them rake and tips. I'm thinking perhaps it would be different if I asked whether the 20/40 was open, but I doubt it. Dealers at this place have identified this particular desk person as "horrible -- try asking for a table change". And now i caught a bit of the attitude. Thinking about it 12 hour after the fact now, i'm still awestruck that they would be so rude, and it really makes me NOT want to play there. I dont want to wait 3 hours for a table, so answer my f'in question so I can decide whether its worth the effort. Hanging up on me? Thats the worst part of it. I was typical canadian polite and i got hung up on by a new york stater... should be expected I suppose.

Anyways, I posted about this on 2+2, want to get feedback on whether this type of service should be considered part of poker's surly underpinnings or whether it actually deserves to lose my business. They're a SERVICE business, so dont piss off the customer unless you want to lose the customer and all the people he tells... and by the 2+2 post... i'm not being quiet.

Golf Town i survived without buying anything. I'm into the taylor made rescue MID 2 iron, and the bettinardi baby ben putter right now. Still cant find a driver that i'm in love with. I hit the taylor made 580XD on the simulator in the back and it flies a hair further than the 2 iron, so something wasnt right about that setup for me. I've got to work on my club selection and think i'll ebay for the Bettinardi putter... i'm not paying $300 CDN for a f-in putter.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Spending Money On Games

Fortunately, i've found two games -- you guessed it, golf and poker -- which require rediculous amounts of money to play. Well technically poker should make me money eventually but at the stakes I'm playing, my investments in books are now surpassing my bankroll size.

I received my copies of Super System 2 and Caro's Book of Poker Tells. Flipped through both and am currently reading Jennifer Harman's section on limit poker in SS2. GREAT book so far and she's really interesting in her analysis of plays.

In a moment, i'm off to Golf Town, home of good prices on copious amounts of golf equipment. After that, heading out for dinner then over to the B&M for a little 2 by 4 action. Hopefully my bad night streak will end shortly... I think i'm starting to identify some really bad spots in my game actually... recent online results show i'm playing way more passive post-flop, this could be just due to bad beats ive taken and its a weird sort of tilt happening (tightening up post-flop is BAD). Showing down too much shit too.

Going to start a new PokerTracker database as of tomorrow to guage my plays, and i'll do some more 2+2 posting. In the meantime i'm hoping I dont run up too big a tab at Golf Town. That concerns me a lot more than bad beats at 2/4. Actually its sort of like a bad beat at 50/100 when things go really wild. Thankfully I already bought my new irons else i'd be in trouble.

I'll get into equipment more here as the golf season arrives.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Aggression UTG With Overcards Against Passive Opponents

I consider this post a synopsis of my current understanding of overcards and passive opponents, I fully expect to look back and laugh at this in a few days... :)

FACT #1: when a micro limit online player limps into a pot, they will automatically call one raise simply because they already have money in the pot

FACT #2: passive players play like they are always behind unless they hold the absolute nuts.

Last night I was faced with an interesting situation. While 4-tabling, the players were extremely passive post-flop and were prone to fold at the turn or river if they did not hit. That is not to say that ALL of the players were weak, but I knew the TAG's so stayed clear when they were in.

Faced with weak opponents who WILL fold, a bluff of sorts (no i have not read the semi-bluff work by sklansky yet -- its on order) in showing strong agression regardless of your overcard holding on a low scattered board seems to be profitable. Typically, this means leading out flop betting in the blinds or UTG, or raising a bet in late position.

First, we'll examine the lead out bet. 4-5 players to the flop, all low/mid scattered board with passive opponents and I'm holding a solid overcard hand in broadway. I lead out under the gun with a bet, typically only one or two opponents will call since the others realized their 8-4o didnt hit and might not win now. Usually a call here means the proven-passive micro player is holding an ace. It seems that any ace will do. If another blank falls at the turn, I bet again and usually get the pot on the turn or the river given up. Of course, if a high card falls and my passive opponent wakes up, i fold quickly, but even when they call me down i'm a decent shot to win with my respectable starting hand (yes, i play respectable starting hands per SSHE).

The second situation is faced when holding overcards on a ragged flop. If checked around to 2-3 players, often someone will hit a card -- lets say 2-7-9 and throw in a bet. UTG, your raise will often clean out the pack unless they're holding something good, which gives you valuable information. If the bettor 3-bets, then you have to consider whether they have hit 2-pair or a set, as a typical passive player will not 3-bet unless they have the goods making your decision easy. Either way, being informed as to someones likely holdings by chipping in another small bet is considerably better than calling bets against many opponents with your overcards hoping your card will hit and be good.

It is better to put someone on a hand -- especially an un-tricky passive player -- than call down with my A-Jo against a set or two pair.

Of course, this all depends on reading your opponent as weak/passive who WILL fold to agression which is where PokerTracker or just paying attention at your table for 20 minutes will help.

In other news, I spent some money yesterday! Caro's Book Of Poker Tells and Super System II are currently on order from Chapters (yes i'm Canadian). Also made a bit 4-tabling on Stars as well as 3rd in a SNG where the 2nd place finisher drew out on me 4-times all-in with the far-worse hand. Sometimes poker does that though.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

The Monday Night Home Game - Feb 7, 2005

Another night at the home game. We had a massive 8 person turnout for the festivities. Couple of hours of 1/2 chased by a $5 NL tourney.

The 1/2 was pretty standard, i didnt catch a lot of cards, but played my typical game - working on counting bets which is still a weakness of mine. Made a couple of mistakes, folded A-5 when i didnt notice the board said 3-4 and i folded before the turn (a 2 of course). STUPID. As Rip Torn said in Dodgeball, its like watching a bunch of retards trying to hump a doorknob.

Anyways, another time I folded two pair to a turn bet and raise with a 3-flush board lacking pot odds. Of course, the board paired on the river and a mid-flush took it down. Those are the days. Was up a whopping $24 at one point, and finished $6.50 up. Wow.

The $5 tourney was a little different this time around. We had 5 players, but we didnt put the blinds on "double ever 8 minutes" like usual which makes it a total crapshoot. Frankly, I hate crapshoots.. if i wanted to gamble -- and I dont -- i'd play dice or bet on black/red at roulette. Anyways, everyone played tighter, we saw actual flops before people were all in... and I won. I stole a lot, bet like I had the nuts, made good reads and drew the cards when I needed to. It felt good to actually pick people apart for once in real life.

I'm staying off the online poker tonight, doing a bit of reading (blogs and 2+2).

Mental Note: buy more poker books

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Bad Beat #1 At The Casino

Now, I'm a pretty laid back guy, but this one hurt a bit. I hid in my hole mentally for about an hour afterward.

I'm dealt 66 in MP. Called at 5 points no raising.

Flop is 6-2-K with two hearts. Bet from my right, i raise and it clears them all out except the bettor.

Turn card is the K. Bet from my right again, i look twice to make sure (i'm at the end of the table) i've got my boat and instantly know she has 3 kings to start betting again. I raise, she re-raises and I cap.

River is a ... yep... K. Running Kings to sink my boat.

That shit should qualify for a bad beat wheel at least -- i want a hat. The lady actually apologized to me afterwards (i must have turned a few shades of red -- bad habit) but i told her that "that's poker, now i've got a story to tell people".

Overall I had three flopped sets busted by straight and flush draws. Most of the time I knew i was behind at the turn but the pots were HUGE. In one of them, the board was pretty messy (3-5-6-J) so I capped the turn and raised the river (I had 66) thinking theres no flush, no cards paired, and he's gotta have 4-7 -- but he's a tight pre-flop player -- must be set over set or he's gone loopy. Nope, UTG he played 4-7 off.

Hah. Climbed back at the end of the night with A-K. Flopped K-K-A, called a bet. Blank turn and we capped it with 3-in. River was a K so i made quads. He bet -- i did some acting about getting screwed by quads before and I raised. Good pot (around $75). Also caught a boat on the turn with A-9 on my 2nd last hand.

Was down $130 at one point, crawled back up to down $51 in the end. And, now i'm actually in the hole at the casino overall -- thats just sad.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Anticipation, Pot Roast & A New (OLD) Table

Through no action of my own, my saturday game @ the casino has become a friday game for this evening. Of course, this gives me very little time between work and play to get mentally ready for getting sucked out on time after time as usual :)

An interesting surprise today, I picked up an old, heavy, full ring poker table. Full 4'x8' size with a dealer cutout. With a bit of foam and felt, this thing is going to be NICE. Perhaps i'll let the Monday night game use it... perhaps.

No rail, but we'll have to make due :)

Speaking of other things to look forward to, i've currently got a pot roast in the slow cooker doing its thing for the last 5 hours. Dinner's gonna be sweet. Hopefully it will fuel my 2/4 work tonight.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

WPBT Results - 94th!

Pretty much what I expected at the WPBT tourney, the tables at first were fairly loose, but when the blinds hit 75/150 everything got virginal tight. I tried playing the aggressor but ran into cowboys... twice. :)

Busted 94th out of 151. But fortunately I did survive beyond such greats (that i recognize the stars name of) as:

Chris Halverson
Mene Gene
Genius of the Poker

Overall, i saw some WILD hammer plays (HeL1xx was fearless with this thing).

Overall an enjoyable time, i'd do it again for sure.

WPBT Event Tonight

Hmm, i'm having a tough time deciding whether to play the WPBT event at PokerStars tonight. I've been reading the blogs of all these folks for a few months now, but never really considered sitting down for poker with them (sort of -EV myaw?)

I told myself if I won $20 bucks at the 0.25/0.5 tables in the two hours before the event, i'd play. Of course, i went out and crushed a few games and made it in about an hour. Dont get me wrong I dont expect to win 40BB in an hour 3-tabling, but sometimes the poker gods might be trying to tell you something.

So, unless the girlfriend demands my attention, i'm playing since i made the buy-in the easy way today. I'll post a report after I bust out.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

The Monday Night Home Game - Jan 31, 2005

Last night was the weekly home game, this time at a new location, mostly the same people however.

We started out with the now-typical 1/2 limit game. I've been playing a bit of 6-max online, so my agression numbers are, well, higher. The online game forces you to push when you've got the best of it and fold when you're pretty sure you're toast (no pun intended). Started out slowly, as per my usual style. Pre-flop played tight in the high end of the deck, post-flop was extremely agressive on top pair hands. In one case, my aggression post-flop with TPTK nearly forced everyone out but a guy holding a set of 7's. He told me at the river he was sure he was beat but called down with his set. The look on my face must have been priceless.

Another hand, same guy (catching cards ALL night) and I went to war. I held the nut flush right on the flop and was betting and raising. Just he and I after the turn card. I bet, he called. River paired 10's on the board and I bet into it with my flush, he raised. I looked at him, said "You make your full house?". No answer of course, I re-raised him for good measure and he just called. Turns out his boat was made on the river and my nut flush from the flop was dead in the water -- just that sort of night.

In yet another (beaten) hand, i held Axs and flopped the 4-flush. With 3 callers I was betting and raising the flop. They hung to the turn where I raised a bet again (blank), and the river blanked for me as well so i checked behind. My dear pal called me down with a lowly pair of 6's with at least 4 overcards on board and my pre-flop raise -- he said "You've got it, i've only got a pair of 6's - your big pair wins". I said "nope it doesnt" and mucked my busted nut flush draw.

I did get quite a bit of respect on pre-flop raises and well, post flop raises. But i lost a few big hands and that hurt me and i ended up down $41 in the limit game.

Then game the no-limit tourneys. Top player gets it all, $5 buy-in first two games, $10 on the last. I got bored in the first tourney (these are crapshoots -- totally BS but im doing it to be social) going all-in on the hammer after a raise only to have my opponent flip Kings. Well, i felt good about my total bluff being shown, it gave me action in the next game :)

Next game I busted 2 players, got heads up and immediately got offered the sweeter side of the split even though i was technically behind in chips. Fine.

Last game I played tight (it's $10 bucks after all) but agressive pre-flop. My raises usually bought the blinds. Caught 5's and raised to 4xBB. It was re-raised by a decent agressive player and i called. Flop game down 4-7-J, he bet, i thought about it for 30 seconds and went all-in. I had him on overcards and was almost certain he didnt hit the board. How wrong i was, he held KK. Again the cowboys shot me in the ass and i'm toast (again).

I'll have to keep an eye on that guy, he's got a betting tell that I picked up after tonight. Baits and traps on overpairs every time. When he under-raises his previous raises, I should have picked it up sooner.

Total for the night: Down $46 big ones. I think i overplayed a bet or two, but feel pretty good about everything. I think i'm starting to get a rep amongst these guys.