Thursday, November 27, 2008

Steve's Home Game

After a few weeks of trying, we finally got the home game to run last night. Steve was gracious enough to plan and host it, and there was no lack of action at all!

In addition to Steve and myself, the cast of characters included Ryan, Mike, Cory and two new faces who I hadn't yet played with, one I'll refer to as Smokey and the other as The Magician.

I broke out the new poker chips and Party Poker playing cards for this game -- love the new chips btw... very swank.

7 handed, everyone buys in for $40 or $50 and it's a $0.25/$0.50 blind cash game.

Notable things I remember:

First hand, I turn top two with 9To vs Ryan who has A9 and he pays off my modest river bet. Nothing better than getting Ryan stuck though... well, except getting Matt stuck.

Pocket Kings in big blind. Cory raises on my left UTG and all fold around to me. I make it $7 and he calls. Flop is K Q 7 all hearts. I think for a sec and lead $10 not wanting to let a heart peel off freely. He takes a minute before making it $30. At this point, I know I'm out of practice at live poker because I start counting out chips and my hand gives an adrenaline-rush-driven shake. Quickly i remove my hand from my chips and say all-in. He insta-mucks and I'm not pleased with myself for that tell. Oh well, I'm ahead early.

My next notable hand is against Smokey. I limp KQs UTG, couple callers and around to Smokey who pops it to $3.50. I think he might be trying to pick up the pot so I call him. Flop is Q 9 5, he checks, I check. Turn is a total blank. He bets $25 and I snap call thinking he's all in. I flip my hand and he's got another $10 behind for the river. His JJ is toast and I missed out on some value -- I'm a donkey.

Smokey and the Magician go to war next on an AKx flop, smokey fires 3 streets with 88 and catches a 2-outer on the river to win a full stack. Sick beat.

I limp 55 in MP, Cory raises the button to $3.50, one caller, I call. Flop is A x 5 I check call $7ish. Turn is a blank I check he checks. River is unimportant, I bet $25 and he calls. I win against I assume AT or so.

Next hand I call a minraise with 77. Checkraised another set on the flop and take it down.

Oh, here's one hand that was actually quite interesting.

Ryan opens to $2.50, I make it $7.50 in position with JJ. All fold and he calls. Flop is KQQ. He leads for $8.50. Now... I ask myself what he leads that flop with. I've seen him fastplay a set before, but normally he's trappy. So I flat-call putting him on air, a weak king, a queen or an underpair trying to rep a king -- will evaluate the turn action.

Turn is a T. He leads for $14. At this point I'm throwing out the idea of an underpair, as I think he has to stick me on a King or possibly a queen. He's trying to represent strength, which he knows I'll perceive as weakness, so he knows that I'll often raise with less than a King to push him off his king so therefore his hand shows more strength. I think we've played together enough that I can assume "levelling" like this is realistic. I ask for a countdown and he has $54 behind so it's relatively deep. I think a straight on the river makes my hand good most times as I dont think he has a boat, but being this deep I think he only calls with a better hand and folds weaker ones so pushing is out. At this point the pot is $45ish and the bet is $14 to me. Getting 3:1 with 10 outs (straight and two jacks) I only have 20% knowing he'll often push a non-scary river with air or the nuts, but not if a straight card comes down with air. So I can't show down my JJ without getting all-in unless I make my hand. I decide, for this reason, to fold. Ryan shows complete air (23s i believe) and gets a few oohs and aahs from the table. I couldn't really stick him on a hand here so just decided not to play for a stack in way-ahead or way-behind situation and I think i'm ok with that. Nicely played hand though from him.

This is the only notable hand I lost, outside of folding to a few turn bets.

Maybe next game i'll show a bit more speed with the post flop, but for this game I think I played fairly optimally. Cashed out +$100 on the nose on a $50 buyin so that's pretty good, though I ran hot with 3-sets.

I think in all there were 4-5 rebuys making the total in-play around $500 which isn't too bad for a little home game fun. That's it folks, thanks again to Steve for hosting the game.

Monday, November 24, 2008

45-Man SNGs? Oy Vey Am I Bored Or What?

I really must be bored. As noted previously in this fine blog, I flippin' HATE poker tournaments for the most part but for some reason I found some patience this weekend. I think a recent tough run at the swingy swongy heads up no-limit-sized wagering hold them pokar has encouraged a brief stint in the land o' donk.

I have to believe the tournament players when they say most low limit tournaments are still FULL of donkeys... hell... all the people I know who play poker think that single table sit&go's with their friends = poker.

Playing for cash, what are you a degenerate?

Anyway, I played 2 45-man SNG's. Couldn't take a really huge 4-5 hour donkament only to bust just inside the money. So top 6 pay of 45, weighting towards the top 3 obviously.

1st one I busto half way through. Typical.

2nd one I am chipleader coming to final table. I knock off a few, other people knock off a few and we're down to the money.

Bubble bursts, and I lose a big pot on a bad beat to be middle of the pack.

I then play pushbot poker for a bit to steal the blinds and limpers money and eventually work my way up to chiplead with 3 to go.

I'm pushing these guys around with my aggression but one finally calls me and I lose a flip to go from 1st to 3rd. I grind this back to T2nd and bad-beat a guy with my 22 v KK on the river (deuce on the river, baby). I go back to chiplead only to lose it again when the blinds were high and I was stealing every chip again. Lost with the worst hand (A2 < 33 who knew?) and I'm back to 3rd again. I again steal everything and move back to 1st only to lose another flip to the same guy and back to 3rd, finally busting when I pushed K6 from the SB into 88 in the BB. Sigh. Really wanted to win this and was only playing for first.

I know I just made a lot of sit-and-go pros laugh with how seriously I took one stupid SNG but i have to say the 45man format is pretty fun.

Supposedly I have a home game this week with Steve G, The Golf Pros & a few others but we'll see if it goes. Matt's still on diaper duty so won't be joining us quite yet.

Monday, November 10, 2008

My New Poker Chips

A few posts ago I talked about looking for New Poker Chips and I did pick some out. Check it out. Yes, they're sexy. I really like how they're unique colours, not the same old stuff I see at home games.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Heads Up Is Swingy and Tilty

So, since I'm still working like a dog and unable to reboot into my windows / hold'em manager (I use a macbook pro) I'm stuck playing under my OS X side without a HUD. My game of choice under these conditions is heads-up 1 or 2 tabling. HU requires reads and while stats would be nice, I don't see myself playing more than 2 tables well. 6-max seems like paint by numbers compared to HU. What a game!

I've referred to heads up hold'em as crack in a previous post, and man, what crack it is. You just don't get these things at 6-max and especially not a full ring. For example: value betting 4th pair on the river, snap calling ace high for a stack on the turn, idiots pushing a 100BB stack into a 4bb pot... wait.. no.. that still happens :)

The thing i've REALLY noticed is that people are far more emotional at this game. Taking a bad run and losing a few stacks to one guy is very personal it seems. Tilt is a killer in this game, absolutely a killer.

Chip Reese of course was known as the best all around cash game player in the world before his sudden death. He had a great quote that seems to ring most true in the tilty nature of heads up poker.

“It's not winning that makes a winner, but losing. The excitement is not from the winning, it's avoiding the disaster, because you're flirting with it every day."

Oh, and I am WAS running good. :)