Thursday, March 29, 2007

In the Garden(s) of Eden

I met Rick at Hawaiian Gardens today in the afternoon. I usually dont play afternoon sessions mostly because I am just waking up but I find that people tend to play a bit "better" during the day. Well, that's a bit of a moot point at Hawaiian Gardens. HG can sometimes be more action than Commerce depending on the table. I can't count the number of times we had 7+ people to a flop today. Despite this surprising fact I had only 1 (!!) bad beat. That got evened out by my getting lucky once. I got lucky when i raised with JJ out of the BB and got called by only the UTG limper. The flop came K J 10 with two diamonds, I bet big, he raised all in and I called. The board came 9 Q and he turned over Q9. I went runner runner to chop while still having all my boat outs. When I got bad beat I got it all in on a board of 6 9 10 2 with 69 out of the small blind and surprisingly got called by a J 9. Of course the river was not a J but a 10 to counterfeit me and he beat me with a higher KICKER and not a higher two pair. That hurt a bit but i was running good the whole day and making some pretty decent hands while getting paid off. I essentially had no tough decisions and stayed 5 hours and walked out up $2000+. That's the type of poker I like.

Since I am leaving for Chicago tomorrow morning for 5 days I will not be playing any serious poker and most likely not blogging until next week. But when I get back, I definetly will be heading back out to HG which is a bit of a drive for me (30 minutes with no traffic, 1hr 15 minutes today with traffic). Now that the upcurve seems to be making a realistic comeback I can close the month of March on a high note. While I am currently in the red for 2007 its not that much. Only about $5000. So my goal is to have an awesome April and get back even for the year and maybe squeak my way into the black before may. I want to have a stellar May in LA before I go out to vegas for the WSOP for a month or so.

I play on playing a few of the Stars and Stripes events at the Bike coming up in mid april because they are relatively cheap and i want to work on my tournament game a bit before the WSOP.

More on that next week when I get back.

My Bad

So this was pretty much all me who screwed up this session. I started out playing extremely tight. Which worked for a while because i doubled up when i turned a straight and then stole a few pots. My image was squeaky tight and I ran a three bullet bluff on a guy that ended up not working. From there it was still fine because I was still up about $100 or so. Then I made a big hand where i flopped top and bottom against top pair with a big kicker and again doubled up. This put me to about $1100. A pretty good sum for only about 3 hours into the session. Then two hands later i call a small raise with 7d8d and the flop comes Ad Jd 2d in a 5 way pot. We eventually get it all in on the turn when the 5c comes out and of course he was trapping with Kd Qd. I lost $650 on that pot. :(:( !! After that I pretty much went on tilt. I tried to power poker a few pots and wasn't able too as someone with a flush draw went all in. I knew he was weak but he was probably stronger than me as I had no pair or even an Ace. So i had to fold. Then when i got down to $180 I limped with 10 8 and the so did 5 others giving a 6 way pot that came down 6 7 8 rainbow. One guy bet 30 and again, I knew he couldn't call my allin. The problem was the texture of the board, the fact that so many limped in and there were still 3 behind me. Tilt came in again and I went all in and prayed no one called and I could take down the $100 or so and start rebuilding. Even if i got called by something like 6 7 or 7 8 I could win with a 9 or 10. One guy called and the turn came a 10 which gave me some hope. The river 3, though, made his flopped 4 5 straight just a bit longer. This still may be the tilt talking but I really don't respect flopping the nuts as a blind monkey can play it. Also, I am starting to hate taking the lead in betting without an absolute monster. So many people call that you can never be comfortable with your holding, even in No-Limit. I think I would shoot myself if i played limit. At this point in time I think I may be too tempermental for that type of betting structure. I sure hope that, again, this is the tilt talking.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


So tonight I felt as though I played moderately well. I made two mistakes (that I can immediately tell were mistakes) and thats about it. I potcommited myself by raising preflop with 78s and making a contination bet after flop a gutshot on a 5 high board. When someone moved in with Jacks I was getting over 4 to 1 to call and my reasoning was that since the board had two diamonds there was a chance he could very well have had two diamonds and overcards in which case I could have had 7 outs. Even by that logic its a bad to marginal at best call, the main reason I called is because I think it would have really looked bad if I built a 300+ pot and couldnt call 80 on a 5 high board. But in the end all i did was waste another 80. The second mistake I made was not pulling the trigger and trusting my read. I had A 5 on the button and the J 7 4 rainbow flop was checked around, the 5 came on the turn and this kid bet out. I called as I was about 90% sure he had just a 6 and was betting on the draw. The river brought the 6 and he checked. I checked and he did turn over the K 6. I had the right read but I didn't make the necessary bet to get him off the 6 on the river. All in all, the hand was a bit weird. So those were my two mistakes.
The 7 8 hand got me short kind of early on and I had to struggle and steal some limp blinds to get back up to about 160 or so and then got it all in preflop with Korean Mike (a Commerce staple) with Ad 4d. He said he had AJ but he was moving fast the last hour or so and kept telling me how he wanted to double me up by going after my short stack. But anyway, he said he had Ace high before the flop of Qd 7d 4c and after the Kh and the Qs came he mucked his hand, so I believe AJ. That table broke two hands after the A5 misstep on my part, so I went to a new table. My first hand sitting on the new table, two people limp in and I get Kh Kd in the cutoff and raise to $45. Dudley (another Commerce regular) asks how much I have and if i want to gamble. I replied, "It depends, what do you have?" Fully trying to emulate weakness, apparently it worked becuase he went all in and I called. He turned over AcKc. So, naturally, I was happy. Of course, as the dealer opens the door card its the Ah. Then just so I wasnt to feel like I had a chance the board came Ah 4c 7c giving Dudley top pair, top kicker and the nut flush draw. We're not done yet. The turn brings the As. Now I am drawing dead to win the pot as the case Ks would give him the higher boat but interestingly enough I case Ad brings a bad beat jackpot so we are all yelling Ace. No, just the 7c to bring the nut flush to improve his unbeatable trip Aces to an unbeatable Ace high flush.

Whatev, I'm still postive.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A Small Hiccup

So the upcurve is still on its way up but i hit a blip today. I was at the 400 restriced buyin at commerce (my most often played game and therefore my most comfortable game) and I was just card dead. The best hands I saw were AQoff UTG and AQsuited in early position. That's it. The only "significant" pot I won was calling with 10h4h on the button after UTG opened for 30 and two callers before me. Flop came 5 6h 7h and it got checked to me and I bet out 75 into the 130 pot and got no callers. Other than that I pretty much got blinded off because not only was I playing tight but I had nothing to work with. This is one of the pitfalls of the short buyin game, you have to gamble early (much like a rebuy tournament) to get some working chips and I couldnt seem to do that. In fact, my only real regret on the whole night is only a semi-regret. Recently, I have noticed that I have a love fetish with suited connectors and I tend to play them out of position for raises too often, so I vowed to stop calling raises out of position without a solid read on the raiser. So, of course, a new guy raises to 40 two before the button and there is one caller before me and I have 8d9d in the small blind. I reluctantly fold and the flop comes K 9 9 with two clubs. A nice CB comes from the raiser and gets called. Then the 9h comes on the turn. The raiser ended up having a nice pair for a boat or the king because he checked the turn and bet the river and got no call. So i guess i can't rely on results oriented thinking due to my new resolution.

Tomorrow will be better.

On another note, I have noticed that when I try to put myself in a positive mood its not as genuine feeling as I would like. So I am trying a little experiment. A lot of times when I play I start the day off by loafing around the apt for a few hours and really doing nothing until I go play. Sometimes I have a restless/lethargic feeling when I play. My hypothesis is that if i can occupy my day preceding playing somehow and achieve some sort of accomplishment, however small it may be, it will improve my playing outlook and overall mood. This includes just running necessary errands, doing laundry, cleaning the house, cooking, or some sort of physical activity such as Basketball or weightlifting. As a psychology major, I always read about therapies for depression that involved small victory steps each day and I could logically make the connection but it seemed very hard to empathize with. Now that i am trying it myself, I feel as though its not as much touchy-feeling bullshit as I thought.

Further Results Pending.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The start of the UpCurve

I thought it would be fitting to start this new blog on a positive note. For those of you not in the know, the last 5 weeks have been the worst continuous period in my poker career and for a while it was start to bleed over into my everyday life. Everything that could go wrong did, the cards, the reads, the situations, the mindset, the emotions, and finally the confidence. But fear not intrepid readers, last night I formulated a plan (with some assistance). I took it upon myself to not only play well (which is a primary goal in all my endeavors, duh) but to maintain a positive mindset and persist with it no matter what happened. I did, and I was able to play very well and turn a nice profit to the tune of what I am used to.
You have to understand that throughout my life I always look for weakness and how to exploit it in numerous activities. So it's only natural that I would be able to use this on the felt to a great advantage. But recently, I have been finding so much weakness that I am quite literally licking my chops to get into hands. Well, for one reason or another my impulse control has been severly lacking and I start making moves and going after weakies with essentially no hand. Sometimes it would work but most of the time I would get in trouble when a few people would make brave calls with marginal hands. Such is life when you are afflicted with the "run over the table" virus. Thankfully, it's curable. I didn't try to run over the table, I tried to refrain from being too judgemental in my mind (thus keeping emotions out of the fray), and just focused on the job(s) at hand. It worked!

Now the point of order is to rebuild from the past month. As a professional poker player or semi-professional, I usually take a chunk of my winnings and put it into my bank account and use the rest to supplement my playing bankroll. Well, at least for the next few wins I will have to forego the personal cuts and really replenish the bankroll. Due to the past 5 weeks and some debatable money management decisions, I am still skating on moderately thin ice for the game I play. I play almost exclusively 5 10 No Limit Hold'em in Los Angeles area Casinos. Commerce, Hollywood Park, The Bicycle, Hawaiian Gardens, etc... These games range from a 400 restricted buyin game to a 500 minimum unrestricted max game. So depending on the game I may need 400 or 1600 to feel comfortable. I found (to my great displeasure) that I was quite unable to take the 200 game at Commerce (2-5 blinds) as seriously not only because of the continual short stack feeling I had at the lack of money on the table but also at the seriously confined structure of a two street betting game. Implied odds for the most part vanish. The same is true in the 400 game as both games sport a 40X BB structure but for some reason the 400 game feels much more comforting because there is so much money on the table. It could just be numerous soft spots in the 400 game that make it much more worthwhile to play. Or it could be the naive fearlessness of the 200 players who will raise with trouble hands like QJoff in a multiway pot and push it through when they hit a Jack like they hit top set. Again, based on the structure this is not entirely a bad idea but as poker thinking in general goes, its dry, predictable, unimaginable, and to me an utterly disgusting way to play.

Ooops. I was supposed to stay postive. Well, let's just say that low stakes games with little room for maneuverability are not for me.

I'll leave it at that and hope that I can continue to rebound.