Sunday, April 29, 2007

Check-Raise? No, CheckMate!

I haven't played poker since Thursday, so therefore, I haven't posted about it since then. Friday I intended to play but I ended up hanging out with Gwen instead. Yesterday (saturday) and today I played in the Los Angeles County Chess tournament.
I ended up with 3.5/5 but thats not as good as it sounds. I took a bye in the first round so I got .5 points and played a scrubby 1700+ in the 2nd round. He played as passively as possible and after about move 7 he started mirroring my moves and i was black! So i just quickly equalized, took advantage, and ground him down for the win. My 2nd round game I played a scrubby 1900+. I played like a jackass and blundered within the first 10 moves and never could recover. We eventually got to a Rook endgame where I was down a pawn and I couldn't hold.
Today I had two worthless games. The first was against a 1700 who played the Budapest Gambit against me. Not only did he play a poor opening, but he played it poorly and after 10 moves I was able to consolidate and keep the pawn without him having any of the usual compensation. He saced a piece for no attack and I won easily.
The second game was a Bf4 Grunfeld with me as black. For the third time I was up against a 1700 in this open tournament. He managed to hang an entire piece on move 13.
All this is, of course, very uninteresting. What i found odd was that in my 3 games against the 1700s, everyone of them played on for at least 10 moves in positions that were without question lost for them. The first game I had B +4 pawns vs B +1 pawn and I had to Q before he would resign. The 3rd game I was up a Bishop + 3 pawns and he waited until one move before mate to resign. The last game he played down a piece for about 20 moves and then finally resigned when I was up a piece and 3 pawns with a pawn on the 3rd rank primed to promote.

All in all, with my 3 wins, 1 loss and 1/2 point bye I am losing 3 rating points to go from 2024 to 2021. Yuck.

Friday, April 27, 2007


So apparently i haven't posted for a few days and everyone is up in arms. I had a good session over at HP a few days ago where I just got hit like a brickhouse. I played for only 1 hour and hit massive hands and made +$2445 in one hour!! Basically I made 2 pair over 2 pair, top two vs overpair, etc... and was getting paid off. My best hourly rate yet.

Tonight, however, was a bit of a different story. I played in the $500 unrestricted buyin. The game was not spectacularly good as there were a few tight regulars. Fortunately, there were a few marks in the game and i did well but got nailed by one everytime. A guy named Kevin. He was not a good player in any respect. He wasn't too aggressive, in fact, he was a bit of a calling station. But he liked to chase and he always seemed to get there. He was playing tons of hands despite raises. I got a decent amount of hands, QQ twice, KK twice, AA twice. He made the nut flush on me when I had KK. He made the nut flush on me when I had AJ raised and hit an A (he had Kd10d). On one hand I raised to 60 in early position. Kevin called in position and we saw the $130 flop heads up. It came down 9h 7h 3d. I bet out $115. He called. The turn came the Kc. I was almost positive he had a flush draw so I bet out $225 into the $260 pot and he called. The river brought the Jh and I checked and he bet enough to put me all in. I had about $440 left. I folded because there was no concievable hand I could beat. The heart flush got there, if he was phising with high cards like AK on the flop he got there, if he had open ended and called two bets with 10 8 he got there. I could beat A9 and 1010. Both wouldn't warrant this type of action and like I said, he wasn't too aggressive. I am sure he made the flush.

Anyway, I couldn't beat him in a bigger pot. I took down a few small pots off him but that was nothing because everytime the pot got big he got there. He was doing this to everyone though so I can't really bitch too much.

Later on, we got down to short handed and a guy came from the $400 game. Everybody immediately identified him as a bad player who was a "hit and runner" and not really up to par with the $500 game calibre player. So, he came in already with no respect. Then, he started hollywooding on every freaking decision whether it was a preflop limp or a river $70 bet. We were all immediately annoyed, so I just went after him. I limped with AA and broke him off for $400+ when he flopped a K and I slowplayed him. Then I checkraised him with two pair out of the BB and he paid me off with top pair. He, somehow, got paid off big with a big hand and got up $2000+ on his $500 buyin. He eventually lost it all to Timmy (rich ex-NHL player) in a $3800 pot when he went all in for $1100 more over Timmy's $500 turn raise on a board of Ks Jh 5s 5h. This guy had KJ to Timmy's 5d9d.

As for me, I lost a preflop race to this guy when he was short and I had 1010 vs his AQ before he got his big $2000 pot. After he was busted, I bluffed a few pots and took a big draw against Timmy that missed. I ended up losing a little less than my 2nd buyin and was down about $1100 in the game. Again, there weren't many interesting hands. Since most of the pots are multiway there isnt lots of thought that can go into a hand because its reallly hard to put more than one or two people on a hand. I really wanted this blog to be what it was in earlier posts where I go in depth in the dissection of a hand. Unfortunately, those have been in short supply recently. Hopefully, I can witness more of these and not just be reporting all the superficialities of sessions.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Unclog as Promised

Here's the Todd Arnold "Unclog your Brain" article from Card Player as promised in earlier posts. I suggest reading this one and contemplating the mindset and point of view he suggests. Its not necessarily philsophically revolutionary but its concise to the point where although all his points are logical they still need to be heard.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

I've Got My Intimidation Back!

Spent my Friday night with a nice session at Hollywood Park. I sat down with two buyins to the $400 game. I managed to lose my first buyin on the very first hand I played. I was dealth Ac 10c in the cutoff and limped after one limper, the button folded and the two blinds stayed in. We saw the $40 pot come down Qc 10s 2d. Everyone checked to me and I bet out $30 because I figured no one had a Q and I had the best hand in position. SB folded and the BB, an old woman with a ton of chips, min raises me to $60. Now I wasn't too happy about this, I'm never happy about getting raised, especially minraised. Then the first limper calls the $60 (He's S#G from previous posts). So all of a sudden I know I am no good but the pot has $190 in it and have to call $30 getting over 6:1 with 2nd pair top kicker, back door broadway draw and backdoor nut flush draw so I call. I figure no one is out there with AQ so unless the KJ is lurking (maybe S#G) then I have an A as an out as well. Well the turn card hits me pretty hard. Kc. Old woman checkraiser checks, S#G bets out a meek $60 into the $220 pot. I figure he may have KJ and now has top pair 2nd kicker with an open ended but he isnt too confident. I could raise him here with my 3rd pair, gutshot royal flush draw but its cheap enough and I have no idea where old woman stands even though she checked. So I just called the $60 into the $280 pot getting over 4.5:1. Then old woman check raises again to $300. I really don't like the double check raise too often, its quite a presumptious play that rarely turns out to be good. S # G is really unhappy and folds. Now all of a sudden There is almost $640 in the pot and I have only $270 left. Again, I have Ac 10c on a board of 2d 10s Qc Kc. I have the nuts with any J, any none pairing club and possibly an A or 10 as well. I am getting about 2.8:1 to call. I know she doesn't have AJ as that wouldnt make sense to min checkraise on the flop with a gutshot and I feel like she has a set of 22 either. So if she has one of the most reasonable hands, KQ, Q10, 10 2, or Q 2 for the BB then my A is drawing way live and in the case of KQ or Q 2 my 10 is drawing live as well. The best case scenario is if I am up against 10 2. Ironically, I have the least amount of direct outs to beat her but I have lots of counterfeit outs. Against 10 2, directly I have 8 clubs (all 9 -2c), 3 nonclub Jacks, and 3 Aces for a total of 14 direct outs. But I also have 6 counterfeit outs with 3 Kings and 3 Queens which would give us both two pair and my A would play. This 20 outer jumps me to a 45% equity making my call correct, of course. In the 2nd best case scenario if I am up against KQ I have 18 outs and 39% to win so its more than +EV to call. Third best scenario is I am up against Q 2 and I have 17 outs to win (every out I had against KQ except the 2c is now dead). Q 10 being the worst where I have no 10s as outs but all the club outs for a total of 15 outs and a 34% to win.

After a minute i went through the majority of this and called. She ended up having Q 10 and the 6h on the river obviously didn't improve me. S #G was pissed because he laid down KQ. He should be pissed at his mom and dad for lying to him as a kid telling him he was a boy when, in fact, he is a pussy. I still liked my call here.

I made $100 off the old lady on my second buyin when on the very next hand I raised with AKoff and she reraised to $100 out of the SB and I pushed allin for $400. She folded 10 10 face up. Then I made a full house out of the blind on her 7 10 on a board of 7 5 5 2 2 with my 56 and took another $100 or so off her. Then she left and I couldn't get all of my money back. But within about 30 mintutes I had gotten my full $800 plus $30 more. By then most of the action on the table had died and there wasn't too much money out there so I table changed to the other main game where there was lots of money on the table and a decent amount of action.

I played one hour on the first table and 4 hours on the second table. The second table was a perennial poker player's dream because since Alex (from the forum) and Joe (a regular at HP) were there I was given respect and I swear I showed down no more than 6 hands in that 4 hours. I played maybe 50 pots, stole around 25 of them, went all in about 5 times and called not once. I didn't really win any huge pots. I think the biggest one was maybe 700 or so. But I was just grinding the whole time. The risk on this table was very very low because i had tons of fold equity. Once i started accumulating chips it became easier. It very much helped that i had a great read on every player on the table so whenever someone came into a pot I could put them in a reasonble comfort level and range of hands and take them off alot of them. I swear, I made a few hands but nothing spectacular. I hit two pair a couple of times but never showed it down. I made a straight or two but they ended up being small pots that were shown down. Most of the time I was just taking $100 pots left and right, sometimes with the best hand, sometimes with a nice draw, or sometimes with nothing. This is what it used to be like about 6 months ago when i was running well. I played fewer hands back then but I got respect and was able to steal all the unwanted pots ala Doyle in Super System. I am not sure if anything has changed. Maybe my demeanor at the table exudes more confidence than it did during my rough patch so I am now much more intimidating than before. Possibly, or maybe I have just noticably improved in reading ability over the past few months? I hope so, either way, I'm looking to have this be a constant situation. My past few sessions have not really centered around the big pot as I was able to take down a bunch of mediums and never got into the big pot. But I stick by the philosophy of stealing mediums and smalls to use for cannon fodder in the big pot. That cannon fodder can stack up to a nice session sometimes though :). Also, my sessions have been shorter as of late. The reason for this is primarily I judge a table by the amount of action and the amount of money. Usually if the action is low but the money is high, I stick it out as the action can usually pick up. But the if the money is low then the action would have to be great in order for it make up for the low implied and bluffing odds. So after about 40 minutes of limped pots last night I decided to call it quits because the money was lessened and the only ones with alot of it were me and a few other tight players who seemed uninterested in playing. So I had no desire to try and steal blinds for a while and decided to leave after 5 hours with a nice $1300 profit.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Pot Limit is Fun!

I went up to the Bike tonight to play in the Stars and Stripes Pot Limit Hold'em tournament. I would have liked to play more of this tourney series because the buyins are pretty low and they arent that bad structure wise. $120 buyin got me 1500 in tournament chips with levels going at 30 minutes and starting on 25 25 blinds. The escalation wasn't too bad either. It went 25 25, 25 50, 50 100, 75 150, 100 200, 150 300, etc... I busted on level 6 but after that it was still fairly good.

Pot Limit Structure is most commonly associated with Omaha High but Hold'em played Pot Limit structure is preferred by lots of technically sound high limit players. Players like Bob Ciaffone are fans of Pot Limit because it allows the same type of chasing and mathematically incorrect calsl that are associated with the loose betting structure of No Limit but without as many big overbets and tough situations. Also, slowplaying is less common in Pot Limit (but it still exists) because in order to win that big pot on the river you have to build it a bit before you can get it all in. Although before today I had never played this betting structure I had read a bit about it and was looking forward to playing it.

My starting table was ridiculously tight. For the first level and a half (45 minutes!) no hand went to a river showdown. I don't think this was do to a large skill level at the table, in fact, if someone didn't have a big hand they didn't bet. I stole a few pots here but I didn't really make any huge headway. By the third level I had about 1600 when I hit a set of 6s. I didn't get doubled up but I was able to take about 500 or so off the initial raiser. A few hands later with the blinds at 25 50 I get AcAs in the BB. 2nd position, an aggressive player opens for the pot 175. The button calls the 175 and the SB folds. Now I put 2nd position on a decent hand and since this was a fairly tight table post flop i didnt want to risk not making money if he had AK or JJ and the flop came unfortunate for him. So I repotted. In order to raise the pot you have to first call whatever the bet to you is, so after I call the 125 more over my BB 50 there is 175X3 + 25 SB in the pot. Thats 550 in the pot so I put in my 50 + 125 for the call + 550 more for a total of 725. 2nd position calls and surprisingly the button calls as well. It is surprising because he leaves him self with only 475. The board comes Ks Jh 6s. The pot has ballooned to 2175 and I only had about 1200 left ( which had both of them covered) so I potted all in. 2nd position kept asking me if I had AK and I kept asking him if it was good. He finally folded his QQ face up not knowing the button was still in the hand. Stupid K killed my action. The button says "I'm sure you have me beat but I only have 475 left so you can't rob from me." He called his 475 into the 2650 pot and turned over J 10off. I turned over my Aces relieved I wasnt up against a flush draw and the turn drops the 10c right off the bat. The 4h on the river did not save me and I was down to about 600. A few hands later the only short stack lower than me, min-raised to 200 when we were at 50 100 blinds. I decided to try and isolate him and maybe pick up some loose chips or try to race. I had a moderate KJoff but based on the tightness of the table and his tightness I might have had a very live hand. I repotted for 600 allin and everyone folded back to him and he called for 500. He turned over the worst hand for me. KQ. The board came all numbers and I was down to one $100 chip which would be 1 BB. Thankfully I was in mid to late position so I had about 5 hands to find something to "call" all in with . I folded three trash hands in a row until i was in 2nd position. I looked at the clock and there was about 15 seconds left so I had to make a move before i couldnt even cover a blind. Thankfully I found the 9s7s which is a very live hand in most situations. So i pushed my mountain of chips all in got called by 4 people. The 5 way pot came down A 9 6 with 2 diamonds and the board ran out 4 5 with no more diamonds. I liked the fact that it got checked all the way down with 4 active plaeyrs. No one had an A and my 9 won the $500 pot. I quintipled up and then our table broke after that hand ended.

I go to a new table and I sit down and have to take the BB. Two people limp and the SB calls and i see the Kh 5h and check. The board comes yahtzee 557 rainbow. I check as I am talking to my neighbor, the table chip leader leads out by potting for 400. The button after him calls the 400 and I call my last 400 and am all in. The turn comes a 4 diamonds and the original bettor pots again for a 1600 and the button folds saying he had a 7. The bettor turns over the Ks6s for an absolute move that turned into an open straight. My 5 held as the 9h on the river didn't improve his K high. So I more than doubled up to 1600. A little later I was feeling frisky and raised in late position to to 250 on 50 100 blinds with the 9c6c. I got 3 callers and we saw the $1000 flop come down 997 rainbow with two spades. It got checked to me and I bet out 550 or so trying to get called by a draw. I then got raised allin by the table maniac in which case I called saying "I only have a 9". He turned over two red 3s and my trips held again. That was a huge boost and I was up to about 3600. For the next level I really didn't play many hands, I bluffed once and lost. I raised with AQ the board came QQ325 and I split another AQ as we both got it all in on the river. From there I tried to pick off a few pots and had mixed success. I stole a few and lost a few. The blinds raised again to 150 300. I got 99 on the button and potted for 900 after one player limped. He called and the board came K 10 3 and he put me all in by potting before it even got to me. He was the same guy who potted with K6 earlier and botted on an A high board going into a the original raiser with just a gutshot. So i thought for about 2 minutes as to whether or not I could call off all my chips here. He hadn't played a hand for about a level after getting the overall tournament chip lead. The opposite of what you are supposed to do with the chip lead. Based on his lack of recent play I decided he was probably not making one of his reckless moves and folded. This put me down to about 1600. I potted after that with AK and picked up the blinds. I blinded off a round or two and limped once with 22 only to fold . I shouldn't have limped with 22 because i couldn't spare the chips to try to win a pot. Anyway I got down to about 1500 and after two limpers at 150 300 I saw the BB of 10c 5c and checked. The 1050 flop came down AA10. Based on the two limpers and their previous propensity to raise with big Aces I didn't think either had an A. So I potted for 1050. One folded and the other one repotted putting me all in for my last 450 or so. I called because I still didnt think he had an A and maybe I could chop against a 10. He did turn over Q10 so we chop with an A, K, or running pair. He hit the Q on the turn and I was done.

I was happy with my play in this tournament although I could have been a bit more aggressive in some points as there were a lot of limped pots or blind vs blind pots that could have been picked up. But overall i enjoyed it and I liked the structure of pot limit.

i went and played cash in the 300-500 $5-5 NLHE game at the Bike. I sat for 1 hour and 45 minutes, made a few sets, and stole a bunch of pots and left up $960. Not bad at an hourly rate of about $540 an hour :).

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Sometimes Shorter is Better

I went up to Commerce tonight with 2 buyins. The first table I sat at immediately became short handed before I played a hand. I then shifted into short handed mode and started playing my hands in a much more aggressive manner. This didn't work out well because I lost a buyin in 10 minutes with top pair Q kicker vs top pair A kicker. That table broke and i went to a great table. I started off the with AK my first hand, raising and CBing and taking down the pot. Then the very next hand i got AcQc, raised hit an A and CBed and took down a nice pot. This pretty much set the standard for that table. It was a fairly passive table with one kind of maniacal player. So i was able to run over the table for a little period. There was one passive guy who i busted twice. I limped with Jh10h UTG and it got limped around 5 ways. The board came Kh Qc Kd. It got checked to and led with half the pot. It got folded to our villain in the SB who just called and the BB folded. Now based on how passive he was i put him on a weak K immediately. I was checking this one down. The turn brought the Ac giving me broadway. He checked again and since I was positive he had a weak King I was going to push him. So i led for 100 into him and he just called. The river brought the 6c putting a flush out there. He led out for a $100 and he only had another $150 behind so i put it all in and he called with K5 and gave it all away.

Later, against the same guy i had another big hand. I limped in early to mid position with Kd 10d. Again, it was passive limped with him in the BB who checked. The board came 10h 3c 5c. Both blinds checked and I led for $35 into the 5 way $50 pot. Everyone folded but our favorite villain in the BB who called. Again, I didn't have him on a flush draw, although it wsa possible. I put him on a 10 with a decent kicker, something like Q 10, J 10, K 10 as well. I figured with A 10 he would have led into it. The turn brought the interesting 10c. So the board is 10c 10d 3c 5c. He checks and I again led with $100 because not only did i feel as though I was value betting a lesser 10 but if he had something like Jc 10s I didnt want him to backdoor into a flush. He called and the river brought the absolutely fabulous Ks. He checked and I pushed all in, he only had $250 left and had to call $250 to win about $550. He called and I again broke him.

I did get into a situation with the maniac. After 3 limpers, I was on the button with 4h 7h and i limped as well. Both of the blinds stayed in so we saw it 6 handed. The $60 pot came out 10 10 9 with two hearts. SB checked, BB checked and the maniac in UTG checked. 2nd position bet out $30 and I called to take one off in position with a heart draw. Since the bettor was fairly tight I thought i was up against a 10 and could get some passive action from him if the heart comes. UTG maniac called as well when the two blinds folded. The $150 pot turned the Jh. This seemed like a pretty good card for me. UTG maniac immediately pushes all in for $450 into the $150 pot!!! Original Bettor folds and there I am with a 7 high flush against a known maniac (I had seen him play earlier in the night) getting 1.3:1. I was befuddled. Based on how he played trips earlier I decided he did not have a boat or a 10. That leaves the straight, flush, and a total bluff. Obviously, I beat a bluff and a straight but if he has a flush its most likely better than my 7 high flush. I told him he makes some money if he bets less as I show him my 7 high flush and he triumphantly presents his Qh 8c. He did have a nice redraw but that was a bit ridiculous.

On a side note, listen to how he went broke. He limps on the button with about $6-700. Both blinds stay in and the three way $30 pot sees a flop of Qc 6s 3c. It gets checked around. The turn brings the 4s. It again gets checked around. The river brings the 10c. So the board is Qc 6s 3c 4s 10c. Both blinds check and our hero maniac bets $200 into the $24 pot. The SB starts talking to the maniac and eventually goes all in. Before the BB can even fold, the button immediately calls all in and triumphantly turns over his 5c 7c. His nut turned straight was good until the river as the SB shows his Kc6c. And the $24 turn pot becomes a $1300 raked river pot for the SB. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

After he went broke , he left and the only other money/targets on the table left. As I was feeling a bit groggy and didn't really want to grind against all the short tight stacks or move to a new table, I decided to call it a short session of only 3 hours. I still made $545 which is a pretty good rate of just over $181 an hour for 3 hours.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Ride Right through the Beat

I got a rough beat tonight. One that I still don't understand. I was into the Hollywood Park $400 buyin $5-10 NLHE game for $800 and had accumulated around $1600 total for a nice $800 profit. I was only 4 hours into the session and the table was absolutely fabulous. I was either 2nd or 3rd in chips, was comfortable with everyone on the table and taking lots of small pots and once in a while dragging a nice big pot. I dragged a $1400 pot with a turned straight when someone could not let go of their two pair. Everything was going good until this ridiculous hand comes up. I am in Middle Position, maybe 2-3 from the button and get AQoff. I raise to $45 after UTG limps. The button, SB, and UTG limper all call. So we go to the flop with about $220 in the middle. It comes out Ah Qd Kh. The small blind leads out for $200. Now, before I continue with the action I'll describe the small blind. He has only been at the table no more than an hour but I had already seen him play enough hands to know he was not good at all. Twice I had seen him slowplay what he thought were big hands (trips and a set) and only meekly bet his good but not great hands such as top pair good kicker in big pots. So for him to come out swinging like this smacked of oddness. I knew he didnt have a set or AK and like I said if he had something like J 10 I think he would have slowplayed it so I immediately put him on a draw. I looked at his stack and he had about $440 left after the $200. After the UTG limper folded I raised to $600 and the button folded and SB called almost instantanously. I was a bit surprised at the speed of it. The turn comes 10c and the river is some offsuit brick like 5c. He turns over Jh 7h. Afterwards, as I am trying to regain a little composure after such an odd call he trys to defend himself to the table by saying he was committed after he put in the $200. He was asking people if they would have done the same, and of course, the people who answered were savvy enough to say "yes" so that he would keep doing it but, of course, they would never make the same play. That knocked me down a bit to a little over $800. From there I composed myself because this was a great table and I would say at least 6 out of the 8 other players were easy targets. So I didn't want to do anything stupid and not take advantage of this. I sat back and limped with Qs once only to reraise one of the guys on tilt to have the other guy on tilt push into me. I called and the Qs held against his 77 or 99 or something. After that I just made a few hands and a few good CBs until 2 more people left. Then we got down to short handeded (sometimes 6,5, or even 4 handed). I was left with such passive players that I just steamrolled them shorthanded for about an hour. Nothing excessive, just picking up unwanted $50 pots and making raises preflop, getting heads up and then CBing and taking it down. Those things add up. I think in the hour of short handed play I made about $400. I didn't lose one single show down hand and I only made a big hand once and the guy folded on the turn. Normally, shorthanded play becomes difficult for me because people become super aggressive (as you should) and really put pressure on you to make hands/calls. Here it was a walk in the park and I was the only one applying pressure.

There weren't too many hands of actual discussion interest as I said, most of the table was easy money and it was just a matter of making a hand at the right time. I did notice quite a bit a of overbetting at a certain time space on this table that I was displeased with. For instance, after one limper 2nd to act would open raise for $75 or after a few limpers someone would make it $100. I am not a big fan of this play because its an action killer. Its one thing if you are in the BB and 7 people limp to you and you make it $100, thats totally reasonable but to open the pot for 7-8XBB in early position doesn't make sense. Lots of people do this and while I like the fact that they are probably not getting any profit off their big hands if indeed these are big hands, I don't like the fact that it makes it that much harder to get big pots with big hands because the preflop action is so stifling. It still baffles me that someone is much more happy with winning $20 with AA or whatever instead of trying to win a big pot by either raising a little more than the pot and playing a flop or limping. This type of strategy is not very exploitable at the $400 game unless there is alot of money on the table but if someone did things like that with big hands in deeper games like the $500 they would get slammed so quickly. I guess that's why some of these people are at the $400 and not higher.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Continuation Bet or Disquise?!? Mwahaha!

I went over to Hollywood Park last night around 8pm with two buyins to the $400 game. I usually love to play the unrestricted $5-10 NLHE game there because its $500 min and no max which means there is at least $10,000 on the table and lots of times much much more. The great thing is the game is so loose and populated with bad players that you can really develop your post flop game and exploit mistakes in that area of betting. For those of who you who aren't familiar with it, post flop is where the boys get separated from the men. It takes no great skill to put someone on 88-QQ and push all in AK preflop. No big deal, but run a three bullet bluff on every street takes a bit more courage and tenacity. As well as making large bet calls with marginal holdings that happen to be the best. But, anyway, since the bankroll is still in the rebuilding phase I cannot afford to jump into that game with my usual $1000 buyin. Rick went up earlier in the day and was playing in that $500 game and was doing phenomenally. I think he said he was in $1000 and left $3800. Pretty damn good, if you ask me.

I had similar good fortune at the $400 table which is the same structure as Commerce's $400 $5-$10 game. The first hand that I raised I had JhJd on the button after three limpers. I made it $45 and got two callers. The flop came 4h 10c 9c. Both checked to me and i bet out $85 and after one fold, the remaining player goes all in for about $20 less than what I have. The guy was an Englishman who I have played with before on the $500 game but we were never really involved in any hands against each other and at the previous times he had much more behind so I had no idea of how he played his short stack. I discounted 1010 because he was the cutoff and just limped after one in front and also didnt get credence to 99 for the same reason. I asked him if he had a set and he kind of nervously responded to me so I figured he had a 10 or a club draw or something like QJ. So I ended up calling and although the club came on the turn he said he just had a 10 and I doubled up. However much I dislike the idea of calling big raises with hands where your opponent knows where you are at and you have no idea where they are at, the $400 game doesn't really allow too much for that unless you have a few buyins in front of you. Here for instance, I was very unhappy about calling but I pretty much had too.

For the next hour or so after that I had all fairly easy decisions, I saw that Bobby, an egotistical Persian who I play with often, was playing a bit faster than he should have so I limp reraised him with QQ and he pushed with 99 and I took all his chips. Another time I raised with AQ and hit a Q and took down a 5 way pot on a non-threatening board. I made a few raises preflop and made a CB and took the heads up pot down. All really easy decisions and slowly built up my stack for about 3 hours. I only really had two interesting hands that need some sharing. The first came when after a few limpers, Mr. Englishman (who had rebought and gotten above even, sitting on ~$1200 where as I had ~$1400) raised to $50 on the button. He generally was raising with solid values but those ranged from 99-AA and a few big aces. I had KsQc in the SB. I was wary about calling here because there was a lot of situations I could get in trouble but I felt as though I would easily lay down when i was in trouble because I planned on probe betting if I hit a K or Q and laying to any sort of overt plays by him. You might say that this would be weak play but this type of players would let me know if he had JJ or KK on a Q 7 3 board by folding or raising. After I called, Bobby (who had also rebought) called and so did one other limper. As Bobby was calling, however, he said quietly but still rather audibly "Let's Gamble". So, with a $200 pot the flop came down J 10 7 rainbow. I checked fearing that not only was it very possible Mr. Englishman hit either a set or had an overpair but I couldn't slow him down with a probe bet if he had 10-AA and there was too much behind both of us for me to justify building this pot with just an open ended straight draw out of position. After I checked, Bobby decided to go all in for $310 into the $200+ pot. The other caller folded and after a bit of a pause Mr. Englishman called the $310 and started saying "If you flopped a straight I need the board to pair", and exuberantly told the dealer "Pair the board". Now this was interesting because he knew I was in the hand still and I was interested and contemplating as he was saying this. In fact, although I was not looking at him I could feel his eyes on me trying to get me to fold. So, this led me to believe that he, in fact, did not have a set of JJ or 1010 but had an overpair. You know, the whole strong means weak and weak means strong mantra. Well, it rang true to a tee here. So my situation was this. I had an open straight draw to the nuts with two overcards against two people. One person had an overpair so, at best, only one of my overcards MAY have been live and I very well may have been drawing dead on the overcards if he had KK or AA. Secondly, if he had AA then I would have only 6 outs vs him. Thirdly, if he had QQ or KK and an A or 9 came on the turn it would be unlikely that he would pay too much off as the A would be an overcard and the 9 would put a one card straight on the board. Against Mr. Englishman in the possible sidepot my implied odds were quite low. Now back to the main pot. What in the hell did Bobby have and why did he way overbet the pot before the original raiser made any sort of claim to the flop. I think I can reasonably conclude that Bobby knew Mr. Englishman had a strong hand and most likely an overpair so he wouldn't be playing something like AJ or KJ in such a way so he probably had an over pair beat. He did say let's gamble as he limp/called a raise out of position so he very well could have had connectors such as 89 or J10 both of which had an overpair in bad shape. Personally, I wouldnt have overbet the pot with the nuts on a rainbow board before the Original Raiser could speak but I am not everyone. So by picking that information up, i could see that I most likely needed to hit my straight in order to beat Bobby. So if I was up against Mr. Englishman who would happen to have QQ then even hitting my K would not win the main pot for me. After taking all this into account, I did the pot odds calculation and saw that I had to call $310 to win a pot of ~$830 which would be a little better than 2.6:1. There is a 3:1 chance i make the straight if I saw both turn and river and I felt that I probably would get a check from the Englishman if I called. All of the above info led me to fold. Of course, right out the gate was the Ah followed by the 10h. Bobby indeed had the 89 for the nut flop straight and Mr. Englishman had the KK. But, of course, we don't do results based thinking so I was happy with my analysis and my laydown.

The second hand was a hand that I won. It involved two people besides me who have yet to be mentioned in this blog. One i will call the Sleeping Giant and the other I will call Old Blue. S#G and O#B for short. A little background first, S#G had been at the table since I had gotten there about 4 hours prior to this hand and from what I could gather from table conversation had been there for a long time, possibly bordering on 24 hours. His play was quite unimpressive, the only hand I saw him raise was QQ and when he hit two pair on the turn in the blind with 10 8. He had about $15-1600 when I had gotten to the table and now was at about $1100. He also occasionally fell asleep while in a hand, hence the name. For O#B, I had observed him make an unsophisticated bluff on the other $400 table where an Ace flopped and the preflop raiser showed weakness and he pushed all in only to get called by a ragged Ace behind him. He mucked on the flop without even seeing the cards ran out.

Then this hand occurs. O#B limps UTG and I am in late position with 6s6h and raise to $45. S#G calls on the button, both the blinds fold, and O#G calls as well. The flop comes Ks 9s 5d. O#B checks and I figure that with the image I have I can probably CB here and lots of hands may fold such as 1010 or AQ or even a 9 from a tight player like S #G that I otherwise wouldn't want to see a turn with. Plus I could get a read as to whether my opponents were on a K or a spade draw. Surprisingly, i got called in both spots. So my thinking was that I am done. There is a chance I was up against a spade draw or straight draw but it was very unlikely that I up against two draws. The turn brought the 6c! O#B had about $240 left and S # G had about $8-900. I bet out $ 260 into the $370 pot and got called by S#G as well as by O#B. The manner in which O #B haphazardly called led me to believe he had a spade draw. But at that point it was probably moot as if he hit his spade draw I still might be able to build a bit of side pot with S #G whom I figured to have a made hand, and probably a reasonably strong one at that. The turn brought the beautiful 2d. I pushed all in because not only was the pot $1150+ and S # G only had another $600 or so but with that kind of card if S #G liked his hand on the turn he can't think that this changed anything. He called and slammed his cards down in disgust when i showed my 66 meaning he probably had me beat on the flop with something like AK or maybe even 55?!

Point being that with larger stacks behind CBs with marginal holdings make sense because you haven't committed yourself to the pot as much as you have when you CB on shorter stacks.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Peanut Butter Wolf and an a good article for me and everyone like me

I didn't play or even think about poker at all today. It wasn't a plan or accident. I just decided to go see a live DJ set and hang out with friends instead of playing. KCRW hosts a once a month gala at the Getty Center entitled "Fridays off the 405" where they get an artist to perform in the museum courtyard from 6-9pm. Tonight was a DJ by the name of Peanut Butter Wolf. I am a fan of his work and also of his label Stones Throw Records .

That was fun and it was cool because I went by myself and just met some cool people. There were quite a few attractive women there that I talked to, so needless to say I am pleased with myself. The set itself was pretty sweet as PB said" since this is an all ages event , I can't play any songs with curse words so I'll just play all old school stuff". That's exactly what he did, most of the set was comprised of rare funky disco and 80s hip hop so the vibe was hitting me good. You know you're rocking when a girl in a wheelchair with a cast on one leg keeps getting up and dancing one footed until she has to either fall or sit back down. That's admirable enthusiasm right there. I can't say that I would have that kind of commitment.

After I left the Getty
, I went to my friend Jody's and stayed there drinking with him and his friends. He lives in westwood although he's a through and through Trojan. His brother Josh came into town who is quite an interesting guy and we talked about various topics from film, to YouTube, to pedophilia, to viruses from Cat Shit, to the Prague Revolution, to the subtleties of rural Japanese speaking. All in all, a fulfilling eventful evening for all parties involved.

Now that I am sitting on my couch at home blogging, I am reading a very well stated article from Todd Arnold in Card Player magazine. Its in the newest casino edition from April 11, 2007 with Larry Flynt on the cover. The casino editions come out so quick that the website cannot keep up so I cannot link you to the article as of yet. Its entitled "Unclog Your Brain", and essentially it involves what I am have been trying to do for a while in this blog. He states lots of things he hears not only his students say that are meaningless but tons of commonly occurring "facts" that are heard across a poker table that are, again, meaningless but also negative. These types of comments tend to ruminate among players running bad and lead to negative mindsets that curb favorable results. More on this later, I will update and post a link when Card player finally updates its site.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A day in the Garden

I went over to Hawaiian Gardens today and while the games weren't that good overall I managed to lose a buyin. I was playing in some marginal situations and making what I thought were good calls and raises but a few of them i got into trouble. One hand I was in the BB with Qd 3c and there was 1 limper and the SB. We saw the $30 flop of Qc 8s 2c. SB checked, I bet $20, the limper called and the SB raised to $80. Now the SB was not a bad player. I really had a feeling that he would not be doing this with a Q bigger kicker or even in fact with two pair. Why check raise in such a small pot with a club draw out there when you can easily assume that no one has any interest in this pot. I didn't put him on a steal by any means but I felt like he had a good hand but it was still behind mine. Simply stated, I didn't think it was a kicker problem. If he had just a Q he would most likely check the turn after I called his $80. In fact, I put him on a combo hand like 8cXc. I didn't think he would fold this type of hand as he only had about $300 to start the hand so I wouldn't want to give him the chance to see both the turn and the river here and instead let him see the turn and miss and give him a chance to fold. So I called the $80 and the limper folded. The turn brough the 7s. He took time and took a long time to bet out $130. He had only $100 behind so I had no fold equity by raising him. I stuck with my read and called him with the intention of calling the last $100 on any river card outside of a club or 8. The river brough the 6s and he put the $100 in and I called. He turned over the 7c8c for 2 pair. So again, my flop read and general read overall was right. If he were not in the blind I could conceivably put him on 6c8c or 7c8c and possibly fold but in the SB he very well could have had Kc8c, 8c4c, or any other combination of 8cXc based on my read.

The second hand also came against the same player. I limped UTG with Ad8d. About three others limped and the SB called and then our villain in the BB makes it $65. I was feeling loosy goosy and i felt like i could easily outplay him because i was sure he had a pair 10s-Qs. Yes it was a bit loose but there was about $40 dead in the pot so I was almost getting 2:1 and I was comfortable against that player. The flop came Ks Jh 3h. He checked kind of meakly. I could have tried to win it right there and represented AK which would have been consistent with limpcalling a nice raise UTG but i thought that he very well may have hit a set of Jacks or was scaried with QQ or 1010 so I would get a few chances to hit my A or i could represent a heart flush. So I checked. The turn brought the 8h. A great card for me as I could represent the heart flush and have outs if called. He bet out a meak $80 or so and I just could feel his two red Queens trying to get through the hand cheaply. So I raised him to $200. He very reluctantly called and was not too please with it either. At this moment, I was 100% sure he had either QhQx or 10h10x and if it didnt come a Q,10 or heart I was moving in for my last $420 on the river. The river brough the horrific Ah. He bets out $100 into the $560 pot. I know my two pair is no good and he has the 2nd nuts. Would he really believe me if i pushed and fold the Qh. i asked him if he beats two pair and he said yes and showed me the Qh before I even folded. I folded and he showed the QdQh and surprisingly said "If you go all in on the river I would have had to fold." I was taken aback a bit by the this but again I credited myself with making a good read and taking the initative on it. But he got bailed out from having to call a huge bet on a flushed over card board by the river Heart.

Commerce to the Rescue

Finally Commerce rekindled its relationship with me. We were on the fritz for awhile (and no i don't mean the chess engine). I met Rick up there for some mid-to -late night poker action. The first table I sat at seemed fairly tight and there were a few players there that were bickering so I signed up for a table change immediately. I called a $40 raise in a 5 way pot with 33 UTG after limping and the board came 10 8 3 with two spades. A 10 in front of me led with $100 and I raised to $225 before it got back to the original raiser. I feared that by just calling there would be over $400 in the pot so no one with a flush draw will fold to my all in on the turn or if a raise comes from the original raiser it puts too much money in the pot for a draw to get out. The original raiser took a long time and finally folded and the A 10 folded as well. Shortly after that I took my $240 profit from that table and changed tables. The table i went too was fabulous. It had the Armenian guy who's name I don't know but who I play with all the time. I have an incredible history with him as I can read him like a book and he gives me respect so I either value bet him when i have him beat or i bluff him when i don't. He's marginally aggressive too so the pots are of nice size that i take off of him. I usually look to be on a table with him. Also on the table was a semi-regular maniac by the name of Jon. He is the type of player that will call or bet with any sort of holding and makes completely illogical plays. So needless to say that he gets paid off when he calls with bottom pair on the flop and turn and trips up on the river. He is the type of player that can be stuck in the $400 game $3000 or be up $5000 depending on the action and the table. Plus he brings a certain amount of action and unstability himself making those around him much more prone to gamble it up. So this table was set to be great.

My first real hand was getting 9s9c on the button after a tight player raised to $60 in mid position after 2 limpers. I called and so did everyone else in the pot bringing the pot to a 5 way $300. The flop came Ks 10s 9h. It got checked all the way around to me. Now how much to bet? The pot is big but I still have about $600 in my stack from taking down a few medium pots at this table (once trapping Jon with a flush) so I do want action but not too much as this is a draw heavy board. I bet out $175 in the $300 pot because while I was supremely confident I had the best hand I wanted to get called and have a blank come off and then have the hand end. I got one caller directly before the inital raiser and then the raiser folded. So we are heads up in a $650 pot. The turn brings the ugly Qd and he puts me all in for my last $345 ( he had me more than covered). So all I could think about for the first 10 seconds were my posts about sets vs straights. I finally got that pessimism out of my head and settled down to think through the hand. Based on his mannerisms and the hesitancy with which he called the flop I knew he was not slow playing any thing big such as 1010 or QJ. So the question came down to did he have QQ,KK, KJ, KQ, or some draw that contained a J. I canceled out QQ and KK because this seemed like the type of player who would open raise that preflop ESPECIALLY since Jon limped UTG directly in front of him. KQ I obviously was not worried about as he would have 4 outs and it was a definete possibility, probably, the most likely holding in my mind. KJ worried me a little as he very well may have checked this hand on the flop to try and show it down while keeping the pot small but calling because he had top pair with a gutshot in a big pot. I talked to him a little and he said "Naw, not KJ, I wouldn't call 50 preflop with that". I was convinced. So now to figure out if he had a draw containing a J. It really helped that I had the 9s because that would cancel out any pair + flush draw possibilities on the flop. He very well could have had a huge draw like the AsJs. Again, I didn't see this type of player as calling the raise preflop from early position with a suited J like Js8s so if he did have a spade draw with a J it would have been AsJs. I again I had the 9s and I had ruled him out as having QJ so QsJs is out as well and since the Ks and 10s were on board those weren't candidates either. So it boiled down to three hands in my mind. Either KQ, AsJs, or AsQs. I was killing KQ to only 4 outs, I had 10 outs on AsJs and I was ahead of AsQs although he had 9 outs to make a flush or straight that didnt pair the board. I was beating 2 out of 3 of those hands and the third I was a 3:1 dog. The pot was $650 when he put me allin meaning I had to call $345 to win $995 so I was getting a little less than 3:1. Despite the scare card I opted to call and the 4c on the river didn't help him as he mucked to my set of 9s. I did get derided a little from that player and some at the table for taking so long with a seemingly easy decision but I didn't think it was as easy as it was made out to be.

A disappointing hand occurred as well. Tony the really annoying tight ass came to sit at our table and this happened. I was in middle position and it was folded to me and I raised to $40 with 88, there was one caller behind me and then Tony on the button pushed all in for his buyin of $400. Jon directly behind him immediately pushed in his rack containing about $280 and then it came back to me. Tony is super tight and there is no way I would play this with him even though I was fairly sure I was killing Jon. I folded and the Tony showed KK. Jon had Ah8h. The board came A 8 3. ! Brick Brick on the turn and river. Had I just limped and Tony made a sensible raise that was just called by Jon I would have taken all of both of their money with the case 8 on the flop. Not to say I don't like the raise with 88 there, I like to stick to the mantra of "if you are first into the pot in middle position or farther then it should be for a raise." If there are limpers ahead of you that changes the story a bit, you don't have to raise and if you are in early position you can raise or limp at your leisure.

Anyway, that being said, the big pot came about 45 minutes later. Jason, the ex-marine Korean had joined our table after Jon busted and went to another table. Jason plays a fairly straight forward game and while tends to overbet some hands does not take precaution to add any disguise to his play. I like playing with Jason if I have some money behind as my decisions are not hard. So this pot starts with Jason in the BB and me UTG +1. UTG folds and I have 88 again. I decide to limp here because the table has gotten a bit more passive in the last 20-30 minutes so I figured I would have much less fold equity then I did earlier when I raised with 88. Also, Tony returned to the table after missing his blind and posted $15 in the cutoff so there was more money in the pot and i didn't want to open myself up with 88 in early position. So after I limped 5 others limped and the SB completed the $10 bet. Jason in the BB raised to $100 total. Given the amount of money already in the pot, my comfort level with Jason, the apparent weakness of the hands behind me, and the very compelling feeling I was getting that Jason had AK coupled to cause me to call teh $100. Surprisingly, the guy who limped behind me called the $100, the guy after him went all in for $105 total, Tony called the $105 and the SB completed the $105 saying those beautiful and tragic words "pot odds". So all of a sudden we have a 6 way pot with $640 in the middle. I have the all the players in this hand covered with the 2nd biggest stack being Tony who has around $500. I had about $1200. The board comes 772 rainbow. SB checks and surprisingly Jason checks. Now I am 100% positive that he has AK and I am still surprised he didnt ship his last $250 in with two big overs given the pots size. I go allin as the original raiser has shown weakness and i was fairly certain no one had an over pair to this board. I told myself that if someone hit a 7, 22, or 99 I was willing to pay them as I play for big pots and i found myself smack dab in the middle of one with a pretty good hand based on my feel of the table. As soon as I went allin, Tony starting moaning how i didn't have any of that and I simply responded that "if you don't think so then im stealing the pot". The limper behind me folded and Tony begrudgingly folded as well and the SB folded and Jason called off his last $250 bitching and moaning. The board came 7 4 and he missed his AK and my 88 held up for 7s full of 8s. The allin $105 mucked and I raked the $1100
+ pot. Tony apparently showed his neighbor 99 before he folded. What a pussy.

After that I didnt really play any hands for about 20 minutes until i got an AdKh and raised and got the board Kd 3d 7d. I got about $275 off of QhQd before he folded to my allin on the turn. If I knew he was that dead I would have played it a bit slower but I only left him with another $200. After that I table changed primarily because I had taken almost all of the money off the table. There were about 4 or 5 people with less than $250 and one tight player with about $900. I didn't feel like going rat hunting and trying to clean up all the little ones so I decided to chip up my profit in whites and table change to Rick's table.

While there I saw Rick make an aggregious play. After three people limped into the pot he was in the BB with AdQd and raised to $60 total. Only the button called. Rick had informed me earlier that this player was pretty tight, although I had witnessed no first hand evidence to say either way. So they saw the heads up flop of As Kd 9c with about $140 in the pot. Rick checks. The button bets $100 and Rick calls. The turn brings the 8s. Rick checks again and the button then racks up and sends it in with $420 into the $340 pot. Rick gets up and does a little zen walk in the 5 feet of personal space he has and finally folds his AdQd face up. In reply the "tight player" lays his 56 off on the table. This begs the question, what in the hell was Rick doing? Was he trapping and then lost his nerve? Did he start seeing ghosts? Was he too mesmerized by his apparenty characterization of the player that he wouldn't bet into him even though he had taken the lead in the hand and flopped top pair, best possible kicker and a somewhat unthreatening board. My only guess is that he was trapping and then lost his nerve. Which brings up a very important nugget of wisdom that I have heard through the grapevine. If you are going to INDUCE a bluff then you have to be ready and willing to pay off the bluff bets. Not everyone is willing to bluff the same size as they value bet so they very well bet BIG in order for you to fold. So if you start off a hand checking in the effort of check/calling then check/call the whole way. Don't start seeing ghosts just because the bets get big.

As for me, I ended the session with a nice tidy profit and I plan on riding the high tomorrow at Hawaiian Gardens if I can get up at a reasonable hour. 5pm has been my rising time for the past two days and I think a little earlier would be better.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


No comments? Come on post comments people, don't make me look like I have less friends and/or blog stalkers than I really do!


I saw some ridiculous hands tonite. I'll just leave it at that because most of my hands were uneventful. So the chip leader at the table ($2500+) raises to 45, a late position player calls, the BB makes it $145 the original raiser calls and the late position player calls. I don't really know much about these players because I have only been at the table 15 minutes or so. Flop comes Jc 6s 3h. BB bets $150, original raiser instantly says $300 and BB goes all in for $260 more for a total of $560. Late position player folds in between. Raiser grimaces but calls. Turn comes 7h and river comes 5h for a Jc 6s 3h 7h 5h board and BB doesn't turn over because Original raiser says ship it and turns over Jh 8h to rake the almost $1600 pot.

Next big hand. Its limped around, maybe 5-6 players. Flop comes 4c 5c 7d. SB who is the 2nd biggest chip stack with a little more than $1900 bets $60 which is about the pot. One middle position player calls and the button (our Jh8h player) raises it $250 more for a total of $310. The SB then raises it $500 on top for a total of $810. The button then goes all in for $3000. Actually, SB only has about $1100 remaining. He thinks for a long time and finally calls. Button turns over his 3d 6d before the cards come out and turn comes Jd and the river comes the 4d. SB turns over his 44 for quads. After his reraise gets pushed on by the only other big stack at the table I think I can probably lay down bottom set on that board. He claims he was committed AND he was getting odds. But this just is another example of people misusing math and poker terms to justify bad calls. When the Button pushes all in the small blind has to call $1100 more. The pot is massive with $810 from each, $60 from the folded flop caller, and $60 preflop. So he has to call $1100 to win $2030. Not even 2:1. But yet if he is up against a set, he has one out and needless to say is not getting his necessary 25:1 to odds. If he is up against a straight then he is not getting his necessary 3:1 odds. I suppose on the outer realm of possibility he could have reasoned that the button had a two pair and was overplaying it after seeing the above hand. All draws wouldn't make sense as even something like Ac7c or 6c7c would just call the $500 reraise. I can definetly understand raising $250 more with either the Ac7c or 6c7c but there would be very little point in rerereraising allin with it once somone has said they have a monster. So he has to think he is up against either 55, 77, 36, or 68 with the way the action has built up. Again you can factor in a very small probability that he would be up against 57. But yet he still calls and gets lucky.

So in both of these cases, the utter wrong decision got grossly paid off.
Luckily for me I had AA in the small blind when a late position player raises to $45 and mister Jh8h reraises to $145 so I go allin for $305 and raiser goes all in for $315 so of course Jh8h says I have to call with JJ. Its AA vs KK vs JJ. Flop comes A 10c 4c. Turn comes 7c. So Now i have to sweat because im up against KsKc. Thankfully it comes a spade on the river and I triple up. Outside of that, however, very little good came out of the night as Jh8h went broke about an hour later going from about $3000 to $0 in the course of 90 minutes and so did the action. So when ever i did get a decent to good hand I only won small pots and all my bluffs got called. Outside of the bluffing I think I played well, I played very tight in the beginning but i guess I can't take too much credit for that as the table was very actiony with lots of preflop raising and reraising so I wouldn't have a chance to come in.

The more I think about it, i could be considered an action junkie. Meaning as long as there is action I am happy. I am perfectly content sitting and playing no hands for 2 hours if there is raising and action around me. But when the table dies down and no one is playing a hand, all of a sudden J9off in late position becomes a raising hand. I think I have programmed myself to play big pot poker so it seems nonsensical to play 45 minutes of $5-$10 NLHE limping and seeing who can hit on a $30 pot first. I cannot tell if this means I would be good at tournaments or not. In the opening rounds it would be quite a bit of small pots so I could get in trouble there but as the blinds and antes escalate i think I might have a much better handle on the situation as long as the structure allows for some fold equity. Im not sure, frankly, I have never been in that situation to test it out. I am planning on playing at least one or two of the Stars and Stripes tournaments at the Bike coming up because they are pretty cheap. I might even play the O8 tournament because its only $100! Here's the schedule STARS AND STRIPES

Monday, April 9, 2007


ERG!!! For the 5th or 6th time I got into the made straight vs set situation and I lost again. It doesn't matter which side i am on, if I have the straight the board pairs, if i have the set it comes offsuit 2 3 on the turn and river. This time a mid position player raises to 40 and the guy right behind him calls, I call with Js8s in the cutoff and we see it 3 handed. The board comes Qc 9h 10h. Raiser checks, second guy bets 140 into the about 130 pot so I know he is strong but scared of the hearts. Based on how I have seen strong nut hands in the past I am almost positive he doesnt have KJ but I was willng to go broke against that if he did because I only had 400 behind. So I raised to 320 to get value and he went all in and I called. Turn comes 2c and of course the river comes Qd.

I was only there for 45 minutes. Outside of that debacle i made a decent play with a blocking bet earlier. I had 6c7c in the SB and it was limped around. 4 of us saw the flop of 4h 5h Jc. It got checked to the guy in position who bet 35. I called and the other two folded. The turn brough the Qs. I figured he had either a J or a flush draw so I most likely wouldnt have gotten raised. I decided to do a blocking bet and bet 40 into the 110 pot. He was taken aback and just called. The turn brough the 3c giving me the nuts. The pot was 190 and i bet 120. He didnt call so either he had a weak J or a flush draw. The blocking bet worked but unfortunately he didnt have a strong enough hand to call. Other than that I reraised someone with QQ and took it down preflop.


Sunday, April 8, 2007

What to Say....What to Say...

Went to Commerce tonite with one buyin and started on an absolutely great table. There were tons of pots that were raised with 6 people going to flop. I never made any big hands during this period, just raised with Queens and when it got to the flop there was 300 in the pot and it was 10 high. A 10 got it all in against me and i won. I played quite conservatively on this table for about 4 hours as there was very stealing to be done with so many people in the pot. I was running well for a while and got up to about $1300 and then I made a total gambling call. A decent player raises to $45 in UTG or UTG +1 and a few people call infront of me, I have 10d 5d on the button and I call as well. There are 5 total going to the flop. The board comes 7d 4d 5c. The original raiser goes all in for $435 and it gets to me. Now, obviously this massive overbet is weird. I have played with this asian guy a bunch and he does this move with overpairs and with Big Aces such as AQ or AK if he raises them preflop. He likes to overplay his AK alot. So I wasn't getting pot odds expressly as I would have to call $435 to win ~$670 giving me odds of only about 1.5:1 but against AK I am a nice sized favorite (even against AdKd I am a 51%-49% favorite) and against anyover pair except 10s I am essentially 50-50 depending on if the overpair contains one of my diamonds or not. So it is a pretty break even situation as there was only one person behind me and I made sure to check his body language to see if he liked that flop at all before calling. I did call and it came 7 A with no diamonds and he had 9h 9s that held up. Again, not too bad of a call but it was a gambling situation and I felt i was running good at that point. Shortly after the table died down a little and wasnt as actiony as it had been because a few of the juicier players left. I managed to make a one card straight flush on a board of 6d 7d 9d 10d. I was on the button with 6h 8d. When an early position player bet out $60 into a $140 pot the guy to my immediate right claimed to fold the Ad after the hand. He was a crotchety older bitchy gentleman and I somewhat believed him though I would never subscribe to his philosophy. I was able to get a crying call on the river for $225 from a the Kd. Since the action died down a bit I became a bit more aggressive and tried to steal some pots and that didnt work out so well and after about 45 minutes of some missed pots and a few badly bet hands I was down to about $600. Then the 99 player from before raises to $40 UTG and the maniac on the table calls him. I have AsAh and I make it $120 because I am almost positive UTG has a pair but maniac has a well justified reputation of making ridiculous hands and obscure two pairs and I didnt want him to be in there too cheaply even though I was hoping to trap UTG. Both called and we saw the $360 flop come down Q J 7 rainbow. UTG checks quickly and I can see he is uninterested so it missed him and Maniac goes all in for $175. There is an outside chance UTG may have had something like AQ or AJ so I take a few seconds and call the $175 without raising to isolate and UTG folds 88 face up. Turn comes a 10 and river comes a 6 and maniac turns over the K 9 for the second nuts gutshot. 2 hands later I get my last $200 or so in with K9 against maniac's A9 on a 9 high board and he slowrolls me to boot! Once we get it all in on te 9d 4c 2d board, I say "I just have a 9" and he doesn't respond. And then when the 6d comes on the turn i say "Shit, you got me" and he responds "No you have the winner." The Js comes on the river and I turn over the K9 and then he triumphantly turns over the A9. Well if i just have a 9 and he has A9 how in the hell could I possibly have the winner? A good question indeed.

I don't regret much about how I played tonite. I did have one mistakenly played hand. After two limpers and the SB completing I raised to $55 with JsJc out of the BB. The limpers called and the SB folded. The $170 flop came down Ah 10h 7s. I checked because a woman called and the maniac called so i very well though the woman had some sort of ragged A and the manaic had the button and very well would have put it all in with 89 or anything if i bet. Both checked behind me. The turn brought an offsuit 9. I checked because I showed weakness on the flop and i was afraid that if i bet here I would be taken off it by an astute move from the maniac. I had most likely the best hand if no one had an Ace (and no one bet the Ace) but i also had a gutshot now. I had planned to check/call this card because of my position and the texture of the board but it went check check. The river brought an offsuit Q. And again it went checked all around and I turned over my JJ. Button maniac mucked and the woman showed Qc8c. She very well may have called with her open end on the turn if i bet so the result would have been bad for me but at least I would have been putting more money in with the best hand. I did not want to be bet out if i did bet the turn. Most likely i would have won the pot if I CB the flop but when there is more than 2 people in the pot and an A comes in a raised pot its usually -EV to CB out of position with no real draw. Its true that I could have value bet any broadway gutshots or heart flush draws to protect but that was easily counterbalanced by the possibility of the Aces hitting someone. The turn was a different story as the initial raiser (me) showed weakness on the Ace and those in position did not make a move at the pot.

I didn't lose a lot on the hand, only my initial $55, so I'm not beating myself over it. But every little to medium pot counts. If you can up your medium sized pot takedowns but 1-2 an hour that could be an extra $80-$150 an hour not too mention you could utilize it for cannon fodder in the big pots. That's precisely what I was doing in the 10d 5d hand ala Doyle's advice in Super System. The little pots are great but the living is made on the big pots.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Oy, well that was fun

2:30am. I decide to go to Commerce with 1 buyin and play. I am not tired or restless or in any state that would prohibit me from playing as this is my prime time. I get there, sit down at a nice table, get a bunch of limping hands 78s, 89s, J10 on the button, A4s. Make it one round and then on the 10th hand in my small blind I get two Red Kings. One EP limps, the button makes it 35 I raise to about 80 because I am down to about 260 at this point and I dont want to lose him. EP folds, button goes all in, I call and he has Aces. It comes 10 high and I call it a night.

Exciting? Yes I know.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Full tilt Commercials

I don't know if anyone has seen the new line of full tilt commercials (all 9000+ of them) but i really like them. First of all, they are all in black and white so they've got a great film noir sense about them. Secondly, they really put a sense distinction on poker and emphasize not only the strategic and competitive aspects of the game but it also brings a sense of pristine beauty. If only life imitated art.

Chicago and the beginnings of April

From Friday until Tuesday, I was in Chicago primarily for my grandfather's 80th birthday. He had a nice catered party at my aunt Sherrie's house in Lake Forest, Illinois. I saw some relatives and family friends that apparently I had met when I was a baby. I must be getting senile because for the life of me I couldn't remember most of them. Unfortunately, my grandmother's Alzheimers has gotten really bad and now she can't walk and is confined to a wheelchair. It was quite disturbing to see how drastic of a change there was since the last time I saw her in July of 2006. It was semi-noticable at that point in time but at least she was able to move about and you could have a conversation with her. I am just hoping I will be able to see her again.

So enough depression. I got back and played at Hawaiian Gardens on Wednesday and Thursday as I said I would in the last post. Wednesday sucked. I was at a table and I got almost no hands. Literally, I think my best starting hand was JJ once and AK twice and once I got AK allin preflop with 6 2 and lost. Now for those of you who know me, know that I can't stand people who bitch about not getting cards so I won't give you the song and dance but there were a few other factors that contributed to my losing session. The table I was at was decent. For the first half of the time there were two juicy actions guys there and the rest were tight grinders so all I had to do was aim for the juicies and stay out of big pots with the nuthuts (translation: pussies who play the nuts only). Well, the first big pot i played worked out badly. I was in the cutoff and there were two new players who posted the BB, 1 SB, and one regular BB before the hand started. One player limped in front of me and I had AsQc. Now there is essentially $45 in dead money in there as only 1 of those $10 players chose to be in this pot so I raised for value/isolation to $65 and the BB called as well as the limper. I really wanted heads up but at least I had position with a very playable hand. The flop came down Kc Qd 5s. Both players checked to me. Now generally I would continuation bet here but for some reason I just felt as though a King was floating out there. And if I was seeing ghosts and they had something like 99 and 77 then seeing a free card was probably not too detrimental . Point being, I really didn't want to bet myself out of this $220 pot . So we all checked. The turn brought the Jd. Not really the best card in the world because something like QJ, 9 10, or A 10 just outran me but it did give me an obvious gutshot to the broadway nuts. BB checked and the other player in the pot bet out $100. Now I was unhappy about this as I was getting 3:1 which is a pretty good price for second pair, top kicker, overcard, and nut gutshot. The problem is I had no idea where this guy was. My pansy check and lack of continuation bet put me in the dark. I reluctantly called and the BB folded. The pot is now $420 and the river brough the Ah. As soon as that card came off, I didn't like it. The villain bets out $200 into the $420 pot and again I was getting 3:1 to call with top and 3rd pair. I made a horrible crying call and he turns over the Ad10d for the nuts on the turn with the royal flush nut redraw. If i make a standard CB on the flop WITH THE BEST HAND at that point he most likely would not have called with his gutshot. So again, bad flop check.

That was the only "interesting" hand that night. The rest of the time was spent trying to steal pots against the nuthuts with incredulous disappointment. As I mentioned earlier the best starting hand i got was JJ and I saw guys routinely limping in with AA, KK, QQ, etc... One nuthut limped in with QQs three times in one hour and KK twice that night. Every time he either went to the flop in an unraised pot or limp/reraised someone. One guy limped with KK and AA and made a river set on both of them. When he made the KKK set he didnt bet it because he was afraid his opponent in the hand made a ridiculous straight. I remembered that so when I got into a hand with him on a K J 10 6 A board he called me on the river with his AA. Of course, I had nothing.

The moral of the story is that once the juicies got busted we were eternally stuck 7 handed as all 4 of the $500 games that were running were short and I couldn't change tables. I was stuck with all tighties, I was stuck, and I wasn't making any hands. An absolutely horrible situation. Numerous things can be said here. I could and should have ended the bleeding once the juices got busted. Took whatever I had left and got up and went to a $300 game for a while until I could have gotten into a $500. I could/should have done something to get out of that game. Its not as if I was building an image because I wasn't winning any decent sized pots and turning over a loose holding. Every decent to big sized pot I was in I was leading in the betting and getting called and my opponent turning over some ridiculous monster. So by all logic I had a good hand and was getting coolered. At least it could have appeared that way in the minds of the others at the table. So even if I hit a big hand there would be no guarantee that I would get paid off unless someone else had a monster. I was losing against the worst types of opponents with no real "redraw" on winning it back. Take note: Your opponents are the most important factor in the game outside of yourself. The cards are irrelevent.

Thursday, on the other hand, was entirely my fault. I again met Rick at Hawaiian Gardens. He said he didn't like it the first time but he suggested we go back there. I knew he couldn't stay away from the action. I was playing great for the first 2 hours or so. Then this kind of arrogant cat sits down and just goes haywire. Making pretty aggressive and what i consider quite bad moves. Reraising big preflop with AJ and AQ. The problem is, he was hitting like a brickhouse. He would raise big preflop with 8 10. The flop would come J 9 x, someone would lead strong into him. He would reraise and the lead bettor would go all in and the villain calls and hits the Q on the river. Stuff like that makes you go insance. I don't believe in fate or any bullshit like that ESPECIALLY when it comes to poker but its a bit dizzying when a guy plays extra fast with marginal hands and hits. He was there for maybe an hour and he went from $500 to $2500 easily. He hit a gutshot on me and took $400. I learned he is generally a $300 table player and it showed with his lack of regard for his own chip safety. I definetly admire and try to model myself after the aggressive unpredictable type of player but this guy was aggressive but predictable. I could nail him down to his hand most of the time (the gutshot was an obvious exception). One hand he limped UTG and I was in late position with 10 10 and I raised it to $45 and the SB called and he made it $145. I called because I knew he had a big Ace and the SB called as well. The flop comes A Q J and he goes all in for $1200. Both of us fold and he shows the AQ and triumphantly says "I knew I had the best hand". Good fucking read, Sherlock. The best part is I think he meant preflop and on the flop. I was licking my chops for this guy the whole time but as soon as he hit about $2500 his asshole tightened up to nothing an he didnt play a hand for another 45 minutes until he got up and left. Another commonality among players. Lots of them tighten up so much when they become a big stack because they are afraid of booking a loss especially when they have such an advantage. Logically it would make sense to keep pressing when you have that advantage so as to make the most out of it. In fact, Barry Greenstein mentions something to this effect in ACE ON THE RIVER. He says to be a winning player it is absolutely essential to keep your opponents on the run, don't let up when you reach an advantageous position. Since I have a huge gay crush on Greenstein and I really agree with almost all of his logical arguments I also subscribe to this philosophy. It got me into trouble on Thursday though.

After the lucky $300 player went on his mad streak, the table got really actiony and I was able to score big and in the next 3-4 hours I was up to a nice $2200 stack after two buyins. So I was sitting on a $1200 profit. I was planning on leaving about 30 minutes after I counted. I felt comfortable about the table and I wasn't scared of anyone. In that 30 minutes, I lost about $1300 making three marginal calls. One to a slowplayed AA, the second to a runner runner backdoor straight vs my top pair and lastly losing $500+ by calling with top and 3rd pair vs top set in an oddly played hand. This put me on a bit of tilt and from there on out i was playing a bit looser than my standards and not getting very much luck. For instance, I bet with 6c7c on a board of 6 4 9d 3d and got called and the offsuit 5 came on the river giving me the straight. I bet $100 and a tighty on the table raised me to $200. The pot was only about $300 so I was a bit annoyed that I got 2nd nutted to his nuts but I called anyway as I felt that there might have been some chance he had a set, two pair, or we were chopping but no he had 7 8 of course. I guess I can take a little pride in the fact that someone has to make weird hands or play them weirdly in order to get paid off by me. But I ended up going broke and leaving -$1000 instead of +$1200. Very disconcerting. I can't tell if there needs to be some happy medium between Greenstein's approach and the semi-ratholing approach of many people I know who leave when they get up $1000 or some other predetermined number. Obviously, the tilting was of major importance as well.

I'll probably be going to Commerce tonight. So maybe that will be a little better for me. Also, i talked to Greg and we are interested in renting a house for June in Vegas for the WSOP. Ideally, I would like to find 3-4 guys to get a 3-4 bedroom house. He said he would be back from Hawaii May 29th or so and could go straight to vegas if need be. He will be there for 6weeks shooting for his lead role in Dante's Cove.

On a brigher note, I just got back from the dentist's office and I got the cute little dental hygenist's number. I think she's Mexican so I know Arnulfo is happy. :)