Thursday, August 31, 2006

Happy trails to me

Raked a nice profit tonight riding the range at Poker Stars. HORSE has made limit poker fun again. I love playing Razz, O8 and stud hi/lo but am not interested in playing those games by themselves. A little knowledge about how to play those games can take you a long way at $1/2. Weirdly, I'm uncomfortable with stud, though. I'm never sure if my hands are good. The few pots I've monkeyed around in, they were not.

More from the grab bag. ... And an interesting hand from The Mookie. I had every reason in the world to lay down Big Slick preflop and did not. I gambled, lost and it cost me a bunch of chips I could ill afford to lose, contributing mightily to me busting out in 8th place. Sorry for the hand history, but there's too much going on to explain in narrative fashion. Plus, I'm lazy.

Seat 2: Tumid (3460 in chips)
Seat 3: Bone_Daddy84 (3685 in chips)
Seat 4: lifesagrind (10715 in chips)
Seat 5: love_elf (1850 in chips)
Seat 6: hacker59 (4420 in chips)
Seat 8: MacDaKnife (975 in chips)
Seat 9: NewinNov (5435 in chips)
love_elf: posts small blind 100
hacker59: posts big blind 200
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to hacker59 [Ac Kh]
MacDaKnife: raises 775 to 975 and is all-in
NewinNov: folds
Tumid: folds
Bone_Daddy84: folds
lifesagrind: raises 825 to 1800
love_elf: raises 50 to 1850 and is all-in
hacker59: raises 2570 to 4420 and is all-in
lifesagrind: folds

*** FLOP *** [8h Qs Qh]

Board: 8h Qs Qh 5s 7c

love_elf: shows [Jd Js] (two pair, Queens and Jacks)
hacker59: shows [Ac Kh] (a pair of Queens)
MacDaKnife said, "gg"
lifesagrind said, "****astic"
love_elf collected 2575 from side pot
MacDaKnife: shows [As Kc] (a pair of Queens)
love_elf collected 3900 from main pot
love_elf said, "whooooo hooooo"
Bone_Daddy84 said, "wow, jacks hold up"

Grind folded a queen of some sort, A-Q I guess. Not long after the hand he reminded me that alot of my outs were counterfeited, a fact I acknowledged. Mac's holdings were of no consequence and I decided to shove to push Grind out and essentially get Elf isolated heads-up. That I accomplished. Good job, Sport. A typical amateurish donkey play with Slick by me. Only three hands I can push with there, right? Aces, kings or queens (and a case could be made for folding queens).

There were no guarantees that Grind lacked a huge hand and would fold. And, criminy, Elf (a homegirl from NE Ohio, after all) had to have something.

A few (more) end notes:

Jumped back into NL last night, cashing out $15 to the good during a 30-minute session of .25/.50 on Stars. Whoooot. I played the way I believe I should, a little loose preflop and aggressive post-flop when warranted. Played some more NL tonight on Nine Poker, finishing off my Poker Savvy requirements. I lost a couple of bucks in another 30-minute session but made a nice laydown on the river with trip kings on a non-scary board. I thought my eight kicker was weak and folded to her $20 pot-sized river bet. She said she had flopped a set of 10s. If there is an obvious leak in my game, it's my inability to lay down those teasingly good second-place hands.

Finally, I decided at the last minute to invest some HORSE profits in tonight's WWdN: Not. Only 14 players, but the regular crowd of tough guys/gals were there.

I got into the money while nursing a short stack with a classic Riverstars suckout against even shorter-stacked GScottW. (Blind vs. blind, his 9-5 vs. my 6-5. The 6 arrives on the river.) NewinNov eventually took out Surflexus and held a 3-to-1 chip lead at the start of heads-up. I could not get any traction against him (he was playing well, obviously) and bluffed off my last 3K. He and I have gone at it lately in some of the blogger tournaments. The man is the World B. Free of the poker world -- not afraid to fire from long range. A good player on a mighty fine run at the moment.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I'll take Potpourri for $800, Alex

I caught about five minutes of first-round WSOP coverage on ESPN early Tuesday morning before passing out. Matusow sat at the featured table. Lon (or was it Norm?) casually mentioned how Mike had dropped $500K online in a short span this summer. Suddenly, I didn't feel so bad about my current cash streak.

Shite. It's not as if this slide is my first. Far from it. There were plenty in my former life of limit poker. (Nor am I stranger to the sickening wonders of tilt.) But just as I thought I had gotten a decent handle on NL, I apparently lost my grip and tumbled headlong into the abyss. I'll be jumping back into the game soon, but in the meantime ... there's HORSE. I do like playing games other than hold 'em and HORSE satisfies all sorts of poker joneses. Whether it makes me a better poker player or not remains to be seen.

Played some $1/2 limit HORSE on Stars last night for the first time and eked out a small profit. It would have been more were it not for the moron who made trip queens on fourth street and watched as the woman to his right made a 6-high straight on fifth street and eventually scooped a $64 pot. At least the moron only called on sixth and seventh streets after guessing correctly that his queens had fallen behind.

Finally, an interesting hand from the WWdN. I coughed up two-thirds of my starting stack early on a bluff that went awry. I crawled into the bunker at that point and waited for a hand or two. After 40 minutes of popping up and lobbing the occasional grenade, I built my stack to a whopping 1,355 when this hand occurred:

Seat 1: ricoM (2285 in chips)
Seat 2: louddwnunder (2935 in chips)
Seat 3: TransFish (3360 in chips)
Seat 5: Ganton516 (3520 in chips)
Seat 6: Guinness (615 in chips)
Seat 8: Astin (9518 in chips)
Seat 9: hacker59 (1355 in chips)
ricoM: posts small blind 75
louddwnunder: posts big blind 150
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to hacker59 [Kh As]
TransFish: folds
Ganton516: calls 150
Guinness: folds
Astin: folds
hacker59: raises 450 to 600
ricoM: folds
louddwnunder: folds
Ganton516: calls 450
*** FLOP *** [4c 5h Ah]
Ganton516: checks
hacker59: bets 300
Ganton516: calls 300
*** TURN *** [4c 5h Ah] [7s]
Ganton516: bets 600
hacker59: calls 455 and is all-in
*** RIVER *** [4c 5h Ah 7s] [3c]
*** SHOW DOWN ***

Ganton516: shows [6c 6d] (a straight, Three to Seven)
hacker59: shows [Kh As] (a pair of Aces)
Ganton516 collected 2935 from pot

I'm guessing he read weakness with my wimpy bet on the rainbow flop, which believe it or not, was my intention. The bet on the turn signalled it had worked. Too bad the river did not cooperate.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Chopped meat

As bad as my cash-game run has been, my tournament results have been okay. Nothing major. Thirty-fifth out of 753 in a $3 rebuy on Royal Vegas. A miniscule cash in a $5.50 on Stars (204 out of 1700-plus). I even won a peep token on Full Tilt using crumbs from that account for the buy-in. (And did it with two fairly vicious suckouts heads-up. K-9 vs. K-J and K-8 vs. K-10 where I got an 8 on the flop, an 8 on the turn and an 8 on the river. I typed "gg" and he typed "fu." I don't blame him. Yet it felt nice to finally be on the winning end of some bad beats.)

And tonight I cashed for the first time in The Group's $22 tournament on Stars after probably eight or nine tries. I got heads up with Vinnie, a fellow Dead and Phish fan. I had a decent lead when we started, around 12K-8K. But Vinnie played well and pulled even after about 15 or 20 minutes. We decided to chop at that point, a deal that helped replenish the Stars roll a bit.

In the meantime, I signed up and played the $11 Group tournament, which starts an hour later. (For whatever reason, I've had quite a bit of success in this tournament, which features larger fields.) Paying scant attention at first because of the $22 action, I lost a few chips then doubled up with 5-7 after flopping two pair. Once the $22 ended, I shifted into aggro mode, made some good reads and chipped up steadily. I held half the chips on the table while four-handed. But a run of exceptionally cold cards and rising blinds ate away at my stack. Pocket 10s that ran into Billy Panther's pocket jacks put me uncomfortably near the bubble.

Then came the hand of the night: With only 2,700 left after posting the BB (300/600/50), I called The Canuck's push from the button with pocket 5s. I had him barely covered and, for various reasons, did not sense that he was strong. He had Qs-Js and got no help. I don't know how I don't make that call. If I bubbled, so be it. I'd rather flameout than be blinded out.

Mailman dispatched Billy Panther and he began heads-up against me with a 3-to-1 lead. I managed to climb back to even and we chopped that one as well. Another boost to the bankroll.

I'll return to cash games soon, but in the meantime, I think I'll be sticking to tournaments and SNGs.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The song remains the same

I haven't posted in awhile, thanks to time away from the computer and poker. We just completed a blessedly peaceful week in a cottage along the Lake Erie shoreline. I luxuriated in the time away from the workaday world. Nothing like pouring generous portions of viscous Ketel onto ice at 4 p.m., carpet bombing the glass with olives, and then pouring myself into a comfortable lounge chair while the soul-soothing sound of waves lapping against shoreline provide the background music for your life.

In addition to the time away from life's demands, I needed a respite from poker. Prior to vacation, I managed to wipe out profits at three different sites due primarily to the inevitable run of bad luck that poker always brings. (At least I had the good sense to withdraw a sizable chunk that covered a lion's share of vacation expenses.) This repeated junk-kicking, of course, was complemented by some less-than-stellar play that should brand an important lesson into my thick skull: Making plays at $50 and $100 NL tables is an exercise in futility. Christ, many of these idiots won't fold their draws to large bets, much less top pair/any kicker.

I hoped for better fortunes upon my return. Baaaaaaaaaaaaah! Want guaranteed profits? Get your money in on a draw against me. As sure as the sun will rise, your card(s) will come. What the fuck.

Yet I felt some good mojo building last night in an $11 tournament on Stars. Got some chips early and then donked off three-quarters of them midway through the first hour when pocket jacks ran into pocket aces. Horrible call on my part. Yet I managed to build 571 chips into a top 10 stack of around 13K in the second hour and cruised comfortably into the money. (It was one of Stars' idiotic 20% payout structures, so there was no real money to be had until the final table.)

After a run of cold cards that sent me in and out of consciousness, I literally woke up in time to steal a nice pot off a big stack with A-K, giving me a just-below-average stack. The very next hand brought me pocket kings. Groovy. A slightly bigger stack pushed from EP and I insta-called. He's got slick, an ace flops and I'm out in 88th place, a whopping $10 richer for my efforts.

Yes, there's trying to swim against the riptide of shitty luck, but some self-examination also is in order. Are there leaks? Got to be. I've tried to keep playing the same tight-aggressive game that has proved profitable in recent months, but I'm certain some bad habits have snuck in the side door and have made themselves uncomfortably at home. I've got to find a way to evict them out soon or find a new avocation because poker, as I now know it, ain't much fun.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Is your laptop on fire?

Or are you just glad to see me?

I got it in my head that I would acquire a much-needed I-pod by bonus-rolling through Poker Savvy. The 2GB model can be had for 2,250 points, which basically means signing up for four different sites and completing the requirements. I should have checked the not-so-fine print. This could take awhile. I can provide a quick site review, however. is the worst fucking poker site ever. If there are any viewable hand histories, stored or not, I still don't know where they are. And what's up with having to put a 9 in front of your screen name? The awkward sign-up process inspired me to make mine 9thcircle. And, mind you, I have nothing but love for my brothers and sisters Up North, but the play of the Canadians on this site is mind-numbingly slow and strange. Plus, playing $50NL and $100NL, it could take several decades to work off the 150% sign-up bonus. Not recommended.

Next is Noble, which is Titan in another color with the same viewable but unstored hand histories. Play is as consistently bad as Titan. A keeper. They pay off bonuses $10 at a time. Slowly.

And, finally, there's Royal Vegas, a skin of the Prima/Ladbroke's network. Loose and aggressive, thus far ... except when I get a big hand. The play has been interesting enough to keep me coming back. And it is Poker Tracker/GameTime+ capable. It takes 1,000 raked hands to qualify for their 100% sign-up bonus.

My cash-game jones is still strong. That being said, I'm currently on second break in tonight's 20K on Full Tilt. I have just under 7K, which is below average with 173 remaining (117 get paid). For the past hour, at three different tables, I have watched some of the most puzzling and awful poker I've seen. I'm nut-rolling at this point, looking for to get paid off if I hit a big hand. Given the fact that no one can find the fold button, I'll have to have just to enter a pot.

(Card dead 20 minutes past the break. Seen one flop. I did win one screwy hand. I open for 900 in the hijack seat with A-9. Button calls and small-stacked BB pushes. It costs me another 650 to call. The button comes along as well. We both check the king-high flop, the turn rag and the river ace. Wow. Why doesn't he bet the flop? I would.)

And guess who was at my first table? Robbie Benson. He busted in horrific fashion on the last hand before the first break, flopping trip aces and watching some donkey flush on the river. Sick stuff.

(Finally gone in 82nd place. Survived with a short stack for a long time and finally busted by pushing my last 3,500 with A-9. Called by A-4 and lost to the flopped 4. Sheeit.)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Cash explosion

With the rest of the Jones family out of town for the weekend, degeneracy has reigned supreme in the form of a thousand hands of $50 and $100 NL cash. I've been switching between Full Tilt, where I don't get rakeback, and Absolute Poker, where I do. I've had a fair number of okay but hardly spectacular sessions. And in the midst of this madness, I final tabled a $10 PL Omaha tournament on AP. Whadya know. I entered it for a change of scenery and had a blast. Pot-limit betting strategies are intriguing. I'd like to play more PL tournaments when time allows.

I will spare you hand histories from the cash games, but suffice it to say that too many people at those limits bring too little money to the table and play as if they're waiting to be picked off and turned into carrion flesh. As for me, I'm continuing to work on opening my game more (trying to keep VP$IP numbers in the low 30s), value betting more and remaining focused while playing just one 6-max table at a time.

At this moment, however, I've got ribs on the grill, greens in the pot and have just sat down at a freeroll tournament on AP (courtesy of my Omaha final table). There are several hundred thousand degenerates signed up (763, actually) and only 27 places pay. My plan is to push with the first marginally good hand and hope for the best. (Actually, it's a good chance to try some things out -- can you say, reraise?) Tilt's $12K guaranteed also is on the menu.

Addendum: Got a minor cash out of the 12K, finishing 63rd out of 753 players. I barely played a hand in the last 30 minutes. The only one I can recall is a push-steal when I still had folding equity. That hand likely gave me enough chips to sneak into the money. I'm still pissed at myself for a donkey play with A-4 earlier that carved out three-fifths of my stack. Let's just say 4 is not a good kicker.

And an end note: Does anyone think more about the game of poker than Hoyazo? Damn, dude. Thanks for sharing.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

What do you do here?

An interesting situation in last night's Mookie: I've made a nice comeback after the first break, chipping up to 4,300 after watching my stacked reduced to less than 700. Chip leader Chillydyl (17 players left) has about 9K and opens for 888 (blinds 100/200) from early position. I've got Ad-Kh and weigh my options.

A) Call the 888.
B) Fold
C) Push

I hate Option A and eliminate it right off. I actually ponder Option B. Given that I'm a complete aggro-donk, I of course choose Option C. Why? I've just joined the table and don't know this player, but I know I've got plenty of fold equity in this spot and want to eliminate the rest of the field and put Chilly to the test. The only two hands I truly fear is K-K and A-A. I'm more than willing to race against anything else.

Everyone folds and Chilly (insta)calls off 42 percent of his stack with pocket 9s. Cool. I get my king on the flop but he gets his 9 and IGHN.

I believe I made the right play here. If I just call the raise, I likely go broke on
the king-high flop unless he pushes immediately. (And there's a good chance I go broke even then.)

Comments anyone?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Early to bed

One of the great questions of the 21st Century is, of course: Would you rather bust out of a tournament early or on the bubble? I prefer the former and I followed that plan perfectly in tonight's WWdN, busting in 45th place.

My pocket aces got cracked by Waffles' Big Slick. That cost me about one-third of my stack. A couple of orbits later, Mao of Poker sent me dumpster-diving when we both flopped sets. (He had 10s, I had 6s.) That's twice in just over a week that I've gone broke flopping bottom set. Poker.

The hand with Waffles is bothersome, though. We both checked the K-K-10 flop. I led for 100 on the turn and Waffles smooth called. I checked the river, believing I was beat. Waffles bet of 260 confirmed that fact. But that didn't stop me from making a crying call. Idiot. I'm still the typical donk who won't release rockets even when he knows they've blown up on the launch pad.

Otherwise, most of my poker degeneracy has been dedicated to the hapless pursuit of cash games, mostly on Titan, a little on Full Tilt. I've been bouncing between $50 NL and $100 NL (with one $200 NL session tossed in for less than good measure) and have logged some winning sessions. It's been a decent run. I've been trying to mix it up more, folding less to preflop aggression. Still too tight post-flop.

Addendum: Just won my first peep show token in a 2-table SNG on Tilt by basically showing down just one hand -- pocket kings that flopped a set. Card dead throughout, I sat back and watched some idiot run over the table(s) by hitting all sorts of crap. I didn't mind playing spectator. It all pays the same.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


A dubious personal first for a bloggercentric tournament: I basically got called a fucktard donkey asswipe during last night's Mookie for a play with K-Q suited. Now as all four readers of this blog know, I have never hesitated at pulling out torture devices and punishing myself for my crappy play. But this is a case where I don't believe self-flaggellation is in order. I won the hand. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

In summary: I open from EP with Kh-Qh for 300 (50/100 blinds). Hoyazo calls off his last 105 chips from the button. Bdidde raises to 934, leaving himself (Area) 51 behind. Let's see ... I've got to call another 634 into a pot of 1439, giving me pot odds of just over 2-1. I make the call (and toss in the 51 that's sure to go into the pot) and I've got 650 remaining. Hoyazo's holdings are of no consequence, obviously. My only concern is bdidde. What are his chances of trying to steal here? I'm thinking they're about the same as my pot odds: 2-to-1. I obviously sit in mortal fear of A-A, K-K, Q-Q, A-K or A-Q. But something tells me his upper range his A-K. Not good, obviously. But I'll have chips, albeit not many, if I lose. Comebacks have been staged from smaller stacks. After mulling over all of this, I finally make the call.

Hoyazo has pocket 5s, bdidde pocket 10s. Cool. I'm a 39-to-43-to-18 underdog. The flop brings a king and the river a queen. I get a little lucky and I win.

Bdidde and tablemate NewinNov begin critiquing my play. (Wish hand histories kept observer chat, but bdidde pretty much called me an idiot). Not in the mood for unbloggerly decorum, I simply replied, "really?" and tried to leave it at that. NewinNov then chimed in: "but he had a gut feeling," and added, "and wasn't it .....sooted?" I don't know the guy, so I'm not sure why he felt the need to join the fray. It's okay, though. I ended the discussion with an innocent, "well geez guys. i'm still learning," which, from their replies, I assumed they believed was sincere.

Sure, I am still learning. Aren't we all? But fuck the false modesty, I'm going to say it: I think I've got some skills. Play enough of these freakin' blogger tournaments, you ought to learn something. Go aggro or go home. Supermodel has certainly found the non-blogging competition much to his liking. (What a freakin' heater he's on. Great stuff.) Was it a loose call on my part? Probably. A bad call? Hell, no. The prospect continuing play with a stack of 650 did not concern me in the least. Bigger comebacks have been made with less.

Despite getting crap for cards before and after that hand, I made it to the final table small-stacked. And then I managed to cash in fourth place. I played the hands I got the best I could. NewinNov overcame a significant chip disadvantage against jjok to win the thing. Good job, sirs.

But let me conclude by channeling the The Great and Powerful Waffles, a curmudgeonly kindred spirit: If you didn't like my play in that hand, gentlemen, tough shit.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Not good enough

I played the best poker of my life tonight. And I lost.

Hoyazo's brother, Aquaverse, measured me up and twice kicked me squarely in the junk to win it. Three-handed and on the short stack, he called his last 7K preflop with 7d-3d and sent my Ad-Qd down in flames. The second junk crushing came heads-up and crippled me. I firmly believed I was ahead when I shoved on the turn.

Seat 3: aquaverse (34051 in chips)
Seat 5: hacker59 (48449 in chips)
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to hacker59 [5d Kd]
aquaverse: calls 1000
hacker59: checks
*** FLOP *** [Qd Ks Th]
hacker59: bets 4000
aquaverse: raises 4000 to 8000
hacker59: raises 8000 to 16000
aquaverse: calls 8000
*** TURN *** [Qd Ks Th] [8c]
hacker59: bets 30349 and is all-in
aquaverse: calls 15951 and is all-in
*** RIVER *** [Qd Ks Th 8c] [9c]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
hacker59: shows [5d Kd] (a pair of Kings)
aquaverse: shows [Qc Jh] (a straight, Nine to King)
aquaverse collected 68102 from pot
aquaverse said, "wow"

Wow is right. I was ahead. Seventy-thirty. That's poker.

Good things happened throughout. A few pages were added to the playbook. Some rudimentary game theory was applied. Yet as aggressively as I played, there were opportunities lost, spots where I failed to take advantage of position and size.

I'm not sure what perfect poker is, especially over the course of a long tournament. But I think the ideal session would be to never make a decision, regardless of results, that was not well-reasoned.

And I did think well tonight. But if there were one hand I could play over again, it would be the last. With just over 13K and in the big blind, I checked with 7s 6c and he completed. We both checked the flop of 6h As 9d and the Ad on the turn. I bet 4K at the 7c on the river and he min-raised. I pushed my last 8,198 and typed "no mas." He had pocket queens and the curtain fell on this little drama. Well played, Mr. Jones. No mas? WTF was that? God forbid, that won't happen again.

Enough post-game mortification. (I'm working on the self-deprecatory thing, okay?) There is good news afoot. Last I checked, Matt Maroon of The Poker Chronicles had 220K and sat tied for 10th place on Day 2A of the Big One. Very cool. Take it down, sir.