Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Hello, Downswing

I was going to write about the $10 SnG downswing I've been wallowing in, but I think I'll examine my past results (which I haven't done since March when I started at the $10's) and post more later. Suffice to say, I had a stretch of eleven SnG's where I cashed once. Not good.

I was reminded by a sage micro-limit player (oxymoron? nahhh) that I should keep myself out of danger around the bubble. In a few cases, I was putting too many chips at risk with players that could bust me. Fold, get in the money, then allow yourself a few more risks. In the SnG that broke my "slump of eleven", I folded pocket eights when the small blind limp-all-in'ed me when we were fourhanded. Losing that hand would've left me with 900 and the BB at 150. I ended up second to that guy's third. The winner busted me with slowplayed aces, when I couldn't let go of QJ-suited on a ten-high flop with my four-flush.

Thursday night's cash game was PCS Derek's night. He hadn't been by in a long time. I welcomed him back by bluffing into him twice in poor spots. He had trips the first time, and a boat the second. Lucky me, I had top pair, weak kicker at best, and folded rather than pushed more.

I gave myself a tiny pat on the back for playing my original $10 down to under a buck-fifty before mounting a nice comeback. The comeback included a fun hand where my pocket nines flopped a set against pocket eights, then hit quads on the turn. Can't I save that for when I'm trying to crack aces?

My comeback ended with aces and about $14 sitting in front of me. I made it 80cents preflop and Forty Ounce Dave jacked it to $3 on the button. He has reraised me three times when I've raised with aces: fives, queens, and eights. So naturally I put him on a pocket pair. I figured he's learned his lesson about my preflop tendencies with aces, so I smoothcalled.

The flop was paint. K-J-J, rainbow. Hmph, a little scary. I went ahead with my checkraise anyway, making Dave call another $6 or so after he bet out $4 into the pot. He flipped up AQ-spades, and hit his ten on the river, for dramatic effect. I appreciate that the Poker Gods have a sense of timing.

Derek was the big winner, at +$55. Albert (-$22) and Oklahoma Jeff (-$30) led the downward charge. Mike V was back in action, and still hasn't walked away with any money from my game. As for myself...

In for $20, out for $14.


Even though it was Father's Day, we had our Sunday tourney. Sorta. I thought I was going to work all day, so I put it off to the others to host/play if they wanted to. Kida hosted, I got cut early, and we played 6-handed in Orange with Albert, Oklahoma, Miguel and Shawn also playing.

Ooof. Card dead. I won one hand in the rebuy phase, and small one at that.

Impatience and frustration got the better of me right before the rebuys were over. I had been tight, and raised it up with A9 offsuit. Three callers... we're sixhanded!... and the flop missed me, jack-high. It's checked to me and I shove, only a slight overbet of the pot due to my shortstack and all the callers. Albert thinks about it for far too long, then calls with AJ.

Wasn't much better afterwards... a lot of folding, a steal or three and a busted steal, and I found pocket fives on the button. We were fourhanded (Miggy and Shawn out already), and Albert limped in for 200, so I shoved my 1900 chips in from the button, hoping to take down the 500 that's out there already. Oklahoma Jeff, who had about 10K at the time, called from the big blind with pocket sixes and flopped a set.

It was one of those nights where it felt like I was just keeping a seat warm. Being a placeholder. A true dead money experience.

I had brought my nice new KEM cards, and wanted to let them finish out the tourney before leaving. They did, with Albert winning a nice come from behind heads-up match with Oklahoma. I didn't watch. I was so dog-tired that I sacked out on the couch. 8AM soccer, then work, followed by a nap that wasn't long enough. I should know better, but I don't think the alert, perceptive version of me could've won with those cards.

No biggie. There's always next week.

In for $25, out for $0.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Another checkraise? WTF!

This week, the Tustin Sunday tourney was nine-handed... at the start, at least.

We had two new guys buy-in, bust out at about the 45 minute mark, and leave. Rebuys are half-price for the same starting amount of chips... why not indulge?

Heads-up was against Forty Ounce Dave, the second time we've faced off in a tourney. The first time was at the Lake Forest game, when I started with a sizable lead (thanks to Albert megatilting his chips off to me). That night, Dave bothered me with his small stack play: all-in or fold when he had the button, with way more pushing than mucking. It was really a pain when I couldn't find anything decent with which to call him.

180 degree turnaround this time. We were very deep-stacked, with 50K in play and the blinds only at 200/400 to start. Kida, Albert and Jefferson stuck around to watch. Everybody was in agreement - Dave folded way too many times on the button preflop. Albert was counseling him to raise his button more - told him he should raise with his K4 offsuit, not fold it.

I didn't like them giving him sound advice, but whatcha gonna do?

As the blinds rose, the momentum was all mine. After building a pretty nice chip lead, I reraised him all-in preflop holding AQ. Oops. Dave had pocket queens.

I started to stack up chips to pay him off, and wasn't looking at the flop. All five cards were on the board by the time I asked Dave for an exact count to pay him. He was a bit puzzled, because everybody else saw that the first card shown on the flop was an ace. A three-outer goes my way. Nice.

And I got Poker Clock working. It's pretty neat, and lends a bit of class to our hokey little low-dollar tournament.

$15 in, $73 out.

The subsquent four-handed cash game was interesting. I played aggressively. Probably a little too much. Kida, on my immediate right, checkraised me at least eight times in the hour and a half we played. Surreal.

Apparently I can't help but throw bets out holding the button in a four-handed game. Either Kida figured that out, or he's got a read on me when I'm bluffing or betting a weak hand.

$10 in, $0 out.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Dunce, party of 1, your table is ready.

When they say KEM cards are "washable", they actually mean "moist cloth, then dry immediately".

Wanting to clean off the stickiness of my blue deck of KEM's, I plopped them all into a pot of room temperature tap water. I forgot about them, and they sat for an hour and a half. I fished them out, dried them off, and they were warped. A few days under heavy books didn't help. Oops. At least I didn't ruin my red deck.

So I'm trolling ebay, and comparing prices at this site. After playing with KEM's, I can't go back to run of the mill Bicycle cards.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Play badly, win money!

In an effort to expand my poor play to other poker games, here's an Omaha/8 hand I wanted to take a closer look at.

Ultimate Bet 0.25/0.50 Omaha/8 (9 handed) converter

Preflop: Idiot/Hero is BB with 2h, 2s, 3h, 4d.
six players call, 1 fold, SB raises, Idiot/Hero calls, everybody else calls.

Flop: (16 SB) 4c, 2d, Js (8 players)
SB checks, Idiot/Hero bets, UTG calls, UTG+1 calls, MP1 folds, MP2 folds, CO calls, SB calls.

After the preflop raiser checked, I figured I should bet out to knock out anybody that might backdoor something. I figure the low draws are going to stay in. Note to self: read up on flopping bottom set in O/8. It's probably one of those poker situations where it looks a LOT better than it actually plays out.

Turn: (10.50 BB) Qc (6 players)
SB checks, Idiot/Hero bets, UTG calls, UTG+1 calls, CO raises, SB calls, Idiot/Hero calls, UTG calls, UTG+1 calls.

Plenty of draws out there now, and I just got raised. I'm not in good shape.

River: (20.50 BB) 8s (6 players)
SB checks, Idiot/Hero checks, UTG checks, UTG+1 checks, CO bets, SB calls, Idiot/Hero calls, UTG calls, UTG+1 folds.

There's a low out there... my chances for the high aren't great, but worth a call.

Final Pot: 24.50 BB

Results in white below:
SB has Ac 5c 5s Tc (Low: 8, 5, 4, 2, A High: one pair, fives).
Idiot/Hero has 2h 2s 3h 4d (High: three of a kind, twos).
UTG has 4s 9c 5d Ad (Low: 8, 5, 4, 2, A High: one pair, fours).
MP3 has Th Jd Jc 7d (High: three of a kind, jacks).
CO has 9s 3d 5h Ts (Low: 8, 5, 4, 3, 2 High: straight, queen high).
Outcome: CO wins 12.25 BB. SB wins 6.12 BB. UTG wins 6.12 BB..

Oh yeah, I'm not good at this game. So much to learn.

The session itself went very well - in for $25 and out for $57 in about three hours. I think that's +64BB, which is testament to either my hot cards or everyone else's poor play at this level. And I was the first one seated, so I got that nifty 50% UB bonus. I ended up converting almost $5 of bonus cash to real money.

Oh the joys of being a micro-limit fish!

UB Update: $734 real, $274 bonus, 4583 Pts.

Roadtrip, Day 7: Albuquerque to Orange County

...and what's most importantly, is I ain't gotta fuck with Ray-Ray's broke ass no more. (I listened to a lot of Kanye on the ride home.)

I checked out Route 66 Casino, on my way out of Albuquerque. Seems like a nice enough place. I think it's brand new, and not overly large. They've got a room dedicated to poker, though they were still tidying up some of the loose construction ends in there. It was noon on a Wednesday, but I was still asked if I wanted to get my name on a list. I was surprised to see there were actually a few names on the $4/$8 limit, half kill list, but I didn't want to stick around. Their NL holdem game has $1/$2 blinds with a $50 min, $200 max buy-in. Sounds like fun.

The gift shop wasn't selling any KEM cards, but they were giving away cancelled decks from the blackjack tables. I snagged two without really inspecting how marked the decks were. Oops. One deck might be usable.

Not a whole lot to see on the ride home. It'll be nice to sleep in my own bed again. And not have to drive hundreds of miles tomorrow.

Trip odometer: 2795 miles, and done.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Roadtrip, Day 6: Albuquerque

Slept in, ate authentic New Mexican for dinner. "The green chile is a must", I was told. I don't see what the big deal is.

It didn't take much talking to get Chris up for some heads-up tourney style action. He took the first one (for fun), after which we decided to play for $5 a piece. We split the next two before I took the rubber match. So far, I have a habit of saving up my luck for the last heads-up tourney when the money's on the line. Go me.

Trip odometer: 1995 miles. No driving for me today, thank goodness.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Roadtrip, Day 5. Dallas to Albuquerque

Uhg. What a long, boring drive that was. West Texas doesn't have a lot of interesting things to look at, though I did speed by Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo.

Arrived late in Albuquerque, hung out with Chris at a local bar & pool hall. We talked about drinkin' while enjoying Old Milwaukee tallboys at two bucks a pop.

I'm staying an extra day here. Maybe we'll play some poker this evening. Chris plays a little, though not as well or as often as his girlfriend.

Trip odometer: 1995 miles.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Roadtrip, Day 4. Memphis to Dallas

Slept late, got brunch with Drew. I had forgotten how much fun it was to hang with old college buddies. I really enjoy their company.

After arriving in Dallas, we got a bite to eat at PF Chang's and talked sports. And Dad & Nancy gave me a gift from their trip to Italy/Spain recently - an authentic Fiorentina jersey. Perfect fit, too.

Dad, who did his fair share of sports betting in the 70's, likes my anti-Cowboys bet this year too. Last year I took $10 off of coworker Geoff, a huge 'Boys fan, when I bet him they would miss the playoffs. This year, Geoff asked for the same bet, so once again I have $10 up in the air while I root against Parcells and Co.

Trip odometer: 1327 miles.

Roadtrip, Day 3. Charlotte to Memphis

Slept poorly, woke up late.

Drew didn't quite deliver what he promised, but I didn't mind. I expected to show up in Memphis and hang with him and his girlfriend, and her friends. Girlfriend had completed her CFA exam that day, and wanted to party. Only problem was that she started drinking early and ended really early. No girlfriend-friends for me to .. meet.

Drew and I went to the Blue Monkey, where Drew crabbed about all the chubby girls there that night. We talked about old times over some Guinness. Highly enjoyable.

Trip odometer: 860 miles.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Roadtrip: Day 2. Back to Charlotte

My last post lacked empathy. It must be pretty crummy to have your health fail you when you're stuck on an airplane. It's not like they can tie a parachute to you, shove you out the plane, and tell you you're sure to land next to a hospital.


Trip Odometer: 222 miles.

Rob drove me down to the sleepy burg of Southport, NC (south of Wilmington, right next to Bald Head Island). I manned the cd player, which reminds me that I'm gonna have to burn him a copy of that Kanye cd I have. He had never heard it, and he loved it.

I read the first 200 pages of Super System 2, his gift to me. For Christmas. My family can be slack with the gift-giving sometimes. Hopefully I can become less retarded at limit holdem, O/8, et cetera.

The line of the trip was at Jersey Mike's Sub (mmmmm Jersey Mike's). I was attempting to give the sandwich girls a tip, but they couldn't accept it, company policy and the boss was arouind. Rob replied, "Well, I could write my phone number on it, and then I'd just be hitting on you."

My best friend from college, Jay, wanted me to get a poker game together. This, when I haven't lived in Charlotte for four years, and didn't play when I was living there. We ended up playing heads-up, tourney style.

He never raised preflop. He would limp, and sometimes limp-reraise me. Even with that glaring weakness, we split the games two a piece. His wife, who trusts him playing in games where a couple hundred bucks can change hands, didn't want him playing me for any substantial amount of money. We played for $1, $1, $2 and $5. I won the $5 match, so he didn't have all the bragging rights. Good times. We had fun.

Now, on to Memphis.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Roadtrip: Day 1

My flight to Charlotte was odd. Is air travel that stressful? I've flown maybe 30 or 40 times, and this is the second time I've had an ... unhealthy... person faint / have an anxiety attack / whatever. These people never think they're going to die when they ride the bus. You never see anybody keel over at the mall. What gives?

My brother Rob picked me up from the airport. We headed to the bar. My other bro Vinnie had stuff to kill on Final Fantasy 11, so he stayed home.

Tyber Creek had just enough people for a Thursday night. I saw an old college buddy that I barely recognized... amazing coincidence. One of his buddies knocked a chair into a girl, and I mended that fence with a Jaeger shot for her.

Good times.

Today, we drive to Wilmington and back. Hopefully back to poker at Jay's this evening.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Anybody get the number of that truck?

Her name was Shawna, actually. Mother of last Sunday's tourney winner, Montana. And the same Shawna that remembered me at Crystal Park way back.

Nine of us on Sunday, and Kida especially was enamored with Shawna's aggressive style. Or maybe he really likes blondes. She outplayed plenty of people on several different hands early.

The fourth hand after the rebuys were over, I found A8 in my small blind and limped along with everybody else. A-9-3 rainbow flop. Nice. Everybody checked the flop. The turn was a jack, putting two spades out there. Shawna bet out, I checkraised. And she reraised my checkraise with A5. I pushed, and she was pot committed. My kicker ended up playing, and I doubled up early, instead of having to watch everything. Still, her reraise gave me pause.

Her raises put pressure on everybody all night. It was a sight to behold... like a DoubleAs post come to life.

Albert was busted out on a hand that he emailed me about later. A-T-3 flop, two spades. I think it was Shawna that raised preflop. Kida pushed his medium stack all-in, then chipleader Shawna followed suit. Albert thought about it, and called with his AQ, no spades. His top pair was best, for the moment, against Kida's QT, no spades and Shawna's K8-spades. She hit her spade and sent Albert packing, while crippling Kida. I summed up: against different players you might suspect two pair or a set, but those two have a lot of gamble in 'em.

My takeaway from the Sunday tourney was the incredible asswhipping I took when it got down to Shawna and I heads-up. Jefferson watched the carnage.

It started well enough, her with a moderate chip lead on me. I doubled up when I flopped such a nice draw, I just couldn't fold. After a raise and a reraise, we were all-in with my A7-spades against her Hilton Sisters, looking at a board of 8s-6s-4d. My spade hit on the turn.

I had a decent shot to bust her shortly after that, but her ace-high was good enough against my KQ offsuit.

The rest was car-wreck ugly.

I lost momentum. Confidence. My cards weren't cooperating, and I didn't have the balls to play my opponent while paying less attention to my cards. Shawna thoroughly outplayed me for a good twenty minutes. I was way too slow to react to what she was doing (betting and raising!). Next time, for instance, I'm gonna raise from the big blind at least half the time that she limps on her button. I was doing way too much calling, and I need to cut that out against a good player like Shawna.

My selective memory is blocking out the hand during which she regained the chip lead. She ended the tourney holding pocket aces against my J3-hearts. She sprung her trap with a big overbet on the river, and had the board not paired fives, my jacks and threes would've been best. No sour grapes though - I had no business winning this tourney.

$25 in, $50 out.


I've been mulling over something I'll probably try. In my $10 buy-in cash game, I've got this dumb/crazy idea that I should attempt to go the whole night with three options: bet, raise, fold. No calling. None.

It'll probably cost me money that night, but it seems like an interesting exercise. And it might disturb the rest of the table, which would be good for a laugh or two.


And Albert is going to Vegas, and he's going to give the single-table sats a shot, to play his way into the WSOP Event #2 (joining the PCS's Tim and several badass bloggers). I'm pretty sure he's going to be buying his way in if he doesn't make it from a satellite.

I'm psyched for all of you WSOP'ers. Good luck. Knock 'em dead, and knock 'em out!