Thursday, September 29, 2005

Kicking a dead HORSE in Dana Point

Work, soccer, then poker made up my Tuesday. Russ had invited me to the game he plays in Dana Point. It was a $20 NL holdem freezeout tourney, followed by a $20 limit HORSE tourney, blinds up every 15 minutes for each tourney. Seven players for the holdem, and we lost one for Horse.

I finished 2nd in the holdem tourney, once again making timely (and uncalled!) first-in pushes when my chips started getting low. One of these days, Russ is going to catch me, and start giving me less credit for a hand. But for now, if I'm pushing with K7s, he's folding A9o.

It was down to heads-up, and I was way short... 3K in chips with the BB at 800, and 15K for the chipleader. I was BB to start, and Russ started jabbering about how I had to be all-in this hand, and I should do it blind. I peeked, and I saw one of Russ's favorite hands, 84 offsuit. I told him I was doing this for him, and call my opponent's all-in to see his 87 offsuit. Crap! My cards aren't even live. His hand was unimproved, but mine hit runner-runner fours to double up.

I couldn't push with the trash I was getting (he was drunk by this point and would've called with any two), so I made my stand with pocket 4's, and he called with KJo. He had two pair by the end of it, and no trips for me. All things considered, I did pretty well to stick around.

It was my first time playing HORSE (holdem, omaha/8, razz, stud, and stud/8) live, and the tourney format was nice. I made a couple of fishy moves, but I had a great double-up late in razz when my seven card hand contained two pair, sevens and twos. My other cards were just good enough to avoid elimination. I ended up busted in stud when the chipleader put me all-in preflop with AK/4 to my J8/8, and his two pair beat my queens up.

I broke even for the evening, but it was a good time and a new experience.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Winner Takes All

.. and for tonight only, I can call myself "Winner".

Though I didn't exactly "take all". When it got down to three-handed, we made a deal to pay 2nd place $20 (the buy-in amount), and the winner to get the rest.

I won, throwing a huge suckout on NewGuy Kev, who barely had me covered. I made a read on the flop, stuck with my read on the turn when all the money went in, and was horribly horribly wrong. The river saved me, giving me two pair against his overpair.

The very next hand ended it all. I had Russ outchipped 6+:1, and found pocket aces on the button heads-up.

Are you kidding me?

"Call." sez I.



ATo for him, and he did hit two pair on the flop. Unfortunately, that meant I had flopped trip aces. No miracle running tens, and the tourney was over.

It was nice to win a top-heavy payout tourney, even if I had to suckout to get there. Most of my decisions along the way were pretty good.

And Russ even invited me to a homegame in Dana Point, on Tuesday night I think. I've been meaning to get out an explore some more homegames, so this should be a fun experience. Russ seems to think I'd do well.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

How do you beat a bully with trash?

Just got home from on-my-own bartender shift #2 (10+ hours today). Consensus is that I'm not lightning fast, but I hustle and keep everything running fairly smoothly. I'm pleased so far, the money is better than serving, and I'm having more fun. When people eat at the bartop, I can yuk it up a little, or talk sports with them. Or just watch sports, if it's slow.

Overall, I feel pretty good about how I've been playing recently. I feel comfortable in the $5 3-table SnG's on UB. You play from 10-handed to 6-handed or so, then get resat. Do it again, then get resat at the final table. Each time the table fills back up, I have to remind myself to tighten back up to 10-handed preflop thinking.

Top 5 paid in the 30-person SnG. I had a nice third place finish in my latest attempt. (Same night, Kev rocked the single-table SnG circuit, triple-tabling a 2nd, 2nd, and 1st. I especially like watching my friends do well on UB.)

I need to work on my strategy when facing a table-bully short-handed. Bully was on my immediate right with 22K or so, I had 10K and OtherGuy had roughly 12K. OtherGuy would fold his button, Bully would push all-in. Not every time, but often enough so that it was obvious he was pushing marginal (trash?) hands.

During the SnG, he got out to an early lead, and made the all-in overbet move several times. On the rare occasions he was called, he showed down decent hands: AJs, 88, AKo. He also had a run where he was dealt KK, KK, AKs, and AA in about two orbits.

Right at the start of his 3-handed terror, I decided to fold ATo to a shove of his. As it became more apparent that he was pushing way too often to have great cards, my own cards were horrible. I also folded a 87suited, and an A2o (I hate ace-two offsuit), before making my stand with ... A2o and about 9K in chips. His K8o hit an 8, and I was gone. Yup, I hate ace-two offsuit. I wished I had that ATo back...

Disregarding that ATo, I couldn't find a hand. No pocket pairs, trashy offsuit low cards during the barrage, and when I held AJ-suited, he folded his small blind. I almost considered calling with K3o.

The progression of that SnG was a remarkable one. Somewhere along the way, it became clear to the Bully that I was staying out of his way. I need to keep an eye on how I play against the current chipleader, and how that person perceives my play.

The SnG also made me think of the chapter I had just read in Harrington's Volume 2. The discussion of inflection points and "zones" is something that I'm going to have to consider. If I'm going to meet opponents who are going to expand their range as far as he suggests when they're in the Red & Orange zones, I will have to start considering calling all-ins with a much larger range myself.


I'm gonna wrap it up here. I was going to talk about a couple of the bad folds I've made recently, in the last two cash games. I'll save it for later..

Can't wait to finish up Harrington's book, but I think that'll come too late to help me this Sunday night. I'm hosting our first ever $20 Winner Takes All freezeout tourney. About a month ago, I threw up some ideas on the messageboard Albert set up, and folks were interested in the Double Stakes tourney, and the Winner Takes All format, so we're trying both. The Double Stakes was two weeks ago, with Albert and Kevin (new guy, not this guy) splitting first. With the exception of the final hand, I thought I played some pretty good poker, and walked out with 3rd place money.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

And I did it all by myself!!

I feel like a little kid who just did something for the first time, and feels inordinately proud of himself.

Finally disgusted with my deteriorating, eight-year-old laptop, I bought a new desktop. On sale at Fry's for $180, I purchased the last one in the store, a return that was marked down another $10. I got it home and got Albert, a fairly computer-savvy guy in addition to being a regular at the Tustin poker game, to come over and help me start it up.

Somebody named Tony had installed Windows XP on the computer, then returned it to Fry's. Or at least somebody that wanted to call their computer "Tony". It was supposed to come out of the box with a Linux-type OS on it, but started up with XP already there, and Tony's name in the startup.

The computer was very slow, which worried Albert. I ran a Grisoft anti-virus program, showing all systems normal.

Kev came through. "Hmm, only 128MB of RAM in there? You probably want at least 256 to run Windows XP." I'm not smart enough to know this.

512MB from Best Buy later, I managed to open my computer, install the RAM, and close it up, all without screwing anything up. And the computer is now waaaay faster than before. It's wonderful.

For most people, I'm sure this exercise is on par with changing a lightbulb - nothing out of the ordinary at all.

I can't help feeling like I did something special. Perhaps it dates back to when my father, an IBMer, took me into the office on Saturday afternoons as a wee lad. Surrounded by computers that under no circumstances was I allowed to fool with. More likely, this episode reminded me that I'm inept when it comes to computers, and I don't like feeling inept.

Enough about that. Bottom line is I have a computer that I can trust again, and (thanks to my roommate) a high-speed ISP. Welcome to the 21st century.

Time to fire up UltimateBet.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Three Strikes

..and you're out.

Plenty of crap going on around me. What am I doing? Treading water.

The last two cashgames have been small losses for me - probably the first time I've been down twice in a row since I started hosting. My tourney play recently has blown. I keep running into great hands held by bad players. Loose retards get dealt pocket aces, too.

I'm working ten shifts this week. One day off (Tuesday) and four double-shifts. I'm getting trained as a bartender. My restaurant has three brand new bartenders (Aaron, Horacio, and me), and the claim can be made that we all suck. We're new. We're slow. We're learning (I didn't even know what a Greyhound was). Don't order stupid frozen shit with 7 ingredients when we're busy. Seriously. I'll serve you a pint of Bud Light at that point.

My first two bartender-trainee shifts have gone well. If I continue to not embarass myself, the Sunday lunch bartender shift is mine. This is good. Serve beer, talk football, out by 6pm, play poker. Good times, I say.

Thursday was a stressful time for me. In the course of the normal $10 cashgame, I 86'ed Shawn. For those of you that haven't been kicked out of a bar in your lifetime, 86'ing is this. You've angered those in power, and you're not welcome back for a certain length of time (week, month, year, forever).

This wasn't a spur of the moment decision. Having John from the PCS rip on him might have persuaded me, but another argument with Shawn at my Thursday night game was the last straw. I consider myself a patient person, but Shawn made a liar outta me. I simply cannot stand listening to the retardation spewing from his mouth on a regular basis. Blame the drugs he's taken, blame the ADD he has (where the fuck are his meds?), but it's me that has to listen to the poo being emitted from his cakehole.

My poker game is large enough. I decided that Shawn's presence is way more of a hassle than it's worth, so he's out.

Maybe this reaffirms my status as a jerk. Maybe this means I'm going to enjoy my poker nights more now.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Time keeps on slippin'

Jeff, my new roommate is cool. Plays poker reasonably well (live and on UltimateBet), and donated an octagonal tabletop to the poker-hosting gig we've got going.

Speaking of, my poker game is burgeoning. For the last two tourneys, we've had 18 (that's a full house at my place) and 16. I can't remember the last time we had a single table, for either a cashgame or tourney. My low-dollar game is well-attended, and new folks email me about it weekly. LA and San Diego have way more poker home games, but mine's pretty nice as far as Orange County goes.

I've been hosting mine for more than a year now. Albert decided to throw up a website for recording tourney money finishers, and a messageboard to talk trash.. and poker.

I had a return trip to the PCS. Albert and I didn't do much. Shawn and Miguel played like a bag of ass, and Shawn annoyed the PCS Director to the point that he told me Shawn's not invited back. Russ was with us, and won the damn thing. Go Russ!!

I just don't feel like I've had a spare minute lately. Organizing poker twice a week, and now I'm training to be a bartender at the restaurant. That role involves more hours, but the pay is nicer. There's also talk of making me the regular Sunday lunch bartender. They actually asked me, "Mike, do you like football?" A question to which I'd like to reply, "Does the Pope poop in the woods? I also enjoy drinking beer and looking at nice boobs."

A Sunday lunch bartender shift would be nice for several reasons. I'd imagine customers would drink beer (instead of foo-foo frozen drinks), and talk football. More importantly, I'd be out of the building by 5pm, giving me plenty of time to get home and organize (and play in!) my Sunday tourney.

The poker has been fun to organize. The Skipper Heads-Up Challenge is tied 2-2 (after I took Razz) going into the final game, PL Omaha/8. I'm mediocre on my best days at O/8, but Skipper was horrible at Omaha and PL seems to fit my heads-up style well.

We've got a Double Stakes tourney coming up this Sunday, our first one ever. (Normally our tourneys are $10 buy-in, $10 rebuys, $5 addons, but this one will be $20/$20/$10). And two weeks after that, we'll try our first ever $20 Freezeout, Winner Take All tourney. Should be good times.