Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Satellite to a satellite

Today I made my first online attempt at getting to the WSOP main event. (A guy can dream, can't he?) I finished 29th out of 125 in a $5 UB rebuy. Top 5 got seats in the $300+20 WSOP satellite, and top 11 made the money. I busted out when a medium stack raised my BB, and I shoved with AQo. He probably was getting good enough odds to call with any two, and showed me JT-suited. He made two pair, I made TPTK. I go home now. Not a bad effort for $15, and probably worth a few shots in the future.

The play in the tourney was awful to mediocre, and was very reminiscent of the $10K guaranteed $5 rebuy MTT I played in a week ago.

Steals bad. Value bets good. Big hands paid.


Ah, it feels nice. Calm day at work, followed by a hat trick on the soccer field (7-2 win), then a nice doubleup (+$24) at the Reraise Homegame.

The hat trick wasn't impressive in its execution. I opened the scoring with a left-footed-cross-turned-goal, then a penalty kick, and ending with another nice lefty shot. I could've had three more - I found the post twice and had a header go just wide.

The trick left me feeling all warm and fuzzy because it's been ages since my last one. I'm not a goalscorer. I'm pleased with solid defense and decent passing. Anything else is icing. The last time I had this much icing was probably eight years ago in college in a 5v5 indoor game.

The Reraise Homegame is some of the worst and toughest poker I've seen, simultaneously. Post-flop, bluffs are everywhere. Betting out bottom pair is commonplace. Preflop action often goes like this: Jack-seven suited raises UTG, 98s calls, pocket fives reraise, AKo coldcalls, everybody calls. Volatile poker at its finest. Or ugliest. Did I mention the suckouts of people who don't want to fold draws, even bad five-out-better-hit-my-kicker-or-trip-up draws?

I was puzzled with what to do when I saw the following: two red aces in the SB. UTG raises to $2, KingReraise reraises to $7. I figure King for good cards, and he hates to fold, so rather than make a small reraise, I jammed for $40 total. Everyone reluctantly folded, showing UTG's 55 and King's KTo (wtf? seriously). Even the BB wanted to play his QJ-suited. My aces would've gotten cracked by the 5 on the flop, and not paid by the other bigstack's unimproved KT.

I know that if I smoothcall the $7, UTG calls, and probably the BB. I don't want three opponents against my aces. These guys LOVE seeing flops. In retrospect, making it $17 to go was probably a good balance of stack commitment and getting only one caller, King.

The cool part of the night is that I ran into a hand in the first 10 minutes and was crippled (stupid Kournikova!), leaving me with $1.50. I asked if I could rebuy another $20, and was told 'no'. I proceeded to go on the heater of all heaters, doubling up to $3 with A8o, then tripling up with AJ-suited. Tens, then queens, then two Big Slicks added more chips to my stack. The pinnacle was rivering the nut flush against KingReraise, who was smooth-calling my on-the-come bets with middle set. At that point, I had turned that measly buck-fifty into $60 or so.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Go to hell, Captain Luckbox.

I've got a case of the lazies, and it's extending to poker and blogging. Oh well. The highlights:

I think Thursday night may have been the first and last time my mom attempts NL holdem. She won two hands, then lost two big ones, and busted out of the cashgame within 45 minutes. Her big mistake was holding onto A5o way too long. She hit an ace on the river, but somebody else's AJ made a boat on the same card. Oops.

I had a down session playing NL holdem, but Russ was begging for me to play him in PL Omaha/8. We played four-handed for a few minutes with Shawn and Chris, then another hour heads-up. I turned my third $10 of the night into $36, mostly on good cards and easy decisions in Omaha/8. When Russ had something, I had zilch. When I was drawing strong or already made, Russ was sticking around and paying me.

The tourney Sunday was a blur. I was busted in 10th when Jesse reraised me all-in from his BB with AJo. My kings got cracked by a turned ace, and he had me covered. I would've gone from medium-stack to chipleader - instead I went from medium-stack to cheerleader. Albert played well, trapping the overly aggressive money finishers (Quagmire, Sam, Barker) to win it.

I'm a short-sighted bastard when it comes to freebies. UltimateBet is offering a Frequent Player Freeroll this Saturday, only requirements are earning 300 points through ring games from Nov 12-18. I triple tabled at quarter BB limit O/8, and signed up last night.

Short-sighted? I can't actually play in the freeroll, which starts 30 minutes after I have to clock in for my Saturday lunch bartender shift. Albert will be stepping in for me. If he can't make it, Barker will.

Nice prize pool though - $5,500 in cash, ten seats to the $1 Million Stone Cold Nuts tourney, and some other odds 'n ends.

I don't play MTT's regularly, but I had some time and found a juicy one - the UB $5 rebuy, $10K guaranteed. Ten K? That's a lotta rebuys for 637 people. And they hit it, when it was all said and done for a prize pool of $10.2K. Top 70 paid.

I think UB just started $5 rebuy cash-payout tourneys. Pretty nice.

I played well, and my chips stayed steady. I don't think I ever cracked the top 15 in chips, and stayed very near the median for the whole darn thing.

With Barker, Albert, and Fast Eddie watching, I coasted into the money, still with a medium-sized stack. The hand on the bubble made me a little sad, though I think I took the safe route. A super-shorty went all-in UTG, and the table chipleader reraised a significant amount. With six players left to act behind me, and a chipstack right at the average, I mucked pocket jacks. After they showed 88 and 99, I felt a little foolish. Neither hit a set, and we were all in the money. It didn't occur to me until a few minutes afterward that if I pushed and was called, and the chipleader beat us both, I'm in the money and super-shorty isn't, based on the chipcount at the start of the hand.

I know the short stack has a huge range there, and I knew the other guy knew that. If I'm the BB or a short stack myself, it's an easy all-in.

I still wonder if I gave up too much by mucking those jacks though.

The next hand I played was my last. MP with AJ-hearts, I bumped it up normally. The button called, as did the BB. The flop was an uncoordinated J-high. Looking good unless somebody hit a small set, as I expected queens or kings would reraise preflop. BB bet $8K, about 1/3 of the pot, into me. I reraised all-in for an additional $20K. The button mucked, and the BB called with J8-suited. Which was great, until the 8 on the turn. I had him covered by less than 1K. I was pleased to see pocket sevens on the very next hand, and to see somebody raise large in front of me, but his queens held up. Top 70 paid, I finished 70th.

Oh man, I didn't need to see that. Barker continued to watch the tourney, and noticed Mister Jack-Eight at the final table, then stopped watching. Just for kicks right now, I checked the results of the tourney. Captain Luckbox won the whole fuckin' thing. $2.5K for him, $26 for me.

Despite the title of this post, I feel good about it all. I played well and made the money. Can't begrudge a guy for winning. Suckouts happen.

The take-away message, at least during this rebuy tourney, is that stealing a lot less is a good idea. Callers were everywhere, and every big hand I had got paid. I toned down my steal/bluff attempts for the first 2-3 hours, and limped a few middle pairs in more, figuring for a huge payoff if I hit a set (and for a tough decision if I raised, got 3 callers and 2 overcards). I modified my in-game strategy a little and it seemed to work very well.

The tourney cash was a tiny profit, and the O/8 workout beefed up my bankroll a bit more, with the help of coverted bonus dollars. I'm hovering in the neighborhood of $800. Not bad. I think that quarter limit O8 is easy money - and I haven't even finished Cappelleti's O/8 book. After some more experience, I think I'll give PLO8 a shot, and/or move up a level at limit O8.

I've been reading a lot more of drizz lately, hoping to pick up Omaha/8 wisdom nuggets. At least I hope they're wisdom nuggets.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Not another poker version of me

Mom is here for a visit - if the last two days have been any indication, her trip will consist of rising early, tidying up my apartment, and cooking healthy dinners for me. I love my mom. We drive to work, and she gets the car while I'm working. I'm not sure what she does besides visit the library and Whole Foods supermarket to stock our fridge with colorful foods I've never tried. I've seen flower shops with less greenery than the inside of my fridge.

And really, if she's driving the car to Tijuana to smuggle drugs, I prefer blissful ignorance. But it would make for a funny story.

Over the last two evenings, I've taught her a few holdem concepts. She said she wanted to play in the games I host, so tonight's the night for that. She's a morning person, on east coast time, so I suspect she'll be at the table for two hours tops before calling it a night. I just hope the other guys are better behaved than normal.

Enter the Bluffraise

I moneyed again in the Tustin Sunday homegame tourney, third out of the last four. No wins yet, but I'm playing reasonably well. I went out with a whimper, instead of a bang. Lost a big hand, shortstack in chips, and could not find anything decent to steal with. I knew I needed something decent because of the presence of Gamblin' Jesse on my left. I eventually shoved with Q8-suited, and his K7o beat me. Fourth place out of sixteen will do.

This was the same Jesse that took a huge hand off of me in my first visit to Quagmire's homegame, a $20 buy-in, 25/50 cent blind affair.

It was a maniac game. Raises preflop with face-rag suited, or nothing. Reraises and steal-raises with nothing. You'd think it was deep-stack poker, but you'd be wrong.

I was rock-tight, owing to the most raise-happy person at the Maniac Table on my immediate right. We played our own version of raise-fold poker. He raised, I folded. Time and time and time again. I have since dubbed him "KingReraise".

I had built my twenty into $69, despite running into trip aces, when I finally had a BB unraised. I checked blind. Flop was 9-6-3, two clubs. KingReraise bet $1, and I finally looked at my cards. Those naughty Hiltons, queens. I raised to $3.50, then Jesse reraised to $10. And King called!

I was concerned, but felt I needed to make a big enough raise to get the draws out. I had a good feeling I wasn't up against a set. Two pair, maybe... they do like playing 69. So I pushed, $58 more over the top of Jesse's $10. He thought a long time, and called. King folded his OESD, 54off. Jesse tabled J9o, no clubs. One of my queens was a club. The turn was another 9, and the $140+ pot was pushed his way when I didn't see another lady on the river.

I cooled off quickly, dropped another buy-in when a few flops missed me, then turned my third twenty into $30 as the night ended. What an odd experience that table was, and sooo different from my own, relatively passive game! It's not that they were great poker players, but their style was TOUGH to adapt to.

Action-packed Endgame

Two Sundays ago, we had an interesting end to a new twist on our Sunday tourney. In honor of the WSOP episodes being televised, we played a WSOP event of our own. $20 buy-in freezeout, 10K in chips to start, with blinds & antes that followed the WSOP Main Event schedule. Well, except for their 2 hour blind levels. I decided to shorten ours to 20 minute each to make sure we finished before dawn. Antes in the Main Event start on level 4. Ours don't normally start until level 7, mainly to get the low denomination chips out of there.

At the final table, my chips weren't scaring anybody. I didn't have many. But I stuck around, and doubled with kings and aces right when I needed to. I backed into the money when MightyThor's all-in reraise was called by Sam with TPTK. Top two chipleaders fighting over an action flop: Q-J-7. Thor was #2 in chips, and showed AT to Sam's AQ. A head-scratcher right there, but I wasn't about to say anything. That's why I call him the MightyThor - the man loves to raise big and bring the thunder down. No help to him on the turn or river, and he bubbled in 5th.

Just into the money (4 paid outta 17), I proceeded to go nuts with my short stack. I pushed with 94o, 98-suited and AJo before I got caught with my hand in the cookie jar. The AJ hand set events in motion. I pushed from the SB into Albert's BB, and Al showed his QJo while considering his action. Russ, who was railbirding by now, said he'd call in a second. I was silently rooting for a call, but Albert laid it down.

The very next hand, I went all-in with K6o, and Al called instantaneously from his SB. Oops, the jig is up. KQ for him. But the first card off the deck is a six, and no help for Al! Tilt! Tilt! Tilt!!!

I like Albert, and I respect his poker game, but it is just SO MUCH FUN to put him on tilt. After reading the Tiltboys take on "implied tilt odds", it's just too tempting not to gamble a little with Albert in the hopes that he goes on tilt.

That night, he was on tilt for the rest of the night. Luckily for him, that wasn't long.

Big fat doubleup for me, and if I'm no longer short.

I had the wherewithal to avoid a nice trap set by Miguel. Two hands after my suckout, I'm in the BB with K8o. Miggy completes his SB, and I rap the felt. The flop missed me: J-9-2, all spades, though I did have a bitchin' 8-high flush draw. Miggy checked, I bet two-thirds of the pot. He called, and I began to wonder if my spade was higher than his spade.

Turn was a brick, and we checked it through. River was a brick, and I have king-high. We checked it, and Miggy shows me pocket aces, with the ace of spades. He didn't think I had the flush, he was trapping me. And after all my maniac play, I settled down after one stab at it, and lost less than I probably should have. Go me.

Two hands after that, I've got the button and two black nines. Oh good, another apparent steal from me, and I've got a legit hand this time. I bumped it up normally, and Sam, the chipleader, pushed from the BB. I insta-called, and I liked what I saw: Sam's A7-diamonds. The flop disagreed, pairing Sammy's ace. No help for me, and I was done. We did the math, and he had me covered by only 6K or so. Had my hand held, I would've had a huge chiplead against a crippled Sam, and tired-looking Albert and Miggy.

That was the last hand played. They decided to chop evenly right after, even though Sam had way more chips. Sam got the extra dollar and the credit for the win. I was feeling pretty sharp, even though it was past 2am. I wouldn't have offered them the same courtesy.

All in all, the antes were an important factor, and it was really fun to get all push-happy after I snuck into the money. I was thiiiis close to doing some real damage, and the ride sure was fun.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Mixed game, and madness


Thursday night - the mixed game. PL Omaha/8 has evil swings. My favorite hand was the PLO8 one where I scooped an $84 pot with A-2-Q-6, clubs. My least favorite was the limit holdem hand where the flop was capped, the turn was capped, and the river was 2-bet with four players. Board K-8-3, K, 7. I held 33, Skip had KT, Brian had KQ, and NewGuy had 88. As a card was burned for the river, I thought "Oh no, could I be drawing to one out? Three opponents can only be holding two kings." Sure enough.

The most evil hand was the PLO8 hand with the board reading K-7-7, 9, 2.
Russ had KKxx, Adam had 99xx, and Brian had 77xx. Brian and Russ slowplayed the flop, allowing Adam to hit his boat. Brian raked in the largest pot ever at my game, $105+. We played all PL games with a .10/.20 blinds. Twenty cents in the BB and we had a few pots over $60.

I also flopped quads in PLO/8, but my low draw was counterfeited and I took only half.

Nice action after a truly awful day at work.

Friday - Bonus! Roommate Jeff scored tickets to the Rolling Stones at Anaheim Angels stadium. His company, Ameriquest Mortgage, is sponsoring the tour or some such. They've got 10K tickets, and Jeff got two. Didn't feel like inviting one of his ladyfriends, so I scored a seat in exchange for a shift as the DD. Pretty good ones, too - floor level. The stage started out in deep centerfield, then moved to the pitcher's mound area after about a dozen songs. We were in shallow left field by the foul line.

Never seen the Stones before. Keith Richards looked more human and less zombie-like than I expected. He even sang two songs while Mick was backstage changing clothes. Or taking a nap. Either way, he came back out to rock some more.

This evening, I'm home from a good bartending shift (in contrast to recent annoying server shifts), and I got an invite to a homegame I've never been to. And it's in Tustin, so it can't be more than 5 miles away. $20 buy-in cashgame. Giddyup.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Real money on

"I don't think I've ever seen a better display of tightass aggression." - Skipper, while watching me play in a freeroll.

They have some odd freerolls over at bodog. The one I was in was a $100 guaranteed $0+0 MTT, with the first hour allowing $1 rebuys. We only got fifty-ish rebuys, so the prize pool was a hundred bucks, with $25 to first. I was rewarded with 44 cents of real money for my 36th place finish, when I couldn't fold kings on the river. They've also got some sort of $1K guaranteed $0+0 freeroll, also with rebuys. I'm going to try one of these if I can too.

It was fun - I like the bodog software. The amount of people who were on auto post/fold was staggering. I got moved to a table of 9, with 2 other live people. Definitely introduced a new element of play into the mix: who gets to steal. And the ranges of hands for limping in were huge, bluffing opportunities everywhere. I avoided getting trapped for a lot of chips when the live bigstack actually had a hand.

The lowest limits they've got have nickel/dime blinds. And I think I need at least $10 to make football bets over there.

Best of all, Albert is a special member over there, and he is kind enough to pass on the passwords some of the invite-only freerolls they've got. The quality of play is bad and more passive than I remember UB/Pokerroom freerolls being. I like that.

For now, my attempt to get something for nothing at bodog is amusing. I'm thinking I need a buck or two to start playing at the nickel-dime tables.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

It's the journey, not the destination

I won a 10-handed UB $5 sng last night. Ho hum. The remarkable part was how shortstacked I found myself.

With four players left, I was #2 in chips, and somebody called my BB preflop raise after limping in, then pushed all-in over the top with AQ-high on a 7-7-3 flop. I called with my 9's, and the queen on the turn crippled me.

I had 375 with the BB at 400.

UTG next hand, I didn't want to play 62o with what I figured to be the SB and the BB calling me. I won my BB hand, with only the chipleading SB calling, K9o against his QT-suited.

So I doubled up, and I'm still short. But one of the other guys is also short, and we're on the bubble. I ended up winning another all-in on the very next hand, then having to call Shorty's all-in with J5o from my very next BB - it was just 175 more. I even had two overcards to his pocket 4's. He won that, and I was shortest again.

A doubleup and a bluff later, he was out and I was in the money. I went on a sick rush of cards, and trapped the chipleader twice with big hands. I busted him in third place with AK, then took the whole thing when I flopped quads with pocket 8's.

Sure, it's only a $25 win, but the journey was FUN