Thursday, February 23, 2006

Year-to-date at low limits

Earlier this week, my boss asked me how often I play poker, and how much money I make on average per month. After a conversation about bankroll management, I estimated that poker buys me groceries.

It got me thinking, so I tallied my live poker play since the calendar turned to '06. I'm up $434, year to date. I figure that's one moderately decent session for the casino-visiting bloggers out there.

I haven't been to Commerce, or any other casino, this year. My homegame ($10 cashgame on Thursdays, $10 rebuy tourney on Sundays) is the biggest slice of that pie. One visit to Murderer's Row ($50 buy-in), and one to Dana Point ($20), and a few to the Reraise Homegame ($20) in Anaheim. I've wagered $360, and taken $794 off the table.

Then again, this number is a little skewed to the good. That the Murderer's Row visit was in the black is nothing short of a miracle. It's also probably human nature that I want to do the math on my live play just days after winning the Sunday tourney that I host.

Either way, I want to keep learning, improving, and thinking about my game.

Tilt rules

I hit up two 18-person $5 sng's today, finishing 3rd and 1st. My traps worked, my medium-strength hands (and reads) caught bluffs. Things just fell into place. I really like the payout structure in those - top 4 get paid. Third place for those is $18, and first place for the $5 single table sng's is $22.50. It feels easier to me to get thirds in the two-tables than win the singles.

I decided to plunk a fourth of my FT bankroll at a $1/$2 razz table. $50 in, $47 out after ninety minutes. I quickly identified a maniac and two horribly obvious calling stations. It was quite an experience. I realized fairly soon that ramming and jamming on 3rd and 4th does not get your opponents to fold. Unfortunately, after building the pot with sexy starting cards, multiple bricks and pairs followed. In the span of 10 minutes, I folded big multi-way pots when I started with (A3)2 and two seperate (26)3's. It's safe to say I would've had a session in the black hand any of those hands held up.

I'm really loving Full Tilt, and it feels nice to be over $200 now.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

I hope nobody saw that.

Wow. The hand that busted me out of tonight's $16K guaranteed on Full Tilt was so bad, it hurts my brain to remember. But first, the back-story.

My bankroll on FT is tiny - not quite $200 yet. I've recently discovered the $4 Tier 1 sng's - 9 players, winner gets a $26 tourney chip, 2nd gets $10, third gets the bubble. I've played in three so far, and won twice. Clearly, this is lucky, though I must be doing something right to avoid early exits in these things.

So I thought, why not jump right in? There's a huge $26 tourney tonight, and I have not one, but two tourney chips burning a hole in my virtual pocket.

The $16K Guaranteed looked enticing. 750+ players when I signed up, already over the guarantee. Boobie Lover, Joe Speaker, Factgirl, Gamecock, and PokerNerd were also signed up - I had a few minutes to look for familiar names... I know the real players favor these types of tourneys. 827 entries, all told, so the top 81 divvy up a prize pool of $19.8K.

In every tournament I enter, I want to finish in the money. In this particular one, I was playing at an online buy-in a step or two above where I normally am. I'm the low-limit guy with the small 'roll, happy to take shots at $5 MTT's. This was a slightly larger shot, and I wanted to get a handle on the competition. I play a little scared and tight-weak when I move out of my comfort zone.

Early indicators showed that play would be a little tighter and a little smarter, but foolishness would abound.

I stole the blinds in the second orbit with 98o, raising from the cutoff. This hand would be one of the highlights of my tournament.

I limped with 99 in EP and was the only caller to a button-raise. The flop is eight-high, rainbow, and I figure I'll checkraise. The button had other ideas, checking behind. The turn is an ace, which I hate to see, so now it seems like checking is again a good idea, for different reasons. And the button checks behind. The river is a queen, I can't find it in my gut to bet out, and check-fold.

Ok, a misplayed hand, but at least it didn't cost me much.

The foolishness was fun to watch, at least.

Four limpers for 50, and the SB jams for 1200. He's called by AQo, and his A6o is no good by the end of it.

Flop is J-T-2, two clubs. MP bets out, gets min-raised by the button. MP calls. Turn is the ace of clubs, they check. River is a small club, MP goes all-in for a slight overbet of the pot, AKo, no clubs, calls. MP has K5-clubs.

I hate min-raises.

The gamblor on my left doubles up on a flush draw, A4-spades against AJ. TPTK no good on the river.

Finally, a hand I can enjoy. Two EP limpers for 50, so I make it 200 with KK. Gamblor min-reraises to 350. I had 1300 at the start of the hand, so I figure I'll jam if anybody else calls. Nobody does, so I decide to smoothcall. I check the 9-high flop, Gamblor goes all-in, and I insta-call to see his A5-clubs. Well, he does have that pesky ace and a runner-runner draw to a straight or flush, but nothing arrives.

I love min-raises.

Gamblor then cracks aces with K6-clubs, two clubs on the flop, all-in, river club. Nobody sent me the memo that king-rag of clubs is GOLD.

I wish I could just summarize my exit to say that I ran into kings and busted out. That wouldn't be fair to the sheer stupidity I exhibited during the hand.

It's folded to me on the button with 77. With the BB at 60 and a stack of 2800, I raise to 200. The button reraises to 420. Huh? At the time, I thought it was a min-raise. (I hate those.) I didn't have much of a read on the reraiser. He wasn't playing too many hands, or super-tight or -aggressive.

Thinking "I'd like to flop a set", I call, and see J-J-T rainbow. He bet out 600. I thought it was a little weak, and raise to 1500. He jams, and has me covered. I can fold and sit on my 900+ (M of 10!), or call. I call, convincing myself as I'm clicking the 'call' button that I'll see AK.

I'm an idiot. I see KK. I'm out in 546th. If I ever brag about how I'm a smart/good poker player, I should be reminded of this hand.

Ok, so it's a dicey raise followed by a truly awful call. Wanting to punish myself, I looked at the math. Twodimes tells me that my sevens are a whopping 52.7% to beat AKo on that board.

I hope I got all of that dumb that outta my system.

Certainly, the next $26 tournament won't end so horribly. How could it?

(At this moment, it's the 2nd hour break, and factgirl is the only blogging survivor, in 38th with 131 remaining. Goooo facty!)


On the upside, my girlfriend enjoyed our Valentine's day. And she wants to get some practice before the tourney I host on Sunday night - it sounded like she might actually play in this one, if she feels ready.

Friday, February 17, 2006


Helluva week - I hate holidays, and I work all of them, except Christmas Day. Yes, I know I need a new job.

I worked all day on Valentine's Day, and I knew ahead of time I'd be working, so Michelle picked this Friday as the day we'll be celebrating V-day. Friday is my usual off-day. As it is though, I'm missing Murderer's Row. Last week, F-Train... this week, Dr Pauly. Michelle is cool with poker, and learning it herself, but not so in love with it yet that I can beg off on my one off-day of the week and journey to the mystical poker mecca of Westwood to play in the Baddest Homegame West of the Mississippi.

Chocolate, flowers, and dinner in Huntington Beach tomorrow night....

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Lead Me Not Into Temptation

I've had a trying day. This weekend has been marked by the girlfriend having "a headache". No, it's not that time of the month. I visitied Kida in the hospital today. I went home, and started drinking, with online poker as my companion. Perhaps there will be a post about the $5 PL Omaha/8 tourney on Full Tilt from on_thg or drizz (as they both went late into the tourney).

My roommate needs a wingman. We've been invited to a party - the ladies want him to bring his roommate. He's driving, and dragging me along. This has all the making of a trainwreck, but I'm going... right now.

I hope she's not hot.

Wish me unluck.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Full Tilt loves me, Bodog hates me

I haven't played too much in the last week or so, but I've played enough to start to love Full Tilt. I scored a final table appearance in my first ever PL Omaha/8 tourney, turning my $5 entry into $59. I feel good about fifth out of 150+, as I'm fairly inexperienced at PLO8. It's a fun game when things go your way. The $59 is nice when your FT bankroll was a pip over one hundred at the start of the tourney.

I also donked around in a Jersey Days freeroll, winning my way into the Feb 11 Jersey Days tourney. Top 9 from that event score a personalized FT jersey and an LA Kings prize package. 1000 entered in the freeroll, I finished 2nd. Top 3 moved on, so that was nice.

Oh, and I think FT's $5 HORSE sng's are sweet. I loves me some Full Tilt right about now. My second HORSE sng found Mourn on my left. I wasn't sure it was him until I asked. I played like a fool in the sng, he monied despite losing a few hands early.

Bodog gave me $40 (to go with the $2 and change I scored from freerolls there) when my roommate used me as a referral. I promptly lost two $5 sng's, with QQ being my downfall each time, both within the first 2 blind levels. The first time, I had two black queens, raised in MP, got repopped the minimum by the SB, and an EP limper (whose play had labeled him a dunce) called. I had the SB covered, but rather than jam, I decided to see a flop. All clubs, jack high.

SB jams, EP tard calls. There's a lot of action in front of me, but I have a sneaking suspicion my hand is good here, so I jam. EP tard calls, and show JT-diamonds. SB has kings, but they're red. So I need a Q or a club to scoop. No such luck, but the sidepot keeps me alive. Until I got blinded down, jammed with A8s, and the KJo caller flopped two pair.

Next sng, I get QQ in MP, raise it up, and get 27 callers. Or 5. Either way, it felt like way too many people saw the flop. No ace or king though: 7-5-3, two spades. I have the queen of spades, and bet out when it's checked to me. Two callers, turn is an offsuit 9. I get checkraised for a tiny amount, and one of the blinds has 53o. No help on the river, and IGHN. Oh well.

Update: Bodog sng #3 lasted one hand. I raised with black aces on the very first hand, got one preflop caller. He flopped a hidden set of sevens, and I'm not good enough to fold aces to a checkraise on the turn against the supposedly bad players in a $5 sng.