Friday, July 30, 2004

I'm off the schneid! Strangely enough, I started the evening with a $10+1 SnG and guess what?! I came in third. Big freakin' surprise, ain't it! NOT! As you can probably tell, I'm pretty frickin' sick of these damn thirds.... Granted, it's profitable, but also frustrating as hell.

So, how did I break the six out of seven trend? I moved UP to the $20+2 tables. The play is less wild and the hands are much easier to read at the higher buy-in, making it easier to make plays and judge hand strength. I may have learned something here... or I just got lucky.

I'm not sure my bankroll justifies the move to $20+2 for all my tournaments, but I definitely felt a better rhythm at this level. It's very possible that I'm just not "loose" enough for the play-any-two-cards, high risk cowboys at the low levels. I know, $22 buy-ins aren't exactly the WSOP, but I think it represents a different group of players with different sensibilities, and these sensibilities are more logical and therefore more "read-able".

Let me put it this way, after we got down to five players, it took 28 hands to eliminate the next player. With only four players and blinds at 150/300, the chips were 2600-2100-2000-1300. Guess who was in last place? But I never felt in jeopardy even shortstacked. I knew I could wait two full orbits for a decent hand, and that an early raise might well take down the blinds. Sure enough, on the first hand I raise to 600 in cutoff with A6o and take the BB. I fold for a full cycle and see JJ in BB. One limper who folds to my raise and I'm basically in a three-way tie for second. Another A6o in the next hand. I raise and get one caller to see the JJ2 flop. I bet out and take the pot (and the chip lead). A couple of orbits later I see AA in SB. Unfortunately, the BB was blinded all-in and I couldn't bet. Very unfortunately, his J4o ends up in a straight when 5678 hits the board.

24 hands after we get down to four hands, we finally lose someone, and it turns out to be TWO people, and though I'm the chip leader, I'm not the one who busts them. AK beats AQ beats Q7 (Q7?) when QJx flops and the T on the turn makes the final Q moot. Now, we're head to head and I'm down 4440-3560 with 250/500 blinds. Very next hand I have K7 and I complete from SB. Flop is KTx. I bet out and get the BB to lay it down... And I never trail from then on, polishing him off in a tidy ten hands. The penultimate hand was the backbreaker. With the chips at 4800-3200 and blinds up to 300/600, I raise from SB to 1200 with K9o. When the flop came up A83, I represented the Ace by betting 2000. He paused and folded, putting my chip lead at 3-1. I put him away the very next hand.

It was a weird feeling. I was able to put people on hands accurately, lay down at the right time, and bet aggressively. It was like I KNEW what they were thinking... "He's betting, he must have the ace" or "He's just raising the minimum, he must want a call"... and I was able to take advantage of my instincts. At the $10+1 tables, I was always confused and off-balance, unable to put a guy on T3o or 84 after he called a raise. Paradoxically, my personality is better suited to the greater discipline and logic of the $20+2. I think the $50+5 has guys that don't give a shit about money and the $10+1 has guys that don't get it, making both groups impossible for me to read.

I'm new to blogging, so all of the minutiae of "Blog Etiquette" (or worse, "Netiquette") probably escapes me. I just figured out how to add links, and I haven't got all the links up that I frequent. I've been doing them in html longhand, lest I be accosted for plagiarizing content, and I don't know html. Frankly, since nobody ever leaves comments, I don't even know if anyone is reading this, and I don't know where to find a hit counter. Oh well....

FIVE IN A ROW!  Of course, that's five third place finishes in a row for you Negative Nellies, and five cashes in a row for you Positive Peters.  An unbelievable streak of poker almost-good-enough-ism!  This makes me like the Philadelphia Eagles of Poker, just good enough to make it to the penultimate challenge only to watch two other guys fight it out for the big prize.

Following my normal pattern, I kept clear of the major skirmishes enough to crawl into the final three with a tidy 5420-1830-750 deficit.  Sigh.  With blinds at 150/300, I raised all-in preflop from SB with A7o and was dismayed to have both other guys call.  They cowardly checked it down after the board flopped Q64, turned a 5 (giving me a glimmer of hope), and rivered a useless T.  At least I thought it was useless, especially when BB flipped up A7o...  UTG f(big stack) lipped up T3o to win with a rivered pair of tens.  TEN-FREAKIN'-THREE OFFSUIT!  What the hell was he doing playing T3o after an all-in and a call?!  So naturally, instead of gasping for breath and in ICU, they're pulling the sheet over my head and tying my toe tag.  All I needed was BB to muster up ONE freakin' bet after the flop or turn, UTG would rightfully fold his garbage, and I'm still alive.


Anyway, the streak came to an ignominious conclusion at five as I busted out of the next tourney in fifth.  Turns out the tide shifted two spots, but in the wrong damn direction!  One interesting thing I need some stathead to figure out.  Two straight hands in the middle of the tournament, EXACT same flop (Qc, 2d, Jh).  I would guess the odds would be the same as any specific flop (3/52 times 2/51 times 1/50).  Let's see, that would be a one in 22,100 chance.  Hmmmm... seems like it should be more than that.  Any comments on my math?

I've studied the last tournament hand-by-hand and I found some minor over-tight play where a push might have stolen a pot or two, but no loose mistakes.  I never called when I was drawing dead or even drawing thin (< 25% pot odds).  Even then, none of the long shots would have come in...  This was just a case of NO cards, and over-tight play when I got mediocre ones (A-rag, Kx or Qx suited specifically).  I got pocket queens once, raised preflop and made a minor bet on a low flop and promptly took down a piddling pot.  But other than that, NO pocket pairs, NO Big Slick, NO A-face suited.  I got AQo once and that was the hand that I busted out on. 

Bad cards.  That's one good thing about SnGs.  Your losses are limited when the cards go cold, and you don't chase money by re-upping or dipping deeper.  You just pick up your jacket and leave the table.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Another SnG night with 2-for-2 third-place finishes.  +$18 for 90 minutes is pretty solid, but I feel like I haven’t learned anything from my past “failures”, assuming you consider four thirds in a row “failures”.  I mean, how would you feel if you owned a horse that came in third in every Triple Crown race?  Would you be happy you beat most of the field, won some money, and that you were profitable, or would you be disappointed that you ALMOST won a lot more money?

I’m struggling with that sense of disappointment with winning sessions of SnG.  I don’t think I’ve had the chip lead with three players left in any of the last four tourneys.  Last night, I went into the final three at chip deficits of 3300/3100/1600 and 3500/3100/1400.  Tough when you’re doubled by both of the other players.  They tend to steal your blinds and bully you until you’re forced to go in with subpar hands.  I never got above 2000 in either of the games, and went out with juggernaut preflop hands of 33 (flopped a set, rivered by an open-end straight) and 76s (flop was A6x, turn was A, river was 6 for the lower boat to ATo). 

More so than any other situation, I’ve seen cooperative play by the big stacks when they have ONE person who is shortstacked in a three-handed game and they are relatively close in chips.  Since the shortstack is putting in a blind 67% of the time and will only have the best preflop hand 33% of the time, they can take turns picking off his chips with big raises.  Of course, I’ve done the same thing in their shoes… or at least I think I did…  It’s been a long frickin’ time since I was in their shoes.

After reviewing all four of the tourneys, I can honestly say that I played reasonably well.  I did, after all, cash in all four.  My late game play didn’t have any major holes, though in each tourney, I can probably pin down ONE hand that crippled my chip stack enough to put me in catch-up mode shorthanded.  Last night, with four playing and me second in chips, I made a loose raise over the short stack to put him all-in.  Unfortunately, he had AQ to my AJ and I dropped from second to third.  Then, he had the gall to lose his chips to the guy in second.  This was like Monopoly where you land on someone’s hotel on the light blues, pay your money, and watch the same guy go bankrupt by landing on the reds, and see your cash shift to the guy who owns the dark greens.  (How’s that for a convoluted, though colorful, metaphor?)

In the other tourney last night, with three left, I limped from SB with JTs.  When the flop came AA5 with two clubs, I bet out kinda halfheartedly representing an Ace.  BB raised me back enough to put me all-in.  I really didn’t put him on the A since he didn’t raise preflop as we had been doing (in retrospect, I should've read him for the Kx of clubs or small pockets).  But I pussed out and folded, conceding 2/3 of my stack and permanently crippling me.  I need to push all-in at that point, knowing that one more orbit would blind me out anyway, and that I needed that 6-outer (or runner-runner straight) to stay alive.  Would I have won the hand?  I don’t know, but it would’ve been better to go out with guns blazing than all-in three hands later with 76s.

I’ve been poking around at several of the other poker blogs out there and it seems like everyone is popping up with their opinions on the upcoming NFL season.  Since I’ve been a diehard 49er fan since 1970, and a diehard fantasy football leaguer since 1986, I’m gonna take advantage of MY blog to post my football predictions for the coming year…



West - Seattle will win the division with 10-12 wins.  Hasselback (cute wife) will be in the Pro Bowl, and Shaun Alexander will come in first or second in the NFC in rushing (him or Portis).  The Lambs will come in second, unable to cast off the Martz yoke of coaching ineptitude, but will contend for the wildcard, missing it when Martz chooses to go for it on 4th and 15 from the 20 yd line in a tie game.  My beloved Niners will drop into suckitude and challenge the Cards for last, with both teams scraping to get 5-7 wins. 


East – Philly will coast to 10-12 wins.  Face it, the rest of this division has 7-9 written all over it.  That alone will probably propel Philly to the homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.  Dallas?  Please.  With Quincy Carter at QB, Eddie George at RB,  and Key at WR, they’ll be battling to escape the bottom five offenses in football.  Washington?  Joe Gibbs was last seen calling Art Monk and Gary Clark to revive this team.  Portis will get 350 carries and 1400+ yards and will be a fantasy monster, but they’ll miss Champ more than they think.  The Giants?  Kurt Warner (fumbler) + Tiki Barber (fumbler) + Eli Manning (INTs) = Giants lead the NFC in turnovers.  Book it now.


South – The most intriguing division.  Well, at least the most question marks.  Carolina must be the favorite, if only because they finished the year well, didn’t lose anyone significant, and nobody else showed anything last year.  Atlanta is interesting with new QB (basically), new coach, new WR, new offensive coordinator…  They’ll still struggle mainly because I can’t see Vick surviving an entire season with his balls-out style.  If he learns to be happy with 10-15 yd gains punctuated with a slide, Atlanta could win the division.  Tampa Bay is sliding downhill fast.  They have the look of a 7-9 team that will fire the coach to compensate for some bad offseason moves.  New Orleans is the unknown quantity, anywhere from 5-9 wins here with big offensive numbers, but inconsistent offensive performers.


Central – Ahhh, the Norris division.  Green Bay wins.  By default.  Brett Favre has gone from being great to being overrated, but still good.  Ahman Green still doesn’t know how to switch arms when carrying the ball.  And they’ll still win 10-12 games.  Minnesota will lead the league in combined total points this year.  They will score 450 and give up 450.  And be .500.  Mooch will start to get some props this year as the Lions make a run at the wildcard.  Harrington will show flashes with his shiny new receiving corps, and the Lions will be in the chase through week 17.  Chicago.  Sigh.  4-12 is my guess.  I don’t even know who’s playing here anymore.  Whither Matt Suhey?


Playoff Teams – Division winners – Seattle, Philly, Carolina, Green Bay

Wildcards – Atlanta, Detroit (Lambs might make it if they hide Martz’ headset for the last game)


Conference championship – Philly over Seattle.



Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Played in two $10 consecutive SnGs last night, came in third both times, profitable but unfulfilled.  My attention was split between the games and “Last Comic Standing”, so my note-taking was lax at best.  I have about 20-30 tournament logs from Empire/Party and I’m considering getting Poker Tracker to see if there are any usable trends in my play (and/or frequent losers in the tournaments).  I specify “usable trends” because some random statistical anomaly like AKo wins more than AKs for the few thousand hands I have isn’t really usable.  I haven’t tried Poker Tracker before and I’m not even sure about the capabilities.  I’ll probably download the trial version and fiddle with it a bit before ponying up the $60.

I do a lot of my blogging at work and somehow, I think they would frown on a download from a site called  It’s probably bad enough that I read and write poker blogs from my desk, but downloading poker software…?  That’s where I draw the line.

In tourney #1, with three players left (and cashing guaranteed) and blinds at 150/300, I was third (4100, 2100, 1800 chips) and in BB with KJo.  We had pretty well stabilized chip position by systematically stealing each others blinds, and I thought this was a good chance to crack back.  After the second place player raised to 1000, I pushed all-in, expecting either a complete bluff (immediate fold) or an Ax hand (I’d be a 4-3 dog, but it would be a tough call if x < ten).  Turns out he called with QJo.  I pumped my fist for roughly a second until a Q appeared on the flop.  My K never appeared and I was out.  It was the right time and place, just not the right flop.

However, in reading over the hands, I realize that I missed some pretty clear opportunities to build my stack early in the SnG.  Early in every tournament, the table has a few people who learned at the Norman Chad School of HoldEm:  all aces and pairs are playable, all aces are unfoldable, and most other face cards are OK too.  I’ve seen players bust out in the first 15 hands by going all-in with A6s preflop or KK with Axx on the board.  And I’m missing out on taking some of the dead money playing tight in the beginning.  I’m getting to the final five almost every time, but with often with a chip disadvantage because of my failure to pillage the stacks of the Chad believers.  Rather than playing tight and coasting to the top five, I might need to consider wielding a big stick during the opening rounds and trying to get to the top three with a clear lead.

In tourney #2, I got to the final three with a BIG chip disadvantage (5000, 2100, 900).  With blinds at 200/400, I pushed all-in with QJs, was called by big stack with K8o, and went out when the board whiffed both of us.  The weird thing is that I never got above 2040 chips the entire SnG, and hung on for third.  That speaks more to the quality of the competition than my own ability.  One or two guys typically dominate the early play by betting aggressively, almost violently, and I’ve been content to bide my time and let them whittle the field.  Once it gets down to the last five or six, I get more aggressive and bold.  Unfortunately, I’m usually doing it with one of the lower stacks, and I have to rely on decent cards to make it.  With most of the ten-seaters, I’m confident I can profit from the games IF the cards are equitable.  When you’re shortstacked though, you can’t necessarily afford to wait for the card pendulum to swing back into the positive zone.  I need to check the correlation between my early chip totals (ie. doubling up early vs. hanging around passively) and my win % and EV.

Maybe Poker Tracker can help me there… 

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Just a quick take here.  That guy on Jeopardy that's won like eight billion dollars...?!  A total fraud.  Oh sure, he's pretty sharp, but what he has that nobody else has is perfect timing.  Most people don't know this, but Jeopardy has become a show of timing and not knowledge.  You can't buzz in until Alex finishes the last syllable of the last word or you'll be locked out for 0.2 seconds (which is plenty of time if the questions/answers have been dumbed down enough for everyone to know the correct response).

Seriously, watch the other players.  They're trying to buzz in, meaning they know the answers (or at least have a reasonable guess).  He's the one who always gets in though, because he has Alex's mid-Canadian cadence down pat, possibly because Mormons from Utah are just like prolific, polygamous Canadians without accents. 

They changed the rules for the new stupid-audience-friendly Alex-version.  In the superior Art Fleming version, you could buzz in as soon as the answer was revealed, even if you hadn't read it yet...  hence JEOPARDY.  In essence, you were gambling that your knowledge of a given category would allow you to correctly respond to whatever answer was posed.  Now that they have ridiculous cryptic category names to amuse the masses and Alex wants everyone to hear the proper pronunciation of fleur de lis, they discarded the gambling aspect of the game.

How do I know all this?  Well, cue up the Weird Al Yankovic... because I lost on Jeopardy.  In June.  1988.  All those who saw me, raise your hands....  I was the guy who said "Shit" and was white-sounded out.  Yay me! 

Monday, July 26, 2004

Jeezus H. Christ, I've made the big time, getting mentioned in a real-life, Top Ten Poker Blog!  Iggy has referenced my humble semi-blog in his multi-million reader Poker manifesto!!!  I'm near the 1/3 point in his posting []  Now I may have to post more frequently than once a JLo wedding... 

Had a mediocre weekend at the Empire tables, cashing in a couple of NLHESNGs.  I'm trying to come up with a cool nickname for these and trying to propagate it through the poker community...  It's almost the same letters as "Van Helsing", but that would only work for a $5 table (V).  Hmmm, gonna hafta think about that some more... 

One hand was typical.  With five players left in, I was in a solid second place and BB w/66.  After two folds, UTG 1-raises, I call, and the BB (who was shortstacked) calls.  Flop is the gloriously pathetic 852 with two diamonds.  I bet enough to put the shortstack all-in,  trying to isolate one of them, figuring them both for overcards or flush draws.  BB calls all-in and UTG predictably folds.  So now I'm head-to-head with the shortstack and almost 3-1 if he has the anticipated overcards.  Empire flips his cards to show 64o.  WTF?  He called all-in with a double gutshot?  The turn pairs the eight and the river (naturally) is a 7, completing his straight, doubling him up, and dropping me to third, just a few chips ahead of fourth.

One side note, after checking and the HoldEm Calculator, he was close to a coin flip IF he figured me for overcards.  More likely he figured he was DONE and made a crying call expecting to pack it in.  One learning point for me here...  when players are shortstacked in low-limit online tournaments, I think they make way more questionable calls and I need to really think more carefully about putting them on specific (and logical) hands.  No way in HELL did I put that guy on a straight draw...  After all, he called a raise PRE-FLOP with 64o with one caller already in.  Against some people, I really need to dumb down my thought process...

p.s. I busted him later with pocket sevens against his A4o when I put him all-in pre-flop.  Gotta keep an eye out for him in the future so I can sit at his table.

Some weekend ramblings (avoid if you don't like politics)...

- Dear ESPN, Not everyone in the US gives a shit about the Yankee-RedSox rivalry.  Spare us the "Curse of the Babe" stories and the Bucky Dent crap, we've heard it all before.  News would be the RedSox winning the World Series.  When they're behind by 7-10 games midway through the season, that's called status quo and is therefore NOT news.

- I've posted comments about steroids on other sites, but I'm tired of the innuendo and accusations surrounding Barry Bonds.  He hasn't been tested positive for anything, police didn't find steroids at his house, he doesn't have corked bats (yeah, Sammy Sosa).  All these idiots keep saying "Look at the size of his head, look at the way his body changed in the last 15 years!".  Listen, I'm 40 years old too.  My head looks way bigger (frighteningly so) and so are my legs, torso, and butt.  It happens when you get to middle age!  Geez, and it's not like his performance has dropped off since all of the testing and hullaballoo (like say, Jason Giambi and Troy Glaus).   Only ONE ballplayer in the top 10 has been CAUGHT cheating and that is Sammy Sosa and his corked bat.  Why does he get a pass?  Because he sucks up to the media, and Barry Bonds doesn't.

- Dear Linda Ronstadt, Eat a salad once in a while, put on some makeup, and keep your political ramblings OUT of your concerts.  If you want to make a political statement, save it for a free concert or the press or talkshows.  High rollers who paid $60/seat to see you sing "You're No Good" or "Blue Bayou" don't really care what you think about Michael Moore.  And this ain't about the First Amendment, it's about being a PERFORMER and taking money for performing.  Besides, the fans were just exercising their First Amendment rights anyway by booing your bloated carcass.

- I'm still waiting for the liberal media to compare the 9/11 commission report to Moore's propagandist fictional flick, and stop calling it a "documentary" when it is clearly a political commentary piece intended to sway the uninformed voter.  Basically, the 9/11 commission blasts the intelligence organizations for their shoddy work under Clinton and Bush (umm, that would be eight YEARS under Clinton and eight MONTHS under Bush) in the pre-9/11 environment.  Face it, Michael Moore didn't care about the truth: he had an agenda and made a film to follow the agenda.  Anyone who says otherwise is delusional or liberal... or both.

- Why are we still in Iraq?  While I'm OK with the initial reasoning ("The CIA says they have WMD"), it's apparent that the CIA was wrong or they lied.  Now that we've accomplished goal 1A in Iraq (get Saddam out of power) and goal 1B was moot (no WMD), shouldn't we get the hell out?  If the Democrats had any brains at all, they'd be hitting this point, not WHY we went into Iraq, but WHY are we still there?

One huge failing of EVERY administration in the last 30 years is the failure to understand that nobody in the Middle East WANTS democracy or freedom... or at least not enough to fight for it.  Americans are raised to believe that freedom is worth fighting for...   they are raised to believe that religion is worth fighting for.  Think about it, Religion is almost the philosophical opposite of Freedom (caps intentional).  Religion is a doctrine of living your life a specific way to achieve an ultimate goal, Freedom is self-defining for both the goal and the means to achieve it.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Do two consecutive wins constitute a winning streak?  Or is the magic number three?

Went back to my formula of taking a lot of early notes, and adjusting my play accordingly, and won another $10 NLHE SnG last night.  I actually went all-in with mediocre hands more than I typically do.  For some reason, I sensed weakness all around me (strange phenomenon when you're online), so flopping middle pair with a seemingly weak flop seemed like a good reason to bet out. 

The player to my left was extremely erratic.  I was BB (100/200) with T5o with this clown shortstacked and limping.  Flop came 753 with two diamonds and I bet enough (700) to put him all-in with my middle pair, figuring that my middle pair had the lead at this point, and I didn't care if he called with a straight draw or high cards and I wanted him to lay down a flush draw.  When he called, I thought he had diamonds, but he showed.... QTo.

I checked the odds just now on the odds calculator.  If he had two diamonds, it would be roughly a coin flip, depending on how high they were.  If he had K6 (a reasonable hand to call with, high card, gutshot draw), I would be a 3-2 favorite.  With two overcards against my made pair, like in the actual hand, I was actually almost a 5-1 favorite after the flop.  Of course, he pulled a Q on the river to stay alive, but I caught him a few hands later with Woolworth (5 and 10).  I raised from SB and he must have thought I was trying to steal his BB because he went all-in.  Even if I was trying to steal, T5o isn't a strong defending hand, but he came over me.  I had an easy call with wired Cowboys (nice little 8-1 odds for my money) and busted him out in 4th place with a virtual three-way tie for the lead.

It took me seven hands to clear out the next player (77 taking out A6s, 2-1 in my favor), and fourteen more to bully my 2-1 chip advantage into the winner's circle.  I didn't play particularly well in the head-to-head, probably letting the guy hang around too long, something I intend to learn from.  I played solid early (8-10 players), changed to more aggressive for the mid-game (5-7 players), and just played smart at the end, betting out with the lead and getting out of trap hands early.  I should really put that mantra up somewhere.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Oh, hey, I just figured out how to allow comments.  I'm positive that NOBODY has ever read this blog, so it's a pointless maneuver, but a fun one to contemplate.  I've thrown comments up on a couple of poker blogger sites (cusephenom's  and pokergrub's oddly named and read many more blogs without comment (iggy's , hdouble's , the Poker Penguin, Mean Gene, Anisotropy, more than I can name). 

I am not nearly as dedicated to my poker play as they are, nor am I as eloquent, and I'm using this blog as more of a poker diary and a spleen-venting rant than a true blog that strives for widespread readership.  Some things I just want to get out there, stuff I can't say at work, stuff I can't talk about with my wife, stuff that might come to me in a burst of words that I can upchuck onto someone else's server for posterity.

For example, my wife thinks I have a gambling problem.  Truth is, I have a voyeuristic, vicarious gambling problem.  I love to WATCH people gamble.  I've stood in casinos behind the big rollers playing shitty house-loaded games like Let It Ride or Pai Gow or Carribbean Stud for hours at a time, quietly rooting for them, knowing they were going to lose, just enjoying the free entertainment.  The explosion of televised poker is evidence that there are others who share this inexpensive thrill of peeking over a high roller's shoulder.  Sometimes WATCHING is better than doing....  I play small stakes poker online because it's fun.  I would never venture into stakes that would jeopardize my family cash flow.

All rationalization aside, I'm waaaaay ahead in my online gambling, especially if one counts fantasy sports.  I'm in a couple of fantasy leagues (baseball and football) that charge $100 per person for a twelve-person league, and I'm probably up $500 over the last four years in that alone.  I'm into UB for $0 (bought in for $80, cashed for $80, dropped $100 in profits back to $0), Party for $50 (bought twice for $50, cashed for $50 when I got up to $100, back to $0), and Empire for +$125 (bought for $50, bonused for $25, cashed for $75, $100 on account).  I've played ESPN fantasy sports for about $100/year and have about a dozen league champ t-shirts to show for it, but that's not really gambling, more like some interactive video game.  Same with WhatIfSports...

Oh, and if you saw my last blog, you'll notice that I'm $50 higher on Empire than I was yesterday.  That's because I won a $10 NLHE SnG last night, making a tidy comeback when I was a distant third with three players left (5200, 2100, 700 is distant) and won the whole thing in TEN hands.... TEN HANDS?!!?!?

1. Pocket Kings, raised all-in from SB, hoping the BB would think I was desperate.  He folded faster than the Filipino government
2. Q6o, folded
3. A9s in BB, UTG raises, I go all-in, he calls with A8s.  9xx rainbow on the flop and I'm now in 2nd and he's teetering with 400 chips.
4. He's all-in as BB, I'm in SB with Q7s and I call, feeling my oats.  He turns A9s, but the 9 on the flop is cracked by the Q on the turn, and now it's head to head.  I'm down 5200 to 2800.
5. K5o and I fold away my SB of 200.  2-1 chip disadvantage now and blinds are up to 250/500.
6. Crabs (33) in BB.  He raises to 1500 from SB, I figure he's got high cards and is semi-bluffing, so I push all-in figuring it's a coin flip and my chances ain't gonna get better.  He shows AJo, and the board whiffs both of us, but I have the pair and I double up to put him down almost 2-1.
7. A5s.  I put up a big semi-bluff raise from SB and he predictably folds.  I smell blood.  I'm raising with any SB borderline hand from now on.
8. 99. He limps, I pop a 2K raise.  He pauses...  and folds.  Now it's 6200-1800.
9. T3s.  I fold and hand over the 250 SB.
10. Crabs again in BB!  He raises all-in and I pause for dramatic effect before calling.  He has 98o.... hmmm, same coin flip as A-rag.  Flop of KJ6 gives him some gutshot straight possibilities.  K on the turn leaves him a whopping twelve outs (J986).  The river is the blessed K and my boat takes the final pot. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

June and July are pretty busy for me, but somehow I found time to whittle a $250 stake in Empire down to $50.  Still, it's all profit since I cashed out for $75 already from my $50 buy-in plus the $25 bonus.  And forget that crap about "Playing with house money"... if I had a chance to get a check and passed it up, it should be MY money.
I've studied my play and some of the histories (mostly SnG's), and learned some pretty basic things about the way I play.  I'm way too passive (some might call it 'trap-happy') when I have good hands, and I'm way too tight with borderline or drawing hands.  Rather than trying to win money or chips, I'm trying to be impressive with slowplays and good folds.  I've gotta focus on the goal, which is to win money, not admirers.  When I have the best hand early, I need to ram and jam and either get the draws out or make them pay terrible odds for their draw.  When I have a draw, I need to sometimes lead out to pre-empt the raisers and get better pot odds.
When I was building up my stake, I was pretty much playing the bully in SnG's, trying to double up early on a calling station on a draw, and then dropping into a pattern of stealing blinds with borderline hands (especially against shorter stacks).  It's fun to raise just enough to make someone have to go all-in, knowing that he doesn't want to risk his SnG tournament life on a borderline hand.  Of course, you'll always run into bad beats doing this, and the last two weeks have been rife with examples of me having the best hand (and odds) after the turn only to get cracked by 10-20% chances that had no mathematical basis for calling the turn.  Yeah, I know in the long run I'll come out ahead, but the pendulum seems to have firmly locked in the upright position favoring the fishes for now....
Got back with a second-place NLHE $10 SnG last night.  Played pretty well and had a 5-3 lead when it got to the final pair.  Lost the lead with a QT flush against a A2 flush, and eventually ended up all-in with A-rag and lost to pocket pairs when an ace never appeared.  Hopefully, I can take some momentum from the positive result and build MY stake back up.  Also, there are rumblings around the neighborhood about a possible poker game for the dads now that the moms have started a Bunco group....  I've already volunteered to host the SECOND game.  I think the second game is most important since ONE game is an event, TWO games is a series.  I don't even know if anyone ever reads this, but I'll keep posting when/if the game starts.