Thursday, March 17, 2005

Probably not a big deal to the high rollers out there, but I busted my cherry at FTP with a 20-seat SnG victory last night. OK, it was a $5+.5, but a victory nonetheless.

That makes six sites with SnG victories… UB, Party, Empire, Pacific, PokerStars, and FullTilt, which is the extent of my online deposits. I’ve looked at Daniel Negreanu’s Poker Mountain a couple of times, but there is never more than about a dozen people playing at any one time, certainly not enough to even host a small dinner party, let alone a reasonable poker tournament.

So now I’m back to being profitable at FTP after wasting money in the HORSE tournament and a couple of abortive Razz and 7-stud ventures. Play doesn’t seem to be exceptionally different from any other site, although there is considerably more trash talking and posturing. Perhaps the Tiltboy/Crew attitude has led to the degradation of poker table manners in general, or these penny-ante Hellmuths-in-training are using the site as their sandbox. Regardless, it’s almost like any other negotiation. Whoever talks first, loses.

One thing that I’m definitely improving is my positional play and pot-odds calculations, playing more speculative hands when I’m in LP (sooted connectors, even two-gappers), as well as getting away from weaker hands (pocket pairs, medium aces) in EP. This has helped me avoid the early train wrecks that were derailing me early in previous SnGs, as well as establishing an early table image as someone that will play looser hands.

I was limping with virtually ANYTHING if I was getting good preflop pot odds. One key hand was when I was SB with blinds at 25/50 with 3-4 limpers, I called with 84s (and roughly 8-1 preflop pot odds). When the BB checked, J75 with two spades flopped, and gave me flush and gutshot draws. I bet around 100 into a 250+ pot, and brought along two callers for the turn, which completed my flush. No time to dick around now, I pushed all-in and was called by AJo with the ace of spades. TPTK had seven spade outs and missed them all on the river. And I took over the chip lead, never to be relinquished.

In the past, I would NEVER have played such a weak hand, no matter the odds. I’m not sure whether that’s a good thing or not, because chip stack still must be considered. I actually laid down pocket tens to a raise and re-raise all-in when we were four-handed, figuring that it wasn’t worth it to gamboool at that point. Turns out I was right because someone turned KK and hit his set. Later, three-handed, with a 3-1 chip lead over both other players, I called a re-raise all-in with 88 and caught my opponent with AK which didn’t improve.

Yes, this old dog is learning new tricks. Or at least new ways to get fed.


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