Saturday, March 29, 2008

Winning is Easy... (HA)

... when you hit quads every time you're a 4-1 underdog. Decided to snap my streak of pokerless fun with a casual $5 STT. Play was very tight and slow, but at least provided me with a few good laughs. It was good to see that lady luck is back on my side for once, but I forgot to ask her where she was during those $75 Tier Three games.

Can't really think of playing either of these any differently given the very tight-passive feel of the table, just glad I managed to suck out and rub it in a little...

Full Tilt Poker, $5 + $0.50 NL Hold'em Sit n' Go, 80/160 Blinds, 5 Players - Hand History Converter

UTG: 955
Hero (CO): 2,400
BTN: 1,210
SB: 3,165
BB: 5,770

Pre-Flop: (240) Th Ts dealt to Hero (CO)
UTG calls 160, Hero raises to 580, 3 folds, UTG raises to 955 and is All-In, Hero calls 375

Flop: (2,150) Tc Jd Td (2 Players - 1 is All-In)
Turn: (2,150) Ks (2 Players - 1 is All-In)
River: (2,150) 3h (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: 2,150 Pot
UTG showed Ad Ac (two pair, Aces and Tens) and LOST (-955 NET)
Hero showed Th Ts (four of a kind, Tens) and WON 2,150 (+1,195 NET)

And then to end it...

Full Tilt Poker, $5 + $0.50 NL Hold'em Sit n' Go, 300/600 Blinds, 2 Players - Hand History Converter

Hero (BB): 7,400
SB: 6,100

Pre-Flop: (900) 8d 8s dealt to Hero (BB)
SB raises to 1,200, Hero raises to 7,400 and is All-In, SB calls 4,900 and is All-In

Flop: (12,200) 5d 8h 5h (2 Players - 1 is All-In)
Turn: (12,200) Kc (2 Players - 1 is All-In)
River: (12,200) 8c (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: 12,200 Pot
Hero showed 8d 8s (four of a kind, Eights) and WON 12,200 (+6,100 NET)
SB showed Ts Td (two pair, Tens and Eights) and LOST (-6,100 NET)

My QQ also managed to hold up against AKo, which took play down to 3-handed with yours truly as the big stack. And earlier on my AJs top-two pair fended off a KQ inside straight draw to knock the first player out. It was nice to have everything go my way for once, and hopefully this will continue into April.

Going to spend the rest of March doing a little work on
ZipRake and trying to catch up on sleep before another busy work week.


Monday, March 24, 2008

More Venting (BB)

Well, I'm officially out of tokens. And I think I'm done with all this Tier crap as well. It's not the format or anything, and it's not really that I've been playing bad, but my luck of recent has just been the worst that I can ever remember it being, and it especially sucks when stuff like this happens on Tier Two and Tier Three. Played one of each today, and busted out on two craptacular hands...

First a $24+2 Tier Two 18-player SNG. Down to the final 8...

Full Tilt Poker, NL Hold'em Tournament, 60/120 Blinds, 8 Players - Hand History Converter

MP1: 1,300
MP2: 4,985
Hero (CO): 1,665
BTN: 1,350
SB: 1,070
BB: 9,320
UTG: 5,210
UTG+1: 2,100

Pre-Flop: (180) Ks Kd dealt to Hero (CO)
UTG raises to 600, 3 folds, Hero raises to 1,665 and is All-In, 3 folds, UTG calls 1,065

Flop: (3,510) 3d Jh 5h (2 Players - 1 is All-In)
Turn: (3,510) As (2 Players - 1 is All-In)
River: (3,510) Tc (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: 3,510 Pot
Hero showed Ks Kd (a pair of Kings) and LOST (-1,665 NET)
UTG showed Ts Th (three of a kind, Tens) and WON 3,510 (+1,845 NET)

Then, just now in a $69+6 Tier Three 9-player SNG. Would've played an 18 probably but none were available. I had just lost about 1/3rd of my stack here a few hands earlier trying to take a short-stack out w/ my AKo vs. his 55.

Full Tilt Poker, NL Hold'em Tournament, 60/120 Blinds, 8 Players - Hand History Converter

MP2: 620
CO: 1,748
Hero (BTN): 995
SB: 1,860
BB: 1,685
UTG: 1,775
UTG+1: 2,393
MP1: 2,424

Pre-Flop: (180) Jh Jd dealt to Hero (BTN)
UTG folds, UTG+1 raises to 360, 3 folds, Hero raises to 995 and is All-In, 2 folds, UTG+1 calls 635

Flop: (2,170) 4s 7h Kd (2 Players - 1 is All-In)
Turn: (2,170) 8s (2 Players - 1 is All-In)
River: (2,170) 6c (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: 2,170 Pot
Hero showed Jh Jd (a pair of Jacks) and LOST (-995 NET)
UTG+1 showed 5c 5d (a straight, Eight high) and WON 2,170 (+1,175 NET)

Sick, just freaking sick. And it's been happening way too often, as well as all of my coinflip situations being shot down in flames. I'm done for now. Probably going to take the rest of the month off, and then just go back to playing straight up $5 STT's for a while. Another goal of mine is to win one of the $5 90-player SNG's. I've finished in the top 4 about 5-6 times but never managed to win the darn thing, so I'll shoot for that for next month.

In hopes of keeping myself sane though, I'm going to take some time off. Good thing work starts back up tomorrow so I can preoccupy myself with that.

And on that note, I'm out.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Donkfest Hand of the Night (HA)

Been playing some little $5 STT's and $6 Tier One turbo's again... basically just bored and wanted to try applying some of the things I'm reading up on in Harrington's Volume II. Not running too great today, but this one was fun. Ended up winning it fairly easily after knocking out three donks (okay two, and one reasonably sane player). Think I'll end here for the night and go back to reading...

Full Tilt Poker, NL Hold'em Tournament, 20/40 Blinds, 5 Players - Hand History Converter

Hero (CO): 1,590
BTN: 1,055
SB: 1,365
BB: 3,540
UTG: 1,450

Pre-Flop: (60) Kd Ah dealt to Hero (CO)
UTG calls 40, Hero raises to 160, BTN calls 160, SB raises to 350, BB folds, UTG calls 310, Hero raises to 1,590 and is All-In, BTN calls 895 and is All-In, SB calls 1,015 and is All-In, UTG calls 1,100 and is All-In

Flop: (5,360) 9d As 6h (4 Players - 1 is All-In)
Turn: (5,360) Ac (4 Players - 1 is All-In)
River: (5,360) Td (4 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: 5,360 Pot
Hero showed Kd Ah (three of a kind, Aces) and WON 5,360 (+3,910 NET)
BTN showed Kc Jh (a pair of Aces) and LOST (-1,055 NET)
SB showed Qd Qh (two pair, Aces and Queens) and LOST (-1,365 NET)
UTG showed Qc 7c (a pair of Aces) and LOST (-1,450 NET)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Tier Three Bubble Bust'n (HA)

If I could sum up this day in a sound effect it would be that little "wuaahh wuaaaaahh" trombone noise that you hear in your head whenever something sad/shameful happens. It all started this afternoon when I had some time to go ahead and use $75 Token 1 of 2 for an 18-seater Tier Three SNG. Long story short, it got down to the final 7 (6 get paid, 1-5 get the $216 Tournament Dollars, 6th is $162), I was picking up total crap, stole a few blinds but not as many that were getting stolen from me, almost doubled up when my AK four-flushed against another AK, and ultimately found myself severely short-stacked. Without many options remaining, I got to this sour grape of a hand:

Full Tilt Poker, NL Hold'em Tournament, 150/300 Blinds, 7 Players - Hand History Converter

CO: 3,960
Hero (BTN): 870
SB: 6,735
BB: 2,925
UTG: 2,515
UTG+1: 4,085
MP: 5,910

Pre-Flop: (450) Th Kd dealt to Hero (BTN)
4 folds, Hero raises to 870 and is All-In, SB folds, BB calls 570

Flop: (1,890) 8c Ah Jc (2 Players - 1 is All-In)
Turn: (1,890) Qs (2 Players - 1 is All-In)
River: (1,890) Ad (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: 1,890 Pot
Hero showed Th Kd (a straight, Ace high) and LOST (-870 NET)
BB showed 8d As (a full house, Aces full of Eights) and WON 1,890 (+1,020 NET)

I've never gone from screaming "YES!" to "NOOOOOOOOOO!" so quickly, even though I still would've been the short-stack under pressure if I had won the hand... and knowing my luck, would have busted out soon thereafter.

To make matters even more fun I just spent my last $26 Token busting out in 8th in one of the Tier Two 18-seaters... again, getting kinda short-stacked and trying to make a move. And I also spent another $5.50 in a good old fashioned standard 9-seater, where my QQ ran into AA during the middle-stages.

I still managed to have at least one moment of the day that seems relatively +EV though - going out to Barnes and Nobles and picking up Harrington's Volume II book with a gift card I got around the holidays. Hey zeus I'm still sour though. Think I might take a little break from all this Tier madness and try to come back a little fresh to plunk my final $75 Token down. Just one nice little cashing and I'll be back in the black for this whole mess. Either way I think I'll be going back to standard $5 and $10 SNG's for a while after this, plus the occasional $24+2 MTT to treat myself. We'll see though. I do like the Tier system it's just volatile as hell and like taking a shot in the balls when you bust out like I did today.

Anyways. Time for some poker reading before bed. Waking up early to go to the MVA tomorrow to get my new car titled = -EV :-/

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Crazy Tier Two Bubble Hand (HA)

This bad boy just went down and I'm still sitting here going "whoa..." Using the last of my 5 $26 Tokens I bought in to another 18-seater standard... top 5 get a $75 Token (I was 1 for 4 so far) and 6th place gets $57 cash. I went in to the final table with about 2200 in chips, then dwindled down as far as 1700 or so before doubling up in a nail-biting coinflip where I shoved AQ in middle position hoping just to get some blinds, but managed to get more out of the big stack that called with 77 and couldn't dodge an Ace on the flop. That was during 7-handed play, which as I know now is pretty much the tightest freaking play ever. No one's trying to win it, we all just want to wait for someone to break and sneak in to that top 5. 6th place ain't so bad either, but heaven help you if you go out in 7th. So after about half an hour of this constant folding and occasional tip-toeing in small pots, not to mention a few short-stack all-ins that coould have broken the tension but only distributed the chips more evenly, this wowzer of a hand came up and ended it all just like that...

Full Tilt Poker, NL Hold'em Tournament, 200/400 Blinds, 7 Players - Hand History Converter

CO: 1,180
BTN: 4,285
SB: 5,140
Hero (BB): 2,310
UTG: 4,645
UTG+1: 1,220
MP: 8,220

Pre-Flop: (600) 9s 5c dealt to Hero (BB)
UTG folds, UTG+1 raises to 1,220 and is All-In, MP calls 1,220, CO calls 1,180 and is All-In, 3 folds

Flop: (4,220) Kc Td Ad (3 Players - 1 is All-In)
Turn: (4,220) 6d (3 Players - 1 is All-In)
River: (4,220) 2h (3 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: 4,220 Pot
CO showed Kh Ks (three of a kind, Kings) and LOST (-1,180 NET)
UTG+1 showed Ac Th (two pair, Aces and Tens) and LOST (-1,220 NET)
MP showed 7d 8d (a flush, Ace high) and WON 4,220 (+3,000 NET)

So that ended it right then and there. The poor CO guy with KK ended up in 7th because his stack was just barely shorter than the guy UTG+1 that pushed with ATo, who ended up in 6th and at least managed to get $57. Is it possible here that CO's decision to get involved in a multi-way pot, albeit with the 2nd best starting hand, was a big slip up, especially knowing that if either player caught him he would be walking away in 7th. Not to mention the fact that there's a good shot of UTG+1 getting knocked out here and being guaranteed at least something if he just waits for a better spot.

Let's think it through. UTG+1 says "Ace-Ten, alright, best hand I've seen in the past 30 minutes and I really gotta double up or these blinds are going to crush me... push!" Not a terrible decision, especially knowing that the super-aggressive UTG player was out of the way, and that yours truly in the BB has been very passive. Big stack MP player says "I got the chips to spare, and against AK and other unpaired overcards I'm still 40% or so to win it and finish this nightmare of a bubble... more than worth it just to do that... call." Now in comes the CO, who was probably just looking forward to open-pushing his KK and doubling up through a weak caller, though just taking the blinds would be huge for him as well. All of a sudden he's got himself AT LEAST a 3-way pot, and jumping in would only sweeten it for more players to call as well in hopes of knocking either of the short-stacks, or both, out. He's also got to figure that at best, he's up against two smaller pairs or shared Aces (i.e. AQ and AK), which would make him about 65-68% to triple up. With one Ace and two random paint cards he's just over 50%, and in this case, the odds were about the same, according to my calculations:

KK - 53.5%
AT - 23.8%
78 - 22.6%

Add another player in the mix with a small pair or more suited connector type hands and it's down close to 40%. Still the favorite... but basically risking everything on a coinflip at best. Not sure what I would've done in if I were in his shoes. In an isolated situation just considering the odds, I'd say it was the correct call, and if this were an actual tournament where you're playing to win it, it's pretty much a must-call situation. But in this case, right on the bubble, and with a potential bubble-bursting hand taking place, it's a really tough call. Just for fun, here are the remaining odds and outcomes:

FLOP: (Kc Td Ad)

KK - 60.9%
AT - 9.1%
78 - 29.0%

TURN: (Kc Td Ad 6d)

KK - 14.3%
AT - 4.8%
78 - 81.0%


KK (53.5%) - 7th place, $0
AT (23.8%) - 6th place, $57
78 (22.6%) - 1st (Tie), $75 Token

In terms of my whole Tier undertaking, I've had decent results thus far I guess:

20 6-handed $6+.50 turbo SNG's -> 5 $26 Tokens + $40 cash -> 5 $24+2 18-seater SNG's -> 2 $75 Tokens

... and hopefully: 2 $75 Tokens -> 2 $69+6 18-seater SNG's -> $432 Tournament Dollars ($410.40 real cash after conversion)

That would be major ROI, but even just one cash would be big. Going 0/2 would not be so hot, so let's just hope I can play solid and have some solid luck. I'll let you know when that finally happens.

Monday, March 17, 2008

$24+2 Tier Two SNG Strategy (HH)

Finally getting back in the swing of things. Stepped back down last night after going 0 for 3 in $26 Token Tier Two conversions. Played in a $8+.80 2-table Tier One and scooped up another $26 Token, then played in a Tier Two today and finally managed to turn that into a $75 Token. HEY ZEUS that was a tight game though... almost half of it was 7-handed bubble play... slow as the dickens. Spent the past two hours typing up a little strategy posting for the more content-heavy of my sites... check it out if interested... - Complete Hand History - $24+2 Tier Two SNG (18 Players, 6 Paid)

So now I have 1 $75 Token and 2 more $26 Tokens, any of which ultimately need to be turned into at least one $205.20 cashout in order to make this little mini-experiment profitable. If I could get two cashes that would be really freakin sweet... we're talking 200% ROI! (see the previous post if you're interested in learning how to calculate that)

Alright, long Monday, I'm out. Best of luck. ~ B

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Predicting ROI in Step SNG's

Alright, just as promised I got that Step SNG math analysis ready for ya. Took a fair amount of the day to type up, but at least I wasn't losing more Tier Two SNG's, wooo! Anyways, here it is: - Predicting ROI in Step SNG's

Lots of content, hopefully worth the read if you're interested. Enjoy!

Time for a Tier Rant

Well the cold cards and bad luck are hitting me like a ton of bricks. After winning 4 out of my first 6 Tier One 6-Handed SNG's, I managed to only collect one more $26 Token in the next 14, adding 4 2nd place finishes for $10 as well. Still a positive return (assuming the Tokens have real money value) but not nearly what I was hoping for. I also just went ahead and used the first of my 5 $26 Tokens in a Tier Two 18-player SNG and finished 14th after my nut straight BB-special lost to two pair that filled in, and then AQs lost to AJs. Before that though, in the rest of those Tier One SNG's, my bad luck was freaking sick, and most of these situations we're talking all-in before the flop, sizable stacks: AA lost to QTo, KK lost to A2o, AK lost to AJ, and all sorts of other nasty situations such as 60/40 favorites going down, never winning a single coinflip, and completely missing solid draws while my opponents hit all of theirs. It just wasn't pretty. This whole thing will still be profitable though, as long as I can cash in just one of the Tier Three SNG's using my remaining 4 $26 Tokens to work my way there. Trust me, I've done the math, and I'll be sharing it in the near future. Actually I think I'm going to go ahead and take a break from playing and keep working on typing that up.

Later. ~ B

Edit: Just put that 2nd $26 Token into play. Was sitting solid with 11 still in, got it all-in on the flop AJ vs. A6 on a flop of Q9A, no other draws, big favorite to double up and become 2nd in chips... until a freaking 6 hit the turn. Alright, NOW it's time for a break.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Tier One SNG Strategy Walkthrough (HH)

I just posted another complete hand history, this one for a 6-handed Tier One turbo SNG on Full Tilt. This is the second in what I hope will become a useful series of comprehensive tutorials / walkthroughs for beginner and intermediate players that really want to pinpoint leaks in their game and understand the hand-by-hand thought process of standard tournament play. Not trying to toot my own horn here or anything, but I figure I'm decent enough to give this sort of low-limit advice, and hopefully players that take the time to read through everything will find it to be worthwhile. Anywho, here's the link: - Complete Hand History - $6+.50 Tier One Turbo SNG (6 Players, 2 Paid)

More updates on my Tier adventure and strategies coming later...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Tearing Up Tier One

Well I decided to sleep in this morning and go in to work late, but tomorrow I should probably actually get in on time so I'm going to make this brief. I decided to get another quick Tier One FTP SNG in before bed... the turbo 6-handed don't usually take more than a half hour and they're done. This last one took 24 minutes (plus a little luck) to chalk up another win, so that's 3 in a row now and 4 wins out of 6.

I'm not thrilled with the way I played, but you really gotta take a lot more chances and give your opponents a lot less credit if you want to nab the $26 Tokens in these things. I played a 2nd-nut flush draw (Kh6h) very aggressively and got it in early against TPTK (Ah8d) on a board of 2h-4h-8s... didn't hit my flush but made a runner-runner straight when the turn and river came 5, 7, respectively. Then I managed to river a 3rd King when my top-pair ran into a small two-pair - that ended 3-handed play and gave me a small edge in heads-up, which I won when I turned a two-outer with 44, after leading preflop with a min-raise in position, followed it up with half-pot bet after being checked to on a flop of 7-7-J. Opponent smooth called with trips (75o). Turn was a 4. Opponent checked, I acted like I was done with the hand and checked behind, knowing his aggression and my tight image would most likely get a leading bet out of him on the river, even if he didn't have anything. Sure enough he bet the pot, I doubled it for the rest, and he made what had to be a miserable call. Sorry it had to be you pal, but I'm glad it was me. Sure does say something for trying to slowplay strong hands heads-up.

Alright, time for sleep. G'night all. ~ B

AK 3-Way (HA)

This hand came up in a 6-handed turbo SNG, one of the Tier One's where winner gets a $26 Token and 2nd gets $10. Obviously I was going for the win and figured I was mostly ahead of their loose ranges here, with maybe one race or two. Do you play for the win and go for glory here, or save your chips for a less messy spot? I think the latter could be reasoned for having only a small raise in the pot and 2 re-raises behind you, but it's not the worst spot in this format of tournament. See what you think...

Full Tilt Poker, NL Hold'em Tournament, 25/50 Blinds, 5 Players - Hand History Converter

BB: 1,520
Hero (UTG): 2,105
CO: 3,090
BTN: 255
SB: 2,030

Pre-Flop: (75) Kh As dealt to Hero (UTG)
Hero raises to 150, CO raises to 250, BTN folds, SB raises to 950, BB folds, Hero raises to 2,105 and is All-In, CO raises to 3,090 and is All-In, SB calls 1,080 and is All-In

Flop: (6,290) Ts Ah 7s (3 Players - 1 is All-In)
Turn: (6,290) 7d (3 Players - 1 is All-In)
River: (6,290) 5c (3 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: 6,290 Pot
Hero showed Kh As (two pair, Aces and Sevens) and WON 6,290 (+4,185 NET)
CO showed Qs Qc (two pair, Queens and Sevens) and LOST (-2,105 NET)
SB showed 9s 9h (two pair, Nines and Sevens) and LOST (-2,030 NET)

I went on to win this one, thanks largely to this hand that gave me a dominating lead. I've now played 5 of these things (Tier One $6+.50 6-handed turbo) and won 3 of them. The plan is to amass 8-10 $26 Tokens and start playing the 2-table Tier Two SNG's, for which top 5 get a $75 Token. Hopefully get a few of those and eventually move on up to the Tier Three's to cash out big time. I have a sort of reasoning behind why I'm trying these step-SNG's and why I think they'll be profitable for me, but I'm going to save that for a later post.

One other question mark I've come across is in how I should record these things in my bankroll spreadsheet. Should I just treat the $26 Tokens as real money and include them in my bankroll total? Or should I wait until I actually cash something out from the Tier Three's (hopefully) to record it? Any thoughts?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Trying out the Tiers on FTP (HA)

I think I might have found a new favorite game. Well... maybe not favorite, but at least something fun to mix it up a little. I've never been a big fan of satellites and any sort of sit-no-go challenges, but I decided to try out the Tier SNG's on Full Tilt. Signed up for a $6+.50 6-handed Turbo tournament (which I would probably never play standard), and 74 hands and about 25 minutes later had it wrapped up easily with a $26 Token to boot. Definitely had better than average luck with the cards, though didn't get any action on the big starters (AKs, QQ, KK). Just managed to hit solid flops and get a little help on the last hand. Players were overall pretty tight and easy to boss around after building up a slightly larger stack, including the guy to my immediate left that timed out and never returned... made for nice and easy blind steals (another reason that observation is essential... as you pick up on auto-plays). Anyways, here are a few hands to mull over... nothing I'm horribly dissatisfied with though...

First off... weak button limp as the chipleader... I know. Moving on... here I just smelled a weak attempt to take the pot, as if the BB was calling me on position bets that I had been making quite often (though often with at least a solid draw or pair of sorts). Not sure what I would've done if he came back over the top (probably whimpered and called), and perhaps I should've basically put him in to begin with.

Full Tilt Poker, NL Hold'em Tournament, 50/100 Blinds, 5 Players - Hand History Converter

SB: 950
BB: 2,070
UTG: 610
CO: 1,280
Hero (BTN): 4,090

Pre-Flop: (150) Td Kc dealt to Hero (BTN)
2 folds, Hero calls 100, SB folds, BB checks

Flop: (250) Ks 2c Js (2 Players)
BB checks, Hero bets 200, BB raises to 400, Hero raises to 1,000, BB folds

Results: 1,050 Pot
Hero mucked Td Kc and WON 1,050 (+550 NET)

Last hand. Nothing out of the ordinary for me here. Any pair and a flush draw (plus gutshot straight / straight flush draw) heads up = get it in.

Full Tilt Poker, NL Hold'em Tournament, 100/200 Blinds, 2 Players - Hand History Converter

BB: 2,830
Hero (SB): 6,170

Pre-Flop: (300) 4d 5d dealt to Hero (SB)
Hero calls 100, BB checks

Flop: (400) 7d 8d 5s (2 Players)
BB checks, Hero bets 400, BB raises to 1,400, Hero raises to 5,970 and is All-In, BB calls 1,230 and is All-In
Turn: (5,660) 3s (2 Players - 1 is All-In)
River: (5,660) 9d (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: 5,660 Pot
BB showed 7s 3h (two pair, Sevens and Threes) and LOST (-2,830 NET)
Hero showed 4d 5d (a flush, Nine high) and WON 5,660 (+2,830 NET)

Just checked the odds calculator to make sure and I was about 57% vs. 41%. Definitely standard. Now the question is what to do with my $26 Token? Right now I'm leaning towards the Tier Two 18-player SNG, which gives a $75 Token to 1-5 and $57 to 6th place. The $6+.50 Tier One pays $10 to 2nd place by the way. So even not winning ain't all that bad. I think I might just keep playing some of those and try to get a token collection going, maybe squirrel them away for something special. In a way it's kind of fun to be playing for something other than just the straight up cash, though that is certainly the eventual goal. But it does seem like it taps into the videogame aspect of online poker, just like point systems and other types of bonuses. I'm surprised we don't see a lot more of this in online poker... companies trying to appeal to the younger computer-savvy generations of players using videogame type point systems or rewards for completing certain tasks (i.e. leveling up). It could be done fairly cheaply - it's not like you're adding money to tournament prize pools - and give players other objectives rather than just playing to make money. Personally I know one of the things that allows me to look on the bright side of any losing sessions or bubble bust-outs is that I can say "hey, at least I got a few more FTP points and can almost afford that awesome looking mouse pad."

(sigh) ... maybe one of these days. ~ B

Saturday, March 1, 2008

$32k Mini-Cash (HA) (BB)

I had some free time tonight and decided to treat myself to the $32k Guarantee, which used to be the $24k Guarantee (at 8:00 PM) but I guess they've changed things up in the past month. The $24k is now at 2:00 PM, and there is another key difference that I noticed. The $32k had 1391 participants and pays top 135, whereas the $28k running now has 1394 and pays 216, similar to what the $24k offered. Not sure what the reason is for the difference, but personally I prefer the wider prize pool when playing a little above my bankroll.

Either way I got up around 21k in chips at one point in time, putting up around the top 50 with 300 or so left. Then things just went incredibly dry as the blinds got higher and higher, I got some unwanted action on a steal attempt or two, and eventually found myself going in to push-or-fold mode (mostly folds) and just trying to stay afloat around 10 BB's. I managed to just barely squeeze into the money, finishing in 132nd. Went out on 44 vs. K9o that called my stop-and-go attempt and rivered a straight. Nothing you can do though, and can't be sappy about a little profit for the night. Here are a few hands to glance over, nothing special really:

I'd just like to say that hands like this officially suck more than anything (well maybe not as much as losing to a 2-outer, but still)...

Full Tilt Poker, NL Hold'em Tournament, 250/500 Blinds, 50 Ante, 9 Players - Hand History Converter

CO: 14,580
BTN: 17,345
SB: 12,727
BB: 25,750
UTG: 16,580
UTG+1: 5,820
UTG+2: 5,135
MP1: 4,673
Hero (MP2): 15,520

Pre-Flop: (1,200) Qs Qd dealt to Hero (MP2)
3 folds, MP1 raises to 4,623 and is All-In, Hero calls 4,623, 4 folds

Flop: (10,446) Td 7h 8h (2 Players - 1 is All-In)
Turn: (10,446) 6s (2 Players - 1 is All-In)
River: (10,446) 9h (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: 10,446 Pot
MP1 showed 5s 5h (a straight, Ten high) and WON 5,223 (+550 NET)
Hero showed Qs Qd (a straight, Ten high) and WON 5,223 (+550 NET)

Here's a questionable one. This was right on the bubble, like just 2-3 more to go and I'd be home free. Do you play it safe or go for it? After folding crap like 3-7, Q-4, J-2, and 4-8 for at least half an hour I decided this was as good as a spot as I was going to get, and just stealing the blinds and antes would put me in a much better position to double-up once the bubble bursts and get aggressive for once. Of course that didn't happen...

Full Tilt Poker, NL Hold'em Tournament, 800/1,600 Blinds, 200 Ante, 9 Players - Hand History Converter

CO: 12,431
BTN: 11,126
SB: 59,609
BB: 16,888
UTG: 28,110
UTG+1: 15,385
UTG+2: 13,048
MP1: 54,747
Hero (MP2): 8,695

Pre-Flop: (4,200) Ts As dealt to Hero (MP2)
4 folds, Hero raises to 8,495 and is All-In, 4 folds

Results: 5,800 Pot
Hero mucked Ts As and WON 5,800 (+4,000 NET)

There were a few other hands that were pretty fun, but I had no part in any of them. One was 3 players to a 3xBB raised flop. Original raiser had AA, first caller had AQo, and SB called with 22. Flop came Q-2-3 and you can guess what happened. 2-outers were happening more often than not at the table I started at. AA vs. 99 all-in on flop, turned a 9. JJ vs. TT same deal, rivered the 10. Lots of people having rough nights, and me just kind of sitting there waiting for something higher than an 8 to play.

I actually have one more hand to share before I head off to bed here. This is just from a $5 SNG not long ago. One of the most ridiculous runner-runners I've ever seen, and I don't know what the lucky sucker was thinking with that JTs of his... must have just felt it coming :-)

Full Tilt Poker, $5 + $0.50 NL Hold'em Sit n' Go, 30/60 Blinds, 7 Players - Hand History Converter

CO: 615
Hero (BTN): 3,020
SB: 1,020
BB: 2,185
UTG: 2,710
UTG+1: 1,330
MP: 2,620

Pre-Flop: (90) Jc 5c dealt to Hero (BTN)
UTG folds, UTG+1 raises to 180, MP calls 180, CO raises to 615 and is All-In, 4 folds, MP calls 435

Flop: (1,500) 9c Ad 4h (2 Players - 1 is All-In)
Turn: (1,500) Qd (2 Players - 1 is All-In)
River: (1,500) Kd (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: 1,500 Pot
CO showed Ks Ah (two pair, Aces and Kings) and LOST (-615 NET)
MP showed Jd Td (a Royal Flush) and WON 1,500 (+885 NET)

Take care ya'll ~ B.

SNG Strategy with Loose Opponents and Cold Cards (HH)

This is the first in what I hope will be a whole series of complete hand histories for SNG and MTT strategy discussions. I'm going to be posting these on for easier reading, and it really is the complete hand history with a fairly lengthy analysis. So go ahead and check it out already: - Complete Hand History - $5+.50 SNG (9 Players, 3 Paid)

Let me know what you think about the setup. The biggest downside I see right now is that the opponent names change on every hand, and I tried to find an option on the hand converter to fix this but had no such luck, so you kind of have to take my word for their play styles, or just figure it out on your own. Also I thought about breaking up the analysis and including it with each actual hand, and I might do this in the future. This way allows you to read the hand history first and then read the analysis, or just read the overall analysis and jump to the highlighted hands.

Hopefully new SNG players will be able to get something out of this. Stay tuned for more of these, and let me know what you think.