Tuesday, July 29, 2008

WSOP Event 2 on ESPN

Just finished watching Grant Hinkle take down the $1,500 NL Hold'em Event 2 of the 2008 WSOP, and while doing so I came up with a little list...

Things not to do should I ever make it to a televised final table:

1) Misread my hole cards.
2) Upon doing #1 and making an awful play, tell everyone repeatedly what a horrible mistake I made and how incredibly nervous I am.
3) Act like a socially awkward donk.
4) Act like a cocky little bitch.
5) Fold pocket Aces.
6) Tell Norman Chad to announce that my previous job was in pizza deliveries.
7) Bring an embarrassing mother.

I think that's all I got. Now if you'll excuse me I have to get back to applying Degree antiperspirant, eating Planters peanuts, and getting drunk on Miller Lite. I can't explain why... I just have this unexplainable urge...

Monday, July 28, 2008

New Format, The Sloppy Deuce, and Free Money

So I spent the day making a few changes around here. You may notice a little bit of redecoration that took place, primarily some color scheme changes. I don't know what I was thinking the first time around, and that weird green-brown background was starting to get to me. I finally figured out how to change it in the template and decided to change a few other things as well. After playing around with it for a little while, and doing a bit of Photoshopping, I settled on what you see now. Feel free to let me know what you think.

Second order of business. I heard back from Full Tilt Poker support and the weekly TPTM tournament is now up and running... officially titled The Sloppy Deuce. I did some more Photoshopping and put a banner together at the top... hopefully you didn't miss that. The one drawback of the private tournament deal so far is the entry fee. Normally a $2 SNG or MTT carries a 25-cent fee, but it's apparently double that for private tournaments. Kind of reminds me of Party Poker (Party what? Who Poker?). Nevertheless, it's now on like Donkey Kong. I'm also going to try to start offering additional bonuses for weekly winners, and more private tournaments with bigger buy-ins will most likely follow. All results will be posted here as well.

Finally, getting back to those additional bonuses, I'm now offering a free $10 deposit for any new Full Tilt Poker sign-ups. Just follow the steps in the upper right-hand corner of the main page and the money is all yours... hopefully to play in some TPTM tournaments with... that's the whole thought behind it. So if you want to play, but don't already have an FTP account, sign up through me (remember the IMOPOKER bonus code), shoot me an email with your player name, and I'll shoot you the $10 as quick as possible.

Coming Soon - TPTM 2.0

Over the next few days I'm going to be doing some reformatting of the blog... mainly just some stylistic changes, but also trying to implement a few new features. At the top of the list is the addition of some private TPTM tournaments... which I'm waiting to get verification from Full Tilt on. I'm going to start with a small one, and then hopefully add another option or two, and I had Sunday afternoons in mind as the best time to host them. Stay tuned for more info on that.

Also, I'd like to make note of two new blogs that I've been reading on a semi-daily basis and have thus added to the list, both of which are of high quality. The first one is
Ace Filled Dreams, a general individual blog full of interesting content, both poker and a little non-poker related. The second is Melted Felt, a poker satire site with lots of good humor. Definitely a fun read when you need a break from serious poker content.

So check those out, and stay tuned for some big changes around here. Okay, that's an exaggeration... some minor and temporarily exciting changes... that's more like it.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Beautiful Hand of the Week

I should probably be busy studying right now, seeing as how I'm taking two teaching certification exams tomorrow - both in social studies, one on content knowledge and one for pedagogy. The content test is 130 questions on basically everything I learned in social science courses from 1st grade through college... U.S. history, world history, economics, geography, psychology, sociology, political science, etc. I've been brushing up a little bit, but it just seems like the kind of thing where I'm either going to know it or I won't. I'm fairly confident that 1) my retention of all things social studies is above average (just to give you an idea - September 1st, 1939, Germany invades Poland! Damn! That's just a little sample from my gigantic noggin!), and 2) that the standard to be considered "highly qualified" is probably around a pathetic 50%... tops. Basically a passing score on the test to become a teacher would be a failing grade in any normal classroom. Some fun food for thought.

Anyways, so I basically just accepted that I'm as prepared as I can be for tomorrow, and I decided to play a game or two this afternoon. Occasionally I like to drop down in levels and just experiment with different styles of play or dick around in general. This specific hand was kind of a combination of both, but it definitely made me feel smart enough to teach kids about properly slowplaying Aces (not that I would ever devote classroom time to such a topic... honest).

Just to set the scene a little... 2 hands earlier I had reraised the villain here on the button. With blinds at 40/80, he had opened it from the cutoff to 280, I popped it to 600 rather than just flat calling with my AKo, and he thought a bit and folded. Probably smelled to him like I was looking for a call with a big pair. Then came this beauty...

Full Tilt Poker, $2 + $0.25 NL Hold'em Sit n' Go, 40/80 Blinds, 6 Players
LeggoPoker.com - Hand History Converter

UTG: 2,925
Hero (MP): 3,560
CO: 1,405
BTN: 1,465
SB: 1,680
BB: 2,465

Pre-Flop: (120) Ad Ac dealt to Hero (MP)
UTG raises to 320, Hero calls 320, 4 folds
Flop: (760) 5s Ah 8d (2 Players)
UTG bets 760, Hero calls 760
Turn: (2,280) Td (2 Players)
UTG checks, Hero bets 400, UTG raises to 800, Hero raises to 2,480 and is All-In, UTG calls 1,045 and is All-In
River: (5,970) Qh (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: 5,970 Pot
UTG showed Ts As (two pair, Aces and Tens) and LOST (-2,925 NET)
Hero showed Ad Ac (three of a kind, Aces) and WON 5,970 (+3,045 NET)

In a way I really got lucky to bust the guy like that, given what he had. A reraise before the flop probably wouldn't have gotten much more out of him, unless he was a bit peeved at me and tried to push back. Before the flop I put him on TT-KK, and AQ-AK... not really expecting him to play such a weak Ace in early position like that. But the table had been fairly passive so I guess he was taking a worthy shot at it. His raise was big enough that I felt safe just flat calling and not getting too many more players in the pot, and the key was that it gave him the obligation of leading on the flop, which given his aggression I was confident he would do.

The only worry I had on the flop was that it was going to kill my action. The Ace made my hand a virtual lock, but also made it less likely that he had an Ace. His pot bet looked more like a "give me this pot now" kind of continuation bet than an AK or even AQ value bet. I decided to continue my charade and just call, as if he didn't have an Ace a raise would've surely pushed him out.

Little did I know how beautiful the turn was for me. When he thought for a bit and checked to me, I figured he was either willing to give up his JJ, QQ, or KK at this point, or that he had TT and just nailed what he thought was a made hand. Either way, I wanted to keep him in this pot, so I bet real small to keep him around in the case that he did miss. No time to worry about drawing hands like KQ, KJ, QJ, or two diamonds... much less likely here and I'm surely not going to fold this hand no matter the river card. A small bet also gives a daring and aggressive player an opportunity to make a move for all or most of their chips, in which case the only work I would then have to do is to click the call button.

So after I bet 400, I get what I want. He check-min-raises me. Now I'm thinking TT is quite likely. Pocket 8's would not have bet so much on the flop, nor would 5's, and I don't think he'd be coming in for a raise with either as he did. Whatever he has though, he's telling me that he's quite willing to go to the felt right now. I go ahead and drop the bad news on him, he makes a committed, and probably confident, call, and proceeds to type "FYF" into the chatbox from the peanut gallery on his way out (I can definitely guess what the first two letters stand for, and I don't think it's "Fantastic Yogurt"). So yeah, for once I slowplayed Aces and managed to get just the board cards and opponent I was looking for. See... it can be done. And that, my friends, is the beautiful hand of the week. I'm going to try to do these every week or so now.

For now though, time to hit the hay. First test is at 7:30 tomorrow half an hour away, so I'll be waking up with the sunrise. Goodnight and good luck ya'll.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Super Update Mega Post

Things have been a bit hectic as of late... not as much time for poker and/or poker posts. So I'm going to try to throw a bunch of newsworthy things into one giant post here.

Newsworthy thing #1: Played $10 SNG #25 last Friday and managed to tack on another win. It was quite a crazy one though, as I went from 6-handed short-stack to big stack in a hand or two, the first involving a triple-up with the button (AJo) and SB (QQ)... I was in the BB with KK and managed to dodge some bullets. Got KK twice later on, including the last hand, and really dodged some more bullets, once against AKs with a flush draw on the flop, and lastly against J9s with an open-ended straight and flush draw on the turn. Had some serious clutch river cards for once.

I know this is far from a significant sample size, but I figured I'd post some updated stats, including... for the first time ever on TPTM... A PICTURE!!!

... of a graph. Yeah... it's a line illustrating my $10 SNG profit. But it's a step in a new and exciting direction, eh? Check it out...

$10 SNG stats:

Total Games: 25
1st: 7
2nd: 2
3rd: 6
4th: 1
5th: 2
6th: 4
7th: 3
8th: 0
9th: 0

Cashes: 15/25
ITM%: 60%

Amount Invested: $250 + $25 (fees) = $275.00
Amount Returned: ($45 x 7) + ($27 x 2) + ($18 x 6) = $477.00
Profit: $477.00 - $275.00 = $202.00
ROI%: $202.00/$275.00 = 73.45%

Not a shabby start at all, though I realize the ROI will likely decrease and eventually level out. Just as long as the total profit continues to increase.

Newsworthy thing #2: ESPN coverage of the 2008 WSOP begins tonight at 8:00 PM. I forget which event they're airing first but it should be good. I mean... it beats 99% of everything else on TV right?

Newsworthy thing #3: I bought some new Copag cards the other day. They're the Black and Gold ones seen here: http://copagcards.com/products.php?categoryid=5. Haven't played with them yet but they definitely seem a lot nicer than the crappy ones I've been using.

Newsworthy thing #4: I hate Facebook. But even more I've found that I hate people that play Facebook poker and brag about their millions of Facebook dollars. Something needs to be done about this.

Speaking of hatred, one more thing I can't stand is people online who don't understand push/fold poker with low M's. For example, I'm blinding away in an MTT last night with a stack of about 1700 in the 120/240 level. With an M of less than 5 I'm pretty much towards the high end of the red zone, and seeing as how I'm at a passive table I go ahead and push AJs in middle position. Some obvious bracelet winner types "nice bet... way to get paid there." Okay? Funny thing is it loosened him up a little and soon after I crippled his stack and he busted out on the next hand :-)

Alright I think that's about it for now. Might go play a game or two and see if I can keep the roll in it's upward trajectory.

Best of luck ya'll. - B

Sunday, July 20, 2008

High Stakes Donkery

Doing a little spectating tonight... watching the first 10 minutes or so of a $5,500+$100 heads-up match on FTP between David Benefield (SB) and "yo dont taze me" (BB). They were just kind of chipping away back and forth a little and then out of nowhere this mess happened:

Full Tilt Poker, $5,500 + $100 NL Hold'em Sit n' Go, 25/50 Blinds, 2 Players
LeggoPoker.com - Hand History Converter

SB: 1,575
BB: 1,425

Pre-Flop: (75)
SB raises to 125, BB raises to 1,425 and is All-In, SB calls 1,300
Flop: (2,850) 7c Qh Ks (2 Players - 1 is All-In)
Turn: (2,850) 2d (2 Players - 1 is All-In)
River: (2,850) 9s (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: 2,850 Pot
SB showed Tc Ah (Ace King high) and LOST (-1,425 NET)
BB showed As 2s (a pair of Twos) and WON 2,850 (+1,425 NET)

Obviously the push is a bit ridiculous, but calling off your stack with ATo when you'd still have 25+ BB's to play with against an opponent who is most likely a lot worse than you and already seems to be showing that he'll pay you off when you really hit? Granted it was the correct call in this situation, but hey zeus that's quite a way to blow $5,600.

Also, somewhat interesting that SharkScope.com has Benefield listed as a -15% ROI player with a loss of about $50k over 103 games. Yipes man... that hurts. But on the other hand, dude has to be amassing a ton of FTP points with all those $100 fees!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Other Things in Life that are Currently -EV

Just a few off the top of my head...

1) Gas prices
2) SUV's
3) Houses
4) Basically the entire U.S. economy
5) Britney Spears
6) ESPN Poker television ratings
7) My girlfriend
8) The future of humanity
9) Polar bears
10) This blog

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Toughest Decision in the History of Mankind?

Lately I've been finding myself in these high-blind, 4-6 handed push fests where post-flop play is virtually nonexistent and you're pretty much in a race to get cards and win a coinflip. Not that this is unusual in SNG's, but usually after the first hour you're at least in the money. Being on the bubble makes things a little more interesting when you're trying to decide if you should call off most of your stack with A5s in the BB, or 66 on the button with two bigger stacks behind you. Lots of tough spots for sure, and here is one that still has me racking my brain. I've already posted it on 2+2, and got a mix of opinions, so I'm interested to hear what anyone here would have to say as well...

2+2 Link:

Both players here had been pretty tight/solid during the game, and hadn't even seemed to loosen up much even with the increasing blinds.

Full Tilt Poker, $10 + $1 NL Hold'em Sit n' Go, 150/300 Blinds, 4 Players
LeggoPoker.com - Hand History Converter

Hero (BB): 3,800
UTG: 4,794
BTN: 2,001
SB: 2,905

Pre-Flop: (450) Js Jd dealt to Hero (BB)
UTG folds, BTN raises to 2,001 and is All-In, SB calls 1,851, Hero???

Judging by the 2+2 opinions, the suggestions seem to be something along the lines of: fold >= push > call and push low flop > call and check down. I'm still kind of undecided though. I ended up folding, the button had 99 and the SB had AQs. Neither improved so the button doubled up and we were still 4-handed. So in hindsight I felt like I should have called, but it's still a tough spot. At the time I was kind of happy to let the short stacks battle it out and not risk most of my stack, though I was really looking forward to snap-calling the button push up until the SB got involved.

Any thoughts?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Slow Slowplayers Slowplaying Just a Bit Too Slowly

Hey Zeus what a day. Had some good online pokering, got some fun hands to post out of it, and I just heard that Phil Hellmuth busted out of the WSOP main event. Not that coming in 45th out of over 6,000 entrants is anything to poke fun of him for, but if he would've made it to the final table I think 90% of poker pros would have turned away from the game forever just to avoid the ghost of his ego haunting them at every table in every casino. I guess it's obvious that I'm not a big fan. I am however kind of hoping that Mike "The Mouth" makes it to the final table for the sake of good television and a potentially epic blow-up, while this Tiffany Michelle chick also seems to be doing fairly well, and it'd be nice to have some female representation in the last 10.

Moving right along to some micro-stakes headlines. First I have to say it's kind of ironic I typed up that whole mess about 3rd place finishes yesterday, since that's where I happened to find myself again today... only this time it was in a $5 90-seater, so it was a bronze medal I didn't feel too disgruntled about. I was pissed about my bustout since I played the final hand terribly, but in retrospect I really probably should've been done a whole lot earlier in the tournament. Nothing great happened for the first 2 hours or so (both tables I was seated at were nitty as the dickens), at one point I was down to about 1,200 chips with 200/400 blinds right after losing an AQ vs. JJ flip... very next hand I picked up AA, doubled up, and somehow managed to scrap my way back into the money. Then went on a mini-tear to go into the final table in 5th, got up to 2nd at one point, but there was a monster stack at the table that just started crushing it, and it pretty much turned into a race for 2nd for me and the other short stack. Gotta say I got a fair amount of luck in getting that deep... once pushed JTs into KQo and turned a full house, later on pushed A7s into 99 and turned the nut flush. Yeah, things definitely worked in my favor a few times... but it's nice knowing that I can still get lucky.

After that 3-hour romp I took another $10 STT down, the 6th win out of 19 if anyone's still counting. Still sporting an unrealistic ROI of about 85%, and feeling good that my bankroll is at a new all-time high with the $75 or so I added today. The STT actually provided some fairly entertaining hands... particularly in the form of some slowplays gone wrong (hence the title, in case you were wondering). Here are two fun ones...

Full Tilt Poker, $10 + $1 NL Hold'em Sit n' Go, 50/100 Blinds, 6 Players
LeggoPoker.com - Hand History Converter

Hero (BTN): 2,415
SB: 4,610
BB: 1,220
UTG: 1,305
MP: 1,530
CO: 2,420

Pre-Flop: (150) 6d 3c dealt to Hero (BTN)
2 folds, CO calls 100, 2 folds, BB checks
Flop: (250) 5c 2d Ks (2 Players)
BB checks, CO checks
Turn: (250) Th (2 Players)
BB checks, CO checks
River: (250) 6s (2 Players)
BB bets 370, CO raises to 740, BB raises to 1,120 and is All-In, CO calls 380

Results: 2,490 Pot
BB showed 3h 4d (a straight, Six high) and WON 2,490 (+1,270 NET)
CO mucked Kc Kd (three of a kind, Kings) and LOST (-1,220 NET)

OUCH! I don't know why he didn't raise preflop, as none of the remaining players had been overly aggressive or attempting limper steals from the blinds. Then I think you gotta at least bet the turn to build the pot. Final result is just too flippin hilarious though. Guy had to be thinking "okay, only hand I'm behind is 4-3... $%@$!!!" Anyways, here's an equally amusing last hand of the tourney...

Full Tilt Poker, $10 + $1 NL Hold'em Sit n' Go, 120/240 Blinds, 2 Players
LeggoPoker.com - Hand History Converter

Hero (BB): 10,120
SB: 3,380

Pre-Flop: (360) Ks As dealt to Hero (BB)
SB calls 120, Hero raises to 720, SB calls 480
Flop: (1,440) 9s Kh Qc (2 Players)
Hero checks, SB checks
Turn: (1,440) Kd (2 Players)
Hero checks, SB checks
River: (1,440) Ah (2 Players)
Hero checks, SB bets 1,440, Hero raises to 2,880, SB calls 1,220 and is All-In

Results: 6,760 Pot
Hero showed Ks As (a full house, Kings full of Aces) and WON 6,760 (+3,380 NET)
SB showed Tc Js (a straight, Ace high) and LOST (-3,380 NET)

With the stacks as they are there's really no way I'm not calling if he bets at any point in the hand here. Heads-up there's just no point at which I think you can afford to fold here without a super read. Little did I know that my hand needed to improve, but luckily for me it did just that, giving me the lock by the time he was ready to take a stab at it, as opposed to getting it in as a 7% favorite on the flop. Always fun ending it with a runner-runner.

Alright that's all I got for now. Have a happy Monday ya'll.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Nobody Likes Bronze Medals

Although 3rd place SNG finishes aren't as bad as finishing in 4th, it's been scientifically proven that they only suck a little bit less... basically they still suck. It's like how Jerry Seinfeld put it - silver medalists are the first losers - and from that we can assume that finishing in 3rd would make you not even good enough to beat said loser.

I've been having a rash of 3rd place finishes lately - 5 in the past 11 to be exact. Granted it's slightly better than losing money, it's still not exactly taking my bankroll to new heights. What's worse is that in a lot of these, particularly the one I just finished up, I get stuck with odd players that typically go from being super tight-passive to mega push-happy as soon as they realize I'm stealing their blinds quite easily. It seems to take much longer to play through to the end, and there are usually a few anti-climatic all-in coinflip situations in which no one gets knocked out, the chips just move around a little.

This past 3-handed session seriously lasted 114 hands with the blinds going from 60/120 to 250/500. It was fairly close for the most part, but at one time I did hold a fairly good chip lead, then things chilled out for a bit and we were all about back to even. Ended up pushing my 4.5k or so from the SB with A7o, getting called by the BB who was about even in chips (obviously a little more), and he took me out with his pocket 5's. Just sucks going through all that to have it end in such a ho-hum manner.

This one hand from earlier in the game was pretty fun to watch though...

Full Tilt Poker, $10 + $1 NL Hold'em Sit n' Go, 50/100 Blinds, 6 Players
LeggoPoker.com - Hand History Converter

MP: 2,485
CO: 1,215
BTN: 2,475
Hero (SB): 2,650
BB: 3,525
UTG: 1,150

Pre-Flop: (150) 2s 4d dealt to Hero (SB)
UTG folds, MP calls 100, CO folds, BTN calls 100, Hero folds, BB checks
Flop: (350) 3d 6h 3c (3 Players)
BB checks, MP bets 350, BTN calls 350, BB raises to 900, MP raises to 2,385 and is All-In, BTN calls 2,025 and is All-In, BB calls 1,485
Turn: (7,495) Kd (3 Players - 1 is All-In)
River: (7,495) Jc (3 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: 7,495 Pot
MP showed 9c 9d (two pair, Nines and Threes) and LOST (-2,485 NET)
BTN showed 6d 6c (a full house, Sixes full of Threes) and WON 7,475 (+5,000 NET)
BB showed 3s Ad (three of a kind, Threes) and WON 20 (-2,465 NET)

Ah, the downfalls of slowplaying pocket 9's... not really, but 6-handed I think you gotta pop it up. Button was so tight he probably would've folded and BB might have gotten out of the way too. Here's another gem with the same passive-ass button player from above...

Full Tilt Poker, $10 + $1 NL Hold'em Sit n' Go, 60/120 Blinds, 5 Players
LeggoPoker.com - Hand History Converter

BTN: 1,155
SB: 7,355
Hero (BB): 2,600
UTG: 1,180
CO: 1,210

Pre-Flop: (180) Td 7c dealt to Hero (BB)
UTG folds, CO raises to 360, BTN folds, SB calls 300, Hero folds
Flop: (840) 9s 6d Kh (2 Players)
SB checks, CO checks
Turn: (840) 3s (2 Players)
SB checks, CO checks
River: (840) 7d (2 Players)
SB checks, CO checks

Results: 840 Pot
SB showed Qc Qd (a pair of Queens) and WON 840 (+480 NET)
CO showed 5s 5c (a pair of Fives) and LOST (-360 NET)

Kid seriously needs to contact FTP support and have someone tell him where his bet and raise buttons are. Of course he ended up winning, with me busting in 3rd as usual... ain't that a slice of life. Time to hit the hay. Peace.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

WTF River Card of the Night Strikes Back (HA)

Still going for some sort of medium-sized MTT win, casually folding my way through a craptacular $5 267-seater tonight, and it happens yet again (it's been happening quite a bit lately)...

Full Tilt Poker, NL Hold'em Tournament, 40/80 Blinds, 8 Players
LeggoPoker.com - Hand History Converter

SB: 2,170
BB: 470
UTG: 13,645
UTG+1: 10,735
MP1: 1,940
Hero (MP2): 1,720
CO: 4,535
BTN: 3,125

Pre-Flop: (120) Qc Qd dealt to Hero (MP2)
3 folds, Hero raises to 240, CO raises to 400, 3 folds, Hero raises to 1,720 and is All-In, CO calls 1,320
Flop: (3,560) 9d 3h Kc (2 Players - 1 is All-In)
Turn: (3,560) 3s (2 Players - 1 is All-In)
River: (3,560) Js (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: 3,560 Pot
Hero showed Qc Qd (two pair, Queens and Threes) and LOST (-1,720 NET)
CO showed Jd Jc (a full house, Jacks full of Threes) and WON 3,560 (+1,840 NET)

It's never fun when it comes on the flop, but damn it's a dagger when it comes on the river. I had the gent out-suited too. I must admit the small reraise from him was interesting here. I figured there was a decent chance he had AA and was just building the pot a bit, but this was really the only hand I'd seen for the whole tournament and my stack was about half the average, so I had to get moving or get out.

In other daily poker news, I had a few spots today that made me do a bit of thinking. Here's two of them...

#1 - BB has been fairly tight/sneaky, limping a lot when in my SB with solid hands, limp-reraising or check-raising, etc. Had not seen him do anything like this yet...

Full Tilt Poker, $10 + $1 NL Hold'em Sit n' Go, 40/80 Blinds, 6 Players
LeggoPoker.com - Hand History Converter

Hero (UTG): 1,920
MP: 4,875
CO: 1,775
BTN: 1,405
SB: 900
BB: 2,625

Pre-Flop: (120) Td Tc dealt to Hero (UTG)
Hero raises to 240, 4 folds, BB raises to 2,625 and is All-In, Hero...

#2 - SB had been super-tight/passive the whole game, until recently after doubling up and getting back into it, at which point he had started stealing more blinds and pretty much flipping the switch to major aggressiveness...

Full Tilt Poker, $10 + $1 NL Hold'em Sit n' Go, 100/200 Blinds, 4 Players
LeggoPoker.com - Hand History Converter

Hero (UTG): 3,380
BTN: 5,745
SB: 2,100
BB: 2,275

Pre-Flop: (300) Qd Ac dealt to Hero (UTG)
Hero raises to 500, BTN folds, SB raises to 2,100 and is All-In, BB folds, Hero...

I know the suspense must be killing you, so I'll go ahead and say what happened... Hand #1 it really smelled like AK to me... seen a lot of quick pushes like that with good old big slick... but it could've also reasonably been JJ or QQ... most likely not AA or KK given the BB's sneakiness. But yeah, I laid it down and tried to find a better spot.

Hand #2 I thought for a bit, and given the SB's recent rampage I thought that there's a good chance he's doing this with a medium pair, up to TT, JJ, and the like. QQ was a possibility, but obviously less likely. And as always AK was perfectly possible... and in this case... was what I ran up against, and subsequently lost most of my stack to. Probably should've folded here and waited for a better spot with a healthier stack. I at least managed to eek out a 3rd place finish in this one, which is better than the three 7th place finishes I've had previous to that. Here's an update in case you're wondering...

$10 SNG's - 17 Total
1sts - 5
2nds - 1
3rds - 4
5ths - 1
6ths - 3
7ths - 3

Profit - $137
ROI - 73.26%

Some of those 6th and 7th places were seriously after a solid hour of wasting away with crap starters and watching a bunch of loose-passive players peck away at little pots. Nothing more exciting than that my friends.

Ah well... the hot streak had to end sometime.

Monday, July 7, 2008

WTF River Card of the Night (HA)

So yeah, this one hurt...

Full Tilt Poker, $10 + $1 NL Hold'em Sit n' Go, 60/120 Blinds, 6 Players
LeggoPoker.com - Hand History Converter

CO: 2,035
BTN: 1,275
Hero (SB): 1,840
BB: 1,470
UTG: 3,935
MP: 2,945

Pre-Flop: (180) Ad Kd dealt to Hero (SB)
3 folds, BTN raises to 1,275 and is All-In, Hero raises to 1,840 and is All-In, BB folds
Flop: (2,670) 5d Jc Td (2 Players - 1 is All-In)
Turn: (2,670) Kh (2 Players - 1 is All-In)
River: (2,670) Th (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: 2,670 Pot
BTN showed Ts Ac (three of a kind, Tens) and WON 2,670 (+1,395 NET)
Hero showed Ad Kd (two pair, Kings and Tens) and LOST (-1,275 NET)

Just one of those days...

Thursday, July 3, 2008

WTF Hand of the Night (HA)

Played another two today, one lousy 3rd that I probably should've won since I had a nice lead going into 3-handed play, and one miserable 5th place, thanks to this gem, the official WTF Hand of the Night...

Full Tilt Poker, $10 + $1 NL Hold'em Sit n' Go, 80/160 Blinds, 5 Players
LeggoPoker.com - Hand History Converter

BB: 2,640
Hero (UTG): 2,150
CO: 1,375
BTN: 6,075
SB: 1,260

Pre-Flop: (240) Jd Jc dealt to Hero (UTG)
Hero raises to 2,150 and is All-In, CO calls 1,375 and is All-In, 3 folds
Flop: (2,990) Ad 2d 9h (2 Players - 1 is All-In)
Turn: (2,990) 2s (2 Players - 1 is All-In)
River: (2,990) Kd (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: 2,990 Pot
Hero showed Jd Jc (two pair, Jacks and Twos) and LOST (-1,375 NET)
CO showed 4s As (two pair, Aces and Twos) and WON 2,990 (+1,615 NET)

Really? In what realm of the universe is your suited Ace-rag ahead of my range? I'd been playing my usual tight game and had only open shoved like that 2-3 hands within the past few stages. It was an incredibly weak-tight game, with lots of 5-handed min-raising and min-betting going on... it was sick to me... no aggression at all, ugghh.

I'm starting to find that these $10 games usually have 1 or 2 loose-aggressive wackos that tend to go out within the first 3 stages and then things get tight and boring. Either that or they get lucky and amass an early lead, and then all of a sudden they turn into really tight-passive players along with everyone else. I did play the FTP 7:20 $5 MTT two nights ago and found that to be full of the usual donks. I'd like to mix in more MTT's over the summer with my abundance of free time, and taking a medium or big one down is on my poker to-do list.

Anyways, I'm going to call it a night and try to relax a bit. Probably spending the rest of the weekend with the lady friend, so going to lay off the cards for a little while and come back next week with a fresh mindset.

Have a fun and safe 4th of July. - B

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Winning Mindset

Well first of all, it looks like 6 out of 7 wasn't meant to be. I did manage to come in 2nd in the latest SNG, but it was a real tough one to work through with a lot of coinflip situations towards the end, and the final blow coming in an epic AJs vs. 33 preflop push-call. I hit two pair but he hit a set and I was done. If I win that hand I'm looking at reversing the 2-1 lead and hopefully taking it down, but ah well. I certainly can't be sour about these recent stats...

$10 SNG's - First 7 Games
1. - 1st
2. - 1st
3. - 6th
4. - 1st
5. - 1st
6. - 1st
7. - 2nd

This nice little win-gasm has got me thinking more about the mentality involved in player poker, primarily the balance between optimism, pessimism, and realism and how you approach each game and even each hand. In SNG's you certainly see the pessimism kick in whenever a wild player loses a fair amount of their stack and pushes the rest of their chips in immediately on the next hand. They could still be in a not-so-desperate situation as well, like with 750 left with the blinds at 30/60.

In my case, the mental transition between my streak of winlessness and mediocre 2nd and 3rd places in $5 games, to my current hot run at the $10 level, has been huge. I didn't really notice it until I finished 2nd in this past one though. Instead of thinking "alright, a 2nd place finish not bad, moving that bankroll up another notch," I was thinking "oh man, 2nd place, I really wanted to win that one." I had gotten so used to winning $10 SNG's that I was fully focused on that #1 spot from the first hand to the last in each game, and I played as solid as I could in aggressively but patiently going after it.

Back in my $5 mini-slump I kind of approached each game with a little pessimistic voice in the back of my head telling me I probably wasn't going to win, and each time I nailed down another close-but-no-cigar 2nd or 3rd place finish I would just shrug and think "yup, it figures, oh well." That's the worst thing about a streak, although it can also be the best thing, depending on whether the run is hot or cold. This crazy run of wins was exactly what I needed to kick some confidence back into me and get me going into each game with a positive mindset rather than a so-so attitude about winning. Hopefully this'll remind some of you that may be slumping to keep your head up and just take it one hand at a time.

Best of luck. - B

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Maintaining a ROI of Over 200% (HA)

Well the streak continues my friends. Just took down #5 out of 6, boosting the ROI for $10 games to nearly 241%. It was another solid victory in what has been an incredibly hot run. Hopefully this post will be followed with a 6-out-of-7 celebratory announcement.

Also, this past game provided me with some interesting hands to reflect on, particularly when it comes to playing pretty tight-passive opponents in short-handed or bubble situations. Some of these would seem like pretty bizarre moves, but when you take the reads I had on these players into effect, they not only become a little easier to understand, but you can see how some of these moves were essential in nailing down the win.


Full Tilt Poker, $10 + $1 NL Hold'em Sit n' Go, 40/80 Blinds, 6 Players
LeggoPoker.com - Hand History Converter

BTN: 2,130
Hero (SB): 1,365
BB: 3,730
UTG: 1,180
MP: 1,700
CO: 3,395

Pre-Flop: (120) Ts As dealt to Hero (SB)
UTG folds, MP raises to 160, 2 folds, Hero raises to 420, 2 folds

Results: 400 Pot
Hero mucked Ts As and WON 400 (+240 NET)

So here you can see we're down to 6-handed, with blinds at 40/80. This is a common middle-stage setting to find yourself in, and a point at which I feel little trick plays really start to make a difference. By this point you should have some solid reads on your opponents, and I generally use the early stages to take record notes about each player at the table.

As you can see my stack wasn't great, but I wasn't exactly in need of life-support quite yet either. At this point I had only come into one pot, raising before the flop with QQ (50 to 175, 1 limper) and taking it down then and there. To the other players, I was probably seen as a pretty tight-solid type.

The MP player had min-raised before the flop like this a number of times, with or without a limper or two, and on most hands he seemed to miss the flop and slowed down quite a bit rather than making continuation bets. I suspected he was putting the min-raises in with a variety of mediocre hands like middle pairs, weak aces, and any two paint cards. For the most part he seemed to have loose-passive tendencies when leading the betting, but very tight-passive when meeting resistance.

My raise from out of position here, particularly when combined with my tight play up to this point, is meant to signify strength. While it is quite likely that I do have the best hand, it tells the MP player that I definitely have him beat, and that he should fold and save his medium stack for a better spot. At the same time, it serves to get the BB out of the pot, which would be less likely if I had smooth-called. So instead of getting in a 3-way pot with a mediocre hand in the worst position, I manage to take down a decent-sized pot before the flop with a little aggression. I should note though, that without my read on the MP player, and gut feeling that he'll most likely fold here, I would most likely call here and see the flop.


Full Tilt Poker, $10 + $1 NL Hold'em Sit n' Go, 60/120 Blinds, 6 Players
LeggoPoker.com - Hand History Converter

MP: 4,980
Hero (CO): 1,775
BTN: 3,560
SB: 800
BB: 1,290
UTG: 1,095

Pre-Flop: (180) 9c 7c dealt to Hero (CO)
2 folds, Hero raises to 280, 2 folds, BB calls 160
Flop: (620) 7s Ad Ah (2 Players)
BB checks, Hero bets 220, BB folds

Results: 620 Pot
Hero mucked 9c 7c and WON 620 (+340 NET)

Still at 6-handed here, and although my stack isn't spectacular, it's doing better after the aforementioned re-steal and another quick blind steal in between. We also have 3 stacks that are fairly crippled and may be looking to make a move with the blinds now at 60/120. Here we have two such players in the blinds, and each player has been very tight-passive during the last few stages. We also have a big stack right to our left, though for the most part they have been content to stay out of hands and may just be waiting things out. There have been almost no re-raises before the flop, with most raises resulting in winning the blinds, or a quick call and check-bet-fold on the flop.

My hand here is nothing spectacular, but I hadn't put a raise in for a few hands, and was relying on the passiveness of the blinds to pick up some extra chips and keep pecking away at them. Still there is the possibility that either player will pick up some sort of hand and will come over the top of me. So I don't want to raise too much and commit myself to what will most likely be doubling them up. At the same time I'm a little weary of the big stack to my left, and I don't want to commit too much of my own stack in taking a stab at this. A raise to 280 is just a little above a min-raise and could do the trick given the blinds extremely tight play, while it'll also allow me to get away in the event of a push.

Our BB, who is the same player as the MP guy in Hand #1, makes the call, and checks to me on the flop. Thus far we haven't seen him slowplay or check-raise anything, so it's unlikely that he has an Ace. Likewise, we paired our 7 and quite possibly have the best hand right now. Let's put out a bet that's part semi-bluff and part value-bet. My bet of 220 is about 1/3rd of the pot, and really is meant to say "I hit trip Aces and am hoping to suck you in." Against a player that hasn't shown to be very tricky, or most likely just doesn't have much of anything, this bet is often going to work. At the same time, the small size of the bet allows us a little wiggle room if we feel like getting away in the event that the BB check-raises and throws his remaining 1,000 or so into the pot. Fortunately he does just what we want, we continue to chip up and chip away at the short stacks, and we don't have to sweat those Aces.


Full Tilt Poker, $10 + $1 NL Hold'em Sit n' Go, 80/160 Blinds, 4 Players
LeggoPoker.com - Hand History Converter

BB: 6,320
Hero (UTG): 2,295
BTN: 3,060
SB: 1,825

Pre-Flop: (240) Th Qh dealt to Hero (UTG)
Hero raises to 400, BTN calls 400, SB folds, BB calls 240

Flop: (1,280) 7d 2h 8s (3 Players)
BB checks, Hero checks, BTN checks
Turn: (1,280) 6d (3 Players)
BB checks, Hero checks, BTN checks
River: (1,280) 8d (3 Players)
BB checks, Hero bets 800, 2 folds

Results: 1,280 Pot
Hero mucked Th Qh and WON 1,280 (+880 NET)

Sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures, and this hand is one such example. We're playing 4-handed now and things had still been fairly tight-passive, with most of my opponents playing pretty straightforward poker. I put in a little steal attempt, but get a not-so-great call from the Button player, and then an ensuing call from the BB that could've been pretty easy to make with the odds he was being offered. No signs of incredible strength from anyone, but I'll have to tread lightly since both players have me out-stacked.

The flop is a barren desert of hope for me, as I completely miss. Chances are my opponents also missed though, especially if they're on paint cards. I decide to be a wuss though and abandon my steal attempt rather than trying to follow it up with a foolish continuation bet into this 3-way mess. However, after all players check through the flop and turn, I'm starting to reexamine things.

No one seems to have a piece of any of this, unless someone's seriously slowplaying something, or if the 3 diamonds made a flush for someone. But even a flush or straight draw would have probably put out a bet on the turn, and the 8 on the river most likely helped no one since they would have bet with top pair on the flop. Chances are we're all sitting on air here. At the same time I don't think my Queen-high is going to take it down. This is a fairly sizable pot that my opponents don't seem very interested in, though it would greatly help to boost my stack. I decide to put out 800 of my last 1,800 or so chips - a bet that either player will find hard to call with just Ace or King-high. Given that only one player was yet to act, and that it had been checked through to this point, I had to man-up and take a stab at this. It's just one of those hands where you forget what you have and look at all the cues that your opponents are giving you. My opponents actions here told me to bet and I took down a very significant pot that boosted me into 2nd stack.


Full Tilt Poker, $10 + $1 NL Hold'em Sit n' Go, 100/200 Blinds, 4 Players
LeggoPoker.com - Hand History Converter

SB: 5,555
Hero (BB): 3,475
UTG: 2,600
BTN: 1,870

Pre-Flop: (300) 6c 7d dealt to Hero (BB)
UTG folds, BTN raises to 400, SB folds, Hero calls 200
Flop: (900) Js 8h Td (2 Players)
Hero bets 400, BTN calls 400
Turn: (1,700) Jd (2 Players)
Hero bets 1,200, BTN folds

Results: 1,700 Pot
Hero mucked 6c 7d and WON 1,700 (+900 NET)

So you're probably thinking something along the lines of "W...T...F?" right now. Well let me try to explain this one. First of all - the pre-flop call. I called here since our opponent (same as MP in Hand #1 and BB in Hand #2) has been doing these little min-raises all game and will quite often give it up after the flop to a little resistance, even a little probe bet should do. So that explains the call and the little bet on the flop. Normally after he makes the call on the flop, I'm totally done with this hand, and will check-fold it down. Against a tight-passive player the one quick stab is usually worth it, but after that it's pretty hopeless without a hand.

However, the Jack on the turn gets me thinking real quick. I've seen the BTN here make small calls on flops with overs and draws, then fold it to a bigger bet on the turn. I also can assume by his flat call that he really didn't hit much on this flop, and that he certainly doesn't have a Jack, otherwise he would've raised the flop. He could be on AK, AQ, possibly KQ, A9, A8, or some sort of weak but not entirely hopeless on the flop type of hand. The Jack on the turn, coupled with his tight play, gives me the green light to go ahead and put my instincts to the test here. I have him covered by a good bit and am putting his bubbly tournament existence on the line... he'll be hard-pressed to make a call with any of the variety of overcards and draws that I put him on after the flop. Against a looser player that's become pretty reckless around the bubble, I'd be much more cautious, but I feel comfortable putting the pressure on here since I'm able to disregard my own hand and narrow in on what he may have. I don't make very many moves like this, but this is one instance in which I feel I really had the read to make such a bold bet.

So thanks to hands like these, love em or hate em, I was able to eventually take down the tournament. The above hands mainly helped to boost my stack and put me in a good position when we got down to 3-handed. Then after I hit the ridiculous flop below, it was pretty much over...

Full Tilt Poker, $10 + $1 NL Hold'em Sit n' Go, 120/240 Blinds, 2 Players
LeggoPoker.com - Hand History Converter

SB: 7,355
Hero (BB): 6,145

Pre-Flop: (360) Ks 6s dealt to Hero (BB)
SB raises to 600, Hero calls 360
Flop: (1,200) Ts Js 9s (2 Players)
Hero checks, SB bets 800, Hero calls 800
Turn: (2,800) 4c (2 Players)
Hero checks, SB bets 1,800, Hero raises to 4,745 and is All-In, SB calls 2,945
River: (12,290) 5c (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: 12,290 Pot
SB showed Kh Kd (a pair of Kings) and LOST (-6,145 NET)
Hero showed Ks 6s (a flush, King high) and WON 12,290 (+6,145 NET)

So I definitely got a little bit of help there, but I think my play overall is improving, and should hopefully help me to keep this 200%+ ROI streak going...

Do I hear 6 out of 7?