Thursday, August 05, 2004

On the road again.

What a great night I had in Pokerville.

I settled in for a standard Bugsy Bonus Points NL Holdem 9.30pm free roll as I regularly do, and thought I may as well register for the Aloha free roll that starts in an hour or two. If I am still awake, I might give it a shot.

The BBP tournament was going well, I was up to about $15k from my starting position of $10K, and playing solidly enough. I decided that my attempt at being aggressive was in reality piss weak up to this point. I would raise before the flop when I had a good starting hand, but I would raise only $50 which isn't really all that much out of the $10K stacks we all have. This was going to change tonight - if I was going to raise, my minimum was $500. It was working pretty well. I wasn't scared to loose my $500, and more often than not the cards were good enough to justify another bet or two. Out of the 10 hands I won early on, only 2 made it to showdown, and 5 made it to the turn at least. I hadn't doubled up at all, no all-in coin flips - I considered it my most solid play since I began. Contently happy was I.

Then in the chat window pops up a message telling us all that the 7 card stud hi/lo was starting in 10 minutes. I am not a big fan of stud, and hi/lo is very new to me but I thought I would give it a go for practice sake. If I lost out early (which was very likely) it doesn't matter because I still have the holdem game and the Aloha coming up if I want to.

There was a funny thing about the stud game though. As novice and clue-less as I am at stud, everybody else seemed to be more so. I was playing aggressive when I had a good starting hand or showing Ace, but not trying to find a hand amongst my rags. The game was pot limit, and I found myself stealing pots with regular ease. The amount of times I pocketed around $500 (starting stacks are $2K) by betting the pot limit, with the low only, and stealing it all was becoming embarrassing. Pretty soon I had doubled...Then doubled that...And again. I was chip leader out of all the tables in no time. At one stage, I was up to $60K and was the only active player at my table. While it is good to steal the ante and bring-ins without any competition and my stack was always on the rise, I really wanted to play and not just coast through. Eventually, I knocked out a few of the dead players and got some action back on the table.

Mean while in the other tournament, I was still reading the cards very well. I even through in some big bluffs and got away with them. Slow play the bullets? Done! Collect $20K. Out of the 100 or so left, I was probably up around the 35-30 mark and feeling good. As the numbers got lower, I found myself stumbling at $60K. I would go up to $70K then back down to $45K, and everywhere in between before settling yet again on $60K. There were now about 60 left in the tournament.

7 Card stud was still going well - I was still stealing pots when all I had was the low. I am still chip leader with about 50 players left.

And then Aloha starting. Oh no, I am not used to this.

I read a lot of other poker players sites out their in the world wide web. I know a lot of people play 3 or 4 tables at a time, so that they don't try to get too clever on one table and play each hand on it's merits. I am not one of those people. I play two tables sometimes, but I always prefer just the one. Now I was playing three, and I didn't want to loose any of them because the first two were getting towards the money and the other was for more money. I was frantically switching from one table to the other and was nearly getting timed out on all three as I made my decisions.

I thought if I have to loose one it will be the stud, so even if I am the chip leader I may force a few short stacks out and dominate onwards. If I lost, I could concentrate on the holdem games.
That was stupid. I was going pot limit constantly and after a few losses, I was back amongst the rest of the crowd. With about $40K left, I was all in with a low hand again, and was beaten by a 3! I had A,2,4,6,7 against A,2,3,5,7. What was more stupid was that the money starts at 18th position, and I went out at 19th. I didn't even think about it until the nano-second after I clicked the button. You fucking idiot, but never the less, there are 2 other tables waiting for your domination.

Back to the Holdem, I was going nowhere and eventually went all in with AJo, loosing to a pair of Queens. 22nd. 4 places out of the money. You idiot.

Aloha was going ok though. I was able to double up early to $860, and was again playing solid. Again, I thought if I am going to raise, it will be a decent one. I doubled again to $1500, then lost some to go back to $1000. More so than ever before, there was some major chip movement in front of me. And I had a massive bluff come off. With nothing but a pair of 3's, I bet $8K after the river against chip leader. He thought long and hard about it, and because I had raised and re-raised this far into the pot, he folded on the river giving me about $12K. In the chat box he said he had top two pair, did I have it?

Dreamscape: Good move, flopped the straight.

Yeah, I'm a player now!

As the hands went on, while still trailing my new aggressive play, I was also conscious of how loose I would be. After reading a poker article about discipline at the table, I was very aware how loose I can get with a small pocket pair. In one hand, I was able to fold my pocket 6's pre-flop - and boy was I proud of myself! Good move to, because the flop came AKQ and it never made it to the turn.

My stack was looking impressive, and I was busting out the punters left, right and center. It was down to 50 players, but I was only just above the average chips. I thought I would be out before 40, but a few good draws and I'm back in there!

I'm glad I am only playing online, because if this was a real poker room I would be wearing my tells like a billboard. I had to remind myself that there was not a huge amount of money on the line - and none of it was mine - but I was so nervous and anxious as the numbers got lower and lower. Most people seemed to be content with folding everything and trying to wait it out for the final table - but I had better ideas. I was going to knock them all out on my way to the final table! I was going well, and blind stealing was the order of the game. The blinds were up over $1000, and with the average stack at $5K, it wasn't all that hard to steal and it was worth it. But one hand hurt me.

On the big blind, I get pocket 2's. Now I know I have to be disciplined, especially at this stage, so I think that if there are any bets I should probably let it go and live to fight another day.

No bets. Ok, I'll check to 2 callers.

Flop comes (2 4 4).

I'm pretty happy with a full house, and doubt anyone was a 4. I'm going all in against the two short stacks.

One of th problems I find in Aloha is that when you are all in, it doesn't show the cards until after the river. But for the sake of this and with the miracle of hind-sight, lets have a look at this hand.

Caller 1 has Q8o. Caller 2 has 9h8h. I have a boat. I admit, as boats go they don't get much smaller, but you could forgive me for being confident.

The turn (8). At this stage, I didn't know they both had an 8, so I'm feeling even better!

The river (8). What? Two pairs on the board? Two *shitty* pairs? I made them go all in late in the game though, so they must have AK or even AA. Hey, I can beat AA right now...

Of course, they both show 8's full. How pathetic I felt. I lost half my stack and was again in danger of loosing out at 16th, but I still had $10K and with the blinds now over $2000, stealing would get me back up...I hoped.

Slowly, one by one players fell at the other table. Not at my table though. One player in particular, with only $4K, would get timed out on every single hand. In the chat box (which I was watching but not contributing to) most of the other players were getting very annoyed. A quick look in the lobby shows the other table had 2 players under $1,ooo. Obviously he is just waiting them out, but it was annoying none the less.

So I steal a few more blinds and before you know it, I'm at the final table. Guranteed money now, I relax. I know blind stealing won't be as easy because we are already on the final table. 2 other players bow out, and then with a $20K stack I raise with Kc9c. Get two callers, and the flop shows (Qh 8c 7s). I bet $3K, just to see if they follow and I get one caller, one fold. The caller is chip leader with $50K, and I don't think he has a very good hand. Turn comes 4d, so the flush is gone for everyone and I bet $3K again. CL takes a while to think about it, then eventually calls. Either he is still looking for a draw or has trapped me perfectly. I put him on the draw, and look to the river. The river is a Ten, and I have nothing but King high. But I could have a straight. CL checks, and I am now convinced I have not been trapped. I go all in. He thinks and thinks and thinks about it. I hope and hope and hope that he folds. He is thinking, so he must have a pair. Eventually he calls and shows ATh, and I'm out of there because of his tens.

In hind sight, I probably shouldn't have gone all in with my remaining $10K - but it was a tight game and I thought I had enough to scare him off. But he had the balls to call with half of what he had left with only a middle pair, and furthers his lead while I lick my wounds. I read the results the next morning and find out he went on to win, while I get no Olympic medals out in 8th place.

But hang on, because this is good - 8th place gets money. Not poxy Bugsy bonus points, but real cold hard cash. How much did I win?

Five big, American ones baby! I bet when Lincoln posed for his currency photo shoot, he never thought that one day a modest Australian poker player aspiring to make his own films would own electronically one of his likenesses. And if he did think that, then man, he truly was a prophet. To put this massive win into perspective, I converted it over to Australian currency with today's exchange rate:

Woo hoo! I am under way yet again! $7.12 Australian dollars - not enough to make a movie, but I could get an over night new release rental! I felt so proud at 1.30am on a Tuesday night, but sad that I had nobody there to share in my glory. I went to bed (actually tried to go to bed, but my girlfriend had already cocooned herself in the sheets and I was forced to either freeze, wake her up and put up with her being shitty for the rest of the week or go sleep in the spare room. I chose the later.) unsure whether I would be able to get up in time for work the next day.

So here I am, under way again with US$5 bank roll behind me. The bad news is since the $5 is on Aloha, and well below the withdraw limit, I can only use it on Aloha and the real money
games there are few and far between. I may try my hand at some of the micro limit tables, but I will definitely continue on with the free rolls there for now.

Onward we go!

And continuing with my current tradition of adding one link for every post, the new link is for the personal web site of
Percy Pringle, real name William A. Moody, and better known as Paul Bearer from WWE fame. Percy Pringle III was a previous stage name used in the wrestling territories by Moody in years gone by, and he has kept his site to tell stories of old and let his fans know about his current situations. The stories are great, and there is a really moving account up on the site at the moment about his struggles with surgeries and so forth. Any fan should take a look.

Thanks for reading, tell your friends, invite your neighbors.

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