Monday, February 28, 2005

History repeats itself

Remy: How would you feel if I came in your room and I started playing my music.
Fudge: I wouldn't feel anything.
Remy: Why not?
Fudge: 'Cause I'll whoop your ass. That's why.
"Higher Learning"

From my playing over the weekend, I did indeed have a few repeat performances. Thankfully my bank roll continues to grow slowly and is now just under the $500 mark again. At an Omaha $1/$2 table, I was dealt Jh9h3h2h. I had taken a bit of a beating at this table for the day, hitting trips often but never improving. Here all I could see was a striaght draw and a flush draw, but I had already taken four hearts out of the game. In early position, I considered this an easy fold. The flop comes 4h5h6h, giving me another straight flush - well, it would have if I as involved with the hand. Nevermind I guess. I made a Queens over Eights full house a little while later to put me up for the session when the table broke.

Also another little interesting hand took place as I sat down at the crazy $25NL. The very first hand I am dealt 88 and get to see the flop when it is raised to $3 and I call. The flop is Queen high with an eight and I feel good. I check and then call a $3 raise with one other comeing along for the ride. The turn is a blank and I decide to try a little play here. I'm pretty certain I am in front, and UTG I put out a $0.50 bet into a $10+ pot, just hoping it looked as bad a play as it was. One guy re-riases over the top of me for another $3 and the one in the middle folds. I re-raise back for $10 and he uses up all his time to think and call. Brilliant, I put him on AK, maybe a pocket pair but definately not a made hand. The last card is an awful Ace. There is not straight or flush out there though. I decided to check, but if he makes any bet then I am already pot committed and all in with my remaining $6 or whatever it was. He checks it and I take the pot at the showdown. What does everyone think, should I have come out betting on the river? Since I had the better hand, after the fact naturally a bet could have done no harm so perhaps. But I was a littel worried that he had AA and had hit the nuts on the river. Anyway, I got out of it this time and was playing with winnings for th rest of the night.

Last interesting hand came later on another $25NL table - again in the big blind. All my interesting hands come from the big blind. Anyway, I had 5h6h and remembering the flopped straight flush from before I thought I would see the flop for the extra 50 cents. The rainbow flop comes 347, and I check. 1 player bets $2 and I re-raised all in for $21. A stupid over bet but I believe there is method to my madness, which is as follows:

Firstly, anyone who has ever played these tbales knows what kind of idiots can reside there. People who loose to a 10 outer and then complain poker is rigged. A stupid all-in bluff is not uncommon. I was hoping that either there was an idiot at the table who would call with TPTK or an over pair/cards, or there would be someone half smart enough to think I was an idiot going all-in with TPTK or an over pair or something. The other train of though was there is already $5 in the pot, plus a $2 bet in front of me, if I take it down here then I have avoided anybody else improving and taking the pot away from me. I also loose the chance to maximise the pot, but that is the excepted risk I guess. The rasier folded and even said in the chat box "You could have made alot more of that hand". Oh well, I continue to get good cards but fail to make the most of them for now. I guess I have something ot work on.

I did get the chance to watch The Poker Geek go at it in a $10 SNG for about 5 minutes, but unfortunatly his AK lost to AA. Seeing any poker blogger at a table is exciting for me, being the time differences and all. Later that very day, myself in a $10 SNG I rivered a flush to double up into first place, then had one of the short stacks all in with Queens vs my Kings - Queen on the river. Damn, I'm back to the middle. Finally, with 5 left I am all in with AKo vs AKd, and the third diamond came on the river again. Unlucky, but really you can't complain. Nobody really listens anyway.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

My worst winning hand

Otis: You're willing to pay him a thousand dollars a night just for singing? Why, you can get a phonograph record of Minnie the Moocher for 75 cents. And for a buck and a quarter, you can get Minnie.
"The Marx Bros: A Night at the Opera"

Been going well lately. After 5 consecutive days playing with a profit, I dropped a big load on Saturday - then half way through making it back, we had another blackout. As Calvin of "Calvin & Hobbes" would say "There is a God, and he hates me." I did manage to make it all back on Sunday though with another fine $10 SNG win. I must admit getting a great run of cards in the middle, with TT - KK - TT in three running hands, all getting paid off or folded to. At one stage on the bubble I had more than 60% of the chips at the table. There was no way I was letting that one go.

But I have something more important to talk about - I am nearly finished reading Internet Texas Holdem which was graciously given to me (like many bloggers) to review, and my review will be up some time soon, but I would like to throw out this hand situation to the blogging world for their thoughts. I truly believe that if I am going to post my brilliant plays, I should also post the ones where I know I sucked.

I'm at one of those lovely crazy $25NL tables at Party. In the BB I get 56d and limp with 5 runners. The flop was a gift wrapped 3d 4d 7d, and only the second time in my life that I have a straight-flush (the other was Queen high on the river). I check the flop and so does everybody else. The turn is an Ace. Here are my options as I saw them:

1) Check, check and keep on checking. Wait for the river to pounce and only call any bets/raises.

2) Over-bet the pot and make it look like I am trying to buy it.

3) Give a tiny little bet on the turn, make the baby Jesus cry, and hope it looks like a bluff or gets some callers.

4) Bet normally and try to build up a decent pot so when you win it is worth it.

While I could be extremely unlucky to get beaten by a higher straight-flush, I could be forgiven for thinking I have flopped the stone-cold nuts. After the fact, I think I should have chosen option number one, and give out as many free cards as possible and give someone else a chance to make a hand. Unfortunatly, on the turn I decided to bet $1 into a $4.50 pot. I did not get one caller. It looked like a pretty obviously slow play of a flush to me, but for some reason all I wanted to do was build the pot. This is no-limit people! The flop can go from $4.50 to $45 on one bet! Stupid play! I was so disapointed that I flopped a straight flush and only made $3.50 on it. Not very wise people.

While I'm on stupid play, one of the best peices of advice from that very poker book I am reading is a very simple instruction - Know what the nuts are. On a board of J88Tx, I was holding J8. I knew that JJ could beat me, but was quietly confident that all four Jacks were not in play. What I did forget is that TT also beats me. Of course one guy had it, and wasn't willing to raise into me for it and only called. I guess he was aware of all the hands that beat his. Could of been worse I suppose.

Thursday, February 17, 2005


Very quick post, this is just one example of how I was robbed last night. This happened about 6 times before I had to give it up.

***** Hand History for Game 1598601699 *****
1/2 OmahaHiGameTable (Limit) - Wed Feb 16 02:00:02 EST 2005
Table Table 34079 (6 max) (Real Money) -- Seat 6 is the button
Total number of players : 6
Seat 1: SB ( $48.25)
Seat 2: BB ( $37.25)
Seat 3: UTG ( $58.25)
Seat 4: MP ( $72.25)
Seat 5: Heafy ( $34.75)
Seat 6: BUTTON ( $33.75)
SB posts small blind (0.5)
BB posts big blind (1)
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to Heafy [ Kh, Kd, 6d, 9s ]
MP folds.
Heafy calls (1)
BUTTON calls (1)
SB calls (0.5)
BB checks.
** Dealing Flop ** : [ 9c, 4d, 9d ]
SB checks.
BB checks.
Heafy bets (1)
BUTTON calls (1)
SB folds.
BB folds.
** Dealing Turn ** : [ Ks ]
Heafy bets (2)
BUTTON calls (2)
** Dealing River ** : [ Td ]
Heafy bets (2)
BUTTON raises (4) to 4
Heafy could not respond in time.(disconnected)
Heafy Disconnect Protection enabled.
Creating Main Pot with $13.25 with Heafy
** Summary **
Main Pot: $13.25 Side Pot 1: $2 Rake: $0.75
Board: [ 9c 4d 9d Ks Td ]
SB balance $47.25, lost $1 (folded)
BB balance $36.25, lost $1 (folded)
UTG balance $58.25, sits out
MP balance $72.25, didn't bet (folded)
Heafy balance $42, bet $6, collected $13.25, net +$7.25 [ Kh Kd 6d 9s ] [ a full house, Kings full of nines -- Kh,Kd,Ks,9c,9d ]
BUTTON balance $27.75, bet $8, collected $2, lost -$6 [ Kc Jc Qs 5d ] [ a straight, nine to king -- Ks,Qs,Jc,Td,9c ]

Ok, so maybe I should have raised pre-flop, but you can see the calibre of the players. He calls me all the way to the river chasing a straight when there is already a flush and a lair on the board when I am betting at every street. Like I said, it happened a few times and probably cost me all up 15-20BB, which can hurt. Everybody is out to conspire against the "WGPBE".

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Watch the first step

Ace Rothstein: [narrating] Nicky's methods of betting weren't scientific, but they worked. When he won, he collected. When he lost, he told the bookies to go fuck themselves. I mean, what were they going to do, muscle Nicky? Nicky was the muscle.

Fired up Poker Now again last night, keen to dig into the bonus I have going there. I go back to the old faithful Omaha $1/$2 tables – and this one is wild. 6 Players, raising like there is no tomorrow and hitting draws. First hand I get to limp and see a beautiful flop of J44, and I’m holding J4. I bet and get 1 caller. Turn is a rag, and I bet, he raises, I re-raise and he caps. Hmm…The river is an ace, putting a flush on the board. Great, but the same thing happens and it is capped. I flip over my J4 (can’t remember what the other cards were) and he flips over his J4. Damn it – actually lost 25 cents on that hand to the rake.

A few hands later I get a lovely flop of J87 rainbow, and I have 9T suited to the Jack. I bet out big, get 2 callers. Turn brings 2d, giving two diamonds on the board with the 7. I bet, he calls. Gee, I wonder what is happening here? The river completes the flush and what do you know, he comes out betting. I call just to confirm, and yes he has Q4d in his back pocket. I don’t like how this is going.

On another hand, I have AdAc7c6h, not a bad hand methinks. The flop comes JhTc2c – not bad for me. I bet, two callers. The turn is a nasty looking Td. I have to continue to show strength though, and I could still draw to the nuts if another ace comes. The river completes my nut-flush, but of course a boat could sink me. My 3-bet is called and he shows a lower flush. This sizeable pot put me my 20 minute profit at 10BB, and I had to call it quits there as the table broke up. I didn’t mind the quick action though, it would fund me on my next experiment.

I thought I might try Poker Geek’s steps idea and see how it flies. I started at the $10 level because that is where I usually play. Man, another tight table with only one maniac who is taken care of very early on, but not by me. The first hand I play is AJs from UTG – I raise to double the big blind and it gets folded around to me. Ok, I guess my tight image is following me. A little too well perhaps, because I make the same move from the button with KQo and win the blinds plus 1 caller from middle position. I just couldn’t win any pots of any size – when I played a hand, everyone stayed away. If I limped and then bet on the flop, everyone would fold. I decided to keep this image going and not play too many hands as everyone would be getting into the push or fold mode soon. Sure enough, it gets to the button with two small stacks (me included) and too large ones. Instantly the other small stack doubles up and I am now looking very shaky. I go All-in with AQs, double up on the calling 66. Very next hand (BB) I go All-in again on the SB and one caller who fold to me. Hey, why not three in a row? I get 77 and go All-in and unfortunately the Big Blind has 99 and I bubble. Oh well, I can try again.

In a new $10 SNG, 8 left I limp with KT to see a KJT rainbow flop. One guy bets out $350, about half my stack. I think he has maybe a Queen or an Ace, but not both and is on a draw. I push All-in as the pot is nice at over $700 already and I have about that left. He thinks and thinks about it then calls with QJ. Ok, an OEST against my two pair…He spikes a Jack on the river to take it with trips – and then apologised. Too late buddy, apologies don’t put bucks in my bank roll do they? At least he wasn’t a dick about it.

So I still think the steps idea is good, and I will give it another go again soon. But the main problem is the first step at the moment – and I just came off a good run with it too.

I should be able to get some decent playing in tonight as the distraction looks like spending some late hours at the office. On non-poker news, the Guinness World Record attempt I am making at work is going great guns – and as a fortunate bit of timing they are starting up an Australian Version of the TV show. I’ve already been in touch with the producers and it looks like a very good chance we will be featured on it at some stage. Here’s hoping.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

I'm Henry the 8th, I am.

KAOS Agent: Look, I'm a sportsman. I'll let you choose the way you want to die.
Max: All right, how about old age?
”Get Smart”

Welcome one and welcome all. I have received a bit of a spike in readers over the past week or so with no real explanation for it. If some blog out there that I don’t regularly read has linked to me or has mentioned The World’s Greatest Poker Blogger Ever recently then let me know, I’d love to return the favour.

Going through my results of SNG and final table finishes, I have noticed that I do not finish second very often, or even third. First and forth are most common, which I think is a little weird. Last night in another $10 SNG when it got to heads up I found myself full of confidence that this would go my way. As a spoiler, it didn’t and I actually came second this time, but I am pretty confident in my heads up play – mainly due to the fact that I have been running into some real rocks lately. This table last night was too tight by far.

After reading The Poker Geek’s blog in recent times, I thought about his comments on his own play – and also the a blogger favourite “Minimum raises make baby Jesus cry”. One player, when still ten active player at the table, make a minimum raise of $30 into a $180 pot and took it down. He tried again a second time, and was raised to $100 for a fold. I take notice. He tries a minimum raise on the turn against me, and I re-raise with nothing. He folds. Thank you very much, I have two players sussed out from this. Firstly the bluffer, weaker than day old coffee at McDonalds. Secondly, the rock that he bluffed out on the first hand, his greatest tell is his bet. He did not vary from this for the whole game. “Check” = I got nothing. “Call” = I am looking to improve. “Small bet/raise” = I have something small. “Big bet/raise” = I have something big. See, this poker stuff is a simple game. I think I made it into the top three without knocking anybody out and without making it to a showdown once. Now I am a fan of playing tight, but when 10/10 people at the table are doing it, you gotta loosen up a little fellas. Quite a few times (and even once or twice by accident) I had 75% of my stack in the middle with nothing but the board.

In heads up, I made a beautiful check-raise move on a flopped set to his TPTK to cripple him. Blinds were 300/600, and I left him with 450. Next hand, I get The Hammer, and I have to call the extra 150 regardless as he is all in – no real brain effort in that move I think. His Q5o doesn’t improve, and neither do I. Next hand he actually has some decent cards and I have 62o. Damn it, he is back in it now.

It went back and forth for what seemed like 20-30 hands, and we even tossed up the idea of a deal for $5! In the end, on a flop of AQ6, I had Q9 and called his all in. He showed at least an Ace, maybe even A6 I can’t remember. It was at the stage where I really wasn’t bothered because profit was already guaranteed – and even though I had a loss, I am confident that I played the better in the heads up game (if you exclude the impatience on the last hand).

I want to plug the fine work over at
Sound of a Suckout and his effort to start monthly poker blogging awards. Unfortunately, I don’t think he has one for sucking up to him, so I am at a loss already. As I have documented here, my bank roll is considerably more healthy with the help of his blog, and through affiliate rebates I think his bank roll has also been helped by mine in a very small way. It is a very generous gesture to offer up a little bit of his own scratch for the amusement of the poker blogging community, and I hope he gets some laughs out of it – and I’ll get some good tips on other fine blogs to read from it also. It’s win-win people!

And to the noble Knight himself, Sir FWALGMan: When times are tough, when the bank roll has been belted around, when you feel like the smallest fish in the biggest pond, you have to make a decision. It’s not about whether you want to “invest” or “gamble” more money into poker. Only you know what your own situation is. It’s about whether you enjoy playing. I say play in a home game with friends and family for some miniscule buy-in. Drink what ever ails you, tell stories and lies, show your mucked cards for a laugh and forget that you have $5 on the line. If you don’t enjoy that kind of game, then maybe it is time for a break (permanent or temporary). If it is just a purely financial decision, then take it from me – free rolls can be your friend as long as you don’t mind flipping a coin a few times. I’ve made over $1,000 dollars in a foreign currency all by starting in free rolls – and I’m not even that good. I was looking back through my blog today by coincidence, and I noticed quite a few times where your writings in my comments section was a great help to myself. So I guess my message here is play poker because you want to, make the money a secondary objective.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Moving forward, ever so slowly

Joel: Constantly talking isn't necessarily communicating.
”Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

There is only one thing I hate worse than an idiot at a table who won’t shut up, and that is an idiot at the table who won’t shut up keep hitting draws.

I was playing a $10 SNG last night, and the usual strategy (uber-tight early, wait for them to knock themselves out then move in for the kill) wasn’t going to work. Hello, we have a table of 10 tight players. One guy would not stop talking, and he never had anything good to say. He was the lone exception at the table, and made some of the most obvious bluff moves I have ever seen. And it wasn’t just me that was noticing, no less than four other players re-raised his turn or river min-bet to see him fold it through. Then on one hand instead of betting the minimum, he goes all in for about 6BB. Somebody called – and they were either not paying attention or gave this guy too much credit and thought he had made a different bluff move. He had the nut flush and knocked out 10th place. It was awful to hear him gloat about it too. He would also pester one player in particular who raised his bluff bet and then mucked their hand to tell him what he mucked. When the player declined, he continued on with it for every hand to come until that guy too was knocked out. I was up and down, and pushed with TT to get one caller holding JJ. Ouch – fortunately I had him out chipped and with $250 left (start with $800) I pushed the very next hand UTG with JJ. Everybody folded to me. Interesting – I know what I was holding, so I would have been in front of everybody else (and if I wasn’t then they really have no excuse), but it was a perfect example of a tilt push by a small stack about to encounter the blinds. No one was willing to take the chance though, so I got my blinds for free. Interesting at least for me.

I was able to finally hit a few hands and move into a respectable position, but still on the bubble. I was able to knock out the idiot when I had JJ again and he called me with 99. Playing the table policeman seems always –EV for me, but it does feel good – perhaps that is a big problem for me.

On the bubble again. I have been here so often lately in these SNG’s and have way too many 4th’s than I would like. I am one of two short stacks, and the blinds are getting big. Why oh why do big stacks fold small blinds to the small stack? I forgot how many free blinds I got with cards like 84o. I did manage to cripple the other small stack when his flush draw did not come and he was left with $30 – small blind was $200. He won 4 all-ins in a row, crawling his way back to a position where he could bet and then lost it all on one hand. Finally my streak of bubble finishes had been broken.

With three left, it became a game of when to push as the blinds increased again. I was able to steal a few times (and still they folded the small blind to me) and eventually knocked out 3rd and 2nd for an uplifting return to the winners circle. This to go along with a mighty profit of $1.50 at the Omaha tables earlier – I’m getting the hang of that game.

I too have signed up with Poker Source Online’s rake rebate, not that it will net anything huge for me, but the 100% sign-up bonus (up to $100) at Poker Now was appealing. 1000 hands to clear the bonus though – I don’t think I should have a problem with this.

So all in all, I have had a few decent days of playing without loosing any money. I'll take that for now.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Stupid People Shit Me

[Edgecomb gives Coffey some cornbread]
Paul Edgecomb: My wife made it to thank you.
John Coffey: For what, boss?
Paul Edgecomb: [Pointing to his groin] You know.
John Coffey: Oh, was she pleased?
Paul Edgecomb: Several times.
”The Green Mile”

I have not played very much online as of late, and to be honest I am still in shock at my investment strategies. Sure, all those Wall Street buffoons may preach about their “Blue Chips” and future markets, but I thought for sure the smart investment was in drunk poker players over-betting the hammer. And you know Al, it was still worth it.

I did get the chance for a home game last Friday night. Usually these games are 6 people who are all very knowledgeable and occasionally 1 or 2 new comers. This week was a little different, as we were playing 8 handed with 3 relative new comers including the host’s wife. Out of 15 people who said they could make it, 8 did in the end. Oh well, it was still the largest home game I have been involved in.

Online players are all wary of table selection. In a home game, it is more player selection – who to invite and who not to invite. While I don’t think there has ever been a problem with new comers to these games (as I myself was once), this week there was a problem with one player who was a friend of the host. He was not that experienced in poker but had played here before. He was lucky enough to get some chips early on and then the lunacy started. He would raise “eight blues” pre-flop. Never mind that those “blues” have a numeric value, just refer to the colour buddy. He got called the first time and eventually called his way to the showdown to show 83o, good enough for two pair on the river and the win. Then he did it again, raising pre-flop a massive amount (big blind was $200, he would raise $9,875 into an unraised pot.). It was funny, maybe even a smart move the first time he did it. The eight time? No laughs anymore. I, along with about everyone else, was just waiting for a half decent hand to call him on. I could not get anything over a 7. One player finally called him with AQo, and the raiser won the pot with J4o. Knocked out 8th, 7th and 6th in similar fashion (1st to 3rd get paid) – including one brutal river card that made his 53s a flush to beat a flopped Broadway straight. The host had to actually apologise to that guy as he left. Not only was the raiser making this stupid bets to ruin the action, he was carrying on like it was a great move – and really rubbing it in when somebody was knocked out. Finally I had a hand – AJc, I need to make a stand, he must be stopped. I called, and he had 96d. Always bloody suited. What do you know, I managed to get my flush out and double up. Problem was, my stack had hardly moved since we began and he had more than 4 times the starting amount. In other words he was still the chip leader by double and I was still one of the smaller stacks. It just didn’t dent him. Thankfully the second big stack player (who I think has finished 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 1st in the last four) was able to double through his as well. Now he was down in third, myself in second out of the five people left and he was forced to think about his bets.

The big hand of the night was a 4 way pot out of the remaining 5, and with Q6 I limped. The flop was 9TK rainbow, and was checked through. The turn brought me my gut shot Jack but put 2 diamonds on the board, and the host’s wife was first to act. She had been playing cautiously all night (which wasn’t surprising considering the action) and I don’t think had ever won a big pot. She finally had a hand and moved all in. In this situation I think I have to call and hope she didn’t have the nut straight, and I re-raise all in to scare off anyone else (since I was the biggest stack in the hand). The maniac calls all in and so does the last player. Not surprising I guess, there are four queens in the deck. The Wife had ace-something suited diamonds, and needed a queen or a diamond for the nuts. I of course had a queen, and the maniac? J8d. Drawing dead from here, but he could win one of the side pots. The last player also had a queen. The river came a rag and all was right in the world. Not only had the maniac been busted on the bubble, we were now in the money. It felt good.

Eventually third dropped out and it was heads up between myself and the big stack. We went back and forth for a while and I was able to get a few big plays on position to take down some nice pots and give myself the lead. It should be noted that while the other guy was a very good player, his cards were running hot. He had the rockets four times in 6 hands at one stage. I had them once all night and won a small pot with one pair. Approaching the other end of midnight, he went all in on a Q38 rainbow flop. I called with Q9 and he screamed as he flipped over Q7. That was it, and after 3 dismal showings in these games in a row I was able to pull one out and get back into the money.

After this, the two of us and the host spoke about the idiot before, and how he won’t be coming back (even though he did donate his money to the winnings) – it just wasn’t as fun with him there. We decided to play a quick three handed game to get some decent poker out of the night, and I finished second to the host but it was great fun. He knocked out 3rd with AA and the very next hand I looked at the clock (2.00am) and remembering that I had to be up in a few hours for a busy Saturday with my distraction, I moved all in with KT. He called instantly with AK. On the board came one of each and I was very happy with the night in the end.

If in previous posts it had sounded like I was frustrated with poker, then this night redeemed it all. Sure, there was an hour or two where one bad egg was able to ruin the fun, but the rest of the night was great and showed me how much I do enjoy playing against good players. Live games are always more fun that internet games – maybe not profit wise, but that doesn’t really matter at this stage.

On a side note, I also got to see some poker on TV, a rarity these days as we no longer have cable television. It was the 2004 American Poker Championship which Phil Ivey won. But watching the majority of the final table (couldn’t watch it all because of a quick trip to get more alcohol) really showed the importance of playing your stack size and position. Sometimes watching good players is just as beneficial as playing with them, if not more so.