Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Still Bad

Billy Mack: Hiya kids. Here is an important message from your Uncle Bill. Don't buy drugs. Become a pop star, and they give you them for free.
"Love Actually"

My frustrating run with poker continues, as I seem to have lost confidence in any hand. While I continue to make great laydowns, the bad laydowns are now starting to become more frequent. Even when other people make bad plays, then they are getting lucky as well which further adds to the frustration. I did get very lucky on one hand on Friday night, but that was again against a short stack so the pay off was minimal. To make matters even worse, I've become so down with this run that I can't help but whinge about it.

The final straw was when I finally hit something decent, with KJs and the third spade coming on the river. I was able to draw for cheap to it and was glad that the board had not paired (did have a 4-straight but I didn't concern myself with that). The pot was small and heads up, so the other player comes out betting $6. I raise it $10 and then he instantly goes all-in for $107. What can you do? There is only one hand he could do that with, and I folded the nuts-1 without much thought. He then says "Oh, I didn't see the flush" and he thought his straight was good. Ouch.

I am now back to just above even for the year after getting myself out of a major hole, and have really lost my nerve. I made a terrible play later on but since I have such a tight image it paid off small – was actually probably the biggest pot of the night for me. Board was AQJ3, and I had Q3. First to act bets $6, second calls and I pushed all in for $90. I thought they both might have a good ace or a straight draw and fold, or maybe even get a call from AK. First to act things long and hard, and I am totally playing my act as "Well, you fold for 8 hours you think you get a reputation". Thankfully my poorly timed play is offset by my well played act and the second player believes I have the straight. I'm glad I didn't convince the first player, because he had JJ and even if he knew I had the straight, he would have called thinking he had so many outs. I'm not saying that's a good play, it's just how he would have played it. Instead, he had JJ and thought I had QQ. That's the only reason he folded, which would make more sense since he would only have one out in that case and more in the other.

But that is where we stand. I have been on fire online in the SNG's, though after Friday night I believe my damaged goods led into a few losses there as well. I managed to get all the loses back in the cash game thanks to one player who was for some reason all too willing to give his chips away. KJ4 flop, I have J4 and put myself all-in, he called with 33. Thanks…I guess.

Poker On Film is on a break next week, as I am heading home for some gambling fun of a different kind. My home town has a yearly horse racing event that still stands strong no matter how bad things are in the city (and things are pretty good in the city at the moment). This will be the first time I have been there in more than 10 years I think, so looking forward to that.

Monday, March 12, 2007


Nicholas Angel: All right, what about this guy? Ask yourself, why has he got his hat pulled down like that?
Danny Butterman: He's fuck-ugly.
Nicholas Angel: Or, he doesn't want you to see his face.
Danny Butterman: 'Cause he's fuck-ugly.
"Hot Fuzz"

The Distraction and I managed to get ourselves into an advanced screening of "Hot Fuzz" over the weekend, and I have to say it was one of the funniest movies I have seen in a very long time. I can't remember the last time I came out of the cinema and been so impressed with a movie. I was quoting some of the better lines 5 seconds after they were uttered.

I'm glad some better movies are coming out now as we head into the US peak season. It was pretty dry for us last year and we seemed to leave the cinema disappointed more often than not. As I have said a few times, even "The Departed" left us disappointed, and nothing else was a real stand out from that, only perhaps "The Prestige". Now we have 300 out soon as well as all the good sequels coming, hopefully a few more good trips are ahead.

Poker has been more frustrating of late, as Friday night's game left me down nearly $30. I was down $130, so that wasn't too bad of a come back. Early on one player was hitting everything no matter what he had. When he limped, he would flop the straight and when he tried to draw, the river gave it to him. Nothing you could blame him or yourself for, the cards were just falling his way.

I was having a rough time of it when Aces got beaten by 83s (8 on the flop, 3 on the turn). When I finally got to winning some decent sized pots, I took them all of one player, who just happened to be the other short stack so I didn't really get paid for those hands. I let a lot of pots get away from me though when I knew the bluff move one of the players would make, but I was too scared that the one time I would call him on it would be the one time he was not bluffing. I never did call him, and I think he bluffed for a decent pot maybe four or five times.

As a side effect of playing a little too cautious, I did make some decent lay downs when it came to putting all my chips in. The first one was with KJ on a rainbow KJ98 board. It was the player whose bluff I wanted to call, but this time it wasn't the same move, it was a re-raise over the top of me for all my chips. I decided to let it go and he showed 99. The next one was against a different player who had tried to tighten up his game (for the better) and had me in real trouble. I was playing some garbage like 58s I think, and on a board of QJ967 I had hit my straight on the river. He was first to act so he put in a modest $3.50, and I said raise. Before I could move any chips, he had gone all-in. I'm glad he did, because I was going to raise more than the minimum but now I was being forced to raise just $3.50 and then have a think about the rest of my chips yet again.

While he was so eager to get everything into the middle says "nuts" to anyone, he had raised pre-flop and I had called him before when he had misread the hand and was strong but not a lock on the hand. Also, 3 times tonight he had hit a set with JJ and got paid off each time, I thought there was a chance he had hit a set again (perhaps even JJ) and got a bit over excited about it. I just didn't think he would raise pre-flop with KT, maybe if it was suited? It was that type of game where people would call with anything suited pre-flop. In the end I decided the bet was too big and too eager to be anything besides the nuts, so I had to let go of my little straight. He was kind enough to show me I was correct, not that I really had a big choice in hindsight. I was lucky to get off that cheaply.

After this I managed to get in front for the first time in the night, by $7 at the most before I lost a few more bets, mostly when I couldn't call the bluffs. It has been a frustrating year so far with few good sessions and mostly just hovering above even or maybe a buy-in up. What makes it more frustrating is watching other players having great sessions, $200 and $300 in the positive at the same time against the same players without making the hard lay downs that I am being forced to do. I guess it just goes that way some times.

I have also left one online room for the time being for another, as I think I am just being out matched by some of the players there. I can not get a hand and when I am weak it must be far too easy to read because everyone is able to bet over the top of me and I am left with too often 0 hands won from 40-50, which is no way to look after a buy-in. Maybe a change of scenery and a few new faces will help some. Who knows? But so far 2007 is no where near as good as 2006.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Bad Hands

Tina Fey: I threw my panties at Britney Spears once. It looked like she needed some.
"Man Of The Year"

Caught up with two movies over the weekend, Man of the Year which was only released in Australia this week and Miami Vice which I never caught when it was released. Man Of The Year was just ok, but most of the jokes told were so old that I think I heard them when I was sill in High School. There were a few funny moments, but on the most part it seemed to try to take a more serious tone than I expected, but that didn't spoil it. It was just ok.

As for Miami Vice…I could not believe a movie with such a large budget could look so bad. There was very little to like about it at all, I can't even understand how someone could put their name to this movie. When the Distraction starts to notice how bad the editing and direction is, you've got problems. I know it got reviews worse than this when it was released, but something in me expected it to be better for some reason.

I have been getting killed still in online cash games, need some readjustment but I am not sure what it is yet. Maybe a change of card room will spark something.

Friday night poker took an unexpected turn last week, with what one player dubbed the single worst hand ever played took place. I was in the BB for this particular hand, and there was maybe 4 or 5 limpers around to the button who made a weak raise for whatever reason to $3. SB and I both call, and then UTG bumps it up $20. That's a massive raise for this game, and effectively tells everyone he has a pair of aces. After a long think, only the button calls. For a bit of background, the player on the button chases nearly everything to the river, and usually ends up down a few buy ins and borrows money regularly when he is dry (always settles his debt quickly though, don't get that part wrong).

Anyway, the flop comes small and UTG bets out another $20, which the button calls. Turn is another small and the board shows two spades and two clubs. UTG bets another $20, button goes all in for the remaining $50 and UTG calls. UTG has AA of course and button has 45s for the straight and UTG is drawing dead.

Like I have never seen before, UTG was furious. He said that is why he is forced to borrow money so often, for calls like that. To make note, the pre-flop bet was a total of $23, which is half a buy-in for this game. The only defence the button could come up with was he was titling and decided to gamble and it paid off.

I said UTG shouldn't slow play aces like that. Anyway, it did put a little bit of a tarnish on the game for the night. UTG finished the night down about $40 and the button player ended the night down a minimum of $200 – which included that $190+ pot. But I have seen worse calls pre-flop before, and even lost a bigger pot because of it.

For me, I could not help but hit sets with my pocket pairs. I hit maybe 7 out of 10 on the flop, and only had to throw away one of them (when the board had 4 spades). I was up $140 at one stage, and then down as much as $70 before ending the night at $60 on the good side.

My most interesting hand of the night was with 84s on the big blind. A good player raised it to $3.50, call behind him and I call also. Flop comes 994 and I checked, looking to check-raise. The pre-flop raiser bets $6, then a call and then I bumped it up to $18. Both players called. The turn was a 6 and I bet out another $20. I had put the pre-flop raiser on AK-AJ or maybe JJ/TT. The other player was a bit of a mystery, but I figured for a flush draw. But again in my mind I was ahead vs a big ace and a draw. The first raise was to hopefully get at least heads up, and it didn't work so now that was my goal, to at least get rid of one of the draws. After agonising over the decision, the pre-flop raiser eventually called. This just reaffirmed my read, as I had a fairly good read and didn't place his actions as acting. Then the second player also called, and I got worried. This now looks like someone has a monster and is laughing all the way.

The river brought a 10, and I lost my confidence in my hand and decided to check. Both players behind me did the same. Pre-flop raiser had pocket Kings and took down the hand, and the player behind him did have the flush draw (jack high).

Even though I lost nearly a whole buy-in on the hand, I was kind of proud at myself for playing it that way. I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but that was how I felt. I made a read on the situation and stuck with it, right up until the last card. I could beat a lot of hands that he had, I just didn't put him on the right one. If there was only one caller and not two on the turn, it could have been a very different hand. The pre-flop raiser though I had Aces and I think a final bet on the river would have had him making (what he thought would be) a great lay down. He is a good enough player to lay down the over pair as well. But I lost my nerve and pulled out at the last moment, so that is the way it goes some times. In hindsight, I made a wrong read and lost a lot of chips, but at least I made a read and stuck with it. It was wrong this time but hopefully I can improve on that.

Wow, is that scary or what? I try to justify betting big when I had 2 outs and think it's good play…