Monday, July 30, 2007

Reasons For My Fishiness

Xerxes: Your Athenian rivals will kneel at your feet... if you but kneel at mine.
Spartan King Leonidas: That is quite an offer. Only a mad man would refuse it. But this kneeling business... I'm afraid killing all those slaves of yours has left me with a nasty cramp in my leg.

I have now completed all the PSO bonus' that I wish to at the moment, but I do have one point I'd like to make. I was a little disappointed that you can only use one skin on the Micro gaming network, as PSO offer multiple skins. This is obviously not PSO's choice, as more of a choice of the Micro Gaming (formerly Prima) sites that stop bonus whores like myself from abusing their generosity. I say, if I'm prepared to play the 1000 hands to get a small bonus, why not let me do it a few times over? You know I'm good for the action and they wouldn't be offering the bonus in the first place if that action couldn't cover it.

Instead, now that the bonus has ended, I am going to trot back to the old faithful Full Tilt and Poker Stars. As I am moving up in levels, there should be some interesting times to had as I carve out a new image for myself at the tables.

last night was a quick hit and run, I was up enough at the cash game to pay for entry at a MTT starting in 5 minutes time, so I decided to use that as a free roll and see what happens. I won one good pot early, and then folded 38 hands in a row pre-flop. The best of it was 77 when I got re-raised by the BB, and then another player on a short stack went all-in for about 80% of what I had. I had to fold, and lucky so as the short stack flopped a full house with 55 on a JJ5 board. The re-raiser had ATo. Nice re-raise there buddy – I actually saved me money on that one though. I did eventually knock him out after he was going all-in on very nearly ever hand. But that was as exciting as it got for me as I got to see a flop for free from the big blind with A6o. Flop was 763 and I bet out only to be raised all-in. I called, half because I thought I could be ahead and half because it was the first time I had hit a pair in 4 orbits. He had 33 and I was gone in 50th or somewhere near there.

I am noticing a lot of profit coming from cracking Aces and Kings. While some people could correctly assume this involves a little bit of luck coming your way, it also helps when opponents get married to their big pairs. An all unders flop? "Golden" they say, "I'll just string him along. Perfect example – 34o on the SB, UTG raised to $4 pre flop. Everyone else folds, so I call because if he has high cards, chances are my cards are live and if I miss, I can easily get away from this hand. Besides, my reads online have been going pretty good of late so I am trusting them.

Pot is $8.50 after rake (massive limits, I know, but you'll never find me claiming to be a high roller) and comes Qd5d6h. I have an open ended straight draw, something to look forward to and if he doesn't have a flush draw, that could be good cover for my draw. I check, wanting to keep this as cheap as possible, and he bets out $5. So now I have to call $5 to a $13.50 pot. I will go into what I consider the analysis of this decision later and my thinking of the maths and what not. Anyway, I called and consider that an easy decision. The turn is my mad, the deuce of spades. I check to let him hang himself as my call would indicate a flush draw and it missed here, so surely he has to make me pay for it (unless he has it himself). He bets about half the pot at $9. I check-raise him to $50 which is more than he has at the table so it was really a raise to about $40. Here is the crucial point of the hand where he has to make a decision. What do I put him on? That is not really important as I hold the nuts. I figure he might have a pair, maybe TPTK in which case he is drawing dead. He might have been playing tricky and hit trips or two pair in which case he has outs, or he could have a flush draw – in both cases he is going to have to call for all his chips to get it. There is also the chance he puts me on a bluff, but to be honest I think the all-in bet would be enough to win the hand right here, and may have actually cost me a value bet on the river if he had something like AQ or KQ. In the end he called with KK and was drawing dead. Of course I get called a donkey for cracking his pocket kings with 34o – but really, did he have to go broke on that hand? I gave him every opportunity to fold and he wouldn't take it. I have his whole stack, and he has a story to tell. Some times I think people call with their big pairs when they should know they are beaten just so they can say how unlucky they are. Ok, I could have had AQ or KQ in his mind, but is that the kind of hand I want to be check-raising with? I don't like that play on that board at all.

Now about that call on the turn – and my thoughts on playing draws in general. Here is my thought process for better or worse. I am getting just under 3-1 on the call for an OESD. I have 8 outs, and just over 2% a card so that's about 17% for the straight on the turn and about 34% for it on the turn and river. The exact numbers don't matter because I am not operating on the level where ±4% will matter. Good if you know them, but really not important. So is the 3-1 pay off worth it? Perhaps, but I doubt I will get paid 3-1 in this case. If I hit, most of the time he will have something that is worth calling a value bet with or I could check raise as above. My pay off will be bigger than the 3-1 it was on the flop. Of course, if the my dream card didn't come on the turn then my odds of winning will be greatly diminished and any decent player would make me pay a second time for the same draw.

That is something I think about a lot at the home games, when less experienced players are considering calling a bet on the flop. They consider they have to call say $10 to have two chances to hit their flush or straight. I remind them they have to call $10 to hit their draw on the TURN only – because if it is an obvious draw that doesn't come on the turn, there is no way they are seeing the river for free. Gives them something else to think about when drawing heads up against me anyway.

So, for the above 34o vs KK, how would I have played it differently if I was the KK? I would have probably put me on a Queen or a flush draw as he obviously did. $5 on the flop – probably less than I would have but not by much. I want AQ to call, if a flush comes I know I am good enough to dump an over pair. $9 on the turn – again, I might have gone a few dollars higher to make the flush draw really think, but $9 is ok in my book. Would I still call the over-bet from the check-raise? Probably not. I've folded bigger hands that that before. I would have lost far less on the hand I think. What if the 34o just called? I think I would have called a small to medium bet on the river, certainly not an all-in and I would have checked if it was checked to me.

I have been accused before of being gun shy, but I am slowly shaking that (besides the Kings full of tens check on a KhJhTh9hTc board).

Home games this week will not be on, but there is an outside chance that we will be paying a visit to the local card room for a quick session Saturday afternoon in between social engagements. It's been a while since I have been back to this card room and never during day light hours, so it will be interesting to see what kind of crowd and what games they run during the day. Hopefully just a quick few SNG's and we'll be on our way.

I just won a good argument that would have made a good prop bet, if my workmates were into gambling as much as I apparently am. Orko was definitely in the original cartoon series of "He-Man" – turns out he was created specifically for the cartoon series. I only bring this up because the original Spider-Man cartoons are now on in the mornings here, and today I got to see the first episode where Peter Parker gets bitten. You know, I don't think the live action movies give Spidey enough snappy lines like he does in the comics and the original cartoon – or perhaps my mind is just clouded by the sub-par showing we had this year of the third in the trilogy.

At least I still have a few episodes of Briscoe County Jr to fall back on. I get the feeling that it was not meant to be as dodgy or cliché as it is, but I am still enjoying this old timer. An example of what I mean is in one episode when the bad guy of the week is riding off on his horse with maiden on the back, he stops and has this little exchange with the woman.

"We're being tracked…It's Brisco County Jr."
"How can you tell?"
"Because I can't see him."

And then they show Brisco riding his horse through the flattest, most impossible to hide in scene at full pace. Yep, he's a master of tracking this Brisco! Ah, it's all good fun though.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Rollercoaster

Sebastian: Well, your objections have been duly noted and summarily overruled.
Sarah: Yes, Sir!
Sebastian: How come when you say "Yes, Sir" it kinda sounds like "Fuck you!"
Sarah: Practice!
"Hollow Man"

As predicted, after a little Poker absence I went into Poker Binge mode over the weekend. It started with the regular home game on Friday night. I made a really good decision in the early goings when I was forced to go all-in with two pair, but there were three spades on the board and the opponent is known to play any suited cards. When he didn't call straight away, obviously I was good.

After that, things got sour. I had few premium hands and got really sick of seeing 4-rag as my hole cards. When I did get good starting hand – queens once and jacks maybe 3 times, they were beaten to within an inch of their life. Then another player had another amazing run of luck where every coin-flip or 4-10 outer went their way, when they weren't flopping boats with K2o. This made me play even worse by calling pre-flop raises out of position with things like 58o or T7s. As you would assume, things got worse from there and I ended the night early after reaching my stop-loss limit.

While I can not really blame anyone but myself for the way I played, it was extremely frustrating to see someone rake in pot after pot with what seemed like boundless luck. I have been on a bit of a run of late in the live game, having 6 winning sessions in a row. But I felt like I had to play at my absolute best to grind out those profits, making brave bets when I needed to and even better calls when all I had was a pair. I guess that is the way poker is sometimes, but driving home at 5am with the wallet empty was not a pleasant experience.

Luckily, there were no cliffs between the game and my house.

I was tired. I was on tilt. I was depressed more than I had any right to be. It was still very dark at 5am. I had reached my stop-loss for the first time this year, which is 5 buy-ins. And I wasn't yet satisfied. I needed to play more hands. I wanted to play online even though this was probably the poster child for wrong times to be playing poker.

Online, I have been having ups and downs as readers would know. The current site, through PSO, has been really rude to me but I have managed to stay just above even thanks to some returns of luck and a little bit of Blackjack. I decided that luck should have little to do with it and I need to think less about what an opponent does and more about why they do it. Sounds like the first lesson of poker to me.

I was examining my results over the past few months during the week, and I have been pushing towards a certain marker in bankroll size for some time. It was getting there slowly, but I was a little stunted as of late. I felt like I was really grinding out the small profit and it just wasn't a sufficient win or loss either way. I had a good feel for the table size and players as a broad generalisation. I have been playing at the same level for quite some time, with the ups covering the downs by a little bit. I had decided during the week that I needed to move up a level to keep improving. Not based on the ratio of my bankroll to the size of the buy in or blinds, but because I was ready and able to accommodate the perceived increase in play. I firmly believe that in the times I have dabbled in the past at this greater level, the play is less rocky which I like to an extent.

So why not dive right in at 5am after dumping your last buy in at a home game on a draw?

I did, and lo and behold I played well. Folded when I had to, called when I should, and raised when it seemed appropriate. No river beats given and none taken. Just a solid little session an hour in length that netted a ½ buy in profit without getting in any danger. Sleep would be a little easier now.

Over the weekend, I found more time to return to the digital felt and apply my new focus to the games. I had 5 sessions over the weekend, and all ended in profit. That included one game where I was down a buy in before coming back to net single-digit profit which I was more than happy with.

And it could have been so much better. I had a nut flush draw and heads up against an inferior flush draw – that hit a pair of sevens on the river to take the pot. I had KQ loose to KJ also on the river when we were all-in on the turn when he spiked a Jack. I had flopped a set that lost to a turned flush, and I found myself in another situation where I could not pull the trigger holding KT on a board that showed Kc Th Jh Kh 9h. The pot was sizable, and opponent checked to me on the river. I felt like an all-in would only get called by KJ or the queen on hearts, and that I didn't want. So I just checked, and he had the ace of hearts. Yeah, he just might have called a value bet there.

Other than that, I made some great bluffs when representing hands, including a very uncharacteristic all-in check raise bluff when I was betting my draw that missed. Guess he missed his draw too then. I had my fair share of luck as well, but this time around it was in proportion and not when I was too short stacked to make anything of it. I did call a shortstack all in with TT vs AA, but when you buy in to the table with 15BB and get called, what more can you expect? Why not just play blackjack if you are going to gamble like that?

My best laydown cost me $50 or more still, but it was a difficult one. I have J9o and see a flop with 2 others. I have $190, first position has $70 and second position has $170. Flop is QdTd6c. First to act bets small, second calls as do I. turn is Kc, completing my open-ended straight. First and second both check, so I bet out to make any flush chasers pay some. FP calls and SP makes a regular sized raise. I think about shoving it all in, but decided instead to re-raise to $44. I have a big stack and he would surely know that I am not bluffing here. FP calls, and then SP goes all-in. Ouch – there is only one hand that beats me at the moment, and if he has AJd then I am in real trouble. I have to use some of my time bank to think about it, as this pot is now nearing the $400 mark if I call. I decided that there is little chance he has J9 as well, and if he does have that then I can only hope he doesn't have the flush as well. That is pretty much the best case scenario for me, and I have to lay it down. FP calls, which I am very happy about since it lets me see the cards. The river is a blank, and SP shows AhJd.

I don't think I played the hand perfectly, and in hind sight he has given me plenty of hints that he has me beat and it should be a regulation fold perhaps. But in the moment, with all those chips in front of me and all those chips in the middle, I really had to decide if I was folding a chopped pot or not. In the end I made the right decision, and perhaps the $44 raise saved me from a bigger bet on the river anyway. When the diamond didn't come, maybe I put him on the flush draw and would be bluffing me? Who knows, but in the end I came out un-scathed and with still more than the original buy-in in front of me.

My biggest profit hand was – drum roll – pocket Aces! I had them a few times and usually won the blinds only. Once when I did try to slow play them pre-flop, opponent flopped two tens and I was forced into making one of those crying calls. Other times I was fortunate enough to get it from the big blind with a raise in front of me. A re-raise and the short stacks go all in, I call and no beats come so I take a reasonable sized pot.

The best was with a stack of $99, I decided to call the standard sized raise by the button from the small blind as did the big blind. Flop comes Ks3d6s. I have AsAh, so that is a good enough flop for me. If he has KK then I'm screwed, but that is life. If he has the flush draw then I want him to pay and hopefully not see another card if I can, and if he has just a king, then happy days.

Pot was $12, so I bet out $6. To me, if he has the flush draw or set, he would just call. Anything less and he probably wants to raise. BB folded so that was a flush-worry gone. Button raises to $16. That's pretty much what I wanted to see, as there is no way he puts me on AA and I am now fairly confident on AK or a flush draw. If he has the flush draw though, it's not the to the nuts as I have the Ace of spades.

What would he think if I pushed all in here? If he has AK, he might put me on the same hand or a small set, but not two pair and I've already ruled out rockets. He has me covered by a few dollars, and the pot already has $20 of his chips in there so lets make him make a decision. If he instantly calls, then I am screwed. If he has to think about it, then happy days.

I push all-in for a gross over-bet. Even if he folds, the pot is big enough to satisfy me.

And he thinks about it…there is only good news from here on in.

And then there is better news – he starts talking in the chat box. I decided to indulge him.

"Oooo…what have you got?"

One of my good friends from the home game likes to make sure the whole table is having fun, and is happy to forego some small profit in the mean time to make sure everyone is enjoying themselves. He'll do things like promise to show his hand if they fold, and then do so, or agree to check down a pot from the flop. I decided to do the same here and quell his curiosity if he wanted it

"Do you want me to show?" – and I clicked the buttons "muck winning hands" so that I could show him, and then I threw him a curve.

"Then call – lol". I threw the "lol" for two reasons; one because I did intend to show (and expected him to fold) and two because I am playing under a female name so it seems to fit the part.

"I have K T…"
"And you have to think about it?" – Let him make of that what he pleases. But if I had KT, I'd have folded by now.
"You on a flush draw?"

Now this is where it gets tricky. If I say "Yep", I don't know if that will push him either way, or whether that is what he wants to hear or if he will even believe me. For some reason though, I don't want to lie and then show that I was lying. I joined this little banter to give him some fun and not make an enemy. I do have a back door flush draw though, but if I say as much then that might tell him what I have. I still want him to call if he has AK, which is what I believe he has now that he has to think about it. I want him to think it is a split pot – that way he will be surprised and happy if he folds, and I'll be in a great position if he calls.

"Could be" is what I decided to go with, after taking some time to think about it which probably did me no harm.

Eventually he calls, and has AK. Turn and river bring no spades or kings, and I take home a big pot. He goes silent.

"AK, that's what I thought you really had". Maybe a little needling, but fuck him he lied to me. I decide it is best to leave it there.

A few hands later, I called a post flop raise with just over cards and hit a king on the turn. It gets checked to the river and I take the pot while the loser of the hand (different player) laments that his pair of tens were no good.

"Your (sic) just a lucky fish."

"Yes I am" I said, then cashed out as that hand was the final one I needed to clear for the PSO bonus. Seconds later, I was putting through a withdrawal for the full amount and never again will they see me at those tables. I had more than doubled my original deposit to the site and was in a state of euphoria as I had more than made up for the losses on Friday night.

Monday, July 16, 2007

My Old Friend - Tilt-Jack

Morty: He's always chasing the pot of gold, but when he gets there, at the end of the day, it's just corn flakes.

A busy social calendar over the weekend meant no live poker, but I did manage a big session online during the early hours of Saturday. I proceeded to get dealt bad cards, see bad flops and then play them badly – which all of course ended badly. I could not hold on to a buy in if I tried, and then got on massive tilt and headed to the blackjack tables. Two hands later when the dealer busted both times, and all of a sudden tilt is over. I don't think I'll be making a habit of that though.

That was about the extent of my poker week, besides me and a friend doing our best to sort out all the problems with the WSOP. A few years ago, we would both follow the main even just about hand for hand. Last year we would only check in now and then to see what was happening, and this year we just don't really care all that much at all. What was once the jewel in the Poker crown is now just another tournament for us who watch. I'm sure it is different for those involved and whoever wins, but really it isn't what it used to be. I would like to join the chorus of people calling for the entry fee to be doubled at least. We adopted the official "Knock down, rebuild" approach for the WSOP.

I do think though that some steps have been taken in the right direction. The $50K Horse event is a good idea introduced last year. Making the various World Champion events clearer was also a good idea, but basically 50-odd bracelets given out each year is a bit much. The WC events should be something special above a normal bracelet event, and I hope they are treated that way from now on.

But anyway, we are nearing the end of the main event for another year and still some big names remain. I wonder if this year will be the first time since Chris Ferguson that the ME winner's bracelet will not be their first? That would be a good thing for poker, as the bubble is finally bursting to have some of the recognised pros come to the front.

That was poker – most of the weekend just past was spent looking at our fish tank, which now has its first inhabitants. 10 little Neon Tetras, which we have called our Canaries – because they are there to make sure the environment is safe for others. If they can last out the week, we will start adding new fish and get something a little more diverse. The 10 little fish are well dwarfed by the size of the tank, and it took them a few hours before they were comfortable enough to venture further than the back corner. When we awoke this morning, all 10 were still alive so that is all we can ask for at the moment.

Monday, July 09, 2007

From Rock To Calling Station

Pete: I wish I liked anything as much as my kids like bubbles.
"Knocked Up"

I've just had one of those weekends where nothing major happened, but it was almost a perfect weekend. I spent some quality time with the Distraction, I spent some quality time at the felt, saw some good movies, won some prop bets, got some stuff done around the house and even had time to check out the latest happenings in the main even at the World Series. If you haven't already, head over to Poker News to see the hand of the day for Day 1b. And people say online poker is rigged!

To sum up the weekend, I might go into point form as there was a lot that happened that was just a good weekend.

- Started with adjusting my poker spreadsheet with some pivot tables, which I have never used before. I'm no computer programmer or anything, but I'd like to think my computer user abilities are above the national average. Having never used them before, I gave myself a quick tutorial and then after fixing up the spreadsheet, I used it at work for another task I have that made a 2 hour job down to ten minutes. That's just awesome.
- Poker Friday night was a good turnout. We had between 5-7 players for the majority of the night which is my preferred size. One player again had an amazing run, with any suited cards he would call any bet. The worst of it was when one player went all-in blind for $17, I called with QQ. Next player raises $30 (max buy in is only $50 remember – the home game of champions!) and then another players calls all-in. Tonights luck box calls and I have to gather that I am behind. With more than $70 left in front of me, I don't want to be all in here against four others, so I let it go. Blind player has Q7, raiser has AA, caller has JJ and the luck box has 23s. Yep, 3 spades on the board by the turn (and a jack as well). 23s scooped the pot, and ended the night as big winner. That's ok though, because he usually donates so it will come back.
- Personally, I had nothing going for the first buy in which lasted an hour, and my second buy in was pure gold. I had one player continually bluff the river against me. Usually I would fold these hands, but earlier in the night he did the same thing against another player and showed the bluff. By the "same thing", I mean a very quick big bet on the river. I have seen him do this before as a bluff months ago, but when the time came for me to call him he had the nuts that time. I decided to test it again tonight and the first time when I had top pair, a flush draw didn't come through and he bet big on the river. I just called to see his missed flush. Next time, he missed the straight and made the big bet again. I called. That was a $125 pot with just one pair. He tried to bluff me maybe 6 times with the big bets, and by the end I figured he had me but just called because I had maybe two pair and to see – and again, he was bluffing. Later I figured out what his bets meant, as he always used one of three betting options. Min-bet meant he had bottom pair or a draw. $4-$5 meant he was strong or a made hand. Instant bet of $20+ meant a bluff. On Friday night, that was true 100$ of the time and I finished the night up $170.
- Funniest hand of the night – after dealing some big pots to one particular player, he was then cold decked and asked for some help as I shuffled.
"What you got for me?". He was playing Africans and Indians on the side as well (black or red flop, if all of one colour then the payout doubles) so I said to him "I'll give you an all red flop, and then you'll suck out on the river to win the pot." Flop comes 2 hearts and a diamond, and then he hit a Jack on the river to win with one pair. I received no tip.
- After that hand, the loosing player claimed it was a conspiracy, and I said it couldn't be because a conspiracy implies that we had done it in secret, when in fact I was very open about what was going on. He said a conspiracy doesn't have to be secret so I bet him $5 on the side that definition has secrecy or something pertaining to it for "conspiracy". I love prop bets, and after paying up he still refused to believe it. I offered double or nothing on the same bet, but he respectively declined.

- First up, the distraction let me sleep in as she went to get her hair done. A deeper sleep I have never had.
- Distraction comes home and the hair looks great, cost $60 less than usual. Can't argue with that.
- We went out to see "Knocked Up", which I know will be her favourite movie of all time. I really enjoyed it too, got some good laughs in it and was worth seeing. We actually had tickets to an advanced screening a few weeks ago but couldn't attend because we had visitors staying with us. Good movie, all was happy.
- Had our typical "nothing is happening" Saturday night of watching Iron Chef and betting on greyhound races. The Distraction had 4 out of 10 winners to cover both our bets and a minimal profit. I was hopeless.
- Nakamura lost in the Iron Chef battle, which was disappointing. The key ingredient was Udon which was also disappointing, but it was ok. We have had a very busy month or so and haven't had out quiet Saturday nights for a while, so this was good.
- The Distraction calls it a night so I sneak in some more online poker. Online wise, I have been going through a down swing after a very good up swing and am now below my original deposit. Of course I am just trying to get the PSO bonus, and I getting close to the cut off date for the bonus.
- Hmm, it seems more people want to bluff me. Thank you kindly – I have an up and down night but pull out a reasonable profit thanks to big hands holding up. Best hand was TT when I try to limp but person behind me makes a standard raise. Flop comes T44 – he has A4 and must be counting his lucky stars. We get it all in on the turn and I guess his dreams were shattered. Also won a big pot with AA on a all-in preflop. Board was ten high, and the hand history function was not working so I have no idea what the other guy had.
- Days profit was about $80, which put me $72 above my original deposit and 102 points short of the bonus.
- While I play online, I like to watch DVD's of TV shows, and my choice at the moment because I don't have any more poker shows) is "The Adventures of Brisco Country Jr". While I am only 1-2 episodes in, it looks fair. Nothing outstanding but enough to keep me watching.

- We have one goal for the day. Last week we got a 120L fish tank, and wanted to put some rubber rock as a backing on it. The sealant said to allow 7 days for it to cure for aquarium use. Now we have to figure out how to get all the pipes for the filter, heater and air pump working without any instructions, as well as fill the damn thing without a hose. Surprisingly, everything goes fine and we make very few mistakes getting the job done in what would have been my best estimate of time.
- I get full permission from the distraction to get some more poker in online. I don't play too good, making little bets on the river when only a better hand would call what I have. Instead, I get check-raised and I call with Queen high flushes and the like, not winning what would have been a very small pot if I had just checked. I managed to work my way back to just above even while clearing more points for the bonus.
- Had some really nice Chinese take out, and finally watched "Talladega Nights", which wasn't as funny as I had hoped but had it's moments.
- Managed to squeeze in some more online time while watching Briscoe County Jr. Had some bad luck early and was down to $13 when I decided to top up. Good move, as I go on a mini rush and get some good cards and better flops.
- Interesting hand one – I have Q9 and the flop comes K56. 1 player bets 50c, I call because hey, it's 50c. Turn is a Jack, and he bets $1.50. I have a gut shot only, and he's making it cheap so why not? The river hits my gut shot and I bet the pot, he calls. Of course he bitches in the chat box, but I really think this is his fault for trying to slow play his flopped two pair. At least give me something to think about on the turn there son! But the good thing was, it made me look like a chaser so now my good hands will pay off. I am finding a lot of people are loving minimum bets on any street, just to get rid of the people that press the check/fold button I guess. Not that it's a bad idea, but sometimes it just makes me want to punish with large raises, which had been working for the now.
- Interesting hand number two, I have QT and try to limp, late position makes a standard raise and I call. Flop comes AKJ rainbow. I check raise him all in and he calls with AK. Really unlucky there for him, nice pot for me.
- Interesting hand number three – 23o from the big blind and get to limp. Flop comes 332, and I call the only guy that bets out on the flop. Turn comes an Ace, and I think that even if he has A3 I guess I am paying him off. I check, he bets pot (about $8) and I raise it to $22. I figure if he had a straight draw that hit or a good ace be inclined to call. If he has A3 he will see I am pot committed and will just push it all in. If he has any other three then he might put me on an Ace and think this is his lucky day, and all I have to do is dodge his kicker on the river. He just calls, which I think is a good sign. We both have just over $20 left, but he has me covered by $6. River is a T, and I push he calls. The one hand I didn't put him on is 22. He flopped the smallest possible full house and was drawing dead.
- After going down 30 odd I end the night up about the same amount. I now have more than $100 on my original deposit, and only 80 points to clear for the bonus, which should be a good 10 days or so, beating the deadline by a week.

While the interesting hands show some really lucky situations, You got to remember it comes from about 400 hands over the weekend. I had plenty of occasions where I made good bets, good laydowns and lots of good calls when the pressure was on. For the most part I was just creeping up above even and waiting for my spots. When they came, I was able to capitalise and my opponents had just the wrong cards to make it worth while. But it was good to be on the lucky side for once after a down swing. The down swings in the past have run for weeks and weeks, I am glad this one ended much faster than usual. And now I think I have a much more advantageous table image for future play – both online and at the home games.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A Real Aquarium

Lt. Frank Drebin: Congratulations, Ed! I hear Edna's pregnant again.
Ed Hocken: Yeah, and when I find the guy that did it...
"Naked Gun 2½ - The Smell Of Fear"

I had a bit of a poker binge over the weekend, with the expected terrible results that come with a poker binge after a long layoff. I dropped 3 buy-ins one late night, and then worked hard to get nearly a full one back the next day. While all this was going on, I also decided to jump into a MTT for the first time in a long time. I went ok, finished 11 th for a very small score but had fun along the way. I needed one suck-out to stay alive but otherwise I made moves when the time was right and my big pairs held up other times. For the most part I was folding and waiting – when the Distraction came home and we had somewhere else to go, so I through it all in with KQ and got called by AQ. Though I'm not disappointed, it was a bit of fun and kept me occupied for a while.

After a few quick sessions last night, I have managed to crawl back to even at UB, after being up nearly 33% on the initial buy in and then down about 25%. I'm happy enough with that since I am really just there to grind out the PSO bonus – of which they have plenty of new ones that will keep me busy over the coming months.

I am finding that I can adjust my play now to the type of players at the table. While I do not know many of them, the time of day is very indicative of the style of player, or at least it is feeling that way at the moment. After going on the mini-tilt earlier in the week I have been able to play some solid poker. I had a great little play on a hand where I missed my straight, but the river brought a flush. Heads up, I put my opponent at vulnerable to the flush draw and made what I thought looked like a value bet on the river. He made a tough laydown, as that card also hit him for three of a kind, but I congratulated him on a good laydown and indulged him by saying I had a full house.

Later, on a different table I didn't bluff but made the right plays against the massive stack at the table with pocket pairs both times. No bad beats or bluffs, just betting the right amount at the right time so all was good. I was happy to get back to even.

I have been reviewing my poker results through a spreadsheet I use, comparing this year to last and I surprised myself to find I am up on both per hour earning and, more importantly, overall profit. It's nice to keep track of these things, only for live games though as I don't have Poker Tracker or any others of the commercial software available for this kind of thing.

The biggest addition to the household has been an aquarium, for the Distraction's birthday last week. It is amazing what has to happen to these things before you can actually put some fish in there. It will be another two weeks at least before we start with the cheapest fish available, just to see if we kill them or not before we start getting the ones we really want. After spending $90 buying a small tank on eBay, we got given a much larger one for free but fortunately the eBay one came with a tonne of extras that will make it worth while anyway.

And then I can watch the fish all day while bleeding them online.