Thursday, October 30, 2008

Minimum Risk, Minimum Reward

Sherman: I am the Sherminator, a sophisticated Sex-Robot sent through time to change the future for one lucky lady.
Nadia: I am lucky lady?
Sherman: That's right Nadia, you've been targeted for Shermination. Come with me if you want to live.
"American Pie 2"

I have been playing a heap of poker of late, and getting the expected up and down results. I had a big gambling weekend last week with a big sports bet getting up on Friday night and then a 2nd place in a MTT on Saturday night (got a bit excited with 63o when heads up, lost to A6h). I lost most of the winnings in the cash games thanks to a few bits of bad luck and the like, but I'm still up thanks to some solid play after the felts.

I have also had the chance to play in the cash games with other people watching, and discussing the hands once they have been included has been very beneficial. Especially when we speak about why we made a play at this pot, why call here and what we think the other player had. It's good to bounce these ideas around and see what works, and also to hear that someone else agrees with the method to your madness.

I am finding that a heap of people are buying in for the minimum all the time - why is that? I don't like this strategy at all. They buy in for the minimum, wait for a hand and then try to double up - which in itself sounds ok but there are some other factors that make this a real bad play. For example, last night new guy to the table buys in for the minimum and sits to my right - I have 10 times the chips in front of me that he does, so when he does come in for a raise, I'm happy to call with rags because even if I am dominated, the most I am going to loose is a pittance. And if I hit, he is already very close to pot committed.

So it happens - I call with rags and flop 2 pair, felts the player. So then he rebuys, and it happens again a few hands later (by someone else this time). And he auto-rebuys again. But why? If you have the money, you may as well play properly. Eventually I flop a set and the guy goes all-in and I call, he hits runner-runner for a better full house and doubles up to be still down a buy-in, and then cashes out.

Oh well, don't tap the glass I guess.

We had 2 prop bets going on the game - first player to get dealt aces and first player to crack aces, I lost on both which meant even though I was in front for the entire session, I ended up breaking even thanks to these props.

It was great though, having a massive session online which has not happened in a very long time, and still being very social about it. This helps since I have moved down to Melbourne away from all my poker playing friends in Sydney.

Planning another trip to the casino this weekend, depending on how things go it might even be a few trips. I made a cash out of online funds again because the Aussie Dollar dropped so low than all the funds invested in online poker under my name gained something like 25%-40% in the space of about a month. It felt good to have a proper live bankroll again.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


Dudley: Would you be willing to plant corroborative evidence on a suspect you knew to be guilty, in order to ensure an indictment?
Ed: Dudley, we've been over this.
Dudley: Yes or no, Edmund?
Ed: No.
Dudley: Would you be willing to beat a confession out of a suspect you knew to be guilty?
Ed: No.
Dudley: Would you be willing to shoot a hardened criminal in the back, in order to offset the chance that
Ed: No.
Dudley: Then, for the love of God, don't be a detective. Stick to assignments where you don't have to make those kinds of choices.
"L.A. Confidential"

Russ Hamilton, hey? Tip of the ice berg stuff I feel. This is going to be a bumpy ride.

It feels like it has been a long time, but I finally pulled out first place in a SNG. Nothing major, no big stakes, no massive field. Just a simple little single table sin n go, and I took first place. I am getting very comfortable with my end game in these tournament type situations, but haven't had the luck to get over the line in the past. I thought it was going to happen again.

Through some selective play, I manage to get to heads up just behind in chips. As can be the case a lot of the time, you make more money (and chips in this case) by taking advantage of other peoples mistakes than you do from your own good play. We've been going back and forth a bit, with the odd pre-flop raise that usually gets a fold. Nothing serious yet. I get 62d on the small blind, and try to limp. He checks his option and we go to a flop with me in position now.

Flop comes nothing special, something like queen high with just the one diamond. Opponent checks, and I check as well. The turn comes a second diamond. I still have nothing but six high, but at least I have a chance at something now. For the first time in the hand, he bets out. T600 into T600, and I have T6000 left. So of course I call, no need for me to get too excited just yet. The river brings me my flush, but otherwise the board is nothing special. He bets out T2500. I only have to think for a moment, and really I can't push all-in here because only a better flush would call me and anything else would fold anyway. I just call, and see that he had KK for a slow play that went terribly wrong.

Did I get lucky? Not really. He just got stupid, and I guess a little unlucky. When we were heads up, I didn't try to slow play once. I made sure if he saw a flop, it was for a raise if I was ahead, or figured I should be ahead. I do see what he was trying to do, waiting for that check-raise (which I had nailed once or twice before with top pair, and not just against him) but in this case it backfired badly.

I thought my luck had changed, but then a pre-flop all-in from me and a call had me well in front with AKc vs A9o. Nine on the flop - thank you very much. At least my chip lead was so dominant that I still had him 2-1 after that double up.

About this time, the little Distraction woke up, and when she wakes up hungry she makes sure everyone knows about it. There is only one thing that will stop that little siren, and that's food. The Distraction and I go into "Get Steffi Food Now" mode, but I am heads up in a SNG and need the money. I get the formula warmed up and in the little princess' mouth without timing out, but then go into immediate push or fold mode, Aces and Faces as they say. I get a suited queen, push to see an ace and a little card. I hit the queen, everyone is all over and I've finally won one. It felt good not to bust out in second for a change.

It would be amiss for me not the mention the mighty Hawks. Big underdogs on the weekend, they came to play in the AFL grand final and took the trophy from Geelong, all because the Cats were not used to being put under that much pressure. They made too many mistakes, while the Hawks limited theirs. I knew Hawthorn could win, but I didn't't know if they would. I have been such a sports betting donkey that I even considered putting money against Hawthorn - so that even if they lost, at least I would have something to celebrate.

Truth be told, I wanted to put money on Hawthorn to win this year way back in February. I was born the year my father's team won the premiership (what my North American friends would call the "championship", we Australians call a "premiership"), and I figured my team could win the year the little Distraction was born. I had set aside $100 to put on Hawthorn after week 3. We had a slew of stars that had been suspended the year before that would miss the first few games of the season. We were paying $11 at the start of the year, and I figured the price would go higher after round 3. Well, in round 1 the Hawks had a 100+ point win, and look like gold from then, never getting below third on the ladder for the season. The $11 price never got lower either, and I never put the bet on. Damn, that grand would have been nice this time of year too.

I also said 3 weeks ago to put $20 on Hawthorn to win the AFL into Manly to win the NRL, paying 20-1. I didn't't get the bet on for what ever reason - Hawks go on to win, and this weekend Manly are the favourites to take out the NRL. They'll get up to I reckon. Just another missed opportunity, but I guess we only remember the ones that would have won after we didn't bet, not the other way around.