Friday, March 27, 2009

Blinded into 11th place

Last night I couldn’t play in the Twitter Poker Tour because I was traveling. After 3 days of business meetings, I was heading home and catching the twitter updates of players as they were either going out, or reporting on where they were. I’d registered in the event solely to gain the points, and it was a good thing that I did. My 11th place finish was worth 44 TLB points, and keeps me in 2nd place for the Tournament Leaderboard Standings. With 2 events to go, I’m hoping that I can stay in the top 5 and win a prize.

Here’s the top 10 as it currently stands:

1 rhoegg 540.10
2 Fleapid 516.60
3 Steve_Treys/StevieTrips 496.00
4 taz31362 458.00
5 Zonetrap (pokerplasm) 422.00
6 MustangFund 414.00
7 cprpoker (geoffm33) 390.40
8 gemgirl6/LaBangBang 388.00
9 sotied 374.80
10 ungarop 372.00

This coming Thursday could also prove to be interesting for attendance on my part as I’m holding a booth open at the San Diego Association of Realtors Trade Show. I don’t know what time I’ll finish with that, but I’ll bring the lap top with me, and see if I can find a spot to hunker down and play. I don’t want to be blinded through again. I’d like to cash in one of the final two of the season, and hopefully win one.

I do want to send my congratulations to the players who enjoyed my financial contribution to the pot and stole every one of my blinds (I mean seriously, was it too much to ask that everyone just fold when I’m in the big blind????). Congrats to 5th place, beaplayer63, 4th – thereelgator, 3rd – john.ebjr, and 2nd – Wuzzle69.

And a special congrats to edihpoker for getting the best of the 32 player field.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Interesting Discussion Regarding Playing Style

I got a couple of comments from poker players that I really respect regarding my bad beat story. This one came from @swyyft:

Hey buddy I am going to be honest with you, a lot of the play you describe is weak tight. While you are getting it in ahead you should be trying to take pots down with no showdown. JJ vs A4 hand. If you raised and got re-raised you either fold this or go all in right there. if you think he has AA KK QQ you are dominated why even call, if an AKQ hits you have to assume he has it whether he does or does not. if he re-raises you jam if you think you are good, if you don't then fold. Qh-10h vs. 99 This hand you should just fold in early position you are hoping for too much and its too hard to play out of position. If you do play it, raise it up so you can represent things later on. I will say this is a horrible beat and the guy was a horrible player but you can change this a bit. 10-10 vs. Q4 If its close to the bubble you need to be playing aggressive. You need to jam this all in with TT or 3 bet. QQ vs. Ac-8d legit bad beat is going to happen, but if you get this 5x in a tourney you are going to get a bad beat once. 10h-10d vs. Jd-7d quit calling with TT mid to later. raise it up sometimes and see what happens. This guy folds and you collected 5 bb and move on. I mean these are bad beats but anytime you let it go to showdown you are allowing luck and not skill to dictate the hand. stick with it. If you saw me in the 30RA you saw me go from 40k to 75k with no showdowns. I never once had a premium hand in there. I just knew they were weak so i acted like i did. After i started 3 betting no one wanted anything to do with me because they knew i was a strong player.

Here is my thoughts:

Hey Joe. Love the feedback, and thanks for the comments.

I guess it’s more that middle pairs and even higher middle pairs make me slightly nervous. They’re a hand that looks appetizing pre flop, but if 1 over hits, you can be dead. My last 3 eliminations from a tournament came with JJ, JJ again, and then As-Qs. In the case of the pocket J’s, I found myself moving, and getting called by a bigger pair.
With the AQ, I flopped a flush draw, but moved when I was behind a 6-5 caller. All of these situations, I’d 3 bet pre-flop, and either got re-raised all in, or we saw a flop and I found out I was behind.

Basically, I’ve learned not to overvalue middle pairs. I like calling with these hands to see if I can hit a set and break an over pair. QQ has been a historically terrible hand for me for some reason. I often find myself in a race against AK or up against a board that scares me stupid (any A or K on the flop has me wondering if I just lost to a 3 outer), and when I get it in good, I find that I’m rarely ahead for keeps.

The only thing that I can point to is that in the lower stakes games, I’m finding that players don’t respect pre-flop raises. I guess that’s why I’m not a big fan of putting all of my chips at risk unless I have better than 70% chance of winning. That would make me a tight player at these levels I guess because that happens only rarely. But deep stacked in a tournament, if I move with those odds and chip up well in most cases. In the mentioned cases in the post, I was better than 85% to win on all of those when the money went in, and it still didn’t pan out.

Something that I need to learn is how to pick up more pots with post flop bets, and not having to see a showdown. I don’t know if this means that I need to focus on better starting hands, or I need to play the mid-range starting hands with greater aggression pre-flop, but I do need to work on my post flop play. I also need to figure out a consistent scheme to the lower stakes games, where the players just aren’t as good at reading strength. I’m thinking that I may want to upload $300 or so to my account if I go bust, and play at higher levels, but it makes me nervous considering that I haven’t come close to mastering the lower levels first.

I’m also considering investing in some poker books. I’ve never read one. So aside from the experience of playing, everything I know about poker comes from watching TV, reading the blogs of my twitter friends, and involving myself in conversation with people like this. That's why hard for me to classify myself as any form of an expert on the matter, or a "good" player. It’s why I totally classify myself as an amateur.

It’s funny because in the cases of the hands that I posted (and lost) the only right move in those cases is to fold my monster’s, because the end up the worst of two hands. Because if they’re calling stations anyway, then I’m walking away a loser regardless of the percentages and good reads.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

And the beats just keep on coming

We had a good turnout of good players at the home game last night. I would say that it was probably a collection of our historically best players. In all, 7 players saw action and it was very good, solid play throughout.

Robert was the first to go as he moved the rest of his chips against Andrew, and Andrew tabled the nut flush. Jordan would go out soon after, having just been card dead throughout most of the evening. Tim would leave in 5th place, just getting flat unlucky. Nursing a short stack, he moved with KK, and got a call by Andrew with AA.

4 handed play lasted a few hours as the chip stacks were relatively even. Things shook up when Andrew made a great call. On a Board of 9h-8h-7s, Andrew led out, and I moved all in holding Jh-9s. Andrew thought for a few minutes before making the call with Qc-9c. The turn and river bricked out and I ended up doubling Andrew, and leaving me crippled with about 50 chips. With the blinds at 4-8, I’d make a few moves and eventually chip back up to around 70. I then got it all in pre flop looking for a steal, and Traci decided to give it a call for about 1/3 of her remaining chips. I was displeased until she tabled Qd-7d, and found out that I was ahead. But the way I’ve been running lately, it just didn’t matter. The flop was clear for me, but the Qc on the turn did me in, and I was out in 4th place.

Traci would lose the rest of her chips a couple hands later moving all in with 7-2os on a board of K-7-7. Andrew made the easy call tabling K-7 for the boat and ended up chipping up huge.

Heads up only lasted a few minutes, and Andrew emerged victorious over Jack by the time that I’d made it back down the hall from helping out Traci.

Congrats to Andrew for cashing, and congrats to Jack for the 2nd place cash. We should be good to go next week as well. Hope to see you guys here.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What's happening lately

@RawrStar invited me over to an awesome post ( to rant about some of my bad beats. Since March the 8th, I’d say that I’ve been on tilt a little bit. I’m really bothered by a bad beat that took place during the Midnight Madness. I blogged about it earlier, but basically I was playing some of my best poker ever, and I got it in with KK against 10-10, and he flopped a 10. I cashed in 77th place for $37, and that started a downward spiral for me.

I didn’t belong in that tourney to begin with. It was for about 1/5 of my bankroll, but I played like I belonged. I really controlled action at my table early, and through the middle parts, and then got unlucky late. Since then, I’ve entered a total of 102 tournaments and/or single table S&G’s to the sum of $190.20 worth of buy in’s, and I’ve cashed in enough to the sum of $106.49. That’s a net loss of $83.71.

But the tough part for me has been the way that I’ve been losing. I have had my fair share of stupidity, where I just get it in when I’m way behind only to never recover. But the vast majority of the time, I’m getting crushed on sick suck outs. Since that loss of KK vs. 10-10, I’ve seen the following losses:

JJ vs. A4 – 125 players left in a $3.30 MTT, I’m leading my table in chips when I wake up with JJ from the CO. I call a pre-flop 3 bet, and the button and blinds fold. We see a flop of J-7-4. My friend raises the pot, and I move all in having him covered, he calls with his A-4. The turn and river run out Ace, Ace.

Qh-10h vs. 99 – Midway thorough a large tourney field, I limped from early position only to find the BB check after everyone folded. The flop J-K-3, all hearts. The BB checked, and I bet the pot, I was raised to half my stack, and then I shoved the rest. He showed his pair, with one 9 being the 9h. The turn was a 9, and the river was a dagger 3.

10-10 vs. Q4 – Close to the bubble, I called a pre-flop raiser with my 10’s, and the board produced 9-8-4 rainbow. My opponent bet, and I called. The turn was a 10, and I called my opponent’s all in. The river was a J

QQ vs. Ac-8d – Early in a tourney, flop comes Qc-8h-3c. Opponent moves, I call. Turn comes 2c, River Kc.

10h-10d vs. Jd-7d Tonight at the TPT, I held Red 10’s, and called a pre-flop raise again. Flop was Jc-10c-5c. My opponent bet the flop, I moved, and he called. He turned a 9c, then an 8s.

These are some of the more brutal beats that I’ve taken. They’ve been tough to swallow. I also analyzed where my money was being spent. I’ve been basically playing 3 different structures. Single Table S&G, 90 person S&G KO tourney, and Larger MTT’s.

My stat lines are as follows:
90 person S&G – Buy in $3.30
Total # of Tourneys since 3/8 =23
Avg. Finish – 37
Total profit – (-$31)

MTT’s – 16 played
Avg Buy in - $3.24
Avg field size – 650
Avg finish – 225
Total Profit (-$14.90)

Single Table S&G’s
# Played = 61
Avg Buy In = $1.00
Avg finish – 4
Total Profit – (-$2.66)

I guess that I’ve been playing best (although not profitably) in the single table S&G’s. The only cash that I’ve had in an MTT was in the Midnight madness. I’ve been 0 for 15 since. And I’ve been getting crushed in the KO S&G’s. Although, I’ve made up some by knocking out my fair share of players throughout.

My bankroll currently sits at $22.59, which is all that is left off of my $50.00 deposit. Anyone care to read into this for me?

Tonight's Sick Beat

I'm having some issues catching winning hands lately. It doesn't matter if I'm ahead or not, because I seem to almost always end up on the loosing side of things. Here's the hand that eliminated me early from tonight's TPT:

From UTG, I get dealt 10h-10d, A middle position player raises, I call it, and the button calls. The SB and BB both fold, and we see a flop of J-10-5 all clubs. The first action bets about the pot, and I move all in. The third player folds, and the first guy calls flipping up Jd-7d. Now normally, I'm a 93% chance to win this pot, as he needs to catch running cards to win it.

Well, the turn comes 9c and gives my set so many more options to win. I mean, the only thing that I can lose on would now be a non club 8....but wait....the river delivers the 8s, and he's made a straight.

That's how lucky I'm running right now. I'm sick....just physically ill. I'm going to take some time out and watch some of the NCAA Tournament, and then go to bed. No more poker because I'm too freaking depressed about it all. The worst of it was that I got to the tournament late because of work obligations, then I busted in 22nd out of 24 players. This could kill me in the TPT leaderboard, because it's likely that I'll miss next weeks TPT. Oh well.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Nothing in life comes easy

A few weeks ago, I had a post up that talked about Daniel Negreanu’s quest to turn $10 into $100,000 by playing micro limit cash games on Pokerstars. I received a story from someone (forgive me, but I can’t remember who…though I think that it was @swyyft) about Chris Ferguson, and his challenge of turning $0 in to $10,000, something that he did (check out his beginnings here Reading this gave me one of those “I can do that” moments, and who knows, maybe I will. But it provided some real difficult challenges for me personally.

First of all, I was following Negreanu’s challenge of playing in only cash games, and documenting my play. I haven’t used a program like PokerTracker or anything of the sort. I was simply charting on excel, my starting bank roll, my ending bankroll, and the number of hands that I played in the session. I was kind of up and down with my progress, but somewhere along the lines, I found that I just wasn’t having any fun playing in the cash games. That was a real problem.

I found that for me personally, I just enjoy playing in tournaments much more. I like the competitive aspect of playing in a tournament. I like the structure. And I like that all the players start on the same level, with the same chip stack. In cash games, it bothers me a player can come in, play two hands, and then take off. How can you get a read on that?

But the tournament structures left me questioning how much do I buy in for. As I type at 4:30 PM on Tuesday afternoon, I am currently sitting on a bank roll on Full Tilt Poker of $55.44. It’s short of my $100 goal which I have yet to reach, but I’m proud of that considering the fact that I began with a $50 deposit, and have played A LOT of poker during that time. I haven’t had to put in additional funds, but I have received some bonuses, and also I’ve leant some money to friends. All in all, it tells me that I’m about even on my tournament entries vs. my tournament winnings. And I’m very proud of that.

Three things got me thinking about this particular post. First, I watched Jordan (@Jordie21 on twitter, a regular member of the home game and a member of Team7Deuce) play in a $6.60 Knock-out S&G on Full Tilt. He ended up winning the whole enchilada for a prize of $144 plus $10 for the 10 KO’s he got in the tourney. He accomplished this task after the both of us entered a $3.30 tourney (same structure) and I outlasted him to cash in 6th for $13. This is the second time that I’ve railed on Jordan during this type of even where he’s won it, and I’ve played with him enough to know that I can out play him about 50% of the time. I thought well, if he can do it, why not me?

Secondly, I got a “tweet” from @panndyra talking about her frustration in earning a cash in a recent online tourney. I’ve experienced this a lot. She made it through the bubble with some really good play for a long time (roughly 90 minutes) and the cash paid a whopping $1.70. Considering that the buy in was $1.10, a $0.60 net isn’t exactly all that nice of a return on the investment given the time invested.

Thirdly, I watched a video of Chris Ferguson courtesy of the Full Tilt Poker Academy (which I’d recommend just because its free information where Chris describes the methods of bank roll management that he used en route to turning his $0 to $10k, starting in Free Roll tourney’s and then progressing into cash games and low buy in tournaments.

If you’ve listened to Chris Ferguson talk about the strategy that he employed with managing his bankroll, his advice is to play for no greater than 2% of your bankroll for tourney buy-in’s. So I’ve played in a lot of low buy in tournaments with the same result as @panndyra. Basically, if you just finish in the money, you’re basically getting your buy in back. The money in most tournaments is top heavy, with most of the cash going to the top 2 places, so the goal of really increasing your bankroll has to be to place in those places.

I found that to certainly be a challenge as many of the players make strange plays late in a tournament because they’ve never been there before, and lately, I’ve been really unlucky. But seeing Jordan do it a couple of times gives me the confidence that I have the ability to turn those good runs, into REALLY good runs and nice cashes. And it’s needed if I want to take my $50 to $100. I've had a couple of 2nd place finishes in the $3.30 KO S&G before, and the $44 payday was nice. But I haven't been able to crack the final table consistently enough to roll my bankroll above $100 yet. I got to $93 once, but that was as close as I've come.

My goal of running my bankroll to $10k or $100k by playing cash games has recently changed a little bit, as I’ve been having much more fun playing poker again by playing in tournaments and S&G’s. I enjoy the MTT’s much more as I enjoy the challenge of overcoming a larger field. So my goals have really become such:

1) Have fun. To me, every other goal doesn’t mean a thing if I am not enjoying myself. I enjoy the game of poker too much to sacrifice the fun in the game.
2) Run my online bankroll to over $100 – from there I’d like to grow it, but I’ll take steps in order to do that
3) Don’t go poker broke. I’ve gone broke on Pokerstars a couple times, and have uploaded a few small amounts on there. My goal with Full Tilt is to consistently keep my account well above $0, and never have to place another deposit in my account.

I see some challenges with these goals, namely that if I am to follow the advice of Chris Ferguson, then I can’t buy into a tournament for more than about $1, which will yield a very small return on my investment. And it requires that I play some really lucky poker late in the tournaments, as my good play doesn’t really seem to be quite enough to get me over the hump.

I find that with the larger buy-ins that I’ve played in (The TPT being the most regular at $5.50, and the Midnight Madness the other at $11) I’ve fared very well. In fact, I have an overall profit on those tournaments which tells me that my tournament play is more suited for players with a larger bank roll. But I really believe that I have to earn my way into the higher buy in tourney’s before I continue to really adhere to the advice that Ferguson gives.

I’ll continue playing in the TPT once every other week on Full Tilt (the other week, I'll be playing on Pokerstars) simply because I love that event. But I’ll play mainly $3 buy in tourney’s because I tend to do pretty well in them most of the time. Hopefully, I can avoid going poker broke. If I do, then I’ll reevaluate. But I want to avoid spending most of my time playing for $0.60 profits, as that just doesn’t seem to be a real good investment of time, or maybe, I just don't have the patience to slowly increase my bankroll at that level.

Friday, March 13, 2009

A TPT Blowup of Mass Proportions

I came into Thursday Night’s TPT as the top ranked player for season 2. Despite not winning a tourney, I’ve played consistently in each tournament and had relatively good runs. Tonight, I would find myself out much earlier than what I should have been.

I began early by picking up some good pots. I doubled early with KK, and then I got really lucky by cracking Aces in what was a lucky and a good play in the same breath. From the BB, I was dealt Q-10. With blinds at 20/40, an early position player made it 120 to go, and the SB and I came along for the ride. The flop was 10-under-under, and the SB checked. I bet out 120, and got two callers. The turn card was another brick, and the SB bet, and I called, but the early position player with position raised it. The SB folded and I thought for a few seconds. At first, I’d placed him on a hand like AK or AQ, but with the raise, I thought that he had something strong like AA, KK, or QQ. I made the call for just a little more hoping that I might get lucky on the river, and the Q fell on the river giving me two pair. I thought that this would be a good card for me if he had KK or AA, and I raised another 800, which was enough to move him all in. Sure enough, he made the call and showed aces and was done. That chipped me up to over 5k, and gave me the tournament lead.

From there, I got stuck in reverse making 3 consecutive bad decisions. The first was a bad call when I checked my option from the BB with Q-9, and 3 people took a flop of K-Q-7. We all checked to the turn which brought another Q. The SB checked again, and I also checked, but the position player raised, and SB folded, and I called. The river as a meaningless 3, and I led out about 40% of the pot. At this point, I’d put my opponent on KQ (just a hunch) and felt that I was beat. But the bet really committed me to the pot with my set, and sure enough, he moved and I called. I was wrong about he KQ, but was right about the boat, as he flipped 77 for the flopped set, and turned Full house. That dropped me down to about 3k.

I had a chance to get it back just a few hands after that, but folded wanting to avoid a coin flip. A short stacked player moved all in and was called by the player on my right. After thinking about it for a while, I folded 10-10. Everyone else folded as well, and the showdown proved to be a 5-5 vs. 3-3. Had I moved there, I would’ve chipped back up to close to 6k. But, oh well.

My final bad play came right as I got a phone call from Tim. I was chatting with him when I noticed 10-10 from the SB, and raised all in. I should’ve paid more attention, as the pre-flop raiser called my all in showing Aces, and I was toast. It didn’t eliminate me, but did leave me with only 103 total chips, and the blinds were at 50/100. Three hands later, I got it in with K-3 suited, and was out in 21st place, the worst finish by far for me at a TPT event.

So I went over to Olive Garden, had a couple of beers, and then brought home some grub for Traci and I as I railed on the Final Table. Eventually, Steve Brogan would take it down as he rivered a straight flush to take the pot (he was ahead at the time and only got stronger).

Kudos to the guys who finished in the cash. I’ll be back next week on Tilt and I’m hoping to re-take the lead that I lost to Steve, who become the new leader on the TPT leader board, and @Rhoegg, who passed me into second place with his bubble finish in 6th. See ya next week.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A somewhat dissatisfying finish

I was talked into playing in the Midnight Madness at the last second tonight, and with 2 minutes remaining, logged in and registered for the $10+$1 tourney. I'd never played in an online tourney with that high of a buy in before, and was quite nervous about risking about 1/5 of my bankroll on it. But I gave it a whirl, and am happy that I did. In the end, 2,313 people saw action in the tourney.

I started out quickly with Ad-Jd from the small blind, and called a 3 bet. The flop came out As-Qd-10d. I checked, my opponent bet, and I smooth called. The river was a "Yahtzee" King of Diamonds. I checked my Royal Flush, and the guy bet, and I called. The turn was a disappointment of a Js, and I led out for half the pot. With a straight on the board, my opponent let it go, and I had a good sized stack.

From there, I think that I played brilliant poker. Maybe the best that I've played in sometime. I really didn't make any mistakes, and was able to work my way into the money. Slowly, I began to navigate my way through the field, remaining at around the chip average in the later stages after being in the top 10 for much of the early stages.

Finally, with 77 players left, and me holding onto roughly 41k, I woke up in the SB with K's. An early position player went to 6k on the 1k/2k blinds, and then the player next to him shoved his whole stack (71k). Action folded to me in the SB, and I called All in. The first raiser folded, and we turned up our hands, my opponent being dominated having only pocket 10's. Now, the poker calculator says that I'm a 4 to 1 favorite to win this hand (slightly better than 80% of the time). Unfortunately, it wasn't an 80% kind of flop as it produced a 10, and I was eliminated in 77th place.

The cash of $37 was nice, but the prospect of having a significant chip stack late in a tournament is still burning in me. I guess, that stuff happens sometimes. Anyhow, I've got my account balance back into the $80 range and holding nicely with $83.15. I'm still looking at making my goal of a $100 balance, and hopeful that I can do that this week with one more decent cash.

Cheers, P

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Team7Deuce kills it at the TPT

Thursday Night's Twitter Poker Tour saw 35 players in TPT-Tilt #10, and 3 of them were member of Team7Deuce. I've been able to talk Jordan into the TPT the last two Tilt tourney's, and he would again play tonight. And making his first TPT appearance, Andrew would also create a user name for Tilt and join the fun. All in all, it was a good run by all of us.

For me, I started out well in the early going, chipping up to a healthy stack after first turning a nut flush and getting paid, then hitting a set of 6's from the small blind, and getting paid again. It left me with about 2600 chips, and that was enough to carry me into the middle rounds.

Andrew had chipped up nicely early to around 2600, but then took a few losses and hovered at around 1200. At the break, all three of us were healthy enough.

Andrew would be the first of our three-some to bow out, as he'd really dwindled to just a few chips, and got the rest of them in before exiting in 12th place, a very respectable finish.

I was holding tight as cards were tough to come by. With 10 players left, I found some luck when an all in took place from the button, and I woke up to Aces. I had my opponent covered only slightly, and was pleased when he turned over KK. The board ran out offering no improvement to the Kings, and I doubled my stack to nearly 10k. I hovered there for a while, and then started to back track. On one big hand with 6 players remaining, I raised enough to move my opponent in with pocket 9's. Trouble was, my opponent had flopped the nut flush with Ad-Kd, and I was drawing dead after the turn produced a K.

But I did have enough chips to last to the bubble, and ended up in 4th place and in the money. It was a nice cash, and a well played tourney.

In third place, @Street3 left the action. He'd played brilliantly the entire tourney, and controlled the largest stack for much of the action. But eventually, his cards went dry late, and he ran into Aces to deliver the final blow. But it was a great run.

Heads up action say Jordan and @mac_zealot with very little playing around. A quick all-in and call saw Jordan's pocket 8's ahead of AQ, but that would be short lived as a Q fell on the flop. @mac_zealot would win the coin flip and take down TPT-Tilt #10 in a wonderfully played tournament.

I'll be interested to see where I'll end up in the TPT TLB (tournament leader board - standings in the AM. Coming in to the tournament, I was in 2nd place, but with this deep run, I may have taken the top spot. We'll see in the AM.

For the home game, we look good to go tomorrow night at Pablosplace. Cheers, P