Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Into the 3rd Period

3rd Period:

This is where things get a little bit tricky; you have to make a decision based on where you are in the league standings on how aggressive you play the final few levels. I will talk about the money bubble, for our purposes lets say final 18 gets paid with 120 entrants. I made a decision after the 2nd PSO league tournament that I would push hard and not be afraid to go out once we got down to the final 18. My motto was go big or go home, there was no holding on just to move up a few positions, and holding on will cost you many positions in the long run. This also applies in hockey, how often you see the team protecting a lead play the entire 3rd period in their end, only to let the more offensive team score to tie it up or take the lead because of the momentum. This is the most critical aspect of league events that only count your top scores, positions 14-18 make no difference, you need to get final tables and top 5 to ensure a real low score. This starts by throwing whatever stack you have around to take a few chances. I had two 17th place finishes because of this but I also had a 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th based on this play. This time frame is the key to success and if you don’t accumulate chips now you wont be able to make a run at it, don’t be happy going into overtime, you need to pound your opponent and steal like its you job and you get paid to do it. Once you get to the final table you can sit back if you have a medium stack because the extra positions do end up meaning more, but position 10-18 felt like the same thing to me. Let the other player’s knock themselves out before you start getting too aggressive at the final table. I’ll use the analogy of Rocky; he let the other guy beat on him till the end, and made an aggressive come back and knocked him out when it mattered.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

2nd Period

2nd Period:

After the break the blinds are now starting to mean something, hopefully I’m no further behind then one goal but I still proceed with caution through levels 5-7. I do not defend blinds too often as you never know what you’re going to run up against and if the donkey can’t lay down his KQ only harm can come from defending at this stage. Blind stealing now becomes worthwhile at this stage and to this point since I have only played at most 10% of my hands, I can normally steal away. I never min raise here, its always 3-4x the BB which means 20% of my stack at this point so if I get resistance at all preflop or otherwise I will look to get away unless I have a hand worth taking a shot on net with. I will continuation bet and take down most pots, when I get played back at I’m just as likely to have QQ-AA at this point then AK so I will play for my chips if I think I have the upper hand if its late in the second, mainly level 6 or 7. If I do have a hand worth limping in MP I will try it based on the table and take a shot at any unassuming pots, it doesn’t matter if I hit nothing bottom or top, Ill fold to any resistance again. This is a huge factor in getting to the money bubble; you need to keep up with the average stack by betting at pots that players don’t want. If it’s checked to you in a ragged pot, make a 1/3 to ½ bet at the pot, it’s usually enough to take it down. Lead out more during this time because you are normally only against 1 or 2 other players tops, and chances are the flop hasn’t hit them. In hockey, the players that end up with the most goals at the end of the year are the one’s that battle for rebounds and bang in the garbage goals, there’s not a lot of glory winning a bunch of small pots but the goals (chips) add up at the end of the year (tournament).

Monday, May 29, 2006

1st Period of a Poker League Night

1st Period:

Then comes the 1st period, levels 3-4 of most MTT with a decent structure. A lot of players see the rising blinds compared to their chip stack and start getting too aggressive, they come out too hard and tire themselves out. They end up thinking they need to push and make something happen and end up getting knocked out. This is the feeling out stage of a MTT, you start to learn what styles are at your table (who the goal scorers are), who blinds you can steal (who is scared to go into the corner), who check raises (who the goons are). At this stage I’m looking to get my money in the middle only if I’m a 60/40 favourite or better, I hate getting knocked out but I am proud to say if I get put out it’s normally from a hit from behind (bad beat), I’m tough but it still knocks you down. I raise my premium hands; continuation bet, and try to take down pots uncontested just to stay around the average in chips. I don’t want to take risks either way because average is perfect for me at this point. If I come out of the first period only down a goal, I know there are 2 more periods left for me to get more shots on net and eventually hit a flop.

The intermission then comes after the first and I grab a cold bevy, I can’t believe I’m saying this but it’s normally a pop not a beer! This is +EV at its finest.

Disclaimer: This is strategy was used for League events only, not your typical one shot MTT.

On the bankroll front, I managed to add around $550 to the roll this weekend through Black Jack and Poker, life is good!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Good Ol' Hockey Game

This will be the first post in a series of posts dedicated to the PSO League Strategy that I used to win a trip to Vegas with. I will be plaing in the $1000 NL 3 day event on July 10th-12th. So if any of you bloggers will be around, drop me a line and we can grab a drink.

This is the first part of a 5 part series on how a MTT online tournament is flows like a hockey game, come back daily for updates.

Warm up:

This is like the first 2 levels of any MTT, you’re skating around, stretching, and not playing with the other team, which means I’m not playing any hands. I take a few shots on net but it’s mainly just to keep loose and see who’s in the other team’s starting lineup. This couldn’t be more true for a MTT, there is no need to play for your stack with TPTK, or even an over pair at this point, one bad beat and your gone or one failed bluff and your down to a ½ stack and not in good shape. Stay out of people’s way and let the donkey’s knock themselves out, only if you have the near nuts do you get involved. In hockey terms; do not cross the red line in warm ups and start a brawl; because you will be in the hospital and miss the rest of the game, no good can come from it.

An Example from the PSO League #6:

I was UTG and limped with KK in level 2. I do this about 15% of the time early in tourneys hoping for a raise, none came and I said to myself if I get a bunch of caller’s I’m done with the hand. Flop comes Jh,10h,3x with a possible flush draw. I bet pot and got reraised by the minimum and dumped the hand. I had huge odds and could have had the best hand at that moment but I dropped it and later doubled through with KK a couple levels later. If I play that hand and lose I’m done, but with all the draws out there I couldn't justify calling the min raise. If that was a SNG I reraise all in and hope he has A10. It’s a weak play but it keeps me alive to fight again when I have a better idea of what cards my opponent is playing.

Poker Rewards Redeems!!!

If anyone reads the comments of my last post about Poker Rewards, you will see a comment from Dave at Poker Rewards talking about the Freeroll mishap. I was quite upset after I was not allowed to play after playing the required hands. I played them very early as well. They have been having database problems from the sounds of things and people's cash outs have been taking a while to hit their bank account's as well. It's quite impressive that a major site wants to make this up to the 10 or so people that were not allowed to play in the freeroll, especially after they already gave us $50 for the inconvenience.

Since the mishap, I had a cash out delay, so I emailed Dave and he followed up with me 3 times to make sure it went through. It eventually went through and it was a nice gesture for him keeping in touch. I now believe that Poker Rewards has done a complete 360 with its customer service, even if this second freeroll doesn't pan out. I think more sites should be this personal, it goes along way to keep a customer happy that would of never redeposited.

Thanks JL

P.S. -> Strategy post still almost done. It will be done this week

Monday, May 15, 2006

Poker Rewards Sucks!!

I vow to never play there again!! They weren't able to add me to the 10k freeroll that PSO put on with ONLY 75 people in it after I completed the required hands. They gave me $50 for my effort which was nice but not enough to keep me quiet. :)

I have a rough draft of league strategy post that I am going to post once its done, its longer than anything I have ever posted so it is going to take a bit more time to come out. It basically looks at the strategy that I used to win the PSO league, so it should be helpful in that form and be a bit different from what else is out there.

Stay tuned, we'll be right back!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Blind Poker

I decided to have some fun tonight in a $2 20 person SNG on Titan. I covered up my cards and played the person and situation and not the cards. It was a humbling exercise to say the least. I never once relied on a BB special, Im sure I avoided alot of marginal situations because I rarely had to show down a hand. I put pressure on limpers and stole as many times as I could.

I managed to finish 3rd when good old fashion patience paid off, I just waited for the big stacks to knock themselves out, it was quick comical how bad the play was at this level, im pretty sure if I could of seen my cards I would of finished 1st.

So what lessons were learned.

#1 Patience...I only played 1 hand before the final table of 10, blinds were 50/100 at that point and I had 850 in chips.

#2 Position is gold in SNG's...late position raises go along way, and pushing over the top of limpers wins you small pots all day.

#3 More Patience...the big stacks will eventually knock themselves out, there is no point playing any hands till the final 10, and once you get there they all just spew chips and one by one you hit the money.

Im really not sure what else I learnt but it was a great exercise with little risk to keep me fresh and focused on solid play and not my cards. I'm sure if I did it again I could finish in the top 6-7.

I may extend this to a larger MTT with a $2 buy in and see if I can make it half way.

In other SNG news I won a party 10+1 so I finally had a positive day for my bankroll, a whole $45 bucks. I need a few of these days to get my bankroll number back in the green.

Monday, May 08, 2006

I'm Going to VEGAS Baby!

Wow, all I can say is what a final tournament! The PSO league came down to the bitter end last night and I managed to secure the 1st place spot and win a $1500 WSOP Seat and $500 cash from Poker Source Online.

My night/tournament started off terribly, I almost punched a hole in my lcd monitor and I'm not a violent person. My internet was off and on, mostly off for the first hour of the tournament. I was only able to play 2 hands in the first hour which was very frustrating. I made a last minute executive decision to high tail it to my GF's parent's house that is in the same city less that 5 minutes away. I got there just in time for the first break, and I was blinded down to 795 chips with the blinds around 50/100 I believe. So now with a stable internet connection I fail to pick up any hands until I'm at 400 chips and I push with KK and triple up.

I am still the short stack hanging on scratching and clawing and just waiting patiently for a hand and trying to move up as many positions as I can since chipnchair is still in it ahead of me. I think I was in the mid 20's when my "M" got to around .75, yes that's right I had 300 chips left and the BB was 400! I then picked up AJ when it was folded around to me, it was an easy push and all 3 players called and checked it down trying to eliminate me. I managed to spike an ace, and I was back to 1900 and had some breathing room again. Shortly after I picked up KK and doubled again, then reraised a pre flop raiser all in who folded and I was at 5000 chips and sitting pretty all within 15 minutes or so. It was a sick run, my VP$IP was probably less than 5% at this point.

I used my new found stack to steal a bunch of blinds and I squeezed in to the final table as a short stack after a steal attempt got caught. Chipnchair had a healthy stack going into the final table but at that point it was already over and I had wrapped up my seat, I was basically playing for pride. I was patient again and managed to take out 2 player to get to the final 5 when my 99 held up against 2 short stacks all ins. I then proceeded to terrorize the final 4 when the stacks were 5000 for me, 12000, 11000, 45000. I was the most aggressive player and did it ever pay off, I stole and stole and stole some more until I was at 20k and 2nd in chips. It really is true about players playing scared around the money bubble, this was the PSO money bubble and none of the final 3 had made it before. The big stack (50k) was a complete non factor, he would fold the SB, to the short stacks BB(5k), it was sick, the big stack was a complete donkey. I was cruising along until I ran QQ into KK and got knocked down to 8k. I pushed with A5 into the Large stacks A9 and I bubbled out of the PSO money and finished 4th.

It was one of my proudest moments as a poker player, I was literally down to a chip and a chair two times and I battled back to finish 4th. I played solid poker the whole way through and once I had an internet connection it was much easier. I don't feel like I'm ready to play in the WSOP but I know I have game and if I hit a few hands and win a few coin flips I can go as deep as John Holmes. I am going to play in as many live events as I can over the next 2 months and when I pick the event I want to play I'm going to mirror it as close as I can by finding an online tournament with similar starting chips/number of players. I'll let you know how that goes. Any other advice is appreciated too.

Thanks again to PSO you guys rock and I look forward to having a beer with you!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Running Bad

It hasn't been a very good week for me and therefore I haven't been motivated to post. I am really lucky that I have been getting a few bonuses over the past week or I would really be pissed. My losses are around $500, I think, I havent actually calculated it. The only thing that saved me was about $280 in bonuses that I cleared, so the real loss is a very manageable $200.

I'm more worried about my play more than the money I have lost. I have alot of leaks in my game and I need to plug them fast or its just going to get worse. I think it has to do with playing more MTT because of the PSO league events. My cash game is now a hybrid of a MTT strategy and Cash game, and we all know Hybrid's suck ass, just look at the cars on the road. Hybrids get you to were your going yes but they dont get you anywhere fast.

The Last PSO League event is the Sunday, and I am pumped to get finished it and see what the outcome is. I haven't imporved my score over the last two events so I'm hoping my competetion doesn't get anything going as well. The last two have had a lot less people and they all seem really solid, they even have a live feel to them. I will have to adjust to this or risk getting knocked out of the first spot.

Here is some math for Sunday.

If I do not improve my worst score of 33:

2nd Place must finish 20th or better to knock me out.
3rd Place must finish 8th or better to knock me out.

If I finish in the top 25 I garuntee 2nd place and $1000
If I finish in the top 13 I garuntee 1st place and $1500 WSOP Seat + $500 Cash
If 2nd and 3rd both beat me I get $500 for 3rd and I may kill myself.

Since there are only 60 players showing up on average to these last few events it is entirely possible for me to lost Sunday so I better suck it up and get 'er done.