Wednesday, June 28, 2006

$33 SNG + Challenge

I received a $40 free bonus from Party Poker last night and decided to use it in a $33 SNG. I was bored and needed something to do while FianceRun decided to fill out some thank-you cards for her fellow teachers at her school. I don't remember hands but I played solid and took down second after I got cold decked during the final 4. You should go and check your accounts and see if you can take a risk free shot at a limit higher than normal, just make sure you don't have any money in your account when you do it because I'm not a 100% sure if you play with bonus money first or not.

I talked about it in my last post to take a shot at some larger tourneys so I'm going to take JL's advice and devise a mini bankroll for this purpose. My Party account now sits at 90 something dollars so I'm gonna take this to a NL100 table and run it up to $200 or bust. If I make $200 then I will play 10 - $20 buy in events, I'll cover the rake one way or another, and see what happens. If I don't cash in 10 so be it, but if I run well I could have a major cash with that type of buy in. I will play a tournament either on Sunday's or Monday's when I'm actually home. I will keep a separate Tournament bankroll on my sidebar to show progress on my quest. My goal will be to turn that $200 into $1000 and then re-evaluate the buy in amount and possibly go to $50. This has a high probability of failure but if I don't try I will never progress in this game we call poker.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A look back....

This not so humble poker player has come along way in the last year and a half. I just crossed the 5 figure mark in poker/gambling earnings and I feel like I have arrived. When I started a year and a half ago I was grinding a single table of $1/2 Limit and struggling to break even. I had not read a poker book, I knew nothing about pot odds, but I strived to read as much as I could, and bonus whore like a champ to pay for my poker education. I finally decided to switch to $25 NL, single tabling after about 2 months of limit. I was ecstatic that I was up $400 from this hobby, and it was fun. It took me 7 months to grind out my first $1000 mostly playing one table. I decided to try a NL50 table last September and it went well, I was pretty scared of the bet sizes, and super nervous after I pushed with AA and took down a $100 pot.

I made a few withdrawals along the way so I had something to show for my hours at the table, Golf Clubs, and a Digital Camera. Last fall I started adding a another table to help my hourly rate, and learn how to multi-table. I knew everyone else was multi-tabling but I had a hard time transitioning to two tables, but it finally clicked after about a month of transition time. Now that I had two tables going I dabbled into some NL $100 playing a super tight style and making a good go of it early. This is where things took off for me and clicked. I had an $1800 bankroll in December, 2005, and now feel comfortable playing 4 tables of NL100 or even NL200 if I feel a bit of gamble in me and the conditions are right. I have a hard time playing more than 4-5 hours of ring a week so I made sure to disciplined myself not to jump up stakes based on months, but rather based on knowledge and experience.

The PSO league forced me to learn how to play a MTT. I posted recently in JL514's blog that I had DuggleBogey yell at me during a PSO freeroll when I donked it up like the fish I was in these tourney's. It was in PSO chat, and tried to bluff the rock at our table on every street and he called me down the whole way with 2 pair I think. I honestly didn't know any better 12 months ago, ignorance was bliss. When I was concentrating on the PSO league I played a few others and seemed to cash at an alarming percentage, 50%ish at least. I think I'm a better tourney player than Ring but I just don't have the time to put into honing my MTT game, and making some serious money. I think I need to devise a challenge to myself that will allow me to take a few shots at some decent MTT's.

This leads me to my biggest accomplishment as a poker player so far, bigger than my 10k in winnings, which is winning a seat to play in the mini-WSOP $1000 buy in, Event #17. Since this is a pure hobby I'm really looking forward to the experience and to try and make a strong showing.

Top 5 Poker Accomplishments:

5. Meeting a bunch of online poker players and being part of the "fringe" blogging community
4. Winning my first MTT on absolute, winning $475
3. Crossing the $10,000 in career earnings
2. Having the ability to pay for our share of the wedding coming up, July 29, 2007 from online gambling!

1. Winning a $1000 WSOP Seat with all expenses paid

Monday, June 26, 2006

Poker Rewards Freeroll #2

As some of you may of noticed a few months back I was not allowed in the last Poker Source Online freeroll at Poker Rewards. I was pretty pissed that I did not get a chance at the 10k purse but they did give me a consolation prize of $50. I guess JL514 was pretty pissed at Poker Rewards as well and decided to email Dave the Poker Rewards manager and complain. So he said he would do a make up freeroll for all those that missed the original. That was over a month ago, and I kind of forgot about it until I saw a post in the PSO forums saying it was back on. They made it a $1000 freeroll and only 6 people showed up, and it paid out 5 spots!!! :) sweeet!!

Of the six players I only knew two others, JL514 and Red-Diamond (who I played with in Niagara). It was a pretty soft field, because the 3 others did not know how to play. One guy min raised with aces, then min bet all the way to the river, I failed to hit my set so I was no threat but c'mon!!. I was the short stack early, trying to bully the table I raised with the hammer got one caller who then called my continuation bet when the flop came Ace high, I let go of the hand right after that. Since the stacks started at 2000, the 1200 I had was enough to play still. I then took a pot off JL514 when I paired my ace and got back to 1700. Then the hand of the tournament came when JL514 was short stacked and pushed his last 800 into the pot with blinds around the 75/150 mark and I picked up aces and made a isolation bet of 800 on top, then Red-Diamond pushed over top of that bet and I had an easy call with AA. Red flipped QQ, and JL held 88, my aces held up and I had a commanding chip lead. Since we were now four handed I ramped up the aggression and was raising all sorts of hands in every position. Most times they would let me have the blinds as they did not want a confrontation with the chip leader, one guy finally got frustrated and pushed back with Ace- Something versus my Jacks and he departed in 4th. I continued the assault, against these 2 self proclaimed amateurs (they told me at the break) who were playing for big money in there eyes.

I forget how the 3rd guy went out, I'm sure he just thought I was bullying again and pushed back at the wrong time, I think it may have been AJs for me and Kx for him. Heads up I had a 9k to 3k chip lead and just kept raising, and raising. I got a huge compliment when the last remaining player called me a "bully" which for me translates into aggressive. He hit his K7 vs. my A4 to give him a few more chips but those didn't last long as he was bleeding chips by not standing up to me, since the blinds were now higher. He finally went out when I held AQ vs 108s when he tried to steal my blind with the worst timing possible, I hit an ace he didn't hit a flush and I was $450 richer.

There were a few lessons learned here:

1. Never tell an experienced player that you are playing for more money than you have ever played for before. This screams scared money and will be punished.
2. Always play as the aggressor because you will accumulate chips and get paid off when you hit. You also have the chips to take chances with out taking yourself out.
3. Poker Manager's do come through on their word sometimes, and follow through with a promise! Thanks Dave.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I guess I have a Problem

I had the conversation with the better half last night that many of us dread. My Fiance wanted me to quit gambling because she thinks that I will lose our house and it will become uncontrollable over time. She also thinks it takes up too much of my free time. She does make a good point when it comes to my free time but I believe that its MY free time and if I wasn't playing poker I would be playing sports, which I still 2-3 days a week to keep in shape. I have been a very competitive athlete all through school and I look at poker as a way to stay in shape mentally and I need the competition that it brings. I was the same way in hockey, practice 3 times a week, and play 3 times per week. It's the same as reading blogs/strategy books and only playing poker 3 times per week.

The conversation started because she saw me reading about poker on my computer while I used her's to play through a slot bonus (my first time). She was kinda okay with the poker but she just couldn't understand the slots and how you could make money. She saw it as a slippery slope to degenerate gambling status. I tried to explain to her that it is positive expected value and my chance of losing is miniscule over the long run and many promos. She saw this as being ignorant, because "all gamblers think they can't lose and that's the first sign you have a problem." I tried to deflate the situation by telling her my past actions and how I have made enough money to pay for our portion of the wedding next year. This failed as well and she almost turned the lap top off. I then noticed that I hit a $80 win on Thunderstruck and said "see its making money as we argue." Once again I have a lot to learn about women, I'm sure you all know how that one went.

I told her from the very beginning that I would quit if she thought I was getting out of control, and I did seriously mean it. So I told her last night that I would if she was really worried about my gambling, she said she didn't want me to quit but she just worries a lot because she doesn't see any of this "fictional" money I talk about over the internet. She knows I have accounts everywhere, she knows that I need money to make money, but I think slots was the breaking point. When we woke up I managed to make $300 from the slot promo and she still didn't care.

So let this be a lesson to all you degenerate gamblers out there, pass up on +EV promos if they paint the picture of a degenerate gambler! SO NO MORE SLOTS IN FRONT OF HER!!

I can't quit now with all the promotion money being offered up front, Its a sick obsession of mine to make easy money. The slot promo took 15 mins of my time which is pretty sick because it autoplays for you.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

1/2 NL

I was finally allowed into a casino yesterday to sling some real chips for a change. I skipped out of work early after going down to Windsor, Ontario to look for a bar to buy for a client. I had to wait about 15 minutes for a seat at one of two 1/2 NL tables that were running. It seemed like a pretty loose table, as I was sitting down I saw the guy that just got called to the table double up with aces on his first hand. There was one guy sitting on $1000 in chips at a $100 max table so I decided not to get mixed up with him. He was reading a book between hands and played too many hands just bullying people when he was in a pot. There was the obsese man that couldn't fit into his chair, another student who was good, and an Asian that was pretty loose.

I only played my premium cards and managed to hit some flops and chip up early. It was easy to make money if you hit a hand, all you had to do was check it to anyone because no matter what two cards they had they were betting the flop, then just reraise and get them to fold. This worked every time and it became apparent that the weak players would get eaten up at a table like this. The hand of the night for me came when I held AJo in the SB, it got popped to $8 preflop from UTG and I think 6 players saw the flop. The flop came down Jx 8s 4s, with the action on me I decided to check, UTG bets $25 into a $48 pot and gets called by 2 players...It took me maybe 25 seconds to make my decision to just call the bet, with 4 people in the pot I was getting great odds to see the next card. I thought I was behind to 2 pair or possibly an over pair but that was unlikely as the preflop bet was too small for this table to have a big pair. There is now $148 in the pot and 4 players. The turn is a beautiful off suit Jack and I check. It gets checked to the player on my right who I don't have much of a read on and he bets $30, which is really weak so I push over top for $114 and it gets folded to him and he calls with his last $68 with Q10s. I had a few cards to avoid, any 9 giving him a straight, and any diamond that doesn't pair the board. The river is a off suit 3 and I scoop a $320 pot, easily the biggest I have ever been involved with live, and I did tip the deal $3, I hope that was the right amount?

My hands were shaking as I was trying to stack all the red chips, it was pretty funny to watch. I then had to give the guy that I busted change for his $100 rebuy and I could barely stack the chips. I must of looked like the biggest rookie at the table but I didnt really care. I ended up cashing out ahead $271 after 1.5 hours and proceeded to get smashed at a Coor's Light Maxim Golf Event!! :) Can you say hot chicks in a hot tub. I will try to figure out how to post pictures because there are some great ones.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

3.5 Hour Tour

I finally found the time to get some poker in last night. I fired up 4 tables of NL50, 3 on Party and one on Full Tilt. The first hour was pretty uneventful, mainly staying about even and not getting much action. I then proceeded to lose 2.5 buys when my AA lost to 102o, 1010, 88, and QQ to AK, JJ to AA. I was able to get away from KK when it was clear that I was beat in one hand so I didn't play like a complete donkey. I managed to claw my way back to one buy in down by the end of my 3.5 hour session, so with bonus I guess I can say I broke even.

I was pretty happy with my play, there was some rust but not too much, I was able to extract value when I hit and made a few plays to take pots away from players that were raising with hands like A10o. I will be playing more this week to kill the rest of the party poker bonus and I'll hopefully get back to even and have the bonus money as profit.

I might try to play a few slot bonuses over the next couple weeks and see if I can get lucky and use the profit to gamble in Vegas during my WSOP trip. I will treat it as free money and have a good time and Gambooollll it up with it. If I make $500 I might even play the Wynn golf course, I've heard great things about it so why not?

So Actyper, what slots bonuses are the juiciest?, i'm looking at the BTP forum and it seems like a good start. I figure you owe me for screwing me with your scam!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Playing Live $50+3

I played some live poker last night for a change, and boy did it feel good to sling some real chips. A friend of mine organized a $50+3 buy in with a total of 94 players showeing up. I believe this event was illegal because it was held in a hall and charged a fee but I wasn't too worried about it. The blinds started at 5/10 with T1000 starting chips and 20 minute levels. It was a solid set up and left plenty of room to maneuver. I played a solid and patient game but never got any real cards, I had a 6 pocket pairs all night and didn't hit one set, my best hand was QQ, and no AK or AQ. I was average in chips most of the tournament because I was making timely steals.

The hand that I played the best was early on with blinds of 20/40. I was in the BB with 33 and it got raised UTG to 140 total, and folded around to me. I called and we saw a flop of 954 rainbow. I checked to him and he fired a 200 bet into a 300 pot, I though for a few seconds and I pegged him on over cards and made the call. Turn was a 10 and I checked it to him, he thought for a sec and checked behind (this confirmed my read). The river brought a flush card out and I fired a 200 bet at a 700 pot and I knew he couldn't call with his over cards, but did manage to make me sweat it out for a while. This was a key hand, if I lost I would of been down to T500 and in need of some serious chips. After this hand I thought about how scary its going to be at the WSOP this year, my heart was pounding the whole way and I just stared at the board as he tried to pick up a tell on me. If I make that bet at the WSOP I think my hands will be shaking and my heart pounding.

After this hand I lost some and won a couple but I mainly folded for the next hour or so. I was a smallish stack and had the chip leader at my table, even when I moved tables the chip leader followed me. I remained patient and with blinds of 75/150 and with T600 left I made a desperate push when it was folded to me in the SB with a3o, the BB woke up with A7o and I needed a suck out to remain. I managed to hit a 3 and double up just before the table broke and I found myself with a little bit more ammunition.

At this point we are down to 30 or so and I finally have a table with a lot less chips on it. I stole a bunch of times and finally caught my best hand of the night QQ after I stole the blinds twice in a row with all in bets. I go all in again and get called this time by Q10, and knock someone out. I'm still only at average chips but enough to get to the final 15, with only the final 10 paying. I was able to steal when the blinds where 500/1000 with 92s on the button, my friend odieone was in the BB and wanted to call, he had a good idea what I was doing but layed down because he wanted us both to get to the final table, thanks buddy! After a couple more hands I find myself surprised to be at the final table with T4000 in chips with T94000 in play.

The final table was tough, the chip leader had 50%+ of the chips in play, he caught monster after monster and could do no wrong, he knocked the first guy out with J7s against AQ, when he hit a straight. He always seemed to have the better hand all night, it was sick to see his cards, considering how card dead I was. I played tight only stealing the 500/1000 blinds once to keep my stack at 4300 with 8 left. The defining hand happened at this point, It was folded to me in the SB with the blinds 1000/2000 and I had 3300 behind, and the BB had 2000 behind and was committed to the pot. I look down at A2, and push and get called by 43s for his tourney life. He hit trip 3s and I'm left with T300. I fold the next few hands and some donkey pushes against the big stack and the big stack sucks out as per usual and I find myself in 7th with my 3 black chips. I then call a raise with my 300 with AJ and end up heads up against J9 and quadruple up to a whopping T1200 with the blinds two away. One hand later I pick up A3 and push and get called by 99, same guy who crippled me and he finishes the job and I'm out in 7th for a payday of $216. I am very happy with the result, I didn't get any cards all night and I scratched and clawed my way to the final table. I later found out there were two players that qualified for the Main Event, so that says a little bit about the competition. Odieone ended up going out next when the chip leader hit quads with his ducks to take out his TPGK, he was tired of the chipleader bully the table and took a stand at the worst time.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Donkn' it up!

I had a great time playing poker with actyper last night. I was on Ladbrokes for their $100 sign up bonus + $50 Refer-a-Friend Bonus (you just need to be referred by someone + $25 for making a profile on their homepage all for the low, low price of 500 contributed raked hands (U.S. and GERMANS NOT ALLOWED). These hands can be cleared at any level as long as you contribute to the pot and there is a flop. It takes a bit longer than a normal raked hand promotion, but you can clear at 6 max .15/.30 limit poker, I think I only saw one time when there was no flop, I think I raised with 93o on the button and the blinds folded.

If you haven't played at this limit you are missing out, it was so refreshing donkn' it up. the other players had no clue what to say, but they did want to be involved in any hand that I played or actyper played. We would play 72o like it was the nuts, one hand actyper capped it on all streets when all over cards were on the board, I almost pissed myself. I was betting my 45o on every street and getting people to lay hands down. I managed to hit quads and won a $3.00 pot!! I had to type "dems quads beetches" right after in honour of Jordan. I have a screen shot of our table but its on my home computer, it shows actyper and I with $425-$450 in front of us when the rest of the table had $5-$10. They allow you to buy in for any amount, it was quite humorous buying in with 3000x the BB. I made sure I told the table that if they busted me that I would be broke. I managed not to lose any money, which I am quite proud of considering that I saw 80% of the flops and was betting all of them, I played bottom pair like its the nuts.

I recommend this bonus to everyone, its fun to clear at the low limits, and even more fun when you know someone at the table. So if your going to sign up let me know, and I will play some donkey poker with everyone. Remember to use the referral code of riverrun27 if you want to get the extra $50.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Trip Report

I have finally fully recovered from my weekend with the PSO boys. Dekar, BrianSterling, Donion, Red-Diamond, Kugr84, and I decided to attack Niagara last weekend. It was supposed to be a weekend of poker, booze, and women, but it went down a little bit differently. I was only able to make it down for the Friday night, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me from having a great time. I got there around 6:30pm and my first double whisky was poured by 7:15pm. We all met in Donion and Donion’s wife’s room to introduce ourselves and start a 6 player SNG tourney.

Blinds started at 15/30 with chip stacks of T1500 in order to ensure we would be at the bar in 2 hours we set the blinds at 15 minutes. The first hand of the tournament I was in the SB on BrianSterlings left, it was folded to Kugr84 in the cutoff who made it 75 to go, and Brian called on the button and I popped it to 200 with QQ, and they both called. Flop came KQ7 with two spades. I was first to act and decided that if I checked I would not get any action because it was a flop that probably helped me after I re-raised. So I threw out 500 into a 600 pot to look like the bully. Kugr thought for a few minutes and finally threw away his flush draw, Brian threw away his pair of 5s and I mucked. I now had everyone covered and played the role of controlled maniac, raising more than everyone else. My favourite hand of the night came when Red-diamond played I believe his first hand of the night, and came in for a raise, I re-raised him all in with 1010, he called and we were off to the races, I think he had KJ? Flop gave him a King putting me way behind but I managed to knock him out with a one outer after I found out that Dekar mucked a 10. Everything gets hazy after this, I managed to drink 5 double whiskeys during the SNG, thanks to Brian for taking a shot of my whiskey that I probably didn’t need, for being the first one out. We decided to chop after Dekar won an all in with A7 vs JJ (kugr) vs KK? (Donion), nice suck out kid, Kugr should have known not to play his Jacks. For the record, I did get the title of winner after the chop, My J6s dominated his J5o, this hand kind of symbolized the weekend for Dekar; he had to Jack-off quite a bit!

The rest of the night was a lot of fun, we went to a couple bars, met some ladies, drank some shots, drank some more, and didn’t gamble. Since Dekar already summed up our experience, I will attempt to capture some of the highlights without naming names to protect the innocent, and myself.

1. Someone hit on the front desk clerk, unsuccessfully
2. Someone talked to the cops before the bar
3. Someone told a girl that we were professional poker players that make over 100k/year
4. That same someone told another girl that he was a pilot
5. Someone bought a round of tequila
6. Someone passed his tequila shot to a girl to get her more drunk
7. Someone bought drinks for himself and a girl, only to leave them behind on the bar after paying for them
8. Someone made out with a hot chick from Germany
9. Someone made out with her other two friends at the same time on the dance floor
10. Someone and someone else kissed a girl from Austria one after another with the intention of “sharing” her after the bar
11. All of us couldn’t get into the casino after the bar
12. Two of us tried to go back after and still couldn’t get in
13. Someone spent the whole night at the casino and didn’t want to go to the bar
14. Someone else only spent a few hours at the casino and doubled their buy in because they couldn’t get into the bar
15. Someone jumped on the German “grenade” and took one for the team, the soldiers would be proud
16. Someone and Someone else took a German and Austrian back to their hotel
17. Someone left the hotel before the Austrian woke up, pure class!
18. Someone went on tag team tilt
19. And most importantly, fun was had by all!!

I think it will be interesting for outsiders to post in the comments who they think these apply too. Also, please add your own “someone” stories for anything I forgot or failed to mention. This trip should become a semi annual PSO party for the northerners; it was too much of a blast to not happen again. Thanks for the good time boys!

Friday, June 02, 2006

OT

Overtime:

The last team to score here takes all the glory, its one of the most important times to a game, and its often the least practiced. At this point in the league it doesn’t really matter if you win or not, you’ve secured a great showing and will knock out your worst score so you’re playing for cash and fame. I use a semi-aggressive strategy combined with something I call game theory, not sure what else to call it but it involves psychology.

It’s hard to explain so here goes nothing:

I start out by playing my cards, meaning I will raise good cards fold bad cards and limp the odd time. I am folding my small blind about 50% of the time (this is far from optimal play). I try to fold just enough at the beginning to make my opponent think I am playing tight and only raising good cards. This can definitely back fire on you but heads up is psychological warfare at its finest. I slowly start raising/stealing more and more as the blinds go up and before you know if I am slowly taking a few hundred from his stack every 5 hands. As the match goes on I am making sure I am raising more than I am folding in the small blind. In the big blind I also start reraising if I have a decent hand but I don’t mind losing my BB because I know I am raising his more than he is doing it to me. I feel like this is sounding like a deranged mental patient when I explain this but it really is about making you opponent fear your raises by playing tight, but as the blinds go up and up, you steal that one time extra, you fold less and never limp and before you know it you have him/her out chipped and can take some chances at calling an all in and eliminating them. I also reraise 3x the BB on steals and premium cards, with the odd all in with premium cards because I want them to think I am stealing when I go all in. I just reread all of this and it did not come across the way I expected it to. Heads up is a game of controlled aggression, I am by far not an expert in this field, you can go check out http://yosoyveneno.blogspot.com/ for a heads up specialist’s take on this.

As you can tell by my writing, I have general guidelines on how I play a certain times in the tournament. Its very hard to write a complete strategy that every play can follow and be successful, I give props to Harrington for that. I hope I conveyed the subtle differences about playing in a 10 tournament league format vs. just a normal MTT event. You have to think about the long run in every decision you make and take some shots late in the game to make final tables. Good luck in the next league, I’m sure ill get destroyed by the LAGs for my weak tight play.

I’m off to Niagara fall for some NL live casino play with a bunch of guys from PSO tonight. I will post a trip report when I get back.