Saturday, July 24, 2004

Saturday, July 10, 2004

A week of Freeroll Festival poker

Almost a week of poker.

OK, the Ladbrokes Freeroll Festival. 6-seat multitable NL Texas Hold'Em tournaments. Four $1000, 1500 players max, tournaments a day for six days in a row, where the three first in each went to a $26000 final on Sunday. First prize there: Entry into Poker Million 2005 (worth $13000) and $13000 divided between 2nd to 7th place.

Day 1
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The Freeroll Festival was supposed to be 6-seated multitable, but the first tournament was ten-seated. I had registered to the second tournament just when registration started, and possibly they reset the registrations to fix that error (6 vs 10), so I wasn't in the second tournament.

Day 2
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Cant play all day.

Day 3
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I decided to play more wildly (since it's a freeroll anyway) today but that shows in the results. In the second tournament, I bet heavy, but not all-in, with KA hearts in the pocket and was eventually all-in with those, who had become two pair aces and kings. Good, huh? But it was beat by a straight, ace high and I was outta here.

Out during the first hour or so in all tournaments today.

Day 4
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Today, they had cut down the registration time to just one hour before tournament start instead of as the previous days, two hours before.

As yesterday, play fast. Up and down, maybe too fast sometimes.

In the second game, it was only ten minutes into the tournament and the pot was big.The turn had given me trips seven. I went all-in to scare the remaining player off and WHAMMO, he calls. And he has 57 on hand and the board gives him full house, fives full of sevens. I didn't see those fives, but one has to take one's chances.

Third game, laggy connection and I didn't get on a roll or hit a streak. When the poker client was chugging, staggering and stammering, it was hard to get at "flow" in the play.

Day 5
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Back to careful rock play. Survived for an hour and a quarter in the first.

In the second one, there was a bit of network hiccup just before the hone hour mark, interrupting my play, but I was short-stacked anyway and my last straw didn't come.

Day 6
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Methodical play in the second tournament led to the best placements so far, 165th and 156th, both after an hour and 45 minutes. Getting low on chips compared to the others, I went all-in with AK diamonds. Called by one other with T8 hearts, and he draws a full house! Bwaaah, not fair!

Two high placements today. Maybe because I was a bit hung over and tired, so I wasn't susceptible to FPS (Fancy Play Syndrome), more of a grinder.

Well, that was a lot of poker. 156th was my best placement. What worked best was to play carefully, not wildly, but it all ended in the same way in those tournaments where I wasn't knocked out early; an average bankroll eaten up by the blinds and the blinds have reached the level where you have to win if you've followed a hand past the flop. But, if you have chips left and enough players have put chips in and you win the next hand you enter, you could bounce back up.

I think what made me lose was that I was too impatient. Getting into a hand just because it was so-so OK and I hadn't played for a while. Also, I was a bit greedy and didn't back off even though the betting indicated that the opposing player(s) had the nuts. The bad thinking of "Since I've already put chips in, I might as well put in some more." I don't think there's much bluffing past the flop. I never had a large stack, I don't think I ever were above 10000 (started with 1500), at least not for very long, while the big boys had 50000 after an hour. So I could never outmuscle players by betting high with a medium strength hand. Sort of only being able to play the cards, not play the pot or players.

The sweetest, neatest, coolest thing was to outplay people, to be the one making someone run out of chips and leave the tournament. Especially if you trapped someone with ye olde check-raising.

Freerolls are a bit special. In the first hands there are many all-ins, sometimes (most often?) with more than two players. If you stay out, you're safe. If you enter, you could be out or you could double, triple, quadruple, quintuple, sextuple, septuple or octuple your bankroll. From looking at the leaderboard at some tournaments, that has happened. And then you can just sit back for an hour and just wait for aces and/or kings in the hole. But people wouldn't play like that if their own real money was at stake. It's not fun to see someone else early in the tournament with 10-15000 in chips when you're around the 1500 you started with.

Another thing about freerolls and not risking any of their own real money. Some register, and then don't play. Several times there were dead hands (automatically place blind and fold) and if you were lucky, you were in the position to scrape up their money.

Cost: Nothing more than time, and the weather was bad, had nothing better to do, et cetera...

Earnings: Experience, something to blog about.

Monday, July 05, 2004

The party was over early

Curses, foiled again!

The online Partypoker No Limit Texas Hold'Em poker freeroll (multitable tournament) I wrote about in the previous post, well, it didn't go so well.

I had checked in from time to time during the registration period the previous days, and there was about a thousand already registered. All will probably not turn up. Yes, that was true, at my first table, there was about five dead hands, they showed [disconnected] and just automatically posted blinds and folded. My stack grows a little but then I hit the first obstacle on my road to success. I had AK off-suit and play it fairly aggressively but maybe not aggressively enough. When it's time for the river, I have a flush draw and have already committed a lot. It doesn't come and I just have a pair of kings against opponent's, uhm, can't remember. I lost anyway, and my stack is down to 440 of the 1000 I started with. The play was OK, the river was not. But the number of players has dropped too, after ten minutes, a hundred are gone, and after another ten minutes, another hundred.

I'm moved to a new table, some small ups and downs, and then I'm committed to the pot. Don't remember the exact cards, but I had TK hearts in the pocket, and when the river comes a heart, I have flush, king high. I put in the last of my chips (200?), the only hand that can beat it with this board is a flush, ace high. It's called by the remaining player. He has the ace of hearts... I'm out at 1720nd place. But I think I played correctly in those two hands, didn't go past the flop with nothing and made the gambles when the pot was big. My losing hands were very good second best hands, but second best is not good enough in No Limit Texas Hold'em, the Cadillac of poker.

Now, on to the four freerolls at Ladbrokes today and every day this week!

Backpack and table

Big night, or indeed week ahead of me.

First, there's the Partypoker $2500 New Player Freeroll in a few hours, then Ladbrokes Poker has four freerolls a day this whole week, leading up to a final where one can win entry to Poker Million in July 2005. I hope you can be in more than one freeroll, because then I know what I'll be doing the whole week if the weather isn't too good since I'm off from work.

Shuffle up and deal.

In other news, (can't just write about poker, although it's the main theme) I visited the local flea market as I usually do on Sundays. It was extra easy today since it was on the town square just outside my house, usually it's in the park but there's a car show there this weekend. I have made great finds there and today I hit the jackpot. I already have a Boblbee backpack (follow that link, they're really cool). It's the model "People's Delite". They're quite expensive put I got mine used from an online auction site for about a third of the retail price, which is in the range $150-$200. Anyhoo, I saw a Boblbee backpack at the flea market and disinterestedly picked it up and asked what the seller wanted for it, thinking I might see what they go for second hand nowadays. "Femtio kronor", she said. That is Swedish, and means "Fifty crowns" (Swedish crowns, SEK). "Say what!?!?!111?!1 Are you crazy, lady? You could ask for much much much more, like TEN times that", my brain shouted, but my mouth said (after I had swallowed back the "fnrrfppt! gngllgnh!") "Oh, OK, I'll take it".

You see, 50 SEK is like NOTHING. It's six or seven US dollars. Two or three Big Macs. So I gave her the money and took the backpack home extra double quickly. I look closer at it. I think it's the model "Megalopolis". Holy designer backpack, Batman, the accessories aren't even unwrapped! By the look of it, it has never been used. This is my flea market find of the year, decade, century and millennium so far, by far.

Goshdarnit, I look for it on teh Intarweb, I can't even find this color scheme (two-tone blue and green). A rare item?

Oh, another find: Ten issues of a Swedish print of Popular Mechanics from 1969 and 1970 for 20 SEK (that's one or two Big Macs. Why did I buy those, when I work with hi-tech and modern computer science? Because one of them had instructions and drawings for building your own poker table. So there!

Thursday, July 01, 2004

A sip and a cheat

In poker, you just need a chip and a seat to have a chance.

I played some cheap real money tournaments online at Partypoker. In the first one, I was down at rock bottom twice, no chips left and the cards held up. I outplayed two other players, meaning I was the one that won when they went all-in. Then I was even chip leader for a while before busting out at fourth place, and that was close. I had pocket threes and went all-in with the 700 I had left and had one caller. The board comes up Txxxx and unfortunately the caller had TK on hand and so I'm out at 4th, but had survived for a long time.

Then another table where I'm out at 8th, my draws didn't come.

After that, two more consecutive tournament tables where I end up in third place on both. The last one was nice when all the maniacs (pre-flop all-ins with almost anything goodlooking) were gone, we were chatting, enjoying ourselves and also really playing poker, not just depending on random chance hoping to get good flops.