Friday, December 30, 2005

Near the dang bubble

Big local live poker tournament yesterday. 46 participants, all male. One rebuy and an add-on possible (I did those).

I got AA three times, and won all of them. Botched a QQ against a flopped straight. Won two or three hairy all-in situations that could've gone either way.

Knocked out a guy from our own homegame, I raised with 55, he went all-in in the Big Blind (I think) and we were evenly stacked. Call, and he turns over KA but no help for him.

There were 29 rebuys and 36 add-ons making for a nice prize pool (and the recently started poker club also got sponsorship; logo chipsets for the club and bonus money deopsited at the poker site for the top three finishers, also monthly freerolls for the members). New for today was the introduction of antes at the thirteenth blinds level.

Shortstacked but doubling up sometimes but I'm hanging on the ropes. Out at 11th place in the fifteenth blinds level with prize money for the top nine... At least I had a shot. Ooh, I wanted that money, I want a laptop so I can play poker in the living room couch. I could probably wrangle anything cheap from second hand or discarded equipment from work, but when you start to look into it, you want a big screen (15 inch), integrated network, reasonable prestanda and weight and then you're up a range or two.

I helped out with the tournament, provided a laptop with The Tournament Director and did the counting out of the prizes. Munn-ey! I luv handlin' munn-ey! Those of us involved in the running of the tournament had to wear santa hats while playing. I also wore the Las Vegas hooded sweatshirt I got for Christmas. With 47 people (one girlfriend spectator) in the room, it was hot. By the way, the spectator was the grillfiend of the tournament winner. Buy her something very nice, since she had to hang out there for the approximately six hours it lasted.

Another $50,000 freeroll at Partypoker tonight Friday, for Swedish players only. I'm so there.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Poker Christmas

I got a lot of poker related Christmas gifts this year, I wonder why? Just because I'm going to the WSOP in seven months, maybe?

  • A hooded sweatshirt with Las Vegas and generic casino-ish neon signs printed on it
  • A map over Las Vegas
  • Hellmuth's "Play poker like the pros"
  • Shot glasses with the card suits on them
  • A poker magazine

And when shopping the days after christmas I got for myself some tumblers with Jack, Queen, King and Ace cards and the card suits on them. And some lighters that look like a stack of three chips.

The only poker related gift I gave was to my dad, I'm treating him to a "Poker Night" at a casino. A package deal where you get a three-course dinner, Hold'em introduction and a tournament without prize money, just a tin cup. Just so he can try it "for real".

Monday, December 19, 2005

In no position to talk

Played at PokerBlue again last week and yesterday after a hiatus. Not many players, and if you play for four hours at any cashgame table there you qualify for the Sunday freeroll. That's how and where I won a seat at WSOP 2006. The $12K freerolls are over, now they have a freeroll each Sunday with $6K to the final two tables. $2500 in first prize.

So I played, qualified, and entered the freeroll, having a shot at getting some spending money for my Vegas trip. 160 players had qualified (Overlay! 20 out of 160 paid).

My stack remains around par for the first fifteen minutes, make some plays the next fifteen but don't get much response. Next fifteen minutes, well... to the left of me is Sh****, a previous $12K freeroll winner. He is very aggressive, often raising, never letting me get a free or cheap card to fill out a draw. Stack getting shorter and shorter, twice I go all-in with paint but get no callers. Finally all-in in early position with the around 300 I have left (started with 1500) with QKo. Called by JJ and I'm out at 69th place.

Interesting note: I saw in the player list three players with location = the city nearest my home town. One of them was placed at my table and I chatted briefly with him. Maybe they had read about me? A pity they didn't sign up under my affiliate code, but you can. Use this link or signup code "Marthyn" at PokerBlue.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Marginal calls

Tuesday means homegame night. This time we were seven players, nice with a larger number than usual and new blood.

As usual there's a lot of theoretical poker discussions. I, for example, think I've foundd a weakness in my live game, at least at this homegame. We bet carefully, when there's a raise it's usually just 2*BB. The more aggressive betting style of our guest the last time was different and seemingly more correct. My weakness? Well, when I've gotten a good hand on the flop or have lots of outs, I tend to want to play it to a showdown, wanting to show my good hand to the admiration and praise of the others. However, "poker isn't a game of cards, it's a game of money played with cards". You don't score points for playing well but losing or get a bonus for good-but-second-best. At least not in Hold'em, but there are table games where you kinda sorta can.

So, the weakness is that by not bringing the hand to an early close, I leave myself open to being outdrawn. Stop it when you have a winning hand, don't let the bastards grind you down, Illegitimi Non Carborundum. Outbet the opposition.

Situation: I'm in the unraised BB with K6 of clubs and the flop comes K6 + something, all diamonds. Small blind to the right of me goes all-in shorter stacked. Hmm, two pair but a flush draw. There are two or three players to the left of me still in the hand. I go all-in with my big stack because that's probably the only thing that can scare them off, a raise or "just" calling SBs all-in could leave them open for hanging in there, and have any diamond or two. I have outs for a full house, which beats a flush if SB should have it which I don't think. The others fold and SB has nothing, at least not anything better than my two pair.

Or the time when I gambled and played 23 suited and the flop comes 23K. Knocked a pair of kings out calling his all-in.

Chip lead for long, but I lost a biiig chunk of it with a marginal call, after agonizing for a while. I have AQo, raise it to 1200 (blinds 200/400 I think) and a player goes all-in with about 7000. Think, think, think, groan. He's a bluffer and loose. Call. I have AQo, he has JKs. Coin toss, but he pairs on the flop and gets a straight on the turn.

Knocked out by him later with A7s against... JKs again! This time flopping trip kings.

Winner tonight, with seven players and four rebuys is... same as last time, our regular female player. She's on fire!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Go Sweden!

PartyPoker had a freeroll (NL THE) this Sunday for Swedish players only. A sweet deal, only players playing from Sweden and it was a... $50,000 freeroll. Holy schmoly, and apparently they had run ads in two large newspapers

2800 registered, 220 paid. From $10,500 for first place to $35 for 220th. Ten thousand five hundred! $1000 for eighth and so on.

After the usual few hundred had fallen out in the first fifteen minutes (a standard freeroll behavior, all-ins aplenty, double up or bust) it was very tight poker for everyone. Blinds stealing, check-raising and premium hand against premium hand. I managed to pull off a real doozy, had QJs and it became a three-way all-in against AA and KQ, I think. A queen on the flop and a jack on the river and I'm table captain.

Stack dwindling and finally when the big blind comes to me it takes a third or quarter of my stack. Ace Three of spades, all-in. Nope, I'm up against AA. I manage to hit a three and an ace but as you can see this was no good.

Out at 369th place. Not in the money, but we verified in a poker forum that in addition to the $50K prize pool there was a gift (most probably a chipset) to the top 500. So now I'll have three :-).