Monday, February 27, 2006

Never give up

In tournament play especially, in Sit'n'Gos and multitable tournaments, all you need is a chip and a chair. Never give up, you can make it. Some stories of my recent tournament experiences:

In a SnG, in the second deal, I get KAo, raise and get one caller. I hit an Ace on the flop and go all in although there are two Diamonds there. He calls! Oopsie, he has AT Diamonds and he hits the fifth diamond. But! He had called (blinds 15/30) in the first deal and I hadn't, so I have 30 T$ left. When I at last play them (with K9), I succeed and afterwards my stack goes to 60, 200, 270, 700, over 1000. I make it all the way to fourth place and could've maybe made it to the money if someone had made a mistake. But not bad, from 30 left to fourth place.

But sometimes you get impatient. Was in a tournament with only eight participants and three places paid. We were in the money after an hour. After yet another half hour I lost patience and went all in with a flopped pair of nines. Couldn't be bothered to fight for a few dollars. Third place.

And now a big payoff: Was in a $50 tournament with 43 participants, $3000 Guaranteed. 43*50=2150 so there was overvalue. I did well in the beginning but went down to 465 in chips (starting with 1500) with a flush against a weird full house. The flop was K99 with two Clubs and I get my Ace-high flush on the turn. From the opponent's betting, I get the feeling that he doesn't have a King or KK. Maybe he got trip nines and is happy? The river was a five. He had 55 and got a backwards full house. I fight my way back up to 900 with KA diamonds that hit an ace on... the river. It really does flow both ways! Around the second hourly break I'm at eleventh place of eleven, having had my JJ all in busted by A5 that hit two pair.

Final table! But only five places paid. Some more drop off and stackwize I'm at fifth of seven. Two others are also relatively short, I'm hoping that some of those screw up, or that two big stacks start butting heads.

Oh dear, oh dear, I only have 575 left. The blinds are 300/600 now. Six players left, five paid.

Then it happens. The poker gods smile upon me. The Big Blind comes to me and I'm all in from that. I have Q8o. Crap crappity crap.

I hit a Queen-high straight.

On the river.

And the one raiser-caller had AA.

I survive. Win an all in later with AA against AT. Have Q3 in an unraised Big Blind and flop two pair, I win that all in. Up to around 5000, getting back in the game seriously. AJo, all in. The board comes 49382 and will I get this from Ace high? (the cards aren't shown until the river at all ins here). Nope, he had pocket fours and I'm out at fourth place. $360 to me!

So never give up, you can make it even if it looks troublesome. Have confidence and don't throw the chips away.

I've made the Vegas hotel reservations. This week I'll have to take care of the flight too and then I'm set, just wait a few more months... Still watching prices and sites to make a call on the best deal, I want it as cheap as possible. The very cheapest one has a bad return leg though, I'd then leave Monday night, have to wait twelve hours or more in Atlanta and land in Copenhagen Wednesday. Now that's jet lag. I live in Sweden and Copenhagen is the nearest airport with flights over the Atlantic.

This because I don't want to have to stay for the full two weeks if I don't make it in the tournament (WSOP Main Event). It ain't free to stay in Vegas. If I make it to the money I can afford another flight home. But, anyway, I want to have the arrangements finished this week. Then all that's left to do is the packing and starting stashing away cash. I want to have a HUGE gangster roll for tipping and table games. I've already got a money clip with a large $ symbol on it, very low-key bling-bling.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Greed kills

Last week's poker results. During the week I had a good run at Pokerblue. I had had a hiatus a few months ago, then made a deposit (nibbling at the $2000 "travel money" I got in connection with winning my seat at the WSOP Main Event 2006) from the cashout I had made to Neteller and started playing again, then cashed out the deposit amount again when I had built up a bankroll, for example with winning a $5 Limit tournament and grinding at low ($0.25/$0.50 and $0.50/$1) tables. Now, during the week I had a good run and made a good plus. Enough to cover the big Sunday tournament.

Pokerblue changes their "flagship" tournament once in a while. For a while it was "Play four hours and you get a seat in the Sunday $12000 freeroll with a WPT/WSOP seat at stake", then "Play four hours, WPT/WSOP seat and added prize money to the top 20" (been there, done that, won it), then "Play four hours and you get a seat in the Sunday freeroll with $6000 prize money to the top 20" (got a 17th place in one of those). Now it's no "Play four hours" anymore, it's a $50 tournament (usually they only have $5-$20 hourly tournaments) with $2000 added. I got a promotional email saying that last time there were only 31 participants, so it's a good overlay.

So I entered. It starts with 39 participants, top 5 paid ($1500 to the winner).

The headline for this post is "Greed kills". I got into a situation with a guy with a shorter stack than me (two thirds?) where I flopped a gutshot straight draw (lacked the king) and a flush draw (lacked a club), but I don't have a hand yet. Bet 300, half his stack, to push him out but he goes all-in on me. I ponder, and I call. But, no, no king or club on turn or river and now I'm shortstacked. But ya gotta dare to win.

How would've been better? Just a low bet to test the waters and if nothing comes up there's always the next deal, and the next. Or putting him all-in on the flop? It's a case of "If I had hit the straight or flush", then it would have been a good play, "I had at least twelve outs".

Next hand, KA off suit. All-in with the 150 I have left but no hit and I'm out at 28th.

But at least I played. Who dares wins.

In other news: Dicked around at Full Tilt. I entered a multitable tournament and did well in the first blinds level. Then I was surprised when I got four hole cards and looked closer at the Tournament Info. Oops. I entered a HORSE tournament. That's where you play Texas Hold'em, then Omaha Hi/Lo, then Razz, then Seven Card Stud, then Omaha Eight or Better. Then start over again. Oops indeed. Haven't played much Omaha, and definitely not the other three "for real". I once entered an Omaha Sit'n'Go by mistake, quickly browsed around for rules and tips and played so carefully I finished third and in the money. So, I did well in Hold'em, survived Omaha Hi/Lo (actually picked up one Lo pot) and then I was out in Stud.

Played a tournament at Full Tilt with 440 participants, 45 paid. After three hours, I was at the final table! Finished 7th, of 440. Good! Too bad it was a... wait for it... $1 tournament. Won $14.30. A good return on investment. But not good hourly wages. Had it been a $100 tournament I could've gotten $1430 (or 1st place and $10000) and that would've been gooood.

But I'm not in it for the money...

Eh, well, only kidding. I'm not in it only because you can win money. I don't want to gamble hundreds of dollars even if I could because you can lose it and then what do you do? Never play with money you can't afford to lose. And if I liquidated my assets and plopped down in a seat at the $50/$100 tables or thereabouts I would be playing with scared money. However, if I won or placed well in a huge multitable tournament and got a few hundred or thousand, then I'd go up a level. What I'm saying is that I also find it rewarding when you win at low levels, the moment of triumph when you rake in a big pot in a cash game because you did everything right and read your opponent(s) correctly or place in a tournament because your overall strategy and tactics worked. The important thing is that you should enjoy playing poker. Not much fun to just sit there and click click click if you'd rather be doing something else. Consider it a hobby.

So it's a good thing I haven't paid $10,000 (lets give that amount the respect it deserves and spell it out: TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS) of my own money to be in the WSOP because then I would just sit there frozen and not dare to play anything other than a flopped Aces over Kings or four of a kind. In an unraised big blind. "I don't wanna lose my money! Mommyyy!".

It is drawing closer, day by day. "Wow, did you figure that out all by yourself, professor?" Shuttup shuttup. Anyway, when I won my seat, WSOP was about nine months away. Now it's only five months before I board a westbound flight in Copenhagen and cross the Atlantic Ocean. Quite a few biweekly homegames and also some local poker club tournaments available in the meantime to get practice in. I've transferred the travel money to my bank account and soon, maybe even this week, I'll make the reservations. Hotel and flight. I've done some scouting with Google Earth. Message to the guy with the red car who parked at the southwest upper parking deck at the Rio when the aerial photo was taken: Leave your car there, so I'll know where to cross the road.

Will be staying at The Gold Coast. A small hotel, just 700+ rooms. The local hotel here, "one of Sweden's larger conference hotels", which I can see from work, only has 200+ rooms. Gold Coast also has 70 bowling lanes. We only have 10 (or less) here

I'm ready. Bring it on! I've got plenty of sunglasses!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Bubble again

Just a quick post, soon the $50,000 freeroll "for Swedish players only" starts at Partypoker.

Was at a freezeout tournament at our local poker club today. Twenty players, four players paid.

The pivotal point (last time it was when I flopped a set of Aces) was probably when I with K9 turned a King-high straight and called an all-in. Made it to the final table where:

  • My raise with AA under the gun wasn't called.
  • My all-in shortstacked with A9o was called after some goading (against the guy I've knocked out of tournaments twice before with AA), he had ten-something and wasn't helped.
  • My all-in with pocket nines was called. By pocket threes.

Getting short, the blinds are high, antes are in effect. Play KQo, no help on the flop, call a high bet (five times big blind?) on the turn, no paint (Jacks, Queens, Kings and Aces). Yes, a King on the river! I call the all-in (I'll beat almost any pocket pair, Ace-anything/Ace high). Nope, he has KAo and I'm out.

At the effing bubble. Fifth place with four paid.

I hope I do really well in the freeroll. How sweet it would be to finally strike gold and win a big one or be at the final table. Says the guy who won a seat in the WSOP 2006 Main Event on a freeroll... But I'm not there yet, hearing "Shuffle up and deal". And my Internet poker play is low-limit ring games, preferrably $0.25/$0.50 fixed limit or $0.05/$0.10 no limit, cheap ($5-$20) Sit'n'Gos and cheap ($10) multitable tournaments. I do OK, but no "holy sh*t that's a lot of money!" moments. I'm tight when it comes to money management, I never go "OK, I won $100, now I'll play a $100 tournament tomorrow". Instead I finish fourth or once or twice third in five $10 Sit'n'Gos and tilt in a $20 multitable plus I hit a bad streak in the ring games and it's back to square one. Or win a $2 or $5 Sit'n'Go. Woohoo... Uhm.

As I've said before, I play a lot of poker with my bankroll but there's never been that Big Moment yet. But maybe I'm downplaying the wins I've had, after all I've won or been in the money in live tournaments. But there's never been the Quadrupled Bankroll, merely the Octupled Entry Fee or so.

Who dares wins.