Monday, January 30, 2006

Catching up

Oops, I've neglected my poker blog for a while.

In the words of Iggy, an ├╝berpost. I might not ramble as much or paste in outside content, so let's call it eine mittelpost. Unterpost? Ganz klar?

Let's see. Biweekly homegame tournament: Second place with seven players and no less than seven rebuys, total (I made one). Two newcomers and one of them won.

Played a little at Full Tilt Poker (use signup code MARTILT for a 100% bonus up to $600) and also watched the pros. They have quite a few; Chris Ferguson, Eric Seidel, Jennifer Harman, Phil Ivey and others, who have to play a while each week. The tables they're at are highlighted in red in the lobby. Seen Phil Ivey sitting lonely and forlorn at a $500/$1000 table one time, but a while ago I saw a lot of action at the table, $50/$100 NL THE, where he was sitting. Looots of railbirds wondering "Hey Phil can you stake me?", "Hey Phil, that hand at WPT Thingy Mastership in North Southwood, why did you raise with A8 hearts?". Luckily you can turn off Observer chat. Saw him take a heavy blow for a few thou (I say with a casual voice) but definitely not fatal when he had TT and the flop came ATx. Opponent had AA, so he was happy. Phil made it back quickly. Btw, saw him in a WPT event on TV this Saturday. He looks ANGRY! Arr, arr, rawr!

The site I mentioned in the last post, where I got $12, well, I'm up to $130 now. Heeere fishy fishy fish. And if I should be outdrawn at the microlimit NL THE tables, just go to the Limit 5 Card Draw for a while and grind a buyin back.

Tournament in our local poker club Sunday. Blergh, not good. Buyin, one rebuy (when I had two pair or a set and was all in. Opponent didn't have many outs, the most prominent one being a six to fill his gutshot straight. The river is... a six. I felt like kicking and punching the dealer, but in that hand it was... me.) and the addon. And I'm out at 12th place of 13. Had A7s, the board is K7xKx. Two pair K7 with Ace kicker. I thought and gambled at that the opponent who put me all in maybe tried to bully me out with a bare Ace or scaring me off/making a continuation bet for an unfulfilled draw, but nope, he had a King.

Home, James.

Played a cheap Sit'n'Go at Full Tilt. When we were three left, in the money, I pulled a fast one. Quite even in stacks. I get 27o (The Hammer) in the small blind. Minimum raise. Big Blind thinks a little and then says "27o" and folds. I show my 27o, and hilarity ensues. Uhm, OK, I got a "lol" in the chat window. But it was fun and appreciated. KJo, hit a K on the flop and all in. Nope, he had AA. Third place.

On to the freeroll at PokerBlue (Signup code: Marthyn). Play for four hours and you get entry into the Sunday freeroll, which nowadays is a $6000 prize pool to the top 20. It was in one of PokerBlue's freerolls I won a seat in WSOP Main Event 2006. The four hours are easily done, it isn't four hours played, sorta, it's total. So play two tables at the lowest fixed limits ($0.25/$0.50) for two hours, or four for an hour and you're ready.

After some technical difficulties, it starts. Good or bad thing, but they remove inactive (not logged in) players after the first fifteen minutes, and then we were only 84 (eightyfour) left. Btw, I placed 697 of 2480 in a $25,000 freeroll at another site without even playing (got called away). 220 paid but I placed better than people who actually played actively.

I see one player make a fantastic recovery, he hit a semi-bad beat and was down to 10 (ten!) in chips, with blinds 10/20, we start with 1500. At that level, many just call call call so it mounts up. And he wins, wins, wins the all ins he's involved in and fifteen minutes later he's up to 900 (and later 1900).

I'm far down on the leaderboard. When I raise I get no callers. When I get playable starting hands I get a large raise or all in before me and I chicken out, or a reraise. Lost count of the number of K8o I got. Obviously I won some hands since I'm still alive but nothing remarkable. Hey, players are dropping off. Im 30 of 33. 25 of 30. I'm 22 of 24 with blinds 200/400 and I have T$1325. Up a bit to over $2000 with semi-bluffstealing the blinds once, twice or thrice. Play it cool and nearly max out the timer to allow other tables to knock someone out, we're now 23 left (I'm in 22nd place) and it's 20 players paid. And I'd rather be blinded off than taking a wild chance and going out on the bubble with Fancy Play Syndrome.

Oooh, hey. In the money! 19 of 21, 17 of 18. I have to make a move. A3 clubs, all in with not even 2 times the big blind. One caller. I hit the Ace on the flop! But nope, so did the opponent and he had a Q kicker. Why couldn't he have had QQ, KK, QK, or some measly pocket pair without hitting anything?

16th place, $75 to me. 1st place $2500, 2nd $1000. Not a huge win but good for my level of play and bankroll. Never play with money you can't afford to lose, so I'm not taking any wild chances "Hey, I'll take a shot at this $500 tournament, I know I can play well". Not sure if I mentioned my $100 win (1st place) in a $5 Fixed Limit Tournament.

Heard of a horrible bad beat from the poker club forum. X was playing online, cash game, with $5000 at the table and so had the other players. He loses a small pot (I think) and then in the next hand, in the small blind, he gets AA. And four other players before him go all-in. So does he. The pot is approximately $25,000... Cards flipped over. Think it was 88, 99, JJ, his AA and 23. 23? We'll get back to that.

Flop is A23. Yay, a set (three of a kind) for him. The turn, a 3. Full house, all the others are now drawing dead, almost. There's Mr. 23 with threes full of deuces, beat. If you have any experience in reading poker hands and thinking of outs you see what's coming next. So, he's got AA. Set. Full house. The river is... 3... Four of a kind 3 (beats Aces full) to the IDIOT who goes all in with about $5000 holding 23. Maybe they were suited.

Someone crunched numbers with PokerStove and mentioned that "yada yada, with that kind of action AA only wins 48% of the time" and so on but I and many others would have done the same with that huge a pot and AA preflop, unless huge buyin tournament life, all your and your family and friend's money or your actual physical life was on the line. And then seeing it just getting stronger and stronger and finally getting sucked out like that on a ONE-outer. On the river. So he writes about it on the club's Internet forum and "and that's why I won't play poker anymore".

Sure, it can happen, has happened, will happen and could happen. But man what a bad beat.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Passive in the moh-nayh

Played a live tournament, the second one in our recently started poker club.

Twenty participants in a freezeout, quite high buy-in (for me at least). Three tables, seven max, and when down to ten players it will be one table. Five paid and extra bonus from our sponsor to the winner: travel, accomodation and buy-in to a tournament in Estonia.

Quite passive (I read some comments about me in a poker blog written by a regular that I "say eight words in six hours" and "solid player") but I double up quite early. How? By hitting the 99% nuts, raising, getting reraised and getting my all-in called.

I had AA... Flop is A, 4, something. The above betting takes place and opponent turns over A4 = two pair whereas I have three of a kind, Aces. Another four would only give me a better full house against his full house. A bit hazy on the details, the all-in could be on the turn.

To add insult to injury, it was the same player I knocked out with AA vs JJ last time.

Patience, Grasshopper. My stack gives me opportunity to just wait and wait, and since it's a freezeout (no rebuys), if you're out you're out and can't make a comeback and I have to massacre you once more. Suits me well.

Before you know it (actually, quite a while), it's the final table, and I'm on it. I really should start taking notes to give better recounts. It's my rock-style, machine-like play that does it. As usual, some good laydowns, working semi-bluffs and taking advantage of player curiosity or getting them pot committed or low stacks keeps me in the game (QQ vs 66 for example, he even said "I shouldn't, I know you have a pocket pair").

Finally down to five players, In The Money. I'm to the left of a player similar to me (not wild, no bully, quiet rock), and we're both shortstacked, but he's shorter than me and we get to a three-way all-in situation pre-flop where I simply had to do so because if I don't do it, I'll barely have the big blind which comes to me next deal. 8T suited... Flop comes up and I have a gutshot straight draw but no help to either of us two, we're out. But since he had less than me he's out at fifth place, getting the buy-in back and I'm out at fourth, getting buy-in times two.

And since we're a club now and well organized, they'll have a longer term ranking list for 2006 and a prize place in the first tournament this year ain't bad.

In other news, I got an email from yet another poker site that had some sort of "evaluation promotion" going. Register, download and try out our poker client, no deposit necessary, and we'll give you 100 SEK = $12 to play for and you are also eligible for the $100 Raked Hands bonus.

I quintupled (fancy word, eh?) the $12 in two short weekday evenings at the $0.05/0.10 NL THE tables and two second places in $3 Sit'n'Gos, up to $60 and then getting the first payoff from the Raked Hands Bonus. Blew some at Multitable tournaments but I'm still up and rising. One could almost say that there's no fish there... It's a barrel full of caviar and you've got your own spoon.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

A knack

I hadn't played a tournament at Pokerblue for a while, and after watching the TV show "Las Vegas" (the one with James Caan), I entered one. $5 Fixed Limit, 59 entrants, 9 paid.

Grind grind grind (this is Fixed Limit, no fancy play) and three hours later... I'm number one! Switched gears at the right moments (in hindsight) and met good resistance from the final five or six. $103 to me, from an entry fee of $5. Feels good. As I commented in the chat "Hmm, maybe I have a knack for this poker thingy.". I had a good feel for the cards, knowing/feeling when the opposition was on a draw and didn't hit it, having a good draw myself and hitting it on the turn or river, knowing when to hold and to fold. That little "edge" that makes it proper poker, not just lottery.

In my mentality, that win gives me a good bankroll to give twenty more $5 tournaments a try, or ten $10 tournaments, or keeping it and do as I use to, grind at fixed limit until I have enough plus to enter a multitable tournament and maybe get a good ROI (Return on Investment) again.

"Our" poker club has a freezeout tournament the weekend a week from now. Extra bonus from the sponsor, first place gets a weekend trip to a tournament in Tallinn, Estonia. Could be nice for a warmup, I'll certainly give it a shot.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

They are learning

Our regular loose homegame tournament is getting routine now, but there's always some little quirk to make it interesting. We're really getting to now each others' styles and can add a little finnesse. Hehe, there were two plays of the special hand "The Hammer", which is 2, 7 off suit, raised before the flop. I had one, no more betting until showdown where I lost, and one other player who did get trip sevens with it.

Other hands: Four of a kind, Kings. Short 77 all-in vs AA, flop Axx, turn 7, river not a 7. Me knocked out with a flopped trip Queens, which the opponent also had, with better kicker.

If it weren't for the fact that we have rebuys for the first four blinds levels, I think I would place better. The same scenario often occurs: I don't have to make a rebuy, when the rebuy period is over I have three, four or more times the starting stack. No other player is very short stacked and I cant push them out of a pot. Players get knocked out so the blinds that have risen come around often and nibble away 5-10% at a time.

Six players, I came in third. Winner: Miss P, our female regular player. She has placed first three times now, whereas I've only placed first twice. This cannot be! But I've got lots of second places, and in the long run scoring, unweighted, with 3 points to place 1, 2 to place 2 and 1 to place 3, I'm in second place.

I really would be more comfortable with more players, we're short handed, I'd like 8-10 around the table. It's so marginal. Lately there has been more close calls all around; Pair of 10 vs pair of 9. Jack-high straight vs Queen-high straight. Flopped straight vs turned flush. When we started it could be highest card King that scooped the pot at showdown, but we don't get to those situations anymore. All have enough sense now to not just play made hands, but also outs and not necessarily going to a showdown. They know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em. But why do I have to be the Obi-Wan?