Monday, April 24, 2006

Morale booster

I'm feeling quite confident in my Texas Holdem playing. I'm somewhat winning but one also has to remember why I play. I'd like to point you toward G-Rob's ponderings on the subject. He writes "I think the solution is to remember WHY I play. I'm not in it for the money. I mean, we keep score with money so I want as much as possible. But I'm not a poker pro... and I don't use the income for my everyday life. Really, the poker bankroll is just that. I use my poker winnings to play poker. That way I don't have to use the family's actual money to play... and I can keep playing bigger games."

That's how I play. I play at the cash games, and when I'm up enough for a buy-in, I go to a Sit'n'Go or a multitable tournament or sometimes a higher level of NL cash game. I had a good run and was up 200, so I entered a tournament that cost 100. Finished 17th of 114! Too bad it was 15 paid. But I knocked out the "celebrity guest", in that particular weekly tournament they have a guest from the world of sports or poker. My AJs vs his AK preflop and I hit a J and he nothing. He's out in 32nd place but it was a pity that they didn't have a bounty on him. And I wasn't even mentioned by name in the post-game "article" on the poker site's webpage about the tournament. Just "the opponent". *pout* *sulk* I then entered a 100 SnG and finished 4th (with three paid).

So, I'm feeling confident. I feel that I can do well in cash games and go far in tournaments. When you reach a certain level of winning play, it is a near coin toss. All in with the best hand and maybe just maybe you get sucked out. But if not, you're doing great. Win big pots, lose (or fold) small pots. In Holdem in particular, sometimes you do have to gamble to win really big, but make sure you're the favorite when you do so.

I've been playing a lot lately at the government-run Swedish (Swedish citizens only) site Svenska Spel. First I had an initial semi-bad run but then I adapted. Lots of In The Money in SnG, or 4th place (see previous comment about having to gamble but you're the favorite) and I've never left the site for the day on a minus. Sometimes up a 100, sometimes up 10 but that's a good goal to have. The NL low-limit cash games are "easy". 6-8 limpers before the flop is not rare. So, bet 4*BB with top starting hands to isolate and then play good flop hits hard and possible draw hands soft. Also, limp with any pair or connectors. Flop a set or better or a good draw and cash in. Be wary of reraises and checkraises but pounce on them with nuts. Hmm, I'm starting to get a hang of this poker lingo now.

The biweekly homegame is getting tough! We're usually 4-7 players and have a rebuy tournament (if you're empty you can rebuy for the first four blinds levels) with a three beer minimum. Nowadays the first player is knocked out first in the 6th or 7th level and always on coin tosses or very close calls. Obi-Wan has taught you well.

Tournament at the local poker club yesterday. Nineteen participants, five paid. Rebuy tournament and I made two (pair of Aces vs four Kings hurts! And it was the husband of the lady who hurt me with four Tens in a previous tournament). But I'm prud to report that I played The Hammer (27o) and won. A proper Hammer, raised UTG before the flop which had two Sevens. Niiice.

I'm out at 5th place (ITM) and it was A Hand of Justice. Pocket Aces! Isolated one player, Mr. B, whom I've knocked out of these tournaments twice with AA so I have to make this an all-in situation (although he has me covered). And on the turn it happens, I go all in and he thinks, squirms and calls. I say "You know what I have, we simply have to do this.". I show my AA and he shows an open-ended straight draw. He needs an 8 or a King. A King comes on the flop but smiles, applauses and handshakes occur. Couldn't have done anything differently. There were about 36 cards left that would not help him. 52 minus our 4 hole cards minus the 4 on the table minus the 4 Eights and 4 Kings. 36 for me, 8 for him. That's how I'm thinking at least. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

So, 5th place which pays 650 but I made two rebuys in a 200 tournament so I'm up 50. But up! And had a shot at even bigger winnings. And more points in the leaderboard for the "freeroll" we'll have at the end of the year for the ten with the most points with the prize money taken (5%) from all tournaments during the year. As of now, I'm at a split 10th place.

Oh, and all amounts in this post are in Swedish crowns. $1 = 7.5 crowns.

I hit an important threshold last week. Monday April 17 it was 100 (one hundred) days until my flight leaves for Las Vegas and the WSOP Main Event.

And this weekend Vegas Vacation was on TV. No poker but lots of Vegas lights and images.

"Cousin Eddie: I haven't seen a beatin' like that since somebody stuck a banana in my pants and turned a monkey loose."