31 October 2005

Poor Play, then Lucky

Sunday night's session was in two parts: losing $655 in $15/30 and winning $940 in $600NL. The $15/30 was poor decision making on my part, discovering a significant leak in my game. First, I lost $200 by catching my flush on the turn only to lose to the flopped boat. But let's get to the real story, the maniac player. I won't name names, but to my right was ManiacPrime with the following stats: played 41% of pots, raised a whopping 29% of pots. Of course, I took this as a major competition on my part. Not only was he a maniac but he was also a calling station. Incredible plays, 4-betting with nothing, calling me down with bottom pair when I had big slick. He won with bottom pair three times, flopped a set twice (cracking aces once with top set), re-re-raised with rags. What that causes me to unfortunately do is try to mix it up. I got down to the felt, clawed back up, then bet my overcards to a small pocket pair, chased my open end and my flush draw on two straight hands, then made a desperate raised play with AJ vs. AQ and a flopped top pair (caught the ace later). The maniac got me off of my game in a big way, but probably even more disappointing is that I should have left when I clawed back, shouldn't I? Although it seemed like a very juicy game.

So of course, I then break my rule again and head to higher limits. No room at $200 NLHE table, so I go to $600 NLHE and buy-in for $226. I move all-in once early with 99 to take calls and a raise, flop a set with 99 and a board of K93 but have no one to come along with me, pick up a pot with middle pair and checking into a straight (vs. small pocket pair that has all overcards on the board), lose $100 with flopped baby ace vs. flopped two-pair babier ace (A3). Guy makes a move on my raise with KhTh on a flopped board of hearts, so I double up. Lose $200 to a better kicker flopping top pair, then the lucky magic/poor play on my part starts. I called pre-flop raise of $50 with QcJc with two other callers. Flop comes A44 with two clubs, original raise and I check, and guy pops it for $125. One other caller calls, and I go over the top with my last $250 (raising it another $125). Raiser folds, other two guys call, and I catch my flush on the turn (QQ and ATo get taken down). I don't think my play was very good as I don't think I had the pot odds for the play, but I got very lucky and it worked out. Gave back $200, one getting pushed off of an underpair by big slick, who beat a heads-up straight draw with ace high. Another bad lucky play: UTG+1 raises to $25, his neighbor makes it $50 to go. I call with AK0, and raiser makes it $175. Re-raiser folds (JJ he says later), and I think for ten seconds. He has another $185, and the pot is now $300, and I have to assume he'll call if I go all-in. I think about calling and seeing if I catch, hoping he doesn't have AA or KK (which would be unlikely). I finally use no math and re-raise all-in, which he calls. His QQ doesn't improve when I flop my king, and I take down the pot.

So, the summary: poor discipline when I get off of my game in $15/30, then poor rule-following when I take my cash and go up to $600NLHE (and buy-in for a third, which is a different post), and end up turning the $200 into $1100 and being up close to $300, ending the online bankroll at $3,677. Feel like I need to re-group and get a game plan for November a bit better than what has occurred lately. But, I'll take it for sure.

29 October 2005

Clawing Back

Ended up +$531 on $15/30 and +$235 in $200 NLHE. Lost once with A2s, then folded it twice (once I would have had quad deuces vs. AK and AQ, and once I would have had a boat). Almost raised early with T8c and would have caught a straight on the turn. I lost $140 at $5/10, losing twice to runner-runner boats to the same person (I did well to only get stuck for that). I bought in for $405 at $15/30, had to add on another $90 and ended up all-in on one hand where I had 55 and flop was K54, then 44 on turn and river (guy had KT). I could have gotten another $25 from him as he bet the river. Then I got really lucky and caught a 9 on the river with A9 vs. AQ (I was raiser and A flopped). Should have slowed down a bit with next hand of AA, but flop was Q44 and I raised it (after capping pre-flop). I could have called the three-bet and probably gotten more out of it. Cracked AA when I had Qd9d, flop was 9hTh4d, I bet and was raised. 7d kept me in with check/call, then 3d on the river and I check/raised (she reluctantly bet after the check). I then won a couple of pots heads-up, one pushing out the one caller by raising pre-flop with AJo and betting the flop and turn. Did the same UTG with bb calling me, he stayed in until river with gutshot straight draw. There were three players who raised >20% of the time, so it was a wild game. One guy won a $777 pot with 33 and a flop of 388 (one guy had two clubs for flush draw, one guy had an 8, one guy had a 3). Raise/re-raise/re-re-raise. Absolutely crazy. One guy won $1350, another won $650, one lady lost $773. I watched the $2000 NLHE game, then decided to try my luck at $200 NLHE. Caught a sweet nut flush draw on the flop with A8 and a flop of KQT, the flush made on the turn, and I doubled up on the river (guy flopped straight with AJ). Had QQ and again caught nut flush draw with AK7h, catching the heart on the turn again. Flopped top pair with AJo in a raised pot. Online bankroll at $3465.

28 October 2005

Wilson Turbo Poker Software Review

I had a comment regarding thoughts on Wilson Turbo Poker Software. I first learned about it when reading Jim McManus' book, Positively Fifth Street. There are two versions which I have, the Live Game version and the Tournament version.

I haven't played my live game version very much lately, but it is a standard part of my preparation before any casino trip. You are able to do a ton of various things, from manipulating the types of players at your table, modify any game settings/limit structures to meet your regular game (or the one you aspire to), etc. It is a limit game, which isn't great if you play NLHE. One of the strongest parts of the simulator is the analytical tools, allowing you to find leaks in your game. You can easily export the different analyses. It was a major step forward for me as a cash player. There is an anlysis function, an advice function, and some other new things that I haven't explored.

The second version is the Tournamet Hold Em product. There was a significant improvement in the lastest version, adding a Toughest level which really made the simulator tougher. Over 60 versions of Limit, No Limit, and Pot Limit tourneys, 1-500 tables, four levels of toughness, some big level of types of blind structures. This has been really good for practicing small table tourneys (like you would find at the local bar) or larger tourneys. I practice 40-table tourneys now the most. I think I posted this earlier, but in 64 40-table tourneys I've cashed 9 times, made the final table 4 times, winning two. Again, I am not an expert user regarding functionality, and I'll try to reach out and speak to the folks at Wilson to expand my understanding of the functionality provided. I would never enter a tourney without first prepping with the software. My brother has another product, Poker Academy. He swears by it, so he might add a comment describing it in more detail.

These are simulators vs. video games. Wilson added graphics, I think trying to sex it up and compete with video games. I think they're horrible as well as slow the play down significantly and have subsequently turned off the graphics. Ctl Z speeds through the hand you're playing in both versions, and I use the function constantly during both programs.

I think some simulator should be part of any serious player, and I highly recommend both of these from Wilson.

A Couple of Blogs to Consider

A terrific post on Sound of a Suckout about continuation bets in limit HE. A continuation bet is when you've raised pre-flop and the board misses you (when you don't have a big pair): do you fire another bullet as Mike Sexton would say, or do you pull back? NLHE is quite different with your ability to change the pot odds for any callers.

I just edited this post. The Cards Speak is absolutely terrific. I haven't explored it much yet, but it looks just incredible.

Just discovered Donkey Hunter also if you're interested in higher mid-level poker. I haven't followed it at all, just stumbled upon it, but it looks very promising.

Finally, there's another new discovery, Twenty-One Outs Twice, for the higher-level poker blog.

27 October 2005

Time for a Breather

Very late night (4:00AM). I took a nap after dinner from 7:30-1:15 or so and had to get a chunk of work done. I run a consulting and marketing firm. I've had to downsize the company and am struggling to find new clients. Closet Poker is a stress releaser for me, but can also be a distraction.

Enough of that, back to the poker. I worked for a few hours and then sat down at a $3/6 short-handed table. Bled off $97.75, although I'm not entirely sure what happened. Suffice it to say that I didn't get any cards, I bet into calling stations, I chased and didn't get there, and I now don't like short-handed tables anymore. I jumped back to a $5/10, dropped a hundred, tightened up alot, caught trips twice, then started to play, taking down the blinds a couple of times, catching the nut flush on the river, then having my raised ATo hold up with AKQ on the board. Up $97 on $5/10, so I lost $0.75. Online bankroll at $2628. I'm not sure yet if mixing up levels is helping my game or not. I think I need to just to prepare myself more for live games.

I also played my Wilson Turbo tournament software after work. I won a 400 person tourney, pocketing a cool $375,000. I've played 64 400-person tourneys, have cashed 9 times, made final table 4, and won twice. I was the chip leader midway through, then I donkeyed my chips away with 35 players left, going from first in chips to 28/30. So it was really positive that I could fight through and rebuild, although I caught a couple of breaks.

I think the Poker Tracker software is helping me. When I used PokerEdge, I think it made me do stupid things and get away from my game. This seems to help more as a post-mortem diagnostic tool for me currently. Not enough hands on other players to help me too much, although it does make it a bit easier to pick-up on very tight or very loose players. I don't have a very good feel for the depth of analysis provided, so I'll have to dig in more.

I may fight through the night and work some more, or I might catch a couple more hours of sleep.

26 October 2005

Is it OK to Play Like a Donkey at Low Levels?

In my downtime, I've been slumming at $25NLHE and PLHE at Party (meaning max buy-in of $25). The main reasons are to prevent doing stupid things to give my bankroll away (not very positive thinking), to get my bankroll over the $2200 or $2400 mark (similar to my rounding up tips to the nearest quarter vs. 15%), and to simply play stupid cards and catch monsters. Example: I'm one off button with Td8d, blinds of $0.10/0.25. Raise to me to $0.50 to go (which I cold call) with another caller. Flop is 2dQhQd. I bet $2 for my flush draw and am called by the raiser. Turn is Jh, and raiser checks (which I do as well). River is 4d. Raiser bets $3, I raise him another $7, which he calls. Raiser turns over AsQs. Now, this was horrible play by the trips to let me catch the flush for free, which I was able to earn with my flop bet. A clear trap play on his part, but then I had to listen to guy on my right for fifteen minutes about how he hates when people get lucky, etc. Another later hand I call with Ts4s ($0.50), flop is AsQs2h. One guy bets $0.25, I raise $1.25 with a caller, than another guy goes all-in for another $5.79. So it's $5.79 to me into a pot of, what $10 or so. I'm obviously way behind, but I figure the other guy will also call, so I'm OK with pot odds (plus, what the heck, let's suckout out, shall we?). Turn is 8s, so I go all-in for another $8.60 and am called by the third guy. Q on the river let's me take down AK and AJ. I then bled chips back to my critic, chasing etc. while trying to bust him when this hand comes: I call raise to $1.00 on button with KK. Flop is KJ6, all spades. Now I don't like these spades, so when original raiser bets $1, I raise another $3, which he flat calls. So I put him on As, but my magic card comes on the turn with Jc. He bets $7, which I reluctantly call. 8h hits on the river, my critic says, "cs has the flush", then "and hope has jk". Raiser goes all-in for $30. I type, "nope" and call with the second nuts (I'll pay $30 to see JJ for sure).

So the fundamental question is this: it is OK to play low limit, to play like a donkey at times? I think it just may be, as you can work on various moves (for example, raising 5xbb with three limpers, playing rags). But is it fair to play way below your bankroll and experience? Negreanu (which I'm not) has a long post about buying in big at a NL table at the Wynn. It isn't taking candy from a baby to be sure, as I don't want to insult solid players with limited bankrolls. But when Negreanu raises it up for $5,000 with J6o, and a guy calls with KQs and it's half his stack and KJ6 hits the board, I mean, is that simply poker, and you should be willing to give what you brung to the table away, or should you play with your own fishes? It was very different putting the shoe on the other foot, playing purposely like a donkey, taking down pots with nothing on the turn, catching cards, trapping with monsters, etc. Very different than being on the other side waiting for KK or AQs or 55 and catching A73. So is it OK to do this, or is slumming (no offense) not good or even unethical? I don't think unethical is the case, but is it good? Not sure yet. If it helps me to change gears when required, then it's a good thing. Let me know, and I'll keep you posted.

25 October 2005

Short Handed Experiment

Played 6-person table, $3/6 limit, for the first significant time. 56 hands, +$173 in 36 minutes. I didn't loosen up too significantly but was able to catch trips a couple of times with poor hands in blinds, as well as keep people calling me down with AK flopping an ace. I know a bunch of bloggers swear by 6-person tables, but I've never really tried it much. I need to get some info on this as it needs to be part of the repertoire since there are often double the 6-handed tables available. Online bankroll back up to $2226.

So, the other really depressing thing is that I can't get a home game up. I have everything required: a custom-made hold-em table (very, very nice--I'll post a photo when I have more time) which seats nine comfortably, billiard felt, racetrack on outside, padded rail; 13.5g chips (I have a good connection with a chip distributor/reseller). Even my wife would support a home game, but I haven't been able to get it to happen. Mainly, I don't know enough local suburbanites who would want to seriously play. Our family plays, but it gets frustrating trying to pick up tells on my seven year-old. He's going all-in at the blink of an eye, regardless of his cards, so it can be a challenge. My wife is solid, our ten year-old can play very well as well. But I need a solid home game. I wouldn't want to bring in folks I don't know well as there have been everything from robberies to SWAT busts of games in and around the area. It would be great to come out of the closet as my wife would support that.

24 October 2005

Phase IIIa: Not So Fast

-$200 in $15/30 after getting down close to $1,000. First 48 hands dropped $500 missing several open-end flops and flush draws, but never getting anything. I need to review and figure out how I even played the hands I did, which I'll be able to do. Moved tables, dropped another $500, then won four of the next five hands with AA vs TT (got all-in with last $98); QJo raised flopping KT, A on turn; raised with A9s (was re-raised), flop was A9 bet/called, 7 turn I check/raised, 7 on river got called; Ts9s limp, flop was KJJ with two spades, As on turn.

I got major league tilted on a particular Party hand where my three-bet AQo was called with QT, AKx flop was called, Q on turn called, J on river was raised. One overall thing I've now got to focus on is how to build from here and not digress. I should be down $1,100 and got extremely lucky to catch cards at the right time, as well as have good hands hold up. This is variation, but it also is moving away from solid play that got me built back. Very frustrating to get back down like that, but I'll take a $200 loss to slap me back to attention.

Phase III: Long-Term Success

Online bankroll: $2,222.25, so had a solid weekend. Played mostly $15/30 (+$813) with two $5/10 sessions (-$137). My play is much less patient at $5/10, widening my hands with more players in, so not a good combination. Since $15/30 led me to busting my bankroll in August, I am much more focused. Not passive, but tighter for sure. One interesting session from yesterday: I post and catch JJ, which I raise one off the button, sb three-bets and I call. Flop comes AKJ, he bets, I raise; X on turn, he check-raises me, T on river he check/calls me with KTo. I played seven hands then left the table because the table started falling apart.

For the Closet Poker Player, weekends can be a struggle. I'm not sure of the data, but players have to at least double on the weekend on Party if not triple. My wife and I did a walk-around the house and identified 56 projects that we needed to do. She let me work us through prioritizing them, and we knocked out seven of them. She is quite patient with me, and it was good to get these things done. We also had soccer on Saturday, which was great. My eldest scored a goal, and he did great. I coach our seven year-old's team, and we had a prop bet (maybe really a bribe, I guess) that they would get a surprise if we didn't allow a goal (they got ice cream for the shutout last week). So, of course, second consecutive shut-out after giving up a ton of goals through the first four games. Back to poker: so, it's a challenge to play with all the activity. And since it's unspoken territory for us, then I have to play in downtime. That means late night in front of the TiVo while she is reading (late night meaning after bedtime for the boys/8:30-9:00 or so). I've tried the late-night play, but it ends up screwing me up for church on Sunday or for the day. Not in very good shape to be handling the long nights. So, it means the 30-90 minute sessions, which also means commitment to my Tenets of Closet Poker. The main driver is patience, which the higher level actually facilitates more. As the cash is bigger, it is easier to lay down the marginal hands or the hands in poor position. Also, less pretend poker (which means pretending you have something when the other person(s) has(ve) a strong hand). Pretend poker is a good redistribution of wealth strategy--redistributing my wealth to other degenerates.

My brother-in-law and I are closing on our plans for a Bellagio trip. I'm able to get the poker rate ($129). I haven't been traveling as much in the last six months. Before, I was in Vegas with clients 4-6 times/year plus other places. The Bellagio is my home base when I'm there. I haven't played the Wynn but have played most everything else, as well as a bunch across the US. My live bankroll is $1,400, down from $3,000 after a particularly brutal Bellagio trip earlier this year.

As the blog is starting to pick up some traffic, I'd like to say thanks. It's more cathartic for me than anything as a Closet Poker Player to have this blog, but you always hope that someone is out there. I'll try to stay true to the mission of exploring the secret poker player and its dynamics, but let me know if there are particularly poignant topics that are helpful.

22 October 2005

Poker Tracker

Poker Tracker is active and live. 5,245 of my hands are in the database (691 $15/30 and 4,554 $5/10).

Bottom Five Hands (Net $$): A8o (-$509), 55 (-$378), QTo (-$291), 77 ($-268), 87s ($-216)
Top Five Hands (Net $$): KK ($831), AA ($734), KTo ($614), 88 ($499), QJs ($459)
Winning Sessions: $15/30--6 out of 9, $5/10--35 out of 60

Need to use it more to try and generate more analysis and guidelines. One significant thing is that it is much easier to lay down the marginal hands simply by seeing your net winnings, etc. Also, the player analysis shows that a chunk of players play only premium hands. +$400 today in two sessions totalling exactly an hour.

21 October 2005

Man in Black

OK, we've accomplished Phase II, getting back to positive online territory. The online bankroll is now $1578, up from the $400 buy-in and in the black for last screw-up (total buy-in in last three months was $1,100, so we're now back up). I continued to break my rule, playing up at $15/30 LHE. Not sure of all ramifications of playing up. The hits are worse for sure (AKo with flop of KJ3, guy had a king and caught his second pair on river; I flop flush and raise through the whole thing, guy catches a 3 on the river playing 34o and catches his boat), but I got helped by having two premium hands hold up: AQ flopping a Q when other guy had QJ (I checked river when board paired 6), AK vs. K7--board was KXX 7 A. He check raised the turn with another caller, and the pot was $507. I gave back $75 in blinds and one limp/call then booked the win. Also played a multi-table sit and go. Was doing well, went over the top of a guy I had just taken a big pot from with AK (he calls with K7s); flop comes 567, X, K. $20+2 two-table sit-n-go, so I guess that kind of stuff happens. So now the question is can I build on this bankroll or will I give it back. I need to get a solid game plan on what to do next, so I'll get back on this.

18 October 2005

Breaking My Rules on Party

For those who follow my blog and subscribe to my Closet Poker Tenets religiously (OK, I'm the only one on this blog, but there could be a hidden crowd out there...), I've broken my online rule #1: Playing within Bankroll. It was primarily caused by significant frustration with work and Party (making stupid bets chasing, playing pretend poker, trying to out-bully the bully with nothing). So, I jump up from $5/10 to $15/30. I'm to the right of a uber-aggressive player (not sure if that is an appropriate term, but whatever). He re-raises the guy raising his blind, he raises on flops. He fluctuated between $800 and $1200, then got up to $1450 without showing down, so it might be something to think about. Anyways, I lay down a couple of times with him, I take a nice pot with KK, various hands cause me to win and lose, I bet at pots, I raise with TT, get check raised when J hits the flop, bet at an A on the turn and get them to lay down, etc. etc. etc. All in all, I win back what I lost earlier playing $5/10, and I'm back at square one.

So I am still back at the same fundamental question I had: can I make the push forward into +EV online? I'm up $550 for my re-entry (and I'll get the $85 frequent-flyer bonus today or tomorrow), but can I get into the black and stay there. Can I win $500-1500 weekly? I haven't been able to get anywhere close to that, ultimately getting on some downward spiral where I chunk it all. Today could have been that day, as that's how I cashed out last time, jumping up in stakes and distributing my chips to various letters and numbers from Russia, the UK, and College Town USA.

My brother-in-law says I need to play more tourneys. I definitely need to figure out how not to screw up for sure, so I may do that (especially the lower-buy-in tourneys). BTW, Doyle Brunson WPT Bellagio kicks off today. Some brutal tables:

  • Daniel Negreanu, John Phan, Mimi Tran, T.J. Cloutier, and David "The Dragon" Pham
  • Gus Hansen, Andy Bloch, Allen Cunningham, Chris Bigler, Carlos Mortensen, Dan Harrington
  • Tuan Le, Phil Hellmuth, Layne Flack
  • Nam Le, Jennifer Harman , Sam Farha , Harry Demetriou and Lyle Berman
417 players @ $10,000=nice. Oh, and Doyle fell literally early on, but he's fine.

17 October 2005


98/660 in $20+2 Limit Hold-Em on Party tourney (paid top 70). Had a bad hand when I was up in middle stage where I bet into a guy with nothing and he called me down. Early, I caught KK and AA on successive hands to get a nice stack. Got short stacked and made a bad play at the end, reraising the button with 99 from the bb, flop was Q76, and I got all-in (he had AQ), and I was gone. I am somewhat patient but still not nearly strong enough to be patient in Party tourney. Crud, crud, crud. I also gave away a third of my stack earlier raising with 66 from the button and getting re-raised then bet into from sb.

This wasn't a Bellagio $2,000 buy-in or anything, but it does point to the level of focus required. You have to be capable of focusing and making solid decisions rather than feeling pressed to shrug your shoulders with an, "Oh, what the heck I'll raise," or what my brother-in-law and I call pretend poker, meaning pretending like you have some mysterious hand when you have nothing and the other guy obviously has something. Top prize was $2904. Crud. Crud, crud, crud.

I quit playing cash game late and started falling afterwards. I lost one big hand when I was in two hands. For those eight-table players, I'm embarrassed that I can't really hang with the multiple demands for my action and attention.

In summary: crud. Crud, crud, crud.

Up Down Up Down

Had a weekend of intermittent sneaking play. Watched $300 leave two-tabling, getting caught with nothing but AK a couple of times, raising with 99 and seeing AQ flops, etc. Got very frustrated yesterday after a poor pot-odds play and breaking one of my new rules. $5/10 limit, I raised with ATo and called three-bet with one other caller (I was UTG in early position). Flop was KQ9, I bet and am then raised and re-raised. Now, I think this is right (pre-flop, pot is $50, I bet $5, now raises of $10 and 15). I put both of these guys on made hands, potentiall KK, QQ, AA, or 99. Pot is now $80, and it is $10 for me to call. I lay down, guy calls, turn is J. One guy has KQ, other has 99, and the set wins when I could have taken down the monster. I think pot odds are for me to make that call, but I was also afraid I was in the middle of a raising war. Regardless, it was frustrating. Then, I got up to double my buy-in, which is a new rule for me to get out. I subsequently get down to +$10 and quit. Got up this morning to double my buy-in and banked. Had a couple of nice bet hands (TT raised pot, flop comes J74 and I get raised, turn is A and I bet/take the pot). Also called bb with JT, flop was T85, I bet and call raise, T on turn I check raise and take pot. AA I four bet, flop is T98, and I bet/call his raise, 7 on turn leads me to check/call to river. You could argue that I still should have pumped the turn and river with raises, but you never know on Party what people are going to be betting (I've seen 66 in that spot, JJ, JQs, etc.). Major learning is to stick to my rules. Also, when I dropped the $300, I pulled back from two-tabling and stuck with one. I got tempted to move up when I had doubled up yesterday (to $10/20). Not sure about that, but I'll keep you posted.

14 October 2005

Oh, the Joys of Party

Oh, the sweet memories of the twists and turns of PartyPoker, of the wonderful folks you'll meet, of the donkey-fied play.
  • Let's see, what about the same guy catching runner-runner to beat me three times in an hour? And that he had nothing with no draw until the turn each time?
  • How about berating and ridiculing me when I catch my gutshot turned double-gutshot? I call with AJo, flop is KT8, guy bets, I raise with one caller and guy three-bets we call; 9 on turn and I check/call with the other caller, Q on river and I check/raise the flopped set of kings. Subsequent vitriole (is that a word?) about pot odds, they need to catch once in awhile to keep coming back--rhetoric from three-four players.
  • First four hands of a session: pocket pairs (56,000+:1), throw in two top-pair with A kicker flops, plus another QQ and two more pocket pairs in the first three cycles. Played 61% of the hands, down $100, then clawed back and ended up down $50.
I can definitely now appreciate the multi-tabling aspect of online poker after my two-table experiments. There is a normalizing of results simply due to the fact that you are playing more than one table (both + and -). It seems easier to hang in and come back on multiple tables. It is also easier to play tighter as you're seeing more hands. It should have no impact, but psychologically it does. There are some more unwritten rules and guidelines as well. For example, the multi-table player seems to always have an above average stack at the table. Psychologically, I assume it is easier to buy pots if you have more chips than less. You also play less desparate vs. short-stack.

Flat after yesterday, so I need to go back to my rules, especially the rule about booking wins.

12 October 2005


Random thoughts:
  • Sound of a Suckout: Good new blog (new to me) with observations of live vs. Party for a live newbie (with my comments added--see comments of his post)
  • WSOP Main Event: I was looking forward to last night's premiere. I was hoping we could see the Jennifer Harman hand, and what a brutal hand for her: in a 4x raised pot in first cycle, she flops QQ while villain flops straight with his 9d8d (QxJdTx--she has Qd), Td on the turn gives her the boat which she check-raises, then the case 7d comes on the river, and she bets him all-in to lose to the straight flush. It would have been interesting to see if the 7d came on the turn could she have laid the hand down. He gave his hand away with his speech on the turn, but there was nothing she could do. Also, Raymer really made a spectacular run of cards and flops that he built on throughout the tourney.
  • Played Party with two tables yesterday for the first time in a while. Finally was up $100. I think I can do it but can't multi-task (meaning work) and do it at the same time. I'm not playing while working but I do play some before and after work at work (or at lunch).
  • I'm at a crossroad online: can I move forward or will I regress. Bankroll is at $1,000, which is +$600 for my last buy-in but -$100 for the last couple of months. This is where I've fallen apart before. My goal is to double this in October, put the $1,100 back into the bank, then operate with $1,000 online bankroll. We'll see, and I'll keep you posted.

11 October 2005

Back to Party

Bought back in at Party for $400 and have built it back up to $1,200. A few key strategies:
  • Playing within Bankroll--I've stayed diligent at $5/10 limit, buying in at roughly $200
  • Leave When You're Up--This is a pretty significant change for me but has been a positive one. If I am up, I get off the table. The only time I've altered this is if I've found a particularly soft table (happened once; characteristics included several players laying down after check-raises and soft flops).
  • Don't Stay Long--A major change is to switch tables more frequently. Normally, I just stay at a table forever, never leaving. I'm now switching probably one-three times/hour. Reasons for switching tables:
    • Doubling up my buy-in
    • Slow, tight table
    • Number of players starts to decline (I've stayed committed to full, ten-person tables rather than six-person, which I've never really played)
For online play, this has been my main Achilles heel: how do I stay stable and move toward ongoing success. Increasing stakes led to my demise last time I got here, jumping up to $15/30 (my normal cash game play). I'm looking to develop a more solid gameplan of how I'll pursue being a Closet Poker Player; i.e., how many hours a week do I play/when specifically.

WSOP Main Event starts tonight. It will be interesting to see what happens to poker after this year's main event. WPT Enterprises stock continues to plummet, and tourneys continue to increase in number (see the last couple of weeks with US Poker Championships, Bellagio tourney, Borgata, Vegas WPT all vying for players).

06 October 2005

Party, Bar Tourney

Quick review of Party play: ran $300 up to $1,200, now back to $180. Main causes on both sides:
  • On the upside, disciplined play focused on $5/10, booking wins when doubling my buy-in. Able to fight back from any tough losses through adequate bankroll
  • On the downside: moving back up to $15/30 and getting several horrible beats (QT beaten by Q9, AK beaten by A9, both on the river).
The very bad thing again on the downside is getting away from my rule of playing well within online bankroll. With Closet Poker Player behaviors (short play time, sneaking around to play), too much risk playing higher limits. Even though I regularly play $15/30 at Bellagio when I'm there, doing so online is poor when I'm unable to put any devoted time to it. The only upside is that I didn't lose the entire bankroll this time, although there's still plenty of time for that...

Played the bar tourney last night at the Derby, in my wife's bottom five places to eat (included in that list: Krystal's, Sonic, S & S Cafeteria--not sure the fifth). One major suckout on my part--bad play as well: I raise with TT, call, button goes all-in, I call and other guy calls. He flips KK (lady on my left, "I folded KT), so I'm dead to the case Ten, which I spike on the flop of ATx (can't remember what the other guy had, maybe an ace). No improvement, and I triple up. I play solid throughout, make some good calls, get away from some marginal hands at the right time. Down to the final table, I announce, "Let's stop chopping at the final table (chopping is when there are no bets to the sb; the sb and bb then can take there blinds back). A few things about chopping: there really should never be chops in tourneys (but these bar tourneys are a world unto their own--another pet peeve of mine is people dragging pots showing only one card). Second, I'm a big believer in consistency with chopping: you either chop or you don't (rather than looking at your cards then chopping). So anyways, hottie on my left says, "No, we chop until down to three (the money). So I shrug and go on. Well, it gets down to four players, and we're playing literally every three-five hands because of all the chops. So I look down in sb at AKo and I say, "I raise) and raise it up 3x bb. Hottie looks startled, mad, then calls. Flop comes rags, I bet 4x bb and she calls. We check it down, and she flips over KTo for nothing. She was ticked the rest of the time, maybe at me, but I can justify not chopping after that (I didn't chop anymore afterwards). Maybe bad etiquette, but there you go.

I make good calls when I'm ahead (knock out big slick with 33), then get heads up roughly even with relatively aggressive player (not a wild man, but more aggressive). I'm on button and raise 3x with A8o, he re-raises 10x (blinds are $1000/2000). I sit for a minute or two, put him on a steal and move all-in. He calls immediately and flips over QsTs. Nothing comes except for an 8 on the flop for me, and I take home the $50 gift certificates for Derby bucks (not exactly a place for a nice dinner out with my wife, but we'll figure something out). Played overly tight (with everyone else doing the same) at the final table. All in all, fairly solid

Contacted by my Vegas friend regarding backing him in upcoming Bellagio tourney. IM'd briefly with my brother-in-law, and I think I agree that I'd rather play than to front him the money, so I'm going to take a pass. We'll see when I can get out to do it, however.
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