Poker Ramblings of cmitch

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I turned on my laptop last night around 7:30 and, on a whim, decided to play a $35+$3 satellite for the Sunday Night H.O.R.S.E. tourney on Full Tilt Poker. I had never played a HORSE tourney before, but have played all the games. I won the satellite and was on my way to my first ever HORSE tourney - the $215 Sunday Night HORSE tourney on FTP.

I'm sure most of the people reading this know what games are included, but for the rest:

H - Limit Holdem
O - Limit Omaha H/L
R - Razz
S - Stud
E - Stud H/L

I would say that Holdem and Razz were definitely my strong suits. Omaha H/L was probably my weakest game. I have actually played 1 Razz tourney and made the money in that tourney.

I got off to a good start when I made a A-5 straight flush in Stud 8/better and got paid off. It was all downhill from there. I became the short stack pretty quickly after I had two big starting hands in Razz that turned into horrible hands. A24 became A24KJ; A35 with the Ace up became A35AJ. I had to lay both of them down when my opponent in the hand caught low card - low card. Razz can be frustrating, but I actually like it.

I was in the bottom 4 from about 28 players on with 16 places getting paid. I had only one goal at that point and it was to at least squeak into the money and see what happens from there. I played very patiently. As we got down to the bubble (17 players), we were back to holdem. I am not sure how the button is decided in the holdem round, but I had to post the $1k BB as the game switched. I literally got no cards and folded all the way around to my BB again. I was just about all in and was going to have to go with any 2 cards. I was dealt 93o and it actually folded around to me. Strange - but I'm not complaining. Two hands later, it folds to me on the button and I'm dealt 33. Another short stack is in the BB. We get all our chips in and my 33 holds up against his Q4. This hand allowed me to squeak into the money.

I was saying Razz was one of my strong suits (as compared to some of the other players), but it also cost me most of my chips. When we were down to 11 players, I get dealt A5J with a 5 showing. It folds around to me two to the right of the bring in bet. I raise, commiting myself. The guy to my left re-raises. I call all-in. My A5J vs. his 1024. I made one of my best hands of the Aces full of Jacks. Too bad we were playing Razz.

Not a bad night for never having played HORSE before. I finished 11th for $508 on a $38 investment.


The $50k Challenge is progressing well and I will update my stats for the 1st month on Wednesday.


It has been pretty crazy around my house this week. Our four year old daughter has viral pneumonia and our four month old son has RSV (respiratory syncytial virus). Neither is serious enough for the hospital, thankfully. Our daughter is basically grumpy and taking antibiotics and breathing treatments - almost better now. We are giving our son breathing treatments and they help, but he has been pretty miserable. It is hard for an infant to breathe well when they get a lot of mucus. It is like night and day with him before and after the breathing treatments. The doctors say that RSV takes about 4-5 days in infants, so he should be better soon.

As you can imagine, no one at our house has gotten much sleep. I have been doing everything that I can to fight off getting sick. (vitamins, airborne, OJ, etc.)

Last night, I was very tired and starting to feel very sick, but after our son fell asleep I decided to turn on the laptop and play some poker. This was definitely a bad idea. I don't know what I was thinking trying to play when I was feeling so tired and sick. I should only be playing when I can reason and think clearly.

First, I opened up a couple of 1/2 NL 6 max tables. (If I was going to play at all, I probably should have focused on 1 table.) I made some big mistakes. There was a hyper-aggressive guy that was raising my bets and betting big. I know that I should have waited for a big hand and made him pay, but I started playing back at him. This cost me about $150 on 1 hand where I had top two pair and he had a set that turned into quads on the river. I think that I normally would have gotten away from that hand a lot cheaper. I made a few other bad calls and bets and wound up down on the two tables. Some of my losses were due to bad luck, but a lot of it was definitely due to me not thinking through entire hands clearly.

I closed down the NL games and opened a $55+$5 turbo SNG and lost on the 1st hand that I played. The blinds were 15/30 and an aggressive guy on the button went all-in. I was in the BB with QQ. If this wasn't a turbo, I might have folded. I thought for a few and figured he was on a Big Ace or middle pair based on the way the guy had been playing. I called. He had 66 and with a 6 on the flop - GG me.

I was frustrated and almost opened up another table, but thougth better of it. I guess I was thinking clearly enough to realize that if I played more I would probably not be playing my best. Tired, sick and frustrated don't add up to good poker. I took some Nyquil, watched a friend play a SNG and then went to bed.

I am going to have to come read the next sentence next time I am feeling like playing poker when I'm very tired or sick. DON'T PLAY POKER WHEN YOU ARE NOT AT YOUR BEST MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY!!


Bluff Magazine is taking votes on reader's choice awards at their site. This is our chance to let the poker sites know what we think. My guess is that pokerstars will sweep a lot of the awards because their software, tourney selection, and customer service are unmatched.

The voting consists of several online poker categories and live poker categories.

One category is favorite online poker forum. If you don't have a favorite, you can vote for my favorite forum -

They are doing a random drawing for 5 ipod nanos to people that fill out the survey. I'm not sure when it is over so go there now.


I got Sirius radio as a surprise Christmas gift. It is pretty awesome to have all the channels. A lot of the channels don't have commercials. I think some of the commercials that they do have are interesting because they are not under the regulations that apply to TV and regular radio.

There is a commerical running instead of a .net commercial. It is pretty funny because they go on about how you should play at their .com site for real money instead of everyone else's .net sites for play money.

There are several other poker rooms/sports books advertising on Sirius. They are all offering sign up bonuses - Bodog, Golden Palace, and a couple of others.


I saw a post on about Elix Powers. It reminded Loopy and I about his encounter with Elix when we were in Vegas during the WSOP. Pretty funny. Click here to read it.


We need to update our links and will be doing it soon - similar to WillWonka's recent post.

That's all I've got for now.


$50K Challenge Status - End of Week 3

Monday, January 23, 2006

I'll make this a quick update on the $50K challenge status - click for the details of the challenge. (turn $2,500 to $50k in 2006).

I wanted to give an update on where I currently stand. I will post the complete detail of all my stats at the end of each month.

Starting Bankroll - $2,592
NL Short Handed Cash Games - Profit of $1,970
SNGs and MTTs - Loss of $515 (entered a couple of big tourneys - 1 small cash)
Bonus - Profit of $72
Total Profit (Month to Date) - $1,526
Current Bankroll - $4,119

Target by End of Jan - $4,100

I have already hit the target for the month, but things can change quickly in short handed NL games. I would be doing a little better if I didn't get the itch to enter a few tourneys that I probably should have stayed away from. I think my tourney play has suffered because of all the short handed cash games I have been playing. My tourney style is Tight Aggressive, but I have found myself playing a lot looser than normal.


NL - Max Buy-in vs. Min Buy-in

Friday, January 20, 2006

Why buy-in for the minimum in a NL cash game?

Sometimes, I will sit at an empty NL cash table and wait for others to join. I always sit with the maximum in any NL cash game that I am playing. About 75%+ of the time the second player to join the table either buy-in for the default ($80 at 1/2 NL on pokerstars; $100 on UB) or they buy in for the minimum.

I do not understand why anyone would buy in for less than the maximum. If you don’t feel comfortable having that much money on the table then you are playing at stakes that are over your head.

I had a conversation with a guy at one of my tables last night. He joined the table with $50 at a 1/2 NL game. We were talking a little – all positive. I asked him why he didn’t buy in for the max. He said that it was a strategy decision. He said people were more likely to call his all in bets. OK – I’ll give him that one. He does have a better than average chance to double up with a good hand, but he is doubling up from a lot smaller base.

I went on to ask, “Wouldn’t you want to maximize your wins?” His response, “It might maximize my losses.” Wrong attitude!! If you start thinking like this you, you are playing at a disadvantage, IMHO.

He continued to tell me how great of a strategy it was to buy-in for $50 and how buying in for the maximum could cost you a lot of money and I politely replied, “ty for the advice.”

I think you have to do what works for you and maybe this is what was working for him. The guy was a solid player. He may be making good money with this “strategy,” but I think he could be making a lot more by buying in for the max.

Good luck at the tables,


After a great night on Monday and not playing any cash games last night, I got a horrible start tonight. I lost 1 buy-in about 5 minutes into the night when I flopped a set and got all my money in on the turn against a flush draw.....flush hits on the river. 10 Minutes later, I turn a set and get all the money in again. This time I am against a open ended straight flush draw. He makes the straight on the river. A few minutes later, on my other table I lose $100 when a guy that bought in for $100 goes all in after I raised. I call with KK against his AQ. Ace hits the board and just like that I start the night down $500+.

I think I did a great job of not tilting - other than calling a short stack ($40) all in raise preflop with AQ against his AK. From that point on, I kept increasing my stack at both of the tables that I was playing. I left down just over $400 on those two tables.

After taking a break, I came back and sat at an empty table. It wasn't long before a guy bought in for $80. Then just about everyone that joined the table bought in for $40 or $80. I left the table up $160.

I opened another empty table and decided to stay once it filled up. I wound up finishing in positive territory when the following hand came up.

POKERSTARS GAME #3683198800: HOLD'EM NO LIMIT ($1/$2) - 2006/01/18 - 23:23:23 (ET)
Table 'Apus IV' Seat #1 is the button
Seat 1: Balboa1 ($179.60 in chips)
Seat 2: actiononme ($185.15 in chips)
Seat 3: sportingimag ($224 in chips)
Seat 6: splashem ($37 in chips)
actiononme: posts small blind $1
sportingimag: posts big blind $2
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to sportingimag [9h 9c]
splashem: folds
Balboa1: raises $2 to $4
actiononme: raises $2 to $6
sportingimag: calls $4
Balboa1: raises $2 to $8
actiononme: calls $2
sportingimag: calls $2
*** FLOP *** [9s 7s 4h]
actiononme: checks
sportingimag: checks
Balboa1: bets $2
actiononme: raises $38 to $40
sportingimag: raises $176 to $216 and is all-in
Balboa1: calls $169.60 and is all-in
actiononme: calls $137.15 and is all-in
*** TURN *** [9s 7s 4h] [Kh]
*** RIVER *** [9s 7s 4h Kh] [Qc]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
actiononme: shows [9d 7d] (two pair, Nines and Sevens)
sportingimag: shows [9h 9c] (three of a kind, Nines)
sportingimag collected $11.10 from side pot
Balboa1: mucks hand
sportingimag collected $536.80 from main pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $549.90 Main pot $536.80. Side pot $11.10. Rake $2
Board [9s 7s 4h Kh Qc]
Seat 1: Balboa1 (button) mucked [Th Td]
Seat 2: actiononme (small blind) showed [9d 7d] and lost with two pair, Nines and Sevens
Seat 3: sportingimag (big blind) showed [9h 9c] and won ($547.90) with three of a kind, Nines
Seat 6: splashem folded before Flop (didn't bet)

So my night that started down almost $600 turned into a win of just over $100 for the night. Who says NL cash games have a lot of variance?! :-)


$50K Challenge Status

Monday, January 16, 2006

I have to make this a quick post because I've got a busy day ahead of me. I am midway through my first month on my $50k Challenge. (Turn $2,500 into $50k by end of year - click the link or scroll down to read more.)

I am on track to hit the $4,100 by the end of Jan. There have been some big swings both up and down, but that is the nature of NL short handed play. I was up to $3,700 at one point, but now currently stand at $3,415. Listed below are the current stats.

Starting Bankroll - $2,592
NL Short Handed Cash Games - Profit of $866
SNGs and MTTs - Loss of $82
Bonus - Profit of $38
Total Profit (Month to Date) - $822
Current Bankroll - $3,414

Target by End of Jan - $4,100

So, as you can see I am on target to hit $4,100 by the end of the month. I am amazed by some of the horrible calls at $1/$2 NL. At one point, I lost 3 full buy-ins to suckouts in one night. (I'll spare the bad beats).

I'll provide more stats the next time I post an update.


Some NLHE Short Handed Observations

Thursday, January 12, 2006

I have started playing a lot of short handed no limit holdem cash games since the 1st of the year and there a few things that I have noticed.

1. Position is #1.

I have always put a lot of value on your position at the table, but it seems more important at the short handed tables than just about any other game. In tourneys and SNGs, position is important but plays more of a factor at the later stages. In NL SH games, position is key on every hand. Being last to act allows you to get a lot better feel on where your hand stands, take free cards if you determine you are behind, and force your opponents to make tough decisions with less information.

2. An image somewhere between Loose Aggressive (LAG) and Tight Aggressive (TAG) seems ideal.

I really heavily on a TAG image for tourneys, but NL SH cash games are a completely different animal. I feel like I want an image somewhere between LAG and TAG at a NL SH cash game for a couple of reasons.

- If your image is too tight, you will not get any action on your big hands and will not be able to build big pots when you have monsters.
- If your image is too loose, you will get called down in a lot of spots by people that should be folding to your bets. (i.e. - middle pair, etc.) This can be beneficial to your bottom line, but you will have to change gears and wait for a premium hand.
- An image somewhere in between at the right table should get you a lot of action on premium hands by people that are willing to call you down with only top pair. You should also be able to take down a lot of pots by getting people off of mediocre hands.
- People seem to call with a lot weaker hands pre-flop out of position when your image is somewhat loose and then let the hands go if they don't hit the flop. In my experience, this adds up to a profitable table.

3. How the other players view you is key. (Know their styles, emotional state and thought processes.)

- This is the major factor in making $$ at a NL SH table in my opinion. Position and image matter a lot, but if you have a great read on your opponents playing style, emotional state, thought processes, and how he/she views you then you should be able to take down some pots with well timed bluffs, extract the maximum amounts of chips with premium hands, and make those tough laydowns a lot easier.

Example 1 - Losing on a bluff added up to more profits

The other night I was playing a $1/$2 NL SH cash game and bought in for the $200 Max. Shortly after joining the table I made a big bet in position into a large pot when I pegged the other player as weak. He called me down with a hand he had no business being involved in and won the pot. From this point on he didn't respect any bet or raise that I made. He re-raised me a lot and would not fold to any bet that I made..... so, I waited. I raised from the cutoff with 67s and he called from the BB. The flop came 775. Against most opponents, I either make a small bet or no bet in this spot, but this guy was calling any bet that I made. I overbet the pot, trying to make it look like I was attempting to steal the pot. Bingo, he called. The turn was a 3. He checked and I made a large bet again, which he called. The river was a 5 giving the board two pair. He checked and I instantly pushed all in. I was figuring him for a big Ace and that he might call with two pair on board and his Ace kicker. He thought for a few minutes and then called with A3. Just like that I had my money back and then some. If not for my earlier hands against him and the lack of respect he was giving my bets, I would have made a lot less money on this hand.

A few hands later I picked up 88 in the SB. The same guy was steaming and raising every hand since the above hand. I flat called his raise. The flop came J82. I checked and he bet big into the pot. I thought and called. Turn was a 5. I checked and he bet big again. The river was an 8 giving me quads and a board of J8258. The pot was pretty big and the guy was steaming. I went all in and he called me with J10. He had top pair with a 10 kicker and was willing to put the rest of his stack in against me because he thought I was full of it.

I went form being down $150+ shortly after joining the table to being up around $280, all because of one player's view of me.

Example 2 - Laying down KK

I seem to have a lot of trouble getting away from KK in NL SH games. I am usually playing fairly loose, so it is sometimes hard to tell the difference between someone making a move on me or having a big hand like AA. I did lose a minimum amount of $$ the other night with it, because of my read on an opponent. There was a fairly tight player at my table. He was up some, but was only playing premium hands. In a hour of play, I don't think he ever re-raised anyone without the nuts. He opened preflop UTG for $6. I raised to $16 on the button with KK and he immediately re-raised to $60. I thought and thought and figured that he was only making that move with AA and laid down my KK. He showed his AA and I felt a lot better. I probably would have lost most of my stack against a lot of other players, but because I had a very good feel for this opponent, I only lost $16.

Anyway, I think it is always important to remember your position, table image and what is going through the other players minds when playing short handed NL holdem.

Good luck at the tables,

$50K Challenge Outline

Sunday, January 08, 2006

$50K Challenge

Goal is to turn $2,500 into $50,000 by playing poker PART TIME.
Start Date – 1/1/2006
End Date – 12/31/2006

Plan - I will predominately be playing NL Cash Games, mostly short handed. I usually will play two tables simultaneously. I will start at $1/$2 NL. The starting amount of $2,500 is light for this challenge, but I decided against starting at the $0.50/$1.00 NL level in order to try and give this challenge a kick start. I plan on moving up stakes as I reach 20x the max buy in. (Ex – I will move to $2/$4 NL when I have reached $8,000. $400 max buy-in x 20 buy-ins.)

I will try to average 20 hrs of playing time each week.

I will also be playing some SNGs and MTTs for an occasional change of pace.

From my pokertracker stats it looks like the short handed nl cash games average 75-90 hands/hour. I used 75 for all my calculations.

I based the calculations on the following win rates: (NOTE: Assumed BB = Big Blind because of NL play vs. Big Bet in Limit Play - 1/2 NL BB = 2. Pokertracker calculates this like limit games at 4)
$1/$2 NL – 7 BB/100 hands yields 10.5 BB/HR playing 2 tables – used 10 BB/HR
$2/$4 NL – 5 BB/100 hands yields 7.5 BB/HR; 6BB/100=9BB/HR playing 2 tables – used 8 BB/HR
$3/$6 NL
– used 8 BB/HR
$5/$10 NL – used 8 BB/HR
$10/$20 NL – used 5 BB/HR

I have calculated the monthly goals based on the above win rates and playing 2 tables simultaneously an average of 20 hr/wk.


Jan - $4,100
Feb - $5,700
Mar - $7,300
(move up to 2/4 NL)
Apr - $9,800
May - $12,400
(move up to 3/6 NL)
June - $16,200
July - $20,100
(move up to 5/10 NL)
Aug - $26,500
Sept - $32,900
Oct - $39,300
(move up to 10/20 NL – can still make it work at 5/10NL – will make the call at the time)
Nov - $45,000
Dec - $50,000

I will post updates as I progress. I will definitely post an update at the end of each month with all my stats and how I compare to the monthly goals.

I have tried to think through this carefully. Let me know if I missed anything.


Why Take Time off from Work?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

I took time off from work between Christmas and New Years. It was great getting the time to complete a few projects around the house and start on a few more. I came back to work on Tuesday and began to wonder why I even took any time off. I think I will probably put in more overtime hours this week than the hours that I took off last week.

What I'm trying to say is I'm really busy, so I haven't had much time to play poker. I did get started on my $50k Challenge on Monday before I went back to work. I will update my progress and the plan of attack as soon as I get some free time.

Gotta get back to work.....


Happy New Year poker people!!!

I was going through my regular morning internet routine today and came across an article on p5 that held my interest. MileHighKid wrote an article about progressing / becoming a winning online poker player. It is particularly interesting to me as I'm still in that inbetween mode. Take a look here:

Playing For Tires: How I became a winning online player

Another interesting find was this post on pocket fives from earlier today. This guy has a BIG problem with his girlfriend... SHE REFUSES TO ALLOW HIM TO PLAY POKER! The funniest thing really is all the responses, including one from yours truly :) Check it out here:

Urgent: A serious question in need of serious answers

Happy reading,

$2,500 into $50,000 - Goal for 2006

Monday, January 02, 2006

I have decided to set an acheivable goal to keep me focused. I had just over $2,500 in my poker accounts as of 12/31/05. During this past year, I have taken most of the $$ out that I have won. I took the majority out right before our baby was born in September, then quite a bit more as the hospital bills started rolling in the next month, and more at Christmas time.

So, I plan on turning my $2,500 into $50,000 by the end of the year. Bankroll size will be a key factor in the games that I play. I will play mainly shorthanded NL cash games. I noticed that my highest $$/hr rate comes from these games. I love playing tourneys, but with the high variance my hourly rate is lower even with some big wins. I will still play some tourneys, but not nearly as many as in the past.

I am a part time player, so the goal is not higher. I can't always play every day and usually can't put in a ton of playing time each week. I have an outline of a plan right now and will detail it out in the blog within the next week.