Poker Ramblings of cmitch

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HUC5 - Round 1

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I played my first Heads Up Challenge match tonight against Mike_Maloney. I wasn't looking forward to playing heads up after my recent weak-tight hu cash performance caught on video.

The match is a best 2 out of 3 and we played $20 regular hu sngs on FTP.

I got behind quickly after losing the first match. I was betting a lot early in the 1st match and Mike was calling me down very light. I started to get a little frustrated and then figured that I could use it to my advantage. I decided to sit back, bet big when I had a hand and try to trap with some monsters. It worked out well, but Mike also got into some tough spots with hands that are usually monsters when heads up.

I won the next two matches and moved onto Round 2. Hopefully, I can carry the horseshoe to Round 2.

A few hands:

Match 1 - Not sure why he called the flop bet. We both made runner runner flush (luckily on a paired board) and my flush was lower. - My demise in the 1st Match.

Match 2 - I got disconnected after he re-raised me all-in. I was looking at a frozen screen trying to hit the call button for about 30 secs before I luckily got reconnected. - Had him on the ropes. Got all in hoping that he had a flush draw. - Reverse timing tell. I tried to do the old "wait a while before betting when you are strong" as a bluff. I didn't really have the 5 like I told you Mike - sorry for lying. :) - If he raises this turn, I definitely have to fold. - I had kicked up the aggression and had been shoving on a few hands. I was hoping that he might get frustrated and call with something like 2nd pair.
- Unlucky turn for him to end match 2, but really bad shove imo.

Match 3 - Making my earlier bluffs pay off.
- good river for me. I have to fold to his bet on almost any other river card. - I checked the turn thinking that he might try to rep the flush if it hits. I felt like there was more value in trying to hit my hand than betting the draw. Lucky for me that he was trying to trap me with his straight on the turn and I hit the nut flush on the river.

GG Mike.

50K Hands Update - Halfway There

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I'm going to make this a quick update. I haven't had time to go through all the hand histories, but will post a few.

I think a couple of people might be confused about the 50K Hands Challenge. It was always going to be a combination of 25k hands of 1/2nl and 25k hands of 2/4nl - not all 50k hands at 1/2.

I think that my poor results at 1/2nl were due to a combination of running pretty bad, trying to run over players, and getting a little bored with 1/2. I even started playing 6 tables at times which is something I have never been able to do comfortably.

With all that in mind, I decided to move on to 2/4nl 5k hands earlier than planned. I have always been most comfortable/profitable at 2/4 and was anxious to get back to my "regular" game. - Was hoping to c/r flop, turn was horrible, and the other guy folded to my bet when the nuts were on the board - gotta luv it. - Bad read by me to suckout on Lucko. Sorry Lucko. - Unlucky

50K Hands Challenge
Hands Goal - 25,000 hands in 1 month; 5 ptbb/100 (stopped at 20k hands)
Hands Current - 20,101 hands; 1.75 ptbb/100
1/2nl current profit/loss = +$1,410

Hands Goal - 25,000 hands in 1 month; 5 ptbb/100
Hands Current - 5,733 hands; 9.02 ptbb/100 (obviously running very good)
2/4nl current profit/loss = +$4,167

Total current profit/loss = +$5,577

OVERALL GRAPH TO DATE (8/1 - present)

GRAPH OF 2/4NL TO DATE (8/1 - present)

GRAPH OF 1/2NL TO DATE (8/1 - present)

I'll get into the detail of more of the hands on my next update.

I played a 1/2 HU cash session vs. Brian Townsend on Friday (see Thursday's post for details).

I can now tell everyone that, lifetime, I run at 19ptbb/100 vs. aba20. :)

Link to Download video;8411706;/fileinfo.html
(I think that the picture will be a lot crisper if you click the download now instead of watching it on their site. It is a 40MB windows media player file.)

I couldn't get the sound to go any louder, so you may have to turn up the volume pretty loud to hear it.

After watching the video, I think that I played pretty weak-tight and my commentary was lacking. The commentary mainly consisted of me stating the obvious. I should have gone into my thought process more.

There were a lot of flops that I should have lead out or check/raised him on - with or without a hand. He obviously wasn't hitting every flop. I was trying to play small pot poker.

I think that several things effected the way that I was playing (and shouldn't have):

1. Not wanting to look like an idiot on the video. :)
2. Playing against one of the best.
3. A little strange video taping - I folded a few hands preflop that I shouldn't have because I was distracted.
4. I had just watched a heads up cash video by Taylor. He was dominating the other player and didn't make a whole lot of moves without hands because his opponent was bluffing him a ton. He could pick his spots against that player. Brian wasn't playing this way and I gave up way too many pots that I should have taken stabs at.

JJ Hand in video
I felt like I had to be ahead of his range. My initial gut reaction was to shove all-in. He could have been re-raising me with any Queen, a lot of pocket pairs (Q62 flop), or a flush draw. I went with my gut and shoved and got lucky.

QJ 4 bet preflop
I was aware that I had been playing pretty weak the entire match and I hadn't 4 bet preflop. I 4 bet thinking that I am taking that pot down right there most times. He pretty much has to either shove or fold to my 4 bet and my hand has to look huge to him. There isn't much he can play there.

Please give me feedback/tell me I'm weak-tight.

Pokertracker stats from session

HU Cash Game vs. Brian Townsend

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I have been a member of Cardrunners for a while. I think I joined the site a about 1 1/2 years ago. There is no doubt in my mind that the site dramatically improved my game and continues to help me in improving my game.

I don't have any ads on this blog other than a referral text link to cardrunners. CR has a points based referral system. You can use the points for things like Itunes gift cards, membership extensions, Cardplayer subscription, Best Buy Gift Cards, Ipods, etc.

I have been saving the points for one thing - "Taped HU session with a pro and we will send you the video and/or post it for others to critique (if you want)."

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that I finally had enough referral points for the HU taped session with a pro. I emailed them and included a list of the pros that I would like to play in order of preference. I put Brian Townsend at the top of the list. I didn't think there was any way that I would wind up playing the match against him. I assumed I would get one of the other pros - which would have been fine, also.

I got an email from Brian a couple of days later to schedule a time for the match. After a few back and forth emails and getting our schedules lined up, we are going to play 1/2nl hu tomorrow (Friday) at 4:30 EST on pokerstars. I didn't have any cash on stars, so I moved a few buy-ins over there from FTP.

I plan on recording the session. I'll post a link to the video after I upload it.

HU cash games are probably the weakest part of my game. I am looking forward to the match and Brian's video/comments on how poorly I am playing against him. I hope to learn a lot about my game from a great player's POV. I am crossing my fingers that the lesson isn't too expensive.

***EDIT: My stars sn is sportingimag

50K Hands Update - Close to 20K Hands

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I am close to finishing the first 25K hands of the 50K Hands Challenge at 1/2nl before moving on to 2/4nl. I don't know what to say about the last 9k hands since the last update. It has been a roller coaster. The graph of the last 9k hands shows how much variance there is in short handed cash games.

I went back through the hand histories for the big downswings in the graph and I could have probably saved about $650 by laying down a couple of marginal hands.

1. I got all in preflop with KK vs. AA against a player that was playing very tight against me but very aggressive against the rest of the players at the table. I was about $500 deep and he was around $300 deep. I couldn't really see him getting all-in preflop with AK based on how he had been playing against me. I think that it was one spot that you could make a case for folding KK preflop.

2. The 2nd hand that I could have laid down was AA in the BB hand. EP raiser, button calls. I raise it up substantially. Flop comes Qs10s5h. I lead out for about 80% of the pot. EP raiser jams. I call and lose to set of 10s. I was about $600 deep and he was $350 deep.

I should have probably laid down both of those hands, but hindsight is 20/20. Hopefully, I can avoid the same situations in the future.

As far as the rest of the big down dips go, let's just say I lost more than my fair share of hands where I got the money in as a huge favorite and ran KK into AA three times.

A few examples of some of the big hits:

1. I got all-in on the flop two times with top two pair vs. and overpair and then the board paired.

2. I got all-in on a dry flop after flopping a set. My opponent spiked a set with his overpair.

3. I got all-in on the flop with top set vs. an overpair. My opponent made runner runner straight.

I could go on and on but enough whining. I plan on kicking things up a notch for the next 6k hands.

50K Hands Challenge
Hands Goal - 25,000 hands in 1 month; 5 ptbb/100
Hands Current - 19,126 hands; 2.03 ptbb/100
Total current profit/loss = +$1,5557.45

The 1st graph (hands since last update) shows the variance involved in cash games and why you need to have a proper bankroll to weather the swings. (FWIW - my bankroll is in really good shape even after having to withdraw a decent amount for the kid's back to school stuff.)

Graph of all hands since the beginning of the challenge. The swing over the last 9k hands doesn't look nearly as brutal in the overall scheme of things.

FTOPS Main Event - Key Hands

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Overall, I had a decent FTOPS V. I played FTOPS #1, 3, 7 and the Main Event - cashing in Event #1 and the Main Event, coming close to the money in Event #7, and finishing in the middle of the pack in Event #3.

I satellited into all of them except FTOPS #3, as well as winning a couple of sats to Event #1. I probably netted around $3,100 - $3,200 in the four events. I won't dwell on what could have been after getting deep in FTOPS #1 and the Main Event, both of which had over 4k entrants.

I got fairly low in the 2nd and 3rd hours and managed to claw my way back.

On to some key hands from the Main Event. I welcome any comments on how poorly I played some of these hands. I played a few hands pretty weakly, especially early. I am particularly interested in everyone's thought on Hand 14.

Hand 1
Early in the tourney, sitting out (dinner,kids, some reason) probably saved me a few chips.

Hand 2
This guy had been playing a ton of hands, so I decided to flat call in position with a speculative hand. I hit two pair and the turn and he couldn't fold his top pair King Kicker.

Hand 3
I could have easily lost a lot more on this hand - dealt KQ in the BB. Several limpers. I check. Flop comes Q high. SB bets. I figured SB could have any two pair. I flat called the flop to see how the remaining players would react. Everyone folded. At that point I felt like I had the best hand. I wasn't sure if I had the best hand on the turn when the SB fired out a fairly good size bet, so I just flat called. He checked the river and I checked behind because I couldn't see him calling any bet that I made with a worse hand than mine.

It may look like I played this hand pretty weak, but I decided not to commit a ton of my chips on this hand when I might be behind and he might be on a flush draw. It was early enough with deep stacks and small blinds that I felt it was worth the risk of letting him catch a draw vs. playing a huge pot with top pair, King kicker. I'm certain a lot of players would have played this differently.

Hand 4
I made it back just in time, from putting the kids to bed, to lose a ton of chips on this hand. I may have folded the best hand, but most likely got rivered. On the flop, I put the other player on KQ or J10 - most likely KQ. I was trapping by flat calling the turn and planned to get all the money in on the river. If I was up against J10 - oh well. The worst possible river came and he shoved. I figured that I only could beat a bluff. He most likely had KQ with a slight possibility of him having the same hand as me.

The argument could be made for shoving on the turn, but I felt like trapping was more likely to get paid off.

Hand 5
This hand is not too interesting, but it is a good example of how uncomfortable some people are when playing with deep stacks. I couldn't help but to commit, "Overbet much?"

Hand 6
How not to play Jacks. This guy played this hand horribly. BB special for me. His flat calling really made me think that he had the flush draw. I thought that he hit it on the river and checked behind - probably missed a bet there. I definitely didn't put him on Jacks.

Hand 7
Not a bad flop, but great turn. Too bad he didn't have a hand.

Hand 8
Stand race that I won. I was relatively short and it was time to gamble for chips.

Hand 9
I flat call preflop hoping to catch a set in a multi-way pot. I flop a straight flush draw with only 1 side open though. It checks around on the flop. Turn is another 4. It checks to guy in last position. He bets 1,360 into a 3,745 pot. I'm getting 3.75 to 1 (5,105 to 1,360) on my money plus the implied odds if I hit. This was still probably a marginal call, but since he had flat called preflop, I put him on a medium Ace and figured that he may or may not have a diamond. I might have folded if the orignial early position preflop raiser had bet. I got lucky on the river and got paid off.

I'm curious - standard to call this turn bet?

Hand 10
This guy was getting way too active and seemed to be overbetting with speculative hands/when he missed the flop. He was betting smaller when he made a hand to dry to get others to come along. His bets on this hand screamed steal attempt or AK. I shoved and he folded. I think he go caught up too much in the bet big and get people to fold type of play (especially on the button), so much so that it cost him a lot of chips. In my mind, it was pretty much a given that he was raising or re-raising every time he was on the button.

Hand 11
Perfect timing for AA. I had been pretty active preflop and my raise from late position along with a flat call from the button was too hard for a great player (JOEYTHEB) to pass on. No slowplaying for me. I didn't mind that it was obvious that I had AA. I would rather take down a huge pot preflop than try to slow play myself into losing all my chips.

Hand 12
This guy had been way too active. Easy call against what was either a small to medium pair or a big Ace. I had the chips and was 50/50 at a minimum.

Hand 13
Huge Hand. My opponent was a big time calling station preflop and tried to bully a lot of pots away on the flop and turn. He had a tendancy to shove all-in on flops. I really thought that he might have flopped two pair because his range was ATC. His lead out bet was strange though, since he had to figure that I was going to bet. I called the turn bet not sure if I was ahead or not. I hit my set on the river and it was obvious that he didn't have a 10. I got lucky, but the hand was pretty tough to play IMO against a guy that was in probably more than 50% of the pots preflop and had been shoving a lot with made hands.

Hand 14
Absolutely horrible play by me - but I had reasons.

I think we were near the money bubble. We may have been ITM the money already.

Opponent is the same one from hand above. His range is ATC. I complete from the SB with 45, knowing that the BB isn't raising very often here.

ATC player bets pot after it is checked to him. I call with a open ended straight draw and the intention of C/Ring him all in on any turn that isn't a paint card or an ace.

The turn card is another eight. He has to figure that an eight is definitely in my range out of the SB. I continue with my plan of c/ring all in and he insta-calls with 99. I figured that the c/r on the turn would make my hand look so strong that he would have to fold a ton of hands and if he did wind up having a monster I still had 8 outs.

The flaw in my logic was the flop containing two spades along with my flat call preflop. It looked more like I had a flush draw than anything. I think this play would have worked if it had been a rainbow flop.

So was this a horrible play or a failed aggressive shot at taking down a large pot.

Hand 15
Good timing for AA when really short.

Hand 16
A case of being priced in. The blinds are 1,200/2,400 with 300 ante. What is the difference of having 25k chips or 19k chips at this point to me. If I am against a hand like a big Ace then I am 40/60 to win and I am getting the right price - 2.35 to 1(15,114 to 6,414). It really boiled down to a close decision and I felt like I was so low in chips that I would gamble. Really was is 25k vs 19k at this level of blinds?

I won another 13k in chips the last hand before I was moved tables and the HH didn't save.

Hand 17
Pretty standard. SB vs. BB. I raise preflop with a pocket pair and he insta-shoves. I have to call in this spot. This one is for Fuel55.

Hand 18
I discussed this one with Lucko. I played it way too passively on all streets. I felt like I was ahead and never put the pressure on the other guy. He hit his card on the river and checked.

Hand 19
Looking back on this hand. I probably would have gotten more value by checking on the turn.

Hand 20
I thought there was a pretty good chance I was still ahead on the flop, but couldn't really justify a shove or a call here. I figured he most likely had a pretty big draw that he was willing to get all his money in with.

Hand 21
I don't like AQ

Hand 22
I'm a luckbox.

Hand 23
I figure that I am most likely racing. If I call and win then I am sitting on a top 5 stack with about 125 players left.

Case could be made for folding, but I think I have to take the chance calling here to take the risk to get a big stack and keep people from trying to re-steal from me.


Hand 24 - Bustout Hand
Standard shove with an M of less than 4? BB was tighten than your average player.

I am interested in opinions on how I should have played some of these hand differently. Or just call me a luckbox if you like. :)

FTOPS Main Event - Deep Run

Monday, August 20, 2007

Mixed emotions. It is nice to have gone so deep (84 out of 4,500+) in the FTOPS Main Event, but stings to get so close to a huge payday.

I have a busy day tomorrow. It is our daughter's first day of kindergarten and I have a project due. I'll go through the hand histories tomorrow night and post a few on Tues - mainly the marginal calls/risky pushes/etc.

Thanks for all the rail support!! That was awesome!!

Three Betting - Follow Up

Friday, August 17, 2007

Last night, I was looking out for hands that show the advantage of three betting. I think that these hands are some good examples of a player getting frustrated by your three betting and making mistakes.

Scary Board. This guy's range is so huge because he is getting frustrated with me. I call thinking that I am ahead more times than I am behind (against this player in this situation.)

Another hand against the same player. He was clearly frustrated and his bluff made no sense at all.

Another situation where my opponent would have normally thrown away his hand preflop, but called because he figured I was three betting with a huge range.

Three Betting in Cash Games

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Hoyazo's post from yesterday about re-stealing in cash games (3 betting preflop), prompted this post. It started as a comment on his blog but had gotten way too long for a comment.

From Hoy;s Blog:
"All this is to say that so far, reraising the hyperaggroclowns with strong but not the strongest hands has in fact proven to be a winning strategy so far for me. Is Blinders maybe wrong that restealing is -EV in cash games?"

I haven't read Blinders post about re-stealing being -EV in cash games, but I strongly disagree with that statement that re-stealing (3 betting) is -EV for 6 max nl cash games. It may be a correct statement most of the time in full ring nl games though (I think Blinders mainly plays full ring.)

You absolutely have to re-steal in 6 max cash games (mainly with position) for several reasons.

1. The re-steal with position will often narrow the hand range that you are putting your opponent on if he calls and will take down the pot a lot of the time. If he flat calls, you have position for the remaining streets and have a good chance of winning the pot even when you miss.

2. If he never 4 bets OOP without QQ-AA, you can easily lay down to a 4 bet when you know you are beat.

3. I would say 8 out of 10 times when a hyper aggro flat calls your 3 bet preflop (at lower limits) he is folding or shoving to your flop bet which equals more $$ and higher EV because you either win the pot or have a pretty good idea of your hand strength vs. his. (Note: Table/Player dynamics have a huge impact on this statement - know your opponent and your image.)

4. If you never 3 bet without a monster, your monsters will get paid off a lot less than they should. If you are seen as 3 betting lightly, someone is likely to shove on your QQ-AA with something like 99-JJ. They may even flat call your 3 bet preflop and then shove on your overpair with 99-JJ on a low flop or top pair any kicker.

5. Another advantage of 3 betting is that it will cause people to play back at you a lot more. Translation - you will get more action.

6. If you find that your 3 bets start getting 4 bet more than they should, you can tighten up. It usually takes several orbits before most players catch onto the fact that you have tightened up your preflop raising and 3 betting ranges.

Of course, you have to be aware of the better players that realize what you are doing. As you notice them changing the way that they are playing against you , you can adapt and use it to your advantage.

LJ posted a comment on Hoy's 3 betting post asking how to play AK preflop. I am assuming that she meant at a 6 max cash game against a hyper aggro player. If that is the case, I am trying my best to get all of the money in preflop against that type of player. More often than not you are taking down a decent size pot preflop. There are only two hands that you are very far behind (AA,KK) and you have one of each of those cards. You are a coin flip against any pair and may be ahead of a few hands that he might call with - depending on how aggro he is.

I will fold AK preflop against a super tight player that is shoving/betting enough to commit themselves. It is very player dependent.

CTS had a great post a while back on 3 betting and 4 betting preflop. It should be read and re-read by anyone that plays 6 max cash games seriously. I don't do this subject justice at all.

FTOPS #7 Bustout Hand - Opinions

Monday, August 13, 2007

Six Handed - 230 players remaining in FTOPS #7 (144 pay)
Blinds 200/400 w/ 50 ante going up to 250/500 w/50 ante next hand
Out 230 of 1,282 :(

Anyone playing this hand differently in a 6 MAX tourney here - SB vs. BB? Cooler obviously, right? No way to lay down QQ in this spot when this short (or ever) in a 6 MAX tourney? Of course not, but it makes me feel better posting it.

I think that I am going to fold QQ any chance I get now. That is my bustout hand in FTOPS Event #1 and #7 now. :(

Full Tilt Poker Game #3246598228: FTOPS Event #7 (22618626), Table 116 - 200/400 Ante 50 - No Limit Hold'em - 0:01:29 ET - 2007/08/14
Seat 1: cmitch (8,840) - less than half the avg stack
Seat 2: Cippino33 (19,153)
Seat 3: acap11 (13,313)
Seat 4: Rorio (20,663)
Seat 5: Annette_15 (5,321)
Seat 6: johnnyblate3 (15,832)
cmitch antes 50
Cippino33 antes 50
acap11 antes 50
Rorio antes 50
Annette_15 antes 50
johnnyblate3 antes 50
johnnyblate3 posts the small blind of 200
cmitch posts the big blind of 400
The button is in seat #5
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to cmitch [Qh Qs]
Annette_15: paaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaul
Cippino33 has 15 seconds left to act
Annette_15: t0000t
Cippino33 folds
acap11 folds
Rorio folds
Annette_15 folds
johnnyblate3 raises to 1,500
cmitch raises to 4,800
johnnyblate3 raises to 8,100
cmitch raises to 8,790, and is all in
johnnyblate3 calls 690
cmitch shows [Qh Qs]
johnnyblate3 shows [As Ah]
*** FLOP *** [2h 6s 8h]
*** TURN *** [2h 6s 8h] [6d]
*** RIVER *** [2h 6s 8h 6d] [3d]
cmitch shows two pair, Queens and Sixes
johnnyblate3 shows two pair, Aces and Sixes
johnnyblate3 wins the pot (17,880) with two pair, Aces and Sixes
cmitch stands up
The blinds are now 250/500 with an ante of 50
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 17,880 | Rake 0
Board: [2h 6s 8h 6d 3d]
Seat 1: cmitch (big blind) showed [Qh Qs] and lost with two pair, Queens and Sixes
Seat 2: Cippino33 folded before the Flop
Seat 3: acap11 folded before the Flop
Seat 4: Rorio folded before the Flop
Seat 5: Annette_15 (button) folded before the Flop
Seat 6: johnnyblate3 (small blind) showed [As Ah] and won (17,880) with two pair, Aces and Sixes

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness...."

I think that describes this week vs. last week pretty well. I got off to a rough start in the 50K Hands Challenge (click here for 50k hands details) thanks to running horribly. Patience pays off. This week, I think I ran normal, got in a ton of hands (for me) and played great (and won 13+ buy-ins). I lost a few pots were I was a big favorite, but probably not many more than would be expected. I ran a set into an overset when both me and my opponent were deep. None of this phased me this week. I was able to shake off the beats and move on without a second thought.

I was in a zone over the weekend. Things were clicking on all levels. I felt like I was making the right decisions most of the time - proper bet sizing, making tough laydowns, making tough calls when things seemed a little fishy, causing players to commit on draws when they have incredibly horrible odds, etc., etc.

I even decided to try to 6 table on my 17" laptop when I had no distractions. I probably played 2-3 hours while 6 tabling and was able to focus and play well. I have always had problems with more than 4 tables in the past.

Another thing that I did was make some adjustments for 1/2nl. A lot of the adjustments would be -EV at 2/4 or 5/10, but were clearly +EV at certain 1/2nl tables. I often found myself sitting at a table with a ton of calling stations. Raising and three betting didn't work well, so I found myself floating a ton and then shutting down if I missed. These guys would call you all the way down with 3rd pair, so when I hit I would keep betting hard. I, also, flat called a lot more in position instead of three betting and then tried to outplay opponents on the flop with position on them. I'll try to get into a few examples of the difference in play between 1/2 and 2/4 in the next few days.

50K Hands Challenge
Hands Goal - 25,000 hands in 1 month; 5 ptbb/100
Hands Current - 10,017 hands; 4.64 ptb/100
Total current profit/loss = +$1,857.20

I am on track with the number of hands and the ptbb/100 should increase from here. I was just shy of 10ptbb/100 for the hands since last week.

A few hands - I'll try to post more later in the week. There were several that I wanted input on but they kind of got lost in the mix while I was 6 tabling.

This hand is a good example of slowing down to keep the pot smaller and letting a player that likes to bluff keep betting into the pot. The preflop betting is standard. On the flop, I made a smaller bet to try to induce a big raise with a hand like AK or KQ (both well within his range). I didn't think that he had a flush draw because he had a raised the flop in the past with draw. I decided to check-call with the intention of getting a lot in on the river. If I re-raised him on the turn or lead out big, I was probably losing any action. The river was a scare card for me. A10 was definitely a possibility based on how he played the hand. I check called figuring that I was ahead. There was no reason to bet the river. If I bet, he was folding most hands that I beat and raising me with most hands that beat me. If I checked, he might bluff at the pot. I checked and he made an odd bet for him. He usually bet pot on the river with a hand that he thought would get paid off. He was bluffing with his gutshot. I think that slowing down and allowing him to control the pot paid off well here. (A case of knowing your opponent - against some other players this might have been an easy lay down.)

Another example of letting an aggressive opponent bet your hand for you.

These two hands at the same table in the same session were the start of digging out of the hole from last week. - Standard - KK holds up against JJ. - I was priced in, never disguised my hand and still got paid off - cooler for the other guy.

Dem Quads Bitches!!!! Over re-raising for value. There is no way that I would make this size raise against a lot of opponents when this deep. It would be -EV. I had played the hand so weak on all streets that I didn't think he could put me on the a full house and his min raise on the river screamed incredible strength to me. I over shoved thinking that this guy would call the shove with a full house or an Ace or King high flush. I was shocked at the call, but didn't mind it. :)

A Shot of me trying to 6 table - It is still a little mind numbing for me right now.

Graph - 50k Hands Challenge to date (since 8/1) The thing that I like best about the graph is that it looks like the graph of a good stock - higher highs and higher lows.


I wound up directly buying into FTOPS Event #3 - $216 PL Holdem. Nothing exciting happened and I busted out a couple of hours in with top two vs. a set.

I am looking forward to the FTOPS Event $7 -$1k 6 max. I satellited in a couple of weeks ago. This is the FTOPS event that I am the most excited about, especially now that I am getting back into the rhythm of 6 max games. It should be a tough field and the winner will have to get lucky/not unlucky, but it should be fun!!

Good Luck to everyone playing tonight.

About a month and a half ago, I made a post about the new increased poker limits and how the Seminoles had found a creative way around the $100 max buy-in no limit games. Their work around only lasted about 5-6 days before they were forced to go back to $100 max buy-in cash games. I was hoping that they would have kept the increased limits, but wasn't too worried because of the upcoming deadline on their negotiations with the State of Florida. I don't think that they were too worried either.

The Seminole Indians current agreement with the State of Florida allows the following games:

Poker ($5 max bet in limit games/$100 max buy-in no limit games) - these are also allowed in several dog and horse tracks around the state, but in a more limited fashion (time restrictions, etc.)
Bingo Style Slots - At first glance, the slot machines appear to be real Las Vegas style slot machines. In reality, they are complex bingo machines cleverly disguised to look like real slots.
No Table Games
No Sports Betting

Late last year, Broward County (near Miami) voters approved an amendment allowing Las Vegas Style slot machines in their horse tracks - considering Class III gaming. Blackjack, roulette, craps, etc. falls into the same Class III gaming category.

The Seminoles immediately appealed to the state to allow them to add Las Vegas Style slots. Governor Jeb Bush's office ignored the request, so they sued the state through the federal government (Justice Department). When Crist was elected governor, the Justice Department told his office to work out a deal with the Seminoles.

In late June, the Justice Department gave the State of Florida a 60 day deadline to work out a deal with the Seminoles or they would make a decision. The Seminoles asked the Governor's office to allow them to have full Class III gaming and in return the state would get a share of the revenues. If the Justice Department ruled on the case, the Seminoles would at a minimum get Las Vegas Style slots and possibly full Class III gaming without the state getting any revenue.

A couple of days ago, the Miami Herald had an article saying that Crist and the Seminoles had worked out a deal that would allow full Class III gaming. Wooohoooo!!!

A quote from the Miami Herald article:

"In closed-door negotiations with the Seminole Tribe, Gov. Charlie Crist has offered the tribe permission to run Las Vegas-style slot machines at its casinos as well as the exclusive right to run Las Vegas-style card games, like blackjack and baccarat, according to people close to the administration.

In return, the state would get something it has coveted: a piece of the tribe's action from gambling. The tribe pays no state tax because it is a sovereign nation."

"Crist said last week that his top priority in negotiations with the Seminoles is to get as much money as possible.

''We are negotiating with them aggressively because to not do so I think puts Florida taxpayers in a bad situation,'' he said.

''Those additional revenues could help in education, they could help in health and human services and in some areas we're going to need some help in,'' Crist added."

It looks like Florida will have full casino gambling within the next few months. Maybe this will lead the way to some major poker tourneys being held in Hollywood (near Miami) or Tampa. That would be awesome. I am crossing my fingers hoping that it means that 2/5, 5/10, and 10/25 nl games will start being offered. Hopefully, they don't forget poker with the craze of the new table games.

It will be interesting to see how this increases tourism in Florida. Beaches, Disney, Universal, Busch Gardens, Blackjack, Poker - sounds like a vacation with everything for both the kids and adults.

Who knows, a few years from now Florida may be giving Las Vegas a run for it's money.

FTOPS Event #1 - Deep Run

Thursday, August 09, 2007

I was surprised how many players turned out for the $216 FTOPS V Event #1. They blew past the $500k guarantee (2,500 players) by over $300k and 1,600+ players for a total of 4,165 players and a prize pool of $833,000. First place was a hefty (for a $200 tourney) $147k. I have mixed feelings about my 112th place finish ($790). It always stings a little too get so deep and fall short, but it also feels good to go so deep in such a large field.

I appreciate all the rail support last night. I am not going to list everyone because I'm sure that I would forget a few since I wasn't reading the chat box the whole time. It was cool to listen to BuddyDank Radio as they were following Hoy, Julius_Goat, and myself late into the tourney. Alan (RecessRampage) was giving the FTOPS updates - nice work.

I had my table and Hoy's table open. He got ridiculously unlucky late. I think his AA lost to Bracelet Holder MrSmokey1's KQ - all in preflop for a huge pot. Ugggh!!! I'm sure that he will have an awesome tourney recap later today.

There were a few interesting hands early in the tourney (I'll try to look them up later.) I doubled up a little bit after making it into the money. It folded to cutoff and he made a standard 2.5-3x BB raise. I was dealt 66 on the button. The cutoff's bet looked like a steal from where I was sitting, so I shoved. He insta-called with AKs, but my 6s somehow held up. Weeeee. I was sitting on 50k (top 25 stack) with 300 +/- players left. I could be patient and pick my spots.

A little while later the dream hand came up. I was dealt KK in the BB. A middle position player with a stack a little bigger than mine raised 3x the BB. No way was I going to slow play here. I made a pretty good size raise and he shoved. I insta-called and my Kings took down his QQ. Up to 100k in chips.

I used the stack to steal a few pots here and there and built up to 130k, but it wouldn't be long lived.

I want some opinions on how I played the next two hands, especially the bustout hand. The first hand helped setup the dynamics of the bustout hand.

DeuceBuster has a big stack and has been very active with a lot of steals and re-steals. I am dealt 1010 on the button. He makes a standard 2.5x BB raise from the cutoff. Obvious steal right? I raise it up to 22k. It folds back to him and he makes it 72k. I struggled with the fold because I know that he is an aggressive player that is smart enough to possibly put me on a re-steal. He also bet enough where I am going to have to shove or fold and he is committed to calling anything. In the end, I decided that I was either way behind or a coin flip. I didn't want to risk my entire stack on a flip, so I folded.

The next orbit, I am dealt QQ on the button. Blinds 2k/4k. I have 93k. A player in mid-position makes it 12k (3xBB), Duecebuster raises to 39k. I am pretty sure that mid-position is on a steal. I almost folded, but ultimately decided to shove because Deucebuster had been so active with steals and re-steals. I knew that AA and KK were possible, but felt like is range was pretty wide. I shoved and he insta-called with AA. Anyone fold this against this player this late in the tourney? I don't think a case could be made for flat calling preflop because there is 61k in the pot by the time it gets to me. If I flat call, the pot becomes 100k and I only have 54k behind. I am really interested on other thoughts on the hand. I think that I would have folded this hand in this spot against a lot of other players.

FTOPS Starts Tonight & FTOPS #1 Super Sats

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The FTOPS starts tonight with Event #1 $216 buy-in $500k Guarantee. I took a break from the cash games last night and signed up for the $55 Super Sat to FTOPS #1 (guaranteeing 100 seats). It took the place of the regular nightly $50/$50k on FTP. I had read on Hoy's blog about how the FTOPS #1 $11 turbo rebuy at 9:50 was a great value because a lot of the players don't rebuy and bust out before the end of the rebuy period, so I signed up for that satellite also.

I won my entry in Event #1 in both of the satellites. The 2nd entry paid $216 cash.

I jumped out to a big stack early in the $11 rebuy and bounced up and down as we got near the bubble, until the following hand came up. Blinds huge. One limper to my right. I shove with JJ (barley having him covered) he instantly calls with K9s. I'm not sure WTF he was thinking. The blinds were high, but that was a horrible play in so many ways - the limp, the overcall, etc. I felt good when I flopped a set. That feeling quickly went away when the turn brought him a flush draw. The river was a beautiful Jack - DEM QUADS BITCHES!!!!!!!


I took a chance late in the $55 super sat. I had a below average stack with about 280 players remaining (150 seats). A player in middle position (he had been raising almost every hand, but still had a little less than average stack) made it 3 times the BB. I shoved with 99 on the button. He had to call a little more than double his bet, but making the call would leave him around 5 Big Blinds. He instantly called with KQs. My nines held up. I coasted from there without any danger of not winning a 2nd seat.

Good Luck to everyone that is playing in the FTOPS tonight!!!

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Monday, August 06, 2007

I got off to a horrible start in my 50k hand challenge (down 4 buy-ins) thanks to running pretty horribly. I think that I need to play tighter in the $1/$2 NL games than I do in the $2/$4 games. There are a lot of players that will pay you off when you have the best hand, whether you have been playing tight or not. I have been running really horrible at $1/$2, but am confident that I can pick up the pace.

I have been trying to use good table selection, but wound up adding my name to a ton of waiting lists and then just joining the tables with open seats. I was able to follow a few bad players around.

The Good
There were a few bright spots despite the horrible start.

A good example of how following around a bad player can pay off. This guy called off the last of his stack drawing to 4 outs. This is the same player that couldn't lay down ANY hands in an earlier session and wound up sucking out on me a few times.

Standard - flopping a set vs. an overpair.

The Bad

I should have laid this hand down easily. I think frustration got the best of me here. This player was prone to calling just about any raise with any two and I had seen him shove a lot. Easy fold right? :)

Unfortunate hand. I was trying to milk him on the turn, but saved money because he wouldn't have folded the turn and he way underbet the river.

I don't think that I could have laid this down - possibly against this particular player, but doubtful in a 6 max game. I would be interested to hear anyone's thoughts on this being an easy lay down.

The Ugly

This hand set the tone of the first few days (happened in first 200 hands of the challenge) - KK vs. JJ all in pre. Jack on Flop.

Top pair with flush draw and representing an overpair. This was one hand against the same player as the 1st hand in the Good category. I knew that he was incapable of folding and sure that I had the best hand on the turn.

Horrible play by small blind gets rewarded. I flop two pair in BB against his overpair. All the money goes in on the flop and the turn brings a set for him.

I hate short stacks - unfortunately they are all over the place in the 1/2 games.. Two hands were I got in as a dominant favorite against short stacks.

I think that there were only a couple of hands that I should have played differently. I got my money in with the best hand most of the time and wound up down 4 buy-ins over almost 2,500 hands.

My sister-in-law took the kids to her house this weekend, so my wife and I were able to go out both Friday night and Saturday night - a rare treat. I cleaned out the garage on Sunday and did some work Sunday night. This all added up to not getting any as many hands as I had hoped. I plan on getting in a lot more this week.

You've Gotta Luv Her

Sunday, August 05, 2007

I just watched the rerun of the Poker After Dark episode with Lindgren, Gordon, Ivey, Harman, and Jennifer Tilly. I am still dumb founded by how horrible she played this hand. I never bet a full house when it gets checked to me.

I'm sure everyone has watched this, but even watching it a 2nd time is good for a laugh.

50K Hands Challenge

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

I mentioned a few posts ago that I need a challenge to motivate myself to play cash games since they are more profitable than tourneys (for me at least). I was kicking around a few ideas - a monetary target, number of hands, specific ptbb/100 rate, etc. etc. I think that I finally settled on a challenge that will help me do a few things - put in a ton of hands (relatively), stay focused, remain at a specific level for a set amount of time, and prove that I can be profitable at different levels.

I am a part time player with a job that often requires me to work a lot of hours and I have 2 young kids. My poker playing time is basically at night after the kids go to sleep. The maximum number of tables that I can comfortably play is four. This all adds up to a monthly hand target that may seem small compared to a lot of players, but it is actually a ton of hands in a month for me.

So, on to the challenge. I want to achieve the following goals between now and the end of September (2 months):

1. Play 25k hands of 1/2nl 6 max in August.

2. Play 25k hands of 2/4nl 6 max in September.

3. Average over 5ptbb/100.

4. I will not move up in levels before I reach at least 25k hands played at each level, no matter how good I am doing.

5. MTTs - I will still play some mtts for a break from cash games, but won't play any tourney over $100 unless I satellite in.

I have done a couple of things to try to prepare for this challenge:

1. I haven't played much 1/2nl in a while, so I have been datamining quite a bit over the last week and will continue to do so.

2. I have been watching a ton of the cardrunners videos. It has helped to watch videos from all of the different pros and guest pros to see a lot of different points of view/how different people play similar situations. If you aren't a cardrunners member and you play cash games, you are missing out. Go signup now - you won't regret it.

I will probably start this Friday and try to get a ton of hands in this weekend. I don't anticipate the FTOPS getting in the way because I am probably only going to play 2-3 events.

I am doing this to prove to myself that I can beat each level. I will decide at the end of the September whether I will continue the challenge for 3/6, 5/10, etc.

I plan on posting updates on Mondays or Tuesdays.

**EDIT (in response to DP's comment; I'm sure a few others are wondering as well) :

He asked about me playing 25/50 a few months ago. It was actually 6 months ago - Feb. 25/50 was never my regular game - 5/10 was though. I took a few shots at 25/50 - finished down around $2k in the end. I went on a bad run in March/April at 5/10 and dropped back down to 2/4. 2/4NL has been the game that I have been able to consistently beat.

I spent a lot of time/bankroll in May and June trying to win my way to the WSOP without success. After that, I withdrew a decent amount of my bankroll and took it to Las Vegas. I did well in the cash games, but horrible in the mtts/super sats and wound up finishing up $800 on the trip (less than the total cost of the trip).

I do not want to make a large deposit back into my online poker accounts, so I am undertaking this challenge. I hope it accomplishes a few things:

1. Force me to play more cash games/less tourneys.
2. Keep me from jumping up stakes because I am playing/running well.
3. Rapidly build my online bankroll back up.
4. Prove to myself that I can maintain 5ptbb/100 at several different levels.

Thanks for the comment DP. I should have probably said all of this in my original post.