Monday, December 31, 2007

Some Resolutions

In no particular order, here are a few short-term goals I have for 2008.

Pass the Bar exam.

Improve my physical fitness by an order of magnitude - I'm not joking around with this one, I've recently upgraded my hockey and ski equipment.

Find more time for my creative writing hobby.

Vastly improve my online poker results through a combination of improved discipline (bankroll management and a stop-loss!), organization (actually maintaining a database and profiling opponents more carefully) and game selection (gotta pick on big fish when I find them, and branch out more beyond 6-max and full ring NLHE).

Do well in the blonkament tourneys.

Attend the next WPBT gathering.

Satellite into a large live buy-in event.

Regenerate the reputation of my fake baseball team.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

TOC report, part one

Busted out about halfway through the tournament. Disappointing given that I was able to double up early on courtesy of a set over set situation.

More to come once I prepare the screen caps of some key hands.

Okay, here we go. As one would expect, we have a pretty tough lineup of players. I'm pretty pleased to have Fuel, Astin and Mitch to my right. My first hand of the night and I raise the almighty jackace in EP but get three callers. I decide against making a continuation bet on the flop and Chad takes it down using his positional advantage as a nice weapon.

I stick to my plan of opening with suited connectors early in the tournament in hopes of hitting big hands to accumulate chips. Sadly, I don't really get a lot of action here but a 300 chip pot here and there is welcome.

I three-bet Fuel with AdKd out of the small blind but get no action.

I check-raise with second pair in a limped pot and am able to take it down for another nice little pot as I steadily grow my chip stack up.

Then, the fireworks really sparkled as a big pot fountained into being:

Jamy checked bottom set on the flop and I naturally led out with a pot-building bet with middle set. He check-raised, I re-raised, he jammed, and I call of the rest of my stack leaving Jamy with 400 or so chips behind. Fortunately for me, he had a hand which I had crushed -- I was a little worried about going to the felt with the fourth nuts (one higher set, two possible straights on board) but I can't fold once the fourth bet is put in. My hand stands up and I've accomplished my goal of an early double up to nearly 6500 chips. Life is good.

Now armed with a big stack, I resolve not to spew chips but to throw my weight around only in situations where I can sell a plausible story, like here where I opened for a raise with pocket tens and get a call from Magician on the button along with one hitchhiker in early position.

So I put in a solid check-raise on the flop and take down another nice pot. That move has worked out well so far as people seem to be able to fold medium-strength hands so far in the ToC.

Then I get involved in a fairly big pot with the tricky Fuel, who is capable of playing any two cards at any time. He opened with a standard 3x BB raise to 150, I popped it up to 385 with 99. He called and we see a hammer flop! He check-raises my continuation bet to 1320 and I reluctantly call, with the sinking realization that I'm probably up against trip sevens or an overpair.

Fuel jams the turn for nearly 3400 more and I have no choice but to fold.

Then we get to the hand of the tournament for me. This is a sticky situation where I have to critique the inability of most bloggers to ever fold an overpair to the board. I mean, they never ever will do it. Even with an 18K trip for two to Australia on the line!

Now, I'm sure huntsvegas is a very nice person. But he was playing so squeaky tight that he was telegraphing his premium hands with a neon sign, so after I opened with 5h7h for a raise (again part of my strategy early on in the tournament, especially since I still had a lot of chips), I called his re-raise to see a flop. I already had in mind that I wasn't giving up on this pot easily. I put him on a narrow range of premium hands: 99+, AQs+.

The flop comes down a scary J65, all spades. I evaluate for a few moments: okay, I've got third pair. There's no way I'm good here, but I can still plausibly represent having outflopped 99+ or AK. After all, I opened, I called a re-raise out of position, and I've only shown down monster hands so far; ergo, I have a good table image to run a bluff. So I let the 15 second warning flash, and I check with the intention of check-raising. Unfortunately, it's checked behind me.

The turn is the Jh, pairing the board. Frankly, that's a great card for me. So I bet out 580, just under half-pot, trying to make it look like an extraction bet. I get a fairly quick call.

The river is a blank, the 7c. Another good card for me. So I fire a second shell of 1180. Our villain goes in the tank for the full 30 seconds of extra time, and eventually finds a call with ...

the classic overpair, which is only about the 313456th nuts on this board. Good grief! Why do 99% of the participants in a blonkament find it impossible to fold an overpair, especially when you are playing for real stakes? At least he gave it some thought, but he sounded like an idiot in chat when he admitted that he put me on ace-jack or king-jack for trips. (Which, y'know, beats aces up nine ways from Sunday!)

So I lose a big pot and am scrambling regain my footing.

More in the next installment to follow.

Comments are especially welcome on that last hand.

It's Time

The Tournament of Champions is on tonight.

To say I'm excited is an understatement. I hope to bring my "A" game and take this tournament by storm. There will be a tough field and I'm going to have to dodge some bullets to make it through.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

SnG variance of the good kind

You know things are going well when . . .

You 3-bet with JJ on the button in the early middle stages of a turbo and get two callers who put their entire stacks in the middle preflop. You have them both covered. Both of whom have Ax (AK, AT) hands. Boom! Ace on the flop. Boom! Jack on the river. Proceed to coast to a first place finish.

You get all the money in with A8s headsup with a 2:1 chiplead and outdraw AQ to win another SnG.

You survive losing with A9 vs. A8 on the bubble to hang on and finish second.

You get all the money in with 8d3d (snowman taterlegs!) with a slight chiplead headsup on a 45Q flop with two diamonds. Opponent had called your preflop raise OOP with 45o. You promptly see the 7d on the turn and magically fail to river the 6d for the straight flush, but who cares? Chalk up another victory in the SnG Challenge!

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Bump in the SnG Road

This was an unfortunate first for me -- I busted out in the very first hand of a single-table turbo SnG.

Please guess what our villain's holding was. Results below. If you can guess correctly without cheating, I'll ship you a holiday gift of some kind.

Preflop: Hero is CO with , . SB posts a blind of 15.
3 folds, MP2 calls, MP3 calls, Hero raises to 165, 3 folds, MP2 folds, MP3 calls.

Flop: , , (2 players)
MP3 checks, Hero checks. (time to slowplay and hopefully induce villain to bluff)

Turn: (2 players)
MP3 checks, Hero bets 300, MP3 raises to 1305, Hero raises 1335 (All-In), MP3 calls 30 (All-In). (looks like my plan worked!)

River: (2 players, 2 all-in)

MP3 doesn't show.
Hero has Ks Kh (two pair, kings and threes).
Outcome: Hero wins

Villain had 6d5h. He rivered an inside straight.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Set Mining Gone Bad

I had a failure of execution early in the Big Game which sent me to the rail.

I limped in with pocket eights in a multiway pot. Five of us saw a K82 flop, two hearts. There was a small lead out by someone in early position, and I just called, hoping to jam any non-threatening turn. Sure enough three of us saw the turn and the flush completed when the 7h came down. A suspiciously small bet was made by the EP player, which I called and then a LP player who made a decent-sized raise to 2000, and the EP player jammed. I overcalled (!) and the LP folded.

EP showed Jh3h for the turned flush -- which I absolutely knew he had -- and I didn't fill up on the river.

Just an appalling blunder. I need to be able to make that laydown.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Raines in '08

The time is ripe for me to whole-heartedly endorse this fine project: Raines for '08!

It's no coincidence that my fake Montreal Expos are managed by Tim "Rock" Raines. I grew up watching his spectacular exploits on TV as a young baseball fan in Toronto. Whilst I'm still a diehard Blue Jays fan, there is no denying that I turn to the Expos when it comes to most of my favourite all-time players. Andre Dawson and Tim Raines head that list. They exemplified all the most admirable qualities of athletic performance. Both demonstrated true passion for the game of baseball whilst exhibiting true elegance in their pursuit of playing the game in its purest form. They were elite competitors who did spectacular things on the baseball diamond.

I just hope both are elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

But in a very important way, that outcome is irrelevant. They are already in my personal Hall of Fame and that's final.

Waiting for Godot

It's only about three weeks behind schedule, but I finally have my student articles officially approved by the Law Society. Yay.

Of course, they still haven't told me when I'll be taking my Bar exams, but I'm hoping to get them out of the way sooner rather than later. I want clear sailing when I plan my first trip to Las Vegas, preferably in June to meet some fellow poker fanatics who also happen to be invisible friends.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Mookie recap

Here is a recap of the notable hands I played in the Mookie, Fuel-style (check out his recap of his recent exploits in the BC Poker Championships main event for the template I used).

[Edited at bottom for the Astin quotient.]

Hopefully this addresses some of the mild criticism levelled my way by the estimable Hoy, whose quest to win the Mookie continues, over in his recap of the final table.

Below are some hand histories complete with annotations of why I decided to play those important situations the way I did.

Key Hand #1

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Qs Kc]
actyper calls 50
cmitch calls 50
PirateLawyer checks - I don't want to juice the pot playing out-of-position against two players, so it's time to slowplay and hopefully trap someone
*** FLOP *** [5c Kh 6h] -- okay here we have a limped pot and I have hit the flop nicely. I figure to be good here and want to trap.
PirateLawyer checks
actyper checks
cmitch bets 100
PirateLawyer calls 100 -- no need to raise here
actyper folds -- clearly he whiffed this flop
*** TURN *** [5c Kh 6h] [8c]
PirateLawyer checks
cmitch bets 275
PirateLawyer has 15 seconds left to act
PirateLawyer calls 275 -- Mitch is showing more interest in this pot than I would like, but I'm going to continue here. If he had bet a different amount - either less or more - I probably check-raise
*** RIVER *** [5c Kh 6h 8c] [5d]
PirateLawyer checks
cmitch: horrible river - interesting comment, to say the least!
cmitch checks
*** SHOW DOWN ***
cmitch shows [6s 8d] two pair, Eights and Sixes
PirateLawyer shows [Qs Kc] two pair, Kings and Fives
PirateLawyer wins the pot (925) with two pair, Kings and Fives

So this was a classic suck/re-suck hand where I successfully trapped Mitch on the flop, he outdrew me, but got counterfeited on the river. Winning this hand got me to over 3700 in chips instead of being down closer to 2000 -- a large swing.

Hand #2

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [7s As]
actyper raises to 520, and is all in
PirateLawyer calls 470
actyper shows [Ks Qh]
PirateLawyer shows [7s As]
*** FLOP *** [3s 4d 6s]
*** TURN *** [3s 4d 6s] [3d]
*** RIVER *** [3s 4d 6s 3d] [9d]
actyper shows a pair of Threes
PirateLawyer shows a pair of Threes
PirateLawyer wins the pot (1,065) with a pair of Threes

Simple little hand where I called a jam by a shorty and my ace-high stood up. That got me up to 4300.

Hand #3

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [9h Ah]
cmitch raises to 210
jimdniacc calls 210
PirateLawyer calls 210
*** FLOP *** [Qs Kh 2c]
cmitch checks
jimdniacc checks
PirateLawyer checks - no need to bet out here on this scary board
*** TURN *** [Qs Kh 2c] [4h]
cmitch checks
jimdniacc checks
PirateLawyer checks - I'll happily take the free card
*** RIVER *** [Qs Kh 2c 4h] [5h] - gin!
cmitch bets 300 - wrong time to finally lead out
jimdniacc folds
PirateLawyer has 15 seconds left to act
PirateLawyer raises to 950 - I hope this bet size doesn't scare him off
cmitch folds - drat!
PirateLawyer mucks
PirateLawyer wins the pot (1,320)

I get to close the preflop action here and play a speculative hand multiway for its nut flush potential. Sure enough I get two free cards to get there, but my value raise isn't called. I chip up again, now to 5100.

Hand #4

At this point I've been moved to a table with a lot of chips in play, especially those moved around by iam23skidoo and Waffles. We played several big pots together throughout the middle stages of the tournament, as you will see.

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Ad Ks]
PirateLawyer calls 80 -- I figure to try the limp/re-raise if I'm allowed
NewinNov raises to 1,020, and is all in
PirateLawyer calls 940 -- easy call against a shorty's pushing range
NewinNov shows [As Qh]
PirateLawyer shows [Ad Ks]
*** FLOP *** [3d Td Jh]
*** TURN *** [3d Td Jh] [6c]
*** RIVER *** [3d Td Jh 6c] [4h]

My kicker plays and I chip up to 6200.

Hand #5

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Ac Qd]
iam23skidoo raises to 840
SirFWALGMan calls 840
PirateLawyer raises to 6,474, and is all in
PirateLawyer wins the pot (2,700)

I pull off a squeeze play and take it down. Up to 8300.

Hand #6

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Qc Ks]
PirateLawyer raises to 420
iam23skidoo raises to 960
PirateLawyer calls 540 - I'm priced in to call and could well have the best hand. My hand also plays well postflop.
*** FLOP *** [Ah Td Kc]
iam23skidoo bets 1,440
PirateLawyer has 15 seconds left to act
PirateLawyer raises to 3,400 -- good spot to show strength as I was the original PF raiser
iam23skidoo folds
PirateLawyer wins the pot (4,920)

I break the 10K mark in chips, and am one of the chipleaders. skidoo likes to take stabs at pots with air and is able to fold when he is caught out.

Hand #7

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Qh Ah]
DaBag raises to 360
PirateLawyer calls 360
*** FLOP *** [2s 3h 9c]
DaBag bets 600 -- standard c-bet
PirateLawyer raises to 1,500 -- on this flop I think I can snip it off using position and my stack size as weapons. I am putting DaBag to a decision for all his chips here but am only risking a small portion of my stack, as I can fold to a 3-bet.
DaBag has requested TIME
DaBag folds
PirateLawyer wins the pot (2,100)

I chip up to nearly 12K.

Hand #8

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Ad 7d]
SirFWALGMan raises to 600
PirateLawyer calls 400
*** FLOP *** [Ac As 2d]
SirFWALGMan checks
PirateLawyer checks -- time to slowplay
*** TURN *** [Ac As 2d] [9d]
SirFWALGMan bets 400
PirateLawyer calls 400 -- easy call, don't want to scare him off
*** RIVER *** [Ac As 2d 9d] [Td]
SirFWALGMan bets 1,200
PirateLawyer raises to 2,400 -- time to raise for value
SirFWALGMan calls 1,200
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 6,800 | Rake 0
Seat 6: SirFWALGMan (small blind) mucked [Th Qh] - two pair, Aces and Tens
Seat 7: PirateLawyer (big blind) showed [Ad 7d] and won (6,800) with a flush, Ace high

I extracted maximum value here, obviously. Up to 14,400.

Hand #9

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Qs Ad]
iam23skidoo raises to 720
SirFWALGMan folds
PirateLawyer raises to 2,100 -- easy 3-betting hand vs. skidoo's range0
iam23skidoo calls 1,380
*** FLOP *** [Jh 9d 3d]
iam23skidoo checks
PirateLawyer bets 3,300 -- a strong c-bet is essential to pick up this pot
iam23skidoo folds

I chip up to 17K.

Hand #10

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Kd Ah]
SirFWALGMan raises to 720
PirateLawyer raises to 16,885, and is all in
SirFWALGMan calls 3,409, and is all in
PirateLawyer shows [Kd Ah]
SirFWALGMan shows [Kc Jc]
*** FLOP *** [2d Th Qc]
*** TURN *** [2d Th Qc] [4s]
*** RIVER *** [2d Th Qc 4s] [8h]
PirateLawyer shows Ace King high
SirFWALGMan shows King Queen high
PirateLawyer wins the pot (8,818) with Ace King high

Pretty easy jam now that the antes have started, and I get a loose call from Waffles and bust him. Up to 21K.

Hand #11

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Js Ah]
PirateLawyer raises to 638
jamyhawk raises to 1,036 - bizarre raise
PirateLawyer calls 398 - priced in and I can re-evaluate on the flop
*** FLOP *** [Jd 2d 3d]
jamyhawk checks
PirateLawyer checks - scary flop for TPTK
*** TURN *** [Jd 2d 3d] [8h]
jamyhawk bets 500
PirateLawyer raises to 1,750 - time to find out where I am at
jamyhawk calls 1,250
*** RIVER *** [Jd 2d 3d 8h] [4h]
jamyhawk bets 1,000 - suspicious bet
PirateLawyer calls 1,000 - this is a crying call
*** SHOW DOWN ***
jamyhawk shows [9d Ad] a flush, Ace high
PirateLawyer mucks
jamyhawk wins the pot (7,867) with a flush, Ace high

I get 3-bet preflop by a worse ace who flops the nuts, and I turn into a payoff wizard.
Down to just under 17K.

I make a big laydown to skidoo with an unimproved AK on a threatening board, and find myself down to 11K. I made the occcasional blind steal but am pretty card dead for a while.

Hand #12

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [7h 7c]
Drizztdj raises to 1,500
PirateLawyer calls 1,500 -- at the outer range of what I can call, but this is the first real hand I've seen in a long while
*** FLOP *** [7s As 5s]
Drizztdj bets 7,230, and is all in
PirateLawyer calls 7,230 -- well, this is a pretty easy call, but do I have to worry about a flush?
Drizztdj shows [Ad Jd] -- thankfully, no
PirateLawyer shows [7h 7c]
*** TURN *** [7s As 5s] [7d] -- DQB!!!
*** RIVER *** [7s As 5s 7d] [8c]
Drizztdj shows two pair, Aces and Sevens
PirateLawyer shows four of a kind, Sevens
PirateLawyer wins the pot (18,610) with four of a kind, Sevens

Chips me up nicely to 20K. I win a couple more pots preflop uncontested with AKs and KQs.

Hand #13

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Ac Ah]
iam23skidoo raises to 2,200 - I am ecstatic to see a raise in front of me
PirateLawyer raises to 5,500 - time to build a pot
iam23skidoo calls 3,300 - he obliges
*** FLOP *** [3h 5h As] - gin!
iam23skidoo bets 12,200 - I am so thankful he hit this flop
PirateLawyer raises to 15,492, and is all in - this hand plays itself
iam23skidoo calls 3,292
PirateLawyer shows [Ac Ah]
iam23skidoo shows [6s Ad] - I'm stunned by this holding
*** TURN *** [3h 5h As] [7s] - now I have to sweat an inside straight
*** RIVER *** [3h 5h As 7s] [2d]
PirateLawyer shows three of a kind, Aces
iam23skidoo shows a pair of Aces
PirateLawyer wins the pot (43,184) with three of a kind, Aces

I finally get action on a premium hand and skidoo spews off most of his stack to me. I now have a large stack of 43K.

I then lose a medium-sized pot vs. pocket fives where I played too weakly. The board had several overcards but missed my high-carded hand.

I get a walk in the BB with KK. Sniff.

Hand #14

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Kh As]
jjok calls 800
PirateLawyer raises to 2,400
Proehl raises to 5,865, and is all in
PirateLawyer calls 3,465 -- easy call here
Proehl shows [Ts Tc]
PirateLawyer shows [Kh As]
*** FLOP *** [3c 5d Qh]
*** TURN *** [3c 5d Qh] [Qs]
*** RIVER *** [3c 5d Qh Qs] [8s]
Proehl shows two pair, Queens and Tens
PirateLawyer shows a pair of Queens
Proehl wins the pot (14,230) with two pair, Queens and Tens

I lose a race. Down to 32K.

I get a walk in the BB with 25s.

Hand #15

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Qh Qd]
PirateLawyer raises to 2,300
whiskigrl raises to 8,223
PirateLawyer raises to 14,146
whiskigrl calls 1, and is all in
PirateLawyer shows [Qh Qd]
whiskigrl shows [Ac Tc]
Uncalled bet of 5,922 returned to PirateLawyer
*** FLOP *** [As 4d 9s]
*** TURN *** [As 4d 9s] [5d]
*** RIVER *** [As 4d 9s 5d] [9c]
PirateLawyer shows two pair, Queens and Nines
whiskigrl shows two pair, Aces and Nines
whiskigrl wins the pot (17,448) with two pair, Aces and Nines

I took a pretty sick beat here, but this was the second time whiskigirl had 3-bet with a marginal hand. This time she got lucky. Down to 25K. Big suckout #1.

A few hands later, I 4-bet AQs preflop vs. skidoo, and this time he sensibly folds to my large raise. Up to 36K.

Hand #16

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Jd Ks]
iam23skidoo raises to 4,500
PirateLawyer calls 4,500
*** FLOP *** [4c Kc Ts]
iam23skidoo checks
PirateLawyer has 15 seconds left to act
PirateLawyer bets 11,878
iam23skidoo folds
PirateLawyer wins the pot (11,500)

As the antes (now at 125) and blinds rise (now 500/1000), the pots are worth contesting more, so I use position (and a good top pair!) on skidoo to take away this pot on the flop.
Up to 41K.

I win some pots preflop with JTs and A7s and JJ.

Hand #17

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Ks Kd]
Proehl raises to 5,222, and is all in
iam23skidoo calls 4,622
PirateLawyer raises to 12,000 - time to create a side pot
iam23skidoo calls 6,778
*** FLOP *** [Ts 4d 3d]
iam23skidoo bets 7,200
PirateLawyer raises to 34,320, and is all in - no fooling around any longer
iam23skidoo folds
PirateLawyer shows [Ks Kd]
Proehl shows [Td Ah]
*** TURN *** [Ts 4d 3d] [7c]
*** RIVER *** [Ts 4d 3d 7c] [Qd]
whiskigrl: lol
PirateLawyer wins the side pot (27,956)
PirateLawyer shows a pair of Kings
Proehl shows a pair of Tens
PirateLawyer wins the main pot (16,566) with a pair of Kings

I chip up to 71K, and am chipleader by a large margin.

The very next hand I get QQ and take down a good pot with a flop bet vs. skidoo. I am the proverbial card rack right now.
Up to 80K.

I double up a shorty with QT vs. A3.

Hand #18

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Jh Ac]
PirateLawyer raises to 3,000
BrainMc calls 1,800
*** FLOP *** [9d Jd Qh]
BrainMc checks
PirateLawyer bets 3,600
BrainMc raises to 7,200
PirateLawyer raises to 29,100
BrainMc calls 6,530, and is all in
PirateLawyer shows [Jh Ac]
BrainMc shows [Tc Kc]
*** TURN *** [9d Jd Qh] [5s]
*** RIVER *** [9d Jd Qh 5s] [3d]
PirateLawyer shows a pair of Jacks
BrainMc shows a straight, King high

I double up the same shorty when he flops a straight. Poker can be rigged, and my preflop raise was probably too small. Down to 54K.

I lose two small pots to skidoo when he spikes a card he needs on the turn.
I fold to a re-steal from whiskigirl when I open-raise with JTs.
Down to 36K. I am pretty card dead at this point. We are nearly at the final table with only 15 players left.

Hand #19

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Kd Ac]
PirateLawyer raises to 5,800
heffmike raises to 19,276, and is all in
PirateLawyer calls 13,476
heffmike shows [As 4s]
PirateLawyer shows [Kd Ac]
*** FLOP *** [3s 4h 9c]
*** TURN *** [3s 4h 9c] [6d]
*** RIVER *** [3s 4h 9c 6d] [Js]
heffmike shows a pair of Fours
PirateLawyer shows Ace King high
heffmike wins the pot (39,552) with a pair of Fours

This obviously was a pretty sick beat to take, as it crippled me right before the final table. Nothing I can do to avoid this, really. Down to 15K and I am the short stack headed to the final table with only 14K in chips, with antes of 250 and blinds of 1000/2000.
I run good! Big suckout #2.

Hand #20

I fold until ir reaches my BB. My old nemesis skidoo raises and I have to go here, as his range is pretty wide and I am critically short-stacked.

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Qs 8s]
iam23skidoo raises to 8,000
PirateLawyer raises to 12,896, and is all in
iam23skidoo calls 4,896
PirateLawyer shows [Qs 8s]
iam23skidoo shows [9d Td]
*** FLOP *** [Tc 6c Qc]
*** TURN *** [Tc 6c Qc] [6d]
*** RIVER *** [Tc 6c Qc 6d] [3c]
PirateLawyer wins the pot (29,042) with two pair, Queens and Sixes

Now I take can a breath, as I am no longer desperate. 30K, now just a bit below average.

I come over the top of skidoo with a pair of sixes in late position and chip up to 45K.

Hand #21

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [9c 6c]
hoyazo raises to 6,000
PirateLawyer calls 5,000
*** FLOP *** [2d 7d Tc]
PirateLawyer bets 7,700
hoyazo folds
PirateLawyer wins the pot (15,500)

Hoy is on a rampage and just busted skidoo. He's the big chipleader with 117K.
I know he has to be played back at, or he'll just run the table over. So I defend my blind and semi-bluff to take it down. I make this play against Hoy in part because I figure he knows how to find the fold button and wants to protect his stack. Now at 51K, in 3rd place with 6 players left.

Hand #22

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Ah 9s]
hoyazo raises to 7,200
PirateLawyer has 15 seconds left to act
PirateLawyer calls 4,800
*** FLOP *** [4c Tc 7h]
PirateLawyer checks
hoyazo bets 11,000
PirateLawyer raises to 26,500
hoyazo folds
PirateLawyer wins the pot (39,400)

Hoy attacks my blind again, and instead of 3-betting preflop with the likely best hand, I go with my instincts and try a check-raise on the flop. It works, and I thought it was a high percentage play given what I'd seen from my earlier confrontation with him. Up to 76K and I'm comfortably in second place, right behind Hoy's 84K stack.

I come over the top of Hoy with a pair of fours preflop with a large raise and take down another nice pot. Now chipleader with 87K. Hoy's open-raising range is pretty wide, as I know he likes to play aggressively short-handed and I use position and my own large stack size ruthlessly to exploit this.

Hoy gets hurt when his AK loses to NightRanger's pocket sixes. The latter spikes a set on the flop to lockdown the hand.

Hand #23

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Qc 6s]
PirateLawyer raises to 5,500 - a rare light blind steal from me as my stack size is formidable
BrainMc calls 3,100
*** FLOP *** [8d Qd Ah]
BrainMc checks
PirateLawyer checks - I am trying to exercise some pot control here and do a delayed c-bet on the turn
*** TURN *** [8d Qd Ah] [6c]
BrainMc checks
PirateLawyer bets 8,800 -- spiked two pair, so bet for value, hoping it looks like an attempt to buy the pot
BrainMc calls 8,800
*** RIVER *** [8d Qd Ah 6c] [8c]
BrainMc bets 12,446, and is all in
PirateLawyer calls 12,446 - I hate this river card but make the crying call
*** SHOW DOWN ***
BrainMc shows [Qs Ks] two pair, Queens and Eights
PirateLawyer shows [Qc 6s] two pair, Queens and Eights
BrainMc ties for the pot (28,246) with two pair, Queens and Eights
PirateLawyer ties for the pot (28,246) with two pair, Queens and Eights

Unfortunate that my two pair got counterfeited, but this outcome could have been much, much worse.

Hand #24

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [9d 9h]
PirateLawyer raises to 8,800
hoyazo raises to 36,904, and is all in
PirateLawyer calls 28,104 -- Hoy wants to play for his stack, and I am willing to oblige him as I have a solid hand
hoyazo shows [Qc Ac]
PirateLawyer shows [9d 9h] - classic race
*** FLOP *** [9s Jh 3s] - boom! spiked a set
*** TURN *** [9s Jh 3s] [4d]
*** RIVER *** [9s Jh 3s 4d] [Ks]
hoyazo shows Ace King high
PirateLawyer shows three of a kind, Nines
PirateLawyer wins the pot (76,808) with three of a kind, Nines

Folding to his raise wasn't really an option. This is a winner-take-all tournament and I have to gamble here. By coming out best here I set myself up in an excellent position to win; if I had lost, I still would have had a playable chip stack.

Now up to 130K and a comfortable chip lead.

I win a pot uncontested with AK.

I 3-bet with A9s and win a pot vs. Gilain preflop.

Hand #25

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Ah Kc]
Gilain calls 1,500
PirateLawyer checks
*** FLOP *** [9s 2c 3h]
Gilain bets 7,200
PirateLawyer calls 7,200 - call in position, planning to make a future play at this pot
*** TURN *** [9s 2c 3h] [Td]
Gilain checks
PirateLawyer checks - I sense some weakness here and plan to make a play on the river with a delayed bluff
*** RIVER *** [9s 2c 3h Td] [6h]
Gilain bets 15,000
PirateLawyer has 15 seconds left to act
PirateLawyer raises to 42,000 - execute the bluff
Gilain has 15 seconds left to act
Gilain folds
Uncalled bet of 27,000 returned to PirateLawyer
PirateLawyer shows [Ah Kc] Ace King high
PirateLawyer wins the pot (51,600)

A rare time where I slowplayed AK preflop. I sensed weakness and put in the river raise to buy this pot. My read proved accurate. Up to 160K.

Hand #26

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [9s Jh]
PirateLawyer raises to 11,000
heffmike calls 7,000
*** FLOP *** [2c Ts Js]
PirateLawyer checks - with top pair I am check-raising all-in here, no question
heffmike bets 23,500
PirateLawyer raises to 47,000
heffmike calls 10,004, and is all in
PirateLawyer shows [9s Jh]
heffmike shows [Kd Qs]
Uncalled bet of 13,496 returned to PirateLawyer
*** TURN *** [2c Ts Js] [Kc] - doh!
*** RIVER *** [2c Ts Js Kc] [2h]

I double up heffmike here when he hits his big draw on the turn. Now all 3 stacks are roughly even in chips.

I get KK and take down a nice pot vs. Gilain after we see a 88J flop after he called my preflop raise. Back up to 150K, which gives me almost half the chips in play.

I win a medium-sized pot with KQ when I represent the turned ace in position on a 779A board.

Hand #27

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [4s Kd]
Gilain calls 2,000
PirateLawyer checks - I could raise here but am happy to see a flop in position
*** FLOP *** [4c Ah 3s]
Gilain bets 8,000
PirateLawyer raises to 16,000 - I figure I'm good here
Gilain calls 8,000
*** TURN *** [4c Ah 3s] [6c]
Gilain checks
PirateLawyer checks - time to exercise some pot control
*** RIVER *** [4c Ah 3s 6c] [3d]
Gilain checks
PirateLawyer checks - want to see a showdown cheaply
*** SHOW DOWN ***
PirateLawyer shows [4s Kd] two pair, Fours and Threes
Gilain mucks
PirateLawyer wins the pot (41,500) with two pair, Fours and Threes

Strange play with an inside straight draw here by Gilain, who spews off a quarter of his stack against the one opponent who can bust him. I now have 210K, two thirds of the chips in play.

Gilain subsequently doubles through heffmike and cripples him.

I double up heffmike when his 76s outdraws my J6 with a rivered flush.

I double up heffmike again, flush over flush. Still with 200K in chips.

heffmike doubles through Gilain with A9 vs. QJ all-in preflop.

Hand #28

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Ts Qs]
PirateLawyer raises to 15,500
Gilain raises to 26,468, and is all in
PirateLawyer calls 10,968 --I'd call with any two cards at this point
Gilain shows [Qc Ac]
PirateLawyer shows [Ts Qs]
*** FLOP *** [Kc 9h Th]
*** TURN *** [Kc 9h Th] [5c]
*** RIVER *** [Kc 9h Th 5c] [9s]
Gilain shows a pair of Nines
PirateLawyer shows two pair, Tens and Nines
PirateLawyer wins the pot (56,436) with two pair, Tens and Nines

This was pretty much my only significant suckout of the tournament. I've definitely been on the losing end of the suckout tally overall.

So now we're finally headsup and I get to play against heffmike who caused me so much pain with the A4 vs. AK hand earlier. Can I get some sweet revenge?

Well, we find out very quickly as the headsup session lasts all of two hands before all the chips go in the middle.

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [As Qd]
PirateLawyer has 15 seconds left to act
PirateLawyer raises to 13,000
heffmike raises to 72,864, and is all in
PirateLawyer calls 59,864 - this is an automatic call here
heffmike shows [4d Ks] - whoa, he raised light but has two live cards
PirateLawyer shows [As Qd]
*** FLOP *** [Ad 3s 5d] - gin!
*** TURN *** [Ad 3s 5d] [9d]
*** RIVER *** [Ad 3s 5d 9d] [Th]
heffmike shows Ace King high
PirateLawyer shows a pair of Aces
PirateLawyer wins the pot (146,928) with a pair of Aces

Thanks to all of you who read this far. I thought it would be a valuable learning experience, both for myself and for others, to see how I outlasted the Mookie field. I definitely got some good cards throughout the middle and later stages of the tournament (I had AK or AQ more than my fair share of the time, no question about it, and there was one sick sequence where I was dealt JJ, KK, QQ in 3 consecutive hands, which is a first for me), which helps immensely so long as you don't suffer too many suckouts.

*Astin quotient: I saw 360 or so hands. I had AA once (won a huge pot), KK three times (one walk in the BB, won two good-sized pots), QQ twice (lost one big pot, won a medium pot), JJ once (won the blinds), 99 once (busted Hoy), 77 once (DQB! busted Drizzdtj), 66 once (3-bet and won preflop), 44 once (ditto). So I had fewer than average pocket pairs but they were overall premium pairs and I won a lot of chips with them.

Where it got pretty sick was my big aces. I saw AK 9 times (although I lost three times with them, including two huge pots with them with all the money in with the best hand), AQ 5 times, AJs twice (got setup once, won the other pot). I even had KQ four times (won all those pots).

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Breakthrough! Tournament of Champions, Here I Come

After several frustrating near-misses at making the final table during this epic BBTwo season of tournaments, I finally broke through with my first cash, and I managed to do so in fine style, winning the Mookie!

It was a very satisfying win, and I hope to get some time tomorrow to recap the tournament in more detail, but I'm particularly proud of the fact that I struggled back from being crippled with eleven players left when my AK got all the money in preflop vs. heffmike's (the eventual second-place finisher) A4s and failed to hold up. Overall, I got my money in with the best hand the vast majority of the time, suffered more than my fair share of suckouts, but still managed to get there in the end without putting my entire stack at risk very often. Patient poker coupled with some ramped up aggression at the final table got me through the Mookie minefield intact.

Only five seats are left up for grabs to the ToC. Good luck to all those still trying to make it into the freeroll!

A special thanks to those of you who railed me at the end. You know who you are. And thanks to the fine pack of degenerates who kept me smiling and laughing during the BuddyDank radio extravaganza.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Some Fine Duets

I've long been a huge fan of the incredible guitarist Mark Knopfler, who is best known as the frontman for his band Dire Straits, but who has gone on to an impressive solo career since that group broke up more than a decade ago.

Recently I've been listening to his solo work again and I picked up a truly remarkable album of duets he recorded over the past several years with another phenomenal musician whose profile is lower than her talent warrants, Emmylou Harris (whom I've seen perform live a few years ago during the Lilith Fair tour put on by another of my favourite singers, Sarah McLaughlan).

Check out a sample of these fantastic duets here, and then go buy the album. It's well worth it.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Overbetting for value

An interesting situation came up in Friday's single-table deepstack tournament, and it's something I'd like to canvass my vast readership (sarcasm is the best form of humour, no?) for feedback on. We'd reached the second level blinds of 100/200, and I'd chipped up a fair bit from the starting amount of 20K. I was comfortably in the chip lead and was playing well.

I was UTG with 86s. I opted to limp in (at other times I would deceptively open for a raise). A good solid player in middle position who had about a 25K stack put in a large 4x BB raise to 800. The button and the two blinds called the raise, as I recall, so I was reasonably happy to call as I was closing the action and getting very good odds (both 5:1 pot odds and great implied odds) on my call.

I hit a jackpot flop of 663 (with two hearts). The short-stacked SB comes out swinging with a 3K bet (leaving himself about 6K behind). The BB folds.

What do you do?

Since I knew the players fairly well, I definitely figured to have the best hand. I wanted to get the preflop raiser's entire stack in the middle of the pot, and I was sure, based on my read of him at the table and the preflop bet size which he'd used, that he was holding a premium hand: in other words, an overpair. I opted for the rapid all-in overbet for value, trying to make it appear as if I was making a move to buy the pot. This obviously put the preflop raiser's tournament life on the line. He agonized for a long while, announced that he wasn't a good enough player to lay his hand down, and called with pocket aces. Everyone else folded, we ran the turn and river, and my hand stood up for a massive pot.

Now, the more I've thought this over, the more I'm convinced I probably misplayed this situation. Overbets for value are a great tool to separate fools from their money, but I really gave the player holding AA here every reason to fold. It's more likely that I get more money in the pot, on average, by:

1) flat-calling the initial bet and re-raising if the aces come over the top with a flop raise; or
2) flat-calling the intial bet and jamming on any turn if the aces only call the flop in position; or
3) raising to approximately 8-9K, which gives the aces ample room to come over the top and trap themselves.

The one thing my overbet does do is to give off a false impression to the pocket aces that I'm trying to buy the pot. He has to have real doubt about whether or not I've truly outflopped him and is strongly motivated to call off his stack believing he still may have the best hand. After all, he has aces, doesn't he? I could be making this move with a range of hands that he has significant pot equity against, such as a pair + flush draw, an open-ended straight draw, or some other second-best hand such as kings or queens.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Flopped Full Houses Can Be Beat

Three-handed in a deepstack freezeout tournament tonight, I managed to get all the money in preflop with my QQ up against A9s. Stacks were quite deep but this fine player got caught making a move.

You'd think I was good on a JJJ flop, right?

Sadly that wasn't the case when the case J hit the river for the ugliest of four-outers you are ever going to see.

Fortunately for my shattered morale, I battled back after my queens got cracked again by Simon. I played them too slowly and paid for it when he hit a 3-outer on the river. I knuckled down, made some moves, got some hands paid off and caught a river card of my own against a slowplayed one pair hand to chip up. I then busted Simon when my AKs won a race against his pocket deuces with all the money in preflop.

At that point it was getting really late and my esteemed opponent Bill and I were basically even in chips. We played a few hands, settled nothing, so we chopped it up and escaped the frigid icebox that is the FCPC to get warm.


Earlier in the tourney, we saw a sick sick setup hand with 3 players all-in preflop: AA vs. KK vs. QQ. The aces held up, but two other players who folded would have outdrawn all of them! Simon folded 55 and would have flopped a set, and Mike folded JTs and would have flopped two pair. Poker is rigged.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mookie time

Outlasted most of the field but fell short of the final table. Out in 16th of the field of 90 runners.

More later after I look over the hand histories. Pretty disappointed in how I went out. It didn't help that a bunch of people started playing bingo and the best hands kept getting cracked, including some of mine.

[Edit] My good blogger pal RecessRampage took down the Mookie in an epic battle. He delivered a hellacious beat with A6 cracking AA headsup to regain the chiplead he'd had for most of the final table and ultimately took it down for a seat in the TOC and a pretty nice sum of first place money. Congrats to Alan!

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Somehow this lucksack nearly made it to the final table at this large buy-in event. It did seem as if my presence in the gallery inspired the dealers to finally give him some premium hands which he used to great effect to double up in the first hour of day two from an average stack to a much bigger one. ;) This allowed Fuel to avoid marginal situations as he leveraged his stack throughout the day to reach the top ten in chips. Fellow blogger and golf enthusiast Ryan caught up with us at the dinner break.

Sadly, he never quite managed to maintain a huge stack to coast into the final table as he went card dead for quite a while and got a bluff snuffed out and a steal picked off to get a little short-stacked as the field dwindled down to the final thirteen. And he finally ran into a total setup hand to bust out in 12th, as he will doubtlessly describe in great detail over at his blog.

Overall, it was a fun (if quite long) day spent railing my horse. I'm glad I had a mighty 1% stake, but boy it would have been fun to come back with him at the final table where the payouts really jumped up and the TV lights come on.

Friday, November 23, 2007

SnG Challenge

I've decided for a change of pace to engage in the single-table SnG challenge as a bankroll builder. Played in six 10+1 NLHE turbos on FTP so far, and I've won 3, bubbled 2, and busted early in 1. Early days so far and a small sample size, but I can't imagine not putting up a great ROI so long as I can master the inherent boredom of playing against these donkeys in this silly poker format.

I'll start cranking these out in earnest starting early next week.

Probably the Best Holiday Sketch Comedy of All Time

This is a shout-out for my Yankee friends and their turkey day. Enjoy stuffing yourselves!

You can find other parts of this brilliant episode by following the links.

"As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."

Thursday, November 22, 2007

It'd Feel Good on the Way Down

It would take 22 shots of Whiskey to kill me

Now I have to figure out what my favourite 22 varieties of Scotch are. Should be fun!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

And then a juicy cash game comes along to make everything better

This Friday night saw me walk away the big winner at one of the occasional cash games held out of the FCPC. (Well, in actual fact it was relocated at the last minute , due to a double-booking of the club's regular room, to the nice alternate venue of a player's home.) It was a deepstack format with everyone buying in for $200 with .50/$1 blinds. So everyone had a 200 BB stack to begin with.

It was a big relief to play intelligently with proper focus, after my recent dire experiences at the virtual felt which had caused some lapses in my concentration and leaks to develop in my cash game play. I religiously folded ace-rag despite the plethora of ace-high flops that were coming down and lost the minimum when I got outflopped (two such flops cracking my queens and tens). I won my first big pot when I saw a flop multiway on the button with 2h3h for a raise out of the big blind. The flop came down ace-high with one of my suit and I was prepared to fold to any bet but for some reason it got checked to me, so I took the free card. The turn was the beautiful 4h giving me a big draw, so I happily called a $15 bet from the BB closing the action, which was called by one intervening player. My flush came in and I was able to value bet for $45 which got called by top two pair.

About an hour later I was sitting with about $320 and I got dealt black aces in the small blind. I raised it up to 7.50; Bill in the BB made it $16 to go. George in middle position flat called the raise; I took some time and re-raised to $40. They both called. At this point George was relatively short-stacked with maybe $100 behind and Bill had maybe $200; I had them both covered.

At this point I'm aware that I'm facing a sticky situation but I'm pretty sure I'm committed to play this to the felt. Sure enough the flop comes down a relatively scary Ts9s8d. I jam the flop and *both* of them call. Bill flips over JJ (no spades) and George the 57s, as I recall. Sure enough the 8s comes down on the turn and I have been outdrawn by George -- but am winning the side pot with Bill -- but I have quite a few outs to the nut flush, full house or the rare quad aces. (I need to run this through PokerStove!)

The river comes down a fabulous 8c and I end up scooping a huge pot with a full house, eights over aces.

Bill and George say their goodbyes at that point and we play for another hour or so eight-handed, and I'm able to win a few more nice pots here and there (one in particular where I turned a ten-high flush with a straight flush redraw and called a big river bet from a rivered straight) and I am able to cash out with nearly $800 for a nice score. I did leave some money on the table a couple of times where I missed a river value bet, or a re-raise in the case of the flush versus the straight, but making those river bets would have been taking the high variance road and I was satisfied with getting to showdown with those pot sizes.

Gotta love live poker. I'd like to say I was able to outplay my opponents and really steal some pots I wasn't entitled to, but I made the vast majority of my money with hands that played themselves. Still, I was able to make good reads, fold a lot of trouble hands preflop, and make some proper calldowns and sniff out some bluffs when players like this donkey bet his busted 7-high draw against my improved AK (TPTK).

Hopefully this gets me in a better frame of mind for the rest of the BBTwo series of tournaments with a renewed sense of confidence. I'm definitely going to try to token my way into the Big Game on Sunday.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Poker Gods are Fickle

It's been a while between posts and unfortunately I don't have any good news to report on the poker front in my absence. Although everything is going smoothly with the job, I'm pleased to say, and of course that's more important than my misadventures on the felt.

I have to keep repeating to myself that variance is part of poker as I've endured a nasty downswing in my online bankroll due to dropping buy-ins like they are going out of style in my cash game play. And it's not like I have been playing poorly . . . I've had the best hand when all the money goes in and my opponents keep hitting their 2, 3, or 4 outs after I've induced them to make grievous mistakes. The worst of it is, I had recently stepped up in limits so the losses have really hurt and taken me back nearly to square one after a lot of good work to get my initial $400 investment on FTP up to nearly 2K.

Ah well. I'll take a few days off to regroup and start grinding it back up. In the meantime, I continue to compete in the BBTwo series of blogger tournaments, and I've been pleased with my play, although I've yet to make a final table despite some good opportunities to do so. Last night was the Mookie, with 112 runners.

I started off with a bang, bluffing on the very first hand from the SB with the Hammer, and chipped up to nearly 4000 in chips before losing quite a few chips -- I was down to 1800 in short order -- with some very good but expensive second-best hands where I showed discipline and lost about the least I could reasonably have expected to lose under the circumstances (rivered 4-flush gets a villain there vs. my two pair, etc... standard FTP shenanigans.). From there, I aggressively played some medium poker pairs preflop and chipped up. Then I gambled with AQo vs. a regular nemesis, surflexus (who had taken away some of my chips earlier and had a large stack early on) and got all the money in the middle preflop against his 88. I (gasp!) improved and won the race to get back up over 4000 in chips.

I used that as a springboard and managed to double that up again to 8000 or so, which would be my highwater mark. Unfortunately, FTP moved me to a different table from the comfortable situation I was in, and my stack was average as the blinds and antes kicked in. At my new table players were dropping like flies as the action was fast and furious and people were gambling like crazy with some very marginal holdings, and I soon found myself dwarfed by three or four large stacks. Going card dead for the better part of an hour didn't help either. Finally, I seized an opportunity to make a move with ATs on the button as I jammed over a LP raiser. Of course, he happened to insta-call with pocket kings and I failed to improve. I go home in 58th or 59th place or something disappointing like that. Still, given my early struggles it was a respectable showing.

Fuel outlasted me by one whole spot, sadly. I wanted to last longer than him despite not having a last longer bet on. To my happy surprise, this donkey from my Friday night game continued his strong play of late to place third. I really thought he was going to take it down with over half the chips in play three-handed, but Astin -- he is way overdue to take down one of these blonkaments! -- and the eventual winner Mike_Maloney played well and played hard, ultimately proving to be Simon's downfall. Simon lost the bulk of his stack on a setup hand where he flopped a set against a flopped nut straight, and Simon didn't get his full house redraw once all the money went in.

Given the state of my online bankroll and the fact that I'll be away for all of Saturday, it seems likely I'll miss Sunday's Big Game, which saddens me immensely. I love deepstack tournaments.
Maybe I will try to farm out some of my $26 tokens into a $75'er so I can get in to the game on the cheap.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Note to Self

Having a functional printer at home can save a lot of needless trips to work on a weekend.

It's at times like this I wish I had learned more from my computer-savvy friends rather than blindly relied on their availability on a holiday weekend.

It's time I upgraded to a 21st century printer anyhow, so I guess it's also time to go shopping.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Avoiding Bad Situations in Cash Games, Part 1

Or Why KQs is a Dangerous Hand

The Setting: A $1/2 NLHE full-ring blogger cash game

The Players:

Simon ($244.45), the UTG raiser (standard $7 amount);

Yours truly ($105.70), the UTG+1 caller (I'd bought in short);

Bayne ($200), the UTG+1 over-caller;

Fuel ($600.60), the small blind who decides to 3-bet. (to $21.50)

At this point, Simon flat-called the raise and I’m left in a quandary. Fuel’s likely range for 3-betting out of the SB is something along the lines of [55, 77+, AQs+, AK and maybe 10% suited connectors]. Simon, for all the grief I like to give him for his loose preflop standards, is a fairly solid player who is not going to call a 3-bet with two players left to act behind him without a pretty powerful hand. His decision to merely call here leads me to believe he is likely to have AQs+ or a pocket pair.

So I have two unpalatable choices: I can commit 20% of my stack preflop with what is essentially a speculative hand looking to flop a straight draw, flush draw, or two pair+ (I can’t count on my kicker being good if a bare king or queen hits), or I can reluctantly fold with $7 invested. I am getting 3:1 on my money (which almost certainly will end up as 4:1 if Bayne calls with any two cards, as he should if I call ahead of him), but I’m in poor relative position if I miss the flop, as I will nearly two-thirds of the time. With $80 behind, I will only have enough of a stack to make one pot-sized bet, so a bluff on a later street is unlikely to work.

What should I have done?

If you said fold, give yourself a pat on the back.

However, as you’ve doubtlessly guessed, I decided to gamble with a reckless call (and quite properly Bayne did call behind me getting 4:1 on his money). On cue, I hit a monster flop of [2s Qs Kc] for top two pair.

What happened next? It was checked around to me and I made a weak lead for $25, hoping to see some action without anyone realizing just how committed I was to showdown. Bayne and Fuel folded but I got all the action I could want as Simon took the bait and re-raised me all-in. I insta-called and, sure enough, he flipped over AKh for TPTK for the second-best hand.

Unfortunately for me, the FTP server decided to give Simon one of his three outs on the turn and I got felted as Simon raked in a nice pot.

What lesson can we take from this hand?

Well, KQs is a vulnerable hand that really shouldn’t be played multi-way with this much action preflop with a 50BB stack in front of you. The odds are strongly against you if you hit a top pair hand that you are best, as you are more often than not out-kicked, or, as here, you face the possibility of being outdrawn if you outflop AK or AQ. In the long run, making this call is definitely –EV. I just happened to lose in a particularly painful way in this instance. This is a situation to avoid unless the stacks are very deep.

[Edit] NB. Oh, and Simon, I rarely, rarely make that bet into 3 players in a re-raised pot with a hand that doesn't have one pair crushed. (!) And if I can't beat top pair, I'll have a big draw. Which is not to say that you shouldn't at least call my small bet, but it's lighting money on fire to raise TPTK in that situation, in my not-so-humble opinion.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Bubbled the MATH

I'm fairly irked by how I imploded with only ten players remaining. I was a strong second in chips before making two uncharacteristic errors which sent me plummeting to last place, then I busted out in a situation I'm actually pretty happy about as far as my play was concerned.

A few thoughts on how the tournament proceeded ...

Firstly, the MATH was a 6-max format with 78 runners, if I recall correctly. I had a plan to amass chips early and avoid all sorts of marginal situations and not engage in marginal play out of the blinds. You want to steal my blinds? Go ahead, only I'll 3-bet with strong hands and occasionally re-steal. Am I going to steal your blinds? No, not without a real hand.

Early on, I got AA in the small blind and was able to put in the third raise in a re-raised pot. I overbet for value on a 662 flop and my victim claimed to be folding queens.

A bit later on, I raised with 75s and got a favourable flop in position. Betting all the way, by the turn I had both straight and flush draws and I made it on the river, taking down a very nice pot against an opponent who couldn't fold top pair.

Then, I really chipped up with pocket tens. I raised from the small blind and got a loose call from the button. I overbet a Q72 flop with two spades and my opponent jammed. I put him on a draw, and I was priced in to call because he was relatively short in chips. Sure enough, he had KTs so he was in bad shape and didn't improve.

Two or three times, I tangled with surflexus who final tabled this event. I nearly busted him with the goods as I check-raised him off some second-best hands when I had the near mortal nuts.

At this point, I was comfortably in the top five in chips, and I had the luxury and patience to enact my patient and disciplined style of play.

It got even better for me as I defended my blind to a raise with KQ. A king hit the flop and I check-raised my overly aggressive opponent all-in and he insta-called with ... K2! He didn't hit a miracle deuce and I continued to chip up.

By the time the field had been winnowed down to the final twelve, I was tied for the chiplead with Mitch. I was able to 3-bet him once with pocket tens to make sure he knew I wouldn't let him run me over, and I also called a raise with pocket sevens and hit a straight on the turn to win two nice pots against him and remain solidly comfortable with a good table image.

Unfortunately, after nearly three hours of solid, safe play, my discipline and adherence to proper hand selection and situation selection faltered, and I quickly and brutally paid the price.

Firstly, I doubled up a short stack when I raised with a suited ace on the button, a move I had usually avoided because I was steadfastly avoiding pure blind stealing moves for vast majority of the time. A short stack jammed and I felt narrowly obliged to call because of the price I was laid. Sure enough, I was up against pocket queens and I didn't outdraw them. Consequently I went from having 30+K to only about 23K in chips.

Secondly, the next time I had the button I raised it up with Jc9h. Again, this was a poor lapse of discipline on my part. Sure enough Mitch called and we saw a flop of Jh7hQd. He check-raised me and I foolishly opted to call. The turn gave me a ton more outs with the 4h, so I had a gutterball + flush. Mitch jammed, I got seduced by the outs and the size of the pot, I winced as he turned over JJ and I lost a huge pot I had no business being in. Presto! I was now short stack with ten players remaining when five minutes ago I was a comfortable second place stack.

Then after scuffling to stay afloat, I made a conscious effort to find a hand to double up from my 10K stack to something I could get back to really playing poker with. I simply called with J9s on the button. Sure enough, I saw a flop of QT6 and jammed once both blinds checked to me. Mitch made a very questionable call with 4T, which I actually liked to see, but sadly I missed all of my outs and busted out in tenth.

This was another painful lesson in discipline. Poker is a cruel game that can swiftly and ruthlessly punish any mistakes. You have to play mistake-free poker in these blonkaments to reach a final table in postion to win a BBTwo seat.

I was happy with my final statistics for the event. Of the 250 or so hands I played, I saw only 12% of the flops and won 62% at showdown. I think this was the correct style to play. I folded ace-anything-less-than-a-king to any raise, pretty much. First in or fold, unless I had a good pocket pair or AK.

A Sunday in Autumn

You know life is good when:

It's a gloriously sunny, crisp Vancouver day;

Sunday brunch with family is on the menu, complete with pajama-wearing servers and wait staff at Cafe Barney (apparently this was a bet or a dare taken up by one of the waitresses, and all of her collegues decided to show some solidarity);

a round of disc golf at Quilchena park in the middle of the afternoon is quickly organized with friends as we all exclaim on the phone to each other "we have to take full advantage of this weather!".

Good times.

Monday, October 29, 2007


It's a sad day when your favourite fictional baseball player, the heart of your franchise, suffers a season-ending injury by breaking his foot on the imaginary basepaths.

Get well soon, Eddy.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Lost Cause

Signs that your cause in a satellite tournament is hopeless:

You lose a ton of chips playing raised pots with AK unimproved to J3s and Q7 in blind vs. blind situations;

The one time your AK makes the nut straight (on the turn), you can't get any action from a worse hand that hit the flop hard;

You can't get a one-pair hand to fold to a large check-raise and neither your nut flush draw nor your overcard hits;

All three of your blind steals over the course of three hours are snapped off;

The best player at the table doubles up early.

Ah well. Sooner or later I'll recover from this blasted flu bug and hopefully my decision-making at the tables will likewise improve.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Avoiding Bad Situations in Tournament Play, Part 2

Or, how to blow a golden opportunity to win the first MATH of the BBTwo season. There were 82 runners, a nice increase to the field due to the interest and excitement generated by the new season's prize package.

How I got the chiplead in the early stages of the tournament: I played nearly flawless, patient poker and tripled up to 9100 in chips when I was able to put in the third raise with AA and got both of the initial raisers to call me with JJ and AKs. My hand stood up and I was off to the races.

Then I took over the chiplead when I called a raise and saw a flop with 55, the flop came down ace-high but also with a lovely five, and presto performed its usual magic, stacking someone with AQ. I was now up to 15K in chips and the blinds were only 80/160. Life was good. I reached my highwater mark of 19K in chips when I called a raise in position with A8, saw a 679 rainbow flop, and called a shove by KK. Both of my outdraws hit, for good measure, and I was preparing to coast to the final table as the antes started kicking in and everyone else had to speed up their play to deal with the escalating blinds.

How I lost the chiplead with 30 players remaining:

I played two hands aginst Astin in quick succession ... and made several mistakes which cascaded me into a freefall, crippling my stack. Bluntly put, I made the fundamental error of risking chips in marginal situations that I didn't need to be involved in, something I had carefully avoided so far. My natural instinct with a very big stack is to attack, but when I flat-called Astin's raise of my big blind with 88, I needed to check-fold unimproved rather than bluff a flush when the third spade hit on the turn. He quickly called with pocket jacks and made the flush when the fourth spade came on the river. I double him up and I'm down to 12600 in chips. I'm still comfortably situated at the top of the leaderboard, but with a smaller lead.

About five hands later, Astin raised and I looked down to see AT on the button. I wrongly decided this would be a good time to call in position and try to exact some revenge. Why was this a big mistake, dear reader? Because the flop came down AQT. Astin led out with a bet, I jammed, and he instacalled with bottom set of tens, and I am suddenly crippled down to less than 3K in chips when I can't outdraw with one of the two aces to make a full house. Now, there's no way I am getting away from this hand once I see the flop, and it certainly was a cooler to see the case ten hit the table, but I have no excuse for being in this hand in the first place. I needed to stay patient, wait for a better spot to be the first one in the pot rather than the second, and avoid danger.

The moral of this story: your hand selection and situation selection standards must be maintained at all times. Deviation from those standards can quickly and painfully lead you to disaster.

Soon afterwards, I raised all-in preflop with pocket fives, someone wakes up with pocket queens, and IGHN.

This was a harsh lesson to learn about how to navigate the middle stages of a tournament when you are trying to protect a big chiplead. I trust that I have taken this to heart and won't repeat these mistakes in the future, because I am keen to reach the BBTwo tournament of champions. And I won't be able to do so unless I can eliminate these mistakes from my game.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Embracing the gamble

Sometimes, the False Creek Poker Club truly does live up to its claim as the breeding ground of bad poker players. Unfortunately, I think that it encourages bad habits in me that I need to fight against to improve my overall play. Nevertheless, last night's cash game there, which was as crazy and loose as you'll see anywhere, was an exercise in discipline and patience that ended well for me. And I always have a fun time playing there because it's a great group of guys who are all fun to be around. One crucial factor that dictated my style of play was my decision to sit to the immediate left of the wildest and most aggressive player at the table, which meant that I was going to see relatively few flops, and with only premium hands -- his nickname isn't Crazy D for nothing!

Here are some notes I took on four notable hands that I played during the session. This was a ten-handed .50/1 cash game, but one where $11 open-raises preflop were the norm.

Hand #1: Crazy D puts on the straddle to $2. My initial $100 buyin has shrunk to about $75, but I look down at pocket deuces and decide to call, with the intention of calling a raise by the straddle. Sure enough, Crazy D does put in a raise to $15 or so and I call, which leaves us headsup to see a flop of AK3. I read my opponent for absolutely nothing, so I call his bets on every street as the board picks up an 8 and another 3. Sure enough, my opponent winces when I call the $25 river bet and announces Jack-high. He mucks when I flip over my deuces and start stacking the chips and mumbles a few times "I can't believe you made that call." I double up to nearly $140.

Hand #2: After folding for what seems like two hours (Crazy D was in full force!) I see a flop with AJ (I'd finally gotten a chance to raise preflop). The flop comes down KT7 with two hearts, so I have a gutterball plus backdoor nut flush draw. Peter, the player to my left, raises my flop bet to $25. I pause and trash talk him for a few moments, claiming that I have the best hand. Inwardly I'm just posing and deciding if the implied odds are there to take one off, and I decide they are, as I can fully double up if I draw out on him. Sure enough, the turn is a lovely Q, and I now have the nut Broadway straight. I lead out for $25, Peter obliges by shoving all-in, and sees with dismay that his two pair (kings and tens) is drawing thin. My hand holds up and I double up to nearly $250 in chips.

Hand #3: This hand set a record as the largest pot in FCPC cash game history, I believe. Unlike most of the table, I attempted to raise only to a modest $3 or $4 with my good hands as the initial preflop raiser, so this is what I did from early position with ATs in hearts. Sure enough I got several callers, then was raised to $10 by the very erratic Brad G, who has been known to dramatically overplay hands. Crazy D called the two raises cold in the BB. I ponder for a minute and decide to play this fast and 3-bet to $25. Although there is one intervening call by the big stacked Eman, Brad fires away with an all-in raise for another $132! Crazy D, who really could be playing any two cards, calls! I sit back in disbelief and run some numbers in my head. I really do not want to fold as it's a huge pot with a lot of dead money in it already. My AT hand can make straights and flushs and it's distinctly possible that both of my cards are live. I hem and haw and calculate that if I call, I'll still have my intial $100 stake. That, plus the fact that I'm nearly getting 4:1 on my money without the specter of future betting, leads me to make the gambling call. Emmanuel ponders for a bit behind me and folds an AQ of spades behind me.

Total pot size was nearly $500.

So what did my opponents have? Brad jammed with AJo, which sadly has me outkicked by one. Crazy D called with 96o (!). The board came down KJx, the turn blanked, but the river was a magical Q giving me some gutter love and I took down my biggest live cash pot in quite some time.

(Note that if Brad hadn't played this so aggressively preflop, he would have taken down a nice pot with a strong flop bet. I can't call off my stack on the flop with only two cards to come hoping for a queen to come.)

For the rest of the night with my monster stack I was actually able to see more flops and play more of my usual style after busting out Crazy D one more time when he jammed preflop with his last $50 in chips and I re-raised to isolate with KK. A lot of patience, 3 hours of folding, and some tight and aggressive play let me pick my spots and book a very profitable session up $500.

The one thing that detracts from my enjoyment of these positive results is the fact that I lucked into it. I really had no business overplaying my AT hand in that massive re-raised hand, even if I was against two wild players who were making the same mistake.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Dodging Bullets

If there's one thing that has recently stalled much of my online cash game play, it's definitely been running pocket kings into pocket aces. No fewer than seven times in this past week alone have I dropped a full buy-in to this vicious nightmare for any poker player. That, gentlemen and ladies, is a classic case of running bad. Apparently there are some people who never have this happen to them. I am not one of them!

So, here I am playing at my usual low limit stakes, a .50/1 full-ring NLHE game and I look down at KK in middle position. I perk up and make a standard 3x BB raise and get called by the button and the big blind. My danger sense starts going off for some reason when the button just flat calls my raise. (More on this later!)

The flop comes down with a rather unplesant rainbow thud of T87. Instantly I decide that a continuation bet is most definitely not called for, as I have no idea where I am at ... and juicing the pot will not solve anything. If someone has aces, I'm drawing thin. Tens, eights, and sevens have all outflopped me with sets and nines have flopped an open-ended straight draw. Pocket jacks and pocket fives, two other likely holdings for these set-mining opponents, have inside straight draws against me and are not going anywhere. I could even be facing a flopped straight if someone opted to call with the ever popular J9.

So, as expected the big blind checks the flop and I immediately check behind. The button, though, bets out with a 3/4ths pot-sized bet. The first villain folds and I reluctantly call.

The turn card is a jack! Any nine now makes a straight. I check, intending to call just one more modest-sized bet, but the button smoothly checks right behind me! This confused me to no end as I'm well behind his possible range. The only hand he could have that I can realistically beat is pocket queens. I'm behind AA, JJ, TT, 99, 88 and 77 as well as any number of two pair hands.

Amazingly, the river card is a nine, putting a five-card straight on board! Now I lose to QQ (also the unlikely KQ) but chop with everything else my opponent could reasonably have as we both play the board. I opt to check (I could have made a big bet to represent queens myself, but opt against it, just wanting to get to showdown), and my opponent checks behind me.

What did my opponent actually have? As you might have guessed by the title of this post, he had pocket aces and I managed to dodge a bullet.

This was quite the valuable experience in hand-reading. Some quick thinking on my part and an awareness of significant danger helped me to realize that my pocket kings were nearly worthless in this situation, and consequently I was able to use that discipline for my part to control the pot size. I was prepared to lose the minimum to my opponent's range and was fortunate enough to get away with a chopped pot when the lucky nine hit on the river.

A Hoy of a time was had by all

It's Monday, so that means it's time for another crack at the Hoy! 27 runners make it out this time; top 3 places pay. I'm gearing up for the exciting BBTwo season (for details see the announcement by Al.)

I always like a deepstack tournament. It gives me the oppportunity to be patient, room to make some moves and try to make some monster draws to drag down some monster pots if the stars align properly.

Unfortunately, aside from irritating the host with some jack-eight magic where I outdrew Hoy's 86 by turning top pair on a 632 flop and having the chutzpah to value-bet the river and weathering some good-natured abuse from the table who couldn't believe I played garbage hands early in a tournament, I found myself short-stacked, sitting with just half a starting stack, relatively early on when I ran second-best hands into pocket aces twice in short succession.

Other early highlights included:

running AQ into AQ on an AK5 flop and chopping the pot;

sniffing out a Hammer play and spanking it into oblivion;

drawing my own AA and getting no action on a 3x BB preflop raise;

drawing Presto and pocket eights and likewise gettting no action.

Then I get moved to a new table where my paltry stack is sandwiched between two large stacks. Still, I remind myself that I have a lot of room to play when compared to the blinds, so I hunker down and wait for spots to gamble. The tournament chipleader reaches an absurd 30K in chips as he felts several players in short order. I cower in fear. I start squeezing and re-stealing like mad to chip up as best I can.

I draw KK and, on cue, get no action.

I manage to eliminate a shorty when surflexus jams with a bare queen-high flush draw and I'm priced in to call with AQ.

This gives me some breathing room and I start to gain some momentum, playing careful small pot poker and mixing in some well-timed bluffs that work flawlessly.

We reach the final table and I'm still short-stacked but have a fighting chance to reach the top 3. I win a key race with a small pocket pair of fours against KQ and reach a high-water mark of nearly 10K in chips.

Sadly, I bust out in sixth place when I make a move with 67 of spades on a J74 flop with two of my suit against the chipleader by coming over the top of his c-bet. He insta-calls with TPTK, which holds up. IGHN.

All in all, I'm pleased with two consecutive final tables in the blogger tourneysphere. Hopefully a cash is right around the corner.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Blogger Championship!

Online Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker!

This Online Poker Tournament is a No Limit Texas Holdem event exclusive to Bloggers.

Registration code: 2261304

An Admirable Failure at a Final Table

I secured 8th place in the Mookie last night, amongst 59 runners. Which was the final place before the cash payouts began. Me = bubble boy.

I can't complain too much, however, as I made a strong, +EV play at the final table against the chipleader with a preflop jam on the button with AJ -- he had open-raised to 4500 from middle position. He ended up calling off nearly 90% of his total stack with only 15% invested prior to my re-raise, and long-term I think this was a good play on my part for several reasons:

1) My tight jamming range (55+, ATo+, AJs+, and a few bluffs thrown in) is ahead of 99 half of the time or more;

2) I have some pretty significant fold equity (truth be told, not so very much in a blogger donkament, but still ...) against non-premium hands, including pairs 22 - TT;

3) We're on the bubble, so the environment is conducive for this calculated aggression to pay dividends;

4) I am playing to win the tournament, not to cautiously fold my way to a 5th or 6th place finish.

It just so happened this time around that my opponent couldn't find a fold and I didn't win a key race with 50% pot equity. C'est la vie.

Small Poker Steps

I remain strictly a low-limit grinder at present, but it's heartening to report that I have more than doubled my initial stake on FTP and have reached a four figure balance for my bankroll. If I continue on this upward path and reach the 2K mark, I will be able to increase the limits I play at. I've been one or two-tabling the .50/1 pot-limit full ring games for the most part; I'm also thinking of playing some $11 SnGs.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


I'm quite pleased that some of my initial work as a student will be doing legal research for a couple of very interesting appeal cases that my principal is bringing to the provincial Court of Appeal.

And in the background, the law society is processing my paperwork and I'm choosing a set of dates to take the PLTCs.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Another Beginning

I just spoke with my principal mentor who will be guiding me through my articling year, and after a week of false starts, I get to go in for my first full day of work at the office.

I'm excited to get down to work and re-learn some things I've forgotten and learn some new things about the law in the real world.

Transitions are fun. They present a challenge to meet.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Avoiding Costly Mistakes

It's a truism amongst serious-minded poker players -- in other words, those players who share a constant desire to learn and improve -- that avoiding just one costly mistake per session will dramatically increase one's win rate and profits at the end of the day. After all, as many poker authors have written, a bet saved is the same as a bet won.

Well, I re-learned this bitter lesson this morning as I lost focus towards the end of my cash game session before heading over to the parents for an enjoyable Thanksgiving dinner. (I'd like to think I didn't let it spoil my good mood at the family gathering, which was especially fun because it was the first major holiday with my sister in attendance since her move back from Scotland. Much food and drink was consumed, jokes were made, a lot of great music was listened to and enjoyed.)

In no particular order, I made the following serious mistakes:

I paid off a short stack to the tune of 30 BBs by calling his shove with only an inside straight draw and bottom pair;

I paid off an opponent who had telegraphed his overpair (pocket aces) for an additional 30 BBs when I shoved over the top on 4th street with top pair and a double belly buster draw and didn't improve;

I paid off an opponent's value bet on the river for an additional 20 BBs with a top pair hand with a second-best kicker.

That's 80 BB's worth of mistakes that should still be in my bankroll.

Combine that with a setup hand where my pocket pair of kings lost to a flopped straight to the tune of a full buy-in, and all my hard work came to naught, leaving me right where I started at the beginning of my session. Going up two buy-ins is great. Giving back nearly all of it is not so great.

Poker is a hard game to win at -- even if you have an advantage over many of your opponents when you sit down at the table. Eliminating some of these careless mistakes would ensure that I would consistently bank profits in the games I'm playing -- games where I do enjoy a significant edge -- instead of suffering through high-variance swings that destroy hard-earned progress towards growing my bankroll in the blink of an eye.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Avoiding Bad Situations in Tournament Play, Part 1

Slowly but surely I've been growing my online bankroll at FTP. Consequently, I like to fool around with the regular blogger tournaments on weeknights as my schedule permits. Monday night, I participated in the MATH, which is hosted by the inestimable Hoy. A few early hands didn't go my way so I found myself at a little under 1800 tournament chips, about half the size of my opponent's stack in this particular hand (3642).

Here's how it went down (names have been changed to protect the innocent and guilty alike):

I'm in the SB with QhTd. It's folded around to me and I complete. Villain in the BB raises up to 140, and I put him on a simple blind steal with a likely holding of Ax. I'm not prepared to surrender my blind so easily, so I call an additional 90.

*** FLOP *** [Ts 3s 8d]

This is about as good a flop as I could hope for. I'm positive I've outflopped my opponent with top pair and a good kicker, so it's time to extract some value from this situation. I opt to go for the check-raise. Villain obliges by firing out a 250-sized bet, which is just under the pot size of 280. I execute my plan by raising to a suspicious 888, juicing up the pot and leaving me with only 757 chips behind. Any thinking opponent should have alarm bells going off in their head, as I'm not about to give up this hand. I've announced I'm committed to playing this pot for all my chips. The villain calls!

*** TURN *** [Ts 3s 8d] [4s]

This completes a possible flush draw, but there's no way all my chips aren't going into the middle. I figure to be a prohibitive favourite and frankly I'm begging for a call from a backdoor flush draw and/or an unimproved ace. I would prefer a fold, obviously, as then I'd take down a very nice pot without having to reach showdown.

Hero bets 757, and is all in
Villain calls 757
Hero shows [Qh Td]
Villain shows [Js Ah]

Incredible! Villain played this hand about as poorly as possible. He had no business calling my C/R on the flop with an unimproved jackace, much less putting in half of his stack at risk with such a marginal holding. All he can beat on the flop is a naked bluff. He has to hit one of his overcards or go runner-runner for a flush or straight. Even then, he might be drawing thin to a flopped set.

*** RIVER *** [Ts 3s 8d 4s] [5s]
Hero shows a pair of Tens
Villain shows a flush, Jack high
Villain wins the pot (3,570) with a flush, Jack high
Hero stands up

Thank you FTP for the suckout!

Strategy lesson: conserve your tournament chips! In the early stages of a tournament, do not voluntarily get involved in marginal situations.
The villain in this hand played this about as poorly as possible, but got away with it in this instance.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Free Money, Part 1

Sometimes, the poker gods hand you gifts in the form of a live wire who is literally giving you his or her money. I had a magical ten minutes today as a beneficiary of someone's generosity.

The very first hand I played at this table ... this happened:

No-Limit Hold'em, $0.50 BB (6 handed)

SB ($12.70)
BB ($67.20)
UTG ($50.60)
MP ($17.25)
Hero ($50)
Button ($14.70)

Preflop: Hero is CO with , .
UTG calls $0.50, 1 fold, Hero checks, 1 fold, SB completes, BB checks.

Flop: ($2) , , (4 players)
SB bets $0.5, BB calls $0.50, UTG folds, Hero raises to $3, SB calls $2.50, BB calls $2.50.

Turn: ($11) (3 players)
SB bets $9.2 (All-In), BB folds, Hero calls $9.20.

River: ($0) (2 players, 1 all-in)

Final Pot: $29.40

SB has 9c 8s (high card, queen).
Hero has As 6s (one pair, sixes).
Outcome: Hero wins $29.40.

Two minutes later, after the fish reloads . . .

Hand #2:

CO ($5) (sadly he bought in short)
Button ($63.45)
SB ($49.50)
BB ($18)
Hero ($65.25)
MP ($14.70)

CO ($5)
Button ($63.45)
SB ($49.50)
BB ($18)
Hero ($65.25)
MP ($14.70)

Preflop: Hero is UTG with , .
Hero raises to $1.75, 1 fold, CO calls $1.75, 3 folds.

Flop: ($4.25) , , (2 players)
Hero checks, CO bets $3.25 (All-In), Hero calls $3.25.

Turn: ($0) (2 players, 1 all-in)

River: ($0) (2 players, 1 all-in)

Final Pot: $10.75

Hero has Jd As (one pair, jacks).
CO has 2d Kd (high card, king).
Outcome: Hero wins $10.75.

At this point I'm praying he reloads!

Hand #3:

UTG ($10)
MP ($67.75)
CO ($48.50)
Button ($9.50)
Hero ($72.50)
BB ($16.20)

Preflop: Hero is SB with , .
UTG raises to $10 (All-In), 3 folds, Hero raises to $72.75 (All-In), 1 fold.

Flop: ($20.50) , , (2 players, 2 all-in)

Turn: ($20.50) (2 players, 2 all-in)

River: ($20.50) (2 players, 2 all-in)

Final Pot: $20.50

Hero has As Ah (three of a kind, aces).
UTG has 6h Kc (one pair, kings).
Outcome: Hero wins $20.50.

I almost felt guilty. Almost.