Wednesday, January 28, 2009

And now for a third

And by that, I mean a third Mookie win, which should make Schaubs happy.

I'll put up a more thorough report on Friday afternoon, when I will have the spare time to look over the hand histories for anything interesting. An early highlight, which propelled me to the early chiplead with over 11K in chips, was where I proved to fellow Team Schaubs member LJ that presto was not gold (unless played by professionals):

As played, the hand was pretty nasty. LJ was the big stack at the table, but I had a sizeable stack of my own within 1200 of hers. Still, she defended her blind to my 3BB raise in the CO. Then, we get your standard set-over-set scenario on the flop. She check-raised my half-pot c-bet to 800 chips, and I smooth called with the intention of raising any turn with the possible exception of a king or eight (which would complete a straight; I thought her range was pretty polarized to PPs or just maybe, maybe QTs). On the turn she paused and bet out 1550; I paused and raised to 3200 with only about 1600 behind, signalling my willingness to stack off. She obliged by shipping it in with bottom set and I insta-called praying she didn't have JJ. I can't fault LJ for not folding a set in a bloggament ... but realistically my range has her crushed here. Fortunately, my image helps me get paid off in spots like this -- that and no-one willingly folds a set in a bloggament!

That allowed me to sail along, playing conservatively and protecting my big stack and selectively choosing spots to chip up with minimal risk. I suffered a setback here and there vs. short-stacks that sucked out on me but overall I maintained a top-5 stack as we made it to the final table.

NumbBono and I got involved in some pretty sick pots along the way and I was pretty worried as the final table began: he had been co-chipleader for a long period of time but in a sick run on the final table bubble he doubled up to 40K, which was double my stack (!). I patiently navigated the final table minefield, though, and when we got down to three-handed with the two of us and Smokkee I'd chipped up nicely and seized the chip lead. The three of us traded chips for a good while and I lost two big pots to come back to the pack. Ultimately NB busted out in third, but not before we traded sick beats: he cracked my pocket jacks when I slowplayed myself into oblivion and lost the maximum when he flopped 2pr. But I managed a key double through him when I needed it when I squeezed and he made a nice call with ace-high (which was good) and I flopped a pair.

I got pretty lucky vs. smokkee in our headsup battle. I donked him to take a commanding chip lead, then he won about four consecutive 60/40s, and then I finally won one to close it out. I nut-peddled a few times but he escaped; I let him re-steal light a few times and then caught him but he escaped some more; and then I finally got it in with the worst of it again and won.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

And then there were four

And by four, I mean quads.

I bubbled the Skillz tourney with a bad run at the final table, but early on in the first level of the tourney I had quite the run: two hands where I got paid off with four-of-a-kind (significantly more on #1, but I still got some bets in on #2). I love bloggaments!

[Edit] Then I caught another one in cash and got fully paid by a donkey.

Royalty stopped by

It has been a while, but I scooped a pot with a pretty good hand today.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A beat, a brag, and a whine

Poker content first.

The beat: I find a juicy 6-max LHE game. I open with Q9s in the cutoff and get re-raised by the button. The flop is a nice Q99. Four bets go in. The turn is a blank. Four bets go in. The river is an ace. Two bets go in, and my opponent has ... AA, of course!

The brag: I busted nemesis NumbBono in the Mookie last night, making him cry like the Gigli he truly is. I opened with 8c5c in early position for 2.5 bbs, and called his MP re-raise to 6 bbs. Flop is a dreamy AcQc8c, the money goes in, and I fade some outs as I take out NB's set of queens. I had to laugh at conclusion of his berating me in chat when he said "I guess you like 85s more than I do".

The whine: I played a painful hand of Omaha hi/lo this morning. Nothing can go right for me, it seems, as I endure yet another downswing in cash game poker. I had 6d6h3d2s in the big blind of a juicy full-ring game and get to see a flop in an unraised pot vs. several opponents. The flop is a dreamy KcKd6c. The small blind leads out, I raise, the button calls two cold, the small blind three-bets, and I capped, since I figured both of my opponents had trip kings, and I had a decent backdoor low draw as insurance. The turn was the 8c, and we get two bets in as I put in another raise. The river was a five of diamonds and another bet goes in. I figure to at least get half of this juicy pot, right? I have the third-nut low and a flopped boat ... surely I can't be getting scooped?

No sir! I lost the high pot to kings full of fives (KQQ5) and the low to A3K3. So much for punishing those bare trips on the flop and turn ... sheesh.

I may have to take another week off and shift focus to my PLO experiment. Limit poker is killing me at present.

Non-poker content:

Life away from the felt is treating me well, mostly. I have been gettting some skiing in, and have been making progress in improving my fitness and my diet. A good
friend just moved away for a new job, though, so I won't see much of him except for holiday visits, I would imagine.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Pinball Wizard, redux

I couldn't do it justice. Fortunately, I knew that OhCaptain was one keen photographer and he has just posted a fantastic recap of our experience at the Pinball Hall of Fame in December. It's well worth a look-see by any closet geek!

This is yet another reminder of how much fun the blogger Winter Gathering truly was.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

New Year's Resolutions: Poker, part four

Imitate this guy ... since he started this year in a similar BR position to me. He's gone one way, and I've gone in the opposite direction. Go congratulate him on his success.

In other news, I was able to finally get some skiing in and enjoyed every minute of it. I recently updated my woefully outdated and well-used ski outfit, and was very pleased with my new ensemble of gloves and ski pants, which gave me very good ventilation. I'll be picking up a new ski jacket (a hard shell) to complete the outfit. I am a staunch proponent of the layer system, which lets you adapt to the conditions and the temperatures you're skiing in. There is nothing worse than being too hot or too cold and being unable to do much about it when you're up on the slopes.

Now if only Whistler could get enough snow to open up the entire mountain, life would really be good.

(And no, I don't want to talk about the Canucks. They are pathetic right now.)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

New Year's Resolutions: Poker, part three

I should take the time to list some 2009 poker goals and review what I have done in 2008.

In 2008, I:

Was a winning live poker player (although I played very little in the second half of the year);

Rediscovered my enthusiasm and knack for non-hold'em poker variants, especially Stud8 and Omaha;

Was a winning player in the bloggaments (the Mookie, and especially the Skillz game, where I was the overall leader by a healthy margin);

And was a small loser in my online cash game play. This was primarily caused by some disaster sessions where I chased losses in juicy games past the point where I should have quit.

In 2009, I plan to:

Put in a lot of study time away from the felt;

Improve upon my 2008 online cash game performance;

Win a BBT4 seat and extend my streak to three consecutive ToCs;

Win another Mookie;

Post a winning live cash game year at higher limits;

Play in a WSoP event.

New Year's Resolutions: Poker, part two

I had another post in mind, but I'll delay it another day as I stomach another day of a rather steep downswing at the cash tables. This hand pretty much sums up how I've been running ... this one happened to be at a 6-max O8 table.

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Ac Kc 8s 8h]
acvikings has 15 seconds left to act
acvikings calls $2
PirateLawyer raises to $4
QuadSuited folds
StructureK calls $4
hotshot6177 folds
AnonymousLegend folds
acvikings calls $2
*** FLOP *** [5h 5c 8c]
acvikings bets $2
PirateLawyer raises to $4
StructureK calls $4
acvikings calls $2, and is all in
*** TURN *** [5h 5c 8c] [2c]
PirateLawyer bets $4
StructureK raises to $8
PirateLawyer raises to $12
StructureK raises to $16
PirateLawyer calls $4
*** RIVER *** [5h 5c 8c 2c] [6h]
PirateLawyer bets $4
StructureK raises to $8
PirateLawyer calls $1.50, and is all in
Uncalled bet of $2.50 returned to StructureK
*** SHOW DOWN ***
StructureK shows [3h 5d 3s 5s] four of a kind, Fives, for high and 8,6,5,3,2, for low
PirateLawyer shows [Ac Kc 8s 8h] a full house, Eights full of Fives, for high and 8,6,5,2,A, for low
StructureK wins the high side pot ($20.50) with four of a kind, Fives
PirateLawyer wins the low side pot ($20.50) with 8,6,5,2,A
acvikings shows [4d 7c 6c 8d] a flush, Eight high, for high and 7,6,5,4,2, for low
StructureK wins the high main pot ($13) with four of a kind, Fives
acvikings wins the low main pot ($13) with 7,6,5,4,2
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $70 Main pot $27. Side pot $43. | Rake $3
Board: [5h 5c 8c 2c 6h]
Seat 1: QuadSuited didn't bet (folded)
Seat 2: StructureK (button) showed [3h 5d 3s 5s] and won ($33.50) with HI: four of a kind, Fives; LO: 8,6,5,3,2
Seat 3: hotshot6177 (small blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 4: AnonymousLegend (big blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 5: acvikings showed [4d 7c 6c 8d] and won ($13) with HI: a flush, Eight high; LO: 7,6,5,4,2
Seat 6: PirateLawyer showed [Ac Kc 8s 8h] and won ($20.50) with HI: a full house, Eights full of Fives; LO: 8,6,5,2,A

This all happened because I decided to re-raise a donkish short-stack and I knew that the second villain, who was running insanely hot, would call with any four cards, so my range of hands here was well ahead of his. And then we get the cooler of all cooler flops.

This makes three times now in the new year that I've had to activate my stop-loss rule. Sigh.

I also thought there was a rule that Canadian poker bloggers were invulnerable to presto.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

New Year's Resolutions: Poker, part one

1) Break filthy habit. Have been threatened with violence and have taken it to heart. At least I don't smoke or drink (to excess), so that leaves me ample willpower to spare.

2) Achieve a proper online poker process -- hardware, software, personal rules re: stop losses etc. -- or simply abandon aspirations of building online poker bankroll into the five figures. New Year did not get off to roaring start as I bubbled this tourney.

2a) Continue experiments with low-stakes cash game play of all games offered on FTP.

After all, if I don't go fishing, others will be there to claim money that is being given away. Here are two examples of how not to play AAxx hands in PLO-hi games. Despite the results, I booked a solid winning session, which should tell you how soft these games truly are ...

Hand #1:

$0.25/$0.50 - Pot Limit Omaha Hi (full ring)
Seat 8: Villain ($36)
Seat 9: PirateLawyer ($56.30)
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [3c Tc 9s 9h]
Villain calls $0.50
PirateLawyer raises to $2.25
Villain calls $1.75
*** FLOP *** [9c 2d 3h]
Villain checks
PirateLawyer bets $5.25
Villain raises to $21
PirateLawyer raises to $54.05, and is all in
Villain calls $12.75, and is all in
PirateLawyer shows [3c Tc 9s 9h]
Villain shows [Ac 4h Ad 2h]
*** TURN *** [9c 2d 3h] [6s]
*** RIVER *** [9c 2d 3h 6s] [5d]
PirateLawyer shows three of a kind, Nines
Villain shows a straight, Six high
Villain wins the pot ($69.75) with a straight, Six high
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $72.75 | Rake $3
Board: [9c 2d 3h 6s 5d]
Seat 8: Villain showed [Ac 4h Ad 2h] and won ($69.75) with a straight, Six high
Seat 9: PirateLawyer showed [3c Tc 9s 9h] and lost with three of a kind, Nines

Notice how poorly villain played AAxx here. He didn't get money in preflop, and he check-raised for stacks holding overpair and a gutterball with only six clean outs vs. a top set hand on a dry board.

Hand #2:

$0.50/$1 - Pot Limit Omaha Hi (6-max)
Seat 1: PirateLawyer ($58.25)
Seat 2: Villain ($50.35)
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Kh Ad Tc Js]
PirateLawyer raises to $2.25
Villain raises to $8.25
PirateLawyer calls $6
*** FLOP *** [Kc Jh 2s]
PirateLawyer checks
Villain bets $18
PirateLawyer raises to $50, and is all in
Villain calls $24.10, and is all in
PirateLawyer shows [Kh Ad Tc Js]
Villain shows [Ah Kd Ac 8d]
*** TURN *** [Kc Jh 2s] [2c]
*** RIVER *** [Kc Jh 2s 2c] [3d]
PirateLawyer shows two pair, Kings and Jacks
Villain shows two pair, Aces and Twos
Villain wins the pot ($99.20) with two pair, Aces and Twos
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $102.20 | Rake $3
Board: [Kc Jh 2s 2c 3d]
Seat 1: PirateLawyer showed [Kh Ad Tc Js] and lost with two pair, Kings and Jacks
Seat 2: Villain showed [Ah Kd Ac 8d] and won ($99.20) with two pair, Aces and Twos

Villain made similar mistake but at least raised preflop. With four Broadway cards and relatively deep stacks I can easily justify preflop call of re-raise. I hit flop hard with top two pair and a gutter and happily get the chips in middle vs. overpair who lucks into better 2pr hand.

2b) Budget time away from tables to study some poker math concepts and integrate into cash game play. At present I am too reactive to flop textures -- okay, let's admit it, I am too dependent on my actual holdings -- and am not making proper adjustments to maximize my EV with my hand ranges.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A standard DQB brag

Fun and profit. Enough said.

That'll help correct a recent downswing, to be sure. If only it had been at a higher stakes table ...

Friday, January 2, 2009

Staring at the Abyss, part two

I realized during the busy Christmas holidays that I really don't have much more to say about my Las Vegas trip. Others have waxed eloquent about the darker side of Las Vegas; suffice it to say that I got an eyeful during my stay there. The rest of my travel notes aren't going to see the light of day on the ol' blog, at least for now.

Overall, I had a great time; the trip was a profitable one in almost all respects, both emotional and financial, and I even managed some minor epiphanies in the long wait at McCarran for my flight home (it was delayed by 30 minutes, but I arrived very early as I was nervous about the incoming weather as well as the dicey conditions in Vancouver -- which were a harbinger of things to come). I'll have more to say about those in a future post.

As far as the actual poker ledger goes, as I alluded to before I booked a tidy profit despite not finding any good NL 2/5 games or mid-stakes LHE games: I cut a wide swath in NL 1/2 through bloggers and non-bloggers alike. The suckout total was even at one apiece, so that was a push (my KK rivered a set vs. AA whilst CK managed to get to hit her kicker vs. my AK on a K-high board).

I was pleased to shake off the poker rust (I hadn't played any live poker from September through the end of November) and feel firmly in control of my A-game with only occasional dips in focus and concentration. Overall the cards ran reasonably well and my only mistakes were in extracting the maximum when I was nut-peddling; my situational awareness and positional play was good as I didn't get myself into hardly any marginal spots (or if I did, I was able to avoid any truly tough decisions). I'll write up a couple of hands for discussion this weekend to see what others think about my line of play.

My chief regret of the trip was not being able to spend time with everyone I would have liked to. I trust that will be rectified in future.

Next up: your standard New Year's recap/resolution post. Some actual non-poker content too!