Friday, March 27, 2009

My busted draw beats your busted draw

7-high was good. I felt sick on the river and checked behind, giving up in utter disbelief ... crubs didn't get there. As a staunch believer, I was stunned; I had put four bets in on the turn. Then the pot was pushed to me and I was incredulous ...

Yes, the small blind 3-bet preflop with 2d5d. Standard donkery in a 1/2 mixed cash game.

My range beats your range

I figured this was a good example of a simple yet powerful post Gnome recently put up.

This 6-max HA table was ridiculously loose and aggressive so I opted to make a small re-raise out of the blinds rather than a full re-pot, because I didn't want to scare off my customer. I made a smaller-than-normal continuation bet on a fairly unthreatening flop and decided I was willing to felt here against my opponent's wide range. So when the board paired on the turn (a very good card for me) I opted to make another weak-looking turn bet (complete with pause to let my 15-second warning go off) hoping to induce a bluff-raise. Sure enough, villain took the bait and raised, and I have a trivially easy call to make. His bluff doesn't tell a coherent story: I can't put him on a trey or bottom set; he would have 4-bet with AA, so ... he either has me crushed with the overfull, he's drawing to a flush, he's got TPTK or he has complete air. I think he has the second-best hand way more often than not, so I happily call and discover that he's drawing to three outs. Fortunately for me, an ace didn't spike on the river.

Another possible scenario here would have been my opponent flat-calling the turn. If he then spiked a queen on the end, I'm fairly confident that my opponent would have called off his stack, too, because he would have persuaded himself that I only had a ten or a busted flush draw.

The other line I could have taken is to bet closer to full pot on the flop, and check the turn hoping to induce a bet from worse hands.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mookie final table recap, redux

6th place finish this time, still no ToC seat. More close but no cigar shenanigans. I lost several consecutive confrontations late, and folded a lot later on as I went completely dry on good hands, and was forced to play short-stacked at the final table, as my top-3 stack with 3 tables left slowly dwindled to 7/9. I misplayed my bustout hand in a blind-on-blind battle when I had a clear 3bet shove; instead I got fancy and decided to play JdTd in position to a flop. Unfortunately, villain's Qs4s outflopped me and we got all the money in on the turn on a JQ5K board, and I bricked.

#1 - The river min-raise for value

#2 - Trapping a dangerous opponent without overplaying TPTK

#3 - Getting lucky; also missed a value bet

Then some hands vs. the Doc ...

#4 - Turning the second nuts

#5 - Pot Control; Doc said he had a ten here

#6 - Four-flushing again, but this time I was best the whole way

#7 - Filling up in a 3-way spot

Villain #3 had 85.

#8 - Flopping the nuts in a re-raised pot; I was praying opponent had a big pair they couldn't get away from

Sadly from here on out I was completely card dead and my top-3 stack dwindled and dwindled. I then lost a big race vs. deuces, of all things,

#9 - 22 holds

and then faced this donktastic overshove with no fold equity (same opponent again). JTo held ... villain's perceptiveness of hand ranges was sorely lacking, but I don't expect many players to note how tightly I was playing preflop ...

#10 - J-high is gold preflop

Finally I make a mistake in a blind vs. blind battle and bust out in sixth.

#11 - Why didn't I shove preflop? Raise or fold!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Live by the sword, die by the sword

Tonight's Skills Game was going smoothly. I was in the top ten most of the evening.


But then two things happened: I made a big flush and lost the maximum when the board paired.

And then I played this hand. 85ss was betrayed. I'm sure NB is in shock (and laughing his guts out).

This brilliantly-played hand brought to you by yours truly and Heffmike. I guess he figured he could "represent" an overpair and bluff me, when I was having none of it. Most sane players would fold an underpair on the flop when I make a 4-bet. But hey, sometimes you can chase down an 86/13 favourite. It's only limit hold'em, right?

The joke was on me, indeed. I shall pretend villain had a masterfully-played overpair to the board.

NB. A good case can be made for me to take an alternate line: I can call the flop bet and raise any turn card. This might get a lot of hands to fold even if, as here, opponent is sticky with bluff-catchers.

The power of snowmen

Is magnified when you are holding the mighty 83ss. QueensUp knows. Numb knows, since I've also crippled him with 85ss (also spades). Spades are the boss suit even more than clubs. Too bad NB was seduced by his clearly inferior holding and decided to go to the felt against the mighty snowman taterlegs.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Seeing the Virtual Light, part one

First in a long-overdue series.

The Education of a Poker Blogger

Stubbornness is a character trait that has held me back at the virtual felt of the poker world. Like most amateur poker players of a certain age, I began playing the game before it gained popularity on television, and soon realized that the online poker experience demands a new set of habits and skills. Slowly but surely, through painful trial and error, I have learned some lessons about how to cope with the pitfalls of online poker. I hope this primer will help fellow amateur poker players of the non-genius variety avoid similar mistakes and improve the state of their bankrolls. In Part One, I’ll discuss some basic tools to help you in online play; in Part Two I’ll introduce the concepts of self-control and poker study; in Part Three I’ll discuss experimenting with all of the major variants of poker at low stakes, and do a paired walkthrough of a successful tournament satellite and main event final table run; and finally in Part Four I’ll introduce some advanced concepts for consideration – reciprocity and the skill of quitting, as well as the need to start balancing your own game against tougher opponents as you move up in stakes (optimal versus exploitive play).

Incomplete Information
Never bring a sword to a gunfight – Indiana Jones

A good working definition of poker is that it is a game where players wager on outcomes with incomplete information. The more skilled poker player develops an advantage by gathering more information than his or her opponents do, and leverages that advantage by making better, more informed decisions during the game. In live play, you simply make a mental note to yourself as you size up a player. Online play requires considerably more effort, because you usually won’t be playing against a relatively small number of regular opponents. I like taking a lot of notes on players. This means that you need to develop a system to organize your notes and label them for future use. Thankfully, FTP has a useful colour-coding system wedded to its note-taking feature, which is even visible in the lobby area now as a guide for game selection purposes. Developing your own personal system of note-taking on your opponents is a must; this is exactly what you would do in a traditional live game and you must find methods to learn and record information about your online opponents and gain valuable information to select good games to play in. For example, you can colour the toughest players in red; you’ll want to avoid them if at all possible. Weak calling stations can be coded a soft blue; truly clueless players can be bright pink; aggressive yet flawed players can be dark purple, and so on. Refine and develop your own system and you will soon reap the rewards.

FTP also permits the use of third-party software programs which can help supplement your own notes on players with statistical data (I strongly suggest looking at the EULA for the list of permitted programs), and examine your own play for flaws. PokerTracker & Hold’Em Manager are the two most well-known poker databases, which can be used to track your own play and look over trends and tendencies. Sample size issues apply, however; don’t overreact by drawing firm conclusions over a sample of just 500 hands. As any baseball fan can tell you, a major league baseball player can do just about anything in 100 at-bats. A similar variance applies to the world of poker. To evaluate the true talent level or predict the expected future performance of a player requires much more data. It is invaluable when you are at the table with someone to be able to know about how often they make continuation bets, how often they will check-raise you on the flop, and so forth. Playing without this level of information is a significant handicap, and there is no good reason to be unarmed in the battle of wits.

Other People’s Money

Any poker player worth their salt should want rakeback and bonuses for playing at an online poker site -- I happen to play the majority of my online poker at FullTilt. This is a direct and tangible contribution to the health of your bankroll which will significantly help your bankroll. Don’t pass it up. Simply put, before you set up an account at an online poker site you should do some research to find an affiliate who will typically offer you somewhere in the neighbourhood of 25% of the rake you pay for all the hands you play online. This is your money and there is no reason not to get it back. You can also get a sign-up bonus (typically 20% of your initial deposit, to a maximum of $100) for opening a new account which will usually be paid out as you play out a certain number of hands.

Coming soon, part two.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Scooping is the platinum rule for split pot games, smart players say, and something to always ask yourself about when employing good hand selection at the outset of any pot: am I playing for the whole pot, or just for half? If the answer is the latter, strongly consider folding.

This six-card straight flush is the definition of overqualified; sadly I bubbled this H.O.R.S.E. tourney despite this massive scoop in the mid-stages of the tourney. I like to call Stud8 the freeroll level in such tourneys.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Series finale aired last night. It was a superb conclusion to the story arc, to my way of thinking. It answered some long-running questions definitively and left others open to the audience's interpretation. I especially liked the final scene. BSG's writers used elegantly powerful motifs and themes in the story and consistently invoked them judiciously without talking down to their audience.

Who knew that such a brilliant show could rise out of such inauspicious material as the original series, whose only stirring moments were generated by its bombastic opening musical score and Lorne Greene's rich voice doing the voice-over narration?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Horsing around

Tonight is another BBT4 event, the Skills Game - HORSE. I'll take some prop bets on this event, so hit me up on IM or via e-mail.

I'll also be playing the 4K HORSE again, and I would love to pull off a double win.

Of course, this probably means I'll get donked out early in both.

Edit: yep, donked out shamefully early in Skills Game. Glad I didn't book more action, heh.

Edit: epic card death in 4K beyond all belief and I still outlasted more than half the field.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Faith manages

In back-to-back hands of a token frenzy, I am rewarded.

4K HORSE musings

In the wake of my fourth-place finish last night I figured I should figure out what went right (a great many things) and what went wrong (why didn't I win the whole thing?).

Without further ado, let's examine some culled hand histories to see where I chipped up and where I chipped down. As you will see, there is no secret recipe for success: getting involved in good situations against bad players is straightforward enough in a fixed-bet tournament. There is no real need for tricky play. You just have to have your share of premium hands hold up and win some freerolls: most of the players in the field can be exploited in one or two of the games in the rotation and it's your job to figure out when to press the advantage.

Early slowplay to oblivion

Flopping bottom set here and trapping on a scary board when out of position didn't work.

I recovered nicely however with a premium holding in razz: the mighty 234. Despite making a ten by 5th and bricking the rest of the way, I was able to hold up vs. an overplayed Axx hand that only made a jack-low.

I then had buried aces hold up in Stud hi, but not without a moment of doubt:

*** 3RD STREET ***
Dealt to KalmanZ [Tc]
Dealt to steveraceday [8s]
Dealt to o SHAKESPEARE o [4h]
Dealt to AKTROY [3c]
Dealt to stud5card [6s]
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Ac As] [7s]
Dealt to Hangman32 [Js]
AKTROY is low with [3c]
AKTROY has 15 seconds left to act
AKTROY brings in for 15
stud5card calls 15
PirateLawyer completes it to 50
Hangman32 folds
KalmanZ folds
steveraceday folds
AKTROY folds
stud5card calls 35
*** 4TH STREET ***
Dealt to stud5card [6s] [3s]
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Ac As 7s] [Qc]
PirateLawyer bets 50
stud5card calls 50

I'm going to keep betting until I'm told to slow down.

*** 5TH STREET ***
Dealt to stud5card [6s 3s] [8d]
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Ac As 7s Qc] [2c]
PirateLawyer bets 100
stud5card calls 100

See above.

*** 6TH STREET ***
Dealt to stud5card [6s 3s 8d] [Ad]
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Ac As 7s Qc 2c] [4c]
stud5card bets 100
PirateLawyer calls 100

I'm unimproved but not convinced I've been outdrawn.

*** 7TH STREET ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Ac As 7s Qc 2c 4c] [9d]
stud5card checks
PirateLawyer checks

I really wanted to bet for value here but with AA unimproved a thin value bet here is something I'll try in a cash game.

*** SHOW DOWN ***
stud5card shows [Ah 7h 6s 3s 8d Ad 4d] a pair of Aces
PirateLawyer shows [As Ac 7s Qc 2c 4c 9d] a pair of Aces
PirateLawyer wins the pot (685) with a pair of Aces

I then school someone who can't get away from TPTK in a LHE hand:

This hand plays itself, really. If they don't show strength, bet the overpair for value! I'm now over the 3K chip mark and am comfortable situated to play relatively big-stacked poker.

This trend continues nicely in 08 as I open with a tricky hand that plays itself out nicely with the case ace on the flop. How do I know it was the case ace?

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Ac 4c Ad As]
AcemAll folds
PirateLawyer raises to 200 - I have a lot of information about what my opponents aren't holding, and this gives me a lot of power
garnishgut folds
kmanphxtg1 folds
inittwowinit has 15 seconds left to act
inittwowinit calls 200
Emile53 folds
igetsoupish folds

Even better, I get to play headsup and see this flop, at which point I go to valuetown, population one:
*** FLOP *** [Ks 7d Ah]
PirateLawyer bets 100
inittwowinit calls 100
*** TURN *** [Ks 7d Ah] [Qc]
PirateLawyer bets 200
inittwowinit calls 200
*** RIVER *** [Ks 7d Ah Qc] [5c]
PirateLawyer bets 200
inittwowinit calls 200
*** SHOW DOWN ***
PirateLawyer shows [Ac 4c Ad As] three of a kind, Aces, for high
inittwowinit mucks
PirateLawyer wins the pot (1,550) with three of a kind, Aces
No low hand qualified
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 1,550 | Rake 0
Board: [Ks 7d Ah Qc 5c]
Seat 1: AcemAll didn't bet (folded)
Seat 2: PirateLawyer showed [Ac 4c Ad As] and won (1,550) with HI: three of a kind, Aces
Seat 6: inittwowinit (button) mucked [Qd Jc 4d Kc] - HI: two pair, Kings and Queens

Where I school an opponent who likes a 2pr hand with no low possibilities. Thank you!

This level continues to be friendly as I scoop a big pot with a beautiful flop.

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [4s Ad 8d 7c]
garnishgut calls 100
kmanphxtg1 folds
inittwowinit calls 100
Emile53 calls 100
igetsoupish calls 100
AcemAll folds
PirateLawyer calls 50
*** FLOP *** [3h 8s 8c]
PirateLawyer checks
ONESCOUT76 checks
garnishgut checks
inittwowinit checks
Emile53 bets 100
igetsoupish calls 100
PirateLawyer raises to 200
ONESCOUT76 folds
garnishgut folds
inittwowinit folds
Emile53 calls 100
igetsoupish calls 100

I go for the CRAI for value figuring I need to charge better low draws since I nearly have a high board lock.

*** TURN *** [3h 8s 8c] [4h]
PirateLawyer bets 200
Emile53 calls 200
igetsoupish calls 200

I don't actually like the turn card but it does fill me up for the high half.

*** RIVER *** [3h 8s 8c 4h] [Qc]
PirateLawyer bets 200
Emile53 calls 200
igetsoupish folds
*** SHOW DOWN ***
PirateLawyer shows [4s Ad 8d 7c] a full house, Eights full of Fours, for high and 8,7,4,3,A, for low
Emile53 mucks
PirateLawyer wins the high pot (1,100) with a full house, Eights full of Fours
PirateLawyer wins the low pot (1,100) with 8,7,4,3,A
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 2,200 | Rake 0
Board: [3h 8s 8c 4h Qc]
Seat 2: PirateLawyer (small blind) showed [4s Ad 8d 7c] and won (2,200) with HI: a full house, Eights full of Fours; LO: 8,7,4,3,A
Seat 7: Emile53 mucked [Qh 7h 6c 4c] - HI: two pair, Queens and Eights; LO: 8,7,6,4,3

Classic POW from a mediocre hand in both directions.

Someone tries a half-decent bluff against me in Stud hi, but I get stubborn and they don't have the heart to keep the pressure on. Free cards let me improve enough to catch his desperate stab on 7th and I gladly take the 1700 pot and go above 6K in chips.

Then in Stud8 (I call these freeroll levels) I get dealt a disguised premium hand and scoop a monster like so:

*** 3RD STREET ***
Dealt to garnishgut [6h]
Dealt to Texas Kowboy [Ks]
Dealt to Big Dutchie [Td]
Dealt to kedel [8h]
Dealt to PirateLawyer [4d 6s] [5s]
Dealt to PD_THE_HORSE [4s]
Dealt to Adam Schoenfeld [9s]
PD_THE_HORSE is low with [4s]
PD_THE_HORSE brings in for 50
Adam Schoenfeld folds
garnishgut calls 50
Texas Kowboy folds
Big Dutchie folds
kedel folds
PirateLawyer completes it to 200 - this is an auto-complete vs. two low upcards behind me
PD_THE_HORSE calls 150
garnishgut calls 150
*** 4TH STREET ***
Dealt to garnishgut [6h] [Qd]
Dealt to PirateLawyer [4d 6s 5s] [8s]
Dealt to PD_THE_HORSE [4s] [6d]
garnishgut checks
PirateLawyer bets 200
PD_THE_HORSE calls 200
garnishgut calls 200

Nearly a perfect card on 4th so again, an auto-bet.

*** 5TH STREET ***
Dealt to garnishgut [6h Qd] [Ts]
Dealt to PirateLawyer [4d 6s 5s 8s] [9c]
Dealt to PD_THE_HORSE [4s 6d] [5h]
garnishgut checks
PirateLawyer checks
PD_THE_HORSE bets 400
chuckb sits down
chuckb adds 5,108
garnishgut folds
PirateLawyer calls 400

The beauty here is that I can safely continue even though the 9c is an apparent brick.

*** 6TH STREET ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [4d 6s 5s 8s 9c] [Js]
Dealt to PD_THE_HORSE [4s 6d 5h] [Kc]
PD_THE_HORSE bets 400
PirateLawyer calls 400

Again, a straightfoward call as I'm drawing live for both halves of the pot. Unless I completely brick out I should be able to take at least half.

*** 7TH STREET ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [4d 6s 5s 8s 9c Js] [3s]
PD_THE_HORSE bets 400
PirateLawyer raises to 800
PD_THE_HORSE calls 400

I hit my gin card (a low spade) and make the value raise.
*** SHOW DOWN ***
PirateLawyer shows [6s 4d 5s 8s 9c Js 3s] a flush, Jack high, for high and 8,6,5,4,3, for low
PirateLawyer wins the high pot (2,305) with a flush, Jack high
PirateLawyer wins the low pot (2,305) with 8,6,5,4,3
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 4,610 | Rake 0
Seat 6: PirateLawyer showed [6s 4d 5s 8s 9c Js 3s] and won (4,610) with HI: a flush, Jack high; LO: 8,6,5,4,3
Seat 7: PD_THE_HORSE mucked [Kh 4c 4s 6d 5h Kc 2d] - HI: two pair, Kings and Fours

And it seems my opponent started with a crappy K24 and backed into kings up. Nice!

Then I overplay an underfull after sucking out on the turn in a LHE hand. I actually like my trappy call on the turn since my opponent is drawing so thin; I should ordinarily be able to extract additional value on the river street 95% of the time.

I had seen this opponent get out of line and figured my ace-high was good in a blind vs. blind battle so I opted to play my hand in position. When he three-bet the flop I was prepared to let it go, but I hit my gin card on the turn. Then I got the bad news on the river and spewed two bets I didn't have to. Nonetheless, I was still comfortably above average in chips with 6K and able to recover.

How? By starting A25 in razz and making an 8,5,4,2,A vs. a shorty and an opponent who paid me off an every street drawing nearly dead (he made a worse 8-low). One 10K pot later and I'm back in business.

Moments later, the same villian overplays a bad eight to my seven, and I earn another 4K pot.

Then we bust someone who figures any pocket pair in limit hold'em is gold. Er ... not so fast!

And I am in the top ten in chips at this point.

Then I get scoop another huge pot in 08 by crushing my opponent with the nut + nut redraw.

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Qs 6s Ad Kd]
bobo da clown1 folds
pkrnut1 folds
Osses folds
PirateLawyer raises to 2,000
War_Kitten1 folds
Will_B_D folds
wallythegh calls 1,000
*** FLOP *** [Tc Ks 6d]
wallythegh checks
PirateLawyer bets 1,000
wallythegh calls 1,000

Easy bet with top-and-bottom pair and a redraw.

*** TURN *** [Tc Ks 6d] [Jd]
wallythegh bets 2,000
PirateLawyer raises to 4,000 - at worst I have a freeroll to scoop
wallythegh calls 2,000

I can't raise fast enough - but in actual fact I paused here to try to persuade my victim to 3-bet.

*** RIVER *** [Tc Ks 6d Jd] [5d]
wallythegh checks
PirateLawyer bets 2,000
wallythegh calls 2,000

And I hit my redraw and get paid.

*** SHOW DOWN ***
PirateLawyer shows [Qs 6s Ad Kd] a flush, Ace high, for high
wallythegh mucks
PirateLawyer wins the pot (18,500) with a flush, Ace high
No low hand qualified
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 18,500 | Rake 0
Board: [Tc Ks 6d Jd 5d]
Seat 1: wallythegh (big blind) mucked [9d Qd Th 9s] - HI: a flush, Queen high
Seat 6: PirateLawyer showed [Qs 6s Ad Kd] and won (18,500) with HI: a flush, Ace high

He made the sucker straight on the turn and the third-nut flush on the end. A bit of a setup hand for him but he got himself in all kinds of trouble by peeling on the flop.

Soon after that, I win a freeroll vs. bare aces by making the wheel with Js Jc 4c Ad in position on a [9d 5h 3c 6s] [2h] board. Poker is easy!

As the final table bubble nears I eventually had to take a stand against a big-stacked bully with a hand that is favoured against his range, since he was raising first-in every single hand in this level. I win the race in dramatic fashion.

We reach the final table and finally I make a horrible blunder. This razz hand was a fiasco and spelled the end of my aspirations to win the whole tourney. Just some terrible situational awareness by me. My hand range is crushed when I am re-raised here on 3rd and I need to find a fold.

Seat 1: PirateLawyer (38,468)
Seat 2: VictoRev (136,136)
Seat 3: 59Razor (16,137)
Seat 4: stud5card (95,389)
Seat 6: TheNewMath (94,340)
Seat 7: GIO77 (44,302)
Seat 8: AcemAll (29,228)
*** 3RD STREET ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [8h 7s] [2c]
Dealt to VictoRev [5d]
Dealt to 59Razor [2s]
Dealt to stud5card [2h]
Dealt to TheNewMath [Qh]
Dealt to GIO77 [4h]
Dealt to AcemAll [Jd]
TheNewMath is high with [Qh]
TheNewMath brings in for 1,000
GIO77 folds
AcemAll folds
PirateLawyer completes it to 4,000
VictoRev folds
59Razor folds
stud5card raises to 8,000
TheNewMath folds
PirateLawyer calls 4,000

This is a terrible decision. I need to avoid this spot. Essentially I have horrible reverse implied odds here and am drawing thin. Instead, I lose almost my entire stack and have to scramble to survive after this train wreck.

*** 4TH STREET ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [8h 7s 2c] [Qc]
Dealt to stud5card [2h] [Qs]
PirateLawyer checks
stud5card bets 4,000
PirateLawyer calls 4,000
*** 5TH STREET ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [8h 7s 2c Qc] [4s]
Dealt to stud5card [2h Qs] [8c]
PirateLawyer checks
stud5card checks
*** 6TH STREET ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [8h 7s 2c Qc 4s] [Kh]
Dealt to stud5card [2h Qs 8c] [5s]
stud5card bets 8,000
PirateLawyer calls 8,000
*** 7TH STREET ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [8h 7s 2c Qc 4s Kh] [Ad]
stud5card bets 8,000
PirateLawyer raises to 16,000
stud5card calls 8,000
*** SHOW DOWN ***
PirateLawyer shows [8h 7s 2c Qc 4s Kh Ad] 8,7,4,2,A
stud5card shows [9d 3s 2h Qs 8c 5s Ah] 8,5,3,2,A
stud5card wins the pot (77,900) with 8,5,3,2,A
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 77,900 | Rake 0
Seat 1: PirateLawyer showed [8h 7s 2c Qc 4s Kh Ad] and lost with 8,7,4,2,A
Seat 4: stud5card showed [9d 3s 2h Qs 8c 5s Ah] and won (77,900) with 8,5,3,2,A

Sure enough, it looks like my opponent had something like A23 to start the hand. That's all. Sheesh.

From here on in, I just found 2-3 double-up spots and stole my way back long enough to get down to the final four. Severely outchipped, I found a spot to nearly quadruple up in a Stud08 hand (my freeroll level, after all) but missed my scoop outs and busted out.

For all three of you who read this far, I hope you found this of interest. I certainly learned a few things by examining my decisions at the final table and looking at how I outlasted 223 other players to finish 4th in this HORSE event.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Climbing the ladder

That's what I did at the final table after being crippled in a razz hand when I got pipped making an eight-low. I was the proverbial grinder who survived and waited as patiently as possible to double up and outlast a few players, finally bowing out in fourth place. I narrowly missed a Stud08 scoop which would have tripled me up and put me right back in serious contention for the outright win.

I appreciate the railing of these two fellow HORSE enthusiasts during my deep run, and I'll try to come up with some strategy thoughts once I look over the hand histories.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ho-hum, another day, another ToC seat misfire

Short version: I was massive chipleader for nearly all of the second half of the Mookie. I got a fortunate double-up with AQ vs. KK when the poker gods rewarded me for overplaying AQ preflop; my pairs were holding up vs. slightly lower pairs; and I was dodging trouble and making some big stack calls to bust players left and right. By the time we were down to six players left I had 106K in chips; second place stack was about 60K ... but I managed to implode, busting out in fifth place. Playing to win came back to haunt me.

1) I go to the well one too many times with T8s ("the Mookie") and flop bottom two pair in a re-raised pot (I opened and was re-raised another 4 bbs by the small blind). Jordan leads out having flopped top set, I shove, he insta-calls and I relinquish chip lead when I lose the massive 110K-ish pot which would have had me home and cooled out with more than half the chips in play with five players left. Instead, I swap positions with Jordan, who went on to win the tournament, and fell to second place with approximately 60K. Given my chip lead I think this was a defensible call in position with the implied odds and the stack sizes involved (100K and 50-ishK respectively), but hitting two pair here proved disastrous. I was able to invest less than 10% of my stack preflop to call the re-raise and I hit my hand hard enough to continue. Since I put Jordan's re-raising range there at a pretty "honest" top 5-10% of hands, I figured the implied odds were sufficient to see a flop in position.

2) I stabilize and am narrowly in third place behind cardgrrl, who has aggressively been picking on my big blind when it's folded around to her. So I eventually play back at her with Q8dd. She decides she wants to play acey-deucey out of position against my re-raising range. Oookay. We both check on a 9d7h2c flop. The magical 6d falls on the turn and suddenly I have OESFD with some live cards; she leads out for 10K into a ~35K pot and I instantly shove my last 35K in there and she calls. She shows up with the nightmarish A2dd for a mighty bottom pair and my flush outs are dead. Naturally the flush comes in (also completing my straight) and IGH in 5th place. My 21 outs once turned out to be just a dozen: three queens, three eights, and six non-diamond straight outs. (The sad thing is that if a blank falls on the turn, I think I can get her off bottom pair.)


Will try again next week for that ToC seat I suppose.

NB. Oh, and at least I got to say DQB:

PLO exercise, pt. 2

I meant to include this hand in the previoust post, so here goes.

Six players are left at the final table of last night's Skills Game. The cash bubble has burst but the prize money jumps are small at this point, the only prize of any consequence is climbing all the way to a first place finish and a ToC seat.

You are short-stacked in the big blind with [Ts 2h Td Kc]. The cutoff opens for 3 times the big blind (6K) and the button and small blind fold. Do you take a stand here or not? Some considerations:

1) You have no fold equity, since villain is getting a great price to call such a small re-raise; and
2) If you put your last 9K in the pot you are probably going to have to improve to survive; and
3) Can I find a better spot to put my stack in during the next orbit of hands once I pass through the blinds?

What is your estimate of villain's hand range? What percentage of the time does he have an overpair to your tens, and how often does he have live suits to make flushes and/or connectors to make straights? Do you have any blockers against those types of hands? How likely is your hand to improve postflop?

These are some questions worth asking in the late stages of a PLO tourney. Here is how the hand played out ... as the villain actually found himself in a virtual coinflip as the cards lay:

Seat 1: Second Place Guy (63,036)
Seat 2: Villain (30,470)
Seat 4: Third Place Guy (34,764)
Seat 5: Fifth Place Guy (13,878)
Seat 6: Hero (9,318)
Seat 7: Chip Leader (100,534)
SB posts the small blind of 1,000
Hero posts the big blind of 2,000
The button is in seat #4
*** HOLE CARDS ***
CL folds
2P folds
Villain raises to 6,000
3P folds
5P folds
Hero raises to 9,318, and is all in
Villain calls 3,318
Hero shows [Ts 2h Td Kc]
Villain shows [Kd 9s 6h Ah]
*** FLOP *** [5d Tc 6s]
*** TURN *** [5d Tc 6s] [9c]
*** RIVER *** [5d Tc 6s 9c] [3h]
Hero shows three of a kind, Tens
Villain shows two pair, Nines and Sixes
Hero wins the pot (19,636) with three of a kind, Tens

PLO exercise, pt. 1

Maximizing value and reading hand ranges is the subject of this exercise. I pulled a couple of hand histories from last night's BBT4 event, the Skills Game, which provided a nice structure for some relatively deep-stacked PLO.

Unlike some players, I don't like to always bet "full pot". I like to vary my bet sizes, but with a range of holdings so I can't be exploited by observant opponents.

Hand #1 - Nut-Peddling with Half-Pot Bet Sizes

Seat 1: kickyourace (4,082)
Seat 2: twoblackaces (2,646)
Seat 3: Tony Eusebio (2,835)
Seat 4: iaatg6296 (3,165)
Seat 5: InstantTragedy (2,795)
Seat 6: dueyv9 (2,850)
Seat 7: lightning36 (3,263)
Seat 8: PirateLawyer (2,745)
Seat 9: lucko21 (2,265)
Tony Eusebio posts the small blind of 20
iaatg6296 posts the big blind of 40
The button is in seat #1
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [8h 8s Kd Js]
InstantTragedy folds
dueyv9 folds
lightning36 folds
PirateLawyer calls 40 - this is worth a limp since stacks are so deep, but I could just as easily have folded this preflop since this is a trash hand unless I flop big
lucko21 folds
kickyourace folds
Tony Eusebio folds
iaatg6296 checks
*** FLOP *** [8d 3s Jc]
iaatg6296 bets 80
PirateLawyer raises to 210 - this is the miracle flop for my hand; since I am holding a jack, I can discount my opponent holding top set. it's time to take villain to valuetown, population one
iaatg6296 calls 130
*** TURN *** [8d 3s Jc] [4d]
iaatg6296 checks
PirateLawyer bets 520 - look how I am able to extract more chips with the flop raise juicing the pot
iaatg6296 calls 520
*** RIVER *** [8d 3s Jc 4d] [2h]
iaatg6296 checks
PirateLawyer bets 780 - no draws get there except for backdoor straights which I can discount
iaatg6296 calls 780
*** SHOW DOWN ***
PirateLawyer shows [8h 8s Kd Js] three of a kind, Eights
iaatg6296 mucks
PirateLawyer wins the pot (3,120) with three of a kind, Eights
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 3,120 | Rake 0
Board: [8d 3s Jc 4d 2h]
Seat 1: kickyourace (button) didn't bet (folded)
Seat 2: twoblackaces is sitting out
Seat 3: Tony Eusebio (small blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 4: iaatg6296 (big blind) mucked [Ac 8c Jh Th] - two pair, Jacks and Eights
Seat 5: InstantTragedy didn't bet (folded)
Seat 6: dueyv9 didn't bet (folded)
Seat 7: lightning36 didn't bet (folded)
Seat 8: PirateLawyer showed [8h 8s Kd Js] and won (3,120) with three of a kind, Eights
Seat 9: lucko21 didn't bet (folded)

And I get max value from top two pair. Really no excuse for villain to call all three streets, but that is the benefit of playing a strong hand in position in PLO when you know where you are at.

Hand #2 - The Rare Slowplay for Value

Seat 1: kickyourace (4,372)
Seat 2: twoblackaces (4,361)
Seat 3: Tony Eusebio (2,350)
Seat 4: iaatg6296 (2,910)
Seat 5: InstantTragedy (1,105)
Seat 6: dueyv9 (3,890)
Seat 7: ElSnarfGrande (2,625)
Seat 8: PirateLawyer (4,495)
ElSnarfGrande posts the small blind of 25
PirateLawyer posts the big blind of 50
The button is in seat #6
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [5s 6s 6d 5d] - I already have a good feeling about this hand
kickyourace calls 50
twoblackaces folds
Tony Eusebio folds
iaatg6296 calls 50
InstantTragedy calls 50
dueyv9 folds
ElSnarfGrande calls 25
PirateLawyer checks
*** FLOP *** [6c 6h Jc] - your standard flopped quads
ElSnarfGrande checks
PirateLawyer checks - Leading out here shows too much strength; I hope someone improves on the turn
kickyourace checks
iaatg6296 checks
InstantTragedy checks
*** TURN *** [6c 6h Jc] [9d]
ElSnarfGrande checks
PirateLawyer checks
kickyourace checks
iaatg6296 checks
InstantTragedy bets 55
ElSnarfGrande folds
PirateLawyer calls 55
kickyourace calls 55
iaatg6296 calls 55 - wow, I did not expect two more overcalls! I can either lead out on the river if a scare card comes, or plan a check-raise
*** RIVER *** [6c 6h Jc 9d] [9c]
PirateLawyer bets 235 - I opt for a half-pot bet
kickyourace calls 235
iaatg6296 folds
InstantTragedy folds
*** SHOW DOWN ***
PirateLawyer shows [5s 6s 6d 5d] four of a kind, Sixes
kickyourace mucks
PirateLawyer wins the pot (940) with four of a kind, Sixes
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 940 | Rake 0
Board: [6c 6h Jc 9d 9c]
Seat 1: kickyourace mucked [2h Tc 7d Ac] - a flush, Ace high
Seat 8: PirateLawyer (big blind) showed [5s 6s 6d 5d] and won (940) with four of a kind, Sixes

And we see that our opponent had the nut flush and bet on the turn with it along with an inside straight draw. It's hard to say if he would have called a full pot-sized bet or if I could have extracted more value with a check-raise. I like the weak lead here in hopes of getting him to overplay the nut flush with a river raise, but he didn't bite.

Hand #3 - Estimating Hand Ranges

Seat 1: NYRambler (2,695)
Seat 2: muhctim (3,140)
Seat 3: Bone_Daddy84 (4,075)
Seat 4: microvillain (3,145)
Seat 6: jeciimd (10,277)
Seat 7: Rake Feeder (1,135)
Seat 8: methos26 (12,883)
Seat 9: PirateLawyer (5,925)
PirateLawyer posts the small blind of 30
NYRambler posts the big blind of 60
The button is in seat #8
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [4c 8d Qd Tc]
muhctim folds
Bone_Daddy84 folds
microvillain folds
jeciimd calls 60
Rake Feeder calls 60
methos26 calls 60
PirateLawyer calls 30
NYRambler checks
*** FLOP *** [Td 4d Jh]
PirateLawyer checks - if I lead out here I am telegraphing too much hand strength
NYRambler checks
jeciimd bets 200
Rake Feeder folds
methos26 calls 200
PirateLawyer calls 200 - easy call, I don't want to blow people off their hands with a check-raise, I am looking to maximize value on later streets
NYRambler folds
*** TURN *** [Td 4d Jh] [9d]
PirateLawyer checks - gin, obviously;
jeciimd checks
methos26 bets 540
PirateLawyer raises to 1,440 - it's time to spring the trap, I put the raise in now because I have to hope he has a high flush he will go to war with. If he only has a straight or low set, I probably can't get another street of value
jeciimd folds
methos26 folds
Uncalled bet of 900 returned to PirateLawyer
PirateLawyer mucks
PirateLawyer wins the pot (1,980)
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 1,980 | Rake 0
Board: [Td 4d Jh 9d]
Seat 1: NYRambler (big blind) folded on the Flop
Seat 2: muhctim didn't bet (folded)
Seat 3: Bone_Daddy84 didn't bet (folded)
Seat 4: microvillain didn't bet (folded)
Seat 6: jeciimd folded on the Turn
Seat 7: Rake Feeder folded on the Flop
Seat 8: methos26 (button) folded on the Turn
Seat 9: PirateLawyer (small blind) collected (1,980), mucked

The turn check-raise is optional. I am nut-peddling and could afford to wait until the river and either bet our or check-raise, but I try to build the pot and hope villain has a genuinely strong hand he's willing to play for stacks.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Skills Game near-miss

First of all, congratulations to F-Train, who deservedly won his ToC seat with a dominant performance. He built up a huge stack and never relinquished the chiplead at the final table. I thought I was well-positioned to mount a serious challenge but I scuffled with my only real significant play error to fall out of a solid 50K-ish 3rd place stack at the final table and down to a three-way crowd in the basement with six players left. I then found a good spot with dead money to overshove my 25K-ish stack over the top of F-Train's raise with a hand that has good equity against his range, but my KQJ9 rundown didn't improve enough for me to survive against what unfortunately turned out to be a ragged KKxx.

Along the way I did make two impressive hands. I got paid off as much as could be expected in the former ...

... but I scared away my customer in the latter with a turn check-raise.

Last week, it was CK busting me. This week, F-Train. I cry anti-Canuck conspiracy.

With two final tables in six events played, the BBT4 is off to a profitable start, but I've still fallen short of the goal: extending my ToC streak to three.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Some overdue S8 tournament hands

CK's tourney recap was a good read. I thought I'd share a trio of interesting hands I played in the Skills Game before she busted me.

50/100 ante 10
Seat 1: ChampSampson (2,822)
Seat 2: AgSweep (1,689)
Seat 3: BamBamCan (3,016)
Seat 4: wwonka69 (2,959)
Seat 5: NewinNov (1,518)
Seat 6: PirateLawyer (3,238)
Seat 7: TuscaloosaJohn (3,379)
Seat 8: STING70 (5,405)
ChampSampson antes 10
AgSweep antes 10
BamBamCan antes 10
wwonka69 antes 10
NewinNov antes 10
PirateLawyer antes 10
TuscaloosaJohn antes 10
STING70 antes 10
*** 3RD STREET ***
Dealt to ChampSampson [Ks]
Dealt to AgSweep [Jc]
Dealt to BamBamCan [7d]
Dealt to wwonka69 [7s]
Dealt to NewinNov [3d]
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Ac Ad] [Kc]
Dealt to TuscaloosaJohn [4h]
Dealt to STING70 [5h]
NewinNov is low with [3d]
NewinNov brings in for 15
PirateLawyer completes it to 50
TuscaloosaJohn raises to 100
STING70 folds
ChampSampson raises to 150
AgSweep folds
BamBamCan folds
wwonka69 folds
NewinNov folds
PirateLawyer raises to 200
TuscaloosaJohn calls 100
ChampSampson calls 50

I cap the betting with what is assuredly the best hand unless TJ has rolled fours. Since it is much more likely that he has three baby cards, I want to put the pressure on Champ, who is certainly getting involved with a hand I have crushed unless he has the improbable rolled kings. My buried AA is poised to crush split kings.

*** 4TH STREET ***
Dealt to ChampSampson [Ks] [Td]
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Ac Ad Kc] [2d]
Dealt to TuscaloosaJohn [4h] [9s]
ChampSampson checks
PirateLawyer bets 50
TuscaloosaJohn calls 50
ChampSampson raises to 100
PirateLawyer raises to 150
TuscaloosaJohn calls 100
ChampSampson calls 50

Both opponents catch badly, whilst my card is effectively a blank as well. Champ’s peculiar check-raise doesn’t scare me in the slightest, so I keep the pressure on. It appears as if TJ is taking one off to try to catch low on 5th.

*** 5TH STREET ***
Dealt to ChampSampson [Ks Td] [2c]
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Ac Ad Kc 2d] [Ts]
Dealt to TuscaloosaJohn [4h 9s] [As]
TuscaloosaJohn bets 100
ChampSampson calls 100
PirateLawyer raises to 200
TuscaloosaJohn calls 100
ChampSampson calls 100

TJ finally catches good whilst Champ bricks again. My buried AA is unimproved but I still think I have the best hand, so I raise for value. Since the pot is large and I haven’t improved, a case could be made for a simple call here.

*** 6TH STREET ***
Dealt to ChampSampson [Ks Td 2c] [Js]
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Ac Ad Kc 2d Ts] [5s]
Dealt to TuscaloosaJohn [4h 9s As] [8h]
TuscaloosaJohn bets 100
ChampSampson raises to 200
PirateLawyer calls 200
TuscaloosaJohn raises to 300
ChampSampson calls 100
PirateLawyer calls 100

I finally start to get a queasy feeling as TJ has assuredly got a lock for the low half. Champ’s raise on 6 seems to indicate he’s finally made some sort of 2pr, but I have a lot of redraws if he’s merely made kings up, so I reluctantly call.

*** 7TH STREET ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Ac Ad Kc 2d Ts 5s] [Qc]
TuscaloosaJohn bets 100
ChampSampson calls 100
PirateLawyer calls 100

This is the definition of a crying call.

*** SHOW DOWN ***
TuscaloosaJohn shows [6c 3s 4h 9s As 8h 2s] Ace Nine high, for high and 6,4,3,2,A, for low
ChampSampson shows [Kh Jd Ks Td 2c Js 9h] two pair, Kings and Jacks, for high
ChampSampson wins the high pot (1,473) with two pair, Kings and Jacks
TuscaloosaJohn wins the low pot (1,472) with 6,4,3,2,A

And I die a little inside as it seems Champ started with KJK and got very lucky after getting his money in bad on 3rd through 5th streets. TJ clearly had a premium starting hand and was a bit unlucky not to scoop a monster pot, as he rode out the brick on 4th and caught perfectly on 5th and 6th. Champ, on the other hand, clearly donked it up from start to finish.

I am forced to play the shortstack from then on. I finally managed a nice scoop recovery when I get all the action I need here.

120/240 Ante 20
Seat 1: ChampSampson (3,771)
Seat 2: AgSweep (3,847)
Seat 3: BamBamCan (3,571)
Seat 4: wwonka69 (1,237)
Seat 5: NewinNov (1,521)
Seat 6: PirateLawyer (618)
Seat 7: TuscaloosaJohn (2,586)
Seat 8: STING70 (6,875)
ChampSampson antes 20
AgSweep antes 20
BamBamCan antes 20
wwonka69 antes 20
NewinNov antes 20
PirateLawyer antes 20
TuscaloosaJohn antes 20
STING70 antes 20
*** 3RD STREET ***
Dealt to ChampSampson [4d]
Dealt to AgSweep [Qd]
Dealt to BamBamCan [Ks]
Dealt to wwonka69 [Tc]
Dealt to NewinNov [3c]
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Ad As] [3d]
Dealt to TuscaloosaJohn [9c]
Dealt to STING70 [Jd]
NewinNov is low with [3c]
NewinNov brings in for 40
PirateLawyer completes it to 120
ChampSampson raises to 240
AgSweep calls 240
PirateLawyer raises to 360
ChampSampson raises to 480
AgSweep calls 240
PirateLawyer calls 120

I have no idea what cards they have and frankly I don’t care. If they outdraw AA, so be it.

*** 4TH STREET ***
Dealt to ChampSampson [4d] [8s]
Dealt to AgSweep [Qd] [7c]
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Ad As 3d] [7s]
AgSweep checks
PirateLawyer bets 118, and is all in
ChampSampson calls 118
AgSweep calls 118

Trivial decision as this hand played itself out on 3rd street.

*** 5TH STREET ***
Dealt to ChampSampson [4d 8s] [Ts]
Dealt to AgSweep [Qd 7c] [5s]
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Ad As 3d 7s] [2s]
AgSweep checks
ChampSampson checks

I can’t ask for much more as my board is running out nicely with a chance to scoop as my two opponents are checking it down with bricks.

*** 6TH STREET ***
Dealt to ChampSampson [4d 8s Ts] [Qc]
Dealt to AgSweep [Qd 7c 5s] [9h]
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Ad As 3d 7s 2s] [Jh]
ChampSampson checks
AgSweep checks
*** 7TH STREET ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [Ad As 3d 7s 2s Jh] [7h]
ChampSampson checks
AgSweep checks

I was relieved to improve to aces up on 7th street. But am I good?

*** SHOW DOWN ***
PirateLawyer shows [As Ad 3d 7s 2s Jh 7h] two pair, Aces and Sevens, for high
ChampSampson mucks [Jc 8c 4d 8s Ts Qc 6c] - HI: a pair of Eights
AgSweep mucks [Qh Js Qd 7c 5s 9h 8d] - HI: a pair of Queens
PirateLawyer wins the pot (1,994) with two pair, Aces and Sevens

The answer is yes. It looks like I was up against split queens and a bad three-to-an-eight.

200/400 Ante 30
Seat 1: ChampSampson (4,568)
Seat 2: AgSweep (1,264)
Seat 3: BamBamCan (2,726)
Seat 4: wwonka69 (5,157)
Seat 5: NewinNov (1,102)
Seat 6: PirateLawyer (1,998)
Seat 7: TuscaloosaJohn (1,051)
Seat 8: STING70 (6,160)
ChampSampson antes 30
AgSweep antes 30
BamBamCan antes 30
wwonka69 antes 30
NewinNov antes 30
PirateLawyer antes 30
TuscaloosaJohn antes 30
STING70 antes 30
*** 3RD STREET ***
Dealt to ChampSampson [Kd]
Dealt to AgSweep [Kh]
Dealt to BamBamCan [Ks]
Dealt to wwonka69 [Qc]
Dealt to NewinNov [Jh]
Dealt to PirateLawyer [2d 3h] [5s]
Dealt to TuscaloosaJohn [3d]
Dealt to STING70 [Qs]
TuscaloosaJohn is low with [3d]
TuscaloosaJohn brings in for 50
STING70 folds
ChampSampson completes it to 200
wwonka69 calls 200
NewinNov calls 200
PirateLawyer calls 200
TuscaloosaJohn calls 150

Three low babies with a one-gap here and it appears from the upcards that I am favoured to lock up the low half of the pot if I can catch early on. If I can catch a 4 early on, I will have a powerful scoop opportunity.

*** 4TH STREET ***
Dealt to ChampSampson [Kd] [Ts]
Dealt to wwonka69 [Qc] [4d]
Dealt to NewinNov [Jh] [6s]
Dealt to PirateLawyer [2d 3h 5s] [Ac]
Dealt to TuscaloosaJohn [3d] [8d]
PirateLawyer bets 200
BamBamCan has returned
TuscaloosaJohn calls 200
ChampSampson folds
wwonka69 calls 200
NewinNov calls 200

No need for finesse; I lead right out after catching the ace with a near-lock for the low if I improve - frankly I hope someone raises. I enjoy seeing this many calls.

*** 5TH STREET ***
Dealt to wwonka69 [Qc 4d] [7c]
Dealt to NewinNov [Jh 6s] [2s]
Dealt to PirateLawyer [2d 3h 5s Ac] [9s]
Dealt to TuscaloosaJohn [3d 8d] [Ad]
PirateLawyer bets 400
TuscaloosaJohn calls 400
wwonka69 calls 400
NewinNov raises to 672, and is all in
PirateLawyer raises to 1,072
TuscaloosaJohn calls 221, and is all in
wwonka69 raises to 1,472
PirateLawyer calls 400

Stacks are short and the brick doesn’t scare me. I am determined to see showdown with so much dead money in the pot.

*** 6TH STREET ***
Dealt to wwonka69 [Qc 4d 7c] [6c]
Dealt to NewinNov [Jh 6s 2s] [9h]
Dealt to PirateLawyer [2d 3h 5s Ac 9s] [5d]
Dealt to TuscaloosaJohn [3d 8d Ad] [6d]
PirateLawyer bets 96, and is all in
wwonka69 calls 96
PirateLawyer shows [2d 3h 5s Ac 9s 5d]
TuscaloosaJohn shows [4h 7s 3d 8d Ad 6d]
wwonka69 shows [Qh 5c Qc 4d 7c 6c]
NewinNov shows [6h 7h Jh 6s 2s 9h]

I get the last of my chips in and I have to hit to stay alive. Sure enough, I’m drawing live for the low half and I have three fours out there for a scoop. I even have some alternate outs for the high half.

*** 7TH STREET ***
Dealt to wwonka69 [Qh 5c Qc 4d 7c 6c] [Th]
Dealt to NewinNov [6h 7h Jh 6s 2s 9h] [Js]
Dealt to PirateLawyer [2d 3h 5s Ac 9s 5d] [7d]
Dealt to TuscaloosaJohn [4h 7s 3d 8d Ad 6d] [Tc]
PirateLawyer shows [2d 3h 5s Ac 9s 5d 7d] a pair of Fives, for high and 7,5,3,2,A, for low
wwonka69 shows [Qh 5c Qc 4d 7c 6c Th] a pair of Queens, for high
wwonka69 wins high side pot #2 (896) with a pair of Queens
PirateLawyer wins low side pot #2 (896) with 7,5,3,2,A
NewinNov shows [6h 7h Jh 6s 2s 9h Js] two pair, Jacks and Sixes, for high
NewinNov wins high side pot #1 (77) with two pair, Jacks and Sixes
PirateLawyer wins low side pot #1 (76) with 7,5,3,2,A
TuscaloosaJohn shows [4h 7s 3d 8d Ad 6d Tc] Ace Ten high, for high and 7,6,4,3,A, for low
NewinNov wins the high main pot (2,262) with two pair, Jacks and Sixes
PirateLawyer wins the low main pot (2,262) with 7,5,3,2,A

An interesting PL08 cash game situation

I had been playing at a soft microstakes PL08 table for a while but had not accumulated any notable hands until this one came up. Since it features some interesting preflop decision points, and some interesting hypothetical postflop decisions I figured it was blog-worthy.

Pot Limit Omaha H/L
Seat 3: Villain #1 ($18.25)
Seat 5: Villain #2 ($48.05)
Seat 7: Hero ($48.25)
SB posts the small blind of $0.25
Hero posts the big blind of $0.50
The button is in seat #5
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [2d As Qs Qc]
Villain #1 raises to $1.75
Villain #2 raises to $6
SB folds
Hero calls $5.50 - I am anxious to see a flop with AQQ2 ss and my hand plays well against Villain #2's range.
Villain #1 raises to $18.25, and is all in - It looks as if he has managed to get his stack in with AAxx
Villain #2 calls $12.25 - This cold-call almost certainly means he doesn't have KK
Hero raises to $48.25, and is all in - It's time to build a side pot with an equity edge for the high half and a nut low possibility
Villain #2 calls $29.80, and is all in
Hero shows [2d As Qs Qc]
Villain #1 shows [Ah Ad 2c 8c] - a nice hand to be sure, but his sidecards are marginal against two opponents
Villain #2 shows [Qh 2s Tc Ac] - sure enough, he was raising light preflop with AQT2 ss
*** FLOP *** [Kh 7d Ts]
*** TURN *** [Kh 7d Ts] [Js] - boom! high lock shared with V#2, but I have a spade freeroll
*** RIVER *** [Kh 7d Ts Js] [6s] - gin! a scoop
PirateLawyer shows a flush, Ace high, for high
Villain #2 a straight, Ace high, for high
PirateLawyer wins the side pot with a flush, Ace high
Villain #1 shows a pair of Aces, for high
PirateLawyer wins the main pot with a flush, Ace high
No low hand qualified
*** SUMMARY ***

If this hand had been played more slowly preflop and I see the turn, all my money goes in. But I could be pushed off the hand on the flop, unless I am brave enough to bet out and price myself into calling V#1's shove. It was odd to see all three of us with an A2.

Overall it seems as if I made a +EV play vs. Villain #2's range to salvage the best of an awkward situation where a villain with short chips was able to get it in with the best of it. I was very fortunate to scoop the side pot the way the cards fell, but if money was deep I would have been in the catbird seat with the freeroll on the turn with the current nuts + nut redraw vs. the bare straight.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A golden BBT opportunity

Tonight's Skills Game is Stud eight-or-better. I think it's my strongest game overall (although the cash games haven't been going all that well lately, which is simply variance at work).

I have no excuses not to improve upon my 5th place Big Game finish. I would really like to lock in a ToC seat early, since I'll be unable to play most of the BBT events in late March/early April.

This guy will be tough competition.

Edit: Waffles was right. Expect vitriolic rant.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Blogger Big Game ... a near -miss

[Edit: now see below for some hand histories]

I had fun, I was in the top five in chips at the first break and at the second break; I made the final table but went card dead for extended period of time. Stacks got short compared to the blinds once we reached the 2K/4K/500 level so I made about my fourth pure steal of the tournament and ran my 10bb stack into Hoy's AK in the blinds. I go home now in 5th place.

Hand #1 - Why You Shouldn't Min-Raise two black aces preflop

Hand #2 - A Key Double Early

Hand #3 - Getting into trouble after taking one off

Danger! I didn't suspect I was up against A3, so the turn and river were particularly nasty.

Hand #4 - Cracking QQ

The river action was a close decision. I really wanted to raise for value but decided to play it safe.

Hand #5 - Getting Donked

Hand #6 - Cracking another premium hand

Hand #7 - A Squeeze

I had decided to felt if facing a 4bet. Luckily for me, I was up against AQ and held.

Hand #8 - Gutting it out with KK on a scary board

Hand #9 - AA holds up

As soon as I saw the flop I planned the hand: I was going to check-call a flop bet and shove any blank turn. It worked out well, but there are many different ways to play this hand.

Hand #10 - A Hammer Drop

Hand #11 - The Steal Gone Wrong

Thanks for reading this far. I had another dozen hands of some interest, but decided to omit those. By being very selective preflop, only seeing 11% of flops, I was dependent on my big hands to chip up and fortunately for me I still got action on them and held up for the most part. The other way I was able to chip up, as you saw above, was calling with some speculative hands in good spots where I wasn't risking a huge percentage of my stack preflop. I was able to nail some flops and punish players who couldn't get away from big pocket pairs.