Saturday, February 28, 2009

Ah, tournaments...

I played my first online MTT in some time today. I'd been off my game at the cash tables so thought I fire up a donkament. Yet again, it reminded why I really HATE tournaments.

I managed to outlast 44 out of 45 players. I made a nice little score. I should be happy....instead I was ready to wreck another keyboard.

So I got down to heads up against a really tight player. "Yummy" I thought, my chances are good against this guy. I ground him down to, wait for it, less than four BB's. He off course started shoving and I went on the coldest run of cards you can imagine. In 20 hands, my 9-1 chip lead ended in an ugly second when I finally shoved with 89 into KK after he trapped me perfectly.

Back to the cash tables.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Contemplating 100NL

I made another dash at 50NL the other night and got snapped off yet again with a cooler. I flopped top two in the big blind against a LAG. He got feisty on the turn/river so fortunately I kept the pot small and lost only half my stack against his flopped bottom set on a dry board.

This actually reminds me of when I ran horrible at 10NL and simply skipped this level then ran like God at 25NL. This level has been like a comfortable old boot and quite a good money earner, but I feel stale and need a new challenge. And as you’ve witnessed, my Omaha game needs a little work…

The temptation I have now is skip 50NL and make a run at 100NL then see what goes down. The advantages I can see are:
- I’ve been coolered so many times at 50NL I’m now feeling a bit snake bit when I fire up these tables, which is also negatively affecting my play
- 100NL actually isn’t that high compared to the lowest game available at the casino. I'm also bankrolled sufficiently, esp. if I buy in at around $75.
- It's possible that 100NL has more players and better table selection, as I also found with NL10 vs NL25.
- I’m an unknown quantity at this level so the regulars should take a little while to get a line on my style
- 100NL is covered in the table ratings site which includes a wealth of information on the players. At the moment I need a few rounds to get a good feel for the table and players, but with this site I can instantly determine the winning and losing players. I’ve also noticed the tight players have a very slow/steady bankroll graph typically growing slower than the rake while the LAG’s have a wild bankroll fluctuating into positive and negative territory. It’s also shows big losing hands, so I can see for example if they’re the type to ride TPTK to the river no matter what.


Money for almost nothing

Bonuses were something I was dubious about at first but I wish I'd jumped onto these much sooner. I also doubted if I played high enough to clear any bonuses but I find the process relatively fast.

At the moment, I've almost cleared the Christmas reload bonus for $150 which requires 3000VPP's to clear. On average, I clear between 1K - 1.5K VPP's a month while 4 tabling 25NL. After clearing this bonus, I have another $200 bonus which will require 4000VPP's, or roughly 3 months to clear. On top of this, Stars also has a $50 bonus for every 5000FPP's you hit while Silverstar.

I've heard it said that bonuses can make a break even player into a winning one and I now see how.


Friday, February 20, 2009

Two little NL25 hands

Hand #1
A horrible value bet - only getting called or reshoved for a split pot then killed by rake. A min-raise would be perfect as two opponents are very loose and would look for a reason to call.

My only excuse was 5 tabling as 25NL is still very juicy...

Poker Stars $0.10/$0.25 No Limit Hold'em - 8 players

The Official Hand History Converter

Hero (BTN): $25.50

SB: $28.80

BB: $21.65

UTG: $59.50

UTG+1: $17.10

MP1: $13.85

MP2: $6.65

CO: $22.50

Pre Flop: ($0.35) Hero is BTN with TT of diamonds QQ of diamonds

UTG calls $0.25, 4 folds, Hero calls $0.25, SB calls $0.15, BB checks

Flop: ($1.00) JJ of hearts 66 of spades AA of diamonds (4 players)

SB checks, BB checks, UTG checks, Hero checks

Turn: ($1.00) 55 of hearts (4 players)

SB checks, BB checks, UTG checks, Hero checks

River: ($1.00) KK of clubs (4 players)

SB bets $0.75, BB calls $0.75, UTG calls $0.75, Hero raises to $5, SB folds, BB folds, UTG folds

Final Pot: $4.00

Hero mucks TT of diamonds QQ of diamonds

Hero wins $3.85

(Rake: $0.15)

Hand #2

The thing about micro stakes is that your opponent often puts you in really awkward spots where you're forced to over-value your hand. I don't like playing for stacks with two pair. I really don't like playing so big on the turn as many Ax hands now have me crushed. But I hold my breath and pray as the opponent is the soft spot where I'm looking to get my chips.

Poker Stars $0.10/$0.25 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players - View hand 44857

The Official Hand History Converter

MP1: $21.45

MP2: $27.40

CO: $11.90

BTN: $25.00

SB: $21.20

Hero (BB): $23.90

UTG: $26.05

UTG+1: $25.00

UTG+2: $25.80

Pre Flop: ($0.35) Hero is BB with TT of diamonds 88 of clubs

UTG calls $0.25, 3 folds, MP2 calls $0.25, CO calls $0.25, 2 folds, Hero checks

Flop: ($1.10) TT of spades 88 of spades 22 of clubs (4 players)

Hero checks, UTG checks, MP2 bets $0.75, CO folds, Hero raises to $2.25, UTG calls $2.25, MP2 folds

Turn: ($6.35) AA of hearts (2 players)

Hero bets $4.50, UTG raises to $9, Hero raises to $21.40 all in, UTG calls $12.40

River: ($49.15) QQ of hearts (2 players - 1 is all in)

Final Pot: $49.15

Hero shows TT of diamonds 88 of clubs (two pair, Tens and Eights)

UTG mucks AA of spades KK of clubs

Hero wins $46.75

(Rake: $2.40)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Capping big hands in the small blind

We're both new to the table so there's no read.

From the villains perspective, I don't like raising with AQs in this spot because:
a) a regular raise is likely a pot builder and a good chance to get called by the BB and button. Post flop I'm in a tricky spot.
b) a bigger raise builds a large pot when I'm out of position with a fit or fold hand.
c) noone puts you on AQ if you flop a pair, so you're likely to get paid off.

When he puts me to the test, I'm sure he has a good hand. I rule out AQ and consider Q9...but it's far too likely he has a worse 2 pair. If he's turned a set then it's just a cooler.

The villain actually played this exactly how I would.

Nigh hann sir.

Poker Stars $0.10/$0.25 No Limit Hold'em - 7 players

The Official Hand History Converter

UTG: $25.95

UTG+1: $22.55

MP: $12.80

CO: $19.70

BTN: $63.35

SB: $25.00

Hero (BB): $24.65

Pre Flop: ($0.35) Hero is BB with KK of diamonds TT of diamonds

4 folds, BTN raises to $0.50, SB calls $0.40, Hero calls $0.25

Flop: ($1.50) JJ of hearts KK of hearts TT of clubs (3 players)

SB checks, Hero bets $1.20, BTN folds, SB calls $1.20

Turn: ($3.90) 33 of diamonds (2 players)

SB checks, Hero bets $2.75, SB raises to $6, Hero calls $3.25

River: ($15.90) 44 of diamonds (2 players)

SB bets $7.50, Hero calls $7.50

Final Pot: $30.90

SB shows AA of hearts QQ of hearts (a straight, Ten to Ace)

Hero mucks KK of diamonds TT of diamonds

SB wins $29.40

(Rake: $1.50)


A very bizarre spot on the river

Opponent is hyper aggressive and prone to over-betting. He's my spot at the table but the huge overbet on the river just seems bizarre. I count it down and can't see any way to fold.

I've seen this type of river over-shove from advanced players figuring they only need to get called once every blue moon for it to be the most profitable play.

Poker Stars $0.10/$0.25 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players

Hero (UTG+2): $26.95

MP1: $25.10

MP2: $5.40

CO: $8.20

BTN: $24.65

SB: $5.60

BB: $25.00

UTG: $53.50

UTG+1: $5.60

Pre Flop: ($0.35) Hero is UTG+2 with 66 of diamonds 66 of hearts

UTG raises to $0.75, 1 fold, Hero calls $0.75, 6 folds

Flop: ($1.85) AA of clubs 88 of spades JJ of spades (2 players)

UTG checks, Hero checks

Turn: ($1.85) JJ of hearts (2 players)

UTG checks, Hero checks

River: ($1.85) 66 of spades (2 players)

UTG bets $52.75 all in, Hero calls $26.20 all in

Final Pot: $54.25

Hero shows 66 of diamonds 66 of hearts (a full house, Sixes full of Jacks)

UTG shows TT of diamonds AA of spades (two pair, Aces and Jacks)

Hero wins $51.55

PS I've shamelessly borrowed the hand conversion idea from Bastin.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tournament vs Cash Game Mindset or High vs Low Variance Play?

An interesting hand with another poker blogger:

My thoughts on the hand. In a tournament, I'd play it exactly this way. I have the best hand and I'm jamming my chips in there. In a cash game, depending on the opponent I'd play it very different.

In an un-raised pot in a BB vs SB battle, I'd fold 45s preflop in a snap. The only real value is the implied odds multi-way. To a 4BB raise against the BB, I'd also fold it in a snap against any opponent. On the flop, it a super tricky spot with the worst of everything. Bottom pair, wrong end of a straight draw and baby (straight) flush draw. Lately I've been thinking, do we sometimes get drawn to the excitement of 2 outs to a beautiful straight flush? Out of position, I'd check and see what my opponent does. Whether I'm going to commit my stack then depends entirely on my opponent, but considering I know I need to hit I'm likely to fold. It's probably a big leak in my game...

I'm not saying either way is right or wrong, just a different approach. The latter is what works for me.

Poker Stars $0.10/$0.25 No Limit Hold'em - 6 players

MP: $12.85

CO: $14.65

BTN: $5.00

SB: $16.05

BB: $25.00

Hero (UTG): $26.00

Pre Flop: ($0.35) Hero is UTG with 22 of diamonds 44 of clubs

4 folds, SB calls $0.15, BB raises to $1, SB calls $0.75

Flop: ($2.00) 44 of hearts 66 of spades 77 of spades (2 players)

SB bets $2.75, BB raises to $24 all in, SB calls $12.30 all in

Turn: ($32.10) KK of clubs (2 players - 2 are all in)

River: ($32.10) AA of hearts (2 players - 2 are all in)

Final Pot: $32.10

SB shows 55 of spades 44 of spades (a pair of Fours)

BB shows KK of spades 33 of spades (a pair of Kings)

BB wins $30.50

Hand Pot equity
4s5s 57.88%
Ks3s 42.12%

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