Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Double or nothing?

I've been playing the 'Double Or Nothing' SNG's for a bit of fun and doing pretty well at them. Almost every tournament I'm floored by some of the stupidity though. time after time I see big stacks betting each other out of pots when a shortstack, or worse still, THE LAST shortstack is allin. I honestly don't know if those people are mentally challenged or are drinking and/or don't care?

Here's some classic examples below with the last two hands.


Poker Stars $5.00+$0.40 No Limit Hold'em Tournament - t100/t200 Blinds + t20 - 7 players

MP: t2300 M = 5.23

CO: t2945 M = 6.69

Hero (BTN): t2730 M = 6.20

SB: t295 M = 0.67

BB: t1690 M = 3.84

UTG: t2850 M = 6.48

UTG+1: t2190 M = 4.98

Pre Flop: (t440) Hero is BTN with TT of spades 33 of diamonds

3 folds, CO calls t200, Hero calls t200, SB raises to t275 all in, BB calls t75, CO calls t75, Hero calls t75

Flop: (t1240) 99 of diamonds QQ of clubs AA of diamonds (4 players - 1 is all in)

BB checks, CO checks, Hero checks

Turn: (t1240) 55 of clubs (4 players - 1 is all in)

BB checks, CO bets t400, Hero folds, BB calls t400

River: (t2040) 99 of spades (3 players - 1 is all in)

BB bets t600, CO calls t600

Final Pot: t3240

CO shows 55 of hearts 55 of diamonds (a full house, Fives full of Nines)

SB mucks 44 of spades 99 of clubs

BB shows 88 of diamonds AA of clubs (two pair, Aces and Nines)

CO wins t2000

CO wins t1240


Poker Stars $5.00+$0.40 No Limit Hold'em Tournament - t100/t200 Blinds + t20 - 6 players

UTG: t2280 M = 5.43

MP: t4890 M = 11.64

Hero (CO): t2435 M = 5.80

BTN: t395 M = 0.94

SB: t2830 M = 6.74

BB: t2170 M = 5.17

Pre Flop: (t420) Hero is CO with 44 of clubs 77 of diamonds

1 fold, MP raises to t600, 1 fold, BTN calls t375 all in, SB calls t500, 1 fold

Flop: (t1895) 55 of hearts KK of hearts QQ of diamonds (3 players - 1 is all in)

SB checks, MP checks

Turn: (t1895) AA of spades (3 players - 1 is all in)

SB checks, MP checks

River: (t1895) 66 of spades (3 players - 1 is all in)

SB bets t600, MP calls t600

Final Pot: t3095

MP shows AA of diamonds KK of spades (two pair, Aces and Kings)

BTN mucks QQ of hearts 88 of diamonds

SB shows AA of clubs JJ of clubs (a pair of Aces)

MP wins t1650

MP wins t1445

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Navel gazing

Having dug myself out of another hole, it was time for a introspection.

- When I sit down for a session and trip at the first hurdle then continually caught in a series of really tough spots, my best option is to close all tables and just leave. It’s important to start on the right foot and stay in the right frame of mind.
- I now have no doubt sitting at the table with the Lag’s or soft spots behind me is a bad option. I need to investigate if I can ‘wait’ for a better seat without losing my place in the line. When I'm sitting snugly behind some maniac the game becomes very, very straight forward.
- NL25 is back into a lull after the recent reload period and from now I expect it to be a slow grind.
- I am a ‘spot’ at 25PLO. The games are softer but at best I’m marginally better than the bad players, on par with the average players and outclassed by the PLO regulars. Back to PLO10 for me.
- I won’t play another tournament for less than $5 buyin. I feel like the payout for lower tournaments doesn’t come close to justifying my time and my concentration is much better when I’m playing for worthwhile stakes.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


It's been a bizarre couple of weeks. I play a pretty low variance game but the ups and downs this last little while have been wild. After a pretty big downturn I then went on a heater for a few days to erase that loss, and then course hit another wall.

The running theme is getting in really ugly spots over and over and over, to the point I end up frazzled and beat down. Every pot i open i get 3 bet behind me. Every over-pair i get re-shoved from a tight player etc etc.

This hand is very typical. I sit down and post the first hand:

Poker Stars $0.10/$0.25 Pot Limit Hold'em - 7 players

UTG: $27.40

UTG+1: $13.70

MP: $6.90

Hero (CO): $24.65

BTN: $25.35

SB: $9.75

BB: $25.00

Pre Flop: ($0.35) Hero is CO with QQ of hearts QQ of spades

UTG raises to $0.75, UTG+1 calls $0.75, 1 fold, Hero calls $0.75, BTN raises to $2, SB raises to $3.75, 4 folds, BTN raises to $5.50, SB raises to $8.25, BTN raises to $11, SB calls $1.50 all in

Flop: ($22.00) 55 of spades 22 of hearts 55 of hearts (2 players - 1 is all in)

Turn: ($22.00) TT of hearts (2 players - 1 is all in)

River: ($22.00) 77 of diamonds (2 players - 1 is all in)

Final Pot: $22.00

BTN mucks KK of diamonds AA of clubs

SB shows AA of diamonds AA of spades (two pair, Aces and Fives)

SB wins $20.90

(Rake: $1.10)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

After the pain of second

I rarely play tournaments...I think I do fairly well but I just find they do my head in as it's a constant struggle to keep your head above water. My last tournament was that annoying 2nd place when i should have been happy with this finish. This time I managed to finish the job. This is probably my best online tournament score.

Full Tilt Poker Game #11231075745: $5 + $0.50 Sit & Go (84423568), Table 1 - 1500/3000 - No Limit Hold'em - 23:03:03 ET - 2009/03/19
Seat 3: Forrest Gump (47,728)
Seat 5: mich926 (19,772)
Forrest Gump posts the small blind of 1,500
mich926 posts the big blind of 3,000
The button is in seat #3
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Forrest Gump [Ah Qs]
Forrest Gump raises to 6,000
mich926 raises to 19,772, and is all in
Forrest Gump calls 13,772
mich926 shows [6h Qh]
Forrest Gump shows [Ah Qs]
*** FLOP *** [Th 6c Ts]
*** TURN *** [Th 6c Ts] [2s]
*** RIVER *** [Th 6c Ts 2s] [As]
mich926 shows two pair, Tens and Sixes
Forrest Gump shows two pair, Aces and Tens
Forrest Gump wins the pot (39,544) with two pair, Aces and Tens
mich926 stands up
Forrest Gump stands up
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 39,544 | Rake 0
Board: [Th 6c Ts 2s As]
Seat 3: Forrest Gump (small blind) showed [Ah Qs] and won (39,544) with two pair, Aces and Tens
Seat 5: mich926 (big blind) showed [6h Qh] and lost with two pair, Tens and Sixes

Dealer: Forrest Gump finishes in 1st place and wins:

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


As I was walking through the supermarket after a particularly draining day at work, this song suddenly leapt out from the drone of typical easy listening.

Awesome (uncomplicated) song writing, great vocals and muscianship, lyrics that hit the mark.

I dare you to refrain from humming the chorus after listening.



Sunday, March 15, 2009

There and back again

If you look at my stats for last week, I’m up around 9 or so buy ins. Definitely one of my best weeks on record and you’d think a reason to click your heels together.

If you look at my stats for the last 2 weeks combined, I’m up only 2 buy ins – far from spectacular...

So yes, 2 weeks ago I hit a God awful downturn of 6+ buyins for that week but managed to dig myself out the following week. Along the way, I learnt some important lessons:

- I’d started playing without my usual patience and started pushing draws much harder.
- I’d shifted slightly towards calling down LAG’s too much and looking to make too many hero calls very light.
- It definitely started to affect my decision making. One change was that I started slow playing big hands looking for more value. There was one particular hand when I got brutalised after I flopped a set against a TAG. I played it slow to the river hoping he would catch up. The only problem was he hit runner full house and most of our stacks went in on the river.
- Playing Omaha or tournaments can really help break that losing mindset. I don’t like sitting out because I find myself thinking about the losses and I want to turn things around as sooner rather than later. To me its more important to break the cycle than take a break.
- By concentrating on only opening pots with a raise, my decision making become much simpler and I got in far fewer trickier spots. It’s also very conceivable that this latest downturn may have bit hard enough to fix some obvious leaks in my game.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Did I do thaaaaaat?

As Bastin has witnessed, I can be a bit of an annoyance to some players at the table. It's absolutely not personal and I'm happy to shake hands and say 'Good game sir' after the match. The reason for poking and prodding isn't about gaining an edge and believing I have some innate ability to put someone on tilt enough to throw me their chips. The reasons are:

1. Sheer boredom. Full ring can be like watching paint dry so it helps me pass the time. Just as poker is a battle of minds, I also enjoy a little verbal stoush.

2. Information. It's a way to get information about a player. Even no response at all tells me they might be a TAG multitabling. Sometimes I'll say 'wow you played that baaaad' knowing full well they played it fine. It's 10% to tilt/annoy them and 90% looking for a response that conveys they know the game.

3. Vendetta. On occasion, some will really fire up and make sure they're in any pot I play looking to bust me. It's not common but it does happen. Generally speaking I can widen their range a little but it can also complicate matters as I need to figure if they're overplaying their hand or thinking a level above me.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Lord of the rings?

Gump along with Frodo and Bilbo. If they saw this post they'd kill me... ;)

I guess I'm cut from the Huck Seed mould a little.

Before you sit down

When all three moons are aligned, I find this game becomes so much simpler.

3. The best state of mind
It's just common sense that you don't play when you head isn't on right. This is a game of continuous decision making, so playing tired or angry etc is a big no-no. And of course, your state of mind can change during a session...

2. The best table
It's simply about increasing your edge and profitability. I purposely seek out tables with 2 or more particularly bad 'spots' at the table. If my assumptions are right, they're lucky to last a few rounds of the button then it's time to find another table. In a 1 hour sessions, I can easily churn through 15 or 20 tables while four tabling.

1: The best seat
You need the best seat at the table. LAG's and maniacs behind you is a big no-no. It's ugly poker when all your big pots are out of position. Admittedly it is super hard to let a table go when there's a completely clueless donk sitting immediately behind you. And the good players either side of you is also bad - ideally you want them opposite you.

Interestingly, the most important factor had always been nagging away at me for such a long time but it had been off my list. Then I heard a top cash game player describe how seating is the #1 factor and it confirmed my suspicions.

This is what works for me anyway.

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