Thursday, August 24, 2006

August 20 Live T&I Poker Tourney

I started on a very fun table, some solid players around the table, and generally relatively tight players to my left and loose aggressive players a few seats to my right. Loose aggressive to the extremes I may add, early on some of them raised and called to the river with nothing but ace high, and then I'm not talking about hands like ace 10 suited. No, ace 4 offsuit seemed good enough for some of 'em. I think someone even raised king 9 before the flop. Sorry, but king 9 offsuit?

It's not as if a hand like K9o is completely useless. Other then that it can draw to the second best flush and second best straight, it's actually a great holding for bluffing. If you can't hit a bloody flop with it, that hand will be perfect for it. Why waste decent cards on it?

I generally tried to see cheap flops with alot of suited and offsuit connectors, even with one or two gaps inbetween, and small pairs trying to hit sets. Didn't bother playing cards like A10 offsuit since I'd have no clue where I am in the hand with the loose players to my right. If the flop would come A36 I'd probably be against two pair already. Also didn't bother with bluffing on this table, since I assumed that if I'd hit anything with the loose aggressives in the hand, they'd pay me off anyways.

I think I hardly hit a flop for the first hour or so, which is the disadvantage of playing cards like those, but the blinds were still low so it didn't matter. Then after a while, in a raised pot, I held pocket 7's and the flop was something like 975. Almost perfect situation for my hand, middle set, only a straight possibility there.
After some bet, raise and reraise it became clear that someone to my right, who seemed like a pretty solid player to me, had a very strong hand himself. Well, the worst case scenario was that he would have the set of 9's. If he had the straight, which would be unlikely, I'd still have outs to the fullhouse. Best case scenario would be a lower set or overpair.

If you lose a set, and didn't lose alot, you played it bad I think, so I put the rest of my chips in against the player who had me covered with his stack. He actually had the set of 5's which didn't improve, so I doubled up nicely there.

Later when he was still shortstacked and made a raise preflop, , I looked down on a nice low pocket pair, 3's I think. There was already some money in the pot from limpers, so I made a raise to isolate myself against him, hoping he'd just have overcards. He had something like 78 suited and I won the race, though the board did give him 21 outs on the turn to give him some false hope.

Getting in the mood for busting people I made a raise when someone who had less then 4k chips left had limped in preflop. This time with a slightly higher pocket pair, aces to be precise, only he called the raise with another monster hand, 93 of spades. Offcourse he hit a flush on the flop and my party was spoiled.

After that I got moved to another table. Before other people joined that table I was the chipleader there, and it was a great table to sit at. Nearly all players other then 2 or 3 played very tight and homely, as if they were playing against their family, politely limping before the flop and not really giving the impression they were trying to bust eachother. I didn't play too many hands myself, but from those I played I took more then my fair share of the pots regardless of my cards, mostly because of my relatively big stack compared to the rest of the table. Twice I got caught, once when someone had a set and I gave up bluffing on the turn, another time when I made the mistake of betting too much, which the other player correctly saw as a bluff.
Executed the same move here which I did against a shortstack player on the first table, which was to raise him all-in for isolation, this time with a pocket pair of 6's, and won the race again. Also did some reverse blind stealing. Twice the button raised my big blind, and since it was an obvious button steal I tossed an orange 5k chip in.
Only I didn't sit here for long, I got moved to another table within an hour or so.

Which was pretty bad for me. My position at the table was terrible, on the opposite side of me was a very aggressive chipleader, and most other players to my left were also pretty aggressive. And worse, the deck was running cold for me. I had no semi-playable cards for a long time, and my only options were to make stone cold bluffs or wait till playable cards. I don't like stone cold bluffs with such players to my left, so I was waiting to anything playable. Even a 64 suited would seem nice to me in late position, but I wasn't getting those cards either. Only junk like K5, A6o (when in early position), J4 etc.
Eventually I got AKo which ran into...AKo, for a nice split pot. And got pocket kings with which I wanted to double up, but managed to run into a flopped two pair, costing me like 60% of my stack.

I only had about 7k left with the blinds at 800/1400, so my only move was to wait till there were no limpers to my right and go all-in with any two cards. It actually was a pair of 3's, though I would have done it with 72o at that point aswell. The chipleader called me with ace jack suited, hit his flush, and I ended in the 17th place.

While I didn't manage to end in the prizes, this was a great tournament, and think I learned enough here about different table structures to adjust my play in future tournaments.

Results: - $76
Bankroll: $1204

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Interesting Hand from High Stakes Poker on GSN

Suffering a bad beat can be pretty annoying, but if I suffered one involving as much cash as at these stakes, I would probably have a hard time coming up with the proper thing to say. A simple "Damn!" or naming some guy from a famous old book just doesn't seem to cut it anymore.

Daniel Negreanu's river call perhaps is questionable, then again, it is Gus Hansen he's playing against.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

August 6 Live Tournament

I almost missed out on sunday's live tourney organized by T&I Poker. Some real life issues came in the way and I almost decided not to go. But then I made a good excuse to myself that since I left with a profit both times I went there before, not going over would be a mistake, right? The real reason offcourse was simply that I felt like playing some cards.

I think I were about 4 or 5 hands into the game where I found a nice opportunity to properly introduce myself to the other players. A nice pair of kings, and I think I was in early position. I limped in, got raised for something like 300, and a put in a very significant reraise. I'm not sure about the exact amount I reraised with, but it was a raise that he should have interpreted as "Bugger off, you're beat, just fold, hand over those chips and you can wait till you get nice cards again". But it seemed he wasn't listening at that moment so he called.

The flop was all rags, and thinking he could only have had a very high pocket pair, but definitely no aces, I wasn't going to show him the turncard. I believe I tossed in an orange chip then as continuation bet, which is exactly half our starting stack, or I simply went all-in, but atleast he folded. Though the move was just to let the table know I wasn't afraid of pushing my chips in early in the game.

The table I played at was pretty active, lots of aggressive players, most tight, some quite loose, and limping was something almost unheard of at our table. If you wanted to limp from early position, you could better already raise to atleast 4 times the big blind so you didn't have to bother reaching for your chips a second time. Tried to get a tight image myself so my steals would succeed better later on when the pots would be larger (which worked well since I never got moved to another table. Later on I managed to make some nice steals after completely missing the flop or reraising someone all-in preflop with J9 and stuff like that).

For the rest of the game I also didn't bother with slowplaying much. Slowplaying that day involved nothing more then waiting slightly longer then usual before tossing a bunch of chips in the pot. I definitely wasn't going to let the next card be cheap. Only once did I try a checkraise when I flopped the nut straight with 75o, on a board with two clubs, but since everyone checked it failed. Bet out strongly on the turn when the third club came to represent a made flush and luckily nobody actually had the flush so the pot was mine anyways.

There has only been one non all-in hand I've been involved in that went to the showdown before the final table, which was when a player reraised me to test if I were bluffing while he held nothing (only the turn gave him a great draw and he hit his runner-runner flush on the river. I knew I was most likely beat here but wasn't going to give the table the impression I could be bluffed of any made hand for such a small reraise, and was curious what he had, so I paid him off).

One nice hand was the hand that would be the last before the dinner break. I had 99 in the small blind, there was a standard raise from early position and about 5 or 6 people called. Flop came down 678. With so many callers I assumed I would atleast be against an overpair and possibly a set, and tons of draws. The pot was already quite big, and I didn't think a significant bet would make everyone fold, and since nobody wants to get busted in the last hand before dinner break I just tossed the whole package in there and got no customers.

When I had slightly over 2ok chips a new guy came sitting over at our table. Seems he had personally busted his old table or something and came looking for new victims, since he had a tray with about 100k chips. From the start he made it perfectly clear to the table who the chipleader was, and showed he didn't like to get bet into, playing and defending pretty aggressively (he eventually ended up 2nd in the tourney).

When he was sitting in the big blind and it was my turn I looked down at my hole cards and saw a nice pocket pair of jacks. Hoping he had a playable hand, I raised all-in right away, trying to double up here. The other people folded and he was considering to call me. Which was good since it meant he atleast had a decent hand, like a small pocket pair or two face cards. I also tried to talk him into calling by saying something along the lines off "Stop with that silly Sam Farha impression, everyone at this table knows that you are just acting like you actually got a hand, will count your chips for a minute, and then end up folding anyways". I don't think saying that actually mattered, he was probably just wondering if he had two live cards and if I would have an overpair, so he called with JQ. Jacks held up, and I doubled up there. Me and him got involved in a few other hands that ended up in my favor, so I got a nice portion of his chips.

Eventually I reached the final table with a good stack of chips (well, I was already there, I just had to move seats). This was going to be a long stretch for a final table, about two hours, because the play generally was very tight. Two players very early on pushed the table around by going all-in very often, taking down the pots most of the time, but after a while both of them got called by players who had enough of it. I think both times the callers had worse hands but managed to outdraw them. Then again, there's no luck or bad luck involved in poker. There are only good and bad outs.

One guy who had reached the final table (I think he ended 5th or 6th) had been quite good at hitting those outs at the right moment. A few hours before the final table he was down to about 1500 chips and still managed to make it into the prizes, quite an impressive comeback. Earlier on he was sitting directly to my left, and twice or thrice I didn't even try to steal his blinds, but he almost caught me in a bluff when he was seriously considering calling me with his middle pair (I had 63s, bottom pair on that board).

Played too passive myself myself on the final table, did some pushes with ace-rag or small pocket pairs to steal the blinds, and went all-in with K5o when the person in the big blind didn't have enough chips left to justify a fold, but other then that I didn't get involved in enough pots to allow my stack to grow enough to compete for the first place.

I still managed to finish third place myself, actually losing to one of my favourite late-position hands in no-limit, 7-5, and received a nice envelope with 540 euros.

Selfshine didn't make it to the final table today, but he won a sidegame at the tourney, a 20 euro sit-and-go, giving him 80 euro profit to cover the buyin. And since we always partly split the profit he received 200 euros from the profit, so this sunday earned me 280 euros to add to my bankroll.

Results: + $360
Bankroll: $1280