Saturday, April 29, 2006

Donkeys don't fold

I played some $0.01/0.02 NL last night. I was very card dead for the whole time I played, which wasn't very long, about an hour. Shortly before I quit for the night, I made a foolish play that cost me most of my stack. I think it makes a good example of a play that requires some thinking through to know the right way to play it.

I was in the BB and got 54o. There were several limpers ahead of me, and I checked. The flop was 4-8-4.

Wow, I thought, I flopped trips. I should play this fairly strong. I bet 3-4XBB. The guy two seats ahead of me pushes all in for almost $3. Everyone else folds.

I only hesitated for a few seconds before calling. The thought that he had 88 occured to me, but I thought trips was too good a hand to fold. If I had been smarter, I would have stopped to figure out what hands the villain would have bet so hard with. Some possibilities:

88 - the most obvious, since he limped in which would have made sense with a middle pair like that. Making a big bet with a full house would be logical, although maybe not as big as he did, since he should have wanted more people in the pot.

The case 4 - not as likely since three of them were out, but if he had it, he would have been betting on trips too, and likely have me outkicked. If he had 84, he had a boat, but that seemed very remote.

An overpair - quite possible; limping with 99 to JJ would fit, although anything higher probably would have been raised preflop. But it wouldn't have given him a made hand; the overbet would seem like a move to discourage a call.

So of the above possibilities, I am ahead against two pair but behind against the others. This would have been a prime spot to practice my folding skills, since there was a good chance I was beat by 88.

The turn and river did not help me, and the villain turned up A4o. A questionable hand to limp in with, but I should have considered the possibility that the 4 was out there, especially when the big bet came out on the flop.

This hopefully will serve as a reminder to me that I need to put more effort into putting my opponents on hands and not getting attached to my hands that look good but stand a decent chance of being second best.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Today's poker lesson is....

...don't misplay your hand as badly as I did at the final table of the World Poker Blogger Tour Hammer Out Cancer tournament on FullTilt last night.

I had done pretty well up to the hand in question. I was short stacked for a good part of the time, but bounced back a few times and for a good stretch was in the top five in chips. But by the time I got to this point, I was the second shortest stack out of five. A double-up would have put me in good position to make a run at first. Here's what happened, from memory since I don't have the hand history.

Blinds were 500/1000 with ante 25; my stack was about T11,500. I was in the small blind and got KJo. I thought, why couldn't I get these cards in early position so I could push with them, getting some first-in vig. Well, it was folded around to me, so I had my chance to be first in. FrankL in the BB had about T26,000 so he had me well covered.

Mistake 1: I just made a standard raise of 3XBB. I was hoping that the BB would see that as a bet looking for a call, meaning I had a strong hand, so he would fold. Instead, he called. If I had pushed there, he might not have liked the idea of putting almost half his chips at risk, and folded then and there. Still, I thought if the flop hit me solidly, I would be in good shape.

Flop came Q-x-Q.

Mistake 2: I bet, hoping to represent the Q and get the BB to fold. Instead, he raised to set me all in. By then, I felt committed, so I pushed. Of course, he turned over a Q. I didn't improve and was out. I should have checked to see if he would bet, and folded if he did. FrankL went on to win the tourney; congrats!

I was mostly pleased with my play up to that hand. I put pressure on the smaller stacks when I had the chips to do so, and I got decent reads on a few players. I did get lucky on a couple of hands, including one where I pushed with 22 against SirFWALGman, who showed AK. I flopped a 2 and doubled up. I even got a compliment from Sir Waffles later, who said I played a mean late game and that he was impressed. But I definitely misplayed that KJ hand and it cost me a chance to stick around longer.

Nevertheless, finishing fifth out of 61 in that tourney gave me a very satisfied feeling with my overall play. The competition was pretty tough, as it always is against poker bloggers. It was my first game for real money on FullTilt, and coming out with a profit made my evening.

Last but in no way least, the tournament, which was organized by Easycure, raised over $1,000 for the American Cancer Society, since $15 of each entry fee was donated to that cause. I am happier about that than about anything else.

The bonus: I am now on the WPBT Player of the Year list, since this tournament was an official WPBT event. I guess I will have to play in a few more WPBT games to see if I can stay on the POY list.

In other news, I took second place in a one-table SNG on PokerStars recently, which may not seem like much but I'll take every high placement that I can. That game featured a comeback from a short stack, mostly by stealing blinds from one of the weaker tables I have played against, plus a few suckouts that helped me stay alive. I got two Hammer-related hands that
aided my cause:

Table '23090223 1' 9-max Seat #8 is the button
Seat 1: sweathog_68 (6055 in chips)
Seat 4: mikedm139 (2610 in chips)
Seat 5: MACA277 (1515 in chips)
Seat 8: surferbumb (2675 in chips)
Seat 9: yestbay1 (645 in chips)
yestbay1: posts small blind 100
sweathog_68: posts big blind 200
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to yestbay1 [7h Ks]
mikedm139: folds
MACA277: folds
surferbumb: folds
yestbay1: raises 445 to 645 and is all-in
sweathog_68: calls 445
*** FLOP *** [2s 2h 6c]
*** TURN *** [2s 2h 6c] [2c]
*** RIVER *** [2s 2h 6c 2c] [7c]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
yestbay1: shows [7h Ks] (a full house, Deuces full of Sevens)
sweathog_68: shows [Th Jc] (three of a kind, Deuces)
yestbay1 collected 1290 from pot

and just a few hands later...

Table '23090223 1' 9-max Seat #8 is the button
Seat 1: sweathog_68 (5610 in chips)
Seat 4: mikedm139 (2610 in chips)
Seat 5: MACA277 (1215 in chips)
Seat 8: surferbumb (2675 in chips)
Seat 9: yestbay1 (1390 in chips)
yestbay1: posts small blind 100
sweathog_68: posts big blind 200
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to yestbay1 [2d 7c]
mikedm139: folds
MACA277: folds
surferbumb: folds
yestbay1: calls 100
sweathog_68: checks
*** FLOP *** [5s 7h Qd]
yestbay1: bets 400
sweathog_68: raises 800 to 1200
yestbay1: calls 790 and is all-in
*** TURN *** [5s 7h Qd] [2h]
*** RIVER *** [5s 7h Qd 2h] [7s]
sweathog_68 said, "lol"
*** SHOW DOWN ***
yestbay1: shows [2d 7c] (a full house, Sevens full of Deuces)
sweathog_68: shows [Qs 6s] (two pair, Queens and Sevens)
yestbay1 collected 2780 from pot
yestbay1 said, "wow"
sweathog_68 said, "that's the last time I go up against a 2 7"

At this point I had moved up to second in chips, and I started picking on the shorter stacks as much as I could. I played it fairly well from there on, but the cards didn't fall my way heads-up.

I'm glad to get a couple of decent tournament showings. Maybe I *am* learning about this game, and remembering some of what I learn so I can use it as I go along.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Sorry to disappoint you, but....


Nor do I know who is (or was). But it's a fun mystery, which for all I know may have been solved already.

I speak of the "champ" referred to in my previous post about the Champ vs. Chicks tournament. See the link there to the "champ's" blog for some background.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming....

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Poker bloggers rule, especially Texas bloggers

I watched a WPBT WSOP satellite tourney on PokerStars last night, with some of my favorite poker bloggers playing in it. I didn't play myself because I didn't want to pay the $30+3 entry fee for a chance to win a seat at the WSOP that I wouldn't be able to use. My family and I will be on a cruise right in the middle of the WSOP, which is a shame because I would love to go to Vegas and soak up the insanity of that event and meet some of the bloggers that I have only seen on line.

I always enjoy observing the blogger tourneys, even when I'm not playing in them. The players are entertaining to watch, the chat can be hilarious, and I even learn a thing or two from these often quite skilled folks. I celebrate their wins, mourn their bad beats, and groan at their unbelievably numerous suckouts. Last night's game was no exception, with plenty of wild poker action plus amusing banter in the chat windows.

But the really cool thing happened in a tourney that I didn't watch. Fellow Texan Jaxia played in a World Cup of Poker heads-up qualifier game last night, and won it! She will be a member of Team Texas in the next round to qualify for joining Team USA to play in the World Cup championship in Barcelona, Spain later in the year. Congrats to Jaxia, and I wish her good luck in the next round! I'm sure she will represent us well.