Thursday, April 19, 2007

APL MVC results, 04/17/2007

The post title refers to the Amateur Poker League Monthly Venue Championship that I played in two days ago. Each month, every venue has a monthly tournament for the top finishers in the previous month's games. By placing third in two games in March, I qualified for Tuesday night's tourney. I started out slow, getting very few hands worth playing and staying tight for the first couple of levels. Actually, I played tight just about the whole night, and caught some cards a few times just when I needed them to build my stack.

I can't say that I made any brilliant plays or smart laydowns or anything like that. I just stayed with a conservative strategy and bet my good hands hard. By the end of the night, I had won the tournament. It's only the second time I have finished in first place in an APL tourney; the other was last January when I won a trip to Las Vegas. The win this week qualifies me for the Semi-Annual Regional Championship tourney which will be played in August, at a date and location to be announced later. I only hope that they don't schedule it for the time when I am in Vegas for the Trek convention. The top eight finishers at the SARC go on to the National Championship tourney, which will be played next April. The winner of the National Championship gets a package to a major WSOP or WPT event. The 2007 Nationals will be played not far from here, at Sneaky Pete's in Lewisville TX, on April 28. I'm tempted to go out there to check it out, partly to see what happens and partly to try to enter the side game tourney, which has $100 cash prizes for first and second place.

I played in the WWdN Second Chance game when I got home Tuesday night, I guess because I felt like I was on a roll. The game was PLO 8, and I didn't get a premium starting hand at all. I folded my way to the final table but busted out soon after I got there, finishing ninth out of 34. Other than that, not much online poker for me this week. I did play in a 20-table SNG on PokerStars on Sunday, and made it to 21st place. I should have lasted longer but made a very stupid play to cripple myself. In the small blind, it's folded to me with J8o. I raise 3X BB to try to get the BB to fold. He calls. Flop is 8-6-6. With top pair, I bet about 2/3 the pot; BB raises me 2X my bet. I think to myself, "He has a 6 and I'm way behind." But what do I do? I push all-in, and he instacalls, showing 64o. I typed in the chat box, "great call with 64" and he says, "You forced me to because you kept trying to steal my blind," (which was true, I had raised him a couple of times from the SB earlier). Still, I don't consider 64o a blind worth defending to a 3X BB raise and would have folded it in a heartbeat in that position. Oh well, whose donkey move was worse, his call or my push when I "knew" I was beat? Hopefully I will know better next time.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Follow the bouncing ball

I took a vacation day this past Monday. I thought about driving up to Winstar in Oklahoma to play some live poker, but I had too much to do around the house. So, naturally, I played some on line poker after my chores were done. I got into a ten-table $1.25 SNG on FullTilt, as well as a couple of freeroll satellites for Poker After Dark and WSOP. I didn't get very far in any of the tourneys, and I donked out of the SNG when I pushed my medium pair on the flop into a slow-played pair of pocket Kings. I was so mad at that play, and the other lack of success I had had to that point, that I screamed enough f-bombs at my computer to disqualify me from the entire WSOP Main Event. I shouldn't have been that disgusted, and I think I strained my voice from the yelling, but I needed to vent and no one was home to wonder what the hell was wrong with me.

I recovered by Tuesday, and played in the WWdN early game. I got a nice rush of cards and made it to fifth place. I should have lasted longer, but made a donkerific play to bust out. Once again, I pushed a flopped middle pair even though there was an overcard on the board, which of course paired my opponent and sent me to the rail. Still, it felt good to cash in one of those; I hadn't done that in quite a while, and the bankroll needed the padding.

As I type this, I am playing in my favorite cash game, Stud 8, but haven't got much in the way of hands. I did scoop one nice pot with a full house when there was no low, but that's been it so far. I'm hoping to catch one or two hands before I quit for the night so I can at least break even if not make a small profit.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Cash game vs. tournament; which has +EV for me?

Since my last post, I have played about an equal number of cash game sessions as tournaments, and fared better in the cash games than in the tourneys.

The cash games have been almost all Stud 8, and I have quit ahead in every session. Friday night I played for about an hour and a half on PokerStars at $0.05/0.10 and came out $5.70 to the good, and last night I played on Full Tilt for about 40 minutes at $0.25/0.50 and won $7.50. I can't say that I have studied all of the strategies for Stud 8 or that I feel like I am particularly good at it just yet. But I have picked up the basics, such as don't even go past third street unless your starting cards give you a solid foundation for a hand, and don't chase if your cards aren't live and your hand is likely to come out second best to your opponents' probable holdings. There are so many players that either don't know these principles or choose to ignore them that a lot of dead money gets into the pots because of all the second-best hands that stick around too long. Even a split pot can be profitable for both players thanks to those donations. I suppose it's tougher at the higher limits where the players are more knowledgeable, but at these lower limits, it has been relatively easy for me to profit so far just by playing ABC Stud 8. I expect to keep studying the books that address Stud 8 and applying what I learn so I can try to do even better.

I'm doing only fair at the NLHE tourneys. Still hitting the 5-table $1.25 SNGs on FullTilt; took 5th place in two of them, finished out of the money in two others. But I managed to get into a few freerolls on FT, a couple of their WSOP Main Event satellites and one Poker After Dark sat. As you probably know or can guess, there is a whole lot of pushmonkeying in these tourneys, where the players hope to double or triple up early with any two cards and aren't worried if they bust out since it was free to enter. In one of the WSOP sats, I got Ad Ac on my very first hand. As expected, three others besides me went all in. The other hands:

Qd 9h
As 2s
2h 3h
2c 3d

Powerhouses all. The board came out:

7d 8h 4s Ks 6h

I'll admit, I thought for sure that a spade would fall on the river to crush me, but instead I quintupled up on the first hand. I nursed that stack through a long stretch of dead cards, and after surviving for quite a bit longer than I expected, I finished in 13th place out of 315 runners. In another WSOP qualifier, I finished 28th out of 630. Although I didn't move on to the next round in any of these freerolls, I was glad to do as well as I did and practice my MTT freeroll satellite play. I was multi-tabling the freerolls with the SNGs, so at least I know that I can play more than one table at a time and not have that divided focus destroy my game. Not that I plan to multi-table regularly, but I might do the freerolls that way when I can.

So, not doing too badly over the past week or so. And with the good news about the poker bill in the Texas legislature getting off to a good start in its first hearing, I'm feeling positive about the state of my poker situation. Here's hoping that the good streak continues.