Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Fumbling the Hammer against Josh Arieh

Last night, poker pro and Team Bodog member Josh Arieh played in the Bodog Blogger Tournament, and I drew his table at the start of the game. This was scary and thrilling at the same time. Bodog had put a $100 bounty up for the person who would bust Arieh, which meant I had a shot at that. It also meant that I would be playing against a known aggressive pro, and I wasn't sure how that would affect my play (not for the better, most likely).

Josh actually played fairly tight to start. Probably sizing us all up. Not too long into the game, I picked up 2c 7s UTG. Blinds were 10/20. Of course, I raised with it, to 80. Josh was in the cutoff, and called me, as did GCox25 on the button and odets in the BB. Pot was $330.

Flop: 3d 4c 2s

odets checked. I bet $160 with my pair of ducks; Josh called. GCox and odets folded. I should have bet bigger to reduce the calling odds.

Turn: 8d

Having missed the turn, I checked. Mistake # 2. I should not have given Josh a free card; I should have continued my bluff and represented the strength I started with. Josh checked also.

River: 5s

Great, a straight card. If Josh has an Ace or a 6, I'm dead. I check, and he checks behind. He shows 7d 5d and his fives beat my deuces. He flopped an OESD and I can certainly understand his call of my half-pot bet.

Right after that, Josh asked in the chat box, "You raised with 27?"

A brief explanation of the blogger tradition of the Hammer followed. Josh's comment: "Whatever it is, I LIKE!"

Not too long after that, GCox got everyone to fold to the Hammer preflop, and later, emptyman beat Josh with the Hammer when his 7 paired the board and Josh bluffed into him with air. He didn't like the Hammer much there.

Josh was friendly in the chat, and seemed to have a good time. He busted out on the early side to Abby17 when his 77 ran into AQ that flopped an A and rivered a Q to rub it in.

I didn't last a lot longer than he did. I had bled away some chips trying to pick up some draws and missing. I did catch quads on an early hand but didn't get much action. Eventually I made a donkey call with TT against emptyman's AA to bust in lowly 46th place. No leaderboard points for me this time, unless I picked up a couple just for playing. I have now slipped to fifth place in the standings, which means I had better step things up in the coming weeks so I don't lose my shot at the TOC.

On the other hand, I did finally cash in one of the FullTilt $3.30 Deep Stack Turbo KO (damn, that's a mouthful) SNGs on Sunday. After falling behind early, I caught some much needed cards and doubled up about midway through, then went on a tear. I had not scored a single knockout in the previous KO tourneys I had played; in this one, I racked up eight of them. At $0.50 each, I made back my buy-in and then some just by busting my opponents. I made it to the final table, and eventually heads up, with a comfortable chip lead for a good part of the time. But HU I made at least one iffy play which cost me my lead, and I ended up finishing second. Still, that one cash, and the $4.00 in bounties, wiped out all my tournament losses on FT so far in 2008. That is a very good feeling. I am sure I will be playing in more of these cheap DSTKO SNGs.

Friday, March 14, 2008

No more BBT3 for me

After my pathetic performance in the Riverchasers tourney last night, I am officially swearing off the BBT3. Sorry to anyone who was looking forward to any dead money I might have contributed. I don't feel like bleeding off what I have left in my FT account in games where I will just embarrass myself in front of other poker bloggers.

I have not cashed in a single tournament or SNG on FullTilt so far in 2008. I don't blame FT for that; I've just run poorly there. My FT bankroll is such that I can play the $3 and under tourneys for a while longer, but if I don't cash soon, I will be busto on that site. Not a goal I am aiming for.

I will continue to play in the Tuesday night Bodonkey, where I have somehow built up a nice roll of both cash and T$, and even leaderboard points. We'll see if I can make that last.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Double-stack turbo?? Yes, Virginia, they exist

In looking for a way to add to my roll on FullTilt without jeopardizing too much of what little I have left there, I found some 90-player $3 + 0.30 SNGs that I hadn't paid attention to before. These odd little NLHE tourneys are like Frankenstein monsters, with all the extra features added on:

*3,000 chip starting stacks
*Turbo blinds
*Knockout bounties

At first I didn't realize the double-stack and turbo nature of these things. When I registered for my first one, I saw the large stack and thought, "Hell, this is going to take longer than I planned to play." After a while, I noticed that the blinds were going up awfully fast, and figured out that it was a turbo. Normally I don't like turbos, as I prefer to have some time to get a feel for my table and such. But, I realized, a deep stack tourney that was also a turbo might not take as long as I feared. That was a good thing, since my poker playing time is limited.

I was right. Things moved along fast. People were making really baffling plays, like calling off all their chips with middle or bottom pair or crap like K6. It was almost like they thought *they* would get the 50 cent bounty if they got knocked out, instead of the person who busted them. Unfortunately for me, I wasn't in a position to benefit from the donkery I witnessed. I got lousy hands and had to fold and watch the fireworks around me.

I played in two of these games over the last few days, and didn't cash in either one. I might well try them again, because they don't seem to take much longer than a regular two or five-table SNG, and the prize pool is bigger because of the higher number of entrants. If I can make a decent score in one or more of these, I ought to be able to play in some of the BBT3 events. I might take a stab at a Mookie or Riverchasers anyway, since a cash in one of those would set me up for some future play too. But I have to be careful about my bankroll on FT, or I'll be stuck doing the freerolls just to try win enough to get back into the $1.25 SNGs.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Still running strong in the Bodonkey

I finished fifth in the Bodog Blogger Tourney last night, maintaining my record of finishing in decent position more times than not. I even stayed in third place on the leaderboard, which is quite a feat for me. Now, if I can just keep the streak going and earn more leaderboard points in the weeks to come, I might actually have a shot at the TOC in June. And if a donkey like me can do this well, everyone should take a crack at this thing.

I stood a good chance at finishing even higher last night, but I made what I think was a bad play that decimated my stack at the final table. It went like this:

Blinds: 1,000/2,000/200
Five players
I was on the button and picked up Ac Kh. My stack was 33,776.
UTG folded.
23skidoo, with 32,061 in his stack, raised to 8,000.

I knew I was going to play this hand, but how? Our stacks were virtually even. His raise of 4XBB could mean almost anything - A-X, medium to high pair, the Hammer. Rather than push preflop, I thought I would just double his bet, to try to get him to think that I had a very strong hand and wanted a call, thus causing him to fold. I raised to 16,000. The blinds folded, but Brian called.

The flop came 3c Jh 2c.

No pair for me, and only a vague backdoor straight or flush draw. If Brian had AJ, A2 or A3, he just caught two pair. If he had a pair of anything else, he was still ahead of me. Even if he had the Hammer, he just paired his deuce and took the lead.

Brian pushed. I felt like I was behind, although he could have missed the flop like I did and was just hoping to push me off the hand or race me for the pot. But I felt like I could come back with the chips I would have left, so I folded.

Looking back, I feel like I should have just pushed over the top preflop and taken my chances with my AK. He might have folded, and if he called I would have got to see all five board cards.

I welcome any feedback on this hand. I do feel like I am developing a better feel for the game, but still have a long way to go in many areas.

A few hands later, I picked up JJ but ran it into emptyman's AT which ended up Aces full of Tens. Congrats to Drizztdj for winning it all last night.

See you Tuesday at the next Bodonkey!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

BBT3 looking less likely for me

I tried to add to my FullTilt bankroll today by playing in a two-table $5.50 SNG. I was doing OK at first, sitting back and watching people knock each other out and swap chips around on loose plays. I was crippled when I made a bad call of a raise on a three-flush flop with only top pair. My FT roll is down below $75, which means I can only play a few Mookie or Riverchasers tourneys before going bust, unless I manage to cash in one of them. That isn't an easy task for me. I expect that I will try again to build up in more micro buy-in tourneys before risking my stake in the BBT games.

On a more entertaining note, I got this lucky hand in a Bodog ring game a couple of weeks ago:

I didn't make a lot of money on this hand, but I had one player in with me to the river who ended up turning a ten-high straight. Too bad it was limit, or I might have profited a bit more.

I should be in the Tuesday Bodog Blogger Tourney this week; I've got a nice roll there now, and they are offering a WSOP ME package to their TOC winner. Maybe I will have a chance at that.