Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Not dead yet....

Six months is a long time to go between posts, I will agree. If only I had six month's worth of intriguing news to report. Still, just to prove that there is life remaining in this blog, I thought I would post an entry.

Yes, I have played a little poker since December. I've played for a few pennies on line at Bovada, but all I have left on that site is a few pennies, and I haven't logged on there in a while. I have put in a couple of live sessions up in Oklahoma, at the Winstar Casino just over the TX border and the Riverwind Casino in Norman, and both sessions were profitable. At the Winstar a few weeks ago, I left with about $12 more than I bought in with. This past weekend, my wife and I went up to Norman to visit our son who is at OU for summer classes. I nearly doubled my buy-in there after about a two hour session. Feels good to walk away ahead.

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't think of these results as signs that I am turning into a "good" player. I think most of my basic instincts are on track, but every time I sit down at the table, I realize how much I *don't* know about how to play poker well. I really need to play more ring games to get more experience under my belt. My profits in these sessions have mostly come from winning a few big pots when I caught cards and they held up. I know that I play too tight/weak a lot of the time, and probably concede some pots that I should go after. However, there was one hand at Riverwind where I decided to take a chance, and I am embarassed to say that I don't have a good feel for whether my decision was a smart one (not taking into account the result).

$1/$2 NLHE; my stack was about $250. I was in late position and started with AdJh. Preflop raises were not chasing a lot of people out of the pots at this table, so I decided to limp in behind a few others and see if I could hit something before committing much money to the pot. The player to my left also limped in, and the flop came cheap.

Flop: A J T rainbow

It was checked to me and I bet roughly the size of the pot with top two pair but a drawing board. The player on my left went all in for about $110 more. I thought about it for quite a while. My opponent said, "If you have KQ you have me beat, otherwise..." This player didn't strike me as very sneaky or deceptive, so my first reaction was to think that he did not have KQ himself. I did consider the possibility that he was trying reverse psychology on me if he did have that. I then considered that he might have a set of tens and was trying to push me off a draw. In the end, I had the gut feeling that he really didn't want me to call, and therefore might have a hand that I could beat like A-rag, so I called him. He turned over AsJc, the turn and river didn't change anything, and we chopped the pot.

I didn't feel particularly comfortable with that decision. What I want to develop is the ability to analyze these types of situations more clearly so those decisions will come a bit more easily. I can go back and re-read the poker books that I have, but I know that it requires actual experience more than anything else to improve my skills.

In on-line poker news, AlCan'tHang has joined forces with up-and-comer Face Up Gaming to start up a new blogger tournament series. They held an ice-breaker tournament June 9, which I was unable to play. Here is the info for the next tourney; more details at Al's site:

Tournament: Bloggers 2
Date: Saturday, June 30th
Time: 3pm ET - Noon PT
Buyin: Freeroll
Password: battle2

Face Up is a monthly subscription site; Al should be able to tell you whether you have to sign up for the subscription to play in the tourney. If everything works out for me to join the fun, I hope to play, and to see you there.