Thursday, October 25, 2007

Super Quick Update

Ok, since I promised I'd try and be a good blogger, here I am!

There isn't much to say other than I'm essentially running in place from a poker standpoint. I tried to go broke the last two nights, only to cash in my "last" SNG and end up right about where I started.

I'm still getting sucked out on as a big fav. Very very early in a SNG I played on Monday night (like <5 hands in) we had a three way all-in by the turn where I held the nuts (a straight), and the other two fairly obviously held TP (dead), and the flush draw (of course). I was pretty happy to get all the money in with these two as an 80% favorite, then the spade fell on the river. In another SNG I flopped top pair and bet the pot on the flop and turn against an obvious flush draw, only for my opponent's flush to fall again on the river. I feel like this is a circumstance of the level at which I'm playing. Some $5 and moreso in $10 and up players will correctly fold that flush draw to the turn bet, not getting their 4:1. But not at the $2 level. Flushes and open-enders are gold. I also experienced the inevitable PF 70/30 beat when I got all my money in as a shorty w/A4s, got called by A3s, only for him to flop one spade and runner another couple.

I also can't win a coin flip. My favorites are the ones that have to get ridiculously dramatic. One time I got all-in w/A10s as a shorty and got called by 9s. Flop came Xd 9 5d, so he flopped a set (ridiculous enough), but I was still in the hunt with my flush draw. One time, right?? Board pairs the 5 on the turn filling him up, and my flush comes home on the river, just for a stern kick to the junk. Can't we just have me pair up or not pair up? Why all the drama??

The thing I'm really starting to hate the most about all this is the level at which I'm playing. If me and the other 9 players at my tables sat down and took a "poker test" of some sort, I'd wipe the floor with these fuckers. But yet when we sit down at a table to play some cards, their horrific play is being rewarded left and right like *I'm* the bad player for making the right plays. Not even necessarily always against me, but when they mix it up its like in middle school when the guys at the end of the bench played basketball at halftime while the A teamers were in the locker room. Sure, it was basketball, but it was a bastardized version of basketball. And for the record, I was one of those guys, so there's nothing wrong with it. ;-) Bets mean nothing, so you just have to hope they call you down on their draws and don't hit. Kickers mean nothing, so that takes a majority of your bluffing opportunity away because they'll often call down or even raise with TP, any kicker, and sometimes even worse (Last night my flop bet got raised OOP by K10o on an AKx rainbow board. I folded my A9, and the dude w/K10 won the hand. Now you tell a $2.25 SNG, is that 2nd level thinking, or me giving too much respect to a completely idiotic play?). Check-raising is GOLD, and they'll wait for as long as it takes, so you have to watch your ass when trying to pick up a seemingly orphaned pot on any street. And pot odds?...what are pot odds?? Essentially, if a $2 SNG donk is in a hand preflop and flops a pair or draw, they're going to the end with you. So you just have to hope you can get a read and extract value, but moreso you have to hope that the deck is kind, which for me, it is not, so I am toiling in complete and utter misery.

I never knew how well I had it when I was sitting in $10 SNGs and playing some real poker. There was 3 or 4 of us who knew what we were doing that were picking off the donks. Now I'm toiling in a virtual poker gene pool where I show up at a table with some skills and a little bag of tricks, and just get brow-beaten by the ESPN age of preflop and flop tournament players. Under normal circumstances I make adjustments and let the deck do the rest. But the deck isn't doing the rest, so I just have to play as well as I can and hope for the best.

So yeah...not a lot has changed. Hopefully I'll work in a couple of SNGs tonight, and then Saturday I've got a RIPE 1/2 homegame to play in that I'm almost dreading, because if I show up at this thing and get destroyed like I have been for 5 1/2 months now, I'll be dumping money in a place where I definitely should be walking away with 4-5 times my buyin...and that's just plain depressing.

Hope the rest of you are living large. I'll check ya later.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Quickie Update

First off, hello to all my new readers from I didn't really buy into it when I first saw the comment I got yesterday...thought it was another blog listing website that wouldn't do much. Nonetheless, I signed up cuz exposure is exposure, and have come to discover these folks are *serious* about poker blogging. I've already gotten 14 hits (about 7x my normal daily rate ;-) ), rated (6.7 out of 10, baby!), and gotten a couple of comments on their site, and I've only been listed on there for about 4 hours. As you can see, I linked them up at right, so if you're looking for more exposure to people that are serious about poker blogging, I'd advise you sign up with them. BTW, their blogger of the month is Carmen, so they definitely know what they're doing over there, and I look forward to being affiliated with the site.

It also means I have to step up my game, because I'm actually being read and rated now, which is just plain weird for me. ;-)

Anyway, I wanted to update quickly that I'm not broke yet. I played a couple of SNGs last night. The first one was atrocious. I honestly don't remember much of it, but I don't think it was worth remembering either. I've been reading the Full Tilt Tournament Strategy Guide, so I was trying out some advice from Gavin Smith's chapter in spots, and it didn't pan out. I'm sure its sound advice, but for my "last" (with 2.24 left in the account my only option would've been a 1.25 90 player SNG or wait until my $1 in rakeback gets paid to me next month :-) ) SNG I went back to the ol' WindBreaker special style of play and took that bad boy down! I'm not gonna mince words and say that the deck wasn't hitting me in the face a little bit, but I made a couple of pretty strong plays to improve my chances (extracted maximum value by busting two players with a set, and making a clutch call to an all-in push w/5 left...behind, but w/2 live suited cards) and saw my way to being the last man standing. So I'm alive again with 11.24, which gives me a little breathing room with 4.999999999 SNGs until I'm on the verge of going broke again. Does someone want to transfer me a penny? Cuz that one penny I'm short is KILLING me. :-)

The other part of the reason that last night's first SNG didn't make much of an impact on me is because I was watching the first hour of the 2007 WSOP on ESPN (50k horse w/Reese, Elezra, Seed, Lindgren feature table) and was keeping an eye on the crowd at all times because I WAS THERE. I believe I made my ESPN debut (although I might have been on there back in the days when I was sitting on the floor at ISU basketball as a student) when they showed my giant frame in the "No Limit Lounge" in a handfull of backgrounds, not to mention prominently featuring my very own feet behind Negreanu in one long shot. For autographs, please send a self-addressed, stamped envelope. ;-)

Ok, I've gotta get outta here and go get a workout in. Just wanted to let everyone know I survived almost going broke for about the 5th time since May, and I will live to see at least 4 more SNGs. Also, I'm thinking tonight and for the remaining weeks they're available I might have a go at the PokerStars freerolls for the freerolls for the exclusive 9 person table for a shot at the PCA. Looks like they hold 10,000 max (and of course fill up every time), but top 1500 get cash, and top 200 get entry to the next round, so I'm gonna see about working my way through a couple of those mine fields. Check 'em out if you're broke like me and interested.

With that, I'm out.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Rock Bottom...Please?

Poker has not irritated me more in the past 5+ months of this bad run as it did yesterday.

I played in PokerStars World Blogger Championship thingie first yesterday afternoon, and after what I felt like was a mostly solid first hour, I made probably the most donkalicious play I've ever made since I've *really* been taking pride in my game, and exited in 8XX/1200ish. In the first hour I was getting hit upside the head with the deck, and about the only thing I could do wrong was extract the most value out of my hands, which I feel like I *didn't* excel at when I had a couple of BIG hands. But I'm just so afraid of getting sucked out on I'm just trying to end pots with the lead as much as I can. There was one hand in particular where I flopped a set of aces and probably could've stacked a guy who claimed to have flopped bottom set, but I was so afraid of the flush draw on board I bet him out on the flop. And had I stopped and thought about it, I could be pretty sure he wasn't on a flush draw. So that was irritating.

Anyway, so after being as high as 17k, I end the hour with around 15k (10k starting stack), and as we head into the 2nd hour I win another pretty big hand and am moved to a new table with my 17k stack. First "real" hand I play at this table and I go broke. UTG limps, which I dully note to respect, but after it folds around to me, I made a 4x raise w/A10o just to see where we were really at. Blinds fold, UTG calls, and we're heads up. Flop comes AJx, 2-suited. UTG checks, and I bet at it about 3/4 pot. UTG pushes. After not enough thought, I call, and go broke against AJ. Just an absolutely terrible play. Limp-call UTG screams AK, AQ, AJ, pocket pair, suited connectors at the VERY least. Which means I'm either dominated, he flopped a set, or he has a flush or straight draw. Best I could hope to be is 70% if this guy is actually a complete donk and happens to have gotten in dominated against me, but otherwise I'm 60% at best against even any draw he likely has. But for some reason when he pushed after my 3/4 pot bet, I thought about every single wrong thought possible.

The quick conclusion I came to was essentially "this donk is on a flush draw and this is a huge spot for me to pick up a lot of chips and go deep". Lets break this down. "This donk"...this is a blogger tournament, and although not all bloggers are by any means good poker players (present company included), most are not going to make this all-in push on a flush draw like I see every day in the $2.25 SNGs I play. "is on a flush draw"...I'm lying a little bit here in that I put him on AJ or a flush draw when I made my call, and if I was beat, oh well its just a freeroll. Well I had *instant* regret upon busting because this wasn't "just a freeroll". This was a legit tournament w/a 10k starting stack (I've only played in one other tournament w/a 10k starting stack) with a pretty amazing $40,000 prize pool, that PokerStars just happened to be putting on for free for bloggers. "Just a freeroll" couldn't be further from the truth. "and this is a huge spot for me to pick up a lot of chips and go deep"...Again, a laughable statement. Fact of the matter is, I was sitting in about 185th out of over 850 left, had an above average stack, and still would have had an above average stack if I folded to his push. We all know there's "those spots" in a tournament where you have to make a ballsy call to really pick up chips and make a deep run. I thought this was that spot (and obviously I wanted this to be that spot), but it absolutely was not. The deck had been hitting me pretty hard, I had enough chips to splash around in pots and pick up the orphans, and then I manage to go broke OOP w/A10o. Just really fucking pathetic.

So that depresses me to no end. I go from playing for a $10k prize package to the PCA, back to my $22 bankroll on Full Tilt. But I figured I'd try and ease the pain a little with some SNGs.

3 hours, 7 SNGs, and 0 cashes later, I closed Full Tilt with a bankroll of $6.74. Yep, I'm back to my "last" 2 SNGs again. Same ol' story. Couldn't hit a flop, couldn't complete a draw, couldn't win a coin flip, and got sucked out on if I got my money in good. Just mind blowing.

So like I've talked about, I feel like I've weathered this storm pretty well so far, but yesterday was just plain depressing. I put myself in a good position in the PokerStars tourney, only to piss it right away with some of the worst thought processing one could ever imagine. Then I try a little SNG therapy only to get run over by the deck.

The really ironic part in all of it is how I play these SNGs as flawlessly as I can imagine day in and day out and get destroyed by horrible players and cold decks, but can at least come away with moral victories and hope that someday things will start to work out in my favor. Then I get this one time shot at this really nice tournament with strong opponents who actually know what they're doing and can play some actual poker with, shoot out of the gates with good cards and strong play, then manage to bust on quite possibly the most donkalicious thought process and play of my "career".

What's the least encouraging about whether I'm playing good in "unimportant" spots, or playing bad in huge spots is that the end result is always the same...failure.

Until next time...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Bankroll on PokerStars...Please??

Online Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker!

This Online Poker Tournament is a No Limit Texas Holdem event exclusive to Bloggers.

Registration code: 1940552