Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Quickie Update

Hey. Just wanted to check in to keep up to date on how things have been going.

After my epic rant, I played 5 SNGs on Friday and it was the same ol' story. Here's my notes from my SNG spreadsheet (today's comments in italic)...

6th out of 9 after 26 hands - Raised on the button like 4 times in a row then finally pick up AQ and raise again. BB re-raise, I jam, he calls w/KK.
Uncharacteristic play for me, but I felt like I set the BB (who was the big stack) up to make a play at me. If I took my own advice from the previous post, I would know that a PF re-raise in a $5 SNG indicates a monster. Any insight on this one? Good TAG play or donkariffic?

6th out of 9 after 57 hands - Flopped top 2 on 10 4 Q board vs. unraised KK, got it in ready to punish, turn 6, river 4, and the 8-outer gets there
This is just the same ol' ish. Dude should be punished for limping w/KK and instead sucks out w/the money in the middle.

7th out of 9 after 31 hands - I manage to make top pair w/A7 on turn and check it then dude rivers broadway gutshot. I run so good.
I played this whole SNG terribly to even be all-in w/top pair w/7 left. Then to just rub it in I try and get tricky and check the turn and he rivers his gutshot. My own fault. I prolly win the hand and live to see another day if I jam on the turn.

5th out of 9 after 88 hands - Had huge lead w/6 left, then lost w/AJ vs KQ, then call a button jam w/10s in the BB & he had JJ, then couldn't outrun AQ w/JK
This was irritating as shit because the dude who should've gone broke w/KQ vs. my AJ started giving me shit for making "loose calls" w/10s vs JJ in a button short stack vs. BB confrontation and another shorty all-in call I made w/44 vs. 77. Then of course he's the one to bust me.

8th out of 9 after 17 hands - I limp w/AA UTG to C-R after like 5 raised pots in a row, BB checks and flops 2 pair w/49o
4-5 raised pots in a row and I find AA UTG, poised to limp, re-raise, and of course there's no raise, and even more obviously the BB flops 2 pair w/49o. I put him on A9/K9, but I'm not that lucky

So, forced to drop a level I end up playing one more and naturally I pretty much dominate it with the deck hitting me upside the head.

Friday night was our monthly poker game, and I cleaned up there, too...in poker, as well as in the bottle of gin I brought. Incidentally, Friday night I was catching cards, too. Forced to get my money in bad in several spots and hitting miracles. I remember at least two 70/30s all-in preflop, as well as a runner-runner flush to my 5 in my eventual win in our final tourney/rebuy. I ended up making $35 on the night in 2 out of 3 tourney cashes, which is a nice haul and nice boost to the cash roll. The bottle of gin was dead broke by the time I was done with it.

Played a couple of chicken scratch SNGs on Sunday night where I made bottom money in both. Got 3rd out of 9 in one, then did a pretty good job coming from 12th out of 12 to get 4th in a 2 table SNG. For the record, I got it in as a 70% fav to go broke. ;-)

Tonight I touched base w/my brother-in-law and we played one of the turbo freerolls on Stars toward the Main Event. Only noteable hands there were my K10 hitting a straight against AK, only to turn around and get it all-in in the end w/A3 vs. 77 vs. KJ. Board came 10 A 8 and I'm set to triple up, turn 7 and I'm still making money off the big stack, river Q and I'm out. Is anyone surprised??

Ok, well I think that's good for now. Hopefully its not too boring. I'm trying to grab hold of the wheel and set this ship back on course, but the seas are rough and the icebergs are plentiful. Hope everything is going well for everyone else!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

This Post Brought to you by Sofa King

I am Sofa King tired of losing and running bad. As of about today (it was exactly a year ago I got my Macbook Pro, and ever since my portable poker playing has experienced rare moments of joy), its been A YEAR of running Sofa King terrible, save for 3-4 strings of 3-4 days where I'd run "normal", and then I think there was one string of 3-4 days a couple months back where I actually ran "good" and ran my online bankroll up over $250, only to find my way back to the basement the next day.

After not having played since before I left for San Antonio on 4/27, I was Sofa King refreshed, rejuvinated, and ready to hit the felt and play well. I'd been reading a decent little pre-release book that someone asked me to take a look at, I'd been reading blogs and picking up on strategy and reading about other people's good fortune, and my love of the game was rejuvinated. I was aware of mistakes I'd been making while trying to experiment with more LAG play, and wanted to get back to basics and play the way I've been successful in the past, and hone in a strong TAG game. Make good decisions, make good plays, and just let it all flow nice and naturally. I played a SNG on Tuesday and after struggling early, played really well to end up taking it down. So far, so good.

Then last night I had plans to get in and go deep in the $20k Guarantee at 6 Central on Stars. Before I know it I'm deep...into my stack...w/AK where the board comes QQKxA, on a 3-flush board. After raising preflop and betting every street and getting called to the tune of about 1/3 of my stack, I get jammed on on the river and see no way around folding. He either has the Q or made the flush on the river. Here we go again. I eventually double back above the starting stack, only to move tables and find AK again. I raise preflop and get a caller in the BB. Flop comes QQx. I c-bet, thinking I'm probably in pretty good shape still, and get slow called. I hesitantly bet bigger on the 10 turn, thinking I can get a fishing mid-PP to fold, and get called even slower. The river comes, and I quickly make the same bet as the turn making it look like I don't want to lose him, and I'm quickly called again. BB shows down AQ. Nice play, me. It doesn't matter what my bets make me look like...there was no way I was getting this guy to fold. But seriously, how unlucky is that?! Sofa King unlucky. So I've got this guy dominated PF, he calls my raise for a discount in the BB, then flops trips. He could have SOFA KING MANY hands that don't have a Q in them that would make him call my Flop and Turn bets, but no...he's got one of the other two Qs. From this point, I actually did chip up to an almost average stack by my AK actually holding up against 67o, and then my 88 holding up against 77h on a 5h6h2h board, but found myself back in the basement releatively quickly when I made a couple of pretty damn decent hands, bet them, and got raised or showed down losers. Of course a pretty damn decent hand for me doesn't stand a chance against 8 other hands at a poker table. I really should fold with anything less than a set. I eventually go broke when I've got K7o in the SB and its folded to me, I open jam 7 big blinds, and get called in the BB w/K10s. Lemme spell this out for you. I've got K-high and one hand to beat, and not only can I *not* beat it, but I'm dominated, *and* I find a guy who's willing to call off 7 big blinds and more than half his stack w/K10s. I don't know if that's an excellent call or a terrible call, but one thing's for certain, its an enfuriating call. GG me. Sofa King screwed. Oh, and BTW, its my 10th straight MTT non-cash.

I went on to play 4 SNGs, and the beating continued. Tons of pocket pairs but not one set. If I have KQ, an Ace flops, if I have AK, a Q flops, if I have AQ, a K flops, if I have 10s or Js overs flop, or better yet someone has QQ, and my suited connectors whiffed or flopped monster draws that never got home. Almost without fail. Every time I *did* make some semblance of a hand, I'd bet 2/3 of the pot and get raised. And when you bet 2/3 of the pot in a 5.50 SNG and get raised...you're beat. Every time I gave someone 2:1 on the turn with their flush draw instead of the 4:1 they needed and they called, the flush came on the river. And naturally, every time I managed to make a monster, everyone folded. I ended up with my money in the middle once w/top pair vs. middle pair, and obviously his trips came on the turn. In another, with A9s vs. KJ by the turn I had the lead, plus a flush draw and gutshot, but obviously his 4-6 outer came. In another, I raise from M/LP w/9c9, get three callers, flop comes J-high all clubs. I move in for size of the pot, button rejams, and shows QcJ, for top pair and the blocker club. I admittedly got my money in bad...but come on! Does it have to be *that bad* 6-handed?! And in another, 4-handed, the shortstack calls on the button w/97o and I end up doubling him w/95 on a 794-8 rainbow board. Probably a tilty call of his all-in raise by me, but after getting raised w/decent hands all night, I struggled to see how I was beat 4-handed in this spot and was Sofa King tired of getting pushed around. I then open jammed my 4xBB stack w/76o from the SB, and duh...the BB has A6o. See above.

I left in shambles no less than three goals I had set for myself when I started. Namely, don't run plays/spew chips when I'm beat (see: AK vs. AQ on QQx board hand), don't get sucked into other players' traps (see: AK vs. XX on QQKxA 3-flush board), and don't, under any circumstances, make that "gutsy" or "heroic" call when my gut is telling me I'm beat (see: 59 vs 79 hand). And while, yes, I broke these rules on my own, its simply because I never get the chance to run that good bluff, when I make big hands I'm beat, and when I should be safe I never am. Honorable mention for broken rules were don't get run over/be the aggressor, always play your position, and quit limping so much. I thought I made some pretty good preflop decisions in spots where I'd normally be spewy, and I thought I made some pretty good plays that I just ended up unlucky in. But, see, that's the key. I'm Sofa King unlucky!

I'm also tired of the level I'm playing at. I feel like a lot of the time I'm setting up the right table image and making the right plays, and have a very systematic approach to the whole thing, and then some idiot who either isn't paying attention or is doing a bad impersonation of a LAG throws all that out the window and pops up and screws me. Like when I open jammed K7 in the SB into K10s in the BB. After showing down nothing but winners and folding all the live long day, I jammed 7 BBs and over half of the BBs stack, and this guy is willing to call w/K10. Where is he when I have a *real* hand?! Of course then when I open jam something like A9 in the cutoff or button, looking to actually double, the SB wakes up with AJ. Sofa King sick. I can't remember, but I think I blogged about recently when I open jammed on the button or SB w/AK and the BB wakes up w/AA. Anyway, I just feel like at my level there are some players who don't know jack and/or don't care and are doing horrible impersonations of a LAG player, and some, like myself, who are really trying to better themselves and that make really strong TAG plays. And then somewhere in between, there is actually the LAG who is making a strong go of it. The problem is, no matter who they are, I'm the guinea pig. I'm the guy w/AA that the LAG flops the nuts against after I raise and he calls me w/56o after I've seen his incapability to keep his hands out of the cookie jar, and I'm also the guy who open raises/jams in position/resteals against the strong TAG who is capable of folding, only this time he's actually got a monster.

Yes, it happens to all of us. But I guaran-damn-tee you it doesn't happen to you as much as it happens to me. I generally try and take the high road and keep the bitching to a minimum (no, seriously...I do), but now I'm officially whining. I'm Sofa King tired of it. I'm the Mike Matusow of bloggers. There...I said it.

Now I know some of you are reading this and seeing leaks galore and percieving this as me thinking my game has no room for improvement and that my big hands will never be beat. But that's not the case at all. I've got a long ways to go, and I know that. I even am fully aware of several of the mistakes in hands I pointed out above, and several of my "conceptual" mistakes such as needing to make plays WITHOUT actual hands and it doesn't matter how many people are left, anything short of the nuts can still be beat. Problem is, I'm so busy fighting tangible uphill battles, I never have a comfortable enough stack/bankroll to even get to a conceptual level. I'm perpetually recovering from the last bad beat and don't get to put it on cruise control to work on sniffing out bluffs, running plays, accumulating chips. I'm always in disaster recovery mode. I'm just so sick of it. I study and I practice and I study and I practice, and I get my money in good, and I make my opponents make mistakes, but my poker life is a perpetual bout with negative variance. Its almost as if instead of there being variance from hand to hand in the cards that are dealt, there's variance from player to player in ones ability to run normally, and I'm the 30% and under. The sick part is that I know there's just as much mathematical backbone to that theory as there is to card variance. Maybe for me it doesn't "always even out", and on the opposite end of the spectrum, there's a guy that sucks out equally as disproportionate as I am able to hold up with the best hand. I just don't want to come to terms with that...I love the game too much.

So now, as you may be able to tell, I'm Sofa King pissed off and depressed and down on the game again. My 9 days off and good attitude about finally making a go of this hobby was completely ruined over the course of 4 hours, 1 MTT, and 4 SNGs. So now, with my sub-$50 bankroll AGAIN...I'll have to pick myself up by the bootstraps and give it another go...AGAIN.

Sorry for the vent. A guy can only take so much.

Thnanks to Sofa King for their sponsorship of this post. I'm out.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

WSOP ME Final Table Delay

So as usual, I'm a few days behind, and since my last post a little bit ago I've been catching up and reading posts on the delay for the WSOP Main Event Final Table.

This is all well and good, it has its pros and cons, and I'm not about to dive deep into it as many others have already done much better than I could, but I did have one thought/question that I wonder if it has been broached anywhere.

What if someone offers the final 9 x amount of dollars to play a 9 man SNG and shortcut the Main Event final table and/or give the players a "practice" opportunity/exhibition. Surely some sponsor(s) could benefit from such an activity, and is there really any way that Harrah's can prevent this legally?

I'm sure there is some simple legal work that Harrah's could do to prevent this, but I think it would be interesting to see if such a situation arises. There may be something explicit that Harrah's can draw up and make each player agree to not participating in, but what happens if all the players just happen to play in the same tournament and end up at the final table together? Sure, we all know the chances of that happening...but its an interesting "what if" question, and surely in that specific situation there's nothing Harrah's could do. They're surely not going to prevent these players from entering tournaments, but I'm sure they could make them sign something to agree to not playing out a mockup of the final table explicitly. But whatever they draw up, I'm sure there's somebody out there who will be digging and digging hard for a loophole to steal Harrah's thunder if at all possible. Could be interesting.

As usual, I'm sure I'm either way behind on this thought or way out of left field, but I thought I might throw my discussion point hat into the ring on this nonetheless.

Ok, So That Didn't Work Out Like I Hoped

Well, I know in my last post I said that I'd that I hoped to get rocking and rolling on the playing and blogging, but my week in San Antonio didn't turn out exactly like I expected. In the conferences I've been to in the past, you have your session stuff during the day and then you're pretty much on your own in the evenings. I was looking forward to free time and free internet...instead it wasn't until Wednesday night that I even got my personal laptop out, and then of course as I got to thinking about using the internet that I had already paid for for my work laptop, my assumption was realized in that the charge ($10/day) was by computer/MAC address, and not by room. I don't see how they could do it any other way. So in the end, I couldn't see paying $10 to play an hour or two of poker, even if I turned a profit.

But the week in San Antonio was great. Ate and drank on the company hosting the conference on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, and of course the rest of it was on my company, so its really here nor there. Then spent a lot of what little free time we really ended up having working out and doing the tourism thing.

Anyway, I'm here to talk about poker, and at this point I don't really have any poker to talk about except for the atrocious suckout my sister-in-law laid on me at the couples game we played last Saturday. She got all her money in against me as a 95% dog with one to come and of course got there. In a sequence of three hands I got QQ and beat 66 to double, KK and LOST to 66 to lose more than half my stack, and then jammed what I had left w/JJ and lost to AK to go broke. I should've had about 7k and taken two people out VERY early in an 8 person tourney, but instead I found three top 5 hands in a row and the rail. Love this game.

Anyway, I'll be back when I have some more to talk about!