Hey all. Sorry I haven't been posting much. Just been busy, haven't played a lot, and when I have, its not much to post about. I'll have SHORT stretches where I feel like I'm playing well and thank the lord I'm running well, but overall I continue to run like...well...me.
Tonight I played a couple of 18-max SNGs and about 460 hands of .10/.25 NL. In my first SNG I was cruising along really well in about 5th or 6th of 10 when I picked up AK in mid-late position. I raised about 3.75x and get called by one of the bigger stacks in the SB. I don't remember the exact details of the hand, but when all was said and done the board read 3K2K4 and I was broke to his 33. Any way the action goes in that hand I don't think I'm getting away from going broke, and I can't imagine there are many players on this planet who are either. Such a sick cooler. In my other SNG I caught a nice hidden draw right off in the first level and had a nice stack going already. I messed around and got caught stealing in a pot and immediately pick up KK, and with my credibility shot in the eyes of my tablemates, I'm seeing dollar signs. I limp in UTG+1 and it gets raised 3x two seats behind me and called in a couple other places. I pop it 3x more and get a call from the original raiser and UTG. Sparing the details, the original raiser and I got it all-in on the flop and my KK had run straight into AA, and I found myself down around 1/2 a starting stack. I managed to survive to 7th when I jammed about 5BBs w/8 10s on the button and got called by 99 in the BB. Flop came 9JK, giving me life, the 9 on the turn shut me down hard. Yeah I got my money in pretty bad, do I have to pick up KK against AA when I'm rolling early, and can I at least have live cards when I jam the button w/8 10 and at least get my sweat all the way through the river? Its just so brutal.
The cash session was something else. I sat down at a regular NL table and a deep NL table, and it was 3x points Happy Hour, so the action was pretty good all around. I managed to run my stack up 100 BBs at the deep table pretty early with one gutsy play and some decent cards, but was getting brutalized at the other table. Lost w/66v55 on a 577 flop (villian was a short stack all-in for $5 on flop, thankfully), then lost w/AKvAJs on an A-high board when he rivered a flush after I priced him out with a turn raise. I raised PF, bet the flop, the A came on the turn and I check-raised. Anyway, I ended up getting stacked and had to reload on that table when I made a river two pair that made villian a straight, meanwhile steadily giving away all my profit and then some at the deep stack table.
Toward the end of the session I admit to playing very tilty, taking big risks to try and win big pots. I wouldn't even so much call it tilty as much as experimental as a result of frustration. :-) I've been watching a lot of Tom Dwan lately and really love the way he plays. I don't so much want to be as all-out reckless as him, but I'd love to figure out how to mix it up, be unpredictable, and win huge pots when I make big hands like he does. The problem I was running into last night was whenever I would try and represent big hands while actually holding garbage, it was like they could see my cards or actually had the hands I was representing and they were popping me every time. Meanwhile, every time I would think about mixing it up with an off-color hand but give it up because of position or some such extranneous factor, of course I'd flop the joint and miss out on a big pot. One hand in particular saw me hesitate over a 57s in EP in an already 5x raised and called pot, only to give it up and proceed to have made a full house in a pot that went all the way to the river with two big pocket pairs.
Anyway, in the end I was down as much as probably $30, if not maybe more, but cashed out about $7 down after finally making some hands late. I probably shouldn't have quit as I may have finally been teetering on the brink of "heater" status, but it was getting late-ish, and I had told my wife one more orbit but it had been more like three (and yet here I am blogging). So it was an interesting session. On the one hand I wish I'd have made a few more hands, but on the other, while it felt reckless and tilty at times I feel like I did make a handfull of good plays, as well as a handfull of mistakes, and learned a lot about getting involved and mixing it up. I also liked .10/.25 a lot more than .05/.10 so hopefully I can make this level work. Its one of those levels where you're still not playing for a lot of money from pot to pot, but it can start to add up a lot faster than .05/.10. I know I probably shouldn't have jumped a level AND changed my style of play, but hey, I don't get to play much, so I gotta do what I can to advance.
So I'm still not running great, but I do have my moments where the sites are throwing me a bone. I'm still working on trying to secure a Main Event package through PokerStars steps, but I've been trying to maintain a bankroll at the same time, and as little as I play (and as much as I lose :-) ) it doesn't leave a lot of opportunity to focus on that. I have been mixing in Step 1s as often as I can, and at the moment have about seven Step 2 tickets. I'm thinking at this point I'll quit trying to supplement w/SNGs and losing, play another 10 or so Step 1s, and then start to move on. Mathematically it doesn't put me anywhere near in a position for a ME package to be a solid bet, but if I can catch a few breaks and maybe run good for a day or two, its certainly not impossible. Worst case scenario I can get some Step 4 tix, which are good for Sunday Million entry, and hopefully some last chance ME sats which usually end up with quite a few seats up for grabs.
If anyone reads this, do you know if you have to use your first ME package you win @ Stars? Obviously I would likely opt to keep the money if I actually won one, but if you were required to play it, it certainly would make for a helluva experience.
So that's my story. I still feel good about 2009. I don't forsee getting to play any more than I typically do for the next few weeks with summer in full swing, but I think I'm gonna take a couple weeks off when my wee one arrives in August, which hopefully means a few hours a day. I also will be finding a time sooner rather than later for some cash and probably a tourney or two @ the local casino. I've been putting that off since January. I still love and feel like I am better at live poker, it just takes more time, dedicated focus (ie I can't do it in my kitchen while cooking dinner) and bankroll. So I really get amped to play live. When I'm not able to play, I'm doing my best to study. Continuing to watch High Stakes Poker and Poker After Dark, reading blogs, and I need to crack Negreanu's book which I got for Christmas. But I feel good about 2009. I'm gonna have a breakthrough, damn it! All the pieces are there, I just need that magical moment that everything comes together. But until then, I continue to grow as a player, and enjoy playing whether I'm winning or losing, because I know if I just continue to do my best, my time will come.