Wednesday, January 27, 2010

WBCOOP Event #3

Well, I just busted from WBCOOP Event #3, event #1 for me, in 116th/1826 (as it turns out, I won't get this posted until sometime around the beginning of Event #4). I'm the proud owner of a bright & shiny $11 buyin to the SCOOP, which I'm plenty pleased with, as it will be the first time I'll ever take the opportunity to play in any sort of online tournament series.

Not a whole lot to my finish. I made some hay early when we were playing 3-5 handed w/4-6 sit-outs, playing some pretty good shorthanded poker and taking advantage of some spewy LAGs. That got me through the bustouts of all the sit-outs, and through the middle stages to the bubble I just kinda maintained w/some stealing. The key hand of the tournament came on the bubble, w/literally like 4 to the money, I was on the button w/A10s, and a bigger stack two to my right who was raising my button almost every time made his standard 2x raise, to which I responded by jamming, hoping to scoop or be ahead. In a past life I'd fold to the money here, but I'm trying to get away from that practice. At any rate, ahead I was not, but I managed to beat his pocket aces w/one flush card on the flop, and two subsequent on the turn & river. time for this guy! So that doubled my stack to just short of 20 BBs, and all the sudden I was in business w/the bubble bursting @ 153. With a little more scooping & a decent non-showdown pot w/KK on the button, I managed to build my stack to just short of the average, but alas, almost as quick as I was in business, I was out of business.

With blinds at 1400/700/175, I was dealt AQo in the SB and faced a raise from CO-1 to 4200. He had a decent stack, and with no profound read on him, it just felt like a steal, and not really wanting to call or fold, I felt my best move was to go ahead and overjam my 23450, really OK with a call, but expecting a fold. To throw a wrench into the whole scenario, the BB calls for less, and then with >2:1 on his money, the original raiser also calls. I thought for sure one of them would have me dominated w/AK or at least flipping coins, but was pleased to see I was 2:1 against each of them, or 50% to win against BBs KQo & LPs A10s. Just had to sweat 10s, Ks, & straights. Board J10xx9, BB doubles, LP takes the rest, and I'm sent to the rail disappointed, but if it weren't for my A10>AA, I wouldn't have been there to start with, so I *guess* I don't have a lot to complain about. But a 60+k stack and swiftly dwindling tourney field would've been nice. I tried to find these guys' blogs to link to to give them credit for their profound sucking out skills, but couldn't. ;-)

I liked the structure. Its a little quick, but I also think its flatter than Stars' everyday tournies. Its interesting how you have to approach it strategy-wise, with all the sit-outs at the beginning and how the average is deceiving. Not to mention if you're playing short-handed how much dead money is in each pot when the antes start and how there's some incentive to go after it. But once you get to just past the end of the first hour and the sit-outs are busting out and the average skyrockets, you'd better hope you got in on some of that dead money or you're in for a rude awakening. I'm eager to play in tonight's Event #4, then both events this weekend. Tomorrow night I'll be playing in a homegame w/my wife & a couple other couples. So I may hop in @ 5 & donate my stack quick before heading out to have some fun playing live.

The tournament did provide for a new experience for me, however, in that I played with my first sponsored pro. I'm sure I've played with dozens of grinder pros, and I've played with some Supernovas, etc, but my final table saw me 3 seats to the right of Marcin "Goral" Horecki, a Team PokerStars Pro from Poland, with $734k in winnings. So that was pretty neat, but I managed to play myself out of the tournament before I got to see him work...or before I got to bust him.

Anyway, Event #4 is officially underway @ this point, and 20 minutes in I'm stacked @ 5500, so hopefully I'll have a similar report to this one (or better?) come later tonight or tomorrow. Good luck everyone!

EDIT: Not so much. After making it through the sit-outs w/a slightly less than average stack, a hand folds around to me and I make a standard 3x steal raise raise w/58c on the button. SB & BB both call, flop comes 959, SB checks, BB bets, I figure if he's got a pocket pair bigger than 5s, so be it, I jam, he instacalls, & busts me w/97o. Uhhhhh...good call? I guess I shoulda raised 4x or more... Anyway, spend my chips well, RUPoker.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Pic Dump

Just wanted to post some screenshots I've taken over the months.

This first one is probably nothing terribly special. I'm sure its happened to others, and maybe even on more tables. But nonetheless, I thought it was pretty nifty.

Sadly, I didn't win a big pot in either instance. But I did win both hands.

This next one was a complete luckbox fluke. I was playing cash on FT & a tourney on Stars, and went to raise to 1300 in the tourney, but with the focus on the cash game table, instead vastly over-raised to $13.00 on this .05/.10 or .10/.25 table, out of position w/this gem (hey, it could be worse). It was of course re-popped by the KK, then QQ jammed. I was already priced in, and the rest, as they say, is history...

One time for this guy! :-)

I like to call this last one "drawing slim". UTG raised 4x to $1, an MP player called, I called, then AK jammed w/$4.28, UTG jammed his $5, MP folded, and with nothing behind for any opponents & better than 3:1 to call, it seemed a relative no-brainer for me. As you can see, I was drawing pretty much as slim as it gets.

Thanks to FT for not making me wait. :-)

So yeah...its true. From time to time I run good. But there isn't enough hard drive space on the planet for me to post screenshots of the times I'm on the other end.

Man, that's like 3 posts in a week!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

2009 Results - Breakthrough Year

So another year ends, which means another results post. 2009 saw me playing quite a bit less online poker, what with a move and things that come with being a homeowner of a brand new home, not to mention the preparations for and arrival of my firstborn in August.

The overall theme of 2009 was poor results online, but strong results live.

Online Misc - ($42.50) - 765 Hands
While in 2008 this category included satellites, shootouts, steps, my Battle of the Planets payout, and the Stars "Double or Nothings", in 2009 it only included 15 steps SNGs, with obviously marginal results. I paid out (but lost $$) in 3, broke even in 2, and moved on to the next step in only 2. That said, I have a few step 2s and at least one step 3 banked in my Stars account for my eventual run at Sunday Million Entries, WSOP ME, PCA, or whatever suits me. You know...when I have time.

Online Cash - ($16.61) - 58 sessions - Avg. ($.29)/session - 6320 Hands
2009 was an interesting year in online cash. I feel like I played a lot better and had a lot better results than the bottom line shows. I played primarily .05/.10 NL on Full Tilt, dabbling in .10/.25, which I liked a lot better, but just couldn't hang @ the level. My sessions would go such that I would run up a huge win on one or two and just be getting rolled on the remaining tables. I don't think I played enough to sweat the variance, because my Comments field reads like a bad beat handbook. If I'm going to be profitable online, I need to figure out a way to be profitable in cash games, but I just didn't play consistently enough to be too concerned about losing $17.

Online MTT - ($25.79) - 21 Tourneys - Avg. Buyin $12.94 - Avg. Finish 1196/3291 - 3307 Hands
I played 30 less MTTs in 2009 than I did in 2008, but my results, aside from profit, were very similar, with an average finish in the top 36% compared to the top 35%. What's most important about my 2009 MTT results is an obvious "win or go home" approach. My results show that I was looking to build a stack to run deep, or go home trying, and it produced some of my best online MTT finishes to date. 77th/1329, 13th/4635, 97th/1498, 32nd/1985. Each of these tournies I thought might be the breakthrough 4 figure cash of my online career, but ended in true Windbreaker fashion in most cases. Regardless, I feel like I played really well in a lot of cases, with an emphasis on aggression this year that helped me get to the verge of the "real" cashes that I'm after. I had a lot better concentration and decision making, and did a pretty good job controlling tilt. I still believe I've got serious MTT opportunity in me, I just still am better live than online.

Online SNG - $257.35 - 216 SNGs - Avg. Buyin $10.85 - Avg. Finish 7.24/15.46 - 16845 Hands
My SNG results in 2009 compared to 2008 are pretty consistent, finish wise, w/an avg. finish in the top 44% in 2008 vs 46% in 2009. But what allowed me to make the same amount of money in about half as many SNGs was my opportunity to play at the $11 or above level a good majority of the year, and playing and cashing in more 18 and 27 player SNGs (avg. players 12.07 to 15.46). My avg. buyin went from $6.52 to $10.85, and the $10.85 is skewed even worse by some $1.20 & $3.30 SNGs I mixed in to play with my brother-in-law. With regard to my "real" SNG results, it looks like after a hot start to the year, I did have to drop down to $5.50s for 28 SNGs in March, but aside from that it was primarily $11. I won't even begin to say I truly played at a $22 SNG level, because while I did play in 15, I can tell you my results at that level are poor w/o having to look. I got pretty much killed at that level, but I haven't been able to play there enough to determine whether it is a skill differential or variance. At any rate, SNGs are by far my best opportunity to make money online and my primary play. I am very comfortable at the $11 level and hope to continue to move up, but if I'm outmatched at the $22 level and above, so be it. I can just learn to multitable the $11 level to increase my profitability. But I truly believe I can be profitable at higher levels, and will continue to work toward that goal.

Live - $748 - 21 various sessions
For 2009 this category included 11 monthly games ($5-10 tourneys w/ or w/o rebuy, low stakes cash), 3 sessions of $1/2 NL (2 casino, 1 homegame), another low-stakes homegame, a $60 buyin tourney, and the first couple sessions of the Poker League I joined. The obvious, jump off the page stat for 2009 live play is that it was my bread and butter, and honestly it comes down to two key profits. The first being the 4th place out of 120 or so in the live tourney at the local casino. I banked $505 profit for that win, and reported in-depth on this great experience in a previous post. The second was a nice little under the gun, brink of the new year $200 win on 12/30 at a $1/2 NL homegame. This is a bittersweet win, as I was up over $300 at a point but couldn't bring myself to walk away given the dead money in the game, and obviously suffered for it. But I ran good when I needed to run good, stand by my decision to stay in the game against poorly skilled opponents, and banked an impressive & much needed big win and seed money for my June trip to Vegas, not to mention a little bankroll booster to cap off 2009. As for the league I joined, I dumped $100 into it with no results after the first couple sessions taking place in 2009, but turned it around with a profitable finish in the first session of 2010, and hopefully when all is said and done a nice three figure win in the final standings. Sometime I should probably dedicate a blog post to the league. Especially if when I win it. But that loss was balanced out and then some by my profitability in my monthly game.

So, despite less play and overall poor online results, 2009 was a key year in my poker journey, as I am officially calling myself a lifetime winner. I've probably talked before about 2005 when I first got a taste of online poker and it took me down a deep, dark path of degeneracy coupled with unskilled play, so I set what I thought was a reasonable bottom line that I lost that year (given I wasn't tracking), and 2009 saw me break free of that burden.

It also reinforced what I have known and continue to preach since I started playing poker seriously...that I am a much better live player than online. I have strong basic people observation skills, and while I consistenly try to improve my player reading capabilities online and build a table image I can use to my advantage, both come much more natually to me in person.

As far as 2010 goals, its pretty much the same ol' story for me. I want to continue to be successful and build on my success in SNGs, I want to continue to try & find opportunities to play live and hope that I can maintain consistent results there, and I want to try and improve my Online Cash & MTT results to where I'm a consistent cash winner and snatch that ellusive MTT big score.

Aside from trying to win the league I joined for what will likely be close to a 4-figure score, my big poker promised land for 2010 will be my 30th birthday trip to Vegas in June. I have already laid the groundwork that I will have an emphasis on getting to play more cards, possibly/hopefully at least once a day, so hopefully when it comes time to put the rubber to the road that can be accomplished, and if it isn't, its because I'm doing much more fun things with the friends and family that I'll be traveling out there with.

Now, all this talk about poker has me jonesing to play. I'm up a whopping $5 in SNGs so far in 2010 after 2 SNGs, but shoot, if I can maintain that profitability, I'd sign for it right now!

All the best.

One of my Favorite Things of the Year

Online Poker

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