As you could probably tell from the lack of posts in the last two weeks I still haven’t been playing much. I decided to reposition about half my bankroll into the FTSE, which is about as much of a gamble as pushing on a king high flush-draw seeing as I only have rudimentary knowledge of stocks etc, but I see it as a savings account and learning experience. So far things look pretty good and I'm in safe industry sectors, so things won't go badly wrong whatever happens.
I did get to play some decent poker last night, I finished 3rd in a double shootout to the 1m, mainly due to me giving a double up to a short stack when there were 3 left, then getting my aces busted by queens, I wasn't too bothered by that. Mostly I was just pleased that I found the game interesting for the first time in a couple of weeks and therefore was able to watch and concentrate on every hand, not just the ones I was playing. I took my renewed interest to 4 cash tables ($50NL) and quickly made another $50. I decided to quit there while I was happy and ahead, so it's left me in a good mood, and back in the 'zone' of eagerly wanting to play tonight.
Very little in the way of exciting tournament poker this week. I've been playing some cash games again, mainly due to a lack of ability to concentrate for more than an hour at a time. I've had some strange sleep patterns and dull headaches this week so that's probably something to do with it. I'm growing a beard for a while too, the itchyness of which is clearly disturbing when one is in dreamland. Cash game hands just aren't that exciting to talk about are they ? Whatever hand I hit yesterday there's 20,000 more in the next year or two which will cancel out whichever piece of luck hit me, good or bad. It's one long game and odds will play out over time. NL Tournaments are a different matter, one time shots at beating the competition using every weapon in your arsenal. Hopefully I'll be more in the mood to focus for a few hours at a time this week and get some more tourney time in.
Highlights from the cash game included flopping a straight flush on Thursday with As10s and getting paid off by both a weaker flush and a chap who made a full house on the river. Since then I've had a few beats and finished the week even. As the saying goes,
"If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;" - Rudyard Kipling
Though for poker it should probably be
"If you can meet with great runs of luck and bad beats
And treat those two impostors just the same;"
That's possibly one of the great truth's which takes the longest time to accept in poker. For every bad beat you bust out on, you will have done the same to other people. It happens, it’s part of the game, and whinging and moaning about it isn't going to change the way the cards fell, or help you in the future. Just get back on your feet, check that there isn't a better way to have played the hand, and move on to the next one.
In other non-pokery news, this weekend was the start of the 'proper' football season, and this year I have a fantasy football team entered on Premierleague.com. I made a flurry of changes at the last minute on Friday to my team sheet, because I'm an indecisive Libran, and it cost me some points yesterday because I didn't have Chelsea's Bridge in my team anymore. I've changed it back this morning so my team looks like this…
GK - Robinson (TOT)
DEF - Terry (CHE)
DEF - Ferdinand (MUN)
DEF - Bridge (CHE)
MID - Gerrard (LIV)
MID - Jenas (TOT)
MID - Lampard (CHE)
MID - Gonzalez (LIV)
STR - Berbatov (TOT)
STR - Van Persie (ARS)
STR - Ameobi (NEW)
GK - Crossley (FUL)
DEF - Fortune (CHA)
DEF - Sommeil (SHU)
MID - Tonge (SHU)
My strategy is to make my subs the cheapest available players, as they will rarely play, and spend the rest of my allowed £50 million on the first 11. There are flaws in my strategy for sure, the biggest one being that all my eggs are in one basket, with the focus of my team being on Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool. If Ashley Cole goes to Chelsea as well then Bridge could be a dead-duck, but we'll just have to watch and see. I'm entered in two leagues, one with work and one with my mates, and the standings are as follows -
Entrants - 20
Top of the table - 71 points
Average (week) - 50.85 points
Average (overall) - 50.85 points
Relegation battlers (bottom) - 24 points
Me - 9th, Mid-table - 53 points
Entrants - 10
Top of the table - 63 points
Average (week) - 45.90 points
Average (overall) - 45.90 points
Relegation battlers (bottom) - 34 points
Me - 3rd, Title-chasers - 53 points
Notables - Twister leads the charge with 63 points, largely thanks to Louis Saha and Darren Bent, but with Calamity James in goal I can't see it lasting for long. Hooks is helping prop-up the league one from bottom !
Unfortunately for you, I shall be sharing this largely boring statistical information week in, week out, so I'll make sure to drop it at the bottom of every post so you can ignore it at will. Any comments or advice from fantasy league veterans would be greatly appreciated of course.
Didn't have too much time to play last night as I had to go out after work to help destroy all the hard work on our float and pack it all away for another year. Job was done by 9pm and I shot home for a couple of hours of poker. I made a teeny weenie ($22) profit combined from the 3 cash tables I was playing at, it would have been double that but one mule hit his gutshot on the river. I also joined an $11 double-shootout satellite for the $1M on Sunday, boy-oh-boy. It's so long since I played a sit-n-go type game I almost forgot how short and soft they are. I barely played a hand for the first 45 mins, watching one opponent after another bust on pushed draws and bluffs. We were down to four when my trip sevens doubled me up against a guy betting out with bottom pair and calling my allin. Two hands later my AK knocked out the same guy when he though K5 sooted was good enough for calling a raise and would hold up on an A-K-x rainbow flop.
That left me with two very passive, loose players. To my left was the worst of the two (player A), limping every hand, never raising, never the aggressor. To my right a slightly better player (player B) but also limping every hand, at least he was able to bet out, but would only do so when he had a piece of the flop. That made the table easy, but frustrating. With player A one cannot bluff very often, or put them on hand x, since all hands will be played the same, regardless of stack/blinds/situation.
Player B was an easier prospect since his rules (as far as I could tell) were
a) See the flop for the minimum whenever possible.
b) Don't call any raise without a pocket pair or all paint hand.
c) Check-fold if missed the flop
d) Check-call if hit the flop but it's not the nuts or close to it (e.g. hands as good as QJ on a J high flop)
e) Bet if hit the flop and it's the nuts or close to it.
f) Never check-raise
It's pretty standard to read a guy who plays as honest as that, but first I had to get through player A to get to him. Fortunately I got my chance when I raised with AQ and player A called while player B folded. The flop was 10-8-4 with two hearts and I bet out, player A flat called for just over half his remaining stack. The turn was the Qs and I bet out the rest to put player A allin, he called with 10-J and busted when the river was blank. I'm lucky hit didn't have 10-10, 10-8 or J-9, as I'm certain he would have played all these hands the same way, which is terrible strategy.
That gets me heads-up with Player B, I have T6800 he has around T5200. With blinds at 100-200 and him limping every hand I decide I will "force the blinds", and always make it 500 to go, every hand. I take the next 5 hands without contest preflop, then see a flop to which he check-folds to my continuation bet on an 8 high flop. Couple more folds preflop and continuation bets and momentum is definitely with me. On the next hand I get reraised preflop, fold and am shown KK… thanks for the info. I then make it 500 to go again with 10h 6h and get flat called. The flop comes 10s 6c Kh and I bet out… and get minumum reraised for the first time. I minimum reraise back knowing this a language he'll (mis)understand and he pushes, I call obviously and he shows Kd Jh, no improvement for him and I'm through to the final shootout table.
I maybe make that sound easy and like he was a really bad player, but I'm actually really pleased with the way I played there. I knew they were poor players and would frustrate me if I tried the usual style of aggression, so I worked out a different plan, applied it and didn't let any "these guys are idiots" arrogance interrupt a winning strategy. It was still frustrating not being able to get creative, but it got the job done.
At the final table of the shootout the players were only marginally better. After 40 minutes I lost 3/4 of my stack when I made my first PF raise with KK, which was UTG, and got two callers. The flop was K-10-x and was checked around. Turn was another 10 and I slowplayed, just check-calling a 3/4 pot sized bet. The river was ugly, another 10. And I check called another 3/4 pot bet, my full house losing to J-10 that had made quads. Next hand I have 6h-5h in the BB and it's limped to me, which I check. The flop is 10-3-6 and I push, everyone folds except second place guy who calls me with A-3. Turn is a good blank, but anther 3 falls on the river and I bust but still pick up $36 for my efforts.
Good luck at the tables folks, and remember there are still people out there playing cash games every day, who say things like "It was worth a try since I hadn't seen anything in a while" when excusing their bluffs and gutshots.
This week.. (boring title, better post)
It's not been a very busy week poker-wise, it's important to have breaks every now and then, even when you're running good. This wasn't a break for the sake of it though, I had more important things to keep me busy. Any of you who were kind enough to read this blog a year ago may remember this post
from the battle of flowers event last year. It's our local 'carnival' and everyone has to enter a float which must be entirely covered in flowers. Last year we finished second, losing by 6 points. This time round, thanks to a lot of hard work by helpers who all volunteered their time for free, we took the the top prize and won by 9 points ! The celebrations were legendary :o) We're back on top and already thinking about defending our title next year. You can see some images of our parade winning float here
thanks to the BBC. Yet again we didn't finish flowering until 6am, and I went another night with no sleep. I don’t know how poker players do it for like 3 or 4 days running. I felt dizzy all day and ended up falling asleep in the sun in one of the garden's which line the parade route.
All that good community stuff meant I didn't get to play poker again until Saturday, but I was feeling fresh, I dropped round to Hooks' place as I hadn't seen anyone all week and got cracking in a $10 rebuy tournament with 492 players. I rebought once, didn't take the addon as I had 19k chips at the break and ended up finishing 18th when my AJ ran into AK. $227.15 return for $21 buyin. Not bad, but for all the effort I would have liked to have made the final table and got a little more reward. Still it was nice to go deep, giving me back any confidence that may have ebbed away during the week off. Sunday I worked off the rest of my bonus which boosted the bankroll by another $100, and for once I resisted the temptation to play in the $1M, by 7pm I was getting bored of playing and decided it wasn't a good way to spend $215. Instead I quit early, got some rest and had an early night.
Just a quick observation about cash tables - it's amazing the difference one can find on different tables at the same limits, last night at Stars for instance I had one table that was a benchmark standard game, 3 fish, 3 winning players and 3 tight-passives. One table that was 8 winning players and 1 seat that kept rotating between fish. And one table that was as loose as a goose. That's all at Stars and shows how important game selection is. I played all 3 tables for 2 hours and made half a buyin on the benchmark and rock tables and one and half buyins on the loosey-goosey one. Though the loosey one had potential for a much higher degree of swing, which I didn't like one bit until I adjusted and realise I was always getting called to the river there, whereas I was rarely getting to the turn on the other tables. Site selection is important too, on doyles I can regularly find softer games than at stars, and so my bankroll grows about 15% quicker there, but I don't like the software too much so I spend less time on it. My Stars & Doyles rolls are neck-and-neck now, and it's really about time I used my profit tracking spreadsheet again… the only problem with that - last time I used it I went on tilt from watching how big the swings were. That was 6 months ago though and I've improved as a player and emotionally so hopefully I should be able to overcome it.
In other news from our band of players, congrats to Twister who's moved into the £30+3 SNG range at Inter as has found them to be almost as soft as the £20+2's. He was stonking them on Saturday with a 1-2-2-1-4-2 record while I was round there and a 6th place finish in a £5, 250+ player MTT. Nice one mate, see this game's easy !
My head hurts
I doubt this will be a post anything close to stellar, largely due to the amounts of Stella we consumed last night ! J's birthday bash was a great night out with all our closest friends there and everyone having fun, good times. Before we went out Hurricane came down to mine in the afternoon and I was playing another $20 rebuy $4k GTD on Doyles Room. We played well, and made it to the bubble even though my AA split a pot with A4o on the way there when I was desperate to get hold of some chips. I got a bubble hand of AKo in my BB, and it was raised in EP, called by the button and I decided to push, the EP raiser folded and the button called with 99, I flopped an A and nearly tripled up, which was just what I needed. 20 minutes later we were at the final table during which I witnessed a terrible play by a guy bluffing into a side pot that he no business being involved in. That bluff let one player stay in who should have been busted and put the other guy on tilt. It was poor play and the whole table commented so in the chat. The bluffer just said "I needed the chips". Well after that ugly debacle I folded 55 in my BB to an UTG allin, though I probably should have called it and taken a flip. 3 hands later I get QQ against the idiot who bluffed the side pot. He raises in MP, I push from the SB, he calls me with A4 off... and flops an ace. Oh well, people do funny things in the heat of the moment at final tables. I finished 7th/270 for a $240 score.
At the restuarant where J had his meal they have flat screen internet PC's in the booths so we played a little poker on PokerRoom while we drank and ate. Hurricane ran our initial $25 buyin up to $80 in the space of about 20 minutes by playing every hand and bluffing every pot. It was nice work and fun to watch, with so much action even the friends who were there who don't play poker found it entertaining. After dinner we were onto shots (cowgirls and psychopaths) so we left the restuarant and went clubbing. In the club we were near the door for a while and needed some more action, so Hurricane and did a prop bet on whether the next person through the front door would be a guy or a girl. I took girl and lost the next three bets ! Fortunately we then went double-or nothing on the last bet and a stunning blonde walked in. So I only lost what H had made for me on the poker earlier anyway.
After dancing the rest of the night away we all went back to Ben's to party a while and I got home around 4am. Today I'm playing some more tourneys and will most likely play in the 1M GTD tonight because if I get lucky enough to go deep I dont have to get up early tomorrow for work.
Attention to detail is hugely important in every kind of work, and if you want to win a poker tournament it's essential. So don't let yourself get distracted. Focus Focus Focus. Watch every play, think about every hand, not just the one's you're in. Did the big stack bully on your right get those chips by playing well or sucking out on a flush draw where he paid over the odds ? Is the short stack on your left going to push any ace or is he playing so tight you can steal his blinds every hand ? Who's making mistakes ? Where are the opportunities ? Turn off the TV. If it makes you feel calm put some music on at a low volume. Stop blog surfing and concentrate on the task at hand, the blogs will still be there when you've won it, and if you want a real chance a winning it you'll follow my advice.
I write the above as much a reminder for me as advice for anyone else. You can take it or leave it, but I need the advice. I thought I'd pretty much eliminated distraction from my game but I just duffed up a tournament in terrible fashion and the mistakes weren't because I didn't know where I was in a hand, they were just silly, basic errors. I know that because as soon as I'd clicked fold/call or allin I felt dumb a millisecond after pressing the button. I was distracted by the book I was reading, thinking about the paragraph I'm involved in instead of the dynamics of the hand.
I'm lost for words really, it's, um... embarrassing, looking back on it.
There, that's out of my system. I can forget about the mistakes now and focus on the next one... with the TV off and the pages of the book firmly shut.
I finished 38/459 in the $18 rebuy $20k GTD on Doyles, 27 paid. After getting nothing in the rebuy hour and buying back in once for the minimum, I took the addon for a total buyin of $54. I was lucky enough to catch a couple of hands against loose players and then doubled up when I got AA in the small blind, raised 3.5x and the BB who just about had me covered called, I checked the rainbow 10-8-3 flop and BB bet the pot, I reraised allin and he called with 10-6 off, my aces held and I was in with a chance of going deep.
For the next 2 hours the only playable hands I got were UTG, which made it really hard to get paid off and mostly I just got the blinds when I raised in that position. I was maintaining my stack but not growing it at all and the blinds were catching up. Finally with an M of around 8 or 9, I get KdJd in the BB, it's minimum raised from middle position and there's one caller. I called as well but probably should have pushed to try and get them out of the hand. The flop came 2-4-4 with 2 diamonds and I pushed without hesitation, the original raiser folded and the caller in between thought for a while and then called with 9c9s, not a bad spot to be in, I had 15 outs twice - 9 outs to the flush plus the 3 kings and jacks. None of them came and I busted out. I'm reasonably happy but can't help feeling if I'd made a couple more attempts to be aggressive earlier I could've worked a better finish out of this one.
Whilst playing the tourney I had a couple of .25-.50 tables open at Stars because I need 1000 FPPs to get my deposit bonus. I worked my $50 buyin at both those tables up to $100 playing ABC poker and then left, so I have 527 of my thousand points earned.