So, it turns out that playing $2/4 with a $6k bankroll is way out of my comfort zone. Don't ask me why, I just don't know, mostly it's psychological, having $6k at a site and thinking that it's possible, though unlikely to lose that amount. Playing at $1/2 I'm fine, no probs, but $2/4 just does me in at the moment. For the first time in months I didn't even enjoy the game because I was so uncomfortable. It's been immensly valuable though, and having cashed out $3,500 to neteller and dropped a limit I'm feeling good when playing again. Wierd how such a technically small step can be such a large psychological gulf, but that's the beauty of poker. Anyway, I'm sure I'll learn to overcome it in time, just now is not quite the time.
As soon as I cashed out I felt better about everything, and made a quick $300 at $1/2 thanks to some smoother play and good hands. Then I was back onto the tournament trail last night, playing the $20 rebuy at doyles and a $25 rebuy satellite for Sunday's wcoop main event. The Doyle rebuy went pretty smoothly, I went deep enough, finishing just shy of the money at 39th out 436 when I raced KQ against TT and didn’t hit, still I was happy with the plays I made and enjoyed the game. In the rebuy satellite things went pretty smoothly too, after all the rebuys and addons, 3 seats were up for grabs for the 130 entrants to fight for, each worth $2,500 + 100, and me ? well, I spent $102 and I got me one of them seats ! The satellites which I entered cost me $162 overall, so I've turned some nice value out of them.
As you can probably tell, after feeling totally out of my depth at the start of this week, poker and me have kissed and made up. I'm loving the game again and looking forward to another fun and challenging weekend ahead. Good luck at the tables.
Last night I took a shot at 2/4 NL. Within twenty minutes I was down a buyin after my Queens were rivered by Jacks. I rebought, knowing it was normal. Within an hour I was down another half a buyin after my 8's full of Jacks were beaten by 8's full of Aces. Again, there's not a huge amount I can do to avoid that. Even given that this is a perfectly normal, if rare, experience at NL cash games the amounts are putting me on tilt. I kept playing and won back half a buyin, but the I'm not adjusting properly to the game, I don't think my bankroll is big enough for me to be comfortable playing at this level yet, seeing as I am still thinking like "wow that's a $400 pot" instead of seeing the game clearly with the chips telling the story. I see the money instead of the story and that's mean I can't be playing right, so I'm taking a step back, at least until I feel more confident about these levels.
I'm not disappointed, it's really good for me to define a level of where my game is at. It reminds me of the distance there is yet to go, and but also how much I've learned so far. Good Luck if you're trying to qualify for the WCOOP main event this week, that's what I'll be doing, so I may just see you at the tables.
Risk & Reward
Everyone keeps asking me what I'm going to buy with the winnings from Friday's tourney, well I've decided. Not a lot. I'm going to reward myself with a step up in limits to $2/4. As always, there is risk, but thanks to the win it's a shot I can afford to take, and after all, what kind of poker player & blogger would I be if I didn't take a shot at it ? At least if I blow it all in a week it'll give you something to laugh about, and if I survive then the satisfaction will be more than enough reward for me. I'm taking a grand out to pay for my next trip to vegas, other than that it's all bankroll baby !
As the saying goes "Make a bet every day; otherwise you might be walking around lucky and never know it." - Jimmy Jones
I told you Friday's were funky :)
Congratulations to '-TanOrph-', who won $5,710.50 in '$20,000 Guar't'd Rebuy GF' tournament. 427 entrants. Place 1st !
Hitting quad aces with 45 players left helped, so did cracking aces on the final hand. Not much more to say right now, I'm just very tired but very happy !
Ah, Friday. That special feeling that only comes in anticipation of the weekend and the prospect of two days avoiding suckouts, playing great, and trying to make enough so that you won't need to go back on Monday ! This weekend lays up a few challenges for me. I want to play some satellites to the $1k entry NLHE WCOOP event which will be on Sunday night, as I can't justify that sort of hit to my bankroll to play one tourney ! I'm going to play several other tournaments as well. As long as I don't get called into work, the weekend gives me time and space to get into a good playing rythym and get some decent tourneys under my belt… like every other day, I can't wait !
P.S. My AA got beat my Q10o last night, and I lost two hands with full houses beaten by better full houses. Did I mind ? No ! Am I worried about playing today because of it ? No ! Do I still love the game ? Yes. Every single beautiful thing about it !
Not a great deal to say today, work is still insanely busy and I'm working on an application now that seems to have been built using "chaos theory". It has a life of it's own and every day throws up new surprises that need instant solutions.
The last few nights I've been on the chat a fair bit with the uk bloggers. It's good to talk, thanks to them my evenings have been relaxing, and watching them play or joining sng's together has helped me forget about the beats at work and concentrate on my play or the chat instead. I won one of these sit 'n' go's last night, which was nice. But it's all over so quickly in sng's that I'm almost always left feeling unsatisfied !
Last night I also played the $20 rebuy $8k gtd at ladbrokes. I think I got a bit too loose near the bubble, but I'm not sure I might just be being results oriented. 20 places paid. With 32 left I was in third place, then with 27 left I was in 20th, and with 24 left I was in 23rd. Once I was up to 3rd place I took 3 coinflips against shorter stacks, none of which went my way. Then my AQ ran into AK and the final nail in the coffin was when I pushed 99 into KQo in a battle of the blinds and the river was a Q. I guess the luck didn't run my way, but I probably didn't need to trust to luck on so many decisions in. There were other equally viable ways to have played it. I finished 22nd out of 263.
Controlling the Pot
going to stick my head above the parapet and talk about some NL strategy today. Specifically pot-size management. But being a cowardy cowardy custard, instead I've just done some good old googling and found texts from others who explain it far better than me.
Let's start with a quote from the excellent Little Green Book, which I've read several times and is one my favourite poker books...I will rarely play a big pot without a big hand - Phil Gordon
Another great player gives an example of what you're trying to avoid...top pair doesn't even resemble a Big Hand - John Juanda
Ah yes, but both those quotes are from Tournament play, does this apply to cash games ?
Here's a decent post about why controlling the size of pot is important, where the original poster questions whether it has value in small stakes cash gamesControlling the pot allows other's calls to be bad and minimizes your investment in cases where getting called is only marginally +EV
Pokey's hand history examples in this thread are particularly useful...I exert maximum folding equity against mediocre hands and also avoid paying off draws that make it on the river
And finally, back with the man I quoted first, Phil Gordon talks about how much to bet to help you achieve control...When I'm thinking about my actions after the flop or turn, I look to the "texture" of the board - i.e., what cards are in play, and how might they interact with my opponent's likely starting hands - to help determine if and how much I will bet.
Basically, if you can control how big a pot gets when you've got strong but vulnerable hands you're going to limit the effects of variance on your roll. Poker isn't about always getting all
your money in on the flop when you're ahead, it's often a bit more subtle than that.
Do you think Phil Ivey makes all those final tables by going allin every time he's a 75-25 favourite on the flop ? No, he'll control the risk, and control the pot. He's winning his hands with less risk, and less risk is a good thing.
2500 starting chips. 4495 entrants. 600 places paid and first place will take a little over $365,000.
I got off to a great start with QQ on the second hand, raised 3x UTG+1, half expecting it to be folded around. I get two callers and bet the pot on a 8h 7c 4c flop. One fold, one call. The turn was the 6s, and I check-called a half pot bet. The river was the 2c, so I bet half the pot again hoping to take it down or get reraised if he had a flush. He just called and it seems my QQ had been turned over by 55 who had an OESD on the flop and hit it on the turn, that was annoying. I had to stop, take a deep breath and remember to stay calm. I was down to T1740 after only 2 hands !
Life was made more difficult for me by a loose-aggro player on my immediate left, that shut me out of a LOT of hands where I would have liked to have seen a flop but the guys standard raise was 8 to 10x the BB. It took half an hour for me to get a really solid read on him, during which I was forced to fold two nice suited connectors preflop which would both had made straights and I before I had a good read I called 88 and folded on a K high flop. I wish I'd push right then, cause I later saw that him betting the pot on the flop meant he'd missed. Now I had to hope I'd get some good cards when he raised.
Called a couple of standard raises with decent starting cards (88 & AJ suited) and missed the flop and had to fold to aggression both times. 40 minutes gone and down to T1235. Limped QJo UTG+1 (bad) got to see a QA4 and bet out, only to be check-raised by the BB. Down to T1015 !
limped again (urgh how bad am I playing!) with AJo UTG. The button raised to 150 and I called, the flop comes A high with two clubs and I risk a check-raise allin and win my first pot. Up to T1505. Ok, now I can relax a bit, at least I won a pot. Remember I'm supposed to be playing good strong poker.
Call a min raise from UTG+1 with KJo. 4 callers and miss the flop.
Raise to 100 with JJ UTG+2, get called by good player on the button. Check-call the A high flop and figure he's trying to take it and seeing as I check-raised allin the last A I had, so I check-call and then bet out when a King hits the turn, he folds straight away. Up to T1740. My heart beat has returned to normal, I'm looking forward to the break, and I feel like I have balls again at least.
AA on the button, UTG limps, a bad player who bets far to much raises to 150 in MP. I risk just calling. UTG folds and the flop comes Qd 2c 9s. MP takes a long time to bet 200 and I figure thats a big enough pot to win right there and reraise to 550. He folds and I win another pot. Up to T2100.
First break - made it this far at least. A rollercoaster of a first hour, down down down then up up up. I'm quite surprised by the amount of action at my table, previous $1M's have been very tight in the early stages, in this there are chips flying around almost every hand. I'm happy to have T2100, for now it gives me enough to play with. I have a decent read on everyone at the table and the 9 players we started with are still here. One is down to T606 after two muppets went handbags on the turn after the board came all diamonds, they both checked and then reraised each other to the point of allin, one had two pair (with no diamond) and the other had trips (also with no diamond) the trips made a full house on the river and that guy, which just happens to be the aggressor on my left now has T5313. There are 3740 left and I'm in 2746th place. 755 players went busto in the first hour. I could very easily have been amoung that number.
AQ in the SB, short stack limps UTG and I raise 5x. Short stack folds.
Limp with 7c9c, miss the flop and fold
AJo SB, just limp in with 4 others and miss the flop. It's checked around and then bet on a K turn, fold.
QJs button+1, call 3x raise from the guy to my left, a new player who looks decent. SB calls and the BB (who has a good record) pushes and everyone folds, I have T1650.
With T1550 and the blinds at 50/100 I get KsQs UTG, raise 3x figuring I aint raised a hand for 40 mins and might get respect from such an early position, a similar sized stack to me (starting to get short) pushes for the third time. It's basically for all my chips. If I fold this then my next hand will be a push-or-fold one anyway. I figure he has a low pocket pair and it's a coinflip, which I need at this stage so I call. My read is good, he turns over 77 but I miss everything. Q9 off next hand I'm allin on the blind and win a very small pot vs 33.
Fold for a couple of hands with only T310 and eventually push A8, get called by BB who has J10 and flops a 10. Busto'd 2851st.
I didn't play great poker at all. But I think I did an ok job in difficult circurmstances. I was pleased with the way I chipped back up after dropping so many in the first half hour, and if the KQ flip had gone the other way I'd have been well back in the race. Can't win em all right ? At least the $100NL cash game at Stars showed me some love after I busted out of the tourney. In the space of about 20 hands I had KK hold up, AJ flop two pair and KJ flop two pair and river a full house. I made a buyin and a half and then quit and went to bed, still loving the game.
Sunday's gonna be a funday
I played in a $12+1 double shootout last night to try and win a seat to the WCOOP event number 2, $530 NL Holdem $1.5 million guaranteed. 1st got a seat and 2nd got $238. Thanks to some good play, good cards and good luck via the uk bloggers on chat, I finished first, and have my seat ! Pretty chuffed with that. Dead money I might be, but at least for next two days I can dream about that first place prize ! It helps make work a little more bearable too. With $136 invested so far in WCOOP satellites it's not a bad early return at all, and leaves me some roll still to try for the bigger buyin events which will run on the following two Sundays.
I was in a couple of other MTT's last night too, but I think work has been draining my concentration a fair bit, and I've ended just playing my cards because of lack of information about other players. It's good to remember how that feels though, as it reminds me yet again of the many extra opportunities that "playing the player" gives you to chip-up in large field MTT's.
That's it for now kids. Too much to do and too little time, and I definitely don't want to be stuck in the office all weekend.
Wednesday's are hump day, and today it's insanely pressured at work, poker's a much nice prospect than this sometimes, and I didn't even win last night ! I doubt I could "work" at poker full time, but on day's like this it's a nice fantasy escape route to stop me getting too stressed. Please forgive the even worse than usual grammer and typo's, hey at least I sorted out my font so that apostrophes and pound signs don't go all screwy anymore
Short post I expect, as I don't have much time to elaborate. I'm mostly trying to win entry to the WCOOP this week, the satellites will see my bankroll drop a little, but I've basically accepted that I'll give $300 to the cause, which should be enough to get one seat if not more. First satellite - $5 rebuy, 7 out of 170 get seats, I had a rollercoaster of tourney (I didn't many reads cause I wasn't concentrating all the time) and end up busting 26th.
$3 rebuy $10k gtd (my usual weekday tourney) got a decent stack early (18k) which got halved when my JJ ran into 10-8 off allin preflop 10 minutes before the end of the rebuy and he flopped two pair. That's why I sit out sometimes once I've got 12k in rebuys. The last 10 minutes can be annoying and the extra chips you could gain are worth less than the ones you could lose. Anyway, about 45 mins into the tournament proper I get KsJs and call a 3x raise from the guy next to me in MP. The flop comes KQ4 with two diamonds, original raiser bets the pot and (this is hideous) I just call. The turn is the 5c and the raiser bets the pot again and (this is even worse) I just call again. The river is the 8 of diamonds and the raiser bets 3/4 of the pot (brace yourselves) I push to bluff the flush or hope my King is good I'm not sure which and the original raiser calls with A4, suited in diamonds for the nut flush. That was horrible horrible play and it's basically cause I didn't know the player and didn't know where I was so I was really indecisive and let him bluff his draw at me. I haven't played a hand that badly in weeks.
I didn't feel too bad about it, I knew what I was doing wrong and not playing well. I stopped for half an hour and refocussed on the rowing machine. When I came back I played a couple more of the double shootout satellites. Got busted headsup at the first stage in one and finished 5th at the second stage in another. Played better.
Then the most pleasant part of the night came around when I hooked up with Acorn
on the girlie-chat-thing and played a sit and go at laddies with them. I took out Acorn on the second hand when my Q10o in the BB flopped a straight, then I sat tight and should have stayed that way, but I tried to get cheeky against Rosie when I raised 8h10h, she called and we saw a 9 high rag flop with one heart. I bet, Rosie raised and I reraised I think. Rosie called and then pushed the turn when another rag heart fell, I could have called on the draw but I gave it up, it's so long since I played a SNG, I forget what I'm supposed to do ! Rose told me in the chat she had 77, nice play !
Played for a little while longer after that on the crazy laddies cash tables, I think I'll be hitting them a bit more often, they are even more crazy than 2 and a half years ago when I first played there. OK, for now, I'm back to work. Enjoyed playing with you folks, gg, hope to speak to you again soon.
Final Table Friday, Super Saturday and Swingy Sunday
Hello folks, thanks for stopping by, do you want the good news or the bad news first ? Coinflip ? Ok good news first, on Friday night I managed a 3rd place finish in one of the $20 180's on pokerstars. That was pleasant and resulted in a $400-something score, I yet again managed to duff up the final table play, it was really hard to get to see a flop and I was underestimating the hands that players were willing to push with. Still it is more good experience and I played fairly good, only having to get really lucky once when my AJ beat AK.
Saturday was another fun day, we all went round to Hooks' flat to watch Tottenham v Man Utd, and after that played a game of poker for the first time in weeks. It was £10 buyin, one rebuy allowed with a £
30 sidepot for anyone who was interested, winner take all. With 5 of us playing and 2 rebuys used the main pot was £
70 and the side pot was £
150. Everyone starts with 3000 chips to give us some play and the blind structure is as follows -
Level 1 - 25/50
Level 2 - 50/100
Level 3 - 75/150
Level 4 - 100/200
Level 5 - 150/300
Level 6 - 200/400
Level 7 - 300/600
Level 8 - 400/800
Level 9 - 500/1000
Sometimes we play the first two or three levels for 45 minutes, but usually it's 30 minutes a level which gives us about 2 orbits. We rarely make it level 9, in fact it's often heads up by level 6.
I got a very lucky hand early on against Twister. I had pocket fives on the button and made a standard raise (150) Twister just called in the BB for 100. The flop came something along the lines of 5c 10c 7d, bingo bango I've hit my set. Twister bet out first though, and it was a decent bet, around 250-300 into the 350 pot. This presented me with a few problems. "Always bet your set" is the mantra and while that would definitely be the safe thing to do here, it might not be optimal. If I reraise then I figure one of two things will happen - T will fold and I'll win a small pot, or T will call and we'll be allin on the turn as long as the card is anything over a ten or any club. I really don’t want that as it's going to be a difficult bet to call and I want a better definition of T's hand. So I just call his bet. The turn brings the 9c and T thinks for a minute and then bets 700. Now I know I'm in the poo-poo. It’s highly unlikely T's bluffing here, if his flop bet was to stop me hitting clubs it didn't work and he would have slowed down, I now realise he was betting his draw and he's hit. I should have reraised on the flop ! Ok, I made a mistake, what are my options now ? I can't push since I know T won't fold his flush, I could fold here and cut my losses, but he's playing it strong and for once I have a good read on him, if I call now and manage to fill up on the river I could win a huge pot. So I call 700 and we see the river, it's the beautiful case 5 of diamonds. It's hard for anyone to see how that card would have helped me, and T announces allin. I call straight away and he smiles and says "ah, have you got the ace?" to which I reply "No mate, I got super lucky" and show my quads, to which everyone at the table cries "fiiiiiiish"
That saw me onto a good run until I totally kinda donked away my stack after reraising 6x from the BB with JJ against Hooks and he fecking called me with A3 off, the loose guppy. The flop was A77, and we he pushed allin and got all talkative about how strong his hand I knew he was weak and I couldn't believe he had an A, of course his talk was trying to make a 3 kicker feel stronger cause he though it might be weak. So my pyschology was right, but the read was wrong and I doubled him up.
Shortly after that I managed to get allin against A4 with 68 sooted and bust, so I rebought into the main pot and the side pot and got my money in with KJo against AK, I rivered a glorious Jack, doubled up and never looked back. I was heads up against Twister who had also rebought and got way back into the game, he had a 3-1 lead when we started HU action. Somehow thanks to some dodgy calling station stuff by me I took a small lead and shortly after that I had a paired Queen on the flop hold up against T's A3. It was nice to win one of the live ones for a change, it's been over 6 months !
Ok. Deep breath. Bad(ish) news coming. Feel free to skip the next two para's.
For some reason any Sunday where I will be working the following Monday are -EV for me. I don't know if its the thought of work, the pressure of knowing it's my last 6 hour session for a week, or the fact that I've played 10 hours of poker already on the weekend before I start. But something about them just doesn't work with me. Maybe Jesus doesn't like me gambling on Sundays ?
Anyway I played a few games, 3x$50s and 1x100. In an hour and half I made $5 at the 100NL game and lost $35 in the 50s. OK I thought take a break this isn't working. I got out in the sun for a bit, it was a beautiful day that shouldn't be wasted. If Hurricane had been around we'd have taken the boat out for a spin, but he's in France camping with his girl at the moment. I got home about 5-30pm and fired things back up. A gentle start this time I had one $4 180 open and a $50 cash game. I played two hands at the $50 table AA and AA, both lost, but at least I didn't get stacked with them. Down $40. My final bit of poker of the day was going to be the $1m GTD, I checked in PokerTracker and I was playing fine just the odds weren't doing what they should.
I had an incredible run of cards in the $1m in the first 2 hours I got dealt KK no less than 6 times and AA once. Know how many times I got a caller ? ONCE ! This is cause I was raising 3x the BB preflop. Which was too high for anyone at my min-raise table. I should have twigged much earlier and taken the risk of slow playing to get a half decent stack. In a tourney where it's difficult to get paid off at the best times it's often a risk worth taking. So despite some lovely cards I got no action until I pushed 88 UTG with 6 BB's left, the big blind called me with A6 suited and flopped an ace. Busted.
It wasn't so bad I guess, I didn't lose a load, I just got unlucky a few times. I could have played really bad and that would feel worse. I'm back on the horse now and will enjoy playing tonight. I still love poker, it's a beautiful game.
Crikey I'm tired. A couple of consecutive late nights and I'm as much use as a chocolate teapot. I do like being in the dopey zone though, I think it's my natural state. Work has been a real pressure cooker lately, but it's good stuff, we have to get some new software upgrades in by the end of September so it's a tight deadline but the benefits are huge. It has meant that I've been reduced to just a couple of nights of poker a week though, so stuff to talk about was a little thin on the ground until Wednesday, when I had the pleasure of finishing 4th out of some 1600 in the $3 rebuy event on Stars. To be honest with you I was gifted a ride to the final table when 3 tables out I was deat AA on the button. UTG raised 4x the BB, MP pushed, I pushed over the top and UTG called. They both had AK and after busting them I had over $1.5M in chips. At the final table things went very well until we got to 5 players. Me and another guy had more than $3.5M each, everyone else had less than $1M. Unfortunately we each doubled up one of the shorter stacks and in a couple of throws of the dice it became a very even game again. I lost an arm and a leg of my chips when one shorter stack pushed a flush draw against my paired ace on the flop, the flush turned and I became on of the shorter stacks. Shortly after that I paired the flop again and pushed into the big stack, he called with two overs and a gutshot - I turned two pair but he rivered the gutshot straight to bust me in 4th for a $1100 score. I think I played really well, though I'm still looking at the final table hands and trying not to be result-oriented.
The added bonus from this score is that I now have ample bankroll to support $100NL games again, which is nice after grinding at $50NL for the last 10 weeks or so. I played the same tourney last night and finished ITM again, it all came down to a turning point hand that was going to bust me or send me to the final table again. UTG+1 raised 4x the BB, loose big stack (200k) in MP called, I looked down at QQ on the button and pushed, I had 70k in chips and there was already 25k in the pot, which I was happy to take there or let the cards fall if anyone called. To my surprise the BB called allin, the original raiser called allin and the big stack also called. I was up against AQ, AK and the big stack who had JJ. The Jack of Clubs flopped first and it was all over. I don’t know how anyone can think JJ is ahead there but it was a huge pot and the guy had a hard time laying down any pretty cards.
Nowadays, even at moments like that I love this game.