Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Tortoise vs Hare

Just above the sink in my kitchen there is an old blackboard hanging next to an equally dated noticeboard, and it is on this quaint medium that I and other members of the house occasionally scrawl a goal or more likely a reminder. Last night I daubed 'Get to 20k' in my awkward left-handed scrawl onto the otherwise empty slate. With a current hourly rate of just under $30, and over 7k needed, my brain tells me it will take…. quite a while. A very long while actually. About 240 hours worth. Now, this is clearly not a viable timeframe if I want to get this goal done for xmas, so I'm proposing playing a lot better and learning lots more about the game to facilitate this.

Here's my plan:

Re-read "Theory of Poker", "The Art of Bluffing", "Professional Poker" and "NLHE Theory and Practice" answering all the quiz questions and practicing the concepts at regular intervals while I work through each book. Thinking constantly about the game is essential, but most people won't improve if their thoughts are not guided by a professional.

Make more notes on each player throughout every game, as you can't just see one bad play and label someone with Cracker/Chaser/Terrible. This mistake is easy to make and can prove costly, plus I'd hate to be judged on the strength of some of my less-than-clever plays! This is a necessary discipline that should be a habit of any serious player.

Stop playing K small suited. I have been playing about with Kx suited a lot recently and the only time it's ok to limp with it is if x is 7 or higher and you are on the button. If you are in a very aggressive game do not bother even limping, as otherwise you're throwing away a marginal easily-dominated hand preflop far too often for limping prove profitable. Just remember it's like playing a Ax suited where x is 6 or lower.

Raise more tentative bets from SB on the flop. Most often people in the SB or BB will hit the unraised flop but worry about their kicker so bet out to find where they stand. With position you can usually raise and win the pot instantly or on the turn with a ½ pot continuation bet. Of course, once in a while they will pair their kicker or similar but this move is easily successful enough to remain profitable when you have to fold after getting reraised (and you have nothing).

All of that said, I played well over the weekend, and am almost back at the 13k hurdle. Let's see how my game progresses….

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Grind

Another tough night, played about 3 hours and dropped over 1k. Was feeling confident as well after smashing through the 13 barrier the previous night, taking my broll to dizzying new heights. Didn't play any differently to my normal game, apart from where I tried a semi-bluff allin raise with KcQc suited in position on a Tc 8c 4s flop. My opponent was an aggressive chaser who I'd seen attack with fairly weak cards and I thought I had a good chance of forcing a fold. Unfortunately he called with QQ (taking 3 of my outs), hit a Q on the turn (eliminating 3 more of my outs!) and none of my remaining 8 outs appeared on the river, so goodbye stack.
It was the usual story of slightly unlucky for the rest of it, big raises with KK called by AQ and A high flops, the odd race with small stacks with AK against mid-pairs failed to hit, and an apparently favourable AK vs A9s preflop allin for about 200 turned into TPTK vs the nut flush. Didn't tilt at any point or get myself into any pots with weak holdings, but my opponents kept drawing and hitting. Even mixing up my play with my big hands just led me into trouble (see below).
Oh well, back to the grindstone I guess and I'll hope for a 'luckier' weekend....

Fantastic Four
[Aug 24 19:07:46] : Hand Start.
[Aug 24 19:07:46] : Seat 1 : Sub_Zero has $267.75
[Aug 24 19:07:46] : Seat 2 : Battie has $292
[Aug 24 19:07:46] : Seat 4 : 5krona has $388.21
[Aug 24 19:07:46] : Seat 5 : stippler has $318.33
[Aug 24 19:07:46] : Seat 6 : PtPoker2001 has $219.25
[Aug 24 19:07:46] : stippler is the dealer.
[Aug 24 19:07:47] : PtPoker2001 posted small blind.
[Aug 24 19:07:48] : Sub_Zero posted big blind.
[Aug 24 19:07:48] : Game [14651] started with 5 players.
[Aug 24 19:07:48] : Dealing Hole Cards.
[Aug 24 19:07:48] : Seat 1 : Sub_Zero has Ah Kh
[Aug 24 19:07:51] : Battie folded.
[Aug 24 19:07:53] : 5krona called $4 and raised $8
[Aug 24 19:07:55] : stippler folded.
[Aug 24 19:07:56] : PtPoker2001 folded.
[Aug 24 19:07:58] : Sub_Zero called $8
[Aug 24 19:07:58] : Dealing flop.
[Aug 24 19:07:58] : Board cards [6d 6s Ts]
[Aug 24 19:08:01] : Sub_Zero bet $8
[Aug 24 19:08:03] : 5krona called $8
[Aug 24 19:08:04] : Dealing turn.
[Aug 24 19:08:04] : Board cards [6d 6s Ts Ac]
[Aug 24 19:08:09] : Sub_Zero checked.
[Aug 24 19:08:10] : 5krona checked.
[Aug 24 19:08:10] : Dealing river.
[Aug 24 19:08:10] : Board cards [6d 6s Ts Ac 3d]
[Aug 24 19:08:13] : Sub_Zero checked.
[Aug 24 19:08:23] : 5krona bet $33
[Aug 24 19:08:26] : Sub_Zero called $33 and raised $40
[Aug 24 19:08:32] : 5krona called $40 and raised $80
[Aug 24 19:08:34] : Sub_Zero called $80
[Aug 24 19:08:35] : Showdown!
[Aug 24 19:08:35] : Seat 1 : Sub_Zero has Ah Kh
[Aug 24 19:08:37] : Seat 4 : 5krona has 6h Jc
[Aug 24 19:08:37] : 5krona has 3 of a Kind: 6s
[Aug 24 19:08:37] : 5krona wins $345 with 3 of a Kind: 6s
[Aug 24 19:08:46] : Hand is over.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Cleaning up

You've probably done it, I've definitely done it, my soon-to-turn-pro housemate has regularly done it. Think we've all said the words "I hate poker". Most often this is because of someone laying a terrible bad beat at the river, or maybe some clever dick hiding AA in the BB and trapping a poor unwitting fool for the majority of their stack (yes, that fool would indeed be you). I however had cause to say this for an entirely different reason, and I'd like to tell you why.
For the majority of those who play poker regularly and win consistently (ie the fortunate minority), I think poker is a double-edged sword within our lives. Furthermore, I believe it is highly analogous to an addiction, and it is for this reason that I recently found myself cursing poker and wishing (albeit briefly) that I'd never started to play. The road so far has been tough, but the occasional glimpse of the promised land through the breaks in the cloud can make the struggle seem insignificant. When you're losing, your mood slips and you focus only on why and how to reverse this trend. When you're winning, you feel confident, content and usually quite generous! The problem, however, lies not in the trials and tribulations of the journey, but in the fact that life outside of that journey no longer seems quite as much fun.
With an obsession (or hobby if you prefer) as interesting and deep as NLHE, the acclaimed Cadillac of poker games, it is perhaps not surprising that alternative pursuits pale in comparison. It is a game that requires every ounce of your mental ability, judgement and concentration, it never offers identical scenarios, and it can never be perfected, only practiced. I can think of no other pursuit that is even remotely similar.... except perhaps warfare, where the stakes are greater by far! I just resent the fact that since I have chosen to be the best poker player possible I find myself forgetting that life outside the game still exists. Since I devote as much of my time and effort as possible to achieve my poker goals, I find myself stunned when I receive the occasional reminder that there is a world outside of poker. A world where you can feel good without winning a massive pot. Where you don't feel angry or depressed because you were out-played/drawn. Where you can interact with people in a non-competitive environment. A world where you can enjoy good clean fun without financial risk, and enjoy the simple and numerous pleasures that this life has to offer. I urge you to get out now and enjoy some yourself.

Of course, I've had 24 years living in that world, so for now, I'll just see you at the table ;-)

Table Name Hand ID Game Stakes
Psycho Beach Party 10475142-18772 Holdem No Limit $2/$4
[Aug 15 09:59:53] : Hand Start.
[Aug 15 09:59:53] : Seat 1 : greenteaguy has $534.50
[Aug 15 09:59:53] : Seat 2 : obelix has $412.85
[Aug 15 09:59:53] : Seat 3 : Sub_Zero has $354.75
[Aug 15 09:59:53] : Seat 4 : imabout has $368
[Aug 15 09:59:53] : Seat 5 : sonogong has $66.75
[Aug 15 09:59:53] : Seat 6 : bryan300 has $94.50
[Aug 15 09:59:53] : bryan300 is the dealer.
[Aug 15 09:59:53] : greenteaguy posted small blind.
[Aug 15 09:59:54] : obelix posted big blind.
[Aug 15 09:59:54] : Game [18772] started with 6 players.
[Aug 15 09:59:54] : Dealing Hole Cards.
[Aug 15 09:59:54] : Seat 3 : Sub_Zero has 6h 6s
[Aug 15 09:59:57] : Sub_Zero called $4
[Aug 15 09:59:59] : imabout called $4
[Aug 15 10:00:02] : sonogong called $4
[Aug 15 10:00:02] : bryan300 folded.
[Aug 15 10:00:05] : greenteaguy called $2
[Aug 15 10:00:06] : obelix checked.
[Aug 15 10:00:07] : Dealing flop.
[Aug 15 10:00:07] : Board cards [6d Qh 5s]
[Aug 15 10:00:12] : greenteaguy checked.
[Aug 15 10:00:14] : obelix checked.
[Aug 15 10:00:27] : It's your turn.
[Aug 15 10:00:27] : Sub_Zero has 10 seconds to respond.
[Aug 15 10:00:29] : Sub_Zero checked.
[Aug 15 10:00:35] : imabout bet $16
[Aug 15 10:00:38] : sonogong folded.
[Aug 15 10:00:40] : greenteaguy folded.
[Aug 15 10:00:41] : obelix folded.
[Aug 15 10:00:44] : Sub_Zero called $16
[Aug 15 10:00:45] : Dealing turn.
[Aug 15 10:00:45] : Board cards [6d Qh 5s 3d]
[Aug 15 10:00:55] : Sub_Zero bet $25
[Aug 15 10:00:56] : imabout called $25
[Aug 15 10:00:57] : Dealing river.
[Aug 15 10:00:57] : Board cards [6d Qh 5s 3d Kh]
[Aug 15 10:01:05] : Sub_Zero checked.
[Aug 15 10:01:08] : imabout bet $64
[Aug 15 10:01:21] : Sub_Zero called $64 and raised $75
[Aug 15 10:01:31] : imabout called $75
[Aug 15 10:01:32] : Showdown!
[Aug 15 10:01:32] : Seat 3 : Sub_Zero has 6h 6s
[Aug 15 10:01:33] : Seat 3 : Sub_Zero has 6h 6s
[Aug 15 10:01:33] : Sub_Zero has 3 of a Kind: 6s
[Aug 15 10:01:34] : Sub_Zero wins $377 with 3 of a Kind: 6s
[Aug 15 10:01:43] : Hand is over.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Strikes and Gutters

Wow, it's been a hell of a week. Got home from kungfu last Wednesday desperate for a quick game, and what do you know, I got myself in a hole. A deep, expensive, awake-til-nearly-4am-with-work-the-next-day hole. I went through nearly $1600 before I left the tables. Now for a lot of people, this is a lot of money. I am one of those people, and went to bed feeling like I'd been sucker punched solidly for a day. The loss started off as usual with a few bad beats, and then I started losing a lot to people who were calling and raising with literally any 2 cards (provided they were suited of course). My TPTK would run into an unlikely 2 pair. My overpairs would go down to a set. I just couldn't get a handle on my opponents aggression and the rebuy button was getting hit more often than Lebanese residential blocks.
The really bad thing is that I decided I couldn't face work the next day, and so, I swallowed my pride and called in sick. *hangs head* I can't function well when I'm tired and I just couldn't face work in my current mindset. I even managed to get through til the afternoon before I sat down at the felt. I won $400 back in an hour and stopped, feeling much better. Unfortunately, I didn't quit while ahead, and sat down again after dinner and lost another $1200. I'm smiling as I write this but there were definitely no smiles at the time. That said, I did manage work the next day so I felt I was getting at least some handle on the situation, though I cannot deny I was very concerned that my bankroll had dropped from 12k to under 10. Very. Concerned.
I had my usual "Why did I have such a bad session?" internal monologue the next day and realised I had been trying to fight fire with fire. Playing suited semi-connectors from early position just because your opponents are winning massive pots with them is a terrible plan, however smart it may seem when your opponents are destroying you with them nearly every hand. I had been limping with lots of KXs, raising from the middle with mid-connectors and generally playing weak poker. And, as I was unable to lay any bad beats my results were subsequently poor. And so once again, I focused, screwed down and tried to get into a good routine. I do think about the game constantly when I'm winning, but nothing sharpens the mind more than losing a few thou in my humble experience. And, I'm pleased to report, the new play has so far been going rather well.....
I've been on holiday this week so had much more time to play, and so far I think I've made over 2.5k in about 8 hours, and on top of that I actually feel I've been playing very well. There have been a few situations where I was leaving money on the felt unnecessarily;either by chasing draws too aggressively, or getting trapped in a raising war with hands that were at best marginal to begin with. There were also a few occasions where I did not extract the maximum value from my monsters, but that has all been in the name of extreme caution and in fear of the gods Draw and Suckout.
The highlight of the week so far was a hand I was playing on VC against a guy who clearly has no understanding of implied odds but never-the-less enjoyed the fortune of Lady Luck on this particular occasion. The guy who put in the first raise was a very weak player who was tilting wildly and I was aiming to isolate. Enjoy....
Table Name
Hand ID Game Stakes
Police Academy 10474745-39429
Holdem No Limit $2/$4
[Aug 15 14:54:09] : Hand Start.
[Aug 15 14:54:09] : Seat 1 : dawsey has $333.25
[Aug 15 14:54:09] : Seat 2 : homer jayy has $249.39
[Aug 15 14:54:09] : Seat 3 : RX forPoker has $182
[Aug 15 14:54:09] : Seat 4 : Sub_Zero has $275
[Aug 15 14:54:09] : Seat 5 : amirmi99 has $225.72
[Aug 15 14:54:09] : Seat 6 : tailormerd has $296
[Aug 15 14:54:09] : amirmi99 is the dealer.
[Aug 15 14:54:10] : tailormerd posted small blind.
[Aug 15 14:54:10] : dawsey posted big blind.
[Aug 15 14:54:10] : Game [39429] started with 6 players.
[Aug 15 14:54:10] : Dealing Hole Cards.
[Aug 15 14:54:10] : Seat 4 : Sub_Zero has Kh Kd
[Aug 15 14:54:13] : homer jayy called $4 and raised $16
[Aug 15 14:54:13] : RX forPoker folded.
[Aug 15 14:54:22] : Sub_Zero called $20 and raised $40
[Aug 15 14:54:25] : tailormerd : i didnt play my habd well
[Aug 15 14:54:26] : amirmi99 called $60
[Aug 15 14:54:27] : tailormerd folded.
[Aug 15 14:54:27] : dawsey folded.
[Aug 15 14:54:29] : homer jayy folded.
[Aug 15 14:54:29] : Dealing flop.
[Aug 15 14:54:29] : Board cards [2s 5s 7c]
[Aug 15 14:54:38] : tailormerd : hand
[Aug 15 14:54:41] : Sub_Zero bet $100
[Aug 15 14:54:43] : amirmi99 called $100 and raised $65.72 and is All-in
[Aug 15 14:54:43] : Under-Raise rules are now in effect.
[Aug 15 14:54:45] : Sub_Zero called $65.72
[Aug 15 14:54:46] : Showdown!
[Aug 15 14:54:46] : Seat 4 : Sub_Zero has Kh Kd
[Aug 15 14:54:47] : Seat 4 : Sub_Zero has Kh Kd
[Aug 15 14:54:47] : Seat 5 : amirmi99 has 2d 2c
[Aug 15 14:54:53] : Board cards [2s 5s 7c Tc 3c]
[Aug 15 14:54:53] : Seat 5 : amirmi99 has 2d 2c
[Aug 15 14:54:53] : amirmi99 has 3 of a Kind: 2s
[Aug 15 14:54:53] : Seat 4 : Sub_Zero has Kh Kd
[Aug 15 14:54:53] : Sub_Zero has Pair: Kings
[Aug 15 14:54:53] : amirmi99 wins $474.44 with 3 of a Kind: 2s
[Aug 15 14:55:03] : Hand is over.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Worries in the Dance

This morning promised a beautiful example of an English summer day, and the sun on my face felt as good as the fresh air as I walked through Green Park on my way to work this morning. However, my thoughts were troubled somewhat by a brief conversation with my younger brother just last night. I hadn't spoken to him for a while and was asking him how he was doing at work, he told me it was fine then calmly asked me what was the name of site I used to play poker. Cue alarm bells.

I instantly told him that he shouldn't play and that it was an easy way to lose a lot of money quickly. He said that he didn't want to stop as he liked to play, and assured me he only put on £10 each week to play. I confirmed that I played on VC, and advised him if had to play then to do so with play chips which many sites allow. He told me he already played with VC, and helpfully informed me that the site was 'rigged'. Cue alarm bells, long and loud.

How on earth does one even start to respond to that comment? Despite being 24, my little brother has still lots of growing up to do, and is still a very emotionally unstable individual at the best of times, firmly believing that no-one can understand him or anything he's been through.... in short, the worst person possible to get into gambling. And his older brother? Working for a big company in the capital earning a decent wage, enjoying life and making no attempt to hide a serious devotion to NLHE poker where he seems to be winning lots of money. What sort of example did he think he was setting? Did he think that no-one would take any notice?

I think from now on I should clutch my little obsession much tighter to my chest, and not give anyone any ideas about getting into gambling. It's similar to smoking in front of children: you can tell them not do it 24-7, but if they know you are doing it they are going to want to try.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Distracted Thoughts

Was in a team meeting at work today and somehow found my mind distracted from RFID and Distribution Centre's onto matters more poker related....

After quite a few hours play over the weekend I had found myself in several multiway raised pots where I was first to act (usually with something like 55-JJ or AQs). Quite a few times the flop came out and left a pair on the board. Given that a paired board is far less likely to have helped your opponents, my thoughts on how to play this situation are as follows:

If you are first to act in a SH raised pot, you are more than likely to be in the blinds or under the gun, probably with a the aforementioned mid pair or big suited A (if you find yourself without either of these you're a far better player than I!). I will ignore the cases where you flop a monster and focus instead on the more likely event of you flopping nothing, leaving you with an underpair or more likely A high. Which means you're effectively going to have to bluff at this pot to win it. Here's how it could go against 2 opponents, B and C.

You (A) check the scary flop, and B bets. C hasn't got anything strong and fears A could be sandbagging so he folds in the squeeze, leaving you out of position (if you call) for the rest of the hand. No good.
You check, B checks, and C bets. Now you're in the squeeze so you fold, leaving you with negative pot equity. Also no good.
You bet first.

There are 2 bets you can make here: the probe bet (say 1/3 pot), or the aggressive bet (2/3+ pot). Now if you choose the probe route, you are more than likely going to face a raise from either B or C which doesn't sound attractive, so first we'll examine the other option.

By betting aggressively, there are 3 most likely events.

1) With the first in vigorish, players B and C both fold. Very nice, alas not the most likely.

2) B folds, and C raises or calls. You don't know where you stand, and the pressure is back to you either now or on the turn. Say the pot was 60 preflop and you are willing to fire at it twice. If you bet 40 on the flop and get called, you are going to have to bet a decent amount at a 140 pot on the turn, say another 80. This will cost you 120 in total to take down the pot if it succeeds.

3) B calls* or raises and C folds. Same situation as above ensues, where you now have to big bluff again on the turn with no more information (optimistic), or call a raise only to try an even more expensive bluff on the turn (downright foolish).

*If player B ever flat calls, regardless of what action C takes, (barring a miracle)YOU ARE DONE WITH THIS HAND. Player B has clearly shown he has no concerns about what C has by flat calling an aggressive bet.

While betting aggressively into 2 people gets maximum respect, chances are still good that you're doing it into a strong hand, whether or not it has connected with the board. Also, not many people bet out with the nuts, so expecting B and C to both fold will happen at best once every 5 times. Out of position, you'll find a call or a raise much more common, and as outlined above, things will quickly get expensive if you decide to continue.

I propose that a probe bet is more effective in this situation. First off, it looks suspicious. B and/or C are very likely to flat call this bet, so you can get at least a cheap turn if you have any sort of draw. If you bet say 20 into the 60 pot and there's a raise, here's what will most likely happen:

1a) B raises your 20 (to say 60), C will most likely fold under the squeeze and the action is back to you. Now, assuming we aren't playing tricky dicks either B has a good hand that he wants to define early on or has a good draw and wants a free card later. Action is back you.

2a) B folds or calls the probe and C raises to 60. Again, C most probably has a good hand or a strong draw and wants to find out where he's at. Action is back to you.

Now, you have put out a suspicious bet (20) and it's 40 more to call the raise. I advocate a reraise here. In both scenarios, thanks to the squeeze you're effectively against a single player, and a min-raise to 100 along with the action so far will cause him to abandon anything but the strongest of hands, so if he does call, once again YOU ARE DONE WITH THE HAND. This gives a net expenditure of 100 to win a 120-140 pot, and given the scary looking board and your suspicious opening bet into 2 opponents, should work easily often enough to make this a valid weapon in your poker arsenal.

Maybe it worked. Maybe I got lucky. Either way, I'm about $500 up for the day and feeling a lot more confident. Hopefully this turn of form will continue into the week, but I always find the week day games much tougher than those on the weekends. Who knows, maybe I'm just getting better with experience! Either way, will be starting DoubleAs book Pressure Poker this week and thinking more about improving my game, gotta get the bank roll swollen in time for the trip to Vegas in October...

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Another not very good poker session, and I'm not too hapy about it. Since the result of an allin win or loss on a 2-4 table means a swing of $800 in either direction, I guess playing 3 tables at once where this can happen means a session loss of $600 isn't so bad, however....
After losing my stack to the nut full house after flopping a set with 22, and getting involved in (and mostly losing) several pots after limping or raising the button with fairly weak hands (suited and/or semi-connected), I've decided I've been playing far too loosely to be economically effective. Even beating AA with 68 off for $450 is no compensation for the overall loss I've experienced over the last week or so. And, while my play is beautifully random and no-one can guess if I'm re-raising from the cutoff with 45 off or AA, more often than not I'm finding myself in big pots without a big hand, and that (as all Sklansky devotees well know) is a fundamental error.
So, starting in about 60 seconds, I'm going to tighten up and only mix up my hands about 10% rather than the 40% that I've been doing recently. Wish me luck, and I'lll let you know how I get on....

ps Here's a hand history which I think I played perfectly, but lost my stack. Comments welcome.
[Aug 5 15:45:55] : Seat 1 : D1no has $332.12
[Aug 5 15:45:55] : Seat 3 : Sub_Zero has $823.25
[Aug 5 15:45:55] : Sub_Zero is the dealer.
[Aug 5 15:45:56] : peebo posted small blind.
[Aug 5 15:45:56] : D1no posted big blind.
[Aug 5 15:45:56] : Seat 3 : Sub_Zero has Qs Qh
[Aug 5 15:45:58] : RugMunch folded.
[Aug 5 15:46:03] : Sub_Zero called $4 and raised $8
[Aug 5 15:46:10] : peebo folded.
[Aug 5 15:46:11] : D1no called $8
[Aug 5 15:46:11] : Dealing flop.
[Aug 5 15:46:11] : Board cards [2s 3d Jc]
[Aug 5 15:46:14] : D1no checked.
[Aug 5 15:46:16] : Sub_Zero bet $16
[Aug 5 15:46:17] : D1no called $16
[Aug 5 15:46:17] : Dealing turn.
[Aug 5 15:46:17] : Board cards [2s 3d Jc Tc]
[Aug 5 15:46:20] : D1no checked.
[Aug 5 15:46:23] : Sub_Zero bet $40
[Aug 5 15:46:24] : D1no called $40
[Aug 5 15:46:24] : Dealing river.
[Aug 5 15:46:24] : Board cards [2s 3d Jc Tc Qd]
[Aug 5 15:46:28] : D1no bet $264.12 and is All-in
[Aug 5 15:46:29] : Sub_Zero called $264.12
[Aug 5 15:46:30] : Showdown!
[Aug 5 15:46:30] : Seat 3 : Sub_Zero has Qs Qh
[Aug 5 15:46:32] : Seat 1 : D1no has Ac Kh
[Aug 5 15:46:32] : D1no has Straight AKQJT
[Aug 5 15:46:32] : D1no wins $664.24 with Straight AKQJT
[Aug 5 15:46:42] : Hand is over.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Had a bad night poker-wise last night. Left work after staying behind an extra 2 hours, so was mentally exhausted when I sat down an opened a new 2-4 table. I bought in for the full 400 as always, and someone sat down with another 400 for some hu action. We played back and forth for a few hands and were even when I got dealt AJ in the SB. Now, I had just picked up the phone and was mind conversation with my girlfriend so my full attention was not on the table but this did not immediately affect my play. After he completed, I limped, hoping of course to see an A and then make a little from my aggressive opponent. The flop came AA6 rainbow, and I quickly bet out 2/3 pot hoping it would look like like my typical steal, and thereby eliminate any thought I might actually have an A. My opponent quickly called, which was perfect. At this point I put him on some high cards, maybe a 6 or maybe even a mid pair. The turn was an 8, and I checked, hoping to induce a bluff. He bets pot, and I min raise, hoping to build the pot for the river but not minding if I take it down now. He calls.
Now at this point I should have been getting suspicious, but I couldn't statistically warrant him with an A (strong or otherwise), or having flopped (or turned) a full house. However he definitely thought he had a real hand, and it was only because I'd hidden my strong A so well that he was still in the pot, which was now about $100. And, as mentioned, I was on the phone. >:-/
Anyway the river was a K. I check, he bets 50, I take it to 100, he goes allin for about 250 more, and I call.
He takes the pot, but he did not flop OR turn the full house. And as suspected he didn't have an A. That's right, I got suckered by a miracle river for a beautifully hidden KK. I still haven't figured out whether I played it badly or the result was bad only because of the way I played it. Comments welcome on that one!
A few points worth mentioning are: don't play when you can't give a game your full attention. An obvious point, but still one worth making. And being tired or emotionally drained (as conversations with partners can often be!) will only exacerbate the situation, so don't do it!!! The allin told me I was losing, and I ignored it. Yes he got pretty lucky (that's my phrase for 2 out's on the river) but that doesn't matter a bit when it means you lose everything when he hits.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


Was going to start this by saying hello, but who knows if this will ever be any more than a mere diary? If anyone does read it, this will be a chance to learn my thoughts on current topical issues such as 'the 9-5 Grind' (and it's inherent futility), 'how to make easy money by gambling' (strongly linked to the preceding issue) and 'how people can ignore offensive personal BO' (generally with reference to commuting for the aforementioned Grind).

As I currently work in IT I should be able to post my thoughts fairly regularly, and respond to any feedback I might receive. Hopefully this project will prove interesting enough to warrant my sustained attention and prove a welcome distraction for anyone who comes across it....

I'd like to mention my favourite maxim is Carpe Diem as I believe life is far too short (and opportunity too fickle a mistress) to do anything other than grab every chance you get as fast as humanly possible! For me this means I no longer have to live with those horrible thoughts of 'what if?' and that is a huge consolation in my occasional periods of doubt. To continue in this Latin vein, I'd just like to add to anyone reading this: Luceat lux Vestra.