Thursday, September 28, 2006

Finding Your Cave Animal

I won't lie to you, I have no achievements to boast of over the last 10 days. My average has halved, I've dropped nearly 2k, and the worst part is I've been trying to play well! Am desperately hoping that I've just been getting unlucky, but I surely can't blame mere luck for having 4 losing sessions in a row! Is it lucky to be dealt AA or KK nearly every 2 orbits? Definitely! Then why complain? No reason really, except for every monster overpair I've been dealt, it seems I've been getting crippled by a flopped set or a river that pairs the top flop card. Honestly.
OK, so I'm not making money from my alleged 'monsters', so what about all the other good hands that take down decent pots? I raise with them, miss the flop, and then have my continuation bet hurled in my face again and again. Or I hit the flop, bet it strong, get called, and then an over/scare -card lands and suddenly I'm either facing an allin or a pot-committing check raise. The worst luck I had was flopping a set of 9s, getting my opponent with AA allin on the turn when a K fell, and then kissing that massive pot goodbye for a 2-outer on the river. Was seriously feeling like the poker gods AND the players were all out to get me. Even when I made a great read, I would have it thrown in my face (see HH below).
A few points for me to remember:
Playing less than $2-$4? Don't bluff anything other than the flop. Wait for second pair before taking them allin!
Don't go re-raise or push allin with a K high flush. The one time you get stacked isn't worth it.
Maintain aggression, even when people play back. If you bet then check out of position you're wide open to bluff bets which you will be forced to fold to. Smaller continuation bets on the turn can win the pot or simply stop your opponent from bluffing, which more than makes up for the financial outlay.
Keep reading. I'm not sure there is any correlation to me getting engrossed in a riveting work of fiction for more than 2 weeks, but my game suddenly slipped during that period. Why take the chance?
1 more week til Vegas and I'm nervous but raring to go. I'm going on holiday, and I'm going to play a lot of poker too. I don't think there's any way I can possibly not have an absolutely amazing time. And if there is, I'll take that gamble......

Table NameHand IDGameStakes
Dumb and Dumber10474841-68724Holdem No Limit $2/$4
[Sep 23 16:58:55] : Hand Start.
[Sep 23 16:58:55] : Seat 1 : Bluffenuf1 has $440.64
[Sep 23 16:58:55] : Seat 2 : Denrod has $141
[Sep 23 16:58:55] : Seat 3 : dawsey has $194
[Sep 23 16:58:55] : Seat 4 : Los Flo has $79.75
[Sep 23 16:58:55] : Seat 5 : Sub_Zero has $296
[Sep 23 16:58:55] : Seat 6 : TheFizz has $300
[Sep 23 16:58:55] : Los Flo is the dealer.
[Sep 23 16:58:55] : Sub_Zero posted small blind.
[Sep 23 16:58:56] : TheFizz posted big blind.
[Sep 23 16:58:56] : Game [68724] started with 6 players.
[Sep 23 16:58:56] : Dealing Hole Cards.
[Sep 23 16:58:56] : Seat 5 : Sub_Zero has 3h 3c
[Sep 23 16:58:58] : Bluffenuf1 folded.
[Sep 23 16:59:01] : Denrod folded.
[Sep 23 16:59:01] : dawsey folded.
[Sep 23 16:59:07] : Los Flo called $4 and raised $4
[Sep 23 16:59:08] : Sub_Zero called $6
[Sep 23 16:59:10] : TheFizz folded.
[Sep 23 16:59:11] : Dealing flop.
[Sep 23 16:59:11] : Board cards [2c 5s 4c]
[Sep 23 16:59:14] : Sub_Zero checked.
[Sep 23 16:59:19] : Los Flo bet $10
[Sep 23 16:59:21] : Sub_Zero called $10 and raised $15
[Sep 23 16:59:25] : Los Flo called $15
[Sep 23 16:59:25] : Dealing turn.
[Sep 23 16:59:25] : Board cards [2c 5s 4c 8d]
[Sep 23 16:59:29] : Sub_Zero bet $30
[Sep 23 16:59:33] : Los Flo called $30 and raised $16.75 and is All-in
[Sep 23 16:59:33] : Under-Raise rules are now in effect.
[Sep 23 16:59:34] : Sub_Zero called $16.75
[Sep 23 16:59:34] : Showdown!
[Sep 23 16:59:34] : Seat 5 : Sub_Zero has 3h 3c
[Sep 23 16:59:36] : Seat 4 : Los Flo has Ac Jd
[Sep 23 16:59:36] : Seat 5 : Sub_Zero has 3h 3c
[Sep 23 16:59:41] : Board cards [2c 5s 4c 8d Jc]
[Sep 23 16:59:41] : Seat 4 : Los Flo has Ac Jd
[Sep 23 16:59:41] : Los Flo has Pair: Jacks
[Sep 23 16:59:41] : Seat 5 : Sub_Zero has 3h 3c
[Sep 23 16:59:41] : Sub_Zero has Pair: 3s
[Sep 23 16:59:41] : Los Flo wins $160.50 with Pair: Jacks
[Sep 23 16:59:52] : Hand is over.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Minimizing Mistakes

I know how to get value from strong hands. I know how to raise to cut the field. I know how to bet to make people think I'm holding the nuts. What I'm still learning, however, is how not to pay people off when they hit their draws. It'll be an obvious draw, and I'll have said to myself right there on the flop They're on a draw but I'll go ahead and put my money in when they hit it, either to represent what only they could have or maybe just to punish myself for not being effective at pushing them off it. It could even be denial, like thinking Surely that big raise on the river is a steal bluff! when I've just read their hand perfectly, know it's far stronger than mine, and I go ahead and call anyway. I've really got to stop it, as it's the biggest and definitely most expensive leak in my game. I think it's going to be a goal to precede all others, before getting to 20k, before making $50ph, before thinking about ending my job. Because if I'm still making mistakes this big, well then I'm just like the vast majority of the poker planet, and that is something I never want to hold true.
Step 1: Don't put money in when the flush card falls on the river.
I have KK orr AA. I raise, and get a caller. The flop comes with 2 of a suit and no overcards. Bet from me, call from them. Turn is a blank. Bet from me, call from them. River is the 3rd card of that suit. Here comes the genius bit: I bet -to represent that same flush! In doing so I make myself pot-committed, so when they push I throw away the rest of my money because of pot odds. And there they were, wondering how they were going to get value from that miracle river card. No more. Scare cards will be checked, and value bets paid off by discretion. We'll save the tricky stuff for the 10-25s.
Step 2: Don't get fall in love with overpairs.
I have KK or AA. I raise, and get a caller. They check the flop, which has no overcards. I bet, they call. Flop brings a blank. I bet big, putting them on a draw, and they reraise, minimum or a just little more. I of course call, knowing I'll be ok provided that river draw card doesn't show. It doesn't, but the big bet on the river is still made by them, and of course if I call I should really throw in the extra 50 or 100 into the already massive pot, and so I do. And there is the set of 2's or maybe 3's, no matter that I raised or reraised so much they should never have called in the first place. Once again, I pledge no more. I will think long and hard before calling a check-call check-raise with a mere overpair, and remember the biggest pots that are lost are with big pocket pairs that are UNIMPROVED.

My current average is at $40ph, and in just 120 hours I'll have hit 20k. And only 3 weeks til I'll be in Vegas. How does that make me feel? Well, to borrow a phrase a friendly local shared the last time I visited the gambling capital of the world:
"Get hard player!!!!"

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

On track

I took a holiday. I read some books. I broke up with my girlfriend. All in the space of a single seven day week, and man was I tired by the end of it. The holiday I took was with my now ex-girlfriend and a group of mates, and the too frequent arguments we had while away were indeed a catalyst for the recent split. It was a year last monday, and I'd even bought her a big bouquet of roses to mark the occasion. Just goes to show some things can't be fixed with flowers. On the plus side, I guess my evenings and weekends are suddenly a lot more empty, but the jury is still out on whether this is to prove positive or problematic!
So how did I take my thoughts off that painful decision? I joined PartyPoker of course! My housemate Honest recently started playing there and told me it was a decent site with plenty of terrible players. So, after growing sufficiently weary of the delays and disconnects of VC Poker, I downloaded the software for PP and deposited the $500 maximum. I had to receive a phone call from their support team before my deposit was approved, but by the end of the day I was ready to roll.
I started off perhaps unwisely by sitting down on a 2-4 table with the full buyin of 400. Within 30 mins I was down to 250 and having doubts over the level of play, but it was actually me just playing my usual aggressive game and not hitting as often as I would have expected. Managed to get most if back however, and quit just 30 down. I decided my next session would be on the 1-2s.
Unfortunately, my first session on the 1-2s started off exactly the same way; I opened 2 tables and within 30 minutes I was down 150 and having doubts, but then I got in the groove and after doubling up on one table found my PP bankroll at 600. The next day I started again and made 300 in an hour. I stopped, had a sandwich then made 100 more in 30 minutes before finishing for the night.
I made my latest entries into my spreadsheet and smiled. With just under 14.5k and a new average of $38ph, my 20k target was now just under 150 hours away. Things are starting to look good, and I'm almost ready for the PP 2-4s. I love it when a plan comes together...