Thursday, October 26, 2006

Falling off the swings

It was nearly 12 last night when I stretched out in my chair and left the poker tables. It was a very memorable night, and for the first time I truly appreciated the power of variance. I had just experienced what was easily my most unlucky session ever: I had just been bad beaten out of 2.5 thousand dollars in the space of 4 hours. The 'lucky' part of the evening(and you really have to want to see it) was that a] it wasn't 5 thousand, and b] I was able to win a thousand back.

I made only a few mistakes for the session, but I was unable to get ahead enough to do any serious damage to any of my opponents and their grossly (not to mention unfairly) inflated stacks. Just checking on a poker calculator and I found that I put the majority of my stack in while I was ahead as an 85, 90, 90.5 and a 91 percent favourite, and yet for each instance the statistical expectation would simply not hold steady.

Although not the worst beat I suffered in terms of probability, the following was the one that stung the most. I'm glad that I can say I didn't tilt, and was able to keep playing against players who were clearly weak, and I can only hope that next time I will not be quite so unfortunate. That's all folks, hope you enjoy better fortune than I..... and I hope you enjoy the following hand! :-)

***** Hand History for Game 5394361782 *****

$400 NL Texas Hold'em - Wednesday, October 25, 16:24:33 ET 2006

Table Table 106050 (Real Money)

Seat 6 is the button

Total number of players : 5

Seat 3: fekunayre ( $537.20 )

Seat 5: m_zeal ( $612.90 )

Seat 6: Finansen99 ( $1528.21 )

Seat 4: Sub__Zer0 ( $404.10 )

Seat 2: bicko2 ( $396 )

bicko2 posts small blind [$2].

fekunayre posts big blind [$4].

** Dealing down cards **

Dealt to Sub__Zer0 [ 7d 7s ]

Sub__Zer0 calls [$4].

m_zeal folds.

Finansen99 raises [$22].

>You have options at Table 105609 (No DP) Table!.

>You have options at Table 105609 (No DP) Table!.

bicko2 folds.

fekunayre folds.

Sub__Zer0 calls [$18].

** Dealing Flop ** [ Th, 7h, Js ]

Sub__Zer0 bets [$30].

Finansen99 raises [$90].

>You have options at Table 105609 (No DP) Table!.

>You have options at Table 109593 (No DP) Table!.

>You have options at Table 105609 (No DP) Table!.

Sub__Zer0 raises [$170].

Finansen99 calls [$110].

** Dealing Turn ** [ 3h ]

>You have options at Table 109593 (No DP) Table!.

Sub__Zer0 is all-In [$182.10]

Finansen99 calls [$182.10].

** Dealing River ** [ Qs ]

Sub__Zer0 shows [ 7d, 7s ] three of a kind, sevens.

Finansen99 shows [ Ad, Kd ] a straight, ten to ace.

Finansen99 wins $812.20 from the main pot with a straight, ten to ace.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Breaking Vegas....?

What a week. There is nothing like spending a week doing everything to excess, and there is only 1 city in the world where excess is abundantly available 24 hours of every single day.... Las Vegas. I was able to drink, eat, stay awake and gamble far more than is sensible or even healthy, and I managed to do so without doing myself any permanent damage for almost an entire week. That said, the trip did get off to a dangerous start....

While accommodation arrangements were still in their infancy, it was discovered that a lot of money could be saved by booking a room from Sunday afternoon onwards instead of from Saturday. Now, we were due to arrive at LV International at about midday on the Saturday, and I suggested that it might be possible for us to simply stay up all Sat night and then hit the hotel (and the sack) the following day. Furthermore, I posited that as we could both sleep during the 10 hour plane trip on the way over, it wouldn't even really be a struggle to stay awake. It followed logically that if we truly wanted to ensure a good sleep on the plane, we should forego sleep on the preceding night. So, in accordance with our foolproof plan, after getting home on Friday night after work, I stayed awake until we left for the airport at 7am. I didn't drift off on the underground, nor did I nap while catching the Gatwick Express. Unfortunately though, my dedication was not to be rewardedl: I couldn't sleep on the plane. Not a bit. I'd been awake for over 24 hours and my eyes just couldn't close. And so I found myself looking over the Strip in gorgeous midday sun not only having been awake for over 34 hours, but painfully conscious that there was no hotel room booked for us until another 28 hours had passed. The challenge was on....

After getting to the Mirage and dumping our bags, we grabbed a delicious super-size meal somewhere in a shopping court before heading for the MGM Grand to get the poker party started. I was soon sat at a 1-2 NL game, which would be the only game played during our visit. It didn't start well. I'd put in a sizeable raise with a big Ace or high pair, I was getting called by an opponent as long as they had suited cards. On the flop I'd have TPTK or a set, and be up against a weak 4-flush, and yet 2 pot size bets would not push them off until they hit on the river, time and again. That or I would have my big A called by A7s or A8, and guess the top card on the flop? The 7/8 of course! The only sound more regular than the riffle of chips was that of a bewildered Englishman croaking 'Rebuy!'. My favourite hand of the night was putting in a big preflop re-raise from the button with KK, and being called by KT in the BB. The flop came JQK, and a pot size bet by me elicited a call. An A came on the turn to provide my opponent with the straight and I was raised all in for about $50 more, forcing me to call, and I failed to fill up. To my opponents credit, she looked very sheepish turning over her hand, but she still scooped the pot with no difficulty. I eventually doubled up after hitting a set of 9s on a 954 rainbow flop, after talking a guy into believing I had 54s, which ironically was exactly what he had when he called my allin! Managed to win a few kicker wars and left the table after a rollercoaster 6 hours about $150 up.
Had drunk a few redbulls earlier in the evening, but was still not feeling 100% as Honest and I got a taxi back to the Mirage. I was seized by an uncontrollable fit of shivering when I sat down at the first available 1-2 table, and proceeded to win several pots uncontested, as all my opponents thought I was at least mildly deranged! I witnessed a beautiful (and successful) $100 bluff for a $300 pot from a Danish player with a busted flush draw, and then 10:30 am finally arrived and I was able to withdraw from the table with excuses of having had no sleep for 60 hours and requiring food in the most urgent of fashions.... We found ourselves in the buffet, too strung out to avail ourselves fully of either the bounteous food or drink that was available, but we ate and drank all that our shrunken stomachs could handle before retiring to our room, where an early checkin and an extra toothbrush had been especially requested!

The rest of the week passsed in similar fashion, with the following highlights: I raised with AJs preflop, was called by both the SB and BB, and an AhQs5h flop came. I bet $25 into the $30 pot after it had been checked to me and the SB folded, whereupon the BB went allin for $125 more. I was left with a tough decision with my TP'J'K. I thought about it, decided 2 pair or a set was unlikely given the allin and called, figuring my opponent was on a draw and wanted me to fold. My read was bang-on and I found myself up against KQ of hearts. The turn gave a K, and the river a blank so I found myself stacked after a good read and a tough call, alas, such is poker. Again came the pained cry of 'Rebuy'....
My other good call for the week was raising $11 with AK and being min raised from the button. The BB and I call and the flop comes KJT. I bet $30, and the button goes allin for $100 more, the BB folding hurriedly. I think for ages, and finally figure this allin is not the move of someone who has the nuts. I call, and the button flips AK, so I happily split the pot. I thought it was a great call given the circumstances, but I was rewarded with no more than a split pot. Still, when I could have lost another buyin....
I got into a great situation in the Mirage when I hit top pair and a nut flush draw with As6s on a Ah Ks 8s flop. I was up against a very aggressive opponent and ended up stacking the poor guy when he decided to push with A5 after the turn gave me a lovely 6c. My hand held up for once, but unfortunately the very next hand proved to be less fortunate. I looked down to find pocket Kings, and promptly raised it to 16. I was re-raised to 40 by the same person I had just stacked (he had just re-bought for 200), so I took it up to 150, knowing he was tilting and had at best A high. He raised allin and I called gladly. The flop came down J ....J ....5, and then the turn brought the dreaded A and my heart skipped as I realised the pot was lost. The final card was an 8 or similar, and I found myself desperately praying for QQ, that only plausible hand I could beat. Instead, he flipped AQ; a terrible hand, taken too far but still rewarded, however unjustly....

Had a lovely moment in the Mirage when I bet pot into a 2 5 K raised pot with 66 from the button. I got a call from the UTG player, and the turn brought a beautiful 6. UTG bet 50, I min-raised with my miraculous set, and UTG went allin. I briefly feared 34, but then discounted it given the preflop action. I must admit I did enjoy them flipping 65 after I called, leaving them with no outs no draw!

The easiest win for the whole trip however happened in the Venetian. There was an action player at the table, blind straddling and raising blind. He seemed to know how to play, but may have been under the influence somewhat (it's hard to tell in Vegas!). The player to his right straddled, and he announced he was going allin blind. He had a full stack of$200. The blinds came to $7. I looked down to find JJ winking up at me. I have never taken so long on a decision, or felt so horribly worried! My concern was chiefly that someone in the remaining 7 players still to act had a monster, but I bit the bullet and called. Mr Allin-Blind actually had a hand: 44! I couldn't watch the flop, but I was not robbed. That was my profit for that night, so thankyou again sir...

Lots of other action aside, I thought I played well but never quite got the cards I needed. JJ ended up against AA with no preflop rr. Then I had AJ against an aggressive opponent with QQ on a J high flop. Didn't lose too much on that one, but still should have known I was losing when he didn't fold to my pf re-raise. Live and learn I guess.

The only other hand worth mention was me completing from the SB on with Ks6s on our penultimate day. The flop came As3s4h. I checked with the nut flush draw and the BB bet $10. I raised to $20 with my nut draw after everyone else had folded, hoping for a free turn card after a hesitant call. Instead the BB went allin for 180 more. Instinctively, I put him on the nuts, namely 52 for the wheel. I knew I was miles behind, and that I had only 35% chance on winning; far less odds than I was being offered by the pot. It was then that I realised I had yet to really gamble in Vegas, yet to take a shot with the worst of it. And so, to the disbelief of my housemate, I called the allin with nothing other than a flush draw (and an incredibly unlikely backdoor straight draw). Amazingly, and contrary to all I had witnessed in Vegas, my draw didn't hit, and yet nevertheless I was happy. I had gone to Vegas, and I could honestly say I'd gambled. No matter that I'd lost all respect from my mentor and contemporary Honest, or been labelled as a complete Fish by the table, I was happy with my terrible decision. I had taken a shot, and I had enjoyed it!

I came away with the bankroll $600 shorter, but that included all my spending and rent of the Mirage hotel room (which was $400 pp for an ensuite room with poker rate), plus about 60 hours of poker, so I don't think I did too badly overall. I thought my play was very good most days (I can discount K6s from that of course!), but I suffered quite a few bad beats early on and just didn't seem to catch enough good hands to compensate. This was not the case for my housemate Honest however, who as always played some exemplary poker and managed to get into several great situations with monster hands against loose and terrible opponents. Check out his blog to hear more about these.... but to keep things in perspective, when I got home on Sunday I played just over 2 hours and made $1000 on the 2-4 tables at PP, paying for the hol in one fell swoop. So I really have no complaints at all....

Saturday, October 07, 2006


It's time to round em up..... I'm off to Vegas. It's 630am for the record, and I've spent the last 2 hours playing poker and have succeeded in getting the bankroll back over 15k. I've been playing well all week and although I still feel I've been receiving more than the expected number of suck outs, I haven't been crippled by them. I was playing some 3-6 and lost a buy-in with AA when someone caught their OESD on the turn (after calling a 4/5th pot bet) , but even that was not enough to keep me down.

I recognise that I'm still overplaying a few hands, but I think my game is improving quite fast and I'm getting a very good feel for reading weakness and strength from bet sizes, bet speed and the texture of the board. I hope that these skills will continue to develop while I'm playing in the flesh, but you'll just have to wait for my post trip update to find out for sure....

Having had only 1 hours sleep in the last 24, I'll leave you now as I need to shower before the journey, but I wish you all luck in all of your endeavours, and I look forward to reporting on an amazing holiday in just 7 days time.

May all your pots be huge....

Table NameHand IDGameStakes
Pigs10475177-48605Holdem No Limit$2/$4
[Oct 5 19:15:45] : Hand Start.
[Oct 5 19:15:45] : Seat 1 : Purdie11 has $279.42
[Oct 5 19:15:45] : Seat 2 : mandic96 has $25.12
[Oct 5 19:15:45] : Seat 3 : Corgan1967 has $219.78
[Oct 5 19:15:45] : Seat 4 : Sub_Zero has $582.25
[Oct 5 19:15:45] : Seat 5 : Chipstop has $77.50
[Oct 5 19:15:45] : Seat 6 : HallieD has $289.25
[Oct 5 19:15:45] : Corgan1967 is the dealer.
[Oct 5 19:15:46] : Sub_Zero posted small blind.
[Oct 5 19:15:47] : Chipstop posted big blind.
[Oct 5 19:15:47] : Game [48605] started with 6 players.
[Oct 5 19:15:47] : Dealing Hole Cards.
[Oct 5 19:15:47] : Seat 4 : Sub_Zero has Ad Ac
[Oct 5 19:15:52] : HallieD folded.
[Oct 5 19:15:55] : Purdie11 folded.
[Oct 5 19:15:57] : mandic96 called $4
[Oct 5 19:16:00] : Corgan1967 folded.
[Oct 5 19:16:10] : Sub_Zero called $2 and raised $15
[Oct 5 19:16:12] : Chipstop folded.
[Oct 5 19:16:15] : mandic96 called $15 and raised $6.12 and is All-in
[Oct 5 19:16:15] : Under-Raise rules are now in effect.
[Oct 5 19:16:17] : Sub_Zero called $6.12
[Oct 5 19:16:17] : Showdown!
[Oct 5 19:16:17] : Seat 4 : Sub_Zero has Ad Ac
[Oct 5 19:16:19] : Seat 2 : mandic96 has Jd Qs
[Oct 5 19:16:19] : Seat 4 : Sub_Zero has Ad Ac
[Oct 5 19:16:28] : Board cards [As 5s 3c Th Ks]
[Oct 5 19:16:28] : Seat 2 : mandic96 has Jd Qs
[Oct 5 19:16:28] : mandic96 has Straight AKQJT
[Oct 5 19:16:28] : Seat 4 : Sub_Zero has Ad Ac
[Oct 5 19:16:28] : Sub_Zero has 3 of a Kind: Aces
[Oct 5 19:16:28] : mandic96 wins $51.74 with Straight AKQJT