Poker Through the Eyes of an Amateur

December 30, 2005

DoubleAs On Applying Pressure

I would like to thank Jordan for pointing me in the direction of DoubleAs' Blog. I was looking at some of the most popular posts when I found two that really resonated with me as an intermediate player. Check out parts one and two on applying pressure during a hand.

This is most definitely the aspect of poker I struggle with the most. If you've played with me, you've probably noticed that I'm a pretty tight player. Just ask Scott. I'll make a move every once in a while, and I'll apply pressure when I know I have a good hand. However, applying pressure with marginal cards or nothing at all has been difficult for me. While reading these posts, I played some NL cash games at the $.10/$.25 level, following the advice as I read it. I came out up over $24, which is a good bit at those blind levels. If you consider yourself an intermediate player or have trouble applying pressure, do yourself a favor and check out these articles. It'll definitely boost your game.

WWdN Thursday: Poker and JOPKES

Well, if there was ever a game I should have blogged, it was this one. Of course, it probably would have been seven pages long, seeing as how I ended up coming in second place! Sixty-one people in total registered for this tournament, and I managed to overcome all of them but one, winning $122 in the process. Boy did my bankroll need it! Congratulations to ZeemJr for beating me out. I never would have put him on an ace in that last hand. Well done. It's about time I placed in the money in one of these things! I shouldn't have gotten as far at the final table as I did, though. I went all in with 99 against Darzog's AA. 889 came on the flop, and I ended up taking him out. For once, I sucked out. He took it well, though, and he'll probably get me back at some point in the future.

I look forward to playing with everyone again next week. I can't think of a better way to spend an evening on the computer than poker with the WWdN gang.

December 28, 2005

Inaugural Donkeys Always Draw Invitational

Well, I didn't finish in the money, but it was the closest I've ever come in a blogger tourney. And if anyone was a donkey in this tournament, it was me. At the beginning at least. Read on for one rollercoaster of a ride to the final 20. I end up getting knocked out in 16th, seven places shy of the money.

9:00 Cards are live for the inaugural Donkeys Always Draw Invitational! We have 62 entries and $620 in the prize pool. Final table pays out. I see a lot of familiar faces on the entry list, and Slimeface and change100 are at my table. Let's rock!

9:01 I picked up A9o in early position for my first hand. I decided to fold to see how the table played. Sure enough, Slimeface picked up two pair with his AQ.

9:08 QJo in middle position. I 3x raise, and the BB calls. Three clubs come on the flop, and my Q is a club. BB checks, and I bet 90. He folds.

9:12 Got knocked down to 50 when I called JoeSpeaker's allin. I had a pair with a flush and straight draw. He had KK. I didn't improve.

9:14 Tripled up to 150 when my 34d caught a pair of 4s.

9:16 I tripled up again when my Ts held against change100's AK.

9:19 I TRIPLED UP AGAIN!! My QQ held up against jwendl's AK. This is an insane comeback. I hope I can keep it up. Currently sitting with 945.

9:22 I just knocked out jwendl when my JJ caught a set on the flop. I'm now up to 1770!

9:24 ScottMcMilla just got moved to my table. I have position on him though and a slight chip lead.

9:26 I raised with KJo in mid position. Slimeface called. Flop came T high, and I bet into it. Slimeface folded.

9:30 Scott just hit quad 5s to knock out ri0tact.

9:38 Just chopped a pot with HighOnPokr when our 6s both paired with the Qs and A on the board.

9:39 Slimeface just dropped to 5 when his JT fell to JoeSpeaker's two pair of 9s and Ts.

9:41 Slimeface tripled up when he hit a gutshot straight with his 3.

9:42 Slimeface just got knocked out when Scott's AJ beat his K9. I just got moved to a table with TripJax, Lady_Falcon, badblood44, and penner42. Holy crap.

9:44 Just did something stupid and donked off a bunch of chips with 9T. Ugh. Down to 840 and short stack at the table.

9:50 thebeerroom just knocked out Lady_Falcon and another player when all three went all in preflop. thebeerroom caught a straight with his 910. Taking out a set of Qs and a set of 7s. I got moved to a new table. Scott, TripJax, and S.t.B are here.

9:51 Doubled up when my 9Tc hit a flush on the turn. Had to go all in preflop, and I'm glad I caught. I was dominated by S.t.B's AT. I'm still in this thing!

9:54 Bought the blinds with AJ.

9:55 Bought the blinds with a min raise in first position with AK. Interesting...

9:59 Holy crap. I just flopped quad 5s against BigSlickNut and knocked him out. My (lifetime) third set of quads!

10:00 Ok we're at the first break. I'm sitting nicely now with 2705 and 17th place. There are currently 32 people left in the game. Will this be my lucky night to finally cash in a blogger tourney? Stay tuned!

10:07 GameC just dropped the hammer and a set of 7s, but mowenumdown trumped it when his KK hit a full house!

10:09 GameC just went out when his K6 ran into mowenumdown's KK...again.

10:15 I hit JJ in the hole, but flop came with AK against penner42. I decided to bet into it, even though he raised preflop. He folded. Must have caught him on the steal.

10:21 Bought the blinds with A4h. I'm pretty sure I've cemented myself as a tight player at the table now. Maybe time to make some moves.

10:24 Had to fold my hammer when S.t.B moved all in pre-flop :-(

10:27 Called the big blind with Ts in the hole. Flop came 622. TripJax bet out, and I came over the top. He folded.

10:30 GCox25 just busted out S.t.B when his AQ beat out KJ. We're down to 23 people.

10:31 Bought the blinds on the button with T7o.

10:34 I had A10 on the button. Flop came 399. Scott tried to make a move on me, and I came over the top. He folded. He says he had presto, but I don't believe him. I'm up to 4005 in chips.

10:36 Antes are in the game now. Stealing now is even more important.

10:42 We're down to 21 people. 12 more people go out, and I hit the money! Here's hoping...

10:46 Just doubled up against penner42 with 44

10:49 Had AK in late position and called a raise. Flop came all diamonds, and guy bets out hard. I had the K of diamonds, but I didn't want to risk him having the A or me not making my hand.

10:51 penneriii just got knocked out by change100's set of Qs. We're down to 16.

10:52 Well I just busted out with KTd to Scott's A10s. Neither of us caught anything, but he had the A. So close to hitting the money too. I'm out in 16th.

Looking back on the game, I don't think I played as bad as I thought I was playing during the actual tournament. I really only had the two suckouts: one with the 34d and the other when I caught my flush with the 9Tc. Other than that, I think I was playing rather well. I also managed to get my chips in when it counted most of the time. At least I keep improving. Hopefully I'll be hitting a final table in one of these blogger tourneys soon!

December 27, 2005

WWdN: Obie34 Invitational

7:00 Cards are in the air. We have 60 people registered for a prize pool of $600. Penner42, change100, and Frankl66 are at my table. Let's rock!

7:01 Bought the blinds with AQo.

7:06 Called the blind with J10. Flop came AAQ. No thanks.

7:15 8/10 in the SB. Caught a ten on the flop and everyone folded to my massive bet of 90! Fear me.

7:18 AQo and I raise to 100. Penner42 reraises me to 200. I call. Flop comes 7 8 Q. Penner bets out 150. I raise to 450, and he folds.

7:23 KQo and I raise to 90. There's two callers. K comes on the flop and I bet 200. The other two fold.

7:32 Q5o in the BB. It calls around to me and I check. Q comes on the flop, but there's two spades, so I check. penner42 bets 100, one other calls, and I call. One folds. 5s comes on the turn, and I decide to represent the flush with my two pair. I bet hard into penner42, who folds. The last player calls. River is a blank, and I bet hard again. The other guys thinks for a few seconds and then folds. My two pair was probably legit anyway.

7:38 A4o in SB. I call the BB. Flop doesn't help me, so I check, and so does BB. Turn is a 3. I bet into Zeem, and he folds.

7:41 Wow, both Wil and CJ have gone out early tonight in 52nd and 50th respectively. I'm currently chip leader at my table with 2540! w00t!

7:44 Heh, on_thg just tried to drop the hammer on me when I had AA. I 4x raised him after the flop came up blank for him, and he folded.

7:45 ABVidale just got knocked out when his 10s didn't hold up against DarthParadox's AK.

7:47 Raised 3x with AKd in middle position. Everyone else folded.

7:49 Ah crap, Iggy just got moved to my table. And he has more chips than me.

7:52 Got 44 and called the raise to 400. Flop didn't help me at all. It was raised and called, so I folded.

7:56 Penner42 just got busted out by SudoVorlon's KK

7:57 Crap! I accidentally called a $250 raise when I had 23d. Flop was worthless and I had to fold it. Argh! I'm down to 1790 now.

8:00 Ok I just got about $300 back when I hit JJ in the hole. Flop was 10 high, and DarthParadox folded to my hard bet. We're at our first break now with 31 players of our original 60 left. I'm currently 21st with 2240. Hopefully I can grab some chips early when the next round starts.

8:06 Got 10s first hand coming out of the break. I min-raise and one guy calls. Flop comes Q high. I bet hard into it, guy thinks for a while, and then he folds.

8:08 Chaswell just busted out ZeemJr and severely crippled DarthParadox when he hit his king high flush on the turn.

8:10 DarthParadox just got knocked out when his A10 fell to on_thg's flopped set of 5s. I've been moved to a new table with Dr. Pauly. At least I have position on him. Chaswell and on_thg also got moved with me.

8:14 I'm almost dead now. I caught 44 and called a raise by jk87. Flop came with three 8s. He bet, and I pushed all in. He called with AA. CRAP!!

8:15 My AK catches an A and I quadruple up to 300.

8:16 I had to go all in with A3. One reraiser who has KK. I don't catch the A, and I'm out in 26th.

I'm not happy with the outcome, but I really think that I made the right play on those pocket 4s. The cards just didn't fall my way.

Quads... Again!

I got quads today, which makes a lifetime total of two sets of quads. This one was in a cash game! Duckies for the win!

PokerStars Game #3452280220: Hold'em Limit ($0.50/$1.00) - 2005/12/27 - 17:45:38 (ET)
Table 'Watts' Seat #6 is the button
Seat 1: kaellinn18 ($19 in chips)
Seat 2: torner333 ($18.25 in chips)
Seat 3: x1000 ($8.25 in chips)
Seat 4: Macint0sh ($52 in chips)
Seat 5: timboktwo ($11.50 in chips)
Seat 6: Sthaper ($7.50 in chips)
Seat 7: JulieWinters ($10 in chips)
Seat 8: tharjus ($7.75 in chips)
Seat 9: Jovial86 ($77.50 in chips)
Seat 10: (ZAD) ($7.25 in chips)
JulieWinters: posts small blind $0.25
tharjus: posts big blind $0.50
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to kaellinn18 [2c 2s]
Jovial86: calls $0.50
(ZAD): folds
kaellinn18: calls $0.50
torner333: folds
x1000: folds
Macint0sh: raises $0.50 to $1
timboktwo: folds
Sthaper: calls $1
JulieWinters: folds
tharjus: calls $0.50
Jovial86: calls $0.50
kaellinn18: calls $0.50
*** FLOP *** [2h Jh 4h]
tharjus: bets $0.50
Jovial86: calls $0.50
kaellinn18: calls $0.50
Macint0sh: raises $0.50 to $1
Sthaper: calls $1
tharjus: folds
Jovial86: calls $0.50
Jovial86 said, "hmm"
kaellinn18: calls $0.50
*** TURN *** [2h Jh 4h] [2d]
Jovial86: checks
kaellinn18: checks
Macint0sh: bets $1
Sthaper: calls $1
Jovial86: calls $1
kaellinn18: calls $1
*** RIVER *** [2h Jh 4h 2d] [3h]
Jovial86: bets $1
kaellinn18: raises $1 to $2
Macint0sh: raises $1 to $3
Sthaper: raises $1 to $4
Betting is capped
Jovial86: folds
kaellinn18: calls $2
Macint0sh: calls $1
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Sthaper: shows [Ts Ah] (a flush, Ace high)
kaellinn18: shows [2c 2s] (four of a kind, Deuces)
Macint0sh: mucks hand
kaellinn18 collected $25.75 from pot
Jovial86 said, "I knew it"
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $26.75 | Rake $1
Board [2h Jh 4h 2d 3h]
Seat 1: kaellinn18 showed [2c 2s] and won ($25.75) with four of a kind, Deuces
Seat 2: torner333 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 3: x1000 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 4: Macint0sh mucked [Qh Kd]
Seat 5: timboktwo folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 6: Sthaper (button) showed [Ts Ah] and lost with a flush, Ace high
Seat 7: JulieWinters (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 8: tharjus (big blind) folded on the Flop
Seat 9: Jovial86 folded on the River
Seat 10: (ZAD) folded before Flop (didn't bet)


Does anyone know of any good podcasts about poker? I looked on iTunes earlier today, and there are a lot of them. I just don't have the time to go through all of them to find the ones that are of professional quality and have good material. If anyone can suggest some good podcasts, I would be very grateful.

December 26, 2005

Fantasy Poker

CardSquad has an article up pointing out ESPN's new Fantasy Poker Challenge. I thought that this was a great idea, and I thought I would pass on the info. I've already created my team, and I've also created a WWdN group. If you'd like to join, the information is as follows:

Group Name: WWdN
Password: monkey

December 23, 2005

Merry Christmas!

I'd just like to say Merry Christmas to everyone, and thank you to those who drop by and comment on occasion. I blog this mostly for myself, but it's also fun to have people to discuss things with. I hope you will be sticking around through the new year. I'll be out of town through Monday, so there won't be any posts this weekend. Have a wondeful holiday, and I will see you next week!

December 22, 2005

WWdN: Thursday Night Game

Well, this game sucked. I didn't even make it for half an hour. My pocket KK got cracked by pocket AA. The odds of that have to be insane. Here's the short transcript of my play.

10:30 We have 44 people playing tonight with a total prize pool of $440. All the major players are here; cards are in the air; let's rock! penner42 is at my table.

10:30 JJ first hand. Everyone folds to my initial raise.

10:32 It's a tight table. We have yet to see a turn card.

10:34 I've called the blinds a couple of times, but I've yet to hit anything. Need the good cards...

10:35 I hit a pair of Aces with my A9 in the SB.

10:37 Raised in late position with presto and bought the blinds.

10:42 Just donked off a bunch of chips with KQ and K10. Had lots of outs in both cases but never caught anything. I'm down to 750.

10:46 Just more than doubled up off penner42 with J5s when I hit a flush on the flop. He called with a set of 9s, and one other folded to my all in.

10:48 Raised in mid position with AJ offsuit. Guy to my left reraises to 180. Flop came Q 8 10 with two clubs. I checked, and the other guy bet out. Had to let it go.

10:51 Sigh. My KK just got busted by AA. Short game.

December 20, 2005

WWdN: Bonus Code Iggy Invitational

Well, I was going to blog my play this game, but I didn't remember until I was already about half an hour in. I ended up finishing 48th out of 70, but I shouldn't have. I should have doubled up. I made the correct call when anamarylee went all in on the turn. I had middle pair, and she had a flush draw. She hit the 18% to catch on the river, of course. People always suck out on me. We'll see how it goes on Thursday night. I'm going to play in the "West Coast Warmup" (seeking new title) since I don't have to go in to work on Friday.

Super Mega Totally Awesome Champions!

Wil Wheaton has just made a major announcement. It looks like all of the weekly WWdN games will now be qualifiers for an even bigger WWdN Tournament of Champions. If you win one of the weekly WWdN tournaments, you will be bankrolled by PokerStars (ie, freeroll) into the WWdN Tournament of Champions where you get the chance to play Wil and seven others for Big Money(TM). There will be a ToC for every eight winners of weekly games. That means I need to try extra hard to win tonight!

December 19, 2005

Learning Is The Key

The wife and I went up to our friend's place this weekend for a Christmas party. We got there a little early, so Mike showed me some of the stuff he got early for Christmas. One of these was a no limit holdem instructional video by Phil Gordon. I'd never really watched any instructional stuff for poker, so he popped it in. I learned some very valuable stuff, and I'm now going to pass on the most valuable tool to you readers. It is called "The Rule of 4 and 2" and will help you better determine what hands you should stick with after the flop.

The Rule of 4 and 2:
-After the flop, take the number of outs that you have and multiply that number by four. This is the percent chance that you will make your hand.
-After the turn, take the number of outs that you have and multiply that number by two. This is the percent chance that you will make your hand.

These numbers are not exact, but they are extremely close approximations. So, the way to determine whether or not you stick with a hand after the flop is to calculate your pot odds. I will provide an example below.

You are dealt 67d
Flop comes 8d 9c Ad
Pot size: $300

The person ahead of you bets $200, making the pot $500. You are being asked to call $200 into a $500 pot, or 200/500 = 40%. You have nine diamonds as outs for a flush and eight 10s and 5s as outs for a straight. However, one 10 and one 8 are also diamonds, so be careful not to count them twice. So your total number of outs is 15: 2d, 3d, 4d, 5d, 9d, 10d, Jd, Qd, Kd, 5s, 5c, 5h, 10s, 10h, and 10c. Take your number of outs and multiply by four. 15 x 4 = 60%. Since you are getting a 60% chance of success for a 40% call to the pot, you should definitely make the call.

I put this system to the test yesterday, finishing in the money three times out of four. I probably would have finished in the money all four times, but I was bad beat out of a hand in the first game I played. Regardless of that outcome, I still made the right decision.

This will definitely help to improve my game. Not only does it help you know what hands to call, but it also lets you calculate how much you should raise to try and push other players off of a drawing hand. Even if this wasn't new for you, it was hopefully a nice little refresher. I love learning about this game, and I hope that I can keep improving to the point where I can consistently do well in large tournament fields.

December 14, 2005

WWdN Tourneys Moved

Although I'm sure anyone who plays in these regularly will have gotten it straight from the source, I'll post it here. Mostly because Wil said to. But I could refuse to post it if I wanted to. I don't have to do what Wil says! I WANT to post it! Yeah... He's not the boss of me.

"The WWdN Friday game at PokerStars is moving to Tuesday, beginning December 20th. The game will play each week, except in the event of major holidays, starting at 7:00 PM EST. The buy-in will remain at $10+1."

"Busting Out"... Again

I "busted out" of PokerStars again last night. I put "busted out" in quotes because I've never actually busted out. To bust out you have to lose money, and I've never lost money in poker (except for maybe in the homes games, but I think my wins have more than covered what I've lost). The way I do poker online is I will buy in for a certain amount. In October it was $75. I then play the game as solidly as I possibly can. I usually am able to double my money up in a fairly short time by doing this. I will then withdraw my initial investment and just have fun with the remaining money. I like to try experimenting with new betting styles, playing hands I wouldn't normally play, and testing my ability to read people by making calls I would probably not make if I actually cared about the money.

I have found this to be a good way to grow in the game without it costing me a fortune. I've learned a TON since I first started playing online in January, and I have most definitely improved my game. So today I will probably make another $75 deposit and attempt to slowly build that up over the course of a week or two. Hopefully I will be able to double it, and my operation of learning for free can continue. We'll just have to see how it goes. Everyone loses sometime, and so far I have been very lucky to lose when it's not my money.

December 13, 2005

Dems Quads!

PokerStars Game #3325635865: Tournament #16471605, Hold'em No Limit - Level I (10/20) - 2005/12/13 - 19:36:23 (ET)
Table '16471605 3' Seat #8 is the button
Seat 1: pokrfan9 (415 in chips)
Seat 2: Junky005 (1220 in chips)
Seat 4: 20Dawkins20 (1470 in chips)
Seat 5: danielalexan (1390 in chips)
Seat 6: OVROUT (3970 in chips)
Seat 7: dexroma (1450 in chips)
Seat 8: kaellinn18 (2445 in chips)
Seat 9: tssteve (1140 in chips)
tssteve: posts small blind 10
pokrfan9: posts big blind 20
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to kaellinn18 [Kh Qd]
Junky005: folds
20Dawkins20: calls 20
danielalexan: raises 80 to 100
OVROUT: folds
dexroma: calls 100
kaellinn18: calls 100
tssteve: folds
pokrfan9: folds
20Dawkins20: calls 80
*** FLOP *** [Kc Ks 2d]
20Dawkins20: checks
danielalexan: checks
dexroma: checks
kaellinn18: checks
*** TURN *** [Kc Ks 2d] [3s]
20Dawkins20: checks
danielalexan: checks
dexroma: bets 100
kaellinn18: calls 100
20Dawkins20: calls 100
danielalexan: folds
*** RIVER *** [Kc Ks 2d 3s] [Kd]
20Dawkins20: bets 100
dexroma: calls 100
kaellinn18: raises 300 to 400
20Dawkins20: calls 300
dexroma: folds
*** SHOW DOWN ***
kaellinn18: shows [Kh Qd] (four of a kind, Kings)
20Dawkins20: mucks hand
kaellinn18 collected 1630 from pot
20Dawkins20 said, "ouch"
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 1630 | Rake 0
Board [Kc Ks 2d 3s Kd]
Seat 1: pokrfan9 (big blind) folded before Flop
Seat 2: Junky005 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 4: 20Dawkins20 mucked [5d 5s]
Seat 5: danielalexan folded on the Turn
Seat 6: OVROUT folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 7: dexroma folded on the River
Seat 8: kaellinn18 (button) showed [Kh Qd] and won (1630) with four of a kind, Kings
Seat 9: tssteve (small blind) folded before Flop

December 12, 2005

The Hammer Blog

Allow me to point you in the direction of The Hammer Blog, a late night creation of my poker buddies Puck and Terry who were kind enough to let me on board. Whenever bad beats get you down, drop on over to The Hammer Blog and take a look at some of the crap we pull on a semi-daily basis. Then you can smile, sigh with relief, and say, "Well, at least I wasn't on the other end of THAT hand."

December 09, 2005

A Damn Good Read

This is a hand that I played this evening in a $5+$.50 multi-table tournament. I must say, I used up about 75% of my time bank thinking about it after he went all in on the river, but I made the correct read in the end. Check it out:

Dealt to kaellinn18 [3s 3d]
twotone1: calls 100
Tasteticles: folds
knows: folds
Bluff_Jenza: folds
kaellinn18: calls 100
urunuts2: calls 100
rennov8: calls 50
craffe9: checks
*** FLOP *** [Ac 3c 5d]
rennov8: checks
craffe9: bets 100
twotone1: calls 100
kaellinn18: raises 350 to 450
urunuts2: folds
rennov8: folds
craffe9: folds
twotone1: calls 350
*** TURN *** [Ac 3c 5d] [6s]
twotone1: checks
kaellinn18: bets 750
twotone1: calls 750
*** RIVER *** [Ac 3c 5d 6s] [4c]
twotone1: bets 1450 and is all-in
kaellinn18: calls 1405 and is all-in
*** SHOW DOWN ***
twotone1: shows [As Ts] (a pair of Aces)
kaellinn18: shows [3s 3d] (three of a kind, Threes)
kaellinn18 collected 5810 from pot

December 08, 2005

Tourney Summaries

I thought I'd post the summaries of tourneys that I have played in and placed so far in December, which is most of the ones I've played in. I've played a couple where I didn't hit the money, but I think there have only been two or three. One of them was a $10+$1 SNG, though, and I also haven't placed in a WWdN tourney yet. However, overall I've definitely been making up for the slump that I hit in November. Here's the low down:

$5+$.50 SNG (one table, no limit)
Dec 3: 3rd place and $9
Dec 3: 1st place and $22.50
Dec 3: 1st place and $22.50
Dec 4: 3rd place and $9
Dec 5: 1st place and $22.50
Dec 6: 2nd place and $13.50

$3+$.30 (multi-table scheduled tournament)
Dec 5: 1919 players, no limit, 223rd place and $6.33, 44.35 leader points
Dec 6: 549 players, limit, 38th place and $5.76, 57.47 leader points

Profit (winnings minus entry fees)

For those of you not in the know, leader points are accumulated over the course of a week/month/year, and you can earn free entry into other tourneys. You get them by placing in the money in multi-table tournaments, and they are computed according to some strange formula that you can find on PokerStars' website (near the middle of the page) if you care enough. I don't play nearly enough MTTs to get near the top of the leaderboard, so they are mostly worthless for me.

December 04, 2005

What Would You Do?

I had an interesting hand today where I think I did the right thing, but I would like to know what you readers would do.

The Setup:

The blinds are $10/$20, and you are in middle position with AK of hearts. It folds to the guy on your right, who raises it to 60. You reraise to 180 to try and push out other marginal hands. It folds back around to the other guy who calls. The flop comes J 10 4 with two hearts. Guy to your right immediately moves all in. He has enough to cover you, so it's all or nothing.

The Outs:

At this point, if you want to assume the worst, you can put the guy on jacks or tens, with a set, which means he may have one of your hearts. (The jack on the table is a heart.) So if you're gonna win this against a set, you're going to need to catch another heart or a queen to hit the straight. So you have a possible twelve or thirteen outs (four queens and nine hearts, eight hearts if you think he has the 10) if he has a set.

How It Played Out:

I decided to call. That may have been a mathematically questionable call (I'm not sure on the pot odds), but it was early in the tournament. You have to be willing to die in order to win, right? I wasn't short stacked, but I was definitely behind the major players at the table. Turns out the other guy had K 10 off-suit (no heart), so I had three more aces that were added to my outs. I didn't improve and ended up busting out, but I think I made the right call.

What would you have done?

December 03, 2005

Riding "The Rush" And Mixing It Up

I've heard them talk about it before. I've seen it discussed over and over on TV, and I've seen it mentioned here and there in the games online. However, I had never experienced "The Rush" for myself until today. For the uninitiated, "The Rush" is basically being in the zone while you're playing poker. You're making correct calls, you're getting good reads, and you're taking pots.

And no one can stop you.

Sure, I've had good streaks. I've won tourneys and placed in the money many times. But the $5.00+$.50 SNG I played today was the first game that I KNEW I was going to win. That may come off as sounding kind of cocky, but I don't mean it that way; I could just feel it. By the time the first player went out of the game, I knew I was going to win it. All my reads were correct, and all my calls were good. This is not to say I won every hand; I lost many hands that game and was even close to being the short stack at one point. But I knew I was doing the right things, and in the end I won the game.

Now, it's also worth noting that this is also the first game where I really mixed up my play. I try to do it most of the time, but a lot of times I talk myself out of it. During this game I was calling raises with marginal cards and limping in with monsters and vice versa. I don't think anyone could get a solid read on me the entire game, and that made me dangerous. People started folding left and right. I would call to the river with middle pair because I knew the guy was trying to buy his way out of the pot. It was definitely a fun and challenging game to play, and I hope that it's not another year before it happens again.

Now I know what it feels like to be Gus Hansen.

December 02, 2005

WWdN: ZowieZ Invitational

Well, we're back in action with the WWdN tourneys! Boy, I missed 'em. They are such fun. Here's the low down on how it went down.

7:00 The cards are live! 91 people have registered tonight, and it promises to be a good match. Joanne is at my table. Let's rock.

7:01 Caught K8s for my first hand. One raise, and I was the only one who called. I caught an 8 on the flop, bet it, and the other guy folded.

7:02 Got pocket 7s but K and Q came on the flop so I let them go.

7:05 A5o in the BB. Got nothing on the flop, but I bought it anyway. Guy to my right is playing tight.

7:07 AJd, so I raise 4x. K on the flop and no diamonds; the other two check, I bet it and take it. Got a $200+ pot there.

7:13> QJo in early position. I raised 3x. One caller. Flop is 10 10 7. I check, guy bets 100. K on turn. I semi-bluff 200, and he calls. River is a 9, and I bet 350 more to get a call and win with the straight! Currently sitting in 11th place!

7:20 AK in late position, and I catch a K on the flop. Only other person bets 120. I raise 3x, and he folds.

7:21 Had 33 in early position. I called BB, and next position went all in with his short stack. It folded back around to me, and I called, figuring it was a coin flip. He had QQ, and it held.

7:27 AQc in late position, and a short stack all in before me for 150. I call, and so does Joanne. Flop is 663. I check and so does Jo. A comes on the turn. I bet, and Jo folds. River is another 3, and my AQ knocks out the other guy's A5.

7:29 Got 99 in the hole. Folds around to me, and I raise 3x. Everyone else folds. Looks like I'm building some table respect. Sitting nicely at 2205.

7:32 AJo in the BB. One guy calls my 4x raise. 3 hearts on flop and it checks to the river where I hit my J. I bet 150, and he calls. I took the pot.

7:37 AQo in mid position. I 3x raise, and everyone folds.

7:42 AJo in late position, and I 3x against Jo in SB who calls. I caught an Ace on the flop and bought it.

7:48 10Js on the button, and I raise 3x. Guy reraises me, and after thinking about it I decided to fold. We're down to 62 people.

7:56 88 in mid position so I 3x raise. The blinds call. An A comes on the flop and SB bets 500 immediately. Other guy folds, and I decide to fold as well.

8:00 We're at the break. DollarDan's A9h just doubled up on maureen's AQo when he caught a 9 on the river. I'm currently 33rd of the 54 left with 1905 in chips. Hopefully I can pick it up after the break, but I'm about to be smacked with the big blind.

8:09 A10o in late position with one call ahead of me. I decide to go all in, and everyone else folds.

8:15 Blinds are killing me. I'm down to 835. I'm all in next decent hand I have.

8:16 AA all in with 2 callers! They held up when the second one reraised and the other guy folded!

8:17 I've been moved to a new table.

8:19 Had 6s, and one guy went all in. Another pushed his all in over the top, and I folded. It was AA vs QQ, but I would have hit a straight if I called. ARGH!

8:23 Bought the blinds with QJd in first position with a min raise.

8:24 Holy crap that was the most surprising bust out ever. Guy raised me in the BB, and I called with 10Jo. Flop was 910J, and I went all in. He had 8Q!! What the hell?!?! I finished in 39th.

Well, it turns out I was framed!! Observe:

kaellinn18 [observer]: I busted out Wil, and it's all your fault
Wil Wheaton: yeah, i set that whole thing up
Wil Wheaton: and i'd do it again!

Wait until the boys at PokerStars hear this!! They don't take too kindly to swindlers, Wil. Oh, you're going to get yours, my friend...