Poker Through the Eyes of an Amateur

February 27, 2006

A New Love

Over this past weekend, I have come to love the single table turbo SNGs. I'm not sure why I didn't like them before. I either was not educated enough (likely), or I just had bad luck when I played them (heh, also likely). I had about an hour of free time left on Saturday before dinner, so I decided to try one and see if they felt any better.

Man, these things are a gold mine.

I think the thing is that a lot of overly patient people (in terms of waiting for hands) play these games because of time constraints. Either that, or they just aren't educated enough yet (probably like I used to be) to play in this blind structure. You can afford to be patient for the first fifteen minutes or so, but once the blinds hit the 25/50 mark, you need to start making some moves. At the very least you need to start stealing when it's 50/100, or the blinds will just eat you up. The thing I've found is that a lot of these players wait for monster hands, rarely steal, and rarely bluff. Unless you get very lucky, I don't think you're going to win a single table turbo game this way.

Aggressiveness, as we all know, is the key to winning poker, but it is much more of a necessity in this structure. I've also found that if you can manage to build up an aggressive image early in the game, people will start to avoid you. When they do call you down or raise, you can be pretty sure they have a monster and play accordingly. I took two first places and one second place out of four attempts this weekend.

If I can win a few more of these, I'll be able to withdraw a bit of my bankroll and start on some new player promotions on other sites. I figure that's a pretty safe way to build the bankroll to a more stable level.

February 23, 2006

Just A Fun Night

First off, congratulations to Wil who is currently going deep in the WPT Invitational. As of the time of this writing, he is sitting at a table with Gus Hansen and Tuan Le on his left. I do not envy you, Wil. Good luck! You can read up on his progress over at Pauly's blog.

I was bored this evening, so I signed up for the $.10, $50 added tourney. Man, what a crappy game. The blinds go up every five minutes, so the whole thing is pretty much a lotto. I lasted about halfway through and then busted out when my AJ lost to a KQ who runner runnered a flush. After that was over, I went to play some low limit holdem with Dave where the magic hand of the night was Kx. I swear, more pots were won with this hand than any other. It was easily over 20 pots in the hour and a half or so we were playing. It was simply amazing and got to the point where no one would fold the Kx. Fun times.

I think I'm going to hit up some $5 rebuy qualifiers for the Sunday million dollar tourney tomorrow or Saturday. Hopefully I will make it. I'd love to play in that game. Let me know if you would like to join me.

February 21, 2006

And We're On In 3... 2... 1...

I'm back! The ski trip was awesome, and it was definitely nice to have a four day weekend. This blog is dedicated to pokery goodness, but if you want to read about my trip, you can do so here. I played some low limit cash stud last night to start getting back into the poker swing. I managed to get about halfway through Phil Gordon's Little Green Book while I was on my trip, so look out for me tonight! I'm ready to go. Fear the hammer. I hope to see you all at the WWdN game. It wasn't posted when I checked last night, but we all know Wil is a slacker, so it should be up sometime today. See you there!

February 15, 2006

Brief Hiatus

This will be my last post until after President's Day. I will be leaving on Friday morning to head to Canaan Valley, West Virginia for some skiing with the wife and friends. It should be an awesome time. Unfortunately, the house we're renting doesn't have internet access, otherwise I might have been able to get in a game or two in the evenings. Oh, well. I'd love to play in the WWdN game on Thursday night, but I will be getting up on the ass end of dawn on Friday, so I'm going to need all the sleep I can get, especially since I will be driving. When I get back, I better hear that one of you took down the WWdN game or a big weekend tourney. Don't disappoint me!

February 14, 2006

Reading Material

I have a very awesome wife. For Valentine's Day this year, she got me two great books. The first one is Just a Geek by Wil Wheaton. I love Wil's writing, and I was going to pick this one up myself. She beat me to it, though. I'm sure Wil will also be thrilled that my wife got me that for Valentine's. :-)

The second book is Phil Gordon's Little Green Book. This one is a staple of many poker players' libraries, and I'm sure many of you have this one. However, for those who don't, I will be posting a review of it as soon as I finish it. I'll be taking it on my ski trip this weekend to fill the down time when I'm not on the slopes.

I'm curious as to what other books you guys have in your libraries. What do you recommend? I've heard that Harrington on Hold'em is a good tournament strategy book. What else is out there?

February 12, 2006

Super Stud Part 2: The Sequel

So, either I freaking rock at Stud or these people were just really bad. The exception is Malcolm, who got really unlucky a couple of times.



I would like to think that I'm good at stud, but I really don't have any idea. I played some in college (but never for money), I've watched a few of the stud episodes on TV, and I've played a bit online. But I just don't think I have the necessary experience to say whether or not I'm good or whether I've just been plain lucky. This leads me to a question for you faithful readers:

When do you think you have the right to call yourself good at something?

This goes for things besides poker. Do you have to have a winning track record to call yourself good. In the instance of poker, do you just have to be able to say you've made the best decisions and just been unlucky? How long must you have a winning track record in order to be able to confidently say you're good at something? Do a certain number of other people have to acknowledge you as good?

It's easy to say that Phil Ivey is good at poker. He's won millions of dollars and consistently makes final tables. It's easy to say that Brett Favre is good at football. Even though he had an awful season this year, his past track record shows that he kicks major ass when he's on his game. So, when do you have the right to say that you're good? Let me know what you think.

February 11, 2006

I'm Good Luck...

...for YOU! That's right. I can get you money. It appears that I have the uncanny knack to land other people money. First, take TripJax. He said on his blog that he was going to play some poker on Tuesday night. I suggested he play in the weekly WWdN game. And what happens? He moneys in fourth place. Nice finish.

Next, take SirFWALGman, our very own Sir Waffles. He was playing online today, and I suggested that he join me in the $3 rebuy for the $750k guaranteed. What happens? He wins himself a seat, valued at $215.

So what does this mean for you? For a very modest fee, I will recommend you for tournaments. All you have to do is let me know when you are online and ready to play some poker. I will then pull a tournament that is registering out of thin air. It doesn't matter what it is. It could be omaha; it could be stud H/L. Whatever the game, you're going to win CASH! I have a 100% success rate!

Going rate for future recommendations is 1% of your winnings. Come on, it doesn't get much better than that! Inquire within!

February 08, 2006

Afterthoughts

I'd like to take a little time to post some of my afterthoughts on the game last night, while it's still fresh in my mind. I was actually surprised that I made it as far as I did. Since I was literally down to my last dollar, I fully expected to bust out with such a large, talented, and intimidating field. Had I busted out, I planned on taking a hiatus from poker for a while, since I've been running an incredibly unlucky streak. I'm not the only one either. Pauly, Wil, and Maudie have all been having bad runs of it lately. While I'd never wish the experience on anyone, it's nice to know that I am not alone in my struggles.

The thing is, I've been happy with the decisions I've been making. A lot of people will tell you that's what it all comes down to. Be happy with your decisions. Don't be results-oriented. I can appreciate what they're saying, but it's not easy to take when you've almost/actually gone broke. I've busted out a few times, but, as I've stated before, I've never lost my own money in poker. If I had lost last night, it would have marked the first time I'd lost my money without being able to double up first. I'd still technically be in the green with my iPod win and some money I've withdrawn for other things, but it would mark the first loss of my own cash. Not losing money is one aspect of my game that I am very proud of, and I would have hated to lose that.

Luckily (or skillfully?), I'm not in that situation right now. I went into the game last night with the attitude that I was going to play my A game. I was going to trust my gut and my reads, and I was going to act on them. Screw the donkeys, and screw the cards. As long as I made decisions I was happy with, I would leave the game content, and if I busted out I would take my break. I must say that I think I played great solid/aggressive poker last night. There was not one decision that I was not satisfied with, and my reads were almost always right on.

The only decision I am even curious about was folding my AQ to Waffles' KJc. The board was 9c Jh Ac Td, and Waffles came over the top when I bet out. I had him pinned on two pair, so I let it go. He had outs, but I was ahead. I'm curious as to what that river card would have been. However, I think it was the right move to fold and not risk so many of my chips at that point in the tournament.

I'm ecstatic that I once again have a bankroll to work with and that it's of a size where I can get out of the super fishy games. My luck just hasn't been holding in the games at that level. Hopefully I will be able to build it up to a good size where I can avoid those altogether. (Not to say that there aren't fish at the middle limits, but I'd hope that they aren't as bad.) I'd like to be playing in $10+1 and $20+$2 games exclusively by the middle of the year, so we'll see how that works. Right now, I think I'll stick with the $5+$.50 and maybe a $10+$1 or two. I've proven myself (to myself at least) to be decent at both Stud and Omaha H/L, so I may mix up my games a little more now too.

I have the feeling that my 3rd place finish last night is marking a turning point in my game. Here's hoping that I can keep building on that success and have a nice bankroll built in the next month or two.

February 07, 2006

WWdN: Sabboth Invitational Blog

I did it. I took the plunge. When I got home this evening, I had less than $11 in my account on PokerStars. However, I was determined that if I was going to bust out, I'd do it with people I respect. So I played some Limit Omaha H/L to earn the seventy-something-odd cents that I needed to make the buy-in for the WWdN game tonight. Read on for my results.

8:30 It's been a while since I've done this. Hopefully I won't be distracted too much that it affects my play. The cards are in the air. We have 99 people registered for a prize pool totalling $990. There are a lot of familiar names in the player list, and Joanne is once again at my first table. Sires is here too. Well, here goes nothing.

8:31 Got JJ for my second hand with two callers pre-flop. Flop came 89K. One guy bet out, and I raised. One caller and initial better called. Turn was an A, and EP bet out again. I had to let the Js go.

8:40 Ugh, I haven't been getting anything. Best I've had is KTs, but I folded it to Joanne's 5x raise. Turns out she had the hammer. She also ended up with two pair so it was a good fold.

8:42 Got my Js again. I raised 3x and got three callers. Flop came ten high, so I bet out strong. Everyone folded.

8:47 Joanne just busted out someone with quad 9s. Ouch.

8:55 Got A2 in MP and decided to try for a steal. Kicked it to 3x, and only the BB called. Flop came KQ8, and I lead out. BB called. Turn is an A, so I bet harder. BB folded.

8:58 Ah my miracle hand. Got 88 in FP. Just called the BB. A few others called as well, but Jo (in BB) raised it up 5x. I was the only caller. Flop was 8 high. Joanne bet out hard. I called her a meanie and raised. She pushed me all in, and I called. She turned over KK. She didn't improve, and I took a nice pot.

9:02 Made a great read. Called the BB with 66. SB called as well. Slimeface min raised in BB, and we called. Flop came 5 high, all clubs. Slime bet out hard for 500. Something smelled about the min raise, so I folded. Turns out he had AA.

9:06 Joanne doubled up with 77 when some guy called her all in pre-flop bet with J8 (??)

9:07 Bet 4x in MP with KK. No callers.

9:09 Jo busted out two people when they called her big raise pre-flop. She had QQ and her opponents had AK and A8. Flop came with a Q, and she took a huge pot. I got moved to a tabled with Pauly.

9:11 Just busted Pauly who was being over aggressive with his QT. He had top pair, but I had AA.

9:19 Had KTd in early position. FP raised 3x, I call, and SB calls. Flop comes KQJ with two spades. SB goes all in. I tank for a bit and call. He has A3s. He doesn't catch his flush, and I make a set on the river. Took a nice pot. I'm up to 5760 and in 2nd place.

9:21 AJh in SB. It folds to me, I raise 4x, and BB folds.

9:22 A8o on the button. I decide to just call the BB. SB folds, and BB checks. Flop comes J8x. BB bets 150, and I raise him to 450. He folds. I moved into first place with that hand.

9:23 Stole the blinds with AJo in MP. They are fearing my stack.

9:28 Bought out a guy with 22 who I had pegged as an over-aggresser. I knew he would bet regardless of the flop, so I came over the top. He folded. I'm up to 7060.

9:30 We've reached the first break, and I'm still holding on to first place. I have the lead by just under 1k. There are 64 players left. Wil, CJ, and Shane have all busted out. Hopefully I can keep up my good play and maintain my lead in the next round. Gracie, Hoyazo, and GRob are all still going strong and are in the top 20.

9:39 Bought blinds with KJ in EP.

9:41 Lost a bit of chips when my 82 in BB caught 8 high on the flop. SB checked to me so I bet, he went all in with what little he had left, and I called. He had AA, and I didn't catch my two pair or set.

9:47 I've stolen some blinds, and I'm up to 6170.

9:48SERNE just knocked out Gilain with his KK vs QQ. He flopped quads. Holy crap.

9:51 Won a nice pot with A7d. A and two diamonds came on the flop. The guy followed me to the turn then folded.

10:07 Haven't gotten many playable hands. We're down to 30 people, and I'm in 7th. Three people have over 10k, and I have above average with 6295 at the moment. Hopefully I get some cards soon.

10:14 Man, I can't catch any playable hands. I keep getting paint/rag combos. Blinds are going to go up soon. I need cards please!

10:15 Was able to buy some blinds with K9 in EP

10:24 Got my Js again. SERNE made a heft raise preflop, and I called. Flop came K2K, and I pushed all in. He folded.

10:28 Bought the blinds with 99.

10:36 We're at the second break now. I'm in 11th of 14 players remaining. I need to get some cards I can at least make a steal with so I don't get blinded out here. If I can outlast 5 more people, I will make the money. TripJax is still alive and kicking in 9th place. If I don't make the money, I hope he does. SERNE doesn't like me since I took that pot with the Js and is severely overbetting each time I'm in the BB. I can't wait to catch a monster when he does that and take his legs out from under him. I just need the cards...

10:47 We're down to 11 people. I still have almsot 6k. I just need to hang in there for a bit more. I'm currently 8th.

10:49 I dropped the hammer baby!

10:50 We're down to 10 baby!

10:51 I made the final table! SERNE busted out dsheep with 58. He hit a set of 5s to beat dsheep's KJ.

10:53 TrekGirl busted out when her AT rain into SERNE's KK.

10:56 LOK1 busted out with JJ when bdr1968's AK caught an A on the turn.

11:01 bdr1968 busted out when his JJ fell to GRob's KJ when he found a K on the turn.

11:03 I've managed to stay alive so far by stealing blinds. There are six of us left, and I have 8k.

11:04 Random Sam busted out when his AK hit SERNE's JJ. Board ended up with a J and two As.

11:06 Doubled up through SERNE when my pocket 4s flopped a set.

11:06 Doubled up through GRob when my pocket 9s flopped a set. I'm now in 2nd place!

11:25 We're down to 4. GRob's JT ran into TripJax's AK. Trip won with Ace high.

11:32 TripJax busted out when his K high straight got trampled by SERNE's full house. Down to 3, and I'm in 3rd.

11:40 And I'm out in 3rd place. My 55 fell to SERNE's JT when he hit a ten on the flop. Them's the breaks. I got a $118.80 payday for my efforts tonight.

And TripJax owes me money. ;-)

DADI III: The 3rd One For The Second Time

I'm not sure what happened, but my original post pimping Jordan's and TripJax's 3rd DADI tournament disappeared without a trace.

*Insert X-Files theme here*

Anyway, here's the details again for those who can make it to the game. I'm not sure if I will be able to or not. We'll have to wait and see.

What: DADI Heads-Up Championship. It's a single elimination heads-up tourney.
Where: PokerStars
When: February 17th, 9PM EST
Password: blogsaregay (teehee)
Buy-in: $10+$1

WWdN: Sabboth Invitational

Tonight is the weekly WWdN tourney, and I am excited. I love these games because it's great cards with great people. Last week there were over 100 players. I hope there's that many again this week. I just hope I don't get sucked out on by a donkey in the first round again. Ugh. The need-to-know stuffs is posted below. I will probably blog this game as well, so look for an update later on tonight.

What: WWdN: Sabboth Invitational
Where: PokerStars.
When: Tuesday, February 7, 2005. 8:30 EST
Password: monkey
Tournament number: 19343704
Buy-in: $10+$1

February 01, 2006

I Hate Donkeys

Ok, so I've been asked what happened in the WWdN game last night. The fact is, I was playing just fine, until some donkey busted me out. It made absolutely no sense. Even my fifteen year old sister could tell you what this guy did was a horrible play, but that doesn't change the outcome. Read on for my horrible beat.

The cards go live at 8:30 PM, and I end up drawing seat two at a table with Joanne. Hey, at least someone I know is here. Fun stuff. We talk for a while, and cards are dealt. I win/lose a couple of small pots early on, and then I hit the death hand in second position: AQh.

First position calls BB, and I pump it to 4x. It folds around to the villain in seat 6, who calls. He has me covered by a very slight margin. It then folds back to first position who also calls.

Flop: Ac8cXc

Whatever, I'm not scared of a three flush. First position checks to me, and I bet. Seat 6 min-raises me. First position folds. Oh jeez, a min raise. He might have the Kc! I'm scared! Call.

Turn: Qd

I push all in. Genius boy in seat 6 thinks for like a second and calls... with Jc8s. W...T...F???

Let's analyze this, shall we?

Why are you in this hand in the first place? You called a 4x raise with a J8 offsuit?! Note: you are a moron. Fine, you're in the hand. Whatever. You have a pair of eights with two over cards on the board. You must know (if you are a person of any intelligence) that you are WAY behind. You are 18% to hit your flush on the river. Even if you do hit your miracle flush, it will be third best, unless the card is a K or Q, at which point it will be second best. Why would you take that risk with all of your chips? I think all of you can see that this is a horrible, horrible call.

But the poker gods don't care.

River: 8h

I've never come so close to going Helmuth on someone's ass as I did last night. However, I remained mostly composed, wished Joanne good luck, and left. I swear, I thought the folks who came to the WWdN game knew how to play. Apparently someone left the barn door open. I hate donkeys.