Poker Through the Eyes of an Amateur

March 29, 2006

Bow Before Me, For I Am Your King

My first royal flush ever. Oh yeah, I totally won $6.90. You wish you were me.

Suckout City

Wow, last night's WWdN game was really interesting. There were suckouts all over the place. First and foremost, I sucked out (for once) with KQ against AA. I had raised it up pre-flop, and I may have been reraised, but if I was it wasn't for much. The flop came K high, and xkm bet half his stack. I had him covered so I put him all in. He flipped AA. Ouch. I caught a king on the river. Ouch for him.

I then got moved to a table with SoxLover and Drewspop. Sox sucked out on me big time when he flopped a straight with 79s (???) to my top pair. Luckily I folded that one when he reraised me all in, so I didn't lose too much. Several hands later, I was busted out set over set when I flopped a set of jacks, and Sox had a set of kings. I know that this is not even remotely a suckout, but it sure feels like one when you lose with a flopped set. Ugh. I can't complain, though. The best hand took it down like it should have.

Before I shut down the laptop to watch some TV with the wife, I was witness to 55 going all in against AA. Of course, the 5 comes on the river. I guess there's a reason that the software has the nickname RiverStars. I'm really curious how they have programmed/seeded their "random" number generator. I would love to look at the code. It's impossible to code true randomness, and I'm just curious what they were able to come up with.

I signed back on later in the evening to see how the game was progressing. Hoyazo was in the chip lead, and Sox had just been busted out so I asked Hoyazo if he got my chips. Apparently Jaxia had just sucked out with a two outer to boot Sox from the game. I don't know what the hand was, but a two outer... That had to hurt.

My theory is that those chips were jinxed. It started when I sucked out on xkm with my five outer. Then I lose those chips when I get busted set over set. Then Sox loses all of those chips to a two outer. Insane! Beware the cursed chips. I wonder if Jaxia got sucked out on to lose her stack...

Oh, well. At least I got to drop the hammer on my second hand. I got AA twice, but I didn't get any action with my standard 3x raises either time. Of course, I probably just would have gotten sucked out on anyway.

March 25, 2006

Holding My Breath

Well, I'm done with my 15 SNGs for the SNG Challenge. I didn't place in any of my last four, so the best I can hope for is second place. Now I get to play the waiting game to see if anyone takes the second place finish away from me.

In other news, I finished 6th in a $4 180 player SNG today for $36. I would have done better, but I got sucked out on the hand before the final table, so I went in short stacked. I managed to outlive three other players, despite being completely card dead, and in the end, the blinds just destroyed me. I like that game though. I'll definitely be playing more of those in the future.

March 23, 2006

I Bilted Him Good

If you'll pardon the audacity, I'm going to coin a term: bilting. This word is a very loose combination of bluff and tilt. Basically, you bluff someone so bad that they tilt off their entire stack within the next few minutes. Allow me to present an example of how to totally bilt someone.

The Scene: It's late in a 45 player SNG with about eighteen people remaining. Blinds are 200/400, and I'm sitting nicely with a stack of around T6000. The table is actually pretty even, with no huge stacks and no massive short stacks. Stacks range from around T9500 to T4000. Victim has a stack on the upper end of that range.

The First Hand

I'm dealt KQo in middle position. It folds around to me.

Me: Raise 800 to make it 1200 to go. Translation: I like my hand.

It folds around to victim.

Victim: Call. Translation: I like my hand too, but I'm not sure if it's better than yours. Plus, I've got position.

The rest of the table folds. The flop is dealt: Jxx

Me: Check. Translation: That flop sucks.
Victim: Bet 1000. Translation: I have a jack.
Me: Call. Translation: I don't care.

The turn is dealt: Ad

Me: Bet 1200. Translation: I have an ace.
Victim: Call. Translation: I might have one too.

The river is dealt: Blank

Me: Bet 2000. Translation: Can you beat my ace?
Victim: Fold. Translation: No, I can't.
Me: Show ace high. Translation: Hehe, I didn't really have an ace. n00b.

The Second Hand

This occurred two hands later; blinds are still 200/400. I'm dealt KK in the big blind.

Victim: Call 400. Translation: I'm not going to raise. I'm still burning from that bluff.
Button: Call 400. Translation: I'm on the button, so I have to play this hand, even though it's 93o.
SB: Call 200. Translation: What the hell, it's only 200 more.
Me: Raise 1200 to 1600. Translation: I'm not letting you people off that easy.
Victim: Call. Translation: Maybe I can get some of my chips back from this guy.
Button/SB: Fold. Translation: I never should have been in the pot in the first place.

The flop is dealt: JKJ

Me: Pause. Check. Translation: I missed, and I don't really feel comfortable bluffing at this board, especially since I just showed you a bluff.
Victim: Bet 2800. Translation: I think you're weak, and I'm taking this pot.
Me: Pause. Raise 2800 to 5600. Translation: Well, I'm not as weak as you think I am.
Victim: Pause. Pushes all in. Translation: Whatever, you're not bluffing me out of another pot.
Me: Call. Translation: You're right. I'm not.

For the record, the guy pushed with Th8h, with no hearts on the board. BILTED!

Eight More Points

This second place finish should put me 2nd in points. I've done 11 games and only 4 to go. I need to make them count.

March 19, 2006

Four More Points

Hey, fifth place is better than not placing. I'm on a streak! I'm second in points now, maybe? Jordan hasn't updated the page in a while so there may be some other scores.

March 18, 2006

Vindication!

I'm on the board, boys (and Gracie). Let's see if I can make something happen with my last eight games to boost me to first place!

SNG Challenge... Challenging

So, yeah, I'm 0/6 so far in the 45 player SNG challenge. I've cracked the top ten multiple times, but I can't seem to break the bubble. The amount of suckouts I've witnessed recently on Stars has reached epidemic proportions. I mean, it's bad. We're talking two outers and runner runner runner straights/flushes. I'm playing well, but I can't win a hand when I'm ahead... or when I'm behind, and it infuriates me. Hopefully I will make something happen in the next five games or so. If not, there's no point in even playing the rest. I hate fish with a passion. The first person that tells me that we need fish or we'd never make any money is going to get punched in the face.

March 14, 2006

Minor Ups and Downs

First, the good news. I finished the PSO promotion at PokerRoom yesterday. Soon I will have some PSO points sitting in my account. I plan on completing another promotion for more points and then getting a PartyPoker $100 certificate to help expand the bankroll. I played pretty well in the cash game yesterday, but I ended down about $20 because I made a stupid call.

I was in the cutoff with TT and called the BB. The button raised 3x, it folded around to me, and I called. Flop came TJQ rainbow. I check, and the button bets. I come over the top for 3x that bet, and the button pushes me all in. I now know for certain that the button has AK. But do I fold? Of course not; I have a set dammit! I call and get stacked by AK spades when the board doesn't pair. I earned most of that back but not all of it. I'll work on recovering that before the WWdN game tonight.

I also joined in the DADI short handed tournament fun last night, but I didn't last very long. The death hand came when I got KQo in UTG+1. I raised 3x, and I get two callers. The flop came K high, all diamonds. SB immediately pushes all in. I barely have him covered, and something really smelled funny about that play, so I called it. He shows a dominating AK suited. Ouch. I just couldn't place him on that hand. Who doesn't reraise pre-flop with AKs short handed? That just confused me. Anyway, I went out a couple of hands later with a non-exciting hand.

My Best Buy gift card arrived yesterday from PSO. Not bad service at all on their part. They got my card to me less than a week after being approved. Well done! I will definitely continue to use their site as long as I can.

March 13, 2006

Just Grinding It Out

Yeah, I'm still here. I haven't been doing a whole lot on the blogger scene the past couple of days. I've basically steered clear of the impromptu blogger games recently (you guys always take my money) and have instead been focusing on cash games at PokerRoom. I'm about 85% of the way to finishing the PSO promotion there, and about 100 points away from clearing a $55 deposit bonus.

I have been very happy with my experience at PokerRoom, mostly because the cash game is incredibly weak. I've almost tripled my buy-in to that site since I've started playing there. I'm thinking that after I'm done, I will probably leave some money there so I can continue to take advantage of their weak cash game. I've played exclusively $1/$2 NL hold'em, and it has been very good to me. I hope that I can keep the streak up and continue to build the bankroll. Currently, it's a little under $450 across PokerRoom and PokerStars. I think I might make PokerRoom my cash game site and PokerStars my tournament site.

I should be able to have the PSO promotion finished this evening in about a half hour, and I will have the deposit bonus cleared in the next couple of days. Once I clear that bonus, I may move up to some $2/$4 and see if the game is as weak there as it is at $1/$2. If it's comparable, I will be an extremely happy camper. One of my personal goals for this year is to have a bankroll of over $1000. I think that's very doable, given my earnings so far in March. If I hit the $1k mark by summer time, I may double my goal to hit by year's end. I'll just have to wait and see how it works out.

The 45-player SNG Challenge starts today after the DADI tournament is completed. Fear my SNG skillz.

March 09, 2006

He's On Fire!

Give it up for the old school NBA Jam reference.

Tonight was a very good night for me. I started out by playing some $1/$2 NL on PokerRoom to work toward clearing my PSO bonus. I ended up about $75 there. Sweet. I then checked my email and saw that I had gotten an email from Party Poker begging me to come back. To sweeten the deal they gave me a free $50. Also sweet. So I redownloaded the software and logged in to claim my free monies. Once that was done, I headed once again to the $1/$2 NL tables. I doubled up on the first hand I played. Nice. I played for a couple more hours there as well, and ended up slightly over $95. That's $170 profit for the evening. Not bad at all for one day, especially for me. I just need to play enough raked hands on Party to clear the original $50, otherwise it will disappear on the 26th. I'm pretty sure I can do it. I'm already about 1/3 of the way there. Hope you're all having a good week!

March 08, 2006

Miscellaneous + 45 Player SNG Challenge

I finished my PSO promotion this past weekend, and my Best Buy gift card is shipping out today. Sweet. Just in time for Elder Scolls: Oblivion's release on the 20th. Poker may have to take a back seat for a while once that game comes out. I've started my next promotion at Poker Room. (Is this where you play, Eric? If so, let me know if you want to play in a play money game.) So far, the only thing I don't like about the site is that when you're two tabling and it's your turn on the other table, it doesn't auto focus to that table. Otherwise, the site seems pretty decent. I'm about 20 points in (didn't play much due to the WWdN game), and once I hit 400, I'll be getting some PSO points, which I will probably combine with the next promotion for a $100 Party Poker gift certificate.

So the WWdN game last night...

I was doing pretty well, and we were about 40 minutes in or so when I found QQ in first position. I raised 3.5x, and TraumaPoker and some other guy called. The flop comes T7x. I forget how exactly it happened, but random person folds. I ended up putting Trauma all-in. And he calls me... with a J8 and a J high gutshot straight draw? I'm not sure why he made this call, but whatever. He, of course, catches a 9 on the river, severely crippling me.

I want to make one thing clear: I don't hold anything against the guy; that's poker. He's a fellow blogger, and I respect him. No hard feelings. I even linked him up over there on the right.

I am, however, incredibly sick of getting bad beat on the river. So I don't really have many chips left at this point, and I get 22 my next hand. I push... into pocket Aces. Needless to say, I go home before the first break. Super fun.

In other news, I will be participating in The 45 Player SNG Challenge. Here's the roster:

1. Jordan
2. TripJax
3. Garthmeister
4. Big Slick Nuts
5. Gracie
6. Poker Champ
7. DrewsPop
8. Kaellinn18
9. President Dave Lee
10. GCox

Looks like a good group. Basically, we will all be playing 15 45-player SNGs over the next month. The person who places the most times and earns the most points will be the winner and collect $25 from all of the other players. This should be a lot of fun and a great time with fellow bloggers. Wish me luck!

March 06, 2006

Absolute... Crap

This weekend I started on the long list of PSO (referral link) promotions by signing up for an account with Absolute Poker. I have to tell you, I was not impressed at all. The signup process was painless, but it went downhill from there.

First off, there are the graphics. While the tables and cards don't look bad, they don't look great either. The worst thing, though, is the player icons. For some reason, Absolute decided to go with oval shaped pictures, a decision I will never understand. It ends up making the pictures look ugly and distorted. Although no distortion actually occurs, the oval shape plays a trick on the eye, making it look pretty awful. Couple this with the fact that the textbox doesn't allow you enough space to type a normal sized sentence, and you have every reason to dislike the software.

Second, they are very unstable. I played some on Friday night and a lot on Saturday. In that less than twenty-four hour time span, the server crashed on me twice. I've never had that problem at any of the other three sites I've played at. So, minus points for technical aspects as well.

Third, games were pretty scarce. I don't know how long the site has been around, but there was only one 2/4 full table ring game going, and one for 1/2. There were a few full six max tables, but that was it. I checked out their tourneys to see if they had anything good, but I didn't see anything special. All the guaranteed tourneys are smaller than the ones I've seen on Poker Stars and Party Poker. I just couldn't find anything really impressive or unique about the site game-wise. Minus points for bleh games and limited competition.

Fourth, after completing my PSO promotion, I wanted to use up some of my AP points that I'd earned, since I'd never be going back. I think I had slightly over 750 or 800. At Poker Stars, that could get me at least a decent prize of some sort. At Absolute, I think the minimum cost for a prize was three or four thousand points. Screw that. Minus points for crappy points store.

In conclusion, unless you're swooping in to clear a PSO bonus and get out, I would stay away from this site. If you're wanting to do a new player money clearing bonus, don't bother. You'd have to be involved in 100 hands raked $.50+ for each $10 you want to clear. That's definitely not worth it. I still have $60 pending in my bonus there, and I'm leaving it.

Hopefully someone will find this info useful. I know Kip was thinking about moving over there. You may want to try somewhere else, buddy. I know there are definitely a lot better sites out there.

March 03, 2006

Stand Up For Your Rights

As many of you may already be aware, online poker is in danger of being made "officially" illegal in the United States. Representative Bob Goodlatte from Virginia has recently put forth a bill in Congress that would outlaw games of skill like online poker, yet make exceptions for games of completely random chance, like betting on horse races and state lotteries.

The online poker community needs YOU to

A) Spread the word. Get people up in arms about this. Congress works for US, not the other way around.

B) Contact your congressperson and complain about this issue. You may do so by going here. For full effect, send both an email and print out another letter to send via snailmail.

We can hopefully get this bill tabled if we all work together. Spread the news and stand up for your rights!

Thanks to Lucky Blonde for the information and the link.

UPDATE:

My wife has submitted the story to both Fark and BoingBoing, so maybe we can get faster support from the community if these get posted. I told you she's the best.

March 02, 2006

Quadruple Shootout: The Non-Tilt Post

You'll have to excuse the previous post. It was definitely overly negative. It was written by one Tilty McTilt who, after thorough review of his work, is no longer with our organization. Without further ado, I give you a more complete and upbeat look at the tournament last night.

First off, 6th out of 1296 people?! Holy crap! That number didn't even hit me until this morning. That's definitely my best finish ever in a MTT. My previous best was 5th out of like 300 or 400. That was over a year ago, so I don't really remember. The field was definitely not nearly as large though.

First Table:

I definitely deserved the win on this one. I played solid, aggressive poker here. The format of this tourney is you play a six-handed table until one is left standing, and then you move on to the next one. I had solid reads on ALL of the people at this table, which is very rare for me. There's only one hand of note that I really remember from this table:

I'm dealt 44 in the BB. It folds around to the button who raises 3x. I call. Flop comes Kxx. I check, he checks. For a split second, I thought that was giving me the green light, but I remembered that this guy likes to come over the top. Turn is a blank, and I check again, almost sure that this guy is slow playing a K. He checks again. Now I'm just puzzled. I've given him the green light twice, but still no bet. I think he's trying to lure me in with a monster. River 4. I smile to myself, knowing that I'm going to be getting all of his chips. I make a weak bet of about 1/2 of the pot, and sure enough, he comes over the top of me with a big reraise. I push him all in. He calls with his AK. BUSTED. I clean up the rest of the table not long after. I waited about 25 minutes for the rest of round one to finish.

Second Table:

I'm pretty sure I deserved to win this table too, but I'm not 100%. I think I had one suckout here. Not positive, but I seem to remember it happening. Anyway, this table was not very memorable for me. No really big hands, and no super challenging players. This table did take slightly longer to beat, as I was up against better players than the first table, but in the end I took it down.

Third Table:

I never should have made it to the final table. I really shouldn't have. But I did, so I should be very happy with the $150 that I took down last night instead of the $70 I would have gotten if I'd gone out in this round. There were three hands of note at this table.

First hand:

I'm dealt 78c in BB. UTG raises 3x, and it folds around to me. I decide to call. The flop comes x79. UTG bets out. I think for a little bit. I put him on a fairly premium hand, but not a pocket pair. This guy varied his bets on the strength of his hand, and would have bet more than 3x UTG with a pocket pair. None of the premium drawing hands I put him on have a nine in them. Not from UTG. I figure him for a big ace or a big king. He has me covered, but I decide to come over the top all-in to make him pay to draw out on me. He calls... with 9To. Ouch. Okay, you got me... until I river an 8.

The guy then goes on a rampage, calling me a moron and telling me what a "great play" I made. I told him that I placed him on higher cards, but he would have none of it. I just told him "thank you" for the "great play" compliment and just let it ride. He was still going two hands later when suckout number two occurred.

Second hand:

I get A9d in either SB or BB. I don't remember which. Mr. Angry pushes all in with his relative short stack, and it folds to me. I think that he's playing irrationally because I tilted him, so I call. He flips over AQ. Doh, got me again... until I river a 9, and he goes home. I have to tell you, I did not feel the least bit bad about this suckout. The guy was a total ass.

The rest of the this table was fairly uneventful until it got heads up. I battered the guy down with raises until he was pretty short stacked. Then came the final suckout.

Third hand:

I'm dealt 64c in the big blind. My opponent makes his mistake preflop by either min raising or smooth calling. I can't remember which one it was. Anyway, the flop came 345 rainbow. I pushed him all in, and he calls with JJ. He should have moved all in on me pre-flop. I probably would have folded. Anyway, turn is a blank, but I river my 7 for the straight. I'm final table bound!

You can read about my final table performance below. I'm not particularly happy with it, and I think I would have done two things differently. First, I probably should have folded the K9. I'm not very experienced with 6 handed tourneys, though (this was my first one), so I thought it might be good. Second, I probably should have folded the A8h as well. That hand is too easily dominated, especially with a raise in front of me. At the very worst, I should have smooth called, and I most definitely should NOT have reraised. I'm positive I was tilting from being pushed off the hand before. And for God's sake, Matt, TAKE THE FREE CARD. *SLAP* Ok, I think I've beaten that into my head now. I should be good to go for the next one.

See you on the felt!

Sigh

Well, first the good news. I made $150 coming in 6th place in a 1296 player quadruple shootout tournament last night. I made the final table. The bad news: my play at the final table was awful. And short.

First hand, I get J9c in early position. I fold it. I would have flopped middle pair and flush draw and hit the flush on the turn. Wonderful. Not only that, but another played ended up having a lower flush, and I almost surely would have busted him out.

Second hand, I get A6 spades and fold it. I would have flopped I think a pair, but definitely the nut flush draw. I would have hit it on the turn. DAMMIT.

The first hand I played was K9o from the BB with a raise of 3x. The flop comes 9 high and I bet out. The guy smooth calls. The turn is a 3, and I bet out hard. The guy comes over the top of me. I tank for a bit, decide he's on an overpair or set, and fold. I probably should have called and ended it here.

The last hand I played was A8h in late position. UTG raised 3x, I raise him 3x his bet, and BB calls. UTG folds. Flop comes K high with my flush draw. BB checks, and I push. He instacalls with KJ, and the one damn time I need my flush I don't get it. I think PS gave me those first couple of hands to put me on "you should have played those cards" tilt. I should have taken the free card. I am an idiot.

The End.

March 01, 2006

Stupid! Stupid!

I didn't last too terribly long in the WWdN game last night. The death hand came when I was dealt JJ on the button. UTG raised 3x, so I was pretty sure he was on a premium hand. Everyone folded to me, I called, and the blinds got out. The flop came 9TQ. Sweet, an open ender and a scary board for my opponent. UTG has me covered and bets hard into the pot for T650, which was about 1/3 of my stack of T1600. I put the guy on AQ or AA. The board is pretty scary for any one pair hand, so I come over the top all-in. The guy instacalls with KK.

Nice.

I totally didn't place him on that hand (definitely my fault; I'm not sure why it didn't enter my mind), and because of that, 6 of my ten outs went bye-bye. He was holding two Ks, and any J would give him a straight. So I was down to two remaining Ks and four 8s. I didn't improve, and I go out in like sixty-something place. I don't remember exactly.

Anyway, I'm kind of surprised the guy instacalls with KK there. I'd never seen him before, so he might have been relatively new. I know I would definitely go into the tank with that hand if someone came over the top on me. He made the right call, though, so I can't really blame him. Would you have called me in that situation?

The good news is that I won the majority of my buy-in for the WWdN game playing some $.10/$.25 NL cash holdem with Waffles and Garthmeister. Between the three of us, we ran the table pretty good. We forced a couple of people to rebuy, and in the end I think we took the table for over $50*.

It was definitely a fun night, despite the questionable all-in in the WWdN game. Hopefully I will do better next week.

*In the odd case that someone interprets this as collusion, let me assure you it was no such thing. We just kick ass.