Monday, October 30, 2006

6 Max NL

It's interesting to sit back and see how I go through stages in my poker playing and my game of choice. Back in April/May when I was on a hot streak, I played a lot of SNGs and 6 max NL at the Europeans sites. From July - September, I mostly played Full Table NL (9 or 10 players). I am now back to playing exclusively the 6 max NL tables.

I've learned a lot from watching the cardrunners videos. The pros there seem to only play 6 max, so that is what I have been concentrating on. One of the main things that I have really improved upon from cardrunners is my aggressiveness. My stats for the couple weeks are around 26% VP$IP (voluntarily Put Money In the Pot) and 18% PreFlop Raise %. I very rarely will open limp. If my cards are good enough to limp in with, and it hasn't been raised yet, I will raise it up. And I have been re-raising people pre-flop a lot more. When you do that, most people will assume you have a huge hand like Kings or Aces. I know that if I get played back at, they will most definitely have a really good hand too, and it makes it easier to fold.

Since I am raising 18% of my hands, that means I am pretty much raising all of my pocket pairs (Though I will just call with the low-mid pocket pairs if someone bets before me). I have read many posts and article about extracting as much money as you can when you flop a set. Getting someone's full stack in an unraised pot is pretty difficult. I read a great post by fruitypro over at the cardrunners forums:


"I recommend raising preflop with pocket pairs almost every time. This has so many advantages - you start building a pot, it's easier to get a player to stack off with top pair in a raised pot, you can often win without hitting by continuation betting, you can win the pot preflop, and also you often get to see 5 cards (especially in position) which gives you more chance to spike a set and win a big pot.

The only time I'd not raise preflop is if I had 22-77 in the blinds in a limped pot, where I'd just complete/check.

I also like 3-betting with pocket pairs (even small ones) against a guy who has raised in position. This has significant mathematical advantages (I've put some examples on my latest blog post), and also calling a position raise with a pocket pair probably wont get you paid off even if you hit because he is raising light to start with.

Finally, I'd almost always play sets fast. I very rarely slow play, because not only can it compromise your own hand, further cards could also scare your opponent. Furthermore, if your opponent has a pair or a draw, he's not folding so why not value bet your good hand?

PS: Another reason why you should always raise pocket pairs is this - imagine you are an aggressive player, who always raises except you limp small pairs. When you are playing against the same guys on a daily basis (which you'll start to do from 200NL onwards), they will soon notice this and if you limp or limp/call a raise and then start betting out, they will know you have a set, and fold their good hand often themselves. So raising also adds deception to your hand, making it much harder for your opponents to put you on something."


FruityPro also has a blog out there. I highly recommend reading what he has to say. There are some really good strategy articles there. Go check it out


I had a fairly good weekend on the poker tables. I really enjoyed the crazy play at a Prima poker room, so I signed up at another Prima site with Rakeback. I am now playing at Ace Flush Poker, which I signed up through bonuswhores and get 50% rakeback! I won just over $300 on Friday night in about a half an hour. I came upon a 100NL table where the average pot was $102!! There were some crazy donktastic play going on, and I had to join in on the fun. There was a guy there that would go all-in with any pair. So if you hit Top pair, you would take his stack. It was fun! I also generated $70 in rake this weekend, so add $35 to my profit!

I also joined at another Tribeca site called Bowmans Poker. The bonus there is based off of contributed rake, but with me playing only 6 max NL now, I should be able to clear this one pretty fast. And the play at Tribeca is always donktastic.


Friday, October 27, 2006

OMG, Poker content!

I finally had a good day at the poker tables yesterday. I played in Full Tilt's 20k guaranteed last night, and I finished in 63rd place (out of about 1350) for a whopping $62 (it cost me only $6.60 to get in as I won a token). I was in the top 10 in chips for a while with around half the field gone. I stayed in the top 30 or so for most of the way.

I think I played pretty good poker. I played tight, but actually opened up and stole a little bit more. I had one enormous suckout when the giant stack at my table made a terrible call, but was ahead anyways. This guy would go all the way to the river with any pair and any Ax hand. He called many PF all-ins with A2-A7 and always won. In our particular hand, I had a above average stack and he had me well covered. I was on the Button with AQ, and made a standard raise. He of course called. Flop was 357 rainbow. He led out full size pot bet and I re-raised all-in, thinking I could push him off his Ax. He called with pocket twos. The turn was another 3, and the river was a 7 making him play the board with his three pair.

I then played decent poker until we got down into the money. I lost a few hands to some short stacks, then doubled up a guy with a stack half the size of mine when my Kings couldn't beat his Jacks, even though I flopped a set. That hand was pretty much my death, as the blinds were so high, that my M was now at 5 ( Overall Chip Leaders M was 17). I ended up going out in 63rd when I pushed with ATs and the BB woke up with Kings. If I would have won that KK vs JJ hand, I think I could have made a good run at the final table.

It was fun though, and I was happy with my play.

I also did well in the cash games and was up a few buy-ins. It should have been more, but there were some pretty nasty beats. Oh well. I'm now back to even for the month, blah.

I'm starting to get a little burnt out on poker and doing the "grind". I've tried playing some SNGs the last couple days, but haven't even cashed in any, so that isn't any fun. I'm really starting to wonder if I can make any money off this game anymore. Since June, I'm pretty much breakeven on the poker front, and most of my profit is from bonuses. Now that that will dry up, I doubt I can make any money any more. I guess I can just start playing recreationally and just play tournaments once a week or so.

I haven't made any money over at Full Tilt since I've reloaded there. The play there is pretty Tight/aggressive. All of the sharks have seemed to migrate over there. I need to find a place to play that has crazy fish. I read a quote over at Iggy's the other day and he said that he would "rather play with Bubba from Texas than Sven from Sweeden". Well, the problem with that is that Bubba from Texas doesn't play poker anymore. The people that play poker in the evening US time are the serious US players. I would much rather play those crazy Europeans any day of the week. I've been having success at Prima the last couple weeks, so maybe I'll find a rakeback site there and start playing there more. Man, I wish I could play over at B2B still.


Monday, October 23, 2006

Come Join my Fantasy Basketball League!!

Bill Frist says it is ok to bet on Fantasy Sports (and horse races and lotteries. This kind of gambling is ok. Not poker), so I set up a Fantasy Basketball League.

I actually think that Fantasy Basketball is much more fun than Fantasy Football. So if you are an NBA fan, or just like basketball in general, come out and have some fun.

I set up the league over at Yahoo. It's free, and they software is really easy to use. This will be a Live online draft, scheduled for Tuesday Oct 31st at 9 PM CST. This was the only time available for a live draft in the evening between now and the start of the season. And I figured, that for those of us who have kids, it will be dark already and the trick or treating will be done already. BUT... if you can't make the live draft, you can still play! Just go into your team page and you can set up a ranking sheet, and you will automatically draft. There are plenty of good ranking sheets over at ESPN and sites like that.

To sign up, go on over to Yahoo's Fantasy Sports page. Then click the Sign up Now button (You'll have to log into Yahoo or sign up for a Yahoo account somewhere in here). Then accept the terms and conditions by hitting the Agree button. Then click the Join League button. The click the Join Custom button. Enter in the following in the League ID and password field:

League ID: 144769
Password: hammer

There you go! Hopefully we can get a good 8-12 people for this. It should be fun!


Friday, October 20, 2006

Anyone interested in a Fantasy Basketball League?

I'm a big NBA fan, so I am looking forward to the season starting soon (Even though my Timberwolves will probably suck it up again this year).

Hopefully I can get enough of interest to start a Fantasy Basketball League. If you are interested, post a little message in the comments, and I will set one up and post the information here after the league is created. More than likely, I will use Yahoo to set this up at.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Played In My First Real Live Tournament This Week

I was reading over at Rage On Tilt, and saw that Ragecg had registered for the Monday tournament of the Canterbury Fall classic. When I first heard about the tournaments a couple months ago, I told myself to remember about it because I would really like to play in one of these. Well sure enough, I forgot about the Canterbury Fall Classic. Good thing Ragecg made a post about it, so I took the day off and headed up to Canterbury Downs and played in Monday's $200 No-Limit event. I was looking forward to Ragecg and I making the final two, and then us splitting the payouts, but it was not to be :(

I was really surprised by the amount of players coming out on Monday to play in this thing. There were about 750 people registered, so the prize pool was around $150,000. I do have to say though, that the setup of this tournie wasn't very good. They only paid out to 36 people. And first place got a whopping 33% of the prize pool (I think I saw the exact number right around $47,000). And the movement of the blinds were horrible. Levels only lasted 30 minutes, so you were lucky to get in 20 hands per level. Plus the blinds and antes doubled every level! It was pretty much push or fold poker starting in level 4 (We started with 2000 chips)

If I remember correctly, the blinds started at 25/25, 25/50, 50/100, 100/200, 100/200/a25, 200/400/a50, 400/800/a100. Uggggg

Anyways, I started at Table 38, seat 8. I liked being in seat 8 as it gave me a view of everyone at the table. My starting table was a pretty mixed in terms of age. There were 4 older guys, 2 young guys, and then 4 guys around my age.

I didn't get involved in a hand until probably the 7th or 8th hand. It was folded to me in the SB (Tight table). I see QTo and raise it up 3x BB and the BB calls. Flop is Kh, Jh, Td so I have bottom pair plus OESD. I decided to check here. BB bet 200 into the 150 pot and I didn't want to commit 1/5 of my stack this early in the tournament so I folded. Ya, I know. Pretty weak.

Still in the first level(25/25), I get AKo on the button. 3 limpers and I raise to 200. Everyone folds. Probably should have raised a little less. back to starting chip stack.

Last hand of the first level and I see A6 of spades. I limp as do a bunch of other people. Six people see a flop of 9TJ with two spades. I have the nut flush draw. Dumbass SB bets 150 (pot sized bet). I decide to flat call here. Button raises to 500. SB folds. There is 950 in the pot and it is 350 for me to call with the nut flush draw. I just barely have odds to call, but again I fold, not wanting to commit a big portion of my stack on a draw. I know, weak again. See what I mean by these blinds. Its the first level and if you want to play any hands past the flop, you have to commit a huge portion of your stack.

I was involved in only two hands in Level 2 (25/50), and they were back to back hands. I'm in the SB with pocket Kings! It is folded to the button (Hey! What happened to all you limpers!). The Button (who was not a very good player and had less chips than me) raised it to 150 (3x BB). I decide to raise here, and I bumped it to 400. He thinks for like 2 seconds and folds. Next hand, I get AKs on the button. EP bets 150 and it is folded to me. I again raise to 400 and he folds. Arggg. Back to starting chip stack. Yipee.

In level 3, the best hand I got was QJs. And it was UTG and I folded it. Nothing else the whole level.

At the start of Level 4, I'm down to 1525 in chips (An M of 5. Yay). No cards again, and then our table breaks. Or course it breaks to a table that will probably get broken again soon (since this is where they do the cash games). I only get involved in one hand. An old dude in MP min-bets to 400. I go all-in and he tanks for a little while and ends of folding.

We get to Level 5 (100/200/a25) and I still have around 1500 in chips (M of 3!!). In the Big Blind, I have Q9o. There is a limp, and then one of the active guys puts in a small raise to 500 (only 2.5xBB). It gets to me, and its only 300 for me to call into a pot that already has 1225 in it. I should of called (Or probably pushed) but my weak ass folded again. Of course the poker gods laughed as the flop came with a Q and a 9, and I would have won a really nice pot. A few hands later I look down and see pocket Aces! Woot! There is one limper, and I raise it to 800 (just over half my stack). Its folded back to the dude, and he thinks for a while and finally folds. I hit my high mark for the tournament, 2150 in chips. I whopping 150 chips over my starting stack.

And then this is where I get screwed by the poker gods (And the floor staff). Here we are, probably one of the last tables left in the cash game area. Every single table around us is getting broken up and moved to the tournament area. And of course the blinds go up (200/400/a50). And the BB gets to me (I had really thought about stalling like people do online, but I didn't). And then of course right after, our table gets broken. And I go and find my new table, and I should have just walked around looking lost when I saw that I would be in the BB again in two hands there. I sit down with a huge stack of 1050 in chips (M of under 2). two more hands, and the BB is on me. I have to push anything in the top 50%. First I get 72o. I fold. UTG I get 93o! Ahh WTF?! I'm in the BB now. About half my stack is in the BB now. Please give me a good hand! PLEASE! I look down and see...... 62o. Another EP short stack goes all-in, MP and button call, and I decide I might as well see if I can get lucky. No help for me, and I am out of the tournie ( I did end up getting a Inside St Draw on the turn, but the river didn't give me my 4 outer).

I probably finished right in the middle of the pack. So for the last hour and a half, I saw pocket Aces, QJs, and then nothing else. I don't even remember seeing another face card I was getting endless 32o, 84o, 92o. I was the king of deuces.

I probably only saw 4 flops all day. I raised a total of 6 times, and only called once (the 1st level QTo hand).

I probably had about 125 hands. I got AA, KK, AKo, AKs once each. The only other pocket pair I got was 6's. I got A6s once. QJs two times. QTo once. I remember getting A3s once too. That's about it.

I did have fun though. And I learned a lot. What did I learn? Well, is tournaments like this, you have to play really aggressive. I didn't and I paid for that. Even though I was getting sh!t for cards, I needed to raise more. Steal more blinds. I obviously had a tight image, since no one called the few raises I did put in. I also learned that when you play a tournament with the blinds and levels set up the way they were, you have to get good cards and get lucky to go far.

One thing I was worried about in playing my first real live MTT, was if I had any tells. Bah! When you're playing push or fold poker, forget tells. Play your cards and that's about it. There is no room to make moves, and post flop play was pretty much non-existent. Maybe later on in the tournie things would have gotten a little better with deeper stacks, but when you start a MTT with only an M of 40, and then that goes down by half every level, forget about it.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Looks like bonus chasing is gonna dry up

Hi folks. Sorry for the lack of posts lately. Haven't really played all that much poker lately. I haven't played at night for quite a while, mainly do to having to play on a laptop the last couple weeks. I did finally get a new PC on Monday, so hopefully that will change. Though with all that has been going on in the poker world, I'm not sure how profitable playing will be here in the future.

With all of these sites not allowing US customers, it is pretty safe to say that bonus dollars for me will really dry up. That really sucks for me, because the last couple months, I'm pretty much a break even player. I've really only made money the last couple months with bonuses.

So what to do? I've cashed out a good portion of my roll. I think I have about 4 G's left online. I'll probably withdraw a little bit more this week too. I'll continue to play, as long as I can still easily move money around to the few sites I'll be playing at. I will probably switch between Full Tilt, BoDog, and Doyle's. I might add absolute to that list, but I would want to cancel my existing account and get a new account with rakeback.

On the poker playing front, I haven't done too much the last week or so. I've been playing at Party Poker and have cleared their latest bonus. Other than the bonus money, I am right around even. I think Party Poker flipped the "Don't flop any sets" button on me. I haven't flopped a set in about a week (probably 1500 or so hands). I'll probably withdraw out of there today and deposit over at Full Tilt for the latest reload bonus.

Here are a couple interesting hands from this morning.

I get AK on the button at a 200NL table. Someone in middle position bets it up to 4x BB after 2 limpers. I decide to raise it up with my AK. I pump it to $25. The limpers fold and the PF better calls. Flop is AKJ rainbow. He checks and with about $55 in the pot, I bet $36. What do you do if he raises? What if he just calls?

On a 100NL table, I get QQ in middle position and bet it up to 4x BB ($4). The button raises it to $20. That's a pretty hefty raise there. I don't think AA or KK raises it this much, but it is definitely possible. I decide to just call here. So there is $43 in the pot. Flop is something like 4h, 8s, 9s. I check, and he bets $20 leaving him $50 behind (I cover). I decide to just call again here. Turn pairs the board ( I think it was the 8c). I decide to check again here, because I think I am ahead here. So there is $90 in the pot and he pushes the rest of his stack in. $50 for me to call to win $140. I make the call and he flips over AK and the river doesn't help him and I drag a nice pot. What do you think of my play here? Too passive? Raise the flop?