Friday, October 24, 2008

Nice Quick Session

I meant to make a post yesterday describing how I didn't feel I was playing my best lately. I played a few tournaments on Wednesday night and played pretty awful, and I knew it. I was making some terrible calls and I don't think I got my money in ahead once. I just wasn't playing very patient, and I think I might have been a little bit on tilt.

But last night I sat down for a quick session and I crushed.

If it wasn't for the following hand, I would have won over $1,300 in 30 minutes.

Full Tilt Poker, $1/$2 NL Hold'em Cash Game, 5 Players

UTG: $311.55
CO: $280.20
BTN: $400
Hero (SB): $418.80
BB: $233.15

Pre-Flop: 2c 2s dealt to Hero (SB)
UTG folds, CO calls $2, BTN folds, Hero calls $1, BB raises to $12, CO calls $10, Hero calls $10

Flop: ($36) 2h 4d Qh (3 Players)
Hero checks, BB checks, CO checks

Turn: ($36) Qs (3 Players)
Hero bets $32, BB calls $32, CO calls $32

River: ($132) 7h 3 Players)
Hero bets $96, BB folds, CO raises to $192, Hero raises to $288, CO calls $44.20 and is All-In

Results: $604.40 Pot ($3 Rake)
CO showed 7d 7c (a full house, Sevens full of Queens) and WON $601.40 (+$321.20 NET)
Hero showed 2c 2s (a full house, Twos full of Queens) and LOST (-$280.20 NET)

So I go for the check-raise on the flop, but no one bets. Then I lead out almost full pot on the turn, and this idiot thinks that his 7's are probably good. Bah!!

Still, not bad for a half an hour. here is one of the big hands. Bet bet bet :)

Full Tilt Poker, $1/$2 NL Hold'em Cash Game, 5 Players

BB: $279.45
Hero (UTG): $248.40
CO: $226.25
BTN: $182.50
SB: $828.95

Pre-Flop: 9s 7s dealt to Hero (UTG)
Hero raises to $7, CO calls $7, 3 folds

Flop: ($17) 9h 7d 5d (2 Players)
Hero bets $16, CO calls $16

Turn: ($49) 3h (2 Players)
Hero bets $46, CO calls $46

River: ($141) 7h (2 Players)
Hero bets $179.40 and is All-In, CO calls $157.25 and is All-In

Results: $455.50 Pot ($3 Rake)
Hero showed 9s 7s (a full house, Sevens full of Nines) and WON $452.50 (+$226.25 NET)
CO mucked Th Kh (a flush, King high) and LOST (-$226.25 NET)

I love that flop call. Thank you!


Monday, October 20, 2008

Canterbury Trip Report

Friday I took the day off and headed up to Canterbury Park to play in their $300 Fall Classic Event. I've gone up there for one event the last three years now, and I was looking forward to my one live MTT of the year. I'm not sure why I look forward to it, because the structure in these are terrible. You start out with 4000 chips, blind levels are only 40 minutes long, and the first few blinds levels are 25/50, 50/100, 100/200, 100/200 a25, 200/400 a50, 400/800 a100. Heck, by the time the 4th level starts, it's pretty much a pre-flop gambling game.

My starting table was pretty decent for a Canterbury event, but still bad none-the-less. I'd say the level of play in these things matches a $10 online tournament. There were a couple people at my starting table who were friends with Mike Schnieder (Schnieds) of Card Runners (Schnieds is considered one of the best limit players in the world). One of his friends at my table actually won the $200 tournament the day before for 21 grand. But all of them busted out by level 4.

I played pretty much flawless poker, but unfortunately, the cards didn't fall my way. I was pretty much spot on with all of my reads. The funny thing was that I was able to validate my reads, because everyone at my table loved to show their cards. Be it a bluff (Not many) or a strong made hand, these idiots would always show, lol.

Anyways, I hovered around the starting stack for the first 2 levels. In level 3 (100/200), I was down to about 3500 in chips, and 3-bet a looser player with JJ. I had him covered just barely, and he called with AKdd. The flop was all diamonds, and he flopped the nuts on me. So I'm down to 600 chips, and the next hand it folds to me in the SB. I look down and see the hammer and push em in. BB calls with AQ, but I river a 7 to win the 40/60. A few hands later I call an all-in from another shortie and double up with KQs vs JT and I get back up to the 3500 range.

After the first break, and into level 4 (100/200 a25), I find pocket Tens and 3-bet all-in for 3000 chips the same guy as my JJ hand. This time though, the guy directly behind me calls. And then the old dude in seat 10 calls too and the original raiser folds. The flop comes a perfect T84, and the other two guys get it in. Player directly behind me has AA, and old dude has 88. LOL. So I survive and triple up and now have a stack to play with.

Nothing too exciting happened the rest of level 4 (200/400 a50) and dwindled down to around 6500 in chips. Near the beginning of level 5, it folds to me in the SB and I find TT again. I raise it up, and the BB pushes his 5000 stack in. I call and he shows A9. Flop is 67x. Turn is an 8 and river is a 5 for the runner runner straight, and I'm down to 1500 in chips. Hooray. A few hands later It folds to me in late position and I push with K7s and get called by TT. Flop is a beautiful KJ7 and I flop two pair. Turn is a Ace. And yep, you guessed it, river is a Queen giving him runner-runner straight.

I didn't win one hand when I had the other guy covered. How pathetic is that.

And one more bad beat to share. When I got to Canterbury, I noticed some sweet smelling white smoke coming from under my hood. I was leaking anti-freeze, so instead of hanging around and playing cash games after I busted, I had to go spend 3+ hours waiting at a Ford dealership so they could fix my car so I could make the 90 mile trek back home.


Online results sucked this weekend. I still won a few bucks, but I was way off in all-in EV. Every damn draw was hitting against me. Oh well, I suppose that if I am going to run like crap, it's still nice to come out with a small profit.



Thursday, October 16, 2008

New York City Fun!

Lots of "firsts" for me this past weekend. First time in New York City. First time seeing the Statue of Liberty. First time riding in a subway (2nd time if you consider the El in Chicago). First time on National TV. First time eating caviar.

I lived a pretty sheltered life growing up. My parents and I never took trips anywhere. We went to Disney World when I was 12 years old, but that was it. All of our other family vacations consisted of going up to a lake in the summer and fishing. Going to Disney World was my first plane ride. I wouldn't ride in a plane again until my senior year of college when a prospective employer flew me down from Fargo to Minneapolis. I have never been out of the USA. Actually, I take that back. I think we may have driven across the Canadian border up in the north shore of Lake Superior for 10 minutes once when we were kids, just so we could say we've been to Canada. Sad, huh?

Things have gotten better over the years, but I still haven't traveled much. If you don't count Wisconsin (and who does?), the only places I've been to East of the Mississippi are Florida and Chicago. So it's safe to say I was really excited about going to NYC this past weekend.

We flew in late Friday afternoon, and the excitement started right away. We hoped in a car at the airport and made it into Manhattan in what seemed like record time. If there was any open space anywhere on the road in front of us, our driver would take it. No one on the shoulder? No problem, it's wide enough to drive on. My wife didn't think too much of the drive in, but I thought it was fun.

Once we got into NYC, we met up with my wife's friend who we were staying with at a hotel near Madison Square Garden. We headed on down to Korea town, and we had an excellent meal at a place called Schoo Roo Mi. We ordered up some Korean BBQ, and it was delicious. We then got onto the subway and headed down to Times Square and wandered around, went into a few shops, and picked up dessert. I have to say, I thought there were a lot of people walking around in Vegas, but it's nothing compared to the amount of people out-and-about in NYC.

On Saturday we heading on down to Battery Park to wait in line for the Statue of Liberty tours. On our way there, we got off on the Wall Street subway station. It was like a ghost town down there. No cars, no people. It was strange. Every where else in Manhattan had tons and tons of people. You'd think that with all the mess going on with the market, people would maybe be working on the weekends, haha.

So we did tours of the Statue and Ellis Island. It was a beautiful day and perfect for touring these two areas. After this, we headed back to our hotel to get ready for Broadway Musical #1: Spamalot. For dinner, we ate a the Firebird Restaurant on 46th street. Firebird is fancy Russian place, and it was excellent. Their drink speciality is a martini called The Tsartini. It is made from Honey-infused Vodka, with a splash of lime juice and some cinnamon. Oh man, it was the best drink I've ever had. I had to have two! Along with that, I had the Firebird Blini for an appetizer. Blini is the Russian crepe, and you fill it with caviar and sour cream. This was the first time I've ever eaten caviar. I'm not sure that I am a big fan of caviar. It had a little bit too much of a fishy taste for my liking. For the main course, I had their Kulebiaka Iz Lososini, which is Salmon baked in a puff pastry on a bed of wilted spinach. It was most excellent. This place was awesome, and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting the area.

After dinner was Spamalot starring Clay Aiken! Other than the 6'10" guy sitting right in front of us, it was a great show. Even my wife, who had not seen the movie before, thought it was really good.

Sunday started off with brunch with my cousin at Pastis, a french bistro in the meat packing district. Apparently this area is the new trendy area of Manhattan, and my cousin told me that she wouldn't be surprised if we saw celebrities in there eating. Sure enough, we saw Philip Seymour Hoffman and then there was some famous designer guy, Isaac Mizrahi or something like that. After brunch, we walked through the shops of the Chelsea Market, which is located in an old Nabisco plant. Very cool.

The rest of the day, we just wondered around Manhattan, going through SoHo, Chinatown, and Little Italy. We ate lunch at a little corner Mexican place called La Esquina. Apparently Jennifer Anniston was there just a few hours after we were there. Later on in the afternoon, we had dessert at a nice Italian place in Little Italy.

We didn't have any plans for Sunday night, so we just took it easy and went and had Japanese food at a place called Shima in the East Village. I had a combo meal which included Sashimi and teriyaki among other things. This was just the 3rd time for me eating Sushi, and it excellent. I think salmon sushi is my favorite. Mmmmm, melts in your mouth.

Monday started out really early as we decided to get up and go see the Today show over at Rockefeller Plaza. We got there about 15 minutes before the start of the show, and was still able to get a good spot in the plaza. They didn't do too many segments outside, but it was still fun to experience it. I was on TV in the background about three separate times. I'll have to figure out how to get the show off of DVR and onto youtube or something like that. I also got to meet Lenny, the Today show super fan!

The rest of Monday morning/afternoon was spent around the Rockefeller plaza area. We went up to the top of the rock and did a tour of the NBC studios. They showed us the SNL stage, and wow, is it small. I didn't expect that. After that, we walked up to central park and did a quick carriage ride through the park (what a rip off. Those guys are a bunch of scammers).

Monday night was Broadway Musical #2: Phantom of the Opera. But first, we had dinner at John's Pizzeria, which was right across the street from the theater. The Pizzeria is located in an old church and very cool. The pizza was of course excellent, along with some Brooklyn Lager. Mmmmmm. the musical was pretty good. The seats were really comfortable at the Majestic, so that was nice. Act 1 of Phantom is better than Act 2 though. Maybe it had to do with me not recognizing many of the songs in Act 2. Oh well, it was still very good.

Tuesday was our last day, but we still had time before out 6 PM flight. We spent the morning at the Museum of Natural History and Central Park. here's a picture from Strawberry Fields.

For lunch, we went down to the Shake Shack in Madison Square Park off of 24th st. Apparently this place is really popular, and the food did not disappoint. One of the best burgers I've ever had.

So New York was really fun. I'm looking forward to going back some day soon. We had awesome weather every single day. We didn't see a cloud in the sky until Monday. You couldn't really ask for better. The food was excellent, the entertainment was excellent. Now if I could only figure out how to make my own Honey-infused vodka........


As far as poker goes, I've played two quick sessions since I've been back, and have done pretty well, winning a couple buy-ins. Tomorrow, I am taking the day off to go play in a Canterbury Fall Classic Event up in Shakopee. Last year I busted out a couple tables short of the money. I plan on playing really aggressive early hoping to get a nice stack early on. Blinds start to go up really fast in these things, so getting a stack early in these things is important.


Labels: , ,

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Vacation Tomorrow! And Some Poker Strategy (What?!!?)

Wooooo, Vacation! I love vacations. I'm really looking forward to my first ever NYC trip tomorrow. We have tickets to see Spamalot on Saturday night, and Phantom of the Opera on Monday night. I'm a big fan of Musicals, so it should be fun.

Monday morning, we plan on going to Rockefeller Plaza and watch the Today show. We don't have any other real concrete plans right now, but I'm sure we'll take a boat tour of the Statue of Liberty and go to the WTC site, among other tourist attractions. I think we might go to the Museum of Natural History one day too.


Poker started out real good at the beginning of the month, but it's been pretty much break even since.

Apparently A5 is the nuts these days.

Full Tilt Poker, $1/$2 NL Hold'em Cash Game, 6 Players

BTN: $202
SB: $268
BB: $211.85
UTG: $194.70
Hero (MP): $218.55
CO: $279

Pre-Flop: Ad As dealt to Hero (MP)
UTG folds, Hero raises to $7, 2 folds, SB raises to $12, BB folds, Hero raises to $40, SB raises to $268 and is All-In, Hero calls $178.55 and is All-In

Flop: ($439.10) 3h 2c Js (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Turn: ($439.10) 4h (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

River: ($439.10) Ks (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: $439.10 Pot ($3 Rake)
SB showed 5c Ah (a straight, Five high) and WON $436.10 (+$217.55 NET)
Hero showed Ad As a pair of Aces) and LOST (-$218.55 NET)

PokerStars, $0.50/$1 NL Hold'em Cash Game, 6 Players

BTN: $98.20
SB: $119.20
BB: $100.00
UTG: $94.85
MP: $199.05
Hero (CO): $192.10

Pre-Flop: Kd Ks dealt to Hero (MP)
UTG folds, MP folds, Hero raises to $4, BTN folds, SB raises to $20, BB folds, Hero raises to $50, SB raises to $119.20 and is All-In, Hero calls $69.20.

Flop: ($239.40) 2h 2d 4d (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Turn: ($239.40) 7h (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

River: ($239.40) 3h (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: $239.40 Pot ($3 Rake)
SB showed 5h Ah (a flush, Ace high) and WON $236.40 (+$116.90 NET)
Hero showed Kd Ks a pair of Aces) and LOST (-$119.20 NET)

I tried 8 tabling the other day. Holy crap, I don't know how some of those Multitablers do it. I became a much worse poker player trying to play that many tables. And there are people who do 16 tables at a time!! I'm pretty sure that 6 tables is my max. And I just added two more tables to get to 8, and it was infinitely more difficult.

Time for some strategy! There are two pretty important skills that I've learned recently that I think have really improved my play. They may seem obvious to the advanced players out there, but I didn't really think about it much.

The first is betting on the river when you are out of position. I've learned that it is much much better to Bet/fold than it is to check/call with a marginal, yet good hand. There are a few reasons for this. One is that you get to control the size of the river bet. Another is you get to be the aggressor and make your opponent make the tough decision.

Here is an example. You raise from MP with AQo and get called by the button. Let's say that the button is a typical passive fish. The type of player that are all over the tables at 200NL and under. The flop comes Qh 9s 3h. You have TPTK. You bet 2/3 pot and he calls. Villain could have many different hands. A Queen with worse kicker, a 9, a flush draw, straight draw, gutshots, combos, whatever. They call your flop bet. Lets say that the turn is another 3. You lead out again and they call. Now lets say the river is an offsuit 8. That means JT got there. But villain could easily have a flush draw, a Queen, Pocket Tens, or something like that. If you check to them, you are giving them the initiative and letting them play correctly against you. They'll check behind some marginal hands that may have some showdown value that you beat and could have gotten some money from. They'll obviously bet out their big hands like full houses and straights. But they also could bet out with a busted flush draw. What do you do when the villain pots it on the river? Do you want to call a pot size bet there with just Top Pair? How many times have you seen it checked to the donk, and the donk pots it. Ya, a lot.

The better play is for you to bet out about half pot and fold to a raise. They will call with many hands that you beat, but if they have a monster, they will let you know and raise. A raise here from this type of player is super strong, and you can easily fold your Top Pair Top Kicker.

The second is betting the turn in position with a marginal hand that may have show down value. I've started to do this a little bit more too. Let's face it, people don't like to fold. Especially donks. Heck, even the really good LAG regulars don't like to fold. Tons and tons of floating going on in the 6 max world. But you have position, and position is king.

Let's say you raise T9s from the Cutoff. The Big Blind calls and it is heads up. The flop is Qh Ts 2h. You have middle pair. There are tons of draws out there. The BB checks and you fire out a standard continuation bet. They call.

Now the turn comes a blank and the BB checks again. What should you do? If you check behind, most players will fire out on that river with whatever they have. It could be anything. Top pair, a busted draw, a smaller pocket pair. What do you do with your middle pair?

The better play is to fire out that turn again with about a 1/2 to 2/3 pot bet. That's a nice size to charge draws if they are drawing. Heck, they may even fold a hand that has you beat like top pair crappy kicker. But the best thing about this bet, is that if they do call, what will they most likely do on the river? They will check, and you just got yourself to a cheap showdown with a hand that has some showdown value. Sure, you might be beat by top pair, but you kept the initiative and kept the pot small.

Have a good weekend!


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

September Results

Ahhh, September comes to a close. That makes me sad, because September was my Best Month Everâ„¢!! Even better than June, when I won the WSOP main event seat (Losing in the cash games that month brought me down a little)

I did pretty good in cash game, especially since I only played 6200 hands in 21 hours.

MTTs obviously rocked, with my two big cashes. Add that with some rakeback and a little bit playing Omaha, and I almost had a 5 figure month. I figure that I played maybe a total of 30 hours this month, so I like that hourly rate.


I think that it is safe to say that I was a little burnt out on poker the last couple months. I haven't played much, and I haven't done much in the way of studying. But the last week or so, I've really gotten back into it. I've watched a ton of videos(and I've signed up over at DeucesCracked), and I have played every day so far this week. I really feel that I am on top of my game right now.

I had a nice little 25 minute session this morning, and I won two buy-ins. The big hand was against a mega-calling station. This guy would call two and three barrels with 3rd pair. So I go for the value shove on the river and get paid off. I don't know about you, but I usually fold Q4s to a pre-flop raise.

Full Tilt Poker, $1/$2 NL Hold'em Cash Game, 5 Players

Hero (SB): $214.50
BB: $316
UTG: $205.85
CO: $354.20
BTN: $99.90

Pre-Flop: Kc Qs dealt to Hero (SB)
3 folds, Hero raises to $7, BB calls $5

($14) Qd 2h Ks (2 Players)
Hero bets $12, BB calls $12

Turn: ($38) Qh (2 Players)
Hero bets $29.50, BB calls $29.50

River: ($97) Ts (2 Players)
Hero bets $166 and is All-In, BB calls $166

Results: $429 Pot ($3 Rake)
Hero showed Kc Qs (a full house, Queens full of Kings) and WON $426 (+$211.50 NET)
BB mucked Qc 4c (three of a kind, Queens) and LOST (-$214.50 NET)


Tonight is the Wednesday, so that means The Mookie and lots of MTTs. I think I'll try some of those PokerStars Caribbean Adventure satellites. I don't think my wife would mind a vacation down there during the brutal cold we are going to have in January.