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Monday, July 16, 2012

Stop completing Ax, muppet.

Well, that was a bit more respectable Sunday night. 3rd of about 25. Top 3 guarantees a seat in the quarterly Tavern Championship, so it's nice to get that out of the way fairly early in Week 3.

Once again, I'm only able to get out to one of the two games on Sunday, so I guess I'm doing OK only playing half the events. Some interesting hands came up, where in retrospect I'm really realizing how out of practice I am.

* at 200/400, I'm a little above the starting 7K stack after a couple of preflop raises/continuation bets with air take down pots when I get to check my BB with T6o against three limpers, then see a T65 flop with two spades. I lead half pot and get a call from an EP open limper and a MP cold caller (one of the women from week one, the good player).  So, 4K in the pot to the turn, a red Jack.

I lead 2500, EP folds, MP thinks, counts stack, and flats the 2500 with only 1600 more behind. Hmm.

For some reason I say I'm all in dark before the river hits. It's a black 10 that doesn't complete anything, and MP folds. She says she had a big draw on the turn that didn't get there (98s? Q9s?)

Anyway, WTF was I doing shoving dark? Uh, either she gets there and calls FTW, or she whiffs and folds. Is she really calling off with a worse two pair or folding a better hand? Sometimes I just don't think things through enough. I guess I was trying to make her hero call with a Jack, but that was never happening...

So I'm up to 13K at 200/400 but spew that off quickly enough, blind down to 7K at 400/800 and open shove K7s right into a BB's AJ. I river a four-straight to double up. The BB is a pretty good and sticky player, one I never seem to get it in good with.

"Dude, when's the last time I shoved into you and was ahead? Three years ago on a Tuesday?"
"No, you're always behind when I call, and you always seem to get there..."
"So there's a lesson there," I say. "Stop calling my shoves..."

Sure enough, I have to tread water until we get to a final table 9-handed, but somehow I end up with 21K when we take a quick break to color up at 1k/2k level. I'm not sure how I did this: I have basically quit trying to bluff too much once people have interest in a pot, and TARP when I flop a marginal hand, which costs me in silly spots... (Button minraises, I defend BB. I flop middle pair with a nine, we check the flop and turn, river pairs the 9 but backdoors a club flush, I check and watch the button check behind with a 4c to be nice. I suck.) ...but I still manage to pick up chips when appropriate.

We quickly get down to four handed, and I basically short stack ninja my way to the top three when the other short stack jams and doesn't get there. And then I start turning on my very annoying shove-or-fold switch... One player is very solid, very smart and tricky, while the other is a little more nitty. I start playing optimal short stack poker, shoving in good spots (at least 8-10 over a half hour), making people call off a substantial part of their stacks to look me up - I actually get a couple of folds from the nit where he's getting 3-1 and should never fold, so good timing by me.

Of course, they're noticing what I'm doing, so I try to shift gears and end up pwning myself.

-blinds 4k/8k. We've been at this for a good 30 minutes or so, and when I'm in the SB with a red A8o, I just complete and BB (the tricky player) checks.

|Flop A98 with two clubs. Whee, but I check and BB checks behind.

Turn Qs, so with two flush draws and other junk out there, I lead 10K and get a call.  Pot's 36K now.

River is the Js. I'm not really worried about the flush as much as I am about hands with a T that just backdoored me. I check, villain jams 26K, which I just barely cover, and I have to think if he really floated fourth street and turned his hand into a bluff in a spot where I almost have to call him regardless. I think and fold like a dumbass because:

1) I've been able to steal chips when I want to by open-shoving pots, so I can get that 10K back.
2) It's the leveling thinking: I have to call, so he can't be bluffing, and I don't think he would shove marginal hands I'm ahead of in an effort to get me to fold a better hand, when I really should never be folding here...

Well, I try to get him to talk - he says he noticed I didn't like the river, and I tell him I really wasn't worried about the flush draw, I thought he backdoored a better hand on the river (even though I beat almost all two pair hands - any better Ax hand should have gotten it in on the turn) He says he turned a rivered jack into a bluff... which, while slightly suicidal, makes sense - and emphasizes even more to me...

1) don't get fancy with Ax hands that shallow shorthanded
2) people in position will shove a wide range of hands when checked to on the river (I definitely do, especially when I can't win at showdown) and you have to look them up more than you're comfortable with...
3) I'm dumbass for playing a flopped two pair like that in the first place.

Strangely enough, over the next 10 minutes I stole and restole my way back to the chip lead, before I finally got boned in a limped three way pot out of the big blind. Q32 flop, I spike top pair, I check, Button minbets 8K, SB flats, I shove 40K more on top, button folds but SB calls off with 93o??? (nearly half his stack is in the middle already, but boy o boy) I barely get done saying that he's got a live kicker when the nine hits the turn and I don't improve on the river. My 12K doesn't hold the next hand and I'm done in third. That'll happen.

However, I like how I played overall despite the stupid mistakes. We played three handed a very long time - much more than usual in these tavern tournaments - I was enjoying the challenge, and I had no doubt that if the Q held up, I was going to win HU no matter how good the other player was.

So it's time to actually win one of these freebie MTTs. That would be nice. Oh, I won a $5 gift certificate for third, so at least I can get a free beer next week.. :-)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Crazy eights

-Because I have nothing better to blog about now, let's talk about the freebee bar poker MTTs...

Pretty straightforward evening at the fake tables over the weekend... Completely card-dead for an hour or so, got down to 3BB, then kept winning 60-40s until I finally lost a standard flip to go out 5th of about 23 or so.

The notable notes, with an actual pokery-type question at the end...

1) I'm always amazed by how people play. In the span of 15 hands I saw someone open-limp/flatcall a raise out of position with 99, AA, and QQ (twice). She won three of the four hands. Of course, she also paid off quads on a paired board with a pure bluff catcher, so I have no idea if these lines were a conscious plan or just her erratic style of play.

Naturally, every time I raised her blind she defended/floated, and then donked into me in spots where I can't call and she wasn't likely to fold to a bluff-raise. I run so goot.

2) One of the hands she won was this: Open limps UTG+1 seven-handed, I'm in the BB with Kx, but the SB decides to raise from 200 to 1200. While he's doing that, the button is in his own world and puts out two cards to a flop with a King in the door. I'm half tempted to flat but I'm not a complete muppet, plus I know the cards should get shuffled back into the stub anyway.

I fold, woman flats. Heads up to a reshuffled Qxx rainbow flop, SB checks, woman bets half pot, SB jams, woman snap calls with top set, he sighs and rolls over AA. Live poker is fun.

Then he starts grumbling about how the button's premature flop hosed him - which is kind of true, but

-shit happens,
-cards are random, yo,
-the third card on the first flop might have been a queen, you never know,
-oh well, shit happens.

Even though there's not a continuous RNG shuffling cards during the hand in the real world, I like to think there is. It helps me not fixate too much over silly mistakes like misdeals and dealer fuck-ups.

3) Ok, the pokery-like content. After I roach my way to the final table and win a flip with AK v 33, I actually have what passes for some chips at this point (anything over 10BB, lol). Then, two hands show up where I know what I would do online, but live is a different matter.

 A- We're six handed. UTG is a pretty solid player with chips. BB is a pretty nitty nit. Blinds 1K/2K and I have 28K.

UTG limps, all fold. I have 88 in the SB and just complete. BB then raises to 8K.
UTG folds, I ask how much more is behind and he shows me 12K more. I think and fold.

(Next hand he does the same thing out of the SB and gets a call from an openlimper in EP. He jams a seven-high flop with a flush draw, gets called by A7s (lolpreflop) and his kings get cracked when the flush hits the river. I ask if I was ahead the hand before and he takes a bit to remember before saying he had KQs. So basically I refused to flip, if I believe him.)

B- Five-handed now at 2k/4k, I still have the same 28K stack.
Same UTG opens for 14K. Folds to me in the BB and I look down at 88 again. I push, UTG has a simple call getting 3-1 and I don't hold vs. AQo and I'm out.

Naturally, in any online SnG or MTT, these are pretty trivial spots, especially spot B. I'm too short to stop and go, folding a 7BB stack with a pair is ludicrous, etc...

I SHOULD be raising in spot A, but the UTG limp seemed suspicious, and I just felt like something wasn't right.

But, this is a live (fake) MTT. In both spots I'm certain

-Villains are never raise/folding,
-Villains are pretty straightforward and are never making a move with air,
-I'm hoping I'm flipping against overs, but there's a good chance I'm running into a bigger pair.

As played, what the minimum you get it in with in spot A?

It's a snap shove with TT and a borderline call with 66, I think... But there I go trying to reduce variance by only losing 1K, finding a better spot, and refusing to flip - when it's exactly the kind of spot where I should flip to go big or go home, reads be damned.

Monday, July 2, 2012

And this is what passes for a MTT sweat now...

   After the Face Up debacle, it's pretty apparent that I'm not going to be making any huge online plays in the near term: I'm not very bullish on their future at all.

    The one place I had a little scratch on, Lock, just "downgraded" their software and left Merge: I wasn't really a fan of the changes at all, and decided to go big or go home with my $250 last week... ...and went busto in less than 24 hours - I've never run into so many flopped sets in my life, enough where I actually entertained, "mygodthissiteissoriggedobv" thoughts - and when it all went buh-bye, I uninstalled the software and called it a day. Hey, I got an iPad out of my play there, so that'll work....

   As a result, I don't have any online mobneys at all - except the 3400 I'll never get from FTP - for the first time in forever - at least since 2004, when I first tossed money on Party and Stars and FTP.

 Right now, I'm such a busto in real life - billsbillsbills - that I don't even have a real roll to go out to Charles Town or Delaware Park and spewtard at 1/2 NL or luckbox my way to a couple of final tables with some other locals, as pointed out in my last post.


 Now, it's not real at all, but I try to play semi-regularly on Sunday afternoons at a local dive - I've done ok there, won a few tourneys and quarterly championships - but really haven't made anything substantial happen there in a couple of years, although if I've played 20% of the time, I'm doing really really well - sometimes it's hard to get out of the house for a few hours with family/life stuff...

 Basically, the player base there is pretty consistent and reasonably good like the old blogger tourneys - you get reads and overall history on players... and I have a rep as being a pretty strong player, albeit one that tards off on occasion and overplays weak hands (This is when I openshove A5s for like 7BB and get tank called by TT or AJo from the blinds for a third of someone's stack, LOL)

 With that in mind, Sunday was the first day of the fall season - and hey, it's time to redouble my efforts, play a good game, blahblahblah... We end up with three tables, starting stacks of 7K at 100/200 blinds with 25min levels - I get a 1500-chip bonus by showing up 15 minutes early - anyhow, I start at a table with three women, one of their fathers, and two older nits, so I think, hey, I should be able to do just fine here at a seven-handed table with 40BB assuming I don't get coolered like crazy... I mean, they all are solid players, but I think I'm smarter than the average bear, right?

 Oh no, you will learn you are still a dumbass padawan, yes you are Heff....

 *** First hand, I'm in the SB with J8o, cutoff (the third woman who I have no history with, though the other two know her) open limps. Button folds, I complete, Woman 1/Daughter checks her option.

 Flop J65 two clubs that I don't have. Check/Check/cutoff bets 400 into 600 pot. I call with TopPairBullshitKicker, Daughter folds, heads up to a turn.

Turn another 5, I check call 800 (this is really bad in retrospect, I know, I'm just throwing away chips)

 River completes a backdoor flush, I check, cutoff checks behind. Maybe I'm good - and in these tourneys, I'm not going to do the "I Called You You Show First" unless someone's an obvious prick - so I say, I have a Jack - and Woman 3 rolls over two black Kings for the first pot....

 Sigh. So pwned. But then again, WHY AREN'T YOU VALUE BETTING THE RIVER I NEVER HAZ FLUSH OR A FIVE! I expected to get pipped by QJ/JT, not crushed by an overpair. Anyway, there goes the bonus chips...

 *** Couple hands later, I raise AQo to 500 from EP, one of the nits repops me to 1500 from the cutoff - and I flat him OOP like a true dipshit.

 Flop AKx and he bets 2K into me and I count out the rest of my 5600 chips - and instead of folding or shoving, I decided to call and "freeze" him, reading him for NOT AA/KK/AK - but something AQ can actually beat?

 Anyhow, turn's a Jack (ewww) river's a 9 completing a flush (double eww) and we check it down, he shows AQo - and we chop it up and I really feel dumb now...

 We talk during the next hand - I wonder if I would have shoved the flop would he have called (of course!) he says he read me for a weaker ace and not a big hand because I didn't reraise (which is why I've started flatting a lots of three-bets preflop with monsters at these games - and it works!)

Anyhow, my game sucks now, bottom line. Basically, I forget that everyone else doesn't play like I do and end up valuetowning myself a lot in spots where I think, OMG this is a great spot for a bluff -and I never get shown anything but the effective nizzles when I call.

 *** My next big blind, there's like three limpers (three women, the dad, and me) and the flop comes KQx - my mighty Q4o checks the flop - it checks around - flush card on the turn checks around - and rag on the river checks through as well - so I say "I have a Queen" fully expecting it to be good or chop - until Kings woman from the first hand rolls over K-rag from the button.

 Sigh. If only she knew how to value bet.

 *** I manage to steal a pot over Woman 3 and Dad when they both limp and I have to juice it to 1100 from the cutoff to get everyone to fold - and then I decide to make a small open raise for 500 with AJo under the gun. Woman 1/Daughter calls, Woman 2 calls, Woman 3 calls from the small blind, and Dad comes along. Joy.

 Flop Axx rainbow, Woman 3 makes a really odd lead for 500, I call, and the Daughter behind me calls... Hmm.

Turn a low rag that puts out a flush draw. Daughter checks, I decide to bet 1500 - and both of them call. Not good.

River another junk card. Women 3 checks, I decide to check, thinking a bet never folds out anything better and only gets called when I'm beat - and when the Daughter checks behind, I figure one pair might actually be good here and show the all powerful JackAce - and Woman 3 bones me again with an oddly played AQo. Fuck.

Daughter had A9s with the turned draw, by the way. Landmines everywhere here.

 *** So now I'm a little frustrated - I should be like, see how I can dodge bullets, but instead I'm all about, man, how much can I get notched today?

Blinds go up to 200/400 and with 4700 in my stack I decide to open raise a little large to 1500 with 77 from EP instead of just sticking it in. Woman 2 (who is the best, and nittest, player of the three) counts out her stack from the small blind - it's a little less than mine - and FLAT CALLS. Uhoh.

 Flop Axx rainbow, she snap jams. Ah, a classic Stop and Go, haven't seen that in a while. Now, I don't really buy that she has an ace... But I can believe she has 77 beat, and can't see her doing this with a bluff when I almost have to call a pot-size bet getting 3-1 - and snap fold.

 So yeah, I'm really, really playing like a full on donk here in a freeroll. FML.

 *** Next hand I look down at KdTd under the gun and just stick it in for 3200 (8BB). Daughter to my left flat calls. Woman 1 in the small blind flats as well. Dad in the big blind also flat calls. Oh Fuck Me Hard, anyone else want a piece of this?

But, I scoop up all 12.8K in chips in front of me and think, oh yeah, here's where I flop the NIZZLES and get it all back, baby.

 Flop Qxx all black. Checks around (boo)
Turn pairs the Q. Checks around again (hey, maybe I can spike six outs on the river?)
River blank. (Oh well) Checks around a third time.

Woman 3 turns over TT (seriously, run a little better?)

Dad slowly rolls over twoblackaces.

Really? Was there a rule you couldn't reraise preflop? I love taking Aces four ways pre in a raised pot.

 I muck and get on my merry way. Daughter asks me what I had, said she had 99 on that hand. I just lie and say AKo but I knew at least one person had a pair, because I'm SO FREAKING TILTED FROM A FREE BAR POKER GAME WHERE I GOT PWNED AND BONED IN EVERY HAND FOR TWO ORBITS.

 And this is why as much as I'd love to go throw chips around for real, I probably need to completely rework my game from the ground up to stop being such dead money...

 On the other hand, since I busted out so soon and didn't feel like killing two hours for the night game, I up and left - right when our power came back on two days after Friday's derecho - we'd been crashing at the MIL's pad up the road while she's been on vacation - so it was all for the best as I had a ton of work to do to put the house back right as the weekend closed.

 So yay me. Let's hope I have more entertaining adventures soon.

 At least I didn't play like this or this for a million dollars. So I have that going for me...