Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Serenity Now!

I managed to give back $70 last night on Full Tilt, thanks to a few runner-runner flushes caught against me, and a general lack of hitting the flop. I don't know how many times I raised with AK/AQ only to be called and then bet into when the flop came 9-high...or just the opposite, raised w/88, called, flop was A-K-Q, caller bet pot.

Ended up playing a $1-1 NL cash game at a local bar with a few other friends later in the evening. The night boiled down to three key hands:

- Dealt Q-J, Luke raised to $6 on the button...Luke's an aggressive player who will raise with a wide range of hands, so I called. Flop was Q-Q-10, we both checked. Turn was a blank, and Luke bet $12...I hemmed and hawed before raising to $24, only to have Luke go all-in for $40 more. I called and he showed a 10, nice.

- Luke has also fallen in love with the blind straddle (blind-raising UTG with the option to act last before the flop), so when he did it for the 3rd straight time (with me on the button), I decided to blind raise him back $5 more...I believe Roy and Randy folded to Luke, who then declared 'all-in,' in the dark! I definitely wasn't going to call him blind, so I sloooowly squeezed my hole cards: 7........7! "OK, I'll call." Luke flipped over his cards, 8-6o. Board was junk and I busted him again for a big win.

- Luke raised from the SB to $6, I called in the BB with A-8. Flop was Q-J-9, we both checked. Turn brought an Ace, Luke checked, I bet $12 and he beat me into the pot. River was a 2 and he quickly bet $24. I was befuddled, what did he have? I finally put him on A-weak kicker, which would mean we chop the pot if I called. Randy wondered if Luke might have 10-8, but that's more of a hand he'd see a flop with rather than raise. After a minute or two, I finally tossed my call in the pot and Luke showed.......10-8!

Well everyone (except me) erupted in laughter, and I whipped my cards at Randy. I guess it was pretty funny...Luke said that he raised without looking and alomost cracked up when Randy came out with the 10-8 comment.

Net $55 profit in the cash game. Good times.

Monday, April 18, 2005


Yeah, that's what Mike "The Mouth" Matusow yelped recently at the WPT Aruba final table, so I figured it'd be a cool thing to say myself, lol. Anyways, my Saturday of woe at Full Tilt was followed by a Sunday of success. My friend Dave & I decided to play their $20 + $2 no-limit tourney in the morning, and I ended up lasting for quite a while. I never had a huge stack- maybe it got to $12,000-$13,000 at some point- but I was never in danger of being knocked out.

I was at about $8,000 when I got to the final table...only problem was that with only 71 entries, they were only paying the top 8. I just needed to hang on until 1 of the 3 shorter stacks got knocked out. And with blinds at only $400-$800, I didn't have worry about being blinded out.

Finally, the player to my right was eliminated...thanks to yours truly. He went all-in under-the-gun, and I had a big decision to make with my A-K of spades: do I come over the top and go all-in myself (hoping that everyone else folds), or do I pass in case a bigger stack has a monster hand or calls and outflops me? I decided to push, and the rest of the table folded. Short stack flipped over A-Q of diamonds, and the board hit neither of us....OK, I'm in the money!

Now it was a matter of how far up the prize list I could make it, but I was still $10,000 or more behind the top 3 stacks. I decided to play tight and wait for others to get the boot. Sure enough, the monster stack to my right went from leader to out the door in 2 hands...now I'm guaranteed no worse than 7th.

Here's where the vindication parts comes in. A couple hands later, the new chip leader min-raised under-the-gun; 2 others called and I decided to go along for the ride in the BB with Q-3. Yeah, it's a terrible starting hand, but I was getting more than 7-to-1 odds on my $800 call ($5,600 + antes already in the pot). The flop was Q-x-x so I went all-in for about $3,000 more and hoped nobody else had a Queen. The original raiser then went all-in...whoops! Everyone else folded and she showed A-Q...but the river brought a 3! I got railed by the rest of the table for my foolish call of the raise, I guess they had never heard of pot odds before...too bad for them.

Shortly after that controversial hand, I raised from early position with J-J, only to have the new chip leader go all-in. She had showed big hands every time she went all-in and was called, so why risk getting knocked out when the shortest stack was down to under $500 and the blinds coming his way? I decided to lay it down, but typed "J-J" in the chat box before folding. More Jim K bashing ensued- "he calls with Q-3 but folds J-J, haha!"- which was fine with me...if they couldn't see that these were good plays, then it made me think that I had an edge over them. Next hand the short stack was taken out, so my decision to fold paid off.

Eventually we're down to 4, and I was by far the short stack with only $7,000 left. With blinds up to $500-$1,000, I pushed with A-8 (the same hand Dave got knocked out with early in the tourney), only to be called by the big stack's A-Q. Board doesn't hit me and I was out, but with a little more pep-in-my-step (credit Mike Sexton) than I had yesterday.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Bad Beat Saturday

Here's the highlights of my last 2 hours playing on the $25 buy in no-limit tables at Full Tilt Poker (all but the last were all-ins before the flop, my hands listed first):

A-A vs JTc: J-club-club-club-x
K-K vs A-K: A-x-x-x-x
Q-Q vs A-A: x-x-x-x-x
A-Kc vs J-J vs J-Tc: K-Q-T-9-x
A-K vs A-Q: A-J-6-Q-x

I guess I'm lucky to have only lost $35, but this has been the trend over the past couple weeks...a really really bad run of cards online.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Poker Weekend, Part Two (pretty original, eh?)

After A Night of No-Limit in Naugatuck, Dave & I decided we would play in a tournament run by a friend of ours at a local private club...but first we stopped at Willie's steak house where another good friend is bartender. We sat at the bar and feasted on king-cut prime rib (my treat with last night's winnings)...beer for Dave, Captain & Cokes for me.

After eating and shooting the breeze with Dennis for a bit, we drove over to the club. A $40 buy-in (no rebuys) got you $5,000 in chips, and with blinds starting at $25-50, it was a good opportunity to hopefully outplay some of the beginners and build a nice stack. Of course, this didn't happen for me as I slowly bled off chips for the first couple hours. With blinds at $100-200, I limped in with K-2 of hearts from the small blind...only to be raised $1,000 more by the big blind, a guy with over $15,000 in chips who was constantly raising but showing down strong hands. I had him on a suited Ace & figured he was just trying to push me out of the hand, so I came back over the top with an all-in for $2,400 total. I knew I was probably getting the worst of it, but also figured that he would call, giving me approximately 3-to-2 odds on my last $2,200. I needed to double up soon or die a slow death so I gambled. He of course called and showed A-Q of spades, which made me a little more than a 3-to-2 'dog. None of the board cards hit either of us until the magical King on the river saved my bacon.

I faded back to about $4,300 in chips by the second break and was moved to Dave's table. Outside of Dave, and maybe one of the other players, the rest of this table consisted of hammered (not drunk, but hammered) club members. As long as I could remain patient through all of the slurring and pot policing ("your blind, sir....no, that's a $100 chip...the blind is $2,000...your turn, sir."), I thought I could politely remove them of their chips. In fact, I did make a nice rally up to about $12,000, capped by winning a checked-down $3,000 pot with King high.

Only trouble was my chip stack wasn't outpacing inflation...of the blinds, that is. With only $8,000 left and the $2,000-$4,000 blinds looming to my right, I decided to push all-in under-the-gun with A-8. There were only 14 of us left, with the top 9 getting paid. I could've folded in hopes that I could back into the money, but decided that I'd rather take a shot at doubling up and making it up higher on the prize list (1st was a little over $500). Juuuust my luck, the guy to my left called, everyone else folded, and he flipped over pocket Rockets.

Needless to say, the board was of no help and I was gone...but it was one of the few times that I wasn't salty about missing the money. I thought I made the smart play with the all-in, just unlucky that someone else had Aces. To his credit, I thought the guy played it well by just calling in hopes that he could sucker some others along for the ride. By now it was 12:30, and I decided to leave instead of waiting for a possible cash game to start up.
(Another) Poker Weekend

Started off Friday night over my friend Dave's place for a nice friendly home game. There were 7 of us in all: me, my wife Jen, Luke, Kristen, Dave, Roy, and Lou. We all decided on a $30 buy-in for $3,000 in chips, no re-buys and no-limit. Blinds started at $25-50 and went up every 15 minutes. I slogged my way through the first hour-and-a-half, not getting any big starting hands or hitting flops, but also avoiding elimination.

It finally came down to our gracious host Dave, my lovely wife, and myself. I was severely short stacked with about $1,200 but finally got some decent starting hands. After winning a couple pots (and stealing a couple others), I was up to 2nd in chips. Jen knocked out Dave and now we're both in the money. I was dealt the big blind special of 6-3 and got to see the flop for free...6-6-x. We both checked the flop, and I checked the turn as well. Jen bluffed with an all-in, and I was more than glad to call with trips. Now I was the one with the chip lead, and she coyly asked if I wanted to chop the pot. I agreed after a bit of a chuckle (she didn't offer to chop before that hand, did she!), but only if I got the extra $10 ($110/$100).

Six of us went on to play a $1-1 no-limit cash game with a $40 max buy-in, Kristen hung out with Dave's wife Sherrie instead. Not only was I dealt playable cards, I was just hitting the flops like Tyson hit Trevor Berbick. Limped in one hand with J-10 of clubs, and the flop was K-x-x, ALL clubs. Poor Luke flopped two pair and we ended up all-in...he didn't improve and I took down a $75 pot. Lou, who had only played hold-em online with play money up to this point, made a huuuge layown that hand with 9-7 of clubs AFTER the flop. I also took down another big pot with pocket Jacks...I raised pre-flop and bet every street including the river; Dave has a bad habit of chasing pots with 2nd/3rd pair or straight/flush draws...he folded on the river and everyone else thought I had bluffed, so I showed the Jacks in hopes of keeping a solid image.

I made a huge read one hand with pocket 5's...Luke had raised to $7 pre-flop and Dave & I went along for the ride. We checked all the way to the river with the board reading K-K-3-3-x. Luke bet $12 and Dave insta-called...my gut told me they both had an Ace with the 2 pair on the board, so I called and sure enough...that's what they had. Neither was too happy with my 'loose call,' but it turned out to be the best read I've made in a long time.

The last hand of the night was nice as well, limped in with J-9 and caught a perfect flop of J-9-x rainbow. I nonchalantly made a pot-sized bet, and Dave instantly went all-in...I called and he showed J-8. The turn was a blank and he was drawing dead. I cashed out with $280, bringing the night's total profits up to $320...Jimmy happy!

Part II to follow...