Monday, March 20, 2006

Cigar Poker

This past weekend I was able to get a group of 8 guys (plus myself) together for a little on-line tournament poker at Pacific Poker. This group was all from an on-line cigar community I frequent: It's a great group of people and I've grown to call quite a few of the people over friends.

The organization for this event didn't go as well as I had planned. A good part of that was me not doing enough research. Another good part of it were the fault of Pacific and how they do things. They still do not put together private tables. I was told my suggestion to do so would be bumped up to the development team. The same response I received well over a year ago when I asked then. And of course they do not allow people to play on multiple tables. This, along with the somewhat chaotic form of cumminication that IM is caused our first attempt to get everyone on one table to be a disaster. We ended up with 6 people on one table, 2 on another and one who didn't make it on to a table at all. I ended up on the table with one other person and managed to be one of the first people knocked off the table. I took a big hit when someone called my bluff on the river with a J, x offsuit (K,Q and J on the board). With few chips left and some erratic play I was bumped within minutes.

Things settled down after this as people got knocked off tables and regrouped to play together on another tourney table. At one point we managed to get 6 or 7 of us on one table with only one person left at another table (he went on to take 2nd place). A good friend of mine who is a total novice to tournament poker and online poker managed to do quite respectably finishing 2nd in two tournaments (a 10 person and a 6 person). Strangely enough, he played both of these games very conservatively (hehehe, dig, dig). I managed to scrape out a first place in my second tournament. An attempt at a third tourney with three of us didn't work out as once again we were swamped with incoming players before all three of us....well, me in particular, were able to join up. Fortunately for me, the other two were knocked out quickly in that tourney allowing us to sit in on another. I once again hit an early exit while the friend mentioned above was able to push on and hit his second, second-place finish.

Overall, the feedback I received was extremely positive with everyone enjoying themselves. Trashtalk was abundant as were the bad-beat stories via IM. Hopefully if we are able to put this together again we can be a little more organized, learn from our past mistakes and, well, play at another site that allows private tables! We'll see.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Is it horribly wrong...

to be Royall PISSED to come in third on a crappy little 2.50 buy-in 6 person Sit-n-Go? GAHHHHHHHH!

The very best I could have hoped for was a measly little 6.50 pay-off vs my money back for third. I was in second place chip-wise with JJ on the BB. The guy just ahead of me with chips called my 500 chip raise on top of the 50 with A,Qo. The flop was wonderful with 2,2,T. I immediately went all in after his check and he CALLED. A,A immediately flew off the top of the deck. I swear, the deck was taunting me. It was.


Can't be upset with how I played it, but Damn!

Oh well. At least it was only a couple bucks! ;)


Monday, July 11, 2005

And the rich get richer...

No amazing revelation there, now is there? I just wanted to throw out a quick post on this because I've seen this situation alot recently. Last as a watcher, and previously as the recipient of the phenomena, so to speak.

Yesterday I played quite a bit of poker online and one game across the street. I was on a bad run online getting sucked out on left and right and hitting miserable cards the rest of the hands. So after getting busted out of yet another tourney after having A,A cracked by J,J on a starting board of 9,6,8 (runner runner straight but of course), with just a few bucks left in the account, I decided to go all or nothing and bought in to a small buy-in multi table tourney. My chances were much lower with the ever increasing blinds and small starting stack, but I figured either I'd be busted or have a chance at making some decent money.

Well, luck was with me and I took second place in this tourney, more than making up for my recent losses. What struck me during this tournament was that having that ever wonderful chip lead is such a powerful weapon. It allows you the luxury of doing something that most others can't think of without very powerful hands. Calling. Now I know that word sends shudders down your spine (Raise or Fold!), we all know it has it's place in our chosen game. And I tell you, it was simply amazing how many folks fell at my feet during this tournament, because of that big stack I managed to amass. I knocked out more people in this tournament than ever in any previous tournament.

In these quick, turbo style tourneys that are so prevelent online, especially in the low buy-ins, the stack is more often than not a requisite rather than a luxury. Certainly one can make their way up through the ranks at around the average chip stack, but more often than not, the average chip stack is still short-stacked when compared to the blinds. So the ability to raise even 1 bet can sometimes steal more than your fair share of blinds. Of course people in these tourneys get desperate fast so the All-In is always a factor.

I saw the same situation at the later live game I played. The very first hand saw an All-In and a call with 9,9 against J,J. Within the next 30 minutes we had lost another two players to the All-In and had two very large stacks. Hand after hand went either to the left or right of me as if those stacks were magnets, drawing in the chips. I unfortunately lost a huge chunk of my stack when I raised an early better only to have someone go All-In over the top of me while the player to my right called and with not that strong of a hand I folded. I would have lost, so it was a good fold, but I had crippled myself and soon left the game.

At any rate, that's my crappy analysis of this week's play. And now I'm going to go put it to work on the 6 person tournament in which I just knocked out two players with my K,To which just filled up to take out who know's what and 9's full. :)

Here's to felt under the fingernails. JW

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Sometimes you can do everything wrong...

and still win. Played a quick SNG today during lunch and everything went my way. One of the quickest I've played I think...under 35 minutes. Started off early hitting a rivered flush with Jh,Ts on the second hand to take out one player. Hit the J on a K,7,J flop with two hearts. Runner, runner hearts gave it to me. I'm sure I was losing on the Turn, but was so deep into the hand I had no choice. Took out my second player a few hands later when 8,To in the SB improved every card (trips on the River) and rivered a boat to beat a for sure flush as the T on the river was the fourth heart. Less than ten hands later A,Qo in the SB again hit Broadway on the river for the majority of the next largest stack's chips. It took less than ten hands to finish off the last two opponents with As,Jd for a rivered flush (4 to the Flush on the flop) and K,7o for a pair of 7's and the win.

Plenty of seriously questionable plays in this tourney but lady luck smiled on me this day. Some nice cards didn't hurt either. :)

Ah well, back to the grind of real work for a few more hours.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The fall...

from indisputable chip leader (more than double the next stack for instance) is always a horrible feeling. No question. The fall from indisputable chip leader...better than double the next stack for instance...during the final three people of a two table sit-n-go to third place in a matter of 4 hands, when 1rst place would have doubled my meager that just plain SUCKS!!!

Ah well, I guess at least I can laugh about it. Here's how it went down. With three of us left, and the chip count basically 10K (me), 5K(to my right) and 1.5K(to my left). On the button I found J,3 of hearts. With the short stack having acted tame up until this point and the half-stack to my right doing the same I called the BB as did the SB and we were off. The flop was a beautiful 6h,3s,Js. Two pair on the flop. Up until this time I had had trouble getting play from either player so I was hoping someone had caugt a piece. Sure enough the BB came in for 1K and I immediate raised him all in. Short-stack folded and the turn and river came out in the typical flash of cards that Pacific is famous for (and that I hate by the way). The turn was the 6c and the river was the Td. I had avoided the flush I figured I was up against. Good deal.
Except I wasn't up against the flush, now was I? Nope. I was up against Jd,Ts. And now I was the half stack.
The next two hands were nothing worth mentioning except for the fact that everyone played and our new Stack turned out to play as tamely as he had as half-stack. Then I found 3,4 of spades on the button. I found two of my spades on the flop and tried to take the pot right there with a 3x raise of the stack's 500 bet. No going as stack decided to play. I then tried again on the blank turn with an All-In. Unfortunately Stack had hit two pair with J,2o and decided to come along for the ride. No spade on the river and I was out in third.

It's amazing how quickly one can go from hero to zero, no? ;)

Now...back I go into the fray once more.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Keeping up the "rep"...

Well, this weekend was a bachelor weekend for me as the wife was visiting her Mom and Dad at the hospital. As a quick update for those following, my wife's Mother recently went through a bone marrow transplant for Leukemia. She is doing very well and we are keeping our fingers crossed.
At any rate, I played a bunch of poker over the weekend, both online and at the IT-Guy's place. My online experience was harsh. Up and down and all around. I finally one a two-table SNG right before the live game on Sunday to bring myself just over my recent re-buy. All weekend long I was hit with the worst of beats. Flopping Q high straights on a rainbow board only to have someone call me and catch runner runner for the flush and AA getting smacked down by 2,2 when the board flopped 5,8,2 rainbow are just two of the more memorable ones. I made it to the money in a couple of MTTs but they were all low buy in so the payouts at the lower end (where I got taken out) weren't worth much.
I am constantly amazed at those who play online tournament poker who don't have the slightest clue as to how to play, when in or close to the money and someone is all in. People constantly...and I do mean CONSTANTLY bet at empty pots. I've had to fold more times than I can remember to idjits that can't even take out the all-in player. So here's a quick note for anybody reading this who's new to tournament poker: when you are in a pot with multiple players where a player is all in and there is little or nothing in the side pot, DON'T BET AT AN EMPTY POT!!!! There is a much better chance with everyone staying in the pot that one of you will be able to beat the all-in player. Which really, should be the point. Less players means you are closer to the money. I see far too many people bet others out of an empty pot only to see the all-in player win when one of the other players might have taken him out had they been able to stick in through the river. Now, if you flop, turn or river an absolute monster then by all means go ahead and bet. Just be absolutely sure you can be extremely confident that you have the all-in player beat.
This situation came up last night at our live game. I was on the SB or BB, not sure, with 2,2. A player in middle position went all in for less than one more full bet. He was called by three other players: myself, the person to my right, and the person to my left. The flop came down A,2,x rainbow and the person to my right immediately bet out for 3-4 times the big blind. At this point I was quite sure I had the all-in player beat with my trips so I went all in over the top. The other player folded and the original better called. He had A,middle and I took the entire pot down. The other person who folded, had he been able to stay in the pot would have won it with a runner, runner flush. The all-in player didn't show but I got the feeling he had A,X. So who knows if the original better had the cards to take him anyway. Now, I have to say I was certainly happy with the way this had gone down as I probably would have bet on the turn when the second club hit just to let everyone know I could take the all-in player out, probably would have gotten called, and would have lost on the river. However, the moral of the story stands. The original better had no business betting at a completely (there was no side pot) empty pot with A, rag. when he paired his Ace on the flop.
Don't bet at an empty pot, with an all-in player in the mix, when that person's departure moves you that much closer to the money.

So, now that I'm done with my rant: I was able to fit in two games last night before heading off to pick up the wife. I ended up splitting 1rst and 2nd place prize money with my opponent in each case after a few hands heads up. To speed play along in both cases and because of almost eqaul chip stacks it only made sense to chop. The way the payouts were set up you lost a little if you would have one first and gained a little if you would have taken second. In the second tourney, by the time it reached heads up, the blinds had reached their highest point of 50TC/100TC with only around 1K TC on the table. As both of us had almost equal chip stacks, at that point it was basically a crap shoot. Unfortunately I wasn't able to stick around for the last game which, had I been able to, would have had 13 players!

So, as the title of this post says, I was able to keep up the "reputation" I have in this game. Thanks for reading, keep those cards in the air and that felt under the fingernails!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Being stupid...

Hey, look at that...less than a week and I'm back here already...something must be wrong. ;)

Been playing SNGs lately and been up and down and all around. Currently a couple of buy-ins below what I bought back into Pacific for. And I should have, at a minimum, been about even after my second lunch time game today. The first one was a bust as I was first out. The second one went quite well. Took almost two full revolutions around the table before I could play a hand to start off with and I played well all the way up through there being only 4 of us left. For some bizarre reason, maybe because the game ran past the lunch hour (oops), the chip leader started posting and folding. There were only 3 of us to play at that point and one low chipp'ed player. I raised the non-existant player every chance I was given (which was quite a few) for free chips and was playing fairly aggressively. Unfortunately this led me to doubling up the short-stack. This, really unfortunately, led to him playing more agressively and by the time our fateful last hand arrived I was back in the middle of the pack at about 1300 chips. Everyone folded to me in the SB and I automatically raised the BB with 8,T diamonds. Guess what?
BB was no longer gone. He immediately re-raised. We were at 150-175 or so blinds so I only had 800 chips left and thought the BB might just be protecting his dwindling stack so I raised all in. And ran right into A,K. Bye-Bye on the bubble. Gotta hate that. Should have folded and looked for a better hand, but that's life.

On the plus side it looks like I should be able to play as much as I want this weekend as the wife is heading out to visit the in-laws.

Wish me luck!

Strike that...wish me cards! ;)

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