Friday, June 25, 2010

Out of the $1500 and $350 Venetian Deep Stack

Not much to say about the $1500, I played about 10 pots early and won 1 of them - mostly calling late position raises with small pairs and suited connector type hands that I had to fold. I got all-in with a flush draw on a K33 board and the player happened to have A3s, I didn't improve.

I ran over to the Venetian and registered late for their $350 deepstack tournament. I ran my chips up to about 30K and then ran AQ into AK for about 12K chips. I had 18K with blinds at 400-800 and raised to 1950 with Aces. Player behind me moves in for 12k and the player after him moves in for 16K. I call, first player has KTc, second player has JJ. Flop is 236 with no clubs. Turn 2. River J. The very next hand I moved in for my remaining 2K with 88, got called by A4s and flop was AKK.

Not sure what I'm playing next, I'm pretty spent right now. There is a 1K tomorrow but I might take a few days off and play the 3K "Triple Chance" tournament which I think is next Wednesday. That one is 3K in chips to start but they give you two additional add ons by the end of the second level so effectively 9K chips to play with.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Out of the $2500 Mixed

The structure in this one was awful. We started with 7500 in chips and the 1st limit round was 100-200 so we started with less to 40 big bets. To make matters worse, they doubled the blinds in the second limit level and the levels were only 30 minutes long.

I never got above my starting stack of 7500. Going into the 3rd limit level I had 3500 in chips. I played one hand where I had 3-bet a player with ATs, he turned a straight with A3 and that was that.

Next up $1500 NL tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Out of the $1500 NL

I ran my chips up to 20K right before the dinner break and had about 17K when we resumed. About third hand in I ran Queens into Aces with blinds at 200-400 against a 15K stack. I doubled up the next hand with A8s vs. QJs and then got all-in with TT vs AQ with about 4500 chips and busted when he turned an Ace.

I played well and for the fourth NL tournament in a row I went into the dinner break with a decent stack. I feel pretty good about my NL game right now although I still have a ton learn. On that subject I hired Vanessa Selbst as a NL tournament coach and have my first lesson Monday with her. I'm really looking forward to taking my game to another level.

Next up Mixed $2500 Limit/NL tomorrow.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Out on the Right Side of the Bubble

I had about 19K to start the day and folded the first 9 hands. 10th hand I'm dealt A8o on the button and raise to 1500, small blind who hasn't played a hand cold-calls, and big blind who is short-stacked moves in for 6500. I reraise all-in and small blind folds. Big blind has 84s and rivers a flush - I'm down to about 10K.

I reraise the button all-in from the big blind with KQ0 and he shows an Ace and folds. Back to 12.5K.

Fast forward a couple orbits and I raise all-in with AJ from early position with 10K (Blinds are 400-800), get called by a shortstacked player with 99 and his nines hold up. Down to 5K.

An orbit later, I'm down to 4K and raise all-in with TT, get called by 55 and my Tens hold. I'm back up to about 10K.

I fold the next 10 hands or so and the bubble breaks.

First hand after the bubble breaks, player with 8800 in chips moves in from UTG, I move in for 8300 with QQ. He shows AJ. Flop T83. Turn A. River J.

And that was that.

On one hand I feel very lucky to have cashed, I came in 324th and they paid 324. When I was down to 4K in chips, I was probably a 2-1 dog to make the money. On the other hand, I easily could have had 30 or 40K in chips if my hands hold up.

Next up $1500 NL on Wednesday

Sunday, June 20, 2010

1K NL Info

It looks like there were 2559 to start Day 1A and we're down to 287 players. I'm tied for 122nd.

If anyone is interested in following tomorrow, you can do it here:

They hand us numbered cards at the beginning of the day that we carry with us to all our tables and they're able to update chip counts that way.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

1K NL Day 1

What a crazy day. We started with 3K and I ended with 19K. I was up to 40K during level 6, probably the chip leader in the tournament and then literally didn't win a hand for 3 hours and got bluffed in a huge pot where I didn't trust my instincts - more on that. We started with 2000 or so and are down to about 280. There's a Day 1B tomorrow and then we all start back up on Monday and will be maybe 150 spots from the money. I believe average is about 24K and the blinds will either be 300-600 or 400-800 to start day 2 so I have plenty of chips in relation to the blinds.

The first 6 levels I ran incredibly well picking up tons of premium hands and busting player after player and chipping up to 40K or so. From there it was all downhill. The player sitting after me had about 30K chips at the time when average was somewhere around 12k so we were both huge stacks. I knew he was a very good player and could tell he wanted to get involved in every pot I was in.

It folded around to me in the small blind and I limped into his big blind with 99. I believe the blinds were 200-400 at the time. He raised to 1200 and I called. The flop was 345 rainbow, I checked, he bet about 1200 and I called. The turn was an 8, he bet about 1700 and I called. The river was a 4, I checked, he bet about 4k and I insta-called. He turned over 42 for rivered trips. Ouch.

From there I raised JT in the cutoff. Same big stack good player after me called and the big blind called, there was about 3K in the pot. Flop was J93 with two spades. Big blind checked, I bet 2K, player after me folded and the big blind min-raised to 4K. I didn't really know what to make of the min-raise, he had been playing pretty tight but it was a really drawy board and calling seemed right so that's what I did. Turn was the Ace of Hearts, he checked and I checked. River was a 9 so the board read J93A9 and he moved all-in for about 9K. I thought for about 3 minutes before finally folding. My thinking was that he would have raised more on the flop with a draw so even though his line was consistent with a busted draw, his betting wasn't. He showed J9 for a full house.

A few hands later a short-stacked small blind moved in for about 2500 chips and I called with KT. He turned over 28. Flop 28T and I didn't improve.

Fast forward to the last level, I have about 29K and blinds are at 300-600 with a 75 ante. I raise KJ to 1500 from the cutoff and the good player from the Ouch hand after me calls (he's called every one of my raises in the last 4 levels I believe). Flop is AK5 with two clubs. I check, he bets 1750 and I call. Turn is the 8 of clubs. I check, he bets 3250 and I call. River is a 5 so the board reads AK855 with 3 clubs. He bets 11500 into about a 15000 chip pot. I think and think and think. I really can't put him on anything other than a flush, full house, or bluff. I don't think he bets and Ace on the river because my hand really looks like AJ or AQ at the least. Eventually I fold. He shows 9 high.

That's the second time this year I've been in a big pot against a good player where I felt strongly the player was bluffing on the river and I was afraid to pull the trigger for most of my chips. I'm confident that if I get in the situation again, I'll trust my instincts and call. I won't always be right but I won't be sick that I didn't listen to my own instincts. I'm giving players too much credit especially ones that I know are capable of making big moves and chickening out when it comes to making a really big call.

Oh well, it's a learning experience and I felt like I grew a lot as a player after that hand. I'm in decent position heading into Day 2 and I certainly know how to play a short to medium sized stack, I've been doing it every tournament.

Another update on Monday, hopefully late at night...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Out in 54th

Most of my day was spent much like yesterday, short-stacked, stealing blinds, and reraising people all-in. The few times I was all-in I had the best of it and my hands held up until my bustout hand. I had 120K with blinds at 4-8K and a player in mid position raised to 15K and I reraised all-in with Kings. He called with Nines and spiked a nine on the turn. I would have been over 250K and above average but that's poker. I played well and ran well today, I finally picked up some premium hands and doubled through a player early with Aces.

Next up will likely be the 1K on Saturday.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

$1500 NL Day 1

I started with 4500 and ended with 25200. We're down to about 260 players from 2400 and they pay 243. Average is about 37K and I'll have roughly 20 big blinds to start day 2. I have a great shot of making the money although I plan on being aggressive while we're on the bubble so anything's possible.

It was a very strange day. I don't feel like I ran well at all, I just kept stealing blinds and whenever my money went in I had the best of it and my hand held up. I wasn't dealt Aces or Kings all day and had AK only once. I did have Jacks and Queens several times which is where most of my chips came from. I was up to 12K by the end of Level 1 and then down to 3500 by the middle of level 2. For the next 4 levels I never had more than 5500 and going into the dinner break I had less than 15 big blinds. I briefly hit 40K during the last level and then lost 2 hands before we broke for the day.

I'll have an update tomorrow, hopefully not till late at night.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Out of the 10K Limit

Not much to say other than I didn't win a single hand after the end of Level 2 and I lasted until about the middle of Level 5. At one point, I went over an hour doing nothing but folding. It was literally 3+ hours without winning a hand and I went from 36K to bust over that period.

The last hand I played I had 5K in chips and was in the big blind with T8s, blinds were 400-800. A very aggressive player who had been raising 40-50% of the hands that were folded to him, raised in mid position. The next player 3-bet (he had 3-bet him at least 6 times to that point). I 4-bet with T8s figuring my hand did pretty well against their ranges and I'd have a decent shot of tripling up or even winning the pot uncontested by the turn given how tight I'd been playing. Flop was J85 with one of my suit. I bet, second player raised, preflop 3-bettor folded and I reraised all-in and was up against 66. Turn was a 6 also bringing me a flush draw and I didn't improve on the river. It was a really frustrating and boring tournament. I had a great table, the easiest limit table of any event I had played but the cards handcuffed me.

There's a chance I'll play the $1500 NL tomorrow otherwise next up is the 1K NL on Saturday.

Monday, June 14, 2010

My Mental Attitude/Avoiding Tilt

It's been a while since I did any sort of strategy post so now is as good a time as any. I've done a few posts on emotional control/tilt in the past but it's worthy of another.

I've run into a bunch of people at the WSOP that I play online with and everyone seems to say and ask the same thing which is something like, "Wow, well it's good to see you're human. How to you stay so balanced and controlled when you play?"

The answer likely started a long time ago when I was a kid playing pool for money. People were always trying to shark me. They'd stand in front of the pocket I was shooting at, they'd drop their stick right as I was about to stroke the cueball, they'd pull money out of their pocket when I'd have a couple balls left to win the set. It went on and on, one guy even threw his pool case at me and threatened me saying I had to stop beating him. Every time somebody tried to shark me, I took what they were trying to do and turned it around on them. I said mentally to myself, "There's absolutely no fucking way on earth I'm missing this ball now"(pardon my English). I gave every single ounce of concentration, effort, and energy I could muster into making sure I didn't miss and it was very rare that I did. I didn't care if they were pointing a gun at my head, the only thing that mattered was that the ball went in the pocket.

I've adopted the same attitude with poker. People try to "shark" me at the poker table all the time. They harass me in the chat box, they hit and run me, they time bank down to 1 second with the nuts on the river, etc. etc.. All it does is motivate me to play better. Each and every time somebody does something, I mentally resolve to play to the best of my ability and to devote every ounce of concentration I have to the game.

Similarly with the cards themselves, I look at them as a test. I use the bad beats, the horrific runs of cards, being "owned" by somebody, etc. as motivation to play to the absolute best of my ability. The worse things get, the stronger my resolve gets to play my best and there isn't a chance in hell I'm breaking down and giving in.

Emotional control is the single most important trait for a poker player. It's what separates the good players from the great players. There are at least 25 players I can think of that all play within a fraction of a big bet of each other at limit holdem. Of those 25, there are only 2 or 3 that seem to have complete control of their emotions. Unsurprisingly they're the toughest to beat and the players with the best long term results.

Over the long run we all experience the incredible ups and downs. We all go through days where we lose 100+ big bets, stretches where we lose 3 or 4 hundred big bets, and where everything imaginable goes wrong. The overwhelming majority of players do not handle these stretches well and tilt. When you experience one of those unbelievable bad runs of cards, don't bemoan your luck and feel bad for yourself. Look at it as an opportunity. It's an opportunity to separate yourself from everyone else.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Back to Earth - June Update

All year I've said how amazingly well I've run. Well that's officially over, I've hit my first significant stretch of bad cards. I had my first 300 big bet downswing of the year and had a session where I dropped 20K in about 450 hands. I maintained my composure extremely well during the 20K downswing and was able to recoup most of it fairly quickly - I was in a heads up 100-200 match with someone I had a pretty sizable edge on. After that though, it just seemed like every other big pot I played I got rivered. I almost forgot what it was like to have that happen because it had been so long. It took its toll on me and after about 5K hands of it,I think my game tailed off quite a bit. I regrouped a couple days ago, willing myself to play my best game, and I think I have played very well since although the results really haven't reflected it.

11K hands of break even poker and running terribly in the WSOP events has brought me back to the harsh reality of what poker can be. Sometimes I wonder how I ever made it through a 100K hand breakeven stretch last year. I knew it was coming eventually, I was just hoping it would be after the World Series.

Now more than ever I need to maintain my composure and focus and that's what I intend to do. It can change in a hurry, regardless of whether it does though, I need to focus on making the best decisions I can. And that's the plan.

Friday, June 11, 2010

No Dice in the $2500 LImit 6-Max

I'm getting tired of writing the same thing but I just ran really bad and busted in Level 4. I ran into big hand after big hand tonight and that's a recipe for disaster.

I found out about half way through that the player on my immediate left was Brian Aleska, a very good mid-high stakes player that makes videos on CR. On my immediate right was Heisenberg, also a very good mid-high stakes player that I play with a lot on Poker Stars. It was pretty cool to meet them and play with them in person but it also was likely the worst seat/table draw in the tournament.

I might play the 1K NL tomorrow otherwise next up is 10K Limit Championship on Tuesday. Hopefully I start running better, the 10K would be a great place to do it.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

2nd CardRunner Video is Up

That's all

Busto in 2K Limit

I'll spare all the gory details except to say I was rivered 3 times and coolered twice. To put the exclamation point on it all, I got all in when I turned a flush with QJs on a T282 board while my opponent held pocket tens.

Next up: $2500 Limit 6-Max on Friday

Monday, June 7, 2010

Out of 6-handed $1500 NL

I had 4200 chips late in level 3 and called a raise to 375 (blinds 75-150) out of the small blind with QTs from a very aggressive UTG player and and UTG+1 coldcaller, big blind calls as well.

Flop is T67 with two clubs. Big blind checks, UTG bets 750, UTG+1 folds, and I move in for about 3K more. He thinks for a while and calls with the 63 of clubs for a pair+flush draw.

He turns the flush and that was that.

Next up is the $2000 Limit on Wednesday and then a 6-handed $2500 Limit on Friday.

Looking forward to the next two limit events, hopefully the cards cooperate.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Out of the $1500 Limit

I got off to a pretty good start in this one, I had my $4500 starting stack up to 9K by the middle of level 4. I had a very good table as expected. I really didn't run exceptionally well, I just picked my spots well and was connecting with a lot of flops and winning a lot of hands unimproved. I lost a couple small pots before the dinner break and going into the dinner break I had 8K which was above the average of maybe 5500.

After the dinner break it was all downhill and I lost all of my chips in about 5 hands:

First hand I reraised a very aggressive early position raiser with ATs from the button (blinds were 100-200, limits 200-400). He called. The flop was 753 with two clubs (I had diamonds). I bet, he check-raised, I called. Turn 7, he bet, I folded. That brought me down to about 7K.

Few hands later short-stacked player raises from the cutoff, I call in the big blind with A5. Flop is A64. He bets, I checkraise, he calls. Turn is a 7, I bet, he raises another 50 chips all-in, I call. He turns over A9. I don't improve on the river and I'm down to 5K.

Few hands later I raise KQs from early position, get called by both blinds. The flop is QT7 with two diamonds (I have spades). Blinds check, I bet, small blind checkraises, big blind folds, and I call. Turn is an offsuit 3, small blind bets, I raise, he 3-bets, I call. River is a 7, he bets, I call. He shows Q7s for a full house and I'm down to about 2500.

Few hands later same aggressive player, also player in the small blind last hand raises from early position. I 3-bet TT from the button, a loose/passive player calls from the big blind, the original raiser 4-bets (he had been doing this a lot in multiway pots), I 5-bet both players call. Flop is J87, both players check to me, I bet, they both call. Turn is a J, both players check again, I bet, big blind raises, aggressive player folds and I call. River is a meaningless 2. Big blind bets and I call, he shows QJ.

That brought me down to 200 chips or 1 big blind and from there I got it in with K6 vs. AJ and busted.

I played well, unfortunately didn't run well. The tournament was what I expected in terms of skill level, there just isn't a lot of play with the 1st level starting at 50-100 and 4500 in chips.

I'm going to keep at it. I feel good about how I'm playing, just need some luck.

I might play the 1K NL tomorrow which is a huge event and a crapshoot otherwise next tournament will probably be Monday, I believe it's a 2K NL but not positive.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Out of the $1500 (Again)

I made it to the end of Level 7 and was up to 20K in a chips a couple times during the day from the 4500 starting stack.

I called an all-in from a short stack who had 9 big bets with KQ late in Level 7 and he unfortunately had QQ, That brought me down to about 15K when the following hand came up.

A very tight player who I hadn't seen raise a hand in over an hour raised from UTG to 1200 with about 8000 chips behind. I had KK on the button and decided to call with the intention of setting him all-in on most flops. The big blind who had me covered by a few hundred chips called as well. The flop was J76 with two hearts. The big blind checked, UTG bet 2400, I raised all-in. The big blind instantly called and UTG instantly called. Big blind had JJ for top set, UTG had 77 for middle set. I didn't improve and that was that.

I'm fairly sure no matter how I played preflop, all the money was getting in postflop since I don't think the big blind ever folds. I was actually surprised he didn't reraise preflop based on his play up to that point but he was probably afraid of the very tight player having a big hand.

As played I may have been able to just flat the flop bet from UTG and get away from my hand when both players moved in. In hindsight this seems like a decent play but I would have run the risk of letting both players draw at something.

I have no regrets though, I played well.

$1500 Limit (!) next up on Friday...