Friday, January 28, 2005

Chicken Soup For the Poker Player's Soul

I'm sick.

Stayed home from work yesterday, giving me the chance to catch up on my online poker playing...I mean, sleep. Back in the cube today and wishing I wasn't.

I'll be back later with reports of my School Day wanderings through Party and Poker Stars and my anticipation/outright terror regarding the blogger meet-up on Saturday in Commerce.

Wanted to turn your attention to a new link on the page, that of Otis' latest gig, The European Poker Tour. Enjoy.


I've been having some stomach issues for the past couple weeks. Nothing major, just discomfort, heartburn, etc. Which made my decision to have a carnitas burrito on Wednesday night a curious one. Sparing you the gory details, I was up much of the night, my body purging itself of the demon pork. Weak and dehydrated, I stayed home on Thursday.

But not too weak and dehydrated to spend the bulk of the morning/afternoon on the couch playing poker.

I fired up Party and got bounced pretty quickly in a couple $20 SnGs. Cold-decked for the most part and I was forced to push with iffy hands as the blinds hit $150/$300. I've been running really poorly on these lately, with only 8 in-the-money finishes in my last 26 and only a single win. I'm willing to chalk a couple of those up to fishy plays, but, for the most part, it just hasn't been going my way. So I decided I was going to change it up.

As such, I moved on to a $25 PL table and a $1/$2 full ring game. After an hour or so, I'd managed to re-coup about half my earlier losses. Then I bought into the $6 MTT on Party.

And I played great. Stayed focused for the entire time, my big hands held up, I made some timely steals. I hovered just above the average chip count for most of the first two hours, before I made a huge score early in Level 14. Flopped a set of 8s and got two callers to my all-in. Pushed me up to T26000 approaching the second break with blinds at 500/1000. We were down to about a 100 and I was already in the money (such as it was) and planning on playing the same game that had got me here.

Ah, the best laid plans....

I was second-highest stack at my table. Big Stack had about 45K and was throwing it around liberally. In my half-hour at the table, he'd gone all-in, from various positions, six times. Never got a caller. So, when I got pocket Jacks in the SB and he moved all-in UTG, I had a decision to make. The safe and sane play would have been to fold. Having no information on what types of hands he was pushing with, I would basically be calling in the dark. I reasoned that I was likely ahead, based on the percentages, perhaps even dominant, if he was holding a middle pair (small pair seemed unlikely). I figured middle pair or Big Slick. If he had a pair higher than mine, I think he'd probably try harder to get some callers.

Basically, greed took over. I talked myself into calling. Rather, I talked myself into the possibility of doubling up at that point, putting me among the top 5 chip leaders and giving me a solid shot at making the final table (thereby actually earning a monetary amount to make this thing worthwhile). So call I did.

Big Slick, indeed. Suited. The ace on the flop put me out of my misery in a hurry.

I made $2.75.

I was too impatient there. Sure, I had a coin flip, but I wasn't in a situation where I NEEDED to win a coin flip. I still had 25x the BB and could have waited for a better spot, could have waited and picked off the smaller stacks. Disappointing.

I took a little break, cleaned myself up and had some food (very little). Then I decided to play over on Poker Stars. I just opened an account this week in order to play in the WPBT event next Wednesday. I opened it for the minimum amount of $50, of which I still had $28. What the heck, I figured. I'll just go blow it to get familiar with the interface.

I bought into a .50/1 NL table (min buy-in $25; max $100). Yeah, I know. I'm at a huge disadvantage already. Especially when I look around the table and see stacks upwards of $300. So, I'm resigned to doing a lot of folding and I do just that while I figure out how to follow the action around the table. Having only played at Party Poker, I immediately noticed how less obvious everything is at Poker Stars. Took me a few orbits to get a rythym for it. I must say I DO like the slower dealing of the cards when people are all-in. Very dramatic.

Anyway, I finally get a playable hand and am able to limp in LP with A10s. The flop comes 10-high with two hearts (not my suit). A check from the BB and a $4 bet from MP. I raise to $8. Both call. No heart or overcard on the turn and we repeat the process, except it's a $5 bet which I raise to $10. No heart on the river and two checks to me. I bet my last $8. Two folds and I have more than doubled up. YEEEEEEEEEEE-HAAAAAAAAWWWWWWW. Me likee the Poker Stars.

I sit for a few more orbits, but get nothing to play, so I leave the table and wander around the lobby to see what kind of action Stars is offering. What? What's this? A $11 MTT starting in 5 minutes? Sold.

About 1200 players in this one and if I do well, I might be cutting it dangerously close to conflict with "The O.C." Not to mention my dear and patient wife coming home from work to see me hunched over the laptop at the end of an 8-hour poker bender. But you can't stop me.

The first hour is uneventful. I win a few small pots, none going to showdown. Get moved once and just before the break, I double up with my pocket Kings. Then it starts. Roller Coaster City. I start getting hand after hand. The kind of run of cards that the action junkies crave. I'm in to see roughly half the flops for a good 20 minutes. And I end up right about where I started. So frustrating. I'd win a big pot, double up, and just as quickly get cut back down by a suckout, or a monster. That would be the recurring theme of this tourney. I had too many big hands get shown up by bigger hands. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

We've hit Level 7 (when the antes kick in) and I'm still hovering around T3750 when I get aces UTG. I limp, hoping for the chance to re-raise. Doesn't happen and five see the gorgeous flop: A55. The SB makes a minimum bet (200) and I smooth call, as does another. Nothing on the turn and the SB puts me all-in. As I call, I mutter, "Your five is no good here." The other fella calls, too and I wonder what the hell he's thinking. Sure, he's likely got an ace, but with two people in the hand, he's GOT to figure there's a five out there. Anyway, he had an ace. The SB indeed had a 5. The (very dramatic) river is a rag and all of a sudden I'm sitting at nearly T12000.

Having absorbed the lesson from the earlier tourney, I am content to sit back and wait to pick on the smaller stacks. We're approaching the second break and down to roughly 200 peopple, with the top 99 getting paid. Before I have time to reflect on my nice new stack, I get AQs one from the button. I limp with it and the BB goes all-in. He's short, and it costs me T1600 to call, which I am the only one to do. He flips Q10o. Oh happy day! Briefly. "No ten!" I say as the flop comes KJx. And I quickly amend my statement: "No ace!" Turn is, in fact, an ace. "Ten!" Nope. And I'm pissed.

I fold a full orbit until I see pocket 9s. I am first to act and raise it 4x. All folds to the SB who comes over the top all-in. He's a small stack, too, and it costs me less than T1000 to make the call, which I do, hoping for a coin flip. Nope. Pocket Qs. And I'm screwed again.

So you see, I've pretty much got the hands AND the opponents I wanted, got to apply the lesson I learned earlier and it's STILL not working out for me. Wait, it gets better.

Two hands later, I get pocket Jacks. Two limpers to me and I push. Folded around to the second limper who calls. He shows aces. And he has me covered. At this point, it would have been advisable to send all children from the room.

I go out about 70 from the money. I dropped my above average stack to nothing in a span of 20 hands. I slammed a door.

At least I'm comfortable with the interface. And was done before The Mrs. got home.


Am really looking forward to Saturday. Trying to negotiate an early release from the IE (dropping The Boy off at Grandma's as early as possible), so I don't miss a single minute of the AlCantHang Experience. Seeing him Drop the Hammer would be priceless. Was checking my online bank statement this morning and the sight of


sent me into a giggling fit from which I was barely able to recover.

I've also booked a room at the hotel there so I don't have to worry about negotiating the drive home Saturday morning. THAT is a sentence the 26-year old me never thought he'd write.

I'm reasonably sure the NL tables with those guys will be an overwhelmingly -EV situation for me, so I'll be over at the $2/$4 tables. I'm brown. And I look like this, more or less.

Anyway, I'll try to give an update on here about what time I'll arrive once I figure it out. StudioGlyphic suggests 7 p.m. is an opportune time for everyone to get together. Works for me.


At 2:49 PM, Blogger poker_ghost said...

"THAT is a sentence the 26-year old me never thought he'd write."


At 3:11 PM, Blogger April said...

Didn't you just get back from Vegas?? And now you get to Hang with Al?

I don't want to talk to you...

Have a great time with everyone!!


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