Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What would you do? #171 - Facing commitment bet on the turn

Another Bodogger...  Just weird, unexpected plays:

Bodog $0.10/$0.25 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

MP2: $8.10
CO: $27.25
BTN: $39.93
SB: $17.46 - I don't have my stats at the time of this hand on this guy from the time of the hand, but FWIW, he's a 43/3 /0% steal / 0% 3bet / 1.1 AF @76 hands - so typical for Bodog players...

Hero (BB): $29.87
UTG: $24.75
UTG+1: $18.44
UTG+2: $26.40
MP1: $25.00 - Same story with this guy; I wish I had taken a screenshot at the time, I think at the time I had around 12 hands on him...  now I have 135 hands on him and he's a 31/14 / 56% steal / 2.6% 3bet / 4.0 AF
MP1 posts a big blind ($0.25)

Pre Flop: ($0.60) Hero is BB with As Qs
3 folds, MP1 raises to $1.00, MP2 calls $1, 2 folds, SB calls $0.90, Hero calls $0.75

Flop: ($4.00) Qc 5c 8s (4 players)
SB checks, Hero checks, MP1 bets $3.00, MP2 folds, SB calls $3, Hero calls $3

Turn: ($13.00) 9h (3 players)
SB checks, Hero checks, MP1 bets $14.00, SB calls $13.46 all in, Hero ???

Click to see results

Hero folds
Either I'm stuck in the level 2+ mindset or I'm out of it altogether.  I don't think I can stack off TPTK against 2 opponents; am I totally off base here?  Anyone calling and stacking off the river?

River: ($39.92) 3c (2 players - 1 is all in)

Final Pot: $39.92
SB shows Ts Th
MP1 shows Qd Kd
MP1 wins $37.97
(Rake: $1.95)

Monday, August 30, 2010

What would you do? #170 - Baby flush facing paired board shove on river

Bodog $0.10/$0.25 No Limit Hold'em - 8 players
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

SB: $22.68
BB: $22.00
Hero (UTG): $25.00
UTG+1: $29.80
MP1: $16.50
MP2: $10.60
CO: $24.40
BTN: $28.86 - 65/23 / 25% steal / 0% 3bet / 0.7 AF

Pre Flop: ($0.35) Hero is UTG with 6c 7c
Hero calls $0.25, 1 fold, MP1 raises to $0.75, 1 fold, CO calls $0.75, BTN calls $0.75, 1 fold, BB calls $0.50, Hero calls $0.50

Flop: ($3.85) 2c Ah Ac (5 players)
BB checks, Hero checks, MP1 bets $0.75, CO raises to $1.50, BTN calls $1.50, BB folds, Hero calls $1.50, MP1 calls $0.75
Doubtful that someone flopped quads / boat, but this is definitely a scary board to chase.  Given the amount of callers, though, I think I'm priced in to chase.

Turn: ($9.85) Jc (4 players)
Hero checks, MP1 checks, CO bets $1.50, BTN calls $1.50, Hero calls $1.50, MP1 folds
???  $1.50 into $10?

River: ($14.35) 9d (3 players)
Hero checks, CO checks, BTN bets $25.11 all in, Hero ???
Huge problem; this is why I was afraid to chase on the flop.

Hero calls $21.25 all in, CO folds
Obviously, these are players that are level 1 thinkers; i.e. I have trip Aces... no one can beat me, given the show down.  I'm pretty sure this was not a bluff, but a "value bet."

Regardless, this is exactly my thought and why I made the call: there are simply a TON of hands that I beat that are making exactly this same move on the river.  I thought about this play; this kind of hand is so typical of the play I see on Bodog...  Wait until I'm behind to shove the river and hopefully force a fold.

Final Pot: $56.85
Hero shows 6c 7c
BTN shows Ad Th
Hero wins $54.05
(Rake: $2.80)

Friday, August 27, 2010

What would you do? #169 - Holding pp KK to 3rd barrel

I'm continuing to find the play on Bodog simply awful.  I am running circles around these guys to the rate of 15PTBB/100 in limited volume (2k hands this month).  I find myself in need to playing 25NL because of my limited bankroll, but overall, it's like taking candy from a baby.  The players are SO SO VERY passive.  As further example, I'm running a 30/20 on the FULL RING tables.  I'm simply running these guys over.

Here's a hand that's been bothering me:

Bodog $0.10/$0.25 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

BB: $5.90
UTG: $24.75
UTG+1: $35.85
UTG+2: $29.34 - 34/10/21% steal / 4.5% 3bet / 1.9AF / 231 hands
MP1: $24.40
Hero (MP2): $24.80
CO: $35.37
BTN: $29.45
SB: $22.25

Pre Flop: ($0.35) Hero is MP2 with Kd Ks
2 folds, UTG+2 calls $0.25, 1 fold, Hero raises to $1.25, 1 fold, BTN calls $1.25, 2 folds, UTG+2 calls $1

Flop: ($4.10) 4s Td 4d (3 players)
UTG+2 bets $3.00, Hero calls $3, BTN folds
Plan is to keep letting him bet; I don't want to push him off of his hand.

Turn: ($10.10) 2s (2 players)
UTG+2 bets $6.00, Hero calls $6
And keep betting he does...

River: ($22.10) Tc (2 players)
UTG+2 bets $11.00, Hero folds
Now what do you do here?  Is this a bad fold?  Normally, I wouldn't think twice about this fold, but given the play here, there are a ton of hands I'm ahead of and vice-versa.  Understand that the play at Bodog is to limp and trap with overpairs and/or AK.  People will 3barrel (and shove / call a shove) with AK high on the river.  I'm really unsure about this fold.  Clearly, a 34/10 could show up with AT, A4, 45, etc.  What do you think?

Final Pot: $22.10
UTG+2 wins $21.00
(Rake: $1.10)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

What would you do? #168 - Overpair facing shove on turn

Full Tilt Poker $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

BB: $26.75
UTG: $46.90
UTG+1: $50.00
UTG+2: $51.00
MP1: $34.50
MP2: $19.50
CO: $52.65
Hero (BTN): $50.95
SB: $59.55 - 15/11 / 50% steal / 6.3% 3bet / 1.7AF - 47 hands

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is BTN with Qh Qc
UTG calls $0.50, 5 folds, Hero raises to $2.50, SB calls $2.25, 1 fold, UTG calls $2

Flop: ($8.00) 3s 5c 6s (3 players)
SB checks, UTG checks, Hero requests TIME, Hero bets $5.25, SB calls $5.25, UTG folds

Turn: ($18.50) 5h (2 players)
SB checks, Hero bets $10, SB raises to $51.80 all in, Hero ???
No clue.  Is this bluff catcher time?  He sees me as somewhat of a stealer, but is he ever shoving this board without something that beats my overpair?  Am I outplayed here?

Hero requests TIME, Hero folds

Final Pot: $38.50
SB wins $36.60
(Rake: $1.90)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A word on keeping up on blog reading and new content

Move on if you already know this; I'm sure many of you who read this blog regularly are fully aware of RSS / Atom feeds.  However, there may be a small minority of you who are not aware of what RSS / Atom feeds are.

From Wikipedia's entry, an RSS feed is "a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works—such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video—in a standardized format."  What does that mean?  It means that you can subscribe, just like a magazine, to one or more sources (i.e. websites) and be notified when new content is available for reading.  RSS makes keeping up with blogs very easy for me.

Basically, I have my subscriptions set up in my blog reader (I happen to use the google portal which includes Gmail, Google Reader, Blogspot (which you're reading my blog on right now), Google Documents, etc.).  When a new entry is ready on a particular blog or website (I also track slickdeals.net, WSJ's Marketwatch, Fail Blog, etc.), I am notified by my unread counter increasing.  I click on the particular blog of interest, and viola! there is the new content.  I don't have to worry about re-reading stale content, because Google Reader already tracks what I've read.

Setup: Obviously, setup is very different depending on the RSS reader you choose to adopt as your own.  I can only speak to Google Reader, but it is as simple as going to a website and looking for the little RSS feed symbol on the address bar (picture is at the left of this paragraph) or in the page content itself, looking for the keyword "Subscribe".  Clicking on the link or picture will bring you to a second page where you can actually subscribe by (depending on your browser):

Internet Explorer:
Copy the link address by click CTRL-C (in Windows) surfing over to your Google Reader.  Click the "Add a Subscription" button and CTRL-V your RSS feed address in:

Once you click Ok, you should be set up to view new feeds to the source you just subscribed.

Much easier than Internet explorer.  Assuming that you are already logged into your gmail account, clicking on the subscribe link will bring you to this page:
Clicking "Add to Google Reader" automatically sets you up with your new subscription.

Congratulations!  You have subscribed to your first RSS feed!  Google Reader has many tools for sorting, labeling, managing, etc.  Play around with it and find out what works best for you.

You can subscribe to individual posts, to get notified of new comments.  You can subscribe to blogs or websites to get notified of new posts.  You can subscribe to forums (twoplustwo.com, etc.)... you get the point!  Good luck & enjoy.

What would you do? #167 - Pwning myself?

I think I botched this hand terribly, but because he is such a passive player, I'm able to not hurt myself too bad.

Full Tilt Poker $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em - 7 players
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

BB: $78.55
UTG: $65.35 - 50/20 / 100% steal / no other meaningful stats @ 10 hands
UTG+1: $53.45
MP: $24.75
CO: $63.15
Hero (BTN): $50.00
SB: $52.00

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is BTN with Ac As
UTG calls $0.50, 3 folds, Hero raises to $2.50, 2 folds, UTG calls $2

Flop: ($5.75) Qc Ks Js (2 players)
UTG checks, Hero bets $3.50, UTG calls $3.50
Anyone betting this flop?  I think this is definitely a bet / fold situation, but he calls behind.

Turn: ($12.75) 6d (2 players)
UTG checks, Hero checks
Definitely wanting to pot control here.

River: ($12.75) 7s (2 players)
UTG checks, Hero bets $7, UTG calls $7
He's been so passive that he can easily have a Kx, Qx type hand looking to get to showdown.  I think I fold if he raises.  Is this a leak as well?  Should I be betting the river here?

Final Pot: $26.75
UTG shows Ad Td (a straight, Ace high)
Hero shows Ac As (a pair of Aces)
UTG wins $25.45
(Rake: $1.30)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Review of Bodog & IdleMiner

Following up on my min cash at the Bodog 100K guarantee on Sunday, after putting in my 200 points at Full Tilt, I decided to open up a Bodog client and put in a little volume.  The kind folks at Bodog are running a $2500 Freeroll for putting in 150 points between July 15th and August 15th.  Freeroll notwithstanding, I wanted to get a better feel for the cash games on that site.

As a quick background, the Bodog hand history log is non-existent.  In other words, HEM cannot read Bodog hand histories.  If you want to use a HUD such as HEM, you must get third party software.  In my case, the good folks at IdleMiner were able to walk me through setup of their software, which was as simple as could be.  Upon downloading the software and double-clicking it, the install process was painless through the install wizard.  Next, I had to point HEM to the output directory where Bodog Hand Grabber would output the hand histories.  Once running, all I had to click was "On" to turn it on and begin processing.

Typical Bodog Hand Grabber screenshot
Anyway, as I was greeted by the lobby upon logging in, I realized that the lobby is not nearly as user-friendly as PokerStars or Full Tilt.  Clearly, this is not a top tier site, although the lobby is usable.  It displays all cash games available, from all stakes and game types.  I can filter on Holdem, Omaha, etc., but while filtered on Holdem, I can see HU, 6 max, and my standard Full Ring (9 person) tables.  Not cool; all I want to play is $25NL given my [smallish] bankroll.  After finding the 25NL tables, I was able to find an open seat and sit down immediately.

Quick FYI: There were approx. 8 tables running with varying amounts of players for this past Monday night.  The 50NL tables, all 4 of them, were full for the majority of the night.  Clearly, this site does not have the volume of a larger network, which, in all likelihood, is fine.

After sitting down, I was forced, once again, to resize my table to an appropriate size.  Apparently, the Bodog client has no memory of prior window size settings.  Another note of interest is the fact that the Bodog client does not remember that I chose to "Wait for Big Blind" last time I played, so for the casual player, he will be automatically bought into the next hand by posting his blind out of turn from all positions.  I quickly caught this issue and checked the box to wait until the BB position, while opening up other tables.

Quick FYI: Apparently, the Bodog software only allows a maximum 4 tables to be open at any given time.  I called the Bodog support team twice last night, to be given the same answer: *ALL* users can open no more than 4 windows.  This is a limitation imposed by Bodog due to prior complaints of their customers.  WTF?  So they don't want me to put in more volume AND fill seats at more tables?!??!?!  I am more than comfortable with 9 tables!  Let me open more tables than a pedestrian 4!

One by one, as I opened up my 4 tables and resized them to fit my needs (there is no auto-tile or auto-cascade function), I realized that my HUD was popping up on all of the tables, even prior to being dealt into a hand.  I realized that the IdleMiner Bodog Hand Grabber was already doing what it does best; grab hands.  Apparently, I don't need to be dealt into hands in order to use the software, unlike the big sites!  Basically, my client could act as a PTR and grab hands all day, spying on my opponents' tendencies when I'm not physically present at the tables!  How cool is that?

The play
Holy cow! I had a brief time to play at the 50NL tables on Sunday night, and was card dead, so I did not get a real feel for the player base.  However, I gave it a real shot last night and was pleasantly surprised at the level of donkishness.  There were 3+ people at my tables, running a 60/10 style play who *LOVED* to see flops and fold to cbets.  Any PF 3bets were met with INSTAFOLDS.  It was as if I was taken to a place where I knew the future and these players had no idea what a 3bet or steal was!  For the most part, in my 200+ hands last night, I *RAN* over the table, backed up the car, and ran it over again.

These players were loose PF, and totally scared money post flop!  It was amazing.  And when they called, I knew my bottom pair was no good, so I check down to see their TPTK, sets, etc.  If they got aggressive, folding was really easy.  Talk about readable players.  I simply could not believe how behind-the-times these players were.  No clue about board textures.  No clue about hand strengths.  No clue about appropriate spots to bluff.

In all of the hands I played, I was taken for an extra $6.50 when I bet my flopped TP into a 2 spade board and got a call.  The turn was another spade which was checked through, and I finally led the non-spade river and was min check-raised for my $3.25 bet to be shown the turned flush.  Fancy play, pal!

All told, I took more than a buy-in in a very small sampling of hands.  I was poking around and took a look at their weekday guarantee tournaments... it seems that they perpetually run an overlay on everything!  As I build my bankroll, I *WILL* be taking shots at the larger tourneys.  Too bad that they don't have satellites to qualify for those tourneys - or at least I couldn't figure out how to see the satellites...

Anyway, for those interested, definitely check out IdleMiner for the hand grabber support, download the Bodog client, and attempt to make a deposit - which is likely the hardest part.  If you're successful, you likely won't regret it.

Good luck!

What would you do? #166 - Holding second pair (PP) to a fairly ordinary board facing a river shove

4th hand of the night...  I run into an aggro reg:

Full Tilt Poker $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

UTG: $17.50
Hero (UTG+1): $50.00
UTG+2: $50.00
MP1: $68.60
MP2: $54.00
CO: $101.75
BTN: $50.00 - 13/9 / 27% steal / 3.9% 3bet / 3.3 AF / 762 hands - Definitely a reg.
SB: $109.85
BB: $15.50

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is UTG+1 with 8h 8d
1 fold, Hero raises to $1.75, 3 folds, CO calls $1.75, BTN calls $1.75, SB calls $1.50, BB calls $1.25

Flop: ($8.75) 6c 3s Js (5 players)
SB checks, BB checks, Hero checks, CO checks, BTN bets $4.50, SB folds, BB folds, Hero calls $4.50, CO folds

Turn: ($17.75) 6d (2 players)
Hero checks, BTN bets $7.50, Hero calls $7.50

River: ($32.75) 2h (2 players)
Hero checks, BTN bets $36.25 all in, Hero ???

Click to see results

I'm finding more & more that when I'm out of position, check / calling down is usually the best option.  Alot of the time, it induces them to continue to bluff at the pot.  This hand was surprising to me, though, because I would not expect a shove from a reg.  However, I just can't put him on a hand that shoves the river like this.  I haven't represented a ton of strength - if he wants value, I think he's betting a third to half pot bet.

Hero calls $36.25 all in

Final Pot: $105.25
Hero shows 8h 8d (two pair, Eights and Sixes)
BTN shows Kd Td (a pair of Sixes)
Hero wins $102.25
(Rake: $3.00)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Another Fail! Muscle dude has "issues" with a medicine ball

I hadn't realized that those medicine balls were so elastic!  Will have to check that out the next time I'm in the gym!

Medicine Ball FAIL

Dover Downs trip report from 2010-08-18

I realize that things have been very quiet around this blog - my apologies for that - but I was on vacation last week.  My family took a vacation to the shores of Delaware.  This is our 3rd year in a row that we've visited Bethany Beach, DE, so I'm trying to catch up on all things blogger / email / work.  It's been a busy Monday, to say the least, and this trip definitely allowed me to catch up on sleep, relaxation, etc.  Anyway, I wanted to put out a quick entry on the sole chance I had last week to get in a live poker session.

I know that throughout Delaware, the slots parlors have mostly been upgraded to full casinos - most with poker rooms as well.  Spending a week, I figured I would have an opportunity to play.  A quick google search showed me that I would be within an hour or so of 2 poker rooms:  Harrington Raceway and Dover Downs.  I opted for Dover Downs, on the count that it was a bit closer, and has a much larger poker room - on the order of 12+ tables, compared with the supposed 6 at Harrington.

The drive to Dover was fairly uneventful; a straight shoot down Rt. 1 passing through Dover Air Force Base (which was pretty awesome) and into the casino.  Pretty easy direction though annoying with varying speed limits and lights.  It is what it is, though.

The entrance to the casino from Rt. 13
Upon arrival, I snapped a shot of the overall landscape; Dover Downs is nestled between malls, hotels and restaurants.  If you didn't know what you were looking for, and missed the sign, you would not know that the casino was there.  It basically looked like an entrance to any other nondescript place...  no glitzy lights, billboards or anything.  In fact, I think I passed one whole advertisement for the casino on the 1 hour drive.  Certainly, it was clear that this casino is intended to be low-key.

Locating the poker room was no easy task; it is on the 3rd floor of the casino - and finding a bank of elevators to take me there required direction from the casino personnel.  The room was completely away from the table games and slots, in close vicinity to the banquet rooms and staff offices.  It was almost as if the poker room was an after-thought; they converted an unused room into a player's area.

Entrance to the poker room
On entry to the poker room, you are greeted by a large Crown Royal sign, which I am told, is the sponsor of the room.  I'm not quite sure how they mix the whiskey into the poker, but they were prominently advertised in multiple places.  Moreover, the staff was not pushing Crown Royal; again, the Crown Royal features seemed like an after-thought to the room's creation.  Perhaps in the future, there will be a tie-in promotion?

The Dover Downs poker room
The poker room floor space was ample; bathrooms were located right within the room (the two doors on the far side of the room were restrooms) and the cage was in the far corner.  TVs, as is usual fare, lined the walls displaying relevant sports for the area (the Phillies and Orioles were playing on separate TVs).  Apparently, the management intends to expand the room to include at least 20 tables, though the 12 that they had were not full on a Wednesday night.  Perhaps the room gets busier on the weekend?  Regardless, I was able to immediately join a game of 1/2 NL - and bought in for my "usual" 100BBs.

I found out whether I needed to post, and was told that I would not.  I waited until the button passed prior to playing my first hand (YAY - free poker!).  My first impression was that the players were mainly locals, and had somewhat of a clue, but not entirely knowledgeable.  The guy to my immediate right claimed to be a professional, but I saw him [call] all in with a gutshot in a very clear situation where his opponent already had the better straight, and incorrect odds.  FWIW, he sucked out for the chop.

This night would be a night of sheer frustration; I was card dead for the majority - and when I hit my top pair, I would *ALWAYS* be bettered.  Moreover, for the most part, the dealers were very poor.  I can cut a little slack to the dealers since this was apparently their first few weeks working, but there were blatant mistakes which were unforgivable: showing deck cuts (REALLY?!?!??!  WTF?), "trusting the table" on how a pot should be divided, and the absolute WORST: a player stating "raise," but putting out less than a raise.  Dealer caught the issue immediately, but told the player that his raise did not constitute a legal raise, to which the player threw out a $100 chip and said, "Okay; all-in."  Had I not spoken up, dealer would have been fine with this!  Ummm... no...  raiser can only min-raise in this spot.  The rules are universal.  Dealers should *KNOW* this and if they don't, call the floor.  TAKE CONTROL OF THE GAME.  Don't let the players have to run the game.

Anyway, there were two hands of significance for me; one I misplayed, and one I got sucked out on:

Hank Hill
Getting accustomed to the table, I felt as though this was a passive table; many players to the flop, few pre-flop raises.  No "table captain," who knew what he was doing, and no crazians.  The closest to a crazian was a total calling station who reminded me a bit of a bald version of Hank Hill from King of the Hill.  This guy was a complete MORON.  He'd just call and call and call - never bet without the nuts - and always back into the winner.  He wouldn't bet the winner; just call.  This guy was simply lucky.  With his big stupid looking bald head, dopey faced look and moronic breathing pattern - far too many beers in his lifetime and his breathing is labored due to his excess weight.  Anyway, if I haven't already let you know in my description, I HATED this anti-Ed Hardy douche.  Well, as is apropo for the moron (perhaps he thought Dover Downs was meant for people with Downs Syndrome), he called an EP $10 pre-flop raise, as did I with my pocket 8's.  A host of other callers (probably around 4) went to the flop seeing a 6-way flop of 2s 5s 8s.  Top set; woo-hoo!  Bad board because there are likely be be a bunch of people drawing, but I will get paid by a TON of worse hands, assuming my hand holds.  The original PFR'er leads for $15, and moron smooth calls.  It gets around to me, and I jack it to $90.  I figure there is around $90 in the pot already and I would love to get all-in right on the flop; if I'm behind to a flush, I'm not *TERRIBLE*, but I'm at least the aggressor.  It folds around (PFR'er folds as well) and moron shoves.  After thinking about it, I call.  I ask him what he has and he does not speak, just mumbles in his moronic language.  I flip up my set and he still does not react.  The board runs blank - spade on the river and he shows his AsAx for the win (fist pump - dumb ass).  There is no reaction, and it is almost a matter of course from him.  I honestly think he thought his AA was good there.  I would see him win with a range of hands including flopped boats (T8o) to flushes (83s) to limped KK, etc.  Great playing, bud!  I was unable to get any of my stack back, though - I couldn't hit any hands nor overcome his luck factor.

The second hand was where I misplayed a flopped set.  Holding 22, I limped and the player to my right, a straight-forward, okay, tight player raises.  After a host of callers, I flopped bottom set on a rainbow King high board.  An EP caller leads for $10 into the $50 pot.  I smooth and PFR'er raises to $50 (I am playing a $200 stack).  EP donk bettor folds and I decide on flatting or shoving.  I opt to shove for $140 more, and tighty folds AA face-up, after long deliberation.  Totally misplayed; I kick myself still for doing that.  I think he's betting another street if I don't shove right there.  That hand was the difference between break-even on the night and down my $200 original buy-in from MORON.  I wound up packing up at around 12:30, likely ending my Dover Downs experience until next year.

Hey ladies!  How you doin? :-)
Overall, the room was clean, players and dealers friendly, and chairs / table was comfortable.  Clearly, the dealers need more experience, and the room needs more players.  Perhaps next year, I will make it to Harrington so that I can have a full perspective on poker in Delaware.

I leave you with a picture of me ready for war.  This was before the defeat :-).

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Nerd video of the day - Disk Drive Drop

I thought this was cool.  I'm a nerd; what do I know?

My New Disk Drive

What would you do? #165 - Missed value?

I think this may be the way a flopped dueces set works, though... I don't know if I have the courage to go broke against this opponent given the flop:

Full Tilt Poker $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

UTG+2: $59.60
MP1: $54.70
MP2: $58.20 - 6/6/ 16.7% 3bet / inf AF / 12 hands
CO: $50.00
BTN: $17.50
Hero (SB): $59.75
BB: $80.15
UTG: $34.50
UTG+1: $73.55

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is SB with 2h 2c
4 folds, MP2 raises to $1.50, 2 folds, Hero calls $1.25, 1 fold

Flop: ($3.50) Qh Qs 2s (2 players)
Hero checks, MP2 bets $2.50, Hero raises to $6.50, MP2 calls $4

Turn: ($16.50) Ac (2 players)
Hero checks, MP2 bets $8.50, Hero calls $8.50
I feel like he can easily show up with AQ, and given my position, I start to work to pot control here. That Ace really really SUCKS! The problem is that he's been a very quiet in his 12 hand that I've played with him (statistically insignificant, but he's likely not raising with junk hands)...

River: ($33.50) 7s (2 players)
Hero checks, MP2 checks

Final Pot: $33.50
MP2 shows Qd Kh (three of a kind, Queens) - I'm surprised he checks through the river given the strength of his hand, but it is the 3rd spade. I don't think I repped a spade draw, though, so this was interesting that he checks trips through on the river.
Hero shows 2h 2c (a full house, Twos full of Queens)
Hero wins $31.85
(Rake: $1.65)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Gambling post on a finance blog? Interesting perspective!

I keep on financial blogs - investing, finance, money management, etc.  In my journeys, I came across an interesting article on the human behavior with regards to risk.  It is coupled with a video which is a recommended viewing.  Check it out:

Are You Smarter Than A Monkey? Answer This Question

What would you do? #164 - Facing a check holding an overpair on the river

Full Tilt Poker $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em - 7 players
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

BB: $50.00
UTG: $51.30 - 17 / 11 / 34% steal / 1.6% 3bet / 1.9 AF @ 360 hands
UTG+1: $53.60
MP: $61.40
CO: $49.25
Hero (BTN): $108.10
SB: $77.25

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is BTN with Qh Qs
UTG calls $0.50, 3 folds, Hero raises to $2.50, 2 folds, UTG calls $2

Flop: ($5.75) 7d 6c Tc (2 players)
UTG checks, Hero bets $3.50, UTG calls $3.50

Turn: ($12.75) 5s (2 players)
UTG checks, Hero bets $8, UTG calls $8

River: ($28.75) Ts (2 players)
UTG checks, Hero requests TIME, Hero ???
Anyone betting here?  How much?

Click to see results

Hero bets $13, UTG calls $13
I think I bet too light here - ~half pot.  However, I was thinking that there would be quite a few hands which would call - mainly JJ, 76, 56, etc.  Also, JJ likely makes the call.  I cannot believe that he's checking a rivered trips because it's too easy for me to check behind.  As it turns out, this was the "perfect" bet size; I don't think he's ever calling AK in this spot without a small-ish bet like what I put out.  I was actually very surprised to see a call  here.

Final Pot: $54.75
UTG mucks Ac Kc
Hero shows Qh Qs (two pair, Queens and Tens)
Hero wins $52.05
(Rake: $2.70)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hard Work FAIL - Reporter breaks ice sculpture

I'm so cruel sometimes.  I enjoy watching other people's misery.  Though I do feel bad for the artist... this is awful...  AWFULLY FUNNY!  Click through: Hard Work FAIL.

What would you do? #163 - Flopped trips vs. "the nuts"

A quick HH from my Delaware Park journey from a few weeks ago:

I sit in middle position.  The table had been a limp-fest...  I'm sitting on approx. $600 at a 1/2 game.  I watched 3 limpers behind me, and I opt to limp in with a marginal QTo.  It continues to limp around to the BTN, who limps as well and the SB completes.  BB checks the option.

The flop comes T T 2 rainbow.  In consideration of how to extract the most money, I opt to check the non-threatening board, with the intent to hope an Ace or King hit the turn / river.  However, the BTN decides to lead for $20 into an $18 pot.

An aside on the BTN: he's a guy who I would call "the nuts."  He's the type of player that plays the hands he's dealt.  He doesn't really consider individual reads, but sees a board and gets incredibly scared of any flush draws, straight draws, etc.  He would much prefer to win a small pot than lose a big one.  He only bets when he has a hand, but otherwise he opts to limp; I've seen him raise once or twice in the 3 hours I've been playing - he's shown down AA and KK in each instance.  He's not constantly limping - he has a semblance of hand strength and has never shown J2s or 83s or other garbage.  If he limps, he'll limp Axs, broadway, suited connectors, etc.

Back to the hand:  He has a $400 stack in front of him.  I opt to call - everyone else folds putting us HU to the turn which is a 7 offsuit.  I check again and he leads a second time for pot: $60.

What would you do?

Click to see results

I thought about my options: raise, check / call down the turn and river or fold.  I have not seen this player make a poor decision all day, outside of the fact that he is too protective of his hands, not allowing opponents to draw at their hands.  He had been showing down close to, if not the nuts... and getting paid for it each time. Add to the situation the fact that this is a limped pot - and he's not particularly aggressive except with made hands, I have to give him credit for the case Ten at a minimum.  I don't think he has 22 for the flopped boat.  There are 2 Tx combos (AT, KT) that beat me and a 2 Tx combos (JT, T9) that I have beat, so I don't think my ranging is helping because both hands cancel each other out.  However, given my flat on the flop, I have to think that he is concerned about the strength of my Ten for him to continue to bet into me.  By flatting on the flop, I think I've given a pretty clear indication that I like my hand.

Raising:  If I were going to raise, I should have done it on the less-costly flop.  I could have raise to $60 right there, saving a bunch of money on the turn to "find out where I am."  If I'm raising, bad move by not raising the flop.

Check / call: I think this is acceptable, but I believe his plan is to pot the river again - which by this point is going to be a $200 bet.  This is pretty steep bet for a decent, but not great hand.

Therefore, I fold.  I'm pretty sure he has the Ace - I think he's value betting me... not quite sure why he pots each street, but that's been his pattern thus far.  After I fold, I asked him what he had; I believe him when he tells me he had AT - and he's shocked to find out I had QT.  It actually drives him a little nuts that I folded there; he was pissed and felt I shouldn't have folded there...  "How can you fold there?!?!?!?  How can you fold that!??!?!?"  :-)  It was a genuine reaction.  My first "monster" laydown at 1/2 live.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Flopped straight flush

Before this hand gets too old, this is from the archives, sitting in Drafts that I never posted.  I'm trying to clear out some of the old stuff I have laying around...

It's so easy to play a hand when you have the nuts vs. an opponent's modestly big hand...

Full Tilt Poker $0.10/$0.25 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

BB: $49.22
UTG: $10.55
UTG+1: $15.73
UTG+2: $19.60
MP1: $12.60
MP2: $35.18
Hero (CO): $84.22
BTN: $22.66
SB: $16.44

Pre Flop: ($0.35) Hero is CO with 4d 6d
1 fold, UTG+1 raises to $0.50, 3 folds, Hero calls $0.50, 3 folds
I honestly don't remember why I'm calling here.  It seems somewhat strange in retrospect.  I'm sure there was a reason - but it certainly is a weird call on my part given his partial stack...

Flop: ($1.35) 2d 3d 5d (2 players)
UTG+1 checks, Hero requests TIME, Hero bets $0.75, UTG+1 calls $0.75

Turn: ($2.85) 4c (2 players)
UTG+1 checks, Hero bets $1.75, UTG+1 calls $1.75

River: ($6.35) 9c (2 players)
UTG+1 checks, Hero bets $12.73, UTG+1 calls $12.73 all in

Final Pot: $31.81
UTG+1 mucks Ac Ad
Hero shows 4d 6d (a straight flush, Six high)
Hero wins $30.22
(Rake: $1.59)

What would you do? #162 - Is JJ or TT ever good here?

Full Tilt Poker $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

UTG: $63.85
UTG+1: $50.00
UTG+2: $38.10 - 16/2 / 20% steal / 0% 3bet / 7.5AF / 100% cbet flop / 101 hands
MP1: $48.25
MP2: $84.80 - 10/7 / 18% steal / 3.1% 3bet / 1.8AF / 85% cbet flop / 794 hands
CO: $63.55
BTN: $49.50
SB: $15.75
Hero (BB): $108.65 - I'm a 28/23 / 53% steal / 6.7% 3bet / 2.2AF / 111 hands at this table, though against MP2 (who is a reg), I have a lot of history.

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is BB with Jc Js
2 folds, UTG+2 raises to $1.50, 1 fold, MP2 raises to $5, 3 folds, Hero calls $4.50, UTG+2 calls $3.50
See?  Similar pattern for both JJ & QQ.  Raise and then flat.  Too good of hands to fold outright and not quite good enough to overshove.

Flop: ($15.25) 7c 8c 6s (3 players)
Hero checks, UTG+2 bets $10, MP2 requests TIME, MP2 calls $10, Hero folds
Is JJ ever good against a 10/7 who 3bets 3.1% of the time?  Easy fold?  If not, what are you doing on the turn bet of $24 which is aligning stacks?

Turn: ($35.25) 2h (2 players)
UTG+2 checks, MP2 bets $24, UTG+2 folds

Final Pot: $35.25
MP2 wins $33.50
(Rake: $1.75)

And then, same opponent, different table (18 hands later):
Full Tilt Poker $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em - 6 players
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

MP: $67.90 - Same 10/7 / 17% steal / 3.3% 3bet / 1.8 AF / 85% cbet flop / 812 hands
CO: $53.15
BTN: $18.05
Hero (SB): $80.80 - We have 812 hands of history; my immediate table stats don't make a difference here
BB: $18.50
UTG: $45.00

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is SB with Th Tc
1 fold, MP raises to $2.50, 1 fold, BTN calls $2.50, Hero calls $2.25, 1 fold

Flop: ($8.00) 2c 6d 8s (3 players)
Hero checks, MP bets $5.50, BTN folds, Hero raises to $16, MP requests TIME, MP raises to $65.40 all in, Hero requests TIME, Hero folds
Again!  Is this guy just messing with me or does he have the goods?  I think he's a German dude.  He's definitely a reg.: m a x _pol o nez (no spaces).

Final Pot: $40.00
MP wins $38.00
(Rake: $2.00)

Friday, August 13, 2010

What would you do? #161 - Holding my cards (J9s)!

Full Tilt Poker $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em - 8 players
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

Hero (BTN): $79.80 - I'm a 31/17 / 75% steal / 0% 3bet / 0.6 AF / 29 hands at this table
SB: $50.25
BB: $97.25 - 31/17 / 0% steal / 8.3% 3bet / 7.5AF / 29 hands
UTG: $37.55
UTG+1: $42.25
MP1: $50.00
MP2: $50.00
CO: $21.10

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is BTN with 9c Jc
5 folds, Hero raises to $1.50, 1 fold, BB calls $1

Flop: ($3.25) 8h Jh 3s (2 players)
BB bets $3, Hero calls $3
I'm fairly certain I'm good here.  There is no need to raise because I'm not pushing a better Jack off the hand and we're deep stacked.  I don't want to put myself into a situation where I'm deciding 150BBs with top pair, no good kicker...

Turn: ($9.25) 4d (2 players)
BB bets $5, Hero raises to $13.25, BB calls $8.25
Now he just seems like he's donking around...  Either he's got what he says or he doesn't.  It call behind says he doesn't have it.

River: ($35.75) 8d (2 players)
BB bets $79.50 all in, Hero ???
Alrighty then...  WTF?  Nothing like an overbet shove to wake you up...  Let's get to work:
A.  Is he every flatting a turn raise with a monster hand?  He's proven to be fairly aggro in limited history.  I think if he has two pair, he's going to try to 3bet the turn to get stacks aligned.
B.  Although there is a possibility he's calling second pair because my raise is weak-ish on the turn, is he really shoving over 100BBs with a trips / set combo?  Does he really think he's going for value here?  Why wouldn't he have done that on the turn?  The river didn't really change anything.
C.  What is going on here!??!?!?! 

Click to see results

Hero calls $62.05 all in
I think I have to call given the above.  It's just such a weird spot not to call.

Final Pot: $159.85
Hero shows 9c Jc (two pair, Jacks and Eights)
BB shows 5d Jd (two pair, Jacks and Eights)
Hero wins $156.85
(Rake: $3.00)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A truly monsterous draw!

When is a draw not a draw?  When you are flush over flushed of course!

Full Tilt Poker $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em - 8 players
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

CO: $50.00
BTN: $25.00
Hero (SB): $50.00 - 17/11 / 38% steal / 3.8% 3bet / 0.8AF / 71 hands
BB: $51.75
UTG: $36.35
UTG+1: $116.95
MP1: $58.30 - 30/17 / 43% steal / 0% 3bet / 3.0AF / 71 hands
MP2: $39.95

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is SB with 9d Qd
2 folds, MP1 raises to $1.50, 3 folds, Hero calls $1.25, 1 fold
This guy has been opening wide and from all positions.  I love Q9s, J9s -type hands.

Flop: ($3.50) Jd 9h Td (2 players)
Hero checks, MP1 bets $2, Hero raises to $6, MP1 calls $4
Could this flop be *ANY* better?  Open-ended, straight flush draw + bottom pair!  Maybe if I flop 9999 or QQQQ, but I'm not getting any action on those flops.  PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE shove!

Turn: ($15.50) 6d (2 players)
Hero bets $10, MP1 raises to $20, Hero raises to $42.50 all in, MP1 calls $22.50

River: ($100.50) Qs (2 players - 1 is all in)

Final Pot: $100.50
Hero shows 9d Qd (a flush, Queen high)
MP1 shows Ad 8d (a flush, Ace high) - I was so in love with my hand I didn't even consider the possibility that a better flush could be out there.  Even with his 7 outter, I'm not drawing dead.  I have 2 outs to the straight flush.
MP1 wins $97.50
(Rake: $3.00)

What would you do? #160 - Facing river bet holding Ace high

Full Tilt Poker $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em - 6 players
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

CO: $100.65
BTN: $45.25
Hero (SB): $50.25 - I have 11 hands at this table, but I do have history with this player.  He knows I'm a perpetual blind stealer.
BB: $50.00 - 14/11 / 26% steal / 6.3% 3bet / 2.4 AF / 288 hands
UTG: $53.15
MP: $16.75

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is SB with Ad 5d
4 folds, Hero raises to $1.50, BB raises to $4.50, Hero calls $3
This guy has shown in the past that he's not afraid to defend 3bets and will defend light at that...  Therefore, I call the 3bet OOP and we see a flop.

Flop: ($9.00) 6c 7s 7d (2 players)
Hero checks, BB checks
Is a PP ever *NOT* leading this flop, with position?  Against a known blind stealer?  I immediately drop his range down to complete BS, or broadway cards.

Turn: ($9.00) 4h (2 players)
Hero bets $6, BB calls $6
Great card; I turn an open ender.

River: ($21.00) Ts (2 players)
Hero checks, BB bets $10, Hero calls $10
I have Ace high.  I'm not calling very often at all in this spot - perhaps not often enough.  However, he represents such weakness on the river that I simply cannot put him on a hand that beats me.  I think even AK, AQ leads that flop; it's such a dry flop.  Therefore, I call behind.

Final Pot: $41.00
Hero shows Ad 5d (a pair of Sevens)
BB shows 8s Js (a pair of Sevens)
Hero wins $38.95
(Rake: $2.05)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Poker Meister #70 - Flush over flush prevails

Full Tilt Poker $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

CO: $53.75
Hero (BTN): $50.00
SB: $55.35
BB: $40.00
UTG: $52.75
UTG+1: $53.65
UTG+2: $43.15
MP1: $28.05
MP2: $50.00

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is BTN with 9c Jc
2 folds, UTG+2 calls $0.50, 3 folds, Hero raises to $2.50, 2 folds, UTG+2 calls $2

Flop: ($5.75) Kc 9h 2c (2 players)
UTG+2 checks, Hero bets $4, UTG+2 calls $4

Turn: ($13.75) Kh (2 players)
UTG+2 checks, Hero checks

River: ($13.75) 6c (2 players)
UTG+2 bets $6, Hero raises to $14, UTG+2 calls $8
I'm going to find out pretty quickly whether my flush is good or if my opponent turned a boat.  By his call, he's obviously afraid of a boat...

Final Pot: $41.75
Hero shows 9c Jc (a flush, King high)
UTG+2 mucks 4c 5c
Hero wins $39.70
(Rake: $2.05)

What would you do? #159 - Facing a 2/3 pot river bet holding overpair

So not to get a reputation for playing weak-tight, I don't always fold my KK. 

Full Tilt Poker $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

MP2: $46.40 - 22/0 / NA steal / 0% 3bet / 1.0 AF / 10 hands
CO: $68.15
BTN: $17.50
SB: $15.50
Hero (BB): $51.50 - I'm a 40/30 / 100% steal / 0% 3bet / .5 AF / 10 hands at this table
UTG: $50.00
UTG+1: $50.00
UTG+2: $65.15
MP1: $55.70

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is BB with Kd Kh
4 folds, MP2 calls $0.50, 3 folds, Hero raises to $2.50, MP2 calls $2
The table is new, and I've shown to be a bit aggro PF in the early going...  good opportunity for another raise.

Flop: ($5.25) Th Js 8s (2 players)
Hero bets $3.75, MP2 calls $3.75
Very draw heavy board.

Turn: ($12.75) Jd (2 players)
Hero bets $7, MP2 calls $7
If he has JT, Jx, GG me...

River: ($26.75) 5s (2 players)
Hero checks, MP2 bets $18.30, Hero ???

Click to see results

Hero calls $18.30
I love the check the river, because a lot of times, villains are going to realize that the only way they win the hand is by betting and pushing me off the best hand.  I'm not going anywhere.

Additionally, the only hands that are raising a river bet are hands that beat me. Therefore, I get the best of both worlds; I don't put out additional money on the river, yet have the option of calling through by the induced bluff... rather than put money at risk by leading the river and either get raised and have to fold or illicit a fold from my opponent, netting me $0 at the river.

Final Pot: $63.35
MP2 shows Ks Qd (a pair of Jacks)
Hero shows Kd Kh (two pair, Kings and Jacks)
Hero wins $60.35
(Rake: $3.00)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Funny of the day

A Fail blog rarity; a win! Free Flight Win

What would you do? #158 - Hyper aggro 3bet happy villains?

Full Tilt Poker $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

UTG+1: $93.70
UTG+2: $17.50 - 100/31 / 0% steal / 18.2% 3bet / 1.0 AF / 32 hands
MP1: $49.10
MP2: $15.40 - 56/12 / NA steal / 10% 3bet / 2.8 AF / 25 hands
Hero (CO): $74.35 - I am a 24/14 / 50% steal / 11.1% 3bet / 1.7 AF / 79 hands at this table
BTN: $10.50
SB: $50.00
BB: $105.70 - 54/24 / 67% steal / 25% 3bet / 1.4 AF / 33 hands
UTG: $71.20

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is CO with Ah Jd
2 folds, UTG+2 calls $0.50, 1 fold, MP2 raises to $1.50, Hero calls $1.50, 2 folds, BB raises to $5.70, 1 fold, MP2 calls $4.20, Hero calls $4.20
Not a normal play here; I'm not usually flatting twice PF in any hand...  given these guy's propensity for 3betting, I am driven to flat and not want to get stacks in.

Flop: ($17.85) 2h Kd 3h (3 players)
BB bets $5, MP2 folds, Hero calls $5
Float?  Bad move?

Turn: ($27.85) Jc (2 players)
BB bets $10, Hero calls $10
No reason to raise if he'll keep on betting.

River: ($47.85) 4s (2 players)
BB bets $25, Hero calls $25
If I call the turn, I'm pretty certain I'm calling a river bet of this size...

What range do you have BB on?  Am I calling too light here?  Obviously, given the results I am, but am I ever good here given the action?

Final Pot: $97.85
Hero mucks Ah Jd
BB shows Jh Kh (two pair, Kings and Jacks)
BB wins $94.85
(Rake: $3.00)

Monday, August 9, 2010

A new blog! Bad Beats & Brags (AKA BBB)

Happy Monday everyone.  Quick update on goings-ons around here:  I started a new blog: Bad Beats & Brags: 'Cause you're rollin' in it or you're sh*tty!  The plan is to post bad beats and brags of myself and readers in an anonymous way.  From the blog:

Got a poker F* you to send to someone? Simply contact me with your worst poker beat or best poker brag. I'll decide what goes up and when. I'll certainly credit you if you'd like.

You can email me or leave a comment on this blog. In your message, include the name you'd like to be credited with (if you want to be identified or linked) and the [all important] hand history. Please make all names in the hand history anonymous, with the exception of the donkey if you want to call out the person who put the beat on you.

We're looking for weird hands, truly bad sh*t, or busting poker pros in awesome ways. Just because you got your AA cracked doesn't mean squat. But if you got your set of Aces cracked to an all in non-paired opponent on the flop with no [obvious] draws and he runner runners the winning hand, well then, now we're talking. Bust Phil Ivey in a tourney? Easy brag! Bust Phil Helmuth? Who hasn't? No brag for you!

Email: ThePokerMeisterTPM@gmail.com

So, readers, if you've been saving up bad beats or run goods, ship 'em in.  I'll post 'em up if they're worthy.

Back to Basics: Thinking about your opponent's hand ranges

It's been awhile since I posted a "Back to Basics" segment, and was feeling motivated by Matt Tag's post on F*@! the math.  Therefore, I tried throwing this together.  I know this goes beyond a "basics" segment, but I was thinking about calculation of hand ranges anyway, so I wanted to get it out there.  Let me know what you think.

My chosen career, software engineering (systems engineering), was selected as a way to avoid using math directly in my head.  See, ironically, I'm maths challenged. Therefore, I try to avoid using math.  When I do, though, I am always looking for the "easy way out" - a shortcut or way to make the maths easier.

Figuring out equity, at any point, when faced with an all in situation, is somewhat easy, if you can do memorization and/or addition and multiplication.  We covered that in Back to Basics: Pot Odds, Hand Equity and Implied Odds, where you can count outs and multiply by either 2 or 4.  The more you do it, the quicker you'll become, as well.

However, figuring out your opponent's hand range is more difficult, because you have to deal with weightings and rough math; i.e. unless you know you're opponent's exact holdings, you cannot come to a precise number.  Let's go through the basics, first.  There are 6 hand combinations for any specific pocket pair (e.g. AA), 4 hand combinations of a specific suited combo (e.g. AKs), and 12 hand combinations of unsuited cards (e.g. AKo).  FYI: Surprisingly, it is statistically rarer to hold a specific suited combo (AKs) than it is to hold AA; you will hold AKs roughly 4/6 or 2/3 of the times than you will hold AA...  look it up in your HEM or PT3 databases (assuming you have enough of a sample size).

Okay.  We have covered hand combinations.  Let's talk about real-world examples:

Given that we now know there are as many combos of 2 pocket pairs as there are any combination of specific offsuit cards, AKo, for example, we can start to think about and assign ranges to our opponent.  We're in a PF situation, facing an all-in bet.  We hold QQ.  Regardless of how we arrived at the shove, let's assume that we know our opponent is capable of this play with precisely 4 hands: AKo, AKs, AA, and KK.  From the Back to Basics: Pot Odds, Hand Equity and Implied Odds post, we know that we have 20% PF equity vs. any overpairs to ours, but against 2 overcards, we have 50% equity PF.  So we assign a weight of 50% to the 16 combos of AK (4 for AKs + 12 for AKo) and 20% to the 12 combos of AA and KK: .5 * 16 + .2 * 12 = (.5 * 16 =)8 + (.2 *12=)~2.5 (figured out in my head by 2 * 12, move the decimal over one place) = 10.5.  Take that number divided by the total amount of combos (16 + 12 = 28)  is 10.5 / 28 = a little better than 35% equity in this hand (I took 10/30 = 33%, but the top number is bigger and the bottom number is smaller so I estimate around 35% equity) to make the call.  Therefore, we need a price better than 2:1 pot odds to make the call...  in other words, at best, we're splitting and at worst, we're dominated.  Given the range, this is an easy fold for most cases.

Let's move on to a post flop example:

Once again, we hold QQ and have seen a flop of 2 5 9 rainbow.  We're facing another all in situation and whether or not to call.  We hold a simple overpair and put our opponent on a fairly wide range of hands: 22-AA, AK, 87s.  I don't care what the PF action was, because I'm telling you what our opponent's range is precisely.  Do we really have to go through all the addition, multiplication and division to get to whether we're making a good call or not?  Well, let's think about it and do some shortcutting: 22, 55, 99, KK, AA have us dominated.  However, we're crushing 33, 44, 66, 77, 88, TT, JJ.  Therefore, we can roughly cancel out 5 pair combinations of domination / crushed because they are equal with equal weights (remember that all pocket pairs have the same number of combinations: 6 ), leaving us with 2 pair combos which we have crushed by an 84% margin.  This cancellation process gets us a lot further down the road, and more quickly.  What other hands are we dealing with here?  AKs, AKo, 87s.  There are 16 combos of AK @ 75% equity (remember that we have 75% equity on the flop vs. 2 overcards from the discussion on figuring out equities) and 4 combos of 87s at 68% equity (again, an open ended straight draw has roughly 32% equity).  The maths are as follows: 2 * 6 (the two remaining pair combos) *84% + 16 *75% (the AK combo) + 4 * 77% = [in my head] 12 * 80% + 16 divided in 4ths + 4* 75% = 9.5 + 12 + 3 = 20.5 out of 12 + 16 + 4 or 32.  Given the hand range we put him on, we are likely very far ahead of his range - roughly 66% equity to his 33%, thus any call will likely be profitable here.

What's that you say?  Your opponent isn't likely to be shoving 33, 44, 66 on this flop?  Or maybe he's likely to shove those types of hands on a bluff a certain percentage of the time?  Well, you can adjust your numbers and weights to play with the formula.  If you take out 33, 44, 66, the numerator increases and the denominator decreases, decreasing the likelihood that you are ahead.  Like I said, the world is not perfect; you will not be able to come up with an exact number that will tell you whether you're profitable or not if you make the play.  The idea is to come up with a rough notion of what to do.

You can certainly perform this type of evaluation in your head; the more you practice it, the better you will become.  There is a TON of further reading on the subject, if you care to get into the maths, as well as more detailed explanations.  I rather enjoyed Foucault's article on hand ranges, check it out if you're so inclined.  Finally, there is a tool out there available called PokerStove, which happens to be totally free.  You can compare equities on opponent's ranges vs. your holdings to figure out your equity in the hand.  It is a critical tool in your poker arsenal, if you're not already using it.

Remember: The overall goal of the exercise of putting your opponent on a range of hands is to determine that if you make this move in a vacuum 1 million times, will you be net profitable, net neutral or a net loser.  Take a few seconds, the next time you are facing an all in situation - or any action for that matter - and think about ranges and equities to the hand.  I am sure it will help you.

Comments welcome; please feel free to point out discrepancies.  I may not have explained the math perfectly - if you find problems, please let me know & I will correct them.  My goal at the end of the "Back to Basics" segment is to have a primer for which I can send friends and people I know  to better understand the game.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

First 100NL session of the new month - WIN!

I just finished up my first "solid" 100NL session of August.  I played 637 hands, and won $70.  This is the first time that I've overcome running bad to make a nice profit there.  I started off about 40 hands in - turning a nut flush and getting all in ($75 behind at the time) on the turn - only to see a paired board and the flopped set take the pot on the river.  Ouchie!  I immediately got sucked out again, and was facing a $150 deficit from early play.  I am proud of the fact that I overcame that deficit to run 5PTBB/100!  Booyah!  I simply played very well.  Good poker is the solution to running bad!

Sorry for the brag; I'm just proud that I'm working off (in the right direction) the huge blemish I have on my PTR stats.

I expect to continue 100NL play (if only I can overcome the poor variance).  :-)

Here's a question for everyone, though: Who knows what the "$ (EV adjusted)" stat is on the Holdem Manager reports represents?  It shows that I ran +$195 in EV, but I have a terribly hard time believing that.  I never sucked out, rarely got all in, and when I did get all in I seemed to get sucked out on.  Why would my HEM show a positive EV for the session - and of 2 buy ins, no less?  WTF?
2010-08-07 EV Graph

Friday, August 6, 2010

Basil Marceaux for governer... Is this for real? The_Goat_Speaks finds a good funny

This dude is absolutely nuts.  Who does he think will vote for him... check that, I've seen tons of people who would fall for his "charm."  Click through:

Your Weekly Dose Of Crazy

2010-08-05 Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races

A few friends and I decided to hit up the new poker room at Charles Town, WV.  With the economic downturn / gambling boom, there have been numerous poker rooms and casinos popping up all throughout the east coast.  Thursday night being a school night (no off Friday the following day :-( ), we chose to check it out, since it was close enough (about 1 hour away) that we could go there after work and return home at a "reasonable" hour.  Although the drive going took a bit more than 1 hour from my house, it was far shorter going home (since we knew where we were going) and fairly convenient.

The welcoming sign the road; very regal!
The casino
Me in line to get on the waitlist in my
poker uniform: Royal blue collared
shirt to subdue the natives.
The casino was fairly dingy; dimly lit with cigarette smoke filling the air.  The casino is supposed to be brand new, but styled in 40's fashions; picture bright light billboards and old timey banks and old timey cinemas.  I know it's tough to describe; you kinda have to see it for yourself in order to get the picture.  It was nothing spectacular; I would liken it to any other typical themed casino, except with the theme of Hollywood (I guess that's what they were going for when they designed it... who knows).  The clientele was a good mix at the table games, though the slots seemed to be a bunch of retirees hoping to eek out a bit more on their social security checks.  I'll paint the typical visual of an old lady with an oxygen canister hooked up to her nose, but the cigarette hanging out of her mouth... ash so long that you wonder how it's not falling off into the slot machine coin catch area...

The poker room
The empty poker room waiting for
action to start
A quick background for those who don't know, the Charles Town poker room does not open until 8:00pm (I think they're on a probationary period from the state) and closes at 4:00am during the week.  People line up to waitlist themselves until they can be seated, starting at around 7:50pm.  To begin, simply finding the poker room was a task in and of itself.  It is tucked away in the back of the casino, upstairs, by the horse track betting window.  I guess they figure that we're as degenerate as the horse bettors, so why not locate them together?  Although I was appreciative that it was away from the smoke of the casino, I would prefer it to be located within line-of-site of the casino such that we may be able to get a few "lucky winners" at the tables, from time to time...  Alas, we arrived at 6:45pm and got online to register for the waitlist.  They started taking names from the line at 7:00 - and it moved very quickly.  By my estimate, there were about 75 people in line for what would turn out to be 17 tables to open Thursday.  Once my friends and I registered, we were free to go & get dinner so long as we returned prior to our tables getting called.

The food court
Wow.  What highway robbery!  The food was decent, but awfully expensive for what it was.  I decided to get the Beef Chow Fun from the Chinese-themed restaurant.  $13 was my cost for the food - a personal serving of the dish.  I thought that was exorbitant, but I guess most players use comp points and don't really care?  Whatever - I had food in me, and I was ready to roll.  My buddy got a $6 beef panini & $3 Red Bull, which he said was decent as well.

The players, the play and seating
A typical poker table at CTRS
We got back up to the poker room at approx. 8:00, as names were being called to each table.  I think they had gone through 2 tables worth of names (20 people) prior to our arrival.  Logically, they sat the higher stakes tables, first.  Clearly, the 1/2 games, for which myself and my friends were registered, were the most popular, but were the last to be seated.  They sat a 3/6 limit game(?!?!?!?) ahead of us.  Regardless, I would settle into my seat at approx. 8:30pm.

A quick background on CTRS (Charles Town Races & Slots) poker room:  They charge $6 / hour seat time rental in lieu of rake.  This coincides with the California poker rooms, though I think CA is a bit cheaper for seat time.  That rental time will just eat you alive if you're not involved in many pots and not seeing any hands!  After the first two hands, they had a dealer change and I had to pony up my $6 along with the rest of the table.  Although I had not taken part in any pots (limped or blinded), I was already facing a $6 loss, which was not a good feeling.  The way they run things, every 30 minutes, the table gets a dealer change and the house collects their $6, so the goal is to get as many hands as possible per hour.  You *WANT* the dealer to move the game along.  You want the players to be aware, ready and act quickly.  In this game, literally, time is money.

Regardless, the tables were very comfortable - felt was firm, side rail was plush and seats were firm and comfortable.  The chips were real clay chips, unlike the Delaware Park "home game" feeling chips with metal inserts.  The tables were a bit on the small side; although I didn't feel cramped, I did feel like I was right on top of the table at all times.  I'd imagine site lines were very good from all seats, though I sat in the 5 seat, with a good view of all players and the community cards.

A quick aside, while I have my thoughts in order: they make new players to the table post to play, which is somewhat stupid.  If I were playing there, and I'm sitting down to a table already in play, the only way I'm posting is if I missed the half hour rental.  That way, I'm getting a discount for my play.  I saw a guy post the $2 blind + pay the $6 rental in the same hand, which, to me, was a bad use of funds.  Had he waited for the blind, he would have missed the rental as well.

Anyway, back to the review and to sum up: they don't comp points yet.  You can get rail alcohol for free... sodas & water are free as well.  Premium alcohol & Red Bull cost money - Red Bull is $5 at the poker room, but $3 in the food court ldo...  The first two dealers on the night were awful.  We had 3 misdeals in the span of 1 hour.  One misdeal was where he dealt the BTN as the first player...  WTF?  Another misdeal was where the dealer gave a player another player's cards, but then attempted to give the other player who was missing a card the top of the deck card...  WTF?  Call the MISDEAL and move on!  Don't cover up your mistake.  There was one particular decent dealer - an Asian lady who was new to dealing, but she was quick, efficient, and always turned over cards when one player would show another player his holdings.  She knew her rules and made sure they were followed - only complaint about here was that she wasn't confident in the enforcement.  She stated "show one show all," but waited for acknowledgment from the player in question prior to showing.  I have no doubt she'll become more confident.

What else?  Hmmm...  Oh - a quick WWYD if you'd like, though this is a loaded one because I know my opponent's hole cards.  I think this is a fairly easy decision; perhaps the issue lies in the way I played the hand, but here goes:

Limping table, and I limp KsQs in MP1 position.  It limps around to the CO who raises to $9.  Everyone and their brother calls and 8 player see a flop of Ax Kx Ts.  The BB leads for $20 (prolly a $180 stack) and I call ($225 stack) as does the player to my left (covers us both), who was a tight, fairly knowledgeable old guy - 100% live good 'ol boy who has probably been playing since he was 20.  Turn is a 3s, giving me 9 outs to a flush + my gut shot + what I perceive to be a possible trip Kings...  I can't count the pairing of the Q as my two pair would make a 4 straight, FWIW.  Regardless, BB leads for $25 (I call) and old guy pushes the action to $50 on top.  BB calls and I call (with $110 remaining).  River is an off-suit (obviously) Q.  Checks to me and I check.  Old guy says all in.  BB folds.  Hero?

Click to see results

I folded; I can't figure that my 2 pair are worth a stack and an eighth.  Had the river been a spade, I'd obviously be all in, but I can't put old dude on anything less than Aces-up... and likely much stronger than that given the river 4 straight.  As it turns out, old dude flopped the straight; he was holding QJ.

In closing, the players seemed to be *MUCH* better than Delaware Park.  They were far more aggressive, yet I don't believe they truly understood hand strengths and relative hand strengths...  about typical of what you'd see in your standard AC player I guess.  Perhaps my view is tainted from the fact that I was card dead the whole night and walked out with a $10 loss :-(, but I'm generally immune to those things - I've seen enough poker to know streaks happen.  Regardless, I'm not in any rush to get back there; I don't like the cigarette smoke and definitely don't like the way they do rake.  FYI for those keeping track: I wound up winning 2-3 pots the whole night; I would have "paid" $11 in rake for those 3 pots, but I wound up paying $36 in seat time for the 3 hours I was there.

What would you do? #157 - Ton of draws get there on the river holding PP AA

Full Tilt Poker $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em - 7 players
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

SB: $51.00
BB: $52.05
Hero (UTG): $54.00 - I'm a 18/16 / 41%steal / 5.9% 3bet / 2.0 AF / 94 hands at this table
UTG+1: $33.85
MP: $78.05
CO: $50.00 - 26/7 / 19% steal / 0% 3bet / 1.6 AF / 133 hands
BTN: $47.50

CO posts a big blind ($0.50)

Pre Flop: ($1.25) Hero is UTG with Ah Ac
Hero raises to $2.25, 2 folds, CO calls $1.75, 3 folds

Flop: ($5.25) Th Qs 8h (2 players)
Hero bets $3.50, CO raises to $8.50, Hero calls $5
Not a great flop, but let's see where it goes...

Turn: ($22.25) 3c (2 players)
Hero checks, CO bets $12.50, Hero calls $12.50
I'm still not convinced he flopped QT or better, but an OESFD is certainly possible on this board.

River: ($47.25) Kh (2 players)
Hero checks, CO bets $26.75 all in, Hero requests TIME, Hero folds
By this point, I have to be in terrible shape.  KQ gets there, Hearts get there, Straights get there.  Any other card in this spot (particularly pairing the board 3's or 8's) & I snap call / fist pump.  This is the *SINGLE WORST* card in the deck... with the exception *MAYBE* of the 9h which is probably worse...

Final Pot: $47.25
CO wins $44.90
(Rake: $2.35)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Poker Meister #69 - River suckout

I just love J9s.  I'm surprised to see villain's hand, but not surprised with the result.

Full Tilt Poker $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

SB: $44.25
BB: $56.40
UTG: $22.40
UTG+1: $93.60
UTG+2: $54.30
Hero (MP1): $50.40
MP2: $26.95
CO: $16.50
BTN: $62.95

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is MP1 with 9h Jh
3 folds, Hero raises to $1.75, MP2 calls $1.75, 2 folds, SB calls $1.50, 1 fold

Flop: ($5.75) Kd Tc 8c (3 players)
SB checks, Hero requests TIME, Hero bets $3.50, MP2 raises to $10.75, SB folds, Hero calls $7.25

Turn: ($27.25) 2d (2 players)
Hero checks, MP2 bets $14.45 all in, Hero calls $14.45

River: ($56.15) 7d (2 players - 1 is all in)

Final Pot: $56.15
Hero shows 9h Jh (a straight, Jack high)
MP2 shows Ad Ah (a pair of Aces)
Hero wins $53.35
(Rake: $2.80)

What would you do? #156 - Holding pp KK to a flop committing bet

In reference to my comments about What would you do? #146 - Holding TPTK vs. a nit, I think this hand will cause some discussion as well...

Full Tilt Poker $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em - 8 players
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

SB: $17.00
BB: $36.80
UTG: $35.50
UTG+1: $68.40
MP1: $25.45
Hero (MP2): $161.10
CO: $50.75
BTN: $63.35 - 16/10 / 25% steal / 3.1% 3bet / 100% fold to 3bet / 2.2 AF / 80% lead flop / 530 hands

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is MP2 with Kc Ks
3 folds, Hero raises to $1.75, 1 fold, BTN raises to $5, 2 folds, Hero raises to $13.25, BTN calls $8.25
What hands does a 3.1% 3betting BTN flat and not shove PF?  3 hands: AA, KK (less likely), QQ (most likely) or JJ (most likely) or AK.

Flop: ($27.25) 3s 4h Qs (2 players)
Hero checks, BTN bets $18, Hero requests TIME, Hero folds
If I bet here, it has to be a big bet, and I'm essentially committing myself, like he is.  If I raise, it's all in.  Believe me, I kicked myself for not outright shoving all in PF...  I don't know that I want to do that, though.  I just have trouble believing any other hand (other than QQ) is betting like this where they're committing on the flop.

The only other hand worthy of consideration is AK of spades - where he's drawing to 9 + 3 outs; essentially a race.  I'm putting him more likely on QQ though than on AKs.

Let the controversy & flames begin!  First one will be from anonymous, no doubt: "can you be more afraid of the monsters under the bed? you've got the nut pair with the nut kicker. don't play like a pussy."  Before you write that, though, give me a reasonable range that you think he has that I beat here.

Final Pot: $27.25
BTN wins $25.90
(Rake: $1.35)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Quick segue; My analysis of lawyers vs. engineers in the poker world

I think the following is worthy of a post in and of itself.  I originally posted it over at Jordan's blog, but wanted to recapture it here, as my readers may find it worthy as well.  This could be epic - like the love letters between Abigail & John Adams :-).

[Jordan's post refers to differences between his & mine /omgitsjoshua's approach to the game of poker.]

Digesting what you wrote, I think there is a ton of truth in your evaluation. In my experience, there are two professions that dominate poker: engineers & lawyers. Perhaps this is an offshoot of our chosen professions.

[Jordan] are a lawyer by trade, with a superb understanding of game theory. It is what they teach you in law school (among other things), and it is what you use in your non-poker life. Your goal is two bring two or more parties together to reach an agreement. I think the game theory world very much delves into psychology, akin to your artist analogy above… the classic left / right half of your brain (don’t know which it is).

In contrast, I, as the career engineer, approach the game in much the same way I approach my job. I look at a poker hand as a problem to be solved. There is an optimal solution that I am intent on finding. I use logic and numbers to get there, as those are the tools I was taught to use in my schooling.

I happen to think the engineer works much better in the online poker setting, whereas the lawyer works better in the live poker setting. The lawyer can gain a feel for an opponent’s mood or feelings, while the engineer can quickly dissect a situation based on the numbers on the screen in front of him. However, the two are not mutually exclusive; they mix constantly, which is where our conversation spawned.

Back to the main point of my response: I look at Tom Dwan and Phil Galfond as yardsticks. My goal in my poker ‘career” is to be like either of them or eLkY or any of the other young guns. Phil & Tom, for example, have a “stable” of poker players, each other as the core, to bounce ideas off of, replay hands, discuss thoughts and talk general philosophy. Side note: While I think a lot of the “diversity inclusion” in corporate culture nowadays is a TON OF BS, I think it lends itself nicely to the poker table.

The reality is, most of my friends are in engineering-related / technical fields. Among us, we can have differing opinions, but it always comes back to statistics and number-crunching. Including you in the mix begins to get that “diversity inclusion” that is so needed in the conversation. It’s a win-win for all parties involved; you gain a better technical understanding, while the engineers gain a game theory / psychology perspective.
As you get more into online poker and I into live poker, I think the trade becomes more & more critical. So there I stand; I have put my cards on the proverbial table :-) . Looks like we have a match.

Standard disclaimer / “Diversity inclusion”: I am making a broad generalization about the law / engineer professions dominating the world of poker. In my experience, I have found that the better poker player are in those lines of work, but that does not necessarily exclude other professions from succeeding. Obviously, there are TONS of exceptions!

Note: I will update this post if there is more conversation to follow.  Alternatively, you can follow the conversation on Jordan's blog.

What would you do? #155 - Outplayed or donkey?

This is two hand histories in one: a recap from my live Delaware Park session on 2010-07-16.

The first hand involved an UTG raiser who had not been altogether active, but kinda knew what he was doing.  It was clear, though, that he thought he was a lot better player than he actually was.  He was the wrap-around sunglasses type, trying to look intimidating whenever he had an opportunity.

We're playing 1/2 with ~$170 effective stacks - he raises to $10 from UTG.  There are 2 callers when action gets to me, in CO.  I decide to flat my JTo, and BTN obliges as well.  SB & BB fold, leaving us 5 to see a flop of:

J Q T rainbow

The 3 players to act before me (including the original raiser) check to me, and I lead $28 into ~$50 with my bottom two.  BTN, who had been a wonky player - very easy to read, clearly new to the game, not fearful of the money, instantly shoves all in - a total of $89.  A quick note on BTN: in hands prior, he was always laser quick to 3 bet when he had QQ+, which made for very easy folds because you knew when he had it.  Therefore, I was not in the least concerned about having BTN beat; I put him squarely on KQ, AQ - he figures he has TP + a gutshot / open ender.  However, here is where it gets weird: original raiser (UTG) decides to flat, with $50 behind.

WTF?  So, in my mind, my decision is either re-ship for the extra $50 ($140 total), or fold.  What would you do?  What does a UTG flat mean here?

Click to see results

I decided to ship; I think I would have a much more difficult decision, had UTG decided to re-ship... thus, I'd have to make a call for $140 instead of raising to $140.  I just can't put UTG on anything other than AK that has me beat.  I very distinctly feel like he has AA, KK (straight draw + overpair), and given that BTN likely has a similar hand, they hold outs against each other.

Well, BTN shows up with AQ (as expected), while UTG shows up with AK - for the flopped straight.  He got greedy, wanting me to call with a hand that cannot improve from the flop.  I don't blame him for that, but he didn't show his hand when we were all in - and only after the board paired Tens did he show his flopped straight and walk away in disgust, cursing up a storm.  I don't feel bad; you want me to feel bad, at least let me feel the feeling of having a losing hand turn into a winner - then I can relate to you.  If you're not going to show until you're beat, then too bad for you.

I'm really left wondering, though, with this hand: no question, I was outplayed, but should he ever be flatting there with $60 behind?  If I'm him, I want to go heads-up against one opponent.  I want to slam the door on all action, given that I have a vulnerable monster with at least one player showing significant action and another who opened the flop betting.  It's nice to hit a 4-outter and scoop a $420 pot...  never happens to me online :-(.

Second hand history was more curious than anything else - wasn't really anything my opponent or I could have done about it, and it wasn't for a ton of money:

I'm in the CO, and raise to $16, as I had been in prior hands, to punish the 4 limpers behind me (typically, I raise $10 + $2 per limper), but I didn't really want to raise so strong with my hand, which was KxJd.  Not concerned; hardly any of the players are aware enough to know what I'm doing and how I'm raising... moreover, enough to understand that I was light in my raise.  Either they're calling regardless of PF bet sizing or they're folding.

Anyway, I get a SB caller and MP1 caller.  We see a 3-way flop of:

Ad 5d 2x

It checks to me, and I lead $25 into ~$54...  part my my live play problem is not sizing up effective stack sizes after we see a flop.  I do this well prior to the flop - particularly when facing a PF raise.  However, when I'm the aggressor, I don't re-evaluate the caller's effective sizes.  Why is this important?  SB shoves his remaining $38, while MP1 folds.  At this point, I face a $13 call into a $117 pot - HUGE odds.  I'm not going to even ask the question...  no one is laying this sucker down, right?  nearly 10:1 odds - I can runner a straight, [potential] flush, split straight, runner two pair, trips, etc.  It's totally on the margins - I'm pretty sure I'm WAAAAYYY behind here, but I'm not folding for $13 more.  Well, after making the call, my opponent immediately shows 55 for the flopped set and I'm ready to throw my hand away - telling him good game...  and the board runs diamond diamond for the running flush and a nice $130 pot.  Because I'm not a bad guy; I did feel genuinely bad for this sick beat, I posted his blinds - before he finally got up in disgust a few hands later.

I guess it goes to show: who says live poker isn't rigged?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Back to my roots - a min cash at the $100K on Bodog - 2010-08-01 recap

I can't let PokerGrump take all of the money on Bodog's overlaid tournaments.  I've been looking for awhile to [re-]start a bankroll there; it was Bodog that started my online poker addiction career.  Back in March of 2007, I had deposited $50 and was able to play with it for 6-8 months before going busto.  After busto, the credit card companies denied new deposits and I sort of gave up on Bodog.  Well, a few months ago, they sent me an email offering me $10 free in casino chips to try out there casino with the catch that I had to place 100 bets in order to request a check / use the money in other areas of their system (i.e. poker).  I was able to convert the $10 to a $15 bankroll, and immediately proceeded to donk it off at the .02/.05 poker tables.  Crappy, yes, but oh well - it doesn't feel good to lose your puny BR at the micro stakes :-(.  I then tried to swap money with a fellow blogger, but Bodog doesn't allow player to player transfers.  Long story short: I gave up.

Fast forward to 4 days ago and you can imagine my surprise when I got an email from Bodog offering me a complimentary $215 + $12 ticket to their $100K Guaranteed tournament.  It's interesting that they offer me $10 in gambling casino chips, and now offer me a $227 tournament entry(?!?!).  I'd take the cash any day of the week, but whatever.  I'll take a shot.  After checking it out with the wife, I registered and waited for Sunday 4pm to roll around so that I can take my shot at getting a real bankroll.  Quick aside: I had read previously that Bodog's player base was very weak, so I see an opportunity there, if only I can get a bankroll where I can sustain the ups & downs.  Starting out, my goal for the tournament [obviously] was to win the thing; the structure was such that first prize would get 25% of the $100K.  However, as a default position, I wanted to do no less than min cash, thus giving me the bankroll I desired.  A min cash would work out to .3% - $300 for 63rd place.

As I said, the tournament started at 4pm, though I didn't really get serious about it until 6:00PM - my stack was up & down, and the play was proven to be absolutely atrocious.  If you've been reading this blog long enough, you know that I'm a 98% cash player; I'm not sure whether this is standard for $227 Sunday majors tournaments.  For example, people were putting stacks on the line post-flop with AK high, or calling all-ins with gutshot draws (and they all seemed to be hitting & sucking out).  I knew if I got a hand or two, I would be able to at least cash this sucker.

WARNING: No hand converters, so HH suck!  I'm going to try to detail most hands, but I'm kinda lazy!

Early, I wound up doubling through a flush draw against my flopped boat...  the players were chatting "vnh," "nh," etc...  Really?  I'm playing like 10% of my hands and I call all-in and you think I played it well?

Anyway, I'm sitting on a mid stack at around 6:50PM when the following comes up:

ThTs in SB with 300/600 blinds & 60 antes.  I'm sitting on a short 17K stack and donk is sitting on 25K.  This is a pretty dicey situation, as I can seriously hurt donk's stack if he loses, but I will absolutely go out of the tourney if I lose...  Donk raises to 1325 from BTN; he'd been stealing and very active.  I re-pop him (first time I'd 3 bet) to 5K.  That's a pretty good indication that I'm not going to fold when I have 1/3 of my stack in there already.  He 4bets me to 15K and I ship for the last 2K.  He shows up with AcKd so we're off to the races.  Now, as I said earlier, I'm not a tourney pro by ANY stretch, but against a tight opponent, if you're the donk, aren't you flatting against my FIRST 3 bet?  At best, you're 50/50, and at worst you're FAR behind.  I have to imagine I'm flatting there...  Anyway, I fade a 9 2 J Q 2 board to win a huge (relative) pot.

From that point on, I had garbage on top of garbage, and my table consisted of 3 of the top 10 big stacks with 120 runners left...  I sat in 27th place, FYI, after the hand.  When I mean garbage, this kinda crap was typical:

The sum total of runners was 593 players, leaving a nice overlay to the tournament that was free to begin with :-).  For the next few hours, I had to sit idly watching big stacks battle each other and throw all in with gambles -  it’s to the point where it’s humorous.  The play here is simply atrocious.  They're 100BB+ deep and getting all in PF with AK vs. 55 or whatever...  I’ve stolen a few times, but haven’t had the gall to re-steal against those stealing on me.  BTW, I hate the fact that I can’t get a HUD with Bodog tournaments.

I work up the courage to start opening my game, because I'm not getting any traction...  I steal in early position with the best hand I've seen since the TT hand (30 minutes ago):
And it works!  I move up to 25th place!

3 minutes later, I get involved with a really weird hand with a player who had been incredibly active - raising nearly every hand.  The quick of it is that I have 34K to his 57.5K stack.  Antes are 500/1K & blinds are 100.  I am dealt Ah2h in SB (once again) and decide to defend his EP raise to 3K.  We see a flop of Kc4cAc.  I check call a bet of 6K, leaving me 25K.  The next card is a Kh and we check through the turn.  Finally, Js is dealt on the river and I check to weirdo who leads for 19.9K(!!!?!??!?!?).  Given his check through the turn, I have trouble buying that he has an Ace or King - he's polarized to monsters / air.  [I probably shouldn't have] but I check / raise all in for the remaining 25K and he SNAP folds... I mean so fast he didn't even wait for my bet to hit the table...  Just weird, but I win a 60K pot!  I am now in 4th place out of 110 runners!  With the blinds and bubble approaching, stacks are moving fast.

I [unsuccessfully] try opening my game up but fail miserably.  After chipping down a bit, I steal with A8o and get into a little mix with a big stack:

I have 49K and big stack has 73.5K... 500/1000 blinds and 100 antes still.  It's 7:30PM. (WHEW!  A lot happened in a short amount of time!)  I am dealt A9o in the UT+1 and raise 3.5K where big stack calls in the BB.  Flop is 2c7h6c and we check through.  The turn is Ks and I lead for 6K and illicit a fold, taking a decent pot.

Then, I get involved in a 3-way pot which was somewhat of a cooler (600/1200 blinds and 120 antes):
I have Ah4h and call in EP for 1200.  CO calls as well, but BTN short stack open shoves 7.6K.  I flat and BTN flats behind.  I considered raising there, but I wanted to keep it light with BTN because he's sitting on 78.5K vs. my 46K.  Flop comes 4s9s6c and I lead 8400 and get a call from BTN.  Turn is a beauty: Ac.  Since the pot is now well above my stack (41K), I bet 22K hoping for commitment but he folds.  The BTN has 4c4d for the flopped set - CRAP so I wind up breaking even on the hand with a $17K side pot win.

7:40PM: I'm in 26th place out of 84 left.  63 paying!

7:45PM: I lose a decent pot where I whiff entirely.  Starting stack of 42K and ending stack of 34K.

7:47PM: The poker Gods love me!  If I had been thinking about this, I should have flatted, but whatever:
I have AcKc in UTG+1 and a 27.5K stack vs. my very active player's EP1 27.5K stack.  Blinds are still 600/1200 with 120 antes.  I raise to 3.6K and am 3bet to 10.8K.  Folds around to me where I shove the remaining 24K and am called to see QcQd - a race.

Ace in the window and I'm back in solid footing.  20th place with 77 remaining.  14 more until the money and I start folding my way into the money.  Remember: I want to get a bankroll, first & foremost, but I would love to take this sucker down.

After 13 more minutes of nothing-ness, I blind down as we break at 8:00PM and I sit in 39th place after having lost a 44 vs. QQ 13.5K pot.  66 remain and the money jumps from a min cash of $300 to $600 at 27th place.  Since there is such a gap and delay between money jumps, once we’re in the money, my plan is to start getting aggressive.  I’m hoping for 3 quick bust outs immediately following the break so that I can start aggro-ing it up.  I'm already getting flack from my wife because she has taken the kids out to dinner without me.  It sucks being tied to the computer this late at night, but the tournament started at 4:00PM…  4 HOURS of poker straight!  My donk-cash game playing self isn't used to playing 1 table, 4 hours.  Earlier, to begin the tournament, I was 3 tabling on my Full Tilt account while playing Bodog - continuing to work off the mid-year bonus allotted to me, but once I started getting deeper in this tournament, I decided to focus my full attention on the HUD-less Bodog windows.

While we’re on break, I’ll tell you that I do not recommend the Bodog software at all.  This has to be the clunkiest piece of trash in the universe of online poker…  The lobbies are cumbersome, the settings for the windows are not nearly as configurable as the big 2 (PokerStars & Full Tilt), and the Hand Histories are un-retrievable in a standard format (my apologies for the above BS retelling of the hands).  Finally, you actually have to pay close attention to the tables because there aren't any tools to enable HEM or PT3 to display a HUD.  Apparently, the lack of HUD is solely for Bodog tournaments - when I played in the cash games previously, I was able to use a hand converter to basically screen scrape the Bodog windows and pipe them into usable text files for HEM processing.  With all it's faults, though, the one HUGE plus that Bodog does feature is apparently its player base, as I said before.  If I can min cash here for as TERRIBLE of tournament player as I am, the player base must truly stink!  Whatever, we’re coming off break, so here goes the money!

8:08PM: I get a BB special to pad my stack with flopped TP - going for a check raise that never comes to fruition.

8:10PM: 64 left!  We've entered hand-for-hand play.  I'm in 31st place with 35K chips.  Chip lead holds 155K and the average stack is 48K.  One minute later, the bubble bursts and I immediately implement my plan:

8:14PM: I have 3h3d and have a 39K stack vs. an UTG (chip leader) raise to 5K.  Blinds are 1k/2k with 200 antes.  UTG+1 flats with his 26.6K stack.  I auto ship my 39K figuring for a race...  either I chip up nicely into the top ten or I go out to dinner with a new $300 BR.  Either way: win win.  UTG over-shoves his 155K stack and UTG+1 [strangely] CALLS his 26.6K - I don't get that; whatever he has that's NOT AK or QQ+ has to figure to be beat.  Well, the UTG+1 tables 8s8c and the big stack tables AcKh.

Flop is AsKc9s and that's all she wrote; 5h 7d on the turn & river and UTG+1 and I are toast.  GG, Bodog, and thanks for the free tournament!  Given the level of play there, I will definitely be back.  In fact, I think I will start trying to play satellites into these types of overlay tournaments.  The money seems fairly easy, given that I have the time to play it.  In the interim, I definitely want to check out their cash tables.  If the players are anything like what I experienced in the tourney, then I most certainly have an edge.  Couple that with a HUD and I think I'll be rolling in no time.

Blog Archive