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Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Basically the entire month of March was like a cruel April Fool's joke at the poker tables, live and online. About the only thing that went right was a few tournaments but I was absolutely battered on the cash tables in every game. I took a pretty fair assessment of my play and hashed out some of the more glaring mistakes that I thought I made, but when I went back over my notes it just seemed like I played a lot of big pots with big draws and never made it. I kept missing 15, 18 and 21 outers, and my opponents hit their fair share which never works out to a favorable result come the end of the month. But I know I can look back to a month like last August when it seemed like every time I played a pocket pair I hit a set, and I know it's just variance equalling out.

I played a little bit of everything this month, from $3-6 to $10-20 LHE, $3-6 Omaha 8, $100-$400 NLHE, and $100-$200 PL Omaha. I had a few winning sessions at $8-16 LHE and the $100 and $200 PLO, but those wins were quickly erased every time. I wrote a bit in my last post about how I thought the other players started affecting my play, and even though I know I probably saved bets as a result, I know that I wasn't playing optimally, so that got added to the list of things I need to work on.

I've heard about some mixed games that are going on locally, so I think I'll be hitting those up in another month or two when I'm a little better rolled for them. I've really enjoyed branching out and playing Omaha and Stud more and would definitely like to put more time into improving my games in those disciplines. The sessions I played in NL hold'em this month just confirmed for me how little I enjoy playing it still as a cash game, unfortunately it's just about the only thing going as far as local cash games go. Probably will be taking another trip up to AC with the guys around the middle of the month, so I can only hope that April will be a turnaround month and I can get on a roll in the 10-20 and 20-40 games up there at the Borgata.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Bodog: The 37th Level of Poker Hell

Seriously. I have never in the last two years seen such consistently bad play across all games at all levels than I have the times I've played on Bodog this year... and that's just my play. There are actually 85% of the players on there playing worse than I do, which is officially ridiculous. I have learned some important things there this week though: I suck at shorthanded PL Omaha (because I apparently can't hit a draw and I have not yet mastered calling with bottom pair and an eight high flush draw to crack top set and nut flush draw with a running straight), I suck at shorthanded NL Hold'em (because I can't beat top pair top kicker when I have top set), and 8/16, 10/20 and 20/40 limit hold'em is a veritable money tree, but you had better be properly bankrolled to survive the occasional super donking session.

Unfortunately for me, lesson #3 was not followed and I was not properly rolled for those games and got groin kicked on Thursday. By the end of that ridiculous day of poker, I was working on a new theorem for limit hold'em which we'll call the Bodog Posit for now. The Bodog Posit states that after 500 hands of limit hold'em play with Bodog players, you will be reduced to such a shell of your former self, that improper play will now actually save you bets, because these players will never fold anything. Anything.

I'm pretty sure that most of these players get to the river on a hand holding some random unpaired Ace or deuces and then think to themselves, "well, Self, we've put in 4.5 BB's here with nothing good... there's a chance that our hand might be okay, what's one more bet?" On Thursday, they just happened to be right enough of the time to put a hurting on me. I personally think my favorite was when a guy limped and called two more bets cold when I three-bet with QQ, the flop comes JJ5, he calls two more cold when he check-calls my raise, check calls my turn bet on a 3, and check calls my river bet when a K comes. He turned over K6 for the winning hand. There are several more sentences that I could now add to this paragraph, but I think just rereading how that hand played will allow you to come up with a summation pretty near what mine was.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Should have gone with Plan B

A bunch of us headed up to AC for the WSOP Circuit event at Caesar's last week, but I decided that I wasn't going to play in any of the tournaments and instead would play the cash games to try and build up the bankroll a bit more and make some pocket cash.

Naturally I have been playing pretty well in tournaments leading up to the AC trip, so it was only fitting that I wouldn't actually play in any while I was up there. Instead I would get my head bashed in at the ridiculous 10-20 game at the Borgata and then get straight flushed over my Ace high flush in the $2-5 NL game there as well. I saw a glut of straight flushes happen during my three days up there. My buddy, JT, sat in a $1-2 NL game at Caesar's the first night up there and there were two straight flushes in his first four hands at the table. Someone also hit the bad beat jackpot at Caesar's the next night when QJc beat 67c on a 8 9 10 c board, ship the $83k, please.

I'm still trying to decide if there's any possibility that solid play delivers any positive expectation in the Borgata 10-20. I'm pretty certain that you can make more in the 10-20 game than you can in the 20-40, just on the sheer volume of money the people at the 10-20 will put in the pot holding extraordinarily marginal hands. The only thing I fear is that I'm letting that knowledge work against me when I sit in that game and let my play become more marginal also. I've seen the 20-40 at the Borgata get pretty nutty on occasion as well, but I've never seen 5-8 way capped action on three streets like I regularly see in the 10-20 game. I'll be spending a lot more time up there over the next couple months to see how my theory tests out, but I'm hoping to log more time at 20-40 than 10-20.

As I was saying earlier, I didn't play any tournaments even though I've been playing very well in them lately, but all my boys did. And apparently it was the right time to be a Richmond poker player in the Circuit prelims because PokerDon cashed three straight including an (unofficial) final table, JT final tabled a tournament, and Duke cashed as well. We spent a lot of hours in the ballroom at Caesar's cheering one or another of us in the final stages of these events, which was definitely fun.

The only unfortunate side effect to the trip was that I pulled most of my money offline to go, and now I have to figure out what I'm going to do about getting money back online now. This is truly a pain in the ass to deal with and I know there's no way the PPA is going to get accomplished what they hope to because of the sometimes Puritanical society we live in. So for now it'll be a lot of bi-monthly trips up to the city by the shore.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Retarded Hippopotamus

Seriously, should playing poker be this difficult? And by difficult I mean should it be this hard to get money on and offline? Low and mid stakes poker players have been out scrambling for the past two weeks or so buying up prepaid Visa cards in order to get money onto sites, paying about $5 a pop in premiums for a $100 card. This situation is beyond ridiculous and I can only hope temporary as well while the industry corrects itself out.

But for now, I was lucky enough to heed some warnings and get my money from Neteller onto the poker site I've been frequenting lately, now I just have to kill some time until I figure out what 3rd party I'm going to start using now and get my money offline again. But for the time being, I'm flat killing the $10 Omaha 8 single table SNG's. It's long been my favorite game, but I really wanted to buckle down the last month or so and get a lot of hands under my belt and try and play it more proficiently. I've booked 12 wins, 3 seconds, and a third place finish in 21 SNG's so far this month, I just wish they were more popular because it takes forever to get a table going. I've also been putting in some time playing some lower limit HORSE and Razz cash games and have been running pretty well. It seems strange to play at $1/2 limit in those games since I've moved up to feeling comfortable at $20/40 limit hold'em, but I know that I don't play these other games anywhere near as comfortably as I do hold'em, so it's probably the smart play.

I'm definitely not playing as much as I should be, so we'll see what February brings as far upping my activity. But as far as "real life" goes I'm trying to break out of a rut. I'm in year ten of confirmed fat-assedness and I've had it. I started lifting weights again for the first time in about two and a half years which has finally moved from being torturously painful to enjoyable. The weather here has turned fairly cold so I tried walking on the treadmill but it tried to kill me the other night, so that plan has been abandoned. I'm in the middle of a workout, about 17 minutes into my planned thirty minute walk, watching some UFC Fight Night while I go. I have the treadmill set at 4 mph and I'm cruising along with no problem when all of a sudden I hear the satanic machine start whirring in a high pitch and it goes from 4 mph to 12 mph without warning in about 2.5 seconds. It shoots my legs back but I was lucky enough to have reacted in time and grabbed the rails and hold myself up. I kicked a nice hole in the wall behind me since it slingshotted my leg back so fast, I disengaged the safety clip and the damn thing still didn't shut off, so I had to jump off and unplug it from the wall. I'm pretty sure I'm lucky I didn't get pitched out the window behind the treadmill. But all in all, it makes for a pretty funny story. Attempting to curb my fat ass ways and working on my game is about all I've been doing the last three weeks. I also went out with some friends and caught Charlie Murphy when he did a stand-up act around here. It was hilarious, and if he tours by you, I definitely recommend going. I stole the title of my post from his act, simply because every time I think about the phrase retarded hippopotamus, it just makes me laugh.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I seem to have forgotten something...

Oh yeah, now I remember... you're supposed to make posts to these things every once in a while.

Well, I got burned out on poker around the end of October, took a few weeks off to recharge and then started playing again. Started out running horribly and really had nothing constructive to write about, not that I ever really did in the first place, but that brings us to now. Playing sporadically, still not much interesting to discuss but in need of actually getting back in the habit of writing again.

So a belated happy holidays and new year to you all.

So when I started back playing I was completely disgusted with no limit hold'em and only moderately disgusted with limit hold'em so I started trying to play a lot of HORSE and Omaha. The seven card games I really had not much of an idea as far as proper strategy and approach, so I just tried to log as many hands as I could to get some experience, and even started playing heads up HORSE sessions with a friend of mine so we could get used to everything. In the course of doing so we came to philosophical differences over a couple of points in limit poker, so I figured I'd start out 2007 by discussing one of them.

A lot of people maintain that Razz is the biggest kick in the nuts there is in poker, and while tough, I still believe that Omaha 8 (particularly pot-limit) is really the king of disaster in poker. In any event, Dick has come to the conclusion that putting in two extra bets on 6th street in Razz when he feels he has a draw to a better hand is an optimal play. He routinely raises at this point after a bet, which brings up two questions for me:

Is this a good decision for him, and is it smart for the opponent to re-raise here?

This has definitely got to be -EV, to my thinking, because I feel like the opponent has to re-raise knowing he has the best hand here. This means Dick has to call another bet on top of his raise to get to 7th, and he's still attempting to draw to a better hand, and his opponent could almost certainly be drawing to an equally good hand. But as the opponent, even if you know you have the best hand here, is it optimal to be reraising (as I feel you should) if you feel like your hand is vulnerable to being outdrawn?

He thinks this is particularly optimal given heads up play but I think in heads up pots it makes even less sense to do so. I understand the thought process that it may leave more cards in the deck to draw to but it also makes the odds you're up against even more starkly clear, so why raise as such an obvious dog?

Another situation arose in 7 Stud, but I know I'm right about my thinking on that hand, so there's no need to call him out here on that. Hehehe.

Other than that, I've been slowly reworking my no limit game back to respectability and am finally feeling comfortable playing in tournaments again. For a while I've just not at all been following through on plays or instincts I've had and it's been costing me in terms of value I should have gotten or chips I shouldn't have lost. It really is amazing what just a little time off can do to your game.

Here's to hoping the fire stays burning well for a while to come and maybe I'll even get around to making a second post this month. That would be amazing...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Rule #76: No excuses, play like a champion!

I certainly have not been doing that as of late. When I have been playing at all, I've mostly toiled at PL Omaha, and I've enjoyed it (for the most part). With all the online poker nonsense of the last few weeks, I ended up putting some money on Bodog and trying it out. There isn't a whole lot of action on the site as of now, but it appears to be growing. And the players that do play there, for the most part, aren't very impressive.

The only NL Hold'em I have played in the last few months are the occasional sit n' gos with the guys around here during the week. And there is nothing but holes in my no limit game. Sometimes you look back on a session and your amazed that you lasted as long as you did, that's pretty much how I've felt the last few weeks with no limit. Really, I lost most interest in the game several months ago and started focusing my attention on limit hold'em and Omaha 8/b. I don't know if it was merely a little boredom, but I felt like I needed to add some more variety to my play.

I'm also trying to concentrate on getting those websites I promised months ago up and running. Got sidetracked by life and suddenly it's almost six months later. Funny how that happens, blink and you miss half a year. Poker was a mixed bag in September after a great August, but I think October is going to be a throwaway kind of month. I may try and make an AC trip towards the end of October, but most of the next few weeks I want to devote to site development and other business opportunities. I always ultimately wanted to use poker as the means to move into other business ventures, it's about time I actually started putting in some work towards moving that direction.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Adventures in Oooooooooomaha!

This should suffice to sum up my last two days of playing Omaha:

$50 PL Omaha Hi

Dealt to BigJohn804 in the SB (As6s6hKh)

4 limpers, button pot raises... all, including blinds, call...

Pot $22.50

Flop (4s 6d Jc)

checks around to button who bets half pot, I reraise the pot which puts me all-in, and is a raise of $38 more to the button, who insta-calls.

Turn (5h)

River (Kd)

I lose. I check the hand history and he raised on the button with Ad2d3h9c.

Chat history:

BigJohn804: Are you serious?
BigJohn804: did you just feel the 5 coming?
Hard Head: who me?
ssf420: he had pocket Aces too
BigJohn804: yeah
BigJohn804: no he didn't...
Hard Head: i was drawing to the nut low
BigJohn804: man, you just made my day... LOL
BigJohn804: this is an Omaha Hi table, not Omaha 8
Hard Head: OMG
Hard Head: guess I can stop drawing to a low then

Hard Head sits out and leaves the table

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