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Friday, April 29, 2005

Mentally exhausted...

From trying to figure out how the hell some people play poker. I really have wanted to get away from posting bad beat stories and the like but some of the play I have seen this week really has boggled the mind.

#1: In the small blind with AK offsuit, it folds around to the button who limps in, I raise to 3x the BB. The BB calls and so does the button. Flop comes KJ5 rainbow. I lead out for a pot bet, BB folds, Button reraises me all-in. I call, he shows K7 offsuit. The turn was a 7 and I got no love on the river. Howsabaabltlewoitugnasg???!?!??!?!

#2: Earlier in this same tournament, again in the small blind, I have 10 8 diamonds. There is a min raise from EP, and five callers before it comes to me. I call, as does the BB. Flop comes 852 with two hearts. I lead out for a pot bet of around 1200, and it folds around to the cutoff who calls. The turn is a 3, so I put him in for his remaining 1260 chips which he calls. He had flopped a set of fives.

It's at this point where some jackass pipes in with the following comment, "Calling a raise with 10 8 is asking for trouble," hardy har har. Now, I had just been moved onto this table, and apparently a number of the players had gotten chummy over the first hour of the tournament. The very next hand I took down a decent sized pot when one of his buddies had called my preflop raise with 10 8 suited and didn't make his draw. Nothing to say? Hmmmm.

I did at least get to stick around and see him get knocked out when he called a preflop raise with KQ. The flop came K high. He led out, got reraised and he smooth called. Turn was a brick he led out, got reraised all-in and he called. Guy had Aces and Jackass was knocked out. I took the opportunity to revert to third grade and type in, "That's what you get for calling a raise with a hand like KQ."

"Oh, you wouldn't have called a raise with KQ for 600 chips when you have 7500?"

"Hard to say, but I probably wouldn't have called his reraise on the flop or his reraise on the turn though."


#3: Today I was trying to satellite in to the $50K guarantee on FTP. Hand #1 I get pocket queens under the gun and raise 3x. Get called by the next seat, it folds around and the flop comes KJ10. I lead out for a pot bet of 225 and get immediately reraised all-in. I put the guy on a big Ace like AK or AQ. If it's AQ I have to hit one of the three remaining Aces to make a split pot. If it's AK I can't hit any queen, and basically have to hit the three Aces or the nines to win a pot. I just don't like the draw, so I lay it down. He shows AK.

Very next hand I get dealt Aces in the big blind. There are three limpers, the small blind calls and I raise 3x again. The limpers call and the SB folds. Flop comes 642 with two spades. I decide to let them set the action as I figure one of them will get involved. I check, first limper min bets 30, second limper raises to 400, third limper flat calls, I reraise all-in for another 615 chips. First limper folds, and the other two limpers flat call. The turn is an 8 of clubs. First limper pushes in for his remaining 315 which the other guy also has remaining and he calls. First limper had 56 clubs, second limper had 57 offsuit in red. DAORJHQORGALSKMGF!?!??!

He called a preflop raise with 57 offsuit. Then he called a double re-raise with an OESD after the flop with a flush draw on the board, so instead of eight outs, he possibly only had six. The second play is a lot less questionable than his first decision, but still kind of silly to be putting your tournament at risk on a 5-1 one shot when you have to believe you're already behind. You've still got 1000 chips left before you call my all-in. Oh well, he got there and that was that.

Pocket queens and pocket aces and I was knocked out on hand two. What a game.

I'll post more this weekend about the ridiculousness that was the hour I spent at the Warehouse last night. It was entertaining as always.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Sparky's Revenge

Thursday night tournaments at the Warehouse got even more interesting this past week. Still haven't drummed up a solid crowd but there's enough of us to keep it going till it catches on. Well, Sparky bought in for two tournaments that he wasn't even going to be at. His instructions are as follows:

Tournament #1, NLH: All-in every third hand.

Tournament #2, PLH and PL Omaha Hi/Lo rotation: Every third hand I will raise pot, reraise pot every time I'm raised, and open every round of betting on those hands with a pot sized bet.

On his first all-in, Sparky stole the blinds. On his second all-in, I looked down at pocket deuces. I considered for a long while but didn't like the fact that all his chances were pretty live and folded it. Naturally, I would have won if I had called but, oh well. "Sparky" went on this way for a while before JB finally called his all-in with pocket Jacks. We turned over Sparky's hand and he had pocket fours. Unbelievable. The Jacks held up and Sparky was out of the tournament in ninth place.

I won't even bother with the details of how I bubbled yet again here.

In tournament #2 we start off with Pot-limit Hold'em. On the third hand Uncle Rob decides what the hell and gets into it with Sparky with AJ spades. I "play" his hand and give Rob the bad news that he has two live cards, 10 4 offsuit. The flop comes with a 4 and everyone starts going nuts. Then a Jack comes on the turn putting Rob back in the lead, but it also puts three diamonds on the board and Sparky has a diamond. As we wait shaking our heads and laughing, the two of diamonds comes on the river and knocks Rob out. Sparky has doubled up. On the sixth hand I got A10 offsuit and Sparky and I were in the blinds. I called to limit his pot size raise, and then called the raise. Flop came A94, all diamonds. DIAMONDS! What ever loving curse has befallen me with Diamonds and my hands at the Warehouse?! I have no red cards and I just have a horrible feeling about this situation but I check to get Sparky's pot bet out there and flat call knowing that if a diamond comes on the turn I'm folding. Turn is a 10 making my top two pair. I decide what the hell and get all-in with Sparky. They turn over his hand and he has pocket fives, one of which is the five of diamonds. Sparky has 10 outs on the river, 3-1 odds. Unreal. Luckily a black three falls and I double up through him.

We get into the Omaha part of the rotation and Sparky takes out JB on his first pot-bet play. Three hands after that I get stuck in a hand with BillyKGB and Sparky. I make top and bottom pair on the flop and have a 2-low draw. Sparky leads out, Bill and I call and I know disaster is looming. The turn is a diamond, giving me a King high diamond draw as well as the two pair and the 2-low draw. Sparky leads out which puts him all-in, Bill calls putting him all-in, and it's another 400 to me. After the money that's been put in there already, I have no choice but to call. An eight of hearts comes on the river. We turn over the cards and Bill takes the high with Kings and Sixes to my Kings and Threes, and Sparky takes the low with an Ace to my Deuce. Sparky is back up and I'm back to about even. Three hands later I get into the same situation when I flop trip Jacks for a high lead and draw to a 2-3 low. Bill is leading out, and I get all my chips in on the flop. Bill makes the straight on the turn, I get no help on the river to boat up, and Sparky once again makes the low with an Ace to my deuce.

So now Sparky has had a hand in eliminating the first three people in the second tournament. He has about triple his starting chips and only has to outlast two more people to make the money. I left at that point but I'll find out this weekend if he ended up pulling off the blind victory and report back...

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Tried two more of the FTP Bracelet Race tournies today. I was out in the first fifteen minutes both times. In the PLO tourney I got knocked out when the flop came J87 and he made J8, I had J7. In the PLH tourney... well, I'll describe that below.

If things don't improve by the end of this month, I think I may just take May off for the most part and try and regroup.

I'm going to post my fatal hand from the PLH tourney tonight:

In the cutoff with 89 spades, two limpers before it gets min raised to 60 by the seat in front of me. I call, one other caller and then the flop comes 567 rainbow. How to play this flop... hmmmm? The raiser leads out for 1/2 pot, I call, other player folds and the turn is a 6 of clubs, putting two clubs on the board. Raiser bets 250, I raise to 750 and he calls. I really, really don't like that. River is the eight of clubs, he leads out for his remaining chips, which barely has me covered. I call, and naturally, he had A5 clubs. Ugh. Maybe I should have seen the flush coming, but I really thought he might have been on the straight draw and just couldn't see laying that down.

But my favorite hand I've seen online lately was in a satellite SNG I played the other day. I folded preflop but here was the action I watched:

UTG raises to 60, UTG+1 calls as do two others.

Flop is Kh 3c 8c.

UTG bets 30. UTG+1 raises to 360. Two others fold, UTG calls.

Turn is Qh.

UTG bets 30. UTG+1 raises to 300 and UTG calls.

River is 4c.

UTG checks, UTG+1 checks.

UTG shows QJ offsuit, UTG+1 shows AJ spades.

Come again??!?!

Sunday, April 17, 2005

The Big Bounce

"I love you..."

"I think you're a really special person too..."

That's what getting knocked out of a poker tournament feels like.

I just had a good feeling all week. I knew I needed to get into this tournament and finally after much ado, I had qualified via satellite. I was in the Saturday $50K/Piece of the Pros $109 buy-in on Full Tilt for the whopping discount price of $6. I was already ahead of the game. I slept from 10am to 4pm when I had my alarm set for, hit snooze and promptly slept through my clock. I woke up at 6pm on the button, dashed downstairs and had missed the first five hands. No big deal.

I had decided I was gonna really work on tournament strategy and play super tight the first hour and play pretty much only the four premium hands: Aces, Kings, Queens and Ace-King.

Hand #6, my first in front of the computer, I got dealt AK. The flop came Ace high and this guy kept betting into me. I even raised him after the flop but he kept coming. I was still so bleary eyed from just waking up that when I tried to raise the turn I hit the wrong button and merely called. Then on the river when I went to raise him again, same thing. He turned over Ace-Jack and I took down a big pot. Missing those raises would prove costly.

Next hand I got pocket queens and I decided to put a little charm on the dealer and asked for a queen high flop. Flop: Queen high. Thank you, very much. Check it, get a bet from the cutoff, which I call. Turn is a brick and I check it again, getting another big bet from the cutoff. The river pairs the board and fills me up, this time I lead out, he raises all-in and I call. Two pair versus my boat. I started with T2000 and on hand seven I'm up to T6100 and in the top three. Stuck with my strategy for the most part, loosening up two times to trade on my table image and take down the blinds from middle position with hands like King-Jack. I took out another short stack on the table with A8 suited from the small blind and at the end of hour one, I was at T8160, good for 12th place. 269 of the original 450 players were left and I had more than met my original goal for the first hour.

Start out hour two and I am getting great cards again. Slowly building my stack up over 10K but I can't get too crazy because there are two decent sized stacks at the table with me. Then, on the second ante level, in the small blind I get dealt pocket Aces. There's a raise from under the gun, folds around to the cutoff (the second biggest stack on the table) who reraises to T1500 and then it's on me. Hold please. Let's make this look like I don't know what to do, when really on the inside I'm dancing a jig. Is there any possible way I can keep the first raiser in this, too? Don't get greedy, ass. Pigs get fed, hogs get slaughtered. I wait for the warning beep that I'm running out of time to go off and then I reraise to T3500. First raiser folds, cutoff moves all-in. JENGA! Aces versus Kings, please Jesus don't put a King on the board! Suddenly I'm at T21000 and in third place again.

I make a few position steals again and I'm talking to a buddy of mine on AIM, filling him in on the details. I'm in 6th place as the end of the second hour is approaching. I had called off some chips trying to take a shortstack out after a flop that left me open ended. We were both drawing, unfortunately his was the higher gutshot variety and he high carded to win. Four minutes before the break and I'm at T16000, exactly where I wanted to be, doubled up during hour two. Then I get dealt pocket tens. Under the gun makes a 3x the big blind raise to T1200, I figure him for a big Ace, and feeling invincible for some reason, I push my entire stack to the middle. Folds back around to him and he calls, showing Ace-King. Flops a king, turns a king and my miracle ten on the river didn't come. T8624; from 6th place to 40th place at the break.

Post game analysis: I'm not sure I ever psychologically got over that hand. This is something I believe I've written about before and have definitely been questioning in my game. I'm prone to being very aggressive with these high mid-pairs and even though my money got in with the best hand, I feel like it would have been smarter to call from such an early position so I could fold to a reraise or fold after the King high flop came. At hour two we were down to 88 players remaining, top 54 got paid. There were some decent stacks at my table and then to start hour three they moved two heavy stacks onto our table.

First hand out of the break I pick up pocket deuces and the flop comes A42 hearts. I check it, the guy in the cutoff moves all-in for his remaining 5000 in chips and I call. He shows pocket Kings, I turn quad deuces and it's over. Back up to T14000, back into the top ten. Playing it tight again and work my stack back up to around T16000 when I get dealt QJ in early position. I limp in along with three others and see a K 10 7 flop. I check, as does everyone else and a Queen comes on the turn. I check, two others check and then the guy who I had gotten into it with on my first hand of the tournament, bets out. I figure him for Ace-ten and call, the other two fold. The river was a nine, completing my bottom straight, I lead out, he raises and I put him all-in for his remaining 3000 in chips. He only too happily calls and turns over Ace Jack, Broadway. Ouch, that sucks.

Then they move the chip leader to my table and the previous top stack takes out another top stack, so in the two positions to my left are T28000 and T45000. Blinds are at 300/600/75 and I'm down to T7500. There are about 70 players left and I'm in 57th position, just out of the money. I'm able to steal a couple times to keep my head above water but the stacks at my table are so big that their raises are a third of my stack and I can't even play some of my more moderate hands. The level moves to 400/800/100, so now each orbit is going to cost T2000. I made a play at one hand with another shortstack but had to fold after the flop and I'm down to T4800.

I probably could have waited and blinded myself down and snuck into the top 54, but I felt like I needed to steal once more, and doubling up would definitely get me in, so when I got A9 diamonds under the gun, I moved all-in for my 4500. Folds around to the guy I was too bleary-eyed to take out on my first hand, that crippled me with his Broadway and he calls with Kings. No miracle Ace or diamonds and I was out. 64th of 450.

Saturday, April 16, 2005


Okay, I normally don't double post, but seeing as how I stayed up all damn night to get this accomplished... I felt it worthy of a second post for April 16. Hell, if things go wonderfully, this might end up a three post day.

In any event, got home from downtown around 2:25am and signed on to Full Tilt. Registered for a $14+1 satellite for this evening's $50K/Piece of the Pro tournament and waited. And waited. And waited. Watched a movie. Checked back; still waiting. Played a pot-limit Omaha tournament, got a final table, still waiting. Finally at 8:01 am I was joined by the requisite nine players.

Let me preface some of these tournament highlights by saying all my poker luck was reversed in this one SNG, because I did some of the most awful sucking out I have ever done.

Hand #3, I'm in the small blind with 63 diamonds with a minimum raise from under the gun, no callers until me and the big blind folds. Flop comes A95, one diamond. I'm first to act, so I figure what the hell, I'll represent it, and I lead out for a pot sized bet of $150. UTG calls and the turn is a K of diamonds. I lead out for a pot sized bet of $450 and UTG calls me again, bringing a third diamond on fifth street. I put him all-in for his last 300 chips and he calls... turning up A10 hearts.

[Quick analysis of what I think is a pretty retarded play by him; as he leaves the room calling me gay. I called your raise... I led out at the Ace high pot... I was still betting when the diamonds came on the board... in no universe should you have felt that your A10 was good. Thanks for playing... sorry for sucking out. But not really.]

About three hands later I fold to a raise and a reraise... then a reraise all-in and the other two call. Turn the cards over and it was Jacks, Queens and Kings. Jack high flop, Queen on the turn, King on the river. I can't even make that shit up. Insanity. Someone else said they folded pocket nines, I folded KJ, so two of them hit their case cards. I've seen some good ones but this one might take the cake.

So in the first six hands half the table is gone and things slow down for a little while. I sucked out again on a hand I can't remember to get us down to three handed play. I have a 8500-3000-3000 chip lead when we start. I eventually work that to 9500-2500-1500 and then I go on a simply ridiculous run of cards. Aces, sevens, eights, KJs, AJs, Aces, deuces, Ace-eight suited. All in the span of about twelve hands. Did I get a single call? Negative, ghost rider.

So I get A2 clubs in the small blind and complete the bet, Big Blind checks and the flop is J93 with two spades. I check and the BB leads out for about half his stack (he was the short stack at 1500 or so). I thought about it for a while but decided that he would have raised a hand with a Jack preflop, so I figured he was on a spade draw and that my Ace was probably good. I reraise him all-in and he happily calls with J10 of clubs. Ouchy. Turn a four and river the five, completing the Wheel and he's out. This blogger would like that player to know that he does feel genuinely bad about that suckout. That was pretty rough, would definitely rank in the soul-sucking category.

So I start heads up play with an 11,000-2500 chip lead. This is the fourth time I've gotten heads up in this satellite with a better than 2-1 chip lead. I've finished second every other time. I decide to play somewhat tighter than I usually do heads up and let the blinds catch up a bit so I can have pressure on my opponent from both sides. Work him down to about 1100 chips when I get AQ clubs, I raise 3x his big blind which he reraises what I thought was all-in. He had min raised which left him 10 chips. Flop is 466, and I lead out for his 10, he calls and shows J2 offsuit. Brick on the turn. This is the part of the story where you expect me to tell you how I closed him out.

Au contraire, bon jour. Jack on the river.


11,000-2500 again.

Next hand I get 10 9 hearts, raise him 3x the big blind, he reraises all-in, another 900 or so to me. My "TILT" light is definitely on and I make a rather loose call into his K9, he hits his King and now it's 9400-5100.

This can't possibly be happening to me. Again. For the fourth time in twenty four hours.

AJ. Jack high flop. He goes all-in, I call. He had J 10.


As cool as the other side of the pillow, baby... no worries here...

The Hammer

There has clearly been one thing lacking in making this an official poker blog. A proper story about the Hammer. For some of my non-blogging readers, the Hammer is the affectionate term for the preflop hand of 7 2. Not coincidentally, that is the worst starting hand in poker. Ever since I began reading the blogs, I have on several occasions had the pleasure of dropping the Hammer on someone, but I had lacked in reporting it here. I wish Full Tilt would allow hand histories to be copied but I guess I haven't figured that out. So without further ado...

As I was on my way to finishing second for the third time in a $50K guarantee satellite this week(insert angry face with expletives here), I was dealt 72 offsuit under the gun. Unfortunately, it didn't seem like the proper time for the Hammer play. I folded and when the deal started for the next hand in the small blind I was delivered the Hammer once again. But there were two raises before it got back around to me, so once again I was denied my wish to play. So then in the big blind, I was dealt... 72 offsuit. The Hammer on three consecutive hands. It's kismet, serendipity, destiny, fate... whatever you want to call it, now there is no way to ignore it. Three hands in a row is a sign from a higher power.

There were three limpers into the pot in front of me, and when I raised from the big blind I got two of them out. The flop came K86 with a pot of $180. First to act and I made it a pot bet of $180, which was promptly called. The turn card was a 10 and as protocol demanded with the pot of $540, I made a pot-sized bet of $540. My opponent thought for most of his allotted time before folding. I was only too happy to click "show hand" and declare: "HAMMER!"

The shower of appreciation I had anticipated for this phenomenal play was strangely withheld. Oh well, I didn't much care, because the effect of the Hammer was felt yet again on my next play. The very next hand on the button I am dealt Aces. Betting goes around and gets three limpers before I raise it a little too much trying to make it look like a play on the bets. I get a re-raise from the guy I just dropped the Hammer on and he puts me all-in. I call and laugh devilishly as he shows AQ offsuit and gets absolutely no help all the way to fifth street.

Not only did I get to drop the Hammer on him but it also set up the hand where I dropped the hammer on him and knocked him out of the tourney. Unfortunately I ended up getting sucked out by a flush to lose but I got to use virtually my entire bag of tricks in this single SNG. It made my afternoon...

Friday, April 15, 2005

Pot Limit Omaha, you are my only friend...

"Few players recall big pots they have won -- strange as it seems -- but every player can remember with remarkable accuracy the outstanding tough beats of his career." Seems true to me, 'cause walking in here I can hardly remember how I built my bankroll, but I can't stop thinking how I lost it."

Okay. Thursday is now tournament day at the Warehouse. Started off slow tonight, only nine of us for a $50 no limit match, but my luck at hold'em continued at its usual pace... and by luck I mean the lack thereof. I was absolutely card dead for about ninety straight minutes. I made one position raise and took down the blinds with 94 suited, which was pretty much the best hand I had to that point.

Finally picked up some decent hands which was my signal that the end was near. KQ offsuit I brought in for a raise from CO+1, got a call from the big blind and flopped KK3. Checked it and got a brick on the turn; the big blind promptly folded when I led out on after the turn. Next hand I had A8 suited and was able to limp in and we saw a KKQ flop. Criminy. Lay it down to three-way action after the flop. On the third hand I pick up KQ offsuit again, this time on the button. I bring it in for a raise of about 3x the big blind, and JB is sitting to my left and immediately goes all-in. He definitely didn't like this third time I had raised his blinds. It folded back around to me and I thought long and hard before finally deciding I probably had overcards to a pair between 99-JJ. Got to win a coin flip sometime in a tournament so I call his all-in and he turns over Jacks. Naturally, I did not catch any of my outs and I was done. JB went on to take down the tournament after three ridiculous hands at the end.

Hand #1: Down to four handed play (top three pay) and three are in the hand when it comes 10 7 4. Pot bet, raise, JB is all-in, Motown folds after much hesitation and Uncle Rob decides to call. JB has A10 clubs, Motown folded Q10 offsuit and Uncle Rob has J10. Action, baby, action. Turn is a Jack of clubs putting two on the board for JB, and he pulls the miracle club on the river to basically cripple Rob.

Hand #2: Patrick is in the big blind, Motown folds, Rob moves in for his remaining chips, JB folds and Pat calls. Pat turns over pocket threes and Rob has K5 clubs, so it's a race. Junior is dealing and turns over the flop with an eight of clubs on top, which puts a smile on Rob's face. At this point Motown throws out a comment to the effect of, "put two three's on the board, Junior," which Junior promptly does. 833 flop, Pat quads up and Uncle Rob is destroyed in two hands.

Hand #3: After Motown gets knocked out, Pat and JB are heads up for a few hands with nothing much happening. Everyone is waiting to start another tournament and grumbling about the lack of action. JB raises out of the small blind, Pat reraises all-in and JB calls. Pat turns over wired eights to JB's wired threes. Brick, brick, brick. Brick on the turn. And ladies and gentlemen, a miracle three on the river and JB takes it all down.

This is the kind of stuff that happens all the time at the Warehouse apparently. Just make it to the river, you'll suck out.

So after a few minutes of debate, we start tournament two, pot-limit Omaha. From the jump I am absolutely running this tournament over. I decided beforehand that the only way to play this was aggressive, aggressive, with a side order of aggressive. I'm moving people off of made hands with two pair only. The only words coming out of my mouth are "pot", "pot", "pot".

Only made about three missteps the whole tournament, and when I get down to heads up it's against Bill (Teddy KGB). Bill starts off 2-1 chip leader against me but I make some aggressive moves post-flop and take it down. Suddenly I've just about caught up when I get all-in and take it down, giving me T16000 to KGB's T2000, approximately. Then we both caught hands, and KGB won three times in a row, so suddenly he's moved back ahead of me.

Not even upset with any of those losses because I know I played them correctly. Then we get into a hand where we checked it pre-flop, and it came 679. I had 58 in the hand and pot at KGB, he pots back at me, I pot back at him and I'm all-in. He shows 7 7 10 K, and I have a tenuous lead. The turn card is 5 and I've dodged bullet number one. So basically I just need to avoid a 5, 6 or 8. And as per Warehouse tradition, as I'm begging the board not to pair, a five (OF FUCKING DIAMONDS) washes me out of the tourney on the river.

Diamonds?!?!!? ALWAYS A DIAMOND!!! I'm really not that upset though, and as Bill and I discussed afterward, that was almost the most fun I've had playing a tourney ever. It was well played, with plenty of action, and I really didn't misplay a single hand. There were a few I folded that I shouldn't have, I got trapped in one hand that there was no getting away from, and other than that it all went swimmingly.

One final positive note: I walked out of the Warehouse tonight with more money than I had put in. Sweet, sweet victory! The day is mine!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Warehouse, Episode III: The Diamonds Strike Back

So I wasn't even going to play poker tonight. I had a decent afternoon playing some satellites on FTP and was starting to feel good about my game again. I was just gonna go out tonight, hit up Tiki's with my friend who was begging me to go out and then come on home and watch some television. Then my friend blows me off, I'm downtown with nothing to do, so I figure "what the hell," and I head on over to the Warehouse.

I get there about 11pm, expecting to find the place crammed like it usually is on Tuesday night. There were six of us. A nice quiet game. I buy in for $100, the big blind is on me and I look down at 82 offsuit. No one raises the pot so I get a look at the flop for free and it comes with a beautiful 872. Daddy takes it down for about $35. Holy shit! I'm up at the Warehouse!

A few hands later I get into it with Uncle Rob when both of us were chasing a spade draw, nothing happens but I had the nut draw and he was on King high, so I take in another $25. There must be some mistake here, I don't win at the Warehouse. I dump off about $40 when I have AQ diamonds and the flop comes AJ4. I lead in, but not enough, because Taj is playing middle pair and catches his set on the turn and that's all she wrote for my profits.

"You must be kicking yourself for not walking out when you could. Bad judgement... but don't worry son, it will all be over soon."

Uneventful hands for a while until I get pocket sixes. Under the gun pots to make it two dollars, I pot again and make it seven dollars, Pierce calls my seven and Taj pots again to make it $24 more to go. A couple reluctant folds and it's back around to me. I've just watched Taj take down about four pots with stone cold bluffs so I'm thinking I could very easily be ahead in this hand. Or, option B; I could be a 4.5-1 underdog. But this is poker, right? You gotta have iron balls sometimes and just put your damn money in. Especially in this crazy ass game at the Warehouse, where apparently if you are behind, you will win. So I call knowing I need to hit my six to do anything after the flop, Pierce folds, and the cards come J96. YAHTZEE! Taj is first to act, puts the rest of his money in and I immediately call. He asks me forlornly if I hit a set as he turns over his pocket Aces. It was appparently option B: 4.5-1 underdog... I'm one damn lucky bastard. The guys on either side of me folded Big Slick, so his other two Aces are dead.

A big fat $183 pot is coming over to me-- third diamond on the turn... [Taj has the Ace of diamonds] ... fourth diamond on the river... Taj hits his nut flush with runner runner diamonds and takes it down.

"It hurts doesn't it? You can't believe what fell..."

Left me with $4.75 and I get it all in on the next hand with J10 offsuit. I get three callers and the flop comes J73. That feels pretty good. They start building the side pot but after a call and a re-raise, I'm head up with the guy to my right who turns over pocket threes. Turn is a queen, and just to kick me in the balls, the river is a Jack too...

Monday, April 11, 2005

Trust your gut...

I don't know why it's so hard to follow this simple tenet. Just trust what your gut is telling you to do and 98% of the time you'll move along just fine.

Things have slowed on the poker front lately as I took a few days off to get the brain back in shape. Played in the Motown Invitational on Thursday and even though I wasn't card dead, I just let myself get ground down. There were two critical hands as I remember it, not critical as far as where they would have put me overall, but critical because I ignored what I intially thought I should do.

Hand #1: We started off with T2000 in chips, and with blind levels at 20/40 I had dumped off a few chips on AK with a flush draw the hand before and was down to around T1400. I looked down and had A10 diamonds from middle position and decided to bring it in for a raise. I raised to 150 and got one caller from the big blind. He had thought for a little bit before deciding he would play. Flop came 10 6 4 and I led out for 200, which he quickly raised to 700. My gut immediately messaged in to go back over the top of him all-in. Instead, I slowed down thought about it for a while, and let him get away with what he told me later was 10 7.

Hand #2: I had managed a decent comeback through the rest of the hour and was up to 1800 with blinds at 70/150. Tournament was moving along quickly and big stacks were dictating the action. I looked down at wired Jacks under the gun and brought it in for $500 raise. The next guy went all-in for about 1300 total and then from around the table another guy went all in for his stack of 1900 which had me covered. Again, my gut messaged me, and this time it was telling me to fold. The first raise was something I could think about playing, but the second one was definitely Aces. I thought and thought and thought, finally decided that with the money that was in the pot and the fact that I'd be under T1000 after the blinds went through and may not see a hand as good as Jacks, I called. Queens and Aces. I was screwed either way. The Aces held up and I was out. It may not have been an incorrect decision after examining all factors, but looking back on it now, I'm disappointed because my game has come far enough for me to lay a hand like that down.

During this losing streak I have taken solace in the fact that I have still usually been making the right decisions and I have stayed aggressive in the face of everything else. Three of the best hands I have played have been a result of trusting my instincts and calling with mediocre hands in the face of what a player seems to be representing. Every time I've been right, and have taken down those hands with middle pairs.

Just keep plugging away I guess, and hopefully things start running well again soon. Tonight is the weekly game, could use some love there....

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Keeping my chin up...

But it keeps getting heavier and heavier. And so the cards continue to run against me... actually, hurtle toward me and kick me in the gut is probably more apropos. It's been about two weeks of a bad run so far but as always, the optimist in me keeps finding some good things to concentrate on.

Almost every time I've gotten my money in with the best hand and gotten drawn out on or rivered. They haven't all been bad beats, but all have been tough... very, very tough to swallow.

Example: Tonight I went to play at the Warehouse again. I sat down with $100 and was dealt pocket sevens. Flop came Q 9 7, with two diamonds. I checked hoping one of the other six people in the hand would help me build it (it's a pot limit game). We checked around and a six came on the turn. This time I led out, got two callers and then someone pot bet, two folds, I pot bet back at him (which put me all-in and made it $47 more to go), two folds and then it was decision time. He thought I had the straight but ended up calling anyway with the nut flush draw. I think you all can guess what happened. First hand, all-in... busted.

Reload for $100 more. About fifteen minutes later I look down at two red Aces. I raise pot, get called which gives the third caller the odds to put his money in. He naturally flopped his nine high flush. Positive note: My game has progressed to the level where I can lay down pocket Aces, but it still cost me a bundle.

Down $135 at that point, when I get in a pot where I river Broadway and the other guy rivered his King high flush.

Down $165.

I made a decent comeback when I got doubled up on what I will unabashedly designate a great read by yours truly. Played 89 hearts and then called a pot raise of four bucks from the seat in front of me. Flop came J94 with two spades. Raiser bets out seven dollars, which is about a quarter of what I have left. I've only played with this guy for about ninety minutes but my instincts tell me that he missed this flop and is playing overcards and a draw. I decide what the hell, and pot bet back at him which put me all-in for my last $35. He called, turned over KQ of spades, and shockingly he did not flush out on me.

I made another two good plays which got me back to even on my second hundred bucks, but right before it shut down for the night I put some more money into a 966 flop where I had A9. I still think I got bluffed off of it, but oh well.

Well my friends, there are better stories to be told than my bad beats tonight (even though it indirectly is the worst beat I took all night long). Along about midnight an old guy everyone called Sparky walks into the room. He sits down with a Benjamin and promptly goes all-in blind with the guy sitting to my right. Guy to my right had AK over a J 10 8 board and Sparky turns over Q 10 when he finally gets to his cards. Turn is a brick and the river brings a Queen which stunned the table for a second until we realized Sparky had lost out on All-in #1 to Keith's Broadway.

That's right, All-in #1. Sparky promptly reloads for $100 and is all-in blind on hand two. He gets into it with the guy on my left who turns over pocket Aces against Sparky's AK hearts. Two hearts come on the flop, but the guy on my left (Tight Tony) holds on and takes down the pot. Reload... all-in blind on hand three. Gets into it with TT again, who this time turns over pocket Kings and takes down another C-note. Sparky gets up and leaves and then comes back five minutes later and gets into it again. All-in blind, after the flop this time, except that TT flopped a set with his pocket eights and they hold up to Sparky's straight draw and bottom pair. Fifteen minutes, three hands, three hundred bucks... poof.

How's that a bad beat for me, you ask? My buddy Matt moved from our table to the no-limit table right before Sparky showed up, which means I would have had TT's hands instead. Thanks Matt, you owe me three hundred bucks.

Sparky got involved one more time before he left when he backed another guy at the table to go all-in blind for $100, and the guy lost. So Sparky was there for about 45 minutes and dropped five hondo. Apparently he's the reason the games went from no-limit to pot-limit. But that was definitely some entertaining "poker" to watch.

About 2:30 am as we're playing our last few orbits, Sparky calls in to Uncle Rob and tells him to ask TT if he'll go double or nothing on two blind cards in the middle of the table. Unfortunately, Tony declined.

[Editor's note: If I were Tony, I just might have done it.]

Saturday, April 02, 2005

*deep breath* 10... 9... 8... 7...

[long string of expletives deleted]

It happened so fast I'm still not sure exactly what happened. Playing the $50K guaranteed on FTP this afternoon, killing time in between my live games. $109, gone. I hardly got to know ya, Benjamin...

I'm in the small blind with J6 offsuit, three limpers so I call and the BB checks it. Flop comes 9 10 J, with two diamonds. First to act, I decide to push it and see what happens. Fold, fold, caller and a fold. Turn is a 6 of spades. JENGA! Pot is 1600 and I have T1380 left, so I go all-in. Called by an A10. Called by an Ace Ten?!?!?

River is immediately an Ace, I lose and the table is broken up so I don't even get to see what on earth possessed her to call. In order to make myself feel moderately better I'm going to pretend that she had diamonds in her hand. Of course, I also watched her call a $250 preflop raise with K5, so I'm not sure that I'm going to be able to convince myself she had the draw too. Ace [expletive deleted] 10!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Today may be the day of tough beats for me. Played a tournament early this morning and got knocked out when the river made my straight and his flush. Then I hosted a big game this afternoon and was running pretty well after ruining my boy Ryan's afternoon. Caught him bluffing at a missed flop when I had middle pair and took about 2/3 of his stack. Got the rest of it when he had 10 5 clubs in the big blind and I had J2 clubs in the little blind and we both flopped the flush. So we're down to five players (top three paid) and I look down at the Hilton sluts (pocket queens for my non-poker addict friends). I raise to $500, get reraised to $800 and I push all-in. Without hesitation the call comes from the end of the table, so immediately I know I'm screwed and wait to see Aces or Kings. Ace-King. Huh? He didn't realize how much I had left in my stack and thought I was pushing with small pair or smaller ace. He is kind enough to tell me that if he had realized how much I had left, he might have laid it down. No worries, the Ace comes on the flop and I'm out.

Top hands that can go straight to hell as far as I'm concerned:

1. Jacks
2. Tens
3. Queens
4. Ace Ten offsuit [many expletives deleted]

Oh well, one hour and we'll start live game numero dos today. Maybe I can recoup my losses and go out and drink off the anger of getting called with Ace Ten off- er, I mean, diamonds... she had to have the diamonds to call....

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