Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Little Live Play with Friends

I played a little bit of live poker with my friends this weekend. Not anything BIG or exciting, but basically intended to be fun, while practice at the same time. We played two turbo-SNG-esque tournaments back to back. I felt like "overall" I played VERY well... unfortunately I spent all of my time "playing well" on the short stack... ugh! I must admit, I am a GREAT short stack player, and its not really from me constantly being on a short stack in tournaments, because thats just not true... especially the way I play. Its mainly due to the fact that A LOT of my tournament experience is online, where you hardly ever have chips to play with... you're almost always low on chips compared to the blinds. So, you get the point.

6 People
10k in chips
15 minute levels

Not the structure we usually use, but based on the low turnout of people I decided to just play two turbo-tourneys rather than one long well structured one (which I would have preferred).

-Game 1-

I was playing just how I wanted to, seeing flops cheaply with "fun hands" and keeping the pots small/stealing orphan pots. Everything was going well and then...

With the blinds at 50-100, a semi-loose limper just limped in up front for 100. Two people limped behind him in position, SB folded and I was in the BB with Qh-Qd. In my opinion, raising here is wrong.
A) The blinds are low enough that, if I put in a raise devised to "take down the pot right now", it will have to be fairly big, like 800-900, maybe even 1k. Which is far to much to be raising with the stacks as deep as they are.
B) I'm going to be out of position the whole hand if just ONE of them calls the raise, which is kind of likely since there are three of them... I mean realistically ONE of them will probably try to see a flop if I raise.
C) Much like above, it is realistic to believe that I will be seeing a flop anyway, so why not just try and keep the pot small, all the while disguising the strength of my hand in case one of them does hit weakly (like they have 9-8 and flop a weak top pair on a 9-5-2 flop, etc.) I'll get payed off.

So I did, what I felt was the best play, and checked.

The flop was junk:
10-7-5, rainbow
(Pot: 450)

I led at the pot for 350. The semi-loose gy from up front min-raised to 700, and everyone else folded around to me. Well, it certainly looks like an information raise with a Kinda-Strong-Ten. He wants to find out if his J-10 or Q-10 is good based on what I do. Now I know evrything there is to know about info-raises (even though I don't even use them that much), so if I re-raise he's gonna put me on some goofy BB hand for 2-pair and if I flat call he'll feel like his Ten is probably good. So I flat called, let him think his Ten is good, that way he'll keep leading at the pot [with the worst hand] for me.

(Pot: 1850)

I check, to keep in line with the story of the info-raise flat call of "I'm weak, you keep betting your Ten and I'll just pay you off." He checks. Which I kind of expected him to do on that turn if he had like J-10 or Q-10.

(Pot: 1850)

I felt that I had the best hand, even with the two overs, so I value bet it hoping he'd make a bad call with a Ten. I bet small small hoping he could call it, 500. He makes it 2500 total! Wow! There isn't a hand I can beat, so I guess he got lucky with A-10 or K-10, I fold. He shows me Qs-Qc... LOL! Haha, give him credit for the raise... it is semi-dumb/stupid/risky and everything else, but it worked. Nice Hand, sir.

I kinda floated around even as I couldn't really get anything going, but boy oh boy could Mr. Qs-Qc, he might have won EVERY pot he played. NO JOKE. I know sometimes poker players say, "Dude, that guy won every pot." But I'm fairly sure that he actually won about every pot he played... it wasn't funny. He was buildning a huge stack after he busted 2 players in the same in what I thought was a VERY VERY loose call of 2 all-ins with A-K off. I mean there was just NO WAY A-K was good there, but of course he cracked 10-10 and Q-Q when he flopped a King.

With the blinds at 200-400 and about 9k in chips and 4-handed. I got Q-Q in the SB, made it 1200 to go. Got 1 caller (The guy who's running really hot)

10-9-2 rainbow
(Pot: 2800)

I contiune with a lead for 2000, he calls.

4d (puts 2 diamonds on the board)
(Pot: 6800)

I only have about 6200 and I'm 100% sure he has a Ten or worse. The pot is big enough for me to move in, so I do so. I was shocked when he made the call with Jd-8d... only a draw (albeit a good one, but not one you'd call off 1/3 of your chips with and only one card to come). Of course...

The river came a:

I'm out. :(

The card rack went on to win, and at the end of the tournament he had eliminated all of his 5 opponents... wow!

-Game 2-

I don't remeber much of how it happened, but I was short stacked the whole time during this one. I don't mean I had like 5-6k after 3 levels. I mean I bluffed off like 9k in the first level... hahaha. They were really well orchastrated but people were just making dumb calls against me with weak hands that are almost never good. Anyway, while on the shortstack I just kept chopping and chopping but it was only keeping me afloat, it wasn't getting me anywhere. I think the most I got my chips up to was like 5k, and that was with high blinds (so the chips were easier to get a hold of as there were more of them being anted and posted). I ended up going broke during the 600-1200 (w/ 200 ante) level with 8-5 os vs. K-4 os. He flopped a King and I was all but out...

Not a good showing, but I can honestly say that I didn't play very well in the second one and I knew that as I was playing in it. I wasn't focused, or applied... probably based on the stakes of play but still I'm mad I didn't put foward my best effort. I should of tried harder and layed off of the bluffs but I was just trying to have a good time with my friends... haha.

Thats all for now, I should have another one up soon...

Friday, May 11, 2007

MTT Homegame: Part 3

Same one I've been going to for 2 months now.

-$100 buy-in
-18-20 people
-1500 in chips and 15-30 blinds to start


Mostly new people at my table, only knew one guy, the pre-flop action was fast and furious early on = no limping for me, at least not as much as I'd like.

I didn't play a hand for a while early on. It had some to do with all of the new players, but more to do with the cold run of cards - which is okay, it happens.

With the blinds at 20-40 and about 1400 in chips, the following hand occurred:
(first hand of the tournament that I had played, boy was it foreshadowing)

Guy in early position limped in, a couple folds, a guy in middle position limps in, couple folds to me in the CO with Kh2h (Not a good hand at all, but I was fairly sure the button, who was a rock, was folding behind me so I'd have position the whole hand at the very least), he did fold, SB limped in, and BB checked.

5 players see a flop of:
Ac - Kc - Ks
(Pot: 200)

SB checked, BB checked, Early position limper bets 200, middle position player folds, I just flat call the 200 (for a couple reasons**), SB folds, BB folds.

[** - He's obviously betting a decent amount (the pot) to protect a good hand, how good? I don't know. He could be betting A-J thinking its the best hand trying to protect it from a flush draw. Or he could have limped with a hand like K-Ts or K-9s and I'm crushed. If I make the popular information raise to find out where I'm at, it would cost about 600 to do that (call his 200 + a 400 or so raise). Instead, if I just flat call his 200 on the flop, I'll probably be faced with a 400 bet on the turn, which I'll probably have to flat call. Now, I'd be at the river for a total cost of... 600. If I made the information raise to 600 on the flop, I'd still be all the way back there. Instead I've made all the way to the river for the same amount. How did I achieve this? I KEPT THE POT SMALL! Pot control is such an important part of NLHE, and too many people forget that... if you ask me, that is the number one mistake amateurs make. Its right up there with over-valuing hands.]

(Pot: 600)

Early position player shoves all in for over 1,100. (Bad, bad poker. Betting 1,100+ to win 600. "Trying to protect my hand" is not an excuse for that bet. You can protect your hand by betting the pot - 600. But lets not forget, I'm not playing with pros here...)

I can't call this bet. His bet screams, "I have a marginal King, you have a flush draw, get the hell out, I'm happy with taking down the pot right now!" I thought for a minute, but I wasn't calling. I mucked, next hand... He told me he had a King and he seemed sincerely honest about it, but who knows.

So now my blood's pumping! I'm not steaming, but I'm certainly awake now. Everyone folds to me in the hijack (2 from the button), and I make 120 to go with the Ks-Ts. Everyone folds to the BB who calls the 80 more.

2 Players to a flop of:
Kh - 4c - 2h
(Pot: 260)

BB checks, I bet 160, He moves in for 1,190... [rolling eyes] (again, what a joke. I make it 160, he makes it 1k more... BAD poker, just bad equity. Risking like 1,190 for a 400 pot. A reasonable raise would have been like 300 more to 460 total... /end rant)

Long story short, I have a gut feeling he is making a play against me since he just saw me make a BIG lay down the hand before, but there's noway I can call off my tournament with top pair ten kicker after I've been check-raised all in by what appears to be a solid-tight player. I muck, next hand...

After those 2 hits I was down to about 900 of my original 1500. Which is GREAT, considering the two hands that just occurred... more so the first one.

Going into this hand the blinds were 25-50, so with 900 and change I'm getting near the 'blood red danger zone'. Everyone folds around to the guy from the 'K-2 Hand' who limps in for 50, folds around to me in the SB and I complete the 25 with 8c-7c, BB min-raises 50 more, we both call.

3 Players going to a flop of:
8d - 8h - 4h
(Pot: 300)

BINGO! Right? I'm gonna get right back in this thing, right?

I check (I wasn't too worried about the hearts, you can't shit you pants over every possible draw... just because there's a draw doesn't mean your opponent has it.)
BB bets 300, middle position guy shoves all in and immediately looks back at his cards... then looks back at the top one only for the 2nd time in 2 seconds... [rolling eyes, jaw dropping]
WOW! Are you serious? I'm not worried about the BB, I'm sure he's just making a continuation bet with air, and even if he does have a hand its probably an over pair (which I'm crushing). Its the same guy that's got my head spinning. How could he NOT have an 8 after coming over the top like that and then doing all that looking back and shit??? Could I possibly open fold (fold w/o putting any money in the pot, which I haven't, I checked and all this shit happened behind me) 8-7 on an 8-8-4 flop??? I think I have to. I feel like 90% sure he has an 8... and like 10% sure he has 4's full... LOL. I think forever and muck it. The BB folds and All-In McGee shows Q-8 off.

That's right, he limped from middle position with Q-8 off, then called a raise, and then cost himself a huge pot by just shoving in (if he flat calls the BB's 300, I'm shoving in over the top).

I felt like jumping up and screaming, "I can dodge bullets, baby!" But I controlled myself. That open fold left me with around 800. I tried to fight my way back carefully with no chips and no cards, but ultimately busted when I shoved Ah-Jh into 5-5 and lost the coin flip.

It was my first poor showing in that tournament. Out of the 3 visits, I've got a 1st, 2nd, and a goose egg... not bad.

Its hard to win tournaments when you have to keep making BIG lay downs, and I sure made my share of those. Any top pro will tell you that, and that goes for the deep stack tournaments that they play in, let alone some SNG that starts the players with 50 x BB. I was destined to do poorly this time around, if any other player there would have had my seat they would have been felted 3 times in the first 3 levels... BIG lay downs look cool when you watch people make them, but no one enjoys making them personally...