Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The very near future and very recent past...

I haven’t posted in a while as nothing interesting has really happened with poker since my score at The Poker Room; no home games (it is so hard to get a decent sized group together), haven’t been back to The Poker Room (it is really out of the way considering that (a) it is kind of far to travel to play 2/2 or 2/5 NL w/ 100max or a really fast tournament and (b) even if you’re rolled for some of those games you can’t realistically play them at a high volume on a daily basis), but I have played a bit online occasionally in some MTTs just feeding the tournament poker addiction. My last one ended with KK < JJ semi-deep in the tourney and a lot have been similar, but I can’t really complain as I’m logging a REALLY small volume recently.

As of late I’ve just been trying to relax. High school is over and I start college in a week, which I’m actually really excited for…, which is weird, sort of. This is probably the first time I’ve ever been excited for school to start, but I know that this is going to be a very fun and amazing part of my life and I suppose that that intrigues me. I love life currently; school starts soon, I’ve lost over 50lbs and feel amazing being in great shape, and my second favorite lust in life is starting in 10 days – Fantasy Football. As defending champion of our league I’m extra excited to start playing again.

I’m not sure how much poker I’ll play being a full time student, but I’m sure I’ll get my fair share of hands logged. I can joke about it but obviously school will have to be #1, as I don’t want to play poker for a living. I used to have dreams of that when I was younger and very na├»ve/immature, but I realized after logging almost 80k (I know a lot of ballers out there would yawn at that number but it was a lot to me then… and now even) hands in 2007 that poker is such a sick game to play in mass quantity. The swings are such that I really think most people out there (including a lot of people who currently play it for a living) should being playing in a part-time manner, as that is the way I most enjoy poker. I find it so easy to get burned out, even switching games. IMO, poker is most enjoyable as a very serious hobby, but nonetheless a bit of a hobby. I ran good for a long while when I was logging a ton of hands and built up a strong bankroll, as soon as things started going downhill I nitted up and stashed a bunch away in the bank. I believe this to be one of the best decisions of my life. This not because I was smart for doing it at the time, but because looking back on how I played a lot of the games with one years more experience and a better understanding of how to play I don’t see how I would have avoided going broke! I really think my approach in some situations was horrific. But that’s for another discussion…

I was rambling there for a bit. In other news I went to Universal Orlando on Sunday with my mother as a kind of late high school graduation/early starting college gift. I think Express Passes are mandatory to have a good time in places like that, as we never had to wait in lines for any rides until later in the afternoon. The wait was however long it took you to speed walk through the ropes. We had a blast at both parks and I look forward to going down there again to Halloween Horror Nights in October with my friends.

Also, it turns out I will be helping one of my two best friend’s little brother as a tutor when he needs it for his upcoming school year (8th grade) that just started. He’s actually been put into a few of our home games by his mother so I had a flash of teaching him a bunch of simple math involving poker… I saw the next Jimmy Fricke (because the kid is pretty overweight), haha, but for now I’ll just stick to what I’m being paid for (a pretty strong $15/hr under the table) – Pre-Algebra.

I’m hoping to get a home game going at the beginning of September. Preferably cash, but sometimes you have to settle for what you can get. :/

GL to everyone at the tables.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Poker Room $100 Deepstack

I’ve never played in their “deep-stack” tournament that they hold every Friday. I hate on The Poker Room a lot, usually for things of importance, but I researched this tournament and it seemed like a really good spot. t4000 starting stacks and the Friday night crowd equals a really good spot in my opinion, also it’s capped at 30 players so it’s not a daunting field (not that it really could be very big given The Poker Room’s size).

They got the full 30 players with top 5 getting paid and they don’t rake the $100 MTTs.
1st - $1100, 2nd – $700, 3rd - $500, 4th – $400, 5th - $300
4000 starting stacks, 25/50 blinds, and 18 minute levels. Basically akin to a normal speed SNG early on, but at the end the blinds/antes get super huge super quickly. The payout schedule is fairly standard though. They did something right - woohoo.

Despite the “deep-stacks” we managed to lose TWO players in 6 hands at my table. 3rd hand, TT stacked off pre-flop to QQ. 6th hand, Ah-2h shipped 2x pot on the Jh-9h-3c flop and was called by Q-Q. Turn 6h, QQ was the one all-in and was drawing dead. Next hand, UTG opened for 150 (25/50), MP1 flat called, I 3-bet to 700 from MP with AK, and everyone folded out. It isn’t hard to not play another hand during a level at The Poker Room, which is what happened to me as 25/50 flew by with me folding every hand.

-Blinds 50/100-
Folds to me (~t4300) on the button with Kh-8h, the blinds have played really tight, so I made it 3x which is what I’ve learned is the minimum you can make it live w/o getting called by everyone behind you. SB flat called 300 total, BB folded.

Flop: (Pot: 700)
Jh-6h-2c

SB led for 400. It felt weak and a bit of a feeler. I decided upon raising to represent a big hand and also create a good amount of fold equity with a strong draw. I made it 1300 total, 900 more. He flat called the 900 more OOP leaving himself with 2600 total. At this point I definitely gave him credit for a mid-decent Jack and I was done with the hand if I didn’t improve.

Turn: (Pot: 3300)
Qh

He checked. I think I make more money if I check behind and hope for a safe card where I can get another street of value. He probably folds most mid-decent Jacks (the range I’ve got him on) if I double barrel the turn once the over card comes and the heart draw gets there. So I check and pray for a black baby card.

River: (Pot: 3300)
2d

Perfect card and he checks again. I settled on 1500 to be the right size to hopefully get a call. The guy tanked and then folded. He later told me he had 9-9. I hate his call of the raise on the flop with only 2600 behind OOP with 3300 in the pot. If you think you’re ahead – ship. If you’re unsure – fold.

-Blinds 100/200-
Active player shipped UTG for his last 1700 and it folded around to me in the SB with A-J. I didn’t want to isolate because the guy behind me was super tight. If I called, he was only calling with a big hand and only raising me with the nuts. BB folded. UTG had As-4s and my hand held. They broke 1 of the 3 tables and filled our table back up to 9-handed. I played really solid with the new table because most of the table was low; I stayed around 7-8k for that while. I played a funny hand with J-6 when were down to 6 on each table.

-Blinds 300/600-
It folded to me in the CO (~8000) with Jh-6h, and I raised to 1600. The button called and the SB called.

Flop: (Pot: 5400)
Ah-8h-3h

Beast-aments. SB checked, I would probably bet vs. most good players who pay attention but this is live poker after all, so I checked as well. Button thought for almost 30 seconds and then checked – dammit.

Turn: (Pot: 5400)
Qd

SB checked again, I bet 2500 this time hoping the Queen hit someone or that they’d call me with a naked heart. No luck as they both mucked, but picking up the 4800 profit was still huge considering I raised light and got called in 2 spots pre-flop.

I started running over people on the final table bubble and was able to really pad my stack. The guys who were low were really nitty and the guys with chips just didn’t ever want to play a pot with me. Two of the shorter stacks at my table played 60/40s vs. other people and lost. We then combined for the final 10 players. I had about 17k going into the final table which put me about 3rd or 4th in chips. On a side note almost everyone at the other table was drinking heavily during the final table bubble.

First hand of the final table the chip leader showed how he got such a powerful stack, lol. e people from the other table were mostly chip movers so I got pretty lucky to have the table I did on the FT bubble. It went raise, re-raise, all-in, call. Chip leader showed QJ, other guy A5. The A5 held and there was a new chip leader after a pretty weird pot.

Second hand of the FT I had AQ UTG and made it 1700 at 300/600. Another guy from the crazy table moved in for 6000 more. It folded back around, I have no read but these guys all seem to have wide ranges so I made what I felt was an easy call. He had K-Q and I held. I was then over the 20k mark with about 23k. I floated around 20-25k until we were on the money bubble. There were a lot of really low stacks moving in a lot but avoided ever running into hands so the big stacks played really carefully. The guy from the A5 hand on the 1st hand of the FT started busting all the low stacks. He rode a rollercoaster the whole FT, he had around 19-20k when my first and only tough decision of the tournament came up.

-Blinds 800/1600 Ante 300-
4 handed. UTG – Chip leader (~65k), Villain (19k), SB (5000), Hero/BB (~30k).
UTG folded. Villain thought for around 30 seconds before moving in for 19k total. Then the SB calls AI for ~5000. I look down at AQ in the BB.

The jump in prize money is only $100 if the SB gets eliminated, but the most important thing was that I thought the Villain is shipping a huge range here and the SB is calling almost ATC considering how low his M is (1.5). I think I have to call and did after about a minute of thought.

Villain – AK
SB – 55

Ha-ha. Wow, I thought I had the best hand of all three and couldn’t have been more wrong. Even so, it was still a very standard call in my opinion. Especially considering how wild and erratic the Villain had been. Prepare for more beast-aments:

Flop: (Main Pot: 16k+) (Side Pot: ~30k)
K-J-T rainbow.

I fade the chop and back-door full house to take both out and go HU almost even in chips. The guy I went HU with was a really quiet guy who got all his chip from picking up AT vs. A9 to double then the very next hand he busted a guy almost even with him to double again (he had TT vs. 99 that hand) right after we made the money. He had opened up more as we got shorter and shorter handed. HU this guy raised 90% of his buttons, but he was making it a full 3x which is a poor way to play if you’re going to raise that many hands. I’m not stupid, so I realize his range is a lot wider than most people’s HU since he’s raising 90% of his buttons. If he wants to play that way he should be making it less (like 2-2.5x) so that when he does get 3-bet (which will be more often since his range is wide) he isn’t spewing as many chips. I 3-bet 4 times before he finally woke up with a hand, but either way I don’t regret this hand:

-Blinds 1500/3000 Ante 500-
Villain SB (46k), Hero BB (74k)
Villain raises to 9000, Hero has As-3s in BB. He’s raising 90% of his buttons and has proven he’s not just on some kind of heater as he’s folded to the last 4 3-bets. This time the blinds just went up from 1/2000 so the only 3-bet size that’s reasonable is all-in. I back this play 100% of the time, no doubts. I move in, he calls quickly with 88.

He flops an 8 for the no sweat board. I river an Ace for fun…
I’m left with 28k, which I think is easily possible to come back from playing 1500/3000. He ships his next button and I call with K-Ts, he has A-5. Flop King, Turn King, River Ten. Back to 59k. VERY next hand he raises to 9000 on the button, I look down at KK and ship it in. He snaps with A-3os. Flop King, after the turn he’s drawing dead.

He’s left with 2000. He proceeds to run that 2000 up to 30k in the most amazing run of AIs I’ve ever seen in my life. It was truly unreal.

KT < 53
A4 < QJ
A2 < T5
AJ < A3 (flop 3, turn 3)
J7 < 95 (x-x-x-x-9, UGH)

Then he was up to about 30k from being out the door after the KK hand. I felt sick, literally. How could one not? We’re playing for $400 and The Poker Room doesn’t allow formal deals.

Then, I ship the button with AK and he calls A9. If he wins this pot we’re back to even at 60k vs. 60k after him having 2000 at 1500/3000!!!

Flop: J-9-2
Oh my fucking God, throw me off this fucking building!

Turn: 2
I usually don’t show emotions at the table just based on the fact that I’ve seen all of the different tournament scenarios over and over and over again. I’ve played a huge volume of SNGs and MTTs online to be pretty calm about AIs. I’ve just never seen anything so far to the point of anomaly in my life in a poker setting.

River: Kd
Wow. What a feeling that was to see the Kd on the river… I gave the biggest fist pump of my life with a loud, “YES!!!” after such a beautiful river.

I’m posting this on Sunday. The tournament took place on Friday night, and I was so tired I slept in pretty late Saturday. I rented Apocalypto and watched that Saturday night. I can truly say it is one of the most amazing films I’ve ever seen… and I watch a lot of movies. Just some of the best cinematography I’ve ever seen.

Wow. That King of fucking diamonds. It just keeps popping into my head. I don’t usually bask in something like this. You know, move on to the next hand and the next dollar to be earned kind of thing, but for some reason winning that little SNG the way it ended just makes me feel weird. I can’t even really explain it…

BTW, I still think that even giving you double stacks the structure is horrible. They don't realize that starting stacks mean nothing if you just double the blinds every few minutes anyway. It will still be a joke, you'll just get like an extra level of play. I was fortunate that people decided to bust out so quickly throughout the tournament (I'm sure this had 99% to do with it being Friday night).