Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Side Event 1

Ladbrokes Cruise
$500 f/o
January 28 2008

When I sat at my table for this event the first thing I notice is that it looks pretty tame, other than James Akenhead in seat 4 to my seat 2. In fact, according to the seating allocation outside the room I should have been in seat 6, giving me position on James, however, for some reason the dealer’s sheet had me in seat 2, so I sat down without argument.

Now I played against James in the Blackpool main event and noticed that he is prepared to call raises with speculative hands, prepared to take the pot away after the flop by playing the player.

This was to stand me in good stead a bit later on.

I started off really well in this event, climbing from 5000 to 7500 in the first level after picking up a few hands or hitting the flop hard including one hand where I limped for 25 and called a raise to 75 with T8. The flop came down 884 and I lead out after the other two players checked and was raised by a Scandi UTG. After I flat called the reraise he bet out on the turn and I raised again to which he folded. I only won about 1500 in that hand but when the board is straightening or flushing I always get burned slow playing this sort of hand and I don’t think I would have got much more off him playing it slower on the turn.

A little bit later I was dealt Kings which I raised a standard 3 times the blind which James flat called in position. The flop came down 889 and I bet out ¾ pot to which James raised pretty quickly (which I was half expecting and had already decided I was going to call a raise from him if he did it) the turn was a blank which we both checked and the river was another 8 making me pretty sure he didn’t have the other 8 so I checked hoping he would make another bluff attempt and when he checked, I sighed which obviously told James that I was waiting for the bet and he mucked almost without waiting for me to show my cards.

A while later with the blinds at 50/100 (I’m not sure if there was a 25 ante too) I limped with a pair of twos which James raised to 350, I was the only caller. When the flop came down 23K rainbow I bet out 800 which James immediately raised some 6000 odd putting me all in. I insta-called and his 63 bluff failed to improve although a 4 on the turn did give me a slight scare.

So now I was up to 8000 odd chips.

I then proceeded to lose a lot of chips when I failed to call a river bluff in the flowing hand:

The blinds were about 75/150 with a 25 ante and I limped in late position with JQ and when the flop came JT7 the big blind lead out for 800 which I raised to 1800 and after some deliberation he called. He check called my 2000 ish bet on the 8 turn and then bet 2000 into the pot of 7500 ish (I only had 3100 left) when the river was an offsuit 7.
I have got to admit now that I am not the best reader of other people’s hands through their betting when I am playing. It is something I need to improve. Whenever I read a magazine article or daily hand quiz I can often get the right answer but I don’t have the skills that I have seen in players like Roberto Romanello.

If I had been playing on the internet I would probably have called his bet but one factor that stopped me was not wanting to look stupid calling that bet with just a pair of jacks on a board like that.

At the time the player told me he had J6 and I saw him later at dinner and he confirmed it again which I believe, so well played him.

I survived a bit longer as a short stack getting it all in about 5 times in 2 orbits and when I did finally get called I had my best hand but my pair of nines ran into Jacks and even though a jack flopped I did have a straight draw on the turn but nothing o the river and I was out.

I did pick up a nice $800 in an hour playing in a crazy cash game where a guy lost $2000 with some crazy bluffs and calls including calling my all in reraise with an obvious straight on an 8TQ board with 8T. Anyway off for some Dinner now and then it’s Julie’s turn to see if her training from Michael Greco yesterday will help in her Ladies freeroll tournament. There is a $10,000 prize pool for this one and I think the top three will qualify for the Ladbrokes Ladies tournament that is being screened on Sky Sports later in the year so my turn to cheer on from the sidelines.

Fingers crossed that beginners luck works out tonight.

Not Plain Sailing

Main event - $2500 f/o
Voyage of the Seas

The event started at 11am and immediately obvious were 2 empty seats 2 seats to my left. However, 5 minutes in up walks Devilfish to take the first empty seat. Only to be followed by Roy Brindley an hour later. Fantastic, they’ve even got position on me! So every time I raise on the Devilfish’s blinds he’s defending.

The first hand of note came up when I limped with QQ in UTG as I knew there was every likelihood that it would get raised by the big blind if there were a few limpers which there inevitably would be if I limped, however there was one call and a raise from the button. I considered reraising but felt that would give away the strength of my hand so I called and so did the limper.

The flop came down 9TJ rainbow and I bet out 2/3 pot and was called by the limper, turn was a 4 which we both checked and the river was a 7 so, believing I was ahead I made a value bet of half the pot which was called by the limper who had J8. Unfortunately I had allowed him to hit his straight. So that took about 4000 of the starting 10000 chips.

Over the course of the next couple of hours I didn’t play a huge number of hands, and those that I did play inevitably involved either Roy or Devilfish. Unfortunately I never had the balls to reraise them with nothing when the were testing me by raising any continuation bets I made. – Lesson learned there!

By this point the antes were in play and I was down to between 4 and 5 thousand chips. I was able to go all in a few times, particularly when there had been a number of limps, in one case with 33 on the big blind after there had been 6 limpers. Luckily Devilfish, who told me that I was annoying him by doing this, had 77 on this occaision but couldn’t call without risking a large portion of his stack because of the limpers behind him.

Eventually I was down to 2100 when the blinds were 200/400 with 50 ante as I had just passed through the blinds and I hadn’t had a chance to get my chips in first. The table was broken and I sit down on the button knowing that I have to be all in before the big blind gets round to me. I then pick up ATo after there had been a limp UTG. However, before I get the chance to go all in, another short stack with 5000 went all in. So I told him that I was going to do that and he looked very nervous when I said that. Now I know in this situation that I’m dominated by AJ, AQ, AK or a big pair but, figure that his nervousness suggests he probably has a small pair or possibly even Ace rag. So, based on this, and the fact that I have a chance of tripling up in a probable heads up confrontation I called.

Imaging my delight when he turns over Tc6c meaning I have him dominated… until the flop comes with 2 clubs and you can guess what the river was!

So, off for some drinks with Julie and looking forward to the $500 f/o tomorrow.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Rebuy frenzy

Thursday January 17th Circus Manchester £20PL rebuy, 61 runners.

I went into this tournament hoping that it would be the start of one of those runs that you get.
I haven't cashed for a few tournaments other than a 10th place a few weeks ago so I am hoping this will turn soon, with all the big tournaments I'll be playing on the cruise.

Anyway, I decided on going to Manchester rather than Leos for a number of reasons even though it is further away from me.

1. Manchester has only 1000 starting chips with blinds starting at 50/100. So whilst this is a very small starting stack it means that a lot of people have a lot of rebuys and so there is more money in the pot (the average last night was 5.5 rebuys). Because I am patient enough to wait for the right hands or situations I generally find that I don't usually have many rebuys - in fact I've had none the last 2 visits.

2. Even though some better players go to Manchester compared to Liverpool, there are a couple of players who are loose aggressive but have a very good tell on them that lets me know when they are bluffing - One of them is a well known player who used to play on the original series of Late Night Poker believe it or not!

3. The circus tournaments are part of the Genting Stanley poker league that is giving seats to the national tournament in March that I am planning on playing in.

4. On the down side, the cash game is much tougher but I was not planning on staying after the tournament last night so that was not a factor.

Anyway, I got through the rebuy period having played not much more than 15 hands.

I managed to get up to 5000 chips quite early but lost 3500 of them when I limped with Ad6d in middle position. Now this probably goes against the advice that a lot of people would give regarding playing at a 10 handed table but I find that during the rebuy period I can play this hand and because there are normally many callers, the flush/ flush draw can win a lot of chips. I can also lay it down if an ace hits given enough resistance but hitting a big hand with it will often be very profitable. (I know the fact that I lost 3500 with this contradicts what I just said!)

Anyway, the flop was King high with 2 diamonds and when the button bet I check raised all in and he called with a pair of aces. No diamond hit and I was back down to 1600 chips.

I soon doubled up though when the blinds were 100/200 with AK against JJ and then a bit later I limped into a pot with KQ in early position and called a raise to 700 all in from the button along with 5 others. The flop was 9T3 and there was a small all in bet of 900 that was called by the two in front of me giving me huge odds with my gutshot and 2 over cards although there were 2 clubs on the board. The turn was checked by me and the other player with chips left. The river brought the Jc giving me the straight but a possible flush.

At this point I had a pretty good idea that the other guy would have bet the turn with a flush draw after I had checked. So I bet the straight for value and he called with 2 pair. It turned out that the button also had KQ giving me the side pot of 5000 and half the main pot of about 3000 each.

The rebuys finished with me on 14100 and the average stack at 7000.

I then had a 23 in the big blind against 3 limpers on a flop of 723 so I bet 1200 into the pot of 1600 and was raised the pot (4000). Pretty certain that he didn’t have 77 I reraised all in and he folded his last 5000 chips.

I then got involved in a pot when the blinds were 400/800 and there was a limp UTG and from UTG+1 I raised the pot to 3600, this was called by Nick Slade (a LAG pro) in the big blind and also by the limper.

Now Nick had about 4500 behind him and the pot was 11200 so I'm expecting Nick to do a stop and go here.

If he had a pair I'm sure he's reraising so it's probably some suited connector or quite possible even rags in this situation.

Anyway, the flop was 742, right in his ball park! Then to make matters worse he thinks about betting then checks after briefly looking at me. UTG checked and so this makes me think that he has indeed hit the flop and is waiting for me to bet so I checked behind.

The turn was a King and he checks in disgust and UTG bets 3500 all in which I call with AK and Nick folds.

Anyway, UTG has KQ and sure enough his Q hits the river!

It turns out that Nick hadn't hit the flop but he told me that he knew he should have bet the flop.

I had already decided that if Nick bet the flop I was probably calling if the UTG folded unless he looked super strong. Whether that is the right call to make in that situation long term I am not certain and would appreciate comments but I think it is right most of the time.

As it turns out, if I had made a continuation bet I would have won the pot but that's the way it goes.

So I was down to 10000 with the blinds going up to 600/1200.

A while later I raised to 4200 after it was folded to me in the cut off with JQ and was obliged to call the button's 5100 all in with AK which cost me half my stack.

After a few hands I now have 4100 once the blinds have gone through me and the blinds are up to 800/1600.

Having not had a chance to get my chips in first we get to the point where there is a raise from middle position to 5000 and a call from the short stack to my right and I have AT.

However. the player to my right tells a friend that she has "Dave's hand" which tells me it is not likely to be a big pair or big ace, so I reckon she either has a small pair or a worse hand than me.

So My thinking here is that I'm guaranteed a call when I eventually go all in so I'm going to need to win a showdown.

Here I know that at worst I'm 50:50 with the short stack to my right and I'm getting the chance to win 13000 so I decided that I was willing to take the gamble.

It turns out that the raiser has AJ, short stack had 77.

Anyway a 7 came on the flop but I did have a gutshot straight draw on the river but missed and I was out.

I felt that was the best chance to get a fair stack of chips and put myself back into contention.

BTW this was when there were 20 players left and the average stack was 15000, although most of the chips were on the other table.

Does anyone else call in that situation? I would be interested to hear.

Anyway, a few more days of teaching the Mrs and then off we go.

Until next time…

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Here's to beginners luck

Thursday January 10th Circus Manchester. £20 rebuy. 72 runners

I've been a bit busy in the last week or so what with getting ready for the cruise etc and so I'm a bit late posting these and have forgotten most of the hands of interest - not that there were that many of note.

In fact I remember coming home from the Sunday tournaments thinking that there were very few hands that would be worth talking about.

Anyway, I actually bubbled in the Circus tournament last Thursday.

I had no rebuys or add ons since I was able to stay on track with the average stack most of the way through the tournaments without making any moves or showing down many hands at all once I had won my first pot.

I actually went out when I was on of the shorter stack and the small blind flat called and I went all in with A8. He called with 9T and spiked a ten on the river to win.

He said that he would have checked it down with me if I hadn't raised because of a situation where another player had folded AQ a couple of hands earlier when there had been a raise and reraise before him. He thought the player was colluding because one of the raisers was his mate and that is why he had folded but in actual fact it was just a simple fold based on the action in front of him.

I suppose I should have know he would have called even though I was almost certainly ahead after I had raised a few orbits before when had limped into the pot with TJ and found it difficult to fold when I reraised with JJ.

But, as I told him after I was out, I've got to raise with A8 in that situation with only 4 big blinds left.

Sunday January 13th. Circus Liverpool £100 DC F/O 70 runners

Anyway, it was off to the Circus Liverpool on Sunday for a new tournament that has aroused some interest and didn't disappoint other than table service and result.

As I said earlier, there were not many hands of note.

I did lose a lot of my first stack of 4000 chips when there were 5 limpers on my big blind with 74.

The flop came down 742 and I lead out for 1000 into a pot of 1200 only to be reraised an extra 1000 all in by the monster holding of J7.

Obviously I didn't know what he obviously knew (that a J turn would kill me!)

Most of my other raises involved me either winning the pot there and then, facing a bad flop or my hand or getting my continuation bet raised by a hand that I had to fold to.

The only other hand of not was my exit hand when I was getting short with only about 4 big blinds. I pushed on the button with Q7 and the small blind told me that he wanted to call because he was waiting for my push. He folded Q9 as it happened, unfortunately the big blind had aces and even though I hit a 7 on the flop that would have beaten Mr small blind, I went out after only 2 hours.

Anyway, I'm in the process of teaching my wife Julie how to play because there is a $10,000 Ladies Freeroll on the cruise and, with the help of Andrew (my 8 year old son)

We are teaching Julie some of the basics so that she has an idea of what to do and doesn't just call down every bet to "see whether I win"

Julie has played a few of the freerolls that Pokerplayer magazine and Inside poker mag run.

These are not like your normal all-in freerolls as there is normally a good prize on offer - ie WSOPE entry at the end of the series and there are only 300-600 runners, a lot of whom take the game seriously.

Julie has been doing quite well finishing in the top 150 a couple of times and now that I've sorted out the hand history storage on betfair I can have a look at her play and hopefully give her a few pointers.

Basically I'm telling her to raise or fold the majority of time. That way I think she'll have the best chance of utilising the beginners luck concept and you never know she could even cash since the top 20% of players will cash on the cruise (if I have read the info correctly).

Anyway, that's all for now.

I'm playing my last live tournament before the cruise on Thursday. I haven't cashed for a while and I'm half hoping that I don't cash on Thursday either because I find that one win is normally followed by a few cashes in a row and I'm hoping to start a streak next week!

That's all for now….

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

A quick heads up

I don't normally update the blog unless I have played live but I've just had a dabble at heads up, inspired by Snoopy's posts since that is his game of choice I believe (there is a link to his blog on the left and it is a very good read)

Anyway, as I expected the rake was the biggest winner.

Granted the player I was playing was playing very tight - which may not be the best opponent to play against - snoopy might comment on that.

To illustrate how the game went here are some of the stats from Pokertracker.

We played for 1.28 hours He won $1033.90 from me and I won $1033.15 from him at a $1/$2NL table.

We both bought in for the maximum $200 and I reloaded an extra $175 after he made a very good call on one of the numerous times I represented a flush - he had to call me eventually!

To demonstrate how tightly he was playing he won 73 times and lost 144 including folding his button countless times which is why I decided to stay at the table since this is lost money I believe - again any comments are welcome.

One thing I have noticed about pokertracker though is that the amount lost as shown in pokertracker does not reflect the amount actually lost according to what I put down at the table compared with what I took away.

I have it as bringing $375 to the table and taking away $267 - a loss of $108 (I know my rakeback will recover 36% of this) whereas PT shows a loss of $44. I can see that the rake is $37.40 but even that does not make up the difference. Not sure what is going on there.

As far as how PT is ranking the player (I use the default rules) it has him down as being Loose aggressive - aggressive. Now there is no way I would have ranked him like that. Presumably the fact that we were heads up must have an influence since he was in the blinds every hand.
I've pasted a screen shot for him (Capita) and me (Tolekim) at the top - I can't seem to move it and it'll take too long to figure out.
Anyway, I may give it a go of a weekend evening once people are back from the pub to see if that is more worthwhile.
Anyway, that's all for now. The curse of the part-time poker player - yet another very late night - has destroyed my plans of getting more than 6 hours sleep again!

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

When winning feels like losing...

New Year's Day
Mansion $100 freezeout
$110k guaranteed
942 runners

Just finished 25th in this tournament where the 1st prize was $25,000.

I was looking at the tournaments and noticed that I had a free ticket to this tournament so decided that since I was playing a freeroll anyway, why not?

Things started off poorly and I was down to half my starting stack of 3000 chips within 10 minutes after I decided to try and slow play KJ in the big blind after a couple of players limped.
When the flop came K74 I thought I would slow play again by check calling. Then when I was check raised on the rag turn I didn't know whether this was someone betting who I had tricked into thinking they were ahead or did they really have 2 pair or better. I check called the river to see that he had indeed limped with 74!

Oh well, I think I've learned not to do that anymore as you never really know where you are unless you flop a massive hand like trips.

Things improved though as I managed to pick up some good pots to give me a healthy stack.

They then went from good to better by the first break when I was 15th out of 750 odd players left.

By the next break I was chip leader and this continued for a couple of hours.

By the time we got to the money 130th place I had a big chip lead which was to be greatly increased when someone with 30000 chips decided that my raise from the big blind (see I did learn) with KK could be bluffed away with his QJ on a 984 flop. His betting was inconsistent with his hand and he bluffed all his money away by the turn with only a gutshot draw.

I now had more that twice as many chips as the 2nd place player.

I was able to use this chip lead by raising 2 out of three pots and when I did get action, because the blinds were big in relation to most people at my table's chip stack, I normally had to call and was either ahead or out drew them.

By now we were down to the last 30 players and I had 270000 out of the 1.9m chips.

And this is where it all went wrong!

Unfortunately I picked up a couple of good hands and whether my table image had anything to do with the way the hand played I am not sure.

I picked up a pair of tens in late position and there was a raise from someone with 120000 chips.

Blinds were 4000 8000 and he raised to 16000. someone with 66000 chips then called and I decided that there was a fair chance I was ahead and even if I wasn't, the squeeze would make it difficult for the raiser to call with anything other than a massive hand and even AK would be a difficult call. So I raised to 40000 which the raiser and the other player both called.

I was a bit concerned by this and thought he probably had AA or KK maybe QQ with a small chance of AK. The flop came J55 and they checked so i bet 50000 thinking that an overpair would have made some sort of bet. The raiser called and the other player folded. I am now pretty sure he must have AA. However a Jack came on the turn and he bet a meagre 8000. Now I am certain he has AA and is scared of the Jack so I reraised him and he went all in for am extra few thousand which I felt I had to call in case he did have the overpair and a ten hit the river.

I'm not sure if it was possible to put him on the AJ and whether my play was really bad or not but it cost me 150k of my 270k chips. Any comments would be welcome.

Shortly after I got a pair of sevens and raised to 15000 which was called by the same player and then another player raised all in to 35000. I reraised all in to isolate the reraiser and unfortunately my dentist had KK and I was done for. I finished 25th for $550 which is good for nothing but when I was in a great spot to win up to $25000 it feels like I've lost money!

Until next time...

Happy New Year.