Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Just because I'm on break doesn't mean I'm not railbirding games. The last week or so I've gotten into the habit of watching a bunch of games, sometimes four or six at a time. 200/400NL, 1000/2000 limit, and so forth. And I don't only watch the "big" versions of the games I play--I'll pull up some limit O8 or PLO tables and check them out, too, despite my hatred for all things Omaha.

In fact, while watching a PLO table the other night, I noticed a very big fish playing. I'm a horrendous Omaha player, so when I notice someone is playing badly, it means they're playing VERY badly. He had to have been playing 80% of his hands, and was calling huge river bets with one pair, that sort of stuff. I had no choice. I had to play.

Oh, did I mention this was 100/200 PLO?

Screw it, I'm going on the waiting list! (Not surprisingly the game was full and not budging.) While on the waiting list, I took stock of my previous PLO experience. Let's see...there were those .25/.50 $40 buy-in silly games I played with friends...there was that one half hour I played 2/4 PLO on Party 6 months ago...and that's about it.

It would be silly of me to just go from about 500 hands of PLO experience to playing 100/200. I'm smarter than that. So while waiting, I fired up a few tables of 2/4 and 3/6 to learn me some valuable experience.

One hour, and a few buyins later (in the wrong direction) it was my turn. Time to play.

I sit into the full six-max game, to the immediate right of the fish, who had gone through a few buyins before getting particularly lucky and running up a big stack, that was again slowly leaking away. I'd been watching the game all along, and knew exactly how to play him. Against anyone else, play for the nuts. Against him, value-bet, value-bet, value-bet, but fold any non-nut hand if he actually perks up and raises. Easy, right?

Not wanting to risk too much on this speculative venture, I only buy in for $8k. Okay, that might sound like a lot to some, but I was tied as the smallest stack at the table, compared to stacks of $19k, $20k, $36k and $57k. If there's a better way to broadcast, "hey guys, I'm just an incompetent fish taking a shot waaaay above my skill level and bankroll!" I can't think of it.

I fold my first ten hands. That's one good thing about playing way, way higher than one should--one has absolutely no desire to play those pretty-looking but crappy hands like when one is too comfortable at the present stakes.

But then I'm dealt AAJ6 with a suited A. Well, I'm here to play...

Full Tilt Poker
Pot Limit Omaha Ring game
Blinds: $100/$200
6 players

Stack sizes:
UTG: $8000
Hero: $7400
CO: $41342
Button: $13191
SB: $28174
BB: $57168

Pre-flop: (6 players) Hero is UTG+1 with Ac Js 6s As
UTG folds, Hero raises to $700, CO folds, Button calls, SB calls, BB calls.

Flop: Qd 2c 8s ($2800, 4 players)
SB checks, BB checks, Hero checks, Button checks.

Turn: Th ($2800, 4 players)
SB bets $2800, BB folds, Hero folds, Button folds.
Uncalled bets: $2800 returned to SB.

Final pot: $2800

Er...well I guess if there's any kind of flop to bet in Omaha with a one-pair, no draw hand in a four-way pot, that's it. But my general instinct in multiway pots is to flop either a really strong hand or a nut draw (preferably both) or get out. Especially when I'm playing a game over 30 times bigger than I ever have before. So I checked and I think had a pretty easy fold on the turn. Being results oriented, a flop bet very well might have taken it down, but who knows if that's the right play in general. I'm sure there are a million people out there who know how to play better than I do, so feel free to chime in.

I had a few more folds, one hand where I saw a free flop from the BB and won it with an uncontested flop bet, another blind-battle hand where we each flopped three-pair, got all-in and chopped, won the blinds once, and then after feeling a bit more comfortable, I had two more interesting hands.

Full Tilt Poker
Pot Limit Omaha Ring game
Blinds: $100/$200
5 players

Stack sizes:
UTG: $7500
CO: $4499
Button: $33466
SB: $53168
Hero: $7396

Pre-flop: (5 players) Hero is BB with Kc 4h 2h Tc
CO folds, Button raises to $700, SB folds, Hero calls.

Flop: 9c 3d 2c ($1500, 3 players)
Hero checks, Button bets $1500, Hero raises to $6000, Button folds.
Uncalled bets: $4500 returned to Hero.

Final pot: $4500

Yay? Nay? All I know is it worked that time...

Full Tilt Poker
Pot Limit Omaha Ring game
Blinds: $100/$200
4 players

Stack sizes:
UTG: $5496
Button: $52068
SB: $9598
Hero: $9094

Pre-flop: (4 players) Hero is BB with 2c 3c 8s Kd
2 folds, SB calls, Hero checks.

Flop: 7c Jc Qc ($400, 2 players)
SB checks, Hero bets $400, SB calls.

Turn: 5h ($1200, 2 players)
SB checks, Hero checks.

River: 5s ($1200, 2 players)
SB bets $1200, Hero calls.

Final pot: $3600
SB showed 3d Qd 9c Jd
Hero showed 2c 3c 8s Kd

So my baby flush was good. I think I may have lucked into playing the above hand well, although I'm certainly open to other opinions from anyone who actually knows the game.

But yeah, by then the fish had left, and the table was breaking down. After paying my small blind, we were down to three-handed--me and two regulars who were also in the 200/400 PLO game. I may be developing a bit of a gambling streak, but I'm not that far gone (yet). With a strict eye on my EV, I left the table after folding my button.

And the final result? 20 minutes. 22 hands (was that it? Felt like 2200). And a decent $2800 profit. Most of which I promptly dumped back in a mix of 2/4 and 3/6 PLO games, a big tourney, and some 3/6 and 5/10 NLH games. Yay, poker!

And just like that, I'm back on break.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

I am officially on break. Again. The last nearly 5 months or so have been very profitable, but very taxing, as I've put in many, many hands. The last month has been break-even and I'm just not feeling it any more. Can't really describe it better than that.

All I know is that when I take some time off--maybe a week, maybe a few weeks--I often come back with a lot more focus and resolve. And, ultimately, I'd like to aviod completely burning out on NL like I did on limit earlier this year.

So no clue when I'll be back to playing, but I doubt it'll be too long--probably early November.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

LA was a roller-coaster ride of the most depressing sort. Up, up, up! Down, down, down....splat.

I played a little 40/80, but the majority of my time was spent at the 60/120 games. Friday's lineup was spectacular, with five- and six-way raised pots the norm. With an excellent read on all the players and a bit of gamble in me, I was able to LAG my way to my biggest casino win ever. Having a big pocket pair every fourth hand or so and having them hold up 90% of the time doesn't hurt, either.

Saturday was a break-even grind.

Then there was Sunday. Sunday's lineup was almost as good as Friday's. Fewer weak spots, but it featured one super-LAG of about 80/40 in online parlance. She had the pattern-mapper that night, though, as she won over $20,000 with the most unbelievable run of cards ever. A classic see-you-at-the-river player, she would chase the ace, chase her gutshots and never, ever, miss. 24o open-limped from the cutoff? Good after capping the flop with bottom pair and hitting two pair on the river. That type of player.

Apparently a semi-regular at those games, the other regulars had many stories of her running up huge stacks and then giving them back. So I waited. And waited. And waited. But the magic never left her, while simultaneously I shot over from where I was on Friday at the way right-hand side of the bell curve to the very far reaches on the left. Nothing won, nothing held up, no draws hit. I kept rebuying. And rebuying. Waiting for a hand to hold up, anything. In the end the damage was enormous, and I was left with an exact mirror-image session from the one on Friday--Sunday represented my worst casino loss, ever. Final overall tally: dead fucking even.

What an abrupt reminder as to why I stopped playing live limit hold'em and got into online NL.

RIP, PartyPoker.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A bit tired of NL, I decided to have another limit session. But 15/30 and 20/40 are so boooring. I want something that will keep me interested. Hmmm. I know! I should multi-table 100/200 on Party for 5 hours!

I never even played that back when I was playing limit for a living. But I tried it. And wow, I had fun. Yes, that means I won. But I like games where people's mistakes are in being too aggressive. Maybe I've just become too much of a gambler, but games like that are so much more fun.

Example of a fun hand:

Party Poker Limit Holdem Ring game
Limit: $100/$200
6 players Converter

Stack sizes:
UTG: $2700.50
UTG+1: $21970.50
CO: $2695
Button: $8216
SB: $3981
Hero: $5111

Pre-flop: (6 players) Hero is BB with Qs Js
UTG raises, 4 folds, Hero calls.

Flop: Kh 6s 2s (4.5SB, 2 players)
Hero checks, UTG bets, Hero raises, UTG calls.

Turn: Ac (4.25BB, 2 players)
Hero bets, UTG raises, Hero calls.

River: 7c (8.25BB, 2 players)
Hero checks, UTG bets, Hero calls.

Final pot: 10.25BB
UTG shows Ts Qh
Hero shows Js Qs

QJ-high good! I had a read, dammit. Another hand:

Stack sizes:
UTG: $19743.75
UTG+1: $6588.50
CO: $3856.50
Hero: $4746.75
SB: $1192.62
BB: $2783.50

Pre-flop: (6 players) Hero is Button with Th 7h
2 folds, CO raises, Hero 3-bets, 2 folds, CO calls.

Flop: Kc 3d 9c (7.5SB, 2 players)
CO checks, Hero bets, CO calls.

Turn: Jh (4.75BB, 2 players)
CO checks, Hero bets, CO calls.

River: 3c (6.75BB, 2 players)
CO checks, Hero bets, CO calls.

Final pot: 8.75BB
Hero shows 7h Th
CO shows Ac 7d

Donkeys who can't fold high-cards...tsk, tsk. Although, I bet if the river didn't pair the board he would have folded. At least no one can accuse me of not being able to cultivate an image.

Anyways, in a few hours I'm off to LA until Monday. I was going to just play the 10/20 and maaaaybe 20/40 NL games out there, but now I'm considering playing the 40/80 and 100/200 games as well. Not because I want to switch back to limit, but variety is good. Wish me luck.

Monday, October 09, 2006

With the future of internet poker completely up in the air, you'd think I'd be playing all I can. In fact, that was my original plan. But I played Wednesday night and Thursday night and walked away with a small loss and a medium loss, respectively. Not because of suckouts or being generally card-dead, but because of a lack of concentration and motivation on my part. I simply couldn't get into the games enough to be profitable. I haven't played since.

For a while now, I've wanted to explore other avenues. I have some money to get a business or two started. So maybe this whole bill is finally giving me an excuse and reason to finally move on with my life. Or, I dunno, maybe I just need another extended break. Or both.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Wow. If this goes through, I guess I can expect my current average of two out-of-town houseguests a month to, oh I dunno, triple? Quadruple? Maybe I can start charging...

Included in that article are some of the most intelligent things I've heard anyone of any mainstream polticial or religious affliation say with regards to marijuana:

"But our marijuana laws are not curbing marijuana use and they are causing more harm than good by filling the pockets of dangerous criminals and ensuring that children have the easiest access of anyone," she said...

"One of the roles of religion is to point out hypocrisy in society. By any means, marijuana is less dangerous to individuals and society than alcohol," Scheuneman said...

"Marijuana doesn't cause this disregard for human life. Our marijuana laws do," Woodson said...

Of course I don't actually expect the measure to pass, if only because governments historically don't do anything intelligent until long after the governed have overwhelmingly figured things out for themselves.

Then there's this tidbit:

The newest version [of the initiative] imposes a $45 per ounce excise tax, which would be used to defray administrative costs.

Hmmm...maybe it should be kept illegal after all. It's cheaper that way!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Well...back to playing live poker.

On 30 September 2006, the United States Congress passed The Safe Port Act. That measure also contained certain provisions known as the ‘Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006’ that will affect the processing of payments between US customers and online gaming companies, including PartyGaming...

The Act is expected to be signed into law by President Bush within the next two weeks...

...the Board of PartyGaming has determined that if the President signs the Act into law, the Company will suspend all real money gaming business with US residents, and such suspension will continue indefinitely...