Lucky Straights

The ramblings and mumblings of a wannabe poker pro

Recently, Poker

Firstly, I just want to apologize for not posting very frequently recently. Don’t really know why I haven’t, the blog is usually my first port of call, probably down to the amount of heads-up games I’ve been playing recently. There usually isn’t much to write about with them.

Anyways, recently in poker, I have been doing okay, and feeling good about my play, and perhaps more importantly I’ve started to have some fun, especially on Full Tilt. I completed my first sit ‘n go’s on Full Tilt just before the weekend, busting out early in the first, and then finishing 4th out of 18 immediately after. I didn’t mind failing to cash in the first one, I just needed to adjust to the new structure, but I was terribly disappointed about my premature bust-out in 4th. I had more chips then anyone else, and lost it all within around 4 hands.

We did get in a 4 handed home tournament after that though for some loose change, and we even implemented some re-buy’s, though after 3 each it was getting out of hand lol. I made 2nd, with a huge mountain to climb and pushed all-in with middle pair, chip leader woke up with a flopped two pair to send me out and take the win, but I had fun.

Since then, I’ve been focussed back on the heads-up matches, trying to earn points for my bonus on Poker Stars as fast as possible, whilst still earning a small profit, and I’m also using them on Full Tilt to try and build a modest bankroll from the $15 a friend transfered for me. Since doing them for so long, I feel like I’ve lost a bit of patience with the regular sit ‘n go’s at the moment, but as long as I’m doing well in the heads-up games, I’m not too worried about it.

Today, I’ve been stuck on Full Tilt, with 4 heads-up matches completed so far, 3 of which where against the same opponent, whilst I wait for Poker Stars to restart there servers so I can get some games done there, and earn some points for my bonus.

February 12, 2008 Posted by | Home Poker, Sit-N-Go's 2, Tournaments and Freerolls | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Areas of Improvement

Thought I’ll write a post about a few areas where I need to improve. It will serve as a reminder for me, and may stir you into thinking about where you can improve too.

The Big Post Mistake

In the online sit-n-gos’, even the heads-up ones I have been focusing on lately, and especially in home games with my friends, I suffer from something I would call the big pot mistake. This is where, I pick up lots of small pots, and manage to navigate out of trouble easily, until I’m faced with one big decision often involving a big pot, and I invariably screw it up. Its utterly pointless being skilled enough to pick up twenty or so small pots early on, if I then give away 3/4 of my stack to my opponent from making a stupid play or an horrendous call.

The Frustrated Push

The next mistake is often connected with the above, I loose a huge pot, either by making a bad decision or being sucked out on, both live and online, and I have a tendency to try and steel a pot away from my opponent by pushing my chips in on a draw, sometimes even with just an inside straight draw on the turn. Instead I should just concentrate, take my time and play my hand correctly, instead of making a risky move for the rest of my chips, where if I was patient I would have enough chips and time to still do considerable damage.

Passivity

My next mistake, evolves around my style of play in the online sit-n-go’s. I play to survive foremost and then for the win, this is my biggest strength but it is also my biggest weakness. I usually end up being far too passive around 4 or 5 handed, when my stack is around the average. These are the times where I should be pushing the action to try and build my stack to put me in a good position to make the money and to win.

I’ve often argued that I can’t raise with such and such here, because my opponents will always call me down, and that is often the case, but rather then accepting this chicken shit generalization, I should be assessing my table and my opponents, and making the correct moves to build my stack regardless of what my cards are. This is pretty basic stuff, and I’ll have to adapt again at higher buy-in’s or among friends who now this type of strategy, but down with the fish this is what works, so I should be doing it!

The Biggest Mistake of Them All!

Playing  when I am not able to, I do this all the time, and its a large part of why I’m not making money at poker. Besides a short period a couple of weeks a go, I’ve been in pain every day since before Christmas, yet I still keep playing. Its got to the point where I can’t sit still again, yet me being stupid, I keep sitting in games, as I have just done, and invariably I end up loosing.

There’s other distractions too of course, such as hunger, tiredness,  boredom, etc and I usually ignore all of these too, but seldom do I overcome them and do well. Part of this is me trying to get my bonus cleared, and part of it is me just wanting to play, either way i shouldn’t play when I’m not able to concentrate fully on the game at hand.

That’s all for now…

February 2, 2008 Posted by | Home Poker, Sit-N-Go's 2 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Today’s Poker

Haven’t been feeling too well over the last couple of days, so consequently haven’t gotten much poker in, and I’m feeling a little down about that.

Had a nice 5k starting stacks, 3 handed home game, which I won, but got lucky in doing so. Heads-up, I made a bad read and moved all-in to protect my hand I felt was good, eventually my opponent folds the better hand. Later on, the pots getting big and I push, with a small pair and a flush and straight draw, eventually my opponent calls with two overs and the nut flush draw, I mange to dodge his outs and take an astonishing lead. We later found out my edge was only around 2%, I felt my flush draw was good at the time, but my opponent was drawing to the same flush with his ATs, so I lost many of my outs there, and only just held on. Surprisingly he managed to double up several times before I managed to knock him out and eventually take the win.

Online hasn’t been as good, only just completed my first sit-n-go of the day, where I was knocked out in 4th, when my KT push runs into the chip leaders AK. I’m hoping to get in another game tonight, but I’m going to relax a while first to see if I can start to feel a bit better first.

January 29, 2008 Posted by | Home Poker, Tournaments and Freerolls | , , , , | Leave a comment

Update

Not enjoying myself lately, I’m getting really stressed with online poker at the moment, had a few really awful sessions, I played well I feel in each but each time I found a hand which was a rarity anyway I ran into really tricky situations and usually ended up being the worse off.

I’ve started to just fall back into an “I hate online poker” mood, and its hurting my game, I’m not playing best because I’m too wrapped up in how crap it is which annoys me even more. I think If I’m ever going to make it has a pro poker player it is going to be in live games, the few I have played I’ve had great fun taking part and have often won or finished high at least, despite that I havn’t played in a live tournament at a casino yet, despite having 3 casinos close by, maybe its time I gave it a try.

I did have a really good heads-up battle with a friend yesterday though, which has been my poker highlight of the week. We played with deep stacks of $5,000 for the first time for a huge prize pool of £1 lol, it was good fun, especially when I used  my table image to bluff my friend out of a huge pot (it helped that he only held trash :p).

November 18, 2007 Posted by | Home Poker, Sit-N-Go's 2 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Biggest Win So Far…

I’ve just come first in a home poker tournament winning my biggest poker earnings from a single tournament so far, £20 from a £3 buy-in.

The crazy thing is I went in the intention to just watch and maybe deal for everyone but got too excited as people started to take their seats so I bought in, and I’m very glad I did.

There where a few irregularities, but nothing to major so it was actually a really good tournament, and I surprised myself by how much I was enjoying it. I tried to make sure some key rules where upheld, and in the most part they where, though a couple of people kept removing there cards or chips from the table and there where a few attempts to make incorrect bets. The only real nightmare was that almost everyone was acting out of turn, especially when they wanted to fold.

I amassed a nice lead, winning my first 3 hand, but after awhile with the chip lead, I started to loose concentration so lost the lead, I regained my composure though and kept playing solidly, gradually building my stack and knocking people out until it became heads-up.

After a few bouts heads-up, I landed AJo and hit top pair with the jack on the flop, I raised my opponent all-in and he called, the turn paired is 7, but my jacks held up giving me the win.

I look forward to the next game they host, besides a few issues with the blinds and the almost constant acting out of turn it was a pretty well run game, certainly compared to some games I have witnessed.

October 25, 2007 Posted by | Home Poker | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

No Greater Contrast…

Well, just finished the second game of tonight (NL Hold’em) and they could be no greater contrast between this in the previous game.

Started of on a less then smooth note by the new player(X) arguing and moaning about the rules, I can understand some confusion as a lot of things have changed, since I have actually found out how to run a “proper” Hold’em tournament (thanks go out to www.homepokertourney.com ) but trying to debate the rules to this extent rather then just get on with the game was a little OTT in my opinion, especially considering the rules in question (you can’t check to the blinds, etc).

Anyway, moans and groans aside, the game was a little too passive, well boring, yes even for a pocker nut like me. There was very little action, even when it was clear someone was ahead, all call’s and check’s. I would have loved to stir up the game and get a bit aggressive, but I simply did not have the cards, a fair way into the game with no knockouts and it was time for me to mix things up a bit with a couple of “large” raises, not wise considering the cards I held, but the game needed some action by this point.

… fast forward … a few blind levels, one player gets knocked out after a semi-forced all-in with rags who doesn’t improve, I’m next to go with an all-in on K9 suited, yes crazy I know, but was kinda worth it just to stave of the boredom which seemed deep within both myself and the player who’d just been eliminated.

So we had a heads-up situation with the two remaing players, both where roughly equal in chip stacks at this point. Player(X) picked up rather more pots then he should have simply by sensing his opponents weakness when he held nothing, I picked up on this so strongly that I asked him if he wanted to leave the room so I could make him aware of a couple of large tells, which certainly told me, if not player(X) he held nothing but rags.

Finally after several more hands, and a blind increase the remaining player to my left got the message, either through my repeated mentions openly of “when heads up you need to be more aggressive” and “when heads up, if you have nothing, chances are your opponent doesn’t either” or through improvements in his hole cards, he stepped up and made a few raises, and stayed in the hand a little more rather then folding his blind almost immediately.

It didn’t take long, and not too many wins for player X’s look of confidence to fade, a few calls to raises 1/4 size of his chip stack with nothing more then a high card soon made his stack disappear too, and not soon after he went all in to a trip jacks…. and that was that.

Not a game I enjoyed, more for how others played then my bad run of cards, but it did make a change from playing even worse players on line for play money, add my excellent “friendly” victory earlier and it hasn’t been too bad a night.

October 5, 2007 Posted by | Home Poker | , , , | Leave a comment

Astounding NL Victory!

Just finished a quick home NL (3 handed) home game, and I achieved a somewhat miraculous victory, just a shame we decided to not play for cash until more people turned up…. hopefully we’ll get to that later.

Was probably the luckiest game I’ve had (4 full house’s maybe?), certainly for a very long time, despite that I have no doubt I played very well, and took advantage of several mistakes from my opponents.

The first knock-out was very lucky for me, my opponent let me limp in with suited connectors and allowed me to stay in when he flopped a set, I (makes a change) managed to hit my queen high straight on the river, and was in a great position. Then to my surprise my opponent (we are now heads up) goes all in, folding comes to mind, but thankfully I then take a step back and think… think some more, then I realize I’ve got the nuts, there were nothing higher then a straight possible on the board, and after thinking a little more I realized that the best he could do would tie with me, as he couldn’t beat my queen high straight, so I call, realizing he went all in, from a dominated position with a set! Sorry mate but going all-in, with only a set so late on was a big mistake, especially when your so dominated – should have made your push on the flop, I would have folded for sure LOL

So our shorthanded game became heads-up, first hand I limped in with pocket 3’s, and with a 2d and a pair of 9’s on the board, mistakenly assume I have a full house and push my opponent all-in, he calls, I realize my mistake, but he doesn’t improve, I hit the full house on the river LOL, and take the win 🙂

October 4, 2007 Posted by | Home Poker | , , | Leave a comment

Some Achievements

Time for a few achievements, listed approximately in date order for the last four weeks or so:

  • Finished 1st in a limit hold’em play money tournament
  • Finished 2nd in a limit hold’em play money tournament
  • Tripled my money on a live cash game with some friends
  • Finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd in various NL and PL play money tournaments

September 29, 2007 Posted by | Home Poker | Leave a comment

The Beginnings…

Around a month a go, myself and several friends held our first poker tournament or what we then understood to be a poker tournament, where I not only had a great game, but finished first.

That win spurred my interest in taking poker more seriously, up until now each time I’ve played, things have always seemed a little ad-hoc to me, so whilst away for the weekend I did a little research online, and finally learned how things should be done, spurring my interest on yet further.

Dreams of the WSOP (World Series of Poker) filled my head, and I decided that this is a road I would like to travel, so with the internet at my beckon call and a thirst for more poker knowledge I set forth to poker glory!

September 29, 2007 Posted by | Home Poker | , , | Leave a comment