Lucky Straights

The ramblings and mumblings of a wannabe poker pro

Complacent…

After a full day of doing nothing but $2 Heads-Up sit-n-go’s I’ve found I have become a bit complacent with them, especially when I set myself a fixed target of completing so many to achieve a frequent player point target, as I did today.

In future I’m going to space these out, rather then doing one after another, maybe one during a break between cash game sessions or mix them up with some regular sit-n-go play. At the moment though, my eye is starting to bug me again, so I’m choosing to do these solely until it stops distracting me, as I don’t have the patience to sit in a full length game with it as it is.

The day’s left me at a small deficit, after only cashing in 4 out of 9 of these heads-up matches, which is less then I hoped for, and at least two I probably gave away in frustration. I did however reach my frequent player point target for the day. I now have only 150 more to earn to complete my bonus.

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

Thoughts…

I’ve been thinking a lot about my poker recently, not so much how I play, though I’ve thought of that as well, but more what I play, what I seem to be good at and how to advance. Despite my frequent periods of self-doubt and low self-confidence, I know I’ve got some talents at poker, sometimes I just feel great about how I play, but (theres always a but lol), I also feel I have some gapping holes in my overall abilities One could easily be that I often have to fight the pressure, where I shouldn’t really be pressured at all, another one could be that I can sometimes play too passively, where I should be picking up pots with aggression.

Most though, evolve around my lack of fundamental concepts, such as math and probability based plays, as well as EV and expectation. These are the areas that I really want to work, as above anything else they are largely to have the biggest impact on my success, especially at the micro and low stakes levels, where my read based plays are reduced in value, and often worthless.

Now that I’ve out lined the problem, its time to outline the solution. Its Sklanksy. I’ve got a copy of his NL Hold ’em Theory and Practice book, co authored by Ed Miller, which I intend to slowly work through day by day until I have these fundamentals bolted down. I’m also looking to pick up a copy of Sklansky’s Theory of Poker as soon as I can afford it.

As for the games, today I have been playing $2 heads-up sit-n-go’s exclusively, because they are very quick, usually lasting under ten minutes each, and a few of these have put me out of my comfort zone, which is good experience for me, and being on the “cash bubble” so many times, may actually help me get around my sometimes passive play on the bubble in the regular sit-n-go’s.

My main aim at the moment is to earn my deposit bonus on Poker Stars as quickly as I can, so I commit fully to the 1c/2c cash games for awhile without having to worry about picking up frequent player points for my bonus.

February 1, 2008 Posted by | Sit-N-Go's 2 | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mishandling a flopped set on a draw heavy board…?

Just sat down in another sit-n-go, and I’m on the felt after the first hand, I think this is the fist time every I’ve been felted on the first hand in one of these, and it feels shit.

The very first hand, I find 44 and call the BB. I was tempted to fold here, has I feel I’m often too willing to try and flop a set with small pairs early on in the sit-n-go’s, but being on the button I decide to call.

The flop is the worst I could ask for, giving me a set, whilst offering a flush draw and 3 cards to a straight. Its more likely my opponents are drawing here, then they have a made hand, and even if one of them did flop a straight I still have outs to beat them, so I make a pot sized raise hoping to take the pot down here. Instead I get two callers. The turn doesn’t bring any relief and piles on more pressure, I elect to lead out with a large bet, and get one call and one fold.

The river is a nightmare and completes four cards to a flush, to make things worse my opponent pushes all-in. I don’t rush to the decision, and eventual call to find he made a flush on the river.

Here’s what went from my mind at the time. If he’s got the flush I’m out of the tournament, obviously, and with four to a flush there was a reasonable chance he back doored a flush here, this was looking like a fold. However, I had put almost half my stack on the line here, and with a precedent in folding in these spots in that past, I would expect to not make the money without picking up a hand sooner then I would usually need with only $870 left if I fold. I was beginning to steel feel like folding was the best play, because if I did it a hand before the blinds reached 25/50, I’ll still have a shot at the money.

What changed my mind though was the action of the hand, I begun to feel like he was trying to pick up a got shot, and missed, and a push on the end was a defiant steel attempt. I’ve seen this pattern enough, and felt sure enough in my read that a call here was correct.

In hindsight, I could have handled this better :

Firstly, I had a strong hand, but on this board it was very vulnerable. In this instance I took a protective line and tried to make draws pay. At this limit though, and maybe higher too, I feel now this was a mistake on this board. If someone had flopped a straight and intended to slow play it I was drawing thin so should have kept the pot cheap. Also if someone was on a straight draw or especially a flush draw, very few of my opponents would fold, even if I pushed all my chips in. So playing it cheap allows me to avoid committing half of my stack into a situation where I could be beat on the turn, if the turn was blank I could then raise out any draws.


http://www.pokerhand.org/?2024365

Here’s a link to the Home Porker Tourney thread I created on the play of the hand :

Mishandling a flopped set

January 31, 2008 Posted by | Sit-N-Go's 2 | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Heads-Up Madness

Couldn’t sleep, so I decide to sit in another heads-up sit-n-go. I fold my first hand, and the next two hands end up all-in, each time its a split pot. I look for reasons to fold, but this guy is going all-in over and over, and I can’t keep folding hands like KJ against him, so I call, only for a split pot, the next hand the same a split pot. Then I call his all-in with ATs, he shows KJ off suite, but makes his flush on the river to bust me.

I was steaming, not because of the hand, but because he sat in a heads-up match just to throw all is money in and gamble, and the prick forced me to do the same. I would like to wish something horrible to happen to him, but I wont…

Here’s my big mistake, I immediately sign up for another hoping it isn’t more of the same, it isn’t, but as good as, with my opponent willing to get all the money in on the 3rd hand in, I make a couple of calls with dominated hands, only to survive by miracle split pots, until my stack is decimated. Next hand I find 65s and flop a straight, my opponent puts me all-in with his pocket tens, and goes on to fill up on the river.

Determined to not blow off another stack, and take a legitimate win back, I sign up for another. Again though its not long before where all-in pre-flop, I re-raised with AQ and he pushes all-in, no way I can fold this heads-up, he turns over AK and I wish I had, until the river where I hit my 3 outer.

Obviously I’m very happy to steel a win with my AQ on the final (yes final!) match of the night, but its clear these heads-up NL matches are going to be a huge test to my tilt control, and maybe that’s a good thing, especially if I want to learn to play PLO :p

After tonight’s episode though, I’m not willing to commit as much money to these as I would have liked, and besides the high volatility of dodging constant all-in’s pre-flop, I’m not improving my game at all, by simply pushing and folding, there pointless. I’m a sucker for punishment though, so I’ll probably do one or two a week and hope to pick a time when there not filling up by complete morons.

January 30, 2008 Posted by | Sit-N-Go's 2 | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

PLO Hi

After watching Mike Matusow among other pros on Full Tilt last night playing Pot Limit Omaha cash games, I decided I’ll finally sit in a play money game and get a feel for it myself. Its been a game I’ve wanted to learn to play for ages, just never gotten around to it, until now.

The only table available was a 25/50, I would have preferred something lower, but even with only 4k in play money, I regular sit in the 1k/2k limit razz games, and didn’t expect this to be any different and at first it wasn’t. Only played a few hands and quickly doubled up, then it all went pair shaped and I was quickly felted. I would start of with solid drawing hands or strong hands, such [7s 8s 9hTc] or [AAKJ], but would either end up with little more then a weak pair with my draws or have my premium pairs beat, by a strange two pair or straight, which I suppose is understandable giving the wide range of possible holdings in the game.

The really frustrating thing was, I just couldn’t get a fold, the guy on my immediate left would call almost any bet, with almost any hand it seemed, are more often then not come up smelling of roses, I was obviously missing something (besides the board, lol) so I’m going to try and learn some basic hand selection criteria for the game and see how I do with that.

A quick search on Google found this article which may be of use :

http://www.pokerlistings.com/pot-limit-omaha

Yep, a quick skim read was enough to win back all of my play money roll, plus a nice bonus within 5 minutes or so, on a much lower limit game.

January 30, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Heads-Up Sit ‘N Go

Just finished my first NL Heads-Up Sit-N-Go, and managed to take first in around 7 minutes. The win covers my loss on the regular sit-n-go earlier, where I failed to cash, gave me an extra frequent player point for the day, and also gave me the pleasure of winning the first one of these I’ve sat in, which is always nice, so I’m feeling a bit better about my day now 🙂

I’m still feeling pretty rough though, so I’m not going to push my luck and sit in another game tonight, least I don’t think I will. Sometimes no matter how crap I feel I just can’t ignore the urge to play.

I think it will be prudent of me to include a few of these in my daily schedule of games, especially whilst I am working on my bonus, because they are completed far quicker then the regular sit-n-go’s and will help me earn the frequent player points quicker.

January 30, 2008 Posted by | 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

Varriance

The hand says it all :

http://www.pokerhand.org/?2008778

Here’s my HPT post on the hand :

http://forums.homepokertourney.com/index.php/topic,14008.0.html

January 28, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Notes Mean Profit in Cash Games

I’ve just sat in a 1c/2c NL game for awhile, and am totally amazed at how beneficial careful observation of your opponents and quality notes can be. I’m not new to note taking obviously, I used to do it in play money sit-n-go’s, but here in the cash games, if you carefully watch your opponents and take notes on there actions, they practically tell you what they have.

This is far more profitable here, then in the sit-n-go’s and I’m ashamed I’ve never paid much attention in previous cash sessions. Its totally changed my perspective on the profitability of these full ring 1c/2c tables for me. Previously I wouldn’t bother with them unless I found a table full of maniacs with plenty of cash, so I could wait out for a good spot and double up, now though, I think I should be able to make less stressful cash bit by bit.

Here’s a few hands :

The first hand I take beyond the flop is 97s, a trashy hand I would never play in a sit-n-go, well usually never :p . Here though the table felt right to try and hit a nicely hidden straight and take down a big pot. I’ve missed on the flop, and have to restrain myself from making a play straight away when they both check to me. The turns another story though, as it gives me both an inside straight and a flush draw, so I lead out. Miss both draws, but with the board pairing I try and buy the pot, and lead out again. After much thought I get called down by A high, AK.

So I lost the pot, but gained a valuable piece of information, this guy didn’t like to drop a hand, and even more important he will call the BB pre-flop with AK, and not make a continuation bet if he missed.

http://www.pokerhand.org/?2003364

Around 12 hands later I picked up KK, and open with a raise from MP. I get one caller. I’ve seen this guy pick up lots of pots, by making a 10c bet on nearly every flop he’s involved with, here though he checks it to me, so I over bet the pot trying to sell a bluff, and he calls.

The 9’s a safe card for me here, but its a nice card to check back on to make it look like I was bluffing on the flop. With the T on the river, I grit my teeth, hoping I didn’t let him make a straight, and re-raise him just enough that he might call if he had something else.

http://www.pokerhand.org/?2003383

Here, I find KQ and see a free flop from the BB. I miss the flop, but against these guys I know I can’t represent anything, so I check. The turn makes my hand, giving me a pair of queens, but brings the threat of a diamond flush. A player I’ve been watching closely leads out for the minimum, and now I know he’s got the Q, I could easily raise here, but with 3 cards to a flush, and my bluffing image, decide its better to see the river first, as the guy in MP would likely call if he had a diamond draw.

On the river, I dodge the flush, and the weak player opens for the minimum again, I quickly re-raise him and he calls, showing Q8. Only issue here was should I have raised more on the river?

http://www.pokerhand.org/?2003412

Sorry, I don’t think I did a very good job of illustrating my point, but its nearly 7am, I’m tired, and get bored quickly trying to find hands I wasn’t involved in lol

January 27, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment