Lucky Straights

The ramblings and mumblings of a wannabe poker pro

Made 3rd Place on 4% of My Dealt Hands

Just finished another pleasant Sit-N-Go on Poker Stars. I only made 3rd place, but achieved that by only playing 4% of my dealt hands, and that was including the blinds, it was a good experience for me, as lately I’ve probably been playing too many vulnerable hands as the blinds increase, because I’m worried that I need to take a pot. Goes to show that with loose aggressive players knocking each other out, you can afford to wait for a real hand, even when the blinds are stepping up and then punish them.

Here’s the key hands :

UTG, I found AKs and raised to 6xBB pre-flop, more then I would usually, because the table had show itself to call down with a wide range of hands, and I wanted to avoid any suited junk calling to hit two pair, etc. Its folded around to a loose player, who I had seen call a 5xBB raise with 45s, and then the short stack on the button, re-raises all-in for just a little more. We both call.

On the flop, I couldn’t risk having the loose player hang around to spike a pair, so I moved all-in, if he had the Q, I could still get lucky and win, the loose player folds, and its a race between me and the button who shows JJ.

Having only played the one hand so far, I opened with a raise with AJs, hoping the player in the BB, who seemed to play with his ego, rather then his cards would give it up. My hand was strong enough for him to call, but I didn’t want to face a re-raise from him.

The action was now 3 handed, and I found 99 in the small blind. I needed to raise, and a limp, re-raise was pointless because it would only invite a call from the BB, a standard raise would also attract company, so I moved all-in.

This was my final hand, where I held J9 and with an M of less them 4 I moved all-in. I could have folded here, but knew as soon as my stack drops bellow $1k, this guy will call me with just about anything if I push, so felt it was now or never and moved all-in. I felt good about the hand, being only a 6:5 dog, but missed my outs this time and finished in 3rd place.

Surprisingly, besides the occasional free flop from the BB, those where the only hands I played the entire match.

January 26, 2008 Posted by | Sit-N-Go's 2 | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Folding and Pushing with AQ

First Sit-N-Go of the day, my usual $1 single table NL affair and I only make 5th place. I put this squarely down to the play of AQ, I held it twice and lost a huge amount of money each time, firstly indirectly by folding the best hand, and then later on directly by pushing all-in into kings.

Here, with AQ in early position I decided to simply call the big blind, as it was the first level and I judged it to be too early to push the action with a potentially dominated hand. Theres one more caller behind me and then a large raise to around 12xBB and I fold without hesitation.

This is pretty standard for me, being so early, however I’m realizing I’m loosing money in situations like this, more so with AJ, but still, if I’m loosing money with AQ its something I should address.

My first thought of improvement comes from the fact that when I limp in with AQ, I’m often happy to call a modest raise, maybe not here being at the very first level and being in early position, but otherwise it wouldn’t be too far fetched for me to call a 3 or 4xBB raise with AQ. Now, as we all know you need a stronger hand to call a raise with then you do to open with a raise, so by reversing that argument, if I’m willing to call a modest raise with AQ I should be willing to open with a modest raise with AQ suited or unsuited (I’ll always raise with AQs).

Now, the blinds are up to 75/150. I’m in the big blind facing a minimum raise from the button and I re-raise all-in.

My thoughts on the hand where pretty simple here, I could have called, but didn’t want to be forced off my hand on the flop and be left with only around enough for 6 orbits, and with the blinds up in two minutes I wouldn’t even  have that. I’m also aware that I haven’t played a hand for a long time, and certainly haven’t raised or re-raised, and at the same time may of the players had started to open with modest raises pre-flop often with mediocre hands. So I could either have the best hand or could benefit from my tight image and get a middle pair to fold, it felt like a good spot to push, so I did.

January 22, 2008 Posted by | Sit-N-Go's 2 | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Making Life Difficult

Just finish  3rd in another Sit-N-Go, busted by an annoying jerk who had begun to make life difficult. He handled the big stack worse then any player I have ever played against, and would make silly raises and re-raises with very weak hands, doubling up all the short stacks over and over again.

He ended up busting me after calling my all-in re-raise with only Q3s, to beat my pocket 6’s, which I new beyond doubt where way above this guys raising range,  I was proved right, but the 6 of spades on the river made him a flush and it was all over.

December 17, 2007 Posted by | Sit-N-Go's 2 | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Today’s Games

Today as been reasonable but not great. I sat in two $5 Sit-N-Go’s this morning for the first time. The first one was pretty terrible, couldn’t make any moves and didn’t have any cards, total trash throughout, the second game was a huge difference, I barley got anything but premium hands, unfortunately a bad decision with pocket queens late on left me with only a 2nd place finish instead of a 1st.

I’ve just finished a $1 Sit-N-Go to add to this mornings games, which was a bit of a marathon short handed, eventually leaving me on the rail in 3rd, after the big stack called my all-in with 86s and flopped trips to bust me, beating my pocket kings. There was plenty of chips swapping between me and the other short stack and we both had gone all-in several times, I guess he got frustrated, I just wish my had QQ instead :p

I think I’ve played pretty well today, but I need to adjust my game play significantly I feel for the $5 games, not because it needs improvement, but more that I need to adjust to the opponents I’m with and the different dynamic of the game, hopefully I’ll pick it up quickly and settle in nicely. I am still going play some $1 Sit-N-Go’s as well until I feel comfortable with the new way of things though.

December 10, 2007 Posted by | Sit-N-Go's 2 | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blooming Trips!

Not been a good day for me today, though without doubt I think I have played very well in all of my games.

I have lost 3 major pots, one in each game I have sat in, and two cost me my seat in the tournament, all to my opponent running into trips. In the first game, My opponent hung on with a small pair and then hit a set on the river to beat my two pair and stole a huge pot from me.

Hand 1

The second game had a similar occurrence, with me calling a ridiculous all-in on the flop from an opponent who paired is 8 with J8, of course on the river he made trips to crack my pocket kings and bust me.

Hand 2

Then the 3rd game, I feel forced to make a move with AQ, and run into pocket kings who flops a set to bust me.

Hand 3

On the brighter side, I’m up about $2k in play money from 100/200 Razz lol

December 8, 2007 Posted by | Sit-N-Go's 2 | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Game of Situations

OK another philosophical post…. my ROI has been dropping steadily for some time now, and despite getting it back up now and then it has now reached its all time low, thinking about this I had an epiphany. I think I have just started to. make too many moves in the wrong situations.

Over the next couple of days, I’ll try and have a think about what I have begun to do differently and what may need to change.

The main thing that has changed is my willingness to jam to put pressure on my opponents and to make some very aggressive raises when shorthanded, most of the time I make one of these plays, I have some logic behind it, but these types of plays are still relatively new to me, so it is highly likely that I am lacking the situational experience to realize when such a move is profitable and when it will just get me into trouble.

I think its time to get back to basics for awhile.

December 1, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Something New!

Only including real money sessions on Poker Stars I have played almost 150 Sit-N-Go’s and nearly 40 ring games, plus a bunch of freerolls, so I don’t expect to witness something I haven’t seen before, though in this game I got to witness just that.

What play was this you ask… well an opponent went all-in on every hand, yeah I know, you’ve heard it before, but this was different, in the entire game he only ever didn’t go all-in twice, each time he was the BB and just checked, he even won one on one of those occasions. He won, either through sheer luck or miraculously having the better hand against everyone who stood up against him, and he knocked out most of the competition taking us all the way down to 4 handed without anyone else really doing anything.

I’ve seen players who start off like this before, so folded everything, not wanting to risk my tournament on luck alone and increase his chances of winning on sheer luck either, until I found pocket kings of course. My kings held up and another player took down another pot, doubling up through him and his stack began to dwindle, but his all-in’s didn’t stop. This is the difference between crazy players like him that I’ve scene before, they usually go all-in and bust out early or build a huge stack and try and coast into the money, this guy wanted everything and he wanted it now!

Thankfully, the antics that built is stack also destroyed it and he was soon on the rail, and we where in the money. I played well up to this point and continued to do so, eventually knocking out the 3rd place finisher leaving it heads-up. The heads-up match was tedious to say the least, I managed to steel plenty of blinds, but due to getting heads-up so fast, the blinds didn’t really amount to much at this point.

Then I arrive at my moment, I make a straight on the turn, and one I didn’t believe she would put me on, so when she bets out again, I re-raise her, expecting to take down a nice pot… then, I notice my straight card is a flush card and fear the worst, I’m committed and she shows a king high flush, with the ace of diamonds on the river, and it was all over, besides the few hundred I had scattered around my crying avatar, Ah well.

Here’s some hands :

The very first hand the maniac goes all-in, and whats worse I’ve just realized I would have made a full house!

Maniac takes down two opponents with a lucky flop

Maniac looses big, going all-in with QT against pocket kings

Heres my big moment, pocket kings against lunatic, I actually took my time to think about this, as he could easily have any ace, so I really did not want to see an ace on the flop in this case

Here’s the hand where hopes of a victory disapeared, I would have had to take a degree to work out how to screw this heads-up hand up any better!

November 13, 2007 Posted by | Sit-N-Go's 2 | , , , | Leave a comment

Costly Free Cards

I’ve just suffered the mistake of taking the free cards when I missed the flop. I was holding two over cards (KQ) and was low on chips, but ahead of my two opponents in the hand who where very low on chips.

I missed the flop, but it was checked around so I took the free card, the turn was also checked around which also missed me so I checked and hit my queen on the river, the player in front of me goes all-in, for most of my stack, but I need to take down a pot to stay in at this point and judge that my queen’s with the king kicker is likely to beat any queen he may be holding, he shows down with Q4 off suite, the queen gave him two pair after hitting is 4 on the turn and my stack is decimated.

I’m pretty sure I was right to call is all-in, in this spot, but I’m also pretty sure my mistake was to accept the free cards when I was drawing with only two over cards, I should have bet either on the flop or the turn, to see if my opponents had hit anything, as chances are unless they had Ax which would beat my king high anyway, they would fold if they didn’t hit anything. By opting for the free cards I couldn’t get out of the hand when I made top pair great kicker and lost a huge part of my stack.

Any thoughts on this…?

November 1, 2007 Posted by | Sit-N-Go's 2 | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2 Points

After a bit of reflection on my recent sessions, I’ve realized that I need to remind myself about 2 points, which have had particular relevance online lately :

1. Even as the short stack don’t push all-in, hoping your opponent(s) will fold, no matter how stupid it will be for your opponent(s) to call, online especially at least one of them will make the call.

2. If it is unlikely that any raise you make will not reduce the field, it is pointless to make it, especially with hands like AT, AJ pre-flop.

October 29, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

First Freeroll

Just got busted out of my first ever freeroll tournament. It was held on Poker Stars and there where 2076 competitors, largest field I’ve ever played against. The price pool was $100, with $18 being awarded for first place, 396 places would be paid.

Not knowing much about freerolls (other then the fact that they are free :p) I did a quick Google and read an interesting strategy, and thought I’ll give it a try, this is why I got booted out so early, but that was kinda the point of the strategy, so you could say it worked. The idea was to raise all in when you had a great hand, so I waited folded a few times and on my 3rd or 4Th hand I pick up QQ and push all-in, I get one caller who also goes all in, he holds AK against my queens and hits his ace on the turn or river, busting me out and taking the chip lead at our table.

You could argue the strategy failed, but its aimed at minimizing your time at the table and at the same time giving you the best chance of finishing in the money, by forcing you to either get a huge lead early or bust out to join another freeroll before you’ve committed several hours into a game with nothing to show for it.

This strategy does appeal to me, but next time I think I’ll enter with a large raise with QQ instead of the all-in push, giving me more options should they not hold up.

Was fun though, despite only lasting 5 or 6 hands, and I got to just over 1800 places so you could tell others had the same idea I had.

October 10, 2007 Posted by | Freeroll, Sit-N-Go's 2 | , , , , , | Leave a comment