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.

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

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

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

A Wonderful Tournament, and Big Praise for AK

I’ve just finished a very refreshing NL Hold’em Sit-N-Go, it could easily be the best I have ever had, if not thee best certainly the best I have had for many many months, and I can’t praise AK enough, it easily deserves to be anyones favorite hand!

I built up a big stack pretty early with my first AK, and several re-appearances later maintained me in good position, until I was in the money. In fact I think I made the money with only taking down 3 pots, all with AK. This is exactly what I needed, just as I’m beginning to question my play with it, and to try and rid some doubts about how I’ve been handling it in the early stages.

This Sit-N-Go more then anything else, confirms my suspicions that I have become too weak with AK in the early stages of the Sit-N-Go’s, seeing so many people call your bets or even re-raise you with AQ or AJ has really re-newed my enthusiasm for AK, and I hope to see plenty more of it in the near future 🙂

I’ll post a few key hands from this wonderful tournament bellow, but first here’s a link to a Home Poker Tourney discussion I started on AQ and AK strategy before I sat down at the tournament.

AQ and AK Strategy

The 3rd hand of the tournament and I find AK in the button, I increase my standard raise to take account of all the limper’s and take down the pot without a fight.

http://www.pokerhand.org/?1996001

The 2nd appearance of AK finds me UTG and I open with a 4xBB raise, both the button and SB call. I hit top pair, but with two suited cards, I can’t slow down and bet the pot, the SB calls. The flops a blank, so I push all-in and he calls, to show AJ, here I think I would still push even if a heart fell with the ace of hearts in my hand.

http://www.pokerhand.org/?1996002

Much later on, with the table now 4 handed, I find AK again and open with a 4xBB raise, getting quickly re-raised by a short stack push. This guy’s pushed back enough recently and gone all-in a few times, that I can’t credit him for waiting for aces, or even kings and anything else I’m not far behind if he’s holding a pair, so I call, to find he pushed back with AJ.

http://www.pokerhand.org/?1996006

Its now 3 handed, and I find 44 in the SB and call, the BB checks. I hit my set on the flop and check, the BB checks behind. The turn presents a risk of flush, so I lead out with a pot sized bet, and the BB calls. I made a huge mistake on the river here by not making a value bet.

http://www.pokerhand.org/?1996009

Its now heads-up, where I get lucky and take a huge lead over my opponent. I’m in the BB and the SB raised the minimum. His raising range here is probably pretty wide, knowing I’m a tight player and have mostly been folding, is mistake of course was not raising enough. I call with 87s.

I’m fortunate enough to flop the nut straight and when my opponent leads out, I make a large re-raise, hoping he’ll push back thinking I’m bluffing or making a play. He takes the bait and moves all-in, and I call.

http://www.pokerhand.org/?1996018

In the BB, I find KJs and the re-raise the SB’s standard minimum raise to defend my blind, and he pushed back all-in. I thought about this for a moment, and make what is probably a loose call, by pushing back he’s telling me he’s got a real hand, and I probably should have laid this down, but with the chance to end the match, I call and am relieved to find I have him dominated, but the river keeps him a live a little while longer.

http://www.pokerhand.org/?1996023

This is by far the biggest mistake of the match for me. the SB makes is ussual and freqent minimum raise to pick up my blind and I deffend with a re-raise, a little larger then last time. I’ve folded enough of my blinds to his raises, for a large re-raise here to be profitable with a wide range of hands. Problem was he re-raises me back, and without thinking too much I push all-in.

My thoughts on the push where, that he’s picked up that I will defend without a great hand, so he’s felt a re-raise would get me off my hand, in hindsight his re-raise was for too weak for that type of play, and he was likely trying to get me to push back at him, and I oblige him. He calls my all-in re-raise with AKs and I’m in terrible shape, but get lucky and re-take the chip lead.

http://www.pokerhand.org/?1996027

For the final hand I hold 76s and call the SB’s standard raise. On the flop, I hit a double belly buster / open ended straight draw, and could have easily re-raised his bet, but I elect to call instead. On the turn I make my hand, and my opponent moves all-in, likely to represent what I’m holding and I call, taking 1st place.

http://www.pokerhand.org/?1996029

It really was a great tournament, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

January 25, 2008 Posted by | Sit-N-Go's 2 | , , , , , , , , , , , | 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

A Win!

At last the bubble as burst, I have got my first win and can start to recover from my last session. I am Pleased with how I played, but I came close to the rail at a few points and the flop was kind at a crucial moment, allowing me to rebuild before we became shorthanded.

My opponent heads-up was the chip leader throughout the second half of the game, and I could tell she had some skills, but I was reasonably confident that I could beat her, as long as I did not suffer too many losses early on, as she had a commanding advantage in stack sizes at this point.

She seemed almost eager to go all-in or to commit a large amount of her stack in one hand once she had seen the flop. In my experience this type of play from your opponent is favorable heads-up, especially if you are confident in your post flop play, as you only have to run into one good flop and you can get them to commit most of there stack or go all-in when you are way ahead, of course you also have to be able to walk away from a bad flop whilst minimizing your losses.

I’ve seen lots of players who once they see a flop heads-up are almost desperate to get there money in, it might come down to pressure I don’t know, but it has forced me to change my tactics, which is probably a good thing anyway.

I used to win heads-up on pure aggression (which I found very demanding mentally and emotionally), constantly chipping away at my opponents stack, now though with players ready to get there money in, I find it far easier to just sit back and take a moment or so when the actions on you to asses the situation and when your ahead to let your opponent hang themselves by either going all-in on middle pair or committing so much of there stack that they are in real trouble from then on.

October 29, 2007 Posted by | Sit-N-Go's 2 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worlds Easiest Heads-Up Match!

I have just completed the worlds easiest heads-up match ever and I am supremely confident in that fact. Here’s why, my opponent never bet, not once, he never even saw one flop. He was sitting out the entire time lol !

When it came 3 handed, the guy just under me in chips sits-out and says he’ll be right back, fine I think, less chance of the short stack doubling up, but after I knock out the short stack he is still sitting out. I start clicking those call buttons faster then ever, reducing is stack by as much as possible before he comes back, a little wicked, but what am I supposed to do wait out my time bank until he returns, I think not.

After he drops below the $1,000 mark I know its my tournament, but keep calling the blinds anyway, every single time he just folds, and eventually I have all is chips without ever having to see the flop, it was great. No risk, no bad beats, just all the chips I could get being slid over to me, every single hand 🙂

October 27, 2007 Posted by | Sit-N-Go's 2 | , , , | Leave a comment

Lucky Game

I’ve just taken 1st in another 9 person sit-n-go and I have no doubt this has been my luckiest poker game yet.

I joked jestingly in chat that someone rivered me twice, and then I do the same thing, beat someone on the river twice, each time I hit my set on the river. I even managed to crack aces.

When I got my head in the game instead of fiddling with bits and pieces on my desktop I did make some good reads, and if by skill, luck or mystical force when I sensed someone was weak, they often where, giving me a commanding chip lead as we became 3 handed. My opponents battled it out and me and the survivor became heads-up, where my pair came on top of a busted flush draw giving me the win and another bit of profit for my bankroll.

October 26, 2007 Posted by | Sit-N-Go's 2 | , , , , , | Leave a comment