Lucky Straights

The ramblings and mumblings of a wannabe poker pro

Thoughts on My Sit-N-Go Play and Switching Games

Maybe its just because I’m having a bit of a rough time with the game a the moment, but I’m starting to question myself and how I’m doing things. Not in a panicky, desperate way like I seemed to do the last time I was in a bad run, but still I’m beginning to pose some questions to myself.

Maybe its just because of lost rather a lot of games since I got back into it, far too many in fact, but then again, maybe thats the reason why I’m able to see these things, we don’t question ourselves too much when where winning do we?

I’m finding myself in lots of situations where I feel torn between how best to play it, and I’m not talking about moves or read based plays or even about math based plays, I’m referring to basic strategy.

I’m consistently, of late anyways, faced with situations in the Sit-N-Go’s, where I believe in theoretical sense I should take one course of action, but also acknowledge the opposite course, which seems to have left me sometimes doing one, sometimes doing the other, almost at random, without no real sense of it at all. All of these situations relate to the stages of a Sit-N-Go, where I’m adjusting my play based on how deep I am in to the tournament and how big the blinds are relative to my stack.

A basic tenet of my Sit-N-Go play, as been pieced together from the NL section of Lee Jones book ‘Winning Low Limit Hold’em’, which I wholeheartedly agree with, but I’m begging to face lots of situations where I feel this isn’t working for me, and may actually be costing me pots, and with that tournaments cashes.

These issues are beginning to affect me so much that I am starting to consider moving to cash games once I’ve achieved my bonus, at least for a while. I have a copy of Skylansky’s NL Hold’em Theory and Practice which I could use as my guide, and can I give the Sit-N-Go’s a break, maybe just playing the occasional two table or a larger “bargain tournament” scheduled on Poker Stars and try and build up my bankroll via this route, returning to the Sit-N-Go’s with enough funds to rejoin them at the higher, $5 level.

A closing thoughts, should I be aware of playing hands according to the stage of the tournament I am in, but be willing to play the hand as if in a vacuum when the situation warrants it?

These are two recent hands that seems typical of this dilemma I seem to have put myself in :

Here in the BB I find AK and with a raise to 4xBB and two calls, I elect to call instead of re-raise, as a re-raise would commit a large portion of my stack very early in the tournament.

I did the complete opposite of what I feel I should do, because of the “early stage” game plan I have developed, based on the Lee Jone’s txt, whereby I would only re-raise with kings or aces so early. I was fortunate here, as if an ace fell I would likely have gone broke.

Treating this hand as if the stage of the Sit-N-Go didn’t matter, perhaps in a cash game, I would re-raise around $400. After watching this player throughout the rest of the match, he would likely go all-in at this point, then I would likely fold with no information about the player to suggest otherwise.

I limped in here with AQ in MP with some a call and two folds in front, because I felt it was too early to raise. Though this is something I mentioned not long ago, I’m willing to call a standard raise with AQ here, so I should be willing to make a standard raise here with AQ, correct?

Everyone else calls and the big blind checks. On the flop I hit TP. There are two checks and a bet of 3xBB in front of me, so I raise him $140 more, to put him to the test and to chase out any draws. I get a call behind me. Then the raiser comes over the top for a further $400. I fold, and I fold because its the 1st level, and I didn’t felt my AQ wasn’t strong enough to play for all of my chips against a caller and a re-raiser. Its unlikely he held AK, but with me not raising pre-flop he could certainly have had A8 or A9.

This is a problem I’ve faced before in the $1 Sit-N-Go’s, where ego-minded players tend to play back at you, because the assume you must be bluffing in these spots because you didn’t raise pre-flop.

Playing this without consideration to how early this hand occurred in the tournament, I would make a standard raise to around 5xBB pre-flop, and on the same flop, be prepared to go all the way with it, depending on the individual and is betting action.

Any thoughts on this?

January 24, 2008 Posted by | Sit-N-Go's 2 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Few Key Hands

Okay, I admit it, my last session wasn’t actually my last session, I did one more. Two tabling the $1 Sit-N-Go’s again.

Here’s a few key hands :

Here I held AQ on the button and raised it up to 5xBB. I get two callers, and I totally miss the flop, but both players check, so I check behind, and its checked all the way to showdown. Theres a few draws out there, and either one of them could hit a pair by the river, should I have made a c-bet on the flop, its a move I rarely do with an un-paired hand this early. Assuming I do, and the turn doesn’t seem to complete any obvious draws, do I fire again or look to check it down?

In the Big Blind, I’m allowed to see a free flop with J3 and hit two pair. Being an un-raised pot someone could be drawing to a straight with the 23, so I lead out with a bet of around 2/3’s the pot. I get re-raised a little more, and feel he’s raising me with TP and a decent kicker, thinking I’m trying to buy the pot, as opposed him making a set with 22 or 33, so I double his re-raise, hoping he’ll call.

The turn brings a scary card, adding a flush draw to the mix, so I go all-in and villain calls to show an over pair,two kings. I was surprised at how strong he was, and felt a little sorry for him at first, but then realized he’ tried to get cute by limping in with his monster, so it was his own undoing here.

This hand affected me more then it should have done, and left me annoyed for the next two or three hands, despite that fact I was only a slight favorite anyway.

The tables 5 handed, and I’m on the button with TT. I raise to 4xBB and get instantly re-raised all-in by one of the bigger stacks. My first thought was to push and roll the dice, and in the hands that followed I wish I did, but instead I took my time and reasoned that he has never made a play like this before, each time he had a hand he would open with a standard raise or re-raise, not push all-in, it could have been a bluff, but it felt more likely he was strong. I pictured aces and fold, for him to show AJ.

With the blinds worth fighting for, and having folded most of my recent hands, I decided to open with a raise with 88 rather then limp in. The short stack quickly re-raised all-in, and there was a call behind. Initially I was tempted to fold, but then realize its only a little more to call and getting a great prize to call and flop my set, so I call.

Here, its 4 handed and I have AQ in the big blind. The small blind raises to around half my stack and I decide to push. I’ve seen him make several big raises pre-flop like this, but only one went to showdown where he held AJ, I reason theres enough hands I’m ahead of to push back, and I was guaranteed 3rd place money (I think?) as a fall back.

Whats your views on this, was I too hasty to push, I don’t like flat calling for 1/2 my stack, so I guess the question is, should I have folded, let the short stack get knocked out and wait for a better spot?

January 23, 2008 Posted by | Sit-N-Go's 2 | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

First Sit-N-Go

Just completed my first Sit-N-Go, since I developed my eye infection and placed 2nd. I’m still not fit to play as usual yet, but its been days since I’ve sat in a tournament now and I couldn’t resist.

Here’s a few hands that stand out when the action became shorthanded :

This was probably the hand I played worst of all shorthanded. Firstly I did a minimum raise, which was stupid, I should have raised more, but I new the crazy cow on my left will call with almost anything and I didn’t want to be out before the two short stacks.

On the flop I thought about re-raising, but this player would happily call all the way no matter what I bet, and without a hand yet I decided to call. I new the deuce on the turn didn’t help my opponent so I call hoping to pick up an Ace or a Queen on the river, either of which I was sure would have given me the best hand.

I then called a larger bet on the river, this was probably the biggest mistake as I new I was beat, but didn’t want to be bluffed out of a pot. In hindsight it was a clear value bet, if she wanted me out of the pot she would have bet much more, but with so much money out there, I called anyway hoping she held Ax.

Here I found kings, and was happy to see them but also very aware that this could be my last hand, and I would hate to get busted whilst a short stack clung on, but they held up for me. My opponent had made plenty of loose calls at this point, particularly against the chip leader, but I was still a little surprised to see what he called me with.

This was the final hand which was rather interesting, the chip leader knocks us both out at the same time, but it was a community pot and I had the other guy covered so I took 2nd, this is the first time I’ve sat in a game without a heads-up battle.

December 31, 2007 Posted by | Sit-N-Go's 2 | , , , , | Leave a comment


Just got back from the casino, and in an effort to punish myself into playing better have documented my pitiful play and early bust out on the Home Poker Tourney forums, heres the thread :

Self Shaming

December 21, 2007 Posted by | Casino | , , , | Leave a comment

18 Player Win

Its been a very slow day today, only just finished my first game of the day. This one was almost two hours though, another 18 player Sit-N-Go, and I’m very pleased to announce I took 1st place 🙂 good job too, to be honest my mind was starting to wander.

I was short stacked on the final table, having to abandon a large pot just before the tables got merged, but I waited patiently and managed to steel a few pots, which I believe I can credit to my tight table image, other times I had high pocket pairs or other strong hands that held up, doubling me up at key times. Around 5 handed I had taken the chip lead and played it safe to ensure I made the money.

Once the bubble burst all stacks where very close, so I had to be careful, but I think I played the right balance, tried to see some flops with hands I would normally drop that had strong potential and stayed out of trouble when I had to, it paid off, I managed to take a few key pots to keep me in the lead and down to 3rd handed.

Once heads-up I soon held a commanding chip lead, but each time I tried to get my opponent all-in, he evaded me, the one time I did manage it, he doubled up and our stacks soon became almost equal. I kept the pressure on though and soon developed an increasing lead, my opponent then started to routinely push all-in when in the BB to steel the blinds, it didn’t phase me too much as I usually stool them back on the next hand, but I didn’t want this to continue so when had a sufficient enough lead I called with jack high, bad timing on my part he showed KTs, luckily for me a jack arrived on the turn to give me the win.

My bankroll has taken a nice increase in profit from this, and after a relatively early morning I’m feeling a bit tired so I might end today’s session on a positive note with just the one game, though I do have to get back into a 4 game routine soon to ensure I make my bonus.

November 25, 2007 Posted by | Sit-N-Go's 2 | , , , , , | 5 Comments

NL Victory

Just had another great game on the $1 + 20c NL tables. There was nothing unusual at first but around the 5 handed stage, we had one lunatic who went all-in hand after hand on blatant steels for around four or five consecutive hands, he had even lost the chip lead through this behaviour a few hands ago, and still did the same thing. Thankfully someone called him and put themselves at risk, they called with a hand I wouldn’t QJs I think, but they won out and got rid of the lunatic for us.

The game got back to normal for awhile then. I just tried to keep focused and played my some good poker, it paid off as eventual I made it past the bubble, with the clear chip leader holding around $4k ahead of me and a very vulnerable short stack who only held around $1k maybe even less.

The worse thing was as soon as I held a good hand, from pocket 9’s all the way up to pocket q’s, the chip leader would go all-in, and (chatted about it to him, afterwards) there is no way I’m risking 2nd place price money by going all-in with even pocket queens.

Eventually though the short stack is forced in and it becomes heads-up, by this point me and the chip leader have been chatting a little now and then, and after a few rounds of me almost taking the lead from him, I jokingly tell him I’m a bit of a heads-up specialist, I replies saying that he’s “noticed I’ve changed it up a bit”.

We battle at it for awhile, with me soon taking the lead, but I blow it hopelessly not long into by calling the wrong all-in, If I recall correctly he scored an ace on the turn giving him the lead again with a massive margin of comfort.

As you may be accustomed to by now though, I kept pushing back at him and eventually came even… a few hands down the line I had the lead again. A few more large pots come my way and my opponent goes all-in, this pot would give him a great chance at a come back, so I’m a bit worried, but call anyway sensing my pocket 9’s are good, he holds pocket 7’s and neither of us improve so I take the win.

This victory has come at a perfect time as I was feeling a bit down about my lack of aggression in earlier games today, (even posted about it on HPT), but I managed to pull myself out of it and this win will no doubt boost my confidence a little more.

This win coupled with a couple 3rd place finishes earlier as moved me beyond a couple of bad runs where I finished 4th twice and even 5th once yesterday and as now put me a little over $2 ahead of my deposit amount.

This is what I’ve been waiting for, now I can play and without worrying about falling behind again if I don’t make the money. With any luck I’ll make some more cashes tomorrow and start to increase my bankroll so I can think about buying into some large buy-in tournaments.


October 19, 2007 Posted by | Sit-N-Go's 2 | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NL Sit-N-Go Victory

Excellent news to report, I have just won my very first NL Hold’em tournament on Poker Stars, and I am very very pleased. When it got shorthanded the game was actually really fun, me and one of my opponents kept chatting to each other a little whilst we battled it out and I enjoyed it, far less stressing then some of my previous games.

After awhile my opponent took out the short stack, and we where heads-up, I was at a bit of a disadvantage having a few thousand less then my opponent but I kept up the pressure and managed not to blow it. Eventually I was put to a decision and moved all-in with QQ, and it didn’t hold up my stack was decimated by A6. Thankfully though just before I had taken the chip lead slightly so I still had a few chips, and after some key flops fell my way I still had a chance.

Just in time some good cards came my way too, good for heads-up anyway, like KQs, etc and I took down a few large pots and stole some blinds now and then. Eventually I managed to take the lead and keep it, I kept piling on the pressure until eventually it was me who was doing the pushing. The first time he survived his all-in, only just though, his kicker was slightly higher then mine, I think I had K2 and he survived with K3, but the next pot was mine, giving me my first ever 1st place since I started these Sit-N-Go’s and I am very pleased I couldn’t resist one more game before bed :p

Yesterday I got down to $8+ behind though, so I’m still not ahead with the $4.50 prize money, but thanks to several 2nd and 3rd place tournament cashes today I’m only 49c behind which I can live with.

Time for some rest and recuperation now, and I’ll hit the tournaments again tomorrow, hopefully that will be the start of my bankroll growth 🙂

Love and hugs xxx

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