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

Moving up in limits!

I’ve been pondering when to make this move after earn my bonus, and had previously settled on building my bankroll up a little more in the 1c/2c cash games, before moving up in limits, but after only two regular games on Poker Stars, since I stopped playing them awhile back, I’ve realized just what a bunch of total dick heads play the $1 games and I’m now moving up to the $5 games as soon as I earn my bonus.

It would be nice for me to have earned the move up via profits from cashes and wins, but I’m past caring, my bonus will pad out my bankroll enough that I can start to play the $5 games, and I’ve put up with far too much shit, so I don’t care what anyone thinks anymore, I’m moving up.

There is always a tipping point in these decisions, and mine is no different, it is having a jerk call your pre-flop raise with Q2, then not drop it when he hits, who then goes all-in when he spikes two pair on the river to bust you. Yeah I know, only TPTK, I could have gotten away from this, it felt like the idiot made two pair, etc… but none of that changes my decision or my views on the total pricks that frequent games.

http://www.pokerhand.org/?2061699

February 7, 2008 Posted by | Sit-N-Go's 2 | , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Poker Review

I haven’t been playing much at all recently for two reasons. Firstly my eyes are shot to shit, so even if I do sit in a quick heads-up game, I’m often too distracted to play well, and I’m sick of loosing money just to pick up points for my bonus. I have played a few recently though, picking up 6 wins in a row from the heads-up sit ‘n go’s, before loosing two games earlier today.

I’ve been on a bit of a high today though, most importantly I’ve picked up a new concoction of medication, which I’m hoping will have my eyes back to normal in a week or two and I’ve also been helping a good friend with his own Sit ‘n Go play on Full Tilt, which included me taking over his $10, 18 player match before the bubble when he had to take an urgent phone call and making 2nd for a nice $44 profit!

I also had a fun time, giving the loose aggressive style a try on two friends in a 3 way home tournament, busted one within 4 hands, and after he re-bought I busted both of them within two more hands, I couldn’t ask for more could I really. 🙂

So, haven’t played much, but I have been watching and reading quite a lot of poker recently, and with my eyes hopefully on the mend I am very excited about getting back to playing some regular Sit ‘n Go’s. I’ve asked my friend to sit alongside me when I start them up again, as a boost to my confidence, as I haven’t played a regular game for ages, and even when I was my confidence hasn’t been great, so hopefully his support and encouragement, will see me rapidly build my bankroll. I seem to be doing just fine mentoring him on Full Tilt, so I should be able to do the same for myself on Poker Stars.

February 6, 2008 Posted by | Sit-N-Go's 2 | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Daily Grind

I’ve come up with a rough outline of a schedule I’ll like to base my play around, for when I clear my bonus. I’ve never had a schedule for my play before, so I’ll appreciate it if anyone could give me some feedback on it please?

I’ve started the day off with the heads-up matches, as they are relatively simple at these levels, and are a quick way to get me settled back into the game. I’ll then sit in a regular tournament, either 9 or 18 handed, to ease me into the longer sessions coming up, I’ll follow this with a 30 minute break.

I will then sit in my first NL cash game sessions, multi-tabling between 2 and 4 1c/2c tables, and I’ll finish the session when I have completed 200 hands, unless a specific situation dictates I should stay longer.

After a break I will then sit in a single 1c/2c table, for another 200 hands, and after another short break I will follow this up with one more. To finish the day I will throw in another 9 or 18 person sit-n-go, or occasionally do a freeroll or larger tournament instead.

I have no ideas on times, as I can find myself starting the day at any time and ending it at any time, but I do want to put some structure into my daily poker play to ensure I’m playing enough to try and earn some money and advance my play. I don’t have any funds on another account yet, so all of the games will be played on Poker Stars.

Here’s the outline :

# $2 Heads-Up sit-n-go
>>> if lost, or if on tilt, take a quick 5 minute break

# $2 Heads-Up sit-n-go
>>> 10 minute break

# 9 or 18 handed, $1 sit-n-go
>>> 30 minute break

# 1/2c NL cash game session 1, multi-tabling 2 – 4 tables, up to 200 hands per table
>>> break

# 1/2c NL cash game session 2, up to 200 hands, single table
>>> break

# 1/2c NL cash game session 3, up to 200 hands, single table
>>> break

# 9 or 18 handed, $1 sit-n-go
>>> or a scheduled tournament or freeroll

February 2, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 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 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

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

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

Not Listenning to My Instincts, Again!

Busted twice in one night, because I didn’t listen to my instincts, time to call it a day, before I throw away all of my recent hard work. Not a bad play on my part this time, but I knew I was beat and let it cost me my seat anyway.

Two things made me push back, knowing he’d do the same thing with QQ, and maybe even AT, and the fact that he very recently did the same thing when he made bottom set, and I got stubborn and wanted to look him up. It was stupid, despite how much I invested in this hand, I should have gotten away with my seat intact, instead I heard that little voice that said I was beat, he’s made a set, and I ignored it.

It takes a few realizations like that for the lesson to sink in with me sometimes, as long as I don’t make the same mistake tomorrow, I’m happy. Making the same mistake twice in one night at least lets it hammer home.

Here’s the hand :

http://www.pokerhand.org/?2002676

January 27, 2008 Posted by | Tournaments and Freerolls | , , , , , , | Leave a comment