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

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

Equity Not EV

I have recently received a copy of Collin Moshman’s Sit ‘n Go Strategy and before finishing the first chapter, I have already improved my Sit ‘n Go play in an area where I have been struggling up until now.

This is in the realization that in the Sit ‘n Go’s, EV (cEV) or chip Expected Value, does not equal equity, your $ value for each play or decision. The clearest example I can give of this is early in a Sit ‘n Go, where I hold AK and I’m tempted to get all of my money in against a one or two opponents.

From a cEV point of view, I’m always happy to get all of my money in pre-flop with AK, unless I’m reasonably confident my opponent is holding the aces or kings. However, realizing that in such a situation my equity actually goes down, because I am likely in a race for all of my chips, with no real increase in equity even if I win, so early in the tournament, I have begun to question my approach to these situations.

Its not only the new text that has brought this into focus however, its a change of venue. I have begun to watch a friend play the $2 Sit ‘n Go’s on Full Tilt Poker, and the general standard of his competition, seems far ahead of what I am used to facing in the $1 Sit ‘n Go’s on Poker Stars. Not to the extent of making them any harder, but certainly to the extent that his opponents are more predictable. For instance in the AK example above, in my regular Sit ‘n Go’s, often I will be re-raised by AQ, or even AJ and on occassions I have been raised all-in by opponents holding pocket 3’s, in the $2 Full Tilt games however, a re-raise is ussually QQ – AA.

I’m still avoding regular sessions at the moment, because of problems with my eyes, only playing the occassional heads-up match to maintain my bonus, but as soon as I am able, I plan to work on building a bankroll from these $2 Sit ‘n Go’s on Full Tilt, and to use them, aided by the Moshman text to improve my tournament and Sit ‘n Go play.

February 5, 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

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

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