Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Small Stakes Crusade

Something has been bothering me in my poker tracker stats for a long time. I'm a lifetime loser at 1/2 full ring on Full Tilt. I've decided to rectify this situation, and will be playing in those games until I am no longer a net loser. This could take anywhere from an hour to several weeks, but it's just not acceptable to me that the tally number in that row shows up as red. I tried it out this morning and found myself very comfortable in the games, five tabling at one point and really only once getting into a spot where I lost track of what was going on. I also erased over 2/3rds of my deficit, so things should be back in the green shortly.

If only I could undo my no limit numbers :(

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Dance of the Fishes

I've written before about seat selection, and the musical chairs situation that comes up before prescheduled games such as the Oaks 30/60. But I feel another post is in order regarding which cushion your ass rests upon, mainly because they do it all different like down here. In the Bay Area seat changes at a table (not table changes, mind changes within a table) were handled in one of two ways:

1. When a seat emptied whoever spoke up first that they wanted it got it. This "system" was in place for small stakes games and to be honest works just fine.

2. A list is maintained at the table (usually on a pad of post it notes) and when a seat comes open the person highest on the list who wants said seat gets it. In theory that person is then cycled to the bottom of the seat change list, although in practice this just creates another grey area chock full of angles to be shot. Did he move? What order did they move in? Who's where on the list? He table changed and came back, shouldn't he be off the list? You get the idea.

So down here they employ a different "system", and I use the word very loosely. Whoever has been at the table the longest has priority for any new seats that become available. If you've been seated the longest, you can take every new seat that comes available until someone "challenges" you for the next seat. And I'm not even kidding, this old man (whose initials are BA, of all things) turned to me last week, after arguing with me over who would get the vacant 4 seat (I almost never argue for a seat with rare exception....if I am seated on the left of a man who does not chop in a game where chopping is coming up frequently, I have to move as quickly as possible) and eventually being convinced I'd been at the table longer than him (it wasn't even close....I'd been there for 4 hours, him 25 minutes) said "OK well I challenge you for the next one!" My face probably went expressionless as I tried to ponder what on Earth he was talking about before I eventually said "OK....sure" or some other such eloquent piece of prose. My new buddy (who doesn't yet have a stage name) was at the table and had to explain to me what was going on. I laughed and said to BA "You can have the next one sir, no worries". He promptly took my old seat (the funny part of this was that all I was trying to do was jump around him from the 3 to the 5 because he was the aforementioned non-chopper....later in the session when he posted a sb on the button he asked everyone if they wanted to chop and tried to back his way out of it claiming he only doesn't chop when there are 2 blinds but will chop 3 ways. This is completely backwards of what 95% of people do. It is common for people to chop 2 ways but not 3) and play resumed as usual, with him now 2 seats to my right. A little bruhaha ensued when the dealer tried to deal me in the very next hand (I wasn't entitled to a hand, I had to sit out one deal because I skipped one seat away from the button) claiming that the two of us had just changed seats and that if BA took a hand, I got a hand. This is actually the rule, any two players can change seats and if the one getting the worst of it (moving closer to the blinds) takes a hand the one getting the best of it gets a free hand. But technically we didn't switch seats, I changed then he slid over so I wasn't entitled to a hand and I just told the dealer to skip me and get the hand over with in less time than it would take for the floorman to come make a ruling. Anyway....

A few minutes later another seat came available and my buddy wanted to take it. BA was all over it, saying that he'd challenged for the next seat (he's actually using the word challenged) and since nobody had challenged him he was on top of "the list". But my buddy had been here longer than him....what was the protocol here? BA seemed to think he was entitled to the seat, which may have just been because he's 40 years older than my buddy, but my buddy really wasn't having it and just moved into the seat. BA got very upset, which is a pretty common occurrence for him since he plays for like 2 days straight and specifically yesterday bought chips at least 10 times ($200 or $100 at a time), and to be honest I don't even remember how the situation was resolved other than my buddy saying "You can have the next one, I promise".

Ah, Commerce.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

More Online Hands

Playing online really generates a lot of "lol, wtf was that" hands in quick succession. Here are three that I enjoyed from tonight's hour of play.

Hand #1
Full Tilt Poker $3/$6 Limit Hold'em - 6 players
The Official 2+2 Hand Converter Powered By

Pre Flop: (1.5 SB) Hero is CO with A J
UTG raises, MP calls, Hero 3-bets, 2 folds, BB caps!, UTG folds, MP calls, Hero calls

Flop: (14.5 SB) A Q J (3 players)
BB checks, MP bets, Hero raises, BB folds, MP folds

Final Pot: 8.25 BB
Hero wins 7.917 BB
(Rake: $2.00)

It is rare to see ANY of the following lines in a hand of limit hold 'em. Raise/fold preflop. Cap preflop, check/fold flop. Bet/fold flop. My three opponents in this hand took those three lines, letting me win an 8 bet pot with nobody even seeing the turn!

Hand #2
Full Tilt Poker $3/$6 Limit Hold'em - 6 players
The Official 2+2 Hand Converter Powered By

Pre Flop: (1.5 SB) Hero is UTG with K T
Hero raises, 2 folds, BTN calls, 1 fold, BB calls

Flop: (6.5 SB) T 8 3 (3 players)
BB checks, Hero bets, BTN calls, BB calls

Turn: (4.75 BB) 5 (3 players)
BB checks, Hero bets, BTN calls, BB calls all in

River: (7.583 BB) 4 (3 players - 1 is all in)
Hero bets, BTN calls

Final Pot: 9.583 BB
Hero shows K T (a pair of Tens)
BTN shows K 9 (a flush, Ten high)
BB shows 9 K (a flush, King high)
BTN wins 2.333 BB
BB wins 6.917 BB
(Rake: $2.00)

This hand is mind boggling to me for the simple reason that I have 91.3% equity against two opponents while holding a single pair of tens with two cards to come. When the flop hit the felt I actually thought to myself about what kind of hands I wanted my opponents to have and how it would be nice if they were drawing really thin (something I don't usually think about). Obviously you can construct a situation that's even worse than this (if you just remove one of the diamonds my equity goes up to like 96%), but I can't recall seeing one recently. I was once knocked out of a sit 'n go when I ran red aces into QQ and QQ all in preflop. Four spades later, I was out in 8th place. I lost this hand, too, which is just plain silly.

Hand #3
Full Tilt Poker $3/$6 Limit Hold'em - 5 players
The Official 2+2 Hand Converter Powered By

Pre Flop: (1.5 SB) Hero is BTN with K A
UTG raises, CO calls, Hero 3-bets, SB calls, 1 fold, UTG calls, CO calls

Flop: (13 SB) 2 Q J (4 players)
SB checks, UTG bets, CO calls, Hero calls, SB calls

Turn: (8.5 BB) Q (4 players)
SB checks, UTG bets, CO calls, Hero calls, SB folds

River: (11.5 BB) 5 (3 players)
UTG checks, CO checks, Hero checks

Final Pot: 11.5 BB
CO mucks T 9
Hero shows K A (a pair of Queens)
UTG shows A T (a pair of Queens)
Hero wins 11 BB
(Rake: $3.00)

Danielle actually watched this hand finish and it was pretty hilarious. CO was a huge fish, something like 80/15 over 60 hands, who took forever to make every action. So she comes over to talk to me as I'm down to one table and about to quit and watches me check the "check/fold" box on the river and we wait like 8 or 10 seconds while discussing the UConn women's hoops team and all of a sudden cards are turning over and I'm not even looking at the screen and she's like "did you just win that hand?" and I have to click last hand to see what on Earth just happened. Humorously, my opponents were drawing very slim here, with UTG having just the three kings and the CO only the four eights.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

In a Nutshell

This is how I have been running the last 4 days:

Full Tilt Poker $3/$6 Limit Hold'em - 6 players
The Official 2+2 Hand Converter Powered By

Pre Flop: (1.5 SB) Hero is BB with T J
3 folds, BTN raises, 1 fold, Hero calls

Flop: (4.5 SB) J A Q (2 players)
Hero checks, BTN checks

Turn: (2.25 BB) 6 (2 players)
Hero bets, BTN calls

River: (4.25 BB) K (2 players)
Hero bets, BTN calls

Final Pot: 6.25 BB
BTN mucks Q T
Hero shows T J (a Royal Flush)
Hero wins 6.083 BB
(Rake: $1.00)

Basically I can do no wrong. Since Monday I've taken something like 9 racks out of the Commerce 20/40 game, and also run like the wind online (I even took a little "shot" back at the 3/6 games tonight with so so results). Playing live is so much fun when you're actually allowed to win. Yesterday in the first 40 minutes of a new table I won about 3 racks of chips by dragging literally a dozen pots. There are regulars who are already afraid of me (this is kind of bad), making a point to seat change away from being on my right and coming over to my table and saying things like "stay right there, this looks like a good spot for you." The same guy who said that actually switched to my table and commented that he was there to get an education by observing how I played. I'm not even kidding. Have I magically started playing better? I don't think so. In fact I feel like I've butchered a couple of hands the last few days, take a "passive get me to show down" line when a "bombs away I am crushing you" line would have been more appropriate. My staking agreement has even come to an end (with my backer getting out of the the deal even). In general, things are good when you flop pairs. They are better when you flop sets. To wit:

Commerce 20/40 that is just amazingly good. Somebody limps and I open the AA in middle position. The guy on my left 3 bets, the blinds fold, the limper doesn't fold because why would he ever do that, I cap, and they both call:

AQ7 with a flush draw

I bet, am raised, 3 bet, and am called, with the limper taking all the action squarely on the chin.

On your good days you'll get like 2 bets in on the big streets. The raiser will have AK and just call you down and the other yoekel will miss his draw or whatever and you'll be good to go. On your bad days the K of the flush will roll off and the limper will righteously check/raise you on the turn and you'll miss on the river and he'll show you JT. On your great days that last thing will happen but you'll pair up on the river. On your best days, on the days where nothing can go wrong:


The limper will check and you'll bet, you'll get raised, the limper will call off 14 chips all in, you'll 3 bet, and the other guy will say "You really have aces?" and you'll just sit there and smile cause it's not like he's folding QQ. Even if you turned your hand face up he'd have to call at least this bet to try to hit the jackpot anyway. And the river will brick off and he'll pay you with his QQ and all of a sudden you'll be up 2 racks even though you started the day by digging a $700 hole.

Or you can flop a set like this:

Full Tilt Poker $3/$6 Limit Hold'em - 6 players
The Official 2+2 Hand Converter Powered By

Pre Flop: (1.5 SB) Hero is MP with 8 8
1 fold, Hero raises, 1 fold, BTN 3-bets, 1 fold, BB calls, Hero calls

Flop: (9.5 SB) A 3 8 (3 players)
BB checks, Hero checks, BTN bets, BB raises, Hero 3-bets, BTN calls, BB calls

Turn: (9.25 BB) 5 (3 players)
BB checks, Hero bets, BTN calls, BB calls

River: (12.25 BB) J (3 players)
BB checks, Hero bets, BTN folds, BB raises, Hero 3-bets, BB calls

Final Pot: 18.25 BB
BB mucks A J
Hero shows 8 8 (three of a kind, Eights)
Hero wins 17.75 BB
(Rake: $3.00)

The river action here is actually pretty scary if you don't stop and think about it. But let's do that. The BB check/raised the flop. What does that mean he has? Probably an ace or a flush draw. He declined to cap, so that kinda rules out the other two sets. He then check/called the turn, closing the action, which means he does not, under any circumstances, have a flush. Then on the river he check/raises me? Well what do I lose to? 42? Nope, wouldn't play preflop and would have raised the turn. AA? Not enough action. JJ? Couldn't have raised the flop, I don't think. So he must have AJ and I have an easy 3 bet, right? Right. At least that's how it works when you're running good.