Monday, June 30, 2008

When a right decision just seems sooo wrong...

I had the opportunity to play the following hand over this past weekend, and I thought I'd run through the hand to allow you to get a feel for the decision-making process that goes on sometimes when playing in a cash game. Also, the end result of the hand was just too ironic to pass up the opportunity to discuss it here.

I will interject my thoughts in to the hand history as the hand plays out. To set the scenario, one of the players at the table had been playing many hands by putting in the minimum raise, and was often raising with garbage. On the couple occasions where he had recently had a decent hand he had lost. That player's name was twetty2525. The other player involved in the hand was a tight, aggressive player named Cytoviper. I've been playing fairly tight myself, as I usually do in the cash games, and was up from my $80 buy-in when the following hand came up:

Full Tilt Poker Game #7004780543: Table Begonia Bay - $1/$2 - No Limit Hold'em - 12:48:26 ET - 2008/06/28
Seat 1: caca993 ($544.65)
Seat 2: Phantom Aces ($204.90)
Seat 3: pallavicini ($208.10), is sitting out
Seat 4: mbagraduate ($41)
Seat 5: OrlandoRyan ($77.25)
Seat 6: Cytoviper ($323.55)
Seat 7: twetty2525 ($69.35)
Seat 8: Copy That Jack ($210.10)
Seat 9: G4M3ST3R ($34)
Phantom Aces posts the small blind of $1
mbagraduate posts the big blind of $2
The button is in seat #1
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Phantom Aces [Qh Qd] - wow! Very nice hand for the small blind. Let's hope for some action!
OrlandoRyan calls $2
Cytoviper raises to $9 - OK. I've got a raiser. Now let's hope to build a pot.
twetty2525 raises to $16 - I don't give much credit here to this raise. He's been raising a lot.
Copy That Jack folds
G4M3ST3R folds
caca993 folds
Prior to my action, I thought about reraising to $70, since that would set twetty2525 all in, but right before I hit the "Raise" button, I thought to myself "What if Cytoviper actually has a hand, and I raise right in to it?" I thought I could probably find out the same information without risking nearly as much, so I decided to raise, but to a lower amount. If Cytoviper has a big hand, he'll let me know pretty quickly.
Phantom Aces raises to $35
mbagraduate folds
OrlandoRyan has 15 seconds left to act
OrlandoRyan folds
Cytoviper raises to $125 - Well, this is a 4th raise. It certainly would indicate a very strong hand.
twetty2525 calls $53.35, and is all in - Honestly, I don't know what twetty2525 has, but even he can't be that dumb to be playing with nothing here. The action has now gone raise-raise-raise-raise-all in. I'm pretty sure Queens are dead. Easy decision now.
Phantom Aces has 15 seconds left to act
Phantom Aces folds
Cytoviper shows [Ah As] - well, the read was correct! Not bad to only lose $35 with Queens there.
twetty2525 shows [Tc Th]
Uncalled bet of $55.65 returned to Cytoviper
*** FLOP *** [Qc 3h Ac] - Whew! We both would have flopped sets. I'd have gone all in for sure here!
*** TURN *** [Qc 3h Ac] [Qs] - Are you f---ing kidding me?!? I would have made quads! There would have been another $320 in the pot, too!!
*** RIVER *** [Qc 3h Ac Qs] [2h]
Cytoviper shows a full house, Aces full of Queens
twetty2525 shows two pair, Queens and Tens
Cytoviper wins the pot ($174.70) with a full house, Aces full of Queens
twetty2525 is sitting out
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $177.70 | Rake $3
Board: [Qc 3h Ac Qs 2h]
Seat 1: caca993 (button) didn't bet (folded)
Seat 2: Phantom Aces (small blind) folded before the Flop and would have scooped a huge pot had he called...UGH!
Seat 3: pallavicini is sitting out
Seat 4: mbagraduate (big blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 5: OrlandoRyan folded before the Flop
Seat 6: Cytoviper showed [Ah As] and won ($174.70) with a full house, Aces full of Queens
Seat 7: twetty2525 showed [Tc Th] and lost with two pair, Queens and Tens
Seat 8: Copy That Jack didn't bet (folded)
Seat 9: G4M3ST3R didn't bet (folded)

It just seems so wrong that after I make that decision, and it's correct to fold there, that the "poker gods" would put that board out there to make me see that. Just plain wrong!! Well, hopefully all my reads are that good and that I can scoop a nice pot some other time. Right?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Hat Trick!

Over the past weekend the last qualifying event for the Cream City Poker League (CCPL) took place. It was hosted at my place, and the turnout was a little light, as I had anticipated with the warmer weather starting to arrive and my location being so far southeast for most of the players. The final number of players was 14, so we started with two tables of 7 players each.

We settled in for what turned out to be a relatively short evening of poker. The event was over by 10:30! The last couple of tournaments had gone until close to midnight so I thought this tournament got done very quick when compared to other CCPL events.

Our table started with a complete flurry of action in Level 1 unlike action I’ve seen in any of the prior CCPL events. The table had myself, and to my immediate left, a loose aggressive player who we’ll call Player A. Almost on the opposite side of the table from me was a player who plays very solid and has had consistently high finishes in all of the CCPL events he has played (we’ll call him Player B). To my immediate right was a player who I think plays selectively aggressive, but I think overplays some weaker hands. I’ll call him Player C for this blog. I don’t want to say that the other players were of no consequence as I think most of the players in the CCPL are decent players, but myself, A, B, and C, were involved in almost all of the early action.

Before the tournament had started player B had indicated to player A that he was going to just limp in, or call, all of player A’s hands in the first two levels. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t want to see a whole lot of that since that would squeeze me between the two of them if I also got involved in hands with them. Our CCPL events start with blinds at 10 and 15, and during the first three levels you have the ability to rebuy once if you lose your whole stack. Very early in the tournament, player A was in the Big Blind so player B limped, and when it got to me I saw I had pocket Tens. I raised to an absurd amount for the level, 125 chips. Everyone folded back to player B, who also knows me well, and after thinking for a while, folded what turned out to be two over cards. I showed the Tens and we moved to the next hand. Well, on the very next hand I got dealt AK (also called Big Slick), and decided to raise the same absurd amount with only one other limper. Once again everyone folded and I showed the hand. On the hand following that I got a pair of Queens. Once again I made the same absurd raise. I just figured eventually someone would try to play back at me. One player called and I won when I moved all in on the flop and showed the Queens as I collected the pot. I took a hand off when I got two terrible cards, but on the hand following that I got a pair of Tens again. There was a limper ahead of me, so I raised to 125 again, and this time, player A made a small raise right behind me. It got back around to me, and knowing that I had a rebuy available and I still did have a decent hand I moved all in. I was called immediately and was shown…pocket 9s! I had the lead! My hand held up, and Player A had to rebuy.

Well on the very next hand, player A and I got mixed up in a hand again. This time I limped with Th 9h, and player A made it 125 to go (now the standard raise I guess). I made the call and the board flopped a pair with two hearts. I had to act first, and since player A had no rebuy available I decided to move all in, since unless he has a big pair (or trips, although that was unlikely) he would have to fold because he would be out. Even if he had the overpair I had the flush draw. Well, player A called with his QQ and his hand held up to win the pot. I still had the chip lead though since rebuys get you only 75% of what we initially started with. In the meantime, player B has been commenting on my ridiculous play so far. Player C has been quiet, but he keeps getting raised off every hand he tries to play by me. Well, a couple hands later, I get a pair of nines and with a limper in the pot, player C made the minimum raise before me. I knew that player C would play the hand, but with my Nines I didn’t want to see anyone else play so I reraised a healthy, but not too large, of an amount. Player C called and the flop hit the board as: T-9-x, giving me a set of 9s. Player C moved all in and I called instantly, showing the 9s. Player C had AQ, and was drawing to a runner runner straight. The odds of doing that are 68 to 1, so I was pretty confident my hand would hold up, and it did. This gave me a significant chip lead.

I was getting ridiculous hands throughout most of the evening. I got AA against an opponent who always bets top pair and rarely folds it and won a significant pot there. Even when I wasn’t getting good cards I still made hands. I was dealt Jack-8 and got it in against a short stack at the bubble. He had Ace-Jack, which is a hand where he’s about a 70-75% favorite to win. I made a straight at the river to eliminate him. It was unreal what I was catching for hands and boards! Eventually, my pair of 8s in heads up play held up against my opponent’s Ace-Ten in the classic race situation (all in preflop), and I won my 3rd CCPL event, and my 2nd in a row. I was extremely happy with my results this season, having won 3 of 7 events, although as I mentioned that night, I think any of the CCPL players that had drawn my seat on Saturday would have won the event as I was getting an incredible amount of good hands. I’m looking forward to the CCPL Tournament of Champions, where I hopefully can cap off a great season! I’m off to Virginia for a week, so I don’t think I’ll get any live poker action for the blog for next week, but you never know!

Monday, June 9, 2008


If you've followed the blog you may have noticed a pattern that has developed with the last hand that I've played while out in Las Vegas, and it's not a good one. During the two prior trips to Las Vegas, my last hand was a big hand (once KK, once AA), and both times my hand got cracked for the stack that was in front of me. Part of the reason why it's been the last hand is because when it happens it tends to be about 30-45 minutes before I have to leave for the airport, and I don't want to rebuy to play that short of a period of time. Well, this trip once again ends on a large hand, but this time you need to know about the hand before that hand to know how it all went down.

I was playing at a $2/$5 No Limit table at the Bellagio, and was playing fairly tight, having only gotten involved in a couple of serious pots in the last hour+. I was in the Small Blind, and everyone started just calling the Big Blind. Well, of the eight people who had the opportunity to act before it got to me, six called the Big Blind. I looked down and saw:

2c 6s

obviously not a good starting hand, but I knew that most of the players would respect a raise from me, so I popped it to $45. Well, the Big Blind folds, and one by one they all fold. Then the player who was in the Big Blind jokingly says, "Let me guess, 7-2, right?". I had been chatting with this guy for the couple hours I was there (Nice guy from Arkansas, and he even had all his teeth!), so I decided to needle the table a little bit by responding, "You're close!", and I turned over my hand to show the table. I followed that up by remarking, "That's OK, I'll be able to do the same thing on the next hand with Aces now and you guys won't believe me!"

Well, on the very next hand I am now on the button, and once again, everyone starts limping, and I look down and I find: KK!! Unbelievable! I couldn't have set it up any better! It's not quite Aces, but in this situation, it's almost exactly what I'm looking for here. So once again, I pop it up to $45. This time, as the action went back around the table I'm getting the "evil eye" and four other players call, building a nice pot. The flop comes:

8c 6c 2c

which was about as bad a flop as I could see. Everyone checked to me, and since I know that the odds of flopping a flush are 119 to 1, and since I only had $250 in front of me to protect a $150 pot, I moved all in. As the action went back around, the guy in the hijack (two off the button), calls "I call, and you're not going to like it." Well, that can only mean one thing. He flopped the flush. Incidentally, I didn't catch the runner runner I needed for my full house. He had me covered, and I chose to not rebuy since we had to head to the aiport in about 45 minutes (I've been here before...), so once again, my last hand in Las Vegas was a large pocket pair that got cracked. Oh, how I look forward to going

Monday, June 2, 2008

Back to work...

Although I'm not playing in the WSOP anymore, they still have plenty of action at the cash games in town. I decided it would be a good idea to not go immediately to a cash game since I was probably so on "tilt" that I would've just given my money away. After a couple hours I decided to hit the tables again. I went to the Bellagio's poker room and they had a long, long list for the $2/$5 No-Limit Hold 'em game, so I got on to the $5/$10 No-Limit list. I bought in for $600 once I was called for a seat at that game.

The table I started at was a "feeder" table (alos called a must-move table) for the other $5/$10 No Limit games. What that means is that when a seat opened at one of the other $5/$10 games, a person from our table would be grabbed to fill that seat. Then the casino would go to the waiting list to fill our new empty seat. What it also usually means is that when you get moved you will find yourself at a table full of large stacks since the players sitting there cannot be people who have just bought in. That's not always the case, but it's pretty typical.

At our must-move table, I found myself a little card dead, and when I was getting hands I was either missing or getting flops that "didn't work" for my holding. So after about an hour or so, I was down about $400. I got a couple hands that I was able to push all-in with and chopped (ugh!), but one of the chops had a significant amount of other player's money in it so I made a couple bucks, and right around then I was told I was moving, so I knew I was coming in as a short stack.

After arriving at the new table I was able to double up once early with the Kh-Kd in an all-in preflop situation. Then I picked up some pots here and there, and then collected a nice pot when I got the following hand: Qd-Td. I was in early position, one spot after the Under the Gun player (also called UTG+1), and I limped for the $10. Normally I would chuck this hand, but this table had been doing a lot of limping to flops, so I thought I may be able to get to a flop cheaply. Only the button limped, and the small blind player raised to $40. I was about to fold my hand when I saw the button already had the three $10 chips ready to call, so I thought again and decided to make the call based on what I knew the pot would be. The flop was:


Giving me the flush draw and the gutshot straight draw. The small blind led out for $90. He was the raiser so that could be just a continuation bet. It also could mean he's betting his good hand, too. I didn't know, but my draw was pretty good so I decided to find out where I stood. I raised it to $230. I also hadn't been playing very many hands at all, so I knew that the button, who had yet to act, and the raiser would have to have a decent hand to make any further action on the pot here. The button folded, and after some thought, the small blind called. That wasn't good, but it all became a moot point when the turn card was:


Now putting the four-card straight on the board with me having the high end of it. My opponent checked, and I bet $230, leaving me a little over $200 left. My opponent had me covered, and he goes in to the think tank. I'm trying to figure out what he has, and one of my conclusions was that he might have a set. It would make sense that he would call my raise on the flop with that to trap me, but now might be worried that I have a straight with this board, although to hit it I'd have needed a gutshot, which happened to be what I did. Well, after a minute or two, he calls. Now I really think he has the set, but doesn't want to throw it away. Well the river is the 9c, pairing the board, and making any set good because it would have just turned in to a full house or better. My opponent quickly checked, and I also elected to check because of the thought process I went through, and my hand was good, landing me a nice pot. I also found out that I probably would have gotten paid off because my opponent had KK. If he was willing to pay me at the turn with that board, he certainly would have paid me after the river for a bet of less than $250, which was all I had. So, it was unfortunate to be a little off in my read there, but it was a nice pot anyway.

I had a long day of poker as I wrapped up things around 1:15am or so, then I went and played some craps for a little while. As it so happens, TJ Cloutier came over to the craps table that I was at and played for a while. There were only three of us at the table, and TJ and I were at the same end, so I was able to make some chit chat with him for about half an hour or so while playing craps. It was fun, and I even made a couple bucks at the craps table. Then it was time to get some rest before "clocking in" again at the tables the next day.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

It's Safe To Say It's Not a Favorite Anymore

The tournament started at noon today, and I found myself on the rail after 7 hands. I started in seat 7, and the button started in seat 10. On the first hand I was dealt 7-2offsuit, which I thought was pretty funny for hand #1, since it is the worst starting hand in Texas Hold 'em, but on hand number 2 I fared a little better, having looked down to see the Ace of Spades and the Ace of Hearts, for the best starting hand in Texas Hold 'em. The player to my right made the call of the Big Blind for 50, and I raised it to 175. Everyone else folded, including the blinds, and the player on my right called my raise. The flop was:


My opponent decided to lead with a bet of 500. Now, the pot was only 425, so I was slightly suspicious of the bet, but if my opponent really did have two pair or better the natural thing to do would be to check and let me bet since I was the raiser, and then raise me. That led me to think that his bet might be a "defensive" bet, a bet where he has a piece of the board and wants to see if I maybe missed. Based on that I decided to raise to 1425. I also decided that since now over half of my starting chips are in the pot I was probably going to have to play this hand if he went all in. Well, he went all in after thinking a long time about it. The way he was thinking I was fairly certain he didn't have two pair. If he was acting, it was a great performance. He declared, "I'm all in." to which I almost instantly said, "I call. I have Aces." The next thing I heard was "Oh, shit!" which I was very glad to hear. He turned over King-Ten, pretty much validating everything I had just ran through in my head. The turn card was:


and the river was: Tc

Giving him two pair and delivering a near death blow to me. Now, he had lost some chips on hand #1, so I had him covered by 200. I then folded everything (honestly, I can't tell you what any of the hands were as I was just flabergasted) until my big blind. I announced that the big blind was 200, and everyone folded to my nemesis, who was in the small blind. He raised to 200, and I called with my Ace-Queen. He had pocket 9s. I didn't catch anything to help, and I was gone. Thank you for playing. There may be other blog posts, but not today. I need a drink.

T minus 2 1/2 hours...

Well, I'm getting ready this morning, and I am pumped! Hopefully, my luck will fare a little better than Dan's. I'll do my best to give updates, but as some of you may have noticed yesterday I have a limited number of characters with which to work. I completed those posts and there are some decent pics so go check them out. I'll be posting later.

Chopped Salad

Well, Dan was still alive at the second break, although he was down on chips to about 2800. All the players started with 3000, and with the blinds and antes creeping up, Dan found himself with about 7 times the blinds. He had raised all in with Aces, and the big stack at the table insta-called him. Then he promptly turned over the remaining two aces. He and Dan chopped that pot. Shortly after that, Dan had AT and had raised, and made a decision to call an all in by someone that had pocket 7s. Dan had the player covered, and his raise had committed him to call the player after the player went all in. Dan flopped an Ace to take the lead, but the board ended up with the A-2-3-4-5 for the wheel, and the two of them chopped that pot, too. Had Dan won those two hands he would have been near 11,000 in chips, instead chopping those pots got Dan basically nowhere.

Dan did find himself at the same table as Barry Shulman for a brief time. Dan was moving from table to table quite a bit. His starting table was in the area that is being used by the Rio for cash games, so they break those tables down first to make room for the cash game players. The first couple of times Dan got moved he kept staying within that section of the room, so he was getting moved very quickly.

Ultimately, Dan's day came to an end when, with a short stack, the table folded to him and he moved all in with AJsuited on the button. Unfortunately, the small blind called with pocket Queens and then the big blind raised with AK, so Dan was basically drawing to the straight, flush, or multiple Jacks. The Queens held up, and Dan was eliminated in the tournament.

I will be starting the tournament Day 1B on Sunday. The seat that I drew for my initial seat was: Amazon Room Blue Table 6, Seat 7. Hopefully, I will fare better than Dan. The tournament officials were telling the players on Day 1A that they would play down to 225 players or through Level 10, whichever came first. It appeared as though they would be down to 225 well before they reached Level 10, so that means that Day 1B will have to play until whatever time Day 1A got finished.

I was able to get some pics of Dan and some poker pros (as you may have seen already), and I also played some cash games while Dan was in the tournament. I had a losing session where I lost $132 over 5 hours over two different tables (one down $300, the other up $168), and then later in the evening Dan and I went over to the Wynn to play the cash games there. I did manage to finally book a winning session there as I won just over $400 during a 5+ hour session. I really think I needed to have one of those so I would feel mentally prepared for tomorrow. While I play in the WSOP Event #2 Dan is going to play in Caesar's Mega Stack opening event, so I do very much want to report at least one good story tomorrow if not two!