The Hours

Apologies in advance for the quality of this blog– I’ll do my best, but I am coming off an 8 hour day of poker. 6.5 hours at Hollywood Park and 1.5 on Party $3-6. Not to mention coming off a hangover after giving 2 pints of blood yesterday and drinking a lot more than 2 pints of beer. Not good times.

But there were good times earlier today, as I finally conquered the fish at Hollywood Park: $320 to the good in six and a half hours, for a nice win rate of 4 BB per hour. However, the results were much better than my play. I played too loose, and made 5 or 6 seriously bad plays, and probably lost around $100 with those mistakes. I could make excuses like “I’m tired and hung over”, but the truth is I just wasn’t at the appropriate concentration level to maximize my profit.

Part of the problem was that the table began as a tricky, aggressive table full of solid players. I dropped nearly $200 in the first three hours, due to a combination of bad beats and bad play. But as the day wore on, a bunch of loose aggressive players sat down (the usual weekend crowd), and I didn’t tighten up my hand selection as much as I should have. There were 4 players at the table who would play nearly any two cards, so tight play was right. My problem is that in games like these, I loosen up a bit, because I know my ATo is probably the best hand preflop, since these guys would play any suited and any ace rag. What usually happens is something like this: I flop top pair T, play it hard, and the turn or river will come a J, Q, or K. Instead of slowing down, I’ll either bet out or end up calling, and the loose player will show something like J8s or K7s. If I just tighten up my starting hand selection I won’t have to deal with tough decisions like that.

Luckily for me, I benefited from a couple players who overplayed their hand badly. I got pocket queens on the button, raised it up (punish the limpers!), and got 3 callers. Flop was Q J 9, beautiful except for the possible straight. I bet out after being checked to, and got 2 callers. The turn was a 9, and it was time to get nutty. I bet out, was reraised, and called by the 2nd limper. Back on me, I figured that the raiser had hit his 9, and the 2nd limper had the straight. Beautiful. I reraised, trying to trap the guy with the straight between me and the raiser. To my amazement, he capped it… could he have pocket 9s? and the limper reluctantly folded. I happily called, and then the raiser smacked his head in some revelation (what did he think I had?), and checked the river. I bet, and he called, turning over 98o, and I showed the queens to rake in a $220 pot. The one eyed man is king in the land of the blind…

So was 6.5 hours enough? No! Saturday night on Party, I had to get in the action. And after playing horribly for 45 minutes (dropping $100), I got some cards and picked up my game, and ended $5 to the good. My head hurts from all the pot odds calculations.

So, my game needs more work than I thought. I’m going to work on some fundamental skills, such as bet counting, and the memorization of the odds for each draw. Not tough stuff, but I am spending too much mental effort doing odds calculations at the table, rather than just calling them up from memory. Flush and straight draws are easy, but overcard draws, or the odds of pairing your kicker, etc. is stuff I need to have memorized.

So which parts of my game need work?
1. Play tight to start, then loosen up if you have a good read on the table (e.g. don’t try to sneak in with A7s for one bet when you are in 2nd position).
2. Memorize the odds for all draws, beyond flushes and straights.
3. Make bet counting second nature (in other words, know the pot odds at all times).

Enough of this laziness at the table, I need to put my brain to work.

Poker Blog Patrol
Congrats to Grubby, whose play came to life last night in a sold out DC venue. Poker is great, but I have the utmost respect for the artist who creates something beautiful. I share the Grubster’s opinion on ambiguity:

“I tend to write ambiguity into my plays. Theater is more accepting of unanswered questions than film, and I try to take every advantage in this somewhat dying medium.”

The audience’s interpretation of the art defines the greatness of the art, and a work of art that causes the audience member to tell their own story is the goal of the writer. Ambiguity forces the attentive audience to tell their own story, and as a result, creates a story that touches the audience more than a force-fed moral or lesson.

Back to poker. The Penguin left this comment:


“Anyway, having conquered the hammer myself (see blog for details), I think everyone should start the Hdouble challenge – nothing in it but pride.

The person who has the best results in a month with 88 (ring games only, poker trackered or records on paper) becomes king of the middle pair.”

By a twist of fate, at the exact moment I read this, I was dealt 88 and actually won with it (a rarity for me). Before that hand, it was my biggest loser, at a rate of .5 BB per hand. So much for my lucky number. But maybe the Penguin has turned the tide… He seems to be lucky (and good) today, finishing second in a $10 multi, coming back from 9th chip position on the final table. Check out his painful excruciating bad beat on the final hand of the tourney. Ye gads. He also offers a superb breakdown of the meaning of bets in NL tourney hold ’em. Quality writing from PP.

Iggy cracked me up as usual, debating whether to go all-in on an ebay “hot foil stamping machine” contraption, so he could customize his chips for his next tourney:

“I can just picture a drunken Iggy trying to play with that thing. Hilarity would ensue. I’d either burn my house down or lose an appendage.”

I can definitely picture Iggy surrounded by a firestorm of melting clay chips, cackling as he pushes all-in with the hammer like some sort of poker Nero.

Pauly is back at Foxwoods, and if anyone missed his screenplay for the Phil Hellmuth show pilot, check out the entry for 1/21. My favorite lines:

“CUT TO: One of the girl’s fists attacking Phil’s head.

Sorority Poker Player 1: This will teach you to only play premium hands!!”

CJ at Up for Poker dropped the hammer, joining the Penguin and TFG as Hammer winners who don’t qualify due to the limit. The resulting chat cracked me up:

cusephenom: It’s the HAMMER!
BVGrimley: I wanna know how many notes that generated?
cusephenom: Yep… guess I’m on a few buddy lists now.

Mene Gene gives a detailed lecture on the different species of fish swimming in the Party Ocean:


“The fish I don’t like playing against is the Pseudo-Lederer, the player who, when the action comes around, sits there and thinks, and thinks, and thinks…”

This had me laughing, and Howie L can play at all speeds. Anyone catch the speed-chess-like battle between him and Chip Jett, going heads-up for the WPT Limit hold ’em title? Talk about playing fast.

Whew. Bedtime. Hope everybody’s Saturday night was both fun and profitable. My first wedding anniversary is coming up tomorrow, but unfortunately Mrs. Double has to work. And no, we are not eating 1 year old cake. Where do they get this stuff?

We’re going to California… and Texas… and New York!

I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value.
–Hermann Hesse

I really like writing this blog, but man, it takes a lot of effort to try to get a good post up every day. So I want to thank all my fellow bloggers who bleed and sweat on the keyboard pounding out post after post, day after day. Iggy said it best:

“Damn, you are only as good as your last post. And I keep pounding em out. It takes effort to put these rambling posts together. I may need a sabbatical soon.”

Amen. Thanks to everybody pounding em out (uhh, the blogs, that is), you make my work day a lot more fun.

I didn’t play today, so this post will probably be on the weak-tight side, but I do have a few things I think are worth writing about. I did play some last night, but I was just playing a single table and watching “American Idol” at the same time, so my concentration level was probably at about 30% of what it should be. I did manage to turn in a small profit in my hour of play, but most of the profit came from the ole Big Blind specials– I flopped two pair in the BB twice, and made the table pay. I definitely have problems playing at a single table of $3-6 or lower, because the poker is so straightforward that I get bored easily. I should be working on my game, putting people on hands, and just absorbing the pattern of the game and storing it in memory for later use.

I’ve always been hesitant playing 2 tables at once, because you lose a lot of information, and therefore potential profit. Of course, if the poker is straightforward, even if you’re playing at 75% of your optimum level, you still increase your profit by 50%.

The problem with this is that the players in the LA B&M games are considerably worse than those online. The $15-30 B&M games out here play like the $3-6 online games, and I’ve always viewed my online play as a training ground for these games. Well, a training ground and a place to build the bankroll. I need to put in the hours grinding at two tables of $3-6 to build up enough bank to get into these super soft B&M games. At 1.5 BB an hour on each table (tough, but I believe it’s possible), that’s $18 an hour. So after 200 hours, that’s $3600, which would give me enough to play at the limit I want. Continuing the math here, if I was able to play 20 hours a week (if I was a real player), I could do it in only 10 weeks. Of course, this only works if lady variance treats me well. But looking at PokerTracker, I’m only averaging a little over an hour a day for the last 3 months. With my B&M hours, that puts me at about 10-13 hours a week.

13 hours ain’t nothin, but it’s not enough. I really would like to play more, but work has been kicking my ass lately, and I just haven’t had the energy to endure the grind. But I do feel my discipline has gotten better, and my feel for the game is still improving, so hopefully I can increase my hours. I should probably just finish my damn book and cut down on poker, but I just can’t help myself– too many fish in the PartyPoker sea.

Six Degrees of Hammeration
Lots of hammer news. I’m a bit appalled that THE HAMMER has gotten its own section in a post, but this story is just too good to pass up.

In a previous post, I told you about my boy R-Dub, an up and coming poker star in Virginia. Today, R-Dub offered up this story (tighten up your seat belt):

“Alright I got a weird hammer story for you… Some guys from my tournament and some that live around got a 4-8 game going last night, pretty big for being mostly students, but a few of the better players couldn’t make it, and it was real soft. About halfway through the night, a guy shows up who just started playing a few months ago, real easy to get a read on. He’s also the type to remember any kind of beat you put on him, and complain and shit. All fold to me, I look down at a 72o in the small blind, and i’ve got to play it. One for the implied tilt odds, two because i think i can play any two cards against this guy for profit. So I raise it, he 3 bets from the big blind. I’m worried about a big pair, but that’s even better if i can crack it… Flop is Q82, i check and call. Q on the turn, I’m ready to lay it down thinking i’ve only got 2 outs… He checks behind me and I’m sure he has AK. Blank on the river, I value bet my 27, he agonizes and calls with AK, which he always will. I show my 27, he starts with his usual shit, but this other guy at the table interrupts him by saying “Dropping the Hammer!”

So i ask him why it’s called the hammer, since the only other place i’d heard that was from you… He says he used to play in this game in northern virginia, there was a player there who’s last name was hammer. And he made some incredible bluff once with the 72, like he called the whole way with nothing and check raised all-in on the end, and from that day on they all called the hand “The Hammer”.”

WOW! I don’t think that quite qualifies for TFG’s Grubby is currently in DC, but could this be the same source of the naming of the mighty 72o?

Meme Evolution Diagram:

Johnny Hammer –> Grubby –> HDouble –> RDub –> Guy at RDub’s Game
(N. Virginia) –> (DC) –> (LA) –> (VA) –> (VA)

I lost twice with the hammer last night, although I threw in a total of 8 big bets desperately trying to push people off of hands. Ironically, I flopped two pair with 72s in the BB, and was punished when a guy turned the dead man’s hand for aces up. The hammer is hitting me over the head.

Check out Poker Penguin’s full house with the hammer. He was even able to get a response out of the table. But luckily he was playing .50/1, so it’s not an official victory.

Rec.gambling.puke
Ugh. Just spent 15 minutes scrolling through horrible RGP posts. Where have you gone, Abdul Jalib, poker nation turns its lonely eyes to you…

I was amused to read about another hand that apparently is competing with the Hammer for popularity:
Beeflog?

Finally, I found a good RGP post, which discusses the good and bad about my favorite poker tool (it’s how I learned to play), Turbo Texas Hold ‘Em. The big hole in TTH is that computer players are unable to use pot size in making decisions. For all of you programming geeks (like me) out there (Halverson and TFG, this means you), note the comparison between Programming Language generations and the Poker Simulator generations.

Time for bed. Keep up the great blogs and stay focused.

Pic of the day:
This is what it looks like when you drop the hammer

“I always raise with pocket sevens!”

I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value.
–Hermann Hesse

I type happily tonight, coming off of my 3rd straight winning session after diving into the $5-10 6 max games. Grubby‘s insistence that these games are soft inspired me to put in some work on these tables, along with reading about David Ross‘s $60,000 journey through the same waters. As John Feeney points out, if there are 2 fish at a 6 person table, this is somewhat like having 4 fish at a full ring game. Since bluffing is much more likely in a short handed game, players are forced to call you down more often, so the mistakes of the fish are greatly magnified.

My short 30 minute session at the shorthanded tables netted me $116, or 23 BB/HR. Obviously, table selection is crucial in shorthanded games, because one additional bad player increases your profit exponentially. If I had an unlimited bankroll, I think I’d exclusively play the shorthanded games. Reading hands, psychology, and quick thinking is constantly in play in these games, and you can still play a single table and not get bored (I still don’t understand how Grubby plays 2).

I also played a 1 hour session on the $3-6 tables, getting crushed on one table and doing quite well on the other, putting me even after the hour. On the good table, I received 7 pocket pairs in 9 hands, including a streak of 5 pocket pairs in a row (a new record for me). Unfortunately I only won 2 of these hands (AA and JJ). Coincidentally, I was playing this table with my buddy, who demanded a tithe for the inordinate amount of luck he brought. I was ready to give it to him, until he cracked my KK when he turned 2 pair with his JTs from the BB.

Yesterday I was able to collect $105 in profit after a 40 minute session on 2 $3-6 tables. Typical tight aggressive grinding– I won 5 pots out of the 90 hands I played, but of course I played aggressively, and they were big pots.

No hammers to speak of, although I have gotten 72 suited a couple times. I’m at the point where I’m tempted to hammer away with 62o or 83o and type HAMMER JR! upon victory. Perhaps the brilliant Hammer Challenge creator could devise some sort of “crap hand tourney” where separate crap hands get different points based on their crappiness.

So my last 3 sessions have put $440 of profit in my pocket, and I feel like I’m handling the grind better. My game is steadier… as I acquire more bad beats and losing sessions, I am better able to psychologically handle the moods of the poker gods. A great poker player has an unflinching faith in his abilities, and the ability to ruthlessly evaluate his play without bias. Practice, study, develop yourself as a player– and then do not doubt yourself when the cards go cold.

Poker Blog Patrol
Ok, link of the year goes to Iggy (who else), with Phil Hellmuth trashing his blog. Don’t believe me? Check it out… people at work were looking at me funny when I was rolling on the floor laughing.

My man Paul had a tough night at the Ho Chunk Casino, but I’m impressed that he stayed off tilt even when his SO was chirping in his ear. He learned what is (sadly) perhaps the most important rule of the poker trip:
“Don’t bring anyone along who isn’t also going to be playing poker.”

Mr. Halverson writes that scared money will not win. He also mentions that he will probably be heading to Vegas for his younger bro’s bachelor party. Be sure to ram and jam on all streets Chris… THE HAMMER in big time NL tourneys is also on the menu… I remember hearing that 72o is well known to be a big bluff hand for many years now, and players will often use this hand as an excuse to try a bluff.

I really enjoyed the Penguin’s discussion of Multi-tables vs. Ring Games. I have been pondering this question for a long time, and I’m still on the fence as to how profitable multis are. I agree with PP– if you have the patience and discipline to play the multis, they are probably the way to go. Personally, I like the action, so 2 limit rings allow me to play on the order of 10 times more hands, and a steadier profit. But I think I’ll eventually end up in the multis…

Royal lets us in on his PokerTracker analysis after 6K hands at .50/1. I was comforted by his finding that 99 was his biggest loser, since 88 (my football number) is by far my biggest loser. While the win percentage is 19% with 88, I’m losing .66 BB with it on average. Explanation: it’s just big enough to be an overpair on the flop, but small enough to get trumped on the turn or the river. Correction: do not play 88 past the flop on a loose table, and if played on a tight table, play it very aggressively to eliminate potential callers.

Felicia Lee showed her toughness today– she made it to her usual NL tourney after a little afternoon surgery. I’ve had two knee constructions and a metal plate put in my hand, so I have much respect for those who taste the knife. No, I have yet to set off a metal detector… Felicia also had this comment for yesterday’s post:

“I wish I could come sweat you in a B&M session. Maybe you could come over to Laughlin sometime?”

Forgive me Felicia, but if I was trying to get a poker diva in the sack, those are probably the lines I would use…

TFG, who had the mind-blowing experience of reading about his own blog in the Southwest Airline Magazine, had this comment about the article’s author:
“So, ‘Chris Tucker’, if you’re still reading this, here’s what I have to say: You lousy sumbuck!
In typical bad journalist fashion, the author focuses on TFG’s non-existent spelling errors to make his crappy article more interesting. I think TFG should drop the hammer on ’em! Anyway the famous blogger asked about casinos in Brazil after yesterday’s pic of the day, which featured a Brazilian female poker star. I’m not sure if they do, but apparently there are plenty of backdoor flushes to go around.

We’re reaching new lows here.

Pic of the day:
Search algorithms gone wild

Don’t call it a comeback

“Now that Fortuna had saved him from one cycle, where would she spin him now? The new cycle would be so different from anything he had ever known.”
–John Kennedy O’Toole, Confederacy of Dunces

Just chain me to my PC and never let me back in the B&M. After losing my shirt– actually, I think my most expensive shirt is $30, so let me rephrase– after losing 10 shirts at Hollywood Park, the cards smacked me in the head and I managed to walk away with $260 in 1 hour and 20 minutes last night. For some reason I’m missing $50 of profit on PokerTracker, since the auto-request seems to have failed once (this is the first time that’s happened– maybe it was on party’s end?). But the BB/HR is up there at a whopping 25 BB/Hr.

I was 9 for 13 showing down, and had 6 two pair hands, a flush, and a full house. And did I get some cards.

starting_hand&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsptimes_dealt&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbspwin_pct&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbspamt_won
AQo&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp2&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp100&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp49
KTs&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp1&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp100&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp39
TT&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp1&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp100&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp37.5
AJs&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp1&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp100&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp37
KQo&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp1&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp100&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp28
QJo&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp2&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp50&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp20
AKo&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp1&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp100&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp20
AA&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp1&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp100&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp18
86s&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp1&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp100&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp14.5
QQ&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp1&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp100&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp14.5
99&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp1&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp100&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp14
K7o&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp2&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp50&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp10
JTo&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp1&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp100&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp6

A grinder’s dream. Note I even hit on my 86s and one of my K7o blind hands. The sad thing was I didn’t feel like I was focused the entire time, but my cards were so good it didn’t matter. I did make a couple of good calls, and a couple well-timed bluffs, but the old saying “it’s better to be lucky than good” certainly applied.

I took pleasure in busting out two short stacked players who were tilting their money away. I ended up calling them down with small pairs, and of course they were trying to buy the pot. Each of these dying fish added $40 to my profits, so most of my winnings came from simply calling these guys down on the 6 pots I was in with them. This brings us to the simple corollary that I’m sure most of you have already figured out:

Unless a player has proven him/herself as solid, if that player has less than 9 BB on a Party Table, the probability that they are running a bluff is much higher than usual.

I suggest doing everything you can to get these short stackers heads up, which is usually relatively easy– the tilter raises early, allowing you to make it 2 bets to go, making it much more expensive for later callers. Obviously the table’s texture might prevent you from isolating the short stack, but if you think a raise might knock the others out, it’s usually worth a shot.

Here’s an example:
***** Hand History for Game 341773724 *****
3/6 TEXASHTGAMETABLE (LIMIT) – MON JAN 19 01:25:03 EST 2004
Table Ice Cream (Real Money) — Seat 3 is the button
Total number of players : 10
Seat 1: Conejo ( $47)
Seat 2: LTGambi ( $9)
Seat 3: markarian7 ( $146.50)
Seat 4: elvislives_ ( $301)
Seat 5: hdouble ( $173.50)
Seat 6: FeelGoodFern ( $210)
Seat 7: loubrdar ( $140)
Seat 8: Mgraw ( $63.50)
Seat 9: John549 ( $175)
Seat 10: bbadon ( $175)
hdouble posts small blind (1)
FeelGoodFern posts big blind (3)
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to hdouble [ 9h, 9d ]
Mgraw folds.
John549 folds.
bbadon calls (3)
Conejo folds.
LTGambi calls (3)
markarian7 folds.
hdouble calls (2)
FeelGoodFern checks.
** Dealing Flop ** : [ As, 3h, Ac ]
hdouble checks.
FeelGoodFern checks.
bbadon checks.
LTGambi bets (3)
hdouble raises (6) to 6
FeelGoodFern folds.
bbadon folds.
LTGambi calls (3)
LTGambi calls all-In.
** Dealing Turn ** : [ 8s ]
** Dealing River ** : [ 5c ]
Creating Main Pot with $23 with LTGambi
** Summary **
Main Pot: $23 | | Rake: $1
Board: [ As 3h Ac 8s 5c ]
Conejo balance $47, didn’t bet (folded)
LTGambi balance $0, lost $9 [ 8c 7h ] [ two pairs, aces and eights — As,Ac,8c,8s,7h ]
hdouble balance $187.50, bet $9, collected $23, net +$14 [ 9h 9d ] [ two pairs, aces and nines — As,Ac,9h,9d,8s ]

Short stacks make for easy prey.

Grubby and Ignatius T. have turned me on to David Ross, and his latest rush makes mine look like one of Donnie McNabb’s passes. Check out his latest post on 2+2:

Then the most amazing thing happened. I went on a rush like I

B&M S&M

No, I’m not talking about Sklansky and Malmuth. Yours truly was whipped into submission on the $6-12 tables at Hollywood Park, dropping $300 over 7 hours. There were plenty of calling stations, and of course that makes for plenty of bad beats. My stack fluctuated wildly, going down to -200 all the way up to +70, and then a series of terrible beats sent me home with an empty wallet.

Looking at my notes, I see that my last session at HP was 6 weeks ago, on 11/22 for a loss of $350. The only note I have says: “bad beat city”. The beats I took yesterday were just awful, and for all the grinders out there at .50/1, I don’t know how you can handle it. Looking back at my play yesterday, I think I only misplayed two hands, and one of the few positive things that came out of the session was my ability to stay sharp for the entire 7 hours and avoid tilt. There’s no way I could sit in front of the comp for 7 hours (unless I’m working), and it felt good to have a solid session of poker. Once you’re immersed in the game, it’s a lot more fun, even if you are taking some many bad beats.

The players were pretty bad. I ended up moving tables about halfway through the session when my first table tightened up. Both tables were about evenly divided between calling stations, and tricky, loose-aggressive players who would often raise on the come, and punish you when they actually had (or hit) a hand. The 3 or 4 calling stations combined into one giant fish, and usually end up biting my head off. I felt like Gandalf going into battle against a horde of orcs, destroying most of them but taking a knife in the back from an unseen foe.

I tried to keep notes on the interesting hands, and here is the list I came up with:

Beats
1. AQ in the SB, Q flops. River is T, beat by 2 pair by a guy with QT. This was the second hand of the night.
2. AA cracked by J9s for the straight on the turn
3. 42 BB, flop A 2 3, turn 3, river 4, guy wins 55 for the wheel.
4. Limp UTG with 88, flop 3 3 7, I bet, raised on turn, I muck, he shows J3o
5. Missed on three open straight draws…
6. AQ, flop Q 7 5, turn 7, I get reraised and fold, she shows 75o
7. Overplay JJ, guy 3 bets it, flop Q T rag, he check raises and I call to river– he shows AA. This was one of the two seriously bad plays I made.
8. Last hand– KJ, call UTG, 2 callers. Checked to river, K, guy turns over 6 8 for a straight he hit on the turn.

Wins
1. Hit a straight on the turn with 78s
2. pocket 6s, flop K 6 6 w 2 hearts, I bet out 3 players muck. The calling stations decide to fold when I have quads, how nice. Pot was around 4 SB.
3. TT overpair raising the whole way, guy also has TT (Split pot)
4. I crack AA with 65s in the BB, flop is 4 5 8, turn 6
4. AQ– Board Q 9 9 K Q, guy bets out on the flop, I reraise. I bet the whole way, he shows QT (split pot).
5. 88- flop 8 A rag, I slowplay heads up.
6. AJ, J flops, I win.
7. AJ again UTG, J flops and one guy calls to the river. A Pot Limit player who just sat down to my left said he mucked AK on the flop.
8. QQ holds up when K hits on river.

Poker Gods, why hast thou forsaken me?
None of the above hands would have really mattered if I had won the biggest pot of the night, which went down like this:

5 limpers, I look at AQs in the SB, and raise it up, and everyone calls, so there are 6 BBs in the pot pre-flop. The flop is no good for me: T J 7 with none of my suit, so I check it and a guy in middle position bets. Everybody calls, and I know the pot is laying me the correct odds for my gutshot, since people are tied to the pot at this point. I call, and the guy to my left check raises, making it 2 bets. The first bettor reraises, but everyone still calls, so I reluctantly throw in 2 more bets, knowing that only the King can save me. The pot now has 15 BBs ($180), and we haven’t even hit the turn. The turn is… THE KING OF CLUBS!!! I manage to keep my poker face, and check raise when the early bettor bets out. There is no possible flush on the board, so the early bettor has either a set of jacks, a set of tens, or JT. He calls the check raise, along with one other player, so now 21 BBs ($252) in the pot. I think I heard the poker gods booming laughter in my ears as the river paired the board with a ten, and the bettor immediately bet out. I sadly called, asking “are you full?” as he turned over JTo and raked in the $300 pot to give me my answer.

I would have been a lot happier if he had won with a set of jacks or tens, but he’s got 4 cards in the deck that he can win with (10%), and he hits one of them. The 90% favorite goes down hard, and turns a winning night into a losing one. You gotta love poker. Again, this is why we need a 300BB bankroll– to survive the cruel strokes of fate.

The annoying thing about the long session yesterday was that there was relatively little skill involved. I picked up several tells, but it didn’t really matter. With the pots being so large, it was pretty much ABC ram and jam poker. I remember a guy in middle position showed down 53o for the 6 high straight, which he gutshotted on the river, and called a raise preflop with. The guy to my left asked me “was that suited?” as a serious question, implying that 53s is ok to call a raise with.

Time to go back to the masters of wild games, Izmet and Abdul, so I can “enjoy loose games” a little bit more.

Poker Blog Patrol
A blog that has been around for a while but I haven’t discovered until today: Paulsburbon, where you can go to find the best hard liquor out there, as well as some great chat. Check out Paul’s chat after sucking out on a fish:

maxi27: you have to be KIDDING
maxi27: WITH THAT HAND
maxi27: \ODO
Paulsburbon: should have folded that bottom pair against me…
Paulsburbon: 😉
maxi27: I HAD HUGE FLUSH DRAW
maxi27: U SHOLD HVE NEVER BEEN IN a HAND LIKE THAT
maxi27: KEEP IT UP
Paulsburbon: Draw being the most important word there
maxi27: KEEP PLYIN FOR LUCKY
maxi27: U HAD NOTHING I HAD A PI]AIR
Dealer: Akos, it’s your turn. You have 15 seconds to act
Dealer: Player Akos has requested TIME
Paulsburbon: and I took the pot… it happens
maxi27: U HAD ONLY THE WOST DRAW
Paulsburbon: nh
Dealer: Paulsburbon has two pair, Kings and Nines
Dealer: maxi27 has two pair, Tens and Nines
Dealer: Game #217135443: Paulsburbon wins pot (3360) with two pair, Kings and Nines
Dealer: maxi27 finished the tournament in 11th place
Paulsburbon: luck wins again
maxi27 [observer]: U ARE THE PITSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS
jukebox: thats the game

I’ve been reading Table Tango for a while, but I didn’t discover Linda’s Book of Tales until today. I’ve only made my way through about half of them, but I recommend all of these to everyone. There are some excellent poker lessons in here, lessons that go beyond pot odds and table image. Check out Linda’s musings about one of my favorite poker bloggers talks about life as a playwright, and has a one-act showing in DC soon. If I had the cash, I’d fly out and check it out, and repeatedly bellow “HAMMER!” at the top of my lungs immediately upon the play’s conclusion. Grubs had the misforgute of busting out in the big Saturday tourney when his AQ went down in flames to AK.

Reading about OJ’s night at the $10-20 game at the Mirage was somewhat comforting, after coming off a similar night last night at HP. It was even more comforting to know that he booked a big win in his next session at Ocean’s Eleven in SD.

Boy Genius continues to blog like there is no tomorrow, and explains how he dominated his home game NL tourney. Congrats my man.

Peyton, you’re just another pawn in Belichek’s game
The Pats are busy dropping the hammer on the Colts. Those Boston boys are some tough MFs. They have pounded the hell out of the Colts all game, and the Pats O-line is mandhandling people. Billy B has blown Peyton’s mind, and I can’t even explain how brilliant Belichek’s schemes are. I just wish I had put down more cash on them. I might have to push all-in in the superbowl and let it ride on the Pats. Two guys I would never want to play poker against– Bill Belichek and Tom Brady.

Side note: Daniel Graham, the TE for the Pats, is the TE whose game most resembles mine. Expect big things out of this guy (he had a couple big drops last week and cost me a win in the sportsbook, but besides that he has been impressive). He is big, athletic, and runs great routes, and goes an excellent job blocking, unlike Shockey or Shannon Sharpe. If I’d ever sold out and used roids, I like to think I’d be doin the stuff that Graham is doing.

Fun with keywords
My last blog entry had several references to Paris Hilton. I noticed that the ads at the top of my blog today were in French! Nice work Google theoreticians. Just for fun, I’m going to see if I can get Swedish ads with the following text:
“Jag ska vinna alla penga pa Globen Casino i Stockholm”. Translation: I’m going to win all the money at the Stockholm Casino. I wish I could say something more interesting, but my Swedish sucks. More likely it will pick up on the “S&M” in the blog title, which is probably more fun anyway…

Chips anyone?
I got an email from Stephan, who runs a poker chip site. He seems like a nice guy, and the chips look really nice, so I’ve linked up to him. I’m still using plastic chips that I bought at Target, but if I ever win a tourney I’ll probably buy this set.