Mum poker

Decided to give the cash game a go today.  Found a juicy table.  There were a few players that were seeing over 50% of flops.  I avoided the good/tight players and only engaged with the fishies.  One of them got the best of me twice with an inferior hand that hit a miracle, but I kept my cool.  “Mum” poker.  Just shook it off and imagined that my hand held up and moved to the next hand.  My focus was on that guy and one or two others at the table.

I bounced up and down a bit and leveled off for a long time where I was ahead by $15 after reloading.  My target had won some pots through aggression and miracle river cards.  For example his opponent had flopped a flush and this guy went berzerk with JJ and hit a miracle 4th club to capture a big pot with a J-high flush vs his opponent’s flopped 9-high flush.   He lost two big pots for around $200 cumulative to a shark who was sitting to his right – the shark just let the target hang himself.

I wanted my turn, I’d played over 200 hands with this guy and really hadn’t gotten much from him at all, but I knew if I kept my cool and was patient, it’d happen.

I was BB w/ A7o.  Target was directly across from me (6-max) and min-raised.  I re-raised.  He re-raised me again…but min raise…if it was bigger, I’d have folded.   Flop came 797.  I checked.  He bet just under the pot.  I smooth called.

Turn was an 8.  I checked, he bet about 80% of the pot.  At this point I’m thinking he might have the 9 or he has an over pair.  He’s known to go wacky with an over pair in the JJ example above.  I raise him 1.5X his raise.  He calls.  River is the 9, giving me a full house.  If he has a 9 though, he’s got a better full house. I stick with my instinct that if he had the 9, he’d have been going crazy earlier in the hand.    So I put him all-in…he thinks and calls since there’s about $450 in the pot already and he’s got $55 left.  He shows QQ.  The cash register rings…and rings loudly as I flattened my target who stood up and left immediately.  I bid the rest of the table farewell and stand up $390 healthier for the afternoon.

“Mum” poker was rewarding and easy on the soul.  Also, I should mention that A7 is a hand that’s not really in my range against most opponents, but against that guy it would generally have been considered a monster.  His raises weren’t significant pre-flop, so he really was inviting a suckout.  In .50/1 game to raise w/ QQ in mid position to only $2 is asking for disaster.  Re-raising an early position raiser from $6 to $13 is also inviting a suckout.   And WOOSH…did I suck out and then some!  :-)

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Saturday!

Good run during the day.  Very good in fact.

Went to Target for some shopping and felt a little woozy and realized I hadn’t eaten since 11am (it was around 8pm) – so I hit the new Chevy’s that opened up by my house.  Had a few margaritas with dinner and thought it’d be best if I didn’t come home and play poker, so I watched the Obama speech on YouTube.  Wow!  I’m stoked.  This guy has his sh*t together and is a big-picture thinker in my book.  I’m excited about being done with Bush’s version of America.   As Obama said, “Eight is enough”.

Anyway, after watching the 45 minute speech I was looking for SnG’s to hop into, but man – they’d fill up fast, or they were way on the high end of the bankroll tolerance level (for fish-filled tourneys). I didn’t register in time for any of the good ones so I just opened the table and collected data.  As one opened, I saw that a friend was playing.  So I looked him up on Google-Chat and gave him a few hints about opponents of his that I had data on. 

When he was done, we chatted for a while then jumped into a $30 6-max SnG.  It shrunk to 3 of us pretty quick.  Me, my friend, and a dude from Denmark.  The 3 of us battled for a LONG time.  No soft-play between me and the friend either.  In fact, he put me out on the ropes when my 88 ran into his 99.   Next hand I had 77 and had no choice but to shove and he ran into AhKh…he not only hit the A I think, but actually ended up with a heart flush.  I was out!

He ended up winning a well-deserved prize and I bubbled.  Danish dude got 2nd. 

I liked the back and forth banter during the game in private.  It was definitely fun – the competition was good, and it was on the up-and-up.  I liked the idea that because we knew each other, we gave respect where it was due – but did not soft-play one another.  No different from a home-game – which is how I know him anyway. 

Bottom line – it’s fun to play poker with your friends at a home game, and it can sometimes be even more fun to play them online (as we did on Wednesday actually).  We’re doing another private tourney this Wednesday too.

Enjoy the long weekend everyone!

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Update by request

I’ve experienced a few pretty rough days to be quite frank.  I was really really getting my ass handed to me.  It was getting so bad that I re-enabled chat and got a bit mouthy with the administrators of my bad beats.  I kept playing “angry” and wanting to get even.  It’s a downward spiral – let me tell you.

Despite that, I cracked the books as I usually do and was just hoping that something might trigger a change that could make a difference.   The word “deception” kept coming up in the texts.  Another thing that came up was an arguement for NOT always raising when you enter pots.  Even if you have good hands.   Interesting.  “That would be considered deceptive”, I thought.

I took out a sheet of paper and was about ready to write out a few things to keep next to the PC while I played.  As I was looking for a pen, I saw the cover of my “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” book.  It hit me!  One of the 7 Habits is, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood”.   I’d been playing poker with all of these donkeys who I wanted to respect me when I raised.  I wanted them to fold A6o because I’ll only enter pots with better hands.  They’d call, and flop 2 pair vs my AK, AQ, etc.  Knowing that they’re fools and rags are in their range, I’d just keep firing away.  They’d just keep calling.  And KABOOM…I’m done.  I’d get pissed, lash out at them, and get ugly.  No fun for me.  No fun for them.  But they’ve got my money and I’d have a sore pooper from taking it in the rear against my will.   So – that “habit” of “seek first to understand, then to be understood” is a good one for poker.  You gain nothing if your opponents understand you.  In fact, you inherently lose your edge if they understand you…you’re not deceptive if you’re understood.

So, the last 48 hours or so, I’ve really mixed it up.  When I would normally raise, I just call or limp.  I’ll limp and raise a lot more with lesser hands if the price is right and the action is likely to cap.  It’s made the game more fun for me and more profitable.  I’ve set a lot of successful traps.  I’ve had a few first place finishes, and I’ve had TONS of 2nd place finishes – and I’m ok with that.  Each bad beat (2nd place) reminds me that I got my money in good – and that’s ok.  My opponent needs to think he’s lucky – and I need to know I got my money in good or at least used sound judgment before going KABOOM!

Anyway – the sheet I’m keeping next to me has the following reminders:

  • Seek to Understand
  • Select appropriately (table, limits, opponents)
  • “Mum”
  • Survival
  • OK to fold the winner occasionally
  • Position
  • Patience
  • Any doubt, throw it out!

I’m back at smaller stakes with smaller, yet more frequent wins and hopefully on a better overall trajectory – hope it continues.

WOW!

Wow – just played one of the hardest games ever.  The buy-in was steep.   There was a shark playing that I’d played with before.  In my notes it said that we really respected each other, so I was sure to greet him when I sat down (I turned on chat just to do that).  It seemed to be a good idea as it might sort of give the hint that I would stay out of my way if he stayed out of mine.   This was a big buy-in and I really wanted some leeway when I was targeting the other 4 in the tourney.   Anyway, said shark had quad 6’s once.  Had AK (2 pair) vs fish w/ A7 (2 pair)…guess what the river was.  7.   Can’t say I was sorry to see the shark go, but that was a shitty way to get bounced.

As for me, I was in good shape, till disaster struck and I found myself shortstacked.  Thankfully it wasn’t a turbo and I had 10X the BB…but only barely.  I had to tread water and just shove.   Luckily the hands I’d shown down on the way to shortstack were all primo and I stole the blinds once per round for a few rounds.  Then I find QJ and shove.  I get called by K9.  Flop is K9X…can’t even remember I was so horrified.  Then…miracle!  10 strikes.  I’m good w/ a straight. 
I was down to 160 chips at one point I think and damn did I battle back.  I got lucky on other necessary shoves and ended up coming back to win the tourney…for $390.   But now I’m freaked out because it was such a rollercoaster ride and such a rush surviving.   Lady luck definitely had my back on this one.   Whew!

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Saturday Afternoon

Spent the morning configuring Hold Em Manager and getting the HUD the way I wanted it while lounging at the locale cafe.  Set it up to not just import my hand histories, but observed table hand histories as well.  Good for data mining, etc.  While I watch tables and saw who the “sharks” were, I noticed their stats vs the loose-fishy players and made a note to emulate those players as best as possible.  That and I decided to leave my player chat/observer chat off.   I experimented with that recently and it’s amazing and fighting the urge to Tilt and go off on someone.  If you can’t open your mouth easily, you just generally don’t – and the anger/aggression subsides and you keep your bankroll in tact.  I like keeping chat off so far.

Anyway, I came home and cleaned up a bit from last night’s $5 educational tourney at my house, then plopped down to see how the HUD would work out.  3 tourneys:  1st, 2nd, bubble.  Then cash game.  Cash game was nice.  Had a great hand, but folded to tight player player on the button who re-raised me pre-flop.  Just decided that based on his stats, and my stats that he probably wouldn’t mess with me unless he had something that could beat my EP raise…so just folded.   Got in a nice pot later when a SB limper flopped two pair and I flopped an OE draw from the BB.  I bet light-medium and he just called.  Turn completed my draw – THEN he decided he wanted to chase me out.  I called, of course, and stacked him!   Sorta wish I had chat on so I could see what, if anything he typed….but generally glad to not be distracted and just move on to the next hand.

Chat off = good.  So far VERY impressed with Hold Em Manager.  Could become my new fav.  While I type this I’ve got 16 tables open doing data mining.  Sorta wish they had some bankroll management stuff in the software.  Perhaps I’ll suggest it.

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Software Discovery

I’ve been a bit peeved at PokerOffice of late.  Seems that every time there’s a FullTilt software update, PokerOffice is broken…and not fixed very quickly.

I started searching for other tools to use with HUD stats.  PokerTracker seemed natural.  But I wanted to find other options.   Alas, I stumbled on HoldEmManager – which can be found at HoldEmManager.net

I’m doing a 15-Day Trial.  The set-up was a bit on the technical side.  But once you get it up and going, the HUD is informative to say the least.  On top of that, the ability to dig-down and analyze is crazy!

The support seems to be extraordinary according to the 2+2 forums and from the looks of things on their site, the forum moderators/support are pretty responsive.

Cash game support appears pretty complete.  Tourney support is missing session and graph granularity at the moment, but I’m pretty confident that the developers are prioritizing this based on my interpretation of their skills and customer focus.

We’ll see how the next 14 days go, but it seems likely that I’ll invest the $80 in this software and abandon PokerOffice.

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45-Player Tourney – Afterthoughts

Played a 45-player tourney yesterday and was running well.  Lasted till the final table with an average chipstack and was in good shape to slide into the money – it paid thru 6th place.

I wake up w/ AQ and raise.  The large-stack, aggressive player shoved all in.  I’d seen him do it in the past with medium pocket pairs.  I’d noted him as someone to avoid tangling with.  Of course, what happens, I call – putting my tourney life at risk.  He showed 66 and my AQ went unimproved and I was out.   I was disappointed to a degree, but my general feeling was that winning that hand could put me in the drivers seat – which would have been nice.

An afterthought occurred just moments ago as I read this quote from, “How to Think Like a Pro” by Roy Cooke and John Bond.   It says, “To err on the side of caution can only be a small error.  To err on the side of taking too much risk can be a disaster.”

In other words, folding would have only been a small mistake – and there’s no doubt about it.  I’d still have chips left to battle with and could have picked a less dangerous opponent or a smaller stack to tangle with.  Calling like I did, on the other hand, would be either a huge mistake or a coin-flip at best.  Based on that player, it’s unlikely that me calling the all-in was going to be a brilliant decision.   *Sigh*

I could have waited till I was actually in the money to make a call like that.  Hindsight is always 20/20.  But that quote really puts things in perspective and will hopefully come to the forefront of my mind when I’m put in that kind of situation again.

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