Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A big cash game win - finally

Last year Mr.Tart and I started tracking all of our poker play. I created an Excel spreadsheet and, by month, we tracked every dime spent. We recorded date, location, game type, BB, buy-in, and cash-out. This year I modified the spreadsheet to separately track online ring, online tourney, live ring, and live tourney. I also added a column for notes – as I thought it would be helpful to write a few short comments about how I felt about the session, as well as any memorable hands.

First thing I discovered, I am an online donk. Hence, the “break” will continue.

Second thing I discovered was that so far this month, I felt like I have been playing some of the best poker. Every note started with “Played well” or “Played very well” – but I wasn’t bringing home any bacon. Until last week.

I had a meeting in Buffalo on Wednesday that ended at Noon. Since I wouldn’t be driving 4 hours back to work and thus, had the rest of the day to myself, I decided to swing on by Fallsview for a little 2/5NL action.

I got there about 1:00 and there was no 2/5 running, but there was open seating at the 5/5NL game. I initially wanted the 2/5 game because it had a max buy-in of $200, so I could temper any potential losses. To be honest, I wasn’t all that confident about my live casino NL game. But I was there to play, and 5/5 is what was available to me.

The min buy-in was $100, max was $500. The table didn’t seem highly stacked, so I bought in for $300 – with another $200 back in case I needed it. But I didn’t. In a three hour session I was up $550!

I had two really memorable hands. Early on I had KK in LP. EP raised to 20, I re-raised to 60 and got called. Flop was K-xx, no straight, no flush. EP checked, I bet 100 and EP thought for a long time and then called. Turn brought an unremarkable card (but did put two to a flush out there). EP checked again, and I bet 100 again. He thought for a long time and then folded his JJ face-up. I realized, almost immediately, that I misplayed the turn. I think a check there would have conveyed weakness, and he might have bet large on the river. Oh well.

The other memorable hand will go down as one of the best hands I ever played (at least in my own, non-experienced, mind).

The table had been limping A LOT, so I was taking a few cheap flops with marginal hands. This time, I’m on the button, there are 8 limpers before me, and I limp with J8 suited. A little background…the hand right before this had been won by someone holding pocket 9’s, and when UTG limps in, he says “I have the hand you just won with” and then he said to another player “Hear that Joe? I have his hand”.

The flop comes 7, 4, A rainbow (one of my suit). It gets checked to me, so I decide to represent the Ace and bet 20. UTG calls my bet and says “My nines might be good”. The turn is a 9 and everyone laughs. The 9 brings me a gut shot straight draw and I now also have a flush draw. UTG checks and says “I’m going to check my set”. I bet out $40 and he calls. The river brings another 9. The table laughs again, and UTG taps the table. I miss my draws (although I’m still representing the Ace). I pull out a $100 bill and lay it in front of me and say “$100”. UTG goes into the tank and I start silently chanting “fold fold fold fold fold”. I’m not sure what I can do to make him fold, and I then do something that was potentially pretty stupid – a player next to me says “I guess he doesn’t have nines then”, and I say, kind of quietly, “I can confidently say he doesn’t have nines”. UTG shuffles his cards as he thinks, and flashes an Ace before folding, and I scoop the pot. One of the players near me says “She had A9” and I kind of smile and look down.

What made me feel so great was he obviously put me on the hand I was representing, and I was able to sell it, even though I only had Jack high.

Nothing much happened after that hand, until I went on a mini-rush and won three pots in a row with good starting hands that actually hit the flop. I lasted a few more orbits, and left the table just before paying my 7th session fee.

It was a great feeling to have such a profitable cash session. Over the past year my live cash games have been just above breakeven or losers. I drove home on cloud nine, and couldn’t wait for Mr.Tart to come home so I could regale him with stories.

Those stories, however, inspired great envy in Mr.Tart – and it was quite easy to talk him into heading to the casino for the day.

But that’s another post…

Monday, January 22, 2007

thisclose to the final table!

Oy. How can winning $150 feel so crappy? When you're the "final table bubble" that's how!

The tourney on Saturday featured my best performance to date, but I left feeling frustrated and mad at myself.

The game started late due to some technical difficulties, and we ended up having to grab random seats. Yikes. I end up in the 2s at a table where I know one of the players (a very methodical mathmatical player aka MMP) but the rest were unknowns. I win the first two pots of the game and build up a nice little stack when I river a straight and go all-in (I don't get called, but my opponenent bet quite a bit before folding to me).

There were a few memorable hands - mostly played against MMP. Twice he raised me, and twice I went all-in against him. Both times he put be on Kings, and he was wrong both times. My hands weren't nearly that strong, but I knew I could get him off his hands, and I was successful both times. That felt amazing.

Then, I'm not even sure what happened, but I ended up down quite a bit. In retrospect, I don't remember losing any large pots, but I guess a bunch of little pots along the way add up.

My table breaks, and I get moved to a table with KS - one of the other few women at the tourney, who I've played with briefly before. She has a great reputation (which is well deserved from my observations), and she has a MONSTER stack. Somewhere around 100,000....compared to my measly 12,000. But then, for some reason, chips start coming my way. I go all-in with top pair shitty kicker only to be called by someone who THOUGHT the Jack on the board was a King to go with his KQ. Holy hell, that was sweet.

Then I get involved in a hand with KS. She bluff-raises me on the turn and I smooth call, then go all-in on the river. I knew I had the best hand, and she gave me A LOT of chips. I thought for sure she would call the river (which would have been fine for me), but I read her wrong. She told me later she was on a OESD & flush draw. I put her on trip 8s. So although I was very happy to win the pot, I'm not happy that I got the wrong read.

I made it to the dinner break (24 players 11 pay), and after the dinner break KS busts out, leaving me as the only woman left. And then I RULE my table. The fold to every bet or raise I make. It's like a dream.

Then it's 2 tables. The money bubble bursts. Yippie! My best finish so far! Then another player goes out, and we're down to 10. Final table is 9. And I get moved.


My new table starts to bully me (one player in particular) and I fold repeatedly. Then I limp in with 56s (miskate #1), get raised 3xBB and then IDIOTICALLY go all-in, get called quickly by AQo, and his hand holds up, so I go out and miss the final table.

I wish I knew exactly what prompted me to go all-in. Part of it was, I think, that I was sick of getting pushed around. The bully had a huge chip-stack and used it against me. I was right to take a stand, but probably should have done it with a stronger hand. I was so bummed because I had PLENTY of chips. I could have posted & folded and made it to the final table without difficulty.

I feel frsutrated just thinking about it.

But my lesson was learned. I can still take a stand against a bully - I just have to pick my moments with a little more clarity.

My time will come. But aparantly, it will not come on APLady or Titan. I dumped $200 into APLady on Sunday morning and promptly lost is playing 3 tournies and way above my banroll. Cripes. Then I tried to sign up with Titan, only to be given the crazy runaround with my deposits, and am now down about $15. Ugh. Titan's Customer Service is terrible, and I can't seem to win a pot. I'm considering cashing out entirely and giving online a REAL break....not just 2 weeks.

We shall see if Titan ever responds to my email.

Friday, January 19, 2007

the curse of the re-suckout

Last night was the Season Finale in our Thursday Poker League - the culmination of the past 12 weeks of play, in which the top 16 players (i.e. earned the most points during the season) get the battle for the big pot ($2000). With 50% going to first place, it's a sweet payday.

This is season 4 of the league, and the very first time that I haven't been at the top of the league. That honour, this time, goes to Mr. Tart. I was actually 4th this season...despite having only moneyed 3 times.

The game started out well for me, and I won several smallish pots, but then lost a big chunk by raising on the river when i could have just called.

I was on the button, and UTG+1 raised 3xBB. I had KJc and decided to call, since I had position and a decent stack. SB & BB fold, so it's just UTG+1 and I. The flop comes K, Q, 4. UTG+1 bets 3xBB, I smooth call, putting her on either a K, or a bluff. The turn brings another 4, she checks, I check. The river brings a J, and gives me 2 better pair, than the 2 pair I think she has. She bets, I raise, and she calls, showing AQ for two better pair than me. D'oh! To be honest, I'm not sure why she didn't reraise me....she must have put me on a 4.

My biggest mistake was not narrowing her hand selection when she bet out on the flop. If she did, indeed, have a K, what was her kicker? She raised from early position preflop, so she must have had a decent kicker, and the only one I couldn't beat was K10. So it was a dumb raise on my part.

Second mistake was a poorly executed flush bluff against a very tight player. He is usually very easy to bluff, but I didn't bet enough for him to fold his straight (which if I had done a better job of selling my hand, he would have done).

That left me very short stacked. Blinds were 30/60 and I had $260....with just seconds to go before the blinds increased to 50/100. I knew I was pushing no matter what I had, and then the player to my right raises to 150. Ugh. I still had to push, and did...with 34s. Then the BB raises all-in. Uh oh! Original raises folds, and BB shows JJ....which I crush with a 4 on the flop and 3 on the turn. So dirty.

That almost tripled me up...and I gave my head a shake and started to play some good poker.

I made it to the final table and was short stacked with a few other players. I made a great call against an all-in bluff, and was down to 5 players. I was, however, still short stacked with just over 2,000 chips when the blinds were 150/300. On the button I have A10o and push, only to get called by monster chip leader who has AQs. Crapola.

but then, oh but then....a sweet, sweet 10 on the flop (along with a 7 and a K), then an Ace on the turn gives me 2 pair, and then the evil, evil, King on the river gives the BB 2 pair with a better kicker. He re-sucked out my suck-out!

I can't complain though...the best hand won. We both did the right thing, and the cards just fell where they fell. He eventually went on to win, and I was happy to see him use my chips wisely.

Overall it was a pretty dissapointing season for me. I just never really got in the groove. Luckily Mr.Tart had an awesome season, so combined we're up (and I'm still up overall for the league). The cards can't always be kind....but here's hoping Season 5 is a little better for the Tart.

We're playing in a big freezout tourney tomorrow. I've never made it to the final 2 tables in these particular I'm looking for a better finish tomorrow.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Oh bubble, how I hate thee.

Last night was the last game in our Thursday League's 4th "season". It was a great game, because only the top 16 point earners get to play in the Season Finale next week, and there was a tight race for the 16th spot.

Mr.Tart has had an amazing season - I think he's had 8 out of 12 money finishes, with 3 1sts (and 4 2nd place finishes IN A ROW). Killer. I smoked last season with 5 1st place finishes....but this season has been a dissapointment. I've had 3 cashes (two 3rds and one 2nd). Last night I made it to the final table with a nice stack, but got card dead, and then wasn't agressive enough to compensate for by bad run of cards.

I ended up all-in with a dominated hand (QJc against AJo) and didn't hit. It was the Mr. himself who took me out. Fucker.

Ah well. He went on to win the game.

I had so much fun though - the game was competitive, but not too serious. I laughed so much. That's what poker is about for me.

The last 3 seasons I've had very dissapointent Season Finale's...I busted very early in the first two, and in the last one I was extremely sick. There was no way I wasn't going though, because we pay into the Finale fund every week....but I had no business being there. I busted out on the WORST suckout ever by the guy who ended up winning the tourney. So I'm hopeful that my lackluster performance this season bodes well for a Finale WIN (or at least money!).

Monday league starts up again on Monday. They've changed from a re-buy to a freezeout structure, so that should be interesting.

Looks like Mr.Tart and a friend and I might hit up a local club tomorrow night...we'll see how things progress.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

If the first week of the year is any indication of my poker life for the rest of 2007, well kids, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

I started 2007 by winning a satellite on UltimateBet into a $200 +15 WPT satellite. Winning the sat ticket was a feat unto it’s own – it was a rebuy (which I rarely ever play), and I got in as an alternate, just as the rebuy period ended, so I double rebought and double added-on, giving me just under average chips. I’m not even sure how, but I ended up at the final table as the short-stack – but I’m a fairly confident SS player, and was able to make my way into the top 6 (and securing my tourney ticket) by attacking the mid-stacks who were afraid to play back at me, less they be crippled.

The main satellite was later that night, and it started off beautifully early on when I was dealt 10 3 off in the BB and got to see the flop for free with one caller and the SB. The flop was 3, 7, 10 – all diamonds. I bet out on the flop, got two callers and said to Mr. Tart – if they have the flush already, I have a full-house redraw. Well lo and behold, the turn is a 10. Sweet! I bet out again, only to get reraised by the first caller, and then the SB went all-in – so I went all in, and so did the other caller. Hands turn over to reveal SB has nut flush, other caller has pocket 33 for lower full house to my 10s full of 3s. Glorius.

But all good things must come to an end – and after tight, conservative play, I end up with a pitiful stack and go all-in with AK, get called by AJ, and lose when a J hits. Bah.

That was Monday.

Thursday brought back our regular league game, where again, I amassed a large chip-stack early on, but pissed it away with a spectacularly dumb move. First, my miracle of the night (aka, how I benefit from my opponent’s stupidity). I am in the BB with AJo. There are 3 limpers plus the SB who completes, so I raise 3xBB. Only one caller from MP. Flop is A, A, K. Niiiiiice. I decide to bet out 2/3 the pot and MP calls. This tells me he has an Ace, but is wary of his kicker. Knowing my opponent, I’m confident that he would have either raised, or reraised me preflop with AK – and definitely would have raised my flop bet with AQ – so my kicker is good. Knowing this, I decide to check the turn, indicating that my flop bet was a “feeler” and that I was giving up the hand. When a brick (a 4, I think) hits, I check, and MP checks. Mmmmmkay. River is a K. FUCK! There goes my kicker advantage. Convinced that we’re going for a chop, I don’t see any point in betting, and just tap the table. My opponent looks at me aggressively, waves his hand over his chips and says “I’m all in”. Still convinced that we’re chopping, I roll-my eyes and say “me too”. He confidently flips over his cards and says “full house”. I flip mine over and say “yeah, me too”, only to see that he has flipped over KJ, for Kings full of Aces, which I completely crush with my Aces full of Kings. Holy crap.

So I totally misread my opponent by thinking he had a weak Ace, but damn, what was he thinking? That I was completely bluffing pre-flop and on the flop? The best he could be hoping for was a chop. Silly, silly.

But in the “what were they thinking?” category goes the rest of my play for the night. I bled a good portion of my chips away by not paying attention to the blind level, and min-raising when I meant to be raising 3xBB. I didn’t realize I was doing it until the break when someone commented on it. Oooops. No wonder I couldn’t get the BB to fold.

Then I just had a complete melt-down by check-calling with AQ without hitting the board. I lost 2/3 of my chips on that hand, and I really don’t know why I kept calling the bets. I folded on the river when I really had no other choice.

Unfortunately I couldn’t do much after that, and went out before the final table. Boo hiss.

Saturday brought another trip to Rama. This time I ended up down $37. I was actually down $120 at one point – so I actually feel good that I was able to bring my stack up to just a “decent” loss. Unfortunately, miserable old Tony wasn’t at my table – but he was at Mr.Tart’s table and managed to suck out 3 monster pots in a row that essentially busted Mr.Tart just before we were set to leave. The 75 minute car ride home was especially enjoyable after that. Mr.Tart doesn’t lose very often at the casino cash games, so when he does, he takes it HARD.

Sunday morning I decided to spend the rest of the money in my UltimateBet account on tourneys…and spend it I did. I lost every tourney to a suckout – no joke. Now I’m officially on my online break. I’m going to stay away for at least two weeks.

That brings us to yesterday, when the 2006 Battle of Champions for our Monday league was set to take place. Every other Monday we play in a league, and if you won a game, and attended 4 or more games during the year, you were invited to play in the Battle of Champions. $50 was removed from each bi-weekly pot, so the BoC is a freeroll. We all agreed to juice the freeroll pot with another $40 each, so the winner would take home just under $800.

There were only 11 players, and I was on. my. game.

I made two excellent calls on opponents who were trying to bluff me on the river – but their bets didn’t make sense with the action, and I caught them both red-handed. The look of dejection in both of them (over 2 hours apart, mind you) when I said “I call”, was priceless.

I made one mistake early on, for sure. Mr.Tart had ended up short-stacked by bluffing into an opponent with a monster, and only had about 1,800 chips left (we started with 4500). The person next to me limped in, and I limped with pocket 88s hoping to catch trips. Mr.Tart, on the cut-off, goes all-in. It gets folded to me, and after looking at my stack (which was over 5,500) I decide to fold. I figured it was going to be a coin-flip, knowing he would push with any high Ace in that position – but based on what was already in the pot, and what I had back, I should have called his bet.

A very similar hand happened later, but it was a good fold. I limped with a low suited Ace (A7s), and Mr.Tart came over the top again. This time I had no hesitation in folding, and he flashed his AQh at the table. That one was a no brainer.

As it got down to six-handed, I was tied for the short-stack with another player. But I wasn’t worried, he was so weak/passive, trying to limp his way into the money…I knew I’d outlast him for SURE. This was when I made my second good call against a river bluff, and that gave me just enough chips to have some room to move. I survived an all-in with top-pair & a flush draw against two-pair by making my flush, and then I was good to the top 3…in the money Baby!

My opponents were polar opposites.

Sr. is an old luckbox who believes that poker is all luck, and doesn’t hesitate to put his money in with second pair. He also thinks everyone is always bluffing.

Guy is one of the best players in the league. Smart, but is also a little fearful of me, because he knows that I’m capable of some solid play.

Unfortunately, Sr has a monster stack.

I survive for quite awhile by stealing blinds, but don’t get called when I have QQ, AK, or 88….I really needed a caller so that I could accumulate some chips. I end up going out with A8o when Guy has AJo. An Ace and Jack hit on the flop. Bah.

Guy ended up winning the game – which was good….I didn’t want to see a luckbox crowned as the 2006 Champ of Champs!

Phew! What a week.

What does it all boil down to? I’m up $50 for the year so far.

Could be worse, I guess ;)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Poker frenzy

My weekend started with a poker-bang. I played in Merry Xmas Maddness…a mostly for fun, crazy rebuy game. $5 buy-in, unlimited rebuys for the first 4 blind levels, and any hand played to the river with an As or 2h pulls a special chip from a bag. The special chips had various implications:

White - "Merry Christmas!" - The player pulling this chip may exchange it for one free re-buy or add-on.
Blue - "Secret Santa!" - The player pulling this chip is feeling especially generous and will be moving All-In blind on the very next hand
Red - "Gift Exchange!" - The player pulling this chip, exchanges all their chips with the all the chips of the player to thier left.
Light Blue - "Don't open your Presents Early!" - If this chip is pulled before the first break, you get a green 25 chip from the bank. If it's pulled after the first break, it counts as it's value (5,000)
Orange - "Christmas in Omaha" - At any point, trade in this chip for 2 more hole cards. Use any combination of the board cards and your four hole cards to make the best hand. If you still have this chip after the first break it becomes it's value (2,000)
Pink - "SUPER ULTRA-SECRET XMAS PRESENT!!!11OMG1!!" - Choose one of the 15 sealed envelopes, open it, and see what you get!!!
Grey - "Bah Humbug!" - Keep this chip until you win a pot or bust out. While you have this chip you only get dealt one hole card. If you still have this chip after the first break you can exchange it for a black "100" chip. Bah-Humbug.

Mr.Tart and I found out about this game on, where the host posts regularly. We’ve talked about going to one of his games for awhile now, and thought this would be a fun way to enter the fray. And it was.

I was seated at the table that was predicted to have the most rebuys, and we did not disappoint. I ended the rebuy period up well above average stack, but then my table broke and I moved to another table where I made a serious blunder. A player who I thought to be very good moved all in on the BB, after 4 people (plus me, in the SB) limped. I had A6s, and thought she was making a move to “punish the limpers”. I had her outchipped by at least double, so I called. Well, she wasn’t making a move, she had pocket QQ. Oooops. Now I was well below average chips, and after a few orbits went all in with A9o and was called by UTG who had limped with pocket QQ. So the ladies did me in that night. Funnily enough, I thought UTG had something big since he limped when he was normally aggressive. But I didn’t listen to my gut. After I busted out, I went over to Mr.Tart’s table to see that he was all-in, just as I stood behind him, he got called by AJo to his A4o, and he did not spike a lucky 4. So, our timing was pretty good. Heh.

Even though we both busted out (and I spent $30 on a $5 tourney) it was a blast. Everyone was there for a good time, and now that we’ve met the host in person, we’ll definitely go back for his more serious games.

On the way home, I suggested a day-trip to Rama was in order. So our Saturday afternoon was spent at the 2/5 Limit tables. Mr.Tart doubled his buy-in, and I lost $60. My biggest mistake was leaving the table when I did. My table had been pretty tight/passive for a couple hours, and I had trouble making any money on my made hands, and lost a few pots betting at my draws. Before we started playing, Mr.Tart and I had agreed to leave between 5:30-6:00 (having an end time helps me, because I’d play all night if I didn’t have a set time to leave). Well, at 5:30, Mr.Tart cashes out. I had just paid the BB, so I said I’d stay for this last orbit. Next thing I know, “Tony” sits down at my table. Tony, as I would learn, is an old, miserable man, who caps everything pre-flop. I learned this lesson when I folded my pocket jacks on a Q-high board to his insane bets….only to learn that he was betting with 9 4 and caught the 9 on the flop. Holy crap!

The pots on the table ballooned, and the table saw more action in 5 hands than it saw in the previous 40. I should have stayed…because I knew I’d be able to take down at least one monster pot….but I felt like I should leave when I said I would. Mr.Tart talked about it afterwards, and I told him that I didn’t want to leave, but didn’t want to keep him waiting….he said that in the future, I should just tell him the table is juicy….he can bide his time at the video poker machines. Ah well. Live and learn. Apparently Tony is a regular….so I hope to see him in the future (actually, I hope to see him this coming Saturday when we’re going again).