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 ;)

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