Tuesday, February 27, 2007

it doesn't always pay to be right

I'm sitting here at work, waiting for a final update on the current catastrophe before I can leave for the day...what better time to mull over last night's game.

It was a smaller game than usual - only 11 players. And I went out an astonishing 10th. This is pretty much par for the course for me lately, but I don't feel bad about last night's game at all, because I know I played well.

In the critical hand of the night, I had pocket 10s on the button, and Jr. raised it from UTG (around 2.5xBB). Jr. isn't a good player. I knew his range of raising hands was pretty wide - any ace, any two face cards are high on his list of premium hands. It was folded to me, and I contemplated a reraise. I decided that I could outplay him on the flop if I got a nice board, and decided to just flat call and see what the flop brought. The blinds folded.

I watched Jr as the board was dealt and he was anxiously watching the cards come out, so I knew his hand wasn't strong, and he needed to hit the board. The flop is 5c, 8s, 2c. He looked at the board for awhile, and then moved all-in for more than 3x the pot!

I said "that's a big bet" and he replied, "yes it is". he watched me intently as I counted out the size of the bet. I had him covered, but would only have about 1,400 chips left afterwards (blinds were around 100/200 I think). I just SMELLED weakness off of him, and pushed the call in. He groaned and turned over Ace 8 unsuited (so top pair, ace kicker, the hand his daddy, Sr. loves to go all-in with). Turn is a 7c, river a Jc. His Ace? The Ace of clubs.

So my perfect read, and perfect call gets kiboshed by a runner-runner flush. Yoinks!

I triple up a few hands later with AK when I go all-in against two players preflop and hit two pair (yippie!), and then a few hands after that, go all-out with pocket sevens to pocket aces. The worst part of that is I hit my 7 on the flop, turn a full-house, only to see an Ace on the river.

In those three pivotal hands, my play was solid. I thought about my options, and made the right move. Unfortunately, the right moves don't always pay off.

I feel better about my game though, and that's the important thing. It's incredible how emotional poker can be. It always baffles me when people say that they don't get affected by the emotional aspect of the game. Actually, it doesn't baffle me as much as I think they are full of it. It's an emotional roller-coaster, and it's so eacy to have your confidence dashed against the rocks, and when your confidence is low, you don't play optimally, which leads to more confidence-crushers. I can see how easy it would be to spiral into a really bad losing streak.

I'm not out of the woods yet. I'm still up for the year, but February has made a big dent in my strong start to 2007.

Bankwell placed 3rd last night, for double his buy-in back. There are definitely positives to sharing a bankroll with your husband!

Friday, February 23, 2007

bankroll blues

I've been playing micro-limit OHL and Razz on FullTilt - I'm down $50 so far, but it's fun learning a new game. I think what I've enjoyed most is reliving those lightbulb moments I had when I was learning Hold'Em. I've been playing the same people in my live games, that I think I go on auto-pilot with NLHE.

Unfortunately, my auto-pilot is stuck on "play like crap".

I played at Fallsview on Wednesday and dropped an entire buy-in. I went into the game not feeling up to it, and just had the feeling that I shouldn't play - but what do I do? Plunk down my $500 like an idiot.

I also haven't had a single decent finish this year at the Thursday league, and last night it really hit me. I'm playing badly. I'm not card-dead, I'm not getting sucked out on (at least not more than usual), I'm playing badly.

I'm playing loose, weak, and passive. I keep getting stuck with second best hands at the river and paying off the best hand. And why do I have second best hands? Because I either call with second-rate hands, or passively let my opponents catch up. I call in stead of folding. I call instead of raising. I check instead of betting. And I pay everyone off. Bad, bad Tart!

I'm such an emotional player - whether I like to admit it or not. How I feel impacts how I play, and how I play impacts how I feel. Lately I've been really stressed out, which leads to bad play, which leads to stress, which leads to....you get where I'm going here.

So what's the answer here? I don't think the stesses in my life are going anywhere anytime soon. I just need to find some better outlets for them, methinks.

Friday, February 16, 2007

No play=good play?

When ever we have an undesirable result at a game, Banky and I always ask each other “How do you think you played?” If we think we played well, then it’s easier to get over the bad result.

Last night I had a bad result – 12th of 17. But I feel unable to evaluate my play, because I barely played. My wrist got sore from flicking my cards into the muck over, and over, and over. It’s strange, because I didn’t get the frustrating card-dead stack-is-shrinking feeling that I’ve had before, because I was able to steal two pots using position. By the end of the 4th blind level, my stack was $25 above starting, and I still had 10xBB.

I then lost two pots calling short-stack all-ins and lost (with the best hand) both times, and then had just over 6xBB. Unfortunately, there were several shorter stacks who kept pushing all-in while I folded 82, J4, 103, etc. Finally I pushed with a King in the BB when it was folded to the SB who limped in, and he slow-rolled me with AJ. I caught my card on the turn and he caught his on the river. Wah wah.

But it wasn’t dramatic, it wasn’t adrenaline filled, and for the first time in awhile, it wasn’t even that much fun. It was fold, fold, fold, lose a pot, fold, fold, out. Anti-climatic to say the least.

So Banky and I went home, watched Survivor and drank beer to drown our sorrows.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Double Bubble

Banky and I finished 5th and 4th respectively last night in a game that paid top 3. Bah!

The night started off great when I got a boat lead of chips from Sr when I had nut flush to his trip Kings. But other than that, there weren’t many memorable hands.

I got short stacked bluffing off some chips to Banky when he had a flush draw and I had a straight draw – we both missed, but I chickened out and didn’t bluff the river. Weak.

After that I survived by stealing pots when I could. Banky busted out 5th when he got caught in a semi-bluff. My bust-out was pretty non-eventful. I went out when I had about 4xBB and went all-in with A10. Got quickly called by 1010 and my Ace didn’t hit.

That’s all she wrote last night.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Back in the online saddle...

I decided to give online poker another try this weekend, and rebought in to Full Tilt. I can honestly say, that although I lost way more than I won this weekend, I had more fun playing online poker than I have in a very long time.

I played a bunch of tournaments, and even won a satellite into the $200 HORSE event on Saturday night. I’d never played HORSE before Saturday, and I loved it. I’d played all the games separately at times, except Razz – which ended up being my favourite of all the rotations. I think I only played “ok” in the big tournament. I went out after about an hour and a half…somewhere in the 500s (520ish?) out of 568 players. I held my own in the early rounds, but was in over my head in one Stud High round and lost a lot of my chips and just couldn’t recover.

I’ve been so down on online poker as of late, because of the horrendous suckouts (which, I know everyone gets, but I find myself more frustrated by them online than I am in real life). But this weekend I just felt differently about my results – I’m not sure if it was because I was playing new games, or because I was playing tournaments instead of cash games – but it was just plain fun.

I also chatted briefly with Michael Craig when we were at the same table in the HORSE super-satellite. I loved his book, so that was neat. And then I, in so many words, was called a donkey by some Full Tilt pro that I’d never heard off (Aaron Bartley, I think?). And that was just plain funny – because I’ve reviewed the hand in question, and I think I played it just fine (not perfectly, but not terribly either). I think it’s amusing that people feel free to criticize you online in a way that they never would if you were sitting right across from them.

I’m definitely going to play more HORSE tournaments (but likely lower buy-ins than this weekend), and try to win my way into Full Tilt’s Sunday night HORSE tourney. But I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to play this week, Banky and I have a lot of poker on the books….

Woody’s game tonight, Thursday poker league, Friday at the Bus Driver’s place, and Rama on Monday (we both have the day off). I’m exhausted excited just thinking about it!

Friday, February 09, 2007

If you see it, it will come...

I can either see into the future, or I can’t.

Last night was the first night in the new season of our poker league. For the past 4 seasons either Bankwell (aka Mr.Tart) or I have won the opening game. But alas, it was not meant to be last night.

I didn’t play many hands last night. By the 4th blind level (20/40), I was only down slightly from starting stack (875 vs starting stack of 1000). I’m in the BB with one limper in MP, and face a 150 raise from the SB – I look down and see pocket Aces. Sweet!

I figure the limper will fold, and I’ll face the SB heads-up, so I just call the raise. But MP reraises 600 on top. Oh la la. I’m going to get paid. SB folds, and I go all-in.

I know the MP will have AA, KK, QQ or AK in this position, so I’m very happy when he calls my all-in (which really, even if he was making a move, he’d have to call, because it’s only 325 more). He does indeed flip over KK, but a K falls on the river and I pout for about 45 seconds before getting up from the table.

It’s so weird, because I knew a King was coming. I know that sounds like bullshit – but one of the busted out players was dealing, and I looked at her before she dealt the board, and we both shook our heads. Did I send out bad karmic energy to make the King come, or was it a little psychic moment that gave me a glimpse at the river? I’m not a pessimistic person who always thinks she’s getting beat….but this time, I just felt it.

The exact opposite happened to Bankwell. He was short-stacked and all-in with pocket fives, and got called by KQc. The flop came 8, 5, X with two clubs. His opponent said “I can get the flush!” and Bankwell said – “That’s ok, the 8 is coming”. Turn brought a club, river brought the 8 for the full house. He told me later that he was 100% confident the board was going to pair. Did his confidence have any affect on the outcome, or is this all just poker player whimsy?

Only the universe can tell, I suppose.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


The WSOP needs an official chocolate?

Not that I'm against chocolate, by any means, but what does it have to do with poker?

I can name numerous other consumables that I'd much more aptly associate with poker than chocolate.

Consumerism is evil. In this case, it's evil wrapped in little squares of foil.

Monday, February 05, 2007

The Debut of Mr. Tart!

Mr. Tart recently wrote the following recount of a party we had to celebrate the end of the 4th season of our Thursday Night poker league., which he has graciously given me permission to post here.

For the unitiated: Polish Poker is a form of Hold'em we invented in honour of K, a Polish player in our league, who would frequently lament that he had folded the best hand (i.e. "I would have had full house!"). In Polish Poker, if you decide to fold, but want to "polish" your hand, you place an amount equal to the SB on your cards, and declare that you are "polishing". Should any other player(s) also "polish", you are competing against those players for the best hand after the board is complete. Should no other players "polish", you win! But if there's no flop, all polish bets are off - or as we determined on Friday night: No Flop, No Pole!

And now onto Mr. Tart's report...


Here is my Season 4 party trip report. Now I know many of you are saying “C how can you have a trip report when it was at your house?”

Well even though it was at my house I was playing on another planet (for those of you that were there you know what I’m talking about)

I get home at 7 from having dinner and see that there is a phone message. I get the message and it goes a little like this (please note this is not a word for word transcript but more of a summary):

“Hi this is J aka The Bus Driver”

At this point I realize that I only know one person named J.

“The wife is working a little late and I am going to be late. I should be there at around 8:30. I am not sure if we are going to be playing a cash game, some Sit and Goes or if it going to be a drink fest so just blind me in or what ever.”

A said he would bring his table so I figured he would arrive between 7:30 or 7:40. The doorbell rings and it is D and E (they’re not A).

Beer is handed out.

A arrives a few minutes later with the table and beer. Table is put in the dining room; beer is put in the fridge.

Beer is handed out.

Chips start being set up. At this point K and S arrive (not sure in the order).

Beer is handed out.

I explain that J aka The Bus Driver called and said he was going to be late for the cash game, Sit and Goes, drink fest and ask what we want to do. Every one agrees to a $10 Polish SnG with blinds going up every 10 minutes.

Beers are handed out.

Game begins, on the third hand E (the Tart) limps in, a few players limp in as well, me on the button raises approx. 4x the BB, the blinds fold to E who re-raises, people fold back to me and I wondering what I should do, the E then says “Why don’t you go all-in?”

I go all-in, E calls, I show Ace King suited, she shows pocket Jacks. The Jacks hold up and I’m crippled early.

Beers are handed out.

Now at some point M arrives with his girlfriend, then J aka The Bus Driver also arrives not sure that order of the arrival.

J takes a seat beside me and asks about the vodka. I give J the bottle and a few shot glasses. J pours a shot and looks at the bottle. J (I assume being a glass is half full type of guy) sees that the amount of vodka left in the bottle is about the same amount in his shot glass so being the nice guy that he is drinks his shot and then drinks the rest of the bottle.

Now at this point details become blurry and confused.

Beers are handed out.

At one point I won a hand with K-9 by getting two pair, A won the same hand in the polish with the same K-9. I realize that either A is very tight or I’m very loose.

Beers are handed out.

I ended up crippling K when my Red Aces held up on a board of 5-6-2 of clubs when K had the Ace of clubs and a 7.

Beers are handed out.

A was kind enough to show me why pocket 7’s are called walking sticks when he busted me out with them. Not sure what happen after but I know A still continues the love of pocket Queens when D cracked his Kings with them when a queen hit on the river.

We discover that A is the master of Polish poker and will be writing a chapter on it in Super System 3.

Someone won and we decided to play a $20 sit and go.

Beers are handed out.

Some how I get short stacked but work my way back. J raises a pot 5x to 200 then claims 5x is like two times more extreme then 3x porn, something with arm pits and eye brows, I say whoa I thought 5x was like sheep and trees.

I look at my cards and have aces and thinking I’m short stacked go all-in for like 1400 (just a little over bet) everyone folds.

A raises to 120 (blinds are 30/60) and like the whole table calls. I am in the big blind and have crap but I’m getting odds to call, but I can’t figure out if I should polish it or not, so I regular call.

Flop come 5h-6s-7h. J checks, I look at my cards, I look at the board. I look at my cards, I look at the board. I count on my fingers and then say all-in.

A says “What?” and I say “All-in”

A looks at the board and then looks at me; I look at the board and look at my cards. A still looking at me says call. Every one else folds. I turn over my 3-4 of hearts and crack A’s Aces and bust him out.

More poker happens more people get busted, J gets busted and then becomes my consultant, advising me on my hands by suggesting things like, go all-in with that hand, fold that and so on. I listen to J and he’s right.

Jeff then leaves the table and D bends me over the table prison style with his pocket Kings against my J-10. (I can’t sit properly for hours afterwards.) Not sure what happens but I place 3rd.

I think either D or S wins.

We play another $20 sit and go, I get busted early and I am sitting beside D.

D after giving it to me prison style decides we should work together and we start playing our (D's) hands together.

More poker happens, more drinking happens and someone wins.

People start leaving at this time.

Some one suggests we play 7 card stud and the rest of us do. I adjust tournament director and we have a crazy blind structure. Ends up the women are the real studs and A and E chop at the end. By this time it is like 4 in the morning and every one goes home.

Over I think I was down like $30 to $50 but lost a lot more and then the money (like respect).

Great time every one, I had lots of fun, not sure if any one else did but all I know there wasn't a lot of beer left.


And thus ends our Friday night.

Hopefully Mr. Tart will join me for more posts in the future...


Last weekend I was seated at a 5/5NL game, having convinced Mr. Tart that heading to the casino was a much better way to spend a dreary Sunday than doing laundry!

I was fortunate enough to have another spectacular session and ended up +$505. Mr. Tart was down $85….but he battled back after losing a K-high flush to a straight-flush….so the result isn’t all that bad.

The amazing thing about both sessions is that apart from a few hands, I played relatively ABC poker. I was just lucky that not only did my strong hands hold-up, but I also got paid off. It was actually quite strange – there was one player who paid me off not once, not twice, but three times when he held second pair. The first time I guess I can understand – to see if my betting truly did represent a strong hand - but 3 times? The last time he said "I know this is a bad call". And yep, it was.

My favourite hand of the day was early on when I held AA. It’s raised to $25 in front of me. I re-raise to $75 and get FOUR callers. Holy hell.

Flop comes K-high and I check, hoping to check-raise, and it gets checked around. Ooops.

I bet the turn, and everyone folds. I take down over $300 uncontested! Oh lordy, if only every session could be like this.

We left after 3 hours, and I was on cloud nine again.

The next day we had a Monday-Night Boys game. We started playing this every-other-Monday game a year ago….and it’s a crazy game. Most of the players have been friends for a long time – there’s a lot of shit-talking, but it’s all fun. It's not the most profitable game for me, because of the rebuy structure and magnitude of suckouts. But I’m a sucker for punishment, and love the game, so we keep going. Lucky for me, the guy who runs the game decided to try a freezeout format (which works much better for my style), and I guess I was still on my rush before, because I took this game down.

Frankly, when it got short-handed, I looked around the table and thought that I could beat any of the 4 other players heads-up because they were playing so pasively, but my stack wasn’t very big and I was worried I wasn’t going to make it that far. But I pushed, and pushed, and pushed, stealing the blinds for 2 blind levels, until my absolute dream scenario happened…

I was in the BB when Old-timer limps in. Now to understand Old-timer, you only need to know that he has the record for the number of rebuys in this particular game. He thinks that the game is all luck, and has sucked out on so many players, that he’s legendary. Players both drool and cower when he’s in a hand, because he’s either going to double you up, or send you home bruised and battered. For the most part, I avoid him unless I have something super-strong. So Old-timer limps, SB folds, and I have 59o in the BB so I just check.

The flop comes 6,7,8 with 2 hearts. I flopped the straight and while I might normally check here, I know that Old-timer will check if he missed and I don’t want him to get away cheaply so I bet 3xBB. He says “How much you got there?” and as I start to count my chips he says “Doesn’t matter, I’m all-in”. I instantly call and flip out my straight, he flips over A6 for bottom-pair, Ace kicker. Turn & River don’t help, and I double up, crippling Old-timer. This gave me a monster stack, which was all the momentum I needed.

Once the bubble burst, we quickly got down to heads-up, but that proved was more challenging than I thought. I gave my opponent more credit for hands than I should have – not realizing that he had loosened up quite a bit once he made it into the money. After I realized that his bets didn't always represent strength, I adjusted my play and ultimately won.

I took home over $1100 in 24 hours. Poker is crazy.

Mr. Tart talks about Riding The Wa (a term I think he read in an article by Phil Laak) – I’m not entirely sure what it really means….but for us, it’s about feeling the game intuitively. Knowing that your bets are right, that your folds are good, and your bluffs won’t get called. I’ve been riding the wa. I know that the ride won’t last forever, but I’m sure enjoying it while it lasts.