Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Summary

Today's post will be a summary of 2016.

Let's start with the most positive topic: golf.  2016 will be remembered as an enjoyable year of golf.  I'm not sure how many rounds I played but it is safe to set the over/under at 30.  The scores were decent and on average I played to a 15 handicap.  I got to play at some nice venues and they weren't that expensive.

And just when I thought the season was over, the golf gods delivered a late December present.  A 65 degree day with no wind.  I called up my buddy and we teed it up one more time.  I played in short sleeves.  The course we played is closing down in January for a three month renovation.  As you can see in the photo, all the bunkers have been emptied.  Both of us had to chip over the sand-less bunker.  I saved a par and won the match!



Switching gears, let's talk poker.  2016 will be remember as the year that made me realize tournaments are more fun than cash games.  Cash games at the beginning of the year went well because I ran good.  In the second half of the year, my run-good returned to normal.  I played tired and loose.  I paid off players when it was clear their draws got there.  As a rec player, I'd like to play 10 to 20 tournaments per year and the rest cash games.


That brings us to the last topic of 2016, this blog.  I started the blog because I enjoy writing.  I wanted to share poker hands and get feedback.  And I wanted to write-down some of the memorable trips/moments.  This was my first try at blogging and it went OK.  I'm undecided if I'll continuing in 2017.

Thank you for reading and have a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Sideways Poker

It's been a sideways dance at the poker tables lately.  I win a session and then I lose a session.  Here is how I gave back the last win.

I open to $10 with A,J.  I get two callers.  The flop is 2,2,9 and we check it all around.  The turn is J and I bet $20.  Only the short stack calls.  The river is a 6 and I bet $20.  He moves all in for $48 total.  I payoff his Q,10 flush.

I call $10 with A,J and see a flop with the bettor two seats to my right.   The flop is J,3,8 and he bets $15.  I call and we see a 6 on the turn.  This time he bets $20 and I call.  The river is a 2 and he bets $20.  I raise to $65 and he thinks for a bit and calls with A,A.

I'm dealt J♣,2♣ in BB.  Seat 10 bets $7, I call, and so does seat 9.  The flop is 2,7,4.  Seat 9 bets $5 and we both call.  The turn is J and seat 9 bets $7.  Seat 10 calls and I raise to $25.  Both make the call.  In my head, I'm screaming no heart, no heart.  The poker gods send the 6 on the river.  Seat 9 checks, seat 10 bets $50 and only the dumb author of this blog calls.  He only shows me the stone cold nuts A,10.  I think this is one of the worst calls I've made in a long time.

I straddle for $5 and get 6 callers.  I look down at A,T and move all-in for $122.  Everyone folds except seat 9.  He thinks about it and calls all-in $90.  Board runs out 2,4,5,3,9 and he flips over QT for the flush.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Unethical Poker Hand

Throughout the years of playing live poker, I haven't seen anything that was as unethical as the hand I witnessed recently.  I don't feel that great about telling the story and soon you'll find out why.

I had been at the table for couple of hours.  Seat 7 and seat 9 came to the table together.  They were a middle-aged couple.  The lady sat in seat 7 and the guy in seat 9.  We'll call them Wife and Husband. They played few orbits and then went to get food. Shortly after they returned the following hand happened.

There was a high hand promo going on during this time.  The high hand winner gets $500.  I am in mid position and have 4,5.  I call $2 and so does the Wife, seat 8 on the button, the Husband, and seat 10.  Everyone in the hand is playing more than $150 behind.

The flop is 2,3,5 and the Husband leads out for $7, seat 10 calls, I call, and the Wife makes it $35.  Right away seat 8 pushed all his chips in.  The action is on the Husband and he thinks for a little bit and folds.  Seat 10 folds and I fold.

The Wife asks the dealer if she can talk and flip her cards over before she makes a decision.  The dealer says yes since it is heads up.  The Wife flips over K,4.  She stands up and says she is behind but she could hit the straight flush and win the $500 high hand promo (she didn't know it but her statement was incorrect since a player has to use both dealt cards to make a high hand and for it to count).  She says that she has a one-outer to hit her straight flush if seat 8 flopped the nut flush.

Seat 8 also stands up and is staring at the board.  I'm looking at both of them as they stand next to each other.  The Wife glances at her Husband who is still seated in his chair but has pushed it back few feet from the table.  Essentially he is in seat 8's peripheral vision.  The Husband nods his head and with his lips (not out-loud) says "call, call" to the Wife.  I see all this happening but I don't know if anyone else is paying attention to the Husband.

At this point, I suspect that the Husband folded the A.  I might be wrong but it was my logical conclusion.  Within 5 seconds of this happening, the Wife makes the call.  Seat 8 flips over J,7 and the Wife wins the pot.

After the hand, the Husband says to seat 10 that he was on a flush draw.  The Wife most likely would have made the call without the Husband telling her to do so.  But, his actions were 100% unethical, in my opinion.

I don't feel good about witnessing what happened and not speaking up.  What could I have said?  It would have been the Husband's word against mine.  Even if another player spoke up and agreed with me, would the result of the hand been different?

Monday, December 12, 2016

Weekend Poker

I got a chance to play some poker this past weekend.  With the weather being so cold, outdoor activities like golf were not an option.  The masses headed south of DC to the brand new MGM casino.  Fearing the crowds, I headed north to Live.  My days at Live are numbered.  I'm wrapping up my poker year and Live career very soon.  Why drive 60 miles round-trip when I can drive under 20 miles and still play some cards.

Now back to poker.  I had a winning session but it could have been a lot better.  

Hand 1:  Seat 1 is occupied by a young black guy.  He seems to be a competent player.  He has raised pre-flop and on the flop in position when he sensed weakness.  Seat 4 is in his early 50s and is a new player to the table.

I'm dealt K,J.  I don't remember the pre-flop action.  Maybe there was a small bet to $7.  The flop is Q,10,2.  I think there was a $10 bet by seat 1 who was UTG.  We both called and checked the 8 on the turn.  The river was a 9 and seat 1 leads out for $45.  Seat 4 puts out $80 but the dealer tells him to make it $90 total.  Action is on me.  I'm certain that seat 4 has a jack.  I can't just call because that would close the action since seat 1 is only calling or folding.  I make it $205.  Seat 1 folds and seat 4 moves all-in.  I call and he flips over K,J for the chop!

Hand 2:  I've been playing for a few hours when an older lady joins the table.  I think she was playing $150 to $175 behind and I have twice that in front of me.  Few orbits later, I get dealt A,K UTG and bet $10.  The lady calls and everyone else returns their cards to the dealer.  The flop is Q,J,10.  I assume she has to have hit one of those cards so I check.  She bets $15.  I want her to think that I'm pondering a call (but all I'm really thinking about is Vegas and the fucking Mirage).  Haha...not really but I was envisioning her chips being pushed my way.

The turn is a blank and I check again.  She bets $25.  Now I know she likes her hand.  I raise to $55 and she moves all-in.  I snap call and she tables K,9.  What a great feeling to see her hand wasn't A,K.  We just had to go thru the customary procedure of having the dealer put out the river card so I could start raking in the pile of redbirds.  The dealer puts out an ace on the river and we chop!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

50th Golf Course

Since I've started playing golf, I've been keeping track of all the different courses played.  I've played few courses many times that were near my home or work.  Last week, I played my 50th different course.  It took me 13 years but I finally did it.

The 50th golf course played is called Renditions.  Renditions features replicas of holes from major championship venues giving the average golfer a grand slam like experience.

First three holes are replicas of U.S. Open or PGA Championship courses.  The next two holes come from The Open Championship and then it's the three holes from the Amen Corner at The Masters.

I played with my buddy who was in the area for work.  On the front nine, I didn't shoot well.  But, we were enjoying the warm November day riding around and having beers.

My favorite hole was #13 which is a replica of the TPC Sawgrass #17 also known as the Island Green.  I ended up parring the hole!  It made my day.  I've watched pros play the real hole many times and hit it in the water.  For a moment, it felt like I was in Florida playing the Players Championship on a Sunday.  Here are a few photos from that afternoon. 

Amen Corner #11

Amen Corner #12

Island Green
On the tee box on #13
Safely onto the green!
50 down and 50 to go!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Poker Vlogs

Recently there has been an explosion of poker players starting vlogs (video blogs) on YouTube.  The way I found out about it all was thanks to a post by PPP.  He mentioned that he enjoyed TheTrooper97 vlog.  I went to YouTube and checked it out.  Tim was doing something I hadn't seen before.  He was recording his daily life in Vegas playing poker and publishing it for the world to see.

From there, I slowly found more poker players sharing their stories.  Here is a list of the ones I enjoy watching:

Trooper
Jaime
Boski
Kraut
Neeme
Negreanu
Joe
Buehlero
Kevin
Jake
Polk
Ray

There are many more.  But, I think that only some will be successful in turning appealing content into profit.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

10,10 and A,K

It's been a while since I posted a poker hand or two.  I found the following two hands in my phone that I can share with the poker audience.

I sit down in seat 7 with $200.  On the third orbit, I get dealt 10,10.  In early position, I lead out for $10.  Seat 8, seat 2, and seat 3 call.  Flop is 10,J,3 rainbow.  I check, seat 8 bets $17.  Two calls before it gets back to me.  Pot is about $90 and I raise to $40.  The table was playing tight.  I thought seat 8 would call at least.  To my surprise, they all folded.  Would you have played it differently?

Two orbits later, I get dealt A,K on the button.  Seat 6 bets $10.  I call and so does seat 8 in the SB.  The flop is A,7,6 rainbow.  Seat 8 leads out for $15 and I'm the only caller.  The turn is a 10, he bets $25 and I call.  The river is a 10 and he bets $35.  I'm thinking that he has an ace.  His river bet is kind of small and it gives the strength of his hand away.  I like the 10 on the river a lot.  If he had A,x then some of the time it is A,6 or A,7.  The 10 on the river counterfeits him.  I raise to $90.  He called and showed A,7.  How would you have played it?


Friday, November 4, 2016

Runner Runner

I finally got a chance to return to the red felt at Live.  I exchanged two Benjamin Franklins for two black chips in the line in front of the cage.  As we all know, I've had a superstition that I can't win when playing upstairs.  It was no surprise that they sent me to the second floor with my two chips in hand.  I got situated in seat 9 and prepared for the grind.

Orbit 1: no hands

Orbit 2: I lost $20 total with 8,9 when I caught two pair on the river versus a guy who had 8,10 and caught a straight on the river.

Orbit 3: no hands 

Orbit 4: won four blinds on the flop with top pair top kicker

Orbit 5: no hands

Orbit 6: no hands 

Orbit 7: I had 6,9 and three of us saw the flop with two hearts.  I called a $10 bet and so did the other guy.  Turn was a blank.  We both called a $15 bet.  The river brought the third .  I bet $40 and got one caller who had trips. 

Orbit 8: no hands 

Orbit 9: I got dealt 2,10 in the BB and we saw 2,4,4 on the flop.  I called $7 and the turn was 2.  It was checked around.  The river was 10 and he bet $10.  I raised to $20, he called and then mucked.

Orbit 10: no hands 

Orbit 11: I reconnected with my two old friends, A and A.  I thought what would TPM and Rob do and bet $12.  Only the short stacked SB called.  The flop was 8,8,4 and he went all-in for $45.  I called and asked if he had an 8.  He shook his head.  I flip over the pocket rockets, he mucked after the river and then left.

Orbit 12: I lost $15 after calling a straddle and then a raise to $15 in a multi-way pot.  Flop was no good.

Orbit 13:

This brings us to the hand of the night.  I'm in the BB, about $300 behind, with 4,6.  I see a flop with the SB and the button.  Flop is 7,6,7 and it's checked to the button who is $200 behind.  He bets $10 and we both call.  The turn is 5.  I lead out for $20 and the button makes it $60.  The SB gets out of the way.

I took some time to make my decision.  At this point, I am thinking he has 7,x or a straight.  I have two outs to the nuts and seven more to a flush (he might be blocking one of them if he has 7,x that would give him a full house).  Also, there was a high hand promo going on worth $500.  I decided to call the raise and then check the river.  The river was a beautiful 3!  Time to reevaluate my options.

First to act, I had to decide how much to bet.  I decide to not to put him all-in and bet $100.  He called and folded saying he had a full house.


The dealer called the floor to verify the high hand.  There were 12 minutes left but my hand didn't stand for two minutes! Someone else got a 10 high straight flush and the $500.

I cashed out $450 few orbits later.  I got very lucky to win the hand but unlucky on the promo.  Which leaves me wondering if the second floor curse is broken.


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Golf Trip: Part 2

In the last post, we left off as the sun was setting on Roanoke.  The group chose Fortunato, an Italian restaurant in downtown, for dinner.  The atmosphere was enjoyable and the food was decent.

Next, it was time to pay-up the lost golf bet and have some drinks.  The first bar had plenty of TVs for sports watching and it also had a live band that played sporadically.  The drinks on the chalkboard above the bar were cheap (compared to DC) and we tried many of them.  My brother and I were at the bar, having drinks, catching up, and watching the Cubs wrap-up the NLCS.  Goose and Maverick were at the other end of the bar conversing with a couple of local females.

After the baseball game ended, the six of us headed down the street to a more lively drinking establishment.  It was a country bar with a live band and a dance floor full of cowboy/cowgirl boots, hats, and plaid shirts.  A round of beers was in order after a line dance performance to the Cupid Shuffle song.  It was a fun night but let's fast-forward to Sunday and another golf battle.

As the dew was lifting from the fairways and greens, the foursome was on the first tee box at the Blue Hills golf club.  The greens were in excellent condition and the two teams managed three birdies through 8 holes.

The scenery was great (see photos below) and the temperature reached 70 degrees on a clear sunny day.  Team Tennessee pulled away on the back nine and secured the win.  Afterwards, we all went for lunch and watched the ending of the one o'clock NFL games.  The boys weekend was coming to an end.  A rematch was in store; but for now, we headed in the opposite directions on I-81.

Overall, it was an enjoyable weekend and it was nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of a big city. 


Paradise

Spectacular Greens

A Green "Carpet"

Blue Ridge Mountains from Afar

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Golf Trip: Part 1

The days are getting shorter and the cold nights are on the doorstep.  For the past six months, the leafs on the trees looked down on us with superiority.  But, as they descend down to the ground, it is our turn to feel tall and mighty.  All is not lost yet. The sun still graces us with enough warmth to draw us outside for few hours on the weekends.

It won’t be long before we’ll be sitting indoors staring out the window wishing the fall lasted a little longer or for the winter to pass quickly.  With that in mind, two young gentlemen in Tennessee headed northeast towards Roanoke to the valley beneath the Blue Ridge Mountains.  At the same time, the opposing team from DC headed west to I-66 and from there, down I-81.

At high noon on Saturday, they arrived at the Hanging Rock golf club.  The four gentlemen greeted each other and spent an hour in the clubhouse catching up.  With the carts packed with as many beers as golf balls, it was time to get down to business.  The sun was out but the wind was strong and in charge.  It didn’t stop the lads from enjoying the day.

The name of the game was Two-Man Scramble.   Team Tennessee got out to a fast start and through six holes was up 5.  They finished the front 9 with a commanding lead, up 4.  The highlight of the day came on hole 14 which has two separate (but equal) greens.  The tee shot is down the hill into the fairway. From the fairway you can either play a second shot up the hill and onto a green OR play a shot across a pond and onto another green.  On the tee box, the teams agreed to play the more challenging green across the water. Team DC got a par and won the hole!

It was a close fight and the lead was down to 2 with three holes to play.  But, the Tennessee boys managed to eke out ties on holes 16 and 17.  They wrapped up the win with a long putt on 18.

Team Tennessee was ecstatic to win a round of drinks and a meal. They were quiet rowdy in the lobby of the hotel during the check-in after the round.  After a two hour break, it was time to head to dinner and check out the bars in downtown Roanoke.

Par 3 Green Way Down the Hill


Hole 14 Water Green
The Crew

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Three Orbits of Poker

I've had two losing session at the tables recently.  They were not full buy-in losses.  I was hoping to not make it three in a row.

The game was $1/$2 on the (cursed) second floor of the Live poker room.  I was in seat 5 (one of my favorite) with $200.  I typically wait to post but this time I ended up playing my first hand UTG accidentally.

The very first hand, I was dealt 6,6.  A woman in seat 8 called.  A guy in a dress shirt, in seat 9, bet $12.  A black gentleman, in seat 10, called and so did I and the lady.  The flop comes down 6,5,10.  I'm first to act and check.  There are plenty of draws out there and I'm not ready to build a pot yet.  The lady checks and seat 9 bets $28. The three of us call.

Turn is a 3 and I don't like it.  It checks to seat 10 who bets $55.  Only I call.  The river brings the fourth heart...Q.  Now, I am thinking that maybe I could try and represent the A♥ but that would require a big bet.  I just check and let destiny take over.  Seat 10 also checks.  I flip over my sixes and he folds; he had no heart! Right out of the gate my stack almost doubles.

Dress shirt guy played several hands in position and typically raised pre-flop.  He had $400+ on the table.  On the third orbit, I get dealt 10,10 in the BB.  There was one caller and then seat 9 bet $10.  It folds to me and I raise to $28.  Only he calls.  The flop is 3,4,8.  I bet $25 and he raises to $55.  It's starting to smell like a big pocket pair or a pure bluff.  I call and the turn is a Q.  He leads out for $75.  This is where I should have let it go.  Is he really barreling just because he's in position.  I call and the river is a 9.  If I check, I think he's going to bet.  I put out a blocker bet of $75.  He calls and flips over 3,4 for the win.

Not in a million years would I have put him on that hand.  If I thought he had a big pocket pair, why didn't I fold to his bet on the flop.  JJ-AA crushes me.  The only hand that I beat is 9,9 or a bluff.  I realized I made a big mistake right then and there.  I stood up, picked up my $100+ chips, and went for a walk.  I got some food and then went back to find another poker table.

At what point in the hand would you have raised the white flag?

Sunday, October 9, 2016

NASCAR Sunday

As I mentioned in the previous post, last Saturday I went to the second to last Major League Baseball regular season game.  As a sports fan, I've been to many sporting events including NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, PGA Tour, MLS, NCAA sports, and international soccer and basketball.

The two professional sports that I had not seen in person were NASCAR and tennis.  That list got a little bit shorter after last Sunday.  My coworker had some extra, decently priced, NASCAR tickets for the race at the Dover International Speedway.

I don't follow auto racing regularly but I do watch it from time to time on TV.  I did manage to get three of my friends to tag along for the two hour car ride and check out the race.

First thing we noticed when the race started was the noise.  It is very loud!  We expected this and brought earplugs.  Many of the fans there were wearing noise-reducing race scanner headphones that allow them to listen to the communication on the track between drivers and their teams.

As my friend pointed out, "This was the loudest sport with the quietest fans."  The cars make a lot of noise but the fans sit silently watching the action and listening to their headphones unless something interesting happens.

All the drivers were men except the #10 car that was driven by Danica Patrick. One of the interesting events happened when Jamie McMurry's car blew an engine.  Watching the pit stops and restarts was fun.  I placed two winning "sucker's bets" on NFL inside the Dover Downs casino.  State law only allows parlays.


Overall, it was a fun experience but I don't think I'll be going to another race anytime soon.

I leave you with few photos from NASCAR Sunday.

Let's Go Racing Boys (and Danica)!
#1 Blows an Engine
Pit Stop
Heading Home Across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

October Baseball

The title of this post might be a little bit misleading.  When you hear the words October baseball, you probably think of playoff baseball.  But since the MLB playoffs haven't started, I think the title is appropriate.

Late last week, I got on the computer and out of curiosity pulled up the Washington Nationals regular season schedule.  They had one weekend series left at home and it was against the Miami Marlins.  We couldn't make it to the Friday game.  I was attending another sporting event on Sunday.  Saturday, October 1 at 4 PM, would be our only chance.

I found cheap tickets ($17 each) online with good seats but was wondering why were they so cheap.  A little bit of research revealed that rain was a likely possibility during the game.  I was a little bit more optimistic when I read that the chance of rain by 4 PM was only 50%.  Being a poker player, I made the hero call and hoped the weatherman was bluffing.

Worst case scenario: If it was raining 30 minutes before the game, we wouldn't go and take a loss on the tickets.

Best case scenario: The rain would stop by 2 PM.  The rest of the day would be overcast but with no rain.  And the Nats would win while hitting a home run or two.

Lucky for us, the best case scenario happened!  Nats won 2-1 and Trea Turner hit a home run in the bottom of the fifth inning.  Our seats were in section 101 right above the Marlins bullpen. 

Here are some photos from the game.  One is a screenshot from an MLB.com video of the home run.

Overcast but Pleasant

Home Run Nats!

Great Spot to Watch Relief Pitchers Warm-Up

Saturday, October 1, 2016

A Poker Question

My last post drifted away from the topics we typically cover.  Let's get back to poker!

There was a $500 high hand promo going on every 20 minutes.  The high hand at the time was quad kings.  I was seated in a $1/$2 game but wasn't involved in the following hand.

With 5 minutes until the end of the high hand round, seat 6 bet pre-flop and seat 4 called.  The flop was Q,9,4 and both players checked.  The turn was Q♠, seat 6 slowly checked and seat 4 checked also.  The river was a king, seat 6 took his time and then bet.  Seat 4 called.

With 3 minutes left until the end of the high hand round, seat 6 flipped over Q,Q for quads!  He said that there was way too much time left on the clock for him to wait it out.  Since the current high hand was quad kings, all he could do was wait for the start of a new promo round and hope quad queens didn't get beat.  

Several players at the table commented.  Some said that they would have tried to milk the clock.  Others, including me, responded by saying that there was too much time left for the move to work without the floor nullifying the hand.

I'm curious what the readers think or what would they have done in this situation?

Monday, September 26, 2016

A Different Perspective

No poker content today.  As a matter of fact, I didn't even plan to write a post this weekendBut, it's the twists and turns of everyday life that shape us and in this case made me put words on (digital) paper.

This past Saturday evening I spent with my buddies watching college football.  Most of our group lives in nice buildings.  But Saturday night felt a little bit different.  The host lives (rents) in one of the newer and nicer buildings in Arlington.  It's a luxurious high-rise building where all the residents and their guests receive complementary valet parking.  From the valet parking, to the lobby, amenities, and the actual apartment, it was all very impressive.

Driving home Saturday night, I thought how I need to work harder, look to advance my career, and keep improving overall.

On Sunday, I went to drop-off my old sofa that I sold to a family who recently moved to the area from South America.  I helped them carry the sofa up a flight of stairs and into the apartment. They are a blue-collar family with two children (5 and 13). Understandably, they live in an older building and the apartment itself has seen many residents come and go over the years.

Driving home Sunday evening, I thought how I'm doing pretty good overall, have a good white-collar career, and to stay the course.

It is interesting how a single day can bring a completely different perspective to the same topic.


Monday, September 19, 2016

Only One Hobby

The idea for today's post came from Tim aka Trooper97 on YouTube (click here for his video channel).  He lives in Las Vegas and enjoys makes videos and playing poker.  He was asked what would his answer be if he had to pick between only playing poker or just making videos.  His answer was making videos.

I'll tweak the question a little bit.  First of all, we'll focus on having to choose between hobbies.  Secondly, you can't pick a hobby that you and your significant other (if you have one) enjoy doing together.  And third of all, you can't pick two hobbies in the same category (like two sports).  In other words, you have to pick between two hobbies that are just yours, very different, and take place away from home.

A good example would be a guy who likes to fish and play poker but his lady doesn't like either activity.  A bad example would be a lady that likes to play tennis and go to museums but her man also enjoys both activities.  Leave a comment below if you have a similar example.

I asked myself: If I could only choose to play one, would it be golf or poker?

Golf Pros: being outside, getting some exercise, playing with my guy friends, competitive, playing different courses, scenery, etc.

Golf Cons: weather can get in the way, slow pace of play, can't play all year round, frustration when the wheels fall off, can't played if injured, etc.

Poker Pros: indoors away from the weather, competitive, play at night an option, can play with a physical injury, chance of winning a promotion, etc.

Poker Cons: sitting for many hours, sitting next to unhealthy/rude  players, frustration when sucked out on, negative public perception, etc.

The answer comes down to which one do I enjoy more and which one would I miss more.

I would choose golf.

A wonderful memory

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Tournament Part 2

I reentered the tournament for another $75.  Reentry ended after level 9.  When it was all said and done, there were 180 players.  18 got paid and the top prize was $3,000.

This time around, I ended up at a table in seat 8.  The deck was cold.  The blinds and antes were moving up quickly.  I tired to steal few times but got caught.  I was down to 7.2K in chips when I went for it again.

It folded around to me in the cut-off.  I  had 10,6 and made it 2100.  The button, who I expected to fold, moved all-in.  With the pot around 11K, I couldn't fold for 5K more.

I flipped over my hand and he showed A,10.  I was hoping he had two high cards (no 10) or a low pocket pair.  I needed a lot of help.  Flop came down J,7,Q,9.  An 8 on the river would have chopped it.  A king wouldn't have been good because it would have given him a higher straight.  The river was a 6!  I couldn't believe it.  Finally, I caught a break.  I was up to 16.3K in chips.

Few hands later, a small stack moved all-in and I was the only caller in the big blind.  He had 4,4 but they were no match for my Q,Q.  Up to 22K in chips.

It folded around to seat 7 who was in the cut-off.  He went all-in for 15k in chips.  I had A,9 and thought he was stealing.  I was the only caller.  He flipped over A,8.  The flop was all high cards but the river gave me a flush.  Up to 40K in chips after that hand.

I had A,J in the big blind and don't remember how the action went.  It was three way to the flop with two short stacks being all-in.  One guy had 3,3 and 17k chips while the other guy had A,4 with 6k chips.  I ended up with broadway and took it down.  Too bad there were no bounties!  Up to 64K in chips after that flip.

I was dealt 9,9 on the button and everyone folded to my bet.  Then, I had A,9 and saw the flop with three other players.  6,8,2 was an unimpressive flop.  9 on the turn allowed me to bet and take it down.  Up to 71k in chips.

The blinds and antes kept moving up and eating into my stack.  I had A,Q and bet pre-flop.  Two callers.  The flop was king high.  I tried to represent a king but it backfired after an opponent moved all-in.  Down to 40k in chips.

I saw a flop with Q,8 versus three short stacks.  One guy was all-in.  The flop was K,Q,6 and my bet on the flop made the other two guys fold.  The all-in guy flipped over A,5.  My pair of queens won and I had 58K chips.  Before the second break I was down to 53K in chips.  We went on break with 47 players remaining.


After the break, I was card dead.  The blinds and antes consumed almost half of my stack after the break.  We were down to 34 players when seat 4 moved all-in.  Seat 5 called.  I looked down at A,J.  It was a tough spot.  I was down to 10 big blinds.  It's not ideal to have a player before you call an all-in.

I was ready to flip for my tournament life.  Seat 4 showed 5,5 and the big stack in seat 5 had A,K.  The board ran out 6,K,2,Q.  I needed a 10 on the river for a straight.  Unfortunately, I didn't get lucky again.

I was out.  I thought about my call there.  I think it was a mistake.  I could have waited for a spot to move all-in first or a spot where it was heads up.  But, all that would have depended on getting another decent hand. 

Overall, I noticed I was a little bit rusty.  The 20 minute levels were the driving force behind the overall quality of the tournament.  We all knew, when we signed up, that it was a fast paced shootout.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Tournament Part 1

It's been a year and a half since I've played in a live poker tournament. Tournaments are my favorite form of poker or I should say, well structured tournaments are my favorite.  Prior to playing only NL $1/$2 for the past 18 months, I mostly played tournaments.

I was looking at the Live website and noticed that they run a $75 buy-in tournament with 15,000 chips and $10,000 guaranteed.  The levels are short (20 min) and the antes kick-in quickly; but I wanted to give it a shot.  I've been reading/watching a lot of tournament poker summaries and kind of missed the action.

I got there a little bit late due to traffic and got assigned a table and seat 3.  They were almost done with level 1 when I sat down.


Tournaments are the hare and cash games are the tortoise of the poker race.  Cash games require a lot of patience.  It can be quite boring sitting there for hours while the blinds go round and round.  In the first hour of the tournament, I saw plenty of action and several bad plays. It's a $75 buy-in after all.

I noted that seat 9 made some very (bad) questionable plays.  He won a decent pot coming from behind.  He gave those chips right back in a spot where it was obvious he was beat.

I had lost several small pots up until level 4.  Sitting on 10k chips, I was deal K,J.  Four of us put in 600 each to see the flop.  Flop came down K,7,3 rainbow and I bet 2k.  Only seat 9 called who had started the hand with 8.5k in chips.  Turn was a blank and I shoved.  He called with K,9.  The river was a 9!

I put him on a weaker king but it didn't work out.  Few hands later, I was out.

I decided to fire one more bullet and reenter the tournament for another $75.  Stay tuned for part 2.