Saturday, May 28, 2016

Three Strikeouts

Not all is well at the Live poker room.  As the title says, the author of this blog has had three losing sessions in a row.  That's not a record but it's worth mentioning.  Thank you all who leave comments because they do bring a constructive and different point of view to each hand.

Here are some hands that I played terribly.  You know that you are making a mistake when you look at your cards and debate calling or folding for $2.  I had K-7 and called.  Three of us saw the flop K-Q-J.  There was a $15 bet and two of us called.  Turn was 6.  First guy made it $25, I called (mistake #1), and the second guy went all-in for $52 total.  The other guy folded and I called (mistake #2).  The river was a blank and the winner flipped over 9-10.  I'm being asked to put in $27 more to win $180.  I should have focused on the strength of my hand instead of the pot odds.

Only $80 behind, I was dealt 6-6 while UTG+1.  I bet $12 and it folded around to the guy in the cut-off, $500+ behind, who thought about it and then called.  Flop was 9-10-3 and I went all-in (tilt move).  He thought about it and called with 9-5!  I mean, pot is $27 and he calls $68 more with 9,5.  I don't think I could have made the call if I was in his position.  But my shove was bad since I bet $68 to win $27.

Second session, I had K-Q and bet $10.  The guy next to me called.  Flop was K-5-8.  I bet $15 and he called.  The turn was a blank, I bet, and he called.  River was a blank and I bet and he min raised.  I thought about it and called.  The older gentleman flipped over A-A!

Third session, I'm in mid position with $100 behind, holding 3-4.  BB and a bearded guy on the button have me covered.  Flop is A-10-3.  BB checks, I check, Mr. Beard bets $15.  We call and the turn is 4.  BB checks, I check, and Mr. Beard bets $40.  BB folds and I move all-in.  I'm putting him on an ace.  BB debates for two minutes and calls.  Obviously he doesn't have a flush.  River is a J.  Mr. Beard flips over 10-J and wins with a higher two pair.  I was representing a flush but my turn check said I really didn't have a flush.  He had to call, right?  Pot was $174 and all he had to do is put in $43 to win $217. 

I wasn't patient.  I need to be mentally prepared to sit at a poker table for hours.  I have to be willing to fold and only play good starting hands and preferably when in position.

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Poker Journey

I first dabbled in poker my senior year in high school.  You might think that it was a home game or an after-school activity.  It was neither.  We had a botany class and plenty of free class time.  Instead of studying, we started a poker game.  Sweating lunch money seemed more appropriate than reading a botany book.  Our game of choice was 5¢/10¢ no-limit Texas hold'em.

When online poker came along, I mainly played tournaments.  I first started by playing freerolls.  Back in the day, there were so many different sites competing for business that freerolls were abundant.  The fields were massive.  The play was abysmal.  All-ins were as common as calls at the beginning of those tournaments.

I still remember my biggest freeroll accomplishment.  There were more than 9,000 entrants and a total prize pool of $5,000.  I played for more than ten hours straight.  I ended up finishing 4th with a $250 payout.  There was a lot of luck involved but I will always be proud of outlasting 9,450 players!

In the brick and mortar establishments, I played tournaments and rarely cash games for few years.  Since 2014, I've been mostly playing cash.  It's hard to go to work for eight hours and then go play a tournament.  A tournament here and there is fine on a day off.
The poker journey has come full circle.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Rounders: Pick One

The idea for this post came to me while I was driving home from work.  With all the DC traffic, we all need something to keep the mind occupied.

The question is not: Which of the character, in the movie Rounders, would you want to play in the movie?  There are several characters who have interesting roles but most of us would still pick Mike McDermott.

What's being asked is: Which character's poker skills and lifestyle would you want?  The choices are:

a.)  Mike McDermott
b.)  Lester "Worm" Murphy
Johnny Chan
d.)  Teddy KGB
Joey Knish 
f.)  Abe Petrovsky

I went through the process of elimination in order to find the answer.  The names are listed in the order of - I'm least likely to be like:

Teddy KGB - His poker skills might be above average but I could not run an underground gambling establishment.  Freedom is very important.

Worm - With his skills, he can succeed in poker.  But I could not engage in cheating, scamming, and illegal activities that would put me in jail or physical danger repeatedly.

Johnny Chan - I could never be as good as "Johnny fucking Chan."

Mike - He's a good poker player.  But I could not dropout of college, lose a girlfriend, and move to Vegas in hopes of becoming a professional poker player, like he did.  He pretty much went all-in and that's super risky in real life.

Abe Petrovsky - He is a professor, respected in his line of work, and lives a comfortable life; but he's a bad poker player.  I have to admit that after a bad beat, I think I wouldn't mind being Abe.  He doesn't take the game too seriously and he enjoys it with his friends when he's playing.

Joey Knish - We have a winner.  He lives a regular life but he is a good poker player.  He is not obsessed with becoming the greatest poker player or beating everyone.  He knows his limits and stays inside of them in order to make money consistently.

What is your answer? 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Ruling Dilemma

There will be no hand summaries in this post.  This post is about a dealer/floor ruling.  I wasn't in the hand but I did have a front row seat minus the popcorn.

Three players were in the hand.  Seat 5 is in mid position and seat 9 is in the cut-off.  Seat 6 checks and the dealer tells seat 9 that it is his turn to act.  Seat 9 bets $25.  Seat 5, who has been drinking, speaks up and says he hasn't acted.  Apparently, he was debating how much to bet.  The dealer and seat 6 thought he had checked.  The dealer moves the action back to seat 5.  Seat 5 says he was going to bet but now he will check knowing that seat 9 will bet.  Seat 6 checks also.

Now, seat 9 wants to check but the dealer won't allow it.  The dealer tells seat 9 that he has to put the $25 out since the action before him hadn't changed.  Seat 9 protests by saying that the dealer had instructed him that it was his turn to act initially and that it wasn't his fault he bet out of turn.  

The whole table starts chiming in.  The floorman is called and the dealer and seat 9 go over the whole thing again.  Other players put their two cents in just for the sake of it.  The floorman radios a higher-up who arrives after few minutes.  Once again, the whole story is retold to the manager.

Ruling: They told seat 9 that his $25 bet stands and that it is every player's responsibility to follow the action and make sure he/she doesn't act out of turn.

After that, it's time to finish the hand.  Seat 9 bets $25 and then seat 5 raises to $75.  Seat 6 folds.  Seat 9 folds reluctantly and is steaming.

My take: I understand that this is the rule of this poker room and you have to play by the rules.  But, to me, it's a dumb rule.  The dealer is the policeman of the table.  The rule should be: the dealer has to make sure he/she receives a clear signal from the acting player.  In this case, the dealer should have asked seat 5 if he had checked before letting the action proceed.

What do you think?

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Poker Blonde

After being felted, see last post, the voice of Apu from the Simpsons saying, "Thank you, come again" was in my head.  I felt I had made a mistake but I didn't think the players were better than me.  Therefore, I reached into the mighty wallet for buy-in number two.

Seat 3, a guy in his sixties, had built a nice stack of $600+ and was chatty.  He was in a good mood, felt invincible, and started betting frequently pre-flop.  I requested a seat change and then moved to seat 4 as soon as the button passed.  Few hands later while seat 3 was away, a very attractive, mid-forties, blonde sat down in seat 2.

She was well dressed and polite.  The guy in seat 1, a white guy in his fifties, gave her a warning about Mr. Chatty in seat 3.  But being the hound dog that he is, Mr. Chatty was back in his seat and looking to start a conversation with her.

Surprisingly, the blonde ended up being involved in a hand soon after sitting down.  Seat 10, on the button, bet $10 and she called in the big blind.  Flop was A-7-J and she bet.  Seat 10 called and another A came on the turn.  She bet again and he called.  River was a 10.  She put the rest of her chips in and seat 10 called with A-Q.  The blonde flipped over 7-7 and doubled up.  After that, she spent most of her time answering questions from Mr. Chatty or having a pleasant conversation with the guy in seat 1.

I, being much younger than the three of them, named them Three's Company and focused on poker.

Let's get to the main hand of this post.  I'm on the button, about $200 behind, holding A-K.  I bet $12 and only SB and BB called.  SB is short stacked and BB has a stack similar to mine.  Flop is 4-A-10 and BB leads out for $20.  I raise to $40 and both of them call.  Turn is 3, SB check, BB bets, I raise, SB is all-in, BB goes all-in, I call.  In my head I'm yelling no club, no club!  River is 10.  I flip over my cards but only exposing A while I wait for the SB and BB to show.  SB was chasing a flush and missed.  BB flips over A,Qand immediately I move the ace to expose the K.  The dealer pushes the $400+ pot my way.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Bill the Butcher

After I sat down, all that was missing was a director to yell Action!  That's how many loose players were at the table.

Seat 8, on the button and $300 behind, was a new player.  Seat 9, $150 behind, was a young Indian guy.  Seat 5 and seat 6 had about $125 each, both retirement-age gentlemen.  I don't remember the betting but a flop of 5♣-8♣-2 was good enough for seat 9 to move all-in.  The two older gentlemen had called.  Seat 8 debated for a bit and called.  Turn was a blank and the river 8.  Indian guy didn't show, seat 5 had a flush draw, seat 6 had J,J and seat 8 flipped over 8-10♠.  The table got pretty rowdy after that one and seat 8 became known as the Eight-Ten guy.

He won several more hands but unfortunately I didn't see how he played them.  At one point he was sitting on $1300.  It didn't take long for his stack to drop to $700.  He was playing a lot of hands.

This brings me to the main hand of this post.  I'm in seat 2 with $370 behind and UTG+1.  After inspecting my cards one by one, it was determined that I was in possession of K-K♣.  Seat 1 made it $15.  I threw in $15 and thought surely there will be a raise behind me.  But the universe wouldn't have it and 6 of us saw the flop.  Flop comes down 3-5-6♣ and seat 1 bets $20.  I make it $60 and it folds to Eight-Ten guy, $700 behind.  To my surprise, he puts out $150.

The question that needs to be answered before I make a decision is: what does he have.  Aces? No way.  Straight? I don't think so.  Did he flop a set? Very possible.  Is he on a flush draw and or a straight draw?  He didn't get his nickname by being a rock.  If I call his $150, any betting on the turn and I'll be all-in probably.  Ultimately, it came down to me telling myself this is the Eight-Ten guy and my gut tells me I'm ahead.  So, I go all-in and he calls.  Turn is 3♠ and the river 9.  My opponent flips over 4-K.

I'm no Bill "The Butcher" Cutting (Daniel Day-Lewis) from Gangs of New York, but I butchered this hand.  Looking at the probabilities, I was behind on the flop but a 2-1 favorite on the turn.  A better play would have been to call the $150 and move all-in on the turn.  He was there to gamble so I doubt he was folding even if the odds had changed.

Would really like to hear from the readers on what to do on the flop after being raised.  Not raising pre-flop was a BIG mistake, we all know that.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Dreaded Pocket Kings

I was dealt pocket kings and that's how today's post came to be.  How could I proceed to write a K,K recap without mentioning the notorious and prolific poker blogger who coined the term The Dreaded Pocket Kings.  In the style of the Bud Light commercial jingle: Today we salute you Mr. Rob, inventor of the dreaded pocket kings term.  

Live had a pretty cool high hand promotion going on: Top four hands each hour split $2016.  The $1/$2 session was off to a great start.  I had flopped the nut straight and seat 6 had raised me on the turn and we got it all-in on the river. 

I'm in seat 7 and $510 behind.  As I'm sitting on the button wondering when the food I ordered will arrive, I look down at K-K.  Just then...tap, tap...on my right shoulder from the waitress.  "Sir, can you please sign this" she says.  I think for a split second about just putting down a big X as my signature on the receipt but decide against it.  Off she goes.

The dealer, looking at me, states, "action on you."  I look to see what the players before me had done.  Seat 3, 40-something Asian guy, had bet $10 and got three callers.  I make it $60 and seat 3 shoves for $210 total.  The others got out of the way.  As a rule of thumb, I'm never folding K-K pre-flop to an Asian guy for $150!  I throw in a chip and the dealer flips over three low cards.  So far so good, I think.  The turn is A♣ and the river a blank.  Seat 3 proudly tables A♠-K♠.  So, instead of sitting on about $750 and enjoying my meal, I'm back down to $300 and without an appetite.

I think how the great TBC would have considered throwing that food onto the table towards the dealer for helping the villain catch one of his outs and chuckle.

Within the next two hours, I chipped up nicely thanks to an ace-high flush I hit on the turn and a jack-high straight that gave my opponent trips.  I was happy to rack-up after four hours of play.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

2 Hands in 3 Hours

I've noticed a small change at the tables now that I've started a blog.  It is similar to the feeling you get when you enter a big Vegas buffet.  You see so many different and interesting dishes but know that there is no way you can have them all in one meal.  I get a similar feeling when interesting hands play out at the table.  I know I can't remember them all and share them here.  A small light bulb goes off in my head and I think, "That would be a good hand to share on the blog!"  Well, here are two hands that stood out during a short three hour session.

A new table was opening up and I thought I would be the first one to arrive.  Apparently, a speedy gentleman had beaten me to the table and was seated in seat 1.  I didn't mind, seat 1 and seat 10 are my least favorite.  It's hard to see the opposite side of the table and the dealer is always on the move.  The first hand of interest did not involve me but I found it very entertaining.

Hand 1: Seat 1 comes in for $2, SB puts in another $1, and BB makes it $12.  Seat 1 calls and so does SB.  Flop was 8-10♠-6.  SB checks, BB bets $20, seat 1 goes all-in for $38, and SB calls.  BB announces all-in for $200+.  The dealer immediately steps in and tells him that he can't reopen the betting.  The BB disappointingly calls $38 total.  Turn is Q♣ and the SB leads out for $40.  BB takes his time, flips over K-K♣ and folds!  I was stunned.  River was a blank.  Seat 1 shows 8♣-J and the SB scoops with 9-7.

This K,K fold got me thinking: is BB a very sharp player who knew he couldn't reraise and was looking to see how the SB reacted when he announced all-in?  What do you think, is this considered angle shooting? 

My last post was about a hand in which I was dealt pocket rockets.  It happened again. 

Hand 2: Seat 8 is UTG and $300+ behind (same guy that was BB in the hand above).  I'm in mid position, $195 behind, and still in seat 2.  UTG leads out for $15.  I look down at A-A♣ and just call.  It folds around.  Flop is 3-5♠-7.  UTG fires again, this time $35, and I call.  Turn is 3 and he fires his third bullet for $75.  I put the rest of my stack in.  He wasn't expecting that; with about $320 in the pot, he throws in $70 more.  River is 8♠.  I turn over my aces and and he kind of looks in disbelief.  Then, he says how I even had the A♣He mucks and I start stacking the red birds.

Few orbits later, I call it a night up over a buy-in.