Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Gone in an instant

Played a tournament at Garden City Casino in San Jose today.  I like the format, no rebuys or add-ons, and a deep stack of 10,000 chips to start.  There were 66 entrants, and the top 9 were paid.

I played good, tight-agressive poker, and managed to stay close to the average stack most of the time.   Slowly everyone else disappeared and I was at the final table.

The blinds and antes were getting ridiculous.  With six players left they were 2K ante, blinds at 6K-12K.

I had 120K chips and I was in the big blind.  Everyone folded up to the button and the button went all in, with just slightly less than my stack.  I had 7-7, and what went through my mind was "finishing 6th is already good and in the money, but this could position me for a top 2 finish and over a $1000 prize (on a $125 entry fee).

I call the all in, and the button turns over A-3 clubs.  I'm ahead, but the board comes quickly and turns my hope around, as an Ace comes on the flop and a 3 on the turn (as if he needed it).  No trip-7s come my way on the river.

My hard-earned stack is gone, and I'm left with the proverbial "chip and a chair", which I quickly lose in the next hand.

Not bad, though.  Six hours of poker and I finished 6th and won $350.

Other noteworthy things in this tourney:

1. A guy who was going all in with short stack desperation moves, once holding a 7 and once holding a 4, got a flop with two 7's and two 4's respectively, and doubled up twice with these lucky sets.  Very unusual.

2. The guy who was chip leader at the final table was claiming he got dealt A-A 10 times on the day.  I witnessed three of them, all of which he won big.  Its no wonder he was chip leader.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Anything Can Happen

Just played in a Bovada Triple-up Sit-and-go.  Nine players each start with 1500 chips.  The final three players triple their money.

After about 15 minutes I had gotten AA twice and KK once.  I won big with all of them, and had taken out three of the nine players at the table.  With 6 players left, I had over 6000 chips, almost as much as the rest of the table combined.

All I had to do is sit back and wait for the others to destroy eachother.  There's no way I could lose this one right?

Fast forward another 30 minutes.  We're down to four more to the money.  But oddly enough,  I am now the short stack.  Everyone else is passing the chips around the table and I am getting blinded off little by little by little.  I played a couple A-K or A-Q hands, but lost them too.


As short stack of 2000 and the blinds now up to 300/600, I get hit with the big blind and I pretty much have to make a desperation move.  I call an all-in from the small blind, with an unimpressive 9-J.  He beats me with pocket deuces and I'm done in fouth place.

Can't believe I lost this one.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Chop or Gamble? Gamble FTW!

Palace Hayward bounty tournament 11/6/11

After having just spent a long weekend losing in Vegas, I returned to the local card room where I play tournaments every weekend.  I was feeling a little reckless this particular morning, I guess because I didn't feel well and didn't mind if I went home early today.

That worked out to my advantage early on, when I went all-in with a flush draw against a guy with a huge stack (8-10 times mine) who I knew would call.  Luckily I hit the flush on the river and doubled up.

Later in the tournament I had a couple suck outs where I went in with a pair, ended up against an over pair, end wound up hitting my set.  I was enjoying one of the other guys at the table because he would call just about everything, and since I usually don't play with mediocre hands, I was winning a lot from him every time I bet against him.

It eventually got down to the final three, so I was in the money.  After all the bounties (of which I won none), the price money was $700, $300, and $90 on a $90 entry fee.  There was a proposal on the table from the chip leader to chop where he gets $500 me and the other guy split the remainder for $295 each.

I was feeling cocky, so I said no thanks, let's play a few more hands.

On the very next hand, I got pocket threes and went all in.  I was called by the short stack (only slightly shorter than mine, same guy who was calling all my bets earlier).  This could likely be a bad ending filled with regret, and I knew it.

He turns over pocket 9's, and I knew it didn't look good for me.

As the board unfolded, there was nothing there for me....until.....the river comes a 3!  Once again I hit my set and take the dude out...and then there were two...

Now I was willing to talk deal.  Me and the other guy now had about equal stacks, though I was slightly ahead.  He was up for a 50/50 chop so I took it.  I know these heads-up games can go on for a while and neither of us had enough of an advantage to mean anything.

So we split the money $500 a piece, and I technically took first place since I had more chips!  Hooray, finally a win!!!

Vegas Summary

Well a four day poker marathon in Vegas has come to an end (see previous several posts).  All in all I entered 14 tournaments, played for over 30 hours, made 6 final tables, and won nothing.  Best place finish was fourth, one away from the money.

I had a lot of fun though, and got to be part of a lot of fun hands.  I think my skills improved.  I expected Vegas poker tables to be full of donkeys who were on vacation, but all things considered I'd say the talent was generally better in Vegas compared to the card rooms back in the Bay Area.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Fun hands

Mirage Tournament

This tournament wasn't too exciting for me personally, but I got to watch a couple amazing hands that I was not a part of.

Hand 1: A guy goes all in with pocket jacks and another calls with pocket queens. The board comes Q-2-2 so he one guy has a full house and is sure to win. Then the turn: 2. Then the river: 2!!! The board shows four of a kind with a queen kicker and they chop the pot. The dealer says in 16 years of dealing poker he's never seen anything like that.

Hand 2: Later on at the final table, there's a hand between three big stacks, each with about 15000 in chips. After the turn, everyone is confident and there is raising and re-raising until finally they are all three all in. The board is showing 6-8-9-10 so all of us watching figure everyone's got a seven.

They showdown before the river and we see A-7 (a straight) with a nut flush draw in diamonds, another guy with a 7, and then a guy who turns over Q-J for the nut straight! The nut straight holds up when the river comes king of clubs. He now has about 60000 chips and the remaining 9 players all have about 60000 combined. He damn sure better win this thing (i didn't stick around to find out).

Easy come, easy go

Harrah's Bounty Tournament

This tournament started out slowly, with the exception of one hand where I raised with pocket queens and got two all-ins behind me. They were both smaller stacks, so my life was not quite at stake, but it was a big decision. I called, and went up against KJ suited and pocket aces! Lucky for me a queen came on the board and no ace or king, so I knocked out two players and collected two bounties.

As the tournament went on, there was no good action for me and I got down to 3000 chips when the blinds were 600-1200 plus 100 ante. They say in poker all you need is a chip and a chair and that definitely turned out true at this time. I waited patiently for a good hand and finally went all in with pocket 9's. I had two callers who were looking for my bounty prize. They turned over pocket 7's and pocket 8's. Pretty funny! Anyway my nines held and I tripled up.

A few hands later I had jacks and went all in and was called by A-3 suited. These held up too and I doubled up after my triple-up.

One more big win came when I called an all-in after the flop with a flush draw. I didn't hit the flush but I did hit top pair and that was good enough. Collected another bounty.

I headed into the final table practically chip leader, after having been down to one desperation bet.

But easy come easy go. I soon lost it all in two hands: my pocket 8's against an all in with pocket Queens, and then pocket 5's against an all in with pocket 6's. The last one was particularly painful because I hit a set of 5's on the flop but he hit a set of 6's on the river, and I was done in 8th place.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Luck and stupidity

Mirage Tourney, 18 players

This tourney was a story of lucky breaks (and some unlucky ones) and stupid moves for me.

Luck: On the second hand of the tournament I flopped an Ace-high straight with my Q-10. After a min raise on my part, another guy re-raises to 2000 (with blinds at 25-50 and starting stack at 6000). I push all in and he calls and turns over the same hand, Q-10. Expecting to chop, we watch as the board turns over four clubs, and i have the queen of clubs so I double up with a flush!

Stupidity: On the very next hand, the guy to my right raises pre-flop to 250, and I intend to call with my K-9 of diamonds. But oops! I throw in purple (500) chips instead of 25's, and the dealer calls out "raise to 1200". Doh! The guy that raised before me was being nice and tries to help me argue that it was not my intention. But since I didn't say "call", the dealer has to consider it a raise. At this point my opponent knows I'm weak since I was bummed by my accidental raise, so he pushes all in knowing full well I will fold, which I do. He shows me his pocket 10's. I ordered a cup of coffee!

Luck: A little later I get pocket aces and limp in. The flop comes two more aces, and I have Quad aces! I checked it to the river hoping for a bettor, but nobody does and all I ended up winning was 2BB.

Bad luck: The guy who I busted in the beginning was back after buying back in, and we went heads up again with my pocket 8's against his pocket Queens. He was all in and won it, getting most of his chips back that he gave me earlier.

Stupidity: Later on we're at the final table and I push all in with A-K after the guy at the other end of the table raised ahead of me. While we're waiting for him to call, he yells out "what's going on down there?" and I flash my A-K in his face. He hadn't called yet! I gave my hand away! Second bozo move of the tournament! The dealer tells me that's not allowed because it can be considered collusion, and gives me a warning. The opponent also happens to be holding A-K so he calls and we chop the pot.

Luck: As the final table gradually thins out, I wait patiently for my good hands and gradually build up from almost busted to an above average stack, and things are looking good.

Stupidity: With only four players left and cash prizes for the top three, I go all-in on the button with K-8 off suit. I should know better than to take risks on the bubble! I'm called by a K-Q suited in the small blind who makes a flush, and my tournament is over with no prize.

By the way, the guy from the beginning who re-entered after I doubled up against him went on to take second place!

Flop a boat!

Harrahs tourney with bounty

I like this tourney because the starting stack is 8000 chips, about 5000 more than most others, and the blinds go up more slowly too. I tend to do better in these longer tournaments.

Somewhere fairly early on, I had 9-9 and raised 2x big blind and was called. The flop came 9-10-10! That was good enough to slow play so I checked, and another player went all in with about 7000. I of course called and she turned over A-10. Top set was not good enough to beat my boat and no ace came to save her, so I doubled up.

That put me in good position for the long haul, and I ended up finishing 7th out of about 30 players.

I really enjoyed the two guys to my left before the final table, because they folded to just about any bet, When the blinds got big I was able to steal a lot of blinds from them.

At one point at the final table, I got about eight straight hands with aces, with A-10 literally four times in a row, and a couple A-Qs. Everyone at the table was laughing as I kept showing my streak, but of course folks were also calling my bets and I got sucked out more than I won with them.

A-6 ended up being my downfall as I was up against A-Q and neither one of us hit the board.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The long think

Imperial Palace 1-2 no limit

Sometimes, the pots can get really really big, even in a 1-2 game. In this one hand I got to watch, a guy kept trying to scare away his opponent with big bets. He had about $400 in his stack (its a $200 buy in) and his opponent had even more, about $600.

The board had a queen, two 6's, and some other nothing cards. The bettor's last big bet was $100, leaving him about $200 left, and the caller finally goes all in, so this will be an $800 pot if called.

Time to think, think, and think some more. The thinking went on for about five minutes, which is a LONG time when the action is on you. Everyone at the table was quiet and interested.

At one point, he asks, "if I fold, will you show"? This is a great question, because if the guy says yes it means he probably wants you to fold, meaning he might be weaker or bluffing. It's a tricky way to get some information that might help your decision. He says "no sir".

The guy folds anyway, and turns over A-Q, top pair with top kicker (plus the pair of sixes on the board).

The winner didn't have to show, but he does anyway, turning over Q-6 for a full house.

Nice lay down, but bummer about losing $200 as the aggressor.

Aces cracked twice

Imperial Palace 1-2 no limit

Sometimes the interesting action at the table is not a hand I am involved in. This post and the next are a couple examples.

This casino has an aces cracked bonus. If you lose with pocket aces, you get $100 from the house. It's not always a good thing, because you could invest a lot to stay in the pot, possibly more than $100.

For one guy, it happened twice in the span of 10 minutes. The first one was against a $180 all-in where the guy had nines. The aces were ahead but the board hit four clubs and gave the nines a flush. So the aces lost $180 but won $100. Ten minutes later the same guy had aces again and lost to another flush, but this time the pot was only about $80 so he came out $20 up.

Why do people keep calling me with nothing?

Imperial Palace 1-2 no limit

After a couple hours of no good cards and slowing losing my blinds, I finally get a KJ and pair the board with my King (this is literally the best hand I've had in two hours). I have about $80 on the table and I raise a $20 bet to $40 and the guy calls. The turns comes an ace and he immediately goes all in. I figure he could be bluffing (there's been a lot of that going on at this table) and I only have about $40 left, so I call.

He turns over A-Q and busts me. But why did he call my $40 raise before the ace when he had nothing and I was representing (and had) the top pair?

So far this weekend in vegas, losing an early leading hand has been the story of my life. :(

Friday, October 28, 2011

Crazy chaser

Imperial Palace tourney

About 1/2 hour after starting with 4500 chips, I'm up to about 9000 thanks to a flopped top pair (King with my K-2) that turned into a runner runner kings full of 2's, and some guy calling me all the way to the river.

This time I have AJ off suit and I limp in for 200. The flop comes AJ of diamonds, so I flopped two pair. I know this can be dangerous because of the two diamonds, so I bet big...2000. This guy after me smooth calls. I'm still pretty sure my top two pair is ahead, and even more so after the turn is a low club. I bet 2000 again, but he still isn't scared away, he calls. The river comes 10 of diamonds.

This is where I should have checked, because he might have made his draw. But instead I bet 2000 again, and the lucky guy goes all in for another 2500.

I'm pot committed after all that betting, so I call and he turns over 9-3 of diamonds for a flush on the river.

I can't believe he chased a low flush draw all the way to the river against my big bets. Damn lucky bastard.

Four all-ins

I'm in Vegas this weekend, where they have poker tournaments starting every hour of every day. I intend to play as many as I can.

Today in my second tourney at Flamingo (busted early in the first at Caesars), I was at the final table with about 7 players remaining. From early position I raised 3X big blind with AJ suited, committing about half my stack.

Low and behold, three players behind me push all in. This is either going to be my big hand or the end for me.

I call, and everyone turns them over pre-flop, with two side pots. I'm up against A2, A6, and QQ. So its pretty much a lost cause, since there's only one more ace in the deck and the jack won't really help.

For a brief moment after the turn, I have a straight draw if the river comes an 8. But its a 6, and my goose is cooked. In fact all the short stacks are done, and the QQ guy is now far and away chip leader.

45 minutes til the next tourney starts.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

All-ins called

Palace Hayward Saturday Tournament

Today's tournament was defined by three hands.

Hand 1: Had pocket eights, flopped a set.  My opponent hit a pair of 9's on the flop with an Ace kicker.  He called my all-in and I double up.  Was feeling pretty good, but it was still early.

Hand 2: Pocket aces!  I've learned not to slow play these too much, so I came out betting.  The same caller as Hand 1 called me pre-flop and on the flop.  He had Q-J and there was a 9-10 on the flop, so he was open ended.  The turn comes with an 8, so 8-9-10 on the board.  I figured I better go all in to chase away any straight draw hands, but this guy already has his straight!  So naturally he calls, and gets all his chips back that I won in Hand 1, plus more.  Time to re-buy for me.

Hand 3: Its later in the tournament, no more re-buys, blinds are getting big and my stack is starting to look small.  So I go all-in pre-flop with pocket 5's.  I'm called by pocket Jacks.  The flop comes... 6.... 5.... (yay, I'm celebrating my win already!), and then I see the Jack.  Damn, we both flop a set but his is higher.  Game over for me.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Poker workout

Today I took the netbook and put it on top of the lifecycle, and played a tourney on Bodog while I worked out.

I was thinking, they should make a poker table in a casino (or maybe at a gym) where all the chairs are lifecycles.

Then there would be fewer fat poker players, no doubt.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

You could'a chopped!

Palace Hayward - Saturday Tournament

Somewhere in the middle of the tournament, when the blinds were 100-200 or 200-400, I forget...

I'm in the BB and I get an A-7os.  Everyone folds except the small blind who limps in.

The flop comes A-9-9.  He checks, so I bet 500 with my pair of aces, and he flat calls.

Now I figure he's got an ace, because with a 9 he would have raised, and with anything else he would have folded.  So we both have two pair and its gonna come down to the kicker.

The turn comes Jack, so my 7 kicker is no good, and its looking like we might chop, each with AA99 and a J kicker.

He checks and I bet another 500, which he flat calls again, with a sad look on his face.

The river comes with a King.  He checks again!

So with all this checking I'm pretty sure I was right, he only has an ace, and we're gonna chop.

But just in case, I bet 1000....maybe I can scare him off.

He looks disappointed and contemplative.  This last 1000 bet would put him all in....tournament life at stake!

He asks "if I fold, will you show?"

I'm pretty sure if he calls, we're gonna chop and that I don't have him beat outright.  So I'd rather that he folds. I say "ya, sure, I'll show".

That's enough...he folds and I show my A-7.  He frowns and say's "ya, I had an Ace too."

I don't know what the poor guy was afraid of.  A-K?  Set of 9's?  I would have been betting a lot more with those hands.

I went on to finish the tournament on the bubble.

Suck out with deuces

Bodog online $10 Sit n Go

Ok, this isn't all that unusual, but it happened twice in a row, and THAT is unusual...

I had only about 1/2 of my original stack left, so it was close to desperation time.  I got an K-2, so I went all in. I was called and the flop gave the other guy top pair, but it also gave me a another 2. The turn comes with another 2! I double up with my set of deuces.

Nice suckout, right? Then on the very next hand, I get A-2, and I go for it again. Same exact thing happens! I win with a set of deuces against the top pair.

After quadrupling my stack in two hands, I actually went on to finish first place in the tourney!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Wife's Favorite Number

Bodog online tournament - $6 "double-up"

My wife's favorite number is 37.  So whenever I go off to play poker, she always says "remember...3-7-all-in!".  I usually scoff and say "yeah, right".

But once in a while in a low stakes game, its fun to give 3-7 a shot, especially if its suited.

So in a Bodog online tournament yesterday, I got a 3-7 of diamonds and I decided to play.  The flop hit two diamonds, so I'm now on a flush draw.  I bet out and got called.  Again on the turn.  Another diamond comes on the river and I bet 1/4 of my stack.  I am called.  I lose to a guy with 5-5 because the board has 5,J,J, so he has a full house.  Oh well.

Then, just two or three hands later, I get 3-7 again!  This time they are both hearts.  Here we go again!  Low and behold, the flop comes with two hearts.  Deja Vu!  This time I get the final heart on the turn and I'm all in with my flush.  I get called by a guy holding top pair (Ace in hand, Ace on board).  My flush wins this time and I double up.

I guess hearts are better than diamonds...

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Bluff Called

Lucky Chances 1-2-2 no limit

After a few hours of uneventful poker where I was pretty much even, the hand comes that will be my downfall for the day:

My Stack: $160
My Position: button
My Cards: QQ

I raised the two limpers to $12 and both called.

Flop comes: K-9-9. 

Lead better bets $25.  Second position folds, and the action is on me.  I realize if this guy has a king or a 9, he's ahead.  But he looked like he was bluffing, and my two ladies had me feeling pretty confident, so I flat called and threw a look of confidence in his direction.

Turn comes: 6

He bets another $25, and I repeat the call, trying to look even more confident.

River comes: 2

By now he's a little afraid of me, so he checks.  I sieze this opportunity, thinking a push all in can scare him out.  I'm well aware that with two $25 bets, he may very well have a K or a 9 and have me beat.  So bluffing may be the only way to win this pot.

My all-in really does have him scared.  His stack is about $30 less than mine, so I have him covered.  He looks at me and asks me if I have A-K, to which I casually shrug my shoulders and say nothing.  He says "damn, I should not have been betting".  He definately feels as if he is beat and regrets his situation.

But, he doesn't lay it down, and instead calls my all in.  "There's too much in the pot to give up", he says.  Bummer for me. 

After his call, I say "if you've got a king you've got me beat" and he says "ya, I got a king!" as he turns over a KQ.  I sadly turn over my QQ and kiss about $130 goodbye.