Saturday, June 30, 2007

Home Tourney Tonight

Home game tonight with $100 buy in. We usually get 25-30 players a month in our $15 buy ins but decided to set up a bigger game. We are going to have about 17-19 players.

The only hard thing about the home game is managing while playing (and if you didn't know: I have 5 kids). Actually, one of them helps me get ready. He is 21. We also have a 1 year old and a 2 year old that require constant attention. With the smaller buy ins, I don't mind if I go out early. Tonight will be a little different.

Anyone in Saint Louis, let me know if you want on the regular invite list. Otherwise, Wish me luck!

Friday, June 29, 2007

And then there was this part 2

6 player SNG's can jump start your confidence:

Tournament started - 2007/06/29 - 01:57:45 (ET)
Dear jamyhawk,
You finished the tournament in 1st place.
A $46.80 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

So maybe I don't need to reload. I have taken $10 and rolled it into $60 in two tournament wins.

I have been playing on the same $200 since January 2007. Again, I am small time right now, but I have not reloaded since then and am trying to not reload if possible.

And then there was this

This really is not the dream hand because you figure not to have any betting value. But look at the bet my opponent makes:

PokerStars No-Limit Hold'em Tourney, Big Blind is t50 (6 handed) Hand History Converter Tool from (Format: Plain Text)
MP (t3130)
Jamyhawk (t1405)
Button (t2140)
SB (t3045)
BB (t1285)
UTG (t2495)

Preflop: Jamyhawk is CO with Js, 6s.
2 folds,

Jamyhawk raises to t150 (I hope to steal the blinds)
1 fold
SB calls t125
1 fold.
Flop: Jd, Jh, Jc (holy sh**. dream flop if I had already gone all in)

SB bets t2895 (All-In) (What? Did I miss something? Doublecheck. Nope. AA won't take it from me. I call.)

Jamyhawk calls t1255
Turn: 7d
River: 8h

Final Pot: t4500

Then about 45 minutes later:
Dear jamyhawk,
You finished the tournament in 1st place.

9 player SNG: 1st place. OK, so I am not the worst player in the world. I did have 1 suckout that helped. I was the chip leader and had my opponent covered but a loss on this hand would have crippled me.

I am under the gun with 1010 and raise 3x BB. The CO re-raises me to 7x BB total. I call.

Flop comes Qh9sJh.

Now I am first to act and figure I have a ton of outs if I am behind. My opponent has been Loose all night and at best description is LAG. I want to push on him but know I could be behind. Best case, I put him on QJ, but more likely KQ. I figure I have a 4o% chance of winning if I am behind (2 10's, 4K's or 48's). So I push all in (now a bet that is equal to the pot), hoping he has small pocket pair or drawing cards...... and ...

He instacalls and flips over KK. Oooooohhhhh. My favorite. He should have folded. Although I was initally nervous, I quickly realized that my blog is all about the Cowboys going down, so I watched the Js turn and 8c river and said a "Hollah" when I went into 2nd place in the tournament with my rivered straight.

Staying patient.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Keep it in perspective

Time to reload my bankroll. At times, I realize how terrible a poker player I am. Sometimes, I am delusional and feel I am really building upon my poker skills. I have learned so much over the last year. I have learned about betting position, reading betting patterns, the importance of steals and re-steals, pot-odds, EV, and more.

But then I play in a 27 player SNG that pays top 5 and finish 7th, and my frustration builds, then I go on tilt. I play a couple of bigger tournaments, go all in with KK (nooooooooooo) only to get called by AA. Go on bigger tilt. Finish 7th in a 49 player tournament that pays top 5. Lose more. Wash, Rinse, repeat.

Oh well. I am small time. I am still learning. My bankroll is only a couple hundred bucks at a time. Patience is the key, right? Be patient. Avoid tilting. I really think playing online will help my game long term because I have no tells to rely on. I really have to study the fundamentals of the game to be successful online. But at the same time, it can be very frustrating. When the bully at my table catches a set of 8's after he called my all in with 5h8h and I am playing AA and we both had about the same starting chip stacks (1 full buy in), I want to throw my laptop out the window.

But then I sit back and laugh. It was only 1/8th of my bankroll. I can reload. I have a beautiful wife that still loves me, even though I got my Aces cracked. I have 5 kids that still love me even though my Kings couldn't hold up. And I have a FANTASTIC LIFE, even though I have a lot to learn to be good at poker.

And so I remind myself: Stay patient.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Always check how many tables

I always check how many tables each player is playing online when I sit down to a table. I want to know if they are paying attention closely or if they are just playing premium hands on several tables at once. You should try to steal more pots when you have the multi table players behind you and fold when they are raising.

This is how I took down a multi-table player:
PokerStars Pot-Limit Hold'em, $0.25 BB (8 handed) Hand History Converter Tool from (Format: Plain Text)
Button ($25.40)
SB ($14.75)
Jamyhawk ($24.50)
UTG ($15.05)
UTG+1 ($22)
MP1 (9 table player) ($17.90)
MP2 ($25)
CO ($40.15)

Preflop: Jamyhawk is BB with Jh, Ac. MP2 posts a blind of $0.25. 2 folds, MP1 (9 table player) calls $0.25, MP2 (poster) checks, 2 folds, SB completes, Jamyhawk raises to $1, MP1 (9 table player) calls $0.75, MP2 calls $0.75, SB folds.

Flop: ($3.25) 3c, Th, Kh (3 players)Jamyhawk bets $3.1, 9 table player calls $3.10, MP2 folds.

Turn: ($9.45) Qd (2 players)Jamyhawk bets $3, 9 table player raises to $13.8, Jamyhawk calls $10.80.

River: ($37.05) 9h (2 players)

Final Pot: $37.05Main Pot: $37.05, between Jamyhawk and 9 table player. > Pot won by Jamyhawk ($37.05).
Results below: Jamyhawk has Jh Ac (straight, ace high). 9 table player has Qs Ks (two pair, kings and queens). Outcome: Jamyhawk wins $37.05.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Playing Card comparisons

I received my order from Amazon yesterday. Harrington on Hold'em Volume 1, Full Tilt Poker Strategy Guide Tournament edition, and Internet Texas Hold'em: Winning Strategies from an Internet Pro. I plan on reading them in the order listed. I have heard many great things about Harrington's books and the early reviews on FTP's book have been good. I don't really know why I picked up the third book as I have heard it is only an average read, but it was cheap and I have so much to learn, I am sure I will pick up something from it. I plan to post updates on how they are here, so check back if you are interested. I found the flopturnriver book reviews very helpful if you are thinking of studying up.

I also received my new cards for my home tournaments. They are Dal Negros. If you play regularly at home, like I do, you must get quality cards. Here is my take on them:

The regular store bought (i.e. bicycle brand) cards are good for maybe 3 or 4 tournaments, but that is only if someone doesn't bend them. They are easily creased or what I call canoe'd (when they look like they can float down the river with two drunks, wet sandwiches and a cooler of beer). They also soak up beer and soda like a sponge.

I did buy some WPT brand cards that were slightly heavier, but noticed some creases after about 4 uses. They too soak up beer and soda like a sponge.

Then I found some Copag cards on clearance at some website I don't even remember. I thought I would try them, and they became my favorite cards. 100% plastic. Hard to bend or crease. No canoe effect. And you can wipe them with a wet cloth if they get wing sauce or cheese dip on them. They are also unaffected by the spilled beer or soda. The one drawback was that many people found them too slick. They are harder to shuffle because of this and if you play on a non-felt table, they will slide off the table like they are pucks on an air hockey table.

I used my FPP on pokerstars to order 100% plastic cards from them. They are almost identical to the Copag cards except they are smaller. So much smaller that I almost prefer playing with the bicycle cards. It is the width of the cards that makes them smaller. We use cut cards to hide the bottom cards when people are dealing, but you can't use them with the pokerstars cards because the cut cards are a good 1/8 of an inch or more bigger. Smaller cards are also harder to shuffle. Trust me when I say: Do not order the pokerstars cards.

Finally a friend of mine brought over his Dal Negro cards. WOW! I was impressed. Thank you Bill. These are Italian made 100% plastic cards. They have the durability of the Copag cards but they have a more grainy surface to keep them from sliding out of your hand while shuffling. They also have bigger icons in the corners, which is designed to help you in peaking at the cards. They are also heavier than the Copag cards so have more "snap" to them. But they are still light enough to toss across the table with ease. 100%, without a doubt, the best cards I have ever played with. I highly recommend the Dal Negro's. I bought mine here: I bought a set of Poker 2SI and a set of Poker 4SI. The number refers to 2 or 4 corners with Icons. Try these and you will not be disappointed.

I hope this was helpful. I'm off to do some reading.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

About those Cowboys

Another good example on how a good player knows the value (or lack of value) of KK. I am quoting from The SNG Machine :
Second hand of the tournament I get KK and almost crap myself. I never get hands like this in live events, so what do I do? I limp of course to try and get someone to raise so I can just call and make the hand more confusing for all of us :) The button makes it 250, I call, crazy asian female dealer calls. Flop is Ace high and I insta-muck. I got KK again later, this time I raised, 3 callers, Ace high flop again, all check to me in position so I have to fire. I get check raised and pitch it, guy shows me A3, nh sir! JJ later on, same story, Ace on flop....

Here are some other great examples of what KK can get you from gadzooks64: click here

I was looking at Highhandpoker's evolution of a poker player: fish-donkey-man-shark . Would you agree that the fish and the donkey are all in pre-flop with KK every time? Or maybe the donkey thinks he will slow play you, and then you can win with A's or two pair or set or etc... because he will think the KK is a nuts hand in and of itself.

I guess my point is, learning how and when to fold KK will improve your game.

Thanks for letting me borrow your quote, Chad and for the screen shots gadzooks64.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Live or Online?

Online poker is great! Put the kids to bed, clean up the house, get ready for bed.... and then play poker for 2 or 3 hours. When you have the need to play poker like I do (you do), online poker satisfies. No babysitter needed. No driving and worrying about alcohol consumption. No long wait for the juicy table you want. Must be the best choice to play online...

But wait....

Live poker is great! The drunk guy tells you he is going to call anything you bet even if he has trash, and then he does exactly that. So you wait for "any" hand and take his chips. Loose guy goes all in with Top Pair weak kicker and you can see it in the way he won't look at you and you take advantage every time. Cha Ching! The rock checks to you, you raise and he insta-reraises all in. And you can see the confidence oozing out of him, begging you to call. So you fold. "Good lay down" he says. And you know he means it.

I play online, online, and then online; then I play live and remember how much more I love live poker. Reading players online is possible, but involves much more concentration on betting patterns. After 30 minutes of live poker, you should know what the tendancies of each player is and then exploit any tells.

Last night I played live at a birthday party that ran late. 8 "dads" decided to play a friendly tournament. After rebuys and add-ons. First place paid $100. Thank you online poker for making it possible to read betting patterns without conciously thinking about it. Thank you live poker for so so so many more tells. I took 1st without rebuying or adding on.

Stay patient...

Thursday, June 14, 2007

How do I get more?

I am always wondering how to get more? When I flop the nuts (or at least a hand I know is in the lead), how do I get everyone to stay in and maximize my profit from this hand. Sometimes, I try to appear to be bluffing. Sometimes I try to appear to have a big hand to make them think I am "appearing" to have a big hand but am bluffing. But sometimes it just doesn't matter what you do. You can check on the flop, then bet on the river only to get a fold. Or bet big on any turn and get a fold. Or slow play and not make any money on a monster hand.

Then there are hands like these. How could I have gotten more? I would like to think that I got the maximum I could. I put the caller on Ace/rag or maybe 2nd pair. Being that they were the chip leader, I knew I could get money but how do I get him to call an all in bet? Instead, I ended up playing the max I thought I could get and I am sure I left money on the table.

PokerStars Tournament $2.00+$0.20 Hold'em No Limit - Level VI (100/200)
9-max Seat #3 is the button
Seat 1: (7175 in chips)
Seat 2: (12410 in chips)
Seat 3: (1705 in chips)
Seat 4: jamyhawk (4260 in chips)
Seat 5: (3925 in chips)
Seat 6: (3610 in chips) is sitting out
Seat 7: (3925 in chips)
Seat 8: (3015 in chips)
Seat 9: (5590 in chips)
jamyhawk: posts small blind 100
Seat 5: posts big blind 200
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to jamyhawk [Js Ac]
Seat 6: folds
Seat 7: folds
Seat 8: folds
Seat 9: folds
Seat 1: folds
Seat 2: calls 200
Seat 3: folds
jamyhawk: raises 400 to 600
Seat 5: folds
Seat 2: calls 400
*** FLOP *** [4c Ad Jh]
jamyhawk: bets 200
Seat 2: calls 200
*** TURN *** [4c Ad Jh] [5s]
jamyhawk: checks
Seat 2: checks
*** RIVER *** [4c Ad Jh 5s] [Qs]
jamyhawk: bets 400
Seat 2: calls 400
*** SHOW DOWN ***
jamyhawk: shows [Js Ac] (two pair, Aces and Jacks)
Seat 2: mucks hand
jamyhawk collected 2600 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 2600 Rake 0
Board [4c Ad Jh 5s Qs]
Seat 1: folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 2: mucked [Jd Tc]
Seat 3: (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 4: jamyhawk (small blind) showed [Js Ac] and won (2600) with two pair, Aces and Jacks
Seat 5: (big blind) folded before Flop
Seat 6: folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 7: folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 8: folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 9:folded before Flop (didn't bet)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Friday Night Home Game

We host a hold'em tournament every month at our house. In an effort to get several players we keep the buy in small ($15), but I manage the blinds so we can get 2 tournaments in. The second tournament buy in is up to whoever is left so is sometimes $10 and sometimes $40. This time we had 15 players over two tables.

This was the first hand at our table. Starting stacks are 1,000 with 10/20 blinds. Fold, fold, I fold, Middle Position player calls big blind, fold, SB fold, BB raises to 100. MP calls 100. Flop is 7AJ rainbow. MP bets 100 BB raises to 300, MP calls. Turn comes another J. MP bets 100, BB raises to 300, MP calls. Keep in mind, this is the very first hand of the tournament. They are both betting into the pot but no one wants to go all in. River comes a 3 leaving no flush or straight possible. MP bets 200. BB calls leaving 100 in front of each player. MP flips over AJ for the Jacks/over/Aces. BIG HAND! But wait, BB slow rolls his hand to show AA and wins the pot with Aces/over/Jacks. How did neither of them manage to go all in? Needless to say MP was out shortly thereafter, but what a bad beat for the first hand.

Congratulations to Miss Loveless who not only steamrolled through the first tournament bullying everyone to finish in First place, but then did it again in the second tournament becoming our first ever double winner in one night.

Next up is our once every six months: $100 buy in. We will see much more traditional poker playing there since there will be a respectable payout.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

How much do you love it?

TPTK, Top Pair any kicker, 2nd pair. Players going all in with these cards are everywhere, and I LOVE IT! At least that is what I see online. It is so amazing that someone would shove all their chips in with just a pair. I'm not talking about Heads UP play, or someone who you have been playing with for a while and you have a feel for when they are bluffing. I'm talking about playing at a cash table and the flop comes AQJ rainbow and immediately throwing all your chips in with AK or A10. Of course, I have to call that with my K10 suited that I limped in with from the big blind and take down the pot.

Now, I do play micro limits. I am still building my bankroll. I am sure that will change as I move up in limits. But for now, if I can beat a pair, I am winning 80% of the time.

I recently had a friend of mine say to me "Poker is all luck. You can bluff me all you want and read my tells, but give me the top two cards in my hand and I'm going to win". What type of player is this? A calling station. He plays every Friday night for minimum $300 buy in. Dealer choice games. And I've played with him, watching him call with anything down to the river. This can be a tough player to play in tournaments or ring games; but if you know he is a calling station, you can take him down. Slow play your monsters to him, and stay with him with your sets or better. But watch out! When a flush or straight hits on the river or the board pairs and he is betting into you -FOLD, FOLD, FOLD. Stay patient and he will pay you off.

Monday, June 4, 2007

I thought about posting a few times in the last week, but then thought "I don't have enough to say, or anything great to say." Then I decided, I just need to post and the great posts will work themselves in.

Played a lot of poker over the weekend. Had a couple of terrible hands where I lost $15 or more on each one while playing cash games. At one point Saturday, I was down 2 buy ins but managed to come back to only a 1/2buy in loss for Saturnday. This hand helped me come back nicely:

Dealt to jamyhawk [9s 9d]
Seat 5: folds
Seat 6: calls $0.25
Seat 7: folds
jamyhawk: raises $0.50 to $0.75
Seat 9: folds
Seat 1: folds
Seat 2: calls $0.75
Seat 3: calls $0.65
Seat 4: folds
Seat 6: calls $0.50
*** FLOP *** [9c 3c As]
Seat 3: checks
Seat 6: checks
jamyhawk: bets $0.50
Seat 2: folds
Seat 3: raises $1.75 to $2.25
Seat 6: calls $2.25
jamyhawk: raises $3.75 to $6
Seat 3: calls $3.75
Seat 6: calls $3.75
*** TURN *** [9c 3c As] [9h]
Seat 3: bets $6.30 and is all-in
Seat 6: folds
jamyhawk: calls $6.30
*** RIVER *** [9c 3c As 9h] [7s]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Seat 3: shows [Kd Ad] (two pair, Aces and Nines)
jamyhawk: shows [9s 9d] (four of a kind, Nines)
jamyhawk collected $32.25 from pot

It's amazing how many players online will shove all in with TPTK. Or worse even, I saw several shoves this weekend with Ace high looking for turn or river help just to make a pair. It works for me; that is, when I can remember to stay patient.

Another big pot (for my Buy in's) I took was when I had AA and the flop came QQ7. I bet a continuation bet, then a turn bet and my opponent just called both bets. An A hit the river to give me the boat, I shoved all in and to my delight, my opponent had been slow playing with Q3. Had he pushed on the flop or turn, I may have folded.

I played a few tournaments. Most notably an 8.80 buy in Double shootout 6max with 36 players. With 2 people left, we chopped the pot: 2/3 ($160) to me and 1/3 ($75) to my opponent. Overall for the weekend I finished up on both tournament play and cash tables. I just need to keep building my bankroll so I can move up to bigger buy ins.

WSOP began. I don't usually follow the action closely until the TV coverage starts airing, but this year I am enjoying the posts of fellow bloggers and plan to "tune in" through their posts. Click on the LINKS TO MAKE YOU GO ALL IN for great coverage. I will be adding more links every week as I find them.

Stay Patient....