Only played once last week and my last couple sessions have been...well, to be brutally blunt, I have played brutally bad. I have played passively, cautiously, and scared...and the results have been equally bad. So I determined to play it limping, if I am in a hand I A) have a premium hand and B) raised it up.

Playing 6 handed to start. First hand I played I had A/J, brought it in for a raise, chased nobody out. Hit my Ace, raised, one guy came over the top, one called. I folded. Would have lost to 2 pair. Lots of folding, lost most of the hands I was in. Finally went all-in with pocket 9s, one caller, the nines held up and I doubled through. A few hands later, down to 5, fold to the small blind who completed the bet, I had pocket aces, raised the minimum...he folded. To an A/J everyone called a raise up 3 times the blinds from under the gun...then a min-raise from the big blind saw no caller. Whatever.

I stold a couple blinds, somehow lasted until the final table despite never having gotten over 4000 (I started with 3000).

About the fourth hand, they were all playing very conservative, blinds and 2 and 400 I raised it to 1700 (all-in). FIVE callers. I had K/J suited. Flop came K/Q/10. I liked my hand a lot. Heavy betting saw 2 more people get all-in. Turn was a blank. River was a 10. More heavy betting. One guy hit trip 10s to take us all out. Had the river not been a 10 I would have won the hand, nobody could have touched mine. Oh, well, out in 8th.

Was leaving, still displeased with my play when they lured me into playing the consolation table. They were a pretty annoying group but I just played my game...bring it in for a raise, make them pay to draw out. I doubled up. Built my stack a bit more. People faded out. I put out one guy, ironically the coolest guy at the table. Got down to 4 players. Then 3. I put one out. I was outchipped about 4 - 1 by annoying woman.

Heads up I suddenly got hyper aggressive. If I hit bottom pair...I pushed. If I hit top pair...I pushed. If she checked...I pushed. Slowly I built my stack while shrinking hers. At least twice I pushed her off higher pairs as she could not deal with the aggression. I also showed a couple naked bluffs.

Finally I had a significant lead and raised an A/4. She called. Flop gave me trips. I bumped it 400. She called. Turn did not help me, I asked how much she had, put her all-in...she called. It was over and I had my 2nd consolation win. Uh...yay?


Mixers, 4/24/07

Extremely light attendance...only 12 people. Oh,well, I like my table, let's see what happens.

The first hand I have A/rag and am bb. I am neither committed to playing "real" poker nor to doker...I just want to play a bit. An Ace comes on the flop. I bet 200, Eric almost folds but then he calls. I know to get him off the hand all I have to do is ramp up my bet. Instead I value bet him to keep him in the pot on the turn and river and we end up splitting the pot. Oops.

Next hand I have A/10. I limp from the small. Again an ace hits but this time there are a couple rags. I value bet. Eric stays with me. I don't think he has the ace this time. I value bet him...until a 5 falls on the river. He hit his gutshot and won with a straight. I priced him in and it cost me. Twice I have soft played, twice it has cost me.

Now the guy to my right bumps it to 300 (6 times the blinds). I put him on A/K, KK, or AA. I have pocket 9s so I call, though I feel like I should raise. Flop comes A/K/J. I fold to his bet. He had A/K.

I then fold to his next raise and then pick up A/10 again. This time I call his raise. Flop comes A/rags. I bet 500. Eric comes over the top for another 5 and guy to my right calls. I fold. I would have split with them as they both had worse Aces. I read guy to my right as having Big Slick again.

Now I am getting low, about 1250 left and am BB again with J/5. Flop comes 10/3/10. Check around. Turn brings a Jack. Guy to my right bets 150. I figure he has me instead of wisely folding my 2 pair I go all-in. He calls with the 10 in is hand and I am done.

I played horribly, pricing people in when I shouldn't, letting them hit their draws without paying...I deserved to be the first one out. I was horrible.


Starving Crazed Weasels League April Edition

I came in with a plan. With some of the players there is really no meaning for them if I check-raise, bluff, etc. So I was going to play straight ABC poker. Only start with good hands, raise them 3 - 4 times the blinds, raise again if I had what figured to be the best hand, and otherwise check and call or fold, depending on if I could make a hand.

I started joining the limp-fest. It did not go well. Then against Kenneth I bluffed off 2K chips. This made me low on chips, though nowhere near the danger zone. I started following my plan after that.

Meanwhile, certain others were still trying to make moves. Pete tried to bluff Stanica off a huge pot by putting her all in when all he had was King high. Against some of us it would have been a good bluff. Against Stanica it is just silly. To nobody but Pete's surprise she called...with Jack high. And to nobodies surprise she spiked a jack to double up.

I was down pretty low when Pete raised it 4 times the blinds, Tracy called, and I looked down at the pocket rockets. I went all in. Pete folded but talked Tracy into calling with K/2 suited. The rockets held up and I doubled through. Then a lot of folding followed.

I finally picked up Kings. I bumped them up, only Stanica called. I instantly shut down and checked it down, taking only about 1400. But it is dangerous against her because she will stay around and hit. And that is not a criticism. When you catch cards it is a phenomenal strategy, although over the long run it will cost you. But some days it works very, very well. The Kings held up and I was looking good. The next hand I picked up pocket 8s and bumped it. Kenneth and Pete stayed in. I flopped a set and raised it again. They talked to each other about whether I could catch back-to-back good hands and stayed with me. I ended up taking down a nice pot and now I was rolling.

I picked up a few pots and then came a huge confrontation in the top about 3 or 4 with Kenneth. I picked up 10/j in the big blind and flopped top 2 pair. I bumed it up and he came with me. Turn brought a possible straight draw, I think it was an 8 and I raised again. River was a dangerous queen. I counted down his last 4500 and put him all-in. I think he put me on a bluff because he called and my 2 pair held up. He had had my number all night so it was quite a relief. He played really, really well.

Heads up with Pete I was nervous. I know he is more experienced than I am and his bluff tendencies make him hard for me to read. So I went into all out aggression, raising every time I was small blind and raising every pair or better I hit. Finally I had about a 4-1 chip advantage and raised it, he instantly went over the top all in. I only had K/6 suited but I read him for medium pocket pair. I figured the King was my out and called him. He had pocket 9s. My first actual read of the entire night and I was right...I was way behind. The flop gave me a 6, giving me more outs. The turn was a King and he was down to 2 outs. The river...a 6 giving me the boat and the win!

For the night I played very poorly early. I should not have limped at all. I got taken out of some largish pots I should not have been in, bluffed away a good portion of my chips and had to get some help in the way of hitting trips and having my Kings and Aces hold up. But once I got my head on straight I played very well and got some help on the last hand. And this time...not every time, but this time...I outplayed Pete heads up. And that ain't easy.


Mixers, 4/17

Large crowd. There is a real push on as the tournament for entry into the WSOP satellite is coming up and people are scrambling to make the top 64. I, meanwhile, continue to just play for fun so the points don't matter. I still want to win.

Well, we end up with 4 people at the table I don't know. The guy is one of those self-important know-it alls who spends most of his time shuffling chips and playing like crap while his wife is pervasively annoying. Meanwhile we also had Josh, aka Cpt. Bluff-a-lot, and Florin. Still, I was joking around, having a good time, largely at Florin's expense as he likes to take a lot...I mean a LOT of time before even calling the blinds.

First pot I stayed in I was able to get a free card and hit a straight but anyone playing an 8/9 would beat me (I had Q/8). Josh raised, chip-shuffler called, I almost re-raised since I did not believe Josh had the straight and chip-shuffler spent so long debating the call I knew he had at best an 8 high straight to match my own. I got scared and just called. Florin went into the tank for about 5 minutes before calling...and matching my 8 high straight. Josh had 2 pairs and chip-shuffler had the ignorant end of the straight so Florin and I split it.

Stayed in on a couple of draws, got down to about 1500 and went all-in with a weak hand, A/10 suited. That pretty much let me know I was on tilt. Florin went into the tank for another 5 minutes before calling. He also had A/10 suited. We both paired our Aces, and it was once more a split.

I went up and down a bit, having a lot more fun joking than playing. Torman joined the table. He, if possible, was playing even slower than Florin. Grr.

Finally I was low on chips and bored so I went all-in with A/6. Florin called with A/q. Board was A/8/8. Turn was a King. River was a 3. I started to leave, then realized...the King on the board beat our kickers...for the third time we split a pot.

Built up to about 5600 but was still not having enough chips. Picked up K/9 5 handed and went all-in UTG. To my shock Roman, who had played maybe 6 hands all night (lost with kings, won with Kings, lost with Queens, been in the blinds the other times. Won one other hand with a straight and one more with Big Slick) called. And annoying woman re-raised all in. And Florin called. 4 players? Oops. Roman won with trips Aces. I needed a jack on the river but he got an Ace instead.

At the time I did not think poorly of my play. I had decent reads on most of them...I just played bored. But then I figured it out...playing bored is a form of tilt. So in actuality I played poorly indeed. I need to learn to play well whether bored or not if I am to play well in tournaments.


Lydias, 4/16

Got there on the second hand, started out down 25 chips, no big deal. Got a quick read on essentially the entire table. I knew almost exactly where they were every hand. Straight draw on board, Gary won it with a bet, they all asked if he had the straight, I said, "Nope, he had Aces and Jacks." He was so shocked I had him read he flipped them up. I folded to his Kings a couple times, to the guy to my right's kings a couple times. When I caught cards I raised and played them well.

However, I also raised on draws and a couple times people called me down with like...a pair of 5s. So that hurt. Note to self; when people will call 4 times the blinds with a pair of 5s and a 9 kicker...don't raise your draws.

Finally I played a K/9 and when I hit trips on the flop got all my money in, crippling one person and about tripping up. Pretty quick we were down to 4 players. I had solid reads on them all. Got into a blinds battle with Jedi-toy to my right. I had 9/J. Flop gave me trips. He checked and I bet the minimum. He folded, I flipped them up and said, "Tried to make it look like I was trying to buy the pot with that." I was small blind next hand, he called, flop brought 9/10/9. He raised the minimum, I folded. Everyone else called. He ended up raking a nice pot. At the end he had a full boat, 9's over 10's, and flipped up the 9/J he had. "Thanks for the advice on how to play that" he told me. It was good for a laugh.

A couple hands later on a flop of K/9/6 he bet and I figured he had two pair. At the showdown I thought he had K/9 but it was the King/6...still good enough to beat me. But a solid read.

A bit later, 500/1000 blinds, I had about 10K at that point. I called with A/2. Flop brought A/Queen/rag. I raised to 4K. Guy to my left folded, guy to his left, normally a very tight player, called all-in with about 3800. I was a little surprised when he did not flip up an Ace...just a Q/9 of clubs. He had middle pair, only three to the flush. I was way ahead. Turn was almost a blank...but it was a club. And the river was a 3....of clubs. He hit runner-runner to hurt me pretty bad.

Next hand I was in the big blind and had 10/5 suited. Flop had one over (a king) and 2 spades. Jedi-toy raised it a thousand. I had a solid, solid read on him and figured him for about K-8, K-9 or K-10. I had 4 to the flush. I thought about it a bit and since I only had 2300 more than the raise I went all-in on the draw. He indeed had the King and a flush hit...unfortunately, I had a Spade flush draw and he hit runner-runner diamonds to put me away. I finished 4th on the night out of about 15.

Review: my reads were dead on. Due to some reading I have been doing, I also want to point out I more than doubled up for the night, at one point having close to 12K so I am meeting my goal of at least doubling up. Also, I felt like I did a good job of blind stealing, getting a good read on the limpers and taking down one pot where everyone limped to me in the big blind, I had A/10 suited, went all-in and they all folded so I picked up about 3K without a fight. I need to do that more.


The Company Game

11 people showed. Kenneth was the only one I had played with before. We got a horrendously late start, but once we got going we had a table of 5 and a table of 6.

To my right was Travis. Travis is relatively solid but fairly predictable. I picked up his betting pattern early and had a solid read. To his left was Nathan, a wild bluffer who freely admitted that. To his left was Jeff...erratic, but predictable. To his left (and my right) was Mike.

Early on I could not catch a hand. I pretty much was only playing the blinds and hitting nothing there. Nathan bluffed me off one hand, then I called with 2 pair and he had a flush so I was down about 2000 (started with 5). I worked my way back up, finally caught a few hands. Won one with a bluff. Then came a couple key hands, both involving Nathan.

In the first I was in the big blind, he raised to 3 times, I immediately put him on a high pocket pair, a couple callers and I had K/8 so I called it. Flop brought a pair of tens and an 8. I bet it, he and Jeff called. Right there I figured anything but another 8 and I was done with the hand. Turn brought a 10 giving me a full house, 10s over 8s. Nathan bet into it. Jeff called. I folded. That's right, I folded a full house. And at the showdown Nathan busted Jeff out when Jeff called again and Nathan had the pocket 9s.

Not too much later I picked up A/Q and jacked it up 3 times the blind. Flop gave me top pair and 2 rags. I raised. Nathan reraised. I called. Turn was a blank, I raised, he re-raised, I called. River brought a possible flush. I checked. He raised 2000. I thought and thought and thought. Finally I looked at him and said, "Hit your flush?" He said nothing but his eyeblink rate increased a lot. Finally I convinced myself he was bluffing and called off about half of what I had left, putting another 2000 into a pot that was already about 15 or 20. I shamefully flipped up my Queen Ace....and he flipped up a hand of nothing.

From there I was cruising and wiped out the rest of my table.

At the final table, the last 5 of us it was tough. They would raise and call like maniacs. It was almost impossible to get a read on them. They were playing 15 and 20K pots with Jack High...or a flush. They showed down every hand. Being short-handed the blinds came fast so I was blinded and bet off about half my stack.

Got to heads up and we had 7 straight hands shown down...and she won every one of them. That put me on a short timer. When I got A/8 I went all in for about 4K. She called with 9/3, spiked the nine on the turn and I was done, finished in 2nd.

I think I played really well overall. Very few mistakes, got good reads, was putting people at the first table on the hands they actually had (twice correctly putting people on Big Slick).


Mixers, 4/10/07; return of doker

Having not played for a week I wanted to see a few flops and play a bit. It was almost predetermined I would be limping in a lot. Fortunately, the table I was at was playing that way so I was able to limp in for quite some time. There were no more than maybe 2 or 3 hands I did not play in the first blind level. For the most part it was limp, see the flop, fold to a bet. But I hit a couple nice hands. At one point I limped with J/9 and the flop gave me a gut shot. Tor bet out so I knew he had paired something. I called anyway. Turn gave me the king and therefore I had hit the gutshot. He bet, I came over the top, he folded, I mucked. This led to quite a conversation on their part over whether I bluffed or had it. About two hands later I had Q/7. The flop gave me a 7, I bet, couple callers. Turn gave me trips, I bet...folds around. Then they decided I had had nothing. It was pretty funny. My wild-seeming play let me bluff whenever I wanted to. But it was keeping me from getting paid, too. Still, I was up about 25%.

At the second blind level we got a more aggressive player who was raising a few pots so I had to revert to "real poker". About 8 hands in we were 6 handed and in middle position I picked up pocket 6s. I raised to 3 times the blinds, annoying girl doubled my bet, folded to me and I called. I blind checked, flop came 2/3/5 giving me a gut shot. She checked behind me. Turn was a blank so I bet 1000. She called. At that point I should have put her on a pocket pair as she would not have called with nothing and earlier I had her on either pair or paint.. I did have her ahead so I checked the river as she did and she had 10s. I should have read that but did not. Oh, well.

Reached the final table but I was feeling the time crunch as I had to leave for the airport to pick up Pete & Robin. So I started being hyper aggressive trying to call off my chips. With blinds at 500/1000 I raised with Q/3. Flop gave me bottom pair, I bet.Eric called & so did Dawg. Turn gave me another 3. I went all in for my last 3200. Eric folded...Dawg called. Now I had about 10000. Oops. Later put out Linda and Roman on the same hand. My stack kept growing.

So I took to raising to 3K and showing after they all folded. 7/8 unsuited. A/Q suited. Then since they were folding I limped in...and they decided that meant I was strong and only the blind called. Annoying girl was starting to tilt.

Finally I called a raise from Nipa with 7/8 unsuited again. When Nipa raises she usually has an Ace or King-rag or any pair. Flop gave me a pair of 7s but there was a 7 on the board. She bet another 3K and I had my chops in the pot before she finished counting hers out. Turn was a blank, I called her 3K raise and again all but beat her into the pot. River gave me an 8 for 2 pair and she again led with 3K. I only had 2600 left and had planned to fold but I knew I would not be embarrassed to go out with 2 pair so I called. She claimed trips, I showed my hand, she showed hers...and had Kings and 7s. Not exactly trips...but good enough and I was out in 4th.

Had I not needed to go I would not have played so maniacally at the final table...and ironically would have done worse. Perhaps there is a lesson there. But being me I refuse to learn it :-)

Mixers, 4/3/07

About 20 people again. Started off with the limp/limp/limp strategy. As usual, most hands I tossed after the flop. Hit a couple. Bert, who prides himself on his ability to figure what you have, was getting a bit frustrated because he had no clue what I had. That led to a hand where I limped in with 6/8 off, not really a playable hand if I am playing tight but eminently playable when playing trash hands.

The flop gave me 8,9,5 rainbow. I bet out with my middle pair and Bert called. The turn gave him a queen. I checked, he bet. I knew he had the queen, figured him for something like q/rag. I totalled my outs: I needed an 8 for trips or 7 for a straight. 7 outs, 14%, getting 5-1 on my money...I called. The river was a 6. Oops. I forgot those...I had actually had 10 outs. He bet and I called. "Straight?" he said. "Nope" I replied. He flipped up his queen and started to reach for the pot. I flipped up my hand and said "Do have 2 pair though."

He saw what they were and started venting about "river rats" and "donkeys" and how I should not have called either bet. I pointed out I had way more outs when I called his first bet than he had when he called mine...and that I actually was getting about 9-1 pot odds for a 5-1 call. He did not like that.

Not too long after that I had A/5 and an Ace came on the flop. He led out with a raise. I knew he had an Ace and figured his kicker somewhere between an 8 and Jack. I have no idea why I called...but I did and he got his chips back. Sure enough, he had A/10. I am fairly confident in my reads of him.

All night my reads were spot on. I got out of the way of back to back boats by Tor, trips by Linda, 2 pair and a straight by Roman. But I was not catching any cards. Then I got moved to the other table.

There I ran into a girl I actively dislike playing with. She complains about everything. She complains about not being able to smoke at the table. She complains if you muck her hand when she isn't there (although that is the rule and it happens to everyone). She threatens and just generally makes the game un-fun. So I tried to find a hand I could call off all my chips and feel respectable doing it. But I kept hitting them and doubling up. Finally I got moved back to the other table but by then the enjoyment factor was gone.

I went all-in 3 or 4 times, only to have everyone fold. Finally the guy to my right doubled the blinds from under the gun. I came over the top all-in with K/Q suited (which pretty much lets you know I was done for the night as I well know that is not a playable hand from early position, especially when someone represents a legit hand). He had me dominated with A/K. First card was a queen...oops....second card a King...oops...third card an Ace. We both flopped 2 pair....fortunately the turn and river were both blank and I was free.