Mixers, 3/29/07

I had a new plan going in. Instead of playing "correctly", i.e. only premium hands from early position, only strong hands from middle and most hands from late I was going to limp with any 2 cards whenever I could until I got down to about 2/3rds of my original stack. My theory went thusly; I am good enough to make the final table after getting short stacked. By tightening up I will only play the top hands and that will take me where I need to be. Conversely, by playing a lot of hands even though most of them will be losers I might hit something unexpected and take down a huge pot. Additionally, it will add deception to my game. Once I got down to about 2000 I would tighten up.

So my goals were 2-fold:

The first fold was to experiment with being Sir Limp-a-lot
The second fold was to put people on a hand every time whether I was involved or not.

When I got there I noticed it was a much tougher crowd than usual. A lot of the dead money was not there but some stars from some of the other venues were. I reconsidered my plan. Then I thought...what better crowd to try this against?

First hand sure enough I had some garbage. I limped. So did almost everyone else.Bert the Big Blind raised to 150, 3 times the blind. And here was my first decision.

If I was only going to limp I was going to get out of any big hands, particularly when packing garbage. However, at this point I was getting about 8 - 1 on my money, more if people behind me called. So I called. In fact, I think only one person folded. The flop came and I hit part of it...I had top pair (8s) and with my garbage kicker...I had a backdoor straight draw. I thought about raising it. I never got the chance. Bert went all-in. I hesitated for a couple seconds...I had top pair on board. He could have raised with 2 overs and might be trying to buy what was, after all, a nice pot. Then with a *** pop*** I pulled my head out. I am not losing on the first hand with a pair of 8s!!!!!!! I folded. And surprisingly....Scotty called. Bert had gotten there early so had 300 extra chips, Scotty was at risk. Burt flipped up pocket Queens. Scotty flipped up 8/2....2 pair. And when they held up Bert was in trouble but Scotty had more than doubled up on the first hand.

I should point out that this hand illustrates why limping constantly is a problem was amply demonstrated here. Hold-Em is about decisions...making the right decision. By limping I caused 3 problems on 1 hand:
1) I priced myself into a higher start cost with a trash hand.
2) I gave myself a tougher decision pre-flop (call 3 times the blind with rags)
3) When I got a piece of the flop I gave myself another, tougher decision...and almost made a huge mistake.

So if I am going to play this way i have to make sure I am on my game because more decisions = more chances to make a huge mistake.

More limping followed. But people kept bumping it. And there was my second mistake. I should, at that point, have gone to playing correctly, tightened up and played my normal style. I did not. I won some trash hands, I lost some. I got down about 5 or 6 hundred chips, then up. Then came another key hand. I was down to about 2000, my "I am not limping anymore" point when I picked up fishhooks in the big blind. People limp to me and I bumped it a staggering 500. Eric called, everyone else folded. Flop was all rags. I bumped it a thousand (essentially at that point I was declaring myself all in because with only 500 left...I would be dead.) He almost called but then folded. Between his 500 and the limpers I was back in business.

A couple hands later I limped with Q/rag. Lots of callers. Flop gave me a gut shot. I raised. They both called. The turn filled my straight. I went all-in. Linda almost called. So did Scotty. They were talking about it. "He is trying a move, we know he is trying new things tonight. But I can't believe he would do it with nothing." She wanted so bad to call but they finally both folded. I mucked and as I raked it in I said, "Guess my 2/3 held up". There were nothing but Aces, Kings, Jacks, 10s and a 7 on the board. Linda said, "I thought you were trying a move." Then she thought about it and decided I was lying, that I would not have done that with nothing. Later it got her to pay me off on another hand.

More limping followed and I built a nice stack of about 4 or 5000 or so. I limped UTG with J/8 off. Nipa, immediately to my left, went all in. I instantly put her on high pockets or maybe big slick. Linda called. Another paint or pair. Scotty went all-in. Bert folded. Another caller. I thought about it. I counted it out. I would have a shade over 1000 left if I lost...short stack, yes, but I could tighten up and come back. Bert certainly had. Or I could hit this nice drawing hand. It was a HUGE risk...but I took it. And then said "I blind check to the all-in." I flopped a gut shot. They followed my lead. I hit my queen but checked it down anyway and won the whole shebang. Now I was golden with over 10,000 in chips.

******** Spoiler alert *********
Here is where a mistake was made. I now had what I wanted. A nice chip stack which I could now switch gears, play premium hands, and slowly build my chip stack for the final table. But I fell prey to the "seeing a lot of flops is fun" demon within.

Still, I got to the final table easily and still had about 10 - 14K. I had taken about about 6 people over the course of the night. I continued to play wel....err, hit cards.

Got to the final 3; Eric, Bert (yes, the same guy who was all-in first hand and left with only 300) and me. I was short stack but not terribly so. Got involved in a few hands with each of them. Eric had my number though and I got down a couple times. I got all in a couple times and came back. Then came a key hand.

Blinds were 2 and 4 thousand. Bert, UTG, made it 8500 to go. I looked down at pocket 6s. I called. Eric came over the top all-in. Bert went all-in. I sat back and thought. I put Eric on paint and Burt on anything from paint to any pair to maybe a stone cold bluff. He bluffed a lot. I wanted to call but just figured staying ahead of 2 players was not going to happen. I folded. I would have flopped a set and won...Eric had Q/J and Bert had pocket 10s. Eric hit a queen to take a commanding lead.

Burt, per his admission, went on tilt, going all-in the next 4 hands. Eric and I folded the first, Eric called (and lost) the second, called (and lost) the third, and I called the fourth. He had K/9, I had A/7. He flopped a King/9 and with no help on the turn I was drawing dead to the river, out in third.

Looking back I think it was a very successful experiment. There was a lot of fluctuation to my stack. I got the chance to bluff a few hands and hit a lot of hands. And I had a nice stack when it mattered, I just could not close the deal. I will be trying this again in the future.


Dr. Feelgoods, 3/26

Large turnout for Feelgoods, I think 3 full tables. Except ours did not stay full for long...before the first circuit 2 people had busted out. We were busting people out so fast the blinds hit about every 3 or 4 hands instead of 8 or 9 hands. When you are getting the cards this is good. When you aren' are in trouble. I picked up my first premium hand (A/Q) after about 40 minutes. I played it book-proper, raising it up...and out of 4 other people, 3 called. The flop was rags, UTG came out firing and there was a caller so I folded. Sure enough someone had a straight. A while later, down to about half my original stack due to just the blinds and that hand I picked up pocket 9s. Raised it...3 callers. Flop had 2 overs. I raised, they both came over the top. Fold.

Blinds, blinds, blinds. In BB the one time nobody raised I had A/5 suited. Ended up winning that hand...sort of. Split pot. So the first hand I won was a split pot. Basically got blinded to where I had 800 chips left, pocket 8s,best chance, went all in. On the river an Ace put me out of my misery.

Quick analysis; all night I was right on with my reads. I knew the guy hit his queen and something else on the board, he had 2 pair. I read when the big stack hit his straight. I knew the chick hit her Ace on my last hand. But when you get no cards, it does no good to get the right reads.

Was leaving when a coworker arrived. Played the consolation table with him. One hand there were three of us at the showdown and the board had its own straight so we split the pot. That was the only other hand I won all night. Bad, bad night for the cards although I am not displeased with my play. Sometimes you just get nothing.

Starving Crazed Weasels League March Edition

This one was a rough one. It got started pretty late...not a huge deal...and there were a lot of extraneous things going on such as Robin struggling with leg issues. Also, Phillip kind of surprised me with a donation of his chips to someone else...something that is prohibited. I did not know what was going on until the transaction was completed or I would have stopped it because, while I get and commend the is not fair to other players who might finish ahead of the donatee and subsequently finish behind. Also, Pete played a few of Robin's hands, another thing that I should have been on top of and wasn't. So the fault lies with me and of course that is what really bothers me. I should have been more on top of things.

Be that as it may, it was still fun. I played horribly. With calling stations and newbies abounding I knew going in that certain plays would be ineffective...raising to represent a straight when someone does not know what a straight is means nothing. Check raises? They won't understand it means "I have a super strong hand".

I knew to play nothing but the premium hands...and didn't. I kept thinking "Oh, I will just limp in and outplay them." knowing they knew little. Uh...dude, they know little. They are just going to call it down to the river. You can't outplay that...they, in fact, badly outplayed me. They played better than most of us.

As a result I got myself short stacked and never really gave myself an opportunity. And it wasn't that I was card-dead...I was card impatient. Had I waited they would have come. Both times I had premium hands (pocket queens 2 out of 3 hands) I got paid off rather well. Too bad I had squandered my stack by that point...

As it was, it was very nice to see mostly fresh faces at the top as Phillip, Stanica, Kevin and Emily were the top 4. Hopefully next month will see some of the other newer players up there as well...though next time I will be patient and let the game come to me, I will call more and raise less and see what happens.


Mixers, 3/22

I wanted to accomplish a few things last night.
1) I wanted to work on actually putting people on actual hands.
2) I wanted to see if I could shake up my table image.
3) I wanted to finish pretty high and have a chance on the final table.

So I planned all day to, on the first hand, regardless of position or cards, raise it up.
First Hand: A/Q off. I was under the gun. Sadly, this is a hand I would raise anyway...but it fits the plan perfectly. I triple the blinds. A couple callers. I raise on the ragged flop with nothing. 1 caller. I raise on the turn with nothing. he calls. I should have bet on the river but didn't. He checked...and won with a pair of 4s. But it accomplished my goal of making me seem like a maniac. This was accentuated when I limped with pocket 4's (folded to big bet on flop), bet heavily and took people for a ride with Pocket Kings, and the third consecutive hand with pocket pairs showed I had bet him off the better hand. So I bet early and often and they knew that. They did not notice when I started playing more or less correctly.

I played a J/9 from the small blind. Flop gave me 4 to the flush so I called. Then I reraised...and because of my image he paid me off. So it worked. I might have to try that again.

Twice I correctly called the exact hands...and most times I at the least had the top card correct. But I did not put people on hands as often as I would have liked. I had to keep reminding myself to do that.

As usual, reached final table and as has been more common lately actually had chips. But Greg to my left was a chip monster and I played cowardly and poorly. Twice I raised pre-flop and folded to large reraises by him, once to a guy on my right. Thus I bled away a lot of chips. Then I gave away another 5000 or so chasing an open ended straight thus putting me in bad shape. With 300/600 blinds I went all-in for my last 2400. Eric called, the other low chip stack called, guy to my right got out of the way. Other short stack had j/10 so I had him dominated...but chip monster had pocket queens which meant I pretty much had to hit a King, no straight was likely. Well, maybe it was...he hit another queen. But it was pretty irrelevant if I hit my straight or not because the turn took away all his outs...all the queens were either on the board or in his hand and I was out in 4th place.

Had I not been sloppy with my chips at the final table I would have been fine. I played too much and lost too many so I had to go in with a vulnerable hand. My bad, got badly outplayed at the final table once we got to 4 people and placed probably higher than I should have.


The Hand I shouldn't Have Played

In my previous post I mentioned two hands that gave me problems: one where the Ace High flush got busted by a straight flush and one where Pocket 9s took me out of the tournament against pocket kings. I need to analyze both of those a little bit deeper.

First, the Ace High Flush. I failed miserably on this hand. Let's go over it again. I limped in from the small blind with A/9 with a couple people ahead of me already limping. That was by design. Until people started raising it was pretty much a "limp in and play lots of hands" table. Perhaps I am being egomaniacal but I believe this is advantageous to someone like me. I outplayed people on the flop with regularity and I believe seeing a lot of cheap flops and then outplaying people post-flop led to my comfortable chip position. So I am not displeased with my choice. A/9 off from late position in that environment is eminently playable.

On the flop I picked up top pair and 3 to the flush but both hearts were small. When I raised and Jason re-raised I made my first mistake. I figured he was ahead...but DIDN'T try to put him on a hand. I just figured he was ahead but the price was worthwhile and with a little help my hand could get really strong. I loosely assumed he had maybe Ace/paint or a flush draw...but did not actually try to put him on a hand.

When the turn came I saw the small heart again putting 3 small hearts on the board. I noticed it gave someone a straight draw and knew it gave them a flush if they had 2 hearts. But I had not bothered to put Jason on a hand and did not do so at this time. I just looked at my Ace and raised again. He did not hesitate to call. At that point I figured him for a flush and if I did not hit a heart on the river I was done with the hand. When the river brought the 9 of Hearts I knew I had the Ace High flush and went all-in...and again did not bother to put him on a hand. When he revealed the Straight Flush was the first time I even saw the possibility.

That is bad. Yes, they seldom come. But seeing "small hearts" and "straight draw" and never pausing to think about whether he could conceivably have joined the two was just stupid. I never considered what he might have that would justify calling. I probably still would have gone all-in...but I should have had at least a passing awareness I could be hurt there. Nor did I consider his chips when I pushed all in. I got greedy and it cost me.

Overall I played the hand quite poorly because I only thought about what I had, not what he could have. Nor did I ever really put him on a hand other than a very vague "something". This would not be so bad had I not been counting on outplaying people on the flop to generate my chip stack.

But that hand I am not super disappointed with. I would probably play it the same way again...I tried to push people off draws and lesser Aces. I had a hand that is normally considered the nuts. A pre-flop raise would have changed the table and screwed up the image I was carefully building (I won several hands where I doubtless did not have the best hand but since I had shown several strong, strong hands they believed me). The one I am disappointed with came later.

I worked hard to not "tilt". I did not get involved in hands with sub-optimal cards, did not make crazy bets, and worked my way back to a respectable 4 or 5K. And made the final table, so I am pretty sure I was not tilting.

Picked up pocket 9s. Raised 3 times the big blinds. 2 callers, including the big blind and Dog the limper. Dog typically raises with any pair or paint so I am not sure why he would call. The other guy I had not played with before. The flop came with J/7/5, 2 diamonds. I figured I still had the best hand. I raised 3 times the big blind, BB called, and Dog raised it another 1600 over the top. Dog likes to bluff a lot and I never try to put him on a hand. I instantly put him on a bluff. So did 3 or 4 others at the table.

Problem 1: that is sheer intellectual laziness on my part. "Oh, he bluffs a lot, so he is hard to read". Perfect! Practice on him! I bet he has betting patterns! Put him on a hand!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Problem 2: I am at the final table. If I release my hand I still have 2400 chips, more than respectable amount. I actually DID put him on 2 overcards which meant he would have had 6 outs...which means a quarter of the time, even if I am ahead, I will lose the hand. Do I want to risk my tournament life on that? There would be better times where I would have more than 2 outs...I am what, 12 - 1 against improving my hand? Not smart. Especially since I thought about those things...that I could be out, that I would have chips left, that there was a decent chance I was already beat (if he had Jack-something) or could take me out...and did it anyway.

I called not because of the situation or because of my own read but because of the read of several others and because I figured he was bluffing...but I was guessing at a bluff and the only thing I could beat was a bluff. Stupid raise on my part and when he flipped up the cowboys I got what I deserved.

Looking back at my play on the evening it was not as good as I initially thought. I regularly failed to put people on hands and overplayed my cards. Sure, sometimes I got lucky...for example, at the consolation table I went all-in against Florin because I had "a lot of outs"...I had an open-ended straight. 2 out of 3 times I am done right there. But I got lucky, hit my straight and went on to win. But it was exactly that...luck. Again...did not bother to put him on a hand.

So things to work on:

1) Put people on hands. Every hand.

2) Watch for betting patterns.

3) Consider the situation; stack size, is it worth the risk, will there be better times to get your chips in the middle?

If I work on these things I think I will continue to improve and have better results.


Mixers, 3/20

It was going to be a strong night. I started off with a bang, gaining chips, building my stack. Jason was also doing well. Picked up the A/9 off, got into the hand cheap. Flop gave me top pair, I raised, he reraised, I called, Tor called. Another Heart, low, came on the turn, I raised, he called, Tor folded. River gave another low heart, I had the Ace of hearts, no boat on board, I went all in. He called...and flipped up the Straight Flush, taking me all the way down to about 1000 chips. Ouch. I got the Ace high Flush busted.

*** Quick note: this was actually a very poor play on my part. I paid no attention to what he might have. His early reraise indicated he had a hand. I did not pause to think about what he might have had. I did not even see the straight flush possibility.

On the bright side, I not only did not go on tilt...I shortly doubled up, then did so again with strong hands and actually built back up to about 4000 chips...and made the final table! There I had a good hand but got busted on the river by a 3 outer (I had him dominated with my A/K to his A/J) and went out in 8th place but I was pretty proud of coming back from a bad, bad beat and short, short stack to hit the final table.

That got me into the consolation table where I had to match the short stack....who only had 350 chips. A few hands in I doubled up, played tight, doubled up, won a few blinds...took out Brandon...and ended up in heads up where I badly outplayed my competition and won the consolation game!

From short stack to win...I was pretty happy with that. I got a little lucky with some of the cards...but then again, when you consistently get in with the best cards luck is less of a factor. Overall I am pleased with my play and my consolation win.


Dr. Feelgood's, 3/19/07

Going in to tonight I was in 5th place overall despite never finishing higher than 4th. Dr. Feelgood's has not been a help as it has been the site of my most spectacular flameouts. I never play well there.

It did not help I was stressed from work. Was a pretty rough work day and was a little off center with the Goose. Talked to her a bit and randomly decided to go play anyway specifically BECAUSE I was on tilt. I need to play through that.

Fold. Fold. Fold. Tempted to call when they raised my blinds...but I had nothing. Fold. Fold. Fold. Started with 3300 and by the time the blinds had raised twice I had a little over 2K and had yet to see 2 flops or even a single turn. FInally won a small hand to get to about 4200. Whee.

Got to the final table when 3 people at the other table simultaneously caught hands...and the BB had the biggest hand. About 3 hands into the final table picked up pocket 9s....and got 2 callers. Oops. And even worse....the King hit on the turn. But I spiked my nine on the river to triple up.

A couple hands later I doubled up again to get a respectable 8 or 9 thousand, although still pretty much short stack. Got heads up with the real short stack, took him out. Twice picked up hands and raised only to have the big stacks come over the top all-in, folded...and both times good folds.

Meanwhile the big stacks kept hitting at each other. Fold, fold, fold, top 3, the highest I had been...but still short stacked. All-in against the chip lead with A/J...he had A/5. Doubled again. Next hand I had A/K clubs...and doubled through again when he had A/Q. As he said...he had to play both of those. I just got lucky.

Irish finished him when he spiked a Jack on the river despite being dominated and it was heads up.

I kept raising when I hit a pair and he kept folding. Finally I picked up the Doyle Brunson; 10/2 of hearts. The flop came with 10 and 2 rags, 2 hearts. I raised it 2K, he came over the top all-in for 7 more, I called. We flipped them up...he had 9s. He had a straight draw, I had the flush draw...and when the turn and river came blank, I had my first ever win in a tournament.

I won! My First tournament win!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am very proud of having succeeded despite sort of starting on tilt and being at a venue I have played quite poorly at. I had very few cards all night until I needed them and had the patience to stick it out and had good reads on the peeps I was playing with to get my chips in the middle at the correct times when I had the lead.

Home Turf, 3/17

With Em out of town I went ahead and played on a Saturday. Mark and his wife came along, so that was cool. The three of us sat at the same table. We also had Linda, Torman, Tom, and a couple people I did not know.

I followed table protocol and did a lot of limping with a few raises mixed in. My A/K hearts got cracked and I folded on the flop to a raise but my cowboys raked in a nice pot. I never got about 6000 but never got below 2K either. Took Linda for a nice ride when I had the nut flush but could not get her off a hand when I had top 2 pair and an ace kicker and her nice raise on the end told me she hit her flush.

Got to the final table, had slightly over 5 times the big blind but smoke was in my eyes so on the second hand I went all-in. Turned out to have A/7 when I looked at my cards and was against a 9/10 off and K/rag. King paired, 9/10 hit the straight. I finished in 7th.


Mixers, 3/13/07

Talked a bit with Mark about my flameouts. I often have a huge chip stack but blead it all away. He rightfully pointed out I should slow down with the big stack, wait for the premium hands. So that was my plan.

Slight hitch; I could never really get rolling. We started with 3000 and after quite some time the most I had achieved was about 5K. Most of the time I was down around 2K or less. We had rolling hotness. My best hand I laid down for no apparent reason with 2 Aces on the board. Good lay-down, Eric had trips.

Later I got back up, went all-in against Linda for her last 750 chips...and she rivered me. No bog deal.

A couple hands later I was in the big blind. She doubled the blind from the small blind. I looked at 2/7 off...and decided to call. 3 people to the flop, I flopped 2 pair, raised, couple callers, checked the turn, check-called the river...and won with my 2 pair. It was good for a laugh.

Later I tripled up when all-in and finally got around 11K, still not enough to be a factor at the final table.

By grinding I got to where I was battling to finish 4th instead of 5th. Could not come up with a hand worthy of stealing the blinds even if chip-monster Josh had not been raising every pot to 3K when I only had about 5. Missed my chance when short-stack went all in and it would have been heads up. I had no pair and folded. Would have been a 52-48 lead (he showed) but could have been my best chance to get chips. Went all-in with 2 people ahead of me already raised more than I had, but a Q/J suited with 2 BB left might triple me up. It didn't, I was out in 5th.

Did not play super well but not super poor, either. Need to find ways to gain chips when the cards don't come (the pocket queens triple up was my hand of the night by far.)


Dr. Feelgoods, 3/12/07 (4th overall)

The new rankings were out. I am in 4th overall. Not bad for never having hit higher than 4th place in this league...

I started out pretty strong, building a nice chip lead. I had the feel for the table, for who was doing what.

I even got involved with D. I raised it up 3 times the blinds with A/7 suited when we were playing 5 handed. She called. The flop brought A/K/Q. She went all in. I had been watching her all night and figured she had maybe Q/rag, something like that so I called...and it turned out she had figured me to fold. She had I think J/8? The Aces held up and she was gone.

My 3 times the blind raises were scaring people out of pots so I knew if they came in they had a hand. I was doing well until in 3 hands I doubled up 3 all-ins...and this is typical: Under the gun raised to 600, I came over the top to 1200, he went all in and it was 200 more. We flipped them up...and he had 4/7 suited. And he hit the flush on the river.

After about 3 of those I was no longer the chip lead. One would suspect that means this next hand was tilt then.

The girl to my left I had been watching all night. She was a calling station who often folded at the river. Basically if she wasn't all-in she would fold unless she had the absolute nuts.

With A/7 suited I raised three times the bb (at this point that means 900). She had initially limped, now she hesitantly called. After the flop, all rags, couple hearts, she checked, I raised, she called. That should have been my sign to get out of the hand. And if I were playing well I would have because she hesitated not at all. Instead I bluffed at it on 4th and 5th streets despite never hitting anything. She was going to fold when I went all in, representing either a high flush or, as he commented, the potential straight flush, but her husband said, "No, you have to call that" and she did. She had trips, I had (but did not show) the Ace high.

Bad play by my part on the last hand. Prior to the hand I still was in 2nd position with 4 players and a weak table but I flamed out spectacularly.

On the one hand, I appreciate that my game is getting better. I am more aggressive in the right spots, at some point every night I am chip lead. Now I just have to get from there to where I play smart once I am chip lead.



I wanted to play fast and loose after the previous evening's festivities so I found and afternoon game and went between services.

This was a smaller crowd...I think 15 or 16 people maybe? Fairly friendly group. Early I folded a lot as I got, I kid you not, J/6 off, J/6 off, 10/3, j/5 suited (bb, folded to raise), some junk hand, j/6 off. 2 hands later i got...wait for it...J/6 off.

This was good, though. Those hands they all limped in on. But somewhere in there a couple people had raised with either A/rag or A/k. So I felt all right about raising.

And raise I did. It got to be a running joke. If my hand was good it was 3 times the big blind. And whatever the flop was, 3 times the big blind. Soon I had doubled up. A couple times people called to the river, not believing me. Until I showed top 2 pairs, a straight, trips, etc.

Finally I checked on the big blind with a 3/6. The board gave me a gut shot. Just for kicks, I called a small raise. And the board gave me a 7 giving me a straight nobody would read. So I re-raised him on 4th. He called. He checked on the river. I raised. He did not believe me so he called. When they saw the straight I OWNED that table.

I was able to steal a few blinds with my standard raise...including a couple that were sheer "I need to mix up my hands" type raises. I made the final table easily.

There I was close to the chip lead. One guy tripled up when he FLOPPED a straight flush. It was beautiful the way he played it, letting a guy with a 10-high flush bet it, calling, letting another guy stay in.

The guy on my left gained the chip lead with a few hands, a couple people were just hanging on, and I was slowly building through occasional blind stealing and a few nice hands. But I was getting irritated from the smoke and it was getting close to time to go so I was looking for an out. I started playing a bit maniacally...stuff like q/9 off under the gun. Blank board, a couple hearts. 4th gave a heart. check check check check. River, another heart giving me the queen high. Made my standard 3 times the big blind raise. Guy to my left, chip lead, came over the top all in. I said, "Have the Ace, huh? Okay, I call." And he said, "No, but I have the King", showed it, i signed out and left.

I do not know why I do that. I know I am beat, I would have been in 2nd or 3rd chip position without doing that...and I intentionally throw them away. I need to be smarter and stop doing the time crunch thing. I need to show I can win, not accumulate chips and flame out.

West Linn, 3/10

I have been looking forward to this for quite some time. Pete, Robin, Emily and I all ponied up 15 bucks for dinner and a shot at top 3 money places. I determine to play "correctly" limping, either raise or fold. 56 people, I want to last.

Early on Emily and I are at the same table. She is doing really well, winning a couple hands at the showdown and a couple with timely raises. The guy to her left is pretty tight but likes to overbet 2 pair with a flush or straight. The guy to his left is a maniac and he & I take an instant dislike to each other. Most of the table is more limp & call type.

I lose a couple hands when I make proper reads and fold, but then I win a couple with nice raises and am sitting pretty. Emily is chip leader when a hand comes with a probably straight draw. Guy to her left goes all in. I figure him for the straight and fold. Emily thinks about it...and calls. With just top pair. Oops. He only had 2 pair...but she was crippled. 2 hands later she got pulled to a different table.

I finally got to put annoying guy out. I was chip leader by a small margin. People kept coming and going from our table and finally we were down to 5. I was in the big blind and with 2 callers decided to raise with 10/6 off just to see what happened. 2 callers. Flop brought a q/10/8, 2 hearts. With middle pair I bumped it 3 times the bb again (to 300). One fold, the other guy thinks about raising it...then about folding...then about raising. I figure him for the queen. He calls. 4th street brings another heart. I raise it 500. I know the only way I can win the hand is if he folds. He again goes through the raise/fold/raise conundrum. I decide if he calls I am raising regardless of the river. He calls. River comes and I raise 1000 without looking at it but he is watching the cards so does not see I have not looked. He leans back, really thinking about it. He reaches for chips...then looks at his cards...then reaches for chips...then leans back again. About that point, someone says, "After this hand we are breaking up this table." People start getting up...and then someone says, "Aren't they still in a hand?"

I look down...someone had mucked the board! I was screwed. The ONLY way I could win that hand was him folding. Then someone said, "Oh, I know which ones they were!" and pulls 5 cards back out. Only now there are only 2 hearts and there are a pair of 8s...I am dead.

Except...while I am debating what to do he folds it. And I win the hand.

I get moved to another table, almost as unpleasant as the first. Smokers to both sides. I am worried about the drive home because they are closing the on-ramps at 9 so we are going to have a heinous drive home. But I am playing well...raising at the right time, putting pressure on people, building chips. But Emily has busted out (and we were off-center due to driving issues...she still struggles with the stick), Pete has been out for a while, Robin is out, they are just standing around. I don't really feel like grinding so I start a series of semi-bluff all ins. Finally someone calls my J/8 with a J/7 and hits the 7 on the flop so I am done in about 14th place or so...maybe a slot or 2 higher.

Overall I did not like the atmosphere, the people I was at table with, and doubt I will go back to that one.


Mixers, 3/9/07

Last tune-up before the "important" tourney Saturday. 3 tables of about 7 people each. I was a little on edge from events throughout the day so I determined to really concentrate and play well. No limping in, no calls...raise or fold. No showing my hand. Make it a mystery.

I started out playing well. I raised, someone called. He raised on the flop despite missing it, he reraised, I folded. He had me beat, it was a good fold. I got nervous because I had lost the hand, almost shifted into defensive...then thought, no, I am going to play correctly.

Picked up pocket kings in the big blind. Lots of limpers, one raiser, I reraised, went heads up with same guy. I raised on the flop, he called. I knew I had him. I raised on the turn, he folded, I mucked. Leave it a mystery.

Got involved with same guy. I he raised, I reraised. Flop came, I raised, he called. Turn gave a straight draw to anyone with a 6. I checked, he went all-in. I went over the hand out loud. "You raised pre-flop...either paint or pocket pair. If paint you might have something like A-J, K/j, something like that. If you had a pocket pair you might have a set, if it was 6s you have the straight." I paused to guage his reaction. I can't say why but I know I was right, he had me, all I had was a pair of 8s. I folded and said, "Any of those will beat 2 pair." He was like, "I made you fold 2 pair? You were right, I had you...but how could you fold 2 pair?" It got me a lot of respect (even though it was a lie...)

Won a couple hands that were shown. Built chips. Big blind again. Under the gun raised, I had A/J suited and lots of chips so I reraised enough to put him all in if he called. To my surprise, a limper I know only raises with good hands, I figured pocket kings or queens, went over the top all in. My original target called. I had to think about it. I figured at this point they were both ahead but I had straight, flush, and high pair draws. I called. UTG flipped up A/Q off and the lady flipped up cowboys. Yep, I was behind. The flop paired my jack, the turn gave me trips, and to rub salt in their wounds the river gave me the ace for the boat. I got in with the worst hand but got out way ahead.

Quick note: it has not been too long since I finished reading Doyle Brunson's Super System II; Power Poker and he pointed out he often gets in with the worst hand because he has paid for that one by picking up lots of small pots. Hmm. It worked. I had picked up a couple with stone cold bluffs, once with A/Q suited with a flop of rags and once with 2/3 off. Those had paid for this gamble...and when it hit I was dominating the table, chip wise.

A few hands later another solid player who rarely raises but when she does you figure her for pairs raised. A guy called, I looked down at pocket aces and reraised putting her all in. My chip stack grew.

Finally we collapsed to the final table. Dee and I had about 20,000 chips each, noone else more than 3 or 4 thousand. And then it started; I got in with pocket 9s against an A/4. And he hit the Ace on the river to stay alive. Got in with K/J suited against 2 undercards. He hit one to stay alive.

Got in a hand where under the gun raised, I put him on king or ace and rag, reraised, he called. On the flop, pair of medium cards and longshot straight draw if someone had something like he went all in. I looked at the flop, decided he had nothing and remembered our earlier confrontation where he thought I laid down 2 pair. I called with a pair of 4s. He blanched. "Good call" he said and flipped up Ace/9 off. I had him. We both knew it. Then he spiked the 9 on the river. Great call...but costly.

It kept going. Against an all-in I called with pocket 7s. She had an overcard and it hit on the smurfing river. We were all laughing by now. All in all I went in 8 times with the best hand...and lost every one. My once huge chip pile got down to about 4000.

I picked up pocket 3s. I went all in. 2 callers, then Dee went all in to get rid of him. We flipped them up. She had 2 overs, a 9/q. I had the best hand. I put on my coat. She flopped the straight. I shook hands and made my way out the door.


Mixers, 3/6/07

I was sort of on tilt from events at work. So I thought it would be a good time to work through it. was hard. I was pretty card dead again. I tried a couple moves but too many maniacs...any time I raised they would go all-in. I had marginal hands for that. Finally I made a stand, went all in when I picked up a King on the river and doubled up through a guy with only a pair of queens. Fold, fold, fold. Final table.

Yes, having won exactly one hand (and played maybe two or three) I reached the final table...and with more chips than I started with. But I was still short stack. Not that it mattered...two larger stacks got involved in a big hand and by fold, fold, check/folding a couple hands I moved up to 7th despite having seen no hand better than J/6. Yes, I had three straight hands with jacks..j/4, j/6, j/3. fold, fold, fold. People were going to 4 times the big blind about every time. Once I called with the J/6 and the guy to my left went all in. Whatever. Grr.

Finally I picked up A/K off. I went all in. Guy to my left came over the top, also all-in and Dee called us both. We flipped them up. I was in the lead, Dee had A/10 off and he had Q/J off. I was 4-1 to triple up into being a real threat. The flop came with 3 spades to match my ace and a queen for the guy to my left. But no more spades came, nor did any aces so I was done.

Yes, I finished 7th by winning ONE smurfing hand. On the bright side...I got my money in with a big lead. On the dark side...I lost. Oh, well.

Dr. Feelgood's., 3/5

For some reason I never do well the first time I play at a new place. Would the streak continue?

I am going to go with "yes". I was so card dead that I played a Q/6 suited into a raise because it looked like a good hand by that point. I tried a couple raise/check raise maneuvers but nobody was buying it. Went all in with A/7 suited because I was almost blinded out despite only playing about 3 hands. Got rivered. Played terribly, won zero hands, finished 9th.

Actually, I did not play terribly except 1 hand: BB, 7/9 suited, got in cheap. Flop gave me a 9 and someone a backdoor straight and/or flush draw. Checks all around on the turn. On the river another 9 but there are both straight and flush draws with it. I bet 500. Florin comes over the top all-in. I have seen him play and he does not bluff much. That means he has the straight or flush and the only think I put him on is something that will beat me so I fold the trips. Turned out he had 2 pair and he outplayed me. But that one hand was costly. Almost 1000 chips of my 3K total.

Home Turf, 2/3

Came out firing on all cylinders. Of course, when you pick up pocket kings then pocket 10s (and hit a straight) it is easy to do. Later in the run played a 6/8 from the big blind and broke a guy playing the 5 high straight. Finally picked up pocket aces...and when 2 more flopped I had my best hand ever.

Also, I picked up a read on an older guy. When he looks at his cards he tends to look longer when it is "big" and I figured out he had A/rag, either a 3 or 4. It was a 4.

Florin and I got involved in a hand at a table I was not enjoying playing at. I knew he had me beat. I actually figured he had trip 5's but he had pocket rockets. On the bright side, I knew without a doubt he had me beat. On the dark side I missed by what. Either way I was ready to go so I paid him almost half my remaining chips. Then I went all-in with q/10, picked up two callers...and they went all-in with pocket 7s and pocket 8s. they both had me covered but I still tripled up when I spiked a queen on the river. Still in 9th, the guy who lost that went all in next hand and lost so I was in the money.

Before we could collapse to the final table, three people at the other table busted out on one hand. I went from deliberately trying to bust out "on the bubble" in 9th place to 5th place just because people were too aggressive. hahahahahahaha.

Well, that completes a very up & down week with a 5th, a teens, a 4th, and a 5th. The points are enough to put me in 7th place overall (out of close to 200 people). Woo-hoo!


3/1/07 Mixers

Fresh off my admittedly horrible performance I returned to Mixers determined to play smart but aggressive. I almost limped the first hand but refrained. The third or fourth hand (all folds prior) the guy under the gun raised it 200 (blinds were 50/100), 2 callers. I was in the small blind and looked down to find the cowboys. I properly re-raised to 800, the original raiser called, everyone else folded. The flop was ugly...a couple clubs, possible straight draw...all low. He checked. I raised. He called. Another low club added to the straight draw. Ugly. He raised. I went all-in. He called. I shrugged said, "well, if you hit the straight or a set, I am done." I flipped up my Kings. He laughed and flipped up....pocket Kings. And I had the king of clubs, so I had the only shot to outright win the hand. We chopped.

The next hand I picked up pocket 10s. Again I raised, only one caller. I ended up hitting a straight, but he was all in before that. Well...sort of all in. Even though I had far more chips he somehow decided he still got to keep 500. Well, it wasn't worth arguing over so I let him keep them which earned me a lot of good will.

Tonight I was sitting at the table with the guy I twice read correctly and did the wrong thing with a couple weeks prior. We got mixed up in several pots. I continued reading him correctly and put him on a short stack very quickly.

Then I got involved in a pre-flop all-in with a guy down to his last 1500 or so when I had A/Q. I lost. After that I could not catch cards worth playing so it was fold, fold, fold until the final table.

Once there I was fairly short stacked with only about 4K after a couple rounds and ended up all-in with 7/10 which (deservedly) lost to a J/5 when it paired Jacks. Overall my 8th was not terribly embarrassing. I played fairly well, played my big hands correctly and got paid when I had them. My next step is arriving at the final table with enough chips to play back at people.

Record so far at Oregon Trail:
4th (out of 24ish)
5th (out of 24ish)
12th - 15th, somewhere in there (again 22 - 24ish)
8th (out of 27)

3 final tables, 1 early bust out.