Monday, August 31, 2009

Playing poker the nitty way

Last week when I was watching a Cardrunners video from July one of the people in it mentioned that sometimes, because some games have become so aggressive, playing nitty may be the way to go.

I didn't really believe it until this morning when two people at two different tables nearly donked off their entire stacks with nothing.

Anyway, in the first table, I raised pre-flop with AK and instantly got 3-bet by an aggressive player. A Q-high flop came and I check-called his bet. The turn went check, check and then he bet out the river, which was an ace. I called and won a nice amount.

In the second table, which was 3-handed I got 3-bet by someone in late when I also had AK and then the dude just kept firing- flop and then the turn, which was an ace. I checked the river to him and he potted the river ... with 67o. Wow.

He didn't stop there. I checked the flop of another hand when I flopped a set and he continued to bet out on all streets, stopping to type "Oh my goodness" when he saw I made a set with 22.

In neither of the tables they could have called anything I bet, because they had nothing. So it's something to keep in mind...


Full Tilt Poker $1/$2 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players - View hand 258605

The Official Hand History Converter

CO: $280.25

BTN: $213.50

SB: $118.00

BB: $161.90

UTG: $305.10

UTG+1: $424.25

UTG+2: $80.00

MP1: $134.45

Hero (MP2): $203.00

Pre Flop: ($3.00) Hero is MP2 with 4 of clubs 5 of clubs

4 folds, Hero raises to $7, 1 fold, BTN calls $7, SB raises to $14, 1 fold, Hero calls $7, BTN calls $7

Flop: ($44.00) 3 of clubs 2 of clubs 6 of hearts (3 players)

SB checks, Hero bets $75, BTN folds, SB raises to $104 all in, Hero calls $29

Turn: ($252.00) 3 of spades (2 players - 1 is all in)

River: ($252.00) 6 of diamonds (2 players - 1 is all in)

Final Pot: $252.00

SB shows A of hearts A of diamonds (two pair, Aces and Sixes)

Hero shows 4 of clubs 5 of clubs (a straight, Six high)

Hero wins $249.00

(Rake: $3.00)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Vegas -- "I got there"

LAS VEGAS -- Sometimes it's hard to figure people out. I show a bluff and people still fold to my pre-flop raises at the table.

Or I bluff and they don't believe me.

At Bally's NL$1/2, the flop was 272. When the turn came with an 8, I check-raised the big stack from my big blind, implying that I had a two. Non-plussed, he called.

The river came a 9. I did my best acting job and then I put a $100 stack into the pot.

He called.

"I got there," I said, showing my pocket nines, nines full of deuces, and emphasizing the 2-outer I just hit to win.

And just like that I was up for the session and headed for the session win (Biscuits 13-3). For three hours I had been down about $80 and was severely thinking my ace-of-the-rotation Biscuits shirt would be forced to record a loss. But no, it came through in the top of the 10th inning.

I'm closing out my two-day trip to Las Vegas and it has been wonderful. I won all three four-hour sessions I played during the last two days, including a 4-hour afternoon session at the Bellagio (Banana Rep. 9-1).

I have won nine straight 4-hour sessions of live poker in Las Vegas and Los Angeles since Sept. 2, 2008.

I love my game now. Live poker at casinos at the limits I play is SO soft. I can tell the good players from the bad and adjust accordingly. The CR offense runs through soft tables like butter.

It's the best feeling in the world to leave Vegas with money you've won and to walk through McCarran Airport with a kitty-kat swagger.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Vegas -- "Wonderwall"

Because maybe/you're going to be the one that saves me...

LAS VEGAS -- My last poker session of the day turned out to be the most Hunter S. Thompson-esque. I played at a NL$.50/1 ($200 max) table at Bill's Gambling Hall and Salon.

Brits were singing Oasis' "Wonderwall" at the top of their lungs and guzzing apple sours. One girl decided I should see her new butterfly tattoo, complete with a recent blood infection creeping up her arm from it.

It was a good table. I knew I had an Indian guy dominated when he called my flop c-bet and then bet out when an A hit. I had AK and raised his A3 in.

Earlier the day was like that, too. I outkicked another player at the MGM Grand with AK to get the win (Cali 6-0). I played at the Excalibur (NL$1/2, $200 max) for a while and at Bill's to round out the rest of my 4-hour session.

POKER CATS NOTEBOOK: It took me a while, even on a Thursday night, to find a table. I started out at the Hard Rock (1 table in the afternoon), then went to the MGM. Couldn't find more than 1 table at the Luxor after I went to the Excalibur. Bally's was busy but couldn't get a seat.

Some of the MGM Grand properties (Excalibur, MGM Grand) are offering all-day passes at their buffets ($25 at the Ex, I think something like $30 for the MGM), which is an interesting concept that I'm surprised didn't happen earlier -- keep people at your property all day long to graze and gamble.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Take 2 is coming next month at Full Tilt poker

Take 2 runs from Tuesday, September 1st to Wednesday, September 30th. By playing at least two ring-game tables at the same time during Take 2, you’ll earn double Full Tilt Points on both tables. Play as often as you can during September and you’ll be rewarded with cash, up to $50, depending on the number of days you play.

Get up to $50 in Cash
The more you play during Take 2, the more cash you can earn. Reach four different levels depending on the number of days that you play and you can earn up to $50:

Level 1: Play for 5 days and receive $5
Level 2: Play for 10 days to get $10, for a cumulative total of $15
Level 3: Play for 15 days and take home another $10, a cumulative total of $25
Level 4: Play for 25 days and you’ll earn an additional $25, for a cumulative total of $50

Yay. More free cash for multi-tabling. Can't wait.

Thinking about poker and Vegas

Used to call me vice-grips/yeah I keep my money tight...
-Young Jeezy

Even though it's a little more than 24 hours before I leave tomorrow to go to the airport for my Vegas trip, I can't believe it's here.

I booked the $104 round-trip sale fare in May. Seems so long ago. At the time my bankroll was at a low. I'd just withdrawn money to pay off my car loan a year early. In the 3 months since, I've made that money back.

I hadn't planned on going to Las Vegas to play poker so soon. I'm more than happy with playing poker online, picking up rakeback and bonuses. When I was playing at the Commerce Casino and the Bicycle Casino earlier this month, live play seemed so slow.

But the trip was pretty profitable.

This time around, I'm hoping to have a nice, quick trip in Vegas. Play a little poker. Eat at some great restaurants. Try my hand at Sunset Park's frisbee golf course.

Yet the question remains -- what am I exactly?

"Are you a hardcore poker player?" my new girlfriend asked me last night while we walked, hand-in-hand, to dinner.

It's hard to say. I like playing poker. But I still play at recreational limits. Is it my life or is it a recreation?

I'd like to think I just work hard and am good at what I do, whether it's picking up two cards at a table, or being a runner. These are pursuits I've been doing for quite a few years now.

And hope I'll continue to pursue as more years go by.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Looking forward to poker play

I worked the graveyard shift last week and was rewarded with a rare weekend off that I pretty much spent with my gf the entire time. It was great.

The downside was that I didn't play very much during the weekend-- I think I qualified points on Saturday but didn't play at all on Sunday.

So I'm looking forward to my routine of sleeping during the day and then waking up and playing during the day. I'm on the graveyard for another three days and then I'm flying to Vegas.

The graveyard shift, of course, is probably the best way to acclimate to playing in Vegas because you will be accustomed to staying up all night! lol.

Overall this year I've been pretty happy with my play. I've been terrible in a few spots, unlucky in some others and more than lucky in other hands. But my skills have improved greatly, in part, because of a better awareness and confidence in assessing other players' range and how to respond to it.

That added to proper hand play -- in position, OOP, against raises and 3-bets -- makes my game pretty profitable at the limits I play.

I'm hoping to continue it through the rest of the year...

On another note, my Sony Vaio laptop is starting to overheat and lock up with more regularity so I imagine it won't be long before I purchase another one. I've had this laptop for at least 3 years (it still has old shortcuts to pre-UIGEA casino sites that I played for bonus $$$), so I guess it is time.

I may take the Recess route and buy an inexpensive computer instead of another Vaio, but I'm pretty addicted to Sony's lightweight machines. We will see...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Punk Hand of the Day

Full Tilt Poker $1/$2 No Limit Hold'em - 6 players - View hand 248529

The Official Hand History Converter

BTN: $58.25

SB: $38.00

Hero (BB): $202.00

UTG: $231.00

MP: $94.00

CO: $205.70

Pre Flop: ($3.00) Hero is BB with Q of hearts Q of spades

2 folds, CO raises to $7, 2 folds, Hero raises to $22, CO calls $15

Flop: ($45.00) Q of diamonds J of diamonds T of diamonds (2 players)

Hero bets $180 all in, CO calls $180

Turn: ($405.00) 7 of clubs (2 players - 1 is all in)

River: ($405.00) Q of clubs (2 players - 1 is all in)

Final Pot: $405.00

Hero shows Q of hearts Q of spades (four of a kind, Queens)

CO shows K of spades A of diamonds (a straight, Ace high)

Hero wins $402.00

(Rake: $3.00)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Early morning poker

Full Tilt Poker $1/$2 No Limit Hold'em $0.30 Ante - 6 players - View hand 246952

The Official Hand History Converter

BTN: $576.20

SB: $195.20

BB: $204.50

UTG: $410.00

Hero (MP): $200.00

CO: $862.55

Pre Flop: ($4.80) Hero is MP with Q of hearts A of hearts

1 fold, Hero raises to $8.80, CO calls $8.80, 1 fold, SB calls $7.80, BB calls $6.80

Flop: ($37.00) K of clubs A of diamonds 6 of spades (4 players)

SB checks, BB checks, Hero bets $25, CO folds, SB calls $25, BB folds

Turn: ($87.00) 2 of diamonds (2 players)

SB checks, Hero bets $45, SB calls $45

River: ($177.00) A of spades (2 players)

SB checks, Hero bets $120.90 all in, SB calls $116.10 all in

Final Pot: $409.20

SB mucks A of clubs T of clubs

Hero shows Q of hearts A of hearts (three of a kind, Aces)

Hero wins $406.20

(Rake: $3.00)

Back to Vegas; New Orleans in December possible

Now that the Vegas trip is near (next Thursday), I am thinking more and more about the trip.

I haven't been to Vegas since the Winter Bloggers trip in December and my first live poker play for this year came in the Commerce/Bike trip in L.A. earlier this month.

But now the prospect of spending a couple days in Vegas seems just right. It'll be good to hit some good restaurants, put in some time at the poker tables and even check on (or make a few) sports bets.


Tonight at dinner the girl mentioned she has a hematology conference in December in New Orleans. I haven't been there since I went with a girlfriend in September 2006.

Poker hasn't been profitable for me in New Orleans but it would be awesome to be back there for a few days, especially with the gf. I would think I would have to stop by the Biloxi rooms -- the Hard Rock Casino in particular to play and pick up a chip.

So we'll see. What started out as a year in which I wasn't planning on doing much live casino play has opened up to some interesting options...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thurday poker trading

OMG. It's taking me forever to get my 200 Full Tilt points today, even while 8-tabling.

The past few days I've gotten into a rhythm of watching Cardrunners videos- it's good to finally catch back up. I've been watching the videos that are specific to the limits that I am playing right now -- NL$.50/1 and NL$1/2 -- so sometimes those videos are a month or so old but I don't think that subtracts from their quality.

What I find interesting is the instructors' play somewhat deviates, even at those levels from Taylor Caby's basic Cardrunners offense. And that makes sense because you build someone's skills by teaching them the safest way to play and think about the game and then you add other weapons.

It's interesting that a common thread in some of the videos is to play more nitty to take advantage of the aggression in the game. One of the NL$1/2 videos confirmed what I thought for a while on Poker Stars, that the preflop game can be so aggressive. It looked like a completely different game than the pretty soft games I'm used to at Full Tilt. But exposure to many different styles of play can only help you in the long run.

Throwing into triple coverage

If your name (or avatar) isn't Big Ben, don't you think someone might catch this ball?

Full Tilt Poker $1/$2 No Limit Hold'em - 7 players - View hand 246271

The Official Hand History Converter

Hero (CO): $200.00

BTN: $249.90

SB: $207.15

BB: $81.00

UTG: $43.00

UTG+1: $200.00

MP: $61.00

Pre Flop: ($3.00) Hero is CO with 2 of spades K of spades

UTG calls $2, 2 folds, Hero calls $2, 1 fold, SB calls $1, BB checks

Flop: ($8.00) 8 of spades 5 of diamonds 6 of spades (4 players)

SB bets $2, BB raises to $14, UTG calls $14, Hero calls $14, SB calls $12

Turn: ($64.00) T of spades (4 players)

SB checks, BB bets $65 all in, UTG folds, Hero calls $65, SB folds

River: ($194.00) A of diamonds (2 players - 1 is all in)

Final Pot: $194.00

Hero shows 2 of spades K of spades (a flush, King high)

BB shows T of hearts J of diamonds (a pair of Tens)

Hero wins $191.00

(Rake: $3.00)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Full Tilt Poker $0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em - 6 players - View hand 244947

The Official Hand History Converter

Hero (MP): $103.40

CO: $100.00

BTN: $351.15

SB: $45.00

BB: $35.20

UTG: $100.00

Pre Flop: ($1.50) Hero is MP with Q of spades Q of clubs

1 fold, Hero raises to $3.50, CO calls $3.50, BTN raises to $15, SB calls $14.50, 1 fold, Hero raises to $103.40 all in, 1 fold, BTN calls $88.40, SB calls $30 all in

Flop: ($256.30) J of diamonds Q of hearts 6 of spades

Turn: ($256.30) J of spades

River: ($256.30) Q of diamonds

Final Pot: $256.30

Hero shows Q of spades Q of clubs (four of a kind, Queens)

BTN shows K of diamonds A of diamonds (two pair, Queens and Jacks)

SB shows 5 of hearts 6 of hearts (two pair, Queens and Jacks)

Hero wins $116.80

Hero wins $136.50

(Rake: $3.00)