Tuesday, February 28, 2006

SirOldMan's Tilt Fest

See the flop...

Monday, February 27, 2006

Fish's eye view of a suckout

The weekend began so so for me.

I managed to win a few heads up matches (but not against the Poison) and a few small sit and goes to basically tread water in monetary terms, but the frustration level built as I kept going deep in tourneys and getting knocked out on the bubble in various painful ways--I re-raised all in big with blinds large with JJ called by AJ ace flops to go out in a 3 table, I lasted through 1000 players and 4 and half hours in a Stars deepstack reraising 22 with AK for more than half his chips, he calls and slick no good and I bubble, I raise preflop with KK in cutoff smooth called by button and flop is jack high on Full Tilt doublestack after 2 hours, all chips in and kings no good as he has JJ.

So I decided to go back to playing some cash games, 100 NL on tilt to be exact (great site, click the banner on right please).

Started early in the evening with a few full ring tables, used a little table selection to keep one table after trying 3, got up half a buy-in, took a couple of beats, logged a small win and went to watch Anchorman with Mrs. Soxlover (Go fuck yourself, San Diego). Wasn't really planning to play anymore, but at 10:45, sat down on the computer so see what was going on with Fluxer, who was in the middle of a roller coaster weekend. Lo and behold he had another big stack at the six max, though the truth came out that it was the result of multiple buy-ins so he was slightly down at that table.

But what made it really interesting was that BadBlood was sitting immediately to his right. I dove into the chat box and soon determined that neither knew the other was a blogger. I wonder what Blood thought of Flux, since they only thing they in common on the poker tables as I can see is aggression. Whereas Blood is I think the classic TAG (=tight aggressive Dad) and not someone I'd generally recommend trifling with (except when you do, read on below), Flux is the of the FPAG variety (=freaking psycho aggressive), raising with a third of his hands and relying on instinctive post-flop play.

When Flux is on, he's terrifying and gets paid off big. When the cards go wrong, well, bad things happen--I'll let Flux tell his own story.

Anyhow, here's how a fish, Fishiswa to be exact, thinks when he sucks out on a player:

Six players on the table, hero-fish has recently sat down and has 95 or so on button, TAG small blind with 200 or so, PSAG big blind with 300, angry rock with 200 and 2 tight-weaks with small stacks filling up the rest of the table.

Cutoff limps, hero-fish looks down and sees T7 spades. First fishy thought: SOOTED!!!

Hero fish raises pot to 4.50. I got the button!.

Small blind BadBlood makes it 9.00 go. N

Non-fishy thought: ruh roh, Mr. Blood has a hand.--he reraised way out of position.

Fishy afterthought: hmmm, maybe I can get paid off!

Folds around to me. Call.

Flop is 4 5 6, two diamonds, one spade. BadBlood bets out pot.

First non-fishy thought: OK, he really has an overpair, I'm behind.

But I got an open ended straight draw.


I got outs!

Maybe he's got JJ and I can make him lay it down thinking I hit a set or have QQ.

I got fold equity!

Hero fish makes it 65 to go.

How you like that you speed metal freak!

BadBlood raises all in.


I guess he likes it.

Well, it's only 21 to call, I know I'm behind, but I'm pot committed.

I can feel it coming.

(Actually, this part is not true, I did not feel it coming.)

Turn is a 3 of spades.

He's drawing dead.

Well, Mr. Blood, as you well know, you played your aces correctly and the fish got lucky.

Thank heavens.

Epilogue: things worked out for Blood in the end as he got aces again the next orbit, played them right again and Flux failed to crack him.
See the flop...

Friday, February 24, 2006

Post in the void

My posting has become less frequently and I'm feeling guilty since I accepted Full Tilt sponsorship. So here I go.

Honestly, it's because poker has been beating on me. For awhile. Like a redheaded stepchild.

I'm trying unsuccessfully not to whine about it too much because who wants to read that. But I really don't have much good to say about it.

This month looks to be one of my worst, with a significant live loss for the first time in awhile--two bad beats and card deadness leading to some tilty crap play that made a bad session worse--adding to my now seemingly regular internet woes (notwithstanding a 4th place finish in the DADI heads up tourney last week).

January was an up month overall, mostly because of a live tourney cash and a few good nights at Doubletake before it got taken down, but online losses really limited how good it was.

December was slightly up, with another live tourney cash mitigating online losses and a slightly down WPBT trip.

November and October really sucked.

September was the last month that I truly feel I kicked ass, with a live tourney 1st, several good live cash game sessions and even an internet profit.

August was my worst month ever.

June and July were both great.

So basically, the first two months of this blog had me running red hot, and then for the past six months I have had 3 very poor months, 2 luke warm months and one hot one.

Sadly, my hourly win rate since I've been keeping records is down to about 54 cents. Furhermore, my best source of big upswings, live medium buy-in tourneys ($100-300), has dried up in New York as the clubs that still spread games are more and more sticking to cash games.

Anyway, that's all a bummer.

On the bright side, real life is going pretty well, with my job actually not sucking too much lately and a good possibility I'll get a temporary transfer to London for a year or so, which is nice since Mrs. Soxlover will be doing field research for her PhD in Romania for several stretches next year and London is a hell of a lot closer than New York (yeah, I know New Jersey).
See the flop...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Full Tilt, New Style, KD's game and KATM is a Rat Bastard

I made the big time I guess. I'm now a shill for Full Tilt—see to the right.

Adding the code completely flummoxed my crappy customizations and fouled my display. So I took the chance to change my template, customizing it a bit more carefully this time. Still need to work out the short post code since right now it shows the "See the Flop" for both full and short posts (I also removed the Barcelona tag, which was an obscure inside joke among FTrain, a crazy Asian gambler and myself).

Kid Dynamite's home game was well hosted despite his bout with death and salmonella.

While playing, I also had a few bouts with death, or at least with mega tilt when I handled some brutal beats less than ideally. Vortex murdered my snowmen with 10 3 soooted from UTG with a raise when he flopped the flush draw and I flopped middle set with an ace on top. He bet it preflop like a big ace and I figured I was ahead unless he had bullets. Since he opened a lot of hands for a raise, I like his range against my hand. Turn was a club and all the money went in. River failed to pair the board and I received a nice stacking for my trouble. Note to self: avoid sitting on Vortex’s right if you don’t like variance.

I laid a nasty beat on Mergie when I flopped middle pair and an open ended straight draw. It was a five way multi-way pot flop showing with a flush draw and a huge pot (given the stakes we were playing). I was fourth overcaller on a 25 raise into a 14 pot by I think Dirty Dave, Mergie followed me with an all in for 190 on top or so more. Slowly, the other 3 folded to me as I started thinking. Actually, I was just talking myself into making a bad call. Which I did. He had top and bottom pair. I hit my straight on the turn and he failed to find his four outer redraw on the river.

I was paying 190 to win 325 or so, which was pretty close to right given what Mergie had, but in honesty I think I made a bad call since he easily could have a had something like a set, a flopped straight or top pair with a flush draw, all of which I would not have had odds against.

I was repaid in full when we flipped to Omaha pot limit when I flopped top set queens on a rainbow board with 67 showing. Andrew on my right opened with a pot 12, I repotted to about 45 (much easier when Ultimate Bet calculates the pot (or Full Tilt, which is a GREAT site by the way), I’m still not quite there with live chips and pot limit). It folded around to Andrew and when he repotted all-in (I think it was about 130 more), I thought I was probably way ahead since that’s the kind of move you will often see from a lower set that doesn’t want to release—I felt he would have called with something like a wrap (although very strong players will raise with a wrap too).

So I called.

I was right on as he had 66, and nothing but some runner draws as backup.

No need for runner draws as he spiked the case six for the first of his back to back quad hands (fortunately, the blood in my eyes kept me from playing that next hand).

I must admit I lost it a bit at this stage.

One other hand which I won’t go through involved the Korean ATM, who by the way freaking destroyed the game, where he cleaned my clock, outplaying me and making me lay down the best hand for a pretty sizable pot.

I will never fold to him again. Or now he knows that so I better fold to him because he’ll make sure to have the goods next time? Or he knows that I’ll think that so he’ll be able to push me off again?

Grrrrrrr. That little rat bastard has gotten inside my head.
See the flop...

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Live play post

I've found a place to play live poker again. I don't like it as much as the other places I've played in the past year which either had very large player bases or at least really cool management. This place features a small player base and the management, while not being awful or unfriendly, is not up to the other places.

But small is probably good right now, and they are able to spread games.

Oh, another thing.

The players are fucking CRAZY.

Cards got paid. Last week, I would have too except for 1 awful hand where I learned the lesson that the only thing worse than semi-bluffing a paired board with a straight draw and whiffing is semi-bluffing a paired board with a straight draw and hitting the nut straight. For the record, the nut straight loses to quads, beetches.

And it pays them off. 400 intial buy-in toast.

My redeeming hand came against a very aggressive but normally (not that night) solid player with a severe personality disorder: he's an asshole. Also, I think he might have been on something.

Rewind to early in the night, first hand. We start 5 handed as the game gets going. He limps on button, SB makes it 10, and I, with AKo make it 40 to go. Then this guy starts thinking. Forever like. After 90 seconds, the SB gets annoyed and says "fold already dude". The guy scowls and keeps thinking. The SB calls a clock.

Asshole says, Joe Pesci style, "You called a clock on me? Floor! How long till someone can call a clock on another player?"

Floor, unhelpfully, "after a reasonable period of time."

Asshole, "was that a reasonable period of time?"

Floor, to dealer "was it a reasonable period of time?"

Dealer -whimper-.

SB "he's taking forever, is the clock started?"

Me -silence- (hard to believe I know but I'm in a hand having made a bet).

Floor, "ok, 30 seconds."

30 seconds elapses as asshole stares at the SB. It is painfully obvious that asshole has no intention of calling but will teach the SB a lesson.

Fold, fold, I win pot #1.

Asshole, "I'm taking the maximum amount of time for every hand just because you called a clock on me."

Next hand, on cuttoff, asshole proceeds to wait. For 30 seconds.

Me, "ah c'mon, don't take it out on the rest of us."

SB, "you're an asshole. I'm going down the street."

Me, "if he goes, I'm going too. I don’t need this shit and I'm not about to play 4 handed" (with an asshole).

FINALLY, floor steps in and calls this player off the table for a chat. This floor knows me and knows it's my first time at this club. She also knows I am probably a good fixture if I like it. If I walk, I'm going to find another place. So asshole does a timeout in the back with the floor for five minutes while the dealer talks the SB into staying.

Fast forward, two hours later by now long a full game, after my misguided semi-bluff (paying off the SB above, incidentally). I have rebought 500 and am down to 375 or so. With very aggressive play, asshole has also lost a buy-in but and has rebuilt to back nearly even. I get 5 count e'm 5 limpers to my button, including asshole UTG, and look down and see AQ spades. This is one of those decision points, is this a betting situation or a see a flop situation. See a flop is the path I take.

Ks Js 8h. First off, AQ seems to attract King high flops like a magnet. Second off, I HAVE A ROYAL STRAIGHT FLUSH DRAW.

Asshole opens 20 into this 16 pot and there is one caller to me. I make the decision that a) I don't have the best hand, and b) I'm not going to be able to take it here. I call and we're 3 way.

Turn comes a low blank. Asshole has a strange look and counts out 60. MP folds to me and I go in the tank. I'm being offered 60 to win 76. Obviously, my spade and straight outs are good, since they're all to the nuts. 12 outs however with 1 card to come is still a 3:1 dog. Is my ace good? Probably I tell myself. That's 15 outs, 2:1, still off, but he'll pay me something if I hit right?

I was a convincing advocate. As the player to my immediate left said after the hand, a nice enough guy, said to me afterward, "just the chance to hit a royal had to be worth a couple of extra outs."

Call. River is a beautiful, though not most beautiful, seven of spades. I got da NUTZ baby. Asshole checks.

Can I get any money? Maybe if I look like I'm trying to steal? I toss out 4 green chips.

Please call please call please call.

Asshole pauses. Leans forward. Puts his hands behind his chips.



You see, he hit his flush too. 9 high--he had had me beat with the pair. What a lovely, stupid ass move. I mean if I'm him I definitely have to call there. But what on earth can I call with that he wants to see? King 7?

I chose not to slow roll but instead immediately said "I call I have the nuts".

If I knew he was going to pay me off like that if I hit, I would have called him a lot quicker. Talk about implied odds!

Felt good, didn't get me unstuck, but turned an awful session into a poor session.

Last night I was back but the first spread game was 2-5 300-800 rather than the 1-2 100-500 I normally prefer. 2-5 in a NY club plays very big compared to a casino card room and this one was no exception. I avoided major blunders except for paying off moderately AK on an ace high flop with JJ when he checked the flop and and turn. Same guy also chipped me down, reraising a 20 bet with AJ to 75 and folding to a re-reraise to 175. The man kindly showed me his aces. The deck exploded on him as he kept showing AA twice, KK, JJ, AK and flopped straights twice, going from 500 to 1500 in the first hour. Horseshoe-up-his-ass gave most of it back on an ill-advised three pot where he preflop bet with AT hearts, flopped two hearts, raised, was reraised to 100 by stock asian sunglasses ipod maniac with 500 behind, smooth called by a new player (wearing Armani suit) in the blind with 800 behind. Horseshoe then made it 400 to go (he had been grumbling at the maniac and was clearly targetting him). Maniac called with two lower hearts, but new guy had flopped a straight and it held up.

Noteable hand that guaranteed the session was in the small black for me:

With Q4d I open-limped in MP with just under 400 (I know, I know). Four callers including the blinds. Flop is Qx 7d 2d. Bingo. I open 25 (I'm going to war with this hand every time). Cutoff, an off-duty dealer with 250 or so behind with a penchant for losing all of the money he earns on shift at the end of the shift, makes it 100 to go. Folds to me and I push. He insta-calls with JD TD, drawing almost dead. Slight scare with an non-diamond ace on the turn giving him actual outs, but the river harmlessly pairs my 4 and he's done for the night.

"I loved that flop," he said. "I had to play that hand."

"I understand", I said, not understanding at all. You semi-bluff reraised with the third nut flush draw, pot committing yourself in the process.

Granted, he was facing the worst possible scenario which he couldn't have predicted, but he would have been a significant dog to a naked queen.

It was a volatile session, and when 10 o'clock rolled around, I was up $12, tired and didn't feel like paying time or riding the roller coaster any longer, so I racked up and booked my massive profit.

On to Kid Dynamite's home game today--should be fun and I'm bringing along the Korean ATM. I think KD sent out the bulletin to his regulars that a fish fry is on...
See the flop...

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Another One Bites the Dust

A few weeks ago I received a letter from the past. It was from the old crew from Playstation, one of the big two New York poker clubs along with NYPC that had been in the first wave of raids last May. It seems they had gotten their shit together and decided to give it another go. I was at first dubious, thinking that if they mailed me, they must have mailed a few thousand others, at least one of whom had to be one of New York's finest (or at least a member of the fucking vice squad).

I decided to sit out for awhile and not drop by since I had another club that I liked quite a lot and I was not convinced the new club (“Doubletake”) was a likely proposition for long term survival. Then, because of an altercation that was reported to the police, a pretty low profile club east village club, the Loft, was shut down and my club did its thing, which was climbing back in its shell like a turtle. Closed for "renovations" again. As you will see, their strategy is starting to make them seem like Dan Harrington in a table full of push monkeys.

So I called another club I'd heard about very close to my work but had never bothered dropping in at though I received their number and I knew from Kid Dynamite that it was a pretty decent place. They told me they were not taking new members.

So desperate degenerate that I am, particularly given my recent live versus online play discussed in my last post, I reviewed the situation and decided to give it a go. The pros to the cons above: a) they were definitely going to have players, likely able to spread games from early afternoon, b) they were extremely convenient to my work and my home commute, and c) I was already a member. So I went last Friday--the play and faces were just like they were at Playstation, with a 30+10 Rebuy push monkey tourney (quick bad beat story: 30 minutes after the rebuy period ended and I had an average stack, 100-200 blinds with me holding 1250 and having played 2 hands in two orbits, I get Hilton Sisters in the small blind and raise the one middle position limper to 500. Big blind lemur, with 2000 behind, calls and limper folds. Flop is two hearts T52. I push and get called. By A8 diamonds. Turn ace. Nice hand sir.)

Anyhoo, the cash games were great! Filled to the gills, at least two table with a waiting list for 1-2, I won Friday (net of my tourney) and Monday nights. I thought this either had to be too good to be true or they must have come to an arrangement with the boys in blue. Plus, the floor mentioned that the mailing list had been scrubbed by some deep research firm in Costa Rica to confirm identities before it was sent out. Maybe this would work after all.

So Wednesday evening I was back for another quick session after Mrs. Soxlover informed me she was attending a reception. I played pretty tight, with 2 or 3 maniacs, 2 or 3 solids and 2 or 3 tight weakies at the table, a formulation I like quite a bit once I can put the people on their type. I got caught with my hand in the cookie jar when one of the tighties flopped a boat on me, but didn't lose too much. I manage to with with queens once, the trick is flopping quads, though I only got a bit out of that. The whole night's profit was really from one hand where 5 limpers to me in the big blind, I had T7 suited and saw a 277 rainbow flop. I opened for 20 and had the cuttoff, a new player who looked pretty frazzled and whose 250 I had covered, raise me to 50. I thought about it and figured if he had limped with A7 or ducks, I was screwed but more likely he had a connected 7. I said "ah fuck it" and pushed (my second highest EV move of the night). When he hemmed and hawed, I knew I was goot, confirmed when he called and flipped over 78 offsuit. My hand held up.

It was about 9:30 when I made my highest EV move. I thought about playing one more push but I was getting a little tired and felt right booking a decent win. So I racked up and cashed out with exactly 620 (bought in for 400) and went home.

Fast forward to yesterday when I'm working through some back and forth comments in a new poker blog by Dawn Summers and her friend. In the chit chat, someone mentions that (the name for the new Playstation) was taken down the night before--or at least that's how I read it. Shit.

I called FTrain to commiserate as to the fate of New York club poker and in particular a few dealers we knew that most likely got caught up in the shit, the biggest victims in this--players just lose chips and the management is pretty deeply rolled, these guys risk criminal records and lose work.(I do also feel bad however about the legal aid attorney on my right who supplements her abysmal non-profit paid salary with psychic income and poker winnings—I hope but doubt she got out of there in time.)

Then FTrain clues me in--it wasn't Thursday they got busted, but Wednesday. The night I left, walking out after the 9:30 push at about 9:45. When? Sometime around 10:00 according to the 2+2 post.

So I missed a) getting 620 worth of "gambling paraphernalia" a/k/a my fucking chips seized and b) getting held up for 2 hours as they ran us through for warrants. Granted, this would not have been the end of the world, but it was a pretty good dodge nonetheless.

The woe that is New York poker.
See the flop...