Archive for April, 2008


Posted: April 23, 2008 in Tournaments

Only really dropped into the LC on Tuesday night as was wandering past on the way home from a work offsite along the river, glad I did though.

First the thirty minutes was a hilarious round of each – NL river of blood / PL Omaha. Won a few big pots, and in a fairly outlandish ROB hand saw my bottom two pair hold-up on a board of [3 5 6 8 T J K] showing two possible flushes! Won just shy of £70 in double quick time, so elected to stay and freeroll the £50+5 league game.

With the carefree/freeroll approach, I played fast and hard from the outset. Set myself two key rules of zero limping preflop (although I broke it twice during the whole tournament), and always putting the bulk of my money in with fold equity on my side.

Ran fairly madly well. Put a rather sick beat on Mike’s AA when my KK all-in pre-flop spiked; the hand played itself though, so although was a beat was not really a bad beat. After that went on to eliminate more than half the remainder of the 12 player field in the following confrontations:

  • 3-bet all-in with 52s preflop against Andrew’s KJo. Spiked a 5 on the flop. After opening for a raise, Andrew had folded to a reraise on a number of previous hands. Figured my push had decent fold equity.
  • Called all-in preflop with T9s against Tom’s 66. Spiked a 9 on the flop. Tom consistently reraises my initial opening raises with a wide range, knowing he can take me off most hands on the flop. My first open raise/fold early in the final table was with junk and to set expectations. I opened with T9s expecting to get put all-in and planning to either call or push any flop.
  • Called all-in on the flop with a set of 3’s against James’s third pair A8o. Believe this was a blind against blind confrontation. James was correctly playing back at me after I’d shown down some fairly random hands in the course of the evening.
  • Called all-in reraise preflop with QQ against Deven’s KJo to make the money. Tony opened for a raise, Deven pushed with a short-stack, I woke-up with a hand in late position. Bad luck mate.
  • Called all-in on the flop with Q3s on a [3 9 T] board against Tony’s QJs to get heads-up. Tony was also playing fairly aggressively, his pushing range was quite wide on the flop. I made a good call, and my bottom pair stood-up against his 11 outs twice.
  • Called all-in with 99 against Mark’s A7o to win the tournament. Mark was outstacked by about 10:1. Just had the bad luck of running into a big hand so early in the heads-up phase.

So, score a point for the first trial of a relentlessly aggressive approach, but noted that my combined odds to win all of these confrontations was in the region of 1.8%!! I could have survived losing any two of the six races, but would then have had to take my foot off the gas, and would probably have had a different result.

Whether this proves to be a winning approach long term will take a year or so to evaluate properly, however it is at least a hell of a lot more fun than my previous fold-fest style.

Cash vs. Tournament

Posted: April 11, 2008 in Cash games, Tournaments

Played the inaugural Wednesday night dealer’s choice game at LC this week. Only myself, Maltese Mike (nee Mike the Fish), Deven, Roy (the proprietor, lured off the bench by the offer of some old school stud action) and the dynamic duo – Tom & Jerry (James).

A fairly hilarious combination of games played, with Pineapple and Turbo Texas Hold’em standing out as the most chosen of the new games. Turbo isn’t strictly another variation, it’s just regular hold’em with a 10 second clock on every action. Made for some crraazzyyy loose play, especially given that James was hammered enough that he’d have to spend the first 5 of his ten seconds standing over the table just trying to figure out what cards were on the board.

With a run of good cards and one fairly bad beat struck on Tom I finished the night the big winner, but I won’t dwell on the game other than to highlight how I noticed some of the guys were playing the cash game like a tournament. Their too frequent all-in moves whilst deadly in a tournament, are rendered somewhat ineffective in a cash game – where a second best hand can just reload. It didn’t help that a number of these pushes were against Roy holding the nuts every time!

Thursday night was League Night, now reduced to a £50+5 from the previous £75. Despite bubbling last week, I’ve still not cashed in this event. It’s a pretty poor showing given the number of sessions I’ve played. My play yesterday was appalling, one of the most clear tournament mistakes I’ve made in a while.

Playing tight and holding AKs under the gun on the third round of the table, I limp for 100, Tom in seat 4 calls behind me, table folds around to Jody on the button who makes it 500 to go. The blinds pass, and it’s back to me to act.

Now, with a pot of 850, and 400 to call from my remaining stack of about 3,000 I think the deep stacked play is to call, and hope to pick-up top pair top kicker on a king or ace high flop. This is the right play in a cash game, where typically you’re calling for 3-5% of your remaining stack. However in a tournament situation, calling for nearly 20% of my stack out of position, the right move is clearly to push all-in and give Jody a decision. Although his range includes AA and KK, there are many other hands he’ll play the same way that I’m either dominating or 50/50 against. If I can buy all 5 cards up-front I’m getting my money in good.

However in a move of brilliant stupidity I just call. I hit my ace on the flop, but it turns out that by letting James in with 22 I’ve allowed him to hit his set. All the money goes in on the turn and I’m effectively done for the night.

Last week’s lesson was zigging when I should have zagged. This week’s lesson is remembering to play cash like cash (not a problem), and to play tournament like tournament (big problem).

After ten years of almost exclusively playing cash games, it’s proving to be an uphill battle to tune in my tourny instincts. A more arduous and expensive journey of discovery than I expected when I set out to ‘change my game’ about a year ago…

Zig / zag

Posted: April 1, 2008 in Tournaments

Played the £50 Better Poker £3k guaranteed tournament at Loose Cannon last night. After the long weekend reading and revision session, I made two adjustments to my game that proved to be rather profitable almost immediately going into the game. Quickly ran my starting stack of 3,500 chips up to about 8,000 with a couple of good plays, and a bad call from a frustrated looking guy in the seat to my immediate left.

However my tournament came to an untimely end after a pair of bad plays in the following two hands.

Hand 1:
Blinds 300/600 playing off of a stack of about 11,000.

My BB, relatively new player to the table in seat 4 makes it 1,800 to go. Folds around to me. He only has 3,000 behind, I look down at a pair of red 9’s. His early position raise seems suspicious, with only 3,000 left behind he’s essentially committed himself to the pot. Technically having bet a third of his stack, he should have just pushed here, I suspect he’s trying to get heads-up with a big pair. There’s little chance he’s made this move with 88’s or Ace-rag, so at best I figure I’m a small favourite with my nines. I flip them face-up and fold hoping to elicit a free look, but he mucks his cards without showing. Hmm, I suspect I had the best of it there after all (and yes, he confirms after the tournament that he’d raised with AJo).

Hand 2:
Blinds 400/800 playing off of a reduced stack of 9,000.

Is only on the next rotation that I pick up black 66’s UTG. The table had been relatively passive in the last few hands with quite a few unraised flops seen, so I elected to limp and hope to flop a cheap set. In retrospect, with the blinds now making up 13% of my stack I should have passed this small pair from early position, as I really can’t stand a raise; and only moments later the raise comes, this time to 3,000 from the same guy, leaving him another 3,000 behind. The table folds around to me, and I’m left with a tough decision that I really shouldn’t have given myself.

Again his raise of half his stack should really have been a push, but this time I just get the sense that he’s not playing a made hand. My prior laydown has validated his previous weak raise, and I think he’s more likely to be playing ace-face than a big pair. Either way there’s no fold equity pre-flop, so I elect to flat-call and then push any flop that doesn’t show an ace.

Flop: 57T two clubs

I push and he calls all-in showing Jacks. I miss my set and don’t hit the unlikely backdoor straight or flush draw, and am reduced to a stack of about 3,000.

Shortly after my tournament fizzles to an end getting it all in short-stacked with 53s against KJo.

Looking back at the game, my real mistake was zigging when I should have zagged, and vice versa.

On both hands, facing a likely range of TT+/ace-face, my nines are not much more of a hand than my sixes (they just have a bit more going for them as possible straight blockers). However on the first hand I’m facing a call of 1,200 with 3,000 more to win, and on the second hand I’m facing a call of 2,200 with 3,000 more to win. There’s just more EV to [call/push a non-ace flop] in the first hand than in the second. In addition to making a bad call with the small pair from UTG, I folded when I should have called, and then called when I should have folded.

Still, another good lesson learned, this time for the bargain price of £50, less the free dinner sponsored by the excellent folk from Better Poker! Am pleased anyway with the other earlier adjustments that I think are going to make a significant improvement to my game (and no, I’m not going to summarise them here for the delectation of my compatriots/opponents!!)