Archive for November, 2008

Living it up

Posted: November 30, 2008 in Cash games

More brutalisation tonight, courtesy of my own drunken rambling at the poker table. Should’ve gone to matter.


I’d rather be lucky than good

Posted: November 29, 2008 in Cash games

Spent seven hours of my life in the 1/2 Empire cash game last night. A great table all evening, with a combination of loud characters and poor play to keep the game flying along. After losing a first stack having JJ outdrawn by 55 after the money all went in, I took a seat move to put the richest muppet to my right and found myself in a great spot to clean up with my second rebuy of the night.

Rather effortlessly managed to run my second £100 back up to 300 over a few hour period, putting me nicely in the black and positioned to double through for a decent win if the right spot came up. Made a couple of great plays in the right places, calling a bit of a mad Irishman down with fourth pair in one hand; semi-bluffing a big pot with a 14-out draw on the turn in another; outright stealing with an out of position call/call/half-pot line on a board that just got uglier and uglier. In short, was rather enjoying myself.

And then Tom arrived.

Swaying gently from the reported effects of “far too much Jack Daniels” (surely an alcoholic travesty for a Scotsman), he rather fortunately took a seat two to my right where he couldn’t do too much harm to my stack. As preplanned via email that day, he opened his first pot blind from UTG for £12, managing to get the whole first £50 short-stack in preflop against said Irishman, Paddy, who couldn’t believe his luck finding such a fish when he had KK in the hole. But it was to be a welcome to the bad beat club, as following the deal of a ragged unconnected board Tom turned up a 7 for one pair, and an offsuit Ten for a second. Strike one to Baron Luckbox!

Paddy’s buddy Ray was to imminently share his fate, several hands later getting into a similar same spot against a Baron who took the flop blind, again sending the best hand to the rail.

Ray’s torrent of good natured banter and tongue in cheek insults raised in volume as he rebought for another £100, returning to the table with some good timing to get his whole stack in the middle this time with 9To against my KK on a 963 rainbow board. I was in great shape with a healthy 80% to win, but was not to be after he turned a ten and rivered another nine for a boat.

A decent hit to my profit, but with a still reasonable three figure win in my diminished stack I was happy enough with his (bad) call that’s going to give me the money most of the time.

Two or three hands later, I found myself UTG on the Baron’s small blind. Opened to £8 with ATo expecting the usual three or four callers, however the Baron was not to allow such passive play, and pumped it up to £126, overbetting the pot with a 5x all-in. Not too much pondering to do here, he’s going to play a wiiidddeee range of hands in this manner, so I make an excellent call pre-flop against what turns out to be his dominated T8s, earning myself a healthly 70% edge. Once again though the Baron strikes gold with an eight being the only pair card either of us has on the random looking board, crippling my stack and putting me in the red for the first time in hours.

From these few big hits, Baron Tom’s luck continued at a pace, unrelentingly turning terrible starting hands into a combination of trips, straights and in one spot an excellent call with fourth pair against a reeling field. He put uber tilt on Santiago, newly arriving at the table with a cheerful manner, and quickly being stacked three times in a row by the luckbox.

I trade blows with a clueless half-asleep Indian chap that I’d been picking great spots against for most of the night. Had my JJ busted by his 44 after the money went in preflop (when I’m an 81% favourite) but then shortly after getting the money in good on the flop with a small set of threes against his AA.

Despite the three hits, I’m feeling good about my game and looking ready to make a comeback with a stack of around £170 for only a small loss, when the following situation comes up.

In position, I call Tom’s opening raise to £8 with 78o. No other callers on a flop of 37J rainbow, Tom bets £15 into a pot of £19. I’m fairly certain I’m ahead at this point in the hand, but if I raise, the stack sizes are perfect for Tom to make a reraise that I can’t call with second pair no kicker. I call to take a turn and see where I am. It’s a delightful second seven, and Tom doesn’t disappoint me by pushing his whole stack forwards to cover me. “I think this is the hand I double through you on, I have trips”, I tell him as I push my call into the middle. I’ve clearly caught a great opportunity to get firmly back in the game as Tom nods to tell me I’m good, however a seemingly blank 6 on the river turns his nod into a look of embarrassment. “I’m sorry mate, I’ve got a straight”, he tells me, flipping up 45o for the rivered gutshot. Un-be-lieveable, as he catches his four outer in a spot where I’m a huge 91% favourite to take down a £360 pot.

And that’s the end of me. We try to leave the table, but due to protestations from the field at Tom leaving after winning a massive pot, we agree to stay another thirty minutes. I pop out a final token £50 to mess around with, and after a bit of minor fluctuating for a while make a blind pre-flop push from UTG with the remaining £26 against four other players in a pot that of course Tom also wins, once again turning unconnected rubbish into trips.

Net result: Luke -£250 in six hours, Tom +£730 in two hours from a £50 start.

Reflecting back on yesterday though I have to say am pretty pleased with my performance. I went into the game with good preparation and a great attitude, made a series of excellent plays, and honestly can’t remember making a single big mistake the whole night. Yesterday was one of my strongest performances for a while, but it still just goes to prove the old poker adage, “I’d rather be lucky than good“.

Just like buses

Posted: November 16, 2008 in Cash games

It’s been an absolute age since my last posting, so thought I’d drop in a quick update before 2008 is all but passed.

With Katrina away in Copenhagen for the weekend with the girlies, I figured I’d dedicate my Saturday to the poker tables. Having abandoned my frankly doomed attempts at LAG play, I’ve determined that tight/aggressive is the style that works for me, or at least the style that I can make pay most consistently. Took this approach to a six hour afternoon session with the Baron at The International, netting a healthy £350 profit, primarily in the Omaha playing a field that in general weren’t able to make the laydowns that are necessary for a solid game.

Joined some friends for dinner, and then decided to see if I could continue my run at The Empire in an early hours session at the table, only taking the profit with me figuring that I would freeroll the evening.

Started the first 30 minutes at a £1/2 self-deal waiting for my seat in the main game, folding the whole period while enjoying the attentions of an extremely attractive ‘Ibiza Angel’ tableside masseuse. My upgrade to the dealer table came soon after she’d finished unknotting my neck, and I sat into a hyena’s den that seemed to be owned by a gang of four talented young Sikh lads. One was running extremely hot, building a stack of well over a grand, at one point picking-up AA, KK, JJ, AA consecutively. Good grief!

My seat proved to be somewhat less hot, the next four hour’s dragging past in a haze of unconnected offsuit junk. I quite literally found myself having to pass almost 95% of my hands, rather unfeasibly out of the approximately 130 hands dealt picking up one pair of fours, one pair of sixes, the trappy ATo twice, AJo once, and just three suited connectors the entire period. Used this powerhouse collection of hands together with my image to bluff steal some small pots to slow the inevitable demise of my starting chip stack.

Finally around 4am, resigned to dumping the remaining £60 of my initial £150 stack in with any two cards so I could split, I kicked-off the hand with my first straddle of the night. Called and folded around to the button, who pushed. That’s annoying I thought, I wanted to get the last bet into the pot. So look down expecting to see the usual crap only to be surprised by AK of spades. “Yippie, a hand, I call”. Rest of the table folds, but unfortunately I can’t win the race against TT and am stacked. However, perhaps this is finally the end of this card-dead torture, so I rebuy for another £100 in the big blind. There’s a small raise mid-table, a caller including the small blind, and I peek a look when it comes to me to see glorious AK again. Raising the pot to £25 I only pick-up the small blind caller this time, however once again the fickle  gods of poker conspire to cold deck me, and I get it all in on a flop of AQT only to be shown KJo for the stone nuts. Great call out of position with a trap hand, well done that man…

Seems I had small blind covered though, as there’s £50 change coming to me from the pot. In the small blind this next hand, it’s folded around to the button who opens for £20. Having waited four hours for a hand, it seems that just like buses three have come along at once, and against an over-betting late position raiser, my 55 looks fairly good for a race, and may even be ahead to some of the ace-small combinations in his range; but is not to be as he calls me with JJ to send me packing just after 4am, for a net £250 loss and an irritatingly small £100 profit on the day.

As I was saying to the Baron in the car on the way home earlier in the day, I believe the weakness of my TAG style in these low limit cash games is that I need to hit cards to make money. In a loose game like the Empire on Saturday, I think it’s rarely profitable to bluff. The average opening raise in this game is 6X, and even that tends to have half the table calling. Typically three players go to the turn, and with this field of gamblers, far too many hands are shown down at the end to warrant getting your money in light.

The Baron has a patented move of getting his first stack in blind sometime in the first hour to establish a reckless table image, and in a nitty game I think that one move can pay by increasing your equity for a good long period on the rest of your decent hands. However again in a loose game like the Empire I see the table spewing chips at each other regardless. It seems to me that it’s hardly going to help to encourage the fish to call down even lighter than they seem to be already?

Although my 1H2008 run of ridiculously bad cards has come to an end, I really can’t seem to have a session with anything approaching a ‘normal’ distribution of hands, and either run fully hot or cold. Maybe I need to give some credence to the luck-factor and start walking away from games after the first hour if things aren’t going my way. That’s certainly how I built my bankroll in the early few years…