party poker

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Sixteen player $60 buy-in no limit hold'em tourney...

I played in a no limit tourney this past weekend. $60 buy-in, 16 players, the payout was as follows:
1st place (60%) - $576
2nd place (30%) - $288
3rd place (10%) - $96

Like always, I was eyeing the nice first place cash. Anything short of $576 and I'd be disappointed. My strategy was simple: play tight early, learn about the other players and then exploit their weaknesses. By the end of the first two rounds, I was pretty much able to determine what each player was capable of doing. The only player that worried me was the guy who was playing loose agressive. He was playing one too many hands and very aggressively on a fairly passive table, thus he was able to build a very nice stack early on. Loose aggressive big stacks worry me. They can cause all types of trouble. By the end of the third round, he had already busted out two people and had a nearly 3 to 1 chiplead over everyone else at the table. Fortunately, I was able to stay out of his way and actually managed to grab a few pots in the meantime, building my chip stack to a little above average.

By the start of the fourth round, I had about 14,000 chips left. Blinds were at 800/1600. I was on the big blind with two middle position limpers, including the loose aggressive big stack. I look down and I see AK. Trying to win the pot outright, I made it 6600 to go...almost half of my chip stack. Everyone folds to the loose big stack and he cold calls my 5000 raise. I was hoping that he didn't call, but he did, so I told myself that I had to go all-in after the flop, regardless of the flop because if I didn't, he would've pretty much put me all-in anyways. The flop comes Q83. I declare "All-in". He folds quickly. Phew!

After another hour of play, we widdled our way down to the final table of 8 players. My chip stack had increased to about 28,000. After stealing a few pots here and there, my luck had ended with a three way draw. Here were the odds as calculated by

pokenum -h ac 5h - qd 2c - js tc
Holdem Hi: 1370754 enumerated boards
cards win %win lose %lose tie %tie EV
Ac 5h 547343 39.93 818966 59.75 4445 0.32 0.400
2c Qd 327973 23.93 1038336 75.75 4445 0.32 0.240
Js Tc 490993 35.82 875316 63.86 4445 0.32 0.359

Check out the hand of the week on the boogster website for more information on how this hand was played out. Please post your comments!


Monday, November 29, 2004

Small tourneys, $6/$12 in Reston, & $10/$20 at the Borgata...

I'm back to playing like a madman again.  Where should I start?  How about this weekend's trip to Atlantic City?  Well, we stayed at the of the nicest casinos in all of AC.  The lines for just about everything (valet parking, restaurants, poker room, etc.) were ridiculous, but the atmosphere was nothing short of stellar.  Believe it or not, the wait for a $10/$20 game on Friday night was over 5 hours long!  Luckily, I had a friend of mine put me on the waiting list while I was driving up there.  I arrived shortly after 8pm and was on a table within an hour.

Not sure how many of you have played in a live action $10/$20 game before, but oh man, the action was like playing against 9 maniacs.  It seemed like the big winners were the ones who were playing 60-70% of the flops.  It was hard to predict which two cards they held because most of them played just about any two cards, even on raises!  I found it nearly impossible to read them. I'm not sure if the correct strategy was to play loose preflop or not, but it was definitely making the rich get richer.  Initially I stuck with my original plan of playing tight aggressive, like I always do, but after getting busted on trip sevens to a nut straight, I had to adjust.  Read the hand of the week for more details on this hand.  Unfortunately, I dropped $600 in a matter of hours and decided to bail out to play in the $6/$12 game.  The $10/$20 absolutely smoked me, but you can quote me on this...I'll be back.

What else?  I played in an multi-table 30 player tournament last week at Party.  The buy-in was $30+3 with the winner getting $270.  Top 5 spots paid out.  After grinding my way to the top 6 players, I was 3rd or 4th in chips with a little over 5000 chips.  The big stack had about 6000 chips.  Here's a hand that came up.  I had AK in late position.  The blinds were at 150/300.  The big stack (in early position) raised to 1000.  I called his raise.  The flop comes K53.  The big stack declared "all-in".  What the f*ck?!?!?  I didn't put him on 5-5 or 3-3 and definitely not K-K.  The only other hand was A-A, which would've made me a HUGE underdog if he actually had it.  But what were they chances that he had A-A when I had one of those Aces?  Even if he did have it, why would he go all-in??  I thought for sure that he had Q-Q.  Unfortunately, I called his all-in bet and he turned over A-A.  I lost the hand along with any money that I may have gotten if I had folded my top pair with Ace kicker.  But how in the world could anybody fold A-K?  Well, a pro would've folded this hand in a heartbeat, considering the situation. That's why I'm NOT a pro.  Especially since the top 5 positions paid out with the 6th player getting absolutely zilcho.  Live and learn.  Next time, I'll fold my A-K.  In tourneys, the name of the game is survival.  Remember, SURVIVAL.

How about a winning story now?  Alright, you got it.  After watching some of the $40/$80 limit game from the sidelines, I saw this guy win a humongous pot after he raised preflop with a 89 and flopped a KT3 flush.  The other two players who were in the pot, raised, reraised, and capped it on the flop trying to get this guy to fold. They never even thought for once that he may have had a flush. This guy cold called every raise and reraise, until the river, when he check raised.  You should've seen the look on the faces of the other two players when he check raised on the river.  Amazing play.  I thought myself that he was chasing a flush.  Anyways, amazed by this play, I decided to try this play myself.  I had 78 in early position in a $6/$12 game.  I made it $12 to go.  A late position player made it $18 to go.  Believe it or not, 5 or 6 players called.  The flop came 689.  I checked and the second preflop raiser bet out.  All players call and I raise.  Since I didn't actually hit my straight yet, I was probably against an overpair and possibly a flush draw.  If that was true, I probably had 8 outs (three 5s, two 8s, and 3 Ts).  The turn came a 5, giving me a straight.  I bet out and everyone folded to my bet.  After the hand, I turned over my 78. No one had a clue.  Thanks to my friend at the $20/$40 game, I learned something new: middle suited connectors can win huge pots.  Raising preflop from early position with these hands is much better than calling, that is, if you are planning on playing these cards.  Crazy, but true.

Okay, I'm blogged out for now.  I'll be playing in a few tourneys in the next two weeks.  Check back for more excitement.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

New Furniture, Cantebury Park, Rookies Win...

Moving sucks. Actually, it wasn't too bad, but I've been spending a lot of time buying stuff for my new place leaving very little time for poker. However....I was able to play a few times. I was in St. Paul, MN a few weeks ago to visit a friend and I got a chance to play some $8/$16 at Cantebury Park, a race track / poker room, the only of its kind in Minnesota. It had a pretty decent sized poker room with about 40-50 tables, of which only about half were being used on that particular Sunday morning. My total session lasted about 2.5 hours. I've never seen a looser $8/$16 table ever before (maybe that's because I've never played in a live action $8/$16 game?). Anyways, my biggest hand of the 2.5 hours I was there came when I had 9 5 offsuit in the big blind. EIGHT players called the pot before me. Yes....I did say "EIGHT". The flop came 9 7 5 rainbow giving me two pair. I quickly decided to check raise to get as many people out of the pot as possible. In hindsight, I probably should have bet out and hoped for an early raiser...but hoping is never good. So, a middle position player bet out and got three other late position callers...I raised when it came back to me. That left a total of 4 players in the pot. The turn came a 6 possibly making someone a straight. I bet out...I had to. Suprisely, I got three callers and no raisers. What'd that mean??? Someone is slow playing their straight?? I had no clue. The river brought a 2. No help to anyone, but I couldn't bet out again, especially since I got three callers on the turn, so I checked. It checked around the table and I won with two pair. A nice sized pot for a hand that I never would've played if I weren't in the big blind. I ended up leaving Cantebury Park with a nice $207 win.

Another weekend, another tourney. I played in a $10 buy-in freeze out tournament last weekend. Just a bunch of friends looking to have a few drinks and socialize a little bit while of course, playing some good old hold'em. Unfortunately, I didn't come back with any good stories to tell. We started with 10 players and I busted out 6th or 7th. I played a pair of eights in middle position a little too aggressively against the big stack and he bought the pot from under me. Even though the flop came K 7 6, he check raised me putting me all-in. I still had enough chips to win the thing, so I didn't want to risk it. Definitely a bad play on my part, from the beginning because I raised it three times the big blind, putting more than half of my chips in play, before the flop. Then I folded after a big check-raise post flop! Oops. Why do I always have a trouble playing against rookies? I need to reevaluate my play against the "amateurs". Maybe I'm the amateur?

Till next time. Boogster OUT.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Moved into the big city...

Well, I haven't been playing much poker lately. I just moved out of a townhouse that I was renting and into a 1 BR condo in downtown Washington DC that I bought. Moving is one hell of a pain in the ass. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone . Now that I'm finally moved in, maybe I can get back to playing some poker to help me pay for my enormous mortgage! And let me tell you, new houses are NOT cheap these days. I had to do one of those Interest Only loans so my mortgage wouldn't be like a rope tied to my ding dong. Mortgage's suck.

Back to poker. In an effort to gather all my moneys together, I cashed out at all of the "third party" online sites (absolutepoker ($248) and sportingbetpoker ($71)). They suck anyways, compared to PP and UB. The only reason I signed up to these sites was to get an xbox from ecasinodeals. Stupid that I have my own affiliate site, yet I have to go to another site to get free deals. What does that say about my site? Well, don't worry, I'll be offering free xboxes soon...along with ipods and a bunch of other cool things. Btw...check out if you're interested in getting free stuff for signing up to online poker sites, which you'll probably do anyways. Might as well get free stuff while you do it right? Enough with the plugs! Okay, Okay.

What have I learned about poker in the past few weeks? Well, two things caught my eye and made me think. I read them both at
1) With middle pair or lower in position, if a player check raises you on the turn, it's BEST to fold to his check-raise because he most likely has you beat. An example:

I hold 9 T in the cutoff (one to the left of the button) and the board is K 9 2 3. I bet on the flop with one caller, the big blind. On the turn, the BB checks to me, I bet, he check-raises. The correct play would be to FOLD. It's not worth two big bets (check-raise and river) with second pair, especially if you hold a kicker that may not win even if you hit it. FOLD, FOLD, FOLD...unless, of course, you have a great read on your opponent who could be drawing to a flush with 4 5...probably not likely though.

2) You hold Q J on the button with two other players (SB & BB). The board is A K Q. SB and BB checks on the flop, you bet...only the BB calls. The turn comes a 2. You both check. The river comes a 9. The other player bets out. So, you're looking at 3.5 big bets in the pot and you are risking 1 big bet with third pair. CardPlayer recommends that you FOLD. Normally, I would call, but after evaluating the situation further, the best option would probably be to fold. The question is, what could the BB be holding that would make him call on the flop?? You have the nut flush draw, so there's only a slim chance that he would be calling with a lower flush draw. If he held a 9 or a 2, no way that he would call a small bet on the flop, that is, if he's a solid player. The only logical hand that he could have would be an Ace or a King giving him a higher pair. Recommendation: FOLD. This hand is not even worth 1 big bet to call.

So, the above two scenarios are two things that I learned in the past two weeks. I've been making the mistake of making these calls which costs me a few bets every session. Not a huge factor in my earnings, but just a little something to improve my game.


Sunday, October 10, 2004

$50 buy-in freezeout no limit tournament...

I played in a $50 buy-in no limit tournament on Saturday. The field was set at 45 players with the top 7 places paying out. Here was the payout schedule:

1st place - $1050
2nd place - $450
3rd place - $250
4th place - $175
5th place - $150
6th place - $100
7th place - $75

Obviously, I was going to for the top prize. Anything short of that, I'd be disappointed. The blinds were structured in a way that made players "play" in the first few rounds. I knew I'd have to play and hopefully catch a few good hands early on. Each player started with 1000 in chips with the blinds starting at 25/50 increasing every thirty minutes. The blinds for the next two rounds were 50/100 and 75/150. Yes, assuming that you still had your 1000 chips after the first two rounds, the big blind was about 1/7th of your chip stack. My strategy was to play somewhat tight in the first three rounds and to make sure that I didn't bust out without the best of it. I kept telling myself "don't do anything stupid".

So, the first real hand that I played, I had pocket 99 in the big blind. Everyone folded to the button, who was the big stack and one of the more aggressive players at the table. He made it 150 to go. The small blind folded. I reraised the button thinking he was on a steal and made it 300 to go. I was hoping that he'd fold to my reraise, but instead he called quickly. The flop came A42. I checked and he bet out 200. I was forced to fold. I had about 700-800 left at that point. Don't do anything stupid. The next big hand that came up, I had AQ in early position. I made it 300 to go. A player in late position came over top of me and re-raised all-in. Oh NO...exactly what I didn't want to happen!! Again, I was forced to fold. Don't do anything stupid. After taking a few smaller pots, I had a little over 700 left. Not a good position to be in.

The next defining hand, I had AQ in early position. I made it 300 to go. I was heads up with the button again. He was the aggressive player that took my 9s down. The flop came 873. This time, I quickly bet out 150. He called and I knew he would. The turn was a 6. I checked. If he bet, I probably would've folded. Instead, he checked as well. The river came an A. I quickly checked. He bet out 200. I had 325 left and the pot had close to 1000 chips. Obviously, with top pair and a high kicker, I had to call. So I did and I won. He didn't show his cards. Wooo hooo...I was back up to about 1500 chips. Now, I was ready to play.

With about half the field left and the blinds at 75/150, I was moved to another table. After a few hands at the new table, I was able to get a good read of most of the players. We had a few loose callers, then we had a few "too tight" passive players. They would be the easy ones to take money from. The loose players had the big stacks, so I was going to stay away unless I had a real hand. After holding my own and widdling the field down to 16 players, I still had about 1200 in chips left. The defining hand of my tournament life came on this play. With the blinds at 200/400, I had 55 on the button. A late position player made it 1200 to go. I made a read at him and put him AK, AQ, or AJ. With the short stack, I had to make a play soon or else, I'd get eaten up by the next blinds. Don't do anything stupid. I went all-in. The small blind behind me went all-in as well. OOPS! He had a shorter stack, but my odds just decreased with two players in the pot. The small blind turned over AQ. The late position opener opened AK. PHEW!! Here are the odds according to


pokenum -h ac kh - as qs - 5c 5h
Holdem Hi: 1370754 enumerated boards
cards win %win lose %lose tie %tie EV
Ac Kh 425156 31.02 913170 66.62 32428 2.37 0.321
As Qs 339364 24.76 998962 72.88 32428 2.37 0.259
5c 5h 573806 41.86 791381 57.73 5567 0.41 0.420

I was a still slight favorite against the other two players, but still an underdog to win the pot. I had a 42% chance of winning the pot and if I won, I would triple up. The flop came A98. Done...or at least that's what I thought! The turn came a 5. My two-outer miracle card! But still, now the AK had a flush draw. The river came a 9. I made my 5s full of 9s, tripled up and now, I was right back in the hunt. I was pumped. I was ready to win.

After another hour or two of play, we were down to two players. Heads up. My "don't do anything stupid" motto worked. This was exactly where I wanted to be. Heads up against a lesser skilled opponent. He had about 60% of the chips (27000) and I had about 40% (18000). My plan, once again, was to be pretty aggressive and to take advantage of his tightness. I felt as though I had a pretty good read on him. The first hand, we didn't go to showdown, but he either had 6s full of 9s or quad 6s. My aggressive play costed me about 4500. I was down to about 13000. The next hand, he was first to act. He looked at his cards, looked very puzzled, reached for his chips, then declared "I'm all in". I looked at my hole cards and oh no...I had 77. A decision. Don't do anything stupid. First place got $1050, second place got $450. Of course, I wanted the cool 1g and the title. I spent the next 10 minutes of trying to get a read on him. He looked very very stoic. Then he starting talking about the baseball score...never making eye contact with me. Trying to get a something out of him, I asked him jokingly to give me a chip count. Everybody started laughing because we all knew he had well over a 3-1 chiplead on me, but he started counting his chips. I kept telling myself, "I don't need to do this....I don't need to do this." In my opinion, I was a better heads up player. I didn't need to make this call. Don't do anything stupid. "Okay, let's play", I declared. I pushed all my chips in and he turned over AA. Bad read. I was a 4 to 1 underdog...I was done. Indeed, when all of the cards were turned over, he won with two pair, aces and fours. I took home second place and a bruised ego. Excited about the 2nd place finish, dejected about the 1st place loss. Live and learn. Next time, it'll be first place.