party poker

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.


Monday, October 04, 2004

Big cashout at UltimateBet

So, I cashed out 1g yesterday after a very nice run at the $3/$6 and $5/$10 tables. I'm not sure if it's a coincidence or not, but why is it that every time there is a reload bonus, I seem to go on a nice winning streak?  Guess who DIDN'T do the reload bonus?  Yup, me.  Why didn't I do it?  Because I'm almost certain that if you did the reload, your chances of winning decreases through some sort of software manipulation, ultimately used to increase the rake for the house.  Like I said before, it's happened to me one too many times for it to be a coincidence.  These little winning streaks of mine strengthens my position on why I think the software that runs these poker rooms are rigged in a way to maximize rake revenue...especially when they lose money through reload bonuses.  So, point being: don't do the reload bonus specials....EVER.  Trust me, you'll thank me for it later.  Okay, enough ranting about the software that runs the poker rooms, especially since I have no basis for my presumptions, except for my "coincidences", which really means nothing when trying to prove a case.  Oh day I'll get my hands on the code that runs these rooms, then, I'll know for sure.
OK...back to business.  What have I learned this week?  Well, for one thing, in a loose aggressive table, tight aggressive is NOT the way to play.  I always have a hard time playing and winning at these tables.  When I play aggressively, I'm usually on a bluff or I have a strong hand and I don't want other players to draw out on me.  Well, in a loose aggressive table, players will put two bets in on a flush or even an open ended straight draw...both of which they do not have the odds to play.  I'm not quite sure how to change to my strategy at these tables yet, but here's what I do know...flushes and sets make you a lot of money at these tables.  So, my inclination is to play any Ax suited, as well as any pocket pair (unraised).  And only play aggressive when the nuts or the almost nuts have been made.  Reraises will be frequent along with multi-way action, so it's better to play passive until you know that your hand is good.
Hope all that made sense.  BTW, I finally opened an account on both and  I hate to say it, but they both stink.  Especially SportingBet.  The software crashes every hour or two and the tables are nearly impossible to get into.  Hardly worth the effort.  AbsolutePoker is not as bad, but the big screens kill me.  "Three tabling" is nearly impossible on a 1024 x 768 laptop because the overlap is awful.  I'm sticking to UltimateBet.
I'm playing in a $50 buy-in freeze out tourney this Saturday.  I already have strategy planned out.  Hopefully, I'll be able to post again before this Saturday.  If not, my next post will be a big one.  Have a good day!