Wednesday, June 30, 2010

WSOP Update

I just busted from the $3k nl event today. Finished 76th and cashed for $6605. This one hurts because I had some chips and decided to call a 20bb open shove from the sb when I was the bb. I had a good read on the kid, plus he was a little spewy from his previous hands. He shows KTo, I show ATo, board rolls off QJ593, gg me. Would've had 130k w/ blinds at 1500-3k.

So far through 15 events I've cashed 4 times but they only total about $17k. I busted the 4 I made itm w/ 2 flips lost, w/ AJ on a JT7Jx board (to a flush), and today's AT vs KT aipf. To say that you need to win some flips, avoid coolers, and win when ahead to do well in tournaments is an understatement. I feel like I've been running below avg. for the WSOP, but I'm sure a lot of guys feel that way.

Frankly, I'm getting a little tired of grinding live tournaments every day. I know my hrly is suffering and knowing that it just takes one hand to turn a day or 2's worth of good play to naught isn't that appealing to me. I don't mind the occasional tournament but playing'em daily almost feels like a waste of time for me. Maybe I'm still reeling from the bustout today and just feeling this way for now. I'm looking forward to the WSOP ending so I can hit the virtual felt again, and I'm be grinding harder than ever to try to reach some personal goals I set for myself this year.

I'm not giving up on my 7 figure year goal just yet. I am going to play one more $1k event before the main event. Also I'm planning on grinding like a madman once the series is over. I've been slacking in hrs put in cash games for the year and intending on making that up in the 2nd half of the year. I'm gonna breathe, eat, sleep poker once the WSOP is over. Most take a break from poker when the WSOP ends, but I feel like I've been on an extended break from my normal routine of grinding cash games (w/ online mtts on Sundays) and want to get back at it in full force asap.

I did play a little online the other night, just to know what it feels like again...played some $2/4 since I feel out of the loop having not played a single online cash game hand in weeks. There is something to be said for getting in a regular routine of grinding daily...I almost felt like I forgot what my 3betting/4betting ranges in different positions were.

Anyway I played this funny hand...this is like a misclick almost always on Eunjong's (utg) part, but he is perceived as pretty nitty, esp. utg, but whatever I didn't play online for the 1st time in weeks to fold (couple of guys that know Eunjong's game said they would've folded my hand)...

No-Limit Hold'em, $4.00 BB (6 handed) - Hold'em Manager Converter Tool from

MP ($402)
CO ($957.60)
Button ($842.70)
Hero (SB) ($445)
BB ($789.40)
UTG ($400)

Preflop: Hero is SB with A, Q
UTG bets $123, 3 folds, Hero raises $443 (All-In), 1 fold, UTG calls $277 (All-In)

Flop: ($804) 6, 9, 3 (2 players, 2 all-in)

Turn: ($804) 4 (2 players, 2 all-in)

River: ($804) 8 (2 players, 2 all-in)

Total pot: $804

Hero had A, Q (high card, Ace).
UTG had J, A (high card, Ace).
Outcome: Hero won $846

Sunday, June 27, 2010

WSOP Hands

I had put up a different post last night stating reasons why I would make a good FTP pro but after sleeping on it decided to take it down, mostly because it sounded like I was bragging and it seemed a little tacky. Anyway I've been so busy w/ the WSOP that I haven't had much time to get in front of my computer. I haven't been able to grind online nor blog or do anything else on my computer. I've played in 13 events so far and have cashed in 2 of'em. Not a bad ratio but my cashes have been small....for a total of $9k. I am heading into day 2 of the nl $1k and am a favorite to cash in that as well. I have 14,600 in chips and blinds will be 400-800. We are down to 15% of the field and 10% cashes so it may be close. So far every day 2 has been terrible. When I got in the money nothing went right, so hopefully it changes on Monday.

Anyway I'll discuss some WSOP hands. My 1st cash wasn't exciting...just pretty much lost a few small pots when we were in the money and shoved for 16 bbs w AQ lp and lost to JJ. My 2nd cash was via winning my 1st table in the $1500 shootout. Basically a shootout are a series of sit n go's. I won my table on day 1 relatively easy. I played this interesting hand that day...I have about 14k, we're 4 handed playing 150-300, I opr w JJ utg, button who is tight solid just flats w/ a 4k stack which sends all kinds of alarm bells off in my head as he should be shoving w/ just about his entire range here, so I put him on KK or AA. The chipleader in the sb rer to 2800, I tank and fold. Here are the reasons why...besides the button probably slowplaying KK or AA, I assumed the chipleader knew this as well and knowing that the button was going to go w/ his hand, the chipleader should have a big hand himself. He was an internet kid that seemed like he knew what he was doing so I just assumed all this. Anyway button snapshoves, chipleader calls, I tell button "you must have aces", he nods, chipleader to my surprise just shows 33. AA holds (would've beat my JJ as well) but a little later the chipleader busts the other 2 and we get hu w/ him having a 3-1 lead on me. I get even w/ A4 vs A7 aipf by binking a 4 and pretty much handle him w/ ease the rest of the way.

Anyway the next day we start all over w/ a new table w/ everyone getting equal stacks. So if I win this table we're down to 14 players and playing for a bracelet (14 players started at 7 and 7 for those interested). I didn't mind my table but found out later it was a pretty tough table. It included Roothlus and Cre8tive, a couple of successful internet mtt players, Isabelle Mercier, Peter Costa, and Chau Giang. Actually I didn't mind the well known players like Mercier, Costa, and Giang...I think the internet kids are better than those 3 at nl. Anyway I lose a mid sized pot when I opr utg w A8s, get called by Costa and Giang and decide to 3barrel on a 22365 board. I would 3barrel here w/ pretty much all my overpairs+. Costa called me down w/ 99 which was about the range of hands I put him on. I thought I could get him off of it w/ a riv bet, guessed wrong.

Anyway I still had plenty of chips then play this pot...I opr w AhJd to 700 ep, Giang calls from the bb, flop comes JT7 all clubs, he chks, I bet 1k, he calls, turn J, he chks, something tells me to chk it back because I could be beat here and would hate to face a raise but feel like I have to bet to protect my hand and for value. Anyway I bet 2k, he shoves which means I have to call 23k more for my tournament life. I go through his range of hands, which I think are all flushes, boats, Jx's, KQ w/ a club, and decide to call and he turns over Q3 of clubs and I don't improve and bust. I also don't mind my call because 10th to 2nd get paid the same since this is a shootout w/ the winner of the table moving on. Some guy I've never heard of ended up winning our table, so it shows that on any given day, anyone can luckbox a tournament.

Also I played the $3k horse which I really enjoy playing. I'd rather play mix games over hold'em any day but focus mostly on hold'em since I make the most money in that game. That tournament was frustrating as hell. I was dealt very few playable hands through the 1st 4 levels. Limit games, especially mix games which include om8, razz, stud, stud8, require you to get some hands and catch cards to do well. Finally at level 5 I get dealt KK5 in stud hi and a 9 completes it, a Q calls, I rer, call, call, 4th street 9 catches J, Q a brick, and I catch a 7. I bet, xx9J calls, xxQx folds, fifth goes xx9cJsTs and KK573 for me, I bet, he raises and this is where I need to decide if I'm gonna go w/ my hand or fold. Fifth street is usually the most important street in stud (3rd street is important as well) because bets double. I'm sure that he knows that I have a big pocket pair the way the hands played out. Anyway I know that 2 Qs are dead, 2 Ks are out (in my hand), so it's unlikely that he has KQ in the hole. Also I don't think he'd bring it in w 789 mp so I sorta rule out a J hi str8 as well. His hand looks like 3 Ts, 2 pair, or a pair w/ an oesd so I decide to go w/ it knowing that I'm still ahead or have plenty of outs vs most of his range. Anyway on 6th I catch a brick, he catches an ace which I think is irrelevant, he bets, I call, riv he bets blind w/o looking at his card which leads me to believe that I think he's just got a pair (that doesn't beat my big pocket pair) w/ a draw hoping he doesn't get called but if he does he's gonna sweat his riv card. I brick and decide to call based on my read and he sheepishly turns over 966 in the hole for a rivered 2 pair thinking I would only call w/ better. Well I called w/ 1 pair and it was the best til the riv and my read turned out to be spot on, although he didn't even have the oesd and was just trying to rep a big hand (when in fact it's hard to do w/ all the cards out). Anyway that hand cripples me because at that stage the limits were pretty big and if you lose one hand to the riv, you lose a lot. Anyway I stay patient and pick up AJ63 in om8 in the bb, co opr, I call, flop A58, I chk, he bets, I chkr all in (prob. better to just lead), he calls and shows me A24K which has me beat both ways which I was shocked to see. Anyway the board bricks out and I bust.

Anyway I played the $1500 nl yesterday and played all day til I busted at end of level 9 which was tilting as well. Played well and ran AKs into AA at level 9 and got short then busted 99 vs AT aipf. This was the 3rd time I busted when we were almost done for the day, which also means we were very close to the money. I could easily have 5 cashes and going for my 6th if I win a couple of flips or don't run into coolers. That's tournaments for ya.

I also played a couple sessions of live games. I played a sesh of $75-150 om8 where I lost about $2k, which isn't a bad loss in that game. I also played an interesting session of $50-100 mix the other day. The mix of games were baduci, badaci, om8, and 2-7 triple draw. Baduci and badaci are split pot games where the pot is rewarded to the best badugi hand and best 2-7 hand in baduci, and best badugi hand and best A-5 hand in badaci. Badugi is basically a game where the purpose is to try to get the best low 4 card poker hand of different suits where ace counts as low, so the nuts is A234 rainbow.

Anyway I play this hand in duece (2-7), I opr in co, bb calls, I make a wheel, the nuts, 23457 after the 1st draw and bet, bb calls and draws, then he bets, I raise, he 3bets, I call (I don't want him to draw w/ a draw left so I elected to call ip then raise the river). We both stay pat, he bets riv, I raise, he 3bets, I 4bet, he 5 bets, I roll my eyes and think must be a chop. A reg comments enough is enough, assuming we both have a wheel. Anyway I call expecting to see a wheel and he says nut nut and turns over A2345 of different suits! Turns out he thought we were still playing badacie. Anyway he moans and groans and I moan and whine about how I stopped the raising war. He would've kept raising til all his money was in..he had another $1k behind and I had him covered. Anyway he gets up and leaves disgustingly while I continue to hit myself on the head for stopping the betting. I do admit I showed bad sportsmanship by whining about ending the action and regret that...the guy must've felt worse. I don't have much experience playing live mix games so I wasn't familiar w/ the etiquette. A couple of my friends that play these games regularly said I should've given the last bet back while a few others I talked to said no way and to take all his money because they never return your money when you make that mistake. I can see both sides but wish I had kept raising and maybe given him his last 2-3 bets back. Oh well.

Anyway I play a little longer and it happens again! I make #2 in 2-7, which is the 2nd nuts 23467 and raise the riv vs a different opponent and he calls and shows some hand w/ an ace in it, which is bad because we're playing 2-7 where ace is the worst card in your hand. Anyway he thought we were playing badacie as well. It was funny because he was there when it happened earlier to the other guy. Anyway he gets up and leaves cursing his mistake. I ended up winning $2300 w/ half of that as a result of those 2 hands.

In other news, it sucked seeing USA lose their elimination game today. I was a the Rio playing the $1k while the game was going on and broadcast on tvs in the tournament room. People were cheering when we tied the score and moaning when Ghana took the lead and held on for the win. It was funny to hear a tournament director announce that there really was 1 person (among 4k or so in the room) rooting for Ghana and to hear that lone voice cheer when the room went silent after US lost. At least the 2 teams I have in my $500 buyin pool are still in it..Uruguay who beat S. Korea, which is kinda bittersweet since they are my home country (even though I am a US citizen), and Argentina who have looked great so far.

Also I took my kid and nephew to "Toy Story 3" the other day. It was a really good movie and probably the best of the Toy Story movies. I really enjoyed it even though I wasn't sure if I wanted to watch it since it was geared towards kids mostly.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Father's Day

I know it was a couple of days ago but I didn't have a chance to write so I'm gonna talk about it now. Actually the topic is playing poker professionally while having a family. I think I have the experience to write about that since I've been married for 12 years and have a 9 yr old girl and have played poker the entire time as a means to income. Also everyone that knows me will say that I have been a good family guy over the years, esp. my wife and kid. Those are the 2 people that I want to think highly of me so I'm happy w/ how I went about things the past 12 years.

Nowadays most professional poker players are in their 20s, single, and don't have much of an overhead. It is much easier to play poker as a living if you fall in this group. You only have yourself to look out for and usually don't have mortgages, health insurance, etc. to worry about, although some guys do have those. Also you can travel, take shots at bigger games, and live a pretty unrestrained lifestyle.

Now that doesn't mean that life can't be fulfilling or easy w/ a wife and kid(s). I'm very happy w/ my life and feel lucky to have a great family that are supportive of all things I do (as long as my wife approves). I owe my wife a lot as I was pretty degenerate when starting out in poker. I'm sure lots of guys were when starting out. I used to play long sessions and ignored life outside of poker but having my wife (gf at the time) added balance to my life and she set me straight, esp. when I was playing long overnight sessions constantly.

When my kid was born it really made me become a grown up. I gave up smoking..quit cold turkey...I remember throwing the pack that had half a pack still left into the trash can. I slowly played less and less all nighters. When she turned a certain age where she was aware of everything I stopped playing all nighters permanently. I did not want my kid to see her dad playing cards from the time she went to sleep to the morning she woke up. I wanted to be a responsible father and I took it seriously. In the abnormal world of poker, I wanted my kid to be raised in a normal like world.

Anyway since I was busy w/ the WSOP, my wife asked if she can go to Disneyland w/ her sister and the kids (our girl and her sister's boy) over the weekend. I said sure and they had a blast. I was ok w/ spending father's day w/ my buddies grinding online mtts since my family was out of town. For me, I spend a lot of time w/ my family since I play at home most of the time so we were all ok w/ that. They did come back w/ 3 disney tshirts for me but I told my wife I refuse to wear those outside of our house. I'm a poker player...I'm not gonna be wearing disney shirts in public, and hell no at the Rio during the WSOP.

Anyway Father's Day is nice and should serve as a reminder that there are great dads out there, even in the poker world. There are degenerate stories of poker players w/ families going broke, ignoring their kids because they're spending countless hrs playing poker, cheating on their families, etc. but there are poker players that are doing a great job balancing poker and family, and I'd like to think I'm one of them. For me poker is only a means of providing the best life I can for my family, and I hope all poker players realize that poker is not your life, but the family you have is.

***I'll be doing a write up on my WSOP soon...just won my $1500 nl shootout table today to cash for the 2nd time this WSOP...I resume tomorrow...follow me on twitter for those interested***

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The week that was

I spent the past week barely playing any poker but hanging out w/ friends, some that I just met recently in person but have known online for awhile. Started last sunday when I got invited over to a house rented out by several online guys to play some mtts together. I walk in and the house is pretty clean and I don't see any alcohol or weed lying around which surprised me. I've been in houses comprised of online poker players (imagine early 20 yr olds that are single and make more $ than your avg. 21 yr old) here for the summer and they've looked like pigsties w/ open beer cans and weed lying around. So I gotta give credit to these guys' house for looking neat when I got there (maybe they just had their cleaning lady over, idk).

Anyway we grinded mtts and I ended up cashing in the FTP $750k for $500 or so but lost about $500 or so for the day. I also bet the Lakers and they lost that day, although the series is tied 2-2 as of now and have won my last 2 bets (bet on'em 2 games ago and against them last game). Next we went to Sushi Mon, which is a good all you can eat sushi joint and lost credit card roulette for $220. Yes there are other good sushi joints in Vegas besides Naked Fish (Osaka's and I Love Sushi are 2 other good sushi places in Vegas).

Later that night we rounded up 12 people and went bowling. Again I lost money making prop bets on individual rolls. I think I lost about $500, inc. one where I laid 9-1 on a $10 bet and the guy ended picking it up (3, 7 pickup I think). So to say I ran badly that day is somewhat of an understatement.

The next day I get a letter from the IRS saying I owe more money. FML.

I also get my new Ipad in the mail and promptly end up spending more time on it than playing poker all week.

I head over to the Rio afterwards and play the $1500 6max and build up a big stack early. I get to meet some guys I've played vs online at my tables (Bttech and Passiv). Maybe it was coincidence but I seemed to get 3bet a lot until my table mates found out what my online sn was then the 3betting vs me seemed to subside. I own a FTP jersey w/ my sn on it (dumb I know but I have a zillion FTP pts and used some on the jersey a couple of years ago) so maybe I should wear it to the Rio so people will play back at me less (nah, that's stupid). I do own a "I busted Rafe Furst on FTP" t shirt that FTP sent me (they used to name the player you busted in one of their tournaments on the t shirt you receive for so doing) that I'm dying to wear, but only when I know for sure Rafe Furst is on my table. Anyway I bust the 6max when I lose a flip w 99 vs AK aipf.

A couple of days later friends and I get together for LAL-Bos at BW3 (Buffalo Wild Wings..I have no clue in the world why it's BW3 and not BW2) and manage to win a couple hundred on the game. I also watch in amazement at the pitching debut of Steven Strasburg. Next we head over to Pole Position for some indoor kart racing. While waiting for other friends, I win $100 prop betting on air hockey and various video games. Then I win another $220 betting against the only girl in our group in the kart races...betting that she wouldn't finish top 4 out of 6 of us. As for kart racing, it's fun but I finish 2nd both times and lose $20 each race to the top guy but win $40 total from 2 other guys.

On Thursday I play some basketball w/ some buddies and find out I suck (I used to be very good, really). Again we head over to BW3 and watch game 4 of the NBA finals.

Friday I head over to the Rio w/ Jeannie (my wife) and sweat her a little in the $1k ladies event. I walk around and see a few guys playing in the event and get a laugh out of it. I even run into a guy I know that is playing in the event. He said he was inspired to play in it after seeing that Shaun Deeb was playing it...uh, ok. As I rail some tables, I see the horrendous play by some of the players and almost feel tempted to play in it myself...jk, but the overall play was pretty bad. I end up having 10% of one female friend that finishes 72nd or so and makes me $230 (wtg Lisa).

I also play some $75-$150 om8 which I heard was really soft while Jeannie plays her event. I lose $2k in the game but manage to find time to play around w/ the Ipad some between hands, especially since one hand in om8 can take a few mins so the time spent in the game evened out, or maybe not.

Finally today I play the $1k nl event. Never really had a stack at any point and had to play pretty nitty w/ my short stack (which I hated because I like to play a lot of hands and see lots of flops). We get to the 100-200 level and epr opens to 500, mp calls, button calls, and I look down at 87s in the sb and decide to imagine they're aces and shove for $3k total. Epr folds, mp calls, and button folds and I'm like 62% sure I need help...nah, I'm 100% sure I need help. He shows QQ and I don't get a freaking sweat at any point (worst part of the hand) when the board rolls off A633A rainbow. I mean, the flop can't come T9x or something to give me my $1k buyin's worth? Anyway I don't mind my play and had a good read on the players and the callers had about $4-$6k in that hand so I had plenty of fold equity along w/ the value of my hand if I did get called (it did suck that after imagining as hard as I could they were aces, that they still ended up being 87s irl).

There was also a funny hand where ep and mp get it all in and ep has mp covered and shows QQ vs mp's KK. Mp tells dealer put 2 QQs on the flop (I guess the pain is lessened if and when it does come like that because he politely asked for it). Door card is K (I kid you not) and mp gets his wish when the other 2 cards are QQ. Be careful what you ask for buddy.

A couple of friends bust around the same time and we head over to Hot N Juicy Crawfish (as shown on the travel channel) and order several lbs of crawfish, shrimp, and crab. My favorite flavor is the garlic butter medium. There are 8 of us and after we finish, it looks like total carnage w/ the leftover shells of crawfish, shrimp, and crab lying everywhere. They never stood a chance.

Anyway now I'm home and after spending a couple more hrs on my new Ipad, decide to update my blog. So far 0-7 at the WSOP w/ at least 13 more events to go. Also hrs played in online cash games this week: 0. But hey, I'm getting pretty proficient w/ the Ipad now.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Live Donkaments

As you know the WSOP is in full effect and I'm off to a rollicking start..0-5. Today was the 1knl and I promptly built up a starting stack of 3k to 13k playing small ball and w/o having to risk my entire stack at any point. Then a chain of beats and coolers struck.

I bluffed off 1500 w/ 5h5c on 9c7c2s6dKc where I thought the guy had a 9 or 7 only to find out he had I was half right and the bluff would've worked most times when a club rolls off river because he wasn't going to call if he didn't improve to 2pr+. Next co opens to 400, I rer on butt w/ red KK to 1050, he flats, flop AQJr, chk chk, turn 5, he bets 900, call, riv 4 bringing backdoor spades, he bets 3500, I fold. Next I opr min to 300 utg w AQo (I was thinking we were still playing 50-100 and threw 250 out there but had to complete to 300) and bb ships for 3k total, I call, he shows KQo and wins. Finally it goes utg (somewhat donkey) limps, lp limps, I complete w K7 in sb, bb chks, flop KT7r, I bet 400, fold, utg calls, fold, turn Q, I hate it but felt betting was best so I put out 1100, he shoves (he had a ton of chips), I gotta call 3500 or so..gross spot but whatever, his range is AJ, J9, sets, AK, AA, KQ, KJ, QT, K9s, and random drawing hands like 98s and call off and run into KQ. I was in a "wtf just happened!" mindset after I busted. Felt like I had played so well to chip up to 13k playing double the # of hands than anyone else at my table then run into that sequence. The only thing I think I could've done differently was to fold K7 at turn and save my last 3500 (blinds were 75-150) but whatever.

Anyway I wanna share a few tips on tournaments, esp. big field events (like the wsop or some online). Disclaimer..I'm not a well known tournament player but I think my tournament game is at an all time high for me (not necessarily based on recent WSOP results obviously), so take what I say fwiw.

I think for most, the best approach to the large field events like the 1k event today (which had about 4k entrants) is to take a Hellmuthian approach, esp. early on. Essentially just play small ball and accumulate chips by others' mistakes. Bluff very infrequently and just play best hand poker but make sure you value bet the best hand for all it's worth. Lots of players take the bet flop, chk turn (for pot control or for fear of getting chkr), bet riv line but most of the time they should be taking a bet, bet, evaluate riv and bet/chk based on whether your hand is best now and whether your bet has any value line.

Here are a couple of examples from my recent wsop.. hand 1.. utg opens to 600, sb calls, I call w QJo fr bb (somewhat loose), flop Qs9c8c, chked around, turn 2s, sb chks, I bet 900, utg calls, sb folds, riv 5c..before I tell you what I did, what would you do (esp/ w the 3rd club at riv)?

Here's my thought process...once he chks back flop, he prob. doesnt have a flush draw, doesnt have 2pr+, unlikely to have QJ beat although some would chk back KQ, AQ, KK, or AA on flop to see a safe turn card before putting any more chips in, and the turn 2 doesn't change anything so when he calls turn his hand is almost always QT, JJ, TT, A9, J9, and T9. The riv 5c is unlikely to change his hand for reasons mentioned so I valuebet 2k and he thinks for a bit and calls and mucks when I show. I hear a guy on my table say "QJ is good?" but he is just like most that think that my bet will never get called unless it's beat and that they would never bet 1pr at riv. when the flush card hits. In order to do well you need to see things clearly and sometimes that will go against the grain of how most people play.

Hand 2..I opr to 1k w J9s mp attacking a very tight str8 forward old guy's bb and he calls. Flop is JdTx3d, chk, I bet 1300, he calls, turn 6x, chk, I bet 2600, he tanks forever and calls, riv 2x, chk chk, he shows AK, I win a nice pot. Most would chk back turn for pot control and avoid getting raised but this is a great spot to keep betting vs a guy that will never make a semi bluff raise so if I get raised on turn it's an easy fold. Also w/ the flop being very drawy his range inc. so many drawing hands that you need to charge those hands and get value for yours. The riv is an easy chk back because he'll only call w/ better usually and fold everything else.

Now for betsizing, in nearly all instances its usually correct to just bet about half the pot..maybe a tad under or a tad over. If you watch the best players, that's how they betsize..always about half pot. Here's why...betting half will accomplish just about everything you want... let's say the pot is 1k and you bet 500 and your opponent calls...well if he calls he was calling a 400 bet and a 700 bet and if he folds he was folding to any size bet. Also chips won is less valuable than chips lost in a tournament (mostly because of the survival aspect of it). Now if you play a lot of hands like me you want to bet no more than half pot because a lot of times you won't have big hands and will have to fold to any resistance. Guys that pot or overshove usually are afraid of seeing a flop, or don't want their overprs cracked but it's hurting them more over the long run because they are theoretically losing value by getting folds from worse hands too often. Obv. you can adjust your betsizing on a myriad of factors inc. how wet/dry the board is, stack sizes, opponents, your image, but for the most part a half pot bet does the job.

**If you're not very good postflop it may be better to raise and bet bigger to take the skill element out of it vs more skilled players...also most skilled players like to play small pots, not large ones.

Finally I'm gonna talk about a strategic element that most good tournament players use, esp. the younger or online guys. In a live tournament you almost never see this play w/ most but again you'll see it from the best players. It's basically utilizing polarization. Polarization is basically hands that are nutted or air (nuts or nothing). Here's an example..

Avg player oprs mp, I have ATo lp and think calling is -ev here vs this opponent so my options are folding and 3betting, so I elect to 3bet (he opens to 800, I 3bet to 1950..notice I don't have to 3bet much because a 3bet looks strong no matter the betsizing). If he 4bets it's an easy fold for me (if stax are deep maybe a 5bet shove can be better but that's pretty rare). 3betting in live tournaments gets so much 10x more so than online cash games. Most of the time he will fold, and sometimes he will call and since most flops miss his hand, you can win it w/ a cbet most of the time. I would classify ATo as air here because it is not a good hand to call a raise w/ in a tournament so I'm basically polarizing my 3bet range. Other hands to polarize w/ are any Ax offsuit up to ATo, K9s, 65s (if you'd rather fold than call then rer could be even better), 98o, etc. That's why when you see a good young player show up w/ 65o or trash in a 3bet pot, you know why. Now the opposite end of the spectrum is 3betting w/ AK, QQ+ but everyone knows about that. Most of the time you don't want to 3bet w hands like JTs, AJs, 22-66 because you have to fold when 4bet and you're giving up too much value in not seeing a flop whereas folding 98o to a 4bet is no big deal.

This is one of the ways the good players chip up..they find spots to polarize their range and pick up chips. Also an added benefit to this is that your 3betting range looks wide and when you do 3bet w/ a premium hand like KK or AA you're more likely to get action. Again there are variables to opponents, your image, and very importantly stack sizes. Eg, mp opens to 3bb (w/ 20 bbs left), you have 98o and 3bet to 8bb, now he have to call for 12bbs more so it was better to fold in the 1st place. It's best done when stack sizes call for it..usually 30bbs+ effective. Also you prob. want to be able to play postflop adequately in case you do end up getting called.

Also in the later stages of a big field tournament, the bad players will be usually weeded out and busted so you'll prob. have to mix up your game some and bluff more frequently than the early stages. Also there will be times you'll take a bet/chk/bet line esp. later on because generally there will be better players that are capable of chkr as a bluff. You have to be aware that your hand becomes face up when you do take a bet/chk/bet line though. A lot of times you'll have 20bbs or less and you'll just need to know what hands/spots to shove w/ basically.

Side note... it was 107 degrees'ing hot!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

May results

May was a very average month for me. I blew it in terms of hrs put in. I only put in 72 hrs in cash games and avg'ed about $200/hr which isn't shabby. Also I ran about 24 buyins below ev so that blows. Also won another $700 in a battleship nl HU match against my buddy Jason that was on my laptop. Don't feel bad for him though because he binked a stars $50 rebuy mtt for $36k hrs earlier. I was sitting next to him the whole time (after I got there) and it was exciting to see your friend go through the entire mtt and take it down. Unfortunately I showed up late and didn't get to play in it or else we would've swapped %s.

As for my tournaments I showed another profit so maybe it's time to consider becoming a full time mtt pro...jk. I finished 4th in a $215 horse scoop event and won $12,400 so that was nice. I also started the WSOP 0-2 so lost $1k there (counting the % others bought of my action inc. markup). Overall I finished at about $8k in profits for the month from mtts so I'll gladly take that. Along w/ cash games + mtts + rb+ races + , the net total results in $26,800.

I just didn't seem to find the time to grind any cash games the last few days of the month for whatever reason so I need to push myself to grind whenever I have free time. I'm not going to rely on mtts to support my family and myself because everyone knows the variance is high and it's a much tougher way to make a living than making a steady income through cash games (applies if one is a winner at cash games). Also w/ the WSOP in full effect I may find the next 2 months difficult to find time to grind cash games. We'll see.

As for the WSOP, I'm 0-3 now but not thinking much of it. I feel like I'm playing very well and that's all that matters. Def. feel like I'm one of the better players in each event I've played so I feel like it's a matter of time before I make a deep run. I busted today w/ KK on a 8433x board w/ 2 flush where I bet 3500 at turn and got shoved on and had to call for 4k more so it was a no brainer and ran into 34s. It was aggravating to bust like that but that's tournaments for ya. You need to win flips and avoid coolers to do well, and more so the bigger the field (today's had 2300 entrants and I finished around 900th or so).

Also I've been meeting some online cash game players here for the WSOP. As expected they're all pretty much in their 20s...usually 21-25 yrs old. Some I play vs. on a daily basis and others I met through online forums. Since I've been meeting guys that beat the games, I've noticed that they're pretty humble and very studious when it comes to poker. They're all smart kids that are going to school or have graduated from school (university level). We went out bowling one night w/ a few of them and when I was driving home afterwards I told my wife that that is what online poker is mostly comprised of now...bunch of smart 20 yr olds, so get used to seeing more of them this summer when we go out to meet more of'em.

Finally off topic I saw the huge blown call in mlb today where the 1st base umpire blew the call on Armando Galarraga's near perfect game in what should've been the last out. Wow that was a terrible call by the ump. Maybe to his naked eye it looked close but when it's the last out of a perfect game, you gotta give the pitcher the benefit of the doubt, therefore I thought the ump erred big time. Link here for those interested..