Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Reno Trip

I went up to Reno this past weekend to participate in the $1090 "All In" main event and a televised $50/$100nl 6handed cash game at the Atlantis Hotel (not to be confused w/ the hotel w/ same name in the Bahamas). I guess you could say the trip went well, w/ winning the main event for $33k and being the big winner in the cash game w/ a $15k profit.

Even though my original plan was to play in the cash game, I decided to fly in a couple of days early to partake in the $1090 main event. I've been playing more live tournaments this year and for the most part have been enjoying the experience.

I'll summarize my tournament experience in the next few paragraphs but I would advise most to skip it and read my cash game experience which was much more interesting (skip down to ***Cash Game***) unless you like reading about tournament summaries.


So I knew there would be tv cameras around because they told me the tournament, mostly the final table would be filmed so I wore patches from Cardrunners and FTP (because they offered to pay me per episode I was only if I can get them to sign me!). Normally I eschew wearing anything that might peg me as some kind of poker pro but if I'm going to get paid for wearing stuff, I'm in (also if I'm representing a site I will agree to promote the site in any way if asked).

Well it turns out the main event was comprised mostly of locals and you can reenter as many times as you want if you bust before the 1st break. I didn't know that until about 30mins left for the break and decided to gamble to get a big stack. Well that didn't work out so well and I ended up having a 6k stack (from starting 20k stack) w/ 1 hand left before break and I decided to opr w/ T2s w/ the intent of getting all in at some point. Fortunately for me one guy had JJ and another guy had AA and I busted (not often you hear that as the truth) and I got the opportunity to rebuy w/ a new 20k stack.

Anyway I ended up running my new stack to the chiplead midway through day 1 and pretty much held it all the way to the win. I played well w/ my only big pots where I was all in (but had other guy covered each time) included KK vs. AJs aipf, KJ vs 99 on JT585 all in at riv (don't ask), QT vs A9 of diamonds all in on flop TT7 (all black), and A2 vs 99 all in on flop 345r.

When we were down to the final 13 (and 11 get itm) a couple of people proposed taking some money off the top to pay the 12th and 13th players. Normally I don't want to be the bad guy and don't object but this time I objected for a few reasons. I was a big chipleader and wanted to abuse the bubble, most of the players left really wanted to cash (easier to abuse), most of the players weren't very good, and it was getting late (around 2am) which meant most of the players were up past their bedtime (older Also I was cl in a Wynn event a couple of weeks ago and I didn't object at the same proposal but after I busted I was regretting that decision because that was a time where I could've accumulated a bigger stack and maybe things could've turned out differently. I was not going to give up +ev spots anymore to be nice to everybody else. Anyway I ran my chiplead up from 500k to over 600k abusing the bubble and play ended for the night when we got itm w/ 11 players left.

The next day at the final table I happened to be the youngest player (I guess that means it was kinda soft?) and was on the direct right of Jennifer Harmon. Her husband Marco and her were invited pros and were bounties in the tournament. I happened to knock out one of the other bounties (the hotel owner..a Sasha Cohen ringer and a super nice guy) and won $1k for it (so got my 1st buyin back). The final six players would play on a televised final table. Well Jennifer busted in 8th which was bad for the tv producers hoping to land a good tv least they had (obv. a joke).

At the tv table I put a guy all in w/ 99 vs. his QQ and flopped a 9 to bust him. I had 900k to his 250k w/ blinds at 12k/24k so it was kind of standard (although my read on him was he usually has AJ+ or a big pair there but it was 5handed and I had plenty of chips, plus I'm allowed to get lucky once in awhile after being on the other end too many times this year, especially in bigger tournaments). After that I coasted to victory w/ the hu match only lasting about 4 hands (final hand got all in on turn w/ T4 on a 643T board vs 94..don't remember the river card since my opponent was drawing dead).

Balla Trophy:

***Cash Game***

I was excited to be part of this for a couple of reasons. It was going to be televised and we were going to play $50/$100 nl 6handed. I have played in live games that big before but not 6handed and obviously not on tv. I wasn't sure how big the game was going to play (whether there would be much straddling going on or stakes would be kicked up, as the producer said that would be a possibility) so I brought plenty just in case (about $100k).

We drew for seats and it turned out I drew the worst possible seat being on the direct right of Dan (DJK123) Kelly, the kid that won the WSOP $25k 6handed event last year. I'll get to that in a moment. We also had Brent Roberts, a prolific online cash game player, Dan Harmetz, a rich guy that won over $300k on High Stakes Poker on GSN, a pro from Phoenix named Jesse, and a local older guy named Mike (very friendly guy).

Everybody bought in for $25k except DJK who bought in for $50k (even worse for me since he's on my direct left). Early on I made a couple of betsizing mistakes and felt tilted from that (but it didn't affect my play). Very early hand, Jesse opens to $300 from co, Mike calls from sb, I have AJ of hearts from bb and consider 3betting to set a tone but elect to call since I really have no reads on my opponents; flop 885 w/ 2 hearts, chk, chk, Jesse bets $500, Mike c/r to $1500, I cold call, Jesse folds, turn J, Mike bets $2500, I call, river 9 of hearts making my nut flush, Mike checks and I bet $6k and he tank folds A8. Granted there was $9400 in the pot and a $6k value bet doesn't seem so bad but right after I bet it I realized it was too big. Every draw got there including fd and oesd and it's early on and players are probably going to be more conservative than curious. I felt like I costed myself $4500 (because that was a bet that was probably going to get called, and later he told me he would've called that amount).

About an hour later I raise to $300 w/ T9o from the sb vs/ DJK's bb and he calls, flop comes 986r, I bet $400, he calls, turn 7, chk chk, riv 5 making a 9 high straight on board and I bet $700 into the $1400 pot but accidently throw out an extra $1k chip making my bet $1700. He folds and I hit my head (figuratively) for my error in betting chips. Granted he might not have called $700 but I think he would have for the hopeful chop, so I think I cost myself $700 there.

At this point I'm up about $4k but thinking how badly I betsized those 2 hands and should be up another $5200 or so, not to mention it doesn't look all that good on tv. Anyway I decide to buckle down and make sure I don't make any more betsizing mistakes.

DJK made my day tough because he was 3betting more than the entire table combined and I was the person he was 3betting the most because he was on my direct left and I would open plenty of hands, especially in late position. I had to make some adjustments like tightening up (which I didn't like to do) and opening smaller ($225 to $250 vs standard table open of $300).

Finally we play this hand...Mike opens to $300 from co, I flat w/ QTo on button (for reasons I won't mention, although I considered 3betting), DJK 3bets to $1400 from the sb, Mike folds, and finally I elect to call in position (after having folded numerous middling hands to his 3bet oop). Granted this call is thin but I needed to play a hand vs DJK and I was in position. Flop comes T73 w/ 2 hearts, he bets $1800, I call, turn ace of clubs, chk chk, riv 9 of diamonds, he bets $4200 (?) I tank call and he shows me KTo...doh! The river call is super thin and I think folding was best (w/o knowing DJK's hand) after thinking about it. Once he checks the turn and bets the river it's always for value. He would've bet the turn w/ all of his bluffs. Now I'm not sure how thinly he value bets the river though, if his range includes QT or JT but I think he probably bets a little smaller w/ those hands in case he runs into a better ten. I also called because I folded every hand it seems to him up to that point and I wanted to let him know I would call w/o much (not sure if that's enough of a justification to call though). At this point I got stuck for the 1st time all day.

Dan Kelly ready to raise as usual:

I was never flustered or tilted in seriousness at any point though. I took it one hand at a time and made decisions that I felt were best....also I was on tv and was representing CR (and FTP) and I wanted to make myself, CR, and FTP look good!

I did offer $200 (then upped it to $300, then $400) midway through the day to everybody to change seats w/ me. No surprise everybody turned it out (who wants to be on the direct right of a constant 3better anyways).

Eventually I got up about $5k and everybody agreed to kick up the stakes to $100/$200 nl for the last 1-2 hrs. I admit this is the biggest I've played but again the amount of money didn't really affect my decisions, I just focused on the correct decision at every moment including bet amounts. Well the last hour I finally picked up a couple of good starting hands vs DJK (AK and AJs) and as always he 3bet me but I 4bet him w/ AK and he folded and I called w AJs ip and flopped an ace and won a decent pot.

I made a $100 prop bet w/ him that we would finish the final 16 hands within the last 30mins of filming and I won that pretty easily. I played every hand very quickly to try to win it, but didn't make any bad decisions in haste for that reason. Also on the final hand Jesse and Brent in the blinds decided to do a $5k flip (just shipping in $5k blind and letting the board roll out determining the winner) if everybody folded to them. Well everybody folded to them and I booked $100 w/ DJK and Mike each on Jesse winning and he ended up w/ 66 vs Brent's Q7o (talk about flipping for real) and winning.

So I ended up winning $15,300 which made me the big winner in the game along w/ another $300 in props (unless I miscounted DJK's stack at the end..I think he ended up about $10k winner). The producers told me they will have a tv deal in place within a month and I'll know the air times and channel then. They're telling me the content was great but I'm a little skeptical because I'll admit the table talk was not that entertaining. Maybe the poker content will be cool but we'll see. They also told me the show , called "High Stakes Hold'em", will have a different angle than other cash game shows in that they're going to have viewers try to play along and determine players' hole cards. Former WSOP player of the year Tom Schneider is one of the commentators for the show (along w/ one of the TV producers).

Racking up:

I didn't end up getting involved in any huge pots (that was saved for DJK and Jesse..many times over) but just played meticulously and won steady over the course of 12 hrs (long session w/ 15 min breaks every 90 mins). I did ask if I can talk about the hands before it aired and they said it was ok (hence my blogging about it). There were some other interesting hands but you'll have to watch it to see. They told me the series will be aired over 13 episodes and include the tournament final table. I guess since I won the tournament and was the big cash game winner I'm the seriously it was for me just about playing the best I can play, whether it was televised or not. I was highly critical of myself when I made mistakes and I made a couple but at least I'll learn from them and will play even better poker in the future (in front of or off camera).

Special thanks to Lana of Cardrunners for hooking me up w/ the invite to the cash game. It was a good trip and I hope I represent Cardrunners well when it airs!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Wynn Main Event

Before I talk about this tournament, I want to say I am not becoming a live mtt pro even though I've been blogging about them this year. I'm just making them a bigger part of my poker routine for the 1st time. My main focus will always be cash games, mostly online. They pay the bills and always will do so. I will also focus on cash games at Cardrunners even though I'm probably pretty good at tournaments too.

Anyway this was a $5170 buyin main event at the Wynn in Las Vegas. I played in a few prelims leading up to this and have blogged and tweeted about them before. I managed to make a final table of the $1k buyin a few days ago but busted in a disappointing 8th place after being chipleader w/ 12 players left.

This main event had around 210 players and 1st pays around $300k. The structure of this tournament is amazing and probably a good reason a good cash game player like me made it to the final table (w/ somewhat relative ease). The levels were 90 mins long but the blinds went up slowly. I've always hovered around 80-100bbs+ until the last 2 levels of tonight. I can only think of the WSOP main event having as good or better of a structure (probably explains why I've gotten deep and cashed twice in 6 years).

Obviously a $5k main event that is not televised is going to have a tough field and I expected that going in but I'm confident enough in my game to know that I'm +ev.

On day 1 I got to play w/ Allen "Chainsaw" Kessler, Karina Jett, Scott Montgomery, Lee Markholt, Annette Oberstad, and CR's own Eric Lui. It was a pretty tough table but I felt like I could handle the table ok. It was actually a fun day because we started off so deep and Annette and I were getting involved in so many hands (because we just like to play a ton of hands). She was on my direct left and it was not an easy spot for sure (she 3bet me some but called a ton with position on me, probably because she knew I was opening so many hands). Overall besides her and I, the table was nitty and nobody gave an inch. I ended the day as the table chipleader w/ about 60k (after starting w/ 25k). No really interesting hands but that's probably because I avoided big pots (no reason to gamble when I can chip up w/ no risk).

The one fun hand of the day involved Annette and her boyfriend Scott. She opr lp, he calls out of bb, she barrels every street and he calls down including her river shove, she shows AA, he mucks, Kessler tells dealer he needs to open Scott's hand (because that is the rules believe it or not...when there is a river shove and a call both hands have to be opened...and Kessler is a stickler for rules), Scott takes it the wrong way (I assume he thought Allen was implying they could be colluding since they are a couple) and tells Kessler to go f**k himself! Even funnier, after the losing hand is in the muck the dealer asks Scott what he had (in seriousness too)

Before day 2 started the Wynn decided to hold a calcutta auction on the players left in the field. Basically you bid on players (w/ their stacks) to finish in the top 3 and get paid accordingly to the prizepool of the auction. W/ about 110 players left, Dan Heimiller and Phil Gordon bought about a 3rd of the field...I guess they felt it was +ev. The Wynn takes out 10% of the prize pool. Eric Froehlich went for $800 since he was the chipleader. 1st place pays about $12k, 2nd $6k, 3rd $3k. An interesting rule was that the person that was bought was allowed to buy back half of himself for half of what he sold for.

This leads to a funny story...Rene Angelil (Celine Dion's husband) was there for the auction and he wanted to buy himself. He was one of the chipleaders after day 1. Anyway one other person wanted to buy him and Rene bid his price up to $350 before the staff told him he can buy back half of himself at half of whatever price he goes for. So he stopped bidding his price up and just bought half of himself. When they called my name I waited to see if anybody would bid on me (obviously I would be great value because I'm not well known in the live tournament world) before I bid on myself...Dan Heimiller bids the minimum $200 to start and nobody bids higher so I let Dan buy me at $200 then I buy back half of myself at $100. So now I have half of myself in this calcutta auction (and still alive!).

I also got in on the fun and ended up buying 2 players...Dave "Bakes" Baker for $350 and Richard "Nutsinho" Lyndaker for $300 (stacks play a large part in what players go for). I played w/ Nutsinho the 1st half of day 2 and he sat on my direct right but I didn't tell him I had him in the auction (might affect our play). Anyway both guys didn't make it past day 2 (those bums).

On day 2 I drew another tough table w/ Michael Pessek, Dan Heimiller (the guy that bought me in the auction), Nutsinho, Darren Elias, and Jon Turner. Well the 2 guys that like to play a lot of hands got involved in a lot of hands together..they being Nutsinho and me. There were some 3betting going on (not always w/ good hands) and he had the best of me even though he was on my right. Fortunately they moved Nutsinho and later I busted Dan w/ AK vs AQ aipf (at least he gave his chips to one of his auction horses). Rene Angelil came to my table and I managed to win all his chips in several hands, most of it his last hand when he decided to 4bet shove 33 from utg vs my mp QQ held and I had a big stack. Don't feel bad for him...I will be taking my wife and myself to Celine's show when she resumes it later this year at Caesar's Palace so I'll be paying him some money indirectly.

Today was day 3 and we would play down to the final table from the 35 players that remained. Phil Hellmuth was still in it and even though I didn't get the chance to play w/ him, I really enjoyed the tantrums he put up when he lost a key pot..."idiot calls my raise w/ A3 and I set a trap w/ AQ and he bluffs off til he rivers the 3! Where do they find these idiots??!!" and "I raise 2 hands in 8 orbits and this idiot decides to get in AQ aipf vs me and beats my TT!! I guess this is why I have 11 bracelets.". 1st hand vs unknown, 2nd hand vs. Tony "Bond18" Dunst which he says was a super standard

Anyway on day 3 I again draw a super tough table w/ Isaac Haxton, Eric Froehlich (w/ the chiplead in tournament), Tim West aka TMay, Billy Kopp (the guy that gave Darvin Moon mountains of chips when he had a baby flush on a paired board couple years ago in the WSOP main, and Annette Oberstad (again). Everybody I mentioned had tons of chips w/ the exception of TMay. I managed to chip up nicely to about a top 5 stack w/o having to gamble (because that's what I do ;) then play this cool hand....

W/ blinds at 2k/4k I opr to 9500 w/ Qd9d utg, Annette and 2 others call. Annette and I are over 100bbs deep. Flop K85r (no diamond), I decide to bet 13,500 because it looks super strong, only Annette calls, turn 5 (no fd), I bet 24k, she calls, river 4, I bet 74k, she folds AK faceup, I show my bluff, she acts classy and says nh. I won't dwell too much on this hand but it wasn't a simple case of "I have air and the only way I can win is by triple barreling". She and I played a lot on day 1 and I took a lot of passive lines vs her where I let her valuecut herself (plus pot controlled on my part since I was oop) and I assumed she would give my multiple street aggression a ton of respect, and I was right :) .

After that we were playing 6-7 handed for a while since there were 3 equal tables. I was opening a ton of hands and chipping up nicely and managed to become the chipleader w/ 18 players left. Then disaster struck. I lose a flip w/ AK vs TT aipf for 25% of my stack. W/ 14 players left I take a brutal beat w/ TT vs Tmay's 88 aipf and get short and under 50bbs for the 1st time in this tournament. I have to tighten up (even playing 6-7 handed) because it was too easy for the bigger stacks to put me all in for my tournament life. I manage to hang in w/ 25bbs to the final table and now I head into day 4 and the final table w/ a 20bb stack (card dead and no spots to opr the last level). On the final table are Carter King, Annette Oberstad, TMay (tx to his miracle 2outer at river), and chipleader Eric Froehlich.

It resumes tomorrow at 4pm and I have a dentist appointment at 2pm (lol, I need to tell the dentist no sedatives) so I am done writing about this tournament for now. Hopefully I'll have my 1st major live tournament win tomorrow but if not, hey, at least my teeth will be sparkly.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Beats galore! (An update)

So I thought I'd update on how I've been doing lately in poker. I guess you can never complain if you're winning but wow I'm running on the wrong side of variance. The 1st thing I'll talk about is my quest for 100 buyins at $5/$10 nl online. Here are my results since I started...

I guess I'm doing alright but running about $5k below ev. No single hand sticks out...just a bunch of flips lost, sets losing to draws, etc. I do want to mention I feel like my game's improved a lot in just the last 2 months (won't get too much into it because it'll make a good post for another day) even though I haven't been playing much. So I'm expecting to crush in the upcoming months at all forms of poker.

Here's my month so far at all stakes and games online....

I haven't had the chance to put in much volume but I'm hoping to get in a ton of volume before the WSOP starts. Once the WSOP starts I won't have much time to grind online because I'm planning on playing a heavy WSOP schedule (bracelet one time?).

As for live poker, I mentioned in my previous post it's going well. It is live poker after all. Also I've been playing a lot of tournaments this year, especially live tournaments. I've been playing extremely well in them but my results are just not there (yet). Here is the list of live tournaments I've played and how I busted...

$1k HPT main event... above avg stack late in the tournament, lost 10s vs AK aipf for half my stack, then bust AK vs 99 aipf, finish 10 away from money

$320 Venetian DeepStack... 4/5th way in busted JJ vs AK aipf button vs bb for top 10 stack

LAPC $1k prelim... midway, bad player limps utg, I iso w QQ, he calls, flop JT2r, he checks, I bet, he calls, turn 2, he checks, I bet, he shoves...I tank and began talking to him trying to gauge his strength....I say it's A2s or some random draw (he c/r's w/ Jx + on the flop from my read)...he comment's "Would I limp w/ A2 here?", if there was ever an answer screaming Yes to A2, that was it...yet I talk myself into thinking his range is wide enough to call profitably and call and is shown, you guessed it...A2s. So I would say this was the worst hand I've played all year in a tournament because he basically told me he had A2. But a turn 2 is the only card I bust on though, so a little bit of bad luck there.

LAPC $5k prelim... super tough field w/ about 90 entrants yet I feel like I'm one of the favs to win. Basically lost some chips w/ underset vs overset where most would've gone broke. I played 33 cautiously on a 743hh board vs 2 players inc. aggro preflop raiser who had 44, turn Th and everybody froze up, riv Qx and I called aggro's value bet. Later I bust w/ AK vs QQ in a postflop flip situation (nfd+ 2overs).

LAPC $10k main event... great tournament, great structure, great turnout...yet I busted in the last level of day 2. After chipping up some on day 1 on a pretty tough table I couldn't win a hand on day 2 on a softer table. Got to play some w/ Jennifer Tilly on that day and even though she's not that great, she tends to play big pots that increases the variance for her opponents. She just beat me every hand we played together. Finally I lost a key pot during the last level where a kid rivers a gutter w/ T8s (he turned a fd) vs my KK. I shoved w/ my last 13 bbs w/ KQo in the co and ran into button's JJ and couldn't win.

Wynn $500 prelim #1...decent structure for a $500 buyin event and a great turnout..over 800. Played pretty well on day 1 to make it to day 2 and down to 100 players. I chip up and become the 2nd biggest stack on a very soft table. W/ 45 players left I run KK into cl's AA and bust. Sucked because 1st was $85k and the field was pretty soft. At least I have my 1st live cash of the year...for a measly $900. I had the pleasure of playing w/ Andy Frankenberger who was a really cool and nice guy (good poker thinker but needs a little work on the fundamentals).

Wynn $1k 6max nl prelim...If I'm not a big fav. in this one, I don't know what I'm a fav. in! I don't really pick up any hands all day (and especially don't get on the right side of cooler spots that allow you to get deep in tournaments) but manage to hang around w/ 15-30bbs in the later stages. Then w/ 30 players left I get in 99 vs J9o aipf and lose most of my chips. I manage to chip up w/ the best hands aipf and win a key race w 22 vs ATo (finally I win a flip!!) and get to 25bbs w/ 18 players left (9 get in the money). I get in my stack w/ AJo vs A7o bvb and bust.

Wynn $1k prelim...this was a very fun tournament for one reason. A "name" live mtt pro tweets "other than Vanessa Selbst, a soft table" early on. He happened to be on my direct right, Selbst on my direct left. Let's just say that he didn't think it was a soft table....after I busted him! I 3bet him relentlessly all day until he took a stand and 4bet jammed JTo...into my KK. At this point I was one of the chipleaders w/ about 40 left and 15 itm. Then I lose a flip postflop (go figure), go card dead, then cl (w/ about 120bbs) opr utg, I jam w/ 20bbs total w/ QQ in the co, and he tank folds AQ faceup! Are you kidding me??!! Very next hand, aggro hijack opr, I jam AJs w/ about 25bbs, button wakes up w/ AK and that's all she wrote. Obviously the cl who folded AQ the previous hand regrets folding that when he sees my AJ...obviously I regret it more!! So I busted 23rd, and 15 get in the money.

That's it for live tournaments. Now my online tournaments... jk. I've played a bunch and I know I've been running as bad in those as I have in live ones. I just finished playing the $109 multi entry miniftops where 1st was $181k. W/ over 9,300 entrants I busted 250th. Here's the hand....

No-Limit Hold'em Tournament, 2500/5000 Blinds (9 handed) - Hold'em Manager Converter Tool from
MP3 (t350817)

CO (t72109)

Button (t104344)

Hero (SB) (t179784)

BB (t225496)

UTG (t159480)

UTG+1 (t178998)

MP1 (t172561)

MP2 (t266073)

Hero's M: 23.97

Preflop: Hero is SB with Q, J

7 folds, Hero bets t10000, BB calls t7500

Flop: (t25000) 10, Q, 8 (2 players)

Hero bets t15500, BB calls t15500

Turn: (t56000) 4 (2 players)

Hero bets t32500, BB raises t196896, Hero calls t118684

River: (t358368) 9 (2 players)

Total pot: t358368


Hero had Q, J (straight, Queen high).

BB had K, J (straight, King high).

Outcome: BB won t363768

Winning this pot would've put me in the top 15 but it was still a long ways to go...but still!

So that's about it for poker. Other than that, life is great!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Why Live Poker is Easy

I wanted to express my thoughts about live cash games in general. Having been mostly a internet player the past decade or so (although I have played plenty of hours in live cash games and tournaments) I wanted to talk about some of the differences between live games and online games and some "tendencies" that occur in live games that you don't see much of in online games.

As mentioned before I'm making more of an effort to get out there and play more live poker, both cash games and tournaments. I've played about 12 live sessions so far this year, all at either $5-$10nl, $10-$20nl, or $10-$25nl (w/ some limit mix games). I've done pretty well overall so I think I have a pretty good grasp of the state of today's live games. Granted 12 sessions isn't a large enough sample size to accurately assess my long term prospects (although I think I'll do well) and I'm speaking for the stakes I've played (smaller and larger stakes probably have different dynamics, game flow, type of players, etc. although everything I talk about applies to smaller stakes and at a greater magnitude).

The first thing is that playing shorthanded online has helped a lot as I feel like I can play well no matter how many players are on a table. Sometimes games get short, especially must move games, and guys that have experience playing shorthanded and hu are at an advantage. Most live players have little to no experience playing shorthanded. I notice my edge increases a lot the more shorthanded a table becomes. Also playing shorthanded helps you improve your game tremendously in that you know how to play less than premium hands, plus it makes poker more fun knowing that you can play a lot more hands instead of waiting for premium hands.

There is much less 3betting going on (4betting light is almost non existent) in live full ring games (to an extent in shorthanded games as well). This makes the game so much easier because I can raise and 3bet knowing that I'm almost never getting reraised light. Even the guys that I tag as possible internet guys (young guys in hoodies w/ headphones,...yeah you know who you are) aren't ramping up the aggression like you see in online games. Either they're really not internet players or they're just keeping up w/ the flow of the game w/ nobody else really 3betting much. I admit to toning down my 3bet tendencies because of this as well, although I think I shouldn't. I'm usually the most frequent 3better though.

Also I've been playing in uncapped games and most players have 100+ bbs stacks, some w/ 250bbs stacks+. What this leads to is most players being cautious, probably overly cautious and missing out on value in certain spots (actually I've seen a ton of hands where a guy should've gotten more value, and very little hands where a guy went for thin value). In online games if you have the 2nd best hand you're going to lose the maximum usually (vs. regs). In live games this isn't the case because again, players are a little too cautious. You almost never see a triple barrel w/ air in a live game. (I did it twice in my last 2 live sessions in LA and went's pretty cool putting out a big river bet w/ nothing after barreling earlier streets..obviously all I'm thinking at the moment is "don't call don't call don't call don't call!!!!")

Also live players tend to betsize poorly than online players. They're very guilty of underbetting the pot when a bigger bet is called for. This happens more frequently than somebody overbetting incorrectly.

I won't dwell on limping too much because everybody knows live players tend to limp more than they should. I don't care how good you are but limping and calling a raise oop is a spot that's difficult to profit from.

Also most live players don't seem to understand a lot of the current fundamentals that most online players understand and execute well. These include stack to pot ratio, polarization (you may see live players raising w/o much but most are not sure why they are doing it..they're just "bluffing" per se), balancing (although this isn't as important as online unless you become a reg at the poker room you play), merging, g bucks, etc.

Another thing about live games is that you can tell when somebody is tilting. Sometimes you can see the steam coming out of their ears. Or they'll say something like "dealer, when's your break?", "always a fricking ace on the flop!", or something along those lines. It's easy to adjust your game to them and the games become even more profitable. Online it's not easy to see who's tilting and who's not.

I guess you know the general theme of this post...yes, live poker players suck. No, actually it's not that. It's just what I think are mistakes that you see occurring more often in live games than in online games. Therefore live games are generally easier and good online players should be able to transition pretty well should they venture into the live domain.

Friday, March 4, 2011

New Goal

In conjunction w/ my new video series over at Cardrunners I will try to win 100 buyins at $5/$10 nl online. This includes full ring, 6max, and hu. I expect most of my volume to be at 6max since most of the tables that run are at 6max. In the series I will try to capture some of my play and also talk about what it takes to beat these games on a consistent basis. I will also focus on non showdown winnings since everybody is always trying to improve that aspect of their games.

I'll admit I'm not the best when it comes to non showdown winnings but I have improved steadily over the years and I am still working on it and will relay some of my thoughts and ideas. Also $5/$10 is definitely not a limit where people are pushovers so it'll definitely be a challenge holding my own in regard to my red line. I expect to make some mistakes along the way but I expect myself to learn from them and that's the best way to get better.

Why $5/$10? Well that limit is considered the entry to high stakes online. I want to show that even in today's state of games that if you work hard enough you can succeed. Granted I have a ton of experience playing that stake and I'm a decent poker player but everybody knows $5/$10 is pretty tough nowadays. I'm not going to think I can achieve it easily...all I'm going to do is play the best I can and work hard at my game along the way.

I used to play $5/$10 on a regular basis, even 16 tabling 20-30hrs/wk (2 years ago) but I've slowed down and played stakes anywhere from $2/$4 to $5/$10 the last couple of years (for reasons mentioned in an earlier blog post). Now I'm not going to eschew the lower stakes because I'm still planning on multitabling and sometimes there are just not many $5/$10 games going.

As for time frame I'm not going to set one. The reason being that I've devoted some of my time to live play including playing some big buyin live events this year. Also the WSOP is right around the corner and I'm planning on playing a full schedule. This goal may take me 2-3 months or it may take me 1 year. Another reason I'm setting this goal is to push me to work hard at my game and put in the time that I've been lacking the last couple of years.

The only thing I haven't done is think of a name for this series...if anybody has a good idea feel free to let me know.

So the 1st video in conjunction w/ this goal comes out today. I actually started playing in February and captured the 1st video during a session. Hope you guys like it and get something out of it. Expect more in the future and hopefully some of my new ideas and growth as a poker player helps those that watch them.

Oh, and I will post $5/$10 graphs from time to time to show my progress, starting w/ the hands I've played since I decided to do this....

Yeah, 97 buyins to go :)