Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Hard Walls, Loose Calls and Pudding Heads
"If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding!" - Pink Floyd
I had been looking at my notes, specifically my last 35 $30 SNGs on Party Poker. Despite a very nice stretch early on when I cashed first or second in four straight, I hit the wall and could not break out of the fifth place and bubble funk. The results have been piss poor.
Number of $30 SNGs: 35
Number of money finishes: 13 (37%)
Amount Invested: $1155
Prize Money: $1350
Net: +195

1st Place Finishes: 4
2nd: 7
3rd: 2
Bubble: 7
5th: 7
The worst stat is knowing I gave away over $105 in juice to Party Poker. You have to win one $30 SNG out right just to make up the difference. I discovered that 40% of the time I was coming in 5th or bubbling out. If a couple of hands went a different way, I'd be boasting about a profitable adventure in the $30 SNGs. They didn't... so I had to figure out what went wrong. I'm sure I was badbeated a couple of times and took a chance with a coin flip and a short stack and missed. But how about the other times when I should have played better? When I had a nice sized stack and I pissed it away on loose calls, or didn't push around my chips like I could have. That's what has been holding me back. Lack of discipline and not enough aggression are the two biggest holes in my play.

When I play too tight, I ended up finding myself sixth in chips out of six players in Level 4 or 5. I have to triple up twice just to catch up to the Top 3 stacks. No wonder I had been getting bounced fifth so much. I never had a chance. During my tight sessions (either the players are super loose and I'm waiting for a monster or I'm simply not getting any cards) because I had not been playing too many hands when I do push all in, the other players put me on a strong hand and are not willing to double me up. My good hands are virtually wasted and all I do is pick up blinds when I'm trying to double up. Solution? I began to play a few loose calls in the first level... really fishy calls too... in hopes of putting out a table image... a loose impression. It only works if they are paying attention. So if I do get chipped down, in later rounds when I push with a high pocket pair, someone with a marginal hand will double me up. Playing a few marginal hands early also give me a chance of hitting a flop and doubling up earlier with a hand I normally wouldn't play, mainly because seeing the flop in Level 1 is so inexpensive.

When I 'm playing well, possibly doubling up early and I got a nice hefty stack, watch out, because I'm a bully. I pick up a lot of pots that way and add to the stack, especially without the benefit of any decent cards. It's easier to play J9o when you have 4x as many chips as the next player than it is when you're the second lowest stack at the table. I seem to make bad decisions and I get greedy trying to attack the smaller stacks. I know that I should avoid small stacks when I'm the big stack (it's not my job to double them up), but there's that little guy inside my head that quickly convinces me (within the 30 second time allotted by Party Poker) to call his King high when I have a middle ace. Of course, I always misread the player and I'm fucked. My big stack became a medium one in a flash, and the small stack has doubled up and beaming with confidence. Nothing is worse than losing momentum when you're the big stack and attacking pots left and right, then BAM!! you lose a close hand on the river and one of the smaller stacks gets hot. You can see your rush slip away and then a flurry of six high hands falls your way (64, 36, 62, 26) as he hits sets on the flop with middle pairs and flops nut flushes until he's the big stack and you're the tiny stack sighing as you push all in with J-10o. Solution? Play tighter against small stacks and attack the big ones. Avoid seeing too many flops and aggressively bet postflop when I do play a hand.

AK has been my downfall. I got knocked out of SNGs a couple of times losing to middle pairs. JJ are still a headache. Nothing is worse than getting called with a small ace when you have jacks (or worse Q-x suited!) and seeing them hit their overcard. I almost want to muck Jacks when I see them.

OK, I started playing $50 SNGs and I'm still getting bubbled out. I placed in just one out of five, but my play has been much stronger. I lost on a couple of suckouts and bad beats. Those are going to happen. I just haven't been seriously beating superior hands which you need to do from time to time to win. And when I've been the dominant hand heads up, I have been outflopped. I know that I have to stick it out at the $50 SNGs because in the long ru, I'll hit flops, get lucky and crack AA or KK (like I have been doing in ring games this past week).

In other poker news, I cleared my bonus on Party Poker! Whoo hoooo. I can start playing more SNGs. In sad news, I bubbled out of a three table SNG last night. I tried to steal a pot with KJs and went heads up with the chipleader who had AQo. I flopped a flush but he had the nut flush draw with his ace and a fourth spade hit the river and I was booted. Two hours wasted.


I'll be in Vegas in ten friggin' days. Glad to announce that CJ is now in! Unfortunately Wil cannot make it. We spoke shortly after the Pokerstars blogger tourney and he had so much fun that he was interested in coming out to Vegas to hang out with bloggers (and this was way before we got Sam's Town to host a tourney). Alas, he's got work and will not be able to make this one. Maybe next year!

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