Monday, September 13, 2004

Escape to the Tables
"We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away." - Chuang Tzu
I had my second full week of poker since my traveling binge ended and I was able to actually return to my hectic mix of trying to squeeze as much time on Party Poker and writing into my waking hours, despite having to deal with my Fantasy Football draft, the last bits of Hurricane Frances, moving into a new place, and some tragic family issues. Poker has been a forum where I have been able to escape from certain frustrating aspects of my real life. That's what I did last summer after the death of one of my best friends, and that's what I did this weekend, after I found about some messed up family stuff. Throwing myself into poker worked, because I ended up winning a $70 Single table Qualifier and won a seat in the upcoming $600 Aussie Million Satellite.

Sometimes the past reaches up to bite you in the ass when your not looking. And sometimes you have to keep moving forward. I was spawned and reared by two families composed of insecure idiots. My life often resembles a sullen Shakespearian play or a badly sung Country Western song. But that's the hand I was dealt. I decided long ago to muck it and move along. Just like Hunter Thompson once said, "Don't take any guff from these fuckin' swine."

I finally made it to the positive side of September. The first week of the month was tough after several bubble finishes in $30 SNGs. This past week, I broke out of the bubble funk and took down first place finishes in four different SNGs. I finally won an Omaha hi/lo SNG after several humbling defeats. I had to tighten up my game even more and I finally took down a first place money finish. I won first place in a $30 SNG after making the money in just one out of my last seven. It always feels good to win and a first place victory in a $30 SNG definitely helps boost the Party Poker bankroll. Of course I won a sub-Qualifier (on my second try) and then the Qualifier to the Aussie Million Satellite.

I didn't do very well in any of the multi-table tournaments. I played in a multi table Million Dollar Qualifier and a European Open Qualifier failing to make the money in either. I found myself getting spanked in the $20 + $2 multi table tourneys and I never made the money in any of those. Those are just as fishy as the daily $5 ones at 11am.

My bankroll was inflated by solid play in NL ring games. I would try to win as much as possible during the late afternoons and early evenings so I could use some of my daily winnings to play in SNGs and other tournaments later in the night. That formula worked this week and I hope to continue the same blueprint for the rest of the month. Sure, I'm bleeding most of my bankroll away playing in all these tourneys... but I'm getting more experience playing in tournaments and I have an outside shot at going to England, Estonia, or Australia... via a free roll.

Stud Boy Reprise

To keep my brain fresh on other games, I found myself in the middle of some low limit Stud adventures on Party Poker. I've been doing better than expected. I've tightened up my starting hands against players who will see any draw or pair to seventh street. I won about 70BB in three sessions this past week. I am considering bumping up in limits, but I might just keep playing ABC stud at the micro limits to keep up the discipline. I'm trying to devote a small portion of my poker time towards improving my play in other games. I'm attempting to become a better overall poker player, and besides, my photographic memory comes in handy when figuring out drawing odds in Stud after four players folded all their cards on fifth street. Stud might be boring for some, but it's not as gut wrenching as Omaha hi/lo. If I played as much Stud as Hold'em on a daily basis, I might have the opportunity to become a better Stud player. Let's face it, I've been playing Stud longer than Hold'em, but I've ignored one of my poker strengths and focused on the fast paced action in Hold'em. I'm going to try to set aside more time towards improving my Stud game, including reading and re-reading Felicia's insightful posts on Stud.

Bad Beat City

I dished out more bad beats this past week than ever before. I took down some monster pots and knocked people out of tourneys with inferior hands. I know everyone bitches and moans about bad beats, but how many do you actually win?
A list of my victims...
A5s beats AJs
J10 catches a river straight and beats AKs
JJ beats AA when I flopped quads
Q9 beats AQ
89s beats AJ
You have to bad beat opponents in tournaments if you expect to advance. That's just the way it is. You have to win your coinflips and you have to hold off and dish out bad beats over the long haul. And of course, I'll list a few of my bad beats.
Bad Beats of the Week...
AA lost to K7
KK lost to JJ
QQ lost to 99
QQ lost to J7s
10-10 lost to 84o
AKs lost to Q10
AK lost to Q7
AK lost to J9
AQs lost to Q3
AQ lost to 10-8s
Ironically, I found AA eight times and only once did they get cracked when some nimrod caught his second pair on the river. I found myself with pocket 88s a shitload of times. I usually muck 88 in early position, but aggressively play my middle pairs in late position. Twice I got booted from a tournament with 88... losing to A4s and I ran into a guy slowplaying KK.

Big Slick fucked me a few times. It's probably my most overrated starting hand and I either have problems playing it too strongly or I'm at fault for not being disciplined enough to lay it down after a troublesome flop. I lost two big coin flips with AK... losing to pocket 10s and pocket 9s... getting knocked out of both tournaments. How many times are you booted with AK? It's such a dangerous hand. For the next decade I'll be pondering how to correctly play AK. Someday I'll figure it out.

Hand of the Week

Sunday morning, I found KK in late position. With a few limpers in the pot, I raised 6x BB. I got one caller. The flop: Js-8s-Jc. The first player checked, and I bet the pot. He check-raised me all in and I had a decision to make. Did he have the J? How about just AK? Or two suited cards? He's the type of guy that would call a huge bet preflop with just KJo or with 54s. The correct move was to fold. You have to play the cards on Party Poker. I typed in the chat... "I got KK. I've only laid these down twice!" poking fun at Phil Hellmuth in a recent WSoP episode. A few people got the reference and thought that was funny. The guy decided to show me his hand... the Hilton Sisters! I would have won if I called.

I had been trying to get myself to lay down big hands when I think they are beat. Normally, I would have called his bet right away. And as it goes, when I fold a big pair, I end up folding the winning hand. When I call in those situations... I'm almost always drawing dead. Bad timing with my big pocket pairs. If I can take anything away from this hand... is that I had the sensibility to lay down a hand when I thought I was beat. Good players fold good hands. I haven't been folding as much as I should.

Tournament Results on Party Poker this past week:

$5 Omaha hi/lo SNG (2): 5, 1
$5 Multitable NL: 835 out of 1534
$10 Multitable LIMIT: 97 out of 239
$10 Multitable NL: 129 out of 457
$10 Sub-Qualifiers Aussie Million B, SNG (2): 5, 1 (won a seat in the Qualifier)
$10 Qualifier, Million Guaranteed: 63 out of 366
$10 Qualifier European Open Satellite: 58 out of 150
$20 Multitable NL (2): 633 out of 1601; 224 out of 930
$30 SNG (2): 5, 1
$70 Qualifier Aussie Million B: 1 (won a seat in the Satellite)

Money invested: $194
Tournaments I made the prize money: 4
Gross Winnings: $175 + freerolls/seats in a $70 Qualifier and $600 Satellite
Profit/ROI: - $19 + two freerolls valued at over $670 + fees

I still have a shot at turning $11 into a trip to Australia! If you wanna watch from the rail, I'll be playing on Wednesday night, 11:15pm EST on Party Poker... $600 Aussie Million B Satellite. In the meantime, I have plenty of holes to plug in my game this week while trying to win enough money off of loose newbies to feed my Midnight $30 SNG habit.

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