Tuesday, September 07, 2004

One Man Gathers What Another Man Spills
"By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond the winning." - Lao Tzu
I had my first full week of poker playing in a over a month. I logged plenty of hours around and about especially on Party Poker. And after closing out a profitable August, I found myself sputtering along in the first days of September. I fared well at the NL ring tables, a place where I generate the majority of my poker winnings online. My philosophy this summer was to win at the ring tables and parlay those winnings into SNGs and other tournaments. This past week's highlight was winning a 30 person Qualifier to the World Speed Poker Championships in Estonia and getting a $200 + $15 seat to the satellite. And the lowlight had to be the five bubble finishes in various SNGs. Making the money in one of the $30 SNGs could have been the difference between a down week and a break even week.

I threw over $500 of my bankroll in various tournaments this past two week, with an unimpressive return on investment (ROI) of a little over $300. But that doesn't include the $200 seat I won, so I guess you can say, I'm even in the last two weeks playing online tournaments.

I ran into three bubble finishes in $30 SNGs. Those hurt. I had AQ lose to AK when we both flopped an ace. I had the chip lead in another SNG after on the first hand I tripled up with Q10s in the BB. Some guy with AA slowplayed and I flopped a straight (flop: J98 rainbow). Of course he pushed it all-in as did some dude with J9o and I won the race and tripled up... on the first hand! Later on in that SNG, I moved all-in with KK and of course, I lost to AA. It's so hard to lay down KK when people on Party Poker push all-in preflop with any pair it seems. I can't recall how many times I layed down the Hilton Sisters or JJ, only to realize that two guys with 99 and 77 pushed it all-in. My other bubble finish was not pretty. I was the victim if a river bad beat when my AK fell to J6o after I flopped an ace and he moved all-in before I could act. He bluffed with nothing and I called with a pair of aces, king kicker. He caught running jacks to beat me. Bubbled out again.

I bumped up from the $5 multi table NL tournaments to the $10 ones. Party Poker runs those at 8am, and I had been up early all week writing at dawn, so I was already up to play in them. The field is substantially lower than the $5 ones, and I like my chances in a 300 person tournament. Both Derek and myself played in a 2000 person (capped out) $5 multis this weekend, and those are insane with over a thousand people KO'd in the first hour. I cashed in one of my first $10 multis, taking 25th out of 310. I blew the chiplead early and could have folded my way to the final table. Maybe I should have, but then again, that's not my style of play. I attack with the big stack.

I made a mistake one day, signing up for a $10 limit tourney instead if a NL tourney. Talk about a slow grind. I had AK cracked twice by crapola and lost most of my stack to a serious of bad beats. Be sure to check twice before you sign up for any SNG and tourney. That will save you time and money in the long run.

Oh, Omaha. I bubbled out of a few Omaha hi/lo SNGs. I had Al Can't Hang sweat me in one and all I could think of was... "How boring is watching Omaha hi/lo from the rail?" Even a loose maniac like me knows that folding and tight play is rewarded in Omaha hi/lo. I recalled reading something from both Annie Duke and Felicia... about having all four cards in your hand working for you in Omaha, and I stuck to that theory when deciding which starting hands to play, as I grew tighter than ever. Although I didn't cash out in an SNG, I learned a few new things. My learning curve in Omaha is much greater than in hold'em. I suggest you try the lower limit Omaha SNGs on Party Poker. They are filled with fishy players who think raising the low hand is a winning play. Yes, I used to be one of those fishy Omaha newbies, until a helpful WWII vet in Florida clued me in last December when I was playing Omaha at the dogtrack while I waited for my hold'em game. The only highlight this week in Omaha was flopping quad Kings. Running low cards made a couple of people nut lows and I kept jamming the pots on the turn and river, and they kept calling and even raising me on the river! It was a monster pot, and I'm sure both guys who had the low actually lost money on their A2xx hands. Sure, these games are brutal, but I need to keep my Omaha game somewhat sharp since the guys at the Blue Parrot like calling rounds of Omaha.

I played with a bunch of bloggers on Party Poker this past week. I played with Daddy from Snail Trax early in the week at the same table with Young Poker. This past weekend, Maudie took my entire stack when I called her modest raise with AQo in the big blind. Let me say that the hand before (or it could have been one or two hands before), Maudie won a pot with KK. That was the last hand ever I put her on at that point, especially when she raised a smaller amount than she had been with big pairs. So the flop came: Q87. I checked, she bet, I moved all-in and she called. Of course she had KK and hit another King on the turn to seal the win. Ouch!

At that point one of the guys at the table had a Q8 theory, stating that Queens and Eights always flop together on Party Poker. And you know what, within the next hour, I swear that every fifth flop had both an Q and and 8 on the board. And yeah, I played the two Q-8 hands I was dealt, to test the theory, and I missed both flops. I played for a while at the same table with Maudie, Bad Blood, and Otis. It's always fun to play with other bloggers because I feel like that scene in Rounders when they all go down to Atlantic City to try to win money off of tourists.

I witnessed Quads mania this week. I saw both Daddy flop quad 9s and Bad Blood take down a pot with Quad Jacks at two different times. And even poor Otis, slumming at the $25 NL tables, lost a pot when his two pair lost to quad 4s!

The strangest hand of the week happened in the wee hours on Monday morning on Party Poker. I played in a $9 + $1 Party Poker Million IV Qualifier at 2:15 am. In level 5, I had T2400+ sitting decent in 21st place out of 58. In middle position, I found AA! Well, UTG limped, the next guy was the short stack at the table and he moved all-in. I pushed all my chips in hoping to stay heads up. The button called as did UTG. I had them all covered. So what did everyone go all-in with? K-10, J9s, and 55. I hate my chances in a multi-way pot with AA, especially with non-made hands. Luckily I was cracked by the shortstack (K-10 he flopped two pair!), so I was able to win the side pot(s) with the other hands and break even. He had over T4000 after that win.
Last Week's Bad Beats:
AA lost to J7s
AA lost to 33
AA lost to K10
KK lost to 67
KK lost to Q8
QQ lost to J10
QQ lost to 93
AKs lost to A10s
AKs lost to J6
AK lost to J9
AK lost to 10-8
10-10 to 24o

So what happened in the Speed Poker Satellite? I came in 21st place. Only 41 players entered. Half the field won Qualifiers and the rest bought in for $200 + $15. Party Poker was only giving away a seat for every 25 players, so the prize structure was: 1st place = Estonia prize package, 2nd = $1600, 3rd = $960, 4th = $640. I would have been happy coming in second place! The levels were 20 minutes long. I didn't play well. I was too soft and tentative. I only played a few hands and folded two big hands to the tourney chip leader who probably was bluffing. Normnally, I would have called at least one of the two times, but I passively folded. And the one time I called the loose-idiot, he actually had a decent hand. OK, I called a modest raise preflop with JJ. The board was 963. He doubled the pot with a bet and I folded JJ. Did he have a set or overpairs? I didn't want to find out the hard way. Another time, I folded AK in BB to an all-in raise. That was probably the better fold, but laying down JJ was tough. Of course when I was shortstcked in Level 3, He raised my blind on the button. I made the decision to call him the next time he tried to bully me. That was the last hand before the break and I was just under T1000. I moved all-in with 66. He had a better hand than I expected: AJs. He flopped two pair and I was fucked, kicked out in 21st place. Was it the best call? That's up for debate. But I stand behind my decision to enter a coin flip race with the chip leader. I needed to double up and I put my chips all-in when I had the best hand. If I had a bigger stack I would have let the small pocket pair go. You have to win those coin flips. I didn't and instead of packing my bags to Estonia, I'm writing about my loss.
Tournament Results on Party Poker this past week:

$5 Omaha hi/lo SNG (4): 4,9,5,4
$5 NL SNG: 2
$5 three table SNG (4): 19,7,9,12
$5 NL multi: 633 out of 2000
$9 Qualifier PP Million IV: 20 out of 130
$9 Qualifier World Speed Poker Championships: 1 out of 30 (won a seat in the satellite!)
$10 LIMIT multi: 98 out of 210
$10 NL multi (2): 215 out of 480; 25 out of 310
$30 NL SNG (6): 1, 10, 4, 4, 7, 4
$200 Satellite to World Speed Poker Championships: 21 out of 41

Money invested: $311
Tournaments that I made the prize money: 4
Gross winnings: $187.50 + $200 seat in the World Speed Poker satellite
Profit/ROI: - $123.50
More to come this week! I hope to improve my bubble situations in $30 SNGs.

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