Monday, May 28, 2007

Darfur Charity, Heart of Darkness, and the Shark Attack

By Pauly

I had an unusual week that featured tremendous swings and fluctuations that I had not seen since I started playing poker. After taking shots at higher limits, I posted several records winning sessions along with record losing sessions. However, in the end, I got smoked at 30/60. The short term results are not good but I made solid decisions and aside from one or two hands that I misplayed, I would have not changed a thing with my sessions this week at the 30/60 level.

The biggest pot that I lost happened at a rare full ring table of 30/60 at Full Tilt. It happened at noon ET too on a weekday. I was at David Grey's table and I lost a pot worth $852. I raised UTG with Ah-Kc and had four callers. The flop was all rags with two hearts. I bet out and was raised by Grey. I called because I can't lay down Big Slick. The turn was the Kh. I had top pair with a nut flush draw. I bet out, Grey raised, and I re-raised. He called. The turn was the 6s. I bet out and he called. He showed 3s-3c for a flopped set. My over-aggression with Big Slick hurt me. The tight play would have been to fold on the flop but I was playing loose and not giving Grey enough credit for a made hand. In NL, I fold right away to a raise on the flop. Since it was Limit, I knew it would only cost be a couple of big bets to see the river card.

On Saturday, I had one of the darkest days that I ever experienced in poker. I didn't play bad and made good decisions at the 30/60 tables on PokerStars. I won several small pots, but I lost three big ones which cost me close to 1K. When I got my J-J cracked by Qd-8d (I was rivered), I walked away. I was at the cusp of my stop-loss of 1K per session and had to log off. The hard part was that I didn't feel that I was on tilt and was on top of my game. The results were shitty and I wanted to keep on playing. Alas, I held up to the rules I set forth when I play online poker. No matter how I'm running, if I pass a certain losing mark, I stop playing for the day. If I broke my own rule, then I'd set precedent and I'd be tempted to do it again in the future when I am on tilt. That stop-loss keeps me in check and ensures that I will never lose my bankroll (let alone more than 5% to 10% of it) in a single day.

The 30/60 experiment is coming to a close. I've been playing a lot of online poker the last three weeks and had a firm grasp of the players in that game... something that eludes me when I travel a lot and I'm rusty at the tables. I head to Las Vegas on Tuesday and won't have time or the attention span to play 30/60 for at least two months. Although I lost at my initial entry at the 30/60, I'm comfortable with my game and realized that there are some awful players at that level which makes the games profitable as long as I stay away from the sharks or possible cheating teams. Back to the minors for another season.

* * * * *

It felt good on Sunday morning when I won back 24% of the previous day's loses in less then twenty minutes after hitting and running at the 10/20 tables on PokerStars. I donked around the micro NL tables and won enough money to cover my buy-in and rebuys at the Darfur Charity event.

On Sunday afternoon, I played in the Darfur charity tournament over at PokerStars. Thanks to everyone who blogged about the event. Karma points are headed your way. And thanks to bloggers who played such as Yestbay, Garth, Kat, AlCantHang, Drizz, Bayne, StatikKling, Derek, and Change100. (I apologize in advance if forgot to mention you.)

I tried to get 1,000 entrants and although we fell short of the mark, I was happy to see 744 players in the mix. $20,900 overall was raised through that tournament along with the awareness of the tragedy of Darfur to several people who had no idea of some of the horrific crimes that are being committed on a daily basis in the war torn region of the Sudan.

My friend Ingrid has been blogging about the crisis in the Sudan for the last four years over at Sudan Watch. You should add her blog to your reading list.

Mad Harper & Change100 were at same table. Mad was the subject of a great e-mail prank last week when she thought George Clooney was pissed off at her for something she wrote about him in her blog. Alas, the culprit was her friend Conrad who had Mad in a tizzy thinking that Mr. Clooney actually read her blog. Mad made the final table in the first Darfur charity tournament.

I found myself at Humberto Brenes' table and I quickly typed, "I fear the shark!" into the chat box. I had a couple of railbirds, as did Brenes.

In the first level, I tripled up with 10-10. One player raised. Another called and I moved all in for 2410. Brenes called as did the original raiser. Brenes flipped over 8-8 and the third player had Ad-Qd. I was ahead and my hand held up. My stack was up to 6.5K. I typed, "Pauly 1, Humberto 0" into the chat.

On the next hand, I flopped a nut flush. I called a raise with Kd-7d. I called a small bet on the flop of Ad-Jd-8d. We both checked the turn of 5s. The river was the 4c and my opponent bet 240. I raised to 480 and he called with As-Th. That 1560 pot pushed me into 34th place.

A couple of hands later, I called an Humberto Brenes raise with Qh-Jh in the big blind. The flop was Qd-Qc-3h and I bet out 270. Brenes raised to 720! I pushed all in and he mucked. Brenes typed "DrPauly 2, Humberto 0" in the chat. I moved up to 25th place.

I lost a big pot with J-J. I put out a huge re-raised preflop and a donkalope called me with K-3. He flopped two pair and I doubled him up. I lost another big hand with Qd-6d. I called a small stack who pushed all in on a board of Kh-10d-8d. Sadly, he had Ad-Jd. He turned a straight and I rivered two pair which was worthless. That pot was 7K and I slipped to 3.7K.

I got chips back against Brenes. My 8-8 held up to his overcards. All the money went into the flop of Qh-10c-3c. My pair held up against his open-ended straight draw even though he picked up more outs on the turn with a flush draw. Here's the ensuing chat:
Change100 [observer]: weeeeeeeeeeee
DrPauly: You are shark, i am fish
Humberto B.: Pauly 3 Humberto 0
Derek [observer]: haha
That hand put my stack around 5.6K. I was in 122th place out of 536. I moved up to 8.7K after I turned a full house with 7-7. By the first break (and re-buy period ended), I was 91st out of 452 remaining players. I had 10.7K after the add-on. John Duthie was among the chipleaders and he was moved to AlCantHang's table.

I lost half my stack in one of the first hands after the break. I found Ah-Kh in the big blind and after a button raise of 300, I reriased to 900. He called. The flop was A-Q-9 and we both checked. I bet the turn and was re-raised all in. I called and he flopped a set of 9s. I slipped to 224th place with 5.6K in chips.

Duthie and I busted out at almost the exact time. I headed to the rail in 399th place. I had three dead stacks at my table. One player limped in and from the button, I raised all in with A-9. There were two dead stacks in the blinds and I just wanted to take it down right there. The player who limped from UTG waited until the last second before he called with Ac-2c. I was ahead on the flop and it appeared we were going to chop by the turn but the river was a 2 and I was eliminated.

Derek went deep and finished 55th place. And Garth was 2nd in chips late with about 100 or so to go. He remained in the Top 10 for a while before he finished in 22nd place. Well done, Kangadonk!

* * * * *

Ah, I forgot to mention that I came in 4th place in a 261 person NL MTT on Full Tilt last week. Yes, not only did I play a NL tournament, but I actually made the final table and promptly blew a final table chip lead. I doubled up early with J-J and then lost most of my stack when my pocket Kings lost to Ac-Qc. He limped UTG and called a monster raise preflop. I moved all in on the flop that had two clubs. He called with the nut flush draw and rivered me.

When it got close to the money, I won a big pot when I made a move with A-Q from the blinds after missing the flop. I sensed weakness from one player and check-raised him all in. He mucked as that hand put me past the 50K mark. I played like a maniac when there were 10-14 players left and our table was short-handed. I pushed everyone around as I went from the middle of the pack to the chiplead.

At the final table, one player found A-A twice and K-K twice in the first 25 hands at the final table. I lost a big hand to him when I ran into Kings with A-K. I lost the lead but the hand that really crippled me was losing with J-J against A-J.

With the blinds 1500/3000 and 400 antes, a player raised to 9K UTG. I reraised him to 52K or what would have put him all in. I had Jh-Jd. He called with Ah-Js. The flop was 7d-5h-5d and I was ahead when the turn was a blank. The river was the Ad and I typed, "Nice catch comestain!" into the chat. That pot was worth 108K and I was in next to last place with 8 players.

I made a run to stay alive and outlasted a few more players before I eventually busted out in 4th place. My K-7 could not win a race against 4-4 and I was out. At least I cashed and made a final table.

* * * * *

My main blog, Tao of Pauly, recently turned 5. Yes, that blog birthday marked my fifth year of blogging. Head over to read my birthday post where I highlight the past year including links to some of my best posts over the last twelve months.

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