The Poker Game of Life

Poker and scotch on the rocks. Below are my reflections on life and poker. My journey from $4-8 as a past time to $30-60 for serious money and my life experiences in between.

Location: seattle, Washington, United States

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

recommended books

I had someone ask me what books I recommend. I really based my initial game on David Sklansky's "Texas Holdem" and "Texas Holdem for advanced players". It's really good for limit holdem...the super system from doyle brunson is also worth a read.

That'll give you the basics but after that it's all about experience. Learn and then unlearn the books.

What lucky timing

I had some ridiculously lucky timing in this hand playing $30-60 today. Here's the story:

I'm under the gun w/ Aces and I limp in (not recommended by the way but I wanted to mix things up a bit) and the guy to my right raises. Big blind calls and I reraise.

Flop comes, A, 9 2.
I bet and get called in both spots. Kind of a weird call I think but I'm happy to keep them tagging along.

Turn is a 9
So now I've got the nuts and if I don't got the nuts well shit....nice hand buddy. hehe. I decide to get a little tricky and see if I can get a check raise here. It works as the guy right behind me bets, the big blind folds and I get my raise in.

River is a king:
I bet and get called. I was really hoping he had pocket kings and just played them terribly stubborn. Unfortunately for him he had ace/king which is pretty legit at that spot. I could have easily played ace/king in the same way. If he made that laydown he'd be amazingly tough especially since I'm reasonably unknown to him.

Just nice lucky timing. Huge pot. $660 total I think.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The jump

I've jumped to a consistent $30-60 player now and the main difference is aggression and control. I've definitely had to make refinements in my overall thinking in order to be successful at this limit. Time will tell.

There's a reason

"There's a reason they call it the dummy end of the straight" - My Dad

Please checkout my new article Poker Draws for more details.

I'd love some feedback on it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

To receive you must give

My friends and I have added several new strategy articles to my
Texas Holdem Online strategy guide including a few on no limit topics. I hope you guys like them. I'll be frequently updating there so please check back often.

Lately I've been thinking about how I receive a lot more action from players when I give a little action. When I sit around and play tight and solid I get paid off very seldom. However, when I show a bluff or two here and there whether successful or not I get a lot more action thereby allowing me to net out with more chips.

For example, the other day I tried to bully thru a player. I raised preflop, went 3 bets on the flop after he check raised, and I bet the turn as well. I checked the end and he turned over a weak ace and won the pot. My bully strategy didn't work so I decided in my head that next hand I get I'm going to ram it to him all the way but I've got to have a strong hand. He's going to call for sure.

A few hands later I flop a set and check raise him on the flop. He immediately goes 3 bets and says, "Trying to steal the pot again eh?". I say, "Are you?", and smooth call. I check raise the turn, he immediately goes 3 bets. At this point I'm a little concerned about my hand so I call. I call the end and he turns over top pair with a weak kicker. All that action because I gave a little action on a prior hand. Note only that but I had a pretty good shot of winning the hand I gave him a little action on.

Don't get carried away with this idea, but sometimes giving a little action isn't such a bad thing.

Try it out sometime.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Big deal

Been playing online at Poker Stars lately. Not a bad game there at all.

Yesterday I played at the casino up north and ran into a really young kid who has own over $200k this year playing in tournaments and online limit and no limit. It was my first time sitting int he game with him and so I was particularly interested in seeing him play. Seattle's a small town so I won't put his name in this blog out of respect. At any rate I thought I actually might be able to learn something. He was a tight solid player but I didn't see anything remarkable about his play. In fact I saw a more holes than I thought I would see. He paid off when beat against players who I was certain had strong holdings and I put a move on him when it went short handed w/ a marginal hand.

Makes me feel like i should be playing even bigger limits. Sky's the limit when your arrogant. hehe.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Sometimes you lose even when you win

Been taking a break from playing Full Tilt and Poker Room to play at my local casino's $8-16. Definitely feels like too small of a game now but I need the break from looking at a computer screen. I don't really want to drive an hour to play in anything bigger either.

So, 6 wins in a row makes a guy feel like a champion. Like I've got the Sharingan (Naruto anime joke). check that link out and you'll know what I mean. Naruto is amazing.

Anyhow, last night I only won $80 when I should've won $300. In fact that's what I need to win everday minnimum. I'm mostly disappointed because I let a strong player slightly put me on tilt. It's rare that I find a young player who I think is better than me but yesterday I did. Add on the fact that he acted right after me and it took me out of my game just enough to make a difference.

So, what did I do? I got up and left. Never sit in a game where you feel uncomfortable, in fact I should've left earlier.

Monday, May 09, 2005

A hand played poorly

Time to be a little humble for once since my good homegirl says I have an "understated arrogance" about me. Here is a hand I played poorly.

The Players:

Big blind - A pretty decently strong, tight aggressive player

Seat 3 - weak tight player. I actually like having him in the game since I know where he's at and I can steal from him.

Seat 5 - Yours truly

Seat 8 - Loose aggressive

Seat 9 - Tougher than me but a little looser. If the pot odds are right he's likely to call with a marginal hand and take a look at a flop.

Seat 3 limps in, I raise w/ queens. Everyone else cold calls.

Flop:10, 7, 2 with 2 diamonds:
Seat 3 checks to me
I bet
Seat 8 raises
Seat 9 calls
big blind calls
Seat 3 pushes it to three bets
Everyone calls

Turn: 4
Big blind: checks
Seat 3: bets
everyone else calls

River: J
Big blind bets
Seat 3 calls
I fold as does everyone else.

When the jack hit I mucked my hand as that was surely 8,9 who completed his open ended straight draw. However I think I could've mucked my hand on the turn. When the weak tight player went 3 bets I'm surely beat by a set (which he later said he had). The other 2 players probably had flush draws. In fact I might've been able to get away from my hand when it went 3 bets on the flop.

2 small bets and 1 big bet donated to the competition.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Jacks - My last date

With my ankle still healing (I took my first step today) it's been a few weeks since I've been out at the bars or on a date. I'd like to think that's the only reason, whether or not that's hehe.

In the hole:
Anyhow, my last date was a pair of Jacks in early position. At the bar after I had a couple of glasses of Glen Livet on the rocks she looked beautiful. It was just like when you look down and see a pair of Jacks in the hole. I promptly got her number and setup dinner at a nice restaurant.

I picked her up and I immediately noticed all the warning signs. Although she was pretty hot she talked about herself all the time. That would be ok but I wasn't hearing anything interesting. Call me obtuse but I think if you're going to talk all the time about yourself you should be pretty damn interesting. Otherwise just be quiet and uninteresting, maybe people won't notice. :) Anyhow, so things started to not look that great. It's just like Jacks in a limit game. You sit there and say well there's 12 overcards to come that will beat me if I just limp in with this hand. I should probably put more money in this pot and maybe I'll get the blinds or limit the competition. So, what did I do...I took her to the expensive restaurant and got us some drinks.

On the Flop:
The flop came low, 9, 8, 2 but with 2 hearts. The conversation picked up slightly and the scotch kicked in as well. There were still some weird signs that I won't go into but in my mind they sounded like overcards hanging in there trying to catch something or a flush/straight draw. Naturally I continued to play my hand but something seemed suspicious.

On the turn:
She said something bad about my friend who was with me when we met. Sheesh. The ace of hearts I said to myself. She bet, I folded and took her home.

"Just throw that shit in the muck"

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Playing Fast

The other day i had 4, 2 in the big blind in the local $8-16 game. Hey...don't give me flak it's the biggest they've got and i wanted to play in a live game not online for a change. Anyhow, got pretty lucky with timing in this hand.

2,4 in the big blind. 5-way action

Flop is 3, 5, 6 with 2 hearts:
Since there were so many people I decided to play this hand fast, maybe I get raised by a flush draw or something funny. I bet, Danny raises, and there's a reraise on the button. I hesitate and cap.

This is such a great hand because Danny is such a tight player. He's how I used to pay. He just sits around waiting for aces and kings and thinks he can beat the game that way. Although in that $8-16 loose game that's all you did need to do. Back to the hand.

The turn is a 10:
I bet the turn, Danny raises and the other guy goes away. There's no hand I can put Danny on besides top set of 10s, maybe 6's since he played it pretty aggressive on the flop. He's that tight. He couldn't have any other hand. He wouldn't even play a set of 5s against me in that style.

I repop him and bet the end. Naturally....he had a set of 6's.

I love taking chips from tight players, especially since in that game I was one of them. :0

Anyhow that got me to thinking how it really is all about timing. If I was Danny I might've played the hand in the exact same way against me. Although I probably would've been able to lay it down when it went 3 bets on the turn. My point is lately I like to play fast, just bet and get those chips in there.

Like the other day I raised with ace, king and flopped the nut straight. I slow played it and lost to a full house when a ten hit on the river. I wanted her to get me all in which is what happened and got knocked out early. (sigh)...then I had to settle for playing 13 and speed with the girls.

I had no chance in speed. hehe

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Full Tilt Commercials

While taking a little break from work I found a few pretty cool commercials, with Howard Lederer, Phil Ivey, and Chris Ferguson. I really like Ivey's. Check them out.

Full Tilt Poker.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Poker Tournament Rules

In my never ending quest to put together a strong poker site on the web I've added a new page to my poker site. I thought I'd share it here as I'm sure some of you are putting together your home tournaments and it might be useful to print out for reference.

So the new page, Texas Holdem Tournament Rules also has an interesting rule that I actually had to ask my dealer friend about. It is as follows:

Suppose we have players A, B, and C in a Texas Holdem tournament where the blinds are 5-10. Player A opens with a raise to 50 total chips (he matches the 10 chip blind and raises by 40 chips). Player B reraises all in for a total of 70 chips (he calls the bet of 50 chips and raises 20 more). Player C cold calls the 70 chips. Player A can not reraise since Player B did not put in a legal raise. Player B raised by only 20 chips when he needed to match a raise of 40 total chips.

Now let us consider an example of when player A could reraise. Again we have players A, B, and C with the blinds at 5-10. Player A raises to a total of 40 chips (he matches the blind of 10 chips and raises by 30). Player B pushes all in with 70 chips (calls the 40 chip bet by Player A and raises by 30 chips). Player C then cold calls. Player A can reraise as much as he wants because Player B has sent in a legal raise. Player B has matched the original raise amount of 30 chips.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Why I love poker

Poker provides me with an opportunity to be the man. To be clutch. Clutch like Ray Allen last night. You could just tell the Sonics were going to win that game even when we were down. Ray just had that fire in his eye. Like just give me the ball, I want to take the shot, I want to win the game, I want to be the man. Bibby had it against the Lakers. Jordan had it. He was so clutch. You knew that no matter what he was going to win the game for his team.

It seems like there are only a few brief moments in life nowdays when true heroics shine through. Life isn't quite like the movie "Troy" where Archilles is a super hero. If you're like me as you've gotten older you run into heroes a lot less each year. That's why I love basketball and that's why I love poker.

Poker provides me with the opportunity to be the man. To be clutch. Every hand is another shot at the rim. Every chip you add to your stack is another point that the other team has to make up. Every steal is like another battle that Archilles won. Every time someone says "man he can play" feels like that fadeaway shot by Jordan when he just left his hand hangin' in the air because he knew that shot was going in. It had to. He was clutch. He was the man.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

All in or just call

I played in a very small no limit cash game at MJ's sweet house the other day. I was intending to just chill out and socialize but hey if there's a game I usually accept the challenge just for pride.

Ended up leaving w/ 5x the cash buy in when there were like 8 of us playing. I found that amusing, just wish we were playing for a lil more money.

So I had 9, 10 of clubs and the flop comes 8, 7, 3 with the 7 and 3 of clubs. I check, the guy on my left checks and the other guy pushes all in for like 1/3rd the pot. I've got him and the other guy covered no problem and I'm thinking about if I should push all in or just call. I decide on just calling with the hopes of inducing a call.

He folds and after we show our hands my good buddy says he thinks I should've gone all in to isolate. I said, I want the most equity out of my hand with the draw.

I think there's really good points in each of our views. If I push all in i probably get a guy w/ ace king, an ace high flush draw, or overcards to fold. That way if I catch a 9, or a 10 I might be able to win the pot (effectively giving me more outs than the 15 in my straight and flush draws). However, I looked at it more like I've got over 50% ( more on poker probabilities) to win this hand if I hit and I want more people in to get more money.

In retrospect I think I should've pushed all in myself. Thoughts?