Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Session 4 - The rebuild begins...

Not much of live blogging here more of an indication of where the "steady" money comes from - $1/2 and $2/4 NLHE and PLO.

Couple of hands of note I remember from a couple of hour long sessions:

1) I have K8 in the big blind and I check to see a flop of K83. Somehow the SB and I get all the money in and he was slow playing AK. Somehow an A on the river and I've lost $160 on a nothing hand.

2) I call a 5xBB raise from Taffstour on a $1/2 NLHE table on Ladbrokes with pocket fives. Flop comes 665, I check, he bets $14, I raise to $28 and he moves all-in. Now, last time I was in this sort of situation my opponent had 55 and I had 65 which made me pause for a second. I think I typed "mmmm" into the chat but couldn't put him on 66 or 65 given his pre-flop raise so called and he had JJ and my fives held up. On reflection the "mmmm" comment could have come across as the on-line equivalent of a slow-roll which it wasn't meant to be - so if you're reading this Taff no hard feelings I hope!

I can't quite decide whether I'm getting the hang of PLO or not. I certainly make a load fewer fishy plays than I did 6 months ago, and am generally coming out ahead, but I'm sure I've got a long way to go yet.

Added into the cash game mix was a quick £10 STT with Dazzer (who is the captain of our DreamTeam league team). A right muffing by me with 4 people left (I push with A8, got called with AJ, flop A84, turn J, river 8!) means I scrape 2nd for £30.

After all that ended up around $250 up on Betfair and $400 up on Ladbrokes, repairing some of the damage done on Sunday!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Session 3 - Sunday Night (or how to do $1k in one night)

Sunday nights are the large tournament nights for me. A quick look shows I've only got $396 in my PokerStars account and it's $530 tonight for the $1m g'tee as it's the last Sunday of the month. So I log onto a couple of $1/2 NLHE cash tables to spin up enough for the buy-in. Fortunately I get some cards and am up to $550 by 8pm so close those down and concentrate on the Betfair £50k g'tee and Ladbroke's $90k g'tee.

There are 401 runners on Betfair for the £110 buy-in so a nice overlay with the guarantee. On Ladbrokes there are 419 runners in the $90k g'tee which is a $100 rebuy, so they'll probably get a little over the $90k.

Early on BF I complete with T8 in the SB after two limpers and get a flop of AT8, but everyone folds to a small raise. Then disaster strikes! I get KK in the cutoff, raise 5xbb after 3 limpers and get two callers, the BB and one limper. Flop comes 99J. I bet the pot (400), BB calls and the limper folds. What does he have? AJ seems most likely. Turn is a blank and I fire another 1,000 into the pot after he checks. He then re-raises me and I'm getting seriously worried that he has a 9 or JJ, but wouldn't he have re-raised pre-flop with JJ?. Still, pretty pot committed by now so it all goes in and he flips over 99 for flopped quads! Out in 395th. Note to self - that's the third time you've bet into quads like that, once in Atlantic City in the Trump, once in the Vic (to muzza7 - a nice bloke to lose money to!) and now on Betfair. Not suprisingly I've lost all 3 times...!

Time to focus on Ladbrokes! J7 in the BB and the flop comes T93. Everyone checks until the turn brings an 8. SB bets 120, I rasie to 360 and he pushes all-in. Well, if he's got KQ then at least this is a rebuy (no pre-flop raise so unlikely?) - I call but he has 56 so I double up.

Bit later KK UTG, one caller to my 4xBB raise. JQ6 flop and he flops to my pot-sized bet.

Level 3 (25/50 blinds) has just started and I have 3060 chips and am 98th out of 350. I raise to 200 with AT and get 1 caller. Q94 flop check, check. Turn 7 bet 400 call. River 6, check check and he has 55. Next hand QJ in the BB 2 limpers and SB calls. Flop AQ8 2 diamonds, UTG min bets and we all call. Turn a T all check. River 8 and I bet half the pot to make it look like I want a call. Everyone folds. Those two hands cost me 300 chips.

Then I get AJ in late position but UTG bets 253 (strange amount) and gets a caller so I leave it alone. 345 flop and UTG goes all-in with AK which gets called by 99 which holds up.

AK UTG tempted to limp but I put in a 3xBB raise which gets 3 callers. Q83 flop. I check and we all fold to a pot-sized bet. Down to 2485 chips (167 out of 334).

Going nowhere fast now - every time I limp with something like a small pair I have to lay it down to a big pre-flop raise. Rebuy period is ending so I guess people are trying to make moves. BB A8 flop ATT. All check. Turn 4 I bet 400 which takes it. I raise my SB to 200 and the BB folds - they are 50/100 now so worth fighting over. Bit later I call a min-raise in late position with 55 as do both blinds and the flop comes AK2...can't see me being ahead here! Fold to a bet.

I then get moved to a table with "squelch" who is one of the guys involved with bad beat and a good player. He's already on 7,500 chips but soon loses a pre-flop all-in with AQ vs 33 (which is how I went out of the PS $1m g'tee last week - who are these people who put their whole tournament on 33?!?).

I limp with AK in early position but everyone folds and on the KJ9 flop the BB folds to a small raise. It's now break time and I'm on 2610 chips, 188 out of 281 remaining so I take the add-on which puts me 157 th.

I'm also playing a couple of smaller tournaments - a $10 re-buy on laddies and a £10 short handed one on BetFair. Nothing much happening...

Fantastic bit of muffing by me in the $90k. Late position raise on my button and I have KJ. Now I know this got me into trouble in last Thursday's dreamteam tourney but I can't resist so I come over the top all in. He of course has KK. This time however I fluke a straight to double up. 60 out of 245, 6790 chips.

AT I raise 4xBB to 800. One caller flop J93. I make a $1k continuation bet and he folds. Next I get AK so raise to 800 again and take it without a fight. 7990.

The PS $1m g'tee is about to start and, since I can't type and play 4 games at the same time, these updates are going to get less frequent! There are 2089 runners and my first hand is KK on the button! Sadly my small raise just takes the blinds.

Quick update - out in 151 in the laddies $90k. Final hand I pushed when short stacked with 77 and was called by QT. Out of £10 BF in 36th (of 150) most of the damage coming from AK vs 77.
I think I used all my luck for the night up in that KJ vs KK muffing. I have lost 5 50:50s so far. Somehow losing with a medium pair is so much easier to take against AK that when someone calls with Q9 and you've got 88. Equally if you have AK it seems so much "fairer" to lose to QQ than to 22.

So that's buy-ins of around $1,000 and winnings of $0. Time to start hitting the cash tables again to build it back up for next week!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Session 2 - A quick Sit n Go (or three)

Having an hour to kill until I need to pick up my son from cubs I've decided to play a quick £20 sit and go on Betfair.

1,000 starting chips (not ideal) and 10 hand levels mean it's not as much of a crapshoot as the turbo tourneys but not a great structure either.

Despite getting a "Doyle Brunson" I'm passing the first hand - I like to start off quite quietly and see what the others are up to first. Guy 2 to my left ("ellan") has raised this first one up - he'll be in the BB when I'm on the button so I'm kinda hoping he's not the aggressive type!

83/73/22 (I folded this in early position - I know a lot of people who'll play these but as it turns out there's a mid-position raise so I'd be folding them anyway. Normally 55 and below I won't play at a full table early on).

73/92 (my BB) 4 limpers and SB completes. AK7 flop, UTG bets and takes it down.

QJ sooooted in my SB. Min raise from 4th pos, button calls as do I. Flop 454 all red! Original raiser raises 105 and takes it down. Now A8 off on the button. Couple of limpers but the guy to my right raises so I fold. 62A flop - would have been interesting! Original raiser bets 105 and takes it.

57 diamonds. I love that sort of hand in cash games (don't know why, probably costs me money in the long run!) but I'm folding it here.

J2/QT (off) Flop 466 turn T and a big pot developing. Who has the 6 I wonder? Ah, and uncalled all-in on the river (3) means we'll never know. Ah but the comedy chat has started from the guy who folded:

richlizar: god that was boring
richlizar: take my money if u have to play like that

Ok, we will...


Now, my friend Howard claims that the main consideration for raising is position and action before him, not cards. Whilst I agree position and action are important I just can't ignore the fact that Q2 is not that inspiring a hand!

K3 - not much better.

Everyone who is losing a pot seems to be an expert tonight:

strokeit: hmmmm
strokeit: wait for flush and str8 to hit and overbet with that filth

Have to question then why did strokeit call the overbet when he had less than filth!?!

Q6/T8 and next hand it's my big blind again....time for a big pair please poker gods...

Quick note - since the first hand Ellan has been very quiet - good sign so far!

Ah no, J3 offsuit, maybe it'll get a there's a raise mid-position. 3 callers...tempting...but I fold for a flop of T8T 2 clubs. Pot 270, raise 270, fold, fold, fold and it's over. Easy game.

SB 82 off. I'm not even completing this one.

Maybe I can get AA on the button and make a button-steal like min-raise to get some action (see post from DreamTeam tournament last night where I walked into that one!).

No, J3 again! Obviously the Random Number Generator is waiting to give me a fantastic run later on.

KT in the cutoff - lots of limps - my first move. I raise to 200. Howard would be pleased. Fold, fold, fold, fold, fold. Woo-hoo and I win 165 to regain all those blinds I've folded and am at 1045. Chipleader is on 1893, then 1323, Ellan on 1060 then me. Short stack (the complainer) on 460. i.e. long way to go yet. Blinds up next hand to 25/50 and I'm given 92 offsuit.

This is a very slow game and people are starting to comment in the chat window about the lack of action - well then, time to step up a gear I guess?

Nope, even with A4 off I'm not going to do anything yet - if they're getting restless all the more chance of getting real hands paid off.

KQ off in 2nd position. UTG calls so I flat call too. Guy to my left (Markzzz) min raises - the first time I've seen him in a pot. Blinds fold and the guy to my right (ck2200) min-reraises. Don't like this so I fold (50 wasted) and the original raiser goes all-in (predictable? I think so). Mr min-reraise now decides to fold. Some people are so unobservant!

J6 off. T2 in the BB. K6Q flop ellan bets 200 and takes it.

SB brings me Q3 off. Patience, patience....grrrr. 89 off.

Blinds will soon be 75/150 and we are still 10 handed!

J7 off and our first all-in. I fold (in case you were wondering) and let's see if it gets called. Yes, by ck2200. AK vs KK and the kings hold up. ck2200 now on 1532 and Mr. Complainer has gone.

K3/26/K4 all have raises before they get to me.

AQ vs AK all-in pre-flop and it comes AQQ! ck2200 on 2054 and strokeit is gone - the other chat complainer - with a parting flourish:

strokeit: *** u
strokeit: retard fish

64 off. My big blind next, I'm on 920, blinds 50/100, 8 runners left. Another one goes, down to 7. QJ in my BB but there's a raise from the chip leader so I let it go somewhat reluctantly.

Q3 fold to a raise. Flop comes TTJ and a raise takes it.

8T one limper. I'm tempted to make a move but don't - flop of 38K could have been ok for me. checked down and I would have won vs. A3.

T7/82/KT - I raise 300 and get called. 78Q flop I move all-in - he....folds. Back up to 1120. Blinds now 100/200 it's getting to be a bit of a crapshoot.

My BB next. 83 off. All-in called - 22 vs KQ, K on flop and another one goes.

SB = K7 soooted. One limper so I move all-in. called by 55 who hits trips. Down to 32 chips!

Now I get a hand - AJ. Fantastic timing on my part. 3T4 flop. J turn. 9 river and I quadruple up to 128 against AQ.

KT all-in again. A3J flop doesn't look good until a Q turn! I'm up to 192 as a T on the river splits it with another king (dam!). Ellan is now out. 5 left.

UTG with 73 and I can't cover the BB so I fold it. I'm all-in now with...T2 of hearts. Not too promising. Fold, Fold, rasie all-in, fold, I'm up against A3. No help and I'm out in 5th.

Hmmmm an interesting mix of passive play and incorrectly timed aggression! Had I not made the move with K7 I would more than likely have been all-in with AJ vs AQ and sucked out on him, putting me up with the chip leaders. Had I made moves earlier when everyone was being passive I might have picked up some chips to cushion against the K7 loss.

In somewhat less detail, I then played a £10 10-seater and a £20 6-seater. Since I've found out that I can't type and play at the same time very well (doesn't bode well for the whole blog project really) I'll give some edited highlights!

Much looser games these two: someone gone by hand 5. I'm being much more aggressive and it seems to be working (hitting 2 pair with rags helps!). Get lucky with KT 3 hearts on A high flop (I have Kh) coming over the top of someone with A9 (9 is a heart) who calls me - turn another heart.

AJ vs A9 and I know someone out who leaves with the charming epithet "FU losers" in the chat. Odd how the people left in the tournament are the losers - how does that work!?

Chip leader with 3 to go on 6 hander. One guy down to 308 chips with 75/150 blinds. He's all-in on his big blind so we both call and check it down - and he makes a straight. Wins the next one too against the other player and is now in 2nd place.

Ten hander - 692 flop I've got TT. There's a raise and re-rasie. I fold.

Down to 2 on 6 seater - I've made the $$

KT vs K7 split pot. Dam.

AA vs AK. 9TJK4 board and I finish 1st winning £90.

Back to the 10 seater and there's still nobody out. I haven't played a hand for a couple of circuits so should have a tighter image than the first few hands!

Blinds now 50/100, I'm on 1472 and there are 7 people left. BS = 2807, SS = 200. Towards the end of this level I'm going to start getting frisky - no point in waiting until it's obvious what's going on!

Q2 on my BB and UTG makes it 150 to go - not much point in trying anything there...

Call the SB with 75 off. Flop K62 - chip leader makes a min raise but even Ace high is beating me and he's shown he'll stick it in with marginal hands.

A7 clubs - a raising hand. Chip leader makes min raise, I re-raise to 350. He calls. AJ5 flop, I bet he folds. I'm now 2nd in chips with 1797.

A6 make it 400 to go. Short stack calls all in with A5 and I take him out (but people have seen what I'm raising with !).

Down to 5. 3107, 2322 (me), 1432, 1410, 1329.

Fold 46 to a 3xbb raise only to see a 253 flop. Still 3 spades so dangerous!

Chip leader loses A8 vs AK.

87 spades in BB. I check. QJ4 flop, SB bet I fold.

A8 in SB. Button limps, I raise 500, BB folds, button thinks and calls. 9K5 I check, button bets 100, I call. Turn K. Check, bet 100, call. River 5. My Ace is probably good if only for a split pot so I bet 300 and he folds.

77 one limper, all-in they fold. I'm now chip leader, still 5 left. Blinds now 100/200.

Short stack on the BB is all-in with 3 others. JJ8 flop. Check, check and someone bets 600. Fold, fold and he's bet with KT. SS has A3 and it holds up! Is he unaware of the "convention" of checking these things down in a tourney? The other player in goes off on one in the chat window. Hey, the guy paid his money he can play how he likes. A few hands later he busts the short stack anyway (A3 vs JJ makes a straight on the river) so he got the chips in the end!

Down to 4. Bubble time.

Down to 3 and I'm chip leader with 5845.

Lose KT vs. 55 but still in front.

88 in BB. Button raises, I come over the top, called all-in with 33. Down to 2.

Final hand of the h/u comes quite soon with 43 vs 82 pairing the 4.

1st for £50.

Summary: Buy-ins £22+£11+£22=£55, winnings £0+£90+£50=£140.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Session 1 - Dreamteam

Thursday evening there's a poker league run by called Dream Team. It runs on Betfair at 7.30 pm with half the entry fee going towards a prizepool which is contested after 20 weeks. Each team gets points depending on finishing positions and those points translate into starting chips for the final.

Anyway, last week I came 145th out of 152 so need to do better...

Couple of hands in get AK and there's a small raise before me. I reraise to 200, the guy after me re-re-raises and the original raiser goes all-in. I fold as does the guy next to me. AA/KK vs AK vs AK or something horrible like that.

Another couple of hands which go no-where and I'm down to 1615 chips with the blinds now at 50/100.

Ah, AK on the small blind...let's see what happens here...

someone's gone all but I have them someone else has gone all-in over the top...cripes.

gotta call I suppose...or do I? Second guy coming over the top makes me think he's got AQ or AK so I'm calling...

First guy QQ, second guy AK. Looks like I'll be down to 615 chips. JT5 flop. 8 Turn. Q river - we split the pot with broadway and the poor guy with QQ is out. 2010 chips.

Network playing up tonight - have disco'ed about 7 times already. Most annoying.

Got the other team members up on MSN - we're all on different tables so no colluding, just good for the team spirit.

45 in BB, four limpers flop comes T44 and I disconnect. By the time I reconnect my hand has been folded. Grrrrrr.

Break time, I'm still at 2010.

I have a last longer bet each week with Ariston (he goes on and on apparantly!). $1 per difference in finishing position. Last week's 145th didn't help that particual bet but this week he's gone out in 124th so I should make it back.

KK in the cutoff, one limper so I make it 450 to go (blinds now 75/150). Blinds fold limper calls. Flop comes QQK, 2 clubs. He bets 300 I call. Turn a small club. He bets 600 I call. River a blank he bets 300 I go all-in for my last 660 he folds. Up to 3885.

Ooops. KQ in the SB and the button (meds) min-raises. I decide in my infinite wisdom that he has nothing and is at it so come over the top all-in. Of course he has AA. Down to 1225 chips.

Next hand KJ on the button so I raise to 450. SB calls, BB who is short stacked goes all-in, I call as does SB. Flop KT5. I go all-in and of course the SB has snuck in with AK!!! Out in 100th for 20 points.

About the best that can be said for that is it was better than last week.

What did I do wrong? Well, the obvious donkey play was the KQ all-in re-raise - risking 2500 chips to win 525 and probably dominated if he calls. Then again, would I do the same in similar circumstances...? Maybe just a 750 re-raise would accomplish the same.

Another team mate has just gone out in 91st but the rest are flying high in 6th, 13th, 40th and 51st.

Time to play some cash Omaha to "unwind"...


The finishing positions for the team were:

KIRSTEN - 100th (20 pts)
BFA74 - 43rd (300)
MRLAW1 - 91st (20)
BANKSOIR - 62nd (100)
ONLY1GAFF - 14th (800)
NEILO07 - 70th (100)

So as you can see I was the muppet for the evening.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

What's this all about...

So, I've decided to start a poker blog where the aim is to make me play better poker.


Well, simply put I tend to play better live than I do online. I think part of the reason is that if you make a donkey play online there is a certain anonymity to your actions, whereas live you have to show down that J5 which you called a 7xBB raise with and sucked out on your gutshot straight draw.

So, somewhat confusingly, this will be a live blog when I play online, and an after-the-event blog when I play live. By that I mean I aim to write a blog entry during on-line sessions so I can record the important/interesting hands, as well as the overall P&L results. If I have to 'fess up to going all-in UTG with pocket 3s then at least I may think about it a bit more in the knowledge that it will be out there in the public domain for all to ridicule...

To give you some context...

I normally play around twice per week (I have a real job you see) on the following sites with the following aliases:

Ladbrokes Tall__Mat
PokerStars Tall_Mat
Littlewoods Peixes
Betfair Kirsten
Ultimate Bet Tall_Mat

(To answer the obvious questions: 1m96, Portugese for "Fish", the name of my fiancee.)

I started playing in April 2004, lost around £1,000 in 2004, broke even in 2005 and am around £10,000 up so far this year. The highlight of 2005 was winning a WSOP main-event seat on Ritz Club Poker (a $150 buy-in satellite with 400 runners and 6 seats up for grabs).

These days I mostly play MTT and cash games, Hold 'em and Omaha.

I normally play tournaments on Sunday evenings as that's when the big ones are run, and I'll usually play the Ladbrokes $90k g'tee ($100 re-buy), Betfair £50k g'tee (£110 buy-in) and the PokerStars $1m g'tee when it's $215 buy-in (haven't played it when it's $530 or $1060 buy-in yet!). Converting that to dollars means an average expenditure of $700 on tournaments per week - yikes! I haven't had a decent finish for a month or so now (hence the blog) so where does the money come from...

...ah cash games. Cost me a packet at the beginning of the year (I only really played tournaments before 2006) learning how to play cash games. The trick for me was not to loose big pots (sounds kinda obvious when you put it like that...!). What I mean is I'd rather call an early raise with 88 than make a big pre-flop raise early with AA. Hit a set and you take all their money; hit with aces and the pots over. As Doyle said, you win small pots and lose big ones. Not a good plan. As for blinds I normally play $1/$2 and $2/$4 NL hold 'em or PL Omaha.