Saturday, November 25, 2006

2 pair - the bane of my LHE existence

Hmmmm, long time no post. The best out-of-the-blue post is a raving insomniac 3am post....

Of late, I have been exclusively playing live $20/$40 and $40/$80 LHE with a heavy emphasis on the former. There are a variety of reasons for this that I may get into in a later post.

There are 4 hands from my last few sessions that I wanted to mull over, so I thought it would be best to churn out a post to force myself to take the time to do so. I'll first describe the hands, and then make some commentary after the hand history.

In each of the hands, either the Hero or a Villain holds 2 pair.

As always, comments and/or questions are appreciated.

hand #1 - collusion/paranoia
Live $20/$40 LHE, 6 handed.
- preflop: mucked to CO who raises, Hero 3 bets on the button with KcJs, SB mucks, BB pauses and cold calls, CO calls (3 players, pot size 9 small bets)
- flop: Tc4h3s, BB checks, CO bets, Hero calls, BB check raises, CO calls, Hero calls (3 players, pot size 15 small bets)
- turn: Tc4h3sJc, BB bets, CO raises, Hero tanks and cold calls, BB tanks, picks up his cards, shows his neighbor his hand and mucks, CO remarks to Hero "you have AcKc?" (2 players, 11.5 big bets)
- river: Tc4h3sJc5h, check, check, CO's top two pair scoops the pot

For difficult-to-describe reasons, when the BB cold called preflop I suddenly had the feeling that I was in a collusion situation. I've never felt this way about any live cash game situation I have ever been in. However, BB had an expression on his face that didn't seem quite right to me. The BB and CO are both mainland chinese (as opposed to HK'ers, ABC's, or even any other asian) and this possible (although granted very thin) link gave me pause for concern.

When the BB check raised the flop, my collusion concern increased. On the turn, my internal feeling about the collusion was still very strong. I decided to base my decision on how to play the hand on the turn with the assumption that the 2 opponents were colluding. Given that I was "put" in a situation where I was facing two bets cold, I felt my "colluding" opponents had weak hands and wanted to win the hand without a showdown. When I acted on the turn, I actually picked up enough chips in my hand to make it 3 bets, broke off the 2 bets somewhat slowly leaving clear indications that I had considered 3 betting.

Naturally, given the way the rest of the hand played out, the BB and CO were not in cahoots. I later discover that BB had shown his neighbor ATo before mucking. My collusion radar was WAY off. That is quite disconcerting....

Admittedly, my flop play is very questionable. When facing the first bet, if I am concerned about collusion, I should simply muck (having missed the flop), cut my losses, and pay more attention during the remainder of the session for any additional possible patterns of collusion. Otherwise, if I'm going to continue on in the hand, I should take advantage of my position and raise the flop donk bet.

hand #2 - loosey-goosey/big pot
Live $20/$40 LHE, 9 handed
- preflop: 5 limpers, Hero completes in SB with Qd5c, BB checks (7 players, pot size 7 small bets)
- flop: 3c5s9d, Hero bets, solid BB calls, muck, loose player raises, mucked to (pretty good playing) CO who 3 bets cold (I've played more than enough with CO to know his range of preflop overlimping/flop 3 betting here is exactly 33, 55, 99, A9, K9, 35s), Hero calls, BB mucks, loose player calls (3 players, pot size 17 small bets)
- turn: 3c5s9dQc, Hero checks, loose player checks, CO bets, Hero check raises, loose player tanks and mucks, CO immediately 3 bets, Hero tanks and calls (2 players, pot size 14.5 big bets)
- river: 3c5s9dQc3d, Hero check/folds, CO flashes 99 while raking in the pot

At the time this hand was played, I felt like a complete retard. After writing it out, I feel a little better about the hand because I think my decisions were reasonable (though not great). When CO 3 bets me headsup on the turn, I'm 100% certain he has one of 3 sets. I'm also 100% certain, I will be able to CR and get called on the river if I make Qs full (I will only be check/calling the river with 5s full).

I was not sharp enough on the turn comfortably estimate my EV given my 13.5:1 pot odds on the spot (and the weighted additional bets that will go in on the river if a 5 or Q hits), but I felt it was close to 0. (After inputting the numbers into excel to do a Baysian analysis, the EV turns out to be -0.063BB) Given that during the actual hand, I know the EV is close to 0, in retrospect I'd prefer to minimize my variance by mucking here (and in fact since the actual EV turns out to be negative, I think it is a clear fold).

There is some value to table image/tilt inducement/creating a good game environment to calling the turn 3 bet in what is clearly (at that point) a runner-runner situation. I don't know how to quantify this yet. Also there is certainly an amount of entertainment value in hitting that hand. (gambool indeed).

hand #3 - jammed
Live $20/$40 LHE, 9 handed
- preflop: Semi-solid UTG open limps, mucked around to semi-LAG CO who raises, mucked to Hero in BB who calls with As8s, UTG calls (3 players, pot size 6 small bets)
- flop: Ts9h7s, Hero bets, UTG calls, CO raises, Hero 3 bets, UTG calls 2 more, CO caps, both call (3 players, pot size 18 small bets)
- turn: Ts9h7sKd, Hero checks, UTG checks, CO bets, Hero calls, UTG check raises, CO 3 bets, Hero tanks and calls, UTG caps, both call (3 players, pot size 21 big bets)
- river: Ts9h7sKdAh, Hero checks, UTG bets, CO calls, Hero mucks, UTG scoops with QcJc, lagtard CO mucks his T9s.

When I face the turn 3 bet, it is as clear as day that I will be having to call the cap as well. Thus, I should understand that I'm getting 18:3. (It is a bit of an exaggeration for me to call CO a lagtard since his real hand range on the turn 3 bet is 2 pair or a set, but a little better hand-reading from CO on the turn saves me 2 bets - bah the dark side of playing in loose games!) With 8 or 7 outs (depending on CO's set or 2 pair), I'm again in a close-to-zero EV situation again. Yuck variance...

As some regulars in this game often say, "this game is very flushstraighting...."

hand #4 - knocked out
Live $20/$40 LHE, 9 handed
- preflop: 2 EP limpers, ABC-playing button raises, Hero cold calls in SB with Qc9d, everyone calls (5 players, pot size 10 small bets)
- flop: Qh9s7c, checked to 2nd limper (sneaky player who frequently semibluffs, his range here is VERY large), 2nd limper donks, button raises, Hero cold calls 2, BB mucks, 1st limper (semi-lagtard) 3 bets cold, 2nd limper calls, button calls, Hero calls (4 players, pot size 22 small bets)
- turn: Qh9s7c8c, Hero checks, 1st limper bets, 2nd limper raises, button tanks and folds, Hero tanks (has no read on 1st limpers intentions) and folds, 1st limper calls disgustedly (2 players, pot size 15 big bets)
- river: Qh9s7c8cXx (brick on the river), 1st limper check/crying-calls, 2nd limper tables his 9h6h, and 1st limper takes it down with his top pair QcJs

My initial cold call on the flop was made with the intention that I would maximize my chance of winning this big pot by check raising the button on the turn. Instead, after the 1st limper check raises 3 cold, I turn into a disgusting weak tighty (fearing monsters under the bed and being jammed between straights vs. sets). This is a classic example of a hand where played aggressively postflop, I can win this big pot in a showdown (although admittedly I will be making a crying call on the river).

Additionally, given the way that the button reacted both during and after the hand, I imagine he mucked AK, so I'm particularly not pleased with my "plan" to check raise the field on the turn. Another awesome read by yours truly.... :(

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Embarrassing realization #1

I've played in exactly 4 big buy-in tournaments ($10k or greater).

Of those 4 tournaments, I have been all in exactly 5 times.

Of those those 5 hands, when the money went in, I was ahead exactly 1 time. In fact, in that particular hand I was a whopping 60/40 favorite.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The ugly abyss

One big fault I have had in recent times is that I have put essentially no work into maintaining my support network. This is not a recipe for long term sustainable success.

Without going into specifics, I have undergone the worst 3 online cash game sessions of my career in the past few days.

Having people who understand such times and who can provide guidance would be very helpful right about now.

Shame shame

Saturday, September 23, 2006


Over the last couple of days, I have put in almost 10k hands. This is a lot for me.

Although these are mostly really low limit games, it is still quite exhausting. The mix is about 70% NLHE and 30% LHE. The LHE games are draining because you just take so many tough beats/unit time in those games, and the NLHE games have been tiring because I have been playing a very laggy style of play.

I still have A LOT of hands to get in before the end of the month, and it is tough to keep up the motivation to play. (I switched Party accounts a few weeks back, and now I am attempting to get back to the higher players club status by the end of the quarter ending Sept 30. Geez, it was so much easier when Party gave points for making deposits....)

I haven't felt this tired from playing ring games since the last few weeks of the Acceler-8-tor promo earlier this year.

To make things easier to endure, I plan to adopt a TAGier style of play for the NLHE to make the play less tiring. Additionally, I'll try to think of some way to reward myself for reaching my target.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Out in 24th

Got it in bad for the 2nd time today (JJ vs QQ) with no miracle.

Stats for the day:
Hours: 10.4
Results: 24/4495 (+$5987.75)
High water mark: 2 / 39 with 5.4% of total chips
Preflop coin flips won: 6 /8
Preflop dominating hands won: 5 / 6
Preflop dominated hands won: 1 / 2

The 30 minute levels for these events are nice. Partially due to the 1 preflop dominating hand lost (which occured late in level 4), I really only was able to play multi street hold'em for about 4 levels.

Anyways, I have no definite plans to play in any other WCOOP events. The other events that I might be interested would be the $1050 NLHE, $215 NLHE rebuy, and $2600 NLHE (listed in the order of my preference). I probably have some personal things to take care of that preclude the $1050 event, and I probably won't enter the $2600 unless I satellite in.

For various reasons, I need to put in a fairly substantial number of hours at Party before the end of this month. That has priority above MTTs (both live and online).

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Flipping coins...

Sitting through a preflop all in coin flip for ~$30k of tournament equity is not a comfortable experience...

I'm down to 15/31 with an M of 8.6


WCOOP Event #2

Holy crap, I'm 3rd in chips with 41 left.

I've said it once, and I'll say it again. DON'T DO ANYTHING STUPID!!!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

WSOP Circuit event - Lake Tahoe

I got back from Lake Tahoe today after spending an extended weekend at the WSOP Circuit event.

I only played in 3 events, 1 mega, and 1 2nd chance - cashing 2 times albeit in the 2 smallest buyin tourneys.

The highlight for me was event #4, $300+$40 NLHE/NL7CS. When the field was down to 3 players, I held 50% of the remaining chips (it was in the middle of a NLHE round with 47 total big blinds in play). As there is no ring given in any circuit event other than the main event, I didn't see a great deal of value in winning the event. We negotiated a deal in which the 2nd chip leader would be listed as the official winner of the event. I was officially listed as the runner up.

Bah, this was one of those "I wish I could take it back" decisions. Anyway, what's done is done.

The field had a mere 47 entrants. The only bracelet winner I noticed in the field was 1997 7CS winner Vince Burgio whom I did share tables with for about 2 hours. However, we were involved in exactly 0 hands together.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Still alive

Although I haven't posted in ages, I have been playing a lot of poker lately.

After my awful results in the WSOP, I have spent the vast majority of my time grinding it out in cash games - online, live, small stakes no limit and midstakes limit.

In the next few weekends (starting with this one), I'm planning to go back out on the road for the live tournament circuit. I plan on hitting up some WSOP Circuit events in Lake Tahoe (although I expect very small fields at this series) this weekend, Cal State Poker Championship events at the Commerce the following weekend, and Festa Al Lago at the Bellagio in early October. That is a lot of travel (and plans are always subject to change), but I am looking forward to giving another shot at these $500-$2k buyin events.

That's it for now...

Monday, August 21, 2006

Good eats

I've been meaning to make a post listing a bunch of random things from Las Vegas/WSOP/Rio/Harrah's that I want to remember for next year. However, I've been far too lazy to do it. It has been a week already, and much is forgotten.

One thing that still hasn't slipped my mind, but that I definitely don't want to forget, is my new favorite quick meal in Las Vegas: Tom Yum Noodle Soup
This is available for about $7 at the Thai/Chinese restaurant right at the corner of Spring Mountain Road and S Valley View Blvd which is roughly 1/2 mile from the Rio.

Yum yum, I'm salivating just thinking about it...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Going home with some dignity?

Due to personal reasons, I sat out of Events 42-44. I was seriously considering throwing in the towel for the series. My family was strongly suggesting that I head home early.

I got motivated hearing that Bill Chen made another final table, so last night I registered for the final event, #45 $1500 NLHE.

My starting table featured Humberto Brenes and, of course, a late arriving Phil Hellmuth.

Phil won a quick all in coin flip that saved us from listening to any verbal tirade.

Humerto played exactly 3 hands, 55, AA, QQ having his headsup opponent in bad shape each time, but lost 2 sizeable pots and chopped the other. Humberto took it very well, and gave the dealer a friendly slap on the back. The dealer freaked out, and tried to call the floor on him. Humberto tossed the dealer a C note, but the dealer was not placated. Humberto eventually left without things getting too out of hand.

My next table featured Cyndy Violette, but nothing too interesting happened there.

My final table featured Doyle Brunson and Krazy Kanuck (fellow Canadian, James Worth).

I only spent 2 hands at this table. The second hand, I got it all in 3 ways with Doyle and my neighbour with the nut straight. My opponents had the 2nd worst possible set of hands - bottom set for my neighbour, and a K high flush draw for Doyle. Doyle took down a very nice pot when he made the nut flush on the turn, and my neighbour missed his redraw.

I was initially thinking I could finally go home with some dignity after getting my chips in with the nuts, but Poker Stove tells me my pot equity was a mere 38%.

Sigh... I'll have to hope for a better series next year....

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Live play MTT lesson

The $200k Crypto freeroll for WSOP Main Event qualifiers (who did not reach the money) ran at Gold Coast today. An additional $20k+ of bounties was also awarded. There were roughly 90 runners, with 50 places paying. Man oh man, talk about nice overlay...

There was one hand today where I made a mistake that only could occur in live play in an MTT. I resolve to never make this mistake again. There are probably a number of dubious actions on my part in the hand, but one thing really sticks out to me.

hand #1
The villian in this hand is probably the tournament chip leader, and he has already collected 1 pro bounty for $2k. I have already made a pretty big laydown on the river to Kenna James (who is not involved in this hand) about 15 minutes earlier.
Blinds: 50/100, effective stacks T$10,000, avg stack is perhaps ~T$10,000
- preflop: folded to CO and Villain raises to T$300, Hero raises to T$1200 with AhQh, blinds fold, Villain fairly quickly calls. (2 players, T$2550 pot size)
- flop: Qd7c4h, Villain checks, Hero bets T$1500, Villain fairly quickly calls. (2 players, T$5550 pot size)
- turn: Qd7c4h7h, Villain bets T$2500, Hero tanks for ~15 seconds and calls (2 players, T$10550 pot size)
- river: Qd7c4h7hTc, Villain fumbles around with his chips, puts 8 $T500 chips out and ~3/4 second later says $T5000, dealer reaches out, counts the chips and says the player said $T5000. Villain says okay, and puts out a $T1000 chip. Hero tanks and calls all in for T$4800.

Do you see the worst mistake in this hand?

By the way, I'm pretty proud of how pathetic I was able to look when I made the T$1500 flop bet....

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Main event hand

This post is several days late......

Originally, I was going to post a number of my main event hands, but the only significant hand that was not in some way a bad beat story is the following hand:

hand #1
- mid-level 4 (100/200/25), avg stack ~T$17k, MP's stack ~T$15k, Hero's stack ~T$10k. MP's has been playing fairly conservatively, and took 2 very substantial pots this level (both with a set) to get his stack up from less than T$10k.
- preflop: folded to MP who limps, MP+1 mucks, Hero raises to T$800 with AdQs, folded back to MP who calls (2 players, T$2150 pot size)
- flop: AhJc7s, MP checks, Hero bets T$1000, MP calls (2 players, T$3900 pot size)
- turn: AhJc7s5s, MP donks T$1500, after tanking for ~15 seconds, Hero raises to T$4500, MP tanks for 1 minute then pushes, Hero folds.

I left myself with ~T$3700 after putting in almost 2/3 of my stack. Was this wrong?

During the hand, when MP bet into me on the turn, I was certainly concerned that I was behind in the hand. I elected to make the raise to T$4500 in the hopes that I could set the price for the showdown. (with the rationale that MP would set me all in on the river if I smooth called the turn)

Would it have been better to preserve my stack by calling the turn, and mucking to an all in on the river?

How often is my hand good when MP bets into me like that on the turn?

I currently believe my line of thinking was poor. I'd assume with a better hand, MP donks into me to avoid giving a free turn card once the flush draw came. Based on what MP had seen of me (or if he had been oblivious to how I had been playing), I'd assume that MP would only assume that I would take a free turn card if I didn't have much of a hand. With that assumption, MP is less likely to make a big river bet if he wants a call.


My next WSOP event is tomorrow: Event #40 $1000k NLHE. This is going to be quite a crapshoot...

Aggressiveness or recklessness?

I'm having some doubts about my general MTT strategy.

I've been playing 1 MTT per day (online or live) on this Vegas trip, and with the exception of the Sunday Party $1m guar (where my dad was sitting next to me sweating me out), I've been taking a relatively high risk aggressive line in a marginal tournament situations. Perhaps way to aggressive.

For example, in Tuesday's Wynn $300+$30 nooner, the following scenario developed:
- 180 runners, top 18 get paid. 130 remaining midway through the 3rd round (100/200 blinds). 130 left in the field, Avg stack ~T$4150. My table has just broken, and I am above avg with ~T$6900.
- I walk over to my new table, notice that I am just about to take the big blind, but don't pull the olde "wander around looking for my table until I just miss the BB".
- I sit down and the old gezzer to my left has a monster ~T$14k stack, and there are a couple of slightly above avg stacks to his left. 3 small stacks are on my immediate right. pfft!
- very first hand, it is folded to the SB who completes. I make it T$800 with K8o which essentially puts SB all in. He grumbles for a couple of seconds before mucking. ( SB wouldn't have jammed on me with any better hand!!)
- very next hand, it is folded to MP+1 (who is actually a regular from the 20/40, 40/80 LHE games in my local cardroom) who limps with an avg stack. Folded to me in the SB, I make it T$1000 with JcJh because I want to end the hand preflop (MP+1 "knows" that I am not normally a light raiser), and avoid playing a pot out of position with Mr. monster BB. Both muck (although BB grumbled about it)
- very next hand, UTG limps (although I didn't notice..... my sucky observation skills), folded around to me on the button. I make it T$600 with JcJh (yes, identical hands back to back). SB (Monster stack) looks me square in the eye and quickly calls. BB mucks, and UTG calls. (3 players, $T2k pot)
- flop comes: 2s5h6s, SB leads for T$1600, UTG mucks, I jam for T$5300 more, SB calls in less than 3 seconds.

SB struck me as an old geezer who could easily be sick of my raising antics who could be capable of calling my push with an underpair to my JJ (overpair to the board) or any draw. I didn't do the math at the time, but there are 24 ways for 77-TT, 19 ways for AsXs or KsXs. I strongly doubted he would have led at the pot with any better hand (but hell, I had no prior observation of his play).

Anyway, SB's actual hand was As4s and I busted when the Ac hit the turn and I missed the miracle 1 outer on the river.

Should I have taken a more passive line on the flop vs. the big stack at this stage of the MTT?

Saturday, July 29, 2006


Busted towards the end of level 4. A moderate number of interesting hands. I'll post these tomorrow....

Friday, July 28, 2006

neat little extra

I've recently ranted negatively about Interpoker. How about saying something nice for a change?

Well, here's one: A thoughtful little extra that was in the Interpoker swag package was a 25 minute massage.

I've never had a massage at the poker table before (primarily because I am too cheap), so here's to hoping I don't fall asleep at the table...

Ready to rumble

I arrived in Vegas late tonight. There was a whole mess with how I handled the accomodations, so I'm staying a couple of nights at Harrahs before moving to the Rio on Saturday. I have lots of material to write about if I get the time. (and I haven't finished up my event/trip reports from my earlier WSOP events...)

I'm starting tomorrow (Day 1A), Table #14, Seat 8.

You should be able to sweat me at Wicked Poker Chops. WCP is going to be providing some coverage for 5 bloggers.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Bad beat

I've been back home for almost three days now. I've got a couple of partially written posts from the trip. Hopefully, I'll be able to finish them soon although I have been a bit buried in crap from the day job.

The only bad beat I took last week that is worth mentioning came about when I stopped by the Will Call desk (for the 2nd time, as a last ditch check) to check on my Main Event registration.

Interpoker finally got around to registering me, and managed to squeeze me in for my last choice, Friday 1A. Great job Ryan Hartley! You only had 4 months to get the registration in. Too bad 1C and 1D are no longer available. I also appreciate how slow or unresponsive you have been to my emails for the past few months. Wasting time on simple administrative details leaves a warm fuzzy feeling.

For no apparent reason, next year I will be giving my online WSOP qualifier business to Stars and FTP.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Event #22: $2k NLHE - donking it up

I didn't make the first break yesterday. I gave way too much action in the early rounds, although from a meta game perspective this might have been helpful in the next couple of levels if I had got a hold of some chips.

~12th hand, level 1 25/25 (T$2000 effective stacks)
preflop: UTG raises to T$100, folded to hijack who cold calls, Hero makes it T$575 to go with JsJh, blinds muck, UTG quickly calls, cold caller mucks (2 players, T$1300)
flop: 4c5h5c, check, Hero bets T$1000, UTG check raises all in for T$425 more.

Given that UTG did not shut out the cold caller, I'd give him a range of QQ-JJ, AcKc. That is 8 hands, 6 of which I'm a 9:1 dog, 1 of which UTG is freerolling to a chop, and 1 is a coinflip. My on the spot math skills were spotty due to lack of sleep, but I guesstimated I was about a 4:1 dog getting about 8:1. (actual was actually 4.4:1 dog getting 8.8:1)

I relectantly called and UTG missed his freeroll, so we chopped.

John Juanda was sitting in UTG+1, and he remarked to UTG that he was almost certain UTG had me beat when I took a few seconds to make the crying call.
I chipped up to about T$2700 raising a lot of hands. Early in level 2 I think I got about 1/4 of Juanda's stack because of my loose image.

Halfway through level 2, I dropped back down to about starting chips when I open raised the button with a big A and my opponent made 2 pair on the turn. So I was in the undesirable position of having a loose image but not a lot of chips.

About 45 minutes into level 2, the following hand came up. I didn't properly consider my table image.

25/50 blinds
preflop: folded to hijack who raises to $T150, mucked to Hero in BB who calls with 6c8c (2 players, T$325)
flop: Kh5c4c, Hero checks, hijack bets T$250. (At that time I totally misread my opponent. I didn't have any physical read on him, and I interpretted the bet size as weak given the coordinated flop), Hero counts out T$250 and then adds T$600 to make it T$850 to go. Hijack tanks for 15 seconds and then pushes all in for T$850 more. (At this point, I'm concerned I was trapped againist a bigger flush draw and top pair, but I did have hijack covered by about T$500) Hero reluctantly makes the call only getting 3.4:1.

Hijack shows top pair Ks, J kicker with no draw and wins the coin flip.

Next hand I open push my 77 in the SB; BB wakes up with 66 and I went straight to hell on the flop...

Next up: Event #23 $3k LHE

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Getting knocked out early today has given me a bit of time to catch up on some blogs. At one point, I was trying to write an entry to describe how Day 1 of the HORSE event went, and how I felt during my time there. I realize that I'm a terrible writer, and found a post by Paul Phillips that describes it very well.

While making the walk of shame, I briefly debated playing live cash games or online play for the rest of the day. I chose to head back to my room at the MGM for some online play. My reasoning is that I don't feel like donking around in lower limit cash games, and my psychological state is too weak to play mid limit games. Instead I'm multitabling a ton of smallish buyin WSOP bracelet races/supers/subqualifiers as they require very little decision making abilities....

Quick bustout

Arguably my only cold deck situation of the event. I can probably get away from the hand with 700 chips, but I'm too stuborn and annoyed to give it up.

preflop: Hero open raises in CO w KdQc (with 2.75BB behind), button (Joe Cassidy, overall chip leader) 3 bets on the button, blinds fold. (2 players, 7.5 small bets)
flop: AsKhKs, check, check (2 players, 7.5 small bets)
turn: AsKhKs5s, bet, quick call (2 players, 5.75 big bets)
river: AsKhKs5s8c, bet, raise, call all in. Villain shows AKo.

I start making the walk of shame, which is briefly interrupted by a quick trip to the registration desk to enroll in event #22, $2k NLHE.

Some random stuff from the HORSE

A photo of me and my $53k stack before my chips got Razz'ed by Mark Gregorich

I couldn't pull down a pot after the dinner break. So after playing 2 large pots in Razz and 1 large pot in Stud8, I've managed to drop from average chips to 124/129 with a chip count of just over 13k. At the next level I have a mere 4.5 big bets, so the action will go quickly on Day 2. Thankfully, the first level is Hold'em so I'll have a better idea of what I'm getting my remaining chips in with.
At the end of the night, there was a redraw for seating assignments. I drew Table 121, seat 8. Like my table on Day 1, Table 121 is along the rail.

Anyway, I'm pretty pooped, but these are some random things from the day:
- In my first ever WSOP event, I made the dinner break. Quite an accomplishment when you consider that 100% of the field made the dinner break....
- I was quite amused with Aaron Katz repeatedly calling me "Kid" as I suspect I'm at least 5 years his senior.
- My table on Day 1 was not an action table. Big pots only developed when big hands or big hand(s) vs. big draw(s) clashed. No one was eliminated at our table, and during level 14?, Chip Reese was moved to balance another table. On average, this puts players at our table at a slight disadvantage over other tables. However, given only an average of 1 player per table was eliminated on Day 1, it is not a substantial disadvantage.
- Pros whine just as much amateurs about bad cards, bad beats, missed draws, etc... My table featured Mark Gregorich, Ted Lawson, Chau "The game is on !!" Giang, Greg Mascio, Aaron Katz, "Chip" David Reese, and Tommy Hufnagel. The only player at the table who we didn't have to listen to cry about their hand at some point was Tommy H. This wasn't surprising as Tommy spoke about 50 words at the table in 13 hours. For example, he didn't say a word after he got cold decked in a HUGE pot in Stud Hi when he made Jacks full vs. Greg's quad 7s.
In general, I was surprised was with how childish some of the very experienced cash game pros were.
- A very small, but nice thing is getting Platinum status in Harrah's Total Rewards program which lets you get in the VIP lines. A nice time saver...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Vegas bound

My flight to Vegas leaves in less than 2 hours. The first event for me kicks off at noon tomorrow.

My expectations are pretty simple. I'm hoping I can sleep well during the trip, and have a few nice long days of poker. That's not much to wish for...
The one thing I hope to avoid is a trip to the bank where I walk in lighter on the way in than on the way out. I've made that trip already this month. Once is enough.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Anatomy of a $4k mistake

This was a really simple but stupid mistake:

Final table of the PR Big Deal $80k guar ($300+$20, 248 runners, 7.5% overlay)
- 8 players remaining
- average stack 19x bb
- Hero's stack 17x bb, Hero's rank 4th
- all opponents behind Hero have 10x bb or less in their stack EXCEPT for 2nd chip leader in CO.
preflop: folded to Hero in MP+1 who finds 88, Hero pushes for 17x bb, muck, insta call, muck, muck, muck (2 players, pot size 35.5x bb)
postflop: XXXXX, CO wins 35.5x bb w AA.

To more fully set the context: I was multi-tabling 3 big MTTs/Supers (in all MTTs, my stack value was higher than $1k real money). For the first ~8 seconds of my time in the PR hand, I was dealing with a decision in the Stars $1m guar. I'm not certain if PR has a time bank, but I assumed no (NOTE TO SELF: check if PR has a time bank for MTTs!!).
In the past ~1 hour of play, I had raised 3xbb/folded to reraise 3 times. Without much time to prudently analyze the situation, I pushed simply because I had all but 1 opponent covered.
I should merely have raised something like 3-4x bb, and mucked to a reraise from the big stack. My remaining stack is worth ~$4k.

The basic lesson here is, when multitabling, time-management priority MUST be given to the decisions that have greatest value. Yes, rocket science.


Weekend MTT stats
ITM: 18.2% (2/11)
ROI: 18.9% (+$474.80)
Hours played: 12.5
Hourly rate: +$38/hr

Thursday, June 29, 2006

More useless stats

Here is another snapshot of my statistics related to qualifying for 2006 WSOP events (technically also 2007 WSOP events because I have been playing a number of sats at Stars after qualifying on the Cryptos, and Stars policy is to transfer the 1st seat of such people to the next year):

Total buyins: $7612
Net $ result: -$2004.80
$ ROI: -26.34%
Value of seats won: $14500
Combined ROI: 164.15%
# ME Supers: 17
# ME Super subquals: 16
# Bracelet races: 18
ITM: 25.5%

One statistic that I did not accurately track is # hours invested. This is a substantial miss. (My excuse is that I'm often mixing in ring games/other non WSOP-related MTTs and supers, and in my spreadsheet I track total clock time, not table hours) Next year, I will definitely do a better job of tracking hours. I would really like to measure hourly rate in these things.

(Note: HORSE seat from Party freeroll is not included in stats, as this skews them way too much)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Random thoughts...collected from somewhere other than the Rio

The trip reports from the Amazon ballroom are flying fast and furious. While I feel the sense of missing out on the action (particularly since 4 of the first 6 events are on the ESPN filming schedule - out of a total of only 11 filmed events), one good part of being stuck in my cubicle for the next two weeks is that I have the time to sift through the trip reports to find useful practical information for my own upcoming trek to Vegas.

Many of these tidbits are very insignificant, but I'll keep track because lumped together they might add up to something useful.
- According to Bugstud: To avoid a super long walk, parking at the Rio should be done in the lots near the convention center entrance rather than following the default signs to the parking garage. GrannyMae: If taking a cab, tell the driver to take you to the convention center in the back of the Rio.
- Several trip reporters have commented on the cold temperature in the Amazon room. Best to bring some type of long sleeve apparel, especially if you are cold blooded like me.
- Rizen commented that playing 11 handed for a substantial part of the early rounds makes players much more card dependent than normal. This might make the 6max NLHE events slightly more attractive. In my case, I have been debating on whether to enter Event #21 $2500 NHLE 6max. However, the super large fields may diminish by the third week (if last year's trends is any indication), so this aspect probably won't affect me. Next year, if I was to particate in events during the first week, I will keep this in mind.
- Jan from 50outs described the excellent approach to customer service that PokerStars has when attempting to rectify mistakes. (This type of story re-emphasizes the added value of dealing with customer-friendly sites like Stars or FTP)
- According to Fargis, safety deposit boxes can be rented at the main cage of the Amazon room for $25. Degen/Wildbill: Horror story about using the safety deposit boxes in the Amazon room.

I'll add to this hodgepodge list as I come across other interesting tips or observations.


Reflecting on my recent play, I suspect that I have been playing less patiently than in the past. I will make a more conscious effort to be disciplined in this regard.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Quick day

I went out very quicky in all events today. No event went longer than 1.5 hours.

Strongly connected with a lot of flops, and played a lot of big big pots in early rounds mostly out of position. I didn't always get the majority of the money in on the flop when I was still ahead.

It feels very empty to have a full day planned, and to be done after playing less than 5 hours.

I skipped the Stars $1m guaranteed because I didn't realize in advance it was a $1000+$50 today, and didn't attempt to satellite in.

Stats (for the entire weekend)
ITM: 17.6% (3/17)
ROI: -56.5% (-$1831.95)
Hours played: ~18
Hourly rate: -$102/hr

MTTs are fun.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Mid weekend update

It has been a bumpy ride so far. I have played in every event I listed in my previous post for Friday and Saturday.

The best result so far was losing headsup in a UB $3k bracelet race. That one was heartwrenching because of a huge pot that I played when it was still three handed for ~80% of all chips when I made a tough call to an all in flop raise with K6o on a Qh6h5c board and couldn't fade Kh2h.

Overall, the bracelet races have been the most exciting as I made the final table 5 times but couldn't close.

I was chip leader for almost an hour in the Legends of Poker super at Doyles Room, but faded in the 3rd hour.

It has been a little hectic since at times I was playing 5 events simultaneously at different sites. As the screen layouts are different on each site, I was not able to efficiently utilitize autohotkey, so my RSI is acting up a bit from the mouse usage.

ITM: 25% (3/12)
ROI: -18.63% (-$322.95)
Hours played: ~13
Hourly rate: -$24.84

It could have been a lot worse, but reverse 4-5 hands and this would be a good week. Bah! That is poker.

Hopefully, Sunday will be better.

I will be skipping the $1050 Crypto WSOP super as I didn't qualify via the subqual. I'm quite drained after the highs and lows of the day (mostly lows...). I'll probably also skip the 9pm Party $2k added, since I'll probably be a basket case by then.

I really am impressed by the online MTT pros that can grind through a huge number of events per day. Perhaps it gets easier with conditioning.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Interest list: June 23-25th

(All times in PDT)

8:59pm--------FTP------$200+$16----------bracelet race ($1500 WSOP, $500 cash)---------10:1
9:00pm--------Party----$100+$9------------$2k added

10:30am------UB--------$50+$5-------------bracelet race ($2000 WSOP, $1000 cash)--------60:1
11:00am------Crypto---$140+$10----------$1050 WSOP subqual--------------------------------7.1:1
11:15am------Stars-----$300+$20----------WSOP super----------------------------------------36.7:1
12:30pm------UB--------$30+$3rebuy-------bracelet race ($2000 WSOP, $1000 cash)------100:1
2:30pm--------UB--------$30+$3rebuy-------bracelet race ($2000 WSOP, $1000 cash)------100:1
3:45pm--------Doyles---$198+$19.80-------Legends of Poker WPT------------------------------63:1
4:15pm--------Stars-----$100+$9-----------NLHE Deepstacks
4:30pm--------UB--------$50+$5-------------bracelet race ($2000 WSOP, $1000 cash)--------60:1
6:00pm--------Stars-----$73+$7-------------$615+$35 subqual----------------------------------8.9:1
6:00pm--------FTP------$200+$16----------Winners choice super-----------------------------60:1

11:00am------Crypto---$1000+$50--------WSOP super-----------------------------------------15:1
11:00am-------PR-------$300+$20----------Big Deal $80k guar
11:00am-------Bodog---$100+$9-----------$100k guar
1:30pm--------Stars-----$200+$15---------$1m guar
1:30pm--------Party-----$200+$15---------$1m guar
2:00pm--------UB--------$200+$15---------$200k guar
3:00pm--------Stars-----$615+$35---------WSOP super-----------------------------------------17.9:1
6:00pm--------FTP-------$200+$16---------WSOP super-----------------------------------------60:1
6:00pm--------Stars-----$73+$7-------------$615+$35 subqual----------------------------------8.9:1
9:00pm--------Party----$100+$9------------$2k added

Reminder to self: NEVER enter a Stars super with $ when W$ is accepted.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A moment of anger and a long night of self doubt

I was knocked out of the Sunday Stars $615+$35 WSOP super fairly close to the bubble. 414 runners, 23 seats awarded, 3 turkeys receive a small cash payout, and, of course, 388 losers. I busted 34th at the 6 hour mark. According to Jan, the whole schebang took 8 hours to play out. Congrats to 50 outs for finally taking down a seat!

The anatomy of a Sunday (long and boring...):
I woke, for me, bright and early having decided the night before to make it a day of MTTs. More specifically, focused MTTs (primarily single-tabling). I sat down at my PC and started to carefully plot which events to take on.

I don't take a lot of the advice from PocketFives very seriously, but one article by N 82 50 24 seems consistent with the way I have been viewing super sats lately. The gist of the article is that an experienced sat player can have a substantial edge in supers that award large numbers of seats. I'm a cocky bastard, so the 6pm EDT Stars $615+$35 was the first event added to my list (although this would be the first time I have bought in to a satellite with a buyin at this level).

I have often read about the substantial overlays in the Bodog guaranteed Sunday major, so the 2pm EDT $100+$9 Bodog $100k guaranteed was a nice candidate event. A conflicting event was the 2pm EDT $300+$20 Big Deal $80k guaranteed on the Poker Room network. The pros of picking the Bodog event was the consistent substantial overlay. The pros of the Big Deal event was, what I imagined, a much smaller field with a better structure - better practice for the WSOP.

(It turns out that overlay was the word of the day, possibly because of Father's day. The Bodog event had 50% overlay, Big Deal 25% overlay, Party $1 mil guar 25% overlay, Stars $1 mil guar 16% overlay, UB $200k guar 50+% overlay, etc....)

Both Bodog and the Poker Room network don't support Poker Tracker/PAHUD, at least for MTTs, so this factor didn't influence the choice. I left the decision up in the air, and headed down to the gym (hey, I'm at 64 consecutive workout days!).

After a modest workout, I made calls to my dad for father's day and my sister for her birthday. As my wife was still sleeping, it made sense to make these calls outside on the cell phone. Well, I managed to lose track of the time, and noticed at roughly 1:58pm EDT that I better head back to register. I cut the phone call short and tried to boot it back up in time. No dice, as I made it back to my PC a few seconds too late. Apparent Bodog and Poker Room enforce an on-time registration for their events. (I can't count the number of times I've entered an event on other sites with overlay only to watch the overlay get substantially or completely chewed up by late registrations. BAH! okay, end of ranting for now...)

The next event in the pipeline was the Stars Bloggers event at 4pm EDT, so now I had 2 hours to kill. So much for MTT exclusivity. I decided to improvise by clearing the remaining Cryptos bonuses for June. This took 1.8 hours, and I even had time to take a short break before the Bloggers MTT kicked off.

During the Bloggers MTT, my wife woke up and, while having her breakfast (lunch?), she said she had just one thing to ask of me on Sunday. It was a simple errand that would require me to run out for about 45-60 minutes, but prior to 9pm EDT. Looking at the schedule, I honestly told her I probably couldn't take care of it on Sunday, but would take care of it on Monday for sure. She was fine with this.

Less than 60 seconds later, I get it all in preflop with QQ vs. AK and die on the river. (It sounds like every other Blogger that I follow busted with AA after getting all in preflop, so I can hardly complain). The Party and Stars $1m guaranteed events kicked off 29 minutes earlier, and the Stars $615+$35 kicks off in 61 minutes.

I learn from my mistake and preregister for the $615 super, jump out of my chair, give my astonished wife a kiss on my way out the door, finish the errand, and get back in my seat about 30 seconds before the start of the $615 super.

The Super:
Given the size and quality of the field and the structure (30 minute levels with T$2500 starting stacks), this is a pretty good event to enter. Roughly 50% of the field came from qualifiers.

Excluding 1 easy 2nd round double up with AA vs. JJ with a comparable stack, I was able to maintain no less than a 50% of average chip stack without winning any big hands and taking only marginal risks to my chip stack during the majority of the first 10 levels (5 hours). During levels 5 and 8, I was knocked back from above an average stack in big pots (AA vs. JJ again - turned set, and set vs TPTK - runner runner flush). Winning either hand would have, at least temporarily, given a commanding chip stack for the current table, but instead in both cases I dropped to a ~50% average stack.
In a typical online tournament, getting knocked back to a 50% average stack after 2 or 4 hours into the MTT means you are in dire straights. Given the good structure though, a 50% average stack is still very playable, and I was able to chip up again without playing any big pots.

When the field reached about 60 people, I was just dropping below 50% of average again when the 2nd overall chip leader attempted to limp reraise UTG with KK. I got a see a free flop in the BB with 36o, and doubled up after the 33x flop. Whee poker.

With exactly 36 runners remaining, the 5th break was hit, which turns out to be a lengthy 15 minute break. Because of the generous gift from the big stack, I'm sitting at just slightly over T$28000 which is just slightly under avg. However, because of a few big stacks this actually puts me in 13th place.

The 15 minute break gave me quite some time to think. I was in decent shape, but definitely not out of the woods. I felt that I would be content to attempt to chip up to the mid T$30k's with hopefully ~6-7 players remaining to the bubble and then adopt a ultra conservative stance. My stealing strategy would be to fold to any pf reraise and, if called, fire no more than 1 shell postflop unless I strongly connected with the board. Steals would be focused only on medium stacks and/or ultra conservative opponents.

This is a synopsys of the last few hands of significance:
hand #1
3rd hand after the break, 36 players remaining, avg stack T$28750, blinds T$600/T$1200/T$75, my stack is ~T$28k (M=11.3) in MP, a big stack T$65k in MP+1, T$9k short stack in MP+2, all others behind are average stacks and, in particular, BB has T$33k.
preflop: muck, muck, Hero raises to T$3800 with Qc6c, all muck to BB who reraises to T$6400. Hero calls (2 players, pot size T$15275)
flop: 9d9s7c BB bets $2400, Hero folds.

Despite the tiny pf reraise, I actually considered mucking getting almost 5:1. I had less than 10 hands played with BB (i.e. no read), but considering an average stack is willing to make a pot builder raise preflop out of position headsup with a comparable stack, I felt he would have Aces or Kings a substantial majority of the time. My implied odds were ~8:1, and the only flop I'm going to like is 2 pair or better (including a flush) with no A or K on the board. The combined odds of 2 pair or better is greater than 26:1. Despite my instinct, I still called, and then folded to the tiny bet on the flop. Sigh.... yuck

1 orbit later, a freak occurance happens. Roughly 50% of the field is suddenly (and seemingly randomly) disconnected from Poker Stars. (The total duration of the disconnect ended up being about 3 minutes, but we had no way of knowing how long the situation would be in place). 4/9 players at my table are affected, and I am not one of them.

On the 2nd hand of the outage, I'm in the CO with the button and BB disconnected. The SB is a short stack with T$11K. It is folded to me and I retardedly raise 3xbb with 53s with a T$19k stack, and I retardedly elect to fold to the SB's push getting ~2.4:1. I regret not open pushing, and my retarded reason at the time for not calling the push was that I had worried that the disconnect problem might persist for a few minutes, and I would hate to be stuck with a sub T$10k stack with all those disconnected players to steal from.

However, during this actual hand (about the time the SB jammed), the players started reconnecting and all players were actually back by the time the next hand was dealt.

Roughly 2 orbits later I push on the button with 66 into the short stack (T$3k) in the BB (who will automatically call). On the very next hand, I make a pot size reraise all in to the CO+1's 3x bb pfr with KK. CO+1 has a healthy T$40k stack and calls.
The first hand is automatic (villain flopped an overpair). The second hand, I could have gambled by smooth calling preflop. There is some chance that villain does not push on the flop with just two overs. I'll never know... (villain flopped 2 overs and a runner runner Q high flush draw that hit)

These two hands bust me. I'm upset and sick to my stomach... cursing the poker gods. For the rest of the night, I'm filled with second thoughts from my near bubble play. With hand #1, I'm okay with the idea of trying to steal from a medium stack. There were not many opportunities to open raise, and it was not out of line to try this. (I think.)

The 53s steal/fold really did hurt. In retrospect, I really wished I had open pushed or given the SB a walk, with the strong preference on the former. Should I have called his jam getting ~2.4:1?

Should I have been slightly more patient with steal opportunities? I had initially wondered how I would have fared had I went into ultra conservative mode immediately after the 5th break (so long as my M remained above ~5). The next morning when I read Jan's report that the super took another 2 hours to complete, I at least felt better about my strategic decision to improve my chipstack.

I'm a little gunshy about entering next week's $615 super, and my decision will probably be determined by my confidence level on that particular day.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Anti-focus stealing

How To: Stop stupid online poker client windows from stealing focus. HERE

Amended: apparently this is only a partial fix for the problem

Thursday, June 15, 2006

WSOP trip reports

For some additional motivation and psychological preparation for the WSOP, I've been searching around for some decent trip reports from previous years:

Dave Scharf
Main Event 2004

Main Event 2002

June 2005
July 2005

June 2005
July 2005

Terrance Chan
June 2005
July 2005

Event #43 2005

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

A first; well 2 firsts actually

1st First

I entered my first $ MTT a little less than 2.5 years ago, and after entering 146 online $ MTTs (excluding any type of super/satellite/or SNG) and 43 live $ MTTs over those 30 months, tonight I took down my first unchopped MTT. I've not kept track of the number, and I was a bit surprised when I counted them up for the 189 figure. It has sure felt like a bigger number.

2nd First

This 2nd item is arguably much more significant to me. Tonight was the first time I ever played a multi-hour MTT or satellite at home in the presence of my wife without uttering a word about it to her. I didn't get visibly excited; not a single word escaped my mouth regarding anything to do with poker, no "tsk's", no "I can't believe it"'s, no "yeehaw!"'s. I'm an easily excitable person, particularly in the confines of my own home, so I'm glad to have finally had the discipline, at least once, to keep a lid on it. I can't even share this small accomplishment with my wife, because I think that would ruin it.

Monday, June 12, 2006

My favorite hand

The most amusing hand of my tournament occured with about 30 players remaining. The SB in this hand has done absolutely no slow playing during the 1 hour that I sat with him, and had previously open pushed for a big overbet about 1 orbit before. 2 orbits earlier, he open completed/mucked from the SB to my push.

hand #1
7 seated, blinds 300/600/75, avg stack ~T$12,000, SB has a slightly below average stack. Hero is in BB with $T3875.
- preflop: folded to SB, SB min raises 1200, BB raises all in for 3800 total, SB calls. BB quickly turns over 9s6s, SB sheepishly turns over 9c5d.

As the dealer was dealing the hole cards for this hand, I had told myself that I would call an all in from a steal raiser with all but the bottom 10% of all starting hands. The SB's min raise was quite a surprise, but based on his previous play I did not put him on either a pair or 2 big cards. I considered mucking for about 2 seconds, but felt that 2 suited mid cards should be close to 40% against his range. Given the pot size and the metagame considerations of showing I could not be pushed off my blind with a short stack, I pushed expecting to be immediately called.

SB tanked for about 60 seconds before calling. At the end of the hand, the Dealer commented he had never seen anything like it (although he might have been referring to the board as well which came T9678). I commented that I was not ashamed of my hand, and someone else at the table commented "No kidding! You turned your hand over proudly like it was Aces."

I suppose a better way for me to have played the hand would have been to call preflop, and push if checked to me on the flop if I missed. Like I said earlier, I was pretty tired during this MTT.

Lake Tahoe WSOPC event

- Played in only 1 WSOPC event; event #4 $1000+$60 NLHE. 145 runners, top 9 paid. Finished 19th at about the 8 hour mark.

Random points of interest
- The structure of this event is identical to sub-$5k buyin NLHE WSOP events; however instead of having starting chip stacks equivalent to the buyin, the starting stack was T$2500 (100bb for the first 1 hour level). Additionally, the vig is slightly better for this event than a $1k WSOP event (8.5% vs 9%)
- Players are permitted to buy into the event up to the end of the 1st round of play.
- The level of lighting in the Harveys poker room varies significantly (even between different seats on the same table), and is, on average, substantially dimmer than the regular poker rooms that I frequent. Some seats at some tables had very good lighting.
- The only name pro that I noticed in this event was James Van Alstyne. He busted somewhere in the middle of the field.
- 2nd place finisher in event #4 was Shannon Shorr. He was a whopping 21 years and 3 days old at the start of event #4. His other notable accomplishment is finishing 4th in the 2006 Aussie Millions main event for over $200k.
- The field was very soft. During my ~8 hours of play, I observed exactly 1 hand played where a player who made a postflop bet or raise proceeded to muck before showdown. This was not caused by the somewhat fast structure of the tournament. Ignoring the first two levels (where virtually all players reasonable stacks), I observed 8 hands where players with chip stacks > 40 bb put in their entire chip stack on one of the postflop streets with worse than TPTK with no greater than 5% of their chip stack already in the pot. A typical example of this would be for an early position player to limp with 2 big cards, flop or turn top pair, then bet/re-raise all in (or raise/call-reraise all in) in very bad shape.
- The Saturday 7pm Mega satellite (only 1 of 2 scheduled for this series) drew only 20 runners for a total of 2 main event seats.
- Based on a small sample size, it appears that over 80% of the runners in this event were visitors from outside the Lake Tahoe area. This should not be surprising as Lake Tahoe is a tourist destination, but this player distribution contributed to a higher percentage of tournament newbies, poker newbies, or bricks-n-mortar newbies than I had expected in a $1k buyin event. Unfortunately I have no data on how many entrants satellited into the event.

My mistakes and/or logistical problems
- Inability to read instructions: The web site for the WSOPC event clearly states that all events (besides the main event) are 2 days. Since I could only be in town on Saturday and Sunday, planning to play in the Sunday tournament made no sense.
- Lack of discipline: With very little sleep, I gave into the temptation of entering event #4 instead of resting up for the 7pm Mega. However, this probably turned out to be best for 2 reasons: 1) the field was very soft in event #4, 2) only 20 people enrolled in the Mega (where I had been hoping to play in a satellite for a minimum of 6 seats)
- Tardiness / Lack of preparation: I arrived at Harrah's at 11:45am for the 12:00pm event. Harrah's is on one side of the street, and Harveys is on the other. I find a parking space in the Harrah's lot and head in to find the poker room. I then get directions to the poker room which turns out to be over in the Harvey's building. I reach the registration desk by 11:55pm. As I don't have a Harrah's players club card, I need to head to another line to first get this. Somehow all is taken care of, and I actually reach my seat, the 10s, a few minutes after 12pm as the cards are in the air for the first hand.
At the time, I'm wearing a pair of prescription sunglasses (I really don't like to wear contact lenses) and have left my regular glasses in the car. The lighting in my seat is so bad that I cannot read my hand without substantially exposing the cards to direct lighting. I muck the first hand, and UTG busts when his flush draw does not hit. After the 2nd hand, I get up to head back to my car to get my glasses. This took ~15 minutes round trip. 2 other players at this table have already busted.
- Poor play: I made at least 3 mistakes in the first four rounds that I particularly dislike.
i. 12x bb mistake with a ~100bb stack. During round 1, I raise 2 limpers in MP+2 to 6x bb with AJs; folded back to 2nd limper (who has done nothing retarded in the whole ~dozen hands I have watched him play) who makes it 18x bb. This is an easy fold since there are almost no good flops for my hand. I call anyways; the flop is a 3 rag rainbow, and I fold to a 20x bb bet. The 12x bb wasted on this hand would have been far better served limping into many many more hands during level 1.
ii. 2.5-7bb mistake with a ~21bb stack in level 3. I'm in the BB. It is folded to the cutoff who, for various reasons, is very likely to attempt to steal. CO has about 50x bb, has been paying a lot of attention to other players and is easily capable of folding. He raises to 3.5x bb. I elect to call with 83s with the intention of stealing the pot on the flop on good boards that miss me. Flop comes Q74 rainbow, I check, CO bets 11.5x bb. I then wake up to realize the only way I can steal this pot given our stacks would be to donk 2/3 pot on the flop, and I muck.
iii. 12bb mistake with a ~20bb remaining stack in level 4. I open raise for 3.5x bb in MP+1 with 99 and a ~30bb stack, substantial table chip leader (probably close to overall chip leader) cold calls in CO and I believe he is an experienced tournament and NL player, all others fold. Flop comes Q high rainbow with 2 rags one of which is a heart. I bet 6x bb and CO quickly calls. 2nd heart rag falls on the turn, and I bet 12x bb. CO raises all in, and I muck.
CO is calling on the flop with a Q or better or with nothing with the intention pushing me out on the turn. In either case, CO is putting me all in on the turn. I should not be putting a single chip in on the turn unless I have the intention of going all in, which I did not. CO flashes a Q before mucking his hand.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Raving insomniac

As is apparently becoming my tradition, I've gotten practically no sleep before the start of a moderate-major buyin live tournament. The plan has been modified, and I will rest up during the day with the intention of playing the $1000+$60 Mega at 7pm.

That way, if I luckbox my way to a main event seat, I can have another bout of insomnia next weekend....

This is becoming quite a problem...

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Taking a shot at the WSOP.....C

For the next couple of weeks, the WSOP Circuit event is running in Lake Tahoe. The plan is to make the trip to Tahoe this weekend with the intention of playing in event #4, $1000+$60 NLHE on Saturday. Hotel arrangements are already made, so I am committed to make the trek.

Assuming I bust early, yet still feel confident and fresh, I'll also take a whack at the 7pm $1000+$60 Mega for the main event. Another alternative will be to put in some table hours in a $2/$5 NLHE cash game. This format is not available where I live due to municipal laws. If the game is really good, I'll put in a very long session. If not, I'll call it a night at a reasonable hour with the intention of playing in event #5 $500+$50 NLHE on Sunday.

Monday, June 05, 2006

3 LHE hands

Hand #1 was a tournament situation in which I could go either way on. The choice I actually made was heavily criticised at the table, but I believe that was results oriented thinking.

Hand #2 was a LHE cash game situation that had an abundance of available reads. The reads should have been able to prevent a bad laydown.

Hand #3 was a LHE cash game situation where the lack of prior history/reads should have dictated a conservative decision making process to avoid making the biggest mistake in LHE.

hand #1

Live Limit LHE tournament. Top 18 spots pay, very flat and low payouts for 6-18. Payouts for 1st/2nd/3rd is something like 30%/20%/10%. 17 players remain. Average chips ~T$19k, with about T$330k chips in play.
MP is an experienced tournament player, MP+1 is a huge lagtard who very substantially overvalues his hands (and completely ignores the actions of others), CO is a desperate and inexperienced player, BB is a very experienced, somewhat conservative tournament player. MP has just joined the table. Blinds are T$2k/T$4k.
preflop: muck, muck, MP open raises (and has T$8 behind), MP+1 3 bets (and has T$3k behind), Hero in SB mutters to BB "I hope I don't have a playable hand", muck, CO calls all in for T$2k, button mucks, Hero looks down and finds AsQc with a chip stack of T$19k. BB has T$24k.
I believe that MP's range is 66+, AJs+, AQo+; MP+1's range is 22+,A9s+,ATo+, any 2 broadways; CO's range is very large
At the time, I believed that MP was capable of folding 99 or worse, AJs, AQo to a 4-bet; Button is capable of folding anything worse than QQ to a 4 bet.
Hero's decision is between mucking and raising (with the hope of folding out BB and MP).
preflop continued: Hero 4 bets. BB thinks for 30 seconds and then mucks, MP thinks for 30 seconds and then calls with AQo, MP+1 beats him in the pot.
MP: AhQs
MP+1: 44
CO: QdJd
Hero: AsQc
BB curses because he mucked AcKd. For the huge sidepot, MP+1 is fading only 1 Ace and 1 Q.

Board comes A high with 4 diamonds. Hero nets T$6k chips with 1 player eliminated instead of losing T$2k and having 3 opponents eliminated with a monster chip stack on his immediate left.

Bah, if MP mucks a hand like 88 and MP+1 and CO have weak As, I look like a genius. Oh well, you can only put your opponents on a range of hands. What they actually have is another matter...

hand #2
Live $20/$40 LHE ring game, 6 handed
CO is a 65/30/2.5 type who is particularly aggressive with flush draws. Button is a fearless semi-aggressive player who does not slow play any vulnerable hands. BB is a tight player.
preflop: muck, muck, CO limps, button limps, Hero raises in SB w AdJd, BB mucks, CO and button call. (3 players, 7 small bets)
flop: JcTh3c, Hero bets, CO calls, button raises, Hero 3 bets, CO calls, button calls (3 players, 16 small bets)
turn: JcTh3c5c, Hero fairly quickly checks, CO immediately bets, button fairly quickly calls, Hero pauses and folds (2 players, 10 big bets)
river: JcTh3c5c6d, check, check; CO shows a missed gutshot, button wins with QcJs.

Comments: The CO's predictable play has defined his hand to not include 2 clubs (although I'd grant a small possibilty of a small flush; perhaps 10-15%). The button's history suggests either the nut flush or a hand like QJ or J9s. The button will very rarely smooth call the turn with a flush smaller than the nut flush. The number of probable nut flushes that button could have is 7 (2-9, excluding 3). ATs+ would have been a pfr. The combinations of QJ and J9s is 10. The combination of T9s, J8s and QTo is 13, but these combos can probably be discounted by about 50%. This roughly defines button's range as having the nut flush about 50% of the time.

Given the information available, the pot is big enough for the Hero to peel on the turn and check call a non-club river.

*** Note *** In a very tough game, I have to muck the turn because even on safe rivers I will often be bluffed raised out of the pot - CO will fire again on the river UI and button will raise to win with the 2nd best hand. In general, in a tough game I will have a terrible time being able to understand where I'm at in a hand like this.

hand #3
8 seated live $20/$40 LHE
CO is a very stuck player, SB and BB are unknowns; BB is a young aggressive looking Asian.
preflop: muck, muck, muck, muck, CO limps, Hero raises with AcQs on the button, all call (4 players, 8 small bets)
flop: AhJc7d, checked to Hero, Hero bets, all call (4 players, 12 small bets)
turn: AhJc7dKs, checked to CO who donks his last $15, Hero completes the bet, blinds call. (4 players, 7.5 big bets in main pot, 1.88 big bets in side pot)
river: AhJc7dKs4h, SB pauses and checks, BB immediately bets, Hero pauses and mucks, SB mucks; BB scoops with A6o.

I hate myself.


There have been 5 hands this year in the live $20/$40 LHE game where I have folded the best hand on the turn or river in a pot larger than 10BB. 6 months ago, my most substantial mistake was calling too frequently on the river (and a close 2nd was missing value bets on the river).

The turn folding scenarios occured where my pot equity was 60-65% if I was ahead with a moderate number of scenarios where I could be drawing dead. However, it is probably safe to say that I have over adjusted.

The volume of play for this year is 4000-4500 hands, and although I have been keeping track of various statistics, I have not been keeping track of the number of confirmed good folds that I have made on the turn and or river. I think that I do need to do this to better judge how much I need to adjust my calling standards on scary turn and river boards. The problem is that the number of scenarios in which a laydown results in no showdown (or no revealed hole cards) is fairly high. Hence, my data can be quite inconclusive.


I'm continuing to run very well in the live $20/$40 game (it is such a great game), earning almost 2 small WSOP buyins so far this month. If I can close out the month earning an additional 3 small WSOP buyins, I'm considering making a third trip to Vegas to enroll in additional WSOP events; perhaps during the July 4th weekend, or the subsequent weekend when the WPBT event is running.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

WSOP Countdown continues

A mere 25 days until event #1 kicks off, so it is time again to do another preparedness review. (41 days until my first planned event)

Pseudo checklist
(I'll rank my preparedness for each item on a scale of 1-10)
- The bankroll is in good shape, although it is still definitely in the category of "taking a shot" for me to spend $13.5k to enter 7 additional WSOP prelim events. A solid winnng month in June would remove any doubt from my mind about the prelim event entries. Any losses beyond $3k in June will be deducted from my WSOP prelim event budget. (8.5/10)
- In general, my live play skills are satisfactory and improving noticibly. Time invested in this area is still producing positive results. (8.5/10)
- Skill development in Omaha8, Stud8, StudHi and Razz is severely lagging. In the past month, the combined number of hours of play is between 12-15, and 25-30 is probably more appropriate. Time devoted to reading books on this subject (typically late night) is also lagging primarily due to wasting late night hours on Tivo recorded stuff or Netflix stuff. I've cancelled Netflix and I will cancel the worst offending Tivo season passes; although the wife and I will definitely go to see Cars on the opening weekend. (4/10)
- Healthwise there has been good improvement. My daily cardio workout streak is up to 45 days. The diet is reasonable, but the regular sleep schedule is not there. I'm averaging about 6 hours a night, and I'd like to be somewhere over 7 hours per night. (6.5/10)
- I have still not practiced playing any of the Deep stack Stars tournaments. This needs to be a priority for any upcoming weekend day that I expect to be at home. (One interesting artificial restriction that has come up is that I have made a promise to myself to not play any online poker when in the presence of my wife. As we live in a small apartment, my online play will be limited to those times when she is not home or asleep.) (2/10)
- Travel plans have been more or less finalized. I'll fly to Vegas on the evening of Tuesday July 11 returning home the morning of Monday July 17. The 2nd trip will involve me driving to LV on Thursday July 27 or Friday July 28, and driving home around Thursday August 10. (9.5/10)

Assuming availibity, I'm still good to go for Events:
20 $50k HORSE
21 $2.5k NLHE shorthanded??? see below
22 $2k NLHE
23 $3k LHE
39 $10k Main Event NLHE
40 $1K NLHE
(Crypto's qualfiers have a $200k free roll at Gold Coast on the day of Event 41)
42 $1.5K NLHE
43 $1.5K NLHE
44 $1.5K NLHE
45 $1.5K NLHE

Event #21, yay or nay?
Event 21 is the $2500 6 handed NLHE event immediately following day 1 of the HORSE event. Even given that this is a Hold'em event, I'm concerned that the deficiencies in my short handed NL game make me too much of a dead money entry. Should the number of entrants into the event weigh into my decision of whether or not to enter?

I'm strongly considering dropping #21 my from plans, and replacing the time with a Mirage or Wynn $300+$30 followed by, time permitting, the 7pm $1000+$60 Mega super at the Rio. Trip reports from the 2005 WSOP described the Megas as very good after a few weeks into the series as players started getting more and more stuck and more and more desperate and wild.

Assuming my morale is not crushed by Sunday July 16, I intend to enter the $1k Bellagio and, time permitting, the 7pm Mega at the Rio.

Note: Given my current bankroll/experience/risk tolerance, I would not consider buying in direct to any WSOP events if I did not have a comfortable income outside of poker.

Main event bubble insurance
I've started accumulating points at Hollywood Poker for their bubble insurance with about 15% of the required amount. It is an easy target to hit, and I just need to remember to get it out of the way before the whole thing slips my mind.

Shame shame

After running well, and much more importantly playing reasonably well, for the last month in the local live $20/$40 LHE game, I'm back to my old tricks. Namely, bad weak tight laydowns in big pots.

The game typically is highly populated with loose passive 40/4/0.5 types who are regulars (and some tight aggressively grinder props, none of whom were in this game). Their tendency to cold call pfrs is very substantially increased if there are any cold callers in front of them (so the high average VPIP doesn't necessarily mean that a pfr won't fold everyone out including the blinds, since the regulars know I am a tight player).

Atypically, the lineup today included 4 complete unknowns: 2 on my immediate left, 1 on my immediate right, and 1 two seats to my right. The other 4 regulars were of the loose passive type described above.

The hand in question is not a particularly interesting hand, but I make it a point to document my worst played hands. The hand occured 2 hands after I first posted in the CO. From those hands, I was able to gather that the opponent on my immediate right was extremely loose passive (my guess at the time would be something like 90/2/0.1; it was only 3 observed hands but I was very comfortable with this classification at the time because of the quality and speed of the decisions he made on ~every~ street in ~all 3~ hands); Opponent on my immediate left had played all three hands and had either raised preflop or bet/raised postflop (although there is no reason to think he is a maniac; the action he took was reasonable given the situations and he checked behind on the river in one hand w top pair med kicker). No player at the table had less than 12.5BB which is slightly unusual since the small buyin (5BB) is very common here. My primary point is that the average number of chips on the table is somewhat higher than average indicating a good game.

hand #1
9 handed $20/$40 live LHE
preflop: muck, muck, MP calls, Hero raises with AsJc, MP+2 brings his hand forward with enough chips for 3 bets, pauses and just calls, muck, button calls, SB mucks, BB calls, MP calls (5 players, 10.5 small bets)
flop: Ah8d6h, check, check, Hero bets, MP+2 raises saying "just testing", button quickly cold calls, BB mucks, MP calls, Hero pauses and calls, MP+2 says "you just call, I'm good" (4 players, 18.5 small bets)
turn: Ah8d6h4d, MP checks, Hero checks, MP+2 bets, button calls, MP calls, Hero pauses and mucks (3 players, 12.25 big bets)
river: Ah8d6h4d3s, checked around, MP+2 shows Ac9c and others muck

Comments: I've played with button enough to know that on the flop he has 2 suited semiconnected cards between 4-Q with an above average likelihood of a flush draw (he will always muck 2 broadways in this situaion and he will always pause if he has any A). MP can have almost any two cards. Both button and MP are going to see the river, with just one exception: button may fold a flush draw on the turn if it is 2 bets to him and the board pairs or his flush is not too high.

Questionable decisions:
- raising preflop to isolate well known very loose limper in middle position with a marginal reverse implied odds hand with a combination of unknown and/or loose players behind me; (given the number of chips on the table, multiple cold calls was likelier; particularly because I have no reason to believe MP+2 won't cold call triggering more cold calling behind)
- not 3 betting the flop to better define my hand (because the pot size is not going to have any affect on button or MP's calling decision on the turn); I can find a fold on the turn if raised by MP+2.

How I think I should have finished the hand given I just called the flop:
- check/call UI on safe turn and river cards unless bet/raise comes from either button or MP. (when I say UI, an A doesn't significantly improve my hand; I'd only consider a non heart J an improvement); the reason for this conservative line is the large number of scare cards including any card between 5-10,
- I'm also okay with donk/calling the turn and check/calling the river (if raised on the turn) given the presence of the button and MP.

A couple of other hypotheticals:
- Assuming the same action preflop, with ATo, I play the hand exactly as played.
- Assuming the same action preflop, with AQo, I three bet the flop and lead the turn.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Bubble insurance

Hmmm, a 3 post day. I'm really bored.... (I'm running some tests that are taking hours to complete...)


Apparently there is a new promotion running at Hollywood Poker that offers protection for players in the 2006 WSOP main event if they bust in the last 5 positions before the bubble bursts. It doesn't matter how you get your seat for the Main Event, the qualifier for the insurance is to earn 1500 Poker Points. Given the small/medium stakes LHE games I play, this probably works out to about 1000-1200 raked hands. Averaging 2 short handed tables, this is close to about 7 hours of effort.

How would you estimate the value of this insurance (to justify the time investment)? I assume the most beneficial situation the insurance would provide for is if you have a stack with an M around 3-6. Other stack sizes obviously benefit, but my feeling is that players with modestly low Ms get the most bang for the buck. With this insurance, you can open push almost 100% of the time during the bubble+5 -> ITM until you either get to a slightly healthier M (perhaps ~10) or bust.

All things being equal (in terms of the calling standards of your opponents), the number of times you will have the opportunity to steal the blinds is simply proportional to the number of hands that will be dealt in the bubble+5->ITM period.

Assuming a field of ~8000 entrants and top 10% paid, then the bubble would hit at the ~800 player mark. Thus hand-for-hand bubble play would involve 80+ tables.

I imagine that time-wise, the bubble period is pretty long. In terms of number of hands played, it may be pretty small, given 80 tables in play. What is a reasonable estimation on the number of hands this will be?

Naturally you need to avoid letting anyone at your table know you are carrying this insurance policy.... (Given that I have a big mouth, I would need to remind myself to zip it...)

I guess another situation this has significant value is if you are in the dead zone (M ~1) at the bubble + ~10 mark. If card dead, you might be able to play like Broomcorn's uncle to make it to your artificial bubble.

Again, how can you translate these potential situations into a present value?

Basically the value is composed of two parts: 1) value gained given the percentage of the time that you would have busted without the insurance. 2) net value gained by building a larger stack because you have a license-to-steal (NET value because the probability of busting is much higher).

These are my current assumptions:
- my probability to reach the bubble zone is 10%.
- bubble + 5 -> ITM lasts 2 orbits
- Stack size distribution:
--- 5% of the time I have an M < 1 at bubble + 10
--- 70% of the time I have an M of <6
--- 20% of the time I have an M of 6-20
--- 5% of the time I have a very healthy stack.
- For each of the 4 stack size distributions, there should be 4 numbers estimated: i) probability of busting OOTM given you have no insurance, ii) probability of busting OOTM given you have insurance, iii) increased tournament equity due to increased blind/ante stealing, iv) tournament equity lost by busting OOTM (due to larger risk taking from insurance)
- For each of the 4 stack size distributions these are my estimates for those 4 numbers:
--- M < 1 at bubble + 10: 95%, 95%, $0, $0
--- M of <6: 25%, 50%, $2000, $0
--- M of 6-20: 15%, 35%, $1000, $2000
--- very healthy stack: 5%, 10%, $500, $4000

Punching these numbers into excel yields a value for the insurance at $468. (Close to an hourly rate of $66/hr assuming 7 hours to earn enough points to qualify). The one assumption that has a dominating effect on the estimate is the probability of reaching the bubble zone. 10% is very very optimistic. Perhaps 5% is a better number. Even then $234 of value is worth the time investment given the stakes I play at.


One other thought on bubble play relates to my understanding that Harrah's (Binion's) traditionally gives the bubble boy a free roll into the following year's WSOP main event. Assuming this is the case and considering the point of view of satellite qualifiers to the main event who reside in the retarded-taxation-on-recreational-gambling-USofA, getting a freeroll into the 2007 WSOP is worth almost $3k more than a ~$12.5k bottom tier cash (when taxes are taken into consideration). Thus with any stack with an M less than 3, I think I would jam 100% of the time on every hand regardless of the action in front of me on the real bubble, insurance or not. (actually even more so with the insurance since finishing on the bubble is worth much more than finishing with a tier 1 payout; closer to the payout for top 5% of the field; better check the T&C at Hollywood, maybe they don't cover the true bubble boy because of that loophole)

"These are the Daves I know I know, these are the Daves I know..."

Shout out: Dave Scharf

Okay, so I don't actually know him, but he is both a fellow Canadian and a fellow Dave; that must count for something.

Dave is a long time semi-professional midstakes player; both live and online. Among other activities, he blogs regularly on topics that often includes thoughts and ideas related to psychological factors and preparation related to playing poker.

Although he only posts about once a week, I find his writing interesting and motivational. Perhaps you will too.

(I don't believe his blog is syndicated, so you actually have to, gasp, go to his website to check for new posts....)

RE the title of this post: This was a song from a skit on the show Kids in the Hall.

Protect yourself

Dealing is not an easy job, and a good dealer is a valuable asset to any cardroom. Unfortunately an inexperienced or bad dealer often requires players to take up the slack.

There have been a number of threads at 2+2 alluding to pay structure changes by Harrah's for dealers in this year's WSOP. Simply put, there is effectively a substantial pay cut for dealers.

This almost certainly means that, on average, dealers will be less experienced and more error prone than in the past. Some trip reports from 2005's WSOP were not particularly flattering with regards to dealer standards, and this year will likely be worse.

It is perfectly conceivable that you may be seated at a table with 9 opponents who have virtually no live B&M experience. Don't let any of their lack of experience hurt you. When their lack of experience helps you, that is a different matter entirely....

The absolutely most important steps that you, as a player, should take are:
- DO NOT release your winning hand until the dealer pushes you the pot
- DO NOT muck your hand at showdown until you are certain that your opponent's hand is the winner. Visually verify your opponent's hand; don't rely on what your opponent declares his/her hand to be or even what the dealer says

The above two points are simple but HUGE.

Other relatively import points are:
- Follow the action to ensure you know which other players are still in the hand to avoid "acting out of turn" situations. Many players will have the hole cards hidden and the dealer may frequently miss this.
- At the end of an all in showdown (win or lose), pay attention to make sure the dealer counts the stacks correctly. It may be hard to bring yourself to do this if you just lost a monster pot, but you need to have the discipline to do this. (I'll be the first to admit that in a number substantially big $ live tournament showdown situations, I was too upset or disgusted at the time to audit the dealer. On other occasions, the number of times I have observed a dealer miscount scares me.)

A few other, but in comparison very minor, things to watch out for that inexperienced/tired/or bad dealers will miss:
- Ensure the dealer is not sloppy in exposing cards while dealing
- Ensure your opponents are not shorting the pot with their blinds/antes or when making bets/calls etc
- Ensure the button and the blinds are in the correct positions

Additionally, there will be numerous situations where players can make minor actions that can help speed the game up; e.g. making change in advance, not disturbing the dealer or active players in the middle of a hand, making it very clear if you are still in the hand by keeping your hole cards in plain view or not putting your hands in front of your chips when you have already mucked (perhaps confusing active players into believing you may still be in the hand), etc.

Can anyone think of other things to keep in mind?

Friday, May 26, 2006

Overheard in the postgame...

Mr. DH: "Wow, I just won another WSOP seat!"
Mrs. DH: ".... great.... That means you are going to spend even more time in Vegas?"
Mr. DH: "Um.... no I guess this just covers some event I was already going to enter. Nevermind..."

Nothing like spending your dough before you make it to take away the thrill of winning...

Fully funded

I took down a bracelet race tonight on FTP. Additionally, I ran well enough during the week in live LHE cash games to be fully funded for all of the WSOP events I intend to enter.

This was the kind of (abnormal) week that makes me want to quit my day job. Here's hoping to staying on the sunny side of variance....

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Rakeback query

If you have a tiered rakeback deal, it often comes in handy at the end of the month to be able to do an instantaneous rakeback calculation based on your current MGR (monthly gross revenue) to see where you stand if you are very close to hitting another tier. (many sites/affliates provide this info on a daily/semi-daily basis, but sometimes you just need more up-to-date info!)

The following thread at 2+2 details how to create a query to obtain your current rakeback from your poker tracker database.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Further post session analysis

After further reflection on my last long live session, I want to record some thoughts on the psychological factors.

Internal factors

I was able to maintain a very healthly/positive state of mind for the entire LHE session. This contributed to me "only" making 2 BB worth of ~known~ mistakes while playing LHE: 1 missed turn value bet and 1 bad river call (realistically, I made substantially more mistakes that I didn't identify, but that is out of the context of this discussion).
However, I realize now the strong mental state was merely due to luck and timing. Assuming exactly same hands had been dealt with exactly the same opponents, if the ordering of the hands had been switched around only a modest amount, then I would likely have been in a weaker frame of mind and made far more mistakes.

I won my very first hand of the session and did not take any bad beats in the first hour. The high water mark for the session was about +50BB, and, after this high, the lowest point was probably about +30BB. Had I opened my session with the same -20BB run, it would have been much harder to be as selectively aggressive postflop with weak and vulnerable hands.

Many online players use a variety of techniques to hide their current sessions results from themselves specifically for these types of reasons. (e.g. buying in for a moderately large, but random amount, or covering your table cash balance using a physical or virtual post-it note)

I suppose that when playing live I could use a similar concept - namely stacking my chips in a manner such that I cannot accurately determine my chip stack. However, realistically this can't mask the stack size by more than +/- 15-20%. I've never tried this, but perhaps that degree of ambiguity would be enough. I'll give it a shot in my next session.

Ironically, keeping a running count on all chip stacks, particularly one's own, is essentially in any tournament (or NL cash game). Since prepping for live MTTs is my number 1 priority, perhaps I should only be focusing my effort in becoming more, in the words of threebet33, emotionally detached but mentally engaged. How the heck can I do that?


I'm really not impressed with my stamina when playing for very long live sessions, and I'd like to devise some kind of action plan to improve in this area.

Yesterday, I grinded through a 12 hour live session (which is not very long for many people, but apparently it is for me). I distinctly remember thinking at about the 5.5 hour mark, "Boy I've been sitting here a long time, and I'm not even HALFWAY done yet". I hope this just takes some getting used to.

My mental alertness for the first 9 hours ranged from very good to satisfactory, but suffered a serious decline in the last 3 hours. Perhaps not coincidentally, my game choice was Limit Hold'em for the first 9 hours and ended with 3 hours of Omaha 8. The amount of thinking and analysis I need for LHE is substantially less then Omaha 8, however mental exhaustion was definitely a major factor (e.g. taking 10-15 seconds after showdown to comprehend why I got scooped from being counterfeited, not remembering my hole cards if I mucked - not a terrible thing but more of a litmus test for fatigue, etc). It might have been easier to gauge had I played Omaha 8 for the first 3 hours and then LHE for the last 9.

At any rate, the only simple plan I have for now is: try, try again. I'll shoot for at least 3 12 hour sessions per month until I head to Vegas.

My diet and exercise regime are pretty solid right now, although the sleep schedule is still quite dubious. I've gotta be more disciplined about that.

Results from the session were solid. I earned one small WSOP event buyin. (This is how I measure results these days....) I still need to earn roughly 2.5 more small WSOP buyins to cover all the events I intend to enter. (events: 20-23 and 39-45)