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.
e.g.
- 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.

Stats
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)

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

Saturday
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

Sunday
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

Summary:
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

Raymer
Main Event 2002

Matros
June 2005
July 2005

Fargis
June 2005
July 2005

Terrance Chan
June 2005
July 2005

DoubleAs
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

Summary
- 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.

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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.

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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.