Current Bankroll: $1 - 600K Play Chips

I played a $1 Turbo MTT (868 players, top 81 cash) over at Full Tilt tonight. Couldn't catch a hand and busted out pretty quickly in 560th. Here's a recap of the game if anyone's interested. Comments would be greatly appreciated.

A few hands in, ATo on the button, 1 limper so I raise it up to 3xBB, 1 caller. Board comes down 882 rainbow, and we both check it. Ten on the turn sets me up nicely and he checks it to me so I raise 400 (pot size). He comes over the top all-in for just another 200 so I pretty much have to call. He flips over K8o, nasty. I probably should have raised smaller on the turn to give myself a chance to get out of the hand if he re-raised, but then again, I had a real tough time giving him credit for the 8 after my pre-flop raise. Perhaps my preflop raise wasn't large enough...

Now sitting at just over 10xBB and I get KQo on the very next hand so I decide to push all in. No callers so I pick up the blinds.

KQo again the next hand, but this time I'm not quite as low in chips so I only raise 3xBB. Flop comes 366 rainbow. One other player and we both check it. Q on the turn gives me my hand so I raise the pot, he re-raises all-in and flips over QJo which makes me pretty happy until another six comes down on the river and splits the pot. Nasty.

Another couple rounds of the blinds and I'm sitting below 10xBB. It folds around to the SS who raises it up 3xBB. I decide to push with 39s thinking he may be trying to buy the pot and he didn't have me covered by enough to call if he doesn't have anything. Unfortunately he's holding KQs and insta-calls. Nothing on the board and I'm out.

Not quite sure if I could have played it better. Perhaps I was a bit aggressive, but given that it was a turbo tourney I think that is probably the style required to stay ahead of the blinds. Pretty much every hand was my usual style of play and it just didn't pay off a single time tonight...

Current Bankroll: $2 - 700K Play Chips

I haven't had hardly any time to fire up the poker tables in the past week, and have become really antsy to get some decent time at the tables in. I got a bit too impatient the other night and bought into the nightly 500K Play Chip $40 Freeroll at Full Tilt despite being way below the 2M Play Chip minimum that I set for myself as a rule to limit my buy-in for this tournament. I managed to cash in the tournament and get my real money bankroll back in the green, but it has put my play chip bankroll in some very sketchy territory. I'm going to have to really be disciplined and force myself to wait until I've built my play chip bankroll back up to 2M before buying into the 500K play chip freeroll again, so it could be a little while before I'm able to pick up a couple more dollars with the amount of time I've had to play lately.

I recently noticed that my bankroll graph had disappeared, and upon further investigation the table in my database holding the info seems to have been deleted. I didn't have a backup, and neither did my host, so it looks like the first month of my bankroll challenge has been lost in the cyber void. I guess it's not that big a deal since I haven't really gotten anywhere yet, but I still feel a bit sad about not having the challenge on the graph from the very beginning.

In more positive news, Burnley Mik is back with a new blog, Donkey Thrasher, as part of the new UK Poker Scene, a group of UK poker bloggers centered around the Raise the River community. These guys are always a great read, so the site is definitely worth a look.

Taking it Live

I played a live tournament for the first time in quite a while tonight. It was part of the local free poker league, and there were about 40 players. I played a really solid, aggressive game that seemed to pay off as nobody really wanted to play ball with me. I made it to the final table with the second largest stack, but the blinds were already so high that people started dropping every hand. I ended up having to take a couple gambles which paid off nicely and gave me a chance to go heads up with close to even chips. My opponent didn't seem to have much knowledge of heads-up play and folded almost half her stack to me before winning a couple showdowns and then folding it right back to me. Finally her luck at the showdown ran out and the tournament was mine.

I can't say that I was too impressed with the overall play in the tournament, but it still felt good to play a solid poker game and come out on top. Playing live made me realize how much I miss the human interaction and the interesting psychology that is so much more relevant in live games. I felt like I was able to really get good reads on my opponents tonight and take advantage of their lack of reticence.

I'm definitely going to try to play more live games in the near future because, while it won't necessarily get me closer to my bankroll goals, it will definitely help to keep me focused and motivated on the game and should allow me to improve my skills much more rapidly than in online poker since you have to spend so much time just focusing on your game and not multi-tabling.

The other day I was taking a look at the odds of flopping no overcards with high pocket pairs and that got me thinking about what the basic odds are of flopping a set with any pocket pairs. I seem to remember someone once telling me it was about 1:6, but it never seemed that good in reality so I thought I'd actually do the math.

The odds should be 2:50 + 2:49 + 2:48 since those are your odds of hitting one of the two remaining cards on each card in the flop. That would give you about a 12% chance or 1:8.16 odds of flopping the set, not nearly the 1:6 that I had been thinking all along. That means that you have to make back more than 8BB every time you hit a set to make up for the cost of calling and folding the other 7 times.

With higher pocket pairs you can factor in the odds that you will have top pair on the flop, but even this doesn't increase your odds of seeing a nice flop very often with anything but the best pocket pairs.

Fortunately sets on the flop have a way of paying off quite nicely and so it is usually possible to play pocket pairs cheaply and see a decent return, but there really isn't much room for error, so don't go calling any raises with them because that will throw off your ratios enough that it will be hard to make back any losses.

I think I will be playing low pocket pairs less often when I am short-stacked in tournaments from now on because they just aren't worth the risk when you can't afford to lose many chips. I had always viewed low pocket pairs as a chance to hit big when you are really needing it, but with worse than 1:8 odds of actually hitting a set I'm not so sure they are worth the risk unless you can afford to lose those other 7 times.

In cash games and when you have a large stack in a tournament, low and medium pocket pairs are probably worth the investment if you can be frugal about it, but you still have to be careful with them though because the fact that they hit the set fewer than 1 in 8 times makes it harder than it looks to keep them in the green in the long run.

But pocket pairs are still your best bet preflop when you need to go heads up against an opponent for a good chance to double up, so they'll still hold a special place in my arsenal for those critical tournament moments.

Another Bustout

Current Bankroll: $0 - 1M Play Chips

I took another shot at the real money tables tonight a bit earlier than scheduled. I haven't been able to work the nightly 500K Play Chip $40 Freeroll at Full Tilt into my schedule lately and was getting a bit antsy at the long wait. Things didn't go nearly as well as I hoped and I ended up busting out after 64 hands without winning a single showdown or pot larger than 5BB. I started out a bit too aggressive and lost some chips to stronger hands, but even after tightening up I couldn't seem to avoid some nasty situations that just ate up my bankroll. The final nail in the coffin was a J7o that had called my preflop raise and hit two-pair on the flop. I was too low in chips at that point to have much of a chance of getting away from my KJo especially with such a weak looking flop (J74 rainbow).

I can't say that I'm terribly frustrated with my play since it was mostly bad hits that took me out, but I am definitely disappointed with myself for not sticking to the original plan of waiting until I had a full buy-in before hitting the cash tables again. That combined with the fact that my play chip bankroll is not in a very good position either put me in a pretty nasty position right now. I'm basically back at square one with a long way to go to get back into things. I guess this is one of those critical times when you find out just how dedicated you are. Hopefully I can have the strength to force myself to return to the original discipline that I started this project with and which has carried me so far already. That's what I'll be focusing on for the next couple days anyway.

I picked this up over at Bill Rini's blog. Not sure how it works, or what it means, but apparently you have to be a genius to understand my blog, so if you're reading this, congratulations.

Hmm... Let the viral advertising spread...

cash advance

Pocket jacks, like queens, kings and aces, are always a fresh sight when you turn up the edges of your cards, but lately I've been getting a little more uneasy at the sight of those knaves.

Your first instinct when you see those young men staring lazily back at you is to get your money in the pot as quickly as possible so that you can start raking in the returns. Jacks, like any high pocket pair feel so invincible since you've already made a hand and so you've got to be ahead of almost every other hand out there preflop.

But when you think about the possible flop scenarios that could happen, perhaps jacks aren't quite as invincible as they first look.

There are 103,776 possible flop combinations (48*47*46) when you consider the 50 cards in the deck you have yet to see minus the other two jacks which would give you a set. Of those 103,776, there are 50,616 (38*37*36) possible flop combinations that don't include at least one ace, king or queen, leaving you 1:2.05 odds of flopping top possible pair or a set. When compared to 1:1 for aces, 1:1.13 for kings and 1:1.5 for queens, the jacks are suddenly not looking quite so hot.

Of course this doesn't take into account the fact that by raising preflop you should only be going up against one or two other players on the flop at which point you have good odds that they won't improve. But the problem is, by raising preflop you can be relatively certain that when they do improve you will be beat, which leaves you in the same situation as any other low pocket pair.

The main reason that high pocket pairs are so lucrative is because you can often make a good amount off of someone flopping top pair when you've still got them beat. But as your pair gets lower, the odds of you still having top pair on the flop get smaller and smaller. At a certain point you have to treat all low pocket pairs the same because you are simply playing them cheap for a chance to hit trips or fold.

Playing pocket pairs with overcards on the board is a very tough situation to be in. You can't really count your ability to outplay your opponent in the strength of the hand, and so basically you can only really consider your odds of flopping top pair when considering whether to raise preflop with a pocket pair.

Of course this doesn't take into account the million other reasons why you might raise preflop, and only considers your expected value based purely on odds. As many a wise man has said before me, in poker you play your opponent, not your cards, but it is good to at least understand your odds in every situation.

As such, I've become much more tentative about playing pocket jacks hard preflop. I think they are probably much more lucrative when played cheaply preflop because you don't really have the correct odds to hit top possible pair on the flop, and so most of the time they will end up in the same position as any low pocket pair after the flop.

Wow, I can't believe I just discovered this post on the 2+2 Forums. I don't think I've ever read all the way through a 30+ page post before, but this one is definitely worth it. Here's a key quote:

DO THE MATH MORAN! POCKET PAIR OUTS: 2. OVERCARD OUTS: 6. 2:6=1:3. OVERCARDS ARE A 3:1 FAVORITE.

Here's one from an excellent article over at Four Queens Poker titled The Weak Tight Disease:

How strong [your hand] is, should not be determined using some chart. What you really consider is the value of your hand relative to what the other players hold.

I recently suggested that Digg needs a poker category for poker related articles. For some reason there has already been quite a bit of resistance to this idea from the Digg community. My understanding of this resistance is that it is a reaction to all the poker related spam that currently surfaces on Digg.

Unfortunately due to the fact that there is no poker category, people who would post legitimate poker articles don't bother because there is no category to post them in and so the only people who are posting poker related links on Digg are the spammers who tend to be a bit more determined than your average user.

This means that the only contact with the poker world that the Digg community experiences is at the hands of spammers whom they viciously hate.

I understand that the poker industry is full of promotions and advertising and that it has it's fair share of spammers (if not more so than other industries), but that doesn't mean that there aren't tons of interesting legitimate articles out that there as well that would make the Digg community a more diverse and interesting place.

What makes Digg such an amazing website is that it embraces community and diversity and allows the community decide what it wants to see and what it wants to bury. But what really makes it successful is the fact that it isn't just a collection of the most popular articles on the web, it actually allows the user to find the most popular articles in areas that the user is interested in.

Without categories, Digg is another list of popular websites that doesn't really serve the needs of the community. If you want to read articles on Apple, you can find them in the Apple category even if they weren't popular enough to make the front page. If you want to read articles on the upcoming election, there is even a category for that.

But if you want to read articles about poker, you have to use the search function, which is fine except for the fact that there aren't really any legitimate poker articles on Digg because people can't figure out which category to post them in.

With a category dedicated to poker, not only would you suddenly see all the legitimate websites and articles suddenly being posted, but people reading other categories wouldn't have to deal with the poker spam that currently plagues categories that have nothing to do with poker.

With a poker category you could let the people interested in poker deal with the poker spam, and you would be providing them with the same right to the great Digg that we all love by providing a category for them to post and find articles.

So please, to all you people out there who think that having a poker category on Digg would be bad for the community, please remember that the community isn't just the majority, or even limited to it's current members. The Digg community is the group of all people who have a legitimate use for the website, and as such we would be doing many people a disservice by continuing to deny them a place to post and find great poker articles.

Poker on Digg

**Editors Note** There has been some resistance to this idea from the current Digg community. Please see my response: An Open Letter to the Digg Community: Why Digg Needs a Poker Category.

I'm a big fan of Digg for finding interesting articles relating to technology and politics, but I've noticed that when it comes to poker, Digg just plain sucks.

The poker community doesn't seem to have embraced Digg as a means to find and promote interesting articles relating to poker, and I think that the main reason is that there is no real category for poker on Digg, and as such people are often confused as to which category to submit to. Some stories end up in Gaming > Playable Web Games, others in Sports > Other Sports, and even some in Offbeat News just to name a couple. I think that if there were an actual category on Digg specifically for poker we would find that there is quite a large online poker community ready to embrace Digg as a way to find and promote the best websites and news relating to poker.

As it stands now, there are several forums where poker aficionados find their poker news, but for the most part it is quite diluted across the web and there is really no central location that makes finding and promoting the best poker articles easy in the way that Digg does for other genres.

One of the great things about Digg is that they embrace the community and shape the website around what the community wants. I think that if we get the poker community interested in having a poker category on Digg and get enough people to push Digg to make it happen they will surely make it happen.

I am going to send an email to Digg to see if we can get a poker category added to Digg. I will suggest that they place it as a subcategory of both the Gaming and Sports categories. Before I send it though I want to get some proof that there are enough people interested in this. If you would like to be able to use Digg to find interesting poker articles, please Digg this story to show your support. Once there are 100 diggs I will write to Digg to let them know.

I'm still less than 24 hours into the Hammer Challenge, but the Hammer has already climbed to the top of my hand rankings list with a whopping return of 2.3! Granted I have only logged 5 hands, so it's not exactly a scientific sampling but it's still pretty cool to see just how important playing situation really is. It's certain to round itself out pretty quickly after a couple losses get factored in, but for now it's flying high.

Here's a great one from PokerTart in an awesome write-up about her recent Aussie Millions adventure:

And that’s when I realized that I was actually trying to outplay these guys. How stupid! That’s not how I won my way here, that’s not how I survived the days leading up to the final table…I made my way here by relying on my natural gift – lucksackery!


The whole post had me literally rolling over. Definitely worth a read.

Just out of curiosity I'm going to start playing the hammer (72o) in cash games from now on and track my results to see if I can actually bring in a positive return. This should be an excellent lesson in reading the other player and playing the situation correctly versus just playing your cards. I've gotten myself way to odds focused lately, so hopefully this can get me thinking about situational play and reading my opponent more.

Here are some rules I'm going to lay down for myself to keep this under control:

  1. This challenge only applies to cash games. Play the hammer as usual in tournaments.

  2. Fold to the first raise, whether before your action or after your raise.

  3. Never make more than one stab at the pot after the flop unless you think the guy is on a draw.

There it is, pretty simple. These rules should keep me from doing anything too stupid with it, and even if it holds me back a bit, folding to a reraise only gives me better odds of getting my strong hands paid off later.

I'll post updates on where I stand periodically. I've also set up my hand tracker so that it can be viewed publicly. You can follow my Hammer Challenge progress there: PokerGeni.us

Current Bankroll: $2 - 1.4M Play Chips

I just reached a new personal record in Full Tilt's 2700-player $100 Freeroll. Played a real solid night before taking a bad loss late in the game and finding myself in blinds trouble with 32 left. I dropped to 28K with the blinds at 5K and had to push preflop with pocket 8s. Big stack called and hit an ace on the turn to send me packing.

It was a really great learning experience. I had previously not taken these huge multi-table freerolls very seriously because the game play is so loose and crazy early on and it takes so long to get anywhere near the money, but after experiencing the play later in the game I think they are actually a really good way to practice your multi-table tourney game. Once the 2600 or so donks donk themselves out you are left with a group of really solid poker players who know how to make a good game interesting.

I'm still a bit disappointed at having just missed the bubble, but I'm glad I was able to experience what these large freerolls can really be. I'll definitely be setting aside more time for these tournaments when I can. It took me 4 hours to reach 32 players left, so it was definitely a huge time investment, but the game play towards the end made it all worth it.

It's good to be able to feel excited about something after a tough loss like that, especially after busting in the 500K Play Chip $40 Freeroll earlier in the night, but it's good to have positive momentum going forward into the next couple days. I may still be in the murky depths of a nearly non-existent bankroll, but I'm gaining so much experience in the process I can't help but feel like I am on an inevitable trend upwards.

When you are sitting in 16th place with 21 left and the bubble is at 18 you probably still want to at least see a flop with pocket kings, but if the next pay increase is at 2nd place and you are in position to basically fold your way into the money, it's probably not worth it to risk your tournament life for a chance to pick up some more chips. No matter how big the pot is, it will never be large enough to offset the risk of missing the money, even if the risk is minimal. Those extra chips won't do much to increase your chances of reaching the next pay-out level, and so putting any amount of risk on your tournament life in this situation is a negative expected value in the long run. Fold your kings, and probably even your aces.

Somehow that sage advice is always harder to follow in the heat of the action though. I played a great game through the 500K Play Chip $40 Freeroll on Full Tilt tonight. It was a bit of a roller-coaster ride when a guy pushed all-in in front of me for about two-thirds my stack and I couldn't fold my pocket aces. He hit a flush on the river and sent me into survival mode. I played some excellent poker though and managed to work my way back up to 16th place with 21 players left when my kings showed up. I naturally couldn't resist calling a big raise from a big stack in front of me who had been playing real aggressive and taking advantage of the extremely tight play this close to the bubble. I didn't take the time to fully analyze the situation like I did above, and had I done that I easily would have folded my way into the money, but no, I acted rashly in the heat of the moment with what on the surface looks to be a good opportunity. Sure I probably had him beat by a mile, but that's not the point. It's really irrelevant that he had pocket 9s and hit his set on the flop because the outcome in poker is never under your control. You can only control your own decisions and actions, and this one was clearly a bad one. I may have had the odds to not get busted most of the time, but at that point in the tournament even a 5% chance of busting out is way too high a risk to take with almost any possible return given the distance to the next pay-out increase..

I've got a discussion going over at Raise the River about this hand if you're interested.

They say tournament play is all about situation, and this hand proves that more than anything else. It's not worth crying over bad beats unless you can learn from the situation, so hopefully I've learned a good lesson while the stakes are still only $2. Although $2 is like a million bucks for my bankroll right now :)

So much for my streak of 5-straight cashes in this nightly tournament. It's always good to recognize that it was my bad decision that cost me the game tonight though. Always recognizing errors and improving on my play is what this bankroll challenge is all about, so at least I've gained something valuable tonight.

On another positive note, I'm currently sitting at 73 of 170 in one of the huge 2700 player tourneys on Full Tilt so it looks like I may break my record of 75th. Who knows, maybe there's a couple dollars in store for my bankroll tonight after all. I'll post an update on that one in a bit if things go well.

Current Bankroll: $2 - 1.9M Play Chips

I've been real busy over the last week and haven't had much time to play. I managed to get in some quality time on the weekend to build my play chip stack back up at Full Tilt, but didn't have a chance to take part in the nightly 500K Play Chip $40 Freeroll until tonight. Despite being up for a solid 32 hours when the tournament started I managed to stay awake and play some solid poker. Continued my streak of cashes in this tournament to 5, giving me 6 out of 8 since I started recording my finishes at the end of October. Not bad stats at all for a freeroll when you consider the other options out there. I still have yet to cash in any other freerolls, despite getting some good shots. The big ones just seem to have way too much luck involved with the extremely loose-aggressive style of play, so I'm perfectly happy eking it out in the $40 Play Chip Freeroll.

I'm going to wait until I've got a full table buy-in at the $.05/$.10 tables at Full Tilt before taking another stab at the real money side. I think I really need to give myself more time to adjust to the other side before busting out each time, so hopefully if I limit myself to only buying in with the table max each time I should be able to withstand any nasty swings and finally pull out of these murky depths.

The Hammer

I was in the middle of one of the $100 Freerolls over at Full Tilt when I started falling asleep and decided to hit the sack. So I pushed all in with the first hand that came up. Ended up taking down AKo with the Hammer 72o hitting a full house. I kind of feel bad for the guy, but then again what was he doing going all in preflop with 100*BB stack?

Ouch

Current Bankroll: $0 - 1.1M Play Chips

So much for staying up. Picked up another session later this evening, and despite playing real solid through several tough hands I managed to run myself into a wall and bust out again in one hand:



Now I probably overplayed my AJo here, but up until my over-bet on the turn I actually think I played it pretty well. I was pretty confident my AJ was the best hand after I paired my ace on the flop so I attempted to set a trap by checking. After the raise I figured a reraise would tell me best where I was at because if he had hit a set he would push back pretty strong. He only called so I figured I could safely put him on an ace with a poor kicker because he would have folded with nothing and reraised with anything stronger.

My mistake was getting way too aggressive on the turn and trying to push him off his hand there. This was a bad play regardless of the outcome because I figure I've already got him beat so I should have been betting small to draw more money out of him rather than pushing him out of the pot. A large bet meant that he would fold any hand that I had beat and call only with a hand that would beat me. Considering I was putting him on weak ace, I should have considered the 4 kicker which gave him a straight. Unfortunately I played way too fast and didn't even see the straight possibility.

Of course it's easy to analyze this in hindsight and the straight is much more obvious now that it ever could have been during the hand, but regardless of what he ended up having, I think I should have played the turn much more slowly giving him a chance to push back if he had a strong hand. Never push with a medium hand to the point where only a better hand can call you. It's a lesson learned that I won't soon forget.

Now it's back to square one, building back up my play chip stack and taking on the freeroll. I just hope that I am learning enough from all these mistakes I'm making to keep improving my game so that I'll eventually get past the bust-out-zone. It's pretty frustrating to keep ending back up on the bottom regardless of how well I do for a period in between.

On the bright side, I finally found the poker hand replay site I had been looking for, so I'll be posting more hand replays in the future...

Moving Up

Current Bankroll: $8.20 - 1.1M Play Chips

Apparently the lowest limit games at Full Tilt are $.25/$.50 so needless to say I was forced to continue playing at the lower limit $.05/$.10 no-limit tables. I picked up another $2 in last night's 500K Play Chip $40 freeroll, but didn't have time to put it into use last night. Today seemed to be the perfect time though. I played some really solid poker for 4 hours and managed to quadruple my bankroll to just over $8. I managed to avoid getting into any tricky situations, but I was still able to make some good steals and really didn't take any big hits all night. I'm sure the variance is bound to even out over the next couple of sessions, but hopefully I've built up a big enough stack to avoid busting out again.

I really felt on top of things today and hopefully my new confidence will continue to bring me good results. I took some hits at the play chip tables last night so my play chip stack is seriously lacking if I'm going to have to make another stab at the nightly freeroll. But I'm sitting at the highest point in my bankroll since I won that $1 tourney back in mid October, and I feel like I'm finally on an upswing that I can sustain. I know that I'm still low enough to lose it all quickly if I'm not careful, but hopefully I've learned enough about that to avoid it this time around. We'll have to see how the next few days go...

Ace Filled Dreams has decided to start playing more limit holdem instead of no limit. He has written up an interesting post detailing his reasons why, and it got me thinking that limit is really where I should be focusing my efforts for my small bankroll game on the cash side. While playing no-limit with only 20 times the BB is really tough to build up on, such a small stack is not nearly as disadvantaged in limit games because you are never going to have the option to push huge amounts in anyway so you are not losing anything by not holding the table maximum.

I haven't played much limit holdem, but I think I'm going to give it a go to see if it is a better way to maximize my odds of moving out of the short stack position without continually busting out again. I'll give it a shot tonight if all goes well in the 500K Play Chip $40 Freeroll at Full Tilt and see if I can come up with some good strategies to make it pay.

A Bumpy Ride

Current Bankroll: $0 - 1.75M Play Chips

Well due to the disappearance of the $1 tourneys at Full Tilt Poker I've been trying my hand at the $.05/$.10 table games. I thought I had finally gotten the hang of it when a series of bad beats stripped me of my limited bankroll way too fast. I'm still not sure if I made some mistakes or if I was just unlucky, but needless to say I was back to square one with an empty bankroll.

Soon enough I got myself another $2 in tonight's 500K Play Chip $40 Freeroll at Full Tilt Poker, but I just couldn't make it happen at the cash tables. I hit a terrible streak with the cards and just wasn't ready to risk my bankroll with junk, so I ended up folding my way down to $1.05 before getting it all in with AQo against 88. I hit my ace on the turn but busted to a completed straight on the river.

I'll have to consider if maybe I should wait until I have a larger bankroll built up from the freerolls before hitting the cash tables, but I actually felt like taking a hit-or-miss stab at it with a small bankroll isn't that bad of a strategy considering I am bound to double up eventually, and as long as I can play it smart enough once that starts happening I should be able to get a more consistent uptick. It's just really tough to play at a table where you feel completely short-stacked and holding on to every penny but I guess that's just something I'll have to overcome now that the $1 tourneys are gone...

Current Bankroll: $6.90 - 1.7M Play Chips

Ok, so I lied. I actually had some time to play today before I had to leave for the weekend. Apparently Full Tilt has gotten rid of all the small buy-in SnGs other than one $2 180-player SnG. So I guess I'm going to have to scrape it out at the low limit cash tables instead. I played for a bit at a $.10/$.05 table and pulled out a nice $2.15 profit. Didn't run into any tough situations though and won every pot I made a stab at, so I don't know if I was getting lucky or I was just picking my situations right. Either way it's nice to be on the upswing. Hopefully I can continue to work my way up after I get back from the weekend.

Current Bankroll: $4.75 - 1.65M Play Chips

Picked up another 2 bucks in the 500K Play Chip $40 Freeroll at Full Tilt tonight. Went for a stab at the $1 tourneys playing one 45-player and one double stacked 90-player. Got some good early starting hands in both of them but both times it was followed by a long dull streak that sapped me right back down. Perhaps I settled in and became too passive after picking up a cushion early on, I'm not sure. Placed 15th in the 45-player and 28th in the 90-player. The bubble is at 6th and 18th respectively.

I can't really complain about my play in the 45 player, I just couldn't keep myself out of blind trouble and then lost a coin flip when it came time to push. As for the 90-player though I was a bit disappointed. I played really well all the way through until I decided to make a push with QT after hitting ten high on the flop. Mind you 3 other players had limped and it had been checked to me on the flop. I bet 3/4 of the pot cutting my stack by about a third. I figured this would give me a chance to still get out if someone jammed, but when two of them folded and the 3rd raised it up I couldn't help but jam because he had been playing it so passively and he had been quite aggressive otherwise all night. I guess his passivity should have made me more cautious if anything because I completely misread him. He turned over pocket kings and needless to say my pair of tens didn't pull through.

I was pretty surprised to see pocket kings after no raises both preflop and after the flop. I really wonder how I could have put him such a strong hand given he was an aggressive player (playing 56% of the time and raising 10% of the 39 hands I saw) limping and then attempting to raising my raise. It had all the signs of a classic steal. Perhaps the slowplaying should have tipped me off, and the fact that I had a really tight image at the table should have made it less likely that he was attempting a steal.

But the thing that really irks me is that I made a good raise with a mediocre hand giving myself a chance to get out if I got jammed. But when it came down to it I couldn't get out of the way when the raise came. Granted I did make an educated decision, the risk was just way too great for such a call to really pay off even with a good read. There were just way too many hands that could have beaten me even if he didn't have a killer pocket pair. I actually put him on T9 or some other junky kicker, because I figured he would have raised preflop with anything stronger. Of course I should have also considered the likelihood of trips since that is what his raise probably screams of the most. But all-in-all I should have been able to make the disciplined fold and maintained a decent chip standing in the tournament. Sure I would have been approaching blind trouble, but not soon enough to risk my whole stack on such a call.

I guess I am happy that I played so well overall, and even though I got trapped in such a nasty situation I'm glad I was able to make a real solid, educated decision even if it was the wrong one. Just thinking hands through before acting is the first step, so hopefully I can learn from this and figure out how to avoid such a situation in the future. I guess I'll be more careful next time an aggressive player slowplays and then pops my raise. Perhaps it's not as blatant a steal as it looks.

Unfortunately I'm going to be gone over the weekend so no more poker for me until next week. Hopefully I can come back focused and ready to take on the cash side again. Until then, keep the felt warm for me mates!