Good weekend of poker

I had a pretty good weekend at the poker tables. Nothing incredible, but I had decent results.

I played a total of 12 tournaments–11 online and one live. I cashed in four of them and made one final table (the live tourney was a one-table tournament, so no final table points for that one). My online ROI was 140% and my live ROI was 243% for a total weekend ROI of 171%. It was nice to have a good weekend online since it had been over three weeks since I cashed in any tournaments.

All in all, I played very well this weekend and I think the results don’t reflect my performance. I made some very good plays and those plays allowed me to accumulate chips to weather some pretty bad beats. My instincts were good and I played solid, patient poker. I’m also playing very well on the bubble, and not playing to eke into the money (I busted 245 in one tournament where 243 paid when I made a good situational play and just got unlucky; I could’ve easily folded into the money).

In 12 tournaments, I lost 10 all-ins where I was at least a 75% favorite when the money went in. That’s just a rough run of luck and I was pretty fortunate to survive as many times as I did.

This was a pretty interesting hand from one of my online tournaments: We were down to 245 (of 1405) players and 243 spots paid. I had about 5K chips and the blinds were at 200/400-25 (or something like that). It was folded around to two off the button who raised it to 1200 and the CO smooth-called. Both players had stacks about like mine, but maybe a little bit deeper. Since we were on the bubble, and it was folded around to the hijack, he could have a very wide range of hands. Even a tight player will be raising a reasonable range of hands there (I’d say at least ATs+, KJ+, 77+) and a good player will be raising with a lot more hands. The smooth-call by the button smelled like AK to me, but there are a few lesser hands he could have (AQ, KQs, maybe a medium pair). It’s easy to restrict his range so much because of his stack-size. If he had a really big hand (JJ+) he would almost have to re-raise given the stack-sizes and the fact that there are still three players to act behind him. If he had a mediocre hand (AT, AJ, 55, KT, QJ), he’d almost have to fold for the same reasons. I had 99 on the button and moved in. The blinds folded, the original raiser moved in (uh oh) and the CO called (double uh oh). The original raiser had JJ and CO had AK. JJ held up and I was out.

I was pretty upset with my play after this hand but, the more I think it, the more I think it was the right play. Hijack’s JJ was a much better hand than he needed to raise there, and my read that the CO had AK was accurate. Most of the time, my all-in will isolate me against the CO getting 7-to-5 on my money as a 55% favorite.

I think the AK really misplayed his hand here. He ended up calling off his whole stack with AK, sandwiched between a raiser and a re-raiser. AK is a good hand, but it’s the kind of hand that I want to make the last move with. If he’s going to play AK in that spot (and he should), then he needs to move in to isolate against the initial raiser. If I had folded, the SB would’ve been getting about 3.4-to-1 to call. If the SB had folded, the BB would’ve been getting about 4.25-to-1 to call. Those are tempting odds for the blinds to call and get lucky. The bottom line is that he should be playing this hand for all his chips (his M is only about 8 before the hand starts) and AK is a hand best played heads-up.

EDIT: I played again tonight (Monday) and had a pretty decent night. I played three tourneys and made one final table (took third). Of course, I busted from one tourney when I got the money in as better than a 70% favorite, but that seems to be standard. My overall ROI for the night was almost exactly 100%.

$70 tourney recap

I don’t typically do my recap immediately after a tournament, but this one will be so short, I might as well get it out of the way.

During the first two levels, my table was doing a lot of limping, so I joined the party. I made trips twice (once with A8o on a board with two Eights, once with A4s on a board with two Aces) and won medium pots with both of them. I also flopped a lot of big draws (two nut flush draws, two OESDs to the nut straight) in big, multi-way pots, but didn’t hit any of them. I turned a double gutshot straight draw once and bluffed the river, but got called by second pair. I was just below even after the first two levels.

Blinds were 100/200 and I was in the CO with KQs. MP1 raised it to 600 and I flat-called. Everyone else folded. Flop was JT9 with two spades. He checked, I checked. Turn was a 6. He checked, I bet 700, he called. River was a 6. If he bet, I would just call since I thought it was possible he was slowplaying a set. Instead, he checked, I bet 1K, he called. He said he had AJo. This hand put me up to about 16.5K.

Blinds were 100/200 and I had TT in the BB. Three people limped (all very loose players), the SB completed and I raised it to 1200 total. The first two limpers (MP1 and MP2) called and everyone else folded. The flop was A8x. I hated to see that Ace as I was sure at least one of my opponents had an Ace. I decided to check and see what happened. I basically planned to fold, but I was open to other options. MP1 checked, MP2 bet out 1K and it was back to me. I took a read on MP2 that he was weak and it looked to me like MP1 had a weak Ace and that he didn’t like MP2’s bet. I decided to check-raise bluff to 4K total with the intention of getting MP1 to fold he scared Ace and MP2 to fold because he was bluffing. Sure enough, MP1 folded, but MP2 called. I’m done with the hand if no Ten comes off. Turn was a Queen and we went check, check. River was another King and we went check, check. He showed down A9o. I was pretty shocked that 1) he called pre-flop for 6 BB and 2) that he called a large check-raise on the flop. He was obviously looser than I thought. I was down to about 10K.

A few hands later, we went on our first break.

I played one hand in the 200/400 level. Everyone folded to me in the CO and I had A3o. I raised it to 1200 and only the BB called. The flop was AQ9 with two clubs. The BB checked, I bet 1500, he check-raised to 4500 and I folded.

Blinds were 300/600 and I was UTG+1 with AQo. UTG limped, I moved in and everyone folded.

Blinds were 300/600 and everyone folded to me in the BB with KQo. We took our second break a couple hands later.

First hand after the second break, the blinds went up to 500/1000 and we were playing eight-handed. Everyone folded to me on the button and I moved in for about 6000 with K2o. The BB was extremely short-stacked and should’ve called with any two cards, so I normally wouldn’t have moved in in this situation. But, he was a very inexperienced player, so I knew he’d fold most of his hands. Sure enough, he folded and I stole the blinds.

We were seven-handed and the blinds were still 500/1000, I got AQo UTG and moved in for 7400 total. UTG+1 took a couple seconds and said, “I’ll call you.” Everyone else folded to the BB who reluctantly folded (I think he had a small pocket pair). UTG+1 showed ATo. Unfortunately, the flop was KTx and I didn’t improve. I busted 23/33 without ever getting my stack over 16.5K.

I had one pocket pair–TT–and had AQo twice. Other than that, I basically had no cards. It was a very frustrating tournament and I was kind of glad it was over, although busting with AQo vs. ATo isn’t my ideal way to go out. As I think back on the tournament, my biggest enemy was probably the fast blind structture. We started with a generous 15K in chips, but we skipped a lot of blind levels. We started at 25/50 and it went 50/100, 100/200, 200/400, 300/600, 500/1000 and then I busted. So, we skipped the 75/150, 150/300 and 400/800 levels. Starting with 15K chips is nice, but the starting stack is only meaningful in light of the blind structure, which was very fast for this tourney. The only hand I think I might’ve played differently was the TT hand. But even with the 4K chips I check-raised into that pot, I only would’ve had 11.5K before the last hand, which would’ve been an M of almost 8.

Just busted out of $215 super sat to WSOP ME

Just busted out of $215 super sat to WSOP ME

Yesterday, I played a Party Poker $5 re-buy satellite to a $215 super sat to the WSOP Main Event. I just busted out of the $215 super satellite. 439 people were entered, top eight spots got a seat to the Main Event. By the first break, I had turned my 3K starting stack into over 11K through very solid play. I was mixing it up and getting my opponents to put their whole stacks at risk when they were often drawing dead or nearly dead. After the first break, I went totally card dead and didn’t win a pot for over 25 minutes. My 11K dwindled to about 4.5K and the blinds were 200/400, so I was in trouble. I caught some cards and made some good pre-flop moves to re-build my stack to over 11K. The blinds and antes went up to 300/600, so I was getting short stacked again when this hand came up.

READS: Really, the two significant reads are on the CO and BB. CO had been constantly open-raising for 5-8x the BB. BB had been regularly calling his (and everyone else’s) raises. CO and BB had been involved in many, many pots and had essentially been moving chips back and forth acrosss the table. The reason my stack dwindled to 4500 earlier was that I simply never had a chance to enter a pot. I didn’t catch any cards, CO opened almost every unopened pot and, if I was lucky enough to have it folded around to me, then BB would usually call my raise. This forced me to tighten up quite a bit.

That being said, the table would often walk to the BB on his blind (either because they didn’t want to play a maniac or because they simply didn’t have cards). Every time it had been folded to me, I had completed the SB or folded and he had yet to raise from the BB. Unfortunately, I hadn’t won any of these confrontations because he wouldn’t fold post-flop and I never connected. Lately, though, BB had been tightening up a bit (either because he was card dead–and it’s hard to imagine which cards he would deem unplayable–or because he had accumulated enough chips and he was ready to buckle down and play poker). I decided that if the table walked to us in the blinds again, I would raise his BB to 3x BB with any two cards. I needed chips and breaking even in the blinds for an orbit would buy me some time.

As for my post-flop read on BB, I noticed that he would bet small or call when he had nothing or a draw (depending on whether he was out of position or not). He would bet big or raise when he had connected with the flop. He would often call the flop and always bet the turn if checked to. I don’t think I had seen him check behind on the turn yet. He had folded once on the flop to a standard continuation bet I made after he called my pre-flop raise in middle position. This was a few orbits ago and, as I said, he seemed to be playing a little tighter since then.

Party Poker No-Limit Hold’em Tourney, Big Blind is t600 (9 handed) Hand History Converter Tool from (Format: HTML)

saw flop|saw showdown

BB (villain) (t13802)
UTG (t10614)
UTG+1 (t6872)
MP1 (t7393)
MP2 (t360)
MP3 (t240)
CO (t17261)
Button (t5670)
SB (Hero) (t10359)

Preflop: Hero is SB with Jd, 7h.
7 folds, SB (Hero) raises to t1800, BB (villain) calls t1200.

Flop: (t3600) Ts, 2d, 5c (2 players)
SB (Hero) bets t2000, villain calls t2000.

Turn: (t7600) 7s (2 players)
SB (Hero) checks, villain bets t2838, SB (Hero) raises to 6559 and is all-in , villain calls t3721.

River: (t14159) Kc (2 players)

Final Pot: t14159


villain has Ah 7c (one pair, sevens).
Hero has Jd 7h (one pair, sevens).
Outcome: villain wins t14159.

Although I busted from the tournament, I’m very pleased with how I played this hand. I think my pair of sevens is good here about 75% of the time or more. I made a good read and just got unlucky that 1) He connected with the board at the same time I did and 2) he called an all-in check-raise with second pair after I’d raised (for the first time) from the SB pre-flop, led the flop for just over 1/2 pot and then check-raised all-in on the turn.

Here are my thoughts, street by street:

Pre-flop: I covered this pretty well above. I decided to raise with any two if the table walked to our blinds. His call told me very little except maybe that he didn’t have 72o. I had been hoping that he was tightening up and I wanted to see what he’d do if I raised his BB.

Flop: I consider this a very good flop considering 1) His calling range pre-flop was very, very wide and 2) this is a very dry board. I’m hoping he called with a weak Ace, two broadway, maybe some medium suited connectors or one-gappers pre-flop and it’s very likely this flop totally missed his hand. I typically make a continuation bet of about 1/2 pot here, so I bet 2000. When I made the bet, I was obviously hoping he’d fold. I decided that if he raised I was done with the hand and if he called and I didn’t improve on the turn, I was done with the hand. Sure enough, he called.

I decided that he did not have a Ten since he was pretty aggro and would’ve likely min-raised with top pair here. Since there’s no obvious draw on board, I figure he either has a 2, 5, 34 (very unlikely) or air. I also allowed for the tiny possibililty that he had 22 or 55 and was slowplaying a set.

Turn: Viola! I made second pair on a dry board and I’m convinced second pair is good here. If he had 88+, he would’ve raised me by now. If he had a Ten, he would’ve raised the flop. If he had a 5 or 2, I’m ahead. If he called the flop with 34 (or any other “draw”), he just missed. If he had some kind of suited connectors (56, 67, 78, 89), I’m way ahead. If he has a set of twos or fives, well, then he has a set of twos or fives. If he had absolutely nothing, he likely still has absolutely nothing. I know that he’ll always bet the turn if I check to him and I know a small bet typically means he’s weak. My plan is to check-raise him all-in Unless he makes a pot-size bet, in which case I’ll have to re-evaluate.

I check, he makes a weak bet of about 1/3 pot, which is my cue to move in. My stack is a little more than 1/2 the pot and I want to get the money in now in case he has two overs or some kind of draw to two-pair or a straight. This is a value-bet and I don’t really care if he folds or calls.

Of course he insta-calls and turns over A7o and I’m drawing to three outs. That’s poker.

For grins, I gave my opponent a reasonable range of hands (for him) on the turn to see what my equity against his range of hands was. Basically, I gave him any Ace, all connectors, any two broadway and small pairs 22-66. I think I was pretty generous with this range since it includes several unlikely hands that have me crushed (AT, KT, QT, JT, T9). According to PokerStove, I had 70% equity against this range of hands:

Text results appended to pokerstove.txt

142,956 games 0.090 secs 1,588,400 games/sec

Board: Ts 2c 5c 7s

equity (%) win (%) tie (%)
Hand 1: 29.4713 % 29.47% 00.00% { 66-22, A2s+, KTs+, QTs+, JTs, T9s, 98s, 87s, 76s, 65s, 54s, 43s, 32s, A2o+, KTo+, QTo+, JTo, T9o, 98o, 87o, 76o, 65o, 54o, 43o, 32o }
Hand 2: 70.5287 % 70.53% 00.00% { J7o }

I don’t know if any poker players read this thing, but if you do and you have any thoughts on this hand, let’s hear ’em!

EDIT: The guy that busted me ended up winning one of the seats to the $10K WSOP ME. I watched a bit of the final table and I literally couldn’t believe what I saw. This was one of several “interesting” hands that I saw in the 10 minutes I observed the final table:

They were down to 9 players and 8 players win a $10K seat to the WSOP ME. There is no other prize. The only goal is to finish in the top eight. On the last hand, the short-stack called all-in UTG for about 1/4 the BB. A few players folded, two players called, another player folded, another player called, the SB completed and the BB checked. The flop came down Q92 with two clubs. Everyone checked. The turn was a Ten of spades. Everyone checked. The river was a blank. A couple players checked, a player min-bet, a player folded, two more players called. The min-bettor turned up JJ, one of the callers showed KK and won both the side- and main-pots.

Unbelievable! These people just won a $10,000 seat into the Main Event at the World Series of Poker. I’m not sure I really understood the term “dead money” until now.


$40 live tourney re-cap

My run of crummy cards continues. I’m sure it seems like I’m making excuses, but I can objectively say I’m just running very badly in live tournaments. Anyway, here are the significant hands from today:

Early on, there was a lot of action at my table. The blind structure moved pretty slowly, but it seemed like a lot of the guys wanted to gamble. I just sat back and tried to learn about my opponents (I’d only played with two of them before) for about the first hour. We started with 10K chips and 25/50 blinds, and we played 30-minute levels. There were 21 or 22 guys total and we had 10 at our table. I could see early that there were several LAGs (Loose/Aggressive players) who probably learned most of their poker from TV. They were from the school of poker that says any Ace is good enough to play from any position, hands go WAY up in value if their suited, etc.

Once the blinds reached the third level, I had a good feel for most of the guys at my table. The first “big” hand I played was a blind-defending hand when I was in the BB. It was folded to the CO who min-raised. He’d been playing tight-aggressive poker so far and had picked off a small bluff of mine earlier with a check-raise. I would’ve put him on a very wide range of hands, but his min-raise indicated strength to me (I see people do that a lot when they have a big hand in late position and they don’t want to discourage action with too large a raise). I figured him for a couple big cards or a medium-to-big pocket pair. It was folded to me and I called with Q8s. The flop came down K86 with two of my suit. I checked, he bet half the pot, I moved in, he folded and wasn’t very happy about it. I also noticed that he would try and get me to show my cards by mumbling about my hand (“Of course you catch a King there…”, that kind of thing). I didn’t oblige and mucked as I took down the pot.

Next level, he min-raised my BB again and I called, this time with AQs. In retrospect, I should’ve popped him for a big re-raise right there because I was giving his late-position min-raises too much credit at this point. Anyway, I called and the flop came AAx with two spades (I had hearts). I checked, he bet, I called. Turn was a blank. I checked, he bet, I raised to a little over three times his bet, he folded and mumbled something about “Why do you have to keep getting Aces there.” Of course, I mucked my cards face-down.

A little later, I got AA in Early MP. UTG was new to the table, sort of short-stacked and limped. I briefly considered limping also because the guys behind me liked to raise, but I realized they were probably thinking what I was thinking: UTG is short-stacked and limped UTG, he probably has a hand. Knowing there was only a tiny chance of a raise behind me, I popped it up to 3x the BB. I got one caller behind me and everyone else, including UTG, folded. (As an aside, it turns out UTG is pretty new to poker and was limping just because he had pretty cards. His EP limp meant absolutely nothing as he essentially limped himself right out of the game within a couple orbits). Flop came down pretty ragged, I bet half the pot, and the late position caller basically said he had a medium pocket pair and that he hadn’t flopped his set, so he’d fold. He also said something like, “I missed my set, but I had to call because I knew I’d bust him if I hit it.” Of course, he was wrong because I knew he had a medium pocket pair and was prepared to dump if he started going nuts with raises and such. He probably tried about 20 times to flop a set before he busted out.

By this time, our table is down to 7-handed and I finally start catching some cards–AQs, AJs, AKs–and raising every other pot. I basically doubled my stack and never had to show a hand. I got called a couple times, but they dumped their hands to a continuation bet after the flop. I had raised so much that I started actually folding hands that are typically raise-worthy because I was afraid I’d get action I didn’t want. (For instance, normally 7-handed at a tight table, KJo is good enough to raise with from EP, but because I’d been so active and hadn’t shown any hands, I had to fold it to give my later raises more credibility. There were some pretty big stacks at the table and I didn’t want people to start itching to look me up.)

A few hands after my little rush, I got AQs in the BB. The SB was short-stacked and I’d been picking on him (you can pretty much pick on any player you want at a short-handed table), so I knew it wouldn’t take much of a hand for him to put all his chips in. At this point, the blinds were 400/800 and I had close to 20K chips. He completed in the SB and I raised it up to 2800 (I couldn’t see his stack, but I estimated that was probably about half his stack or a little less; i wanted him to think I was trying to steal and that maybe if he moved in, I would go away). He thought for a second and moved in for 2800 more than my raise (5600 total). I quickly called and he showed A3s. The board came 39933 and he took it down with his quad threes. I think this was a pretty big hand because it meant the difference between me having a stack of about 25K and having a stack of about 15K.

Next hand, I got KJo in the SB, everyone folded to me and I moved in. The BB only had something like 3K chips left. He was frustrated, but eventually folded. I showed my KJo to let the table know I wasn’t just going nuts and raising every hand with junk.

I think I folded every hand until the next time I had the BB. Before this hand, I had about 15K. Everyone folds to the button (previously the CO) who, of course, min-raises me. The SB folds and I decide that I’m willing to make a move with two good cards–any pair 77 or higher, AT or better, KQ, KJ, maybe QJs–but I had a wimpy little J9o. I figured he wasn’t too strong and I was getting good odds, so I went ahead and took a flop. Blinds were 400/800, so there’s now 3600 in the pot. The flop was T94 with two hearts. I flopped middle pair, Jack kicker. I decided to throw out a probe bet and see where I was at. I get 2K, he raised to 5K, I thought and called. I figured I only had 5 outs, but my implied odds were pretty solid if I hit. I figured him for maybe AT, KT, AQ, AJ. I also considered making a move if a heart hit the board because I was sure that it looked like I was drawing. The turn was an 8, giving me an open-ended straight draw. I checked it, he bet 4K. Basically, I figured I was behind here, so I started counting outs: two 9s, three Jacks, four 7s, 4 Queens. I counted them all as full outs because i couldn’t put him on a hand that would take any of those outs from me. So, I have 13 outs, there was 17.6K in the pot and it cost me 4K to see the river. With odds like that, and about 5 or 6K in implied odds, I really only needed 8 or 9 outs to call. It was a tough decision, but I decided to just call. One reason I didn’t make a move was that I was pretty sure I was behind AND I’d made moves (check-raises) on the flop and turn already against this guy in similar situations. I didn’t feel I had any fold equity if I was behind, so I didn’t want to do anything stupid. The river was a 6, making the board T9864. I checked, he moved in, I folded. He told me later that he had T8 for 2-pair. He also told me he had no idea what I had and he was “terrified” of me throughout the hand. What I don’t get is why he kept min-raising my BB even though I’d taken two pots off him when he tried that earlier. I especially don’t get why he would do it with Ten high. I guess he got about 10K of my chips, so more power to him.

So now I’m basically crippled. Five hands later, we move to the final table and we’re back to ten-handed. I fold for the first orbit (I started in the BB) and then, the next time I was UTG, I got dealt A5o. At this point, the blinds were 500/1000, but going up to 700/1400 either the next hand or the one after that. I had about 6300 left, so I was in pretty bad shape. A5o was good enough for a move, so I pushed. It was folded to the SB who called with ATo, which held up and I was out.

An interesting side note: During my rush of cards, when I was stealing pots like made, I played one hand out of position against a bigger stack. I had AJs, made a standard raise and everyone folded to him on the button. He smooth-called, the blinds folded and the flop was KTx, giving me an overcard and a gutshot straight draw. I made a continuation bet of about half the pot, the button studied me for a while and said something like, “I fold to the set.” Later, as we were all heading to the final table, he mentioned the hand. He said that when I bet, he could see something that he interpreted as a tell, and that’s what told him I was really strong. He said he figured I flopped a set because of this tell, so he got out of the way. Of course, I didn’t have a set, or even a pair, so his radar was a little off. I told him I didn’t remember what I had, but I did know that I hadn’t flopped a set all day. I told him I’d had a lot of AQ, AJ type hands, but I didn’t remember that one specifically. I began to realize that this guy is just one of those poker players who constantly expects his opponents to turn over the nuts. That being said, I will pay more attention to the tell he mentioned, just to make sure it isn’t somehow a bluffing tell. I have a feeling that it means nothing since I am pretty much doing the same things every time I’m in a hand.