Jun 23 2009

Reading Souls

Published by under Poker

For those of you who don’t care, this post is gonna be pretty poker heavy. You’ve been warned. But really, who wouldn’t care?

I think I’ve been playing pretty well lately even though I haven’t been getting particularly lucky. For those of you who are going to criticize me for bet sizing, I’m going to defend it by saying I was trying to get thin value as I didn’t think he had much of a hand. How good of a hand could he have had if I had top set? Any way, he hit his 4 outer and I actually thought, could he have AT here? I quickly dismissed that as a small part of his holdings and figured if he had that, then his poor play will put me in a good position to get the money back. It didn’t happen, but this isn’t the hand I wanted to dwell on. Not that I want to dwell on any hand, but you know what I mean.

I had been playing about break even for an hour and there was this really loose players at one of my tables. He’s got a 400bb stack and talking smack with another player who really seems like he’s getting tilty. Any way, the loose player has position on me and in a previous hand got me to fold KK when he was betting strong on an Ace high flop. I called a flop bet and folded the turn to a big turn bet. Since he had been really aggressive and trying to control the table, I decided to give him some rope next time I had KK (yeah, I had a few hands).

There have been a few times where I filter my hands in HEM and see this option to filter limp/raised hands. As a rule, I don’t limp/raise just cause, well, I don’t open limp much at all. But it got me thinking if there were spots where this would be good. I can’t think of a spot better than this. I have a big hand that I would like to play a big pot with. I have a loose, aggressive player to my left who likes to see flops and past him are a bunch of players getting into verbal altercations with the loose player. This has some seriously nice potential if it works out. I decided to limp with intentions of raising if the loose player raised and we got another caller in between. Well, I got half of that plan. The loose player decides to raise to 11x. Unfortunately that healthy raise kinda cleared out the field. I decided to change my plan and since I only had 110bbs to start the hand, I called instead. I didn’t want to chase him off and my hand looks really weak. I think he will try and get me to fold in a lot of spots. So what happens? Fortune smiles down on me, but not one of those “give an old friend a hug” type smiles. No, it was more of a “Look at this fool that I’m going to plant my boot firmly into his balls” kinda smiles.

Yep, there I am staring at yet another Ace high flops. Well, at least I have a back door flush draw. I can have my time at PLO to thank for this small glimmer of hope since PLO is the type of game where you try and find any backdoor draw and jump into the pool of razor blades hoping to come out unscathed. Back to the hand though. I figured I would check and see what he does. He bet small so I figured maybe he was just taking a stab with any pair. I knew I couldn’t raise and not get called by a better hand, so I just called. Come one backdoor draw. Nope. An 8. Sigh. Well, I checked again. Now he fires 33 into like 40. I tanked pretty hard here. Can this dude really hit a hand each time? Yes we know they can. But then I thought a bit more logically. He definitely could have an Ace but I think he could also have garbage just trying to bully me out. The small flop bet was kinda weird, but again, I can’t raise and just get it in as he folds pretty much every non ace or flush draw.

I end up deciding I’m going down with the ship and call. He fires another 55 on the river which was about half pot and was most of my remaining stack. It was a shitty card to bring the flush too. That couldn’t have hit on the turn? FFS. Any way, the plan was to call down once I called the turn, so I pretty much wince and snap call. He showed down 9To. Whew. This was one of the toughest call downs I’ve had to make in a while, cause truth be told, people have been just handing me money at the table lately.

Games are dead? Far from it. They’ve just changed and you have to change to figure out how to get the value out of them in another way. Some may not care for my colorful recap of the hand, so if you want to see how it went, you can check it out.

A little while later at the same table, I played this hand. This was a completely different type of hand. Didn’t really have much of a read on the guy but I’ll go through what I was thinking a bit. Preflop, I make a raise, get called by the cutoff and see a flop that gives me top pair. I continuation bet as normal and get minraised. I’ve been seeing a lot of minraising lately, and it seems to mean different things for different people. I can’t give up on the odds I’m getting, so I call but mostly, I just want to see how he treats the turn. Turn is a king which isn’t a great card but I doubt it changes our hands much but he checks it back. The flop was pretty dry which makes it really hard to put him on many draws, but his play seems to be really odd. River is a 2 blank which, again, I don’t think changes the hand much at all, but he fires again. I tank forever but the hands I’m really worried about, I think either bet the turn or check behind the river which is QJ and AJ type hands. I end up calling since I can’t put him on a hand. Turns out I made a good call. At this point, he rants about how he can’t bluff. I almost told him I woulda folded to a turn bet, which I was totally going to, but decided not to try and improve him game any.

I think the same player made a river bluff on me a few hands later, but that was to be my last hand at the table so didn’t make another miracle call with 99 on a KQxxx board. I think that would have totally put that guy on tilt had I done it correctly, but I was leaving the table and wouldn’t get any tilt value from it.

So yeah, I still ended up having a good night at the table. My month isn’t looking too bad either. Any guesses how life’s going then? Well, I’m trying to concentrate on the good things right now, so I won’t get into that. I guess I just need to play tons more poker and let my worries wash away as I shower myself balla style in 100s. Ok, not really, but it’s a nice thought.

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Dec 07 2008

Self Gifting

Published by under Personal,Poker

Let’s roll back about 4 months ago. I was still playing quite a bit of poker and didn’t have a lot of intentions to stop. Then my laptop broke, I got more responsibilities at work and, of course, there was the birth of cinco. It was difficult to find the time, motivation and a computer to keep up my hobby. Fast forward to a month ago, I had flip flopped and didn’t have a lot of intentions to start playing. A least, not playing with the frequency I had been. Sure, I had been logging in and playing the occasional tourney, but wasn’t putting in thousands of hands a week or month. I probably had 1000 hands between August and October total.

With a few grand tied up in my poker sites and no intention of using it, I decided it might be nice to get some personal upgrades for me and the family. We initially ended up getting a new TV to replace the 27″ tube that we bought more than several years ago with a tax return. We didn’t get anything super great, but I think it was a decent deal.

New TV

It’s a 1080p 42″ Vizio LCD that we got for $700. Now if only my cable company had more HD channels without paying a premium.

The other thing I wanted to do was to get a computer for myself so I could quit dragging my work laptop around. At first, I was looking for just best value I could get in a 15″ monitor. The front runner in that configuration was an Acer. Then fate intervened right when I was about to pull the trigger on that by taking aim at the lifeblood of our family and killed the family vehicle. Our minivan is the only vehicle we have that fits our whole family, and it wasn’t a cheap repair. That’s a frustrating post for another day, though. Basically, I was now stuck in a spot where I knew some extra money would go a long way. How was I gonna do this?

Me: <dials on my cell phone>
Me: Hello, poker?
Me: Yeah, I know we haven’t talked in a while.
Me: I was just busy is all, but hey I’d like to get back together again.
Me: Yeah, I could use some extra money again and we had a good history. You wanna give it a shot?
Me: Ok, cool. Thanks

Changing my usage of my laptop certainly changed my requirements. Like a beam of sun breaking through the clouds directing me to my poker slaying sword, I got led to a gaming laptop from MSI. It arrived friday and while I haven’t played any poker on it yet, I did get it set up and it seems like it will fit nicely.

New Laptop

It’s a 17″ laptop that supports 1680 x 1050 (good enough for 4 tabling), has a core 2 duo 2.1 ghz proc, 3 GB ram and 512 dedicated vram. When I read reviews, it also talked about “fun pack” that came with it but wasn’t clear what exactly was in it from the place I ordered it. Friday I was pleasantly surprised to see that consisted of a mouse, headset, backpack and a copy of Halo 2. As I said, it was geared as a gaming laptop. All this packaged up for $700, seemed like a good deal and right now, feels to be every bit of that.

I know that neither of these items is particularly balla (see baller). Hey, I’m a married 30 something father of 5 with a day job. If there is anything in my life that could be construed as balla, please point it out to me.

Hello poker my old friend. Looks like we are back together again.

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