Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A month in the online blinds (Feb 07)

Undoubtedly my month was saved by a $1560 win in a VC Poker tournament on Feb 23rd. I finished third going out with A-Q v K-K but was happy enough beating out 270 opponents.

Prior to this though the month of Feb has been pretty much a disaster in terms of results. To be fair to myself I generally only play either :

a) $3 / $5 / $10 rebuy events on Stars
b) $24 freezeouts on Full Tilt
c) $18 / $27 rebuy events on VC Poker
d) £10 freezeout events on Willy Hill / DTD Poker
e) $100 freezeouts on Mansion ($100k guaranteed)

The events on Stars show a loss of just over £600, Full Tilt : -£140 approx, Mansion : -£150, Others - £40, VC Poker : +£600.

So for the month of Feb I'm down just over £330! Of course this is considerably better than Januarys £851 defecit so either I'm getting to be a better player or just luckier??

The thing with the rebuy events on Stars is that generally I can cruise along quite happily for 3 hours besting thousands of opponents only then to run into 'set up' hands that occur when close to or just into the money.

My favourites this month include my Q-Q beaten up for $100k by K-K. Flop is 6-7-8...no escape really - 9-9 v 10-10 for $80k on a flop of 2-4-4 - whatever!! and this months favourite is my A-K versus 10-10 on a flop of A-K-7...Q...J!! You gotta larf!

Stars have now kicked off their WSOP satellites and I'll be playing exclusively in the $16 Turbo shootouts for a seat in the $650 Sunday events where theres a 15/1 chance of winning a seat at this years $10k event at the WSOP. I'll let you know how its all going in my next 'Month In The Internet Blinds' post!!

I've given up on Mansion as I cant get better that 143rd nomatter how hard I try and VC Poker are in the process of moving to new software imminently. Should be interesting!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Feb 22nd - Loose Cannons (EC4)

DOUBLE points night tonight down at Loosey Cannons so I decided that if I did no good in the 1st £50 freezeout game I'd play again in the turbo event which would kick off later!

Its been one of those weeks though! Since my K-K outing from last Thursday night on the bubble my best hand has been 9-9 and whilst I appreciate that given the number of hands actually played this 'crap-hand syndrome' is perfectly within normal statistical boundries I still hate it when that happens!!

The first £50 event drew 18 runners, something of a record, and so it was just a case of playing a straight bat, where possible, and hoping to catch some cards.

I grabbed a bounty button off some guy who went all-in for 1100. I called with my A-4 from the BB and hit and Ace. He was at it with 10-7! After that though it was pretty much all downhill.

Lost a bundle when holding 7-7 in LP. Flop was K-6-5 and I bet out 200. Call. Turn another King. I again bet...this time 500. It was mini-raised to 1000. I went all-in. He called and flipped K-Q...lucky fecker! No 7 to save me and I was virtually out.

All-in with 10h-9h and was insta-called by player with A-J. Two Aces on the flop and I was out of game 1.

Game 2 was a turbo event...15 min clock...20 secs to act...20 runners.

Got a nice double up with my K-J out gunned K-Q on a board of K-5-7-J-A but after that it was another piss poor session as the clock ticked by and my hands were not even worth a call with never mind a raise!

My early double through enabled me to sneak to the final 9 but I was desperately short stacked and with blinds at 600-1200 I only had one move...ALL-IN!!

I draw seat 5 for the final table which means my stack of 2500 had to move within 2 hands.

I get Kc-Qc on hand 1 and push. All fold.

Hand 2 I get 8-3 and pass!

Hand 3, on the BB, I get 4-4. Its raised from across the table to 2400 and I steam in. The raiser has a few chips in front of him and calls the extra 1800 or so. He flips J-8.

The flop contains two JACKS and no four comes to save me!

It turned out to be a free night as I won £110 in the cash game there but a loss of £105 on the nights tournaments meant a poor return from this weeks play in general!

Another 10 points for the league though...upto 127 now with just 5 events left before the Grand Final on April 14th.

Entries -> -- - Place -> --- - Loss -> £105 Profit/Loss for 2007 -> +£302
(As from 1st Jan 2007 rate of exchange is calculated at £1 = $1.90)

Feb 20th - £30+£5 NL Hold'Em (Grosvenor - WC1)

My first foay into the Vic for a while proved to be less inspiring than usual.

A healthy 45 runners, or so, for tonights £30 NL Hold'Em which just goes to prove that there's still the interest in this game we love so much!

As always the usual mix of has-beens & wannabes sat down to start but for £30 you only got 1k in chips which basically meant you either had to play tight as a drum in the hope that some of the 40 or so hands played in the 1hr buy in period would prove fruitful or you could gamble it up like a good thing and hope to suck out your opponents on a totally unscientific couple of rags.

For the first 40 mins I managed to tread the middle ground having doubled up in the opening 5 hands when my flush draw got there against top pair.

My next 'all-in' move came when holding the Ah-10h. Mr 'manic' was on his 4th buy-in and lumped in for his next 1k. Lally Khajuria, a regular down at the Vic, flat called behind him and I launched all-in for 2k more! Lally insta-called and flipped A-Q. Nobody improved and it was my first rebuy!

My 2nd and third followed swiftly as with blinds at 50-100 there's not a great deal of thought process involved when you have 1k while the rest of the table has circa 4k each!

My 3rd rebuy lasted all of one hand and so onto my 4th.

Luckily I got A-K and got called for my 1k bet with a K-Q. So I was 2k and a bit as we got to the last hand of the rebuy period.

I look down to see A-J. Now I'd much rather start the 'proper' part of the game with 5k as opposed to 3k (after my add-on) so there wasn't much though involved in going all-in. A guy from across the table said call and threw out a 1k chip. It was then pointed out to him that I'd gone all-in for just over 2k and a certain amount of aggravation appeared on his face!

'Fuck', he stated, 'I didn't want to do that!'. He threw in the remainder, as he was obliged to do so, and flipped A-6.

The board read blah-blah-blah-blah-SIX!!

I left!

Entries -> 45 - Place -> 38th - Loss -> £155 Profit/Loss for 2007 -> +£407
(As from 1st Jan 2007 rate of exchange is calculated at £1 = $1.90)

Friday, February 16, 2007

15th Feb - Loose Cannons (London EC4)

Two games tonight as I didn't do too clever in the 6.30pm I decided to try my hand in the 8.30pm game.

Both were the £50+£5 'bounty' games and as you could put your best score of the two events towards the league then it was a no brainer to play in the 2nd as in the 1st I scored a massive 3 points!!

Game 1:

Thirteen runners for this and as usual it didn't take long to get to the final table of 9.

Early doors I got Kd-6d in the BB and called a tiny raise from across the table to 150. Flop was Kc-6c-9d. EP player bet out 200. There's no way I wasn't ahead here so I raised to 600. EP player decided to push all-in. Of course I called and he flipped K-Q.

The turn and river changed nothing and it left him with 1 100 point chip left.

In the mayhem that followed to grab his bounty button I forgot how to play and bluffed at a pot with Jack high which cost me 2k and no bounty button. Blah!

I reached the 'final 9' with 7k though so wasn't too worried. That was until this happened...

In LP I flat called the 200 BB with Qc-8c. Three of us saw the flop of 7-8-9. A bet of 400 came in from across the table and I flat called. The Qd fell on the turn so I assumed I was ahead and bet out 1500. It was called. The horrible looking 6d fell on the river. If I checked here I'd be giving up the pot so I bet out another 1500.

My opponent sighed and called. To be honest I thought I'd won it but he flipped 9-10 for a rivered straight and I was severely crippled.

A short time later I held the 8d-10d and in a fit of madness I went all-in for 1900. It ended up with 3 others in and when the board settled at Ac-4h-9d-6d-Qc I was out in 9th!!

Game 2:

Eighteen runners and 4 places paid!

Got off to a tremendous start when, on the button, I got K-K and flat called a raise to 600. Flop was 7-5-3. My opponent went all-in, I called and he flipped 8-8. One bounty button & a double up to me!

My next victim fell when I held Q-Q. He went all-in for 3k. I called. He flipped A-K but an all-low flop brought me upto 10k and cruising.

I then got card dead. Not to worry though as the players fell fairly rapidly.

Still had 10k when we reached the 'final 9' after about an hour!

Nine became 8, became 7, became 6, became 5. I STILL had 10k but the blinds were lifted to 300-600 and it became 'all-in' time for most of my opponents on the shorter stacks. Trouble was that they were winning & doubling up!

I called an all-in 3k bet with A-J only to find my opponent with A-Q and so with 7k left and blinds now at 400-800 I was the one looking wobbly!

I then get K-K UTG. Now rather than blast all-in I REALLY wanted to see a flop so bet out to 2k with the intention of getting a caller then passing if an Ace fell and betting ensued!

What I got though was the finger of fate telling me to forget about it!

The player to my immediate left had circa the same chips as me. He looked down at his cards...did a bit of dancing...then proclaimed that it was either 'all-in' or fold! Ok...so he didn't have Aces and I was ahead so why did I want him to fold??

'I'll toss a coin', he said, 'tails - all-in else I'll fold'!

He tossed his £1 coin. It came up HEADS!! 'All-in anyway', he exclaimed and shoved his chips towards the middle. All passed to me!

Now of course I was stuck with it and folding K-K is not an option here. I called and he had me slightly covered.

He flipped A-J and my heart sank cos we all know what THAT means!!!

Sure enough the first card out was an Ace. I shook his hand and my head and exited stage right! Bubbled and baffled. Why me???

Seven more points towards the league though!

Entries -> -- - Place -> --- - Loss -> £100 Profit/Loss for 2007 -> +£562
(As from 1st Jan 2007 rate of exchange is calculated at £1 = $1.90)

Friday, February 09, 2007

Feb 8th - £50+£5 NL Hold'Em (Loose Cannons)

Thursday night is league night down at Loose Cannons and with this, the 6th week of 13, now done and dusted I can obviously take some pleasure in knowing that I'm knocking out an average of 20 points a week so far!

Thirteen runners for tonights event - smaller the better as far as I'm concerned - and as usual with such a chunky stack to start (3500) and blinds at 20 minutes a level there was no need to go mad and look for trouble. Nice & easy does it!!!

Within two levels we were down to the final 10 and I had an ok stack of around 6k. Made without too much resistance I might add. Three prizes up for grabs so again it was just a question of waiting.

A-Q proved to be particularly lucky for me this evening. With 8 left I call an all-in raise for 1675 with As-Qs. My opponent flips K-8. Flop is 4s-8s-Qh-8d-Qc and I get lucky to take a man out and grab his 'bounty button' for an immediate fiver.

Shortly afterwards I get A-Q again, in MP, and with blinds at 200-400 I raise to 1500. The SB goes all-in for 2k so I'm obliged to call. He flips K-7 but again I get lucky on a board of K-J-6-10-7 making a straight and another fiver.

There are now 5 of us left and I have circa 10k in chips. I get A-K in the SB and its passed back to me. I raise to 1500. BB RE-RAISES another 2k. Now what??

A-K is a bok hand for me at the moment...nevertheless you can't ignore its potential to win big if it hits. The BB had me covered in chips and I'm only really a big dog to A-A which I discount. Glory or bust then! I go all-in!

The BB hums a little but calls and flips K-K. No Ace on the board and I'm out in 5th place just a couple of spots shy of the money. Dooooh!

With my 2 bounty buttons and 3 points fo entry I collect 7 points from the evening putting me on 117 for the league so far. My closest rival now has 120 (he picked up 3 points tonight) and everyone else is nowhere!

Entries -> 13 - Place -> 5th - Loss -> £45 Profit/Loss for 2007 -> +£662

(As from 1st Jan 2007 rate of exchange is calculated at £1 = $1.90)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Feb 6th - Loose Cannons Official Opening Night

With over 200 runners for tonights $10k freeroll event at Loose Cannons official opening night it was never going to be easy.

Indeed the amount of alcohol consumed from players at the tables meant that with self deal a reality it was taking nigh on 5 minutes to play a single hand of poker!

Never mind though...it was a fun night out with 'bounty' buttons given to various celebrities worth $100 (on a VC poker account) and a bottle of champagne! On our table we had Matthew Stevens - World Snooker Champion.

To be fair I wouldn't know Matthew Stevens if he came round our house and asked for help with his broken down car but apparently after taking his bounty button off him with my 3h-4h beating his Q-8 I didn't really need to!

At the break I held 8k in chips and was in good shape but the blinds suddenly started increasing at a substancial rate and with Jd-9d in hand and midnight close at hand I decided to gamble it up with two all-in players with similar stacks.

One held A-10 the other K-Q so we had the top cards covered and it was anyones game. A flop of K-J-4-4-8 meant I was out in around 80th place but I'd had a good time and my champagne will be put to good use next Wed!

Finally much thanks to Sarah, Particks wife, for giving me a lift home at 1.30am. Saved me £60 on a cab!!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Feb 3rd - A day at the Gutshot (London)

This weekends plan was simple...

Play in the cheapy (£20 / £30) satellite events at the Gutshot and the Vic on the Sat / Sun afternoon in the hope of getting a seat for the bigger events to be played that same day at the respective venues. In the case of the Gutshot it was the £300 + (donation) NL Freezeout and at the Vic it was the £500+£50 NL Freezeout!

Ok...so down I trot to the Gutshot for the 2pm £20 rebuy satellite. With next door to the club now shuttered because of the recent court case loss the satellite was played in the bar area.

Over 40 runners and at the end of rebuys & add ons there were 8 seats up for grabs.

With 1000 points to start and rebuys at 500 points or less there was a fair amount of early activity which saw my chip stack dwindle to 500. A rebuy was sought!

There were a couple of loosey-goosey types on the table. One player went all-in with 4-5 o/s and was pleased to show it to gasps of admiration. Next time he did it I called with 8-10, to show him that people WOULD call. He proudly showed A-4 but on a flop of 6-10-K-A-10 he swore like a trooper, rebought, and didn't try it again!

At the break, and with an add-on, I started with circa 4500. I'd spent £60.

As is usual the case there was a flurry of drop outs and I managed to rake in a couple of pots with varying degrees of card holdings. Four tables became three became two and I was pretty healthily stacked with circa 15k. No need to get involved now!

I sat tight and we were soon 9 handed. With 8 getting a seat it was just a case of waiting for the short stacks to burn themselves out but they refused to budge. It was 30 minutes into the final table when finally we lost a player and I'd won my seat to the £300 freezeout!

It was 7pm. With 5 hours solid play behind me already I decided to sit outside for a while. All the smog from the players ciggies had desended and the atmosphere was now thick with it. Roll on no-smoking day!!

At 8.30pm we started play with 7 tables and 65 runners. For the first 4 levels I played well and my stack increased to around 14k, from an 8k start. The break came and went and we began level 5. I began to feel tired.

Suddenly from feeling great and playing well the smoke filled room began to make my head spin. My decisions started to get worse and I started calling hands that I'd really no business in calling.

A bluff with As-4s on a flop of 8-6-10-3-3 (one spade) lost me 3k. A daft call with 7s-5s cost me another 1500. My head started to drop and I was looking for a hand to put all my chips in with.

At 11pm I get A-K in EP. I raise to 1300 holding back 6k. There's a re-raise to 3k from across the table then an all-in from LP. I call. The initial re-raiser folds showing J-J.

My lone opponent shows Q-Q and so its a 50/50 race. A flop of 8-2-5-3-5 does me no favours and I'm out in around 45th position.

I suppose looking back its always a bad idea to play in satellites for bigger events that take place just a short while after the satellite finishes. I was knackered mentally any my head was spinning. The smoke certainly didn't help!

I missed the Vic reasoning I couldn't enter a tournament if I couldn't give it 100%. The satellite...YES...main event...NO!

Entries -> 65 - Place -> 45th - Loss -> £90 (£60 satellite - £30 'donation') Profit/Loss for 2007 -> +£707

(As from 1st Jan 2007 rate of exchange is calculated at £1 = $1.90)

Friday, February 02, 2007

Feb 1st - £50+£5 NL Hold'Em (Loose Cannons)

Thursday night is league night, well at least until the end of March, down at Loose Cannons and the offer of the $10k freeroll taking place next Tuesday night down there has brought new members in like wildfire!

A few dained to join tonights £50 (+£5 bounty) event so upon starting at 6:25pm we had 16 runners. A record me-thinks!

For those of you new to this blog I'm attempting to win a free trip to Las Vegas, courtesey of the Loose Cannons club. The 'league' takes place every Thursday night and entrants accumulate points based on a) entry (3 points) b) bounty buttons collected (2 points each) & prize money points (18 for 1st, 15 for 2nd, 13 for 3rd).

Points accumulate on a weekly basis for 13 weeks at the end of which there's a final tournament where every point you've collected over the 13 weeks are worth 25 'chip' points for the final. The winner of that wins the trip to Las Vegas in June!

There's one more thing as well. At the start of the evening a player draws a card, from a choice of 4, to see if the league games, that night, are for 'single' points or 'DOUBLE' points. Of course doing well when its single points is not quite the same as doing well on DOUBLE points night but we try our best!

Upto now, and after 4 weeks, I'm on 90 points (1st - 2nd - 1st - 6th) but its important to continue to do well as some lucky brick got 44 points last week and is on 110 already!

Ok...so what about tonight!

The usual fish were on the table and as its been the usual set of players these past few weeks its now fairly easy to see how most of them play and adapt accordingly!

Early doors and I make an ill advised 600 point bluff at a point with Q-10 only to get called by opponent with bottom pair on a board of J-9-7-A-5. After that I tightened up somewhat!

With blinds at 50-100 I held 5h-7h and flat called a small raise to 200 from Mr MP. Three of us saw a flop of 9h-10c-Jh. I checked. Mr MP bet out to 500. Mr LP re-raised to 1500 and I, after a tiny amount of thought, went all-in looking for any 8 or a heart!

Surprise, surprize when BOTH players called. Mr MP held J-K (no heart). Mr LP held 10-J (no heart). The 3h was followed by the Ah and I now had circa 7k in chips!

Players started to drop at the 100-200 level but I just bided my time kocking another player out when my A-Q beat out K-Q and I reached the final table of 9 with circa 10k in chips.

There were three prizes tonight (£400-£240-£160) but the points mean that little bit more so I sat back and waited for the drop-outs to commence.

I didn't have to wait long. At the 300-600 level 4 players dropped. The 400-800 level started and there were five of us left. An all-iner with 9-9 was called by a player with A-K. Both an Ace and a King hit and we were down to 4.

The short stack went all-in with A-4 to be called by player with K-K. Now we were 3. Points time!

As I'd sat back and waited for other players to go my chip stack had gone nowhere and I was down to 8k. Compared to the other two players left I'd have to come out swinging to get back into the game...so I did with A-6 and ran into A-K.

Oh well...3rd place and £170 (£160+£10 for my 2 bounty buttons) was ok by me. I also got 20 points from the night so now sit on 110 after 5 events. My nearest rival now has 115 after he got knocked out early with 1 bounty button to his name.

I reckon if I get upto 200+ points by the time the final comes around I'll be in great shape for a shot at the Vegas trip!

Entries -> 16 - Place -> 3rd - Win -> £115 Profit/Loss for 2007 -> +£797

(As from 1st Jan 2007 rate of exchange is calculated at £1 = $1.90)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

A month in the online blinds (Jan 07)

As every avid poker player knows theres more poker on the Internet than you can shake a stick at these days so with this in mind I've decided to keep a close record of all my wins & losses, over the wire, for 2007 just to see if I'm as good as I think I am.

For January the answer is a resounding NO!!

I've played on 5 different sites over the course of the past 31 days of Jan with losses of between £37 (PaddyPower) and £295 (Pokerstars) for a total months loss of £851.

Compare that figure with my 'live play' win, for Jan, of £682 then I'm in an obvious 'loss' situation for my poker playing of Jan 2007!

Whats interesting to me though is the way I perceive both online & offline poker as two very different beasts.

The online stuff is 'for entertainment purposes only' and I suppose, as such, the £27.45 its costing me every day to satisfy my poker playing mentality is probably what most people would consider an ok amount to spend on ANY recreational activity.

Its a bit like the lottery in that you're always hoping for a nice win but the reality is that these are too few & far between to be worthwhile playing for?

I only play tournament poker online these days as the bad beats one has to live with in the cash games occur far too frequently for my liking. A bad beat at the end of the tournament is bad enough but a bad beat every 5 minutes in a cash game I've no interest in anymore!

So I've played in about 100 tournaments in Jan. Spread across the 5 sites I think my best effort was a 25th place in a $5 rebuy on Stars which from over 2500 starters wasn't too bad. The prize of $150 was pissy to say the least. Especially when the total prize pools tops $50k.

I've given the $100k guarantee event on Mansion a bash on 4 ocassions with my best finish being 142nd when my A-K got shafted by 8-8 for a 20k pot! Oh the joy!!

So there you are...one month in and 11 to go. It can only get better from here!!