Wednesday, May 30, 2007

May 29th - £100+£10 NL Hold'Em (Western)

I played a hand on the Internet the other night. It went something like this...

Blinds were 10-25. I'm in the BB with Ah-7h. Four of us saw a flop of 4d-6h-8h. I checked. A player bet out 250. All folded to me. I called. Turn was the 10d. I checked. My now sole opponent bet out 500. I called. River was the 4h giving me the nut flush. I immediately bet 750. My opponent went all-in and I called only to see he had 10-10 for the nutty fully house. Pisser!

That hand was the first hand of the Blue Square $200 NL Hold'Em event on Sunday and I use this to illustrate a remarkably similar hand that occurred in tonights £110 NL Hold'Em event at the Western where there were 56 entries in total.

We're four hands into the tournament. I'm in MP and look down to see 10d-10s. I bet out to 250 and get two callers. Flop is Jc-8c-10c. Its checked to me. I bet out 750. I get one caller. Turn card is the 3d. Its checked to me. Not wanting to make things TOO cheap I go all-in and get an immediate call. My opponent flips Ac-Qc for the nut flush. Ah well I still have outs. The 8s plops onto the river and I double up. Life is good!

So...four hands in and I'm at 10k. At the start of the 1st break I'm on 13300. No pressures and I'm feeling good.


There'll generally come a hand that plays itself and nomatter how you would have played it it'll end in defeat. At the start of the 2nd break I was on 17k but should have been on 35k except for this hand...

Holding K-K in EP and with blinds at 300-600 I raise it up to 2500. The player to my immediate left, a nice lady from Brazil by the name of Alex, goes into think-tank mode and eventually pushes all-in for 8k. Its passed around to me and I, of course, call. She has 8-8. Of course that doesn't prevent another 8 from appearing on the flop and suddenly I feel a little deflated.

With blinds at 400-800 at level 7 I suddenly start to become impatient. My discipline goes a little and I lose 7k with 3 un-timely bluffs. I then look down to see Kh-Qh. Nice...I thought.

I bet out to 3500 and once again that nice lady from Brazil (well Hendon actually) flat calls me. Now I KNOW she has A-? so I'm praying for no Ace on the flop. Flop is J-Q-A! Urgh!!

The trouble with that flop though is with my stack now at 6.5k and in desperate need of resuscitation I can see enough chances to win it so push all-in. Alex calls with A-J and once an 8 followed by a 5 has fallen its all over for another night.

I finish 20th, out of 56, but undoubtedly could have done better. Tilt takes all forms. Beware of the type that'll hang around long after your big hand has lost!

Entries -> 56 - Place -> 20th - Loss -> £110 Profit/Loss for 2007 -> £1103

(As from 20th April 2007 rate of exchange is calculated at £1 = $2.00)

Sunday, May 27, 2007

May 26th - £250+£25 No Limit Hold'em FREEZE (Gros. Victoria)

Back in Black!

Tonight I decided, rather late in the day, to troop down to the Victoria to play in the £250 NL Hold'Em FREEZEOUT event being held there. I left the house at 6.15pm and it took me 75 mins to get there as the A40 down into town was reduced to one lane cos of roadworks! Bugger!

Anyway I managed to be the last entry in so sat down, with 46 others, for a pop at the £4k first prize.

The event was a 'double chance' one. This is where you get half your chips up front (in this case 2k) and you can have the other half (2k) at any time during the first hour.

There are many schools of thought about what the proper strategy is in these events but I don't play enough of them to have an opinion either way. Tonight I decided to wait it out a while thinking that I could make a move or two with my 2k starter stack and, if I lost a coin flip, could get the other half at that time! I wish I'd have taken the full 4k up front!

My newly devised tournament strategy seems to be working well at the mo and suited connectors are a great source of chunky pots. Holding 4d-5d and with blinds at 50-100 I flat called a raise to 300 from across the table, as did one other, and we saw a flop of 3-7-8 rainbow. If a bet came in here I was done with the hand but we all ended up checking.

The magic '6' came down on the turn. I, being first to bet, bet out 500. Next player dropped but the last player moved all-in. Of course I called. 'I have a straight', I exclaimed. 'What???', said my opponent looking rather perplexed and flipping over A-A. I took him for 1800 and I was on my way. The bugger of it was was that he had ANOTHER 1800 left over. Now if only I'd have taken that extra 2k up front!

I was seeing a lot of duff starting hands with plenty of 2-7's, 8-3's, 4-9's etc to keep me out of bother. My chip stack had climbed to 9k when my next action hand came about.

Blinds were at 300-600 and I looked down to see K-J in the BB. I, and four others, saw a flop of Jd-2d-4c. Not wanting to give freebies out I bet out 600 but the player to my left suddently went all-in for about 8k. All other players passed and it came back to me.

The flop texture screamed flush draw as if the guy had flopped a set he'd be more inclined to flat call at this point surely? Putting him on the flush draw meant I was 65/35 fav so called. He flipped 8d-5d.

No more diamonds arrived to save his sorry arse and I was upto 17k with about 18 players left.

Not a great deal happened after that for a while. The final table arrived (9) and with only 6 getting paid a deal was done whereby 7th, 8th & 9th got their money back and so off we went. I had 13k.

Of course it helps to get good hands at the final table and for a short while I could do no wrong. I doubled up my stack when my A-K beat off A-J. I doubled AGAIN when my A-K beat out 10-10 on a board of K-K-7-7-3 and I knocked out another player when my A-A beat up Q-K on a board of A-2-3-4-3. I was chip leader on 70k and supposedly cruising. Ha!!

Blinds were still tiny compared to stack sizes (1k-2k) but the opening bets were either all-in or a minimum of 10k. A couple of times I called these opening bets but then couldn't continue after duff flops.

Suddenly there was 3 of us left and I'd got 40k left (out of 188k).

I just couldn't find a hand!

Raising to 10k with As-9s I get a call from the now chip leader. Flop is Kc-10c-Jc. Not exactly ideal. I check as does my opponent. The 9h falls next. It looks risky. I check again. My opponent bets out 20k. I pass and he kindly flips a King.

So now I'm the one on life support. With blinds moving to 1500-3000 its costing me almost 6k every 3 hands. On the button I go all-in with 9-10 and get called by the chip leader with A-2. Ho help on board and I'm out in 3rd place which is good for 2k.

I'm back in the black for the first time in a good while and on form too.

Its a busy week next week with events at the Western (Tues), Gutshot (Thurs, Fri & Sat) and Orient football club (Sun) in the hope of qualifying for a seat at this years Ladbrokes Poker Million!

Stay tuned for regular updates!!

Entries -> 47 - Place -> 3rd - Win -> £1725 Profit/Loss for 2007 -> £1213

(As from 20th April 2007 rate of exchange is calculated at £1 = $2.00)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

May 22nd - £100+£10 NL Hold'Em (Western)

Some evenings you dont have to work too hard for the money. Tonight at the Western was one such ocassion for me.

After a two week break from 'live' play I was eager to get back in the saddle and the £110 NL Hold'Em Freezeout at the Western is an ideal way of getting back amongst it.

A nice easy pace and a smallish field of 33 meant it was just a case of waiting for good cards (all too easy to say but not to do) and hoping to score a few points from the flop onwards.

Recently I've discovered a playing style can can prove quite lucrative if you're lucky enough and as its now fairly refined I'm trying my best to stick to it.

At the first break my chip stack had increased to 9k from a start point of 5k. No big hands to speak of and no 'all-in' moments either. I was playing relaxed and focused.

During the next three levels I again increased my stack somewhat, upto 22k. I knocked three players out during this period...

1) Called an all-in bet with A-Q for circa 3k. Opponent had A-5.

2) Called an all-in bet with A-J for circa 5k. Opponent held A-10.

3) Flat called a raise to 2k holding 10-10. Flop was Q-9-4. Check check. Turn another Queen. Check. I bet 2k. Opponent all-in. I call. He flips A-J. A 3 on the river gives me another 6k.

Another thing I found during the first few levels was that my A-K holdings (4 times) held up on each ocassion. Twice I got lucky when either an Ace or a King hit the flop and twice when betting out after crummy card flops. Makes a difference I can tell you.

And then there were 9. Final table at 1am and I have 24k in chips.

With only 5 getting paid I was watchful of the low chip stacks of which there were two.

Nine became eight as player A went all in with Q-Q only to see K-K behind him. Poor sod.

Eight became seven became six as Mr Low-Stack went all-in with Q-3 to be called by the big blind and his J-2. Things looked great for Mr Low-Stack on a flop of Q-3-5 but runner runner Jacks sent him out.

The other low stack at the table went all-in soon after with Q-J. I called with A-Q and we were in the money!

A lot of to-ing & fro-ing followed for circa 30 minutes before I asked if everyone wanted to split the prize pool for £650 each - rest to dealer. We were all approx 30k in chips and so all agreed.

So there you go...not a lot of action but a profit of £540 on the night. If only ALL nights were like these :)

Entries -> 33 - Place -> 5th - Win -> £540 Profit/Loss for 2007 -> -£512

(As from 20th April 2007 rate of exchange is calculated at £1 = $2.00)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

May 8th - £100+£10 NL Hold'Em (Western)

Getting good cards in poker does not equate to getting a stack load of chips a lot of the time!

The problem with getting good cards, of course, is that you have to play them and when the odds go the other way, as in a couple of hands tonight, then it can be devastating to your stack.

Nice & easy did it for the first couple of levels in tonights £110 NL Hold'Em game at the Western. First drama came when holding the Qh-Jh in MP with blinds at 100-200. Four callers and a flop of 9-10-3 meant I was always going to be involved so when it was checked to me I immediately bet out to 1200. The player, immediately to my left, came over the top for another 1700 and it was passed back to me. I duly called.

He flipped A-10 for TPTK but when a Jack appeared on the turn followed by another Jack on the river I'd scooped a nice pot and was nicely stacked. It didn't last long!

I get Q-Q in EP and raise to 800. Two callers. Flop is 8c-6c-3d. Could have been worse!! I bet out 2500 in order to grab the pot there and then. One player folded the other moved all-in and I insta-called. He flipped 9c-10c. The 4d fell on the turn but the Jc fell on the river. I was back down to 4k.

A short while later I made an all-in move with Q-Q on a board of A-8-4-K having made an initial raise and got one caller. My opponent HAD bet the flop but not strongly enough to warrent an Ace in his hand so I moved in on the turn (K) and he folded! I was back upto 8k. The hand before the 1st break and I get Ad-Kh and raise to 600. I get one caller. Flop is 9s-7s-4s. I bet out 800. My opponent raises to 2000. I took him for a spade draw with one spade in his hand so duly called. The 9c came off on the turn. Again I checked and again my opponent bets out...this time 3k. I'm still not convinced. I call.

The river brings a 4th spade. I check and my opponent goes all-in. I pass!

My chip stack is decimated!

After the break I'm looking to move in and double up or die. I find the Ac-3c and launch all-in. Unfortunately a guy with K-K is right behind me! Dohhhhhhhh!!

Entries -> 41 - Place -> 27th - Loss -> £110 Profit/Loss for 2007 -> -£1052

(As from 20th April 2007 rate of exchange is calculated at £1 = $2.00)

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

May 1st - £100+£10 NL Hold'Em (Western)

Undoubtedly at poker there are times when things need to 'break' for you. Whether it be that your K-Q beats out A-10 or your 3-3 beats on 7-7 there will come a time when you'll need to catch a card or two to stay in the game. Tonight at the Western was a mixture of both for me!

With the footy on tv there were 38 runners for the £110 NL Hold'Em event. After last weeks 3rd place I was keen to put into practice what had proved so successful last week but playing hands like I do in suited connectors etc comes with a higher risk of failure than playing A-A all night!!

Early doors and as usual the play is controlled from all parties concerned. The first real action comes in level 2. I get dealt Kd-Qc in LP and with the blinds at 50-100 I flat a small raise to 300 from across the table, as do 3 others! Flop is Kc-6c-2c.

The original raiser bets out to 300. I re-raise to 800 and a player in the blinds re-raises to 1600! The original raiser folds. In situations like this I can never fold. Of course I COULD...but I dont so go all-in. After stating that he can't possibly put HIS hand down either my opponent calls the bet and flips Jc-9c for the completed flush. I'm looking for a club to save me. That doesn't come!!

What DOES come though is another 2 followed by another King giving me an unlikely full house!! I'm now on 12k and cruising.

Cruising that is until I decide to call a shortish stack (4k) and his all-in bet with 9-9. He flips A-9 and the inevitable Ace appears on the flop knocking me back somewhat!

I continue to increase my chip stack though and by level 6 I'm on 18k with around 12 people left. Then comes a kick in the goolies!!

With blinds at 200-400 its the last hand of the level. Im on the button and look down to see 4d-7d. There are no raises and I flat call the blinds. Five of us see a flop of Qd-2d-7s. Player on the SB bets our to 2k immediately. Its passed back around to me and I put in a raise to cover the SB's chips. He calls and flips Q-2 for 2 pair on the flop. The 6d falls on the turn and it looks like its a done deal for me but a horrible 2 appears on the river to give my opponent a full house and I'm back down to 11k!

Through the next level I creep back upto 14k and I hit the final table with just short of average chips.

Of course though its now when you need the luck.

A few hands in, on the BB, I get dealt A-A. Great...all I need now is a raiser. Nuffin. Not a jot.

The SB makes up the meagre blinds and I raise another 4k. He passes. Pooey!!

Few hands later I get Ks-Js in MP. I raise it to 5k with blinds still at 600-1200. I run into A-A from a guy who's short on chips (6200) from across the table. A flop of 4s-7s-Kc looks promising but I can't connect on the turn or river and I'm down to less than 8k with blinds just about to go to 800-1600.

I'm, of course, now looking to double up. My next move is all-in!!

I find K-Q on the SB. Its raised to 5k from the button and I shove. The original raiser sighs and calls the extra 2k. He has A-6.

A board no higher than a 10 ensues and I'm out in 10th place - 4 off the money!

Entries -> 38 - Place -> 10th - Loss -> £110 Profit/Loss for 2007 -> -£941

(As from 20th April 2007 rate of exchange is calculated at £1 = $2.00)