Thursday, August 29, 2013

PFP Session #16 - The Streak is Dead

Normally I think of streaks in a positive light, but after 7 consecutive losing sessions, I was ready for this one to be over.

I bought in for $1,000 at $15/$30 last night and looked down at AQ in the small blind on my second hand. The player in the cutoff raised, I three bet it, and we took the flop heads up. K 9 5 on the flop, I bet and got called. 4 on the turn, I bet and got called. Q on the river, I bet, got called, my opponent flashed a Q and mucked his hand. There is nothing special about this hand, but being a little ahead is so much better for your mindset than being a little behind.

About an hour in I was just about even when I got dealt 88. There was a limp, a raise and a call in front of me and I called as did both blinds. The flop came down A 8 3 with two clubs - BINGO! It turned out that I was up against two players with AK, one with K3 and another with a flush draw. The turn was an amazing card - the case king! 3 people made two pair against my set. K3 went all in for $25 and one AK completed the bet to $30, amazingly the other AK just called, I raised to $60 and 4 of us plus the all in went to the river. The river was a 3! If only K3 had not been out of chips! Happily one of the AK's bet out, I raised and they both called. That pot put me up about $500 on the night.

In the same round I got dealt A8, flopped two pair on a board with 3 spades and made a full house on the turn against a flopped flush.

I got flopped two flush draws on the night - I made one and get paid off, and on the other I was up against another flush draw, I bet it all the way, and when we both missed my last bet was good enough to take down the pot.

I also got AA, QQ and JJ once each and they all held up.

It felt great to have things go my way for a little while, but I have to say that I feel like I played really well in all of the other hands in between. In the end I walked out the door with a $1,115 profit on the night. I'm $1,208 away from being even for The Project. I'll be back in action on Friday and then again on either Sunday or Monday.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

PFP Sessions #14 and #15 - At Least I Have a Plan

Apologies to my backers for not getting an update up on my last two sessions in a timely manner. I'm not usually able to knock out a quick post with the high level results no matter how hard I try and I just haven't had time to write a post.

I spent 5 days in Colorado at 9,500 feet and during that time I didn't think about poker at all. By the time I was back at the tables early last week I felt like my losing streak had been forgotten...until I started losing again. I spent another 4 hours playing $15/$30 making zero - not one - 5 card hands. I also didn't see AA, KK, QQ or AK a single time and I lost with JJ the one time I got it. It's not easy to sit at a poker table losing and not sit there stewing about all of the losing you've been doing lately.

Despite that I booked a small loss in what was otherwise a good game - I dropped $177 on the night.

Last Thursday (or Wednesday?) I made my way in to The Oaks and saw a long list of names for $15/$30 and 200 Max, but a $150 no limit tournament was about to go off so I jumped in hoping to recoup some of my recent losses with a deep run.

We started with about 70 players and 10,000 chips each. After a few hours I had my stack up to about 14,000 with the blinds at 150/300 with a 25 ante. I got dealt 86 suited in the small blind and a new player who had just sat down (this was literally his first hand at our table) took the big blind. It was folded to me and I raised it to 900. The big blind called and the flop came down 6 3 3 with two clubs (I had spades). I bet 1,200, my opponent raised me to 2,400 and I moved all in.

I did something right on this hand and I did something wrong. What I did right was read the hand. I didn't think it was likely my opponent had a 3 because A3 is about the only hand that makes sense and even then I'd expect a slow play under the circumstances. I didn't think a big pair was likely because of the flat call preflop. 77, 88, and 99 are within the realm of possibility, but much more likely than those hands was a total bluff, a flush draw or 56 or 67. I moved in confident that I was going to see a fold.

What I did wrong was I didn't take in to account the fact that I'd never played a hand against this guy. I almost always project a tough, tight image. People fold when I move all in on them a disproportionately high percentage of the time. I did not think a pair of sixes would call there. But sure enough, he called and showed J6. A king came on the turn and I was all set to chop, before a jack on the end ruined the party.

After 7 losing sessions in a row my starting bankroll of $10,000 sits at $7,677 (after 55 hours of play).

The good news is I have a plan! I'm going to play again tonight under normal circumstances and then try to put in two longer than average sessions over the holiday weekend which should be a fantastic time to play. Holiday weekends are always great and playing near the first of the month (when people get paid) is also great. Put them together and you have a magic combination.

I have about 20 days left in Project Flying Panther. Hopefully I can put in 25 more hours and squeeze out a small win for The Project.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

PFP Sessions #12 and #13 - The Anvil is Followed by a Hammer and an Elephant

I realized today that I played last Thursday and forgot to write a post about it. It was a fairly uneventful $15/$30 session where I was up $500 then down $500 and walked out the door losing $160.

 Yesterday I played a much more eventful session at Bay 101. Shortly after I walked in the door they started a new $40/$80 game and I sat down with 8 players who were new to me. I bought in for $2,000 and in the first 9 minutes I was up $900.

It was really nothing special. I called a raise in a 4 way pot out of the big blind with A4 suited, flopped a flush draw and turned an ace that held up. Then a few hands later I raised with AT, again with 4 way action, and again I hit an ace that held up. Finally I bet a 653 flop with 97 into two opponents who both called, the turn was a Q, the action checked around, and when I bet the river - another 6 - I got no callers. Boom, up $900 in no time.

Over the next 3 hours and 45 minutes not much good happened. I actually played really well in a good game and I still lost in dramatic fashion.

There was a 4 hand sequence that was a microcosm of the session where I got the worst of it in pretty standard ways, but the similarity of the hands made them stand out and they all happened over the course of two rounds (about 18 hands).

Hand #1 - This Fucking Guy (the villain is the same in all 4 hands) raised from early middle position and I reraised with 88. The flop came down K 6 3 and he check called. The turn was a jack and it went check check. The river was a 7, he bet, I called and he showed me JJ. -$240 for me on that hand.

Hand #2 - This Fucking Guy just called on the very next hand, I raised him with AKs, and everyone else folded. This time the flop came down K 6 2 - almost the exact same flop. Except this time I bet and he folded. +$135 for me.

Hand #3 - This Fucking Guy raised from early position and I reraised him with AKs. The flop came down K 6 5 - almost the same flop again K 6 X and again I had AK! By the way this was a fantastic flop. Against someone who raised in early position, but didn't 4 bet I should have the best hand almost every time. With that in mind when This Fucking Guy check raised me I called planing to pop him on the turn. But when the turn came a Q and he fired with no hesitation I thought maybe he had KQ. Also at that point there were very few hands that could legitimately call a turn raise that didn't have me beat so I decided to just call. The river was an 8, I called one more bet and he rolled over 65 for two pair. -$360 for me.

Hand #4 - An early position player raised, This Fucking Guy called, I three bet with AK out of the small blind and the flop came down 9 7 4 with two diamonds. It got checked to This Fucking guy who bet and I was the only caller. The turn was a Q and it went check, check. The river was a 2, I check called hoping to see a busted draw, but instead saw K9. - $240 for me.

Add it up and it's $705 out the door on those hands.

It's not just that I lost 3 of 4 hands to This Fucking Guy it's how I got absolutely no help. I don't know what he hand on hand #2, but it's the same fucking situation! How does he call with very little the first time and not the second time? If he folds both flops fine, if he calls both flops fine, but the fact that he called and hit one (only a 13.3% chance of him improving on the turn on hand #1) and then didn't call the second time was odd. By the time hand #4 came around all I could think when I looked down was, "Shit, I bet I'm going to lose to This Fucking Guy again." Also how about I improve one of these times? I got no help on the turn or the river all night.

Getting back to the no help, when looking back on a session it's often helpful to think about how many five card hands (Straights, Flushes, Full houses) you made vs were made against you and how did your big pocket pairs do.The real problem was I ran into 8 five card hands made against me and made none myself. 8 to 0. That is not something that is easy to over come. I think 5 or 6 of those came in on the river in pots I would have won with a brick on the end and all of those pots where $500-$1,000.

How did I do with my big pairs? I didn't get any. I played for 4 hours and got TT once, but no JJ, QQ, KK or AA. I got AK and AQ a bunch of times, but got screwed as described above and in other horrifying ways.

In the end I lost $2504. This makes 5 losing sessions in a row and means I'm losing about $2,000 for The Project.

I have to tell you that if someone told me they'd lost 5 sessions in a row I would say the overwhelming likelihood is that they were playing losing poker, but in this session especially I felt like I played really well. I just got no help from the deck. I feel like I should have lost $5,000 with the shit that happened to me. I'm going to Colorado next week for vacation so I may not be back at the tables for a couple of weeks. A break will probably do me good.

Eventually this is going to turn around...

My WSOP 2023 Plans and Missions

After four and a half years working for StubHub I wrapped up my time there in March. I've been at the poker tables 3-4 days a week since...