Saturday, May 30, 2015

WSOP 2015 Event #5A -$565 Colossus - Recap

I'm back! I rolled into the Rio at about 8:00 on Thursday night after a long day. My first order of business was to pick up my seat card. I'd registered and wire transferred my buy in a few weeks prior in the hopes of avoiding a huge registration line. FAIL!

What's hard to see in that picture is the 250 other people in front of me wrapping around the corner. The people were moving only slightly faster than pictured. I was thinking I might have 2+ hours of waiting in my future, but after an hour I made it to the front where a dozen WSOP employees were   scurrying around like busy little beavers making copies of driver's licences and getting us all to sign waivers

After I got my seat I headed to the cash game area where everything from standard no limit hold em to $10 a point Open Faced Pineapple Chinese Poker to Big O (omaha where you get 5 cards instead of 4) was in action. I wanted to play a little just to be comfortable in the room before I had to put it on the line in the tournament.

I jumped into a $2/$5 game and was surprised to find that most of the table was sitting on stacks of $1,000-$2,500! I bought in for $500 and quickly discovered that this was the weakest $5 big blind no limit game I'd ever seen. It was total amateur hour. There was a lot of drinking going on and so much talking during the hands! Most players don't say shit when they're in a hand because unless you're Daniel Negranu you're likely to give away information about your hand.

Sadly I didn't make much happen. After 2 hours I was even when my one big hand came up. I got dealt JJ and a dude who thought he was a real hot shot opened for $20. I three bet to $60 and got called by a drunk dude and the hot shot. The flop came Q 4 2 and hot shot bet $60. This clearly seemed like a weak tester bet to me and mr drunk looked like he was ready to fold so I made it $160. I felt like he either had a hand like KQ or a pair 55-TT and would put me on AQ, KK or AA if I raised. He thought for about 30 seconds and called. The turn was small and we both checked. The river was another blank, he bet $200 and I folded.

I made two big mistakes on this hand - 1) I didn't make it enough to get the job done on the flop 2) I didn't shove the turn. In the end I think he did have a Q, and I think I could have gotten him off of it, but I pussed out.

I lost $208 on the session.

The next morning I rolled into the Rio ready for the Colossus! They had tables crammed in everywhere. Notice the slot machines in the background near these tables. They just plopped some down right in the middle of the casino!

 Here are some more outside of Buzios seafood restaurant.

The tournament started at 10 am sharp and my table was maybe a little tougher than I expected but it was pretty tight and everyone kept the pots small. 

We started with 5,000 in chips and blinds of 25/50. My first big hand came up when I raised with JT of spades, got one caller and the flop came down Q T 7 with two spades. I bet and got called. The turn was another ten! With trips and a flush draw for backup I fired again, but my opponent folded.

A little while later with blinds of 50/100 I called a preflop raise of 250 with AQ and we took the flop 5 way. The flop was AQ4 making me two pair. The preflop raiser checked, I bet 700 and got one caller. The turn was a blank and I checked hoping to induce a bluff or otherwise convince my opponent he was good if he had an ace. Like clockwork he bet 1,300 and I shoved for about 3,500. He folded and I took down a nice pot.

By the first break I was up to 8,700. 

The villain in both of those hands was the same guy and I got involved with him again a little later. With blinds of 100/200 the under the gun short stack to my right made it 600 to go. I three bet him with 1,500 with TT, and the villain went all in for 3,200. The short stack called for about 2,500 total and I called as well. The short stack had AQ and the villain had KQ off! His shove was a terrible play in my opinion. I was 44% to win, but a king showed up on the flop and that was it. If the villain had folded I would have beaten the AQ. Grrrr!

Shortly after that everyone left in the Brazilia room (about 200 of us) put our chips in reglular zip lock bags and marched as a group across the hall to the larger Pavilion room where they handed us each a seat card as we walked in. This took about 10 minutes and a few players bitched about how we were missing that time and that the tournament should be paused. But as one floor man said, it doesn't make sense to pause 480 tables while 20 move. I can't imagine the logistical nightmare of running a tournament with so many players spread all over the casino.

Moving to a new table sucks. It takes a while to get to know the new players and all the knowledge you've gathered thus far goes up in smoke.

But I made nice progress at my new table. I stole a couple of pots. I won with a shitty top pair of aces at showdown. I made a loose call on a Q 2 2 flop with 55, hit a 5 on the turn and induced a bluff (I would have won with a bet on the turn as it turns out if I missed, but I checked the turn and my opponent bluffed the river). All of sudden I was up to 12,000 chips.

A little later I met my demise. With blinds of 150/300 with a 50 ante I made it 900 to  got with KQ. The small blind made it 1,900 to go and I called. 

I just had a long conversation with one of my poker friends about how three bets from the small blind are almost always JJ-AA, AK or AQ when you're deep enough and the initial raise doesn't come from a steal position. So that's what I was likely up against. I could make an argument for folding pre-flop, but I didn't.

The flop came down Q high and my opponent bet 2,000. At this point I'm hoping he has JJ to AK or made a loose pre-flop 3 bet. I called and he bet 3,500 on the turn. This is when alarm bells should have gone off. But I didn't hear those bells and shoved for 7,000. I got quickly called by AA and did not improve.

There still isn't an official count of the number of entries from yesterday, but over 10,000 people entered between flight 5A and 5B which went off at 7 pm. About 1,500 made it through to day 2.

At 2:30 or so when I went broke I headed to the cage to sign up for flight 5C starting Saturday at 10 am, It was sold out and so was the 7 pm flight 5D! I was surprised. As I waited in line a few people shouted out "colossus is done yall!" after talking to a cashier. But when I made it to the front I was able to get a late wave start for the 7 pm flight.

Basically I'll be starting at 9:30 when the tournament is on level 4 (100/200 25 ante), but with a full 5,000 chip stack. I'm not thrilled about this. Part of me is wishing I'd registered for multiple flights early, but to do that you have to pay in advance and I didn't want to wait in what is sure to be an ungodly line for refunds on Sunday. 

If I can get off to good start anything is possible.

Later in the day I made my way to the Aria. When I got there the lists for $1/$3 and $2/$5 no limit were 100 players long! But I put my name up anyway and played a little pai gow while I waited. After an hour and 45 minutes they called my name and I sat down a $2/$5. I got off to a cold start and dropped $300 on a A T X X X board with AQ vs AT and was down $500 at one point. But $100 at a time I clawed my way back and made a $76 profit on the  2 hour session.

More news to come as it happens!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Back to the WSOP after 5 years!

I'm hanging out at LAX after a short work trip to LA and just about to fly to Vegas. I used to go to Vegas 3 or 4 times a year and twice spent a full 3 weeks at the WSOP taking my shot at the big time. Now it's been 3 years since I was there for 1 days in 2012 and 5 years since I was more than just stopping in.

It's also been 4+ years since I stopped playing poker professionally. I took 18 months away from the tables and then in 2013 I put in about 250 hours. In 2014 it was more like 100. I made some money, but it was about what I'd make in a good month in 2007 over the course of 2011-2014.

This year I've gotten back into it more seriously. I've been paying $2/$3/$5 (with a $10 straddle that seems to be in play about 25% of the time) no limit hold'em cash games almost exclusively. Every Friday night I'm at the tables and in my last 25 sessions I've booked 20 wins.

So unlike past summers where I've yearned to return to the Rio, but totally unwilling to take the risk I have a little bit of a bankroll to work with and will be back after a 5 year absence albeit in a limited capacity.

I'm going to play the $565 buy in Colossus tournament which is going to be the largest in person poker tournament of all time. It has 4 starting flights over 2 days and if you go broke in one you can re-enter. I'm prepared to fire all 4 bullets if I need to. The first flight is tomorrow at 10 am (5/29/15) and I'm hoping that will be the only one I need to get to Day 2. The people in the know are predicting 20,000 entries (probably from about 10K unique entrants).

I'm also going to be playing at least a few more tournaments and cash games over the 4 days I'll be in Vegas.

I've never been in better shape physically (I ran a marathon in March after running 3 half marathons and 6 obstacles races of 4-15 miles in the past 18 months) and I think my judgement is a little different at 35 than at 25.

Hopefully I'll have a good story to tell. Let's do this!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Project Flying Panther - Recap and Stats

As I mentioned previously I played 78 hours over Project Flying Panther and won $1,369. I'd give myself a C+ for the effort. It could have been much better but it also could have been worse.

Here is a more detailed breakdown of my results.

-$1796 in 4.75 hours of $40/$80
-$330 in 6 hours of tournaments
-$284 in 2 hours of $2/$3/$5 NL
-$184 in 5.75 hours of $20/$40
+$152 in 6 hours of $200 Max
+$468 in 1.5 hours of $30/$60
+$3,307 in 52 hours of $15/$30

If I'd cut out all the other shit and just played $15/$30 and kept the same hourly rate I would have won $4,961 for the project.

Over the 78 hours I played roughly 2,730 hands (an estimate based on a somewhat conservative 35 hands an hour).

Of those hands 2,520 would have been in cash games and if I had to ball park it I'd say I won one in every 8 hands. That means I won about 314 pots, paid about $1,609 ($4 per pot + $40 in tournament rake) in rake to the house and tipped $314 dollars.

Over 3 months I played 2,730 hands. This is a shockingly low number to me as I used to play 3,000 hands in a day almost every day when I was an online pro. I once played 1,200 hands in an hour and have played 7,000 hands in a day. $1,369 would have been a great result for a day, but not so much for 78 hours. Also if I had done this online the rake would have been about $800, I would have tipped $0 and I would have earned about $400 in bonuses, so it would have been more like a $3,000 day.

The big question is was it worth it to take on some backers and play some bigger games? I'm not actually sure. I got a sense of the larger games at he Oaks which is valuable. I posted some solid results at $15/$30 which is promising. And I scratched the itch I was having to play a little bigger. On the downside I probably could have made much more money crushing the $6/$12 and banking $25-$30 an hour which is what I'm going to do for the next few months.

I'm still thinking about the 2014 WSOP and how I can get out there for one or two $1,500 events. I think my best bet is to just grind it out, play within my bankroll, and be patient. There is only so much progress that I can make in 8 hours a week. That has been one of the toughest things about getting back to poker - not having tons and tons of time to devote to it.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

PFP Session #21 - Holy Shit I Can See This Guy's Cards!

Earlier this week I'd been playing $15/$30 at The Oaks for about 3 hours and was up around $400 when a new player sat down on my right. He bought in for $1,000 and I could see he had another two grand at least in his roll. He was a well dressed man in his 50's.

He started losing right away, not playing all that poorly, but in a slightly loose very straightforward way. When he had about $600 in front of him he put his chips into 3 stacks of 20 and a dozen of stacks of 5 chips. I noticed right away that all of a sudden I could see his card when the peeled them up to look at them because his chip stack was no longer blocking my view. Most players bend up the corner of the cards and shield them with their hands, but he was bending up the short edge of the cards parallel to the edge of the table and we were in seats 6 (me) and 5 (him) which is a part of the table without much curvature.

There have been times in the past when I've played against people who haven't been great at protecting their cards. Usually it's been a case of being able to see one of an opponents cards every couple of hands which doesn't help all that much. There are so many times where one of you have garbage or your opponent does and/or the other players spoil the party.

Not this time! This was 9 out of 10 hands I could see both cards (the difference between one and both cards is astronomical - knowing for certain that an opponent missed completely is very powerful), for a while we were playing 6 handed and this guy was playing fairly loose. There were 5 big hands where this came into play.

Big Hand #1. The Villain raised AK off suit, both red, under the gun and I three bet him with 22. This was a risk. If anyone else came in I could be in a tough spot, but heads up I had a hand where I could beat him if neither of us improved, and get away without losing a single chip if he hit. Happily everyone folded and the flop came down Q 9 7 with two hearts. He checked I bet and he called. The turn was the 10 of hearts. I was all set to fire again when he bet into me! WHOA! Normally this would be an instafold, but I knew I had him so even though I had shit, I raised him. He called. The river came out an ace! ACK! We both checked, he showed his hand and I threw mine in face down.

Big Hand #2. The Villain raised with AJ after a couple of limpers and I called with A7 of hearts on the button. Why would I call him when I was dominated? I decided the value of acting behind him knowing what he has was worth so much that I should get in there anytime I had anything at all playable, even if I was dominated. The flop came down 7 high! Ah ha! The Villain bet, I popped it, we lost everyone else and he called. The turn was a K which might have slowed me down normally, but not this time. I bet and he called. The river was an ace and he fired out! Bang! I hit him with a raise again and he called.

Big hand #3. Everyone folded to The Villain who raised from the button with 44 and I had J2 in the small blind. I called as did the big blind. The flop came down Q 9 7 and I check raised him, thinking that he wouldn't call me all the way down with an under pair. The turn was a K and he mucked after I bet. This was a hand I never would have played or won, without seeing his cards.

Big Hand #4. The Villain raised with KJ of clubs and I called with KT of diamonds in the small blind. I don't know if folding because I'm dominated or three betting to isolate would have been better. I think calling is probably the worst of the three, but these are not considerations I have run across many times, and in the heat of the moment I called. The big blind folded anyway and the flop came down ace high. I check raised, fully expecting to drag the pot immediately, but my opponent called. The turn was a small card and I bet out. He raised me! WHOA! I have never been so surprised to be raised in my life. I feel like I almost said "WHAT THE FUCK!" out loud. I knew he was on a pure bluff, but at the same time he had me beat!!! The only thing to do was three bet and hope that I didn't get hero called down by a better king high! Happily after he thought for a second he mucked it.

By this time I think he noticed that I'd been doing some funky shit. Not mentioned here are a few other hands where he hit and not only did I not give him good action, he got zero action. It's not often that you see a guy three bet, check the flop heads up and then fold the turn, but I did that at least once. I could feel his frustration.

Big Hand #5. On this hand he had 88 and I three bet him with A9. By the end of the hand there was a K two Q's and a J on the board and he called me all the way down. I decided it was time to pump the brakes a little.

There were other hands with a varying number of other players involved that I've forgotten where I was able to save $15 here or $30 there when he hit big. "Oh you've got the ace of spades? I guess I won't draw to a king high spade draw. Is that a set? No reason to do anything with this top pair I have"

This went on for 2+ hours! The whole time I was thinking "I'm never leaving this game. Never. If this guy stays I'll play straight through until morning and all the next day." Eventually he moved to a different seat and the party was over.

 I didn't see his hand every time because 5 or 6 time I forgot to look! It's just not a habit  look over at your opponent's cards as the cards were coming out. It also took a great deal more mental energy to keep track of what he had - suit and rank of two cards - and what I had and still play at normal speed.

Did anyone else notice me looking? I don't think so, as I had sunglasses on the whole time and was carful to look with my eyes not my head.

The bad news is I lost a little during that 2 hours ACK! I missed a bunch of big draws and otherwise had some neutral to poor results against the other players.

The good news is I played for another 30 minutes after he moved and ran hot! Hot Hot Hot! I had 99 in a pot that was 7 way for two bets preflop and hit a 9 on the flop and made quads on the river!. Since I'd been doing some goofy shit for the past few hours I did not get credit for a made hand. It was 3 bets on the flop 5 way, 2 bets on the turn 4 way and 1 bet on the river 3 way. That hand put me up $600 and after 5 and a half hours I was ready to pack it in.

I almost left right then, but I was still stacking chips from that pot and decided to toss out the big blind and play one more round. After folding a few hand I picked up 87 of spades, flopped a flush draw, pushed it, hit it, and got paid. That put me up to +$900.

On my last hand before leaving I picked up AA and The Villain picked up something. We went to war, I won, and a few other people got dragged down with him. That pot put me up $1,251 on the night and back in black for The Project.

I'm too fucking tired to write about it, but I can also tell you that today I played Session #22 - The Final Session in Project Flying Panther - and won another $460!


After 78 hours I booked a $1,369 win for The Project. Backers look out for an e-mail from me this weekend and I'll share some final thoughts and some stats in one more post on Sunday.

Fly Panther Fly!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

PFP Sessions #19-21: The Good, The Bad, and the Holy Shit I Can See This Guy's Cards

Again apologies to my backers for my poor track record on reporting!

Session #19 - The Good

Coming in to session #19 I was stuck $538 and I got that back in a hurry. I was in a great game and I got great cards, it was as simple as that. The big hand of the night came when I posted behind the button after missing the blinds. Another player posted as well and there were two limpers when the action got to me. I popped it with A8 of hearts and we took the flop 6 handed.

The flop came down three small hearts giving me the nuts! Zing! Better yet when I bet there was a raise and two callers. Rather than reraise I decided to wait for the turn since the raiser would be first to act on the next betting round. Like clockwork he came out betting and another player raised in front of me! Now I was faced with another decision. I decided to just call and hopefully keep both players in the pot.

The river came out another small card and the turn raiser bet, I raised, he reraised, since I still had the best possible hand I hit it again and he called showing a jack high flush.

I made 3 or 4 straights to go along with that flush and generally cruised to a win of $1,090.

Session #20 - The Bad

Coming off four winning sessions in a row, and playing on a Friday I was feeling good about my chances. But when I looked at the $15/$30 it was all regulars so I decided to sit in the $200 Max game and I got my ass kicked in short order.

I lost $200 on a hand where I flopped bottom two vs a straight on a Q J 9 board. I called an all in of $150 on the turn (which was a blank) after getting raised on the flop. I'm not sure how I feel about that one.

I lost another about $325 on a hand where I had A8 suited, the board was  6 7 9 (with one of my suit), someone bet $95, I went all in for $290, I got snap called by J9 and missed. I love this play - I was 44% to win after he called and I'm surprised he did.

On another hand I made it $15 from the button with KQ, the big blind made it $40, I called, the flop came down 8 5 3, he bet $30 and I called. The turn was another 3, he bet $40, I made it $150 and he called. The river was a brick, we both checked and he showed me 87. That was another $220 out the door. I felt like that $40 on the turn was weak and I'm glad I went after it. Normally this type of play is gold for me as I have a tight image, but I'd only been at the table for under an hour and never played with most of the players so I had the image of a guy getting he ass handed to him.

After 2 hours I left losing $904 for the session.

Session #21 - Holy Shit I Can See This Guy's Cards

I started writing this up, but I really shouldn't be rushed since it's not an every day story. I found myself sitting next to a guy who was regularly flashing his cards and it led to some unusual situations. Look out for it tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

You Know You've Made It When

Usually I get somewhere around 50-100 page views on my posts (the big exception being that 5,000 people have read my post about open faced Chinese Poker) and I've written over 800 of them since the summer of 2006. I just got a comment about how I misused you're and your. This is the first time the grammar police have called me out! I have arrived!

PFP Sessions #17 and #18 - It's Good To Have a Plan

I had a half day at work on Friday and was in a game at the Oaks at 2:00 in the afternoon. I sat down at $200 Max with $400 in front of me and there were some fireworks about 15 minutes in.

It was a two hand sequence against the same opponent that went down almost perfectly. On the first hand there was an $8 live straddle. With two callers in front of me I called with 54 of spades on the button. The small blind called, the straddle made it $20 and we took the flop 5 way.

The flop came down 8 6 4 with one spade, the small blind fired out $70 into the $100 pot, and everyone folded to me. We both had a little more than $400 in front of us, and I had bottom pair with a gut shot and a back door flush draw. More importantly I could say with a high degree of confidence that the vast majority of the hands my opponent was likely to have couldn't call a big raise. If he had a set or two pair, he'd likely go for a check raise and with a big pocket pair he probably would have raised preflop. It felt like he had an 8 and I didn't think he's stack off with an 8.

I made it $200 to go, he thought for 20 seconds and mucked.

On the very next hand there were several limpers in front of me and I took a flyer with 52 of spades. It's hard to defend that play, but basically I've found so many good spots to bluff at the $200 Max that I'm playing very loose in position. Also I lost my mind for 1/2 a second and threw in the the $4 to call.

Anyway we took the flop 6 way, and the flop came down 6 4 3 with two spades! Zingo Zongo! Flopping a straight with a straight flush draw as back up requires gibberish exclamations.

It was checked to me and thinking that if I wanted to win a big pot I needed to build it on the flop, I bet $10. The button (the villain in the previous hand) called as did the big blind. The turn was a red Q, I bet out $20 and the button raise to $60. "Holy Christ I have him right where I want him!" I thought. I made it $120 which may have been a little lite, but he called without thinking much about it.

The river was another red Q and I wasn't sure what to do. What I probably should have done was, put my opponent on a Q and bet $200 which would have just barely gotten him all in. Instead I had a complex series of thoughts go racing through my head. I figured that if I checked I might get a bet from a missed draw, I'd certainly get a bet from a Q and I might save some money if by some chance I was up against a full house. With that in mind, when he bet $95 I just called and took down the pot. Unfortunately I rolled my hand over as soon as I called and my opponent didn't show. It was a very nice pot, but I played it like kind of a pussy and I'm not happy about that.

When my name got called for $15/$30 I walked over to table $18 with $439 in profit from $200 Max. My good luck continued over there and I ran it up to a total profit of over $1,200 for the session, before giving much of it back during a long card dead stretch. In the end I booked a $540 win for the day.

On Sunday I made my way back. The combo of 1st of the month (when people get paid) and a holiday weekend did not disappoint. I sat down in one of two $15/$30 games and I only recognized one player, and he's someone I'm always happy to play against.

There was one guy who was the worst of the group. He bought in for $300 and when he blew through that I figured he'd be done or pull out another $100 or something. Instead he pulled out another $1,000 and went to work blasting it off as fast as possible. I didn't make many hands, but when I did I won big pots. This caused me to bounce around between even and +$500 for the entire session.

One big hand came up toward the end of the day. I got dealt 22 and was the second caller. After a couple of other calls the button raised, the big blind 3 bet it and the button capped it. We took the flop 7 way for $60 each. The flop was A T 2 giving me bottom set and it checked around. ACK! The turn was a 7, I bet and 5 people called me! The river was a Q. It was checked to me, the small blind check raised and the big blind three bet it! Super ACK! I was 98% sure I was up against KJ so I let it go and sure enough the big blind took it down with KJ.

I was sad to see that one slip away and I ended the day with a modest $140 profit.

After 65 hours I'm losing $528 for the project. One nice win and I'll be back in black. I'm going to try to squeeze 5 sessions and 20 hours in to the last 11 days of The Project which ends September 14th (Play on the 14th will count). This week I'll be in action Wednesday and Friday night. I expect all of these sessions to be at The Oaks and maybe one of them will involve a shot at $30/$60 if conditions look good.

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...