Saturday, October 30, 2004

Overvaluing the Flush

I screwed up the registration process for the Poker Forum Challenge. I registered on the website but didn't register on the Royal Vegas software so I couldn't play in the tourney. I thought that if you registered on the website you would be registered for the tournament but apparently the website just allowed the privilege of registering for the tournament at Royal Vegas.

I was in a tournament frame of mind and I found a $5+.50 rebuy with a guaranteed $15,000 pool at UltimateBet. I used some saved up player points to join the tourney and purchase the initial rebuy so I could start with 2,000 instead of 1,000 chips. Things seemed to go well but I found myself second best a few times and automatically rebought if I fell below 1,000. Before the first break I had rebought twice and with the addon I was invested $15. The prize pool had grown to over $25,000 and first place was getting over $7,000.

With 1912 players initially joining the tournament 1042 were still in it at the break. That means 870 players were nothing more than dead money as they opted not to rebuy. Extending that thought, with the buy in at $5 the players contributed $4,350 in essence giving the tournament an overlay. That's assuming none of the 870 did any rebuys. I might have to play this one again in the future.

Anyway, back to actual play. On the first hand after the break I was dealt K9d in late position. I was able to limp into a multiway pot and the flop came JJ6 with two diamonds. It checked to the player on my immediate right and he put a pot sized bet out. I called with the flush draw expecting others to call but everyone folded around. The turn brought a K and my opponent checked. I figured my K may or may not be good since JJ was on the board and my opponent represented the J. With it checked to me I took the free card. The river brought another diamond and with my made flush thoughts of doubling up bounced in my head. My opponent placed a pot sized bet and knowing I could now beat his three Jacks I pushed all in. By going all in I was only making a slightly larger than pot sized bet so my opponent called. He showed me a KJ for the full house and I was out on the first hand after the break in 1042nd place. We could now increase the dead money count by an additional $15.

This was the second time my flush had gone down to a full house in this tournament and each time it was slowed played by my opponent. During the ring games I played after busting out I again lost with a flush against a full house. It was certainly not my night to have flushes. This makes me look harder at overvaluing the flush without taking the board into consideration. None of my opponents represented the full house when they hit it and that's what they are supposed to do. I believe I was too over anxious and never took the time to review everything before placing my bets. I think it's OK to ride the flush through the river in a ring game as your losses will be limited but I'm going to have to be much more careful in the future in the tournaments. I always here you shouldn't risk an all in unless your 99% sure you have the nuts in and in both cases the board showed that I could be dominated. In the hand I was busted out on if I would have just called the bet I would have been shortstacked but at least I'd have still been in the fight.

Learn from my mistake. Don't overvalue your hand.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Part-y-ing is Such Sweet Sorrow

I finished clearing my free $50 bonus last night. In the three sessions I spent working it I just about tripled up. I am truly amazed at some of the play at Party on occasion but then Iggy's been saying it for, well, forever. With the Party bonus behind me I need to turn my attention back to UltimateBet and the clearing of that one. After that I'm thinking the Full Tilt 100% bonus is sounding good. I've heard good and bad about the clearing process but hey, 100% is 100%. If enough players are on it I'll give it a shot.

Tonight I visit Royal Vegas for the $5,000 freeroll by way of the Poker Forum Challenge. I'll be playing for and if I can win It'll turn my entire Poker Cruise in December into a free trip.

Wish Me Luck

PS - using bisons criteria per his post on 2+2 I rated all the players in my Poker Tracker database. I rated out as a "Slight Loose Preflop", "Aggressive Preflop", and "Aggressive Postflop" or sLA-A. If I change the "Slightly Loose Preflop" to a "Tight Preflop" I'll be rated the way he says I should. It's all subjective and my style works for me but I have noticed a natural tightening up of my game lately. Who knows, I might end up "Tight Preflop" by progression instead of effort.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Know What, You're Right

In my last post I talked about the frustration of playing a tournament in which I really felt like I was butting my head against a wall. I received one comment to the post and it went like this:

You got 3 hours worth of poker experience with cold cards, and managed to cash.
You beat 550 other players, all who lost money.
You managed a short stack well enough to surprise some other players.
And you sound like somebody SHOT YOUR DOG.
You don't have the temperament for poker. I suggest online quake.

That comment is absolutely correct when taken in the context of that tournament. I certainly did not have the temperament for poker that night. My frustration/aggression would have been better served blowing monsters to bits in Quake. At least I was able to convey my feelings to words as Mr. Anonymous was able to come to roughly the same conclusion I was about the night.

Fortunately I've gotten over myself. Tuesdays day off had a nice rejuvenating effect on me and I came back last night feeling ready to go. To my delight the Party patrons were ready as well. Ready to part with their money that is. A nice 25BB win for 7BB/100 and I was able to go to sleep feeling good about my play and my attitude.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

It's for the experience, right?

Going in search of a cheap multi table tourney last night proved to be more difficult than I thought. After checking several sites UltimateBet was offering a $5 +.50 and a $10 +$1 w/ rebuys and $20,000 guaranteed prize pool. The smart money would have been to play the $10 but considering the rebuys and add-on I was looking at a minimum investment of $31. ($10 + $1 entry, immediate add-on $10 and the final add-on $10) That was if I didn't drop significant chips before the final add-on.

The $5 tourney started an hour earlier than the $10 and since I was looking to go cheap I bought in figuring if I busted within the first hour I could go with the rebuy event. After it was all over I almost wish I had busted early. This had to be the single most depressing tourney I've ever played in. Depressing might be the wrong word, I wasn't actually "depressed", perhaps "ho, hum" would be better. At any rate there was nothing to lift my spirits going on here. I was very card dead for the entire tournament and had to survive at least 5 or 6 all-ins in the later stages just to make the money. I was to the point where any Ace was an all-in hand and I had to count on the big stacks calling me with garbage to survive. Since I was no threat they happily obliged and one player commented about how funny it was that the "little" guy was still hanging on. If we had been at a real table I'm quite sure I would have reached out and bitch slapped him. Frustrating... that's the word I was searching for, not depressing, frustrating. Complete and utter frustration. I managed to finish 51st out of 631 for a small $2.16 profit. Almost 3 hours of my life that I'll never get back for a mere pittance.

I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Being upset about making the money, well the little end of the money. Am I to hard on myself, Do I have a delusional outlook on my own abilities? I'll have to ponder this and since tonights family night I'll be able to get away from the game for a night and think about it.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Two in a Row

Finally broke out two back to back wins. It's been weeks since I've strung some together it came at a nice time.

Party Poker graced me with an email on Saturday proclaiming that I had $50 waiting in my account and all I had to do to keep it was play 500 raked hands by October 28th at Midnight. That will be a tight bonus to clear since I don't play ring games on Sunday-Tuesday, but I blew out 200 on Saturday night so I should 'get er done.

I played for three hours to clear the 200 "raked" hands and managed a 7.43BB/100 earn. I haven't played Party in weeks since it was kicking my ass but this was a good welcome back gift.

Last night was Sit-N-Go night at Absolute and I played in three of them. I've stopped muti-tableing these since the end game requires too much concentration on my part. In the three I posted a 2nd, 3rd, and 8th. The 8th was a hard one to swallow as a suited hammer took out my AQs. He made a straight on the river with the 2. I knew I was going to lose the hand when the straight hit the river but I was already pot committed. I expected to see him show an A2 since he was calling down my big bets but instead he had absolutely nothing till the river. A profitable night none the less but I knew I was too ticked to keep playing.

At least I'm learning to leave when I know I'm not going to play optimally. That makes me feel like progress is being made in my game and that's always a good thing.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

The Precipice of Greatness

OK, actually I just wanted to use the word Precipice in the title.

A sure sign that you've arrived on the blogging scene is having Dr. Pauly mention you as one of the "Notable players KO'd" from the blogger tourney. Did I mention he used the word notable. Being designated as notable is surely a sign of greatness, or a notable sign that armeggedon will soon be upon us. But hey, I'm in a "glass is half full" kinda mood so we'll go with greatness.

Speaking of glass being half full. I had a good night of bonus clearing at UltimateBet. I covered my gambling losses from a few nights ago and that was a big confidence boost. For those of you following along I'm sure it's become more than obvious that I'm in a win one day, lose the next day, playing cycle. I really need to put together a couple of wins in a row to get myself going. My current wins are slightly bigger than my losses so progress is still being made, albeit very slowly.

I worked on switching up my play a little and raised with hands I normally don't while limping with hands I'd normally raise. I tried to be as inconsistent as I felt I could and still be profitable. This was working wonders at one table in particular and I had a lot more calls at the river than I normally would. I was giving the impression of overvaluing some weaker cards and caught several players chasing second best because of it. I'm not convinced it's a complete formula to success as the suckouts are a bit bigger but certainly more research will be in order this evening.

My work towards limiting my losses through better play started to pay off last night as well. I did have one losing table, because it broke up, only dropping 4 BB's. All other tables were profitable.

Well I better get back to work, this is your notable poker blogger signing off.

Friday, October 22, 2004

The Blogger Tourney, Such As It Was

I saw 14 flops, suffered 1 bad beat, and I didn't go out on the bad beat. Player foles1_98 seemed to have my number all night and took most of my chips as well as booting me from the tourney. I should have taken it as a bad sign as phonetically "foles" is the same as my ex-wifes current last name. I couldn't get anything going as even when I had good starting cards the board would give me no help. I went out on the hand before the first break in 93rd position.

I then fired up some ring games at UltimateBet and still could get no help. I was blessed with pocket K's 5 times yet lost money with them. I loosened up a bit more than I should have but overall the cards just wouldn't hold up for me.

I suffered my biggest loss, when holding KK. A straight minus the K was on the board and since we were capping the turn and river I expected a split. The river card paired the Jacks on board though and his J10 gave him the full house. I went from a 90% favorite at the turn to losing 8.5 big bets. That hand pretty much summed up my whole night. It can only get better, right?

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

What were you thinking?

That's what I said to myself yesterday as I reviewed Sunday nights play in Poker Tracker. Sunday night is normally a sit-n-go night for me but with UltimateBet offering the big bonus, and since I had such a good Saturday night, I decided to stick with the limit tables to knock out some more of the bonus. To make a short story shorter I gave back the big win Saturday night and then a little more.

Even while I was still sitting there playing Sunday night I knew I was not playing correctly. I would say to myself, "I should fold here", but I clicked the call button again and again like an unthinking automaton. I played four tables and was only profitable on one. That table brought me a whopping 5 cents. The others, well lets just say I lost more than 5 cents on each. :)

It became very evident, very early in my review of the data that I wasn't playing poker. I was at the poker tables, but I was gambling. Not since first starting to play have I gambled it up that much. I actually found more than one hand were I was calling off bets with zero outs. Now that I'm two days removed from the debacle I find it kinda funny and I look at it as a blowing off steam session. Maybe subconsciously I needed to throw money around. When I get back to the grind on Friday I'll be focused once again.

I normally get back to the grind on Thursdays but with the Poker Blogger Tourney on Thursday night I will be doing that instead. There is still time to sign up. The tournament will be at Poker Stars and you can get all the details at Iggy's place.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Dissin' the Duke

I'm hard at work clearing my 50% deposit bonus at UltimateBet and winning while I'm at it. Today though I don't want to write about my play, instead I want to briefly discuss Annie Duke.

I believed, as I think many online players did, that Annie Duke was a big cry baby. Her comments as quoted by ESPN after she busted out of the WSOP championship were that of someone trying to make excuses for her lack of ability and over inflated ego. It also appeared, to me at least, that she thought she was better than all other female players and that playing in an all female tournament would be too demeaning for her. The "chip on her shoulder" indeed seemed large and only growing larger.

Then came the Tournament Of Champions event. Did Annie Duke deserve to be in the tournament? no. She herself said she probably didn't have a shot of winning it. ESPN was putting her in the event as the token female player and there were no expectations. Of course she went on to win it and during this event I noticed something that began to change my attitude toward her. She was extremely lucky in a few of the hands we saw on television and it was these hands which helped propel her toward her eventual win. Without this luck she was definitely not the best player at the table. She honestly admitted to this in the post tourney interview so that helped here cause. Also when she was heads up, she became the best player at the table. No doubt, Phil's an excellent player. She played tremendously against him and knew exactly what buttons to push to win the psychological war between them. His massive tilt session afterwards will, I'm sure, go down in history as one of the best.

This event in itself didn't change my thinking to much but when combined with her interviews afterwards, I started to see her in a different light. I was able to read several interviews where the lack of her appearances in all female events were explained. She referred directly to the WSOP Ladies event and listed her reason for not playing in it to be because the event didn't pay as much as the other event running at the time. I can't fault anyone for looking at the big financial picture. She also said she supported the womens events but that she is looking to make her presence known in the major events and that's were she needs to focus. Again, I can't fault her logic.

This leads me to the WPT Poker Corner broadcast this last week. I had recorded it and just watched it last night. While it was a fluff piece designed to give the WPT more air time I have to say that Annie impressed me. I'm not a professional player, for do I profess to be, but her "analysis" of play, as opposed to Daniel or Phil's, seemed to be more to the way I would have looked at the events. She was passionate about her "reads" and more than willing to defend her point of view. Daniel came off as a color commentator you'd see on ESPN and Phil was trying to distance himself from everything Annie said while trying to align himself with Negreanu's thinking. Annie was clearly not getting any respect from either of these players and Mike Sexton appeared to pick this up and offered Annie words of encouragement in form of agreement on several occasions.

After taking all to this into consideration I have to say I see where the "chip on her shoulder" comes from. It's clear that women, or at least Annie Duke, are not getting the full respect of the current players and I hope that changes soon. I for one am willing to say I was wrong, and Annie, you've got my respect.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Welcome to Poker Stars

I signed up for Poker Stars last night using the link from Iggy's site. I hope he's getting something out of it because they sure didn't offer me anything. What's with the no first time depositer bonus. That's a bogus no bonus.

Since we all know that all poker sites are rigged, in leau of the sign on bonus the computers made sure I took plenty of money from the tables. I've always heard how tough the play is at that site but I extracted 20BB/100 last night. This will more than cover my buy in for the blogger tourney so I'm happy about it. My greed wants me to go back tonight for more but Ultimate Bet is offering a 50% reload bonus for today only so I'm heading back over there. I'm not one to turn down free money.

The tables seemed pretty ripe for the picking last night but what's with the interface. All of the muted brown and yellow colors are just to, well, muted. There needs to be some more contrast in the color scheme. It's easy to overlook someone still in the pot if you don't take the time to look it over carefully. A few times I would miss an early player limping in when I had hands going on multiple tables. This cost me a few times. Maybe I'm spoiled by some of the other sites but I'm not sure I'll play at Stars very often.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Futures So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades

After a restful night away from the tables I was ready to go. I watched the documentary on the team that built SpaceShip One as they went for the X-prize. This is showing on the Discovery Science Channel and I recommend it. Good TV.

As has become my normal Wednesday night routine I signed up for the Absolute Rewards Points $500 guaranteed tournament. I had about 45 minutes to kill before it got started so a quick sit-n-go was in order.

These things normally run around an 1:15 to an 1:30 but it was over in 58 minutes. I emerged victorious and ready for the tournament. The few hands that overlapped while I finished up the single table tournament were uneventful but then things fired up. It was nice for a change not to have to worry about playing the small stack. I stayed around average to a few thousand over the average size chip stack for the majority of the tournament. I played well but was boosted by some nice flops. I didn't receive that many pocket pairs but did have more than my fair share of A's. I remember getting pocket pair six times during the event. 2's, 3's, 4's and 5's each once and the A's three times. I believe the A's helped me to eliminate an opponent each time as they held up. Now that I've put them on paper as it were, my pocket pairs eerily give me the straight.

At any rate I coasted to the final table and and pushed in a large bet with AJo from early position. The small stack at the table responded with an all in and everyone folded to me. I saw it as my duty and called. The SS outkicked me with his AQo and I was left with barely enough to cover the BB of 6,000. When it came around to me I pushed all in with the hammer and declared in the chat box that I was "going out in a blaze of glory". No one seemed to find this humorous but when a 2 hit the flop and a 7 on the turn I thought I was going to triple up and live to fight on. As it happened though one of my callers held pocket 5's and made a straight on the river. I was out in 6th place but happy with my play, my finish, and my goal achieved of making the final table.

I only have enough reward points left to buy into another 3 of these so from here on out it's all about the win.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Sweet, Sweet, Variance

After having the horrible loss on Thursday night I managed to take the lesson to heart and had an extraordinary night on Saturday. I posted a 58BB win which more than covered the loss and gave me a 20BB gain for the week. I managed to play enough hands by Saturday night that I have secured my spot in the $100,000 freeroll that takes place on December 18th at Royal Vegas Poker. According to their info they are expecting 50,000 entrants. (maybe I'm reading that wrong) I don't know how this can be handled but it will certainly be interesting to see how it's done. That enormous of a field will be nearly impossible to get through but I look forward to the challenge.

On the tourney front I managed an 11th place finish last night in a field of 91 at Absolute Poker. I could have easily skated into the final table but I got greedy and was caught 100% off guard by my heads up opponent. I've replayed it hundreds of times, as I was very pissed for a very long time last night. Problem is I'm not sure if I made a mistake or not. I certainly could have played it differently but I was so sure of my read I sacrificed everything. I have never posted a hand history to a forum before but I think I will post this one at PSO. I'm interested in the feedback I'll get. Next week when I've gotten some responses I'll disect it and post it here for your guys' opinions.

Speaking of tournaments it appears that I have become very adept at playing a short stack (as it seems I'm short stacked 90% of the time) but I don't have a clue how to play a large stack. Every time I managed to build up to a decent stack I end up giving it away. This will be the next item in my game I'll need to address. I'm open to any guidance my readers have on this topic. (hint..hint..use comments...hint..hint)

My sit-n-go game has seemed to go to pot recently as well. I feel I'm getting to weak/tight and always seem to pick the wrong times to go aggressive. Oh Well, practice...practice...practice

PS. I will be playing in the next blogger tournament being hosted at Poker Stars. I don't have an account their yet but I'll get one this week and start preparing to improve on my 10th place finish in the last one.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Lesson Given

Poker Tracker has shown me a lesson.

I had a horrible night of cards last night. In an effort to win a spot in the $100,000 freeroll happening in December at Royal Vegas Poker I needed to play 100 raked hands by this Sunday. I deposited some money two or three days ago and managed a modest win on the first night. Then came last night.

I managed to lose 45BB between two tables of .50/1. With my current bankroll woes that is significant damage. I wanted to delve into the issue of the loss before posting so I fired up Poker Tracker and looked at the table I lost the most at first. I expected to see glaring holes in my play but I honestly did not find anything of significance. I truly had a bad run of cards. The only pair I received during my play was 4's, they didn't flop trips and with overcards I folded. My biggest pocket cards that were not a pair was ATo. Even when I had my bad run last month I don't think I ever received such a large amount of bad cards in a single session. I did not win a single hand at the table during my 74 played there. Aside from two hands I never lost more than 1.5BB's in a single pot. My VP$IP% was 14.86% so I was playing way fewer hands than I normally do, I just wasn't getting any to play.

On the second table I was getting a bit better cards. I not only received pocket 4's once but pocket 10's as well one time. Instead of having ATo being my best hand other than pairs I got AJs once. My VP$IP% was 22.22% which is still tight but I was seeing more action. I had a few hands hold up at this table and even managed to win a few pots. Although I didn't lose as much money at this table I played this table much more poorly. Looking through my post flop play I was giving away far too many Big Bets. It looks as though I was trying to overcompensate for the loses from the first table by winning bigger pots on the second. This worked a few times but as I lost more than I won I was overvaluing my hands and giving money away.

There is no way, given the cards, I was going to win last night. I compounded the problem by giving away more than I needed to at one of the tables. I broke the rule of minimizing your loses.

Lesson given, but was it learned. I for one, hope so.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

One Step Closer

A few days ago, or maybe a week, I proclaimed that instead of just trying to make the money in multi table tournaments, I was going to shoot for the final table. Last night I busted out one spot from that final table. In an Absolute rewards tournament (you use rewards points for the buy in but cash is paid out) in which over 340 people registered, I began my quest. Five hands into the thing I had 165 chips left from the original 1500. I had pretty much resigned myself to busting out among the first players as my AKd ran into 10 7o. The 10 7 made two pair on the turn and my flopped K cost me almost my entire stack. Short stacked play was the overriding theme for the night so that's what we'll address here today.

Conventional wisdom states that when short stacked you need to be aggressive and try to steal blinds when the opportunities arise. This is sound strategy if you have enough of a stack left that you might intimidate someone. What do you do if you don't have enough of a stack to even match an average size pot? I know Celebrity Poker is a bad reference but I keep hearing Phil Gordon's voice in my head. "I can't believe he folded that hand. That was a horrible play, when your short stacked you need to pick any two cards and move in. You need to get lucky and try to double up." I don't specifically remember the episode this came from, or even if that is an exact quote, but it covers the main point he was making. Well I say pushaw Mr. Gordon.

I have an approach that completely bucks the trend. Be patient and wait for a top starting hand. Will you be blinded off, maybe. Will you double up when called, yes, most of the time. I had to put the disclaimer of "most of the time" since we all know even aces can be cracked. What you want to do is give yourself the greatest possibility to be the victor. Put as much of the odds as you can on your side. In essence, cut down on the luck factor. When you are left with a small enough stack that you are almost guaranteed a call from a bigger stack, you have to be patient and wait it out. Fold hands you may even normally play. I folded small pocket pair on more than one occasion last night waiting for the proper cards and position.

Position is key in deciding what hands to play. This holds true in everyday play and is even more critical when short stacked. Those pocket 4's are good to move in with if your on the button and it's folded to you, but if your under the gun just muck them. It won't take long before the observant players start respecting you again even if they have you covered four times over. I had taken my 165 chips and turned them into an above average stack before the first break. I didn't get more than my fair share of good cards, I was just patient and looked for opportunities to maximize my gain when these hands came.

I stayed above board until we were down to 54 players. I don't remember the specifics of the hand but I found myself with less than 10x the big blind when the chips were pushed away from me. At the late stages of a tournament you will have a big stack call an all in from a short stack holding just about anything. I've seen 72o call an all in so you need to take advantage of these opportunities by maximizing your preflop odds. With so many players left I knew I wasn't going to make the final table if I got careless. I sweated it out and finally ended up all in on my big blind. I was dealt 84o and knew I was busted. One caller came with me and I received my first of two lucky breaks in the tournament. I made two pair and more than doubled up. My next lucky break came when I raised the big blind from my small blind. I went all in and the BB only had to call 230 more chips to cover me. He wasn't paying attention to the chip stacks though and folded. I had the goods holding AK but still he committed a critical error. The table let him know this and he was the next to bust out.

They say you need luck as well as skill to win a tournament and my luck came at these two opportune times. I stayed among the shortest stacks until the end but I played my chips hard when I had my best preflop chances and continued to double up when I needed to. I knew I wasn't going to be able to mount a serious run for the win without a much bigger stack but I couldn't mount that large of a comeback. I took my chances with a small pocket pair with 10 players left and was handed my walking papers. My ride from 50 down to 10 may not have been flashy or pretty but I did what was necessary to propel myself through the ranks. A succession of all in bets may have been what some will recommend, but in my experience, the tortoise can beat the hare.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Review: Phil Hellmuths Million Dollar Tournament Strategies DVD

After experiencing disappointment with the Million Dollar Poker System I really didn't have high hopes for this one.

While the production value remained roughly the same as in the Poker System DVD it was obviously filmed at a different time. We see Phil wearing the open collar and unbuttoned cuff (what's up with that) look that he sported in the late add on segment placed into the Poker System DVD. As before I believe a continuity in wardrobe would have added to the overall production value. A few more "effects" have been added where camera angles are changed with maddening frequency and the onscreen transition graphics become quite annoying. A welcomed addition was Phil's greater comfort level with the cameras. He appeared to be much more relaxed and almost reminded me of the personality type you see on the late night infomercials. Not the Ronco guy because he's way over the top but Phil had a rather subdued yet energetic delivery. The trademark ego was in full affect but to be honest I took it as more of a qualification of his abilities and supported his "proof of knowledge" as opposed to the normal blatant self indulgent rhetoric. He bordered on personable, but that may just be that fact that I'm in a good mood while watching this.

Now onto content. Knowing that this instructional DVD is for beginners only, and I stress the word beginners, it has some very good content. It also severely lacks in its explanations of that content. At 57 minutes the run time is just to short to do anything but tell you what a tournament is. In fact the 57 minutes includes the opening sequence, credits, and commercials at the end. All in all only about 48 minutes is actual instruction. This DVD is more of a primer to help people watch a tournament on TV, and have some idea what the commentators are talking about, rather than a primer to actually playing in a tournament.

Phil steps through the following strategies or stages as they call them in the DVD
1) How to Enter
   What to Expect
   The First Hours
2) Raising to Steal the Blinds
   The "All in" Strategy
   The Bluffing Weapon
3) Work Your Chips
   The Will to Win
   The Final Table

Phil starts with the buy in procedure for most major tournaments. As this would be step one in the casino tournament process I suppose it had it's place. The DVD would have been better served if they had taken that 5 minutes and used it to give more detailed explanations of actual playing strategies. For instance the blind stealing section although important in tournament play really left much to be desired in it's explanations. Phil has a tendency to introduce a basic concept, then explain that concept by introducing advanced plays and anecdotes from his past tournaments. I can't blame him for the lack of real world usable content. The DVD medium is just not the proper format for truly learning the game of poker. A good collection of books will give you so much more useable information. He introduces concepts and tells you what they are, just not the real knowledge to use them.

Next up Online Secrets...I can't wait :)

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Uncle! Uncle!

I should have cried Uncle last night and gave up. I wanted to watch the Presidential Debate but instead found myself at a 5 year olds birthday party. As I'm sure you are aware these are often just more fun than a barrel of monkeys but I was able to peel the family away in time to make the $8,000 guaranteed tournament at Absolute. I arrived back at home with 5 minutes to spare and was busted before the first break.

I called an early raiser with QJo in late position and 3 of us saw the flop. The flop came Q high and I had a sense that the only hands that could beat me were AQ or KQ. I just couldn't put anyone on a big pair, not even the early raiser. The early raiser came out with a bet about one third the pot and the MP called as well as myself. The turn and river were blanks and the EP raiser led out each round. We let him and at showdown the EP had only pocket 10's. The MP player showed KQ and I was left with 10 x the Big Bet within 5 minutes of the tournament starting. I played this hand all wrong, knew I could be beat, and still chucked my chips into the pot. I tried to hang on but with no cards to fight back with it was only a matter of time and that time was short.

Not being too horribly disappointed I moved to Ultimate Bet and fired up two cash tables. I received good starting hands on both tables but always seemed to come up second best. What made things worse was I knew what my opponents had, I knew I was beat, yet kept putting money in the pots hoping my reads were wrong. A cardinal sin broken and I paid 40BB for my sacrilege.

To give you an idea of what I was up against I held AA UTG. I raised and got two callers. The flop came QQx and I just knew someone had the Q. I led out only to get raised by the CO. I folded the hand...NOT! I knew I was beat so I called...NOT! I raised it. Was reraised then called and check/called all the way through the river just throwing my money away. My KK ran into AA and my flopped trips, which filled into a full house on the river was taken down by a bigger full house. Many more second bests and thus was my night.

On the bright side after busting out of the hold em games I decided to give Omaha/8 a try. I went to the .25/.50 tables to get my feet wet and managed to double my buy in. I've always read starting hands are key to omaha so I tried to be disciplined in this manner. It seemed to work and I had fun. I won't be jumping into omaha anytime soon but I'll probably dabble from time to time.