Saturday, September 30, 2006

Picks Week 4

Filed Under: Sports, Poker

Had a glorious week last week going 3-0. This week the games look tight and I've only gone with two picks.

Chargers -2

Seahawks +2.5

I made the Seahawks bet early in the week before it was announced that Alexander would not play. I thought the game would move the Seattle having to give points before the week was out but the news of the League MVP being out has now pushed the line to Seahawks +3. I would place more money on it if they were +7 but without Alexander it may be an uphill climb since they will move to a more one dimensional team. Also I'd ask for a moment of silence as they had to cut Kacyvenski to make room for another runner.

In actual poker news I took another run at the 20K last night. I was uncerimoniously removed from the tournament when I made a right move at the wrong time. I cashed but this hand would have set me up for a final table run.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

2...2...2..Final Table In 1 (night)

Filed Under: Poker

Don't get too excited by the title of this post. One of them I didn't finish high enough to cash in and the other (although a win) didn't pay enough to cover my buy-ins for the night. That combined with a downfall at the limit tables, and my decision to purchase an iPod Video, have put the Journey in a slight hole. I'm cofident I'll bounce back though and be back on track by the end of the week.

Why an iPod Video you ask. Well my PSP didn't have enough storage for practical use as an MP3 player and my Nano couldn't play video. I've been getting into some vidcasts and I wanted to take my TV shows with me on the go. I thought about waiting for the Zune to be released in November but I'm an instant gratification kinda guy. With the price drop on the 30GB model to the same price I paid for my Nano I couldn't pass it up. That and I can get NFL highlights through iTunes now and to a fan that doesn't have cable it's my best way to keep up with what's happening.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

One Out Of Three

Filed Under: Poker

I've started to play the 20K on Full Tilt a few nights a week and last night was one of them. PartyPoker also gave me a free $40 so I signed up for the 40K as well as the Mondays At The Hoy.

I debated (internally) naming the post "An Excercise In Being Card Dead", but since I had no real examples, or any insight to share in actually playing card dead, I chose not to. Rest assured though I was in fact horribly card dead through both the 20K and the MATH. The 40K was a different story but we'll get to that later. Oh, and I sucked in the MATH going out early.

I think I was nursing a short stack in the 20K from hand number 10 and it lasted for around 90 minutes. I then went on a nice run which put me over the average and I sat there for a while when the following situation arose:

(I thought I was saving screen shots of this but I was hitting the Pause/Break button instead of the PrntScrn button, oops)

We're down to about 128 left and 99 pay. I have 7,900 in chips which is a bit under average. The blinds are 250/500 with a 50 ante. I still have play left in my stack and I'm the small blind. It's important to note that the standard raise for this table has been 3X BB. The table is full but I'll cut out the irrelevant parts here.

Seat 6: Diggzy Brown (6,965)
Seat 8: lifesagrind (7,900)

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to lifesagrind [9d 9h]
Folds around
Diggzy Brown raises to 2,500 This screams "give me the blinds". This represents a little over a third of his stack. It's a big chunk but I don't think he's committed, and I don't think he wants a call.

lifesagrind raises to 7,850, and is all in I have an opportunity here to pick up a nice amount of chips and set myself up for a deep run.

Diggzy Brown calls 4,415, and is all in
lifesagrind shows [9d 9h]
Diggzy Brown shows [Ad Th] I would have to say this is a bad call. If he had me well outchipped it would be one thing but he's calling off all of his chips here with an easily dominated hand. He has to believe that his best case is a coin flip and if he folds he has enough chips to steal the blinds again if needed.

*** FLOP *** [Ah 5d 4h] You already knew this was coming
*** TURN *** [Ah 5d 4h] [3d]
*** RIVER *** [Ah 5d 4h 3d] [5h]
lifesagrind shows two pair, Nines and Fives
Diggzy Brown shows two pair, Aces and Fives
Diggzy Brown wins the pot (14,480) with two pair, Aces and Fives

Was my analysis incorrect? Did he have to call there? Would you?

Give me some feedback and let me know what you think.

Now the 40K. Boy these party players are bad. That really sums up the whole thing. Nothing spectacular happened. I had a better than average stack and ran it deep. I finished in 55th out of 2,388 players. Finished in the top 2% and the payout sucked. It did cover my buyins for the night plus a little more but I really wish they would pay fewer places so the payouts were greater. All in all though the tourney was soft so I may start playing this one on a regular basis.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Journey Update

Filed Under: Poker

It's been five days since I declared my intentions of the 4K roadtrip. Actyper was the only one willing to throw down a date of completion, he went with Feb. 13. Personally I can't see it taking that long. Anyway... onto the update

Needed: $4,000
Bonus/Rakeback: $133.25
3/6: $380.5
MTT: -$112.50
SNG: $56.00
Satellites: -$0.10
Total: $457.15

Saturday, September 23, 2006


Filed Under: Sports

Went 1 for 3 last week thanks to the donktastic job that the Eagles did. Talk about screwing the pooch.

I really didn't care for most of the lines this week. There should be some close and difficult games as teams start to find their true identity. With that said I did find 3 to go with:

Seahawks -3.5

Eagles -6 (I know I'm a glutton for punishment, I don't even like this team)

Titans +10.5 (Doesn't this seem a little out of whack)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

4K Or Bust

Filed Under: Poker

A family trip is in order for Spring Break this year. Destination of choice. LegoLand! My middle son has decided he wants to be a Lego Master Builder when he grows up. We've never been to Legoland and we could wait until 2009 when our own Legoland is scheduled to open up, but by then he'll have moved on and decided to be a Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief, or something along those lines. Instead come March we will go on a pilgrimage to San Diego.

Driving on this trip would take too much time so I'm going to have to pay for 4 round trip tickets, car rental, hotel, food, admission, yada yada yada. In short I'm going to need a bunch of money that I don't presently have. The upside is that I have until March to come up with the funds.

With that in mind, I plan on making this an entirely poker funded trip. After removing my tournament winnings from last week and paying the mortgage I'm left with $1,800 in the bankroll. Using a very generous estimate I'm going to need $4,000 for the trip. I would also like to grow the bankroll in the process but to keep it simple I'm going to embark on the "4K Or Bust Journey". Notice I'm not calling this a "challenge" because I have 5 full months to generate the funds. With my past performance as a gauge, this should be very doable.

The plan of action is to get back into my limit game from days gone by. With my present bankroll that means playing 3/6. This will also generate a nice sum for my rakeback. (NL doesn't take near as much in rake as limit) I won't be abandoning tournament play though. One or two nice tournament cashes pays for the whole thing so I'm not above taking the easy way out.

So...Limit by day, tournaments by night.

Anybody want to put an over/under on when I hit the 4K?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Sunday Picks and ALMOST another Final Table

Filed Under: Poker, Sports

First off I almost made another final table when I played on Thursday night. In the UltimateBet $12.5K Guarantee I was playing a pretty good game and had a very nice chip stack after the first break. I nursed it rather well but couldn't sustain and ended up out in 15th.

Now onto more important matters. The NFL. Every year I take the paltry sum of $100 and use it towards for wagers on the NFL season. If I have anything left over, it all goes on the SuperBowl. I've learned to never play week 1 as it's just too difficult to tell where teams are. Now that week 1 is over I can try my hand at some picks. I don't use any formula and really base my picks on my gut feeling and past performance. I may pick one game a week, or ten, it just depends on what I see and how the lines look.

To start things off I've gone with three games this week.

Eagles -3 vs. Giants
Saints -2.5 vs. Packers
Rams -3 vs. 49ers

All wagers are $10 unless I get the roll up to $200 then they become $20, $300 gets you $30, and so on.

I also took advantage of the $100 free wager involving the monday night game so I have:

Steelers -1.5 vs. Jaguars

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Tale Of Two $20K's

Filed Under: Poker

Tuesday night I decided to try my luck at the nightly Full Tilt $20K Guarantee tournament. At the same time I fired up a $20 SNG so that I could have something to concentrate on while doing my normal folding during the first hour of the multi. Things went very well in the SNG and I managed a win. Things were also going very well in the $20K as I managed to have a decent stack throughout most of the event. I really felt I was in the zone. My A+ game was in effect and I really thought it would be night for a big win. In my previous 13 attempts at this tournament the best I had ever managed was a 99th place. I was going to blow that away and I was smelling blood as we got closer to the end. My key hand for the night ended up being this:

The Ace that came on the river ended my night in 32nd position. I was severely disappointed to say the least. I knew I was playing my best and my reads had been dead on almost every time.

Then came last night. I decided to play the $20K again as well as The Mookie and the PokerSavvy Blogger freeroll. I donked off early in both the Mookie and the freeroll. I really couldn't get a groove going at any time and I felt rather off. The benefit of being to active in those two events was that I didn't have time to screw up the $20K early. That would come later... or would it?

Knowing that I wasn't playing my best I needed a distraction to keep from being stupid at the tables. I spent time catching up on my bloglines feeds while folding away and waiting for cards. For some reason this worked up through the second break. When I was still going strong I decided to give the game my full attention.

I soon got in the zone and had my first major double up in the form of this hand:

That solidified my chip stack until we made the final table. There was one player of note who was at the same table with me throughout the entire tournament, including the final table. I would have to say that this player had so much gamble in him, that if it wasn't for luck, he'd lose everyone of these things. Having him at the table was both good and bad. He managed to eliminate a lot of players but I had to be careful when entering pots with him. He could push all in at any time and that kind of player is dangerous. Yet also could for the occasional double up so it wasn't all bad.

Heading into the final table I was middle of the pack:

Play at the final table went pretty fast. Things were going well and then I had this huge double up when we were down to three:

The chip leader had been very active and was pushing his stack all in at any given opportunity. I bet the flop and checked the turn intending to call his bet. I was happy to see him push all in and never for a moment thought he had the flush. It's good to be right sometimes. The defining hand of the tournament came a short time later:

Didn't want the call, but...damn that looks good.

Or not.

In hindsight I really could have played that differently and pushed him off the flop. Oh well, live and learn. The damage:

Not bad for a nights work. You'll also notice that Iakaris finished in 10th just missing the final table.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Viking Fan (not the ones you think)

Filed Under: Personal

Yes that is my son (#2). The 4th grade, fully padded, search and destroy killing machine.

Killing machine might be a little over the top but his team did trounce their opponents to the tune of 43-0. This past weekend was not only the NFL season opener but also the FCCJC season opener as well. Turns out that 43-0 is the points spread allowed by the league so the game was called half way through the third quarter. The coaches on each side agreed to allow the kids to get some practice in so regulation time was finished.

I've coached my son's baseball team since he decided to start playing the game 4 years ago. Now with football I'm able to enjoy one of his sport activities as a spectator. It's a very different experience. I thoroughly enjoyed playing the role of proud papa and I had almost lost my voice by the end of it. Feeling the excitement and pride over a childs accomplishments is one of the many benefits of parenthood. I can only imagine it getting better year after year.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Goals Review and the Future

Filed Under: Poker

First a review of my August Half As Goals:

Half As Goal #1:
August: For the first half of the month I want to satellite into the NLHE, NLHE 6-max, and the main event of the Full Tilt Online Series of Poker.

I did...and I sucked.

Half As Goal #2:
August: Continue playing satellites at PokerStars but now for the WCOOP. I want to qualify for the Razz, $530 No Limit, $215 HORSE, and the Main Event.

I did manage to satellite into the $530 event. Then I unregistered and sold my W$ for cash. My game isn't ready for the WCOOP yet.

Half As Goal #3:
August: I'm going to stay moderate and shoot for 50 table hours this month at the NL games.

Didn't quite make it. I spent 43.9 table hours on NL.

No set goals this month, probably not next month either. I want to get back to what was successfull for me a few months ago and that means SNG's and Multi's. I'm going to be concentrating on $20 SNG's and Multi's up to $30. I may play some satellites with a higher entry fee at Stars. I've found these to be a good source of fundage when needed.

So far my results in the SNG's are mixed. I started out hot and then couldn't seem to find my groove yesterday.

$20+2 Stats:
22 played
2 wins
3 seconds
4 thirds

ITM 40.9%
ROI 11.6%
$56 profit

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Answer

Filed Under: Poker

I know it's been almost a week since I posed the question. If you don't remember, go check it out and come back.



Here is the final result:

RIVER [board cards 7D,3C,5S,4H,9S ]
lifesagrind bets $3,000, Fifth Sin calls $2,385 and is all-in.

lifesagrind shows [ 4C,5C ]
Fifth Sin shows [ 6H,7C ]
lifesagrind wins $615, Fifth Sin wins $11,070.

I lose. The reason I chose this hand is it illustrates what has been a flaw in my game lately. My post flop play has been off and I need to fix it.

The turn card which made my hand also was obviously my demise. Could I have seen this coming? I've made it part of my game to not "look for monsters under the bed." In other words just because it's possible for my opponent to have me beat, don't automatically assume that they do. Osinsh pointed out that based on my read my opponent may have held A6. This would have been a devestating hand for me as well and it did cross my mind. I also decided that if he was lucky enough to have that hand in this situation then I was going to pay him off.

The truth of the matter is that when I made my two pair, I was playing this hand for all of my chips. That was close minded and cost me my tournament life. Let's look at the turn shall we?

TURN [board cards 7D,3C,5S,4H ]
lifesagrind checks, Fifth Sin bets $900, lifesagrind bets $2,000, Fifth Sin calls $1,100.

My mouse trap captured the wrong prey. Since I made the summary decision that I had the best hand I ignored what my opponent was telling me. His bet was so weak, that he was telegraphing that he wanted my call. I was willing to call his weak bet on the flop (granted he was just taking a stab at it and my read was still valid on the flop), so why not try to get me to come along. I surmised that my raise at this juncture was designed to allow him to call and since he did I wasn't alerted to his holdings. The fact that he bet should have been enough to shut me down. I would not give up the hand but I needed to take into account the stack sizes here. Against a small stack I can certainly play for all of their chips with this hand. With us so close though and him betting the turn such a small amount I should have gone into call mode. I can't see me getting away from this hand entirely. But I certainly shouldn't have gone about broke with it either. I was playing this "trapping" hand to hit my straight or flush. The fact that I hit two pair on a very draw heavy board was only going to get me in trouble.

Hindsight being what it is I know the proper play. What I need to work on though is seeing these situations on the fly and acting accordingly.

Friday, September 01, 2006

A Better Mouse Trap

Filed Under: Poker

Last night was a 10K Freeroll sponsored by PokerSourceOnline at PokerRoom. As long as you had setup your PokerRoom account through PokerSourceOnline you were eligible to play. Fortunately for me, I had done so.

I had the opportunity during this event to play what I considered to be an excellent trapping opportunity. I wanted to share it with you, and hopefully get some feedback.

Before we get to the hand I want to give some information about the table. During the first hour of this event I would have thought I was in a rebuy. The play was beyond bad and players were pushing with crap and hoping to hit. Granted this was a freeroll, but it was a big one. First place gave you more than 2,000 reasons to bring your "A" game and it seemed no one did.

I went into the first break with just slightly over 2,000 chips from my starting 1,500. As soon as the second hour began the table dynamic took an abrupt 180. Now everyone was tight and very tentative. Preflop raises were now taking down pots uncontested. I quickly adjusted to this and began to open up a little more. When I was called I played aggressively postflop and never had to show down a hand. I was looser, but not so much that I would have considered myself a loose player. If I was an opponent looking at my play I would have just thought that I was getting hit by cards a little more than during the first hour. I had taken my stack up to 6,650 when we hit the 90 minute mark. That is when this opportunity presented itself.

Seat 1: Fifth Sin ($5,485 in chips)
Seat 2: bmnelson1 ($1,630 in chips)
Seat 3: KyCrack ($3,810 in chips)
Seat 4: CesiumQ ($3,405 in chips)
Seat 5: cultofray ($270 in chips)
Seat 6: lifesagrind [4C,5C] ($6,650 in chips)
Seat 7: zianna ($3,470 in chips)
Seat 8: DieC23 ($3,045 in chips)
Seat 9: frednorris1 ($2,820 in chips)
Seat 10: syphos ($6,385 in chips)
cultofray posts blind ($100), lifesagrind posts blind ($200).

zianna folds, DieC23 folds, frednorris1 folds, syphos folds, Fifth Sin bets $500, bmnelson1 folds, KyCrack folds, CesiumQ folds, cultofray folds, lifesagrind calls $300.

When it's folded to me I took the following into consideration. The table has been very tight and no one has gotten out of line. I'm going to put every preflop raise on a big A or medium to large pair at this point. The raiser has been folding plenty of hands, even in his blinds so I'm not going to adjust my read. He also has a deep stack in comparison to the blinds. If I can hit my hand I can look to take a very large pot if things work out.

FLOP [board cards 7D,3C,5S ]
lifesagrind checks, Fifth Sin bets $600, lifesagrind calls $600.

This is a very good flop for me. I've got my gutshot straight draw, middle pair, and the backdoor flush draw. The problem is if I bet here and my opponent only has a big A he may be chased away. I opt instead to check and see what happens. The pot is $1,100 at this point and his bet of $600 is weak. I took this as a "go away" bet. I wasn't going anywhere but I didn't want him to either.

TURN [board cards 7D,3C,5S,4H ]
lifesagrind checks, Fifth Sin bets $900, lifesagrind bets $2,000, Fifth Sin calls $1,100.

Now I've made my two pair. I believed I had the best hand here but I decided to see what happens. His bet of $900 into what is now a $2,300 pot is extremely weak. I wanted to build the pot but make a bet that he could call if he wanted to chase the gutshot with his A. I'm only betting $200 over a min raise which I believed he would call, which he did.

RIVER [board cards 7D,3C,5S,4H,9S ]
lifesagrind bets $3,000

Now I wanted to make it look like I was taking the pot away from him by putting him all in. That is why I lead out. I truly believed that he would check behind me if check in this spot. I'm looking to give the appearance of bluffing as to induce the call.

I'm not going to post whether my opponent called or not just yet. I want to know what you think about how the hand progressed and whether your read is any different than mine. Is my bet on the river to large or should I have not bet at all?