Sunday, October 29, 2006

Journey Week 6

Filed Under: Poker

I stayed true to my word and didn't play any tournaments after last Monday. I can't say I missed it. It gave me time at night to hang out with the family and catch up on some TV. I probably won't play any this week either as I have a new goal within the Journey.

My wife is changing jobs and the new one doesn't start until the second week of November. She will not be getting at least one paycheck between now and then so I need to make up that income. That means I need to make $500 a week for the next few weeks. I haven't been putting any pressure on myself so far because time has been on my side. Now it looks like I'm going to have to do some withdrawing from the bankroll again so I need to step it up.

This past week I would have made more than the requisite $500 but I managed to lose 4 1/2 buy ins between Friday and Saturday. 1 1/2 of those were purely do to my donktastic tilting after loosing two buy ins in a row. My set lost to an overpairs rivered set and I lost with another set when my opponents two pair made a bigger full house on the turn. The money got in before these cards came out on both occasions.

On a things are looking up note, I now have a rakeback deal at Full Tilt. The amazing individuals as were able to switch my existing account over to a rakeback account. I've really taken a liking to Full Tilt and it just may become my permanent home. If you decide to sign up at RakeFreeze please use lifesagrind as your referral.

Journey Goal: $4,000
Needed: $3968.61
NL100: $132.70
Tournaments: -$149.00
Satellites: -$17.40
Bonus/Rakeback: $80.00
Week Total: $46.30
Needed: $3922.31

NFL Picks

Filed Under: Sports

Still not getting any traction and I sit at 12-11 on the year.

For This Week:
Atlanta +3.5

San Francisco +15.5

New Orleans -1.5

Pittsburgh -9.5

New England -1

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A Light Shone Brighter

Filed Under: Poker

Last nights fiascos in the 20K and the MATH has brought me to the sad conclusion that I have fallen into an all too familiar rut. Every few months I begin to lose my ability to be patient at the tables. This causes plays that just give my chips away and send me packing.

To correct this I'm going to stop the tournament play for the rest of the week. I will continue in the cash games but I need a break from the tournament circuit. Just a little breather to get my head right.

I also have removed all the poker sites from my system that I either no longer play at, or won't let me play because I'm in the good old US of A.

Here's the list of removed sites:
Aztec Poker
Bet On USA
Bet On Sports
Casino On Net
Check N Raise
Crazy Poker
Doyles Room
Golden Palace
Hollywood Poker
Noble Poker
Pacific Poker
Paradise Poker
Party Poker
Poker Rewards
Poker Host
Royal Vegas
The Gaming Club
Superior Poker
Tiger Gaming
Sun Poker
Titan Poker
VIP Poker

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Big Game

Filed Under: Poker

Last night's Big Game brought one of the holes in my game out into the glaring spotlight. To begin the event I felt like I had missed the pregame meeting where they stated, "Everyone must play back at lifesagrind. Doesn't matter what you have, make sure you push him off his hand."

I got to a slow and very short start to the game but then managed to double up when Joe Speaker slow played (and misplayed I believe) pocket Queens when I had pocket Jacks. I then went on a bit of a tear and managed to plant myself firmly in the top ten in chips till the bitter end.

The final hand is a lesson in what not to do:

Seat 1: iam23skidoo (1,040)
Seat 2: Iakaris (2,800)
Seat 4: csquard (7,835)
Seat 5: TripJax (6,165)
Seat 6: Mike_Maloney (7,265)
Seat 7: GCox25 (2,815)
Seat 8: lifesagrind (6,340)
Seat 9: peacecorn (3,020)
iam23skidoo posts the small blind of 100
Iakaris posts the big blind of 200
The button is in seat #9
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to lifesagrind [8c 6c]
csquard folds
TripJax folds
Mike_Maloney raises to 600
GCox25 folds
lifesagrind calls 600 - This call was made only because I felt I was going to be heads up against a deep stack. I will often make this play if we both have deep stacks and I feel I can push the player off his hand on later streets. I also have the added benefit of getting a disguised hand if I hit the flop hard.
peacecorn folds
iam23skidoo folds
Iakaris folds
*** FLOP *** [4s 9s 5h]
Mike_Maloney bets 1,500
lifesagrind calls 1,500 - This is my first mistake. This is not a bad flop for my hand. I have the gutshot, and going to the flop I was under the impression that my opponent was playing a big A. His pot size bet threw me off. I was expecting a bet, but pot sized seemed rather large without an overpair in this situation. I will generally raise here to throw my opponent off and setup the take away on the turn. Instead I decided to take a wait and see approach to the turn.
*** TURN *** [4s 9s 5h] [8d]
Mike_Maloney has 15 seconds left to act
Mike_Maloney bets 2,500
lifesagrind raises to 4,240, and is all in - And the fatal mistake. This was not a pot size bet by my opponent but the bet was big enough, and the pot was large enough, that their is really no way to take this pot now with just the power of my chips. I should have folded and waited for another opportunity but I convinced myself that my initial read about a big A was correct and now that I had paired my card, I felt I had the best hand.
Mike_Maloney calls 1,740
lifesagrind shows [8c 6c]
Mike_Maloney shows [Ac 9h]
*** RIVER *** [4s 9s 5h 8d] [4h]
lifesagrind shows two pair, Eights and Fours
Mike_Maloney shows two pair, Nines and Fours
Mike_Maloney wins the pot (12,980) with two pair, Nines and Fours
lifesagrind stands up - No help for me on the river and I'm gone.

Obviously my read on what Mike had was incorrect. I didn't think his early position raising standards included A9 offsuit (it was still a little early to just be stealing blinds). My mistake was not in playing the hand but by varying the way I played the hand without taking remaining stack sizes into account. Mike delayed his call of my all in so I was correct in that he could lay it down, the cost just wasn't high enough. Also I didn't play this hand to take it down by making a pair. I played this hand for the straight and flush possibilities and the deception of two pair. Changing my entire motivation for thinking my hand was good was an additional mistake, and ultimately a costly one.

There you have it, just a few things to think about and remember the next time you plan on setting up a player.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

And The Journey Continues

Filed Under: Poker

Took two full days away from the tables this week. That is pretty unusual for me as I generally play at least a little bit every day. During the first day off I didn't miss it, during the second I did but I had too many other commitments to take time to play.

My NL game shaped up this week but I couldn't muster any sort of significant cash in a MTT so I continued to tread water. I'm changing the format of my updates. I'm going to just show weekly stats instead of a total to date, I think it may be a bit less convoluted this way.

Journey Goal: $4,000
Needed: -$4,047.22
NL100: $349.10
Tournaments: -$351.50
Satellites: -$6.70
Bonus/Rakeback: $87.71
Week Total: $78.61
Needed: -$3968.61

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Picks

Filed Under: Sports

3-3 last week makes me 9-8 on the year and I can't seem to stay ahead of the juice. Hoping against hope that this will be a big week:

Patriots -5.5

Steelers -2.5

Jets -2.5

Panthers +3

Broncos -4.5

Seahawks -6.5

Friday, October 20, 2006

Names Have Been Changed To Protect The Guilty

Filed Under: Poker

(The stats are: VP$IP,Preflop Raise,Agg. Factor,Continuation Bet,Hands Played)

Go ahead and click on the picture for a larger view. You will notice that this type of table setup is the equivalent of a fantasy come true for a player like me. Everyone has a decent stack, The table VP$IP is over 30%, and the player on my right is as loose/passive as they come. You will also notice I'm only 25 hands into the game yet I'm already up over a buy in.

To bad every table can't be like that. I've decided to start taking a more proactive stance in my table selection this week and it has been paying off in spades... and hearts, clubs, diamonds.

If you haven't been putting much thought into it, try to determine your best table makeup and actively search for it when logging on. There is a reason you always hear table selection is key.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Filed Under: Poker

A bit of a turn around this week. I managed to win a seat to the Sunday Million and then unregistered to take the T$. Also managed to get back some of the loss I'm holding in NL. Had a very disturbing trend throughout most of the week where I would be down a buy in within the first 20 hands and then spent the last 100 or so getting it back. Yesterday I finally had a session that didn't start in the hole. Full Tilt will be my new cash game home for a while as I took advantage of the $500 rebuy bonus.

Here we go:

Needed: $4,000
Bonus/Rakeback: $276.68
2/4: -$4
3/6: -$363.35
NL50: -$128.98
NL100: -$112.80
MTT: $352.43
SNG: $12.00
Satellites: $189.60
Withdrawl: -$268.80
Total: -$47.22

Pick 'Em

Filed Under: Sports

2-1 for last week isnt' so bad. That puts me at 6-5 on the year which translates to about break even in the money department. I'm making more picks this week including what is sure to be an upset pick.

Bengals -2

Titans +11

Bills -1.5

Eagles -2.5

Jets -2.5

Upset Pick
Cardinals +11.5

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Broken Dream And Self fulfilling Prophecy

Filed Under: Poker

As you can see I managed to hold the chip lead in both The Mookie and the 2nd Chance last night. At the time I was going to shoot for a win in both events but it wasn't to be. In fact a win would elude me all around last night. I would bust right before the final table in the 2nd Chance but take my mad skillz to the final table of The Mookie.

The eventual winner, worldpoker05, would suckout on me twice before reaching the final table as I doubled him/her up on both occasions. At least they put the chips to good use.

Once we were down to the final six it appeared that phlyersphan had my number. I don't know if she outplayed me or picked up cards at the right time but she always seemed to know when to smooth call my raises and reapply pressure. She had been playing solid up till that point so I was giving her credit for hands. In retrospect I should have pushed back more.

After busting out of the 2nd Chance tourney I looked at the payouts of The Mookie and calculated that I needed to finish fourth to cover my buy ins for the night. Guess where I went out?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

More Tourney Stats

Filed Under: Poker

Edit: Thought I might add average buyin to give it more perspective.

Since I'm still in a statistical mood I figured I would expand my horizons and cover the stats for all of my multi table tournament play this year. Please take these numbers with care, I am not a tournament specialist. I play a lot more cash games than tournaments... I'm just better at tournaments than cash games. :)

Here we go:
# played: 260
buy-ins: range from $0 to $535
Average buy-in: $24.70
Average finish %: 41%
ROI: 109.05%
$/hour: $17.22/hr (this is based on table hours, not real hours)

So there you have it. I'm not a pro and I'm not a specialist but I think those numbers are fair for a low level Hobbyist.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Some 20K Stats

Filed Under: Poker

I was perusing the old PokerTracker stats and decided to take a peek at my performance in the 20K Guaranteed events on Full Tilt. On Sundays they become a 30K and these were included as well.

I've played in 34 of these so far this year and have a "Finish in the Money Percentage" of 14.71. I really felt that I should have a higher percentage than that so I broke it down into the first 17 and the last 17. The first 17 I had a percentage of 5.88 and for the last 17 it's been 23.53. Certainly a dramatic improvement in performance. Of course everyone likes to look at your ROI (Return On Investment) and mine sits at 234.31%. This of course was bolstered by my 3rd place finish a few weeks ago.

As with all multi table tournaments you have to have your share of luck (suckouts) to win. Last night I felt was my time but I couldn't get the luck (suckouts) I needed. I did suffer my share of players getting lucky though but I always had enough chips to weather the storm, that is until the last one.

Coming back from the second break I sat in the top 20 and commanded a chip stack well over twice the average. My big hands were holding up for the most part and I was playing very smart, and probably a bit too conservative, poker. The player to my immediate left for almost the entire tourney was like the tail to my head of the same coin. I usually had him outchipped but he was always in contention. Where I played with prudence and made laydowns when I felt it necessary, he was slinging chips and making big calls. Fortunately for him he always seemed to get what he needed to win the hand. I truly thought that if I ran into trouble, it would be with him.

Alas it wasn't. I struggled during the third hour of play and had less than half the chips I had after the second hour. Mere minutes before the third break this hand unfolded.

Oh Yeah, It's your birthday!

For I Am The Champion.... Of The World!

Then in shock and horror I forgot to push the print screen button again. The running Jacks would end my chances for a win. It was a cash, but I won't be satisfied till it's a win.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Journey Week 3

Filed Under: Poker

Cash games are not my thing lately. I even turned an early upswing at the NL tables into a big loss by the end of the week. It seems the only poker I can be profitable in right now is tournaments.

I feel the key to long term success is the cash games. To that end I'm going to put some study time in over the next week in an attempt to right the ship. I still load everything into PokerTracker but I haven't taken the time to look at my hands in a long time.

Nobody responded to my post the other day but incase anyone is interested here is the result of the hand in question. Hand

Here are the numbers:

Needed: $4,000
Bonus/Rakeback: $236.68
2/4: -$4
3/6: -$363.35
NL50: -$128.98
NL100: -$329.95
MTT: $628.74
SNG: $12.00
Satellites: -$0.10
Withdrawl: -$268.80
Total: -$217.76

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Pick Time

Filed Under: Sports

A bad week and now I'm 4-4 on the season. I'm not sure if that's better than throwings darts at the picks or not. I'll look to rebound this week so lets get to it.

Kansas City -2.5

Philadelphia -2

Baltimore +4

Friday, October 06, 2006


Filed Under: Poker

Walking in the door at 8:57 pm last night I tried to get logged on in time for the 20K at Full Tilt but didn't quite make it. As an alternative I joined the alternate list for the 12.5K at UltimateBet. My seat was ready 6 hands into the event.

The beauty of online tournaments (at least at the levels I play) are that you don't have to get out of line in the first hour. A vast majority of the time if you play your big cards, well, big, then you will get action and you will make progress. I was fortunate last night as I managed to double up twice and took over 6,000 in chips to the first break. This allowed me quite a bit of breathing room and I was able to play a conservatively aggressive game for the most part.

I played what I would consider two key hands which decided my outcome in this particular tournament. The first one occurred with about 45 players left in the field. Forty places paid and I was sitting right around an average chip stack at the time. Having been moved to the table 16 hands ago, this comes up:

tdjenkins is at seat 0 with 22030.
weim is at seat 2 with 30080.
SIRCALLSALOT is at seat 3 with 1945.
Eddycash is at seat 4 with 9020.
makavelyces is at seat 9 with 6270.

ante is (75)
Q22 posts the small blind of 300.
weim posts the big blind of 600.

tdjenkins: Qs Qh


SIRCALLSALOT folds. Eddycash calls. equalizer5
folds. JB2107 folds. mattmancg folds. makavelyces
calls. tdjenkins raises to 3975. Q22 folds. weim
re-raises to 14100. Eddycash folds. makavelyces

With only 15 previous hands to pull from I have no real read on weim. He's taken down two hands preflop and hasn't played anything else outside his blinds. I initial read would be that he's playing pretty solid and we are definitely at bubble time.

Do you fold, call, raise, and why?

I'll post the results on that one later.

The second key hand was at the final table. Yes I made the final table. In fact I had my best finish to date in this tournament going out in 4th. This is the hand that crippled me.

I simply wasn't able to recover from that. In hindsight I'd make the same move over again. I've ran well in multi's over the last month but just haven't been able to seal the deal. The cash helped erase a horrible two weeks of ring game play so it all works out.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Sweet Sweet No Limit

Filed Under: Poker

I've been struggling at the limit tables for the last week. I think I've played so much short handed NL that I've lost the ability to play a proper limit game. With time I could get back into the groove but I was sick of losing money so I play NL limit yesterday and managed my first winning session in over a week.

It felt good and I needed it.

As far as the gambling legislation goes everyone else is talking about it so go read them. I'll only say that I'm hunting for a new bumper sticker:

"When playing online poker is outlawed, Only outlaws will play online poker"

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Not A Bad Beat Story...

Filed Under: Poker

More of an illustration of what I've been up against this past week. It's not a bad beat because he put me all in preflop and I only had enough chips to last one round. I could have folded and made the bottom money, but I don't roll like that. In the big blind I was pushing with any two.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Journey Update Week 2

Filed Under: Poker

It hasn't quite been two weeks but since I need something to post about on Sundays, I'll make it the official Journey update day.

This week was not good to me. I managed to give back all the money made at the 3/6 tables. I decided to sign up for another rakeback site. Arctic Poker is giving back 40% with no wagering restriction and puts it into your account on a daily basis. I just signed up yesterday so I don't know really know much about the site yet. It is a prima site though so if you've played at one, you've played at them all.

Tournament play was pretty much break even for me this week. I plan on playing a few today so maybe I can come up with a decent cash.

Anyway, onto the numbers:

Needed: $4,000
Bonus/Rakeback: $152.17
2/4: $25
3/6: -$70.25
MTT: -$167.01
SNG: $56.00
Satellites: -$0.10
Withdrawl: -$268.80
Total: -$272.99