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Keeping Stride

Last night I decided to play in the first of ten PSO league games. If you play in 6 of the ten games, and you have the best cumulative finishes for your top 6 scores, then you win a $1500 WSOP seat and some spending money. Sounds good!

So, I signed up for the event on Absolute Poker. At about 8:30 I realized I had no dough there, and I have no dough in Neteller either. It's all on Party or UB or Stars or FullTilt or I-PokerTable. I will have to change that up soon, so that I can always join someone or something on the spur of the moment, but since the PSO league is so important to me (well, maybe not SO important), I decided to deposit $50 onto Neteller from my bank account. This is where the lovely wifey Kim comes in. My account is just about empty because wifey Kim and I have a system that I won't go into. But she didn't flinch (okay, a little flinch) when I told her I was dipping into our savings to make a $50 deposit to play poker. Of course, as a show of faith, I'm going to withdraw $100 probably. Hell, we could use the dough anyway.

Once I was signed up for the PSO league game, I checked to see who was around. Kipper and Wonka were playing the Absolute tourney as well (although Wonka joined our chat room a little while later). GCox and Trip were also online. After we were all settled in to our Yahoo chat, Joe from Check It Down joined us as well.

Joe is a newcomer to this blogger group. He started blogging in October 2005, and has been seen commenting here under his first name. This is why I stress that when possible, try to give info as to who you are when commenting. When I leave a comment (even on my own blog) I leave it as Jordan from High On Poker. I do this because you might not know who Jordan is. Or you might not know that this guy named Jordan who leaves witty and compelling comments has a blog called High On Poker. Or you might know Jordan and you might know High On Poker, but you might not make the connection. I offer that as general advice, and not specifically to Joe. As it turns out, I know Joe and I know Check It Down and I know Joe is from Check It Down. I'm just saying, is all...

Well, I lost $5 playing 1/2 limit on Party while playing the PSO MTT. I wasn't feeling the limit game, so I asked about an SNG. Trip, G, Joe and I decided to go for UB, where Joe generally plays. We also decided on a MTT SNG for $10, and as it turned out, we ended up in an 18-person, 3-table, shorthanded game. It's an interesting twist to the usual.

When we were first seated, G was across from me and Trip was on my left. I was playing fast and loose because of the shorthanded table format. Also, I sincerely believe that with the right attitude, it doesn't matter if you lose a bunch of your chips early on a play. You can get them back later if you are patient and make sure not to go all-in with the worst of it. The other three bloggers were whooping ass, but at one point, if you added my chips from the SNG and PSO MTT combined, I wouldn't have had as much as the lowest of my blogger comrades at the SNG alone. In other words, I was fairly shortstacked and remained in the middle or back of the pack for most of the game, with little surges up or down. The swings are a natural part of my style of play, something that I have moved away from generally, but am now just rediscovering.

Soon, we were down to 2 tables and all four bloggers were still around. Meanwhile, Kipper was slowly accumulating chips at the PSO tourney, and I was folding anything but premium hands, and usually pushing all-in when I did hold anything playable. My stack on the PSO reached a low of about 525. At one point on the UB SNG, I was down to 400 or so.

When we got down to the final table of the SNG, I was happy to see Joe, Trip and G still in the running. I was on the shortstack, but I had been messing with the head of one of the nonblogger competitors, and I had a good read on him. The other nonblogger was playing well, but I knew it was make it or break it time.

Zen and the Art of Poker talks about the natural rhythm of the game. I have mentioned it myself in my early posts about a style of heads up play I use, which I have dubbed Ebb and Flow poker. Last night, for the first time in a long while (if ever) I really got in touch with the rhythm of the game. Things started tightening up and I started loosening up. My aggression wasn't blind though. I could feel when it was time to move in on a hand. My shortstack grew and grew until I was one of the chipleaders. For the most part, I didn't get to many showdowns, because the blinds were high and my play would be hard to defend against unless you had a monster or balls of steel. I took out the nonblogger who I had been messing with. I truly enjoy the smack talk, and that is part of the reason why. I think my smack talk helped somewhat in setting up my prey. G lot a huge hand to Joe and was forced to push his remaining 200 or so. Joe, Trip and I called. I had T6 and hit my 6 on the flop. It was enough to take out the Skipper to my Gilligan. The remaining nonblogger was next out. While there were just four of us, I went on a rampage in a slew of hands. I raised the minimum (which was still damn high) or the pot on about 6 to 8 consecutive hands. Each time, it was folded to me and my stack got bigger. I was raising quickly and the others were folding quickly, so I got them in a submissive position working at my frantic tempo. In all reasonableness, they probably all had bad cards, but when someone played back at me, I was ready to re-raise the pot. As it turned out, for the most part, the frenzy started when I had a mid-pocket pair. I raise, everyone folds. The next hand I have an Ace. I raise, they fold. Another Ace, another raise. K-high, raise. Pair of 2s, raise. I mean, I wasn't cold-decked. But I wasn't holding monsters either. Of course, when they re-raise and I hold 66, I'm willing to re-raise back because they think I'm just bullying with garbage. That, and as a chipleader, I'll take a cointoss here.

With the non-blogger out, Trip, Joe and I made the money. Trip was out next, after a lot of back and forth. Heads up with Joe was interesting. I kept my aggression on because all those small and big blinds added up to a lot. We got him all in with two overs to my pocket pair and he doubled up. At that point, however, I had about 17K to his 6K, so it didn't hurt me. I immediately went on the offensive again because he had me barely covered in chips. Once I was ahead in chips, I was ready to make my stand. With K2 and a pre-flop raise by Joe, the flop came down A23. I believe I pushed him all-in and he called with TT. By the river, I had a fullhouse with a 2 on the turn and a K on the river. To the untrained eye, it was a suckout and I got lucky. Hell, that is the truth on the most basic level. But beyond that, my aggression allowed me to be in a situation where I could make marginal calls. He was already down to about 6K again by this hand, and a loss would not have crippled me. Luck being what it is though, I thank Joe for a good game and a graceful exit.

Joe fit in with the group extremely well. For that, I am glad. When I was discussing the blog with my bro-in-law Marc, I told him that to me, it was about building a community. That's why I started the Limit Challenge, SNG Challenge, and HU Challenge. It's also why I came up with the DADI events. Poker is great, but playing poker with people you know and like is 10 times greater.

After the SNG, with my $79 payday (booya!) and my streak continuing, I realized that I was still in the PSO MTT. I had been folding folding folding and pushing with AJ, AQ, etc. At one point, I accidentally went all-in with K6 and won against AT. But this was all during the SNG. After the SNG, I asked Kip about how many were left. The answer: 34 out of 183. I ended up going out in 34th, out of the money, after I was mostly all-in preflop. It was the first hand after the break. Still, 34th is not bad for my league stats. WSOP, here I come!

That was poker last night. It fucking rocked! I'm in the flow, feeling the game, and doing well. It's a nice change of pace. So now, I'm just keeping stride.

Be good!

posted by Jordan @ 12:51 PM,

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