Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Apparently, talk of the various Challenges has gotten some peoples' poker juices flowing. Personally, out of them all, there is one that stands out to me and has piqued my interest for another round. That would be the 45-SNG Challenge. The 45-SNG Challenge involves a set amount of players playing fifteen 45-person SNGs (on Pokerstars). Players win points based on their placement in the tournaments, with the points weighted, so that 1st place gets 10 and 7th gets 1. At the end of the 15 tournaments or when the time runs out (generally four weeks), the highest scorers get the dough. Buy-in is usually $25. The benefit of the 45SNGC is that you can play whenever, and I prefer those multi-table long-form tournaments. Also, we each have a set number of entries, and while I won't go into it here just yet, let me assure you that we have a system to work it all out. Drewspop was the commissioner of the 2nd 45-SNGC, but I'd be glad to take up the mantle again. Shortcomings include the fact that those tourneys can take some time, and we'd have to stick with PokerStars.
If its not the 45SNGC, I think the next best option is the HU Challenge. In fact, I think this is a damn close choice, since the HU Challenge is easy to coordinate. The mantle was taken up last time by commissioner Veneno for the HUC2, but I'd be glad to act as host (or co-host for HUC3). One thought has the players across the pond (led and/or organized, perhaps, by Little Acorn Man) having their own bracket, versus a US/Canada bracket. The winner of the North American and the ROW (Rest of the World) brackets would face off. I even have a cute name, HUC3: An International Affair.
Limit Challenges and SNG Challenges are very different animals. It's based on time and the players are allowed to play as much (or as little) as they like within a given period. Both are entirely based on an honor system, so I'd be wary about running them unless the group was small and trustworthy. Of course, I'll gladly do a Limit Challenge heads-up with anyone, if interested. I'm playing Limit primarily anyway.
Now, what is my real concern. Well, #1, DADI X has got to be first on my list of priorities. I take a lot of pride in our monthly tournaments and this is the 10th such event. With the proliferation of blogger events (without links, sorry guys, and listed by day of the week, Mondays at the Hoy, WWdn, Mookie, CC's new tournament, WWdn Not The, donk2shark, WPBT, and the Big Game), its important that I do everything I can to make DADI X stand out. Truth be told, ten might be a damn fine time to retire the DADI events. I haven't spoken with my cohorts about this directly, but they take a decent amount of work to get started and even more anticipation. There is always that feeling that not enough people will show up, and the need for these events (remember, they started when WPBT was on hiatus and the only weekly blogger tournament was the WWdn) has dwindled. Something to think about.
So, here is what I've come up with from all of this. HUC3 looks like the way to go. I'm looking for all comers. Exact rules are not set yet, but it will be like the HUC1 and HUC2 (which had slightly different rules between the two, but overall were the same). The buy-in (i.e., sidebet prize pool) is $25, plus the individual costs of the HU games. Players will be encouraged to play on Full Tilt, but we can accomodate for Stars potentially. Anyone interested should leave a comment. I will choose a nice round number based on responses. I'll also contact Acorn to see if dem foreigners want a piece of the USA (and USA North).
Until next time, make mine DADI poker!
Limit for the Masses
Monday, October 30, 2006
Before we get going, DADI X is now available at FullTilt for registration. Personally, I have to earn myself a $26 token before I register, otherwise I'd already be signed up.
Likewise, I need to work on earning a $75 token for the Big Game, returning this Sunday. I don't know if I can actually play this one, but if not, then its only a matter of time before I return.
Poker-wise, I had a -$100 day yesterday. No harm done though, as I'm close to my year total goal of winning $1800. When I last checked, I was at $1700+, but after this loss, I'm sure its about $1600+. Still, with more than two months left, I'm feeling good, even if I am going to sink $170 on my half of the $300+40 buy-in to the December 9th WSOP Circuit event at Atlantic City. That's right, "my half", since I have a backer willing to go 50/50 with me. When I made the deal, $340 was a lot of money. Now, I'm thinking that I could go at it without a backer, but frankly, I bet that knowing that I'm playing for two will actually help my game. If you are interested in heading to AC that weekend, shoot me an email.
I'm also planning on going to Foxwoods on Nov. 18th weekend, although the exact time/date is uncertain. I don't have anywhere to stay, either, so I need to look into hotels/motels. Foxwoods is pretty expensive, so I'm thinking about just finding a crappy place nearby. I don't expect to do much drinking, but I better think long and hard before committing myself in any direction. Worse come to worse, I play all night and head back to NJ in the morning. Yep, NJ, not NY. Why? Because apparently renting a car from Newark Airport is about 1/4 of the price as renting one from NYC, even though its only a 20 minute train ride away. +EV for me! Oh, and if you're going to be around for the trip, email me as well. First drink is on me.*
As for my actual play, I showed hints of my awfukit self last night when playing two HU SNGs. They were $5, both intended to be against Veneno, but she dragged her ass on the first one and forced me to play against a person I don't care about for an amount of money I don't care about. By the time I was against V, I was still in a tilt-ish state, but I don't say this to discount her win. She earned it, even if she doesn't like poker anymore.
Other than that, my losses came from the variance of limit poker in its various formats. I've seen other people have gone back to limit grinding, and it never stops amazing me (I would've said seizes to amaze me, but I'm unsure of which ceases to use and I'm too lazy to look it up) how people look down on limit poker. I've done it myself in the past, but I'd venture that if some of you spent some time at limit, it would help your NL game. That's not to knock your NL game. It's just to say that LHE and NLHE aren't all that different, and the differences in LHE can actually help your NLHE game by forcing you to emphasize parts of your NLHE game that may've gone stale. But, hey, if you don't like limit, don't play it. The competition at FT so far is pretty soft, and I don't need a bunch of blogger and reader card sharks swimming in my pond.
The more I play, the more it throws me back to days gone by when DNasty13 and I played our limit challenge. We both started with $50, and limit according to a bankroll chart (posted HERE), in order to see who could make the most in a month. I won, winning $25 in the process, our sidebet. This was the progenitor of the SNG Challenge, HU Challenge, and 45-SNG Challenge, so it did a lot for me poker-wise and blog-wise.
Part of the joy of Limit poker (O8, HE, and Stud games) is that I can play 2/4 and lately 3/6 with utter comfort. Mentally, leaving behind the change (i.e., .25/.50 NL and .50/1 NL) has been refreshing. I'm really excited to play live limit, but I know once I get to a casino, I'll invariably be tempted by NL. I know me so well. There is a live game in the city though that is supposedly $5/10 LO8 and if anyone knows any details, please pass it along. I feel primed for that game.
I really want to play in some of the blogger tourneys this week, but wifey Kim asked me yesterday, "Are you going to be on their all night?" Wifey Kim is the patron saint of patience (and enabling!) so for her to suggest otherwise is a clear indication that I might want to change my behaviors a bit. Also, I think I'm pretty much required to go to Roose's home game on Wednesday because (a) wifey Kim will be watching skinny models change on television with her friends, (b) my backer, Scotty, will be at the game and I want to give him an update, and (c) I've won in my last 4 or more trips to the game. How could I not go?
I guess that's enough of my boring spewing for today. I'm tired and back to a busy work schedule, so good luck to you all and good luck to me too.
Until next time, make mine poker!
*Offer only applicable to the tip for complimentary drinks served on the casino floor. Not to be combined with any other offers.
I am an A$$hole
Friday, October 27, 2006
Yep. It's true. My poker play of late would easily have me labeled as such. Last night in the RiverChasers tournament, I channeled the old Jordan and used Gus Hanson like hand selection to confuse my opponents and get paid off when I hit big (like KT on the KT2 flop against AK, or T8 on the T85 flop against QQ). It isn't luckboxing, really. It's just playing a loose preflop game in the hopes of hitting or at least successfully bluffing post-flop. The amount of action I give induces the action I get when I flop top set with QQ and my opponent has middle pair.
But that is not the only way that I'm an asshole. I also acted like an asshole during the last WWdn, in which I placed 3rd. I never mean to be an asshole, and this situation was the perfect example. I was one of the big stacks, and a player on my immediate right, Decker, doubled through me when I made a stupid play with middle-pair to his top-pair. I knew I was dead in the water too, but I still made the stupid play.
Decker decided to be cute and offered a hardy, "Thanks" in the chat box. Now, I'm not against a lil smack talk, so I decided to shoot some back at him, mostly for the hell of it. I wasn't too pissed, but if he was going to sling it, I'll throw some back. "No problem. Just make sure to return it with interest."
This is where it got interesting. It was a clever table quip I threw out, and he responded, "That's funny." It's a nice compliment, and I let it sit there for a bit, but I also saw another opportunity to be a wiseass. "I wasn't kidding." I deadpanned. As it sat in the air, I essentially realized that I declared war on Decker. I had publicly stated my intention to get all of my chips back, so why not put it out there. "I'm taking my chips back."
And the great part was, I did. With each folded blind, I'd add "That's a start" or "A little more." It wasn't incessant, but if I were him and someone just called me out like that, I'd be semi-worried. It is mostly about saving face, on both of our ends, really. If I let him take the rest of my stack (or even a blind), I'd look like an uber chump. Once I felt that he was feeling that pressure too, I turned it on, making more moves merely because he was in the pot. And as I said, it worked. I took back every last chip.
Sorry, Decker. It was nothing personal. I wasn't even really annoyed in the least from your statements. It was just a game within a game, similar to how a last longer bet can beget better play. When I had a stated goal, fleecing you of your stack, I had an extra reason to pay attention - pride. So, yeah, I may've been a bit of an asshole. But that's poker, I guess.
Would I do it again? Hell yeah. I didn't even really mean to do it in the first place. But sometimes, these things just fall into place. Someone beats you and you focus in on them. You make a bad play and you decide to play better. Someone says something harmless and it opens a door for you to dominate that player mentally. That's what I did, really. I dominated him mentally, and from there dominated him in the game.
If there is one thing that really gets me excited about poker, it is this psychological aspect. You can play a great game with shit cards if you can get inside of their heads. Sometimes, while you are in there, go ahead and rearrange the furnitute. Mess with them a bit and mold them to where you want them to be. Hell, if it weren't a part of poker, we'd all just be playing with bots.
Until next time, make mine poker!
Did you ever have one of these experiences in High School or College, when a friend tells you about a party, and you figure it'll be a good time so you get all dressed up and ready to get some tail, but then you show up with your friend and you see a couple of people that you know, but the overwhelming majority are people that you don't know, and they are dressed in entirely different style clothing as you, and while you are at the keg trying to fill up your plastic cup someone says, hey, and you are all, hey, because you don't know anyone really, but you are trying to fit in to get the free beer, and they are all like, how did you hear about the party, and you are all like, my friend, but they don't really know your friend, so you just feel like a tool crashing a party.
Yeah, well that was me last night, but at the end of the party I pulled out a gun and took the place for about $215.
Wifey Kim was passing out early last night, due to her two nights in beautiful Albany, NY at a conference for her state-wide cerebral palsy company. It was not even 10, so I reached for my comp to see what was available. I had missed the donk2shark tournament, and WWdn Not wasn't starting for a while. slb, always handy for some useful info, shot me an IM, asking if I was going to play in Al's RiverChasers tournament. I knew that Al had pimped it, but I didn't know much else. Regardless, if slb was in, I was game, and while I was at it, I grabbed GCox to enter the tournament.
When it started, I was seated at my own table with a bunch of non-bloggers. Quite frankly, it was obvious. The players in the tournament were pretty weak. It reminded me of playing in a brick and mortar casino, actually, because, in my experience, the lower limits at the casino are often weaker (in a different way) than some of the online games. I believe its that recreational player, the one who is so new to the game that playing online isn't really on the radar yet. It's a home game mentality, when the homegame is played by a bunch of guys more interested in the beer (and weed?) than the intricacies of poker. Sure, they are playing to win, but they don't look beyond the two cards in front of them.
So it went. Meanwhile, I played a $8.70 turbo token race (eventually placing in 6th for $5.30 profit, but no token). RiverChasers was going well, because continuation bets had meaning again, and players were fairly loose and readable. One player, AlCantHang supporting cast member Landow, spent a lot of time with me at a table. He was in a lot of pots, and Full Tilt's hand history option helped me get a solid read on him. When I'm in a game at FT and I'm trying to gauge a player, I find the best thing is to his the hand history button and quickly click through the hands. FT shows you the table with the exposed hands (including hands MUCKED at showdown) in the players' seats. So, I look at Landow' position at the table and quickly click through, stopping at any hand he exposed. JTo, A4o, KJo, all from a position other than a blind. So, clearly, Landow was seeing a lot of cheap flops with any ace and any 20 hand (think blackjack when I say 20). It actually is a very good strategy to use in a game like this, since stealing post flop was fairly easy. But since I knew his range, I made a goodly sum off of Landow here and there, raising him with air when I thought appropriate and dragging him along slowly when I hit my monsters.
By the time I got to the final table, I was in the top 3. Now, this was no small tourney. I don't remember how many players were in, but we were over 40, I think. 7 spots paid. As we got to that bubble, I used some of the new techniques I've been learning in the blogosphere and went into my usual aggro chip-stealing mode. I didn't fully commit to protecting the small stacks, ala Lucko, but I did seize the opportunity to become a super-stack. By three-way, we were back to fairly even, but I eventually slowplayed my JT, after the QJJ flop, and got another player to commit with his Ace high (maybe that Ace came on the turn). Heads up lasted all of two hands, when I pushed with 75k to his 15k in the first hand with Q9s (he folded), and then he pushed on the very next hand against my AKs.
2nd place actually went to one of the event coordinators, and apparently there was a bounty on his head, $11 to enter their next event. Come to think of it, I'm not sure that the $$ was transfered yet, but whatever the case, it was a great tournament, and a great group. After I was done, someone asked how I heard of the tournament and whether I was an RC. I said, "No, I heard of it from AlCantHang." Their response, which I am not making up, was, "of course you aren't from RC. you can play." Um, thank you. And I'll be back too.
Now, I'd post the banner, but I really did feel like I was crashing a party, so I won't perpetuate the crashiness of it all. But I'll be back. It's only right, since I should defend my title. And frankly, it was some of the most fun I've had in a tourney in a while. Winning doesn't hurt, either.
I have a story that I will save for later regarding my 3rd place finish in this week's WWdn. I will, however, direct your attention to new link Fuel55, aka Creativity Breeds Madness. Thanks to Google Reader (and before that Bloglines), I've been expanding my reading list, and this guy is tops. I'm still not a fan of bare hand histories (a narrative would be nice every once in a while), but when its chock full of good strategy and excellent play, a bare hand history can be very helpful. He's also one of the bloggers who were published in the FullTilt poker blog. So, give Fuel a read and you can thank me later.
Until next time, make mine poker!
HoP, Published Author
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Ooh, I like the sound of that!
Full Tilt Poker is running a "promotion" where they have asked people to submit blog entries. If they choose your blog entry, they'll publish it at FT's blog, and give you $50.
When I entered the contest with my Inverse Aggressions Heads Up Theory, I didn't have high hopes. But it was probably one of my more unique poker theory posts of late and it didn't cost me anything to send it, so why not?!
Well, congratulations to me. FT has chosen to publish my post. And if you want to read it, check it out HERE.
It also seems to be one of the first posts in which I adopted my now standard signoff. So, until next time, make mine Full Tilt Poker!
PS- Congrats to Iakaris for being published by FT as well.
Here's a fun one for you Limit fans out there. We are at Full Tilt playing 2/4 limit hold'em. I am on the button with AKs. Generally, I play fairly loose at these limit games. I'm not one to go running into a fire with a water gun, but I am willing to squirt a little at the window to see if the fire is burning as bright as it looks. In other words, I play a fairly wide range of hands, especially in position, and have no problem laying pressure on my opponents. But I'm selective, and I'm always conscious of the other guys' ability to actually have a hand. I say this all for two reasons: (1) my table image may appear loose, as though I'm playing a lot of hands and playing aggressively overall, and (2) I'm really playing a very selective careful game.
It folds to me, and with suited AK in a shorthanded limit game, there is really no reason to mess around. I raise from $2 to $4. In many of these situations, you'll get called by any two cards, included K6s or Q9o. Players just want to believe that you are stealing, especially when you seem to be playing a lot of hands aggressively.
The small blind, ComedyOfErrors (COE) calls. From his name alone, we know that he has a sarcastic or ironic sense of humor. That leads me to believe, at least partially, that he is likely to be a bit loose. He is likely not a very straight-laced, tight type of player (or person).
The flop is a beautiful Ac 6s 5h. It checks to me, and I check as well. This is a classic situation I find myself in. On many occassions, the right move would be to bet, since your opponent may think you are bluffing (there is little credibility in shorthanded limit, or so I've found). But he will have to call from out of position, and it is HIGHLY likely that even if he thought I had nothing preflop, just seeing that Ace will scare him off. It is also extremely likely that he has not hit the board. An Ace would have bet out, thinking that I'd call down with an inferior hand, since I was the initial aggressor.
The turn is a 6d, and I'm worried for about .5 seconds until COE checks. He doesn't have the 6 either. I'm confident because there is no reason NOT to bet here, if he had it. Hell, he would've bet on the flop with a 6, knowing that the Ace might scare me off even if I have a pocket pair about a 6. What do I do? If I bet, we have the same situation as the flop, only WORSE. The $4 bet into the $10 pot is even scarier than the $2 bet that would've come on the flop. So, betting really is out of the question, since I'm confident that I am ahead, but I am also confident that he is willing to fold. I'll only have one more card coming, so I also want to set him up to think that I was either trying to steal preflop and have since missed the flop entirely, or that I am very scared of that Ace-high flop. I also want to give him a chance to catch a hand. I check.
The river is a 3h. Finally, COE takes the bait and bets. I pause for a moment, channeling my inner-Hoy, and raise. He calls. At showdown, he has K3c. I take down the pot.
So, what happened here? First, I recognized that I was ahead the whole way, and I used that to maximize the amount of chips I could get. I know his range is very wide because of the way this 2/4 limit table is playing. The flop is golden for me, but I know it likely hasn't hit him, so I have to give him a chance to catch up. The turn is negligible, since it matches the flop. He finally hits on the river and bets out of position. It's an easy raise for me, but I stall to continue the story I'm selling.
In Hoy terms, I was telling him that I was trying to steal the blinds with position. Maybe I had KQo, and the flop missed me so I went into a turtle shell. By the time he hits the tiny river card, he thinks he's got me. Clearly, no one would check it down with the Ace...or would they.
Interestingly, you can make the best money when you switch up your play from the usual. Tight players can make their most money when they loosen up on a given hand and scare away their competition. Loose players can make the most money when they slowplay their made hands. Really, this statement isn't succinct. What I really mean to say is that the Big hands, be them in a tournament or cash game, will come when you play against your type. You've seen in my last several You Decides that I seem to get paid best when I play slow, like the AA hand when I got my opponent to push into me. This isn't a new concept either, so I won't pretend that I made it up here. But I wouldn't mind a tight player (GCox, perhaps) to offer some insight into how profitable they are when they switch to an aggressive bluff in any given hand.
The other thing is the general concept behind Limit Hold'em. It is all about each individual bet. Here was a hand where I was able to painstakingly extract an extra 2 BBs ($8). If it was played in an ABC-poker format, those 2 BBs would've been lost. There is always opportunities to extract more, just as there are always opportunities to save money, when the times arise. In another hand I didn't save, I bet the whole way, even capping the flop, but the river sealed my fate. It was just another $4, but when you know you are dead, its time to fold. All the money in the pot won't save me from wasting that $4. That is Limit Hold'em, slugging it out for every single bet you can get.
Truth be told, I've been playing limit games practically exclusively lately. At first, it was under the guise that limit was a safer way to grind through my bonuses. I didn't have to worry about a single suckout or mental fart losing me $100 in a hand. But after I settled in, I really started to enjoy it. The plays are a lot less complicated (betting amounts are set, so no thought there, for instance), and the shorthanded games allow me to play fairly loosely. I also love the fact that my bets are for 2-4$ (and sometimes higher), amounts that I can easily picture in my head, as opposed to raising to $2 preflop in a NL game, which just seems to be a mass of chips only in my head. It's the same bet, but its just easier to quantify in limit. Multi-tabling is easier, thanks to PokerTracker and AceHud, and the level of competition seems basically easy.
In other words, Limit Poker is a shitload of fun. That's where I'll be for the time being, earning my rake (I just took down my first $18.75 of the $187.50 bonus) and running up my roll. My roll is currently down to about $600-700 after my recent withdrawal, so I can use all the bonus and bankroll padding I can get.
Back to the grind for me. Meanwhile, go read yourself a great story by poker role model Scott McMoneybags (McDreamy has been co-opted, as we all well know, but I believe it started with Scott McM before that silly doctor show), and take a look at the 101 Ways to Improve Your Game by that Surly Poker Gnome from a couple of days ago.
Until next time, make mine (limit) poker!
You Decide #46
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
I returned home at 8:25pm, with 5 minutes to spare before the WWdn. I just made the tourney, but once the cards were dealt, I'm glad I did. I was a freakin' card rack, getting KK at least 3 times, AA once, QQ once, and JJ a couple of times. Even better, I was making some decent moves. In the end, I placed 3rd, after a late suckout when I flopped a set of 5s (I had 57 vs. QQ on a 55T board). I got him all-in with his QQ post-flop, but the turn AND river were Tens, and his hand consequently beat me. The very next hand, I pushed with any two, down to scraps. I was sent packing.
I'm sorta proud of moneying, but I'm a bit disappointed about being such a card rack. It honestly had me thinking if I need the cards to win. Not really ME, per se, but it does show me that if someone is a card rack, they can pretty much luck their way into deep money. Maybe I'm being a bit hard on myself, though. Let's look at a few hands for this installment of You Decide and we can discern if I was a lucky bastard or a smart one.
You Decide #45 (Hand 1):
We were in Level 4 of the WWdn, with blinds of 50/100. I had 4,437, the second chipleader at our table. In the SB, I'm dealt 4c6c. It folds to me and I call. Loki (L0k1) in the BB with 3,640 raises from 100 to 300 (200 more, for you mathletes). I decide to call, since Loki could be using position and regardless, I'm confident of my ability to take control post-flop.
The flop is an unimpressive 2d 5s As. I don't like the Ace, so I check. He checks as well.
The turn is a 8c. This gives me a double-belly buster, aka a double-gutshot straight draw. a 3 or a 7 will see me in great shape. So, I check. Loki bets out 300. This is where it gets interesting. The pot is 600 (now 900 with his 300). I decide that if I'm going to make my move, now is the time. I raise 600 on top to 900. Loki folds.
Do you see why I did what I did? It was a semi-bluff. If he called and I hit my 3 or 7, he'd never see it coming. But really, I didn't believe he had anything that would warrant a call. He probably didn't have an Ace or he would've bet the flop. Meanwhile, I wanted to portray someone with an Ace. The call preflop looks like an Ace-rag play. The check on the flop and turn could look like I am slowplaying. So, when he bets out small, I figure its time to see where I am at. If he calls, I'm happy to see a river and potentially get paid big if a 3 or 7 hit. If he folds, I win my money. And if he raises, I likely fold. But did I get lucky, or did I play this hand well?
We are in level 5, 75/150 blinds, and I have 5,637. I'm now the third largest stack at the table, but the players under me have about 2500 or less (except for one player with 3600). I'm in the BB with AA and rico, in EP with 2507, calls the 150. The SB, Decker with 1,135, calls. I make a standard raise to 450 (300 more), and rico calls. Decker folds.
The flop is 6h 7d Th. It's semi-coordinated, but nothing really scares me. With the preflop call, I don't put him on 67 and I don't have any reason to think that he hit a set. I raise 450, happy to take it there if he missed entirely. Instead, he raises 450 more to 900. I flat call.
The turn is a 5c. I check now, because he only has 1,157 left. I expect him to make a move on this pot no matter what (it's now over 2k). Sure enough, he obliges and pushes. I call.
The river is 5s. I take it down, as he has ATo, for TPTK.
I'm not sure what to make of this hand. At the time, I was confident I was ahead the whole way. I also had enough chips to take a loss, if needed. We see that the results were optimal (I stacked my opponent), but did I overexpose myself on that flop? Should I have pushed on the flop after the raise? Any other suggestions?
That's it for now. I've had a slew of hand history analysis lately, but these things come in groupings. If Loki reads this humble blog, I would like your input on the first hand. Otherwise, comment away, you critical bastards.
Wifey Kim is back in NYC tonight and I can't wait to see her. Two days without her saw me eating crappy food, making a mess of the apartment, staying up too late, and playing too much poker. In other words, I was in sheer bliss for about 4 hours, until I could see the depravity that my life would become without my lovely wifey Kim. She is my alpha and my omega, or for you card players, she is my 2d and my As. So her return is eagerly anticipated. Thanks for reading. Now go do something productive, damnit!
Until next time, make mine (wifey Kim and) poker!
Work has been slower than usual at the office, to the point that I actually find myself looking for work by the end of the day (and sometimes at the beginning). I'm in an interesting situation with my career. I really enjoy my firm. I have a good amount of autonomy, they don't overwork us, and the pay is good. But I can't help but feel like it is my job to be a good soldier, i.e., I follow the order of those higher in the hierarchy and do so without complaining. This, overall, is a good thing. But when this good soldier lacks work to do, he gets antsy. I'd rather be in deployment then resting easy.
With that in my head, at about 5:30 yesterday, I looked at the calendar and saw that today would be an interruption-free day, for better or worse. Late in the day, however, a new client was coming in, so I seized the opportunity. The head honcho was nearby and I asked, "Can I join you on the client intake tomorrow?" "Sure. Any reason?" I leveled with him, "Nothing in particular, but my workload is lighter than usual, so I wouldn't mind picking something up." I returned to my office, but mere moments later, Honcho popped his head into my door. "Would you mind coming in for a minute?" I joined him in his office. "So, work is light?" "Lighter than usual. I think I'm used to having a bit more." "Litigation is like that. It's like a rollercoaster of highs and lows. You have to enjoy the lulls."
Just then, my Team Leader entered the office. He needed to speak to the Honcho. As I stood up, they asked me to shut the door. I was back in my office at 6 pm. I'm not used to leaving before 6:30, but I took the Honcho's words to heart. "Enjoy the lulls." I got my ass out of there before Honcho's door could reopen.
That's how things are going in the office. Its all good, fortunately, but having free time during the workday is something I'm not generally comfortable with. When I left the office, I opted to skip the Salami underground game in favor of heading home. Salami wouldn't start for over an hour, and I wanted to relax. Wifey Kim is gone on a speech conference, so I had the place all to myself. I set up the laptop and nuked some leftovers from last night's dinner. I busted in two MTTs and a $8.70 Token race within an hour. Later on in the night, I'd face my first bout of negative variance at the 2/4 LO8 tables (and 3/6 for about 20 minutes) before calling it quits as a loser. The apartment was a mess. I got little sleep. I ate crappy food. Thank god wifey Kim will be back on Wednesday. I'm a freakin' slob without her.
While I'm here, let me take a moment to discuss the Big Game. I'm hesitant to try for the next one, mostly because I found it so intense. I played the Big Game like I should always play poker. I minimized distractions, insisting that wifey Kim watch one of her programs that disinterested me. I kept away from the booze and narcotics. I focused on the play, watching my PokerTracker stats and how the table was generally playing.
In short, I played poker like it was supposed to be played, and aside from my bonehead plays late in the game, borne out of necessity more than desperation, I was very proud of my play. This is what makes the Big Game different from the rest, and I would suggest, better. For all of you who wrongly complain that blogger events are full of donktastic play, this is the game for you. I have to imagine that most of the players, if not all, had the same mentality. Here was a tournament where you could win over a grand by outlasting last than 50 players. Concentration was well worth that price. The fact that the players were common to blogger games was also a boon for the Big Game, since there is even more accountability. Winning this event meant stating to the blogosphere that you could play big poker when necessary. It meant padding our bankrolls in a big way with a near free buy-in. It meant that knowing your fellow blogger was a real benefit, and knowing how to adapt to what others knew about you was too. Here was a game where all the reads mattered because everyone had the same thought in their heads: $1000.
You could argue (I won't, but YOU could) that in the other blogger events, people are not playing for that 1st prize as much. They are playing to socialize and donk around, and play crappy cards like the hammer because its all in fun. But you can't say the same for the Big Game, even though a lot of the socializing and fun is there too. When someone plays the hammer at the WWdn, it's because they are having fun and showing off. When someone plays it at the Big Game, it's because they are making a very ballsy steal and trying to tilt players.
Maybe I'm making too much of the difference, but it was how I felt. So, in closing, I guess I might be playing the next Big Game. I'll definitely be playing them into the future as well. Don hit something big here, and I, for one, am very greatful for it.
And while I'm at it, why don't we also all play in the next DADI event.
Until next time, make mine (Big Game) poker!
Breaking Even: A Non-Poker Story
Monday, October 23, 2006
Here's a quick little story that happened this morning. It was an odd occurrence so I spew it out for you here:
When I exited the subway by my apartment on Friday, I searched my pocket for my cell phone. If it was still before 7pm, I'd have time to buy my week's worth of comics, but my cell phone was MIA. It took me a moment before I realized that I left it in the office attached to the charger.
Fast forward to Monday morning. I had a document that had to be served on a defendant ASAP, and when I read the address, I realized that it was less than 10 blocks from my apartment. Glad to have an excuse to go into the office a bit late, I took the papers home with me and planned to deliver them this morning.
When I arrived at the defendant's office no one was there. Service had to be made directly and personally, so using the mail slot wouldn't work. To be sure, I hunted down a pay phone and prepared to call my office for verification.
Pay phones aren't like they used to be. Back in the day (read: 1993), 25 cents was enough to call locally. Nowadays, with cell phones, I was fairly unsure of how much pay phones charged on average. In Penn Station in NYC, the pay phones have a special deal: 25 cents for 30 seconds. So, I assumed that I was spending 50 cents at least.
There were two phones side-by-side, but the homeless guy seemed to have dibs on the left one. I went to the one on the right. I picked up the phone and held it a half-inch from my ear. The phone had been burned, and seemed to have some other residue on it. But, there was a dial tone, so I dropped two quarters in the machine. One came through the return slot so I re-inserted it until it stayed.
After dialing, a pleasant female voice came on the line. "Please deposit 25 cents for the next four minutes." Okay, it must be 75 cents, or maybe I lost a quarter, but probably only one quarter. I dropped another quarter into the slot. "Please deposit 25 cents..." I hit the coin return bar, but nothing happened. I tried one more quarter. "Please deposit..." I slammed the phone down and literally hit, then shook, the piece of crap pay phone. By now, I was slightly irrate, mostly because I just wanted to make this call and get on with my day.
The homeless man must've finished calling his stock broker, so I moved onto the next phone. I was already down $1. I picked up the received and dialed again, this time waiting for that pretty voice before depositing my coins into the slot machine of communication. "Please deposit 25 cents for the next 4 minutes..." Wait one second, I thought. 25 cents for 4 minutes! Sweet! But that means that my $1 loss was on 4 spins, not just the 2 or less I had assumed. I reached into my pocket and found one solitary quarter. I popped it into the slot. "Please deposit 25 cents..." SONUVABITCH! I slammed the pay phone, still holding the received near (but not touching) my ear. I heard a clinking noise. My quarter came back to me. I popped it in once more, and this time it seemed to get stuck just inside the slot. One more stiff arm to the phone and I finally heard the vindication I sought: "Thank you."
After the uneventful call (during which I sweated finishing up in 4 minutes, lest I have to try again), I hung up. Clink! The noise sounded oddly like a coin fell into the coin return slot. I reached in, like many hobos before me, hoping to profit from the antiquated device. Sitting in there patiently was my quarter. I looked at the coin return bar and pushed it down. Clink! I couldn't believe my ears. I reached into the slot again, and there was another quarter. I closed the slot and reached for the bar. Clink clink! Again. Clink. Again. Silence. I reached into the slot and there was the rest of my bounty, two more quarters and a dime.
All in all, I got my phone call for free. The ten cents profit I consider payment for my oh so precious time. And that is why I'm quitting online poker, in favor of live payphone slots.
Until next time, make mine payphones!
I had been increasing my stakes generally, playing 2/4 and 3/6 HORSE at Stars, while I tried to finish my reload bonus there. When I was done, I was going to withdraw a large amount of the money left on Stars, in an effort to curb my online play and reclaim some money for the real world. It wasn't going to cripple my bankroll, as I had just deposited several hundred into Full Tilt in an effort to lock in their 50% reload bonus. Unfortunately, while I tried to reach the raked hand requirement at Stars, I also saw my bankroll dwindling.
There were at least two times last week when I was playing when I shouldn't have. It wasn't anything particular, but I just felt like I wasn't playing my top game. In those two (or more) instances, I generally forced myself to stop playing, whether behind or not, and tried to listen to that inner voice. I also decided that it was time for a change.
Enter 2/4 Limit Hold'em. For the NL players out there, Limit Hold'em can be an alternatively boring and frustrating game. On one hand, its boring, since you really can only bet, raise, call, or fold. There is no all-in, bluffing is often difficult if not impossible, and play can be a bit robotic. On the other hand, it can be frustrating because players will call you down with bottom pair, only to hit a set on the river against your flopped top two.
For me, it was a pleasure. Cash games have been tricky for me overall. I like to play in stakes that "matter" to me, ideally .50/1 and 1/2, but at those stakes, a single mess up (by me) or suckout (by them) can stack me. Invariably, at that point, I get upset about losing $100 or $200 on a stupid hand I should have never played in the first place. And much like Yoda would say, "Upset leads to fear; fear leads to anger; anger leads to the Tilt-side."
With limit, I don't have to worry about my bonehead bluff play. It'll cost me a couple of BBs, but not the whole shebang. Also, I'm less inclined to make moves like that (although my aggression is generally at the same level). In short, I play better because I am limited.
Hence, I finished out the Stars bonus on Friday by playing 2/4 shorthanded limit Hold'em. Next stop on the bonus whore tour was Full Tilt. I started with some 2/4 shorthanded limit there as well and made some headway on Friday night. On Saturday, I spent the day with wifey Kim, and then back on LI staying with her friends (where I whooped ass at Monopoly, finally getting that capitalist monkey off my back).
Sunday was wifey Kim's day to go bridesmaid dress shopping with the gals, so I had the day to myself, my laptop and the Unit first season (hey Speaker, its from the creator of the Shield, and while it isn't as good, it's still pretty damn sweet). Throughout the day, I tried to follow Barry Greenstein's advice of short sessions, and overwhelmingly, I was successful. My game of choice was 2/4 Limit Omaha 8 or better, a game that I hadn't played much aside from in the Stars HORSE games. I rocked the freakin' house. Part of it was definitely hitting cards, but I also find that I have a good grasp on outs, and once I've played a while I can characterize my opponents. One guy in particular didn't seem to realize that one should go for the high. It was all low for him, and not necessarily the nut low, so I punished him repeatedly. In one of my late sessions, the shorthanded tables were full except for one, where a solitary player waited for competition. I usually don't play hi/lo games heads-up, since chopping means that the most likely winner is the rake. But I hoped to attract other players and I had time to kill. We both started with $100. Within 10 minutes, he was reloading. I had stacked him. When I eventually walked, the table had filled up, and I gave back about $11. But overall, it was a kick-ass day, to the tune of $188 profit, after two $20 MTT losses.
The Big Game was also last night. I went out 12th, having held the top spot for a good while when we were down to about 23. I played well, generally, but late in the game I made one or two ill-advised semi-bluffs, and had to lay down my hand to re-raisers who tried to put me all-in. I'm confident that they were likely just applying pressure, but I didn't want to push my whole stack on a draw, so I had to let it go. I was shortstacked when I raised with 33, and was re-raised by GCox. I called his all-in, but his A8o rivered an Ace, and I was in desperation mode. I eventually pushed (or called) with KJ or T9 or something, but with my stack, it didn't really matter. Pushing was the only option. I had a great time, but I'm semi-hesitant to play in the next one, to take place in 2 weeks time. It's not that it isn't a great tournament. It's that I was so focused that I was mentally exhausted by the end. A day of poker probably had a little to do with it.
I guess this post was mostly rambling. Well, too bad, 'cause that's all I got for you. Now earn your frickin' $24+2 tokens, because DADI X: Fight the Power is only a month away, and I'm working on some interesting bonus prizes.
Until next time, make mine (limit omaha 8 or better) poker!
I Decide - A hand by Mr. Goss
Friday, October 20, 2006
This is a hand that Mr. Goss sent to me via email. I figured that I may as well go over it here, since it's such an interesting hand. Rather than give too much away, I'll just get right into the hand and then give my analysis.
Mr. Goss is dealt QhJh7sTs on the cut off in a PLO (Hi only) .10/.25 game. There are three limpers and Mr. G calls. The button posted preflop, so he is in the hand too. Deec, the SB with only $4.33, raises pot to $2.25 total. Taku, in EP with $33 calls, as does Mr. G with $22.
The flop is a well-coordinated KsQdJh. Mr. G has bottom two-pair with an open-ended straight draw and two backdoor flush draws. Deec pushes all-in for $2.08. Taku and Mr. G call.
The turn is an As, giving Mr. G a broadway straight with a draw to a mid-to-high spade flush. Taku bets $5.10, and Mr. Gross calls.
The river is a Jc, giving Mr. G a fullhouse, Jacks full of Queens. Taku bets pot, $8.30. Mr. G pushes all-in for $13.11 more. Taku calls.
At showdown, Deec has AhAhc3h2c, for a fullhouse, Aces full of Jacks. Taku has KsKcTc5d, for Kings full of Jacks. Mr. Gross has the lowest fullhouse of the three and loses the hand.
Let's take a look at each of the betting rounds and analyze if there was any room for improvement with Mr. G's play. Preflop, Mr. G limps in late position. This is not a bad move, overall, since he has position and his cards are fairly high and coordinated. However, QJT7ds (ds=double suited) is no monster. Even so, I wouldn't mind seeing a raise here to push out all of your other opponents. Also, there is a button who has posted the SB, so raising might push him out, giving you position on later streets. That said, I'm about 33/33/33 between folding, limping and raising here. All are decent plays.
Facing the bet from Deec should not concern Mr. G. Basically, at in low limit PLO games, players will pot preflop with shortstacks often because they have a NLHE mentality AND a case of the awfukits, once they get close to the felt. Most of the players fold except Taku, and here I would definitely raise. First, if you can isolate Deec, even when you are behind, you aren't THAT behind. We can tell from Taku's hand (KKT5ss [ss = single suited]), that he might not fold, but if you pot it, at least you have a chance of isolating the competition and saving the rest of your stack. By the time the action is to Mr. G, the pot is already over $5, so a raise from Mr. G would cost about $12+, so maybe this isn't the smartest play, since you'll only get called by Taku when he has you beat. I'm not 100% sure what the optimal play here is, but flat calling can be dangerous. At the very least, you have to be very cautious on the flop, because you have no information on your opponents. I also don't mind a fold here. Side note: Mr. G, in his email to me, said that he read Deec as having Aces with the push. In that case, I don't know why Mr. G would play the hand. If he were going to play it, isolating the Aces wouldn't be a horrible move, since they are not huge favorites preflop in PLO.
On the flop, Mr. G has two-pair, but it's bottom two-pair. He has an open-ended straight draw, but he's already losing to anyone with AT, and if he hits his 9 for the low straight, he has the idiot's end of the straight. The backdoor flush draws are fairly negligible at this point, especially the spade flush draw, since a T-high flush draw could also screw Mr. G if he's facing a higher flush draw. It happens all too often at Omaha. Deec bets $2, and really, its such a small amount that I don't mind the flat call. A raise here is probably a bad move since Mr. G's hand is really dependent on one of those draws coming through, so keeping Taku in (to pay him off if he hits) is a smart move.
The turn brings a ten-high flush draw, and the broadway straight. The board hasn't paired, so he has the nuts, and his two spades should reassure him that if he is facing a higher flush draw, the flush isn't likely to hit (he has 2 of the remaining spades needed to fill his opponent's draw). Here, I start betting like mad, getting my money in while I'm definitely ahead. Taku raises $5.10, and here, I'd at least min-raise it back. More likely, I pot it, trying to get all of my money in while I'm ahead or push out the competition and win the $5.10 right there. A small raise would be fine too, though, since Mr. G should only fear a card that fills the flush (an unlikely event) or a card that pairs the board, although there is no clear indication that anyone has a set. Still, when in doubt, pot.
On the river, the board pairs. Mr. G, in his email, suggested that maybe he should have flat-called here. It's hard to lay down a full house, and I don't think anyone could blame him for calling down. I don't even mind the re-raise, because there really isn't much to suggest that someone was playing a set early on in the hand. So, I'm going to say that pushing is correct.
After my long drawn-out analysis, all I can say is, what a fucking hand! It's tricky from start to finish. The key may be that he shouldn't have been in the hand in the first place. QJT7 is not a great hand, and if he was going to play it, I would've liked to see him play it against Deec early by trying to push off Taku preflop. At least if Taku called, Mr. G would have some idea that Taku was strong. Plus, Taku would probably have bet the flop, thinking that Mr. G would call, at which point, hopefully, Mr. G would fold his botton two-pair to Taku's set. I believe Taku didn't bet his set because he wanted to keep Mr. G in the hand. On the turn, once you know you are ahead, get all your money in there. Unfortunately, in this hand, he probably would've been called, and then have been writing about a suckout.
Thoughts, people? This isn't an official You Decide, but it's an interesting hand, and Mr. Goss would love some insight. In the meantime, you all have a great weekend, and I'll see you at the Blogger Big Game on Sunday.
Until the Big Game, make mine poker!
Big Boy Pants!
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
I have to give a huge shoutout to Miami Don, who has singlehandedly gotten me to play the type of stakes that I've wanted to play all along. The Blogger Big Game is coming up this Sunday and I couldn't be more excited.
When I started to play online poker, I made my chops at $.10 to $1 buy-in tournaments on Golden Palace Poker, home of the smallest deposit requirements and cheapest tournaments. But in the back of my head, I wanted to be playing the bigger games. In fact, when I invariably reloaded my $20 every month, I would start off with a $10 SNG, my way of saying, "I can do it!" to the world, before the world bitchslapped me back to the penny games.
I've progressed from the ten cent tournaments and now regularly play $20-$30 games. I tend to stick to the $10-20 range usually, and the blogger games have only reinforced that level.
But not anymore! The Blogger Big Game is here and I'm finally going to have a chance to play stakes that will actually mean something more than the usual online poker game. Thanks Miami Don for making it possible. The best part might just be the fact that I don't have to put -$75 on my spreadsheet if I lose. According to my record keeping, any game entered into for a tournament is -$0, since I tack on the loss when I win the token. In other words, when I played the $8.70 18 person Token SNG for a $26 token, I considered that a -$8.70 loss, even though I won. When I took that token to the Tier 2 Token SNG for the $75 token, I considered it a $0 loss/win, since it cost me nothing to enter and I got no money out of it. Hence, when I play in the Blogger Big Game, I have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Rumor has it the prize pool is already over $1000 and we haven't even hit 20 players.
When you are done earning your Token to the Big Game, go for one more $26 Token. This was, you too can consider DADI X: Fight the Power to be a freeroll. It doesn't look like DADI X will have the usual corporate sponsors, but who knows what will happen going forward. Whatever the case, the staff at Donkeys Always Draw, Inc. are actually all Cambodian immigrants living in a series of shanty shacks in Mexico (right across the boarder for easy access), so the government and that evil Mr. Frist won't get their grubby hands on us. Come on out and show Frist who is boss...and it ain't Tony Danza, its the American people.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Since I'm always getting requests for more Razz content (cough cough), here's a fun hand for you with some basic Razz strategy. I was playing in the $5 Razz MTT (100 players) on Full Tilt last night (so much for cutting down on online poker). Razz MTTs feel like they are very luck-dependent, largely because once I'm in a hand, I'm usually raising the whole way. I play any three cards 8 or lower (as opposed to Felicia's general 7 or lower requirement), and with the donkey Razz players in these MTTs, my new guilty pleasure, 8 or less is usually enough to give me an edge preflop against most of the players.
In a series of hands, I noticed that one player, BFK, would call down with terrible cards. I also noticed that he seemed to react relatively quickly. In situations like this, when I take the lead, I like to be extra-aggressive and bet as quickly as possible. It goes back to my general belief that poker, especially online poker, has its own rhythm. When my opponent starts dancing for me, I like to keep the beat moving, so that they don't have time to think about what a particular hand means. Instead, they keep doing what they are doing, which is usually calling me with worse cards. Here we go:
I'm 2nd big stack at the table, but BFK has a fairly healthy stack. I start off with 6A/7, so I'm within Felicia's tighter requirements, which means that I'm going to amp up the aggression even more, if an opportunity arises. To me, I just feel that it makes sense to raise while you think you are ahead. Fold when you think you are behind, unless you have a huge draw. Check or call when you are unsure.
Hanta, with a K showing, brings it in for 50, and I'm on his immediate left. I complete to 150 total, hoping to push out players with semi-playable hands or two low cards, since for all I know, I'm getting a brick coming up. They'll fold and I'll win it while I'm ahead, hopefully. At the very least, I'll thin the herd and hopefully be heads up, where one bad card for my opponent may open up the door I need to take down the hand.
PokerBrat, with a 3 showing, calls, and I'm a bit nervous. I played in a token race with him earlier, and he barely played 3 hands, so he's a tight player (although who knows if that translates to his Razz game). PB is on a shorter stack, but has enough to hurt me and play a bit. BFK has a 2 showing and calls as well. Hanta (K) folds.
Now, here is the thing. None of those guys raised, so I'm confident that I am not up against A23 or something really scary. But I could be up against A37 or something similar, or even A8/3, in which case I'm ahead now, but that might change. In other words, I don't know where I am at, because BFK might have T8/3 the way he plays. Regardless, I'm cautious.
On my fourth street, I am dealt a 3, for a 6A/73 (draw to a 76 low), pretty good this far into the hand. However, Brat has 34 showing, and BFK has 26. No obvious bricks, so I have to be cautious.
Brat bets out 150. BFK calls. I decide to call as well, because (a) if they had great lows before, they may've paired with their low fourth streets, and (b) they still might brick, and I might be sitting on a pat 76 in one cards' time.
And so I am. Fifth street brings a 4, for a A6/734. A 76-low is pretty strong with this level of competition, and with 5 out of 5 low cards, the chance that my opponents have a high card in the hole just went up. Plus, many players (myself included) are happy to play 8-lows or 8-low draws, so even if they have an 8 in the hole they are screwed (temporarily, at least). Beautifully, Brat was dealt a Ten, so he must be concerned. Even better, BFK was dealt the 8. So, ideally BFK has an 8-low right now. I'm 100% in the lead, so I kick into my super aggro mode, trying to stuff the pot before BFK has a chance to realize how behind he actually is. I bet 300, and Brat folds. BFK calls.
Now, the sixth street for me is an 8, so I'm still at a 76 low, but I'm worried because BFK hit a Queen. He's likely to fold if he has another low card, but then again, I've seen him make bad plays earlier. I raise immediately, practically before the cards are dealt. BFK complies and calls immediately. Basically, he is in a call-down mode. I know this, so I want to keep the pressure on, so that he doesn't have time to think or work out what my obvious betting pattern is telling him. Remember, I raised preflop which signals that I have an 8 or lower hand to most people. I hit three cards below 8 and then I start betting aggressively. Sounds like a made hand to me, but a chasing opponent won't stop to think about it if you don't let him. Go fast and often, he'll oblige, hoping to get his next card quick so he can "get luck". I'm also keeping his rhythm up (he is calling me almost as fast as I'm betting.
The seventh card is dealt facedown, and for me its a negligible 9. WIth his board, I can only lose if each of his three hole cards are exactly 4, 3, and Ace. In other words, I got a lock. So I bet, super fast, of course. And he calls, super faster.
And what did he have: 73/268Q/2, or a 87 low. If he stopped to look at my board, what could he see. He saw I had a 7348 board, which meant that he must have believed that none of my three hole cards were 5 or less. Puh-lease! I bet preflop, so he should've known that much.
Now, basically, this is an example of taking advantage of your opponent's shear stupidity. It was nothing amazing on my part. I bet when I thought I was ahead, called when I wasn't sure, and then bet when I was definitely ahead. The key was in building the rhythm for the later rounds.
By betting quickly, you can set the pace for the hand. Just like in most sports, if you set the pace, you control the game.
So, there you have a pretty typical Razz hand, for all you Razz newbies. I just use it to highlight the importance of controlling tempo during a game. You can cause other players to make stupid errors if they are dancing to your beat.
That's it for now. Thanks everyone for the comments lately. I haven't done a great job of cutting down on online play, but I have gotten a lot of sentiment from out there that I should work on fixing my leaks online. True enough, and the honesty is appreciated.
Until next time, make mine Razz!
Here's a quickie thought that sparked while I was reading yesterday's O-Poker post:
When is it right to change your usual play on a particular hand when you just raised the last several hands?
Let's get more specific. A similar situation happened last night during Mondays at the Hoy, but it didn't really stand out to me at the time. I'm a big fan of playing rushes, something I believe I picked up years ago when I was reading Brunson's original Super/System. If memory serves correct, the principle was that when you win a hand, its generally good to play your next hand if possible. This is how rushes are created. It's part luck, but also part perception from the rest of the players that you are getting lucky. In truth, however, I might win a hand with QQ and then raise preflop with A6s on the next hand and face no resistance. When I get 88 next, I'll raise preflop again, and often the table will be conditioned to fold (or just as likely will fold because they hold terrible cards).
Let's not talk about specifics, though. Let's keep in the realm of hypotheticals. Let's look at a series of fictional hands, but really focus on what the earlier hands do to the last hand. Since online poker is stupid and I hate it, let's pretend we are playing in a blogger tournament, the perfect hybrid of online poker's convenience (and looseness) and live poker's attention span (player's actually watch what you are doing and formulate general reads!). These hands all happen consecutively.
You are dealt AA and you raise preflop on the button. Everyone folds to you.
The very next hand, you are dealt 99 in the CO and raise preflop. It folds to you again.
You are in late position with QQ. There is a limper or two, but when it gets to you, you raise, and everyone folds.
You are dealt AJs in middle position. You raise to 4x the BB, and the CO re-raises you to 15x the BB. You have a sizeable stack, but you are out of position. Now what?
This is what I'm talking about (sorta -- it's hard to come up with a suitable example/series of hands). For some of you tighter players, this really won't come into play that often. For a player like me who likes to play (and make) rushes, it will happen more often, because once I win that first hand, I'm raising with all sorts of hands thereafter, including 55, KQ, AT, etc.
The problem is, by the time I'm at that third-to-fifth hand in my raising series, I have to assume that my opponents are getting suspicious. This can cut both ways, though. I may have just ran into a bigger hand, like AKo v. my AJs, or even KK or AA. It's bound to happen sooner or later, so we have to be conscious of that possibility. But what if we are facing someone with TT or less. Hell, players might be so sick of me that they'll make a stand with KQ, just to say, "Hell no, Jordan, I'm onto you." In my example, our hand was AJs when we finally got resistance, but what if it is 99? AJs can be folded easier, because you are most likely hoping for a cointoss, but 99 may be a cointoss OR can be more easily dominated by a higher pocket pair.
I have no easy solutions for this issue. I still think that it makes sense to go into a rush of raising when the momentum is right. It can be a lifesaver when blinds get high, and a momentum builder in earlier rounds. One series of 5-6 dominating hands will keep you in the table's collective conscious and give you a "bully" aire, even when you tighten up for a long while thereafter and just play monster hands.
I'd suggest that when you do face resistance, though, you have to fold. You've effectively induced your opponents to widen their starting hand requirements, which would argue against folding. Instead, it would encourage calling because you are probably ahead, or re-raising to find out how strong you are. On the other hand, your dominance in prior hands will also make players more gunshy and when they are willing to play back, they'll have the goods.
As you can see, I don't have any answers, just questions. But I do have a suggestion. Fold. Your rush is over, and losing a couple of blinds preflop is better than going into a hand against someone who has too wide of a hand selection (thanks to your rush) to pin down early, especially if you are out of position. In fact, that should be your signal to change gears, at least for a few hands, and let your dominance recede a bit. Essentially, you've lost your credibility, so you have to change your game to reflect that change in circumstance.
So, bottom line, creating a rush can be a great thing, but you have to be ready to pack it in when you run out of credibility.
Random thought of the day: Playing very loose for the first 5 hands of any cash or tournament game online would be a great way to fool a player relying on PokerTracker who has never played with you before. Of course, this assumes that they are looking at the fact that you play 60-80% of the hands, and ignore that little icon that tells them that they only have 5 hands for reference.
On an unrelated note, I've been toying with the idea of hosting a homegame on Sunday afternoon, since Bradley's mixed game will be on Saturday this weekend, and I can't make it. If anyone is in the NYC area and is interested in a $20-40 tournament (perhaps a $20 single rebuy), hit me up with a comment or email at HighOnPokr AT yahoo, but don't forget to leave off the last E for +EV!
Until next time, make mine poker!
East Coast Blogger Gathering
Monday, October 16, 2006
Hey all. Just dropping a quick line. If you are able, I highly encourage you to go to the WPBT Winter Classic, planned for the weekend of December 9th. However, if you can't make it and are from the North East, you can still get in on the inter-blogger action.
Sir Woffle mentioned a Foxwoods gathering for Nov. 11th weekend. I haven't heard much about it since then, but if you are interested, give a shout out, god damnit! Personally, that will be a tough weekend for me, whereas Nov. 18th is a LOT easier. But I'm going to do my best to make it out on whatever weekend we all can agree on.
And while you are not at the WPBT Winter Classic, why not join me at the WSOP Circuit Event at Harrah's in Atlantic City for the weekend of December 9th. I'll be playing in at least one of the two $300 tournaments scheduled that weekend, so you know there is at least some dead money in the event. Of course, a blogger gathering would necessarily distract me and keep me up through the late hours of the evening, but for you guys, I'll just have to suck it up.
Now, before you do any of these things, definitely first check out the WPBT event. That really will be the marquee event of the season. But if you are like me and can't make it out to Vegas, we can at least console each other together.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Really folks, how long is this long view we are talking about? Sure, playing 10 sessions and then announcing yourself as a pro because you won 8 out of 10 doesn't qualify. But what happens if you spend an entire year playing poker online, daily practically, only to come out even at the end? What does that say of your game? What does it say about your ability to play online poker?
This is the issue I am facing. I keep a spreadsheet of all of my wins and losses. Starting next year, I plan on moving my record keeping onto a online website made for that very purpose (the name of which I forgot, but its been referred to by TripJax). What I've realized is that in my goal to reach $1800 by the end of the year, I am only about $400 short, which is right where I'm supposed to be, approximately. However, all of those wins came from Live play! My online stats tell a very different story, one that starts with a zero, and ends with a zero.
How could this be? A year ago, I won $1200, most of which was online. This year, in my handful of live forays, I've made most of my profit. Online has been a $0 EV affair, ignoring the various bonuses (which realistically would put me in the positive for several hundred, if not a complete grand). [Side note: Should I be counting bonuses on my spreadsheet, since they really just consist of my rakeback?]
I've gone through various reasons why my online game is not where it should be, but for the sake of completeness, I'll give you a Cliff's Notes version: (1) I don't pay enough attention, (2) I play when I'm not sober, (3) I may be playing like an action junkie [i.e. too loose], and (4) I chase losses. But this isn't necessarily about improving these things. It is about figuring out why my Live game is so much stronger (on paper) to my online game, and whether I should near-quit online poker. Not quit. Near-quit. I just mean that I should cut out the routine of playing nightly, in favor of withdrawing most of my online dough and saving the rest for occassions like the DADI tournaments, the Blogger Big Game (set up by Miami Don, in which I shall be playing, now that I earned a $75 Full Tilt token), and the various blogger sanctioned online tournaments, as well as the occassional MTT.
On one hand, I have to consider that this has been an off year. I've shown last year that I can make a profit at online poker, so one year of breaking even might not be such a big deal. It's all an issue of defining the long term. To me, a year seems long enough. Sure, players have an off month or two, but a year?! In hindsight, maybe I should look at my stats to figure out how I did every month and determining if there was a few soul-crushing months to cause my current situation, but does it even matter? Keep in mind that this is ignores the fact that I may go on a tear for the next several months, ending the year in the black. It also ignores the fact that I have recieved a financial benefit from my online play in the form of bonuses. But it doesn't ignore the fact that online poker is not as profitable as it should be for me (at least this year), so is the time spent playing it just time wasted?
These are the issues I'm confronting right now, with eyes wide-open and no sense of impending doom or self-pity. Live play is just more interesting to me, and the online poker is like a weak replacement drug. I think I've likened it before as heroine (live poker) to methadone (online), and while that analogy just emphasizes the obvious self-destructive nature of the poker obsession, it also highlights the fact that online poker is a different (and dare I say, lesser) form of poker than its live counterpart.
This is not to say that online poker sucks. Clearly, there are those who can make bundles of cash online. That just might not be me. I've heard more than a few pros hate playing online. Maybe I can be one of those guys. My fear, though, is that my live game sample is too small. If I played 340 days a year online, I've played less than 50 times live (I believe, offhand). So, am I really just a break even player live who hasn't had his come-uppance? Or what if I'm a +$1800 year player, but it just happens to be that THIS YEAR it is all from live play, whereas next year, my luck will come online instead of live?
Oh my! Where to start?
I will say this. I played live yesterday and took $145 in profit home with me. I was at Bradley's homegame, and the mixed format just makes everything fresh again. I believe that I made most of my money from Princess Maigrey, who, from my estimation, thinks I'm a loose donkey. Maybe its because I played just about every hand for the first 20 minutes. Of course, to the table, I look like an action junkie (and I sorta am), but I'm also building my table image and perhaps even annoying some people as a side effect but not an intended consequence. In a live game, you can do these things. Sure, you can try to do it online too, but a quarter of the players are too busy multi-tabling, another half of the players are watching TV in the background, and the remaining players are either too stupid or too smart to adjust their play to my table image.
Eh, all these questions are starting to make my brain hurt. All I know is that I got a lot of poker coming up, including a trip to Roose's homegame or the Salami Club on Wednesday, followed by an afternoon sans wifey Kim on Sunday (while she goes bridesmaid dress shopping with her friend), during which I'll either build my own homegame (any takers in NY?) or try to make my way to Salami or one of the other live clubs. Whatever I end up doing, I'm hoping its a live game. Realistically, though, if that becomes too much of a hassle, I'll be online. Cause even though I'm a heroine addict, sometimes (SOMETIMES) methadone will do. My plan going forward is to finish my Stars bonus, withdraw a chunk of my online dough, and potentially start to rebuild with $300, used mostly for MTTs, SNGs, and blogger games. Let's hope that does something for me.
Until next time, make mine (live) poker!
Friday, October 13, 2006
Longest. Day. Ever.
An odd thing happened on the way to 6:30pm today; I finished everything.
Sometimes there is nothing worse than being uber efficient. Two weeks ago, I was in the middle of trial prep for three cases. The first one settled (for $850,000...booya), we lost the second one on summary judgment before it got to trial, and the third one is happening as we speak. As a result, it's been quiet in the office, with the head honcho at trial and my team leader playing second seat.
What's a man to do? Thankfully, I got down to business, looking over my cases, expecting them to be neglected and disheveled after focusing exclusively on other peoples' cases for the last several weeks. Well, they were a tad neglected, but only a tad. Once the review was done, though, I realized that most of my work is already done. And now, I'm bored as hell.
Might as well take some time to speak to you about the changes happening at HoP. First, welcome TwoDiamondPhillips, aka Big Mark from the Roose Home Game. If you recall, Mark had taught me a couple of wacky homegames, and while we talked, I guess this blog came up. He also dropped what, to me, was one of the funniest card puns, the Two Diamond Phillips. That Mark is one funny mofo, with 2d Phillips being only a small sample, so its good to have his sarcastic ass commenting here and there.
The biggest change for HoP is my recent live game focus. It might not be apparent yet on this site, but I've increased my live game schedule big time. Of course, that just means playing once a week steadily and twice a week when I can manage. Roose's home game is a start, albeit one that encourages a relaxed atmosphere to tense competition. But its also a great place to talk through hands. The depth of player is a bit more shallow than your average blogger gathering, so I'm not receiving much in the way of existential poker philosophy, but I've found that I learn the most when I'm teaching, and Petey allows me to do just that. Frankly, though, just chatting through hands has generally been a boon.
On the other end of the spectrum, I had a great time at SIF's homegame, so I'm planning to attend game 2 this Sunday while wifey Kim is having a birthday brunch with one of her gal friends. The mixed game format means that I'm constantly paying attention, and the competition is strong, so I'm forced to play the closes thing to an A-game that I have, considering that I know shit about 2-7 lowball tripledraw.
I haven't made my return to Salami just yet, but that is also in the cards. They were robbed a couple of weeks ago, but it was 2am on a weekend. By my estimation (adopted from SoxLover), the smart man plays early and leaves before 11pm.
I'm booked for Atlantic City twice in December. The first time is Dec. 8-10th weekend, where I will be playing the Saturday $300 WSOP Circuit event at Harrahs, and the $300 event on Sunday as well, probably. I'm still toying with playing a $500 event, but it would be on my birthday, Dec. 11th, and by then, I might be happy just heading home. After all, two weeks later, I'll be back in AC, this time at the Caesars for my 6th installment of Christmas with the Heathens. Feel free to read about last year's trip Here, and Here, and also Here.
May 2007 = Vegas, thanks to Roose's bachelor party. We have over 12 people going, including his brother, brother-in-law (through his sister, not his fiance) and father, so its a mixed group. I'm hoping that I won't be the activities coordinator, even though I've been one of the pointmen on setting up the trip. Frankly, once I get there, you'll be hardpressed not to find me at a poker table. Fortunately, Roose has the same idea. Now what should we do with the non-poker playing guests? I know...ignore them.
While I'm at it, I'm going to try my gosh darn hardest to make it to Foxwoods in November. Woffles suggested Nov. 11th weekend for a N.E. blogger free-for-all, but I'm privvy to the next weekend, since wifey Kim will be in Miami tanning, erm, I mean attending a speech-language conference. Worse case scenario, everyone goes on the 11th and I go on the 18th. I'm fairly confident he of the breakfast food will be there anyway...degenerate.
Live poker isn't the only thing changing at HoP. I've finally decided to take a step into the 22nd century and boy is it cool. I've gotten back to Bloglines, since I've found that checking sites randomly means that a few slip through my fingers. That said, you all have been a bit slacking lately, or I've been reading too much. You pick, really. Whatever the case, I'm watching you all, so be on your best behavior.
Oh, and then there is that other thing. PokerTracker and PokerAceHud. If you don't know what they are, let me give you a quick rundown. Tracker collects your hand histories, so you can analyze your play. I still haven't mastered this function. Instead, I just rely on AceHud, which basically places stats on top of your openned poker table with information on your opponents. So, if someone has only entered 10% of the pots, but has a high preflop or postflop aggression rating, its safe to say that he is Tight-Aggressive. It's also helpful to see players that see 42% of the flops, since I know they are willing to play crap cards.
I eventually gave into this shortcut tool basically because I've come to the conclusion that I can use any help I can get. I can't seem to concentrate when I play online, so this gives me something akin to a read. Truth be told, though, I'd be better off withdrawing all of my dough from online. But its poker, and I'm a poker player, so I'm going to keep at it, and accept what comes my way (while working to improve myself).
So, its a whole new HoP in a whole lot of ways, but this rambling pointless post will also show you that nothing much has changed in this here cabeza.
Now go write something so I don't have to post this drivel.
Until then, make mine poker!
You Decide #45
Thursday, October 12, 2006
When it rains, it pours. I was in a 180-person SNG, $20+2 (actually, I'm still in it), when I was dealt QQ in middle position in the fifth hand. I didn't have much in the way of reads, yet, which really flavors this hand. I'm up to 1580 already in EP, so I raise from 20 to 80. Two players fold and the next player, JBWit, raises to 200 total. I do know one thing about JBWit. In the first five hands, he played one, limping and then folding after the flop. Everyone folds to me, and I opt to call.
The flop is 9s Js 5c. I check and JBWit bets 200 into the 430 pot. I raise to 460 total (260 on top), and he pushes all-in. If I call, I'm just about all-in myself. I think for a minute and decide to fold.
Stupid play, or smart caution? Do tell...
It seems like my decision to play more live poker is paying off in dividends, literally. I made my triumphant return to Dave Roose's homegame, where the tournament formats have a very fast blind structure and the hazy room makes the players move very slowly. I've often mentioned how I think adaptability is a crucial trait for a poker player, and these games are the epitome of that concept.
Last night's game last about 2 hours with a cast of eight players. There were the usual players, like Roose, Robbie and Randy Hole, Peter, and new regulars (for me at least) Eric & Heather. Big Mark was also there, and I hadn't played with him in months, if not years.
The night started off with the usual wait. As players strolled it, Mark taught me a couple of poker variations of the home game wild-card variety. I was semi-familiar with Black Mariah, but his version was called 1-3-5, double spit or something like that, with the word Mariah thrown in somewhere. Granted, these types of games have no place in a real casino, but for donking away with friends, I can see the appeal. In our case, we merely played a few hands for the hell of it, and happily tossed the mock-game altogether once the players were ready.
The tournament starts with 2000 in chips, and blinds of 25/50. This, alone, is nothing out of the ordinary, and seems to be the preffered chip count to underground casinos and legitimate casinos with low buy-in tournaments. I believe the blinds went up every 12 minutes or so, though, so that accounted for the fast structure. Still, we were well into the game before we had our first casualty, Robbie Hole, if I'm not mistaken.
For most of the game, I was folding. More accuratley, for the first level and a half, I did some suspect limping, but mostly because I think it makes sense to see lots of flops while the blinds were still low. With blinds escalating, I tried to stick to my Rule of 10 (if I have less than 10x the BB, I either push or fold). Overall, it was working well. I was able to push some people off of hands, including one hand when Roose limped with QQ in late position after a few limpers (a mistake admitted by Roose immediately after the hand. I was in the SB with 74o and about 1100 left with blinds of at least 100/200. Randy, in the SB, raised to 350, after the 557 flop. I hoped to just take the hand right away, and Randy is relatively loose, so I pushed for my complete 1200. Everyone folded to Roose who thought a while before folding his QQ. Randy also folded...the hammer. We rabbit hunted anyway. By the river, Randy and I would've chopped. The turn and river were Aces, so we'd have AA775. Neither pathetic kicker would play.
I chipped up with selective aggression, usually avoiding seeing even a flop. I knocked out Eric after he lost a brutal big hand to chipleader Roose. I ended up calling Eric's push with A6o. He had JJ, but the turned Ace was enough, and I felt bad...for about .5 seconds. Eric has an interesting move, when he pushes preflop with suited connectors, or even on the flop when he misses the board if it checks to him. Hence, my call wasn't atrocious, especially considering his small stack. Still, I hope to take advantage of my knowledge at future games.
Peter was on my left, and I've taken it upon myself to give him tips here and there. He reads this site every once in a while, and I encouraged him to read You Decide #44 and the post after it. If he's reading this post, I'll add this little nugget for him: When you and I were in the blinds late in the game and we saw the 66x flop, you immediately looked at your chips. So, when you bet, I knew you had it. So, Pete, when you see a great flop, do your best NOT to look at your chips right away. It's a blatant tell that most seasoned players know about thanks to Mike Caro's Book of Poker Tells. As it turned out, I was right, too. He had trip sixes.
Eventually, it got down to Petey, Heather, Roose and I. Petey made some errors, folding a pocket pair to preflop pressure when he was very shortstacked. He eventually went out on the bubble. Heather took 3rd and got her money back. Roose and I were ready to go heads-up, but then he offered a chop. 1st got 100 and 2nd got 40, so we agreed on a 80/60 chop, with him getting the 80. He had me outchipped 2:1, so I think it was the right move. But as he drove me to the train, we both agreed that it would've been fun to play heads-up.
This was my third trip to Roose's homegame in the last few months, and I've chopped 1st and 2nd each time. It's all about playing the game according to the blind structures and the players. At Roose's game, you need to play tight and aggressive, until the blinds get high, and then you just need to play aggressive and in position. I survived mostly from stealing blinds with preflop all-ins with hands like J8d and K4h. Try the same move in a blogger tournament, and you won't even see the final 2 tables.
Thanks again to Roose. I'm glad I've been playing more live. Next stop is SIF's 2nd homegame.
Interesting note before I go. This week marked the return of the New Jersey continuing legal education classes, a scam set up by NJ to make money. Unlike the first year classes, there is no homework, and therefore little impetus to pay attention. I spent most of the time listening to my iPod in the back row of the stadium-like classroom. As I looked to my right, one guy was on his cell phone, playing poker. I joked that if I had planned better, I would've brought cards and we could've had a pick-up game. I also ran into an acquaintance from my Ireland trip during lawschool. John was older then most of the rest, a smart, good-natured guy. When I saw him, I first couldn't remember his name, but once it came back to me, I walked over and said hi. He was sitting a row in front of me in class, and during a particularly slow part, he handed me his card. Written on the back, it asked, "If you play poker, would you be interested in playing?" I passed him my card, "Abso-fucking-lutely." After the class he told me that they usually play stud and draw games. Odd, I thought. But I'm in if he emails me. After all, I'm not a hold'em player, I'm a poker player.
Until next time, make mine poker!
Slowplaying v. Stringing Them Along
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
When I was a young kid in school, I realized that I did things a lot different from the rest of the class. While they were all studiously paying attention in 8th grade math, I was doodling and wondering what they were all writing in their notebooks. In high school, I tended to dress a bit...different. I wore a trench coat before it was a symbol of murdering your fellow classmates. When it came to homework assignments and reports, I always worked the angles, making the rules bend just enough to make it work for me but still fit the professor's parameters. In my senior year of high school, when I had to do a report and presentation on Virginia Wolff's "To the Lighthouse," I chose to do a multimedia presentation, showing how Wolff used diction (i.e., chose specific words and wording) to color her story, and compared the works to the art of impressionist painters. It was more of an art project than an English project, but it fit the assignment's criteria. In college I took Medical Ethics in the 90s and then applied to the Registrar to have it count as a Science. The most scientific thing happening in that class was an existential conversation on the merits of cloning.
Yeah, I am a bit out there, always looking at things in a different light and working on ways to do the typical in an atypical fashion. Frankly, I just think my brain works a little differently. It's part of what makes me a contrarian and why I gave myself the Devil's Advocate of Poker Bloggers moniker, of course in half-jest.
So, excuse me if I came off as a bit chagrined when I was responding to comments on the most recent You Decide post. Where I analyzed the problem one way, the vast majority of you seemed to read it in a very different light.
If you commented on the You Decide but did not get a chance to read the most recent comments, please take some time out. NewinNov was kind enough to respond to my request, so he read the hand history and commented on what he was thinking during the hand. Clearly, he took some time out to give his explanation, so I'm very greatful. Also, its rare when you get both sides of a hand. Its the closest we can get to complete information.
Also in comments, PokerWolf asked me to elaborate about the difference between slowplaying and stringing your opponent along. The difference lies in your intentions. When you have a strong hand, like a flopped fullhouse or nut straight with no flush draws, you may decide to act like you missed the flop completely. When you are doing this, you goal is to get your opponent, who probably missed the flop, to either bluff into you or stay with the hand and hit something weaker later (or bluff later). Here is an example:
You are in the BB with A3h, and there is one limper before the SB completes. You check and the flop is Q72 of hearts. You have the nuts, and nothing can happen in the next card to change that. The chance of you losing the hand is very slim, but if you bet out, you might get no action. So instead you check after the SB checks, hoping to slowplay your nut flush. The limper decides to raise pot, and you only call. You are slowplaying, with the intention of raising late in the hand, hopefully after a big card hits for the limper.
In a situation like this, your goal is to get your guy to make a move on you, mostly, or at least to have him believe that you are weak so that when you pop it big later in the hand, he might call you (once that turned Ace hits his AKo, for instance).
On the other hand, you will face situations when the only way you will get any money from your strong (but ironically, vulnerable) hand is to price your opponent in. In a lot of situations like this, the prefered (and often correct) move is to bet big to push your opponent off of his draw or make him pay too high a price for his draw. However, it makes little sense to push an opponent out of a hand when the pot is too small to care about. First, he will likely fold since there isn't anything worth playing for. Second, if he does call and that scare card comes, you will be in a tough spot playing for a decent amount of money.
In a situation like that, your best move is to keep your opponent in the hand on your terms. So, how can we do this? By betting amounts that will tempt any player in your opponent's position. I'll refer to You Decide #44 and NewinNov's description of his thought process to illustrate.
After the flop, I have a set. I don't know if New or the other guy have anything, but I do know that I'm ahead. I need to give a price that would get a call from a K-high hand, since thats the most likely way that they connected with the hand and would still be willing to call (i.e., 23o would connect with bottom pair but would never call a bet on the 3KA flop). With a pot of 60, there is only so much I can bet. It's really 20, 40 or 60. 60 is pot, so I consider that too high to rope in a weak hand. 40 is 2/3 of the pot, so I decided on 20. This will keep it cheap for him AND me. Once the turn comes, I am still ahead and the pot is 100, so I need a price that will still keep an inferior hand in. 60 is a good number because its small-ish, but will continue to build the pot. On the river with 220 in the pot, 120 also seems harmless to someone on a marginal hand with no more cards coming.
Essentially, I'm trying to figure out what someone with a pair of Kings on a AK3/4/J board would be willing to call. It's got to be low compared to the pot, otherwise he'll just decide it isn't worth it. I'm looking for a number where the K-high hand says, "Eh, why not?! It's just $____ and he is betting weird so he might be bluffing or weak."
Now, for all you people who missed it, this is what NewinNov had to say (excerpts taken from his comments):
"The flop bet of 20 is very suspicious. Alarm bells. You want to keep me around. You probably have an A with a better kicker or maybe a K but I sense you are playing around...Calling 20 to a 80 pot, 4:1, still very reasonable" Great! I've given him a broad range and a WTF play, so he is unsure, but willing to call a small bet.
"Any more than a $40 bet on the flop would have seen me fold." Therefore, I lost 20 on this particular part of the hand, but I was correct that I had to bet small to keep him in (with an A20).
"The bet of 60 should have been my clue to leave as it was now getting expensive. But I didn't because of the strange betting pattern and your loose image...your nice sized value bet made me want to continue for the implied odds...Anything more than 60 and I would have folded." So, I priced this one perfectly. I couldn't have gotten a single cent more from him. He knew it was high to call with his hand, but he called anyway because my bets were suspicious and confusing and it was just 60.
"With a clear head now, I don't know why I called (the river bet of 120) except that the betting pattern confused me and the bet amount was just enough or the amount that someone would use with a King." So, I complete the hand by making another suspicious bet that was cheap enough to call without crushing his stack.
Now, NewinNov also mentioned that at the end, he was willing to make the call because it would also advertise to the rest of the table that he was loose if he lost. I didn't think of that at the time, but it makes perfect sense. In that regards, if I bet 220 (pot) or even 200, I think he would've folded. Maybe I could've gotten 180 instead of 120.
In total, then, I left about 80 chips on the table (20 from the flop, 60 from the river) at most. To me, slowplaying is like setting up a trap. Stringing your opponent along is more pro-active. On every decision, you have to figure out the most he will call, because you are never planning on springing a trap. You are merely leading them and their chips in the wrong direction.
Now, if an Ace came on the river, I was also golden, so there was an element of trapping/slowplaying involved. But I wasn't going to give him an opportunity to check it down if he didn't get his golden card. The key was to get the money while it was available to me.
I hope this helps out somewhat. Maybe I'm makign too much of the distinction, but I think that the two concepts are fairly distinct. Thanks for reading folks.
Until next time, make mine poker!