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Taking my Shot

I had a problem with my laptop, recently. The left 1/3 of the monitor was darker than the rest of the monitor, but I'm usually the type of guy to ignore such things. Still, when playing online poker and chatting with GCox or Trip, I had trouble placing everything on the screen. Either the chatbox was too dark or the poker was too dark. I called Dell and tried to work it out with them before ultimately opting to have them send me a box to mail my laptop to them for free repair. I got the box, sent it to Dell and got my computer back all within a week. When I read about Hoy's problem with his Dell laptop, I was impressed that they helped him so well. Now they are two for two, leaving my very impressed by their quick, helpful response and turnaround time.

In the meanwhile, I was in poker limbo. Friday night, I played the AlCantHang birthday tourney (and on that note, happy birthday to the one-man-party known as ACH), which was just a fancy name for Katitude's usual Friday night $1 rebuy Donkament. I doubled up more than a few times, and ended up at the top of the leader board near the end of the rebuy. But I lost a bunch of my chips and then my crappy desktop lost its internet connection for about 30 mins. When I came back, we were at the final table, but I was the shortstack. I busted shortly after. At least I can say that I had fun.

Yesterday was a slow day at Casa del High. Wifey Kim and I were invited to join bro Keith and sis-in-law Jen to see Wheel of Fortune tape live in NY. That was scheduled for 5:30, so after running some morning errands, I found myself with too much time on my hands. I saddled up to the desktop to play a quick HU game. Wifey Kim was off doing girly things (mani and pedi), so I figured a quick game would suffice. I won the first one, a $11 turbo on FT, in under 10 hands. That was a bit too quick, so I decided to play another.

Fortunately, my opponent had the same idea and jumped into the next open $11 turbo. I jumped in right after him. In general, if you win a HU match and you have an opportunity for a rematch, go for it. You already know how he plays and he's likely going to be playing worse, desperate to win back his money and pride. If you busted him on a suckout, alls the better. This time, I won in about 20 hands. He was playing the exact style as the first one, if a little bit looser thanks to the tilt effect.

I tried for round 3, but someone jumped in before me. I was disappointed, but moved on.

When it comes to HU matches online, I like to be the guy joining the room, rather than the guy who first signs up for the game. It is largely due to the fact that, when it comes to HU matches, a $5 HU match is the same to me as a $20 HU match. I can adjust for any skill level, and the stakes don't matter, as long as they are within my usual range. So, ideally, I like to jump into a room with one person already waiting. It means I play when I want to and I don't have to sit around waiting for competition. It also offers me a subconscious psychological edge, which is admittedly hard to explain. The long and short of it is that I'm impatient and I just feel more conifdent when I'm joining and playing immediately.

With that in mind, I looked for another $11 tournament, only to find that none was ready to go. I looked around and finally settled on a $22 HU match, ready to roll. In both instances, and for all games I played yesterday, the matches were turbo, which is to my benefit. As a short stack specialist, I prefer the later stages in HU play, where I can use my short stack skills to steal significant blinds (at 50/100, the blinds are 1/15th of our stacks; at 100/200, the blinds are worth more than 10% of our stacks) and control the action.

Sadly, my opponent had enough and didn't look for a rematch. I looked for more open games and didn't see anything worthwhile. I scoped out everything in the general price range, when I noticed an open $33 turbo HU match. This was less than my profit so far, so I figured I'd take my shot. In my head, I was thinking about TripJax. He recently posted about moving on to $50 and higher SNGs, even though his bankroll was not equipped for it. Trip, GCox and I came up together in the poker ranks. Admittedly, the last year has been slow progress. We are all individually doing well, but our advancement to higher stakes took a back seat to UIGEA withdrawals and our depleted online bankrolls. So, when Trip wrote about playing higher buy-in SNGs, I did what any competitive immature person would do and got jealous. I suppose envious is a better word, since I don't wish ill on Trip, but rather similar success for me. Whatever the case, I saw the $33 SNG as a start in the right direction.

Once I started the $33 HU SNG, I decided to play a tight game to start. This might be surprising to some people who play with me, but when it comes to online HU matches, I'm more interested in getting a feel for my opponent, rather than running them over with incessant raises (that's usually step 2 or 3). I fold a lot to determine whether they are going to start playing at me more aggressively. I'm essentially building an image and setting the tone for the game. Notably, if my opponent seems timid (for instance, he folds his SB right away), I may opt for the super-aggro style. In both instances, my eventual goal is to get my opponent to put all of his money in the pot when I'm way ahead. When I start aggro, I'll simply limp or check to induce my beaten down opponent to make his move. When I start tight, I'll also limp or check to get my opponent to continue his overaggression.

As it went, I got a little lucky in my HU match, catching a river 8 after I called my opponent's top pair against my middle pair of 8s. I had more chips at the time, so even though I was lucky, the call would not have crippled me. My opponent was steamed, but signed up for another game. Sweet.

The second HU match went well, too. This time, it took a bit longer, but I eventually got my opponent to push all-in with his remaining 600 chips when I had pocket Aces. In this instance, I had set up the game such that my opponent was pushing in most hands where I limped. I set this up by basically folding repeatedly, whether I was in the SB or the BB facing a raise. I conditioned my opponent to think that I was waiting for the nuts and would not call with anything other than the nuts. I limped with AA, confident that (a) he was wary of my raises because of my series of check-folds, and (b) he would raise me all-in if he thought I was weak. So, I limp, he pushes and I call. It's easy with Aces.

I tried to get into another game with the same guy, but someone beat me to it. But a new player sat in a $33 match, so I took him on...and won.

The rush was great. I'm not sure, but I may've played another one in there. Finally, I thought I had to take a break. No matter how good you may be at HU poker, you will eventually lose. Everything is heightened in HU poker, including variance and the role of luck. It was just a matter of time before I was unlucky enough to bust. Rather than continue until I got to that point, I turned off FT and stopped playing for the night.

I love HU poker. In fact, I can't wait to play some tonight. I hope to face off against Lucko tonight in the semi-finals to the HUC5. Other poker for the week includes a return to the Lawyers' Game, a game I haven't been to since my first visit and first place win in January of 2007. Thanks to Matty Ebs for the invite.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 2:32 PM,

2 Comments:

At 2:38 AM, Blogger meanhappyguy said...

Ah, no wonder you weren't replying to any of my donkish statements in chat on Friday night.

I don't have this girlie chat thing, but we should get a few HU poker matches in so you can even out the chess beat downs I've had to dish out!

 
At 10:10 AM, Blogger JL514 said...

My dell hinge broke, sent it back and they made the fix faster than I expected, even after sending me an email AND calling me to say a part was back ordered and it would take longer than expected.

Thumbs up for Dell support

 

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