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The Air Up There

Last night, while I cooked my dinner, I decided to finally get down to business and play some higher-stakes pokah, in an effort to run through my PokerShare PSO Bonus as part of the High On Poker Bonus World Tour (next stop VPP for one of several bonuses).

My online bankroll is at approximately $1k. It may be as low as $850, but let's assume $1k (I got to check that out later...). So, I decide to play some 2/4 Limit to grind the bonus away. Great plan, asshole. In less than an hour, I was down $73 or so. Nothing was working. I'd hit a flush and be against a higher flush. I'd hit top-pair and get called down by Ace-high and rivered. But also, I wasn't playing particularly well. I've been focusing more on NL and PL (Omaha) cash games, and they have such a different feel to them. I guess I didn't adjust fast enough, and I was definitely on the wrong side of variance.

Quick side note. While I was playing, I see a player named Falstaff sit down. So I ask, "Fal, are you who I think you are?" "Yep." Turns out that he, too, was playing the PSO promotion. He finished his remaining points and got the hell out. At least I gave him a good show, losing my money like it was my job.

Bummed about spilling $150 over two days, I resigned myself to switching to an SNG. It helped that our Shakespearean friend told me that they count toward the bonus (albeit rather slowly). Unfortunately, PokerShare has a lack of players, so the options weren't many. I eventually saw a $10 5-person Turbo SNG, and seeing how nothing else was filling up in the $5-$20 range, I signed up for some SNG fun.

The Turbo structure at PokerShare is great. It wasn't too fast that it was just a push fest, but as time wore on, the pressure to act was there. I was playing very well, although overall I didn't have any good cards (it was the theme of last night, with me not seeing anything higher than TT). Even so, the table was tight enough that I could steal, steal and steal. I eventually lasted to 2nd place, and then lost to a river suckout. Oh well oh well. With $6.50 profit, I was at least making some headway into my $73 in limit losses.

Wifey Kim has been very patient with me. I seem to be falling back into the poker hole, spending a bit too much time in the trenches. It doesn't help that she wants to watch the 2 hr special about a magician holding his breath for 9 minutes. Yes, 111 minutes anticipation. Is there nothing else worth airing nowadays. More on that subject later, let's get back to the poker.

Eventually the wifey Kim gets a telephone call. Once that phone is up, I can assume I have a good 15 minutes, so, being the degenerate that I am, I immediately fire up the laptop. Back in a flash, I scoured the PokerShare's meager pickings looking for my new table. Limit wasn't working, and I couldn't guarantee enough time for another SNG, so I perused the NL tables. I'm usually a .25/.50 NL type of guy (max buy-in $50). But my bankroll has never been to $1k before, so I was thinking that .50/1 could be more justified. In hindsight, I realize that I was putting 10% of my online bankroll (I have about $1k more for live games) on the line. For this, I need your help. Was this too much of a risk? I really have no idea. My intuition tells me yes, but my desire to continue moving up tells me no. Your thoughts?

PokerShare has an interesting framework. They have full tables, heads-up tables, 6-person tables, and 4-person tables. I settled on a 4-person, mostly because it was the only one that was open. At the table were three other players, one of which had a significant stack. The others were shortstacked, part of the reason why I chose the table. Yes, I prefer playing against shortstacks. Others don't, but I just feel that I can force them to make mistakes more.

In little time, I was down $30+ when the Big Stack (BS from here on out) raised a big $25 on the river after I bet small the whole way. It was an early hand, and I hadn't gotten a feel for the table yet. I think in NL especcially, getting a feel for your table is key. Once I had it, I never looked back.

The big hand was when I held AJh. I believe I was in the BB. BS was on the button. He raised to $3 or 4. The SB called, and I figured I had odds to call. AJh isn't a bad hand four-way, but I had been losing, and was cognizant of the possibility that I was facing AK or AQ. So imagine my surprise when the flop came AdKd9x. What to do? I think I bet about the pot. I wanted to know if I was behind or not. BS called, and the SB folded. The turn was an offsuit 3. I must admit that I had thoughts of losing to AK in my head from even before the flop. The flop didn't help, but the BS's failure to re-raise on the flop led me to believe that I might be okay. I decided to keep the pressure on, and made a sizeable bet of about $24, leaving me with $30 or so behind. I was still fearful of the AK, and I wanted to see if he would re-raise. If he did, I don't know what I'd do.

The river was an offsuit Queen. I didn't even think of the straight. If he was drawing to the inside straight, so be it. I did, however, think of AQ. Whatever the case, if I was behind, I was behind. I checked it to the BS, and, as expected, he pushed. I thought for a moment, and then decided that I really had no choice. I called the rest of my $30. He showed, 7d9d. I took down the pot, and was up $60.

From there, I had no fear. I called down BS with King-high, after an AA7 flop and two inconsequential cards. I knew he was bullshitting from the get go and when he showed his stone cold bluff and the cards went my way, I had a shit-eating grin on. I gave the guy an ass whooping clinic, taking out or scaring away the two shortstacks until we were heads up. At that point, I was up $110, mostly from BS, so I clicked Sit Out. It took me all of 2 seconds to realize that I had him so mentally beat that I couldn't just leave. We battled back and forth, with me up $160 at my peak, but eventually, I dropped down to $220. He was raising preflop a lot, and I was happy to give him the $1 blind and wait for the big punch. It was a decent strategy, but eventually I realized that I had had enough.

I signed off and finished watching David Blaine with wifey Kim. Here is the thing. The poll from the last post wasn't about wifey Kim v. me. It was actually about another friend. I was surprised that wifey Kim was even so interested in the magic at all. But I have to admit that it was pretty cool. Blaine uses camera tricks during his taped segments. He also uses plants, people in the "audience" who are in on the fun (according to my magic-loving friend). But the breath-holding thing was real. And the best part is that he failed. He held his breath for 7:02, instead of the requisite 8:59. And I must admit, I think he was better for failing. It showed people that striving toward something is sometimes a success in and of itself. It also showed dedication and commitment to be willing to try such a thing, live on TV no less. Impressive, Mr. Blaine, impressive. Someone has got to get him a fictional TV show though, like an Alias. That'd probably kick ass.

Wifey Kim, satisfied with the breath-holding excitement, turned in, and once asleep, I lurked onto the computer to find GCox hanging on Yahoo IM. I haven't mentioned it here yet, but Okie Vegas is out for me. I had a devilish plan to fly there for uber cheap, but it didn't work out. Apparently, to fly from NY to Oklahoma City costs around $500, and while I would love to be there, I just can't swing it. But, we can still sling chips over the virtual felt.

With my new higher-stakes mood, GCox and I agreed to play a single table SNG on Paradise Poker for $20. G went out relatively early, but I was able to squeak into 3rd for an additional $18.50 profit.

Overall, I won $75 last night, after starting the night down $73. These new higher stakes are getting me to take notice a bit more. I think it is just what I need for my stagnant game. I'm avoiding limit like the plague, since I just can't get into it, but NL has been good to me. PL Omaha, too, and I'll be back at Noble playing that again soon enough, finishing the last $25 of my $100 bonus there.

Alls I knows is I love me some poker. Now, thank you for reading about all of my exciting exploits last night. Not a lot of useful stuff in this post, admittedly, but they can't all be winners like me.

posted by Jordan @ 9:18 AM,


At 12:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was a good post, Jordan. I think you need to have more than $1000 in your br if you want to keep playing short-handed $100 max buy-in because of the volatility, but you're sufficiently br'ed if you are going to play full ring. The general concensus is appx. 15 buy-ins for a NL full ring game, but my rule is 10 even though I rarely stick to it due to frequent cash outs.

2/4 and 3/6 limit can be very juicy games. You'll see plenty of aggressive play, but plenty of bad raises and cold calls as well. But, like you, I have completely transformed from a limit player into a NL player. I'll make an occasional return to limit just to keep the mind sharp, but I'm usually 3 tabling NL at the same time.

I'm an Opie and Anthony fan, and they were making fun of Blaine this morning for speaking to the crowd and crying, etc. I'm a big fan of his street magic, but once he did these specials he jumped the shark.

At 1:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Tom in terms of the bankroll. Mine is about the same place as yours is, and I typically play $100 MAX NL, but I play full table games, not short handed.

At 2:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are a lot of similarities in my last post and yours:
1) Losing money on PokerShare
2) Sitting at a table with Falstaff



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