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Time Tied

Things have been pretty tight in Jordan's world lately. The result is a week of no live poker, thankfully to be broken up this Saturday as I return to the SIF game. Otherwise, my weeks have been spent toiling away at work, where things are as busy as ever, and relaxing at home with wifey Kim whenever I can. Thank god for the return of primetime television, with Heroes kicking a few days ago along with the mis-titled Prison Break.

I played a couple of heads-up SNGs a few days ago on a hunch. Even though I am easing off of the online poker, I felt a desire to play something. I have been seemingly boobytrapping myself by making stupid moves whenever I do play. For example, I decided to play some $25 max HA, a mix of pot limit hold'em and pot limit omaha high. I then proceeded to push all-in with the nut low in omaha...HIGH! When I was called and showed my nut low, I was surprised to see the chips sent to my opponent. Then I remembered that low doesn't play, and I promptly shut down Full Tilt feeling like the douschebag that I am (down only $10 thanks to his small stack).

I played two heads-up matches with Veneno recently. In the past, I have always done well against V, and I would even be so bold as to say that our early matches may have taught her a thing or two about the importance of aggression. Don't get me wrong, she holds her own and has whooped me more than a few times.

Playing her most recently, it is clear that her game has continued to improve , and we went 1 and 1 for the first two games of our best of 5 series. The winner gets an ad banner on the side of the other players' blog for a week and a poker t-shirt of their choice. I'm looking to collect my 3rd bounty from the V. On that note, thanks V. I received a deck of black Copag cards for our last bounty, and while I haven't used them yet, they are some real beauts.

Heads-up poker is likely the best option for me now. First off, because there is only you and one other player, reads actually become an integral part of the game. He is watching me and me only, so I can also counteract "reads" and lull my opponent to do what I want him to do. Meanwhile, since I only have him to concentrate on, I can gather a lot of information as well. Throw in some chatting and suddenly my arsenal has gone from pea-shooter online poker skillz to an artillery of information, deception, and utter tomfoolery.

Aside from this, there are two other great reasons for me to play HU almost exclusively online. HU matches are relatively short, and therefore allow me to avoid that other pitfall of my online play: distraction because of boredom. I have one match to win (or lose) and then I can walk away. It is finite, like an SNG, but short, like a cash game hit-and-run session. Final point, my losses are capped. I know how much I am playing for before I start, and I can't win or lose any more or less. Here is a quick bonus benefit: HU play seems a lot more personal, so winning a $5 match feels just as good as a $20. The players are pretty much the same, and the pride I get for defeating my foe is worth even more than the scraps that serve as the prize pool.

Yeah, but back to that booby-trapping thing. After the matches with V, I realized all of these things about HU matches and decided to try some out for size. This was a few days ago, and as I sat down in a $5 4-player HU SNG with one other guy, I saw that it was going to take a while to fill. 5 minutes passed, and then I noticed the $10 4-player HU SNG filling up. I opened that tournament lobby quickly and hit Register. I then quickly went back to the $5 4-player HU SNG, expecting the tournament, which stalled at 2 players, to still be available for unregistering. My bad. In that .15 seconds, the $5 table filled up too. I was now playing two 4-player HU SNGs at the same time. Nice job, Jordan.

Ironically, I had won the $10 event before event defeating my first competitor in the $5 event. I made it to the finals of the $5 event as well, but lost due to a suckout that I orchestrated beautifully.

As with most of the HU matches, I tend to start off very aggressively. This is part of my Inverse Theory of Aggression in Heads-Up SNGs, which states that when you are closest in chips, you must actually be more aggressive. That simple small lead will do a lot for your momentum and can also open up other opportunities.

In this specific case, I was betting like a madman and my opponent was folding like a Gap employee, all the while building my image as a loose fucktard who would eventually hang himself with his own play. The hands usually went one of three ways: (1) I bet preflop and he folds, (2) I bet preflop, he calls, I bet the flop and he folds, and (3) he shows any sign that he has a hand and I fold. Options (1) and (2) dominate, but option (3) has to be sprinkled throughout or I would be in trouble with crappy hands. Also, by allowing an occassional (3), I am giving my opponent more reason to think that I am a bluffing fool.

Because of the pattern established, I ended up getting my opponent all-in when I had the best of it. I raised preflop with J6s or some other crappy hand. He called, which seemed to be a common theme. The flop was J-high, and I bet out, exactly as I had countless times before. Top pair is not a great hand, but it's a shit-load better HU, so when he re-raised me all-in, I was confident that I was ahead. I called, and he showed QTo for middle pair (tens). The turn was a K and the river was a 9, and he made his straight. I had 400 left (started with 3000), and actually made a few comebacks, reaching over 2k at one point. Alas, it was not meant to be though, as I eventually succumbed. I did realize two things, though. Aggression allowed me to force my opponent to make a stand with crappy cards, and gave me the extra chips needed to launch a possible comeback when I was shortstacked.

Remember folks, you can't go bust on a suckout if you had more chips than your opponent. In most tournaments (SNGs and MTTs) that is decent advice although not necessarily practical all of the time. In Heads-Up, though, its absolutely crucial.

It seems like the blogger gathering in AC is actually coming together. I personally have a room booked (Showboat has rates that break down to less than $250 per night if you are a Harrahs/Showboat/Caesars/Ballys card member). I can book another with my card if anyone needs. I'm also looking for roommates, unless Matty Ebs is a definite.

I have also rented a car for the drive down. It will cost me $150 or so, plus taxes and gas, so I expect the total to be closer to $200. If anyone wants to share the cost and a ride down, let me know.

Otherwise, I am sticking with the old saying, organizing poker players is like herding cats. Instead of trying to corral anyone, I am just throwing a shitload of pokery catnip and cat chow at AC and hoping that the cats will come. Seems like it is working, too.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 10:07 AM,


At 2:16 PM, Blogger SIF said...

I think everyone has made that "not knowing I was at an Omaha High table" mistake at one point in their poker career online; don't feel too bad. Many years ago, I once sat for an hour at a table on Party Poker playing what I thought was PLO/8, and was actually up $100 or so at a $200 buy-in, when I finally got called in a small ($25) pot expecting a chop and getting none of it. Funny thing is, in that hour, I pulled of more PLO bluffs than I ever thought I could, because I wasn't getting called holding absolutely nothing (usually things like would-be "made low" and a medium-strength high-draw).

At 2:41 PM, Blogger Jordan said...

It isn't the first time it happened to me either. It is just an illustration of how I am beating myself of late. Stupid errors like that and the simultaneous HU matches are just more of a sign that I am not in the right mindset for online poker.

At 8:56 PM, Blogger Yoyo (Poker Poison) said...

Thanks for the kind words Jordan. I always have a great time playing HU with you. You were the one that got me started with your HU challenges.

As for your collecting another bounty, NOT gonna happen buddy. This time, the bounty will be ALLL MINE!!


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