Monday, February 18, 2013

Cash Game Success

Man it has been a while since I've done one of these.

Last night I decided to head over to Marc's house for some .25/.25 HA cash game action.  I couldn't stay long due to other commitments (new Walking Dead episode and the WWE Elimination Chamber pay-per-view that I promised my downstairs neighbors I'd watch with them) but I was excited to play some poker nonetheless.  Bought in for $40 and left an hour and fifteen minutes later with a $90 profit.  It was a nice little win for me; my first positive poker result in God knows how long.  Going in I figured it would be an inexpensive way for me to gain some much-needed experience in Pot Limit Omaha.  To my surprise, that's where most of my profit came from on the night.  Granted, I was very fortunate to hit some big hands (ie - nut straight on the turn with the nut flush draw and hitting in on the River only to get paid off by the second nut flush).  I also spiked a big NLHE hand with 57hh.  Pot was raised preflop with several callers.  Flop was 5x 5x Ah.  Terry led out with a $7 bet from early position.  I made a pot-sized raise to $31 and Gary pushed all in behind me for a bit less than that.  Terry tanked for a bit before folding and I ended up hitting runner-runner hearts for a flush.

Overall, it was nice to sit down in front of the poker felt again.  Hoping to do it again very soon.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Rebuy Recap

Last Friday's $10 Rebuy Tournament was a good time.  We ended up doing unlimited rebuys until the first break.  I doubled my stack early when I attempted a squeeze play from the Button with J5ss.  Yosh was the only caller and the Flop came Jack high.  Yosh and I got into a raising war and the chips went in.  He had AQ for only Ace high and my pair of Jacks held.  With a healthy stack, I played LAG style for the next few levels but hovered around 14-18k.  Anytime I 3-Bet I got several callers and kept bricking flops.  Meanwhile, joedrummer proceeded to steamroll the table.  He's an aggressive player who plays a lot of pots and doesn't like to fold.  He aggressively bets Ace-high and he will bet and/or call any draw.  He twice called All-Ins on the Flop with the nut flush draw and got there both times.  Doug Poker was victimized one (maybe both?) times holding pocket Aces.  After the break and the rebuy period ended, I took a chunk out of Joe's chip stack after I made a Flush and got paid off on sizeable Turn and River bets.  It was all downhill from there, however, as I ended up stacking off to Doug Poker.  I flopped top pair (Jacks) but Doug flopped a set (fours) and rivered quads for good measure.  I think I finished 6th or 7th.  Not the outcome I wanted but I had fun playing poker again.  After my elimination I dealt for the remaining players until the tournament concluded.

10 players, 5 rebuys

1st - joedrummer - $90
2nd - Cheryl - $45
3rd - Yosh - $15
Bubble - Good Ole DP 

Hopefully I can squeeze in another game before the New Year.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Dealing and a Rebuy Tournament

This past Wednesday night, I dealt for a $1/$1 NLHE cash game until the last orbit around 2:30am.  Had a lot of fun and Terry K went out of his way to praise my dealing skills which was very much appreciated.  When I'm called upon to deal, I really do make an effort to get as many hands in as possible for the players in attendance.  I know if I take care of the players, they'll take care of me which goes a long way in helping me bring in some extra income for my family.  As such, I take dealing seriously and treat it like it's my 2nd job.

Tonight, I'm hosting a single table $10 Rebuy Tournament and I couldn't be more excited.  You're probably wondering why I'm amped about a measly little $10 game?  Quite simply, I'm just excited to sit down and play poker, regardless of the stakes.  It seems lately that more and more micro-stakes games are popping up in the CPMG.  Marc S has been hosting a regular .25/.50 HA cash game for most of 2012 and we've seen .25/.50 and .50/.50 games hosted by Adam, Data, Julie and Diabl0 this year as well.  It's good to see the micro-stakes games thriving along with the medium and higher buy-in games that have always done well in the CPMG.  Joining me tonight for the Donkament fun are Dana, Doug Poker and Special K, Jamie W, Yosh, Cheryl, Bad Beat Mucker Rob's son Michael, joedrummer - a relative newcomer to the CPMG who attended my Micro Stakes cash game back in June, and Gary Senkar - aka, Ichiban nit - who I will be meeting for the first time.  I keep wavering in my stance on allowing new members to attend my games, but Marc S vouched for Gary which is always helpful. Eskimo had RSVP'd for the tournament as well, but after much debate I decided to ban him from attending games at my home.  I'm aware that Eskimo has had better behavior recently and I have never had any problems with him directly ala Eskimo v Doug Poker, but I'm simply not comfortable with the idea of him being in my home.  Apparently, he's not happy about the ban per his posts on my tournament wall but I'm not going to reply and start a war with him about the ban.  I emailed him privately (and very politely I might add) and I'm just going to leave it at that.

More on the topic of hosting and new members in a blog to come, as well as a quick tournament report from tonight's festivities.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

CPMG Podcast Reviews (feat. Prowest & Nautica Brian)

Episode 6 of the CPMG Podcast featured guest Dave "#SuperTightProwest" Westfall, who is a successful tournament player in the group.  Prowest also makes a MEAN pot of beef stew that he was kind enough to share with everyone at the 2011 CPMG Fall Classic.  Our esteemed Cmdr. Data - a fine dining aficionado - even gave the stew an 8/10 if that gives you an idea of how good it was (REALLY good).  Aside from being an excellent cook, Prowest is a pretty good poker player and talked about how he started playing different game variations with the CPMG's original founder Craig.  I wasn't even aware that John Coleman had a predecessor, so that was pretty interesting.  I really don't have much else to say about this episode other than it's always a pleasure to see Prowest at my table - nice guy, good player.

Episodes 7 & 8 featured guest Nautica Brian, a successful cash game grinder.  I don't know Brian very well and haven't spoken to him much aside from dealing at his cash table a few times.  I knew he was a good poker player who preferred cash games over tournaments, but not much else.  Imagine my surprise when these two episodes ended up being my favorites of all the CPMG Podcasts by far.  Brian first spoke about his poker background, then talked about transitioning from playing online poker to playing live in the wake of Black Friday.  He mentioned that watching CardRunners training videos helped him make many necessary adjustments to his game.  Throughout the episodes, Brian shared dozens of useful tips on advanced cash game strategy, bankroll management and game selection - just to name a few.  He easily gets my vote for Most Informative Guest of the CPMG Podcast.  Since Nautica Brian is a cash game grinder by profession, I was able to relate to him on many things as a former online SNG/MTT tournament grinder.  To give you an example, when Brian mentioned feeling the need for something new/fresh after sitting in front of his computer screen alone in his basement for hours on end, I remember feeling the exact same way - anxious and overwhelmed - and taking random spur of the moment trips up to Casino Windsor to play $3/$6 limit or to Greektown to play $1/$1 NLHE ($100 max).  Quite simply, the daily grind can grow tiresome, but Nautica Brian seems to combat this well with other hobbies like running and marathon training.  Overall, the CPMG Podcasts episodes featuring Nautica Brian are a must-listen for any poker player.

Once again, thanks to CPMG Podcast hosts Doug Poker and Cmdr. Data for investing their time and money into something that I thought was a great contribution to the group.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

CPMG Podcast Reviews (feat. DeJen, Adam Rhodes & Luckbox Linda)

Before I get into my reviews of CPMG Podcast Episodes 3, 4 and 5, I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the hosts of the show and give them their proper due.  Data and Doug Poker are both experienced poker players who have very different playing styles and approaches to the game.  As such, they complement each other very well on the podcasts.  They know their guests well and they do a great job of initiating and continuing conversation which results in a smooth 1hr plus long broadcast.  The CPMG Podcasts are a valuable contribution to the group.  While the podcasts are no longer being produced, my hope is that they will one day start up again as I've found them to be informative and entertaining.  I have particularly enjoyed the 5-Star segment of the week at the end of each podcast. 

Episode 3 - Jen Malensek (DeJen) - Tournaments, Part 1

DeJen is one of the strongest and most feared poker players in the CPMG who excels both in cash games and in tournaments.  She is very competitive, she likes to play many pots and she is one of the best in the CPMG at hand reading and people reading.  A lawyer by profession, Jen mentioned during the podcast that poker has helped her in the courtroom and vice versa, which I found to be intriguing.  Moving onto tournaments, part of Jen's approach is seeking out and targeting players who might be playing over their heads financially.  For example, if I were to play the $200 buy-in CPMG Fall Classic, Jen might target me since she knows that winning or losing the tournament will impact me more financially than it would her.  As true as that stands, I'm not one who is intimidated by the higher buy-in tournaments because I made a living playing them online back in 2005-06.  If anything, I tend to focus and prepare a lot MORE for these games because of the financial impact.  Others may not respond well to the pressure of higher buy-in tournaments, however, and these are the players that Jen will surely take advantage of.

Overall, the podcast featuring DeJen was another great listen.  Jen has always been very nice to me and the challenge alone of playing against her is something I look forward to every time we're at the same table.

Episode 4 - Adam Rhodes - Pot Limit Omaha

I'm a novice PLO player.  I know the basic rules and concepts of the game but I have very little experience playing live PLO.  Since I joined the CPMG back in 2007, I have only played one $40 Triple Pot Limit tournament (NLHE, PLO, PLO8 rotation) and roughly 30 minutes of .50/.50 mixed PLO/PLO8 cash.  I finished 7th or 8th out of 14 in the tournament and took a small loss in the cash game.  Despite my limited experience, I've always wanted to "get up to speed" and play more PLO since the popularity of the game has grown in recent years and it's being featured more and more in the CPMG and casinos nearby.  Adam Rhodes, who prior to having a newborn recently often hosted PLO or HA cash games, offered some excellent tips in this podcast that I will be sure to take with me the next time I play PLO.  Previously, I might have played a hand like QQ56 rainbow, but now I know that those types of hands (two separate hands within one) don't play that well in Omaha.  You generally want to play hands with 3 or 4 coordinated cards that have nut potential.  Aside from hand selection, Adam went on to emphasize the importance of position in PLO.  We all know how important position is in NLHE and that translates to Omaha just as well.  Another topic Adam mentioned was pot control - keeping the pot small preflop and on the Flop.  Since no real hand in PLO is a huge underdog to another, it is important to be aware of how much you are investing early on in the hand.  Some advanced topics were discussed as well, but I'll avoid those.

Overall, this particular podcast was extremely beneficial to me.  It's one that I might even come back to and listen again if I ever decide to make PLO my primary poker focus.

Episode 5 - Linda Eisenstein (Luckbox Linda) - Tournaments, Part 2

Luckbox Linda is one of the nicest ladies in the CPMG.  She is very well spoken and is someone I really enjoy playing against.  Linda is a patient, TAG player who has an excellent track record in tournaments, especially the $75-150 buy-in variety that many casinos offer.  She mentioned playing O8 at The Orleans in Las Vegas, which brought back fond memories of my first live O8 tournament at the same venue back in 2003.  Linda also discussed table image - more specifically, how other players typically perceive her ("a 60+ year old woman who looks like Grandma" - her words, not mine) at the table.  She exploits this perception to her benefit when playing poker at casinos and non-CPMG venues.  I'm glad she brought this up because table image is something I need to be more aware of myself.  What tells am I giving away at the table?  Is the way I'm sitting or the way I'm betting giving my opponents any information?  Sometimes I pay attention to these things and make a great effort to remain consistent in my posture, the way I bet, how much I bet, etc.  Other times - as was the case this past Saturday night at Julie's - I disregard these things completely and often play awful as a result.  Additionally, I need to be more aware of the cues that my opponents are giving me as to what they perceive my playing style to be.  If someone asks me if I'm still awake because I haven't played a pot in an hour, that person is more likely to give me credit for a hand when I do enter a pot and open up my play later on in the tournament.  Linda went on to discuss her preferred playing style and how she is unlikely to change it much because playing loose and more aggressive is simply out of her comfort zone.  Could you imagine Luckbox Linda playing a kamikaze game of poker?  That'd be something.

Overall, another fantastic podcast.  Great guest, great topics.  Probably my favorite podcast of the 5 that I have listened to thus far.

- - - - -

As a side note, I've been on a roll lately with these blog posts but with Thanksgiving coming up and a trip to Michigan booked this weekend, I don't anticipate I'll be posting anything for a week or two.  That said, I encourage you to visit my archived blog posts.  You'll find running logs of various tournaments I've played in the past - including CPMG tournaments, tournaments and the 2005 WSOP Main Event.  As always, feedback and comments are appreciated!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Julie's $60 15k Starting Stack Saturday (11/17/12)

Around 4pm this past Saturday, I got the urge to play poker.  There were a few games posted on the CPMG calendar but playing in Terry K's cash game wasn't really an option for me, so I RSVP'd for Julie's $60 15k Starting Stack Saturday tournament.  20 minute levels.  My opening table (starting on my left and clockwise) was Dave (a guy I have never played with before), Cheryl, Ang, Megan, Pyxis, Julie and Randy.

Level 1 (25/50) - Megan opens to 275 from mid-position.  I call from the SB with 99.  Flop, Q 2 X.  I check-call 500.  Turn [Q 2 X] J.  Check-check.  River [Q 2 X J] K.  Check-check again.  Megan turns over AK for a rivered pair of Kings.  I end the level with 14025 chips.

Level 2 (50/100) - 3 players limp preflop and I complete from the SB with T7dd.  The BB checks and 5 players see a Flop, T 8 7.  I lead out for 400.  Ang raises to 1000 straight.  Folds around to me and I call.  Turn [T 8 7] 2.  I check-call 1500.  River [T 8 7 2] Q.  I check again and Ang makes a great value bet of 1500, which lures me to call.  She turns over J9 for the flopped nuts.

Later in the level, I decide to mix it up a bit from UTG and raise to 250 with A8ss.  Ang calls, Julie calls from the SB and Randy calls from the BB.  Flop, J 9 7, 2 spades.  With the nut flush draw and a gutshot straight draw, I lead out for 600 and everyone calls.  Turn [J 9 7] was a blank.  Checks to me, I bet 2500 and Randy is the only caller.  River [J 9 7 X] 2.  Randy checks.  Having whiffed all my draws, I contemplate what to do given Randy's tendency to be a calling station.  I know he has something, but my positional disadvantage throughout the hand didn't really give me enough information to put him on a definitive hand.  Finally, something in my head tells me that I can't just let him have the pot, so I bet 3500.  Randy insta-calls and shows 9-7 for a flopped 2 pair.  I end the level with 3975 chips.

Level 3 (75/150) - ATss in the BB.  Julie min-raises to 300 from the Button and I'm the only caller.  Flop brings 2 spades.  Check-check.  I make my flush on the Turn and check again, hoping Julie will take a stab at it, but she checks behind.  On the River, I lead out for 500 but Julie folds.  I end the level with 4500 chips.

Level 4 (100/200) - Folds to me in the hijack and I raise to 500 with 54ss.  Megan is the only caller in the BB.  Flop, A 3 X.  Megan checks, I bet 700 and Megan calls.  Turn [A 3 X] is a blank.  Megan checks and I check behind.  River [A 3 X X] doesn't help me and I fold when Megan leads out with a sizable bet.

Later in the level, 4 players limp in ahead of me and I look down at T9o in the BB.  It doesn't really matter what the cards are - I announce that I'm All-In for 3000 exactly.  Everyone realizes that I'm making a play here, but they all fold anyway.  This was my best and only good play of the tournament.  I end the level with 3900.

Level 5 (125/250) - Folded for 20 minutes.  I end the level and survive the first break with 3150.

Level 6 (150/300) - Folds to me on the Button and I ship it for 3150 with Ac3s, hoping to steal the blinds.  Dave thinks about it for a second from the SB and calls with 77 (BB folds).  I make a flush when the board runs out with 4 spades, but Dave has the 7 of spades to beat my 3 and I'm eliminated from the tournament.

So what's the lesson here folks?  How about some multiple choice to keep things simple:

A)  Try to avoid playing hands out of position.
B)  Try to avoid playing hands out of position.
C)  Try to avoid playing hands out of position.

In Level 1, I probably should have just folded pocket nines in the SB facing a 5.5x raise preflop.  To some of you that probably sounds crazy but I typically play extremely tight in the beginning levels of tournaments.

The T7 hand in Level 2 was more acceptable in terms of calling preflop but my post-flop play was just awful.  Instead of trying to narrow down Ang's possible holdings, I just blindly played my 2 pair in hopes that it was good. Looking back, I realize that Ang's raise on the Flop made it obvious she had a straight, set or 2 pair (an overpair to the board unlikely in an unraised pot preflop).  Really, the only hand that I'm ahead of in that spot is 87.  If I would have taken the time to analyze the hand, I might have check-folded on the River when I didn't improve to a Full House.

Similarly, I got myself into a world of shit during the A8 hand in Level 2.  My main issue here was UTG hand selection, though trying to buy the pot on the River vs. a calling station wasn't exactly the brightest move either.

After Level 2, I played much better poker but the hole that I dug myself into in the first two levels was so deep that my odds of recovering were slim to none.  I will definitely learn from my mistakes in this tournament and adjust accordingly moving forward.

Friday, November 16, 2012

CPMG Podcast (feat. Matt G) Review - My Thoughts on Alcohol in Poker

Featured guest Matt Gecik (Matt G) joined hosts Doug Poker and Data for further discussion on cash games.  Not only is Matt one of the best cash game players in the CPMG, but he is one of the nicest guys in the group.  Matt often plays in the cash game that I deal for and he always greets me with a handshake and a smile.  I was interested to learn how Matt got started in poker and also how much his sister influenced him in switching over from tournaments to cash games.  Matt G has a tendency to drink a few Bud Lights or Yuenglings at the poker table, so that conversation (initiated by the straight and narrow cyborg), though brief, was certainly entertaining.

On the topic of alcohol, I distinctly remember a tournament that I played at Julie's many months ago.  It was someone's birthday (Ang's I believe?).  75% of the field was female and PLENTY of shots were going around between the tournament players.  By the start of Level 4, I think Data, RR Dave and I were the only sober ones left.  Needless to say, it made for an entertaining evening.  Some players might get annoyed by people who drink at the table.  It doesn't bother me that much unless the person is obliterated beyond comprehension or is being verbally or physically abusive towards the other players.  Fortunately, I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen that happen since I started playing poker in 2003.  Conversely, that leads me to believe that I haven't been playing enough live poker.  Only once have I had the honor of playing at the same table as Grayday, whose gimmick in the CPMG is everyone's favorite drunk.  I've dealt at his cash table numerous times but I believe I have only played poker with him once during the 2011 CPMG Fall Classic tournament.  Most everyone who will read this blog knows what happens after Grayday has 15 beers or so, give or take a 6 pack.  I once watched him have a $900 swing (won't mention which way) in a mere 20 minutes... at a $1/$1 cash table.  It was quite a feat.  When sober, Grayday appears to be a very competent poker player, but it's clear that his play is affected when he is under the influence.  The opposite seems to be true for Matt G, who is able to keep his focus and play solid poker after 6+ beers.  Of course, different people have different tolerance levels when it comes to alcohol.  Me?  I rarely drink when I play poker anymore.  I know that one too many beers will affect my mood and play.  If I'm hosting a game, I might have a few since I don't have to drive anywhere but I moderate my intake since 99% of the time I'm responsible for the bank.  I don't remember the last time that I brought booze to someone else's poker game.  Steve's basement maybe?  Simply put, I'm not there to drink or socialize.  I'm there to play poker.  I want people to see that I'm serious about the game, giving it my full attention and trying to win.  That's not to say that you shouldn't ever approach me at a game.  I always look forward to chatting it up with my friends in the group and meeting new players but my main focus always is winning.

Overall, the podcast with Matt G was another enjoyable listen.  My next blog will review podcasts 3 and 4 which featured guests Jen and Adam Rhodes respectively.  I have already listened to both episodes and planned on reviewing them here but this blog ended up running a bit long.

Thanks for reading!