Life Shouldn't Be A Fuckin' Grind

I will never be a poker pro, but my lifetime poker ledger is positive and I think that's something to be proud of.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Central Coast Poker Championship

I haven't posted on here in months, but I figured that today's tournament was worthy of a trip report. Today I played and cashed in the Central Coast Poker Championship at Chumash Casino in California. Buy-in was $240 with a guaranteed prize pool of $125k and $25k for first. About 700 people started and I got in from the waiting list a few minutes after the tournament started. We started with 5k in chips and the first level as an hour, but levels after that were 30 minutes and the blinds started to get kinda ridiculous in the mid-levels (but, I digress and I'll get to that later).

I sat down on my first hand and limped a KJo and won a small pot on a K high flop. Then I played a lot of small-ballish poker basically trying to find a spot where I could win a lot of chips, but trying to avoid big risk with any marginal hands. Early on in the second level, I had my first big hand. I picked up 22 UTG and limped in for 100 (at this point blinds were 50/100 and I still had about 5k). A couple other people limped, then the small blind raised it to 300, I called and the guy to my left called. Flop came 2Jx with 2 hearts, the SB threw out a 500 chip (which turned out to only be a 100 bet), then I (thinking he'd bet 500) raised it to 2000, the guy on my left folded, but the SB went all-in and I of course called him. He had KK and I doubled up to 10k. From there I basically stayed steady, going up and down by only a few hundred here and there, and basically maintaining. I did have one other interesting hand at my original table though. The guy to my left had quite a few more chips than me and raised about 4 hands in a row and I was starting to feel like he was just stealing the blinds (at this point they'd gone up to 100/200), so when I picked up 66 in MPish I raised it to 600 and he was the only caller. The flop came down A22 and I bet out pretty close to a pot-sized bet, figuring that if he didn't have an Ace, he'd fold to me and sure enough, he folded, but flashed QQ and I felt really good about my play.

I moved tables shortly after the first break and stayed in that seat for the rest of the tournament. I didn't have a whole lot happen in the early stages of my 2nd table as I was trying to feel out the other players and the blinds started to get big. I did have 2 hands I didn't like too well. In the first I think the blinds were 200/400 and I had something in the 10k range. It was folded around to me on the button and I raised to 1k with K8o (not much of a hand, but I thought it was worth a blind steal), the BB went all-in for about 5k more and I had to fold a started to beat myself up over it, then realized that I'd played it right and there was nothing I could do. The hand I don't really think I played right was shortly before the lunch break. I had about 11k after posting the big blind and the blinds were 400/800. One guy in EP raised to 2500ish and another guy in LP went all-in for about 5700 and I looked down at 2 red Tens in the BB. I had no idea what to do, but opted to take the conservative route and fold it. It turned out that the other two players had AK and KQ respectively and the flop came 10 high, so of course I could have won big on that hand, but I'm still very unsure about whether or not I should have played it.

From there, the blinds started to get kinda crazy, but I limped into the lunch break with 12,600 and blinds about to be 1k/2k with a 100 ante. After lunch I managed to chip up a little bit here and there and barely keep my head above water as the blinds and antes got progressively bigger. At one point, as my stack dwindled to about 2 big blinds in the 2k/4k level, I found an AKs and managed to get all-in against an A7 to more than double up to about 26k. Then a few hands later, I was in the big blind for 4k and and early position player moved in for 5700 total and everyone folded to me. With over 13k in the pot I couldn't possibly fold there with any two cards so I called blind and flipped over a T9o against something like A7o. The flop was a huge tease coming TJQ, but the river was an Ace. I feel like that was a really important hand there as I would have had over 30k if I'd won that pot and maybe could have made a few moves. Instead, I was knocked back down to under 20k and from there I just didn't find any hands that I felt comfortable doing anything with and all I could do was fold, fold, fold. I limped my way into the money with less than one big blind left (blinds were 3k/6k and I had about 5500), then doubled up with A6o, but didn't find anymore hands to play after that. On my final hand, I had 15.5k and blinds had gone up to 5k/10k with a 500 ante. I was in the big blind for the first hand fo the level with 2/3 of my chips in the pot and UTG+1 moved in for 19k total. I called blind and found a 73o, he had A4 and I didn't get lucky.

All in all, it was a pretty fun experience and I'll take the $430 I walked away with after leaving $20 for the dealers. I wasn't even able to double my money, but I'd pretty much written off my buy-in so it was more like winning $400 than the $200 or so in profit. The structure wasn't bad, at least in the beginning. We started with 5k and blinds were 25/50 for an hour, but they started going up every half hour after that and I feel like they left out several crucial levels to allow for enough play. In particular, with about 100 people left, the blinds were 3k/6k with a 300 ante and the average stack was only about 35k. That's an average M of about 3, which is pretty silly IMO. Even leaving out the antes would have helped a little bit in allowing for a decent amount of play. Even so, I had a good time and I'm pretty happy that I cashed since it was my first cash in a live tournament. I'm a little disappointed that I wussed out around bubble time and didn't try to get a stack going, but the sad truth is that the money mattered to me. My roll really wasn't big enough to handle the buy-in but I did it anyway and I'm glad that I did. In the future though, I'd like to be able to be a bit less concerned about the money next time I play a tournament.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Another 3/6 Success Story

Took another trip out to Chumash Casino last night, another 5 hour 3/6 session, a $120 win...ho hum.

In all seriousness though, last night was pretty sweet. I played pretty well most of the way and caught some cards at some pretty opportune times. Early on I actually flopped a straight flush with Qd8d on a JdTd9d board and managed to make some money on it when the 3d came on the river. I played a lot of pocket pairs and missed pretty much every single one of them in the early stages. I had KK once and ran into AA, and didn't get any other big pairs. I actually lost most my rack before I started winning. With just like $24 left, we had a kill pot, so it was 4/8. I picked up JTs and the flop came KQx with two of my suit. The turn was a 9 and the river a spade giving me both a straight and a flush (not a straight flush though). I actually put my last 8 bucks in on the river and won a big pot to get back to $79. I never looked back from there and ended up the night up $120 after hitting a nice run where I flopped a couple of sets and made some straights and flushes.

So, in two 3/6 sessions at Chumash, I'm killing the game for $350 in ten hours. I have my Bengals hat back, I have my confidence back and I feel like I'm on top of the world. Small stakes LHE is actually really easy if you can run decent.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Sweet Session

It's been quite a while since I've posted, so first a little catch up. I've had very spotty internet access the last couple weeks, so I haven't really been playing online much. When I have I've been kinda up and down, with nothing interesting having happened. The same can't be said of my live play.

I left Alabama on Feb 13 and now I'm in California. Since then, I've actually played more live poker than I probably had in the previous year. On the way out of 'Bama, I stopped in Biloxi for the night and played another 4/8 session at the Beau Rivage. I swung up and down in that session with a high of +$80 (only about 10 BB though), but ultimately ended up leaving stuck around $50. A few days later, I spent the night in Tucson, AZ as part of my cross country trip and played a 3/6 session at one of their casinos. That one went quite poorly as I bought in for $150 and walked away a few hours later with my last 10 dollars after getting bluffed off JJ on an AKQxx board with three diamonds. Then, the next night I was in Vegas and of course had to play poker. So, I sat 3/6 at MGM Grand and ultimately dropped $110.

In past three sessions, I was now stuck $300. Throw in the fact that my previous three live sessions before that were +$18 at 4/8, -$200 at a 2-8 spread limit game and break even at a 5/10 game in Texas, I was looking at a downswing of close to $500 and six losing or break even sessions since joining the Air Force in 2008. I realized that all of these sessions had something in common, they'd come either hatless or with my new LA Dodgers hat (which I really like), but none with the old Bengals hat that I used to wear at the Argosy when I was winning all the time.

So, last night I showed up at the Chumash Casino in Central CA, about 30 minutes from my new home, sporting my faded old Bengals hat and I think I may have had the winningest session of my life (in terms of BB). I bought in for a rack at 3/6 and made a flush with Ad7d on the first hand that I played and I really never looked back. I think swung down to about even, then won a big pot with AA and was off to the races. I made multiple flushes, I won with AA, KK and QQ, I even made a full house at one point. Actually, that full house was really fun. It was towards the end of the session and we were like 5 handed. I raised with QhJd and got 2 callers. The flop came Jc7c5s, the first guy bet, I raised and they both called. The turn was the Jh and I bet and they both called, then the river came the Qd and again I bet and they both called. So, it was nice to win a huge pot there. All told, after just about 5 hours I wound up with a $230 win, a win of more than 38 BB. I'm pretty sure it was my biggest BB win ever and boy it felt nice. The funny thing is, I'm still stuck over the last two weeks and over the last 9 months, but this puts a huge dent in it and gets me back on track.

I know it's stupid, but I give at least some credit to the hat. I know I shouldn't be superstitious, but I think there's something to be said from a psychological standpoint on the success that I've had in the past with that hat on and the lack of success that I've had without it. If nothing else, it's a huge coincidence that my downswing happened without the Bengals hat on.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Good News and Bad News

Well, the good news is that I cashed in 2 Donkaments tonight. That makes me like 3 for my last 4 with multi-tables. Unfortunately, I cashed 16 in a $3.30 for like $9 and 11th in an $8.80 180-man for like $23. I also played like 4 SnG's and won 1, but failed to cash in the other three. So, on the night I won a couple bucks, but missed a really nice score.

I'm not happy with the way I went out in the $8.80. I was 8 out of 13 with about 25K and blinds at 800/160 with like a 150 ante. It folded around to the SB who about about 32K and he raised and I folded some trash hand in the BB, then the very next hand, he raised on the button to 4800 and I had A8o and decided to try to "re-steal." I raised to 12K leaving myself just under 12K in my stack. He put me all-in and I followed my plan and folded, assuming I was beat. Then, the next hand I picked up Qd6d on the button and shoved to "try to steal the blinds." That ended up being a bad deal and I got called by the micro stack SB with A5 and the BB who had just slightly less than me and like AT, of course I didn't suck out. So, I got all-in with JTo the next hand and beat A2 when a Jack came, but the hand after that I picked up AJs and got my last 4K in only to lose to KK. All in all, I feel like I kind of imploded. My play with the A8 wasn't that bad, but I should have been much more patient after that. I still had like 8bb and thought it was 6-handed, I had enough time to be a bit patient and not do dumb stuff like shoving Q6s.

In the other tournament things were going great. I'd had to really grind to make the money at all as I just wasn't picking up much in the way of hands. But, once I got in the money I won some key pots and had really chipped up. I was sitting like 6/16 when disaster struck. I watched an EP player limp, then re-raise an LP raise all-in with just AJo, fortunately for him, the other guy had KQo and the AJ made a straight. Then the next hand, AJ guy was UTG and I picked up AQo on the button, but UTG made it 10K to go and I only had 41K and chose not to gamble. Next hand, I get QQ and AJ guy is the BB. Of course, I make a standard raise to 3x (which is 6K at this point) and BB moves all-in obviously insta-call due to my cards and what I'd seen him do previously...of course, this time he found AA and I'm just sitting there staring at my monitor in stunned disbelief for like 3 minutes.

Anyway, this seems to be the story of my poker life as I have a tendency to get deep in tourneys, but fail to make a decent score. I'll still take it over my run of like 30 MTTs where I just couldn't cash. I still have more money right now than I did a week or two ago, so I'm cool with things for the time being.

Current Bankroll:

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I'm pretty much ecstatic about poker right now. It was just a week and a half ago that I was bitching in here about a bad session and dropping below the $200 mark. Now, I have over $300. I mixed in a $10+1 SnG today and played very well to grind out a win. Even though I lost both $5.50 I played at the same time and dropped almost 20BB at .25/.50 6-max, I still won over 20 bucks on the session. I'm loving my poker life right now and feeling really good about my SnG game. Not as much about 6-max LHE, but overall I still feel great. I can't remember the last time I was over $300.

Current Bankroll -

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

About Effing Time

So, I've been running terrible in MTTs for like 2 months now, unable to so much as cash in anything. Tonight, jumped in a $5.50 45-man SnG on FullTilt, not really expecting a lot, but I figured maybe I could get something going since it was only 45 players with 6 cashing. I finally fucking cashed, in fact, I won. I got lucky early on after losing several small pots, I got my shortstack in with A8 in the BB against the SB's min-raise...he had AA, but I managed to make a straight and doubled through. After that, I played well and ran well. I don't think I got my money in bad once after the one major suckout and I managed to pull out the win for like 86 bucks. Huge for my confidence even if it was a very small MTT, it was still nice to cash in something other than a one-table SnG.

In other news, I went down to Biloxi last weekend and got in a nice long session of 4/8 LHE. I feel like I played pretty well overall, though I did make a few mistakes here and there. I won some really nice pots, but also lost a few bad ones against a really bad donkey who I couldn't figure out. Overall, I did ok finishing up $18, which isn't much, but I'll take it over a loss. I did have one hand at the end that I kind of regret. I was up $54, it was late and the game was like 5 or 6 handed. I limped in with Kd3d in MP and the flop came AK3, I bet and got called by the BB, turn was a blank, he checked, I bet and he called. On the river a 7 came off, the BB checked and I had this feeling like I should check behind, but I got greedy and bet, he raised, I made the crying call and he showed K7. In hindsight, I feel like I shouldn't have played the hand at all, and at worse probably could have saved myself 2 bets on the river. Either way, it was 3 am (which I'd earlier designated as my cutoff time), I was tired and I realized I wasn't going to play right after that hand, so I walked with my $18 in profit.

The other big hand that I missed value one was when I picked up AA fairly early in the session, one guy raised into me, I re-raised, dude behind me called, original raiser 4-bet, I capped and both called (actually, I think there was a fourth guy in there for 5 bets too). I bet and got two calls on both the flop of QQx with 2 spades and the turn T, then the river came an offsuit 2 and the pre-flop raiser/4-better grabbed at his chips like he was gonna bet, then checked. I should have known that this was a classic tell that he didn't want me to bet it, but for some dumb reason I checked. The funny thing is that when the deuce came off, I was certain I was still ahead, then the guy grabbed at his chips and it confused me into the check. I missed a bet against his KK (which he would have had to have called with) and it really bugged me. I putting it in here so that I never forget that hand.

Things are good for me in poker tonight though. I had a decent live session and I look forward to having the opportunity to play more live LHE in the next few months. I won that 45-man SnG for 86 bucks and my online roll is up to $299. I'm feeling pretty good at the moment.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

SnG Star

Apparently I'm becoming something of a SnG star. In my last 8 $5.50's I have 5 cashes, with 2 wins, 1 second and 2 thirds. I cashed three tonight with a first, a second and a third. Which was actually a bit disappointing because I had my opponent down to like 1500 chips or something in the one I finished 2nd in, but couldn't get the knockout blow. It started when he won a 63o vs. A4 race and then I think I lost two more bad beats and eventually he won. Still, things are going well in SnG's right now, so maybe I'll move to those pretty much exclusively for a while. I'm back up over $200 again, so that's kinda nice too.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Bit of a Rally

Since my last post was detailing a really shitty session, I figured I should post about a solid one I had today, in order to balance things out a bit. I played a shortish session tonight that included two $5.50's (staggered a bit) and two tables of .25/.50 SH for about 250 hands. On the SHLHE, I ran kinda ok, won over 50% of my showdowns, but may have played a few too many hands or something. I only won like 11 BB...which is ok, just not quite as good as I feel like I would have liked to. In the SnG's, I found some good cards at opportune times and managed to take down and a 1st and a 3rd. In the first one, I got HU against and okay player with a chiplead of about 8500 to 4500. Eventually, I found JJ on the button and raised, he shoved with 99 and my hand held. So, that was kinda nice. In the other, it was 3-handed and I was the shortstack. The donkeyish SB called and I checked the BB with T4s, flop came AA7, and it we both checked. The turn was a T and he bet into me...I decided he wouldn't have limped an Ace and checked trips so I shover, of course he had A5o and it was GG me, but I'm okay with the result. I was short and needed to make a move.

Overall, it was a nice little session. I think I won like $26 which is less than half of what I lost yesterday, but I'll take the rally and hope that I can have a few more like it in the coming days.

Current Bankroll -

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Another Brutal Day of Poker

I don't know why I continue to torture myself like this. Today was just fucking brutal. I ran into AA countless times, capped all three streets with KK on a AKx flop only to have the villain show me AA, lost three SnGs in a pretty sick manner and just had an all around brutal day. I back down to ~$163 in my account and I will be stuck grinding at the lowest of levels for a while. I'm going to be playing only .25/.50 limit and $5.50 SnGs until I reach $250 or more again. It really sucks, I bought back into FullTilt on October 11, since then I've gotten as high as $600 then slid all the way back down to $160 now. Without rakeback, I'd probably be broke on that original $100 right now. I haven't taken unneccessary risks this time or taken ridiculous shots. I don't feel like I've gone on monkey tilt much, I've just been on an absolutely brutal run since about the last week of November. I don't remember the last time I cashed in an MTT either. Last night I played several of those, didn't feel like I did anything stupid really, but couldn't manage to cash once. All part of the crazy bad run I just can't seem to pull out of.

So, today...
Today was fucking sick. I played 3 $5.50 SnGs and bubbled two and lost the other. In the first I got shortstacked when my AKs lost to AQs, and couldn't fight back. In the second I bubbled, I think after running into AA with my KJ after the guy with AA had re-raised me a couple of times in a row. In the third, I made a semi-stupid play losing with 66 against JJ in a spot where I probably should have folded, though the villain had re-raised my open raise twice in a row and I felt like I was probably flipping a coin. Then I fought my shortstack along the bubble for a while and with blinds of 100/200 and about 770 remaining in my stack after the flop, I got to see a free flop with 23o. The flop came 456 and of course I got all in against K4 and lost when the turn came a 6 and the river a 4. Sooo fucking gross.

While all that was going on, I managed to put in 570 hands of LHE and lose 48 BB, unfortunately, the majority of those (36) were at the more expensive .5/1 Full Ring table. This was capped by my final hand were I picked up 55 UTG, two players in MP had posted so I limped in. We saw the flop something like 6 ways and it came T53 rainbow, I led out and was called by a couple of people. The turn came a deuce and I led out again and was called by both posters and I think one or two others. The river was a K making no flushes possible and I led out again. This time, one poster raised and the other re-raised. I didn't think that K had beaten me, so I decided to cap (probably dumb) and of course they both called and both had 46 for the straight which they'd slowplayed on the turn. FUCKING GROSS.

All in all, it was a very sickening day. I'm officially pulling my hat from the .5/1 FRLHE ring. I'm sure that game can be beaten, but from what I've seen over the last couple of months, my game isn't very conducive to beating it. It seems that I only win small pots and lose big ones. Any time a decent amount of money goes into a pot, I'm beat and any time I have a hand strong enough to win everybody folds. So, I'm going to concentrate on .25/.50 6-max and hope that I can work my way up from there. Oh well, it's just online poker. I'm not playing it to make money, I'm playing for fun and to improve my game. I have a good paying job and I soon I should be able to play live more often.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Generic Update

I had very sporadic internet access over Christmas break, so I didn't play much online poker during that period. On Monday, I arrived at Maxwell AFB in Alabama for a six week TDY. I've been way busier this week than I expected to be, so I haven't really played any poker. Finally got on tonight for a while and I've run kinda crappily.

As I was writing this post, I finally flopped my first set in over 500 hands of play on the night. I played a $5.50 MTT, but couldn't get anything going. I actually stayed in for almost two hours before busting 72nd with 45 players cashing, but I was never really in it. I chipped up a bit here and there early on, but couldn't get any big pairs or flop anything really big. I played pretty carefully and conservatively after the flop in the early stages and it's possible that that could have cost me a bit as well. In the later stages, I got pretty shortstacked and card dead, but stayed patient and finally shoved my last 1600 or so at 150/300/25 with KQ and was lucky enough to be called by some monkey with JTs and win that race. So, I doubled up, but still had less than half of the average stack with only like 4k in chips. I picked up 88 in the SB, two people limped, the CO (who barely had me covered) raised to like 1800 and I decided to gamble and try to build a stack that I could make a run with instead of being content to try to limp into the money. Even though I can't remember the last time I've cashed in a tourney, I still felt it was best to play it this way. I shoved my 88 in what I thought was very likely to be a coinflip situation. The original raiser actually thought for a bit before calling me with his AQs and of course he won the race. That's the way it's been for me in tournaments for like 2 months now, but oh well. I feel like I played pretty well overall, just couldn't catch any breaks at the right times.

In LHE, I feel like I played OK over like 430 hands (two tables of .5/1 FR and one .25/.50 6max). I lost like 18 BB on one .5/1, won like 9 BB on the other and won a few bets on the .25/.50 table. Sadly, I never really got much in the way of big hands on my .5/1 tables. I think I made like one flush and all my big pairs and my only set came on the .25/.50 table. I do still feel like I played pretty decent and I didn't tilt at all (which I'm pretty proud of). I lost like 10 bucks or so on the night, but that's poker. I only wish I had more time to play.

Current Bankroll -