Thursday, February 03, 2005

Student of the Game

I've been getting pummeled lately in the ring games, and my bankroll has taken a huge beating. It all starts with bad beats. Then it turns into overplaying some hands when I know I'm beat. And then it turns into giving my money away, or donating (I like that term), to everyone else. It's just incredible to see one guy win over and over again, hit flop after flop, catch draw after draw despite the fact that he's playing every single hand. It hurts my brain to see them win so much when all the "experts" say that they should be losers. Big time losers. And yet, they have taken my buy-in several times already.

Well, I had a great WPBT tourney to help with my bankroll some. So I've decided to take the next few days off from poker and go back to studying the game before playing ring games again. I need to plug up those holes in my poker game quickly. And with the timely arrival of Ed Miller's Small Stakes Hold'em, I'm looking forward to spending some time trying to figure out how to win more consistently. To be a winning poker player, I believe it is imperative that one be a student of the game at all times...always learning, always adapting.

On a completely different poker topic, I've noticed that during last night's tourney at PokerStars, I found the blinds rising a little too quickly for comfort. In most PartyPoker MTTs (multi-table tourneys), blind levels last only 10 minutes with a starting chip count of only T800 for lower buy-in tournaments. So I figured that PokerStars' 15 minute levels and starting chip count of T1500 would allow more time for patience. But maybe because of the super tightness of all the knowledgeable players there (I believe only 1 out of 15 or so hands went to the flop and rarely did we ever get to see the river unless someone was already all-in), I felt myself trying to force the action a bit at times to try and stay afloat of the average.

I also realized that EmpirePoker gives you T1000 chips to start with and blind levels of 20 minutes in the "special" section of their MTTs. And with their great overlays on "guaranteed" tourneys, I believe it may be more profitable to play the MTTs they have there. I haven't done too badly on Empire's MTTs before. I think I'll be dabbling in some while taking a break from the ring games and studying.

I've read in several blogs about how awful their luck has been lately. Hope everyone's luck turns for the better.

...

Oh, and if you're looking for my account of the tournament, I'm very sorry, but I don't remember much. I was playing for fun, and I honestly didn't expect to last long. I do remember I doubled up with AQo against an AJo in the middle of the tourney. I was also briefly chip leader with about 32 players left. I tried to pick the right spots to play in, and I somehow got lucky enough to last as long as I did. I do remember I was waiting all night to be dealt the hammer. And I finally got it in the Big Blind when there were only 16 players left. But a player in mid position raised preflop about 6 times the Big Blind, and I just couldn't figure out a way to play and win with them, so I mucked. That was the saddest part of the tourney for me. After being shown down so many hammers earlier, I just wanted to show them down to the table once. But alas, it was not to be.

I'm sure some of the better bloggers out there have great stuff to write about regarding the tourney. Go read DrPauly's blog (Tao of Poker) as he gives his account of the Hand of the Night. Just seconds after the hand went down, news of it spread to all the tables like wildfire. That hand should go down in infamy in WPBT history. =)

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Wow

Congrats to on_thg for winning the WPBT tourney tonight! He made some nice plays and went on a great run to get heads up with a commanding 6.15 to 1 chip lead! Wow!

Needless to say, there wasn't much I could do in that position except try to steal many hands. Unfortunately, I chose the worst time to go all-in...my 95s against his AKo. Oops! I still ended up rivering a straight. Sadly, he had the nut straight. Congrats again, for a well-played tourney.

The table chat at the final table was so damn funny, I had a difficult time keeping my mind on the game. It's just too much fun playing in these blogger tourneys. I hope to play in the next one as well.

Good game, all.


P.S. Just found out the winner of last night's tourney,on_thg (<-click here), is a blogger! Go visit his site. So the bloggers win again, and the streak is left unbroken.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Arg

Pocket Queens have been the biggest money-losers for me. They can't seem to hold up against anything. I just had them beaten by 98s when a guy called my preflop raise of about 3.5 times the Big Blind, and he bet out and called my all-in raise on the flop with T-7-x rainbow on the board. And of course, he catches his 6 for the straight. I just don't get it. Why can't they be a profitable hand for me?

Which is the better strategy: go all-in before the flop with QQ or play them like I'm scared and just limp with them until I'm sure I have the nuts on the river? The way I've been playing them (raise preflop a decent amount and play it hard when I have overpair on the flop) doesn't seem to be working.

Sigh...

It will be great for me playing in the WPBT tomorrow. It'll be a welcome relief where I'll just play poker more for fun than for profit. I wish playing poker for money could be more fun for me. If only those bad beats didn't occur as often or cost me so much money...

Sigh of Relief

Finally, the cards have turned in my favor. It's funny how quickly (and how tremendously) my luck has changed. One minute, I'm clenching my last $25 hoping I don't go broke, the next, I'm sitting with confidence and smiling at everything. It's not like I've been getting great cards. But I've been getting less drawn-out on. And after I won a few pots, my confidence returned, and my play got better. I hope to continue to play with confidence and build my bankroll up once again.

Thanks to Dr. Pauly for the encouraging comment in my previous post. He has some great stuff up on his blog. Go visit Tao of Poker (link in the column to the right).