Thursday, November 15, 2007

Mook Hands and when not to do Training

Of course it was Wednesday last night so of course that it means it was time for the MOOK . Man, were things going great or above average last night as I was getting the hands early. It felt a little Astin-ish. Unfortunately, not many of them got paid off and some of them completely missed the flop and I had to fold to pressure.

Speaking of Astin, I have 3 hands I want to review with my 1 or 2 readers in which 2 of them include Astin . A little history between the two of us as he laid down a pretty big hand last week while he was ahead. Congrats, by the way, go to Astin with a 2nd place finish.... again.

Hand #1

Seat 1: UnTiltable15 (2,125)
Seat 2: AgSweep (3,000)
Seat 3: Astin (2,880)
Seat 4: GScottW (4,000)
Seat 5: jamyhawk (2,150)
Seat 6: willwonka (3,655)
Seat 7: chipperdh (3,875)
Seat 8: VinNay (1,915)
Seat 9: Julkeus (6,280)

I have been raising a bunch as I mentioned earlier. I am UTG+2 in this hand with QTs (spades) and raise it to 180 (blinds are 30/60). Not a normal raising hand this early; but mixing it up and I have been raising a lot so perhaps people might read a little more strength with another raise based on gap concepts. Everybody folds to Astin who is in the BB.
Flop comes 9h8hJd. Bang!! Hit the flop.. Now how do I get chips?
Astin actually leads out 240 and I raise to 520 (intentionally small) as we all know that flopped straights are no good. Astin Calls.
Turn is harmless 2 spades and again Astin bets out.. this time 600.
What is your play? around 1970 in pot? My plays will be at then end of post.

Hand #2

This wasn't as exciting so I will breifly mention this one.

This hand is against AgSweep who is a player that I didn't recognize and hadn't played against.

I have 5445 in chips vs his 2540. I look down to another great hand QQ. Blinds are 50/100 and Ag raises from UTG+1 to 300 and I raise to 800 and now he re-pops to 800. It is 500 to call? What do you do?

Results below

Hand #3

Another hand with Mr Astin. Blinds are 60/120 and I have him outchipped 3205 to 1890. I am in the SB with J6d. Julkeus calls from UTG+1 and Astin from button and I call and BB checks. The flop comes:
Jc2h9s giving me top pair, crappy kicker. I check (with the intention of check/raising as I love to do). EP players also checks and Asting throws out 360 and I raise to 860 and he wastes no time in pushing all in which would cost me 910 more.
Is he just tired of me always seemingly check raising him? I definitely think he can push on a bluff or semi bluff.

Results below.

Hand 4

My last hand against my good buddy from Soonner land. I am now down to 895 and blinds are 80/160 so I'm just looking for a hand to push. I look down at AJs and I am primed to push away; but before I do that GCox raises to 560.
Knowing his play, do you wait until the next hand knowing that he has a good hand?

Results Below


As I have mentioned, I have subcribed to some video training one of which being StoxPoker.
So far I am really enjoying it. They have a video category called "The ClassRoom" which talks of theoretical things as opposed to specific hand type stuff. Here are a few of the subjects:

-Stox talks about opening hand ranges when not in steal position.
-Bryce talks about Limit Holdem blind play
-Journey up in stakes
-Stox talks about the use of Poker Ace HUD and Poker Tracker
-Making poker decisions
-Stox reviewing biggest hands
-Bryce showing some PokerStove tricks
-Colin showing SNG Wizard

and more....

Great stuff so far. I have also subscribed to another service which I will talk about more later.

The problem for me is when to watch them. A couple of the videos I decided to watch after I was finished playing whether it be from a good or bad session. My problem is that it is usually late when I start these and it is hard to stay focused especially after a bad session as your mind drifts back towards your session.

So, having said that, I will not make a point to either watch them before I start playing or instead of playing? Thoughts?


Results from above:

Hand #1 . I pushed for 2955 more and he folded; but he clearly didn't want to. We had a little conversation afterwards where I was saying that I was ahead; but didn't necessarily want a call. He wasn't so sure which confirms that he had a good hand.

Hand #2. I just called. Flop was 25Kr. Turn was 2cFlop and Turn both went check, check. River was Tc putting a backdoor flush out there. I checked and he put a nice value bet of 500 in and I called. He showed KK for a flopped set and turned boat. I think I did ok here to get out of this hand with a minimum loss

Hand #3. I had to call and he showed a better kicker. The board paired on the turn giving him thoughts of a split as his kicker was only a Ten. Turns out that card killed me as the river was a 6 and I lost with 3 pair.

Hand #4. I had to push and Gary showed QQ and I didn't improve and IGHN. I finished way down the pack a little worse than halfway. Oh well. There is always next week.

Have a nice day!!!


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I'm still Rollin... plus some Poker Training

I'm still Rollin.... Downhill that is. I guess the only positive is that I broke my 31 game winless streak. Yep, you read that right, at the $10 SNG level, I went 31 games without a win. LAME!!!! Something needs to give.

I went 2 for 5 last night:

#1. 6th AK lost to 55 which crippled me and then K7 ran into AA
#2. 1st 53 beat KQ; but it was already over by then as he just had 1K chips. I was pushing ATC.
#3 5th KK lost to AK .. then lost race to go home
#4 9th KK lost to TT 3rd hand of tourney.. Allin preflop
#5 2nd AJ lost to AT

So I continue to more or less put my money in with the best of it.

Also played the Mook last night. Another good crowd of over 100 runners. I made it about half way through it before my AA got busted by JJ. To be honest, I did not get my chips in ahead because a Jack came on flop and that is when the money got it in. DNasty was the villain here; but at least he took the chips and took the thing down. Congrats!!!

Anyway, 41 Tourneys so far.

ITM: Amazing 26.8%
ROI: -38.1%

I refuse to believe that I suck that bad in SNGs. For crying out loud, I was beating the $55 dollar SNGs on Party and I can't beat the $10 SNGs on FTP? That darn bankroll management thing. Hopefully, things will change and I will start moving up again because the above hands don't begin to tell the story of things that I see during the game.

So what do I do? I have said many times that I was interested in some video training and I had narrowed it down to a few sites. Again, what I was looking for was SNG info, MTT info and possibly even some ring play on the limit side as I still love to play limit poker.

So here will my review of a poker training site that I went with.

Along with Training, I've been looking into getting one of the well known SNG programs and SNG Wiz was always the one that I was planning on getting. Also, as a member of ThisIsTheNuts as my rakebake provider, they always had a promotion to get 1 month free of StoxPoker which I took advantage of a few times; but I don't play nearly enough anymore to generate the needed $500 in MGR as I don't play as much ring play.

Anyway, Stoxpoker is running a few great promotions right now of which one that caught my eye. One of which is to sign up for a year of Stoxpoker and you get 6 points. You can use those points to get:

Software (3 pts each):
Poker Tracker
Poker Ace HUD
SitNGo Wizard
Idle Miner

Books: (1 pt each):
Winning in Tough Holdem Games
Making of Poker Player (Matt Matros) which I have read and really enjoyed
Sit'nGo Strategy
Getting Started in Holdem
Small Stakes Holdem
Professional No Limit Holdem
No Limit Holdem: Theory and Practice
Winning Low Limit Poker
Super System 2
Holdem Poker
Any of the Harrington on Holdem books
Tournament Poker
Psychology of Poker
Theory of Poker
Mathematics of Poker
Sklansky on Poker

In other words, any of the really good books are available at 1 pt each. They also have a similar deal for 6 month subscriptions. I think you get 3 pts then. They do have other promotions so click on the link on the right and take a look at them.

Since I was already a member, I would only get 5 pts for a yearly subscription which I did and I order SNG Wiz and Winning Tough Holdem Games and SitNGo Strategy . I received the books in less that a week and will start reading them shortly. Hopefully, these will books that I can actually finish as I am terrible about doing that.

I have started using SNG Wizard and the good news is that I am not making too many mistakes especially around bubble time. It did say that I made a mistake on one hand. You can see the hand below:

Click here to view a larger version.

You may need to click on picture to see hand.

Any thoughts on this? Would anybody else be pushing here? Results aside of course, I still think when a big chip leader min raises, he just wants the blinds and I felt that I had enough chips to make him fold a pure steal attempt. As it turns out, I didn't; but I got lucky anyway. It's a shame that I have to get lucky as I did get my chips in with the best of it again.

So again, click on the ad on the right and check out. Here is a look at the video selection that they have:

Stoxpoker Coaching Videos
NL Holdem (6 max): 50 videos
NL Holdem (Heads Up): 9 videos
NL Holdem (Full Ring): 9 videos
Limit Holdem (6 max): 39 videos
Limit Holdem (Heads Up): 18 videos
Limit Holdem (Full Ring): 5 videos
The Classroom: 13 videos
Omaha HL: 2 videos
Omaha PL: 4 videos
7 Stud HL: 1 video
MultiTable_Tourneys: 12 videos
SitNGo: 10 videos
Razz: 2 videos

They are adding videos on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays.

Here are some of the contributors:

Contributing Bloggers:
Collin Moshman
House Calls
Ed Miller

So far so good with these guys. I need to take more time and actually watch them. I think I will devote weekends to them.

I will a review of another poker training site this week. I'm sure you will be able to guess as there was kind of clue within this post.

Have a good day!!


Monday, November 05, 2007

Quick Shout Outs

No poker last night as I watched Dexter with Mrs Wonka and then was really too tired to play.

Something I'm going to try to start doing at least every other month is throw out what I view as my favorite or Top 10 Poker Blogs that I read. As with every blogger, I'm sure they like to know if they are being read and even more that people are enjoying what they write. This list more than likely will not be the same as my next list as things can change over a month or two. So in case the two or three people that read this blog are looking for some more blogs to read, here you go although most of these will already be ones that you are reading. As I have mentioned before, I like reading blogs about poker.

Plus as an added bonus, I will add the blogs that I have recently added to my Bloglines.

My Top Ten Blogs:

#1 Quest of Closet Poker Player . Craig continues to crank out the good stuff including some video blogs which I have not had a chance to watch. I think it helps that we share similarities about sharing poker with family and work and trying to make it all work.

#2 Hoyazo . It was really close as to who would be #1 on my list. I don't think there is anybody in Poker Blogdom land that cranks out more Poker Contentl. Not only is it good, relevent poker content; but it almost everyday. I don't know how he does it. From his great poker strategy posts to his weekly blogger tourney to his well known rants, Hoy is the place to be.

#3 O-Poker - It is no secret, I am a O Poker wannabe. He just continues to impress me with his poker play but he still blogs without that arrogance that some of they good poker players do. He is always questioning his play and looking to improve. Personally, he has helped me look at my game and also aided in helping look for help through training sites (more on that later this week).

#4 Online Poker Blog - Plan3T Gong. This is another guy that cranks out the poker content with an emphasis on SitNGo's which of course gathers my attention. He has another site called sitandgoplanet which is just chalked with stuff about that game called poker. Very good stuff.

#5 Cause Everybody Else is doing it. Ther is not much else that I can say about Mook that isn't already know. He throws the best little Blogger Tourney out there as witness by the almost 120 poeple last week. Of course the smaller $10 buyin helps a little; but the fact that he live blogs it and the work that he puts into it is great. Come join us on Wednesday nights at 9PM Central. Good times are guaranteed.

#6 Vegas Poker Scene . I think the fact that Miami Don lives in Vegas and plays both live and online poker and loves to talk about Sports Betting is what reels me in whenever that I see he has a post. Just the kind of person that a lot of us think that we would like to be doing.

#7 Recess Rampage . Alan is relatively new; but that doesn't stop him from posting some really good stuff especially around Cash Games. I love the hand analysis posts.

#8 How to Fold KK. Another newer blogger. I think the fact that he is a St Louis area blogger keeps me interested. I love the proud father posts about his son's football. I'm hoping that things will work out and the coach will get his head out of his butt for future years.

#9 Poker in Arrears. 3Jacks was one of the very first people that I started reading and getting to know along with High On Poker and Low Limit Grinder. He also posts regularly and has some good stuff. Not to mention that he is not a bad poker player. He really comes to play in the Big Game. I've said it before and it is worth repeating, if weren't for these 3 guys, I probably still wouldn't be blogging.

#10 Rizen Poker. He is just a midwest Poker Pro that I enjoy following his career.

There are many more as I have subscribed to 141 poker blogs. You can click on the link to the right to see all of them. Again, this list may be the same or it could be completely different the next time I do this. So, if you don't already, go check out these blogs and leave comments to let them know.

Here are a couple of blogs that I recently added to my bloglines.

#1 Hard Boiled Poker . Not only does this guy post about poker; but he has the most compreshensive list of poker podcasts that you would ever want. This is actually how I found them as I was looking for podcosts to listen to on my way to work. I will probably list a few of these in a future post.

#2 The Poker Grind . This guy has been on a tear lately and has won his way to the Bahamas. I believe he did it via the Poker Stars steps that just he just started with some frequent player points. Now, that is the way to do it. I wish him all the best.

Have a good day!!!


Super Tilt

Super Tilt. That is what sharkscope says when you go 8 straight SNGs without cashing. I had the unfortunate pleasure of experiencing that this weekend plus more. I know some people are dead against posted negative results on their blog along with Bad Beat Stories. I say why? If you are willing to post good results, I say go ahead and post bad results. After all, this is my poker journey and I want to be fair in my writing. But before I talk about this, let's talk some football.

But even before that, I wrote a little bit about pot sized flop bets. If you didn't get a chance to take a look, click on the link and let me know your thoughts.

Speaking of prior posts, a few days ago, I posted about the Game of the Year. I gave what I thought was some good evidence that you should be picking Indy (plus the number which was 6 in this case) and the under. Now, if I would have listened to my own advice and hit the sportsbook windows and laid a nice parlay on it, that would have been nice. But no, I stayed away from it. I have said it before, and I will say it again for anybody that will listen. Tom Brady is the best QB EVER!!! This is taking nothing away from Manning as he is also extra special and would take him on my team anyday. This is what the rest of their schedule looks like:

Week 10: Bye
Week 11: at Buffalo
Week 12: Philadelphia
Week 13: at Baltimore
Week 14: Pittsburgh
Week 15: NY Jets
Week 16: Miami
Week 17: at NY Giants

Do you really see anybody that can beat them? It is the NFL and there is the any given Sunday thing; but yikes, the old Miami guys must be really sweating it this year.

I would also be remiss if I didn't plug my Cowboys. Never a doubt in the game last night. They even scored in the 1st quarter for a change. I really hope to see a rematch between Dallas and NE in the Super Bowl.

Back to Tilt. This is not going to be post about dealing with Tilt. That has been covered plenty of times by people much better than me. To me, everybody needs to deal with it in their own way. Anyway, I am starting off the month again in glorious fashion. Currently, I am a 24 SNG streak without a win and had a nice 0 for 13 streak in there. Here are some details:

#1: 4th AA vs TT All in Preflop... 4Q46...T
#2: 6th AJ vs QJ JKKQ5
#3: 5th 99 vs 88.. 6975K
#4: 7th KQ vs A6.. A6 limped in for 100 and I pushed for 1025. Who calls with A6?
#5: 4th KJ vs AJ.. ok I'm behind but flop was JK2... oh but wait.. TQ runner, runnered
#6: 6th 99 vs AJ no biggie lost race
#7: 7th AK vs QQ vs JT I came in third on this one and lost main and side pot
#8: 8th KK vs QT allin on flop... 5T8Q and a T on flop just to rub it in
#9: 5th 88 vs A7 4 flushed on river... I was chip leader hand b4 this but lost AKs to TT with K on flop. Of course there was also a T
#10: 7th A6 vs K7 5KK65
#11: 8th KQs vs 88 another lost race
#12: 5th 65s vs KJ Hit straight on turn but 4 flushed on river
#13: KQ vs J9 hit 2 pair but lost to straight
There you have it and there you are. You think I should give up on SNGs? Nah, not my nature to give up after being kicked in the junk. Here is the chart:

We'll see how it goes.
Have a nice day!!!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Pot Sized Continuation Bet

Pot Sized Continuation Bet. What does it mean? This has continued to be on my mind since my last post which included a hand from the Mook against Astin . The basic gist was that there was an UTG 3x raise with a flop of Axx which included both potential flush and straight draws. UTG led out with a pot sized bet. The question of the day is what do you make of this bet?

But before, we go onto that, I'll breifly mention my 1st day of SNGs for the month of November. Again, I played my typical set of 6 SNGs. Unfortunately, I have started off on the negative side of things as I went 2 for 6 and again I am starting off badly regarding bubbles. I had 1 1st and 1 3rd and 2 4ths and 2 others. One of the bubbles I went out with AA vs KJ. KJ was better on this occasion. 2nd bubble, I was behind; but hoping for a push with my A7 going against A8.. Ace on flop along with 2 over cards.. 8 on turn sealed the deal. So I am a whopping 3 dollars down on the month. I will stay with the $10+1 SNGs this month until I see positive results.

Plus, Full Tilt is having some kind of SNG Madness thing this weekend. I won't be around too much over the weekend; but it will be interesting to see how this turns out. Some of the things they will be doing is taking part of the prize pool and dividing that up in to bountys. I'm not sure I like that as I am not usually they guy knocking people out early. We'll take a look and see as I'm sure this will bring many more people to the SNG tables.

Back to the Continuation bet thing. I discussed this topic a bit on 2+2 and had some interesting comments; but I placed in the Single Table Tourney forum as I wanted just a general discussion on this.

Back to the hand. This will be, by the way, hopefully both theoretical while still using this hand as an example. In this hand, Astin puts out the pot sized bet on the flop on a semi dry board. What does this mean? Here is some of the things that I think it could be (particularly with a EP
raiser with a pot sized flop bet while still being in position):

-He has a big Ace and is protecting against straight and flush draws
-He has a mid to little Ace and is protecting
-He has a big pair and didn't like the Ace but is putting a big enough bet to deter a call.
-He has nothing but maybe broadway cards.

I can't speak for Astin other than to say he is (to me) an aggressive; yet solid player. He has been known to raise a bunch. So, now we are making this case a little more specific saying that we are playing against an aggressive player.

Perhaps, plenty of people throw out pot sized bets as continuation bets as a standard operating procedures; but I don't agree with that.. especially if you are strong. Now, I do believe in protecting your hands on non dry boards; but my C-bets are typically around 1/2 pot to 3/4 pot. That doesn't mean that is the correct to play them. I tried to do a quick poll of my Hand Histories to see how often I did pot sized C-Bets but couldn't find an easy way to do this Poker Tracker; but I'll bet that I only do it when I have a monster hand or a hand that needs protecting such AQ or AK or JackAce.

Of course alot of these type things are read dependent; but recently, my first thoughts when I see a pot sized bet on the flop is weakness. Again, especially with a dry board. So, the question comes down to how to act when you see this. For me, it goes back to my hand, my stack, and my position.

My hand. In order to call or raise, I need to have something. I hardly EVER push with air. If I do raise or call, I want to have some outs or some implied outs based on betting patterns. In other words, what if that straight card or flush cards come. I can easily take control of the hand and lead out.

My Stack. What is my stack compared to the preflop raiser. This is a huge deal for me in a tournament. You don't have to be a brain surgeon to know that more chip equals more power. If you put pressure on somebody that will cost them all of their chips, it makes it much more difficult to call.

My position. We all know that position is the all important ingrediant in poker; but in these type situations, it is not as big of a deal for me and alot of times, I would rather be the first one to act. If I'm in steal mode, I want to be the person who first gets to put on the pressure. I don't want to give the original raiser the chance to put pressure on me or even draw a free card that might help him. Of course, I wouldn't mind too much a free card since I was drawing; but in these type cases, I don't necessarily want a showdown to disguise what I am doing.

We all know about the different levels of thinking in poker and it is important to tell your story with some cosistency; but sometimes just shoving on the turn when you perceive somebody does not have a made hand can be worth it. I need him to believe that by calling preflop and calling a pot sized bet that I have something... but at the same time put in his mind that I may be bluffing. So, what do you typically put a person on when they call two bullets and the turn card is a card that most likely doesn't help anybody? I think it shows monster strength or bluffing with a draw as I did this time.

Truthfully, the most reaction was that I played the hand terribly and that I was being results oriented in my thinking. I don't think so; but that is OK.

Some final thoughts. I'm not sure why you put in pot sized C-bets on the flop unless you want to scare some people away. If you have a strong hand or if you want to see where you are at a smaller bet can achieve the same thing. Again, unless it is a very coordinated board, there is no need. Now, I'm not sure what Astin had other than I know that I was behind as he comment on the previous post. He also mentioned that he thought that I could be a big draw; but it wasn't worth all of his chips to find out.

Boy, there is so much that you could talk about when it comes to these type bets on the flop; but I have run out of time.

Have a good weekend!!!

Who links to my website?