Saturday, September 02, 2006

Back on Track, But at what Price?

Longtime readers are probably perplexed at my plan of playing everyday at the Riverside, and Hold'em, at that. Maybe you are all waiting for the other foot to drop. You aren't alone.

I kind of figured that if I got back into HE, and played like mad, everyday, around such scum that frequents the RS, I would finally get so burnt out on HE that I would quit altogether. Maybe it would drive me to online play. Maybe I would quit poker entirely. Maybe I would refuse to play HE again in my lifetime. Maybe I would get better at tourneys and go that route. In other words, I needed direction.

I still haven't gotten to that point. But you aren't alone in your thoughts that I am doing something I've never done before, and driving myself to the point of a total break. I will someday soon run full speed off of that cliff, and we will all find out where that road will take me.

As far as my horrible run, it finally seems to have stopped. But I paid a dear price for winning yesterday.

I woke up several times during the early morning hours to a blinding headache. It had been raining off and on, so I knew my allergies were going nuts. My head was pounding along with my pulse, simply throbbing. It got slightly better after coffee and allergy pills. It went up and down all day, but never left me. I figured it might be better in Laughlin due to their super low elevation and heat. It only got worse.

The massage girls stopped coming to the poker room due to lack of tipping. Figures. I tried everything. I tried two shots of espresso, which helped more than anything else. I tried gin. I tried listening to music.

Although the espresso seemed to help the most, my head was still pounding and I eventually gave up and called the spa. Oddly enough, on a Friday night they could take me at 5:30pm.

I don't remember if I was up or down at the 2-6 kill HE game, but when Glenn cashed me out of the newly started 4/8 kill game at a little after 5pm, I was up $122 ($322 in front of me).

The masseuse was a woman who wanted to play live HE, but had only seen it on TV and played via some free program on her cellphone. We talked about poker during the entire massage. She was extremely aware, and said right after touching my back with her hands one time, "Whoaaaaa, have I got my work cut out for me!" Blinding headaches seem to leave my back rigid as a board. She also remarked, "You drink a TON of water, don't you?" So she was on the up and up, not just some mindless, brainless masseuse.

The massage was good, and I wondered why I hadn't been getting more of them. My headache was gone, and although it returned here and there during the rest of the night, it was at perhaps only 10% of it's former strength.

When I got back to the poker room, the 4/8 was gone, due to the tourney starting at 6:30. I hopped into the 2-6 kill again only to quickly lose about $60. When the NLHE game was announced, I could see we were going to lose our softest spots, so I took my bills and diminished stack and moved along with the fishies.

I was able to limp into a couple of pots, but never knew when they were going to be raised and reraised crazily. Sometimes I was raised out with low pocket pairs or a decent ace, other times I got to see a flop. I didn't catch a thing for about an hour.

Gary, the crazy car dealership owner who drops about 5k per night when this game is going, was in his usual form. But this time he was challenged by the many other nutty Californians who invented this type of style and can buy and sell him any time they want. He quickly went through about 2k (within the first five hands, lol).

Another SoCallie bought in for about $500, cashed out an hour later with over 3k, almost all of it Gary's money. Besides Gary, the money was very shallow, so I put my name on the newly starting 4/8 list again, and waited for the blind to get to me.

Before my blind I was lucky to get three hands almost in a row. First I had queens. I raised to $30. Gary was in the big blind and had yet to go to the cashier for more thousands so was down to his last $60. He reraised me for that amount and turned over aces. What the heck? Maniacs get aces, too? ;)

A couple of hands later I had AJo. I limped. The flop came 9TJ with two diamonds. My ace was a diamond. I led out the pot, which was about $30. I got two callers. The turn was a total rag, so I bet $100. Folded to me.

The very next hand was my UTG. I had tens. I raised to $30. I got re-raised by an EP, timid player to $100. I smooth called, knowing I might have to lay it down to a big bet on the flop with overcards. I looked at my opponent, not the flop, and checked. He checked behind looking nervous/disappointed/deflated. I looked at the flop of all rags. The turn was another rag and I pushed in. He folded. I made about $120 at the NLHE table.

About that time, as I sat down in the new 4/8, my head started pounding a little bit again. Surely nothing like before, but it was still so early, and I didn't want to leave a good game. So I had heard they served Port up at the fancy foo-foo steak house. They had a bar, and I went up to get some. It was excellent.

I didn't score big in the 4/8, but hovered around even for an hour. On one hand, a player in the blind misplayed aces so horribly that I cannot even think of a time that I have seen them played worse than that. There were a couple of limpers, including me in LP with QTo. The flop was KQx and checked all around. The turn gave me a gutshot but killed my runner flush draw. Passed to me, I bet. She called. We both checked the river brick and she turned over aces (???). Can we all say MISPLAYED ON EVERY STREET??? She won about $36 on that hand, $12 of which was hers!!! Horrible! People will do anything and everything to get that $50 for cracked aces. Ugh!

So Glenn started yawning and hadn't slept well the night before. He asked if I wanted to go home early. Although my headache was much better with the Port, I agreed, since my game wasn't that good anyway.

I scored, I feel better, but at what cost? $90 massage (with tip), two shots of 20 year old Port ($16 with tip)...hmmm!

Felicia :)
Last night:

-$60 (2-6 HE Kill)
+$120 (4/8 HE Kill)
+$120 (2/5 NLHE)
=180 Net winnings for Friday, September 1, 2006

(Total saved for new car pre-August 15 $2500. Current total $1620 [-50 Wednesday loss])

Friday, September 01, 2006

Glenn: UP; Felicia: Down!

I'm still running horribly. Glenn tried to critique my play, thinking maybe I had begun to play bad, in response to the run. He was being constructive and we do that pretty well together. I always appreciate constructive criticism. While I have found and plugged a few more leaks during this run, poor Glenn was just flabbergasted while watching me play. He couldn't believe the cards coming off the deck during hands I'd played well up until the turn or river.

I always say that if any card is still live, that card can and will eventually come up to kill a made hand. It doesn't shock me as much as it shocks more volatile players. Maybe because I started poker playing Stud? Maybe because my Mom has dealt off and on for the past 15 years? I'm not sure, but since I'm typically a cautious, skeptical person, I don't seem to explode at one-outers like some players do.

In one hand I had pocket queens. A MP player raised the pot. I re-raised with the queens. An ace was on the flop, but he checked to me. I bet, he reluctantly called. The river was a ten. He check-raised me. I folded (putting him on maybe a weak ace) and he flashed me tens. 22:1, lol ;)

Somehow 22:1 doesn't seem like such a longshot when I think of my other crushing blows this week, although none of them are the type of blows that Glenn experienced when an opponent caught 989:1 against him.

As my star fades, however, Glenn's is rising. A player at Riverside who worked in the series this year as a floorman stated that Glenn is probably the best player he has seen on the river. Quite a compliment when you consider that this is where Cyndy Violette started out. Of course, he probably wasn't around in those days, but a compliment is a compliment.

I have always been Glenn's greatest cheerleader. He doesn't have many of those. His Mom is the type who always has to tell Glenn his shortcomings. If Glenn says he has a new job, she will demand to know how much he is making, and then rag on him, "Your brother has a new job, too, and is making xx more than YOU!"

Never mind that his brother is a loser who has been fired from every job he's ever had.

Anyway, Glenn has never had a lack of cheering from me. From the minute I saw him play poker the first time, I declared that he would someday be much better than I ever hoped to be, and would go as high as he wanted. He had to get his emotions under control, but everything else was a gimme.

Glenn, being the slow, cautious type, has chosen to rise slowly, instead of take the speedy, "Look ma, I won a one million dollar tournament only six months after I learned to play" route. It doesn't mean he's not a star, it just means he has chosen to learn the games thoroughly and completely before competing at that level.

He also doesn't have the drive or ambition to be on your TV screen every week. He could take it or leave it. Unlike me, he doesn't hate and loathe TV, but he doesn't exactly crave it, either.

Today I think I'll leave you with a response he gave to a reader on his site. Wow. Glenn is the next strategist? The new Dan? Let's see where this takes us. We have nowhere to go but up, up, up.

"If you had to pick one reason why you're running well in tourneys, what would it be?

I think I found my leak, but would love to know a reason why a successful player is doing well (besides the "I won my coin flips" line)"


"I'd say, adapting to the structure, playing the players and playing your relative stack size.

The tournament that I play at the Riverside is a little odd. The first hour, we play 3, 20-minute levels. There is one add-on to be taken only at the start, and there is one rebuy that you can take anytime within the first hour. I will always take the add-on, and wait for the rebuy until I need it. If I get really low in chips, I'll take it before the end of the hour. There are people that I see that will let themselves get so short and refuse to take the rebuy, that once they _do_ get a hand, they have no chips. They can double through and still have no chips. So, this is part of adapting to the particular structure.

Another part is, after the first hour, the staff wishes to hurry up the players and get to the final table. Hence, the levels change to 15-minute levels. The blinds come faster and you have to make more moves to stay ahead. I had to call AI from the BB w/ 44 once during this level to stay alive. (UTG was AI w/ AKs, but my pair held.) I looked at my chips and realized that if I did NOT go for it with my pair, that should I get a hand, I would NOT pressure anyone to fold pre-flop. For example, if I'm on the button on a steal, I may not _want_ a call. But if I have no chips, I'm at the mercy of the cards; ie: possible drawout if it's too cheap for the blind to call ATC. I don't want that to happen.

Then, once we get to the final table, it switches to 30-minute levels. I know, this is a little wacko, but you can finally play some real poker if you have chips. Like many other tournaments, however, the blinds do mostly double, so there is still lots of pressure. Plus, as you get short-handed, you have to play a little looser, as the blinds get to you faster.

So, besides the quirky-ness of our little local tourney, I'd say that you just have to make sure that you don't blind yourself out. If you get short, just remember the saying: "You have to be willing to die in order to live." Once you get to an 'M' of 5 of less (see the Harrington books), any Ace, any pair is an AI hand.

A mistake that I _do_ see people do at this point, is going AI with a marginal hand _after_ someone else already has raised. If you're short, but someone raised in front of you and you have A3o, fold, monkey! it's most likely no good. If you're in the blind with it and you're just about out of chip (say < 3 BBs), I'd say, in that case, yeah, call. Just don't OVERCALL with this type of hand. Or worse, limp in with a small pp when you're on short chips. Either shove of fold.

Speaking of the Harrington books, they are definitely suggested reading for anyone serious about tournaments!

Good luck and God bless :)


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Address: Final Table

Glenn is a machine. I suck!
Last night:

+$40 (2-6 HE)
-$100 (2-6 HE Kill)
-$50 (4/8 HE Kill)
=20 Net winnings for Tuesday, August 29, 2006

(Total saved for new car pre-August 15 $2500. Current total $1490 [+20 Sunday; -$150 Tuesday])

Monday, August 28, 2006

Live Play Leaks?

I have been running really badly, and feeling like crap. Hence the lack of updates.

We took a couple of days off of the Riverside to recuperate.

It's so odd that I win, win, win online, yet don't do nearly as well live. In the almost four years I've played online (admittedly sporadically), I've won. I've never had to reload in any site due to going bust. I've only cashed out. Sure, I've deposited for bonuses, etc, but never due to busting out.

I think there must be something to this, but I haven't figured it out yet.
Last night:

$50 (2-6 HE)
-30 (2-6 O8)
=20 Net winnings for Sunday, August 27, 2006

(Total saved for new car pre-August 15 $2500. Current total $1620 [-$300 Thursday])