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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Live poker is rigged

From CardPlayer's live updates at the Bike:

Date / Time: 2005-08-29 20:55:00
Title: Gabe Kaplan Takes a Big Hit
Log: After a flop of 10d-4h-2c, Matt Elsby is all in against Gabe Kaplan. Elsby shows pocket aces, but Kaplan flopped a set. Elsby was way behind, needing to catch an ace to stay alive. The turn card? The ace of diamonds. Kaplan suddenly becomes the underdog, with a single out in the deck to make quads. The river card is a blank (Kd), and Elsby wins a big pot to catapult up to $118,000 in chips. Kaplan, who has been among the chip leaders, was knocked down to $45,000, and he was visibly displeased with that bad beat.

Date / Time: 2005-08-29 20:15:00
Title: An Improbable Beat
Log: Two players got their money in preflop. One with pocket kings, the other with pocket jacks. After a flop of K-J-7 the player with pocket kings hopped out of his seat and exclaimed, "Yes, yes, yes." The turn brought a Q, and the player with pocket kings pumped his fist. See if you can guess the end of this bad beat story. The river brought a xxxxx.

A jack!

The player with pocket jacks hit his one outer on the river to eliminate the player with pocket kings. "No," the player with pocket kings said, as he turned away from the table, shocked at the turn of events that saw a nearly certain double up instead send him to the rail.

9 2 4 1

I'm back into the 11s. Well, on Poker Stars, I'm back into the 11s. I think I'm going to switch to ring games on Full Tilt to work off my bonus, because the Sit N Gos are so freaking dull. Even the 5.50s fill up weak-tight players that take forever to knock out. I bubbled out in a 5.50 on Full Tilt last night, and I think it has a lot to do with being bored, bored, bored.

The 11s on Stars treated me much better. Except for the 9th place finish where I held AK and the flop came out A-x-x rainbow. I bet out strong, was re-raised all-in and called. Of course, the guy flopped a set. Low sets tend to be a blind spot for me, especially since so many online players will play any A-rag, and so I figured him for AA with a lower kicker. Oh well, I shouldn't have been so eager to call an all-in that early, anyway. The other 2 tourneys I played ended with 2nd and 1st place finishes. I was especially happy with the 1st place finish, because I was fighting tilt for most of the hands from three-handed on down. One of the guys was just slow as hell, either multi-tabling or just annoying. When 3rd place bubbled out, he said, "good luck, jack. It's going to take a while." heh. It did take a while, but it was worth it.

Monday, August 29, 2005

WCOOP is for Closers

On Saturday, I played in the 1800 FPP satellite to the $1000 WCOOP NLHE tournament. I won my way into this tourney in a 180 FPP satellite. Out of 305 people, the first 9 places moved on, and I made it to 22. I don't think I've even played a total of 10 multi-table tournaments, so these two finishes are encourging to me. I think I'll play some more regular tournaments, and see if I can do well.

Slowly turning things around in $5.50 SNGs. I was in the black for this weekend, and if my play holds up, I'll probably start playing the $11 tourneys on Poker Stars. I don't know if I've got the strength to try another one on Full Tilt, but I suppose I should give it another shot.

I've been reading Harrington on Hold 'Em Volume 1, and it's as good as everyone says.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Ye Olde Hammer

Mrs. Jackmama and I had a friendly wager last night, in which we'd each play a Stars $5.50 SNG, and whoever placed better was the winner. As soon as Jackmama the Smaller was put to bed, I jumped into a tourney. As the more responsible parent, Mrs. Jackmama actually waited until Jackmama the Smaller was asleep.

It may have been the first hand, or maybe the second hand, when Mrs. Jackmama looked down to find JJ in early position. I wasn't paying attention this early, but I'd put her on a medium raise with that hand. Everyone folds to the button, who raises all-in. Mrs. Jackmama has some gambler in her, so she calls. Button turns over AK, and nails an A on the river to put her out 9th. Well, it took some pressure off of me with our bet.

I played pretty well in my tourney, and I'm feeling better about my decisions. The other day I was browsing Paul Phillips' FAQ, and came across his response to people seeking advice:

I would like to talk about poker or obtain poker feedback.

Best of luck. Play tighter and more aggressively.

I think I'd been turning LAG-gy recently, while still believing I was a conservative player. This made for some very bad decisions. As I play now, I repeat that advice in my head. As long as I know that I am playing tight-aggressive, I feel like I can take the occasional shot to mix it up, but I'm not taking them nearly as often as I was. It's not really as important as my feeling that I made the right decisions, but I took 1st in my SNG. I guess I overachieved in my bet with the wife.

During the tourney, there was a dropping of the hammer.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


We've all seen the blog entries and forum postings. After a devastating suckout or two, the author declares that he's thinking about moving up in limits, where such bad play is rare. Of course, bad play is to be found at every level, and it's ridiculous to think that you'll make more money from a group of good players than from a bunch of chasing fish. But still, bad beats drive men to crazy thoughts.

I played an $11 single table SNG at Full-Tilt last night. Yeah, it's not high limits, but since I've been playing the $5.50s, I figured the play would be a little better, and probably a little better than the $11s on Poker Stars.

Oh. My. God.

I have never sat at such a rocky table. Ever. Virtually every pre-flop raise took down the pot. I got virtually no cards, and still managed to maintain a decent stack by stealing with periodic semi-bluffs. It was the most awful experience of my poker life. The levels move pretty quickly on FTP, and there were still 4 people in after an hour and 15 minutes, moving the same 3 or 4 big blinds amongst each other. I finally hit a straight with a straight flush draw and went all-in with it, only to be called by a higher straight, and when my flush didn't come I bubbled out. Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster, my ordeal was over.

I did manage to draw a lesson from that agonizingly dull tourney. I played with the rockiest of the rocks and managed to hang in there with them, but I probably could have made a lot of aggressive moves early, and made some more or loosened up the table. Next time, that's what I'lll do, because the only thing worse than going out before the money, is going out before the money after an hour and a half.

Monday, August 22, 2005

What Might Have Been

It was time to mix things up yesterday, so I ponied up 180 FPP from my PokerStars account to enter a satellite to the 1800 FPP satellite to the $2500 main event of the WCOOP. So, it was a satellite, to a satellite, to an actual cash money event. Got it?

First hand, I flopped top pair, and bet the pot. One person remains, calling my bet. Nothing happens on the turn and the river to make me think he has me beaten, but he calls another pot-sized bet on the turn, and when I check the river to him, he goes all-in. I couldn't for the life of me think of how he could have me beaten, but the betting gave me pause. I call. He had 5-2 offsuit, matching nothing on the board. Basically threw away 180 FPP on a stupid bluff to open the tourney. Whatever, man.

I played solid, but not spectacular poker. Managed to avoid big pots with marginal hands, and caught a few saving cards on the river. Nothing that could be considered a bad beat, but I'm sure some of the people I knocked out believe differently. I can't believe the whining of some people. If the beats are easier to take after some whining, more power to you, I guess.

The tourney sent the top 26 finishers on to the next tourney, and the 27th place finisher got the remaining points (1400). Out of 250 or so people, I felt pretty good about finding my way into the 30s. Of course, that's when I started thinking about surviving instead of winning, and my stack started to waste away. As the 33rd person went out, I was looking pretty anemic. Then the deck reached out and hit me, and I took advantage of a guy at the table who kept trying to put me all-in. When the 27th place person dropped, I was 3rd in chips, and looking at a pretty solid finish.

Guess what?

When the prize is the same for all places 1-26, the tournament ends after the 27th person goes out. I guess no one wants to play for pride.

The fun thing is that I'm in a satellite to a main event, and the top 9 players in the satellite move on. I hope I play well, and get some cards, because I would be excited just to play in a big money event.

Sorry for the rambling, but I can't seem to organize my thoughts today.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Online Poker is Rigged

I don't usually go in for hand histories, but this one was too funny to pass up. Of course, online poker IS rigged against people that play like this, but I think that has more to do with the game of poker, than the implementation at PokerStars.

Keep in mind that this is the very first hand.

PokerStars Game #2385364854: Tournament #11553123, Hold'em No Limit - Level I (10/20) - 2005/08/20 - 22:11:16 (ET)
Table '11553123 1' Seat #1 is the button
Seat 1: JohnnyAPoker (1500 in chips)
Seat 2: anthony46217 (1500 in chips)
Seat 3: Kpender (1500 in chips)
Seat 4: Jackmama (1500 in chips) is sitting out
Seat 5: xHolden1229x (1500 in chips)
Seat 6: Ottawa613 (1500 in chips)
Seat 7: Blue1321 (1500 in chips)
Seat 8: chuckie300 (1500 in chips)
Seat 9: hittman66 (1500 in chips)
anthony46217: posts small blind 10
Kpender: posts big blind 20
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Jackmama [Jc 2s]
Jackmama: folds
xHolden1229x: folds
Blue1321 said, "was chip leader went all in 5 times and lost all of them to crappy cards"
Blue1321 said, "i need to change my luck"
Ottawa613: folds
Blue1321: raises 20 to 40
chuckie300: folds
hittman66: folds
JohnnyAPoker: calls 40
Jackmama has returned
anthony46217: calls 30
Kpender: calls 20
*** FLOP *** [6c 2c Kd]
anthony46217: checks
Kpender: checks
Blue1321: bets 60
JohnnyAPoker: folds
anthony46217: raises 240 to 300
Kpender: folds
Blue1321: calls 240
*** TURN *** [6c 2c Kd] [Qs]
hittman66 said, "me to j off called 500 dllr raise with 7-3 aand wins"
anthony46217: bets 1160 and is all-in
Blue1321: calls 1160 and is all-in
*** RIVER *** [6c 2c Kd Qs] [Kh]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
anthony46217: shows [Ks Th] (three of a kind, Kings)
Blue1321: shows [7c 7d] (two pair, Kings and Sevens)
anthony46217 collected 3080 from pot
Blue1321 [observer] said, "ouch lol"