Saturday, July 29, 2006

Time for a completely off subject post....


Horse Racing...

What do you think about it?

Despite it being -EV do you find it fun?

How often do you bet on it?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Adjusting your hand values deep in a tournament

Anyone who has ever been successful in any big tournament (300+) knows that the key to getting deep is avoiding some huge landmines. They will be there. Your top pair-Ace Kicker is going to run into two pair. Your straight is going to run into a flush. The key is getting yourself out of these situations without suffering a mortal blow.

You can limit the impact of these situations in a few ways
1) Learning your fold equity. If you might be beat you have what is called fold equity. Basically, by folding the hand now you are gaining chips because you wont put them in a pot in which you are not going to win.
2) Watching other players. How have these other players adjusted their game? Have they sat back and not entered many hands? Are they playing a lot of hands. Compare their play to whats on the board.
NOTE: The top two really need to be applied at all points in a tournament
3) Dont pick on the little guy, dont pick on the bully. This is an important aspect of poker. Here is an example/ You look down at 2h2c. There is one player to your left then the blinds. Your M is 20, his is 3. What is your first reaction? Is it to make a big raise and isolate the small chip stack? If it is, you are dead wrong. Here is why: By raising 5x-7x times the big blind you will probably get it heads up with him, unless you run into AA,KK,QQ,AK with a moderate stack. If you do you are an underdog. That isnt the issue here though. You are going to get called by the small stack. I dont care what he has. You are going to go into the hand AT BEST a 51% favorite, AT WORSE a 76% dog. This isnt the time to risk droping from an M of 20 to 17. If you have to play this hand, call the blind let him push all in and get the SB and BB to call his all in bet. Then you have to decide to come back over the top and isolate him (which I do not suggest enless you have a read on the SB,BB) or to limp for value.

Now lets look at that same situation, except the guy to your left has an M of 40. Before you get tricky here, remember he has twice your chip stack for a reason. Also remember he isnt afraid of your 5x BB raise. In fact you are best folding here. If you limp he will often raise, putting yourself in a bad situation. Just stay out of his way until you get a good hand. Dont make it look like you are trying to steal from him. Let him have his blinds. Let him isolate players. Then when you have a legit hand, make your move. More often then not he will pay you off. If he doesnt, increase the hands you move with until you are feeding yourself. Just know his limit and dont push it. When he pushes back you will be sorry, because your M suggest that you dont have the stack to fight with him.

Now, the third situation. Suppose you still have that M of 20. The guy to your left has an M of 6. He isnt in panic mode yet, but he is getting there. Push him around a bit. He isnt likely to want to go to war without a premium hand. He can not limp to your raise with K8off. He is likely to get out of your way. Final thought is that even IF he does push back you are arent risking a huge portion of your stack to get in what is most likely a coin flip.

Identifying these players who dont have a lot of chips but arent in panic mode is huge. You want to watch their actions. They likely have 1 move, all-in or fold. There is a big tell in knowing this. If you see them min-raise or make a very small raise (which will still commit themselves to the pot) flags should be going off. He really doesnt want to commit himself to a pot for a small raise. The most likely holding in this situation is a high pair or AK.

The main point of this post is that to get really deep in tournament play you need to be able to steel blinds. You cant just sit on your stack and wait for action. You cant just assume you will have a shot to raise when you get on the button. You have to be proactive in looking for ideal spots to throw a raise in knowing that you have a good chance of not being called. If you can steel blinds effectively you greatly increase your shots of lasting deep. The key in doing this is knowing when you can and can not steel blinds. Also, you dont need to do this too often. Once in a table turn is more then enough. Maybe once every couple times around the table. This should give you enough time to get the hands you need to stay alive. If you start trying this too often you will get noticed and people will start calling you with lesser hands. When this starts to happen you will loose your ability to steel blinds and need to tighten your playing hand selection. It often has an inverse effect because you will be raised by 33 when you through a raise in with AQ and often you will have to make a very tough decision.

Bottom line, it is imperative to pick good spots to steel blinds in big tournaments when the blinds start to increase. Dont do it too often, and dont start too early (when other players M's are still relatively large).

Thursday, July 20, 2006


So Close

Well, I almost made a final table in a tournament with 1000+ players...

I wanted to clear out my party poker account so I played in a $3 MTT.

In the Image above thats me Highlighted NickChristy1.

Finished in 11th place for a grand total of thirty some dollars, top place was over $800. Got caught trying to steal the blinds in the big blind with A5 for over 2/3rds of my chips, which left me short stacked. After that I folded until I got back into the big blind with only $31k left and the blinds at 15k/30k. Actually got a great flop for the hand I had (2c4c) when 5dAc5c hit the board. I was actually thinking the poker gods where on my side and going to give me enough to fold into the final table and hopefully double up a couple times. Didnt happen. My straight/flush draw didnt improve and 9dQd took the pot down.

What really sucks is that I just played 5 hours of poker and only got $30 to show for it...

Oh well, maybe next time :)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Situational Poker Answer


Here was the situation....
Late in a 6 player SnG
Three players left, payout is two
You have 2600 chips
person to your left has 6900 chips
person to his left has 2500 chips
Blinds are 75/150, you are in Big Blind

Little bit of history before we get to this situation,
the guy to your right (two seats to your left) has been very aggressive
He bets when you don't show strength, he raises on draws.
The hand before this hand he lost a huge pot to the guy on your left when his AA was cracked by 6J.

He limps into the pot and you look down at 5c6d and check
The flop comes Kc2c6s
He bets $1000 into the pot.

What do you do?
a) put him on a better hand then you, more then likely the king and fold
b) put him on tilt figuring he has a flush draw, but fold because you are only 50/50
c) put him on tilt figuring he has a flush draw and raise all in
d) put him on an ace hoping that no-one hit the board and push all in
e) figure you have him beat but with the payout at 2 you would rather play it safe and fold

First of all, thanks for the comments guys
I ended up folding the hand. My reasoning follows some of the same line that you guys took. I was close to the money, and this wasn't the hand to gamble on. I thought I had a pretty good read on him and put him on a flush draw. The way he acted seemed like he was tilting a bit from the previous hand and wanted to get his chips back quickly, whats the best way to do that? Get all in. He bet big after the flop on a draw knowing that I would have either hit the flop hard and pushed all in, or missed it and folded. If I hit the flop hard he was at worse at 35% dog, but probably at 51% favorite (based on what cards he had, whether he had overs or not, which he probably did). The other key input that I used to make this decision was a simple one. I thought I was a better poker player then him. This is real simple but it helped me make my decision. I knew that I wasn't in immediate danger of being blinded out and that given enough hands I could put myself in a better situation against him for all his chips. If I thought he was a better player then me, my thinking might have changed. I might have thought this was going to be a coin flip and the best chance I will get, so I should take it.

Even though I folded my hand, he showed his cards (I guess to say... ha I was on a draw and you folded) and it turns out that I was right. Ac8c, he had two overs to my pair and a flush draw. He was the slight favorite there so the fold actually was the correct play.

As a small sidenote he would knock me out on the very next hand when I got all in preflop with KcKd and he hit a straight with KhQh. Whats the lesson in this? Sometimes it is best to wait for a better situation to get your money in the pot even if you think you have a pretty good read on a player, and then when you get to that better situation he still might draw out on you.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Situational Poker

Here is an interesting situation for you.

Late in a 6 player SnG
Three players left, payout is two
You have 2600 chips
person to your left has 6900 chips
person to his left has 2500 chips
Blinds are 75/150, you are in Big Blind

Little bit of history before we get to this situation,
the guy to your right (two seats to your left) has been very aggressive
He bets when you don't show strength, he raises on draws.
The hand before this hand he lost a huge pot to the guy on your left when his AA was cracked by 6J.

He limps into the pot and you look down at 5c6d and check
The flop comes Kc2c6s
He bets $1000 into the pot.

What do you do?
a) put him on a better hand then you, more then likely the king and fold
b) put him on tilt figuring he has a flush draw, but fold because you are only 50/50
c) put him on tilt figuring he has a flush draw and raise all in
d) put him on an ace hoping that no-one hit the board and push all in
e) figure you have him beat but with the payout at 2 you would rather play it safe and fold

Leave your move in the comments and I will explain what I did and why and post the final outcome as well later in the week...

Friday, July 14, 2006

We interrupt this blog to bring you this news warning....

STOP LOSING BIG POTS WITH TOP PAIR

.... back to your normally scheduled poker post.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Results from last post

Only had 1 person leave a guess so I cant give an award or anything for being the closest to the actual results, but here they are for fun...

Original raiser had 10d10h
Second to act had Kd9h
Button had 2s4s
Small blind had Ad8d

So first guy bet $25 with an overpair, next guy raised $28 with top pair king kicker, next guy moved all in with two pair, last to act now had the odds to move in with her diamond draw. And the first guy called the rest of his chips (although he probably shoulda folded here).

I was the K9. I know it was probably a horrible move to raise back over the top. I wasn't really worried about the first guy, figured him for a flush draw (because that is the way he plays flush draws). The next person usually plays decent cards so I didn't think had gotten a piece of that flop in any way. The last to act at best had flush draw or mid pair (because she likes to play suited cards and weak aces). Calling the $25 was not an option because I would become committed to the pot, so it was either all in or fold. I shoulda folded, but fell victim to something I often fall victim to... Downplaying my opponents hands when I know they are weak opponents. I shoulda seen the players left behind me, and the $25 bet in front of me and folded..

Oh, how did the hand end up?
10 hit the turn and the set of 10s held up.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Hand Analysis

don't have much time, just wanted to post a quick hand from a real live home cash game I played in last night. It was 1-2 no limit, most people buying in around $100. See if you can diagnose this hand..

There was a raise preflop to $10 with 3 callers
Flop comes

2c9d4d

First to act bets out $25
Second to act moves all in for $66
Third to act moves all in for $80
Fourth to act calls all in for $70
original better calls for $80

Preflop positions were
First to act (who raised 10, and lead out for 25) was in the big blind
Second to act was in mid position
Third to act was on the button
Fourth to act was in the small blind

Other information that might be handy
There was 2 additional callers before the big blind raised preflop.
Preflop
When the first caller of his raise called the $10 bet the pot was $22
When the button called the $10 bet the pot was $32
When the small blind called his raise the pot was $42

After the flop
The raiser led out with his $25 bet into a $52 pot
Second to act raised all in to make the pot $118
The button raised all in to make the pot $198
The small blind called all in to make the pot $268
The big blind (original raiser) called the all in to make the pot $328

What do you think the
Original raiser had?
Second to act had (mid position)?
Button had?
Small blind had?

Obviously you wont put them on their exact hands, but a range.

Just thought this would be a fun exercise to test your reading ability... I sure had it wrong..

I will tell you which one I had in a later post.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Someone tell me this is a joke? Are you kidding me? Atlantic City Casinos have been ordered to close their doors. Apparently there is a huge dispute over the NJ budget and the state of NJ ordered all non-essential employees to not report to work. This effects the gaming commission, therefore the casinos can not operate. The irony in all of this? The casinos are a huge part of the revenue for the budget. Even more irony? I had a scheduled trip to AC today!! Out of all the days for something like this to happen, how do you suppose they pick the day that I have my trip planned for?

Well, looks like I will have to get back to online play today :(

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy 4th to all.

I will be leaving for AC in the morning, wish me luck!!!

Any suggestions on which card rooms are the best? I have been up a few times, but haven't played heavily at any particular room. This trip I want to be able to sit down and play a lot of poker.

I want to go back and look at another big hand from my last tournament..

This one was title Big hand 4.
I am chip leader at my table at this point with about 20k blinds are 300/600.
I am dealt QQ in the big blind.
3 callers to me, I raise to 2400.
1 caller to the flop
caller was out of position and checked in the dark
94A came out.
I put a feeler bet of 2400 out and he raised to 6000.
I called his raise.
Turn brought a 6.
He went all in

What do you do in this situation? I had enough information on the player (although I hadn't been playing with him long) to sit back and contemplate making a call here. A friend of mine warned me when he came to my table that he was solid. If he hadn't told me this I might have folded to the ace off the bat. However this piece of information made me stop and think a little longer. Could he be making a move without the ace?

This has turned into a big pot and is definitely worth fighting for at this point. What other pieces of information do I have..
He called a raise of 2400 with 4800 in the pot preflop.
He was being offered 2-1 on his money preflop. Not horrible, but not great. Not good enough to be playing any suited cards, but good enough to hold a hand like 10J suited, double paint, a high ace, or a pocket pair.

What holdings concern me here?

A pocket pair, say 99 or 66 that hit a set.
KK the only pocket pair not to hit the board that beats me, and a high ace.
If it is a high ace it is unlikely that he has AQ because I hold two queens.
To call the preflop raise I think he would need at least A10. He has shown pure strength up to this point, which makes me doubt A10,AJ.
These hands are strong but not strong enough to raise then push all in after the raise was called. Ak is a strong possibility, except for his preflop action. He acted before me. He just limped into the pot prior to my raise. A solid player usually does not limp with AK.

He probably wouldn't limp with any strong ace. That leaves 99,66,44. I think 66,44 are strong possibilities based on how he has played this hand.

What other pieces of information do I have available? Remember he raised my 2400 off the flop. I took a good amount of time to make that call. He very well could be playing off of this. If I took a while to call his initial raise I would certainly have to improve to call another big raise. Could a 6 have improved me? Probably not. He knows I fear the ace at this point. He has to know I fear the ace. That explains his moves, but I still don't have enough information to make this call.

I glance over at him quickly to see how he is handling me taking a little while to make my decision. He is sitting with his arms folded staring away from me. He is sitting in a very stern manor to suggest that he is very tense right now. He wont look at me, which makes me question what he is hiding. I look under his folded arm and see his heart beating from the side of his chest. He is breathing heavily. That is it, he is bluffing. He has to be bluffing. He is doing everything he can to not give me a tell, he knows I am weak against an Ace and he is making a move.

I take one more second to make sure I want to make this call, and finally I say it... "I call".

He looks at me and utters... "I really didn't want to hear that" as he flips over K9. I jump up from my seat in amazement that I just made that read. He is shaking his head, saying I cant believe you could make that call.. The hand ends and his chips slide over to my stack. He walks over and shakes my hand, telling me how amazed he was that I made that call. I hear him in the background saying he would play that hand the exact same way again.

My question to you is, do you think (ignoring the end result) that I made the right move?

Would you have made the call with the same information available?

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