Thursday, January 06, 2005

Interesting night, as I sit here watching the snow fall down on Chicagoland. We're under a winter storm warning, and my area is expecting 7 inches of snow. That's OK - I'm not going anywhere!

I sat down on Empire tonight at a limit $1/$2 ring game with $25 and found myself down to the felt pretty quickly. The downside of sitting down at a table like that with such a small chunk of change is that if you don't catch cards quickly, you're done. At about $9 left, for some reason, I felt confident that I was going to pull some good cards and get back in the game. I have no idea why I thought that - particularly the way poker's been treating me this week.

Sure enough, I caught a couple nice hands and got myself back up to $20. I decided to take myself out of that game and sit a cheap tournament. I was trying to be cautious and not risk too much of the bankroll all at once, knowing I was probably pretty easily tilt-able after last week's bad beats and mistakes. I'm happy to announce, I think my tilt is done (much to the chagrin of all the jokers taking my money this week).

I find myself a $5+1 NL hold'em Sit n Go. I sat, we went. Premium hands only out of the blinds (except for a K-10 of spades that snuck in when I was one off the button... but hey, it did me good and I won it). I ended up taking an early chip lead, then held on while the field knocked each other out. By the time it got down to 5 or so players, 2 others were even with me. I played a few hands, picked up some chips, and put myself back in the lead. Let them beat each other up, until there were 4. I recalled a line in Maudie's post today about taking advantage of the tight play at bubble-time, and went for the steal whenever I had a hand that had a chance at holding up, should it be called. It worked marvelously and earned me some extra chips. And then there were 3. They had about 1000 each, to my 6000, so I let them duke it out. I did a little advertising, since I was catching some very primo hands. A couple of the hands I showed when they folded to me - a boat, a couple straights, and a K-high flush. This too worked like a charm, and quite often the 2 of them folded to my big blind even. (Advertising doesn't always work for me online... I must have had an impressionable audience). When it got to be heads-up, I was a 3:1 chip leader, and my opponent never caught up. I took the game down with a pair of 5's, Ace high. (Happy dance, I win!)

The most ironic thing about this tournament is that I made a huge majority of my money off of the hands I played from the small blind. (Scooby-like har-huh? sound here). Of 7,200 in chips won (not counting the blinds themselves), 5,600 of that came from the small blind position. The only other position that won me more than 500 chips was 5th position, and all other positions were less than 500 in chips. Weird eh?

I saw 79 hands.
Vol Put $ in Pot: 25%
Won $ when saw flop: 64.29%
Went to Showdown: 17.6%
% Win at Showdown: 100%

Double-take. 100%?? Apparently so. I won every hand I took to showdown. Admittedly, I played tight with my hands, but I don't think I've ever seen such a stat. 100%. Nice.

Pre-flop raise: 8.86%
Post-flop aggression factor: 3.83
Total aggression factor (including pre-flop): 1.50

Most of my post-flop aggression was on the river. 6.0 there - 1.6 after the flop, and zero after the turn (another Scooby har-huh?) . I can't imagine that I never bet the turn! The numbers cannot lie. I know I slowplayed a couple monster flop hits. One hand in the BB found me holding 6-7 clubs, and the flop came 3-4-5 rainbow. Doh! Flopped the nut straight. Check! I couldn't imagine that anyone even holding top pair on that board would be confident enough to call a bet there. So I slow-played. Bet minimum on the turn, 2 callers. Bet double the big bet on the river, 2 callers. That hand paid off nicely.

Poker Tracker doesn't run auto-rate player rules on tournament hands, so I couldn't see what neat little icon I was, but comparing myself to the rules, I was tight-aggressive, aggressive. That's what I want to see! When I first got PT, I was coming up as semi-loose/passive, passive in ring games, and that sure was a wake-up call. That isn't how I *felt* like I was playing, but sure enough - the numbers do not lie. I was lying to myself!

My first call of order since getting PT has been to tighten up those starting hands. If I must venture away from premium hands, may I only do it in late position, and get away from them quickly if they don't flop my way. Second has been bumping that aggression factor. It really pissed me off to be called "passive." I don't know why!

I often think back to a line I heard or read somewhere - I can't remember quite where it came from, but it was something like: "if a hand is good enough to play, it's good enough to raise." When I saw how crappy my aggression factor was, and realized just how much money I was losing playing marginal hands, my thoughts went back to that line. What I'm trying to do now with my starting hands is, when I am tempted to play one, I think - would you raise this hand? If not, throw it away. That train of thought helped me quite a bit in tonight's tournament. Same thing on the flop/turn/river - though when I'm on a draw and don't yet have a made hand, I'm trying to work on pot odds and make sure that my math is solid. That's the tough part, especially when instinct speaks to the contrary of my math.

Anyone got any good links to pot odds info? Plz post a comment if you do!

PS - Did ya's notice the slight color change on the blog here? My posts will show up in the pink-ish hue, and Randy's in the blue. Ya know... so you can tell who wrote it without having to scroll down to the end :)


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