Saturday, February 12, 2005

Well, hello there again (or just hello, for the Hella Newbies)! I'm here to tell a tale of nine sit-n-go's. But first, I must soothe my aching skull... [queue ibuprofen].

There. That's better.

OK... well, today I decided to sit down to a few SnG's on Empire - the $5+1 variety. I've been scrapping together my own personal baby-SnG strategy - a piecemeal collection of tips I've read on other blogs, strategies from various books, and truths I've come to believe from my own experiences. After today's bunch of tourneys, I think I've finally got a feel of my game at these stakes. Expect a writeup soon.

But for now, I bring you tales of what ended up being a good day at the tables.

Since most people like to eat their dessert before their green beans and carrots:

SnG's played: 9
1st place finishes: 2 (Net +$38, 50-12)
3rd place finishes: 3 (Net +$12, 30-18)
Busted: 4 (-$24)
= + $26

Read on for the stories...

My last SnG was the most satisfying, so I'll tell that one first.

Level 1: An early hand in L1 saw me in the big blind with JhTs. 6 limpers, including the small blind, so we go 7 to the flop. 6c-7d-8c. Gutshot draw for me! One to my left throws out a minimum bet of 15, with 3 callers. I'm getting over 10:1 on my money - there's 165 in the pot now, versus the bet of 15 to me. My draw is giving me 5:1 to complete on the turn or river, and I do have 2 overcards. I call. Turn comes Th - I've got top pair now to go with my draw. Two flush draws onboard. It's checked around, and last-to-act bets out 135, about 3/4 of the pot. One caller behind me. There's now 450 in the pot, and I have to call 135. I should have folded here. I didn't, hoping my top pair would hold up. I called, and two folds after me, leaving me with the bettor and small blind. River comes a 2d. Bettor pushes out 405 into a pot of 585. If he's got a 9, I'm toast. The SB folds, and I fold. That left me with 635 in chips - very playable for the 10/15 blinds, but a disappointing hit nonetheless.

I should have folded the turn bet. At the time, I was thinking, "But if I hit, it will be SUCH a sweet pot!" That's the kind of thinking that gets me into trouble. I can be so good at laying down the unprofitable draws - except when I'm chasing them.

A few hands later, I see KdQc, one off the button. I play it for cheap in late position and take down a pot of 295 on the turn without a showdown, having flopped my King and bet it aggressively post-flop. I'm feeling better at this point.

I played hands here and there through levels 2, 3, and 4 - picking up enough chips to cover what I lost in blinds, plus a little.

The first hand in level 5 (blinds 100/200) gave me my first indication that lady luck was on my side for this game. I'm in the BB with J3o, 1,575 chips in front of me. I'm 3rd in chips but not by far, and we're down to 4 players. I take the free flop of 7-8-J. Nice - Hit my Jacks, but with my crappy kicker, it could be dangerous. What the heck - only 3 of us went to the flop, I think my Jacks are good. A feeler bet should help me figure it out; I toss out the min bet, 200. One call, one fold. Turn comes a Q with 3 spades now onboard. I'm holding a spade (so what if it's the 3), and I've got a 2-to-1 chip lead on my remaining opponent. Time to put him to the test. I bet out 720 into a pot of 1,000 - exactly what he's got left. Since he's holding QT (red ones), of course he calls. Yikes! Then, the devastating turn - for my opponent, anyway: the 3d. I take him out with 2 pair, and we're now all in the money. Isn't it funny how much we love those river suck-outs when they fall in our favor?

* Money dance * * Money dance *

Shortly thereafter, we were heads up. My final opponent was one who got all kinds of notes scribbled about him in my Empire Poker notes box. He was something else - one of those any-ace-or-face guys, loved to overbet the pot with bottom pair and push people off hands (probably with junk). I had a good feel for him by the time we got heads-up, and he definitely backed off the aggression when I started playing back at him. Behold the power of the re-raise! Once I knocked him off his pedestal, he started pulling back and folding to my bets. I picked up 9 consecutive small pots off him with a minimum bet on the flop after that, and then the clincher:

Blinds are 150/300 and I'm BB. I've got 9s5h. He calls, I check. Flop comes 9d-2d-9h. Gotta love flopping 3 of a kind heads-up. I decide to slow-play. It's not too likely that he's on a diamond draw at this point, and after taking 9 pots in a row from him (after seeing his early aggression), he's got to be just itching to play at me. Sure enough, he does. I check, and he comes out for a bet of 300. I pause, and then call. Turn comes 4s. (This made him a pair of 4's). I check. He bets again, the minimum of 300. I pause a little longer to "think about it," and call. River comes Qh. I check, praying he'll bet into me one more time (and hoping he hit a queen). Hallelujah - he goes all-in for 2605. I have him covered by 1,000 and gleefully call him. I take the pot with my 3-oak nines.

* First place dance * * First place dance *

That tourney was definitely my favorite of them all, for two reasons. First, I didn't let an early mistake take my mind out of the game. I consciously decided to let it go and move on. It worked. Second, I really feel like I outplayed my opponents. I had a great feel for when to scoop up a loose pot, when to let a good hand go - I really sensed that I could pick my spots in this game. I caught a few lucky hands, but I played them well and I think maximized my chip extraction on them.

My earlier first place finish happened while I was on the phone with my mom. I was supposed to be meeting her for lunch, but I went so far in the tourney that she was calling me from the restaurant asking where I was. (I only live 5 minutes away from it, so I wasn't too worried). I told her to stay on the phone to hear me finish second - little did I know, I'd catch some mad cards and take down first place. Two flushes in a row brought me from a 4:1 chip-stack-dog to the winner of the game. I was so surprised and excited that I hooted and hollered on the phone to my mom. As I did the "I won twenty-five-dollars" chant, she says to me, "In real money?" [queue DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince.... "Parents just don't understand...."] She's not too computer savvy; this online poker thing doesn't yet make sense to her.

Lunch always tastes better when you just placed first in a tourney.

It seems amazingly that I either do very well or very horribly in these tournaments. Of my 4 busts, 3 of them were 10th place finishes (ouch). One saw my pocket Jacks get sucked out on the river to a board of all undercards, and a guy who called a pre-flop raise of 4xBB with 6-4o out of position. I cursed at the computer monitor on that one. Another saw my AJ with top pair onboard fall to AQ. (I dislike AJ soooooooo ridiculously much). The other saw most of my chips vanish with pocket Jacks turned trips on the flop of J-7-8. Turn and river come 6-5, and I lose to A9 offsuit for the straight.

I'm not mad at my plays on any of those hands though. Really, they were good hands that I either got sucked out on or just ran smack right into bad luck. All three were cases of fishies calling down bets without proper odds to do so on draws that were a miracle to hit. Too bad for me, they hit.

The other bust was a 7th place finish, and my other 3 money finishes were 3rd. One was a gift - there was a massacre whereby 3 people went out on one hand, leaving me in the money, when I probably should have had no business being there with my little stack. Thanks guys! The other two, I think I earned.

I blew $6 of my winnings on a limit Omaha Hi/Lo tourney. Man, did I do bad! LOL! I played it in the middle of my NLHE games, to break up the monotony and give myself a break. You know, mix things up a bit. It took me about half my stack just to really remember how to play - I was calling off chips left and right where I should have been fold-fold-folding. When I finally got the hang of it, I made a valiant comeback from down to the felt, but alas busted out 8th. I hadn't expected to win, really - and the game served its purpose of refreshing me and my spirits. I got a good laugh at myself and was ready to take on some more hold'em.

Net result for the day: up $20. No big deal to most people, but to me, that's a 40% increase of my online bankroll. I'm pleased!

Tomorrow I don't think I'll play online, or not as much, anyway. I have a bunch of writing I want to do. I have 2 post ideas I'd like to write up, and an outline for the book I've decided to write: how to create, manipulate, and hack Blogger templates. Yup! I'm going to try and write it. I sent a book proposal over to O'Reilly & Associates (the people who make the computer books with the animals on the cover). Even if they don't like my idea, I've decided I'm going to write it anyway and maybe self-publish it. I've always wanted to write a book - I've just been waiting for the right idea to come along. I've finally found it! :)

Goodnight all....
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1 Comment:

  1. Human Head said...
    [Mr. Burns] A book on blogger hacks, eh? Eeeeeexcellent. [/Mr. Burns]

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