35 tables so about 350

35 tables so about 350 entered. That would pay 36 or so


It looks like it strips

It looks like it strips the body of my posts off so updates will be short and sweet.


Its like a TV show here


Borgata update #1

I’m not going to talk about the Protege freeroll where I drifted down early with some speculative limps and a hand where I lost two pair over two pair from the BB.  I think I played pretty solid, but wound up pushing with AK against 88 and failed to improve.

I did get to check out the set-up at the Borgata.  They seem to be pretty well organized and I was able to buy in with no hassle.  I’m at Seat 5, which is good from the perspective of seeing the board clearly, but bad from the perspective of being able to see all the players at the table.  I like 2/3 and 8/9 the best.  The event doesn’t start until 11:00 (and apparently won’t go off on time at that) and I was pretty amped, so I hung out in the poker room for a while.  There were empty seats at 10/20 and a long list at 20/40, so I just sat down at 10/20.

Play was horrible.  There was one guy who appeared to be completely unable to read the board and had some odd ideas about proper strategy.  There was a little old Russian guy with an incomprehensible accent who complained about the bad beats and poor play by everyone who wasn’t him all night long.  I played a couple of hours and cashed out up $245.  I missed a bunch of draws early and wound up paying a high price on a few of them — so I was in a hole initially.  I went on a bit of a rush in the last 39 minutes, with a set, a flush and a straight in my last 20 hands.  I got paid handsomely on all three and decided I could go home content.  I was working really hard on my reads and I felt like I had a very good handle on most of the table.

There were quite a few dealer errors.  One time she tried to push the pot to two pair with a straight on board and another time she announced that a player had checked who apparently did not.  The whole table checked around and he bet after 6 people left to act behind him checked.  The floor was called and the guy was allowed to bet and the Russian was quite unhappy about this.  He assured the floor that she didn’t know anything about poker.  It was pretty funny.

I’m going to try to post updates from inside the event tomorrow.  We’ll see how that goes.


Random brain dump — RedPill, Borgata, Protege, New ITH promotion

I’m driving up to Atlantic City tonight. Unfortunately, there are two on-line events that I really care about tonight at 9:30. There is an ITH moderator tourney at Full Tilt and there is the 100 person protege freeroll at FCP. I have thought from the beginning that the 100 person freeroll was probably my best shot at this thing, so I’d hate to miss that and I’ve always tried to support the ITH events when I can. Unfortunately, I have a number of things I have to finish at work this afternoon, so I may be on the road when the events start. I’m pre-registered for the FCP thing, but not the ITH one. Hopefully between my law-breaking driving habits, my fast car and my fine Valentine One radar detector I will get to all of these things tonight.

I wanted to post a few thoughts on the RedPill situation at ITH, but I didn’t really want to engage in a long dialog on ITH — so I figure I can post here and delete any comments I don’t like. 😉

I probably cut him more slack than some of the other moderators and I’m not entirely sure why. I find him oddly sympathetic. Despite apparently being much older than he seems, I can’t help thinking of him as a messed-up kid. I’m convinced that when he blows up, he can’t control it no matter how hard he tries and I’m also convinced that his remorse afterwards is sincere. His email communications with me always make me feel bad about his struggles with his personal demons.

In a perfect world, those of us older and wiser in these on-line “communities” would try to act as a calming and stabilizing influence on people like RedPill. Unfortunately, forums frequently have a cliqueish nature and there is a certain mob mentality that encourages people to marginalize people like Red even more than he already is. When you combine that with people who are happy to use the anonymity of the internet to be cruel and miserable and take some perverse delight in upsetting the troubled people they come into contact with, these forums are rarely good influences on people who are already operating on a very precarious balance.

When you add in that Red himself seems hell-bent on sabotaging any progress that might be made with posts like “Fuck Matt Hilger” and long rants about the indignities that he feels that he has suffered, he becomes a difficult guy to defend.

I think he will eventually come back to ITH and I also think he will eventually blow up dramatically enough to get banned. I hope that some of those who focus on tormenting him will also get themselves banned in the process, but I doubt they will.

The new ITH tournament and league structures look like they will be very +EV. It appears that there will be a lot of chances to win some stakes in Matthew’s WSOP action and a lot chances to hang out and play some good poker with some cool folks. There are seven different events each week, so it will probably grab a good-sized chunk of my poker time. I think I’m going to have to ignore the freerolls and probably the vast majority of the Euro-friendly timeslots, but I still think I should be able to have a pretty good shot at scoring a few payouts.

I’ll be very interested to see what the level of participation will be. There are an awful lot of events scheduled and it isn’t clear to me how many new players we will attract with these promotions. It should be a pretty exciting few months.

I’ve tested a method that will allow me to post updates on my performance in the Borgata events remotely. I should be able to send updates to this blog as I move along. I’m playing in the Friday event for certain and I’ll probably take a shot at one or two of the super-sats on Saturday for the main event. If I make it to the big one, I’ll post about that. If I don’t, I’ll probably post Hilger updates. I’ve exchanged cell numbers with a few ITH-ers, so hopefully I’ll have a lot of fun no matter what happens.


Borgata, here I come!

Its official! I’m going to drive up to Atlantic City Thursday night and play in the minor event on Friday. I’ll probably also try my hand at a super-sat or two and see if I can win my way into the WPT event. I’m not going to spend $10,000 of my own money to get in, though. If I’m dropping that kind of money, it is going to be for the main event at the WSOP.

I played in the top 500 freeroll for the protege contest last night, but I stunk. I couldn’t lay AQ down to a re-raise pre-flop, even though I was almost certain I was in big trouble. I was getting 3:1 to call his push and I convinced myself it would be a coin flip. He had KK and I didn’t improve. I knew it was dumb when I did it, but I was tired and stupidly decided to chip up or go home. I still made it past the first break and I think I bouced out around 50th. I was crippled after that bad call and I never built back up enough. I wound up pushing on the Button first in with KJs and the BB called with Ace rag. Neither of us improved and I was out.

Thursday is going to be interesting. There is an ITH moderator tourney, which I’ve been doing well in and the top 100 freeroll for the Protege, which is the best chance I’ll probably have to qualify. Plus, I’m heading to AC. I’m not sure how it will all fit into the schedule, but I’ll work something out.


My fancy new header graphic!

I was able to charm my friend Angela Adams a/k/a Angelfish into building a snazzy new title graphic for my blog. As with all of her work that I’ve seen, I think it is first rate. She is talented, charming and a fine poker player. How John managed to hook up with her is a mystery to me, but more power to him. This silly thing is starting to look like something cool.

poker sportsbetting

Winning at sportsbetting, losing at freerolls

I got a real nice bet down on the Carolina/Seattle game, where I was assured of a 2.5% profit no matter who won. It involved some risk because I locked in one side of the bet way before I bet the other side and I couldn’t be sure the line would move the way I thought it would. I had some good advice and I felt pretty certain that it would, but you never know for sure. I had a brief panic when one of the books got overwhelmed in between games Sunday and I couldn’t get my offsetting bet down. They wouldn’t even take the wager on the phone. I was really afraid I was going to get burned, but I got the bet placed minutes before the game started. I was going to have to hedge on live betting with Pinnacle and I would surely have booked a loss if it worked out that way.

I also played yet another protégé event. This one was for the top 1,000 point getters over the last few months. Although 1,000 qualified, only 288 showed up. I was fairly happy with my play, but wound up bounced out again in 46th.

I drifted down to 1,275 chips in the middle of Level 2 when I couldn’t catch any flops. I intentionally decided to see more flops than usual to try to get some of the free money that the crazy players always give up early in a freeroll. There was one guy who pushed pre-flop about 20 times and I finally decided to look him up with AQs, figuring I was a coin flip at worse. I was right — he had AT and I busted him and chipped up to 2,230. A couple of hands later I flopped a set and took down a nice pot with a turn check-raise. I ended the level 38th of 252 remaining.

In level 3 I lost a big pot. A fairly bad player min-raised pre-flop and I re-raised with JJ. I flopped and overpair and bet about 3/4 of the pot. He pushed and I thought I was toast, but it wasn’t many more chips, so I had to call. He had QQ and I fell all the way to 825 chips. Ouch!

In level 4, I start pushing because I’m down to 675 chips after an orbit or two. I steal the blinds with AJ and KQ. Then I’m in the SB with J9s. The BB is away and the Button raises first-in. I decide he could have all manner of crap, so I push. He calls (uh-oh) and then reveals AQ (double uh-oh). However, I had two live cards and he didn’t have any of my suit, so I felt pretty good. I think I was about a 40/60 dog. If you throw in a 20-30% chance he folds, I think the push was OK there. I get very lucky and river a 9 and double up to 2050 and 89 of 161. I steal once or twice in the next level and end up with the same 2,050 for 81/134 at the break.

I play some real solid poker after the break. I steal in spots, resteal with TT and take pots down on the flop with and without good hands. I never have many chips at risk and steadily move up the board. By the end of Level 7, I’m sitting at 4,780 and 37th of 77.

I start Level 8 with a SB/BB confrontation that goes badly, but follow that two hands later with a nice hand where I limp with KK on the CO against an all-in BB. The SB decides to push to isolate and I quickly call. SB shows AJ and I bust them both and climb to 5,890 and 31st of 58.

Right at the end of Level 8, I go broke. I’m happy with my play, I just got unlucky. An overactive EP player raises 3x BB and I find AKs. Given that the standard 3x raise is now 1,200 chips and any reasonable re-raise will commit me to the pot, I just push my 5,000 or so chips to the middle. Unfortunately, the big stack pushes behind me (he’s been playing fairly solid) and the BB calls all-in! The big stack shows KK and the BB shows AQ, so I’m down to 2 outs for my tourney life. No miracle card arrives and I miss out on another seat.

I’m quite happy with my play, despite failing to qualify for a seat. I believe that I’m achieving my primary goal of getting more tourney experience. I’m seriously considering going up to the Borgata this weekend for some SnG action and maybe winning my way into the WPT event.


So much for Seat 3 of the Protégé contest.

I’m now eliminated from the competition for another seat. Last night was Round 2 in which 400 players were to play down to 40. We had a very crazy night on the home front and I wound up missing the first several hands by arriving a bit late. Worse yet, the stupid full contact download client wasn’t working. It keeps claiming that it can’t apply an update patch or some such nonsense. Their support told me that the whole site was down, which was clearly false since I was logged on using the Java client. They eventually came up with uninstall/reinstall (doesn’t help) and reboot (doesn’t help). So, I resigned myself to playing with the thin client, which means no hand histories.

Anyhow, I fire up the client and the table pops up with a beautiful pair of Kings over my seat on my first hand! I manage to act in time to put in a 3x raise. Since I’ve been “out” until this hand, I hope they might just think I’m a nut and reraise me. Instead, I get four callers which means an Ace is certain to flop. However, the flop is K93 with two diamonds (I have none). It checks to me and I bet half the pot hoping to build a pot and get one caller. The turn is a total brick and I bet half the pot again, since I think I’d like him to call. Even if he has the flush draw, I’m making the price wrong. He does call and I’m left with about 400 chips in my stack. The river completes the flush to my dismay, but he checks to me. He’s actually got me covered by a bit, but I can’t imagine he could check the flush in this situation. I think for a second and decide to push the rest of chips to the middle. Instead of the satisfaction of watching the chips slide to me, my screen goes blank and I get “Attempting to reconnect to server….” My stupid wireless router has gone simple. I curse at technology, my laptop and the dog I don’t have. I scramble over to the router and kick it in the slats and restore access. As I expected, the software timed me out and awarded me the pot, but I missed out on a complete double up. Still, I’ve gone to 2,500 from my initial 1,500 and I’m sitting 10th in Level 1. I go a bit card dead for a while and drift down to 20th or so by the end of the level.

In Level 2, I get a number of decent hands, but the table is playing very much like a typical freeroll with everyone raising and re-rasing pre-flop with marginal hands or making crazy all-in bets on the flop. I don’t want to get in a lot of trouble reraising with AQ or KQs or lose a bunch with a weak pair and I continue to drift down, ending the level at 45th or so without making it past the flop on any hand.

In Level 3, my table continues to be aggressive but I see a flop with a middle pair (77, I think) despite a pre-flop raise. Two people cold-call in front of me and I know there will be at least one behind me. Six of us wind up seeing the Jack high flop where I hit a set. The guy to my immediate right, who is particularly loose and agressive, fires out a ncie bet at the pot on the drawless flop. I decide to just smooth call and see if I can get some more action, but we end up heads-up. He is one of the overall chip leaders at this point. The turn is a brick and he bets about 2/3rds of my remaining stack. I wait a beat or two and push all-in. He insta-calls and turns over KJ for top pair which doesn’t improve on the river and I double up with my set. I’m now around 11th or so in chips.

I then embark on a pretty long dry spell throughout Levels 4 and 5, but I manage to steal a pot here and there and hold my position pretty well to the break. I think I was around 22nd at the break and the field was down under 200.

Level 6 continues the dry spell, but I lose more chips now. I have two quite aggressive big stacks and they either reraise me out of pots pre-flop where I either got caught stealing or don’t want to take a big chance with AJs. I end up down around 40th by the end of the level.

Level 7 was where I made a huge mistake and got sent home. I get the first real hand in quite a while with JJ and the big stack, who is aggressive and loose and not that good, makes a normal raise in front of me. I decide I have enough chips to make a normal re-raise and think I might well fold him anyhow. He calls my re-raise. I don’t remember the exact chip stacks, but I know I still had about twice the size of the pot in my stack. The flop comes down A73r and he makes a probe bet of about half the pot. I have folded to these sorts of bets several times since I joined this table and I think I have a pretty tight table image. I decide that he won’t be able to call me with KK or QQ or AQ and below and I feel sure he didn’t have AK or AA or he would have pushed harder pre-flop. I decide to push all-in and try to bully him out here and now. I’m pretty sure the pot was laying him about 2:1 after I pushed. He thinks for a little while and calls with AT. I don’t hit the miracle Jack and I go home now.

I think I should have known enough about his play to recognize that he wouldn’t fold a weak Ace in this spot. I tend to think about what I would do in a situation and conclude that is what the other guy would do instead of trying to think like he would. I’m quite good at predicting what other players will do in ring games, but I’m just not experienced enough to do that well in tourneys.

In hindsight, I think it was a foolish play anyhow. Even if he lays it down, I haven’t really improved my chip postion all that much. I know that I can often double up when I do hit a big hand and I know he is more likely to have hit the Ace than not. The funny thing is that if he checked to me and I made the probe bet, I would have had no problem laying it down when he check-raised me. This means his probe bet was a great strategy.

We were down to about 100 left and the top 40 go on, so we were approaching the zone where everyone plays very tight. I am sure I could have stolen my way back up once we got to that point if I had folded. When I played the live event at the Bellagio, the slower pace of play made it easier for me to really think through every decision. In these on-line tourneys I think I sometimes decide too hastily. I suspect that if I was smarter about the low-level aspects, I could concentrate more on the other aspects.

Of course, if he had folded and I was well up into the money I would think that this was a great example of my poker instincts and crowing about how I coasted through another event. 🙂

I think it is another example of where I almost get it, but haven’t quite put it all together yet. I’ve been talking to PokerElmo a bit about poker strategy and he’s going to sweat me and give me some pointers at a future tourney. I have a ton of respect for his game and I’m hoping this might elevate my play to the next level.


An ugly night at Party Poker

Its finally time for me to pay the variance tax. I had a very juicy 15/30 table with a real chip-spewing maniac at the table. He actually was a thinking maniac and played reasonably decent post-flop, although his relative skill post-flop didn’t make up for his horrid selection pre-flop. The best part was that his hyper-aggression was setting some of the other players at the table on tilt, so it looked like a great spot for me to generate a little cash. Some players that I know to be generally pretty good were making horrendous decisions in the face of the maniac’s constant aggression.

Unfortunately, I seemed to miss every flop or pick up a draw that didn’t come in. I wound up down $543, bringing my net for the week to $330. It was grim.

The most brutal hand was a debacle where I got in a capped pot pre-flop with JJ. The board was A3J5 with two diamonds on the turn where we capped it. I thought it was possible the maniac was on a draw, since he had been playing draws insanely hard on the turn (this seemed to be the thing that made the table coaches the most upset) or that he had AK or AJ. The river was another 3, completing the diamond flush, but giving me the second-best boat and I wound up 3 betting and calling his cap. Of course, he had AA and I gave him lots of chips. He sat out up almost $2,000 and with everyone else steaming. I was just unhappy that I couldn’t extract more value from what was a great table.

Reviewing the session, I think there were several places where I probably should have called bets on the flop (or even raised). I was adjusting my pre-flop game adequately for the presence of the maniac, but not adjusting enough post-flop. People were raising bottom pair like crazy because they knew he could easily have nothing and bet the flop. I don’t get to play at nearly enough tables where five or six people are playing this way and I don’t think I made as many good decisions as I do in situations I’m more familiar with. Possibly being stuck at the table affected me too. It is probably harder to call down with marginal hands when you are in the hole.

I’m playing in Round 2 of a Protégé freeroll tonight, so hopefully I’ll advance. I think we play 400 down to 40 tonight, but everyone in this event has already done well in a previous freeroll, so it probably will be a bit less of a donkey parade than most freerolls.