Keep Poker Weird

Not a lot of luck at the virtual tables yesterday (two turbo 6-max and one regular tournament on PokerStars, plus a Rush re-buy tournament and Midnight Madness on Full Tilt). Every decent hand I had seemed to get drawn out on (Make your second pair with a three on the river against my single-paired AhJh? Check!)

I did participate in one of the strangest hands I’ve ever seen during the Rush game. Six players went to the flop with 80 chips each in the pot. I was in the hijack position with Kc6c; not the strongest hand but worth a big blind.

Nobody raised on the flop, turn, or river, and the board showed
AdTdTs8h8s at the end of the last round of bets. This was the lay of the land:

  • (small blind) 6h6d
  • (big blind) QsKd
  • (under the gun) KsQd
  • (under the gun + 1) folded preflop
  • (under the gun + 2) 5h5d
  • (under the gun + 3) folded preflop
  • (hijack me) Kc6c
  • (cutoff) folded preflop
  • (button) Js9s

Among six hands, no pair to anything on the board. No pocket pair better than the eights on the board. A six-way chop with everyone getting back their 80 chip investment.

Hand 130: Where Tournaments Go to Die

Logarithmic chart comparison of two tournamentsJust idly comparing chip counts of a couple of tournaments. The blue line is from a July Full Tilt $5 re-buy game with a $2K prize pool where I took second place (after a heads-up chop deal) and the red line is from the $2 PokerStars tournament I cashed in yesterday.

Thought it was just interesting how the two trajectories were more or less congruent until about the 130th hand. In July, I caught a Jh on the river on hand 130 to turn my JdTs into two pair and beat an all-in AdAc. Last night it was my aces on hand 131 that were beat by a set of queens. Aces, hand 130 (ten times thirteen!). I’ll just be keeping my eye out for a pattern.

Midnight Madness didn’t go any better tonight. Out in 1,275th place. The guy following me (VPIP of 50%) had been going all-in with close to the starting chip level far more regularly than was warranted. There were four players in at 200 chips to the flop. 4d6d7d came out and it was checked around to Mr. All-In who proceeded to do it yet again. The two players ahead of me folded. I had the all-in covered and AcQc in my hand. As I suspected, when his cards flopped, he was holding nothing better than Jc9c and I had him beat until the 9s showed up in the river. I managed to squeak back up to 1,100 before I was eliminated. He ended up going out before I did even with the double up. Playing the tournament did release a $10 bonus, though, so it was almost a freeroll.

Just Walk Away

Lord Humungus

The Ayotollah of Rock-n-Rolla

I’m playing a $3K guarantee tournament on PokerStars which was going pretty well early on. I was in the chip lead for about a half hour, got knocked to about half my max, then managed to climb back up over it (by which time that figure was nowhere near the lead). Mad Max 2 aka The Road Warrior was on the TV. I picked up AdAs in the cutoff position with more then 22K in chips (the most at the table by 6K) with the blinds at 200/400 and raised the single caller—the second-largest stack—to 1,500. He called.

Onscreen, the Humungus was just starting into his speech to the encampment in the desert, exhorting them to “Just walk away.” There are times when you get distracted from the game by having something on in the background but this is a time when I really should have been looking for enlightenment from the movies. The flop was QdQc7d and my opponent went all-in for more than 14K after I raised 750. That should be a clue that he’s representing a queen in his hand, right? But I called it and got brought down to 6K when he showed QhJc and no aces showed up on the turn or river.

I managed to get back up to 15K shortly thereafter, lost most of that, and climbed back to 7.5K before going out 140th out of about 1,900. In the money but not much of it.

The other useful poker advice from that movie is Wez’s: “Go! Go! Go!”

Leave Well Enough Alone

It was a mixed bag of a night.

The evening started off with the sixteenth tournament in my local series. The hands I was dealt were not particularly good and my stack was eaten slowly away. The second hand after I was moved to the other table to replace a bust-out I was felted when my AK was outdrawn by a KQ. I went through those chips as well, forcing a second re-buy before we consolidated to the final table. After that, though, I started to pick up some hands and accumulate chips, knocking out five of the original eleven players. Came up in second place, which meant that not only did I win enough to cover my buy-ins and add-on but I actually extended my point lead for the Player of the Year somewhat (though the second of the quarterly double-point events coming up may eradicate that). I’ve been in the lead (or tied for it) for seven events now, since the middle of October.

Then I messed up in a PokerStars Aussie Millions satellite. I was doing far better than I expected; the satellites have unlimited re-buys for an hour and I not only didn’t re-buy but at the add-on time I maintained a position about 23rd in the field without that, either. As the field narrowed down to about 30 remaining entries (133 originally, with 201 re-buys and 85 add-ons), I was in 2nd position with about 40K in chips. The prize pool was large enough that the top eleven spots were going to get tickets to the $530 qualifier tournament and 12th place would get $455. I was sitting pretty. Except that I refused to sit and soon I was bleeding chips. The blinds, admittedly, were taking chunks out of my stack at 400/800/75, and with more than an hour to go I couldn’t just sit there and glide into the money, but I played it poorly after the having worked my way up from a 1.5K starting stack.

New Year

Beard-Free Since 2011

Unbearded for the first time in more than two decades.

I’d been planning to play one of the last satellites for today’s Full Tilt Aussie Millions qualifier at 1:20 this morning but after having a couple of beers, a Mai Tai, and a rum and Diet Coke while listening to The Jim-Jams at Mississippi Pizza for New Year’s Eve, I fell asleep about 1. Australia and The Bahamas are safe from me this year.

Instead, I shaved off my beard.