Glenn's Poker Journal

Husband to FeliciaLee.. here are some of my poker adventures in 'bilking the internet poker machine, six dollars at a time' (--quoted from Sean, Anisotropy).

Location: United States

NOT a poker blogger!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Making Luck, and Charging Others

After winning my seat Saturday evening, Felicia and I headed out to Vegas on Sunday.

My first couple sessions were great. I started at the Wynn 8/16, but the players where kind of tight and talking about how the 15/30 games were at different locations. I was able to finish one round only $22 down -grin-. (I defended my first blind with JTs, and flopped top two, but the late position raiser had flopped a set on me; we went to 4 bets on the turn... Doh! Flop was JT2; I just didn't put him on raising the blinds with 22; although 'set' was what I was thinking once he made it 4 bets.)

I moved to a 4/8 seat in a new game and found the fish that I was looking for. JTo flopped two pair again, but this time held up. A3o from the BB flopped bottom pair with nut flush draw (since flop was all spades to match my Ace of spades). Once an ace hit the turn giving me top and bottom and I bet again, the remaining player gave up. I more than made up for the 8/16 loss by the time Felicia came over to me and said "my game's no good, let's go".

We went to Bellagio and I got up to 80 ahead in their 4/8 game, until my luck just started to tank. All premuim hands lost; no draws got there; all steals were tharwted, CBGB's, etc. (CBGB => Continuation Bet Gone Bad; not the famous bar :) I managed to leave one stack ahead by the time that Felicia was ready. She got lucky with rolled Aces in her 20/40 stud game, and filled up against a flush and someone else caught in the middle. (Gooo Felicia :)

After Bellagio, we decided that we'd play some at Mirage (though neither of us like the room) while we waited for people to show for the dinner that Mason was holding for the 2+2 moderators. I ended up losing a rack in the 3/6 game... Oi! Set under set, losing to gut-shot straight and all kinds of things. I didn't want to get up because they were playing so badly.. but they were just getting there! Give you an example of how badly they were playing: I flopped quads with 'presto' on a board of 565, two spades. I got bet into, got a call, and I just called. Initial bettor check-called the turn, after the board double paired! Straight draw? Flush Draw? Drawing DEAD to either, yet he PAID a turn bet to see the river, drawing dead. He obviously didn't have a 6, since like I said it double paired: 5656. We would have gone to war. Just an example how sucky they were. Just too many lucky hands against me, or draws that just didn't get there.

This table, however, is where I witnessed the "Making Luck." It's been discussed about how people 'make' their own, and that helps classify them as a good poker player. There was one of those players at my table. (I'll call him Red, since he was wearing a red coat.) He'd raise either in late position or early position with a small pocket pair; everyone would check to him, and he would bet. THREE times he turned over a set. Yes, he got lucky. But this is the issue. No one ever charged him to get lucky.

Wrap your head around that one.

One hand, the guy that check-called him down had QTo for top two on the flop. I can't recall if "Red" turned or rivered the set, but he did NOT have it on the flop. Did Mr. Broken-wing, 'I'm not sure I have the best hand I'm just going to call you down', did he ever raise him? Nope. He could have bet the flop or check-raised it and made Red pay. Then, even if he was outdrawn, ie Red still called, he would have at least charged him to get lucky. Since it's 22-1 after the flop to get your set, he'd have to make 11 big bets out of the pot to justify his call. Perhaps every so often that will happen, but not enough to make the call correct to call a flop bet/raise.

However, when no one charges him, and he's the aggressor, they're just bowing to his bets; he's putting in what he wanted to put in anyway, so, he is not getting charged.

Remembering this, I took this thought with me when I played Wynn next. I got into another good game with a guy that would be maniacal at times. I witnessed him, twice, reraise someone that raised his blind. Once, at show down, he showed 96s. Of course it was no good, but at least the guy 4 bet him pre-flop and charged him. Later on in the game, I got in a hand with him.

Passed to me on the button, and I raise with KTs. Not the best hand, but still, it was passed to me, I had a decent hand, and raised (at this time of night, the game was starting to get tightish). He decided to try to take control and 3-bet me. I four bet. Yes, I had a marginal hand, but that didn't matter, I was playing the player. I'll have to say that I did get a good flop of KJx with two of my suit, but I did NOT slow play. When he bet, I raised. When he 3-bet, I reraised. He ended up mucking 44 face up.

Since I kept raising him, I kept charging him, on his marginal hand, to continue. I had a hand, maybe not premuim, but better than average, and I kept up the pressure. I did NOT allow him to try to take the lead and charge me; I kept charging him to continue.

Fight fire with fire. Don't slow play a vunerable hand, trying to trap the aggressor (that's how my set-under-set hand lost to a gutshot; flop is JTx, he has JJ, I have TT, and he just smooth calls on the flop?? JT on the flop! Hello! Draw central... raise!)

With how loose people are playing today, there's not much reason to slow play. Make the people pay!

Posted by Glenn

The Secret is Out

Since Felicia put it on her blog, just want to post here to let you all know:

Yes, I won a seat for the WSOP Main Event. Yes it was under Felicia's account on Party.

We currently have a request into them about my playing it, since the only reason that I played under her name was that when we signed up, we could only do one per household and assumed that either of us would be able to play if a seat was won. We've informed them of this and Felicia's health issues, so we'll see what happens.

Meanwhile, since I found out that I can have my own account now, I'm going to try again. If I can win another, then kewl, situation solved. If not, well, we'll keep on them about her condition and see if we can get it switched over to me.

Posted by Glenn

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Know when to get up

Hey all.. still riding that roller coaster of poker. Couple weeks ago I was up and down a lot, but still posted a little win for the week. Last week was kind of killer; so I was hoping that it would extend into this week. However, I ended up starting the week at a loss.. yesterday made up for it.. then today started at a loss again.. played some live poker and made up for it again! Aiyaaa!

So, the title. Yeah, I wanted to 'moral' the post about "knowing when to get up" (from a game).

See, a couple weeks ago, when I was going so up-down-up-down, I started out playing 4/8 and wasn't doing well. But I was on a list for a NLHE game, so I stayed, thinking "I'll get it back in NL".

I finally got to the table (after losing 50 at the 4/8) and proceeded to lose at NL.

We started the table short handed, and I never really have done well short. I'm a tight player by nature. In freeroll tournaments I really loosen up and "play". Bluffing if I think I can get away with it; semi-bluffing if I have a draw. All those kind of things that they teach you about in Theory of Poker, etc. That's great against weak opponents, like you find in freerolls. But players that know short-handed [SH] that you have to call down with second, and sometimes bottom pair.. that's a different story.

That's what was happening to me at that table. I'd limp in a bit looser, since you have to SH.. flop a draw.. bet.. get called. Sometimes I'd fire the second bullet, sometimes not.. I was always called down either way. When I had a hand, they'd fold. When I didn't, they'd be a callin'. Like it was written on my head. I know that I don't give many tells, least not for players at these limits. Plus, when I'm watching people, they're NOT watching me! So, I know it's not like I have some kind of tell-tale twitch on my face or something goofy like that.

Could have been just one of those nights. Or it could also have been because my opponents were playing "reasonably well". I don't want to play against people like that! I want to make sure that I play at a table where I have an advantage.

Tonight, it was same kind of thing. I started getting creamed at the NLHE tables online (just a few too many suck-outs, like: JTs calling my reraise and flopping 2pr on me; J6o flopping top-pair-no-kicker, and calling AI after I flopped the straight and shoved --multi-hand w/ a 2 flush-- and dude catches miracle runner-runner for boat) so I decided to do the ol' switchero and went out to the Riverside to play some live poker.

I started in a nice loose 2-6 (spread-limit) HE game. Won a good pot when someone tried to steal on the turn (no, thank you, I really have the trips--no kicker tho, so can't raise, though I did value bet the river when checked to -grin-).

Then I got called to the 4/8 game.

Mr. ATC from my 2-6 game came over and I placed myself to his left (just as Caro would advise: "money flows clockwise"). However, I ended up getting two dealers to my left, and a couple other decent players to their left. That I didn't like.

I played a little bit and made a little.. then got outta Dodge!

One of the hands that got me was when I raised one from the cutoff with KTo and got called by the BB (one of the decent players). I got a good flop of KQJ; so top pair and OESD (open-ended straight draw). Went: check-bet, turbo-call. Turn, blank: check-bet, turbo-call again. I see the guy watching me (another bad sign). I know that he's got something, but I still bet the turn for value. When he called on the turn again so quickly I figured he either had the same draw or something. Sometimes I will check the river, not just because I'm scared, but because if I'm in last position, I get to see the other's cards first before I have to table mine; and I like the info. Guy had a suited Queen. So, yes, I took the pot.

My point though, is that the players know that, via my position, I could easily have raised w/ AJ, or prolly any suited Ace, any pair, and would keep firing. In fact, one of the dealers played just like that. This creates a different dynamic at the table. Suck-outs will be higher; you will have to show down; and you will most likely be taken off of hands here and there by others pushing their hands more than they're worth.

I'm sure there are good players that would still be able to kill that game. I feel that I'm getting better and should be able to soon. I feel that my reads at times are just so *ON*, so *there* that I can almost see their cards. I just need to make myself act on them all the time!

To give a couple examples. Two different hands, I could tell that the one dealer playing was pushing with any pair and had just a marginal hand. One hand, he gets called on the flop, but checks the turn. OK, so either he missed or has an under pair. River, the ATC guy checks to him a third time, so he quickly fires on the river when a deuce falls. Now he may be pushing pairs, but I don't think he was pushing deuces! Sure enough: dealer is called on the river and shows 88; ATC guy shows A9o for top pair of 9's on the flop. So, here, dealer doing the quick betting on the river was a classic Caro of the "get-outta-my-pot" type. So, easy check-raise by ATC guy if he could have seen what I was seeing.

Same two players in another hand. Interestingly enough, the dealer showed the same hand, 88, after Mr ATC folded the turn. However, this time, he did the fire-another-bullet on the turn.. BUT, not after enough of a hesitation that I could tell was weakness. He thought about checking again like he did the other hand, but decided to play it differently. Once again, time for a check-raise.

Last example (did I hear a sigh of relief? haha) : ATC limp-opens UTG; I have AQo and raise; we take the flop HU. Flop is QJ4 and ATC check-calls my bet. Turn is another 4 and ATC does the quick bet just like the dealer (plus I saw him bet scare cards at the 2-6), so I call without much too much worry. River is a blank and he does the chip-grab-fake-out: he reaches for his stack, but then checks, like.. "I'd like to bet, but I'll just check it down". In other words, yes, he did bet the scare card and my hand is good. If I didn't have this thing about hating to be check-raised, I would have bet. However I did see him play J4s UTG in the 2-6, so I know it's possible for him to have a 4. I just think that if he had it, he would have bet it. Last thing he'd want is it to go check-check if he really had it.

So, he tables his J8o for second pair, I show my AQ and take down the pot. Once again, if I acted on my read, I would have won another big bet.

The history behind it is the value bet I talked about earlier during the 2-6 game which was betting my trips on a 3 flush board in late position with Mr ATC behind me. He had called me with bottom pair to make sure that I wasn't betting the missed draw... It was all hearts on the flop and it was checked around; I turned trips and called a bet; river, turn-bettor checked, I bet, ATC called me with bottom pair-missed flush draw. Therefore, I've seen that he will call river bets with marginal hands as 'thief-catchers'--just hoping that he's being bluffed.

I know that I'm getting there, I just need to grow another 'pair' and do it. (And, yes, I do mean another.. I already have a big pair for, other things.. just need one for poker -grin-.)

I definitely get the gun-shy syndrome though. I have been so beat up today at NL, that I was playing weak. That, combined with the fact that my table wasn't really a weak/passive table by any means, got me to get my butt out of the seat. I did the "just say 'thank you'", for winning enough to cover my NL losses (plus a tiny extra) from earlier today and took off. I'd only played for a little under 2 hours. Although, I would have liked to play more, I had the fortitude to know when to quit.

Like I said, I'm getting there. Now I just need to think and act on my reads when I'm pretty sure that I have the best hand value bet more. Otherwise, I'm just leaving money on the table.

Hope I gave you all something to think about. Play well!

God Bless :)

Posted by Glenn

Friday, June 09, 2006

Whoohoo!! I'm international :D

Felicia informed me that I'm getting a lot of hits from a French(?) site, "Hagbard", that's listing freerolls for people to play... at the bottom (of course, I'm at the _bottom_ -grin-) they link here to my main blogger page. Um, wait.. thought you said that there was some kind of strategy post?!?

Yeah, you see, that post is hidden in the archives! So, for all you people looking for that post, I'm going to do a "Best of" kind of thingie and add a link to the left. I'll do it right after this post, so you should see it there soon. If not, here's the link anyway:

Have fun :)

On a brighter note (brighter??), I'm outta my slump! I found the ticket (for now anyway ; )


Heck, Phil Hellmouth said something about it being the best game.. well, at least Holdumb. But, that there limit crapola has been sucking the life outta me lately! I know, I know.. I talked a while ago about "Mastering the Micros", where I was actually having a good run playing 'that there limit'! Well, I also said that I was going to try to move up limits. I've been playing a ton of $0.5/$1 on Party and getting creamed. I've been down an average of 2BB/hr for the last couple weeks! Ugh!

Then I taught my doggie a new trick. He can dance now. Oh, wait, I was talking about me, not really the doggies. :p

Either way, that's false. There's nothing "new" to me about playing NLHE (don't worry, I'm not trying to say that it's not 'new' in the sense that I have nothing to learn... I have LOTS to learn). I just had been having a bad run in it and stopped playing for a while. Now I'm back and stackin' people like no one's business! Which just means that I'm due for some bad beats. LOL! (Just remember, that you're never "due"... you can miss ten flush draws in a row and still not be "due", you're still going to be a 4-1 dog on the next card, just like always.)

So, the last couple days of this week have been good, making up a little of my loses from earlier where I just insisted on playing limit regardless of the outcome.

Just goes to show that being able to switch up and play other games is a GOOD thing. Running bad in O8? Play some Draw. Running bad in Draw? Play some Hold'em. Running bad in Hold'em? Play some NLHE. Running bad there? Play some Stud/8.... ad infinitum...

Stir and repeat...

But make sure not to cream the mixture too hard or your cookies will spread too much on the backing sheet, resulting in thin dry cookies...

Of course, maybe you like that kind of thing....


Ahh, memories :)

Alright, enough of all that!

So what's the message here? To me, it's that classic, "don't put all your eggs into one basket". If you start having a tough time in one game, just switch it up and play something different for a while. You might end up liking it, and you might end up making a little scratch, where before, you were lucky to 'scratch' yourself out of a hole!

Hope you all are well!

God Bless

Posted by Glenn

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Rocky Week

I'm tryin', I'm a tryin'.. but the waters are rough!

I'm trying to swim in the poker waters, and the last couple weeks the water's been a might choppy.. but I'm hanging in there.

To give an example: Yesterday I started playing in the evening on Party... started strong and resisted the urge to do my standard hit-and-run.. so of course I started to lose. Won it back on one table, but down here and there on the other tables that I ended a couple bucks down. I was able to make a little in a 1/2 game that must have been rockin' before I got there (but of course was tight once I sat down).. therefore, I did hit-and-run there.

Then, I head over to Pacific for some NLHE. I got stacked twice right off (AA vs 95o, how could I ever expect to win over such a power house as 95o, LOL), but then stack two others (on a "brighter-side", _I_ sucked out on AA with 44.. bet my flopped set and was happy as a clam when he raised then called my AI). Unfortunately, one of the guy's I stacked was short, and I ended up down.

After putting in my stats for 4 hours of play, I was still up... 25cents. Ahhhhahahha! Aiyaaa! -grin-

While "up" is still "up", it's still a little disappointing. But again, I started the week at a loss, but made it back in a couple days. Then tonight I booked a win playing live.

Headed out to one of the local rooms tonight and made a little hit in the NLHE game that we got going short handed. Once again, the guy didn't have much in front of him (he was the one really bad player, so only did the min 100$ buy-in). I flopped a K-high flush from BB and got a call, then a raise from the fish. I was pretty sure the middle guy was drawing, so I chucked a black in to set the fish AI and (hopefully) force out the guy in the middle that I thought had the Ace. Once the fish said he called, the middle guy said he had the 5s for a GUT straight-flush draw... so I asked the fish guy if he had the As..? He turns over 77 for top set. So I sweat the next two cards; no pairing, the flush holds and the fish walks.

While I was donking (folding) in the 2/6 game, I kept hearing "raise, raise.. that's a cap" from the 4/8 game behind me. I got called to the NL game before the 4/8. But since it didn't seem that the NLHE game was going to fill, and the weakest link was just broken, I took an open seat I saw at the 4/8. Just as I sit down, 2 people got up to go eat. Oy! I blinded off about 30$ before I finally got my butt out.

I was able to steal a couple pots, but I got caught once, and I mucked to a raise. Figured it was slow-played when I was raised on the turn.. but it didn't matter, I had Ace-high, LOL. I just was trying to pick up the pot. It was 3-way; check-check-check on the flop; I fired on the turn; folded to raise; was shown 2pair (I played with the same guy on the 2/6 and the NL.. he was a 'talker', and since I talked with him, he did a courteousy-show).

Though I lost, I'm not really unhappy with my play; neither there nor at the NL. I just wasn't getting any cards at the 4/8.. best hand was KQo after an hour and a quarter worth of play.

Interesting hand there: Gets folded to the CO, who limps in. I was thinking of doing a Ciaffone if it got folded to me on the button... pretend to look at my cards and raise regardless (or maybe that's only if you're posting in the CO? -grin- I'm not sure, I was pretty much assuming to raise). Then the CO limps and spoils my plans. However, I looked and found KQo and figured I'd raise and get it HU.

What was interesting, was that the BB called (I was hoping to _fold_ the blinds, Doh!), but then, the CO mucks! Now I've read that there are times that it's correct to limp the SB, then fold to a raise. But it's almost never correct in 'limit' to limp in a pot, paying a full small bet, and then to fold to one more small bet!?!

Luckily, the BB didn't like the flop and folded to my continuation bet on a low board. Gotta pick up those small pots every so often ;)

Still, the blinds were eating into me the rest of the time getting nothing. Since I was a little up from the NL game, I ended up calling it a night.


At least I'm up for the week now... and I'm even more thankfull.. Felicia is getting better!

Lot's to thank the Lord about :)

We're all healthy, the bankroll is building (albiet slowly), and I'm trying some higher stakes and not getting my butt handed to me (so far, anyway, haha).

This coming week, I think I'll keep trying these new games. I'm not "killing" them by any means, but I want to try to move up. If I only make a little, but am able to hang while moving up, it's still a progression.

Hope you're all doing well :)

God Bless

Posted by Glenn