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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

New address same blog

Hey all, I am going to redirect this site to my new web address in the next few days. You can go right now to I decided to break away from Blogger. I also did a little bit of a redesign . I have only played lower limit poker and online the last few weeks. I owe everyone a post. Will try to get it up this week. In the meantime update your tag to go to my new site. I don't know how long blogger will let me redirect before they get pissed. Talk to you soon and hope you are all winning..SJ

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Thoughts on Running Bad

So I continue to beat my head against the wall at the Muck this week on Tuesday. My bad run of sessions continues. I have not been able to play live that much so while is seems like a two month bad run it had only really been 4 sessions of live play in Washington this year. I guess I can look on the bright side that if I were playing every day it would be less than a week of playing. The downside is that is still feels like a two month bad run.

A couple of thoughts on the game up here in Seattle. I played at both Commerce in LA and the Muck in Seattle this last month. I can tell you without a doubt the game in Seattle is 50 times harder than the games in LA. There are not very many bad players in the game up here this last month so there are not really any easy spots to make money. I wish some fish would come back to the game up here. In one session this year we had a WSOP bracelet holder, a highly successful WSOP, WPT tournament player who plays very high, two full time pros, and the rest of the table were very good knowledgeable players. You could say that was actually a very shitty game to play in, but when left with the choice of either playing in that game or not playing at all, I make the choice to play. You just don't have the game selection options that you have in LA.

So what do I think about when running poorly. #1) Try to keep a positive outlook and table image. When you look down, get down, feel down the other players pick up on it. They already know you are running poorly and will pick on you when given the chance. There was a player last week who was running poorly at the table. He had raised the pot in middle position and was three bet by the button with Q,10 hearts. That is a very questionable three bet hand in that spot against this player, but he had been running poorly so the thought was I want to isolate this player and I will win the hand anyway. That did happen, and to his credit, the player who had been running poorly quit after that hand. He knew he was not going to win that night and recognized he was in a tough spot. Good management.

#2) Discipline. I try to tighten up when running poorly. Really tighten up. If you read my blog you know that I fight with good preflop discipline all the time. I really try to concentrate on this when I am getting the shit kicked out of me. Chasing weak hands only makes it worse.

#3) Take more breaks. After taking a stupid beat or playing a hand poorly take a break. Collect your thoughts, cool down, and try to refocus. You are already in a shitty state of mind because it sometimes feels like you will never win a pot. There was a stretch of time this week were I felt like I forgot how to play poker. I could not make a pair, I could not make a move, I could not make a draw, I was just getting run over. To top it off we were 4 and 5 handed so the variance was even higher. This makes it very hard to stay positive. Taking a break will at least try to get you back into the right frame of mind.

#4) Lastly, this too will pass. If you believe in your game and your skills it will turn. Just try to minimize the loss and come back and get them the next time.

Tuesday was a shitty session. I played $50/100 and lost 1 and 1/2 buyins. The curse of Dr. Chako lives still. I started losing before he even got to the casino as if I knew he was coming or already there. While I was taking a break I did sweat him a bit in the $4/8 game and then I watched him in the $10/20 game. If you read his blog you know he is going through a tough time at the tables as well. His is a bit self inflicted at this time however.

So how about a few thoughts on lower limits. #1) Discipline is KEY in lower limits. Be vary careful playing weak hands in early position. What I mean by that is playing hands that have a high probability of being dominated by hands that will most likely be in the pot from later position when they call. Hands like A,9, Q,10, K,J, 77's and below, etc. I would almost rather take 4,5 a 6,7 or 8,9 sooooted hand and raise in EP than call with those other hands. But only if you can get away from them when played back at or you miss. #2) You almost can never bluff in lower limits. You have to make a hand. Never try to force a hand through. If you don't have a strong hand after the flop don't try to bluff at 3 people. It almost never works. Lastly I subscribe to the thought of if you are going to open the pot, ALWAYS open for a raise, never ever limp. Even if you are going to play a weak hand. In lower limit games you want to drive as many players out of the pot as possible. Too many people see flops in the lower games. At least try to give people a reason to get out. In some of the bigger games it can be ok to limp with KK or AA's every once in a while to try and trap. NEVER do it in a $10/20 or lower game. You are just asking for 6 callers and a stupid hand to beat you.

If you noticed I have not talked about LAPC. I got my trip vaporized by work and will be unable to get down there. I am bummed about it, but hey it happens. Joe is ripping up the $40/80 games down there. Go JOE. He tells me the games are super fishy. Hope you are all winning and we will try to get them again next week. Talk to you soon...SJ

Monday, February 12, 2007

Lack of Interest or Time

I don't know about you but when I look around the blogs that I read I have noticed that there has been a real lack of posts, and when there are posts, there is not a whole lot of content in them to read. I put myself squarely in that group.

Is it a lack or waning interest in poker? Is the new legislation getting everyone down to the point that we are all just apathetic to poker these days? Is it that I read blogs that have been around for a few years and now they are getting bored, moving on, not wanting to post? I don't know. What I do know for myself is that I have had very little time to devote to this blog or to poker, and thus the posts have been very short and just talk about my results. Which of course there are very few of you who give a shit how I do. Some of you which play against me love me to lose because it means that you most likely won. I would like to try to devote more time to making this blog better. I will try to write a bit more about topics or analysis that I am thinking about these days. Maybe even some other stuff going on in the poker world that I know. Who knows. I would ask if anyone has any topics they would like see addressed, researched, or questions?

Right now however I am not playing a ton of poker. A little online still. Anyone playing in the FTOPS? So there has not been much to blog about. Last week was a complete bust. I played $50/100 at the Muck on Tuesday for almost 8 hours and won 5 hands. In that entire session I only took one bad beat. I just kept ending up on the short end of the stick with good starting hands. That happens. The curse of Dr. Chako lives. Hope today is better.

Talk to you soon and hope you are all winning..SJ

Monday, February 05, 2007

Late Post

I have been late in getting up a post. Work has just kicked my ass this last few weeks. So much so that I am not going to be able to go to LA this week and play in the LAPC. This will be the first time I have missed it in about 5 years. Bummer.

I did only play once last week on Tuesday. I got down there a bit late after work but to my surprise there was a seat open in the $100/$200 game. I jumped right in and after 1/2 hour of play they put the 1/2 kill into effect making the 1/2 kill $150/$300. I don't know how I feel about the 1/2 kill right now. I don't mind the level, but the 1/2 kill pot always ends up with the wacky 1/2 kill player in the pot defending with a stupid unknown hand. This can lead to some good/painful action.

I ended up playing just about even all night and just as I was about to quit on the blinds and up around $300(nothing) I pick up AKo in a kill pot. I raise, kill player calls, one behind him calls and we take the pot off 3 ways. Flop K,10,8. I bet, get called, then third player raises, I three bet to $450, both call. Turn a 6, I bet again, this time the 2nd player raises, third player now three bets, and I dump my hand. I know the 6 helped nobody so I was toast on the flop. They both flopped two pair, K,8 and K,10? How the hell did we hit a king and then both hit kickers. WOW. Now stuck over $1,000. I lose another right on its heels with AK diamonds, when low cards come out with two diamonds, I check raise the flop, but the other player came with me the whole way and I brick out on the river but decide to bluff at it anyway and he raised the river and I just dumped the hand. He showed me QQ's. Damn, guess he was not going to lay that down. I wish I could have hit my 15 outs however. Now really stuck. I then proceed to play one more hand about a round later. I pick up AK again. I raise in early position one other calls. Flop comes A,A,6. I bet he calls. Turn a 9, I bet out again, he raises, I three bet, he caps(oops). I just call and then crying call the river. He hit a 9 on the turn for a turned full house. Nice two outer sir. I am now stuck my entire buy-in in less than 45 minutes. I was kicking myself for not getting up to leave but when you get AK you are going to play. That is poker sir. Stupid game sometimes.

The one item in the game that really gets magnified is when you play a hand poorly it shows up in your stack immediately. Playing lower limits you go up and down but you don't really notice until the end of the night when look to see how you did. When you lose a pot in this game you get whacked for $500-$1,000 right now. You notice that even if you are not paying that much attention to where you are at the exact moment. If you run poorly like I did for 45 minutes you lose enough to get pissed about.

Aaron Katz is down in LA. I think he is going to play the $10k heads up championship at the Bike tomorrow. Good luck to you AK. Win the damn thing will ya. I will be down at the MUCK tomorrow to get my last 45 minutes back. Talk to you soon and hope you are all winning...SJ

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Out of the Woodwork

Wow, the highlimit poker players from Seattle came out of the woodwork yesterday to play at the Muck. There were two big games going yesterday, one was the biggest we have had in a long time, and both were full ring games with a list for the biggest game. We were only missing a few regulars, but the others that showed up more than made up the difference. There were guys there that I had not played with since the WSOP in Vegas. That was nice to see. Unfortunately it made for a rather tough game. A mix of good players thrown in with the gamblers, all in all it was fun and slightly profitable for me.

So the games... There were two bigger games going. One $50/$100 and one $100/$200 with a 1/2 kill to $150/$300. That is a pretty big game for Seattle. I jumped into the $50 game and proceeded to get stuck right out of the gate, of course. I only played there for about 30 minutes, played three hands, lost all three, and went over to the bigger game stuck $1,200, nice. I got it back right away and then proceeded to do nothing most of the night. Never down more than $500, never up more than $2,000. I could just not get over the hump with that one big pot to get going. I would always either walk a big hand into another, or take a stupid beat, or just stupidly beat myself. It happens.

The game did have some fun players in it however. Barry of course was there, Tweety the nightmare from my last session, she was super buried this time however and burning her chips playing terrible. Of course very few of those went to me. Then we had the guys that I have not played with since the WSOP. Rep was there, good, very wild player, see a few posts ago for the picture. He cycled about $15,000 over the course of the night. Then we had an appearance from Ian Johns. Young internet player who won a bracelet last year at the WSOP.

Nice quiet kid with a solid game. I enjoy playing with him in the game. He brought his friend Travis who is also a pretty solid player. OK, for those who have read this far a little trivia. How many bracelet holders are there from Seattle and can you name at least 4 of them?? Potential cash bonus(maybe $25) in your online account to the first person who can name all of them, and those that were in the game cannot claim the cash.

How about one hand which describes how I just could not get over the hump. The game was getting late, people were starting to gamble and press hands a bit, and I look down at Q,J diamonds in 2nd position. We are playing 8 handed right now. I open limp with the hand. This is a hand I would almost never play from upfront, and if I do I will raise with it 90% of the time when I do decide to play it that 10%. I was not happy with this move right after I put my money in the pot. I was trying to create a limp pot and see a cheap flop. Usually if you limp in an early position you create a cascade of calls behind you and get volume in the pot to hit your hand. This was not one of those games however, way too many aggressive players, it was a mistake. Ian immediately to my left raises, and then to my surprise three more players call behind him and we take the flop off 5 ways. The flop hit me hard. Q,J,7 one diamond. I bet right into the field. #1) I knew Ian would raise and drive out any stupid draws or make them pay to draw. #2) I wanted to find out if Ian had a real big hand or just AK. Ian did raise, it did drive all the others out, so I just called feeling pretty good that right now I had the best hand. The turn came the 3 of diamonds. Now I have top two, with a diamond draw. I check again, Ian bets, I raise it up to $400 and he just calls. I am now 100% I have the best. Boards pairs with the 7 of hearts on the river. I bet, Ian raises, I make the crying call, he shows me AA. I go back to even. I should not have bet the river, the better move would have been to check call, but I should have read the big hand and made the laydown. I have been having trouble finding folds on the river too much. I need to work on this part of my game. Ian was doing this well all night. I really liked that part of his game. The best move would have been to just fold the damn hand preflop like I do 90% of the time.

Results, the good news is that I won a few dimes, the bad new is that it was only about 1/2 a buyin in this game so essentially I broke even. It was fun however. Hope you are all winning and talk to you soon..SJ

Monday, January 22, 2007

Stuck to My Plan

So I did make it to the Commerce this past week on Friday after business was done. The place is starting to fill up in anticipation of the tournament this week. It could also just have been it was Friday night but I think it was a combo of both as I saw some regular Vegas players and others who are not there all the time at the tables.

I am happy to report I stuck to my plan for the Commerce this year. I played $60/$120 only with a short 30min at the $40/80 table while waiting to get into the $60 game. The games down there were great. The $60 game is full of $40 players playing a little above what they normally play. The tables were full of weak/tight, and loose/weak players. As long as you could stand the suck outs it was a spectacular game. Lots of limping from early position(and not the dangerous kind), lots of callers when that happened, and lots of hands that could get you in trouble. My plan in this game was to play super tight, as there was not any reason to gamble here. There was enough money in every pot that you did not need to win many to make money. I was even dumping some good draw hands in late position as lately I have been leaking too much money in these spots. What astounded me was that after I had been in the game with the same people for a few hours, not playing almost any hands, when I did play I still got action. People would try to raise me of the nuts, people were calling me down after I would three bet the raise, and I would show them the nuts and then one round later they would make the same mistake again. There was not much learning or observation going on from the rest of the table. Here is example A: I had been playing with this guy for over three hours and he had even commented how tight I was playing. I picked up K,10 off on the button and there were 5 limpers in the pot, I even said outloud that even I can limp in this pot. The flop came A,Q,J rainbow. I flopped the joint!! There was one early bet, a few mucks another call, and I pop it on the button. This guy who had been in the SB and directly to my left 3 bets it. The other two get out of the way and I cap it just in case he had a set and/or was just trying to narrow the field and play me heads up. 8 on the turn, 6 on the river and he check calls me all the way down with A,10. That hand is going to be good against me 0% of the time in that spot if I can call a 3 bet or cap on the flop. He had been playing long enough with me to know that, yet called anyway. Can you see how nice that game was?? He was actually one of the better players at the table. Makes for a good game. I went card dead and did not play a hand past the flop for about 3 hours and leaked back a little money, but the last hour I was there I made a ton. I ended the night up almost 4.5 dimes, happy to finally book a win in 2007(1-2) and will be back in the middle of Feb. for the tournament.

A few posts ago someone asked me what I meant by too much cheating going on in the $100/$200 game at the Commerce. What I meant by that is that there are a few teams of players down there that when there are not that many games(1 or 2) they collude. I don't think there are marked cards, but I have heard stories there too, so I would not put it past them. I just don't like that game unless it is tournament time and the tables get watered down and the teams can't play together. I really wanted to play the 3rd $100/$200 game that got started Friday night. It was 4 handed with KMS and Tommy from Seattle in the Game with two others I did not know. I knew with the way they played however that it was going to be a high variance game and I did not want to take my profit and vaporize it in two hands over there. So I stayed out and took my money back to Seattle with me.

I think I will play tomorrow at the Muck. And by the way, don't get too bummed out on the Neteller thing. Another one will pop up to take its place in a very short amount of time. There is just too much money to be made for that not to happen. The US Government chasing this stuff is a waste of taxpayer money and frankly I am sick of it. Find something better to do with my money, like give it back to me if you are going to waste it fighting a war we can't win, and arresting guys who live in other countries because you don't like who they do business with. Talk to you all soon, and I hope you are winning. SJ

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Small Update

I have only played once since the nasty session from last Tuesday. I had a buddy in town last Friday and he wanted to play a little no-limit so we went down to the Muck on Friday night. The game is $5/10 blinds with a $500 max bet, and $500 max buy-in. So not quite no-limit, but close enough. He was doing quite well, up about $2,000 then gave most of it back in about 5 hands. I on the other hand did nothing all night. Had AAA once and won a small pot, other than that played a few hands that went nowhere. I ended up stuck less than one buy-in but once again not a win. 2007 0-2 in sessions.

I chose not to go play poker on my usual Tuesday night because Cleveland and LeBron were in town. I went with my brother and the game was great, the Sonics actually won. This has been a rare occasion this year as the team really sucks. We have some pretty good seats, see pictures below...

I am traveling to LA tomorrow. Have business during the days on Thursday and Friday. Going to the Kings game on Thursday night with my buddy Joe.

I might squeeze in a session at the Commerce. We will see. Hope you are all winning and talk to you soon..SJ