Thursday, November 30, 2006

Going Hunting.

Going hunting this weekend. To a place I haven't hunted in awhile. A little hunting ground called the Foxwoods Poker
room in Ledgard Conn. :-). My wife and I want to find out if the $10-20 LHE there is anywhere as good as the one in the
Borgata and the Taj Mahal.(For the international readers NJ casinos.) The last time we went there we played $5-10 with a
full kill. We had previous success playing that game but on our last trip we both got beat up. It was a no foldem
holdem game at it's worst. I never seam to have success in that environment. Hopefully $10-20 will be a better game for
us. Look for a few posts by me about the $10-20 game on Sunday and Monday. Good Luck at the tables. Tony

P.S. - Almost forgot we are going hunting for fish - LOL.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Thanksgiving weekend at the Borgata.

Played some $10-20 LHE at the Borgata this weekend. Put in my first losing weekend in awhile. Didn't mind being I was
due for a loss. Also my wife won more then enough to cover my loses. Played for around 15 hours and lost 20BB, so it
wasn't that bad. I had a good read on most of the table but didn't get cards the whole time we played. Never had Aces
or Kings. Had Queens once but they ran into Aces on a 10 high board. I knew I was beat but paid him off anyway. It's
so hard to fold an overpair in limit! One interesting crazy hand took place that I would like to discuss. A player in
MP brought it in for a raise, He was a very odd tricky player. He had no raising standards at all. He could have
anything. A new player in betwwen us called the raise cold.(When I say new I mean this was only her 2nd time playing
HE, she told us she was a stud player for 40 years.) I had 2-4c in the BB and decided to defend with it. Flop came
down Q-J-3 rainbow. We all checked the flop. At this point I put him on A-K or A-Rag. Turn brought a 2. I checked,
new player checked and he led out. I check raised to get the hand heads up. She thought for around 5 minutes and
finally mucked.(Knew she had the best hand at this point.) He called my raise pretty quickly. I still put him on A-K,
but wasn't sure. River brought a blank and I checked thinking he would bet his A-K. I was expecting to call and
showdown a winner, a pair of 2s! He checked behind me and showed down a pair of 3s for the winner. I knew he was weak
but never put him on 3-5 of spades. Should I have bet the river? Later on my wife and I discussed it for a long time.
The whole table talked about this hand for like 15 minutes. Maybe I should have bet out on the end. He may have called
anyway but I doubt it. Problem is he called my check raise on the turn pretty quickly so I thought a bet on the end was
a negative EV play.(Thinking he would only call if he had me beat.) Thinking back now I know I should have bet the
river. What happened is that the turn put 2 spades on the board. That is why he called my check raise. If I lead out
on the river he may have folded. By the way the player in between us was really mad about this hand being she folded a
pair of 10s. Hope you enjoyed reading about this hand. I will put up more posts about the Borgata game this week. By
the way IMHO the Borgata has the best poker room on the east coast! Good Luck at the tables. Tony

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Gus Hansen Presents: 'Betting out of Position'

Betting Out of Position
Every Hold 'em strategy guide talks about the importance of positional advantage. The standard thinking is that the player who acts last has more information than his opponents, so he'll have a better sense of where he stands in a hand and can, therefore, make better decisions. There's no doubt that this is true, but it's important to understand that the power that comes with position is often granted to the late-position player by the early-position player.
To see what I mean, consider a pretty typical No-Limit hold 'em hand. Say that I'm in the big blind with 7s-8s - a nice, flop-worthy hand. The player on the button raises to three times the big blind and I decide to call. Many players would check the flop under almost any circumstances. But, by checking, you give control to the late-position player. He can bet whether or not he has a hand, putting you in a tough spot if you don't get a piece of the flop.
In a hand like this, I believe it's best to look at the flop and ask, "Is it likely that these cards helped my opponent?" Once I have an answer to that question, I can decide how to proceed.
If the flop is Ah-Kd-9c, I'd probably just check and fold to a bet, as my opponent was likely raising with big cards and caught a piece of the flop. However, if the flop is 9c-5h-2d, I'd probably be more skeptical. I know that in Hold 'em, two unpaired hole cards will fail to make a pair on the flop about 66 percent of the time, and this seems to be a flop that the pre-flop raiser might have missed.
If I suspect my opponent didn't connect, I'm going to take the initiative and bet out about half the size of the pot. Betting here with my gutshot draw offers several advantages. First, I might take the pot down right here, and I'm always happy when a semi-bluff forces a fold. But even if I get a call from my opponent, I've forced him to react. That gives me a chance to pick up a read. If my opponent seems uneasy, I might continue with my semi-bluff on the turn and try again to pick up the pot. Or, if I feel my opponent is strong, I can check and fold to any bet on the turn if I fail to make my hand.
Stabbing at pots when out of position can be very lucrative. In tournaments, I'll open-raise out of position fairly frequently because I think there's a lot of power in being the first one to fire at the pot on the flop. I pick up a lot of small pots that way.
As you work on your Hold 'em game, remember that you don't have to give the advantage in the hand to the player in late position. Look for opportunities to bet out and seize the initiative.
>> Another great post from the premier Online Site Fulltilt. Click through on my links at the top of this blog to check them out. Good luck at the tables. Tony

Monday, November 20, 2006

Yet more $10-20 at the Borgata.

Played some great $10-20 LHE at the Borgata this weekend. We have been employing a hit and run strategy in this game
for the last few weeks. This weekend we will try playing in a really long season. As a test we will play for around 10
hours to see if our results are the great as the hit and runs have been. When I say we I am referring to my wife and
I's combined sesson results. We don't soft play each other but we do consider the money each of us wins/losses as one
in the same. Here is a big hand that we both got involved in that didn't leave my wife happy! I picked up Aces on the
button. 2 people had already limped, I brought it in for a raise. My wife defended her big blind with pocket 4s. The
four of us saw a flop of 4-3-5. Not a great flop but could this have helped my opponants? Of course it could we were
playing limit :-). Guy to my left(9 seat) leads out. I raise and my wife re-raises. Alarms should have gone off in my head
but for some strange reason I put her on Kings and the guy in between us on a straight draw. I capped on the flop, one
person folded so the 3 of us went to the turn. Turn was what I thought a great card for me a 3. I bet, my wife and 9
seat both called. Hmm I must be good in this hand. River brought a perfect Ace for me! I bet and my wife now raised.
9 seat finally had enough and folded. I re-raised and she raised me again. At this point she had like $40 left from
her stack that was $250 a few minutes ago. I made a comment that I can't believe you have 4 threes here! I raised
again and she put herself all in. Meanwhile the whole table was in shock. We put in like 6 bets on the river. I
turned over my Aces full to crush her 4s full. I felt bad but we make it a practice to play each other hard. Also to
always show the table what we had so they don't think one of us was "protecting" the others hand. I sucked out on the
river but had the best hand going in. This quelled any notions that we every soft play each other at the table. The
hand brought about a lot of discussion for the next few minutes. I liked her play except think she should have check
raised my on the turn. I would have considered folding here being I remotely thought she may have flopped a set. Hope
you enjoyed this hand. Good luck at the tables. Tony

Saturday, November 18, 2006

$10-20 At the Borgata.

My wife and I are going to to play at the Borgate today. Saturday has been the best day for us to play there so far. I will post our results later. Good luck at the tables today. Tony

Friday, November 17, 2006

Cooler at the Borgata.

Played another great session of $10-20 at the Borgata this past weekend. Haven't written about it yet, been a busy
week. This hand I was involved in was a perfect cooler. Thankfully I was on the winning side of it! The 2 seat, who
is an uber-agressive player brings it in for a raise from EP. I in the 5 seat raise is up with pocket Aces. Everyone
in between folds and she re-raises. I just call her, to not give away my hand. This is effective being I had been 3
betting and caping with hands like A-K and tens all day. The flop came 10-8-3 all spades. Great flop and a bad flop at
the same time. I knew she had JJ, QQ, or KKs. She led out and I raised her. She 3 bet me and I called her. Turn was
an offsuit 5. She bet and I raised her. She shook her head and called. (Sort of like knowing she was beat.) The river
brought the dreaded 2 of spades. There was now 4 spades on the board, I didn't have one. She quickly checked. I
thought of betting but was scared of getting check-raised. I turned over my Aces and she threw her 2 Kings into the
muck faceup. I should have bet the river but I didn't want to boost her confidence if she had a spade. I was holding
over her for the entire session. Acutally had her on full tilt for the next 30 minutes. It's good to be on the winning
end of a cooler. Good Luck at the tables. Tony

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

How a Pro Thinks Through a Hand.

A couple of weeks ago, Perry Friedman discussed the importance of being able to look at factors beyond one's own cards. An experienced player has the ability to think about what his opponent is likely to hold. Beyond that, a top-quality player - a pro - will think a level deeper and consider what he believes his opponent is thinking about his cards.
This summer, at the World Series of Poker Main Event, an interesting confrontation occurred between two Full Tilt Poker pros and bracelet holders, Mark Vos and Chris Ferguson. With blinds of 500 and 1,000, Chris raised on the button to 3,000. Mark re-raised from the small blind and Chris called.
On a flop of A-J-T, Mark bet 12,000 and Chris called. The turn brought another Jack and Vos bet 15K, and Chris called again. The river was a 2. Mark checked and Chris moved in for his last 20K. Mark thought for a time, then turned a Jack face-up, showing trips, and folded.
Mark discussed his thinking shortly after the hand was played.

I was in the small blind with King-Jack suited. It was folded to Chris Ferguson who had about 70K to start the hand. He raised it to 3,000. I decided I could probably pick it up with a little re-raise, take him off of Ace-rag or a small pair. He thought for a little bit and called. I put him on a very strong hand here. He's not likely to defend his button raise with a weak hand. I'd been playing pretty tight.
The flop came out A-J-T. I figured if he had a pair of Queens or maybe a pair of Kings he might lay it down, and if he had a small pair, like 9s or 8s, he'd definitely fold. So I bet out 12K. He thought for a little bit and called. At this point, my hand is totally dead; I'm hoping for a Queen.
The turn came a Jack , which is either a suck-out or a trouble card. I have trips with the best kicker I can have without having a full house. I didn't like the situation, but I felt I had to lead out. Because he could have had A-K or A-Q, or a flush draw. So I bet out 15K, which is pretty weak, because it was about a 40K pot. He called fairly quickly. At that point, my hand is dead. I was half hoping for a King on the river and half not, because it could bust me.
The river was a blank. I checked. He went all in for 20,000. I was fairly certain he had tens full or Aces full, and I folded.
Chris later congratulated Mark on his good fold. He confirmed that he had pocket Aces and had flopped a set and turned a full house.
It takes time to learn to think this deeply about a hand. But if you put in the time and have an open mind, you're game will get increasingly sophisticated and your profits will grow accordingly.
>> Another great post from FullTilt. Good luck at the tables. Tony

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Razz SNGs.

I have been playing in many RAZZ SNGs on Stars lately. The $35 turbo one seams to be the only one for me worth
playing in, when I get home from work.(Around 6:00pm eastern time.) I have had great success in these SNGs.
Finishing in the the money around 50% of the time. My sample size is small, been only playing them for a few weeks.
I will continue playing in them and report the results here. I also love to play the $35 HORSE SNGs on Stars too.
The $22 and $33 HORSE SNGs on Fulltilt have been very profitable for me also. I can't wait for the WSOP next year. I
hope to be playing in the RAZZ and HI/LO Stud tournaments again. This will be my year. Good Luck at the tables.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

PokerStars Deepstack Tournament.

Played in the PokerStars Deepstack Tournament on Sunday at 12:00noon. What a great structure this tournament has. Start with 5000 chips and the blinds go up every 30 minutes. Also there aren't antes until level 7 I believe. I generally played my TAG style but made moves to steal pots when people seamed to be tightening up. With around 500 people left I had a below average stack of 6800 chips. I found 2 Kings from late position. As first in I brought it in for 4 times at the bid blind. The Bid Blind insta-pushed all in when the action was on him. I knew I was ahead so I called right away.(He had me covered with around 9000 chips.) He had A-K off. I hate his move here. I hadn't been playing many pots. The only thing I can think is I was in steal position so he figured I had nothing and would fold. Of course the first card off the deck is an Ace and I am knocked out of the tournament. I get all my money in as a 2.5-1 favorite and get knocked out. I played the tournament well but couldn't fade another bad beat. Of well I will play this tournament more often and hopefully will be able to fade it next time. Good Luck at the tables. Tony

Monday, November 06, 2006

Borgata Tournament.

Played the saturday $340 No Limit tournament at the Borgata. What a great structure it has! Start with 10,000 in chips
and has 30 minute levels. Paid out 18 places with first getting $12,870. Wish I had good news to report but played 4
hours and finished in the middle of the field. Was card dead for 2 hours when I finally got a hand. A-K of clubs in
early position. I pushed in my last $6000 in chips and got called in 4 places! Haven't they been observing that I have
folded every hand for the last 2 hours. Guess not, besides the big blind woke up with 2 Kings. Other 2 yo-yos had Q-10
off and Ace-9 off. $6000 was like 50% of both of their stacks. Oh well the players in this tournament weren't that
tough to beat. I will play it again on our next trip down there. Good Luck at the tables. Tony

Friday, November 03, 2006

Be humble.

Overconfidence in poker will kill your game big time. I have been playing some of the best Razz, for me ever in the
past week. On Tuesday night I won a satellite for an entry into FullTilt's $216 FTOPS Razz tournament on Nov. 17. It
was winner take all, with a slight overlay. I beat 22 people and was riding high. Next night I played a Razz SNG on
Stars and won that one also. So feeling like I can beat the world in Razz I play the $55 Razz Tournament on stars last
night and get my butt kicked every whichway.(Finished 50 out of 55!) I took some really bad beats but that is not why I
lost. I just played awful, way too confidently. Keep trying to steal and re-steal pots against players who had no
clue. Should have just played ABC Razz strategy, would have done much better. Being humble in Poker is so important.
I think I have learned my lesson. Next Razz Tourn. or SNG should go better. Good Luck at the tables. Tony

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Mixing it up.

I have had success playing in live $5-10 and $10-20 games lately. Here is a move that has been working really well for
me. It has worked when I have had the image of a very tight/very agressive player. I have been 3 betting with medium
pocket pairs 6s-10s. Here is a hand I played at Foxwoods over the weekend to illistrate what good can come out of this.
The 2 seat, who had a wide range of raising hands, brought it in for a raise in early postion. I was in the 4 seat and 3
bet him. We had butted heads often in this game, with me getting slighty the better of it. (I had postion on him also,
so it helped.) By the way I had pocket sixes. The flop came A-7-2 offsuit. He bet out immediately, I raised. He
thought about it for 2 minutes and folded his 2-Jacks face up. He asked me if it was a good laydown. I told him no and
showed him the 2 sixes. Not to needle him but to just get into his head a little. This play really had the table
confused whenever I was raising for the next few hours. I got paid off with some monster hands being people couldn't
figure out where they were in many hands. Mixing up your play is a very import concept in becoming a winning player.
Thats it for today. Good Luck at the tables. Tony