Sunday, 31 May 2009

Playing for Vegas

Got up early - YES, REALLY - and happened to notice a $9 rebuy Stage 2 satellite at 10.10am on Bluesquare for the WSOP. Oh well, I'm only going to be drinking coffee for the next hour so why not? Duly won a seat in the $88 Stage 1 freezeout satellite at 1.15pm, which would hopefully lead to the $540 satellite to the WSOP Main Event in the evening. A decent start to the day, had a rebuy but didnt need an add on, as I was so far ahead by that stage.

So I sat down at 1.15pm full of optimism, albeit trying to cook lunch at the same time, and within 5 hands I was out having had my Aces cracked. Pot sized bets dont seem to have any effect on some players on the iPoker network - if they have an Ace it clearly ain't in their repertoire to consider folding preflop or at any other time. Flop was 4 4 5 - I bet the pot, and he called. He'd called my preflop raise from the blinds but with blinds still at 10/20 he could have done that with anything. I didnt fancy him for playing a 4 though, maybe 6 7, but had not seen enough of him to know. Turn was a 7, so I bet the pot, and he called again. In fairness I now realise he had both flush and straight draws by this stage, albeit on a paired board, and he was getting 2/1 after the turn, but he couldnt realise that even with 17 outs his straight or flush may not be good. The river was Q clubs and I banged it in, banking on the fact that he couldnt possibly have fished all the way to the river for a backdoor flush, but of course he had Ac 6c and rivered his flush. Despite my preflop raise he clearly didnt put me on pocket 4's, 5's, 7's or Q's, which was what I needed this time - not AA. Hey ho. Played another three WSOP Jackpot sit and goes, and managed to run up a sequence of, er, 2 wins, before crashing out in 4th to another hideous outdraw.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

State of Play

No pokering today of any consequence, apart from one of my infrequent attempts to build a bankroll out of nothing on Paddy Power in their mid-day freeroll, which resulted in me getting AK UTG in the first hand. These are usually mental affairs which are all in or fold virtually from the word go or at least until the lunatics get their come-uppance, so I raised, saying to my girlfriend "watch this, someone in late position will go all in, I'll call, and be out first hand". Predictably, the button did push, I DID call, but on this occasion the button had AA. Ah well, still stuck on $6.21, which is of course an ROI of infinity so my parents would be very proud.

In the evening went went down to Star City - not the casino, but to the Vue cinema - to see the film State of Play, starring Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, and Helen Mirren, and very entertaining it was too. Though quite how long the UK cinema industry manages to survive in the current economic climate remains a mystery. In a HUGE auditorium, there were 10 people watching this film. So the cinema took £70. Presumably they have to pay the distributors hundred of pounds every time they show a movie, so if that level of attendance was reflected in all other screens at the Vue, they must be taking a huge financial hit. Have been to see three or four films over the last few months, all on Saturday evenings, at different cinema chains, and I think the biggest crowd we have actually sat in was a massive audience of sixteen. Cant think of a reason for this, other than the fact that there are usually very few films that take my fancy so I havent been in the habit of going very often. Maybe other people, like me, have just got out of the habit of going to the movies. Or is the current decline in attendances due to the ease of access to downloads of pirate copies of movies? Whatever it is, it must be killing the live cinema.

Managed one short session of cash when we got back - just logged on to kill a little time - and only played 6 or 7 hands. Played and won a couple of small pots from the blinds then a few hands later got dealt KK. I just had time to wonder how I was going to get some chips in the middle when UTG+1 pushed all in - he was the guy who had lost the two earlier pots to me, and I had him covered, just, so banged my stack in the middle, thinking he would have played AA rather more cagily, and hoping he didnt hit what I assumed would be his raggy Ace. I needn't have worried, the rest folded, and his cards were revealed to be 3 7 off suit, I hit another K, he didn't river a straight or anything outlandish, and I doubled up. He didnt reload, so I just took the profit and retired to bed. All good. :-)

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

$5 Spam

Pokertime, a Microgaming skin, sent an email which I happened to spot in my spam folder, saying they had deposited $5 in my account to "welcome me back" to the site. I cant remember ever playing on the site, to be honest, but perhaps I did, so I the software and sure enough £3.34 was sitting there so played a handful of $2.50 10-seat Double Up Sit and Goes and cashed in them all, so the balance went up to £11 odd. They are not great value - $2.75 to win $5 - but if you fancy yourself as a 5-4 ON chance to come in the top 5 of a 10 handed game, it seems easy enough to build up a little cash. Just not sure if I can be arsed trying ut a Jesus challenge on another site!

Monday, 25 May 2009

Fog on the Tyne is all Wine

GUKPT Newcastle Day 1b and high hopes of having another good run like last year. Only 42 runners on Day 1a though, which was very disappointing and almost certainly spells the end of Newcastle as a venue on the Main GUKPT Tour.

Anyway, Friday didn’t go well, I was happy enough with the table, though quite a tough bunch. A few pro’s, some regular faces, Dara O’Kearney, two Irish Open final tableists in Nicky Power and Tom Dunwoodie, Greek Jack who was on my table at Walsall, George Geary and Dan Rudd, among others. Took a bit of a hit with QQ v AJ – Paul "Fatmarra" Moss hit the Jack on the flop and wasn’t folding, the turn brought the Ace. Check, check. It wasnt a big pot, Paul bet 300 on the end and I reraised it to 800, knowing he'd hit but hoping to represent trips, because he had been savaged several times in earlier hands and had always been beaten when he'd hit the flop big, so I was relying on his current insecurity. But he made the call with two pair, fair enough, no real damage done.

Then later in the 3rd level, with blinds at 75/150, I raised from the cutoff with AK – the big blind (Greek Jack) called, which to be fair he would have done with a wide range of holdings. Flop was AAJ with two hearts – hello, trips, very nice - I checked, he checks. The turn is the 4 of clubs, so now two clubs are on there as well, but I'm not too worried he's flushing. I check, he bets 300 into a 975 pot, which seemed a bit small but looked like he was trying to take it away with nothing, so I make it 1200, then he makes it 3k. Mmmm, I'm only behind to JJ, 44, AJ, or A4 - out of all the possible permutations of hands he can have, what are the odds he has those? Assuming him now to have a strong underpair, I push, only to find he has AJ. Dunno what the odds are of that but they are obviously not bleeding long enough. Should I have sussed he had the ace with a paired kicker? Discuss. It was a real cooler and hard - well impossible for me - to get away from, though I had a spooky feeling that it didnt feel right as I pushed my chips in. I guess you should trust your instincts - I had been hearing tales of AJ outdrawing people all week in the side events and it really was the nuts at Newcastle – the deciding hand on Sunday on the final table was AJ too. Que sera sera.

Played the £100 on Friday night but was just playing for fun (and drinking) so did no good there either – my eventual push with Ad 10d from the button running into QQ in the blinds. But a decent weekend and met up with some tour regulars, enjoyed a good chat with Dara O’Kearney and Mike Hill among others.

My mate Mike went into day 2 third in chips, but donked out in 21st spot for no money – largely due to a very bad (IMO) call from the blinds for half his stack with KJ when the cutoff had AQ. In fairness the cutoff had raised him 4 times out of the last 5 orbits. But he never recovered from that. As compensation, he subsequently headed home and won a package to the WSOP Main Event on Stars – a $215 shootout with 81 players - so it wasn’t a bad weekend for him overall. Jammy git.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Running Bad

Played a “50 seats Guaranteed” satellite for the £1000 event at Dusk Till Dawn last night (€65 buy in); thought it would be a breeze to coast to the top 50 since only about 270 played, however it was like a bingo rebuy so when I got my reasonable stack decimated, then zero’d, when outdrawn by two different muppets, with 20 mins to the first break, I didn’t throw any more money at it. There are two more big events there later in the year so I’ll have a go at them. Timing isn't right to be having three days off work anyway as the event clashes with a big IT implementation at work, which is almost bound to go tits up and require my presence.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Bingo Bango

Played a “50 seats Guaranteed” satellite for the £1000 event at Dusk Till Dawn last night (€65 buy in); thought it would be a breeze to coast to the top 50 since only about 270 played, however it was like a bingo rebuy so when I got my reasonable stack decimated, then zero’d, when outdrawn by two different muppets, with 20 mins to the first break, I didn’t throw any more money at it. There are two more big events there later in the year so I’ll have a go at them. Timing isn't right to be having three days off work anyway as the event clashes with a big IT implementation at work, which is almost bound to go tits up and require my presence.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Satellite Day and Night

Two bits of poker success yesterday, one big and one small.

Was killing time at home when off work not feeling particularly well, but (feeling a little better obviously) played a daytime freeroll feeder on Bluesquare and won that, which got me into another $5 feeder last night, which I also won, so fingers crossed my luck will hold and I may get a trip to Dublin out of it, as it earned me a place in the Grand Final (sounds grand, but it’s only a $55 buyin) of the European Shorthanded Championship Qualifying series on Blue Square, which takes place next week.

The big news is that at the same time as the $5 satellite, I was also winning a $2250 package to play at GUKPT Newcastle, by virtue of the $109 Rebuy Super Satellite on BlueSquare. That lasted a bit longer. Plenty of big names and GUKPT regulars in the field last night – Jeff Kimber (I had two interesting hands against him and knocked him out), Jimmy Morgan, David La Ronde, among others.

First hand of note against Kimber I raised to 360 (3BB) in mid-position with pocket 10’s, he was a couple of places to my left, and flat called as I expected. All fold to the button who pops it to 1380. I need a double up as I’m a bit below average and with 20-odd left need to get busy if I’m going to make a dent in this, and I put him on a squeeze so push all in. Kimber folds, saying after the hand he folded JJ – which he obviously didn’t fancy in what looked like being a three-way pot, thankfully he’s a good player – and the button calls and flips AK, which doesn’t improve.

Ten hands later, Jeff's exit hand was the standard iPoker “setup” (or so we sometimes like to think), but it happens live too. Anyway, I had AA in early position, raised 3bb, Kimber flat called again, 7 high flop with two diamonds and I put him allin, which he called with KK. Game over, Jaffacake.

The best part that while the pros were rebuying willy-nilly, I had got there for $21 the previous night in a $11 feeder with $10 add on. I took the add on last night too, so my total investment was $121, about £80, so a cheap way of qualifying and more than covered by recent winnings and the £420 expenses that comes included in the package.

Was kind of surprised that Jeff Kimber was playing a satellite at all since he is supposed to be sponsored by Bluesquare – but if his deal is all based on rakeback, rather than the company just shipping him tournament fees, that might explain it. Since he recently swapped stables from Ladbrokes to Bluesquare who knows how bad a deal he was on there.

Had to play it a bit careful because at one point a guy was moved to my table on my immediate left with a monster stack, which restricted my action. When we hit the final table was surprised to see he had gone, but the NEW guy immediately to my left had even more of a monster stack – more than half the chips in play with 9 left – so I had to keep out of his way, sacrificing my small blinds 3 times out of five on average, but stealing out of position so it looked more plausible than the standard button/SB raise. Had a swings and roundabouts final table, mostly building gradually but steadily, with a few dips, never really higher than 4th from 18 left, and had drifted down and back up again, there wasn’t much between us apart from the one chip mountain. But happy enough in 4th, with 3 seats available and $550 for 4th. Got a monster hand with 6 left – KK in late position and a player UTG raised to about 2125. I reraised to 5800 and he/she called, leaving 3.7k behind, so it was all going in come what may.

Thankfully it was a 10 high flop, she pushed it in with Ace 10, missed her 5 outs, and I scooped the pot, putting me a very strong second. Should have just sat tight then, but a few hands later the shortstack pushed for about 40% of my stack, I looked down at Ad Kd, thought I could take him out, pushed all in to isolate, and find I’m up against JJ which held. Pairs were mostly standing up against the big Aces last night. When I got low in chips earlier on the final table, my push with pocket 2’s got through against the AQ held by the lady mentioned above who went out with A 10. So I had to get back to being more careful … and being an innocent bystander proved to be the best policy, as it turned out.

First significant action with 5 left involved Roscopiko (he used to post on AWOP a lot, but he’s a North East player and they have their own forum up there now). He’d been bullying the table whenever the monster stack wasn’t involved, and obviously thought he was the boss. I was mainly folding to his raises but threw in the odd challenge, usually when I had some chips invested in the blinds. The one that stands out was when he raised my BB and I called him with 2s 3s. Flop came xxK, not a spade in sight. I checked, he bet, I called. Turn is another K, I bet half the pot and he folded. It was easy to see what he was doing, but I didn’t think it was worth taking him on too often though. I am quite happy to appear weak at the table, it may be one of my strengths, so when you do make moves they think you have it. Hopefully.

Anyway, we are five handed, on the bubble, and Rosco in the SB has raised Jimmy Morgan’s BB twice, only for Jimmy to push and he folded. This time his raise was just called and they saw a flop – 3 4 x – with a couple of low diamonds. Jimmy pushed with JJ, Rosco called with Ad2d – he had Jimmy covered, but not by much, and hit his flush on the river. Arrividerci Jimmy.

So with at least $550 coming my way, I set about ensuring that I didn’t do anything stupid so I would get one of the seats. I was probably short stack at this stage with about 16k, big stack 50k plus, Rosco 26k-ish, and the other guy maybe around 18k. Not worried in the slightest, quite happy with my short stack game as I get so much practice at it, but was kind of hoping that a couple of the bigger stacks would get in a tangle before I needed to make significant moves.

There followed some movement of chips in a bit of a merry-go-round, Rosco lost a stack of chips, some to me, some to the others, then he got involved in a scuffle with the big stack when the bully set him all in preflop. Rosco made the call with 77, and this stood up against the bully’s A4os, so Rosco is healthy again. Damn! Five or six hands later, the most bizarre thing happened. With blinds still only at 250/500, after nearly four hours play, Rosco raised to 2200 under the gun, button folds, I fold in the SB, and the big stack flat calls in the BB. Flop is A J x, Rosco puts out a continuation bet of 5500, big stack all in for 39k+. Rosco has about 14k behind, sweats it for a moment or two, then eventually makes the call with QQ – big stack had A6. It was the easiest laydown imaginable, and he didn’t make it. Since he was aware from the earlier hand that Ace Rag was clearly in the BB’s range to call, and the BB didn’t NEED to bluff (other than to represent AJ against a worse Ace), it was the wierdest call I have ever seen. Even worse than some of mine. Anyway, even if the big stack had lost, to a better Ace maybe, he’d have had 26k left and still be second, so he had nothing to lose, but more importantly nothing to gain if he didnt have a hand. So for saving me having to put in more effort, grateful thanks to the Geordie grinder. Better luck next time.