Wednesday, September 3, 2008


My dear wife is out of town for 10 days or so, helping her dear parents move from Colorado to California, and leaving me to my own devices. There are chores to do, so I can’t get into too much trouble. I can, however, get in a little poker. In fact, Dear Wifey encouraged me to pull a couple all-nighters. Don’t you just love her and envy me? Unfortunately, with the amount of work that needs to be done around here, and feeding schedules for cats and birds, I’m going to limit my play to the evening hours and hit the hay at a semi-reasonable hour. At least that’s my intention. It doesn’t always work out that way for this old bohemian.

When my dear wife is home, she handles Tuesday evening chores so I can go to my pub game. I had to skip the game last night; however, I did stop by there for a while in order to get the address of a couple who are hosting a game this Saturday evening. I arrived about 15 minutes before the first break, when they divide up the ghosts (chips at empty seats). All three tables were full. I was roundly welcomed, which is nice. There was still time for me to sit down and play, and I was tempted, but I opted otherwise.

Well, that’s not completely true. As one of the hosts for the Saturday game was writing down her address and drawing a map, I sat in for her. Just one hand. UTG with AJ off. I limped, as did about five other players. It was early in the levels, $50/$100, so everyone figures, “What the hell.” The flop comes J35 with 2 diamonds and the BB says, “bastin, you’re going to hate me because I’m playing that hand you hate.” That would be J3. She bets $100.

I say, “Yes, I know what you have and I have you beat.” I raise it to $300. Fold, fold, one call and then the BB also calls. It’s nice to know what both players have. The turn is an Ace, the big blind bets $300, I raise it to $600, the flush draw calls and the J3 calls. The river is another Ace. I have the Ad. BB checks, I bet $1000 and both fold. Why did I bet so much? Simply because I wanted both of them to fold. It wasn’t my hand and it wouldn’t smell right if I took more of their chips. The woman whose hand I was playing gave me a big hug. I ate my dinner and went home.

As much as I like to write slightly nasty stories about the pub game and players, I still enjoy these nights out and, by-and-large, if the people aren’t nice (many of them are), at least they’re colorful. And as time goes along and I know them better, I begin to not mind so much when they suck out.

The same sentiments apply to Poker Academy. No, I don’t care for some of the virtual people I play against, yet there are many whom I like quite a bit. And there are some I play with almost on a daily basis whom are still complete strangers. I’ll endure the suckouts or bad beats on PA because I enjoy playing with these people, and because it builds character for those games when there is real money on the line and the inevitable happens.

Playing on Poker Stars is a wholly different experience. This is play in almost a complete vacuum. Sometimes I will be in a room where I know someone; yet even then, chat is kept to a minimum or is non-existent as we don’t want to give anyone reason to think there is collusion. No, this is a pretty sterile environment, and maybe even a bit hostile, as everyone has just one thing in mine, taking money from others. So be it. I’m comfortable with that. After all, it’s complicit. So, let the fun begin.

I have discovered that stats on a room may be deceiving. I look for rooms in which 40% or more of the players are in a hand. I want loose and crazy, right? But in the past couple days when I find such a room and then run a search for the stats on individual players, I’m turning up a lot of shark and bomb ratings for six of the nine players in the room. The other two (not including myself) are the fish that are causing all of the excitement. I don’t particularly like being in such a situation, six players waiting to feed on the dinky morsels, yet, sometimes, it works out where one good player get all of the goodies.

PokerStars Game #20082419703: Hold'em No Limit ($0.10/$0.25) - 2008/09/01 - 23:51:55
Table 'Resi' 9-max Seat #3 is the button
Seat 1: pplay10 ($4.95 in chips)
Seat 2: watiesta ($3.75 in chips)
Seat 3: 41Rose ($20.05 in chips)
Seat 4: bastinptc ($14.75 in chips)
Seat 5: vIrtUal.$1N ($11.55 in chips)
Seat 6: TallStackCP$ ($18.25 in chips)
Seat 8: VTBF2 ($6.65 in chips)
Seat 9: tofapoka ($22.40 in chips)
bastinptc: posts small blind $0.10
vIrtUal.$1N: posts big blind $0.25
Ports Rookie: sits out
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to bastinptc [Qd Qs]
TallStackCP$: folds
VTBF2: calls $0.25
tofapoka: folds
pplay10: folds
watiesta: calls $0.25
41Rose: calls $0.25
bastinptc: raises $1.75 to $2
vIrtUal.$1N: calls $1.75
VTBF2: calls $1.75
watiesta: calls $1.75
41Rose: folds
*** FLOP *** [9c 3d 8s]
bastinptc: bets $5
vIrtUal.$1N: folds
VTBF2: calls $4.65 and is all-in
watiesta: calls $1.75 and is all-in
Uncalled bet ($0.35) returned to bastinptc
*** TURN *** [9c 3d 8s] [Js]
*** RIVER *** [9c 3d 8s Js] [8d]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
bastinptc: shows [Qd Qs] (two pair, Queens and Eights)
VTBF2: mucks hand
bastinptc collected $5.55 from side pot
watiesta: mucks hand
bastinptc collected $12.85 from main pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $19.30 Main pot $12.85. Side pot $5.55. | Rake $0.90
Board [9c 3d 8s Js 8d]
Seat 1: pplay10 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 2: watiesta mucked [Tc 9h]
Seat 3: 41Rose (button) folded before Flop
Seat 4: bastinptc (small blind) showed [Qd Qs] and won ($18.40) with two pair, Queens
and Eights
Seat 5: vIrtUal.$1N (big blind) folded on the Flop
Seat 6: TallStackCP$ folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 8: VTBF2 mucked [7c 6c]
Seat 9: tofapoka folded before Flop (didn't bet)

I was a little stunned when I went back to see what the other players had as hands. I avoided the minefield, eh? And who knows what the initial caller had? I can’t help thinking how I would feel if either straight was filled, one or if watiesta would have boated. Both players were obviously looking to cooler when they called my preflop raise. This post might then have a slightly different tone.

I left the room shortly thereafter. I figured all the juicy bits were now gone. Plus, I am trying to adapt a hit-and-run strategy for these rooms. I need to build my bankroll, and getting into situations like the one above, albeit a good move, stresses me out a bit. I admit to getting a little terrorized because I can’t afford to take big hits relative to my stack size. I could, of course, move down in stakes. Yet, I imagine the play in the .05/.10 rooms is even more maniacal, and still, my bankroll is not all that much, so my stress level would probably stay the same.

The key, I believe, is to continue with the slow and steady. Even so, as I write this, I am tempted to sign on and play for a couple hours. But I have chores to do, so I’ll wait.

And if you get a chance to read this, Dear Wife, I miss you terribly.


matt tag said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
matt tag said...

watch the rake amounts in the lowest levels. On FullTilt, rake is double on the .05/.10 level than it is on .10/.25.

Good to hear about your early success in the return to the online micros. Big fun, no?

(I actually wouldn't know, I'm an online SNG player)

Forrest Gump said...

Yes, the rake is horrible for micro players on FT and difficult to beat. I cleared my bonus then got the hell out. :/

B, I don't think those players were looking to cooler you - I believe they thought they had best hand or were playing it correctly. In PAO you see people making moves and trying weird stuff cos its only pax, but on Stars I think it's just because they play bad? They don't 'intentionally' try to give away their hard-earned. It's a weird mindset I still struggle with and I still constantly over-read what I think they're doing.

I played a hand last night where i limped from UTG with AA. It limped around into a family pot (D'OH!) but i managed to flop an ace. I bet pot and the button called. Turn put 3 hearts on the board. I lead out figuring to fold to a reraise and another snap call. I still felt sure of a flush and was praying to fill up. I got my wish when the board paired and checked hoping to reraise a value bet on the river. Got my wish again when he bet pot, I pushed allin for a big overbet and the guy snap calls.

He flips AJ....the board was something like ATxxT.


He rode top pair