Wednesday, June 18, 2008

WSOP trials and tribulations

Playing poker tournaments is a tortuous profession. I feel like I am playing the best poker of my life, yet I have nothing to show for it except for eight straight losses. We poker players have to be masochists for enduring the frustrations day after day. The fact is, the average player cashes slightly less than 10% of the time. This means a pro does well to cash once every 7-8 tournaments. The fact that I have yet to cash in 8 tournaments is frustrating, but it is hardly outside the norm of what to expect. We're all obviously very competitive people, yet we lose time after time again.

Why do we do it? It is the pursuit of victory. Once you taste victory once, you want it again and again. When running bad, what drives you is the memory of victory. I've had some great memories at the WSOP and I want more of them, and of course I want that bracelet. I hope some day soon I will achieve what I am striving for and all of the agony will be worth it.

This past week had been especially excruciating. On Saturday, I was involved in a huge pot which would have put me near the chip leaders after 4 hours of play. I was a 4 to 1 favorite and lost. On Sunday, I had a chance to double up early but again lost as a 4 to 1 favorite. On Tuesday, I lost a coin flip to put me significantly above average. Yet I feel very good about my play. I'm making good reads and calls. My timing on steals and resteals seem to be spot on so far. The fact that I am playing well keeps me motivated. In fact, I think I am probably playing the best poker of my life so I really feel like something good is going to happen, and hopefully soon.

Can't wait for this weekend! On another note, I just got word from my printer that the new book has shipped. Shipments to customers should start going out early next week.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Bad decision

I felt like I had been playing quite well in Series so far - right up to the last 30 minutes last night. I started out a little above average after dinner break. I had about 35 big blinds so lots of room to play.

The first key hand the cutoff opened for 1800. The blinds were 300-600 with 75 antes. I had 99 on the button. I felt like this player was capable of 4-betting weak. I felt like he thought I might make a move on him, and I knew he was capable of making a move back at me. Still, I thought hard about 3-betting there, but if I reraise and get called, anything I do on the flop would represent a huge part of my stack. I decide to call with my position, getting odds to hit a set while also still being able to play postflop and take the hand down.

The flop was T62. My opponent checked, I bet 2600, and my opponent raised to 6200. Wow, what to do now? I could push - but would only get called by better hands. I could call, but then what do I do on the turn? Or I could just take the wimpy route and fold. I folded, although I think there is still a good chance I had the best hand here. I think most of the time he bets out an overpair there, so there is a decent change he just put me to the test and it worked. But tough hand as I really don't know the opponent very well as I was new to the table.

The next key hand I raised from early position with 55. The big blind pushed all-in. I was getting 1.9 to 1 pot odds to call. I had seen her push A-Q earlier. 55 against a range of 88+, AK and AQ is about 2 to 1. So a close decision. The problem is that if I lose the hand my stack is crippled and gives me little room to play so I take the conservative route and fold to give myself some wiggle room.

But frustration creeps in...

A couple of hands later, I raise to 1600 with A-Qs UTG. A very loose middle position player calls and the next player reraises to 6200. Whoa! This player didn't seem like someone to try a squeeze play, plus I had raised UTG. Where were my bells and whistles going off! This was the 2nd best hand I had received all day and I was frustrated about the previous 15 minutes. I knew I was behind, but was I getting pot odds. If I call, I have another 5K in chips left. Let's count the pot - 1600 (blinds and antes) + 1600 +1600 +6200 plus another 5K if I push and my opponent calls. That's 16K and I have to 9600 which is 1.7 to 1 pot odds. For some reason, in the heat of the moment I thought it was closer to 2 to 1 - a mistake as I remember thinking my opponent would be adding another 10K to the pot when it was only actually 5K.

A-Q versus JJ+ and AK is 2.3 to 1. If you add 99+ then I'm 2 to 1. Still not good enough. I did actually think my opponent was figuring out whether he had pot odds to call with a pair, so I was thinking there was a better chance he had JJ or TT vs. some other hands - but maybe that was just wishful thinking.

I still would have had 10K left but got frustrated and put my chips in bad when I should have known better. It turns out that I was 2.4 to 1 dog with only 1.7 to 1 pot odds. Not a good situation and I was knocked out.

I am not sure I will be playing today. I am expecting the proofs back from the printer for the new Rizen, Pearljammer, Apestyles book and need to get them reviewed as soon as possible.

I will definitely be playing the Limit event on Friday.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

$1500 NL Event Sunday June 1st

I was knocked out in the 2nd hour. Two key hands:
50-100 blinds. Folded to SB who limps. I raise to 400 with A-Q and he calls. Flop is Jxx. He hesitates, reaches for chips, then checks. Weak!!! But I check with the intention of taking the pot on the turn. The turn is a 9. He bets 600, I raise to 1500, and he folds. Nice pick-up.

50-100 Early limper. Middle raises to 400. I have 2850 in chips in SB with AK. Awkward stack size for out of position with A-K. I elect to push and my opponent calls with A-Q. The spikes a Q and I'm out for the day.

Tomorrow I play the 1500 PL event.

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