I Didn’t Come All this Way to Fold

Between the first place finish in late 2013 and a weekly 2 table $20 rebuy tournament in Austin that I was crushing fairly regularly I was feeling pretty good about my tournament play. Sadly work was intense and so my chances to get my Hendon Mob score would be limited. I tried a couple of events in New Orleans during the WSOP circuit event there but not only did I fail to score in the tournies, but I left a cash table that hit a bad beat jackpot to go join the Senior’s event. Argh! Fortunately the cash games were good to me and I followed my usual pattern of finishing as a net winner at the poker tables, but not enough to cover the travel expenses.

My annual June pilgrimage to Vegas did not fair much better until I entered the Big O tournament at the Grand Poker Series at the Golden Nugget. Back then the Nugget featured lots of mixed game tournaments and so I spent plenty of time there. Finally I got a breakthrough by refusing to fold in an all-in situation with just a draw just a few spots from the money. It was a flush and open ender with 2 cards to come and, as it turns out, I was up against top set. Fortunately I hit and then held to scoop the monster pot and went on to manage a 10th place finish earning my lone Hendon mob listing for the year.



Still My Dream Poker Trip

Hard to believe this blog is still here. But now my world is very different. For one thing I had cataracts surgery in both eyes and now I am in much better shape to see the Southern Sky when I visit down under. The other amazing thing is that I actually have the poker bankroll to make the trip!

What happened was I lost the remainder of my Seals bankroll but, in December of 2013 I accompanied my wife to Florida on some family business. While there I played a few events in the Card Player Poker Tour stop in West Palm Beach. On my birthday I won a $100+25 NLHE tournament outright — no chop — for $3,790 and my first Hendon Mob listing.

After that I decided on a new poker plan: Concentrate on live play and earn at least one Hendon Mob listing each year. This would be no small feat since I have to travel at least 350 miles to get to the closest venue where I can play such an event. In my next blog I will pick up in 2014 and continue the story of my poker journey.

Bitcoin to the rescue

My run good is officially over. I lost about 750 chips in several back to back sessions. Some of that result was from bad luck, but some was from making moves at the wrong time. So where do I stand now? From a bitcoin perspective I deposited 4 BTC on Seals with Clubs and have cashed out 3.2 BTC. I have just over 1.4 BTC remaining on the site for an overall profit of 0.6 BTC or 600 chips. Not shabby, but not exciting either. Add in the 4 BTC I lost betting on the Superbowl and my bitcoin gambling results are pretty horrible.

With bitcoin’s zooming to $40 apiece it suddenly occurred to me that I could sell my 3.2 BTC and that would cover the cost of all 8 BTC I have gambled. Looked at from that perspective, my remaining 1.4 BTC on the poker site is pure profit. I like that better. It puts me in a better psychological mindset. The only downside is that I have to sell those bitcoins to really convince myself that my remaining roll on the site is profit.

Well I did it. Bitcoins don’t mean anything to me except as a means to get some light recreation via online poker and the occasional football bet. I am really not caught up in the larger story of the bitcoin economy at this point and so having a few bitcoins in my wallet has no real value to me during the football offseason. Now I can consider my chips on Seals as pure profit, but they also represent my entire online bankroll and so I am going to have to tighten up my game selection and try to grind for awhile. That means playing less 2/4 and also no more tournaments with buyins over 100 chips for the time being. I can live with that.

Tight is Right

Seals with Clubs just added some new daily tournaments for 1/2 BTC and 1 BTC. I almost, but not quite, have the bankroll to start taking shots at these. To help me reduce the temptation to jump into one of these, I cashed out another 1.2 BTC. This worked, but it did not stop me from plopping 400 chips into  PLO8 2/4 cash game. I played very tight, which is saying something since the entire table was playing tight as well. I did find a few good hands to push and things worked out well as I won over 300 chips in about 25 minutes.

Later I bubbled a 45+5 NLHE tournament. These run once an hour on the half hour and I have been getting good results in these as of late. This particular event was marked by some wild swings including a hand where my jacks ran into aces and both an Ace and a Jack came on the flop. Grrr. Later I found a spot for a blind steal shove on the button with T9 only to get two callers. Fortunately I flopped a straight and it held up. That got me to the final table and we got down to 5 handed and I was small stack by a tiny margin. I found another spot to blind steal shove with QT suited, but got called down by KT and that was it.

All in all I had a good day and now sit at right about my high water mark for the year (including my cash outs) which means that I am up about 1200 chips for the year. That’s all for now…

Trying New Things

I am trying to mix a few new plays into my game but so far they have been no help at all. One technique involves overbetting the river. Of course you do this with a mix of good and/or nut hands and bluffs to extract the most value. It sounds great, but there must be more to it as thus far my overbets have induced folds when I have a good hand and the one time I tried it with a bluff, the other guy called me down rather easily with an underpair. Grrr.

I also got into a discussion with a PLO player who insisted that playing fast and losing the occasional stack with middle set was the correct thing to do. Personally I have found it useful to be careful in this spot and lose less when I might be up against top set. He described a specific situation where you really have to play fast against a check raise and, sure enough, it came up yesterday. I shoved and the other guy had it.

The other excitement yesterday was in a 17 player tournament where I made a nice late comeback to not only make the money, but get heads up with about 48% percent of the chips. On the very first hand of heads up I called an all-in with A9 off and saw I was up against A6 suited. The board came up rainbow with an ace and 2 low cards and so I was in great shape. A Q on the turn meant I only had to dodge 3 outs on the river. I will stop now since you can certainly guess what happened next.

Despite the struggles I am still up a little since my last post and still within striking distance of my highwater mark on Seals With Clubs. See you on the tables!

PLO can be nuts

I have been playing mostly PLO lately and things have not been wonderful. I kept running into situations where I was betting a draw or air and someone with the nuts called me down. Having said that, I didn’t get stacked and I only pushed too hard on one of these hands. Still it was getting frustrating to be in that situation so often. (Parenthetically limping in with aces seems to be the rage on PLO tables these days.)

On the plus side I only tilted once and my redonkulous shove got a fold and I then left the table immediately as I realized what I was doing. Also I did score a few small session wins last night and so I am only down about 300 chips in recent play. It could have been much worse.