Saturday, March 31, 2007

Timers wait for no man

Poker has been bad to me recently. As I said, I'd decided to play more cash games on Blondepoker but this was stymied slightly by the fact the iPoker network went completely loopy once it absorbed the Tribeca rooms and seemed to go down every single day.

I did manage to play 530 hands at $1/$2 this month, for a loss of $131. I was playing on the turbo tables, with less time to act, as it seemed there were fewer multi-tabling TAGs and therefore more loose players. However, the shorter time to act killed me on one hand where I called a pre-flop raise with 88 and flopped the set. I bet out, and mateyboy raised me, as I'd hoped. However, I spent so long fiddling about with the bet slider to put in my desired re-raise that I was timed out and had my hand folded...

Another hand showed that perhaps my opponent had suffered the same problem in the past. I raised with AA, and he called from the button. The flop is 864 rainbow. I cont bet $12 into the $19 pot and he immediately pushes all-in for $155. I strongly suspect a set but call anyway, wary of being timed out of a winning hand. My opponent had maybe suffered 'death by bet slider' before when hitting a set and so just overbet the pot to be sure of getting his chips in the middle. Lucky for him his opponent was a muppet who called off all his chips with an overpair...

In my defence, at the $1/$2 level, many times I'll see this bet made with JJ-99 in this situation (along with A8 by uber-muppets) but, nevertheless, it's something to look out for.

I had a few free goes in the Mansion $100K Guaranteed (best value tournament in the history of online poker - $55K overlay in the daytime events). Because Mansion still have virtually no loyal players, this tournament tends to be full of fairly good players - the type who hang around on poker forums and get to hear about value events. A couple of times I've managed to get a big stack early on but blow it before the money - I seem to have a destructive urge to think that anyone who raises a few times is bluffing as much as I invariably am, so I try to push them out of pots. I can't remember the last time I went out of a tournament with the best hand when the chips went in.

This is exemplied by a WSOP qualifier I played this evening. Even entering it broke a rule I'd made for myself, which was to only play qualifiers at the $40-$50 mark into the final satellite, instead of buying in for $375 like I did tonight. I then lost a load of chips against the player directly to my right in two hands by a) calling with cock-all on the flop to take it away on the turn, not noticing he was short enough to push all-in on the turn and b) doing a bluff-raise on the turn and having to fold to his subsequent all-in, when the re-raise wasn't much more at all. Once I got short I built up slightly before the all too common 'push all-in on the hand when a player behind you has AA'.

I played one more satellite tonight for the upcoming $250,000 Guaranteed tournament and, again, proved to be an AA magnet for the player next to act when I make my stand.

So, seeing as internet poker tournaments are driving me mental at the moment, I might try some live games for a change. At the end of this month is Blondebash 4 at Luton, and I'm looking forward to it already. I intend to play the £75 freezeout on the Friday and the £50 rebuy on the Sunday, along with the forum stuff on the Saturday. Should be a lot of fun.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Back from the dead

So, as has been pointed out to me, I've been a right lazy sod with the blogging recently. Why? For the reason that most poker blogs die - I haven't been winning anything.

It has been, crikey, five months since the last post, and I've lost money in each and every one of them. OK, only October was really bad (and a lot of the damage was explained in the last post), and February was only £6 down (but still a red number in the spreadsheet) but it still all adds up.

I've cut down on the tournaments now, after going through another one of those runs where I end up spending £55 on a tourney every night and going a whole month without a cash. Cash has been very up and down, spoilt by the times where I know I've made a silly call for a big pot. A bit more discipline and either more or less bluffing is required.

More or less bluffing? Yes - I've been getting into situations where I'll raise with crap, or bet with crap on the flop, build the pot up, then chicken out of continuing with the bluff if I get called. Think I'll go for the less bluffing spot, as I've decided to play my cash games on Blondepoker (now of Tribeca, soon iPoker) and I think there is a marked decrease in the quality of the players at my level ($1/$2), so a more straightforward plan should be called for. I may even try three-tabling in order to keep me honest and stop me from check-raise bluffing (mostly).

The probelm is partly that, due to the fact I have a job, I don't actually play that much. In five months I've only played 6500 hands over 42 hours. Just five of those hands account for all my losses, which goes to show what a martyr to fortune the NL cash game player is.

Anyway, as it is (belatedly) the first post of the year, it's time for my poker goals for 2007. The ones from last year were mostly successful (won the £15K Guaranteed, played in the World Series) but I didn't really follow the third, which was to play more cash. This will be my main goal for the forseeable future - play cash, build up the hands, collect the rakeback and finally work out whether I would ever be cut out to play this game for a living. A couple of hours every night should be my goal - hopefully my bankroll will grow and I'll be able to move up/set money aside for qualifiers to offline events.

I also want to do some writing about poker, which has got off to a fantastic start by me agreeing to write something for Blondepoker two weeks ago and not being able to come up with anything since. Rekindling the blog is an effort by me to blow the cobwebs from my mind and get the creative juices flowing again. Let's see if it works.