Sunday, April 30, 2006
Three posts in a day. Something is definitely wrong! Yes, there is a bad beat rant (of sorts) ahead...
Just had to get the frustration off my chest, by means other than the chat box - don't tap on the fishtank, etc.
I had a good afternoon. A very short session squeezed in, with a very high BB win rate.
No spectacular play - just a few decent hands holding up.
Tonight I gave it all back - and then some - in one of those sessions where nothing goes right.
Of all the hands I lost, I started out behind in the grand total of two - one where I could not get a usually very tight player to put down 66 against my AK on a board laden with overcards, and one where I caught top pair and a straight draw from the BB against a guy who limped AA pre-flop. Yes, really, and of course I missed my draw.
Add to that a hotch potch of Ace-rags catching against big pairs, JJ losing to QJ, sets losing to rivered flushes etc. and it's a classic snapshot of the low limit tables.
This isn't a complaint. I need these guys to keep playing this way.
It's just so frustrating when so many bad calls turn out good in such a short space of time.
What makes it doubly frustrating is that quite often in these cases limit Hold Em starts to feel a bit like Omaha, in that the pots are so big, there's often a justifiable redraw even when I am 100% sure I am behind.
If they keep hitting their lucky turn card, why can't I hit my lucky river?
Yes, I know. Variance dear boy, variance.
For example, a big pot, raised pre-flop by myself with KJs. I don't catch my flush but a flop with two jacks and a ten is awfully nice.
When I bet and get called in multiple positions, bet again and get callers and a raise on a turned 7, it's highly likely 98 just got lucky - though of course I can't totally rule out JT, AJ, or maybe even J7.
Heck I might even still be ahead of QJ. Rule nothing entirely out on this one!
However, we are now looking at a monster pot, and given the high likelihood I'm losing to 98, it's still entirely justifiable to call the raise.
Assuming I'm losing to a straight, I've got three kings, one jack, three tens, and three sevens to hit on the river, with forty four cards unknown - if I'm correct in putting my opponent on 98 - so I'm approximately 7/2 to hit my card, in a pot that's laying me 14/1. That's an +EV call if ever I saw one.
The odds are so good they easily compensate for the rare occasions I'll be drawing much thinner against the likes of AJ or JT.
The river was a 3. He did have 98.
As it happens the other caller had T7, and he paid to see a showdown too - a true optimist!
Which meant my actual odds of hitting were 4/1, rather than 7/2. Still fantastic value.
Hitting one or two of those redraws is what turns a horrible night into a great night.
The challenge is to survive the horrible ones with my sanity intact, and enjoy the great ones. Which is why I'm writing this. Consider it not so much a blog post, as a DIY therapy session.
Posted by Div at 9:52 p.m.
I've never been glad to see Celtic get humped but, as today proves, there's a first time for everything!
More pertinently to this here poker blog, I'm about to become an acquaintance of a PokerStars Supernovan.
The Tank will be kicking off the final SitNGo of his quest at 6pm UK time, 1pm EST today.
Only one $55 turbo to go.
I pity those who end up opposing him. The railbirds will be out in force!
Posted by Div at 4:26 p.m.
Not a great week on the poker front. Not an awful one either.
Running through the Poker Tracker stats reminds me why this can be such a frustrating game at times.
I've had some big hands hold up for big wins, and some big hands cracked for hefty losses.
Yet I can't complain. Most of the losers went down to perfectly legitimate draws, albeit some of the draws were born of highly dubious pre-flop calls.
Which despite the pain of the rivered winners, is a good situation to be in. Lots of money going in pre-flop when it's miles behind.
My mindset this week has been pretty good. I've even managed to dodge a few bullets that on other nights would have nailed me.
For example, twice in the space of an hour I ran JJ into AA.
On the first occasion the villain's play was so transparent I *knew* he'd flopped a set of Aces, and I folded on the flop. Someone else didn't and called the guy down to prove me correct.
On the second occasion I wasn't quite sure enough of his hand to put the Jacks down, but I was sure enough to check behind on the turn, thus saving(or is that earning?) two big bets from the missed check-raise attempt.
I'd like to be playing a whole lot more right now, as I'm definitely in the mood to put in the hours, but circumstances are conspiring against me.
Hopefully I'll get some time at the tables today.
Reviewing hand histories isn't something I was big on previously, but now I'm in the habit, I'm finding it very beneficial.
Not only from a learning perspective, but also for maintenance of equillibrium and sanity.
Taking a more detached view of proceedings when the adrenalin is no longer pumping, and my blood pressure is back to normal, is a great way of pushing setbacks aside and reaffirming my commitment to play better and win more at this infuriating, yet enthralling, game.
Posted by Div at 8:22 a.m.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
A few good things happened last night.
I went to the gym. AA held up. QQ held up. TT out-raced AK.
If some poker guru can prove a causal link between gym attendance and good hands holding up, I could end up very, very fit!
On the downside, I discovered kissing the baby hello immediately after returning from work is not such a good idea when the baby has buttery fingers, and I'm wearing one of my favourite pale blue silk ties.
Not so much kiss-for-daddy, as tie-a-grabby. It's not looking good for the tie at present.
Other good news yesterday was Mrs Div booking a girly break to New York with her sister.
Which will leave me holding the baby for a few days in September but present me with a travel slot of my own later in the year.
Nothing set in stone yet, but I do have a tentative plan...
Posted by Div at 3:11 p.m.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Happiness Is: Getting 4 bets in pre-flop with AA v KTs
Despair Is: K on flop, T on turn
Happiness Is: Raising QQ into a shoal of limpers and hitting a set on the turn
Despair Is: T4s making a straight on the river
Happiness Is: Raising JJ into another shoal of limpers
Despair Is: Not this time! Sometimes the best starting hand actually wins.
Last night was super annoying.
Not least because much as I lost again due almost entirely to big hands not holding up, I couldn't really complain about the draws that hit.
Although what the guy who 3-bet my pre-flop raise with KTs from the SB was thinking, I do not know. There were already about four limpers so it was hardly likely to be a button steal. Damn, that was a big pot to lose.
Really though, I'm still feeling pretty optimistic. I played better last night than I did on Saturday, and the tables seem as good on a school night as they do on a weekend.
All I need is a little bit of statistical balance to be restored and it will be all systems go.
Like Robert the Bruce's spider, I'll just need to try, try, and try again.
Posted by Div at 11:57 a.m.
Monday, April 24, 2006
Saturday night was not a good night. I took an absolute pounding on the LHE tables.
Sunday morning is usually my day for an early rise to feed the baby, and
keep her entertained while Mrs Div gets the chance for a well deserved rest.
Once baby was fed, and put back down for a nap, as per her normal routine, I took the opportunity to go over my Poker Tracker records from the nightmarish evening before.
Reliving a few of the more brutal hands was a painful experience, but I felt better by the end since there was no evidence of tilt, and I did find a leak to work on.
Big pocket pairs were scarce - pocket Aces non-existent - and when they did appear invariably fell victim to some 3/1 shot where A-rag, KJo, Kxs, etc. called 2 or 3 bets cold and made their bigger pair.
AKo was a big loser - going 0 for 5 at one point. Either I missed completely, or caught but went down to a straight or flush on the turn or river.
The leak I think needs plugging is one which stems from something SSHE
advocates, and which I tend to agree with, but have been overdoing recently - that is, calling down in big pots, when it appears I am beaten.
There were numerous hands where several players saw a flop after I'd got 3 or 4 bets in pre-flop with AK, QQ, JJ, etc. only for it to seem by the turn that I was probably behind.
In my early LHE days, I probably folded a few too many hands to turn bets which were either bluff or semi-bluffs - for example someone betting with the bare Ace of diamonds on a 3-diamond board.
Now I think I'm doing the opposite - paying off 2-big bets on turn and river when the other guy really did make the straight or flush on the turn.
That's something I can eliminate by paying better attention to the habits of my opponents, so I'll be working on it over the next few sessions.
I don't think there is any way I could have turned Saturday into a winning day, but I could certainly have kept the losses smaller.
The pattern recently has been to post 3 or 4 successive modest winning sessions, only to give back 70% of the winnings in one big losing session.
That's a bad habit to get into. A bet saved, being a bet earned, as the
Sunday afternoon was the final Celtic v Rangers game of the season, and as turgid a 90 minutes as it's been my misfortune to witness in a while.
Whereas the Celtic players have an excuse - having wrapped up the league before Easter - the Rangers team merely succeeded in strengthening their reputation as overpaid, underachieving losers.
With Hearts dropping 3-points on Saturday I expected them to go all out for a victory. Instead they seemed relieved not to be beaten. Strange days indeed!
Posted by Div at 11:44 a.m.
Saturday, April 22, 2006
Just a quickie to follow up my previous first impressions of Tribeca.
I don't indulge in full hand histories too often, but I wanted to illustrate the nature of these games. I also wanted to post a good Aces hand, since all too often we find ourselves bemoaning our bad luck when they get cracked.
I've annotated the hand with my thoughts at the time. I don't see how it could be played any differently, but I'm happy to be corrected if someone knows better.
On hand 3 of last night's session I put down Queens in a capped pre-flop pot, when the flop had an Ace. Correctly as it turned out, since another player had flopped a set of Aces and I was drawing dead.
Just as I was bemoaning my bad luck at running Queens into Aces this hand happened...
The Lady Killers 8161500-26552 Holdem Limit $1/$2
Seat 1 : MP2 has $83.88
Seat 2 : MP3 has $99
Seat 3 : LP1 has $60.75
Seat 4 : Button has $999.58
Seat 5 : SB has $36.25
Seat 6 : Div(BB) has $47
Seat 7 : UTG has $9.75
Seat 8 : UTG+1 has $55.50
Seat 9 : MP1 has $62.25
Button is the dealer.
SB posted small blind.
Div posted big blind.
Game  started with 9 players.
Dealing Hole Cards.
Seat 6 : Div has:
Div thinks: Wahoo!
UTG+1 called $1
MP1 called $1
MP2 called $1
MP3 called $1
Div thinks: Bloody hell, somebody raise. I want to three-bet.
SB called $0.50
Div thinks: Crap.
Div raised $1
UTG+1 called $1
MP1 called $1
MP2 called $1 and raised $1
Div thinks: Wahoo x 2
MP3 called $2
SB called $2
Div called $1 and raised $1
UTG+1 called $2
MP1 called $2
MP2 called $1
MP3 called $1
SB called $1
Div thinks: Hmmm, a real drawing board, though I do have the Ace of Clubs. I'll protect my hand with a cunning check-raise of MP2 who surely must bet.
MP2 bet $1
Div called $1 and raised $1
UTG+1 called $2
MP1 called $2
MP2 called $1
Div thinks: So much for protecting my hand!
Div thinks: Excellent
Div bet $2
UTG+1 called $2
MP1 called $2
MP2 called $2
Div thinks: Hmmm, a good bad card. If someone has been calling down with 54s or the like, I may cry, but I was starting to fear QT so this is likely a good card. Value bet!
Div bet $2
MP1 called $2
MP2 called $2
Seat 6 : Div has Ah Ad
Seat 6 : Div has Ah Ad
Div has Two Pair: Aces and 4s
Div wins $45 with Two Pair: Aces and 4s
Div thinks: Wahoo x 3. But I wish Tribeca showed the losing hands.
Hand is over.
I did say Tribeca seemed to be an action site!
Did you notice Seat 4s stack?
Posted by Div at 1:02 p.m.
Friday, April 21, 2006
Here's a little experiment.
I've been falling behind on my updating recently due to time constraints, so I thought I'd try to make use of my lunch half-hour at work to email in new posts to the blog. Starting now...
Last night I fired up yet another new site for the first time. Well, it was new to me. Doyle's Room is part of the Tribeca network - one of the few I've never played on before.
First impression was just wow! The software seems absolutely fine, but the standard of play is wild.
Last night I'd go as far as saying the players could give those on Party a run for their money in the LAG stakes. The variation from the rockish Crypto $1/2 LHE game was phenomenal.
Posted by Div at 11:58 a.m.
Monday, April 17, 2006
First things first. I've just wound up a quite extraordinary session of LHE, netting a miniscule profit to take me up to five successive winning sessions.
Not earth shattering, but a nice habit to get into, even when the opposition are truly clueless.
I started off pretty well, before running into a brick wall of immovable stupidity and bad cards.
Every big hand I was dealt in the mid-session went down in flames, leading to several of my now familiar outbursts of spluttering indignation.
Yet within a single orbit I managed a 25BB rally to drag the numbers back into the black, all thanks to the same sort of abysmal play that left me stuck in the first place.
As the hour was growing late, I took that as a sign it was time to get out while I was ahead.
Hand of the night had to be cracking Aces with Q8s from the SB, when the villain didn't see fit to raise pre-flop but couldn't get away from his overpair when the flush hit on the turn. Nor could the guy who'd flopped bottom two pair.
Anyway, that's all incidental to the main news.
On Saturday I flew down to London to take ownership of a new family car for the Div household. A Toyota Corolla Verso.
It was a pretty hectic schedule. Glasgow to London on the 7.30am flight. Met at the airport by the car dealer. Driven to their showroom to collect the car, then a 13-hour drive back to Scotland with the car.
A long drive, but a good way to get to grips with some of the new features, and to marvel at the economy of a 2.2 litre diesel engine.
Sixty plus miles to the gallon, I was beginning to think the fuel needle had stuck!
I've never been a petrol head. The Verso is only the 4th car I've owned in 18 years of driving.
The other three have all been small cars. One was pretty sporty - fantastic fun to drive - but it was effectively an oversized go-cart. No frills - not even power steering.
Yet I've already grown to appreciate the gadgets on the new car. Most notably the cruise control.
There's something of a paradox about the new purchase.
On the one hand, I've been giggling like a school boy as I've experimented with all the features.
As well as cruise control, I've been giddy with excitement whilst playing with the sat-nav, and I almost laughed with joy when I worked out how to turn on the front and rear manoeuvring cameras. (Seriously!)
Yet it's quintessentially a 'grown up' purchase. A family car to keep the baby safe, and provide storage space for the paraphernalia which is required when taking her out for more than a few hours.
It's got more airbags than The House of Commons, and boot capacity to rival a small van.
Today we took Baby Div to Blair Drummond Safari Park. She is still too small to fully appreciate the sight of all the animals, but we figured there'd be enough to keep her interested.
I think she probably enjoyed seeing so many other kids, and just experiencing the sounds and movement and colours, as much as getting up close to the tigers, rhinos, and elephants.
It's not the sort of trip I'd have been too keen on making in the old car.
It would have been a bit of a squeeze, and the crawling around the reserve on a sunny day with the windows shut and a clunky gearbox would have been an uncomfortable grind.
Aircon and a silky 6-speed gearbox turned a grind into a blast, and we had a nice day out. Sadly I didn't get to meet Camalla the Red Ruffed Lemur.
Neither Mrs Div nor I are too keen on taking the baby abroad when she is still very young, so we are expecting to mostly holiday in the UK for the next few years.
There's lots of places in Scotland we haven't yet visited, so the new car should be well utilised over the summer. Weather permitting of course.
Posted by Div at 10:46 p.m.
Thursday, April 13, 2006
My first in a while!
The return to limit hold em seems to be going ok so far, despite one session where I ran into a table of doom. Fishes who couldn't miss, and sharks who loved to tear chunks out of my stack.
I've been playing on Crypto for the last few days, and there's been a remarkable variation in the table quality. It's definitely tighter and more aggressive than Full Tilt, but not unbeatable.
When a quick glance around the table shows six other rocks or moneybags, it's clearly time to move on. Yet at the same time, there's a fair smattering of calling stations and the occasional maniac.
One person I enjoy reading is Peter Birks. He spreads his time around a variety of sites, and seems to understand how his style needs to adapt to differing environments.
That's something I'm still getting the hang of. My aggression factor has been amped up a little too high on some tables, when more subtlety is called for. Albeit I could argue the aggression factor has been overly suppressed by some of my opponents.
A case in point being the number of times I ran AJ/AT into people open limping AK/AQ and check-calling scary Ace high flops.
The better players managed to find a check-raise on the turn. Some just called me down.
Which gets confusing. Cunning players calling with vulnerable made hands. Fishy players calling with dubious draws. Discriminating between the two is key.
Frustratingly just as I was getting to grips with the variation in styles, the prime exponent of the limp-call with A-big managed to trap himself.
Holding AQ on a QQ3 flop with two diamonds, he check-called a bet and check-raised the turn only to run into a rag flush draw getting odds to call and hit on the river.
Which reaffirmed the argument that aggression is crucial in limit hold em. AQ losing to a hand that should never have seen a flop.
He was upset enough to leave the table almost instantly, probably bemoaning a supposed fishy win. Yet he'd let in a speculative hand cheaply to hit a big flop, and hadn't acted to price them out of a good draw.
So, aggression is essential, but it needs to be tempered with awareness of the environment and the nature of specific opponents.
There's a time to hammer home an advantage, and a time to let caution be your ally.
Unfortunately my poker watch isn't 100% accurate yet.
Posted by Div at 9:55 p.m.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Blimey. Is that almost a week already?
Well, I do have a couple of valid reasons/excuses.
On the positive side, I lost Sunday to SPL title celebrations which entailed a sound thrashing of Killie, copious amounts of beer, and a traditional Scottish dinner of mixed pakora and chicken tandoori kebab.
Also on the positive side, I managed to get a couple of lengthy poker sessions in.
On the negative side, the lengthiest session was terrible. The other negative was one of the strangest 'injuries' I've ever received.
I'm planning to go over the poker separately, so let's stick to freak injuries for now...
Thursday night. Baby Div has now mastered crawling with a vengeance. In a week she went from 'oh look how cute she is trying to balance on her hands and knees' to 'bloody hell stop her, the front door is open!'.
Which is a nightmare when it comes to trying to get a nappy on her, but it's great fun to come back from work and play with her on the floor. Rolling around, pulling faces, making silly noises, and just generally enjoying life.
Until that is, she makes a bolt for freedom with me lunging after her, just as Mrs Div - sitting on the sofa - swings around in the opposite direction, her elbow connecting with laser precision and atomic timing, directly on the top of my head.
Which all sounds fairly innocuous, but the impact was phenomenal.
Being somewhat stroppy and occasionally mouthy, I've been in more than a few fights over the years. Ranging from playground battles through to the most recent fracas outside a Glasgow pub a few years ago.
Yet I can honestly say noone has landed a more effective shot on me than Mrs Div managed.
For about a minute I couldn't move, as shafts of piercing pain shot through my skull. Once my eyes had stopped watering, and the sharp pain subsided, I was left with a throbbing headache.
Two hours later Mrs Div was still rubbing her elbow and commenting on the residual pain. Which perhaps gives some indication how my head felt.
Next morning I still had a crashing headache, particularly down the left side, and both my eyes were slightly bloodshot. If I'd been suffering amnesia, I'd have been convinced someone had landed a perfect right hook to my left temple.
Work was hellish, as the headache didn't relent all day. Indeed it didn't entirely fade until Saturday evening, just in time to dissuade me from worries I'd had my skull fractured.
All from a single blow to the head 48 hours previously!
If Mrs Div is looking for a new career she might want to consider Ultimate Fighting. She seems to have the moves for it.
If only I could unleash her on some of the people I've run into on Crypto over the last few days, I might feel better. But that's for another post.
Posted by Div at 9:35 p.m.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Posted by Div at 11:07 p.m.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
An email from Full Tilt came along this week. It promised $100 cash for accruing a mere 300 Full Tilt Points. No deposit needed, and only a few hours play to clear.
Fortuitous timing, as I slip back into grind mode.
For the last couple of nights I've fired up a few $1/2 LHE tables and battered my way through. My aggression factor has been high, and I've been winning a lot of small pots without showdowns, and big pots when I've had the goods.
There's been the usual tomfoolery and variance. Last night one guy cracked KK on two successive hands with A2 and A5, before himself getting dealt AA on the third hand and having it stand up. No justice in the (short term) world!
Tonight I cleared the 300th point 3-tabling with session figures of:
+$82, +$16, -$41
How can this be so? Almost wiped out on one table, yet almost tripled through on another. Perhaps this will explain.
You gotta love online poker. Remember Miller et al on cold calling?
Equally note the BB folding for 1 bet when getting 11/1 to call.
One of the things I've noticed the last few days is much as I've been sucked out on several times, I've been the sucker as opposed to suckee on multiple occasions too.
Most notably cracking AA with AK (kings on flop and turn), and AK with AJ (rivered 2-pair).
So many people just don't play aggressively enough. The don't reraise AK pre-flop, and only call down when they catch the Ace. They bet then only call the reraise with AA on a K-high flop. They make it cheap to suck out, then lamely bemoan my fishiness.
In contrast, anyone who wants to draw out on me better be prepared to pay! Though of course expensive mistakes can be made.
Such as, AQ raise pre-flop, button smooth call, Q-high flop, bet and called by buttons AA. He did finally get a raise in on the turn but I was too committed by then. Whoops.
I didn't have much cash on Full Tilt, but I've got some more now! Having not played LHE since last year, I'm quite happy with my reintroduction.
Posted by Div at 10:37 p.m.
Hope you like the new design.
Although I am a computer geek by trade, CSS and graphics aren't my strong points. So I'm pretty pleased with this.
Still a few things needing doing. Most notably, a banner.
Thanks to Tripjax for his advice and encouragement, and Joe Speaker for the etard perspective.
Posted by Div at 7:46 p.m.
Saturday, April 01, 2006
Another month of education taking priority over earning. Yet the fun factor was high, so I'm less bothered than I should be.
Stud-8 is an interesting and entertaining game to play. I think at the moment I prefer it to Omaha as a hi-lo game.
In Omaha it can be difficult to put people on a hand, as there's a tendency for some to make fairly impenetrable decisions. Whereas with several cards exposed, it can be a bit easier to put people on a high or low hand, and make a reasoned deduction as to where I stand.
On the down side, Stud variants take a lot more concentration than flop games, and multitabling is not a good idea. So, to make a significant impact on my bankroll - either positive or negative - I'd have to play at much higher fixed limits, or consider giving one of the Prima sites a whizz, as they offer big-bet Stud games.
Ahem, I think I'll set that idea aside for a little while yet...
One other reason I didn't play as much as I should have, was I got a little involved in a site redesign. Sure content is king, but it's nice to view it in a pleasing context.
Since I'm prone to fairly long posts, I felt an awful lot of scrolling was required to get through them. So, I'm going for a layout that makes better use of the whole screen.
It also leaves more space for me to squeeze in my nice card icons to illustrate hands.
I think I've managed to increase the screen utilisation without making it too cluttered, as you will see in a few days.
For April I'd originally contemplated trying another new game, but I'm not in the right frame of mind for that.
In the past week, I've been getting kinda fidgety and my raise finger has been getting very itchy.
Thus, it's back to the LHE tables this month. I hadn't used PokerTracker or PokerAce HUD for a few months, so I upgraded both and I'm ready to roll.
I see PokerAce HUD now charges $25 for the full version. Can't really argue with that, so the Neteller payment has been dispatched. Since Neteller peer-to-peer transfers are for a minimum of $30 (minus $1 fee) I've effectively tipped Josh $4 for all my free usage last year. Money well spent!
Whereas the last few months have been all about contemplation, hard thinking, and single tabling, this month I predict multitabling, number crunching, and machine gun aggression. A nice change of pace.
Finally I can't let March pass without mentioning the achievements of a few of the homegame regulars.
TeaCake and Dave are both tearing up the online MTTs right now. Dave has also been on a nice run at the cash tables.
Meanwhile Rod is not only sunning himself in the Bahamas, but has managed to satellite his way into a $1250 NLHE event at Crystal Sands Casino. Now that's what I call a holiday!