Friday, May 27, 2005


Chicken Buk Buk Buk

Predictably enough, once I drop $400 I contract a case of cold feet and start to chicken out of cash games online. They really don't suit me - or at least I need some solid practice. I have managed 2700 hands of short-handed limit hold-em and while I can't see what I'm doing wrong, I'm 90 big bets down. Drives me mad when they outdraw you, and then they're betting with nothing all the time, and when you call them down, they have two pair ! Aaaaaaaarghhh ! Argh ! Must kill everyone !!

Hmm, maybe tilt is my problem. I'll just practice at low limits until I think I have a better feel for it. It racks up bonuses pretty quickly if nothing else. Quick question for any limit HE experts (cough Pete B cough), if I put some time in playing really small like $1-2 am I going to pick up bad habits that will hurt me at higher levels, or is it all much the same ?

Anyway, enough of my moaning about rinky-dink games, let's try some tournaments again.

A bit later You know, maybe I'm just running bad. And if I'm going to take bad beats and learn how not to go on tilt, $1-2 limit's probably the best place to be. So what happened was I was knocked out of the $50 PL on Stars with QQ v 22 on a flop KQ2, 2 on the turn. Marv (OK it all went in on the river but how was I to know). I then lost two hands in the limit cash, both times with top two pair, to a 2-outer and a runner-runner flush. Marrrrrv. Not to tell bad beat stories, this is just to explain why I was on red raw raging TILT. So then I picked up AK in the SB (cash), raised, one caller, flop T52 bet call, turn J bet call, river irrelevant, check bet and I said out loud, "I know I'm beat but I'm going to call just to see what filth you have". He had 43, I win. Simultaneously I raised on the button with A9s in the other cash game, flop T9x bet I raised, turn 9 and I won a big one (well in terms of big bets). My next comment was "there, you can shove that up your arse". At this point I figured I'd better calm down and concentrate on the tournaments I was still in.

A few minutes later it occurred to me that maybe I play better limit Hold-em when I'm on tilt than when I'm trying to concentrate.

Sunday, May 22, 2005


I Was Bored Before I Even Began

Played the £100 at Gutshot last night. I should stress that the negative title refers to my own state of mind - there was nothing wrong with the tournament, which had a well-balanced structure, the players were friendly and our dealer excellent. It was nice to meet up with a few people, we were having a bit of a writers' convention beforehand, and it was a shame we had to break it up to play the tournament !

After about 10 minutes I wasn't really bothered one way or the other, I thought we were in for some action when someone limped UTG first hand, no raise, then he ploughed 4000 all in on a 245 flop and showed AA. How not to play Aces 101. After that it settled down, every now and then three people would launch it all in and sheepishly reveal 55, A5 and KQ (I'm not making that up), apart from that it was fairly quiet. I had about 6000 when the one moderately interesting hand of the evening came up.

You might not think it is interesting at first. Blinds 250-500, UTG who only has around 2500 limps in (yuck). Samir makes it 2500. I find AK and go all in for 6000 total. UTG reluctantly calls and Samir has to call for the rest with AQ. Q on the flop thank you and goodnight. What's interesting is that Samir's bet has committed him to the pot when I reraise. His initial bet was too big. People are paranoid about forcing opponents to fold with a hand like AQ. But why ? One thing's for sure, no one's going to fold a better hand. What's wrong with 3xBB, 1500, even with the limper ? If the limper goes all in, fine you call. If anyone raises you, you can make a decision based on who they are and the size of their stack. Maybe you don't want the big blind to call, but again why not ? He's not passing anything better. Let him call with the worst hand out of position. Especially if the limper goes all in and you have an empty sidepot, which is great for Ace-big because you'll see five cards a lot more often than usual. Raise enough so that everyone doesn't come along for the ride. More than that with a "middle" hand (one that's only going to be reraised by something better) is just putting the extra out there to be lost.

Incidentally UTG had 54s which is perfectly acceptable if you want to go all in, but horrible to limp with for 20% of your stack. Anyway I could hit the rail with a clear conscience. Half an hour later I'm stuck in traffic in Wood Green at 12-30 am with a headache, and that's when I think "was that really worth it ?". Probably not for £100. Maybe for £250.

Sunday, May 08, 2005


The Great Experiment (1)

So how's it going ? Well, it's not especially. I'm about $200 down on the games I have specified ($5-10 limit and $1-2 Big Bet). I have been spending quite a bit of time playing 6-handed, Hold-Em and Omaha 8, at lower levels, which is great when you're winning but rather tilt-tastic when you aren't. I was kicking ass on 6-handed 3-6 Hold-Em on Stars until this evening when I lost all my profits and some more in an horrendous series of hands. You really don't want to hear the details. Fortunately short-handed Hold-Em especially knocks bonuses off in no time, I finished off a $120 bonus on Saturday and am already half-way through another $120 in about 2 hours play today.

I am going to find the cash difficult until I can control my emotional reaction to losing. My worst habit right now is eyeing the door when I'm winning, by which I mean tightening up and tending to quit good games, and wanting to play on when I'm losing. The run of hands I lost this evening could have happened to anyone but I've probably lost 4 or 5 big bets I shouldn't have done, and quite possibly folded the best hand at least once because my judgement was off, although of course we'll never know. I need to stop as soon as I see the first signs of tilt. Here's a good article someone wrote on the subject - oh right, it was me. Well I should practise what I preach, or actually a better aphorism would be "physician heal thyself".

All the same I'm learning. Good job too because I am totally burned out with online tournaments. I played two this weekend because both sites had more than doubled the prize pool but it was really hard work, and mainly a relief to be knocked out (without having done anything wrong). I could do worse than find something else to keep me occupied for the summer at least.

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