Friday, September 21, 2007


Kiddie Games Are All Very Well, But

... sometimes you just have to smash out of it. I did,for the month, last night on Full Tilt. Good job too, becuase up till then I was well on course for the Worst. Month. Ever. Perseverance paid off though, particularly in this tournament which I've had 15 attempts at now, with this being the first decent cash. Here's the hand history, with some comments on hands of interest :

Full Tilt $150, 4th place

50 - I liked this one, I improvised the check-raise on the turn and I think I might well have made him put down a middle diamond.
179 - I've probably played this too passively and should have seen the river one way or the other.
199 - This one was pretty funny. I thought I was semi-bluffing the pair+draw but it turned out I had the best hand and was a monstrous 53-47 to win.
239 - I should do this more often, with or without a hand.
261 - He had 33 believe it or not. There was some history with this guy (see hand 252) where I had checked the flop and passed the turn, so I was expecting him to bet out, but I was shocked (and pleased !) after the hand to see he had called my turn raise and then called the river with that.
262 - Can't blame him for trying, but my hands are holding up tonight !
286 - This hand shows the benefits of pot control even with a hand like an overpair. I keep the pot small enough so that I can call his river bluff without any qualms. Would I be saying this if he had rivered a King though.
313 - I might have been strong enough to check-raise the turn here.
339 - In hindsight my check-raise was too big. I could have kept it smaller so that he might think he can knock me off it by moving in.
349 - It never crossed my mind that he might have a Ten. I shut down too easily in these spots sometimes.
356 - By this time I have been check-calling with top pair after defending my blind quite a lot, and this guy's a good player, I think he was wise to it.
372 - It doesn't get any better than this !
399 - If you're going through all the hands you'll see me playing quite passively around this time. The reason was that I had two strong players on my left and there was quite a lot of re-stealing going on. So I preferred to wait for something half-decent and 4-bet all-in, as here.
449 - Sometimes these bluffs work ...
470 - Yarg, this was a cooler.
477 - ... and sometimes they don't.
484 - Note how I wait for the blind instead of playing what is an above-average hand
486 - Doh. It's hard to survive losing three all-in coups in a final however many chips you came in with.

So, $14K for the win would have been nice but this was one of those final tables where you just don't get the breaks on the allins. It's nice to "crack" another tournament, and this one has a really good structure if you go deep. Next on my list must be the $50 rebuy on Stars, $27K first prize last night, unbelievable !

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


The Kiddie Games Down The Street

I was going to change my Facebook status to "Andy is playing the kiddie games down the street", but fortunately I realised that, to someone unaware of the reference [1], this might look a bit disturbing. It would have been quite apposite though in a poker sense. Since coming home from Vegas I have been playing intermittently and mostly poorly. This week though, I have noticed that all of a sudden (or at least since I last looked which was a few months ago) there are enough playable tournaments kicking off around noon to make a mid-day session a viable option.

Clearly these tournaments are aimed at generating action from the Asian markets ; Eurobet's noon offering is even billed as the "Chinese Daily". What's for sure is that all of them are super soft, and the 100 runner, $1800 first prize kind of line-ups constitute a decent slice of value. I'm playing these in a style which I call "old-school Tribeca". It's how I used to play on the old Tribeca network, where you basically get called far, far more often than you should. The pre-flop raise, continutation bet style is a great way of murdering chips without a hand, whereas with a big pair all you have to do is build it and they will come. AK and AQ become great hands to limp with pre-flop with quite a wide stack range ; if raised, you can basically shove or pass pre-flop, if no one raises then you simply farm it when you hit and fold when you don't. Outright stealing you basically forget about except around the bubble, when you do it based on stacks and your own cards are pretty much irrelevant.

My biggest problem lately, prior to switching to these games, has been losing too many of the "miss the flop in a raised pot" confrontations, frequently after committing even more chips. Playing in these tournaments where I can keep the pre-flop pot smaller and still safely commit with TPTK against multiple opponents (there is an element of the PNLHE ethos at work here) is much more suited to my style. So I'm going to plug away at these for a while, and possibly try this out in the odd Sunday special as well, where the field is qualifier-rich. I'm very lucky in one respect. I'm not one of these people who "wants to play against better players". I'm perfectly happy beating up eggs, and I have no problem playing a fairly mechanical game against bad players. I much prefer it to chasing marginal edges against tougher opposition. Thanks to the attempted expansion into the Asian markets, there are some decent kiddie games down the street for me to play in right now.

[1] I expect everyone on here is aware, but if you aren't, it's a favourite saying of Matusow's when one of his high-risk Russian Roulette moves does not result in the "Matusow blow-up", or inevitable long-term result as it is known to everyone else.

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