Friday, March 24, 2006


I did manage to get in a Sit And Go last night, as a bit of practice. I took a $5 SNG on Stars, since I didn't find any $5 games I liked on FTP. (The low limit ones seem to be mostly Turbo games, which is fine some days but not what I am after now.)

The SNG was great fun, and not just because I took first and stroked my fragile ego. Stars SNGs just feel better. Deeper stacks and better players. More interesting situations and real decision making. It feels more like real poker than the crazy push-fests you find on some sites. Kind of like playing in a blogger tourney - it's a tougher game, but it's more fun because people have a better idea what they are doing.

In one of the books I read (I think it was Zen and the Art of Poker), I found something that has been extremely helpful in learning how to observe online players, especially in SNGs. Unfortunately I am too dependent on PokerTracker to do this for me online, and when it comes to live play, I am pretty clueless. The tip is, verbally narrate the game as you play it, as if you're the tv or radio announcer for the game, describing the action to the viewers. This really works for me, although I only do this when I am playing tournaments right after work but before my GF gets home. If she routinely finds me talking, talking, talking to myself while alone in my computer room playing online poker, she might have me committed.

Anyhow, I think I played well in the SNG, encouraging me that I may have a reasonable chance in the JPC game tomorrow. The table was pretty passive at the start, and I found I could limp in with speculative hands and then bet aggressively after the flop and often take the pot regardless of my cards. A couple of players were eliminated, and chip leaders status was passed back and forth many times.

At one point I had taken a substantial chip lead, so I raised 3BB from the CO with 10-3 of diamonds to put some pressure on the blinds. Just the small blind called, with a bit less than half my stack. The flop came J-A-A, two diamonds. SB checked, and I made a half-pot bet to try to see if he had an ace or jack or would give it up immediately. In retrospect, probably a mistake -- should have just taken my free card to try to make my flush. But I felt that if I checked there, he'd bet strongly on the turn and I'd half to fold my hand in fear of either an ace or jack.

So I bet 350, and he immediately raises to 1750, all-in. Whoops. Guess he has an ace or jack.

I was going to fold it, but then stopped to look at my pot odds. Since it was an all-in, I could call and get two more cards to try to complete my flush. I hit the time bank button and grabbed my calculator and odds sheet. There was about 3100 chips in the pot, and I had to call 1400, so I was getting a bit more than 2 to 1 odds. My odds chart showed me with about 1.86 to 1 odds to make my flush with two cards to come, so I was getting the odds. As well, I had the chance to eliminate another player, and I would still have a reasonable stack if I lost, so I made the call.

He flipped over A-8, confirming what I already knew, and I crossed my fingers.

Turn was 5 of hearts. I took a deep breath.

River was 8 of diamonds! Yes!

Oh wait. No. He took the pot with his full house.

So I still need to learn to account for such things. The eight of diamonds was not an actual out for me, so I only had 8 outs instead of 9. According to PT, I checked later, I still had the odds with 8 outs, so I'm still content with my decision.

I hung in there, and it came down to four players, all of us fairly evenly stacked. It went back and forth many times, bet-fold or bet-raise-fold. I was enjoying it - this was good patience training for me, though one of the players, who I had tagged in my mind as a frat boy by his icon for a college sports team and general demeanor, started to complain about how this was boring him.

jrayuofl said, "no battles"
jrayuofl said, "all of u guys have had the same stacks for a while"
jrayuofl said, "bet raise fold"

jrayuofl said, "fk it this blows"

JONROBBY42 said, "you keep folding too pudd"
JONROBBY42 said, "you aint called a hand cause your short and on the bubble"
jrayuofl said, "im not raiseing then folding"

I ignored it and kept playing the same. I wasn't going to do something stupid and get knocked out now. It wasn't that I was on the bubble, it was that losing patience and making a bad move, something I knew in my gut was the wrong play, is a mistake I frequently make that knocks me out of the game right when it starts to look like I could make a decent showing.

JamesAt15 said, "everybody get comfortable"
JamesAt15: folds

JamesAt15 said, "we're gonna be here a while"

Finally, several hands later, I am dealt pocket Jacks on the button. UTG (not frat boy) goes all-in, and I have him barely covered, so I call. The other players stand clear, and he turns over Td-4d. There are two fives on the flop, and I catch a third Jack on the turn for a totally unneccessary full house to break the bubble.

jrayuofl said, "tokyo my ***"
jrayuofl said, "i will destroy u"

Guess he saw my location and doesn't believe where I live.

The next hand, the other non-frat-boy player goes all-in, and I find As-Ks. I call, and he shows A-8 offsuit. I pair my King and send him home too. I am heads up with Frat Boy.

jrayuofl said, "wanted u all night"

This is either somewhat flattering or fairly disturbing. Or both.

Actually I think he had been getting upset by my fairly aggressive play so far, and had sworn revenge. The smack talk began.

jrayuofl said, "lol good try wise guy"

jrayuofl said, "i own you"

jrayuofl said, "you noit"

jrayuofl said, "tilt"

jrayuofl said, "2nd aint bad man"
jrayuofl said, "pays 13 50"

During this time we went back and forth but didn't get into any major pots or hurt each other much, though he was starting to catch up with my stack. I was actually starting to get a bit paranoid, since I was being dealt some pretty good cards while in the big blind but never got any action, as he would fold immediately. J-K. Then pocket queens. Then pocket Kings! Come on, man, call me!

Shit, is my machine hacked? Can he see my cards? I open up Task Manager to look for unfamiliar processes. All looks normal. Behind the Task Manager window I see I have another hand. A-10 of clubs. I call, and Frat Boy jumps all-in. A-10 is not bad headsup, I figure, so I call. He has A-6 offsuit. A ten comes on the flop, and an Ace on the River, and I take first place.

It felt good. I should do this more often.

No comments: