Monday, November 22, 2004

Playing Poker for a living 11/22/04

You know you are having a horrible run when your wife looks at you after someone came over the top of your TT with 33 and catches on the turn and says, "I think PokerStars hates you."

I have been chasing the WPT event at PokerStars for a good portion of this week. I tend to take the most horriffic beats at that site. They don't call it riverstars for nothing. I lost my KK to AK on the river. I lost with AA to J9s and he put me all in. I lost KK to A2o, once again he put me all in. There are days where you play great poker and get rewarded by watching terrible moves by terrible players get paid off at your expense. It is one of the most discouraging things you can endure. It has gotten to the point that I expect to lose as a favorite. Perhaps this is a defense mechanism to soften the blow when it happens. I shudder when I see Ax turned over and I am holding KK. I cringe when I see TT against my AA. Anytime they have an out on me, they hit it. Maybe Stars does hate me. I am up a few thousand lifetime on that site, but it is going downhill rather quickly. I still do not want to believe it is rigged, but the pessimism makes me gunshy nevertheless. I may need to take a hiatus from the site, not because it hates me, but it is psychologically taxing to expect bad beats every time.

On a brighter note, I mounted a great comeback on PartyPoker in the $50 Large Caps earlier this week. I cashed $4650 from it and took the profit from the site immediately. A few days before that I learned an expensive lesson about tilt (a $1100 lesson in 3 hours) at the $100 NL tables there. The money from that tournament is now profit. Incidentally, I now have a large sum of money in my Neteller account that needs to get moved. Mr. Tax Advisor will be getting a visit from me soon.

I played four disastrous tournaments today. The 350K on PokerStars ended abruptly when I defended my blind with KJs and I was immediately called by a guy who outchipped me by very little holding KQo. He gave it no thought, he just stuck his chips in. I was mad at myself for the move on a player who was playing loose and mad at him for calling his whole stack. I would like to think a better player would lay that down. He went on to make $3000 in that tournament. Rub it in. I also played the 100K on Paradise. I got some chips early when KJ and KQ called my AK to the river on a king high board. I then folded perhaps 60 hands in a row (no exaggeration) and finally ended up running what was left of my stack into AA with 77. I then played the Aussie Million qualifier on Party. I have never seen such terrible players in a $300 tourney. I lost some chips early but doubled with QQ when J8o called a 4x raise and then crippled himself by calling all in on a J high flop. I wound up running into AA with TT, then folding 55 to an all in from a maniac, then finally pushing with ATs and getting called by 55. He hit quads so that he could feel like he made a brilliant play. I wonder if it is justifiable to get indignant when I get busted out of a tournement by some idiot making a play I would never make. Maybe I need to gamble more with these crazies.

A few changes in my game recently: I refuse to stick all of my money into the middle of a pot with AK unless I have a good read on a bad player. If I get reraised, I am calling to see a flop. I used to be too quick to shove my money into a pot with it preflop, and I lose a lot of coin flips that way. I am also dropping AJ, AT, and KQ from early position. At most tables a call means you are destroyed and you will be in deep fecal matter on the flop. I am also raising small pairs from MP and LP. I am not looking to invite a coin flip, but I think I would rather be on the pair side of things if it comes to that (Except on stars where I will lose the coin flip no matter what side I am on. ). I am also using more position bets and checkraise bluffs from the BB. A nice scary board will chase most people out of the pot with such a move. I am also being more cautious about playing one pair. I have sniffed out a lot of sets when holding TPTK and made some good folds. Two pair is a different story, but I am working on dropping that as needed. I make a lot of money from people who can't fold TPTK or two pair, and I have no intention of giving it back when the roles are reversed.

Overall, I am up well over $5500 this week, including a Final table at one of my favorite tournaments, the $50 Langosta tourney at 3 AM. It was only a few hundred but it was fun to hit a final there, as it has been about 5 times since I monied there. I am up good money this week, but the recent bad luck seems to stay front and center in my mind. I need to put that aside and focus on playing good poker. I refuse to allow these disgusting beats to dull my aggression. Onward and upward, there is a final table in Langosta calling my name!

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Playing Poker for a living 11/07/04

Well... It has been an interesting few weeks. As you may know, I recently won a large sum in the Paradise 100K. I had a run of 4 out of 6 final tables in MTTs and made over $22K in 3 days. Never in my life did I expect such a showing in such a short time.

Since then it has been up and down. I was consistently winning over $300 per day at the $100 NL tables. Then, in one day I gave $500 of it back. It seemed like if my opponents had one out they would hit it. A horrible run. At the end of one day, my wife offered to trade jobs. I read up on human rights violations with regards to prostitution in Thailand, and she played poker. It lasted 20 minutes and she made $60 at the NL table I placed her at. That sparked a nice run where I made about $800 in two days (including today) at the NL tables.

I am finding that I lose aggression over time at the NL ring games. I have been varying my play to be sure that I bring it back. For instance, I would play for a few hours without ever just calling. I would either raise, reraise, or fold on any street. This turned out to be a profitable way to play poker, as I got a lot of remarkable folds. It also tightened me up considerably. If I was not comfortable raising with AJ in MP, I would fold it. In this way, I played only raising hands and a few bluffing hands. I do not, however, think this is an optimum way to play. I think there is a great deal of value in NL to the limping hands in LP; suited connectors, baby pairs, and suited aces.

Another adjustment I have made, especially in NL ring games, is to be very caqreful playing one pair after the flop. Top pair is not as strong as I once thought, depending on your opponent. My pokertracker stats tell me that I have a big negative when I have one pair, so I play it a little more cautiously. Most big pots I lose are with TPTK vs. a set. More folding is in order.

I played the PPM semi finals on Friday. I had terrible cards throughout the tournament and finished in the top 200. I never managed to get my stack to double the starting chips, so I am amazed I made it that far. I did not see AA or KK the entire tournament, 253 hands. In fact, I kept track, and I did not see AA for 670 hands (including the tournamnet), and when I finally did get it I lost $80 to a turned set of queens all in preflop in a NL ring game. I can do without AA, thanks! One interesting thing about this is that I saw AA once in the Paradise 100K, and took the blinds. Never having a hand that you have trouble folding helps a great deal.

Overall, I am up more than $31K in the 11 weeks I have been playing as a pro. This is a great number to hit, but there were a few big tourney wins that mask a lot of tourney losses. A portion of that money has also been split with team Selachian, with whom I still chop some tournaments that we play together.

Overall, It has been an excellent 2 weeks since my last update. I have over 2K hands on many opponents at the $100 NL games, and am very comfortable there. Another $3K added to my PTY bankroll and I may move up to the $200 NL games.
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