Friday, September 30, 2005

Uh Oh!!!

Poker Championship

I have registered to play in the
Online Poker Blogger Championship!

This event is powered by PokerStars.

Registration code: 1270244

Looking forward to seeing all of you there....

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Set over Set

How often does this happen to you? In the 34 hands I played in 3/6 Limit the other night, I had three hands go wrong and cost me almost $130. Two hands I flopped and set and someone ended up with a higher set... one flopped it with JJJ, the other turned it with KKK to beat my flopped 999. The other hand I was semi bluffing with a nut flush draw (two of my suit on the flop) and I bet it all the way trying to win the pot. I ended the session bummed, but not on tilt. I was happy I did not start chasing and being super LAG after my losses. I am growing.

I did go to bed bummed and thinking of how I might have played it differently. Both the hands where I had sets were huge pots for me(over $200) and I really believe that people would play pocket AA, or two pair the way they did. As a matter of fact, the first set bust someone did have AA and called every bet all the way to the end (betting was capped on both the turn and the river. 3 way and one flips AA, the next flips JJ and I flip 33. The flop was K high with no flush or straight draws. Did I play it wrong? I don't know the percentages, but I gotta believe that on that board, any set will win more often than not. The second hand was similar but with me holding 99 and losing to pocket KK. I got the 9 I wanted on the flop and he got the K he wanted on the turn. Same thing, betting capped on the flop, turn, and river.

I am confident that I will recoup the loss, and I keep reading on everyone's blog the concept of "one long session" but I am wondering if anyone has some thoughts on not paying off the higher sets. My thoughts are this: I would play it the same way next time. I don't think the play is -EV. At the levels I play, many (most?) players will pay off a set with a pocket of their own, chasing a draw or flush, and with two pair. Was it just variance toying with me? (I did show the hammer after a successful drop... I drew to the 9 high straight with it beating pocket 10s) In 96 mins of play, what are the odds of flopping two sets and getting beat by an over set on each one?

I have not played much since then due to real life commitments and this has been on my mind. Hopefully, I can get my final HU match against Mourn in soon (after he beats GCox) so I can gain back my rightful position in the final and return the karm to TripJax. I know I am good enough to win this whole thing, but so far it is not working out that way?!?!

Good luck to DNasty, GCox, HighonPoker, and TripJax as they resume to the grinding, bankroll building, and bonus chasing they do so well. As soon as I win back my $130, I will be loading on Titan and chasing some PSO and Titan bonuses.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

$20 HU Challenge Completed

I finished the challenge this weekend. While it was a good moneymaker for me, it ended on a down note. I played over half of the games of the entire challenge in two days and I was running cold toward the end. I went 14-12 on Friday and Saturday. That is much cooler than the previous 24 games and brought down the entire challenge numbers. Overall, it was a good thing, I cleared almost $200 in profit and earned an 18% ROI. It was tough going this weekend, I wonder if I should start on the $30 right on the heels of my tough matches this weekend. I think I will wait for a little bit. Here are the final numbers:

W - L
31 - 19

Cash In - Cash Out
-$1,050 - $1,240


Win% - ROI
62.0% - 18%

Will keep you posted if a start a $30 or $50 HU SNG challenge. To borrow a term from Gary, my bankroll is on swoll from the challenge. I owe half of the roll to the profit in the challenge. Will try to keep building at some 3/6 or 5/10 Limit. See you out there....

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Mrs. STeelerJosh

I may have planted the seeds of a monster (I don't want to have to fight for computer time on my own computer), but the Mrs. was having a tough week so I suggested she try to some online poker to get her mind off things. She knows how to play poker and is an excellent live game player. She is in sales and is very good at reading people. She points out tells to me when watching poker on tv!! This will handicap her at online, but I was pretty confident she could hang.

First game ever was a $1.10 6 person SNG. She went out 4th and the action and the betting was a little too fast for her to comprehend. Excited by the taste, she wanted more. I suggested a HU match. She had found her home....

Match 1. She dominated the whole way. It was prolonged a little when the opponent hit their two outer on the river while all in. SteelerSteph had a good read on her and was ahead when she got her all in. She was in the lead almost the entire match and played very aggressively. My proudest moment was when she was faced with a river scare card and said, "I don't know what to do....." and 2 seconds later bet pot (720 chips) they folded and she won. The aggression seems to come naturally to her.

Match 2. Emboldened by her first victory, she wanted more. This was a tougher match against a better player than the first. Is she a natural? Should she start her own blog? You tell me. Here was the pivotal hand of the match that she went on to win:

steelersteph is at seat 1 with 1045.

steelersteph posts the small blind of 20.
turando posts the big blind of 40.

turando: -- --
steelersteph: 7c 2c


steelersteph calls. turando checks.

Flop (board: 7h 4h Ts):

turando bets 40. steelersteph calls.

Turn (board: 7h 4h Ts 9c):

turando bets 40. steelersteph calls.

River (board: 7h 4h Ts 9c 2s):

turando bets 240. steelersteph raises to 480.
turando calls.


steelersteph shows 7c 2c.
steelersteph has 7c 2c 7h Ts 2s: two pair, sevens and deuces.
turando mucks cards.
(turando has Ac 7d.)

Hand #8288761-56 Summary:

No rake is taken for this hand.
steelersteph wins 1200 with two pair, sevens and deuces.


So, that was the morning in the Steeler household. Hopefully the winning will continue on the football field tomorrow.

Quick HU Challenge Update:

I got a lot of games in last night, but the variance was high. I was a net winner, but had some bad beats and my win % dropped some.

W - L
25 - 12


Win% - ROI
67.6% - 29%

Thursday, September 08, 2005

GCox25 Victory

As I went to bed last night, I was going over the match in my head. I was not happy at all that I lost. I am not sure that I would have done too much differently. I made one or two crying calls and I missed some value bets on the river hoping to trap. GCox did not make too many stabs at a lightly contested pot without having a strong hand, he seemed ready to check them down. Will remember this if I make it to the next round with him. He won, so I will leave the write up to him. I will give myself the liberty of a short synopsis. I played well for over 200 hands and in the end got caught as the shorter stack with big blinds forcing my action. Gary played patiently and well.

In the second round, it looks like I have my work cut out for me now. I have to beat TripJax and Mourn to have a chance to advance. This is doable, but will be tough and will more than likely require some luck. Wish me luck.

Lastly, I got one match in for the $20 HU Challenge tonight and I won a pretty quick one against steelerscott again. STeelerJosh - 2. steelerscott - 0. Yay.

Stats as I get close to the halfway game:

W - L
17 - 7


Win% - ROI
70.8% - 35%

Happy to still be hanging around the 70% win rate. If I can maintain that through 25 more matches, this will be a pretty profitable challenge. It has already boosted my UB bankroll to new heights.

Monday, September 05, 2005

HU Battles

I am finding that the competition is much tougher on week nights. The matches last longer and are tougher to win. I played 4 matches tonight for a 3-1 record, with one of those being a rematch. Twice the guy rivered and sucked out on me in pots where he as all in and behind when he got in that situation. He ended up winning and I challenged him to a rematch. I asked him if he thought his luck would continue. It did not. Sweet revenge, but now I was stuck $2 for the rake.

I also played some 2/4 just to spice things up and work off a bonus. The limit hold em games still seem like a grind... just wait for good cards and play them aggressively. Easier said than done sometimes, but a winning method at the lower and mid levels it seems.

I am still running well at the HU matches, they have really increased my bankroll. I am starting to get a real feel for some of my opponents as the games progress and make good calls, good laydowns, and good bluffs. So far I am still convinced that the better player will win these HU matches. There is some variance and some runs of cards within the individual matches, but as many go over 100 hands, I think it comes down to some skill. Luck is still a factor, but you get to pick your spots much more easily with these as you do not have to worry about the maniac to your left pushing you out of pots. You can also manipulate your better opponents more easily becuase they are paying more attention than the usual amount I see in the ring games.

I hope I don't eat my words before the end of this challenge about the skill and variance, so I am thinking of setting a stop loss amount just in case. The matches have been fun, great practice, and profitable. I plan to complete the 50, but in case it runs very badly, very quickly, I will have to think about and set a figure to punch out.

Here is the latest at almost the halfway mark:

W - L
16 - 7


Win% - ROI
69.6% - 33%

Sunday, September 04, 2005

HU on laptop

For some reason, I feel very comfortable playing the HU matches on my computer at home. I have a seat, a steady internet connection and I am comfortable. I had a slight feeling of some trepidation before I sat down for my first HU match. I cleared the bonus on PP and in a cruel twist of fate, with about 10 raked hands to go at a 6 max 3/6 table, I started losing. And losing. I sat with $200, leaving a $45 reserve. Down to $100, I called in the reserve because the table was ripe. Loose aggressives hitting their flops. Very dangerous, but there was money to be made. The bonus cleared and I pulled that to the table too. I chipped up and with the hand that put me over 200, I decided to cash out. I cashed out $240.12. I guess I should be happy with that, I got my investment back plus $40.... but I am not. I invested some serious time this weekend playing and it sucked to have it lost so close to the goal. An example of what I was running into was AJ vs JJ with a J on the flop. I had the AJ. A set of 6's lost to a set of 9's on the river. Etc. It was bad, but I resisted the urge to chase and played good poker. I can take that, plus $40 with me. Slow and steady.

Since I cashed out on PP, all I have is my UB bankroll. I decided to do some HU and the results were positive (3-2) but I would have preferred (and could have easily been) 4-1. The coolest part of the day was sitting down at a table across from someone named "steelerscott". STeelerJosh vs steelerscott. I like to think the bigger Steeler-fan prevailed....

HU Update:



Win% - ROI
68.4% - 30%

Party Poker USETOWIN Bonus

I have not had any money loaded on PP since my "Cash Out Curse" but I noticed they had a 20% reload bonus this weekend. I am building a bankroll to deposit on Noble for their 100% deposit bonus, but I decided that I would risk the nest egg on Neteller to see if I could make the bonus and few bucks. I loaded $200 from Neteller and got a $40 bonus that would require 280 raked hands to clear. The bonus code gave you 7 days to clear the bonus.

Hmmm. I am going to be busy again with work this week, and I have been out of town most of last week. This equates more time for house catch up work and less time for poker. I decided I needed to play higher levels and try to clear the bonus this weekend. The only catch? I am out of town at my cousin's new house in Erie, PA. (Hi Kip) and he does not have high speed internet yet. I fired up netstumbler to see if I could find some unprotected wireless networks and BINGO! There are two within range of his house. I piggyback using my laptop and I am able to poker successfully. Occaisonally, the connection would drop for a few seconds or a minute, but overall was servicable. I began to grind at 2/4 Limit Hold Em.

It has been awhile since I sat down and made the mental decision to grind. Play only premium hands, play them aggressivley, don't chase and be very aware of position. It is not "fun" poker, but it is profitable poker. I decided to one table to keep my concentration on the other players and their style since I do not have poker tracker on my laptop. It was up and down through the first 100 raked hands with some amazing beats. I had QQ cracked twice in a row by the same guy. Both times he had junk hands and he made two pair each time. I did not panic, complained, but did not panic. I managed to hit a straight flush on him later and felt better. Overall the pocket QQ were 50% for me that day.

I moved up to some 3/6 6 max and the swings increased. The most memorable hand was my pocket 66 with a JJ10 flop. It was heads up. I raised, got re-raised and I completed. I put him on a J. The turn was a gorgeous 6 and I was only afraid of J10, 1010, or JJ. The pre flop play and my observations of this guy led me to believe he would have re-raised my pre flop raise if he had a pocket pair. I was comfortable ruling out 2/3 hands that could beat me. Since we were heads up, I decided to push... I can see this guy defending his set with AJ, KJ, maybe even QJ. There was a small concern in the back of my head that he might be holding the magic and statistically small probability J10. We capped betting on the turn (24 each) and the 8 river (another 24). Confident in my full house of 666JJ I watched him flip JJJ1010. Shit. That hurt. Not sure if I can get away from that hand in heads up. Don't have the hand history, but welcome any comments about how you might have done it differently. While there are many opinions about how to play a hand in any situation, I like to hear them and evaluate them and possibly learn something new.

I have not run the hand through any kind of probabilites calculator, but I know I started ahead (probably 54% to 46%) and even upon reflection, I think I would play it the same way next time.

That hand aside, it was fun to play limit poker again and I eventually came back from the big losses playing premuim hands aggressively. As I am writing this, I have 238 raked hands and I am up $57 before the bonus. I plan to cash out whatever I have after the bonus releases and get my focus back on the HU challenges (personal one and the public one).

Looking forward to round two of the challenge and wish the opponents left good luck.

Hope everyone is enjoying the long weekend and getting some poker in!