Another #TPTE takedown and mixed results at the cash games

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Thursday was a mixed bag of results for me at the tables. In the morning, I played at PokerHost.com on the Limit Hold ‘Em tables and had success at the games that had blinds of .25/.50. I was able to double up my buy-in on one session and triple up on another session.

After a short break for lunch, I was prepared to play the Thurday Twitter Poker Tour – Euopean edition which started at 2pm ET or 7pm BST. I enjoy playing in any of the Twitter Poker Tour tourneys due to the fact that I know the players and communicate with some of them on a regular basis. I consider them my friends even though we may be hundreds or even thousands of miles apart.

But there is a saying … there are no friends at a poker table and I was playing to win. Again. I had won the previous Thursday in first place and that was my ultimate goal.

The tourney lasted 2 hours and 10 minutes and I played in 192 of the hands that were dealt. There were only nine players and the lead changed many times during the event. I had gone from first to last place at least a dozen times but was able to keep my chip count high enough to give myself a chance to win.

The game started at 2pm ET and at 3:46pm there were only two of us left:
Seat 6: Steve_Treys (3450 in chips)
Seat 7: excalibur41 (10050 in chips)

I had my work cut out for me. Getting his chips away from him was not going to be easy. It never is. And sometimes you don’t succeed. The following hand was pivotal in giving me the chips needed to win heads up.

Hand Information
Game: No Limit
Room: PokerStars – Get $50 Free
Blind: $100 / $200
Table Information
Seat 6: steve_treys ($3,325) Dealer
Seat 7: excalibur41 ($10,175) Small Blind
Seat 6: steve_treys Ante $25
Seat 7: excalibur41 Ante $25
Dealt to excalibur41
Preflop (Pot:350)
CALL steve_treys $100
RAISE excalibur41 $800
CALL steve_treys $600
Flop (Pot: $2,000)
BET excalibur41 $3,800
ALL-IN steve_treys $2,400
RETURN excalibur41 $1,300
Turn (Pot: $8,200)
River (Pot: $8,200)
ShowDown:
SHOWS   excalibur41
SHOWS   steve_treys
steve_treys win the pot: $8,200

There were 62 more hands played to finish the heads up portion of the tournament. At the end I prevailed and took down my second #TPTE tourney in a row. The finishing summary was as follows:

1: Steve_Treys (Fremont)
2: excalibur41 (Glasgow)
3: TaikiYa (Mannheim)
4: The420Gov
5: amuzulo (Berlin),
6: sionweeks (New Tredegar),
7: RawrStar (Littleborough),
8: Fingolfin3 (DERBY),
9: b3ls3pub (Valkeala),

The number 6th finisher actually did not actively participate in the tourney when he lost his Internet connection after about the third hand played. The online system was designed to give the disconnected player a chance by giving additional time to reconnect. The first couple of hands, two minutes were given before folding his hand, the next couple of hands, one minute was given, and finally only 15 seconds was given before he timed out and his hand was folded. 6th place for not playing actively is not bad. Sort of says that the less hands you play, sometimes the better off you are.

I ended the day playing some more cash games of Limit Hold ‘Em at the next level of stakes, the .50/1.00 levels and lost almost all of my buy-in. I dropped back down to the .25/.50 tables and recovered a little of what I had lost. I will give the higher level a try again later to determine if that level is too tough for me or that I just had a bad run.

All in all, it was a good day of poker. Fun, excitement, and cashing in.

Do you find it helpful to play against people that you know versus total strangers? Does it help when you know their patterns of play? Do you vary yours so that they don’t have a good read on you?

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Deep Stack Tourneys – Have you played one?

Poker night - Who's gonna win?
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I have been playing some poker on PokerHost.com as the results of replying to “tweets” from @TeamPokerHost about tourneys and freerolls being played at their online site.

PokerHost allows US players and has a variety of games availble to suit most types. Because they are a new site, there are not a lot of players at the tables but they do have some great quarenteed games and some nice freerolls as well as incentive bonuses and rewards for making a first time deposit as well as additions to your existing account.

I played a “Deep Stack” tourney for the first time and manged to get a fifth place prize for my efforts. It turns out that a deep stack means you get a larger starting amount of chips to play with. In this case, we each got 5,000 in chips instead of the usual 1,500.

Not having played “deep stack” tourneys before, I googled it and found out the best way to play them from an article written by Allen Cunningham. While I did not win it all, I was pleased with my results.

I like the PokerHost site and the fact that it has games that I play and that I can win at.

How do you choose your sites? Do you play there for fun or profit? What is your favorite site?

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Freerolls! Are they worth playing?

A man plays poker on his computer connected to...
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Last night I played in the PokerHost.com freeroll titled the “Testosterone Freeroll”. Overall there were 319 entrants to the event which started at 8pm ET. At 11:30 pm we were down to 4 players and I was the short stack. I had a K4 off suit and decided to try my luck.  Most of the night, I considered my play skillful, and yes I did suck out on a few hands – which is why they call this game we like to play poker.

As it was a freeroll, my fourth place finish earned me $3.75 for my efforts during the grueling 3 1/2 hours of play, $1.25 an hour. This was a fun game with many ups and downs. A lot of hands went all in pre-flop,  post flop, on the turn and the river. I was up against one player that stayed all the way to the river with flush draws and hit a few of them to take away “my chips”.  If you need experience in how to play a tourney, this game could be the one for you.

You get the experience of playing on multi-tables. At PokerHost, they move players around so you get the opportunity to move and see more players, some  of which you might see again at the final table if your skill and luck holds out.

Each of the tables held ten players, although some of them were “sitting out”. This occurred mostly at the beginning of the tourney.  I think some people sign up and say they are going to play and at the last minute change their mind and then they do not unregister. I actually ended up on one table where the other nine were “sitting out” and all I had to do to win the chips was hit the bet or raise button. My hand was getting a little sore until some live persons showed up. I did not notice that my raise was called at first until I saw the flop, then I had to tighten up a bit and try to just steal 6 out of 10 hands.

Do you play freerolls? What has been your experience with them?  Would you recommend any of them to your friends? What sites have the best freerolls?


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The official race to $250 is over!

www.army.mil
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The following is an excerpt from the blog of of rock music star, Patrick Sebastian, whose twitter name is @sebastianrocks.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

I am very sorry to inform, but the race is over for the 1st place. I had couple unbelievable sessions and I just went thru $250 mark  in the race, getting over $70 in my last session. I’ll post some biggest hands tomorrow.

BUT, I’ll give the 2nd to reach the $250 mark $30 and 3rd $15 so keep playing.

Patrick

Patrick Sebastian
25May cash 0,10/0,25 (S) $10 (E)$87.80 (P) $77.80   (T)$262.80

++++++++++++++++++++++++

See the rest of the details by going to www.patricksebastian.wordpress.com. Even though the official race is over and Patrick won the prize, he is giving up half of his prize by creating a second and third place prize to be given to the next two players that complete the challenge. The original terms of the race were winner take all, but Patrick wants us to succeed in this quest as well.

I, for one, will go on to complete this challenge and use this quest as the means to reach my own personal goal of increasing my poker bankroll by 250% in the next 12 months. While I won’t actually list the amount of my bankroll, I will issue my status by using what percentage of the goal I have reached, upwards or downwards.

Thank you Patrick Sebastian for being a role model and for providing us the opportunity to grow as players and as persons. I am not familiar with your music, yet, but as a poker player, you are a pro and I am proud to know you and play with you at the tables.

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A 1st place finish in the #TPTE – Twitter Poker Tour – Europe & 2nd place in a home game.

Tense game
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During the last few weeks, I  have been playing in the Twitter Poker Tour – Euopean edition because they have a 2pm EST start which suits me quite well. The poker game they play is No Limit Texas Hold Em, which I like. Although the season consists of 12 sessions and the #TPTE is at the halfway point, I have only played in two previous sessions. My results for those two sessions were a second place finish and a 7th place finish. This time I was able to nail down a first place result, the first for me since playing in the #TPTE.

This evening, I played a tourney in the Boston, Mass area with a group called Boston Social Media. There were 10 people total and the event was hosted by Kevin Palmer of Social Media Answers.  Frank Days of Tangyslice.com, was the person who originally contacted me about the game. I proudly wore my TPT t-shirt that I won at a previous TPT tourney to the game.

Typical of home games, we all got a chance to deal when we got the dealer button. By the time five of us were left, we had a designated dealer to allow the game to progress a little faster. The blinds went up every 20 minutes and the tourney lasted about 2 1/4 hours. Only three persons were paid. First received $125, second $75 and third $50. The buy-in was $25.00 with no rake. I came in second place and pocketed $75.00.

This was my first live tourney in a couple of years that I actually made it into the money. I think everyone had fun although I am sure that everyone wanted to win.

Do you play online tourneys or home tourneys or casino tourneys? How are they different? Which to you enjoy more?

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Boston Social Media Poker Tour

I have been invited to attend a private poker tournament run by persons that form Boston Social Media . Except for blogging and twittering, I am not involved in the social media arena. At least one of these people have played in tourneys sponsored by the  Twitter Poker Tour.

Novice that I am, I have accepted their invitation and I did not even ask what type of poker that they are playing or what the house rules are. So far all I know is the buy-in amount, which is $25.00 and the tentative location for the event.

For all I know, I could be playing in games that I have not yet learned. This could be very interesting indeed. I will update you with the details in tomorrow’s post.

Have you ever accepted invitations to participate in poker games but did not know the details?

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Additional thoughts on Poker and the #Race to 250 summarized.

High Stakes Poker Explained?
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It has been 16 days since the May 4th challenge issued by @sebastianrocks, twitter name of rock music star, Patrick Sebastian, to see which one of us could take a $10 bankroll and increase it to $250 first.  To see the details of the challenge and current details of our progress, go to www.patricksebastian.wordpress.com. Ten have responded to his invitation.

Part of the rules required us to play in games that involved no more then 10% of our current bankroll. We each started out by recording a starting amount of $10.00 and kept track of our results. If we went below $3.00 we could rebuy by adding an another $10, but if we did, then we needed to increase our goal by that same amount.

My results thus far stand at $31.50 or an increase of over $21.50 from my starting amount. As good as this might seem, I was actually at $46.44 before playing a few cash games with blinds of .02/.05 on the No Limit tables. My No Limit cash game needs a lot of work.

My best games are usually Limit Hold Em but my current bankroll does not allow me to play those games. I would need about a $50.00 bankroll before I could play the type of game that I am most comfortable with.  My point is that the challenge is taking me out of my comfort zone and that is a good thing. It means that I need to learn and grow as a player.

Thankfully, I now have added a new tool to my belt, the training website, Deuces Cracked. I intend to become a very good or a great No Limit Cash game player and the training videos and posts should help. I will let you how that goes.

Have you ever played games that you were not as good at or were uncomfortable playing? How did you overcome your issues with the game?  What tools do you have in your poker playing tool kit? Or are you just a natural player?

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A guest post – from comments made by Jack – updated 5/20/09

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This post has been updated with additional comments from Jack – See below:

On May 13th, I wrote a post titled, “How not to play pocket Aces and why do I hear chips clinking when I am not in a hand?” which was about how I played, or rather, misplayed a pair of pocket Aces.

Today I received a comment that was terrific and to the point and so well written that I wanted to share these comments with you.

The comments were written by Jack, a friend of Paul Ellis aka @CoolWhipFlea, whose blog, Pablos Place, is one I read often and is on my blogroll

Here are Jack’s comments, Thank you Jack.

—————————————————————————————–

I think maybe the problem with this hand was the min raise preflop. You’re pretty much giving the BB the easiest call of his life at the start of a SnG when the blinds are small. Even with the call I think you could have escaped the hand (hypothetically…). Consider that the pot when the flop came was only 135 chips (60+60+15SB)…. then the villain shoved in 345 chips, a suspiciously large overbet. I think maybe you could have folded there because the pot size, bet size ratio was so off and suspicious.

Basically though, the small raise preflop against the big blind ruins any reads you can have post flop because realistically he can call the additional 30 chips with almost any two cards. Because his range is so wide he could have just as easily had AQ, KQ, KK, TT, JJ, A8 (all hands that hit the flop well, but you beat with AA) and your call could have been correct on the flop. But again, you have no idea because your raise was so small.

I think the most straight forward way to play your hand would be a 3-4XBB raise when it was folded to you, so instead of a raise to 60, a raise to 90 or 120. Why?

1) Because if you get callers, you’re getting more value out of your hand (bigger pot size). 3-4xBB is small enough that people will still call you with worse hands, but large enough that it allows you to begin building a big pot that you can win (as opposed to a small pot.)

2) You narrow their range. On a 68Q board after a standard (really 3-4BB is pretty bread and butter online) raise the only logical hands that will have you beat on the flop are 66, 88, and QQ. The only 2pair you’ll be seeing is MAYBE Q8s or something but in most cases you can eliminate 2 pairs completely because Q6 is so weak and Q8s is really a bad call preflop IMO. He would be forced to fold his 68o and the suckout would have never occurred. If he is a bad player he still might have called, but you can rest easy knowing you got your money in good and you played the hand correctly.

Consider the fact that QQ would likely 3bet you preflop and you can narrow his range even further by thinking “Ok, if he had QQ he would have likely reraised me preflop, and since he didn’t chances are he doesn’t have QQ.”
—————————————–
Anyways, compare the two ways you could have played the hand and I think it becomes obvious which one is better.

If you raise what you did (min raise) then the hand goes.

You: raise to 60
Villain: “Ok, 68 isn’t a great hand, but if I hit the flop, I’ll probably stack him if he has a good hand. If I don’t, it’s an easy fold and I still have a ton of chips. Because it’s only 30 more into a 95 chip pot, I’ll call”
FLOP: 86Q
Villain: “Wow 2 pair! I probably won’t make much money on this hand because the pot is small, but if he has a good overpair, I bet I can overbet the pot and get called light, maybe even reraised! I’ll raise to 345 and pray for a call”
You: ??? Well I guess I have to hope he doesn’t have QQ, All in.
Villain gets paid

The same hand if you raised to 4XBB
You: raise to 120
Villain: 68o? I have to call 90 more chips into a 165 chip pot? That’s a big chunk of my stack.. if the flop doesn’t hit, and it probably won’t, then I’m just throwing away chips by calling. I guess I’ll have to fold.
Villain folds

OR (unlikely)

You: Raise to 120
Villain: I am a fish. 86o is such a good hand. Call
Flop: 86Q
Villain: Yay my fish call worked! Bet 345
You: Well his range of hands that beat me is pretty much 88,66, maybe if he’s loose Q8s. But wouldn’t he try and slowplay a set like most people do at these stakes? KK, QQ, and maybe JJ would have probably reraised me preflop. I beat AQ, KQ, QTs, JQ, 87s…. all hands that he could easily have. Hmm… and it’s an overbet to the pot…. maybe this guy is just a fish with random cards?

And then you make whatever decision you want based off that. Personally, if I was in your spot after raising 4xBB and he called, I would probably stack off with AA after his 345 raise. There are so many hands you beat in his calling range, that 9 out of 10 times you’ll be making the correct choice. Which means that over time you’ll be making the +EV choice. Add to the fact that I think he folds 68o almost all the time to a 4xBB raise, the fact that he will hit a flop like that (one that beats you) less that 17% of the time, and you can stack off with AA almost everytime on that kind of board and your profit level will fly up.

You won’t have to blame the hand on yourself or feel bad about it. It’s just a fish getting lucky, and you’re ready to go to the next SnG.

This is just my analysis of the hand, but I think many other players would agree with the logic. I think minraising is never good preflop (unless you are trying to induce some kind of tilt shove from your opponent) and you should focus on making 3-4xBB your standard raise everytime. It’s big enough to allow you to build a pot and fold out the crappiest hands, but small enough that you can get away from the hand if put into a marginal spot.

I am Paul’s friend Jack by the way. I was just bored and reading your blog (which I found through his blog) and thought this post was interesting enough to post a big essay of my thoughts. Hahah. Good to meet you and I hope something I said was useful or interesting. GL at the tables —-

Jack made additional comments which somehow did not show up – I have added them here.

To extend my specific advice about this hand to a more general poker theory, so you can apply it in other places, is this.

The hand was hard to play because you were too cautious. By not wanting to get into a bad situation preflop, you put yourself into an awful awful situation post flop (I am basing this off your previous blog about letting go of aces preflop in some tournaments.) Often when playing poker, being selectively aggressive will make choices on later streets much more clean cut.

Suckouts happen, but if you are playing with a proper bankroll and solid overall play they shouldn’t matter. You’re aggressive play will profit on the long run, with patience and proper discretion. Aggression will always help you narrow ranges and make good choices. I feel like playing more passively just puts poker players into such marginal spots…

I know this is just my opinion, but the more concepts you have in your head while playing, the better your going to play. Even if you don’t want to follow my advice, I think it’s good to consider when playing a hand.

ALSO, I know you probably don’t play shorthanded, but when you are thinking about the game, watch this video.

http://www.donkeytest.com/videos/JonnyCosMo_1_N…

Honestly, I think it’s going to help your decision making and help you understand other people’s decision making in the future.

http://www.donkeytest.com/school.html. That page has 5 training videos that help out quite a bit imo. Even if you don’t like them, they are interesting to think about. GL! Sorry for leaving two comments, I just really needed to comment fully on the topic.

-Jack

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Finished 8th in the PokerHost Stimulus 2.5K event Sunday evening playing No Limit Texas Hold Em

A man plays poker on his computer connected to...
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I have been playing a lot of Texas No Limit Hold Em as a result of the “race to 250” lately, so it was fun to switch gears and play in a higher paying tournament.  (See my  post, “Update on the race to $250 and other thoughts” for more details on the race.)

The PokerHost Stimulus 2.5K event was an exciting event for me. The chance to win a top prize of $650.00 for first place was a heady prospect.

I  received a free ticket to the event as the result of adding an additional $25.00 to my existing account with PokerHost. I learned about the event from a “tweet” by @TeamPokerHost. The odds were good due to the fact that only 97 had entered the event and that the top 15 players were going to be paid. That meant that 16% of the players would win.

This was a tight and gruelling event. I came up against some very good players as well as about a dozen or so players that were “sitting out” the entire tourney for whatever reason. It would be interesting to know why, but the good part for me was that I played well enough to finish in 8th place.

In fact my last hand was an all-in bid to move up a couple of places on the ladder. I had the best hand both pre-flop and flop but lost on the turn and river to the then chip leader who caught runner runner for two-+ pair.

My entry fee was valued at $16.00 and I won $85.00 for 8th place, giving me an effective rate of $21.00 per hour, which I would take every time.

Have you ever had a chance to cash in at a tourney where the entry fee was reasonable? Did the way you played give you a chance to win? Did you take risks at the right time? Did you know when to back down and not jeopardize your tourney life because you were too stubborn about thinking you had the best hand, when it fact you did not?

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The Race to $250, the TPT, and other thoughts

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Since May 4th, I have played over 57 sessions of poker devoted to the challenge that @sebastianrocks, twitter name of rock music star, Patrick Sebastian, laid down a challenge to us. The goal was to see which one of us could take a $10 bankroll and increase it to $250 first.  To see the details of the challenge and our progress, go to www.patricksebastian.wordpress.com.

I started with a bankroll of $10.00 and since May 4th, I have been able to increase it to over $40.00. At this rate, it will be possible to reach the goal within the next four or five weeks.

I have yet to have a successful outing however at the Twitter Poker Tour and last night was no exception. I have hooked up my mini-notebook computer to our 47″ television so that my wife, Diane, can watch the tourney as well. As the game progresses, I explain my various actions and why I take them and what results I expect to get. Lately I have been guessing right more than not although sometimes not quick enough to save me from losing chips.

Last night during a hand I was dealt a K9 off-suit. I raised the minimum bet of $6- preflop and got all but one person to fold. We got to see the flop. which was 2d 8d 8s. Although I had nothing as the flop did not help me, I bet another $60 and the turn card was four of diamonds, 4d. Still no help but I bet again another $60 and was called. The river was a five of spades, 5s, and still no help to me but again I bet $60 dollars. I was called and I showed my K9 and my opponent showed his pocket 3’s. He was able to call each of my bets in spite of my raising each time and in spite of the fact that four of the five cards on the board were larger than his cards. Besides my not folding in the first place, the only other mistake I think I made in playing that hand was that I did not increase the size of each bet to at least half of the pot at each betting opportunity. I gave up $240 in chips during the play of that hand.

I was down to about $1,200 in chips,but still in reasonable good shape if I played well, which I did not as the next hand will illustrate.  In that hand I was dealt a Q9 off suit.  I was in the big blind and two people who called to see the flop which was Qc 7s 6s. This gave me top pair with my nine as a kicker card.  My opponent bet $120 and I raised to $240 in an attempt to get him to fold and give me the pot right there and then. One opponent folded but the other one that raised,  called my re-raise. The flop was a deuce of diamonds, 2d and did not improve my hand and perhaps did not help my opponent.  It was at this point in time that I should have figured out that I must be beat, that my opponent must have at least a queen with a higher kicker or perhaps had two pairs. The fact that he raised the flop and called my re-raise should have been all the information that I needed in order to keep from losing more chips. But instead, when he raised $160, I fired another bet of $320, which he called. The river was a seven of clubs,7c. He again bets $160 and I again re-raised $320 building the pot to a nice sizable total of $1,880 which my opponent won when he showed his AQ of hearts, beating my Q9 of nothing. I was down to $600 in chips and basically out of the running.

Texas Hold Em is like a story, told by the betting that goes on. If you pay attention to the story you can predict the ending.  Of course, some times a fairy tail is the story that is being told and you have to be able to know the difference.

How well do you do in reading what your opponents betting story means? How well do they listen to your story? More important, do they believe you and give you the pot or do they figure out your story might be wrong and call you down?

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