Results of playing on a Freeroll

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Last night I decided to enter one of the RailBird.Com freerolls that are offered many times throughout the month. As the name implies, there is no cost to enter the event. And the prize pool was $150 to be divided up amongst the top 108 players. The best paid are the top five ranging from 33.95 for the top finisher and 9.98 for fifth place. At the bottom end of 20th and under to 108, you get about a half dollar for your efforts.

Out of the 1122 starting players, I finished 33rd and earned .48 for my three hours of playing. While winning would have been nice, I played this freeroll to get experience in playing in a large group at a low expense. While you might think that a freeroll would be full of bad players, playing any two cards, many of the Railbird players are quite good and play to make their way up in the monthly and annual ranking on RailBirds.Com.

Once we passed the bubble at 108, the players started to be more aggressive, trying to accumulate the chips needed to finish in the top position. The blinds and antes were high enough so that there was about 3,800 in chips before betting even began. It would be worth trying to steal the blinds and antes as often as possible with any reasonable draw.

I saw my opportunity when I was dealt AK off suit and three players folded before play got to me. I raised for about 1/3 of my 25,000 chip stack (the average was about 50,000) and got two players to fold before the small blind called me. The big blind raised enough to put both myself and the smal blind all in.

I was feeling pretty good when I saw the small blind turn over an AK unsuited, same hand as my own. But the big blind had pocket Kings, KK. The only good news was that there were no more kings for the big blind to catch. The bad news was that there were only two aces left for me and the small blind. As fate would have it neither of us saw an ace on the flop and we did not get a miracle QJT for a straight so we were both out of the tourney.

What risks would you take to win a tourney? Would you be satisfied to just cash out? How would have played this hand?

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Thoughts about blogging and poker in general.

Blog Stats
Image by Arwens Abendstern via Flickr

When I started my blog on January 2nd of this year, little did I know that it was not  always easy to write something, let alone something interesting or informative every day. Also, at the time I started, I was unaware of just how many “poker blogs” were out in the world wide web! It turns out that there are hundreds of blogs, forums and poker sites.

Many of the sites are run by professional poker companies, professional poker players or professional poker instructional sites. The rest of the blogs are written by people like myself, who have a passion for all things poker and like to share their thoughts and ideas.

I am not really sure what is interesting to everyone who reads my blog. Judging by the comments that I get, how I play a hand might draw a comment. What I see at an online or live table might be interesting. I even try to share what books I have read that have been helpful. All in all, getting ideas for blogging daily is both challenging and fun.

When I first started out, I tried to blog 7 days a week but after a couple of months found that did not fit my life style. So now I blog usually five days a week. I have a routine that I use before writing my blogs. I usually read my email to see if there are any questions or issues I might use. I also check my tweets from overnight. Finally, I check out Usually he posts at least once a day and sometimes more. I have found inspiration for some of my posts by reading his blog. I also take time to read the blog of my online poker friends and acquaintances, commenting when I find something that strikes a chord with me.

I have noticed that some of the poker professionals only post when they have something they want to share. The online sites usually post every day, sometimes more if there are events they want to keep you updated about. Some of the poker pros talk about non-poker related topics. You get a glimpse into their lives as they share their thoughts and ideas.

Some of what I read, some of what I do and some of what I think about, I use for my blog.

What interests you? What would you like to see? What do want to hear about? What do you want to talk about?

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The TPT Season 4 Finale was a blast – 18 players were invited to play

Poker Champions
Image by jrayfarm1980 via Flickr

Sunday night at 5:0o pm ET, 18 members of the TPT were invited to participate in the final event for Season 4 of the Twitter Poker Tour. The players invited were from the top 18 of the two leader boards, TPT and TPTE (Europe). They were as follows along with their tourney results: Congratulations to them all.

1: GoofyRooster, $240 + $16 Tournament Entry
2: buzzback, $45
3: teruna, $27
4: KingSteve7, $18
5: taz31362
6: StevieTrips
7: 4get 2 4Bet Me
8: Excalibur9
9: fleapid
10: edih
11: astro_pup
12: Street 3
14: Shackedin06
15: widmayer
16: McChicknHead
17: swyyft
18: MrSoprano111

The event lasted over 2 hours 41 minutes. The uncontested leader after two hours of play was GoofyRooster. His careful tight and aggressive style of play kept him in the lead and allowed him to eliminate many a player who tried to go against him. He may not have won every hand he played, but he won the ones that counted.

In one of the last four hands that I played in the event, I was dealt a an A 10 of diamonds. The flop was 6c 4d 8h of  diamonds, giving me three diamonds and a chance for a backdoor straight.  I was up against GoofyRooster.  I had raised pre-flop. After the flop GoofyRooster bet 200 and I called. The turn was a 5 of diamonds. giving me four to the flush and a draw to the best flush. GoofyRooster bet 600.  I felt that my odds of making the flush or the high hand were good. I had a chance to catch any of the nine remaining diamonds in the deck and I might even win if I caught one of three remaining aces or tens as well. I had at least 15 chances out of 43 remaining cards so I called. The river was a 5 of spades and I lost the pot, leaving me 1,200 less chips but still in second place.

The second ace 10 hand that I played cost me almost all of my chips as I hit the ten on the flop and decided to call this hand down as I thought the flop had not hit my opponent. When we turned over our cards, Teruna showed a pair of pocket queens to beat my tens. Basically, I was out as I had less than 600 chips or a bet and a half left. Poor decisions can be costly at the end of a game.

Sometimes it is just best to wait for a premium hand or a good flop. But all in all, the tourney was well played and all the players came with their “A” games to the table.

I am looking forward to season 5. Are you?

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The effects of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act

Image by TW Collins via Flickr

I have been playing in a quite a few events as a member of the Twitter Poker Tour group. I also started playing more games run by RailBirds.Com and their sub groups.  I have even started playing in the online events of the American Poker Players, a social group of the American Poker Invitational group. I also try to play at least two or three hours a day of cash games online.

I try to sandwich this in between home like, work, and blogging. For hobbies, I like to read: poker, science fiction, adventure and mystery novels. I do a lot of thinking and studying about poker. Probably I talk and think about it more than I play it.

One of the problems I am finding about playing online is that it is getting harder and harder to get funds to and from the poker sites.

Just recently I opened a new business checking account and in the first month’s statement was a large notice about customers not using the bank to transfer funds to and from online poker sites. If we were doing it, we must stop or change banks. Because of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, the US government can fine and punish banks that allow this kind of activity.  Personally, I don’t think the government has that right and should not be involved in what ordinary citizens want to do with their money. They are forcing us to take extreme measures.

Most of the pokier players that  I know are law abiding, tax paying citizens. Until congress passes laws making online poker legal in the US, they are forcing us to find new and creative ways to keep playing. For myself, I am looking at off shore banking that have no ties with the US. I am not doing this to avoid paying taxes, should I ever start to earn money playing poker, but I want to be able to play and the off shore banks seem to be a way to do this. Everything I have read says that care should be taken if I go this route because these banks are not governed by US laws.

I don’t intend to have a large amount of money tied up with them, I just want to be able to either transfer my money to an online site and transfer my profits back and eventually get a check that I can legally deposit into my regular US based bank accounts.

Do you think that the government is wrong on how they treat online poker?

Do you have a method of either depositing or getting your winnings back that is safe and secure from seizure by the government?

What are you doing to change this situation?

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Season 4 of the TPT/TPTE ends today!

Twitter Pocker Tour Logo

Today marks the end of the season for the Twitter Poker Tour. Two events are planned for this day. The TPTE at 7pm CST / 2pm ET. The TPTE event was geared mostly to allow European players an opportunity to compete in the TPT events at a time that best suited them. I also enjoyed playing at this time of day. The amount of players attending the event has been dropping each successive week and a decision was made to no longer offer this event..

The other TPT event which is at 9pm ET is still relatively strong, drawing upwards of 30 to 45 players each week. Tonight is the end of the season for the TPT. Starting next week there will no longer be a 12 week season and the leader board will be changed to reflect a monthly leader and winner. If you are interested in learning more about the TPT and its’ events, check out their website by clicking this link.

Will you be playing in the final season game tonight? Will you be invited to play in the special end of season “Final Event” on Sunday, Sept. 27, at 5pm ET? Do you belong to other poker leagues or groups?

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Does "Poker After Dark" affect how people play No Limit Hold 'Em

Patrik Antonius at 2006 World Series of Poker.
Image via Wikipedia

NBC’s popular show “Poker After Dark” may be influencing the play of people on line. My wife, Diane, and I have been watching the show since last season and have found it entertaining and have seen plays made that are not in any of the 50 odd poker books that I own and have read.  I have seen hands like 3 4 suited raised out of position, and 5 bet after the flop without hitting and taking down a big pot. Of course the players that do this are either Tom Dwan, Peter Eastgate, Patrik Antonius or Ilari Sahamies AKA “Ziigmund”, just to mention a few.

At the site I play at regularly, I saw players go all in pre-flop with J7 suited, Ax, small poker pairs or just about any two cards as long as they were suited or had at least one face card. I even saw a 7 2 suited take down a good size pot hitting a flush. I was beaten in one had when I had the early lead. I had flopped the flush and I had raised 8 big blinds and got called by one person who had just 4 to the flush, holding only one card, the Ace, and caught his fourth diamond on the board to take down the pot, with Ad 6s. How he could even think of calling was amazing based on the odds he was getting. With six diamonds already out, he was drawing thin and he hit. I wonder if he saw this move on TV?

After a couple of hours of playing No Limit Hold ‘Em, I switched gears and entered a low buy in RAZZ tourney being played by members of the group that I belong to. It was fun, and as I don’t play RAZZ often, I decided it would be a good experience. I went from being in the top 5 of the 15 players to the bottom 5 and then held first place before losing 2/3 of my chips and eventually finishing in 14th place overall. Holding a hand of A 2 4 5 7 8 Q, I ran into A 2 3 5 6 7 K. I did not even consider that my A 2 4 was not the best hand until I had most of my chips in the middle …. and then I said … what does he have? The wheel? A 2 3 4 5? Close enough. I cannot wait for the next match. They hold them every Tuesday night at 8:30pm ET on PokerStars. If you’re a Railbird just look for “Poker Brats” postings.

Over all, I had an enjoyable time playing poker. Do you enjoy the time you spend, win or lose? Are you able to handle coolers without letting it effect your game? Do you play more than one variation of poker?

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Attention paid to play around you can be helpful

The poker tables in the Trump Taj Mahal
Image via Wikipedia

I have been playing more No Limit Hold ‘Em cash games lately and I have taken the advice of a fellow poker player  and frequent blog commenter, Jack. He advises that I always go into a session with a full stack. When ever you go to a table you have the option of buying in at a minimum amount of cash, usually no lower than 40 times the big blind. The maximum buy in is usually 100 times the big blind. In the .05/.10 cents games that I was playing I was entering for a buy-in of $5.00. As a result of Jack’s advice, I now enter with $10.00

In No Limit cash games, the goal is to try to win money, either by winning small pots or large ones. When ever you have a strong hand there is always the possibility that you might end up winning someone else’s stack or losing your own. This is a game where you need to pay attention to what is happening around you so that you can get an idea of what your opponent’s hand might be. If you are certain that you have the best hand, you want to be aggressive and try to win the pot pre-flop by putting in a strong bet of at least five times the big blind. This should either win the pot right there or should eliminate most of the other players from the hand.

I joined a table and bought in at $10.oo. I played tight, getting into pots only with premium hands or great draws. If I limped into a pot but was raised, I would fold all but high suited connectors or pocket pairs. I was half watching television while playing which means I was not watching as carefully as I should the action around me. I had a general idea of who was trying to control the table and who might be making moves. There was one player that I thought was making plays but it turned out I was wrong. I was dealt pocket queens and I raised the pot by 5 times the big blind – I was the “under the gun”, UTG, to the immediate left of the big blind. There were three folds and the middle position player re-raised me by .85 cents. I called. The flop contained no high cards. Since this play showed strength, I decided to check or call him down. I suspected that he might have a lower pocket pair or an AK and was trying to force me to fold. I checked and he bet out a pot size bet. I called. The turn was a low card. I checked and he bet out a pot size bet again. I called and the river card was also another low card. At this point I was pot committed, I checked and he bet again and I called putting myself all in.

I turned over my pair of queens. He turned over his pair of kings and took down the pot and my stack.  I had misread the player entirely. I decided not to re-buy and to leave the table. It was an expensive lesson and one that I hope to remember. In the theory of poker, it takes a strong hand to raise under the gun. It tales a stronger hand to call a raise, let alone to re-raise. Had I given it more thought, I would have folded all but aces or kings.

Should I have called the re-raise with just pocket queens pre-flop? Should I have called a strong raise after the flop? Should I have called a strong raise after the turn? After the river? How would you have played this hand?

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