The Quest

The Poker Life

  1. 2008-03-04 19:31:57

    Tournament Luck

    After a long time, I wanted to play a tournament. So over the weekend, played a big tournament. I haven't played any sort of tournament in over a few months, but was itching to play one. The tournament had 100+ people. I got seat 3 and I am happy about it. At the first level, I didn't get any cards to play and there was a raise by seat 10 or seat 1 almost every other hand. They were being super aggressive. I decide to sit back, watch the action and get a feel for the table. Most of the table seemed like check callers. Seat 10 was check-raising a lot and seat 1 was raising pre-flop and followed through with a continuation bet. I got small PPs with nothing on the flop. So just gave some chips, but nothing worth worrying about.

    Ace-King Raise and Multiple Callers

    In the third level, I got AK under the gun. I raise it to three times the BB and got 4 callers. The flop has a king and 2 small cards. So I get two-thirds the pot and get one caller (seat 8). The turn pairs one of the smaller cards and I check. The guy behind me bets and I check-raise him. He mucks immediately. I get the pot. Then I get AK twice again and people fold to my pre-flop raise.

    Ace-King vs KK

    There are 5 limpers into the pot and I was thinking Seat 8 seemed a little funny when he called. He seemed a little anxious when he limped in. I thought this guy was slow playing something big. So I decide to muck my hand unless it's a big pair. I look down to see KK on the button. This was an easy raise, but I wasn't sure what Seat 8 had. I raise it to 4 times the BB. Everyone folds and Seat 8 goes all-in. His stack in one-third of mine. So I call immediately. He shows AK. So my read was right. He catches his Ace on the flop and I ship him my chips. Although I lost the pot, I felt I had a good read on him. For rest of the day, he didn't play a hand if I raised.

    Lucky Big Blind

    There are 4 callers and I see 52 in BB. I check and the flop comes A34. Obviously, I checked and a middle player bets and I raise. UTG player goes all-in and middle player folds as expected. I have the nuts and I thought UTG has 2 pair or a set. I call and he shows AA for the top set. He slow played his hand from UTG. Lucky for me, my hand help up and I busted him. So the lesson he taught I guess was not to slow play AA in a tournament. Again I was feeling good about my read.

    Letting go of QQ

    After the break, the first hand I get is QQ and I am UTG. I raise my usual 3 times the BB. Everyone folds and button goes all-in. Normally, this would be a easy call. He had probably half my chip stack, but it wasn't an easy call. He was playing fairly tight and seemed to be paying attention to the table. I took couple of minutes and the table was saying I got caught and I should stop 'hollywooding.' I finally let go of the QQs face up (putting him on AA or KK) and everyone was shocked. The button was shocked as well, but he was nice enough to show me AA. Phew... dodged the bullets. Again I was feeling good about it.

    Final Hand

    Now the last 30 people left in the tourney. Now there are 4 big chip stacks at my table and I am like 3rd or 4th. I am being very careful on who I play hands with. UTG player raised to 4 times the BB and he was fairly active and again I have QQ. This time I thought he had a small PP or AK/AQ. Either way, I thought I was leading and I raise him 3 times his raise. He immediately goes all-in. Now I had to think this over again. I still thought my original read was right and called him. He shows 77. He was dominated and I am happy with my reads so far. The flop comes 234, the turn is a 6, but the river is a 5 and my tournament is over.

    I thought my reads were good and was very confident in my play, but without luck on your side, you cannot win a tourney. So now I am looking forward to a new day and a new game :)

    It is on...

    Posted by Linus at 2008-03-04 19:31:57 | permalink | Discuss (4 comments)

  2. 2008-02-29 04:14:47

    What to play???

    So the quest for me this year was to have a goal that was achievable. So I had to think about what would be ideal.

    I have been playing poker, mainly tournaments, for almost a year with very mixed results. 95% of these tournaments were small buy-in. The tournament is very challenging and interesting. But if I was spending about 10-12 hours of my weeks playing these with no monetary gain to show, I didn't see much of a point in playing them. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the challenge and more importantly having fun playing them.

    So I started looking into the alternatives - home cash games, online sites and local cardhouses. Home games were fun with my friends, but if I wanted to be serious and learn new stuff, the same crew of recreational group didn't seem the right way to go. Online seemed a good alternative, but depositing and withdrawing money didn't seem all that easy considering all the legislations in place. So I hit the cardhouses.

    Obviously, the first thing I noticed is there is not much low stakes no-limit available around the area. The alternatives were spread limit and limit. I tried both these versions. Between the two, I found a little early success in the limit. So I paid more attention to it. It is a different beast to the no-limit that I was used to.

    One of the first things I learnt was slow-playing big hands will absolutely demolish you, especially against multiple opponents. The cardhouse patrons were kind enough to teach me this lesson the hard way :-( The second thing I realized was the concept of raising to get a free card. This works well with new players, but not veterans of the game. Obviously, the key is to play against one or two opponents for one pot rather than 4-5 opponents.

    But the one similarity I found between no-limit and limit is aggressiveness pays off.

    And so my quest continues. It's been two months now and the progress report is green. Share your thoughts and let me know if you know good limit poker books, papers or concepts.

    and so it begins... the quest.

    Posted by Linus at 2008-02-29 04:14:47 | permalink | Discuss (4 comments)