Friday, 24 April 2009

The Exclusive Tramp


Last weekend I was lucky enough to be invited to the somewhat exclusive members-only club in London called Tramp for a good friends 21st birthday. My usual drinking pattern is very different from this. It normally involved a bottle of cheap cider/lager to start the night off with then heading out for cheap drinks in town. But Tramp was a really nice welcome change. I don't know if it's psycological but when I drink more expensive brands of alcohol, I do seem to get better drunks with less hangovers. I mean, for all those students who read this, probably know about Zeppelin or similar white ciders (what real tramps drink). £2.50 for 5 pints of the 8% stuff. Takes disgusting but does the job! However, this drink must be diluted with so many chemicals and the like that no wonder you get terrible hang overs from drinking it.

Anyway, as we entered the club we were first sat down for this amazing meal and to our satisfaction the waiters seemed more than happy to come around and give complimentary refills of the wine. Couple that with bottles of Russian vodka being chilled in the center of the table, we certainly weren't complaining. The food was beyond good and the service was amazing. There must have been a 2:1 customer to waiter ratio. This is what it must be like to be a high stakes balla i imagine ;)

After the meal of French Brandy was served with a selection of cigars and then the party started! We headed into the main dance area and the party of 20-30ish drunkenly partied away until the early hours of the morning. It was such a good life and a completely different clubbing experience than that of what I've tried before. I think I was pretty lucky to even be given the chance as I hear it is quite hard to get into a venue such as this.

Last night I ventured out to dusk-til-dawn to play the £55 tourny. I arrived a little late to find the usual suspects at my table having quite good banter actually. Since I haven't played live tournies regularly for about 6 months it was quite interesting to see how people have adapted and changed. At my table at any rate it seemed the whole 'my cards are live' philosophy what the latest fad.

I was sat around 40bbs deep at 50/100 in middle position. Before me 2 limpers, which I didn't think much of due to the nature of the game that people limp a ridiculously wide range here. I pop it up to 650 with AKss. Folds to the button who then jams the rest of his chips in for 1300. Folds back to me and I make the obvious call. I flip over my AKss and he states "yup, I got my read right, I know I have 2 live cards" and flips 6 3offsuit. Awesome lol.

Unfortunately my AK couldn't stand the oh-so-powerful 6 3 offsuit. But I started to think about his play. In the hand he had absolutely no fold equity but had about 13bb's left. He wasn't in terrible shape. Now I can see him thinking that 63 are two live cards, but how does he fare if instead of the AK i flip over 88. His equity is reduced dramatically. I just really think it is an absolutely terrible play. I mean even with 5bb's given the action I'm more likely to fold here and wait for a better hand as the blinds come round. Regardless I guess that's why live is so potentially profitable. I mention this as I saw a few plays throughout the night similar to this.

In the end I think I came about 24th after spewing a good portion away vs a station. Which I admit was a terrible play by myself. After, I looked for some live PLO but the games never got going so I sat in some nit-infested 50p/£1 game hoping the table would start. Nah, DTD was also hosting the £10 beginners night so all the players were super tight sat down with like £40. Not my idea of a juicy game, so I headed off home.

The online game has been going quite well and I'm still enjoying learning micro stakes PLO. Here is a nice hand I won earlier today:

I checked this hand through an odds calculator and even though I only have an overpair here I'm still actually a favourite with 39% equity vs 29% (Arashh) and 24% (Niiles). This is because I have double backdoor flush, gutshot to the nuts, over pair and top pair with higher cards all as pretty nice outs. The hand was quite interesting though as Niiles seems to be one of the only regulars that I've been seeing at the 25c plo tables. He puts alot of hands in but I really don't like his play here at all. Given the action my hand is relatively face up as AAxx but he is just open ending. Vs the range of Arashh and myself we could easily have a better wrap draw than him with a KJxx sort of hand leaving him pushing in with no fold equity with realistically 4 outs (all 4 8's to give him the nuts). And furthermore if one of us had a set/the other KJxx his equity is miniscule. In a way I feel that he was lucky to have the full 8 outs for his open ender here.

Not quite sure why I'm over-analysing regular plays here as to be fair I didn't really expect too much though in the plays at this level but there ya go!

Hope everyone has been having good sessions on the felt!


Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Tom "Durrr" Dwan

What a sicko. Honestly.

Lately I've had a lot less time to be playing poker but I've been keeping up to date with the celeb line by watching the latest series of "High Stakes Poker s05" and the "Aussie Million 2009 Cash Game".

What has really been standing out to me is how Durr is playing. He's basically playing a really really loose aggressive style getting involved in so many pots its inspiring. From what I've been watching his plays and reading ability are on a completely different level than some of the other high stakes guys like Phil Laak or Howard Lederer. I'm not saying their bad, but this kid really is the revolution of TV poker in my eyes and it just makes amazing viewing. His aggression must make him so ridiculously hard to play against I would imagine. At the rate he is going, I really do believe in the next couple of years he will undoubtably be viewed in most peoples eyes as the best poker player in the world. I mean let's be honest he's already playing with the best and almost out of his $4million+ online downswing this year. How anyone can loose that kind of money and keep playing without tilt is just mind boggling in itself.

Oh god, I'm becoming one of those gay little Durr fanboys.. Woops lol. Anyway...

I'de like to say a quick word about the "Aussie Millions 2009 Cash Game". This is in my opinion the best TV cash game I think I've seen. Well the first episode anyway. It was really nice to see some TV pot limit omaha, and I hope this starts to bring more players to the omaha tables as it is such a fun alternate to No Limit Hold'em. Anyway I have to say the first episode was such a good watch. The atmosphere on the show was quite gripping and there were some really interesting spots.

One such hand was between Andrew "Good2cu" Robl (prick) and Patrick Antonius. I hate good2cu, such an arrogant douche bag honestly. There are plenty of other examples of how hes such an annoying cunt lol. But I won't go into them now. Here is the hand:

Now all I can really think of here is that Robl is completely unaware of hand values here. As vs. Antonius' range getting it in here is ridiculously bad with absolutely no fold equity. Now Robl is obviously a very experienced NLHE cash player so in his terms he has top pair 2nd kicker (with no immediate redraws). When converting it to omaha its like 4betting the flop with 33 on a 10 j q suited board. Ok maybe thats a slight exaggeration but it's close. At the end of the day they split the pot 4 ways and he won all 4 which was around a 0.27% chance. Must be nice to run that good lol...

I just thought the reactions from the other players was hilarious (click the image to get the full picture, don't know why its cut some off here):

nikki with the puppy dog 'what the fk are you doing?' face...

tom acknowledging the donk play to nikki. robl completely oblivious:

This coupled with Antonius' comment when Robl flipped over the hand made it all out to be quite funny viewing.

The second episode from the Aussie Millions 2009 Cash Game was a heads up session between Durr and Antonius. Both were effectively $1.5 million deep with Antonius starting the session with $2million. The blinds were at $1000/$2000 and as such they were sat with 750BB's deep effective. In my opinion, this does not make good viewing.

I think what a lot of people enjoy about watching the high stakes games online is the amount of money people are shovelling in with huge $300k+ all in pots. However as these two were so incredibly deep this just wasn't the case. In fact through the hour long episode I don't think there was a single all-in. Now, I know being sat ridiculously deep makes the game a lot more interesting for the players as they can have a bigger edge with more room to manoevure. But for the viewing audience it's a lot more fun seeing $500,000 coin flips and such. I'de say this is particularly the case for your average casual poker player.

Regardless I think this years Aussie Million Cash Game was such a good watch and I'de really recommend it to everyone. Go to pokertube or search youtube or a torrent for it if you missed the TV streaming.

Good luck at the tables all!

Monday, 13 April 2009

The end of SCOOP

Well in a last minute decision I thought I really had to see of the Pokerstar's tourny series properly by playing their low main event alongside some of the other tournies I had planned to play for the day. Normally on stars I stick to the rebuy tournies as generally the freezeouts suck with disgustingly large player fields but the rebuys normally have a ton of dead money by people taking 1 buy-in shots then leaving. This means normally if you make the first break a good portion of the fields gone and so it's alot easier to cash in. Because let's be honest, the amount of luck required to actually final table a 5,000 person tournament is ridiculous. I could probably grind every night religiously for the whole year and only make 2-3 final tables in these 5,000 player tournies and then get a bad beat for 7th place or something.

Anyway that's a bit of a random rant. In the end, tonight was pretty break even. I bricked most of my tournies and managed to get deep in the $11/$250k gtd cashing for ~$70 and the Pokerstars SCOOP low $109/$1,000,000 min cashing for ~$180.

I'm going to be refocusing on my PLO game this coming week and may even pop down to the local gala to have a shot at one of their tournies. Most likely the £10r or £20r. So back to 10c/25c for some more micro stakes fun!

So far this month I've been doing quite well but it's really hard to tell in PLO if it's just a heater or not. I think 10,000 hands is a realistic number to know if I'm beating the current limit or not before I move up in stakes. As has been previously said, I'm pretty overrolled for 25plo but I feel that it's important that I prove to myself that I'm a winner at each level before I move up to ensure that I'm not outmatched and don't loose a ton constantly being out played at higher levels. I don't know if it would be a realistic aim or not to try for the 10,000 hands by May. I mean it's certainly possible but whether I put the volume in or not! I'm sticking to 3 tabling at the moment putting an emphasis on good solid post-flop play. I think if I do start mass multitabling I really won't learn the correct thought process that is required to become a winner at higher levels where the other players won't donate as easily. I've also managed to get myself a pretty sick rake back deal as well. Considering I've raked in over $100 over this small sample I'm glad that I'll be getting 50% of this back at the end of the month!

I'll try to keep everyone updated with how I am doing on my PLO quest!

Good luck at the tables!

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Final tabled pokerstars!


Maybe I'm not as doomed as I thought! Yesterday afternoon I managed to final table the afternoon $44/6max. In the end coming second for just over $1.8k.

I really liked this tournament. It was nice how a stars tourny got so few runners and none of the big name online pro's were around as it was too early in the day for most of the yank grinders. And the die for!! It was so amazing being on the final table with over 100bb's. It just made for some amazing poker action, you could 3bet/fold easily and it basically just allowed me to be a total maniac. I think there were a few playing quite scared money on the final table which I took advantage of increasing my stack. Unfortunately, I didn't win a single showdown on the final table loosing 2 pair to a set and loosing a big race but by stealing the blinds so much I was kept afloat.

Entering heads up I was the slight under-dog and I was suprised how aggressive my opponent was. He played super LAG and just did not fold. Couple that with my lack of being able to hit a single flop didn't go too well. I think the deciding hand in the heads up was:

I know heads up hard to comment on due to the flow of the game and such. It seemed villain in this situation was a station and definately calling/raising light. I don't really know what his river shove here means but I don't think I'm good that often as I felt at the time that due to his style of play he's betting every turn after I check when a scare card comes and so his check behind indicated at the time that his range is quite weighted towards having an ace by the river. It was a tough spot though.

Tonight I'm going to load up some tournies to play on Sunday. I think I'll stick to Party/Stars/Ongame tonight trying to keep 6 tables up most of the time. I'm seriously debating play the SCOOP low main event. It's a $109 freezeout and I expect over 13,000 players with a serious amount of deadmoney. But $109 buyin is stretching the bankroll a bit too much at the moment especially with the ridiculously large field size, so we shall see..

Friday, 10 April 2009

Readjusting to PLO hand values


I decided to start learning the fundamentals of PLO at the 10c/25c level to start with. Although I'm quite overrolled for this even using a 100-buyin rule I think it is important that I work my way up from the micros being a winner. Jumping straight to 50c/$1 or a similar stake could well have me being the fish in the game.

I'm starting to get a good idea of preflop hand selection which makes postflop decisions slightly easier. But still my postflop game probably has a shit-load of leaks. I think as the stakes are quite small I may well be pushing the aggression factor quite a lot relying on fold equity that may well not exist to the same extent as in NLHE tournaments. Below is a hand example.

I wonder that in a spot like this, as I have a full wrap am I wanted to be putting the pressure on for fold equity with my draw or is this a better spot to be checking behind to see if I hit. I figured at the time due to preflop action, it is likely that one has AAxx and if I can fold him out and quite possibly a marginal flush draw it could be a +ev move. For instance if one had J high flush and the other was a passive AA player I think I may pick up the pot as it is alot. If i do get called I have quite a lot of outs to scoop the pot anyway.

Here is another example:

FWIW, Pepaw is a serial bluffer and a maniac, I think he was playing about 90% of hands and raising 60% so his range for the 3bet pre is definately wider than AAxx. I figured on this flop, even vs AAxx due to my full wrap I have a lot of outs. I wonder against a passive player if it is then correct to just flat call here and re-evaluate the turn. The only issue I see with this is then that for instance if a 6 comes on the turn giving me an obvious straight draw, it may well limit my action.

From putting it in an omaha calculator, vs AAxx I have 40% equity and possibly a small bit of fold equity due to the 23xx but I really think that is being hopeful. Similarly, vs the rest of his 3bet range I'm flipping to a slight favourite.

Anyway, enough in depth analysis. If there are any PLO players that read this blog and want to comment on the hands or talk about it on MSN/AIM I'd be more than happy :)

On a lighter note, J high is good sometimes, right?


Thursday, 9 April 2009

A bit of a catch up!

Prior to breaking up for Easter I thought it would be the biggest slackfest, I'de get in a ton of volume at the tables and be able to rake in a load of wrong I was!

It's been absolutely manic here for one reason or another. My daily schedule lately has been waking up around noon and hit the gym. Head into the office to help out with the phones and do some uni work until 5-6ish. Get home, have a quick bite to eat and then off out into town/to the beach/seeing friends and getting home in the early hours. I've got to say it's a lifestyle I could get used to if the weather holds up but unfortunately there leaves very little time for poker!

I've come to the realisation that when I return to uni in a week and a bit I won't have time to play all of the daily donkaments unfortunately. It is a shame as I enjoy them but going cold-turkey on poker for a couple of months due to exams seems pretty lame to me. So as a solution, I think I'm going to try my hand at PLO again. It's not the first time that I've played this game. Last summer in fact I started playing 25c/50c plo on full tilt and must have gone on a massive heater trippling my original deposit before withdrawing it and spending it on holiday. Since then I've hardly touched the game other than the occasional punt live at Dusk Til Dawn.

You may wonder why I'm thinking of spending time on PLO rather than my bread and butter: NLHE. Well just from a quick session I played on iPoker this afternoon I had 4 tables of 50c/$1 up. It was ridiculous! I obviously didn't table select as I have no idea who the regulars are or whatever, but everyone seemed to be running at 21/17 on poker tracker (for those not in the know this is a very good style of preflop poker so not donks limping their 49o utg etc.). And it was mad 3-bets pre. Considering I haven't played cash properly for getting on a year, I really just thought do I want to be relearning this somewhat saturated game where its reg v reg grinding rakeback. No thanks! Instead I think I'll learn PLO.

Anyway, enough of that rant. Onto my trip I was talking about in my previous blog post.

Norweigan Poker Championship

This has to be the highlight of the live poker year for myself. I hope in a couple of years for me it will be Las Vegas during the WSOP but until then the Norweigan championship at Dusk Til Dawn fits the bill quite nicely. For a week each year the Norweigans and their hyper-loose aggro fashion jets on a plane up to Nottingham to prove who is the LAGiest of them all. And they certainly do it in style.

I withdrew £600 before I left from my DTD-Boss account to play around with there buying in for £100 a go. There's me reasonably thinking that at £1/£2 I'll get a good run for this money and if I hit the deck well may spin it up. The first hour I was in the club I was £400 down. Haha, oh dear! But what a way to loose £400. So there I was sat with my measly £100 stack when surrounding me were the crazy Norweigans sat with around £2,000+ each. This is £1/£2 so the typical buy-in you would expect here would be £200, oh no, not here! 1000BB+ is what can be expected at this table, and they weren't afraid to use their stacks either.

I sat down with my first £100 and looked down UTG at KK. I raise to £17 (don't worry that's standard here) and got 5/8 of the table calling, oh great. It then comes round to the BB who looks at me and raises to £180. I ship my first £100 in and get a caller behind me. The flop came 5 6 A rainbow. By this time I'm reach in my pocket to get out the next £100. But as the action happened both players had effective £800ish left. The BB bets out £200 into the small side pot and the guy to my left reshoves the £800. BB tank/calls and flips over A7 (cheers lol) and the guy to my right shows pocket 8's. Smooth. The board bricks and I'm onto buy-in 2. After having AA cracked 2 more times pre I think it's time for a break and to really get my focus back on. If there is one place in the world not to tilt, it would be at that table there.

Now that makes it interesting is that these Norweigans aren't fish. Far from it. From speaking with a few of them they are all $1/$2 to $10/$20 grinders online, but something in their blood just means that they seem to try and bluff/win every pot. So you can imagine what a table of them is like. As a result, I resorted to playing a very tight passive style and basically set mining. Live 1 table set mining...yawn.
Well not really as the action was so crazy. Not a single street went by in most pots without at least a 3 or 4 bet lol. Followed by the other person folding and the 4better showing 2-5offsuit or something.

One of the biggest pots I witnessed was with 3 players, where a ~£5k pot was won by 22 vs AA on a A29 2 4 board. That was quite funny. Just because the turn was like raise 400bb's, reraise 1100bbs.

Anyway, I'm blabbing on too much now and this is getting long. But basically I hit a couple of sets and got paid off leaving the holdem on the first day roughly £100 up and then took my money to PLO for the second day. My stack fluctuated ridiculously but I eventually ground the £100 I sat down with up to £450. Now normally, I'de wait a while and leave the table as this could have been used quite nicely elsewhere starting again with the £100. Plus I had been playing a few hours now and was probably off my A-game slightly. But then it happened. Some bloke wandered over to our table tripping up on the way, sat down and splashed about £800 in front of him in a big pile. He was verging on paraletic. So so so drunk it was so funny to watch. I didn't really know what to expect until he started potting every street (most of the time out of position) without looking at his hole-cards.

Pot pot pot pot pot pot! So funny. But the way he did this wasn't by asking the pot of the dealer and placing the correct chips in. He'd literally heff a load in every time and wait for the dealer to sort it out. They were getting so pissed off it was hilarious. Felt a bit sorry for them in a way as preflop the limit to pot is £8 so he shoves about £200 in £5's every time and constantly trying to go all without realising there is a limit so trying to shove his stack into the middle much to the dealers annoyance. Anyway, you've got to be thinking at this point that leaving the table now is basically burning money. So I waited and tightened up big time. You cant be getting into marginal spots with a guy potting every street blind.

Anyway, somehow this guy, who kept ordering Sambuca shots every pot he won (which was a lot!), managed to go on a heater of a life time. At the £2/£2 plo he took about £3k off the guy sat next to me. I couldn't help feel bad though it was literally sick cold decks. At the end the pissed bloke would pull 1 card up at a time for the deadliest of slowrolls and to everyones shock he was just pulling in every pot! My stack had dwindled a bit down to around £400 by trying to see flops and if I can catch 2 pair/set/straight but to no avail. Then it happened, I looked down at AA33 double suited and just thought, well I guess this is the time to risk it all!

The action went, limp, limp, and I limped. Drunk guy pushes about £200 in the pot as the dealer highlights for the umpteenth time the max bet is £14 and sorts his change out for him. The UTG repots, UTG+1 repots again. Now there is a sick amount of money in the pot and I've got a seriously good hand. I repot again. Drunk guy calls blind, then says "oh crap I didn't see it got raised". Real smart lol. UTG calls my repot (shove) and then UTG+1 repots again. UTG+1 had around £1.5k in front of him with the drunk guy covering. Drunk guy calls and its a 4 way all in. I hit a set of 3's on the flop. PAIR THE BOARD PAIR THE BOARD 1 TIMMMME FOR £1.3k!! PAIRRR. But unbelievable drunk guy hits runner runner flush with his 8c4c2dks lol. Unreal! At the time I was like, well that kind of sucks, but it was very funny.

I reloaded for another £200 and lost that 3-way with nutflush and open ender vs drunk guys 2 pair (he was blind) on the flop which then turned a full house. FML!

Having just lost so much to some brainless mule I was feeling myself starting to tilt, i took a little break and when I got back drunk guy had gone. Apparently he was being sick somewhere so I decided to call it a loss for the day. Regardless though it was great great fun.

I have to say, although the trip in the end was a loss (a near massive win), it has to have been the most fun I've had playing live poker so far. The Norweigans are so fun to play with and the action is literally insane.

I'm going to focus and really learn omaha now as the quality of play seems to be so bad and if i could actually get pretty decent, I think i could crush the game for alot while im having my small tournament break!

Sorry for the super long blog, hope everyone is running well at the tables!