Poker Words - A Poker Blog

Mostly a recount of my poker exploits along with a bunch of random other stuff just for fun.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Friday Night Home Game - October

After a missing the past few months I finally made it back out to Friday night game last night. I wish I had some better results to report, but at least I got back into a live game.

$2/$4 Limit

We start out with a few hours of $2/$4 limit holdem. I've done well at the limit section of this game the past two times I've played, but not last night. We started out ten handed, and things were going fairly well for my as I was playing aggressively and actually getting some respect for my raises.

I felt a big momentum change early on and after that there wasn't much that went right. I folded A4 off suit in early position. Not a bad play especially since no matter what I did I could expect 4-6 callers, and even if I hit an ace or two pair I wouldn't be confident in my hand. The flop is 44x with an ace on the turn putting a flush draw out there. It was a huge pot and I know you can't get mad when you fold garbage and see that you missed a monster, but that could have set the tone for the night.

The only other decent hand I had was pocket jacks which ran into pocket queens on a very ragged board.

Shortly after that hand we split up into two 6 handed tables, and I got stuck as the dealer. Its real hard to focus on the game when you are worrying about dealing all the time, but I went on a horrendous run of cards where I didn't get anything remotely playable for an hour and a half, as I gradually chipped down by paying the blinds and the occasional hand that I tried to take a shot at.

$50 No Limit Tourney

After the limit poker and some pizza there's $50 no limit tournament with an optional $10 survivor pool where the last one standing takes all and an optional $10 head hunter option where you win $10 for knocking people out. I entered the survivor and head hunter games as well.

I managed to finish in third place out of 13 runners, but it wasn't exactly pretty. In the early going I won just enough pots to pay for the blinds as they came around and barely anything more. We start with $T100 and blinds go $1/2, $2/$4, $4/$8 and then we chip up 10 to 1 and start back at $1/$2. I had ten chips when we combined to one table and chipped up.

A few all-ins with big slick got me up to $T17 and then I just sat there as everyone else busted themselves. The blinds go up real fast and it turns into a shove fest, so if you can get enough chips where you can sit back and wait for an orbit or two for a real premium hand you'll find yourself practically in the money.

That strategy works ok until we got down to three players and while I had a decent amount of chips it was no where near the other two. The first hand three handed was K3 and for some reason I pushed. Big stack called me with QT. I caught a three on the turn, but he picked up a ten on the river and I was out. I offered to deal for the heads up battle which lasted all of one hand as they both pushed with garbage and the chip leader won again.

A third place got me almost back to even for the night. I would have been nice if I could have taken someone out in the headhunter challenge, or won the last longer pool, but alas no.

$50 No Limit

After the tournament we play $1/$2 no limit until eveyone goes home. My run of horrible cards continued as I folded over and over and over. Finally I opted to play A8 and saw a flop of 838. There was a large bet and then a raise ahead of me. I pushed all in, and the raiser called. Finally something was going my way. There's no way he played 83 is there? And he didn't. He had a wired threes giving him the boat. REBUY.

I re bought and folded away my blinds for another few orbits until the two guys I carpooled with went broke and we called it a night.

Despite the fact that my results were less than stellar I still had a blast. I forgot how much fun a poker game can be. And its a good thing because in a few weeks my regular "monthly" game will be getting together for the fourth time this year. That's right in 11 months we will have had four events. And since I'm guessing we aren't going to get anything going for December, that's a pretty poor average.

Originally posted at

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Poker Stars Blogger Tournament Recap

The third Poker Stars Blogger Tournament was this Sunday, and I'd have to say this was the best one yet. That may have something to do with the fancy prize I won, but maybe not.

In previous years, anyone could register for the tournament weeks or months in advance. So thousands of people would register and then not show up. I think the majority of the field in the first two events were no-shows. There were only two other active players at my starting table in the first year. Of coarse last time I was unable to play so I was one of those no-shows.

This year, you could still sign up weeks in advance, but all that got you was a tournament ticket. They opened up actual registration for the tournament a few hours beforehand which more or less eliminated the no-shows. In all 1337 people entered, which is more than I was expecting, but not too many. We also started with $T10,000 chips instead of the usual $T1500. Which was kind of cool, although the blinds started higher so I don't know how much of a difference it makes. Maybe they do that for all their big tourney's, who knows. It did enable me to have over a million chips at one point which was kind of cool.

So as I mentioned yesterday I took some notes, but they're bad, and I don't remember what most of them mean since I only expected to be playing for two to three hours, not seven. Besides I really don't think you want seven hours worth of hand by hand analysis, so I'll give you the paragraph or two per hour summary which I'm sure will still be pretty long

Start $T10,000 1337 Players

I remember very little about the first hour because the Bears were still on and I was busy yelling at them, then cheering them, then yelling at them again. Is it time for baseball season to start yet? Oh. Crap.

I had pocket Kings on the second hand of the tourney and won the blinds. I think I only briefly dipped below the 10,000 starting point once after that. There weren't any terribly exciting hands at this point and I just chipped up, taking down boring pots and picking my spots.

1st Break $T18,675. Average $14,044, 952 players left.

The second hour is where I one of my two real scares in the tourney. I took a bit of hit with my pocket Jacks when I had to fold to a big reraise on a king high all diamond flop. Neither of my cards were diamonds.

I then got all in pre-flop with a shortish stack, my AQ vs his AT. It went down almost exactly how I wanted. He was in the big blind and I bet just enough so that he had to fold or go all-in and I had a feeling he would push with a pretty wide range of cards. All was going to plan until he hit a ten and knocked my down to about $T8000.

As I mentioned before I didn't stay under the starting tally for long. I pushed with A6s over a bunch of limpers. One guy called, but with garbage, and I went from 8K to 20K just like that.

A few hands latter and I more than double up again up to 45K with wired sevens and a six high flop.

I start getting a little to adventurous then and lose a few pots I tried to steal finishing out the hour around 32K

2nd Break $35,626 Average $T32,216 415 Players left

I started getting a lot of pocket pairs in this hour. I knocked out two shorter stacks with medium/small pairs and then got all in with pocket nines against a larger stack. Which got me up to $T94,000

I lost a portion of that defending my blind with K3 when I flopped a king and called his flop raise, but couldn't call his bet on the turn.

The field is starting to thin out now and I'm on the Leaderboard. Woo-Hoo.

3rd Break $T74,462 Average $71,117 68th of 188 players remaining

Kings are good to me as I get all-in pre flop against big slick and jump up to $T166,174

And then the worst hand that I can ever remember being a part of happened. I had pocket queens, and made the standard preflop raise. Another guy reraised. I had him covered, and thought he would might be trying to steal from me, or prevent me from stealing, so I pushed all-in. He calls and turns over QQ.

After the hand someone types "wow" and my opponent keeps typing "lol" variations. Like they haven't seen two people with the same hand before. Then I notice that he has over 200K, and I'm around 58K. WTF? I look back at the hand history and see he hit a flush. I guess I should be paying more attention, but the flop was two suited, (I could have sworn three suited) and I remember breathing a sigh of relief that there wouldn't be a flush after the flop had come.

Lets just say I was a bit stunned. I was especially annoyed because I was playing pretty well, and was getting close to the prizes only to get all but knocked out on something as improbable as that was frustrating.

But before I could tilt too hard, a couple of big slicks in a row and an AQ get me up to $T115,00

Then I get AK vs AQ, flop a queen and double up to $T222,364

A few hands later I have pocket tens and the flop comes A T X. He has an ace and must not have believed me because he kept calling. Before I know it I'm up over $T290K

4th Break $T275,664 avg $T146,923 9th out of 91 remaining players

The prizes start at 81st place. Three cheers for duffel bags.

I take the chip lead for the first time with T7s in the big blind. The button min raised pre-flop, so I called, hoping to get lucky. I missed the flop, but took a shot anyway, and he calls. The turn brings a fourth card to my flush, so I check call his smallish bet. The river gives me the flush and I'm up to over 400K. He made a comment about how he played that badly and let me get there. And he was right. But it was an expensive lesson to learn.

And we've made to the first level of prizes.

I've had a pretty large chip stack, but no really been able to play big stack poker like I hope to in these situations. If it folds to me in decent position I'll raise with almost any two cards, but most pots are raised before it gets to me, and while reraising to steal could certainly be very profitable, one wrong step moves me from a comfortable chip stack to fighting for position in the middle of the pack, or worse. So I'm more or less conservitive in my play.

After I make that complaint to myself I finally get to bully some people with my stack and play good old fashioned big-stack poker.

Or not. I went up to $T475 and then they started fighting back and now I'm down to 389K. The guy that keeps pushing all-in after my pre-flop raises eventually finishes fourth. He really frustrated me at this point.

My continuation bets are getting a lot of respect, which is even better than them all folding preflop. Instead of giving me their blinds and antes they throw in an extra $30K or so.

5th break T$625,264. Average $T290,652 4th out of 46 remaining.

The Blinds are now $T7500/$T15000 with a $T1500 ante. There's 34K in the pot before the hands are even dealt.

iPod prizes start at 45 players so I get to take advantage of the bubble for a bit as no one wants to be the last person stuck with a PokerStars Duffel bag after five hours of play. Although I'm sure they're nice.

Woot. iPod. I'm sitting at $T690K and there are 45 people left. If I survive another nine eliminations the iPod nano gets upgraded to an 80G iPod. Barring a horrific meltdown that should be no problem.

Its an all-in fest as we quickly get down to hand for hand at 38 players and the next prize jump

And now we have to wait for nine more eliminations to enter the 160G iPod prize package tier.

Well over 300 hands in and I get pccket aces for the first time. Someone ahead of me pushes with jacks and I knock him out getting up to over 800K for a little while

There are everywhere. My current table has at least two and maybe as many as four. Never heard of the site before, but they are certainly well represented.

I start chipping up now and climb to over $T1,000,000 in chips as we get down to 27 players and enter the 160Gipod prize category.

I took a big hit trying to push a guy with pocket twos off his hand and failing. I'm down to 775K but still in 5th.

And now I'm card dead. All I can do is sit and watch as thousands of chips worth of blinds and antes are taken from me.

I finally try to take a stand and defend my big blind, but my semi bluffs on the flop and turn get called and then he hits his card on the river knocking me down to 535K

6th Break $T535,230 Average $T703,684. 12th of 19 players remaining

Things are still going badly as I can't get a card worth playing to save my life, but we're down to 18 people and into the xBox prize package. Its now a crazy all-in fest as the prizes seem to dip a bit after this level. 11-18 get xBoxs, 10 gets a ton of poker books, 9 gets poker chips, 8 gets a camera, 4-7 get various other tournament entries, 3 gets a 24" monitor, camera and camcorder, 2 gets a 50" plasma and 1 gets a $12,000 prize package to the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure tournament which is a European Poker Tournament event.

I wanted the xBox or one of the top two prizes. I have more iPods than I need so I was glad to pass that category. I don't need more poker books, or chips or a poker table. The tournament entries would be cool and I plan on playing some of the big expensive tournaments one day, but I just spent 6 hours playing poker, I want something quantifiable now.

I wasn't the only one with that thought as people started pushing with anything. I was the short stack so it was push or nothing for me, but I'm kind of surprised that people with more chips didn't try harder to make a run at winning the thing.

I pushed with a few low connectors, or suited cards and won enough blinds and antes to get back to a more respectable chip total. We were down to 12 now so I had to be careful. The absolute last prize I wanted was the poker books.

And then I busted. There was a raise ahead of me, and I pushed with wired tens. He calls and turns over KQ ?!?. We both had a little over $T800,000. He had 8,000 more chips than me, so about two hands worth of antes. And he hit a queen on the turn. Getting me the last xBox prize by a matter of seconds as before I could look up the tenth place guy had also busted.

I'm kind of pissed. I wasn't trying to bust anymore, I was trying to win, and had I won that had I would have been in pretty good shape. And now that I think about it, I don't want an xBox. If it came with the HD-DVD attachment I'd love it, but I'm not much of a console gamer so its probably going to be a $400 dust collector. Oh well. I had been winning coin flips all night so its only fair that I lose one. I guess. Still, I could have really gone for that vacation package.

Originally posted at


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Poker Stars Blogger Tourney Success

Just busted out of the PokerStars blogger tournament. I did pretty well finishing in 11th place which earns me an XBox elite package. Woot. Lucky thing because if I had only lasted another minute I would have busted in 10th and won the entire poker stars book library, which I really have no use for. I've already read many of those books and haven't been able to finish the last few books I've read. Of coarse had I won that last hand I would have nearly busted the guy I was all-in with and would almost certainly have made the final table, and been in great shape to make a run at winning.

Oh well. I took some notes, although I didn't expect to be playing so long so they aren't very good. I'll try to do a write up tonight, but it will probably have to wait until tomorrow.

Originally posted at


Friday, October 12, 2007

Rapid Tournament Exits

Sometimes its amazing how quickly your fortune can change in a tournament. I was playing the 50-50 on FullTilt tonight and doing ok, when all of the sudden I blink and I'm out. There wasn't any gradual decline, or "I'm going to have to make a move soon" orbit or two, just one second I was playing and the next I'm writing a blog post.

Things started out well for me. We started with $T2000 chips and after a round or two of blinds I was close to 4K. I was expecting better play out of a higher buy in tourney, but I can't say that I noticed any.

Unfortunetely 4K was about my high water mark. I hovered there for a good hour and a half, winning some small pots, losing a few small pots, but never really getting involved in a big hand. We were down to about 350 of the original 970 when my chipstack was first in danger of going below the starting point of 2K, but my opponent folded to my bluff, and I was still in business.

By this point I was in the lower third of the field but still not feeling any real pressure. I had TJo in the BB. The uber big stack who had just been moved to the table made a medium/small sized raise, and was called by two players, but one of them couldn't even cover the blinds so I don't know that he counts.

The flop was Jack high so I lead out. Uber stack pushes all in and the other guy folds. It feels like a big stack trying to bully me, but I'm not willing to risk my tournament life on it so I fold. He turns over QQ and I breathe I sigh of relief as I nearly called. I then start cursing at my computer as a third jack comes on the river,but what can you do? I think I made the right call. The next hand I have A7 and I'm now in pretty bad shape. There's a standard raise ahead of me and I try to steal it by pushing all-in. He has AK and you know how this ends.

So there it was. Two hands and I go from somewhat short stacked but comfortable to out.

Which once again makes me question whether these tournaments are worth it. You almost have to make the final table to justify the time expense versus just playing a normal SNG. In the time it took me to win nothing in this tournament I could have played 2 SNGs, and if I had lasted as long as I did in this tournament I'd be ahead monetarily. The real difference maker is if you actually do make a final table or manage to win one. Do that and you are practically freerolling all your tournaments for the rest of the year.

So I don't play a lot of MTT, largely because I don't have the time, but partially because its way too frustrating to play well for hours with nothing to show. I'll probably still take shots at big tourney's on occasion, but I'm fairly certain that being a SNG specialist is how I'll operate for quite a while.

Originally posted at

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

PokerStars Blogger Tournament

It's that time of year again. PokerStars' Blogger tournament is scheduled for October 14th. They are offering over $40,000 worth of prizes this time around. If you have a blog, sign up. It doesn't have to be a poker blog. Any blog will do. Plus its free and most of the people registered don't show up or don't know what they are doing.

Online Poker

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

This Online Poker Tournament is a No Limit Texas Holdem event exclusive to Bloggers.

Registration code: 9190101

Originally posted at