Poker Words - A Poker Blog

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

Monday, January 30, 2012

WSPL Goes to Vegas Game 3

If only I had been able to convince people to start on an online home game years ago think of how much fun we could have had, and how much more poker we could have enjoyed.  And also how much more of our money would be tied up in online gambling purgatory.  Just kidding.   Poker Stars actually did a decent job of refunding player's money.  Not like another one of my former favorite sites.

I'm defiantly getting more comfortable with this format.  Some of it just shaking of the rust, and it certainly didn't hurt that I won last game, but I'm at a point now where I don't worry that I'm up against pretty good players and that I could be getting trapped on any given hand.  I'm able to loosen up and play more aggressively and I've got decent reads on most my fellow players where I generally know where I am in a hand.

The table is fairly passive again.  People are fairly tentative and I think concerned about where they go out since there are points riding on it.  I think I'm able to use that to my advantage as I steal a lot of pots early on and I get to see a lot of free pots from the BB, many of which I hit.  I'll post the stats later on, but of the 26 hands I played from either blind, I saw 17 flops.  

I may have to rethink my stance on online poker being rigged.  We saw so many hands where the player behind would spike his 1-4 outer on the river to stay alive that it was ridiculous.  I think the stats for going all-in while behind went 20-2 for the guy behind.  The two of course were hands that I lost, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

The first crazy hand came about a half hour in.  Shane and Cookie were the two short stacks at the table and see a flop of AAA.  Shane goes all-in with a pair of jacks, and Cookie calls with QK.   He hits a K on the river to knock Shane out.

I recorded a number of other bad beat hands, but you get the point.  I'll spare you the details.  Now that I think about it though I don't think I was involved on either end of a bad beat hand.

I played pretty well for most of the tourney.  As I mentioned earlier I was able to steal a lot of pots and take advantage of most people playing very cautiously.  I was the chip leader, or close to it for the majority of the time.

My demise came about an hour into the tourney.  There were five of us left and I was in the small blind with K4o.   Its folded to me and I just call.  The flop is KJ8 and I lead out.  Noah, in the BB raises.  At this point I think I've probably got the best hand.  I hit top pair, the chances that he actually has a better king, or two pair are pretty slim.  I figure he thinks I'm trying to push him off the pot so I reraise, and surprisingly he calls.

The turn is a rag, and I bet again.  He calls.  The river doesn't help either.  I'm not real confident in my hand anymore, but I have to bet.  If I don't, then I have to fold to any bet that he makes, and while I'm concerned I still think I have the best hand.  I bet as little as I think I can get away with where he won't be tempted to reraise unless he has definitely has me beat, but also enough that he might fold something like KT.   It doesn't matter. He had the call anything box checked because he had pocket aces.  He was scared that I had hit a set.

That hand knocked be back to the short stack status, with about as many chips as we started the tourney with.

Shortly thereafter is a similar situation.  I have J7 in the small blind and hit a flop of AJ8.  BB raises my post flop bet all in and I think to myself that he can't possibly have an ace again.  But he does, and I'm out in fifth.

I was watching the game stats throughout, surprised at the number of hands I played, and my success rate with those hands.  Too bad it only takes one failed hand to knock you out.  Here's the final stats for me, about an hour into the tourney, going out in fifth out of nine.

During current Hold'em session you were dealt 78 hands and saw flop:
 - 9 out of 13 times while in big blind (69%)
 - 8 out of 13 times while in small blind (61%)
 - 4 out of 52 times in other positions (7%)
 - a total of 21 out of 78 (26%)
 Pots won at showdown - 2 of 4 (50%)
 Pots won without showdown - 16

And here are the results from last tourney.

  1. Smack
  2. Archie
  3. Rich
  4. Noah
  5. Me
  6. Cookie
  7. Jason
  8. Shane
  9. Aaron

Only the top two win cash and so far we have had 6 different players cash.  the overall standings are also close, with the three people who have one a game at the top.

  1. Cookie - 27 Points
  2. Smack - 27 Points
  3. Me - 25 Points
  4. Archie - 18 Points
  5. Noah - 16 Points
  6. Rich - 16 Points
  7. Jason -15 Points
  8. Shane - 13 Points
  9. Aaron - 8 points

Originally posted at

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Monday, January 23, 2012

WSPL Goes to Vegas Game 2

I emailed PokerStars Customer support after our table configuration issues from last week.  They basically said that the tournaments were modeled after the Multi-Table Tournament format, and they will take our issues under advisement we are basically SOL.

Or plan to trick the software is as follows.  Eight people register and get seated at one table. Once the first hand is dealt, the ninth person registers and gets put at the same table.  Ta-da:  Single table tournament.  Take that PokerStars.

And we just might have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for those meddling programmers.  After the first hand it moved Noah to another table all by himself.  After the next hand Archie got pulled.  And so on until we were back to the four/five handed two table format that we were trying to avoid.    Oh well.

Poker wise things started off this game just like they ended last game.  Cookie announced that he was going to be using his iPad to remote desktop to his computer to play so that he could watch the end of the Giants/Niners playoff game.  Since he wasn't paying attention he manages to turn his 86o into a set of sizes on the river to take down a decent sized pot in the first hand.

This game is much slower and more conservative than the last.  There are a lot of 5 players limping into a pot type hands, and not too many raise/reraise preflop.    After a half an hour no one has been eliminated.  Aaron is short stacked, all the way down to $T300 and change, but he's able to double up a couple of times then steal some pots and before you know it he's slightly above average with over $T1700

 I should warn you at this point that my recollection of hands may not be 100% accurate.  Apparently for play money games they don't keep a hand history so I can't go back to check exactly what happened.  I can't even go back to see what happened a few hands ago, so as I'm writing notes I'm missing the specifics of many hands.

Here are some of the hand highlights that I was able to remember.

Shane, last games runner up was this weeks first victim.  Of coarse it came at the hands of Cookie.  There was a ragged looking all heart flop followed by non hearts on the turn and river.  I don't recall exactly how the betting went, but Shane was a little short stacked going in, and was all-in by the time the hand was over.  Shane had managed to get two pair, but Cookie had flopped a 9 high flush to take him down.

After building his chips stack to a respectable size Aaron was back on a downswing.  He limped into a pot after Jason and I, and followed by maybe one or two other players.  I have A9o.  I was planning on raising, but since Jason limped ahead of me I though maybe I'd just tag along and see what happened.   The flop was 2d9h3d and I had top pair.  Jason bets and at this point I figure I'm probably good with top pair top kicker.  I don't like the flush draw though, especially with so many players in the pot so I raise it up big.  Aaron thinks about it for a while, and pushes all in and it folds back to me.  Luckily for me, and unfortunately for Aaron, he didn't have enough chips to push me out.  His all in was little more than twice my bet, and I have enough chips behind that even if I lose this pot I'm in fine shape.  I call and he turns over Ad5d.   I manage to dodge another diamond or four and Aaron is knocked out in 7th place.

I win another big pot shortly thereafter against Noah.  I look down to see a pair of aces and am delighted when I get him to call my preflop raise.  The flop is 5x5 where X is garbage.  A couple of bets and raises, and the turn is a King.  Too bad for me but that scares Noah away.  He claims he had a pair of jacks.  Still it was hug pot and I'm not comfortably near the chip lead.

At this point I remember what is was like to in a grove.  I'm able to start playing almost any two cards, confident that I can push someone out of a hand if I want, or that I can fold a big pot if I need to without crippling myself.

Cookie has been largely silent.  I'm thinking that he lost his remote desktop connection and just doesn't realize it yet.  Much to Noah's chagrin he is in fact still playing and still hasn't used up all his luck.  Noah gets all-in preflop against him, Noah's AK vs Cookies TT.  Noah flops an ace.  Before he can celebrate however Cookie catches a third ten on the river and suddenly we are down to three.

At this point Cookie's luck finally does run out as it is Jason's turn to some completely unexpected set.  Cookie isn't used to not having the best hand, so he repeatedly pays Jason off just to see what he had.  Eventually Jason prevails and now its just him and me.

Jason's seems to be a decent player, but I get the feeling he doesn't have a lot of heads up experience. He tends to call every hand preflop while I'm raising every time.  He's then forced to fold to my bets on the flop,  because he hasn't done much to take control of the hand.  On the few cases when he does raise I know to tread lightly.  Overall he's just way too conservative and I'm able to take advantage of it.

Even the hands I don't have a good feeling about go my way.  There are a few where we check or min-bet to the river where I end up having just slightly better rags than him.

We both started at about $T6700 chips and I eventually to $T12500 : $T2500.  He starts push all in a little more often, but I'm content to let him take those pots rather than risk a double up.  I can wait him out.  I don't have to wait long as shortly thereafter he preflop raises in to my pocket cowboys.  I reraise and he pushes and we're all in.  He has AJ so I'm looking pretty good.  Especially when a King is the first card on the flop.  So I take down game number two.  Woot.

Here are the results from game two and the new standings:

Game 2:
  1. Me
  2. Jason
  3. Cookie
  4. Noah
  5. Archie
  6. Smack
  7. Aaron
  8. Rich
  9. Shane
Current League Standings:
  1. Cookie - 23 Points
  2. Me - 20 Points
  3. Shane - 12 Points
  4. Jason - 12 Points
  5. Smack - 12 Points
  6. Noah - 10 Points
  7. Rich - 8 Points
  8. Archie - 7 Points
  9. Aaron - 6 Points

 Game Three is scheduled for next week.

Originally posted at

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

WSPL Goes To Vegas Game 1

After much debate about rules and formatting and costs and profit distribution, and who the hell is going to be our ninth player we actually managed to get this thing started.

I may have left out a few details in my last post as I was writing it while trying to get everyone signed up for the league at the very last minute. The short version is this. We have 9 players each contributing $600 to the league. Of that $3000 will go to entry fees for two people to a $1500 event at this year's WSOP. The remaining cash will be used to pay out the winner and second place finisher of each weekly tournament. We did this so that people that get eliminated will still be motivated to try in the final weeks of the league.

Game one did not exactly go smoothly. Our first problem is that Our ninth player got added at the last minute. He was getting off work as the game was starting, the email for the league sends him to the .com site, but we're in the US, so we can only use .net now, yadda yadda yadda and he isn't able to register until just after the tournament starts. Since he was so close, and a last minute addition to the league we gave him a break and decided to start the tourney over in 10 minutes.

10 minutes later and everyone is signed up. The tournament starts and instead of a nine player table we find ourselves at two tables, a four and five. WTF? Confusion reign as some people don't realize we're split. They think the tournament is messed up again and quit. Of coarse once one person is eliminated we find ourselves combined to a single table.

10 minutes later again and this time it counts no matter what goofiness ensues. Again we find ourselves at two tables. I'm at the four person table with Smack to my right. I guess its better to have him there than to my left, but it doesn't help much as he bulldozes the table. In addition to being a bully I think he was actually hitting his hands. He takes about half to the other three players chips before the first blind level ends and the nine of us are combined to one table.

Once we are combined Smack continues to dominate the table, but a disturbing trend begins. Cookie starts hitting some monster hands, and knocking people out left and right. We're all chatting on TeamSpeak and he's obviously drunk. He's also simultaneously playing the new Star Wars MMO and complaining that the poker window keeps popping up over his game.

A typical hand involves him exclaiming confusion that it is his turn followed by him trying to figure out what his hand is, followed by him making a ridiculous bet followed by him hitting a full house or a runner runner flush on the river.

It didn't matter where you were in the hand, if you went all-in against him, you better hope for a split because that is the best you could possibly do.

Shane put up a good fight once they got to heads up, but he was behind something like 10K vs 2K and he was never able to get the lead. So in the end our worst nightmare was realized and Cookie is our current points leader.

Personally I didn't do that well.   I tried making a move early on four handed and got shut down.  I managed to double up later on when I got all-in preflop with Aces, but that was the only significant pot that I won.  there was a lot of missed flops and folding to over  the top raises that lead to an eventual fifth place finish.

Here are the standings so far.

Week 1 Results
  1. Cookie
  2. Shane
  3. Smack
  4. Rich
  5. Me
  6. Noah
  7. Aaron
  8. Archie
  9. Jason

Points So far
  1. Cookie: 15pts
  2. Shane: 11pts
  3. Smack: 8pts
  4. Rich: 6pts
  5. Me: 5pts
  6. Noah: 4pts
  7. Aaron: 3pts
  8. Archie: 2pts
  9. Jason: 1pts

Originally posted at

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Sunday, January 08, 2012

Poker League

What in the? Posting again? Inconceivable!

So, some guys from our "monthly" poker league decided that it would be fun to send someone to the WSOP main event. We originally thought we would get 10 people together, we'd each put in $1000, and we would play a series of tournaments, the winner of which would go to the main event, splitting the winnings amongst the group. We then decided that in the likely event that our representative went far in the WSOP that it would be two large of a time commitment so no one would actually be able to go. The first two "days" of the main event take more than a week to play out and you're not even guaranteed to be in the money. So we dialed it back a bit. We're going to send two people to one of the $1500 events instead.

We are going to use the PokerStars home game as our league tracker. They only support nine players, but that's ok since we were barely able to get nine players to agree to the settings.

So here are the players:

Me Your hero, the reason you're here and the best poker player you know. Or something like that.

Aaron The organizer of our regular home game. Decent player, but not great. In preparation for our league we got him to read Harrington's books and I think a light has gone off.

Jason Jason has never actually been able to make one of our live games, so I have no idea how he plays, however he does a fair amount of sports betting, some which involves elaborate scenarios for who/when to bet. He's definitely a gambler so I expect him to be somewhat formidable .

Noah Somewhat conservation but strong player. Most likely to fold for three straight orbits before switching gears. If he makes it past the early round of a tournament he is a favorite to win

Archie Very good live player. He's able to read opponents very well, and knows when and how much to bet. If we were playing live I'd predict him to win it all, but he's never played online. I think that will throw him.

Smack Loose aggressive player. Probably the most experienced in online tournies out of all of us. Back in the day he would have been my favorite to win, but he's since married and has a newborn and expect that to distract him enough to cost him.

Rich The young blood. I've only played with him a few times, but he definitely knows what he is doing. He's a solid player that I don't like having at my table during our live games when there is so much dead money that could be there instead.

Cookie In our live games we play two tournaments each a night. The last two that we have had Cookie has won the first match. In doing so he becomes so incredibly drunk that he has no idea he won. He then went out on the first hand of the second tourney thinking he was invincible. This has happened twice in the last three months. If he really cared he could probably be a decent player but he barely knows the rank of hands and I don't think he cares. My nightmare is that through some cruel twist of fate we end up trusting our WSOP entry to him.

Shane Shane's an OK player. I'm not terribly impressed with his poker skills, but at our last game, in both tournaments, I managed to cripple myself in hands against him, so what do I know. At the very least he's better than Cookie.

First game is in a few minutes. I intend to at least post summaries as we go. Who knows how long I'll keep it up though.

Originally posted at

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