Saturday, July 27, 2013

Tough Decision? Not Really

Here's a pretty interesting hand that occurred not long after I started playing NL cash games earlier this year. It showcases my biggest leak, one that has cost me around $1000 in profits so far. Needless to say, it must be fixed asap.

But let me give you a little background pre. I'd been playing NL cash games for about a month at this point, having switched from Limit Holdem with the occasional NL tournament. I began my NL cash foray at Harrahs, because of the 3 poker rooms in Tunica (Hollywood makes 4, but it really doesn't count for NL action), Harrahs seemed the 'safest'. The players there are far less aggressive (on average mind you, there are occasional exceptions, of course) than Horseshoe or Gold Strike. The pots are smaller and you're going to win less on average, but you can also lose less and reduce your variance and that was my goal as a beginner.

So, it's about a month later and I'm up a little. It's a Monday evening and there's only 1 table going at Harrahs. I waited 30 mins and decided those guys weren't going anywhere any time soon, so reluctantly, I went to Horseshoe. I say "reluctantly" because that is where all the true gamblers and crazy action supposedly resides and I wasn't sure I was ready for all that! But sure enough, I found the gamblers and their crazy action at a 1/3 must-move table. Ready or not, here we go. The chips were flying fast and furious. The all-ins with the super light calls, the numerous rebuys, half the table trying to straddle at the same was a world away from the quiet little Harrahs game I'd been playing!

To my surprise, I had a little run good in that game, nearly doubling up early with a set over set situation. I stayed out of trouble that night and the next night. I was doing ok against the action players, so I decided I was done with the quiet Harrahs game lol. Then on the 3rd night playing there, The Hand came up.

This table was not too crazy, there was only one aggressive guy at the table, a 30 something Asian man. He was a pretty good player; fearless, could sense weakness, liked to 3 bet to thin the field. He had about $700 in his stack and I tried to stay out of his way. My stack was up to $605 and the rest of the table was between $200-$300 to start the hand.

UTG limps to me in early position and I raise to $15 (standard raise at the table) with KK. 3 callers and the Asian guy makes it $50 in the BB, obviously trying to thin the field. UTG limper calls...

Now, here I make mistake #1. This is a 4 bet spot 100% of the time. But I am kinda concerned about the limp/caller. I've seen this done with AA before and I'm worried about a cooler. I decide to just call and reevaluate on the flop since I have position on the 3 bettor & the limp/caller.

I did not expect to get 2 more callers behind plus the small blind! That's right, SIX players to the flop. A $300 pot pre in a 1/3 game. This was a first for me. "Welcome to Horseshoe", my husband said later.

The flop comes Th 7c 4s. Not really a great flop for KK..would't it be likely for TT to be in this 6-way freaking pot?! I really don't think 77 or 44 would call pre for $50, but would TT? As I'm cussing myself out in my head, the small blind leads out, silently sliding in his remaining $167. Freaking fabulous.

The Asian calls quickly. The limp/caller guy (the one I was originally worried about) folds pretty quickly. It's on me. In the biggest pot I have played so far. I look at my stack, $555, that I worked so hard to get! The Asian has me covered and he's still in it. It's either shove or fold, if I just call, he's going to put me in on the turn no matter what falls, that's what aggressive players do, right? Plus, I've still got 2 players behind...FML. Are Kings ever good here?? Shove or fold, shove or fold...

I fold.

It folds around. Heads up. Turn: Qh, river: Ad. The small blind turns over 6-7, the Asian laughs and turns over...5-7. They chop. I want to throw up.

Two players said they folded AK, I admitted to folding KK like a scared little girl. We all laughed after, but I had to rack up. I just couldn't believe I'd folded, or not even 4 bet to begin with..I knew I wouldn't be able to forget it and move on, so I had to call it a night.

Looking back, if I had just stopped to think for a minute and rewind the hand and used info from previous hands (the small blind liked to gamble & semi-bluff and was running bad and taking risks to get unstuck) (the aggressive Asian liked to 3 bet with a very wide range and continue if he caught any piece, no matter how small. If he'd had a strong hand there, he would've raised vs calling). It was all clear once I left the table, but at the table, in that moment, all I could think about was risking my whole stack with an overpair. Am I the biggest nit ever or what??? If it had been a tournament, I would've snap shoved there. I would've hoped not to see TT, but I would've shoved anyway. I let the fact that it was $ chips, not trny chips influence my decision. So stupid.

So, my biggest leak is folding out of fear. Also, not taking the time to think through a hand (does this line make sense?). Being scared of busting and folding because of it. Scared money never wins, they say. I am proof, unfortunately. But if you are aware of a problem, you can fix it. That's what I'm working on now. I made a call with 3rd pair in a cash game the other night and was right, ha! It wasn't in a $600 pot...but it's progress. :)

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Thanks to a tweet from Greg Merson, I just discovered PokerTube, a website full of poker shows and videos. If you like poker..which, I'll bet you do if you're reading this ;)..then check it out. I watched a few episodes of High Stakes Poker (love that show!) and a pretty interesting documentary about Sam Trickett, who went from not even knowing the poker hand rankings (he used a cheat sheet on the wall) to playing high stakes games a very short time later. He picked it up pretty quickly, I'd say! So, yea, glad I found this site. Thanks, Greg.

PS. In the photo above, Croak folded the turn. Nice bet, Vanessa!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Do You Hear What I Hear?

"Tournament poker is fucking heartbreaking." That's the text I just sent my husband. And it is. Sometimes.

Sometimes, you make the correct fold against 2 opponents, say TT vs QQ vs JJ for instance, feel like a genius, then the board runs out and you hear a loud, evil rumble in your ears; that's the poker gods laughing at your genius preflop 'hero fold'. They not only laugh at you, they mock you. That's what you get for folding, genius. You could've tripled up. You woulda hit your set! Hahaha! The laughter continues through the next two levels where finally, you're forced to bluff shove 10 BBs on the flop after a check from a guy who tanks and says, "Eh, I'm tired anyway. I call." Thank you, sir, for putting me out of my misery. Much obliged. Good luck to you.

Then sometimes, you make a terrible call and get lucky. It all evens out, I guess. The good and the bad. Sometimes the poker gods mock you, sometimes they cheer you on. Today they mocked me. Hard. On nearly every hand I played and a few I didn't play. But that's the way poker is and I suppose I accept it or I wouldn't keep playing, eh? Yep. On to the next one. :)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Saturday night at a 1/3 cash game, the table is a mix of older & middle aged men, it's a very friendly table, everyone is talking, joking, it's a very light, relaxed atmosphere, more like a home game than a typical 1/3 table..Then the following happens and everything changes.

The two friendliest of the table are on my right and they get involved in hand that's heads up by the river. The board reads 676-T-A. I'm not sure of the pot size by this point, but the older man, first to act, has led the whole way with the other guy just calling. As the older man is thinking about what to bet on the river, he's looking at his chips and says, "How much do you think you'd call?" The younger man says, "Oh, I'd probably call up to $120." So, the older man bets exactly that, $120.

The younger man, on my immediate right, likes to hold his cards where I can see them when I'm not in the hand. He holds up 57o as he folds. The older man quietly shows 66. Everyone says "nice hand", the pot is pushed and we get ready to move on to the next hand when the dealer suddenly looks at the guy on my right and says, "I think that's binding, you said you'd call $120. I think I have to call the floor."

Now, I know technically verbal is binding, but really? It was clearly just talk, not to mention he had used the word "probably", but sure enough, the floor agreed that he had to honor the $120 and pay him anyway even though he'd folded. Everyone at the table was surprised by this.

Was it an angle by the sweet 80 year old casino-savy man? Did he set up the younger, mostly home game player? I don't know, he never asked to call the floor, the dealer did that, so who knows..But, be warned readers, I guess it's best to just stay quiet during a hand, even in a seemingly friendly game. Lesson learned!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

World Poker Open at Gold Strike Numbers Up

The World Poker Open tournament series started Friday with a $340 buyin, 200k guarantee. Poker is not dead in Mississippi obviously, as the numbers for Day 1A & Day 1B were up from last year and they actually ran out of tables, dealers & room. Last year, the total entries for Event 1 was 1,105. The tournament director, Johnny Grooms, announced on 2+2 last night that 1,173 was the final count for this year's Event 1. Day 1A had 503 and day 1B brought 670. I am wondering how many entries they would've had if there had been enough tables.

I talked to several players who either unregistered or didn't register at all on Day 1B due to the large number of alternates. My friend and fellow blogger, Mojo, wrote about his experience here. The Ladies event, which I planned to play, was scheduled on Saturday at 4:00 and because of the 670 players in the noon event, there were no tables for the women. Again, they were taking alternates and I decided to skip it. I feel like we really got screwed on this. Dear, Johnny Grooms, please do not schedule the Ladies event on the same day as a big guarantee that's expecting a huge turnout! Numbers were up for that event, too, as only 49 women registered last year and there were 65 registered when I was unregistering, plus there were others waiting to register who also changed their mind because of the alternate situation. I'm interested to see what the final number was, as he didn't mention that in his 2+2 post, because hey, it's just the ladies event, right? Who cares...ugh.

So, there's that. They weren't expecting the large number of players that showed up and couldn't accommodate everyone. Disappointing to say the least.

As for me, I played day 1A of the 200k and had a decent table, but just couldn't get anywhere. I don't even have any interesting hands to discuss.

After I decided to pass on the ladies event yesterday, I joined my husband and father in law at Harrah's to play some 1/3 NL. He heard the waiting list at Horseshoe was at 157 (wowzers!). I had a good table and a good session at Harrah's and my husband finished 3rd in their nightly trny, so it was a pretty good night anyway.

I do have an interesting floor decision to discuss from my cash game that I'll write about in my next post.

I am so out of the poker blog loop, if you can recommend any good blogs to read, please let me know in the comments. I've linked a few in my sidebar, but found most of the ones I read back in the day are no longer active. Booo :(

Monday, July 15, 2013

Getting Caught Up

So, this year started off with a renewed interest in poker, probably because my husband had a great run in an event in December at Gold Strike's Winter Poker Classic taking a 2nd place finish and making it onto the Hendon Mob database. He beat me on there and I am not happy about it. ;)

I played that same trny, but didn't even get close to cashing. It started off great, tho, I had a great table draw, a great image and lots of 'girl equity'. Then a LAG got moved 2 to my left and 3 bet every single time I opened. I didn't adjust well, gave him too much credit when I should've just been prepared to 4 bet shove any hand I opened, instead I let him run all over me and my stack took a big hit. I never recovered and was soon out (as was he, for the record). So I railed my husband for the rest of the night and he did very well. That was exciting.

Then I played a nightly during that series and ended up chopping HU with another woman. She obviously didn't want to play it out, I was fine with it either way, but I was not going to do a bad chop when she was only ahead by a little, so I was able to negotiate a great chop with her after her initial decline. In hindsight, I feel I could've closed it out, but it's really a crap shoot by the end and although I'm confident in HU play, I felt a good chop and 2nd place was fine with me.

With that boost to our bankrolls (what was left of it after Christmas anyway lol), we drove down to the Beau Rivage in Biloxi for a big guarantee they were having in January. I don't remember the name of the series, but neither of us cashed there, even though Russell did make day 2. I had a tough table draw, several trny grinders and Beau regs and the runouts were just killing me, like having to fold a flopped set of Kings to an obv turned straight. I really think I played that hand poorly, though. I screwed it up from the beginning and let him get there...totally my fault and it went downhill from there.

After the Biloxi trip, I decided I was going to switch to NL cash games instead of tournaments. They say there's not as much variance in cash games as trnys, so I thought I'd give it a shot after all these years. The only cash games I'd  played previously were limit games; 3/6 and 4/8 because I'm very conservative with money and betting the amount you need to bet in NL seemed really scary to me! I had to get over it tho, so I jumped in and realized it's not so bad. Nothing to be scared about at all. I'd like to say I won a ton, but after 65 hours of playing 1/3NL, I am actually down $50 and on a cash game break. Meh. I'll play again soon, but I want to do some reading and study more before I return to the cash tables.

In June, I played my 4th tournament of the year, the Ladies Event in the Horseshoe Summer Classic in Tunica. It was a very small turnout, but I won it! I guess Horseshoe doesn't report their series cashers because I'm still not on Hendon Mob.  :(

The ladies trny was like no other tournament I've ever played. They were soooo passive, it seemed too good to be true really. It was on the same day as the Main Event and I guess most of the better female players were in that, thankfully. We were playing short handed for a long time due to a cashier who signed a player up for the wrong trny and so that stack was just getting blinded off and keeping us 11 handed on 2 tables. That worked out so well for me. I had stacks and stacks of ante and blind chips. Stealing the blinds and limps and antes is what put me in the chip lead. Hands were not going to showdown often, so they never saw my hands and just assumed I was on the rush of a lifetime with big pocket not true, but I just smiled and agreed with them lol. When they finally realized the entry mistake and combined the tables to one, those women were so mad! They didn't like playing short handed and were really upset with the TD. On the other hand, I had loved every minute of it!

One hand at the final table that just blew my mind: It folded to the HJ who limped in, I raised 2.5x in the CO with QcJc. All fold. The button says she folded 99 and the limper said she folded 88. I have no reason to doubt either of them. They both had decent stacks to call there, or even 3 bet..I had been so active, it actually would've been a perfect spot for the button to 3 bet me..but both assumed I had AA and folded. After that, I said to myself, if I don't ship this, I am quitting poker forever lol.

It was all pretty crazy and when we got down to 3 handed, I had a massive chip lead against a bad LAG and a folding station. I doubled up the LAG twice. She was open shipping any Ace and I took 3 shots at knocking her out. The 3rd time was the charm when she shoved A5o and I rivered a flush with KdJd. Heads up only lasted one hand. I raised A9, she shoved KJ and my A high was good. :)

This was the first live tournament I've won without chopping. I've had several cashes and near misses, but this was my first straight up win! (Wish I had taken a pic, but didn't think about it 'til after.) It was a fun one and I'm glad I decided to play it.

I know this was pretty long and wordy, sorry about that. I don't like long blog posts, either! I'm caught up for the year now, so future posts should be shorter! Now I've got to figure out how to do the blogroll thing and refresh my memory with blogger. I'm kinda lost right now, but I'll get it together, hopefully.

I'm Back, Y'all!

Well, here I am again, blogging about the pokers! You may remember me from the poker blog boom several years ago..Mine was called What are the Odds and I was known as "jusdealem", "jus" and sometimes "Jude Salem", a name I got (and loved) from an apparently dyslexic Waffles :) I had a pretty decent following, met some awesome people from it and formed friendships I have to this day. Blogging was a totally positive experience, but for some dumb reason, I deleted it. So, here we go again with What are the Odds (Take 2)! That name is pretty lame lol, but it is what it is, so...

 I have to say up front that my grammar has been ruined over the last few years with text messaging and facebook, so you Grammar Nits out there be warned. I'll try to refrain from using u and ur, but I can't make any promises about anything else. I may not use commas appropriately, either. I will most likely use "y'all" a lot and repetitive smiley faces. I am a habitual smiley and winky face user and I am unapologetic about it, just lettin' y'all know. ;)

 So, what have I been up to during my long blogging absence? Just life basically, nothing interesting. I actually stopped playing poker for about 3 years, from '09 to '12 I only played a handful of times during those years and I really regret that, because you only get better by playing, duh. My interest in it returned this year with a fury and I have played more this year than I ever have live. That's probably why I've decided to start up this blog again and OMG I HAVE SO MANY BAD BEATS TO SHARE!!! Haha, I'm just kidding, I will not bore you with those, but I do love to discuss hands and writing them down really helps me think through them, so here goes!
Thanks for reading! :)