Sunday, July 18, 2004

Notes on Disparate Things, Parts I–∞

—I haven't blogged in a while (week whatever-it-is-I'm-up-to-now is overdue), but little of note has been happening. I've been playing poker, online, for more hours than historically but on fewer tables. Still, I end up playing between 1200 and 1800 hands in a day, which is overall more hands than historically. PokerTracker shows about 6,000 $3/$6 hands last week, over which I won about $500, although the true figure isn't exactly that because of other play.

—I sent out some emails regarding home games, from the listings on HomePokerGames, which has seen a few new additions since I checked last. One of the games I'd heard of before, but only one of them has yet sent me a response, and that is a "I'll keep you posted" from a game about half an hour away that sounds like a one-time deal.  The one I most wanted to hear from had the most professional entry; they play once or twice a week with $2/$4 limit and also a big-bet game, although I don't remember now if it's pot-limit or no-limit.  I think I've heard of this game before; if so it's a fellow on the northeast side who's converted his rec room into a poker room, and I believe he takes a rake.  However, his entry at HomePokerGames specifically mentions "no pros," meaning I'm likely to need a little subterfuge as to what it is I do for a living.

—Gil and I went up to Manistee yesterday. For most of the time we were there, the games weren't as good as they had been the week before. However, when we got there around 1:30, a player I hadn't seen there before went to dinner (I took his playover), coloring up $600 before he left. When I got to the table, all the other players were talking about how he raised constantly, with hands that must be called speculative at least. Unfortunately for them, he was winning. While he was at dinner, my permanent seat opened immediately to the left of the maniac. This seat should have been worth my weight in gold, but unfortunately my cards were pretty much ice-cold. The only time I was able to take advantage of my position was when the maniac raised in the dark after an early-position limper. I looked down at KQ, and immediately three-bet. As it happened I was a dog to the limper, but I hit and he didn't and I pulled in my only significant pot at that table.

When the new table opened, I moved in a hurry; after the maniac left the table was pretty tough. (And besides, the 9 seat at that table is my favorite in the whole room, for some reason.) This turned out to be a good move; there were three weak players, a very weak player, and a typical loose-aggressive player all at the table, plus I started getting some cards. I saw a flop early on with QJ, half because there were some weakies in the pot and half for the hell of it, and flopped 89x rainbow. There wasn't enough in the pot to call the flop bet strictly for a gutshot draw, but I thought I had a good chance that if I hit one of my overcards I might be good. So I saw the 10 that hit the turn, when to my surprise my raise got reraised! There being no other possibilities out there (I had the stony nuts at the moment), I immediately capped and was called, although my cap lost us the other (very weak) player (she'd have had to call two more big bets). When the river King was harmless (it actually increased the strength of my hand), I went all-in for $5, was called, and showed down the stony nuts. Unlike most stories of this nature, my opponent did not have a terrible hand, he just had the low end of the straight with 67. I have to assume he put me on a set, because if I had any kind of straight I either had him beat or we were splitting.

Unfortunately, Gil ran out of money back at our original table, although the game did get better (I wasn't the only one who wanted to taste some fresh meat). The way the room was hopping at this point, we should have stayed; there was a lot of money standing on the rail waiting to go into the regulars' pockets. But Gil was pissed off, he said; he'd just taken some kind of beat and he was in a bad mood. (He told the story of the bad beat, but I've stopped listening to those. They're all the same. "I had a great hand, he had some totally other hand, but guess what card came?" Let me guess—the one that made you lose? I'll actually listen if it's not a bad-beat story, but a clever-play story; those I can learn from.) And so, after all that, he ends up down $200, and I end up down $67.

—This last is another example of why I want to freaking move, to where it's not a two-hour drive, to where I can leave if it's a tough game because I didn't just drive two hours, and even if I did there's another poker room next door. I've said Fall for some time, but unless I start significantly increasing my earnings that is looking unlikely. So I'm still looking for ways to do that, even if I want to ensure I don't do it as stupidly as last time. Most likely, I'll start entering more multitable (even three-table) tourneys; likely I'll do that as the fourth table when I have three $3/$6 games going. That's not set in stone, it's just the thing that I can add to my game which has the greatest chance of increasing my bankroll in a hurry. A reasonable number of tournaments will and would have a small downside with a large upside.

That said, I'd have to get back in shape with them. I've had a couple of minor moneys in multitables lately, but no final tables; it's this last I most need. In a development that would surprise the Me of six months ago, I have come to prefer the no-limit tournaments; this even though both of my really significant tourney scores were in limit tournaments (and both were six months ago). I'm curious what the thinking is: discounting the argument about whether limit or no-limit is actually a tougher game, which do you find provides one with weaker competition? On the one hand, the WPT crowd tends to prefer no-limit, but on the other hand, no-limit is just fear-inducing enough that some people might prefer limit. My guess is that there are more weak players in a no-limit tournament, but that the top-echelon players are actually tougher than the top limit players. Any thoughts?


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