Thursday, August 28, 2008

First Step of a Month Long Journey

Well this is the outcome of the first tournament in my little challenge, I will probably blog the latter tournaments in less detail as it wares off, but bare with me through this report. Obviously comments suggestions would be much appreciated.

Tournament 1: 103650909
Buy-in:$3+ 0.30
Runners: 1392
Payout: $6.69
+/- = +$3.39
Places Paid: 243
Top 3: $783.01, 474.82, 275,62

I was placed on table 27, it was playing loose, players calling flop/turn bets with AQ high and no draws. Levels 1 and 2 were uneventful, I limped and folded to raise and re-raises a couple times. In level 3 I play the first hand, I open raise from Hi-jack +1 with AdKd, and Laggy on the button re-raises all-in for 993, I of course call expecting to be ahead and he shows KcJc. The board missed us all so I take down the 2k pot.
Just before the end of level 3 I was still on the same table, there were two tight players both of them were playing less than 10% of hands, both directly to my right. I could not believe the way one of them played KK, then made a set on the flop then proceeded to get the minimum possible, can anyone explain this play?

Poker Stars, $3 + $0.30 NL Hold'em Tournament, 25/50 Blinds, 9 Players
[url=][/url] - [url=]Hand History Converter[/url]

CO: 2,136
BTN: 2,365
SB: 4,275
BB: 1,685
UTG: 2,702
Hero (UTG+1): 2,293
UTG+2: 2,523
MP1: 2,585
MP2: 2,150

[b]Pre-Flop:[/b] (75) 7:diamond: T:heart: dealt to Hero (UTG+1)
UTG calls 50, 2 folds, MP1 calls 50, MP2 calls 50, 2 folds, SB calls 25, BB checks

[b]Flop:[/b] (250) 4:diamond: 7:spade: K:club: (5 Players)
SB checks, BB checks, UTG checks, MP1 checks, MP2 checks

[b]Turn:[/b] (250) 9:heart: (5 Players)
SB checks, BB checks, UTG checks, [color=red]MP1 bets 50[/color], 2 folds, BB calls 50, UTG calls 50

[b]River:[/b] (400) A:heart: (3 Players)
BB checks, UTG checks, MP1 checks

[b]Results:[/b] 400 Pot
[i]BB showed T:spade: Q:diamond: (high card Ace) and LOST (-100 NET)[/i]
[i]UTG showed K:spade: K:diamond: (three of a kind, Kings) and WON 400 (+300 NET)[/i]
[i]MP1 mucked 5:diamond: 5:club: and LOST (-100 NET)[/i]

I was then moved to table 1, I hoped this was a good omen. At the beginning of level 4, blinds 50/100 I had 2,433 chips. I would like to have had a few more situations that I could have got involved, but I am still in the game and hoping to get a few hands to play.

I had made the first break with almost doubling my starting stack, 2743 chips with the blinds going up to 75/150 immediately after the break. I like the stars 15 minute blind structures, especially in the guaranteed tournaments where you start with 3k chips, so this was slightly faster than what I had been playing recently. Same situation as 15 minutes before, still alright stack-wise, but would definitely like some hands/situations to help build my stack soon. I was currently 301st with 520 players remaining.

The second table seemed to be of the same make-up of the first however it began to tighten up dramatically, especially after the first break. I did try to take advantage of this, but every time I made a move someone either had a hand or was just playing me. Then came a hand of small bets and calls that I never really understood the involvement of one of the players.

Poker Stars, $3 + $0.30 NL Hold'em Tournament, 75/150 Blinds, 8 Players
[url=][/url] - [url=]Hand History Converter[/url]

BTN: 5,975
SB: 962
BB: 1,950
UTG: 3,785
UTG+1: 5,045
MP1: 3,065
Hero (MP2): 2,293
CO: 4,130

[b]Pre-Flop:[/b] (225) J:spade: 3:club: dealt to Hero (MP2)
3 folds, MP1 calls 150, 2 folds, [color=red]BTN raises to 300[/color], 2 folds, MP1 calls 150

[b]Flop:[/b] (825) 3:heart: K:club: K:spade: (2 Players - 1 is All-In)
MP1 checks, [color=red]BTN bets 300[/color], MP1 calls 300

[b]Turn:[/b] (1,425) 5:spade: (2 Players - 1 is All-In)
MP1 checks, [color=red]BTN bets 150[/color], MP1 calls 150

[b]River:[/b] (1,725) 2:club: (2 Players - 1 is All-In)
[color=red]MP1 bets 150[/color], BTN calls 150

[b]Results:[/b] 2,025 Pot
[i]BTN mucked 7:heart: A:heart: and LOST (-900 NET)[/i]
[i]MP1 showed 9:club: 9:heart: (two pair, Kings and Nines) and WON 2,025 (+1,125 NET)[/i]

The highlight of my level 5 was recieving a walk, seriously. The blinds were now 100/200 and I was floundering on 2143. The 10 BB push/fold situation is upon me. I got two Pushes through. Then The limits went up to 175/250/25 ante, I was REALLY strugling now with 2445. I was sitting 265th out of 306 remaining. I could play to scrape the money, but I don't really want to play that way, my range will be oppened and I will be pushing, hopefully with a chance of doubling up. There is a player on this table "trusty1" who runs the clock down EVERY decision, and accepts timebank as soon as he is offered, sometimes he uses it sometimes he doesn't. I would say it was because we were nearing the bubble, but he has been doing it since I sat at the table. It didn't annoy me personally, but I'm sure it aggitated some, plus it used his timebank on straightforrward decisions, seemed stange to me. It got folded to me on Hi-Jack +1, so I pushed with 54o, everyone folded, I had TT the next two hands in a row, the first everyone folded. The second hand I was called by a short stack all-in with JQs, the three hands gave me some breathing room and put me on 5111.

The tournament moved onto level 8 with blinds 150/300/25 ante with sat just a smidge over 5k and 158th out of 253, so I really should cash as long as I don't do something silly. I understand people want to avoid missing the cash this close and that is why they use their timebank, but what happens if they survive and are put to a real decision later on which is worth a lot more money. By all means time out, but why waste your 60 second timebank?

And the bubble has burst, less than a minute before the second break. Due to the payout structure I have decided to get really LAGGY and try and either get competitive chip wise or leave with a small profit. To get double 243rd prize you have to come 63rd, so there is no point, in my opinion playing around for a couple of dollars. I now have a smidgen of 4000 with the blinds at 200/400/50 ante, so again it is push or fold stage. With 1050 in the pot before any action has taken place it makes it most definitely worth stealing! I had pushed 3 hands, the I pushed KK under the gun, and was called by QQ and I caught the Full house, which put me over 10k. I was comfortable stack wise, but I still wanted to push on fast or go out, purely because of the structure.

Level 9 was upon us with 300/600/50 ante with me just a shade under 10k, the second hand of the level I was dealt KK again, unfortunatly it was folded round, but I was happy to pick up the 1350. The game is becoming very repetitive, which is as to be expected with the high blinds.
With the blinds at 400/800/50 I got involved with AQ against a big stacks AK and went out, it was unfortunate, but I am glad to get off to a small but winning start.

(Insert witty title here)

To be honest I got a bit bored of playing STT's, this may have been down to the fact of me not winning enough to show anything or losing enough for it to hurt. After a few small couple hundred buck wins I decided to withdraw from stars and enjoy my poker winnings, something I believe everyone should do, it feels great, even if it is just a meal out with the bird or a night out on the razz.

I love setting goals for myself, so I am going to set one for the month september 2008.

***Increase my Pokerstars account balance from circa $150 to $1000 by Midnight Wednesday 1st October, playing MTT's and MTT SNG's (especially the 180 man SNG's)***

This will probably seem like a really easy goal for some, but I find it hard to get that consistancy, and I want to make that $1000 and buy me a new PC, Laptop or XBOX 360 Elite. I do however find setting Monetary goals for poker winnings a little strange, as I am unsure of the pressures it puts you under. I am not, hopefully, going to play cash with on stars in the next month, and play realistic sized tournaments, probably will be a 5% job. As I said before I think i will also avoid STT's due to them becoming a bit stale for me, I did enjoy playing them for a while but after 50 I got REALLY bored. I do have a problem of cashing but not getting deep in tournaments, which I hope to rectify. I have been given confidence by attaining a 1st and 2nd in consecutive 180-man SNG's, hopefully I can achieve that in a bigger field very soon. The one bonus to my STT challange, was that I seem to have lost the fish on my sharkscope, was finding it hard to shake off my learning/gash play.

I always say this but I will TRY update this blog a couple times a week, I will be placing a notepad next to me to note things throughout the month and update here periodically. I will need to get a few wins on the board fast so I can play the $11 $30K guarenteed on stars again, as I have cashed a few times, but the all to familiar story for me of getting 2-4 times my buy-in back. If I cam top 3 or four in this I would complete my challange in a oner :D.

I am still playing on Full Tilt, rakeback rules, there SNG's not so much. As I mentioned in a previous post there levels are quicker, but there are smaller jumps, I wasn't sure which structure is better suited for me. No I believe stars is much slower, therefore suits me better, Full Tilt's structure just jumps a little to rapidly, even with the extra levels.

EDIT: The challenge has just got a little more interesting, my good friend Pizzi will be joining me in "The Race To A Grand" You can follow his exploits on his blog, there is a link on the left, if he ever updates!