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'Twas a week before Christmas

Well, I finished off a good chunk of my 100 SNGs in 100 days goal last night by playing 4 back to back to back to back SNGs at TigerGaming. Given my crappy luck in SNGs recently, I thought I'd ease my way back into the poker scene playing against some of the weakest players on the Internet.

So, let's do a quick recap of last night's festivities:
SNG 1 (10:30 PM):
This one was a quickie - the poker equivalent of a kick in the junk by a five year old unhappy that you've told him for the last time "No treats!" while standing in line at the grocery store.

Early in level 2, I pick up KK! Ah, my luck is finally turning around! A quality hand! I raise it up to 3xBB and get called by the loosest, fishiest player at the table. Flop comes down J62 rainbow. I bet half the pot, not wanting to appear weak but hoping to induce a bluff on my opponent's part. He complies by raising me for about 3/4 of my chips. It's an easy push for me holding the overpair. When he turns over his QJ, I'm a 4 to 1 favourite to take the hand down. The turn is a blank but one of the remaining queens hits on the river and I'm all but out. A few hands later, the same guy knocks me out with his 97o vs. my K6s and I'm out in fifth!

You know what they say: if poker was easy, I'd still suck at it...

SNG #2 (10:40 PM)
I did a little better this time, but ended up bubbling out in third due to two bad hands. One thing I'm starting to get used to in SNG play is the fact that it is extremely possible to lose the whole thing based on some really shitty luck. I find that when I win, I rarely have my chips in with the worst of it (probably because I try to avoid "gambling" with my tournament life on the line). The difference between winning and losing for me comes down to how lucky my opponent gets in hitting his draws. I guess this should bring me some peace of mind - I'd much rather be the player with the made hand when the chips go in.

Anyway, my downfall in this SNG started when I caught two pair, Aces and threes, on the flop. There was a flush draw and the pot was already quite large given that the blinds were getting up there and I'd popped it PF. I decide to push, hoping to either get a caller and double up or simply take down the large pot and grab the chip lead. Well, the guy to my left thinks for about 20 seconds then calls the all-in. I'm not too worried at this point - he's most likely got a flush draw. If that's the case, I'm ahead right now and he's definitely making a mistake by calling my all-in bet. And if he does hit his draw, I'd still have some outs to hitting my boat. Well, he hits his draw on the river and he doubles up through me.

I lose a few hands later when I pick up JJ in the BB and raise it 3xBB. Mr. Flush calls and when the flop comes down A 9 x, I push in the hopes that he would've raised it PF holding an ace. He insta-calls and shows his A9s for two pair and I'm dead to a jack...which, of course, does not come.

SNG #3 (11:25 PM)
This one was a little boring. I was totally card dead until level 5 when I pick up A5s on the button. I raise it to T160 PF (about 3xBB) and get called by chip leader - so I'm now looking to double up. Flop comes down 5 5 8. I decide not to slow-play and bet half the pot and the chip leader calls. The turn is a J and the chip leader bets about half the pot. I raise it up with another 2/3 pot-sized bet and the chip leader calls. When the river comes down with a 6, I'm worried that he may have the straight, but instead hope that he's got something like a Jx-type hand. I've got most of my chips in the pot so when he puts me in for the rest of my chips, I have to call. He turns over a 97o for the rivered straight and I'm out in 4th.

Stupid river...

SNG #4 (12:05 AM)
This SNG was defined by large periods of time where I was card dead and three occasions where I got slowplayed by AA, KK and a flopped nut-flush. However, even so, I managed to end up heads-up when I doubled up through the chip leader in level 3 when he tried to steal the pot pre-flop with a Q8s and I called with my pocket tens. This guy had picked up the chip lead in the first few hands, holding half of all the chips by virtue of some lucky cards.

Anyway, once heads-up with the guy sitting to my immediate left, things really slowed down. We were only in level 4 and we both had pretty large M's: with the blinds at 25/50, I was sitting pretty with T1500 and my opponent had T4500. Although I was behind, I had a lot of time and chips to poke and prod my opponent's defenses to find a weak spot.

Within 5 minutes, I'd noticed a couple things. First off, he never raised it pre-flop. He was playing the cautious sand-bagger style of heads-up play. This can work, especially against someone like me who likes to be aggressive heads-up, but this would backfire on him by giving me the chance to see too many flops. I was able to call pre-flop with any two cards then make some probe bets to see where he was at. I also discovered that he rarely bet unless he was holding something. He would always call on the flop if he had 2 or 3 outs to making his hand but he would not bet unless he had at least 2nd pair (although he would bet bottom pair or a draw if I checked on the flop).

So, being behind in chips, it was hard to gain momentum since he would fold to a pre-flop raise and always try to suck out after the flop. He got me many times with some unlikely flushes, straights and full boat. But I managed to stay in it, usually hovering around the T2000 mark to his T3000. As the blinds started to climb, he started losing ground when he kept folding to my pre-flop raises and big bets on the river.

Finally, two hands after picking up the chip lead (for a second time), I found QJs in the BB with the blinds at 75/150. I had about T3200 in chips - my opponent had T2800. He completes on the button and I make it another $150 to go (I don't want him folding pre-flop yet again). The flop comes down Q x x. I overbet the pot to make it look like I'm bluffing, he raises me and I push all-in, hoping that he'll call and that my jack kicker is better than his kicker. I'm pretty sure that he's got top pair at this point. I'm also pretty sure he doesn't have KQ or AQ since he would've (or should've raised) pre-flop with either of these hands. When he calls my all-in bet and shows QT, it's all over and I've won.

Now that I've completed 10 $3 + $0.45 SNGs at TigerGaming, I'll need to focus exclusively on the $5 SNGs elsewhere. Here are my final results for the cheap-o SNGs:

  • 1st Place: 1/10

  • 2nd Place: 3/10

  • 3rd Place: 2/10

  • ITM %: 40%

  • Avg. Finish: 3.1

  • Won/Lost: -$3.90

All in all, I was quite happy with my play in these SNGs. Although I lost money, I placed in-the-money far more times than simple luck would dictate. Unless extremely short-stacked, I was patient and put my money in with the best of it. Given another 100 SNGs, I'm sure my financial results would more closely reflect my play.

Just in case you were wondering, I did play another $5 + $0.50 SNG at Eurobet on Saturday afternoon. As is usually the case at the Poker Network skins, the SNG play was uber tight. I ended up out in 6th place, although had I actually picked up any cards, I could have just as easily ended up in first.

The play at the table was dictated by a couple guys picking up monster hands. Me, not one pocket pair or any two cards higher than T. Well, except for a KQs where I pushed pre-flop and everyone folded. The blinds at that point were 100/200 and I had about T650 left. When I pushed UTG, I was hoping that I'd get at least one caller but it wasn't meant to be. Everyone was playing as if they were on the bubble and close to making the money.

I was out a few hands later where I decided to push with a 94o from the SB. I was hoping to steal the blinds so that I could live another round. Unfortunately, the BB had found a 44 and, having just over twice my stack, called and knocked me out. I hope that my luck picks up a bit at these Eurobet SNGs...if not, I may finish off the rest of the 30 tourneys elsewhere. Probably not though since I am pretty stubborn.

So, quick recap of my 100 SNGs goal:

  • SNGs Played: 15

  • ITM %: 33.33%

  • Won/Lost: -18.40

I missed my goal of making it into the top three 7/10 times at TigerGaming - I only made it 6 times - but I've managed to maintain my ITM % of 30%. We'll see where I am after the Christmas holidays.

Ok, that's it for poker talk for now. More posts to come later on a variety of subjects depending on the amount of time afforded to me by work.


Well, I've finished reading Pokerama-rama: yet another blogger with far more skill in poker than I. These bloggers trick you into thinking that they don't know what they're doing, but as you read through their blogs you soon realize that they are playing on a whole different level.

In comparison to most poker bloggers, I rarely place well in an MTT (well, 9th place I think in one for a small-ish payday and tenth in another for a $0 payout). I'm still at the stage where I'm just trying to make the money. Maybe someday I'll have enough poker know-how to avoid the pitfalls that the other poker bloggers point out in others' games.

I also stink at no limit ring games, I'm deathly afraid of playing Omaha for real money, and my limit play pays off at the rate of 0.2 BB/100 (actually, in the past two months, I've lost money playing limit poker).

I think one disadvantage is knowing that I will most likely never go to Vegas nor will the chance to play live poker in a casino come up in the next few years. And once my wife and I have kids, any chance of casino play drops to zero. The only exception to these eventualities is if I win a seat to the WSOP or to a WPT event. The problem is that these tournaments cost so much damn money. I'm still playing $5 SNGs (and losing), so there's no way that I'm going to spend $100 for a 1 in a 100 chance of winning a seat to the WPT. My bankroll's just not big enough to handle that kind of action.

Anyway, I'm going to look for some more blogs to read in the meantime. Maybe someone's got a blog that will teach me how to play properly, but I doubt it. Too many insider secrets, I think. I can tell readers my big poker strategy: wait until you have a better hand than your opponent then take all of his/her chips. Easy, huh? I know...it doesn't work for me either.

Anyway, on the menu for this evening - probably some Resident Evil 4 and a night off from poker. I played a lot last night and I'm in no rush. I may play limit tomorrow night at Interpoker - they have their $10 bonus for each pair of pocket aces dealt. Sweet - if I multi-table for a couple hours, I may see a pair or two of aces and I'll be rich!

I'm not going to spell check this entry...I'm too lazy and full of fajitas...


Finished reading the Poker Night Posse blog...not sure how old these guys are? I'm guessing late teens or early twenties, although I'm a thirty year old Canadian, so I'm way out of touch when it comes to twenty-somethings living in California. BLP seems to be on his way as does pMac - at least they've both played far better than I.

I don't know if I'd ever use the terms "4 titties" to refer to Queens (I think the term "Hiltons" is as demeaning as I'd ever want to get). And the term "Death Johnnies" to refer to JJ seems a bit silly. Why death? Jacks aren't so good that they deserve the ominous "death" reference.

Still, there are a couple good entries from BLP and pMac, so check it out. There are very few entries thus far so it's a quick read.

I'm outta here...have a good night everyone...

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