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Forsaken

Don't you love it when a post starts off with a title clearly pointing out that bad times have been had by all? There are two things I like reading about in poker blogs: great successes and huge failures. I like hearing the bad beats: they make me feel that I've been blessed to only catch bad beats every 3rd hand instead of every 2nd hand like many bloggers out there. And I like hearing about people playing in their first every $200 SNG and taking home $22K for their efforts. Still, this blog is about me and my play, and alas, I did not win $22K this weekend which means...

First, in regards to my year to date, you can clearly see in the sidebar that things are rather mediocre. I guess I should've named this blog Klopzi's Winning Poker or Klopzi's Rich-As-Daddy-Warbucks Poker - who knows, I might have run hotter than I have been of late. As for gaining two pounds last week, I blame that on leftover Christmas squares, lingering holiday diseases, Delissio pizzas and chocolate-covered cherries

Instead, let me recap my 100 SNGs in 100 days challenge.
SNGs Played: 64
ITM %: 42% (A+)
ROI %: 3.6% (B-)
$ Won: $12.60 (B-)
1st: 5 (C)
2nd: 12 (A+)
3rd: 10 (A)
Bubble: 14 (wtf?!)

What can I say about my SNG play of late? It's been a strange mix of being card dead and being extremely unlucky - I wonder how many bloggers have erroneously felt this way?. Now, I know that when you're only 70% to win a hand, you're not guaranteed to win. Unfortunately, since my last win at PokerStars earlier this year, I have yet to win a single all-in when I am the favourite in the hand. Strange but true. I've sucked out a few times when up against the ropes and pushing all in for my last T400 with ATs (only to get called by big stack holding AQs). But when it comes to knocking out Shit-Stack McGee holding AJ against my QQ, I'm S.O.L.

I did pick up a second and a third place finish this weekend, but I played 6 SNGs. I bubbled in three of the SNGs - each time being forced to go all-in after being crippled by losing a 70/30 hand. I'm see that Felicia says that no one wants to hear about bad beats, although according to her lists of "don'ts" for poker blogs, I'm only a family picture or two from being complete crap. However Felicia doesn't know who I am (nor do most bloggers out there), so I think I'm safe.

So, what did I do when I started running poorly in the SNGs? Why - I started playing some NL ring games at TigerGaming. I've started playing the $5 NL ring games at Tiger - I'm always extremely cautious when starting something new. Although I'd played the $10 NL at Pacific Poker, I'd heard that the $5 games at Tiger could be pretty soft.

Well, I can attest that the games are not too bad. The biggest problems I've had with the games represent a strange side-effect of what makes the games easy to beat.

When you have 8 of 10 players limping to see a flop, it's not that hard to deduce that quality hands are not being played by most. However, this also renders any value you might get from top pair to zero - on any given flop, someone has at least two pair. I learned this the hard way yesterday when I lost my first buy-in when I raised it to 10xBB with an AKs - I really wanted to limit the field and any raise < $1 was not being respected. I got one caller. When the flop came A 6 2 rainbow, I bet out $1 and my opponent immediately pushed all-in. In his Little Green Book, Phil Gordon praises the virtues of playing against players who overvalue top pair - I guess I was not paying attention to that lesson. I called the all-in and my opponent showed pocket two's, leaving me with just over 1% to win the hand.

Actually, the opponent in that last case is actually one of the better NL players in the $5 pond at Tiger. He later sat down with me again and worked his $5 up to $20 in about 10 minutes. Revenge is a dish best served cold and revenge was served: in a heads-up pot, he lost $3 when he hit his 6-high flush to my J-high flush. Should he have called a 3xBB raise with only a 63s? My guess is no... If I'd had the nut flush, I could've taken him to the cleaners, but I didn't want to push it. I think he had me playing pretty weak against him due to the previous AK vs. 22 hand.

Although I managed to work $23 worth of buy-ins up to $47 over the course of four and a half hours, I caught a number of bad beats. Luckily, the bad beats all occurred when I put short-stacks all-in. Twice, my over-pair was overturned when an underpair hit a two-outter. Thrice (did I just say thrice?!), a dominated hand hit its three outter. And runner-runner was caught three times to beat me out of the pot. And I ran into pocket rockets three times - unfortunately, one of those times was when I was holding KK and had it all-in pre-flop...rebuy!

Anyway, the no-limit ring games are definitely more boring than limit games since you have to be super-patient (at least I do because I'm a scaredy-cat), but I'm hoping that the $5 NL games at Tiger are +EV for me.

I also played some limit at Interpoker on Saturday evening, but went from a high of +$15 to a low of -$12. I finished my session being down $12 because the table suddenly went short-handed and there were no other tables to be had.

The biggest mistake I made of the evening occurred when I slow-played rockets from the button and just limped into the pot. For each of the past four hands where I'd raised PF, everyone had folded - as much as I liked earning a combined total of $1.50 with my pocket queens and pocket kings, I wanted to have my Aces pay off - my grandmother would call me "greedy-guts" in this instance. When the flop came down 6 J Q rainbow, both players checked to me and I bet (damn you limit play!) - two calls. Turn is a king, SB checks, BB bets. Although I'm a little concerned that the BB bet into me, I'm thinking that he may have hit top pair so I raise it up. SB folds and the BB three-bets it. At this point, I should've just called then called the river, but I foolishly four-bet it and my opponent calls. When the river is a blank and my opponent bets out again, I know I strongly suspect that I'm up against AT or T9. I still call the bet - I'm not going to fold for one bet when the pot is at $12. My opponent showed an AT and Ed Miller now owes me $1.

Except for that one hand, my limit game was pretty sound. I got rivered on 5 or 6 hands, but them's the breaks. I could have easily been up $30 by the time I shut down the night had things gone my way.

Lately, I've tried to bump up my limit-game aggression. I'm now a big fan of raising a bet to find out how good an opponent's hand really is. Although I ignored the warning signs in my awful AA hand, I think the aggression will pay off. I remember reading in Super System II that flop betting in limit games is all about deception. The bets are small, so people will bet out or liberally call bets just to see the turn card. The truth is that if you don't have a made hand or strong draw on the flop, you are most likely dead in the water and should fold unless the pot is large enough to justify peeling off another card.

So, there are two things that I'm doing to improve my limit game: play the flop aggressively to better define my opponents' hands and punish the calling stations and the fish out there for staying in when they should be folding. So far, the river suckouts have turned the tide in favour of the weaker players, but it'll turn around. Does that make me sound like a degenerate gambler? I'm hoping it sounds more like a solid player trying to improve his game...

Ok, that's it for now. I'm going to post some keyword stuff later today if I get the chance. My blog's been turning up on a number of searches lately - although not in the numbers that most sites do - so I'll examine what's been bringing to my doorstep.

2 comments:

Felicia :) said...

You're not safe.

Klopzi said...

Damn...now I'm in for it.

Well, at least I get points for responding to the comment, right? That means that I nailed a solid 3 out of 8 on the list!

At least I've left room for improvement - you know, always leave them wanting more and such.

Thanks for stopping by Felicia.

K.