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Riding the Wave

I can't explain it so I won't even try. As you probably know by now (if you've been following my recent posts), I've been riding a little SNG hot streak. This hot streak culminated in me playing my first ever $20 SNG at PokerStars on Sunday and placing 2nd. Well, it seems that the hot streak didn't end there...

When I first sat down to play some poker last night, I hit up River Belle first for some $20 NL action. After about an hour, I'd cleared another 46 raked hands and found myself down a measly 46 cents.

That result isn't too bad considering one lucky fish sucked out on me two hands in a row. I know I should love players who'll call big turn bets with only overcards, but it still hurts when they hit and you miss your big draw while picking up a costly second-best hand.

Still, I'm always happy if I manage to clear more in bonus money than I lose during the course of playing.

I then gathered my courage for another go at the $20 SNGs at PokerStars, hoping to place in the money for a second time or, at the very least, to play as if I belonged in the middle-echelons of SNG poker society.

As usual, I played zero hands in level 1. It's not that I like constantly folding and watching other prey on the weaker players: I just don't like to gamble. There, I said it!

Then, strangely enough, I picked up a pretty solid starting hand three hands into level 2. The Dr. Pauly Special - QQ!

Sitting in the CO, I raised it up to T100 and only the UTG limper called. Perfect! I decided to c-bet if checked to and fold if things got too heavy. Pocket queens are a great hand because they win quite a bit unimproved and they're easy to get away frmo post-flop if things go south. I like easy decisions and folding QQ when an ace flops doesn't cost me any sleep at night.

Anyway, the flop came down Js 9s Qc. Ok, not too bad. Villain checked and I bet T175 into the T235 pot. And then disaster - Villain check-raised to T400.

Ok, what could he have been holding? Axs? Possibly. QQ or JJ? Probably not since he limped pre-flop. AA or KK? I didn't think so - he probably would have raised pre-flop. Although there was a slight chance that he had KT for the nut straight, I was leaning more towards a draw given the coordinated board, however I wasn't discounting pocket nines.

Well, unless he had the KT, I was a huge favourite over all hands except for the coin flip situation presented if he happened to hold an open-ended straight and flush draw.

After evaluating my choices, I decided to push right away and end the hand. If he called, he'd most likely be making a mistake.

As expected, the Villain called the all-in. And luckily, he didn't turn over a KT. Instead, he heald JcTs making me the 2.5:1 favourite. The Villain failed to improve and I doubled up early.

My SNG style very rarely sees me sitting with the chip lead early on. After last night, I'd have to say that I like it.

I started pushing all the other stacks around when I could. I chose my battles carefully and managed to get a whole lot of respect. It usually got folded around to me whenever I found myself in the big blind. It seemed that no one wanted to play with the raise-happy big stack.

I tempered my aggressive play with some wise folds. If I thought there was a good chance that I was behind, I simply folded and waited for a better spot to apply pressure. I knew that it was only a matter of time before I found myself holding a monster against an opponent's ill-timed push.

With only 6 players left, I found myself sitting with about 60% of all the chips.

When we made it to the top three, I had 75% of all the chips. Although the short stack doubled up through me on three separate occasions with some lucky river cards (A6 vs. T2 - he hit trip 2s, AT vs. A3 - he hit river straight, AJ vs. 77 - he hit A on river), I finally found myself heads up holding a 2:1 chip lead.

I played my usual heads-up game and then, holding only a T2000 chip lead after some failed attempts at the pot, I found myself in the BB with a J6s. Villain min-raised and I called.

The flop came down 2 3 5. I checked and the Villain bet about half the pot. I called given the implied odds if I hit. I didn't put him on a pair at this point either since he had a pretty tight raising schedule. I gave myself 10 outs at this point.

The turn was a 4 and I had my straight. I checked again and Villain checked.

River was a second 5.

At this point, I was thinking that there was a good chance that my opponent held the wheel straight or an overpair. There was also the possibility of holding trip 5s with an A5.

I'd taken many stabs at the pot on the river when the Villain showed weakness, so I decided to play the part of "bluffer". I put out a half-pot bet hoping to induce an all-in on the Villain's part.

The Villain quickly re-raised me the size the pot. At this point, I knew that he had the wheel straight. He probably suspected that I did as well given that I folded many times to his pre-flop raises in the BB (I don't play 32o heads-up).

I pushed all-in hoping that he'd think we were playing for the split pot. He reluctantly called, somehow feeling that he'd been beat.

When he saw the bad news, he congratulated me on a well-played game and I returned the compliment.

And just like that, I'd won my first $20 SNG ever! That win is the second largest of my poker career.

For the win, I earned 10 FPPs towards my current SNGs and FPPs challenge. And I also took the $90 first prize. I'm pretty happy with those results.

So it looks like I'll be paying the $30 SNGs a visit. I'm not sure how good or bad the play will be. I hope that my streak continues but I'm happy either way. I'm playing pretty well and catching cards - if that continues, I should be fine. If anything, I can say that it's been a real adventure!

Let me just say one thing to all those bloggers out there running into cold streaks and really having problems with their games:

  • Read everything you can.

  • Rest up and take time away from the tables.

  • Trust in your game.

  • You can't win every session - learn to see past the dollars and look at how well or how poorly you played.

  • Poker is a marathon - there is no point trying to rush it. Just relax and enjoy the game.

  • Do your best to ignore variance's occasional bitch-slaps and roshambos.

That's all the advice I can give. Basically, it boils down to "What goes around comes around." If you keep sucking out on the river, you'll lose all your money. If you get sucked out on, you'll eventually win all the money. Plain and simple.

Ok, lots o' work to do today. Have a good one and enjoy the poker.


ChrisWoznitza said...

Hi I´m Chriswab. Greatings from Germany,Bottrop !!

Klopzi said...

Hey there, thanks for stopping by.

drewspop said...

Nice job K. You ARE on a roll. I was on Stars all night and did ok in one of the 45 SNGs. Haven't had the time to post it yet.

Keep it rolling.

Klopzi said...

Thanks drew - I'll see what I can do. The streak's been fun so far and win or lose, I'm freerolling now so it's all good.

mowenumdown said...

Great job. Look me up and we can jump into a few sngs together. Nothing like a group of bloggers getting in those together.

I am always logged onto yahoo i.m. my name on there is mowenumdown as well.

Klopzi said...

Thanks mwenumdown -

I'll keep an eye out for you. I usually pop onto PokerStars 3 or 4 nights a week for a SNG or two.

I don't know how much I'll like the extra competition. But if I'm gonna lose, it might as well be to a blogger.