MarieLizette

The Miscellaneous Rantings of Marie-Lizette

My Recent Trip to Produce the WSOP Circuit Event Championship Final Table at The Horseshoe Hammond

November 30, 2012

Tags: Poker, WSOPC, Final table, Travel.

If you follow me on any of the many social media platforms that I post my daily exploits on, then you already know that I've been galavanting all over the place with my Joker Gaming LLC crew, producing the final table webcasts for the WSOP Circuit Events.

If you happen to have 9 hours of free time, feel free to watch the archived webcast:

This is a collection of the pictures I took during my trip to Chicago, IL for the WSOP Circuit Event at The Horseshoe Hammond, in Indiana:

The $100 Horseshoe chips are pretty sexy… Getting them by grinding $300 up to $1100 in $1-2 PLO is even sexier. (at Horseshoe Casino)
The $100 Horseshoe chips are pretty sexy… Getting them by grinding $300 up to $1100 in $1-2 PLO is even sexier. (at Horseshoe Casino)

World Series Ho!

May 28, 2012

Tags: WSOP, Poker, Las Vegas, NLH, No Limit Holdem, Tournament, World Series of Poker.

Yup, it's that time again! It's summer and the season for the World Series of Poker. I'm writing from Vegas, the summer mecca for poker players across the world...World Series Ho!

(Video by srslysirius.com)

Anyway, I've got a very busy summer planned. Those of you who follow me on Twitter and Facebook already know that I put together a summer tournament package and sold it on 2+2, and so far I've already played the first of the six schedule events.

Yesterday was the first event of the 2012 WSOP, the Casino Employee's event. It's considered to be one of the softest fields of the Series so I gave it a go. I doubled up early with Kings vs. Sixes in what was a set over set all-in pot in the 2nd orbit of the event, then pretty much maintained a stack between 6K and 10K for the next 4 hours. I got moved around 3 times and, as so many of you know, it takes a while before you can get a feel for the game flow of a new table. Although I went into the 2nd break with 10K in chips, the 5th level had blinds at 150/300+25 ante, and in just two orbits I had lost 1K without ever playing a hand. I calculated that an average chip stack in the money (81 players get paid in Event #1) was 31K, so I knew I had a bit of work to do with 250 runners left out of the original 732.

Unfortunately, the first bracelet of the year was not to be mine... No

I sulked a bit after busting out, then played a $125 satellite. I chipped up here and there, but in a satellite, it's best to just let people bust and wait for spots short handed. When it finally got down to 3-handed play, I was the short stack with about T2,500 of the T10k in play. Of course, I never saw a button I didn't like and I raised every time in position. Finally, the small blind got feed up and shoved against one of my button raises. By that time I had moved up to 2nd in chips so it was an easy call with {a-Spades}{9-Spades}. My opponent turned over {j-}{8-} off-suit, and we were off to the flop...and oh what a flop it was: {j-}{9-}{9-} ! The turn and river offered him no relief and it was heads up. We played heads-up for about 15 minutes but, just before the blinds went to 300/600, my opponent proposed an equity chop. I had him T6,100 to T3,900 and WhoJedi (who had offered me a ride back to my condo) was ready to headed out, so I agreed. Even though it was a chop, the small win made me feel better.

After getting dropped off, I enjoyed a quite Thai dinner that involved conversations of Steve Martin, of all people, and then called it an early night. I'm probably going to play a few more satellites today, before heading home on Tuesday. Then I return to Vegas next weekend for the $600 NLH Venetian Deepstack.

#OnToTheNext

My Live at the Bike LAGtard Escapades of April 20, 2012

May 20, 2012 2 comments

Tags: Poker, Cash Game, NLH, Bicycle Casino, Los Angeles, Donkey, Winning, Live at the Bike.

As you may or may not already know, I played on Live at the Bike last month.

When I first reviewed the video, I was upset by some of the comments that Bart and Dave made about my play, thinking that they just didn't understand my awesome game. Cursing I edited the show down to just my hands with every intent to explain my thinking and justify my plays. Then, I got busy with work and didn't have the time to dedicated to writing a long detailed blog about what a great player I am.

Now, I've finally had a little time to write my blog and I know I've always had a pretty laggy style, but I'll tell you what, watching this video a few more times, with an open mind, really showed me that I have a ton of leaks in my game. Blush

I justified many of the plays I did based on the reads I had at the table, but I've reviewed some of the hands with a few friends of mine who have pretty good reputations as good poker players, and there is a general consensus is that I could have played some spots more aggressively and perhaps not been involved in certain pots based on my EV percentages and opponents range...even though I won them. Needless to say, when I explained my thought processes during a couple of hands the term, "retarded" was used to describe their interpretation of what I was thinking on more than one occasion. Blink Basically, if I try to do this crap at a bigger game with better players, I'm going to be totally soul owned.

In addition to specific corrections and fundamental game theory, I'd have to say that the best advice I received was that just winning big pots here and there is not good enough when your game has leaks that can subject you to wide swings. The idea of winning big here at there is simply too results oriented. The goal is to win consistently over time and choosing those winning spots effectively.

I'm doing what I can to bring my game to the next level by engaging in thoughtful conversations with talented and successful poker plays and keeping an open mind to their criticisms and recommendations. I'm hoping that the next time I post a Live at the Bike session, I will be able to do so proudly. The next time I play on the show, I will use what I'm learning to make more intelligent plays in +EV spots rather than a mishmash of a handful of half-hearted moves mixed in with luckbox wins.

Good luck out there, and see ya at the Rio this summer. Poker Face

Afterthoughts of Mother's Day

May 14, 2012 1 comments

Tags: Poker, Mom.

Being successful in the poker industry is no small task. I struggle every day trying to be a better poker player, a better poker journalist, a better photographer, etc. But I don't eat, sleep and drink poker.

Although I have been playing poker for well over a decade now, most of the big names in poker are post-Moneymaker and children of the 80's. So, unlike so many of the young poker players I meet, I have a pre-poker life that includes having a 2 decade long paralegal career, being a young bride, a young widow, and raising 3 children, mostly on my own.

But other than being a mom, my past is just that... in the past. These days I focus on my poker career. Obviously my path through poker differs from most because of my role as the host of Live at the Bike and the many hats I wear in the social media/marketing end of the poker industry, but I enjoy the thrill of winning and dream of one day shipping a big one, just like any other poker player out there. In fact, a year ago I found myself sitting on the 10-handed final table bubble in the The Limit Hold'Em $50K Guaranteed at Commerce Casino with a very real chance of a nice payday and my first Commerce Bear Trophy. However, that final table was scheduled to reconvene on Mother's Day and I had plans to spend that day with my children. I knew I couldn't in good conscience return for the final table, so I loosened up my game and although I would never chip-dump, I poorly played AQ out of position in a multi-way pot and exited the event in 10th place. I then enjoyed a wonderful Mother's Day with my family.

This year I chose not to play any events that would conflict with my Mother's Day plans. My children stand by me through so much. I'm often gone for weeks on end doing media coverage for tournaments or playing in them. I often wonder if they understand that my goals are centered around being successful so that I can provide a better life for them. Long story short, raising a family while grinding out a living in poker has been one heck of a mind twist and I'm never confident that I'm doing right by my family.

This past Mother's Day, one of my kids gave me this card:

Each of my kids has their own little nickname. The baby girl is my li'l MissBehavin' my middle son is my li'l Social Butterfly and the oldest, who will turn 21 on May 21st, is my li'l Monkey. Can you guess who gave me this one? I well up every time I read it. Thank you son, it shows me that I'm doing a decent job at raising you guys.

Lagtard at the Table!

April 22, 2012 1 comments

Tags: Live at the Bike, Cash Game, Hold'em, Poker, Tournaments.

Last Friday (April 20th) I made another appearance on Live at the Bike. I've always admitted to my LAGish style and this was evident during the show (VPIP 41%/PFR 25%). What wasn't obvious was that I had a plan every time I played a hand. Sadly, I didn't get any credit for my plays or thought processes - Dave Tuckman didn't expect me to last an hour...I guess he doesn't remember that I've now played on the show five times, and have only been stuck once when he just so happen to flop perfect against me (see my PokerProWannabe.com blog posts dated Sept. 16, 2011; Sept 27, 2011; Dec. 3, 2011; and, Feb. 27, 2012). I will be posting video clips and address some of the comments on the show later in the week.

Anywho... my kids went with my Aunt to U.C. Davis to visit my cousin for the weekend, leaving me with plenty of free time. While a could have done some work, I thought, "Nahhhhh...I'll go play a tournament." I'm actually not supposed to be playing any tourneys right now, I'm supposed to be grinding up cash and rebuilding my bankroll but, while trolling the local casinos' websites, I stumbled upon Hollywood Park's $400K event structure. I can't say that I thought it was a great structure...but it seemed to me that with well timed aggression and a whole lot of luck, it might be worth the $220 investment for a shot at $100K for first place. I know I still have leaks in my game, but I feel as though I played fairly well on Friday, with 80% of my plays working out the way I wanted them to. So, I thought that I could afford to reward myself with a small buy-in tourney...just because it's so much fun to imagine what I would do with $100K.

I doubled up early in the event, had a few big hands hold up, and took a couple of pretty sick bad beats. I managed to keep an even temper (for once in my life) and just stayed the course. I was actually the tournament chip leader during Level 16 (1.5K/3K+500 ante). I didn't want tell anyone (text, twitter or facebook) that I was playing because I wanted to focus on my game. It wasn't until I had already made it into the money that I posted my first tweet.

Even with over 175K, I grew concerned Unsure that I had gone card dead just as the blinds were going into the nose bleed structure. I had been whittled down to just over 15 BBs by Level 21 (5K/10K+1K) and the shortstacks were pretty much open shoving with any ace or pair, so I had to really pick my spots carefully because every chip matters at that stage of the game. I quite literally only played 3 hands in the last 4 levels of play.

Feeling a bit desperate, I open raised under-the-gun +1 with {6-Spades}{7-Spades} because the Big Blind was playing super tight and 3 of the 4 players in between were fairly soft. The Big Blind had been at a prior table with me and he knew I picked on him quite a bit so he gave me some action. The flop was {7-Clubs}{6-Clubs}{5-Diamonds}, and my opponent had checked in the dark. His range was no where near that flop so I bet and he folded, increasing my stack back up to 140K but leaving me at just under 10 BBs just as the blinds went up to 10K/20K+3K ante (Level 24).

The button moved a couple of times and I found myself on the Big Blind with {3-Diamonds}{4-Clubs}. The only aggressive player was in the cut-off and picked that time to raise to 45K. The table was 6-handed and the Small Blind had folded, so I was heads-up with the pre-flop raiser. I weighed my options and since it was only costing me 15K more to see the flop and potentially win 90K+, I made the call. I know that based on my effective chip stack I'm supposed to shove or fold there, but I didn't want to just surrender my chips without a fight and I thought I could out play him on the flop, and oh what a flop it was! {j-Clubs}{3-Clubs}{3-Spades}..GIN! I had about 94K in front of me, exactly a pot-sized bet so I checked, knowing my opponent was going to c-bet. He only bet 50K but I didn't think he had any fold equity so I shoved. Unfortunately, he had air and folded...but I was happy for the win. I elected to show my hand, knowing that the next play I was going to make would have to be a shove situation and I wanted to be sure that I got action because only 10 people advanced to Day 2 in that flight and we were down to 11. I was not willing to make the 44 mile drive (88 round trip) just to come back without chips...I wanted to double up or go home.

A few minutes later I had the button and American Airlines baby! That's right, {a-Clubs}{a-Diamonds}. Of course, just my luck, it folds around to me. Well, I certainly wasn't going to limp and given my hand history, I figured I'd get looked up if I raised on the button, so I made it 45K to go. The small blind, who had been with me at at least two other tables, counted and re-stacked his chips (about 120K give or take) and then pushed them forward, announcing, "All-In." (Yay me! Drool ) The Big Blind folded and I made the call. He turned over {a-Spades}{2-Hearts}. (Yay me! Thumbs Up ) The flop was all paint and he was drawing dead on the turn.

With that knockout, the flight was down to 10 qualifiers and we bagged and tagged for Day 2. I found myself with 375K which, given that my flight was the largest field of the 18 flight event, is one of the larger stacks in play. I'll be starting Day 2 with just under 40 big blinds since the levels roll back to Level 21 (5K/10K+1K).

I'm going to do my best to stay focused and play my best game. I'll try not to be overly aggressive and pick my spots well. Wish me luck!

A Year Ago Today... a Then and Now Story

April 15, 2012

Tags: Poker, Black Friday, PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker.

A year ago today, I woke up at 10:00 a.m., reached for my phone that had been charging on my bedside table and began reading through my emails. I was struck by an email I received from PokerStars. I had been accused of collusion and had 48 hours to write a formal response in order to keep my account active. Enraged, I hopped out of bed, made myself a cup of coffee, then sat down at my laptop to gather evidence in my defense and prepare my response.

You see, on April 13th, I had won a seat into the weekly PokerStars Sunday Women's Tournament through a satellite.

As so many of us do, I had been playing poker at my desk at work, multi-tabling as I was multi-tasking. Probably not optimum behavior for the senior Paralegal at the law firm I worked at, but then again, with seniority comes leeway and it was a slow day at the office. Anyway, long story short, I had accidentally folded my big blind to the Small Blind, who had only a limped. Although the Small Blind did not cash in the satellite, someone at the table reported me for collusion because I folded my Big Blind, allowing the Small Blind to take the pot. Keep in mind, I had personally pealed off a large portion of that Small Blind's stack in many pots prior...I had been the chipleader all the way through the satellite and maintained a very aggressive style to keep that status.

I had actually been chipleader in an earlier satellite on the same day to the same event, but ended up cashing in 5th place (and bursting the satellite bubble) in absentia, after being blinded down when the accounting firm on the same floor caused a power surge and caused a two hour long power outage. As you can imagine, a decade of being a paralegal had armed me with the tools to write a detailed response to the accusation, and, quite frankly, a scathing opinion as to PokerStars' business practice of asserting such a serious allegation based on one sore loser's complaint, when my record of game play spoke for itself. So, I was nose-to-the-grindstone, tapping away at my keyboard the better part of an hour and a half.

I clicked the "Send" button to transmit my email to PokerStars on Friday, April 15th, 2011 at 11:46:05 a.m. Pursuant to mailer-daemon@googlemail.com, my email never made it.

Immediately after sending my email, I logged into Twitter...and OMG! It was like watching a stock ticker during a market crash! The stream was moving so fast that I simply couldn't keep up. Post after post, 4 or 5 posts per second about on-line poker. I was confused, so the first thing I did was the first thing that all you did when you heard the news...I tried to log into my on-line poker accounts.

Although the websites were blocked, I was able to access both PokerStars and Full Tilt applications, but neither would not let me access any tables or withdraw funds from the Cashier. (In a fit of rage about three months prior, I had withdrawn all of my funds from UB and uninstalled it. I could not access the UB site or download the software so I didn't know that they were still allowing game play.) Needless to day, I was in shock.

I had such high hopes for Sunday, April 17th, but rather than playing in the Women's Sunday event on PokerStars, I found myself at The Hustler Casino, playing in a live deepstack tournament, along with so many other Los Angeles poker players that would usually be playing in the high guarantee Sunday internet tournaments that had been hurting the brick and mortars since the mid-2000's.

I can't deny that I had heard rumors that it was coming. I had been responsible for The Bicycle Casino's social media accounts since January 2010 and been involved in the relaunch of Live at the Bike since November 2010. I had a large hand to play in the re-marketing of "The Big Event" (also known as the "Fake PokerStars NAPT Series" ), and as you can imagine, it was my job to quell the gossip about the reason(s) for the tournament series name change. However, as a social media independent contractor, I'm the last person that the higher-uppers at the Bike consult regarding matters of law, so I am never "in the know" about their day-to-day business operations. To this day, I have no idea what pressures The Bike and PokerStars were under during the organization process of the second Los Angeles NAPT event, nor do I know what the DOJ had communicated to them.

After the April 15th seizure, PokerStars converted my satellite seat into cash and I was eventually able to withdraw the meager funds I had left on the site. I had won a small tournament on Full Tilt as well as a seat into the FTOPS $2M Guarantee on April 22nd, but... well, that money is stuck in nowhere-land just like your's, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Today, I woke up at 10:00 a.m., reached for my phone that had been charging on my bedside table and began reading through my emails. I made myself a cup of coffee, scrolled through my multiple twitter feeds and got caught up on my social media games. Later this evening, I'm scheduled to make a guest appearance on QuadJacks.com.

I'm no longer a Paralegal. I'm now scraping by playing live $2-3 NLH and $5-5 NLH ring games and working as the Host of "Live at the Bike." I'm also an independent social media consultant and internet marketing contractor for The Bicycle Casino, Poker Netcast and World Team Poker, among others.

The 2012 World Series of Poker is fast approaching. Last year, there were less media folks covering the Series than in years prior. I've tried to keep up with my fellow poker writers, photographers and bloggers over the past year, and I'm sad to report that lots of good people have either lost their jobs or are changed direction in their careers and will not be returning to the Series this year. In fact, I expect the U.S. media presence at the Series to be just the major publications and less than 10 independents. For those of you who followed my media career, you've probably noticed that I too have all but stopped writing Op-Eds.

I still have high hopes for the industry, I'm still holding on to the faith that it won't be long before internet gaming is back in business in the United States - bigger and better than ever. But for now, I'm just going to continue grinding it up in live games, one chip at a time, and do my best to bring live poker to you on a weekly basis via PokerNetcast.com.

Mmmmmm Fükü

April 05, 2012

Tags: Fuku, WSOP, Dining.

I was going to take a picture of my Tamago Burger... but I inhaled it! Instead, you can see the Teriyaki & Wasabi sauce smeared over my name, scrawled in crayon on my placemat by the server who insisted we do jazz-hands after ordering the Jazz Fries. After eating my first Fükü burger since July 2011, I'm more excited than ever for this year's WSOP!!! (See ya in the bank parking lot at 2am this summer Thumbs Up )

Grinding, Grinding and More Grinding

December 03, 2011

Tags: Bicycle Casino, The Bike, Live at the Bike, Poker, Cash Game.

I played the Nooner Daily Tournament at The Bicycle Casino last Tuesday. I bubbled. It was pretty unreal. I was double average at the first break, but then went totally card dead for four levels after. Then it became obvious I was destined for failure. I came in second best with fairly big hands every single time I was in a pot. A friend of mine, Mike Jones, who was seated at my tables agreed that the Poker Gods were out to get me. What was worse is after I busted out in 15th place, the remaining 14 players agreed to take $140 off of first place and pay two additional players $70. Yeah, insult to injury. But I had collected three $10 bounties and played a little bit of cash before the tourney started, so was up $75 when I registered and I was basically freerolling the $50 buy-in.

I was able to redeem myself at the cash tables later that afternoon. I played The Bike's $2-3 NLH ring game. I was actually stuck about $300 when my fortunes changed. Happily, I managed to turn a $700 profit for the day. Oh... and guess who was at my table? The gentlemen who had berated me a week earlier.

He didn't recognize me because I was casually dressed without any make up. He was actually doing well and had several hundred dollars in front of him. He played a wide variety of hands and cracked some big hands with cards like . But he lost often enough because he really had a hard time laying down a hand once he connected with the board. He made several crying calls on the river against me and others. My observation was that he didn't really put people on hands. He pretty much played his hole cards and if he hit big - he won big and if he had a mediocre hand - he would pay off a better hand. However, I found that it was difficult for me to get a good read on him because it's hard to put a player on a hand when he, himself, doesn't really know where he's at. There were a couple of times I probably could have won big pots against him, but choose to play small ball.

On Friday I had an interview with a Fortune 500 law firm, a lunch date with good friend and mentor Jennifer Newell, and a meeting with the Poker Director at The Bicycle Casino. My interview went well and I'm scheduled to return on Monday for a follow-up. Lunch with Jen was absolutely marvelous, I only wish our schedules allowed us to hang out more often. After my meeting at The Bike, I had 3 hours to kill before I had to cover the Live at the Bike table so I played more $2-3 NLH. Again I started off bad, stuck $300 within the first 30 minutes. But I kept a cool head and picked-up with a $200 profit.

In addition to my role as photographer and hostess, I actually played on Live at the Bike last night. I got caught in a couple of bluffs Blush and was felted early in the game, then I was stalked by Deuces for at least an hour and a half. Not pocket Deuces, just a Deuce kicker in what seemed like every other hand. But as usual, I picked up hands towards the end of the night and won HUGE pot after I flopped the nuts with . For those of you who watched the hand, please don't think that I regularly marry myself to such a weak Ace, and you may remember that I folded it to a re-raise, pre-flop, later in the game. The only reason why I called the re-raise was because I had raised from the Button and put Robocop on a Big Blind defensive re-raise with a mid-sized pair. Robocop and I have a pretty good relationship but had never played together. As I said, I had been caught with my hand in the cookie jar a couple of times prior, so it seemed perfectly reasonable that he would want to play back at me with a pair of 9s or Ts, especially with Seat 9 (the KLAC Loose Canon) in the hand. Had Todd not hit a 2-outer on the river, Robocop would have won just as big as I did.

Long story short, although I had a pretty yo-yo stack day, I ended up with a $400 profit for the evening. The game got really juicy after the cameras shut down, but I had been up since 6:00 am (I had baked gingerbread cupcakes for my Poker Netcast co-workers) so I was completely fried. I headed home at 11:00 pm and I think I was out by the time my head hit the pillow.

In addition to the poker grind, the past few days have been filled with surprises and opportunities that have kept me very busy. Hopefully all the running around will mean that I have good news to report in the near future and that 2012 will be a turnaround year for me.

Source: ConfessionsOfAPokerProWannabe. com

Getting Berated at the Table is Always Good Times...NOT!

November 23, 2011 2 comments

Tags: Poker, Cash Game, NLH, Bicycle Casino, Los Angeles, Donkey, Winning.

You may, or may not, have seen yesterday's post: "Down Swings, Run Good and... Tebow?," but I posted a sample hand in that blog entry that exemplified how many times (and believe me - there were lots of them) that I pretty much flopped perfect then lost to runner-runner. I'm not really one to blog about game theory or go on, and on, and on about hands that I've played because as both a poker player and as poker media - I see a lot of hands and the last thing I want to do is revisit them.

Every now and then I do include the details of a hand that I've played because this is a type of poker blog and I suspect that those of you who don't eat, sleep and breath poker enjoy hearing about the way pivotal hands play out. Well... a hand that I left out of yesterday's post, but was actually the most pivotal hand of a profitable night, turned out to be a topic of conversation with a friend of mine last night so I decided to post the hand for feedback.

First, let me lay a quick foundation of how the night began. I started with $300 at The Bicycle Casino's $100-300 NLH game (2-3 blinds). It was a new game and the majority the players at table had just busted out of a tournament and bought in for a minimum $100, with just 3 players in for $200. I sat down at 7:30 p.m. and, in the beginning, had a bit of a yo-yo stack. I picked up Aces once but didn't get much action and picked up Queens three times and lost all of them... damn Ace magnets. Sneaky The one hand I seemed to get over and over again was Ace-King and it was good about 50% of the time.

I was able to set a good table image within the first 2 orbits when I laid down {a-}{q-} after I re-raised the 4x raise under-the-gun and he went all-in for just $65 more. Since he was immediately to my right, I tapped the felt, showed him my {a-}{q-} and mucked...he tapped back and showed me pocket Kings. I must have been pegged as super-nit right there and then. A few hands later I called a 3x raise on my Big Blind and checked dark to the flop. I had {7-Hearts}{4-Hearts} and the Flop was {k-}{4-}{8-}. The raiser checked back to me and we both checked the second {8-} on the Turn. A {9-} hit the River and again I checked but the raiser went all-in for $50 (total pot was about $20). I called and sure enough, my 4 was good. That hand became the joke at the table..."Remember the four? Pro-fes-sion-al."

With the exception of {7-Hearts}{4-Hearts}, I pretty much stuck to playing big hands that night. I usually mix-up my game with all types of drawing hands and as most will confirm, I play relatively loose-aggressive most of the time. But after six weeks of running bad I felt that adjusting my game to stay within the ABC poker parameters of pairs and big Aces, raising in position and stay out of pots when off position would be the right move so that I could cash-in a positive session. By 10:30 p.m I had turned my $200 investment into $600. That's when the big hand happened.

After about 3-hours of pretty solid play, showing big hands at showdown, mucking all three of my pocket Queens face up on the Flop, and just the mere fact that I'm a girl that hadn't played a hand for about 2 orbits, I figured I could make a play with {k-Spades}{q-Clubs} in hijack position to steal the dead money in the pot (there were 4 limpers plus the blinds and a straddle).

It almost worked. All but two players folded to my 5x raise (a total of $30). Now, for those of you don't know me...I hate raising big!!! I prefer small raises, between 2.5x and 3x max, but at the $2-3 NLH game at The Bike, a 4x to 5x raise is a pretty standard raise...and is often called by the less savvy players at the table holding inferior hands hoping to get lucky under the guise of "pot odds." I literally only raised 5x two times prior and both of those times I showed pocket Queens (after losing the first time, I played those evil little witches aggressively, pre-flop.)

The Flop was Jack-high with a Nine on board, giving me a gut-shot straight draw. One player checked and the second player bet $40. I considered re-raising to further convince him that a Jack was no good and pulled out a $100 stack. I counted it out while I pondered my options...then quietly announced, "call..." gazing at the person who had checked the Flop, represent that I wanted him to, "come on in, the waters fine." However, he chose to fold and the remaining player and I went to the Turn, heads-up. My goal was to simply call the flop and then aggressively bet the Turn. Whistling

The Turn was so insignificant, I don't remember what it was. My opponent checked to me and I began counting out chips to bet. While I was counting out my bet, I reconsidered my plan an thought of checking for a free card to keep the pot small, but my original game plan going into the hand was to represent that I had a big pair. It simply would not have made any sense to check the Turn there and I believed I could end the hand with the right sized bet. I thought about the range of hands he would have called my pre-flop raise with and, although I had put him on {a-}{j-} when he lead out on the flop, maybe my opponent had been set-mining with an underpair and checked to me after realizing his feeler bet on the flop didn't win him the pot or, even better, he believed my story and decided that his Jack was no good and gave up after not turning two pair. I knew that if I checked the turn and failed to connect my Queen, King or catch a Ten on the River, that I was not going to win. The pot was about $140 so I bet out $80. I figured he'd see a half-pot sized bet as a value bet, which it kinda was.

I arrived at the number $80 based on my desire to either 1) get great value should he want to continue fishing for a set with an underpair when he's already made the decision to fold if he misses, 2) control the pot size should he in fact have {a-}{j-} and is too stubborn to fold - believing that I still had outs to the 10 and two overs to the Jack, or 3) value to fold should my opponent ship-it all in over the top of my bet. He had started the hand with about $500 and while I was willing to invest $80 to try to win the $140 in the middle, I certainly was in no mood to play for stacks with a gut-shot. He hardly gave it any thought and flat called the $80 bet. Blink

Well, clearly he did not believe that I had him beat. In fact, when he smooth called my Turn bet I had to give him credit for a big hand, and it seemed plausible that he could have had a set of Jacks or set of Nines and was just slow playing me. After all, I had seen him crack Queens an hour earlier with pocket Jacks when he flopped a boat and he played that hand exactly how he was playing this hand. As the dealer reached for the deck to deal the River card, I had pretty much convinced myself that unless a 10 came, I was done with the hand because there was no way I was going to succeed in bluffing the River. No

Well guess what? I binked the {10-Spades} on the River! W00t I know, I know...lucky donk. Not only did I hit my straight, it was a total rainbow-unpaired board. I had the stone cold nuts right there. I knew I wanted maximum value for my hand but I was afraid that, unless he had a set, he would fold to a big River bet if he put me on Queens or better. I decided that $120 was a bet he could not fold to if he had a pair of Jacks and would at least min-raise back at me if he had a set. After pushing my bet forward, he leaned back in his chair and hung one arm over the backrest. "Dammit," I thought, "He's going to fold." But, how wrong was I?!?!? He looked me dead in the eyes and said, "Well, guess I'm all in then." I looked to the dealer to see if it was binding and when he tossed the all-chip in front of my opponent I assertively said, "I call." Drool

I totally expected him to turn over a set of Jacks...or at least {a-}{j-}. Again, how wrong was I?!?!? He proudly turned over {q-Diamonds}{j-Diamonds} and I showed him my {k-Spades}{q-Clubs}. My neighbor to my right, tapped the felt and said, "Well played, I thought for sure you had Aces there." The third person in the hand nodded and said he folded on the flop believing I had Queens. I have to be honest, I was in a state of shock and utterly flabbergasted that my opponent invested over $500 on a naked Jack. Scared What was even more incredulous was the fact that, after overcoming his initial shock of not having the best hand, he went ballistic and began berating me as the dealer pushed all of his chips my way.

He asked me if I knew what my odds where to hit the gut-shot and told me I was a donkey for calling him down with such a shitty hand. I admit that I got defensive and tried to educate him about the theory behind my play. I explained that, as the initial pre-flop raiser, I had intended to represent a big pair from the very outset of the hand and smooth called his $40 bet on the flop with every intention of making an aggressive play on the Turn. He told me that I'm an absolute horrible player - the worst he's ever seen - and that he hoped I frequent The Bike often because the next time he sees me, he's going to school me. Calmly, I tried to clarify that I raised with the best hand pre-flop and simply attempted to continued to represent a better hand in my bid to win the pot... the straight draw was inconsequential until he called my bet on the turn. I even let him know that had he shoved over the top of me on the Turn, he would have absolutely won the pot right there and then.

The dealer asked if he wanted more chips and he declined in a very rude manner. He stood up and the dealer called out, "Seat open." But I my opponent was not quite finished giving me a piece of his mind. He stood behind the dealer and proceeded to tell me that he deserved all my chips and that if I hadn't been such a lucky donkey he would have my entire stack sitting in front of him. I agreed that I had gotten lucky on the River, but disagreed that I would have shipped my entire stack to him - even if I had paired my King or Queen because I had given him credit for a set of Jacks when he smoothed called on the Turn. But, he didn't hear a word I said. Instead he continued to go on and on and on about what a donkey I was to chase a gut-shot and that I'm too stupid to know what my odds to win the pot were with just three outs. Cursing He then informed me he has plans to get his money back and more, the next time he sees me. Not knowing what else to say, I told him that I'm at The Bike every Friday, pointed to the Live at the Bike set, and said, "I'll be right over there."

He continued yelling obscenities at me and I was just about to call a Floorman when the gentleman to my right, clasped my hand. He looked at me and said that I had played the entire night exceptionally well; I did not need to explain myself to that angry man. He said that from the outset of the hand, I made all the right moves to win it. I played it well and got the result I wanted and I should be proud of my game regardless of what anybody says. I took a deep breath, looked around at the faces at the table, they all had gentle expressions for me and a regular player who was seated to my left nodded in agreement. I motioned to the dealer to start dealing again, not saying another word about he incident. He walked away and I played for another hour, made another $200, then called it quits.

So, what do you think?

Source: ConfessionsofaPokerProWannabe. com

Down Swings, Run Good and... Tebow?

November 22, 2011

Tags: Bicycle Casino, Commerce Casino, Donkey, LA, Los Angeles, Loser, Poker, Satellite, Tournament, Winner, Shenanigans.

My Satellite Chips
My Satellite Chips

Last Thursday I made my way up to Commerce Casino looking for a little run good of my own in a bid to get into the L.A. Poker Open Main Event after WhoJedi cashed in yet another event. I played four, count'em FOUR satellites and didn't make it to the 2nd break on any of them. I may have played bad, I definitely didn't run good, and at least a few people assured me that I was merely the victim of a series of unlucky bad-beats. As any poker player will tell you, there are just some hands that you can't win once you've decided to play them.

For example, I had {a-Diamonds}{q-Spades} in the big blind with an average stack when my loose-aggressive neighbor with a short stack raised 3x under-the-gun, pre-flop. It was early, the blinds were 50-100 and we each started with 5K, but my neighbor managed to lose a few pots and was down to a little over 2K at the beginning of the hand. The flop came {a-Hearts}{3-Clubs}{q-Clubs} and I checked to the raiser. He bet another 300 and I smooth called, hoping to induce an all-in on the turn (or maybe even fold if a 3rd club came). When the {2-Spades} hit the turn I checked again, and sure enough - he shoved all-in. I insta-called and he opened {a-Clubs}{4-Clubs} , then binked the {5-Spades} on the river. I asked him if I shoved all-in preflop (like I would ever want to do that with nearly 5K at the 50-100 blind level) would he have called, and he said, "Definitely - I was short-stacked."

Okay, I don't agree that 20 big blinds is "short-stacked," but if that was his pre-flop plan of attack - - then the only way I don't lose chips there is by deciding not to play and folding my hand pre-flop. It's unfortunate, but it happens. I don't know that there was any good or bad way to play that hand because the hand played itself. I could give you several other examples, but you get the gist. Thursday just wasn't my day as far as tournament poker was concerned.

Thursday was, however, the day for Pacifico Beers, ubber-deadly Margaritas and Tebowing! After busting out of the final satellite for the evening, I was all set to go home when Matt "McMattoPoker" Affleck realized that the chances of a $280 single table satellite going before the end of the night was unlikely so he invited WhoJedi and I to have a beer with him. The sports bar was having Karaoke night so we elected to hang out at the Commerce's rendition of the "Hooker Bar." All the televisions screens were aglow with Tim Tebow interviews and game footage following the Denver Bronco's win against the New York Jets, and WhoJedi and McMatto were discussing the possibilities of having a Tebow trophy for the next Commerce poker series.

Gses was a redonkulous chipleader in the final mega satellite so he joined us for a Pacifico or two while the field whittled down, followed by DMoonGirl and Owen Crowe. Danny wanted a margarita so the bartender hooked her up with a double Patron margarita on the rocks (that was more of a 3x if anything). It was so incredibly knock-your-socks-off, it was instantly named "The Tebow," and everybody except WhoJedi and me ordered one. That did it. Within minutes everyone was thoroughly shit-faced and we all proceeded to launch a twitter campaign of #Tebow poses around the Commerce Casino.

It was a crazy, memorable night and I didn't get home until 4:30 a.m. on Friday morning!

Matt Affleck #Tebowing in front of the Commerce Casino fountain.
Matt Affleck #Tebowing in front of the Commerce Casino fountain.

I had meetings and Live at the Bike scheduled for Friday but I was too lethargic to focus on anything productive. The meetings ran long and I had just enough time for a 30 second Live at the Bike interview before show's end. Zac from QuadJacks.com had come to town so we both wondered over to Commerce so he could say his Hellos. We didn't stay long as he was headed right back to Vegas and I needed to go home to get some sleep.

I was feeling so dejected after such a bad run on Thursday that I didn't venture back to L.A. until Monday. I had to pickup a check at The Bike, so I figured I'd make a day of it and sweat the L.A. Poker Open final table and maybe put in some hours at the cash tables. I brought my friends at Commerce some pumpkin-spiced cupcakes and then played a little $3-5 NLH. I won a few small pots and lost big pots to a series of unfortunate Runner-Runner WTF!? hands and gave-up after 3 hours. I was only invested a single $200 bullet, but I just didn't see the point in continuing to play a game that I clearly could not beat. I said my goodbyes since everybody was headed out of L.A. after the series and headed over to The Bicycle Casino.

I picked up my check and realized that I had another hour to kill before traffic was cleared up enough to return home to Orange County. I put $300 down in the $2-3 NLH game. I played my usual game and can't say that I played great nor that I played horrible. I could have won some huge pots if my reads where a little better, but I made some pretty sick calls and well timed plays. The one thing I can say is that I worked hard on my table image and used it to make moves here and there that proved to be profitable. By the time I left The Bike at 11:30 p.m., I was up $600 for the day.

I'm really hoping that last night's win marks the end of my horrible 6-week run and is a sign of brighter things to come.

Source: ConfessionsofaPokerProWannabe. com

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