The Miscellaneous Rantings of Marie-Lizette
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. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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 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 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 and the Flop was . The raiser checked back to me and we both checked the second on the Turn. A 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 , 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 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.
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 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 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.
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.
Well guess what? I binked the on the River! 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."
I totally expected him to turn over a set of Jacks...or at least . Again, how wrong was I?!?!? He proudly turned over and I showed him my . 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. 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. 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
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 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 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 hit the turn I checked again, and sure enough - he shoved all-in. I insta-called and he opened , then binked the 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!
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
I must admit that my trip to Vegas for pre-WSOP shenanigans has given me hope that the poker industry is ripe for hard working people to become successful on either side of the rail.
First off, hanging around with all my poker media peeps is always the brightest part of any day (especially with my bestie KevMath). With the Rio serving as the Mecca for poker and the trauma of Black Friday still burning in everybody's wounds, the who's who of poker press are all on hand for the 2011 World Series of Poker. Compounded by the fact that I've joined forces with Dan Michalski as Associate Editor for Pokerati.com, had discussions with Jon Friedberg regarding his anticipated re-launch of AllVegasPoker.com, and my return to Examiner.com as the Los Angeles Poker Examiner, I was able to enjoy feeling like a colleague on a level playing field rather than a squirrel trying to get a nut.
It's been 34 months since I played my first live poker tournament. During the first 12 months of playing tournament poker, I cashed in the top 10% regularly and made several final tables. During the second 12 months of playing tournaments, I only cashed a handful of times and didn't get anywhere near a final table. During the last 10 months, I bubbled at least 5 tournaments and have not cashed one single time. (I play a lot of satellites, both STT and MTT to maximize my R.O.I., so my satellite winnings are not included in the tally.)
It has been abundantly obvious to me that I'm not only running bad, but jumping between cash games and tournament games combined with switching it up with hold'em, omaha and drawing games, then topped with the additional factor that I haven't had time or the bankroll to play live poker with any regularity have all conspired to negatively affected my game. In order to minimize losses, I decided to focus solely on tournament NLH and to do so by playing micro-stakes tournaments and satellites on-line. It has been an interesting adjustment, since although I've shipped my share of on-line tournaments over the course of the past 5 years, on-line poker has always been more of a game of entertainment to me, rather than a career choice. I've said it over and over and over again, I'm an instinct player, not a numbers girl.
As if the two prior paragraphs are not enough testimony that I'm all over the damn road. Factor in Black Friday, that so timely occurred (sarcasm intended) just as I had begun to gain momentum playing on-line tournaments, and wuddya'get? A hot mess.