The Miscellaneous Rantings of Marie-Lizette
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...
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 . My opponent turned over off-suit, and we were off to the flop...and oh what a flop it was: ! 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.
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
Yesterday I played in a couple of Commerce Casino's L.A. Poker Open events. The first was Event No. 7, the $225 6-Max NLH event. I thought it might be a good day because I got some pretty good hands and was able to be aggressive, until became obvious that my hands weren't holding up. Of course, as so many superstitious tournament players will tell you, it is a bad sign when you get Aces early. Well guess what... I got Aces within the first orbit - on the button - and no action whatsoever. I was out midway through the second level with vs. .
I then jumped into an $80 single table satellite. I stayed about average throughout most of the levels. When we got down to 4 players, the shortstack proposed a chop and the big stack objected. The very next hand, the big stack shoved on his small blind (which he had done 3 orbits in a row) into my big blind. I looked down and and snap called. He flipped over . We both filled up, on the , , board, my hand being best. Immediately after, he offered a chop. I offered to save the $80 and play for the rest and the other three players agreed. Once everybody was assured to get their money back, the play loosened up a bit and I managed to catch some great hands. I literally won the table in 6 consecutive hands.
The 6pm L.A. Poker Open event was the $340 H.O.R.S.E. event. I'm not a great mixed game player, but I enjoy the challenge so I spent a hour trying to decide whether to play or not. Because of the current state of the economy, mixed games don't attract the donkeys the way they used to, so it was a very tough field. In the end I decided to play.
Again, I was cruising right along in the event, when who should sit down at my table? None other than Shirley Rosario, a friend, fellow poker blogger and top ranked mixed game player. Talk about drawing the nut low. But it got even better when Jay Newnum sat in Seat 4 after Ben Lamb busted out of the WSOP main event. To quote Danielle Anderson, "Doom switch officially on." The table was pretty nitty and we just kinda pushed the chips around. By the time the table broke, we all were just a little above starting stack, having only knocked out one player during the first 4 levels. The table broke around level 5 and I busted shortly thereafter. Booooo!
I can't complain though. I went to Commerce with $300 in my pocket. I played two events and a satellite and returned home with $100. Not a bad price for a full day of entertainment, playing poker and hanging with friends. It costs me just about about the same to take my kids to a sit-down dinner and a movie, with popcorn and stacks.
Wow! I actually won... no chop and a tough heads-up opponent. I played my unique game and it paid dividends. Even the dealers were sweating me and complimented me on my play. Two of them said they knew from early on that I would be taking it down, and knowing how many poker players these Vegas dealers see come through their doors, that meant a lot to me...and meant extra tips for the Till. (I'm such a donkey!)
I had one hell of an impressive rail. KevMath, MerchDawg and WhoJedi were watching almost every move I made at the final table. Hey, who knows, maybe I might get to be a celebrity like WhoJedi (see, Pg. 27 of the May 2011 Edition of Bluff Magazine) and get featured in the next Bluff, HaHaHa!!!
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