Thursday, July 29, 2010

Legends of Poker

I'm leaving tomorrow for a mix of vacation and poker in Southern California. The poker will be playing a half dozen tournaments in the "Legends of Poker" series at The Bicycle Casino.

Here is my schedule:

7/31 6 pm $335 "re-entry" NL hold'em
8/2 1 pm $225 NL hold'em shootout
8/2 6 pm $275 NL hold'em with $50 bounties
8/3 1 pm $225 NL hold'em 6 handed
8/3 6 pm $225 HORSE
8/4 6 pm $330 NL hold'em Deep stack
8/6 6 pm $335 "re-entry" NL hold'em
8/7 6 pm $335 "re-entry" NL hold'em

The re-entry tournaments are interesting. The first one on my schedule is actually day 1D of a massive tournament where if you bust out you can reenter. Day 1A was yesterday, 1B is today, and 1C is tomorrow. If you go broke on any of those days you can try again the next day. And if you go broke before a certain level you can try again the same day.

The last two tournaments on my schedule are the same (In fact they are days 1A and 1B). If I don't make it through day 1A, I'll try again on day 1B. Hopefully I won't have to fire too many bullets in these and can get into a tournament with a huge prize pool for not to much cash.

The other tournaments are pretty standard, but I'm looking forward to playing a field that should be almost all amateurs rather than the fields of all pros at the WSOP. I'm sure my online hourly rate is higher than my expected hourly rate in these tournaments, but they should be enjoyable and if nothing else I'm looking at this as a training exercise.

If I can find two deep cashes or one final table the series will be a solid success.

I'll be tweeting updates on every break so you can follow the action as it happens.

The FTOPS starts on August 4th so that will be intertwined with the LOP action, but I'll post more on that later.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

An Interesting Article

Apparently someone has succeeded in using "bots" - computer programs that make all the decisions - to beat some of the small stakes games on pokerstars. It looks like the jig is up now though. It also seems like they did a shitty job with the tactics based on some of the moves they had the bots make.

Here is the full story.

I talked to a guy in Vegas once who had created a bot and tried it out. He said he let it run for about 8 hours in three $.02/$.04 cent limit games. At the end it was ahead a total of about $30 which is 750 big bets! That would be $15,000 at $10/$20! He said they caught him the next day and closed his account.

I'm sure there are some other bots out there, but for the most part, I'm not worried about them getting the best of me. And even if I knew for 100% sure that there were lots of the most advanced bots constantly playing in the exact games I play, it wouldn't stop me from playing since I'm winning anyway.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Legends of Poker, FTOPS, and UBOC

August is going to be a busy month for me.

At the start of the month I'm going to spend a week in southern California with plans to play 7 or 8 tournaments in the "Legends of Poker" series at the Bicycle Casino. All of the tournaments are in the $225-$330 range so we're not talking life changing stakes, but there will still be some significant cash on the line . Also I'm looking forward to playing some live tournaments without the massive pressure of the WSOP.

Starting Aug 4th the 17th version of the Full Tilt Online Poker Series kicks off. Looking at the schedule there are 10 events that look playable to me with buy ins ranging from $216 to $640.

Finally starting on August 18th is the Ultimate Bet Online Championship. I'm likely to play another 9 or 10 events in this series with buy ins ranging from $162 to $1,050.

All of this tournament action will if nothing else lead to a boat load of blog posts in August. More details later.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Drunken Final Table

When I came back from the WSOP I spent some time neglecting my cash games and instead playing multitable tournaments. In Vegas it took me 7 playing days to play 4 tournaments. But back at home base I could play 10 (or more) in a day with little difficulty. It was very hard to resist and I was salivating thinking about winning something outright or at least going deep.

But after a bunch of bricks I instead moved my focus back to cash games. There's nothing sexy about $15/$30 limit hold'em, but it pays the bills and that is always the primary goal for me.

In order to get my multitable fix a few time recently I found myself playing multitables recreationaly. Almost all of my playing is at my desktop with my 30 inch monitor and no distractions. It's serious business and requires maximum focus. When I say recreational I mean smaller stakes, in front of the TV on my laptop, with a beer or a glass of wine.

On Friday I spent the morning playing tennis and the early afternoon at a movie. I banged out about 500 hands of cash games in the late afternoon and even though I intended to play 2 or 3 times that much, I hit and ran when I found myself up $1,500.

That night seemed the perfect time for some recreational play. At 7:45 I jumped into a $33 with rebuys towards the end of the rebuy period on Absolute and shortly after I was in two $75 tournaments on Full Tilt and a $77 6-max NL on pokerstars. That is also when I started drinking.

When I first started playing online in 2004 it was not unusual for me to have a drink or two or three when I was playing. But it became perfectly clear in no time at all that it was affecting my results. I felt like I was making the same decisions, but clearly I wasn't. After this realization, I had a span of years in the middle of my career where I never had a drop of alcohol while I was playing.

While it's certainly not optimal, after a few million hands and a thousands of tournaments (ten of thousands if you count sit-n-go's), a few drinks doesn't throw me off like it used to. I guess I'd say it takes my "A' game out of play, but usually I'm still capable of my "B" game.

Fast forward a few hours into my story and I'm still in the the $33 with rebuys. We started with about 175 players and 18 spots paid. I made the money with more than twice an average stack.

This was the ultimate no fear situation. I was up $1,500 on the day in the cash games, I'd been drinking for 3 or 4 hours, and while 1st place was just over $4,500, 9th was less than $300. This was a situation where I was not fucking around. I was going for the top.

On the other hand my opponents went into full blown pussy mode. I was raising at least 50% of the hands that were folded to me and getting away with it. Soon I was in the tournament chip lead. If someone played a hand and didn't move all in, I was frequently reraising no matter what my cards looked like.

There really weren't many big hands to speak of, because on so many pots my cards didn't matter. From the time we made the money until the end I never had more than half my stack in the pot.

The biggest break I got was playing 3 handed when I called a massive all in with 99 and beat AQ. When we started heads up play I had 600,000 chips to my opponents 300,000. After 10 or 15 hands I knew it would take a massive run of bad luck to lose against this guy. He was clearly nervous and I quickly ground him down to under 200K. On the final hand I reraised him all in with KJ suited, he called with A5 and I made a flush.

Like I said 1st place was little over $4,500!

At the same time I was also in a $55 tournament that started at 9:00 with 236 players. I made the final table of that one too. The first tournament wrapped up at about 12:30, but this one lasted until 2 am. I can't say I recall many of the details, but I know I finished 3rd which paid about $1,200.

All together it was about a $7,000 day!