Thursday, June 22, 2006

Win Streak Over

16 winning days over three weeks. +$540.

Good riddance. Now I can get back to playing without trying to 'pull out a win'.

No complaints though -- in the last two months I've made over $2K, nearly doubling my bankroll with a bit to spare for the family. Here's hoping I can keep the run going.

The run directly correllates with the refocusing on NL and not chasing bonuses as much. It pays to play your best game.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Incredible Shrinking Tables!

Gotta love Stars' new beta. It is obvious they realized that allowing tables to be resized would make Stars more popular with the multi-tablers and get more business. And they've really implemented a good system (although configuration is still a little clunky).

For me, being able to shrink the tables lets me 4-table on my laptop very nicely (I realized a while ago that it was -EV for me to lay tables on top of each other -- between the blinking and the mis-clicks, I make a lot of mistakes).

So, first order of business was to play a Stars $20+2 180 while I played the blogger tournament. That was a dumb idea :) I wasn't really in big tournament mode and busted out pretty quick in the 180 (somehow 80 other donkeys busted before me though). I went relatively deep in the blogger tournament (317th) but was short-stacked and probably playing too weak-tight.

After that, I wanted to take one more shot at keeping the winning streak alive (one reason I should probably just take a loss so I stop trying to force wins). At first, I was thinking 6-max 100 NL, but then I remembered I could 4-table some SnGs. So that's what I did -- I fired up 3 $20+2 SnGs (having a quadrant of my screen available is handy) and ended up getting 3rd, 1st, and 1st. Mostly I was playing pure aggression (raise, raise, raise -- oh, someone called me pre-flop? bet out and see what happens). It was hella fun :) I think I had the upside of variance in general (although the third place table I had KK cracked by AJ, built back up again, and lost a coinflip).

So, maybe I should take a break from 6-max and do some sets of SnGs until I get bored with it. I think it would be pretty profitable (I'd say players are generally too tight and passive when it gets down to the bubble time). At $2 of bonus per tourney, it'd probably burn through my Stars bonus pretty quick too.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Brief update...

My (almost) three-year old just said "I want a snack like Back-yarnnn-i-gans." And so I get to post a quick update before my son's last day fair at school.

Consider yourself warned. It is amazing how the songs in these kids shows get stuck in your head. Like waking up in the middle of the night wanting to sing kind of stuck.

Anyway, a few random poker comments.

First, I've been on a heater since my last losing streak. As in running off 13 winning days in a row for +$400 and over $16/hr + bonuses. I won't lie, I've been playing pretty low (especially burning off the latest party bonus 4-tabling $25NL) and adjusting the types of games I play to see how long I can make the winning streak go. That's probably not good. But I am very satisfied with breaking out of the losing streak and maintaining a balanced schedule and a positive outlook.

I played at Lucky Chances Monday for a $63 win. I played like a nit, super tight, but it will bring home (small amounts) of money in that game. The structure was ok, $200 max buy, 1-1-2 blinds ($1 on the button) but you need to bring it in for $4. Rake/jackpot takes $5 from every pot with a flop. Maybe it was just my table, but it seems like the players are better than the $100 spread Garden City game. I'd really like to work towards having the bankroll and confidence to open it up in live $100-$200 NL games.

One comment on Speaker's recent entry. Never get down about bad starting hands. In NL, preflop hands really don't matter that much. Things like position, first in with a raise vig, and hitting the flop matter a lot more. Focusing on the cards only makes you tighten up and miss profitable situations in NL, even late in tournaments. Raising with a large pocket pair scares me a hell of a lot more than raising with a stealing hand because I'm never sure if I'll need to let the pair go, but I know I can drop a stealing or drawing hand easily if I miss.

Monday, June 05, 2006

3K! **fizzle**

I limped through the bankroll milestone of $3,000 tonight. Limped in that I made a quick win in $100 NL (feeling pretty comfortable there now) and then got third in an 18 player 6-max $12+1 on Stars. Lately I just haven't been able to close out any tourneys, although my ITM is very high over the past month (69% which is mostly 10+ player tourneys). Maybe I should re-read the short-handed part of Harrington. I expect I'm folding too much once I get lots of chips in the pot.

Over the past month I've mostly been chopping out a series of small $10-$30 wins with the one big tourney score. I shouldn't complain though, I'm winning, and I feel like I'm playing well.

This must be the 'grinding' phase. When is the 'money growing on trees' phase?

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Heads-up Poker

I just made the money in a heads-up tourney on Stars (128 players, $22+2). I gotta say, these are a lot of fun and the field is relatively soft. I expect they aren't fun if you lose the first round. I know they would be a lot of NOT fun if you lost the third round (getting you no money after two hours).

I'm not willing to test the hypothesis, but I bet a good heads-up player (I consider myself pretty good, as in better than average) could make a lot of money on these tourneys. Contrary to what I expected, there actually is a good bit of skill involved as long as your opponent isn't over aggressive and pot sizes stay relatively small. Lets just say, winning my first three rounds, I wasn't all-in very much (including a comeback from a 2:1 chip deficit). Kudos to Stars for putting a lot of play into the tourney's.

One downside (or upside, depending) is the delay between rounds as other tables finish up. It is kind of nice to get some down-time between tourney's to eat, surf the web, and write blogger entries :) On the other hand, if you don't have 4-5 hours free, don't even fire the thing up. Do a 4-player tourney instead (which are also pretty soft).

We'll see what happens. I'm guaranteed $50 now, and winning my next round will get me $50 more. After that the money jumps are ~$100 to $200ish.

Stamina is a bit of an issue (these are stressful sometimes!) but I think I'll be ok. Did I mention 1st gets $750+?

(a bit later...)

Wow, I got worked. Didn't really have the chip lead at all that game and couldn't really get anything going. Probably my biggest mistake was a large bluff that didn't work out. Oh well. It was fun while it lasted...