Back to Basics: My Week of Pub Poker Pt 2

And I’m back with the 2nd half of my Pub Expokeriment (if you haven’t read Part 1, click here)!  As I got closer to the week’s end I hyper focused even more on a first place finish.  I need to remind myself — SELF!  This is the kind of pressure that you don’t need to put on yourself.  But I don’t listen.  The next three days of poker get a little cloudy (this is why I have to write things while they are still fresh on my mind), but I can give you a general description and my assessments on the hands.

Expokeriment #4, Thursday Day 4:  4th Place

This day was full o’ variance fun…good and bad. Good ones—had some lucky spots. I cracked Aces w/ Kings to get a much needed double up. And then unlucky spots – with 4 people left, I limped in the Cutoff with JTo, button min raises, I have to call…I flop top pair on T-4-4 and shove, the button calls with KQ (WTF?).  Turn is a 4, River is a Q. Insane in the membrane…

Annoyed Assessment/My Mental Dialogue:  I need to get out of this reoccurring 3rd/4th place cycle. I took spots where I could and then the blinds got so high it became a Shovefest 2016. No creativity…just the one move and hope your hand holds up. Like mine didn’t in the last hand. Oh well, on to the next!!

Expokeriment #5, Friday Day 5:  Busted out in Way-Too-Early Place

Talk about taking 1 one step forward and 3 steps back, I played horribly this night!  I let my ego play for me.  Her name is Ariana Grande, as in Ariana Big…because the ego can be big and blind you. I let myself get swept away by my talents and my head got really big.  I completely disregarded Cory’s saying about the “ego.”  He says, “Ego is not your Amigo!”  I lost myself in my ego and became focused on playing against the 2 guys to my left. I had to beat the 2 guys on my left. I was going to show the 2 guys on my left how things are done. That’s all Ariana singing (pitch perfect I might add). And what happens?  I get into a hand with one of the two guys on my left (because he, too, had an Ariana Grande, but not as stylish as mine).  Here’s the gist of hand:

At 100/200 blinds I have AJ (no diamonds) in late position and min raise, I think I get 3 callers. One of them is the young, Latino guy on my left.

Flop is Ad-Td-Kx. I lead out for 600, the guy on my left calls.

Turn is Qd, I check, he bets (almost pot), I call.

River is a blank, I check, he bets (not sure, but it wasn’t much more than his Turn bet), I fold.

This bar we’re playing at is very loud, there’s a DJ spinning music, and I’m distracted, but I’m able to get from him that he had a straight. Well, that’s my tilting moment right there… I folded the same straight.

Results Oriented Assessment:  I just leveled myself.  What does he have but a straight, too!?  Or 2 pair?! Ace of diamonds is on the board AND the Queen of diamonds!  What’s he calling behind with?!  AT/AJ/AQ/TT/MAYBE AK…QQ/KK??  No.  I think in this type of tournament 2 pairs & sets are raising. We don’t have stacks to get fancy here. It’s loud music/2-beers-in moments like these that I really need to work on.  The diamond is scary, but if I really think about it a beer sip longer I’m calling — a “fuck it” call, yeah, but I’m calling.  I’m doing the same thing if I’m him so kudos to his Ariana, she wins. And he takes the pot in this one.

Out of Turn Shove, Tilt Call=You Loose.

This hand is against my guy on the left again. And I’m just gonna say it (or sing it, Ariana!):  I knew he had Kings.

Assess that yourself. OK.  I’ll go back and break it down for you…

I’m in middle position and as I’m looking at my Queens (because I’m next to act) the guy on my left doesn’t wait for my action (and is so excited, ahem), he snap shoves his stack into the pot.  I glare at him and think, “you’ve gotta be fuckin’ kinding me?  If that wasn’t a tell I don’t know what is…really – you have pocket KINGS??!!??  I mean this would be a cooler spot, I can smell it…you with Kings when I have Queens.  #Cooler” And then with all of that inner monologue I don’t take a second to stop my ego and tell Ariana to zip it, sit down, and let Janice think. NO!  I just roll with it.  And out of my mouth, out loud comes, “I’m ALL IN!”

Sure enough…his Kings beat my Queens and I’m out.

Expokeriment #6, Sunday Day 5:  3rd Place

Day 5, the last day to test out my strategies, I really want a win today more than any day as this is also the biggest field for our pub poker league, 4 tables.  I know…small but alright for a bar league. Here’s a foggy recap of memorable hands:

7-3o Button Limp.

I don’t remember the level, but it’s early, like 50/100. Two people limp in and I have KQo in the small blind. I decide to complete my blind.  FYI — one of the limpers is the chipleader — a young, Latino guy, tattoos, in early position…he liked playing and the deck was loving him on this day.  The other limper is a white woman (I suck at guessing ages, but I’d say mid to late 40’s) on the button.  I haven’t played her much, but the few hands I have played were pretty straight forward.

Flop comes out K-7-3r.  I bet out (?), chipleader calls, button raises BIG.  Confused, I fold.  I think chipleader also folds and she shows her hand saying she got lucky.

Assessment:  Ah yeah, I should’ve raised so 7-3o folds, definitely (no comment on the limp).  My only illogical reasoning for not raising was that the chipleader liked limping with Ace-rag and that the deck was all over him.  Like I said, “illogical.” So as played, when I lead out and there’s a call and a big raise, I really don’t have enough to call and see a Turn.  I would’ve had to shove and I know the button has something…(I really thought 77 or 33, so much for no comment). Being out of position I chose to fold, since I didn’t raise pre-flop.

1st Break comes I’ve come back from less than 1 BB, but am still short stacked so I add on for 20K.  ANNNND after the break I’m still short stacked when I’m put at a new table.  With the field down to 2 tables, I fight the good fight to make final table. Here are some of the hands that get me there:

Yaasss Queens.

The level is like 400/800.  And I lose count of limpers after the 3rd limper…I’m on the button with Queens, I raise (2500ish), errbody folds.  Pretty standard…but a good pot for me. 

Sets are Good.

I’m in seat 1.  There’s a younger, white spewy guy I’ve had my eye on in seat 10 since we started up again.  Somehow he’s 2nd in chips at my table right now, but seeing his play I see opportunities to chip up…I’m just waiting for a spot.

With blinds at 500/1K and a stack of about 20BBs, I’m in late position with 33s.  Spewy Guy in seat 10 limps, I min raise from the hijack, the Big Blind calls, Spewy calls.

Flop is Q-3-T.  Seat 10 leads out almost pot (his standard bet), I shove, the big blind thinks for a while and calls, Seat 10 folds.  Big blind shows A-Q, Turn & River are blank and we take it down.

Overall Assessment:   I think the 2x was OK with one limper, would love to hear from others about it. I only had 20 bigs so if I make it more that’s more of my stack and then maybe the people behind me want to jump in the pot pool, too. I think I might have been able to just call Spewy’s bet instead of shove, but I wasn’t sure how the big blind would react and I didn’t have much more behind. Maybe Big Blind raises which is even better, but it’s too late for that now. And if he raises…well, hell I probably overplayed this. The Big Blind had A-Q so he’s not going anywhere.  I don’t think I got the max I could get out of Spewy, let’s just say that (side note about Spewy: he ended up busting soon hereafter).

Final Table.

I hit another set to get me out of the bullseye, and I found good spots to shove (remember this is shallow-stacked shovefest play), but when it got down to the final 3 players I over thought things at times and made mistakes.  I found myself in a lot of the same spots from my other 3rd place finish on Wednesday, so I need to find the sweet spot between not thinking enough and thinking too much when it comes to 3-handed play. All in all, I’m proudest of this day, with stacks so short variance played a big part, and I got 3rd place.

The takeaway from my week of beer incentivized poker?  I plan to apply some of this strategy in on a different scale in the real world of poker, minus the beers.  And even though I didn’t implement this strategy last year at WSOP’s Colossus, I was able to make it to the end of Day 1 because of all the practice I’ve had playing short stacked (just not for $565).  So…maybe I’ll do Colossus again?  The WSOP 2016 schedule is out and they’ve upped the guarantee to $7 million this year with $1 milly going to first place.  Looks like Colossus II is looking better and better each day…

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