Saturday, September 20, 2014

The edge of the abyss

Tournament poker can sure take you on a wild ride. You can be teetering on the edge of the abyss, staring oblivion in the face, when suddenly a dispensation from the poker gods saves you, letting you live to fight on. At such times, you know it was was nothing you did which saved you; the odds were stacked against you, and by all rights you were history. Somehow, though, magically, improbably, you lived. This is precisely what happened to me on hand 30 of the lower stakes 8-game tournament I entered last night (I had to move down in stakes in order to ensure I didn't have to wait too long to start playing). At that point, we were playing limit 7 card stud. I was the short stack, and was pot committed by the time we got to sixth street. All I had at that point was a gutshot, and my only play was to call all in. Mirabile dictu, I hit my gutshot on the river, and that gave me a new lease on life. I ended up outlasting all the other players but one.

buy_in entry_fee num_players num_hands place winnings

  9000      1000           6       192     2    18900

delta: $8,900
8-game tournament balance: $498,900
balance: $9,896,670

Friday, September 19, 2014

Waiting in vain

Last night, I waited in vain for the 8-game tournament table I'd joined to fill up. In about an hour and a half, only one other player joined me. I finally had to unregister from it and join a no limit hold'em table. There's never a long wait for no limit hold'em tables to fill up.

I played well, but ended up out of the money. Here's hoping there'll be more 8-game players tonight.

buy_in entry_fee num_players num_hands place winnings

 45000      5000           6        60     3        0

delta: $-50,000
tournament balance: $1,914,340
balance: $9,887,770

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The heads up rush

There's nothing in poker as exhilarating as heads up play. What a rush! I'm a heads up junkie :-) What makes it so exciting is that you have less information to work with than in any other poker scenario. Information is what you need to succeed, and you're essentially information-starved. How fun is that? That's actually not a rhetorical question. It has an answer - it's a lot of fun! That might not make a lot of sense, but it's true nonetheless. If you can somehow glean what you need from such meager seeds, you end up feeling like a god.

Last night, I played two 8-game tournaments, instead of my usual one. The reason was simple - I hit the rail so quickly in the first, I had plenty of time left over to play a second. I was glad I did, since I went from worst to first. That second tournament had a truly memorable heads up contest - it lasted an astonishing 82 hands. My gut instinct tells me that must be in my top three heads up stretches; let me check the archives ... I was too conservative; that 82 hand stretch is the longest heads up battle I've ever had. Here are the top 10:

82 2014/0917/b
74 2012/0831/a
67 2012/1102/a
61 2012/0929/b
58 2012/0827/a
53 2012/1001/a
51 2012/0719/b
49 2012/0829/d
48 2012/1027/a
48 2012/0828/d

buy_in entry_fee num_players num_hands place winnings

 45000      5000           6        35     6        0
 45000      5000           6       157     1   175500

delta: $75,500
8-game tournament balance: $490,000
balance: $9,937,770

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fastest 8-game third place

As you may know, just before I start a new poker session I always write a blog post about the previous one. It's uncanny how often something I write immediately gets refuted :-) Last night, I wrote about how long my 8-game tournament sessions usually are. Of course, I then went out and had an abbreviated session; it only lasted about half as long as the average. Since I always try to find a silver lining, I looked for and found one. Though I ended up out of the money, I had my fastest third place finish ever. Here are my 8-game third place finishes, ordered by number of hands:

num_hands  poker_session_date

       62          2014-09-16
      108          2014-03-01
      115          2014-09-12
      122          2014-09-10
      153          2014-02-28

The longer it takes for you to finish out of the money, the tougher it is.

buy_in entry_fee num_players num_hands place winnings

 45000      5000           6        62     3        0

delta: $-50,000
8-game tournament balance: $414,500
balance: $9,862,270

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

As easy as 123

I can safely say that for me, no poker activity is as easeful as playing 8-game sit and go tournaments. Due to the fact that the blinds don't escalate rapidly, and that there are so many poker flavors involved, the tournaments tend to last a long time. In the 25 I've played so far, my average number of hands played is a whopping 123.76. I haven't calculated it yet, but I'm sure my average playing time is over an hour. It's hard to panic when you know you're basically going to be sitting playing poker for over an hour :-)

buy_in entry_fee num_players num_hands place winnings

 45000      5000           6       140     2    94500

delta: $44,500
8-game tournament balance: $464,500
balance: $9,912,270

Monday, September 15, 2014

Undone diligence

On Friday night, with the exception of two hands, I played well. I made the same mistake on both of them - I didn't perform the due diligence I needed to perform. In both cases, I lost to a straight with a two pair. In both cases, the up cards were showing 3 cards to a straight. I'd like to say I figured my opponent was bluffing in each case, but the sad truth is that I didn't see the straight possibility either time. That's a recurring hole in my game which I need to plug.

buy_in entry_fee num_players num_hands place winnings

 45000      5000           6       115     3        0

delta: $-50,000
8-game tournament balance: $420,000
balance: $9,867,770

Friday, September 12, 2014

My little deuce coup

One of the things that makes 8-game tournaments so interesting is that different players have different favorite poker flavors, so everyone has to suffer through the flavors they're not so good at in order to arrive at their favorites. Pot limit Omaha is my least favorite flavor, so I don't enter many pots when it comes around in the rotation. I actually have a bit of a love/hate relationship with deuce. Last night, the final rotation of deuce saved my bacon. At that point, I was heads up, and had a slightly smaller stack than my opponent ($4,208 to his $4,792). Due to some luck and some skill, I exited the rotation with a commanding lead of $6,416 to his $2,584. That was enough to enable me to come out on top. Since I overthrew my opponent's chip lead in the final deuce rotation, I'm calling it my little deuce coup :-)

buy_in entry_fee num_players num_hands place winnings

 45000      5000           6       200     1   175500

delta: $125,500
8-game tournament balance: $470,000
balance: $9,917,770