Thursday, January 28, 2010

Whatta Rush

So the hot new action in the online poker realm is a new twist over at Full Tilt Poker, called Rush Poker. Essentially, Rush Poker allows a player to auto-fold hands they don't want to play, and the software then rushes you off to a new table in time for a new hand. Instead of sitting at a table (or 2 tables, 4 tables, whatever volume you play), you enter a pool of players, anywhere from hundreds to a couple thousand. And then, all those players simply go from table to table, hand to hand, and say, if you're in mid position holding that 92 offsuit you can't wait to trash, you can simply quick fold and move on.

There are three obvious main developments this leads to, the first of which is, a player can play many more hands per hour than otherwise. Whereas, in my limited ring game play, I may 2-table for an hour and see 150 hands, I saw roughly 2000 hands in my two hour experiment 2-tabling (or would that be 2-pooling) with the 10NL Rush Poker fish.

The next obvious development is this, you're not going to get reads on players, because you're leaving the table at the end of every hand. Now if you're in a pool for any period of time, you are likely to run into players now and again that you've seen, but unless you've actually played a hand out with that person, it's very hard to gauge things such as how they play position, level of aggression, whether they'll fold to a c-bet, etc. And because you're moving so fast, it's quite difficult (if not impossible) to take effective notes.

Finally, the third development is a clear economic boon to Full Tilt. After all, if hands are wrapping up that much more quickly, and more players are playing more hands so quickly, they're collecting that much more in rake. More power to'em, I suppose.

In my own experiment, I played roughly 2000 hands of 10NL, most of it at full ring tables. Around 250 hands of that came at 6-max, where I lost a full buyin, and I managed to win two buyins at the full rings. This was even with KK going down three times. Once to AA, once when 99 caught a set on the turn, and the other when I slow played a flopped set and allowed villian to runner runner broadway on me. Still, I managed to find around 5 BB/100 hands, when it could have been even better.

I think the idea is to play straight up, solid, semi-ABC poker. Bluffing doesn't really seem to work in Rush Poker, at least not at the 10NL level, but being the first to open raise will often cause everyone else to quick fold. What I've found in my admittedly small sample is that preflop aggression can work to pick up small pots, but whiffing the flop and c-betting often doesn't. Why? Because most players will quick fold the trash hands preflop and move on, so any flop with big cards is more likely than not to have actually helped your opponent.

Anyway, I'm going to play around with this some more as I get time, but I've been working 12-13 hours a day all this week, which is forecasted to continue for some time. I may be away from the tables for a bit.

In fact, I'm missing the entirely of the WBCOOP (thanks for the ticket, Stars, but do you have to always place such a bad beat on Mountain Time Zone by starting events at 4pm?!?!?)...

Good luck at the tables.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Bah, A Wee Bit Short


Played a very small batch of tourneys last night, three in total. The FTP $5 LO8, the $4 4-max PLO8 on Stars, and the $4 1000-max NLHE at Stars. Came up empty. Bah.

$5 Limit O8 - finished 45th of 221 (27 paid)
. Twice I had to bail two massive combo draws in big pots after scary rivers. The one I remember saw me holding AA54 double suited clubs/spades and a flop that brought two clubs and a deuce and a trey. The red king on the turn didn't help (I check/called), and the non-club K on the river hurt worse. So the low never filled, and all I've got is a pair of aces. The river fold was correct, I am certain, pot odds be damned, but it left me crippled.

The upsetting part to me of this is that I did not raise from the SB with this hand. I got a bit gunshy raising PF in this tourney, because the field seemed so loose that every late position raise saw either five callers or TWO re-raises on top by players who limped in early. My hope, preflop, was to pick up exactly the kind of draws on the flop that...well...that I did pick up. But if villian's caught virtually any part of that board by the river, I lose that hand.

$4 4-max PLO8 - finished 74th of 599 (60 paid). This one hurt, to the extent that I managed to overcome losing 1/3 of my stack in the first couple of levels, and played pretty tight afterwards, but as the blinds caught up and I found myself short, I shoved from position to get called by a mixed-bag hand. The flop gave him top pair, but gave me bottom two pair. Of course, it's Omaha, so nothing's a sure thing, but the turn gave him trips.

$4 8-handed 1000-max NLHE - finished 196th of 1000. This one hurt real bad. At first, I thought it would be a really really short tourney for me. Third hand in, I see a couple of Jacks staring at me from one of the blinds. Nice. Early position raises, and about four players (besides myself) come along for the ride. Now, I considered re-raising to isolate, but at these buyins, with the quality of players at this level, I'm likely to still see the flop at least 4-handed, so I elect to call. The flop was all low cards, maybe 9-high. I didn't want A-rag to get there, so I bet out, and the original raiser's early enough, I haven't invested time, so I call. He's got QQ. Bah. But the J on the turn saves my bacon and sets me up for a long run.

I'm not playing a lot of hands at all, but saw KK once and QQ three times, and picked up nice pots with all of them. Given my rate of reasonable cards, I didn't feel the need to get out of line by trying to steal too often, and that strategy seemed to be working.

I manage to spend the entire first hour in the top 10 in chips, eventually falling backwards a bit through card death. But with 200 players left, I'm still something like 60th-70th, with a just above average chipstack, when we get to the last hand before break. Then this happens....and where the Mondo learns a powerful lesson.

I'm in the SB holding KQs, blinds are either 150/300 or 200/400, I forget. The BB is in the top 5-10 in chips, with 3x my stack. Folds around to the hijack who calls. (I have about 15k chips, he has about 11k) I hate this spot. I like raising here, but for the massive stack on my left, who has been pushing around a bit. The hijack could have anything, medium to big ace, middle pair, who knows. So I elect to call (the BB checked). The flop was great for me. Q54 rainbow, yeah. I think I'm good here, because AQ in that spot most likely raises preflop. So given possible holdings, I look like I have a monster here.

So I check, hoping to CR any kind of continuation bet. The hijack spot bets 1100, essentially just short of pot. Doesn't tell me much. So I raise to 2700 to show strength. I suppose I could have shoved, but that would have shown weakness, and I do think I have a monster here. Until he smooth calls. Dammit, dammit, dammit, I tell myself as the inconsequential turn comes out. He's got to have a set of fives, he's just got to. Why didn't I raise preflop, I ask myself as I donkey shove the turn. Actually, he had pocket fours, for the flopped bottom set, and I'm crippled.

I misplayed this so many ways...when he called my flop CR, I *knew* he had a set (only error was which set). So why do I shove myself to certain death there? Why did I not raise KQs from my spot preflop? Even with the huge stack on my left, I have a lot of FE in that spot that possibly makes up for the loss of showdown value of my hand?

Any suggestions how to avoid this type of leak? I know, I know, sometimes, you've just gotta actually trust your reads. Shoving into what I know is a made set is probably a worse blunder than not raising PF in that spot, but I'm interested in your thoughts.

So instead of a healthy stack at break, I'm 195 of 200, with about 8.5 BB left. Bah.

Either first or 2nd hand after break, the even shorter stack on my right shoves. I see 99 and overshove -- he could have anything, but with 8 BB left and an M of about 4, I'm not folding here. Well, two to my left overshoves. Gross. The shortest stack had 77 (putting me well ahead), but the big stack had QQ. Can I beat the mighty QQ again with a smaller pair, like I did in the first orbit?

Ummmm....nope. The Q of hearts on the flop nearly sealed my fate. The heart turn on the two heart flop gave me hope for a backdoor flush (I held the only pocket heart), but the river smited me, and IGHN. This one hurt. Bah.

Three tournies, beat at least 80% of the field every time, but zero cashes. Bah.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Long Time A'Comin, not a major MTT score, though I did make another smallish final table yesterday.

After ten years in gigging bands, and after being involved in the recording of at least six different albums, I'm finally getting to play my very own proper CD release show. It feels good.

Of course, it's not as if New Ben Franklins are actually on a label, this is strictly a self-release. But we also had it properly pressed, as opposed to previous efforts with The Lime Twiggs, Jealous Lover Targets, and Subcity Six, which were all CDRs hand burnt on our own PCs, or The Florenteens' disc of a few years back where we had a friend put together 50 copies with artwork on the disc.

So we've pressed 250 copies of this lil' thing...I wonder how many folks will care. Or at least care enough to help us break even, so that we can record a full length later this year.

I'm quite pleased to have King For A Day, Action Packed Thrill Ride, and Primasonic playing this show with us. All are bands we have played with before (some multiple times), and all are really great gents. The 21st is going to be a blast, and I'm particularly jazzed to get to share the stage again with Action Packed Thrill Ride, a band I first became acquainted with early last year, and a band that's spent more time in my iPod shuffle this year than most.

So in the alt-country spirit of the day, good luck on the felt ya'lls. Wish I could join you for Sunday donkfests, but Saturday was my wad-shootin' day of the week this week....

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Wha?!?!?! Freerolls?!?!?

Online Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker! This PokerStars tournament is a No Limit Texas Hold’em event exclusive to Bloggers, you too can take part by registering on WBCOOP

Registration code: 755148

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Taking One On the Chin

The year is young, and the author is fact, I'm looking quite a bit older and even Waffles-ish these days. Why? Nothing earth-shattering, but after walking the planet for 44+ years, I've finally taken a crack at growing a beard.


Dunno, just tired of shaving. And my band's pedal steel player grew one. I'd hate for him to be lonely.

Why not before?

Dunno...I hate shaving, always have. But after spending 13 years in uniform, followed by a decade plus in law firm environments, I just got so used to it, that I'd only take off on the weekends. My weekly two days of whiskers would be my two day vacation uniform.

But 2.5 weeks ago, I said to hell with hit. Hell, I haven't had a haircut since July, so let's try going full shag for a while, shall we?

Of course, having it come in mostly grey and white...well, it's hardly one of my more youthful moments.

But the freedom's been fun...and with windchill well below zero here right now, maybe it'll even keep me warm on the drive home...

Two poker sessions so far this year, around 30 tourneis, for which I can lay claim to one final table (7th of about 1250 in a $2 Cashout MTT), and yet a still-declining bankroll, even with five or six cashes. Because all but the final table were truly mincashes. Oh well.

No real poker goals this year, other than to continue to work on the emotional side of it, and to try to get to Vega$ at least once this year. Last year was tough for me to get away for some pretty big reasons.

I suppose I'd also like to grow the bankroll some more, but getting from something like $1600 online to $2000 online doesn't really open up the tourney buyin levels that much, so short of a miracle big hit, I'll likely end up in my current holding pattern of cashing roughly 19% of tournies, but being only marginally above breakeven in the process. Looking at it more like recreation now, especially as life and work are going to conspire greatly this year to keep my play to generally no more than once a week.

Where's the beard photo?

Why all the fuss, it's just a beard, even if a virgin beard.