Coining it in…

April 30, 2007


Well another weekend has gone by, and I’m pleased to say that it was a profitable one for me! So let’s go through the diary….


Thursday 26th – The 2nd game of the forums sit and go league took place and whadda ya know? The Blasphemers took it down again! Flibinite (Annie) just pipping the Dog who played for The Vikings. The Blasphemers stretch their lead, now sitting on 10 points.

Friday 27th – A day away from poker today. My wife has left the country, and I’ve got the kids to look after. Thank God sh’s coming back soon!

Saturday 28th – Global Gaming Events in association with the OFC held another forum challenge. 98 players paid $5 for cash prizes and the chance to win a trip to Mexico. I was in the zone for the full game, but the blinds froze at 300/600 and I ended up playing for 5 hours. A complete joke for this type of thing to happen. If the blinds incremented as they should have, I would have slaughtered them and taken 1st place. But after 5 hours I just got bored and tired and then played virtually every hand in the hope that I take people out or be taken out myself. I ended up in 4th place claiming $49 for my efforts, and a $27 satellite entry for the weekly $150K event at Vegas Poker. WTG To Arizona for making the final table too.

Later, decided to play the forum game for a small but dainty $2. After two huge suckouts against the boss I became chipleader early on. Went on to win against Netty after a tremendous battle. My slowplayed pocket Kings against her A5 on a board of K86AA. Another $12 odd to the kitty.

Sunday 29th – Went to the footbal to see my team, Celtic,¬†beaten 3-1 by the Jam Tarts, but was only really there for the party. Celtic lifted the League Championship trophy for the 2nd season in a row, after winning in the dying seconds of the game against Killie. Here’s how they won it, along with authentic japanese commentary! ūüôā¬†¬†¬† Champions!

Later in the day, I played the $400 freeroll that the forum won in a recent OFC challenge. All those that played for the forum was invited to play this game. It lasted almost 3hours and I went heads up with Blagger. I had a good chiplead. When the final hand arrived, it was a belter! I raised on the small blind and Blagz tells me hes going all-in, which he duly does. Unknown to him, I had THE hand! All I said to him was, “I’ve just opened the portal!” Oh-oh came the reply as I called and showed pocket 6’s against his pocket 2’s. The flop and turn helped no-one, but the river popped up that 3rd 6. How ironic that the original messenger of the portal is gazzumped by the 6h¬†6c¬†6d. A nice little $100 profit for the win with a spirited Blagz, bagging $75.


So, That was my weekend. Unfortunately, a agame I played tonight didn’t go according to plan. I should never have played it as I had just woken up…. bad move. But I don’t care as I made a total profit of just short of $155 plus my $7 in entry fees back. A good weekend as far as I’m concerned…..

Till next time…..


This week…

April 26, 2007


Tuesday seen the start of the Sit and Go League in the forum. As I said in my last entry, I’ve tried to cover all bases in regards to this to make sure it all¬†runs smoothly. Only time will tell, but if the first game was anything to go by there shouldn’t be too many issues.

I played a few games over the weekend but had very little luck. But I did win a 27 player sit and go that also seen Netsson, Blagz and The Dog enter. To tell you the truth, I have no idea how I won it as I had had quite a few beverages of the alcoholic kind by that point. I had intended to have a coffee midway through the night but kept on returning to the comp with another beer. And¬†I can vaguely remember talk of sex toys…. but I’ll keep that for another day!

By¬†the end of the weekend I managed to eek out a small profit with my s&g win, so it wasn’t all bad. I just wish the MTT I played had been a bit more profitable. I had played steady, patient, aggressive poker and had built up a good number of chips. In the last hand I flat called with¬†aqc¬†qc in early position (in hindsight I should have raised). Anyways, the pot was raised further around the table, so I called the raise.¬†8d¬†kh¬†ad flopped and I put out a pot sized bet. The inital raiser came over the top with an all-in. Somehow I knew I was winning and after thinking long and hard, I called. He turned over kd¬†jh. Woohoo for me…. until the river brought¬†the kc¬†and once again, I went out to a suckout. Unfrickenbelievable! I wish these poker sites stopped rewarding the underdog so often, just because the have a few more chips. But, I’ll be back… I now have the hunger again to, as Lippy would put it… KILL, KILL, KILL!

As mentioned earlier, the Sit and Go League started in earnest on Tuesday. A lot of excitement going around, and the first game was won by Weedbus (AKA Gary). A complete and utter lucky git of a player! ūüôā

In all seriousness, he played a hell of a game. To start with, he tried to limp in with a few hands and lost around 150 of his 1500 starting chips. After that though, he played controlled poker right to the end and thoroughly deserved his win. He had the hand of the night too¬†when his pocket 10s went all-in against Ash’s pocket rockets after¬†a 10¬†had hit the flop. Not content with trip 10s he made it quads on the river!

I played for my team, and after a bright start – taking out 2 players – I went down the usual road of a very cold deck, eventually going out in 4th place. But I picked up a point for The Varmints! Tonight sees Magpot going into the hotseat for the team. Here’s hoping for a Varmint victory this time! ūüėČ

I will try and finish of my starting hands series now that the league has kicked off and I’ve got a little more time, so I will hopefully have it posted early next week.

Good luck on the felt, and say hello if you see me at your table…. just don’t trust me!!!

Just not enough hours….

April 18, 2007


I’ve played absolutely no poker since the OFC game on Saturday. Not that I can’t be bothered, just that I’m snowed under organising the forums sit and go league. Such a simple idea on paper, but by golly-gosh it’s not been simple in reality!

With players spread over several time zones in the world, just trying to find a suitable time took an age. Getting responses from all those who signed up for it took an age. Trying to work out a formula that ensures everything is above board and fair has taken an age. I’ve had almost 60 personal messages in the forum in the last week alone with 90% of them about this league.

But, with just under a week to go, there’s just a few odds and ends to be taken care of, and hopefully it will all go without a hitch.

teethI know I’ve been a tad pernickety in the way I’ve went about it, but I felt I had to be. One misjudgement, and I know there are people just waiting to sink their teeth in, screaming that it’s not fair! Then again,¬†I might just be getting a wee bit paranoid!


Anyhoo, now that (almost) everything is in order, I might get a chance to play some poker this week. I’ll probably save myself for the forum game at PKR on Friday. But then again, I can hear the cash tables calling me…..

Or am I just being paranoid again!

Woohoo to the forum!

April 17, 2007


The forum participated in its first foum challenge games for a few years at the weekend. We won one forum challenge when they were held at Royal Vegas poker a few years back and done well the following year, but there was blatent cheating going on in the 2nd game.

Anyhoo, we signed up for two events organised by the Online Forum Challenge team, both played at Absolute Poker. The first on Saturday was¬†a freeroll, which I missed because I was rather full of ‘beverages’ and basically couldn’t even bite my fingers!

The 2nd game was a $5 buy-in on Sunday. I had sobered up by this point but was still undecided whether I was going to play or not fifteen minutes before the game kicked off. In the end I did play. It was not my best game, even though I managed a creditable 38 place from 377 starters, which gave me the huge profit of $4 for almost 3 hours play!! The few times I had good cards, I was paid off handsomely and managed to stay up there with the chip leaders. Then just as I was enjoying myself, I was moved table. It was a nightmare of a cold deck that welcomed me. Any time I had a hand that was good for limping in with, someone raised it up before me – usually an all in. The hands were not good enough to call. In the end, I was more or less blinded out of the game, and even though I knew I was getting bullied a bit, I could do nothing about it.

Anyways, not to worry, as some of the other forum members played some exquisite poker and finished a lot higher than me. Pokerbully and Steph both finished in the top 20 but Ashmaniac (6th) and the Dog (8th)  made the final table! Monkey luck as usual killed off there challenges, but their efforts mad a difference.

Considering the amount of players from the forum who entered – 27 I think – we had 6 who made the money and another 3 inside the top 50!! Thats a hell of a good showing and this reflected in the overall foum winners. The Pokerchipsquad managed 70 points in total for this game. Our nearest rivals had 38. The first time any forum has won a challenge by almost double the points the 2nd placed forum had.

So we are now up for a $400 freeroll thanks mainly to Ash, the Dog, Steph and Popa, but also to all of our team.

Congrats have to go to the OFC organisers for the way this event was set up. The best forum challenge set up on the net to date by far. Looking forward to the next challenge game already!!

For Kicks….

April 13, 2007


My 3rd part on starting hands for novices will be around soon. But I just thought I’d change the pace and tell you about my poker this week.

Well in short, I’ve hardly played. I entered one of the forums private s&g and found within a few hands that I just couldn’t be bothered. This resulted in some overly aggressive play from me (not on purpose) and I got my hand caught in the cookie jar a few times and was dismissed early on.

But I’ve played a couple of S&G’s at PKR. Played a couple of $3 games (as my bankroll will allow). I won one of them and placed 2nd at the other. The 2nd game was great as I went heads up to a guy from Estonia. Very friendly and a very good player. The chip lead swapped between us for a good while, before an all-in raise with J9s was called by pkt 3’s. The 3s held up, even going on to make trips on the river. But it was an excellent heads-up and one I wish could happen more – with me winning of course!

Having enjoyed my little chat and game with my Estonian friend I headed to the 5c/10c cash tables. I normally prefer to play the 25c/50c tables or at the very least 10c/25c tables but these low limit games at PKR are a feeding frenzy for any half-decent player. Within less than 30mins I had turned the $7 I had taken to the table into over $20….. and I only played 4 hands! Unfortunately, I couldn’t continue my stay there as I had stuff to do ūüė¶

Have been back to the cash tables since and made more profit. I have noticed though, that these short sessions – 30 mins or less – are really profitable for me. If I double my money in a short time, and then seem to be getting some cold cards, I leave. I’ve been quite strict with myself that I will wait for one round of blinds and If I haven’t hit any sort of hand the I up sticks and go. It might only be a $6 or $7 profit, but its still profit after all.

Well I’m offski for now…. the league game at PKR awaits!

See ya soon!

Starting hands – part two

April 11, 2007


Following on from my last entry, I’m going to look at how to approach the end of a tournament. We will use an example of entering a tournament with 300 players. Top 30 players get paid, and there are 40 players left in the tournament.

Approaching the bubble

The bubble is the most unwanted finishing position in poker. It’s finishing a tournament one position from the payouts. In our example above, it’s when you go out in 31st position – finishing one place higher would have bagged you some cash.

So how do you avoid ‘the bubble’ in a MTT tourny? Well, there’s a couple of answers.

  • fold every hand until you make the payout positions
  • play your standard game and hope no-one gets lucky against you
  • go for it big style, super-agressive, playing every hand as if it’s your last

In reality, your strategy should really depend on how many chips you have at that stage of the tournament.

The shortstack play 

If you are the shortstack and the blinds will soon swallow you up, then you can’t really fold every hand. You HAVE to make a stand at some point. You HAVE to take the risk. But be aware… the bigstacks at the table will more than likely call with any medium hand just to try and take you out. So what hands¬†should you play?

I would recommend playing only the top 20 starting hands. Add to this ANY pocket pair, even pocket deuces.¬†Pocket pairs are¬†a made hand, and the chances¬†are that you will be a slight favourite against any callers, but it will be a race!¬†If you are so shortstacked and your chips are¬†close to being swallowed by the blinds, then you have to move all-in with any of the top 20 hands – regardless of position. You have to take the¬†gamble. If you are that shortstacked then expect a call from a bigger stack, regardless of what they are holding. If on the otherhand, none of the top 20 hands are forthcoming, and the big blind comes to you, I’m afraid it’s the¬†‘any two cards’ scenario.

The medium stack play

A total different strategy is required here. You don’t need to gamble. You could quite easily fold every hand that comes your way, just to make the money. For the novice, this is the best thing to do – just wait it out until the bubble passes. But if you do decide to play, only play the top 10 starting hands. Once again though, play to position. Don’t even think about playing¬†ac¬†qc in early position if there are big stacks ahead of you still to play. Why risk messing with a big stack who could quite easily take you out? Or worse still, why give the shortstack –¬†who has still to act –¬†the chance to move all-in and possibly ‘double up’? As I said in the shortstack play section, they could be holding a pocket pair and you’ve just landed yourself in a race! Just keep reminding yourself that you¬†aiming to reach the payout positions! No need to gamble unneccessarily.

The only exception to these rules, for me anyway, is if I land pocket aces or kings. I would move all-in with only these two hands Рregardless of position. A medium stack going all-in is a sure sign that they are holding a monster hand. The other medium to big stacks will more than likely fold and you can only hope if anyone calls, it will be a shortstack.

The big stack play

This is obviously the best position to be in. Again you could sit back and fold anything and everything that comes your way. Why risk all of your hard-earned chips? Now this is a no-brainer scenario, but as so often happens, you will see the big stack calling a shortstacks’ all-in with crap and doubling them up. Their excuse…. ‘I was just trying to take them out.’ OK, you tried to take them out…. but with a jh¬†6c???

Stick to playing tight, (top 10 hands) regardless of the size of your chipstack. Don’t be tempted to bleed chips away to your opponents, especially the shortstacks. And once again, play to position! Don’t take unneccessary risks. Keep those chips until the payout positions have been reached and then start¬†to open up¬†again.

You have to remember that your goal in any game of poker is to WIN! If you can’t win the game then your goal is to finish as high a position as possible. Higher position = better payout.

¬†So, hopefully you have conquered the bubble and are now in the¬†payout positions. Next time, I’ll go into the next phase of the tournament – moving up the payout positions.

Once again, all comments are welcome.

Starting hands – part one

April 7, 2007


For the next couple of entries,¬†I’m going to look at starting hands to play throughout a tournament. It’s more suited to novices, but is a good reminder to the more proficient players too. This guide is mainly for multi table tournaments. The later parts¬†can be used for sit and go tournaments too.


The start of a tournament requires very good discipline. Only premium hands should be played. If you are playing a low buy-in game ($1-$5) you will find a load of loose players who will overplay almost any medium to strong hand pre-flop just to try and double up in chips. This is a very risky strategy. Why put all your chips on the line at the very start of a tournament?

I would recommend sticking to playing the top 10 hands. These are:

ah ac    kd ks    qs qh    jc js    10s 10d

ad kd    ac kh    ah qh    ad qs    ac jc

The first levels of a tournament should be used mainly to pick up information on the other players at the table. However, if you pick up one of the hands above, by all means play it. Just don’t get overly agressive if you happen to have AJ suited – especially if there has been a raise in front of you. AJ is not that good a hand. There are nine other hands that could beat it! If you see that a tight player has raised in front of you then you should seriously consider folding. If its a loose player raising then you should consider calling.

You may think that 10h¬†10c¬†is a great hand, but loads of people value ad¬†kd¬†more. It’s wrong to think this. A pocket pair is always favourite over any drawing hand pre-flop. OK, it’s only a couple of % but favourite all the same. But, if overcards hit the flop, you have to be prepared to fold your pocket pair.

The key thing to remember when playing any hand is position. Playing position is one of the fundamental startegies in poker. Early to mid position is a hazerdous zone to be in. Once the flop is dealt you will be one of the first to act. You will have no information on any later players. Use position to your advantage where possible. If you happen to get one of the above hands in late position, you have the freedom to raise as you will be last (or next to last) to act after the flop. This key position gives you information on the players before you. To read more on playing position have a read at this article with links on the subject.

Sound simple doesn’t it! Easy in theory, but so many can’t put it into practice.

So, you are playing tight agressive poker, only playing the top 10 starting hands. Hopefully, you’ve played them well and managed to avoid suckouts and bad beats and have built up a respectable chip stack.

After the 1st hour 

One hour has passed. At this time, the majority of the monkeys will have gone out of the tournament and you will be left with more good/cautious players. But by this time you should know how the majority of the players at your table play, if not all of them. This is where you can try to exploit their weaknesses. Always keep in mind though that position is still key!

You can maybe ‘open up’ a little and start to play the top 15-20 starting hands now. Along with the 10 hands above think about playing these hands too:

ah jc    ad 10d    as 10h    kc qc    kh qc

9s 9d    8s 8c    7h 7d    kd jd    ks jh

As before, position is still key here. If you have a raise in front of you, you have to consider folding ALL of the above hands. Again, it all depends on what ‘read’ you have on the players at the table.

Keep playing tight, agressive poker and you should keep buidling your chipstack. If you have people limping into hands and you have one of the top 20 starting hands in late position, raise to push the limpers out, even with ks jd. If you get called, then you have to suspect your opponent has a half decent starting hand. You should get enough information after the flop to decide what your next move should be.

I try to only play the top 20 hands for the majority of a tournament. Limping with some and raising with others. But again, I must reinforce that it depends on my position at the table. For example; at a table with 9 players, I would limp in at most with the top 11-20 hands in early to mid position, but I would fold them a hell of a lot too.

Above all when playing MTTs, be patient. If you’ve not had a hand for a while boredom can set in and you get sucked into playing rubbish hands. You have to avoid this as you will more than likely pay dearly for it.

Also, when not involved in a hand, WATCH how the other players play. You have to concentrate on the other players. You can pick up on a lot of flaws in their game, like betting patterns and if there is a showdown, what type of hands they play. The more information you gather, you can use to your advantage.

Next time, I’ll cover starting hands to play in the latter stages of a tournament – approaching the bubble!