The Meet

September 27, 2007

I was going to bring you a post about continuation and information betting, but just not had time to finish it. Should be done and dusted for the beginning of next week.

And the reason for not finishing it??? The Pokerchipsquad meet!

The meet up takes place each September in Birmingham, UK. This year people came from as far as the US and Canada; from Denmark as well as the UK folks. Our first ‘International’ meet-up.

As expected, everyone had a fantastic time. There was so much partying went on, poker was starting to take a back seat! We played poker almost constantly but the craic was so good amongst everyone, that the games became like your friendly home games. No one was desperate to win – not to say that we were’nt trying – but the mood of everyone and the atmosphere dictated how the games went.

Gotmewrong was the most successful amongst us, reaching the final table at the casino £10 rebuy tourny, making 8th place for a return of £120! And she NEVER rebought! She then went on to win the forums ‘Briks ‘n’ Mortar Championship’ game the following day after an intense heads up battle with Bigjock.

Me, well I managed a 3rd place in one of our games for a £2.50 profit and that was me lot!! I just had one of those weekends. Got the starting hands and ended up getting outdrawn by a lesser hands. The golden horshoe was definately not in my vicinity!

I’ll take a lot of memories from this meet. None more so than the chocolate peanut incident!

On the Saturday night….. well 3am, Sunday morning, we had just finished yet another game of poker. Everyone was worse for wear and a few had started to get the munchies. Ash had bought a jar of chocolate peanuts and was throwing them in the air, trying to catch them in his mouth. Only thing was, the peanuts were landing in his mouth and bouncing out again and rolling across the table. KB, sitting at the opposite side of the table, thought that Ash was throwing the peanuts to him (he was very drunk…lol) , and there for started eating them. Absolutely hilarious. Had us all falling off our chairs with laughter! That was one helluva night!

I enjoyed meeting all the old and new faces. Special mention has to go to Pinky dragon, who flew all the way from Canada; Steph who came all the way from the US and Gotmewrong who came in from Denmark. Dedicated forum members, I’m sure you will agree, and such a pleasure and fun to meet.

It was good to eventually meet Paulie (Blagger) too! I’ve spoken to him often enough on skype, but didn’t expect to feel so comfortable face to face. Gotmewrong is a nutter, (as expected!) and Ash is just Ash – same good old chilled-out-constantly Ash. I wonder how he gets like that!!! 😉 🙂 And to Ruth… Hope you had a great Birthday!

Sue done as she said she would – grabbed two handfulls of my ass as soon as she seen me! Still mad as a hatter! Alan was completely different. I just couldn’t picture him walking – he had badly broken his leg at the last meet and was in a wheelchair. Popa, well what can you say? Just a star guy. A big gentle giant. Just glad he never brought any of his music along!!!

Everyone else was fantastic too…. Annie – crazy, Jock – Love the new look…lol, Karl and Slash – fantastic guys, Terry and Andy – the quiet ones. I don’t quite think they knew what they had let themselves in for when the came but soon got into the swing of things.

All in all a fantastic time that ended way too soon. I can’t wait for the next one.

By the way, I seem to be the official forum ‘DEALER’. (The card kind that is not the drugs 😉 ) I quite enjoy dealing but you just don’t realise how tiring it can be. I was knackered afer the games! But hey…. it was all part of the fun!

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Short-handed play

September 18, 2007

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Well I’ve managed to get one last post in before going to this years forum get-together. A wee change for the good this time….. I’m back to writing strategies. Please be aware that all the strategy posts have been written by myself, and are my views on the game. As usual, feel free to comment on the articles or add to them if you want.

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I’ve read and heard a lot of people complaining that they do great in tournaments until they hit the final table, and end up going out on the bubble – just outside the cash payouts. Some of the time this is down to pure bad luck, but a lot of the time it is down to inexperience of playing short handed.

So what is shorthanded play? This is when you are at a table with 6 or less players including yourself. If you play sit and go tournies you should be familiar with this as most of the time only 9 or 10 players start. I know a lot of people who will normally go out in 5th place or less. If you play 6 seater sit and go’s you are into short handed play immediately.

When it comes to short-handed play you have to be that little bit more aggressive at the table. You have to expand on the starting hands you play. The usual concept of any tournament is to play tight, aggressive poker at the start. That is, only play the premium starting hands (top 10 starting hands) but play them aggressively.

Shorthanded, you can expand to playing the top 20 starting hands and being aggressive with them. But as always, remember position and knowing how the other players play is key. You don’t want to be raising under the gun with Qs Jd at the start of shorthanded play if there are 5 others to follow you.

The Start

If you have been playing a multi table tournament (MTT) then hopefully by the time you are down to around 6 or 7 players you will know the table dynamics. That is, you know roughly how the other players play – tight aggressive, loose aggressive etc…

You should be playing to position, as normal, but if you have a good hand in early position, you must push it. If you are holding Ah As or Ks Kd, DO NOT LIMP IN! At this stage of the game you want money in the pot. If it so happens that everyone folds to you, so what? If you had to limp in with Ah As, there’s a good chance that a few will come with you, holding mediocre hands. You do not want them to hit. You have got to be aggressive. The only time I would advocate limping in with a monster like Ah As or Ks Kd is on the button or in the blinds, as long as there have been no limpers before you. If you are in a battle of the blinds whilst holding Ah As you want the other player to hang himself. Let him get aggressive. Flat call any raises preflop and only re-raise if the flop looks scary… ie flush or straight draw possibilities. Remember though, slow playing huge hands pre-flop can be a dangerous ploy. You will hear of so many ‘cracked aces’ bad beat stories going around.

If you are in the blinds, you are hoping to see a flop if possible, no matter the hand. But that doesn’t mean call any raise. You have to work out what the pot odds are to see if its worthwhile. If you are holding 10d 9d in the big blind and its going to cost you $1000 to call and there’s $5500 in the pot then you are getting 5.5/1 on your investment. Not bad odds shorthanded! I would certainly call. However if there was only $2000 in the pot and its going to cost you $1000 to call then its a fold.

Don’t go overboard with you aggression. Remember that if you are up against any half decent players, they will be watching you… taking notes on you… waiting for the moment where they can challenge you and relieve you of your chips. Being overly aggressive – with it paying off for you – can breed overconfidence, or an arrogance that could prove costly in a single hand later on. Always watch the other players. If they deviate from the way thay have been playing up to that point, be prepared for them having some kind of hand. Unless of course, you are holding the nuts!

As more players drop out of the game, you must be prepared to expand your starting hands. With only 3 or 4 players left Ac 7s, Kd 9hQc 10h or similar can be played quite easily. At this stage, almost any ace should be raised. Chances are that if you are holding an ace, your opponents are msot likely not. If you raise with say Ac 9s and are re-raised,  don’t do anything silly. A 9 is not a hand for calling an all-in, even at this stage. Lay it down and wait for a better hand.

In summary, playing shorthanded requires controlled aggression. You want to try to bully the table, but don’t go overboard. Constantly re-evaluate the players at the table, and always use your position at the table to your advantage.

Next time out, I’ll talk about the continuation bet and the information bet and how best to use them.


Poker on the backburner

September 13, 2007

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Bonjourrr, you cheese eatin’ surrender monkeys.

It’s the day after one of the biggest upsets in world football. This glorious little country of mine has just woken up to find out it wasn’t a dream after all. After a night of huge drama on the field, and no doubt one of the biggest drinking session ever seen in Paris, Scottish football fans (aka The Tartan Army) are waking up to the fact that Scotland beat France 1-0 in their own back yard!

celebration

Yes, the cheese eating surrender monkeys – world cup finalists only 14 months ago – were outfought in the Parc de Princes, in what was only the 2nd qualifying game they have lost in over nine years. And who did they lose the 1st qualifying game to? Yep… you got it….. SCOTLAND!

To beat France in Glasgow last year was a huge achievement, considering how much quality they have in their side. But to do the double over them, and especially on their home turf is unbelievable. There is not many football teams can say that they have beaten France – home and away – in the last 20 years at least. But the bravehearts of Scotland can.

I will admit that France had the majority of possesion, but football is all about scoring goals – and they couldn’t do it! Scotland had only around 3 shots on goal and scored with one of them – a belting drive from easily 35 yards from James McFadden. France huffed and puffed but just could not break the Scots down.

Doh!

The win puts Scotland at the top of their group, with Italy in 2nd (yes… the World Champions!), France in 3rd and Ukraine in 4th (World Cup quarter finalists). After the groups had been drawn it looked very unlikely that Scotland would get anywhere near the top of this group – at any stage of the qualifying rounds. Now though, there is a chance that we could win the group outright and compound either France or Italy to failing to qualify for the Euro championships next year.

There’s no doubt about it. Last nights victory is the best result in Scottish international football history. I mean, to beat England after they had won the World Cup back in the sixties was fantastic, but the game didn’t mean anything as such. That was just for bragging rights. But this game DOES mean something. We are trying to qualify for a major championships for the first time in ten years, and now we won’t have a better chance to do it. Three games left to play, two of them at home to the Ukraine and Italy. The other is away to Georgia. Two wins and a draw would be enough to see us through. And after last nights heroics, we have every chance of doing it.

Here’s hoping the team can keep their feet on the gound and continue to upset the odds in the coming months.

Onto Poker, and nothing really to talk about. I’ve steadily been losing money at Absolute. Main reason for this is that I still don’t have the va-va-voom for the game. So basically I shouldn’t have been playing in the first place as I just end up pissing money down the drain.

I’m hoping that the forums annual meet-up on the 21st of this month will maybe get me back into gear. I’m looking forward to meting up with those from last year, and those who will be making it for the first time, especially Blagz and Gotmewrong.

So in the run up to the meet, I’m only going to play one or two games – but only if I’m in the mood. Any 2nd thoughts and I will close down the poker sites. I’m not wanting to waste any more money.

This will probably be my last post until after the meet, but I will be back to give a review of what went on/winners/losers etc..

See ya soon!


Online v Live?

September 4, 2007

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After reading Svcmgr’s most recent blog, it got me into thinking about playing live games, and how I never seem to do any good at them. So, I’m hoping, with the help of you, my lovely readers, that you can give me some advice.

Now here’s my problem. Online, I play pretty well – most of the time. I can sit and wait for the hands to come along. I have no problem calling pre-flop raises. I can generally get a good read on my fellow players at the virtual table after a round or two of hands. In a live game, I can still get quite a good read on players, but everything else goes haywire.

I find that I won’t call raises – even though I know that the raiser is probably holding a mediocre hand  Basically, I’m too timid in live games. It all results in me getting shortstacked with an eventual all-in situation in which I invariably lose to rubbish hands. The point being that the player holding the rubbish hand has me well outchipped and can afford to gamble.

So, dear readers, please give me your thoughts. I’ve identified my biggest problem in live games but still can’t combat it. Anyone got any advice?

I will add that the majority of games at the casino are rebuy tournies. I normally play the £10 buy-in games ($20) and budget for no more than 2 rebuys. I’m basically frittering away £30 ($60) every time I visit the casino.

With the Pokerchipsquad meet coming up in a couple of weeks time, I need all the help I can get…..