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Thursday, 29 September 2011

More than just Texas Holdem....

I know the main focus of this blog is No Limit Hold'em but I have recently grown fond of the other, older variations of poker. In the early years of the game, the preferred form of the game was 7 card STUD. A player receives 7 cards 4 of which are open for the table to see, and 3 are face down.
One of my favourites, because of its fast pace and hand strengths is Omaha this is split into Hi and Hi/Lo... Hi being the best hand wins and Lo where the worst possible hand.
This including Hold'em have 3 limits: Pot limit, fix limit and No Limit. Furthermore, the same hand hierarchy is used.

However, there are other variations of the game that use a different form of hand hierarchy. Example being 'Razz', a player receives 7 cards and needs to make the lowest possible hand A,2,3,4 being the best possible hand. This form of the game much like stud a player receives 7cards four of which are face up.

A very similar version of Razz, Badugi, which is a Chinese game also consists of 4 cards and drawing rounds. However the its abit more difficult than Razz becoz the four cards need to be of different suit. Example: Ac.2s.3h.4d. I have really grown to enjoy the challenge and placed 180/4000 in a freeroll on Pokerstars a few nights ago.

The reason I learnt how to play all these different variations is because I read some where that it is important to be able to participate in more than just NLH in the WSOP. An event that I'm focusing on is H.O.R.S.E (holdem, omaha hi/lo, razz, stud and holdem). Owing to the fact that it tests a players skill in all four variations as well as the ability to adjust between required styles.

Professional players like Phil Hellmuth play in all these events at the WSOP. In his book, Play like the Pros he explains strategies for all forms of the game...
So maybe shuffle up and deal a new variation at your next poker night!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

WCOOP 2011

Even though I never got the opportunity to participate in the series of tournaments of all variations, I watched ever one of them, I followed my felt idol Daniel Negreanu mailto:%7B@KidPoker}. The man is a legend live and online and he proved it this year. He managed to cash 15times over the 62 tournaments. (He never played in all of them obviously). I have him on twitter as well, reading his tweets kept me updated on what was happening while I wasn't near a PC.

Negreanus results:
768 WCOOP-03: $215 NL Hold'em
107 WCOOP-06: $215+R NL Hold'em
72 WCOOP-08: $215 Triple Stud
89 WCOOP-11: $320 NL Hold'em
362 WCOOP-14: $265 NL Hold'em
62 WCOOP-25: $215 PL Omaha
95 WCOOP-30: $530 NL Hold'em
4 WCOOP-41: $10,300 NL Hold'em
17 WCOOP-44: $320 NL Hold'em
23 WCOOP-50: $215 NL Hold'em
21 WCOOP-51: $320 PL Omaha H/L
104 WCOOP-52: $320 NL Hold'em
34 WCOOP-53: $530+R NL Hold'em
183 WCOOP-60: $215 NL Hold'em
5 WCOOP-61: $10,300 8-Game

The World Championship of Online Poker was established in 2002 and attracts large numbers of players from all over the world, much more than a Live tournament could because this is from the convenience of your own space. It was interesting to see that despite the online poker laws passed in the USA there were still many US players.
I would really like to be involved in the tournaments next year, as i have learnt a lot from observing. Mainly that even though some of these players are seasoned professionals they are not immune to fatigue and mistakes. Some of the tournaments are over 10 hours long.
*Now that is called grinding
Players like 2010 WSOP winner, Johnathan Duhamel. played from the time they woke up till late at night, non stop online poker, now that is work.
Important things to take into consideration when playing these marathon long tournaments is that its important to stay hydrated and fed snacking and several cups of coffee will keep the body and mind active enough to keep focus.
In conclusion, here are a few tips on how to be successful in big online tournaments: Use all the online statistics that are available, with it there are stats on every opponent online what tournaments they play, how often even how many flops they generally see. In addition while playing an event continuous NOTE making will make decision easier. History sometimes becomes habit...

I will be trying to participate in way more big online poker events rather than small cash games. Struggling to find rhythm in online cash games. I am also targeting a recently published book by  Bertrand Grospellier (ELKY), Raiser's Edge as it focus on advanced tournament strategies.

Until next time - Keep up the Grind!!!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Grinding till the river*

The latest word that's been widely used amongst my poker playing friends is "grind". Tonight I tried it and it all most paid! I was invited to the weekly high stakes poker night. There was a 8 seated table... Started the night off dry, card dead. Could even hit the flop. So I stuck it out for the 1st hour n a bit... Till I came down to about R75. Got K5 suited and pushed! Hit the board hard, full house 5s over Ks (triple up)...
I tried to keep it tight, until I wobbled down to R140 got pocket 5s and pushed. 4callers hit a set on the flop!!!
*You can see grinding was working out too well for me, I decided to loosen up, go big or go home... I made a few solid bluffs and big raises with bottom n middle pairs, it paid off managed to expand to about R800...
-then I get dealt JJ. Raise preflop. Board 7 9 Q... Bet on flop (one caller), turn 3. Push all in. He folds... Have about R1400!

Now this is where it gets intense... I go on a card hot streak: QQ, AK, 10s all winning preflop. Takes me 2 about R2100... I get Ac8d I raise. Two callers, including big stack. Flop comes [Kd 4d As]... He bets R200. I push the remaining R1400 all in. Other player gets out the way! Big stack tanks for 5minutes. And makes the call with (5d3d). Turn 6h. Rivers a diamond. Pot was roughly 4k...
-> Insane! I am still replaying the hand in my head... I couldn't of played it any other way. Yes, maybe I could of kept it cheap with my Ace. But that allows him 2 wait for the Diamond, where as now I made him earn it... (He had about 11outs including the straight draw). I still feel that was a sick call...

I consulted the hand with a few poker colleagues and they agree I did all I could... Will have to wait a while before I can take some revenge.
He had about 40% chance on the flop though.

However, tonight reminded me an important lesson. Even if you are card dead for hours, the cards will come in dozens eventually. Stay positive n be patient.

Anyway, hopefully I can sleep and the hand doesn't haunt me tonight. I will catch you on the flop side!!

Thursday, 1 September 2011

In The Zone

I havent been playing much poker because of University, but this week was my vacation and I wanted to get as much play time in as possible. Tuesday I decided to purchase some online credit and spend the evening playing online poker.
> Started off like a house on fire, it felt as if I couldn't lose a hand. The cards were coming hard and fast, so fast that I can't even call my style of play TIGHT. I sat down with a R50 on the R1/R2 table. After about an hour of play I had R300, after an hour and a half R500.
*I experienced something that I've never even witnessed before. I get KK on the button two players push ALL IN preflop, the pot is about R400!! so I send R200 of my stack both players flip over JJ (drawing dead!)....
By the end of the evening I had about R750. Unfortunately, being greedy and a tad out of control I had set a target of R1000 for the day. As I'm sure you already guessed I crashed it all. Made a ridiculous strategic mistake in that i move to the R20/R40 table and got bullied by players with over R3000 in front of them.

My confidence took a bit of a hammering, but I kept positive and erased the negative part of the evening from memory. Then, last night I decided to go with two Buddy's to the casino. Sitting at the R10/R20 table with a R1000. The players that a casino poker table attract is very diverse and require a lot of skill if one is to be successful in the long run.
- My table  had a girl on my right that from what I could observed was a regular and played a pretty tight style. There was a serious guy next to me, a player that has a belief ACEs hold up 100% of the time. (they don't) He was pretty lose though. Then two elderly guys one super tight named Paul, and Mike, Mike was lose and loved throwing money into the middle - by the end of the night his name was 9.5 off suit. Mid way through the session a seasoned PRO, an Englishman, I really wish I got his name but I have seen him many a time on TV. And then my two friends.

The night never started that great, never got any hands and when I did I never hit the board or a flush or straight draw was on deck. My R1000 quickly depleted to R200 where I was the short stack at the table. A brave push on the Straight draw with 10.9 off suit landed on the turn - I doubled up and it started the momentum!
There were so many hands that I got involved in, too many to recall because I treated each hand as a separate one so as not to tilt when the run of good cards dried up.
There were two hands however that I will discuss: First, I straddled (UTG) and received [Qd.3c] three callers but once the action got to me I bumped it up 3x POT SIZE. Only one caller the English pro! Flop comes [Qs.Ad.7c], he checks I bet 1/2 pot size. He raises to pot size. I push ALL IN. Roughly R700 on top. After a long tank he folds. And shows me [Q.5]. He was beating me, and after I showed him my hand his response was "You have a quite a bag of tricks up your sleeve".
-That hand was both good and bad, in that my table appearance loosened up making my opponents cautious and more aggressive when they up against me.

The final hand I was involved in, I receive [9c.9s] in early position and bump the action to 11x BB (R220). one caller! Paul, the super tight player. the flop comes down [10s.10d.5s] I bet R300 and get re-raised to R700. I considered the flat call but I decide its all or nothing and Re-Raise ALL IN to about R2000 and odd. Paul tanks for about 5minutes before laying down JJ face up.
The table including the pro was pretty impressed with the way I built back up from R200 all the way to R4400...