24 March 2010

Poker on the Road

I like to visit my mother-in-law. She lives in a small town of 40 some people called Helmer along Idaho State Highway 8. Three miles to the west is Deary with a population of around 300. But anything resembling a chain store is simply non-existent. Certainly Helmer has a very fine cafe with, and I'm going to sound bias here, the best damned hamburgers anywhere. My mother-in-law owns the place and I tend to gain about 5 pounds of blubber every week I'm there. Moscow or Lewiston are roughly 30 and 45 minutes away, respectively. Certainly these cities have "modern conveniences" and chain outlets, but there is something to small town life that is so appealing and comforting....as long as I can get into my non-smalltown comfort zone.

You see, I like playing poker. But in Idaho? I can go to an Indian Casino, but for some reason they don't spread poker. Oh, they'll do slots and weird table games [plus a few automated blackjack tables], but no poker with the exception of "for fun" games. So the internet is my life-line when up here to real for money poker.

The problem had always been, however, the geographic location of my mother-in-laws town and home. Nestled between two hills with satellite towers, Helmer was excluded from both as neither tower has line of sight to Helmer and neither overlap Helmer. For the longest time, the populace of Helmer were truly stuck in the early 20th century. They'd manage the big 3 stations on television as well a few locals that would penetrate due to the modern convenience of rabbit ears. Internet was even more archaic up to about 2006. I was literally stuck with 14.4 connection over-the-telephone connecting speeds. Yeah. Not a single one of my poker sites would run on my laptop because of the constant speed interruptions. I'd had enough. In 2006 my wife and I convinced my mother-in-law to get DirectTV to come in and set up a node in Helmer. The people were ecstatic. The cafe is now the local internet hotspot. The townsfolk all have access to the service.

More importantly....I have access to high-speed internet. In fact I'm updating my blog from here now. I get poker in every day I want while here. Indeed, I can do my work at InternetTexasHoldem.com from here and I have been. Life is good here in Helmer.

Now, if I could only figure out a small-town solution to the badbeats I've been suffering....

08 March 2010

Staying Patient

Well, I wasn't exactly patient, but it paid off. So I had time Saturday to play some MTTs and SnGs. There is a real dearth for good low buy-in MTTs at Cake Poker, so rather playing above my comfort level [or playing a satellite for a Sunday MTT I couldn't play], I decided on sprinkling in some 30-person SnGs from Cake with the MTTs I played.

I decided on a Deepstack $2 and $2 rebuy on Full Tilt. I added an $8 Stars $5,000 Guarantee and $4 Stars $2,000 Guarantee. Finally, I loaded up a $1 Cake 30-person and settled into playing some poker. All I managed from this first burst of energy was a 73rd in the Deepstack for a $3.84 prize. Way behind. I managed two final tables in Cake $1 30-person SnGs, but that didn't pay as 8th and 10th is out of the money. This made me sick to my stomache. I hit the final table at 2/10 and 1/10 only to suffer some bad beats. I had loaded up a $6 Bounty 30-person SnG on Cake right after I busted the deepstack MTT on Full Tilt, finishing 13/30 with nary a bounty.

This is where I decided to chase my losses. I loaded up my final stab at winning by loading another $6 Bounty 30-person SnG on Cake. Nothing was going right. I don't know why, but I don't seem to collect bounties in KO MTTs. I managed, finally, to catch a shorter stack, and get a bounty, but I figured that was it, I'd lose $3.60. A combination of poor hands and aggressive opponents kept me from being able to make a move while I still had FE. The other telling blow was losing a pot to a shorter stack. Anyway, I was down to about 3 BB when I pushed K2, getting called in two places and managing to triple. I started rolling it up a bit and managed getting to the final table with a bit more than 22K which set me up with 11 BBs. I started getting dealt a few hands, but the key hand was flopping the nut flush versus a K-high flush. When we got 4-handed, I started pushing almost everything. I was so short with basically 5 BBs for 3-4 orbits. I get all-in vs the two chipleaders and triple. Then I hit two back-to-back hands against the former chip leader and move into a commanding position over the final two. 2nd player knocks out 3rd setting up the final see-saw battle heads-up. He was really awful. I could raise him off most anything and he either limped or folded his SB. I finish winning the SnG for $36 and 4 bounties. Overall, I only made a bit over $8, but it was gratifying.

Monday I played some cash games. Once again, I am struggling with NL4 at Cake. I managed to lose $7.16 [almost two buy-ins!]. Oddly enough, however, I did well enough at Poker Host [now on the Merge Network with Carbon Poker/PDC Poker]. I finished up $11.48 at a NL10 cash table. Overall win. Just wish I could figure out Cake.

06 March 2010

NL Cash Games

I've been running in opposite direction with Cake Poker and PokerStars. It's starting to even out. Early in the year when I switched from Fixed Limit to No Limit, I was doing quite well at Cake in NL4. I was, however, getting beaten up on a daily basis in my NL5 games at PokerStars. Of course, it's simply too small a sample size to draw any real conclusions.

I got tagged with a big 3 buy-in loss at Stars in early February which was the reason for my hideous ptBB/100, but Wednesday and Thursday say me bring my ptBB/100 to -0.59, which is a far cry from where it was.

On the Cake side of things, I had a big positive ptBB/100 with a nice 2 buy-in win in late January. A couple of average days and my ptBB/100 was running well. I'm settling into an average which has brought the curve down to a respectable 2.44 ptBB/100, but I'm not happy with this. If I can't utterly flog my competition at NL4, I'm going to have a very long process earning my bankroll up to higher NL levels.

As I stand now, I'll need to win another 10 buy-ins at NL5 at PokerStars to move up to the next level, which is NL10. If I do well enough in my tournaments and SnGs this week, I could be playing there next week. Of course, if I don poorly, it'll set me back. I've got a long way to go at Cake Poker, however, so I'm not in a hurry there.

Other than PokerStars, Full Tilt and Poker Host [Cake Poker Network] are nearing a bump up in levels.

02 March 2010

Close but no cigar

Fresh off of Sunday's success I managed to get some 180s and 90s played before bedtime. Don't know if I was just running bad or going for the chip accumulation and push to the final tables, but in 2 of the 180s I finished 19th. Call me bubble boy. I also managed a 20th in a 90. Overall loss of just over $25. I think I played well enough. Did have a hand in one of them that really blew my mind. I had AA and raised from UtG. Folded to some novice [literally, this was the 2nd MTT/SnG he played on the site] and he flats me. Flop comes KJ2, two diamonds. He checks and I C-bet to just a bit over pot. He pushes. This really has me wondering, but he's showing 80/26/Inf for stats after 54 hands. I call. He has J8o. You know how this story goes. Running diamonds and I'm history.Certainly he still has non-running-diamond outs, but c'mon now. Does it really have to get this stupid?

01 March 2010

SnGs and MTTs

Friday, February 26th - Multi-table SnGs. I played two $2 90-person SnGs and a 27-person SnG at PokerStars. I also played two $1 90-person SnGs at Full Tilt and a 30-person SnG at Cake. Didn't do well overall. Busted the bubble of one of the Full Tilt SnGs. I did manage a final table appearance at a 90-person PokerStars SnG, but finished in 9th when I ran QQ into AK and lost the flip. Overall lost $5.40 for my trouble.

Sunday, February 28th. Ah MTTs. Haven't played many lately. Last time I played was on 7th of February and I didn't do very well. What a difference a few weeks make. I managed a 6th place finish in a Full Tilt 180-person scheduled tournament for $79.20. I also managed a 179th place finish on PokerStars' $7,500 Guarantee, which was a bit more than $10. Finally, I decided to play a bit more poker after dinner and landed a 17th place finish in a 8-Max, $2,000 Guarantee tournament. I was so dead in this tournament at one point. I had roughly 25K in chips when I pushed with QQ and was called by AKo by a slightly shorter stack. He managed to outflip me and there I was saddled with 3500 chips and blinds of 800/1600 fast approaching. I doubled when K8 beat AK. Before I knew it I was up to around 100K at one time. Card dead in abundance, aggressive opponents led me down to around 10BBs. I get all-in on a J high flop with AJ versus QJ, but he hits a 3-out Q to knock me out. Easily could have made another final table without that beat there. Overall, I profited by $81.21, so I'm happy overall. Let's hope the next time I play some MTTs that I can hit some more final tables and actually win one.