Wednesday, June 29, 2011

June 28th Home Game Cash Game

Started the night off playing my friend Eric heads up we started with 10/20 blinds and each had 3,000 chips. Game played pretty standard ended at the 20/40 blinds when Eric raised to 120. I called with 5/6 and the flop came 4/7/8 giving me the nut straight. BINK. Turns out Eric had Aces and all the money went in on the flop and he was drawing dead by the turn.

The cash game itself ended up playing VERY SLOWLY. We were 8 handed which i feel is too many people for a group of novices because it takes out ALOT of the bluffing that you can do because you're playing full ring and the rate of play decreases significantly. So that was frustrating all in all I was about even. The two hands of the night was the great bluff that i ran at my friend Sai but he ended up calling my $11 on the end all in with top pair good kicker "just to see what i had" which was frustrating because he was only beating a bluff with the board texture. My other notable hand of the night was when my friend Travis (super nit/passive) player had aces and i called with Q/J board came Q/J/8 and he bink'd another 8 on the river to give him a better two pair. But other than that i grinded my stack back to even and finished the whole session up a few bucks!!!

Gonna look to get a backer on my action and possibly hit up Morongo tommorrow :)


photo of the day will be a bad beat ;) from an online poker hand i had a few months ago

Monday, June 27, 2011

Morongo June 26th... Getting back into the Swing of Things.

So it was my first trip back to Morongo after a little break due to finals and finishing up my year in college. I started the re-entry to poker playing home games with friends and after a few games i started crushing and winning 3-5x my buy in on several occasions consecutively. So when my friends Eric and Sai told me they were going to attend the Sunday Morongo poker tournament I decided it was a good time to get my cash game chops back into action. The downside was I didn't have alot of extra cash to gamble so i decided I'd "sell off" 50% of my action. What that means is that I'll be playing with other people's money and will take a percentage of the winnings as a "fee" for my time/expertise. What this does is lets me play my poker game without having to worry about losing as much. Funny enough my mom/sister jumped at the opportunity and booked me for 20% of the action and Sai bought the other 30% and i chip'd in $40 to my buy in of $100. I was pretty card dead the first 2 hours and was mainly just trying to survive. Had pocket 10's 3 times and EVERY time i raised with them i got 3bet and had to fold but was lucky enough each time to find out that my opponent had a bigger pocket pair so they were all good folds.

I slowly grinded up a little bit of money playing position and taking down some pots with bluffs when i ran into an interesting hand against one of the tight/aggressive players. I had pocket Jacks in the UTG +1 seat and opened to $12 with ~$125 in my stack. The Asian gentlemen raised to $35 and after much deliberation i decided to flat call. I Figured he could be raising me with A/Ksuited or possibly a slightly smaller pocket pair and wanted to have the betting lead/position and to isolate me. Anways the flop came k/k/x and i check'd it to him. He check'd it back and a queen came on the turn and he bet $40. His bet SCREAMED call me to me so i made the obvious fold against what was either trip kings/aces or Queens full.

I was on the short stack and ended up winning my flips to get myself back into the game. An interesting hand against another gambler it was a 6 way limp pot for $3 and i had ~$50ish left and i decided to shove to pick up the dead money from the BB and i ended up getting CALLED i had A/4 off suit and he had k/9 suited. The cards got run out and i ended up winning with ACE HIGH!!! And i heaved  a HEAVY sigh of relief! I was still in it!!! I ended up getting trippled up a few hands later by the ULTRA OMEGA Lagtard (loose aggressive player) when i hit top two against him and another fish when i had K/Q.

My BIG hand of the day involves a certain amount of "history" that me and this lagtard had developed during my time at the table. He had doubled me up but i had also made a HUGE bluff on him that got called i was at ~$220ish and had K/Jsuited and i opened from EP and he 3bet me to $30 as he had done countless times before. The board was 3 spades queen high. I checked and then he bet. I decided to mini-raise him to $40 total on the flop $140 going into the turn. A useless blank came on the turn and i checked. He check'd back and then on the river i fired $100 it was an ace and it fattened up his A/Q hand to top two and he called me off. Leaving me with $54 left.

Obviously that was a devastating hand. It really sucks running a big bluff and getting caught he had made a comment to me in the middle of the hand that i was "breathing a little hard? you have the flush?" so maybe he meta-game'd me into bluffing but looking into my live tells is DEFINITELY something i need to be careful of. I know I'm playing correctly and not playing scared but that doesn't stop my heart beat from racing any time I'm in a big pot!!!

The next hand happened after i worked my chip stack back up to ~$200. The lagtard had straddled and I limp called from middle position with a suited A/6. He ended up checking his straddle and we saw the flop 4 ways. The board came 10/5/6 2 diamonds. He lead for $15 and I called. A 9 came on the turn and he check'd it to me. I check'd it back and then a King came on the river to which he fired $35. I contemplated for a LONG TIME figuring ALOT of hands got their and even if he is bluffing he might be bluffing with the best hand because i can only beat a complete air ball. I looked over the action and looked at his bet sizing on the river and ended up making the call. Everyone at the table congratulated me on the sick call and you could tell he was disgusted/pissed.

Me UTG ~$255ish
Lagtard Small Blind ~$500
Fish Button ~120ish

I have A/Ko (o means off suit) UTG [realizing im playing ALOT of big pots out of position now that i'm writing this]. I raise to $12, fish calls, Lagtard pops it to $40, me and fish both call. Flop comes As/9s/8d the lagtard leads for $70 into the pot of $120. I Jam for the remaining around $200 i have left in my stack knowing at the moment i have the best hand and trying to pick up the money that's in the middle and trying to make it TOO expensive for them to pay for a draw. My WORST NIGHTMARE OCCURS. BOTH OF THEM CALL MY ALL IN. At this point I think I'm definitely behind and that one of them must have 2 pair or better or be on a huge combo draw. Luckily the turn was a king giving me top two pair and the river was a blank (the flush draw missed). And i scooped an over $600 pot. That feeling is SOOOOOOOOO good. The lagtard was SO tilted and I have to wonder if the fact that i hero called him the hand before that was the reason why he over called. Looking back the big failed bluf and the hero call we ran against each other was a great history of cards to have been played against two random strangers at Morongo over 4 hours. He DEFINITELY wasn't a fish either even if he may have been getting to aggressive because I've seen him playing before. But he may just be a gambling degenerate!

Morongo May 4th

Hey, going to start off with a good win i had about a month ago and a few hands that occurred during the 2 hours that i played. First off i started off with a $100 buy-in at a table that had quite a bit of money on it. Most people were in for $200-300. I proceeded to wait patiently and play my usual tight but aggressive style and took advantage of the fact that it was me and a gentlemen i had played with a few times before (regular who play's tight/passive that give my raises alot of respect). He had a pretty unlucky day and ended up losing a few buy-ins during my time at the table. I ended up getting pocket aces (the best hand preflop in No limit hold'em). I had been stealing blinds and thugging position and got my chip count up to $140ish. I was under the gun with pocket aces and opened the betting to $12. I got called in two spots the first was an African American lady who was their to gamble and by her own report had been playing for 10 hours straight. She had about $800 in front of her and was the tables chip leader. Another tight/passive player called so i figured he had a decent k/x type hand. I was first to act on the K/5/4 two spades board. This is a great flop for my hand but also a board that i need to put a sizeable bet into to charge people who are drawing against me. So with $38 dollars in the pot (including blinds -$2 for Morongo) i bet $33. BOTH PLAYERS CALLED. I knew the lady to my left was drawing because her range was so wide and i figured the other opponent was likely to have a strong king but since he was a passive player he wouldn't be raising. Another 5 came on the turn giving me a GREAT 2 pair. The only thing i really needed to be concerned about was if one of my opponents had called me with a 5 but given they both flat called i figured her for a draw and him for a good king. the pot now stood at $137 and i had around $100 left. I decided that I'd make them both pay dearly if they were going to draw against me so i shipped  in the rest of my chips on the turn and they BOTH CALLED. An off suit Queen hit the river and i took down the hand with Aces and 5's the best 2 pair.

The next big hand occurred when i had ~$290ish in my stack. It was a VERY peculiar situation. The villain i was going up against was in the UTG+1 seat and had decided to DOUBLE STRADDLE with ~$300. So the blinds for this hand were 1/3/6/12 before anyone had even seen their cards!!! Both middle position seats limp'd and i limp'd with pocket 8 I believe the flop was seen 5 ways. But preflop the double straddler didn't realize that his "double straddle" was considered a "blind raise" and that the action wouldn't go back to him like if he was just a single straddler. So he was quite pissed because he wanted to raise which is what most likely effected his poor decision making post flop. the board came j/8/6 rainbow and i couldn't have been happier. The Double straddler decided to lead into the other 4 players with A/J (top pair top kicker) and because of how excited he was I KNEW he was ready to commit the rest of his chips so i shoved the remained of my chips into the middle. The action went back around to him and the only cards I had to hope he didn't have was pocket Jacks. Sure enough he proudly shoved the rest of his chips into the middle and slammed down his cards face up and said "ACE JACK" to which i rolled over my cards and said "middle set" he was drawing dead on the turn and i couldn't have been happier and i received an over $700 pot

My Poker Background...

My name's Nate, i'm 20 years old, and i am a semi-professional poker player. I have a full time job selling vitamins at the GNC and attend CSUF and am studying to be a poly sci major. You may ask yourself what does being a "semi-pro poker player" entail? Too that i can simply respond that more often than not i end up making more money playing poker than i do sitting at the GNC getting a salary.

Poker for me started in December of 2009 with a bunch of friends shortly after realizing i could start playing poker online now (then) that i was 18. I became instantly attracted to the game and me and my friends started playing poker regularly together. We started off playing for change (literally) we would bring nickels/dimes/quarters and have a change game atleast 2 nights a week. Shortly after i moved out of my parents house and started hosting a slightly larger game 3-4 nights a week playing as much poker as I could get people over to play allowed. I did have a large pool of friends who liked to play but as with all home games eventually all the dead money(bad poker players) dries up.

Shortly after i moved to online poker. Working at the GNC (General Nutrition Center) affords me ALOT of time inbetween customers to be on my computer doing what ever i wanted. So i typically played poker. I realized that No limit Hold'em cash games online was really not the best place to make money because of the rough competition even at low levels so i started to play tournaments. Although my main bread winning game was Heads up Shoot outs. In which 4 people would buy in for a pre-determined amount of money and then simultaneously two one-on-one matches would take place and the winner of those matches would play each other and the winner would take the whole prize pool. I had over a 60% win rate at these games so it was extremely lucrative and allowed me to double my hourly salary while i was at work. I played the $5 buy in games and was making around $8-$10 on average.

The thing that got me "addicted" to poker was undoubtedly the first night I ever played poker at Morongo. Nothing in the world beats playing poker live. Winning a huge pot and raking in the chips and the endorphin rush you get is as good as sex. The first night i went to Morongo i remember sitting down with $100 in my hand ready to play with the big boys. Previously i had only ever played .10/.20 blinds with a $20 max buy in and at Morongo the game was 10x bigger with the blinds of $1/$3 with $40-$200 buy ins. Individual hands I can't remember exactly but what i do remember was sitting down next to an old guy who had his face on the Morongo poker room wall because he had won their big tournament... needless to say I was intimidated. Although fate decided that I was to be a life time lover of the game and treated me well with cards and i left Morongo with $540 most of which was getting a good pay out with pocket aces and WAY over paying for a flush-draw that ended up hitting.

Ever since then I've done all that I can to play as much poker as possible. Unfortunately, with online poker being taken down I've been forced to give up the easy action of being able to play poker when ever i want 24/7 and now play nothing but live poker. I've had a few great scores over the past few months and for the rest of the summer I'm going to keep the blog updated with interesting hands/situations that i get involved in at Morongo/Home cash games that me and my friends host. I plan on going to Morongo at least once a week either thursday/sunday. Feel free to put any poker questions you have in the comment box incase I use some poker lingo that you didn't understand and I'll be happy to answer your questions!

Good luck!(as long as you realize their is no such thing)