KKing David

Ruminations on poker

Archive for the month “December, 2012”

2012 — Year in Review

Here is a recap of my poker results for 2012.  While this is not entirely in keeping with the theme of this blog, which is predominantly about bad plays, here it is anyway, followed by a more detailed breakout of different games and levels:

Live poker

Casino trips

Cash games                         ($ 633.25)

Tournaments                              82.26

Private / home games

Cash games                               428.95

Tournaments                           345.00

Net win / (loss)                                           $ 222.96

Online poker (entirely on Bovada)

Cash games                       $ 8,634.26

Tournaments                         (281.27)

Bonuses                                     645.00

Net win / (loss)                                         $ 8,997.99

GRAND TOTAL                                                               $ 9,220.95

Not bad, if I do say so myself!

Let’s break this down a bit:

Casino cash games:

7 card stud, spread $1.00 – 5.00           ($ 21.00)

Omaha Hi-Lo $3/6 limit                                   17.00

Omaha Hi-Lo $4/8 limit                                103.00

Hold’em $2/4 limit                                          138.00

Hold’em $3/6 limit                                        (257.25)

Hold’em $1/2 and $1/3 no limit                  24.00

Hold’em $2/5 no limit                                 (637.00)

Total win / (loss)                                                               ($ 633.25)

The non-Hold’em games were from a very small sample size.  I cannot explain why I consistently won at $2/4 limit Hold’em and consistently lost at $3/6 limit as there was not a discernible difference in the quality of play, although I only played two sessions at $3/6 and seemed to catch bad breaks both times.    I did play a decent number of hours this year at $1/2 and $1/3 no limit tables (est. 20-25 hours) and covered the rake and tips but that’s about all.  At the $2/5 no limit level, the play is definitely tougher, and it didn’t help that I lost $500 on one hand when a dude posted a blind straddle only to discover he had pocket Aces.

Private / home cash games:

Low limit mixed games                                $ 75.70

Hold’em limit ($1/2 or lower)                     151.50

Hold’em NL ($0.50/1.00 or lower)         218.50

Net win / (loss)                                                                      $ 428.95

Yes, I like playing with my buddies.  Casual, relaxed, loose, fishy.  My kind of poker.

Private / home tournaments:                                   $ 335.00

My best payday was a private tournament in conjunction with a business conference that I attended.  One of the vendors had a private reception & dinner at a local country club, followed by a No Limit Hold’em tournament for their guests with a $50 buy-in.  Many of the participants were just terrible, and I finished 2nd out of 30 players for a $250 profit.  Otherwise some small cashes but nothing worthy of note (other than the bad beat story that was the initial post and motivation for starting this blog).

Casino tournaments:

Showboat – Atlantic City $65                    ($ 65.00)

Showboat – Atlantic City $65                       380.00

Showboat – Atlantic City $65                          77.26

Mardi Gras – Charleston WV $75               ( 75.00)

Mardi Gras – Charleston WV $235           ( 235.00)

Net win / (loss)                                                                 $ 82.26

Only five tournaments here.  At the Showboat, I made the final 5 out of 49 players and we agreed to chop the prize money, then on the following day finished 6th out of 60.  I played very well on the Atlantic City trip, but never felt in my element on the Mardi Gras trips in tournament play.  My best results seem to come when I play uber-tight and patient.  When I try to loosen up, the aggressive play seems to backfire, particularly in shorter tournaments where a single move backfiring is hard to recover from.

Online cash games:

7 card stud (various low limits)               ($ 71.54)

Omaha Hi-Lo (low limits)                                (33.27)

Omaha Hi-Lo (medium limits)                       20.87

Omaha Hi (medium pot limit)                    (194.20)

Hold’em (limit up to $0.10/0.25)                18.17

Hold’em (limit $0.25/0.50)                           46.66

Hold’em (limit $0.50/1.00)                           31.99

Hold’em (limit $1.00/2.00)                        (41.58)

Hold’em (limit $2.00/4.00)                     (151.50)

Hold’em (NL up to $0.05/0.10)                133.70

Hold’em (NL $0.10/0.25)                            158.55

Hold’em (NL $0.25/0.50)                         (123.70)

Hold’em (NL $0.50/1.00)                           298.84

Hold’em (NL $1.00/2.00)                       8,674.77

Hold’em (NL $2.00/4.00)                        (272.50)

Hold’em (NL $3.00/6.00)                          139.00

Net win / (loss)                                                                     $ 8,634.26

I opened the account in January with $100, and started out playing Limit Hold’em, Limit Omaha Hi-Lo and Limit Stud.  The first half of the year, both at casino trips and online, I just felt more comfortable playing limit poker, in large part for the perceived lower variance.

After a couple of frustrating months,  I switched almost exclusively to No Limit Hold’em, playing a minimum buy-in, short stack strategy for awhile.  My balance went up, then back down, and in mid-June I switched to a deep stack strategy and started always buying in at the table maximum.  Although under-bankrolled, I had a couple of very good initial sessions at the $1/2 level and eventually worked my way into a comfortable bankroll for this level and fairly consistent positive results (blog posts notwithstanding!).  Looking back at these results, I’m really surprised not to see greater loss at the $2/4 no limit level, because I suffered numerous memorable bad beats there.

Online tournaments:

Omaha (2 small events)                        ($ 1.00)

Hold’em (NL $11.00 & under)             (10.97)

Hold’em (NL $12 – 44)                            224.70

Hold’em (NL 45-60)                             (170.00)

Hold’em (NL $162 major)                  (324.00)

Total win / (loss)                                                                 ($ 281.27)

Only one really good tournament, where I won $369 in a $44 buy-in event.  I don’t recall the specifics but think I made the final table in a pretty good sized field.  I took 2 shots at Bovada’s Sunday Major, a $100K guaranteed event with a buy-in of $162, with no success there.  After May, I played very few tournaments, concentrating on the cash games once I began winning somewhat consistently and especially at the $1/2 NL level.

Final 2012 online year-to-date results:           + $ 8,997.99

Final 2012 live play year-to-date results:      + $     222.96

Manic Depression

Opening lines of Jimi Hendrix / Stevie Ray Vaughn song:

     Manic depression is touching my soul

     I know what I want, but I just don’t know how to go about gettin’ it.

I keep trying to move up to $2/4 NL.  Last night I found a full ring table, bought the max of $400 and promptly pissed away $200+ on the very first hand.  About 90 minutes of grinding later, I’m up to about $560 and get AA in UTG+2 position.  I raise to $12 and everybody folds to the BB, who 3-bets to $60.  He has the big stack at the table at $1,069 and has been very aggressive when getting involved and winning several big pots.

Whew!  Thought I might only win the blinds here.  While playing, I’ve also been watching part of a poker strategy video on DeucesCracked.com.  This particular series is on making non-standard plays as a way to extract more value.  This seems like a perfect spot, against an aggressive big-stacked opponent, to just flat call and let him fire more chips on the flop.

I call.

Flop ($123) – As Kd Js.  How sweet this is, flopping a set of Aces.  The only thing that could be ahead of me is QT, and that seems highly unlikely to make such a large pre-flop raise.  Hopefully, he has KK or JJ and I can double up here.

Villain bets $126 and I raise to $280.  He calls.  I have about $220 left, so it will be easy to get it in on the turn.  His calls suggests to me that he has a really big hand, and may think he’s ahead.  AK, KK and JJ seem most likely.  I don’t see how he could call this much with anything weaker, and still discount QT as it is just too weak for his pre-flop action.

Turn ($683) = 4s.  Spade flush draws?  The Ace of spades came out on the flop, so he doesn’t have any AsXs hands, with the most likely for his preflop action being AsKs.  What other suited combination could have re-popped pre-flop so hard?  Maaaaaybe KsQs, but that’s all.  No reason to change my plan.

He bets first and puts me all-in.  No reason to change my plan here.  I suppose he could have AxKs or KsKx, for  a nut flush re-draw on top of what he might consider to be an already made hand.  From his vantage point, KsKx would look like a complete monster hand and also would be consistent with the storyline since this hand started.  Otherwise, I have him crushed.  I quickly call.

The pot is now $1,121.  He turns over 8s2s.  OMFG.

(We pause for silent meditation.)




After a 10 minute break, I buy back in for another $400 and after an hour I’m up to $508.  Then I’m dealt KK while UTG.  In addition to the blinds, a new player has posted $4, so I raise to $18.  One player in middle position calls, then the next guy 3-bets to $52, then the button calls.  This is what I call “action.”

No more fancy non-standard plays for me.  This time, I 4-bet to $175.  That’ll show ’em.  The original caller quickly folds, the 3-bettor calls, then the dealer folds.  The villain has $205 remaining and I have him covered.

Flop ($427) – 2d Kd 5d.  All diamonds, but top set for me.  I like it!  No need to pussyfoot around here, so I ship it all in.  If he has a big diamond, he’ll have to pay to chase a flush.  He could have Ad Ax, and decided to call my 4-bet using the same non-standard play logic that I used in the hand above.  Or Qd Qx…

He calls and turns over Ad Qd.  WTF?

There’s another $837 pot, going, going, gone.

(More silence.)



Year-to-date online results:  + $8,718

Month-to-date online results:  – $201

Fancy Play Syndrome

Last night playing $2-4 NL online…

Five hands prior to this one, I had KK, raised to $14 and four players call (two behind me, plus the SB and BB), setting up a big multi-way pot.  The flop was 4h Tc As and the combination of a 5-way pot and Ace on the board just froze me.  The flop checked all around, as did the turn (3d, completing a Badugi board), and I start thinking I might win after all.

The river was 8d, everybody checked to the button who bet $42 (60% of pot) and I’m planning to call until the Small Blind check-raises all-in for about $300 more.  It seems quite silly and and obvious bluff for him to check 3 times, then bomb the pot this way, but I’m not about to find out, and fold.

So I’m a little bit steamed up.

Now 5 hands later, I get QQ in the cutoff.  UTG raises to $12.  I’m trying not to get into huge pre-flop wars with UTG raisers as their action represents great strength.  I consider raising to get more information, with the intent of folding to a 4-bet, but decide to flat call instead.  The BB squeezes to $50 and UTG folds.  (A “squeeze play” is a large re-raise following an initial raise and call, indicating great strength.  In Harrington on Hold’em (Volume II:  The Endgame), Dan Harrington describes a famous squeeze play bluff that worked for him at the final table of the World Series of Poker Main Event in 2004.  What makes this so effective is the early position player shows strength in raising, and the caller – if aware of Sklansky’s Gap Concept – also shows strength in calling.  An astute player would only re-raise with a monster hand, right?)  Now this is really awkward.  Does BB have a monster?  Is he squeezing with AK, as I’ve seen a lot of players do at this site?  Is he squeezing with something weak and I’m way ahead?

In a tournament I might shove all-in here, if I think the BB player is loose/aggressive enough to squeeze with AK or as a bluff.  But in cash games, I just don’t like bloating up the pot or getting it all-in with QQ.  I’ve already made that mistake many times, and need to learn from my mistakes, and the stacks are deep enough to play this out post-flop.

On the other hand, can I justify folding here?

Indecision is a killer at this game, and I decide to call.

Flop ($112) – Ac 9h 9c.  Ugh!  Another Ace high flop making my big pair extremely vulnerable.  If he was squeezing with AK, now I’m crushed.  But he checks and so do I.

Turn ($112) – Td.  BB bets $57.  I start to fold, then have a “better idea.”  (Danger Will Robinson.  Danger, danger!  You do not have a better idea!!!)  If he really had an Ace, he would have bet the flop, right?  So I decide to raise to $150.  After all of my reluctance to be the aggressor pre-flop, I can make it up and take down a nice pot here.  BB calls.

River ($412) – 6h.  BB checks.  I just don’t have a good read on him after his check/call on the turn.  If he is ahead and I shove, can I get a better hand to fold?  Methinks not.  If I am ahead, can I get a worse hand to call? Maybe JJ but I can’t think of anything else.  I check behind and he shows TT for a full house.

My fancy play on the turn only compounded my weak play pre-flop, burning up $200 in the process.

Year-to-date online results:  + $9,395

Month-to-date online results:  + $476

Anna Kournikova

This sequence came earlier today, at $1-2 NL Hold’em.

Hand #1

I am the Big Blind with 7d 4d.  Three players plus the SB all limp in, and I check.

Flop ($10) – Jh 5d Kd.  I have a weak flush draw.  The Small Blind check, I check, 2 more players check and the button in Seat 5 bets $6.  SB folds, I call, another player folds and Seat 2 (who will be the Villain in the next hand) check-raises to $20.  Seat 5 quickly calls and I decide there is a pretty good chance at least one of these guys has a better flush draw than mine.  No need to chase a draw here.  I fold.

Turn ($56) – Ac.  Seat 2 bets $10, and Seat 5 who has only $45 left raises to $26, leaving $19 behind.  That usually means he doesn’t need any fold equity.  Seat 2 calls.

River ($108) – 3s.  Seat 2 checks, Seat 5 bets his last $19 and Seat 2 calls.

Seat 2 – Ks 8h – that’s right, he check/raised on the flop with top pair and shitty kicker.

Seat 5 – Qs Td – he has the nut straight, confirming the reason for not raising all-in on the turn.  Nothing to worry about, be patient and get it all on the river.

Seat 5 wins $146 pot.

Hand #2

The very next hand.  After the previous hand, Seat 2 has $98 remaining.  He open raises to $20 from UTG+1, a huge overbet and sure sign of tilt.  Everybody folds to me in the Small Blind, with Ah Qs.

Anna Kournikova 2

Some of my friends and I refer to this combination as “Anna Kournikova.”  (I’m well aware that other players apply the Anna Kournikova label to AK, as those are the former tennis beauty’s initials.)  But we think AQ is a better fit for Anna Kournikova because, like the real person, it looks really good but never seems to win anything.

But in this case, I think the better play is to shove.  Seat 2 appears to be on tilt after losing the previous hand, which he played quite poorly, and I should be way ahead of his range and positive EV with this play.  I have him covered and shove.

He calls with As 5d.

Yippee!  I have him dominated, and even better when the flops comes 3s 2d Qh.

All I have to do is avoid a 4 making his gutshot straight draw, or running 5’s.  Sometimes this game is so easy!  Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!

The turn is 6h, and OMG here comes the 4s on the river, giving Seat 2 a straight and the $195 pot.

Hand #3

Just three hands later, I am in the Hijack seat with As 4s.  Seat 5 (winner of Hand #1 above) raises to $6.  Normally I might fold a suited Ace here, but I’m a bit tilted myself still and make the call.  SB also calls.

Flop ($20) – 6s Ts 9h.  I have a nut flush draw.  Seat 5 bets $20.  Still tilting, I shove for $70 more and SB quickly folds.  Seat 5 takes about two seconds to call, showing Js Jh.

The turn is the five of spades, completing my flush and I win a $198 pot.

In a span of 5 hands, I’ve lost half of my stack on a terrible Anna Kournikova beat, then won it right back.

Interestingly enough, the chips moved from Seat 2 to Seat 5, then from me to Seat 2, and the from Seat 5 back to me.  After this sequence, all 3 of us are pretty close to where we started.

Now, let’s play some poker!


Four Steps to Tilt

Here is a sequence from about 2 weeks ago, near the beginning of a $1,500 downswing for me where I was just running really bad.  My bluffs got called, my value bets induced folds, I misread my opponents, when I got it in with an edge they seemed to hit their draws, and so on.  It was ugly.

Hand #1

I’ve just joined this table ($1/2 NL) in the cutoff seat and posted the blind to start playing immediately.  My very first hand is Ac2c.  The player to my right raises to $7 over two limpers and I decide to call.  The first limper (Seat 1) has a very short stack of $10.85 and ships it all in from UTG+1.  The original raiser cannot re-raise since the all-in raise was only $3.85 which is less than his original raise of $5.  He calls, I call and the BB also calls.

Flop ($46) – 5h 6d 8s.  The original raiser (Seat 4) to my right bets $24, so I fold and the BB also folds.  Now the cards are exposed:

Seat 1:  Kc Jh – that’s right, he limp/shoved a short stack with Kojack offsuit.  Better make a note of this for future reference.

Seat 4:  Jc 9c – that’s right, with no side pot established, he blasted away on the flop and now finds himself dominated.  Better make a note of this for future reference.

Turn – 3h

River – 4c

Seat 1 wins the pot and quadruples his tiny stack.  Had Seat 4 just checked this down, realizing there is no reason to bet with his garbage in the absence of a side pot, I would have back-doored my way into a low straight and taken down this pot.  Dangit.

Hand #2

Two hands later, Seat 1 gets into another pot and shoves on the river, inducing a fold.  I was not involved, but make another note that he seems to be here to gamble, not necessarily to make money.  That’s good for me; I’m here to make money, not to gamble.  His stack is now up to $85.

Hand #3

Three more hands later, I get AA under-the-gun (i.e., immediate left of the Big Blind).  I’m not a big fan of limping in this position as a way of slow-playing my Aces, so I make a pot-sized raise to $7.   Seat 1 calls and the BB also calls.

Flop ($22) – Ts 9c 4h.  BB checks, I bet $11 and both players call.  What do I need to worry about here?  Sets of tens, nines, or fours, or perhaps T9 making 2-pair.  I don’t have a read on the Big Blind.

Turn ($55) – 4c.  Now I’m less worried about a set of fours; if someone had quads, I’m gonna lose!  Also no longer worried about T9 as the turn card gives me a stronger 2 pair.  BB checks again.  I bet half of the pot for  $27.50 and Seat one ships in his last $65.  That makes the pot $147.50 and it will cost me $37.50 to call.  I’m getting pot odds of 3.9 : 1.  That’s an easy call to make, especially given my observations about his play prior to this hand.

Seat 1:  Qc 2c – that’s right, he called a pre-flop raise from the UTG player with Queen-deuce suited, then called $11 more on the flop with … absolutely nothing, and now shoves on the turn with effectively no fold equity on a paired board with just a naked flush draw.  Wow-zer.  Gotta love this game.

Hero:  AA

River ($185) – 8c.  Seat 1 takes down the pot with his rivered flush.

I hate this game!

Hand #4

Two more hands later and I’m not directly involved in this one.  Seat 3 goes all-in pre-flop with a short stack of $18.40 following a limp by Seat 1, and the BB and Seat 1 both call.

Flop (54.50) – 4h Jd 5c.  BB bets $25, Seat 1 ships all in his stack which really should have been my stack dammit!!!) and BB snap calls.

BB:  Qc Qs

Seat 1:  Ah 9h – that’s right, another all-in raise with nothing.

Big Blind wins a $394.50 pot, and I’m just plain irritated to see my money moving around the table like this.

Hand #5

Three more hands later and Seat 1 has left the table… Although still irritated, I feel rational and stable.  I get Kc Th in a middle position.  UTG raises to $6 and I decide to call.  To be sure, this is a very loose call and I acknowledge that to myself at the time.  Broadway cards, but be careful.  The Big Blind also calls.

Flop ($18) – Kd 5d Jc.  I make top pair.  UTG leads out for $15.  Hmmm…  I need to be careful here because I could be easily dominated by AK or KQ, or even covered by AA or KK.  I decide to make the minimum raise to $30, to see where I stand and leaving $65 behind.  If re-raised, I must fold.  BB folds, and UTG fairly quickly shoves all-in and has me covered.


My face felt flush and a wave of emotion rushed through me.  My emotional intelligence book describes various feelings of anger, and they all hit at once:  FURIOUS, ENRAGED, OUTRAGED, BOILING, IRATE, SEETHING, LOATHSOME, BETRAYED and so on.

I’ve only been at this table less than 2 orbits, watched some horrible play, lost a bad beat, my chips are being casually passed around the table and the biggest fish just left.  Now I have top pair and I want to win this pot!

I call.  (Wait!  Why did I do that?  I had a plan, remember?  Raise/fold.  There is no way I’m going to be ahead here.  Grrr…)


Hero:  KT

The turn and river cards miss for me, and there goes the remainder of my $200 buyin.

Year-to-date online results:  + $8,755

Month-to-date online results:  – $164

Multi-barreling short-handed

This happened last night at a $2-4 no limit hold’em online table.  A new table was just formed and still playing short-handed while waiting for more players.  Right now there are 4 players.

Hero (me) in BB:  $286

Villain is UTG:  $405 (only been at the table a few hands, no information)

I am dealt 6-5 off suit.

V raise to $10 and both other players fold.

I hate being a wuss short handed, even though this is a clear fold.  I have two low cards and will be out of position for the entire hand.  Given my recent desire to be more disciplined about position, just FOLD.

But this short-handed, I tell myself, so V’s raise cannot be automatically assumed to mean strength.  Yes, he is under-the-gun.  But looked at differently, he is the cutoff, a prime blind-stealing position.

I call.

($22)  Flop is 2d 5h Qc.  Yay!  I caught a piece of it.

I lead out with a bet of $15 and V calls.  His call could indicate that he thinks my donk-bet (leading into the pre-flop raiser) is a feeble attempt to steal the pot.  Perhaps he has a pocket pair lower than QQ, such as 66-JJ, and isn’t ready to give up with just one overcard.  I like my chances of winning here by firing another barrel.

($52)  The turn is 3d.  I want to take this pot, and lead out with $40.  Plus, now I have a gutshot straight draw.  Any 6, 5 or 4 helps my hand.  Again V calls, not very quickly.

($132)  The river is 2s, pairing the board, but really this is inconsequential.  I think about giving up here, but now the pot has a decent amount of money in it, and I want it.  In fact, I think I deserve it for being bold enough to fire multiple barrels in this short-handed situation, and V has not fought back on any street.  So I bet $100.

V takes about 15 seconds and calls, showing QT off suit.  His very mediocre opening cards made top pair on the flop, and he could not, would not let go despite the medium kicker.

I lost… no make that spewed away $165 on this hand.

As the cockatoos said, “Some people never learn.”

Year-to-date online results:  +$9285

Month-to-date online results:  +$366

I was going to fold, until…

This hand occurred two nights ago playing $1-2 no limit hold’em online.

I am on the button with Qc Jc.  Great spot for suited, connecting Broadway cards.

Stack sizes are:

Villain 1 in middle position:  $74

Villain 2 in cutoff:   $252

Hero (me) on button :  $195

V1 limps in and V2 raises to $8.  Liking both my cards and my position, I call.  Note that in recent posts and readings on poker forums, I’ve become increasingly aware of the importance of position.  It is the numero uno factor!  Nevertheless, there is no need to bloat the pot with a 3-bet here.

Now V1 3-bets to $18.  This strongly suggests a hand like AA or KK, with an outside possibility of AK suited.  There aren’t many other options unless he is a very tricky player, which has not been demonstrated in the short time I’ve been at this table (less than a full orbit).

V2 calls, making the pot $47 and $10 more for me to call.  I’ll be last to act and these are awfully good pot odds, so I call.

(Pot = $57 before rake.)  The flop is Kc Ts 6h.  I have an open ended straight draw.

V1 quickly ships in his remaining $56.  Now I am nearly 100% sure he has AA.  This is a typical move by weaker players at this level, trying to slow play AA, then not sure how much to raise pre-flop and making it really too small because they don’t want to scare everyone away, then hitting the panic button on the flop.

I decide to fold, but it’s not my turn yet.

After tanking awhile, V2 calls.  Now the pot is $169 and it would cost $56 to call.  V1 is all-in so I would not be facing any more action from him.  V2 has me covered, with an effective amount of $125 more behind.  Hmmm… there are some implied odds here with V2.  IF I hit my straight and IF I got the rest of his chips in there, my $56 call here would actually win me a total of $169 + 125 more = $294. That is 5.25 : 1 in implied odds.

But I correctly note that V1’s AA blocks two of my outs for making a straight.  I really have just 6 outs, with 45 unknown cards.  That reduces to 6.5 : 1, clearly making a call a big mistake.

On the other hand, it sure would be nice to win that money sitting out there.

Don’t Call.   Don’t Call.   Don’t Call!   DON’T CALL YOU STUPID


I call.

The turn and river cards are blanks for me and V2 and I both check on each street.

V1 shows AA, and V2 shows QJ offsuit.  Dang, I never had any implied odds anyway, and never gave any thought to the possibility of him having the same draw that I had, despite his long pause before calling V1’s flop shove.

A side note:  yesterday I attended a 3/4 day long seminar on leadership and emotional intelligence.  In preparation I took an emotional intelligence assessment test, which provides scores on several scales for self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management.

Want to guess where my score was the lowest?  Self-management.

In this case, poor self-management cost my $56 bucks.

Year-to-date online results:  + $9,230

Month-to-date online results:  $311

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