Friday, March 12, 2010

Well this is my last blog for now. After 14 days and over $4000 in cash its time to call it a day for now.

So what have I learnt from this social experiment in playing poker under the circumstances I have come across here in Florida where gambling is restricted to a $100 buy-in, pot-limit is unheard of and once you go into the $5/$10 game you may as well be playing in a $100 raffle every hand you play?

Well for one thing the standard of play IS poor. Unfortunately for me I couldn't adapt to seeing players play 8-3 offsuit and winning the pot when the trip 3's hit the river after my entire stack had crossed the line with Q-Q on the turn.

The $1/$2 is too passive for me, especially during the day when OAP's from across mid Florida all converge with their $10 slot voucher. They're happy to buy-in for $50 and sit and wait for a hand then call you all the way with it. They never raise and you can't read them! In the evening the game does liven up a bit when the college kids, direct from classes, come in and fill the tables. Perhaps my mistake was not to play them as much as I should have but in the 14 days I played that's not the way it turned out!

The $2/$5 was lively and played what I perceived to be correct. The only problem was that the $100 max buy-in meant that many more players were determined to see the river having paid $20 for the flop then another $50 for the turn. Hell another $30 wasn't going to put them off. Once you had a big stack you could make the turn bet $100 to see them off but not with only $100 to start with. It was in this game I did my brains.

The $300 I spent in the $5/$10 game was more for an education than anything else as the players that had been established there for several hours simply called anything the short stacks threw at them and more often than not ended up winning. Nothing to be done really!

Tournaments played as tournaments play the world over so no problems with them.

The $2/$4 Omaha Hi-Lo was action packed and if you could scoop a couple of 'KILL' pots you could be set for the day but it was a grind and as the house took $5 a pot you know there was only going to be one winner!

Gambling in Florida is a bit of a mess. Thirty feet from the poker tables you could play $5000 a hand in blackjack and bet $45 a spin in a slot machine but when it comes to poker the best you can do is pull a Benjamin out and pray.

There's no doubt I'll be back to Tampa. Next time I'll bring $10,000 and plan to stay for 4 weeks (at least). Stay tuned. I may be beaten up this time but it won't be long before I continue this blog.....!!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I think the result of the $240 tournament I played in last night says it all about my luck these past 2 weeks here in Tampa.

There were 60 runners paying 10 and with a first prize of $4000 up for grabs. With 7500 points to start with and blind levels at 25 mins there was plenty of time to get lucky or otherwise. I crept up to 12k without much of a bother but then lost a chuky pot trying to get cute with a straight draw that didn't make it and I was back down to 7k.

At the 300/600 level it was pretty much get lucky or leave and I got lucky when first I hit trip 10's against A-A and then took down a 30k pot with an all-in A-J v A-10.

With 14 left I looked set for the final table but then came the hand that I couldn't get away from and it was
to prove the end of my tournament.

I held A-Q in LP and with blinds at 1k/2k I raised to 6k. The SB flat called and there was two of us for the flop which came a tasty looking Q-6-4. The SB checked and I immediately bet out 10k in order to close down the hand. Instead of that the SB went all-in for 18k. I'm committed to the hand so am forced to call for my chips which left me 4k. He flips K-K!!

I couldn't improve and was out shortly after with A-5 against 7-7. Typical of the week I'd say!

In the cash game prior to the tournament I lost a further $300 bringing my daily loss to $560.

On Thursday I lost $240 playing $2/$4 Omahi Hi-Lo all day.

After some thought I've decided to head home on Saturday with my tail between my legs!

I'll write one more blog entry before I leave but this isn't the way I wanted things to go!

Start Bank = $2160
Win / Loss Wed/Thurs = -$800
Bank now = $1360

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I'm close to the end!

Another piss-poor day, this time in the $1/$2 game, where once again my 'running' could be said to be less than fantastic.

I mentioned in a previous post that the $1/$2 game was full of old folk who were just there on a day out. These folk don't like to bet their hands and will quite happily just sit and call you all day long while you pile into the betting.

Holding As-Ks in LP I raised to $12 and got 2 callers. The flop came a great looking Kc-10s-4s. Its checked to me and I bet out $25. Two callers again. ??????? The turn is the 6h (not the worst card in the world eh?) Again its checked to me. I bet $50. Again two callers. At this point I'm seriously concerned but wake up a bit when the Ah falls on the river. The first player in line checks but the 2nd guy in line goes all-n for around $85. Of course I call, as does the other guy. The cards are flipped. Player A has 4-4 for 3 4's whilst the bettor after the river card shows 10-10 for 3 10's. Grrrrrrrrrr!!

So that's another $150 peed away all because these old folk wouldn't bet out and at least give me a CHANCE to think about what they had. Whether that's great play or not I don't know but with a flush AND straight draw after the flop quite visible you'd have thought they may have at least the sense to drive out any opposition!

And that's the problem I found in the $1/$2 game. Players with BIG hands just never bet them. The inexperienced players just sat on them and called the aggressor (i.e me) and more often that not were picking up my chips in the process.

So I flushed another $500 down the loo and its almost the end as I have to quit before my sanity goes!

I don't consider myself a bad player. I don't think that I've done MUCH wrong in the way I've played these games over the past 11 days. I just feel as though anything that could go wrong HAS gone wrong. The $2/$5 game plays right, as far as I'm concerned, but the element of running good has been absent from my game these past two weeks. The $1/$2 game is a total minefield and you have to accept that its more a calling game than a raising one whilst you can't make any money at all in the $2/$4 limit games as the rake of upto $5 a pot just gives you no room for error. The $2/$4 Omaha Hi-Lo game at least gives you a chance to make some money as it offers a KILL of a $5 round.

The Hard Rock has a $240 tournament tonight (Wed) with a guaranteed prize pool of $10,000. I'm going to play in that and then make a decision after that as to whether my great adventure in grinding is about to come to a premature end.

Start Bank = $2660
Win / Loss Tues = -$500
Bank now = $2160

Monday, March 08, 2010

After the debacle that was Friday & Saturday I decided that enough was enough, for the time being, and try and play a game that didn't involve risking my entire stack every hand. The game I sat down to might surprise you but over a 15 hour session on Sunday I actually managed to eek out a $300 win from it.

The game...the $2/$4 Limit Omaha Hi-Lo. (with a Kill)

The 'Kill' comes in when any individual player in the game scoops both high & low in the hand. In that instant the winner of the pot must compulsory post  a $5 bet and the subsequent hand is played out as a $5 game with no 'raise' on either the turn or river although you can raise the initial $5 bet.

Anyway this game proved to be very theraputic indeed and the sight of my stack being under no pressure whatsoever at ANY stage of the game was a great feeling and provided me with some rest bite from the slog that had been the previous few days of rape and pillage of my money!

Today I played the same game for a nine hour session and ended up losing $100 for the day.

I have until Thursday AM to decide whether or not to continue onto the next phase of this attempt at a 90 day grind and I have three days till then to find some sort of pointer as to whether or not this is achievable.

Maybe the way forward is to drop into the $1/$2 NL game and see how we get on there. It'll be some time before I step back into the $2/$5 game...thats for sure!!

Start Bank = $2460
Win / Loss Sun/Mon = +200
Bank now = $2660

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Its so frustrating!

Friday I sat for almost 16 hours playing poker and after all of that I finish the day $300 down.

I won't try and navigate you through the day only to say I just cannot get a handle on how things are played here to the point that I'm realising that it may be an impossible dream of mine to play poker, and make it pay, in the kind of environment I'm in.

Players have absolutely no respect for the $100 buy-in. If they have a semi sort of hand that hits bottom pair on the flop then they'll stay with it in the hope that it may improve. After all they called the first $30 raise and there's now all that money in the pot and its only gonna cost them another $70 to win a $400 pot!

I'm happy to see that my A-Ks gets 5 callers for $30 each but I'm not happy to see a flop of 8-9-10. I'm happy to get 3 callers for $50 each with me holding K-K but I'm not happy to see that dam Ace on the flop where there's an instant bet from across the table AND a call before it gets back to me. The winner of THAT particular pot showed A-5!! Dum dum!

But if I thought Friday was bad then Saturday was a nightmare!

I always look forward to heading in through the front doors and taking my seat at the table.

I've abandoned the $1/$2 tables as they're full of old grannies who see a $6 raise-it-up bet as a serious dent on they're pension in front of them so won't even bother to call so your good cards go to waste in that game. At least in the $2/$5 game they'll numbers!

Anyway what I experienced today could only be described as the WORST poker playing day of my life so far. Never have I been involved in so many outdraws, suck-outs, bad-luck and piss poor cards as I experienced today.

If I had Q-Q the guy to my left had A-A. If I had K-K the guy across the table hit a set on the flop. If I had a straight on the flop the guy across the table would make a flush on the river. If I had a set then the guy across the table would make the straight on the river. If I had A-K and make a $75 bet I'd get 2 callers and one of my opponents would make bottom pair and win. And so it went.

I lost 2 $500 'lots', one by 1pm and the other by 8pm. My starting stack NEVER went above $200 and I may have well stood there with a sign asking people to belt me round the chops with a beat-up banjo for all the pain I took during the day. Indeed after losing my A-K to 6-4 o/s, after a $75 opening raise, I asked the guy if I stood on the table would he like to kick my goolies as I was losing the will to live. The table laughed...I didn't!

And so I retired for the day. I'm battered and bruised and my big dreams of success are now in tatters. I'm gonna take it easy tomorrow and play in the $2/$4 Omaha Hi-Lo game. At least there a hundred bucks should keep me amused for hours!

Start Bank = $3760
Win / Loss Fri/Sat = -$1300
Bank now = $2460

Thursday, March 04, 2010

On Wed I sampled the delights of all the games on offer. In the space of a 16 hour session from 8am through to midnight I played for 5 hours in the $1 / $2 game for a nett loss of $150. I played for 6 hours in the $2/$5 game for a nett loss of $50 and I tried the $5/$10 game for a couple of hours where I lost my 3 buy-ins in ways which showed that it was not a good idea to join an established game where the remainder of the players were all sat with $500-$800 in front of them to start with. You live & learn!

There is a vastness in difference in how each of the 3 games plays.

In the $1/$2 the betting will go...$1...$2....raise to $ call.

Flop. (SB)Check...(BB) $

Turn. Bet $

River. Bet $50...Raise $ Turn them over!

In the $2/$5 the betting will go...$2...$5...straddle $ to $ call.

Flop. (SB)Check...(BB) $

Turn. Bet $100. Raise to $200. Call.

River. Check. Bet $100. Call. Turn them over!

In the $5/$10 the betting will go...$5...$10...straddle $20...pass...pass....raise to $50...pass....pass..(SB)pass...(BB) pass. (Straddle) Call.

Flop. Straddle(check). Bet $200. Fold.

I've been asked to comment on the $100 rule. Here now follows the actual STATE law showing the rule.

The cardroom operator may limit the amount wagered in any game or series of games, but the maximum bet may not exceed $5 in value. There may not be more than three raises in any round of betting. The fee charged by the cardroom for participation in the game shall not be included in the calculation of the limitation on the bet amount provided in this paragraph. However, a cardroom operator may conduct games of Texas Hold-em without a betting limit if the required player buy-in is no more than $100.

Tournaments are exempt from the above rule.

So I'm three days into my 'quest' to grind it out for 90 days. At the moment this isn't going to happen!

I have a day off today but will be playing full time from Friday through Monday. If I can't get my bankroll back to $5000 by Monday its going to be a tough choice as to whether to continue!

Start Bank = $4260

Win / Loss today = -$500
Bank now = $3760

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Its tough out in the land of sunshine! Firstly there ain't no sunshine at the mo and secondly there seems to be a distinct lack of hands going my way.

In at 7.30am this morning. Five tables were in operation but again I was forced to play the $2/$5 game as the $1/$2 had a long list for the one table running.

The 2-5 game is lively...there's no doubt about that and if you can string a few winning hands together then you can get up to $500, from a $100 start stack quite quickly. Of course if you're in these $200-$300 pots and not winning any then the opposite is true and you have to rebuy quite a lot as your chips don't last too long in this kind of environment!

I can always find excuses for losing and today I lost the $500 budget.

From tomorrow I'm trying a different strategy and that'll involve going in later, when more tables are running, and starting out in the $1/$2 games where the action will be a little less frenetic I feel.

Anyway two days down and not so successful so far!

Start Bank = $4760
Win / Loss today = -$500
Bank now = $4260