How to handle the tool to your right and MANY other poker-related ramblings…

I’m writing this while on the poker table. Yes, I am still playing NL. Yes, I am still on my poker bonus whoring mission. And yes, I am going after yet another “Mr. 63%.” Yes, I just reloaded, as I too get the beat layed on me from time to time. Despite every effort on his behalf to rattle my cage, I am not tilting. Don’t get me wrong, I “needed” five minutes away from the table to regain my composure and reflect on what the hell just happened. That also opened up the seat immediately to his left, which to me is much better a position than all the way across the table, especially if I am looking to dismantle him piece by piece.

As I type this, I am dealt KK in the BB. Other people are gunning for this clown as well, so I have to keep this in mind. Half the table is tilting with his 23% preflop raise. He called me cleanly and we are heads up. I didn’t take him for nearly as much as I wanted. I want it all. I am sure after the last beat; he knows that I’m gunning for him. He knows everyone is.

I observed him over roughly 200 hands, raising and continuing, stealing, just running over the entire table. When I first sat down, I knew he was “that guy.” I have to wonder though; did simply knowing this, seeing him all-in on a board he completely missed with Ace-x have me on “tilt” of sorts? Did this fact alone impair my judgment, even if it was ever so slight? We’ll dive into “the hand” and “the comment” to see.

I am looking to pick my spot, and dealt jack-eight suited in the big blind. Once again, he is sitting all the way across the table at this time, and he throws in a min raise, which two people including myself call cleanly. The flop comes jack-three-five. If he is Ax, he has outs. He seemed to have a pattern of min raising with Ax with x>7, from what I was able to notice. I would later see that the 2x raise is Xx, with X>10 and x<7. The board “probably” hit him somehow, I think to myself as he throws out a pot bet. I have top pair, “ok” kicker, so I play ball with him. I raise into him. He re-raises me, which I have seen him do with virtually nothing. My judgment slightly impaired, I re-re-raise to all-in. I am confident I have the best hand. I do not think he has a jack, probably low pair and an over card to me. There is one heart on the board, so I have the possibility of runner-runner flush, I think to myself.

Well, the good news is that my read was somewhat correct, in that I did in fact have the best hand. He had a jack… and a six. I had a jack… and an eight. The six comes on the turn; he has two pair and tells me “I knew you were bluffing.” If I was not already tilting, that comment does the trick. I sign off, take a quick walk around the block, come back and sit next to him, calm… composed. I will get that money back. It does not need to come from him, but I will get it back.

The fact of the matter is that this hand “may” have been what some people consider a “bad beat.” I do not. I wanted him with the better hand, him calling down or pushing with the lesser. I got exactly what I wanted. The only regrets I have (and no, it was not that turn card either), is that I chose to make this play with “that hand,” combined with the way I played pre-flop (calling out of position, not representing strength).

In looking back, Jack eight suited is not really a “strong” hand. It is definitely not a top pair hand. Its better suited (no pun intended) for its connectivity and the ability to make a straight. Two pair, for that matter, can get a brotha’ in trouble if not careful. Heads up against a random hand, J8s is 54% to win preflop. Against his hand range for that min raise, it is a coin toss. However, I am 80% against my read post flop, assuming my read is dead on. Using “after the fact math,” something I do not condone, I am still roughly 80% on that board. Hand ranges are better to calculate more realistic results (which is why I do not buy into the after the fact computations showing who was ahead and using that as my “how could he call?” indicator).

Did I have the edge when I made this move? Absolutely. Would I have been better served to wait for a better opportunity, which included being in position and raising preflop? Damn right. Did I misplay from OOP? Probably.

I am still re-adjusting to the no limit game. For the most part, I have been successful. I seem to forget where I am at from time to time though. I have called once when I was card dead, and another time when I was dominated. Those two were the only costly “total mistakes” of note. The hand I just discussed was a mistake as well, but not as large of a mistake (just as costly). I have a lot of work to do during this NL project of mine. TPGK is not always good to go. Nor is TPTK all the time, depending on the pre-flop story told. I have to keep in mind that while limit is a game of exploiting slight edges, no limit is a game of doubling through your opposition. Hands that are “playable” in limit are not nearly as playable in no limit. The re-raise can easily put you in a “shit or get off the pot scenario,” as often a re-raise results in the opposing donk pushing all-in, instead of that dramatic and deliberate build-up in limit, where the three bet comes into play. Nope, fast forward to all-in.

As stated, in limit you push your slight edges. In no limit, you pick your spots. Yes, as we speak, the sticky tab is going on the monitor. Right on cue, “Mr. 63%” took a hike. I marked him and will play wherever he chooses to sit down. Another one sat down, however… to my left this time. He is apparently a Jack Black fan, as his name is one of the songs Jack’s band sings (read: the hero to nasty man).

Other ramblings, as promised…

Congrats goes out to CheckRayz member gary812 for taking down the May CheckRayz Challenge. Gary generated the most net revenue for the month of May at our featured rooms, thus he takes down a cool $100 from the Beer Guy. Thanks to everyone who participated in the challenge. Individual poker room winners and prizes will be announced within the next week.

On the calendar

Tonight at 10pm EDT,
Kiwi Poker is the stop for the CheckRayz Leaderboard Poker Tour, where we have one seat to the 10K guaranteed added to the prize pool. The buy-in for tonight’s event is $3+.30. Check back over the weekend, as I will have a special offer for Poker Pub readers regarding Kiwi Poker. This too will be part of the June CheckRayz Challenge.

Saturday at 5pm, the CheckRayz Leaderboard Poker Tour returns to the official tour sponsor,
River Belle Poker for a $1+.10, $50 added poker tournament. The tournament is located under private multi-table tournaments.

Passwords for both events are available on the CheckRayz Poker Tournament Schedule page.

CheckRayz Challenge

The first leg of the June CheckRayz Challenge has been announced. Rake 50 hands at .50/1 or higher at
Celeb Poker and qualify for the $500 freeroll poker tournament in July. This is an easy qualification process, with the opportunity to play for a sweet prize pool. Don’t be shy, download, deposit and play today. Members of CheckRayz, who download through my link are also eligible for a special 250% first time deposit bonus, as opposed to the normal 50% bonus Celeb are currently offering. Please note, only those who have downloaded through me and met the play requirements will be eligible for the $500 freeroll.

As mentioned, there will be multiple legs in the June CheckRayz Challenge. The second leg will be at Kiwi Poker. Stay tuned for details…

Blogger Poker Tour

blogger poker tour is back this weekend, with Haley being the host. In case you didn’t know, the Blogger Poker Tour is sending a blogger to the WSOP, fully equipped with chip, chair, gear, and more. If you have a blog, and are a blogger, this is a no-brainer. Register, play, and compete for the wsop prize package. More great prizes are also available, such as poker tables, a sweet monitor, ipods, Gear and more!

This just in… Haley has a bounty on her head in the event this weekend, which equates to a direct entry into the grand finals. Details regarding the bounty and password for this weekend’s event can be found on
Haley's poker blog. Bloggers wishing to join can do so via this blogger poker tour link. Be sure to tell them the beer guy sent ya!

Legislation on Poker

More and more, I am beginning to think we need to rename our country “The People’s Republic of America” when I read about new legislation enacted and/or proposed. As many of you know, there has been legislation proposed in congress to not only ban internet gambling, but also to have the internet service provider block access to gambling related websites. This legislation made it out of the committee, but has not yet gone to the floor for a vote. Coincidentally, The People’s Republic of China has successfully strong-armed Google to block access to websites in which the Chinese Government does not approve. Are we making the path to China becoming “more like us” much shorter?

Additionally, “The Great State of Washington” decided to make it a felony for the citizens of their state to engage in online gambling. The law went into effect this week. They have no plan for as to how they will enforce this law, however, the law is in fact on the books.

Back to poker table action

Some donkey, appropriately named “Donkeyman” (by his own choosing, I imagine) just pushed all-in preflop with King six suited from the big blind. UTG limper called with ace six not suited. DM caught on the river. This table is sweetening more and more by the second.

A final note...

Wow, seems like I put out a week’s worth of commentary in one post. I suspect it is because my writer’s block has gone away for the time being, at least. Well… that combined with the need to re-focus myself, and it doesn’t hurt that I have made progress in getting things done behind the scenes.

I leave by giving a shout-out to my friend Scott, who qualified for regionals last night through the World Tavern Poker Tour. He had his back against the wall, and NEEDED to win last night to gain access to regional. With the Beer Guy’s Harrington on Hold’em vol. 2 as his guide, he called his shot and took down the event. Way to go Scott!