Thursday, 30 April 2009


I'm not kidding when I say I can't win:

PokerStars Game #27650393244: Tournament #159834614, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level IV (50/100) - 2009/04/30 1:48:00 ET
Table '159834614 1' 9-max Seat #3 is the button
Seat 3: FR Vessant (1000 in chips)
Seat 4: AcsUpMySleve (3070 in chips)
Seat 6: Chipxmonk (1690 in chips)
Seat 7: BoardStr8 (3350 in chips)
Seat 8: uglytiger09 (4390 in chips)
AcsUpMySleve: posts small blind 50
Chipxmonk: posts big blind 100
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [Jc Jd]
BoardStr8: folds
uglytiger09: raises 100 to 200

He hasn't raised much but I am obviously not folding JJ with 10BB.
FR Vessant: raises 800 to 1000 and is all-in
AcsUpMySleve: folds
Chipxmonk: folds
uglytiger09: calls 800

He has 99.

*** FLOP *** [Kd 9h 5s]

So that's nice.

Keep reminding yourself: it's a 9/1 shot, it's a 9/1 shot. It is not even money. Really!

PokerStars Game #27650620520: Tournament #159835348, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level V (75/150) - 2009/04/30 2:01:53 ET
Table '159835348 1' 9-max Seat #6 is the button
Seat 1: FR Vessant (6210 in chips)
Seat 6: tiburonbig (7290 in chips)
tiburonbig: posts small blind 75
FR Vessant: posts big blind 150
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [Ts Tc]
tiburonbig: raises 300 to 450
FR Vessant: calls 300

Staying cagey because we're very deep. I would nearly always repop this, but this guy has given a lot of action throughout the tourney with hands that don't merit it, so I figure on the right flop, I can hope to stack him.

Like I say, I'm not playing well at the moment, because repopping him seems in retrospect much better. I don't mind if he 4-bet shoves. His range will be wide enough that I have as many hands that I crush as crush me, and I have the better of a race, if it comes to that. I think at the time I was wary of his flatting it, and having a tough spot if overcards came. See, this is what happens when you lose a few key hands: you start to become gunshy, thinking of the worst, afraid to take spots that favour you strongly.

*** FLOP *** [9h 7d 8s]

That's a pretty good flop though, so my plan worked out.

FR Vessant: bets 600

I'm not sure why I donked it. Possibly because it looks a bit scary to him, and he's liable to check behind. Dunno, maybe I figured I would protect my overpair against hands like KJ/AQ. Actually, with KJ, he's very likely to call that bet, which would be okay.

tiburonbig: raises 6240 to 6840 and is all-in

I wanted action and got it. I expect to be behind some of the time, but he can easily have a single pair: A7-A9, K7-K9, 66, or less likely, something like J9 or T9.

I do forget though that bad players will make huge overshoves with the nuts because they think that if you bet out you will never be able to fold.

I dunno. I suppose I could have folded, but if I had played the hand more correctly, I would have CRAI anyway, so the end result was the same. I suppose I had resolved to get it in, whatever, so I was mentally set to call.

I know this is bad, but as I say, I'm playing badly. My game is really fucked at the moment, and trying to play through it has not helped.

FR Vessant: calls 5160 and is all-in
Uncalled bet (1080) returned to tiburonbig

He has 77. Another two-outer. Still, I have some outs, so we're okay, right?

*** TURN *** [9h 7d 8s] [8c]


*** RIVER *** [9h 7d 8s 8c] [Js]

And I hit my straight, just to rub it in.

I don't like his shove, btw. My range is not strong for betting out on that flop and I'm folding nearly everything to a shove. The only things I'm calling with are sets, made straights, the hand I actually had and probably other overpairs, although I don't usually play them slow before the flop against a guy like this.

I suppose you could consider that he is protecting his set against straight draws, but it's better to make value from them. It's true that a raise is going to look like it potcommits him, so no one's going to be fooled, but most opponents will pay a raise with T9 (and might even shove over).

PokerStars Game #27650770008: Tournament #159835246, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level VI (100/200) - 2009/04/30 2:10:10 ET
Table '159835246 1' 9-max Seat #6 is the button
Seat 1: FR Vessant (2220 in chips)
Seat 6: Xenon9545 (4340 in chips)
Seat 9: bazul23 (6940 in chips)
bazul23: posts small blind 100
FR Vessant: posts big blind 200
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [Jd Kd]
Xenon9545: folds
bazul23: raises 400 to 600

Is probably raising wide, so I am going to take him on.

FR Vessant: raises 1620 to 2220 and is all-in
bazul23: calls 1620

Yup. Picked my spot well. He has KT.

*** FLOP *** [3s 4s 3h]

No four, no four.

*** TURN *** [3s 4s 3h] [4d]


*** RIVER *** [3s 4s 3h 4d] [6s]

He went on to bust me, of course. His king high hit the flop; my ace high didn't.

PokerStars Game #27650676979: Tournament #159835510, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level V (75/150) - 2009/04/30 2:05:03 ET
Table '159835510 1' 9-max Seat #9 is the button
Seat 1: Blade428 (2675 in chips)
Seat 2: FR Vessant (1705 in chips)
Seat 4: Gold Treat (2625 in chips)
Seat 5: Noodleuno (1490 in chips)
Seat 7: skogan900 (2700 in chips)
Seat 9: trevdog76 (2305 in chips)
Blade428: posts small blind 75
FR Vessant: posts big blind 150
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [Th Tc]
Gold Treat: folds
Noodleuno: raises 150 to 300
skogan900: folds
trevdog76: folds
Blade428: folds
FR Vessant: raises 1405 to 1705 and is all-in
Noodleuno: calls 1190 and is all-in

He has A3s. WTF.

He minraise/called A3s for his whole stack.

Well, okay, we know they're not good, and we are delighted to get our money in as a huge favourite, right?

Uncalled bet (215) returned to FR Vessant
*** FLOP *** [Qd 2h 6s]


*** TURN *** [Qd 2h 6s] [9s]


*** RIVER *** [Qd 2h 6s 9s] [Ac]

"Daddy, why are you banging your head against that wall?

So I've been card dead and the bigstack keeps shoveblocking me:

PokerStars Game #27650738357: Tournament #159835358, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level VI (100/200) - 2009/04/30 2:08:25 ET
Table '159835358 1' 9-max Seat #3 is the button
Seat 2: Cujokhan (3445 in chips)
Seat 3: vigel (5600 in chips)
Seat 4: elsamisam (1490 in chips)
Seat 5: MondoJ11 (1500 in chips)
Seat 8: FR Vessant (1465 in chips)
elsamisam: posts small blind 100
MondoJ11: posts big blind 200
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [7c 7h]
FR Vessant: raises 1265 to 1465 and is all-in

No hesitation whacking that in.

Cujokhan: folds
vigel: calls 1465

He has AQ. Can I win a race? Are you silly?

elsamisam: folds
MondoJ11: folds
*** FLOP *** [8h 3d Jd]


*** TURN *** [8h 3d Jd] [Jh]


*** RIVER *** [8h 3d Jd Jh] [Ah]

"Daddy, why are you crying?"

This guy sucks at poker. We've been laughing hard at his 4x raises at t200.

Just a note about why it's bad to raise too big heads up. There are two reasons. First, your tight opponent will never call with a worse hand. So you get no value when you have AT and he has A9 because he will simply fold it. Yeah, you pick up the blinds, but when you're 20BB deep, the shorter stack is looking to pick a spot, and will gladly surrender a couple of blinds. Second, when he does reshove, you are out 4BBs if you fold, and often way behind if you call, which is what this clown did. Raising big and often means that your tighter opponent gives up blinds more readily, true, but it means he wins more from you when he reshoves and he can reshove a lot lighter against you than if you had raised less, because he knows you don't have to have a great hand. Well, he got a pretty good run, because I couldn't pick up anything that had any showdown value, but I caught it all back up when he called a reshove with K8 or something. That's the thing though. Raising every button is a fine idea. Against someone like me, you're going to make chips by doing it because I won't defend my blind particularly light. But when I do reshove, you have to fold the bottom of your range. Yes, I might have T9s, but you are mostly crushed.

Anyway, he doubled me up and now we're at t400.

PokerStars Game #27651063476: Tournament #159835430, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level VIII (200/400) - 2009/04/30 2:27:03 ET
Table '159835430 1' 9-max Seat #7 is the button
Seat 1: Deathfart42 (5760 in chips)
Seat 7: FR Vessant (7740 in chips)
Deathfart42: posts the ante 25
FR Vessant: posts the ante 25
FR Vessant: posts small blind 200
Deathfart42: posts big blind 400
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [Kc Qd]

I don't have my Nash chart to hand but I'm shoving this all day long with 14BBs effective.

FR Vessant: raises 7315 to 7715 and is all-in
Deathfart42: calls 5335 and is all-in

He has 44. This guy really sucks, so I wasn't surprised he called that wide, but most players would probably have folded it against someone who had played as tight as me.

Uncalled bet (1980) returned to FR Vessant
*** FLOP *** [Kd 9c 3c]

I'm winning!

*** TURN *** [Kd 9c 3c] [4s]

Oh no.

I went on to win though. He shoved the next hand and I called with J high. Beat his T high. After that, I got reasonable hands and beat him easily enough because he was willing to call with just about anything when I shoved. So I left off the bottom end and that worked.

Meanwhile, back at the races...

PokerStars Game #27650711915: Tournament #159835440, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level V (75/150) - 2009/04/30 2:06:59 ET
Table '159835440 1' 9-max Seat #8 is the button
Seat 1: knightsfan17 (2415 in chips)
Seat 2: magnolium (1135 in chips)
Seat 3: welshdog (2720 in chips)
Seat 5: ozz100 (905 in chips)
Seat 6: Michelley03 (3255 in chips)
Seat 7: FR Vessant (1520 in chips)
Seat 8: MondoJ11 (1550 in chips)
knightsfan17: posts small blind 75
magnolium: posts big blind 150
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [Qc Ah]
welshdog: folds
ozz100: folds
Michelley03: raises 175 to 325
FR Vessant: raises 1195 to 1520 and is all-in

She hasn't raised particularly much, but folding AQ with 10BB is not a habit I'm going to get into any time soon.

MondoJ11: folds
knightsfan17: folds
magnolium: folds
Michelley03: calls 1195

She has JJ. Well, it could be better but at least it's not AA. I am for once the overcards. The other races that I've been losing today have coincidentally had me as the pair.

So I should win this one, right?

*** FLOP *** [6s 7c 3c]
*** TURN *** [6s 7c 3c] [7h]
*** RIVER *** [6s 7c 3c 7h] [Ks]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Michelley03: shows [Js Jd] (two pair, Jacks and Sevens)
FR Vessant: shows [Qc Ah] (a pair of Sevens)

Oh dear.

That's one set of ten. Astonishingly, I actually made money from it. Not as much as I would have done if I could ever have a hand hold up when ahead or win a race, obv. (I'm exaggerating. I did win one race, AK over 66 or something, but it was for a third of my stack, so I wasn't all in).

wtf wtf wtf

So I fire up two more. A 20 and a 10.

In the 20, I have little play and get blinded down. Then this:

PokerStars Game #27649309675: Tournament #159826469, $20+$2 Hold'em No Limit - Level V (75/150) - 2009/04/30 0:50:57 ET
Table '159826469 1' 9-max Seat #1 is the button
Seat 1: rvileo (2670 in chips)
Seat 2: raknrun1 (2776 in chips)
Seat 4: FR Vessant (970 in chips)
Seat 5: nzonin (1191 in chips)
Seat 6: razor1232 (2380 in chips)
Seat 7: hollycrap-01 (1125 in chips)
Seat 8: Ninja Tiger (2388 in chips)
raknrun1: posts small blind 75
FR Vessant: posts big blind 150
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [Ks Kc]
nzonin: folds
razor1232: folds
hollycrap-01: raises 450 to 600

This is a very very bad fish. She hasn't raised much, but obviously I'm delighted at the opportunity to get all my chips in with KK.

Ninja Tiger: folds
rvileo: calls 600

Not so happy about the caller. Prefer to be HU.

raknrun1: folds
FR Vessant: raises 370 to 970 and is all-in
hollycrap-01: calls 370
rvileo: calls 370
*** FLOP *** [2d 9s 4c]

Looking good.

hollycrap-01: checks
rvileo: checks
*** TURN *** [2d 9s 4c] [Td]
hollycrap-01: checks
rvileo: checks
*** RIVER *** [2d 9s 4c Td] [9d]
hollycrap-01: bets 155 and is all-in

Oh dear. Does she have a 9?

rvileo: folds

LOLOLOLOL. He just folded getting 20 to 1! Okay, she's probably not bluffing, but wtf?

Uncalled bet (155) returned to hollycrap-01
*** SHOW DOWN ***
hollycrap-01: shows [Tc Ts] (a full house, Tens full of Nines)

Oh. Another two-outer. That's nice. This happens EVERY FUCKING TOURNAMENT. Every time I am all in with KK, QQ or JJ before the flop, I get busted. EVERY FUCKING TIME.

FR Vessant: shows [Ks Kc] (two pair, Kings and Nines)

So in the 10, we have the following lineup:

PokerStars Game #27649439304: Tournament #159826784, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level V (75/150) - 2009/04/30 0:57:25 ET
Table '159826784 1' 9-max Seat #1 is the button
Seat 1: railbird99 (1925 in chips)


Seat 3: vikefan1180 (6115 in chips)

Tard who was down to like 700 chips and luckboxed his way to 6K. It helped that bigdog7878 is a complete fool.

Seat 5: bigdog7878 (3940 in chips)

A complete fool.

Seat 9: FR Vessant (1520 in chips)
vikefan1180: posts small blind 75
bigdog7878: posts big blind 150
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [5h Ah]
FR Vessant: raises 1370 to 1520 and is all-in

A bit wide because bigdog is such a fool, but he hasn't called all that many shoves, even when he was deep. When he's raised, he's called a shove afterwards, but not many openshoves. vikefan has made plenty of comments that suggest his calling standards are very tight, so I'm not worried about him. railbird will be calling tight too. So I think it looks okay.

railbird99: folds
vikefan1180: folds
bigdog7878: calls 1370

He has QhJh. To be honest, if I'd known he had it and would call with it, I would have shoved for sure, so I'm not too upset. I have my money in good and surely I can have this one hold up?

*** FLOP *** [Jc 3h 5d]


wtf wtf

No really.

PokerStars Game #27646430696: Tournament #159812116, $20+$2 Hold'em No Limit - Level I (10/20) - 2009/04/29 22:50:38 ET
Table '159812116 1' 9-max Seat #3 is the button
Seat 1: Godbey62 (1500 in chips)
Seat 2: @dv@nt@ge (1490 in chips)
Seat 3: thegnaw (2500 in chips)
Seat 4: 2cavaliers (1480 in chips)
Seat 5: FR Vessant (1500 in chips)
Seat 6: ronlat (1480 in chips)
Seat 7: DEBDAL (1500 in chips)
Seat 8: sickening (550 in chips)

Lost most of his stack on the second hand. Has played both hands so far. Badly.

Seat 9: potlogic (1500 in chips)
2cavaliers: posts small blind 10
FR Vessant: posts big blind 20
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [Kd Js]
ronlat: calls 20
DEBDAL: folds
sickening: calls 20
potlogic: folds
Godbey62: folds
sickening said, "only way u wouldve played it"
@dv@nt@ge: folds
thegnaw: folds
sickening said, "nh"
2cavaliers: calls 10
FR Vessant: checks
*** FLOP *** [Kh 2s 5s]

So I hit top pair, but I'm not loving it.

2cavaliers: checks
FR Vessant: bets 40

I bet to make the flush draws pay, but I could happily have checked this. I don't like getting involved in these small pots with moderate hands, because these fish have wide ranges and no idea how to value their hands, so you can get massive pots that you think you are faring well in but find out that some bizarre shit has caught it harder than you.

ronlat: folds
sickening: calls 40

Could have anything. Most likely a flush draw or some sort of king. Would expect most kings to raise the flop though, particularly stronger ones than I have.

2cavaliers: folds
*** TURN *** [Kh 2s 5s] [5d]

Should be fairly safe.

FR Vessant: bets 80

I'm not all that keen on betting again but I am likely to face a bet from at least the Ks in his range if I don't and I can make the flush draw pay, so I'm not really worse off for doing it. I realise that I am bloating the pot a bit though, particularly since I can easily get valuebet by KQ on a blank river. However, KQ is reasonably unlikely because only the really passive guys just call with it on a board with a flush draw.

sickening: raises 410 to 490 and is all-in

OMG. Really hard to interpret that. Can't put too many 5s in his range and most donkeys would raise the flop with a king.

So he could have KQ but you'd have to think it's unlikely. I think his most likely hand is a flush draw with a pair, something like KsTs, which he now likes because he has two pair. I think he has far too many hands I beat in his range to fold.

FR Vessant: calls 410

So I call.

He has A5.

What. The. Fuck.

*** RIVER *** [Kh 2s 5s 5d] [Ts]
FR Vessant said, "omg"
*** SHOW DOWN ***
FR Vessant: shows [Kd Js] (two pair, Kings and Fives)
sickening: shows [Ad 5c] (three of a kind, Fives)

Okay, these fucktards will play raggy aces, even when they've blown 2/3 of their stack, and they will call when they pair their kicker, always. But does he have to hit trips? I mean, really?

This is happening to me game after game. Not just the occasional horrible beat. Every game. Almost every hand. Nothing holds up. I have a 15-out draw, I miss it. He has two outs, no problem. I have a set, they turn a flush. I have a flush, they turn the nut flush. I have the nut flush, they river a boat. I shove jacks, they have aces. I shove aces, they hit a straight. I have the same hand, they hit a flush.

It's killing me. In these regular speed games, I play tables that run 27/6 or 31/9 and lose money. Just folding everything except monsters would in theory make you money at these tables. In theory. In practice, there is no monster big enough.



As I write this, I actually hit a draw! Savour it, Zenny. It's your one piece of luck for today:

PokerStars Game #27646715507: Tournament #159812116, $20+$2 Hold'em No Limit - Level II (15/30) - 2009/04/29 23:01:41 ET
Table '159812116 1' 9-max Seat #3 is the button
Seat 1: Godbey62 (1470 in chips)
Seat 2: @dv@nt@ge (2010 in chips)
Seat 3: thegnaw (2675 in chips)
Seat 4: 2cavaliers (3080 in chips)
Seat 5: FR Vessant (875 in chips)
Seat 6: ronlat (940 in chips)
Seat 7: DEBDAL (1225 in chips)
Seat 9: potlogic (1225 in chips)
2cavaliers: posts small blind 15
FR Vessant: posts big blind 30
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [5d 2d]
ronlat: calls 30

He has AJ. He should raise if he wants to play it and actually, I would just fold in his spot. This table is way too loose to want to play AJ OOP.

DEBDAL: folds
potlogic: folds
Godbey62: folds
@dv@nt@ge: folds
thegnaw: folds
2cavaliers: folds
FR Vessant: checks
*** FLOP *** [4s Ad Jd]
FR Vessant: checks

I have a strong draw and could lead out here, but he will have quite a few aces in his range, and I'd rather not get shoved on because I will be put in a very tough spot.

ronlat: bets 910 and is all-in

Which happens anyway.

So I have 12 outs against top pair. I'm a dog but it's quite close. I'm not getting the correct odds but I need to double up if I can to be competitive. My big worry is that he has shoved because he has a flush draw, in which case I'm hosed. But actually, the huge overshove is nearly always the nuts, so I expect to see AJ or A4. Obviously I hope not to have run into JJ, because that kills one of my outs.

If I had a full stack, I would have folded. But I didn't, so I called.

FR Vessant: calls 845 and is all-in
Uncalled bet (65) returned to ronlat
*** TURN *** [4s Ad Jd] [6c]
*** RIVER *** [4s Ad Jd 6c] [3h]


See, the one fucking time I don't play it right, I win out. Probably a tip in there or something.


Now Stars is taking the piss.

I have not been dealt a playable hand all game. I mean literally that my stats are 0/0.


PokerStars Game #27645550313: Tournament #159802633, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level IV (50/100) - 2009/04/29 22:19:03 ET
Table '159802633 1' 9-max Seat #8 is the button
Seat 1: Drquicksanti (3168 in chips)
Seat 3: Carolingq (6334 in chips)
Seat 5: RussellN0 (1830 in chips)
Seat 7: Rounders333 (1268 in chips)
Seat 8: FR Vessant (900 in chips)
Drquicksanti: posts small blind 50
Carolingq: posts big blind 100
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [Ac Qh]
RussellN0: folds
Rounders333: raises 300 to 400
FR Vessant: raises 500 to 900 and is all-in

Have to get it in with this hand obviously.

Drquicksanti: folds
Carolingq: folds
Rounders333: calls 500

He has AhQd.

Sigh. Oh well, split pot right?

*** FLOP *** [2d 4d 2h]
*** TURN *** [2d 4d 2h] [Ad]


Surely it's not possible that I will have this happen to me? Surely there won't be a diamond on the river.

*** RIVER *** [2d 4d 2h Ad] [Jd]



So I'm having a losing month and that sucks. Here's why:

PokerStars Game #27643370473: Tournament #159788147, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level IV (50/100) - 2009/04/29 21:04:56 ET
Table '159788147 1' 9-max Seat #1 is the button
Seat 1: Bennitez (1425 in chips)
Seat 2: commiedoctor (700 in chips)
Seat 3: idofatties (1040 in chips)
Seat 4: BeSmart13 (1225 in chips)
Seat 5: XBluffDaddyX (2240 in chips)
Seat 6: Trainerboy30 (1250 in chips)
Seat 7: vice999 (1970 in chips)
Seat 8: FR Vessant (2040 in chips)
Seat 9: daulton05 (1610 in chips)
commiedoctor: posts small blind 50
idofatties: posts big blind 100
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [Ad Qd]
BeSmart13: folds
XBluffDaddyX: folds
Trainerboy30: folds
vice999: folds
FR Vessant: raises 150 to 250

Standard raise.

daulton05: folds
Bennitez: calls 250

Fish calls.

commiedoctor: folds
idofatties: folds
*** FLOP *** [Tc 6d Jd]

That's a decent flop for me. I have a big combo draw and overcards.

FR Vessant: bets 400

So I lead out strong.

Bennitez: raises 775 to 1175 and is all-in

He probably has a jack. It goes without saying that there are no hands with jacks in them he should have here, except maybe JJ. I have a ton of outs, so I'm obviously not folding.

FR Vessant: calls 775

He has QsJs. So he called with a dominated hand and got lucky, but never mind, I have 15 outs and I'm a decent favourite to win the hand.

I don't think you can play this hand differently. It mostly plays itself. It's grossly unlucky that the fish's bad call was rewarded with a jack rather than a queen, but that's how it goes.

*** TURN *** [Tc 6d Jd] [3s]
*** RIVER *** [Tc 6d Jd 3s] [8c]
*** SHOW DOWN ***

So I miss everything. Oh well, a few hands later, I call a shove with 99 and triple up when I flop a boat, so that's good. Not so good when I shove over a shortstack shove with 88, he has ATs and as happens monotonously, the ace comes on the flop. And turn, just in case I didn't get the message. I'm pretty sure my shove was good, although it would have been on the border probably, but obviously I'm going to be flipping always. I am beginning to think I can probably give up some of the thinner spots in the $10s because they're not as pressurised as the turbos. Not in this instance though. The guy's stats indicated a wide push, and you just can't fold 88 when the guy can be pushing raggy aces and small pairs that you crush. It's just one of those things to run into the upper end of his range.

Mind you, that has happened all month. Which would be okay, but if he had had A3, he still hit the ace, and that's been happening too. The problem is that you can't let yourself become gunshy as a consequence. My edge, thin as it seems to be, consists mostly of being more aggro than my opponents in the right spots (they are either not aggro enough or aggro in the wrong places).

On another table, I pick up QQ and raise. The button calls. He's another fish, so you can't take much out of his range. The flop comes A high.

It's time to start openfolding QQ.

So I cbet, even though my gut tells me to check and fold. He calls. I think he bet small on the turn and I called because I can see him just peeling with a pair, but yeah, he had A5s.

But I'm not kidding. How often can QQ get cracked?

Friday, 24 April 2009


You know, I am never going to make it in poker. You know why? I am genuinely unlucky. I can't think of any other explanation.

In this tourney, I had a 4.5K stack that I acquired by getting it in with two players on a big blind special. I had 55 on a 654 board, they had 64 and 88. So that was lucky, right? Yes, and I should win a lot of games that I have 4.5K stacks in.

But a few hands later, some retard with 40/25 stacks raises big and I shove over with JJ in the cutoff.

I run into AA. So I've played maybe 20 games yesterday and today, and I've run JJ into a bigger hand in, no kidding, half those games at least.

So no worries though, I still have a decent stack:

PokerStars Game #27426736014: Tournament #158263361, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level V (75/150) - 2009/04/23 23:06:06 ET
Table '158263361 1' 9-max Seat #5 is the button
Seat 1: FR Vessant (2515 in chips)
Seat 2: Almighty 1ne (615 in chips)
Seat 4: walrus1855 (6010 in chips)
Seat 5: sixpack1111 (2265 in chips)
Seat 6: shocker33 (860 in chips)
Seat 8: jrags72 (1235 in chips)
shocker33: posts small blind 75
jrags72: posts big blind 150
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [Ah Ks]
FR Vessant: raises 300 to 450

Bear in mind that I have played maybe 3 out of 40 hands. Not that I'm trying to be that tight. I have just been card dead (for a month actually, except for a run of cards in the previous tourney). I'm under the gun, so my range is going to be very tight here.

Almighty 1ne: raises 165 to 615 and is all-in

This guy turns out to have A7s, so his play is forgivable.

walrus1855: folds
sixpack1111: raises 1650 to 2265 and is all-in

He has AJs. He is shoving over second in chips, who can bust him and is tight, so probably beats him. He is third in chips with a bunch of shorties behind and there's a shorty already in, so I won't be folding much, if any, of my range, with the overlay.

This is awful and if you're learning STTs, don't do this. I know AJs is pretty, but you have to fold in this spot.

shocker33: folds
jrags72: folds
FR Vessant: calls 1815

Easy call obviously with AK. With the overlay, I would not have folded anything I'm raising here.

*** FLOP *** [9h 2c 8c]

OMG. Two of his suit.

*** TURN *** [9h 2c 8c] [2h]

Safe so far.

*** RIVER *** [9h 2c 8c 2h] [Jh]

That's just sick though.

AK beaten by AJ again.


So I make mistakes. One of the JJ hands, the other guy, who was UTG, limped and I raised fairly decently. He flatted. The alarm bells went off but the flop came all rags. He bet out. The problem is that these fools can easily be leading out with TT/99 or top pair, or even overcards, thinking you have AK and will fold. But I think I knew that he had to have a monster and I still shoved. It's really fucking hard to fold in that spot. But, you know, I think I'm going to start folding when my gut tells me he has to have AA/KK there, or at least, just flat and then see whether he shoves the turn. I used to avoid going broke with JJ on raggy flops, precisely because players on Ongame like to trap rather than limp/shove.

But I'm still good enough to beat the very bad players in Stars $11s handsomely and I should be good enough to beat $22s (haven't played many so don't know how I run) and $16s (actually breakeven in the few games I've played this year, but overall, really bad, but again, no volume).

I know the answers. Play more, work on my ICM, forget bad beats. Yeah, I know. Easy when you can 16 or 20 table for a working day, really hard when you can only play a few games each day. And what sucks the most is that I keep winning the shitty small hands, when I have 1K and shove 63 in the small blind and I'm live, and losing the huge ones, like the one here, which involve stacks that I've already put effort into acquiring.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

No, I have not swallowed any fucking horseshoes, thanks for asking

"Why are you shouting at the computer, Daddy?"

PokerStars Game #27398819524: Tournament #158064344, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level IV (50/100) - 2009/04/23 7:10:26 ET
Table '158064344 1' 9-max Seat #5 is the button
Seat 2: olybosu (3855 in chips)
Seat 5: moiraine (3910 in chips)
Seat 6: Roysden (3430 in chips)
Seat 7: FR Vessant (2305 in chips)
Roysden: posts small blind 50
FR Vessant: posts big blind 100
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [Tc Ah]
olybosu: calls 100

Complete fish, could have anything.

moiraine: folds
Roysden: folds
FR Vessant: checks

It's not worth raising because he will simply call. I'm going to be ahead of his range, but this guy won't fold to a cbet, so I'm going to have to hit to win.

*** FLOP *** [9s Ad 2h]


FR Vessant: checks
olybosu: bets 100
FR Vessant: raises 200 to 300

Raise is a bit small, but I don't mind a call because I'm likely to be miles and miles ahead of him.

olybosu: calls 200
*** TURN *** [9s Ad 2h] [Jd]
FR Vessant: bets 500

A healthy bet.

olybosu: calls 500

To be honest, he could have anything here: two diamonds, a weak ace, a jack, any of the available draws, any pair, fuck all.

*** RIVER *** [9s Ad 2h Jd] [7s]
FR Vessant: checks
olybosu: bets 2955 and is all-in

This is very tough. I was pretty sure I was ahead on the flop and turn. He can easily be trying to fold out a bad ace or think his JT or A3 is good because I didn't raise an ace preflop. He could be on a total bluff or he might have made all sorts of hands. I dunno.

FR Vessant: calls 1405 and is all-in

Ultimately, it's hard to fold top pair against this guy. He has just way too many hands I beat in his hand to love folding, although I am thinking I'm probably behind.

Uncalled bet (1550) returned to olybosu
*** SHOW DOWN ***
olybosu: shows [7d 9d] (two pair, Nines and Sevens)

WTF. You know, I'm sick of it. This happens all the time. How can he call preflop? How can he call the raise on the flop? There's no draw on the flop so what can I have that middle pair beats? I am repping an ace, obv. and when I bet nicely on the turn, what else can he think I have? He has five outs to beat me if I didn't pair my kicker already, in which case he has two.

Well, obviously five outs is more than enough against me right now.

Check out what happens when you have eight:

PokerStars Game #27391862954: Tournament #158014164, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level IV (50/100) - 2009/04/22 23:52:34 ET
Table '158014164 1' 9-max Seat #6 is the button
Seat 2: Freeman88 (1855 in chips)
Seat 3: kiratan (6040 in chips)
Seat 4: buckeye71420 (2250 in chips)
Seat 6: JChas (1575 in chips)
Seat 8: FR Vessant (1780 in chips)
FR Vessant: posts small blind 50
Freeman88: posts big blind 100
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [Jc Jh]
kiratan: calls 100

I'll tell you now, this guy has JTo. So he has a big stack and thinks, hmmm, BROADWAYS.

buckeye71420: folds
JChas: folds
FR Vessant: raises 300 to 400
Freeman88: folds
kiratan: calls 300

WTF though.

*** FLOP *** [9d Qd 4s]
FR Vessant: bets 1380 and is all-in

I shove because his range is really wide and I'd like to get calls from all of it except Qx/99/44/94.

kiratan: calls 1380

He snapcalls. It's not the worst call because even if he's not getting the odds, it's not as bad as some.

*** TURN *** [9d Qd 4s] [Kd]

Obviously his straight comes in.

This is pretty standard, but after a while, you start wishing for them just to fold once in a while. Yes, they are paying you Sklansky money by the barrowload, but you know what, my local shop plain refuses to take Sklansky money, the bastids.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Omahahahahhahahhahahaha fools

Having said that, the fishes' complete inability to, erm, think can help us too:

PokerStars Game #26659436043: Tournament #200904021, $10+$1 Omaha Hi/Lo Pot Limit - Level XV (600/1200) - 2009/04/02 20:38:27 ET
Table '200904021 462' 9-max Seat #9 is the button
Seat 1: hippie adoni (53069 in chips)
Seat 2: dugomo (25975 in chips)
Seat 3: mickeydsboy (25430 in chips)
Seat 4: Mustang302 (42078 in chips)
Seat 5: FR Vessant (68954 in chips)
Seat 6: Neal_0825 (6328 in chips)
Seat 7: doomino (19074 in chips)
Seat 8: Canuck (16512 in chips)
Seat 9: Draughts (36464 in chips)
hippie adoni: posts small blind 600
dugomo: posts big blind 1200
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [2s As 5h Ac]
mickeydsboy: calls 1200
Mustang302: folds
FR Vessant: raises 4200 to 5400

I have a huge hand so I raise pot.

Neal_0825: folds
doomino: folds
Canuck: folds
Draughts: folds
hippie adoni: folds
dugomo: calls 4200

Let me tell you that this guy has 77J3, with the 73 suited in spades.

WTF. How did this fool ever get this far in this tourney? I mean, really.

mickeydsboy: folds
*** FLOP *** [Ad 9s 2c]

I flop the nuts and there's no flush draw there. Only the low end is a problem.

dugomo: checks
FR Vessant: bets 12600

Still, I'm betting pot, and if he wants to call with a crappy low draw, that's okay by me.

dugomo: calls 12600
*** TURN *** [Ad 9s 2c] [8s]

Now there's a flush draw out there, but I have it. If he had a draw to the low, he's made it hough, which is a pity. I can still draw out on many lows though, so all's not lost.
dugomo: checks
FR Vessant: bets 37800

I put him in of course.

dugomo: calls 7975 and is all-in

And I'm just astonished to see he's drawing to a very bad low.

Uncalled bet (29825) returned to FR Vessant
*** RIVER *** [Ad 9s 2c 8s] [3c]

Which he misses.


I am still hating Omaha. Playing in the SCOOP lowstakes PL Omaha hi/lo, this hand comes up:

PokerStars Game #26658698671: Tournament #200904021, $10+$1 Omaha Hi/Lo Pot Limit - Level XIV (500/1000) - 2009/04/02 20:14:28 ET
Table '200904021 745' 9-max Seat #4 is the button
Seat 2: Hey Dill (29111 in chips)
Seat 3: FR Vessant (61305 in chips)
Seat 4: sirtoff (8044 in chips)
Seat 5: s1m_ka (40057 in chips)
Seat 6: MOKER01 (8656 in chips)
Seat 7: knight53008 (70323 in chips)
Seat 8: JanuZ85 (34186 in chips)
Seat 9: Krassita (30876 in chips)
s1m_ka: posts small blind 500
MOKER01: posts big blind 1000
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [Ah 3d 3h 2s]
2mark is connected
knight53008: folds
JanuZ85: folds
Krassita: folds
Hey Dill: raises 2000 to 3000

This guy's a horrible fish, who has called raises with really bad hands and got lucky a few times.

FR Vessant: raises 7500 to 10500

I have a very strong hand and I'm obv. willing to go all the way with it.

sirtoff: folds
s1m_ka: folds
MOKER01: folds
Hey Dill: calls 7500

I'm not sure about his call. I don't really know Omaha very well. He has Ac3cQdQs. I think he should fold to the reraise because I'm repping a very strong hand, which likely has him beat both ways. As it happens, I don't have the high, but QQ is really difficult to play in Omaha.

*** FLOP *** [Ad 5s 4h]

I flop the nuts.

Hey Dill: checks
FR Vessant: bets 22500

Now he should fold. I am repping a hand that crushes his, and in fact I have it. I don't mind if he calls of course. I have the nuts both ways and there's no flush draw out there.

Hey Dill: calls 18611 and is all-in

His call is terrible though. What can I have that he beats? I could have A2xx with xs lower than a Q, but that's it, and even if I do, I probably have the nut low anyway.

Still, these fish don't think it through obv. He sees he has top pair and a draw to the low and bang, he's there for that. Even if

Uncalled bet (3889) returned to FR Vessant
*** TURN *** [Ad 5s 4h] [Qc]

Nothing changes and there's no flush, so he has two outs to split with me.

*** RIVER *** [Ad 5s 4h Qc] [2c]

And that's one of them. Sigh. Oh well. Poker is not chess, we have to remind ourselves. The rewards don't necessarily go to the most skilful.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

About luck

Luck in poker is not unitary. When players are running badly in STTs, they tend to look at all-ins. Juk's analyser, a commonly used programme, compares your received value with your EV. I don't know why, but for most regular players, it shows unluckiness. Or perhaps that's just a reporting bias. People who are running hot but still losing don't tell forums about it.

I think that what makes downswings feel unbearable is that we find some forms of luck acceptable and others unacceptable.

STTs have a flow to them. Sometimes it's all upstream. You pick up no cards, and finally you're at push/fold, shove in your stack and are snapped off by a dominating hand or a higher pair. But the thing is, this tourney has been very unlucky for us but we accept it. We know it is the price of our tight-early strategy. We don't mind that a game, a turbo at least, can be fold fold fold fold fold push you're gone. So long as when we push AJ, we are called by AK and don't help, and not by AT and a T comes, we don't feel hard done by.

But we have been. We play 10 percent of our hands, or thereabouts. So we should be picking up a playable hand once every 10 hands. But we often go 30, 40 hands without a spot we can play in. Sometimes we don't even see a hand; sometimes we have to fold AQ to a raise early, or have AJs UTG and prudently fold, or have a small pair in early position and don't want to risk it. Whatever the reason, par is that we should pick something up and be able to accumulate some chips, but sometimes, often, that doesn't happen.

On top of that, if you pick up all your big hands early, and only trash late, the STT's flow is all wrong: you're active early and quiet late. Our game relies on being able to find good spots late in the game. We want ideally to be able to make people fold and give us chips. If we never have the hand in the spot, we cannot even pursue our strategy.

Luck can be subtler. You call a raise with 44, hoping to stack the raiser when you hit your set. The flop comes A43, you get the money in with AK and double up; the flop comes Q43 and you're lucky if he even cbets. Making set value depends on luck: that your villain will hit a hand, or have a hand, he too is willing to stack off with. If that doesn't happen, you do not make your value, and all those limps do not pay off. You are luckier if the raiser is a tighty, because his range will have more big pairs, less lucky if he or she is a fishy who is chancing a raise with AK and won't put a cent in if it misses.

But we accept this. And I think the reason is that it is unlucky but it is the computer's fault. The random number generator picks the cards and if you get lucky, well, it's an outcome of maths.

But if someone calls your AK shove with with A3 and hits their 3, the universe is knocked off its axis. Now a human has messed with you. You were just pursuing your strategy, riding the flow, and some tard broke into the stream and made you unlucky.

How could he make that call? is our cry, even though we want him to make that call. But that 'want' is an ideal. We should want A3 to call us when we shove AK, and we do want it the seven out of 10 times it holds up. But the other three...

And the worst of it, the most painful luck, is this. We'll lose a 70/30 seven out of 10 times. We accept that rationally but try using reason when you lose six in a row. There's nothing hugely statistically improbable about that, but if it's six buyins in a set, it's a cause for misery. Tilt off a couple more (because, believe me, if we didn't tilt, we would soon become poker legends -- tilt is not just steaming when something doesn't go to plan; it's also being too lazy to study, refusing to consider advice, trying to "loosen up" because LAG is sexier, ignoring ICM because you just know he won't call) and boom, you are kicking the dog once more.

But why would any of it hurt us? We understand the maths; we are smart enough to know that the bad is more salient than the good, that we will catch up a few and win a buyin here and there, that the same luck affects all our rivals. We get all that, but still, a downswing is not something we accept as a normal part of our game, something that just represents the flow of the bigger set of games. We are all close to the margin, so we know, or should know, that our ups will have downs. We would know it even if it wasn't something we could figure out, because all our peers talk about them. Yet we struggle with downswings.

It is all justice. The impersonal choosings of the RNG affect everyone equally. Skill cannot protect you against them. But you can choose your spots and when you've chosen carefully and well, when you've displayed the real skill of an STT -- which the fish don't know, believing as they do that the game is about outplaying your opponents in a battle of wits, rather than cold maths and who knows it -- you feel you have earned your reward.

Which is not to look on in horror as the ace comes on the flop, is it?