It seems that my online poker career has almost reached its end. Through an unfortunately timed funk in the hands I have been dealt of late, my bankroll on both of the poker sites that I regularly play has dwindled down to almost nothing. I had never bought into either of them for more than 50 dollars, so it’s no great loss, it just happened that after my last relative score on each of the sites, I have experienced the worst run of luck imaginable.
I learned early on that you don’t actually need to be dealt premium cards to do well in Hold ‘Em, and that has worked to my advantage over the last month. During one stretch of my recent run, I was dealt two pocket pairs in 100 hands, and they were both under 9. I went for about three weeks without getting dealt a pair of faces, which was really only about ten tournaments, so it’s not that bad.
During this run, I only competed in one blogger event, which was the Mookie a couple of weeks ago, and managed to make it to 17th IIRC out of 40 something players. Which I think is pretty commendable, considering the utter garbage I was being forced to play. You can get by with playing the garbage for a while, especially if you don’t play a lot of hands, but eventually someone is going to have a hand when you are making a move and not having cards to back up your betting for, oh, say three weeks or so is going to strip away any shred of table image you may have had.
Over the course of this run, I have also found out just how bad the people playing in your average SnG are -at least the token games, which are the most I was willing to risk with that kind of luck-. I played in about ten of the token events, and out of those I only failed to make it to the “money” once -and even that was a bubble finish. I won a token in all but two of the rest, the other two taking down the 14 dollar boobie prize, which was probably better considering my current situation; it’s not as if I am going to be making a serious run at the 20k right now anyway.
Yesterday I managed to bubble out of the token event (as mentioned previously), when I was dealt kings. slb was there watching me, and after I pushed from the short stack he noted that I should have just waited for one of the other short stacks to blind out (there were three of us painfully low on chips). He was probably right. In that game I needed only to get to fifth, and with both of the other short stacks likely to blind out before it got to me on the next orbit, I probably could have laid them down and made my way to a token. Of course that would be playing like a pussy, I mean c’mon, you can’t fold kings pre-flop when it comes to you unraised. At any rate, I got two callers, and the flop had an ace in it, of course. Not only that, but another guy pushed on the flop as well. What did they have? Why Aces up, of course. I pushed with kings, got two callers, and both of them paired their ace and their kickers (which were a 6 and a 9). I know I am not the only one that has ever lost when he pushed with kings preflop from the short stack, but that is just a microcosm of the way my luck has been going lately -I am actually a bit surprised that the turn and river didn’t come 6 & 9 to give them boat over boat to knock me out.
Then there are the times when I actually do get a hand, and I just play it completely wrong. I have tried to back away from just checking, as I have found that things go my way far more frequently when I am the aggressor, but I still haven’t found the right combination of betting and timing to get people out of pots that they have no business being in in the first place. Take the following hand, for example (just gonna paste the history here):
Seat 1: Furley (1,485)
Seat 2: s_c_i (1,470)
Seat 3: Bordon (1,500)
Seat 4: gatorfansteve (1,500)
Seat 5: shadowtwin (1,500)
Seat 6: NoChatJustPlay (1,545)
Seat 7: mfpd44 (1,500)
Seat 8: nyc1980 (1,500)
Seat 9: Tunabomber (1,500)
s_c_i posts the small blind of 15
Bordon posts the big blind of 30
The button is in seat #1
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to shadowtwin [5c 5d]
gatorfansteve calls 30
shadowtwin calls 30 –just going to limp with the low pocket pair, likely a fold on the flop
NoChatJustPlay calls 30
Furley calls 30
*** FLOP *** [9d 5h 8d]
shadowtwin bets 150 –flopped set, so I bet the pot. I don’t like the diamonds.
NoChatJustPlay raises to 300 I put him on top pair or a draw
shadowtwin raises to 600 –So I doubled his bet to try to chase him off
NoChatJustPlay calls 300
*** TURN *** [9d 5h 8d] [Jd]
shadowtwin bets 450 –The third diamond scares me, but I still think I am ahead
NoChatJustPlay calls 450 –It took him a long time to make the call. I think if I would have pushed he would have folded
*** RIVER *** [9d 5h 8d Jd] [Th]
shadowtwin checks –Since he called the bet on the turn, I am still afraid of the flush, but possibly a low enough flush that he isn’t sure he will win. Now I also have to worry about the straight. The range of hands that I put him on at this point means that if I bet, he can only call if he has me beat. I check and hope for the best
*** SHOW DOWN ***
shadowtwin shows [5c 5d] (three of a kind, Fives)
NoChatJustPlay shows [Jh Qd] (a straight, Queen high)he called off half his stack on the flop with nothing but a gutshot straight draw and 2 to a flush. And won.
NoChatJustPlay wins the pot (2,265) with a straight, Queen high
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 2,265 | Rake 0
Board: [9d 5h 8d Jd Th]
Seat 1: Furley (button) folded on the Flop
Seat 2: s_c_i (small blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 3: Bordon (big blind) folded on the Flop
Seat 4: gatorfansteve folded on the Flop
Seat 5: shadowtwin showed [5c 5d] and lost with three of a kind, Fives
Seat 6: NoChatJustPlay showed [Jh Qd] and won (2,265) with a straight, Queen high
Seat 7: mfpd44 didn’t bet (folded)
Seat 8: nyc1980 didn’t bet (folded)
Seat 9: Tunabomber didn’t bet (folded)
So, how do I play that hand and get him to actually lay it down? I led out on the flop with a pot-sized bet, which was actually 5x the BB at this point, he raised and I raised him right back. He is putting half (well nearly half) of his stack in the middle with absolutely nothing. Should I have just shoved on the flop and taken down the huge 150 chip pot? Should I have pushed on the turn? I get the feeling he would have called it; he called a bigger bet with absolutely nothing, now he has top pair. So my flopped set went from being ahead on the flop and turn to losing me nearly all of my chips on the river. The only silver lining is that I managed to take my 350 chips (or close) and go on to finish 6th, so I at least got another shot and a couple of bucks out of it.
See, if I can’t win in hands where I actually have them dominated pre-flop, on the flop, and on the turn, I don’t hold out much hope that I can go very far when I am behind at all those points. And unless my luck (or skill) turns around in a hurry, I am not going to have a bankroll at either site anymore, and I sincerely doubt that I will transfer any more money into them.