Hand of the Day #5

After 1 limper, I limp on the button with J/6c. Small Blind and Big Blind come along.

At this point I have 73,000. SB has 25,000. BB has 30,000. Early limper has 10,000.

The flop is Ac/Qc/6d. Amazing flop for me as I actually connected and I have the 2nd nut flush draw.

Small Blind leads out. Big Blind raises. At this point, I have them both on some combination of Aces. No idea about the short stacked limper, but probably a small pair or an Ace with a weak kicker. I’m not worried about me making my flush and still losing.

I go all-in. I figure that if the short stack calls but the other 2 fold it’s no big deal even if he wins. If the other folks call, I won’t be as happy, but I still have a good chance of winning.

Short stack calls. Small Blind folds. Big Blind makes a crying call.

Short stack has 6/6 for the flopped set. Wow. Did not expect that especially when I have the last 6.
Big Blind has A/8o. About where I put him.

The turn and river do not help me and I finish the hand with 42,000.

Of course it’s not the results I wanted, but I think I would play this hand the same way next time. It was a great opportunity to gain a LOT of chips and if I’m going to continue in the tournament I need to continue to build my chip stack. With 42,000 chips I have 21 big blinds left. A little short, but still room to maneuver.

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WSOP Qualifier

On Sunday, 2/22, I decided to play in one of America’s Card Room’s WSOP qualifier events. $50+$5 and they were guaranteeing 5 $12,500 packages to the WSOP Main Event. 5,000 starting chips, 15 minute blinds, rebuys allowed for the first 2 hours.

Early on I was pretty splashy as usual. However, I like that, as I get to observe how the other players will react to me. A few of them I picked up pretty reliable reads on. This leads me into my first hand of note. Sitting at 4k chips.

I raise with Q/Jd from late position and the big blind comes along. I’d seen him bully a few other players around with just top pair and knew I could outplay him. The flop is 10 high, 1 diamond. He donks out (of course) and I call. The turn is an interesting K. He checks, I check back. At this point I put him on something like A/10 for top pair on the flop. The check on the turn gave me the impression that he thinks I have a King. The river is a beautiful Ace giving me the nuts. More importantly, I think he now has 2-pair. He checks and I bet about 80% of the pot. Even if he thinks I have A/K, I think this is going to look really bluffy to him and will induce a call. It works and I win a nice early pot to take me up to 6k.

I’m able to do some grinding and surprisingly work my way up to 9k by the first break. A few good hands, but a lot of c-bets are working. #easygame

After the break I go into a bit of a slump and end up down to around 7k.

I’m starting to feel the pressure of the increasing blinds and look down at 10/Jo in late position. There’s 1 limper and I raise, he calls. The flop is 10/7/2 rainbow and I’m feeling pretty good until he check-raises me. I go into tank mode and really think it through. The top of his range would be something like A/10, K/10 or 9/9, but I really think he has something more like A/7. He’d been playing very weak so far. I opt to go all-in and he instantly calls…with 8/10. I have him dominated and easily double-up to 14k.

Hit a few more nice hands. Eliminate someone with A/A and work my way up to 19k. Of course, my one flopped set of the night was with my A/A hand when I totally didn’t need it.

So again, I’m feeling pretty good when I’m dealt Q/Q in late position. One of the shorter stacks shoves and I call. He of course shows A/A. Down to 9k.

A few hands later, I’m dealt J/J and after a short stack jams to my right, I re-jam and am called by 2(!) other players. They show: A/A, K/K, Q/Q. Yuck! Out in 296/1,000. Fun, but I definitely wasn’t done playing. That’s how it goes sometimes though…

At the end of the game, I was very happy with how I played. Definitely am not as good online as I used to be, but it’s still interesting how much of my live play experience translates to online. Gotta love the added aggression though!

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Gargoyle Tournament Series, Season 9, Game 4

Was extremely busy last week so didn’t have much opportunity to write. 1 week to go until the next Gargoyle game!

Having done well in game 3, I wanted to continue that trend in game 4. I never really go into a game “guns blazing” but I did take a 5-hour energy drink to try and keep my level of concentration up. I noticed right away that I was having trouble paying attention and generally having a lot of fun because I was talking to all the other players. Uh oh.

Not too many hands out of the ordinary for me in this game. A few hands of note that I’ll get to. The most interesting thing I was paying attention to during this game were verbal poker tells. I’ve been doing some studying on them and it truly is amazing how much information we players give away by what we say at the table.

Most common: Verbally checking instead of tapping the table, especially when the player normally taps the table to check.

First hand of note: I limp in with 4/5s along with 3 other limpers. A player either in late position or in the blinds raises. It’s not an amount I’m happy about, but I’ve vowed never to limp/fold unless there is a significant reason, so I call. Everyone else folds. The flop is 5/low/low, 1 spade. My opponent checks and I get to see the turn for free. The turn is a 9s (I think) and my opponent jams. With the original check on the flop I really don’t put my opponent on anything more than over cards. I paired the board and now have a flush draw. I opt to call for about 50% of my stack. He turns over 10/Js (goodbye flush draw!) for just over cards. The board runs clean and I eliminate him with 4/5s which is probably my loosest call ever.

I think a lot of the other players were VERY surprised at my call, but I’m really happy that my read was right. I’d have preferred that he didn’t have a better flush draw than me, but even still, I’m 2:1 to win. Very interesting hand.

From the big blind I look down at A/Ko and there is only 1 limper. I check. The flop is all low and my opponent leads out. I call. The turn puts a straight draw on the board and my opponent checks. I check. The river completes the straight draw, but still leaves me with nothing. I read my opponent as the weaker part of his range and that he definitely doesn’t have the straight. I over-bet the pot and he exclaims, “Oh my God Patrick, do you have the high or low end of that straight!?” I smirk at him and he folds.

As usual, as the blinds increase it becomes more and more difficult for me to find good situations to play in. I wish I could say that I’m “card dead” but I really feel that I could continue to win here just by playing a little differently. It’s something I’m working on anyway.

Towards the end of my evening, I started being deal lots of small to medium pairs where I faced intense action and had to fold. Many of my opponents were kind enough to show me their over pairs. Still, I end up bleeding a ton of chips away quickly.

I finally end up going all-in with A/7s from the big blind against a middle-position raise. He calls and shows A/A and it’s good night for me in 17th place.

Still seeing a ton of common tells when I’m able to observe the table. I’m also KEENLY aware when I do something that is a tell and try to mentally jot it down so that I can work on it.

On to next month and hopefully there were be a mini-series that Giac is hosting that I can add to my blog.

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Hand of the Day #4

This will be a good lead-in to my latest Gargoyle recap.

Observed by me:

Pretty normal hand early on in the tournament. Ace high board at the river when the following happens.

Player 1 bets. Player 2 looks very thoughtful and says, “Do you have pocket 7’s?”

Immediately I suspect that Player 2 is VERY weak. From what I’ve read if you’re resorting to asking this specific of a question about an opponent’s hand, it can be assumed that your hand is worse.

Player 1 responds, “Why yes! How did you know?”

At this I’m assuming he does NOT in fact have pocket 7’s, but instead something much better. This willingness to talk about the strength of his hand let me know that he was VERY comfortable. Comfort = strength (usually).

However, Player 1 then proceeds to show 1 of his cards, a 7! At this point I decide he has A/7.

Player 2 though is just completely flustered. The table of course doesn’t help as we all erupt in conversation. Player 1 eventually decides he needs to call to see the 7’s (playing sheriff maybe?).

Player 1 shows A/7 and takes it down.

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Hand of the Day #3

I’m in late position with A/Ks. There has been a normal raise in front of me. I 3-bet to ~3x their raise. It folds around to the original raiser who 4-bets me.

In my mind, this will really narrow most players ranges to just a couple of hands. A/A, K/K with a few others thrown in for good measure. I call.

The flop is A/K/x. He leads out and I go all-in. He shows K/K. My read was right…

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2 Christmas Tournaments

Over Christmas break I decided I want to make my semi-annual trip to Foxwoods to play some poker. I picked a $100 tournament on 12/30 as it started at a good time, 11:00, and had a mostly nice deep-stack structure, 20,000 starting stack. The only downside was that the levels were only 15 minutes long.

Early on I call a small raise from the Big Blind with 45s and check raise when I flop an open ender. Unexpectedly he re-raises me a significant amount. I fold and he shows A/A.

A few hands later it’s my turn to have A/A. It’s 50/100 so I raise from middle position to 300 and the dream becomes a reality; I get 3-bet by the button to 1,000. Not wanting to waste a good opportunity, I 4-bet raise to 5,000 and he smooth calls me. At this point I have him on a VERY narrow range: K/K, Q/Q or very improbably the other A/A. The flop is all low and I bet, he calls. The turn completes a flush draw. I decide to check and he shoves. I check my A/A and do have the nut flush draw and call. He shows Q/Q, doesn’t improve and I’m now sitting on ~35,000.

Limp in with A/Qo and just play back at the other player. See a tell for weakness and bomb the river to take it down with nothing.

Late position raise with A/J and get 2 callers. Completely miss the flop but push 1 player out with a c-bet. Hit the Ace on the turn and check/call. A big bet on a blank river by me and I take the pot down.

Potentially the most important hand of the tournament:

I raise from middle position with 9/9 and get 1 caller. The flop is 9/x/x. I bet 1/2 pot and get a fold. I say good fold and show my set…only to discover that there was another player still in the hand… The BB had called and from the looks of him at that point was going to call my c-bet. The dealer calls the floor over who rewards me with a 1-round penalty. So much for paying attention!

So not only was this a big bruise to my ego, but potentially a big loss to my chip stack. If he had called I potentially could have gotten a lot more chips off of him. I won enough on the hand to get me through my 1 round penalty and be basically back where I was before that hand. However, I lost the most important thing in a tournament: Time. Who knows what could have happened during those 15 minutes? It could have been terrible sure, but it could have been amazing too. Alas!

At this point I’m sitting on around 50,000. Not bad and definitely a little above average.

I call a small raise with 6/6. I miss the Ace high flop completely, but the original raiser checks to me. I of course want to just take the pot down right there so put out a normal sized bet. My opponent immediately goes all-in. Yuck.

I can accept that this is a completely valid strategy. Raise pre-flop and then check-raise the flop. However, it’s just one of those moves that I REALLY hate. It just feels like such an A-Hole thing to do.

As the blinds continue to increase, the players become more and more erratic.

There are 2 limpers and I look down at A/K and raise. One of the limpers shoves. I fold, the other limper folds and he shows A/A.

I raise again with A/K and again someone shoves on me. I fold. Have I mentioned lately that I HATE A/K?

I raise a 3rd time with A/K and sure enough, someone shoves on me. I violate one of my cardinal rules here and call. I was SO frustrated at this point. He of course turns over K/K and crushes me. ~20,000 remaining with the blinds moving up fast.

I go into short stack mode and start stealing wherever I can. However, I can’t seem to win much. I finally blind shove from the button and am called by the small blind. He turns over A/4 and I turn over… wait for it… 7/2o. Wonderful. Good game. 25/80.

I ended up playing for a good 4 hours, so that was a lot of fun for just a $100 tournament.

Later that day, my friend Cobra joined me and we bought into the 6:00 $120 tournament. 20 minute levels and I think a 15,000 starting stack.

A few people started out the tournament pretty rough and there were a few short stacks immediately. I thought I could capitalize on that by calling an all-in with A/K (I’m retarded). I figured I was good when the board had and Ace on it, but my opponent showed A/A. Yuck.

This table ended up being quite the crazy table. Someone else at one point mentioned that it was a circus. Definitely better players than my first tournament and many of them were making crazy plays and then hitting the board. That always seems unfair to me. Poker Gods: Make it right!

I raise from late position with 8/8. Don’t make a set on the flop, my c-bet doesn’t take it down. I’ve got him squarely on over cards. When the river is a 10, I figure I’m good. Nope, he calls my bet and shows A/10. I’m always surprised when players don’t give up, at least on the turn, against aggression.

So like I said, very crazy table and I go into a short stack management game. Patience!

Get a nice triple up with Q/Jo and think I might be able to play again.

A few hands later I’m in the big blind with J/5o and get to see the flop for free. K/J/8. It checks around. I figure my Jack is potentially good so I bet on the 9 turn and get 1 caller. I figure he must have a 9 in his range which is good for me as long as the river is kind. It isn’t. A 10 on the river gives anyone with a Q a straight. Q/9 is definitely in his range. I play with heart and bet, but he shoves on me. I fold. He shows Q/9o. That one hurt.

I’ve probably done it plenty of times, but I do feel like I’ve been losing a lot lately to gut-shot straight draws.

With a little below my starting stack, probably around 11,000, which is probably 5ish big blinds, I find myself with A/2s. It limps around to me and I figure this is a great spot to steal and shove. The big blind considers and then calls. This of course creates a domino effect and the other two limpers call. I do NOT want to be in a 4-way pot with A/2, not even when it’s sooted!

The flop is very kind to me: 2/6/x, 2 spades. The turn and river do not help and I end up losing to the button who called with A/6o. Brilliant. Out 31/60.

Key learnings:

Patience – I can always work on this. I’ve been playing in the WRGPT and hopefully that will give me the ultimate lesson in patience.

Trapping – Watch out for people trying to trap me. I’ve definitely gotten into a more aggressive play style and that can fall prey to a good trap.

Focus – If I can maintain a constant focus on the game, I’ve found that I have a good read on what’s happening. Then I can put all the rest of my poker skills to use for how to shift the odds into my favor.

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Hand of the Day #2

Effective stacks are 70,000 and we’re 600/1,200/200.

There is a middle position raise to 4,700. That’s pretty big and I was putting him on the weak side of his range. I am in the SB and have A/4d. Everyone else has folded except the BB so I raise 5,000. BB folds, Villain calls.

I’m thinking he must put me on something great and the flop really helps me tell that story: Kc/Qs/10s

I bet 1/2 pot (11,300) and he folds. I take down 12,700 with complete air.

It’s nice to be right from time to time.

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Gargoyle Update – Season 9 Underway

Since I lost my blog, I’m not really sure where I left off.

In November, I ended up taking 20th place. There were 2 hands of note:

1 – After being brain/situation/card dead for a couple of hours, I call an all-in with 9/9. He shows A/Jo. My 9’s hold and I have a little extra life.

2 – We combine down to 2 tables and on one of the first hands I’m in the big blind. I have Q/9o. It folds around to the small blind who completes. I laugh at him and say, “All In”. He looks at me like I’m crazy and then looks at one of the guys in early position… who still has cards. Uh oh. Early position calls, small blind folds. He turns over 7/7 and it’s a race…that I don’t win.

Wow, if this isn’t a good example of what Memphis Mojo likes to say (Pay Attention) I don’t know what is!

In December, I did considerably worse than 20th. Again, there were 2 hands of note:

1 – From the big blind I call a small raise with K/8h. The flop is K/2/8, 2 spades, no hearts. I check to the original raiser who c-bets a normal amount. Button calls. I raise. Original raiser folds, Button calls. Based on what I know of the player, I put him on a flush draw. The turn is a non-Spade 4. I bet, he calls. The river is a non-spade 5. I bet, he calls and shows A/3 of spades…for the runner runner straight. Yuck. Goodbye 2/3 of my stack…

2 – Again from the big blind, I have K/Jd and am able to see the flop for free. The flop is Q/10/x, 2 spades, no diamonds. I check and a late position player bets. I raise all-in with my over and straight draw. My opponent thinks and then calls…with A/3s. The board does not improve and he wins with Ace high… And I’m out in 35th place. That’s last place by the way.

In January, we played during what I would consider Christmas break. I was really looking forward to this game as I wanted to see if not having to go to work all day would improve my play. I also decided to take a 5 hour energy drink before play to see if that would also improve my concentration.

I started off like usual and won a little and lost a little. Early on I called from late position with unsuited overs, missed the flop but decided to call with my overs. On the turn I saw a tell that told me my opponent was weak so I raised and got him to fold with absolutely nothing. That’s a nice feeling.

Finally looked down at J/J and went to raise…and totally fumbled my chips. No surprise, no one called my raise.

After this I went back into the win a little, lose a little mode and then transitioned into short stack management. Shoving with things like 10/10 and A/K and able to get some small life back.

Then I got REALLY short stacked and started just shoving blind from late position when it made sense. I think this ended up working 3 times where I was able to get a random luck double up.

At this point I have a small, but increasing chip stack. From the big blind I have K/J and with 15 players left, probably 7 at our table, one of the early position folks goes all-in. It folds around to me and at this point it’s only 2,000 more to call. With only ~8,000 total behind I really don’t want to call, but decide to take a risk. She turns over A/J. Yuck, only 1 live card! However, I spike a King and take it down. Crazy.

So now I’m sitting on around 13,000 and might actually be able to play some poker. With 6 people at our table, I make a normal raise with Q/Js. SB and BB call. The flop is J/9/9 rainbow. SB and BB check. I jam the rest of my chips in thinking I can just take it down there, but the SB calls. BB folds. SB shows A/J and it’s good game for me in 12th place!


The 5 hour energy drink REALLY helped me keep my concentration. I will definitely be doing that again next month especially after a work day.

I’m getting VERY good at spotting steal opportunities. Some of the books I’m reading have given me some GREAT insight into what to look for.

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Hand of the Day

Trying to blog a little bit more so decided to share this recent hand of the day:

9 players currently at a 10 player table.

I have 65,000 and the average stack is around 40,000.


Fold, fold, Limp x6. I’m in the big blind with A/5o. Not really the best hand for this, but I decide to use my table image to my advantage and try to pick up a few chips. I raise to $4,900 (Pot was $5,700). The first 2 limpers called and everyone else folded. Drat.

The flop is 9/5/2 rainbow. Huh, I connected. With 19,500 in the pot, I bet 10,400 and both limpers fold. +$14,600 for me. Easy game.

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Cruise Poker 2014

Just got back from a cruise vacation and had the opportunity to play some poker. All $1/$2 instead of the usual Sit-&-Go tournaments this time though but still on the PokerPro machines.

Monday –

Really wanted to focus on patience and hand reading. I do well with the patience factor and basically fold for 1:45 before finally flopping top pair with Q/10. Villain bets $6, I call. Turn is low and he bet’s $6 again, I call. River is meaningless and he bets $6 again. I jam in my remaining ~$40 and he folds. First pot!

I call with J/9o and flop 2-pair (which I hate). There’s a bet and a re-raise. Based on the action I decide to re-raise. Original better calls (for all-in), re-raiser folds. My 2-pair holds!

Few fun hands like 8/9 and Q/10 where I have a better kicker. Starting to feel like I’ve got a handle on this hand-reading thing…

Final hand of the night: A/Q and flop top pair on a Q/J/9 2 heart board. I overbet the pot and take it down. Up about $100 for the night.

I’ve also been working on putting my observational skills to use during a hand I’m in. I’ve been pretty good when I’m not in a hand, but I noticed recently that I was nearly 100% focused on myself during a hand. What I’ve found is that there really is information to be gleaned when you’re paying attention that can really help you make a decision. Common tells, betting patterns, etc.


Very little action. Down about $30 in 2 hours when the game broke.


FULL of action. A few notable hands:

8/8 and hit my set for a full house on the turn.

A/A and hit my set on the turn to counterfeit someone’s 2-pair.

A/K and A/Q were big losers for me though. Lots of low cards that hit the limpers hands.

Final hand of the night: Limp/called with J/8 and flopped J/J/2. Some action, I re-raise and get jammed against and call. Villain turns over 2/2. Ouch! Good night and down $100.

Lots of up and down swings in this type of game, you just have to be able to survive it.


I call with 5/5 and flop a set. Based on the lady’s action, I decide to slow play and try and get lots of money into the pot. The board pairs on the turn and it’s looking good for me. The board pairs again on river and I’m pretty sure I just got counterfeited. She jams for a little more, I call and my read was right. I’m sure this is a common poker player’s complaint, but why does it seem that when others slow-play you that it works, but whenever you try to slow-play it backfires?

After that disaster, I had lots of good hands and made more than my fair share of sets. Lots of 2-pairs that held and even flopped a straight with 4/5! At this point I have about $350 in front of me and am getting tired.

I look down and have 7/7. I raise to $7 and get 5 callers (loose game remember?). The flop is 7/2/4 with 2 hearts. There is a bet and a re-raise. I re-raise again as I don’t want anything crazy happening, but my raise isn’t recognized by the computer and I only raise ½ of what I wanted to. The player to my left re-raises again! It folds around to the 1st better who folds, the re-raiser folds and looking at how much money is in the pot, I decide to jam it all-in. Player on my left insta-calls and I announce to the table that I’m pretty sure we’re going to see set-over-set. Sure enough they turn over 4/4. My set of 7’s holds and I call it a night with around $600 (+$400).


Lots of bad luck.

K/K with an Ace on the flop. Lose.

A/5 with 2 Aces on the flop and the other guy flopped a Full House.

Finally down about $125 when the table breaks. It’s the last night of the cruise so I give up and head back to the room for some final relaxation before heading home the next day. Up about $250 for the cruise so nothing spectacular, but a win is a win!

Good to get some non-Gargoyle cash experience. I still feel that I’m a solid poker player with a game that is constantly improving. Just gotta keep learning and trying to improve. There were two hands I documented above that I think I could have gotten away from but didn’t want to “play scared”. The game was SO loose it was very difficult to put anyone on a hand pre-flop so I really had to bring my post-flop A-Game. I figure I played a solid B and had a few lucky breaks.

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