Thursday, January 12, 2006

Various Ramblings......

I’ve got several thoughts swirling around in my head and I want to get them down now so I apologize ahead of time for what will probably be a post that jumps all over the place………bear with me.

First off I want to state that I am proud of my brother……..he does not read this but he took up poker at roughly the same time as I did……poker of a more serious nature. His one problem is he doesn’t play online as he does not own a computer…..something he is working on remedying. We play a regular monthly home game together, which has shifted to mostly two sit and go tournaments. We also go almost weekly to Trump for live play. The fact that I put a lot of time on the virtual felt along with studying and working on my game put me a lot further along on the spectrum in terms of my development. He wouldn’t admit this fact in the beginning after several losing sessions at Trump. He admits it now and regular makes statements about me being better than him……not in a gushing sort of way but in a way that tells me he’s striving to improve and looks forward to the day when he can improve to a comparable level.

It all started when in mid-November we were talking on a drive home from Trump. My brother was a loser yet again and was frustrated with the amount he had lost over several months. I was shocked at the number and apologized for dragging him weekly as he kept losing. He made the statement that he wasn’t going to play again until the New Year and I asked what he was going to do to improve his game between now and then? We then started talking about starting hand requirements, flop texture, etc. He questioned me and specifically asked about a hand that night where I put a regular 6/12 player on tilt raising pre-flop with The Hammer. I ended up flopping two pair and turning a full house taking down a monster pot cracking his aces. (Behold the power of The Hammer) When I flipped up my cards he got loud and said, “You raised with that garbage!” I said, “I learned that from you…..any two cards can win, right?” Now he wasn’t an “any two can win player” but mixed up his game well and plays well after the flop. He had me pegged as a tight aggressive player and I threw him off with that one. I asked my brother how much action my raises had been getting prior to that after I had only shown down big hands and he recalled that people were giving me respect prior to the Hammer and after that I got paid off a lot more than I had been previously. I explained to him that I simply wanted to establish a new image at the table and it simply worked out better than planned. I then went right back to my normal tight aggressive game and got paid off more than I had been.

He seemed to be listening and eager to learn. My brother and I have the typical (I think it’s typical anyway) brother relationship where we are competitive with each other and don’t admit the other is better at things very often. Here my brother was admitting I was better and in addition to that looking to learn from me. I then offered to have him come to the house sometime and sweat me while I play online. He eagerly accepted and we continued talking the rest of the way home.

The next time I saw him I gave him my copy of Lee Jones’ “Winning Low Limit Hold ‘Em” and told him to read it and that when he was done with that one I had another one for him to digest. (I had already bought him “Small Stakes Hold ‘Em” by Sklansky for Christmas so it was perfect) He worked on his game using his only outlet which is a crappy PS2 game but began implementing and learning how to play tight and aggressive. He came over twice for a couple hours each and sweated me online as I played. We talked about the hands, why I was doing what I was doing, and it was even a great tool for me to re-learn some things about my own game.

Since the New Year is here we have gone a couple of times and he has been winning at 3/6 consistently playing tight and aggressive. He’s come a long way and I know he’ll be a solid player for people to look out for as time goes on. He says he’s going to stick with 3/6 until he builds his roll and feels confident in his game.

Even though you don’t read this……..I’m proud of you bro! Keep it up!

As a tangent to that it got me thinking. I never thought about it before really but playing online really speeds up the learning curve. I’ve heard it said before by older pros like Brunson that the kids nowadays play so many more hands online that it took them years to play live and learn the lessons we’re learning in weeks or months. I’m seeing it with my brother, as he only plays live right now, (minus PS2) so it takes him longer to see the same number of situations.

My dad hosted a poker night last weekend and we got nine guys to show up for two sit and go style tournaments. I won the first one and took second in the second one. My Dad stated, “You always get so lucky and catch the cards you need.” My reply was that I push edges and while it seems that I get lucky sometimes it’s just bad play by them. The specific hand he referred to was when he held Kd Jd with a board of As Js 4h. I held the Ks Qs and was the big stack at the table. My Dad was middle stacked and we were heads up and he bet a pot-sized bet with his middle pair. Pre-flop he had called the blind and then was the only caller with my raise of 4X the BB. I pushed all-in and he thought for a few moments before calling. I hit my flush on the river and that was it for him. He wasn’t happy but had way too many chips to make that call. I’d have to get the odds calculator and see what the odds on the hand are at that point but I’m guessing I’m the favorite with two to come. Can’t access the odds calculator here at work to see for sure. I also can’t remember the exact stack sizes here, which would help. The way I look at the hand is I had two ways to win…….he folds or I hit my hand because if he calls I know I’m behind and I have to get there to win. I was also not risking my tournament as I had plenty more chips than him still and would still be in great shape even if I lost the hand.


I pulled a play on my brother that I have been looking for the right spot to utilize. Call on the flop to set up taking the hand down on a bluff on 4th or 5th street. I had a good size stack and was one of the top three stacks at the table. My brother raised in early position 3X the BB and I was the only caller with 86s. The flop came J 7 5 rainbow. My brother led out with a pot-sized bet and I thought for a few moments before calling. I thought he had a top hand and with his bet knew the Jack hit him so I put him on a hand like A J and figured I could hit my hand or take it from him on 4th street depending on what fell and how he acted. When I flat called bells must have went off in his head because he knows when I’m in a pot I’m raising 90% of the time. I know bells went off because he actually said, “I can’t believe you called that bet.” The turn was a King and he checked to me. This made me sure he had a Jack and he looked uncomfortable so I got rid of K J as a possibility. He only had about 2X the pot size left so instead of a pot sized bet I pushed all-in and he went into the tank stating several times, “I can’t believe you just called the flop bet.” He folded finally and I showed my semi-bluff with my open ended straight draw. He tilted and made the comment later that he can never tell what I have because I am always aggressive and am not afraid to put my chips in if I think I have a good read on someone else.

I’m playing in two live tournaments coming up. One is tomorrow night and the other is the last Sunday in January. I will decide how many more live tournaments to play based on my play in these two. My plan is to play aggressive and look to accumulate chips as the structure is fairly fast.

I spent the last couple of days listening to a backlog of Lord Admiral radio pod-casts. I really enjoyed them and hopefully will get to listen every Monday or Tuesday here on out and stay on top of it. Wish I could link it up but again….limited here at work. I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t heard them already. Very enjoyable listening.

I’m thinking of going back to 6/12 for a little while in my live play. My bankroll for live play has dwindled for a couple of reasons: 1) A couple straight losing sessions at 200 Max NL. 2) Took out some to do a couple of nice things for my family over the holidays. (If I can’t do things like that then what’s the point) I could cash out some from my online account but I’d rather keep that in tact for the time being as I’m enjoying playing a MTT here and there which tends to slowly eat at the bankroll with stretches of no cashes. Lately I’ve been playing ring games or a sit and go for an hour or so making enough to cover the MTT buy-in and then registering. That’s great but doesn’t do much for building the roll.

I received Michael Craig’s “The Professor, The Banker, and the Suicide Kings” for Christmas and just finished reading it. I enjoyed it very much. It’s an easy read and this is from someone who doesn’t read “Stories”. The next story I want to get and read is “One of a Kind” the Stu Unger story. I wasn’t sure about it before but after listening to the review on Lord Admiral radio this morning I think it’s one I’d like to check out.

I also purchased a book and DVD with some birthday money I had hanging around. I bought Russ Fox’s “Mastering No Limit Hold ‘Em” to see if I can help my no limit cash game where I think I have begun playing too soft which partly has to do with my more limited live bankroll. I’ll probably hold off playing the 200 max NL game at Trump again until I build a little more of a live bankroll and finish this book. I also got Annie Duke’s DVD “How to Beat the Big Boys”. I was planning on getting the Final Table DVD of Phil Gordon’s, which sounds very interesting. It was too expensive, however so I started reading reviews of various others and this one seemed to have a lot of great things said about it. I have only watched a little of it but so far I am impressed and will try and give a full review when I finish it.

Well I think I’ve rambled long enough.

Til Next Time.

Baz Out