Friday, May 23, 2008

Poker In May Is Proving Tough at Party

I have sort of lost my flow at the Micro Stakes No-Limit poker tables lately. I’ve taken my share of bad beats but then, who hasn’t? What I have noticed though is – and I thought this would be damn near impossible – the standard of the poker being played is actually falling.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for crap poker players coming and splashing their money around with their loose-aggressive style (for want of a better word). But it begins to wear you down when you’re on the end of some pretty horrendous hits.

The way things are going this month I’m going to record only my second losing month since I began my winning strategy that has so far taken my bankroll from $30 to over $200. The month started poorly, I clawed my way back to almost break even before I took another couple of nights’ worth of savaging. Now I’m once again slowly pulling it back but the complete noobs who chase flushes (and are hitting) are seriously starting to piss me off.

Monday, May 12, 2008

All-In All-In All-In

We had a funny situation take place last night at the Party Poker $5 nlhe cash game. Funny interesting really. I was in the process of deciding whether to take my seat at a particular table that had around 7 or 8 players. I noticed that there was one guy with a stack of over $8 and the rest were under the maximum buy-in of $5.

So I watched the first hand and the pre-flop betting when something like: limp, fold, limp, to the big stack who pushed all-in which then prompted everyone to fold. Big stack takes the pot. Okay, fair enough, I thought, the big stack had a hand and pushed everyone out. Next hand same thing: fold, fold, limp, ALL-IN, fold, fold… Hmm, very strange, 2 all-ins in a row from the big stack.

And so it went hand after hand. It turned out this dude was simply playing All-In poker every hand. It was a bit surreal and it was definitely messing with the heads of the other players. Seeing as I wasn’t actually playing it was a very interesting psychological exercise to see how people reacted.

It took around 5 straight all-ins before the disgruntled commenting started (in French so I couldn’t understand it). 2 people simply upped and left. One guy raised before the all-inner but couldn’t bring himself to call, even when it was obvious he was going in with anything.

Finally one bloke decided enough was enough and had the courage to call, trimming him down to size. After that he was quickly dispatched and within 8 or 9 hands the experiment was over, the money was gone and so was the mysterious All-In merchant who simply stood up and left without a word of explanation.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Party Poker - Qualify For Manila

The latest Party Poker promotion involves the inaugural Asian Poker Tour even at Manila, in the Philippinnes. Four hundred people will be competing for $1 million and Party Poker are going to send 11 people to join in the fun.

According to Party Poker you can get there for as little as a $1 buy-in.

So what does the road ahead look like for those trying to qualify?

Your $1 buy-in will get you into a sub-qualifying speed tournament with rebuys. For every $35 that goes into the prize pool an entry into the next level qualifier will be awarded. Alternatively, you can enter in the $4 speed sub-qualifier (also with rebuys) where an entry into the next level will be created for every 10 players who enter.

The second level is a $35 satellite qualifier event that is held daily. For every 10 players that enter this event an entry is awarded into the weekly $320 Satellite event. This satellite will be held twice weekly and for every 20 players entering a package to Manila will be awarded.

The prize is worth $6,000 and includes a room in the Dusit Thani Manila Hotel, $2,500 buy-in to the main event and $3,500 spending money.

The qualifiers started a week ago and they're still running now. Perhaps you might like to jump into Party Poker and try your luck. But you'd better bring a lot of it.

Party Poker | April Cash Game Results

Playing poker can take you up and drag you down. Playing poker at the micro level can speed up the process. And playing poker at Party Poker at the micro level can make the journey a maddening ride of wildly swinging fortunes with no real way to stop it.

April began smoothly enough with the Party Poker micro stakes faithful behaving themselves and predictably handing over their cash. Then I hit a black patch for about a week there and slipped into the red for the first time since January. Five days of suffering had me readjusting my poker strategy as I was going over old hands to find out where I could have improved.

As it turned out my poker play has been pretty solid. Apart from a couple of times where I called when I was 95% sure I was beat, I had played pretty good poker. It was just that there were an inordinately high number of poor calls by opponents who then got very lucky. I just happened to run into a lot of people who would be short term winners, long term losers right at the very moment that they were short term my expense. You get this fairly frequently at the micro stakes level, after all, the place is littered with rank beginners who have no idea what they’re doing. It’s just unusual that I came up against suck-out after suck-out.

So the Party Poker $5 NLHE cash game tables have once again been kind to me with a double digit profit rewarding my persistence. Now that the bankroll is beginning to grow to a reasonable size, double digit profit for 1 month's work is proving to be a worthwhile return.

I've scaled back significantly on the number of hands I play each night. With time available to play poker very much restricted these days, I can really only afford an hour or two at the most. As an hourly rate, I guess, my return is looking even more impressive given the stakes games I'm playing.

Raw numbers for the month have ended up looking fairly solid thanks to a much improved last week and a half. The turnaround has been due to a couple of important factors. Patience, I seem to say this every post, as I’ve been diligent in waiting for a good starting hand and then I’ve played it aggressively when I’ve hit the flop. During my little bad beat period it occurred to me how many times people were calling and betting with 2nd or 3rd pair and I’ve exploited that fact to great advantage. The odds of playing quality hands swung in my favour (as they statistically should) and I’ve made hay.

So, anyway, my return for the month of April turned out to be a smidge over 14% and I played just under 1,500 hands which isn’t terribly many. My Poker Tracker stats reveal that I made 18 BB per 100 hands and it seems that I am slowly becoming more aggressive, raising pre-flop 9% of the time which is higher than previous months.

My plan going forward is to continue what has been successful for the last 6 months. Hit the Party Poker micro stakes cash games. Take the profits when they present themselves, practice sensible bankroll management and aim for another double digit month.