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Saturday, April 03, 2004

The cheap cheap tourneys on Absolute
For the past couple weeks I've been on Absolute Poker. I bought in just to clear a 40% bonus (you deposit $50, they give you $70). Then I referred B, hence more bonus-clearing, and now I think I may just keep some money in the site for their $2 +.20 single-table tourneys, aka Sit'n'Gos. They also have .50+.10 SnGs, but that's too cheap to spend time on even for me, and plus the house vig is worse. Interestingly, Absolute Poker has 9-player tables.

Thursday night I played for over 4 hours. Total profit on the evening: $1.15. Don't feel bad about laughing scornfully; I'm doing the same as I write this. I actually profited over $10 from the SnGs, but lost it at the .50/$1 tables. (I'm going to have to start keeping more detailed notes on what I play and how I do--when I first started I kept a really detailed poker log that I have let languish the past few months.) I was also reading various poker blogs the whole time--that's a new bad habt I'm going to have to deal with.

Anyhoo, winning at tourneys and losing at ring games is the reverse of the pattern I'd established over the past year--normally I would make my money at the the ring game and then lose it on $5+$1 Party's SnGs. The crapshoots that are Party's SnGs, plus my experiences losing $60 at Foxwoods's (now discontinued) Saturday tournaments, really soured me on tourneys for a while. I've read Sklansky's Tournament Poker for Advanced Players, and while I found it interesting, it didn't do jack for my game. Plus I haven't read any books specifically about no limit play--I plan to remedy that this month.

Then about 3 weeks ago I played in a home game up in Massachusetts. 15 guys, $25 buy in, no limit, and I came in second for a prize of $100. For a cheap cheap player such as myself this was quite a windfall. Then last Friday the 26th I came in 17th out of 1,130 players at Paradise's daily 4pm $1 tourney, for a prize of $7.50. That was downright thrilling, and I've been having fun with the tourneys all week.

I'm not ready for the WPT or anything, but I do feel a lot more confident playing the tourneys, whereas before I had always felt kinda clueless. The key has been aggression and blind-stealing. Of course I've known for a long time that aggressive play is fundamental to tourney play, but it's one thing to know the theory and another thing to actually start flinging the chips out there with cards that I wouldn't even play in a ring game. And damn, is it fun! After a year of loose limit ring games, where I've learned to hate 2-suited flops when I have a big pair, It feels so freakin' great to destroy a flush-drawer's pot odds with a big bet.

Thursday night I managed to win my first SnG on Absolute. I've been finishing in the money more than half the time (again, I need to start keeping stats on this), but it had all been 2nds and 3rds. I was feeling like my heads up play stunk, and maybe it does--I need to read up more on heads up play. One thing I did do was use Turbo Texas Hold'Em to run 1 million hands, heads up, no betting no folding. Then I printed two sheets: One ranking the hands in order of which won the most, so I can start memorizing it, and another listing them by card rank, so that during a tourney I can quickly find a specific hand on the list and see its heads up win percentage.

Anyway, Thursday when it got to heads up, our stacks were about even at around $6,500, blinds were 1k/2k. I got A7s, went all in, and won. Turbo Texas Hold'Em says that hand holds up 62.3 percent of the time.

In between SnGs I was playing some .50/$1, strictly playing straightforward, "by the book" poker. Specifically, I recently read Lee Jones's Winning Low Limit Hold'Em and I realized that while I thought I knew his book very well, he's got some good preflop advice that I've neglected for the past year. I was surprised at some of the hands he has you raising with, such as KJs in middle position. I really think I had fallen into a tight-weak syndrome, and that was hurting my ring game and making my tourney game just pathetic.

One funny ring game hand on the night: I have 77, call in middle position. 5 others see the flop -- 4c, 7c, Kd. Early position player bets, I raise, only one player folds. Turn is Jd. I lead betting on the turn and all call. River is 3h, so board is 4c, 7c, Kd, Jd, 3h. I'm happy there's no flush. There's a bet and raise before me, and I reraise which may have been a mistake but I have been trying to be more aggressive. One player folds. Here's the funny part: The 3 other players all show 56o!!!

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