Monday, March 22, 2010

Another month, another lesson learned

All the way up until Saturday night, I wasn't sure if I was going to be playing poker for a rare Sunday afternoon session because work has been kicking my ass and my weekends have been so full this month that I've not had time to really rest and re-charge.

A day and most of a night watching movies at Lyss' on Staten Island with the Elf and later Joaq provided me with the easy decision because as I rationalized it, if I was already going to be leaving SI on Sunday and I had already set aside the money in my budget, I might as well head all the way up to Doc's in Harlem, right?

Because we were five-handed until our sixth arrived, we tried to do some orbits of dealer's choice. I drew the Ace of Spades, so I picked Pot Limit Omaha and spewed a lot of my chips in a hand that I probably misplayed in my enthusiasm to play something other than Hold'em. Vin, Lyss, and later Joaq each chose Hold'em and the Doc chose 7 Card Stud but that didn't help matters either because as I mentioned on Twitter, I was very card-dead for most of the night being handed J-x or Q-x or unsuited low cards. I bled away a lot of chips chasing straights in Omaha and being caught out by Lyss' amazing lucky streak that would last for most of the night and give her my unofficial Golden Horseshoe award.

By the time Ron arrived, I decided to re-stack early, giving me around $24 to play with for the rest of the evening. However, the cards didn't fall my way until either slightly before or after the dinner break. Because we started around 4:00 pm, Lyss decided that she was going to leave around 10:00 pm, so we ended up playing while we ate, and I even dealt for a few hands so that Doc could finish his dinner.

Eventually, I found A-K off-suited and luckily beat Ron to a good sized pot where I don't think I had anything but flipped up on showdown where it was revealed that yes, I did have the nuts with Aces and 4s, I think. Heading into the last hand, it was only either 10 cents or 30 cents to see the flop and I found 5-4o. Again, it was the last hand, so I decided to play it and the flop came out 2-3-7, and there was no flush help. I think I was first after the button, so I checked, then followed the betting, not even daring to think that I was drawing to the low straight. The turn was the Ace of spades, Doc fired out a somewhat medium-size bet and I called, which pushed everyone else out. River was was the Jack of clubs, I forgot what we did, and we ended up splitting the pot when Doc flipped up his 5-4 suited.

As a result of my poor play, I ended up losing only around $2.75, which is not great, but it's not terrible either. Looking back, I realize that I really need to just be patient and trust that the cards will eventually come to me because when I was card-dead, I went into pots with some of the J-x or Q-x and over committed when I should have just folded. That kind of play is boring but it also keeps you from becoming a donkey.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The secret word of the day is: "Trips"

At the $20 buy-in home game I'm currently seated in, we were four-handed yesterday because Nate canceled at the last-minute, which made Doc more than a little peeved. I was the first one to arrive, so I asked Doc if he could teach us some other forms of poker. After Lyss and Joaq arrived, we did a "dealer's choice" session where every time the dealer button came around to me, someone would announce a new game. We ended up playing (in order) 7 Card Stud, Omaha, No Limit Texas Hold'em, and Omaha Hi-Low, which meant that we successfully played a set of SOHHI. I will leave it up to you decide how to pronounce that.

Vin arrived which brought us back up to fuller health and at Lyss' request, we moved back to Hold'em. I bled chips for much of the evening, never really getting down to a bad situation but never really pulling down anything major. One hand I remember losing spectacularly was when I had good hole cards but Doc reeled me in like the fish I was and smacked me with his flush. By the time 10:30 pm rolled around, I was down about $12 and woke up to pocket rockets.

If you've been paying attention, AA has been pretty good to me, but I remember the lesson that Doc taught which is that they can't be counted on improving and someone could end up beating you with a flush or a straight or just anything. So when I got the rockets, I waited to see what everyone else would do and follow the aggressor to at least the flop. Vin was behind the button and he set out a bet of $1.50. I went in the tank for just a teensy bit and called, after which Joaq fired out $5. He'd been doing crazy stuff like that all night, so I know he'd gotten something good but I still had the nuts (so far). Vin goes all-in, and after counting out my chips and remembering that I had said I was going to leave in 30 min., I decided to go all-in as well. (Doc texted me just now saying that I had no choice but to call the all-in with pocket aces, pre-flop. I will have to keep this in mind.)

Play slows down while Doc figures out how much more Joaq needs to put in if he's going to call us, and it ends up being only $2 more to him. This means that there's around $20 in the pot and none of us have seen the flop. After deciding not to show till the river comes out, the flop is Ad-Qc-Jd, and I have officially tripped Aces. The turn is 4d and the river is 9c and I am inwardly dancing my ass off because there's no way that anyone is going to beat me, even if they have a pair of face cards. Since Joaq was the aggressor, he shows and he does have a pair of kings. Vin shows his Qh-9h which means he's got two pair but then I flip over my aces and win it all. Even better than that was going head-to-head with Doc and cracking his pocket aces by choosing to play my pair of 3s and luckily getting a third 3 on the flop, and that ends up being the last hand of the night.

Still, I'm not going to forget the lesson of the evening which is, "Look at the bloody board, you git" because after about six months of these monthly games, I should know better than to fall into Doc's traps. But the queens! They're so shiny and regal and yes, they're bad pocket pairs to have but ooh... yeah, I think he cracked my queens with that flush. I believe I'm going to have to re-banish them to the naughty spot.

Dusting off the blog

I'm choosing to dust off this blog because after my relationship ended in 2007 and I switched careers, I realized I haven't been writing as much as I used to for myself. I'm going to try and dig through my old entries to back-post stuff about gaming, but what with my renewed interest in poker and meeting the Loading Ready Run crew at the 2009 Penny Arcade Expo, I think I've still got a lot to say about my adventures in gaming.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Saturday night poker

So I'm in Las Vegas right now with the family for two days, but I actually got here on Saturday because I changed my flight so that I could avoid airport hassle and drama due to the East Coast snow storm.

And since I got a nice cash bonus from work, I decided to take $200 of it to the Mandalay Bay poker room to see how long my single buy-in would last.

My only real cash table experience has been at our monthly home games in Harlem where I've slowly been getting better at getting a feel of when to play and when not to play. The buy in is at $20 and the blinds are at 5 cents and 10 cents, so spending $200 at a $1/$2 table is a big leap upwards.

The poker gods were kind to me and gave me some good hands that I played decently. The table was fun, too, with not just a Crazy Asian Man at the far end of the table who played super-aggressively, but a Crazy Asian Couple who sadly had to leave because they wanted more action at the Venetian.

The guy to my left was this real nice guy named Doug who refused to tell me what he did for a living because, as he claimed, I would never believe him. Unfortunately, I never got to find out what it was he did, but the way he was acting and dressed, I either put him as a high-powered exec who was slumming or someone else who was famous. After half a tiny bottle of water, I started almost matching him beer for beer and that may have lead to my ultimate downfall.

After straddling the table twice and being paid off well, I thought I had the best hand and the board beat (but I forget what I had, maybe two pair). The guy to my right who looked like someone I knew from NYC but wasn't and I were heads-up, in for a lot, and pot-committed. He had a flush draw, I improved on the turn, and then he totally sucked out on the river when the last heart came. There went a lot of my stack.

I ended up spewing the rest of my chips to Doug in the very next hand when I thought I had top pair but he beat me with something else. He was a real gentleman and said that he really didn't want to take my money, but I was a lady and said, "Hey, it's just poker, and it's okay." Yeah, I was on tilt, but I put on a smile, waved everyone farewell, and then donked off $5 at the penny slots just to even out a bit before catching a cab back to my hotel.

However, in total, I played for 4 hours on $200, made great calls, joked around with people at the table, saw great hands come my way (boats and one non-flushed straight that was on a straddle, I believe), and feel much better about myself as a player.

Now, if I can only learn how to play "Race for the Galaxy"...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

1 girl, 2 bust-outs

Played poker at Doc's again last night and busted out two players who were almost full of their buy-in close to midnight.

First bust, I found pocket rockets and let Joaq lead the bidding after the flop which showed something like Q-Jo-x. He went all-in with about $17 or so would have busted me out (I think because at that point, I was too tired to see exactly how much I had left). I was close to the point at which I almost wanted to go home anyway because I wasn't feeling as well about my play as I did last week because I was already out one buy-in and had re-bought for $25. I had him on two pair, but again, since I was tired and had rockets, I called.

I even asked around and was gratified when Vin said he'd walk me to the subway if I busted out, so at least I knew I would be okay getting home. We reveal all the cards, and nothing pairs on the board, so I'm feeling a little better but am now thinking he's got the pairs of the third card on the flop which I can't recall. When he reveals his A(?)-Q, almost everyone at the table thinks we heard him say "Top pair" and I swear, I had to look twice to see that he wasn't holding Q-J. I flip over my rockets, and it turns out that after shipping me his chips, he is near-felted, so he donated the rest of his chips to the pot and left.

We dissected that hand and the play for quite some time afterward because I really felt sick about it since I know he's been running not so well for a while at the tables. One thing that Doc said was that I have to learn to be okay with handing out bad beats to friends if I'm going to keep playing with them.

A little later, I find pocket 6s and since I have the cash to play, I figure that I'll join the pot to see the flop. Flop comes out 6-6-x and I am over the freaking moon. Flopping quad sixes! I have not had a hand like that... well almost ever. Jersey leads the aggressive betting as the turn and river come and I follow his lead, letting him think he's beating me up. However, again, my brain is so fuzzy that I can't remember if a full house beats quads and I'm nervous going in. At the river, Jersey goes all-in and I insta-call. I think at this point, Doc pauses play for a bit because he can tell that things are going to go sour, but Jersey's already standing up, ready to rake. Scott shows his cards (which I can't recall at all but do give him a full house) and then when asked, I turn over my cards, saying that I have a pair of sixes.

That busts him out, and he leaves quickly as well, and we dissect that hand and that play afterward for a while, too. The rest of the game really does go by in a blur except for the very last hand where we all limp in, check to the river, and the board beats all of us for a 4-way split pot. That was our signal that it was time to get the hell out of there and once again, the game broke after 12 hours at 6 am.

Even though I'm tired, my back hurts a little, and I am about to start working on a project for my boss that has to get done before tomorrow morning (which I would have gone to the office to do had Joaq cracked my aces), I can't help but love the fact that I am getting better at playing poker (came home with $30 over my buy-ins, but I need to work on not overplaying my bluffs) and that I might even be ready for a small run at a 2/4 Limit table in Vegas in a few weeks.

Now all I have to do is actually find the time in the schedule to play...

Thursday, December 6, 2007

eBay Auctions for Child's Play

Here's the text of the letter I just sent off to the guys at Penny Arcade:

My name is Trisha L. Sebastian and I'm a Penny Arcade fan who has collected toys almost all her life. Circumstances have made it so that I can't keep my collection anymore, and I've been slowly auctioning them off on eBay over the last year or so. However, they aren't moving out of my small, cramped apartment fast enough for my liking and I wanted to be able to get rid of them all at one time.

At the same time, I've been an at-home campaigner for Child's Play ever since the charity began in 2003. For the last three years, I've asked my parents, sister, and extended family to refrain from buying me Christmas presents, but instead to buy toys for the children's hospitals on the Child's Play website. My story, as I've written into every eBay auction, is as follows:

"My own story is that when I was 11, I spent a week flat on my back recovering from surgery to repair a congenital kidney defect. Because both of my kidneys had been operated on, I couldn't use the facilities like a normal kid would and always had to have my arms restrained at night so that I would scratch out the stitches across my abdomen.

"One of the things I remember the most about my stay is that one day, all the ambulatory kids were gathered in the rec center because the hospital was throwing a party. I couldn't go because I was still confined to my bed, and things were pretty quiet in my room without the other kids in it. Then, I heard the sound of voices coming down the hallway, and a doctor dressed up as a clown lead a parade of kids to my room. They had balloons, and everyone was so happy. I remember smiling as the doctor handed me a new Barbie, saying that he had come to deliver it to me in person because he knew that I couldn't get out of my bed.

"I like to imagine that the money you will spend on these auctions can go towards purchasing a new Barbie for a bed-bound kid like I used to be."

I started putting items up last night (seller id: saucypackrat), and the auctions will end in 7 days. I would really love to see all of these items be sold, even if it's just at the minimum bids. I'm publicizing it on my LiveJournal, but if news of these auctions could find a wider audience, that would also be awesome.

Thank you, for creating such a wonderful and awesome charity!

I really, really want to help out the guys this year, and this is the best way I can think of doing it. Plus, a little extra good karma never hurt anyone.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The mid-week grind

It figures... on a night when I'm actually playing poker on, Dr. Pauly himself came by to leave a comment on my last entry. And it also figures that tonight, I have a very uneven session.

Dealer: Tr1shaLynn has a pair of Kings
Dealer: Game #12402767189: Tr1shaLynn wins side pot (60) with a pair of Kings
Dealer: Game #12402767189: Tr1shaLynn wins main pot (3490) with a pair of Kings

This was the very first hand I was dealt. I had Ah-Kx off-suit to start with, and the flop was all hearts. Can't remember if the King came on the turn or the river, but two people went all-in to make up that pot. I tripled up in this hand.

Dealer: gnulife4me has a pair of Fours
Dealer: Tr1shaLynn has a pair of Tens
Dealer: Game #12402830961: Tr1shaLynn wins pot (555) with a pair of Tens

This was the second hand I was dealt. Yeah, I really had no right to be in this hand at all, starting with 9-10o, and not catching the straight draw on the river. This was pure luck.

Tr1shaLynn: So do you have the straight?
Dealer: Tr1shaLynn, it's your turn. You have 15 seconds to act
Dealer: Player Tr1shaLynn has requested TIME
Dealer: Tr1shaLynn has high card Ace
Dealer: adamg8888 has two pair, Nines and Sevens
Dealer: Game #12402883026: adamg8888 wins pot (670) with two pair, Nines and Sevens
Tr1shaLynn: nh

Ad-Kd, and the flop didn't help my flush. However, I did end up also drawing to a straight. I checked a lot when I should have been stronger, I think.

Dealer: Game #12402996520: Tr1shaLynn wins pot (205)

Caught a flush on the turn, and I realize now that I should have slow-played. Instead, I bet 1.5 times the pot because I wanted to represent uber-strength, and it worked. Thank you, Dan Harrington.

Dealer: billferd has a full house, Nines full of Kings
Dealer: Game #12403065047: billferd wins pot (3170) with a full house, Nines full of Kings

Had 7-7 to start, and was blinded by the kings. Damnit.

Dealer: adamg8888 has a full house, Aces full of Sevens
Dealer: Game #12403169875: adamg8888 wins pot (510) with a full house, Aces full of Sevens

And here I was thinking he'd gotten the third seven... no, he had the third Ace. At least I did accurately call him on it. Me? Just two pair, Aces and tens. Nicely played.

Dealer: Tr1shaLynn has three of a kind, Queens
Dealer: Game #12403323018: Tr1shaLynn wins pot (1625) with three of a kind, Queens

A-Qo, a raise from last position, I called, and it was called back from the middle. I hit the first queen on the turn, bet half the pot, and was called all-in. Third queen hit, I bet half the pot again, and was called. Textbook, yes?

Dealer: billferd has two pair, Tens and Nines
Dealer: Game #12403564737: billferd wins side pot (3599) with two pair, Tens and Nines
Dealer: keko9 has a straight, Ten to Ace
Dealer: Game #12403564737: keko9 wins main pot (1128) with a straight, Ten to Ace

And this is where I lost 2/3 my stack because I started talking to this guy who kept catching straights. I had Kc-4c to start, and things didn't get much better for me the longer things went on and the queen I needed didn't show up. I hadn't been playing for a while and while I was the one who initiated the conversation, he kept it going. I admit that perhaps I wanted to impress him and solidify my standing at the table? Anyway, lesson learned: Stop thinking with your ego, Trish.

Dealer: billferd has three of a kind, Queens
Dealer: MaranelloW has two pair, Kings and Queens
Dealer: kdh11353 has a flush, King high
Dealer: Game #12403709387: kdh11353 wins pot (3040) with a flush, King high

I was the SB and had Ac-10h and paid $5 to see the flop because why not? Everyone else had only called. The flop comes up more clubs and straight possibilities, so I check. Bill comes back with a raise of 300+ and was called. So I did what any prudent person with only 1k in chips left would do: I got the hell out of the way. Best decision, ever.

Dealer: BigK2007 has a straight, Five to Nine
Dealer: Game #12403950632: BigK2007 wins side pot-2 (950) with a straight, Five to Nine
Dealer: Game #12403950632: BigK2007 wins side pot-1 (1980) with a straight, Five to Nine

Gyah. BK stole my straight. That money should have been mine, except for the fact that someone else had the queen I needed.

And that's it for me for this session, leaving the table with 410 in chips. Argh... and I forgot to get the session stats before I left the table. Oh well, next time.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A $50 lesson learned

For my 30th birthday, my friend Speck bought me the first volume of Harrington on Hold 'Em and I devoured a few chapters in the week before my trip out to Las Vegas. I didn't do any of the workbook problems, and maybe I should have before I hit the casinos on Friday night.

It was fairly late in the evening--or early in the morning--when I stumbled upon the poker room at PH (aka Planet Hollywood). My friend Marc had just arrived from Los Angeles, and we were about to start a heavy night of drinking. Because this was my 30th birthday party weekend, the other people who were with me that night graciously let me set the tone of the evening's drinking and followed me through and around the various winding pathways that can get you lost and alternately dump you as close to as many slot machines to catch your eye as possible. The room itself was small, maybe only 10 tables, half of which were full. I'd had a Jack and ginger at the Heart Bar mere minutes before I went to the desk to ask about the availability of a $1/$2 NL Hold 'Em table, just to check. When I was told that yes, there was a seat free, did I want to take it, I choked. Before I knew it, I had borrowed $30 from my best friend Lewis to make up the $50 minimum buy-in, and sat down at a full table.

To my left was an Asian lady, but I didn't stay long enough at the table to see if she was what Dr. Pauly calls a "Crazy Asian lady." I do remember that she had a big stack and was likely bullying the table all night because the frat boy to my right celebrated pretty noisily when he beat her with a flush draw on the river, and the rest of the table was pretty appreciative as well. I didn't catch any cards at all until I hit J-J on the button. The initial bet was $5, which I called. I knew I was playing short-stacked, but I figured that I should at least see the flop, y'know?

On the next round of betting, I pushed a few people out with a $15 raise, which frat boy called behind me. The turn paired aces, and my next move was to bet $20, which FB called again and even more people got out of the way. Honestly, things were moving so quickly that I wasn't watching the table carefully enough to notice that there was a flush possibility. I think we all know where this is going because when it came time to flip 'em over, he made his flush draw, and I exited the room with grace and dignity.

Hannah told me later that since she subscribes to the A2C (any two cards) newsletter and I was short-stacked, I probably made the right call. My poker mentor Aaron concurs, and he said he'd teach me more when we go to Atlantic City in November. I'm not too upset because I did fully go into that room expecting to lose whatever money I was going to bet because I'm still learning how to play this game. The rounds went faster than I was ready for. Hell, my money went faster than I was ready for. But I think that's something that I'll have to adjust for and get used to if I really want to make a serious stab at this.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Annette Obrestad: Youngest. Female. WSOP. Bracelet Winner. EVAR

Most of the coverage is here, and believe me, I'm going to be devouring it while crunching data today. I want to read more about this 19-year old who has taken her online game offline and proven herself to be a champion. According to Pauly's bio of her, she took $9 against her parents' wishes and built it into her gaming bankroll, starting when she was 15. I can't wait till she turns 21 and can smoke 'em all in Vegas.

This post is such a contrast to my last one. I'm proud to be a female poker enthusiast, and hope that I can one day become good enough to face her and the likes of her at a table.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

LIttle landmarks

Pauly's helping cover the WSOPE (which I'm pronouncing in my head as "wuh-soppy") and this is what he wrote about a Brit who pulled down a monster hand (quad 6s):

On the third hand of the tournament, Thomas Bihl busted out after donking off his chips and made some random British hot chick, Sarah Taylor, the chipleader. Taylor limped from UTG. William Thorson called. Thomas Bihl raised to 1,200 from the big blind. Taylor called as did Thorson. I put Bihl on a big pair. The flop was 9d-6s-4d. Taylor bet out of turn and was told by the dealer to take her bet back. Bihl checked. Taylor then bet 1,000. Thorson called. Bihl check-raised to 6,000. Taylor and Thorson called. The turn was the 6h. Bihl checked. Taylor bet 8,000 and sat back in her chair... a signal of strength. She was also shaking uncontrollably. My gut told me that she had 6-6 and turn quads. The chick was shaking for fucks sake. The ever cool Thorson folded and Bihl went into the tank for a minute before he check-raised all in. What the fuck? Taylor quickly called. I expected Bihl to have A-A or at least 9-9 or 4-4 for the full house. Nope. He flipped over Qh-Qd. Taylor tabled 6d-6c for quads. Bihl was drawing dead as the dealer put out a meaningless 5h on the river. Bihl headed to the rail as Taylor dragged the pot and jumped out to an early chiplead. Two days earlier Bihl won a bracelet after he came from behind and beat Jen Harman in the HORSE event as he made history and became the first ever player to win a bracelet in Europe. Then he donked off his chips to an amateur who obviously held a monster hand. I can only assume that Bihl is primarily an online player who doesn't study the physical reactions of players as much as he should. I mean, Taylor was shaking. How could he not know she had a hand?

I don't think I do that anymore. When I held my Ace-high straight against Dash, I was as cool as a cucumber. I kept thinking over and over again what Wil Wheaton said once about being an actor and committing your face and your body into believing that you don't have an Ace-high straight. I wanted to look confident enough that he'd think I had game, but not too confident because I wanted his chips.

I still think back to the second time I played at Doc's house and he said that it was getting harder to read me. That's a skill I definitely need to keep working on.

What interests me is that I'm more upset that Taylor's a woman who isn't covering her tells rather than Taylor being a person who isn't covering their tells. It's like I want to yell at her to shape up because every time she plays in a big game like the WSOPE, she reps us other female players who want to be known for their good game.

All of this is just prelude to me spending $100 at the tables on my 30th birthday party in Las Vegas next week so I can find out how good I've really gotten, if at all. My friend Steve bought me the first volume of Harrington on Hold 'Em and I'm going to be devouring that thing on the plane, along with Positively Fifth Street because I like a good essay.

Wish me luck.