Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Stuck in the Middle at the Wheaties

As you may have noticed, I don't blog about poker all that much anymore. Not that I haven't stopped playing. I actually have fairly healthy bankrolls at UltimateBet and FullTilt. PokerStars is another story. Yesterday was the second time since the start of the year that I've had to recharge my PokerStars account - a feat that's become less difficult once I discovered Visa "gift debit" cards could be used to make deposits at on-line casinos. No fuss, no muss. Highly recommended if you're looking for an easy way to get money in. Money out is still problematic, but even my healthy UB and FT accounts aren't fat enough yet for me to be exploring ways of taking money out.

My game went sour on PokerStars at the beginning of the year, partially I think because my dwindling bankroll forced me to give up everything except the Wheaties Tuesday night tournament and then I got into an evil circle of not getting into the money, posting the $11 buy-in, not getting into the money, posting the $11 buy-in... and so on. When you only have around a $75 stake to begin with, it doesn't take too many $11 buy-ins to make your money go away unless you win something. Usually, I had been able to offset the Wheaties spend with the occasional SnG win, but I found it was easier - much easier in FullTilt's case - to get in the money at SnGs at FullTilt or UltimateBet than at PokerStars. And because there's now no easy way to move money between various poker sites, I'm now faced with lopsided bankrolls among the three.

For awhile I was playing crappy in the Wheaties, getting knocked out fast. I settled myself down, but then had the misfortune of running into the same crazy two Tuesdays running who - two Tuesdays running - succeeded in knocking me out of each respective tournament with terrible suckout hands, all while proclaiming how drunk she was while doing so. That put me on tilt so badly that I stopped playing at PokerStars altogether for a few weeks. When I came back the crazy was gone, but she had taken the rest of my luck with her. I've tried everything - I stopped chatting; I deliberately played hands the reverse of how I would normally play them; I gambled; I played as tight as a tick; and variations of all thereof.

The "problem" with SnGs and tournaments, of course, is that you can play beautifully for hours at a time but the bottom line is that only certain finishes are going to pay any money, sometimes only the top 3, sometimes the top 9 or more, depending on the size of the field. In recent Wheatie weeks I've been placing consistently in the top 20 - not too bad in an average field of 60 - but still far out of the money. I don't think I've even seen a final Wheaties table since February.

Last night was the usual. I played well, made it past the first break with an average stack for the field. Unfortunately at the same table was a player who was on one of those golden rushes that you see occasionally in poker games - he or she could literally not lose a hand. And with a stack around 3 times the size of the rest of the table, s/he was able to play a lot of hands. With a pair of 7s, I just called the a min raise, as did the player and one other person. A seven hit on the flop, giving me Trips. I decided to run a check-raise trap and checked. The first better throws 400 at the pot. The player threw in a pot-size raise, which I had expected, as s/he had been doing it all night, scaring people off. I went All-In with around $2k. The other two players folded. The Big Stack called and showed a pair of 9s... and a possible straight draw with a 7 and 8 on the board. Runner, runner, as they say. a 6 hits the turn, meaning I now have to avoid a 5, 9, or 10. Too many outs for this guy and a 10 hits the river and I'm gone.

Could I have played it differently? Possibly, but I think he would have forced me into an all-in anyway. Just calling his $1200 raise would have committed over half my stack, and I doubt I could have laid down those trip 7s even facing a straight at the turn. I had to bet that s/he didn't have a strong enough hand to make an additional $2,000 a worthwhile investment, and I was wrong.

Anyway, that was last night Wheaties - and I think my last Wheaties for awhile. I'm going to take a shot at the Mookie at FullTilt - Wednesdays at 9, and see what that brings. For PokeRStars I'm going back to single- and multi-table SnGs for awhile. As you can see from the graphic above, courtesy of SharkScope, I've actually done pretty well at those.


BrainMc said...

Is your FullTilt name the same as PokerStars?

fhb said...

It's close, Brian. ricoMr at FT. See you at the Mookie sometime?