Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Here's an interesting play from the .25/.50 table tonight. Notice how many are in the hand and what happens on the river...(ignore sly's chat, or just laugh if you know him)

Full Tilt Poker Game #952217280: Table Casino Center - $0.25/$0.50 - No Limit Hold'em - 22:29:56 ET - 2006/08/30
Seat 1: lundy9 ($20.90)
Seat 2: KickerOfThyAss ($15.40)
Seat 3: loveamybud ($95.15)
Seat 4: cwarno1 ($45.90)
Seat 5: bertnypi89 ($62.15)
Seat 6: IlliniFan ($51.60)
Seat 7: SlySelea ($50), is sitting out
Seat 8: GarySeven ($59.90)
Seat 9: MAE051 ($13.10)
loveamybud: me?
bertnypi89 posts the small blind of $0.25
loveamybud: lol
IlliniFan posts the big blind of $0.50
The button is in seat #4
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to IlliniFan [Qc 8c]
GarySeven calls $0.50
MAE051 folds
lundy9 folds
IlliniFan: heh
KickerOfThyAss calls $0.50
loveamybud folds
cwarno1 folds
bertnypi89 calls $0.25
IlliniFan checks Easy check
*** FLOP *** [Ac 5d 5c]
bertnypi89 checks
IlliniFan: sly and his famous sit and sit out
SlySelea: ooo no sir
IlliniFan checks
GarySeven checks
KickerOfThyAss checks
SlySelea: not you bud
*** TURN *** [Ac 5d 5c] [5h]
bertnypi89 checks
IlliniFan checks
SlySelea: just announcing myself to the table
GarySeven checks
KickerOfThyAss checks All check still four players
*** RIVER *** [Ac 5d 5c 5h] [5s] Okay, so I'm playing the board. Shouldn't everyone be playing the board?
bertnypi89 bets $1 I was confused by the bet..
loveamybud: lol, we all tilt sometimes
IlliniFan calls $1 But we all play the board, so I call
GarySeven folds HUH?!??
KickerOfThyAss folds WHA??!!??
*** SHOW DOWN ***
bertnypi89 shows [9s 4c] (four of a kind, Fives)
IlliniFan shows [Qc 8c] (four of a kind, Fives)
bertnypi89: lol
bertnypi89 ties for the pot ($1.90) with four of a kind, Fives
IlliniFan ties for the pot ($1.90) with four of a kind, Fives
IlliniFan: why feed the rake? Made this before the folds, but shows up here. I thought it was a good question, but two fold. FREE MONEY!!!
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $4 | Rake $0.20
Board: [Ac 5d 5c 5h 5s]
Seat 1: lundy9 didn't bet (folded)
Seat 2: KickerOfThyAss folded on the River
Seat 3: loveamybud didn't bet (folded)
Seat 4: cwarno1 (button) didn't bet (folded)
Seat 5: bertnypi89 (small blind) showed [9s 4c] and won ($1.90) with four of a kind, Fives
Seat 6: IlliniFan (big blind) showed [Qc 8c] and won ($1.90) with four of a kind, Fives
Seat 7: SlySelea is sitting out
Seat 8: GarySeven folded on the River
Seat 9: MAE051 didn't bet (folded)

If you are one of the two players who folded and is reading this...I'm still laughing at you!!!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Full Tilt Forum Pointer

For those who can't live without the forum, PMB was nice enough to start up a thread. You can post and read here.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Playing "Small Ball"

Okay, it has been a good long while since I had a real "poker" post. Time to get in there and start talking about the game again.

As stated earlier, I'm not playing as much recently, but I have been trying out a new strategy for online play that I have seen some pros use with success lately. This strategy is "small ball". Basically, you are playing small pots, accumulating chips, and staying out of big pots unless you have the absolute nuts or a read that your hand is good.

A lot of people will think "Well, isn't that the way that everyone plays?" The short answer is no. The medium answer is no. The long answer follows.

One of the things that really brought this post to life was a recent episode of "Poker Superstars III" with Johnny Chan, Chris Ferguson, Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Hellmuth. If you are serious about trying to be a better player, and you are not watching this show and "High Stakes Poker", you are missing a lot. In this episode, Johnny was playing small ball to perfection after the first few hands. He was very lucky and picked up KK in hand one, then QQ in hand three and sent Phil Hellmuth and Chris Ferguson to the rail right away. He ended up heads up with Antonio Esfandiari with a 2:1 chip lead and tiny blinds. Johnny went into small ball mode and didn't take chances with hands, and would let hands go if Antonio raised enough preflop or on the flop. He was looking at flops cheaply, keeping the pots small, and then taking them off Antonio with agressive bets.

The only way that you can be truely successful, IMO in small ball is to have a deep stack or have good reads on the players at the table. To some, small ball will look like semi-loose aggressive play. There is a difference though, and it is very subtle. Semi-loose or loose aggressive players will sometimes gamble and push hard into a pot with marginal hands. The small ball players don't do this as often. They rarely raise preflop, and will bet in small increments of the pot post flop. Some think that small ball looks like slowplaying a hand that you have "hit" with. Again, this is close. You are looking to see a lot more flops cheaply with some more marginal hands, and then keeping your losses to a minimum if you are outkicked and outdrawn. Some think that small ball looks like semi-loose passive play. Again, this is close as you aren't looking to "ram and jam" the pot to build it up. You are looking to keep the pots small and push players around.

In fact, small ball is all of these styles combined. You are looking to change gears based on the pot odds, the hands, the players. Small ball is very difficult to play unless you are paying close attention to the play at your table. If you are like a lot of internet players, you are multitasking and not paying too much attention to the table. Most players are playing their cards, not the other players at the table. You will be able to pick these guys up in games within a few orbits, depending on the cards and whether they need to show down hands. If you are being smart and paying attention, you should know if you can play small ball against them successfully. These are the players that small ball will pay off with successfully.

Okay, I know. I am dancing around the do you play small ball successfully? I wish I knew. I think to be truely successful at it you need to be a superior hand reader, which I am not (but aspire to be). I really do think that the majority of pros out there see this as a good winning strategy, as long as there are no "Kill Phil" types at your table. Small ball basically looks to pick up as many "orphan" pots as you can while risking a minimum amount of chips. You are looking for weak players to pick on. You aren't betting huge amounts, giving the "TV Poker" players out there the itch to get in and mix it up with you in big pots. You are just sitting quietly, over in your chair, quietly and efficiently accumulating chips.

I am still experimenting with the strategy and have mixed results. Several authors talk about this strategy, but not in great detail, which makes me think that they don't want to let the cat out of the bag, and "spoil" this strategy by teaching it to others. I'm learning the lessons the hard way, with some losses. To date (been playing this style for about 2 months) I am down $40 in the .25/.50 NLHE games. So roughly 80 BB. A small price to pay to learn a new, effective strategy, IMO.

If anyone out there is willing to talk this more, feel free to drop me a line. I am always looking to talk strategy, and this new one is fascinating to me. I can be reached at illinifan97 AT gmail DOT com.

In the meantime, I'll cya at the tables.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Updates, new article in the works

Hello all. Hope that the poker tables have been treating you well. It is time again for some updates.

As I mentioned in my last email, I had 5% in someone for the ME. That someone was Khanwoman (aka Teresa) a fellow player that I met through the She has her own blog with stories right over there on the right (T's Spot). Check out her blog for some more details on her run at the WSOP.

She did very well. She got her money in with the best of it most of the time (all a poker player can ask for) but ran into some troubles when she had 10-10 vs Q-Q and the board came undercards. That left her short stacked, and she finally went out when her 6-6 was outdrawn on the turn by A-10.

Overall, I was pretty impressed with her run to get there. The reason I got the 5% goes all the way back to the "PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker". T, Myself, and Steeler all decided to play in the tourney and all took 5% of each other just for kicks. Steeler was first to exit, I was next. But T slugged it out through a field of 2300+ to finish in 17th place. No small accomplishment. This was enough to net her a seat in the "150-seat guarantee" tourney that Pokerstars put on in July. This was a $350+20 buy in event and has the record for "the largest Main Event satellite, ever".

Our fearless heroine sat down to duke it out with 7000+ of her closest friends to attempt to "freeroll" into a seat (the blogger championship was a freeroll, no entry fee). After hours of play, she made it! The satellite paid out seats to the top 235ish (don't remember the exact number). T was in the middle of the pack when the tourney ended.

So she made it through two enormous fields to get into the big dance. She did everyone proud. And maybe I can get 5% of her again next year.

In other news, my roll has been up and down again recently. I have been trying for a while to perfect a new strategy (new to me, not to others). That will be the topic for the next post. It is a work in progress. Check back soon.

Meanwhile, I'll cya at the tables.