Saturday, April 18, 2009

Day 3

On the third day of my experiment, frustration gave way to immense satisfaction!

I began the day once again trying the Full Tilt Main Event freerolls but had absolutely no luck. Later in the day I added a couple of poker rooms to my list, so I played freerolls at Bodog and at Carbon Poker. At Bodog's $500 freeroll, I competed against 4500 players and managed to come in at a respectable 275th place -- nothing to write home about, but evidence of improvement. I then played in a $50 freeroll at Carbon Poker in which I finished 81st out of 1500. Unfortunately, these freerolls don't pay nearly that many places.

At 10:15 P.M., I elected to try one more at Carbon Poker and all my efforts were finally rewarded. Again facing 1500 opponents, I managed to finish 3rd and open my bankroll with $5.00! It doesn't sound like much, but believe me, it took me a long time (over a year of play and study) to finally finish in the money. In the crucial hand I was playing short-stacked with about fifteen players remaining. I found myself looking at A-4 suited in hearts on the button. After the table folded around to me, I raised 3 times the big blind hoping to steal a pot. However, "greatbambeeno" in the big blind (with a chip stack that had me well covered) decided that stealing was not an option for me and called, leaving me to start considering what he might be holding. I decided he was probably holding a medium pocket pair, something like 8-8 or 9-9. The flop came 2h-5s-Kh, giving me the nut flush draw and a gutshot straight draw while I didn't think it helped him. Bambeeno checked and I checked right behind, happy to see a free card. The turn brought another 2 and bambeeno once again checked. I thought that the King had probably scared him and the paired board couldn't have been good for him either, so I went crazy and shoved all-in. Bambeeno instacalled and turned over A-K, leaving me almost dead. I had 11 outs, leaving me a 4-1 underdog in the hand. However, the river brought me an absolutely beautiful 3 of diamonds, filling my straight and doubling my chip stack!

After I finished the tourney, I moved to a micro-stakes game with .02-.04 blinds and won a whopping $0.67 in ten minutes, leaving me with a profit of $5.67 for the day. It doesn't sound like much, but it was infinitely better than the zero I started with!

On Friday, I played in four freerolls and didn't fare very well. I started with a freeroll at Full Tilt at 8 a.m. (an ungodly time) and didn't make it to the first break. My thinking doesn't really begin working quite that early it seems. I later went to Ultimate Bet where I finished in 471st out of 4112 and felt like I wasn't playing well. I decided to rest for the afternoon and get some things accomplished around the house, and I was back to the tables for the 6:15 and 10:15 freerolls at Carbon. In the first one, I finished in 160th position out of 1500 after making a really dumb donkey call -- I called an all in with A-10 suited, only to see one player acting behind me call as well. Unfortunately, they were holding 10-10 and A-J offsuit, leaving me only a flush or straight possibility to win the pot. The poker gods had a different idea though, not giving me any of my hearts and only low cards on the board -- leaving me drawing dead on the turn and river. In the 10:15 I again got away from my game plan of playing tighter than a drum at least through the first break and got knocked out 20 minutes into the tournament when my flatout crazy all-in semi-bluff didn't hit.

I'll be back later with news on how I fared today!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Looking up

Day 2 didn't go too well for me, but day 3 was a definite improvement!

On day 2, I played in several of the Full Tilt "Race to the Main Event -- stage 1" freeroll satellites, but I didn't fare all that well. I've won three of these in the past, but this time the poker gods weren't too good to me. I finished in 15th in one of them, 21st in another and much lower in all the others (twice. These tournaments are a different animal than most in that the turbo setup increases the blinds in three minute increments, forcing much wilder play. In fact, it is not unusual to have half the field gone in the first ten minutes. In my best result, I chipped up early and then hit a horrible run of cards -- not good when those blinds just keep rising. By the time we hit the final two tables, I had a stack of less than 4 times the big blind, so I figured it was time to shove when I was dealt any decent hand. I finally got pocket 9's, went all-in and was called by the player to my right with Q-10 offsuit, making me a 57-43 favorite. The flop was great with a low card rainbow, the turn looked even better with another blank, but my hopes of doubling up ended when a 10 hit the river.

Day 3 was much better. Another tournament is starting now, so I'll be back in a while to tell you how yesterday went.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Day One

Not a good start for my plan. I spent the morning reading several articles on freeroll Texas Hold'em strategy, but I had a little trouble making myself follow said strategy. Then again, they disagreed on how to play anyhow -- some articles recommend playing very tight at the beginning unless you have a premium hand, while several others recommend jamming hard and trying to accumulate chips rapidly. Unfortunately, I played a hybrid without much success.

At Full Tilt, I played in four turbo satellites in their "Race to the Main Event." Turbo tourneys have a rapidly increasing blind structure, resulting in a lot of all-in plays in the first few hands. In the first three I played, I drew A-K suited twice and got beat all-in both times -- once by an idiot who went all-in with 4-2 offsuit and caught two pairs. In the fourth tourney, I played fairly well, finishing 16th. The problem was that it only paid two places! However, I stuck to the tight plan a little better there, playing only 31% of the hands -- which is probably still a little too high. I have to learn not to play every Ace I'm dealt, and that two suited cards are not necessarily a hand worth calling with -- especially from early position.

This evening I played in a $50 freeroll at Carbon Poker and had somewhat encouraging results. A bad beat left me severely shortstacked when my A-Q suited got beat by a K-J offsuit. I raised from the button and a limper reraised all-in. I figured correctly that I had him beat at that point (about a 60-40 favorite) but he caught 2 pairs on the flop and I ended up finishing 437th out of 1500. It was my first tourney at Carbon Poker and I'm not sure what I think about the site. It's an attractive site with a clean layout, but I couldn't figure how how to make the stats show the things I'm used to. In general, I feel that I do best when I play about 33% of the hands, but Carbon only tells you how many hands you've won.

I'm going to try a couple more at Full Tilt and maybe one more at Carbon before hitting the sack, so I'll update you then.

Getting Started

I've been playing poker for several years and had a pretty fair amount of success. Am I a professional? Not even close....but I (like 99% of the players out there) feel that I could be if only I had the money and the time.

With the economy the way it is, I now have the time. I've been unemployed for quite a while and don't have any immediate prospects. I'm 52 years old and this has proven to be a solid obstacle in finding a job right now. I certainly don't have the money to become a pro player, so I've come up with another tack. I've decided that I'm going to play in as many poker freerolls as I can in order to 1)build a bankroll and 2)try to win a seat in the World Series of Poker. I know the odds are long against me, but I figure I don't really have anything to lose.

Currently I play at Full Tilt Poker, Ultimate Bet, Poker Stars and Doyle's Room. I've just opened an account at Carbon Poker, and I may add one or two more sites in the future.

The purpose of this blog is twofold. First, I want a way to track how I'm doing. Therefore, I'll be posting my results for every freeroll I play in along with my analysis (as objective as I can possibly make it) as to how I played. I'll post any relevant stats as well as my winnings. Second, if anyone out there is interested in doing this, they will hopefully learn from my mistakes as well as my successes.

That's all for this first post -- wish me luck!!!