Saturday, February 5, 2011

I think I can win this!

While preparing to write this blog entry, I was going over my records and noticed something I wanted to double check in my hand history. Unfortunately, none of the software I have will load and replay all of my saved hand histories. Both fpdb and Pokermemento freeze when trying to load my saved files. I did report the fpdb bug, but I haven't figured out why Pokermemento is hanging, just where. On top of that, I realized that the hand replayer in fpdb doesn't work yet anyway. I finally used Pokermemento to read in just the tournament I wanted to review before continuing this entry.

It was very frustrating, looking for a simple hand database and replayer that would work with every variation I play, or even just the 3 main ones of 7 card Stud, Omaha and Hold'em. There’s really not a whole lot out there. The big two, PokerTracker and Hold’em Manager are both relatively pricey for a small stakes player like me, although it is an investment I’m considering. However, neither have full support for anything other than Hold'em and Omaha. PokerTracker has a Stud tracker, but it’s a separate product, and as of May 2011, will no longer be updated. HEM is rumored to have a stud app in development, but I could find nothing to confirm it.

On the 27th, I played in a couple of the 90 player KO tournaments I'd cashed in before, but only scored 2 knockouts and finished well out of the prize money. On the 29th I tried again, but quickly went on tilt, again with only 2 KOs and no other cashes out of the 5 tournaments. I even tried a HORSE tournament but was out of it early. On the 30th, I wasn't feeling well, and skipped playing at the bar. I got on Fulltilt and found some Stud games, but busted early in 2 tournaments and 1 SNG before finding a HORSE SNG where I broke out of my rut with a much needed victory. However, I was still in the hole for the month. But I was feeling much better, and no longer tilting.

The next night I signed on again and looked for a tournament to play in. I knew that the 90 player KOs were out of the question. I pondered a satellite into a FTOPS, but it was a winner take all tournament and I didn't think I had a chance at it. I signed up for the deep stack 6-max (again, having forgotten playing in it just over a week before), and pondered another tournament, but for some reason I wasn't very enthused about it, especially with it starting after the 6-max.

I played cautiously at first, building my stack, but staying below average. I was only at risk once, when I raised with AQ and the big blind doubled my bet. I call and the flop is king high. He leads into me with a bet of 480 into a 1000 pot. I call, as the small bet seemed weak and I thought I could take the pot on the turn with a big raise. Turn is a queen and again he bets small, 880 into a pot of 1960. I push and he calls with AA, having me covered. River is a Q and I double up. It's fairy smooth sailing from there all the way to victory.

One thing that helped me win was following the advice given in Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time Volume I, and the companion book, Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time Volume II, both of which were Christmas presents from my wife. Throughout the tournament, I thought about what I had read. I tried to mix up my play, and paid attention to my table image. When I had been aggressive with frequent raises, I made sure to back off before the table played back at me. I also made sure to take advantage of the money bubble and picked my spots, not raising without a playable hand, especially with a small stack in the blinds. I felt very confident throughout the middle and late stages of the tournament, even remarking to my wife, as I was among the chip leaders at one point, "I think I can win this!"

With that win, I increased my online bankroll by over 60%. I somewhat wish that I had the FullTilt Academy bankroll challenge active for the tournament, though, as that would have completed the task of increasing my bankroll by 25% again. While I don't have any particular number set in stone, I am close to one of the numbers I have in mind for wanting my bankroll to reach.

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