« Kevin Ngo

Poker Session #2 - 663% ROI

15 Jan 2014

An all-day Saturday session at the Encore Poker club. I spent the week throwing back to the old poker days, lurking the 2+2 forums, picking up the Harrington on Hold’em books, and listening to poker podcasts during my 5-minute commute and work-outs. My blog now even features its own poker section after bouncing back in forth between migrating it to Octopress and then standing pat with Wok. Wok suits me better with less boilerplate, a better templating engine, and more support for non-blog pages. Anyways, after a few monkey-patches with Wok and a custom virutalenv, I’m ready to write some poker.

I played two MTTs, a 70-man freeroll and a 30-man $500-guaranteed. Made it to the final tables in both, and cashed in both with a 9th place finish in the freeroll for $45 and a 2nd place finish in the $500-guaranteed for $265. Last session, I cashed in 5th at the $500-guaranteed for $80. So things are rolling well. Whether I’m running hot, or I’m playing solid, only sample size will tell.

Freeroll - 9th Place for $45

I was actually a bit sick, developing a small cough, when I played the day, but nothing too bad. The field was large at 70 people. I played tight in the early blind rounds, gaining a large lead on my table. My first big pot involved a flush over flush. We both hit our flushes on the turn, mine bigger. He bet, I raised, and we eventually got it all in. He lost with his 9-high to my T-high flush. He said he was value-raising possibly against the straight on the board, but I told him I wouldn’t raise a straight so aggressively on a flush board.

I held 88 and raised preflop and got heads-up with an old guy. My read on him was that he liked to chase draws hard. I flopped a set, but on a two-tone board. Seeing the draws out there, I elected not to slow-play and bet around 3/4 pot. He flatted. I put him on the draw and my set was pretty much the nuts. He lead out on the turn where I shoved. He correctly folded, knowing he didn’t have the odds to peel off one more to the flush.

At the break, I took the add-on to give me a larger stack.

Freeroll - The Silent Assassin

After a while, a older guy wearing a beret noticed me at the table with a large stack. Though I gained them pretty quietly. He coined me the Silent Assassin since I rarely talk at the table yet I was stacking people. One day, I would be on a TV table at the World Poker Tour where the commentators would refer to me as the Assassin. I thought that was amusing, I don’t have any other poker nickname, so I’ll take it.

In a 4-way pot, I held Js2s on the big blind. The table limped around to me, and I checked going to a 4-way pot. I flopped a spade flush. Being 4-way, I figured someone was holding a Ks or As. I potted. The UTG, who limped, raised. Everyone else folded. I didn’t want any more cards to peel, so I 4-bet 3x here and snap-called the shove. He showed AsAx, overpair with a draw to the nut flush. A bit of a cooler for him, that’s a good hand to get it in with, but my hand held to take the pot.

My stack decreased in relative size, however as the blinds raised. Before long, I was a relatively short stack. I shoved with A4o on the button and was called by JTo. A coin-flip, but I held up on the river. I talked to him later, grudging me for busting him out, but I didn’t recognize him later.

Freeroll - Busting the Final Table

My stint at the final table was short-lived. I had a short to medium stack. I picked up AQo on the button and accidentally min-raised, not knowing about the recent increase in blinds. The small blind, a reg wearing a poker beanie with large black disk earrings, 3-bet with 88, and I 4-bet shoved. I lost the flip when he hit a set on the turn. He mentioned 88 was his favorite hand, and he only 3-bet because I min-raised, putting me on a small pocket pair. If I had made a 3x pre-flop raise, he would have flatted, and I could have c-bet to take down the flop. Bummer.

Hand before the break, I receive KQo on the small blind. The reg from earlier raised from UTG. I thought for a while about shoving, but thought his UTG range was too strong. He showed JJ, which would have been the best I could’ve hoped for. I said I had two overs. A reg on my left knew it was KQ. He said that would’ve been good to shove, but I knew at best his early position raise range had me dominated.

Later I receive 88 on the button. I raise 3x, and get 3-bet again by the same reg. I 4-bet shove, and he calls with AQo. A mirror situation from earlier. Unfortunately, he gets the good side of the coin both times when he hits a J for the straight, and I bust for min-cash.

$500 Guaranteed - 2nd for $220

After not eating all day by 4pm, I ordered some chicken strips before the tourney, and they were delivered after I sat on a small food cart.

My stack wasn’t doing to well for this tourney by the break so I didn’t add-on, not expecting to cash. I had AKo twice in my first few hands, but my c-bets failed to lose a portion of my stack. There was a pretty talkative guy to my left who I had a tell on, he would always handle his chips prematurely as he was getting ready for a raise. Sometimes I would start to raise, look over, and simply check or call.

I earned the award for the Table Rebalance Donkey, as I was moved to a different table five times over the course of the tourney, having to move my food cart along with me.

I focused on reading the guy on my right, a black guy with a spiked baseball cap, sunglasses, and a golden watch (call him “Spikes”). I got pretty short-stacked, paying close attention to my tournament M-ratio, the ratio of my stack to the total blinds per round. Once it dropped below 6, it was pretty much shove-or-fold. I was in the big blind with K9o and 4 players limped around to me. I shoved to pick up the dead money. Everyone folded, but Spikes thought for a long while, perhaps with a small pocket pair or weak broadways. I stared at the felt hoping for the fold, and after nearly calling, he mucked, and my stack was back to the Orange Zone.

I got into a hand with Spikes a couple minutes later, where I picked up AA in middle position. Spikes raised pre-flop, and I shoved on him again. I could have raised small, but I know that he just saw me shove and he almost called. I figured he wouldn’t take that twice in a row. So it folded around and he called with 77. My aces held to double up.

Once it got down to 4-handed, we agreed to pay the bubble. Then it got down to 3: me, Spikes, and a talkative maybe-reg with glasses who reminded me of Amir from CollegeHumor. I quickly stack him with QQ over AQo all-in pre-flop. And I go heads-up with Spikes.

$500 Guaranteed - Heads-Up

I’m not particularly great at heads-up, but I thought I could outplay Spikes. We went back and forth a lot. The dynamic was he would shove very, very often, and while I was aggressive pre-flop and on the flop, I didn’t have it to call. I doubled up on the flop, with JTs, hitting my open-ended straight on the turn.

The final was me on the button, raising with K6s. He shoves. He had me covered, and I think K6s is good enough to get it in with someone shoving so light. He flips 34o; I had it dominated with two overs (4:1 in my favor). Unfortunately, he hits a 4 on the river to end the tourney. Well, you win some, you lose some, I was happy to get it ahead and get some heads-up experience. I tipped the dealer $20.

I stayed at the club a few more hours to watch the Blazers game and work on the failed Octopress blog migration. I maybe should have played the $8000 guaranteed considering the club was pitching in $3000, but I was satisfied with taking home $265. I’ll go again in a couple of weeks after I get back from Corvallis. I found out one of my co-workers is a poker player too, with a pretty juicy background, so I’ll play with him at the club once he flies over to Portland for our team work-week.