I won the Poker Analysis league tournament the 7th day into 2007. I also finished 3rd today and had a 2nd yesterday in a league (PWH's-Elite Players Club) I hadn't played since October when the UIGEA turned my world upside down.
I cashed in the 1st Mookie of 2007 finishing 4th!! My first Mookie cash in about ten attempts. It was ugly poker but I'll take it. It caused Fuel55 to query if I ever won with the best hand!! I replied no I lose with them (and Mookie has seen it happen over and over). Fuel55 finally busted my KK with T3 which was payback for the three suckouts I had on him. He exaggerated a little on his blog me thinks and said it was 5 times. At the same time Silo (Snake's bro )scored a nice $1000+ cash with a 5th place finish on FTP in one of the guarantees on a $8.80 token.
In the Muffmoney league game yesterday a participant by the name of Uniquefella who shall now be known as Eunuch-fellow took issue with me raising most pots I entered. Someone mentioned Isnt that what your supposed to do. He had it out for me after that and started talking shit. So I told him if he was going to limp and minimum raise I would make him pay LOL. SLB159 happened to be in the neighborhood and witnessed the whole interchange against me. The dude obviously had penis size issues because he then started in on the two big stacks at the table. Big pro that he is in a $3 buyin he made an amateur of amateur move... He bluffed a dry side pot. I immediately drew it to everyone's attention.
Snake gave me some really constructive criticism after a token SNG fiasco where as co-chip leader with 4000+ chips I tangled with the dude who had me slightly outchipped. Sure I had the dude beat TT to 88, and i hit my set on the flop, but the 9 on the river gave my opponent a straight and no token for IG. Snake rightfully asked me why I didnt just coast to the final table and the token with the 4k chips? DUH, Good point. He then, tore apart some of my hands and really made me think long and hard about my game, especially my betting and lack of aggression post flop if I missed the flop. On Friday night, he handed me WSOP day 2 and told me to pay close attention to Daniel Negreanu. Ive seen it before but only while multi-tasking. I know its a clinic on hand reading skills and post flop play.
Coupled with reading Sklansky and Miller's Theory and Practice of No Limit Holdem its all beginning to become crystal clear. I was playing too much long ball poker, waiting for the big hand to try and double up and folding too often on the flop if I missed. I was giving my opponents too much credit for having hit also. So after re-reading Lucko21's email to me and Fuel55's comment on Smokkee's blog. Ive opened up my starting hands and am working on playing small ball poker. I'm trying to win more small pots and increase my stack gradually, rather then going for the big score and potentially getting outdrawn and losing a coin flip. Criminey, you'd think that an endurance athlete, Errr.... make that former endurance athlete would recognize that a poker tournament is a marathon and not a sprint. Regardless, this change has caused me to really think about my outs, my pot odds and about taking control of a table. Its forcing me to work on my hand reading skills and to work on my post-flop play. Heck I might as well put my Accounting/Finance and Psychology degrees to use!!!
When I was heads-up today against Poker Analysis member Fitchjr, I actually called a minimum raise with 56h and probably had some folks shaking their heads asking if IG had gone mad. In the old days low suited connectors would have been folded. But last weeks MuffMoney league game and my heads-up matches with Snake showed that I can be successful at my new style. My final hand was K6s in the BB. I called his raise and flopped the nut flush with the ace on board . Fitch took a stab at it and I raised him but not all in. He came back over the top all in with only the Js in his hand and I busted him. I trapped about as good as I could have and only made one bad call where I was outstraighted. I floated some hands with AK and AJ with rag flops keeping the pots small so I could get away from them if I had too. I raised on the turn and river more then I ever have. I stayed out of coinflip situations which would have put me at risk for all my chips. In the PA league game I took charge from the beginning and rode the wave to the final table and to the win. I dropped no lower then 5th place at the final table(and was never the short stack) and went into heads-up the chipleader.
And it felt damn good and Natural.