Thursday, June 26, 2008

Book Review on Amazon for Tournament Poker: 101 Winning Moves

I had the honor of reading the manuscript to this book before it was released. Mitchell had contacted me through my personal poker blog and asked if I would like to review his up and coming book on tournament hold'em and I couldn't refuse!

I read the book cover to cover two or three times and thought to myself "these tips could never work" as I was trained to be a tight-aggressive player based on the works of Harrington and Sklanksy. However, I put my pride aside and decided to try about 15 or so of these awesome moves in my upcoming tournaments. Things turned out to be fantastic with the awesome preflop moves I used from this book! Also, the subjects on c-bets has really helped me be super aggressive on the flop, even when I didn't hit any piece of it. I have since played 47 tournaments, placing in the money in 13 of them, and took down 7 of the them!

Bottom line: If not for this book, I would not have made it very far in the tournaments I have played in. Harrington on Hold'em is still the greatest series of books in my opinion, but if you really want to up your game and mature from the kids to the big boys, read this book.

-Jules Carter

Monday, June 23, 2008

Full Tilt Sunday $750K Guarantee

Something like 3,500 players.

The first hand I was dealt was pocket Kings, I raised and everyone folded. The first hour I got premium hands more than I may have ever gotten before online, and the result I was down! Why?

I doubled up in the BB with my KK against the SB's QQ...which got me up to about $6,000 real early.

But, I made a call of a pre-flop raise in the SB with Q-J. The flop came Q-8-4. I check called. When the Q hit the turn, I moved all-in since I put my opponent on an overpair as he had been playing real tight. He called right away. He had pocket 8's. Doh! Back down to $3,000.

The premium cards stopped coming of course, but I was able to build my chips to a good size again. I played aggressive using my "risk is good" approach.

I got lucky when I had K-K against A-A and hit the K on the turn.

So, it was down to about 150 players. And I got moved to a new table. I hate getting moved to a new table since I have no clue on player images.

Second hand I was on the button with K-J. Everyone folded to me and I raised the $1,800 BB to $7,200. The BB thought a long time and moved all-in. Bummer. He had about $38,000 and I had $30,000 left, so if I called and lost I was out.

I had no clue how this guy played. My rule on Button play in this situation is that if you are going to call a move all-in from a blind after you raise pre-flop, just move all-in preflop.

I didn't follow my rule. I called all-in. He showed A-8. The flop had the A, and it was over.

Hours of play for a lousy $500 win. I made a bad as I write, not as I do...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Book Review from What're the Odds: Tournament Poker:101 Winning Moves by Mitchell Cogert

How many moves do you know?

In an attempt to improve my poker game during the last couple of years, I've purchased several poker books. I'm sure many of your bookshelves are also stacked with Sklansky, Harrington, Cloutier, Brunson and the 'Tell Guys'; Mike Caro and Joe Navarro. Today, I'd like to recommend an excellent one to add to your collection. The latest addition to my poker library is Tournament Poker: 101 Winning Moves by Mitchell Cogert.

Tournament Poker: 101 Winning Moves gives you one hundred and one expert plays for no-limit tournaments. It is the poker reference book that combines winning poker moves found in almost 20 years worth of poker materials with plays uncovered in heads-up battles against poker pros. -Mitchell Cogert

I have to confess, even as a poker blogger and an avid reader of poker strategy, I didn't even know about some of the moves discussed in this book! Of course, some are extremely well known, like the Continuation Bet, the Squeeze Play, the Stop and Go, the Isolation Play etc., but there were several that were unknown to me.

You may know some of these moves, but you don't know them all. And if you don't know them all, you are at a distinct disadvantage. It's time to step up to the poker table with confidence and an arsenal full of winning moves. -Mitchell Cogert

Each move is defined in a straight-forward, easily understood manner with example hands following. Unlike other strategy books I've read, I didn't have a single huh?? moment throughout the entire book!

Cogert's mantra for this one is Risk is Good and talks about embracing the risk associated with NL tournaments. Risk is good, because playing safe in tournament poker is a sure way to lose. While we may all know this, it helps to be reminded. I remember a live tournament that I played at Sam's Town not long ago where I 'forgot' this simple Golden Rule and proceeded to play the weakest poker of my life. I'll never forget that tournament. It was a lesson well learned. Too bad I hadn't read his book the night before that one.

Of course, it's all about knowing when to take these risks. For this, Cogert provides an Odds Chart with the number of outs you have and odds against improving on the flop and turn in the back of the book. Also, there's a FAQ section, such as How often will I be dealt pocket Aces? or What's the probability of my opponent having an Ace-high hand with a better kicker than me? The answer gives percentages on AJ, A10, A9 and A8, which I found interesting.

Then there are the Tips sections sprinkled throughout. There are some great tips in this book, such as the one on Fear: When your opponent makes a bet that puts fear in you, ask yourself if that is true or false. Remember that fear is often referred to as False Evidence that Appears Real. Is he bluffing? Semi-bluffing? I found these tips to be smart, thought-provoking and very useful.

If you've ever overheard someone say something like...."I decided to float the flop, then the turn. When I bet the river, he tanked and folded."...and wondered what they were talking about, you should definetly give this book a read. Even if you are familiar with floating, with 101 moves there are bound to be ones you don't know, but should know.

Not only will this book help you to incorporate more power moves into your tournament poker game, it will also help you spot when opponents are making these moves on you! You'll be able to effectively counter their moves and foil their plans.

My verdict: Ship it or skip it? Ship it!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Reflections on trip to WSOP...

1. Yeah, bad decision on forgoing a chance at $38,000 at the Venetian event. I was in 4th place in chips and I felt I could win it all.

2. Believed my NL book helped me to get to the final 10 players in both NL events---the 150 and 450 player events. Also, I read Gus Hansen book which gave me some more ideas on how to play aggressive and smart.

3. I need to figure out what to do when the blinds jump so high at the end and everyone is pushing. At one point in both events, I think I was chip leader or close to it. But once the pushing started, I felt it was best to get out of the way unless I had to call or had a hand. Maybe I need to review how Gus handles these situations, and his percentage evaluation when he calls with the worst hand.

4. Playing at B&M was easier than online since I was able to read the players better. Also, I really think the players at these two events were not very good.

5. It was the first time I was sick and actually played good poker. I was surprised.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

My trip to Las Vegas for Poker and the WSOP Razz event

Arrived Wednesday night. Entered a $330 No limit event at the Rio. Over 200 players and finished 3 from the money.

Thursday at noon. Entered a $330 No limit event at the Venetian. Over 450 players.
When it got down to 10 players, it was 2:20am. The director said that when one more player got knocked out, we would restart on Friday at 4pm. I told him that I couldn't make that time, since Friday at 5pm was the Razz event. He said sorry. First place was $38,000--what should I do? I decided to go for the Razz and I pushed all in on the next hand, and lost.
Finished 10th and Won $1,200. Was it the wrong decision?

Friday at 5pm. $1,500 Razz WSOP event. I had Marco (Jen Harmon's husband on my left). Nice guy, excellent player. I only lasted till around 9pm. One guy at the table killed me on this hand. I raised with x-x-3. He called. On 4th street I hit an Ace. He hit an 8. I bet and he called. On 5th street, I hit a 2. He hit a 10. I bet and he called. On 6th street, I hit a 10, and he hit a J. I bet and he called! The river I bet and he called. My river card was a King. He won with a 10 low. (I had A-2 in the hole).

Saturday at 7pm. Entered a $150 event at Caesar's Palace with 150 players. At 2am I got knocked out in 8th place. Won $500.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Full Tilt Razz event...

I started real low on chips the first hour.

The start of the second hour I got hot and built a good chip stack.

Got moved to a new table...and the luck turned all bad.

The key was one hand where the blinds were high and I couldn't hit a card from 5th street on. That one hand did me happens.

What's Your Poker IQ?