Ever heard that 70’s song, “I can see clearly now, the rain is gone”? Well that’s the song I’ve found myself singing often over the last 3-4 days. I can see clearly now…after just one session? A tad dramatic? Perhaps. But if my poker results of last 3-4 days are anything to go by, the mist is certainly thinning. I walked away from the first PGMP2 session in a complete daze. So much information, so much of it contrary to what I believed, and yet here we had barely covered the tip of the iceberg. I couldn’t wait to try out what I’d just absorbed. I decided to ‘un-learn’ what ever I was doing in the past, and simply stick to what had been discussed in the session, however ‘uncomfortable’ it made me feel. The next day, I chose a micro-stake tourney on PokerStars, and began playing. It was a skeptical start, as up until this date, I had never won money playing on poker stars. I was convinced that it was ‘rigged’, and had given up playing online quite some time back.
Lo-and-behold, less than 24 hours after the first PGMP2 session, and playing my first poker ‘event’ after it, I made it to the money! And more importantly, I didn’t just scrape through. I crossed the money bubble with an above average stack. Though I did bust soon after that, I couldn’t help but do the happy dance. The little devil sitting on my left shoulder told me to calm down. It was just one event. But four ITM finishes in a row later had me convinced that this was no coincidence.
PGT 5k Rentry
Thursday came, and I, like over a 100 others, converged to the Royale Poker room for the PGT 5k Re-entry event. While I started off well, I found that the surge of online tourneys played over the previous 3 days was affecting my live game adversely. I was making stupid mistakes like not calculating the raise amount properly pre-flop, or not being able to calculate the pot size post-flop. (No buttons to simply click 2.2 BB or 2.5 BB, or 75% pot!) Towards the end of the 100/200 blind level, I once again mistakenly ‘called’ the big blind with AJo (placed a 500 chip on the table but didn’t announce the raise), only to find 4 other limpers into the pot. I raised on a flop of A T rag, and got one caller. Turn was a Jack. I raised and got called again. The river was a rag. I checked, but got called all-in. Not putting the other person on AT, AJ,JT, or KQ (since every one had limped pre-flop), I called, only to find that the other person did indeed have JT. The ‘villain’ told me that he too had placed a 500 chip to my raise, but automatically became a limper once my raise was adjudged a call.
Since I hadn’t necessarily played bad poker per se, I decided to re-enter. By now the blinds were upto 150/300, and I was re-entering the tourney with just 16 BBs. And I had a good run from then on. Down to the last 22 players (of the 164 entries!), and I had a stack of about 15BBs. The blinds were 800/1600. On the button, with one limper in the pot, I raised to 4000 with A9ss. (I knew then while raising that my raise was too small, but with 16BBs I was feeling stingy. I had seen the BB guy calling most raises ever since I’d joined the table I was on, and I was not surprised to see him call my raise. Seeing the value in the pot, the original limper also called. The flop of A 3 8 was checked by both the BB and the limper. Again, I didn’t put either of them on AT-AK. Thinking I had the top pair with the highest kicker, I shoved my stack. BB folded, and I got an insta call from the limper who showed A3o. That was the end of the tourney for me. I was disappointed with myself because I knew I had played the hand wrong pre-flop. But I was happy with the way I had played the tourney over-all.
PGT 1.5k satellite
The next day I continued playing the new ‘format’ in the 1.5k satellite, and quietly smiled when I comfortably won a seat into the 6k mega-satellite.
PGT 7k Bounty
I entered the 7k PGT bounty tourney in an upbeat mood, only to find two super-agro players on my table 3-betting everything including the sun and the moon (They know who they are :rolleyes:). With blind levels of 50/100, I raised to 250 with AQss, only to have one of them 3-bet me to 650. I called to see a flop of KK2. Knowing I was ahead, but wary of the player, I checked, and paid the penalty for it when he raised to 750. Not having hit anything on the flop, not wanting to invest so much this early on in the tourney, and with the possibility of him having a K, I laid down the hand. His smile said it all, but I couldn’t do anything other than to try and shake it off and plod ahead. Soon thereafter, at blinds of 100/200, I raised with AJ in SB. 2 other limpers (one of them UTG) called my raise. Flop was A rag rag. Since I was the first to act, I checked, only to have the the other two check as well. Turn was a rag. This time I bet, and both called. River was a 7. I again bet. UTG called and showed A7o. I mucked my hand in a bit of disgust, knowing that I had not played the flop correctly, leading to a now crippled stack. Needless to say, I can’t wait for the PGMP2 sessions on post-flop play! The final blow was when the same agro-player, in UTG+2, 3-betted the UTG’s raise. Knowing that he had nothing, I shoved my short stack with K9s. He called my shove with J5o, and clipped a 5 on the river. That was the end of my tourney. On the upside, I was happy to learn that 2 other PGMP2 people, Vinod KK and sweetu:) did well in this event.
PGT 6k Satellite
In the 6k Satellite event, I was just too card-dead early on in the first two levels. With 15 minute blind levels of 50/100, 100/200 and 200/400, I was down to 10bbs in no time, as were most others. From then on it was mostly a shove-fest, with very few flops being seen. I shoved once with A9, got called by AK, but was lucky to flop a 9 and get a double-up. A couple of times I thought of shoving with Ax, or Kx, only to have someone else shove before me. For the most part, I kept getting K4, Q5, J6, or 38, 29 kind of hands, as I kept remarking to the dealer that I wasnt looking for blackjack double or blackjack surrender cards on the poker table. Out of 56 entries, I finally busted at around 22, mostly having bled via the blinds.
So such has been my poker journey in the last week. No great accomplishments to speak of, nothing to shout about from the roop tops, but certainly they’ve been a few baby steps in the right direction. As the Johnny Nash song continues, “Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind, It’s gonna be a bright, bright, bright, Sun-Shiny day….:)”. But to end on a serious note, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the PGT team for giving us this wonderful opportunity to learn, improve and hopefully maybe even master this wonderfully intreaguing, absorbing and addictive game of poker. I for one, cannot wait for the next session.