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WSPL Goes to Vegas Episode 3/12

Date: Sun, Apr 6, 2014

So... this week was fairly anti-climactic. For me anyway

The league winners have already been decided. The three Jasons were no-shows. Archie didn't show up until he was down to 300 chips. Then he started playing and won a few all-ins to vault into second place. Problematic because we decided that late comers earn zero points, but never said what happens if they actually win money.

I went out if fifth. I was up and down and my all-in preflop KK ran into Shane's TT with a T on the flop. Shane had somehow managed to get 50% of the tables chips. I don't know. I may be a little drunk.

OK fine, I typed most of this out as soon as I was eliminated. Archie went on to win despite showing up almost an hour late. So maybe it was a little more exciting than I originally thought. I'm not rewriting this. Se previous paragraph where I mentioned I may be drunk.

Archie gets $150 for the win, but zero points.

The results for this week are:

  1. Archie
  2. Shane
  3. Greg
  4. Noah
  5. Aaron
  6. Me
  7. Mark
  8. Jason M (No-Show)
  9. Jason K (No-Show)
  10. Jason S (No-Show)

And the final standings are:

  1. Mark (92/86)
  2. Jason M (85/85)
  3. Shane (83/81)
  4. Greg (73/73)
  5. Aaron (74/70)
  6. Noah (63/61)
  7. Me (62/60)
  8. Archie (52/52)
  9. Jason S (48/48)
  10. Jason K (19/19)

Jason M sold his seat to me for $100. I get 40% of the winnings. He gets 15%. I would have easily paid more or given up a higher percent, but he didn't have any desire to actually play in the WSOP so this is probably a win for both of us.

Hopefully we'll be back next year, but I'm not confident. Jason K was a no show for the last third. As was Jason S. S at least had an excuse as he was changing jobs and moving cross country. Also Noah and Mark indicated they are probably out. We may be able to find some people to fill their places, or maybe we just call it a good run and leave it at that.

I'll be in Vegas the last weekend in June. Hopefully I can improve upon last year's performance and actually cash this time.

This may be the

Originally posted at

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WSPL Goes to Vegas Episode 03/11

Date: Sun, Mar 30, 2014

This week was odd. Jasons S and K were no-shows again.

I did really well in the beginning. I doubled up early with QQ. Jason M called a flop bet, then I check raised him on the turn when I picked up a set. I went all-in on the river and he called with bottom pair. I have no idea what he was thinking.

The next hand I had 72o and bloffed Greg off of a big pot with a large bet on the river when it gave flush possibilities.

I got QQ additional times in the tourney, but each one fared worse than the hand before.

Before I get to that, I'll just say that I was tired and not really focusing on the game, so I made a bunch of plays that I probably wouldn't have normally made. Some worked, some didn't. I was never really in danger of going out until I did.

My second QQ came when I was in the big blind. Archie raised from the small blind and I reraised, causing him to fold. (side note, our group has gotten terribly passive. So much preflop limping and family pots.

My third QQ came four handed. I raised, and Shane reraised out of the big blind. The flop is all under cards, two clubs and he bets my remaining chips. I make a crying call, putting him on KK or AA. He turns over AK, both clubs. That was actually a good bet on his part. Something I didn't think him capable of. Puts a ton of pressure on me to fold plus he has a ton of outs. Which of course he hits.

Not a terrible result except that it was one of my better results this season.

Here are the results from this week, and the overall standings.

  1. Shane
  2. Greg
  3. Mark
  4. Me
  5. Aaron
  6. Archie
  7. Noah
  8. Jason M
  9. Jason K (DNP)
  10. Jason S (DNP)


  1. Jason M (85/84)
  2. Mark (88/81)
  3. Shane (68/66)
  4. Aaron (68/64)
  5. Greg (62/62)
  6. Me (57/55)
  7. Noah (55/53)
  8. Archie(52/50)
  9. Jason S (48/48)
  10. Jason K (19/19)

So unless my math is wrong Jason M and Mark have clinched the top two spots. Technically Shane could tie mark, but Jason M said he doesn't think he can make it next week, and the other two Jason's I don't expect to show at all, so there is an almost guaranteed three points for Mark.

Originally posted at

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WSPL Goes to Vegas Episode 03/10

Date: Sun, Mar 23, 2014

This is one of those weeks when I feel like PokerStars was just messing with me. I got absolutely brutally awful cards all night. And had I played them I think I would have flopped two pair, or at least made two pair by the turn 87% of the time.

Jasons K and S were no shows again. I think K has given up, and S is in the process of moving across country. I hovered around the starting stack size most of the game. for some reason I was able to see the flop on my BB for free almost every orbit. So I was able to hang around. Ultimately when we were four handed I tried to bluff Mark off a pot and he made a great call with bottom pair. That left me pretty short stacked and then I tried to get cute by reraising all-in with bottom pair, hoping Noah was just trying to steal my blind. He had top pair and knocked me out. It was probably an ill-advised move at that point, but I was banking on him bluffing and I was wrong.

In the grand scheme of things is probably doesn't matter as Mark and Jason M were still in it, and they don't need to beat me at this point. They just need to stick around for a while to accumulate enough points to prevent me from catching them. I'll have to do the math later, but I think I'm mathematically eliminated at this point,

This weeks results are:

  1. Noah
  2. Jason M
  3. Mark
  4. Me
  5. Archie
  6. Greg
  7. Aaron
  8. Shane
  9. Jason K (DNP)
  10. Jason S (DNP)
The overall standings are:

  1. Jason M (83/82)
  2. Mark (80 /73)
  3. Aaron (63/59)
  4. Shane (53/51)
  5. Greg (51/51)
  6. Noah (52/50)
  7. Me (51/49)
  8. Jason S (48/48)
  9. Archie (48/46)
  10. Jason K(19/19)

Originally posted at

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WSPL Goes to Vegas episode 03/08 and 03/09

Date: Sun, Mar 16, 2014

I didn't post an update from last week, so I'm bundling it with the results from today. I was pretty frustrated with the results last week. I won a big hand early and was second in chips for most of the tourney before ultimately going out in a pathetic fifth place. My cards were terrible and I couldn't seem to catch a break but enough bitching. I do want to review the big hand I won early on. It was vs. Greg.

Its been a week so I may be a little fuzzy on the details, but here is how it went down. Five handed, Greg is on the button, I'm in the small blind with Q6o. He limps and I call. Flop is A6A, and I make a small bet. BB folds and Greg calls. Turn as a three. I bet again, and he raises. I call. River is a four. He makes a large bet. Its early in the tournament and if I call, the loser of the hand is going to have a hard time not going out first or second.

It seems to me like he is trying to push me out. If he has an ace then he would be trying to get me to call with a smaller bet. If he has an pocket pair, then I still think the ace scares him and he tries to keep the pot smaller. I call and he turns over K7s. He's shocked that I called him with what I. I realize I'm not providing a perfect recount of the hand, but am I missing something. Was he representing something that I just didn't see, or was he overselling his hand like I thought? I guess I was right so that is all that matters, but I was bothered that he thought he represented a hand that I should have folded to. Someone else at the table concurred that they thought he was slow rolling a big hand.

Anyway. I coasted for a while after that, then just ran into a bunch of coin flips that I kept losing.

Here are the results from last week: Jason M continues his dominance this season and Mark pulled into second place with his win. Also note that despite losing that big hand Greg managed to come back and outlast me.

  1. Mark
  2. Jason M
  3. Jason S
  4. Noah
  5. Greg
  6. Me
  7. Archie
  8. Aaron
  9. Shane
  10. Jason K

And for week 9....

Haaaaaaalelueah hallelujah, hallelujah.

I finally won one. Holy crap I was starting to think it wouldn't happen. Noah also got his first cash with a second place finish, so congrats to him.

Jasons K and S were no shows, although Jason K was nice enough to register and then get blinded out. I wish I could set the registration period to 30 min before the tourney starts so that wouldn't happen. Jason K would have finished in fifth if he had actually shown up and just folded every hand.

My table started out four handed and I was very aggressive, nearly doubling up by the time the tables merged after the first blind limit. I settled into a conservative rhythm after than and started bleeding chips as has been the norm.

The hand that put me up for good was one that I had no business playing I had T2h and entered a family pot. Flop was king high with one heart. Jason M made a small bet. He's been catching ridiculous cards on the river all league long, and especially today. Nothing against me so far today, but he's had some sick suckouts against Noah.

The turn is another heart and Jason makes a slightly larger bet. I think to myself "what the hell" if you can't beat 'em, join em right? The river is the king of hearts and Jason makes a big bet. I push all in over the top and he calls. He had a king, and I forget the kicker, but it doesn't matter because he finally gets rivered and I double up.

From that point on I'm never in danger. When we get down to three players I get the sense that both Mark and Noah are waiting for the other to go out, and as a result both hemorrhage chips in my direction. Mark fall first and then the heads up match with Noah is over in a few hands as he only has 5x BB left.

Here are the results for week 9

  1. Me
  2. Noah
  3. Mark
  4. Jason M
  5. Greg
  6. Shane
  7. Aaron
  8. Archie
  9. Jason S (No Show)
  10. Jason K (No Show)
And the overall standings (Total/Total dropping worst 2)
  1. Jason M (72/71)
  2. Mark (72/65)
  3. Aaron (60/56)
  4. Shane (51/49)
  5. Jason S (48/46)
  6. Greg (47/47)
  7. Me (45/43)
  8. Archie(43/41)
  9. Noah (37/35)
  10. Jason K (19/19)

In other news, even though it doesn't look like I'm going to be finishing anywhere near the top two, Jason M looks like he's going to win and has said that he doesn't really want to play in the WSOP event. So I think I can convince him to let me play for him. Mark is the other guy pushing to play for Jason, and he is now in position to win a seat outright so I might not have to worry about him.

Originally posted at

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WSPL Goes to Vegas Episode 03/07

Date: Sun, Mar 2, 2014

Ug. That's about all I can say about tonight. I was hoping to ride last week's performance into something better this week, but it was not to be. It was one of those nights when pretty much nothing went right.

I'm going to make my cat take most of the blame for this. He's an asshole. When he's hungry or for whatever reason decides that he needs attention he becomes the most obnoxious furball in the history of pets. He walks on your keyboard, knocks anything and everything he can find off your desk, tries to head butt you, and then starts biting. He's a complete douchbag. And I'm a cat guy. I love cats.

Anyway, he's going through his routine as I'm trying to play. I would put him out of the room but then he would start scratching at the door, or try to bust into my two year old daughter's room, who just went to bed. So there are a few borderline hands that I opt not to play because I'm know I'm distracted. I tell myself I'm make smart conservative decisions. Its just one of those days where every hand you fold would have hit the flop huge, and every hand you play misses completely. I'm slightly tilty from that but I'm aware of it and I think I have it under control.

Three big hands are what untimately kill me.

1. I have 64o in one of the blinds. I've had terrible hands all night though so this is actually one of my better starting hands. And the flop is four handed 537 with two spades. I bet a smallish amount. I don't want to scare people away. I know I should because the flush is there, but I don't. Two fold one stays. The turn is a flush. I check he min bets and I call. River is nothing. Check Check he has a weak flush and I'm in trouble. I guess I should have tried to push him out on the flop, but if I can't get a big pot off of flopping a 7 high straight then I'm not going to far anyway.

2. I have pocket sevens and call Mark's raise. He flop is 833. He bets I raise, he calls. The pot is about the size of my stack, which he bets when an ace comes up on the turn. I think about it for a long time, and eventually fold. I figure he has an ace, or an overpair. Anything other than an ace on the flop and I probably call, but I can't put him on anything that I can beat. I fold and now I have to wait for a premium hand or I'm done.

3. Does ATs count as a premium hand? Three orbits later and its by far the best I've seen. There are a couple limpers and I push all-in. I get called by JT. Of coarse he catches a Jack on the river and I'm busted in 9th place. Yes that was a shitty bad beat story. I don't care. This is probably the most frustrated I've ever been at poker.


Here is this week's results, and the overall standings.

  1. Shane
  2. Aaron
  3. Mark
  4. Archie
  5. Jason M
  6. Jason S
  7. Jason K
  8. Noah
  9. Me
  10. Greg

And the overall standings
  1. Jason M (55)
  2. Aaron (55)
  3. Mark (49)
  4. Shane (46)
  5. Jason S (40)
  6. Archie (38)
  7. Greg (37)
  8. Me (26)
  9. Noah (20)
  10. Jason K (19)

Originally posted at

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WSPL Goes to Vegas Episode 03/06

Date: Sun, Feb 23, 2014

Things actually went well this game. For the most part. Although I think the key hand was quite a bit of luck.

Very early on Jason S is the short stack at the table and goes all in. Jason K calls. Jason S has 55 against K's kings. S spikes a five on the flop and halves K's stack. K I'm guessing this puts K on tilt pretty bad. The very next hand I have 88. A couple players limp and I raise. K goes all-in. I call, and he shows 29o. I knock him out and get a decent sized stack in the process.

For most of the rest of the tourney I play tight, and bide my time, picking up some small pots here and there as people knock each other out. I'm never the big stack, but I'm never short stacked either.

Until we get down to three handed. Jason M (seriously, no more jason's allowed in the league) has had more than the rest of the table combined for quite a while. Greg has been bouncing up and down, and I'm holding steady, but getting close to desperation time.

The fatal hand comes after Greg has taken a bunch of chips off Jason. Jason raises, and I look down at A7s. I figure three handed, I'm probably ok. Plus I think a bet of about a third of Jason's stack will scare him off most hands anyway. Maybe I was right about that, but it didn't matter because he didn't have most hands. He had AK. In hindsight, he doesn't raise much so that raise was probably and indication of a pocket pair or high ace. If I had just called his raise, I could have gotten out after missing the flop. I would have been in trouble but I would have lived to fight another day. Instead I'm out in third place. I just barely missed out on some much needed points, and cash. Hopefully this is a trend and I can ride create some momentum to finish off the season strong. Half way through its not looking too good.

The surprise of the year has to be Jason M though. I would have put his odds at making the top two at 100:1. He's cashed in three of the last four tourneys though to take a six point lead overall. I'm not convinced that there isn't a good amount of luck in those finishes, based on some of the hands I saw him play tonight, but you can't argue with results.

Here are this weeks results:

  1. Jason M
  2. Greg
  3. Me
  4. Jason S
  5. Mark
  6. Noah
  7. Aaron
  8. Archie
  9. Shane
  10. Jason K

And the overall standings

  1. Jason M (50)
  2. Aaron (44)
  3. Mark (41)
  4. Greg (37)
  5. Jason S (36)
  6. Archie (32)
  7. Shane (31)
  8. Me (25)
  9. Noah (18)
  10. Jason S (16)

Originally posted at

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WSPL Goes to Vegas Episode 03/05

Date: Sun, Feb 16, 2014

So I've decided I'm no longer any good at poker. In fact I'm pretty terrible. I have no reads on anyone. Every time I try to take a stab at a pot I get raised, every time I'm tentative I find that I was ahead, and get sucked out on. The only thing that ever seems to go right on me is playing 72o. I got it in the BB this time around. The small blind was the only other player in the pot and he limped in. The flop was rags, he bet and I raised forcing him to fold. Other than that. Bad night for me.

I'm incredibly frustrated with my play lately. I think a lot of it has to do with rust, but I don't know how to fix that. Online play isn't an option any more, except for this league, and I don't have time to go to the casino. At this point I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be playing in the WSOP this year unless I can convince a lot of people to stake me. It would take a miracle for me to place in the top two of the league, and I've had a few very large and unexpected house expenses that have made my wallet a bit weepy. I don't think I can justify the full buy in this year.

We'll see. It looks like there is going to be a large group of people going to Vegas this year so I'm at least going to do that. Maybe things will turn around by then.

Here are the standings for this week, and overall.

  1. Greg
  2. Jason M
  3. Jason S
  4. Mark
  5. Aaron
  6. Noah
  7. Shane
  8. Jason K
  9. Me
  10. Archie

Over all.

  1. Aaron (41)
  2. Mark (36)
  3. Jason M (35)
  4. Archie (30)
  5. Shane (30)
  6. Jason S (30)
  7. Greg (26)
  8. Me (17)
  9. Jason K (16)
  10. Noah (14)

Originally posted at

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WSPL Goes to Vegas Episode 3/04

Date: Sun, Feb 9, 2014

So, yeah...

That stuff I mentioned last post about not playing scared trying to eeek out each point. Nevermind. Still playing like crap.

Things started out well enough, but after the third blind level I don't think I won a hand. I just couldn't pull the trigger on anything, and I wasn't hitting my flops.

Weak bad play = early exit for me.

Here are this week's results and the overall standings

Week 4

  1. Aaron
  2. Shane
  3. Archie
  4. Mark
  5. Jason K
  6. Noah
  7. Me
  8. Jason S
  9. Jason M
  10. Greg (DNP - out of town)


  1. Aaron (36)
  2. Mark (30)
  3. Archie (30)
  4. Shane (27)
  5. Jason M (24)
  6. Jason S (22)
  7. Me (16)
  8. Jason K (14)
  9. Greg (11)
  10. Noah (10)

Originally posted at

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WSPL Goes To Vegas Episodes, 3/2 and 3/3 Plus live Poker

Date: Wed, Feb 5, 2014

I've been slacking on my WSPL-GtV updates. I'm not sure how interesting summaries of small tournies actual are, especially when I'm not to happy with my performance. So lets talk about my play overall.

In season one I was pretty successful playing a fairly conservative game. I knew that I could run up a bunch of middle of the road performances, plus a win here and there to advance to the WSOP. And it worked for me.

In the second season I decided to play more aggressively. I tried to get involved in more hands and to push my advantage in the early stages. I did OK, but often found myself in trouble, losing critical points in the standings with early exists. I ultimately finished in third place. The top two consisted of a fairly loose aggressive player and a very measured conservative player.

This year my goal was to play simple, smart, conservative poker, a revival of my season one strategy. My goal was to not put chips at risk unless absolutely necessary. It the first two matches that led to a boring game where I couldn't get enough chips to stick around very long. It also lead me to fold a fair number of hands that I think I could/should have won because I was playing scared.

The same thing happened in the live game. A friend started hosting what is turning out to be a pretty large monthly game. I'm not a huge fan of the blind structure, and he makes one person be permanent dealer, which I don't like, but other than that, its a good tournament. I played pretty solid for the first hour, chipping up slowly. I lost couple pots when I couldn't chase some less than stellar players off of their garbage hands, but I was still in good shape at the break.

Then the blind schedule got aggressive, and it was getting close to all in or fold mode. I got my aces cracked by the aggressive guy at the table when he flopped two pair. And while that was annoying it wasn't what angered me about the game. Looking back at the first hour, while I did have more chips than I started with, I left many opportunities to have even more chips by being overly conservative pre-flop, and not being willing to take a chance with anything other than super premium hands. Had I played better early on I wouldn't have been in a situation where I had to get all-in and I could have escaped that hand with at least a chip or two.

Back to the only other thing worth noting is that Aaron has gotten super tilty, despite winning the first game. Its one of the small joys of playing with him, seeing how angry he gets after losing. Twice when he was in the BB I was dealt 27o. I raised pre-flop hoping everyone would fold so I could show my hand and tilt him more. Both times though I was called before it got to him, then hit either trips or two pair on the flop and went on to win big hands. Good times.

Here are the results from the last two weeks and the overall standings. We took a break for the Superbowl, but we will be back on this Sunday and every Sunday for the next nine weeks.

Week 2:

  1. Archie
  2. Shane
  3. Jason K
  4. Jason S
  5. Me
  6. Aaron
  7. Noah
  8. Mark
  9. Greg
  10. Jason M
Week 3:
  1. Jason M
  2. Mark
  3. Jason S
  4. Me
  5. Greg
  6. Archie
  7. Noah
  8. Aaron
  9. Shane
  10. Jason K
Overall Standings (points)
  1. Mark (24)
  2. Jason M (23)
  3. Archie (22)
  4. Aaron (21)
  5. Jason S(20)
  6. Shane (16)
  7. Me (13)
  8. Greg (11)
  9. Jason K (9)
  10. Noah (6)

Its going to be a close one this year. The top 5 are separated by only 4 points, and any of the bottom 5 can get right back in it with a win.

Originally posted at

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WSPL Goes to Vegas episode 3/1

Date: Sun, Jan 12, 2014

The new year brings with it the new season of the WSPL. This year Rich, our second place finisher from season two opted out since he wouldn't be able to make many of the games. Our season one winner Greg is back, and we added a new player Jason S.

We now have ten players. The problem with this is PokerStars has nine player tables, so we play five handed until the first casualty. Which ended up taking while.

Nothing super exciting happened for me this round. I was pretty card dead, and wasn't hitting many flops. I'm also trying to play conservatively this year, to amass as many points as possible, even in games when I don't win.

The one reasonably exciting hand I had I was short stacked and went all in pre flop with ATo. Jason S, one of the chip leaders called with KQo. He proceeded to flop a king and hit a queen on the turn. But the river gave me a jack to complete my straight.

Shortly thereafter though I ran my AK into pocket Aces which left me with $T25 in chips. I was dealt a pair of threes, but got called by a pair of fives, and I don't even remember. I do remember spiking a three on the river only to find out that the mystery hand had picked up a straight.

So I went out in a pathetic 8th place.

Mark, last years winner was down to $T100 before all of my exciting hands happened, yet managed to keep doubling up to the point where he was the chip leader by the time there were four left. He managed to ride that to a second place finish.

Week one standings are as follows

  1. Aaron
  2. Mark
  3. Jason M
  4. Jason S
  5. Greg
  6. Shane
  7. Archie
  8. Me
  9. Jason K
  10. Noah

Originally posted at

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My 2013 WSOP Adventure

Date: Wed, Jun 12, 2013

My 2013 World Series Of Poker Adventure.

I opted not to write this up immediately after the event, deciding instead to enjoy the rest of my time in Vegas without obsessing over what I could have done differently. Instead I drank way too much and got way to little sleep. Combine that with over 8 hours over poker played on Saturday and there's a pretty good chance that I'm not going to remember most of the specifics of any one hand, but I can still give you an idea of how it went down.

The Beginning.

The tourney started off slow. In what I think was a legitimate trend and not just me bitching, I card dead for most of the tourney. I don't think I've seen as many 53o in my life. Just to extra frustrating the flop kept hitting the garbage that I was mucking pre-flop. If I ever got some semi decent cards that I might consider taking a shot at I would either be under the gun, or someone would raise ahead of me. I was intentionally playing tight so I stayed out of those hands as well. My goal, and I think I was successful at it was to not have to make any difficult decisions. Make enough difficult decisions and sooner or later you'll get one wrong, which often means the end of your tourney. Its a bit a of a catch 22. I don't usually like to start playing random hands until I win a few, just to get in a poker rhythm, but I can't get into that rhythm without playing hands.

So I stuck with the conservative play style and focused on analyzing the other players at the table. On a side note, I'm not the best at reading players by any means, but I at least try to pay attention to what is going on so I can learn a little bit about my opponent's tendencies. Half the table was on their iPhone whenever they weren't in the hand. If you're going to invest $1500 in a tournament I would think you would do more to make sure you were in it as long as possible.

So where was I? Ah yes, card dead. I won my first hand 50 minutes into level one. Fortunately I hadn't played many so I was still around the starting stack size. I didn't win my second hand until halfway through the second round. This time it was big one. I Ah9h and the flop was all hearts. The guy across from me makes small bet and I call. He's been playing a lot of hands, and been up and down. I don't think he's much of a threat. The turn is another heart. He bets again and I call. He takes a third stab at the pot and I raise. He goes all in. When I call he says the ace is good, he has the queen. I'm up to about 6.5K from a start of about 4.5K.


I chipped up gradually winning a hand or two an hour. Three big hands come to mind.

First I get to see a flop with KQo and find myself looking back at an ace, and two more kings. Relatively new player across from me calls my medium sized bet. I don't have a great read on him, but my initial impression is that he was a pretty good player. I'm definitely concerned that he has AK. The turn shows he does not as it beings the case king. I bet again thinking he's probably got an ace and isn't putting me on a king, he reluctantly calls. He checks on the river and I make what I think ends up being the perfect bet. I want to say it was about 1.2K into a 2-3K pot. It would leave the loser of the hand with enough chips not quite be in all-in or nothing mode, but only barely. I say it was a perfect bet though because he sat and thought about it for at least a few minutes before finally calling. I think any more and he is able to lay it down, and any less and I would have lets some on the table. I'm up to about 10.5K now.

My next big hand I get to see a cheap flop with A5s. I flop a flush draw, and pick up a straight draw on the turn. The guy next to me, who has been fairly aggressive all day bets on both streets. He makes a large bet on river as I complete my straight. I think about it for a while trying to figure out if there is any way he can have a better straight. While possible, it doesn't seem likely at all. I call and he mucks his hand before I take my hands off my chips.

The last big hand before the dinner break isn't all that dramatic. I have pocket aces, and the small stack raises preflop. I re-raise about half his stack and he pushes. He fails to improve before and I'm up to about 14K before dinner. I'm the chip leader at the table.

We had been playing the featured table room, and they had started breaking down the tables and moving the remaining players in to the other room. The get to my table just before dinner. I only play a few hands at the new table before it too is broken up.

Now that I think about it, I lied, there was one other big hand that I played just before the dinner break. I have 56o in the big blind and for some reason a bunch of people limp into the pot. I pick up an open ended straight draw on an otherwise uninteresting flop. I hit an 8 high straight on the turn, and the small blind bets into me. I raise, and he calls. Everyone else drops out. The river is a rag and the small blind bets again. I make a big raise and he calls. I'm already counting my chips and thinking how I'm in great shape to make it through the day. And then he turns over 56 for a chop. So I won a bunch of antes and my blinds.

The End

Things just didn't go very well for me at the new table. Now that I'm thinking about, breaking up the tables was probably the worst thing to happen to me. I was happy at the time when we broke because there were some solid players at my table that I didn't mind getting away from, but I also had been playing with many of them for five hours and I had good reads on them. I had to start over at the new table.

I lost my first big hand of the night with pocket jacks. I raise preflop and get a couple of callers. The flop is 7 or 8 high with two spades. The short stack pushes all in and I call. He has two spades and rivers his flush to double up and knock me down to 10K. Not much I can do there.

After that the blinds and ante's just start to hurt. I'm able to steal them occasionally to stop the bleeding, but I'm still not playing many hands and certainly not winning any big ones. A few missed flops here and there and the worst single play of my tournament and I'm down to 6.5k at the end of the eighth blind level

What was the worst play you ask? I have AJs in late position. Easily the best starting hand I've had in an hour if not longer. I raise and get three callers. The flop is rags, 2,3,7 or something similar, and it checks around. The turn is a four and again checks for all. The river brings my ace. Short stack across from me makes a pot sized bet. The next guy calls. I distinctly remember thinking to myself that an ace on the river might not be good for me because it straight way to easy. I'm thinking short stack has a pair of fives. Based on his conversations with another guy at the table I think he's at least a semi-pro, and he's been battling back from nothing ever since I joined the table. The only thing that makes sense for him is a pocket fives. It can't be a bluff because you have to figure at least one of the three other guys has an ace and might call. He also played pretty passively early on in the hand so I'm thinking he doesn't have me out kicked if he does have an ace.

The second guy I'm not as concerned with. I haven't seen him play a ton, but he's been pretty loose, I put him on an ace at best I'm thinking I also have him out kicked. So I talk myself into calling. There are so many chips in the pot that I start thinking about how much better off I'll be after claiming them. And I call like an idiot. The fourth guy in the hand folds.

So small stack turns over 56s. I never would have put him on that. I can't see him calling a preflop raise with that and so little chips to spare. But it doesn't matter because he still had the straight that I thought he was going to turn over. And just to add to it, the other guy had what I put him on. An ace with a weaker kicker than I had. Of coarse his kicker was a two which gave him two pair, so even if the short stack was bluffing I'd have lost the hand. Uhg.

My only excuse is that it was still the best hand I'd seen in a while, and by this point in the tourney I was starting to get mentally fatigued. I wasn't paying as much attention to the action when I wasn't in the hand, and was having a little trouble concentrating in general. Still it was a bad call and I knew it and I paid the price.

By level nine the blinds are up to 300/600 with a 75 ante. A half our of that without doing more than stealing the blinds and antes maybe once and I'm down to about 4.5k. I get A9s in late position. The guy with two pair from the last hand limps. I make a bigger than usual raise hoping to grab a nice sized pot pre-flop, but he calls. The flop has two of my suit and we check it down. The turn is an ace . He checks, I bet he calls. The turn is a harmless three. Not my suit. He goes all in. He has me covered. I don't buy it. If he has something why try to push me out? If he has something why not make a bet I can call, or let me bet and then raise me? I call and he turns over A3. He rivered his second pair while avoiding the one in my suit. I stare it in shock for a few seconds and then its good luck guys, see you next year.

In hindsight this was also a terrible call. I should have folded and left myself to fight another day. I also probably should have pushed all-in on the flop. I had a ton of outs plus some fold equity that probably would have won the pot for me there. A little too passive I think.

I had a blast playing and I'm pretty proud of how well I did, but I can't decide if more frustrated that I went out so early last year, or that I lasted so long with nothing to show for it this time.

Other Notes

Rich, from the poker league went out towards the end of level 5. I thought some of my other friends gamble a lot, but he's crazy. The night before the WSOP when I went to bed to get some so that I would be well rested for the next day, he went to play some poker to warm up. He then played some blackjack and eventually found himself at a craps table. Until seven in the morning. We got up at nine so that we'd have enough time to eat and get over the Rio to register before it started at noon. I don't think he spent more than ten waking minutes without gambling, with the exception of when we would take a break to eat. And he did really well too. Except for the most brutal craps table I've ever seen that we had the misfortune of playing on Saturday morning.

Aaron, also from our poker group won over $1000 making $5 bets on video roulette. For most of the 11+ hours that I was at the Rio, he was playing roulette. They display some statistics about hot and cold numbers and the percentage of odd/even black/red and his strategy was to take the coldest number and bet it until it hits. Mathematically irrelevant but in practice at least this time, very effective. While playing roulette for that long he managed to skip dinner and consume many many free drinks. Shortly thereafter he would disappear and not reappear until 7 the next morning. He vaguely recalls hitting a bar in Ceasars and then their poker room, but can't remember most of what happened during that time. He slept most of Saturday recovering.

Craftsteak at the MGM Grand. If you're into that sort of thing, and money is no object you can get the best steak you will ever have. Jason was determined to have their Japanese Wygu (sp?) steak. The rest of us just wanted a good steak. A good steak was $50. The American Wygo was $120. The Japanese was $200. The tasting menu for the Japanese was $275. I normally would consider going all out for the expensive stake here, but I'm a little shell shocked in the wallet department from my WSOP loss and the other failed gambling of the weekend. I also don't think that I'll be able to tell the difference. I'm not enough of a connoisseur where I think I'll be able to tell the difference between a really high quality steak and a really really high quality steak. I was wrong. Jason and Rich got the tasting while Aaron and I got what we later termed peasant steaks. Jason and Rich gave us a taste of their steak and I think it has ruined every other steak that I will ever eat. It literally melted in your mouth. There was the perfect amount of marbling where the flavor couldn't have been any more perfect, but at the same time, it wasn't overly fatty.

The Stage Door Casino. You know that shitty looking bar/liquor store/Casino just off the strip between the Flamingo and Bally's? The one that looks like you'll get stabbed if you go near it? That place is awesome. Sunday night around two in the morning there actually isn't that much to do, even in Vegas. Not as many clubs or bars are open and they close earlier. No shows, not very many people , its basically gambling or nothing. So we went there. Three of us had three or four rounds of drinks and it cost us $21. less than a single round just about anywhere else on the strip. And Jason won $30 playing video poker.

So that's my 2013 WSOP adventure. Hopefully I'll be back next year.

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Going to Vegas

Date: Wed, May 29, 2013

So even though I didn't qualify for one of our league's WSOP entries, I decided I'm going to go anyway. I'll be entering the 1500 NL Holdem event on June 8th. Hopefully I'll do better this year than I did last year. My goal is to still be playing poker on Sunday.

On the off chance anyone still reads this, I'm also overing 5% shares of my winnings for $100. Act now, they're going fast. And by fast I mean there are still 15 available.

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WSPL Goes to Vegas Episode 2/12

Date: Sun, Apr 28, 2013

Week 12 was fairly anti-climactic. Mark and Rich were almost guaranteed to go to Vegas. Aaron had a chance to knock Rich out if he won and Rich finished in 6th place or worse. I could knock either Rich or Mark out if I won and they came in 6th or worst. Or something similar to that. I don't remember the exact scenarios. It didn't matter though. Aaron went out first. He tried to play too aggressively into Rich and it did not work out well for him.

I ended up going out second. I was doing ok, but then I got distracted discussing a Roulette betting scheme in which I contend that if you pick four numbers and keep doubling your bet until you win, after 16 rounds your EV turns positive. Rich disputes this, and while attempting to explain my math over the interwebs, I failed to notice that I was playing shitty poker. To make matters worse Mark goes out fourth, which was his worst showing of the year, and would have left me room to sneak into the WSOP.

Rich came in third which was enough to put him in the overall lead, despite only winning one tourney.

Here are the finals:

Week 12

  1. Shane
  2. Jason
  3. Rich
  4. Archie
  5. Noah
  6. Mark
  7. Cookie
  8. Me
  9. Aaron
And the league totals:

  1. Rich ( 94 total /91 Dropping the worst two)
  2. Mark (98/90)
  3. Me (82/78)
  4. Aaron (78/76)
  5. Archie (70/68)
  6. Jason (70/67)
  7. Noah (66/66)
  8. Shane(56/55)
  9. Cookie (40/38)

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WSPL Goes to Vegas episode 2/11

Date: Mon, Apr 22, 2013

We're playing twice this week since the last game was scheduled to be the day after Noah's wedding. Of course since we made a special game for him, Noah managed to not show up.

Things did not go very well for me this game. Early on I had JJ in the big blind. Everyone folded to Archie in the small blind who limped. If everyone limps to me in the big blind I generally like to just check it to disguise my hand. In this case I should have raised. I hate playing jacks. You never feel safe because someone is almost guaranteed to have overcards. This time the flop was ace high, Archie checked and bet. Same on the turn. The river was a third spade. Archie bets about 2/3 pot. It wasn't a very big pot, but still. It was great bet because I felt like I had to call even though I was sure I was behind. Sure enough he had rivered the flush with q2. Its my own fault. A raise pre-flop and I probably win that pot without the drama.

The next few hands were also multiway limps where I felt like I had to call. And I kept getting good pieces of the flop, but not good enough to stand up to the raises that I was getting. Before you know it I'm short stacked. and in trouble of going out real early.

I managed to stay alive long enough to finish in fifth, one spot ahead of Rich, but unfortunately Mark made it to XXXX place so my chances are pretty slim.

My final hand I had 88 in the big blind. Aaron min raised under the gun and I pushed all in. He had Aces and despite his claims that he never wins his aces held up. The frustrating thing about that is that I had 88 in the big blind earlier on when I had even less chips. Mark and Archie were both in a raised pot and while I contemplated pushing, I chickened out. Mark was also short stacked and I was hoping Archie would bust him. The flop was 89T and Mark ended up winning a big pot with a pair of tens. Not that I think I would have tripled up, but I would have at least won a decent amount of chips and prevented Mark from doing so. Second night in a row I let one of my top rivals stay alive.

Here are the standings after tonight

  1. Aaron
  2. Mark
  3. Shane
  4. Archie
  5. Me
  6. Rich
  7. Jason
  8. Cookie
  9. Noah (DNP)
And the totals:
  1. Mark 94/85
  2. Rich 86/83
  3. Me 80/76
  4. Aaron 77/72
  5. Archie 64/62
  6. Noah 61/61
  7. Jason 59/56
  8. Shane 41/40
  9. Cookie 37/35
So If Mark and Rich both choke tomorrow and Aaron or I win we have a chance, otherwise it looks like those two are going.

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