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Date: Mon, Dec 30, 2013
Email I sent for those that bought a piece of me:
Fired several bullets to win our way into the Main Event on my own dime through Megas. Those did not go well. Several times I was a couple of spots away from the seat. I also tried to arrange to buy a seat from a cash player that had won it to save us a little money in the package. He asked for 1k and I hoped to get him down by negotiating. Unfortunately, we missed each other (he no showed the first meeting) and when we finally did meet up I had to leave in the middle of one of my megas and rush over to the cash room.
(One of the floor people had been trying to help me out with this and called me when the player got there).
I told him let's discuss the seat. He said sorry. Despite committing to the floor person who set things up for me now he had changed his mind. Now, he had been able to get off work for Saturday and was going to play. (**I saw him bust and rebuy on his own dime on Saturday--looks like he lost my 1k and 1125 of his own money).
Nonetheless we'd go in full price on the Main Event. However as mentioned last time, in the package details I listed it around $1600. It was actually $1125. Thus we've freed up money for at least two more tournaments. One of those tournaments I already played and I took third in, unfortunately, it was not a huge score but I'll get to that.
So, predictably the only events worth playing at the Harrahs tournament were the rebuy and the Main Event. Turnout has been atrocious. The rebuy we finished 36th in. I also jumped into a nightly earlier in the week only to discover barely anyone was playing. We chopped that which made a tiny payout to the guys with the Half shares. The Main Event didn't go so well.
I liked my table. I also liked my image and despite losing an early pot I had been able to chip up over starting stack and things were going well. I had three or four other players who seemed like they'd supply the rest of us helpings of their chips.
Mike Horchoff (congrats to him just won his first tournament the event before hand)was in late position when I'd be in the blinds. He's an active aggressive player who can put his stack in on a cold bluff. Blake B also joined the table, who like Mike is a very talented player and can put you to difficult decisions with nothing. Mike recently made a WPT final table and Blake has three rings I think. Other than them and the talented Danny Doucet (another experienced winning player) I liked my table.I figured for now, we'd be fighting over the other players chips.
Nonetheless Mike and I did mix things up. I opened with 87spades in early position. Couple of callers and he called in late position. I flopped second pair on a 9 high board with a straight draw and didn't cbet. I liked my hand but wanted to see what everybody else did. Checked to Mike who bet. I called and decided I'd check raise him on the turn, after the others folded behind me, to test him. Turn was a low brick. I checked. He checked (okay, he didn't have much). River was a Jack. I figured I'd check call a possible bluff out of Mike. Thought if I led, he'd just fold anything but something that would beat me, and didn't want to give him the option to raise my third pair. Feel I'm good there most of the time.
Unfortunately, I checked and he overbet the pot. I didn't like it. It screamed Jack or nothing. In his eyes my hand is fairly transparent. I flopped either top pair (9s) or second pair and maybe didn't like my kicker, so I checked called the flop. His big bet if he hit the Jack is made knowing I might call. Thus, I considered folding (I know that he knows that I know...). However, as I've said before I know he's capable of firing and even shoving with air... which makes his bet even more effective. I considered a raise but his bet size was going to get me to commit too much of my stack. If he had a bare jack he might fold, but then again with the pot bloated he might not or worse he might raise. Ultimately I followed my plan and called, he had QJ and rivered me.
After taking that hit and bouncing back, I was really comfortable on the table, but then made a mistake. At this point, I should have recognized my table was still giving chips away without too much conflict and there was no need to stir things up or make too many moves. Not yet anyway.
Nonetheless, I decided when I'd be under the gun, with Mike on the button, I'd go into my Main Event bag of tricks. There is a move I like to do which is a fairly safe way to accumulate some chips and I'll usually do it once at every new table I'm at... if the dynamics work. I limp under the gun usually with a rag hand I'd fold 100% of the time. Get some limpers and then let the aggressive player try in late position and steal all that free money. Action to me, I reraise.
Usually, it's an insta-fold because every time I've seen somebody else do this move it's always aces (popular play is to limp raise them under the gun). Thus, I also only do this move against good players that recognize it, Mike fits the bill for that. Even better, my image is perfect for it as I'm a "tight" middle aged player--just the kind of guy that does this. Granted there are times the loose player will pick up a hand but he'll either fire back at me pre-flop or just call. Unless I smack the flop I'm just willing to fold that hand away. That's the point of doing it with a garbage hand like 72. Suddenly, you are getting value from that hand, and if the other guy wakes up with a hand you can get rid of it real easily. As the 2+2 crowd would put it, I kind of polarize my range here, so since this has seen print, I guess I'll have to sprinkle in some other holdings too.
So I decided to pick up some free money and knew I was limping any two under the gun. I spied A6 suited, which, to me is a fine hand to limp with anyway. Say the loose player doesn't take the bait. I don't like playing out of position, but there I'm looking to hit a flush or a couple of sixes. I'm also not going nuts if I hit an ace. Predictably I get a couple of limpers behind me. I see Mike think and fire out a bet from the button. Everything is going great.
I reraise and I don't think he likes it. I suspect he's giving me credit for the type of hands I'm representing AA or KK. So far so good. Then it blows up on me. The guy right behind me is short stacked and decides to shove for slightly less than my bet. Didn't see that coming. I decided not that big a deal, if he just limped initially, I'm not too worried about it because my Ace is probably leading most of the time there. I don't like that I have to show I limped raised with Ace rag but whatever. I might get more action from the other players at the table after this showdown, and I won't even be risking the total of the raise that I was willing to lose. So not terrible.
Then it gets back to Mike. He doesn't like it but asks how much the short stack shoved for and it's almost the size of my bet. I realize he's priced in to call with a lot of hands. I don't like that. I think I started the hand with 17 or 18k. Mike made it a little over 1k and I fired out ~3.5k for the resteal. Short stack had less than 3k.
He calls. Flop comes J high two spades. That's a great flop for me. Hard to put Mike on a Jack, I've got an over and the nut spade draw. I also have a line that indicates I have an over pair to that board. There are very few hands Mike can call with. I bet 6k of my remaining stack basically indicating I'm committed to the hand expecting to take it down. I can tellMike doesn't love it but puts his stack in. Gross. I never like to put all my chips at risk on a draw. Hate it. I also try to play these Main Events with as little variance plays as possible. Basically, I'm trying to minimize the spots where I let chance decide my fate.
Here I've blown things up. There is over 9k in the pot before I put my 6k in. Then Mike shoves and I have roughly 8k behind. So now the pot is almost 30k. Call 8k to win 30k. I'm almost getting four to one on my money here and it's likely at a minimum I can win with any spade. It's also possible any ace wins it. Let's say Mike has QQ I win almost 50% of the time. Let's say he flopped top set, I still win 27% of the time. I'm priced in even against his best holdings. Plus, should I win I'd have a great stack for my style of play going forward.
Then there are weird hands like a straight draw (can't remember if there was one) or second nut flush draw that I'm already beating and my equity is even better. Unfortunately, because things got weird, I'm can't fold. I knew that when I saw the flop and made my bet so I called pretty quickly.
One of the hands I didn't want to see was what Mike turned over KJ of spades. Here I win only 40% of the time. I didn't improve and I busted the Main on a draw.
The funny thing is from Mike's perspective he's probably shoving thinking he's behind but has too much equity to fold. He believes his flush draw is live and possibly can hit another jack or king to win too. If I have Aces or most overpairs with a spade he's only a small dog. If I have the overpair with no spade it's 50/50. There is way too much "extra" money in the pot for him to fold his hand regardless. He's trapped and I'm trapped. If I have Queens he's a favorite. The flop was a real cooler for either of us.
Btw, the short stack who blew up my plan to take an extra 1500 or so of free money had 87 suited. And thought he had good equity against a couple of overpairs like Mike and I could have had. I prefer a fold there if I were him but it's not necessarily the wrong move. However, it ended up costing my tournament so I was a little bitter.
Sidenote: I jumped into a cash game to wait for the 5 pm event to start. That same player was there and took a big pot off of me when we both flopped sets. I liked him even less.
I played the 5 pm and steamrolled it. Got a lot of cards and it was smooth sailing. Again with a stack I cruised over people. Literally had 40% of the chips in play at the final table. Paid three. When we got three handed I had 70% of the chips. I would have asked for almost first place money with a chop, but the other two stacks were so uneven. A girl player had almost no chips and the dude at the table had the other 25% or so. He kept making eyes at her stack and I knew he'd be fine with an equity chop after we busted her.
She was like MRSA and wouldn't go away. She'd get short and double. Finally, after a while, I felt the momentum turn on her and knew she was about to get it in bad. Just that sense you have. Then the other guy who had chipped away at my stack a little bit (out kicking me when we'd flop top pair and other brutality) started asking if we could take a break so he could he piss.
I didn't want to give the girl a break. I said no, because I felt things were going to be over soon. It was 70 minutes until the next break. At the same time he was a super nice guy and I didn't want to be a dick and make him run to the bathroom. Also, if he did do that with his blinds unprotected I didn't necessarily want the girl to open up things and me feel forced to call. I pressed to continue playing.
Then a couple of hands later I caved in. I regret it.
We stopped and did a bathroom break.
Predictably the woman had regrouped and the dude seemed completely reenergized too. Hmmm... wonder what he did in the bathroom. Bastard.
She went back to being patient but then maybe got too patient and slipped to four big blinds. I min-raised an Ace from the button. She called (half her stack in) from the small blind. The dude in the big blind (folded? WTF). Flop came 955. She shoved and I called as I would have any flop. She had a pair of nines. He folded... 95. At that point it would have been over. And I would have taken about 2200 (first place paid 2600) second 1500 and third 1k. Or maybe we would have set some aside and played for the rest with me as a heavy chip favorite.
But... he folded.
It was like the break turned everything upside down. Then I proceeded to get Aces three times. You can guess how that went though I never doubled anybody fully except for the girl who got it in bad with King high against my ace preflop. I also kept hitting second best on the flop and within two levels became the short stack. He was big she was second in chips. I looked at KK in the big blind. He limped from the small. I shoved and he called with Ace rag. He hit an ace. They quickly did an equity chop before I even got to the payout table and I felt like at least 1200 or so had slipped through my fingers.
I went to the cash table and joined in a game with the dude from Game of Thrones who plays Jaime Lannister. Almost didn't recognize him at first because he had both his hands. Have to watch the show to get that one. It was hard to spot him for real because his hair was over his face and he wore reading glasses. I've seen him on Jimmy Kimmel and knew he was Danish so his accent gave him away a bit.
Like his character, he had a ton of money in front of him, and I quickly got a seat change to be on his left. He tilted hard as he made a transparent bluff that got picked off by a cash game regular and was giving some of it away. I had a ton of Game of Thrones references and jokes run through my head but didn't bore him with that. Instead we started talking and I was encouraging him. He turned things around. I wanted him to have chips, because selfishly from a player's perspective I had an edge on him and position. That being said, he was a nice guy so I was kind of rooting for him as well.
I never broached the subject of who he was. I feel a lot of times the actors and athletes that play at Harrahs frequently when in town, feel comfortable in the cash games, because nobody harasses them. They are just another player with money--usually a lot of it. Think it's kind of an unwritten rule for the regs to never go fanboy. So, I didn't blow his cover, but I do think the kid on his right quietly told him he knew who he was and was a big fan. He seemed genuinely appreciative but remained low key.
Cash wasn't going well for me, and I've made the mistake of waiting for hands against a table of bad players that never came before so it was about time to go. Despite the game being Juicy, I was about to pick up until a guy I know who won a bracelet last summer at the WSOP sat down.
He's super nice and always makes me laugh so I played a little longer, just to shoot the shit. Glad I did because suddenly I found some hands, I won with Kings three times and Queens once. Needless to say I chipped up and this time the actor was encouraging me. We had lost together and now we were both winning together.
Anyway, it was late and I had to get home so. I was tired and not willing to put my new found winnings at risk, so finally I said my goodbyes. My phone had died but a friend volunteered to covertly take a picture of the actor for me on another friend's phone. My wife is a big fan, we both love Game of Thrones, so I wanted to show her why I was later than normal. You know how I like to be low profile with celebrities? Well, the dude peered up at the person taking the photo and then saw me looking at the phone afterwards.
So much for that.
Anyway, as far as the package goes we have at least two bullets to fire at the 500k guarantee Jan 3rd. and a 340 tournament to play. Obviously, if we advance to day two in the big one, we'll play something else later in the week as an alternative for the second bullet.
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Date: Thu, Dec 5, 2013
MY Package Update email:
Package update. Every time I use the word package one of you Beavis and Butthead fans shoots me a texttelling me how you enjoys me talking about my "package." You probably giggled at the name of Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton Dix. Well giggle some more because I'm talking about my package again.
Some small good news for those that bought enough of the package to include the side action, but that comes last.
Now for the bad news.
Anyway, the first three events went bad for different reasons, though a three on the turn was responsible for two of them.
1A 50k Guarantee:
Simply got coolered three times by fishy plays.
1. Flop top two pair bet. Guy calls and hits his set on the turn. Think it was set of threes, I flopped K9. Just call his river bet, lose minimum.
2. In Big Blind with A4. Multi way pot. Flop comes 774. I Bet one guy calls. Turn is a ten. Check. Check.
River is another 7. Check call guy's river bet. He has pocket queens. Ugh. Maybe I can fold there
but not many people check a 10 on the turn (or limp QQ behind other limpers--yuck). Hard to give him a bigger pair and figure I can beat A highs, bluffs and all but some mid pocketpairs that also were played kind of fishy because of no effort to protect his hand.
3A. Get dealt a Queen face up. Sure enough in my replacement cards another queen.
I fold, my crappy kicker (instead of betting pocket queens if not for the dealer error). Two players get it all in on the turn.
The turn was a... Queen. One guy flopped a set of tens the other the nut flush draw that didn't get there.
Yeah... my triple up right there. Dealer apologized.
This unfortunate turn of events is only important because the very next hand I get AQ and we had openly discussed what "should" have been and me having a big stack.
3B. I raise with AQ get called by button and big blind. Flop is Q82. Checked to me. I bet and am called twice.
Turn is a three. Checked to me. I bet. Button folds. Big blind ships it. He's been pretty tight and solid all day. Still it's hard to give
him more than top pair on that board (or a set of 8s or twos). I call not really having enough chips to fold. He shows 23. Yeah... No idea how he called the flop (or even preflop) after a bet and a call on that flop with bottompair bottom kicker. My only conclusion is he thought I was tilting from the previous hand. That doens't really explain him calling after the button did (even if he could beat me unlikely his twos beat the button) but that was mytournament. Gross way to start.
Event 1B: 50K Guarantee.
I called preflop with KQ on the button against the most aggressive bad player at the table.
Flop came Q high. He checked. I bet he raised. Ugh. Let it go. Then I see him play every hand, badly just
firing chips into the pot at a rate that suggests he was on air most of the time. Wish I had the hand back.
Later I had Queens and was determined to take my stand against him. He bet all the way and then hit a King. (He had AK--of course his only hand was against me).
Probably, I should have pushed back at him somewhere earlier in the hand, but I like guys like that to fire three barrels into me with nothing. That way they can overbluff the river (though they can also connect).
Had it not been an ace or king I would have fired back giving him enough room to stack off. As it was, I guess I lost the minimum.
I got unlucky that I was in a flip. I had no idea he was as strong as AK, so even if I did push back earlier possible he just comes over the
top (all he knows is he has an Ace and King and that looks like a good hand) and we play a swollen pot that I lose. Predictably he goes bust. Not before I was down to 1400. Starting stack of 10k.
Blinds were 50 and 100 and I look at JJ in the big blind. I fold. What? 14 big blinds and fold Jacks? Yes. There was a bet and reraise (by a short stack that didn't shove--Monster alert).
Two players get it all in AA (there's the monster) v. 88. Good fold. Happy about that, hard to lay down a pair of face cards preflop with that stack.
Then I mounted a comeback and turned that 1400 into 14000 after scoopingsmall pot after pot.
Thought it was going to be my day. Just as I allowed myself to believe...
Then I couldn't catch a hand for four levels. Also had a player on my right beating me into pots
any time I sensed weakness or a stealing opportunity. Gross. Didn't really have enough to 3bet fold to him and I wasn't about to stack off with a garbage hand so bided my time.
I was in the big blind with 92 and short again, mid position and small blind limp to me. I check. Flop came three hearts (one a deuce) ten high.
I take a stab with a small bet. Called by mid position. Turn a 9. Now I got two pair. Again bet small and get called. River was a 8. I bet small again. He puts
my stack in. I hate this spot. So many times a big stack chasing a flush with a bare big card is frustrated he missed he flush his over cards outs and will bluff in this spot. Or he flopped a flush.
I stew. I decided despite my efforts to pot control I had put too much of my stack in, and two pair wins a lot of the time against many of his hands. Really should have checked the river in retrospect. Likely he shoves there anyway, but maybe I can fold.
To his credit he showed a flopped queen high flush, which I thought he played well. Many players will push back earlier in the hand without the nut flush fearful of an Ace
of hearts running him down with another heart on the board. So, in that respect, I kind of only get beat by the nuts the way the hand played out most of the time. So I'm calling against the nuts or bluffs. Not this guy though he played his flush well and his shoving river range was a little wider.
Event 3A: 75k Guarantee
(sorry for the ensuing tangent)
My daughter caught the flu and Saturday woke up with a blazing fever. Why do my kids only get sick on weekends and holidays? I took her to urgent care to confirm she was flu-ridden and to get Tamiflu. Sidenote: Urgent care sucks Opens at 9. Parked in front waiting for the doors. Two people there before me. Then in short fashion two people after me. Doors opened, and I imagined I'd simply file in third behind the people there first.
I guess like Black Friday, it's just a free for all when people are sick. Alright, I told myself as these near dead people suddenly sprinted to the doors, if they want to share a crowded waiting room with a soon to be crying/screaming miserable two year old that's their decision.
Of course, the young and more healthy who arrived last raced to the door. Thankfully, this wasn't a sinking ship because the old, the punctual, and the tiny children that require a little more time to get out of the car were dead last. Inside they handed out the paperwork and then it became another race to finish that. Sure enough with me trying to corral a two year old trying to touch everything, three more newcomers came in and filed their survey first.
As some of the newest arrivals got ushered back before us, I grumbled to myself.
Course, I had the ace in the hole. At about that point my daughter lost it after a long period of waiting. The teenage girl at the front desk smacking her gum was rolling her eyes at the sick child. Harper didn't stop being miserable despite ruining that poor girl's morning. It was a good thing as we were called next with her obviously slotting us in before the latecomers just to get Harper out of the waiting room.
By the way, I thought I was dramatic when I was sick. Yet, as whiny as I am, these people were either all dying and in need of immediate emergency care, or the biggest babies in the world. Even my soon to be crying daughter for the first hour was manning up morethan this batch of wheezing, groaning, shivering, non-hand to mouth covering coughing, sneezing, near death dramatists. For a second, I thought I was coming in early on a pandemic. Influenza of 1917 part deux. Based on the zombies in the waiting room, I considered calling my wife and telling her to shutter herself keep the still well baby away in the house for a month.
Then I remembered my son had it all the previous week pretty badly and recovered, so not likely this was Ebola 2.0. (EDIT: To be fair, I just found out two of his classmates were hospitalized so maybe I being a little harsh on the sick adults in that waiting room spraying contagions--not for spraying the contagions but for being so overt in their distress).
We have done everything we could to keep our infant from coming down with it--well besides me going to urgent care and that crowd sourced cloud of infection that was misting the waiting room like the dew on grass at Augusta. Anyway, we've been keeping the flu kids away from the baby and that means me watching one or two of the kids at our house and my wife with the sick one at her Mom's. So, I thought I might miss the 555.
I prepared myself to play the alt events on Tuesday, and Thursday (see the spreadsheet). I wasn't too stressed because I saw it as an opportunity to watch the Iron Bowl (both my parents went to Auburn andfirst sporting event I ever went to as a kid in North Carolina was an Auburn-Wake Forest football game--so guess who I pull for). Then as the game started I started getting texts. Only 50 people in the morning session. They need 150 to meet the guarantee, there was going to be an overlay. For those of you not familiar with poker, an overlay is whena casino guarantees a certain amount of money, and not enough players buy-in to meet it. In this case they ended up being 50 players short--meaning the casino had to kick in 23k of their money.
As poker players you live for these rare events, because you get the prize pool of a bigger tournament with fewer players to beat. Great equity.
I decided I had to get to Biloxi to play this. No way we were going to miss this spot (considering the paltry turn-out for the non guaranteed events later in the week glad I went) and my inlaws came through for me again helping my wife with the sick and well kids. The Auburn game, maybe you heard was kind of good. But as my friend pointed out perhaps Auburn is stealing all their fans run good for these miraculous finishes. When I arrived for the evening sessionI see it's a small who's who of the Coast's best players. The morning session had finished with about one table left. Without winning any big hands I progressed to just over twenty players left in the night session.I had a couple of interesting hands which didn't really amount to much and played with my favorite Survivor castaway Boston Rob (a regular down here and a decent player despite what his ill fatedpoker reality TV show might have suggested). People were talking about coconuts, and coconut flavored things and I couldn't help but study him to see if he had a reaction. After all that's all he ate/drank for about three months of his life.
I kept hanging around then spied AK and shoved over a raise. Guy called with Jacks. For a moment it was a flip. QQJ flop schewed the odds considerably in his favor. So that sucked.
-Good thing is the bigger prizepools in the package are all ahead of us, and we got a lot of tournaments left.
-After whiffing in a mega for a seat (and rebate money for ya'll with the extras in the package) missing it by ~four players. I had a small score in the nightly on Tuesday. That's not in the package but gets half shares for everybody eligible. We chopped it four ways (another overlay in a 4k guarantee on a $120 buy-in). I got the winners photo as chipleader. For one thirty minute dealer down I got more hands then I got in all the other tournaments I've played combined. Gross.
Right before my hot streak I sat card dead in the nightly lamenting my bad run so far and having one of thoseI-really-hate-tournament-poker-moments, then finally caught some cards that stood up. I tripled up with Jacks. Had some maroon shove into my Aces two hands later and I was off. Once I had a stack, for the first time this week, I bulldozed the table and with twenty left I had almost a third of the chips in play.
By the time we got four handed I had taken some beats. One very good player and two very capable players had almost as many chips as me. We split it evenly.
Now, on to the Main Event Saturday. Just need to get a little momentum in that event and I forsee good things.
Oh yeah, some of you haven't squared up yet. I understand there's been some issues and we've discussed it. No problem. But here is a gentle reminder. Preferably if you can get the money to me by Saturday am I'd much appreciate it. About to start buying into the bigger buy-in events will need those bigger chunks sooner rather than later.
Thanks again for all the support and belief. Good feelings about Saturday.
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Date: Tue, Nov 19, 2013
Why do they call little Snickers "Fun Sized." There is nothing fun about them, unless fun means immediately have to look through the candy you are stealing from your Children's Halloween haul for another one to "partially" satisfy you. I feel like I've heard "this" bit somewhere, my apologies if I'm stealing from somebody, but that's the train of thought I had this afternoon.
Poker is going swell. Continue to run good at cash and these weeklies. Traveled up to Baton Rouge to play at LaBerg and see the new casino. I was impressed. The tournament was a little fast but enjoyable. Finishing third made it sweeter. That made three final tables in a row. A lot happened in that tournament.
I saw the local hotshot challenge me for hitting a flush on him, and ironically play a similar hand exactly the same way later. I believe he muttered something about raising with the worst hand, then bluffing with it and then getting lucky. I had A8 suited and raised from EP on a short handed table. He called from the big blind. I flopped two of my suits on a 742 board and cbet when he checked. The turn was another 7. we both checked and I hit my flush on the river. When he called my river bet he immediately groused.
Later he'd have AK two clubs and two overs and get there too, somehow he managed to not fire a tirade at himself for his poor play.
He was a good player and clearly had the respect of the regulars there. He looked familiar. Have no issue with him other than the fact he likely misread the board in our hand when he bitched. If you are going to challenge somebody, probably should have your facts straight.
Later, a drunk guy at my table who was holding up play refused to leave and play was suspended for over 30 minutes until security gently extricated him. I suspect he was a high roller because in most places the kid gloves would have been long off. Finally, I expedited things by suggesting to the floor that if he wouldn't leave that the rest of us could simply relocate to a new table. They took my suggestion and we played on. The guy also got more cooperative when he realized his sit in was futile.
The final table I shared with a player I met at the WSOP-Academy. David from Lafayette. I thought he played great and I enjoyed sharing a table with him and seeing him make the money. He keeps improving.
I rode up with Ron H, a regular from Harrahs and I felt bad he didn't make the money.
Final table the overwhelming chipleader (another good player) wanted a huge cut of the money. I got to second in chips and asked for too much myself. Finally three handed the short stack refused another chop offer and I ended up third when luck changed on me.
I got real short twice so I was happy with my comebacks.
Don't have too much time right now, so I'll return with more soon.
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Date: Fri, Nov 1, 2013
Cash has still been going great. So too, the Harrahs Weeklies. Been bubbling a little too much there 13th, 12th, 16th, but a fair amount of top six finishes too sprinkled in recently, so I can't complain. Sounds like the free roll may have as much as 29 or 30k up for grabs.
I've put together a package that includes many of the upcoming events (IP's WPT events, Harrahs in house event, and the beginning of the Million Dollar Heater) that I've sold most of. Feel on the precipice of some deep runs and am really confident with how I'm playing lately. Been really locked in with where I stand in hands. Minimizing losses on coolers and making some great calls, and thin value bets. Kai Landry once blogged about live poker, and that just innate sense when you put someone on a hand, some undefinable moment of cognition, that your subconscious processes but you could never identify specifically. That's been happening a lot. It's weird and eerie but fun.
Just wish I could find the time to play more often. It's hard with the new edition to the family, and the fact, he isn't sleeping through the nights yet. Oh well. A healthy baby is a great "problem" to have.
Rocked a Magnum P.I. costume for a party and despite taping a Detroit Tigers logo on my hat, wearing a Hawaiian shirt and growing an honest to goodness Tom Selleck thick stache very few people had any idea who I was. Course that happens when you are making a thirty year old reference at a party that was attending by at least 50% under 35s. Had to shave it though as a mustache on me looks a little creepy. A daddy day at my oldest's school wasn't the place to sport that look.
The World Series of Poker coverage to me is a little underwhelming. Feels like they've been on Day 7 for three (four?) weeks. If all that happened on one day, what an amazing cycle of ups and downs, and maybe better packaged in two or three episodes. Found a few players that I want to root for.
David Benefield "Raptor" seems all class and oozes professionalism even though technically he's retired. Him putting up with the fellow Texan (Alexander?) is a great example. The bar owner telling him his outs every time and his non frustrated acknowledgement is like a master class on how to treat fish. Humor them. Smile nod, put up with their trivial commentary, and take their chips later.
Thought I was going to get to root for the Matador, but he busted on the bubble. The criticism leveled at Carlos Mortensen by Norman Chad felt a little rough. I can't say I like Carlos' plays that they spotlighted either and perhaps it was a matter of fatigue, as 40 year olds and overs don't have the best track record now that the field takes seven days to get to a final nine, but the guy's track record speaks for itself. Since the fields have swelled, besides Dan Harrington, what other Main Event champ has come so close to getting back to the promised land? Nobody. Yeah, he stumbled but he must have been great for 6 and a half days to make it that far.
JC Tran has a lot of the chips, the even keel, experience, and the guts to become the Main Event champion. He also seems like another genuinely nice guy and prototypical poker professional. Can't root against a dad scratching out a living on the felt, eight eliminations away from poker history. Just so much I like about his game in the hands they've spotlighted. The guys at the defunct Poker Road podcast used to make it sound like he was some aggro-luck box, and maybe he was four or five years ago, but now he's as smooth as Dr. J on the felt. (Wish I could think of a smooth Sacramento King to properly honor him in an analogy but I'm struggling to think of more than five King players).
Seems like a lot of folks I know on Facebook are friends with Riese the Beast. So, I guess I won't mind if he wins either. The editing of his hands except for a well timed bluff and a maybe one poorly timed bluff seemed straight forward. So, it's hard to appraise him from a poker perspective.
I wish Yveginy Timoshenko had made a deeper run. Seemed like every hand he played he made the right decision. Though Slim Wunstel and JC Tran differed in opinion on that when Timoshenko eliminated the Gulf Coaster. I'll get to that hand in a second even though it's from an old episode. Timoshenko's calm demeanor and placid thought processing is another guy that inspires me. He chucks away hands other (almost always correctly) some pros would agonize over. Like Merson last year I felt Timoshenko outclassed most of the players as the field got really thin.
As for the hand in question, Wunstel said Timoshenko was right to call with AJ (~ I think) which sucked out on Corrie's AQ. Tran said he had played with Wunstel before and Wunstel always had "it." Implying AJ would never be good there. Corrie should pay us at Gulf Coast Poker to put that clip on our front page and use it for advertising for him.
Obviously, I've never played with him in the WSOP Main Event or a 10k buy-in of any kind, but I've played a number of button v. blinds, or blind v. blind hand in tournaments and Corrie has a huge range there. I don't think Timoshenko is wrong too often calling with AJ in that spot, and I think Corrie was being honest that AJ is correct to call him there.
Though in general I hate AJ calling a shove. It's the borderline hand in a lot of spots but so often it's crushed and it crushes so few other hands. More people are shoving Ace anything or King Big over a raise in live poker so it's winning more than it used to but it's still just a hand I hate to do battle with. I'd almost rather suited connectors depending on my stack. Though, against good players AJ has to be in your raise call range when they get short. Doesn't always end up well, but more times than not you are ahead.
Alright dinner beckons...
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Date: Mon, Oct 14, 2013
So, in the past couple of posts I've been cryptic about a recent opportunity that presented itself that I said was really cool. It is... or I should say was really cool... as unfortunately, my involvement, ultimately, was practically zero.
I met with the producer of a new poker show that is filming its pilot in New Orleans a couple of weeks ago over lunch at Mothers. All this was going on just as I learned of the potential heart condition of my soon to be born son and the expedited delivery to find out if he'd need surgery. So despite being in a bit of fog in my personal life, I still enjoyed a great conversation about poker, poker in New Orleans, and specifically discussed the pilot and premise of the show. To be honest it was a really nice diversion. We had a freewheeling exchange of ideas. I came away happy with the vision of the producer and impressed that one of the aims of the show to really highlight locals who play poker.
We also came to the first of what I thought were two understandings. He had been interested in possibly casting me for the show and was getting a feel for me. I wasn't all that interested in being on the show, it would have been nice, but I'm self-aware enough to know I'm probably a little too reserved to be good TV. Though when I want to, moreso in my younger days, I can get into a Jaime Gold mood aka Wild Bill or as some of my friends would call it Super Bill mode no doubt. Usually with help of a Blue Moon or six... or twelve. He also saw the meeting just as an information gathering exercise for tips on other players to cast, locations to shoot and that kind of thing.
We discussed a few players. I learned he and his staff had a number of these meetings with local players, including Ryan Lenaghan. He had a high opinion of Ryan after that meeting and I said that I didn't know him personally but I shared that opinion. I've also seen via facebook and other places some of the other players they contacted. All good choices.
The premise of the show is that Phil Laak (pictured above with his lovely Hollywood beauty Jennifer Tilly) and Antonio Esfandiari travel from city to city to play home games. It's a reality show, albeit with a structure. I'd say somewhere in between Gold Rush and Amish Mafia, maybe closer to Gold Rush.
At this point in our conversation, once I realized that I potentially could offer the show a lot of value, the poker player took over in me, and (warning cringe-worthy poker analogy ahead) I played my cards tight to vest. Maybe too tightly. As we talked I realized besides offering connections made traveling the circuit to far flung outposts, in my chase for the National Championship seats in years past, I also had this secret network at my disposal that was perfect for their intentions.
I ran a satellite tournament for the World Series Main Event for a long time, in fact, that's how I got started in poker. That transformed from a bunch of college friends who all lived in different cities who watched Chris Moneymaker on TV trying to figure out how to get somebody they knew into the Main Event, (to naively chase the dream) to basically, a beast of its own. We each held a tournament in our home towns and sent a winner to New Orleans where we played for a seat.
As the years progressed my friends passed the baton to friends, or friends of friends who were poker players or essentially home games hosts, many of them high stakes, who would take a night off and run the satellite to send a qualifier to supply the final table in New Orleans. Always a fun trip and nice little prize for their regulars. At the same time a number of folks started showing up in subsequent years to play the last chance table and we formed a weird far-flung tight nit group. We made some good bonds on those nights out in New Orleans.
|Pic from the show lifted from Barth M.|
So, I essentially have a high stakes network of home games in different cities at my disposal. And to repeat... the show is about Phil Laak and Antonio Esfandiari traveling from city to city to play home games. As one of the contacts I made that I now consider a close friend and trustworthy confidant said to me, "Dude, they couldn't have asked for a better person to help them with this. How did you fall into their lap?"
During the meeting, I recognized this, and the opportunity before me and told the producer he should hire me as a consultant. He said "I was just thinking that." (Sweet.) As for casting the local show, with my time on GCP, I knew of a hundred possibilities of players that would fit what he was looking for and all were a phone call or two away. In fact, for whatever "type" he wanted to cast I can think of a handful off the top of my head just from updating the site over the years.
He agreed that he saw the value that I could offer, not just in New Orleans but if the pilot got picked up, in other locations too. He said TV shows don't have "consultants" in the budget but perhaps he could give me a writing credit and then if the show got picked up a producing credit. That sounded... really cool. Then a game of cat and mouse began. I no longer wanted to just give him everything for nothing, it there was a possibility of doing it for something later. So I withheld some information with the idea I'd be sharing it and more soon.
At some point in the process, he asked me to discreetly start to find players. Initially he said they were about to have a production meeting and he'd have somebody call me to work out the details of my "employment." He also urged me not tell anybody about our arrangement locally as then everybody would want some sort of deal. I honored both of his requests and as vaguely as possible began to ask folks about their schedule in the time frame allotted. Some I hinted at something really cool, my apologies to you for being cryptic, others I coyly asked what their short run plans were without them really knowing why.
I think that night, he emailed me the short they used to pitch the show to the network to get the pilot made and I was impressed. Totally different feel for the show then I got while we were talking. Also, I thought Antonio and Phil in that segment really brought it. In the format, they'd play real live games, but presented in a much more cinematic, stylized way and then they'd kind of pigeon hole the story around that. The play would be authentic and from it they might find a narrative. Which is kind of easy to do in any poker game really. The more we talked the more I realized this was something I'd really like to be involved with on the behind the camera side of things.
We also agreed to meet the next day after the Harrahs weekly tournament. He no-showed that one. Ugh... I know, warning flag, but side note, I can't say it wasn't lucrative. To meet with the guy downtown, on the first day I sat down for thirty minutes to get my free parking at Harrahs and doubled up on the 29th minute. Sorry for the hit and run but was not a day I scheduled to play. The second day, I made third or fourth in the donkley and then as I waited for him to call me I played cash. In a couple of downs I got the nuts three times and got paid off every time to make 5x my buy-in. Lol. I should get stood up more often.)
He called, after apologizing for missing me in an email, and hooked me again. We talked about my role going forward and we even got into what type of compensation there would be. There would be some payment, not a lot, but I wasn't really looking for much as to be honest, I was most excited with how they wanted to portray the poker and having some role in it. Again, he told me there would be a call from the girl in charge of these things to formalize our agreement after he got back to New York.
I didn't want to get too excited about things, but I couldn't help but envision traveling ahead to the all these different cities and getting to see all the high stakes games that supplied our little satellite tournament to the Main Event every year, and helping cast the TV show and assisting with locations. Instead of all these people coming to me every year, I'd get to come to them, and maybe bring a camera crew for those interested.
Doing entertainment work is something I've always harbored aspirations to do had life taken a different path or two. Went to law school with an idea of going into entertainment law. Gobbled up every creative writing and film class my University offered, and graduated with an English degree. In fact, I was passing through New Orleans on a journey to LA to pursue just that kind of thing when I got waylaid (poor verb let's instead say "when I changed my mind") after meeting my wife. A fun stop that was to include Mardi Gras, a Superbowl and Jazzfest became a permanent move and those Hollywood aspirations became a unrequited dream I kind of put to the side.
Talking about opportunity knocking on your door? Right? So as far as the show was concerned I was willing to do the grunt work just to get a taste of a previous dream that would be in confluence with a current one. Considering there was an opportunity to do this and travel to play poker, the other life passion I developed while living here, things couldn't be better. Too good to be true?
It always is.
Over the course of talks, we vaguely discussed a format for a poker related show that has a similar theme to this one. It's one, my friend a film school grad in New York and I, have played around with and would pitch to a network if we could ever sit down in front of an executive. We've discussed filming it as a documentary but it sets up perfectly for a serial format. I think it would kill and would be great for poker. As the years go by, I'm still amazed that something like it hasn't been made. I'd drop everything now if I could work on that project. Hopefully, one day I'd get the chance to revisit this idea with the producer. Maybe if the Phil Laak/Antonio Esfandiari show is a hit they'd want more programming in the same vein.
We also talked about some great venues for future episodes like Lafayette, Nantucket, Biloxi, Austin and other places I could practically gift wrap him a show right now. As we formalized things a little bit he told me the dynamic he wanted for one of the games, and I started to ask around, discreetly about players I knew that would fit the mold and pop on TV.
Meanwhile, the phone call never came.
All the while, I had never been able to shake this nagging feeling after walking out of our first meeting with no contract signed like the car dealer who could only get a handshake but not get the ink... that the buyer was going to back out as soon as he left the dealership.
Later that week I get an email that started out "Hi Bill!" Is an exclamation point the appropriate precursor to bad news? Feels a bit like a slowroll to me... In short, my friend told me that after talking with Antonio and Phil they'd just call up some of their friends and cast the show themselves and fly people in. If that's what they wanted to do, how could I argue against it.
Of course, I immediately felt a kick to my stomach. I thought this poker show could go a long way to showcasing players not just locally, but across the country that don't get the spotlight but have a lot of respect in the community. I was super-excited that this format could really put the shine on locals that I respect and I wanted to push for. It sounded like that wasn't going to happen. If Laak and Esfandiari were just going to fly in the regular buds it would be another showcase for talent we've seen one too many times on poker programming. Ugh. I was doubly dispirited.
As for my frustrated dreams, I understand I was dealing with somebody in the real world. In the poker world, our understandings, would have been just that and the way things were left both times would in essence be binding. I purposefully said at the end of our last phone call something along the lines of I'll go ahead and start recruiting if you are telling me for sure there is somebody that will be calling me next week to work out the arrangement. Once I got that verbal confirmation I treated it as such.
Anyway, despite a really shitty week (see previous blog), I actually did a good bit of groundwork trying to track down some locals that might not be in my circle but could fill out the "seedy" game they were looking for in the first segment.
I'm a big boy though. I don't want to cast the Producer I dealt with in a bad light either, rereading it I feel I do--so let me be clear I harbor no ill will, nor do I want to sound like sour grapes. I understand what happened, and despite that I still genuinely like the guy.
I think he is somebody who would be comfortable in my group of friends and I would enjoy chewing the fat with and having a beer or two. I also was impressed with how he approached the project as a sponge and was soliciting as much information as he could. He wanted, maybe at the directive of PL + AE, maybe on his own intuition, to be as realistic/authentic as possible, and show poker for what it really is, giving light to a part of the community that doesn't receive it. That could be awesome, and I think really appealing, if done right, even for a mainstream audience. The little details of our subculture were important to him. I got that when I told him not to skimp on the chips, and he said that's exactly what Laak said, and that was illustrative of their approach.
When we talked I told him if he wants the community behind it, he needed aspects that would garner the support of the 2+2 crowd, the internet kids, and the live regs, and he assured me that was a directive in the show--to be authentic. We have a diverse community, with many sub-groups, and some that straddle a lot of those groups, and much of it is never represented on TV. There were a lot of segments he should look to appease, and I had ideas for representatives of each casting wise, and thought an honest reality show could get the entire community behind it. The fact that was a goal of his, made my day.
So despite, the "mis"understandings, as I said we never made a formal agreement, and as he said to me in an email later, he approached our conversations with good faith. Things change. I'll take his word for it. I can handle it. Disappointing sure. He said he also wanted to keep the door open to me being a resource later. Maybe the pilot gets picked up and there is a place for me to help out then. Maybe not.
Anyway, even if not, I'm confident the finished product should be good TV and think from my meetings with the guy the show is in good hands.
The really good news is the friends of Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Laak they were flying in from LA wasn't friends plural it was just Eric Cloutier, the transplanted Lafayette high stakes regular. Through what I've gleaned on facebook and various channels of the folks that got called in for the show, I think Eric did a great job presenting a local cross section of poker. Surprised at how many names we would have overlapped had I had a role in casting things. In fact, he would have been on the shortlist of names I would have provided.
So to wrap up... There is a very real possibility a pretty decent poker related show is headed to the Discovery network. Laak and Esfandiari will be involved and they seem intent on casting a wider lens on the community. The pictures and bits of information I've gotten from the sessions they've filmed sound pretty cool. I had illusions of grandeur for a week or two, but back to life as a poker player/fan, I'm real excited to see what they've produced and can't wait to see some friends on the small screen.
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Date: Thu, Oct 3, 2013
In tournament poker the short stack can go to the big stack and the big stack can be eliminated in the blink of an eye. Reversals of fortune are common, you pray for one ride and wish the other against the jerk with the bigs stack. Hmmm... I sense a poker analogy coming, and those are generally terrible and lazy, so apologizing for the derailment, let me get to the point.
First off thanks to everybody for the prayers and well wishes. My wife and I were kind of blown back by the generosity of support we received as we struggled with the possibility our son might have some issues at birth. Thanks to many of you in our little poker community who sent me positive thoughts, prayers and well wishes. Means a lot.
We got really bad news which just gradually got better and better until he arrived. Our third child joined us, and his health and spirit surpassed anything we were advised his birth might be like. Basically, we were given a couple of options, little did we know there was a third option where he'd come into the world pretty much a vigorous and healthy specimen. That meant no air-lift to children's hospital, no emergency surgery on his heart, no nervous ambulance ride to Childrens either, and even better no time spent in the NICU (neo-natal icu--whatever icu stands for), and as of yet, no medicine to allay a condition in his heart.
His cardiovascular ultrasound when he was born showed a healthy heart, albeit still an enlargement that indicates perhaps a couple of worrying things later... or it might just fix itself. This was the better than the best of outcomes we were given. The nervous day wait to find that out, as apparently the results of the ultrasound were sent to the NICU instead of the well babies, and never forwarded on, was pretty treacherous though. Kept telling ourselves no new is good news then prayed that that was true. It was. As I said, our son will need follow ups and his heart will need to be monitored but so far, so good.
My wife and I talked about how difficult it was to undergo all that, and we basically just had a couple of weeks of not knowing and the sudden blunt agony of possibly losing a child, or dealing with a severe health issue. Couldn't help but think of our friends that have had realized issues with the children from birth and the pain they've suffered through. We got just a hint of that. I now have an added category for my prayers at night.
Naming our son, was another issue altogether. On the short list were Dean Smith Phillips (yes, I'm a Tarheel fan--I also think it's a pretty cool name), Toby or Tobias James Phillips, Gabriel, Liam--short for William--or just Liam, and couple of others. And the name we chose (sorry, but I'm not big on putting everything out there in public forums--much of it, yes, but not all of it) will remain a secret for now :). It was hard. Toby is the name of a friend of mine who was murdered by a hit and run driver a few Mardi Gras ago. I would have liked to honor his memory, but considering the possible heart condition of our child, I didn't feel comfortable putting Toby's family through the wringer again, if something tragic happened. I also have liked the name Tobias since I was a kid and would call Toby that sometimes, so it would have been cool to honor him and we almost did.
Anyway, last time I talked about some cool stuff that was going on. I was cryptic, and I will continue to be so for the near future. Turns out, as everything went right for my son, in the meantime, everything kind of fell out of place on the other front. Two complete U-Turns. Obviously, if you had told me the way things were going to shake out two weeks ago, I would gladly have taken it.
That being said, this other "mysterious" project was going to be pretty cool for poker in New Orleans, on the Gulf Coast and tangentially for me. It still might be for any, or all three of the above. I hope it is. I won't go into more detail now, but I'll probably have some interesting back story when this thing comes to fruition. Hopefully, I'll be more a part of it then the way it appears I will be now, and not just a footnote.
As for poker, I haven't played much. When I have things have gone pretty good. Took third in a donkley, and then seventh, and then had an amazing down or two where I turned $200 into $1100 as I was waiting to talk to a friend. Had the nuts three times and got called twice for my stack and made a lot before shoving and not getting called the other two times. On one I had KK. Board came out j109. Q on the turn. Ace on the river. He led out the river and I shoved. He stewed forever, asked if I gave to to charity, and then called. Maybe he had an 8? That was yummy.
In the two donkleys, I got eliminated by 109 both times. First time I had pocket 9s. He made a pretty bad call I think when I opened shoved. He got rewarded by flopping a straight. That was the fifth or sixth time he got it all in way behind and somehow he only ended up second. The other time, I was short and had A5. Chipleader called from mid-position with some big stacks behind. They all cleared out. I was good until the river with the board coming QQQ4. Either a 9 or a 10 binked. I felt it the whole way. Tried to talk myself out of it as I waited for the river but it didn't work.
So anyway, everything is upside down since my last blog post.
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Date: Sat, Sep 21, 2013
Been a hectic couple of weeks.
Had some very bad news hit me right as I arrived in Austin for a college reunion type weekend. My wife has been having some complications with the pregnancy. She had an extra appointment slotted in and I understood that when I made the 8 and a half hour trek that I might have to turn around and come home. Possible we'd have an early delivery or get some really bad news. So five minutes before seeing all my old friends she told me there was some issues with our future son's heart. A google search provided only scary and extreme causes for the enlargement.
Now, normally when I get worried about my kids I'll do an Internet search and find only two things: Take your kid to your doctor or probably nothing to worry about. Just about anything you search for healthwise is 50/50 with those results. This time, quite different results arose for my wife. They consisted of scary ideas like heart transplant or even cancer causing the abnormality. Cancer in a newborn? I had never heard of that--course just this week I see an article on a former Big Brother cast member's baby that has cancer. Scary thoughts. Also, it could be nothing. Nothing at all. She set up an appointment with an At Risk specialist for when I returned home. So it was a waiting game.
My wife told me not to come home immediately and at least see all my friends when they arrived in town (mostly Thursday and Friday). Hard to put on a brave face when there are all these unknowns going on, but I knew I was helpless and I could be helpless at home or helpless in Austin. Still, staying brought more problems. I didn't want to dump all this bad news on my friends who were in town for a fun weekend. So, the first day I just had to put on my best poker face when they asked about the due date and we talked about kids. I think I was a little in shock with the news and at moments I'd get overwhelmed and have to kind of excuse myself when my mind dwelled on my son.
I decided Friday to come home and be with my wife early Saturday morning and revealed the bad news to a couple of friends to give them a heads up. Before that I was a bit of a fun sponge when we were out on the town and got voted the LFG. That's something we dub one of our friends every trip: Least Fun Guy. I think I took my ribbing pretty good, and I had no problem with it as at that point none of them knew my plans were to get up early and get out of town. Clearly I had other things on my mind but how were they to know.
Saturday morning my wife told me to stay for the game and to try to have fun at least one day as there was nothing me coming home would solve. Instead of driving home Monday, I decided to comback early Sunday, and make the best of it in Austin. I think I had a much better showing and even managed to clear my head for a few thoughts. I think having told a few friends made it easier and kind of got the weight off my shoulders a little bit, and allowed me to relax a bit.
The game was fun. The conversation at the bar afterwards when the 15 us just talked smack and recounted old stories though was the highlight. I took my fair share but enjoyed it.
So, I returned home and we had a couple more doctor's appointments. Good news is, the really scary possibilities on the Internet are less likely. What's most likely are one of two things, one is a condition that can be treated with medicine and the other one that will need surgery. The second possibility has some scary outcomes, heart surgery on a newborn--ugh. If it's the second our newborn will need to be airlifted to Children's hospital for the procedure. While the really bad causes haven't been totally ruled out we were assured they are far less likely and are hoping it will just take medicine.
After an appointment yesterday, we moved up the date of the delivery and have been scrambling to get things done. Suddenly, everything is happening at once. I spilled the bad news on facebook even though I kind of subscribe to the maxim face your problems don't facebook them (..thought apparently I have no issues with blogging about them), however, the utility of social media is when you need to tell a lot of people about something and may not have the time to keep them individually updated, facebook is a great resource for this. I've really received some nice notes and inspirational messages from a ton of people on my friends list, so I glad we posted what we did.
As far as blogging, writing has always been therapeutic for me and this is less about whining about what I going through and more about dealing with it. The worst thing about this is it could be not much at all and a bunch of pointless worry. There are folks with tangible problems and mine, hopefully will be illusory. Anyway, that's the outcome I'm hoping for, so prayers much appreciated this week.
What's weird is while this very bad stuff has been going on, some really cool things have presented themselves at the same time. I'm really excited about an opportunity which in the coming months hopefully I'll be able to share with everybody.
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Date: Wed, Sep 11, 2013
This past weekend I had the opportunity to work the WSOP Academy in New Orleans. Jeff Madsen was the lead pro with Layne Flack his right hand man. I mean this in a good way... it felt like the seminars were led by a rapper and a rock star. Madsen's grip on the microphone looked like he was about to segue into a Beastie Boys's lyrics at any moment, and Flack, he's just an affable and gregarious presence. As some one in the class said he could have easily been a stand up comedian. I got more a lead guitarist type vibe.
Either way both presenting players had the presence to hold the attention of everybody in attendance, and both were able to impart a lot of excellent strategy and poker knowledge. They quickly progressed the class from beginner stuff to thinking at a much higher level.
I was there to assist with the hand labs. I rotated through the class with Layne and Jeff. We'd each have a table and deal out hands. After a hand was completed we'd turn everything face up and analyse what every player did. Over the course of two days, I sat a little awed as the class went from wildly and passively speculatively in their hand ranges, to acting with an informed, ramped up and purposeful aggression. I dealt one table and realized that within 24 hours these players had transformed from rank beginners to being the type of table I wouldn't want to be seated at. They were applying pressure at every opportunity, and nobody was getting a pass.
Not only were the going as far to multi-level each other, but they were practicing what Jeff and Layne preached at every chance. Stack size, position, image, and other table dynamics were factored into every decision and even when I quibbled with a play they had strong arguments for making it. I also loved it when a player late in the last session caught something I missed and created a teaching opportunity for a classmate. I really enjoyed discussing the hands with them and I hope I was able to impart some tips to win them some more money in the long run. I suspect we'll hear from a few of them in the very near future.
The Academy, run deftly and smoothly by Ace McFarland, was first class in every way. He saw to it that catered New Orleans specific food greeted the players on the breaks with a buffet for lunches. He also provided a private tournament with significant prizes on Saturday night, swag bags, and all the little extras to make the student's experience that much better.
From a strategy perspective, I found myself in agreement with almost everything that was taught. A couple of times Layne solicited my opinion during the class and outside of it, and I appreciated the invitation. Once when discussing how we'd play KQ under the gun with a set amount of bigs in a tournament (think it was ~15 to 20) he said he'd shove it close to 100 per cent of them time. Then he asked what I'd do. I didn't want to contradict any of the lead pros, and my logic might be wrong on my line of thinking, so I simply said I'd always play it.
I should have continued with my thought. (***My strategy thought below)
My rationale and logic may be flawed in this situation, and if I were having a debate about poker with Layne considering his results vs. mine I'd win a lot more money siding with him than me. Still, I regret missing the opportunity to not discuss this with him in more detail though. Just the conversation probably would have benefited the class (and me).
In retrospect, I should have picked those spots more, as the class was best when Jeff and Layne were playfully debating with one another. It fleshed out different ways to look at poker and showed sometimes there is more than one right answer. An imperative I tried to stress during the labs, was the thought process is more important for the students to learn than the short situational answers.
I hope in the labs that I was able to stimulate that line of thinking. Of course, in the hands the results sometimes undermined the lessons when the hands played out, as the bad play would be rewarded and I'd be suggesting the right play which in that specific spot would cost the player chips. Results oriented thinking is hard for any of us to overcome, but everybody seemed to understand when I'd make that distinction.
Another small point, discussed in the class was M and BBs regarding when it was time to shove. I agreed with everything Layne and Jeff said. Though, I think they missed an important consideration, that most books miss and one that I think serves me well in these circuit events and could help the students that I tried to stress during the labs. Yes, there are rules and guidelines about fold equity and the need to accumulate chips but sometimes the scale slides.
Sometimes, you are at a table with people who have no idea about pot odds and having to call with any two. You can tweak the dynamics and allow yourself to steal in those situations and survive a little longer, until you can find a hand worth doubling. You might also scare them off when you have a hand that you want to get all the chips in the middle, so sometimes you need to finesse your big holdings. Sometimes the opposite is true and they'll be calling off for high percentages of their stacks with hands you think they should fold, so you have to adjust the other way. In the second situation obviously, you can shove bigger hands for value more readily than the first.
I get annoyed when a player will say something like "How can he call there?" when we've both watching that same guy make those bad plays all day. You have to expect it. I think this is a mistakes new players and even experienced ones make too often. They know their hand has fold equity and when the guy doesn't fold when he should they get irate. Yet, the evidence or information at the table was the bet size wasn't fold equity for that guy. A subtle point, but maybe one I should have brought.
Anyway, I'm really enjoyed the chance to work the event and really liked all of the students. They were eager to learn, open to instruction and correction, and all improved. I expect to see many of them on the local circuit soon... and winning. Ace and his chief of staff, who handled all the logistics, ran a first class operation, They selected two great instructors and I recommend it to anybody who's thinking about getting lessons in the near future. I know they got one coming up in Chicago with Kenna James that should be well worth the trip.
*** I feel like for my level of buy-in and tournaments, and the level many of the Academy's players will first enter, KQ is played better by simply raising UTG. Certain "too tight" players come over the top and I can fold. Their ranges include hands that mostly dominate me and only a couple of hands I'm in a coin flip with that I lose value by folding. For example, they'll three bet with AK, AQ, AA, KK, QQ (all crushing me), and JJ, 1010, maybe 99. Arguably some of the tighter players will just call with the coin flip hands (but on the other side might fold them to a shove too). So, raising allows me to get away from being in bad against some very specific opponents and hands.
Also, I feel shoving, shuts the door on a ton of hands I crush like KJ, QJ, K10, Q10, Q9 that might call from late position and then double me if they hit top pair. Then there are other small pairs that will call the raise I'm flipping with that I, can play fairly well against, even out of position, post flop.
Other opponents have much wider ranges. If they 3bet without putting me all in, probably I shove then. If they put me in, I call off. With them yeah, when they have a big hand I get it in bad, but same thing happens if I shoved from the start. Also, the door is open for them to try to steal with some pretty crappy hands like loose players are apt to do against a player like me (who usually maintains a fairly tight image) including a lot of suited kings.
Table dynamics and situation in the tournament come into play obviously. Some tables I want to try and double and have some bullets to play with and will take the risk of shoving right from the start. Other tables, I might want to make as few shoves OOP as possible because I feel, even shortish, I can accumulate chips without hands.
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Date: Fri, Sep 6, 2013
Just read through the title before I started typing and it seems like I ended it with I pee bad news. Maybe if I had some snow, I could test that out. Yes, I'm juvenile.
First things first, I'll be working the WSOP Academy at Harrahs this weekend as the local "pro." Inexplicably, Harrahs will also be hosting a WSOP Main Event satellite (during this event) on Saturday. Huh? It would be one thing if they started it after the Academy, they could have brought in the out of towners that are coming to the Academy and want to test their games and some of the local players. Doing it concurrently just makes no sense. Besides the fact nobody knew about his until Wednesday.
I would love it if Harrahs New Orleans would just give GCP a call. I'd be happy to help them massively improve their bottom line when it comes to poker. So many little things they could do, cost efficient things, that could put them where they belong on the Gulf Coast. Instead it feels like with poker they are just throwing darts haphazardly without a target and they never tell any of their customers anything.
Also, going on a short drive away is the WSOP-C event at the IP. Why have a Main Event Satellite on a weekend everybody that would play it is at another WSOP event just down the road. I had been hoping to find a sub for me to work the academy so I could play flight A (of three flights) on friday and if I made it to day two be free to travel to Biloxi on Sunday for day two. It didn't quite work out, as most of the local pros are focused on the IP or the Saints opening game.
I'm excited about the Academy though. Anytime you hear different viewpoints on playing poker I think you improve. At a minimum the insight allows you to adjust against other players and at it's best allows you to rework your game. Layne Flack and Jeff Madsen will be the head guys there with 9 bracelets between them, so they know how to finish and how to get to the end. Also, they should be entertaining.
Anybody want to attend they have a couple of spots open with a locals discount. Hit me at wild bill AT gulfcoastpoker.net for details.
SECOND IN PRELIM AT THE BEAU
Man I wanted first place pretty bad. However, the kid, Jonathan Hart from Jackson, MS that beat me heads up played great all day and deserved it.
I enjoyed the write up by Aaron Hendrix. It's also insightful to see how other people perceive what you are doing. On the final hand, he mentioned I cut my chips indicating I was strong enough to raise but just limped. I didn't realize I was giving off that vibe. In truth, I had just lost a big pot to Jonathan and wanted to see where I stood with my stack and how to go forward. I was counting it and thinking.
I came to the conclusion that if I raised, and he reraised me, potentially I couldn't shove and get him off any hands. He's probably committed once he reraised. My hand was strong enough that I was fine getting it in, BUT I thought there were some other ways I could win the hand. For example, if I limped and he raised I could shove and he could fold a lot of hands without it getting to show down. I was also fine if he checked behind with AJ in my hand in position. I was risking losing some value with that hand but I think limping allowed me more ways to win.
There was some meta game play too. I had limped the button a few times and I thought Jonathan was going to be ready to fire one of his biggish raises to steal pretty soon, so I might be able to get a big chunk of chips without showdown.
Turns out he had pocket queens and wasn't going anywhere. What's elucidating is that if by cutting my chips like that he also got the read I was strong I was really trapped. Kind of a cooler hand because with my stack size at that point I'm happy to get it in with AJ though of course I'd rather a pot with some raises in it, without cards on the table.
Hendrix also referenced an Ace high call I made and said I put my chips in based on the size of the pot at the river. Not really true. I made the comment when my opponent went all in that I should have beat him into the pot based on this. However, those spots are tricky, can you really bluff there when you know almost every hand has to call you. You can't. So, shipping it there looks like I misread him earlier in the hand, since I have to call just about anything silly to ship if you missed. The river also put a third club on board. Odd, that I'd say this with Ace high, but I was contemplating making a hero fold with it. My gut told me he had KQ (two overs and open ended draw) and that Ace high was good, and the club falling might have been enough for him to think he could steal the pot. After a good while, I picked up some confirming physical information and I called. If he reveal a little bit I might have made the bad fold.
Earlier I called with King high which I thought was a better played hand. I don't remember it now but it was basically based on read too.
I played a satellite and got knocked out AA v. QQ with eight left playing for three seats. Think I would have won the seat had he not spiked the queen on the river. I run so BAD with Aces in critical hands.
In that satellite I made a call with Q high. Pretty standard I think. SB completed I had Qrag o/s and checked. Flop came AKx. Check, check. Turn x. Check, Check. River x. He bet a smallish bet into me.
This hand I think we are both confident neither has an Ace or a King. I think if he made a small pair he's got showdown value and would rather check call or check check. Betting on the river is likely only a steal. I have the nut no hand with Q. The way the hand played out he either had some giant monster or nothing and nothing was far more likely. So I called. I was short stacked at the time so it wasn't easy but the extra chips allowed me to be in contention later.
Played on Wednesday and played fairly badly. I made two calls for 1600 each early on which I could never win on, and on one at BEST I was chopping but unlikely even that. I had AJ on a AKJ flop. Turn another King. River a Queen. There are zero hands I beat and at best I chop with A9 which she never has--so fold, 100% of the time. On the turn I knew I was beat and you could argue if I had listened to my gut I could have found a fold on the turn.
The other one, a different lady my friend Ms. Joan, rivered broadway and led into me. It was disguised and despite my two pair in a vaccuum I think more reasons to fold then to call. Not quite as bad but the real mistake was not pounding her weakish looking flop bet and dragging the pot then. Thought she might make another weak bet on the turn and I could get more value but she didn't.
So... that was officially the point that I turned the corner from making smart calls to being a bit of a station. There is an ebb and flow I go through where I lock in and play really good poker and then when I over think things. Think I mentioned it in my last post. It's something I have to be on guard for especially with the IP on the horizon. Need to get back to that groove and just lock in. Made a bad call when the board got ugly on my hand in the satellite early too, so the the indicators were there that things were shifting.
IP Bad News
Planned a big trip with all my college friends recently. Of course it would be during the Main Event of the IP. After they moved it up last year I thought this September date would be a good one. My wife is also due at the beginning of October so was looking to slip one last trip in before a few months of sleepness nights.
Now, I can't go after the satellites or the Main Event. I've had a lot of success there so I'm mad I won't be back. Still, feel like I have unfinished business from last year when my Aces were cracked by tens (did I mention I run so bad with Aces in critical hands) who went runner runner for straight after we got it all in preflop with other action in the hand. That pot would have carried me into the money I think and allowed me to contend for more. Also, if there is a tournament I want to win it's the WSOP-C IP Main Event. Second as I mentioned is a bitter pill. Maybe next year.
Anyway, I'll see people for the noon event Friday.
**Let me bitch about Aces some more. I finished second but during that tournament the one walk I got in the big blind in that tournament I had Aces. One guy who limped called anything on every hand but one, didn't do it on when he limped and I had Aces, he somehow folds. Even when I win with them I win nothing. I don't even bother telling my wife now, as she's long advocated I just fold them (which is ridiculous results oriented thinking BUT I would have survived at least a hand or two longer in a ton of tournaments I've played with real money on the line).
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Date: Mon, Aug 12, 2013
First off, congrats to Jeremy Gaubert for his second title at the WPO. Lots of respect for the Chemist who was overdue for another first place finish. 122k is a nice payday.
Alright, what's been going on. Went on a family vacation to Pensacola Beach. I had every intention of playing at the Pensacola Racetrack and never made it over. Maybe next time. Thanks to Michael Kmetz who offered to show me around.
That being said, the trip was one bad experience after every good one.
For example, we had some of our best beach/pool days in years.
Then at around five or so, the bad would start to happen. On one day we watched helplessly as our three year broke our fairly new tablet after about 5 minutes of use. Tile floors are not forgiving. Minus a few hundred dollars there. The next day, one bite into steak dinner (the highlight meal of the trip) the fire alarm went off and we had to descend 12 flights of steps. With six kids under 8, my mother who has to wear leg braces and is officially "handicapped," and a crowded stairwell of retirees it wasn't easy. I hefted our oldest the entire trek (which might have had something to do with the titel). Wasn't easy. Thankfully, the fire was small and contained in somebody's kitchen.
That wasn't all bad, as we caught the tail end of a dance party at the resort pool (...no we didn't dance but the kids did) and then got a fireworks show we had no idea they were shooting off. We returned to our dinner about an hour later. Lots of fun to fill a 20+ floor building at 10 o'clock pm with a lot of tired cranky people. We waited patiently in the line that formed on the ground floor for the elevators. Within minutes the impatient folks that are too good to wait in lines took the obvious angle and cut them by going up a few flights of steps. I love "angle" shooters especially the hordes of them who caught the down elevators, only to arrive at the ground floor in an already full car. Obviously none would get out as they were just cutting the line for the up trip. Well, I got a good look at a lot of them, but unfortunately never had the moment to pee next to them in the pool (not that I would ever do that but... hey, the idea hit jumped into my mind).
On another day, we took some professional family pictures with my Grandmother who has just turned 96. Light was good, kids were well behaved, and I suspect we got some great shots. All in all a great afternoon. With two new babies and a new in law since we last did this two years ago (and another baby in my wife's belly making a cameo pre-appearence) the photos had some new faces and some rapidly changing faces. Then we discover my Grandmother immediately after is feeling ill and has had another blast of the extremely painful shingles. Oh.... so much for spending time with her the rest of the week.
One day we went to the Air and Space museum and my son loved it. He wants an Air Craft carrier for his birthday. Told him it was a little out of our price range. When we factored in the broken tablet we were going to have to replace it was going to keep us just under the 100 Billion dollar budget for this years birthday--so no aircraft carrier for him. Spent much of the afternoon pressing him skyward to look at jets I suspect and that our stairwell evacuation this would influence another bad happenstance later.
That night I spoke with the insurance company who tells us the police did not report a name, or insurance company of the driver that hit my wife's car. Uhhh... New Orleans PD what a city I live in. Obviously, my wife was hit by a friend or family of an officer and they "lost" the information. You'll remember this is the guy that jumped out of his truck brandishing a crowbar and speaking aggressively to her after rear-ending our car. She retreated to her car and didn't exchange information, fearing for the safety of our unborn child and of herself when he implied she somehow wanted to be hit.
The cop who I'll likely out by name and badge number in another blog told her the stories conflicted and he couldn't assign fault (yeah, this type of accident when rear-ended like that the ticket writes itself buddy). He hurried her away, before she realized they hadn't exchanged information. At a later date he assures me on the phone the police report will have all the other guys info... but he can't legally give it to me on the phone... but of course the report says nothing. It's also bullshit that he "lost" it, because after I pestered the records department for months for a report that was supposed to be up in ten days and no later than 30, he called my wife's number. Yes, the only way he'd have my wife's number is if he had the piece of paper from the accident report with the other guy's information too. I had been calling from my phone and leaving my number. So, I'm going to lawyer up I guess.
That was one nightmare after another, with my insurance company being quite the dicks themselves. As it stands now, they gave me the bad news that we are out the 1k deductible and the insurance company has given up on pursuing it, but I was free to do so on my own and if I found anything they'd pursue it for me. Thanks State Farm. You're the BEST! Yeah, this isn't a blog but a complain fest, I know. Anyway, so -1k on that night.
Next night, another good beach day but I'm stricken with a hernia.
Off to the emergency room, worried it's another kidney stone. I tell the nurse the pain and she tells me it's a kidney stone. I tell her I've had one and I hope it is, and she looks at me like I'm crazy. "Anybody that has ever had a kidney stone would never wish for one." She gives me the squinty eyes like I'm some sort of drug seeker, and I'm faking. I try to explain that if the stone was already down to where the pain was, it had to be small and I'd take that over hernia surgery. Especially since I didn't have to deal with the 8 hours of stomach and back pain that preceded my previous stone until it got to my groin. I could tell she thought that story suspicious and she managed to give me Renee Zwelleger eyes for the rest of the pre-checkup.
Why would she think I was a drug seeker? Maybe because of the two in the waiting room. One lady humming in pain and rubbing her hands together for an hour in a wheel chair complaining about the wait. I didn't know if she was having a kidney stone or a baby, but I sure felt sorry for her. Then she decided she's waited too long and she stands up out of the wheel chair seemingly cured and walks out with her husband. Guess the withdrawal pains had subsided or she figured out the staff was on to her and she'd have to go elsewhere.
Another lady stepped in to take her place, like they were on a relay team of benzo seekers. While the other lady groaned this one would huff and puff until someone, anybody would talk to her. Miraculously her huffing and puffing pain went away only to be replaced by a stream of chatter that never stopped. Because she spoke at the roar of an airplane engine, I learned some stories about her "life." She was dead for nine minutes on a table earlier in the week and she also started the special olympics in Italy where she had to get the Pope to sign off on that. Him and a lot of Mayors. But Italy is eternally in gratitude for her service. Also, her son is a golf prodigy and the very first time he played, the Pros that were at the course for a PGA Tour event saw him and told her that he could be the next great one. He's only played a couple of times since and already has shot under par. Yes, the holes in those tales are so obvious we could drive a Mac truck through them, but I didn't want to engage her at all.
Humorously, one old lady, cornered, tried the "I'm deaf" routine to keep the drug seeker psychotic from shouting any more outlandish fabrications to her. The lady pointed to her ears, her daughter caught on and explained to the drug seeker that her poor mother was essentially deaf. To my mild amusement the drug seeker didn't stop talking she just moved one seat closer and then yelled at the side of the poor woman's skull. Thankfully, I got the call to the back, hearing the last of her globetrotting gallivanting tales that seemed not mesh with her trailer park attire. She wore two large, seemingly meaningless braces on her forearms, that hung so loosely they had to be merely decorative, and as I walked away, I wondered if I landed in the twilight zone.
Once out of earshot, by way of two doors and several feet of concrete, I prepared to wait again. To my surprise, within seconds, a Doctor (or a P.A.) walked in closing the door and curtain asking "Where does it hurt?", and I awkwardly drop trough in the cold waiting room, I think maybe shocking him with my immediate nudity. I pointed to the spots of pain. I was trying to rip the band-aid of awkwardness off as quickly as possible and I don't think he was quite ready for it, so in effect I made it 100 times more awkward. That being said the dude immediately felt the inguinal hernia after doing the cough test.
He said to pee in a cup and that someone will pick it up, the lab would have a quick turnaround and then I'll be out in 20 minutes. I do, and nobody picked up the cup as twenty minutes pass. I curse myself for not knowing better than to believe him. Maybe it was that tender moment of awkwardness that earned him my trust. I look out into the main room and see the nurses huddled around the middle station. Eavesdropping I hear them talking about the crazy woman in the waiting room who apparently comes there every week. Failing to make eye contact with anybody before they disperse I shuffle back into the room and just stare at my lonely cup of pee.
Ten minutes more pass, a girl in scrubs walks in, eyeballs me up and down, and takes the cup away. She didn't speak. She returns a couple of minutes later, and suspiciously re-closes the door and curtain. She walks right up to me and says, "So, where does it hurt?" Weird. I immediately thought of that Saturday Night Live skit where a series of people walk into a guy's room cup his boys and ask him to turn his head and cough again. None of them actually are doctors or work there. I stand up.
Wait... I already showed the doctor my junk. Did I really need a nurse's second opinion? I decided there was going to be no free show for this woman and I definitely got creeped out by the way things unfolded. I pointed to my groin and said, "There." Like a salesman who has just offered a price in a negotiation knowing that whoever talked first loses, we commenced a staring contest. She didn't say anything but just waited. I didn't move. She didn't blink... at this point I would have started telling a psychiatrist every dark secret... the silence was heavy... we wait some more... I wanted to pull my trousers down(?)... I stayed strong and didn't. After even more very prolonged uncomfortable silence, she finally showed defeat and she said, "Okay, my name is... let me know if you need anything."
Then the stare shifted in tone. She gave me those certain type of eyes, girls give to guys that imply a lot, and I got a even skeevier feeling that now she was flirting with me. WTF? Even if I wasn't married, I think the last thing I'd want to do in an emergency room with a hernia is flirt with a woman.
She left, and two minutes later a guy came in asking where my pee cup was. Uh, double WTF?
"Somebody... took it?" He looked confused and walked out. Triple WTF!
Before my mind could race to too many conclusions, the doctor walked in, told me that there was no blood in the urine and prescribed me a mild pain reliever. He said that I could make it home and I might need surgery when I got back to New Orleans and sent me on my way. So apparently the lab got my cup and the woman actually worked there.
I tried to figure out what went down. Either the nurse was a pervert, or the first guy talked about how I showed my junk within 15 seconds and she wanted to see if I was some sort of flasher for laughs, or she was just spell bound by my declining middle aged beauty and wanted me to "show my world to her", or some combination of all those.
If she was a pervert, I gotta admire her tactics. She basically set up the whole exchange to give herself an out. She never told me to drop my drawers but she did give me the privacy to do so, by reclosing the door and curtain, and patiently waiting. It was implied I was going to get naked. Then, she'd always have an alibi that the patient just showed his junk on his own. So if, you hear of any female nurses getting a little to handsy with patients in the Pensacola area in the future that's probably me girl.
I return to finish out my week essentially on bed rest and downing advil and vicodine.
Literally, probably the best AND worst beach trip with my family in years. Least I had some highs for the all the lows.
Poker wise, I'm continuing to run good. Cash continues to be profitable. Here's how good I'm running. In a hand I played badly recently, the guy next to my limps, I raise in late position with Queen 9 suited. I get raised from the button who is called by the limper. I call. Flop was 1078 with one of my suit and two of another. Check to me, I lead out hoping to pick up a flush card, or hit my straight or my over, or just take down the pot there. Both call. Turn is another 10. We all check. River puts out an 8. Checked to me. I look at my shortish stack and think I can take it down with a shove. Neither player protected their 10 on the turn or flops so it was hard to give them a big hand unless they had 108 or 88. J9 was vulnerable so I think they would have played their straights more aggressively.
The p/f raiser might have an overpair but I thought I had enough chips to force him to fold as much as jacks or especially with the other guy in the hand squeezing him. I never like the tactic "the only way I could win the hand was to bet" in spots where it's better to recognize there is no way to win the hand, but I thought I could get A high, K high, underpairs and a lot of hands to fold. Maybe Jacks. Far less likely Queens but possible I guess. My image of tight I think allows me to bluff in that spot. Course the raiser just sat down so had no image of me and the other guy it turns out was terrible and didn't have an image of anybody. So probably the wrong time for the play.
So, I shove. Hey, I said I played it bad. The first guy pauses for a little bit and then the other dude out of turn makes the call. Ugh. We tell him it's not his turn, but this can't be good. Hate bluffing off my chips. How badly did I misread things I wonder. I'm pondering if I rebuy or if I go. The pauser finally folds and the caller calls again. I prepare to muck and the caller turns over pocket fives. Yes.... lol... playing the board. I turn over my queen nine and motion the dealer to see queen high is good, because I feared like everybody else at the table the confidence at which he showed his hand might get her to misread the board and sweep the pot to him. Have no fear she saw it correctly. I'm a little dumbfounded. The first guy says he was considering calling with Ace high. Hard to do with another to act behind I thought, but very lucky the guy shoved out of turn if the dude wasn't lying about calling.
Later, I opened with AK. Kid called. Flop is A high two diamonds. I check (he's aggressive) he bets. I call. Turn is another diamond. He doens't check his hand... hmm and quick bets as soon as I check. I don't want to do my flush draw check but I'm confident I have the King of diamonds. The river is another diamond and before I can double check that I have the nuts, he bets out of turn for most of my stack. Angle shooter.
I don't say anything because in cash games you can bet out of turn and even if the action does not change not be bound by the bet (stupid rule, I know). So, I played along like I checked, just long enough to look down at the King of diamonds and put in an all-in bet that barely doubles what he put in. I'm hoping he'll be shamed into calling. He insta mucks. Lol. Thanks. His bet was substantially bigger than the value bet I would have put on him had he acted in turn. Rare that acting out of turn by my opponents actually helped me, but here were two very clear cases. Turn into a nice little session too.
I've been really trusting my gut in a lot of spots I've previously been reluctant to pull the trigger such as bluffing rivers and calling down with third or fourth or even no pair, and been mostly right. It's a tightrope. Sometimes you do it too much, and you are no longer listening to your gut but just calling off.
To that notion, another fun hand I had was this one. I had 57 of clubs in a raised pot with a lot of callers, I'm in the cut-off. I call. Button calls. Big Blind, a very good aggressive player that is skilled in tournaments by having the guts to take pots with bold bets and prey on any weakness threebets big. Folded to me. I call but don't have a lot of cash game experience with him. Button comes along. The flop comes J53 two clubs. I like my hand.
BB c-bets pretty big. I consider a raise but just call. We are fairly deep. The button folds.
The turn is a Queen. He checks. I consider stealing the pot here but now feel I may have the best hand. Also the chance I could improve with a shared out and take a big pot on the river is there. The river is another Jack. He leads for a sizeable bet that is most of my stack. I stew. I study him and my gut says weak. The only hand I can give him credit for is pocket queens that might check the turn when they improved to a set--though I think he bets them for value and is wary of any draws considering the now big pot. He's also not getting scared by one over card if he had say AJ or J10 on that turn and I think would fire again. He'd also want to protect his hand. AK makes more sense, based on playing with him in tournaments and the bet-sizing and action.
I stuff in my call and he says nice call. He flashes AK and I show 57. He says "You called me with a pair of fives." People murmuring and I get heaps of praise. I can't help but reply to people's praise with some of my thinking on the hand and then instantly hate myself. Then I say, "Maybe I'm just a call station." My opponent said "That's exactly what you are." Lol.
. Alright this is to long, and my hernia is killing me sitting here and typing this.
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Date: Thu, Jul 11, 2013
Going to pour a lot of things into this one.
For the first time in a while I'm not at the WSOP even for a piece of it. It sucks and at the same time I think the year off gives some great perspective. Like many, or dare I say most, I ran terrible at last years WSOP. I won't bore you with the bad beats or cooler but there were plenty. I think my experience leached into my play and outlook on poker for the months that followed in a negative way.
Lets be clear, I didn't go not because I didn't want to and not because I wasn't planning on it. I wanted to go and I thought I was going, but life kind of happened. I'll get to that. It's been nice, well let me clarify, it's been educational to experience it from afar via social media and have a new perspective on the crushing pain some of the players are dealing with. I recently wrote this to a friend:
"Yeah it's just voluntary torture most of the time. Pretty sicko. After last summer I'm glad to have taken this series off.
Twitter and facebook have two incredible emotions during the series.
The beginning of it all these poker heroes have so much optimism and excitement its like a collective euphoria pulsing on social media. By the middle most are lost causes, desolate, depressed, tilted and chasing losses, and there is just a sense of drudgery that fills their posts. They seem to be playing out the string. Flailing in rough waters or quietly sinking, either way most are drowning. We can brag about not being desk jockeys but clocking into the cashier's cage with buy-in money in hand at the Rio is probably worse when the cards have deserted you then sitting in a cubicle between two people you hate. The man pays you at the job, but when poker is off kilter you pay the man. And some days you just know it's coming. It's only a matter of when. Run bad every summer and you'll owe a million or ten in no time. I ran so awful last year that I'm almost glad not to be there. Especially when the tweets started pouring in with stories like your buddies below.
Then just when you start wondering who is going to do something horrible to themselves to alleviate the misery, the Main Event arrives and everybody that has a seat, or especially those that won one, are a bundle of optimism renewed. That same early summer feeling is palpable even hundreds of miles away, only its even more intense. It's like a flash mob gold rush wrapped into one. The energy, that heady euphoric anticipation is back, and just like that even the most crestfallen is swept up into the most wonderful time of the year. Day one of the Main Event is Christmas day for degenerates. A single receipt representing one giant gift wrapped package of hope. The big old summer saver, the poker lottery, nothing better then taking on thousands of players who have zero chance of making the final table, and you have fate in your corner. Or so you think. The crash is faster this time and by day two, day three, its the same old shame and sadness, the big box was empty. What remains is only the thunderous bludgeoning of thousands by bad beats and coolers, pockets emptied, bankrolls broken, and spirits massacred. It's an awful tragic life poker players live.
All that being said I'm literally booking my plane ticket for next year in a matter of minutes."
Turns out I decided to blog first before I book the ticket, but I am going to book it tonight. Yeah, so I wrote that real recently like an hour ago.
Why didn't I go to the WSOP? About two months ago my pregnant wife got hit by a truck on I-10. She and the (future) baby are fine it seems. The truck driver jumped out of the cab with a crow bar to right his bumper and probably to intimidate her (it worked). It was a good prop to have when he accused her of being up to something. I guess he was insinuating by saying "I know what you are up to lady" that a little pregnant girl was pulling out in front of a truck so she could sue him. Yeah, don't think my special education teacher wife is up to that kind of nonsense on an Interstate while pregnant, I don't think she would even want to pull in front of a bumper car much less a death truck.
Anyway, he scared her enough and apparently rolled over the cop so that no ticket was issued. The accident? Despite drifting into her lane and almost spinning her to her death he got no ticket. She's probably only alive because luckily enough his bumper punctured the car and the two vehicles locked together and she didn't do a few 360s during rush hour at 70 mph. How is it a guy rear ends somebody and there is no ticket. Needless to say the police officer has not filed the report as recently as two months later and we still don't have the truck driver's insurance company.
The car was more than damaged enough for it to be over 75% of its blue book value. In Louisiana the insurance company has to total you out when that happens. Doesn't mean they have to tell you in a timelyfashionthey will. So minus a 1k deductible and some money going to the value of the car, I had to buy a new one. Not a good time to go the WSOP when on the market. By the way, State Farm called to tell me twice that they were repairing the car. I toodle about in a rental expecting that. Then I missed a call from the guy in their Totaled division, and despite calling him back never got a message or another call from him. I write it off as a mistake because of the two other State Farm calls telling me everything wascopacetic Two days later Enterprise called to tell me the rental had been pulled because my car was totaled. Uhh, excuse me. When I finally got through to and confronted the schmuck on the phone that couldn't be bothered to call me back or leave a detailed message. He said State Farm policy to notify a customer is simply to have the rental car company notify you. For the record others in State Farm have told me otherwise.
As much as I hated that dispshit, I hate most car salesmen worse. Shopped for a week. Every place I went the pressure was immense. Including Honda of Slidell which is owned by Time Dealer of the Year xxx. Turns out xxx lives in Denver and has never even met the sales manager. I did write a nasty letter of complaint that I'm sending to one of his offices in Denver because the local guy doesn't even have the owners email address and has never even talked to him. Obviously, entering that place was a bit like going to china a few decades back and instead of Mao's mug on banners everywhere there was this disconnected Coloradian's smug Dealer of the Year face looking benevolently down on us unwashed masses about to be baited and switched. Yeah. Probably had the worst experience there. The cherry on top was highlighted by when the sales manager called to try assuage me and said something to the effect of because your experience was so bad I'll offer you X on the car. That's so sweet, you must really care. But nice job reading the file, because yeah, that's was a worse deal then the one I walked away from. Don't think so chump.
Luckily enough my friend was selling a car for a reasonable price. Didn't even negotiate with him. Far better deal than what any dealer was offering. Add in four new tires and we were good to go.
During my blog silence we also went to a hidden beach in Florida with my inlaws. Every year we go there it gets more crowded. Used to be just us on the beach. Little slip of paradise. Four of five years later it appears the secret is out.
Took a day trip to Disney from there (yeah, not on the pan handle) and met up with Brian Heptinstall and his wife. Brian used to be a poker reporter, most commonly seen at the Beau, and one time worked for PokerPages. Now he's a chef at Disney. Life has a lot of strange turns. My kids loved their day there, but I fear the taste didn't slake the thirst for the theme park it only created a bigger thirst.
It was great sharing dinner with Brian and his wife Kristen. Big thanks for the hook up he got us too.
Also hosted my first yard sale with my parents in town. Two highlights: an articulate professorial looking woman stole a book on cannabalism (cost like $1). Maybe she was too embarrassed to buy it? And some of the items my wife said would never sell sold. The giant 1980s Old school big screen TV my friend dropped off at my house that didn't have working sound (he should be a car salesmen... the no sound wasn't in the pitch). Also, you know some big screens you can't look at from too wide an angle or you can't see the picture. Well, with his I couldn't figure out what angle it was exactly that allowed you to see the picture at all. I never found one. I recaptured exactly 10% of my money on that one but I was alerting everybody to its soundlessness and other defects..
I've been running pretty good at poker at Harrahs in the tournaments and the cash games. Tournaments especially, my radar has been sicko at putting people on hands. I got a lot of acclaim at my table for making a call with just pocket deuces on the river. That's nice, but I didn't feel like it was hero call even though it was for half my stack. Just seemed right and I've been listening to my gut and willing to take the punches when I'm wrong.
Right now, it's a good zone to be in. For example, I had King rag against a player. Flop came out and he bet, think there was an ace on the board. I immediately knew he didn't have it. Rather then raise him there. I thought I might call, get a bet on another street and then bluff him off the hand. Turn was a brick and I checked. He checked. Immediately, I thought I don't want to see a king. Sure enough a king hit. I didn't want it because now I couldn't fire him off the hand. So what if I paired my King. I knew the hand was lost because if I bet he was calling. So we checked and he turned over a biggish King which is what I knew he had. Though I lost the hand, and maybe should have fired the river (you could argue the Ace could have scared him enough) or back at him on the flop, I was still happy that I knew where I was at all times.
Chopped a tournament four ways, and overcame this brutal but interesting mishap. My table was playing snug early, and I just kept scooping pots. I'd miss flops or cbet, check raise or raise and my opponents would have to fold. It was fun. I never had anything except the one or two times I was called. I kept chipping up without showdowns. Then this hand happened, blinds are 50-100 and almost the entire table limps, I'm in the small blind. It's early but I've already accumulated a stack of 500 chips, in fact, that stack was taller then my greens. Without looking I pushed two of the onto the felt thinking I was joining the limpfest with the stellar 5 3 offsuit. As soon as I saw what I did I couldn't hide my disappointment.
WTF! What to do. Now I'm hoping they are taking me for an angle shooter who was merely acting like he did it by mistake. Okay, what does an angle shooter look like here. I racked my mind. Panicked I came up blank. I don't know what an angle shooter does there? Oh, he acts really weak when strong. Yeah. I didn't do that. I acted somewhat strong when REALLY weak.
None of the table had the stones to call and basically were conceding the hand to me, and conversing about it when the button jumped in as though the other lawyers had made their case for somebody to call. Oh... nards.
Flop came 223 two diamonds. Uh, don't think it comes too much better for 53 offsuit in this spot. I fire three pinks out and get called. Hmmmm. Time to shut down?
Jack on the turn. I check. He checks.
Ace on the river. Ugh. In my head I'm thinking weak suited ace on the button. I check he bets three pinks. Here I didn't play well. Pot was close to 7500 and it's 1500 to call. I would have still above starting stack... but this guy is never bluffing here. Minimum he has is a weirdly played Jack or a hand like 7s (though I don't see him betting), so in truth the minimum he has is an ace. I call. He has Ax of diamonds and wasn't going anywhere at any point. Somehow I rebound from that fiasco to chop the tournament any way.
Cash I've won two out of three sessions but dusted off some buy-ins in the one loss. I overstayed my time and at a point I felt I had peaked and didn't leave. That sucked because this guy who kept pipping me, and had about 1400 in profits in front of him, would also lament every hand he didn't play and inevitably hit. Yeah, sucks to be you winning every big pot, when you could also be winning every small pot. That actually helped me get out of my seat and go home.
Anyway. That's it for now. Plenty more I wanted to write about and just forgot. I should blog more.
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Date: Fri, May 31, 2013
Seemed like I completely avoided the lunacy of last years World Series, and though I tasted bad beats and coolers this series it was nothing outside the ordinary. The final night though it just seemed destined for things to sting. In the 3 pm tournament after the first break I found myself needing to fold Queens on a 7 high flop. I 3bet and was 4bet pre. I played with this player in a mega earlier in the week (rated him as good), and though I knew he was capable of 4betting a wide range, I thought he wasn't picking a moment to mix it up. Considered folding pre but decided I'd play it like a small pair and try to make a set because we were both deep enough that I had the implied odds. I wiffed he fired again. I told him I laid down a big hand, he showed Aces and couldn't believe we didn't get it in pre when I told him I had queens.
The night before late in the main, when desperate for a hand I found Jacks and was intent on playing them, and opened the betting. A tight player on the button called and November Niner Rob Salaburu in the small blind three bet. Previously, he did that with A9 against my AQ and I took down a medium sized pot. This time just seemed different. Obviously, Salaburu has a wide 3bet range and here were two tightish players it seemed a great spot to squeeze.
My gut told me otherwise. He wasn't being an opportunist. I let Jacks go and as I did a day later to the other player said I was folding a big hand. He flashed Queens. He asked me what I mucked. I smiled fearing he wouldn't believe me and answered honestly. He said, "How can you do that I just showed you A9." I gave him reasoning half of it artificial, mostly the truth that I just didn't feel it(sorry, I'll return to the Main Event in a second but let me wrap-up Sunday first).
So, I had been making good folds the last couple of days
As so often is the case in tournaments, you have to keep making them. One of the struggles with poker, and I don't think I'm alone in this, is eventually you feel like you have to call... even when your gut says otherwise. At some point you question are you being exploited or just running really bad and they always have it. On Sunday, I tweeted that I was struggling with a fold that my head told me to always call. I said I was going to go with it being the right decision (which should always be the case) after I folded. Sure enough, I was fairly new to the that table, and that player who I had accorded young Internet light 3 and 4 bettor, then proceeded to nit it up for the next few levels. I just had the concept in my head, that despite my short stack that was a good fold and to keep listening to my gut. His later play seemed to indicate I made the correct decision.
I look at tens in the big blind. I like 'em. I needed a hand and they looked a good one. A competent player opened with a short stack. Then the guy I folded to 3 bet. My mind immediately said Aces. Ugh. He had Aces.
Later in the evening, I got a taste of what I had been missing this week. Let's call it a dumb dumb sandwich. This hand is pretty gross from two perspectives. Under the gun an older guy with the big stack at the table and in danger of nothing shoves all in. The same guycriticizinganother player for open shoving when he didn't need to (with a far shorter stack). WTF...
I look at Kings. Okay. Not folding them here and if this guy is bad enough to play his aces this way he's going to get paid. And if so, I better hit a set, because the only time he'll get value for his aces are in those rare spots when somebody wakes up with Kings like this one. My image is relatively tight so my shove should have sent alarm bells off through the building.
This guy in the small blind, I guess I'd been picking on, and had kept struggling to find a hand to call me with stews. AK? I sit there for a little bit and kind of like this spot. QQ? JJ? What could he be thinking about. He calls for all his chips (less than mine). Alrighty, what we do we have. The big stack UTG says, "This is the only way I know how to play these" and shows Jacks.
WTF? My kings were already flipped and the small blind shakes his head and turns over A10--somehow surprised he's only got one over. In my head I'm thinking this is one of the better scenarios for you. Easily could have been as bad as 1010 and AA based on the action. I also got that rumble in my stomach that I knew I wasn't long for the tournament. The flop came out clean. An Ace on the turn or river crippled me as I only had ameasly800 more than the small blind. I got it in a couple of hands later and exited the room a couple seconds after that.
Some of you on here play only a little bit of poker, so let me give you some tips from that hand.
JJ open shoving as the big stack is not the way you play jacks. It's probably the worst strategy to employ, and though done out of fear, it actually is worse than any other way of playing Jacks. First off when you have the best hand you likely won't get any action and you lose value when your Jacks hold. Secondly, when you shove, the only hands that can call are better hands. Like my KK. Does it make sense to only put all your chips at risk when you are a huge underdog, or to not play the hand at all as a favorite (because the worst hands all fold). Terrible.
My King King play didn't have an options. Like I said there is only one hand that beats me, and if the guys is going to just open shove aces every time, this will be the one instance he gets max value.
The Ace 10 call, is arguably worse than the Jack Jack shove. In that spot, let's say you are aware the guy's shoving a hand he doesn't like to play. I find this to be most true of Ace Jack, Jack Jack, sometimes Queen Queen and Ten Ten. Ace ten is behind all of those hands. Then you factor in a reshove, I could have AA, KK, AK, QQ, JJ, maybe AQ,1010. So now Ace 10 has even fewer ways to win the hand. Most likely in that spot Ace Ten, will be hoping for two tens to hit the board. This is the kind of garbage I had to deal with in Vegas.
Had the hand been played properly JJ bets, I 3bet and Ace Ten either calls or folds. Jacks either calls or raise (mostly likely calls). Flop comes all rags. A10 checks, JJ probably bets. I raise, A10 folds. JJ calls or goes crazy and we get it in on the flop... or folds. If we don't maybe we both check the Ace on the turn. In position I likely bet the river after he checks and maybe he calls. Ace Ten should be nowhere near that hand at showdown or the turn. Yet, I get the ole idiot sandwich. So sorry, for our last gasp.
Alright, now let's rewind to the Main Event and it went well early.
To start I'm in the blinds, I three bet Tim Burt, and I hit the Q high flop with AQ. I opt to check call Tim Burt on every street. Bastard flopped a set and board was pretty dry, but my spidey sense told me he had a hand. If it wasn't him probably I lose more but now I'm down like 6k.
I recognized a tight player from the East Coast who I listened to an entire dinner break talk about hands in a Nitty fashion to a friend of his at a table next to me, up in AC during a tournament last year. By the way, he's a very good nit, but I was going to be relentless on his blinds as soon as I saw our positions. There were lots of good players in that field, so good or not, I was going to exploit him and be very careful when played back at.
Sure enough unopened to me in the hijack seat I see 3-5 o/s a couple of hands later. It didn't matter what it was I was betting. I bet he called from the bb. He's got something. I flop open ended. He checks I bet. He calls. Turn is a brick he checks I check. River is an ace giving me the wheel. He checks I bet and he just calls. He later told me he had a set. WHAT? Man, should have gotten 10x as many chips maybe even a full double there. Crazy. Instead a micro pot.
Next hand I spy AK suited. I open. Old guy, who would turn out to be my nemesis all day doesn't believe it especially after I just showed 35 and rasies me from the bb. I likey. I call to further hide the strength of my hand. Flop is king high. He bets big into me. This is getting serious. I can feel this pot is going to be huge and I just sat down. Can't fold here so I call. Turn is meaningless and he fires a huge bet.
I realize I call here likely I'm calling the river with just top pair... EARLY in the tournament. I don't like it, but my gut says I have the best hand. River makes things a little easier Ace ball. He essentially puts me all in. Think he left me with 1500 or so from a 20k starting stack. I call. He says one little pair. I flip over AK and I'm ginning. That guy is down to a couple of thousands (don't cry for him as he'd lose maybe one pot (to me) for the next 8 hours... on fire on day one).
I proceed to keep hitting flops and dragging little pots. It's going great early but this kind of run good is far better late when the pots are bigger and the impact more significant. I make a great call with fourth pair against a Internet kid who thought he barrel over the table three and four betting everything. I keep pipping him. Then he completely changed his strategy as far as I was concerned. He stopped three betting me entirely and just called behind. Pretty inventive and I have to say it unsettled me.
He kind of reversed fields. I like for my opponents to think I'm a bit of a station and not know where I am. Make big calls or hide big hands but let them set the price getting tons of a value from their bluffs and losing the minimum when I'm wrong. There is so much bluffing these days I'm finding that to be very effective against all these aggressive kids. As Antonio Esfandiari said in reference to Durrrr once, sometimes you just have to find a hand and just hold on. Usually, after calling them light, and floating a lot, they stop playing pots with me, but this guy kept playing... but played different.
I flopped a bottom set on a 1086 board two clubs. The internet kid had called my pf raise behind me and so had a limper. The pf limper bet, I smoothed called not wanting to get too crazy. I looked at the Internet kid's stack and he had about 8k after the flop. I decided if he outflopped me I was going to be willing to pay him off here. He also did something which made me think he hit the flop good. He raised (that wasn't it, but that told me the same thing too). Limper went away. I decided if he had a big draw like J9 or QJ or two clubs I'd put him to the test. I shove and he instacalled with 97 (ugh). Back into the 20s and there I stayed with my stack fluctuating between 24 and 40 most of the day. I just couldn't sustain momentum one way or the other. I went card dead before the dinner break. Actually was card dead almost the entire day not counting the opening levels but I picked my spots and sustained and grew my stack. Reason why I was so up and down was I didn't ever have it, sometimes I'd get called and sometimes I wouldn't.
Course when I did flop a hand it was always against my nemesis that tried to bluff off his tournament in the opening level. And he always just had me.
He won a couple of pots like that and I found myself short again. Right before dinner. Burt opened from late position. I saw Kings. I knew the big blind, the Internet kid was short, so I just called anticipating a shove. He did shove. Burt folded and I called. He had QJ suited. My Kings held.
I think I made a mistake after dinner when I had AK on a JJxJx board and didn't call my nemesis final barrel. My gut told me he didn't have it. Just so many times you can pay off a guy with second best that I ceded the pot to him on the river. The bet sizing was just like his other hands when he had it. Something was amiss though and it felt more like the early broken bluff then anything else. Only reason I called the flop and turn was I thought I was good. River didn't change anything I guess I just wimped out and thought he take that line with many pocket pairs. I didn't want to fire a raise into him as I thought he was savvy/aggressive or dumb enough to ship on me. Couldn't really figure out his play. Thought he was appropriately aggressive and probably very lucky. He also could have been skilled but considering the volume of big hands he had was really hard to tell.
After dinner despite that hand I went on a little run and chipped up again to a safety zone. Then when things seemed promising I went back to card dead the rest of the night. Little sparkles of interests, like when I had the JJ I folded to Salaburu and that was about it. Steady diet of J3 o/s. Couldn't even time my steals right and then just went into short stack poker. Late at night I was about to hit the blinds and decided I was shoving anything decent utg. I saw a 6 and then another. I don't like shoving little pocket pairs because generally you are never anything but 50/50 in your best case scenarios and many times dominated. Still, I went with my plan, I had found a hand and my image probably only warranted calls from monsters. My nemesis of course woke up to Queens and just like that with a couple of levels to the end of the day I hit the showers.
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Date: Wed, May 29, 2013
Played the five o'clock mega the thursday before the Main Event.. Thought I built a good table image and chipped up pretty quickly. Also, made some thin value bets and got calls. So playing well.
Can't remember precisely where it came undone. Think about two thirds of the field was gone and I made a couple of raises I had to fold to shoves. The last one like that I opened KQ o/s in the hijack seat. Player on the button who didn't show down many hands but I believed to be tight shoved. He was also good enough to steal. But I thought I'd find a better spot. Didn't. Reshoved myself, light with QJ suited, and the initial raiser Mihail, a wide open cash game player, who actually had a hand this time with 99 and I lost the race. He thought about folding because of my image and our history. Good thing is I might get some calls from his weaker hands in the future, bad thing is I was out.
No nightly tournaments and Sit 'N Go land looked a little light. Decided to buy into the 8 pm mega on my own dime. That went better. Well not at first.
On a board of 774 I shoved with 33s against an aggressive player who just won a ring. He called with AQ (there's that hand again) and he said "I didn't put you on the pair." The turn was a safe 7. Actually it wasn't so safe as the river was also a 7 and his ace played and I was crippled. Fun. Made worse was the fact the inexperienced dealer kept trying to chop the pot thinking the board somehow played.
Nursed a short stack, forever, then spied AA in the BB. A player shoved. Deja Vu all over again? I called. He peeled over a Queen and I told myself this isn't real. The other thankfully was another Queen. I know AA v. AQ is way better than AA v. QQ, but if you made it through my Doestevsky-Crime-and-Punishment Update yesterday you'd know I'm snakebit with AA especially against AQ. My hand held which was a welcome and refreshing change. Nice double.
Two hands later I get KK unopened on the button. The SB had been shoving on limps all day, and I didn't think this time would be any different. Limp. His stack practically beats my chips to the pot. Then the big blind gets them in there too. Wow. Triple up (SB had KQ, BB had 1010). From there I bullied to about the stack I'd need to get the seat.
Lost a little focus when we got to three tables and didn't put the brakes on quick enough. Should have been playing more snug with basically one out of two players making the money, and I lost about a third of a big stack opening and folding to shoves or reraises. When we got to two tables and near the bubble, I was counting all that money I put out in raises that I didn't get back and realized I could have folded to a payday. Unfortunately, I ended up with the two biggest stacks in the tournament, pro Joe Tehan, and an older gentleman on my left. They were giving out 14 seats and 15th got $750 in money. We had to lose four more for the seats.
There were enough short stacks that I might not have to double, but when I became second shortest at my table, I looked at Aces under the gun. I put them in. Tehan recognizing my range was probably only two hands insta-folded. The other guy stared at me. Asked how much I had. A player had previously shown down KK at our table. I said, "I tell you what, I don't know what I have in chips, but I know what I have here," pointing to my cards, "and what I have is better than what that guy just had." The player nodded and then called, saying "Well, I'll do you a favor." I said "If you wanted to do me a favor you wouldn't have called."
I flipped AA and he 88. Was I going to get bit by rockets again? Gross. Somebody said to me, "You love that call." I said, "No, I don't want a show down. Why would I want a call?" Blinds and antes would have gotten me to the seat, instead my fate was in the hands of the dealer and not my own.
Flop came three diamonds, obviously I didn't have one. Really? I didn't look at his eights to see if he had one. I have been four and five flushed all week, so I was sure he had it. By the time it was over I made a set but the board made a flush. Thankfully he didn't have an 8 of diamonds and we split a pot.
That was it for the drama. The seats were ours before the blinds got back to me.
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Date: Tue, May 28, 2013
Another Day. Another bubble. This time the stone cold bubble.
The Mega only had 49 entries. They were gong to award 4 players 2k in chips and the 5th player $1800 in cash. This was the type of event that would set up the series nicely for me, and everybody that bought a piece of my package.
Grinded through the field. Entered final table with chip average. Went card dead and took a minor hit when I called two small stacks shove with AK and was up against vs. AJ v. 99. AJ took it all.
At seven handed a player got a one round penalty. Then another player brought up the idea of a save. 6th and 7th would get 400 and everybody else would get 1800. I looked at the table and it was very likely I was one of three short stacks playing for the final spot. I agreed and so did every one else.
Then the following transpired. The guy who brought up the idea shoved. I was in the small blind and looked at qq. I was calling off and then the button a giant stack went over the top all in. What? Classic mega dilemma here. I read the button for an overpair and folded. He had kings and won.
Next hand I'm on the button and the big blind is player on the penalty and the small blind has slightly more than me and is one of the short stacks. I planned on shoving any two if folded to me. There was some commotion with the floor and the table talking and everybody absentminded folded to me. I was about to shove and the small blind just did something that set off my radar. I looked at 64 o/s and decided he looked like he was calling anything. I folded, he showed me pocket kings. After the tournament he told me he was trying to signal me to fold because he had kings (okay??? signal received?)*.
The next hand it's folded to me, with a dead small blind, and I spy AJ in my hand. I shove. The big blind deliberated way too long. Then called with Q4. Queen in the window. They all celebrated jubilantly their $1800. I didn't.
*Incidentally when we were at two tables he shoved pocket threes, another short stack shoved pocket 99s and I called with QQ. Board went four flush and pocket threes took it all. Then he came back to make the money and we didn't.
On the weekend, I fired two bullets in the reentry.
My first table was what I'd expect on a final table. Ashley Butler, who has been on a two year Heater including multiple deep runs at last years world series, the WSOP Europe, and on the circuit, Blake B, a two (or is it three) time WSOP-C ring winner, Lonnie Haywood (a beast in her own right the last couple of years), and Cory Pasano (who destroyed the Million Dollar Heater) were all on my left. The dead money satellite tournament was also represented with three players who have participated over the past ten years.
To make matters worse, a guy who felted the fish at the table was on my direct left with all the chips and then the murderers row. They couldn't break that table quick enough. The good thing is, after losing some with over pairs, I really didn't have any hands to mess around with and I was so tight they were letting me steal to stay afloat. Ashley of course four bet once with 8d6d and snapped off Lonnies kings with a straight flush. That's the way he runs. Later after Lonnie built up a stack again, they got it in with Ashley's AA holding against her QQ. Nonetheless a fun table. I got it in with the best hand a couple of times late and my hands held.
So, I move to another table and chip up a bit. Then I spy pocket 9s under the gun. I have no read on the guy to my left. I bet he calls. One of the blinds call. Flop is 8 high, two spades. I lead for a big, go away bet and am called in both spots. Turn is a brick. I put the rest of my stack in to protect my hand confident I'm ahead. Guy next to me calls. Other guy folds. Caller shows As6s of spades. He hits the spade on the river. Big pot would have put me right in the thick of things, and the table was to my benefit.
I renter and promptly have as many chips in the second level of the second flight as I did the entire first flight. I keep going up and things are ginning. Getting called when I want and getting away with steals.
At one point I was close to 50k. I look up at the screen and that late into flight A which was still going, I was already at chip average for that flight (but in flight b that started five hours later). So, I was crushing it.
Then I look at AA. A guy opens under the gun. I threebet he calls. Flop is 662. No way he has any of that. I bet a biggish chunk hoping to induce him to shove thinking I'm being a chip bully (and allowing him to think he had fold equity). He did shove and I called. He turned over 63. Good bye 15k.
Btw, I later got him back when he had an overpair and I called his 3bet with Ahxh knowing I could take a big pot if I got there. I flopped open ended, turned a flush draw, and got there on the river. He bitched about the hand... I told him we were even. We weren't.
I played til late in the night. They announced three hands left. I had around 40k. There was a weak player in the BB who's blind I had been stealing all day with an UTG bet. I look at Kings and like my chances of him finally playing back at me. I raise. It's folded to the button who was the villain from earlier. He 3bet. I hate the fact, I'm about to put all my chips at risk three hands from the restart, but I'm never folding kings to him in that spot, and I do what I'm supposed to do and shoved. As soon as he didn't insta-call I wanted him to call. Eventually he called with AK (btw, it's gross how many competent players completely overplay AK imo), he played enough with me to know I rarely if ever 4bet light. We win the sweat and come back with 83.4k.
On interesting hand that happened earlier in the night, I wanted to share: I had a guy who was fairly decent but still kind of new to poker limp for the first time in five hours in early position with a lot of active players after him. I look at A9 on the button. I know he's limping AA or KK here. A9 is not a great hand vs. either but I had position and it was only a limp. I hoped to thump the flop. The BB checked and I thumped the flop. 99x. BB checked, limper bet. I called. Turn was an ace. He bet I called. The river was a brick. He bet and I stewed.
Despite my full house I found the turn to be a terrible call. Even if he doesn't give me credit for a 9, now if he has KK he can be afraid of the A and fold to my raise. If he has AA, I'm crushed. AA is so unlikely (he has to have the case two aces while there are six ways he could have KK), I decide I need to make a thin value bet and KK might call. I decide to min raise. He calls and doesn't show and compliments me on the hand. Then the table started discussing the hand and saying that I loved the A on the turn.
Actually, I hated it. I didn't want to see an A or K. I also told them, that had my opponent shoved the river I would have folded. Nobody believed me, but that was literally my plan. The min-raise allowed me to bet for value six out of the seven hands I was against and probably was the most he'd call. It also left me with enough chips to fold had he shoved. The min-raise in that spot is incredibly strong. In fact, him facing a min-raise on that board he has to give me credit for a monster. To shove over the top could only be the nuts or second nuts (which I had).
I was happy with the way I played that hand even if the other players didn't really understand it.
My table draw, again was terrible to start the day. All youngsters that have a lot of results and no weak spots. Again, I was somewhat fortunate to not have many playable hands, and had the good timing to steal in position and maintain with air.
81 would make the money. They broke my table, and my new one got worse. All the good players came with me and the guys waiting for us were machines too. I looked at the rest of the field and I literally would have been happy being on any other table. There was one bad table and I was on it. We made the money in a drama free bubble.
Finally, they moved me to a new table. In the BB early, UTG raises. He's a local player, who's good and aggressive, but a step below the rest of the field, I see Aces. I have about 75k ish at this point. I threebet large ~25kish, again trying to look like a steal and giving him the illusion he could 4bet shove and have fold equity. He called. Flop came 10 high. I shoved. He stewed, okay he didn't flop a set, I want the call. I do some of the things I do physically to try and induce a call and he says "I guess this is a donkey call, but I call." He's got AQ for two overs. Runner, runner, board shows a ten high straight and we chop.
Then they moved some of the young studs over including Aaron Massey and some others. Can't tell you how many times before the action got to me it was bet and raised and I looked at garbage. I went epically card dead. Finally, for fear of blinding out I shove a small pair and got called by AsQs. He hit his ace, then had a flush on the turn. We finished 43rd for $864.
By the way, as good as those players were I saw them routinely make the same mistakes. If a guy had big stacks of little chips, they never asked for counts and sometimes a player would shove, not even doubling the bet and these guys would fold because I guess they couldn't count chips. Yet, if you had a meager stack of big chips they'd call. I didn't think really good players would make this mistake but I saw it at least three or four times. Which is weird cause I tend to err the other way and not see big chips and call off too much.
I regged quickly for the next $365 and immediately regretted it. My card dead run continued, and though I'm really patient, it was annoying. I look at Aces (anybody notice a theme here) with about 8k. My week feels like it's been all 37 o/s and occasional Aces or Kings. Little in between. It's strange. I bet and get called twice. Board is 10 high, two diamonds. Mike Horchoff a good player was on the button. I bet he called. Turn was a diamond. Mike is very aggressive and pounces on perceived weakness, I decided to cede the aggression to him on the hand with the intention of check calling twice, and hopefully inducing a big river bluff. That was the plan at least. The board was getting scary but Mike's range is so wide I don't think I can or should fold aces to him all things being equal. He bets a biggish amount behind me. Call, so far so good.
River is a card which puts a straight out there two ways if he's playing suited connectors. It also increases the chances his pair just became two pair. So I don't like it but I'm still prepared to call off. I check and he throws in big chips (way more then he needed to) but more than the ~5k I have him in my stack. I remember him doing this a year ago in a tournament we played but it was against another player. Usually, that's a bet of intimidation and you should call because the player is trying to look strong (though that's not 100% as Mike Caro's tell book and others will suggest people only put big chips out when they think they'll get them back).
I find with aggressive young players it's often a strong is really weak tell. Mike H, as I stated is a good player, so I knew he was also capable of going one level beyond that and trying to induce a call with a monster. I couldn't remember the outcome of the hand or if it went to showdown from a year prior. So I stewed and talked myself out of it and went against my plan. A day later mike told me had 64 of hearts and thought he could only win the hand by barreling off. Ugh. Mike would later make the final table against my friend Prissy.
Now, I was stewing because I wanted to call and folded. The frustration mounted from the tournament before. I saw a bet and a call and I looked at AJ. I shoved. The bettor folded and the caller, who barely played a pot all day, looked me over and eventually called with Jacks. Clearly, not a spot I'd normally shove and considering how few hands the caller played maybe not the best squeeze spot.
I decided I played so bad in that $365 that I would add another one to the package schedule and play Wednesday (as originally scheduled) for full percentage, even though I'd buy it on my dime.
Wednesday, I fluctuated between 8k and 15k. Again, a bad table draw. Most of the players looked like they couldn't drive six years ago, and all were talking about their online screen names, and winning heaps on the Internet. I don't mind them, because like I planned against Mike (though I wimped out in that instant), I know how to extract value and I can chip up. I'd just prefer some weak spots at the table, and I didn't really see any. I like to make fishy bets against these guys and induce aggression. For example, against one kid, Pedro Rios I think is his named, I raised from early position with AK. I hit the King and checked to him 100% sure he'd bet. He did. I called.
The turn was like a 3 making a rainbow board. I quick fired a bet which, makes no sense whatsoever. Confused, he thought through the hand, and did what they tend to do when somebody acts fishy to them, just up the aggression. He raised me big. I called. He didn't like it all. I didn't think he could call a river bet so I opted to check and see if he put another barrel to the hand. He didn't. and I scooped, and he shook his head wondering what I was thinking when I showed AK.
Okay, that was a good hand. Here's the bad. At the end, the button who was sitting on about 25 big blinds, I thought less because I missed his grey chip shipped it in an unopened pot. I looked at AA. Um, yeah, I'm all in.
He turned over AQ of hearts (noticing a theme here, yet?). After he flopped a King of hearts and Jack of hearts he caught up quick. Turn gave me hope, but the river was the flush. I sat at the table thinking I had him covered and noticed everybody staring at me, what am I missing. Oh that grey chip of his. Yeah, I'll sheepishly exit now.
Later that night I won a sit 'n go (that was chopped). I also played the nightly turbo and my JJ found somebody's QQ, for no cash.
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