Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A few random things

A couple small things I thought I'd make a post about. First, Mike's friend Will (yet another UW student owning at poker) won the Pokerstars tournament leader board last week. His picture is there when you load up the client and is basically the awesomest TLB winner picture ever (yes, that's actually him). In other news, Harrah's has announced a new WSOP - Europe in September of this year. The main event, a $10K Euro buy-in, is scheduled to begin on Sept. 10. Guess who turns 18 on Sept. 11? At like 2:00am too. If only he wasn't such a procrastinator. Seriously, I will never grow tired of needling him about this, it's so good. Finally, for season 3 of High Stakes Poker, the 2+2 community pledged to all chip in and donate at least $10K to Barry Greenstein's favourite charity if he said "lol donkaments" during one of the shows. That part of the show came up last night (and was pretty sweet), so the pledge drive has begun in this thread. I pitched in $250 to the cause, it doesn't look like there will be any trouble recahing the goal. Barry's post in the thread was pretty cool:

"Hi friends in BBV,One of the producers of HSP suggested that I post in the forums to get people to donate ahead of time or they might not include lol donkaments in the show. I told them, "The word of a gambler is good, and many of them said they would make a small donation, if they weren't broke at the time."Of course, if I were dealing with politicians or some other groups, I would want a contract, witnesses, and video.Thanks for proving me right, and I'm glad everyone has had fun with this. Please don't send me any money on Pokerstars or anywhere else. This isn't my charity. It's just the main one I support and trust. Barry"

Edit: Link to a news story.


Monday, February 26, 2007

I run really, really, good.

The first two months of 2007 have been incredible. Despite cutting back my hours playing (still not enough, I will really not be able to play much at all until the of April) I am on by the biggest rush of my poker career. In the past, whenever I moved up in limits I tended to get greeted by big losing streaks. Lately, every shot I've taken has been hugely successful. I've been killing the 25/50 games I'm shortstacking, I've had some tournament scores, and this week, filled with confidence, I decided to move up and take a shot at 10/20 NL with a full stack. Other than losing the biggest pot of my life today I've run insanely good and am up a substantial amount. Obviously this can't last but I think that as long as I exercise good game selection I'll be a winner in these games. I've even sat at 25/50 NL with a full stack a couple times when I noticed there was a really big fish in the game while shortstacking (though I had people take half my action). I showed my tournament player skills by getting all-in preflop and winning a $9000 coinflip.

What makes this even more ridiculous is that I've been close to some huge tournament scores the last two weekends but fell short. If I'd been able to close one of those... wow, isn't online poker supposed to be dying? I had probably my best Sunday ever today in terms of tournaments despite my inability to finish. First, I finished 3rd in the $200 on Paradise for $3K (the same as I did 2 weeks ago). I had a big stack in the 2:00 100r on Stars also but lost a big pot to ocrowe where I got caught making a move with a flush and gutshot straight draw on the turn, and then lost all-in preflop with K7 vs K5 for the chips I had left to finish 14th, instead of doubling back into contention.

I then had a huge stack in the $215 Mulligan on Full Tilt and was in good shape heading into a tough final table (w/ Scott Fischman and some other top online guys). Things were going well until I lost a big coinflip, and then lost more when a shortstack pushrf over my raise and I was committed to call with a dominated hand. With 5xBB left I picked up KK and shoved it in, only to get called by 22 and QQ! Several bricks rolled off and I was about to triple up and get my stack back when a deuce rolled off on the river. 5th paid $6600.

Finally, I had the chiplead in the $200 rebuy on Stars, which has a huuuuge prize pool, with 2 tables left. I basically treaded water until we were down to 10 players and I was in the bottom half but with a very playable stack of 100K at 3k/6k blinds. I was in the BB with A8o, and it folded to the SB who raised to 18K. He had me covered and given the final table bubble situation it seemed like an obvious spot for him to be raising basically any two cards, even though he had been playing fairly tight. So I made I think is basically a no-brainer all-in but he happened to have a big hand this time and his AK held. Overall I cashed for around 13K in tournaments on the day to show probably a 6Kish profit, but it's always somewhat frustrating when you're that close to the big money. Still, counting the cash game winnings I booked a huge win today.

When I started playing poker I never had any serious aspirations of playing for these kinds of stakes. I figured if I could get good enough to make $20 or $30 an hour it'd save me from ever having to worry about getting a crappy job and let me put some extra money in my pocket to do something fun from time to time. Maybe I could get lucky and satellite into the World Series one year. It'd be fun to play in one of these big tournaments on the TV. On the other hand I always thought I was exactly the type of person that could be really good at this game. I had a sharp analytical mind, I had always been good at games and math. It was always fairly easy for me to be detached from the value of the money I was betting at the table and just make the best decisions possible. There's always that bit of hesitation when you move up limits and start losing money faster then you ever have before, but I adjust pretty quickly. On the other hand away from the table I had good money management. I rarely ever tilt, and when I do it's not in a major way. I'm in very good control of my emotions (maybe too much so at times?). I protect my bankroll and don't play over my head (underplaying my bankroll may well have slowed my progress). I'm also really not interested in a lot of material things so almost all my poker money stayed in my bankroll. When I get out of school in the summer I'll probably find something fun to blow some money on though. I'm not sure what the point of this paragraph is, just some reflecting I guess. It may have something to do with the fact that I won and lost $9K and $10K pots this weekend respectively and my only real reaction after the momentary "holy crap dude you just lost a $10K pot" was to make sure I was happy with how I played the hand (I'm still not entirely sure, I'm not exactly used to playing with 440xBB effective stacks).

Anyways that's a lot of rambling, it's time to shut this down. Hopefully there was something insightful or interesting in there.


Monday, February 19, 2007


I had my most successful Sunday as far as tournaments are concerned in quite some time. It was also the most frustrating. My first deep finish was in the $530 tournament on Party. I survived into the money fighting with a shortstack the entire time, but finally busted on the final table bubble 11/103 for $867. Next up, the Mansion tournament and the Doyle's Room 54 rebuy. Both had 20K+ first prizes and I was top 5 in chips in both as we made the money (63 places). I quickly took two terrible beats on Doyle's Room and busted in the 30s for $400ish, and Mansion went badly also and I finished 21st for $600. However, as it was Sunday there was still a lot of poker to be played.

I went on a heater in the Stars 2nd chance and built a monster stack after winning a coinflip against another top 10 stack. I had a substantial chiplead in the tournament with around 150-200 people left. At the same time I rebounded from an awful start in the Full Tilt Online Poker Series $535 main event to build a 2nd place stack with 600 left. My AK beating AA all-in preflop was the highlight. As if these two weren't enough, I sucked out badly twice in the 100 rebuy on Stars and had a top 5 stack with 40 left. Unfortunately this is where things unravel. I lost a big pot to JohnnyBax in the 100r and busted 39th (36 paid). I treaded water in the 2nd chance for a while and finally found a spot to get my now short stack in with the best of it, but the river was not kind and I busted 30th for yet another whopping score of $760. Mike's friend Will ended up finishing 2nd for 25K in this tournament though, so congrats to him!

So that left me with just the biggest of all the Sunday tournaments. The Full Tilt main event exceeded its 1.5 million guaranteed prize pool with over 3200 players at $500 a head, and I still had a top 15 stack as we reached the money with 450 players left. Unfortunately I went incredibly card dead from this point on. I hung around stealing as many chips as possible to stay afloat, and I managed to survive for quite some time. One of my all-ins was eventually called, but as it turned out my QTs was in fine shape against 55 to get me back into contention. I flopped a Q but there was a 5 next to it, and another Sunday ended with a 70th place finish for $2400. Between playing tons of tournaments and having a bad day shortstacking the big cash games I still managed to lose lots of money despite my plethora of mediocre tournament cashes.

The shortstacking hasn't been going as well lately. People seem to be adjusting and I'm not running as well. I'm not ready to give up on it yet as my overall winrate is still extremely solid, but the huge swings may be more trouble than they're worth. It can also be a pretty boring grind at times playing mechanical preflop poker (without the excitement of going deep or playing a final table like in tournaments). Anyways that's enough ramblings for one post. Hopefully next Sunday will end better for me.


Saturday, February 03, 2007

Heart mansion poker

Mansion is a relatively new site in the online poker racket. They're the same people that offered the free $1000 bet on the first week of the NFL season this year to try to draw people to their sportsbook (I was too stupid to do this despite hearing from several people that it was legit. Yes, the Steelers covered and everyone got drunk). They also sponsor the "Poker Dome" show that you might have seen on TV. Their latest poker promotion is their daily $100K guaranteed tournament with a $100 buy-in throughout the month of January and at least the first week of February. The overlay is enormous and the players are terrible. Also, earlier this week US players were cut-off from the site so the overlay got even more out of hand. Today there were 456 players, meaning they paid well over half the prize people out of their own pocket, and that's even ignoring that the rake is counted in the $100 buy-in. Anyways, I won the tournament today for $24K. The play at the end was so bad, people basically folded every hand hoping to move up the prize ladder. I got lucky a couple times to get some chips and then ran over the table. A brief scare heads up when I lost 3 consecutive races, but my luck turned just in time to win a coinflip which regained me the chiplead, and then hold all-in preflop with a dominating hand to end it. A few beers and UFC pay-per-view tonight to celebrate.