Monday, May 28, 2007

Weekend Report + Vegas Schedule

I played a fair amount of 10/20 and 25/50 in the last few days as well as the usual bunch of tournaments. I've basically decided that when I play cash I'm just going to sit at the best tables I can find across all the sites whether they're 10/20, 25/50, or maybe even an occasional 50/100 game. While I don't want to get back into shortstacking high stakes a lot, if a 100/200 or 200/400 game looks especially good I'll allow myself to take a shot at those too. Anyways I feel like my cash game is in a bit of a funk the last day or 2, I'm just not reasoning through situations as clearly as usual and I find myself pressing that call button too much when I'm confused. Part of this probably has to do with playing more aggressive players at higher limits, but a lot of it is just me not being at 100%. I put in more hands in the last few days than usual and I've never been good at playing long cash sessions, so I'll probably cut back a bit before I leave for Vegas on Thursday.

The other thing I've noticed lately is that most online tournaments have become somewhat boring to me. Other than the Sunday tournaments and a few of the special ones throughout the week, most online tournaments are such small stakes compared to my cash games and the tournaments I'll soon be playing in Vegas, that they just don't seem important and aren't as exciting anymore. This makes me want to play more cash tables than tournaments in my mix, but as I said above I seem to do a lot better when I'm not overdoing the cash tables. I might put in some short sessions based around the Full Tilt $1K tourney on Monday and new Stars $1K tourney on Tuesday this week, but other than that I think I'm gonna play a bit less until I get to Vegas. Anyways, as for results my cash games went up and down a lot this weekend but I finished down like $10K mostly due to shortstacking big games unsuccessfully again. In tournaments I cashed the Stars Million again this week for $1100 and finished 3rd in the UB $530 for $9400, so I made back a bit there.

Ok Vegas plans. Steve and I arrive in Vegas on the same connection from Toronto Thursday evening. We'll hopefully get moved into the condo we rented without any problems and then I'm playing my first WSOP event of the year on Friday: The $5K mixed holdem event (half limit half no-limit, it's kinda weird). From then on I'm planning to just play a ton of events, though my actual schedule will depend on how a lot of things are going. Playing live poker every day may very well drive me insane at some point (especially since it's so slow compared to online), but I'm pretty motivated to really breakthrough on the live circuit and make a big final table, book at least a 6-figure score, and maybe even win my first world series bracelet if I get lucky. I've always been pretty good at playing a lot of hours when it comes to tournaments, so I'm pretty optimistic I'll be able to keep focused and play a relatively full schedule over the entire month and a half or so, and still think poker is fun at the end. Of course I'll make sure there's still lots of time to party it up bit, play some golf, and relax and enjoy things other than poker in general while I'm down there too. A lot of people I know will be in Vegas during most of the WSOP, and meeting and hanging out with all the other poker players, especially the online players I play against and discuss strategy with almost every day, is always the best part of these trips. So wish me luck, and awesome Vegas trip reports will commence on here by the end of the week!


Monday, May 21, 2007

It's becoming a new Sunday pattern

1. Win a few buyins at cash to cover most of tournament fees.
2. Donk out of all the Sunday major tournaments. Get semi-deep in 1 or 2 maybe, just enough to get a little bit of hope up to be crushed.
3. Win WSOP seat in the $650 satellite.

So yeah I have 5 main event seats now. I was doing pretty well in the Sunday million but then I decided to lose every all-in instead of winning them, which was probably a poor strategic decision on my part to go away from what had been working and got me that far. Oh yeah I also blew a massive stack in the Party $530. With 16 players left I had 120K. Average stack at the final table was approximately 50K so I had just an enormous stack. I made the final table with 18K and finished 9th. That sure was fun. Hmm I guess that's about it. I'm starting to get really excited about Vegas, it's going to be amazing. 10 more days.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A few things on PocketFives

PocketFives is an online community for tournament poker players, their big feature is their ranking of the top 100 online tournament players. As I mentioned in a post some time last year when I was ranked for a couple weeks, there are lots of good reasons not to read too much into those rankings (the ranking criteria are explained on the site), but nonetheless it is kind of nice to be recognized as a top player. I re-entered the rankings last week in the 100 spot, and after my performace on Saturday I jumped up 21 spots to 79. Also, there's an article on the front page now about members of the P5s community that have been doing well in the first few FTOPS events. There's a paragraph about me in there for my 2nd place finish in Event #2.

PocketFivers dominating the FTOPS

I didn't write anything about Sunday because it was pretty unevenful. I made a bunch playing cash and lost some of it back at tournaments. In particular I've moved back to shortstacking 25/50 full ring games and taking shots in those games with a full stack when I happen to have position on a big fish while shortstacking. My results so far have been very positive taking these shots, here's a few hands.

And one from Party. It turned out the guy I didn't recognize at this table wasn't bad, but in the time it took me to figure that out I played this hand against another guy. Pretty easy call for me on the river I guess, though I took my time making it since it was for a lot of money. He's trying to represent a big hand on the river, but on a draw heavy board like this there's no way he ever checks behind a big hand on the turn, and no draws got there on the river obviously. The only thing that makes any sense is if he rivered a set of twos, but that's very unlikely compared to the chances he's bluffing, especially since it doesn't look like I have much of a hand either the way I played it.

Oh yeah I checked the flop because it's a connected board that may have hit someone hard, and getting a continuation bet raised there is awful when I have such a big draw. Often with such a big draw I would lead out and move all-in over a raise, but if I get raised on this board it's way too likely that pairing my K or J won't be enough to win me the pot so I don't just want to get all-in on the flop as a big underdog. I wasn't sure about the turn but I think I'd have taken my chances and checkraised all-in over a decent sized bet since there's a good chance I have the best hand but he has a ton of outs. Against some really tight players I might call and fold if he follows through with a big river bet, but I like the checkraise against a more aggressive player, though I didn't have much of a read here.


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Huge Day!

I had two huge tournament cashes today. First I won the $100 rebuy on Stars for $23K. I got lucky at the right times at the final few tables and won a big coinflip when a shortstack shoved A2, I shoved to isolate with JJ, and gotskillz moved in over the top of me with AKs. I flopped a set and won the huge pot. From there I picked up a couple more hands at the right time and cruised to victory.

My other big score was in the Full Tilt Online Poker Series (FTOPS) event #2. It was a $100+rebuys PLO tournament of all things. I'm not much of an Omaha player, but I've read the PLO section in Super System 2 and practiced enough online and in friendly live games that I'm pretty sure I'm +EV in a big PLO tourney like this with lots of satellite qualifiers who won't rebuy. Also, most people are just really bad at Omaha, and once the blinds get really big it takes most of the skill out of the game, even more so than in Holdem. So I basically just ran incredibly well winning most of my 52/48s and flopping the nuts a lot, which makes your decisions pretty easy even when you play as poorly as I do. One player had all the chips at the final table but I was able to pick up some pots at the right time (including one pretty big suckout) and outlast everyone else. I started the heads up way behind in chips and busted on the first hand. 2nd paid $33K though, my biggest ever online score. Maybe I should play more Omaha or something. I might add some hands from the tournaments later if I get around to it. Trying to explain why I played some PLO hands the way I did could be embarrasing though.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Go Will!!

My friend Will "cutiepi314" Ma is chipleader going into the final table of the Grande Prix de Paris tomorrow (it used to be a WPT event but because of some new French laws it isn't this year, so the field was only about 130 players). Not bad for his first ever live tournament. Good luck Will!

Will Ma -- 610,000
Jeff Lisandro -- 490,500
Ram Vaswani -- 413,000
David Redlin -- 370,500
Runar Runarsson -- 309,000
Tor Gammelgard -- 255,000
Paul Gourlay -- 122,000
Yuri Kerzhapkin -- 111,500
Jeff Wallace -- 103,000

Prize Structure:

1 €422,560
2 €224,480
3 €158,460
4 €105,640
5 €79,230
6 €66,020
7 €52,820
8 €39,615
9 €26,410

Oh yeah I have some % of his action :-D. In other news I am basically broke on Full Tilt until timex and I settle up. Bad luck + some bad play = bustoooooo.


Update: Will won obviously. That was the easiest money I ever made, maybe this backing thing isn't so bad.

Monday, May 07, 2007

More Sunday disappointment

I went really deep in the two biggest tournaments today, but busted out short of the real money again. 53/6667 paid $2600 in the Stars million and 33/2350 paid $1500 or so in the Full Tilt 400K. Such a tease to beat so many people and still be so far from the final table. Check it out I actually got my money in with the best hand for once:

I did however win a 4th WSOP main event seat in the $650 satellite on Stars. I got the $1k cash and 10K W$ again. That tournament is such a gold mine. Anyways it would have been a very profitable day except I dropped 3 buyins shortstacking 200/400 pretty quickly. Apparently timex has been killing it lately though so it sounds like I'll be doing pretty well if we ever get around to settling up.

Anyways I now have $15K W$ kicking around. It turns out Stars is letting people buy into some of the prelimiary WSOP events with W$ again this year so I'll have no problem using that. You still have to buy into the events on your own though, they just credit your account with the cash once you send them proof you played the event. This is because of this whole debacle where 3rd party registrations for WSOP events are no longer permitted. This means if you win a WSOP seat you will just be paid the $10K in cash and it's really up to you what to do with it. A lot of people will probably just pocket the money (as they should really), so expect the main event field to be waaaaaay smaller this year.

Let's see what else. I've been doing really well at the 10/20 NL 6-max games with a full stack lately. Being able to play on Party still is so big. In general the games are a lot softer there, though I table select over Party/Stars/Full Tilt and just play the best tables wherever they are. I definitely think there's still a lot of money to be made in the mid-high stakes NL cash games for a solid player, but you've got to put more effort into picking your spots. I have no interest in sitting with 5 other solid regulars and trying to outplay them, there has to be at least one noticably soft spot or several weaker regulars. I think that's about all I've got for today, I'm going to go contemplate why the Sunday majors are so rigged against me.


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

I kinda like Mondays though

My Sunday post was really short but here's a long strategy-type post to make up for it. I finished 2nd in the Full Tilt $150 40K Guaranteed for the 3rd time without a win. The heads-up was ridiculous as I grinded out the chiplead playing pots postflop, then lost it in a 40/60 all-in preflop. Grind back a 2:1 edge, lose flip. Grind back to even, lose flip. gg. I think I did a pretty good job of getting inside his head in the heads up and making some big calldowns. Or maybe I was just lucky he never made a hand at the right time. Anyways here are some of the big pots. - This one would have more or less ended things without a marathon heads up. I wasn't thrilled about calling his all-in but it's so likely he has a draw on that board that I think I have to. - Given the flow of the game I really felt he could be raising almost any 2 since he hadn't punished my limps in a while. I floated the flop thinking I could still easily have the best hand. Maybe I should have bet the turn but I thought there was a chance he could be hoping to trap me with a checkraise, and I didn't think he'd ever bluff the river unless maybe another club fell. He said after that he came really close to firing the river and I probably would have had to fold. When he checked to me on the end I considered betting since it'd be really embarassing if he rolled over KT and won the pot, but I figured he might call with almost any piece of the board since I'd been bullying him a lot, and my hand had enough showdown value that checking was best. - I checked behind the flop so he can't just checkraise me off my hand or anything. Betting is fine too, it's situational and I mix it up. Turn there were enough draws out I had to bet, and I just didn't believe his checkraise, though it was certainly possible he could play a king that way. I decided not to fold and the decision was between calling and pushing. I really thought he would lead most of his good draws on the turn instead of checkraise, he hadn't done anything that tricky. So it seemed possible he could have complete air, and given his earlier comment I decided to give him the chance to follow through on the river this time (instead of pushing to protect against draws), but I was committed to calling some ugly looking river cards. The river wasn't a great card but my decision was already made on the turn, I had to call. - seemed like a good time to mix in a preflop reraise. Oops. - I decide to mix in a checkraise bluff. He seemed to mostly be raising with big cards so it was pretty unlikely he hit the flop, and his cont. bet was a bit bigger than most which in this circumstance I thought showed a little weakness too. - Another poorly timed reraise. Given the way things had been going playing flops there's a good argument to be made for not playing big pots preflop without a really big hand, but on the other hand he was raising often enough that I can't see how this reraise is really a misake. - Standard, but another lucky flop for me. - This is one is unavoidable. Oh well.

I also found some fish playing 10/20 on Party and had a very profitable session. - ooooook. - A bit of a cooler, I probably played it unnecessarily fancy but I figured there could be a lot of random garbage in his range that I wanted to let bluff again. - Obviously not exactly standard. Against this guy I was willing to play a really big pot with TPTK though. I never miniraise like I did on the flop really, but against this guy I thought it would work well to induce some bluffage. His check/call turn followed by a huge river jam doesn't really make sense and I'm just not folding against this guy here. - lol? He did stuff like this a lot. - Well that sure was nice of him.

Wow, actual content on my blog, unreal.