Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I made the dinner break...

...which is fairly easy when you start playing at 5pm. Basically everything went wrong today though and I was out early in level 3 just after dinner. Let me see what hands I can remember.

My initial table looked pretty soft. The Norwegian player on my right was the only one really doing anything that seemed like good poker. I played a couple small pots and then the table broke and I got moved to a new table that was even worse. Other than Phil Gordon it seemed like no one really had any clue whatsoever. The guy on Phil's left was comically clueless, but I really don't feel like writing a paragraph about the hilarity right now.

Hand 1: Phil Gordon limps UTG @ 50/100, megafish from above limps UTG+1, I'm down to 8200 or so from losing a few small pots and make it 500 with KK. Phil calls and megafish folds :-(. Flop J64 two hearts and Phil leads 1500 into 1250. I already kind of want to fold because his most likely hand preflop is a small-mid pocket pair so he probably has a set a lot but I decide to put up token resistance and call to see if he slows down, which I suspect he will with worse hands, though he might fire again with combo draws and bluff me anyways so even this plan isn't great and maybe I should just fold right here? Anyways the turn is an offsuit 8 and he bets 3500, I can't imagine he's running a huge bluff this early with so many other terrible players at the table so I fold. He told me after I busted that he had a set.

Hand 2: Button limps, SB completes and I check my BB with A7hh. Flop AK5 2 spades, we check it around. Turn 6 I bet 200 button calls. River J I bet 500 and button pays me off.

Hand 3: Megafish minraises as he often does in MP, I call with K4dd in the SB because I cant imagine how playing pots with him could be a bad idea for so cheap and the BB calls. Flop 832 two diamonds. Checks to fish who bets 400, which is bigger than his usual minbet or 200 bet which is somewhat concerning. I call due to infinite implied odds and the BB folds. Turn 4. I check/call 800. River 8, he bets 500 and I'm getting such a big price against a clueless guy I figure I have to call even though I doubt he's bluffing. He shows the 22 and I limp into dinner break with 4200.

Hand 4: 75/150 now, megafish limps in EP, I decide to limp A7o in the CO because raising and firing the flop is going to be really awkward on my stack size and he's going to call pretty light the times I miss the flop so it's really lame. Only the BB comes along for the ride. Flop AK4, megafish leads 200, I call and BB folds. Turn 4, fish bets 500 I call. River blank, he bets 100 and I just call, though there may actually be value in raising small here, but it's pretty thin and I've seen him make stupid river bets with big hands already from the 22 hand. He has K3o and I'm back over 5K.

Hand 5: Very next hand megafish limps, guy on my right limps, I make it 650 with KK. The SB raises to 1800, others fold I cram and he has AA. Flop K33 = bingo bango bongo, turn A=GG. Anyways I played well but the cards just weren't going to give me a chance today. Hopefully I can run better for the team in the World Cup. Anyways more time to lie on the beach and look at beautiful Spanish women now I guess.


Hola from Barcelona

I arrived in Barcelona safely yesterday with only one minor mishap along the way. I bumped into Mark Vos waiting for my connection in London and reintroduced myself as we'd met in Vegas at dinner one night through Tony (Bond18). He had been traveling for 2 days already at this point after one of his connections left 16 hours late in Beijing, and was on stand-by for my flight, which he eventually got on. I managed to sleep for an hour on that flight which was the only sleep I got in a 36 hour period or so. Anyways upon arriving in Barcelona Mark and I were both exhuasted and chatting a bit and not really paying attention to where we had to go. We ended up going down into baggage claim in terminal A instead of B. I'm not sure how we were supposed to know we had to change terminals as we clearly arrived in terminal A, and the doors were right there in front of us with a sign saying baggage claim so went in. I'm sure it was our own fault somehow as we were sort of out of it but it also seems like a kind of crappy way to have the airport set up. Eventually we realized our bags weren't there and found out we had to change terminals.

Of course now we had to go back through security without an outgoing boarding pass which didn't seem like it would go well. On top of that Mark had lost his stub from the flight we arrived on. Fortunately I guess the whole going to the wrong terminal for baggage thing is pretty common there (not surprisingly) as despite the language barrier the security guy immediately knew what we were talking about. We also saw several other people from our flight doing the same thing as us so we didn't feel like such idiots anymore. Anyways Mark managed to eventually talk the guy into letting him through despite not having his boarding pass. Of course by the time we finally got to the right baggage claim area our bags had been taken off the carousel and we had to go to a back room where luckily my bags turned up, but Mark's did not. I guess if his luck ever evens out on this trip there's a good chance you'll see him at the final table.

So finally I got in a cab and managed to communicate where I had to go (it took pen and paper) and got to the hotel. Once I got to the hotel things started going more smoothly, though I had to call for a voltage converter and the wireless doesn't get a signal in my room, so I then had to call for an ethernet cord. The room and hotel in general is very nice though, I'll probably post some pics at some point. Anyways I quickly found Jimmy aka gobbboboy online and we decided to walk over to the casino and register before the rush tomorrow. We checked out the area where the tournament will be played and it actually looks pretty good. The tables are spread out around the room so there's lots of space. We then went back to the hotel and hung out for a bit before meeting up with a bunch of other online players and heading over to the Stars welcome party.

For a guy running on one hour sleep I had a surprising amount of energy still. I drank a bunch of free cocktails and ate a lot of appetizers as I hadn't eaten much that day yet either. The party was a lot of fun hanging out with all the online guys I hadn't seen in a while and meeting some new people. I'm probably pretty lucky I ended up calling it an early night around 12 though.

So I play Day 1A of the EPT event today, but we don't start until 5pm local time which I guess is pretty sweet. Despite having gotten no sleep on the trip I still only slept for 5 hours and I haven't been able to get back to sleep yet, hence this blog post. I'm gonna go try to get some rest now so I can own this tournament.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Front Page News!

There was an article in the local newspaper, The Telegram, today about the World Cup team heading to Spain, and also about me going pro. It was actually pretty well done, no comically terrible pictures or anything this time. I was quoted giving some pretty deep thoughts such as "It should be a lot of fun playing with him" about Daniel Negreanu. I managed to sound somewhat intelligent in the follow-up article though I think. Anyways, surprisingly it made the front page, with the related story about me going pro on the 2nd page. Go figure. Heading to Toronto in a couple hours but I'll try to get my parents to scan and forward me a copy of the article so I can post it here later on.


Monday, August 20, 2007

Pretty good week!

I came out of my little slump on Cake and erased the rest of that $80K downswing, up like $55K on the month there now. Party worked on my computer a bit this week so I was able to make a few buy-ins in the 10/20 and 25/50 games on there too. I'm going to get a new desktop and a second 20" LCD monitor when I get to Toronto and format the laptop so that hopefully this won't be an issue for much longer. Not being able to play Party all the time has to be costing me a lot of money since I'm basically only playing cash games on Cake now and those games aren't running all the time.

I had some close calls in tournaments this week but only one big score. I finished 26th in the 300+rebuy 6-max FTOPS event, which is an awesome format, for like $4500 (in for $1500). I also just finished 17th in the Sunday evening Stars 100r when I had a ton of chips but then lost 3 all-ins in a row, that paid like $2200. There was a 17th in the nightly 100K on Stars too one night. I did however finish 3rd in the $100 rebuy yesterday afternoon for $11.2K, so it was nice to a have a fairly big tournament score again. The $2500 FTOPS 2-day tournament was the event I was most excited for this week but unfortunately despite playing pretty well I really never had a chance as I flopped a set against a flush in a reraised pot for most of my chips, and lost a flip for the rest or something.

I feel like I should do a strategy post again at some point but I can't really think of a lot of good hands to talk about and I don't have hand histories for all the Cake hands. I think I'll just wait for the live tournaments and do the usual write-ups on interesting hands from those. Speaking of which I found out this week that Daniel Negreanu will be our celebrity player added to the team for the World Cup, which is definitely good news. He's a strong player first of all and also an interesting personality to say the least. There's not a lot of the big name TV pros that I actually care about meeting, I'm usually a lot more interested in just trying to take their money, but Daniel is one of the exceptions. So that should add some extra fun to an already exciting trip. One thing that's clear from reading Daniel's blog is that he's super-competitive and proud to be Canadian, so even though the 20-25K he could win at most probably isn't substantial to him I'm sure he'll still give it his best effort.

This week I'm travelling all over the place and probably won't be playing too much, I'll try to post pretty regularly once I get to Barcelona though.


Monday, August 13, 2007

Another poor week

Actually I guess it wasn't that bad, but it sure seems like I've been getting killed lately. So far on Cake this month I've been up and down all over the place, and my play has been weird too. It's been a while since I was a "regular" in a cash game like I am on Cake now, where you and your other regular opponents both know so much about each other that it opens all sorts of new possibilities in terms of plays you might make on each other. I guess when I first started playing 3/6 on Stars I was in this situation and I adjusted pretty well, but those players obviously weren't as strong as some of the good 25/50 players on Cake. Anyways people asked for graphs but I can't import Cake hands in my database so here is my best attempt. I should warn you that art was basically the only class I could never get an A in in school so don't be too critical:

Anyways given the size of some of those downswings I think it should be understandable why it feels like I'm getting killed even though I'm slightly ahead for the month. I'm also down on other sites mostly because I've been getting killed at tournaments. I've been taking a lot of bad beats lately which is pretty standard in tournaments really, but I've played so many tournaments in my career that I never really question my game anymore, I've just been unlucky for the most part. My only real leak is that I find the early stages of tournaments pretty boring and I don't really focus at all. Lately, this has been made even worse by the fact that the buy-ins for most of these tournaments are very small compared to the amount I'm playing for in my cash games. So the tournaments seem less important and my play has probably been a bit sloppier than usual.

Oh yeah Europe plans have been finalized, I'm going with the schedule from my last post. I've booked my flights and I basically have all the arrangements for Barcelona taken care of. I'll try to get London all sorted out this week. Also, I'm moving to Toronto in the fall. I'll be living with my friend Brad who I lived with through most of my undergrad at Waterloo, so that should be fun. We used to play a lot of poker together back when I first started getting into the game, but he has since given it up for the most part and started working a real job. I may have to try to turn him back into a degen. Anyways I chose Toronto because I have a lot of friends in the area (and not so many in St. John's anymore), and as I'm planning to travel a lot this year Toronto is a pretty convenient centralized place to be. So I'm flying up there on the 22nd, then from TO to Spain on the 26th, Spain to London on Sept 8, and back to TO on Sept 16.

Finally, if it wasn't obvious, I have officially decided to drop out of my Masters program at Waterloo (most of you probably didn't even realize I was still enrolled). So for the indefinite future I'm a poker pro. I'm very happy with the decision so far, it feels like a huge weight has been lifted even though I'm somewhat disappointed in myself for not being able to finish. I didn't really like what I was writing my thesis about though, and I've always believed you should do something you really enjoy. Playing a game for a living is in a lot of ways a dream come true, and the money isn't too bad either.


Monday, August 06, 2007

Newfies to Barcelona!

Yeah we won! I finished 2nd/5 in my heat, gummer dominated once again, and tilterino and poppyoppy closed it out with strong 3rd and 2nd place finishes. A real team effort! So this should be pretty awesome, I'll update with more details as I get them with respect to what's included in the package and if the event is televised and such. My travel plans are likely changed now, I'm thinking EPT Barcelona before World Cup (in Barcelona right after the EPT) and then travel to London for WSOP Europe main event, and probably skip EPT London and just focus on the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) on Pokerstars which is around the same time, since that'll already be a nice trip.

However other than that I've basically been getting buried the last few days. I've been running/playing bad on Cake and am down on the month now. It's hard to stay confident in your play when you run into the nuts every hand and I've been playing bad and tilting some lately. Also the games haven't been as ridiculous good lately though I'm sure I'm still an edge against all but the toughest lineups. Anyways I'll get my head back on straight and starting crushing again eventually. omg I just flopped a set and stacked one of these fish, haven't done that in a while. OK peace I'm out for now gotta go make more money.