Monday, December 15, 2008

Aaaaaand busto

It was a short day, I was super card dead and when I finally got a hand I folded the winner on the flop. Got the last of my chips in against Mark Teltscher with 88 vs 66 and lost that too. Here's the one interesting hand:

400/800 a100 I open in early-middlish position to 2200 with JhJ and 20K more behind. Joe Cassidy calls 2 to my left (though I forgot it was him at the time) and and a middle aged asian guy calls right after him. The flop comes 853hh and I bet 5K. Cassidy makes it 11K, and the asian guy INSTA-shoves for 40-50K or something that covers both of us. I only have 15K left and really don't want to fold again but it's hard for me to beat both of them here. I feel like the speed of the all-in move weights the asian guy's range towards a draw a lot. He has a set or a draw and most people Hollywood with their sets a little at least. But I still have to worry about Joe and I have no idea what he has. I ended up folding and Joe called with A8cc and held vs A3hh. So that really sucked. I think maybe the live reads were strong enough that I should have called but I'm not sure how results oriented I'm being.

Anyways now that that's over it's back to Newfoundland this Friday for Christmas which I'm definitely much more excited about than any poker tournament. In other news I've done 2 videos now for PokerSavvy and it looks like I will be doing a lot more. They've got a lot of other very good players making videos there as well so if you're thinking about joining a training site you should go over there and check it out. I think they still have a 24-hour free trial offer on. Also, for people that haven't seen it yet I got "felt'd" by Kristy Arnett from CardPlayer. It's basically the poker version of Punk'd. Here's a link:

Felt'd =/

I don't really know what to say about it but hopefully you get a good laugh out of it on my behalf. Either that or you'll feel super awkward the entire time watching it like I did. Alright I'm out, possibly no blogs for a while over Christmas depending what I'm up to.


Bellagio Five Diamond Update!

Hey hey it's time for a little update about what I've been up to here in Vegas. I got in Tuesday night and played the $5k tournament on Thursday. I got off to a good start in that one but lost a biggish pot to Mark Teltscher that I played weird and then got KK vs Shannon Shorr's AA so that was that. I played Day 1A of the $15K main event on Saturday but unfortunately it was a really frustrating day where not a whole lot went right. I finished the day with 32K of my 45K starting stack though and with blinds starting at 400/800 tomorrow I still have some room to play. Here are some key hands:

Hand 1: 100/200 A player limps in MP, I make it 1k in the SB with A8dd and he calls. Flop 666 I bet 1250, he calls. Turn 4 I bet 2500 he calls. River 2 I bet 5500 he calls with TT and wins. Yay obvious 3-barrels.

Hand 2: Amnon Fillipi limps the HJ, Matt Hyman limps the CO, I make 1050 on the button with AJo and both call. Flop AK2cc, Amnon checks and Matt bets 1750 which I call as does Amnon. Turn Js putting a 2nd flush draw on board. They check to me and I fire 6K, Amnon thinks briefly and shoves for 19K more. Matt thinks a bit and folds and I tank for a long time before finally folding. From what I've seen of Amnon he is very spewy in a call stationy way preflop and on the flop but when he puts his chips in he usually has it. He's quite capable of making the elaborate slowplay with a set of 2s here as well as peeling the flop with QTo, and while there are a decent number of hands he could semi-bluff with on the turn I don't think he is particularly likely to make a big move like that.

Hands 3-7ish: I raise and #1pen 3-bets me and I have to fold. wtf he's supposed to be a nit like me.

Hand 8: 200/400 a50 Solidish player opens the HJ to 1200, Amnon quickly calls, I make it 4800 in the SB with 98o and Peter (#1pen) cold 4-bets to 10.5K in the BB. Can't imagine he didn't have a monster here but when someone picks you off time and again like he was it's pretty tilting even if it seems like he's probably just running good picking up hands on you most of the time because you just don't know for sure.

Hand 9: 300/600 a75 Young short stacked guy open to 1600 in MP with like 10K behind and I shove in the BB with AK and hold vs his AQs.

Hopefully day 2 goes better and I can put chips in the pot a few times without getting raised out of my seat. Or ya know just get raised when I actually have it.

Today I played Sunday tourneys online and got owned. Just a couple small cashes to show for it. Anyways I better get some rest for tomorrow. Cheers,


Monday, December 08, 2008

Biggest Online Tournament Score; Losing Week

So I stuck to the plan and took a week off of poker while I was down in NYC partying with some friends. New York was awesome, really an amazing city, but more importantly hanging out with some good friends I don't see often enough and partying like we were still in university was just a great time. I also got to visit my aunt and uncle in Brooklyn and check out their neighbourhood, and even though I'm lazy and don't do it often enough it's always good to see family. I really love that poker gives me the freedom and means to pick up and take trips like this one and I should really make a point to try to do it more often (trips purely for fun with no poker).

So I got back in town a little bit worse for wear but well-rested mentally and was ready to get back to work and crush the tables. I quickly proceeded to lose around $125K in ~800 hands of 200/400 PLO. Omaha sure is a fun game. There were a few hands I played pretty questionably and ended up getting it in really terrible for a decent amount of money. Two in particular were basically courtesy of Gus bluffing, and me getting stuck in the middle of him and a 3rd player who ended up having the nuts holding something fairly strong but kind of marginal myself. If not for Gus making a move I probably get away from at least one of those hands without too much damage, but so it goes. Oh yeah I guess I should post them: - Trips is a pretty tricky hand to play sometimes, especially here when I have a weak kicker and a pair in my hand leaving me with very few outs when I'm behind. Maybe I still could have found a fold but I think Gus is bluffing so often and Cole certainly doesn't have to have a monster either, and once I call the first time I'm pretty priced in.
- Getting 25K in drawing dead is just not as much fun as it looks, trust me. This may well be spewy but other options didn't seem like too much fun either.

I didn't play much 200/400 for the rest of the week, or even all that much poker really, but I did put in a few sessions at smaller stakes to work on my game a bit. I played some hands at 5/10 and ran extremely well so that made me feel more confident in my game again. The Sunday tournament lineup was pretty strong this week with a bunch of big stuff on Ongame and iPoker. I woke up early as I have been all week and played a super long session starting at 11:30am and not ending until around 2am. I ended up finishing 13th in two tournaments that I had a ton of chips in at one point, which would normally be super frustrating, except I finally won a (online) tournament! Ongame had a tournament series which I had missed all the events of but at the end there was a special $5K buy-in tournament with no rake that they bought all the winners of the tournament series and leader board into. It only got 78 runners but it had a sick structure and the field was not especially tough. I ended up getting lucky in several key pots after a series of hands on the bubble where I really hated my play and blew a lot of chips. I got heads-up behind in chips against a really weak player and then ran insanely hot to take it down for 117K. To celebrate I lost 16K at 200/400.

Tomorrow I'm off to Vegas again for the last couple events of the Five Diamond series at Bellagio. Everyone was screaming that the sky was falling after the turnouts in the first few events but it seems like the fields in the last few $5K events have actually been relatively large and I expect the last $5K preliminary and the $15K main event that I'm going to play to be more of the same.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Mo' Gold

I've easily been on the biggest online heater of my life this month and this week was just more of the same. I didn't really play all that much this week, mostly just 200/400 PLO when I saw a decent looking game running and 5 tournaments. I final tabled 4 of them placing 2nd, 4th, 4th, 5th for a total of ~54K. On Wednesday night I played the four 9pm majors, and for the first time in my career I made 3 final tables at the same time. I got yet another 2nd in a tourney on Absolute, 5th on UB, and 4th in the FTP 100r. I recorded the end of these so there's a pretty good chance I'll turn them into a training video at some point. I also played the AP $500 tourney on Saturday and got 4th this time after just losing every pot at the final table after having the chip lead at one point. The play at this final table was some of the most ridiculously hilariously terrible play I've ever seen and I recorded that as well so maybe I will turn it into a video where I mock everyone relentlessly for entertainment.

Speaking of videos I finally finished my 1st video for PokerSavvy which I expect to actually be up this week. It didn't turn out as well as I might have hoped but that was probably inevitable the first time around while still getting used to the software etc... I think it still turned out pretty good though, I guess I'll get to see what people think soon enough. I believe PokerSavvy still has a short free trial promotion going so you might be able to go check that out once it's up. So that brings us to PLO.

I basically have just continued running stupidly good all week at 200/400 running up short stack buy-ins. I'm just going to tell you the story of Thursday night/Friday morning since that was my biggest shot yet and also my biggest win. I jumped into a game just after midnight and did my usual luckbox thing: - Not sure if my flop semi-bluff is good in this one as my wrap can easily be in bad shape on this board with the flush draw. Still, I feel like if either of them had a hand they really wanted to go with they probably would have just bet it themselves so I think I have a decent amount of fold equity. Gus ended up calling the flop real light though he's a coin flip against my actual hand but I am too lucky.

So that was pretty sick I quit up my 55K and the games broke so whatever. I was still up in the morning though and there was more 200/400 PLO action going than almost ever with like 6 tables running. I started running up stacks on them but this time I didn't quit when I got deep stacked if I had good table position. I ended up 4-tabling for around 4 hours and having a really swingy session. The variance of these games is really sick and from my +55K starting point I went as high as +110K then dropped as low as just +16K. I bounced back and ended +95K. It was a really crazy session but it was also really fun and a great learning experience. I've never had anywhere close to that much money in play before in my life or played that many high stakes tables at once before. I definitely made some mistakes but I didn't feel like they were related to the amount of money on the line, I've just still got a decent amount to learn about PLO and even the best make mistakes sometimes. Here are some more key pots: - Ups. A slightly lighter 3-bet from me here. - This looks ugly but it's actually pretty standard. I have to call the flop with possibly 6 outs and preflop is correct too. Oh yeah I do lose some pots too: - I guess I could jam the flop but I have 3 hearts and I have to be concerned about whether my 7 is actually live. Certainly I don't figure to have much/any fold equity at all so I decided to just peel. - Having 3 diamonds sucks but I don't really see what else I can do here there should be enough semi-bluff hands in his range that I have good equity against.

Heading to NYC this week so probably not much poker will be played for a bit. Take it easy and watch my video let me know how bad it sucks.


Monday, November 17, 2008

Winning All the Gold

That's what I've been doing this weekend. Well, just Saturday to be more accurate, I gave some back today. Saturday was one of the best days of my internet pokers career though so I'll tell you all about that now. The day started at 2pm with a bunch of tournaments and some 200/400 PLO shots. I made 24K at PLO so that was pretty sweet. Here are the biggest pots I won:
- 3-betting preflop is probably more standard but stack sizes make it awkward when he calls and I hadn't been 3-betting much. Obviously get it in on the flop and hold the 56-44 how lucky.
- Flop pretty good turn better river ok also.
- I guess I have to get it in on the flop, though if I run into the nut flush draw I'm fairly dead. Getting called in two spots was unexpected, as the hand played out I'm not really sure what they had. With the blockers against the nuts bombing the turn definitely merited serious consideration but I went the more conservative route this time. When Ozzy checks the river I'm almost certain my hand is good and decide to go for a checkraise since Patrik should either have made a flush himself and be looking to value bet it or turn something into a bluff a lot. Pretty easy checkraise for value once Ozzy folds since Patrik would almost surely have raised the flop with the nut flush draw.

After that I just concentrated on my tournaments. The awesome $5K 6-handed FTOPS was on but I busted super early losing a big flip with AK vs JJ. It was just a spot where even though we were 200xBB deep I had to put the money in. I did much better in the other early FTOPS event though, the $500 heads-up tournament. I was actually really happy with how I played these HU matches for once and I was making a lot of pairs and winning races and stuff as well which obviously helps a lot. I think I was doing a very good job getting maximal value in a lot of spots where in the past I may have made the mistake of playing for pot control too much. I rattled off five quick wins with more than a bit of luck on my side (my 88 beat QQ all-in preflop for most of the chips in the 5th) and as I was waiting for my 6th match I ended up playing HU in two other tournaments!

The first was a Step 6 satellite for a PCA seat. I got heads up around even in chips with jorj, one of the regulars who plays every single step 5/6 that runs basically, and I got lucky to win a coinflip for almost all the chips to take down the $14K package. I'm definitely glad I was able to get that seat out of the way early and without spending too much on satellites. Next up was the AP $500 tourney. I had a huge chip lead throughout most of the final table which I was able to increase easily as all the short stacks had around the same number of chips and several were clearly just playing to try to move up a few spots. I just moved in preflop uncontested time and time again to pick up the large blinds and antes. When we got 3-handed though I lost a big pot to apestyles with 99 vs AA and then doubled up the short stack when he finally called one of shoves to all of a sudden find myself as the short stack. Ape did something crazy and sucked out on the other guy to get us heads up but with me way behind in chips. I doubled once but then lost QJ vs J8 aipf to bust 2nd for $24K.

As the heads up of the AP tournament was being played my 6th round in the FTOPS tournament started. My new opponent was actually pretty weak but after I grinded him way down he doubled up twice to take the chip lead from me momentarily. I got back to a 2:1 chip advantage and then ran my 88 into his 77 to end it. The next round I ran into a much tougher opponent though and got behind early. I won a flip to get back to even and then another big pot where I turned the nut straight to take the chip lead. I had a 2:1 chip lead when I checkraised him on the turn of a QT96 board with Q6 and called his shove only to run into 87. I won A7 vs A5 to get back in it but on the final hand I got all-in on the flop with J8 vs his KJ on the J-hi flop to end my run. I finished 9-16th for $7500.

So as you can tell all those scores added up to a pretty big day. Not final tabling a $10K+ buy-in tournament big but still probably a top 5 online day for me. Then I got to watch a pretty sweet UFC 91 card so it was just an all-around super day. The hot run didn't carry over to Sunday though unfortunately. I only cashed the early $100 buy-in FTOPS event and the $200 rebuy on Stars for less than $2K total. Now that FTOPS is over this week figures to have less poker. I'll keep working on my PLO game and maybe play a couple of the bigger tourneys but that's likely about it. I also need to get my first PokerSavvy video out asap. That's all I've got for now, keep it real homies.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bad Habits, a Donkament Score, and High Stakes PLO

Since arriving back in Toronto I've quickly gotten back into my normal lazy at home routine. I stay up too late, then sleep away the hours of the day in which I could actually go out and do productive things, then play some tournaments and cash games, watch TV, download the TV I miss, and various other lazy activities which keep me up all night. It's not like I'm super upset about it, not having any real obligations and being able to live on such a ridiculous schedule if I want to is a pretty sweet luxury to have. I'm enjoying my time relaxing, but at times the unproductive and lazy feeling of a day mostly spent at a computer or TV screen can be pretty gross, even if I've spent a lot of that time "working". As an example, this blog is being written at 7:30am and I assure you I did not just wake up. I'll get to what I was doing tonight shortly but first let me recap what else I've been up to since the last time we talked.

FTOPS started and I've played a handful of events. I didn't have much luck at all with tournaments through this weekend unfortunately. I final tabled the $100 single rebuy $100K Gtd tournament on Ongame on Sunday but busted 9th for ~$1600 and didn't have any other particularly notable cashes until tonight. I've also been playing some more big PLO. 25/50 and 50/100 Cap games as well 200/400 shortstacking shots have been up and down quite a bit but overall going pretty well, and of course some 10/20 and 25/50 games on Cake when they are good. OK so on to tonight.

I skipped most of the nightly tournaments but decided to play the 9pm ones on Stars/Full Tilt. There were two FTOPS events tonight, the $500 HORSE and $200 turbo NLHE. Both of those are really fun formats even though I seem to suck at HORSE. Anyways the turbo was where I picked up a big score. Running good in a turbo donkament is really really fun. There were almost 2600 players and the whole thing lasted just over 3 hours (it ended before the 3rd break). The beauty of the turbo donkament is you more or less skip all the boring deep stacked play and get right to the best part: Jamming your stack in with crap and hoping they all fold or you suck out.

I mean really, what's better than pushbotting? Every hand there is a very real possibility you could double up or go broke and that's pretty exciting. Well I'll tell you what's better, pushbotting deep in a tournament when substantial money is on the line and everyone is too scared or too bad at poker to do it properly. Obviously running sick hot and winning every time you have to call someone or they call you makes this significantly more fun, and that was what happened tonight. I held the chip lead for a decent while in the latter stages of the tournament before slipping a bit as we got down to two tables. But then I owned some chump's 99 with my K6s and made the final table 3rd in chips. The final table got off to a bad start as I lost AT vs AK and was super short. I luckboxed a couple double ups and some blind steals though and made it to 3-handed play 2nd in chips. Unfortunately djk had a big chip lead though, and he's even better at going all in every hand and winning every time they call with an obviously superior hand than I am so when he shoved my BB and I called with A6hh I was eliminated by his Q8ss. I still got $50K for 3rd though which is a solid three hours work in my opinion.

So then I ended up playing a bunch of high stakes PLO all night as the games were really good and only lost around $9k which wasn't too bad. Overall it was a pretty solid night. I even recorded a session 2-tabling 50/100 Cap PLO which I think I will turn into my first PokerSavvy video, hopefully by the end of the week. I'll let you all know when that actually happens. Anyways I should probably go rest up now I've gotta do this all again in 12 hours or so.


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

November and Future Plans

Now that I've been home a few days I've had some time to sit down and plan out the next few months. The rest of this year is going to be pretty laid back in terms of live poker, but it looks like the beginning of next year is going to be really really crazy. So for November I'm probably not playing any live tournaments. There's a chance I could go to Vancouver for the BC Poker Classic but it's looking pretty unlikely at this point as the buy-ins just aren't that big. There's another FTOPS starting today though so I'll play some of those events. I certainly don't plan to try to grind the events every day like I have in the past but I'll play when I feel like it and don't have other plans. The $5K buy-in 6-handed 2-day event should be awesome and is the only one I feel like I can't miss, but I'll try to play at least all of the bigger prize pool events. Then at the end of the month is the ECOOP on the iPoker network. I might have to miss a couple of the bigger events in that one unfortunately as I have plans to go visit my friend in NYC for American Thanksgiving (and all the football and partying that comes with it).

After that I'll be headed back to Vegas for the Bellagio Five Diamond series at some point. I may skip some of the prelims as turnouts for preliminary events have been way down lately and as much as I love Vegas I was just there for a while and I'm not getting comped this time :-). Once I'm done there it's back to Newfoundland to see my friends and family there for Xmas. As always I'm reeeally looking forward to that. Then January is when things look like they're going to get crazy. I really wanted to avoid doing this but I think I'm going to play both PCA and Aussie Millions. The travel is horrendously awful, but Aussie Millions is not going to be as good this year without Full Tilt sponsoring it and PCA is going to be insanely huge and the High Roller event should be sick as well. So the tentative plan appears to be to rent an apartment in Melbourne with timex and stay for at least an extra week after Aussie Millions because Melbourne kicks ass.

Now, depending on the LA Poker Classic schedule it's possible I could end up going straight from Melbourne to LA for that. This would be an incredibly long trip as I would stay in LA until early March, but on the other hand it has to beat the hell out of winter in Canada. I'm still far from settled on any of this but it does kind of make sense and would be fairly awesome, though barely being in Toronto for a 3-month span is really crazy. Sooooo I dunno.

In other news I am going to give the video training site thing a try and do some videos for PokerSavvy Plus this month. I'll add more details about that as I figure them out, but I'm going to try to make my first video for next week. Oh yeah I haven't played much poker this week but I'm up over 100K. I bought a piece of a friend in a big game which he ended up absolutely killing and making me ~90K, and then I had one of my random 200/400 PLO shots where I ran 8K up to 38K in 23 hands or something. I played 3 big pots and won them all, and they all happened to be against Gus. Once I got him in drawing almost dead, the 2nd I got it in horrendously bad (but in a standard spot) and sucked out really badly, and the third I got it in really bad against his aces preflop (but again I think it's gotta be fairly standard against Gus) and sucked out again. Sooo I'm a lucksack, but you probably already knew that.


Thursday, October 30, 2008


Today was the maddest I have ever been at a poker table. I don't give a fuck about bad beats or about bubbling the stupid tournament. I'm partly very mad at myself for being an idiot and allowing this bullshit to happen, but moreso that some jackass actually pulled this on me. The story is coming shortly let me begin at the beginning. So I run/play bad for a bit and get down to 200K, then double with TT vs 22 blind vs blind and I think win some other pot I can't remember. Then this hand happens:

6k/12k a1k I open to 32K UTG with JJ and the BB who is bad defends. The flop comes J87 with two hearts, he checks and I bet 56K which he calls. The turn is an 8 he checks and I bet 86K and he calls. The turn is a Q, he leads out for 125K, I say all-in for his roughly 200K more. I hear him almost immediately say call and turn over my hand. At this point he says "What are you doing I didn't say anything yet." I ask the dealer "didn't he say call?" The dealer obviously doing his job well says "I didn't hear anything." At this point I fuck up really bad since I don't know what is going on. Instead of calling over the floor I just kind of end up going with it and letting him fold his hand and keep the last of his chips. I don't know why I did did that, it was one of those situations that kind of happened so fast and I was obviously pretty excited about having the effective nuts that I can't even remember exactly how things happened. Also, who the fuck has the audacity to say "Call" in front of a table of people and then be like "No wait I actually didn't say that"? It certainly made sense I could be the one who fucked up. So the hand ended and we go on break (which also could have added to the confusion).

The guy sitting directly between me and my opponent at the table now comes up to me and says "Why didn't you call the floor? He definitely said call." The the dealer who was waiting to rotate into our table also says "Yeah I heard him say call. I think you even asked him "Did you say call?" and he said yes before you turned your hand over." Obviously at this point I am pretty fucking livid but it's too late to do anything. The rule apparently is that if the dealer doesn't hear anything two people have to have heard him say it, so if I'm not an idiot he wouldn't have gotten away with it which makes me feel even worse.

Anyways I have my break and am able to accept what has happened. As a poker player I am trained to ignore things outside my control and just focus on making good decisions in the future, it's all I can do really. I'm still pretty pissed though because the whole thing was so fucked up and I can't believe this scumbag actually did that that I was sitting there steaming for most of the next level just planning how bad I was going to slowroll him when I finally bust him and take MY chips back. I'm very card dead for a while though and end up folding all the way back down to around 440K when this hand happens:

15k/30k a3k I'm UTG with KK and make it 77K. Folds to angle shooting scumbag in the BB who has folded his way all the way down to 225K playing like a fucking genius after having chipped back up earlier. He thinks for a minute or 2 then makes the brilliant play of flat calling. The flop comes A73r, he checks and I check behind since nothing worse calls and I can let stuff that's drawing basically dead catch up a bit. If he has me beat he's going to get my money regardless. The turn is a J, he checks and I check behind again. I can probably just move in here and hope he calls with a J but if he's behind he can't have more than a few outs and giving him a chance to do something stupid on the river is fun and I'm still getting called by a J on the river usually anyways. The river is a T, he checks and I finally bet 100K of his 150K. He moves in, I cry but obviously have to call and he has JT....

I don't think I had ever thrown cards or chips in anger at a poker table before but that streak is now over. I would never get really mad over just a bad beat but given the circumstances I think it's pretty understandable why I was furious. Our table breaks after this hand and I have a meager 210K at my new table. I move in with A7 on the first two hands and get back to around 350K. Then I pick up 99 UTG and move in again, Kathy Liebert calls with AK and I lose. I tell her nice hand, wish Adam good luck, and make my exit.

So in the end I don't know what else to say. I could have done a lot of things differently after the fact but it's just not me. In the future I'll just have more confidence in myself and less faith in the poker community, not that I didn't know it has more than it's fair share of liars and cheats to begin with. That being said the great majority of the people I've met in the poker world are incredibly honest and good people (especially the newer younger generation), but you do have to watch your own back. Still, I'm not going to stop believing that most people are good honest people and giving everyone the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise. You can't be so naive as to let yourself get taken advantage of, but I sure as hell am not going to go about living my life being paranoid and not trusting anyone, I'd rather risk getting angled once in a while than live my life that miserably. So there you have a rare Watts emo rant. Peace y'all,


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Caesar's Poker Classic Main Event Day 1

The tournament that I've been sticking around for the last week or so since I busted Bellagio began today. It's a $10K buy-in with a million guaranteed first prize. The do the payouts by their normal payout structure for all places but then if first is less than a million they top it up to that, so there's an overlay (of only ~55K this year though as they got ~310 players). However, a lot of the players in the tournament are actually freeroll and special contest winners and there are a ton of satellite winners on top of that so this easily the softest 10K+ buy-in tournament in Vegas outside of the World Series. We played really late and are starting up again at noon so I can't write a big report, but I ran pretty good all day including set over setting someone on one of the last hands of the day to run my stack up to 457.6K from the 100K starting bank.

The structure is really bad and while there was a lot of play today it is going to become a complete crap shoot tomorrow, though to be honest that suits me just fine, especially if I can maintain a big stack into the bubble since there is going to be so much dead money scared satellite and freeroll winners. I think Cardplayer ( is the only place doing live coverage so you can check there for updates throughout the day. Gotta try to get some sleep tonight for another (hopefully) long day tomorrow. Night,


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Festa al Lago Day 2

Well I'm busto. I grinded my short stack for quite a while but every time I got something good going I immediately lost a pot to give it back. In the end I obviously got owned Doug Lee because why wouldn't I?

Hand 1: 500/1000 a100 Somehow I'm down to 13K at this point and Jen Harman opens on my right. I move in with KK and Kristy Gazes instaships in the BB and Jennifer folds. She has QQ and I double back to around 30K.

Hand 2: Somewhere in here Doug Lee gets moved to the table. It folds to me in HJ and I raise to 2700 with QsQh. It folds to Doug in the BB and he calls because when it's his BB that's what he does. The flop comes A64dd, he checks and I check behind intending to fold approximately never no matter what happens ever. Then the turn is the Kd, and he bets 5K and I cry and fold. There's a good chance calling down here is still correct.

Hand 3: 600/1200 a200 So I get back to like 22K and raise to 3200 in the HJ again with KQo this time. Doug Lee calls in the BB because as we've established why wouldn't he? The flop comes 743r, I'm not thrilled but I think I have to bet. I bet 5K and he calls. The turn is a 2 chk/chk river J chk/chk. "I have one pair." I nod my head like obviously that's good but for some reason it takes him a while to roll over the winner, his 83s.

Hand 4: 800/1600 a200 Down to 13K now it folds to Jon (FatalError) in the CO and he opens to 4K, I ship A9o in the SB and hold against his KJo.

Hand 5: I'm back to around 30K and we get moved away from the balcony in the Fontana room because it was insanely cold. As we're unracking our chips a the new table the dealer asks me if I remember this card, and shows me the Ad. As it turns out it's the dealer who peeled off that beautiful Ad on the river against David back in July when I was all-in with AK vs QQ. So the first hand at the new table I'm UTG+1 and look down to see AKo! I raise and everyone folds and I show the ace and say I knew I had nothing to worry about. The next hand I get AKo again UTG! This guy is good! I open to 4400 again and Doug Lee makes it 16K in MP. Folds back to me and I insta-double fistpump-triple backflip-Hi 5s all around-turbo ship the rest of my chips in and he calls with AQ. The board runs out KJxx.......T. Oops. I guess I'm still slightly ahead lifetime on his river cards though so no major complaints.

I'm gonna stick around for another week still and play the 10K at Caesar's at the end of the month and probably some cash games. It's undoubtedly too much to ask, but I certainly wouldn't mind doing that thing where I hit a big score in my last tournament of the trip again! In the mean time I will try to get in an appropriate amount of trouble.


Festa al Lago WPT Day 1b

Not a very successful day 1 today unfortunately. I finished the day with 25K of my 45K starting stack. My starting table was very soft, the only other players I recognized were shaniac and gobbo. Unfortunately I then got moved to some crazy table with Shawn Sheikhan, Brad Booth, Minh Ly and some other people I recognized. Here are two interesting hands I played today, the latter being the key hand of my day.

Hand 1: 200/400 a50. The player on my right opens to 1400 in MP and I flat KK next to act hoping for a squeeze from Sheikhan or Brad Booth or to just trap the raiser. One player calls behind me in position and Booth calls from the BB. The flop comes AT6hh and checks around. Turn T checks around. River 5 checks to me and I figure I almost always have the best hand and I may be able to get value from a hand like JJ or QQ so I bet 2800 and Brad calls with JJ.

Hand 2: Brad has been very active making a lot of really big preflop raises and reraises. In thish and Minh Ly open to 900 in early-middle position and Booth makes it 3800 next to act. I find KK on the button and make it 14K which is probably a bit too big. Booth calls pretty quickly which is really strange. The flop comes Q65hh and he checks. I think for a bit and was going to just jam it in and hope to get hero called but eventually I decided his preflop call seemed so strong that I was actually pretty worried about him having AA or QQ and I could induce bluffs or something by checking anyways. The turn is an 8 and he bets 8K which I call. The river is an A and he bets 22K. I think for a bit and mutter about how I must be the only nit in the world who plays this hand so weak and I'm either an idiot or a genius before accepting that I just can't imagine how he could be bluffing and fold. He said he flopped three queens and kept muttering about how if he played the hand differently he could have busted me so it seemed pretty legitimate that he actually had the hand.

I was down to 30K after that hand and finished the day with 25K after a boring level where I didn't do too much other than steal the blinds a few times. Hopefully I can turn things around and get something going tomorrow.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Awesome Day!

Today started like almost any other day. I woke up and lazed around for a bit. Eventually I forced myself to go get a workout and then I came back to the room and ordered some food. I watched the new episode of Entourage which was the best in a long time, and also Dexter which was really good as always. After that I decided I'd go check out the poker room and see if any good games were running and buy into Day 1B of the WPT event for tomorrow. I ran into Vivek in the poker room and we both ended up sitting in a 10/20 game for a bit. Then we heard a new 25/50 NL game was opening and that a certain swimmer you may have heard of was playing it, so we instantly locked up seats and moved to that game. Sure enough, seated three to my left was none other than Michael Phelps.

Normally, to play in the legendary Bobby's Room, home of the biggest cash games in the world, you have to be playing at least something like 100/200 NL with a minimum 20K buy-in, but seeing as Michael Phelps is kind of a big deal and all they made an exception and moved our table in there. We were playing 25/50 NL and the BB also posted a $100 ante so it played a fair bit bigger than a normal 25/50 game, but you probably don't care about that. So there Vivek and I are, both coming off of huge WPT victories, sitting in Bobby's room play high stakes poker with the greatest olympian ever and one of the most famous people in the world this year. At the other table next to us Doyle, Helmuth, Eli, Ralph Perry, Freddy Deeb and various others are playing some huge stakes mixed game. It was kind of a ridiculous surreal moment where all Vivek and I could do is look at each other and say "Wow, are we living the life right now or what?".

So anyways back to things you probably care more about. Michael was actually really down to earth despite all his success and a cool guy. He immediately recognized Vivek (everyone seems to) which Vivek obviously thought was pretty sick. He didn't really seem to recognize me though, but I guess that's not surprising because I'm just some quiet kid who won a WPT event when the entire poker world was focused on them reaching the final table of the WSOP main event. Anyways, he was having a beer and enjoying himself and it was a really fun game. He actually seems to play fairly well though he never got in many tricky spots postflop at all and we never really saw any of his hands. The whole experience was pretty amazing though, and afterwards Vivek, Adam, and I went for some food at Fix and grabbed a late dinner to celebrate our sweet day. Oh yeah on top of that I also won $4K in the game by flopping the nuts a bunch but never winning any really huge pots.

So, tomorrow I begin my quest to defend my WPT at Bellagio bracelet. I'm pretty excited to get going, though I somehow doubt tomorrow will be able to compete with the events of today.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Festa al Lago Update

Hey I've been lazy and haven't written anything in a little while so here's what I've been up to this week. After I busted Niagara I drove home immediately and started looking for a flight to Vegas. There was a very cheap Westjet flight at 9pm that night and I had a credit for Westjet that I had to use soon anyways so I booked that right away, threw a bunch of extra clothes in my bag, and was off to the airport. I got in around 11pm PST and checked into the Bellagio. They were nice enough to comp my room for this trip as the returning champion so that was pretty badass. I had actually never stayed at the Bellagio before though I had seen the rooms and knew what to expect. Still, my room is way nicer than I remembered them being. There's so much space, the bathroom is huge, and all the decor is really classy without being excessive or snobbish. I of course still have to pay for all my own incidentals (internet, gym/spa, room service, mini bar, etc...) and they're very good at making those add up quickly, so even without paying the actual room rate they're still making an alright sum off me.

I've played a fair bit since I got here and had no success. On Thursday I played the $5K buy-in tournament and busted early without much going right. The next day I played a $1500 satellite to the main event but played very poorly and wasn't really focused and busted early again. I then played some 25/50 NL live and lost a bit over $5K getting in some tough spots and making a few likely questionable/poor plays. Today I played the $5K tournament and hung in until just before the dinner break very card dead for the most part. I busted on a tricky hand which I think I'm fine with:

600/1200 a100. A player who has been playing a lot of hands and limping a fair bit limps in MP. He seemed to be a cash player so competent but making a lot of preflop mistakes on the shorter effective stacks. I find KJcc in the CO make it 4200 with ~27K behind, and it folds back to him and he calls. The flop comes Ah Jh 7s and I check behind. The turn is the 2s and he leads very big for 10K. I feel like his bet sizing is either a made hand protecting against the 2 flush draws or a semi-bluff. I thought he would raise a lot of aces preflop so it's a bit less likely he has an A, and there are tons of ways he can have a flush draw that I'm ahead of. With only 17K behind after the 10K bet I think it's a spot where I have to move in for value if I think he has a draw since the pot will be so big if I call that trying to play the river would really not be fun. In the end that's what I decided to do but he had ATo and I lost. I think there are more aces in his range than I originally gave him credit for since he can probably limp/call a bunch of suited aces as well as some offsuit ones with middling kickers but I still think he should have a draw often enough that stacking off was ok.

The $15K WPT main event starts Monday and Tuesday, and after that there is a $10K buy-in tournament at Caesar's that I didn't know about with a million dollar guaranteed first prize so I'll probably stay until the end of the month to play that as well. I'll probably also try to play more big cash games during the main event since they should be fairly good, but I'm still not a big fan of live cash at this point. Maybe I just need more experience but it can be pretty boring. Oh yeah I've also picked up one Adam Junglen as a roommate again on this trip as he just turned 21 today! So happy birthday to him! I thought I got rid of him after London but it seems I was mistaken. Oh yeah also Friday night was David 'Bakes' Baker's birthday so a bunch of us went out for beer pong at O'Shea's which was a fun time as always. There's not as many people here that I know as usual but more and more are arriving as we get closer to the main event so it should be a fun couple weeks!


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

WPT Niagara Day 2-3

The internet stopped working on my computer in the hotel room for some reason so I wasn't able to blog last night. I had a pretty crappy day despite getting up to as high as 94K pretty early. I then went pretty card dead and lost most of the pots I did play. I was in pushbot mode by the end of the day and stole the blinds a few times to get to 40K. Today I played all of one hand when I moved in with A9s in MP for 32K for whatever and didn't beat JJ even though I flopped a flush draw. Timex and stevepa are stll in though so gogogogo them. I'm gonna book a flight to Vegas asap and play as many Festa al Lago events at Bellagio as I can now.


Monday, October 13, 2008

WPT Niagara Day 1

Hey I finished day 1 with 49.5K which is about average (30K starting stack). We only played 5 levels so not too many people were eliminated. I don't really feel like there were enough really interesting hands that I want to write a detailed report. Also, I'm pretty tired and just don't really feel like it. We start up again at noon tomorrow.


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

EPT High Roller Day 2

Well as most people probably know by now I finished 3rd for 241K pounds. It was a tough tournament and I never had a ton of chips so I was pretty happy with the finish, and obviously it's by far my 2nd biggest cash ever. I guess a lot of the hands have been reported pretty accurately elsewhere so I'll try not to focus too much on those but I do want to write a little recap.

Early on I was able to pick up a few pots where I reraised David Benyamine but I was otherwise fairly card dead. Between the blinds getting big leaving me on an awkward stack size and the fact that 9th paid around 2.5 buy-ins making it a really big bubble I didn't have much choice but to play very tight. I hung in until the final table but entered with a pretty short stack. Then I started coolering the other shortstacks, first Isabelle with AK vs her AJ and then Masaki with 99 vs Q9. I lost the latter though but then immediately picked up AA vs David's KJ (probably didn't move me up his list of favourite people at all =/) to bust him and AKs vs Masaki's AQs to bust my 3rd player and move into 2nd chip position. I then lost a couple small pots including this hand which was my only really tough spot at the final table. Here's a cut/paste of the strategy post I made on 2+2:

Weird river spot, all of call, fold and shove seemed pretty reasonable.

Relevant history or whatever first. 5-handed, errbody is playing super solid TAG except Scotty on my left who's super nitting it up.

5k/10k a1k. Last orbit I raised UTG to 27K and Peter defended his BB. Flop came 228 I c-bet 36K and he called. Turn and river were low cards and we checked it down and his TT was good.

I think effective stacks were around 300K for this hand. Next orbit I raise UTG again to 27K with A9s. As I'm putting in the chips Peter says "trying again are u?" or something to that effect, and I say "If at first you don't succeed...." Can't imagine that's terribly important but included for the sake of completeness. Folds to him in the BB and he calls.

Flop AK8r. He checks and I check behind. I think betting is obv fine too but I didn't do that. Turn 5d making a backdoor flush draw. He bets 37K I call. River 4h, he bets 65K and I???

So I ended up folding and I guess the commentator's weren't pleased I took so long but obviously it was kind of a hard decision and big fold. I felt like AT-AQ were by far his most likely holdings as he probably wouldn't call a hand like A6s preflop so all I beat was a bluff which I also thought was pretty unlikely.

So after that I folded a lot into 3rd, then won a bunch of pots in a row including a double up with QT vs A8. But then I busted when Juanda opened the button to 56K at 10k/20k and I shoved 400K and change I think with A7o and ran into his AK. I'm not thrilled about that spot but the shove has to be +EV against any reasonable range he's opening on the button there. The only way I can really fold is if I suspect the button raiser has a much tighter opening range than usual because he doesn't want to have to fold to a shove again. I think I would have folded A6o though, not sure if that makes any sense mathematically or not but there you go.

So next up is WPT Niagara just down the road from Toronto for me! I'm playing Day 1c on Sunday. I always look forward to this one since it`s my "home" event so to speak. Right after that I'm heading to Bellagio for whatever prelims I can play and then the Festa al Lago WPT event. So lots more live poker coming up in the next few weeks, we'll see if the ol' luckbox has anything left.


Sunday, October 05, 2008

EPT High Roller Day 1

Just a quick post to update that I made it to day 2 of the High Roller tournament. I have 118K which is roughly average with 14 players left of 86 who started. I did the following skillful things to get my chips:

Cold 4-bet shoved 99 over Barry Greenstein's 3-bet of a crazy Scandi and beat his AA.

Got KK in preflop vs Chris Moneymaker's AA and rivered the K to crack them again.

Pussied out and checked behind the turn with A9ss when I turned a backdoor flush draw against Benyamine when I clearly should have semi-bluff shoved. River the card that makes my flush and also his trips to double up. I don't think I am David's favourite person these days.

We were supposed to play down to 9 but we stopped early at 2am instead with 14 left. Only 9 pay so hopefully I don't bubble and end up changing my flight for nothing. We start up at 1pm local time tomorrow. Once we get down to the final table you should be able to watch a live video stream of the final table with commentary on Not sure when that will start since we ended the day early but check it out, hopefully you'll see me there.


EPT HIgh Roller

Last minute decision I decided to play the High Roller event and was able to get myself bought in. It's a 20K+300 pound buy-in so like $36K USD. Capped at 100 players it's only a 2-day event so it should be a bit of a crap shoot but what's better than huge money crap shoots? Normally I can only lose like 10K playing tournaments on a Sunday. Going for the high score!


Friday, October 03, 2008

EPT London Day 2

Busto in 3rd level of the day. Only a couple of biggish hands.

Hand 1: 500/1000 a100 First hand of the day it folds to the SB who shoves his 11.3K stack. I find KTo in the BB and out luckbox his A3s to get to 46K.

Hand 2: 800/1600 a200 I don't do much for a bit and open AKs UTG to 4400 the first hand back from break when a couple people aren't back yet. French team Winamax lady who hasn't really done much shoves 13K more or something on the button and I'm in pretty ok shape against her KJo. Flop QJ6 two spades isn't ideal but I have lots of outs which I unfortunately brick.

Hand 3: I had shoved a couple hands in a row and then our table broke. At my new table I have 25.7K and Vicky Coren limps in EP. I find 88 next to act and while I'm a little worried she could be limping a big hand she plays so bad that I can't give her too much credit and there's enough in the pot now to easily justify shoving to try to pick it up. Folds back to her she says something about how she hasn't played with me maybe you're the type to actually have a hand at which I'm pretty sure I'm about to get nit-rolled. She eventually does call and her TT is easily good.

So in the end just another typical day in the life of Watts. I had a fun time but no luck with the ladies.


Thursday, October 02, 2008

EPT London Day 1a

Hey gang, I made day 2 of the EPT with 34.2K, which I think is somewhere in the vicinity of average. I only remember a couple big pots, I won a bunch of small ones I guess to chip up a bit in between. In general my tables were incredibly soft, gotta love the EPT.

Hand 1: 150/300 a25 last hand before break. Crazy french guy limps in MP as he does very frequently, I limp the CO with 66, SB completes and the BB shoves for around 5100. French guy folds and I eventually decide to reshove since the BB seemed pretty competent about shortstack play and I figured he was probably shoving super wide since the French guy is almost always folding and no one else really figures to have much of a hand. SB folds and BB has 44 which I hold against to get to roughly twice starting stack with just under 20K.

Hand 2: 300/600 a75 I'm up to 30K at this point, I won a few smallish pots when I flopped huge but somehow couldn't get any action, and I'm at a new table where I don't really know how people play yet. A middle aged british guy limps, devinr12 limps behind and I make it 3K in the SB with JJ. British guy calls and we see a Q76hh flop. I check and he bets 3K which I call. Turn is the 3c putting up a 2nd flush draw, I check and he checks. River 6d, I bet 5K trying to get paid by 88 or 99 and he quickly shoves. I think for a bit pretty confused as I didn't really think he had an A6s or 56s type hand but eventually end up folding because somehow they always have it. He told me on the break that he had quad 6s which I guess I'll believe. The rest of his play throughout the day also made me pretty confident in my fold.

Hand 3: Shortly after the last hand I'm down to around 15K when the HJ opens to 2025. I find AA in the CO and decide to flat call and guy from last hand calls in the BB. The flop comes 554r, and the BB leads out for 1300(?), HJ folds and I make it 5K. He thinks a bit and puts me in and I hold vs TT. No more big pots and I ended the day with 34.2K.

Day 2 is on Friday and I have today off while they play Day 1b. Hopefully I can make a little run and do that thing where I wait until the last tournament to turn an unsuccessful trip into a very profitable one again.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Made the break this year

WSOPE main event is just not my tournament. Last year I busted in level 1 with bottom set vs top 2 pair all-in on the flop, and this year I didn't fair much better. I survived level 1 but won only one pot which was just me picking up the blinds and chipped down to 15K. Then early in level 2 this hand happens:

100/200 Winamax French guy limps UTG, Devilfish limps in MP, I pop it to 1K with AJo in the CO and both call. Flop Ac Qd 6c. Both check to me and I bet 2K, Winamax folds Devilfish calls. Turn Js, check I bet 5K, he asks how much I have left and I show him my 6475. He thinks for a bit and calls. I am certain that he has clubs that picked up a straight draw. River Kd, he quickly bets enough to put me all-in. Sigh, I think it over for a bit and decide the only hands he can have are KQcc, KJcc, JTcc, T9cc, T8cc. I beat 2 of those 5 and I'm getting almost 4:1, but it comes down to a matter of weighting those hands properly. He needs to have KQ or KJ over 20% of the time for me to call, meaning that if he only bluffs with them on the river half the time that he has them I should fold. Now that I say it like that I actually think it's kind of an easy fold against David but I stuck it in and lost to T9. Oops. It was a tricky spot though and I'm not too upset about it.

So that just leaves EPT London which begins for me on October 1. Hopefully I can run/play better there.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Winning streak snapped at one

I was unable to extend my live tournament winning streak today in the 5K pound PLO tournament. I busted on the very last hand of the day getting all-in with the nuts on the turn but in unfortunately bad shape.

I had about 45K at 500/1000 when Allen Cunningham opened the button to 3K. I had JT98 with clubs in the SB and called, as did Andy Bloch in the BB. The flop came K87ssc. An ok but not great flop for my hand because of the presence of the flush draw. I check and Bloch leads out for 6K. Allen folded and I call. The turn is an offsuit J, I decide I can't risk him checking behind which I expect he will very often and just lead out for pot (21K). He quickly moves in and I call. Unfortunately my weak redraw to a full house doesn't look so great when he turns over QT9x with spades for the nuts as well with a massive redraw and rivers the As to bust me.

I play Day 1b of the WSOPE main event which I believe is Saturday. Hopefully I can get a new streak started in that event! Or at least make it to level 2 this year.


Monday, September 22, 2008

WCOOP over, off to London!

I didn't have much luck with my Sunday tournaments today. I managed a couple small cashes but lost a bit overall. I bubbled the WCOOP main event after being a bit unlucky. Things were actually going pretty smoothly for quite a while until this hand happened:

I fought for a little while on the shortstack and then made an aggressive resteal with 44 over some guy that was raising constantly and just way out of line in general. A supertight player behind me woke up with JJ though and by the river I was staring at quads again to bust within 15 or 20 from the money. Tonight I am off to London for WSOPE followed by EPT London. I'll be there for two weeks before returning home for WPT Niagara. First up is the 5K pound WSOPE Omaha event followed by the 10K pound main event and 5K pound EPT main event. It should be fun to get back to playing live again, and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone there as I haven't traveled since Bellagio.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

WCOOP success!

It wasn't the best event to final table but it was a fun one! I final tabled the $500 buy-in 2-7 NL single draw event of the WCOOP today and finished 2nd for $30K. This was the first and likely only WCOOP event that will have overlay. It had a $200K guarantee on it but only attracted 308 players, and even with the added money from PokerStars it was still the 3rd smallest prize pool of the WCOOP. So most of you are probably wondering what the hell is 2-7 NL single draw and since when do you know how to play it? Basically it's a 5-card draw game in which you try to make the worst possible poker hand and ace only counts for high, just like in triple draw. So 23457 is the nuts, 23467 is the 2nd nuts and so on. Straight and flushes count against you so any straight or flush is completely worthless. You're dealt 5 cards, there are blinds and antes, and a normal round of pre-draw betting just like preflop betting in NL Holdem. Then anyone still in the hand pitches any number of cards they want and gets fresh ones from the deck. Another round of betting just like in NL Holdem and then hands get shown down.

Because there are only two rounds of betting once you know some of the math behind drawing cards it's actually not that complicated a game. I had never played it before today, and while I obviously am still far from an expert I already feel pretty comfortable playing it in a tournament setting. I definitely think it's a game that anyone with a solid understanding of general poker theory and some basic lowball math could learn to play fairly competently very quickly. Lucky for me I guess no one knew that so the field stayed small and there was an overlay. I was chipleader for much of the final table but lost a couple big pots where I ran big hands into bigger hands and then battled on the shortstack for a while. I was well behind in chips when we got heads up but I was able to chip up a little and get within 2.5:1 at one point. It just wasn't meant to be I guess as my opponent kept hitting draw after draw and making monster hands. If I had just stuck to my gameplan of trying to grind him down I may have had a chance to come back, but eventually I went for a big bluff after the draw and ran into the third best hand in the game: 23567, a completely unreasonably enormous hand to run into in a HU game. I don't think my play on the final hand was all that good but I don't think it's terrible either. Anyways it's nice to finally achieve some WCOOP success, hopefully I can build on that over the remaining events.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Not so crazy about WCOOP

I never thought it was possible for a tournament to have too good a structure, for there to be too much time to gain an advantage through skillful play. But these WCOOP events are crazy! 14 hours for a $200 razz tournament? Really? It's great for the really big events, but trying to do it every day is just draining. At some point I'm just like can't we just get it all-in and flip coins for all the money already? This past week was mostly smaller events and the upcoming week is a lot more big events though so hopefully that will keep me focused. I didn't cash a single WCOOP event this week of the dozen I played, though most days I grinded for many hours before busting still not even that close to the money! I did min cash a couple 2nd chance events though. I also had a really rough week at PLO. The first couple days I ran really hot and was crushing, but the last 4 days or so I've been getting killed. I think I'll post some of the bigger hands in my DB and do a little strategy talk for the rest of this entry since I haven't done that in a while. Unfortunately the main site I've been playing on lately doesn't import into Poker Tracker so I don't have all those gems, so these hands will all be 5/10 and 10/20. First a few winners. - iPoker has the worst hand history format ever sorry about the mess. Anyways I repot AKQQhhdd from out of position preflop and get called. Flop top pair, a gutter and the nut flush draw so I'm going to play the hand strong. He peels the flop and peels the turn so I figure he probably has a draw, or possibly a hand like a set of jacks or top two pair that doesn't believe I have AA. On the river I figure he either just made his hand or he really hates that card. When I check my hand looks like a scared top set so I figure he will value bet all his draws that got there and possibly turn hands like AJ into a bluff instead of checking it down. I'm not sure if this is better than just potting it myself and hoping he puts me on a naked ace bluff or something but it worked this time.
- I raise it preflop with a hand that plays well after the flop. Being out of position sucks but I feel like some people play such terrible hands that this hand has so much value in a 3-way pot that not raising would be a mistake. And again, it's a hand that shouldn't be too hard to play after the flop, not something like bad aces. The flop spot is actually pretty gross. Obviously I have a much bigger hand than he likely gives me credit for but with the flush draw out there it's hard for me to ever be in very good shape: If I run into a set I'm obviously in big trouble or if I run into a big combo straight + flush draw or something similar I'm also going to be an underdog, and these are obviously some of his mostly likely hands when he makes that raise. However, it's important to notice here that I don't have a dry top two pair. I also have a gutshot which is going to add a lot equity to my hand. Not only because I can make a straight but because if he has a straight draw himself (say a hand like QT98 with clubs) I have a lot of "blockers". That is, I have one of the nines and one of the tens that he would need, and an 8 would make me a straight too so he'd only chop. When I showed Tom (aka LearnedFromTV, one of my Vegas roommates) this hand we both ended up agreeing that if I didn't have those blockers I should probably fold to the raise against most players at these limits, but having them gives me enough value to get it in. As it turns out I was in really good shape and hit my freeroll to scoop the pot.

Now some losers. Set over set is not an automatic win in this game Again, you can see the value of having extra strengths in your hand to play defense against draws and give you an escape hatch when you run into a bigger hand. - This time I have the smaller set. We`re deep enough that I really wanted to fold to his shove but with 2 flush draws out there I don't think I can.

There also a bunch of standard hands where I get it in with huge draws against made hands or the opposite and I win some and lose some, and pots where I get a bunch of money in preflop with AAxx and pray I hold or against AAxx and try to suck out. Some I win, some I lose. So basically PLO is a swingy game and can be very frustrating when you`re on the wrong end of a bunch of these in a row. Hopefully this week goes better! I`m taking Monday off and then jumping back in full speed ahead.


Monday, September 08, 2008


Well WCOOP started this weekend. I'm off to a fairly decent start so far, cashing 3 of the first 4 events I played (I skipped Friday to go to a stag). No real big cashes though unfortunately. On Saturday I played the $215 limit holdem and $215 2-7 triple draw. I cashed the holdem event but unfortunately not the triple draw once my beginner's luck wore off. I did a lot of reading and practiced a little for that game and I think I at least have an ok understanding of the basics now. I actually like the game a lot there's a ton of action it just sucks when you keep bricking your draws. I can imagine the game would be incredibly frustrating at times and very high variance. Anyhow today was Sunday so I played a ton of tournaments. The WCOOP had the biggest buy-in online MTT ever. A $10K buy-in 2 Million guaranteed event. It ended up attracting a field of 321 players and first pays $617K. I won a really big pot in the early-middle stages when I got all-in 3 ways with KK vs AA and JJ and promptly flopped top set. I chipped up a bit from there and made the money but then was quickly eliminated in 2 consecutive hands where I shoved on the short stacked BB from the SB with A5o and lost to his KQ, and then shoved my now shortstack on the button the very next hand with AQ and ran into his AK in the SB. I got about 17.6K for 42nd though so still an ok little profit. I also went very deep in the $500 NLHE WCOOP event with over 7000 runners but busted ~270th when I made a maybe questionable squeeze play with the A8o. I think it was probably fine though since as I was quite sure the SB never had a big hand I was just unlucky to run into the button's JJ.

I've also been playing a little 25/50 and 50/100 PLO when I see my favourite fish sitting and I had a very profitable weekend at that. I was lucky enough to finally make some big hands against him and he paid me off nicely. One of my favourite parts of PLO is when the fish that play every hand complain about how I always seem to have a bigger flush than them and don't seem to have any idea why that might not just be random chance. Tomorrow there is a $200 6-max PLO and $320 8-game mixed event on the WCOOP schedule which both sound like lots of fun. I'm going to keep playing almost all the events and hopefully I'll make my first WCOOP final table this year.


Monday, September 01, 2008

A Little Update

Well, it's been a while since my last entry mostly because nothing super exciting poker-wise has been going on. I helped my sister move to Montreal last weekend so I didn't play any tournaments, but I did have a good time during the few days I spent there. It was actually the first time I'd ever really been in Montreal other than the airport, and I have a few friends from home living there so it was cool to catch up with them and see the city a bit. I've gotten back into the online routine a bit more lately though. I haven't been playing many tournaments during the week as I've been focusing more on PLO instead, but this weekend I put in a really big tourney grinding session.

PLO has been going ok I guess. My results at 5/10 and 10/20 on non-Cake sites have not been very good lately, but I've had a couple more good sessions at 25/50 on Cake when certain players are in the game. I feel like it's mostly just that I haven't been running as hot at the smaller stakes games which is not surprising because the variance in PLO is pretty huge. The games may also have gotten slightly tougher on one of the non-US sites I play on a lot, but I still feel like I'm learning and playing well, I just need to be careful not to drift onto autopilot too much because that's when I get sloppy. Also I have some pretty terrible fancy play syndrome at times but I guess that's part of trying new things and seeing what works.

As for tournaments I had a very good weekend. On Saturday I finished 2nd in the $300 tournament on Party for $9K. Again I was kind of upset with myself for blowing a chip lead heads up but whatever. I had a very good Sunday though. First, I finished 6th in the $500 tournament on Party for $4K, and I also came close to winning a WPT Niagara seat on Party as well. No worries though because I won a $12K package to that event later in the evening on Cake! I was also deep in the $200 rebuy on Stars as I kept winning the important coinflips but finally ran out of luck finishing in 4th place for $21K. So overall it was a very profitable Sunday which always feels nice!

I'm pretty excited for WCOOP which is starting this Friday. I'm looking forward to having a good excuse to try to learn and play some of the weird games almost as much as the huge NL Holdem and PLO events. I play basically all the HORSE games with some basic level of competence but I've never really played any draw games sober before and they seem pretty interesting. I'm thinking I may try to fit in some kind of crash course in 2-7 triple draw in the next week so I can at least know enough of the basics in that game to feel reasonably comfortable. The great thing about WCOOP is there are tons of players in all the events that don't really know how to play the games either so a decent crash course would likely be enough to make me +EV since I tend to pick up the basics of games pretty quickly. If that doesn't work I have my usual strategy to fall back on: Play bad, run good!

Well I guess that's about all I've got for now. I hope people are enjoying their long weekend and best of luck to everyone heading back to school for the fall!


Monday, August 18, 2008

Sundays and.... Cats?

I have finally started playing a bunch of poker again the last few days with FTOPS running. It hasn't gone especially well though, but at the same time I guess it hasn't gone that poorly either. The stakes I'm playing are sort of all over the place, from big FTOPS tournaments to high stakes PLO shots to midstakes PLO grinding and some mid-high NL Holdem cash. I just play whatever looks fun or whichever games look good and try to luckbox some buyins. I know I've lost each of the last 3 days but I couldn't really say how much, nor do I especially seem to care, other than to know that there were no really ugly numbers. I feel like my play has been a bit weak at times but overall pretty reasonable, however I think some of the high stakes shots have hurt my focus when I'm grinding smaller stakes. Right now I don't really feel like talking about anything too serious poker related though, and instead I'm going to tell you about kitties. Before reading on please refer to this xkcd comic as an explanation of the inane ramblings that will follow:

So a few weeks before I went to Vegas for 7 weeks or whatever it was this summer my roommates adopted two kittens. They were tiny and adorable and they quickly grew fond of their uncle Mike (who could blame them), as I did of them. I've never been a big pet person, but as I didn't have to do most of the work in taking care of them and they were unbearably cute it was actually pretty fun to have them around. There was a grey kitten who got named Clementine, and her brother was a black kitty named Clover, because they just weren't cute enough on their own so you must use alliteration in naming them I guess. I've always said that the main problem with kittens is they grow up and become cats, and unfortunately while I was in Vegas I missed out on much of the fun times while they were still kittens. So when I finally get back here after Vegas they are of course much bigger, and therefore much bigger trouble makers. Generally when I want to get something done on the computer I have to close my bedroom door to keep them out, or else they will try to type for me, or they will climb all over my room and kick stuff everywhere, or my personal favourite is when they climb my chair and I turn quickly or rock in it or whatever which knocks them off balance, and their first instinct is to dig their claws into whatever is closest to stop their fall. Unfortunately this is usually my back. Now that being said they are still super adorable when they get tired of running around like crazy breaking stuff. However, I no longer feel their cute little alliterative names are as appropriate, so I now prefer to call them by the simple descriptive "grey cat" and "black cat". Actually I have no idea why I do that I just get bored of real names like everyone.

So moving back towards the realm of poker somewhat, I was grinding Sunday tournaments as usual today and things were not going well. I was busting out of everything quickly and pretty short stacked in the few I had open. The kitties weren't too crazy today though so I left my door open so they could come hang and maybe pick up a few tips for their home game. I was relatively short stacked in the FTOPS main event when grey cat came in and cuddled up on my lap. I immediately got dealt KK and doubled up, and then on the very next hand I got dealt KK again and doubled once more, after which I exclaimed "Grey cat are lucky cat!". I continued to build my stack while grey cat rested, but eventually she ran off again and everything went to shit and all I could manage was a couple min cashes. I was also down a bunch from short stacking some big PLO and 50/100 NL cash games, but now that I had screen space open I noticed a rare 50/100 PLO game running on Cake. I had never seen such a thing but it quickly became apparent the game was very good so I decided to buy-in short and try to run it up. I quickly succeeded in running my 2K buy-in up to 11K under the watchful eye of grey cat, but when she left I donked it back down to 1K. However grey cat later returned and decided to nap on my desk:

At this point I went on a big heater and ran my stack all the way back up to $22.5K by the end of the session to save my day (unfortunately I kept playing some other tables after grey cat awoke and left and I lost a few grand back). So that is the story of my Sunday. I leave you with a picture of black cat.


Monday, August 11, 2008

Here, there, and everywhere

I imagine that title will apply to the content of this blog entry as well as it does to what I've been doing the last week or so. I still haven't played a whole lot of poker since Bellagio, though I finally put in the typical huge Sunday session today. Before I get into that though I have to give a shoutout to Joe Atanas for winning the first annual Olympafalloza or some such spelling last weekend. Basically, a bunch of my university buddies got together in Brantford and played a series of sporting events to determine an overall champion. While it became clear that the poker:sports ratio in my life has gotten a bit high which was apparent in my performance, Joe was solid throughout. And of course there were celebrations afterwards, the whole thing was a great idea and lots of fun.

So then I took care of a few odd tasks this week, while also just being lazy and relaxing in general. Surprisingly there wasn't all that much playing poker involved though. I did my "well" on 2+2 which took a decent amount of time but I think turned out pretty well and hopefully some people learned a lot from it. It definitely seemed like a great way to give back to the forums where I learned so much. So while I wasn't playing much I was definitely back to reading and thinking and poker all the time, not that I ever really take much of a break from that. Then this weekend was Steve Paul-Ambrose's wedding in Picton, near Kingston. First however, another aside.

Meeting Steve and through him Aaron and Mike (PacMann and timex) was probably a key point in my development as a player. While posting on forums was great, I had never really had friends at/above my level to bounce ideas and hands off of all the time. It quickly became a routine for us to get together on Sundays and grind our tournaments in the same room, and that was so much more fun than grinding in my room by myself, and much more educational. I think we all learned so much from each other and were such talented people to begin with that the group having great success was inevitable, though I'm sure none of us could have imagined how quickly and to what extent it would come. Anyways, the point is that Steve luckboxing a donkament and being such a friendly guy to meet complete strangers like me and timex probably changed our lives as much as it changed his. In short, stevepa is the fucking man.

So back on topic, Steve and his wife Nathalie were high school sweethearts in Kingston and went to Waterloo together. Both are super nice, intelligent, talented and caring people who completely deserve each other. I couldn't be happier for them. The wedding was really nice and a lot of fun. The venue was perfect and thankfully the rain held off. Aaron delivered a hilarious speech after we had been needling him for about an hour straight about how he couldn't possibly compete with the previous speeches. He came through huge though and knocked it out of the park, and even the one mistake he made was accidental comedic gold and had us in tears. Steve had way more moves on the dance floor than anyone could have predicted :P. Aaron and Mike were both groomsmen and since I hadn't seen them much all summer I suggested we hang out Saturday night and watch the UFC card, and then grind Sundays together like the good ol days. So I drove back to Waterloo with them Saturday morning and I've been hanging at Aaron's place here since. The UFC card was very good and Sundays weren't bad either.

OK so on to some poker. I played the full noon to 9pm Sunday schedule today and had a pretty good day. I went deep in a bunch of tournaments as I was running exceptionally well all day in the early-mid stages, just winning every race whether I got it in ahead or behind. Unfortunately I lost a few key hands deep and missed out on the really big scores. I had a 21st place finish in the OnGame big deal and 22nd in the 2pm huge $100 rebuy on Stars. I won a WCOOP main event satellite which paid the $5200 seat for my biggest win of the day. I also cashed the $200 rebuy on Stars and I think I had one other small cash as well. All-in-all my cashes must have added up to around $10K, so I made a nice little profit on the day. I'm definitely planning to play a lot more FTOPS events this week, but I have softball games a few nights so I'll likely end up missing a few. I may end up playing a bunch of PLO cash instead to keep my hours more flexible. Speaking of PLO I took one brief shot at 200/400 this week when I was bored and felt like gambling. I ran my 8K buyin up to 30K pretty quickly winning a flip against Gus to double to around 15K and then getting him in drawing dead to double again. Still not planning to play that game much though at least until I get a bunch more hands in grinding midstakes.

My next live events will be WSOP Europe and EPT London, which both take place in London from late September to early October. I've got all my flights and hotel booked now and I'm looking forward to it. As much as I would love to do EPT Barcelona again, WCOOP (World Championship of Online Poker on PokerStars) is so big this year that I think it makes more sense to relax at home and just concentrate on online during that period. London should be a lot of fun though as I'm playing the 10K PLO (5K pound), and 20K NLHE main event (10K pound) of WSOP Europe, and then the 10K EPT London main event, and possibly even the 40K buy-in high roller event after that. I may play a few more live events this fall than I did last year but I still don't feel like I want to be following the circuit and traveling all the time, especially during the summer when it's so nice here anyways. Shortly after that is WPT Niagara, my home event so to speak, and then I'll probably do Festa al Lago at Bellagio after that since they seem to like me there now :-).

Well I think that's about enough for now, I should get a little sleep. The only other thing I can say is I'm looking forward to some epic trip reports from the TwoRags guys that made it down to Fresno to visit Kyle at his casino this weekend.


Monday, August 04, 2008

Well..... I played some poker today

I didn't get back home until around 2:30 so I missed most of the eurodonkaments, but I played most of the usual later Sunday tournaments on Stars and Full Tilt. It was my first real poker session since the WPT win but I feel like my play was still pretty solid. I only managed a couple min-cashes but that's hardly an atypical Sunday result. I did get a little bit bored at times today, but again I don't think that's really all that uncommon when I'm playing a long session and things aren't going great. Basically, I don't think the prospect of winning *only* 30K for first is boring to me now or anything like that. However, one of my goals post WSOP was always going to be to play a lot more cash games. In particular, I want to to play a lot of 5/10 and 10/20 PLO now that I can play on all the European sites again and get really good at that game, since I feel like there's a lot more money there right now and it's a new and exciting challenge. However, FTOPS is starting on Wednesday so that will undoubtedly sucker me back into the world of donkaments.

It seems like life is starting to move back towards normal now. Having seen timex win and talked to Steve about his win I had some idea what to expect, and it seems like the 2 weeks or so when things are pretty hectic before it dies back down a bit is fairly standard. It's been a great two weeks though, that's for sure. Doing interviews, signing autographs, and having 7-figures in my bank account before I turn 25.... 4 years ago I figured I'd probably be a moderately successful mathematician writing papers that half a dozen people in the world might ever read, and the only people asking for my signature would be students looking to drop my class. Being a poker player you quickly learn to just roll with whatever comes your way, and you become pretty desensitized to the value of money since you're constantly winning and losing so much of it. Even as I write this paragraph about how crazy this has been, it's clear to me that I still really lack the perspective to truly appreciate it. I can only imagine how I'll look back at this whole thing in 5 or 10 years when I probably won't be playing poker anymore and laugh.

In other news I am doing a "The Well" thread on the 2+2 MTT Community Forum this week. It's basically just a thread where people can ask me whatever the hell they want and hopefully I will respond with something that is fairly intelligent and everyone will learn something. Bed time,


Monday, July 21, 2008

The Aftermath

The last few days have been really hectic. I got maybe 2 hours sleep before my flight and felt pretty terrible until I finally got a little extra sleep on the plane. When I got home I tried to quickly catch up a bit on reading all the congratulations from friends, family, and well, basically everyone. My phone was constantly vibrating alerting me of another text message or phone call I had missed, there were threads hundreds of posts long on all the poker forums I read, and countless e-mails and Facebook wall posts. It was really kind of overwhelming to hear from so many friends and family in such a short period all saying how happy they were for me. After that I went to a little party with my sister and some friends which was a lot of fun. As exhausted as I was I'm glad it wasn't anything too crazy. Still, I didn't get home until 4am and between talking to people online and reading some more of the threads i didn't get to sleep until 6.

At 1pm on Saturday I was awoken by my friend Cam informing me he was on his way to kidnap me. Before I was abducted I decided to check my account balance and see if the wire transfer had arrived yet. Sure enough, even with the 30% withholding because I`m Canadian that I can`t file to get back until next year, as well as a few other deductions like Bond`s 5%, I still had a 7-figure balance. I just felt like including that because I've got to get a solid brag in here somewhere. Anyways, again my phone was buzzing all day, and I did a few more phone interviews and talked to even more friends and family. Otherwise we had a fun relaxing day and then we partied pretty hard all night. Again I woke up still tired and got some brunch before making my way home. Today I`ve been making my best effort to send thank you`s to everyone who has sent me congratulations. I haven`t quite gotten through all of them but I`m getting there. If for whatever reason I haven`t gotten to you yet or somehow I missed you, just know that I really appreciate it. I also booked a flight back to St. John`s for Wednesday because I've got to go see my parents and all my friends there. I'm really looking forward to it because Newfoundlanders are always especially proud when one of our own accomplishes something big like this, apparently it's been huge news there and it's going to be great to get back and see everyone. Also we do kind of know how to party a little bit.

At the risk of making this an exceptionally long post I do want to finish my write-up of the key hands of the tournament just for the sake of completeness and in case some of you just can't "wait to see it on TV". I'll start with day 4:

Hand 1: 12k/24k a3k Benyamine limps the SB and I raise 50K more in the BB with AJo. He calls and the flop comes JT3 all spades. He checks and I decide to check behind (I don't have a spade). Certainly betting here is the more standard and probably slightly better play but there's plenty of merit in playing it this way too. The turn pairs the 3, and he leads huge for 180K. This bet seems really strong to me but I have a huge hand considering the action so far so I'm obviously not folding. I call and the river is the 9c. He checks and I decide to go for a huge value bet that I`m hoping he will perceive as a bluff. I bet 450K and he quickly calls with JTo. Oops. I don`t think I like my big bet considering his bet size on the turn but I also can`t really imagine checking this hand behind.

Hand 2: Glen Chorny has the button in Seat 7 and Mike Watson raises to 66,000 from the cut off. Chorny reraises 180,000 total and Per Ummer asks how much he has left. Chorny informs him he has around 490,000 and Ummer folds. Watson thinks for a minute or two before moving all-in and Chorny quickly calls.

Chorny has AA and Watson is behind with 1010. The flop comes K53 and the aces are still ahead, but a 10 on the turn gives Watson his set and leaves Chorny drawing to two outs. The river is the 5 and Chorny is eliminated in 14th place. Watson is up to 2,350,000.

He had shoved on my button raise the hand before and I muttered something about how I should have known that was coming eventually as I folded. Most players are not reraising you light the 2nd time in a row because they don`t expect you to believe them as much when they`ve done it twice in a row and his bet-sizing also looks really strong. On the other hand I have TT in steal position against a 28xBB stack. Gross spot I think I probably should have folded but I executed the play bad run good system instead.

Hand 3: Mike Watson has the button in seat 6, Gabe Thaler raises to 70,000 from under the gun, Mike Watson reraises to 220,000, and Adam Geyer moves all in for 860,000. Thaler folds, and Watson calls. Watson shows AK and Geyer shows AQ. The board comes KJ254 and Geyer is eliminated in 13th place earning $64,640. Mike Watson runs his stack up to 3,500,000.

I`m not really sure why he moved in here. Gabe was playing very solid and it`s really unlikely I would reraise light here. I think he actually moved in for 860K more not total but anyways I just can`t fold because I know for sure he would never fold AK or QQ there and I`m getting the right price against that range, and while I didn`t know enough about him to really think he was shoving light I was at least aware that it was a possibility.

Hand 4: Hand #104 - David Benyamine has the button in seat 5, John Phan raises from the cutoff to 240,000, Mike Watson reraises from the big blind to 700,000, and Phan calls. The flop comes K42, Watson bets 1 million, and Phan tanks for nearly 10 minutes before Gabe Thaler calls the clock on him.

With about 10 seconds left, Phan reveals his cards and indicates a fold. Phan folded QQ face up. Mike Watson doesn't show his cards as he collects the pot.

I had Q3o. There was a hand shortly before this where Phan made a huge open raise to 400K (5xbb) in the SB and showed Benyamine QQ after David folded. I knew that meant for whatever reason he did not want to play a big pot before we got to the final TV table so I decided I was going to make a play on him preflop if I got the chance. He thought forever and then called which really surprised me. I thought he was just doing his usual routine and never really thought he`d actually call. I felt like he had a hand like JJ or TT a lot so when the king flops I think it`s pretty automatic to fire again and the longer he took the better I began to feel that he was going to fold.

At the final table I mostly just coolered the hell out of everyone. The only big pot I can remember where I didn`t show my hand was this one:

Hand 5: Mike Watson has the button, he raises to 400,000, and Benyamine calls. The flop comes 7d 4c 2c, and both players check. The turn card is the 10h, Benyamine bets 700,000, and Watson calls. The river card is the Jc, Benyamine bets 1.4 million, Watson thinks for a bit before he moves all in for a total of roughly 5.3 million, and Benyamine goes into the tank for more than a minute before he folds. Mike Watson takes the pot.

I had 98o here.

OK this has gotten pretty long and I should get a good sleep. I really have no idea what`s next for me. For the time being I`m just going to keep taking things as they come and enjoy the moment.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Holy crap I won

Wow I run good. Wow. Wow. Wow. I'll write more about the final table later after I've slept or something. I just wanted to say thanks to everyone for all the kind wishes and support. I'll try to thank everyone personally later but I have flight back to Toronto in 5 hours and I haven't slept yet. Just so sick it played out like it was scripted or something. It's like how you dream it would play out but that's never supposed to be how it actually happens. So crazy.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bellagio Cup Day 4

Hey, it was another long day and I'm pretty tired so I'm just going to write something here quickly. I'm the chip leader heading into the final table of 6 tomorrow with 5.06 million. It was a pretty sick day, I tried to monkey off my stack at one point but I failed by sucking out on Choron pretty bad with TT vs AA preflop. Right after that csimmsux monkeyed off a million to me with AQ vs my AK preflop and I was chip leader again. With 9 left everything slowed to a crawl and I went up and down a little playing pretty much only small pots. I started to pick up some hands as the night wore on though and built my stack up over 4 million. Then I won a fairly big pot against John Phan where I reraised him preflop and he called, the flop came K-hi and after 10+ minutes of thinking he folded QQ face up to my 1 million chip bet. The day ended shortly after that. The final table is fairly tough, with myself, my friend Luke "IWEARGOGGLES", John Phan, Ralph Perry, David Benyamine, and Gabe Thaler. All the hands from the final table today appear to be posted on

Tomorrow is the "televised" final table (in quotations because sadly WPT does not have a TV deal yet for this season :-(). I have to do the whole deal with makeup, interviews, etc etc.... The final table starts at 5PM PST, but I have to be at Bellagio around 1 for all that stuff beforehand. There should be more interviews of me up on and if you want to see me look goofy in front of a camera some more. I need to get some sleep, one more day of run good please for 1.67 million!


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bellagio Cup Day 3

Well, I had another super sick day at the Bellagio Cup. I was chip leader for most of the day and finished with 2.272 million chips to take a solid chip lead into Day 4 tomorrow. There are 32 players left and we'll play down to the final TV table of 6 players. We played 7 levels today so play went pretty late, so this is going to have to be a quick blog so I can get some sleep. I ran my stack up early in the day by making the toppest pair against Thayer a few times in some medium sized pots and abusing the bubble a little bit to get to 625K after the first 2 levels. After that I basically just played very solid for the rest of the day and was lucky to make a lot of hands. Here are the 2 key pots I played where I got most of my chips:

Hand 1: 4k/8k a1k I have around 700K and open 99 to 22k in EP. A player who seems kind of weak flat calls on the button with around 600-700K and a french player Philippe calls in the BB with around 500K as best I can recall. Flop A93 with two hearts. Philippe leads for 40K and I decide my best way to get action is to call and slowplay here a bit as he's the type to just lead out with an ace here and I don't want to scare him out. Also, this gives the button the chance to make a mistake (such foreshadowing). The button calls. Turn is another 3. Philippe checks and I bet 100K. The button raises to 350K, Philippe thinks for a long time before folding an ace, and I move in. Button calls and shows 34ss. Lucky for me as an ace hits on the river. I had around 1.4M after this hand.

Hand 2: 5k/10k a 1k Peter Costa had raised the previous hand and shown kings or some such monster when everyone folds, and in this hand it folds around to him in the CO and he quickly raises to 30K again. I have A9hh on the button and am considering reraising, but something about the way he raised seems very strong to me. I decide not to reraise but then instead of just folding I ended up calling, which is probably a mistake considering my read. Both blinds call and the flop comes K87 with two hearts. Peter bets 80K, I call, and both blinds fold. The turn is the 6h. Peter checks and I bet 160K which he calls. The river is a blank, he checks and I bet 400K which he eventually calls. Someone told me he apparently had KK here which I'm inclined to believe. After this hand I was up to around 2.2M.

After the day was over I did a couple quick interviews with WPT and CardPlayer which you can find on the respective websites. I was named the "Blue Diamond Almonds bold player of the day", which earns me free almonds for the year, one package per week. I am uncertain what is particularly bold about making the nuts a bunch of times and getting paid off, but I do like my almonds so I kept my mouth shut about that. Ahaha I just realized I "made the nuts" one more time even after the day was over! ahahaha. I just found that way too funny I clearly need to get some sleep. Night y'all,


Oh yeah updates over on, I guess now too, and I'll be phoning them in to as well on breaks.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bellagio Cup Day 2

Out of nowhere I ended up having a sick day 2. I won two key huge pots in the last level to vault my stack over 400K. I finished with 427K which must be top 5 in chips with 125 left. The payout structure for this tournament is weird, as it pays 100 spots but there were only 445 runners, so over 22% of the field makes the money which seems really excessive. I have no problem with paying more spots in such a big buy-in tournament but wow. Anyways, here's a rundown of how I got my chips. My table draw was excellent as I recognized almost no one at my table. In level 1 I didn't do too much though and lost a few chips from my 36K starting count. In level 2 I was able to double up without showdown when I kept picking up hands like TT or JJ after a whole bunch of people limped and throwing in a big raise. People either folded preflop or called then folded to my flop bet every time. Level 3 I chipped down slightly again without too much happening.

Hand 3: I'm down to about 55K at 800/1600 a200. I open black AA to 4800, a shortstack calls all-in for 4500 and then the BB makes it 17K. I shove and he calls. The BB shows red QQ and shortstack has KdQ. Can't ask for much better than that. Flop: Jd9d8d. GG Vegas it's been another fun summer. Turn small black card. River small black card. Holy crap.

Hand 4: There is a Russian guy on my right who has been playing very sporadically all day. He's limped or raised and called huge reraises several times with weak hands like suited connectors and then just got it in when he flopped draws. More often than not he hit and he has a lot of chips. He's played extremely passively when he has big hands though and failed to get value with them whenever he's leading the betting.

1k/2k a300. Russian limps in the HJ and I make it 7K with A9o next to act. The SB calls and the Russian calls. Flop A84 rainbow. Both check and I decide to check behind. The turn is the 2d, putting two diamonds on board. SB checks and the Russian bombs out 30K into the 25K pot, and immediately I just thought this doesn't make any sense. He's never bet this hard with a big hand, and all of the big hands that are possible on this board there's a good chance he would have raised with preflop in late position. It seems overwhlemingly likely that he's limped in with another suited connector that he loves to play so much and is now just semi-bluffing with a big drawing hand when he picked up a flush draw on the turn. I count down my stack as I think and realize I only have 53K more after his 30K bet so if I go with my read I'm going to have to commit my stack and move in to get maximum value from his draw. That's what I finally decide to do and he calls quickly and shows 8d7d. OK now I just need to fade a third of the deck again, and when the 2 pairs on the river I do just that and have a 200K stack.

Hand 4: After that the Russian seems to just be on massive tilt for whatever reason and is moving all-in preflop around 2/3 of the hands even though he still has plenty of chips. He loses another race to drop to 50K but people keep folding to him for some reason when he shoves on their raises so he builds that back up a bit. It folds to him on the button and he open shoves probably somewhere in the 80-100K range. It would be a good time to find a hand I'm thinking as I look down at QQ and shove in. The BB, with a bit over 100K or so I guess, thinks for a bit and then makes the overcall with JJ. Wow. Yet again I fade all the bad cards and bust two players to increase my stack to around 400K.

Hand 5: The very next hand a shortstack moves all-in UTG for 25K. I find AJo on the button and make the call. I flop a jack and hold against his KTs to bust my third player in two hands. I end the day with 427K.

Hopefully my table draw for tomorrow will be as good as it was today, but the field in this tournament is fairly tough so I doubt I will be so lucky. I'll start calling in some updates to TwoRags tomorrow during the breaks to keep you all up to date. The only place doing live reporting for this event seems to be so you can also check in there to see how I'm doing.