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.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Bellagio Cup Day 1

Today was a really fun day at Bellagio Cup, but I finished with a sour taste in my mouth when I lost a bunch of chips in the last orbit, which is really unfortunate because it was probably the most fun I've had at a poker table in a long time before that. Devo was on my right (MaverickUSC), shaniac on my left and Raymond Davis 2 to my right and we cracking jokes the entire day, I've never laughed so hard at a poker table. We started with 45K in chips and the structure is obviously very good. I didn't do much in level 1 before I played a couple really weird hands in level 2.

Hand 1: 100/200 John Pham raises to 625 UTG, one call, and I make it 2625 in the SB with AA. Shaniac cold calls in the BB and both others call. Flop JT5 two diamonds and I decide to check because betting out and getting raised would make me cry a lot, though I'm not sure this is any better. It's definitely the type of board I have to be a bit worried about a set on though. Shaniac bets 5500 and Phan calls. I also call because I still don't really know wtf is going on. Turn Ad. I decide I probably just have to bet and protect my hand even if it might cost me action so I fire 20K and both fold.

Hand 2: I open 97hh to 700 on the button. Ray Davis defends his BB. Flop T52 two hearts. I bet 1150 and he checkraises to 2500. I call. Turn Jc, he bets 2500 and I pussy out and just call. River As, he checks and i don't think I can really represent anything credibly and he's kind of a station so I check behind and give up. He table Q8o and wins and I want to kill myself.

Hand 3: I busted a guy with AQs vs A7 who clearly was a weak player looking to get out of there and then I won a bunch of small pots to get as high as 70K. I'm down to about 62K before the last level of the day when these 2 hands happen:

Hand 3: 300/600 a75 Richard Lee opens to 2000 in MP, I make it 6K with AKs and he instaships all-in. WTF. I just muck my hand since as suspicious as this looks I can't imagine I'm ever in good shape against his range here.

Hand 4: I open AJo to 1800 in EP and Lee defends his BB. Flop AT9 I decide to check behind. Turn T, he checks I bet 2500 and he makes it 7500. Siiiiiiiiigh. i've seen him so some spazzy stuff today so I call. River K he bets 11K and I pay it off, QTs is good. So I finish the the day with 36K and I am just enraged.

After that we go to Fix where we wait for 15 minutes to get a table we had reserved. I am already on megatilt from donking up the last hand before the end of the day and that just makes it worse. The service is really bad but at least the food is pretty good. Throughout the entire meal I am just furious though. As much as I know I have to be realistic about my skills in poker, to not have an ego, and to not get upset with myself when I make a bad play, there is still some part of me deep down that holds myself to impossibly high standards. I always expect the best of myself and anything less is unacceptable. That and being up chips all day until the final hand just really really pissed me off. I'm still kind of livid. I guess those high standards/expectations are a big part of what has made me successful at a lot of things, but at the same time as mellow and relaxed as I typically try to be there is a huge part of me that can not accept making mistakes and failing when it's my own fault and I should know better. Bad beats roll off me like nothing, but fucking up a hand the same way I've fucked it up 5 times before and still never learned drives me crazy. Oh yeah then I lost credit card roulette but it was only a $400 meal so whatever.

In other credit card roulette related news a bunch of us went to Prime Friday night, the steakhouse in Bellagio, to celebrate gobbo's big win and our general awesomeness or whatever. I had some ballin Kobe beef sampler of 3 different cuts of steak and it was exceptionally delicious. The servers were extremely professional and knowledgeable, and everything about the meal was just top notch, easily one of the best overall dining experiences I've ever had. This time I managed to not lose CCR for the $3K bill, so no complaints there. Anyways tomorrow/today I'm doing the usual Sunday online tournament thing. The guarantees are all doubled on Stars so it should be a fun day. Then Day 2 of Bellagio on Monday where my 36K is still plenty of chips.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Sigh Day 3

Well as I'm sure most of y'all know by now I busted early in Day 3 well short of the monies. Here's how that went down.

Level 1: Noting happened and I chipped down to 100K. No one calls my raises and the few times I called raises I missed the flop and gave up.

Level 2: I've been pretty tight so far so I decide to pick it up a notch. I open several pots with marginal holdings winning the blinds and even mix in a resteal against a semi-active asian player who opened in MP. I've already chipped back up to 115K when this hand happens.

Hand 1: 1k/2k a300 I open KQo in MP to 6k. Old guy who seemed kind of tight but I've seen do some weird stuff as well calls in the CO. Flop KT9 two hearts. I check and he bets 10K, which I call. Turn 2c, I check and he bets 20K. I kind of think he has AK or a set or something here a lot but I've seen him do some weird stuff like I said so I decide I should call one more time, especially as I have some outs when I'm beat. River 5s, I check and he thinks a bit then checks behind and tables AA. Damn.

Hand 2: Asian guy who I restole already opens to 5800 in MP again. I find AKs in the SB and make it 18,500 again. He thinks a bit and calls. Gah. Flop Q87r, there's about 40K in the pot and 53K in my stack so I decide to just check and fold when he quickly bets 60K. I think stack sizes are too awkward to bet the flop, I don't want to commit 51K here but bet/folding is pretty gross too so I don't really like betting. I could have reraised bigger preflop so I can just shove any flop but I wanted to make the same bet as when I was stealing to maximize the chances of him doing something stupid preflop.

Hand 3: 1200/2400 a300 I've since lost a couple other small pots and am down to ~40K. French guy opens in EMP to 7K, asian guy calls in MP, his range here is really wide, and I find TT in the BB and shove. French guy calls a bit too quickly for me to like my chances at all and his JJ is good.

I'm taking today off and Bond and I are playing Day 1b of the $15K WPT event at Bellagio tomorrow. Unless I bust out tomorrow this will be my last live event of the summer (there's a $5k at the Venetian starting Sunday if I'm busto). The Bellagio events have been going really well for my friends thus far though. Bond won a $3K event for $193K and gobbo won a $5K event last night for $443K, so big congrats to him! Hopefully I can be next on that list of winners at Bellagio. I have had a moderate amount of success there in the past, and now that the tournaments are moved back to the Fontana Bar it's a great venue to play at again.


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

A Rocky Day 2

My basic game plan on Day 1 of "Flop set, bust donk" turns out to not work as well when you don't flop 6 sets in one day. I basically was miserably card dead almost the entire day and watching my chip stack slowly but consistently decrease. Fortunately, Brandon Adams doubled me up in the last level of the night and I finished with 112,900 which leaves me in fine shape for Thursday. Here are the few interesting hands I can recall:

Hand 1: 250/500 a50. Folds to me on the button and I make it 1500 with K7o. Both blinds defend. Flop K62r I check behind. Turn Q they check and I bet 3000. SB calls, BB folds. Turn K, check I bet 6500 he calls and mucks.

300/600 a75: I'm fairly certain nothing actually happened.

Hand 2: 400/800 a100 I open to 2400 in MP with 99. Young Scandi on my left who likes to call and then fold when I bet the flop calls and mman_status makes it 9200 on the button with only ~15K more behind. I eventually decide to fold as much as I hate it since Mike is usually very solid, but I can't help but feel like a pussy. Mike told me had AA at the end of the day though, whew.

Hand 3: 500/1000 a10. OK so I'm down to 95K here coming back after dinner break and in this level I really start to bleed them off faster. I open J9s in the HJ, scandi calls again and mman_status calls in the SB. Flop K65r, well I think this is way too good a flop not to bet so I fire 6500, scandi folds and mman shoves so I lose 10K this hand. The rest of this level not much happens. I see a few flops here and there and miss and check/fold. One of my raises gets repopped and I'm down to 60K by the end of the level.

Hand 4: 600/1200 a200 I open 55 on the button and scandi on my left repops me. This is the first time he has reraised preflop the whole day but I still feel like he is fos. I eventually decide not to tilt shove. Then I open KJhh in EP a few hands later, the SB flat calls and JasonGray in the BB reopops. I know he has a monster so I obviously fold, but I'm visibly getting upset with how my day is going as I mucked pretty angrily. The thing about me is though that I don't really tilt like other people. I'm aware that my image is now terrible and no one is going to give me much credit. When I tilt I actually end up playing nittier since everyone seems to expect you to start overplaying your hands and spaz off your chips to them. I'm not sure how much my "tilting" has to do with what happened in this next hand since Brandon Adams is pretty insane to begin with but it's possible it has something to do with it.

Hand 5: I open AJs in MP to 3600 with around 50K more behind. Brandon Adams calls in the SB. Flop AJ9 two diamonds, he checks and I bet 6600 which he calls. Turn Td, not exactly my favourite card. He checks and I have a decision to make. The T shouldn't really have made his hand. He's certainly capable of floating the flop with KQ but it's not a likely holding. It could, however, have easily made him a worse 2 pair. It seems very unlikely that he has a flush. Most flush draw hands would also have a pair or straight draw of some sort on the flop and he would have played those more aggressively on the flop almost always. So unless he has something like 86dd, 56dd, or 57dd he shouldn't have a flush. With that decided it's now obviously extremely likely that I still have the best hand so I need to bet for value and to protect my hand. Of course with so few chips I can't fold to a checkraise so I have to be willing to commit my stack vs a raise since he could checkraise me with a lot of worse 2 pair, semi-bluffs, and possibly other stuff. So I make what I guess is actually a really easy bet of 15,600 (I should probably actually bet a lot bigger), he moves me in relatively quickly and I shrug and call. He says "I don't have much" and I table my hand. "Ya, I'm dead". He doesn't want to show his hand but he's required to in a tournament all-in situation so he's turns over his A6hh. Lucky for me since the river is the 8d.

I won and lost a couple small pots after that and finished the day with 112,900. Hoping for the super soft Day 3 table draw as I'm pretty sure my table today was likely the toughest in the entire tournament throughout the last half of the day. I recognized 3-4 people as very solid players and the other guys were not playing poorly at all either. In the World Series of Poker main event on Day 2 that's just extremely unlucky.


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Day 2 tomorrow, finally

Alright, I finally get to play Day 2a tomorrow. The UFC was awesome to go to live. We saw 2 really just sick fights. We arrived a little late and the first fight we saw was the war between Cole Miller and Jorge Gurgel which ended by submission with only 18 seconds left. Just crazy. And of course the main event was insane. The atmosphere during that fight was just electric from start to finish, it was awesome. I really didn't have huge expectations for the card coming in, and while the fights in the middle were pretty boring overall it was a great night. On Sunday I decided to stay home and grind online tournaments. The day was going catastrophically as I had not managed a single cash and I was down to only the last tournament of the night, the always tough Stars $200 rebuy. Things started going right in that tournament though and I kept picking up hands when short stacks pushed and holding against them. Before I knew it I had a lot of chips at the final table. At the final table I again got lucky in a few key pots and got heads up with a 2:1 chip lead. As always though everything just went wrong heads up. I got behind in chips but clawed back to even when the big pot happened.

10/20K he lmped the button and I raised to 60K with KK. He called and the flop came J65. I bet 80K and he called. The turn was an 8, I checked and he bet 160K. I shoved for 400K more and he thought a while before calling with QJ. River Q, sigh. 2nd again, but 31K is obviously still a good score.

Today I stayed home and relaxed. Went for a swim and played online a bit more. I luckboxed a big stack in the 100r on Stars but in consecutive hands I lost KK vs JTo aipf and then KQ vs AQ on a Q-hi flop against the same guy to bust 12th. So tomorrow is Day 2. My table draw seems relatively mediocre. The only player with a lot of chips is on my direct left, a Scandanavian sounding name with 83K. Solid online players mikeymer and SBRounder are also at my table but with only a little over 20K in chips each. Recognizing 2 players at your table as solid players this early in the tournament seems rather unlucky, but if the other guys are bad the table draw should be alright. None of the others seem to have any live results so that's probably a good sign. You should be able to follow my progress all day at PocketFivesLive, PokerNews, and of course my voice blog updates over at TwoRags. Hopefully I can pick up right where I left off on Friday!


Saturday, July 05, 2008

Day 1 in the books, 104K

Day 1 went really well for me in the main event. I won several big pots mostly by flopping sets and finished the day with 104,425 chips. Early on I was trying to get involved a lot and I was fooling around with limping in a lot of pots. It's not something I've ever really done before but I knew my table was never going to break and because of the structure I'd probably be playing a lot of the same people all day. I wanted to establish a bit more of a passive image so that my raises would get more respect in the later ante levels as well as encouraging the rest of the table to limp a lot as well. I guess the idea is to just outplay people postflop since most players in the main event obviously play pretty bad, especially with deep stacks. I also ended up picking up a lot of smal-mid pairs which I will just limp with as a standard play a lot of the time anyways to make sure I get to see the flop and try to hit a set (when I'm not in late position). So somehow I had established some goofy limpy image and people were rarely raising my limps, except one fish who liked to raise 7xBB. After having just limped/called a 7xBB raise with 77 and check/folding when I missed this hand happened:

Hand 1: 50/100 I find KK in EP and limp. Robert Varkonyi on my left limps and fish raises to 700 again. I make it 2200 and fish calls. Flop Ks 5s 4s. I bet 3200 fish calls. Turn 6c. I bet 10K fish calls. River Tc. I go all-in for my last 2000 into the 30K pot. Fish folds. lol. 32K after this hand.

Hand 2: 100/200 I limp 88 UTG. Folds to a tight player in the CO who raises to 1200. I call. Flop J87 two hearts. I lead 2K, he raises 5K, I make it 12K, he calls. Turn J. Damn, that might kill my action. I move all-in for his last 8500 or so. He thinks it over and calls with QQ and I hold. I have around 53K here or something.

Hand 3: I open limp KTo in MP. I don't really know what to say about this play, I just kinda decided to stick with the limping thing but it seems pretty ridiculous. Button makes it 800 and he's tight so I definitely have to fold, but the BB who is big fish calls so I decide I'm getting a good price to call, especially since the button has over 40K in front of him and the fish is a fish. Flop QJ9 (obv). Checks to button who bets 1600. Fish folds and I make it 6100, he calls. Wow, he really might have a set here which would be a huge pot. Turn 8 killing my action since I'm pretty sure he basically never has a T himself. I bet 10500 because I can't let a set peel a free card and he folds.

Hand 4: 150/300 Same tight guy from hand 3 opens UTG to 1200 and I call with 22 in the SB. Flop 632 (you might be noticing a trend). Check, he bets 1600 I make it 5100 but he folds. 71.5K at dinner break.

Hand 5: 150/300 a25 Folds to a seemingly decent player in MP who opens to 1K. I make it 3K in the CO with KK and he calls. Flop KTx two spades. He checks and I bet 4K. He shoves ~12K more and I call about as fast as anyone has ever called. He has JJ for some reason and I'm over 90K.

Hand 6: I guess I should include one hand where I don't have the nuts. Really bad player from Paraguay limps in EP as he often does. He is basically a huge call station and has never folded A-hi to a flop bet ever. He has limped AK/AQ and peeled a 743 2-suit flop several times. it's hilarious. I raise to 1200 in MP with 99 and he calls. Flop K52 with 2 hearts. He checks and
I bet 1800. He calls. Turn Q chk/chk. River 4 he bets 2500 I call and A6 is no good.

Hand 7: 200/400 a50 A young guy who is playing pretty tight except he's constantly opening UTG, but he's opening to 1400 so I kind of think he's not just stealing he just happens to only get hands UTG raises to 1400. He has 12K or so I think. I find JJ on the button and flat call. Flop J22. lol. He bets 2800 I call. Turn J (lol) he checks I bet 4200 and he folds. I found out later the player in this hand was MSNL poster ParlaySlow.

Not much else of interest happened and I finished the day with 104,425. I play Day 2a on Tuesday. In other news, huge congrats to Tony "Bond18" Dunst my housemate for finally winning a live tournament and getting out of hole. He won the $3K Bellagio Cup event for $193K, and timex doesn't even get all of that! It's unfortunate that we lose all the jokes about how he's lost $100,000 of some 18 year old kid's money, but really it was about time he broke through considering the amount of live tournaments he's played. Today I'm going to UFC 86. I will probably play the $3K at Bellagio tomorrow, though I might just stay home and grind online or do nothing and complain about how hungover I am all day depending happens after the fights. Oh yeah, because I was one of the chip leaders thoughout much of the day I got a decent amount of media coverage. Pockefiveslive were following me as always, but also PokerNews and PokerStarsBlog were following me a bit. In particular here's a nice little update they wrote about me on the latter.


Friday, July 04, 2008

Main Event Time!

So I busted in the 2nd round of the limit shootout. The key hand was when I lost a big pot to mattg1983 with AJ vs QT on a QJ9JQ board after I 3-bet him preflop. I probably should have lost one less bet on the river but my play wasn't that bad in retrospect. Matt went on to win the event and his first bracelet though! I was lucky enough to have made a swap with him before round 2 so I got a little % of the win. Today I am playing the main event at Blue 11, seat 9. Excited as always! I'll be phoning or texting in updates to TwoRags so check in over there to see how I'm doing.


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

lol min-bet

Today was the final preliminary event of the 2008 WSOP, the $1500 limit shootout. It got 823 runners. I was actually pretty excited for this event because while limit holdem is certainly not my best game I do play it pretty competently, and most people in these limit tournaments tend to be really awful. I also have a history of running pretty good in limit tournaments and that always makes you feel more optimistic. My first table was pretty much what I expected. 3 guys were just terribad. 4 people were just super ABC tight passive, if they ever raise you you are probably screwed. That left me and one other guy who seemed to play really solid with some aggression and little moves mixed in. I ran really good throughout the first 2 levels of my first heat and had already worked my stack up to 8K from the 3K start bank by the first break. I cooled off for the next 2 levels but I think I played well and lost the minimum, and I still had 5400 at the 2nd break. After that I started to cardrack pretty hard. I was making hands left and right and value betting aggressively to get maximum value. Finally, I ended up heads up against the only player who seemed tough. I ran insanely hot from the start and took a 21K-6K chip lead, but then I stopped making hands and dropped down to under 10K. Just as it felt like it might be slipping away I caught another rush of cards even more absurd than the last and made some solid value bets on the end to close out the match.

My 2nd table seems considerably tougher than my first. While my first table was very passive and predictable, this table is extremely aggressive. A few of the guys seem kind of spewy, but they are certainly not easy to play against. We played 4 levels at the 2nd table before calling it a night. I managed to chip all the way up from 30K to 30.5K in that time. We restart today at 2pm PST. If I win this table then next stop is the final table. Hopefully I can keep running good and min-bet my way to glory.