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!