Saturday, December 26, 2009


I guess I should start with a quick 2009 recap. I didn't make a boatload of money this year compared to 2008 (I'd be moderately surprised if I ever make more money from poker in a year than I did in 2008), but I think I succeeded a lot this year overall. I lived a healthier lifestyle, both in terms of eating (a little) better and working out more and socializing more. I bought myself my own place in downtown Toronto that I love, finally got around to getting laser eye surgery (which went fantastic, though I don't think I've written about it here at all), and made a lot of new friends and reconnected with some old ones. Strictly speaking I've had a solid year poker-wise, but that's mostly because at the beginning of the year when I was playing nosebleed games online I went on a big downswing in December and rebounded in January. I've done well in online tournaments as well and didn't lose too much playing live.

So the plan for 2010 is pretty vague I guess, just keep living a fun balanced life. Hopefully that will involve a bit more poker than 2009, I'd like to put up some big scores on the live circuit again this year or hit a few really big online scores. I'm not sure if I really have much in the way of goals for cash games. The big games haven't been running at all lately, and when they do they're mostly mixed games. I definitely would like to improve at the limit games so I can feel comfortable playing those more, but I'm not sure how realistic it is that I'll actually do that. I'm at the point where I feel pretty competent at all the games, and the work required to go from solid to expert is a lot, for relatively minimal improvement. I do intend to keep playing mixed game tournaments though, including the $50K player's championship at WSOP this summer.

To get the year started I am doing my usual fuck winter in Canada trip:

Jan 5-11: PCA in Bahamas

Jan 12-14: Niagara Falls $5k event.

Jan 17-Feb 23: Australia for Aussie Millions in Melbourne, ANZPT Adelaide and general awesomeness.

Feb 24-Mar 3: LA Poker Classic main event and high roller.

After that my live schedule will likely be pretty light until the WSOP. The only tournament I'll be playing for sure is the $25k WPT Championship at Bellagio in mid-April. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone reading this! Let's hope I have a lot to write about in 2010.


Monday, December 07, 2009

Random Ramblings

I was just reading Daniel Negreanu's blog and he wrote something interesting related to what I've been writing about recently. I don't always agree with Daniel's thoughts on a lot of things but he has a unique perspective that's always worth reading. Anyways, in his latest blog entry he wrote the following:

Money comes, and money goes when you play poker for a living. Whether you have money or not, though, happiness really is completely unrelated to the size of your bankroll. That might not be true for "regular people" who have real jobs, but poker players are a different breed. In fact, before the boom I saw a vicious cycle that I even feel victim to at one point. You work so hard to make money, playing day in and day out, then all of a sudden you've made that money. Now what? All you've known is the grind for so long, so what do you do now? You don't NEED to play poker anymore, you don't NEED to work at all. How do you replace that time?

Well, you either find a passion for playing the game again while balancing a healthy social life, or, you get self-destructive and blow the whole bankroll so you'll once again have a purpose! Back to the grind to build it all over again.

I think Daniel really hit the nail on the head this time. Preceding this was a classic discussion about how great these young online players are, but "we'll see how many are still around in 5-10 years". This is where I think most people are greatly underestimating the younger generation of poker players. I would argue that of all the poker players under 25 who have made say 7-figures plus playing poker, a lot more will hold onto that money, or indeed even build on it, than people think. The reason for this, in my opinion, is that so many young players have such a different background and approach to poker than the older generation would have.

Think about it. 10-20 years ago, before online poker, before poker on TV, how did people get into poker? Two cases seem most likely to me:

1. You played with your buddies growing up and realized you liked the game and were good at it, then decided to take it more seriously.

2. You already spent time in casinos, then saw the poker room one day, decided to give it a shot and got sucked in.

In the second case clearly these are people who were gamblers first, and poker players second. The ones who ended up being successful were clearly very talented people, but still much more likely to have degenerate and/or self-destructive tendencies. Some of these people learned enough self-control as a part of their growth as poker players to get by. That discipline enabled them to stay away from so many of the readily available pitfalls. A lot probably never did. I've read many stories from the older generation of poker players admitting that they would always have gambled regardless. They were just lucky to find a game they could beat to outlet that part of themselves, and muster enough discipline to stick to just poker as their gambling fix.

The first case is not as clear cut, but I think it's at least fair to say that, on average, the type of people who grew up playing poker with their buddies all the time are going to have more gamble in them than the average person. Keep in mind this was before poker was on TV, when it was still viewed as a backroom shady activity in society in general. Deciding to try to play cards for a living is something a lot of people would probably never have done, even if they loved the game and felt they could succeed.

Today though, there are a lot of young players attracted to the game from seeing it on TV. It's a generation where we actively play video games and strategy games of all types. Then poker comes along and these kids who love playing games, and are already very good at games, realize there is actually a game they could make a living, hell maybe even a fortune, playing. Obviously a lot of us were immediately attracted to it. Of course the money and the gambling is what separates poker from other games at its core. But overall, this generation's attraction to poker is more about the enjoyment of the competition of playing the game than the thrill of winning and losing money. There are a lot more young players who are poker players first and gamblers second. Not to say there aren't plenty of young players who have or are going to lose their way and turn into those sad stories Daniel is warning us about. On the whole however, a lot more of these "kids" are going to pass the test of time than ever before. Just don't expect to see all of them still playing in 5-10 years. A lot will likely have moved on to newer more exciting things.


Monday, November 30, 2009

Caught the Tourney Bug Again

I haven't been able to play every day but lately I've really been back in the mood to grind online tournaments, and with ECOOP (European Championships of Online Poker on iPoker network) going I've had a good excuse to do exactly that. On Wednesday I played all day, Friday I put in a solid afternoon session, and today I just finished a 13 hour Sunday grind session. I've definitely been running pretty hot at tournaments lately and I'm sure that's a big part of why I've been enjoying it so much.

On Wednesday I had a successful day making two final tables and adding two more close calls where I busted with two tables left. I didn't run well at the final tables though and finished 6th and 7th respectively in the Stars $100 rebuy and UB/AP $1K for ~11.5K combined. On Friday I didn't have as much luck, though I did make a deep run in the ECOOP event that day. It was a $100 rebuy PLO8 tourney and I finished 19th. Today I played my usual Sunday schedule starting at 2pm est. It was what has kind of become a common Sunday routine for me. Early on in the day I didn't do well at all and I thought I might even post another blank slate. Then I had a close call in the new AP/UB $500 6-max tourney but busted 9th, and I added another min-cash somewhere. Basically the last tournament on my schedule, the Stars $200r, was again the one I had the most luck in. I feel like I've cashed this tournament around 50% of the time I've played it in the last year or something ridiculous like that. So many Sundays I can recall getting killed all day and thinking "well at least the day is almost over" before making a deep run in this tournament and playing another 3-4 hours. It makes for a very long day, but when you turn a big red number into a pretty green number on the day you don't complain about that. Today I was able to actually close the tournament for the win and just over $37k.

As for Vancouver I had no luck in the tournaments there but I did have a ton of fun hanging out with friends. I really looked at that trip as more of a social visit with a few poker tournaments thrown in anyways so I definitely still consider it a success. OK I feel like my brain is tired from grinding all day and putting together coherent sentences is proving more difficult than it should. No talk about balancing poker and life or what poker teaches us about life or whatever it is I normally ramble on about in this space I'm just going to leave this as essentially a shameless brag post. ECOOP $2500 high roller event this afternoon, I'll be on my grind.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Online Update and BCPC!

Hey guys, I'm here in Vancouver staying at the River Rock this week for the BC Poker Classic. I played the $1100 event yesterday and busted in the 5th or 6th level. The good news is the tournament easily sold out with 605 runners so I expect the main event to be big as well. It's *only* a $2700 buy-in but I believe it got 7-800 runners last year. I'm not sure if it's capped at 600 again for the main event but hopefully it draws at least that. The main reason I am so excited about this trip is to visit friends in the city that I haven't seen in a while.

This isn't technically my first trip to Vancouver as I was here for maybe a week once when I was 13 or 14 for a chess tournament, but effectively it feels like it is. Everyone always says great things about the city and I feel like if I knew more people out this way there's a good chance I might have ended up living here instead of in Toronto. So far the fact that it's scheduled to rain every single day of my trip isn't endearing the city to me though =P. Once you get past this weather everything I've heard about the city makes me think I'm going to really enjoy it here, and visiting friends I know it's going to be a good time regardless.

So, back to poker. With FTOPS running again I got back on my online tourney grind this past week and it's been going really well. In the 8 day stretch from two Fridays ago to last Friday (playing only a handful of Sunday tourneys) I hit four 5-figure scores, book-ended by winning the Stars $100 1R1A turbo tournament on both Fridays for $30K combined. I don't know what it is about turbo tournaments but I seem to run exceptionally well in them. They are also my favourite to play, I mean what's better than the degeneracy of short stacked play jamming it all-in and gambling it up, every hand can make or break or you poker? In normal tournaments it feels like I put up with the first 3-5 hours just so I can get to that point, but turbos cut right to the chase. No investing half your day for nothing, just 2 hours of pushbotting, sucking out on people with terrible hands, and rarely any tough decisions to agonize over. So if anyone from the online sites is reading this, more turbos with big guarantees please! Now with that sidebar out of the way when I actually go look at tournament results of the last couple months online I've actually done exceptionally well considering I've played very little volume, which is always a good feeling and confidence booster.

As for PokerSavvy, I see that some people want me to do a PLO video, but I really haven't been playing any PLO lately. The 25/50 games seem pretty tough for the most part and I haven't bothered playing. Maybe I'll get around to doing a 5/10 video again at some point but I have a lot of good tournament stuff recorded from the last 2 weeks that I'll probably be looking to do first. Next week when I get back from Vancouver is ECOOP on the iPoker network so I'll probably continue grinding a fair bit. That's all I've got to talk at you about for now, wish me luck in the main event Thursday!


Monday, October 26, 2009

Success, Motivation, and a Balanced Life

I haven't written on here in quite a while, for the simple reason that I haven't really felt like it. A part of that is I haven't been playing much poker so I haven't had a whole lot to write about. This is compounded by the fact that writing about Sunday online tournaments or whatever no longer really qualifies as worth writing about in my mind unless I happen to win something big. I do tweet about them occasionally. There is a noticeable trend in the careers of many very successful young poker players. In the beginning we are obsessed with poker. We devote all our free time to learning and playing the game. We neglect other aspects of our lives to some extent at least to try to excel at poker. I'm not saying that's the ideal way to go about learning the game or this obsession is entirely a virtue in the grand scheme of the things, but it's a statement of fact of how most good players I know were when we learned this game. It definitely describes me.

I'm not saying this obsession is a bad thing either, just that things aren't black and white. It's a personality trait that helps us excel at things we really like. I certainly wouldn't trade it, poker has clearly had a massively net positive affect on my life, but there is some trade-off with other aspects of life that are important to your overall happiness. There are now a growing number of young players who have been lucky enough to achieve most of their goals in poker. At some point they stop and ask themselves, "what now?". The answer is usually realizing the things you have neglected, cutting back on poker to some extent, and moving towards a more balanced life. Given the sedentary and solitary nature of playing online poker this typically involves some combination of living a more healthy lifestyle and getting out more and meeting people/seeing the world. David Benefield (raptor) is the example that first comes to mind as he wrote extensively about this on his blog (for those who don't know his story he was a very successful young online high stakes cash game player). He definitely took it to more an extreme than most, with strict diets and workout regimens. He even took it so far as to retire from poker for the time being and return to school with the hopes of achieving bigger and better things, or at least something he'll find more personally satisfying.

So what is the point of all this? No, I'm not quitting poker. I don't think I'll do this forever but I really can't think of a better/more enjoyable job for me right now. The point is that my motivation to play poker 24/7 just isn't there right now. The great thing about the poker lifestyle is I have the freedom to do what I want. For a while I was doing my normal poker routine just out of habit and realizing once I got started playing that I didn't really want to be playing. So now before I play I always ask myself "Do you really feel like playing poker right now?". If the answer is no, then I don't. Seems pretty obvious right? But it took me a while to figure that out. Though for the longest time when I learning the game the answer to that question would always have been yes anyways.

So, I've been focused more on other things. I bought myself a great condo in downtown Toronto. I moved in and began the process of decorating said condo. I started working out more and eating a little healthier. Don't worry I'm nowhere near raptor levels on these but I'm making some improvements that work for me. I've been catching up with a lot of friends and making some new ones. And of course, I've been relaxing and being generally lazy as always. That one would be really hard to change. I still read and think about poker a lot. I'm staying pretty sharp, but with a lot less actual hands played. The main practical issue for me from a poker point of view is this is greatly hindering my ability to learn and master new games, but I'm ok with that for now.

So my little break from poker has been productive (by my lazy standards) and positive overall. But, I'm starting to get the itch to travel again. To play big tournaments and go after another big score! Unfortunately there aren't many good live tournaments that I'm interested in left in this calendar year. I'm planning to do the BCPC in Vancouver mid-November, though I'm treating that as more of a social trip than a serious poker trip, and probably the 5 diamond WPT at Bellagio in December. In January I will definitely be doing PCA and my annual trip to Australia for Aussie Millions and to visit all my friends down there.

I intend to get back into writing here more during these trips as there will definitely be tons of fun stories to tell, poker-related and otherwise. The idea of trying to write here at least once weekly is probably a thing of the past though.


Monday, August 31, 2009

Living, Moving, Grinding

Since I returned home from Vegas poker has really not been first priority for me. I stayed briefly in Toronto then headed home to St. John's for 10 days for a friend's wedding and to visit friends and my parents there. Since I've returned to Toronto my focus has been on helping friends move and finding a new place to live myself. I had always been planning to buy myself a nice spot to live in downtown Toronto, and finally I've gotten around to doing it. I bought a really nice loft-style condo last week and I'm super excited about moving in in a few weeks time. My next project will be furnishing the place, which will probably end up being more of a long term thing once I take care of the more obvious essentials. I don't intend on going too over the top or anything, but definitely I want to make it a pretty ballin' bachelor pad.

So over this time I haven't played a whole ton of poker. I've still fit in some sessions here and there, mostly Sundays when I've played tournaments and short random cash sessions when I have free time. When I've played cash the big PLO games have never been running so I've mostly stuck to various limits of the 7 and 8-game mixes on FTP and Stars. I still have a lot to learn but I enjoy playing them. I haven't tracked my results super carefully but I'm probably losing a little overall. I play such a variety of stakes and so few hands that I doubt the results would be very meaningful anyways at this point.

This week the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) begins on PokerStars. As always I'm very excited for this series and looking to play as many events as possible, which hopefully will be most of them. Getting to play big tournaments against weak players taking shots on some more obscure games is a lot of fun, and the value in the big NLHE events is huge as well. I came close to taking one down last fall losing to Tom Schneider heads-up for the 2-7 Single Draw NL championship. Hopefully I'll improve on that this year.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Good Week for Watts

Thursday: Golf at Paiote Golf Club 30 mins down the I-95. Very nice course and I shot my best round of the summer.

Friday: Main Event Day 1A. Went pretty meh but whatever.

Saturday: Jay-Z concert at the Palms. It was just awesome. Afterwards we went to XS at Encore which is just a ridiculous nightclub and had a great time. Only bad thing about the day was I got way too drunk.

Sunday: Write-off due to Saturday night. Saved $5-10K I would have lost playing online tourneys.

Monday: Golfed Wolf Creek in Mesquite. 90 minute drive north on I-15. Golfing in the desert is really an amazing thing. Once you leave Vegas there is just nothing but desert with mountains in the background. It actually is a pretty amazing view even though it's all completely desolate. Occasionally there is an exit with a name like "Sun Valley" or "Heat Canyon" which is basically just a gas station and convenience, as running out of gas in the middle of the desert in 110 degree heat is simply not a good idea. In the case of Paiote on Thursday as you approach the course there is a sign signaling the beginning of the Indian reservation it's on and then you can see some green in the distance. It's kind of like an oasis except instead of being overjoyed at the site of water you're cursing the man-made pond you're going to dump a couple balls in on the 12th. As you approach you see that green obviously has to be a fairway, and in fact there is not one, not two, but three gorgeous golf courses laid out there in the middle of absolutely nowhere.

Wolf Creek was a bit different as it's actually located in a "proper" town, Mesquite, NV. Here is a conversation we had with the bartender after our round that should give you an idea of what a legitimate town in the middle of the desert is like:

Us: Is there anywhere decent to get a bite to eat around here?
Her: Well, are you staying in town? Where are you staying?
Us: No, we're staying back in Vegas.
Her: Go back. Really. Just go back.

Once you arrive in Mesquite you drive up this huge hill to get to the golf course which is a sign of what's in store for you. Wolf Creek is widely considered one of the top 50 public courses in the US. It is also one of the top 3 hardest or something like that. Teeing off at 12:30 in 110 degree heat doesn't make your life easier, nor does the wind. Fortunately, growing up in Newfoundland I have some experience playing in 2-3 club wind, but even that and the fact that the wind was at our back for more holes than not didn't save me from shooting a rather ugly number. That being said, the course really was amazing. Elevated tee boxes on most holes make for some spectacular views (and occasionally spectacular drives!). As much as I was exhausted by the heat and getting my ass kicked by the course I still really enjoyed the round. Anyways this is not Watts' Golf Blog so moving along....

Tuesday: Busto main event. Oh well. Went to a sweet Italian restaurant. It was all mafia-style with like the little slot in the door that opens up when you knock on it and they ask how many, then you hear a buzz and another door opens into the dining room. It's called Capo's on Tropicana/Jones. Great food and cool atmosphere, there are little flash lights on your menu so you can read them since it's so dark in the dining room.

Wednesday: Bellagio Cup $3K event. 180 runners so first is $185K. I run sick hot all day just making hands and always getting paid off. The field is actually way softer than even the $1500 events at the Rio. There are maybe 20 good players in the entire field and the fish at Bellagio are just on another level of bad. I nearly finish the day as chip leader except for losing QQ vs ATs near the end of the day. That was basically the only relevant pot I lost all day though so I'm still above average with 15 or so left.

Thursday: First fun hand I play: Russian guy shoves in the SB I call 44 in the BB. He has A8ss. Flop A54ss. Turn 3h. River 2c. Chop it up.

Hand 2: 3k/6k a1k I think we're at final table at this point. Same Russian guy as before opens in EP to 16k. I have 180K next to act and flat call AQs. Short stack next to me crams 40K, Russian insta-reships when it gets back to him. I just don't think he's good enough to realize how insanely strong my range is there and decide my hand should be doing ok against their ranges and call. Russian has 99, shorty has AJdd. I flop a queen but AJdd rivers a flush. I still win the big side pot though.

Hand 3: 4k/8k a1k I have 170k after losing 55 vs 77. Serbian donk limps UTG. I raise to 28K with AA he calls. Flop J86, he checks I bet 42K he crams I call and beat his KJs.

Hand 4: 4k/8k a1k I have 340K. Open AQo in the HJ to 21K. Other Russian guy on my left, Dmitry, reraises to 65k and he covers me. They announce last hand before break. Now I have all sorts of good reasons to cram here. I have AQ only 45 bets deep in late position. He's russian. He might think I'm stealing light last hand before break, though I didn't even notice the clock and I'm not sure he did either. He's been playing so solid as have I, I just don't think he's messing around with me here. Also worth considering that he is the only other competent player at the table so I decide it's not likely enough that he's light here for it to be worth gambling and fold. He shows me AKo. Ding ding ding!

Hand 4: 6k/12k a2k I have a bit over 300K. I open AKo to 32k, Dmitry calls, donk in SB calls, Serb shoves for like 220K in BB. He's such a nit that I definitely am not fist pumping as much as I normally would be here but I obv reshove. The donk in the SB calls off his last 100k or so with 22 (actually) and Serb has JJ. I flop a king and win the pot to get to 740K and take the chip lead.

After this we decide to chop. We do a chip count deal and given stack sizes that is really good for me. I lock up 115K which is more than 2nd place and we play it out for the 25K WPT Championship seat and a really nice Swiss watch.

Hand 5: I raise in the SB to 36K with 55, Dmitry calls in the BB. Flop 933, I bet 48K he calls. Turn T I check and call 75k. River 9 I check and he bets 100K. I really felt like I had the best hand on the flop and unless he floated the flop and paired his ten I don't see that much else he plays this way that beats me. That being said the way he'd been playing I couldn't see him taking this line as a bluff either since he probably doesn't necessarily expect me to fold A-hi to such a small bet. The fact that I have slightly better than A-hi isn't all that relevant and I think I should have folded but I paid off and he had KTo.

Hand 6: Now Dmitry has a big chip lead but they put the watch on the table and it's really cool so I decide I need to bear down and win this. I bust one guy with AKs vs AQ and then 3-handed I bust the other guy:

8k/16k a2k Italian donk ships 145k on the button. I flat call A3o in the SB and Dmitry tanks in the BB. Oh crap he has a better hand than me but I think hes afraid that I'm trapping since I only called. He eventually folds AJ face up and Italian has 89o. Flop JT8. Oh well. Turn 3, River 3. When stuff like that starts happening no matter how rational you are you start thinking "This is just meant to be". At this point I look up and see that rapper "Nelly" has stopped by the Fontana lounge and is having a look at my final table.

We are now heads up roughly even in chips. At first we are playing conservative. Both of us are raising most buttons and neither of us is defending out of position much. When we do it's always by calling never 3-betting. I win the first pot of interest by turning top pair and getting two streets of value. Finally I break the 3-bet-less streak by repopping A5o which gets a fold.

Again not much happens for a bit until I open AKo to 40K on the button. He 3-bets for the first time to 121K, and I make it 301K. He folds and my image is getting is more aggressive even though I had it. Right after that he opens button, I 3-bet ATs and he folds.

Then shortly after that he opens button again to 38K, I make it 118K with 55. This has been standard bet sizing. He has roughly 800K so I'm definitely calling if he moves in as I expect him to do so pretty wide since I've 3-bet/4-bet him so many times recently. Of course I'm not thrilled if he shoves since it will usually be a coin flip but it's worth 3-betting here to keep pushing him around as it will induce him into overreacting and making a mistake at some point. He shoves though and I call, he has A7o. Flop A33 is not so good, but maybe it really was "meant to be" as 5 turns. River 7 and I ship a Bellagio Cup event for the 2nd consecutive summer.

Afterwards we ate at Cut, a steakhouse at Palazzo that was really good and then head to the PokerStars party at the club Rain at the palms. Stars really throws the best parties and it did not disappoint. Nelly played at the end of the night which was pretty cool.

Friday: Play Bellagio Cup $5K event. Make the money but short stacked heading into Day 2.

Saturday: Bust 12th shoving 15xBB with ATo over Eric Froelich's HJ open. He had KK and the back-to-back run was not "meant to be". I register for that day's $5K but bust early losing a big flip for most of my chips and then stationing off the rest with TT running into JJ in a pretty marginal way. I was going to go play some cash games in Bobby's Room but by the time it looked like I might get a seat in the 100/200 PLO game the game wasn't very good so I decided to just go bet a bunch if money on the UFC fights instead. I've made small bets on a bunch of fights before online and tend to do well, mostly just following the advice of people who are really good handicappers (as long as I agree with their picks, but if we like opposite sides I usually just stay away), but never made any big bets before. The lines at Bellagio were really good though and I won all 3 of my bets to make back the buy-in I lost in that day's tournament. Hooray! Also, the fights were really good so it was a fun night.

Sunday: Doing nothing, writing a blog at last.

Monday: Day 1A of Bellagio Cup 15K WPT main event. Going to begin the quest to defend my title from last summer.


Friday, June 26, 2009

A Blog Post!

Hey, I haven't written an update in a while though I figure my tweets should be doing a good enough job keeping you up to date. Obviously the series isn't quite going as well as I had hoped for the third straight year. I've played 17 events and cashed only 2, the $3K HORSE and $5K PLO. The PLO was my best shot by far but alas it wasn't meant to be. I'm planning to play basically everything from here on out except the $50K HORSE. BoostedJ has put up some results so I still have an outside chance of stealing the prop bet against Daniel if I can ship something or if Boosted crushes them in the HORSE. For those who don't know the bet is 20K to win 32K, myself and BoostedJ vs Daniel Negreanu and Eric Lindgren based on total WSOP player of the year points. So far, Daniel has 170, Eric 30, Boosted (Justin Smith) 92, and I have a whopping 15 to put the score at 200-107. A bracelet win is worth 100 though so there's a small glimmer of hope left for me.

OK so the rest of this blog will just be some interesting/important/hilarious hands I've played at the series lately. Enjoy!

$5K PLO Downfall: I had 300K with 27 left average 200K then these 3 hands happened:

3k/6k Open AKT9ss to 16K in HJ CO calls. He is a young Brazilian kid I've seen play aces super passive before and miss an easy river value bet with them. Flop T63hh I do not have hearts. I bet 28K he calls. Turn 2s check/check. River 6c I check he bets 32K I sigh and call since a million draws missed and I've seen hes not really capable of value betting thin. He has JJ and basically told me he thought he was bluffing or something. Great.

4k/8k I have 225K. Young guy open to 25K UTG with exactly 35K behind. Swede who plays a lot of hands quickly calls and I minraise to 42K with KK95ddd in the CO so that UTG's shove will reopen the betting. Except UTG flats with 18K behind as does swede. Flop A63hhh I do not have the Kh. They check to me and I bet 42K. UTG folds and Swede quickly calls. Turn blank check/check and I'm praying the board will pair since it's my only chance to maybe steal this pot. River 3! Swede leads out for most of my stack, I laugh at him for betting any hand there and fold.

Next hand I open KQJ9ds and get repopped by the brazilian with AAKT. Flop a Q stick the rest in and lose.

10K PLO: Fairly deep on day 2 I play this sick pot against Josh Arieh. 2k/4k a bad players limps in EP. Most of the times he has done this in the past he's been trapping with AA. I have 78K and limp button with 9764ss, SB folds Arieh checks in the BB. Flop 778r, Josh leads 9k, UTG makes it 21K. Already this is a pretty brutal spot. I feel like UTG is making a raise to see where he is at with AA a lot since he knows Josh can have a huge range here. And Josh can have all sorts of stuff so I cold call 21K. I feel like my cold call looks so strong it will freeze them up and I should be able to figure out where I stand, but there's an interesting argument for shoving hoping to fold out a better 7 as well. My hand has so much equity against something like AA7x anyways that getting called by that would not be so bad, but if I run into a boat I'm pretty dead. Josh quickly calls 12K more. Turn Q check/check and I check behind. River 4 and I am on a boat. Josh quickly bets 55K, UTG instantly folds and I tank as long as I have the entire series before folding. Unfortunately I busted not too long after this hand anyways getting it in pretty marginally on 854 with AK87 vs QQ96.

10K PLHE: Josh is at my starting table and I ask him what he had in that big pot. He told me he had KQQ7 so I made a good fold, though I could quite probably have won the pot by jamming the flop. Weird hand. Anyways here's my one bad beat story though it's kind of funny.

100/200 I have 33K. Nico Levi I believe it was, one of those french players anyways, opens to 500, I flat 99 in the CO, button calls, Sam Simon creator of The Simpsons calls in the BB. Flop K96hh, Nico bets 1050, I decide to slowplay which I don't normally do here obviously and call, Sam raises to 3500, Nico folds, I make it 11K, Sam sticks it in and I call. He has AK so I'm looking pretty ok. Turn 6 gives him 2 outs. Obviously you know what the river card is but the funny part was how it happened. I'm in the 8 seat and the dealer is right handed so when he deals the river I can't see it right away because his hand is in the way. There is a noticeable pause as he places it on the felt and he's staring at the card not moving his hand. It was like he had frozen up thinking "Oh my god, I have done something terrible". Sure enough, when he finally moved his hand the Ks was revealed and I lost most of my chips and busted on another cooler shortly after that.

The Series has still been a ton of fun overall though, definitely the most fun of my three summers here. I'm thinking I may have to just win the Bellagio Cup at the end again if I can't turn the Series around in these last 5 events or so.


Sunday, June 07, 2009

$5K NL Report

Hey gang, I guess I'm due to write something here again and I played a couple hands that were kind of interesting today so I might as well write about them. I was up to a bit over 16K when this goofy hand happened:

50/100 Passive guy who has already doubled up with top set limps in EP, Roland de Wolfe who had just sat down makes it 700 in position and I flat call KK in the BB. I played with Roland for most of day 1 in the $10K mixed games so I'm pretty sure he thought I was very tight/solid. What I didn't realize is he was still in another tournament and just looking to gamble here. The limper calls and the flop is 532 with two diamonds. I lead 1400, limpers calls, Roland makes it 4900. I decide to call to see what the limper does first before committing to the pot. Limper instashoves, Roland quickly calls and I fold. Limper 55, Roland AKo, turn A so I don't feel like a complete donk for not 3-betting pre.

Next I get it in pre KK vs AA and win to get over 20K then I decide to do this. First some history: The players on my right is a donk. Important history:

Theo Tran opens to 250 he defends his BB. Flop 995r, he checks raises Theo, bet the blank turn, and chk/chk A river. He shows T5s Theo mucks. So instead of keeping the pot small with marginal hands he likes to checkraise and hope they go away and put himself in terrible spots in big pots if they don't.

75/150 UTG is a donk and limps with 2K behind. UTG+1 is the other guy I just talked about and he limps. I make it 750 with KQhh and both call. Flop T66r one heart. chk/chk I bet 1500, UTG folds. UTG+1 thinks for a bit. I'm not basically just staring at the felt like I always am and not paying attention to his body language that much, and I rarely assign much weight to my live reads anyways, but I'm fairly certain he basically looked like he was going to just fold, and then changed his mind and decided "nah fuck this kid he aint got it" and raised to 5k with 7k behind. I was pretty sure from a combination of the fact he wasn't loose enough pre that I would expect him to have a 6 here very often, his body language, and his line/bet-sizing that he did not have a big hand. On the one hand donks don't like folding pairs, but on the other hand donks also don't like risking their tournament lives so early without the goods. I moved him in and he called after about a minute with 77 and I bricked out. This is a play I basically never make but I really thought this was the perfect spot for it and I'm actually pretty happy with my decision to pull the trigger despite the results.

I still had 6k but gobbo owned me in back to back hands. First he bluffed me off an overpair when I thought he was trapping a big hand but he said he just had AQ. Then the very next hand I had AK and he trapped with AA. Allen Cunningham squeezed and I got tarped. Monday is 2500 NL 6-max. I think I will skip Sundays tomorrow. I may play the Party million though. It starts super early but is such a good tourney it's hard to pass up. I'm definitely not grinding all day though. 0 for 7 so far, and down a bunch at online cash too. But the summer is just getting started.


Monday, June 01, 2009

Quick Vegas Update

I don't have much super exciting to write about but I've got nothing else to do while I'm sweating Isaac Haxton to victory in the $40K tourney and I feel like I ought to post some kind of update. OK, so first my run in the $40K tourney. Here are a few interestingish hands:

Hand 1: 200/400 a50. Gavin Smith limps, someone else limps, Raszi completes the SB and I check 23dd in the BB. Flop Q54dd, Raszi leads 1600, I call, Gavin calls, other guy folds. Turn Kh, check, I check, Gavin bets 4K, Raszi makes it 14K, I cold call, and Gavin folds. River 4d Raszi checks and I check and win.

I've rarely felt like as big of a pussy after playing a hand of poker as I did here but I'm not sure I made any really clear mistakes. Probably I should have raised the flop in retrospect actually to try to drive out any bigger flush draws and possibly just win the pot right there, but calling is hardly a big mistake and I was actually kind of hoping for a raise behind so I could then bomb in a big reraise myself. Nothing like gambling for 300xBB in level one of a $40K buy-in with a draw. The turn check seems fine once I play the flop more conservatively and I think I have to coldcall the bet and raise since Gavin is super unlikely to ever reraise in that spot and I'm getting direct odds to call, plus excellent implied odds if I make my straight. The only really bad thing that can happen is if Raszi is semi-bluffing himself or Gavin calls behind with a better draw but I think the price is still good enough even taking those cases into consideration. I actually think the river is a pretty clear check as it would be extremely difficult to get called by worse and he can definitely check worse to me (either looking to checkraise with a full house hoping I'll bet my flush or checking a better flush that he's afraid could be beat some of the time).

So that and a few other pots got me off to a great start but I went pretty card dead later in the day and bled off chips. I should have picked a few more spots to try pick up some chips with resteals and such but really it just wasn't my day. On day 2 I played 3 hands in quick succession and busted:

Hand 2: 2500/500 a500 After having paid the blinds I'm down to around 80K and find 55 in the CO. I move in and pick up the blinds and antes.

Hand 3: Very next hand I open KTdd in the HJ to 12500. Bobby Suer calls on my left. He final tabled the WPT event in Tunica and I had happened to have watched that episode so I had a decent idea how he played. I felt pretty confident that he had a better hand than me and he probably should have reraised me, but he wasn't trapping with a monster or anything. Moorman then moves in from the BB for 42.5K more. If I move in and get Bobby to fold I'll be getting 2:1 against the BB's hand which is a good price, and I'm pretty sure Bobby will fold so I do that and all goes as planned except Moorman has ATo and I don't get there.

Hand 4: I have like 40K or something left and shove AQs very next hand. Shawn Buchanan reships and James Mackey ( thinks for a while and shoves over the top too. Shawn has QQ and mig has 66. I flop the nut flush draw but miss everything.

After that I went and got the keys to our summer house which is pretty sweet. I like it better than the place we had last year. I'm living with Aussies this year, so far only StevoL, Jay (Seabeast), and Joel Dodds are here, but Tony (Bond) is arriving tomorrow and the others are scheduled to show up in a week or two I think. I'll try to post pictures at some point. Probably I should take some before we make too big a mess.

Friday night I went out and got some degeneracy out of my system. I met up with Tom and Kyle (who I lived with last summer) to grab dinner and drinks and watch the Lakers game, then we went and put a beating on the nearest Texas Holdem Bonus table, and after that I ended up at the Rhino and got that out of my system too. Today I played online tourneys and some cash and got owned. Benyamine 6-outed me on the river for a 60K pot about 2 minutes after I woke up and I had no luck the rest of the day making any of that back. I had a couple deep runs in tournaments but I blew them. Here's one key hand I think I got wrong:

FTP 750K Gtd. 110/4000 players remain I have a slightly above average stack of ~120K or so iirc. Folds to the CO who opens to 8500ish and I flat call with AA in the BB. Obviously 3-betting here is fine but it's a good spot to flat call and trap and I think in this situation the call was the better play. Flop KJxdd, chk/chk. Turn 9, I bet ~13K and he makes it ~37K. I eventually shove but in retrospect I think I definitely should have folded. I really don't play my A-game on Sundays though and I shoved and lost to QT.

Anyways I'm already registered for the 1500 PLO on Monday and we're going golfing at 640am before that. I'm going to be exhausted all day but I think it will be worth it to get out there and play. I haven't played yet all summer so I"m going to really suck, but there's only one way to get back into it, and one of my bigger regrets the past couple summers is that I've hardly got out to play golf at all. If I last long in the PLO I'm going to be a mess but I guess that's what caffeine is for, even though I'm trying to minimize how much of that I drink this year.

That's all I've got for now, I should really try to get to sleep but I am lucky enough to have a small piece of Isaac's action so I'm going stay up and sweat him to the bracelet. Let's get the summer started off right for a change.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tournament Poker for Dummies

OK so the most common complaint I get about this blog from friends who aren’t poker players is that they don’t know what the eff I’m talking about with all the slang and terminology. It would be far too difficult to explain everything, but I want to write down the absolute basics so you can at least easily follow my Twitter feed when I’m reporting my chip count from the tournaments I’m playing and have some idea what's going on.

Every tournament has a buy-in. This is the amount of money each player pays to enter the tournament. For their buy-in they each receive an equal amount of tournament chips. The amount of chips is arbitrary and need not be related to the buy-in in any way, but at the world series of poker (WSOP) this summer the number of starting chips will always be three times the buy-in. You then go play the tournament with those chips until eventually you lose all of them (or if you’re lucky until you win the tournament by winning all the chips in play). You are then paid by how many people are left when you bust out (lose all your chips). The tricky part is that only around the top 10% of finishers get paid at all (this % varies from tournament to tournament but 10% will be typical for the WSOP). For example, if a tournament had 1000 players then typically the first ~900 people to bust out would get nothing and just lose their buy-in. The top 10% will all get paid enough to at least cover their buy-in, but generally speaking unless you make the final table (the last 9 players) you will not make more than 2-10 times the buy-in. The really big prizes (relatively speaking) are typically reserved for the top 3 finishers.

Blinds/Antes: The blinds and antes are forced bets that players must make (with tournament chips of course) that force the action so there is some money in the pot at the beginning of the hand to play for. As the tournament progresses the blinds and antes increase so that the tournament can’t go on forever. Each time the blinds increase is called a level. Typically, each level in the WSOP will be an hour long, though in some special tournaments the levels will be 90 minutes or 2 hours long (the latter is the case in the main event). Depending on various factors such as how many chips we start with, how many players are in the event, and how long the levels are, most tournaments will last anywhere from 2-4 days (most events are 3 days long) though the main event with its 30K (30,000) starting chips, 6000+ players, and two hour long levels will take about 7 days of play just to reach the final table. At the WSOP it is typical to play until 2am or 3am before you get to bag up your chips and go home for some rest.

So, when I report “I have X amount of chips” what does that mean? One of the easiest ways to get a general idea how I’m doing is to compare my chip stack to the “average stack”. If I have more chips than the average I must be doing pretty well, though often times even if I am well below average the fact that I still have chips at all may mean I’m really not doing that badly if it’s late in the tournament. The average stack is given by:

Av. Stack = starting stack * players started / players left, or equivalently

Av. Stack = starting stack / % of the field left

So, for example, when half the field is left average stack is twice the starting stack. One other useful example to consider is when 10% of the field is left since that is when we “reach the money”. In this case average stack would be ten times starting stack. Therefore, whenever I have close to 10 times starting stack before we reach the money I should be a solid favourite to at least make the money. Similarly, later in the tournament another useful number to consider is the average final table stack, which you can calculate easily by putting “players left = 9” in the first formula (or occasionally players left = 8 or 6 for certain special tournaments).

Hopefully that will make following my progress this summer (via and easy and enjoyable. Wish me luck!


Friday, May 22, 2009

The Annual Pilgrimage

It's almost that time of year where professionals, amateurs, enthusiasts, and degenerates all converge on Las Vegas for the holy event that is the World Series of Poker. A month and a half of battling every day against 45 degree heat, hangovers, burn out, tables games, and of course your opponents, to try to win a bunch of loot and "a place in poker history", in the form a gaudy gold bracelet you'll never wear more than twice (unless you're John Phan). This year the "poker battle" begins early for me with the $40K 40th anniversary NL Holdem event this coming Thursday. After that I'll mostly be playing mixed games and golf as well as the bigger NLHE events in an attempt to keep my sanity throughout the entire the summer. As has been well-documented in the archives over at, the last two World Series must be considered failures for me as I have yet to final table a single event. Last year I did manage to keep my head on straight throughout the summer though and bink the Bellagio Cup at the end.

With my plan to play more of the different games this year a final table is a lot more likely as the average field size I will be playing against will be much smaller. I'm still far from a mixed games expert but I'm confident I'll have a big edge in almost every tournament I play. And most importantly it will be a lot more fun than playing Holdem day after day. I haven't done quite as much study and work on my game as I probably should have leading up to the series, but I put in a long session yesterday 4-tabling the 100/200 8-game mixed on Stars that went well. I definitely ran really good throughout but if I can even just hold my own in those games I should do very well against the weak fields at the Series. I also took a shot at a 400/800 8-game mix and luckboxed a solid win so my confidence is high.

In fact, I've basically run really hot in all my cash game play this week. I've played a bit in the 50/100 and 25/50 with antes PLO games on Full Tilt and put up good results. There has also been a shot or two at the 300/600 with ante game when a certain someone was tilting badly that went very well. As always whenever you go on a rush like that in PLO it has a lot more to do with the cards than anything about how you're playing, but I'm happy where my PLO game is at.

As for tournaments, I've put in a few mostly lighter sessions since I last wrote without any particular success. I had a couple small cashes in FTOPS events but nothing that covered my buy-ins. Hopefully my tournament run good is being saved up for the series this year, but more importantly I hope this is the most fun summer I have at the WSOP, win or lose. You'll be able to follow my progress throughout the summer on my Twitter feed located at, and of course I will be blogging semi-regularly throughout.


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Monte Carlo Wrapup

Alright so Monte Carlo has come and gone. I lost just over 40K euros playing live on the trip plus probably like another 8k playing Sundays which is pretty solid I think. Just a quick rundown of the results for people that haven't been following my twitter feed (which I now have on my blogger version of this blog at

First was the EPT Monte Carlo main event. Day 1 went poorly for me as I ended up down from 30K starting stack with 24K, but Day 2 went well as I finished up with 133K after being as high as 180K. Day 3 unfortunately went poorly as well though despite winning some pots early with AK to get back to 180K, I then a couple pots in a row and went fairly card dead. I eventually got down to like 70K at 3k/6k a500 and shoved QJs in the HJ and got snap reshoved by AK and lost to bust 97th when 88 paid.

I busted just in time to play the high roller though but unfortunately that went even worse. I was hovering around the starting 50K stack when I played this funny hand:

300/600 a75 Ivan Demidov opens to 1525 in MP with like a 27K stack, I flat JJ on the button though I think just 3-betting and going with the hand is perfectly fine here too and Gus obviously does not fold his BB getting such a price. The flop comes 822r, they check to me and I bet 3250. Gus folds and Ivan thinks for like a minute before calling which is super weird but I'm pretty sure he doesn't have much. The turn is an offsuit A though and goes chk/chk. River pairs the 8 and he bets 5125, maybe I could fold because the A hits most of his rando float range on the flop and it doesn't look like he expects me to fold but I'm getting a good price in a spot where his line doesn't really make much sense so I pay off and lose to that A6.

After that I stop winning pots and bust shoving 25K with A7o at 600/1200 a100 when zigmund opened the CO to 3400 with AKs. I think against zigmund this has to be a profitable shove but I probably would have justified it somehow anyways since I was so tired and card dead.

Then in the 5k 6-max on Saturday I busted super early on another funny hand:

25/50 Shaun Deeb opens the HJ to 150, old Moroccan fish flats the button as he plays almost every hand, I call A3cc in the SB, BB calls. Flop 245ss, I lead out 500, BB calls, Deeb folds, and button calls. Turn Jh, I bet 1500, BB calls, button quickly splashes out a bunch of big chips that add up to 7K, I shove, BB folds, and he asks me "Is the maximum enough?" as I guess they don't have a similar term to "the nuts" in French or something so it's a bit of a lost in translation moment but I'm pretty sure I know what he means. He doesn't slowroll me for than a few seconds and at least I only wasted like 45 minutes on not cashing this one (and no, he was not suited).

So now I'm back in Toronto for a while. Next live tournament will be the opening 40K event of the WSOP in Vegas May 28th. Usually it takes me like 10 events at the series to lose that much so it should be fun! FTOPS starts tomorrow as well so I'll play some events when I have time and feel like it. The next 2 installments of my PLO series on PS+ should hopefully be finished shortly as well.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Just a quick post. I finished Day 1A of EPT Monte Carlo with 24K down from 30K starting stack. I've got Twitter set up to post the most recent updates from my feed on the sidebar on the right here and I'll be texting in updates at each break so you can follow my progress from here. There has been a bit of a debacle with the rgulations here and PLO tournaments and STT's have been outlawed but the 5K euro PLO tourney has been replaced by a 5K euro 6-max NLHE tourney so that's not bad at all.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Quick Pre-MC Post

Hey, sorry I have written in a while I just haven't really felt like it. WPT Champs didn't go great, I busted early on Day 2. I don't really feel like or remember all the hands I played but here's the first major pot I played:

50/100 we start with 100K in chips. David Phan opens the button to 300 I call in the SB with 88. Flop KT8r, I check, he bets 450 I make it 1525 he calls. Turn T I bet 3200 he makes it 8200 I call, River blanks I check/call 10K and KT is good. The first day actually went ok overall though and I chipped up to 105K but Day 2 nothing really went right. Congrats to Yev on the win though! I'm going to take partial credit since I loaned him some of my lucky Bellagio money for his buy-in. Also huge congrats to my fellow PS+ instructor charder for finishing 4th, and luckychewy for 13th.

I really haven't played much poker since then. Yesterday I shortstacked some good 500/1000 HA games fort he first time in a while and made 80K as I ran good. I've also played a couple short sessions of 50/100 CAP and 25/50 full stacked that went well so I've made back some of the money I've been losing to luckexpress.

Tonight I leave for Monte Carlo and should arrive early Monday afternoon. I'm planning to play the 10K euro main event, 25K euro the high roller, and the 5K euro PLO championship, though hopefully I'll do well enough in at least one of the first two that I have to skip one of the latter ones. That's all I've got for now, check out my two latest videos on PS+, I do a decent 3/6 PLO video and a HU PLO match with Tom that turned out really interesting where you can watch our commentary from both sides and see both people's cards. 5/10 PLO and 10/20 PLO will be my next two vids, I've already recorded the 10/20 but I need to do the 5/10 since it has to get put up first. Wish me luck in the coming week!


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

SCOOP Wrapup

Ok this will be my final SCOOP-related post. I cashed the $10K main event but lost a flip to bust 33rd for $30K. That cash probably put me around even on the series, not a great result by any stretch but 9 cashes is very solid I just didn't run good deep in any of them unfortunately. I also had a 2nd place finish in a Stars $100 rebuy for $22K which was a solid result, but Shaun F Deeb runs too good at final tables for me to close. Next up is the WPT Championship at Bellagio. It will be my first time playing this event but it should be really sick; $25K buy-in, 75K starting chips and hopefully a big field. The turnouts for their preliminary events have been terrible but Bellagio usually gets a crowd for the main event regardless, especially this tournament with it's huge buy-in has always been much bigger than you would expect. so I'm pretty optimistic it'll be a good turnout. I'll be giving the live updates on Twitter thing a try so follow me on there (SirWatts) if you want to read how I'm doing at each break beginning Sunday.

In other news there's really not much other news. I don't really feel like playing a whole lot right now before Bellagio so I probably won't. I'm going to watch baseball (Jays off to an unexpected good start), the hockey playoffs (go habs go!), and hang out with my friends here before I hit the road again. Take it easy homies,


Friday, April 10, 2009

SCOOP Update

Hey kids, what's up? I've been SCOOPin hard the last week playing most of the M and H events. My in the money % has been really high as I've cashed 8 events, 2 H (high buy-in) events and 6 M (mid buy-in) events. As a sidebar the 6 cashes in the M events is tied for most in the series. Unfortunately they are basically all small cashes except last night when I final tabled the (M) $425 8-game mixed event but busted 6th for a bit under $6K. I also have bubbled two additional (H) events, so I've been getting chips early and hanging in there but I haven't had quite as much luck in the later stages. Last night was particularly frustrating seeing as I went on a huge heater with 12 left to take a big chip lead, then ran KK into AA against the guy in 2nd place in the NLH round. Luckily I still had an average stack after that hand and hung in until the final table, but I spewed a few bets in the limit games and ran out of luck to bust 6th.

I haven't played all that much high stakes cash lately. The few sessions I have played went well enough despite another frustrating losing session against luckexpress. The games haven't been running a lot lately though and I've been content to go back to grinding tourneys mostly while SCOOP is on. I'm really enjoying playing the different games and feel like this is good experience to have before WSOP this summer where I want to play a lot of non-holdem events. I'm starting to become more confident in my play in the limit games which is very good news. Anyways I'm grinding some SCOOPs as I write this so I'm goign to go focus on them. Hopefully next time I write I'll actually have that win to write about!


PS. I'm giving this Twitter thing a try as SirWatts. I dont know how much I'll use it but I've been talked into giving it a shot since it's the big craze and all.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Last Week and Scoopaloop Day 1

Yoooo. So I've been in Montreal visiting my sister and haven't played a whole ton of poker lately. But with the SCOOP starting on PokerStars that is quickly about to change. OK first, I don't remember exactly when these hands happened but I played some good PLO/HA games and lost like 100K since whenever I last updated. It was a pretty crap session but whatever it happens. I had a great time in Montreal though and got to relax and not think about poker too much which isn't a bad change of pace.

So today was the inuagural day of the inaugural SCOOP and I played 4 events and cashed three of them. Unfortunately they were all min-cashes but fortunately I cashed both of the high buy-in events. In the 500r I was given a ton of chips early through run good and various opponents being huge spazzes and the same in the 50r. I ran good early in the $1K PLO8 as well. Unfortunately towards the middle stages of these tournaments things stopped going so well. I made a bit of a run in the 55r event but busted around 150th/4000 or something, and in the high buy-in events I managed to survive long enough to barely limp into the money in both.

As for PS+ stuff I was happy to see all the very positive response to my last MTT video. Next up is going to finally be the HU PLO video between myself and Tom. We just recorded it and I got my ass kicked. Hopefully when I do the commentary I can at least tell you all why. After that I'm supposed to do a video on moving up from midstakes to highstakes PLO, but with all the SCOOP going on it's going to be hard to fit that in around playing 10 hour days every day. If I get deep in any SCOOP events I'll definitely be looking to record or do a hand history review possibly as well from those. Anyways I really don't have anything super interesting to write about this time, I'll write again when I win my first SCOOP event.


PS. As of when I'm writing this Bond is still in with 19 left in the 500r. gogogo Tony!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Swingy Weekend!

I've basically spent the last 4 days on the couch watching the NCAA tournament with my laptop on my lap. It's been really fun! There were a lot of good high stakes HA games going on the weekend so I was pretty busy grinding those while trying to keep an eye on any close games. I crushed the 500/1K games but got owned pretty hard at 300/600 heads-up by luckexpress. Maybe heads-up just isn't my game but other than a few questionable plays it's mostly just been me being on the wrong side of a bunch of coolers. Maybe I could have lost a little less on a few of them or something but it happens. Luckily 500/1K > 300/600 so I still made money. My sessions for the weekend went something like this:

+120K, -60K (after being up >120K at one point), +150K, -90K. Guess which ones were heads-up.

Fun times and I still finished with a sizable profit (though it's not all that much considering the stakes), but at my peak I was up almost 3 times as much as I finished ahead so slightly disappointing from that perspective. I don't really have much else I want to write about right now. I've got another video coming out shortly for PokerSavvy, it's an MTT vid this time, and I'm going to have to get another one done at some point too before the end of the month. That could prove tricky as I'm going to Montreal to visit my sister and friends there on Wednesday. In any event, happy March Madness kids, enjoy the games!


Sunday, March 15, 2009


It's a pretty good month to be home from traveling. We've got the NCAA tournament starting next week. We had the World Baseball Classic here in Toronto last week, though Canada's embarrassing loss to Italy almost makes that a negative. I went and saw the Canada-US game live though which was awesome. If any of Canada's top pitchers were available they actually would have had a pretty decent team. A lot of other fun stuff is happening this month too! I'm going to go visit my sister and friends in Montreal soon. My friend Tim is moving to Toronto in a week. And today is my roommate Alicia's birthday! As such I am taking the day off to celebrate. And of course there's St. Patrick's day....

Poker-wise I've been playing a lot online lately instead of taking care of various errands I should be running while I'm home. I had an up and down week at high stakes, first losing a bunch at what was probably an ill-advised shot playing Gus heads-up 500/1k PLO. I then won all that back yesterday playing luckexpress heads-up 300/600 HA and some 500/1000 full-ring HA. Full Tilt has raised the minimum buy-ins to 35xBB in those games which is just stupid. While I feel perfectly comfortable playing that deep instead of just shortstacking 20xBB deep like I used to it's a lot of money to risk. Lately I've been selling half my action when I take shots at these games and only playing when the lineup looks very favourable. It's pretty stupid, the only high-stakes games that run are 25/50 with a 5K or maybe 10K max buy-in if you want to play deep, and then 500/1000 with a minimum 35K buy-in. Oh well, I guess I'll stop complaining and just hope I keep running good.

I played a few tournaments this week as well, had a few cashes but nothing big. My best result was finishing 4th yesterday in an iCOP event on the Boss network. It was just an 88 euro PLO8 tourney with a huge overlay on the 25K euro guaranteed prize pool. I finished 4th for 2K euro which was disappointing considering I had the chip lead at one point at the final table, but it was a fun tournament and I ran good right from the start, and that combined with no one having any clue how to play the game let me build a solid stack quickly.

Alright I don't have much else to write about. Just gotta give a shout out to timex for coming close to going back-to-back at EPT Dortmund. He final tabled and finished 5th for 200K euro. It would have been so sick if he could have repeated, and if he hadn't lost his two huge coinflips at the final table he very well may have. Alright I'm out kids, enjoy your day. Don't lose too much playing donkaments.


Sunday, March 01, 2009

How I Do

It has been widely reported that the first person eliminated from the WPT Celebrity Invitational was Antonio Esfandiari. This however is simply false. I know this because I had been standing in the hall outside having a conversation for two minutes before they made that announcement. Now you're probably all wondering how that nit Watts managed to bust twice (I of course took my $200 to charity rebuy) in half an hour before a single one of numerous celebs who don't really have much of an idea how to play. Fortunately you've come to the right place because I'm going to tell you the story.

Gobbo and I got there around 6pm for the cocktail party to mingle and so I could have some free cocktails. We bumped into some friends and checked out whatever celebs we could find. Other than usuals such as Jennifer Tilly, Don Cheadle, Mekkhi Phifer I also saw William Hung, Tony Aleida and Agent Pearce from "24", and probably some others I'm forgetting. What can I say I've never been a huge fan of celebrities but it was still pretty cool. After some quick speeches Bruce Buffer gave us his special rendition of "shuffle up and deal" which was freaking awesome and it was time to gamble. First of all, I am playing 2 out of every 3 pots at least, often without looking at my cards. I am "straddling" every UTG and have got others doing the same. If I catch any piece of the flop I do not fold. If they check to me I will almost always bet.

So I've lost some chips doing stuff like limp/calling the Q3o when I finally pick up a real hand and make my standard raise to 200 at 50/100 with the 45o. 4 players call and the flop comes Q64 with two clubs. I make a strong continuation bet of 200 and the guy on my left calls, then Mimi across the table from me makes it 700. I obviously call as does my friend on my left. The turn is an offsuit 5. DING DING DING DING DING!!!! Two checks and Mimi bets 1100. I quickly make it 4 dimes and my friend cold calls the whole thing with what is almost certainly a flush draw. Mimi calls as well. The river is the 2c which means I lose. But I bet the 3 or 4K I have left anyways for some reason and then rebuy.

I quickly begin rebuilding my stack though. For whatever reason I have 93o and flop a 3 so I call a bet. I turn a 3 and bet out but somehow everyone folds. Go figure. Then I call Chau Giang's raise with KThh and flop ATx. I call his 500 bet and when a T turns I bet 1k which he calls and then 3k on the river which he somehow folds to again!! Gah! So despite being 3 for 3 on 5-outers I am still down like 7K chips.

Then there are two sweet hands in a row where a young asian guy whose name I should know but I don't opens to 250 in EP and I reraise to 500 in MP with the 5h and the 2h. He calls and snap folds to my 500 bet on A44. I just know I woulda hit the living hell out of my gutshot too why couldn't he have an ace. Then the next hand he limps correctly fearing another reraise so I know hes weak and quickly raise to 200 with 23o to try to isolate. Unfortunately I get reraised to 700 and decide to fold my hand face up.

Now on my BB at 75/150 the same young asian guy makes it 500 in the CO and I call with AQo. The flop comes QT7 with 2 spades and I bomb out for 1k, and he raises to 3k or 4k or something like that. I quickly jam all 12K or so of my chips into the pot while fistpumping and doing double backflips of pure joy in my head but he calls with Q7 and I lose all my gold. SIIIIIIIGH.

After that I hung out for a bit with Kristen and Gavin (busto not too much later) and Jennifer and Heather (and a hilarious visit from Noah Schwartz) but when gobbo busted we decided to just head back to the hotel. Now at this point you may be thinking "Watts, what the hell is wrong with you? First place in that tournament was $100K", and that is a reasonable thing to ask. But as usual I am thinking about 5.3 steps ahead of you. Don't feel bad it's just one of the skills I've developed from poker. So we get back to the room and there are a few pretty ok looking 500/1000 HA tables going on Full Tilt. I sit and start winning lots of pots. PLO is just such a ridiculous game. Last week I felt like I could not win money at the game to save my life. This week I feel like I just can not lose a hand. By the time the games break a couple hours later I'm up $120K. As you may recall first in the freeroll was $100K. I believe the moral of the story is that the gambling gods love you when you just degen it up for them from time to time.

Alright that's about as much as I can possibly write in this tone. I'm back to Toronto late Monday night. Looking forward to seeing everyone I've missed while I've been off hiding from winter, but especially the kitties! Take it easy,


Saturday, February 28, 2009

Another Week in LA

Yoooo. So I decided to stay in LA for the Celeb Invitational freeroll today. It should be a really fun tournament, I'm definitely not going to take it too seriously although first is 100K so if I get deep I'll have to focus up. I've had a week here in LA with no tournaments to distract me. I'd like to say I used that time to go out and see the city and then party with movie stars all night. But in typical Watts style I've mostly just slept away the day and stayed up late playing PLO, mostly online but some live as well. The good news is that I've been on a pretty solid heater in the 500/1k HA games as as well as 10/20 and 25/50 PLO, up over $200K. The HA games have been very good this week so I was back playing them again. They're pretty fun win you win most of the flips.

Oh yeah as for the LAPC main event itself I made Day 2 but busted early on. I was up and down a lot. I'm not really happy with how I played a few hands but I don't think I made any super clear cut mistakes. So overall happy enough with my play and I definitely had my head in it unlike at Aussie Millions where at times I was very unfocused. I think that's about all I've got for now though I'm probably forgetting some stuff. Just wanted to post a quick update. Keep it real,


Friday, February 20, 2009

LA and PS+

Hey y'all, I've been in LA for the LA Poker Classic for almost a week now. The WPT main event starts tomorrow and I'm hoping to improve on a deep run I made last year when I ended up finishing 10th. So far I've had no luck in the few prelims I've played, just a $1K and a $5k event. Unfortunately I couldn't play any more as I'm pretty low in cash here. They wouldn't change my Australian $$ at the casino here because we are in the ghetto, or at least that was the reason I took from the whole thing. I probably would have played the $10K HU event, though the field was so tough that missing out on that is not a huge loss really. I also might have played the $10K PLO but it only got 54 players and was on Sunday so again no big deal. After the main event I was planning to stay around for the Celebrity Invitational freeroll event, but depending how deep I get in the main and how much cash I'm able to get to play live games here I may change my flight and bounce early.

In other news I'm on a pretty big PLO downswing because 500/1000 is just way too big. I'm pretty upset that Full Tilt made all these tables instead of just leaving 200/400 as the biggest game. Essentially no one actually has the money to play that high so obviously most people have to buyin short if they want to play as it's the only games over 25/50 that runs at all regularly. I do still think I have an edge short stacking the half holdem half omaha games against a lot of lineups though so I've been gambling a bit and playing with not so great reults. Anyways I'm probably going to take a break from playing these games except when the lineup happens to look really good.

I think my new goal in poker is going to be to get a lot better at limit mixed games. I play a few of the HORSE games fairly decently and a few others pretty mediocrely and I also want to learn 2-7 triple draw so that I can play most of the new Pokerstars SCOOP events, as well as play a lot more non-holdem events at the WSOP this summer. There is just no way I will survive the summer playing a 2000 person $2K NL event every day again. I need a new challenge and the smaller fields in the mixed games are nice too so maybe I could actually finally final table a bracelet event. Speaking of which, look at all the money I get to lose beginning in April:

PokerStars SCOOP: April 2-12 Probably around $40-50K in buy-ins.

WPT Championship at Bellagio: April 18-24 $25K main event.

EPT Monte Carlo: April 28-May 3 10K Euro main event. 25K Euro high roller. 5K Euro PLO championship among other side events. ~$60K USD.

World Series of Poker 2009 (and Bellagio Cup!): Begins May 28th with the special $40K buy-in tournament. Likely to spend close to $150K in buy-ins this summer.

Countdown to busto has begun.

The final major announcement which I haven't written about on here in a while is that I have officially joined Poker Savvy Plus as a core pro and will be contributing three strategy videos a month beginning in March. I'm very happy to be on board and hope some of you sign up and enjoy my videos, and most importantly learn from them to make some $$$! This blog is now being cross-posted over there, so a special hello to everyone reading this on PokerSavvy! I really think PS+ now has a very strong team of core pros and you're going to see a lot of really good videos coming from there this year. That's all I've got for now, going to the gym for a bit, wish me luck beginning tomorrow!


Sunday, February 08, 2009


First, before I begin, I need to point out that my WPT epsiode has FINALLY been pirated by the fine people of the internet and is available over at and possibly some other torrent sites as well. I'm looking forward to watching it later on today. Edit: It's now also up on for people who dont want to do the torrent thing.

Alright so the last four days I spent in Adelaide for the ANZPT event there. I guess I'll start with a brief recap of my tournament since some semi-interesting stuff happened and I last more than 3 hours.

We started with 20K chips and hour long levels, a pretty fast structure but quite reasonable, I think it was the same as the standard EPT structure. In the early levels I chipped up a lot by getting dealt big pairs and winning decent sized pots with them and just winning most small pots I played uncontested whether I made pairs or not. I got as high as 42K before this hand:

Hand 1: 200/400 a50 I opened to 1100 UTG with AKo no spade and a bad player flatted as did some guy in the CO as well as the BB who actually seemed ok. The flop came A83 all spades, I bet 3K, first guy flatted with like 4K more behind or something ridiculous, CO folds, BB shoves for 9K more, I sigh and stick it in and other guy calls as well. BB has 88 and other guy has KK with the Ks so I don't win. Gross spot but in this tournament I can't imagine ever playing it differently.

Hand 2: At a new table now 400/800 a100 a loose player who's very short opens UTG to 2K, I make it 6K UTG+1 with AKs and around 18K more behind. It folds to a pretty tight youngish girl Monica in the SB who makes it 16.8K without hesitation. Folds to me and after some thought I realize I should probably not give away the rest of my chips yet.

Hand 3: Same guy opens UTG to 2K, I 3-bet to 6K UTG+1 with AA. Nice life. He makes some comment along the lines of "this fucking kid, every time" and says let's see a flop. Flop AQJ with two spades, he checks, I shove his last 10K or so in and he mumbles about how of course the ace had to come and he has 8 outs before folding T9cc face up. lol.

Hand 4: 500/1000 a100 I"m up to 30K or so. Asian lady minraises in EP, guy on my right calls with like 4500 behind, I call button with 22 and a blind calls. Flop KQ2 two spades, lady bets 6k, guy on my right calls all-in, I expert raise to 12K, lady calls. Turn blank, she shoves I snap and hold vs AA to get to ~70K.

Hand 5: I open to 2700 in MP. Some Canadian guy with a ton of chips who talks a lot calls in the BB. Flop QTx rainbow, he tells the dealer tha I'm going to bet if checks and then he'll call so I oblige and bet 4K he calls, Turn 8 he says now if I check hes gonna check behind so I've gotta bet and leads 10K. I'm thoroughly unamused by this nonsense and call. River blank he shoves for my last 45K or so and I cry and fold. He def seemed like a bit of an idiot but most people when they pull this type of bs and talk this much always have it so and he didn't seem like the type to run such an insane bluff.

Hand 6: Monica limps UTG, I raise to 4K in MP with AQo she calls. Flop KJ8 two clubs she donks 5500 with like 13.5 behind and I decide to shove since these leads are usually weak, she might fold KQ even, or I might accidentally be ahead of a draw, but she really did just lead into me with top 2 pair and so I'm down to 20K. Oops.

Hand 7: HJ who is new to the table opens to 3K, I shove 22 in the CO for 20K, he calls with AK, I flop a set and lose to the backdoor flush.

Anyways, the big news from Adelaide was Tony final tabling and finishing 2nd for 111K AUD. Even at the current exchange rate he cleared his makeup! There were also several nights out where I learned the true meaning of "Go hard or go home" as they like to say here. I have decided to go home. But not right away. Saturday I leave for LA to go play a few events of LAPC. My flights are tentatively booked to stay until early March and play the Celebrity freeroll thing but I might bounce right after I bust the WPT main event instead depending how much I'm feeling LA. We shall see. Anyways I'm off to enjoy my last week in Melbourne. Check out my episode I've watched it since I started writing this blog and it's pretty sweet. I cooler everyone so fucking hard. There's really not a single hand where I do anything resembling outplaying anyone, I just always get there.


Sunday, February 01, 2009


OK I have no idea what I want to write about in this entry but I feel like I'm due for one so here goes nothing. The last week since Aussie Millions ended has been pretty fun and relaxing. It has also been one of the hottest in Melbourne's history as those of you have been watching the tennis at all may have heard. Timex and I didn't make it out to the tennis at all because all the night sessions were more or less sold out and we learned our lesson last year about watching tennis in the mid-afternoon heat, and it was probably at least a good 5 degrees cooler the day we went last year compared to the heat wave that's been going on lately. It's basically felt like Vegas here for the last week with temperatures in the 40s every day. We got down to the beach a couple times when the weather was more reasonable, but this week we hardly ever left the apartment during the day other than to go the gym two minutes down the street. I can hardly complain though, I'll take this weather over winter in Canada any day. No one has ever had to shovel out their driveway from sun and heat.

I have about two more weeks left on my Australia trip before I head to LA for the LAPC. Today is going to be a chill day and we'll watch the tennis on TV tonight, hopefully it will be an epic final. Tomorrow is SuperBowl Monday here in Melbourne so we're going to get up a little early and go watch that over at Berky's place. I think it comes on at like 11am here or something. I don't know what plans will be after that, I think we'll have to hit the beach at least one more time before we rock out to Adelaide for the inaugural ANZPT event on Wednesday.

I guess PokerStars decided they just didn't have enough live poker tours yet so they started another one here in Aussieland even though they already have several APPT events here. There's a 3K AUD (~75 USD at latest exchange rate) event in Adelaide starting Wednesday so we're rocking down there with some of the Melbourne donks (Bond, stevol, berky, etc...) to win that shit. I'm told Adelaide isn't much of a city but it'll be fun to see somewhere else in Australia regardless.

Anyways I think that's about all I've got for now. Gonna go try to win back some of te money I lost playing PLO while writing this.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Quick Hello from Melbourne

I've had a bunch of complaints about the lack of updates so sorry about that. I think my ethernet card is broken or something because the internet in my place here isn't working. Luckily I have found a wireless signal to steal but it's very unreliable, and I haven't really been spending much time back in the room here lately anyways as I've been out playing poker and enjoying the city and the weather.

Anyways, the quick version of the story is I'm having a blast here but playing pretty bad. My head really hasn't been into the tournaments at all. At PCA that was kind of the case as well, but when I sat down at the table I played my best. On this trip that hasn't been the case. I've been very impatient and played quite poorly in a number of spots. Part of it is trying some new things, part of it is running bad, but a big part of it too is just not playing well. But like I said, I'm still having a blast here and I'm only losing plastic-coated Australian play money anyways.

Timex and I will be here for almost another 3 weeks just for vacation, though we will probably go play a tournament in Adelaide on the new Stars Australia/New Zealand tour whenever that is. We're staying in an hotel-style apartment in Tony's (Bond18) building which is quite nice. It's nothing big, but there's plenty of space for us and the location is actually quite convenient. So many of the things we need (gym, grocery store, restaurants, etc.) are super close near by, and we're a short drive from the casino. Anyways I'm quite tired and was supposed to get a nap by now, and this hello has not been as quick as planned. I'll try to write more soon.


Monday, January 12, 2009

First Real Post of 2009!

Alright, I've been super lazy about blogging so far this year but I think it's about time I wrote up something real. First of all, Bahamas trip report:

PCA was way more fun than I ever thought it would be. I'm not sure why I wasn't as excited about it as I should have been from the start. 2 years ago when I went I was just starting to meet people in the poker world. I had a great time and met a lot of friends for the first time. Last year I didn't go at all since I just did Aussie so i didn't know how much better they had made the resort. But more importantly I just didn't have all the friends in the poker world that I do now. First let me get the poker stuff out of the way though. I ended up playing the $25K and $5k tournaments and busting both pretty early with not much going right. I wasn't super motivated to play either, in fact I wasn't planning to play either of them when I woke up the respective mornings but that's what ended up happening. I certainly don't regret the decision though in retrospect I'm sure I would have had more fun rocking the lazy river and hanging out with whoever I happened to bump into out there. Once I sit at the table though I am into the game and I play as close to 100% as possible.

Alright, so what really made PCA so great was just bumping into everyone, and I really do mean almost everyone, that I'm friends with in the poker world. Over the years I've made a lot of friends through poker, but seeing most of them in one place and randomly bumping into different people every day and having a great time no matter who it was I bumped into that day really solidified in my head how amazing these people are. I only get to see them a handful of times a year, and other than that I only get to talk to them periodically online, but yet so many of them have become true friends. We all have so much in common that we seem to just get along so easily when we see each other, it's really quite amazing. So, for all of you that are reading this, even though you probably won't hear me say it very often in person, you are all so awesome and I'm so happy to have friends like you.

Moving along, every January I usually do a recap of my previous poker year and set goals for the new year. The 2008 recap is remarkably easy: I accomplished basically every single one of my poker goals that I had set for myself last year. In fact I blew them away. I don't feel like going through all of them right now, but if you're interested it's easy to find the post archived at I ran insanely good from the Bellagio Cup onwards through November, and even booking a decent loss in December didn't put too much of a dent in the year overall. On the one hand I need to remember how lucky I was in 2008 and keep my expectations reasonable or I will likely be setting myself up for huge disappointment in 2009. On the other hand, you gotta dream big.

So, moving along to 2009. I have one of those good problems when it comes to setting goals for 2009 in that I need to completely come up with a new set of them. I still enjoy playing tournaments but I'd be lying if I said I had the same fire and drive to play them as in 2008. That's not to say I don't care or find them interesting anymore as I certainly do, but I think it's pretty normal and understandable that it's just not going to be the same now that I've had "the big score". Of course that being said, the group of people who have won two major tournaments is significantly smaller than the group of people who have binked one, so that does motivate me quite a bit. However, as anyone who reads this blog regularly is aware, I've definitely caught the PLO bug, in particular the high stakes PLO bug. Obviously I have to be a bit smarter about the games I play, but I would very much like to be an extremely successful high to nosebleed high stakes when the games are good PLO cash player in 2009. I feel like there is just so much money potentially to be made in these games and I want to get a piece. No doubt this will probably be the hardest goal I've ever set myself but I guess a challenge is always a good thing.

However, most importantly for 2009, I want to do better at all things outside of poker. Continue to try to get back in better shape, get back to playing a lot of golf and possibly other sports, buy my own place, continue to meet new people and make more friends, and spend more time hanging out with the ones I already have. I'm sure this list could go on a lot longer but you get the point. When it comes down to it there are a lot more important things than poker in life, and I know the better I balance all these things the happier a 2009 it will be for me. It's certainly not an easy thing to do, and I don't expect to completely change the way I live or anything, but I will try to keep making small improvements as I go. All the best to each of you in 2009, I've got a flight to Melbourne to pack for.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

sick preview

Bellagio Cup IV Part 2 Preview



can't wait to see if I get there..


PS. Still can't find downloads for the first half unfortunately.... 2nd half will air tonight in the US on FSN. No idea about Canada but I'm guessing it will probably not get shown until a later date but might be worth checking.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Busto PCA

Hey all I just busted out of the PCA main event. Yesterday I went up to 50K at one point before losing some pots and ending the day at 25K. Today I quickly lost two pots and busted. Yay. Off to the water park!


Monday, January 05, 2009

WPT Episode on!?

Well, apparently the first half of my WPT episode aired last night. Would have been nice if they told me or something but there ya go, I wasn't expecting it to air for a couple months still. I think it's a 2-part episode and will conclude next Sunday but I haven't seen it myself yet so I dunno. Also I am in Bahamas and playing Day 1B of the PCA tomorrow. My Christmas and holidays were awesome, hope yours were too! I think that's about all I've got for now. I'm going to go try to find some illegal downloads of my episode.


Thursday, January 01, 2009

Important 2009 Update

44 Michael Watson Toronto 2,952 2 $2,158,130
45 Michael McDonald Waterloo, CAN 2,920 3 $1,487,214