Tuesday, October 16, 2012

€50K Specialist

The WSOP happened again this summer, and while my HendonMob page wouldn't indicate I was there I can assure you I was. My plan to play less events didn't really happen either. What that means in real words is that I played a whole lot of poker tournaments in Las Vegas this summer and lost 100% of the money I invested into them. I took a month off before heading to Barcelona for the first event of this year's EPT schedule. Barcelona is an amazing city but this trip was mostly business. The one amazing thing I got to experience was watching the first leg of El Clasico, the huge soccer match between Barca and Real Madrid. The first event I played was the €50k high roller, and as the title would indicate, it went well.

After building a big stack on Day 1 I fought my way to the final table on the 2nd day as one of the short stacks. It was all I could do to sit back and watch my roommate Dan Smith decimate player after player. Coming into the final table, three of my friends had the vast majority of the chips: Dan, timex, and JC Alvarado. The other five players including myself were relatively close in chip count, but all the money was in the top three places so it didn't make much sense to just sit around and try to wait people out. Unfortunately, my cards dictated that was my only choice for the first few hours of play, and no one was busting. As I was so short nothing interesting happened at the final table, I just managed to win a few preflop all-ins in a row. I was briefly in contention to make a run at the title but I lost my next all-in and was eliminated by JC in 3rd place for €400k. Dan went on to win again (obviously)! I also ended up finishing 10th in the 2k side event, which didn't pay much but at least broke my streak of three consecutive live cashes where Dan had finished higher than me.

I went home after Barca and grinded WCOOP online, and while I managed to win a 2nd chance event for around $35k it was still easily a net-negative series for me. It was immediately back on the road after WCOOP as I took my talents to the southern beach town of Cannes, France for WSOP Europe. My more loyal fans (hi mom and dad) would recall that I very nearly won a bracelet there last year, and then followed that up with a win in the turbo side event, cashing around a quarter million euros combined. It was the beginning of the great run I've been on in European tournaments, so I was feeling confident. This confidence showed as I screwed up my French less often in my brief interactions with taxi drivers and at restaurants.

I also played fine on the felt and I min-cashed the €10k mix-max event, but had no luck in any of the other bracelet events. I was planning to leave early and go to Sanremo for the €5k IPT high-roller event, but then I heard that the €50k side event in Cannes was actually going to attract a lot of more casual players than I would have expected. I was able to get the money together to play, and you should have a pretty good idea how this turns out. I doubled up with aces the first hand I played and it was smooth sailing from there. Actually the first half of that sentence is true but the rest is anything but. I struggled to get anything going again on day 2, and by the time we reached the final table of 9 players with 8 spots paying I was the short stack. Much to my dismay we ended play for the night still on the bubble and I got to stew all night on the fact that I was probably going to be the bubble boy.

Obviously, that didn't happen. Once again I went on an incredible heater after folding all the way down to starting stack for the tournament! I won a series of coin flips, doubled when I flopped top pair with a weak hand out of the big blind, and then decided coin flips were too easy and won AJ vs AK all-in preflop twice in a row to take the majority of Richard Yong and John Juanda's chips 3-handed. The win was good for €1 million, my second ever 7-figure score and first in over four years!

After Cannes was Sanremo where I tried to go back-to-back with a deepish run in the main event but ended up 59th. I also cashed another €5k turbo event, just to make sure people know those are still my domain too. Next up is ACOP Macau, followed by WPT Montreal and EPT Prague most likely. I'm really enjoying traveling and playing live right now so for the time being I'm going to keep playing the rush!


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Europe, SCOOP, meh WSOP

Poker has continued to go well lately. My most recent trip began in Dublin where I min-cashed the Irish Open. I also went to the Guinness brewery and maybe a pub or two. Next up was Vienna. Vienna is a really nice city, but after Dublin the night life mostly disappointed. I had no luck in the tournaments there, but my boy Scott Seiver won the premiere league for half a million so we made some party after that. My last night there I had a great night out with my Aussie mates at an Australian backpacker type of pub that had a great laid back vibe and was a ton of fun. Next up was Berlin. Berlin seemed awesome and while I again didn't do as much of the touristy stuff as I probably should have I did go to two excellent restaurants, a steakhouse I forget the name of and Hartmann's, which was more of the typical Michelin star French fare. My biggest complaint about Berlin was that there was none of the great German beer I'm used to drinking! Everywhere they drank Pilsner Urquell and Radeberger - Czech pilsners, and not much in the way of the amazing Oktoberfest style lagers and Weissbier German beer is typically more famous for. I guess that's more Munich style but I found it strange. I won the 5k turbo, my last event there, for 70k euro, which covered most of the buyins for the trip!

 The final leg was Monte Carlo. I've been there several times before for the grand final and it has to be one of the most overrated destinations on the poker circuit. Don't get me wrong, it's unbelievably beautiful there and definitely worth seeing. But don't spend any time there. Everything is way too expensive, and while the food is of course excellent there's nothing great in terms of night life. Fortunately, I was pretty much just there to play poker so that wasn't of great concern. The problem was that so too was my roommate "Truck" Dan Smith. I finished 11th and 8th or something in the 5k full ring and 6-max side events respectively after having a lot of chips deep in both. Dan just decided to win both of them as well as the 5k turbo though, so I never really had a chance. Easily one of the most insane weeks ever. I cashed for enough that I booked a decent win on my own play, and while I didn't swap with Dan in any of his wins I did have another swap come through to make it a very profitable trip. The trip ended with the Pokerstars party and me making some quality 4am decisions and not getting home til 8am. Believe me, I wish that was actually what it sounds like.

Upon returning to Toronto SCOOP started almost immediately and I decided to go get that internet money. In the first week I ended up finishing second in the 1k +1k bounty event for $81k plus a handful of bounties. Once again I wasn't satisfied just to cover my buy-ins, and I final tabled the 1k triple draw for $8k and finally I had my first truly huge Sunday score! Technically it was a Monday score I guess since it was a 2-day event, but regardless, finishing 2nd in the $2k 6-max SCOOP for $221k was a great feeling!

 So now I'm rich again and I'm off to Vegas to dump it all back at the World Series. If I can have a winning SCOOP though anything seems possible. Maybe even a winning World Series! If only Tony wasn't still drawing stone dead. I'm planning to play a lot less events this summer for several reasons and hopefully a little more cash, a lot more golf and basketball, and maybe a little more party. Also, more 51s games to watch the Jays top prospects hit moonshots in the desert air while pounding dollar beers. Alright that should get you about caught up. As always, updates on @SirWatts, and drunken profanity-laced rants and witty/brilliant observations on my other secret Twitter account so I can keep my respectable nice guy public image because I want my mom to keep loving me.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Alright I'll skip the apologies and get to writing there's obviously a lot to catch up on. Prague went pretty well except for the part where I was grinding everyday and didn't see any of the city. I played a lot of poker to end up 9th in the WPT, so close to that big score I haven't had in so long! In the EPT I made it into the money and lost a decent sized pot with the best hand for a min-cash. Prague seemed like an amazing city, hopefully the next time I'm there I'll bust everything on day 1.

My string of winning poker trips continued at Epic as I shipped the $2k turbo side event for $40k. I also got 2nd in the charity event. Good thing I played that one so I could keep my card for the second season which is totally going to happen. I said it'd be 50/50 before Epic started that there was ever a second season but I figured they probably at least have the funding in place for the entire first season. Oh well.

After the holidays I took off to Australia for a week of golfing and Portsea pubbing before Aussie Millions. I had no luck down under this year but as always I very much enjoyed myself. I played the $100k event for the first time and lost a lot of my and my friends money. Honestly I could have won but I just decided to let Dan have one.

I skipped LAPC this year and went back to Fallsview to defend my 2nd place from last year. I failed, and then have mostly been in Toronto since then. Online has not been going terribly well this year either when I've played. My PLO results have been mediocre and tournaments have been going very poorly as of late. I had my first chance of the year for a big score three days ago in the Ongame Grand Slam $5k event however. Unfortunately I could only manage another 9th as luck again was not on my side at the final table. I'm very happy with the amount of chances I've been giving myself lately though and eventually I'll convert a big one. I definitely think I'm playing better than ever, even if the learning curve has resulted in me making some big mistakes I would never have made before.

Next up is another big Europe trip! I will be touring around the continent again in April to play the Irish Open in Dublin, WPT Vienna, EPT Berlin, and finally the EPT Grand Final which has returned to Monte Carlo. There are almost no breaks in the schedule so I will be grinding like crazy again. Honestly, I'm a shitty tourist anyways so it's probably for the best.