Monday, October 29, 2007

Another frustrating Sunday

I have recently committed to playing the Sunday tournaments with a lot more frequency. I have been going relatively deep but just finishing short of the big paydays.

Yesterday was quite frustrating from several perspectives. I started out terribly in all of the tournaments and couldn't get anything going in even one of them. I lost several big pots to 2 and 3 outers which didn't help matters. In all, I played nine tournaments with total buyins of about $2300. In the evening, I found myself alive in only two - the FTP $1 million guarantee and the $55K guarantee.

In the FTP I was in very good shape once we made the money. I think I was something like 40th with 200 players remaining. I then got a little unlucky. An early player pushed allin, another player reraised all-in, and I woke up on the button with KK. Unfortunately, the 2nd player had AA and I didn't improve. That pot would have put me in the top 5, but now I was down to an average stack. I say unlucky in that there really wasn't anything I could do with kings there. In fact, I always say, the other guy could have had kings and I had the aces and the hand would have played out the same. I didn't play poorly, but was unlucky in that I was dealt the worst hand in a situation where I couldn't get away from it.

But I rebounded very nicely and really made some good moves to get my stack back over $100K which was above average at that point.

In my other tourney, I believe I made a bubble mistake with 58 players left and 54 spots being paid. I had $6K in chips, with $400-$800 blinds and $100 antes. I decided to push in middle position with A-6. Although my "M" was only 3, I could afford to post the blinds one more time to wait for for a better situation. With $4500 in chips, I would still have good folding equity with the BB being $800. In other words, I wasn't desperate quite yet. Add that to the fact that pushing allin with A-6 is a borderline play to begin with from middle position. I think this was pretty much borderline here, so given the bubble I could have waited a little longer to either get a better situation, or at least move up into the money. 2 cashes on the night would have been nice although I was obviously playing for the win.

Going back to the $1 million guarantee. I got blinded down to $80K in chips which was about average when the following hand came up. I got dealt A-K of diamonds in middle position and raised to $10K. The cutoff called and the flop was Q75, with two hearts. My first mistake as making a continuation bet here. The Q is actually one of the worst cards in this situation. The play was quite tight with few players seeing flops. Therefore, a realistic range of calling hands at this point in the tournament before the flop are hands like A-Q, K-Qs, and maybe any pair TT or below. It is doubful that players would call with A-J, or K-J, and they would like raise hands like JJ or better or AK. So the most likely scenario is that my opponent flopped a pair of queens, a set, or he has a middle pair. Even with a middle pair, he is likely to call a flop continuation bet. But I bet and he called. First mistake...

The turn was a blank and we both checked.

The river was a blank and I actually put him on a middle pair now. I figured if I bet 75% of my stack it would look very strong and a middle pair would fold. Well, he didn't and called with TT. I was now down to $15K having lost $65K in a pot that I never should have gotten involved in on the flop! There is nothing worse then misplaying a hand deep in a tournament.

So I crashed out in 100th place getting paid $750 for the tournament. So I cashed once and lost $1500 for the day. Quite frustrating given that I had two tournaments to try and go really deep and frustrating that I felt like I was playing very well, only to give it up all on one hand.

The good news is that I learned two things on that one hand and hopefully will not make the same mistake again in the future. There is nothing worse than misplaying a hand late in a tournament, but in some ways, it's better to go out that way while learning something to improve your game rather than suffering a bad beat and not learning anything.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

We're all masochists!

Tourney players are a weird breed. We go and play tourney after tourney after tourney, and most of the time it is just plain frustration. Maybe we don't get any good cards which can be quite frustrating. Or maybe we finally get good cards only to lose to a bad beat. Or sometimes, we finally get good cards only to not get any good action.

Last night was one of those tourneys where I felt like I was playing well and getting good cards, but I couldn't make a big move as I just wasn't getting any good action. Winning a poker tournament is a lot about good timing. For example, last night I flopped a straight and my opponent folded on the flop. Why couldn't he have an overpair, or two pair, or a set? Later I flopped a flush and my opponent bet-folded the flop of KT6. Why couldn't he have AK or a high club? I raise with KK and everyone folds. I raise with A-T and I get reraised. To win a tournament you have to have good timing or things just don't go your way.

In another tournament, I started out on fire in terms of quality hands. On the very first hand I flop a set of fives. I bet pot on the flop and on the turn, and my opponent hits a gut shot straight on the river. The very next hand I get dealt TT and the flop is 977. My opponent bets and I call. The turn is a blank and he pushes all-in! OK, I guess he had 99 or A7, lol. I folded. The very next hand I get dealt JJ. I can't remember the post-flop action on that one but I lost it too. There goes over 1/3 of my stack in 3 hands! We're all masochists!

My online pro for a couple of weeks experiment has now ended. We leave Colombia tomorrow to go back to Atlanta and a normal life again. I played 96 tournaments over the last couple of weeks, cashing in 17 of them. That is an 18% cash rate which sounds pretty good. Unfortunately, I didn't hit any big cashes so I actually lost money. To make money in tournaments you have to go real deep to get the big pay days. I had a bunch of finishes in the big fields where I finished 30th to 60th - just not quite deep enough for the big cash. In the smaller field tournaments (100-250 players), I made a few final tables, but no wins and they were in the smaller buyin tournaments.

Even though I lost money, I am happy with my results. I certainly didn't play perfectly, but in the bigger tournaments I felt like I had good concentration and was giving myself good chances to make some good money.

So back to Atlanta. I won't be playing tournaments daily while I'm in Atlanta but I do plan on trying the play a lot more on Sundays. Sundays is when all of the big tournaments are and they are just too lucrative and too fun to miss. These will also be a great way for me to continue to work on my game and improve my play so that I will be really ready for the WSOP next summer.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Lots of tournaments

I'm continuing to play lots of online tournaments while in Medellin. This "experiment" started out really where I was getting several chances at a really big pay day. This past Sunday I went deep in 3 of the 7 tournaments I played. But since then it has been a littl frustrating. Monday through Wednesday, I was cashing quite a lot, but not getting very deep. Then Thursday, I was 0 for 15! Yuck! I must say I suffered some pretty bad beats but nevertheless frustrating. It was like my WSOP summer all in one day!

Yestereday I made two small cashes out of six tournaments. That was comforting to get back in the money. Unfortunately, my two cashes were in small buyin $25 tournaments rather than the $150-$200 buyin tourneys. Oh well, that's the way it goes sometimes. I'll take the day off today and then I hope to give Sunday another good run tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I continue to write a good bit. I almost have my short-handed chapter finished which will be added to the next edition of ITH. I hope to finish the 2nd edition by the end of the year and will be aiming for a Spring release date.

For those interested in fantasy football, I suffered one of the worst "bad beats" you can suffer this past week. Sunday night the games were over and it showed my buddy Tbone ahead by some miniscule margin. That game would drop me to 2-4 so I wasn't too happy about the loss. When I woke up, I was miraculously ahead! Sometimes they update stats so this wasn't too surprising to me. I enjoyed my win and gloated for three days. Then Thursday, I woke up and my record was changed to 2-4 and it showed me losing by .04 points! .04! It turns out, my opponent had only been rewarded 5.9 points for Marion Barber (59 yards), when in fact he had 61. 2 freakin yards and he wins! Of course, not only did I lose by the smallest margin possible, I had gloated for three days my win. Talk about a bad beat!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Colombianitos and Project Medellin

As you know from a previous post, we recently had the inauguration of Project Medellin which was a big success. Diana and I visited the project again this week to get to know the team members there a little better. The team consists of a Coordinator, psychologist, social worker, and two soccer trainers.

80% of the people living in the immediate area of Colombianitos are displaced families as result of the guerilla conflicts going on in the countryside. For those who don't know, the guerillas control a substantial part of rural Colombia. As they move into new territories, families are forced out and many flee to the cities for opportunities. Our Colombianitos project is located high up on the mountainside that surrounds Medellin. Just 15-20 years ago this was just open land, but it is now filled with poor displaced families. Many of the families are headed by single mothers where the fathers have abandoned them.

The godd news is that Colombianitos is here to help and the project has started off with a big success. We had close to 200 children enroll in the first couple of weeks. The week following the inauguration, over 100 more children enrolled! Marcelo who is the coordinator for Medellin, started up our project in Cartegena. They now have 450 children but he said Medellin is way ahead of Cartagena in terms of where they were after a few weeks.

The team expressed many concerns in what they have seen so far in the children. The education level is very low and this is one of the main goals of the Colombianitos program. Colombianitos provides a lot of support in helping the children with whatever they need to do well in school. One requirement to participate in the Colombianitos soccer program is that first, you must attend school, and second, you must do well.

Colombianitos requires that each child presents the appropriate identification documents. Many of the children are lacking these which basically means they don't exist to the the Colombian government, and therefore are not entitled to the benefits that come with that. Obtaining the documents is a simple matter of the parents going to a government office to obtain them. Hopefully Colombianitos will be the incentive for these parents to get their children legally recognized by the government.

I talked with Marcelo in some detail about Cartegena to try and gage any comparisons or differences he sees between the Cartegena project and Medellin. It was really encouraging to hear the impact that Colombianitos has made on the community in Cartegena. When he arrived, he said drugs were openly consumed on the sidewalks and houses in plain view of all the children. Now, although the drug trade continues, consumption is no longer accepted within the community. He says you can see a definite distinction when walking from one sector into the sector where Colombianitos is located. It's encouraging to hear that Colombianitos is making a difference.

The psychologist and social worker are having an open meeting this weekend for the parents. This will be the beginning of establishing a dialogue with the parents. In the future, the idea is that the parents should feel free and open to come to them for support and help. At the same time, Colombianitos will be contacting them directly when they find particular problems with the children that need to be discussed with the parents.

One great idea that they are working on is a cooperative which they hope to establish to gain employment for the women to clean and cook. I think it's a great idea to use our contacts and credibility within Colombianitos to identify people willing to help out by providing jobs.

The soccer trainers already are very busy. They run classes from 8 or 9 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon. The school program runs a morning and afternoon program so Colombianitos has children all day long to work around their schedules. There are only 2 instructors and up to 60 children in one class which is something we may need to look at and improve as we expect the program to continue to grow in numbers.

The Medellin team is currently in the diagnostic phase, identifying the main problems and concerns which need to be addressed with the children and community. Once they have a clear idea of the problems, they will then develop programs to address them. The soccer program is much more than just soccer. For example, let's say that determine that they need to develop values in the children to respect property (the surrounding area is very dirty with trash). They will teach this on the soccer field, rather than having them listen to a lecture. This could involve some type of exercise on the field, while stressing the importance of property. They might put cones on the field where each cone represents some type of value they are trying to teach. What is impressive with Colombianitos is that the entire team works very close together in achieving their aims. On our visit to Bogota last year, we were extremely impressed with the programs about family and social values that the soccer coaches had in place.

All in all very exciting. It will be very exciting to see the progress made when Diana and I make our next visit. There are some challenges. The current office is not adequate so we will need to address the budgeting needs for this. I can already see that the soccer coaches are stretched in terms of number of children so this will also need to be addressed. But there is a great team in place and great support from the community, so it really is quite exciting for the children there and for Colombianitos.

As a reminder, you can support Colombianitos by making a donation at

We are also selling Christmas cards to support Colombianitos which you can buy in the store at ITH:

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sunday tourneys, close 3 times but no cigar

Today was tourney day again on Sunday for all the big major online tournaments. I played seven tournaments today. I am sure this doesn't compare to what some of the young guns do, but I can only fit 4 tourneys comfortably on my laptop :).

First up was the UltimateBet $200K guarantee tournament paying $45K to first. I finished in the top 50 for a measly $900 payday - compared to first! The blinds were quite high towards the end so I just needed a good hand or two and I would have been right there in the mix.

Next up was a $650 satellite to the Caribbean adventure. 18 seats and I finished 47th - ug.

Finally, the Full Contact Poker $750K guarantee wit $140K to first. I finished in the top 90. Again, the blinds were quite high and I just couldn't get that rush to propel me up the leaderboard.

In between these three I got knocked out pretty early in the others I played. Overall, I was very pleased with my play. I don't recall any major mistakes and I only have a few hands where I'm not sure I did the right thing or not - I'll need to evaluate that later when I'm fresh.

It was a tough day in terms of being card dead towards the end of all three of those tourneys. It was a good day in that I got more than my fair share of luck with the crappy hands I was forced to play. I felt like I was very patient, but at the same time, I couldn't wait all day for the cards to come so I pushed when I thought the situation called for it. Eventually my luck caught up with me. On one hand, you might ask how could I go out with hands like K5s and KQ. On the other hand, I never would have made it as far as I did without pushing hands like that earlier - but eventually it will catch up with you.

For all my efforts, I made a $400 profit. Not fantastic, but at least I gave myself 3 chances for a big payday.

I got some great hand examples for the books I'm working on so that is a plus. I wish my night would have lasted longer but time for some sleep!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Online Tourney Marathon!

Yesterday I had my first online tournament marathon. I basically played from 8 in the morning to a little after midnight. First I started with a few tourneys around 8 AM. I few more tourneys around noon. Then the afternoon tourneys at 3. Then the nightly starting at 8. I played to close to 20 tournaments in one day. I've got to tell you, no wonder these young Internet sensations are taking the live tournament world by storm. In one day, I got close to the same amount of experience I get in six weeks at the World Series of Poker. Of course you can't compare a $20 buyin tournament to a $1500 WSOP tourney, but in many ways you get the same amount of play since the hands are dealt so much quicker. In one day, I got experience of two final tables, one headsup match, several in the money drives, and several unfortunate bubble experiences. If you do this 5 days a week month in month out you can't help to really refine your game.

This leads me into a slightly different topic. My game has been sort of stagnant the last couple of years. Between having babies, writing books, working on my website, traveling around the world, I play a little poker and then don't do much for a few months, then play a little poker and then don't do much for a few months. It's really hard to improve your game without some consistency. I've been playing a lot more Internet tourneys lately and I am definitely learning some new tricks and insights. It is motivating and I hope to find more time to keep this up as I am excited about learning once again.

As far as my tourney marathon, I think it went similar to when you actually run a marathon. I felt great at the start and did quite well, I tatered off in the afternoon and made some silly mistakes, I almost lost it in the evening, but then got a 2nd wind and recuperated quite well.

I went deep in the first few tournaments of the morning finish 2nd in an $11 180-man sitngo. I've played like 5 of these 180 sitngos and now have 3 final tables so pretty good results in them so far. They are fun because they are quick and don't drag on for hours. My headsup opponent spiked a T on the turn with KT on a Kxx flop while I was holding KJ and he ousted me.

I also bubbled in a $100 buyin tournament on a disastrous hand. There were 20 people left and they paid 18. I had about an average stack. A guy from early position raises and I accidently miniraise from the big blind. This happens on occasion with my laptop which I am using in Colombia. So I price my opponent in and am sitting on 73offsuit out of position! Of course I make things worse for myself. The flop is T32. I'm pretty happy with this flop. I make a smallish bet and my opponent mini-raises. I put him on a middlish pocket pair and think I can get him off his hand if I push all-in. If he calls, I also might have some outs. He thought a long time and called with J-T. I think if he has something like 88 he would have folded, but at the same time, I really didn't think through the possibility of him holding a T. In any case, that hand pretty much pissed me off. I was playing so good and then a technical malfunction leads to me losing the tournament -not withstanding my aggressive post-flop play :) At the same time, I cashed in another tournament finishing in the 20 somethings while losing TT to KK.

The next wave of tournaments included a six-max event where I finished in 7th place out of 150 entrants. Six-max is a lot of fun and my style is well-suited for it as I am comfortable raising a lot of hands and playing post-flop. I can't remember the specifics on my exit and plan on going back later to look at the hand history.

In the afternoon, my play started to deteriorate a lot. I bubbled in a $50 and $70 tourney - playing poorly in both. I made a really bad play with A6 in the SB vs BB, calling his allin raise. It was a shame as Tall Paul and Toronexti were also deep with me so it would have been fun if we could have gone deeper together. Toronexti cashed and TP and I both fell short of the money. Shortly thereafter I bubbled in another tournament. I was tired and I knew it so really shouldn't have been playing, but I was kind of in the tourney mode.

That night I couldn't resist to play the nightlies. I play in 3 $50 tourneys and one $150 tourney and got off to poor starts in all four of them. I fought my way back in a couple of them only to lose to bad beats to put me on the rail. Finally I had one more shot and a big pay day as I made the money in the $50K guarantee. At one point I was third in chips and determined not to put myself in vicarious positions. Then the following hand came up. 500-1000 blinds. UTG folds, next player limps, next player raises to $3k, button calls, and I'm in the SB with AK. I have about $47K in chips and none of them have more than $20K. There is almost $10K in the pot already and none of my opponents can hurt me too bad. I'm not a big fan of risking my chips with AK with stacks of 20 big blinds or more, but with the caller, raiser, and caller, the pot was quite big. I couldn't really just call here so I raised to $14K basically pot-committing any callers. The limper raised allin immediately and I knew I was in trouble. I called the extra $10K and now I'm down to $27K. Ugh, but I'm not sure I would do anything different on the hand. Sometimes opponents make good plays and trap you and this is one of those situations.

The last hand, I had worked my way back up to $47K. A little later there was another limper with 600-1200 blinds. I called on the button with 87 of hearts, the small blind calls. The flop is 962, with two hearts giving me an open-ended straight and flush draw. This is a great flop for me but risky. I am willing to commit to the pot while at the same time I'd like to win it on the flop. The early player bets $4800 and is close to pot-committed. I call. The small blind raises to $18K. He has me outchipped. I have about $25K remaining and I pushed. He called with T4 of hearts. So now I have the straight draw and outs to the 8 or 7. My opponent won a $72K pot with T high (the avg stacks was about 20K). Once again, I don't think I can get away from that hand as I want to see a river with it. So my day finished with a smallish cash which was disappointing going from 3rd in chips to out in a relatively short time period. But I was happy that I fought through my sluggishness from the all-day marathon to focus and play pretty good that night.

Today I'll be taking a break. Tonight, Josh and Zach's cousin Laura is having her 15th birthday. In Latin America, a girl's 15th birthday is quite an affair! We are having 35+ people to the house and everyone will be decked out in their best dresses and suit and tie. Josh and Zach will also be getting dressed up so it should be a great night for pictures. I have to ball dance with the lady of honor in front of all those people so I have a little practice to do this afternoon!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Deja Vu!

I've been playing a LOT of online tournaments recently. I've probably played more in the last couple of weeks than I have the whole year. I've come really close to a big score the last couple of days falling just short. I finished 30 something in a $55K guarantee at FT and 24th in a $100 buy-in at Poker Stars.

The Poker Stars tourney was an afternoon tournament which I have never played before. Right before the money, deja vu! - Taz from the ITH forums was at my table. For those who don't visit the ITH forums, Taz is one of the more popular and active posters we have at the Forum. He can also boast the biggest win of any ITHer as he took down the Poker Stars Million for a $150K payday a couple of months ago.

Taz and I had the displeasure of playing against each other at the WSOP main event on Day 1. I say displeasure, because I surely didn't want to take his chips and I know he didn't want to knock me out of the tournament. Of course, I am still going to play my game, but it was just a weird situation to be in. This was his first WSOP and so I know he wanted to do well. At the same time, I had a long summer at the WSOP and really wanted to do well also. It wouldn't be fun to get in the way of each other's dreams.

Fortunately, we were sitted at the opposite side of the table so you would think that we wouldn't have to go to battle very often - NOT! We got involved in several big hands together as I think we just both happened to get big cards at the same time. The sneaky guy slowplayed aces on me to start off the foray. I got very short-stacked with about 5K left in chips and the blinds were 300-600. I limped UTG with JJ, Taz raised, and we were off to the races as I went allin and he had AK. Fortunately for me I doubled up, and don't get me wrong, I was very happy - but I hated to do it against Taz. I took another pot from him with AK vs his AQ. Those two pots got me rolling and I ended up making the money in the tournament to end my summer on an upbeat. But that situation was quite strange as I had never played someone I knew where the stakes were so high.

So here we are yesterday at PokerStars and I find Taz at my table. We both went pretty deep making the money but both finished short of a big payday. This time it was a lot less stressful and we were able to avoid each other except for Taz stealing my blinds one time.

I had one hand where I questioned my play. I had 20K+ and raised UTG with TT. The next player called and the button called. The blinds were 300-600? and I raised to 1600. I'm not sure about that exactly but something like that. The early player had 10K left and the button 5k. The flop was KK. I decided to make a continuation bet with the intention of calling any raise. However, I wonder if check-raise allin would have been a better play. Checking would either get a pocket pair to bet or induce a bluff so that I could get their chips. The only advantage in betting here is to protect my pair so that they don't take a free card. It just seems like their range of hands would lean towards smaller pocket pairs. Given the size of the pot and the damage a bad free card would do, I probably made the correct play by betting out, but sometimes I will take the risky play to try and get additional chips. They folded so everything turned out fine.

We've decided to stay another week in Colombia so I'll probably get a lot more tourneys in before we leave as it is easier to play them here on vacation than when I'm home.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

We're having a baby!

I am proud to announce that Diana and I will be adding a new addition to our clan next April. We are having a baby girl and her name will be Isabel. Diana had a very tough first trimester but as in her previous pregnancies, she has started to feel much better beginning with her 2nd trimester. It's fun watching our 3-year old Joshua listen to mommies stomach as he is now old enough to understand that Isabel is "making noises".

Surely I can't follow-up an announcement like this with poker stuff :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Arthur and the Invisibles

I took my 3-year old son today to see Arthur and the Invisibles. I know, this is an old movie, but we are visiting family in Colombia and some of the movies are quite dates. As some of you know, I am pretty much of a movie freak. I love spending a couple of hours every week where I can stop thinking about life and enter another world. I pretty take Joshua to just about every animated feature that comes out.

I am not much of an animated fan. There are very few that I really enjoy. For some reason, I really enjoyed this one. I say that because the movie got hammered by critics. Many of the animated features that they like have bored me, but I thought this one was clever, had great effects, and had enough adult comedy to keep it entertaining. It is a very creative and out-of-this world story. I'm not sure what the critics didn't like but I thought it was very good and it kept me entertained - and it was in Spanish! My spanish is a little rusty but I was able to follow just about everything in the movie. In any case, a great fantasy film.

At some point I hope to post my top 100 films of all-time which is currently a work in progress. Being a movie critic is one of those careers which I think would be a lot of fun, so I'll probably use this blog from time to time to vicariously fill the role every now and then.

I'm playing a lot of online tournaments while I'm here in Colombia. I'm racking up some good hand examples for some book projects that I am working on. I played pretty crappy Monday night but was real pleased with my play last tonight even though I have nothing to show for it.

I am also putting the finishing touches on two new chapters for a revised ITH - short-handed play and multi-way pots. I haven't written for a long time and I must say that I am pretty pleased with what I have come up with. One could write an entire book on short-handed but I am pleased that with one chapter I think I pretty much convey the main philosophy of good short-handed players. The multi-way pot chapter focuses on three concepts. Some are already discussed in other sections of the book, but I think the focus will make sure that players grasp the concepts better.

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Inauguration of Colombianitos in Medellin

Diana and I had a very rewarding weekend as Sunday was the inauguration of Project Medellin for Colombianitos. Colombianitos is a charity founded in Atlanta. It has several programs, but its featured program is "Goals for a Better Life" which supports education and family values through a soccer program. Children who want to participate in the soccer school must attend school, achieve good grades, and attend various classes provided by Colombianitos focused on family values and morals. The children are provided with food and drink while in class.

Diana and I discovered Colombianitos a couple of years ago. We had started donating money to various causes for children and ran across Colombianitos. It was a perfect fit for us as they focus on Colombian children and my wife is Colombian. The best part was that we could participate directly with the organization since the Board is based in Atlanta. We soon became members of the board and have been working with them for a couple of years.

As soon as we became Board Members we started encouraging them to open a project in Medellin, Diana's hometown. We were fortunate enough to find Luz Maria, who pretty much knows everyone of significance in the city. She quickly became enamored with the project. Late last year we found the perfect site for the project located in the outskirts of Medellin, high up the hills in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Medellin. There was a soccer field already in place next to the local school and local leaders were very optimistic and supportive of the project. Earlier this year, she contacted various local companies and along with Colombianitos President helped raise the remaining funds needed for the project.

The project opened up two weeks ago and already 250 children are enrolled. We expect the numbers to increase over the next couple of weeks as the inauguration was a big success in the community. The mayor of Medellin attended and several hundred children. There was music, dancing, rap, and games and everyone seemed to have a great time. It was encouraging to me to see a mother walk up to our coordinator with her child and ask how she could get enrolled.

The highlight for Diana and I was seeing this guy Freddy. We met Freddy last December when we visited the location. He is a popular guy in the community with an infectious smile and lots of energy and was wearing a hat from my alma mater, The University of Georgia. The hat was a little dated and we promised to bring him a new one on our next visit. It was amazing to see the appreciation in his face and smile when we brought him the new hat. He said it was like receiving 1 million in pesos (or $500) and told us that he wished we could see how open his heart was at the moment. He later introduced his mother to us. He also has a rap group and they had prepared an original song about Colombianitos which they performed for everyone. He is just one example of how appreciative the community was to have Colombianitos there.

So it was a great day for Diana and I. This community is extremely poor, but you can see hope in the children and support from the parents and leaders of the community. Hopefully with some opportunities some of these children will be able to rise above the daily problems they have to face every day. It will great for Diana and I to be able to visit the school and see their progress every time we come to Medellin to visit family.

There is a great documentary that I encourate everyone to see to learn about some of the hardships that people suffer in suburbs of Medellin. Medellin has one of the highest murder rates in the world due to gangs and drugs and teenage pregnancy is the norm rather than exception. Hopefully a little education can start to make a difference. You can rent it through Netflix and it is called La Sierra.

If you are interested in learning more about Colombianitos please visit, Donations are tax deductible in the states.

Friday, October 5, 2007

180-Man Sitngos

Today I made my first foray into some of the multiple table sitngos. I've never played them before and actually had quite a good time. The first was a $50 45-man tourney. It was a turbo tourney so the blinds increased every 5 minutes! I finished 5th and won a little over $200.

At the same time, I played an $11 180-person tournament, again it was Turbo with 5-minute blind increases. You basically can't wait very long for a hand and at the end of the tournament it becomes a push-fest. Still, at these limits, many players don't understand correct short-stack strategy. I finished 3rd in this event, again winning a little over $200. At one point at the final table I was chip leader with an M of only 7! I think this tournament finished in less than 2 hours which is why I enjoyed it. Deep structures are great, but sometimes you just don't have the time to grind out a long tournament win.

I got lucky in both tournaments winning some hands where I was the dog, but I went out of both tournaments with the best of it.

Unfortunately, my fun came to an end when another tournament I had registered for 1 1/2 hours before, finally had enough players to get started. I had forgot about that tournament and wasn't really up to playing another one. It was a $20 tourney but with 15 minute levels I lasted about halfway through that one and I got knocked out. I raised with A4s and someone called me. He had plenty of chips left, I believe around $3K. The flop was 237. I checked, he bet $600 (less than the pot), and I moved all-in. I thought my checkraise was a very strong move but he called me with 55. I guess he thought I was bluffing! lol I think my play works at the higher levels but I guess for $11 people take a lot of chances.

In any case, a lot of fun.

My family and I are in Colombia on vacation for a couple of weeks and I hope to go to the casino for some tournaments and cash games. Last Christmas I was here and the tournaments were juicy! If I remember correctly, you start with 2 million in chips, lol (the exchange rate here is 2200 for one dollar so everything is in millions). I'll be sure to post once I've had a chance to play.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Disappointing WCOOP

I played the WCOOP main event at Stars last night. This is the biggest online tournament of the year with a $2500 buyin and almost 3000 entrants. A cool $1.4 million goes to 1st.

Overall I felt like I played a pretty good game. I can't say that I was in the "zone" but for the most part I felt like I was making the right plays. The competition was very tough so you weren’t going to get a lot of easy chips. Against these types of players, you sometimes need to try unconventional moves to try and confuse your opponent.

With about 600-700 players, I didn’t need to confuse my opponents very much on this hand. I raise with AA, a player goes allin, followed by another player who moves allin. The big blind thinks for at least 30 seconds and I’m yelling CALL at my computer! Unfortunately he folded. I was against JJ and AK. The bad news is that a jack flopped. The good news is that I won the side pot. I broke even on the hand but could have found myself with a very nice stack that mroe than twice the average. As it was, I was slightly below average and had to continue fighting.

At this point we were getting close to the money with 500+ players remaining and they were paying 420 spots. I played a hand from my big blind against a large stack in the small blind who was playing very aggressive. Small blind vs. big blind situations are always quick tricky, especially against a loose player since it is so difficult to put your opponent on hand. On the other hand, you can't let him run over you either. I made a risky play with my hand which unfortunately didn't work out and I was out of the tournament. I don't want to give very many specifics on the hand here as the hand might end up in a new book I am working on that will be coming out next Spring.

Speaking of books, I have some exciting announcements coming soon regarding Dimat Enterprises, the publishing company I started which published my first three books. As you probably know, The Poker Mindset by Ian Taylor and myself came out in April and was our first foray into publishing other authors. Much more is on the way and there are some very exciting books in our pipeline. I hope to be making a more formal announcement soon.

I also want to welcome Alan Schoonmaker, author of The Psychology of Poker and Your Worst Poker Enemy to the ITH Forums. He is our monthly guest for the Ask an Expert forum. If you haven't visited this Forum I highly encourage you do to so. Some of our past guest have included Ed Miller, Matt Matros, and Collin Moshman. The Ask An Expert forum is a great opportunity for you to ask any questions you might have to some of the players and authors in the game.