Tuesday, October 28, 2008
The main event was a $5K buyin and they had 107 entrants. Clonie Gowen, Robert Williamson III, and Montel Williams were the known players in the field (Clonie is chip leader going into the final table).
I played with Montel on Day 1 as he amassed a big stack to become chip leader late on Day 1. He was hitting all kinds of hands. On one hand, with blinds of 150-300 and 25 ante, a player limped in middle position. I raise from the cutoff to 1700 with AK and Montel called on the button. I had been playing pretty tight. The limper folded.
The flop was AQ2. I bet 1600 and Montel raised to 4000. I called and the turn was one of the worst cards that could hit - a J. I checked and Montel put me all-in for another 7K or so. I lose against AQ, AJ, and 22. I win against AT or less. I learned later that Montel did call some raises quite loosely, but at that time I didn't know this. He had also put someone all-in earlier quite quickly in a similar fashion and showed a big hand. I folded. I built my stack back up to 17K after that hand (we started with 15K).
On another hand, a good player limped and I raised with KQs. The flop was Kxx, rainbow. I bet 2K into a 4K pot and he called. There were no likely straight or flush draws on the flop. The turn was a blank and we both checked. The river was a blank and he bet out 3K. Any 5 would give someone a straight. It looked like he was just begging for a call. I put him on a set as I don't think he calls me preflop with something like KJ. he might have had something like TT or 99 but I felt like he would have bet more on the river to try and get a hand like QQ to fold. So I folded that one also.
It was basically a struggle all day. I felt like I was playing good but kept hitting 2nd best hands which cost me chips. The field was down to 23 players after Day 1! Great tournament but I just couldn't get anything going.
My last hand came down to a draw where I had 87 on a flop of 754. It was a raised pot 5-handed where I got in cheap from the big blind. I check-raised all-in and found myself against JJ and didn't improve. i would have got up to 30K on that hand but to no avail.
That's the last of live poker for me this year. I've been busy the last few weekends so haven't played much online either but hope to get back into the Sunday tourneys in a couple of weeks.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I am quite busy with the publication business. I am finishing Internet Texas Hold'em 2nd edition this week and that book should be out in November. I've added some new chapters on multi-way pots as well as short-handed play. I actually think the two chapters on short-handed play are probably my best job at writing. I feel really good about them and received some great feedback from a few top players who reviewed the chapters. The book will end up being longer than the first book even though I have cut out some of the content about Internet-related topics. There are also updated Starting Hand charts as well as new Short-Handed Starting Hand Charts. Other than the new content, everything ought to read much better.
I should also be announcing next week a new author that will be writing two new books for Dimat, the publishing company I own and manage. This will be the fifth author that Dimat has published. I am really enjoying working with others on their books to help them make the best product possible. I believe that my publishing company is creating a nice niche for potential authors who are interested in very competitive royalty rates, good distribution, and an excellent product from book cover, paper, typesetting, and grammar and style. Winning Poker Tournaments is a great example of the type of product I hope we will consistently put out. The new author joining Dimat is an established author who will be a great addition to Dimat. I'll have more news on this next week.
I've also started reviewing some hands for Winning Poker Tournaments II which will come out in the Winter/Spring of 2009.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
I few weeks ago I finished 4th in the Cake 100K guarantee. I had a very good shot at winning the tournament. With 11 left, I lost AQ vs A3 which would have put me 2nd in chips. With 4 left I lost 4s 4c to Ad 3h on a board of Js 8s 5s. All the money went in on the flop so my opponent effectively had two outs. Still a nice payday - I love that Cake tourney.
Near the end of August I realized I was short on earning my poker Stars reload bonus so I played about 8-9 hours of short-handed at the 15-30 and 30-60 level. My game is rusty but I managed a nice 2K win for the week so was pleased with that.
I'm finishing up the 2nd edition of ITH, starting to review hands for Winning Poker Tournaments 2, and reviewing the draft of World Poker Travel Guide. So publication stuff is keeping me quite busy right now.
I was suppose to play in Biloxi this week but the hurricane ruined those plans. I'm now planning on going to Indiana in October for the WSOP circuit event.
Outside of poker- my son Joshua has his first soccer game this Saturday so we're really looking forward to that. Should be interesting as they've only had two practices.
Monday, July 28, 2008
I was simply super hot in the 750K. I just couldn't lose a pot. Once I got a big stack, my opponents continued to want to battle me as if they thought I was just pushing around my big stack, when in fact, I had some good hands most of the time. With about 800 players left, I went and made a post at ITH to let people know so they could rail me if they wanted. Of course once I did that I never had a higher chip count, lol. From that point, I had about 80-90K, I just sort of hung around 70-80K for a long time and then dipped to 50-60K. I got as low as 35K and then doubled up. But at that point I was well below average. Finally I was just so short-stacked I had to take some gambles. I don't think I gave away a lot of chips just because I was chip leader, it was just one of those cases where I couldn't get any hands and my opponents weren't shying away from me.
It was an interesting tourney in that I saw some of the worst play I have seen in quite some time during the early-middle stages. However, once there were 120 players or so I thought the play was quite good. It seemed much better than the play of the top 40 back in April when I won that tourney.
Despite the let down near the end, this was my 3rd top 100 this year in that particular tourney.
Over at Stars, I continue to run really bad there. I just always seem to take brutal beats over at Stars where at FTP I often run good. Not sure why that is but I hope it will turn around soon as I would really like to make some deep runs in the Sunday million. This week it was KK < QQ.
Overall, I feel like I have been running bad since May, which includes the WSOP. I am only cashing about once every Sunday in 9-11 tourneys. There ought to be some 2 and 3 cash days in there. I can't remember the last time I cashed 3 times which is quite frustrating. Yesterday, I had great opportunities in the 100RB at Stars as well as the 65K at FTP. At Stars, an opponent trapped me with QQ vs my TT by simply calling my late position raise. The flop was something like 876 and we got our money in on the flop.
On another note, I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about my publishing company and online sites. My first book came out five years ago! My site, ITH, started in the summer of 2003 and we are fast approaching 500,000 posts. With that in mind, I have been thinking about what things I have done really well from a business perspective, and what things haven't gone as well. With that in mind, I will plan on posting some type of Top 10 lists. For example, my 10 favorite accomplishments in terms of publishing. What are some of my favorite chapters that I have written? What are some of the best decisions I have made in terms of publishing (i.e. self-publishing)? What are my favorite things on the online side? It's important to reflect on your strengths to make sure that you don't stray from them and that kind of reflection will help me figure out where I want to go next. So right now just a teaser of some of the things I hope to write about over the next couple of months.
Monday, July 14, 2008
So first up, Stars $200. I get moved to a new table early on with the chip leader to my left. There is a limper and I limp with KJs. 100-200 blinds. Chip leader raises to $1K. The first limper calls. I can't know for sure, but I make the assumption that the chip leader (against 14,000 entrants), is a very loose player ready for action. I make the call figuring to get good action if I hit. Of course, sometimes I'll be against AA or AK, but I'm willing to gamble with a player who has a stack like he did. The flop is Jxx. We check to the chip leader who bets 2200 and I check-raise all-in for another 6-7K. He calls with TT and hits the T on the river. Right play, wrong result :).
In the $50, $50K guarantee, I lost set over set so not a whole lot I could do there. In the $200 Stars second chance, I lost to trips once again on a Q66 board. The middle raiser had 86 so played it a little tricky.
The FTP 750K guarantee tourney had some interesting hands. I've final tabled this tourney twice this year with one win so seem to do well in this one. I've also had a top 100 finish. I played the following hand against Keith Sexton, one of the FTP pros.
Seat 2: Keith Sexton (6,739)
Seat 5: ionlyplayAA (6,630)
60-120 Blinds. Sexton limps early. I limp 76 of diamonds in hijack. SB calls and BB checks.
Ad Td 8c. Checked around. With low end flush and low end straight draw, I'm content with taking the free card rather than start building a big pot.
Turn 9s. Sexton bets 480. I raise to 1,400. Secton calls time before eventually calling.
River 8h. Sexton bets 1,680. I fold.
I've never played Sexton before, but he seemed like a straight-forward player. He limps in early position. Many solid players will limp pairs, even AA. Most won't limp suited connectors in early position. Limping ATs is doubtful, but possible.
Sexton checks this flop, bets the turn, and then calls a significant raise. If he had Q-J, he would surely reraise the turn there given the heavy draw board. J7 isn't in his range, and 76 is highly doubtful. The only hand where he can call a raise on the turn is a set, possibly two pair, or a big draw - something like KJs. The board pairs and he bets half pot. He must put me on something big to raise the turn so I doubt he thinks I am going to fold the river. His bet just screamed strength. I folded as I don't see how he could have anything worst than a full house. There is a small bluffing range here, but I think it would be quite sophisticated for him to think he could get me to fold there so I didn't put the percentage very high.
Later, observer said to him well-played. He said thankyou. I said I folded straight. He said good fold. I believe him.
That hand ended up being quite valuable in terms of saving my chips. I had build a nice stack when I lost a 9200 pot with AK vs. AQ. This took me down to 1200 in chips or so. I would have been out of the tournament if I didn't save that river bet. I worked my way back up quickly close to a little below average stack. a late-middle player raised with a big stack. I felt like he was a little on the loose side and raising too frequently and decided to gamble with A-8 in SB. I reraised and he pushed allin- not enough that I could even consider folding. He shows KQ and I lose a 25K pot and go out in 630th position - they paid 585. Boo :).
At UB, I lose KJ allin from middle position vs Q2 where a big stack in big blind was getting 1.4 to 1 pot odds to call. Not terrific pot odds for him but his hand took down the pot. I cashed in 40th place or so.
I also cashed at Cake in 30th spot or so. I was 2nd in chips at one point but lost a couple of disappointing hands. QQ < 44 and AK < KT - both for decent size pots. My last hand was a tricky one. Everyone was playing quite tight. I raised A-8s from early position, next player called and every folded. Flop was JTx giving me the nut flush draw. I bet out and opponent put me all-in with AJ. I got my money in bad and lost the flush draw.
Finally, I got to turn the tables a little. In 100RB, I won a big 68K pot with A-9 vs QQ when I tried a resteal against a late position raiser. I was below average on the bubble - 47 players left, paying 45, when following hand came up. Button limped. I called in SB with 75 and big blind checked. Flop was J55. Button bets and I push allin. He calls with J-9 and board runs J559J. I bubble.
So two cashes and two more close cashes. Unfortunately, no deep runs and I lost $700 in 9 tournaments. Very disappointing results, but overall I was very pleased with my play, especially early on. I'm not quite sure about the A-8s hand where I busted at Cake, but otherwise very pleased with my play.
I won't be playing next week as taking a vacation to Boston with my wife - the one American city that I really want to see that I haven't yet seen.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
The WSOP is wrapping down now. I have the Limit Shootout today and then play the main event on Friday.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Why do we do it? It is the pursuit of victory. Once you taste victory once, you want it again and again. When running bad, what drives you is the memory of victory. I've had some great memories at the WSOP and I want more of them, and of course I want that bracelet. I hope some day soon I will achieve what I am striving for and all of the agony will be worth it.
This past week had been especially excruciating. On Saturday, I was involved in a huge pot which would have put me near the chip leaders after 4 hours of play. I was a 4 to 1 favorite and lost. On Sunday, I had a chance to double up early but again lost as a 4 to 1 favorite. On Tuesday, I lost a coin flip to put me significantly above average. Yet I feel very good about my play. I'm making good reads and calls. My timing on steals and resteals seem to be spot on so far. The fact that I am playing well keeps me motivated. In fact, I think I am probably playing the best poker of my life so I really feel like something good is going to happen, and hopefully soon.
Can't wait for this weekend! On another note, I just got word from my printer that the new book has shipped. Shipments to customers should start going out early next week.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
The first key hand the cutoff opened for 1800. The blinds were 300-600 with 75 antes. I had 99 on the button. I felt like this player was capable of 4-betting weak. I felt like he thought I might make a move on him, and I knew he was capable of making a move back at me. Still, I thought hard about 3-betting there, but if I reraise and get called, anything I do on the flop would represent a huge part of my stack. I decide to call with my position, getting odds to hit a set while also still being able to play postflop and take the hand down.
The flop was T62. My opponent checked, I bet 2600, and my opponent raised to 6200. Wow, what to do now? I could push - but would only get called by better hands. I could call, but then what do I do on the turn? Or I could just take the wimpy route and fold. I folded, although I think there is still a good chance I had the best hand here. I think most of the time he bets out an overpair there, so there is a decent change he just put me to the test and it worked. But tough hand as I really don't know the opponent very well as I was new to the table.
The next key hand I raised from early position with 55. The big blind pushed all-in. I was getting 1.9 to 1 pot odds to call. I had seen her push A-Q earlier. 55 against a range of 88+, AK and AQ is about 2 to 1. So a close decision. The problem is that if I lose the hand my stack is crippled and gives me little room to play so I take the conservative route and fold to give myself some wiggle room.
But frustration creeps in...
A couple of hands later, I raise to 1600 with A-Qs UTG. A very loose middle position player calls and the next player reraises to 6200. Whoa! This player didn't seem like someone to try a squeeze play, plus I had raised UTG. Where were my bells and whistles going off! This was the 2nd best hand I had received all day and I was frustrated about the previous 15 minutes. I knew I was behind, but was I getting pot odds. If I call, I have another 5K in chips left. Let's count the pot - 1600 (blinds and antes) + 1600 +1600 +6200 plus another 5K if I push and my opponent calls. That's 16K and I have to 9600 which is 1.7 to 1 pot odds. For some reason, in the heat of the moment I thought it was closer to 2 to 1 - a mistake as I remember thinking my opponent would be adding another 10K to the pot when it was only actually 5K.
A-Q versus JJ+ and AK is 2.3 to 1. If you add 99+ then I'm 2 to 1. Still not good enough. I did actually think my opponent was figuring out whether he had pot odds to call with a pair, so I was thinking there was a better chance he had JJ or TT vs. some other hands - but maybe that was just wishful thinking.
I still would have had 10K left but got frustrated and put my chips in bad when I should have known better. It turns out that I was 2.4 to 1 dog with only 1.7 to 1 pot odds. Not a good situation and I was knocked out.
I am not sure I will be playing today. I am expecting the proofs back from the printer for the new Rizen, Pearljammer, Apestyles book and need to get them reviewed as soon as possible.
I will definitely be playing the Limit event on Friday.
Sunday, June 1, 2008
50-100 blinds. Folded to SB who limps. I raise to 400 with A-Q and he calls. Flop is Jxx. He hesitates, reaches for chips, then checks. Weak!!! But I check with the intention of taking the pot on the turn. The turn is a 9. He bets 600, I raise to 1500, and he folds. Nice pick-up.
50-100 Early limper. Middle raises to 400. I have 2850 in chips in SB with AK. Awkward stack size for out of position with A-K. I elect to push and my opponent calls with A-Q. The spikes a Q and I'm out for the day.
Tomorrow I play the 1500 PL event.
Be sure to check out my WSOP podcast with updates during every break at www.InternetTexasHoldem.com
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
Winning Poker Tournaments - One Hand at a Time by Eric "Rizen" Lynch, Jon "Pearljammer" Turner, and Jon "Apestyles" Van Fleet will start shipping in late June. This is the 4th book I have put out with Dimat Enterprises, a publishing company I founded. My first two books were solely written by me, the next one, The Poker Mindset, was a collaboration with Ian Taylor. Really though, that was his book and I just helped guide him from start to finish while writing it. This new book is a stepping stone for my publishing company as I am now starting to publish other poker authors. Of course, the plan is to maintain a certain brand and quality with all the books Dimat puts out and I am really proud of this book. There is no doubt in my mind that players are going to really love this book.
The book looks at over 170 hands in depth. It is a huge book. It will be 6 x 9 format with 400+ pages. But it is the quality which I believe everyone will be talking about. If all goes to plan, the book should start shipping June 23rd. You can preorder at Amazon or at ITH (the quickest): Preorder Book at ITH
This will probably be my last post for a while, however, I will be calling in to my podcast during the WSOP for frequent updates. You can find the podcast at my blog or at ITH.
Monday, May 19, 2008
In 4 of them, I played down close to the money. I came quite close to winning a seat to the WSOP, finishing 49th and 36 seats were awarded. i was pretty much short-stack to average stack the entire time in all four tournaments. I had a hard time getting things going, but when I did have cards, it seemed that my decision making and timing were spot on. I made some really nice calls as well as some nice folds - some of them plays I probably wouldn't have made six months ago. I think I am really starting to understand the advanced online player better, and thus, am able to make better reads and outplay them more frequently.
This is probably the last time I will play until the WSOP. Every year I feel more confident and better prepared than the last, but this year I think the difference is quite substantial. Working with Eric, Pearl, and Apestyles, while also playing a lot myself online has done wonders for my game.
Vegas time baby!
Monday, May 5, 2008
With such a great start in so many tournaments, it is baffling that I didn't cash in one. In fact, I didn't get close to cashing. To fall so hard I had to suffer some pretty bad beats. The J3s hand was probably the worse but there were plenty of other bad ones. If anyone wants a good site to play at, try Cake poker. My opponent called a big checkraise on the flop with a gut shot and 2 undercards on the board and the stacks were relatively short - just a horrendous call and unfortunately he was rewarded for his mistake by hitting a 3-outer.
My buddy Rizen knocked me out at Poker Stars. It was a race with my AQs vs his 99, but the gods wanted to punish me and let me flop a pair only to see Rizen hit his 9 on the river.
I did misplay some hands, particularly in the 100RB event where I misplayed aces. A horrific turn card came and I couldn't drop my hand when my gut told me I should. There were a couple of other tourneys where I got my money in bad.
It was all one big tease. Build up some really nice stacks only to see them all fall.
I won't be playing next Sunday as it is Mother's day so I hope to be back in the saddle in a couple of weeks.
Monday, April 28, 2008
I won the FTP 750K good for $132K. There were a little over 3500 players in the event. I have done particularly well in this specific tournament. I've probably played in it 9-10 times this year and now have 3 top 100 finishes, 2 final tables, and one win. The other final table I finished 6th good for $26K. It is fun to finally have broken through and won one of these really big tournaments.
It is my biggest poker win to date. My 2nd was for 80K in the 2004 WSOP when I finished 33rd. My biggest online win before this was for 29K last year when I won one of the Poker Stars nightly tourneys.
I checked my online ROI a couple of months ago and it was about 75%. This win should make it skyrocket! I don't play nearly as often as the online pros do, but I am pretty happy with the success I have had in the limited number of tournaments I am playing.
I think there is no question that working with Rizen, Pearljammer, and Apestyles has been a tremendous help to my game. I feel like I have improved my game every year, but every year I never have played as much as I would like and I've always felt a little "rusty". But this last year has been different. I am playing at least once every couple of weeks, while at the same time I have been in constant dialogue with the 3 guys on the Hands book. The discussions I have had with them have definitely helped my game out,as well as perusing in detail what they have written for the book. It just takes a few little tricks here and there to have a dramatic impact on your results.
I'll post later this week a little more details about my win and some of the hands.
I'm ready for it to be Sunday again!
Friday, April 25, 2008
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Today, I literally got knocked out at the same time in the two biggest tourneys of the day. I have pretty good emotional control but that's a hard swipe at the same time!
I did run very deep in the Cake WSOP satellite. Unfortunately, I finished 6th and they gave away 3 seats. I was awarded $720 for my efforts. I went out with KK vs A9s. I raised UTG 25% of my stack and the SB with a big stack pushed me allin. I'm a little surprised by his move as he had such a big stack and could just coast into 3rd place without taking big risks. Cake by far has the fishiest tourneys on the web. The players overall are just very bad.
I played 9 tourneys today and am mentally exhausted. I just don't see how some of these guys play over 20 in a day.
Still waiting for the baby :). I may not be playing for a while which could be a good thing given how crummy I have done lately.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
I think the main reason is that we are now finally ready and prepared for our new arrival in the next couple of weeks - Isabel. Last night I picked up my mother-in-law from the airport and she is really the last piece of the puzzle in having the house organized and ready to go have our baby.
I have been working my ass off the last month with the main objective of getting work stuff done before Isabel's arrival. I don't think I announced this before, but Albert, my good friend and Operations Manager of my website, left the company at the end of February. I am now back to managing the day-to-operations. It is adding a lot more work to an already hectic schedule, but I must say that I am enjoying it. I was really worried as I have been separated from the day-to-day operations for quite some time now and wasn't sure if I would be motivated in getting back into the details.
But the fact is, I love this stuff. I love ITH, I love the website, I love the business side of things and I'm having fun even though it is a lot more work. We have been making a lot of small little modifications to the site and most of them are now complete.
I have also worked hard on getting the hands book draft finished so that the copyeditor can get busy. He is busy and most of my part is finished. Between those two things, I feel good about the business side of things and finally feel "relaxed". Now I can concentrate on our little baby's arrival and enjoy the moment. But I'm sure after those first couple of weeks, it will be full-steam ahead as I crank out the book cover, typesetting, and printing of the book as well as move ahead with some other ideas I have for the websites.
Speaking of websites, we just launched www.winewonks.com, a sister site to www.pokerwonks.com. You can see what my two favorites pasttimes are :). I love blogging and I am excited about both pokerwonks and winewonks and what they could do in the future. One thing we have planned is to expand beyond blogs and allow people to post articles, videos, and pictures.
ith - ready
winewonks - ready
hands book - more or less ready
house organized - ready
reinforcements arrived - yes! (my mother-in-law)
It's time to have a baby!
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
I haven't played much poker lately. Last Sunday my wife wasn't feeling very good so I watched the boys. The week before, I did get to play on Sunday, but missed the earlier tourneys and started at 6 with the FTP 750K. I final tabled the 100RB at Stars, but fell short in 9th place. I was chip leader with 11 players left and then was knocked out within one orbit in a string of hands.
The first I was in the SB with A3 and it was folded to me. My opponent had an M of 6. My thinking was if I pushed, I would only be called by better hands. If I limped, I might induce worst hands to make a move. The problem with that thinking is that my hand isn't that much of a favorite over any hand. I didn't really want to be involved in a big hand vs KJ for example. My opponent's stack size was really awkward for my hand no matter what I did. He pushed with A8 and I called and lost.
A few hands later I raise from middle with 99. The BB, a very loose and aggressive player reraises me practically all-in. I call, we get it allin on the flop and my opponent hit a Q with AQ.
2 hands later, an opponent raises before me, I RR with AKs, and some guy pushes over me with 77. I was practically pot committed so I can only assume that he thought I was on tilt, but even then I am not sure I understand his play. He won the race and I was out. Very, very disappointing finish as I thought I had a great chance at winning that one.
With the baby due soon, I'm not sure how much poker I will be playing. I am working hard on my websites and books trying to get everything organized before the baby arrives. The hands book is still on schedule for a late May release, but it might run into June.
Monday, March 10, 2008
This week I'll be trying to wrap up the draft for the Hands book. One section is already in our copyeditors hands and hopefully I'll get him the rest by the end of the week. The goal is to have everything wrapped up by the end of the month as we are expecting a new baby around the beginning of April. Then in April and May I will wrap up All About Limit Hold'em, which is practically already finished, but the Hands book has taken priority for now. That will keep me busy until WSOP time. After the WSOP will we start wrapping up Hands, Volume II. Sometime in the Fall I hope to have a nice rest.
Friday, March 7, 2008
This week was PL Omaha week in the ITH Forums. A bunch of us decided to give a "new" game a try. I have played very, very little Omaha so know little about the game. The outs and odds give me a headache. But I did manage to win big both nights. We played .25-50 with a $50 buyin. I won $60 the first night and about $200 the 2nd night! It is a fun game but would take a lot of effort on my part to develop my skills and I just don't have the time right now. Maybe someday I'll put some effort into learning that game really well.
I do plan on playing Sunday and am feeling a little better health-wise so I hope I can have some great results.
By the way, we are working hard on the Hands book to hopefully get it out in late May.
Monday, February 25, 2008
I was sitted at Raymer’s table in the PS Million $500 tourney. One interesting hand early in the tourney. Raymer raises early, a middle player calls and I am next to act with KK. I am thinking about what to raise, if I should, how much to raise, and then boom – I folded my hand because of a timeout. I am so used to PS kicking in the timer that I forgot it doesn’t do that before the flop unless you have money invested in the pot. Ouch – not a good start.
I then made a boneheaded play in the UB $200 event and decided this wasn’t going to be my day. I decided to cut my losses and I unregistered all of the events I had planned to play and would just enjoy the night with my family until I doubled up in the $50 buyin tourney. It was approaching 6:00 and it looked like I would be in the $50 for a while so I went ahead and registered for the 750K at FTP. I got knocked out of the $50 and the PS tourney and was left with just the FTP.
With about 100 players left until the money, the most boneheaded thing happened at my table. One of the short stacks typed in PLAY SLOW. A conversation started up and 8 of the 10 players at the table allowed their time to tick down to the very last second on EVERY hand. It was torture. I normally don’t tell players how to play but I told everyone they were just doing themselves more harm than good. Fortunately, I did manage to increase my stack by 20% or so, but probably not nearly as much as I would have if my table had played like normal. They were all amatuers, but they did all cash – woohoo for them! The tourney paid about 660 players and all of them were knocked out except for 2 with 200 players remaining. It was absolute torture playing at that table. First place pays $160K and they were trying to win $250. Even after the bubble burst, one of the players played slow until he was knocked out with about 150 players remaining.
I basically played terrible in all 4 of my tourneys, but once we got close to the bubble I did kick in and start to concentrate. I consistently kept my stack at about half the average all the way from 600 players down to about 70 when I finally got knocked out. It was pretty boring poker though. My stack wasn’t large enough to reraise with folding equity and I didn’t have enough to make a normal raise before the flop without being pot-committed, so it was all-in every time I played a hand.
The good news is that I did end up posting a profit for the day even though I felt like I was completely off my game.
Congrats to Tall Paul from the ITH forums for finishing in the top 60 in the Sunday Millions and Pearljammer who finished 20th in the FTP 750K.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
- I wish I would have traveled to X
- I wish I would have gotten married or...I wish I had never married :)
- I wish I would have tried harder at X
- I wish I could have found a job that I was passionate for
- I wish I would have spent more time with my spouse
- I wish I would have spent more time with my children
The list goes on and on, but there is one thing that people never, ever regret in their lives, and that is having children. People might regret how they got pregnant, or who they got pregnant with, or when they got pregnant, but no one ever regrets the child that results. In a world with so much uncertainty and conflict and lives where we often don’t know the correct path, there is one thing in this world where billions upon billions of people agree – there is nothing better in life than experiencing the love of a child. No one ever regrets having a child but I’m sure many regret later in their lives for not doing so.
Enough of the philosophy, here are some funny little things my son Josh (4 years old) has said to me lately:
Daddy, am I going to kiss girls when I grow up?
Daddy, you need to work more so you can buy me more toys.
A couple of weeks later…Daddy, you work too much.
What do you want to do when you grow up? I want to work on the computer and talk on the phone like Daddy.
Daddy, my “poopie” just burped.
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
8th paid $9k and 1st paid almost 80K so disappointing. I was in great shape with 15 players left when the following hand came. A player raised, I called, and a short stack went allin behind me. I call with KK. His AK hit an A on the turn and I was now 13th in chips instead of 3rd in chips. After that, I basically played shortstack the entire time and I don't believe I got one premium hand after that. It took a LONG time to get from 15 to 8 players left. I was hanging in there with an M between 5 and 10 for a long time but slowly got blinded down. I went out with 54 vs AQ, after being probably too patient.
I signed up early tonight and then went to unregister, but UB already had me sitted in their tourney so I had to play :). I'm 9K richer so glad I did!
I haven't posted in a while. I was in Williamsburg on Friday with the boys and the grandparents. On Saturday I went to Sharkapalooza II. Nsidestrate, from the ITH forums, made his 20,000th post (I only have 5,000 posts to give you an idea) and he decided to make the post at his annual shindig. I played 3 tourneys and busted as I usually do in home games. Nside is a class act and he always makes sure to have guests which aren't - thanks Nut, Taz, Torch, Bull, Dust, and all of the others for a great time. There were about 20 people from the Forum and it was a blast. Everytime I go to these things I'm amazed at how well everyone gets along and how well you actually know people from simply posting on the Forum. Everyone actually seemed quite normal, although I'm not sure about Tara and Michelle, simply for the fact that they must have very strange taste in men. Great fun!
Monday, January 28, 2008
I played 13 tourneys, not cashing in any of them. Being the math geek that I sometimes am, assuming I make the money 18% of the time, the odds that I don't cash in 13 tourneys is 4% or 1 in 25! I got to experience that agony yesterday. Not only didn't I cash, I really didn't come close. I was running good in the $100RB but finished about 20 spots from the money. That was the closest I got all day.
But I felt like I played well. I didn't tilt or start making any boneheaded plays. Of course in 13 tourneys, there are always some borderline hands where you aren't sure about your play and a few small mistakes here and there, but overall I felt like I was creating good opportunities for myself. Unfortunately I just wasn't getting many breaks.
One thing I thought yesterday is how play completely changes when you are against a tough field. This is why the railbirds sometimes say that XXX is a donkey. He called with that! He reraised with that! And in normal tourneys, maybe the play would be boneheaded. But against solid loose aggressive players, you often must take gambles where you might not otherwise.
For example, beginning to intermediate players try to steal the blinds a lot. Advanced players will often try to resteal, or simply put pressure on an opponent who has raised. Therefore, if you are the original raiser, you may do some things that you normal won't do. On occasion, you will go back over the top without a decent hand. You probably wouldn't do this against a "normal" player who probably is only reraising with premium hands, but against a really solid player who could easily be on a resteal, sometimes you must play back with less than stellar hands. Last night in the rebuy I made a standard raise with AQs. Another player reraised me. I started the hand with an M of 15. My opponent could have a premium hand, but there is also the possibility of a resteal in his range. For this reason, AQs goes up in value. It was a borderline play but I pushed allin and found myself against AK. I think the biggest mistake here was that I was in early position and most players are reluctant to resteal a player from EP so I should have given his reraise more respect, but I had also been relatively active so hard to tell.
I also learned a nice little lesson/tactic from another really good player. I made a standard raise to 300 and he called from the BB. The flop was Tc 4s 4c. He checks, I bet 330, he calls. The turn is the 2d. We both check. The river is the 6s. He checks, I bet 900, he puts me allin for another 1600.
I found his river play quite interesting. Most opponents would always bet out with a hand after I had checked the turn afraid that I wouldn't bet the river. But let's analyze the situation. On the turn, I either have nothing, or I am checking to control the size of the pot with a scary board. On the river, if he bets and I have nothing, I am going to fold. If I have something, I am likely to call something less that pot (which was $1200). But what if he checks? If I have a hand, I will likely bet for value. This isn't always true. If I have a hand like 88 I would probably check behind. But if I have a pair of tens beat, I am certainly going to bet. Once I bet and he raises, the pot has been built, and it becomes very difficult to fold, since my opponent played so deceptively - check, check...raise! I called with QQ and my opponent had 5-4. I don't like my call here, but the point of this hand is how my opponent got me to commit more chips to the pot than I wanted.
Of course, his strategy backfires when I check behind with a hand that I would call a bet with. But it is an interesting weapon to use on occasion and something I might experiment a little with in the right situations.
So a frustrating day, but I learned a little from my mistakes while still feeling satisfied with my overall play.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
In any case, I decided to play last night. I didn't realize how many decent tournaments there are during the week. I managed to play 7 tournaments, all starting between 8-9:30. I could have played 8 but was running good in so many of them I decided to just skip the $55K at FTP at 9:30.
There are two rebuy tourneys. One at Stars and a $100 6-max at FTP. I'll need to check to see if that is a daily or weekly tournament as a very good tourney. I had a great table in the Stars RB tourney. I have played a few of these rebuys. I really thought these would be tough with the small fields, but so many of the players will do anything to try and doubleup, especially early. There is a great equity for those who are patient. I play simple solid poker and have done quite well in most of them I have played. Unfortunately, I ran into some bad luck and then towards the end of the rebuy period found myself against a couple of players going allin every hand. Unfortunately my hand either didn't hold up, or they finally had a real hand and I lost quite a few rebuys. I ended up investing $900 in the tourney. I went deep and cashed for $800, lol. I believe I finished something like 23rd and first paid $32K so had a decent chance at another nice payday.
I also ran deep in the FTP 55K that started at 8:00, finishing 22nd in that one. It also had a nice first place prize so I had two tourneys with a decent shot at some big money. Aside from those, I had my chances in a few of the other ones also running pretty deep but falling short of cashing. I felt really good about my game but just couldn't get anything going towards the end.
Other than that, I've been playing a little short-handed limit. I made a sick call in one hand with J-high which generated a lot of discussion in the Forum if you want to browse it. The Forum has some great short-handed players and this thread discusses a lot of different concepts beyond just my call on the river.
I should be getting an early start on Sunday as we have our monthly League tourney at ITH, and we are honoring one of our long-term Moderators who recently left the boards. Should be fun and hoping for another deep run!
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Overall, I felt like I played quite well. Around the money, or early in the money, I do remember overbetting a hand with a QxxQ board. I had a flush draw and simply pushed allin on the turn which was a big overbet. I knew my opponent didn't have a Q and I was thinking about how much I should bet, but I didn't want to wait too long and just pushed. It was an inpatient move, but it worked out as my opponent called with 33 and I hit a pair on the river. I had a ton of outs but I should have played it differently. With 50 players to go, I had several opportunities to become the chip leader but kept falling on the wrong end of the cards. Once I lost AA to A7 in a big pot, all the money going in preflop. I lost another hand with QQ to the big blind when he flopped a flush on a K high board and I had the draw to the Q. I probably overplayed that hand also on the turn and got punished for it. Fortunately, I won several hands in a row quite quickly to get right back in it (one was a suckout with A6 vs AQ). After that, I settled down quite nicely and I think I played very well right up to the very end.
The hand that doomed me is still swirling around in my mind. I still haven't gone back to look at the exact chip counts in the hand history as I want to try and be as fresh and clear as possible when I reevaluate the hand. I think my first mistake was calling a raise from the big blind with 64s. I will often call raises with that hand, but I don't think this situation called for it. Sometimes I will call in the big blind with a relatively short stack, simply with the knowledge that I will gain the blinds, antes, and continuation bet should I hit my pair - and since I'm short-stacked I don't mind accepting defeat it that pair gets beat. I will also call when we both have very deep stacks hoping to hit a big hand. But that middling stack isn't the best hand for 64s and it cost me. The board was Kx4 and I check-raised all-in thinking he couldn't call without a K and I had outs if he did. He had K-Q and I lost the hand. It wasn't a horrendous play, but I think my stack size and advantage over the remaining opponents dictated that I didn't need to take that kind of risk.
But 26K is a nice consolation prize. Hopefully I can continue to run relatively deep in these tournaments and start turning them into bigger paydays.
A couple of non-poker tidbits. A mini-review of Atlantis. Great resort for kids! It's like Disney World on water. Unfortunately, there aren't that many family restaurants so that is a major drawback to me. Highly recommended though and we'll definitely be back.
Here's a silly little movie recommendation. If you're looking for an over-the-top shoot-em up, bad guy good guy movie, try Shoot-em Up with Clive Owen. Completely unrealistic and over-the-top, but a lot of fun.
Monday, January 7, 2008
I played the PCA in Paradise Island yesterday getting knocked out about 10 minutes before the end of the day. It was an interesting day even though I wasn’t involved in that many interesting hands.
I missed the first hand and then we proceeded to play about 20 hands where we didn’t see a flop. No one said one word while we were there. I immediately knew that it was going to be a long day. And then Greg Raymer showed up and say to my immediate right. The first pot went multiway and he started chatting it up with everyone. The entire mood became a lot different.
As many of you know, I played with Greg a lot during the 2004 WSOP when he won. We played together on two separate days and were involved in quite a few pots together. He intimidated me back then as he was quite aggressive, stared at you mercifully, and has a strong confidence at the table. I think he is really the only player that has intimidatd me. But I have a lot more experience now and know how to handle those types of players. And fortunately I was to his left which helps. Both of our games have changed quite a lot though since then.
I got the best of Greg this day but only for a few small pots. Only one was interesting. It was folded to his small blind several times. On one, he limped, I raised, and won the pot on the flop. In this case, he raised about 3x the big blind and I called with K-Js. I’m not sure, but I think the blinds were 300-600 with 50 antes. The flop was Kxx, rainbow. He bet about 2700 and I called. The turn was a Q and he checked. At this point, I felt like if I bet he would fold unless he had a queen. I elected to check hoping to gain some value on the river. The river was a blank and he bet a rather small amount. I considered raising but felt like I probably would only be called with a better hand so I just called. He turned over K-J. Ok, maybe not so interesting but I could have raised or bet every single street but elected not to. I’m pretty sure he thought I had some type of middle pair the way I played the hand.
I hit one set and one two pair all day. No straights or flushes. I don’t think I got my fair share of pairs or suited connectors. I got dealt once, AK, AA, QQ, and JJ - AK is definitely lower than average for a full day of poker. For the first 4-5 hours, my stacked varied between 17K and 22K I just didn’t hit very many hands so it was just about winning small pots to stay alive. I eventually got up to 38K at one point - again just by creating some opportunities. Then I lost two draws to knock me out.
The first was quite borderline. I think it was 400-800 blinds. Early raiser to 2200 and a middle player called who was someone I was targeting. He started the hand with about 20K in chips. I had 76 on the button and elected to call. This was a borderline decision, but with position, I thought there was decent chance I could take the pot on the flop if they showed weakness, and this is the kind of hand that can sometimes surprise people. But I recognized it can also get you in trouble.
The flop was T84, two spades. Early checked and middle player bet 4500. He had about 13K left. I could call hoping to hit but that only gives me one card. I wasn’t quite getting the odds on my draw, but I gave a 10% chance that my raise would cause him to fold, and a 10% chance that he was on a flush draw - where I would still have 10 outs. It was very borderline but I decided to gamble. He had a set and I didn’t hit.
So time for some sun and fun. Rizen is a chip leader so go Rizen!
So now I am down to about 17-18K in chips. 500-1000 blinds. Early raise to 2600, middle call, and I have K3s in big blind. 1600 to call with 7700 in the pot. If I hit a K and lose, I can accept that given the size of my stack. I call. T9x, two diamonds giving me the flush draw with an overcard. I check, early player bets 4500 and I go all-in. He calls with top set and I bust out.
It was a fun day. Nothing exciting but fun to get back in the saddle again. I just wish I had another tourney soon as I’m not sure when I’ll be playing again.
Saturday, January 5, 2008
When I do play, I generally work family into the schedule. Practically all of the poker tournaments I have played the last few years have been planned around family - 3 Party Poker cruises, 2 trips to Aruba, 2 trips to Melbourne, Las Vegas the last couple of years, and now the Bahamas. Outside of that, I've played a couple of tourneys in AC by myself and one in Paris a few years ago as well as a few to Mississippi (car trips). Today we got to the beach and boys had a blast and I remembered how much I love these trips. It's a win-win for me - I either do well in the tourney or I get busted and get to spend time with my family on vacation.
I'm not sure what we'll do when the boys start school and can't just trot around the world with Daddy for a poker tournament.
In any case, this trip started out quite rough. We woke up at 5:30AM to get everyone ready for the airport. About a half mile outside of my neighborhood we saw police lights. They had blocked off the road and told us to go home and check out the news. It turns out that someone shot 2 police officers and was still inside his house 12 hours later! In any case, there is only one road out of my neighborhood and we were basically trapped. So we lost a day of vacation. Fortunately the policemen are alright and the killer ended up committing suicide in the house (at least that's the last I heard). It's hard to tell a little 4-year old that we have to wait another day to go to the beach!
I'll try to make daily updates on my progress. I start Sunday at noon.
Thursday, January 3, 2008
January - win the Poker Stars Caribbean adventure! Last year I started out the year in Australia with back-to-back final tables which was a great start to the year. This year I want the win! By the way, I turn 41 while in the Bahamas.
January is also the launch of our International Player of the Year race at one of our sites, www.InternetPokerRankings.com. By the way, congrats to Jon "Pearljammer" Turner for winning the 2007 race.
February - my wife's birthday. We can't party too much because she's be almost eight month's pregnant. This month I'll be working a lot of my books.
March - I think the 2nd edition of ITH, with the new title All About Limit Hold'em, will probably be released in late March. If not then, definitely in April
April - We're having a baby! Our first daughter so we're quite excited.
May - Release the first volume of hands by Pearljammer, Rizen, and Apestyles...and feed the baby. Change the babies diapers. Maybe I'll be able to get some late night short-handed poker in when the baby wakes me!
June - WSOP - win my first bracelet!
July - WSOP main event
August - family reunion in Hilton Head.
Fall - Release the 2nd volume of the hands book. I also expect that Rizen and I will be working hard on our NL Tournament Strategy book.
December - going to Colombia for Christmas. My family hopes to visit also which should be a lot of fun as they have never been to Colombia. We are planning to visit Diana's family in Medellin, take a day trip to Colombianitors - the charity that Diana and I work with, and then rent a country house with the family for some nice R&R and great Colombian culture.