Monday, July 28, 2008

Another Deep Run in the FTP 750K

I had another deep run in the FTP 750K, but this time it was a very bittersweet ending. I was thinking just a few days ago that I haven't seemed to get big stacks early lately, and then boom, I was chipleader when we made the money in the FTP 750K and I was top 15 in chips or so in the 100RB.

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

Back to the net

Well, the WSOP is over. I had a disappointing year in terms of results, but I do feel like my game has improved and I feel quite confident in my play right now. So although I was going to take a little break, I couldn't resist some of the big tourneys this Sunday. Stars had over 14,000 entrants in their $200 tourney!

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

After Hours - a crazy little comedy

I just watched a film I had never heard of - After Hours, directed by Martin Scorcese. If you think you've had a bad day or think you are running bad at the WSOP :), give this little flick a watch to change your perspective. The movie is basically about this kind of nerdy guy who gets himself into one bad situation after another after he meets this girl he met in a coffee shop. The movie takes place in just one night. I had no idea what to expect while watching but found myself laughing out loud towards the end as the situations just kept getting more and more absurb and ludicrous. Think you've had a bad day - watch this movie.

The WSOP is wrapping down now. I have the Limit Shootout today and then play the main event on Friday.