Tuesday, November 10, 2009

IP Poker Classic - Biloxi

I've been busy working on books so I haven't been playing much lately. I did have a nice Wednesday night a couple of weeks ago with a 2nd and 4th place finishing netting me about 13K.

This past weekend I decided to go to Biloxi for a live tournament. As I've blogged before, there is nothing better than the excitement of a live tournament. The main event was a $3k event and had 43 entrants. It's not a big turnout, but it's Biloxi, :).

I had a tough starting table as I bought in late with the other "good" players who show up late. I think most of the satellite winners were at other tables. The tournament paid 4 players with $56K going to first. 14k starting stack, 50 minutes levels, we started at 25-50. Six players were knocked out before level 2 was over giving you an indication of the quality of play of some of the players. At the 100-200 level, I saw a guy with a 20K stack get all-in with AJ, after being check-raised on an AxxQ board. Having said that, there were also some very good players there. I would guess about 10 very good player, 10 more good player, 10 amatuerish players, and 10 players who had no business being there.

There were three key hands.
- Very early, limper, I limp 6-5 CO, button limps. 50-100. 4 players see the flop. K87. I bet 250, button raises to 700, I call. Turn is a 4x (putting two clubs on the board). Button bets 800, I CR to 2400, button calls. River is a Tc. I bet 4000, button calls with J-9.
- I fought my way back to a stack of about 13-14K. 200-400-25. UTG, loose player raises (he could have lots of hands here). Old-looking amatuer player who I was sitting with for about 15 minutes calls. I have JJ in Middle position. Taking the pot would increase my stack over 20%. I am way ahead of UTG range and I don't think the older guy is capable of slowplaying a big pair. I decide to raise, and to commite myself as I don't want UTG to 4-bet me and put me on a difficult decision. I raise to about 6 or 7 K. UTG folds and to my surprise, older guys goes all-in. In my mind, I had intentionally committed myself (to the UTG player), so I called. In hindsight, this was a mistake. I should have reevaluated the situation. It was obvious that my read on the older guy was wrong, and it only made sense with AA. I still had enough chips to make a comeback. I called. UTG player said he had a J. I hit a one-outer!
- Final table. 8 players left. As soon as we arrived at final table I started dominating play. I took my 30K stack up to 55-60K without showing a hand. 75K was the average stack. I 3-bet a few times and was raising more than my share preflop - I had a very loose image and the players were commenting about it.

I decided to switch gears and start playing tight. But I got dealt KK UTG so I raise again. I get two callers and take down the pot. A few hands later in hijack I get A-K. I raise to 5,500 and the big blind pushes all-in (he has about 80-90K. The BB was my biggest worry at the table. He was a very good player, loose, aggressive, with a lot of advanced plays in his arsenal. I insta-called and he shows T-7s and I'm out of the tournament when 7 flops.

Really a bummer as I was in control at the final table, would finally of had a healthy chip stack, and would have crippled my main opponent.

Nevertheless, was a fun trip and worthwhile. If I compare Biloxi and Tunica, it isn't even close...Biloxi is waaaay better. FYI - the Beau Rivage is like a mini-Bellagio. Seriously, it is a nice surprise.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Little blurbs on poker and life

- My first-born started Kindergarten last week. Quite exciting seeing the little one go off on his own.
- We're very close to having Spanish translation of Dimat books ready. We should be offering those in the Fall.
- Diana and I are going on a cruise next week. Very excited for some time away from the kids and some true R&R!
- The cruise has PokerPro electronic tables on it. Can't wait to eat up the tourists at the tables! I believe they play $1-$2 NL.
- I'm finally getting back to productive mode. The month after the WSOP is always a little lazy for me.
- I have been playing more poker. I am going to try and play Wednesday and Sunday tournaments, with a little PLO cash games mixed in for a few hours each week. But in reality, I usually only end up playing about 50% of the time on Sundays as family things often come up.
- Go Dawgs!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Kids in need

Some of you may or may not know, but I am board member of a non-profit organization called Colombianitos (little Colombians) based here in Atlanta, and due to the economic situation we have been facing we are struggling to keep these kids in school, off the streets and out of trouble. Currently, we are at risk of having to shut down one of our programs due to lack of funds.

Colombianitos recently won the first Unicef award of Beyond Sports, a true Global competition of how sport can be used for a social cause. The award was handed over by Lord Puttnam here his words: "On July 9th in London, Lord Puttnam, Ambassador for UNICEF UK, presented the first UNICEF Children’s Rights Award to "Goals for a Better Life" run by COLOMBIANITOS as part of the Beyond Sport Summit. The award recognizes the importance of sports as a tool for positive social change. Lord Puttnam proudly presented the award recognizing "Play is a right and sport is a fantastic tool for promoting and fulfilling children’s rights, as demonstrated by COLOMBIANITOS. We have seen sport lead to real change." Read more here: http://www.unicef.org, also here: http://www.beyondsport.org/the-summit/live/view.php?Id=16

If you would be so kind to adopt/sponsor a child, it would help us tremendously while changing a kid's life. You can click on https://www.colombianitos.org/en/sponsor_child.asp, it's only $25/mo to sponsor a kid!

Thanks! Matthew

PS. You can watch a short video on Colombianitos down below . . .

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Main Event time!

I leave today to play the main event of the WSOP. This is the time of year that I get really excited about poker. This is it - nothing beats the excitement of the main event. I always have a good bit of confidence going into this event. I've cashed 3 of 5 years, including a 33rd place finish. I know what it takes to cash in this event which gives me a big "experience" advantage. It also helps that I've been there, done that, so my concern is not on cashing but doing deep which helps me when other players become much more conservative and tentative. In the past, if I've survived Day 1, I cash. The first double up is always the most important.

However, the structure of the tourney is different this year. First, we are only playing 8 hours instead of 10. We also get 30,000 in chips to start rather than 20,000. About 5 in 6 players are surviving Day 1 this year compared to a little over half in previous years.

Over the first two days of the main event this year, the average stack at end of day is 37,000. So basically, this year more than any other, nothing is won on Day 1. I basically want to survive and would be perfectly content with a stack between 30 and 40K going into Day 2.

So I fly out today and arrive in Vegas around 2:30. I play tomorrow starting at noon Vegas time. I will be giving updates at www.twitter.com/mchilger.

i've cashed 3 times in this event - there are only two things missing - a final table and a win!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

WSOP break

Recently got back from the WSOP. I spent 13 days there and played 5 events, making one small cash (my 11th lifetime). I expect to cash about 1 in 7 tourneys or so, so my one cash is really all I can expect - unfortunately I need a deeper cash to make money so came home with a small loss. I won a smallish online tourney good for $4500 while I was there so that helped cover some of my losses.

More importantly, I feel like I am playing quite well and in total control of what I want to do. I did play poorly in one tournament and knew I shouldn't have even played, so live and learn. The next week when not feeling quite up to playing I made the good decision to just sit out that day.

I'm at home now enjoying time with the family. On Saturday we take a week vacation to the beach and then I fly back to Vegas for the main event. I'm really excited about THE BIG ONE this year. They are giving us 30K in chips rather than 20K so that gives players like myself who thrive in deep stacks a little advantage. Hopefully I can make a nice deep run this year and create some real excitement.

During all of this, Dimat released another book - Advanced Pot-Limit Omaha by Jeff Hwang. I'm very excited about this book and think it will come required reading by all PLO players. Available at Amazon or the ITH store.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Follow me at the WSOP via text messages

The following is free and takes about 5-7 minutes to setup. You will receive text updates from me at the WSOP standard text message rates apply).

1. Register an account at www.twitter.com
2. Turn on your Mobile Phone via your Twitter account (Step 3 after you've registered)
3. You'll receive a text message verifying once your phone is setup.
4. Go to www.twitter.com/mchilger
5. Select Follow
6. After you've selected Follow, you will see Click Device updates. Click it and turn it to on.

You will now receive text messages from me via Twitter!

I'll be playing from June 9th to the 21st and then start the main event on July 6th.

Hoping for a good summer! Matthew

Sunday, May 31, 2009

I'll be twittering updates at the WSOP


I play June 9th thru the 21st and then start the main event July 6th.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Getting Ready for the WSOP

Haven't posted in a while. To be honest, I haven't played much the last couple of months so not a lot to talk about. However, I am trying to gear up for the WSOP and have been playing a little more online to get ready, and fortunately I've ran pretty good my last two sessions.

I played last Wednesday night and cashed in 3 of 7 tourneys. Unfortunately, just missed the final table in 2 of them so missed out on the big money. On Sunday, I cashed in 2 of 9 tournament, but more importantly, finished 2nd in the Bodog 100K guarantee good for 15K. Nice to get a little confidence boost right before Vegas.

My plans for Vegas this year are a little different than the past couple of years as I plan on scaling back on my schedule considerably. I'll be going out for two weeks to play preliminary events, coming home, and then going back out July 5th for the main event. I expect to play 8-9 events. I had originally planned on playing some limit events, but I might skip those now in favor of playing some deep stack events at the Venetian. I just haven't played much limit the last year so don't really feel on top of my game - it really just depends on how I'm feeling the day of those tournaments.

I reviewed the proofs today for Jeff Hwang's new book, Advanced Pot-Limit Omaha. It looks great and will start shipping June 12th.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Jeff Hwang cover contest for his next book

As many of you know, we signed Jeff Hwang to publish his next two books with Dimat. The first, titles Advanced Pot-Limit Omaha: Small Ball and Short-Handed Play should be coming out in the June/July time period. I've read through the draft and believe it will be required reading for all PLO players, and all Hold'em players looking to learn PLO (such as myself).

For those good at graphics, we are having a cover design contest for the book. See the details here:


I'll be traveling to Tunica this weekend to play in a $2,500 tourney on Sunday so won't be playing online this Sunday.

My WSOP plans are tentatively to go to Vegas from June 9th to the 21st and play about 11 events or so. Then I'll fly home, visit with family, get some rest, before flying back out on the 5th for the main event.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Woot - I cashed in the Stars Million!

I know, big deal...but my results have been terrible there. I've cashed 3 times since the beginning of 2008. Compare this to the FTP 750K tourney where I've had three top 20 finishes in that same time period plus another 5 or 6 other small cashes. I definitely prefer the FTP structure, but still, I've been really disappointed in my Stars results.

This cash was actually quite nerve-racking. They paid 1260 players, and there were 1261 players remaining, when the UTG big stack players raises to 9K. It is folded to me in the BB with TT. I haven't cashed in this tournament in several months and here I am thinking..beautiful, now I am going to bubble. I had a stack of 66K. The UTG has a wide range here trying to bully on the bubble so it was an easy push I think. He had AK and hit a K on the river. But we were now hand to hand, and the software was frozen, and then I found out that I actually finished 1251st so I got my cash, lol. So I finally cash, but on an unfortunate hand.

I finished 25th in the Cake tourney which was disappointing. I had a very weak table but went completely card dead.

On a better note, I'll be playing in the New Zealand Poker Championships in early April. This is a tournament I won back in 2002 so it will be fun to go back and see if I can get my title back.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tourneys for a Month

I recently spend six weeks in Colombia with my wife's family. We had an absolute blast. Joshua, who is 5, was speaking fluently by the end of the trip. Zachary, who is 3, has started saying some 3-4 word phrases in Spanish. They both understand Spanish completely. I also took them to swimming lessons every day for a month and Joshua was attempting all four strokes by the end of the month.

The great thing about Colombia, besides seeing my wonderful family, is that I get a ton of work done there and get to play a lot of poker. With so many people able to help out with the kids, I work a lot and play a lot of online poker at night. I played about 130 to 140 tournaments while I was there.

I am very happy with my results. All of these were fairly large tournaments, with the minimum number of entrants at about 180 all the way up to 10,000 entrants. The good news is that I won two tourneys and had two 2nd place finishes. If there is bad news, it is that my good places were in the lower buyin tourneys I played.

I finished first in the FTP 100K Holiday freeroll with 10,000 entrants (see my previous blog post). I finished 2nd to SBRounder in a tournament which won me 8K. I had a 2nd place finish in a $50 PokerStars deepstack tourney. I won a $50 tourney at Cake. I also went deep in several other tournaments so was really pleased with my overall results.

I also played a decent amount of PLO. I was editing Jeff Hwang's new book which we will be publishing this summer so spent some time at the tables. His book is fantastic. With practically zero PLO experience, his book made me feel comfortable immediately. I started at .25-50 limits and played up to $2-$4, with success at every limit. Unfortunately, I got a little bored one day and tried the $5-$10 tables only to lose everything I had won at PLO in one hour! lol. I lost several big pots for a total loss of $2,500. Of course, I only played one hour at that limit so I can't comment on my results, but i will say for the limited time that I played up to $2-$4 I felt very comfortable and saw my opponents make a lot of mistakes. I felt like with 1-2 months of experience I would be easily be a consistent winning player at PLO. His book is very easy to read and the concepts easy to understand, especially for an experienced Hold'em player. I'm pretty convinced that my cash game of choice going forward will be PLO.

As an aside, Jeff has finished the first draft of the manuscript which I have read in its entirety. he is wrapping up some edits and then we'll be sending to some experienced players to read for their feedback. It should come out in the summer, hopefully in the earlier part.

Future plans - Tunica tourney in mid-March, and the New Championships in early April (quite a trip!).

Monday, January 5, 2009

Won FTP Holiday, 10000 entrants

I didn't play a lot of poker over the holidays but I am back in the saddle again. We are in Colombia visiting family and I get to play a lot of poker here since there is so much help with the kids.

Last week I won the FTP 100K Holiday freeroll. The tourney had 10,000 entrants, with 10K going to first. Definitely not my biggest payday, but beating 9,999 players is very cool!

I played again yesterday and played quite well. Even though I made a couple of mistakes, overall I am really pleased with how I am taking opportunities when I see them, while still being quite patient. In the Poker Stars $500 tourney, I was bombarded with quality starting hands yet I found myself losing half my stack. I stayed patient and eventually worked my way back only to bubble out very close to the money. It was frustrating, as I think I was playing quite well postflop to stay alive, and then misplayed a hand very close to the money. I am not sure it would have made a difference though, but a mistake is still a mistake.

I seem very focused and in control of what I want to do. There are fewer and fewer situations where I feel unsure of my preferred line of action.

Hopefully this is a good sign for a great 2009!