Friday, June 30, 2006

The cash games out here aren't going too bad, either

Aside from the WSOP Dan and I have been going to various poker rooms on the strip. On Monday we visited the Wynn's poker room and Caesar's poker room. On Wednesday after Dan finally got busted in the tournament we were at the Wynn again. The Wynn's poker room is the nicest poker room I've seen. Very plush. It also seemed to be run very well as far as seating players and managing the room. The cocktail waitresses were coming around very regularly and we didn't have to wait long to get your drinks. Caesar's poker room is very large, but man does it lack any character. Very spacious, but the monitors are all too far away from the tables and there is just something about it that just says blah. They do have a separate tournament section partitioned off from the cash games, and that is pretty nice.

On Thursday, Dan and I visited the Venetian's poker room. That one was pretty nice, too. Definitely better than Caesar's, but not as nice as the Wynn. I think it would be very hard to find a nicer poker room than the Wynn personally. Dan had a 5:30 flight so after he left for the airport I headed over to the Bellagio's poker room. They are reputed to have the best poker room on the strip. The place was packed when I got there, and I had to wait about an hour to get a seat at a game, which is unusual at the Vegas poker rooms. I asked some of the players who appeared to be regulars about that when I sat down, and they said that it had to be because of the WSOP. The room itself was nice and was being managed very well. The cocktail service was pretty decent, too.

On Monday I got killed in the cash games. I lost $400 at the Wynn. Most of that occurred in one hand where I flopped a straight and somebody else flopped two pair. I was holding Jd 9d when the board came:

7x 8x Tx

After I check-called my opponent on the flop, a King peeled off on the turn. My opponent checked so I decided to bet and he raised me $1oo. I knew I still had the nuts so I moved in for my remaining $225 and he called me with 8T. An 8 hit on the river, filling my opponent's boat and wiping me out. Dan also took a little hit, and that was when we decided to head to Caesar's. I dropped another $200 there and decided to call it a night. It also had my confidence heading in to Tuesday rather shaken.

Things started to get better after Monday's massacre. In fact, I haven't lost at a cash game that I sat down at since Monday. On Wednesday at the Rio while Dan was finishing the tournament I played at the cash games the Rio was running and made about $100. I picked up a little over $500 at the Wynn on Wednesday in a 4 1/2 hour session, although I do have to admit that I got lucky in a couple of hands. Ironically, I did to someone else what I had done to me on Monday. I was holding 8h 9h when the board flopped:


giving me top two pair. I slow played them (bad Jason!) and check called. The turn brought a Jack, and when my opponent bet again I moved all in for about $250. My opponent called and showed me the nuts (7-T) for straight, but the river came 8 of all things and I was able to escape with a nice pot.

On Thursday when Dan and I were at the Venetian I made just under $100 on a session. It was nice because early in the session I was down my initial buy-in of $300 when my QQ was blown away by KJ. I worked my way back, and on one of my last hands I got back in to the black on what I thought was a pretty sweet hand. I was holding 7d 9d when the flop came:

7c 6d Td

giving me middle pair, a gutshot straight draw, a flush draw, and a straight flush draw. Three of us had gone to the flop and I was in the middle. The first opponent checked. I bet $50 into the $60 pot and the player behind me called. The initial checker raised all in, which amounted to another $153. I had another $300+ in chips, and my opponent behind me had me covered so I decided to move all in to shut the other player out. If I just called I didn't want to give him the correct pot odds to call if he was on a bigger draw, and I also wanted to represent a real big hand in case he was holding something marginal yet better than me so he could chuck it. As it turned out he had Kd Jd and did lay it down. After the all in was determined the turn came a blank, but the river came 8c giving me the nuts. My opponent was shocked at my play since he had As Ts (top pair, top kicker), but if you count all the outs I had (2 sevens, 3 nines, 4 eights, any diamond) I was actually the favorite when the money went in.

After Dan left and I went to the Bellagio, I had a nice session where I made $739 in 2 1/2 hours. I've got one day left here, and I think I'll go to the Wynn and play some more there. My flight leaves at midnight Vegas time and is scheduled to get in to Milwaukee around 5:30am so it's going to be a long day today.

Thursday, June 29, 2006'd that other guy do?

My friend Dan was still playing today in the tournament, and when we arrived at the Rio today at 1:30 we found the Pot Limit event going on already. I had considered entering this tournament myself, but I haven't played ANY Pot Limit tourneys or cash games so I am not familiar of the nuances of Pot Limit. I didn't think it would be smart to play my first Pot Limit tournament at the WSOP at cost of $1500.

Dan had 21,700 in chips, and we had looked at's website and found out that he was in 77th out of the remaining 122 players. The next tier for the payouts to go up was at 108th place, and with Dan having 45 players behind him in chips we thought that should be attainable. The tier after that ended at 82nd place.

Blinds started Day 2 at 1200-2400 with a 300 ante, so at Dan's table, which was 9-handed, each orbit was going to cost 6300 chips. That meant Dan had about 3 rounds of playing time left if he didn't improve his stack. Dan got dealt JJ once, moved all in, and got no callers. Dan also got 3-3 once, but on that hand there was a raise and reraise before it got to him. The board did bring a 3 so that turned out to be a lost opportunity for Dan.

Dan's tournament ended with the following hand:

Dan: Kd Qd

Opponent: A K

Dan's opponent limped, and Dan moved all in with his remaining 13200 in chips. The opponent called and the board did not help Dan at all. Dan ended up making it to 80th place, which earned him $7578. Awesome job!

All in all, a pretty successful trip. Two players, a field of 2776 players (2nd largest in WSOP history), and we came away with two cashes. Woo Hoo!!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Table 154 - a battle with a World Champion

Table 154 was up against the walkway so there were lots of people behind me when I got to my seat. I also found Greg Raymer, the 2004 WSOP Main Event Champion, sitting at my table when I arrived. I was in seat 9, and Greg was in seat 4. After arriving here we went on a break where we found that we were down to 279 players. When we came back we were going to be playing "round-for-round" play. When you get near the cashing bubble you have to play in a way so that players cannot stall to try and make it to the money. In the past they have played hand-for-hand, but that took too long as everyone had to wait until one hand was played until the next hand could be played. With the round-for-round format you play once around the table and then stop until everyone has finished their round. If enough players have been knocked out then they stop the round-for-round play and play continues normally. If not, then everyone does another round. This continues until the cash bubble has been burst.

I had 5800 in chips and the blinds were 400-800 with a 100 ante. This didn't give me too many options, and I certainly didn't want to go broke before cashing. During the first, and only, round of round-for-round play I ended up being all in twice and had what amounted to an all in decision against Greg Raymer.

When we got back from the break I was under the gun and found AK offsuit. Knowing that I would have to pay blinds on my next two hands I decided to move all in, just praying that everyone would be afraid of losing chips this close to cashing. No one called and I won myself and extra set of blinds and antes. I folded my BB, but then came what really probably amounts to my best tournament hand.

I was in the small blind. Greg Raymer, who was in early position, decided to raise to 2200. Everyone folded to me. I looked down and found Ac Qd. Normally I would play this hand in a heartbeat, but this is completely different. Raymer put on his funky sunglasses that are one of his staples and he and I started a staredown that lasted about 2 minutes. During the staredown I was thinking about my options and doing my math on the pot. If I move all in it's only for 4400 chips on top of Raymer's raise. This would also mean that Raymer would have to call 4400 to see about a 14200 pot. Now I know Raymer is smart enough to do that math, and those types of odds are going to be good for almost any hand. Add to the fact that he raised from mid-early position and not late position, which probably means he's not doing an outright steal, and that means he's going to call. Now, do I want to put my tournament life on the line with AQ when I know that he's going to call? I may have the lead, but I didn't think so. The staredown seemed to go on forever. I eventually showed the railbirds behind me my hand and let the hand go. Raymer asked me if I would feel better if I knew what he had. He showed me pocket Ts, making me feel better. Had it not been a decision for all my chips just prior to the cash bubble I would have called. Even if he had shown me AJ or worse I would have been OK with my decision.

It all became worthwhile on the next hand when I was on the button. Everyone folded to me, and I found AKoffsuit. This time it's a no brainer. I only have to beat the blinds, one of whom has fewer chips than me. I moved all in and the big blind called with A2offsuit. A King came off on the flop along with a pair of fours, and when the turn came five and the river came King my full house sent the big blind packing.

Let me tell you, being that close to the bubble and having to make those decisions isn't easy. Even when you feel confident you have the best hand there is always the chance that your opponent(s) could outdraw you.

After the first round of round-for-round play 14 players were eliminated and the bubble had burst. We were now in the money!! Woo Hoo! Now it's time to play to accumulate chips. Unfortunately, the cards were no longer cooperating with me. As blinds and antes passed I was getting whittled down again. Then finally, with blinds at 600-1200 with a 200 ante I met my fate. With 6000 chips left and being in the big blind, a player in later position raised to 2400, the minimum raise. I looked down and found J-8offsuit. Obviously this isn't a good hand, but the blinds add up to 1800 and the antes are 2000. With the raise of 2400, and my being forced to post 1200 moving all in was the play. The player would have the correct pot odds to call, but he could fold. If he calls the pot would be about 14200. He thought about it and called with As Td. The flop came:


giving me the lead. The turn came:


crushing me. The river didn't help, and I was eliminated in 188th place, cashing for $3,410. All in all a great time. I can now officially say that I have career earnings in the WSOP. Personally, seeing how the tournament runs I realize how tough it is to cash. For Dan and I to both get there is really something.

Be sure to follow Dan Nemec on's website as they do live updates in blog format on their website!!

Table 123, the most exciting table I played

My arrival at table 123 began with a player almost receiving a penalty. As I sat down "Minneapolis" Jim Meehan was all in with 4-3offsuit against pocket 4s. The board came:

6-6-J-9-9 to cause a split pot, and Jim was yelling about how this guy had stolen half of the chips in a pot that Jim thought he should have won. Jim happened to have four beer cups on the table. When I got seated Jim was on my immediate left and was somewhat short-stacked. Bill Gazes was another poker pro at the table, and he was seated two to my right. I had about 4200 in chips so I was still plugging away. Jim got up and walked away from the table for a couple minutes to go catch a smoke outside, and I was made aware that Jim had done about a dozen shots along with the beers he had.

When Jim came back he was rambling on telling stories about various things to no one in particular. Whenever he'd kind of tap my arm as if he were telling me the story I'd just nod my head, but I never really looked at him too much. I was hoping he'd catch the hint. He didn't. At one point Jim and Bill got in to it a little when a player had raised Jim's big blind, and it really was enough of a raise that Jim was playing for all his chips. He went in to the think tank, and Bill finally starting pushing Jim to make a decision. Jim got really mad and started yelling at Bill, and a floor person had to be called over to calm things down. They brought Jim some coffee at that point, and they officially gave him a warning.

I had managed to work my way to about 7000 in chips. The hand where I got most of those chips came when I was dealt J-J. I hate Jacks. I think most players do. I raised about 5x the blinds and was of course called by one other player and the big blind. The board came about as bad as it can come when you hold Jacks:


The blind checked, I checked, and the other player checked. The turn came 2 and the blind checked again. This time I had to bet, and when I did both players folded. Personally I think I was beat, but hey, sometimes you get rewarded for being the aggressor

It was around this time that I got dealt a blow that I thought had me finished. This next section will go to show what you can do with just a "chip and a chair".

With the blinds at 150-300 and an ante of 25, I was in the BB with Ks-9s. A player near the end raised the minimum so I decided to call to see a flop. The flop came:

8-6-6 (two clubs, one heart)

I checked and my opponent checked. The turn came:


Giving me top pair. I led out and bet 1500 and was called. The river came:


I led out and bet 1500, and my opponent raised to 3000. I looked at my chips. I only had 2025 left. There was so much in the pot I didn't think I could fold, but I knew putting all my chips in couldn't be correct, so I just called. My opponent showed me the flush. Uggghhh. I was now down to 525 chips and was going to have be in the small blind the next hand and pay an ante.

This is where the fun begins. After posting my ante and small blind I had 350 chips left. A player in early position raised to 1200, and everyone started folding. I started doing my math, and with the antes (25 x 10 players), the blinds (300 & 150), and the raise, I knew I had to put my remaining chips in with Qd 4s. Thanks to the raise causing everyone else to fold I was going to see a 1750 chip pot for 350 chips. In other words I was getting 5 to 1 on my money. No matter what two cards I have I am going to play them there. The raise also meant that instead of having to play against 3, 4, or 5 opponents I'd only have to play one player. My opponent had A-3offsuit, making me a 60/40 underdog to win the hand. I spiked a Queen on the flop and nothing else hit so I won my first all in.

My second all in occurred two hands after that when I was in the cutoff position. I had Ks Qs and moved all in. Everyone had folded to me so I only needed to get the button (Jim) and blinds to fold, and they did.

My third all in was the very next hand. Once again everyone folded to me and looked down to find Ad Qc. Being short stacked I moved all in. This time the BB decided to think about it and eventually he called the 1800 with Kd 2d!! I would have been disappointed if my WSOP had ended on that call. Lucky for me neither of us hit a card to help our hands and my AQ held up.

Now I actually had some chips again. I had about 5200!! Amazing what antes do to those pots! Two hands later a shorter stack moved all in, and I looked down and saw AKoffsuit. I moved all in to isolate against him, and when we turned over our cards he had As Ts. He needed spades or a Ten. This time, an Ace hit on the board, but that didn't mean anything because we both had an Ace, and my King kicker held up!

The next hand I was dealt J-J and raised it to 1300. Everyone folded, and I picked up the blinds and antes again. In less than one orbit I had gone from 500 in chips to about 7000. All the players were telling me "nice comeback" and things of that nature. Jim even made some nice comment about seeing a comeback like that, but the slurring of what he said made it nearly impossible to understand.

Just before the dinner break I was dealt 9-9 in middle position. I raised to 1400, and the button moved all in. He had about 3000 so it was going to cost me about 1650 to call. I started adding up the pot while trying to get a read on my opponent and determined that he was playing high cards and decided to call. I was correct! He had AQ. When the dealer put out the flop a Queen was the top card. My opponent yelled "yes!", but as the dealer went to spread the flop a 9 showed up and I had made my set. My opponent could only win by hitting running cards on the turn and river, and that didn't happen so I eliminated him and went to the dinner break with 9200 in chips.

I was riding a high over dinner. I was just so happy that I had made that comeback!

We found out at dinner that there were 520 players left and the average stack was about 8000 chips. We also were made aware of the number of entrants and the fact that 270 were going to get paid. It was at this point I realized that we were going to get to the cash levels today.

When I got back from the dinner break, blinds had moved to 200-400 with a 50 chip ante. My third hand back from break I finally got AA. The best hand I had seen to this point had been JJ (I don't include AK although it's argued that AK is better than JJ). I raised with AA to 1200, got one caller, but when the flop came J-high and I bet and my opponent went away. This got me to my high mark of about 14000 chips.

After this hand I went the next two hours with almost no hand to play. Either I was getting mediocre hands with people raising in front of me, or getting no hand that was worth raising. I was getting whittled away by the blinds and antes and when I got moved over to table 154 I was at around 9100 in chips.

Table 185

I knew when I arrived at Table 185 that we would be breaking that table down shortly because they were breaking down the row of tables that had the table I just came from in it. The seat I inherited when I got there was none other than Scotty Nguyen's seat. The player to my left made sure he told me about 7 times that he busted him. He also made sure he had a beer in his hand almost constantly. I knew that I wouldn't have to deal with this guy long so I just let him go on rather than try and stop his constant yammering at the table. He was being obnoxious, but not enough to get a penalty.

I don't recall playing any hands of significance here, and after being seated there for about 45 minutes I got moved over to Table 123, which was by far the most exciting table I played at in this tournament

Table 181 - starting table

The day started slowly enough with the blinds at 25-25, and I managed to work my stack up to about 2200 chips in the first hour without having met much resistance. We were playing 11-handed, and Barry Shulman was seated to my immediate left, so when I have to pay my small blind he is in the big blind. Barry has been somewhat loose and aggressive with his chip stack fluctuating greatly. The first cards that I was dealt in my first WSOP event were: 8h-4c. Yes, I folded. The first hand where I put in an actual bet was pocket 8s when I was in the small blind. Barry made some comment about him just giving me his big blind, and I'm sure he was just fishing for information on my hand.

Play continued, and Barry got busted early by going in when he flopped the second pair on the board, but his opponent had flopped top pair and top kicker and Barry was gone. Barry was replaced by a WSOP bracelet winner, Todd Witteles, who won last year's $3000 Limit Hold 'em event and took 3rd in the $1500 Limit Hold 'em event. The player to my immediate right was busted, and he was replaced by none other than Hasan Habib. Habib took 2nd in the WPT championship two years ago, and 3rd place in the WPT championship last year. I was dead smack between two experienced players.

These guys know the type of intimidation they bring to the table, and they were using that for all it was worth. I had a hand where Hasan had raised it to 3x the blind preflop and I decided to call with A7suited. The flop came A-J-2, and Hasan bet 250. I had about 2000 in chips. I decided to raise him and I took it to 500. He laid it down, and it was then that I finally felt in my comfort zone playing with these guys. Shortly after that I ended up in a 3-man pot with both Todd and Hasan when Hasan had limped from the button. I raised to 3x the blind, and Todd and Hasan called. I was holding Ad 6d and after a K-5-5 flop I led out and bet, and they both laid it down.

Hasan and Todd were both really nice guys. Being seated next to the both of them made it easy to start conversations with them. I was asking them questions about how many events they planned on playing, how many "big" events do they play in a year, things like that. Hasan went broke when he moved his remaining 175 chips in to a 4-player pot, but he was really very gracious and extended his hand to me when he got up to leave.

It was around this time that I had worked my way to being near the table chip lead with about 3400. We were still only in Level 2 so I had reached my "double up by Level 3" goal without having to really risk my chips. I was getting confident enough that I was even picking up blinds with medium to medium-bad hands. I only got contested really once, and that was when I was holding A-Jsuited and the flop came T-T-2. I led out and bet and was called. The turn came Ten. I checked and my opponent bet. So much for that pot.

I did win my first WSOP race at this table when I raised from the cutoff position with Kd-Qd. The blinds were at 50-100. The big blind moved all in over the top for another 700, and since he was short stacked I called hoping he was on an under pair. By calling and losing I would have been down to 1300 chips, but the pot was worth enough to call. He had T-T, and amazingly I rivered a Queen to send him to the rail.

Shortly after that I sent another player to the rail when my Qh-9h won a race against a very short stacked player who moved in with 5-5. This race wasn't nearly as exciting as the Q was the first card that came off the flop.

Our table broke down at that point and I got dealt the card that sent me over to table 185 seat number 10.

This has been Awesome!

Sorry about not posting anything until now, but I had one REALLY long day of poker yesterday. When Dan and I got back to the hotel it was almost 2:30am, and all I wanted to do was crash so I did. If you read my earlier posts you know I had a plan in mind. Well, my numbers in the plan were a little off. I thought that with the blind structure that was presented that we would play until there were about 500 players or so left. As it turned out we played until there were only 122 players left.

The tournament officially had 2776 entries. Out of those 2776 entries 270 places were being paid. I am no longer in the tournament, having busted out in 188th place. My friend Dan is still playing. The average chip stack is approximately $34,000, and Dan has $21,700. When he resumes play today the blinds will be $1200-$2400 with a $300 ante, so he has a little more than 3 full orbits left, as each orbit would cost $6,600 in chips.

There were so many poker pros that we saw. It would probably be easier to list the names of people I didn't see instead of the people who I did see. I even had a pro come up to me to ask a question early in the day. I was wearing my Full Tilt jersey, and Andrew Black came up to me to ask me a couple questions because he thought I was with the Full Tilt crew.

I had several poker "celebrities" at the various tables I played at today. I'll give a list of who I played with at my tables and then I will go in to more details about the hands I had. I played with: Barry Shulman (publisher of Card Player magazine), Todd Witteles (WSOP bracelet winner from last year's $3000 Limit Hold 'em event), Habib Hasan, "Minneapolis" Jim Meehan, Bill Gazes, Greg Raymer, and Tuan Le.

I don't want this blog to go on forever so I am just going to post this, and I will get in to more hand details in a later blog. has updates and they told me they would also be listing the results there, but as of this time nothing has been posted.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Blind Structure and the "Plan"

Dan and I have been looking over the blind structure, and here is a partial list of how the blinds are structured:

Level 1 – Big Blind (BB) 25 – Small Blind (SB) 25 – Ante 0

Level 2 – BB 50 – SB 25 – Ante 0

Level 3 – BB 100 – SB 50 – Ante 0

Level 4 – BB 200 – SB 100 – Ante 0

Level 5 – BB 200 – SB 100 – Ante 25

Level 6 – BB 300 – SB 150 – Ante 25

That takes us up to the dinner break. The levels are 1 hour each. This should give plenty of time to find a hand to play. The dealers will get in somewhere between 30-40 hands per hour. At a full table of 10 people that means a player will have to pay blinds 3 or 4 times an hour. You start with 1500 chips. That would mean that if you paid blinds 4 times each hour in the first two hours and never invested another chip and never won a chip you would only be down 500 after two hours. That would also mean you've had 80 hands to play. I cannot imagine that a player cannot find a decent enough hand in that amount of time to win/earn some chips.

It also means that somewhere during/before Level 3 players will have needed to at least double up. So somewhere in the first 80-120 hands I need to find something good enough to get to 3000 chips. That's my plan. After that I figure that I will need to have to do the same thing by Level 6. So my plan is to try and be at/above 6000 chips by the time we break for dinner. I think that after dinner based on the blind structure I would feel comfortable if I could get to at least 20000 chips by the end of Level 10, which is when play will conclude for the day on Tuesday.

I don't know if I'll get a chance to post in the morning, but nothing too exciting should happen between now and then anyway. If I don't post something in the morning I promise to post when I get back from the Rio. I'm hoping that post won't occur until sometime very late Tuesday evening.

Welcome to the 2006 World Series of Poker!

Dan and I are finally here. We are both registered and ready to go in tomorrow's $1500 No-Limit Hold 'em event. We had some initial problems when trying to register as no where does the Rio inform you that you need to obtain their "club" card to register. Dan and I found this out when we got to the front of the line to register for the tournament. Of course you have to go someplace else to get the "club" card. We had already waited about 20 minutes in line! We went and get our club cards and then got back in line to register for the tourney. They gave us our table and seat assignments right away. Here is what we drew:

Jason – Table 181 Seat 6

Dan – Table 175 Seat 4

After we were registered we decided to play in a satellite. The way the Rio is running their satellites is that you play a specific buy-in and receive 'x' number of $500 chips and some cash. For example, in the $65 satellite the winner receives 1 $500-value satellite chip and $60 cash. In the $175 satellite the winner receives 3 $500-value satellite chip and $120 cash. If you have already registered for an event you can try and sell your $500-value satellite chips. If you haven't registered you can then use the $500-value chips as your entry.

Dan and I played in a $175 satellite, but neither of us was able to take home the prize. Dan was busted in 6th position, and I was busted in 4th position. In the space of about 30 minutes I saw AA at our table 3 times. Unfortunately none of those made it to my hand.

After busting out of the satellites we decided to watch a portion of the final table from this year's Tournament of Champions. They decided to run the Tournament of Champions prior to this year's WSOP Main Event. They were supposed to start at 1:00, but Daniel Negraneau and Chris "Jesus" Ferguson were both very late and the tourney didn't start until almost 2:00. Dan and I had been waiting since about noon so we didn't stay very long after they got started. The final table had some big names, with Gus Hansen, Mike Sexton, Andrew Black (final table Main Event last year), Daniel Negraneau, Chris Ferguson, and Mike Matusow all competing for the title. It was cool to be that close. Dan and I also saw (or bumped into) Harry Demitriou and Dutch Boyd.

Ironically enough, there was another face I recognized when we got into the main room at the Rio. A couple posts ago I mentioned I was working in Lexington and I delivered a bad beat to a player when he had flopped a full house of 3's full of 10's when I had made trip 10's with my small blind hand of 9-T offsuit. I went on to catch a 9 on the turn and win the hand. The face I saw was none other than that player from the Caesar's in Indiana! Kinda cool.

Dan and I are checked in and getting ready to head out to play some poker and/or other casino games, but I thought I'd check in with you first. I'll try to put up one more post later with some blind structure details. I am SO pumped for tomorrow!

Monday, June 26, 2006

I'm Leavin' on a Jet Plane

...don't know when I'll be back again. Well, that's not entirely true. Unless something miraculous happens I'll be back early Saturday morning.

Anyway, it's early Monday and I'm excited about flying out to Vegas. Dan and I have an early flight to catch so I am keeping this very brief. I'll try to put up another post much later today with some tournament details if I can get some.

I'm leaving on a jet plane...

Friday, June 23, 2006

It's Not Far Now...

I find it hard to believe that the World Series of Poker starts next week. Well, I guess that's not so hard to believe. It's hard to believe that I'm going to be playing in it, and it starts next week!!

I think I'm ready for it, or at least I hope I am. I think I've been feeling like the kid on a car trip asking "Are we there yet? Are we there yet?". Well, it's not far now. I'm sure that once it gets going it will be just like playing another card game, or at least that's how I'm going to try and treat it. This week I've had a lot of people asking me what's my goal for the tournament. Obviously, winning the tournament would be great. That's truly the goal. Realistic? Probably not. Cashing in the tournament could be considered a goal. To make a profit on the tournament would be great. That's a goal. I think that at this moment my goal is to make the right decisions when I play and to make it to the second day. If I make that goal I will try and evaluate how the day went and the new goal will be to get to the third day.

I haven't played too much poker this week, and that's probably a good thing. Give the brain a break before really putting my mind to the task next week. Dan and I head out early Monday. I am sure that the Rio will be hosting some 1-table satellite tournaments that will cost $150-$200 with the winner getting an entry. I do plan on playing one of those to see if I can get my entry money back. If I do I'll be ahead of the game already!

I was hoping that I would be able to post "live" updates while I am playing in the tournament by using my cell phone, but when I tested that this week my posts didn't show up in the blog. I did call the Riviera this week, and they informed me that they do have internet access in the rooms so I will take a laptop computer to Vegas and will update my blog after play is completed for the day at the Rio. I'll try to take some notes while playing so I can keep the hands accurate. Hopefully I'll have some good news to report!

I'm hoping to get some live poker in over the weekend, but we'll see if that happens or not. Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Image

Thursday, June 15, 2006

When in Rome...

...or at Caesar's Indiana, do as the Romans do. I ventured over to Caesar's while I was working in Lexington this week. Caesar's is a riverboat casino on the Indiana/Kentucky border just outside of Louisville. It's a pretty nice facility. The theme is that of ancient Rome, much like Caesar's in Las Vegas. The hotel that's here in Indiana is huge. The casino boat itself has 4 decks. You enter the casino on the top deck, and the poker room is on the lowest deck. Their poker room is rather large for a riverboat. It has 33 tables! When I was there they probably had about a dozen tables running. I got myself signed up on their $1/$2 No Limit table list, and on a $2/$5 No Limit table list. They didn't have the $2/$5 game running yet, but once the list had enough players they were going to open up the game.

After about 20-30 minutes, my name was called for the $1/$2 game. I bought in for $200. I started out by playing pretty tight, and wasn't able to see too many flops because there were always 3 or 4 players entering the pot prior to my being able to get a raise in. Eventually I decided I was going to have to change gears if I was going to get any good action going. I did manage to get lucky in one pot where I played 5-7, flopped a gutshot straight draw, and hit it on the turn with two players still in the pot. It wasn't a huge pot, but it had me on the plus side of $200 when I got called for the $2/$5 game that was opening.

I almost forgot to mention how they handle the rake at this casino. They do it a little different. Instead of taking a percentage of the pot every hand up to a designated maximum, every time there is a dealer change, which occurs every half hour, they collect $6 from each player. Now, I don't know if the rate collected varies based on the table stakes, but the two No-Limit tables collected $6 each dealer change. The nice thing about that is that the pots aren't raked and everyone then shares the rake evenly. I was trying to determine if the house makes more this way, but I think it comes out pretty close to even. The local casino at home collects the percentage of the pot up to a $4 maximum. They probably get about 30 hands/hour in, so they are probably collecting very close to the $120/hour that Caesar's collects on their system.

All right, back to the game. I sat down at the $2/$5 game with about $235 in chips. We started with seven players. This game was even looser than the $1/$2 table. There were usually 3 or 4 straddles per orbit. Well, as the title of this blog states, when in Rome do as the Romans do. I opened up my game a little bit and decided to start taking some more flops. I've got three hands that I'll describe here. These three hands made most of the money that I won this evening. The first hand was in a straddled pot. A straddled pot means that the player that is first to act (under the gun [UTG]) puts a bet of double the big blind out prior to the cards being dealt. Players are required to at least call that amount or fold, and the straddle is still allowed to raise when the action gets back around to him or her. I found myself holding Kh-Th this hand. I limped in from early position with this hand and one other player called prior to it getting back to the straddle. The straddle raised it to $40. Now, usually I don't consider a straddle's raise to be too much of a threat. The whole reason a player straddles is to build a pot and gamble a little bit, so in a pot with a smaller number of players it shouldn't be too surprising that the straddles raises. After all, they are trying to build a pot. I decided to call, and so did the other limper. The flop came:

Kc Tx 3x

flopping me two pair. The straddle bet $75, so I moved all in. I had $122 in addition to the $75 bet. The limper folded, and even though the straddle really looked like he did not want to call he made the call. He showed KQ, and saw that he was in bad shape against my two pair. Neither the turn or river helped him out, and I was able to double up through him.

I then started to give back most of the chips I had won in the double up to a player who kept coming over the top of me. It was usually when I would have a mid to low pair and 2 or 3 overcards would hit the flop, forcing me to release my hand. As it turned out, I did notice that every time this player would get to a showdown he was showing the best hand, and usually it was a monster hand at that point, so I was beginning to feel better about my reads on him when he would go over the top. I did get AA in a straddled hand, but got no action on my $30 raise. It was shortly after this when I ran into my next big pot of the night.

It was another straddled hand. This time I was in the small blind with 9s-Th. I would normally release this hand, but there were already 5 limpers when it got to me, and I didn't think that the big blind or straddle would raise it up so I called. The flop came:

3x Tx Tx (sorry, don't remember any of the suits, not that it matters here)

I led out and bet $15, which was almost ridiculously small into a straddled pot with 6 players. The straddle folded, and the next pre-flop limper raised it to $75. All the other players folded back to me. Now, I counted my chips, and I had $209 left in front of me. To call $75 just meant that I'd have to call the remaining $134 on the turn or river, and I did think that I had a better than average chance of having the best hand so I decided to raise. By raising I at least gave myself another chance to win the pot if he would decide to fold. I moved all in, and he called instantly. He turned over 3-3 showing me a full house and earning the quietly spoken, "nice hand, sir" from me. I hadn't shown my cards yet, and the turn came 9, giving me a higher full house. I turned over my hand at this point. The river didn't bring the case 3 so I was able to win that double up. Now, where it does appear that I got lucky keep in mind that there was almost going to be no way I was going to fold for $60 at the flop. If I had just called my opponent's raise, I would have seen the turn card, and all of the money would have gotten in on the turn anyway. So yes, I got lucky after all the money was in, but all the money would have gotten in there anyway.

That was a substantial pot, and I was able to coast most of the way from here. My last substantial pot was against the player I had initially doubled up through. This hand was NOT a straddled hand. I was in the big blind with Ad Kh when the button raised it to $35. I decided to just call, and one other player called. The three of us went to the flop, and the flop came:

Kd 7d 2s

This particular flop is one of four unique flops. What makes it unique is the fact that no player can be holding two cards that can make a straight with the turn card. The other three flops are: Q-7-2, K-8-2, and K-8-3. Anyway, this flop gave me top pair and top kicker. I decided to check, the preflop caller checked, and the preflop raiser bet $75. I just called since I felt comfortable with my hand being the best, and no card on the turn that could really hurt me. Even if a diamond came off on the turn, that would mean I would have the nut flush draw because I had the Ad. I didn't think the raiser would bet that much on a draw if it wasn't the nut draw. The other player folded, and we went to the turn. It was the Jd. I checked again as I now had top pair, top kicker, and the nut flush draw. My opponent led out with $100, and I moved in at that point. There was a possibility that my opponent may have had KJ, but with my re-draw to the flush I knew that I still had an extremely strong hand. My all in was $320, so he would have to call $220. He laid it down, and since I knew I was leaving soon I decided to show him. I had already picked him off a couple times in big pots, and I was feeling a little bad for the guy.

My last hand of the night had some fireworks, but it wasn't a huge pot like the other three. I had announced to the table prior to the deal that I was leaving after this hand. I had started to rack my chips when I was dealt 9-9. I decided to limp and see if I flopped a set. Five of us went to a flop and that flop came:

Jx Jx 8x

I bet $50 to see where I stood, and was called by one player. It was the player on my immediate left. The turn was a K, and now I had to make a decision. I was pretty sure my opponent knew I didn't have a Jack, so I was a little nervous that he could be trapping me. I bet $100, and would have been willing to fold had he come over the top of me as I didn't want to get crushed in a big pot as I was heading out the door. He asked me if I could beat Kings, and I just told him that "I just have to play the cards I'm dealt". He laid his hand down, and since it was my last hand of the night I showed the 9s. He did tell me that I had him beat anyway, so I guess he had AQ, AT, or a lower pair than me. When I got to the cashier window I cashed out for $748, so I had a nice little profit of $548. It was a good time at the table, as I always enjoy going to different casinos and see how different games are run. It's always more fun when you win. If I ever get near that Caesar's again I'll make sure to stop in again.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Aggressiveness and Position Rewarded

My weekend of poker wrapped up pretty well. I was able to play a little $10/$20 Limit Hold 'em, where bluffing actually becomes part of the game again. At the lower limit levels you pretty much just have to resign yourself to being able to showdown the best hand. Once you start hitting the mid levels, aggressiveness is rewarded a little more, and every now and then you can pull off a decent bluff. I have two hands that I'll go through here. The first one was a complete bluff. The scenario is as follows:

$10/$20 Texas Hold'em - Table Cane Corso (Real Money)

Seat 9 is the button

Total number of players : 10

  • Seat 1: Player 1( $464 )
  • Seat 2: Player 2 ( $472.93 )
  • Seat 3: Player 3 ( $150.50 )
  • Seat 4: Player 4( $419.50 )
  • Seat 5: Player 5 ( $691 )
  • Seat 6: Player 6 ( $490 )
  • Seat 7: Player 7 ( $442 )
  • Seat 8: Player 8 ( $644 )
  • Seat 9: Face ( $241 )
  • Seat 10: Player 10 ( $1153 )

Player 10 posts small blind [$5].

Player 1 posts big blind [$10].

So I had the button here and I was dealt: [ Qd 2d ]

Everyone folded to me and I decided to raise. Player 10 in this hand was a player I had encountered before in a different session, and I had noticed that he usually did not defend his Small Blind unless he had at least an Ace. He decided to reraise, and although I knew I was behind it was only going to cost me $10 to see a $70 pot. It's hard to fold that. Here is how the flop came down:

8d, Jc, Jh

Player 10 had to act first and he led out and bet. Now since he bet I really didn't believe he had a Jack so I decided to call here. The turn came Kc. He led out and bet again. I figured that if I had a chance to win the pot this is where it would have to happen. I raised hoping that he didn't have either a Jack or a King. If he was defending his blind with an Ace, I was just praying it was A9 or worse. If he has AQ or AT he still would have a gutshot and I didn't think he'd lay that down even with incorrect pot odds. The bluff worked, as I assume he believed I had a J or K. With the betting amounts going up on the turn, it's too hard to call that knowing that you are going to maybe pay off that $20 and another $20 at the river to get to a showdown. It was a nice little pot ($147) on a hand that really isn't worth much. It also helps that I usually play pretty tight, so if I'm raising at the turn it wouldn't be too hard to believe I had originally raised with a hand like AJ, QJ, AK, KQ, or KT from the button, and there was a good chance all of those hands had the lead.

The second hand wasn't so much a bluff as much it was just pure aggressiveness combined with position. Here was the scenario:

$10/$20 Texas Hold'em - Table Vision Won (Real Money)

Seat 7 is the button

Total number of players : 10

  • Seat 1: Player 1 ( $426 )
  • Seat 2: Player 2 ( $1176 )
  • Seat 3: Player 3 ( $504 )
  • Seat 4: Player 4 ( $494 )
  • Seat 5: Player 5 ( $556 )
  • Seat 6: Player 6 ( $302 )
  • Seat 7: Face( $326 )
  • Seat 8: Player 8 ( $570.50 )
  • Seat 9: Player 9 ( $435 )
  • Seat 10: Player 10 ( $490 )

Player 8 posts small blind [$5].

Player 9 posts big blind [$10].

so once again I had the button here and was able to try and steal:

Dealt to Face [ Ks 9h ]

I raised and was reraised by the BB, and this time I decided to reraise, capping the betting. I had been playing pretty tight, and he had no reason to not believe I had a big hand, and I didn't want to give him a reason to think that. After the flop came:

Jh, Jd, 2c

and he checked in front of me it was a green light to bet. Usually when a pot is capped preflop in the $10/$20 game, you usually are going to see AA, KK, QQ, or maybe AKsuited. Everyone now and then you get a crazy loose maniac, and I appreciate those guys, because they know how to ship it. As I said before, I had been playing pretty tight, so I figured he would believe my capping it meant something. I bet the flop, and he only called. Ironically enough, as this hand was being played I was thinking about the move I had pulled off on the other table. My opponent was in the same situation I was in that hand. When the turn came 4c and he checked, he very easily could have pulled off the same move I had done earlier and check-raised me, and I would have had almost no choice but to let the hand go. Instead the second bullet fired worked and he released his hand. Another nice little pot ($122) for what really amounted to a junk hand. Sometimes it just doesn't matter what your cards are if you've got enough courage to fire a bullet to see where you stand.

Now, I don't usually play junk cards like that, but I'm going to have to be ready to fire some bullets with position if I have the right types of players at my table when I'm playing at the WSOP. I'm in Lexinton this week so I won't have any online poker, but I am going to Caesar's in Indiana after I stop in Lousiville to pick up a Hard Rock Cafe Hurricane glass. I'm sure I'll have a story or two from there.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Consistency is good, but...

Late Friday and busted plans means I'll probably be playing some poker online. One of the sites I play has a tournament that gets anywhere from 2200-2600 players for relatively cheap. This Friday it ended up having 2567 players. I was having some fun early, and managed to triple my starting chips in the first hour. I was fortunate enough to have one player move all-in ahead of me when I had flopped top set with no straight or flush in play yet. During the second hour of the tournament, I was moving all over the place, but then I was to start leaning on the table a little bit when I got a semi-decent hand in the Big Blind and got an awesome flop. I was holding Qd Jc with blinds at 150/300 when one player limped in and everyone else folded. The flop came:

Kh Ad Td

flopping me the nut straight. With the possible flush out there I considered betting, but decided to let my opponent have a shot at putting some chips in. He obliged by putting in about a pot sized bet. I called instead of raising, deciding to see what the turn would bring. What I didn't know was how good a hand my opponent was holding. The turn came with the 2h, putting a second flush draw now in play. I correctly guessed my opponent would make another bet at the turn, but this time he moved all-in. I called, and found my opponent holding two pair (Ks Tc), so he had 4 outs to his full house. He didn't hit, and I collected a nice pot.

I moved along from there and was able to accumulate some chips when I was in position at the table. I lost a little bit against a shorter stack when I moved all in with a set of 2's and the short stack had Kh Jh with the nut flush draw and it hit. During the third hour of the tournament the bubble passed and during the "bubble" phase, I was able to pick up 10k in chips with almost no real premium hands. I was in the money for a little while, and with 38k in chips and the blinds at 1500/3000 with a 75 chip ante, I found myself holding Ad Ks, a player in early position holding 83k in chips raised to 10k, and I decided that it was worth playing my whole stack. As long as I wasn't up against AA or KK I would be in a coin flip situation for a huge pot, and you never know, I may even have the best hand if he was holding AQ, AJ, or worse. Well, he called with his 8-8, and even though the board came Q-T-9, giving me more outs (a Jack would have given us both straights, with mine being higher), I wasn't able to catch the necessary card as the turn and river came 6-Q, and I was eliminated in 167th place. It was good enough to double my money.

I was happy with the way I played, but I really am going to have to get a little more lucky in these races if I'm going to make it deep in to a larger tournament. I have been consistently making the top 10% of the places or higher, but I'm hoping to do better at the WSOP. In this tournament up until that last hand I had gotten my chips in with the best of it. I can't see myself laying down AK in that same situation, but I really hope that I can make more correct decisions to put myself in to these types of situations when I'm out in Vegas. It did feel good to maneuver through a field that will probably be similar in size to the field I'll be playing against in the WSOP.

Friday, June 9, 2006

Another Tourney and some Team Poker

Another Tourney and some Team Poker

A rather uneventful week as far as actual poker playing goes. I played another "points" tourney on Sunday, trying to anticipate playing against loose players. The tourney had 1150 players, and I wound up in 76th place. Nothing too eventful in this tournament. I did manage to pick up a large pot when I was in the Big Blind (BB) holding 7c-8c. With blinds at 500-1000 a player had come in for the minimum raise and was called by one other player so I decided it was definitely worth a look. I had about 22k in chips at the time, and the flop came:

9-T-J (three suits)

giving me the straight, and even though it was the sucker side of the straight I was pretty happy with the flop. I led out and bet 5k, hoping that I would get raised and then I could get all my chips in, and if I didn't get raised I would probably only get called by a player holding a queen or maybe top pair. I got called by both players, so when the turn came 3 (4th suit, too) I got all my chips in since the pot was just over 21k! They both folded, which gave me lots of chips. The hand that wiped me out was sort of surprising. I was in the BB with AQoffsuit when three players including the small blind tried to limp. Blinds were 1500-3000 and I had a little over 42k in chips now so I thought I would try to buy the pot figuring no one was real strong. Well, that almost worked. The small blind called my all in with 6-6, and I caught no additional help from the board and the wiped me out. I was kind of surprised that 6-6 would call there, but oh well. That'll happen.

One of the online sites is now offering "team" poker. You can put together a roster of up to ten people, and everyone contributes some cash as the bankroll. Then you set up events where you take 5 of the members of the roster and play in poker tourneys. I believe that none of the teammates are at the same table at the start of any of the tourneys. It seems interesting so I thought I'd at least give it a shot. I signed up for an account at the site, and I played a free tourney or two to get adjusted to their interface. I'll be perfectly honest I'm not a huge fan of this site's game interface. That could be just because I'm used to the two that I currently play. I hope that's the case. I'll probably play there a little more this weekend and see if I enjoy it. I'm very excited about the team concept and look forward to our first match! Get us signed up for something, Catfish!

I'm working in Lexington, Kentucky, next week so I don't know if I'll be able to get any online poker in while on the road. I do plan on heading to Lousiville on one of the days so I can get my Hard Rock Cafe hurricane glass. That'll get me up to 22 different HRC glasses! Woo hoo! Louisville happens to border Indiana, and there is a casino just on the border there, so I imagine that I will have to stop in and see what the poker room there is like. It'll give me a chance to get George a couple more casino chips for his collection.

Monday, June 5, 2006

A Long Fun Day of Poker

Not much poker to report during the shortened holiday week. I decided to play an online tournament using my Player's points from one of the online sites. Because the tournament entry is "free", I usually expect the competition from a tournament of this type to contain lots of loose players. I thought that this may be good practice to play a couple of these prior to the WSOP just to get some practice in patience and trying to maneuver through extremely loose play. The tourney I got in had just over 1100 players, and I managed to work my way to 13th place. I was pretty satisfied with my play. I may do one or two more of those prior to the WSOP.

On Friday I received an email from some friends that I play poker with and bowl with about a poker tournament at a picnic at a small town about an hour north of me. I decided that for the $75 it was probably worth getting some practice in live tournament play. I hadn't played in a live tournament with a significant number of entries since I was at the Taj Mahal in January. I made the trek north and met Jeff, his wife Jen, and her dad Mike at the picnic. The tourney was supposed to start at 11am, but there were some problems with the people who were supposed to supply the tables, chips, and dealers, and we got started a little over an hour late.

We ended up having 42 participants. We started with 2 tables of 10 players and 2 tables of 11 players. We started with 700 chips, and rebuys were allowed at any time you were under 500 chips. For $20, you received 500 chips. Also, at the one-hour break everyone would be allowed to add-on 1500 chips for $20. So basically, the plan was to just stay alive during the first hour to get to where you would add on the 1500 chips. That worked pretty well for me as I only played one hand in the first 50 minutes. While on my BB, several players limped in so I was able to get a free look. I had 9-4offsuit so I was more than happy to see the flop for free. The flop came down:


giving me bottom two pair. I led out with a 125 chip bet (slightly more than the pot), hoping to win it right there, but I was pretty sure that any large club would call me. I was banking that no one flopped the flush, and since that's a 119 to 1 shot I was willing to get all my chips in here if necessary. It proved necessary as four players proceeded to call until it got to the small blind who raised it to 300. I moved all in for my remaining chips, which was about another 200 on top of that raise. That got some people to fold, but I did end up with two callers. Since everyone was all in, when the cards were turned over I was up against:

Jc-Jx and Ac-x

I was hoping that with all the calling that was going on that meant some other clubs were used up, and regardless of that being true or not, no clubs (or Jack) hit, and I nearly tripled up. This was nice, but during the last 10 minutes prior to the break I gave back 900 of the 2200 I had in front of me with some "not smart" play. In a tourney like this, with the rebuys and add-ons, the play is going to be REAL LOOSE in the first hour. I knew that, and laid off some hands that I might have played, but near the break I got heads up in a couple hands and, although I missed the flop, tried to follow up my pre flop raises with bets, and found myself getting called. When it's real loose you just have to resolve yourself to playing premium hands. I knew that and still tried to make some plays. That's something I may need to pay close attention to in a couple weeks.

After the break, the play moved more toward my style, and although it was still loose, because of the fear of being knocked out I was able to lean on some shorter stacks. I lost just under half my stack in a pot that worked out completely wrong for me. Mike was at my table with me, and we've had some history playing at the same tables in tourneys, so I knew to try and avoid him in large pots unless I was holding a lock. I had already seen him call a player down to the river after flopping a pair of twos and picking up a 5-high flush draw on the turn (he was holding the 5), so I knew that in the hand I'm about to explain I knew I was in trouble as soon as we had a pot. A player on a shorter stack had limped, and it looked like he was preparing to move all-in. Another player limped, and Mike limped. I looked down and found As-Ts. Now, that's not a great hand, but I was willing to play the short stack for all his chips for it. Since the other two players limped I figured setting the short stack in should either:

A. win the hand right there and I'd pick up the blinds and three limp-ins, or

B. get me heads up with the short stack, who I was more than willing to play with my holding

Well, I raised to isolate, and everyone folds...except Mike. He calls. As I said before, I now knew I was in trouble. As soon as that happened I knew that no more of my chips were going in to the pot unless I made my Ace. I wasn't even going to put a chip in if a Ten flopped as top card. That's how sure of how much trouble I was in. Well, the board came Jack high, and he checked it all the way down as did I. He turned over QQ. I was actually quite surprised he didn't bet at all. Initially, I thought he may have had AK, AQ, or TT because he wasn't betting with the Jack on the board, but all those had me beat anyway, but when I saw he had an over pair and didn't bet it I was just confounded by the play.

That cost me half my stack, and then I didn't see too many cards after that. I ended up lasting until we were down to two tables of ten, and I got my chips in with AQoffsuit and with a flop of A-Q-T I was initially pleased, but it was bet, raised, and reraised by three players at the flop so I was relatively certain that KJ or a set was in play, and unfortunately I was correct (KJ). The straight knocked me out as no A or Q hit the turn or river. I believe I ended up in 17th or 18th place, not that it really matters, since they both paid the same...$0!!

While I didn't have so much luck at the tourney, Mike went on a rush, and Jeff was playing steady and they both made the final table. The tourney was paying out the top 6 places. Mike took 8th, just missing out on some cash, and Jeff was able to get to 4th place (Jeff's "Degree All-In moment" should be pictured here), which paid $300 I believe. Jen had gotten knocked out by some loose calling station right before I got eliminated.

Jen and I were talking while we watched Jeff and Mike play, and we both agreed that we had the "itch" to play some more, so a game ended up getting put together to play a tourney over at Jeff and Jen's. Mark (Ig), Anne, Mark, Peg, Pete, and Angie all were able to make it, so we got a nine-player tournament started just after 8pm. Let me tell you, that may have been one of the craziest tourneys I've played. After almost an hour, we still had all 9 players. Mark and Pete got knocked out shortly after that, but then we stayed at 7 players for a long time. With blinds moving about every 15 minutes, and the average stack size not changing due to the lack of players dropping, it became a contest of all-ins with short stacks. Now I don't like to see a tourney where it just becomes all-ins, but I don't think that with the way this tourney played out it could have been avoided. I was doing all right early on, but I became short-stacked as the blinds moved up, I was able to win an all-in or two, and as players were getting knocked out I got extremely lucky against Anne when I was holding Kd-Jc. I backdoored a flush which gave me a lot of chips to work with. Peg and I got heads up, and although I lost my first attempt to knock her out with an all in I got lucky on my 2nd attempt holding 7d-6d by making a straight against Peg's hand to win that tourney. The tourney was a lot of fun and lots of fun conversation. I hadn't realized that I didn't tell them my new name on PP's website, so I gave them that information so they had it. My new name is taken from a character in a series of books I enjoy. Angie was pressing me on some questions about the books, and I don't think I answered all her questions before the topic got changed. Angie, if you want some more information about those books just shoot me an email and I'll answer whatever you'd like to know.

Angie and Pete took off near the end of the tournament, so when the tournament was done we decided to do some dealer's choice poker. We played $.25/$.50 limit 7-stud, Razz, and Omaha. It was almost 2am when we decided to call it a night. It was a lot of fun as I think everyone was picking up some of the nuances of the games (myself included). To give you an example in our last hand of Omaha, at least two of us (myself and Mark) read our own hands wrong and were playing them based on what we THOUGHT we had and not what we actually had. It's easy to do in Omaha. Razz really seemed to be a challenge, too. Razz is tough on you mentally. You're always trying to figure out which upcards your opponents aren't playing while continuing to guess whether that next card is going to sink your hand. Mark really likes it though as he's earned himself the moniker "the Doyle of Razz". All in all a good time. When it's for small stakes like that it's always a good learning experience and still keeps it fun.

Sunday, June 4, 2006

Memorial Day Weekend

Sorry about no postings this week. I was working out of town this week and didn't have much opportunity to play poker or post anything. I was able to get some poker in at the local poker room over the holiday weekend though. Dan and I ventured down to the poker room on Sunday night hoping that there may not be as long a waiting list. Well, that plan may have worked except the poker room scheduled staff as if it were a non-holiday Sunday so they didn't have the full staff of dealers on hand. I was informed of a new policy when calling in to get my name on the poker lists. When calling in you now have 2 hours from the time you call to check in at the poker room. This is nice because it used to be an hour, and you'd get down there and have to wait usually an hour+ anyway.

So, I called a little after 8pm, found myself about 13 deep on the list, and decided to get down there just after 10pm, taking advantage of the full two hours since I knew I wouldn't be up on the list. When I got there, Dan was playing on one of the $5-$10 Limit tables. He appeared to be up a little. I also found that in the two hours since I called I had only moved up one spot!! They did have one open table and the poker room manager was calling all his dealers trying to get one to come in to open the table up. They managed to do this successfully, but I was still 11 down on the list and they were taking the first 10 people. Dan got a seat since he was in the first ten, and I was eventually able to get a seat since not all of the people on the list were in the poker room. We opened with a table of 7 people. I won the button with the high card deal, and since this was the feeder game for the main game, that meant that this table was now the new Moronville for the night. Everyone knows how I feel about Moronville. This table started out living up to that reputation. Dan was two to my left, which meant he was in the BB when I had the button, and I sort of felt bad about that because even he knew that I'd just be stealing his blinds if the opportunity arose. Dan took the seat two to my left because of a regular that happened to sit down at the game. Gus, an older gentleman, sat down to Dan's left originally when Dan and I had been on opposite sides of the table. Gus is a loose-aggressive player who Dan and I both know to play a lot of draws, and will bet and raise you out of pots with garbage cards. He's not the guy you want on your immediate left, but it's great to have him on your right, especially if you're smart enough to only get involved with him in a pot when you've got a strong hand.

The table started out with the "standard" raise becoming $20. With blinds at $3/$5 that was pretty normal, but what happened in the next half hour was NOT normal. Usually at the no limit game, and at Moronville in particular, the first raise is almost always called by somebody. With Gus there I thought that would be the case for sure. Tonight the first couple times everyone folded. Once I noticed that, I decided to test the aggressiveness/timidity of the table, and went on a run that had me laughing at the end of it:

From the cutoff (one off the button) - raised $20 with Kd 3d - no one called

From UTG (under the gun) - raised $20 with 9h 7h - no one called

From later position, Gus limped, so I bumped it to $30 with As Ts - no one called

From the button with one limper, I bumped it to $25 with 4d 5d and the limper called. The flop came T-T-J. The limper checked so I bet $60 and he laid his hand down.

In the BB, I found Qs Qh, with one limper already, I raised it to $20 and he laid it down.

From UTG I caught As Kh, bumped it to $20 and got a caller from the SB. The flop came J-J-5, and this time I decided to check behind the SB, who had checked in front of me. Everyone had seen me just lead out and bet, and I kind of thought this may not be the right hand to do that on for some reason. The turn came a 2, and the SB bet $15. That seemed to begging call me, so I obliged, not really knowing if I wanted an A or K on the river. Well, the river was a blank, and the SB led out and bet $50 so I was able to easily let that go there.

Anyway, this run of hands was hilarious. When it started I really wasn't expecting all the folds. I was more than willing to play a couple of those hands I raised with. Then I actually caught a couple of good hands, which is exactly what you want in that scenario, because you just KNOW the table was getting sick of getting pushed around. Now the AK hand didn't work out so well, but it was really at a minimum loss. I knew that with the table playing this way I was getting set up for a field day here. Then the worst thing that could have happened actually happened. A seat opened up at the main game, and they told me that I had to move there! I thought I was far enough down the list, but apparently they must have their own way of arranging the names for moving tables when they start a table out. I was so hacked by this because I could just feel the timidness of Moronville.

It was starting to get late, so after I got involved in my first serious pot at the main game I took off. Unfortunately I didn't win that pot and ended up leaving down $225 for the evening. So, after a $460 win two sessions ago I've now got a $57 loss and a $225 loss. The losing streak is never a good thing, but at least the losses weren't that big. I don't have much online poker plans for the week, but we'll see what happens.