Saturday, June 21, 2008

Good News and Bad News...

Its almost 4 in the morning out here in Vegas and I just ate dinner and am about to get some sleep. I have good news and bad news in this blog. I guess people want to hear the good news first. Well one of my best friends in the world, and in the poker world, Stuart Paterson is down to the final 2 tables of the 10k Omaha 8b tournament. He’s going into day 3 below average chips just under 100k but I have confidence in him. He claims to be the best 8b player in the world so we will see (Haha, just kidding Stu..) But we know he’s the man in 8b, its his game. So hopefully he takes that down and if he makes the final table I might drop everything I do and sweat him cause I know he really wants to win a bracelet and he deserves it.

Now onto the bad news... I just bubbled the Bellagio 2k Final Table. There were about 180 players and the top 18 paid and I came in 13th place. It sucks. I played really good today for two tournaments in a row, and hopefully I can continue to keep playing well. I saved a bunch of hands in my Blackberry so I could write them here so I guess I will start writing a full trip report, although I’m pretty tired.

**DISCLAIMER: Read on if you want to hear about the 13th place finish in the Bellagio 2k, with detailed hands and thoughts. If you don’t want to hear about the 20 or so hands just stop here lol**

Anyways, I got to the Bellagio about an hour after the tournament started because I had to go to the Rio first and get cash for the chips I had. I bought into the event at the Bellagio and was about the 10th alternate in line. I finally got a seat when they made tables 11 handed and the blinds were 100-200 with a 20k starting stack. A couple hands after I sit down I get a glimpse of how poker at the Bellagio is when you give maniacs 20k in chips and low blinds to start. The chip leader of the table raises to 600, the cutoff calls 600, the big blind calls 400. The flop comes 356ss and the big blind leads out for 1800, the chip leader makes it 5500, the cutoff caller moves in for 20k, the big blind moves in for 20k (roughly) and the chip leader calls off 15k or so more (he had about 30-40k) The big blind flips over A2ss, the chip leader has AcAd and the cutoff shover has 66. The board runs out TsKs and A2ss wins a 300 big blind pot, wow. I don’t know who played their hands worse, but I just watched in awe as the A2ss just purely gambled and the aces called off when he is never ahead there. I mean the cutoff shover has 66 at worst if not a flopped straight. He is always going to have a set there (unless player dependent otherwise)

So now I realize I need to just relax and be patient and I have 100bb and now this guy with 300bb is two to my left and he looks like another internet player. The first hand I play UTG limps for 200 I limp in 4th position with 99 and the button makes it 800. We both call. The flop comes Q9hh4s and we all check around. The turn comes Ks and the utg limper bets 1400. I called him and the button folded. The river comes the 7h completing a flopped flush draw and he leads out for 3600. I figured there’s not much value in raising here, he either has JT or a bluff or QK but I doubt I'm getting too much value from other hands so I decide to just call and he turns over Ace high and I rake in a decent pot to start off.

The next level comes in and the blinds are 100-200 with a 25a. I raise to 550 with 22 on the cutoff and the chip leader repops me to 1575. I call him because we are both deep, he has like 60k I have about 27k or something. Flop 894ss and he continuation bets and I muck. No biggie. I wonder how long he will keep this up for. I definitely thought he was a player who would use his stack and position so I didn’t really like him on my left. A couple hands later like 3-4 people limp and I limp on the cutoff with 96ss. The chip leader who has 60k makes it 1200 in the small blind and everyone folds but I decide to call, with position and thinking he is doing this with a lot of hands. The flop comes 723 rainbow. He leads out for about 2600. I decide this is a great flop to float and try to pick it up on a later street, so I tank it and call. The turn comes another 2 and he checks to me. I tried to represent a flopped set, turned full house and thought for a little bit and checked behind, since my hand is made now of course and I am trapping him to bet the river =) The river comes another 7 and he checks again. I didn’t really like this card because I didn’t want him to call me with Ace high since the board double paired, but I have to play it how I played it and I fire 5500 on the river and he mucks. I of course, being the moron I am, show the bluff. I showed this basically to tell this guy to stop messing with me, which I wish I hadn’t of done. Here’s why...

The very next hand the blinds are up to 200-400 25a or 50a I don’t remember, and I pick up QhQc ... Wow what a perfect time to pick up a real hand! I raise the hijack to 1050 and the button calls, he was a tight older player, and the big blind calls. The flop comes 667dhc the bb checks to me and I bet out 1800. I figure let me see where I'm at. The button folds and the big blind thinks for a little bit before calling. I wasn’t really worried I still thought I had the best hand. The turn came the 8d and he lead for 6k!!!! I couldn’t believe it. His line made no sense, how did this 8 help him? Did he have 68 and turn the full house? Nothing made sense to me as he about potted it on the turn so I decided to peel again. I called the 6k and the river came the Ad. He moved in for 16k and I had about 19k. Again, I just was confused. Did he have 9T, did he river a flush some how? What could he possibly have and now he’s moving all in on a river Ace when I could very much have pocket aces. I figured this guy had to have 8s full or a complete bluff. I gave him credit and instead of trying to make a hero call and be wrong, I folded. He showed KJss and I said nice hand. Wow, did I get completely outplayed. I had the right read on the turn and should of known he was on a stone bluff. The ace of diamonds is actually a great card for me on the river because my hand looks like aces and he’s still firing into me on the river, so unless he has 8s full I don’t think he can bet any other hand except for maybe A6 or something. I could be completely wrong about all this but that’s just what I came up with after he showed me the bluff. I would of been at about 60k if I could of called him there, but oh well. I shouldn’t show bluffs haha.

The next significant hand comes later down the tournament when I was moved to another table, I had been there about 4-5 orbits and gotten a good feel for the table. This European guy in the 4 seat, had severe betting tells on his preflop opens and I figured them out pretty easily. He was making it 2500 at 600/1200 100a with weaker hands and 3k with strong hands. I have about 25k or so at this point and have just been floating above water after the QQ hand. The guy raises to 2500 in 3rd position and it folds to me in the small blind and I have A4. The hand before he raised my big blind and I thought about it with AT but I mucked and decided not to shove on him or play the hand out. So this time he makes it 2500 and I decide I can try to steal the pot from the small blind, so I make it 7500 in the small blind with A4o. He calls about instantly. I’m like oh shit. The flop comes A56d and I am saying "Phew" in my head. Although I don’t necessarily love the fact he called me preflop, I don’t really think he has a big hand here, especially a big ace. So I decide to lead weak and maybe induce a shove on a bluff or see what he does so I bet 4500 with about 13k behind. He instantly moves all in. Shit. I cant fold. I was just praying he didn’t flop a set. I thought about it for a minute and figured I was good and I induced a bluff shove and decide to call off my last 13k (I know I could of folded and had 10bbs, but putting in 12k and folding with 13k is probably horrible, but if I think I’m beat I would of folded) Anyways he flips over 78dd and I faded his straight draw. The turn came 6 the river came Q. Yesssss finally chips!!! I move up to about 52k or so now.

I raised to 3k with A9o in 3rd position, normally I muck, but I had a good image and decided to get a little more aggressive and build my stack. Amir Vahedi called in the big blind (he defended the orbit earlier when I raised with KJcc and flopped K72cc when I was short) so he defended again and the flop came K92hh. He checked and I decided to check as well. The turn came the 8s and he bet out about 6500 which was about the pot. I figured he didn’t have much, he had about 12k behind. I really didn’t think he was strong given his body language and attitude, and he of course cant think I have anything checking the flop, so I shoved all in on him and he folded. I have more to say about Amir later in this blog. Keep in mind that I watched Amir call off like 18k preflop leaving himself with 4k. He had AT and the other player had 77 and the flop cameKJ3 and the player put him all in and he called and rivered the ace.

Anyways, this table breaks and we are down to about 50 players now. I have a good stack at about 70k and I am really liking my position in the tournament now. The blinds are now 800-1600 200a and I raise to 4200 in 2nd position with AThh. I get the button and the sb and the bb who all call. The button thought about mucking for a while but he called, so I wasn’t really worried about anyone. The flop came KJ3h one heart. The small blind shoved for his last 11k and the big blind folded. I figured he could shove just about anything. Any Jack, maybe even an 3, QT, 9T, a King, etc. He cant be too strong just calling preflop though leaving himself 11k. I decided I was getting a good price with already 25k in the pot and called. The button folded and I told the small blind he was ahead. He said no he wasn’t. GREAT!! He flipped over QT and the board ran out KJ3TQ giving me the nut straight and about 90k in chips.

Now I’m really in great shape but can tell I have a tough table with some good players who have chips as well. The blinds now are at 1000-2000 200a and UTG makes it 5200. The small blind calls and I call in the big blind with T7cc. The flop comes JT6cc and the small blind checks. I figured it would be strong to lead out this flop and basically get it in all day vs. anyone who wanted to gamble, haha. I lead for 8800 and the under the gun raiser moves all in for 49k. The small blind folded and I thought for a minute. Wow 41k more to me, its a big coin flip I'm about to get in against aces, oh well. I have to gamble now. I call. The guy flips over.....AdQc... WHAT!?!?! the turn comes the 6s and the river comes the K.... OF CLUBS, completing my flush, although I just needed him to brick =) That pot was a huge pot and got me up to about 150k or so. I really still cant believe how this hand played out and I guess leading into pots where other people have control really bothers people. I might add this play more into my game.

Okay well back to Amir Vahedi. He played some hands absolutely horrible. Now normally I am not a critic of how people play, but Jesus. This guy is bad, or played very bad today. He makes it 7500 at 1500-3000 300a on the hijack and the small blind made it 30k (Vahedi had 31500 total) The small blind was a tight player and Vahedi called the 30k leaving himself 1500. The small blind bets 1500 in the dark on the 922 flop, and Vahedi calls with QTss. The small blind turns over AQo and Vahedi turns the T and wins the pot. Wow. One more Vahedi hand.. The chip leader of the tournament makes it 9k at 1500 3k and I flat on the hijack with AQhh, the button, a monkey shoves in 30k more and Vahedi reshoves for 60k. The CL asks for counts on both and mucks 66, I muck my AQhh (Vahedi said lets gamble! I thought he had AK) Vahedi turns over AJo and the button turns over 55 and the board runs KK6J2 so Vahedi wins another pot he had no business being in. Anyways, Vahedi ended up bubbling which was good but wow I couldn’t believe how he played. He might of been tilted since I needled him a little bit about "Having to be willing to die to live" in poker. (IF anyone has seen the old WSOP he said that before lol)

Okay so now were down to 3 tables and I’m moved to a table with Kwob and some other players. I have about 120k or so now and the blinds are 3k 6k 1k and we are getting closer to the money, with 18 paid. Some short stacks are shoving and one short stack shoves the cutoff into my big blind and I wake up to 33 and have to call 30k more, so I call. He flips over K3cc, awesome, and I spike a 3 on the flop and win a nice pot to go up to about 160k or so. A couple hands later the hijack makes it 17k and I shove all in with AK in the small blind and he mucked. I’m accumulating chips and things are looking better, as I'm up to about 200k now. With about 22 left the cutoff shoves all in for 32k and I call with A9o in the small blind and he flips over K3o. I beat this hand already! The board runs out 88227 and I win another pot and go up to about 230k. This is awesome. Getting it in good and it holding up, wow, I love poker.

We end up making the money after Vahedi busts and we are now rearranged and playing 9 handed at two tables until we get down to 10 for the final table.

The VERY FIRST HAND after making the money and getting to a new table, this guy moves in 75k preflop at 3k 6k 1k in 2nd position. It gets to me in the small blind and I look at TWO RED ACES. ACES!!! The first time I've had them ALL TOURNAMENT. THANK YOU POKER GODS! I think about how to play it, the chip leader was in the big blind with about 400k, and I figured just to isolate so I shove and he folds. The guy flips over KsJc and I table AdAh. Perfect. He’s drawing slim for a 160k pot. The flop comes ATcc5 and He gains outs he never thought he would ever have in his life. I’m praying for no club or queen on the turn. The turn comes the Qs...Wow are you kidding me? Seriously poker is fucking rough. I don’t pair the board on the river and this monkey wins a 160k pot off of me. I went from about 240k to 160k after this hand when I should have 400k. Damn. I handled it well though, I think.

So I open another pot with 44 in early position and get a call and the button reraises and I go down to about 140k when this sick hand comes up. The blinds are about to go up to 4k 8k and this one guy has shoved in two times in a row, and now shoves all in for his third hand in a row under the gun for 80k. The guy to my right in 3rd position INSTANTLY Calls 80k. I look down at AKo. Wow. What do I do here? I never fold AK ever. Maybe I need to start. I think about it for a couple minutes and decide that 140k is fine and I have no fold equity cause If I shove in 60k more the guy cant fold who called 80k already (he had about 200-250k). I show Mr. Tim Caum (He was at the table.. nice guy) what I muck and throw it to the dealer. They flip their hands. UTG has AJhh and the guy to my right has QQ. Another guy says he folded an Ace and the flop comes K45, turn is A and river is 2... I would of won, and I’m hating my fold. I would have 400k going into 4k 8k but instead I am stuck at 140k. I think back to a couple hands before if my AA held up I would of had 300k and would of reshoved over the QQ and won probably a 500k pot and been the tournament chip leader with about 600k-800k. So I think that hand really changed the whole dynamic of my tournament because I would of definitely played that AK if I thought I had fold equity. Oh well.

So I’m down to about 120k and I’m hanging in there, get blinded down to about 90k and pick up KK utg and make it 20k (4k - 8k) and the bb defends. The flop comes K95css and he checks to me. I bet 10k with like 60k behind and he calls. The turn comes the 4c putting two flush draws on board and he checks again. I tanked it for about a minute and tried to give off the vibe like wow I need to hold onto my last 60k chips I have nothing here! Well, I bet out 15k leaving myself with 45k -- please shove on me. The guy made some confused face and mucked. I probably should of played this hand super slow, checking the flop, etc.. But oh well.
I muck a couple other hands like the chip leader raises to 22k in middle position 7 or 8 handed and I muck QK on the button with about 140k and he shows AJ and I’m glad I didn’t gamble. The blinds go up to 6k 12k 2k and I’m now down to about 90k. I shove a couple hands and get back up to around 150-160k when this hand comes up. Kwob moves all in under the gun for 96k right after we got into the bigger blind levels of 6k 12k. It folds to me in the small blind with 77. Damn this is a tough spot. Kwob played pretty tight but I know he has to open up his shoving range being so short especially when he’s about to lose 24k after being hit by the blinds, and I figure I need to play for the win and think about it and decide to call. He turns over TT and I’m immediately upset I didn’t muck. Oh well, there is luck in poker, hopefully since I got unlucky before I can get lucky now. He wins, board is like A532A or something and I double him up. I go down to 70k now and shove a couple more hands and get back up to 120k and then get blinded down when my final hand comes up.

The chip leader, who was very active in a ton of pots, makes it 35k under the gun and I look down at AQo in 2nd position (we are 6 handed or 7 handed -- 13 left) and I shove all in for 51k more. He calls and flips over TT. How the hell does he have a real hand here? I lose the race 67287 or something and he wins and I’m eliminated in 13th place. First was 112k and 2nd was about 70k, so I was really looking forward to my first six figure cash if I could of won this tournament. Oh well there’s always tomorrow. So that’s how my tournament day went today. I played for about 11 hours, cashed for peanuts, and was completely disappointed. I registered for tomorrows 1500 NL WSOP event and hopefully I can play well like I did the other day and get some chips and make a run at this.

Maybe this blog is lucky! I was thinking that when I was getting deeper and deeper in the Bellagio tournament. I was saving hands on my phone to write down to my audience (if there is an audience haha) and was thinking how this blog will hopefully improve my game. If anyone wants to comment on hands or have me post hands on www.pocketfives.com (a poker website) or other places, so we can discuss them and discuss why I did what I did, or didn’t do, I will do that. Hopefully things keep getting better and I keep playing well and I don’t do anything stupid. If I do anything stupid I will write about it here. For example, a couple months ago in the Foxwoods 3k NL tournament I got it all in preflop with AKdd vs. Justin Bonomo's AA at 25/50 10k starting stacks. =) I'm sure you will hear more stuff like this while I continue this blog, or hopefully not! But I will tell you old stories if I start playing perfect all the time, which I doubt is possible =)

I’m about to get some sleep its almost 5 in the morning. I'm dead tired. Hopefully I can wake up early and work out and then get ready for this tournament and hopefully my boy Stu makes a run in the 10k 8b. I am hating myself for not buying a piece since he asked me to buy one but its alright, I want him to win so I don’t mind. I'll write more about Vegas and just other things in general non poker related when I get some more time. Goodnight everyone.

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