Friday, July 29, 2011

Start of a Snowball...

Hello again. It's been about a month since I last blogged. After "Black Friday" took place I have not been attached to my computer like I once was. I do have a lot to talk about though.

The last post I wrote explained that I was still in the $10k WSOP NLH 6-max tournament. Let me continue from there... I entered the day 19/22 in chips. I grinded the short stack for a while and eventually doubled AQ vs AT. I chipped up a little and got revenge on William Thorson, who knocked me out deep in the WSOP Main Event last year. I raised with AQ, he moved all in with KJ and my hand held. The field in this tournament was very tough. I knew all of the remaining players fighting for the bracelet. When you are playing with smart, thinking, capable players you have to be able to compete in more ways than just playing the cards. The game gets deeper.

With 8 people left I got in a big pot against Joe Ebanks (Ender55.) I hope the details aren't off by much. The button (Ben86/bttech) limped for 24k, Joe contemplated raising, then called from the small blind. I looked down at AKo in the big blind and raised 100k more. Ben folded and Joe made the call. The flop came 923r. Joe checked to me, I bet 138k, he min raised me, and I moved all in for about 600k more. He wasn't happy about having to call my shove, shook his head a little, and threw in the call. He had me in awful shape with A9o. I rivered the king of spades to stay alive and double up.

Once I won that pot I finally had enough chips to compete with some of the other chip leaders. I was able to win a few more pots before we eventually made the final table of 7. We needed to lose one player to be the "official final table" though. Ben was the first player to bust, losing AK vs JJ all in preflop. The remaining players were: Mike Sowers (SowersUNCC), Bertrand Grospellier (Elky), Joe Ebanks (ender55), Chris Moorman (moorman1), Talyor Paur (taypaur), and myself. I have played a lot of online poker against all of these guys except for Elky. The final table was definitely one of the most competitive final tables in WSOP history. I knew I would have to have a few things go my way to win the tournament.

There was plenty of room for play at the beginning of the final table. I played a few interesting pots, one against Moorman when I min raised the button and he called from the small blind. The board came KQ4hh. He check raised my flop bet, I didn't think he had a wide value range here, so I decided to reraise him back. He reraised me back and I folded. He showed the 8c (which was good haha.) I imagine he was just plain bluffing here, but he might of had a hand like K8cc and had been going with it, I doubt that though. We both had the same idea, but he ended up having the last laugh and won the pot. I seemed active after this pot, but I picked up a few hands and never got much action. We lost Mike then Taylor and were playing 4 handed.

I didn't pick up many hands at all 4 handed. The blinds got bigger and I was sandwiched in between other big stacks. I stayed patient and told myself to survive to the 40k/80k level. If I could wait for the blinds to go up there would be about 300k in the pot preflop if a player opened. With 5 minutes left in the level, I picked up A9o in the small blind with 22 big blinds. Moorman was in the big blind. I raised to 155k (at 30k/60k) and he reraised me 180k more I believe. Without giving too much away of my thinking process, Moorman is definitely capable of reraising me without a hand here. He knows I have to either go all in or fold for the most part. I thought about the spot for a little bit and decided to move all in. He called my all in with AJo and knocked me out.

I finished 4th in the toughest live tournament I ever played. Although I wanted to do better, I am very happy with how I played and my finish in the event. Like I wrote in an earlier blog, I was put in that tournament by a backer that would like to remain nameless. The backer gave me an unbelievable percentage in my favor to play the tournament. It was almost too good for me to accept, but we agreed that I would give him $10k worth of coaching in exchange for the buyin of the event. Considering I wasn't even going to play the tournament, I think everyone is pretty happy haha.

After the 10k 6max I took a few days off from poker. I only played one tournament before the WSOP Main Event, but I was ready. I didn't recognize a single person at my first table. They were all men, older than me, and nobody was too active. I chipped up a little before I was moved to a much better table. When I say better, I mean there was more action, and it would be easier to win chips at this table. After an hour at the new 2nd table, I played my first big pot of the main event.

A young kid from Europe opened in middle position to 525 at 100/200 no ante. I was two to his left and reraised to 1425 with QQ. When action got back to him, he reraised to 3400, I made it ~6400 and he snap moved all in for 18.4k, which I snap called. He turned over 99 and was in bad shape against my QQ. The board ran out xxx9x and he won a monster pot. I didn't make many other hands at this table and eventually it broke. I was then moved to my third table of the main event.

This table was much better for me overall. I was able to make a few hands early and chip up nicely. I had the respect of the table and was starting to take control of it. After being pretty active, I won a pot where I 4bet preflop and took it down. The very next hand I was in the big blind. There was an open at 200/400/50a to 1125 from the hijack, the small blind called, and I made it 3650 from the big blind with JJ. The hijack called and the small blind folded. The flop came J9Tcc I bet 3500, the guy made it 8k, and I moved all in for about 32k. He called with KQo and I was in trouble. I needed the board to pair to beat his straight. I didn't make a full house and I was eliminated from the Main Event.

Although I was knocked out of the best poker tournament in the world, I was happy and content. I have played the Main Event 6 times and I honestly don't think there is a hand that I regret or would have changed how I played this time around. Granted, I only survived until late in Day 1, but it still means something to me. I normally would be upset about busting the Main Event, but I couldn't be. I played my best. I'd really like to thank my buddy Tim0thee for helping me improve my mentality when it comes to poker. I've always been a positive person but he has helped me realize there is only so much you can control. I also know I have matured over the years and picked up a lot of experience as well. I have to keep working at becoming a better poker player and more importantly, a better person.

Congratulations to Ben Lamb and Phil Collins who both made the November 9. Ben Lamb is having one of the most incredible WSOP in the history of the game. It is definitely the sickest short term heater I have ever witnessed. Both these guys are great players and I expect them to do well at the final table. I'm not sure who I'll be rooting for. The final table has a lot of good players at it. Good luck to them come November.

DeepStacks had an event at the Palms the day after I busted the Main. We did a short notice poker camp with Epic Poker League. We had about 40 students come to the camp. We recorded some footage with our DeepStacks 360 camera, taught a little poker strategy, had an appearance from Annie Duke who taught a little bit, and then played an Epic Poker League satellite. It was a good day and a good camp. With such short notice I think everyone did a great job. The Palms staff was great. I'm sure they will have a lot of success in the future with what they are doing involving poker and the Epic Poker League.

Somehow I managed to stay in Vegas a few days after my WSOP was done. I took the red eye home on Friday night and was back in Florida early Saturday morning. It was nice to be home and see some of my family and friends. I was looking forward for things slow down a little. I have played a little poker since being home. I actually had a good finish the other day in one of the Florida State Poker Championship events. I played a $1600 bounty tournament, which didn't go my way, then I played their $2200 NLH 6max tournament. It started with 80 players. I managed to get 4 handed with 3 guys who were all friends and had a vested interest in each other. They were also good players. We all were about even in chips and decided to chop, getting about 2nd place money. I wanted to outright win the tournament, but it was smarter to chop. I wasn't guaranteed second place or better, so I went against my urge to want to play it out. My friends Hans, Stu, and Tim actually finished 8th, 7th, and 6th in the tournament. Pretty crazy that two groups of friends made it that deep lol.

Currently I'm about 30,000 feet in the air. I'm on my way to Reno, NV to teach a DeepStacks camp tomorrow and play in a $1100 DeepStacks Poker Tour event on Saturday. Last time I was at Grand Sierra Resort I had a good time (it also didn't hurt that I won the main event there lol.) I like the casino and maybe I will explore a little more of Reno while I'm there this time.

I have a few other things I want to talk about but I'm going to wait until the next blog post. I've rambled enough. I've had some time to reflect on the past few months and it still hasn't fully hit me yet. I had an great summer at the WSOP. Making two final tables is quite an accomplishment, but there is always room for improvement. I am not complaining though. I will continue to play my best. If I can do that I think more good results will follow. Hopefully it's the start of a snowball...